Audrey hepburn wedding dress replica 2018

Mount Vernon's 

Mt. Vernon, NY

The Mount Vernon Inquirer has shut down and is being replaced by a similar publication

      After fourteen (14) years, Joe Parisi has decided to put the Inquirer to bed. Replacing the Inquirer will be a publication that will continue to provide all the positive news citizens have been accustomed to reading in the Inquirer.
      Like the Inquirer, the new publication will not be covering crime, but will be focusing heavily on school news, community news, celebrating the children, honoring seniors and hopefully delighting everyone in between.
      Please continue to visit this site to learn about the new publication as it is being created.
      Joe Parisi

August 3, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon City School District seeks to bring high quality STEM/STEAM learning experiences to students

      New York’s Mt. Vernon City School District (MVCSD) began a new three year partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. MVCSD’s new collaboration with Discovery Education strengthens the district’s efforts to bring high quality STEM/STEAM learning experiences to students both in the district’s new Mt. Vernon STEAM Academy and classrooms districtwide.
      Under the leadership of Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, the Mount Vernon City School district is transforming their educational structure through the district’s bond referendum and the 20/20 Academic Vision strategic plan, which is guiding improvements to all MVCSD schools.  Last year, MVCSD school leaders began planning out the curriculum for the new Mt. Vernon STEAM Academy.   MORE

August 3, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

August 3, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

July 31, 2018   24
Pelham, NY

Pelham Art Center - Fall Semester 2018

      Pelham Art Center has released the Fall 2018 Semester of classes and workshops! Online Registration opens August 1, 2018. Classes begin the week of September 17th and run for 8-9 weeks.
      Along with traditional painting, drawing and ceramic classes the Pelham Art Center offers many STEAM courses in the newly renovated Digital Media Lab. Classes for youth, teens, and adults in the Media Lab include: Scratch Coding on Monday afternoons with Patricia Pardini, Board Game Design with Luis Gondar and Digital Photography with Barry Mason on Tuesdays, Stop Motion Animation on Wednesdays with Frank Fanelli, Hand Animation – Creating Loops on Thursdays with the Nerdy Duo aka Erin Cardullo and Melissa Weiland, and 3D Printing & Modeling on Saturdays with Frank Fanelli. 
     There is an open studio for painters on Friday afternoons for members who are currently enrolled in a course at the art center. This fall there will also be an open studio on Mondays focusing on encaustics which pairs nicely with the Fall Exhibition Waxing Poetic curated by Katharine Default which opens Friday, September 14th. There will also be a free encaustics demo on Wednesday September 19th. For our current course offerings please visit our website
      For questions and registration please call the Pelham Art Center 914-738-2525 or email We are open Monday – Friday 10am -5pm and Saturdays 10-4pm if you would like to come visit!

July 31, 2018   23
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mayor Thomas & Sean "Diddy" Combs engage in talks to grow Mt. Vernon's sports & entertainment economy

      Mayor Richard Thomas recently met with entrepreneur and hip-hop legend Sean "Diddy" Combs to continue collaboration talks with the entertainment mogul to grow Mount Vernon's sports and entertainment economy.
      The mayor and Combs met in Los Angeles last week as a follow up to earlier meetings from the beginning of this year in Miami. Talks included restoring glory at Memorial Field, making it a premier east coast destination for Olympic athletes and local champions to train, compete and connect with the community. They also touched upon the need to revitalize the stadium (and surrounding area) to be a major player in the entertainment space, hosting the next generation of acts who aspire to reach the realm of the Jackson 5, James Brown, and Nina Simone, who each performed at the iconic park.  

July 30, 2018  22
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce sponsors Annual Secretaries Day Luncheon

Gerrie Post

      Administrative Professionals Week is always the last full week of April, with Wednesday of that week being designated Administrative Professionals Day, or Secretaries Day.
      Administrative Professionals Day recognizes and celebrates the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, and other office professionals for their growing and diverse contributions to the workplace. In the United States, it is customary to take administrative professionals out to lunch on this day, and/or to give flowers or other gifts of appreciation.
      On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, over 80 women attended a celebratory luncheon in their honor at a local Mount Vernon restaurant, led by Gerrie Post, President of the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. The popular event is a yearly function sponsored by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce, where participants are provided with a sumptuous lunch and are showered with an assortment of gifts donated by area companies.  

July 30, 2018  21
Mt. Vernon, NY

Carne Guisada

2½ lbs. beef stew meat
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
salt & pepper to taste
Enough water to cover meat

Boil these ingredients for at least 2 hours until meat is tender. Once this is done add the rest of the ingredients below.

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 
½ cup sofrito sauce 
1 packet Sazón seasoning 
2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes 
½ cup peeled, cubed yautía
½ cup peeled, cubed yuca (remove center core)
1 carrot, diced
½ cup olives with pimentos
1 tbsp. cappers
Add more water to cover all ingredients

Once the rest of the ingredients are added, bring to a boil and cook another 30 minutes or so until vegetables are done. If you can't find yautía or yuca don't worry, just use the potatoes.

Serve with rice and tostones. 
How easy is that? Doesn't take much effort, just put on the stove and dice some veggies.

July 30, 2018  20
Mt. Vernon, NY

Developer awarded.6 million for failed supermarket in Fleetwood

      In a stinging rebuke of actions taken by former Mayor Clinton Young, an arbitrator has ordered the City of Mount Vernon to pay Salvatore Gizzo.6 million in connection with the bankruptcy of his failed supermarket development in Fleetwood.
      In 2009, former Mayor Young and members of the City Council encouraged Gizzo to abandon his steakhouse at 42 West Broad Street and convert it to a supermarket. Promises were made, but not kept.
      The supermarket opened in 2010 but filed bankruptcy a year later. In 2016, Judge Linda Jamieson squarely placed the blame on former Mayor Young ruling the assertion “that the City did not do any of the tasks that it was supposed to do” was “without contradiction.”
      On Friday, the arbitrator, former Supreme Court Justice Betty Weinberg Ellerin placed the damages for city’s “breach and non-performance of its contractual obligations” at.6 million.
"Actions have consequences and in this case, the failure of former Mayor Young and the City Council to live up to their commitments sent a local business into bankruptcy and will now cost residents millions of dollars,” said Mayor Richard Thomas. “The story is one of municipal malpractice and a past that cannot be allowed to be repeated.”
      The city is reviewing its options as to whether the judgment is appealable. Payments in these types of cases are typically financed by issuing long-term bonds. Despite the size of the judgment, Mayor Thomas credited the city’s law team for avoiding a jury award that might have been higher.          
      The arbitrator gave Gizzo about.2 million less than he had been seeking.
      Mayor Thomas said the one silver lining in the case is that the ill-fated supermarket is now the site of a million, 16-story, transit-oriented development with 249 market-rate apartments, which are a short walk to the Fleetwood train station, and 20,000 sq. ft. of retail.
      “On this project, we are paying close attention to the details and communicating with all the stakeholders involved – neighbors, merchants, developers and all interested residents,” Mayor Thomas said. “My administration is working hard to bring in new revenues to keep Mount Vernon affordable. This is how we offset the cost of this inherited judgment on the wallets of our residents.”

July 30, 2018  19
Mt. Vernon, NY

Using CBD Oil for pain management: Does it work?

       Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is used by some people with chronic pain. CBD oil may reduce pain, inflammation, and overall discomfort related to a variety of health conditions. CBD oil is a product made from cannabis. It’s a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in marijuana and hemp plants. It doesn’t cause the “high” feeling often associated with cannabis, which is caused by a different type of cannabinoid called THC.
       Studies on CBD oil and pain management have shown a great deal of promise. CBD can offer an alternative for people who have chronic pain and rely on more dangerous, habit-forming medications like opioids. But there needs to be more research in order to verify the pain-relieving benefits of CBD oil.
       Searchers think that CBD interacts with receptors in your brain and immune system. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond. This creates anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects that help with pain management. This means that CBD oil may benefit people with chronic pain, such as chronic back pain.
       One 2017 review assessed how good CBD works to relieve chronic pain. The review looked at studies conducted between the late 1980s and 2007. Based on these reviews, researchers concluded CBD was effective in overall pain management without adverse side effects. They also noted that CBD was beneficial in treating insomnia related to chronic pain.
       The authors of the study also noted that CBD was most helpful in people with multiple sclerosis. 
        I suffer from nerve pain in my legs and CBD oil relieves my pain like magic.

July 30, 2018  18
Mt. Vernon, NY

Tips for the New Year

      August has arrived. What happened to July?  Before we know it, September will be here and a new school year will begin. I hope that during the past few weeks you have encouraged your children to indulge in the adventure of reading.  I hope that you have taken the time to read with them.
      Many children ease into the new school year with no trouble. Others may need more support and encouragement. Now that August has arrived, begin to think about ways you can help your children start the year with confidence and free from anxiety. So I am going to give you a little homework.  

July 30, 2018  17
Mt. Vernon, NY

Westchester Community College adds three trustees

County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni administering the oath of office to Deborah S. Raizes and Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith while Elizabeth Lugones, Robin Bikkal, and Westchester Community College President Belinda S. Miles look on.

      The Westchester Community College Board of Trustees has added three new members:
Elizabeth Lugones has been selected as the student representative to the college’s Board of Trustees. Her goal is to graduate from the college with a degree in Engineering Science and then move on to a master’s program before entering the industry.
      Deborah S. Raizes is a senior consultant for Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Ltd., which specializes in searches for administrators, including superintendents, at public schools. Prior to this position, she was a teacher for the Durham County Schools in Durham, North Carolina.
      She has a significant record of voluntary public service in the field of education. Highlights include her affiliation with the Westchester Community College Foundation Board for which she has served in a variety of roles including member, chairperson, and president. She has also served as vice chairperson and chairperson for the Lesley University Board of Trustees. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for this private institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

July 30, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon Drive-in Movie postponed to August 3rd

       Summer Movie Night has been rescheduled due to inclement weather. The public can attend  next week, Friday, August 3rd, in Parking Lot 11 across from Food Town for a showing of the Blockbuster Hit, Jumanji! Showing starts at 8:30pm.

July 30, 2018  16
Mt. Vernon, NY

ArtsWestchester announces grant to support community – based arts programs

.      The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) once again has awarded ArtsWestchester a Decentralization grant to support community based arts throughout Westchester and Rockland Counties.
       ArtsWestchester distributes these funds through their Arts Alive Grants program to support cultural programs, individual artists, and arts-in education programs, with emphasis on emerging cultural organizations and making the arts accessible in areas where there are few cultural resources.
       There will be a series of pre-application workshops conducted throughout Westchester and Rockland Counties to help potential applicants understand and prepare competitive proposal.
       More information is available on their website 

July 17, 2018  15
Mt. Vernon, NY

Are you entitled to unclaimed funds?

Comptroller DiNapoli presents members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority with unclaimed funds check for 0 at the 2018 Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Conference.

      You may be entitled to some of the over.5 billion in unclaimed funds in New York State. A simple Internet search is all it takes to see if you are eligible. To see if you have any unclaimed funds, go to.Why does New York State have unclaimed funds? Banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses are required by State law to turn over inactive accounts to the State. The Office of the State Comptroller then serves as the custodian of this money until it is claimed.
      What are some types of unclaimed funds? Unclaimed funds are money or the rights to money that have been dormant or forgotten. Some common examples include: savings accounts, checking accounts, uncashed checks, telephone/utility deposits, rental security deposits, wages, insurance benefits/policies, safe deposit box contents, mortgage insurance refunds, stocks and dividends, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, trust funds, and estate proceed.
      How can I search to see if I am entitled to unclaimed funds? To see if there are unclaimed funds in your name, visit the New York State Comptroller’s website and conduct a search by going to. There is no charge to search or file a claim to recover unclaimed funds. Where can I get more information about filing a claim for unclaimed funds?
      Go to for more information from the New York State Comptroller’s website.
      If you have any questions or need assistance, you may contact the Office of the State Comptroller at 1-800-221-9311 or via email by.

July 17, 2018  14
Mt. Vernon, NY

Longhorned Tick Found in Westchester County

      The longhorned tick has arrived in Westchester County. The New York State Departments of Health and Agriculture & Markets confirmed the presence of this tick, whose scientific name isHaemaphysalis longicornis tick, in the County. The tick is native to Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asian, but has been found recently in New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and now New York.
      While the longhorned tick has transmitted disease to humans in other parts of the world, more research is needed to determine whether this can happen in the United States. Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, is once again advising Westchester residents to protect themselves, their farm animals and pets against ticks.
      State Health Department research scientists collaborated with researchers at Fordham University and at the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center of New York Medical College to identify these ticks. The identifications were confirmed by the Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
      This tick is a concern for the agricultural industry because it may pose a threat to livestock. The State and County Health Departments advise farmers to work with their veterinarians to check their animals, particularly cattle, sheep and horses, for exposure to ticks and to ensure their parasite control plans are up to date and working. Symptoms of tick-borne disease in cattle include fever, lack of appetite, dehydration, weakness and labored breathing.
      If longhorned ticks are suspected, farmers should consult with their veterinarians and can contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Division of Animal Industry at 518-457-3502 or  for more information.
      Tick prevention and removal tips are available at  and include:
      While hiking, working, or spending time in wooded areas:
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks other biting insects.
  • Check for ticks often while outdoors and brush off any ticks before they attach.
  • Perform a full body check multiple times during the day, as well as at the end of the day to ensure that no ticks are attached.
  • Consider use of repellents containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535, following label instructions.
      If you have been bitten by a tick of any kind, contact your health care provider immediately if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms.

July 17, 2018
Mt. Vernon, NY

Cognitive behavioral consultants will offer OCD summer intensive for teens

      Cognitive Behavioral Consultants (CBC) will conduct a Summer Intensive program on skills to overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD in August. The program will be led by Dr. Constance Dekis and Dr. Lata K. McGinn for youth ages 12 to 17. The program offers four full days of research-supported skills to help youth enhance their motivation to overcome OCD and set goals, modify the unhelpful thinking patterns that torment them, and confront and overcome the unhelpful, repetitive behaviors that create misery for sufferers. There is also a parent orientation during which parents will learn about OCD and the program, and will learn skills to help their child or adolescent maximize their gains in the program. 
      Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are unhelpful repetitive behaviors and mental acts used by individuals in an effort to overcome the distress they experience from their obsessions.
     The program, which will take place at the CBC facility at One North Broadway in White Plains, involves both group and individual sessions in a fun, supportive environment. It is recommended as an intensive booster in addition to ongoing individual treatment to help get kids on track before the new school year. A parent night will take place one week before the program starts and parents will be invited back on the last day.  

July 17, 2018 13
Mt. Vernon, NY

WCC names new Vice President and Dean of Administrative Services

      Brian Murphy has been named the college’s Vice President and Dean of Administrative Services. 
      An executive with a considerable background in higher education finance, he has earned a number of degrees relating to the field. He attained his Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College, Master of Business Administration in Finance and Management from the University of Cincinnati, and Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from the University of Dayton. He also studied at the Institute of Educational Management at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
      Most recently, he served as Finance Director at the New York Structural Biology Center at City College/CUNY. Previously, he held various other roles with CUNY including Executive Director of the Finance and Business Operations at Hunter College, Assistant Vice President for Finance at Queens College, and Assistant Vice President for Budget and Planning at Queens College. In addition, he was the Executive Director of Accounting and Finance, Student and Administrative Services, for Columbia University and Business Manager and Senior Business Manager with the Time Warner Book Group/Hachette Book Group USA in Manhattan.

July 16, 2018  12
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board approves funding for memorial honoring Det. Ridley

      The Westchester County Board of Legislators has approved funding for the design and construction of a permanent memorial to Christopher Ridley, the off-duty Mount Vernon police officer who was shot and killed in January 2008 by county police as Ridley was intervening to stop an altercation in front of the county’s Department of Social Services at 85 Court Street in White Plains.
       Officer Ridley, who was posthumously promoted to detective, was shot when four county police officers responded to the incident in which Ridley, off-duty and in plain clothes, struggled to recover his gun from the person committing the assault.
       A temporary plaque memorializing Ridley has been installed in front of the building at a plaza named in his honor since 2008.  At the time the intention was to erect a permanent memorial. That promise will finally be fulfilled, said Legislator Lyndon Williams (D- Mount Vernon).
       “He could have walked away – he was not on duty – and he would probably be alive today, but he was not that kind of a young man,” Williams said of Ridley, who was 23 at the time. “If Christopher had walked away, the person who was being brutally assaulted would have probably been murdered or seriously injured. This memorial matters because it’s important for people in the general public to know that people make sacrifices for others.”
        The measure - approved unanimously by the board, sets aside 0,000 for the design and construction of a fitting memorial.  The county will work with Ridley’s family to decide what form the memorial will take.
        Most important to Detective Ridley’s father, Stanley Ridley, is that the memorial should be one that reminds people of the circumstances of his son’s death.
        “Number one, people don’t know; and number two, people forget.  I can’t.  Will never,” said Stanley Ridley. 
        “This tragic incident happened and it just went from doing a good deed to people not realizing that [Christopher] was trying to help people,” Ridley said.
        Mr. Ridley said he hopes a memorial will serve as part of a dialogue. “There needs to be a message kept for us to dwell on, but you can’t dwell on it if you don’t know the story,” he said.
        Ridley said that he hopes some of the money will be used not only for a memorial but also to “refresh” the plaza that bears his son’s name in front of 85 Court Street. 

July 16, 2018
Mt. Vernon, NY

A senior housing forum being held at WCC July 25

      Due to higher rents and a severe housing shortage, many Westchester seniors are faced with a critical, daunting task: how to secure affordable housing within the county, close to family and friends. Low inventory of available, subsidized units, lengthy waiting lists, higher taxes and dwindling funds for new construction, all contribute to the current crisis.
      To help, our office, the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, is sponsoring a senior housing forum to identify options and workable solutions to alleviate some obstacles to affordability. The meeting, The Right Connection: Matched Housing will be held on Wednesday, July 25, at Westchester Community College, Davis Auditorium, 75 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, 9:30 am - 11:30 am.
      Community leaders, like you, can help identify critical needs within your organization and play a pivotal role in facilitating stable housing in your community. Our office will provide training for successful outcomes, and provide additional supports for your members.
      Many seniors pay up to 50% of fixed income on rent and other housing, leaving them limited resources to address other needs.
      In addition, a lack of affordable housing could result in stress on the elderly, putting them at greater risk for isolation, emotional and physical decline, which could lead to depression, loneliness, and increased vulnerability to safety risks such as fraud and abuse. Our Department priority is to help these seniors secure and maintain stable, affordable housing.
      Please join us and learn more about housing opportunities to help in this effort. A light breakfast will be available during the meeting.
      Thank you for your concern about the quality of life for our elderly and we look forward to seeing you at the housing forum.

Mae Carpenter
Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services

July 16, 2018 11
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon resident named as a 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse All-Star

Jessye Salmon is a goalie

      Jessye Salmon, daughter of Philip and Lisa Salmon of Mount Vernon, NY, a rising freshman at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY has been named as a 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse All-Star and has been selected to attend the Maverik National Lacrosse Academy to be held July 16-19, 2018 in Frederica, Delaware at the DE Turf Sportsplex.
      Jessye is a goalie and has played for the Hackley Hornets middle school team and for the Snipes Elite club team in Westchester County, NY.
      The Maverik National Lacrosse Academy brings the top youth lacrosse players in the United States and Canada to one venue, where regional teams, coached by NCAA lacrosse coaches, compete to become the 2018 National Champion.
      The Maverik National Lacrosse Academy is the first-of-its-kind lacrosse experience created to provide a curriculum focused on how a young lacrosse athlete should develop in order to compete at a top high school and collegiate lacrosse program.
      Follow the Maverik National Lacrosse Academy, visit

July 14, 2018 10
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon purchases latest weapon in the war on potholes

Mayor Thomas standing by the newly acquired specialized truck that will be used to attack potholes

      Coming soon to a street near you - the "Pothole Posse" is back and stronger than ever!
      Mount Vernon’s newest addition is a specialized truck that can attack potholes all year round. In the past, pothole repair operations required warmer temperatures due to the cold patch asphalt mix used. This newly acquired vehicle has specialized capabilities including a 6-ton capacity hot asphalt mix that can repair larger sections of potholes in warm and cold weather.
       The city is seeking to purchase additional trucks in the near future.

July 14, 2018 09
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mayor Thomas starts new “Ask the Mayor” community meeting series

Mayor Thomas addressing a large group of residents during a community meeting

      Mayor Thomas met with Mount Vernon homeowners at the home of Mount Vernon residents. The topic of conversation was the looming sewer crisis and what Mount Vernon must do to stave off crippling fines and penalties for decades of inaction regarding violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
      Mayor Thomas laid out the next steps, and most importantly what the residents can do to compel the City Council and City Comptroller to fund the positions and pay the bills necessary to get the work done and show the DOJ and EPA that the city is serious about correcting these violations and complying fully with the federal consent decrees.
      Mayor Thomas also spoke about all the positive things in Mount Vernon like rising home values, an over 30% drop in crime rates, new businesses investing in Mount Vernon, new smart LED streetlights being installed for virtually no cost to the city, and much more.
      If you would like to host a community meeting or would like to get involved in the fight to fix the sewers, call 914–665–2362 or email Mayor Thomas at.

July 13, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Wartburg’s 6th Annual Jazz in June Gala raises over 0,000

(l to r) Natalie Thompson, Dr. David Gentner and Ed Behan

      Wartburg, an award-winning provider of comprehensive senior residential and healthcare services, hosted their 6th annual Jazz in June – A Wartburg Celebration of Arts and Music gala on June 20, 2018 raising over 0,000 to support Wartburg’s internationally recognized, award-winning Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning program at Wartburg.  The event was held at the Surf Club on the Sound in New Rochelle, NY, with nearly 330 guests and over 55 sponsors. This year’s event included a moving story of triumph over adversity as blind Adult Day Care registrant, Rachel Gonzalez, described her experience in the Creative Aging program at Wartburg.  

July 12, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

July 12, 2018  08
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon City Council meeting turns raucous over sewers lawsuit

A somber Mayor Thomas, accompanied by his wife, waiting to speak to the City Council

      It was not business as usual at the last tension filled and raucous scheduled City Council meeting held Wednesday night, July 11.
      The chambers was hot and uncomfortable and an angry endless line of speakers pretty much beset members of the City Council and the mayor for not doing their job concerning the lawsuit filed against the city over faulty sewers.
      “I think a lot of people would step up to the plate but they are frustrated by the infighting. I do not want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of progress,” said one concerned woman.
      "Both sides need to give a little. But with this back and forth, we cannot move forward,” emphasized another woman.  

July 11, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

First ever Miss Caribbean Pageant USA being held August 12

      The Miss Caribbean Pageant USA team brings excitement to the inaugural pageant at its launch audrey hepburn wedding dress replica 2018 August 12th, 2018 from 6pm to 11pm.  It is being held at the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle.
      Dignitaries from over 33 countries in the Caribbean, media and potential Sponsors have been invited to this exclusive VIP dinner to enjoy live entertainment featuring a special performance by Meesha Steele with music by DJ Norie of Power 105.1 FM, winner of the 2017 Global spin awards and Reggae DJ of the year.
      The launch will be opened to the public and tickets are on sale via Eventbrite. The pageant was designed to endorse and empower young women of the Caribbean to highlight its great culture and provide a platform that will encourage higher education, promote the arts and sciences, and immerse the contestants into the world of technology in a competitive way.
      Unlike many other national and international pageants, the age restriction for contestants is 17-28 years old whereas the Miss Caribbean Pageant USA contestants are opened to women ranging in ages 18 to 40 years old.
      The champion will receive,000. 1st Runner-up will receive,000, 2nd Runner-up will receive,000 and 3rd Runner-up will receive,000 in cash & prizes. The specific prizes will be announced at the launch along with all of the contest rules for each contestant entering the pageant.
      Additional special guests will be added to the live entertainment line-up still to be announced.
      For more information and FAQs visit

July 11, 2018  07
Mt. Vernon, NY

Drinking too much soda can kill you!

      Drinking too much soda can cause an array of negative effects in your body, even if you drink diet soda. Carbonated soda drinks do not contain any beneficial nutrients, but typically contribute excessive calories and sugar to your diet. Start swapping out one soda per day for a bottle of water. Many varieties of water are carbonated and flavored to mimic soda, without providing all of the unnecessary calories and sugar. 

July 11, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Memorial Field restraining order continues to handcuff Mayor Thomas

       On Tuesday, July 10, lawyers representing all concerned parties went before state Supreme Court Judge Gerald Loehr to discuss the Memorial Field debacle.
       Not much was accomplished during the 90-minute meeting and a new meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 17.  Nevertheless, the restraining order remains in place, prohibiting the mayor from doing work at Memorial Field.
       In the interim, Kela Simunoya, owner of the Tennis Center, continues to seek access to the tennis center property in order to have insurance adjusters assess the damage that was done.

July 9, 2018  06
Mt. Vernon, NY

County faces a projected deficit for 2018 of.7 million

       Legislators are pledging to work with the County Executive to right Westchester’s fiscal ship after auditors from PFK O'Connor Davies on Monday briefed the Board of Legislators' Budget and Appropriations Committee on Westchester County's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2017.
       The report, which was released by County Executive George Latimer on June 26, shows that the County ended 2017 with a.2 million deficit, and faces a projected deficit for 2018 of.7 million even before any money is budgeted for a settlement with the county's largest union, CSEA, who have been working without a contract for seven years.
       Board Chair Ben Boykin (D – Harrison, Scarsdale, White Plains) said, “For years, I’ve warned about structural fiscal imbalances in County budgets.  I and most of my Democratic colleagues voted against budgets under the prior County Executive that balanced the books with one-shot revenues, borrowings to pay for short-term operating expenses, and the depletion of departments necessary for the efficient operation of county government, all under the guise of ‘no tax increases.’  These unsustainable budgets left us with these large deficits and substantial reductions in the county’s rainy-day funds. This cannot continue.”
       He added, “We have new leadership and a new majority at the Board, as well as a new County Executive. It is our joint responsibility to seek opportunities to increase revenue, control expenses and rebuild our fund balance, so we can leave this county better off tomorrow than it is today.”

July 8, 2018  05
Mt. Vernon, NY

“Family Fun Day” at the Westchester Center a total success

Staff members that helped make "Family Fun Day" a success

      Residents and staff at the Westchester Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Mount Vernon held their annual “Family Fun Day” on Saturday, July 7, and it was a total success.  
       Located at 10 Claremont Avenue, the popular facility, as in previous years, held a ‘finger licking’ barbecue that was enjoyed by over 200 people in attendance.
       Those in attendance, which included many children, enjoyed an assortment of wonderful food, a free Zumba Class, face painting, cotton candy, many giveaways, raffles and the wonderful sounds of a DJ.
       As in previous years, family members were extremely impressed and praised the staff for putting together such a festive day at the popular facility, nestled in a quiet and private area of Mount Vernon. 

July 5, 2018  04
Mt. Vernon, NY

Many attend annual reading of Declaration of Independence at St. Paul's Church on July 4

      Intense heat and humidity couldn’t prevent freedom from ringing on Wednesday, July 4, as the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence kicked off the  136th Fourth of July Independence Day Celebration for the nearly 200 hundred in attendance at St. Paul’s Church in Mount Vernon.
      The Mistress of Ceremonies for the historic ceremony was Kristyn Briez Reed, Director of the Mount Vernon Veteran Service Agency (VSA). She was filling in for longtime Mistress of Ceremonies, Rosemarie Cornacchio, who was unable to attend due to a personal family matter.
       Like throughout the entire country, patriotism is at an all-time high in Mount Vernon, prompting nearly 200 participants to attend the celebration held on the Old Village Green at St. Paul’s National Historic Site.  

July 3, 2018  03
Mt. Vernon, NY

Rift over sewers between Mayor Thomas and City Council escalates

Richard St. Paul, an attorney the City Council has retained to represent them, speaking during press conference.

      Members of the Mount Vernon City Council held a press conference at Mount Vernon City Hall (rotunda) on Tuesday, July 3, to apprise the public about a complaint filed against Mount Vernon by the United States Department of Justice, Southern District of New York, and the New York Attorney General.  Both agencies allege that the city has not prevented illegal and illicit discharge from flowing into the city’s waterways.   
       Acting as the spokesperson for the City Council was Councilman Andre Wallace, who filled in for Council President Lisa Copeland who was out of town.
       According to the United States Department of Justice lawsuit against Mount Vernon, for years, the City of Mount Vernon has discharged raw sewage and other illicit pollutants from its storm sewer system into the Hutchinson and Bronx Rivers.  These illegal discharges result from Mount  Vernon’s failure to comply with Clean Water Act storm sewer permit requirements, including the obligation to protect water quality by developing and enforcing a program to eliminate the discharge of illegal pollutants from its storm sewer system.  

July 1, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

June 29, 2018  02
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon City School District Nelson Mandela/Zollicoffer High School grads receive their diplomas

Nelson Mandela/ Zollicoffer High School graduates prepare for their commencement ceremony 

        38 graduating seniors accepted their diplomas from Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton at this year’s Nelson Mandela/ Zollicoffer High School commencement ceremony, which was held at AB Davis Middle School.
        23 of the graduates will be attending college in the fall, with students accepted to Berkeley College, Purchase College, Dutchess Community College, LaGuardia Community College, SUNY Broome, SUNY Sullivan and Westchester Community College. The graduating class included recipients of more than,000 in scholarships awarded by colleges, as well as organizations including the Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers, the PTSA and the Church of Ascension.
       Valedictorian Queen Boswell and Salutatorian Shaquan Lowe addressed their classmates and gathered attendees, reflecting on the time they’ve spent at Mandela and the bonds they’ve created with fellow students. They also urged their peers to be the authors of their own futures, with Boswell offering three specific tips.
        “Stay out of your comfort zone,” she said. “Put what you believe in first; don’t waste your time with things outside of your vision, and surround yourself with ambitious, hardworking people.”
        Lowe took the opportunity to urge his classmates to avoid complacency and be proactive to achieve the things they dream of. “The future isn’t something that happens to us,” he said. “It’s ours to make!”
        Lowe’s echoed an earlier sentiment shared by the Honorable Mayor Richard Thomas in his mayoral address. “Remain woke,” the Mayor told the students. “Know that this world is yours; you just have to go on and take it.”
        Dr. Hamilton encouraged the students to stand up to injustice and make a difference at a challenging time in our country. “As young people, you are positioned and poised to be policy makers and policy influencers and people who can make a difference. I encourage you to use the power of your voice.”
        This year’s Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent’s Academic Achievement Awards went to Boswell and Lowe, who also each received a Mayoral Award. Nala Parks was honored by Dr. Hamilton with the Most Improved Student Award, and also performed a vocal solo as part of the commencement ceremony.

June 28, 2018  01
Mt. Vernon, NY

City Council: "The United States Department of Justice sues Mt. Vernon"

      The United States Department of Justice, Southern District of New York, today filed a lawsuit against the city of Mount Vernon for violating the Clean Water Act.  The lawsuit alleges that the city has not prevented illegal and illicit discharge from flowing into the city’s waterways.   
       This is a problem Mount Vernon has faced since 2012.  For that reason, the City Council has been actively engaged in addressing the issue and has taken measures to fund two (2) major pieces of equipment.  The City Council has also provided funding to hire eight (8) additional employees in the Department of Public Works, specifically to build and to train a sewer team. 
       The City Council has done all it can; however, the day-to-day operations of the city are the responsibility of the mayor and his administration.  For two (2) years the mayor has failed to communicate with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the progress that has been made to repair the city’s sewer infrastructure.  He has also failed to present a plan/schedule to the EPA to come into compliance.
       The Council has consistently attempted to communicate with the mayor’s office on this matter but to no avail.  While Mayor Thomas has been encouraging the DOJ to impose fines on the city and has requested for the DOJ to command the City Council and the comptroller to allocate tens of millions of dollars to repair the sewers, the City Council believes in resolving the matter in a method that is fiscally responsible and protects the taxpayers.  The City Council believes in a common-sense approach that will fund the work over time through bonds and the allocation of state and federal aid.  Yet, aid cannot be applied for until there is a plan in place. 
       The mayor has been negligent in his responsibility as the chief executive officer of the city.  He has failed to concentrate on the urgent issues facing Mount Vernon.  His “fun mayor” tactics have jeopardized the safety, and possibly, the finances of the city.

June 28, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Free full-day Pre-Kindergarten program has open seats available

       The Mount Vernon City School District has a few openings available for FREE full day Pre-Kindergarten classes, which begin September 12. 
Open seats are at Graham Elementary, Williams Elementary, Parker Elementary, Traphagen Elementary and Mount Vernon High School. Graham will have bus transportation available.
        Seats will be filled on a first come, first-served basis. Registration will begin on Monday, July 9, at Rebecca Turner Elementary School, 625 South 4th Avenue. Registrations will be taken from 8 to 11:30 a.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 5 to 9 p.m. on select dates – July 9, 11, 12, 23-26; August 20-23, 27-30.
        Children must be 4 years old by December 1, 2018. To register, bring the child’s birth certificate, immunizations, a current lease or deed, a utility bill and picture identification.
        Studies have proven that children who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than children who don’t attend. Their more advanced pre-literacy and math skills help them advance in the early grades. This leads to:
  • Higher graduation rates
  • Higher achievement scores
  • Higher overall academic achievement
  • Reduced grade repetition
        The Mount Vernon Pre-Kindergarten Program offers a well-implemented, evidence-based curriculum (DIG: Develop. Inspire. Grow!) taught by highly qualified Pre-K teachers and teaching assistants who are specially trained to utilize developmentally appropriate activities, implement standards-based instruction, and build a nurturing classroom environment for all little learners.
        Children bring a variety of strengths and weaknesses to the classroom. Some may need additional support. Mount Vernon Pre-K provides regular assessments of a child’s learning that are built into the curriculum, so teachers will ensure a child is on track for success in kindergarten.
        Children will engage in growth and educational experiences, such as field trips, activities about families, digital communications, computer coding and iPad usage. The robust curriculum includes reading, writing, math, science, and social studies learning necessary for success. Students will learn in whole groups and small groups and develop social and emotional skills.
        For further information — Call the Pre-K Office at (914) 665-5077.

June 27, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

June 26, 2018  36
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon facing crippling fines for longstanding failure to upgrade sewer system

     To stave off crippling fines and tax hikes, Mayor Richard Thomas has asked the comptroller and City Council to approve the funding – a net cost of 2,000 for taxpayers – for the jobs and equipment needed to bring Mount Vernon’s sewers into compliance with federal regulations.
     At a meeting in Manhattan recently, the Department of Justice informed Mayor Thomas, who was joined by Council Members Marcus Griffith and Janice Duarte, that millions of dollars in fines – up to,500 a day per violation – were imminent because of the city’s decade-long failure to correct violations of the Clean Water Act. Every 0,000 in fines equals a 1 percent increase in property taxes.
     According to Mayor Thomas, progress on correcting violations has been impeded by a lack of funding by the City Council and comptroller. "Mount Vernon has no money in its current budget to pay for its Planning Commissioner or City Engineer, two posts critical to bringing the city’s sewers and storm drains into compliance," said Thomas.
      Mayor Thomas said compliance can be achieved within 18 to 24 months if the City Council and comptroller pay for the necessary resources, which includes equipment purchases and funding the Planning Commissioner, City Engineer, a four-person crew for the Department of Public Works, and two grant writers in the Planning Department.
     The total cost is.8 million, but the net cost to taxpayers would only be 2,000, after.6 million is offset by a grant from the New York  State Department of Environmental Conservation and 4,000 in current vacancy savings. This contrasts with fines of,500 a day that would hit.2 million in a month.
      “Mount Vernon has a decision to make,” said Mayor Thomas. “We can embrace a course of action and benefit from positive outcomes – complying with federal regulations, stopping pollution of our waterways, protecting taxpayers and promoting economic growth. Or we can default into inaction, which buys nothing but bad outcomes – unaffordable penalties, dirty water, crushing tax burdens and a city that will shed businesses and jobs. The choice is clear.”
      Mayor Thomas said he was asking the City Council and comptroller to work with him so that the city could quickly show the DOJ that it was making measurable progress toward compliance. He urged residents to attend City Council meetings to voice support for taking immediate action to achieve an affordable solution.
     “Compliance, not defiance, is the answer,” Mayor Thomas said. “Mount Vernon can afford to fix this problem. It can’t afford not to.”

June 26, 2018  35
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board of Education honors very special student athletes

Members of the Pioneer League’s Mount Vernon Knights being honored

      For this team, winning was never the priority. Instead, the Pioneer League’s Mount Vernon Knights provided its members with an opportunity to represent their district in a positive way. But on June 19, at the Mount Vernon City School District’s Board of Education meeting, the team was recognized with medals just the same.     
      “We need to recognize all students because that’s who we’re here to serve,” said Adriane Saunders, President of the Board of Education. “Receiving these medals made these student athletes feel so proud. In the Pioneer League, everybody’s a winner!”     
      The Pioneer League is a Hudson Valley division of the New York State Special Olympics. Mount Vernon had a team decades ago, revived the program, and has been under the guidance of head Coach Rocco Alianiello for the past two years. “Coach Rocky”, as the kids know him, was presented with a plaque for his service as were his assistants.
      “There’s nothing more special than getting the opportunity to work with the most special students in the whole district,” he said while accepting his award from Saunders.
      The Knights participated in a total of twenty-five competitions this school year in four sports; indoor soccer, poly-hockey, basketball and volleyball. They faced teams from New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, White Plains, Somers, Carmel, Ossining, Lakeland and Woodlands. But it was always a mutually supportive environment.
      “They not only supported their teammates, they supported members of the other teams as well,” said Rachel DePaul, Assistant Director of Special Education. “Reinstating this program provided students who otherwise wouldn’t play sports an opportunity to take part and thrive!”

June 26, 2018  34
Mt. Vernon, NY

MVHS pool will open to the public for family laps and swimming this summer

      The Mount Vernon City School District is opening the Mount Vernon High School pool this summer to host family laps and swimming starting Monday, July 9.
      The pool will be available to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. School district residents interested in enjoying the pool will need to bring proof of residency and pay a fee of per person per visit.
      Four lanes of the pool will be available for open swimming and two lanes will be open for lap swimming only. Children 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Swimmers with flotation devices must be within an arm’s reach of a supervising adult. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation devices will be allowed.
      In July 2015, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow announced the allocation of million in state funding to make necessary repairs to the pool. It was affected by a leak in 2010 and due to budget cuts, the district was not able to afford repairs. The capital secured by Pretlow allowed Mount Vernon to bring the pool into compliance with all applicable rules and regulations.
      Renovating the high school pool was a priority for the district, but the funding secured by Pretlow accelerated the plan, which consisted of three phases and was completed in December, 2017.
      For more information about family laps and swimming, contact .

June 26, 2018  33
Mt. Vernon, NY

Zeta Nu Omega Chapter sponsors mini-model UN conference at Mercy College

Zeta Nu Omega members displaying the UN flag

      The Zeta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. partnered with the United Nations Association - USA Westchester Chapter - to sponsor a Mini-Model United Nations conference on June 2 at the Dobbs Ferry Campus of Mercy College. Model UN is a simulation of the UN organization and its participants take roles of "delegates" from various countries and debate current issues.
       With several chapter members and students in attendance, Professor Michiko Kuroda of the International Relations and Diplomacy Program (IRDP) of Mercy College and a panel of smart and spirited IRDP Mercy college students trained and practiced with participants in preparing for a conference as "delegates".  
       The subject matter and current issue was on Climate Change and participants represented different countries including but not limited to Canada, Japan, China, France and the United States.  Participants acted as diplomats, made speeches, negotiated, drafted resolutions and adopted resolutions during the day long program. It was recognized that climate change is a complex problem through the viewpoint of the several countries represented during the simulation. 
       Remarks were made by Zeta Nu Omega Chapter President Kristel Johnson and Dr. Brenda Smith, who is the Vice President of UNA-USA and also serves as Zeta Nu Omega Chapter’s co-chairman of the Environmental Ownership committee.  Everyone who attended built a bigger capacity to the views of other countries and all left the conference with a stronger knowledge and understanding of the great work of the UN. 

June 26, 2018  32
Mt. Vernon, NY

Asopao de Pollo

· 1-1/2 cup short-grained rice
· 3 garlic cloves, pressed
· 2 peppercorns
· 2 medium onions, peeled
· 2 sweet chili or banana peppers
· 4-6 culantro leaves or 6-8 sprigs of cilantro
· 2-1/2 teaspoon salt
· 3 tablespoons plus one teaspoon olive oil
· 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
· 1/2 teaspoon oregano
· 1/2 cup tomato sauce
· 8 cups water or chicken stock
· 1 cup of frozen sweet peas
· 1 4-ounce can of whole, roasted pimento peppers, sliced
· 1 can asparagus tips

      Rub the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano and one teaspoon olive oil and set aside for 30 minutes. In the blender, purée the garlic, onions, peppercorns, chili peppers culantro and sweet peppers, with the remaining olive oil. In a large caldero sauté the sofrito purée for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Brown the chicken pieces to seal in their flavor. Add the tomato sauce and the chicken stock or water to the chicken and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the rice under cool running water until it runs clear. Drain the rice and stir into the soup pot. Raise the heat and bring to a boil once more. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the asopao is as liquid or dry as you prefer. Heat the sliced pimentos and the asparagus in their juices. Drain and use to garnish each plate of asopao. (Serves 6)
Serve with tostones….

June 26, 2018  31
Mt. Vernon, NY

Ease chronic pain with fish oils

      There's evidence that you may be able to ease certain types of chronic pain by consuming foods or supplements that are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3s, commonly called "fish oil" because of their primary source, have been shown to lessen the intensity of joint pain and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis and neck and back pain, as well as pain caused by inflammatory bowel disease and menstrual cramps.
       Omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammation within the body, which helps reduce conditions such as heart disease. The same mechanism may be at work in lowering pain.
       Indeed, some research subjects with chronic pain who took 1,200 to 2,400 milligrams of omega-3 in supplement form daily were able to reduce or eliminate their use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, in less than three months. Those medications, such as ibuprofen, can cause troublesome and sometimes dangerous side effects, especially with long-term use. Fish oil, even in supplement form, appears to be safer.
       Check with your health care provider if you are taking blood thinners or high doses of aspirin before taking omega-3 supplements. (It's wise to talk with your health care provider before starting any vitamin or supplement regimen, especially if you have a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, or take medication regularly.)
       The highest levels of omega-3s in food are found in fatty fish such as mackerel, Atlantic or sockeye salmon, lake trout, herring, sardines and canned light tuna. Two 3.5-ounce portions weekly can help lower inflammation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Following a Mediterranean-type diet—with emphasis mainly on fish, vegetables, fruits and little saturated fat—also appears to help reduce arthritic pain.

June 26, 2018  30
Mt. Vernon, NY
Letter to the Editor

Commercial and residential development in Mt. Vernon is out of control

      Commercial and residential development in Mount Vernon has long been out of control. It is now reaching epidemic proportions that are destroying every corner of the city. 
      Mount Vernon’s three land use boards plead helplessness as they dole out zoning code variances, site plan approvals, and certificates of appropriateness to projects that, in a city that cared about itself, would merit no consideration. These boards live under the threat 
of Article 78 challenges from developers if they stray from the dictates of current law. 
      Our zoning code has not been updated since 1996. Our comprehensive plan dates from 1968 and is still the official standard, even though a new draft comprehensive plan has been waiting for approval by the City Council for almost ten years. A model tree ordinance was carefully researched and written by our volunteer CitizenTree organization. It, too, is stalled in City Council committee despite the endorsement of the Planning Board.  

June 25, 2018  29
Mt. Vernon, NY

Boys & Girls Club of Mt. Vernon children receive free bikes at Wartburg

      Wartburg, an award-winning provider of comprehensive residential and healthcare services for seniors, hosted Barnum Financial Group and Foundation for Life to surprise almost 30 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon with a brand new bike. The Bikes for Kids program provides an uplifting and empowering experience for kids who need it most. Since its inception, the Bikes for Kids program have given away over 3,000 bikes and helmets to underprivileged children.
       Wartburg President & CEO, Dr. David J. Gentner explained “What a wonderful way for Wartburg to come full circle as our meadow is steeped in decades of children playing.  It is a great use of the resources, and it is our hope that Wartburg’s residents enjoyed the inter-generational excitement.”  Danny Bernstein, President at Backyard Sports, went on to say, “It never fails to amaze me about the transformative power of a nice day, a few balls, green grass, and caring people.  Bike Day is less about Community or Corporate Giving, but more about people coming together for common good. Hats off to the Foundation for Life, Wartburg, and all the volunteer and participants for reminding all of us that the resources for making our community better are within all of us.  

June 25, 2018  28
Mt. Vernon, NY

Westchester Rent Guidelines Board passes significant increases

By Tamara Stewart
       The Westchester Rent Guidelines Board (WRGB) wrapped-up its hearing season on June 18 at Mount Vernon City Hall. Following presentations by Tenant and Owner Members, and a rebuttal by one of the Owner Members, the Board unanimously passed significant rent increases. Tenants whose leases renew between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, will have the option of paying 2% for a one-year renewal, or 3% for a two-year renewal. This year’s increases are the highest guidelines passed since 2013.
       This is the second year in a row that the WRGB didn’t have a full complement of Members. Normally, the Board is comprised of two Tenant reps, two Owner reps, and five Public reps. Due to two vacancies, there were only three Public reps on the Board this year. The Westchester County Board of Legislators Appointments Committee interviewed and recommended two new Public reps, however, DHCR did not approve the new appointments in time for them to be seated and vote on this year’s guidelines.
      Tenants were at a disadvantage last year, when they were solely represented by then-brand-new Tenant Member Jean Anderson of New Rochelle. Long-time Tenant Member Rev. Emma Jean Loftin-Woods was ill and did not participate in the proceedings. Nevertheless, with support from fellow tenant advocates, Anderson was able to deliver modest increases for tenants:  1% for one-year, and 1.5% for two-year lease renewals.
       Despite Loftin-Woods’ return, this year’s results were disappointing to many tenants and their advocates. According to former WRGB Tenant rep Genevieve Roche, “The kindest spin one can put on this travesty of a result is that, regrettably, Ms. Loftin-Woods never resigned from the Board as she repeatedly promised over the last few years. Now that her term has expired, tenants deserve new representatives who will promote, rather than hurt, their interests. That, and having the Board schedule testimony sufficiently after landlord survey numbers are released, and schedule the vote sufficiently after Board presentations, both of which would allow for considered analysis of the facts before setting new rates. I am optimistic next year will be better."
       The Building Realty Institute videotapes all of the Westchester Rent Guidelines Board hearings and meetings, which can be viewed on YouTube by searching for Westchester Rent Guidelines Board.

June 25, 2018  27
Mt. Vernon, NY

Rain does not deter spectacular fireworks presentation

      This year’s fireworks show was re-scheduled for Sunday, June 24, due to a threat of rain on Saturday, June 23.  The change of schedule seemed like a brilliant idea since Sunday was a sunny and beautiful day, allowing hundreds to flock to Mount Vernon High School’s track area to view the fireworks show. Many learned from previous shows and came equipped with folding chairs, blankets, pillows, snacks and other outdoor comfort items.
       Attendance may have been equal to last year’s fireworks show that attracted a legion of people.
       Aside from entertaining the citizens of Mount Vernon, the event was intended as a toast to Mount Vernon’s graduating high school seniors and a tribute to our nation’s independence. And those that attended could not help to notice the masses of teenagers and young people as a whole that participated in the festive event.  

June 23, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

June 23, 2018  26
Mt. Vernon, NY

Tips for a great summer

      Our long awaited summer has arrived, many weeks of fun, relaxation, and all the summer pleasures.  As we look forward to this wonderful vacation, there are many activities for children that will keep their brains stimulated and help them learn while having fun.  This is particularly important for children who have special learning issues.  These ten weeks can mean a significant loss of information and skills, if we are not careful.
       Some children may find it very difficult to get back into their academic work in September when they have spent the lazy days of summer just hanging out, watching television, or playing video games. If your children have not succeeded during the school year, parents may be looking for an educational program or a private tutor. Summer school may be a recommendation. Before selecting a program, parents must be sure that the program fits their children's needs. It is essential that you speak to the teacher to know the program they will offer to students. You do not want your children sitting in a room simply completing worksheets to fulfill the summer school requirement. You want a program that fits the needs of your children. Parents must ask questions. Is the teacher familiar with specific learning deficits? What strategies will be implemented to help overcome deficits? Does the teacher have suggestions for activities to reinforce learning at home?  Is the teacher patient? Listen to their responses, then make a careful decision.
       Plan ahead to keep minds active. Gather materials you have at home and put them in a place where you can find them when you need them. You may have phonics, reading and math workbooks, paper, pencils, pens, and crayons. Schedule some time during the week to review skills.  This doesn't have to be each day but if you want your children to retain their skills, it is important to reinforce their knowledge. This will make a big difference when they return to school in September.
       Don't forget to use your public library.  During the summer, libraries offer programs for children  that are free of charge. Take the time to share these events with your children. While you are there, gather some books for summer reading. Librarians can help you find books that are appropriate and interesting.  Set aside some time to read each day, and if you can, read with your children. This builds a special bond with them. Take turns reading their books aloud. Children love to hear their parents bring the characters to life. This is one way we can encourage them to read and develop a love of reading. Everyone leads busy lives, but taking fifteen or twenty minutes to read together lets our children know that we believe that reading is valuable.  When our children can read, they have power. So share the adventure.  Cuddle up with your books and read.

June 21, 2018  25
Mt. Vernon, NY

Pelham Art Center faculty and student showcase
(July 13 - August 18)

      Pelham Art Center is pleased to present its highly popular Faculty and Student Showcase.
      This annual exhibition features new work in a variety of mediums by the Art Center’s distinguished artist-instructors and enthusiastic students. Exhibited work ranges from charcoal to oils, photographs to collage, and mixed media to ceramics and knitting. This exhibition provides a great opportunity to view and collect original art from emerging and established artists, and to view the results from the wide variety of classes offered by the Pelham Art Center.
      Since its founding in 1970, the Pelham Art Center faculty has grown as the Art Center has increased course offerings to embrace new media while continuing to provide instruction in traditional techniques. From beginners to accomplished artists, students of all ages who want to explore their creative potential have flourished by working with Pelham Art Center’s teaching artists. More than 1,320 students, from three to ninety-plus years old, attended over 150 visual art classes and workshops offered at the Art Center this past year. These classes are taught by more than thirty art educators, many of whom are participating in this exhibition alongside their students. 
      Opening reception is being held, Friday July 13, 6:30-8:00 pm. Free and open to all.

June 20, 2018  24
Mt. Vernon, NY

Celebrating Independence Day at St. Paul's Church

      Independence Day will be commemorated at St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, in Mount Vernon, NY, on Wednesday morning, July 4, beginning at 10:30 AM.   
      The ceremony features a reading of the full text of the Declaration of Independence and tolling, 13 times, of the colonial era church bell, saluting the original states. 
      The keynote address will be delivered by journalist and historian Alison Cowan, who has written about Deborah Sampson, the woman who disguised herself as a man and served honorably with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. 
      There will also be music and refreshments and a tour of the national historic site following the morning ceremony.  
      The site is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. 

June 19, 2018  23
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board celebrates Caribbean-American Heritage Month

(l to r) Board Chair Ben Boykin; HRC’s Myrlene Chauvette and  Judeson Saintil; Board Vice Chair Alfreda Williams and HRC’s Heather Miller (Photo Credit: Jaevon Boxhill)

      The Westchester County Board of Legislators marked Caribbean-American Heritage Month with a special ceremony Monday night honoring Caribbean-American community leaders and organizations in Westchester. 
      This year’s celebration focused on the contributions of local Haitian Americans to life in Westchester.
       Board Vice Chair Alfreda Williams (D- Elmsford, Greenburgh, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown), presented a proclamation to The Haitian Resource Center.  Founded in 2013 to serve the needs of the Haitian community in White Plains and beyond, the center provides enrichment programs for school children, referrals for immigration, citizenship, vocational, educational and other services, and produces a monthly TV show, Sak Pasé, on White Plains cable television, among other activities.
      Accepting the honor, Judeson Saintil, chairman of the HRC’s advisory board, said, “I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to help our community.  It's not just the Haitian community, it's everybody.  Anybody that needs help, we're here for you.”
      A proclamation was presented to decorated Mount Vernon firefighter and community volunteer Lieutenant Mike Jean-Jerome. Among Lieutenant Jean-Jerome’s community activities is his work as a counselor for the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester, which provides an alternative to jail for young men awaiting disposition of various criminal charges.  Lt. Jean-Jerome called out one of the young men he’s worked with noting that he has now taken the test to become a Mount Vernon firefighter.  “These are the reasons why I do the things I do,” Lt. Jean-Jerome said.

June 19, 2018  22
Mt. Vernon, NY

Rebecca Turner School teachers, staff and families raise 5 through Autism Awareness Walk

      Rebecca Turner Elementary School’s teachers, staff and families came out to support students with autism on Sunday, June 3, at the Westchester/Fairfield Autism Speaks Walk and raised 5 for the organization.
       Raising funds to support students with autism spectrum disorders is important to Rebecca Turner because the school, in addition to educating students from preschool through fifth grade, is also home to an autism cohort of eight classrooms.
       The cohort classes at the school are primarily for students with autism spectrum disorders, speech and language impairments, and/or other global developmental delays, who benefit from a small class size and student-to-teacher ratio. These classes use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to increase desirable learning behaviors and decrease those behaviors that are a barrier to progress and learning. A significant focus is on the students’ language skills including: requesting, labeling, responding to language as a listener, and engaging in communication exchanges, whether it be via spoken language, sign language or other types of symbol representation (ie: pictures and printed words).
       “Working with students with autism has been a lifelong passion for me,” said Danielle Grandazzo, a special education teacher in the cohort and Rebecca Turner’s Autism Speaks team leader. “We were there for the kids. It was for the children that we service. Walking for Autism Speaks and raising money for this worthy cause goes to show that this is what we love.”
       The money will go directly to Autism Speaks, which is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

June 19, 2018
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mayor Thomas: "A house divided cannot stand"

      Abraham Lincoln might as well have been speaking about the current state of Mount Vernon when he said, "A house divided cannot stand."
      The city has three branches of government. Political differences are healthy. But not to the point of paralyzing the city's ability to deliver services - services residents struggle to pay for with their hard-earned tax dollars.
      Services cost money. Paying for them should not be a political weapon. Who could possibly argue that a city does not have to pay its Planning Commissioner?
      Answer: The Mount Vernon City Council and Comptroller. Their logic: The Mount Vernon Planning Commissioner is not an employee of the City of Mount Vernon.  

June 19, 2018  21
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board passes accountability requirements for police chaplains

      By a 16-0 vote Monday night, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved a measure requiring that Westchester County police and public safety chaplains be active members of the clergy either residing in or presiding over congregations in Westchester. 
      The measure will codify as law requirements enacted as an executive order in January by County Executive George Latimer.
       “It should go without saying that anyone serving as a public safety chaplain here should be a member of the clergy and a member of the community,” said bill sponsor Legislator Terry Clements (D- New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor).  “Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.” 
Board Chair Ben Boykin said, “The people of Westchester deserve an open, responsible government, not one that operates by rewarding cronies, and that’s just what the Board intends to deliver.  By backing County Executive Latimer’s actions with a law, we will make it harder for future administrations to take Westchester go back to the way things were.”
       The law also requires that any chaplain be approved by the Commissioner of Public Safety and be included on a public list of such appointees provided twice yearly to the County Executive, County Attorney and Board of Legislators.
       The measures come after two former Department of Public Safety chaplains, Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, became embroiled in an influence peddling scandal last year.

June 18, 2018  20
Mt. Vernon, NY

Pennington School's 2nd Annual Apex Fun Run a huge success

      Students and staff recently held Pennington School's 2nd Annual Apex Fun Run, which is the school’s major fundraiser this semester.
      Apex Fun Run is a two-week leadership and fitness program that raises money for the top schools in America. Each student receives daily character lessons and awards as they learn what it takes to be a true leader. They also received pledges for each lap they ran around the Apex Raceway during the fun run (26-36 laps, 36 max).  

June 17, 2018  19
Mt. Vernon, NY

By Janelle Allbritton, MPH

Many rally and march on Mount Vernon’s Memorial Field

Protesters organizing themselves at Memorial Field prior to speeches taking place

      On June 20, 2014, the press release for this year’s Unity and the Community event was posted, announcing that the pastor of the Unity Baptist Tabernacle, Reverend Edward Mulraine, and one of our elected officials, Legislator Lyndon Williams, would be leading a rally to call for “long-needed renovations” and “express their concerns on the ongoing neglect of Memorial Field and its significance to the community.” Mulraine said, “We sit here, there’s a hole in the ground and nothing has been done. Something needs to be done.” According to Mulraine, Unity and the Community is five years old now. In prior years, they have tackled issues from “day care centers, violence, and mental health clinics being closed.”  

June 17, 2018  18
Mt. Vernon, NY

Pelham has not objected to use of Glover Field by Mt. Vernonites

      Since the closure of Memorial Field over ten years ago, Mount Vernonites have been using the adjacent track and field across from Memorial Field – Glover Field, uneventfully.
       I use the track at Glover Field seven days per week, along with countless citizens from Mount Vernon. At no time have I seen or heard of Mount Vernon residents being harassed or kept from using the track by Pelham officials or workers.
       Mayor Richard Thomas recently made the following statement: “I have been chased out of other communities when I brought my friends or families to their park, including Glover Field adjacent to Target. That feeling of being asked to leave a public place brings us back to discriminatory times.”
       I find his comments shocking, since I have never heard of a person(s) being kept from using the public track and field at Glover Field, unless there was a school or private related recreational activity about to take place.  There are large signs that state the track and field is closed to the pubic just before or during said activities at the field.
       As a Pelham resident, I can assure you that Pelham officials understand the ongoing dilemma Mount Vernon residents have had to face concerning the endless debacle at Memorial Field.  Therefore, I can assure you that whatever the mayor experienced at Glover Field had to be a misunderstanding on his part. 
       I encourage any Mount Vernon resident to visit Glover Field any day of the week, especially during the early morning hours, and witness how many Mount Vernonites are pleasurably using the track and the field.

Joe Parisi

June 17, 2018  17
Mt. Vernon, NY

Drive-in Movie series kicks off in Mt. Vernon

      On Friday, June 15, Mount Vernon kicked off its Drive-In Movie series with a showing of Marvel’s Black Panther. The Drive-In Movie series is an expansion of the Movies in the Park series, bringing the community out for some great family friendly fun. Folks are provided with a beautiful summer evening, a great movie, and a fun old-school approach to the movies.

v   June 15, 2018   16
Mt. Vernon, NY

School District honors its athletes for 2017-18 school year

Senior Jason Douglas-Stanley (right) receives William Davis Basketball Award from boys basketball coach Bob Cimmino.

      The Mount Vernon City School District handed out 19 awards to its student athletes Thursday at the district’s year-ending Sports Awards Celebration. Students from all sports attended and were celebrated at the dinner.
       “All of our student athletes have again accomplished so much this year, both in their respective sports and in their academics,” Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton said. “They all are to be commended for their work ethic, their diligence and their perseverance, which will lead them to great things in their futures.”
       Mount Vernon High School Principal Ronald Gonzalez thanked the superintendent and the Board of Education for their support throughout the year and told the student athletes that their efforts bring pride to Mount Vernon.
       “We are the epitome of student athletes,” he said. “Among us we have sectional champions and we have exceptional students. We are representing Mount Vernon – we’re doing it on the track, we’re doing it on the basketball court, and we’re doing it in the classroom. Thank you to all of our student athletes for making me proud and thank you for making the City of Mount Vernon proud.” 

June 15, 2018
Mt. Vernon, NY

Rally to stop the sellout of Memorial Field

      Hundreds of Mount Vernon residents are expected to gather at Memorial Field this Saturday, June 16th, at 11:30am.
      Real Voices of Mount Vernon is a coalition of parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and other concerned citizens who are tired of the political class selling out Memorial Field to the privileged few from other communities.
      Real Voices of Mount Vernon members are expected to demand Memorial Field be open to all children and families and that the Mount Vernon City Council stop their campaign to bring Mount Vernon down.
      FOR PRESS INQUIRIES: Call Patrick Tyson, 347-961-6785.
      The Rally Begins at 11:30am with a special tribute to longtime Mount Vernon Razorbacks Team Mom Breezy Bivens at 12pm, Saturday, June 16th, 2018.

June 15, 2018 15
Mt. Vernon, NY

Statement by City Council President Copeland on illegal actions at Memorial Field


      I join my other City Council members in being outraged, disappointed and deeply disturbed about the unlawful destruction of the tennis bubble and courts at Memorial Field. Sadly, Mayor Richard Thomas has done a disservice to the people of Mount Vernon by destroying private property and using the city’s police to protect his personal interests instead of the interests of the people of the City of Mount Vernon. Their actions have widespread implications for how developers and other entrepreneurs will think about doing business in our city. Who would take the risk of investing in a place where contracts are not honored and the police will not intervene when the rule of law is ignored?
       The mayor’s actions must be stopped. That is why the Mount Vernon City Council filed an injunction against the mayor and Comptroller Deborah Reynolds to prohibit further illegal actions at Memorial Field. Additionally, on Monday, June 11, I hand delivered our concerns to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Attorney General Barbara Underwood in Albany.
       The City Council is committed to doing whatever is necessary to honor the city’s contract and obligation to KELA Tennis.  We are further committed to working with Westchester County to complete the renovation of Memorial Field and to fulfill our contractual obligation to complete the Tennis Center. The two are NOT mutually exclusive and we are doing everything within our power to make sure they happen.

June 14, 2018 14
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mayor Thomas makes key leadership appointments

      As part of his continuing effort to improve municipal services and fight the property tax burden, Mayor Richard Thomas has hired three seasoned professionals, with extensive public and private sector experience, to take on leadership positions in city government.
      The appointments are:
  • Daniel P. Jones to serve as the Commissioner of the Buildings Department. Jones comes to City Hall with more than 25 years of experience in the utilities, engineering, and construction industries, as well as related fields. His extensive technical and management background includes jobs at Consolidated Edison, General Electric, PSEG/PSEGLI, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Jones received his Bachelor's and Maste  of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
  • Brett Erasmus to serve as Commissioner of Management Services. As head of Management Services, his duties include producing the annual budget, overseeing information technology and providing resources and support to the city's other departments. Erasmus' professional background includes working for Deutsche Bank and Price Waterhouse Coopers in the areas of finance and global and capital markets. A native of South Africa, Erasmus received his bachelor's degree from Nelson Mandela University and his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business.
  • Cranson D. Johnson to serve as Deputy Commissioner of Taxation and Assessment. Johnson has expertise in property valuation, auditing, and business analysis. He has a worked for Fortune 500 companies, including Sprint Corporation, where he served for decades in account retention, project management, and business analysis. Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts from Baruch College.

      "I am proud and honored that these three individuals have chosen to serve the people of Mount Vernon," Mayor Thomas said. "All three are seasoned professionals with the levels of expertise that will help us deliver on our goal of providing residents with services that are efficient, responsive and sensitive to the high burdens placed on taxpayers. Professionalizing our city departments is one way my administration is working to strengthen the local economy and deliver value to the people of Mount Vernon," said Mayor Thomas.

June 14, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

June 14, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Legislators to celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month in Westchester

      In proclaiming June as Caribbean American Heritage Month in Westchester County, the Board of Legislators will celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations within the community before our Monday, June 18, 2018 meeting.  The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Chambers at 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor, White Plains, NY 10601.
      This year, the Board will honor:

 ·         The Haitian Resource Center, a unique organization that works to strengthen the Haitian community through direct services, referrals and advocacy

·         Betsey E. Dorreliand, an educator for the City of Mount Vernon school district and Program Director of the Youth Community Outreach Program in Mount Vernon
·         Lieutenant Mike Jean-Jerome, a 24-year decorated veteran firefighter for the City of Mt. Vernon and a community activist working with youth and seniors
      We invite you to join us as we pay tribute to our honorees who have greatly contributed to the Caribbean American community throughout Westchester County.

June 11, 2018  13
Mt. Vernon, NY

Engel announces,634,599 for Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network

      Congressman Eliot Engel announced the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network has been awarded a,634,599 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding will help the Network provide critical care to individuals in Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Greenburgh and the surrounding areas.
      "On behalf of the patients and staff of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center we are grateful for being awarded this significant grant that will help us to continue to provide the highest level of care to our most vulnerable patients and families,” said Opal D. Dunstan, Chief Executive Officer, Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network. “Thanks to Congressman Engel for his support of Health Centers and all his efforts in helping to secure funding for Community Health Centers such as the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network, Yonkers Health Center and Greenburgh Community Health Center.
      “The Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network does tremendous work in the community, so I am pleased to announce that further federal funding has been allocated to them for that work,” said Congressman Engel. “I have always believed health care is a right, not a privilege. Everyone deserves quality care, and that’s exactly what our friends at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network provide.”

June 11, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

June 11, 2018  12
Mt. Vernon, NY

Superintendent hosts celebration of Fourth Annual Reading Challenge Achievers

Dr. Hamilton enjoying the rides with students at the Superintendent’s
Fourth Annual Reading Challenge Celebration

      The Mount Vernon City School District gave away 125 donated nooks to students at the Superintendent’s Fourth Annual Reading Challenge Celebration at Traphagen Elementary School’s fields Thursday afternoon.
      The carnival was held for students who reached their reading goals this school year. At the beginning of the school year, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton challenged kindergarten through eighth-grade students to read 200,000 books. He then invited students who achieved their goals to the end-of-year celebration. In total, students read approximately 218,000 books this school year.
      “I wanted to come up with an incentive to get students excited about reading,” said Dr. Hamilton. “We started this program four years ago and each year it gets bigger and better. Students look forward to completing the Superintendent’s Reading Challenge so they can be part of this end-of-the-year celebration.”
      “The driving force behind this is making our community more literate and engaging the community more in a family activity,” Dr. Hamilton said.
       The incentives are not limited to the carnival. Throughout the year students are celebrated with recognition, book gifts, and certificates as they move towards the goal. The two highest readers in each school attend a fun day with the Superintendent at New Roc City’s Fun Fuzion. This year it will take place on June 20.
       “There is nothing more important for a student than the ability to not only read, but to read well, as it impacts their ability to learn in all facets of education,” Dr. Gayle White-Wallace, Standards Administrator for Pre-K, ELA, Literacy and Social Studies (Elementary). “Dr. Hamilton’s Superintendent’s Reading Challenge is an excellent incentive to help our students grow.”

June 11, 2018  11
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon City School District expands school uniform policy

Students in Edward Williams School show off their uniforms in Ms. Cavallaro’s classroom

     The Mount Vernon City School District is expanding its student uniform policy districtwide in September. This fall, the uniform policy will be implemented in the district’s reconfigured PreK-7 and PreK-8 buildings, as well as the new AB Davis STEAM high school.  The school uniform mandate was initially adopted by the district’s board of trustees in 2016. The policy allows schools in the district to mandate students wear uniforms if they present certification to the board. Proper certification will include agreements from a minimum of 80 percent of families at the school.
     Uniforms were worn in all of the district’s elementary schools during the 2017-18 school year. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton is pleased by the support this initiative has garnered.
“District parents initiated this uniform policy adoption and across the City of Mount Vernon they are very supportive of this effort, citing the cost effectiveness of the program and improvement in the school culture and pride,” wrote Dr. Hamilton in a letter to parents. “We look forward to building on this positive trend.”
      According to the adopted board policy, the intent is not to inhibit or prohibit any student who is not in uniform from receiving the education to which he or she is entitled. Therefore, no student will be subject to disciplinary actions for not complying with the policy.
      Students will be given input on uniform selection and may receive uniform waivers for reasons of health or religious freedom. The district will offer assistance in purchasing uniforms to families facing financial hardship.

June 10, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

June 10, 2018  10
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mayor Thomas participates in US Conference of Mayors Energy Committee

      Mayor Richard Thomas recently joined a select group of mayors from around the country at the US Conference of Mayors 86th Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. Mayor Thomas is a member of the Energy Committee which sets policies for mayors around the country to follow and implement in their own city.  
      "The most innovative ideas and solutions come from cities. Connecting one on one with mayors from across the country allows us to share what we are working on in Mount Vernon -  to exchange ideas, and to build new connections," said Mayor Thomas.

June 9, 2018 
Mt. Vernon

Statement from Mayor Thomas: Illegal dumping bursts bubble at Memorial Field

      On Saturday, June 9, in response to a rally regarding the deflation of the bubble and eviction of Kela Tennis from Memorial Field, Mayor Richard Thomas reminds that illegal dumping under the tennis courts and at Memorial Field permitted by former Mayor Ernie Davis caused the metaphorical bubble to be burst, according to Mayor Thomas.
      Since Mayor Thomas entered office in 2016, he has put structure around the issues and set clear priorities to get Memorial Field back on track toward producing both revenue for the city and memories for its families.  Through transparency, Thomas exposed that.2 million was spent on demolition that never occurred and millions more were misspent building a tennis court in the middle of the track, inches away from the end zone of the football field. 
      The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was clear in their decree that we must clean up the mess left behind by past administrations or face hefty fines, as much as,000 a day per violation. Mount Vernon already paid a steep price for our field being shut for a decade. It was believed that the drama was over after the City Council acknowledged the illegal dumping at the park and authorized its clean up in 2017. 
Accordingly, the situation with Kela Tennis is not just about them not paying approximately 0,000 in back-rent, it is also about the city's obligation to remove illegally dumped debris below the tennis courts. The matter devolved when Comptroller Deborah Reynolds and Mayor Thomas held the operator in breach of contract and ultimately revoked their privilege to operate in Mount Vernon.  In 2016, the Thomas administration built the tennis bubble at Memorial Field. 
      In 2017, the Council and Kela were told that the DEC included the tennis courts as part of the area for environmental mitigation. Mayor Thomas vigorously worked to convince the DEC to allow for one summer of tennis while the city addressed other compliance issues at the site. Mayor Thomas delivered. Kela Tennis and the City Council refuse to accept these facts and reject reality. Despite this, as another sign of good faith, Mayor Thomas made clear that once work commenced in 2018 the city would remain committed to building back the tennis courts with a bubble in the same year along with an 8-lane track and field for all sports. Now, these possibilities are in jeopardy because of petty politics.
     Here is Mayor Thomas' comment on the continued attempt to stop Memorial Field from rising again:
"There are thousands of people in Mount Vernon who deal with living a second-class status every day. These are the people that I work for because I am one them – displaced from Memorial Field and disinherited by the political elite.  
      The simple truth is Mount Vernon has never negotiated for fair value or fair treatment in business, politics, or policy since Ronald Blackwood was Mayor. The bright flight of businesses and families with means show the downward spiral and unnecessary rise in taxes until 2016. "

June 8, 2018  09
Mt. Vernon

Judge orders all work stopped at Memorial Field indefinitely

      Judge ­­­­­­­­­­­­George E. Fufidio, Jr. today issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the City of Mount Vernon, Mayor Richard Thomas, and City Comptroller Deborah Reynolds, halting all activity at the Memorial Field site indefinitely.  The parties are expected to return to court on July 10, 2018 for a hearing to determine whether to make the TRO permanent.
       The motion, brought by the City Council of Mount Vernon, argued that the Thomas administration has consistently failed to followed legal procedures, has squandered taxpayer resources, and has destroyed City assets in violation of the City Charter – all in connection with the Memorial Field project.
       On June 1, 2018, the City Council voted unanimously to transfer control of the renovation to Westchester County.  Nevertheless, the Thomas administration has continued to direct unlawful and unauthorized activities and expend city resources at the site, including the controversial removal of the tennis bubble at the Kela Tennis Center.
      “It’s just sad, really.  The citizens of Mount Vernon deserve better leadership than this.  The Council had no choice but to seek a TRO against the Mayor to stop him from blatantly violating the law,” said Councilman Andre Wallace. “Memorial Field will be renovated, and it will be something we’re all proud of.  But, it won’t be done by this administration.  The process is already underway.  Mayor Thomas is going to have to find another way to distract people from his criminal case."
      “This ruling just reinforces the principle that no one is above the law,” said Councilman Marcus A. Griffith.  “That’s a lesson this administration seems to regularly ignore.  It’s unfortunate that things had to get to this point, but the Council has a responsibility to the citizens of Mount Vernon to ensure their hard-earned tax dollars are not wasted.”
      The City Council was represented by Henry C. Chan, Esq. of Wilson & Chan, LLP.

June 8, 2018  08
Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon officially kicks off its Summer Breeze Concert Series

      Mount Vernon officially kicked off its Summer Breeze Concert Series on the evening of Thursday, June 7 with a performance by the incomparable and dynamic R&B group – “Untouchables.”
      Acting as the Mistress of Ceremonies was Sylvia Gadson and the DJ for the event was Brother Arthur.  
Mount Vernon’s Summer Breeze Concert Series is one of Westchester’s most electrifying, foot-tapping, come-ready-to-dance music offerings.  The concerts offer a variety of sounds to match the hot weather and are free and open to the public.  

June 7, 2018 
Mt. Vernon

Family Services of Westchester executive to be honored

      Michelle A. Nicholas, Vice President of Development and External Affairs at Family Services of Westchester (FSW), will be honored at the 21 st Annual “ 40 Under Forty ” Achievement Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in New York City. The award, sponsored by The Network Journal ( TNJ ), is designed t o recognize young African - Americans who have proven to be exceptional performers in their industry and committed contributors to the development of their community.
      TNJ created the 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards in 1997 to promote mentorship and pr ofessional d evelopment for the next - generation of accomplished leaders by introducing them to the established busine ss community as role models for young African - Americans.
      “Since joining FSW in 2016 Michelle has helped us raise our profile and we look forward to her work towards increasing ou r fundraising capacity” said Polly Kerrigan Acting President and CEO of FSW. “We are very pleased that Michelle is being honored by The Network Journal’s 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards for her commitment to our community.”
      The awards ceremony, themed “Reaching for Higher Goals,” will be held at the NYIT Aud itorium on Broadway at 1871 Broadway (bet. 61st & 62nd Sts.), from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit    
      For more information, please visit or call Alex Payan at 914.305.6876.

June 6, 2018  07
Mt. Vernon

Eight students become certified nursing assistants through MVHS

       Eight Mount Vernon High School students have completed the school’s Nursing Assistant course and are now New York State Certified Nursing Assistants.
       “These students took on the challenge to become a Certified Nursing Assistant and now they have options for their future as they graduate,” said Elizabeth O’Loughlin, nursing instructor at MVHS.
The students are: Sh'nya Banton, Kimaya Hamilton, Devonte Hyatt, Marieme Ly, Kayla Riley, Jahmeela Russell, Dionna Watson and Amanii Williams.
       “The program is important to Mount Vernon students because it is the entry into the health career pathway,” O’Loughlin said. “This will allow students the experience needed to work in the health profession immediately following high school and during their college years. This experience serves as a precursor to entry into a two-year or four-year nursing school.”
       The Nursing Assistant course follows the mandated training and competency for individuals performing nurse aide duties in accordance with state and federal regulations. The program, which is part of MVHS’s Career and Technical Education course offerings, is regulated by both the New York State Education Department and the Department of Health to ensure the program meets industry standards. Students sit for both written and clinical (hands on) testing at the completion of the program.
       “I would like to congratulate these exceptional students for choosing a path that will lead them to a wonderful career,” said Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton. “Our nursing program is another important element of the School District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program here at Mount Vernon High School. These students get a fantastic high school education while learning valuable skills that can propel them into the workforce.”
       The content of the curriculum includes skills and theories that are needed to facilitate the education and career development of students who wish to enter the health care system. 
       As part of the program, the students also completed their resumes. Some of the students plan to attend college and will apply for Nursing Assistant jobs in areas closer to their schools, allowing them to work and study.

June 5, 2018  06
Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon’s Gold Star Mothers monument to be redesigned

Carmen Palmer being presented a commemorative gold pin

Carmen Palmer and David Abrevaya standing by renditions of newly designed Gold Star Mothers monument

      On Monday, May 28, at the end of the Memorial Day parade, Mount Vernon city officials, along with elected officials, and the members of the Central Committee for Veterans Affairs (CCVA), flocked to Hartley Park for the end of the parade ceremony at the gazebo.
       After speeches, the mayor and city officials, along with veterans, presented Mount Vernon Gold Star Mother Carmen Palmer with a gold commemorative pin.
       After the brief ceremony, Palmer walked over to the area where the Gold Star Mothers monument is situated and was shown a new rendition of the proposed Gold Star Mothers monument. 
       David Abrevaya, an artist who works for Mayor Thomas, is redesigning the unfinished monument.
       The city has been working over eight years to finalize the project due to a lack of funding. Recently, State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow promised to generate the necessary funding to finally complete the well overdue monument.
       After reviewing the rendition of the newly designed monument, Palmer stated: “I am very pleased with the proposed new design.”
       Palmer’s son, Marine Cpl. Bernard Gooden, died at age twenty-two in Iraq back in 2003.

June 5, 2018  
Mt. Vernon

June 5, 2018   05
Mt. Vernon

Ernie Davis: “The city put tennis courts rent on hold”

      According to former mayor Ernie Davis, the city failed to abide by certain promises it made to the owner of the tennis courts after the signing of a 15-year contract.  “We would put the roof on; we would do the infrastructure; we would put the glass in; and they would take care of the interior.” 
      Consequently, the city never did what they promised to do and made a deal with the tennis court owner.  “You do not have to pay the city rent until we keep our end of the bargain,” Davis told the owner of the tennis courts.  It was stipulated in the contract, according to Davis.
       “The city started to do work on the tennis courts until Davis was ousted as mayor by Richard Thomas, and the promised work by the city was never completed. 
       Mayor Thomas has publicized that the owner of the tennis courts owed a substantial amount of rent money, obligating the city to remove the bubble. But according to Davis, they were justified in not paying the city rent. 

June 5, 2018   04
Mt. Vernon

Board of Legislators votes to raise age for tobacco sales to 21

      The Westchester County Board of Legislators has voted to raise the age limit for the sale of tobacco and related products in Westchester from 18 to 21.
       The measure will prohibit the sale not only of cigarettes and tobacco products but also e-cigarettes and vaping products to those under 21.
       The measure passed Monday night on a bipartisan basis by a vote of 16-1
       Westchester is just the latest to raise the age for tobacco sales.  Earlier this month, the town of New Castle raised the age there to 21.  Last month Rockland County did the same.  New York City established 21 as its age limit in 2013.
       Many counties across New York have already established 21 as the tobacco-sales age limit – from Cattaraugus in Western New York to Schenectady County upstate to Onondaga County in Central New York to Suffolk County on Long Island.
       Lawmakers believe the new measure will dramatically reduce the number of new smokers and the likelihood of new addictions to vaping products, some of which have a higher nicotine content than cigarettes.

June 4, 2018   03
Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon's Lincoln Lounge closes once again

      The Lincoln Lounge, located at 209 Stevens Avenue, has shuttered its doors for the second time in the last three years.
      The current owner completely renovated the longtime favorite and iconic Italian Restaurant when he took over the helm three years ago.  Many are surprised that he is closing after such a short period. The restaurant has been in existence for the last 65 years, and many don't expect it to open ever again.

June 3, 2018  
Mt. Vernon

June 3, 2018  
Mt. Vernon

June 1, 2018   02
Mt. Vernon

"Failure to pay rent forced city to remove tennis bubble," said Mayor Thomas 

The collapsed tennis bubble at Memorial Field

       Mount Vernon has taken down the grandstands at Memorial Field because they were decayed and in disrepair. Just recently, they continued their aggressive actions by reclaiming the tennis bubble and breathing new life into the future of Mount Vernon's iconic Memorial Field.
       "The goal is to build a new and better Memorial Field, one that is actually open to the public and available for our people to use. The new Memorial Field will host families, let our children play, let our aspiring young athletes practice and compete in a facility that they deserve. We are building a multi-purpose complex with a regulation eight-land track, tennis courts, and accommodations for football, soccer, lacrosse, concerts, and activities. It will be a Field where dreams are realized and champions are made."
        "Some people have asked questions about why it was necessary for the tennis bubble to be removed. For months, my administration has been in discussion with the private operator, who leases the facility, about our serious concerns. The operator has failed to pay any rent for years owing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, they have failed to provide adequate access to our children to learn and play, and they have failed to address the city's concerns which they were on notice of since February of this year. They have breached their contract with the city. Despite our numerous attempts to work with them, they refused, leaving the city with no option," added Mayor Thomas.
       City Councilman Marcus Griffith said that the mayor failed to follow the required procedures to take down the tennis bubble, just as he did with the grandstands.   "We're concerned because the bubble did not have to be taken down in that way," Griffith said. "It's a million bubble that was paid for by the owner of the tennis courts."
        The mayor's actions is expected to lead to a lawsuit by Kela Simunyola of Kela Tennis.

June 1, 2018   01
Mt. Vernon

Westchester County Executive George Latimer visits Wartburg

      County Executive George Latimer recently visited Wartburg to talk with residents and staff to learn more about the healthcare and residential options provided by Wartburg in lower Westchester County and the Bronx.  County Executive Latimer met with Wartburg President & CEO, Dr. David J. Gentner, Wartburg board members, and other senior staff to learn about the focus of post-acute rehabilitative outcomes and hospital partnerships as well as other innovative programs such as the Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning program, the SeniorU partnership with Concordia College, and the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function.  

May 30, 2018 
Mt. Vernon

May 29, 2018  33
Mt. Vernon

Mount Vernon’s Youth Baseball kicks off season

       After a rain delay of one week, Mount Vernon’s Youth Baseball kicked off the season on Saturday, May 26.           Opening day ceremonies began at 9 am and concluded with Mayor Richard Thomas throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, marking an important step forward in bringing youth sports back to Mount Vernon.  MORE
       Mayor Thomas’ vision includes having a roster of 3,000 children enrolled in Little League baseball over the next few years.  

May 29, 2018  32
Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon holds annual Memorial Day Parade

      The highly anticipated and publicized Memorial Day Parade was held as scheduled on Monday, Memorial Day, during a cool day and dark clouds.  
      Prior to the start of the parade, the traditional wreath laying ceremony was held on the plaza of City Hall, which was extremely well attended by the public, dignitaries and elected officials. Also in attendance was Mount Vernon’s Gold Star Mother, Carmen Palmer.
       Kristyn Briez Reed, Director of the Mount Vernon Veterans Service Agency had the honor of acting as the Mistress of Ceremonies.
       Prior to the start of the ceremony, 1stSgt Jermain Bruce, United States Army and Grand Marshall of the parade recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  

May 27, 2018  31
Mt. Vernon

Carolina Fonseca resigns as newly appointed Buildings Commissioner

Mayor Richard Thomas swearing in Carolina Fonseca as new Buildings Commissioner

      On Friday, May 18, Mayor Richard Thomas swore in Carolina Fonseca, a seasoned architect with national and international experience, as Commissioner of the Mount Vernon Department of Buildings.  Regrettably, Fonseca resigned her position within one week after being appointed.
      Fonseca has more than 20 years of private and public sector experience as an architect and urban planner and was an excellent choice for the position.
      Most recently, Fonseca was the owner and founder of her own design firm in Bronxville. She has extensive knowledge in green building practices and is an accredited professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
      She was scheduled to succeed Curtis Woods, who was to return to his role as city engineer. Woods has been doing double duty as the city’s only engineer and supervising the Buildings Department.   

May 27, 2018  30
Mt. Vernon
Letter to the Editor

Mount Vernon City Comptroller

      Mayor Richard Thomas suing me for not providing his employees medical benefits came as a
surprise to me.
      The task of providing the Planning Commissioner medical benefits was something Mayor Thomas failed to do when he hired her to work within the Urban Renewal Agency.
      Nonetheless, I won the case and I am glad his attempt to blame me for his shortcomings didn't work.
      I will continue to work for the residents of Mount Vernon and continue to stand up for what is right.
      Mount Vernon City Comptroller 
      Deborah Reynolds

May 25, 2018  29
Mt. Vernon, NY

Nicholas Young conducts workshops at Mt. Vernon Boys & Girls Club

Nicholas Young performing during one of his workshops

      On May 24 and 25, award winning dancer, choreographer, and musician, Nicholas Young, conducted workshops at the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club to the delight of the young participants.
      Young, a Bessie award winner, began his professional career at the age of 16 in Texas. He most recently has been a collaborator with MacArthur Genius award winner Michelle Dorrance of Dorrance Dance Company.
      During the two workshops, Young instructed both dancers and non-dancers in the art of body percussion and spoke about his career path.
      The two workshops consisted of small groups, ages 10-12, and the youth were taught to use their bodies as their instruments to create sound through movement and rhythmic motion with body percussion.
      In the critically acclaimed dance work, Sound Space, Brian Seibert of The New York Times stated, "But the height of virtuosity came in a late body-percussion solo by Nicholas Young. Snapping, clapping, stomping and clicking his tongue, Young played the church with his body, a one-man band juggling two or three rhythms at once, developing a sophisticated composition within Ms. Dorrance's."  
      The staff at the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club was extremely honored that Young donated his time and efforts to their members.

May 25, 2018  28
Mt. Vernon, NY

 Listen to Your Mother!

      Many years ago my mother told me something, which I have never forgotten.  We were walking together on Center Avenue in New Rochelle.  A friend passed us and I said hello.  As we walked on my mother turned to me and said, "Diane!  When you greet someone you should show that you are happy to see her.  Use your voice and smile. " That was very good advice. However, I didn't realize the impact until I began teaching.
      How do we greet our children when they return from school?  Do we greet them or are we busy about other things? Do our voice and smile let them know they are welcomed home after a long day at school? Do our words encourage them to talk about their day? Do we look at their homework and encourage our children as they begin another school task?  

May 25, 2018  27
Mt. Vernon, NY

Bacardi Rum Balls

1 box vanilla wafers, crushed
3 tbsp. cocoa 
1½ c. finely chopped walnuts 
4½ tbsp. corn syrup 
1/3 c. rum 
1 c. confectioners sugar (also extra for rolling balls)

Mix together wafer crumbs, cocoa, nuts and confectioners sugar. Add syrup and rum. Mix well and form into balls. Roll balls in confectioners sugar. Finely chopped coconut may also be added if desired.
Makes 50 to 60 balls.

May 25, 2018  26
Mt. Vernon, NY

      A huge crowd packed the Doles Center’s theater in Mount Vernon during the Mount Vernon School of Music’s last spring recital
      Since day one, the Mount Vernon School of Music has been transforming young lives through excellence in music - teaching, performance, creative activities, research and service – and parents are noticing.
      The Mount Vernon School of Music staff collectively has over 30 years of experience performing and teaching music in the New York area as well as nationally.  Their love and passion for music is evident in their dedication to the children of Mount Vernon and Westchester County.
      Many Mount Vernon parents are having the vision to enroll their children in a school that is educating their children about the arts, teaching them how to become excellent vocalists, and also teaching them to play their favorite instruments – all in a safe environment.
      Maureen Wilson, director of the music school said, “Our goal is to help students garner a love of music that will be with them their entire lives. Our school strives to spread the transformative power of music by providing the highest quality music education and experiences to all in the Mount Vernon community and beyond.”
Contact Information
250 South 6th Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550

May 25, 2018  25
Mt. Vernon, NY

The Importance of Zinc

       More than 200 chemical reactions in our bodies depend on zinc. This trace mineral is absorbed in the body from the foods you eat and is essential for normal functioning of the body. Your body can obtain zinc from eggs, sesame seeds, beans, cheese, oysters, nuts, sardines and dairy products. Strict vegetarians should be cautious to meet the daily requirement intake and can do so by taking supplements. Note that copper, iron and calcium interfere with the absorption of zinc.
Growth and Development      The importance of zinc begins at the fetal level. It helps prevent premature delivery and is instrumental in fetal development. Zinc deficiency can cause retarded growth in infants leading to poor mental and physical development. The mineral is also important for bone repair and hormonal balance in adolescents.

Immune Function      
       Whether a cold, diarrhea or pneumonia, zinc is instrumental in fighting such diseases in the body. A daily intake is required to strengthen the immune system and ward off bacteria-causing infections before they get a chance to attack. Zinc also strengthens the immune system by aiding in the production of white blood cells that are the protective armor of the body. Zinc also helps speed the recovery process when it is taken with medicine, for example, in the form of prescribed supplements.

       A high intake of zinc, especially from animal protein such as oysters, has a direct positive effect on men and women alike with regard to fertility and general health of the reproductive system. In men, zinc fights off pathogens that may cause prostate infections; this maintains the welfare of the prostate gland. It can also increase sperm count and maintain a good balance of the testosterone hormone. In women, zinc has a calming effect on the undesirable symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Overall Body Functioning
      Taste and smell senses are a result of various chemical reactions that occur in the body. Zinc is a primary activator of sensors from the brain to the mouth and nose, which enable you to pick and distinguish various tastes and smells. People who have a zinc deficiency tend to have a diminished sense of taste and a reduced appetite. Zinc also helps renew skin cells, which leaves you with a healthier skin

May 24, 2018  24
Mt. Vernon, NY

'All Islands Association' awards four scholarships to local residents at annual luncheon

By Christina Tapper
In celebration of high school students making the transition from secondary education to the collegiate ranks, the 'All Islands Association' held its 32nd Annual Scholarship Luncheon at The Surf Club April 30th.
     Three graduating high school students and a returning student—Elizabeth Bengha, Joshua Wiggins, Joseph Bansgopaul, and Marlene Malcolm—received a,000 scholarship toward their college education.
     “This is our small way of giving back to the community and encouraging students to further their education,” said Gloria Chin-Fatt, luncheon chairperson.
     In order to attain the scholarship, recipients had to submit an application and write an essay about their community work and how the scholarship will aid them in their collegiate endeavors. 

May 24, 2018   23
Mt. Vernon, NY

Engel cosponsors legislation to reauthorize Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program

       Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, has cosponsored legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program.
       CHGME funding allows America’s children’s hospitals to train future pediatricians and pediatric specialists. H.R. 5385, the Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act, would authorize increased funding for this Program through 2023.
       “I can think of few issues more important than ensuring America’s children get quality health care,” Engel said. “The Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program plays a key role in making sure that happens, and I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill to reauthorize that Program.
       Among the children’s hospitals that use CHGME funding to train future doctors is Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester. Blythedale’s graduate medical education program is helping to address workforce shortages by training residents in specialty fields like child psychiatry. This bill will help guarantee that important work continues.
       “Blythedale Children’s Hospital, New York’s only independent pediatric specialty hospital, is very supportive of CHGME because it would strengthen federal support for vital pediatric training programs and the reauthorization will continue to support the pediatric workforce and protect access to care for children across New York,” said Adam S. Herbst, Esq., Chief Legal, Planning and Government Relations Officer at Blythedale Children's Hospital.

May 23, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Memorial Day Parade

     Mayor Thomas: Join us Monday, May 28, 2018 for our annual Memorial Day Parade where we come together as a community to pay our respects to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
     Observance begins at 8:30 AM at Mount Vernon City Hall with a wreath laying ceremony. The Parade will begin two blocks away at the intersection of Prospect and Park Avenues at 9:30 AM, ending at Hartley Park.
     Mount Vernon will also inaugurate our, a celebration of Caribbean food, music, and culture, Sunday & Monday 1 PM until 11 PM. Get your tickets.

May 22, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center honors three outstanding leaders at Annual Winter Gala

      The Board of Directors of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network (MVNHC) a leading provider of community healthcare for over forty-four years, held its Annual Winter Gala on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at the Glen Island Harbour Club, Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, New York.
      This year’s honorees were: The Honorable Barbara G. Zambelli, Judge, Westchester County Court, and Acting Justice of the Supreme Court (Retired). Judge Zambelli recipient of the Achievement Award. Mr. Leonard Polonsky, Chief Executive Officer, MedStock received the Community Service Award and Edward Nana Amelemah, MD, FACOG, Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology for the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center Network was recognized with the Leadership Award. Master of Ceremonies for this year’s event was Mr. Richard Giacovas, News Reporter for News12 Westchester.  

May 22, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon STEAM stock rising

      The excitement around next year’s opening of the district’s new STEAM Academy continued to build last week, as 15 students traveled to Manhattan and engaged in a STEAM-based Makerspace day courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker. The world renowned tool maker became aware of Mount Vernon’s STEAM initiative through a shared partnership with Discovery Education, a company that has been the district’s premier provider of curriculum development and professional development in creating the STEAM Academy.
      The students were chosen to take part by Ms. Bradley and Ms. Rodriguez – new Principal and Vice Principal of the STEAM Academy – based on teacher recommendations. Stanley Black & Decker set up its mobile Makerspace stations on a cordoned off portion of Wall Street, and each was fully equipped with Stanley Black & Decker tools and manned by the company’s educators. Stations included a derby car building station, an augmented reality station, a jig-saw puzzle station and a bridge building station.  

May 22, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

May 20, 2018   22
Mt. Vernon, NY

2018 Jandon Scholarship recipients announced

      The Westchester County Board of Legislators and the Jandon Foundation on Wednesday announced the recipients of scholarships in the 2018 Jandon Scholars program.
      The program, now in its 19th year, awards,000 over four years to Westchester public high school seniors who meet certain academic requirements and financial eligibility guidelines, to help them complete their college educations.
      This year’s 15 scholarship recipients were celebrated at a ceremony at the Rotunda of the Board’s Legislative chambers Wednesday afternoon.
      “You all have a lot to offer,” said Alec Cecil, son of Jane and Donald Cecil of Harrison who founded the program in 1999. “We want you to get through school and go on to successful careers and have families and to contribute to your communities and hopefully to the world. You are exceptional young people.”  

May 21, 2018  21
Mt. Vernon, NY

The U.N. Club at MVHS is closing the year with great successes

      The students of the Model UN/UN Club participated in many projects in the spring semester.  Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley, Inc. once again partnered with Mount Vernon HS for their students to take part in JA Capital One Finance Park.  Thirty students participated in the eight-week program. One student, Ladonna Smith stated “the mentors were great and they made me realize the importance of a budget especially as I head off to college.” 
      March and April marked the 8th annual Junior Achievement’s Heroes for a Day event.  The program gave the opportunity for fifty MVHS students to become “teachers-for-the-day.”  Lessons focused on the City of Mount Vernon, globalization, and economics.  The host elementary schools were Traphagen and Hamilton, respectively.

May 21, 2018  20
Mt. Vernon, NY

ArtsWestchester to present a free evening of West African dance and drumming in Mt. Vernon

      ArtsWestchester, in partnership with the City of Mount Vernon the Mount Vernon Public Library and the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club, has announced a special outdoor performance by the world-renowned NY Ghanaian Dance & Drumming Unity Ensemble on Thursday, June 21st at 7pm.  The free performance will take place at Mount Vernon City Hall Plaza and will feature two of the world’s finest Ghanaian dancers and drummers: Gloria Nyame and her husband, master drummer Richard Dwomoh (bios below). Gloria and Richard have been raising their five children in the City of Mount Vernon since 2013. 
      The NY Ghanaian Dance & Drumming Unity Ensemble is known for its representations of Ghana’s many different ethnic traditions and features some of the top Ghanaian drummers and dancers living in the United States including Nii Boye, Hola Kutte, Attah Poku, Michael Ofori, and Ben Paulding. Also featured in the June 21st outdoor performance will be Marion Archer’s the Revelators, the First Ghana SDA Church Choir and prior workshop participants.
        In advance of the public performance, Gloria and Richard will be conducting free workshops for local Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Mt. Vernon and the Doles Center. These free workshops will take place on June 2nd, 9th, and 16th, from 11:30-2PM.

May 21, 2018  19
Mt. Vernon, NY

American Christmas celebrates 50th anniversary

Fred Schwarm receiving a proclamation from Mayor Richard Thomas

     On May 17,  American Christmas hosted 235 guests at its 30 Warren Place headquarters to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.
     The company was founded by Marvin Schwam in 1968 and Fred Schwarm was the owner and CEO from 1988 through October 2017. He then sold the business and the Mount Vernon headquarters building to MK Illumination of Austria. American Christmas remains the name of the firm and Dan Casterella became the new CEO on February 1, 2018.
     The party included employees, clients, suppliers, friends and family. Santa Claus was on hand for the festivities and The Grace Notes performed Christmas tunes.

May 21, 2018     18
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mt. Vernon holds annual Police Memorial Day Awards Ceremony

Mayor Thomas accompanied by award recipients in front of Police Headquarters

Mayor Thomas presenting a proclamation to Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Shawn Harris

     On Tuesday, May 15, 2018, Mayor Richard Thomas hosted the 2018 Police Memorial Week Awards Ceremony and presented a proclamation declaring the day Police Memorial Day.
     Mayor Thomas was joined by members of the City Council and the Mount Vernon Police Department in acknowledging active duty and fallen heroes for their immeasurable service to the great city of Mount Vernon.
     National Police Week was initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and marks the annual time to celebrate our men and women in law enforcement and pay homage to those that lost their lives in the line of duty.     
     Mount Vernon paused during this special week to honor the Police Department and its heroes, and awards were presented to over 25 members of the department for life-saving actions and merit.

May 17, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

World War I veterans to be honored on Memorial Day at St. Paul's Church

      Veterans of the First World War will be honored as part of the Memorial Day commemoration at St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, in Mt. Vernon, NY, on Monday, May 28, beginning at 11 AM. 
      The ceremony includes re-dedicating the gravestone of a private who died in 1918 and a special salute to Corporal Morris Link of the legendary Harlem Hell-fighters, 369th Infantry, who was killed in battle in France in July 1918, followed by interment at St. Paul’s. 
      Walking tours explore the lives and service of the ten World War I veterans buried at St. Paul’s. 
      The keynote speaker will be Lieutenant Colonel Channing Greene, Jr. of West Point, and a sergeant from the contemporary 369th Sustainment Brigade will also be part of the event. 
      The program additionally features living history presentations, a talk about the history of Memorial Day and a performance and sing along of songs American soldiers would have sung and heard over the centuries. 

May 17, 2018  16
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon Performing Arts students nominated for prestigious Metro Awards

(l to r) Dionysia Placide and Aaron Davis

"      Mount Vernon performing arts students are among the nominees for the 20th annual Metro Awards, the high school equivalent of the Tony Awards for schools from Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Bergen counties. Ajanee Thomas was nominated in the category of Female Acting Performance for her portrayal of Celie. In the category of Child Actor, Mariam Saidykhan who played Young Celie, was also nominated. For her role as Sofia, Dionysia Placide was nominated in the category of Actress in a Supporting Role. Aaron Davis was nominated in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Harpo. Finally, the ensemble was nominated for outside performance of “The Color Purple.”  
      “I couldn’t be prouder of our cast and crew, and I’m so pleased to see so many of them being recognized for their outstanding performances,” said Collins. “They rehearsed six days a week for five weeks to create a memorable theatrical and musical experience for the community. It’s clear by their many nominations that their performances were reflective of their hard work.”
      Students in Mount Vernon, Thornton and Mandela High Schools and select students from the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet School captivated audiences with four performances of "The Color Purple" at Mount Vernon High School in early May. The cast delivered a powerful performance that brought the audience to tears and ultimately to their feet.
      The musical was produced and directed by Evelyn Collins with musical direction by Alvin Waddles, set design by Janet Rush, lighting design by Antoinette Tynes, choreography by Samuel Reid, vocal direction by Terri Cann, and costumes designed by Gladys James.  
      The Metros will be presented on June 11 in the Concert Hall at Purchase PAC on the campus of Purchase College.

May 17, 2018  15
Mt. Vernon, NY

Manhattan public relations firm resigns from the City of Mount Vernon

      The following statement was released by Brian Finnegan, Chief of Staff for Manhattan public relations firm Todd Shapiro Associates, announcing their resignation from the City of Mount Vernon:     
      “Todd Shapiro Associates of Manhattan has officially resigned the account of the City of Mount Vernon, as of Tuesday, May 15. The firm is not on same page with the city and mayor’s office, and will provide no further communications consultation. The City of Mount Vernon is a great place to live and is home to many wonderful people. We believe that our differences with the mayor are too great to bridge. We offer our best wishes to the City of Mount Vernon and respectfully request that all media inquiries regarding the city be directed to the mayor’s office,” said Brian Finnegan, Chief of Staff, Todd Shapiro Associates Public Relations.  

May 16, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

May 16, 2018  14
Mt. Vernon, NY

"The Color Purple” highlights maturity of its outstanding young actors

       Powerful deliveries of the musical version of “The Color Purple” over the weekend of May 4-6 punctuated the culmination of the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet School’s performance calendar for this school year.  Enthusiastic audiences heaped praise and well-deserved standing ovations on the show’s cast and crew, and the show’s Producer and Director, Evelyn Collins, notched another one in the Win column.
       As wonderfully usual, the Friday premiere of the show was enhanced by complementary staging from the time theatergoers entered the building.  "Color Purple" - themed art work, live jazz music, Southern-style fare, iced-tea and lemonade, and mason jars as gifts, set the mood for excited attendees as they mixed and mingled.
       Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer prize-winning book by the same name, "The Color Purple" succeeded as a movie in 1985 before being adapted into a musical written by Marsha Norman in 2004.  Following "The Color Purple’s" 2005 Broadway debut, the musical was recognized with 11 Tony Award nominations in 2006, and LaChanze received the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award that year.  Since its debut, the musical has toured nationally and internationally, and it was revived on Broadway from 2015-17, winning Tonys for Best Actress in a Musical and Best Revival of a Musical in 2016.  

May 16, 2018  13
Mt. Vernon, NY

History of Rye’s African-American Cemetery

A visitor cleaning a headstone

      Rye's African-American Cemetery was established in 1860 when the Halstead family donated it to the Town of Rye to be used as a burial ground for African Americans. Although it was officially made a cemetery in 1860 it had most likely been used as a burial ground for African Americans long before that. There are an estimated 300 people buried at the cemetery, although many of them do not have headstones or formal markers. This cemetery was open up until 1964 when the segregation of cemeteries ended and the cemetery was closed for good.
      There are 22 veterans of the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. One of the men buried there is named Samuel Bell who was a soldier in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first black military units of the Union Army during the Civil War — the one chronicled in the 1989 Denzel Washington movie, "Glory." Another interesting person buried there is Robert Purdy, who escaped slavery and fled to Mamaroneck to start the Barry Avenue AME Zion Church, on North Barry Aveue on the border of Mamaroneck and Rye Neck. Other notable figures are a navy sailor who was in Washington on the day of Abraham Lincoln's assassination and a man who ran an inn and restaurant on Milton Road in Rye.
      Following its closing in 1964, the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair and was largely forgotten. Luckily, various community projects were enacted in order to give new life to the cemetery. In 2003 the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Every year on Veterans Day and Memorial Day there are events at the cemetery to honor those who are buried there.

May 16, 2018  12
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon School District voters approve 2018-2019 budget

      Voters in the Mount Vernon City School District approved a 1,979,860 budget for the 2018-2019 school year by a 1,051-657 vote on Tuesday. The results remain unofficial pending the counting of absentee ballots. The approved budget is a 2.36 percent increase, or.8 million above last year’s spending plan and includes a tax increase of less than 1 percent. The 0.89% tax increase is the lowest of all districts in Westchester and Putnam counties and the first tax rate increase since Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton and his administrative team took the helm in July 2014.
      The budget funds staff, programs and capital improvements that will keep the District moving toward the goals set forth in the Superintendent’s 20/20 Vision for Academic Excellence.  

May 14, 2018  11
Mt. Vernon, NY

Many Wartburg supporters attend 26th annual Passavant Society Luncheon

 (I to r)  Dr. David J. Gentner, Rev. Sarah Payne-Brown, Rev. Amandus J. Derr and Dr. Joseph Brown

      Wartburg held its 26th annual Passavant Society Luncheon on Wednesday, April 18 to honor Wartburg founder Rev. Dr. William Alfred Passavant’s rich legacy by recognizing individuals who have named Wartburg as a beneficiary in their estate plans.  This annual luncheon is a celebration of love and gratitude to these generous donors and recognition of today’s benevolent members.
      Angela Ciminello, Wartburg Vice President of Development and Marketing, served as Master of Ceremonies for the wonderful event where the newly inducted Passavant Society members received their elegant Passavant medals as well as a pin to wear in recognition of their benevolence.  Recipients included long time Wartburg supporters Reverend Sarah Payne-Brown and Dr. Joseph Brown. Rev. Payne-Brown is a Wartburg Foundation Board Member. New members also included Ms. Nancy Keane and Robert and Linda Rice, both of whom are strong supporters and active members of the Wartburg family.  

May 14, 2018  10
Mt. Vernon, NY

Demolition of Memorial Field grandstands commences

      The demolition of the Memorial Field grandstands got underway on Monday, May 14, marking a major step forward in the restoration of the iconic Mount Vernon park.
      Shortly after 10 a.m., Mayor Richard Thomas teamed up with the crew of Capital Industries Corp. to put a giant, claw-like device in position to start tearing down the steel girders in the middle of the grandstands.
      “For a decade, Memorial Field has been a zombie,” said Mayor Thomas. “But, today, the flatlining is over and the pulse returns. Tearing down the grandstands clears the way for the rebirth of the new, better than before Memorial Field. Our iconic park, once the proud site of countless competitions, concerts and most important, lasting generational memories, is coming back to life.”
      The demolition of the grandstands and removal of debris is expected to take about three weeks. Focus will then turn to the full restoration of Memorial Field, whose components include an eight-lane track, tennis courts, a field that will accommodate football, soccer, concerts and other activities, as well as new grandstands. 

May 14, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

United We Stand Toastmasters & Youth Leadership Program (YLP) Open House

      Join us at our Open House for Public Speaking and Youth Leadership Program!!!
      Come and experience Special Guest Speaker Wei Guo who has been a Toastmaster since 2001 and hails from the great state of California. He is an active member of the Tick Talk Club and is on an Ambassador Program to visit 100 Toastmasters Clubs around America and then the world. His goal is to inspire more people to embrace the infinite value of Toastmasters. Please join us and welcome Toastmaster Wei Guo by coming out and showing support for his courageous journey.
      Youth Leadership Program (Best and Only TMI Youth Leadership Program in Westchester). Learn more about the various programs offered and to discover ways to improve or enhance your communication, leadership and public speaking skills.
      Bring the FUTURE LEADERS to a meeting to participate, learn and share valuable skills. We are encouraged to help our youth become empowered communicators and leaders. We believe in “never giving up” on each other and our youth.  
      We will provide the Youth Leadership Program participants with school supplies in conjunction with the NETWORK National Organization.  Donations will be accepted.
      VP Education, Debra Jones, states: “Share & learn Toastmasters' Public Speaking, Communication and Leadership Skills. Bring our FUTURE LEADERS to the Youth Leadership Program.”

       Debra Jones                               Dianne Jones                     Adrienne Rivers
      347-767-6567                              843-900-1433                       914-422-1378

D Jones
Vp Education
United We Stand Toastmasters Club #9938

NETWORK National Organization

May 13, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Black Scholars Community Partnership to host 32nd Annual Recognition Program


      The Black Scholars Community Partnership Initiative will host its thirty-second (32nd) annual Black Scholars Reception on Sunday, June 3, 2018 in Purchase, New York.  The reception will be held in Manhattanville College’s Reid Castle commencing at 2:00 p.m. for students and parents; the program will begin at 4:00 p.m., during which time more than 300 graduating high school seniors will be recognized for outstanding academic achievement.  To be invited to the reception, students must have maintained a B or better average throughout their high school experience.
 According to Fay L. Fagan, Black Scholars Partnership Initiative Chairperson, “It is a distinct pleasure to be able to recognize the students who have excelled not only academically, but also in the arts, in sports and in service to their communities.  These students are destined for greatness as they move into the adult world.  The colleges that have already accepted them will find that these young people represent the finest of the Class of 2018.  We, the members of the Black Scholars Partnership, wish them success in all of their future endeavors.”   

May 10, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Jacob Burns Film Center to receive,000 grant from the
National Endowment for the Arts

      National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of,000 to the Jacob Burns Film Center for Creative Culture, a fellowship and residency program that provides space, equipment, resources, mentorship, and a supportive community to film and media artists from our region, across the country, and around the world.
       The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
        “The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”
        “We are deeply grateful for the NEA’s recognition and support of Creative Culture.  And we are proud to have the NEA as a partner in our effort to nurture the next generation of filmmakers.  Together, we are building community and changing lives through visual storytelling,” said JBFC Executive Director Edie Demas.

May 8, 2018  09
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mayor Thomas calls for Schneiderman to be criminally prosecuted if warranted


      When Mayor Richard Thomas was arrested and indicted by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this past March, it shocked Mount Vernon like never before. Mount Vernon has received its share of negative press throughout the years, but the mayor’s arrest was incomparable – it was historic and mind-boggling.
       Citizens of the State of New York, the country and the world woke up to a similar situation on Monday, May 7, but to a bigger blockbuster and incredible scenario – the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced to the world he was resigning his position due to sexual-assault allegations against him.
       Being the mayor of a small city like Mount Vernon does not compare to being the New York State Attorney General of New York.  Therefore, Schneiderman’s resignation came as a much bigger and explosive shock, not only to New Yorkers, but also to the entire world.
      When Schneiderman had Thomas arrested, he personally held a press conference denouncing Thomas’ actions and he detailed why he had him arrested.  It was a colossal black eye for the City of Mount Vernon.  What an unbelievable coincidence that both men currently find themselves in similar situations over alleged criminal activity.
       Schneiderman was going after Thomas’ jugular – first by removing the case out of the Mount Vernon courthouse and having it heard in White Plains. Secondly, additional charges are expected to be lodged against Thomas in White Plains – according to several sources in the know. His case has been adjourned to June 1st. According to the Attorney General’s office, Schneiderman’s resignation will not have a bearing on Thomas’ case and they are pursuing it as aggressively as possible.
       According to the serious sexually related allegations against Schneiderman, it appears that he will wind up being indicted like Thomas as well.  
       Mayor Richard Thomas released the following statement:
       “Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has disgraced his office with shocking behavior. I commend the four women for having the courage to come forward and reveal his misogynistic, racist and abusive nature. Resignation cannot be allowed to cover up the facts. It is now up to law enforcement to decide if criminal prosecution is warranted.”
       “I have great confidence in our legal system, and I have no doubt we will be able to prove our full compliance with the letter, ethics and spirit of the law,” said Thomas in a news conference arranged to proclaim his innocence.

May 8, 2018  08
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board of Legislators relaunches panels on Saw Mill & Bronx River flooding

Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators

      After a two year hiatus, the Westchester County Board of Legislators met recently and relaunched advisory boards dedicated to addressing flooding and other issues along the Saw Mill and Bronx Rivers.
      The Saw Mill River Advisory Board (SWAB) and Bronx River Advisory Board (BRAB) bring together elected officials, administrators and professionals from state, county and local governments and agencies, residents and members of community and environmental groups, to share information and support efforts to address needs relating to the rivers.
      The work of the advisory boards is increasingly important as they deal with the impact of more frequent and more extreme weather events that can cause flooding. 

May 8, 2018  07
Mt. Vernon, NY

Terry Clements sworn in as legislator for 11th District and makes history

Terry Clements

      Terry Clements (D-New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor) was sworn in as the new Westchester County Legislator for the 11th District on Monday night.
      Judge Kathie Davidson administrative judge of New York State's Ninth Judicial District,
administered the oath of office, at a ceremony preceding the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting.
      Clements becomes the 13th Democrat in the 17 member chamber.  She’s also the ninth woman, giving women a majority on the Board for the first time in its history. Westchester is the only current county legislature in New York with a female majority.  In addition, she’s the board’s fifth African-American legislator, the greatest number of African-American legislators in Westchester County's history.
      “This is an exciting night for all of us because we’re making history,” said Board Chairman Ben Boykin. “As the most diverse Board in County history -- we lead by example.  Not just by the example of who we are, but by the example of what we do.” 
      Adding, “Let this board, and all of Westchester, lead the nation by defining and defending the core values that make us who we are -- equity, fairness and faith that by working together we can make tomorrow better than today for all the people of Westchester.”
      Clemens thanked her supporters. 
      “We had an army out there,” she said of the work put into her campaign by labor, Hispanic Democrats of Westchester, Black Democrats of Westchester, the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, the Democratic committees of Pelham and New Rochelle, Indivisible New Rochelle and Young Democrats of Westchester.
      She also thanked new State Senator Shelly Mayer for her support and vowed to focus on issues like safe schools and the environment.
      “This may be an historic moment, but the most important thing is that we’re here to do the people’s work,” she said. “And there’s a lot of work to do.”
      Clements defeated Republican Jim Freeman in a special election on April 24 to fill a seat vacated when former Legislator Jim Maisano, left to become director of the county's Department of Consumer Protection.

May 7, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Engel celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

      Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a former New York City public school teacher and guidance counselor, issued the following statement on Teacher Appreciation Week:
      “Teacher Appreciation Week is a time to recognize the hard work and commitment of America’s educators. The success of our country depends on our teachers and schools to educate and inspire our youth. As a former teacher, I know what a demanding and rewarding job it can be.
      “This year, Teacher Appreciation Week comes amid a nation-wide movement of teachers fighting back against decades of draconian cuts to public education. To best prepare American children for the 21st century we need to provide them with the best possible resources. This means competitively paid teachers and support staff, safe and healthy learning conditions, and first-rate learning resources.
      “Sadly, there are those in government who have made political hay out of vilifying teachers, especially the ones teaching in our public schools. Forces on the right have attacked teachers’ unions for years, while simultaneously working to undermine our public school system by cutting critical education funding. It’s shameful, but all too common behavior from a GOP more concerned with scoring political points than helping our children succeed.
      “This Teacher Appreciation Week, I stand with the teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona and across the country demanding increased funding, competitive pay, and a better learning environment for their students. And I will continue to help our educators at the federal level, by championing programs like Title I, which provide critical funding for our public schools.”

May 7, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado to speak at YWCA luncheon

       The YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester, along with the Women’s Research and Education Fund, will be joined by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado when she will be inducted into the
Westchester Women’s Hall of Fame during the YWCA’s 10th Annual “In the Company of Women” luncheon.
       The presentation will be in front of over 500 local community and business leaders.  Others being recognized are Umran Beba of PepsiCo, Sandra Richards of Morgan Stanley and Mecca Santana from Westchester Medical Center. The Honorable Rosado will also share her experiences in a keynote address.
       “In the Company of Women” is an annual luncheon that focuses on promoting the YWCA mission of empowering women and eliminating racism.  This year’s theme is “Strong alone, Fearless together”
       The event is preceded by a shopping plaza featuring 25 local women owned vendor businesses. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the empowering programs at the YWCA of White Plains and Central

May 6, 2018  
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board of Legislators to celebrate Jewish History & Heritage Month

      In proclaiming May as Jewish History and Heritage Month in Westchester County, the Board of Legislators will celebrate the outstanding contributions of three distinguished citizens and one organization before its May Board meeting.
      The annual celebration will take place Monday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m.
      This year the board will salute four honorees:
·         Westchester Jewish Community Services
·         Alan Trager, Chief Executive Officer, WJCS
·         Bernie Kimberg, Chief Operating Officer, WJCS
·         Jan Fisher, Director of Public Affairs, WJCS
      We invite all to celebrate the outstanding contributions of this organization and these individuals at our May 7, 2018 meeting, when the Board will present special proclamations in their honor, and we will have the opportunity to hear them address the Board and guests.

May 4, 2018   06
Mt. Vernon, NY

Wartburg honors nearly 900 years of service at annual employee luncheon


      Wartburg, a leading provider of senior healthcare and residential services in Westchester County, honored 70 employees for nearly 900 years of service and dedication at the annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony held on March 28 on their beautiful 34-acre campus.
       Each year, recognition awards are presented to Wartburg employees for service in five year increments. One employee received recognition for 35 years of dedicated care to our residents in our skilled nursing facility and two for 25 years of service.  Ten employees received a gift for 20 years of employment at Wartburg, 19 employees for 15 years and 18 caregivers for 10 years.  Wartburg was also honored to recognize 29 employees for five years of care.

May 4, 2018   05
Mt. Vernon, NY

City is unsuccessful in effort to sue City Comptroller for failure to act

      Mount Vernon City officials returned to the courts to resolve another dispute, this time over a commissioner's pay and benefits.
      In a May 15 lawsuit filed with the state Supreme Court, the City of Mount Vernon and planning Commissioner Chantelle L. Okarter alleged that city Comptroller Deborah Reynolds has refused to pay Okarter's health benefits and salary since April 3.
      Mayor Richard Thomas' administration unsuccessfully asked the court to enforce a 2017 court order prohibiting the comptroller or City Council from interfering with the mayor's ability to pay his staff. Thomas and Okarter also wanted the court to order Reynolds to pay Okarter's health benefits and any back wages.      

May 4, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Mount Vernon Public Library’s response to Gary Newman’s letter in the May 2018 Inquirer

      Mr. Newman’s May 1, 2018 Letter to the Editor, in his capacity as CSEA Unit President for the Mt. Vernon Public Library, misportrays the bargaining history and related events between the Library and the Union.  First, Mr. Newman’s letter fails to identify the crux of the issue, that is the Union’s insistence on maintaining a “Wage Parity clause” in the Library’s labor contract that requires MVPL to pay its staff whatever increase the City of Mt. Vernon gives its union employees despite the fact the Library does not fall under the City’s budget approval process (this ended in 2014) or is in any way financially connected to City Hall.  Even more problematic, this clause prevents the Library from ever negotiating wage increases…arguably the most important clause in a labor contract. 
      The Library’s request to remove the clause from the contract is meant to allow the parties to negotiate a wage increase for staff based on more relevant factors such as: 1) the Library’s own budget/financial capacity to give increases; and  ii)what other similar sized Westchester School District libraries are giving their staff.  The Union’s position that their increases should be based on a group of employees (Mt. Vernon City Hall employees) that are not paid by the Library and do not perform service for or similar to MVPL employees is hard to fathom.  

May 4, 2018 
Mt. Vernon, NY

Board of Legislators to celebrate Jewish History & Heritage Month

      In proclaiming May as Jewish History and Heritage Month in Westchester County, the Board of Legislators will celebrate the outstanding contributions of three distinguished citizens and one organization before its May Board meeting.
      The annual celebration will take place Monday, May 7, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
      This year the board will salute four honorees:
  • Westchester Jewish Community Services
  • Alan Trager, Chief Executive Officer, WJCS
  • Bernie Kimberg, Chief Operating Officer, WJCS
  • Jan Fisher, Director of Public Affairs, WJC
      We invite all to celebrate the outstanding contributions of this organization and these individuals at our May 7, 2018 meeting, when the Board will present special proclamations in their honor, and we will have the opportunity to hear them address the Board and guests.

May 4, 2018  04
Mt. Vernon, NY

WCC President Belinda S. Miles named to board of American Association of Community Colleges

Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D

      Westchester Community College President Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D, has been named to the nation’s leading association for the advocacy of community colleges. Her participation on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) board provides an opportunity for her to join colleagues from across the country in addressing policy, legislative, and programmatic issues relating to community colleges.
      “I am proud of this honor and am humbled by the opportunity to represent Westchester Community College and all of the other AACC-member institutions,” says Dr. Miles. “I have been involved in the important work of this organization for a number of years as a member of commissions, the President’s Academy, and affiliate organizations. I am excited to join AACC in providing a voice for the more than 12 million students attending the nation’s 1,100+ community colleges,” she adds. The election, certified this week at the 98th annual AACC Convention, is via a participatory process involving presidents from AACC member institutions.  

May 3, 2018  03
Mt. Vernon, NY

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