It's that time of year and Talk of the Sound would like to close out 2009 with a few top 10 lists for your enjoyment.
In compiling these lists, I cannot help but pleased and amazed. It would seem safe to say that many, many of the stories below would never have come to the public's attention except for reporting by Talk of the Sound. Most of these stories are based on tips from readers or articles by contributors and I want to thank each of them for making 2009 a great year for Talk of the Sound. This is what a community news site is all about -- no one person knows everything going on in town but together we can become a tremendous resource and a check on corruption and dishonest dealing my those who feed at the public trough.
We had a number of highlights in 2009. We broke through the 100,000 reader barrier and closed out the year with over 160,000 unique visitors. Stories first reported on Talk of the Sound appeared in media outlets around the country including the Associated Press, New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Journal News, Channel 12 News, Newsday, the Hartford Courant, WCBS Radio, the Associated Press and many, many others. We had some fantastic photos contributed by readers. Articles that first appeared on Talk of the Sound were picked up and reported by local media on a regular basis and even our fiercest critics have had to admit that Talk of the Sound is widely read and has had a significant impact on the City of New Rochelle.
First up we offer a list of out Top 10 Most Read Articles. The list of our biggest exclusives is a bit of backhanded compliment because some of these are stories that were not picked up by other local media -- to their everlasting shame! Our "impact" stories are those that directly brought about change and/or were picked up by the local or national media. We have had some excellent op-ed pieces where contributors offered insightful analysis and opinion that helped shaped the community debate on particular topics such as the MOU extension for Capelli enterprises or budget issues for the school district and city government. Each contributor focuses on an area that interests them; mine is the school district and so it should be no surprise that my Top 10 list for school district stories has 22 entries. Sure to be controversial is the Top 10 Scoundrels list (feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments). We had two photo contributions that stood out this year so those got special mention. I also pulled up some data from our traffic files so readers can see what are the most searched terms that bring readers to Talk of the Sound and the blogs that have sent us the most traffic.
Finally, to our readers, thank you for making 2009 a wonderful success. Here's looking forward to an even better 2010.
Happy New Year!
Top 10 Most Read Articles
1. Son of Police Detective Sues New Rochelle PD Following Arrest for using Dave Chappelle's "White Person Voice" 11,814 reads (Robert Cox)
2. Wonder Why the Government Likes BMI as a Measurement of Obesity? 10,019 reads (Robert Cox)
3. As New Rochelle Development Slows, Even a Bleak Cloud Has a Silver Lining 5,036 reads (John D)
4. Salesian High School Student Found Dead at Home 4,818 reads (Robert Cox)
5. What Do We Know About Scott Siegel 3,979 reads (Robert Cox)
6. Bally Total Fitness at New Roc City Closing Doors Week from Friday 3,175 reads (Robert Cox)
7. Security Guard Assaults 8th Grader at Isaac E. Young Middle School 2,875 reads (New Rochelle Community Pulse)
9. A Barack Too Far? New Rochelle Public Schools Assign Seven Year Olds to Obama Campaign 2,683 reads (Robert Cox)
10. Who is Dominic Procopio and Why is He Chairman of the Municipal Civil Service Commission? 2,630 reads (MakeNewRoBetter)
Top 10 Talk of the Sound Exclusives of 2009
Runners Up: Community Service Officer Made Unauthorized Traffic Stops, New Rochelle Lashes Out at Police Union, Strome Unilaterally Terminates Agreement in Wake of Adverse Labor Board Ruling and MacMenamin's Grill (Don Coqui) Shut Down by U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.
Top 10 "Impact" Stories of 2009
1. Carpenter's Late Night Use of School District Van Questioned (Robert Cox)
After this story ran, School District required all vans and trucks to be parked in lot next to NRHS tennis courts.
2. New Rochelle School Refuses Emergency Medical Care for Student with Multiple Fractures (New Rochelle Community Pulse)
Picked up by Channel 12 News, Parents files seven-figure lawsuit, lawsuit still pending.
Picked up by Journal News, Channel 12 News, Associated Press, proposal to transfer guard "tabled" (guard transferred anyway).
4. Webster Teacher Facing Criminal Charges over 5th Grader "Chokehold": Assault, Harassment, Child Endangerment (New Rochelle Community Pulse)
Reported nationally in print, radio and TV.
The two locksmiths were terminated shortly after this story ran (as you will see below, one was later brought back).
Shortly after this story ran, the "Hebrew Immersion" web site was blocked and then eventually removed from the web and discussions about this topic by the school board ceased.
9. Confusion Reigns over New Rochelle's Stimulus Wish List (Robert Cox)
Story picked up by Washington Examiner newspaper as an Op-Ed in DC paper and on Examiner.com web site.
Initially New Rochelle was tied with Katonah-Lewisboro at 9 failed inspections but I noticed in the lohud database that there was no mention of Trinity School. I contacted the Journal News and suggested they double-check whether the reports for Trinity had been delivered by the Westchester County Health Department per their FOIL request. Sure enough, Trinity had not been included and sure enough Trinity had a failed inspection giving them 10 and pushing them to the top of the paper's list of worst cafeteria health record in Westchester and Putnam counties.
Top Analysis & Opinion of 2009
2. Open Letter to Mayor Bramson: $2 Million Surplus? Back It Up! (Anthony Galletta)
4. Mayor Looks "Foolish" in his Remarks on Downtown Business Plan (Peggy Godfrey)
5. Time to Tear Down New Rochelle's "Facade of Rectitude" (Robert Cox)
8. Cappelli Representative Lies to Council about LeCount Square (Anthony Galletta)
10. Mystery Solved: Noam Bramson a Part-Time Mayor (Robert Cox)
Top 10 Stories School District Did Not Want Made Public of 2009
OK. So there are a lot more than 10 here but what can you. The district has a lot to hide including a long list of "isolated incidents". These stories are all by me except where indicated.
9. Grenade? What the hell is going on at Isaac E. "Nam" Middle School? (New Rochelle Community Pulse)
19. Isaac E. Young Middle School 7th Grader is Arrested for Selling Drugs to Other Children (New Rochelle Community Pulse)
22. New Rochelle School Board Member's Son Roughed Up by Staffer at Trinity School (New Rochelle Community Pulse)
Top 10 Scoundrels in New Rochelle for 2009
1. Domenic Procopio - pocketed tax exemptions intended only for combat veterans despite having never served in the U.S. military.
2. Richard Organisciak - repeatedly lied and dissembled to the school board, the press and parents.
3. Joe Apicella - lied to the City Council in an attempt (successful) to get approval of an unprecedented 13th MOU extention for LeCount Place.
4. Cindy Babcock-Deutsch - repeatedly lied during school budget meetings, telling residents that there was a low which precluded the board from answering questions about the then-ongoing union negotiations [NOTE: she is up for election this coming May, be sure to vote her out of office in the 2010 school election]
5. Vito Costa - formally charged by the Westchester D.A. with grand larceny and falsifying billing records related to his working a no-show job and taking HVAC supplies from the school district for use in his private business.
6. Donna Henry - obtained and transmitted a nude image of a middle school student to other district employees, the image was then widely disseminated throughout New Rochelle with the result that girl had to move out of state.
7. Marissa Raniolo - the most despicable person teaching in the New Rochelle school system.
8. Don Conetta - a liar and fraud who has, among other things, falsified state records regarding violent and disruptive incidents at New Rochelle high school and has repeatedly lied to state officials about improper handling and grading of state regent's exams.
9. Anthony Bongo - during his watch, his school has repeatedly reported phony test grades on New York State Math and ELA exams.
10. Frank Demasi - converted a school district van to personal use, claimed as a defense that no one told him he could not do so.
Best Photos of 2009
Roberto Sanchez: Car on Train Tracks Behind Avalon One Apartments
NewRochelle101: Three Firemen hurt at Morning Fire on Pelham Road
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Top 10 Referrals from Blogs Web Sites