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Police Offer Additional Information About the Manhunt in Greenacres

maskedmanScarsdale Police Captain Thomas Altizio answered some questions regarding the incident in Greenacres on Thursday night January 12th, when a 48 year-old woman was grabbed by a masked man in the driveway of her home, setting off a lengthy manhunt.

Police report that the woman arrived at Hartsdale Train Station at about 7:10 pm and walked home. When she reached her house on Donellan Road at 7:20 pm, she walked down her driveway to the side entrance of her home she noticed that a man had followed her down the driveway. He was about 5'8" tall, wore a black ski mask and displayed a silver firearm. He said "Don't say anything." The woman yelled her husband's name and the suspect said, "Give me your ring," and grabbed her arm. The woman screamed, ran into her house and called the police. She did not see which way the man fled. When police searched the property they found a glove at the base of the driveway. The man left with nothing.

Was this incident connected to a similar incident that occurred in Yonkers shortly afterwards? Police are working with detectives from Yonkers and say that though there are some similarities, they cannot confirm that the two incidents are related. Just 23 minutes after police received the call from the woman in Scarsdale, Yonkers police say that a 19-year-old woman was in her car when a masked man wearing all black and holding a gun got into the car and tried to sexually assault and rob her. This occurred near the corner of Scarsdale Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in Crestwood.

Scarsdale Police report that they did an extensive search for the man. According to Captain Altizio, all available Scarsdale units initially responded to the area, including the Scarsdale Chief of Police and they were assisted by several patrol units and a K-9 officer from the Westchester County Police. Helicopters from the Westchester County Police Aviation unit searched from overhead. During the initial response and subsequent search there were 10 to 12 officers (and one dog) on the ground in the Greenacres area.

Captain Altizio said, "I do understand that the presence of the low flying helicopter may cause some residents to become alarmed, but it does provide us with valuable resources in these types of situations. The aviation unit is able to utilize enhanced thermal imaging technology from the air that quickly locates people on the ground. Scarsdale officers conducting the ground search are in direct communications with the aviation crew and can be quickly directed to the location of a hiding or fleeing suspect."

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant to Close in 2021

indianpointGovernor Cuomo announced today that Indian Point Nuclear Power Plan will close in 2021. The plant produces 2,000 megawatts of electrical power, or the equivalent of a quarter of the power used in New York City and Westchester County. Cuomo cited safety concerns, saying, "For 15 years, I have been deeply concerned by the continuing safety violations at Indian Point, especially given its location in the largest and most densely populated metropolitan region in the country." He said that the state is fully prepared to replace the power generated by the plant at a negligible cost to ratepayers."

The two reactors at Indian Point started producing power in 1974 and 1976 and since then there have been safety concerns. The environmental group Riverkeeper has called for the plant to be closed saying it has "suffered a spate of troublesome incidents, including the crippling of one reactor from radiation-damaged bolts, a radiation leak, transformer explosion and oil spill, water pump failure, electrical anomalies and the loss of power to several reactor control rods." In May 2015 a transformer explosion, fire and oil spill was the third major incident in eight years and in February 2016 there was a leak of radioactivity into the groundwater.

The NRC says that one of Indian Point's reactors has the highest risk of earthquake damage of all the reactors in the country and Riverkeeper also says the plant is vulnerable to terrorism and due to the population density near the plant, the evacuation plan is unworkable.

Cuomo says that by 2021 New York will be able to make up the energy loss caused by the plant closing, however County Executive Rob Astorino questioned whether energy costs would go up even further. Ina press conference on Monday, Astorino said that he had not been informed that Entergy, who owns the plant, had been in discussion with Governor Cuomo and said the decision would cause the loss of 1,000 jobs and revenue losses to the Village of Buchanan, the town of Corlandt and Westchester County.

He said the governor's decision would cause "economic chaos," and said "ratepayers and property taxpayers will pay for this." According to Astorino, Westchester residents already pay the highest energy bills on the U.S. Mainland, and he feared that the plant closing will make rates go up even more. Sparring with Democratic Governor Cuomo, Astorino said that Cuomo bailed out upstate power plants but closed this one instead.

According to Astorino, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has consistently said that the plant is safe and Astorino called Indian Point a "political hot potato."

In a statement today, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin agreed with the decision, but also cautioned against rising costs. She said, "Indian Point never should have been built near so many people. Safety has been and continues to be a concern.As plans for the plant's closing progress, we must have a blueprint in place to address a multitude of issues: reliability- making sure the lights in the areas Indian Point serves stay on, prioritizing clean energy, and an environmentally safe shutdown. Most importantly, as the highest taxed area in the state, with among the highest cost of electricity, finances must be in place to ensure that ratepayers do not bear the burden of this change and that communities are subsidized for their losses in taxes."

SVAC Celebrates a Year of Service to Scarsdale

svacgroupThe Scarsdale Village Ambulance Corps held their holiday party on December 8th to honor their staff and volunteers who give many hours each year to assisting their neighbors when called.

On hand were Mayor Jon Mark and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin along with many corps volunteers. SVAC President David Raizen and SMS teacher Steve Rambone celebrated 40 years with SVAC.svacmanson

Angela Manson was named Rookie of the Year

Al Garavito was named Paramedic of the Year

Jim Gross was named EMT of the Year

svacalKudos to the entire corps for their devotion to assisting neighbors in their time of need.

svacgrossThe Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps relies on your support. Click here to give your annual donation.

Photos by Jon Thaler: See more here.


A Bronx Tale and A Dinner Tale

bronxtaleIt's not often that you get to eat a themed dinner at a restaurant owned by a Broadway writer and then see his play, all in one night. I was lucky enough to enjoy A Bronx Tale themed meal at Chazz Palminteri's Ristorante Italiano followed by great theater at his musical on Broadway.

A Bronx Tale, the unexpectedly adaptable musical that is based on a play of the same name by Chazz Palminteri (now a Westchester resident) and later the critically acclaimed film. The film starred Chazz as Sonny, the mob boss, and was directed by Robert De Niro. I can only attribute much of the perfection of A Bronx Tale, the New Musical to the book by Chazz and the superb co-direction by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. I was pleasantly surprised by the heartfelt music and lyrics and then learned that Alan Menken and Glenn Slater were the pair behind them. That's right, the Disney duo famous for box office smashes "Tangled," "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin" (Menken) as well as Broadway's School of Rock (Slater) wrote the music and lyrics for A Bronx Tale- and it does not disappoint. Choreography by Sergio Trujillo rounds out the famous (and fabulous) creative team. The set (Beowulf Boritt) was impressive and the lighting and variance of angles allows the audience to feel like they are seeing Belmont Avenue from different vantage points. Lest one forget the sound; I was able to hear and understand every character so caps off to Gareth Owen, Sound Designer.

Beyond the upbeat music and choreography is a story that will stick with you long after leaving the Longacre Theatre. It is relevant today even though it opens in the 1960's. Beginning with the song (that I'm still humming) "Belmont Avenue," the story tells of a boy's coming of age in the Bronx when race relations between the Italian and African-American communities were strained. Young Calogero, (played by Athan Sporek in this performance) is an only child being raised by loving, working-class parents Lorenzo (Richard H. Blake) and Rosina (Lucia Giannetta). Young Calogero accidentally witnesses a murder by mob boss Sonny (Nick Cordero) then flat out denies Sonny's involvement when questioned by the NYPD. Sonny takes a liking to Calogero, nicknames the boy "C" and then Athan Sporek/Young Calogero takes over the stage and crushes his solo, "I like it." Sonny introduces "C" to dice- throwing and the mob scene. He wins a large sum of money during the song "Roll 'em" but his father finds out how he won it and forces him to return it to Sonny. We then see Calogero (Bobby Conte Thornton) as a young adult in 1968 who looks remarkably like his younger version. Against his father's wishes, he has secretly kept a strong relationship going with Sonny. He joins a gang and develops a crush on an African American girl named Jane (the talented Ariana DeBose) and their story is explored while Calogero's relationship changes and develops with both Sonny and his father until tragedy strikes.

I had a chance to talk to the exceptionally talented and gotta-pinch-him cute Athan SporekSporek after his performance as Young Calogero. (Athan shares the role of Young Calogero with Hudson Loverro). At age 9, you'd expect this to be Athan's debut on the Great White Way but he was also the youngest Gavroche on Broadway in Les Miserables history (during his younger years). I asked him how the two shows compare from his point of view. "I guess you could say this show is a bit jazzier than Les Mis," he said. "I love both styles but what's cool about A Bronx Tale is that I get to sing, dance and act- I can do all the things I love in one role." According to Athan, why should people come see A Bronx Tale? "Just like Jane says in the show," he remarked, "it's a story that'll make you laugh and cry. As far as co-directing goes, it doesn't get better than this!" I had a chance to meet Athan's mom and asked her for one quick highlight of the whole experience so far. "It was when Athan asked, 'Now that I know Chazz, when do I get to meet the real Mafia?'"

Not exactly close to the theater but highly convenient to Grand Central Station is Chazz Palminteri's Ristorante Italiano so naturally I had to try it before the show. Beyond the intelligently thought out menu and perfectly cooked and presented cuisine, there's Chazz himself who frequents the restaurant.

ristoranteIn honor of the opening of A Bronx Tale on Broadway, the restaurant has a set "Bronx Tale" dinner menu as an option. It's an impressive offering for a fabulous price. The wine menu was varied and extensive without being over-the-top. The service was top notch from start to finish and the ambiance was lovely. We began with the grilled calamari which was drizzled with olive oil and balsamic and was a notable introduction to our meal. We also had the salmon tartare over avocado topped with arugula and capers; fresh, simple stacked ingredients that were heavenly for the tastebuds. The Secondi came out piping hot and we split the Osso Buco (only served when the chef decides to cook it) and pistachio crusted halibut over homemade gnocchi in a white wine and porcini mushroom sauce. The Osso Buco was absolutely delectable if a bit fatty for my personal palate. The halibut/gnocchi dish was expertly prepared, well-seasoned and filling. (As if I could skip dessert.)

While consuming about 3,000 calories worth of Tiramisu that waschazzandstacie so good you could have convinced me I was in Rome, I looked up and Chazz himself. He was excited that we were going to see A Bronx Tale after our meal and mentioned that it was Athan Sporek's (young Calogero's) debut performance. "Those kids are great, both of them. Ya better get goin'," he said as we frantically hailed a cab. But first, I couldn't resist a photo. I just wish I had practiced my Bronx mobster face beforehand because, well, Chazz had.

A Bronx Tale is playing at the Longacre Theatre and has a running time of 2 hours. Rush tickets are available when the box office opens. Note: There are several very loud gunshot sounds, a couple of curse words, sexual innuendo and a word quickly spoken by a character making it possibly inappropriate for young children.

Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano is located at 890 Second Avenue between 47th and 48th and is open for lunch and dinner daily.

District Breaks Ground on New Music Room at SMS

shovelsA groundbreaking ceremony was held at Scarsdale Middle School on Wednesday 12-14 to celebrate the beginning of the construction of a new instrumental music room. The new room will provide the district's young musicians with a dedicated space for orchestra rehearsals and storage of musical instruments. Construction is anticipated to be completed in time for the opening of the school year in September 2017.

This project is just one of several that were financed by an $18.2 million bond that was passed with an 86% approval rate by Scarsdale voters in December 2014. Other exciting facilities upgrades include a new learning commons, a design lab, and a fitness center at Scarsdale High School, a new library, office and entrance at Edgewood School and a new multi-purpose room and renovations to the existing multi-purpose room at Heathcote School.

middleschoolphotosSuperintendent Thomas Hagerman said "This groundbreaking is the result of the blood, sweat and tears that got us to this moment.... This is just the beginning of a lot of work to be done at the district. We have focused on curricular improvements and deferred maintenance on our facilities. This work will not just repair the school, but bolster the instrumental music program."

Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey said, "Its been a long road to get to this point. It's exciting to stand here and break ground." He thanked architects KG&D and construction management firm Savin, who will ensure that the job is built safely, on time and to specifications. He asked the community to bear with the district and anticipated mud, a shortage of parking spaces and a bit of traffic during the construction process.

matteyhagermanmaudeSchool Board President Lee Maude said "This is a great milestone. One year from now we will be inside an orchestra rehearsal room instead of rehearsing on the stage of the auditorium. How lucky are we to have a community with great ties to music and the arts." She thanked former Board Presidents Mary Beth Gose and Suzanne Seiden and the community for their support of the bond.