Playland Rollercoaster Continues The Kaplowitz Coaster — Sustainable Playland Still In — No Stay or Go Decision Yet

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WPCNR PLAYLAND-GO-ROUND. APRIL 23, 2014:

Sustainable Playland, the main player in the county Playland saga unfolding the last three years is still all in for Playland after last night’s board meeting of the organization. No decision as to withdraw from consideration, or rejoin the County Board of Legislator Playland Improvement Plan Review after May 1 was reached.

Chairman of the County Board of Legislators had set a deadline of May 1 on television Sunday, giving Sustainable until May 1 to continue their participation in the review. Sustainable had announced their withdrawal from the review because of what they described legal questions that had yet to be resolved, specifically County Legislator Kenneth Jenkins lawsuit against the county that he has refiled claiming the county executive did not have the right to enter into a contract with Sustainable, and the City of Rye claim that they wanted a full environmental review and right of final approval of any changes to Playland.

Geof Thompson, spokesperson for Sustainable Playland issued this statement to WPCNR on the Sustainable Playland Board meeting Tuesday evening:

“The SPI board had a productive meeting last evening to review the current situation. The board will reconvene later this week to continue its discussion.”
>>

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Chair of County Board of Legislators Kaplowitz sets May 1 Deadline for Sustainable Playland to Come Back to Playland Review Hearings

WPCNR PLAYLAND GO ROUND. April 22, 2014 UPDATED 1:09 P.M. E.D.T.:

Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Michael Kaplowitz, appearing on News 12′s Newsmakers program Sunday, in the course of the program, announced he was giving Sustainable Playland until May 1 to come back to participation in the county Playland Improvement Plan hearings currently suspended because Sustainable withdrew from the hearings until the county had sorted out two legal issues that Sustainable had raised.

Matt Richter, spokesman for Mr. Kaplowitz, confirmed Mr. Kaplowitz made the statement on the show, and said that Kim Morque, the President of Sustainable Playland said Sustainable would comply with that deadline, however this did not mean, according to Richter that Sustainable was not withdrawing as a candidate.

 Geof Thompson, spokesperson for Sustainable Playland told WPCNR at midday that the board of Sustainable Playland will be meeting this evening to take up the setting of the deadline and how they will respond to it. Until they have met, Sustainable will not have a statement.

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686 New Foreclosure Filings in County in 1st Quarter: County Clerk. Pace of 2013 new foreclosure actions appears to continue. No Explanation of What Unabated New Foreclosure “Filings” Mean to Touted Real Estate Recovery. Foreclosure Sales INCLUDED in 19% Westchester County Home Sales 1Q Increase

WPCNR HOMESIDE. From the Westchester County Clerk Office. (EDITED). April  22, 2014 UPDATED 9:45 A.M.EDT April 23, 2014:

The Office of the Westchester County Clerk reported six hundred and eighty six (686) foreclosure actions started between January 1st and March 31th of 2014, equaling the first quarter of 2013.

WPCNR also has learned from the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors that the Westchester County home sales increase of 19% touted for the first quarter includes sales of foreclosed homes.

WPCNR contacted the County Clerk for a statement on the source of these continuing trend in new actions initiated against owners– which come on top of news of a 300%  increase in first quarter judgments settling foreclosure actions.

Mr. Idoni, as he did when he first put out the news of the spectacular rise in  foreclosure judgments in January,  told the Journal News yesterday, the same thing he said on White Plains Week on January 17 two months ago.

On the judgments, he is quoted by The Journal News: “Rather than a rash of all new filings, we are seeing a clean-up of situations where homeowners have been in trouble a long time.”

However, Mr. Idoni, though requested by WPCNR,  did not address the 686 new foreclosure filings that are essentially the same as the first quarter of 2013, though, and what they meant. Do increased filings mean the real estate market prices are being held down by the foreclosure bargains? (Just one thought that comes to mind.) 

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors told WPCNR that the increase in Westchester home sales of 19% in the first quarter includes the sales of foreclosed homes put back on the market, after judgments,  but did not have a figure on the percentage of the lift in sales that those foreclosure sales provided. They are working to develop that figure. 

The County Clerk office did not respond to WPCNR’s request for the number of foreclosed homes that were sold in the county during the first quarter. Perhaps they are working on that.

The new fore closure filings for the first quarter are in addition to  the number of foreclosure judgments in the first quarter of 2014  being almost three times the number from the first quarter of 2013 reported Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni who serves as Clerk of the Westchester County Supreme Court where foreclosure actions are heard.

“These first quarter judgment numbers are the largest we’ve seen since historic highs in 2008 and 2009,” continued Idoni. . (in addition to the 686 new filings).

Foreclosure Judgments Filed

Year

January

February

March

Total

2006

29

25

28

82

2007

55

33

47

135

2008

83

84

76

243

2009

76

56

100

232

2010

42

26

67

135

2011

6

10

16

32

2012

14

15

19

48

2013

26

14

22

62

2014

28

86

66

180

 

Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO), a non-profit housing agency with offices in White Plains and Mount Vernon, conducts Mortgage Default Orientation sessions most Wednesday’s in their White Plains Office.  Trained counselors are available to help at (914) 428-4507 or by visiting www.wroinc.org.

For more information on the Office of the Westchester County Clerk, please visit WestchesterClerk.com or call (914)995-3081.

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CSEA SAYS REJECTS Fact Finder Recomendation they Pay 7 to 10% of Health Care Costs. Suggests 0,0,2,2 Wage Settlement. County Exec Accepts it.

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. (EDITED) April 21, 2014  UPDATED  April 23, 2014 10:15 A.M. EDT:

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced Monday that the county would accept the recommendations that an independent state fact finder, Howard Edelman has laid out to settle the county’s outstanding labor contract with the CSEA, the county’s largest union.

The recommendation called for CSEA-ers to pay a portion of their health care costs.

The Journal News reported Wednesday, Kwabena Manu President of  the CSEA has rejected the settlement, saying “To take a salary cut, is unrealistic for them.” The Journal News reports the salary dispute be turned over to the County Board of Legislators that may set a salary for one year of the contract by New York State Labor Law.

For current CSEA employees, health care contributions would be based on premiums but tiered according to an employee’s salary with payments ranging from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of premiums over the course of the contract. New employees would pay 20 percent of premiums.

The fact finder called for a general wage freeze for 2012 and 2013; a 2 percent increase in 2014 and 2015; and bonus and longevity increases of $100 per employee in 2012, $150 per employee in 2013, and $100 in 2015.

“As is the case in all collective bargaining, neither side got exactly what it wanted,” said Astorino. “But, the proposals set forth in the fact finder’s report are fair, and since the fact finder was brought in at the request of the union, I would urge the CSEA’s leadership to act responsibly, accept the recommendations and give its membership a contract.”

The CSEA is the only one of the county’s eight unions that doesn’t contribute to health care. Management and non-union county employees contribute to health care as well.

“The fact finder simply recognized that in today’s economy all employees must pay a share of their health care,” Astorino said. “This is true in the private sector and the public sector. It is time for the CSEA to recognize this reality.”

In accordance with New York State’s Taylor Law, the fact finder met with the parties, heard arguments and received evidence. The report makes findings and recommendations on all issues submitted in the fact finding hearing, most importantly on wages and health insurance contributions.

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Tonight PEOPLE TO BE HEARD INTERVIEWS BRIAN WALLACH ON THE GROWTH OF WHITE PLAINS OVER THE YEARS

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JOHN BAILEY, BRIAN WALLACH AND JIM BENEROFE ON YOUR PEOPLE TO BE HEARD. SEE THEIR INTERVIEW TONIGHT 10 P.M.


Another Guest in our Legacies of White Plains Series

BRIAN WALLACH

(with Arthur)

Lifelong resident,

Tireless civic booster,

Pioneer in change in the city

Remembers White Plains the way it was, how and who changed it

Watch this inspiring program tonight at 10 PM Countywide on Verizon FIOS Channel 45

or in White Plains on Cablevision 76 or

download it at whiteplainsweek.com 

 

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Sunrise!

 

 

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Pastor Melissa Boyer of the Katonah United Methodist Church presiding over the traditional Sunrise Service at Cross River Dam Easter Sunday morning.

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Awaiting the start of the service 6:30 A.M.

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Bible, Communion Plate, and Chalice

 

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After the short simple eloquence, worshippers departed in the Sun’s glory

 

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Pastor Boyer’s ceremony was simple and brief, saying”This is the Good News– the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never put it out. . Christ is our peace, the indestructible peace we now share with each other”.
a hymn followed, with is verse that speaks to every person:
“Our hearts be pure from evil, that we may see aright the Lord in rays eternal of resurrection light; and listening to his accents, may hear, so calm and plain, his own “All hail!” and, hearing, may raise the victor strain.”
Pastor Boyer closed by encouraging all to see the meaning of Christ in our every day life in simple acts of kindness.

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The Return from Calvary

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WPCNR NEWS & COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. April 18, 2014:

He died 2,000 years ago. There was no CNN, no internet, no newspapers,radio or television. No Twitter or Facebook.

Nevertheless the message of the man who died on Calvary spread around the world without mass communication.

His followers, twelve of them were so devoted to His message of love and code of behavior they became the first pacifist activists who spread a message the man they called their Lord had preached to them.

He is Jesus of Nazareth.  He had no last name.

Today He is now known all over the world for the message he delivered.

Whether you believe He is the Son of God, or not, he ranks as one of the foremost influences on mankind.

His selfless acts of embracing lepers, the poor, those who sinned were unique.

Such compassion for the downtrodden was unheard during the time He lived.

It was a time of slavery. No human rights. No care for the sick. When cities were razed and populations slaughtered or enslaved.

Jesus of Nazareth introduced a new philosophy that spread throughout the world after His death by crucifixation because the community leaders of his own people thought him a threat to their power.

If you live by his philosophy of foregiveness you are a person at peace with yourself. If you accept those who are different from you without  fear or prejudice, you are a force for spreading His message of peace towards others and good will.

I f you help the poor and the sick because you sympathize with them, you are following His way.

If you stand up for truth, point out what is wrong as He did with the Pharisees. You are doing his will.

If you go about doing good for the sake of doing good, you are following His virtue of selflessness.

Jesus of Nazareth’s message whether divine or a code of how we conduct our lives resonated with millions and it spread.

There is no denying He is one of the great philosophers of the human experience, kin to Socrates, the other giant of antiquity thought.

The above print of “The Return from Calvary” painted by Herbert Schmalz shows the last hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s crucifixation around 33 A.D. on Calvary Hill, “the place of the Skull” outside of Jerusalem late in the day He was crucified.

The description on the print describes the somber scene:

The darkness which was on the earth (during His suffering) is clearing away.

One long, dark cloud is hanging over the city like a pall.

The Virgin Mother, weighted down by fatigue and grief, knowing not wither she goes, is being led up some steps, toward “his own” home, by St. John and Mary Magalene.

In the distance on the top of Cavalry, you can make out the three crosses.

The grief so eloquently captured by this print depicts the very personal loss all of us endure when someone we love passes away because of all they did for us. Jesus of Nazareth was a human being who affects us to this day.

One of the great gifts of this man, Jesus of Nazareth, is the celebration of humanity and capacity to care and feel for others that aids persons whether they believe He was the Son of God or not. Or that you will have eternal life if you believe in him.

His philosophies of care, courage, compassion and benevolent action serve their practioners well because they leave a great personal satisfaction in the heart, the mind, and the spirit.

You do not have to second guess yourself, when you do what is right, humane, merciful, and serves the less fortunate without superiority.

The peace of mind of action is the least of the  great gift of Jesus of Nazareth whose death on the cross is marked this day.

If you act as Jesus did, you will be remembered by all you meet fondly and lovingly, and be comforted that you will live in memories of those you have  touched with your love and kindness and caring  for eternity to the end of the age.

His simple teachings have great power.

They give meaning to our mystery of life.

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Tonight A Special Rebroadcast of the White Plains Week Budget Show and Where You Stand as a Tax Payer

THREE ON THE MONEY

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PETER, JOHN AND JIM

THE  REPORTERS WHO STAND ON GUARD FOR THEE

TOLD YOU THE SCHOOL AND CITY BUDGETS LAST WEEK

NOW THEY BREAK IT DOWN FOR YOU

AND HOW MUCH YOU’LL PAY IN NEW TAXES

AT www.whiteplainsweek.com

SEE THE BIG THREE INSTANTLY ON THE NET NOW.

ON

GOVERNOR CUOMO SHAKES UP MAYORS ACROSS THE STATE

BLAMES THEM FOR PROPERTY TAX MADNESS

THE NEW CITY BUDGET DOESN’T CUT A PENNY

THE SCHOOL BUDGET ADDS A MILLION

SAYS THEY WILL HAVE TO CUT $5 MILLION IN THREE YEARS

MR. TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE SAYS FUNDING STILL BEING SOUGHT TO FUND BUS RAPID TRANSIT AND I-287 TRAFFIC SMOOTHERS –NO NEW CONSTRUCTION PLANNED THERE

ASTORINO OPENS HALF THE PLAYLAND BOARDWALK — SUSTAINABLE PLAYLAND HAMSTRUNG ON FINANCES UNTIL BOARD OF LEGISLATURE APPROVES.

See it at 7:30 P.M. in Westchester County on FIOS CHANNEL 45

OR

IN WHITE PLAINS ON CABLEVISION CHANNEL 76

or

INSTANTLY ON THE NET

at

www.whiteplainsweek.com

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Governor Cuomo and MTA Transit Workers Union Settle on New 5 Year Contract: 1%,1%,2%,2%,2% Raises

 

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. from the Governor’s Press Office (Edited). April 17, 2014:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Tom Prendergast, and Transit Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 President John Samuelsen today announced a tentative labor agreement to settle a 2-year-old contract dispute between the MTA and TWU Local 100. The tentative agreement protects fare payers while providing a fair and reasonable five-year contract to TWU Local 100’s 34,000 transit workers.

The contract retroactively covers 2012 and 2013, and settles contracts for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Under the terms of the agreement, TWU workers would receive increases within the 2% cap that Governor Cuomo has achieved with state labor contracts (1% increase in each of the first 2 years, beginning with 2012, and 2% increases in the last 3 years).

Employees would pay an increased share of health care costs – increasing from 1.5% to 2% percent of the employee’s salary – but would receive important new benefits including paid maternity/paternity leave, coverage of health care for surviving spouses of deceased TWU retirees, and improvements to dental and optical benefits. 

The contract will have no impact on MTA fares and will be accommodated within revisions to the MTA financial plan. 

The tentative agreement is subject to approval by the TWU Local 100 executive board and ratification by the membership, and subsequent approval by the MTA board. 

“The transit system is the lifeblood of New York City, and the MTA employees are the ones that make the system work,” Governor Cuomo said. “They showed their dedication time and time again during Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath, working in difficult conditions to get the system up and running in record time. The resolution of this contract dispute is fair to transit workers, fiscally responsible for the MTA, and will have no impact on fares. I thank President John Samuelsen, who fights tenaciously for his members but also cares deeply about the system and its ridership, and Tom Prendergast whose lifelong dedication to the transit system made him the ideal leader of the MTA.”

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said, “This is a fair and equitable contract for transit workers. The agreement secures raises in every year of the contract, with full retroactive pay and provides for historic paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as important improvements to our membership’s healthcare, dental, and eye benefit package. The MTA is a vital part of this City and I am pleased to present a contract to the membership that recognizes their hard work, dedication, and service. I commend the hand of partnership extended by Governor Cuomo and I appreciate his leadership in helping bridge the divide and bring us to this contract agreement.”

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White Plains March Sales $$ REBOUND 6%– On Target for 51.7 Million in Sales Tax Collections ahead of last year.

WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. From the New York State Department of Tax and Finance. April 17, 2014:

White Plains had its strongest economy  gain in March after months of running 2% behind last year’s sales tax collection pace.

March 2014   was 6% ahead of March 2013 ($4,161,532 this March compared to $3,930,289 in March 2013. The March handle put White Plains on target to set an all time record in sales tax receipts if the city just keeps pace with 2013 receipts through the next three months.

The county meanwhile  had a soft March, only 1% ahead in sales tax collections over 1st quarter 2013.

White Plains after 9 months of its 2013-14 fiscal year has collected $38.7 Million in tax receipts. If the April May and June totals of $12.2 Million it got in 2013, the city will hit $50.9 Million, easily generating the tax stabilization fund dollars needed to cover its 2014-15 labor cost increases.

Funding the ever growing White Plains payroll is what the stabilization fund is used for.

That is why the tax stabilization fund has not grown beyond $5.1 Million since it was first funded out of the sales tax receipts in 2009-10. Had the city not used the tax stabilization fund to pay salary increases, White Plains residents would be facing  city property taxes 15% higher than they are now. At the time the Tax Stabilization Fund was created, the city faced a 17% increase in taxes to meet payroll due to losses from assessments and pension increases.

Should the 6% sales surge in March, maybe from efficient snow removal or ice and cold purchases, or NCAA Tournament related bar sales in White Plains, continues the city could hit $51.7 Million an all-time record.

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