What Keeps Cuomo Tossing and Turning at Night?

August 21st, 2014 by Phil Reisman

Andrew Cuomo’s worst nightmare isn’t Rob Astorino. Nor is it Preet Bharara and the Moreland mess—at least not for now. No, his immediate fear is “The Cantor Effect.” Read here: cantorhttp://lohud.us/1tkPgv5

Farmers lead sustainable food symposium at WCC

March 21st, 2014 by Robert Brum

Mike Fedison, assistant farm manager at Hilltop Hanover Farm, will be one of five featured speakers at the “Five Farmers Meet You at the Table: A Conversation on Sustainable Food Systems” from 8:30 to noon on Saturday, March 29 at Westchester Community College’s Gateway Center- Davis Auditorium in Valhalla. Admission is free.

In this file photo, Mike Fedison prepares the spring crop at Hilltop Hanover Farm.

Joining Fedison will be fellow panelists Jack Algiere, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; Doug DeCandia, Food Bank for Westchester; John McDowell, Rockland Farm Alliance; and Steffen Schneider, Hawthorne Valley Farm.

This interactive discussion will focus on connections: new relationships with food and farmers, cost/benefit of a healthy food system, and call for community action: every step matters. Closing remarks will be presented by Joan Dye Gussow, teacher, author, and organic producer.

Though free, a suggested donation of $10 would be appreciated. All proceeds will be given to the Food Bank of Westchester. Seating is limited, and pre-registration is required. To reserve a seat go to www.eatrightwrda.org











Yorktown veterans, students hold annual Four Chaplains ceremony

January 20th, 2014 by Robert Brum

Yorktown veterans will join with “Living History” students from Mildred Strang Middle School and residents of Yorktown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, at the Yorktown American Legion Hall at 235 Veterans Road in Yorktown Heights to celebrate the annual Chapel of the Four Chaplains ceremony.

This annual ceremony honors four U.S. Army chaplains who were aboard the U.S. troopship, Dorchester, in February 1943 when it was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic.  These chaplains of different faiths handed out life vests and calmed the soldiers aboard their dying ship.  When the chaplains ran out of life vests to hand out, they gave up their own life vests to save others.  Their bravery was an inspiration to all who survived the sinking and all who heard of it.  These Americans are remembered at this ceremony for their bravery and their interfaith cooperation in helping their fellow soldiers in their greatest time of need.

Each year numerous “Living History’ students in their colonial militia uniforms with their teacher, Chris DiPasquale, open the ceremony with the formal presentation of the nation’s colors. Four prominent local clergy members are part of the ceremony: Mother Claire Woodley of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Mohegan Lake; Rabbi Robert Weiner of Temple Beth Am in Yorktown Heights; Pastor Dan O’Brien of Calvary Bible Church in Yorktown Heights; and the Rev. Thomas Kreiser from St Patrick’s Church in Yorktown.

Light refreshments will be served at the post hall after the ceremony.  All veterans and members of the public are invited to attend this free event.

Yonkers’ Excelsior Packaging to lay off 112

November 20th, 2013 by egarcia

The Excelsior Packaging Group in Yonkers has informed state officials that it will lay off 112 workers by February 5.

The company at 159 Alexander St. said the layoffs are due to a plant closing and economic conditions.

Excelsior Packaging is owned by Ron Shemesh, who has big plans for the Yonkers waterfront.

Shemesh’s company Glenwood POH wants to preserve and redevelop the Glenwood Power Station, a derelict property at 45 Water Grant St.

The $200 million plan also calls for building a two-story, 870-space parking garage in the hillside of an adjacent park. The project, slated to open in 2016, is estimated to create 1,800 construction jobs and 955 permanent ones.

The Glenwood Power Station sits north of the Excelsior Packaging Group and the redevelopment of both properties fit into the Alexander Street redevelopment plan adopted by the city in 2008 to transform a 153-acre strip of industrial land from the new apartment buildings near the Yonkers Pier to the JFK Marina.

The workers at the plant are represented by the Consolidated Commercial Workers of America, Local 528, according to the company’s filing on November 12.

Twitter: @Ernie_G_journo

WESTMED, Montefiore and Simone Healthcare announce new medical office

October 18th, 2013 by egarcia

photoWESTMED Practice Partners and Montefiore Medical Center will partner and lease a new 11-story medical arts building in the Bronx from Simone Healthcare Development Group.

Construction on the 93,000-square-foot complex at 3741 Riverdale Ave. is expected to begin November 1 and it will take about 18 months.

The Purchase-based WESTMED will provide administrative and technological support for Montefiore’s one-stop facility that will provide urgent care and specialty services.

The planned Riverdale complex is WESTMED’s second venture outside of Westchester County.

Simone Healthcare is currently building WESTMED’s new headquarters and medical arts building at 3030 Westchester Ave. in Purchase.

The new Riverdale complex is the latest example of what Simone officials have recently described as the latest trend in healthcare where a variety of services are performed in non-hospital settings at a lower cost to insurers and patients.

“Given the complexity of medicine today, it’s clear that patients prefer the full spectrum of their outpatient healthcare streamlined, coordinated and provided by the finest doctors—all under one roof,” said Simeon A. Schwartz, M.D., chairman and CEO of WESTMED Practice Partners, in a statement.  “This approach not only provides convenience to the patient, but lowers the cost of healthcare.”

UPDATE: Rockland officials making plans for sex trafficking, domestic violence, Super Bowl

October 7th, 2013 by Steve Lieberman

Gearing up for the Super Bowl in February, Rockland law enforcement officials and advocates for women will put human sex trafficking first and 10 on their game plan.

During a news conference at 2:30 p.m. (today) Monday, they (will) outlined their plans prior to the National Football League’s showcase game at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands – the home of the Jets and the Giants.2013 STOP FEAR Press Conference 020

A main issue for law enforcement is that major sporting events like the Super Bowl have attracted the sex trade industries. The majority of domestic minor sex trafficking victims are 12 to 15-year-olds who are runaways or who have been abducted and are often forced into compliance with violence, threats and drugs, they said.

In effort to prepare law enforcement and educate the public, Rockland advocates will host a special training session on Oct. 30 for first-responders, hotel and motel staff and the general public called, “Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl: What We Need to Know in Rockland.”

The session will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Good Samaritan Hospital by the Polaris Project, which is involved with combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

The STOP F.E.A.R. Coalition, established on 1986 to respond to domestic violence, already has laid the groundwork for the training on human sex trafficking during a meeting on Sept. 25.

“As a county we have done an excellent job creating a coordinated response to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Kiera Pollock, deputy executive director of programs and services at Center for Safety & Change, and co-chair of the Human Trafficking Sub-Committee of the STOP F.E.A.R. Coalition.

“Now we must put our efforts into addressing the multitude of needs that survivors—both minors and adults—of human trafficking may need in Rockland especially in light of the upcoming Super Bowl,” she said.

District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan said law enforcement is gearing up to ensure children are not exploited and take an aggressive approach in Rockland, where local hotels and motels expect to get business from people attending the marquee event in New Jersey.

The 16th Annual STOP F.E.A.R. conference on Nov. 1 will focus on human trafficking and the Super Bowl.

Continuing the theme of Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl, the training, “Preparing for National Security Events: A Perspective on Human Trafficking for Investigators and Front Line Officers,” is geared towards criminal justice professionals. The featured speakers will be Chris Bray from the Phoenix Police Department, an expert on child trafficking, and Eric Pauley from the FBI”s “Innocence Lost Project”, an expert on investigating all matters involving sexual exploitation of children as keynote speakers.

The news conference today at the county office building on New Hempstead Road in New City will include District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, and officials of the Rockland Center for Safety & Change, the former Rockland Family Shelter.

The advocates also will promote October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – which has been celebrated nationwide for 32 years.

Additional Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events include:

– Oct. 24: Walk with me, a silent student-led procession at 12 p.m. at Rockland Community College, room 3214 – Nov. 10: 34th Annual Harvest Auction, 5:00 p.m. New York Country Club, New Hempstead; $90 per person, Silent Auction with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres; life auction with dinner and dessert, RSVP for the Auction or to complete a journal ad visit www.centerforsafetyandchange.org.

The Center for Safety & Change is a non-profit. grass-roots organization serving survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and all crime victims. The center is located at 9 Johnsons Lane, New City. The 24-hour hotline number is 845-634-3344.

PHOTO: Carolyn Fish, the longtime leader of Rockland Center for Safety & Change, formerly Rockland Family Shelter, accepts proclamation from Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef

Tuesday’s schedule

September 10th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano

Here is Tuesday’s schedule, with my picks in bold:

Yorktown at Peekskill, 4:30 p.m.
Panas at Arlington, 4:30 p.m.
Mahopac at Brewster, 4:30 p.m.
Ketcham at Hen Hud, 4:30 p.m.
Putnam Valley at Arlington B, 4:30 p.m.
Haldane at Pawling, 4:30 p.m.
Somers at John Jay, 4:30 p.m.
Briarcliff at Byram Hills, 4:30 p.m.
Kennedy at Lourdes, 4:45 p.m.

Practice Stop: White Plains

August 19th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano
Coach Marcel Galligani (grey shirt) and Midfielder Derlis Zayas (no shirt) discussing strategies for the upcoming season.

There aren’t many teams in the section who have fans watching its tryouts on the first day of practice. But in the case of boys’ soccer powerhouse White Plains, there were a few on hand to witness what Coach Marcel Galligani has in store.

Every season, Galligani and the Tigers try to build on their reputation with a section title. Unfortunately last fall, the post-season was an unpleasant experience.

Their season ended after a disappointing first round loss against then No. 19 seed Carmel. During the regular season, the team went undefeated against all section opponents and was seeded third in the playoffs. But when it was said and done, neither the record nor the seed meant anything.

“I think we have a nice core group that will be returning and has learned from that experience,” Galligani said. “Winning all the games we did and getting a good seed just to lose was a tough pill to swallow, but I think we have some resilient kids who will bounce back nicely.”

With eight returning starters on the field, including senior standout midfielder Derlis Zayas, it would be insane exclude the Tigers from any section title discussions. If the Tigers pull it off, it is almost guaranteed Zayas will have something to do with it.

“He’s instrumental in everything we do,” Galligani said about his senior captain. “He’s a good vocal leader who keeps himself fit by playing soccer all year round.”

Only worry for them thus far is figuring out who will replace last year’s gifted goalkeeper Alejandro Romero. Once their goalie problem is solve, the Tigers will be focused for a title run.

“Every year we come into the first day of practice expecting a good year,” Zayas said. “I want to win championships. That is what we are here for.”

Practice stop: Mahopac Indians

August 19th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano

Practice stop coverage provided by: Sharieka Breeden 

Coach Jim Gencarelli spent four years as the junior varsity coach for Mahopac. Now he is stepping up as the head coach for the Indians who were 12-3-1 last season.

“We graduated six players. I am familiar with these guys and they are familiar with me,” Gencarelli said. “There a few good players that I am looking at to step up and rise to the occasion.”

This upcoming season Gencarelli’s plans to keep the team focused as they work to repeat last season’s success.

“I think we are looking good and I am excited to start,” Gencarelli said. ” We are going to try to take it one game at a time. Kids can get ahead of their selves looking at the schedule. We want to make it back to sectionals.”

  •  Key loss- Joseph Iraola who finished his senior season with 19 goals and five assists. Iraola is playing at American International college now.

  •  Key returners: Jared Milian (senior center midfielder), Conor Butler (senior center midfielder) Mike Bernardi (junior goalie).

  •  The indians will count on Jesse Lichtman (senior, defense, Ray Arcieri (junior, defense), Mike Bernardi and Matt Fariselli (senior midfielder)  to help lead the team with strong defensive play.

  • After an overtime loss to North Rockland last season in a Section 1 Class AA semifinal the team’s focus will be to complete the season with another tournament appearance.

  • Preseason Preparation: The Indians spent their summer playing in the Lakeland summer league where they competed against Byram Hills in the championship.

  • New league competition: With powerhouses Arlington and John Jay EF, Mahopac looks forward to rising to the occasion during the regular season. Coach Gencarelli said facing Arlington will be a good determiner of where the team stands.

  • Season opener: Mahopac will kick the season off against Brewster on  September 10th.

  • Soccer team takes a break after a morning of drills.

Former New Ro wrestler Max Gomez competes in X Games

August 14th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano

I recently wrote about former New Rochelle wrestler Max Gomez, who had his right foot amputated shortly after his wrestling career ended. Although this isn’t necessarily a wrestling story, I wanted to share it because it is an inspirational story about a former Section 1 wrestler who has overcome tremendous odds to excel as an athlete. 

Considering where he had been just over a year ago, no one could blame Max Gomez for being a bit starstruck.

The New Rochelle resident had part of his right leg amputated after a motocross accident in June 2012, but on the first weekend of this month, he found himself in Los Angeles competing at the X Games surrounded by athletes he’d grown up idolizing.

“It still hasn’t really set in,” the 19-year-old Gomez said. “Just to watch that on TV for so many years, and then to get the invite, I still didn’t even know what it was all about. I get there and look at all of these guys who are pros standing next to me, it’s like, ‘Wow.’ Then they talk to me and are like, ‘Wow, this guy only has one leg,’ so it was like a mutual-respect thing.”

gomezBefore he competed among the best in his sport, Gomez’s life changed in an instant on June 2, 2012, when he took a fall down a 10-foot ledge on a western Pennsylvania course and slammed onto his feet. The impact shattered his right ankle and tore blood vessels, as Gomez knew right away that this wasn’t just a typical bump or bruise.

“I’ve had a lot of other injuries — I’ve broken my arm, my foot, my femur,” he said. “With any other injury that I’ve had, the pain wouldn’t go away, but I’d be able to eventually find a comfortable spot. With this one, I couldn’t find a comfortable spot. … The pain the entire time was so severe and constant that I knew there was no way that it could be a sprained ankle.”

Several efforts to restore blood flow to his foot were unsuccessful, leading doctors to recommend amputation from the ankle down.

“Literally every doctor that looked at me told me this would be the best thing, whereas carrying it on there would be like dead weight,” Gomez said. “I knew that I couldn’t dwell on it and had to make the best of it. I couldn’t sit there and cry about it, so I got on the computer and started looking stuff up. There are a bunch of successful people with prosthetic legs, and I knew I would be able to make it work.”

Getting back on a motorbike was the last thing any of Gomez’s family and friends were thinking about shortly after the accident, but it was at the forefront of his mind. His father, Alex, who introduced him to the sport when he was young, said he had “a hard time with it” when Max expressed his desire to continue, but Max was determined to show he could keep doing what he loves.

“It was about a week after (the amputation),” Max Gomez said, recalling when he started talking about motocross again. “I knew it was taking a big toll on the rest of my family, so I was just like, ‘I’m not going to keep doing this (to them).’ After watching some videos of guys who had similar injuries on the bike, I knew I could do it.”

gomez2Gomez initially had trouble riding with the prosthetic foot that he was given for walking, but in February, he reached out to someone who was able to help.

Mike Schultz, who has medaled several times at the X Games on motorbikes and snowmobiles with a prosthetic left leg, started the prosthetics-manufacturing company Biodapt. After hearing from Gomez, Schultz offered to send his prosthetic at a discounted rate.

“I remember the phone call from his dad when he got it,” Schultz said. “He said, ‘Holy cow, you should have a video camera on people when they open this.’ Max was all excited and running around the house, and it got me a little choked up.”

“As soon as I put it on, I knew it was going to work,” Gomez said. “I didn’t even have to get on the bike. That was kind of like the starting point.”

Schultz and Gomez formed a quick bond, and with Gomez now comfortable again on his bike, the two would soon be competing against each other.

Gomez really put his name on the motocross map in May when he won the Extremity Games — beating his mentor.

“It was an epic race,” Schultz said. “We battled back and forth. I obviously wanted to win, but to see him win with my equipment was pretty darn special.”

The success at the Extremity Games earned Gomez an invitation to the X Games — a tremendous feat, but not a complete shock to those who know him well.

“I was definitely surprised, but at the same time, I know Max’s character,” said Aaron Butler, Gomez’s good friend and former teammate on the New Rochelle High wrestling team. “He’s not a person who dwells on things. Once it’s done, it’s done, and he’s looking forward.”

Gomez went on to take fourth in the Moto X Adaptive final, with Schultz winning the gold.

As a result of the national exposure, Gomez has received a tremendous response from the New Rochelle community — as well as people around the country — who look at him as an inspiration. But for Gomez, it’s all about living his life and doing what makes him happy.

“The sport is either in your blood or it’s not,” Gomez said. “You’re either born to do it, or you can’t handle it. The injuries test you and show you whether you really want to be in this sport or not. You have to respect the machine, because it can do damage to you. Every injury is like a milestone, and you can learn from it.”