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  • To listen to selected WDFH in-studio musical performances, visit
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    (Other WDFH music programming is not available on demand because of the requirements and restrictions of U.S. copyright laws.)

You can also subscribe to WDFH podcasts to get new episodes delivered automatically as they become available.


Programs available for online listening — click to listen below:

  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)

Having a problem hearing our online audio?  Info...

 


LGBT YOUTH ISSUES

OutCasting

OutCasting is WDFH's public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues.

More about OutCasting, including LGBTQ community resources and the Trevor Project suicide hotline...

Enter the following address into your podcatching software to subscribe to the OutCasting podcast (the subscription is free):

PODCAST    http://wdfh.org/xml/outcasting.xml

The state of marriage equality following the historic Supreme Court rulings in June — part 1 of 2

 

On this edition, OutCaster Travis talks with Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of the organization Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide. 

 

During the 1990s, Evan served as co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case that launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry.  Evan is the author of the book Why Marriage Matters — America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry, published by Simon and Schuster in 2004.  In 2000, The National Law Journal named Evan one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, citing his national leadership on marriage and his appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale.  Newsweek and The Daily Beast dubbed Evan "the godfather of gay marriage," and Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

New York's Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)

This week, OutCasting returns to our look at transgender issues in a discussions with Richard Gottfried, a member of the New York State Assemblyman who represents Assembly District 75 on the west side of Manhattan.  Assemblyman Gottfried is known for the HIV testing confidentiality law.  He introduced New York's first marriage equality bill in 2003 and co-sponsored the bill that brought marriage equality to New York  in 2011.  He is now sponsoring GENDA, which would add gender identity and expression to the state's anti-discrimination laws concerning housing, employment, and public accommodation.

The Boy Scouts of America's gay ban is partially lifted

 

Since the late 1970s, the Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A.) has had a policy that bans gay youth and adult leaders from membership in the Boy Scouts.  In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that B.S.A. had the legal right to continue this discriminatory policy.  In the years since, organizations have been formed to fight the ban through other channels. 

 

Meanwhile, B.S.A. has ejected Scouts and adult leaders whose homosexuality came its attention.  Others, after becoming aware of the policy, left Scouting on their own.  Untold numbers have declined to get involved at all.

 

More than 60% of volunteer Scouting leaders voted on Thursday, May 23, to partially lift the ban, but only to the extent that it covers youth Scouting members; under the proposed change, gay adult leaders will still be banned.

 

Will it now be safe for gay Scouts to come out?  What message does the partial change send?  Will it be enough to enable B.S.A. to regain some of the support and membership it has lost?  Perhaps most importantly, why is the B.S.A. reluctant to make a sweeping statement that discrimination is simply wrong?

 

This week's edition of OutCasting, which was produced before the vote took place, explores these complex issues through discussions with people who are or have been involved with the fight to overturn the ban, including:

  • Evan Wolfson, the civil rights attorney who represented a gay Scout whose ejection from Scouting led to the U.S. Supreme Court case Boy Scouts v. James Dale;

  • Zach Wahls, the executive director of Scouts for Equality;

  • Mark Noel, the executive director of the Inclusive Scouting Network who was ejected under the gay ban shortly after the Supreme Court decided the James Dale case;

  • Michelle Tompkins, national media manager of the Girl Scouts of the United States;

  • Christoph, who left Scouting;

  • David, a current Scout who opposes the ban; and

  • Michael, who is still closeted in Scouting.

Juli Grey-Owens — Part two of two

On this new edition of OutCasting, we broadcast the second part of a two part series featuring a wide ranging discussion of transgender issues with the transgender activist Juli Grey-Owens.  David and Morgan talk with Juli about trans and dual gender identity and about her activism.  The first part is available in the WDFH audio archive.

Juli Grey-Owens — Part one of two

On this new edition of OutCasting, the first part of a two part series featuring a wide ranging discussion of transgender issues with the transgender activist Juli Grey-Owens.  David and Morgan talk with Juli about trans and dual gender identity and about her activism.

Juli is a Long Island and New York State Transgender Community Advocate.  She is a board member of the Empire State Pride Agenda, the New York State LGBT Advocacy Organization; Chair of the GLBT Democrats of Long Island; and a member of the Suffolk County Democratic Party Executive Committee.  She is active in the Long Island Transgender Day of Remembrance Committee as well as the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition.

Juli regularly speaks at churches and public forums about the need for statewide Transgender Civil Rights and gave a key address at the 2012 New York State LGBT Equality and Justice Day held in Albany, New York.   She lives in Huntington with her wife Barbara and their two cats Fraidy and Sylvia. 

Dan Savage on bullying; California State Senator Mark Leno on LGBTQ education law

This first national edition of OutCasting features a discussion of LGBTQ teen bullying and suicide prevention with Dan Savage, the author, activist, and co-founder of the It Gets Better Project.  Also, a discussion with California State Senator Mark Leno about the law he sponsored that will require the teaching of LGBTQ history in California schools.  This program was distributed on the Pacifica program Sprouts: Radio from the Grassroots in March 2013.

An interview with Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson

This new edition of OutCasting features an interview with Gene Robinson, whose consecration as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop was followed by a split in the Episcopal Church over the issue of homosexuality.  Bishop Robinson, a leading international voice for gay rights, talks with OutCaster David about how he was elected, the positive aftermath of his consecration, the death threats he received, the split in the church, marriage equality, and his new book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage.

 

If you're interested in buying this book, please consider buying it from an LGBT bookstore.  We are losing these valuable community institutions in an age of internet shopping, and a great deal is being lost.  Here's a list.

We Are the Youth — a photographic journalism project countering the lack of visibility of LGBT young people

On this thirteenth edition of OutCasting, Diana Scholl and Laurel Golio talk with Travis about the We Are the Youth project.  Diana and Laurel started the project to address the lack of visibility of LGBT young people.  By chronicling the individual stories of LGBT youth in the United States and providing a space for youth to share stories in an honest and respectful way, the project has opened the door for touching and revealing stories that reveal a lot the daily lives of LGBT youth.

LGBT people in religion; stereotypes based on appearance

On this edition of OutCasting, David talks with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an LGBT-inclusive synagogue in New York City.  Rabbi Kleinbaum is a recipient of the Woman of Valor Award given by the Jewish Fund for Justice.  The Forward, a national Jewish weekly newspaper, and Newsweek have both named Rabbi Kleinbaum as one of the top 50 American rabbis. New York Jewish Week, another publication, named her as one of the 45 leading young American  Jewish leaders in New York.  She has been an activist since her college years.

Also, in our first OutCasting audio essay, Mady talks about how appearances can be misleading.

Queens Legal Services, serving LGBT families and people living with HIV; guest Richard Saenz, staff attorney

Queens Legal Services is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to provide equal access to justice for all low-income residents of Queens through a range of legal advocacy, education, and community partnerships.  They provide free legal counseling, representation, and referrals in civil matters to eligible low income individuals and families.  They also work to address and identify root causes of systemic inequalities in the legal system.  Queens Legal Services is a part of Legal Services NYC.

Our guest, Richard Saenz, a staff attorney at Queens Legal Services, represents low income LGBT families and people living with HIV.

Two very different ways of dealing with LGBTQ issues in public schools

LGBTQ education is a controversial topic in public schools, especially with the recent outbreak of bullying and suicide.  On this new edition of OutCasting, we explore the issues LGBTQ children face in public schools, differing views on legislative action, and the benefits and repercussions of this legislation.

In California, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2012, will require public schools to include material on LGBTQ history and notable figures.  Juliana talks this week with California State Senator Mark Leno.  The openly gay Democratic senator was the law's sponsor in the state senate.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the "Don't Say Gay" bill would effectively do the opposite, prohibiting mention of anything that strays from the heteronormative in grades K-8.  Joining us are Brad Palmertree and Callie Wise from the Middle Tennessee chapter of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).

Healthy LGBTQ teen relationships

 

On this edition of OutCasting, we discuss LGBTQ teen relationships and the things that can make them healthy or unhealthy.  Our guests are from the Domestic Violence Education and Prevention (DVEP) Program at My Sister's Place, which provides comprehensive shelter, advocacy, legal services, and supportive services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and human trafficking in Westchester County, New York.

 

Our guests are Kristine Poplawski, L.M.S.W., DVEP Program Coordinator, and Rebecca Drago and Honor Adams, community educators. 


Joseph Birdsong

On this eighth edition of OutCasting, Mady talks with Joseph Birdsong, a YouTube vlogger and musician.  Mady and Joseph talk about growing up gay in a small southern town and the transition to college.  Joseph is known on YouTube as disneykid1 and was previously a part of the YouTube channel 5Awesomegays.

On this seventh edition of OutCasting, we are joined by singer/songwriter and transgender activist Ryan Cassata, a recipient of the Harvey Milk Memorial Award.  Ryan talked with Travis and performed several songs in WDFH's live performance studio.

On this sixth edition of OutCasting, we look back at Prideworks, a regional convention of hundreds of LGBTQ youth and their straight allies.  OutCasting was there and brought back interviews about more sex education that is inclusive to all, whether their sexual orientation or gender expression, and about queer cinema.  Also, a workshop was held at which Dr. Jallen Rix, a talked about his experiences as a "survivor" of so-called "reparative therapy," an often religious-based effort to try to "cure" homosexuality.  Dr. Rix joined us by telephone from his home to discuss this controversional and often damaging approach.

On this fifth edition of OutCasting, we observe and discuss the importance of World AIDS Day, December 1.  Joining us are Twanna Hines, the coordinator of the Comprehensive of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program and co-chair of the Youth Outreach Committee at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, and Santo Barbagiovanni, CHAPS program supervisor with AIDS-Related Community Services.

On this fourth edition of OutCasting, we talk with Alex Sanchez, an author of novels focusing on LGBTQ youth, including Rainbow Boys, The God Box, and most recently Boyfriends with Girlfriends.  Also, a discussion of portrayals of LGBTQ people in the media and literature and of how traditional and new media differ in their treatment of LGBTQ people and issues.

On this third edition of OutCasting, we talk with David Diamond, a volunteer with the Westchester chapter of PFLAG — Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  We will also discuss online reader comments responding to an article about OutCasting in the October 6 edition of The Journal News.

On this second edition of OutCasting, we talk with Dan Savage, the nationally-syndicated columnist, author, activist, and co-founder of the It Gets Better Project.  We also discuss the rash of teen suicides that led to the naming of October 20 as Gay Spirit Day.

  • starting week of 10/3/2011 — Edition 1 — listen now

On this first edition of OutCasting, we talk with Mary Jane Karger about the roles of Gay-Straight Alliances in local schools.  Mary Jane is the Hudson Valley regional co-chair and a national board member of GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).  Also, we decode what all those letters in LGBTQ actually mean.

 


  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)


LOCAL NEWS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

In Focus

WDFH's local public affairs discussion program with regular guest Gary Cahill, publisher and reporter of The Gazette in Croton-on-Hudson.

Enter the following address into your podcatching software to subscribe to the In Focus podcast (the subscription is free):

PODCAST   http://wdfh.org/xml/infocus.xml

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

The Briarcliff Manor Board of Education had its annual reorganization meeting, at which Paul Wasserman, who opposed the board's budget that was voted down on May 21, was sworn in as a trustee.  Many people blame him and his running-mate for what was the school district's first budget defeat in at least 40 years.  It remains to be seen how he gets along with fellow board members as the school year progresses.

The Town of Cortlandt will have a celebration of its 225th anniversary on Sunday, July 28, from 3 to 9:30 p.m. at George's Island Park, Montrose.   It will be an old-fashioned community-style picnic type of event with music, games, crafts fair, and magician, concluding with fireworks.

July 31 is the deadline for applying to be one of the purchasers of 14 two-bedroom "affordable" condominiums at 445 North State Road, Briarcliff Manor.

Ossining schools administrators and teachers agree to salary freezes and minor benefits concessions in new contracts that have been in effect since July 1. 

hosted this week by Tim Podell

A Croton-on-Hudson woman, Laurel Gouveia, has previously offered to
donate her 14-acre property, which has dramatic views of the Hudson
River and beyond, to the village in return for being able to continue
living there property tax-free.  Mrs. Gouveia, now 71, has now
sweetened the offer.  She will give Croton $1 million if is accepts her
property.

Problems of littering and conduct of individuals heats up for
residents along Croton River Gorge as a hot-spell set in, with no easy
answers to control conduct of visitors.

Business Council of Westchester study identifies Ossining as a good place
to help attract "young professionals."

Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct to host "party" on the Double
Arch Bridge from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, to mark completion of
recent work to help preserve the 160-year-old structure.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

  • Longtime Ossining pastor dies

  • Plans are discussed for a museum at Sing Sing

  • A controversial rezoning in Croton on Hudson is approved

hosted this week by Tim Podell

Annual Ossining Independence holiday event Wednesday evening, July 3.  Concert begins at 7:30 p.m., pyrotechnics at nine or thereabout.  Thousands expected.  On Friday, July 5, six-week summer music and film series begins, featuring bands followed by "Ossining-themed" G or PG movies at different locations in the village.  First movie: "20,000 Years in Sing Sing," to be viewed in the lower end of Louis Engel Waterfront Park, northerly adjacent to where the movie was film in 1932 and "under" the former Sing Sing guard tower in the park.

Town of Ossining has a buyer for its former police station on North State Road.  An I.T. firm has agreed to pay $1.475 millionabout $1 million less than is still owed on the bonds used to build it eight years agoand will also have reduced property taxes for seven years.  A "tag sale" of items in the buildingprincipally desks, tables and chairsis slated for Tuesday, July 9, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A recap of area high school graduation ceremonies, including advice from the keynote speaker at Hendrick Hudson's commencementa Class of 1987 Hendrick Hudson High School member, Katie Jacobs Stanton, who is a vice-president of Twitter and a former White House aide.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

  • Briarcliff Manor school budget revote passes

  • New affordable housing opens in downtown Ossining

  • Croton-on-Hudson Democrats choose their candidates

hosted this week by Tim Podell

A critical Briarcliff Manor school budget vote will be held on Tuesday, June 18.  After significant cost cutting, should this budget re-vote go down as did the budget plan defeated on May 21the district's first budget defeat in at least four decadesa "contingency budget" will be required for the 2013-14 school year.

Transition Ossining will be hosting a home gardening class at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, Ossining, on June 30 for people interested in growing their own fruits and vegetables.

There are now six candidates for the two available council seats up for election on the Cortland Town Board: Democratic candidates Debbie Costello and Seth Freach; Democratic primary challengers Domenic Volpe and Brian Pugh, who have recently picked up the Independence and Working Families lines; and Republicans John Lentini and Theresa Knickerbocker. Ms. Knickerbocker was recently elected to her third consecutive two-year term as a Village of Buchanan trustee. An independent who has been elected and reelected a Buchanan trustee with Democratic support, there are grumblings among Republicans in terms of supporting her.

The village of Croton-on-Hudson is considering a First Night celebration for this coming New Year's Eve. The last area municipality to host something similarthe Village of Ossining, about eight years agodropped the idea after the inaugural event.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

Briarcliff schools set "tax cap compliant budget" for June 18 re-vote.  Money is to be included for continuation of the district's participation in Walkabout program.

Sing Sing inmates are exhibiting art at the Ossining Arts Council's Firehouse Gallery,117 Main Street, Ossining.

Former Croton-on-Hudson Village Manager Richard Herbek, 66, a resident of Briarcliff Manor, resigns post as Newburgh city manager after acknowledging to city officials he had a physical relationship with a 33-year-old woman who has a history of prostitution and drug arrests in that Orange County city.

hosted this week by Tim Podell

The 33rd Annual Ossining Village Fair is on Saturday, June 8.  In conjunction with the Village of Ossining's bicentennial celebration, docent-led tours of a 25 piece outdoor sculpture exhibit and tours of historic homes will also take place.

Dale Cemetery in Ossining is now on the state's Register of Historic Places; a historic roadside marker was dedicated on Memorial Day.

The Ossining Fire Department conducted its 64th annual Communion Breakfast on Sunday, May 26th; it is in honor of members who have passed on within the prior year's time.

The Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation will have it's inaugural "Running of the Balls" on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan on Saturday morning June 15th.  Kimerling was a Croton-on-Hudson resident and two time Emmy Award-winning sportscaster who died in 2003 of testicular cancer at the age of 37.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

§         Memorial Day festivities in the communities

§         election and budget roundup

§         Town Hall in the Town of Ossining

§         Village of Briarcliff Manor settles CSEA contract

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

May 2013 elections, specific budget issues and candidates for Hendrick Hudson, Croton-Harmon, Ossining, and Briarcliff Manor

hosted this week by Tim Podell

Town of Ossining Councilman Peter J. Tripodi IV announces he will run for District Nine Westchester County legislator rather than a second four year council term.

The N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection police and New York Guard held the 95th annual tribute to members of the First Provisional Regiment on May 5 at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  These members were the "citizen soldiers" who guarded the New York City watershed and aqueducts during World War I against terrorist activities by German spies or sympathizers.

The Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society held its 40th annual meeting at the Edith Macy Conference Center in Mount Pleasant.  The guest speaker, Village of Ardsley Historian Walter Schwartz, reflected on the lives of V. Everett and Edith Carpenter Macy.  The husband dedicated the approximately 400-acre site and paid for the construction of the first buildings in honor of his wife, who had died a year before the 1926 dedication and had been a longtime member of the executive board of what is today the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.  G.S.A. still owns the site.

  • Discussion about the Ossining Bicentennial celebration

  • Briarcliff fire chief elections, and its leadership structure

  • Expanded Metro-North service, and the impact it has along the Hudson River communities

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

  • Ossining schools find alternate funds for transportation

  • walking tours of Ossining

  • Croton-On-Hudson budget

  • Cortlandt Town Board Democratic candidates

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

  • Ossining school transportation referendum fails to pass

  • Commemoration at Sing Sing for the anniversary of a murdered prison guard

  • Earth Day and environmental activities in Ossining, Briarcliff and Croton

hosted this week by Tim Podell

 

Ossining school district residents vote Tuesday on a proposition to extend minimum eligibility distances for sixth- through twelfth-graders to receive bus transportation.  There is an effort among even strong supporters of the schools to defeat the proposition.

 

The Village of Croton-on-Hudson has won a three-year series of litigation to uphold a controversial rezoning in its Harmon commercial district intended to spur economic vitality in this three and a half block area.

 

It appears that the Briarcliff Manor school board's budget proposal for 2013-2014, to be voted on by the public on May 21,will exceed the state's prescribed tax levy cap.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

  • Ossining Bicentennial celebration

  • Briarcliff fire chief elections and its leadership structure

  • Expanded Metro-North service, and the impact it has along the Hudson River communities

hosted this week by Tim Podell

  • The kickoff of the Village of Ossining's Bicentennial Celebration is Tuesday night, April 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Ossining Public Library.

  • The Village of Briarcliff Manor's tentative budget comes within the state tax levy limit; the Village of Croton-on-Hudson's does not.

  • Area school districts are targeted for state aid increases.

hosted this week by Tim Podell

  • Election results in Buchanan

  • Briarcliff Manor election results including the almost take over of four-term mayor William Vescio from newcomer Laura Morris

  • The Village of Ossining's initial dates for its bicentennial beginning with April 2 200 years to the day that the "Corporation of Sing Sing" was created

  • Questions about several thousands of dollars in revenue that was never accounted for from the sale of scrap metal in Ossining

week of 3/18/2013 listen now

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

A Briarcliff pharmacist has been charged in a $500,000 Medicaid scheme.  Two years ago, he got sympathy from Briarcliff officials and area residents alike when it was proposed that a CVS pharmacy take his independent pharmacy's place at the Chilmark Shopping Center.

We run down the village elections held in Briarcliff Manor and Buchanan on Tuesday, March 19.

Croton-Harmon releases a preliminary 2013-14 budget that complies with state's tax levy cap law; Briarcliff Manor schools consider exceeding their cap.

hosted this week by Tim Podell

The proposed Ossining school budget calls for a tax levy hike lower than permitted under state law.

Briarcliff Manor Mayor William Vescio is being challenged for re-election on March 19.

The State D.O.T. says that if people/local officials are not satisfied with proposed Bear Mountain Parkway Extension upgrades it has planned for later this year, it may not have the work done.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

  • A Briarcliff Manor Fire Department member celebrates his 70th anniversary.

  • County Executive Rob Astorino visits the Town of Ossining for a town-hall-style meeting.

  • Ossining and Hendrick Hudson school districts get new superintendents.

  • Briarcliff Manor school district examines potential changes to the budget.

hosted this week by Tim Podell

Ossining schools will hold a special referendum on Tuesday, April 16, to get needed public approval to change the minimum distances kids must live from their schools in order to get free bus transportation.  It is hoped that if the measure is approved, it will result in a savings of $413,262 in next school year's budget.

A new "Energy Improvement Corporation" has the Town of Ossining and Village of Croton-on-Hudson among its first members.  It is intended to provide low cost financing for energy conserving upgrades to certain multifamily homes.

The state Department of Transportation will hold public informational meetings on the DOT's plan for long-desire upgrades on the Bear Mountain Parkway Extension in Cortlandt and Peekskill.  Slated to begin later this year, the primary intent is to prevent cross-over head-on collisions.   The meetings will be held on Wednesday in Peekskill (at the Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Avenue) and Cortlandt (Cortlandt Town Hall, 1 Heady Street).  Both meetings will run from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

hosted this week by Ian Isanberg

The new Fox TV show "The Following" filmed this week in the Town of Ossining, using the town's former police headquarters.

U.S. Representative Nita Lowey, a critic of the Indian Point Energy Center, toured the Buchanan plant earlier this week with Allison Macfarlane, the relatively new chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Lowey, a 24-year incumbent, has been at the plant numerous times since being elected to the House but this was the first timedue to reapportionmentshe visited with the nuclear plant as part of her congressional district.  No big surprises came during a somewhat awkward press conference that followed.  Macfarlane says the plant continues to operate safely; Lowey says the N.R.C. should consider during its licensing extension review that if this was a proposed facility, it would never be approved due to the density of population in the greater metro area.

Croton-Harmon schools administration is eyeing cutting some positions in order to have a 2013-14 budget package that falls within the state's so-called "tax levy cap law."  All area school districts are eyeing cuts, some significant, as in Ossining's case (covered a few weeks ago on In Focus), in this second year of the levy cap law.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

  • MetroNorth reported its second-highest ridership year for 2012

  • Croton still discussing repairs to Yacht Club bulkhead and possible restaurant on adjacent property

  • The annual Eagle Fest conducted by Teatown is held February 9 from 9-4; www.teatown.org/eaglefest for more info

  • "Times Square Hero" Duane Jackson tries to keep his trustee seat in Buchanan

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Briarcliff Manor People’s Caucus has voted to nominate Howard Code for Village Justice, a contested position, which probably will result in this candidate’s ultimately being elected to the position this Spring.

St. Theresa ‘s Catholic elementary school in Briarcliff Manor and Assumption Catholic elementary school in Peekskill are being closed by the Archdiocese of New York as a result of increased cost and declining enrollment.

There are two Intel Finalists from the area.  They will compete in a field of 40 in March for scholarships.  The students are Daniel McQuade from Ossining High School and Chris Traver from Croton High School.

The Ossining Public School Board is struggling to trim between $3 million and $4 million from the budget, which it will present on March 1 in order to comply with the state mandated tax cap.  Some suggested cuts are the ice hockey program, reducing the number of class sections in the elementary grades (thereby increasing class size), and eliminating free bus service for those students who live a shorter distance from school.  The School Board will continue to hold regular meetings and the public is welcome to make suggestions.

Pacifica Radio network is now available as a free app on I-phones and I-pads.  The app includes links to member stations, like our own WDFH!

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

In a surprise move, Briarcliff schools' superintendent Neal Miller will be resigning effective June 30, only two years into his five-year contract.  The reasons are not known.  High school principal James Kaishian will move up as interim superintendent and the school's assistant principal, Debora French, will move into Mr. Kaishian's spot.

The Croton-Harmon train station parking lot is jumping into the twenty first century with the advent of license plate readers to replace the sticky tags currently in use by permit holders.  The new system is scheduled to go into effect June 1.

Ossining will hold a public hearing on approximately $3 million in necessary budget cuts.  Please share your thoughts on Wednesday, January 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Claremont school.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

This year’s Intel Finalists have been named Four were from Ossining High School, one from Croton High School, and one from Briarcliff Manor High School.   Among the projects is an effort to increase enzyme production in a protein that kills cancer cells.

The Briarcliff Manor People’s Caucus will hold an election to nominate a candidate for elected Village Justice to replace Judge Fred Weinstein, who is not seeking re-election.  The candidates are Lori Sullivan and Howard Code.  The election will be held on January 23 from 3:00 until 9:00 p.m. at the Briarcliff Manor Youth Center; the formal election will be on March 16, 2013.

 On Saturday, January 5, the Cooperative Scholarship Fund, a not-for-profit organization that raises money for African American students in Ossining, held its annual Martin Luther King event at Ossining High School.  About 120 persons attended.  The honorees were Dr. Phyllis Glassman, retiring Ossining Schools Superintendent, Martin MacDonald, Director of the Ossining Public Schools Cable Services, and Rev. Arthur Lewter, Pastor of Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Ossining.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Lifelong resident and active Briarcliff community member Eileen O'Connor Weber passed away on December 30 at the age of 94.

Last chance for Briarcliff public information meetings on cleanup of school athletic fields: January 8 at 7:30 p.m. and January 12 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Briarcliff Middle School Theatre.

Croton EMS begins public relations campaign for reinvigorating current members who are inactive as well as attracting new volunteers.

The Ossining school board seeks three community members to sit on superintendent candidate review panel.  Contact the clerk's office at 941-7700 ext. 1317 or ossiningufsd.org.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

January 1 will see the inauguration ceremonies of Ossining Village Board of Trustees’ John Codman III and Victoria Gearity as well as Mayor William Hanauer.  In addition, Sandy Galef will be sworn in for another term as State Assemblywoman and David Carlucci will be inaugurated as State Senator.  The ceremony begins at noon at the Ossining Community Center.

At 2:00 p.m. on New Year’s Day, the new officials of the Ossining Volunteer Fire Department will be sworn in for the 2013-2014 term by Mayor Hanauer.  The ceremony will take place at the State Street Firehouse.

The Briarcliff Manor People’s Caucus will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday, January 8,  at 8:00 p.m.  Notably, David Venditti has announced that he will not seek re-election for the office of Village Trustee, and there is an opening for the post of Village Justice.

The Ossining Town Board has released its budget and there is no longer any funding for the Police Resource Officer at Ossining Middle School, which is in the Town of Ossining.  The Resource Officer for the high school is funded by the Village of Ossining.  The matter is controversial as the two schools serve children in several towns that comprise the school district as well as the “Town Outside.”  There is a feeling that the Ossining school district or the other towns serviced by the the schools should pick up some of these costs.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

On December 5 and 6, AMD Middle School in Ossining presented a two day program for students that involved a strong anti-bullying message.  Kirk Smalley, who lost his own son to suicide, was the speaker.  He travels the country with his emotional appeal for empathy and involvement from the students, entitled “Stand for the Silent.”  The program was sponsored by the Ossining Public Schools and the Ossining Communities that Care.

On Friday night, the Ossining Volunteer Fire Department will gather at AMD Middle School to assemble the food gift baskets for the 97th annual Baker-Collyer Cheer Fund, to be delivered  early Saturday morning, Dec. 22.   The correct address for donations is P.O. Box 508, Ossining, NY 10562.   In previous years, the address was in care of the Town of Ossining at the Municipal Building on Croton Avenue.

Four area senior citizens were inducted into the Westchester County Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, to honor them for their volunteer efforts.  They are: Joseph Lalak of Briarcliff Manor, Marie Turner of Cortlandt Manor, Carol Shanesy of Croton, and Laura Seitz of Croton.

The Croton-on-Hudson Board of Trustees, over objections from residents, voted to approve the upgrade to Croton Point Avenue in order to make the access to the train station easier and safer, especially for bicyclists and pedestrians.  The $2.8 million plan will cost residents $1.2 million in taxes.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The Ossining Fire Department is the oldest in the county at 200, and with about 400 members it's also one of the largest.  New Chief Jason Lorenz and First Assistant Matt Scarduzzio, along with Second Assistant Chief Angelo Manicchio, who ran unopposed, will be sworn in on January 1, 2013.  Current Chief Thomas Reddy will step into the official title of Deputy Chief, ready to lend assistance in times of need.

The Ossining Community Crib has been displayed in Washington Square for 27 years, and for 30 years before that it was in municipal spaces.  The dedication this year was celebrated with the St. Ann's Church Choir and local legislators.

The Cortlandt emergency food bank needs food and money, citing a 30% increase in demand this year.  Checks can be sent to 19 Old Post Road South, Croton 10520.  Meanwhile, youths known as the "God Squad" solicited donations in front of the Holy Name of Mary Church for CHOP (Caring for Homeless Of Peekskill) for the fifth year running.  And the 97th Baker-Collier Appeal to benefit needy Ossining households is happening.  Donations can be sent to Town of Ossining, 16 Croton Avenue, Ossining 10562; on Friday, December 21, members of the Ossining Fire Dept will be at the A&P in the Chilmark shopping center assembling baskets for hundreds of hungry families.

Additional charitable opportunities can be found at townofossining.com and villageofossining.org.

Croton is debating returning their local election date to March from November.  Even though the turnout is higher in November, some feel that the consideration of local issues may get lost in the national and state level races.  Also, the certification by the Board of Elections was delayed due to their busyness, causing the swearing-in to be pushed back to December 10.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

After 71% of residents voted to maintain the position of Highway Superintendent as an elected one, Mike O'Connor is revealed to be suing Ossining over their use of moneys to promote their idea that the position should be an appointment.

The Village of Ossining has asked a local public relations team to create an updated logo and tagline for use next year during the bicentennial celebrations.

A proposal to reduce the number of refuse collection days from two to one is being bandied about.  Tax savings might be about 2%.  Public comment is currently being sought.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Many in the Hudson communities remain critical of Con Ed's handling of the outage issues following Hurricane Sandy.  Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi will put in a formal complaint to the state; Governor Cuomo has promised to look into the issues.  Gary discusses what happened to some boats in the storm, as well as talking about residents of the trailer park and the Red Cross trailer's effectiveness.

Bill Hanauer was elected to his fourth term as mayor of Ossining.  John Codman and Victoria Gearity are trustees now.  The Ossining town highway superintendent position will not become an appointed position but remains and elected one we discuss the ins and outs of that sticky wicket.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Hurricane Sandy and other storms are due to strike our area today and the local Hudson River communities are preparing for possible flooding, tree damage, and power outages.  Since Metro North suspended service as of Sunday night, the parking lots at both the Croton and Ossining train stations are closed, since high tides and the storm surge are likely to produce flooding in these low lying areas.  The Ossining Community Center will serve as a shelter and also a location to use electric power to charge cell phones for those whose phones are down due to loss of cable service.

Due to the storm, the local candidates’ debate, scheduled by the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce, has been postponed; a new date hasn't yet been announced.  The Briarcliff Manor Garden Club’s annual Fall Fashion Show has also been postponed to November 14 at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

The four member Advisory Committee to the Croton Board of Trustees regarding Croton Volunteer Ambulance Corps has made its recommendations to the Board, in light of the need for faster response times and understaffing.  They are in favor of keeping the organization as primarily a volunteer service, but with a paid EMT and supplemented by mutual aid, such as from the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps.  They threw the understaffing issue right back at the Board, however, and stressed the need to attract and retain at least 70 volunteers (right now there are seven active volunteers who handle 600 calls a year).  This is the only way, in their view, to provide effective emergency services.

Ossining held a parade last Saturday for Ossining High School and the Ossining Public Schools to celebrate their winning Intel awards such as the Star Innovator Award for having the number one science program in the country.  Ossining competed with schools having admission criteria to attend.  The parade and rally drew approximately 500 people, including officials from Intel Corporation as well as state, county, and local officials.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Evidentiary hearings are under way at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown.  Allegations presented by Riverkeeper, Clearwater, the State of New York, and others against Entergy on a variety of issues of concern.  According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website, "Open to public to listen only.  Due to the proprietary nature of some information discussed in the evidentiary submissions for NYS-6/7 and RK-TC-2, the Board may be required to close portions of the hearing on those contentions from public viewing."  The licensing for the continued operation of the plant hangs in the balance.

The Village of Sing Sing was founded in April of 1813, and the Village of Ossining plans a year-long bicentennial celebration.  On the schedule are home and historic building tours, art/photography/sculpture/writing displays, possible prison tours, and many other events.  All events will be free or "reasonable priced," says the 20-member advisory committee.  About $45,000 has been raised so far and an additional $65,000 is sought.

A Family Matters workshop will be held at the Dorner Middle School on Tuesday, October 23, at 6:30 p.m.  The event, which includes a dinner, is free to local parents of students in grades 5 through 12 and will address such issues as bullying, social media, parent liabilities, and the dangers of the home medicine cabinet.  Registration is required.  Visit http://ossiningctc.org/familymatters.html for more information.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

On October 5, the young child of Manuela Morgado was laid to rest.  Jason Reish is believed to have been asphyxiated by his mother on October 1 in their Mamaroneck home.  Ms Morgado then allegedly tried to end her life by overdosing but did not succeed.  She and the boy's father, Tim Reish, lived in Ossining at one time.  The father's eulogy was heartwrenching.  Ms Morgado remains in custody under suicide watch.

Brooke Astor intended a large bequest for local churches as well as the New York Public Library and the New York Museum of Modern Art.  All Saints Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal have already received bequests from the estate, which was embroiled in a legal dispute involving Mrs. Astor's son, Anthony Marshall.  A recent auction of some remaining items has netted about $19 million, however, which should provide for additional checks to be written.

Community Markets, which runs 18 markets in the New York metro area, started out in Ossining and has long wanted to have a twelve month market there.  The Ossining Board of Trustees should grant them their wish, and this winter should see a Saturday market at Market Square, where Spring Street meets Main.  The location is outdoors.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The Croton Yacht Club is leased on an acre and a half of village owned property, and the annual rent is $12,500, which some residents feel is too low.  There is about $3 million worth of repair work to be done to the bulkhead which the village would find hard to afford, and the property is currently available only to members.  Some proposals include a restaurant, but concerns abound.  The Board of Trustees is looking to work this out.

The section of Main Street in Ossining between the post office and the train station is still awaiting its facelift, but the federal department of Housing and Urban Development is holding their promised $300,000 in abeyance due to the county's dispute over affordable housing.  Ossining has decided to go ahead with the repairs anyway and pay back any loans with the money when it eventually materializes.

The Ossining Rotary Club held a fundraiser recently which raised about $5,000 for an agency devoted to polio eradication.

Ossining High School's business department was cited by the New York State Department of Education Business Teachers' Association.  Debra Jacoby teaches business there.

Brian Lehrer of WNYC spoke recently to residents at the Club at Briarcliff Manor about social media.  Other speakers in the past have been Robert Klein and Leonard Lopate.

Croton-on-Hudson Democrats held their primary and selected their slate for the November 6 general election.  There are two out of five seats open on the Village Board of Trustees, so the candidates selected are incumbent Ann Gallelli and 23 year-old Kevin Davis.  The Croton Democratic Committee had selected Ms. Gallelli and Andrew Levitt to run, but Mr. Davis challenged the slate and prevailed in the primary.  Since there are no Republican challengers this year, it is expected that Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Davis will win in the general election and join the all Democrat Village Board.

Clifton Travis, an Entergy employee who is a Security Guard at the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, is suing Entergy for $20 million in compensatory damages and $1.5 billion in punitive damages.  Mr. Travis claims that Indian Point security is extremely insufficient and in need of both plant upgrades and improved training and equipment for the security staff.  He claims he has been put on unpaid leave and criticized for "whistleblowing."

The public informational session regarding improvements to Croton Point Avenue and the access roads to the Croton Metro North railroad station was held last Tuesday night, in spite of the severe weather heavy rain, wind and power outages in the area.  Although this may have accounted for low attendance, the Croton Board of Trustees went ahead and heard mostly opposition to the plan, particularly the cost (now raised to $2.8 million, up from $2.5 million).  There is currently no future meeting held, but interested persons have until October 5 to contact the village with their comments.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The dedication ceremony for the placement of a Blue Star Byway Marker was held recently in Briarcliff Manor.  The Marker, which comes from the blue star on the U. S. Armed Forces Service Flag, was placed in the Pocket Park located on Pleasantville Road in the business district of Briarcliff Manor.  It is the 9th to be placed in Westchester County and it honors and reminds us to remember those who have served and are presently serving in our Armed Forces.

Ossining High School was recognized as first in the nation by the Intel Corporation, which awarded the high school its annual Star Innovator prize.  The school was cited for its Science Research program, in which students work on a project for three years with an outside mentor, and for its Robotics program.  Administration officials, including Superintendent Phyllis Glassman and Principal Joshua Mandel, were in Washington, D.C., last week to receive the award, which also includes a monetary grant to the High School.

A $100,000 reward is being offered by the parents of Alexander Grant for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of person(s) in connection with the death of their son.  Alexander Grant was a 19 year old Briarcliff Manor college student who was visiting another Briarcliff Manor student at Skidmore on March 5, 2011, when he wandered off from a party, broke into a building and left without his clothes.  His body was found two days later in a creek.  Although he had a .16 blood alcohol level, this would not seem to account for this irrational behavior, and the local police have no answers.  There is a phone number to call with information: (877)216-9588; or a website which can be found by searching Alexander Grant on your web browser.

There will be a public information meeting on Tuesday, September 18, at 8:00 p.m. at the Croton Municipal Building on Van Wyck Avenue in Croton to discuss proposed changes to Gateway Plaza and Croton Point Avenue at the entrance to the Croton Harmon Metro North Station, to improve safety and relieve traffic congestion during rush hours.  The cost to Croton residents for the improvements, which would include installation of traffic lights, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes, is estimated to be $900,000 after Federal, State and County aid money is taken into account.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Ossining Matters held its 5K Run/2 mile Walk on Sunday, with at least 259 runners crossing the finish line.  The race, which began in front of the Post Office on Main Street in Ossining, continued along the Old Croton Aqueduct and looped back, finishing on the Double Arch Bridge near the Community Center.  This year, the first place winner was Louis Francisco, a 41year-old man from Mahopac.  The first place female was Kristin Vespa, 22, who was the female winner last year.  Ms. Vespa graduated from Ossining High School and was a member of the Cross-Country and Track teams.  The second place finisher over-all was Ryan Sweeney, 17, a current member of the Ossining High School Cross-Country Team.

The Toughman Half Triathalon competition was held Sunday, beginning and ending in Croton Point Park.  The three event race raises money for charity and this year had over a thousand participants from 25 states and other countries.  There were a lot of concerns raised about the road closures, particularly on Routes 9 and 9A, which resulted in lengthy traffic back-ups.  The closures were announced ahead of time and they were scheduled on a Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., but there was still a lot of confusion and congestion, so it is anticipated that the event will be reviewed by the prevailing authorities before scheduling it for 2013.

This year's 9/11 Memorial events include a dedication in Croton at Croton Landing Park of a new sculpture constructed from a beam from the North Tower of the former World Trade Center.  The service will be Tuesday, September 11, at 3:00 p.m. at the Park.  Ossining Village and Town will hold a service at Engel Park at the location of 2 markers installed right after the tragedy.  The Ossining memorial will be at 6:30 p.m. with various civic groups attending such as the Village and Town Boards, Police and Fire Departments, and Boy and Girl Scout Troops.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Ossining Matters, the foundation set up to support the Ossining Public Schools, will hold its 10th annual 5K two mile Run/Walk on Saturday, September 8.  The race begins at 9:00 a.m. sharp and runs along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.  Registration is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in the Community Center, or if not participating, interested persons may make a contribution to the organization.

On Sunday, September 9, the 5th annual Toughman Half Iron Marathon will be held in Croton Point Park.  The event begins with a swim in the Hudson River, followed by biking and a running race, finishing up at the Park.  It should be noted that from 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Routes 9 and 9A Southbound will be closed from Peekskill to Briarcliff Manor to accommodate the racers.  Within the Park, there will also be "Tough Teens" and "Tough Kids" versions of the competition.

The Briarcliff School Board approved the proposed $1.5 million remediation plans for its two practice fields' contaminated soil.  The Board voted to send the plan to the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State Health Department for their approval of the measures to be taken.  State approval is expected, and the work to cap the fields and apply natural turf should take about one to one and a half years to complete.

The Town of Cortlandt and the Village of Verplanck have a new Veterans' Park on the Hudson River in Verplanck.  Recently, an aviation playground was dedicated to the late Jim Martin, who ran the Peekskill Seaplane base from that location since the 1950s.  Mr. Martin, who owned the land now dedicated as a park, had refused to sell to real estate developers, choosing instead to give it by will to the people of the Town for their use as a park.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The Ossining Board of Trustees settles with Policeman's Benevolent Association on a five year contract that will include some retroactive coverage.  One result is that active employees and future retirees will contribute to health care expenses.

September 8 will mark the tenth anniversary of the 5K run and two-mile walk benefiting Ossining Matters, an organization that helps provide local schools with needed aid.  To register, visit ossiningmatters.org.

We update the case of Maria Villa Loja, charged with the suffocation of a five-month-old infant in her care.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Inaugural Ironman U.S. Championship was held this past Saturday in New Jersey and New York with a local connection: the winner, Jordan Rapp, is a former resident of Briarcliff Manor.  The 32-year-old Mr. Rapp graduated from the Hackley School and has been living in California, where he is a professional triathlete.  The event was nearly canceled earlier in the week due to a sewage spill into the Hudson River off Sleepy Hollow, but Westchester County officials were able to repair the leak and remedy any contamination which would have harmed the swimmers.

The Briarcliff Manor School District has a new Trustee: Jonathan Satran was appointed by the School Board for the new year.  Mr. Satran was chosen from among three candidates and was selected due to his background as a financial analyst and his extensive involvement in and knowledge about District affairs.

In a related story, the Briarcliff School District has approved financing and construction of a new playground for kindergarten through second grade at the Todd School.  The playground should be finished by the second week of September.

The Town of Cortlandt has announced the opening of a new Veteran's Park, dedicated to honor all members of U.S. Military serving in all wars.  The new park is located along the Hudson River in the Village of Verplank and is actually the site where Continental Troops in the Revolutionary War massed to cross the Hudson to Stony Point en route to the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

A task force convened to study areas of the Croton River for safety hazards following the recent drowning death of a Bronx man has toured the river by boat.  They report many areas of erosion and hillsides used by too many people to be safe.  One 19-acre parcel, the Croton Gorge Unique Area, has no regulations against campfires, overnight use, or how the area can be responsibly utilized.  Currently managed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, one possibility would be to allow the area to be transferred to the auspices of the state Parks and Recreation department, which could better patrol and regulate the land.

The joint Buchanan-Cortlandt-Croton 9/11 memorial is moving into completion of the first phase.  Called "Reaching Through the Shadow," a 16-ton boulder was recently placed on the site in preparation for a carefully positioned girder from the towers.  Eventually, a bronze statue of a woman reaching up will be added.  The girder will cast a shadow on medallions encircling the boulder depicting, on every September 11, the events at various times on that day.  Phase One is scheduled for dedication on this year's eleventh anniversary of the tragedy.

Ossining is looking to make the superintendent of highways position and elected one, rather than by appointment.  A recent public hearing and other public input seems to indicate the town is not in favor of this change, saying that Michael O'Connor, currently in the position, is doing "a fine job."  The last public hearing on the issue before it goes to vote (as the town seems to want) will be August 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ossining Public Library.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

On July 24, a Bronx man was pronounced dead at the scene on the Cortlandt side of the Croton River.  Carlos Cholco had jumped in to rescue two of his children.  He succeeded in saving the kids but perished himself.  The Village of Croton and the Towns of Ossining and Cortlandt are concerned about safety in and around the river; task forces are being created.

Assemblyperson Sandra Galef renews her call for legislation requiring operators of motorized boats to pass an eight hour safety course.  The legislation has been stalled, but a compromise excluding rentals and allowing purchasers extra time to take the course may help it pass.

Waterview Drive in Ossining was the scene of a large underage party on July 19.  Two teens were treated at Phelps Hospital for alcohol poisoning; others were issued desk tickets.  Ossining Communities That Care and other civic groups have begun an awareness campaign, including the revival of the decades-old phrase, "It's ten p.m.  Do you know where your children are?"

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Town of Ossining will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, August 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ossining Police-Court Facility on Spring Street regarding the recent proposal to abolish the elected position of Town Superintendent of Highways.  The Ossining Town Board is required to pass a resolution in September regarding this change to local law in order to schedule a referendum on the ballot in November, when the public would vote on the measure.  If the post is abolished, the position would be filled by appointment of the Board.  Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly has no problem with the current Superintendent, Michael G. O'Connor, who would be permitted to serve out his full term, but would like to avoid the possibility of having a new Superintendent every two years who might not be qualified for the post when there are a lot of long term public works projects being planned.  Others have argued that having an elected Superintendent makes the department more responsive to the people of the Town.

The Village of Croton will hold elections in November for the first time as opposed to March.  Since this past March, residents voted to change the annual election date to coincide with the general election.  The Village will save some money, but local issues could receive less attention among the state and national concerns of the other candidates.  In September, there will be a primary for the two democratic candidates.  Ann Gallelli and Andrew Levitt were nominated by the local party, but Kevin Davis has filed his petition to primary for a place on the ballot.  The two winners will be on the Democratic line on the ballot in November.  There are no Republicans nominated to oppose them.  Ms. Gallelli is a long time Croton public servant and incumbent; Mr. Levitt is a six year resident who is active in local Croton politics; Mr. Davis is a 23 year old third generation Croton resident whose family has also been involved in politics.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Village of Briarcliff Manor Planning Board has given final approval to the site plan authorizing expansion of the Chilmark Shopping Center.  The result will be the addition of a 13,900 square foot C.V.S. store and the relocating or elimination of other, smaller stores.  The property owner will be required to make improvements to the property, including reconfiguring the parking lot, adding sidewalks, and planting trees to blunt the impact of the C.V.S. "wall" which will face residents on the Pleasantville Road side of the property.  In addition, the C.V.S.'s hours will be limited to 7 a.m. to midnight and there is to be no overnight unloading of trucks or steam cleaning the parking lot.  Other improvements in lighting and employee parking will also be required.

The village of Croton-on-Hudson, which gets its water from Village owned wellfields (unlike Ossining, which gets its water from the Old Croton Reservoir), has enacted temporary mandatory water restrictions.  The purpose is to reduce demand during the peak summer months to protect the pumping equipment and other infrastructure.  It will restrict watering lawns, washing cars, etc.

Scarborough Park, which is a small peninsula on the Hudson River and is the only riverfront owned by Briarcliff Manor, is the subject of a 50-50 grant application to the state for funds to improve it.  There is pending a $1 million plan to restore the shoreline, which has suffered from erosion, and also to provide amenities, such as benches, tables, paths, and a floating dock to accommodate kayaking.  Should the application be denied (this is the third application), the village of Briarcliff Manor is likely to still restore the shoreline, reinforce rip-rap, and take other steps to prevent further erosion, or else the land itself, and thus the size of the park, will be forever lost.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Dr. Phyllis Glassman, Ossining superintendent of schools, announced her retirement as of January, 2013, at the June 28 school board meeting.  Dr. Glassman has been with the district for more than 20 years, and stated there were various reasons for her decision.  She has received numerous accolades during her career.  Many expressed disappointment at her leaving.  A search for a permanent replacement will probably take place next spring.

Rosella Ranno, who has served two years of her three year term on the Briarcliff school board, announced her resignation effective June 30.  The union free district is required to fill her seat within 90 days by appointment or election.  Applications for the position must be received by July 23.

The Town of Ossining has not had a property tax reassessment since 1972, but they are looking into one now.  It would cost about $150 per parcel of land, and some owners would be facing increases as others (probably newer properties) would see no change or a decrease.  The tax cap rules might create some issues.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Voters in the newly configured 17th Congressional District, which now includes Ossining, Croton-on-Hudson, Cortlandt, and Peekskill, will be voting for Congresswoman Nita Lowey on the Democratic side or Joe Carvin on the Republican side.  Ms. Lowey is currently representing the 18th District, which has been altered due to reapportionment in New York.  Mr. Carvin won the Republican nomination for the seat and is the present Rye Town Supervisor.

Bryan Johnson, a 26-year old Ossining resident and graduate of Ossining High School, drowned in a boating accident off of City Island last week.  His body was recovered from Long Island Sound on Tuesday, June 26.  The circumstances of his death are unclear and the accident is being investigated by the New York City Police Department.  Mr. Johnson, a supervisor at a Tarrytown hotel, was the son of Sheila Lilley, a corrections officer at Sing Sing prison, and the grandson of Thomasina Laidley-Brown, the Chair of the Ossining Town Democratic Committee.  His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, July 3, at 11:00 a.m. at the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Ossining.

Dr. Kusum Sinha has been tapped by the Briarcliff Manor Public Schools to the new full-time position of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Assessment, and Human Resources.  Dr. Sinha was formerly an assistant superintendent in the Croton Harmon School District, where she was highly regarded and which she left in order to pursue her Ph.D.  Briarcliff Manor Schools has functioned with a number of interim positions for several years and conducted an extensive search before hiring Dr. Sinha.

A petition with 1,500 signatures will be presented this week to the New York State Department of Transportation and local legislators on behalf of the Town of Cortlandt and the family of a deceased motor vehicle accident victim.  The petition calls for construction of a center median barrier along the length of the Bear Mountain Parkway in the Town of Cortlandt.  This stretch of roadway has been the site of numerous accidents, including fatalities over the years.  The Town of Cortlandt has been asking the State D.O.T. to take this step.  The latest fatality occurred in December, 2011.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The former site of Testwell Laboratories, which occupied about eight acres just south of Ossining's correctional facility, has been languishing for between one and two years since a foreclosure and bankruptcy in 2009.  The bank, instead of "mothballing" the building, has been maintaining it and its equipment.  Now a company engaged in similar testing will be leasing the space and the equipment.  HAKS Engineering is tri-state based and will, among other things, be using its services to test materials on the new Tappan Zee Bridge.  A zoning variance needed to be obtained, however, for them to use the spaceGary explains the ins and outs of zoning changes.

The Ossining town board may present a referendum to unincorporated Ossining residents on the November ballot which would eliminate the elected position of highway superintendent and instead have an appointed position.  The department also handles sewer, drainage, water, and bridge issues as well as area roadways.  Mike O'Connor, the current highway head, will continue in his post until the end of 2013 either way.  Mr. O'Connor seemed unaware of the pending change at the board meeting last week.

Gary, a fount of information, tells us about the ups and downs of "oil and chip" grading on roads.

Nita Lowey has two Republican challengers who will face off in this week's primary.  Jim Russell of Hawthorne and Joe Carvin of Rye are vying for the privilege of going up against Ms. Lowey, a veteran of more than 20 years in Congress, in November.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

This week from Tuesday through Friday, residents and businesses of Briarcliff Manor are being asked to conserve water due to testing of the new state-of-the art filtration and purification project installed by the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation.  This project affects water coming from the Catskill Aqueduct and the project's cost to Briarcliff Manor property owners will be substantially less than if they had to purchase water from other sources, such as Ossining or New Castle.  This is due to funding by the Federal government under President Obama's stimulus package.

Town of Ossining Supervisor Susanne Donnelly will hold her third monthly Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ossining Public Library's Budarz Theater.  The agenda will include: (a) proposed revisions to Ossining's accessory apartments law, which would relax some of the requirements, such as enlarging the size of such units and shortening the waiting period before a home addition qualifies to become an apartment; (b) new information on the impact to the unincorporated section of the Town if Districts 17 and 20 vote to separate from the Town and become part of the Village of Briarcliff Manor; (c) an update on the Supervisor's communications with Westchester County regarding the County's use of the Town Police building rent-free and for non-police uses.

Croton's E.M.S.'s services may be reviewed and/or changed due to lagging response times, although service had been expanded with assistance from the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps.  One alternative to this understaffed agency would be to become part of the Mid-Hudson Ambulance District, as OVAC is, which is paid for through local taxes.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The Ossining Town Board is proposing limiting smoking in the four major town parks.  The ban would exclude smoking in playgrounds, game courts, pavilions, athletic fields, and dog parks, requiring smokers to move at least 50 feet away to indulge.  This would become a law, if approved, punishable by a fine.  There is a public hearing on June 16; information is available on townofossining.com.

The Harmon neighborhood in Croton has been in controversy for over three years regarding zoning.  Some want to rezone to allow more density among the thirty-odd commercial properties involved.  The Democratic majority feels that allowing mixed use (residential and commercial) would be helpful, while others say the burden on schools and infrastructure services would be detrimental.  The Board passed a revised version of the proposal last month, but it has been challenged and will be on hold for at least another four months.

Elsewhere in Croton, for the first time since it was founded in the 1890s, Croton residents will be voting at the same time as the November general elections, instead of in March as they historically did.  There are two trustee seats up for grabs, and Croton Democrats have endorsed Ann Gallelli and Andy Levitt as their candidates.  There may not be a Republican candidate, although a possible September 13 primary may change that up as there is still time.

The Maryknoll School, which is celebrating its Centennial this year, has set aside 42 of its 67 acres as a conservation easement.  This will restrict development and protect much of the natural beauty that is there.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Ossining village held ribbon cuttings last Saturday at three local parks.  Sparta Park was re-landscaped and enlarged, which provided it with a new playground, walking paths, and benches and a gazebo overlooking the Hudson River.  Nelson Park was improved by adding lighting for its tennis courts enabling night-time play; the poles were donated by the U.S. Tennis Association in Queens.  Crawbuckie Nature preserve was landscaped and enlarged providing paths and Hudson River Overlooks for hikers.

Ossining Mayor William Hanauer and his partner for 38 years, Dr. Alan Stahl, were married in a historic ceremony at Sparta Park on June 3.  Ossining residents and officials were in attendance as well as family, friends, and colleagues of the mayor and Dr. Stahl.  The ceremony was officiated by Lynda Clements, who is the Minister of Ossining's First Presbyterian Church.

Three responders in the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps received recognition and citations from the Westchester Regional Emergency Medical Services: Gary Conklin, Joyce Wilson, and Joseph Bucchignano.

The Ossining Village Fair will take place in downtown Ossining on Saturday, June 9, from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m., with a raindate of Sunday, June 10.

The Ossining Historical Society and the Campwoods Association staged a Civil War re-enactment on Saturday, June 2.  The re-enactment included soldiers, dances, and ceremonies honoring those from Ossining who served in the Union Army and Navy.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Kim Izzarelli, a Republican, has stated that she will challenge long-time incumbent Sandra Galef for the 90th/95th state assembly seat.  (It is currently the 90th district, but will become the 95th district when the new borders go into affect later this year.)  The two candidates differ on state mandates and other issues.

Frank DeMaria, a master of Kung Fu, was sentenced to seven years in state prison.  Mr. DeMaria was convicted in February of nine counts of various levels of child sexual molestation for acts committed in his Croton school.  Multiple sentences will be served concurrently.

An incident in 2011 between Rosella Ranno and Sal Maglietta of the Briarcliff school board that allegedly took place in the parking lot of a polling place is now closed.  Ms. Ranno claimed Mr. Maglietta approached her in the dark lot and caused her alarm.  After an order of protection was issued and Mr. Maglietta was arraigned, a trial was set for January, but the judges recused themselves.  The case was transferred to Lewisboro, but all parties have now agreed to adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (A.C.D.).

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Briarcliff Manor's school vote produced no surprises, with a 73% approval for the budget and the two board seats going uncontested.  Residents were no doubt responding to the fourth annual decrease in expenditures and the promise of no layoffs in the district.  Ossining's budget also passed, and the two incumbents won back their seats leaving newcomer Sharon Abreau coming in third.  The library, back to being a part of the school vote after a year as a separate entity, also saw its budget passed, and Alice Joselow, Art Jay, and Lucinda Manning were elected to the board.  And Hendrick Hudson's budget, also passing, will save six full-time positions.

On January 12, 2010, Luiz Carlos da Costa of Ossining was working as second in command of U.N. peacekeeping forces in Haiti when he was killed by the cataclysmic earthquake that struck there.  Ossining recently honored the memory of Mr. da Costa by dedicating Quail Hollow Road as "Luiz Carlos da Costa Way" in a ceremony including his wife and many supporters.

About 25 years ago, a Westinghouse employee working near the Indian Point power plant found a cockatiel and, despite advertising, an owner was not found.  When the worker returned to his home near Pittsburgh, he took the parrot with him.  The owner recently contacted Gary Cahill of The Gazette to talk about "Wes," who is now about 27 years old.  If anyone feels Wes is rightfully his or her bird, please contact the newspaper.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Ossining and Briarcliff Historical Societies will host Peter Falk Night at the Ossining Public Library on Thursday, May 17, at 5:00 p.m.  The event will include memorabilia of Mr. Falk's (who grew up in Ossining and graduated from Ossining High School).  There will be a showing of his film, "The In-Laws," which co-starred Alan Arkin.  Tickets are $15.00 and must be purchased in advance.

The Ossining Public Schools Budget and School Board election will be held Tuesday, May 15, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Ossining High School gym.  The budget for the coming year is $106.5 million, which is less than the state tax levy cap.  There are three candidates running for two open seats: Dana Levenberg (incumbent), Kimberly Case (incumbent), and Sharon Abreu.  The Library Budget and Board election will be held simultaneously with the School vote.  The proposed library budget is $3.65 million and there are five candidates running for three seats: Arthur Jay, Lucinda Manning, Maddi Zachacz, Alice Joselow, and Allyn Heald.

The Briarcliff Manor Public Schools will hold their budget and school board election on May 15, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The proposed budget is $47.6 million, which is under the state tax levy cap.  There are two candidates running for two open seats: Michael Haberman and Dina Brantman.  In addition, there is a proposed bond for capital projects in the amount of $10.5 million, mainly for athletic fields and facilities.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Duane Jackson, who two years ago reported smoke from an SUV parked in Times Square, thereby earning the moniker "Times Square Hero," has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees in Buchanan.  The position has been vacant since January, when Jane Hitney resigned.  Mr. Jackson still plans to face off against Republican Representative Nan Hayworth in November.

On May 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cortlandt Town Hall, there will be a meeting with state D.O.T. representatives and others on addressing congestion along the Rte 202/6/35 corridors as well as the Bear Mountain Parkway.

The Briarcliff Manor/Scarborough Historical Society held its annual meeting on April 29.  A profile of The Manor House and the Law family proved fascinating; Gary fills us in on the particulars.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Village of Ossining has adopted a local law containing restrictions for applicants who seek to operate pawn shops in the village.  Under State law, the village is not permitted to ban such businesses altogether, but may otherwise regulate them by setting certain conditions.  Here, for example, there is a restriction as to the location within the Village for any potential shop in the Route 9 corridor at the north or south ends of town in business districts.

The family of Alexander Grant, a Briarcliff Manor college student who died last year while visiting a friend at Skidmore College due to accidental drowning and exposure after being served excessive amounts of alcohol at a house party, have filed a wrongful death action against nine current or former Skidmore students who allegedly served Mr. Grant even though he was a minor.  Apparently, the Saratoga police have had little success at learning what happened that night, as these students have not been very forthcoming, so Mr. Grant's family is hoping for answers through the civil lawsuit.

This past Saturday, the Ossining Post Office had a formal unveiling ceremony of a new "Forever" stamp with Ossining's Jose Ferrer on it.  Mayor William Hanauer attended, as did Ossining's historian, William Reynolds, who also attended a celebration of the late actor's 100th birthday in New York City at the Players' Club.  Also present at the N.Y.C. event was Jane Clark, formerly an administrator at the Ossining Public Library.  Ms. Clark was a long time neighbor of Mr. Ferrer and provided many anecdotes about him.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

On April 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joseph Caputo Community Center on Broadway, there will be an information session on what it might mean to merge the services of the Town of Ossining and the Village of Ossining, as well as possible annexation of about a third of Ossining to the Village of Briarcliff Manor.  Be there if you're a resident!

On April 12, longtime resident and purveyor of musical instruments and lessons to Ossiningites, Robert Galassi, passed away.  Gary talks about his life, career, and legacy.

A U.S. postage stamp honoring Ossining native and actor José Ferrer will be unveiled on April 26.  Mr. Ferrer was born 100 years ago this past January and died twenty years ago, also as of January.  Ossining's ex-historian, Bill Reynolds, will attend along with Mr. Ferrer's widow, Stella Magee.  (Gary also reminisces about Peter Falk, another Ossiningtonian, and other notable natives.)

The four-mile stretch of the Bear Mountain Parkway between Routes 6 and 202 in Cortlandt has had more than its share of vehicular fatalities, and the Town of Cortlandt has been trying to rectify that.  Their latest hope is to install median barriers on at least the upper two miles.  Watch for petitions to be circulated.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

A new program was announced in the Ossining area called "Community Helping Hands."  This is a new organization which aims to help local senior citizens age "in place."  In other words, they will provide volunteers to take seniors to doctors, shopping, and to cultural events to enable them to remain in their homes rather than having to move to a senior living type arrangement (which they might not be able to afford).  The kick-off will be held at the Landmark Diner between 5:30 and 8:00p.m.; reservations are requested.  Call 346-7773.

The Ossining School Board has released its proposed budget for the 2012-2013 school year.  It calls for $106.58 million in spending, which is an increase of 2.92 over last year. This budget does not violate the "2 per cent cap" imposed last year by the State legislature, since the formula for Ossining (in order to achieve tax equity relative to property values and other factors) allows it to increase up to 3.23 per cent.  The budget vote will be held on May 15.

The Hendrick Hudson High School 10th annual film festival will be held on April 20 beginning at 6:30p.m.  The keynote speaker will be Andrew Jenks, a former Hen Hud student and founder of the festival in his senior year.  Mr. Jenks is currently hosting a program on MTV.

The Croton Free Library recently held its 75th Anniversary Celebration at the library in the Ottinger Room.  Mr. Egon Ottinger was remembered for the generous gift (at least $750,000) he made upon his death about 20 years ago which enabled the Library to expand to its present size.  The celebration coincided with the launch of a major capital campaign in order to upgrade the technology at the Library.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

James Biear of Ossining worked as a caretaker and chauffeur for the grandson of the newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer.  During his employment from 2005 to 2007, Mr. Biear stole $3.2 million and an Andy Warhol "Heinz 57" box from Kenward Elmslie, an 81-year old poet.  Mr. Biear was sentenced to ten years in prison last week.

85% of the Village of Briarcliff Manor is in the Town of Ossining, and 15% is unincorporated, comprising election districts 17 and 20.  Many residents of those two districts would like to be annexed into Briarcliff Manor as well.  Gary explains the reasoning and what's next.

Ossining's 13-year-old accessory apartments law may be changed.  A public hearing is scheduled for the last week in April to discuss increasing the square footage, appeals for those turned down for a permit to have an apartments, and altering the three-year waiting period.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

On May 4, 1812, the Washington Hook and Ladder Company was formed in Ossining.  A celebratory dinner was recently held at the North Side Firehouse attended by many area notables.  In the 19th century, Ossining was one of the most heavily populated areas in Westchester, acting as a major river port for local farm goods.  We discuss some history as well as the remarkable longevity of fire apparatuses in Ossining.

Among the issues presented in the May 15 school budget vote in Briarcliff will be work on the school fields using synthetic turf; other fields would make do with 20 inches of subsoil and natural grass as a barrier to certain iffy substances previously used there.  Additional HVAC upgrades are planned.  It's also planned to have a largely neutral effect overall on property taxes.  We discuss re-lamping throughout the district (installing new LED lights) and the county.

In an effort to improve safety on the main corridor approach to the Croton-Harmon Metro North train station, local officials plan to install a bike lane and an additional sidewalk on Croton Point Avenue.  This would remove any existing on-street parking, which business owners are not happy about.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The proposed redistricting of state senatorial districts has passed.  This moves the town and village of Ossining to the 38th District across the Hudson River and joins it to Rockland County.  This proposal was widely criticized as gerrymandering, which Gov. Cuomo had indicated he opposed, but the measure passed nonetheless in return for the State Legislature's agreeing to reforms to the state pension system.

Town of Ossining Supervisor Sue Donnelly held her first "Town Hall" style meeting to hear the concerns of the residents of the "Town Outside," which is the unincorporated area of the Town of Ossining.  Among the issues that came up were the use of the baseball fields in Ryder Park and the number of group homes located in the area.  There will be a Town Hall meeting scheduled every six weeks.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Ossining has now approved the $41.5 million capital project plan.  Voters had previously rejected proposals asking for more money, but now plans can move forward on significant improvements to the Dorner Middle School and Ossining High.  The school district is now putting forth a $105.9 million budget proposal, which includes a tax levy increase, though costs are being pretty well kept in check.  There is an April 12 deadline to finalize that figure; voters go to the polls on May 15.

On December 31, a congressional option to allow leasing of a portion of the Veteran's Affairs property in Montrose expired.  As a result, the Enhanced-Use Lease plan (EUL) announced about ten years ago, cannot go forward putting the kibosh on 17 projects across the country.  Some of them involved housing, with a "preferred" status given to veterans.  In return for leasing 160 of the 172 acres at Montrose, the facility would have gotten some state-of-the-art clinic space.  Opponents to the plan are happy, but should Congress reopen the books, they hope any final results would be less dramatic.

Hundreds of local folks commemorated the anniversary of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan by marching from Croton to Buchanan.  On Sunday, March 11, at 3:36, a moment of silence was observed, and the march ended up at the gates of the Indian Point facility.  Some anti-nuclear demonstrators added color to the scene, but it was a peaceful observation for the most part.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The bond referendum for the Ossining Public Schools will be held Tuesday, March 6, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Ossining High School gym.  The School District seeks to borrow $41.5 million over 20 years for capital projects, such as roof and boiler replacement, as well as adding classrooms in the High School science wing and making improvements to the auditorium.

A new program, "Energize Ossining," will kick off on Thursday, March 8, at the Community Center in Ossining.  This program invites homeowners to have their homes evaluated in terms of energy use and will offer cost effective solutions to saving energy.  The audits will be free.  Two Ossining politicians, Village Trustee John Codman and County Legislator Catherine Borgia, volunteered their homes to be audited on Saturday, March 3, and the public was invited.

The Ossining Rotary Club will celebrate its 90th anniversary on March 23 with a dinner at the G.E. Management Institute.  Tickets are $40.00 per person and reservations must be made by March 16 in order to attend.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The bond referendum for the Ossining Public Schools will be held Tuesday, March 6, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Ossining High School gym.  The School District seeks to borrow $41.5 million over 20 years for capital projects, such as roof and boiler replacement, as well as adding classrooms in the High School science wing and making improvements to the auditorium.

A new program, "Energize Ossining," will kick off on Thursday, March 8, at the Community Center in Ossining.  This program invites homeowners to have their homes evaluated in terms of energy use and will offer cost effective solutions to saving energy.  The audits will be free.  Two Ossining politicians, Village Trustee John Codman and County Legislator Catherine Borgia, volunteered their homes to be audited on Saturday, March 3, and the public was invited.

The Ossining Rotary Club will celebrate its 90th anniversary on March 23 with a dinner at the G.E. Management Institute.  Tickets are $40.00 per person and reservations must be made by March 16 in order to attend.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Harbor Square project, having been "on hold" for several years, has been revived, in that the developers Capelli and Ginsberg have come forward with a revised plan for the Hudson River site in Ossining.  They are seeking to amend their site plan and will present their new plans to the Ossining Planning Board on February 28 at the Armory on Rte. 9 in Ossining.

The Briarcliff Public Schools Ad Hoc Facilities Committee has come out with its recommendations for the schools, which if adopted will cost approximately $9 million.  They exempted from their proposal the issue of the contaminated practice fields and softball field, located at the high school, since the school board was already deliberating various proposals for remediation.

The Croton Conservation Advisory Council will have the first of its free monthly programs at the Croton Library on February 28 at 7:00 p.m.  The topic will be cost effective types of remediation people can use for soggy yards and gardens.  Future programs include protecting your property from deer and dealing with invasive plants.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The ribbon has been cut on an additional 730 parking spaces on the west side of the Cortlandt Metro North railroad station.  Although there are not as many trains stopping there as at Croton-Harmon to the north, this should ease congestion and allow for commuters who had been waiting to receive a parking permit.  Croton-Harmon itself may soon find the need to increase parking, although it is the largest accommodation with 2,100 spaces.  (Unlike Cortlandt, which is owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the town of Croton owns the parking at their station.)

Ossining Mayor Bill Hanauer and Supervisor Sue Donnelly are waging a P.R. campaign against what they claim is gerrymandering.  Recent redistricting has placed Ossining in the 38th senatorial district, thereby connecting it with Rockland county.  Mr. Hanauer, Ms. Donnelly, and others say that many of the issues facing Ossining have little in common with the county across the Hudson and that being lumped together makes no sense.  Residents are urged to visit the Town and Village websites for information on how to express their opinion to the Legislative Task Force on re-apportionment.  Public hearings are being held for another couple of months.

Briarcliff Manor, which holds no partisan elections, has caucused two nominees for the Board of Trustees: Mark Pohar and Robert Murray.  Although they will run unopposed, the Town is urging all residents to turn out for the March 20 meeting if they support these candidates, as a write-in campaign could toss in a monkey wrench.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Frank DeMaria, a retired Westchester County police officer who ran a martial arts studio in Croton, was convicted last week of sexually molesting four of his minor students.  He remains in the County Jail awaiting sentencing.

Briarcliff Manor Public Schools announced that they will be firing all of their teacher's aides effective at the end of the present school year.  The Board plans to hire teaching assistants, who are paid a little bit more than teacher's aides but who are fully licensed teachers who have not found employment as teachers.

Community Markets, the business that founded and operates the Farmers' Markets in the area, was granted a permit to hold an indoor winter market in the vacant Blockbuster store on Maple Avenue in Croton.  The winter market will run through the end of May on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

A 14-foot, one-ton girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center is to be the focus of a 9/11 memorial which is a bit behind schedule.  Supporters hope to break ground this coming September, but meanwhile money is needed, so a fundraiser at The Cove (former Crystal Bay location) is planned for February 12.  Tommy Sullivan of The Brooklyn Bridge will play and tickets are only $35.  Checks for this worthy cause should be send to BCC 9/11 Memorial, Box 153, Buchanan, NY 10511.

Miriam Haas started Community Markets in Ossining about 20 years ago and now runs 19 markets around the area.  Croton had an indoor location for winters but had to leave and has been housed temporarily at the train station.  They are hoping to move into the former Blockbuster location for Saturdays from 9 to 1, but some are concerned about traffic and parking, as well as taking business away from existing merchants in the shopping center.  There will be a public hearing on February 6 at 8:00 p.m. at the municipal building on Van Wyck St.

Gary tells us a little history to the Harmon part of Croton and discusses a proposed rezoning application that might affect the Harmon Commercial district sales office, a concrete building on Benedict Boulevard that currently houses a nail salon.  Croton has lost many historic buildings, and some don't want to lose this one.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The annual Eagle Fest event will take place on Saturday, February 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in several locations along the Hudson River in our area, including the Echo Small Boat and Canoe Launch in Croton.  Binoculars and guides will be available in some locations.  If the weather is inclement, the alternative date is Sunday, February 5.  It is a great opportunity to see many bald eagles who reside in great numbers each year as they "winter over" here.

As a result of the last census, there is a plan in the works in Albany to possible reconfigure certain State Legislative Districts, including that of State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef of Ossining.  The result would be to eliminate the portion of her District that now includes parts of Putnam County.  The State Senate District now held by Suzi Oppenheimer, however, would change in that the Town and Village of Ossining would become part of the 38th Senate District, which is in Rockland County.  There is a push against the plan and the Governor has indicated he may veto such a move.

There will be a public meeting at the Ossining Public Library on February 2, at 7:30 p.m. regarding the problem of "Library Overlap" involving residents of the Ossining School District, (the tax entity that pays for the Library) who also live in Briarcliff Manor or Yorktown and support their own local libraries through other property taxes.  Possible solutions will be discussed by state representatives, and a task force will be organized among those interested in donating their time.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Ossining High School announced that four seniors have been chosen as semi-finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search competition.  They are Frances Russell, Evan Olin, Emily Prentiss, and Amelia Clements.  Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to become a finalist in the competition.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection will soon begin a major project to upgrade and replace much of the internal mechanisms and structure of the Croton Dam.  The agency also announced plans to downsize the original project, which would have included enlarging the dam to deal with spillway issues when there are major storms in the area.

Democratic State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer announced that she will not seek re-election this year, as she requires shoulder replacement surgery, which will involve a lengthy recovery period.  Senator Oppenheimer is 77 years old and has served in public office for 28 years as both state senator and mayor.  Bob Cohen, a Republican who has challenged Sen. Oppenheimer in the past, announced that he would seek to replace her.  The Democrats have yet to name a candidate for the seat.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

The Village of Ossining has filled a vacancy with Ingrid Richards, who had been interim assistant village manager since last spring.  The part-time position commands a salary of $50,000 and there was a field of fifteen candidates from whom Ms Richards was chosen.

The Ossining school board has held all informational meetings on the proposed $41.5 million budget and has decided to send it to the public for a vote on March 6.  There will be no tax impact if the budget is adopted; necessary repairs will take place and some of the original wish list items from last year's defeated $69+ million proposal will also be included.

The People's Caucus in Briarcliff Manor has nominated two candidates to replace the outgoing Robert Mayer and Anthony Capasso.  Robert Murray is an attorney with planning board experience and Mark Pohar is a registered nurse now working in administration at St John's.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Briarcliff Manor is unusual in its electoral process in that the village, founded in 1902, holds a People's Caucus open to all residents eligible to vote.  This year's caucus will be held on Wednesday, January 11, at 8:00 p.m. at the Briarcliff Manor Middle School theatre.  Up for nomination are two board seats being vacated by Robert Mayer, who is not seeking re-election, and Anthony Capasso, whose term is up and who is unsure if he will try again.  Gary Cahill explains the procedure for nomination.  If more than two candidates are nominated on the 11th, the issue goes to an actual vote on January 25 at the youth center between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. to narrow the field to two.  Briarcliff is proud of its 110-year history of non-partisan politics.

Ossining school board's suggested $41.5 million improvement package was met with some skepticism at a recent meeting.  At issue are the approximate $18 million dollars in critical infrastructure repairs which were included in last spring's $69 million dollar referendum, which was defeated.  The repairs still need to be made, but Ossining High School principal Joshua Mandel says that additional classroom space is necessary to offer sufficient instruction to an anticipated increased number of students.  Other improvements are folded into the new amount, which because of debt retirement is not supposed to increase taxes.  The school board meets on January 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Roosevelt Educational Center to decide if the referendum will go to a spring vote.

Ossining-based Community Markets is looking to install a winter-month farmers market in the old Blockbuster building in Croton.  The building, which has been vacant for over a year, is located in the Van Wyck II shopping center.  Residents are concerned about parking for existing retail stores in the center as well as traffic on the street.  The planning board will meet soon; Community Markets hopes to open on February 11 for Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

The Town and Village of Ossining newly elected officials began their new terms on January 1 with an inaugural ceremony held at noon at the Ossining Community Center.  At least 150 people attended the ceremony as ten new officials were sworn in, including a new Town Supervisor, Susanne Donnelly, and several judges for the new Town Court — John Fried and Michael Tawil.

The Town of Ossining recently signed a new contract with its Teamsters Union (Highway and Parks workers) that contains provisions requiring payment of health insurance premiums for the first time, which are variable depending on the level of compensation.

Ossining Public Schools will again float a bond referendum for capital projects in the amount of $41 million.  There will be a public meeting on Tuesday, January 3, at A.M.D. Middle School, and Saturday, January 10, at Ossining High School.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Community Based Services (C.B.S.) runs 20 or so group homes in the lower Hudson region, including one on Hawkes Close in Ossining.  The house directly adjacent has been vacant for over three years, and C.B.S. would like to take it over as well.  It is thought that, should this happen, it would be the only instance of two such homes next door to each other in New York.  It should be noted that the residents, with mild developmental issues, have so far been good neighbors.  New York's Padavan Law on site selection in these cases may preclude approval; the town attorney is investigating.

Last spring, Ossining residents defeated a $69 million referendum which included about $18 million in critical repairs and the balance to cover upgrades for projected enrollment growth.  The school board explained then that due to retiring debt, very low interest rates, and hungry contractors, it was a good time for the bond, but residents disagreed.  A new vote is planned for June 2012 for $41 million, which will include the critical repair work and a reduced amount for upgrades.  Informational meetings will be held on:

§         Tuesday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Anne M. Dorner Middle School;

§         Thursday, January 5, at 10:00 a.m. at the Ossining Public Library; and

§         Saturday, January 7, at 10:00 a.m. at the Ossining High School.

Bethel Homes, a senior residential services provider in Ossining, celebrates its 100th anniversary.  Founded in 1911 at Bethel Methodist Homes in Brooklyn, the nursing home relocated to an estate in the Camp Woods section of Ossining in 1920.  A new building was erected in 1954 and they expanded about ten years ago.  Now located on Narragansett Avenue in Crugers and Springvale Road in Croton, Bethel has become a fixture of Ossining area senior care.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Gary remembers two men who had a great impact on the people of Ossining and who passed away recently: Thomas Camberiere, who was the former Mayor of Ossining and owner of Rocky's Millwood Deli, and Stan Carney, who was the custodian of Park School for 39 years and retired several years ago at the age of 84.

State Education Commissioner John King visited Ossining and congratulated the School District on two creative programs: the Science Research program at Ossining High School, which has won awards and resulted in a number of Intel Scholars, and the First Steps program which, through largely private funding, identifies families with preschool children in need of literacy and language instruction as a family so that the children come into the school system prepared to succeed.

hosted this week by Melinda Battle

Ossining approved its 2012 budget; their fiscal year follows the calendar.  Although the state has mandated a 2% tax increase cap, there was a public hearing just before the budget vote and Ossining board members voted to override that, calling it "unreasonable," among other things.  Taxes will go up 4.23%, meaning an increase of about $120 per year for the average homeowner.  The good news is that there are no town layoffs planned; five positions will clear by the end of the year through attrition.  Mayor Bill Hanauer reiterated his belief that there should be no reductions in necessary services.

There are 14 municipalities in the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition, including Croton, Ossining, Cortlandt, and Peekskill. S ome proposed action items are to put solar panels on municipal buildings, convert government vehicles to hybrid or electric, and other ideas.  One that has been put into action has been to replace traffic signals' bulbs with L.E.D.s, which consume only 10-20% of that used by traditional high-pressure sodium bulbs.  The N.W.E.A.C. estimates a two-year payback.  County and state roads are in various stages of doing the same.  Some concern over the origin and quality of the bulbs has been expressed.

Briarcliff schools have two more years on their capital facilities plan but the viable proposals for fixing the contaminated fields range from $1.4 million to $3.65 million.  Other minor work will be incorporated into the work.  A low-interest-rate bond proposal vote is slated for May 15.

Croton has a new village historian.  Dorothy Dymes Pezanowski, a third-generation Croton resident, will take up the position vacated when Mary Lambruschi passed away in October.  The position is strictly voluntary.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Briarcliff Manor Public Schools announced that that first meeting of its Ad Hoc Committee on Facilities will take place at Briarcliff Manor Middle School Cafeteria on Thursday December 8, at 9:00 p.m.  The public is invited to join the committee as voluntary members.  Among the issues expected to be discussed is the remediation of the contaminated soil on the practice fields at the high school and middle school complex.

Briarcliff Manor Public Schools came to an agreement with its teachers recently.  There will be a three year contract with increases of 2.3% per year, as well as changes to the health insurance benefit package, including lifetime premiums and a minimum service period before obtaining lifetime coverage.

On Saturday, December 10, at 10:00 a.m., there will be a site inspection by the Briarcliff Manor Planning Board at the Chilmark Shopping Center.  The Board is considering the application of the owner of the shopping center, Urstadt Biddle Properties, for an amendment to the current site plan to allow for building a large C.V.S. store on the property. The site inspection is open to the public and will focus on the effects such development will have on parking and traffic flow in the area.

hosted this week by Jane Botticelli

Briarcliff Manor high school and middle school practice fields, which have been closed since 2010 due to soil contamination concerns, can be remediated through one of seven possible options, which were presented at a public informational meeting recently.  The audience heard from a toxicologist and the Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Briarcliff School Board will either decide on one of the options or hold further info sessions.

The Croton E.M.S. just contracted with Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps to have OVAC provide a paid E.M.T. available 24/7 to the Croton Service.  This will enable them to build up their own volunteer staff in order to continue to provide 24 hour service and should result in increased response rates and decreased response time.

The Baker-Collyer Cheer Fund in Ossining is seeking donations in its 96th year of providing holiday food baskets to needy area families.  The goal this year is $16,500.00, and donations may be made by sending a check to the Offices of the Town of Ossining, payable to Baker-Collyer Cheer Fund.


  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)


NONPROFITS

For the Greater Good

For the Greater Good is a half-hour weekly program enabling representatives from local not-for-profit organizations and groups an opportunity to promote themselves.  Hosted by Di Morgan, discussion will focus on activities, programs, services, events, and the need for funds and volunteers.

PODCAST   http://wdfh.org/xml/greatergood.xml

Open Door Family Medical Centers (encore presentation)

Anita Wilenkin and Grace Beltran describe the high-quality yet affordable medical services delivered to thousands of people by Open Door Family Medical Centers. The organization works to reach very low-income residents who lack health insurance or have no other health care options. Learn more at www.opendoormedical.org.

Rockland County Haiti Relief
Natural disasters have plagued the people of Haiti, but Rockland County Haiti Relief keeps hope alive.  The all-volunteer group collects school supplies, medicine, tools, and more and delivers it into the hands of Haiti’s most needy.  RCHR coordinator Sandra Oates describes other initiatives to purify water, provide vocational training, and create community gardens, to name a few.  For details, visit www.RocklandCountyHaitiRelief.org.
Wolf Conservation Center (encore presentation)
Promoting an understanding about wolf behavior and preservation and how they
contribute to our environment is the mission of the Wolf Conservation Center
located in South Salem, Westchester County.  Maggie Howell discusses her
group's battle since 1999 to save endangered wolf species too.  Learn more at
www.nywolf.org.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

Each year, the motorcycling community takes part in the New York Metro Ride for Kids, an important fundraiser for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  Volunteers along with riders make it fun for everyone who participates in this Central Valley event.  Jack Jones provides details. Learn more 
at www.curethekids.org/rideforkids.

Community Emergency Response Teams

Volunteers support first responders when serious incidents occur as members of CERT, or Community Emergency Response Teams.  Rich Edelman and Pete Dandreano of the Town of Greenburgh CERT discuss how group members are trained and what they do to support police, fire and other professional responders.  Learn more at www.greenburghny.com.

Pleasantville Circle of Friends

Folk musicians find friendship and feedback at the Pleasantville Circle of Friends.  The group holds monthly song swaps and an open mike.  Founded by Jody Stockhamer and Jim Dirlam, the group is open to all.  Follow the group as Pleasantville Circle of Friends on Facebook.

  • week of 6/10/2013 — encore presentation
     

  • week of 6/3/2013 listen now

Clearwater

For more than forty years, Clearwater has advocated for a cleaner Hudson River.  Executive Director Jeff Rumpf talks about Clearwater’s history and how it works with young people to create a new generation of environmental leaders.  Learn more at www.clearwater.org.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel (encore presentation)

A view of the stunning Hudson Highlands makes scenery unnecessary at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, held at the Boscobel Mansion in Putnam County.  Executive director Maggie Whitlum discusses the 2013 season.  Learn more at www.hvshakespearefestival.org

Literacy Volunteers of the Tarrytowns

 

Literacy Volunteers of the Tarrytowns makes it possible for immigrants to learn to speak English.  Mary Jane Driscoll and two other volunteers explain the groups need for more volunteer tutors.  Learn more at www.lvtarrytown.org

Bezcak Environmental Education Center

 

Jason Muller from the Bezcak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers discusses how his organization helps adults and children learn about and understand the role the Hudson River and its animal inhabitants play in our loves and in our larger environment.  Learn more at www.Bezcak.org.

Al-Anon

 

Al-Anon is an organization that supports those who must deal with an alcoholic family member or friend. The group is open to anyone seeking help and incorporates a twelve-step program similar to the one used by AA. Two Al-Anon volunteers share their stores and experiences.  Learn more at www.westchesterputnamalanon.org.

Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless

Low-income people are the first to suffer in a recession, and the last to recover.  The Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless works to alleviate the problem.  More at www.westchestercoalition.org.

  • week of 4/22/2013 listen now

    Scenic Hudson — devoted to preserving resources and shaping development along the Hudson River

     

    A leader in the launch of the modern environmental movement,  Scenic Hudson has been preserving resources and shaping development along the Hudson River.  Jay Burgess discusses the organization's 50th anniversary, its major projects, its parks, volunteer opportunities, and more. For more info, visit www.ScenicHudson.org.
     

  • weeks of 4/1, 4/8, and 4/15/2013 listen now

Westchester Children's Association

The mission of the Westchester Children’s Association is “Every child healthy, safe and prepared for life’s challenges.”  Cora Greenberg and Allison Lake describe how W.C.A. works to keep the well-being of local children at the top of the public agenda.  Learn more at www.WCA4kids.org.

Westchester Institute for Human Development

Using technology and research, the Westchester Institute for Human Development works with thousands of individuals with various disabilities to improve their quality of life. The organizations Chief Operating Officer, Dr. David O'Hara, discusses this forty year old organizations accomplishments and victories over the years.  More information at www.WIHD.org.

Westchester Alliance for Telecommunications and Public Access

Norm Jacknis from the Westchester Alliance for Telecommunications and Public Access (WATPA) discusses how his volunteer group helps nonprofits in the area with their internet needs.  WATPA also advises municipalities on cable TV and internet-related issues and public policy.  Learn more at www.watpa.org.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel

A view of the stunning Hudson Highlands makes scenery unnecessary at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, held at the Boscobel Mansion in Putnam County.  Executive director Maggie Whitlum discusses the 2013 season.

Greenburgh Nature Center

Greenburgh Nature Center is a 33 acre nature preserve tucked away off a busy road in Scarsdale in lower Westchester.  Executive Director Margaret Tjimos Goldberg and Anne Jaffe Holmes explain why their educational programs, animal collection, hiking trails, and concerts  keep visitors coming back again and again.  Learn more at www.greenburghnaturecenter.org.

River Spirit Music brings concerts home

Local concert producer Peter Shafran goes no further than his living room to put on a show.  He discusses how he started River Spirit Music, a house concert series enabling guests to experience a musical performance in an intimate setting where you can get up close to the performer.

Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry

Find out how the Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry prevents low income pet owners from having to give up their animals.  The pantry relies on donations of cash and pet food to help more than two hundred pet loving families in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland.  Founder and president Susan Katz discusses the details and how the public can offer support.  More at www.hvpetfoodpantry.org.

Patients at local VA hospitals can become actors for a day thanks to the volunteers with the Veterans Bedside Network

Old radio and TV show scripts serve as the basis for a few hours of great fun at local VA hospitals. Volunteers with Veterans Bedside Network visit VA hospitals and lighten the mood as patients act out parts and forget their worries.  Learn more at www.veternasbedsidenetwork.org.

Open Door Family Medical Centers

Anita Wilenkin and Grace Beltran describe the high-quality yet affordable medical services delivered to thousands of people by Open Door Family Medical Centers. The organization works to reach very low-income residents who lack health insurance or have no other health care options. Learn more at www.opendoormedical.org.

United Way's Community Conversations Surveys
Shannon Cobb and Susan Sheflein join us to talk about United Way's Community 
Conversations Surveys.  Over the next few months, residents have the chance
to voice their opinions on what our community needs to focus on over the
next four years.  Surveys may be taken online or in person, and volunteers
are needed to help with this effort.  More at www.uwwp.org.

Help for victims of Hurricane Sandy

Victims of Hurricane Sandy still have a few days left to register with FEMA and SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance for financial aid.  Learn about how these agencies are helping those affected by the devastating storm and how to seek help if you haven’t yet.  More at www.FEMA.gov.

Westchester's Volunteer Center of United Way

New York State is ranking low in the area of volunteerism, according to a national survey of all fifty states.  But finding a suitable volunteer opportunity is easy locally, through The Volunteer Center of United Way.  Executive director Alisa Keston sheds light on her agency’s efforts to join nonprofit groups with those wishing to donate their time.  Details at www.Volunteer-Center.org.

Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services

This week we speak with Mae Carpenter, Commissioner for the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services.  Older adults can find help there with everything from how to age in place and live independently to locating nutrition centers, legal help, information about social security and Medicare, and much more.  Details at www.seniorcitizens.westchestergov.com.

Childcare Council of Westchester

Whether you’re a childcare provider or a parent, many resources are available through the Childcare Council of Westchester.  This week, executive director Kathy Halas discusses her agency’s efforts to support parents in their search for good quality childcare and ongoing professional development for those providing that care.  Learn more at childcarewestchester.org.

The Wolf Conservation Center

From their live wolf cam to encouraging visitors to howl to attract their residents, the Wolf Conservation Center, located in South Salem, is devoted to raising awareness about the importance of wolf conservation and preservation.  The center teaches people about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future.  Learn more at www.nywolf.org.

More information about getting help from FEMA following Hurricane Sandy

More than 8,700 Westchester County residents have applies for post Hurricane Sandy assistance from FEMA and the Small Business Administration’s office of Disaster Assistance.  Guests Gary Weidner and Bradford Caldwell provide information on how to proceed if you are at first denied assistance and the application process for an SBA low interest loan.  Help is available from both agencies for both homeowners and businesses, but you must apply through FEMA first. Learn more at www.disasterassistance.gov and www.SBA.gov.

Hope's Door

Hope's Door aids victims of domestic violence in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties.  Staffers CarLa Horton and Ann Ring describe their agency's  ability to help with counseling and support, a shelter, legal assistance, a teen dating awareness program ,and a 24-hour hotline.  For details go to www.northernwestchestershelter.org.

Getting post-storm assistance from FEMA

If your home or business suffered damage as a result of the recent hurricane, you may be eligible for financial help from FEMA. Spokesperson Gary Weidner provides details on the application process for assistance and details the types of losses that may be reimburseable for you, your home or business. Learn more at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-888-621-FEMA.

Green Chimneys, catering to the needs of children and animals

Green Chimneys transforms the lives of children with behavioral challenges through animal assisted therapy and other nature focused activities.  Join Kristen Dionne and Michael Kaufman for an informative exploration of this unique organization that supports children and animals in need of rehabilitation.  Learn more at www.greenchimneys.org.

The Loft, providing a community center and support services for Westchester’s LGBT adults

The Loft is Westchester’s community center for LGBT adults.  Executive director David Juhren discusses how his organization works to educate the public about gay rights and LGBT issues and serve as an advocate for equality.  At the Loft, LGBT adults will find support groups, resources, activities and events, health and other social services, and legal assistance.  The Loft seeks to further the cause for inclusion, diversity and pride.  Learn more at www.loftgaycenter.org.

United Way of Westchester and Putnam

Education, income, and health are the three primary areas of concern for the United Way of Westchester and Putnam.  Executive Director Naomi Adler discusses the agency’s fiftieth anniversary, its nonprofit partners, problems and issues in the community receiving the most attention, funding, and the importance of volunteers who serve our community in many ways.  Learn more at www.uwwp.org.

Westchester Residential Opportunities promotes fair housing policies

From homebuying preparation and foreclosure counseling to eviction prevention and access to housing for disabled people, Westchester Residential Opportunities endeavors to educate consumers about their rights and the laws that protect them.  Deputy executive director Andrea Klausner and fair housing director Marlene Zarfes detail WRO’s many services and programs.  Learn more at www.wroinc.org.

SPCA of Westchester

The SPCA of Westchester battles animal cruelty, places unwanted and neglected pets in new homes, and assists low-income pet owners with medical care.  Lisa Bonano, SPCA development manager, talks about how her organization works to raise community awareness about the many animals awaiting adoption at their Briarcliff Manor shelter.  Learn more at www.spca914.org.

Common Ground Community Concerts

Supporting both local and nationally touring musicians, the eleven year old Common Ground Community Concerts is a major player in Westchester's live music scene.  Founder Carter Smith discusses the venues and how the series supports charitable causes.  Learn more at www.commongroundfusw.com.

Putnam and Westchester Independent Living Center

Advocacy, benefits, educational transition, nursing home transitioning these are just some of the areas where individuals with disabilities can seek support through the Putnam and Westchester Independent Living Center.  Di talks with Joe Bravo about this nearly-35-year-old agency, which is dedicated to serving those who only wish to have what the rest of us may take for granted: a chance to lead a full and barrier-free life.  Learn more at www.wilc.org or www.putnamils.org.

Neighbors Link

Neighbors Link strives to educate, empower, and employ Latino immigrants living in Central and Northern Westchester.  Executive Director Carola Bracco sheds light on her agency’s efforts to provide a wide range of services, ranging from classes for English and parenting and computer classes to a job bank for both skilled and unskilled workers.  Neighbors Link also works to achieve a healthy integration of immigrants into the greater community.  Learn more at www.neighborslink.org.

Historic Hudson Valley

You need not travel far to explore local historic sites, thanks to the work of Historic Hudson Valley.  Rob Schweitzer and Ross Higgins discuss HHV’s site preservation efforts and special events.

Historic Hudson Valley is a not-for-profit educational organization that celebrates the history, architecture, landscape, and material culture of the region.  Rob Schweitzer and Ross Higgins discuss HHV’s ownership, restoration, preservation, interpretation, and promotion of these local historic landmarks of national significance, including Washington Irving’s Sunnyside and the Rockefeller estate known as Kykuit.  Learn more at www.hudsonvalley.org.

Mount Vernon United Tenants’ director Dennis Hanratty discusses the power that organized tenants have to protect their rights

For thirty years, Mount Vernon United Tenants has organized renters to enable them to insure their rights as renters are protected and to work for legislation that supports affordable housing in Westchester.  MVUT works on local, state, and federal levels to call attention to the need for working class people to have access to rental housing that’s in line with their income.  Executive Director Dennis Hanratty discusses how MVUT prevents hundreds of renters from being evicted and organizes tenants to fight for increased services and more affordable rents.

Westchester Disabled On the Move

Westchester Disabled On the Move offers information and referral, housing advocacy, service coordination for those transitioning to independent living, benefits advocacy and peer counseling.  Executive Director Mel Tanzman discusses how the agency works to improve the quality of life and the rights of all people with disabilities in our area.

The Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland

Student scholarships, a steel band, and cricket matches are just a few of the activities conducted by members of JAMCCAR, the Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland County.  Longtime volunteer Dr. Clover Hall describes how JAMCCAR fosters good relations and close association with Jamaicans and friends.  The group conducts programs to celebrates the civic, economic, and cultural aspects of the Jamaican, Caribbean, and Pan-African communities.

Westchester Land Trust 

Thanks to the work of the Westchester Land Trust, thousands of acres of “wild” land are protected for the enjoyment and appreciation of our community.  Executive Director Candace Schafer discusses W.L.T.’s dedication to land preservation and stewardship and to education about environmental land  preservation issues.

Groundwork Hudson Valley

Improving everything “outside the door” is the focus of Groundwork Hudson Valley, part of Groundwork U.S.A., both headquartered in Yonkers.  Founder and executive director Rick Magder talks about G.H.V.’s Science Barge at the Yonkers waterfront and his group’s work with community-supported agriculture, neighborhood greening, supporting natural areas for recreation, and related community building initiatives.  Learn more at www.groundworkhv.org.

The Bronxville Career Network

The Bronxville Career Network offers job seekers and career-changers a place to find support, information and encouragement.  Founder Pat Drew, with members Angela Dempster and Sheila Larkin, discuss the group's meetings, speakers, and positive environment.  BCN is sponsored by the Reformed Church of Bronxville.  Find out more via their LinkedIn group, Bronxville Career Network.

Two By Twelve, an organization employing music and art to help those suffering from physical, mental and emotional challenges

Emily Mottahedeh, the 23-year old founder of Two By Twelve, talks about her organization's efforts to bring music and art workshops to children and adults battling mental, physical, and emotional challenges.  A two-time cancer survivor, Emily Mattahedeh has focused her group's efforts so far on working with families affected by cancer at venues like Ronald McDonald House.  Everyone donates their time, from unpaid office staff to volunteer musicians and event helpers.  Learn more at www.twobytwelove.org.

The Westchester Community Foundation, connecting philanthropists with not-for-profit agencies

 The Westchester Community Foundation makes grants to numerous not-for-profit groups working with disadvantaged people and worthy causes throughout our county.  Various funds, designed to address such issues as housing, food insecurity, natural resources, and energy, are created by individuals and families wishing to provide philanthropic support to vetted agencies with good track records for using it responsibly.  W.C.F. executive director Catherine Marsh discusses donors and the grantmaking process.

Pro Bono Partnership assists many nonprofit groups serving the disadvantaged with free legal assistance from volunteer attorneys

Numerous not-for-profit organizations serving disadvantaged populations receive free legal assistance form the Pro Bono Partnership.  Staff Attorney Courtney Darts discusses how the organization, based in White Plains but serving the tri-state area, matches agencies with volunteer attorneys.  Attorneys counsel organizations on a wide range of issues including incorporation, employee benefits, immigration, intellectual property, and the internet, to name a few. 

Affordable housing in our area

This month, Habitat for Humanity - Westchester celebrates 25 years of building houses and hope in this area.  Habitat works in partnership with homeowner families, volunteers, and donors to make affordable home ownership a reality for many families who otherwise could not own a home.  Executive Director Jim Killhoran discusses HFHWC’s many projects from Yonkers to North Salem.

Chashama: connecting artists with affordable exhibit and studio space

Artists from Long Island to Westchester are locating affordable gallery, studio, and window exhibit space in N.Y.C. thanks to the work of an organization called Chashama.  Artistic Director Anita Durst describes their numerous programs, projects, and artist support activities that include youth outreach.

Started 17 years ago, Chashama has assisted hundreds of artists showcase their work and make connections with other artists, gallery operators, and other key players in the arts community.

The Carver Center in Port Chester; guest Tarin Gonzalez

Hundreds of food insecure families in the Port Chester area are helped to keep food on the table thanks to the Food Pantry operated by the Carver Center.  Food Pantry Manager Tarin Gonzalez discusses how the pantry and other programs and services offered by her agency makes an impact in the lives of low-income families.  The Carver Center provides a social, cultural, recreational, and educational hub for many of the area’s diverse and largely Latino population.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary

On this week's edition of For the Greater Good, learn about the work of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which  provides volunteer support for the Coast guard and promotes boating safety through classes and boat inspection programs.  Bob DeRaio and Don Elmendorf discuss the scope of the C.G.A.'s work and their efforts to recruit new volunteers.

From learning how to construct a business plan to what library materials can provide useful resources, help is available for aspiring small business owners or businesses seeking to expand  through the Women's Enterprise Development Center.  W.E.D.C. associate director Joy Rosenzweig describes the classes, workshops, support services, and grants provided by this White Plains-based organization with connections to the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Most services are either free or at low cost.

Pleasantville's Center for Aging in Place

More and more older adults in Westchester County are choosing to remain in their communities where referrals for services, social activities, and transportation are now more readily available thanks to the Center for Aging in Place.  On this week’s edition, C.A.I.P. Executive Director Laura Traynor discusses the Aging in Place movement and the unique and supportive communities that have been established in Westchester County.

Westhab

Westhab is Westchester County’s largest not-for-profit organization addressing the need for affordable rental housing and meeting the needs of low-income residents with an array of services.  Rich Nightingale and John Parssimen discuss how Westhab responds to those it serves through job placement and training, case management, help with childcare, transportation, and youth development.

League of Women Voters of Westchester

Sharon Lindsay joins host Di Morgan to discuss the work of the League of Women Voters of Westchester.  The organization offers up-to-date voter information and takes a stand on issues including the county budget, the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and hydrofracking.

AIDS Related Services — discussion with Santo Barbagiovanni, CHAPS Program Supervisor

Because many people are living longer now with HIV/AIDS, ARCS is evolving as an organization and taking up a more holistic approach when it comes to serving all the needs of its clients.  Santo Barbagiovanni’s program, Community Health And Prevention Services, works with young men of color who have sex with other men to educate them about STDs and HIV-AIDS prevention.  He also discusses several upcoming events, including the HIV-AIDS Walk on May 5th along the Walkway Over the Hudson.

WESPAC Foundation — discussion with Nada Khader, executive director

Progressive movement-building around Westchester is the primary focus of WESPAC Foundation.  Our conversation with Nada Khader, the organization's executive director, explores the organization's involvement with opposition to hydrofracturing, the upcoming Occupy May Day event in White Plains, and local anti-war activities.  WESPAC Foundation provides support and office space for issues-oriented groups in our area and serves as a resource for community organizing and social justice activities.

This week, we talk with John Bell, founder of Transition Westchester, a group dedicated to fossil fuel alternatives.

People affected by cancer, including patients, family members, and friends, are able to find support and information at Gilda's Club of Westchester, located in White Plains.  In this first episode of For the Greater Good, C.E.O. Melissa Lang discusses how her organization addresses the needs of those affected by the disease through support groups, workshops, events, and resources.  Membership is free and clubhouse programs are open to anyone.  Learn more at gildasclubwestchester.org.


  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)


ISSUES OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE

Critical Conversations

An occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance.  Started June 2013.

Enter the following address into your podcatching software to subscribe to the Critical Conversations podcast (the subscription is free):

PODCAST   http://wdfh.org/xml/criticalconversations.xml

  • week of 6/10/2013 listen now
    Di Morgan, host and producer

Indian Point

Stonypoint 55 is a group opposing the re-licensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants.  Manna Jo Greene, Susan Leifer, and Susan Shapiro discuss their activities and strategies and why the group believes the plants are unsafe.


LOCAL NEWS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Eyes on Westchester

Note: Series ended October 2012

A local public affairs discussion program, hosted by Melinda Battle, with regular guest Faith Ann Butcher, Editor-in-Chief of The Northern Westchester Examiner.

Enter the following address into your podcatching software to subscribe to the Eyes on Westchester podcast (the subscription is free):

PODCAST   http://wdfh.org/xml/eyesonwestchester.xml

Governor Cuomo seems delighted that the environmental impact statement for the new Tappan Zee Bridge has been approved by the federal government.  Of course, there is no design, plan or permits, but the feds okayed the statement in about a month.

Former North Castle Republican Chairman Loronda Murphy faces up to 25 years in jail after pleading guilty Tuesday morning to two felony counts in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme she operated in 2009.

Pleasantville is ending its 15 year association with the operator of its popular farmers market, opting to form a nonprofit organization that will enable the village to exercise greater control and start an indoor winter market.

After two years of being vacant, French Hill School in Yorktown is now fully rented to several businesses and organizations.  Eight tenants have already moved into the building on Baldwin Road and two more are expected to occupy space in October.

Caren Guyett of Yorktown took two silver and two bronze medals in Japan's international lifesaving competition.

Three business owners have withdrawn from the Article 78 lawsuit filed to prevent the CVS in Armonk.  The owners of a hardware store and a greeting card store may be feeling that local retail establishments should remain neutral in the dispute.  Yet another public hearing was held on September 24.  

Yorktown residents have set up a website to protest Costco's plans to go in on Route 202 near BJs Wholesale.  They claim that traffic and environmental issues need to be addressed.  The site is www.nocostco.com.  

A pre-K-to-grade-12 French American school is being proposed for the former Ridgeway Country Club property in White Plains.  The school says it will turn 84 of the 130 acres over for public use.  Some are still against the plan, however; building approval from the city is still required.

Kudos to Ossining schools for being named an Intel School of Distinction. Ossining High School has now gained national recognition, as well as $100,000 in cash.

Caren Guyette, a 2007 graduate of Lakeland High School in Yorktown, is in Japan for the Sanyo Bussan Cup, a lifeguard competition.

On Saturday, October 6, a Dancing with the Stars fundraiser will be held to benefit Hillside Food Outreach, hillsidefoodoutreach.org. (Faith will be dancing, check it out!)

On Sunday, October 7, FDR park will see a walk for Support Connection to benefit breast and ovarian cancer survivors and their community. supportconnection.org

Governor Cuomo has announced a selection committee for the design of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which includes representatives from Westchester and Rockland counties, and Nyack and Tarrytown.

Some school districts in Westchester will be sharing in a $300,000 settlement from being overcharged for school lunch food by a former provider of same.

  • week of 9/17/2012 listen now

    Faith and Melinda discuss some of the ways counties and local municipalities are looking to aid seniors with educational outreach, and some of the housing issues faced by our area's older residents.  (Rebroadcast of July 30 program.)

  • week of 9/10/2012 listen now

This week Faith breaks down details for the primary on September 13, including why there is another primary now, details on the heated contest between Putnam Republicans Neil DiCarlo and Stephen Saland, why there's no Democratic primary in Westchester except in the Village of Croton, and a discussion of the Dario Gristina/Steve Katz Republican contest.

The Town of North Castle has appointed its first ever Town Administrator.  Joan Goldberg, transitioning from her longtime position as Yorktown's comptroller, has accepted the position, which will handle many of the day-to-day operations of the town and free up the supervisor somewhat.

North Castle's town board may have voted in July to allow the CVS to go into the old A&P property, but the Concerned Citizens of Armonk have filed an Article 78 petition with the courts asking to nullify the decision.  The petition claims, among other things, that environmental and other state issues have been bypassed by the approval.

A recent spate of accidents has the town of Cortlandt looking for the state DOT to put barriers on the Bear Mountain Parkway, similar to those installed recently on the Bronx River Parkway following a fatal accident, but the DOT is backing away, claiming their scheduled redo of the Bear Mountain/Route 6 interchange in 2017 will have to suffice.  That repair was originally scheduled for this year but has been delayed due to budgetary constraints.

The Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill is looking to raise $300,000 in a new public appeal.  Much of the funding is hoped to be raised at a Red Carpet Gala featuring the band Journey on September 15.  For information visit paramountcenter.org.

The update show:

Taconic Parkway on track to reopen on November 1.

North Castle girds for fight against their decision to charge non-union town employees 15% toward health insurance coverage.

Mt. Pleasant will forgo their 9/11 ceremony for the first time this year since 2002.

Headstones have been vandalized at a Pleasantville church.

Somers' referendum to extend supervisor term to four years still in the air; another public hearing scheduled for September 6, 7:30pm, at Town Hall.

Cortlandt will not see a WalMart Supercenter anytime soon.

Yorktown under fire from council regarding the demolition of the Holland Sporting Club.

Westchester County Senior Hall of Fame nominations open. Deadline is September 14; go to westchestergov.com or call 914-813-6414 and leave a message to nominate a resident over 60 who has significantly contributed to the quality of life.

A court of appeals has found that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has no plan in place for disposal of spent nuclear fuel rods and so must provide a plan or explain why a plan is not needed before relicensing is approved.  Meanwhile it's business as usual with Entergy and Indian Point until and unless licensing is denied.

The section of the Taconic State Parkway which runs through our county is to be renamed the Westchester County Korean War Veterans' Memorial Highway.  We talk about some other renamings around here.

The village of Pleasantville is not pursuing locating a Verizon cell tower on a small parcel of town land after input from the community.  

A judge has dismissed the suit brought by Summit Greenfield against New Castle town officials that they were stalling the Chappaqua Crossing project saying they were just doing their jobs.  The suit against the town itself, however, can go forward.

Governor Cuomo signed off on ending the vestigial Mount Kisco Urban Renewal Agency, removing an unnecessary layer in permits and the like.  

A new engineering firm is needed in order for Chappaqua to go ahead with restaurant plans at the train station.

Ossining and Yorktown are both looking to change up the highway department positions.  Yorktown voted 4 to 1 not to change the current lineup;  Ossining seems to be going ahead with a public referendum.

The Yorktown Grange Fair will be held September 6 through 9, and participants are welcome.  If you have a craft, food, or homegrown or homemade product and are interesting in joining the fun, go to yorktowngrangefair.org asap.

New York State recently released the findings of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on upgrade/replacement of the aging Tappan Zee Bridge.  Major concerns included construction impacts, aesthetics, impact on the Hudson River, and additional mass transit needs.  Currently, they are looking to build a new bridge just north of the existing structure, but plans to convert the old bridge into a High Line-like park have been scuttled, mainly due to logistical and cost issues.  Also at present, no plans for a mass-transit piece are in play, only a bus lane for the new bridge.  The new bridge is scheduled for a (unlikely-sounding) completion date of 2017.  The public can still comment.  How to do so, a copy of the DEIS, and other info is available at newnybridge.com.

The controversy continues surrounding the relicensing of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.  The public can attend upcoming hearings; comments/issues can be directed to the hearing officers in advance by fax to 301-415-5599.  Go to nrc.gov for more information.

North Castle has agreed to approve the special use permit for CVS to move in to Armonk, but the Concerned Citizens of Armonk still have... concerns.

New Castle community members were not in favor of a mosque in their town as demonstrated at a recent public hearing on the subject.

Faith and Melinda discuss some of the ways counties and local municipalities are looking to aid seniors with educational outreach, and some of the housing issues faced by our area's older residents.

The historic Adams-Bernstein property on Old Yorktown Road in Yorktown is being sold to Mark Franzoso for $150,000.  Mr. Franzoso has said he will restore the house and barn and it will be a public space for performances and possibly other uses.  The property will be subdivided so Franzoso can build and sell a house as well.  The property had been owned by the Town for over twenty years but had fallen into disrepair.

The St. George Winery on Route 6 will be allowed to add parking spaces on town-owned land in exchange for providing easement for the public to access the wetlands behind the property.

The town of Somers is considering increasing the term of supervisor from two years to four.  There will be a public hearing on the matter on August 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall to decide on a referendum for the November ballot.

Faith explains how the county's finances are taking shape.  With a cut in the tax levy of about 2% and no tax increases proposed for this year or next, things are looking better.  Westchester maintains a AAA credit rating.  County Executive Rob Astorino is up for re-election in 2013.

The library in Mt. Pleasant is closed this week for re-roofing.

The Holland Sporting Club in Mohegan Lake, once a lakefront resort for wealthy socialites, then a soccer and tennis enclave, has been abandoned for years.  After it was bequeathed to the Town of Yorktown for use as parkland in 2005, little was done to preserve the land.  Buildings on the property, fallen into disrepair and deemed unsafe, were demolished last week by the Town.  Supervisor Michael Grace has asked the state to decommission the land so there would be an option to sell it to private developers, thereby joining the other private parcels surrounding the lake.

C.V.S. is still seeking inroads in Armonk, and the town of North Castle will hold a public hearing on the sometimes-contentious subject on July 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.

Chappaqua Station, the affordable-housing building proposed for a small bit of land between the railroad tracks and the Saw Mill Parkway, is moving ahead.  North Castle has become the "lead agency" on the project, thereby bypassing some potential hold-up issues.

Lincoln Hall Boys' Haven has been a problematic stopping place for troubled N.Y.C. boys aged 12-17 years.  Approximately 60 boys can be housed there at any given time, but problems requiring police response have been an issue for the community.  Plans are now underway for adapting the property to house teens who are part of the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program for refugees.  Troubled boys will now be housed closer to New York City and their homes.

Augie's Prime Cut Restaurant in Mohegan is hosting another golf tournament to benefit Autism Speaks.  The event will be held on Monday, August 6, at the Hollow Brook Golf Club in Cortlandt.  The event includes golf, cocktails, dinner and a silent auction.  For information, email info@augiesprimecut.com.

The Peekskill Jazz Festival happens this weekend.  Go!  Enjoy!

The Upper Westchester Muslim Society is looking to build a 25,000 square foot mosque on Pines Bridge Road in Mount Kisco.  The land, purchased in 2004, will need to have zoning approval, which will focus in part on parking issues.  The nearby First Congregational Church has signaled its approval as diversity in worship options would be good for the area.

The North Castle town board has voted 3 to 2 to revise retiree benefits, removing vision and dental care from some retirees and removing health coverage entirely for some part-time and non-union retirees.  A projected savings of $17 million over several years is offset by threatened lawsuits from affected people.

Low-income affordable housing costs in the city of Peekskill will increase drastically come this September.  Tenants in some units who pay a flat fee instead of a HUD-determined rent will see increases from 18% to 76%.  Mayor Mary Foster has written to HUD about the problem, calling it "unconscionable."

In response to last year's storms and in anticipation of future hurricane-season issues, Yorktown is forming a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  They are looking for about 45 people to step up to help get the word out and aid with evacuations and other storm-related community services.  Contact Public Safety Officer Larry Eidelman if interested at 914-962-4141, ext 163.

week of 7/2/2012 listen now

There are several million registered Republicans, but only a few thousand voted in last week's primaries for representation in the House and Senate.  Wendy Long will go up against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate and Sean Patrick Maloney faces Nan Hayworth for Congress in November.

Mount Kisco has been required to run applications for urban renewal through the planning board, then duplicate that process through the Village board.  The State recently granted Mount Kisco the ability to remove the defunct Urban Renewal Agency from the requirements, relieving board members of an unnecessary duty.

Chappaqua is considering a parking structure near the Metro North train station as downtown parking is tight.  Meanwhile, the town is granting parking permits for business owners so their fees are lessened.  White Plains has been working with Zipcars, the company that rents out small cars at an hourly rate, as one approach to parking and traffic congestion management.

The town of Greenburgh is now exempt from the Finneran Law, paving the way for a tennis bubble to be built and allowing residents from outside the unincorporated part of the town to use the facilities.

Westchester realizes over a billion dollars a year in tourist revenue.  In an effort to step that up, the county has created an ad campaign called "Meet Me In Westchester County."  The campaign highlights arts, culture,  and nature-oriented attractions.  Many ideas for summer recreation and edification can be found at artswestchester.org and visitwestchesterny.com.

The Trump kingdom had a setback last week when the New York State Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision which would have granted an easement through contested space to the Seven Springs land they are looking to develop.  As the decision was unanimous, it is unclear if an appeal will be filed.

The planned 9/11 Memorial in Croton has run into funding difficulties and has had to cut its budget and push out the expected completion date.  Private funds are being sought.  Teatown Lake Reservation has also been seeking funding and through recent private loans has been able to add nine acres, including a vernal lake, to its property.

Stay tuned for more updates on hydrofracking in New York State... we're on top of it.

On Tuesday, June 26, there is a federal primary election for one of New York's two U.S. Senate seats as well as U.S. House of Representatives primaries affecting two districts in our area.  As this is the second of three primaries held here before the November general election, Faith and Melinda spend the show discussing the candidates and the districts involved.  We will do the same before the September 13 state primaries.  The newly drawn district lines have many confused; we will attempt to clarify.

In a bid to save some money, Mount Kisco may consolidate their police department with the County department, as has been done in Ossining and Cortlandt.  Those communities are not necessarily seeing the savings they hoped to, however, as much would be achieved through gradual attrition.  Other issues to be resolved would be ownership of current police buildings and infrastructure.  Meanwhile, Yorktown police have been without a contract for a couple of years now, but they show no signs of interest in consolidation.

Energize New Castle is a community-based program offering free home energy audits as well as financing information and contractor listings.  The hope is that homeowners can assess their energy usage and make changes to reduce their consumption thereby saving money.  A state Energy Coach stands by to assist the process.  Visit energizenewcastle.org for more information.

In 2011 there were over 50,000 arrests for marijuana possession in New York State.  About 50% of the arrestees were under 25 years of age, about 82% were black or Latino, and only around 10% were eventually convicted.  Numbers like these may have contributed to Governor Cuomo's announcement that he'd like to reduce the penalty for possession of less than 25 grams of pot in public view to a non-criminal fine from a Class B misdemeanor, thereby avoiding jail time for that offense.  In 1997, the state did just that for private possession of small amounts.  The Governor is also working on gambling in the state, although disclosures of large donations to his electoral coffers by gambling lobbyists is not helpful.

William Hanauer, mayor of Ossining for three terms and running again this November, has married his partner of 38 years, Dr. Alan Stahl.  Hanauer, the only openly-gay mayor in our county, was honored recently by the Westchester LGBT Advisory Board.

Faith and Melinda then proceed to converse about the Defense of Marriage Act, the constitution, medical marijuana (we discuss the Connecticut legalization issue later in the program), and Thomas Jefferson.

Returning to local issues, County Executive Rob Astorino wants to increase families' share of payment for subsidized child care.  This has created yet more tension between the Executive and members of the County Legislature, who have filed a lawsuit.  A judge has issued an injunction in another county-level governmental impasse.

Richard Benedict, the president of the Heritage Hills community, is now a temporary council member in Somers.  He replaces Harry Bolton, who stepped down due to health issues.

Jennifer and Jenesis Gallego, seniors at Peekskill High School and identical twins, have been chosen as the school's valedictorian (Jennifer) and salutatorian (Jenesis).

A few opportunities for Relay for Life remain — please visit relayforlife.org to see how you can help.

The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) water cleanup act needs funding, and County Executive Rob Astorino is trying to speed up those funds.  The East of Hudson funds come in part from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  The total cost is estimated to be $500 million, much of which is unfunded.  We are in the third year of the first five year segment of the program.

Yorktown may eliminate the elected position of Highway Superintendent in favor of an appointed Department of Public Works officer.  A referendum may appear on this November's ballot to that effect.

Faith updates us on state assembly races in our newly confused and redistricted area.

A public hearing in Tarrytown on the fate of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant drew over 200 people and was described as "energetic and vocal" by observers.  Both those in favor of maintaining the facility and those who feel it should be shut down were loud in their opinions.  Those in favor cite the economic advantages and clean energy, while detractors spoke of the environmental effects and the outdated systems.  There are nearly 20 million people in a 50 mile radius of the plant.  Evacuation drills, anyone?

Rob Astorino and the county government are still being argumentative.

Mt. Pleasant, White Plains, Lakeland, and other school districts have seen their budgets passed this year with a respectable voter turnout.  We speculate on some of the backstory.  Meanwhile, State Assemblyman Steve Katz has introduced legislation in Albany for immediate relief from unfunded mandates that are hobbling some districts financially.

An eight year study of the Bear Mountain Parkway and Routes 202, 35, and 6 corridors in Yorktown, Cortlandt, and Peekskill is just in time for proposed commercial building along Route 202 and others.  As it is also part of the Evacuation Plan should there be a nuclear emergency from Indian Point, keeping those byways clear is obviously of utmost importance.

The citizens of Armonk are not happy about the future C.V.S. to go in to the old A&P building.  The plan has been amended from entirely C.V.S. space to allow for 2,500 square feet of retail space rented to another tenant, yet to be determined.  Faith fills us in on Planning Board reactions.

The small, wooden train depot, long a landmark on Route 133 near Millwood Lumber, is gone.  The owners of the property had the over-100-year-old structure demolished and removed.  There had been concern for some time that the building, though its interior was inaccessible, could be a danger to users of the nearby North County Trailway.

As Pace University gears up to consolidate its Briarcliff Manor campus into the Pleasantville location, environmental studies, zoning board meetings, public hearings, and the like proceed apace.  The updated campus will almost double student housing, among other upgrades, but the project isn't expected to be completed for at least seven years.

Patterson resident and attorney Andrew Falk will be running as the Democratic candidate for the new 94th State Assembly seat currently held by Yorktown resident and veterinarian Steve Katz.  We also promise to unconfuse the upcoming two primaries in a future show.

Faith updates us on former police chief Robert Pavone, who is suing the Town of Cortlandt over denial of compensation for injuries he claims resulted from a collapsed chair in 1998.

Furniture Sharehouse has been helping get used furniture to the needy since 2007 — furnituresharehouse.org.  Internationally-acclaimed violinist Daisy Jopling is headed to the Paramount Theatre May 19 for a performance to benefit her work establishing a non-profit arts education program in the city.  Relay For Life has events on behalf of the American Cancer Society in Chappaqua (May 19), Somers (June 1), Ossining (June 2) and Yorktown (June 8).  Go to relayforlife.org for information on how you can participate.

The American Heart Association lobbied Albany recently to mandate C.P.R. instruction in New York high schools.  Recent student emergencies have helped to push for this move, and the A.H.A. may try to make this a nationwide initiative.  It will be, however, another mandate that schools will have to subsidize if it becomes reality.

The Westchester County Association is busily promoting the White Plains/Harrison area as business-friendly.  Local governments are changing zoning to multi-use and other considerations are being investigated.

Senator Greg Ball has presented a bill to the state senate that would give disabled veterans the same preference in obtaining state contracts as is currently shown to women and minority groups.

Don't forget school budget votes on May 15 — a large percentage of your homeowner's taxes hangs in the balance!

County Executive Rob Astorino gave his third State of the County address last week.  Some good news is that an agreement has been reached with area Teamsters, who have been without a contract.  Salary and health care compromises have been reached.

The U.S. Department of Transportation passed over New York in its awarding of $13 billion in infrastructure loans to various states.  This removes the $2 billion which had been expected to go toward a new Tappan Zee bridge project.  Governor Cuomo had assured us that shovel would hit dirt on this before the end of the year, but area county executives are scurrying to cover the expenses.

Mark Lee Krangle, a 65-year-old Croton resident, was arrested last week at Pittsburgh International Airport for allegedly threatening University of Pittsburgh professors via email.  A self-published author, Krangle maintains his innocence.  There have been many bomb threats against the university this year, including two received after Krangle's arrest.

Faith talks about stopping by the IBM facility where a small plane made an emergency landing, and Melinda asks about the varied pronunciation of "Mahopac."

Governor Cuomo announced a $75 million school grant program as incentive to state school districts to work within the 2% tax cap budget.  If a public vote overrides the cap, the district will not be eligible to share in the grant, which provides relief for administrative, management, and transportation costs.  Some districts, however, want more relief for mandates such as the Triborough Amendment, busing regulations, Wicks Law, and last-in-first-out employment policies.

New York Presbyterian Hospital is beginning construction on an 11,000-square foot Center for Autism and the Developing Brain in White Plains.  The center, which will provide residential, educational, and state-of-the-art clinical services for the lower Hudson valley area, is expected to be completed in early 2013.

Westchester County's first quarter real estate numbers showed up better than the same period last year, but only by a small margin.  The number of sales is up by 1.4%, but the median sale price declined 8.5% to an average of $505,000.  The 2011 average was $550,000.  This is the lowest average price since 2002, when it first exceeded $500,000.

The 93rd Assembly district, which runs from North Salem along the Connecticut border to White Plains, is currently represented by Republican Robert Castelli.  White Plains Councilman David Buchwald, a Democrat, has announced he will challenge Castelli for the seat.  The district also covers New Castle, Mount Kisco, Bedford, Harrison, North Castle, Pound Ridge, and Lewisboro.

County Executive Rob Astorino has announced that he will appeal a judge's ruling that prevents Jay Pisco from carrying out duties as Commissioner of Public Works and Transportation.  All acquisitions in that department are stalled while the legislators work this out.

Meanwhile, on other capital project fronts:

  • a group is growing to stop the delays on constructing a new Tappan Zee Bridge (buildthebridgenowny.org);

  • the city of White Plains may take over a derelict Lyon Place garage to build a new parking structure with 650 spaces, 500 of them publicly available;

  • Pace University's Briarcliff campus is for sale and plans are to incorporate residences and classrooms into an expanded Pleasantville space;

  • 100 acres in Yorktown on Route 202 are being looked at for another big-box retail outlet, but residential zoning is an issue.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has fined the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant $1.2 million, finding significant violations of the Clean Water Act.  In 2010, the facility released 10,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River as a result of a transformer fire.  The DEC also found improper bulk storage of chemicals and has concerns over the cooling pools that have increased the temperature of the river water.  Many species of fish are threatened or gone.  Entergy will pay the fine and try to behave in future.

To help local school districts adhere to state mandates, a proposal is on the table to reduce the fifteen-mile parochial bussing radius to five miles.  Currently, students who attend private schools are bused up to fifteen miles at the expense of their local public school district.  The change has some Catholic-school parents alarmed as several area Catholic schools have been forced to close recently, leaving options further away than before.  Senator Greg Ball favors leaving the fifteen-mile limit in place.

Walmart, despite having a sizable store in place at the Cortlandt Town Center, is hoping to build a supercenter across Route 6 from the Center by 2018.  Rezoning would have to be approved by the town, as the 36-acre parcel they are eyeing is mostly zoned for residential use at present.  The supercenter would be open 24 hours a day and would encompass a full grocery store.

Faith fills in some more details on the somewhat-fuzzy calculations behind the 2% property tax cap.  This is the first year that school districts are affected, and many communities are wrestling with their own particulars to stay in line.  Where some of the more affluent communities have had to reduce expenses and are even considering cutting some sports programs, White Plains, which has kept expenses down in the past, can now actually increase expenditures and is looking to add two teachers and a couple of librarian positions.

County Executive Rob Astorino is asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to release approximately $7 million dollar in grant money that has been frozen.  Federal magistrates have ruled that Westchester has not violated the 2009 housing settlement agreement, and Astorino feels that HUD's freezing of the money was premature.  Meanwhile, Chappaqua Station is another proposal to add a five-story building between the Saw Mill Parkway and the train tracks for affordable housing; many object that traffic will worsen and that the minute parcel of land is not suitable for residential units.  Plus the location is bad.

The state legislature recently passed, and Governor Cuomo signed, the Tier 6 pension plan.  Local tensions escalate: Assemblyman Steve Katz voted against it, Senator Greg Ball voted for it.  Katz protested at Ball's kickoff party, and Ball apparently put a person in a chicken suit and sent him to a Katz event.  Ball's "robo calls" continue, and negative websites are linked back to him.  Meanwhile, Katz insists he remains above the fray.

Faith has had so many positions at the paper since we began our adventure in March of 2011 that we now just say she's "of Examiner Media."  The jocularity continues as we discuss local issues in a lighthearted yet hopefully informative manner.

The Taconic State Parkway will be shutting down the southbound lanes at the AmVets bridge over the Croton Reservoir for repairs.  All traffic will be redirected to the northbound lanes, two in each direction, until the anticipated completion date in November.  Commuters are pleased as punch.

As the need for local grocery supply continues, the town of New Castle is considering a major supermarket in the 114-acre complex of the former Readers Digest.  A hearing is scheduled for March 27 at 7:45 p.m. at the New Castle town hall.

The state legislature has agreed on the new district lines for the Senate and the Assembly.  The pressure was on as election preparations needed to get under way for many of the positions that have been shuffled.  On another political note: Steve Katz has officially thrown his hat in the ring to oppose Greg Ball for the 40th senate district now shaped like a horse.  Or a chair.  We're still working on that; stay tuned.

Authority given to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs from Congress to lease portions of the land occupied by the Veteran's Hospital in Montrose apparently expired on December 31, 2011, but no one noticed.  Without further approval from Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs is forbidden from moving forward on 17 projects, including the V.A. campuses in Montrose and Castle Point, located near Monticello.  Many who were opposed to the idea in the first place are elated.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey will lose some of her lower-Westchester district, and Congresswoman Nan Hayworth will step away from many north-county communities if the federal redistricting is finalized on March 18.  A federal judge has submitted plans that would shake up many of our federal boundaries in the lower Hudson valley.  Hayworth, a Republican, will gain territory in predominantly Democratic Dutchess County, ceding much of Cortlandt, Croton, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, Buchanan, Yorktown, and New Castle to Lowey.  An interesting note: Lowey favors closing Indian Point, which will now be in her bailiwick; Hayworth is a nuclear supporter.

Assemblyman Steve Katz, whose 99th district includes many areas in north and northeast Westchester, will challenge Senator Greg Ball for control of his 40th senatorial district this fall.  Anonymous "robo calls" have been going out claiming that Katz has a jail record.  Katz confirms two past arrests, both involving misunderstandings over dogs.  Katz, who owns a veterinary practice in the Bronx, was happy to disclose the somewhat amusing details.  Meanwhile, in the state assembly race between Wolf Lawton and Dario Gristina, Mr. Gristina made public comments last week about his ex-wife, Anna, a.k.a. the "Manhattan Madame."

The Westchester County Association (westchester.org) has announced the creation of a Blueprint Accelerator Network designed to link up young local entrepreneurs with the resources to get businesses or enterprises started.  Venture capitalists, mentors, office space owners, and others will be tapped for this project, which has already attracted $150 million in investments.

Another lawsuit has been filed against Eric DiBartolo of Yorktown.  This one, filed by William LaPierre, an irked ex-neighbor and funeral home owner, claims that the Highway Superintendent misappropriated funds in a variety of schemes to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars.  Mr. DiBartolo filed a previous suit against Mr. LaPierre and Fred Gulitz, the parent of an employee.  Complicating matters are previous attitudinal difficulties between Mr. LaPierre and Mr. DiBartolo as ex-neighbors as well as business rivals; Mr. DiBartolo owns another funeral home in town.  This is the second lawsuit pending involving Mr. DiBartolo; the first, filed against ex-Town Supervisor Susan Siegel, stemmed from Ms Seigel's allegations of a love affair with another employee.  And so the plots thicken in Yorktown.

The Croton-Harmon school district may have too much money in its coffers, according to a state audit.  The state comptroller says the extra funds should be returned to the taxpayers, but the district differs.  Meanwhile, the Carmel school district in Putnam, despite having cut personnel repeatedly in recent years, is considering discontinuing junior varsity programs.  Although a popular program with winning teams, the program runs about $150,000.  Will this spread to area schools?

On February 14, the A&P in Armonk closed its doors.  A CVS, previously set to move into the space, is facing new opposition from the Concerned Citizens of Armonk.  The town has issued a permit to CVS for the property, but it can be rescinded.  The town is awaiting public input; a hearing originally scheduled for March 1 is now planned for April 12 at Town Hall.

Somers Superintendent Mary Beth Murphy is chair of the East of Hudson Watershed Corporation.  The Corporation is working in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to further Storm Water MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) quality projects in the Croton Reservoir basin.  However, with no money coming in to cover the costs of required projects, the third year of the five-year stormwater management plan has been a difficult one.  “We are waiting on money from the D.E.P., as well as from both Putnam and Westchester counties,” Murphy said.  She thinks it will be another two months before there is a check in the mail from any of the parties.

Since it is thought to take at least five and a half years to build a new Hudson bridge just north of the Tappan Zee, there should be plenty of time to decide what, if any, future there might be for the existing structure once it's no longer in use as a motor bridge.  One thought is to put light rail there.  However, Governor Cuomo is backing a greenway project, similar to the High Line in lower Manhattan.  Some reservations have been discussed regarding safety, as access to the middle of the over-three-mile-long bridge might be difficult in case of emergency.  What do you think?  Share your thoughts on uses for the old TZB with me at melinda@wdfh.org and I'll air them on another program.

Westchester County is mandated to supply 750 units of affordable housing in those communities that have not quite lived up to their fair share.  Some are still lagging behind in compliance, while Chappaqua is now looking at 32 more units.  Called Chappaqua Station, the development would be near downtown and provide 24 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units in a five-story structure.  The developers are looking for a variance from New Castle to build up to that height. One problem the towns all face is that the Department of Housing and Urban Development keeps changing the rules (for example, now requiring three-bedroom units be also provided).  Meanwhile, the county is not receiving Community Development Block Grants that would help beef up the coffers.

Longer-serving Democrats and Republicans in the county legislature are disagreeing over the premature appointment of Jay Pisco as head of the Department of Public Works in January.  County Executive Rob Astorino appointed Pisco before any approval by the board of legislature.  The board, possibly in retaliation, is arguing over his $58 million capital budget plan.

Public hearings for Westchester on the upgrade to the Tappan Zee Bridge are being held Thursday, March 1, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.  This affects all residents on both sides of the Hudson.

A widening rift between two onetime political allies, state Assemblyman Steve Katz and state Senator Greg Ball, has come to a head with news that they may face one another in a Republican primary race for the 40th senate district.  Mr. Ball, who delayed his vote against marriage equality, has come out against hydrofracking and supports much of what Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is doing.  This is not in much favor with the Republican establishment.  Mr. Katz shows himself in a more conservative light, with Tea Party support.

On February 16, Governor Cuomo struck a deal with state Teachers.  In order to keep the federal Race to the Top funding, districts will be judged 60% on annual reviews of teacher performance and 40% on student testing.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget favors hydrofracking in New York State to provide another source of energy.  The Department of Environmental Conservation is working on regulations to oversee any drilling that is done, although they will grant a limited number of drilling permits for 2012.  Many more overseers will need to be hired, however.

We discuss other energy plants, both existing and in the plans, including one in Southeast, that the New York Assembly Committee on Energy claims can fill any void created by the closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

Governor Cuomo is fast-tracking construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, to be built just north of the existing bridge.  An estimated $5 billion price tag hangs on the project, for which four companies are bidding.  Three of them are in Westchester: Yonkers Contracting Corporation, Tutor-Perini Corporation, and Granite Construction are all vying for the construction, which is expected to take four to five years.  Perhaps 3,000 local union workers will be employed.  The governor wants to start this summer.

The old Bear Mountain Lodge Inn has completed a $15 million renovation, taking about 10 years.  Faith shares fond childhood memories.

Family Services of Westchester has set up a volunteer driving service for seniors in Somers, Mt. Kisco, North Castle, Lewisboro, Katonah, North Salem, and Pound Ridge.  The service, launched last September, charges a minimal fee to seniors, much less than car services charge, and also frees up caregivers for seniors with medical appointments, shopping requirements, and the like.

Linda Puglisi, long-time supervisor of the town of Cortlandt, has created what may be the first Facebook page for a town.  Several school districts have pages on the social networking service, and soon every person, place and entity will too.

As a result of some reports from the Fukushima incident, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requiring Indian Point to revamp its existing mostly-manual fire prevention system and make it more automated.  Entergy, which owns the plant, has agreed to the requirement.  Continued public hearings on the relicensing of the plant are to be scheduled soon.

Partly as a result of a Bedford man whose unexpected hospital bill came to over $99,000 after insurance, Senator Greg Ball is introducing legislation requiring insurance companies to be clearer about what hospitals and providers are covered.  The man, who was having heart troubles, went to the nearest hospital then was transferred to another with a special cardiac unit.  Apparently unbeknownst to him, one of the hospitals was not considered "in network" by his insurance company.

Westchester Burger Company, currently in White Plains and Rye, is looking to take over the Bedford Hills location formerly occupied by 353 Restaurant.  A Five Guys has opened in Cortlandt, and other burger-and-family-fare eateries are open around the county.

There will be public hearings in Armonk regarding the proposed C.V.S. retail location on Main St on March 1.  Many concerned citizens are expected to attend.

A rash of youth deaths in the Yorktown area over the last few years has contributed to the reason new supervisor Michael Grace pushed for the formation of a Community Affairs Board.  Despite various programs and the local Teen Center, endangered teens continue to be a concern.  The new Board will focus on youth and seniors but will also reach out to the whole community.  Yorktown's Bruce Apar has been pegged to chair the all-volunteer board.  For 24/7 assistance or further info, please call 914-275-6887.

Opposing Nan Hayworth for Congress this year will be Mayor Tom Wilson of Tuxedo Park, Cortlandt Council member Richard Becker, Wappinger Falls mayor Matt Alexander, and Duane Jackson, aka the "Times Square Hero," a street vendor who spotted a NYC bomb in 2010, thereby averting serious trouble.

And then at length we discuss the new redistricting announced on January 26, expected to go into effect January 2013.  Several towns are affected by the new legislative borders.

On January 17, Governor Cuomo shared his budget for the next year.  Included is, as promised last year, an increase in school aid.  Needier districts are in line to receive more, but all districts need to measure teacher performance.  New York State pays more per student than any other state.  The governor also pushed for mandate relief on the local level and promised no raise in income tax levels.  He has brought a $10 billion deficit down to $2 billion.

January 19 unemployment figures show the fewest new applications since the recession started in 2008.  The housing market also shows improvement with more homes selling, although market values are still much lower than four years ago.

Teatown Lake Reservation and the Saw Mill Audubon Society will present the annual Eaglefest on February 4 at Croton Point Park.  There will be guided tours and entertainment as well as much information on the annual southerly migration of the bald eagle to the lower Hudson valley area.  Admission will be $5 and the festival extends up to Peekskill's River Green Park.

A performance of "The Vagina Monologues" in Mahopac will benefit the Westchester Women's Resource Center; Faith Ann Butcher will be one of the readers.  February 10 and 11 at 8pm, and Feb 12 at 2pm, the Freight House Cafe on Rte 6.  $25 for performance, $35 includes refreshments and wine.  No tickets at the door — call 845-628-1872 to purchase.

On January 10, Reactor #2 at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Facility was offline due to a leak.  We are assured that there has been no danger to the public.  On January 12, coincidentally, there was a public hearing in New York City.  The Riverkeeper group spoke about the age of the equipment.  Even though the initial public comment period is over, it is possible the Nuclear Regular Commission may reopen it.

Governor Cuomo has stated his desire to begin work at long last on the aged and decrepit Tappan Zee Bridge by the end of 2012.  Former Governor Paterson has wanted a private-public funding option, but that is not legal in New York State for state projects.  Part of the funding may come from union retirement funds and public bonds.  The Bear Mountain and Newburgh-Beacon Bridges, meanwhile, are due to see their tolls increase.

The Yorktown Fire Department had its busiest year on record in 2011, responding to 778 emergency calls.  As there is a separate ambulance service, those calls were not medical in nature.  In 2009, there were 614 (fewer in 2010), but Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm accounted for about 140 calls last year.  Cats in trees may have added to the total as well; no figures were available.

Susan Siegel, voted out as Yorktown supervisor, and Jim Martorano, a 20-plus-year veteran of the town board, have always had the best interests of Yorktown and its residents to heart.  Mr. Martorano says he always kept three things in mind: serving the people of Yorktown, staying clear of partisanship and gossip, and making lives better.  Ms Siegel, who has been active in the Yorktown area for decades, feels that good government is the bottom line.  Dave Paganelli succeeds Mr. Martorano on the board, and Michael Grace was sworn in as Supervisor on January 1.

We discuss some of the points made in Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address last week and review his progress in his first year.  As a comparatively young leader, Governor Cuomo seems to be trying to "think outside the box" and come up with creative solutions to our problems as well as keep New York a progressive and forward-looking state.

The Yorktown museum, located upstairs at the Community Center on Commerce Street, is featuring a creative exhibit of miniatures that are housed in antique clocks.  Called "Time to Celebrate," the exhibit runs until the end of February.  Somers' museum, in the Elephant Hotel, is showcasing, appropriately enough, circus memorabilia from pre-Civil War days.  And at the Ossining Cultural Center, there is a display of an actual prison cell from "Sing Sing," along with an electric chair for some shocking verisimilitude.

As the public comment period has been extended to January 11, we look at hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. hydrofracking, in the Marcellus shale: what it is and why we should care.  Governor Cuomo says it will improve upstate economies and allow for power to fill the vacuum if Indian Point is closed.  The Citizen's Campaign for the Environment (www.citizenscampaign.org) and other concerned groups say the damage factor is too big.

To share your views with the governor, go to www.governor.ny.gov and click on Contact, or write him at

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State
N.Y.S. State Capitol Building
Albany NY 12224

You can also write to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation at 625 Broadway, Albany NY, 12233-6510, attention "DSGEIS comments," (http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/58440.html).

Yorktown passed its 2012 budget, but not without some re-votes due to confusion on the part of some board members.  After the third round when all went well, it turns out that New York State law would have required the original budget to go into effect after all.

Fatal accidents in Somers and Mahopac and on the Bear Mountain Parkway have created concern at the Department of Transportation.  Discussion is ensuing about banning the use of cell phones, among other things.  A median suggested a while back for the Bear Mountain has been in the planning stage, but there is no money for the project; accidents may push that agenda forward.

Community partnerships among several non-profit groups in the Yorktown area are helping with the difficulty those entities are facing finding donation funding.  By combining resources, they have been able to help make ends meet.

Voters in the Hendrick Hudson school district voted by an almost two-to-one ratio against the proposed $25 million bond in a December vote.  Part of the money was earmarked for classroom upgrades, repairs to fields and fences, fixing the broken septic tanks in two elementary schools, roof repairs to one school, tech upgrades, music and art programs, and the like.  Included in the bond, however, was $11.2 million for a new community-use performing arts center at the high school.  In a high turnout, voters emphatically stated (1,777 to 977) that the bond was unacceptable; thoughts are that the theatre was the breaker.  A referendum for the important repairs may be added to the May school budget vote.

As part of the municipal housing settlement, 31 communities in the area need to provide at least 750 low-income housing units.  North Castle developer Crabapple Properties has proposed some single family units on the Cider Mill property as well as some middle income properties.  In order for them to create low-income spaces, North Castle needs to pass the law supporting the settlement.  Outgoing supervisor Weaver is in favor, incoming supervisor Arden is not.

Senator Greg Ball headed up a roundtable discussion recently in Yorktown with local officials and representatives of Con Edison and N.Y.S.E.G. to assess the response to recent storms.  Among other things, it was determined that Con Ed's practice of proactive tree trimming near power lines was helpful; customers were 66% less likely to lose power in those cases where branches were kept at least ten feet from transformers.  N.Y.S.E.G. has agreed to step up their tree-trimming efforts.  Communications issues were also discussed; Con Ed's "all hands reporting 24/7" policy also received kudos.

At around 2 a.m. on December 9, the Westchester legislature agreed on the 2012 budget, despite a lack of concession from the unions on contributing to their healthcare costs, among other things.  The bipartisan vote was 16-1 (a Democrat was the holdout) in favor.  The budget has saved 187 jobs, kept the nature centers open, continued legal aid programs, kept 22 positions in the probation department, and still avoided a tax increase.  Some facets may still be vetoed by County Exec Rob Astorino; it will be a done deal by December 27.

The Westchester Medical Center has a shortfall of $61 million and is facing layoffs of 250 people.  Its proposed budget is $871 million.  The state will be helping.

The state has extended tax hikes on those making more than $200,000 annually, but most Dutchess and Ulster small business owners with less than $1.25 million in payroll will no longer be required to pay the M.T.A. tax, only corporations and municipalities (not schools).  Flood relief from Irene and Lee is forthcoming.

Blythedale Children's Hospital unveiled a new $65 million unit to help children with complex medical needs.  This is the hospital's first renovation and, started in 2009, the unit adjoins the existing building.  Northern Westchester Hospital has healthy cooking classes for cardiovascular patients and their families.

We share a bunch of holiday-oriented happenings around the county including tree lightings, charity gifting options and concerts among others.  Tune in for details!

The Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt near Peekskill recently unveiled a beautiful new cancer treatment facility.  The space, which adjoins the existing hospital by a bridge, is scheduled to open on December 1 and will provide state-of-the-art techniques to test, treat, and monitor cancer.  One goal was to provide a level of care that patients must currently travel to New York City or elsewhere to find.  Bruce Lindenbaum was a major donor for the new clinic in memory of his wife, Cheryl, who passed away from breast cancer in 2005.  www.hvhc.org

The town of Bedford has been the focal point for the Energize Northern Westchester initiative.  Called Energize Bedford, the program, which has been in place for about ten years but needed some new public push, offers an energy analysis of residents' homes followed by recommendations for upgrades to improve energy efficiency.  The analysis is offered free or at a reduced cost to households with income under twice the county median of $209,000 per year.  After the analysis, owners are given a list of suggested upgrades and local contractors to choose from, and subsidies and low-interest financing options are available.  www.energizenorthernwestchester.org or energizebedford.org

Some New Castle neighborhoods which are on septic are sullying the Croton watershed.  Almost 300 parcels in the town are being considered for upgrade to town sewers, but the additional flow of an estimated 200,000 gallons per day is worrying Yonkers residents.  Although the extra sewage would be a very small fraction of the amount handled in the county facility there daily, residents are worried about odors and other issues.  The N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection has cleared the way for land use by offering to sell it for one dollar, and the MS4 program will help financially as well.  If Yonkers executive Jenkins goes up against Rob Astorino for County Executive, as is rumored in some circles, will that change his perspective?


  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)


HEALTH

Recovery Talk

WDFH's pioneering program about resilience in recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, and more, hosted by Robyn Leary.

Enter the following address into your podcatching software to subscribe to the Recovery Talk podcast (the subscription is free):

PODCAST   http://wdfh.org/xml/recoverytalk.xml

Robyn died unexpectedly on June 6, 2011.  Since June 13, 2011, we have been presenting earlier programs in her memory.

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Jim J. shares some of the peaks and valleys along his road to recovery from alcoholism.  Clean and sober for eleven years, his stories reflect many joys not widely known about or commonly associated with recovery. Tune in!

Jim Smith is a CSAC — Certified Substance Abuse Counselor — and Patient Coordinator at Phelps Threshold, a well-respected outpatient rehab center in Tarrytown, New York.

On this week's Recovery Talk, Mr. Smith explains various outpatient treatment strategies and distills the current thinking and central strengths of each.  In practice for longer than fifteen years, Mr. Smith explodes commonly-held misconceptions about what happens in drug and alcohol rehab and the process itself.  He also discusses some specific problems common only to people in treatment in Westchester County, New York.  Tune in: get an ear-full.

"Dr. Bill" is a busy Westchester psychologist. In his private practice he specializes in addiction psychotherapy and has helped hundreds if not thousands of patients over the years. In this edition of Recovery Talk, he remains anonymous, that is, Dr. Bill, so that he can discuss his own recovery from alcoholism and the strengths of the well-known program  of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Two addicted sons

Part 2:  On this edition of Recovery Talk, we hear firsthand the diary-like account of a woman who has worked tirelessly  to help loosen the horrors of addiction, which held not one but two of her sons in its powerful grip.  Rachel F. unspools the beginning, the middle, and the present of this unforgettable yarn which is her life's journey.  If she can help even one parent now facing this reality, Rachel F. says it will have been worth it.  She stresses that information and knowledge of the support networks now available are essential to move forward.  Rachel's story is that of a survivor.

Two addicted sons

Part 1:  On this edition of Recovery Talk, we hear firsthand the diary-like account of a woman who has worked tirelessly  to help loosen the horrors of addiction, which held not one but two of her sons in its powerful grip.  Rachel F. unspools the beginning, the middle, and the present of this unforgettable yarn which is her life's journey.  If she can help even one parent now facing this reality, Rachel F. says it will have been worth it.  She stresses that information and knowledge of the support networks now available are essential to move forward. Rachel's story is that of a survivor.

On this week's edition of Recovery Talk, New York music promoter Robert Taylor explains why the annual Christmas party at Eva's Village has grown the reputation as an exciting platform to debut new talent.  For the past four years, Taylor has produced the show.  He says the audience at the well respected New Jersey homeless shelter for men and women in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction are unusually good judges of talent.  Listen up and find out why.

Drug addiction, with guest Bob M.

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Bob M. describes how his drug of choice, crack cocaine, took him and his family into a dark, seemingly endless abyss.  Now in recovery for 5 years, Bob M. shares how his tireless work on the stuff between his ears has created the environment, emotional and physical, in which even his relationship with his two young sons has been restored.

Obesity — discussion with Barry Shapiro, M.D., D.M.D.

Today's guest on Recovery Talk is Briarcliff Mannor, N.Y., physician, Dr. Barry Shapiro.  Dr. Shapiro is an oral surgeon and in his medical practice he specializes in the treatment of obesity.  (Here, perhaps the case can be made that one thing leads to another!)  On today's show we'll explore the irony of why eating makes us hungry and how the obesity epidemic in America got started.  Dr. Shapiro tells us how he lost more than eighty pounds and, further, how he successfully keeps the weight off.  In his philosophy, he turns what we used to know as the pyramid of foods on its head.  Tune in and learn how to get svelte.

Quitting Smoking

Andrea Gordon, C.S.W., is this week's guest on Recovery Talk.  Andrea Gordon teaches a smoking cessation workshop at The Wellness Club at the Cortlandt Town Center, an affiliate of the Hudson Valley Hospital Center.  As she sees it, there is no single way to quit smoking — one of the most dangerous and difficult of habits to break.  She believes there are many ways that work.

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Ms. Gordon illuminates her most successful techniques and discusses the importance of embracing a new sense of self for those trying to quit.  Ms. Gordon says it takes a new self-concept as a "non-smoker" as well as the consciousness to redirect the negative urges to smoke into positive activities and choices.

Bereavement

Our guests on this edition of Recovery Talk are Joyce Bluestone and Bess Steiger.  Both are bereavement counselors at Phelps Hospice at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  In this show, we explore the very delicate needs of individuals and families when confronted with the death of a loved one.  Although time may be the biggest healer, according to our guests, there are techniques and therapies that can be extremely helpful in this major adjustment to loss and the reaffirmation of life.

DWI

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Theodore E. Frerking examines the legal consequences of a drug arrest or the seemingly endless repercussions of an arrest or conviction for DWI — Driving While Intoxicated.  Mr. Frerking, an Ossining lawyer of many years, will translate some of the more relevant state and federal laws and explain how they apply in these cases as well as explore the expenses associated with the court's mandates treatment programs as well as the costs affiliated license revocation.  The message: don't drink-drug and drive!

National Association on Alcoholism, Drugs and Disability

John de Miranda is Executive Director of the National Association on Alcoholism, Drugs and Disability, headquartered in San Mateo, California.  With a professional background in the alcohol and drug field that spans 25 years, Mr. de Miranda has served as program administrator, management consultant, therapist, educator, government official, researcher and trainer.  As director of the National Association on Alcoholism, Drugs and Disability, Mr. de Miranda works with individuals and organizations dedicated to improving access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services for people with disabilities.   He holds an advanced degree from Harvard University and teaches in the alcohol and drug studies program at the University of California at Berkeley.

Domestic violence — guest Deborah Mullin

What it takes to survive domestic violence is the topic on Recovery Talk this week.  From her desk at the Northern Westchester Shelter and in the field, Domestic Violence Counselor and Advocate Deborah Mullin's chief concern is keeping women safe. In this interview, she explains what "safe" means and talks openly with host Robyn Leary about the nature of abusive relationships and how to get out of them.  Date rape and other issues now very much on the minds of young women and students across the country are also a focus of this week's program.

Surviving a massive stroke at a young age

This week on Recovery Talk, Robyn talks with Tim Podell about his remarkable recovery from a massive ischemic stroke that made him unable to walk and talk.  He was 24.  Today, this Westchester producer/director is leading the field in educational teaching videotapes.  In his best-selling productions, Good Conversations and All About the Book, he interviews writers of children's books.  Both series are available in libraries nationwide.  In this candid discussion, Mr. Podell describes his two year struggle in recovery and the indispensable roll played by family and friends.

This interview was recorded in 2004.  We are very happy to say that in addition to his other work, Tim Podell is now a volunteer at WDFH.  He currently co-hosts In Focus and plans to pick up where Robyn left off with his own version of Recovery Talk here on WDFH.

Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR)

This week's guest on Recovery Talk is Pat Taylor, campaign chair of Faces and Voices of Recovery (www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org), a national recovery advocacy group whose focus is largely on issues of discrimination and the stigma which confronts many in addiction-recovery today.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Ms. Taylor stopped by WDFH's studio and discussed a number of the organization's initiatives including those for "National Recovery Month."

Recovery from alcoholism — discussion with Phil L.

This week, our guest is Phil L., a man in recovery from alcoholism who openly discusses his journey of some 23 years in sobriety.  Phil L. shares what his life was like before he gave up drink, what finally propelled him into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, and where he stands today.  Join us for a fascinating account of recovery, one which employs even the philosophy of Zen.

The science of addiction

Dr. Carlton Erikson discusses his book, The Science of Addiction – From Neurobiolgy to Treatment.  Dr. Erickson, a prominent educator at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacology in Texas, is one of the first scientists to delineate and explain the distinction between substance abuse and chemical dependency.

Videographer Andy Lock

Andy Lock is a Chicago videographer who has just completed a documentary on the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial and the motorcycle ride known as the Illinois Freedom Run, which promotes and financially supports the memorial.  The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial, a national memorial, is fully granite and is inscribed with the names of over 6,000 soldiers — the men and women who lost their lives in Operation Desert Storm-1, the Lebanon Barracks bombing, Operation Desert Shield, the USS Cole incident, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A portrait of women warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
Part three of a three part series on women in war

Former Marine Lance Corporal Jessica Goodell was a diesel mechanic before she took off for Iraq.  In Iraq, she volunteered for an assignment in Marine Mortuary Affairs.  There her job was picking up and recovering body parts of the dead and sending them home.  Join Robyn Leary on this edition of Recovery Talk and learn the inside story of some of the unfathomable and grizzly realities of war.

Women warriors: Iraq and back
Part two of a three part series on women in war

Before Colonel Olson started her career helping veterans, she served in the Air Force for 25 years.  She was part of the first generation of female military pilots with nearly 4,000 hours of flying time.  Tune in on this edition of Recovery Talk with Robyn Leary and learn what Iraq and back is all about.

Women warriors: she’s back, but she’s not the same
Part one of a three part series on women in war

Brigadier General Rebecca Halstead is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition, the first of a three part series on WDFH's Recovery Talk.  General Halstead served in the U.S. Army for 27 years and was the first female graduate of the United States Military Academy to be promoted to General Officer.  She served in both Afghanistan and in Iraq, commanding over 20,000 soldiers.  Tune in and learn what it’s like to re-enter from the harrowing experiences in combat and what it takes to readjust to civilian life.

Surviving Cancer

Debbie Gregg is surviving brain cancer.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores Ms. Gregg’s medical history, her future, and how she copes with a dormant form of cancer on a daily basis.

In the Wake of the Japanese Disaster

Psychiatrist Robert Dupont is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition of Recovery Talk.  This is the second in a series on anxiety.  Dr. Dupont is a specialist on fear and anxiety who sub-specializes in the fear of nuclear disaster.

A Harlem voice sober for over four decades

T.W. has been in recovery from heroin and alcohol for over 40 years.  In stories from Spanish Harlem, where he grew up in the underworld, and other places down yonder, he recalls moments of his early and late recovery.  Join Robyn Leary on this edition of Recovery Talk and learn what it’s like to be sober for decades.

Anxiety and its modern day treatment

How many Americans suffer from anxiety?  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the nature of anxiety with Dr. Greta Hirsch, clinical director of the Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.  Tune in and learn about anxiety, its predisposing causes, and how to prevent it.

Update on AIDS

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary’s focus is on the new developments that have so improved treatment of AIDS.  J. Dewey, her guest, is the public relations and resource enhancement director for AIDS-Related Community Services (ARCS).  This organization is the Hudson Valley’s only comprehensive HIV/AIDS service agency providing a continuum of care and a stabilizing presence for over 3,000 people in crisis each year.  Tune in and hear what’s new.

365 days in recovery

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the ups and downs of early recovery with Daniel J., who details his first year of life without alcohol.  Difficult though it may be to change one’s life completely, there is a lot of hope and determination in this story.

Mending hearts for survivors of cardiac events

Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States for the past 80 years, and though it is a major cause of disability, not much is known about life for those living with heart disease.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary investigates the Mended Hearts program, which has been offering the gift of hope to heart disease patients and their families for 60 years.  Executive Director Tim Elsner is one of two guests, joined by Jeff Marshall, M.D., vice president of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.  Listen up and learn how different the risk factors are for women than they are for men.

Victims and survivors are speaking out about rape

On January 18, 1994, Kellie Green was brutally beaten in her own apartment by an intruder and then, as she lay on the floor, she was raped.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores with Ms. Green the circumstances and the aftermath of her rape.  Ms. Green went on to found Speaking Out About Rape Inc. to empower survivors of sexual violence and transform the public’s understanding and acceptance of rape victims.

Out of the Dark Ages and into the light for children with severe mental illness

In 1957, when William T. Barnes entered the Special Education field, the Dark Ages of treatment for children with severe emotional problems were still fresh in everyone’s minds.  As recently as the early fifties, these children were treated only in state hospitals, placed in residential institutions, or worse, kept at home in what must have been desperate isolation.

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the history of treatment for mentally ill children with Mr. Barnes who, since 1968, has been Executive Director of the Clear View School in Briarcliff Manor, New York.  Under his leadership, Clear View has become the largest day-treatment program in Westchester County, and is considered by many as a model program for the severely disturbed child.

Deepening an already solid love or resuscitating one adrift

America has the highest divorce rate in the world.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary engages Claudia and Jeff Cortez on the value of the World Wide Marriage Encounter.  Married for 20 years with three children and one on the way, they are not professional marriage counselors but an average married couple who’s life changed eight years ago.  Tune in an learn how and why the Marriage Encounter Weekend changed their lives.

Surviving and thriving in the glow of resilience

Dorothy Tomaskovic Oakley has been through more than her fair share of the wringer.  This 81-year-old native New Yorker-turned-South Carolinian has suffered one medical or surgical calamity after another since being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary and Mrs. Oakley explore not only her survival in the face of such challenging odds but the nature of human resilience.

Meeting the needs of parents and families with behavioral and emotional problems

Parents with children who have emotional and behavioral difficulties often live isolated lives.  Family Ties of Westchester County, New York, is a family support organization that provides support and services to and for such families.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary discusses the challenges in this arena with Sylvia Escala, the Ossining, New York Site Manager for Family Ties.  Tune in and learn what it takes to navigate the labyrinthine child welfare system of an often impersonal, underfunded, and complex bureaucracy.

Un-becoming a nurse

According to a conservative estimate, one in ten nurses will develop a problem with drugs and/or alcohol within their lifetime.  Some studies suggest the prevalence is double that.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary talks with Paula Davies Scimeca, R.N., M.S., and a specialist on chemical dependency in nurses.  In her two breakthrough books, she outlines factors that predispose nurses to addiction and factors that protect them from it.  She also profiles 29 nurses about their decline and resilience in long-term recovery.

New technologies emerge that sustain breast health

Solomon Katz Breast Center at Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester County, N.Y., promotes the health and well-being of women.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the new technologies emerging that sustain breast health and hasten early cancer detection with the Breast Center’s chief, Dr. Rosanne Newell.  Tune in and learn what’s happening with digital mammograms, new x-ray imaging for breast biopsies, and comprehensive treatment for cancer.

The science of addiction

Dr. Carlton Erikson discusses his latest book, The Science of Addiction – From Neurobiolgy to Treatment.  Dr. Erickson, a prominent educator at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacology in Texas, is one of the first scientists to delineate and explain the distinction between substance abuse and chemical dependency.

HIV/AIDS and its societal causes

The new HIV/AIDS epidemic will go largely ignored and cost many more millions of lives unless we transcend the taboo of talking about sexual behavior, poverty, race, and communities characterized by incarceration.

As Director of New York State Policy at the Legal Action Center, Tracie Gardner is the lobbyist for people in the criminal justice system living with and without HIV/AIDS and the communities fighting discrimination and stigma.  Tune in this week as Robyn Leary investigates new projects such as Alternatives to Incarceration and the Women’s Initiative to Stop HIV/AIDS — why they work, reduce crime, and save money.  Learn too about what you can do to help stop the new HIV/AIDS epidemic now sweeping the country, which is concentrated in the population of girls and young women 14 to 19 years of age.

What?  There’s no “normal”?  Egad!

Besides being an out-of-the-box thinker, J. P. Harpignies is a writer, editor, conference producer, and long term grassroots environmental activist.  He said as a youth that he had a gut feeling something was wrong in modern life, that all was not as sane or tidy as it seemed.  In a former life, he served as program director at the New York Open Center, the largest urban holistic learning institution in the nation.

For over 20 years, Mr. Harpignies has been a member of the Bioneers, the largest and most diverse independent eco-themed enclave in the nation.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores what Mr. Harpignies calls the myth of a dominant morality.  In his latest book, Delusions of Normality: Sanity, Drugs, Sex, Money and Beliefs in America, he takes on each subject and proves that we are all freaks — in a word, that deviancy is the norm.  Tune in for some brain food.

Child maltreatment: its cause, prevention, and intervention

Intervention and prevention of child maltreatment, autism, and other developmental disabilities are the major research interests of Dr. John R. Lutzker, director of the Center for Healthy Development at the Institute of Public Health and Professor of Public Health at Georgia State University.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the root causes of the high rates of child abuse and maltreatment in the U.S. and what might be done to arrest it.

Recovering the earth through the lens of integral ecology

Every field from sociology to psychology, philosophy, and industrial design — even feminists today — claim a niche in integral ecology, a branch of biology that studies the relationship between organisms and their environment.  Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D., gets deeply serious about ecology.  In fact, he was instrumental in engineering a national movement called “Deep Ecology.”

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary and Michael Zimmerman discuss the difference between the milk carton-recycling enthusiast and those who define ecology as simply the fight against pollution and depletion of resources and deep ecology.  In this conversation, they explore the deeper questions such as the politics and ethics of man’s relationship with the earth and other non-human life forms.  Dr. Zimmerman questions whether man’s place is one of control and domination of nature and, at this point, what might be done to recover the earth.  Integral ecology is a field that identifies multiple perspectives on the natural world and unites the many and varied threads.

What’s so funny about addiction recovery?

He was  a self-admitted “garbage head,” but Dave Dubroff’s drug of choice was methamphetamine, a drug that led him down the path of self-destruction and nearly cost him his life.  But in the midst of finding recovery, Dubroff grabbed a microphone and within a year was a stand-up comic headlining recovery conventions nationwide.  Later, physical disaster struck as his body developed one malady after another from his drug-addicted past.  Twenty surgeries in twenty years led him to relapse on pain meds.  Tune in as Robyn Leary elicits his twistedly-funny tale of recovery.

“Fat Panic” eats its way through the U.S.

Dr. Kathleen LeBesco researches the politics of fatness.  The way she sees it, a Fat Panic is sweeping the country.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary chews the fat with the renowned scholar of corpulence, who argues steadfastly that the “epidemic of obesity” is really a moral injunction masquerading as public health policy.  She examines the discrimination and stigma against large bodies and the seemingly unanticipated negative consequences that such public policy initiatives like the war on fat can have.  “Health At Every Size” is one of LeBesco’s perspectives in her quest to destabilize traditional understandings of what is good health.  By the way, Dr. LeBesco is a happily-robust and healthy plus-sized woman.

Toxins in Recovery

For those in recovery, it may be time to take an inventory of every day chemicals and foodstuffs now in the kitchen cabinet.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, the focus is on nutritional and environmental toxins that surround us in our every day life — even more specifically, the role of nutrition in recovery.  Robyn Leary explores some cutting edge ideas with Sue Haberin, a fitness nutritionist, whose research has lead her into the realm of the special sensitivities that people in recovery from alcoholism and other drug addiction are likely to have.  Tune in and learn the surprising facts about food ingredients and the chemical compounds under your sink.

HIV/AIDS and its societal causes

The new HIV/AIDS epidemic will go largely ignored and cost many more millions of lives unless we transcend the taboo of talking about sexual behavior, poverty, race and, communities characterized by incarceration.

As Director of New York State Policy at the Legal Action Center, Tracie Gardner is the lobbyist for people in the criminal justice system living with and without HIV/AIDS and the communities fighting discrimination and stigma.  Tune in this week as Robyn Leary investigates new projects such as Alternatives to Incarceration and the Women’s Initiative to Stop HIV/AIDS — why they work, reduce crime, and save money.  Learn too about what you can do to help stop the new HIV/AIDS epidemic now sweeping the country, which is concentrated in the population of girls and young women 14 to 19 years of age.

Got cancer?  Come as you are to Gilda’s Club Westchester

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary talks with Donna Fishman, CEO of Gilda’s Club Westchester about the importance of support following a cancer diagnosis – not just for the person living with cancer but for his or her family and friends.  Tune in and find out why this extraordinary organization, founded by comedian Gilda Radner’s psychotherapist, is so extraordinary.  Learn too, how to become a member of Gilda’s Club.

Eastern and Western medical practice commingle in the blink of an eye

Natural Vision Improvement is a holistic approach to ophthalmologic practice.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores an ancient field of alternative medicine with John Monroe, a Natural Vision Improvement educator, clinical assistant, and protégé of the late Dr. Deborah Banker, M.D.  She was an ophthalmologist as well as a nationally and internationally known lecturer on holistic practices for the eye.  Tune in and learn among other things, why they think it’s possible to throw your glasses away without surgery.  Listen up and see the big picture!

A new paradigm for addiction treatment

Jim Leonard is the founder and director of The Art of Living Life, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to assisting all those in need of achieving physical, mental, and emotional well being.  He has developed a holistic approach to such areas as responsibility, spirituality, and relationships which, he believes, are the underlying issue of addiction and other traumatic issues.  Tune in as Robyn Leary explores his new paradigm for addiction treatment.

Six-time Olympic luge athlete reveals recoveries on and off the ice

Anne Abernathy was nicknamed “Grandma Luge” in 1993 by fellow Olympic competitors: she was the oldest luge athlete in the six Olympic games, and as a result, she wound up in the Guinness World Book of Records.  This 90-m.p.h. athlete has at different times battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma, severe brain injury, broken bones, and an embarrassing bladder control problem.  Tune in as Robyn Leary gets a fast-paced picture of multiple recoveries.

A woman on the move

Edie Hand is a three-time cancer survivor who devotes her life to the encouragement of others in need.  A media personality, Edie has starred in national television commercials and daytime soaps and has hosted numerous national radio and television shows.  Tune in and get an earful of Robyn Leary’s conversation with this acclaimed chef, philanthropist, and more.

Addiction prevention for kids 7 to 12 years of age

Victoria Morgan is the founder and president of the Believe In Sobriety Foundation.  The foundation is dedicated to teaching kids and adults about addiction.  Tune in this week as Robyn Leary learns how important it is to reach kids — even as young as 7 to 12 years of age — whether or not they are in a high-risk-for-addiction household.

An incisive look at healthcare in the U.S.

Furley Lumpkin is an accomplished healthcare information technology executive.  Mr. Lumpkin has more than twenty years' experience with internationally renowned healthcare institutions.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores his new book, Healthcare: It Mostly Works.  Tune in to a lively discussion on the healthcare landscape of America — its successes and failures.

A healthy recovery takes time and knowledge

Sue Haberin is a fitness nutritionist and personal trainer.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, she elaborates on the importance of nutrition and exercise in recovery.

Twelve to Twenty-One in the Sex Trade

In 1998, with only a computer and $30 dollars, GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services was established to support American girls and young women victimized by the commercial sex industry.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary interviews one of the principals of GEMS’ network, Muhammida El Muhajir.  Tune in and learn how prevalent the sex trade is in young women 12 to 21 years of age.

The wisdom of harm reduction in addiction recovery

Raymond P. was a street drug user and abuser and an alcoholic.  In the 1980s he got clean for ten years with the help of a harm reduction community-based agency, but then relapsed.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary and Raymond P. discuss his difficulties in addiction-recovery, his relapse, and why harm reduction is so important to the recovery movement.

Stony Point Retreat and Conference Center in Stony Point, N.Y., is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary

During the 1950s, it was both a spiritual home and a cultural crossroads for students and church leaders from around the world who came for a time of rest and reflection.  From the late 1970s through the 1980s, the historic center became a place of sanctuary for faith-based activists working for human rights around the world.

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary and the center's co-director, Kitty Ufford-Chase, discuss Stony Point’s history, its present, its future, and their importance to the recovery of human rights and to providing an environment for different cultural and faith traditions.

Post-traumatic stress and its aftermath

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary investigates trauma recovery with one of the leaders in the field.  Elizabeth Power is a trainer and consultant on trauma who works with both children and adults.  Not only is Ms. Power a professional in the field, she’s someone who continues to work on her own recovery from trauma and its life long consequences.  Tune in and listen to her story.

What’s new in brain injury medicine and how it relates to pregnant women

Steven V. Joyal, M.D., is an internist and the Vice President of Science and Medical Affairs for Life Extension.  His sub-speciality is anti-aging.  Also: brain trauma.  Tune in to this week’s edition of Recovery Talk and hear the discussion between Robyn Leary and Dr. Joyal about what’s what in both of these new and emerging medical fields.

Running up against the law while drinking has consequences

Terry D. is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition of Recovery Talk.  He openly shares his history of alcoholism and discusses his current in-patient treatment program which was court mandated.  Tune in and learn what can happen when one mixes alcohol while breaking the law.

Adult Children of Alcoholics grows worldwide

Omer G. is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition of Recovery Talk.  He is an adult child of an alcoholic with extensive knowledge of the history and reemergence of the twelve-step program known as Adult Children of Alcoholics [ACA].  Omer G. also shares his story of growing up in a violent alcoholic home.  Tune in and learn about this vital fellowship organization and how it transforms lives.

New York Child Victims Act: a re-examination of the current statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims

Joseph Turco, a former lobbyist for the A.C.L.U., civil rights litigator, and election observer for Lawyers Without Borders, is Robyn Leary’s guest on this important edition of Recovery Talk.  Together they explore the New York Child Victims Act — a new bill that seeks to expand the statute of limitations for filing child sexual abuse claims, opening a window for more than five years for victims who are currently suffering.  Considering how long sexual abuse victims often take to find the courage to speak out, Mr. Turco argues that New York State’s current statutes of limitations are woefully short and act as an arbitrary barrier to justice.  Tune in and find out why.

Survivor of clergy sexual abuse walks the walk and talks the talk

John Salveson is a survivor of clergy sex abuse and the founder of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, Inc.  In this interview with Robyn Leary, he talks openly about his childhood sexual trauma and about the laws now in several states to enlarge the time window in which victims of childhood sexual trauma may file claims.

A careful and non-invasive approach to the cervical and lumbar spine

Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D., is a senior partner at Brain and Spine Surgeons of New York.  He’s also on the faculty at Yale University School of Medicine.  His holistic and non-invasive approach to anything medical or surgical dealing with the brain and spine is illuminated this week on Recovery Talk.  Tune it in: just by listening, this guy can get rid of the pain in your neck, back, and more.

Recover your inner calm and improve your self-awareness through unleashing the Ch’i

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the powerful physical and mental health benefits that are possible through the slow, meditative movement of T’ai Chi.  Her guest, Dr. Robert Chuckrow, is certified as a master teacher of Kinetic Awareness and has written five award-winning books on various aspects of good health as well as T’ai Chi.  He also happens to have a Ph.D. in experimental physics from New York University and has taught physics at N.Y.U. and Cooper Union in New York City.  Tune in and learn why T’ai Chi is called “the pearl of Chinese knowledge and culture.”

Grin and bear pain no more

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the relatively new field of pain management and how instrumental it is in recovery and in the healing process.  Martha Maresco, R.N., is certified in Pain Management Nursing at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  Her colleague, Neeta Sethi, R.N., rounds out the interview, which covers the history of what we know about pain and the new developments in how to treat it.  Tune in: it’s painless.

Open-mindedness and change and their impact on mental health

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary explores the mental health aspects of open-mindedness and how it influences our beliefs and our ability to be open — or not to be open — to change.  In this discussion, Dr. Mehul Shah, an assistant professor at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania, unlocks many keys to the mind and sprit of change and changing.  Tune in: you might change your mind.

Chemical dependency treatment in the LGBT community

Stepping Stone of San Diego is nationally recognized as a model treatment center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary talks with John de Miranda, Chief Executive Officer of Stepping Stone, San Diego, about the special challenges associated with providing chemical dependency treatment to these too often stigmatized communities.

Hand-made drugs that work for a lot of people

Phil Altman is the boss and pharmacist at Healthy Choice Apothecary in Chappaqua, NY.  These days, since the arrival of the Clintons, it’s a very tony address, but rather than drinking coffee at Starbucks, Altman is customizing medications; it’s called “compounding.”  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary walks the walk with a pharmacist who is a pioneer in the field of bio-identical hormone replacement for men and women.  Tune in: this pharmacist is not just counting pills.

  • week of 3/5/2012 listen now

    Crack cocaine will kill you — and if it doesn’t, it will bring you down to the ground

    John H. was kind of an ordinary Joe until he got strung-out on crack.  He’s not a teenager or even close, but he lost everything to what was in a glass pipe.  Tune in — it’s a fascinating profile of how you sink and how you swim.

     

  • week of 2/27/2012 listen now

Beginning as a free clinic housed in a church basement, The Open Door Family Medical Centers have evolved into federally qualified nonprofit health centers

The Open Door has cared for Westchester County’s most vulnerable residents for over 37 years.  On this edition of Recovery Talk, Robyn Leary’s guest is Pamela Ferrari, a nurse and an administrator at the Open Door, whose energy has been instrumental in driving such important health initiatives as improving prenatal care, improving the medical treatment of HIV-positive patients, and, for other patients, routine screenings for breast, colon, and cervical cancer.

Tune in and get an ear full of what it takes to get and stay healthy.

Hepatitis C — it can and will change your life

Dan Brown was living an ordinary life when, out of the blue, without any symptoms, his life took a turn for the worse.  From Denver, Colorado, Mr. Brown talks about the invisible onset of Hepatitis C.  Now recovered, his story serves to help others.

New York drug law reform

John Coppola, the Executive Director of the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition of Recovery Talk.  Tune in and learn about the repeal of the draconian Rockefeller drug laws and how it will affect the drug laws worldwide.

Sub-Saharan Africans suffering from AIDS get a helping hand from New York high school students.

Leah Horowitz and Dana Kayser are seniors at New Rochelle High School in New York.  Leah Horowitz is president of the Face AIDS chapter whose mission is to help raise money and awareness for HIV and for those who suffer from it.  Dana Kayser is the organization’s vice president.  Together they work to help the 24.5 million adults and children in sub-Saharan Africa who are living with HIV.  Tune in to this show and learn about the kind of work young Americans are doing for others less fortunate around the world.  And why.

Autism:  What is it?  How is it treated?  And what are the scientific outcomes of treatment?

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Meghan Shawn O’Reilly-Green, treatment team leader at the Brooklyn Autism Center in Brooklyn, New York, discusses the challenges that face educators and therapists who work with autistic children.  Ms. O’Reilly-Green has been working as an Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder for over eight years.  Tune in and learn what all this means, and what it means for families and their children afflicted by this disease.

Date rape, the stigma of addiction and recovering from it, and combat stress injuries and recovering from them

Pam Woll is an addiction treatment consultant and trainer based in Chicago.  In recent years, her focus has been on trauma and the resilience that protects us and the many processes that help people get back in balance.  Ms Woll has a lot to say about returning veterans with combat-stress injuries and what it takes to begin recovery.

New technologies in neuroscience step to the forefront in treating depression, PTSD, stroke, and Parkinson's

Dr. Ross Hoffman, a former cardiologist, is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition of Recovery Talk.  Dr. Hoffman left a lucrative heart practice seeking a solution to one of his children’s neurological problems.  He wound up developing an electrical brain stimulation device that’s used on the skull via electrodes and delivers direct electrical stimulation to the brain, which, in the end, resets abnormal brain signals.  This is big news for those who suffer from depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), Parkinson’s disease — even TBI (traumatic brain injury).  Tune in and stimulate your brain.

The Betty Ford Institute

Garrett O'Connor, M.D., is chief of the Betty Ford Institute which, by name, is appended to the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California.  Tune in and learn what's going on in the nation's foremost think-take on recovery.

Autism:  What is it?  How is it treated?  And what are the scientific outcomes of treatment?

On this edition of Recovery Talk, Meghan Shawn O’Reilly-Green, treatment team leader at the Brooklyn Autism Center in Brooklyn, New York, discusses the challenges that face educators and therapists who work with autistic children.  Ms. O’Reilly-Green has been working as an Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder for over eight years.  Tune in and learn what all this means, and what it means for families and their children afflicted by this disease.

Date rape, the stigma of addiction and recovering from it, and combat stress injuries and recovering from them

Pam Woll is an addiction treatment consultant and trainer based in Chicago.  In recent years, her focus has been on trauma and the resilience that protects us and the many processes that help people get back in balance.  Ms. Woll has a lot to say about returning veterans with combat-stress injuries and what it takes to begin recovery.

New technologies in neuroscience step to the forefront in treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, stroke, and Parkinson's disease

Dr. Ross Hoffman, a former cardiologist, is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition of Recovery Talk.  Dr. Hoffman left a lucrative heart practice seeking a solution to one of his children’s neurological problems.  He wound up developing an electrical brain stimulation device that’s used on the skull via electrodes and delivers direct electrical stimulation to the brain, which, in the end, resets abnormal brain signals.  This is big news for those who suffer from depression, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease — even traumatic brain injury.  Tune in and stimulate your brain.

Understanding the integration of psychotherapy and twelve-step programs

Dr. William A. Knack, a well-known thinker in the field of addiction treatment, is Robyn Leary’s guest this week on Recovery Talk.  Dr. Knack is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury.  In this interview, Dr. Knack discusses his recently published article, "Psychotherapy and Alcoholics Anonymous: An Integrated Approach," published in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration.

In his article, Dr. Knack argues that integrating AA self-help and psychotherapeutic approaches yields a more significant outcomes than either approach in isolation.

Keon Center:  a place where the not-so-profitable get paid

Rebecca Davis is the Workshop Director at the Keon Center, a non-profit agency that provides programs and paychecks to the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled.

Located in Peekskill, New York, the center has been paying the mentally handicapped for their work since 1954.

On this edition of Recovery Talk, we learn how empowering is the labor and socialization of the handicapped — and how it has transformed lives.

Three-part series on women in the military returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

A portrait of women warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

Former Marine Lance Corporal Jessica Goodell was a diesel mechanic before she took off for Iraq.  In Iraq, she volunteered for an assignment in Marine Mortuary Affairs.  There her job was picking up and recovering body parts of the dead and sending them home.  Join Robyn Leary on this edition of Recovery Talk and learn the inside story of some of the unfathomable and grizzly realities of war.  (Part 3 of a 3 part series).

Iraq and back

Before Colonel Olson started her career helping veterans, she served in the Air Force for 25 years.  She was part of the first generation of female military pilots with nearly 4,000 hours of flying time.  Tune in on this edition of Recovery Talk with Robyn Leary and learn what Iraq and back is all about.  (Part 2 of a 3 part series.)

Women warriors: she’s back, but she’s not the same

Brigadier General Rebecca Halstead is Robyn Leary’s guest on this edition, the first of a three part series on WDFH's Recovery Talk.  General Halstead served in the U.S. Army for 27 years and was the first female graduate of the United States Military Academy to be promoted to General Officer.  She served in both Afghanistan and in Iraq, commanding over 20,000 soldiers.  Tune in and learn what it’s like to re-enter from the harrowing experiences in combat and what it takes to readjust to civilian life.  (Part 1 of a 3 part series.)


  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)


ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY

Village Green

Series ended March 2012

Village Green explores environmental and social issues reflecting the greening of our communities – here in the lower Hudson valley and across the globe.  Village Green, hosted by Maxine Margo Rubin, builds awareness and promotes grassroots efforts in the areas of energy use, alternative energy sources, food and local farming, water and land use, and more eco-friendly personal habits.

Culture and Community Sustainability through the Arts

Our guest this week on Village Green is Paul Nagle, Executive Director of ICSCS at Demos, the Institute for Culture in the service of Community Sustainability.  ICSCS is an affiliate program of the progressive think tank Demos, whose mission is to support development of public policy that strengthens art’s central role in civic life and enhances cultural, environmental, and community sustainability.

Social activism, social change, and using wisdom to make a difference

Our guest this week on Village Green is Sunny Armer, poet, writer, and member of the activist group The Raging Grannies.  We discuss how Sunny works with a wonderful group of woman who are dedicated to promoting social change, which led her to start a chapter of The Raging Grannies of Westchester.  They attend rallies and protest injustices through music, humor, satire, and props.  They are women who use their wisdom to lead a call to action.

Hydrofracking in the Delaware Basin

Our guest this week on Village Green is Jonathan Ben Gordon, Cantor of Woodlands Community Temple.  Cantor Gordon has been involved first hand with the dangers of hydrofracking in the Delaware Basin.  We discuss his experiences in trying to stop the gas drilling, as its effects are causing toxins to seep into the pristine water and land of the Delaware Basin.

Ossining Organic Garden, the Cornell Co-op Extension, eco-art and sustainable landscape design

Our guest this week on Village Green is Donna Sharrett, a master gardener who helped organize and now runs the Ossining Organic Community Garden.  She is also an eco-artist who uses the land to create natural designs called "knitted sticks."  We discuss the intergenerational aspect of the Community Garden and its special component of accessibility for those people who are wheelchair-bound.  In addition, we talk about her art, which has been recognized by critics and curators around the world as soulful and beautiful and that humanizes its materials.

Hudson River water quality, Riverkeeper Shad Fest

Our guest this week on Village Green is John Lipscomb, the boat captain for Riverkeeper, a Westchester based environmental organization.  Mr. Lipscomb patrols a 200-mile stretch of the Hudson by boat from the Battery in N.Y.C. to Troy, seeking out polluters and reporting them.  He is the "neighborhood watch" for the river.  He does habitat mapping and navigational surveys and conducts studies to see how fast and well the river flushes impurities out of the system.  We discuss water quality and the Shad Fest and other issues involving the river.

Cleantech, Energy Trading, and Energy Efficiency

Our guest this week on Village Green is Dan Unter, a corporate and technology attorney with Cleantech Law Partners.  We discuss renewable energy, energy trading, and energy efficiency.  We also get into the problem with Chinese drywall and why it is important to use natural/green products to build new homes and office buildings.  Cleantech will lead us to a cleaner, greener planet, as it is important to work with new energy companies, municipalities and to work to enact legislative changes via building codes and zoning laws to produce more sustainable practices, products, buildings, and energy.

Sustainability education and environmental literacy programs

Our guests this week on Village Green are Westchester area high school students Amelia Schwalb of the Hackley School and Gaemin Lee of Horace Greeley High School.  They were co-leaders of the Education/Activism group at a recent Summit on Sustainability, sponsored by the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, CELF, which promotes curriculum on issues of sustainability for grades K-12.  We also have Patti Bressman, Program Director of CELF on the show.  Collective action of students and educators is of great importance in teaching topics which relate to issues affecting the environment.  Bringing young people together to participate in environmental forums is essential to teaching students about climate change, human rights, farming, alternative energies, sustainable design, and social activism.

How herbal remedies can be used to promote personal health and help to remove toxins within our bodies and in the water we drink and the air we breathe

Our guest this week on Village Green is Bonnie Rogers, a clinical herbalist and herbal educator who believes there are healthy solutions to many health issues that do not require the perpetual use of pharmaceuticals.  Her philosophy is to eliminate chemicals from people’s lives, and she does this by working with plants and water filters, as we need to eliminate the toxins contained in the water we drink and the air we breathe.

Home energy efficiency, comprehensive home energy assessments

Our guest this week on Village Green is Thomas Bregman, Director of Energize Bedford, a community-based energy efficiency program which works to dramatically increase home energy efficiency upgrades.  We'll talk about how homeowners can apply for home energy audits and what local communities can do to encourage residential efficiency, as a staggering 53% of greenhouse emissions come from single family homes.

Better School Food and Slow Food, as well as what ties food security, climate change, the economy, and peak oil together

Our guest this week on Village Green is Dr. Susan Rubin, Founder of Better School Food and Slow Food Westchester.  We’ll talk about what we need to do to improve the food environment in schools and how that intertwines with food security, climate change, peak oil, and the economy.  Within our daily lives, we seem to be disconnected to nature.  We must reconnect with the land in order to nourish ourselves and our children and better understand the world around us.  After all, our sustenance and survival depends on what the earth gives us, and we must take care of it in order to better take care of ourselves.

Adventures in eco-conversion — ways to reduce your environmental impact

Our guest this week on Village Green is Colin Beavan, the founder and executive director of the No Impact Project, an international environmental non-profit initiative that encourages others to make choices that better their lives and lowers their environmental impact.  Colin spent a year of his life in which he and his family attempted to reduce their net environmental impact to zero.  He produced a documentary and wrote a book called No Impact Man detailing of those adventures in eco-conversion.

We'll talk about cows, elevators, candle light, bicycles, solar panels, toilet paper, Farmers’ Markets, planting gardens, and pot-in-pot refrigeration.  We will delve into the trials and tribulations of washing clothes in your bathtub, having a compost box with worms in your apartment, and what surprises that might bring in the warmer months, and much, much more.

How meditative music in the form of Vedic chants are used to grow crops, and the connection between spirituality and sustainability

Our guests this week on Village Green are Elizabeth Taggart and Sam Katz.  Elizabeth is the owner of Amba Farms, a 2.5 acre organic farm in Bedford, New York.  She is also a teacher and practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.  Elizabeth studied under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, also known as the guru to The Beatles.  Sam Katz, is a graduate of Maharishi University and has been a certified T.M. instructor since 1974.  He and his wife Melody are directors of the T.M. program in Westchester, and they serve as the national directors for T.M. Expansion. 

 

We’ll talk about how meditative music, in the form of Vedic chants, are used to grow crops.  We will also discuss how spirituality affects sustainability and the benefits of slow food and its importance on nutrition and health.  We all need to nourish our bodies and our intelligence and follow our spiritual paths, as according to Vedic knowledge, it is pure consciousness, energy, and creativity that underlies all nature.

Legal challenge to Indian Point Nuclear Plant’s license renewal, status of G.E.’s clean-up of the Hudson River, and Riverkeeper’s continued work to protect the drinking water of 9 million New York City and Hudson Valley residents

Our guest this week on Village Green is Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper.  He oversees attorneys and investigators whose mission it is to safeguard the ecological integrity of the Hudson River.  Phillip is also the Indian Point Policy analyst and has helped prepare legal challenges to the license renewal of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

We'll talk about the where the legal battle stands in determining whether the plant can renew  its license, as the facility continues to heat the water and kill aquatic life in the Hudson River.  We will also discuss the status of G.E.’s clean-up of the river, as well as the fight to stop hydrofracking in the most pristine areas of New York State.

 


  • WDFH Sessions: On The Record — musicians performing in WDFH's Performance Studio

  • OutCasting — a unique public radio program giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues, produced right here at WDFH

  • In Focus — local news discussion on issues in the lower Hudson valley

  • For the Greater Good — spotlighting the important work of nonprofit organizations in our area

  • Critical Conversations — an occasional series of discussions on issues of public importance

  • Recovery Talk — recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more; interviews with people in recovery as well as professionals in the field

  • Eyes on Westchester — local news discussion on issues in central and northern Westchester (series ended October 2012)

  • Village Green — environmental sustainability (series ended March 2012)


Midnight Run documentary (2006), also broadcast nationally on the Pacifica program Sprouts and on other community radio stations across the United States.

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