New Castle Supervisor’s Report – March 12, 2019
Supervisor, New Castle
Every Person Is Connected (“EPIC”) – ChappPAC
Back in 2015, the Town of New Castle created the EPIC Committee. EPIC stands for “Every Person Is Connected”. Our EPIC committee is trying to find ways to improve the lives of people in our town who have special needs. Last Saturday’s Together in Music concert was a great example of the incredible work they are doing. Working with The Chappaqua Orchestra, they organized this concert – an interactive and inclusive Family Concert spotlighting the special needs community. Members of the special needs community played with the orchestra & helped usher. It was a huge success! Our EPIC Committee, along with David Restivo & The Chappaqua Orchestra did an incredible job organizing this. I also want to thank our sponsors – Hip Kid, Whole Foods, Natalia Wixom/Compass Real Estate & Friends of ChappPAC. This video was put together by Brendan Klein, one of our EPIC (Every Person is Connected Committee) self-advocates! A few weeks ago, I, along with many members of our EPIC Committee, had the honor of watching 25 Prospect Street, the documentary about the Prospector Theater. It’s the story of Valerie Jensen, a former school teacher, who transformed an abandoned bank into the Prospector Theater, a movie theater that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities. I look forward to working with our EPIC Committee to do the same here – use ChappPAC to provide employment opportunities for those with disabilities. I want to thank our EPIC Committee for the important work they are doing here in New Castle.
For those on Facebook – check out the EPIC Facebook page.
Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
I am thrilled to announce that Friends of Chappaqua Performing Arts Center has obtained their federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status! Friends of ChappPAC will now begin in earnest their efforts to bring programming to the theater and to raise money for some of the needed capital improvements. In the coming weeks, Friends of ChappPAC will reach out to residents and businesses to become part of their Founding members team (Founding donors will be forever memorialized in a Founding members plaque in the beautiful ChappPAC). Friends of ChappPAC is ambitiously hoping to raise enough money to kick-off their first season in Fall 2019. If you are interested in hearing more about donation levels or to become a volunteer for one of their many committees, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape
While we planned to resume operations on April 1st, if the weather cooperates we hope to resume operations sooner. One of the first things being done is reducing the bump-out on Senter Street, subject to DOT approval. As I mentioned previously, the general time frame of this project was 24 months. This summer we will be approaching the 2 year mark. Water main improvements have been completed. The sanitary sewer improvements have been be completed. The storm sewer improvements have also been completed. Now the part that residents can see – the streetscape improvements! The streetscape work will also make it safer for residents to walk around our downtown. Please remember to check the Town of New Castle website for all updates.
Con Ed Gas Moratorium
As I mentioned several times over the past month, on January 18th, Con Ed announced that beginning March 15, 2019, it will no longer be accepting applications for new customers. More information can be found on Con Ed’s website. Last night, Christine Cummings, Con Ed Gas General Manager, Christopher Raup, Director of Smart Solutions Program & Jane Solnik, Director, Westchester Public Affairs, appeared before the Town Board to answer questions about the moratorium & Con Ed’s Smart Solutions. Con Ed’s Smart Solutions Program, which was recently approved by the NYS Public Service Commission, will increase supply by implementing a host of non-pipeline and renewable programs. However, the benefits of the Smart Solutions program will not be enough to enable the utility to lift the moratorium. Working with the Planning Board we have sent a letter to the NYS Public Service Commission requesting an extension of the deadline from March 15th to August 1st. We requested reconsideration of the scope of the moratorium, transparency into the decision malting process as well as their help in identifying and bringing to market viable alternative clean energy sources including developing incentive programs to encourage clean energy. Thank you to Ivy Pool for drafting it. Lastly, we are looking into adopting a Greening Building Code which would amend our building code to make New Castle buildings more energy efficient and sustainable.
Sunshine Children’s Home
Sunshine Children’s Home is currently expanding their facility to accommodate an increased number of sick children. Sunshine Children’s Home is located on a 33-acre property in Ossining, on the west side of the Town of New Castle. Sunshine presently provides pediatric care for children with the most serious, and often terminal, medical conditions. Their patients are literally the sickest of the sick. A public information session was held on March 6, 2019 regarding the status/progress of the Offsite Well Monitoring Program being conducted by the Sunshine Children’s Home. The Town’s consulting hydrogeologist, William Canavan, PG, LSRP, was in attendance. Here’s the video of the information session.
For construction updates, please visit the Sunshine Children’s Home website.
New York State is offering two hour training courses for residents to have the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 06:00 PM, Westchester County Center, Little Theater, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains 10606. Click here to register.
Joan Corwin Way
Over the past several months, the Town Board has been thinking of a way to honor Joan Corwin. It was recently suggested that we rename Hunt’s Lane – Joan Corwin Way? Thank you to Nancy Laun for raising this incredible idea! Last night we held a public hearing for 03/12 to consider the street name change. You can email comments to TownBoard@MyNewCastle.org.
Pooper Scooper Law
Last night we held a public hearing for 3/12 to consider a pooper scooper law here in New Castle. This law would apply to any common thoroughfare. sidewalk, passageway, bypath, play area, park or any other property. These restriction shall also apply to private property. It’s unfortunate that it’s necessary but hopefully this will encourage people to clean up after their dogs. You can email comments to TownBoard@MyNewCastle.org.
We previously passed a new rule prohibiting smoking in our public parks. We also passed a local law raising the age to purchase tobacco & vape product from 18 to 21. As well, we passed a local law regulating the location of vape shop. We prohibited vape shops within 2,000 feet of the lot line of any school, 500 feet of any park, playground, library or religious institution & no more than one vape shall be located on any lot or within 1,000 feet of any other vape shop. We are now considering amending our vape law to include the same restrictions for the retail distribution, sale or offer for consumption of recreation marijuana. We have set a public hearing for 3/26. We also wrote a letter to Senator Peter Harckham & Assemblyman David Buchwald expressing our concerns re: recreational marijuana. You can email comments to TownBoard@MyNewCastle.org.
Rotary Club’s Annual Charter Night Dinner Honoring Debbie & Ben Lieberman with the Joan Corwin Community Service Award
Last week I was incredibly honored to present the very first Joan Corwin Community Service Award. Joan was a special lady, and she will be missed. Joan was about many things in her service to the community. One of her paramount concerns was the safety of our children. It is so appropriate, then, that the first recipients of the award named in Joan’s honor were Debbie & Ben Lieberman. As many know, in 2011, Evan, their 19-year old son, died in a tragedy. Evan was home from college, on his way to a summer job, sleeping in the back seat of a car, with his seat belt on, when the driver of his car crossed a double yellow line & hit another vehicle head on. After spending 32 days at the Westchester Medical Center, Evan passed away. Through litigation, it was learned that the driver of Evan’s car had been texting throughout the drive. Ben and Debbie are special people. They vowed that their family’s loss would be the catalyst for change. In 2014, Ben appeared before the Town Board to talk about DORCS – Distracted Operators Risk Casualties. With Ben’s guidance, we started our “Hands Off the Phone and On the Wheel” initiative in New Castle. We designed and introduced distracted driving banners. Those banners can be seen throughout Town and in the Horace Greeley High School parking lot. We designed and introduced car magnets. Those car magnets can be seen throughout town. New Castle Police Department increased distracted driving enforcement. Since the initiative began in October 2014, the New Castle Police Department has issued well over 2,000 tickets for distracted driving violations. We started a Distracted Driver Diversion Course for persons ticketed for distracted driving offenses in New Castle. We created a distracted driving video to train police officers on techniques to enforce texting-while-driving laws and investigating mobile devices as a possible contributing factor at crash scenes. We also created a distracted driving video which documents the heartbreaking story of Evan Lieberman and our effort to change habits and laws regarding distracted driving. The Lieberman’s efforts have been noticed throughout the country. They have been tireless in their efforts to enlist government agencies, numerous states and even corporations to join the war against distracted driving. For example, the American Automobile Association highlighted New Castle’s Distracted Driving as a model for distracted driving enforcement/education efforts and how communities throughout New York could follow our lead. If it wasn’t for the Liebermans’ activism in our Town, there’d be nothing to recognize. Ben is actively working on legislation called “Evan’s Law”. This legislation would enable police to examine phones at an accident site – using the “Textalyzer”. The “Textalyzer” and proposed legislation has received National media attention including coverage on CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, Daily News, NBC and CBS News. Just this past week, Ben was in Nevada, working on getting legislation passed there. Thanks to Evan’s Team, Westchester Medical Center has The Evan Lieberman Friends and Family Lounge, a new caregiver area in the intensive care unit for families to have a place of healing and support when experiencing traumatic events. The 2,400 SF lounge includes showers, lockers, nutrition stations, resting areas & consultation rooms. The pain that the Lieberman family experienced will never go away. But for more than 8 years now, Ben & Debbie Lieberman have thrown themselves into the mission of saving lives. They have demonstrated the essence of altruism. For them, it’s not “What about us?” Instead, despite their suffering, despite their loss, it’s “What can we do to create a safer future for others? How can we save lives? How can Evan’s story serve to benefit others?” They are making a difference! Last week’s award recognized their outstanding community service. We thanked & honored them with the very first Joan Corwin Community Service Award.
As many know, our Westchester County Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, who has represented New Castle for more than 18 years, will not seek reelection this coming November. I want to thank Mike for his public service. On a personal level, I very much appreciated Mike’s bipartisan approach to governing. I think Mike said it best a few years back in an interview with The Somers Record. Mike said “This legislature is a bi-partisan legislature and I would hope that other governmental bodies would look to us as a model and how to bring people of different political persuasions together. And yes, we all get pressure from the extremes in our respective parties to be more strident and not work together, but we have resisted and I believe the end result is a legislature that has worked well for the people of Westchester County. I agree 100%. Thank you for your service, Mike.