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December 2010

Holiday Events in Downtown New Rochelle

December 02, 2010 - 20:57

Celebrate the Holidays Downtown with Lights, the Nutcracker, Crafts, Music and Family Events

Start this special month with Father Francis Maurice, Rabbi Amiel Wohl and Reverend Allen Weaver welcoming Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza with benedictions and song at the always popular Holiday Lighting at Memorial Plaza. Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance and then move to New Roc City on weekends where Santa will hear children’s holiday wishes and for family photos.

Don’t let your children miss the Downtown performances of Ballet Atlantic’s 36th Annual Nutcracker Ballet. Older holiday revelers can join New Rochelle’s renown jazz musician Brian Carter and his Trio at an open Holiday Jazz Jam at McKiernan’s Lawton Street Tavern.

Key Milestone for Talk of the Sound -- First Ever in Top 10 Ranking in Google for "New Rochelle"

December 02, 2010 - 19:19

TalkoftheSound_Top10inGoogleResults.jpg

The champagne corks are popping over here at Talk of the Sound. After a major overhaul of the web site (and news that Google recently tweaked their algorithm) we suddenly finding the site ranked in the Top 10 search results for the keyword "New Rochelle".

Most people use a search engine to find things on the web and most of them use Google (about 65%) so being ranked high in Google is a big deal. Few people do other than look at the first 10 results (if they do not find what they want 99% of users will conduct a new search) so being on the first page of results is a huge big deal.

Two years we were ranked #3,342,241. Last year we got into the Top 100 then Top 50 and more recently, since the summer, have bounced around in the Top 20 getting as low as 11 but never quite to the magical 10 rank. Today we hit #9. Yahoo!

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson Expresses "Disappointment" Over Moody's Downgrade of City's Debt

December 02, 2010 - 19:14
1 comments

NoamBramson.jpgWriting on his own blog, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson expressed his disappointment over the downgrade of the city's debt by Moody's Investor Services, announced earlier today.

City’s Bond Rating Slips a Notch
Lousy News Is Unsurprising Sign of the Times

DECEMBER 1, 2010
Budget & Finance
The persistent weak economy and its impact on our finances has led Moody’s Investor Services to downgrade New Rochelle’s bond rating. Many other municipalities are being similarly reevaluated. Fortunately, our new bond rating of Aa3 is still quite good and defined as “of high quality and subject to very low credit risk,” so the City’s access to and cost of capital should be only minimally affected. Nonetheless, I won’t conceal my disappointment, particularly since this news comes only a few years after we celebrated an upgrade in our bond rating. It is an unfortunate sign of the times — lousy, but unsurprising.

Online Journalism Review Publishes Talk of the Sound Respond to Interview with AOL Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham

December 02, 2010 - 14:04

Robert Hernandez, an assistant professor at USC's Annenberg School and writer for the Online Journalism Review caused a stir at the recent ONA conference when he asked the CEO of AOL "Is Patch evil?" As a follow up, Hernandez interviewed AOL Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham.

By the time I saw the article and interview the comments section was closed. I wrote directly to Hernandez to express what I would have liked to have said in a comment below the article. Last night he wrote to say that OJR had re-opened the comment section briefly so they could add my email as a comment. If you appreciate having a site like Talk of the Sound in your community, you should care what the people from AOL Patch have to say because they are dumping tens of millions of dollars in an effort, in part, to swamp truly local independent sites like this one. If you like McDonald's you will love Patch; if you like A.J.'s Burgers and Greasy Nicks you will appreciate the value of local ownership and operation like Talk of the Sound.

Moody's Set to Downgrade New Rochelle Bond Rating

December 02, 2010 - 09:25
5 comments

moodysdowngrade.jpgNew Rochelle Finance Commissioner Howard Rattner announced today that the City of New Rochelle's Bond Rating will but downgraded tomorrow.

Rattner's Statement

We have been informed by Moody’s Investor Services that our bond rating will be downgraded effective tomorrow 12/2/10. Moody’s will send official notification to the newswires on that date. You may recall that the city was upgraded to a rating of Aa3 in early 2007, the first such upgrade in about 70 years. Earlier this year, many of the rating agencies recalibrated municipal bond ratings to enhance the comparability of ratings across entire portfolios of credit ratings. At that time, Moody’s changed our rating to Aa2, a step above the previous rating. This was simply a change in scale and had nothing to do with credit worthiness. Recently, Moody’s performed a periodic “surveillance” on the city’s financial condition, a process they are required to do for all of the clients that they rate. As a result of that surveillance, Moody’s has downgraded the City’s bond rating from Aa2 to Aa3. While acknowledging the City’s sizeable tax base, wealth levels, and continued budget controls, Moody’s cites a weakened financial position resulting from declining sales tax and other revenues and the deterioration of our fund balance over the past three years. Moody’s has revised the ratings of 17 municipalities in New York State since the recalibrated rates were established. Fifteen of those ratings were downgraded including the Village of Harrison (downgraded from Aa2 to Aa3), the Village of Tuckahoe (downgraded from A1 to A2) and Monroe County (downgraded from A2 to A3). The City’s new rating of Aa3 is still a relatively strong rating and is considered by Moody’s to be “of high quality and subject to very low credit risk”. Comparatively, this rating is lower than White Plains, equal to Mount Vernon and stronger than Yonkers. The impact of this rating change will mean slightly higher interest rates on future debt obligations when the City goes to market.

Chamber Invites New Rochelle to Downtown Holiday Lighting, After-Party at Radisson

December 02, 2010 - 02:27

holiday-lighting-2010_poster_4c.jpgThe Chamber of Commerce of New Rochelle in cooperation with the City of New Rochelle and the BID is happy to sponsor the Holiday Lighting ceremony at Main Street and Memorial Highway. The event will start at 5:30 PM at Memorial Plaza.

Santa has agreed to fly down from the North Pole for our lighting ceremony so bring the kids!

In addition the Chamber of Commerce of New Rochelle will be having a Holiday Party at the Radisson Hotel following the Lighting Cermony and everyone is invited.

Price is $25.00 pp (includes food; cash bar at Happy Hour prices). Please respond to Eli Gordon.

Join us for a wonderful holiday celebration and networking.

Holiday Lighting Poster courtesy of Brad Spear.

JUSTICE: Board of Education Tables Illegal "Rolf Koehler" Resolution After Rare Two Hour Executive Session

December 01, 2010 - 19:51
12 comments

RichardOrganisciak.jpgFor one night anyway, justice prevailed at a New Rochelle Board of Education meeting as an attempt to subvert the New York State civil service law was stopped...for now. Past being prologue, residents can rest assured that like a vampire rising from the grave, this resolution will be tweaked and then brought forward again, most likely at the next BoE meeting scheduled for December 7th.

Resolution No. 11-183

Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak had sought to bring forward a resolution that would have authorized him to submit a waiver request to the New York State Civil Service Commission. The resolution was the result of a month long effort to concoct yet another pretext to keep Rolf Koehler on the BoE payroll as a security administrator despite having failed to pass a civil service exam last February.

TONIGHT: School Board to Put on Special Display of Good Old Fashion New Rochelle Corruption

December 01, 2010 - 00:03
12 comments

Come one, come all to the Columbus Elementary School where the New Rochelle Board of Education will be presented with a board resolution to give a guy who has been unable to qualify for an administration security position in the New Rochelle public school system but has, on multiple occasions, had special job descriptions crafted to try and make sure that he and only he could get the job.

Rolf Koehler has bounced from waiver to waiver since 2009. His last day with the district was October 30th when his most recent waiver expired. Last year the district put forward three different job descriptions prior to a municipal service exam in February, all part of an elaborate effort to block qualified candidates from beating out Koehler for the position.

Despite their best efforts, Koehler failed the civil service exam. 12 other candidates passed, three were eligible for the position yet none were selected. Instead Koehler was given a new position (Director of Surveillance) and allowed to remain for months beyond what was supposed to be his last day. It was that position that ended on October 30, 2010.

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