Last Truckload of Burned Garbage to be Dumped at Sprout Brook Facility

10/19/2009 10:11:38 AM



Legislator Oros stands outside one entrance to Sprout Brook Ash Disposal facility, pictured in distance.




Westchester County Legislator George Oros (R/Cortlandt) is pleased to inform residents in Cortlandt and Peekskill that the Sprout Brook Ash Disposal facility, located high above North Division Street and Sprout Brook Road, will be accepting its last truckload of burnt garbage on October 22.


The facility has been operated by Westchester County for the last 30 years as a storage location for trash that was incinarated at the RESCO plant in Peekskill.


“Patience is a virtue, and while the site has been closely monitored by the county and Town of Cortlandt for years, it’s one less concern officials and residents will have now that it’s shutting down,” Oros said.


Once it is closed, the storage cells on the property, which was transferred to the county by the Town of Cortlandt in the 1970s in exchange for parkland the town has utilized for ballfields, a waterslide and recently a dog park, will be capped by the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities.


The cells will also be monitored for any environmental problems for the next 30 years by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


“It’s been a long time coming, but the time is finally here,” Oros said.











10/19/2009 11:37:29 PM



(White Plains, NY) ~  The Westchester County Board of Legislators has approved landmark legislation that would require the forfeiture of vehicles for those convicted of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while engaged in unlawful speed contests or drag races throughout Westchester County. 


“This is a historic action for this Legislature.  Tonight, the Board took an important step to ensure public safety and protect our residents from drunk drivers,” said Board Chairman William J. Ryan (D, WFP-White Plains).  “I want to congratulate my colleagues on this victory, which will save lives in the future. The prospect of forfeiting one’s car, often an expensive material possession, will cause people to think twice before getting drunk and getting behind the wheel.”  Having worked for over a year in a bipartisan effort, this legislation comes for a vote on the heels on the tragic deaths of members of the Bastardi and Schuler families on the Taconic State Parkway in July, along with recent spark in DWI/DUI-related accidents within the county.  


“The passage of the bill is a major victory for Westchester County and one that will resonate throughout the region, as counties and municipalities aggressively pursue drunk drivers in an effort to make their streets safer," said Legislator Peter Harckham (D, I, WFP-Katonah), the author of this landmark legislation.  “It’s also important for residents to realize that if you’re caught driving drunk, you risk taking a life or losing your own. The County Board has found that while larger fines, longer license suspensions, and increased jail sentences may deter some offenders, a stronger deterrent is necessary to protect the public.” According to the National Transportation Safety Board, civil forfeiture of motor vehicles laws serve as a deterrent to recidivism may reduce first-time offenses and will send a stern message that driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and drag racing will not be tolerated in Westchester County. 


“Our committees have worked together in a bipartisan effort for over a year and have added several constitutional protections for due process,” said the Board’s Committee on Legislation Chairman William Burton (D,WFP-Ossining).  “This bill has been modeled after legislation that is in place in Nassau and Suffolk counties, both have proven to be effective in those localities.”  In an effort to combat drunk driving and reduce the number of driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) and driving under the influence (“DUI”)-related accidents and fatalities, the proposed legislation would call for Westchester County law enforcement to begin confiscating the vehicles of intoxicated drivers arrested for DWI or DUI.  When an individual is arrested for DWI or DUI, the County would apply civil forfeiture proceedings against the vehicle, which is considered the instrument of a crime, and the car is immediately impounded.  Currently, twenty states permit the confiscation of vehicles for DWI or DUI offenses, with New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties, specifically within New York State, with most being second offenses or more.


Details of the legislation include:


  • Contains an “innocent owner” affirmative defense, which is intended to stop forfeiture of a vehicle when the owner did not have actual knowledge that the vehicle would be used in violation
  • Authorizes the County Attorney to commence civil actions for forfeiture of vehicles when operated by a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or found to be participating in drag racing and is arrested by any Westchester County police officers on county roads
  • Contains a provision which expressly permit lessors and lien holders of vehicles to recover such vehicles if seized by the county
  • Contains a “hardship relief” provision, allowing relief from forfeiture, in cases in which the defendant can establish that such forfeiture would impose substantial and unwarranted burdens on the defendant’s ability to travel to employment, school or medical treatment.  Such hardship relief could be subject to terms and conditions, including installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle. 

Within the last four years, Westchester County has seen a steady increase in DWI or DUI arrests.  According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, adult arrests in Westchester County for felony and misdemeanor offenses rose from 2,337 in 2002 to 2,650 in 2007.  The Westchester County Department of Probation reports that DWI and DUI cases represent the largest percentage of their total cases – 23 percent.  Additionally, 17,000 people nationally die each year in alcohol-related accidents, with 80 percent of which involve recidivist drunk drivers.  “Over eighty percent of DWI and DUI arrests are first-time offenders and, therefore, forfeiture of their vehicles will severely cut down on this danger," states the Board’s Public Safety Committee Chairman Legislator Vito Pinto (D,WFP-Tuckahoe).  “Drunk driving is a deadly and serious crime.  This legislation sends a clear message to repeat offenders – driving drunk will not be tolerated in Westchester County.”


Click here to read the DWI Vehicle Forfeiture legislation.


Legislator Harckham’s YouTube video on DWI vehicle forfeiture:












10/20/2009 2:02:34 PM



Chairman Ryan with members of the Antonio Meucci Lodge of White Plains, NY
Click on photo to enlarge


Before the start of its October 19, 2009 meeting, the Westchester County Board of Legislators held its annual celebration of Italian heritage and culture.


This year’s ceremony commemorated the 400th Anniversary of the invention of the telescope by Galileo Galilei and the 100th Anniversary of the death of Italian American Crime Fighter Giuseppe Petrosino.


Following a presentation and proclamation by the County Board declaring October "Italian Heritage & Culture" month in the county, the legislature recognized the achievements of outstanding students and teachers of the Italian language in Westchester. The 2009 honorees are listed and pictured below (district/legislator - student, school, teacher).  

District 15 (Hon. Gordon Burrows) - Naquera Welcome
Roosevelt High School
Nancy Adorno



District 14 (Hon. B. Spreckman) - James Maniglia
Lincoln High School
Giovanna DeAngelis



District 6 - Rocco Cipriano
Harrison High School
Maria Battipaglia



District 5 (Hon. Bill Ryan) - Jacob Carmen
White Plains High School
Giuseppe Spedaliere



District 4 (Hon. Mike Kaplowitz) - Mikhiel Lim
Yorktown High School
Dominic Passarelli



District 12 (Hon. Tom Abinanti) - Jiwoo Ryu
Ardsley High School
Michelle Genna



District 1 (Hon. George Oros) - Angela Licata
Hendrick Hudson High School
Silvana Cappabianca



District 3 (Hon. John Nonna) - Mariangela Fiorenza
Westlake High School
Rossana Caringi



District 16 (Hon. Ken Jenkins) - Florentina Dipaola
Gorton High School
Carmela Cevetillo



District 17 - Ashley Balseiro
Yonkers High School
Maria Di Bello



District 11 (Hon. Jim Maisano) - Alexandra Avvocato
New Rochelle High School
Maria Notaro



District 7 (Hon. Judy Myers) - Giuliana DeAngelis
Rye Neck High School
Rita Maria Carolini



District 10 (Hon. Vito Pinto) - Julianna Flamio
Eastchester High School
Lucrezia Lindia



District 10 (Hon. Vito Pinto) - Adriana Vicario
Tuckahoe High School
Antonietta DeAngelis



District 9 (Hon. Bill Burton) - Francesca Davide
Ossining High School
Francesca Amedeo



District 8 (Hon. Lois Bronz) - Melissa Desofi
Woodlands High School
Maria Vannucci






More pictures from the evening... 


(left to right): Legislators Abinanti, Pinto,
Maisano, Prof. Carlo Sclafani, Chairman Bill Ryan,
Tony Rummo and Legislator John Nonna.


Sclafani is one of the co-presidents of the
Westchester Coalition of Italian American
and head of the Language Dept.
at Westchester Community College. 


Ryan with Mario Cermele, President of the Antonio Meucci Lodge of White Plains, and Rita Cestone, named "Woman of the Year" at the Lodge’s 2009 Columbus Day Celebration.



Chairman Bill Ryan accepts commemorative posters of Giuseppe Petrosino and Galileo Galilei from Professor Sclafani.








Crystal Poholka, a Soprano from
Westchester Community College,
performing a solo vocal piece.



























10/27/2009 4:42:42 PM


Westchester County Legislator John Nonna is hosting a town hall forum on the state of health care today


Westchester County Legislator John Nonna with the following guests:

  • Mr. Joel Seligman, President of Northern Westchester Hospital Center

  • Mr. Keith Safian, President of Phelps Memorial Hospital Center

  • Dr. Arthur Fass, Cardiologist
  • Dr. Richard Strongwater, Internal Medicine

  • Eunice Serton, NWHC nurse

  • Margaret Rafferty, Professor of Nursing at CUNY 


Mount Pleasant Library
350 Bedford Rd (btwn Sunnyside and Romer Aves)
Pleasantville, New York


Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. SHARP


This town hall meeting is to provide community residents with the opportunity to  hear  health care professionals, hospital administrators and physicians   discuss the state of health care today and possibilities for health care reform .  This is a non-political event and no current legislation will be discussed.  Residents will also have the opportunity to ask questions.


Click here to watch the town hall meeting.


President Obama Announces $3 billion in grant money for residential smart meters

10/27/2009 10:02:22 PM



(Somers, NY) ~ Over the past 5 years Westchester County Legislator and Vice-Chairman of the Board Michael Kaplowitz (D, I – Somers) has repeatedly lobbied for smart meters on behalf of residential ratepayers – including at the state level in Albany and before the New York City Council, an initiative today reinforced by President Obama in a press conference where the President announced $3 billion in grant funding for residential smart meter installation.


“‘Smart meters’ offer consumers the ‘three E’s; economic advantage, environmental benefit and energy efficiency,” Kaplowitz said. “Imagine there’s a gas station where it normally costs $4.00 per gallon but if you go after 11 PM, it’s only $2.00 per gallon. Wouldn’t you want the option to go out at 11 PM to save money on a commodity you use so much of? It’s all about providing the rate payers with a choice.”  Kaplowitz, a certified financial planner and immediate past chair of the legislature’s Budget & Appropriations Committee, continued by saying this will also create jobs and stimulate the local economy.


According to Kaplowitz, technology known as ‘smart meters’ has been available, although residential consumers have not been able to elect to have a ‘smart meter’ installed in their homes. “Smart Meters” are home energy monitoring systems that enable ratepayers to see their “real time usage” along with the corresponding “real time prices” in 15-minute intervals. Smart meters also have the ability, in the event of an outage, to automatically notify the power company of a power outage without the consumer having to report it.  “Consumers deserve choice. Individual home energy meters and real-time pricing would not only provide ratepayers with a choice, but would revolutionize electricity consumption by saving consumers real dollars and conserving energy, which, in turn, contributes to a cleaner environment.”


In October 2005, Kaplowitz, the immediate past chair of the Environment & Energy Committee, led the County Board in calling on the Public Service Commission to permit residential “smart meters,” enabling consumers to take advantage of “real time pricing.”  “Under the current system you pay an average of the various prices of a watt for each of the 24 hours.  What we want is to have consumers benefit from the lower, off-peak rates that keep that average down during the day and have the information available to them so they can make choices when the rates are high.  That’s the benefit of RTP,” Kaplowitz said.