By Rob Greenstein
Metro North Accident
On behalf of the Town of New Castle, we want to express our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of Joseph Nadol of Ossining, Robert Dirks of Chappaqua and Ellen Brody, who worked at a local jewelry store.
Joseph Nadol, 42, of Ossining, is survived by his wife Jen and his three young sons. Robert Dirks, 36, of Chappaqua is survived by his wife Christine and his two young children, ages 2 and 5. Ellen Brody, 49, is survived by her husband Alan and three daughters in their teens and 20s.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to these three as well as to all victims and all affected by this tragedy. I would like to thank all first responders and emergency workers for their response and assistance in dealing with this tragic incident. The flag at town hall will remain at half-staff until Friday to honor of the victims of this tragic accident.
Metro North Service
In the aftermath of the accident, Town Administrator Jill Shapiro and I did our best to persuade Metro North to provide shuttle service to North White Plains. We spoke to every politician we could. Special thanks to Mike Kaplowitz, Terrence Murphy, George Oros and Mark Mannix, MTA Director of Government & Community Relations, for their assistance and understanding! After coming to the realization that Metro North shuttle service would not be forthcoming, we developed a plan to provide our own shuttle buses with Chappaqua Transportation. We also decided it would be best to shuttle residents to/from the Ossining Metro North station, instead of North White Plains or White Plains. Special thanks to Joan and Seth Corwin of Chappaqua Transportation for working with the town, and being so understanding when we cancelled at the last minute because service on Metro North resumed. Lastly, special thanks to Jill for making TONS of calls and setting up the bus service, and New Castle Comptroller Rob Deary for suggesting Ossining as station of choice.
Over this past week, we sent letters to U.S Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Nita M. Lowey requesting the Federal Government to construct the Roaring Brook Road Railway and Parkway Overpass to eliminate the railroad grade crossing in the Town of New Castle located within half a mile of Horace Greeley High School. The benefit of constructing a bridge at this crossing to the safety of the public - travelling by car or train – is clear. There is sufficient land. The need to build is clear. The time has come to build the Roaring Brook Road overpass, which in addition to alleviating a dangerous train crossing, will also remove a traffic lighted intersection on the Saw Mill River Parkway and will ease traffic congestion. It is beyond the Town's resources to construct this bridge and federal aid should immediately be made available for the design and construction of the overpass. You can read the full letter here. If you support this effort, I would encourage you to send an email or write a letter to The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand, The Honorable Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Nita M. Lowey. Click here for contact info.
Speaking of safety, I am happy to report that our recreation commission unanimously voted to mandate helmets at our town parks for sledding. The Town Board will soon be confirming this requirement. We are working on signage for the parks. Our liability insurance carrier certainly supports the idea. We have already placed over thirty more hay bales at Gedney Park. Click here to see our sledding tips.
I would like to remind residents why the Town Board formed the advisory committees. Last year, we received reports from residents and our Police Department that coyote sightings and interactions were on the rise. Some residents reported having their pets taken by coyotes, and others expressed safety concerns abut their children and pets. Based on this feedback, I encouraged several residents to form an advisory committee to help the Town Board gather information about best practices for dealing with coyotes.
In attempting to form an advisory committee, it quickly became apparent that individuals would approach the task with very strong views about conservation and coexisting with wildlife. For that reason, the Town Board took the somewhat unconventional step of forming two advisory committees. The resolutions forming both coyote committees recognized that coyote sightings have markedly increased in the Town, and our residents have reported having their dogs attacked and killed by coyotes.
Starting with that premise, both committees were asked to study and make recommendations to the Town Board on ways to increase community awareness about coyotes and minimize the risk of coyote attacks on pets. Both committees were asked to develop strategies and information relating to coyote hazing, conflict deterrents, behavior modification, what to do when sightings occur, and when trapping may be necessary. Both committees worked incredibly hard, and I would like to thank the members for their time and effort.
I anticipate that the Town Board will set aside time at a future work session to discuss the information and recommendations we receive from our advisory committees. After that step, we will adopt a plan – most likely with contributions from each committee. This wasn't a competition and should not be viewed as such. The winners will be the residents of New Castle who will take comfort in the fact that their elected officials are looking out for the safety, the safety of their pets and quality of life. You can read my full statement here.
I am happy to report that the Town Board appointed Gregg Sanzari to the Master Plan Steering Committee. Gregg is a West End resident, and member of the Millwood-West End Advisory Committee. We thank Dick Brownell for his prior service.