Monday, February 8, 2016

Elmsford FD Hosts Safety Seminar

It started as a simple, indoor, winter drill for the Elmsford Fire Department, in January. Limited by the severely cold weather, it was decided to have a guest speaker come to teach the department’s members in the Alexander Hamilton High School’s auditorium. That was sixteen years ago, when Lieutenant Andy Fredericks, a member of the New York City Fire Department, became the first speaker of what would become a department tradition.  

On Saturday, February 6th, approximately 410 firefighters from primarily the New York metropolitan area, as well as out of state, attended the Annual Lt. Andy Fredericks, FDNY, Memorial Seminar and Exhibits. All of the attendees, firefighters, EMS and some police personnel were treated to an excellent presentation by Captain Mike Gagliano of the Seattle Fire Department’s “Go/No-Go” presentation, about
decision making on the fireground: interior versus exterior operations.
 
Captain Gagliano focused his presentation on a number of different scenarios, which included numerous action videos and involved a lot of audience participation. Attendees also visited a large number of vendors, including Firefighting and EMS equipment, medical screening, FD communications equipment, FD jewelry, FD t-shirts, Firefighters for Christ, Con Edison, The New York State Firemen’s Home, Burn Care Everywhere, etc. Members of Andy Frederick’s company, FDNY Squad Company 18, were in attendance, as always, selling company t-shirts and interacting with the seminar attendees.

In addition to the training and vendors, substantial funding was raised for the four charities that the all-volunteer Elmsford Fire Department support:  Lt. Andy Fredericks Scholarship Fund, Lt. Tyler Rush Scholarship Fund, the New York State Firemen’s Home and Burn Care Everywhere. All proceeds raised are donated after expenses. The Marriot Hotel graciously allows the use of their Grand Ballroom for this event. Steve Rossi of AAA Emergency in North White Plains said, “Elmsford has set the bar for all seminars for the New York Fire Service.” Walter Ferguson, of Burn Care Everywhere said, “This has become the premier firefighting event in New York State.”

Next year’s 2017 Seminar will be with Battalion Chief Jim Silvernail, of the Metro West Fire Protection District of St. Louis County, who will be speaking on “Suburban Firefighting.” Congratulations to the Elmsford Fire Department for all they do and to helping these other organizations.
 

An Experiment With Your Money

ABG was recently contacted by another concerned citizen through another blog to bemoan the actions taken by their previous Village leaders. Their blog site, EveryThingCroton, has posted about the Feiner-like shenanigans with the Sustainable Westchester organization in their community. Apparently, we are not the only lucky ones. But things changed for them when a new administration was elected, replacing the old guard. We’ve posted links (below) to two of their posted stories that seem eerily familiar. Initially, our first concern was that Mr Feiner and his Board were enrolling all Greenburgh residents into this program - whether they wanted to or not. Secondarily, there were no guarantee of savings, only guesstimates for savings (if any), and too many unanswered questions before undertaking this experiment.

EveryThingCroton has raised many of the same questions, issues and ethics of how Sustainable Westchester’s Board of Directors are operating. And, so has Croton’s new administration.

http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2016/01/this-weeks-gazette-letter-on.html

http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2016/02/theyre-at-it-again-croton-dems-get-your.html

ABG has raised the issue of Sustainable Westchester’s Board members being Town and Village leaders throughout Westchester County. The unanswered question for ABG staffers is when and if Mr Feiner and his Town Board will become ordained by Sustainable Westchester and join the ranks of the paid non-producers? ABG also wonders how and why these other government leaders have been allowed to sit on a Board of Directors that their respective communities are actively doing business with? Or, maybe doing business for? Regardless, something downwind doesn’t smell like flowers.

The list accessible on the website for Sustainable Westchester shows the following Board members. We’ve highlighted in bold the community servants that we take issue with being Board members as their communities are utilizing Sustainable Westchester’s energy experiment. It seems very much like a conflict of interest.

We also have provided common-knowledge information about the others below (when we could find it). As always, you should come to your own conclusions.

- Noam Bramson (Mayor, New Rochelle)
- Chris Burdick (Supervisor, Bedford)

- Joe Carvin (President, One World United & Virtuous): a hedge fund lawyer, was the former Rye Town Supervisor who recently ran against Kristin Gillibrand for her Senate seat and lost.

- Dan Chorost (Environmental Attorney): He is a law partner who regularly litigates complex Superfund matters. Dan blocked construction of a natural gas pipeline through critical environmental areas of Westchester County on behalf of Cortlandt. ABG wonders if he does this to foster more returns for Sustainable Westchester?

- Sara Goddard (Founder, Rye Sustainability Committee): She authored the report on sustainability for Rye.

- Mike Gordon (CEO, Joule Assets): He is responsible for conceptualizing and developing products and services for Joule Assets. He specializes in serving end users in deregulated wholesale electricity markets.

- Peter McCartt (Media and Marketing, Business Development): Peter sits on the environmental committee for the Town of Eastchester.

- Herb Oringel: Is the Treasurer and one of the founders of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium as well as Sustainable Westchester.

- Camilo Patrignani is the CEO of Greenwood Energy. Greenwood is in the U.S. and seven countries in Latin America. They are part of the privately owned international Libra Group which controls over 30 subsidiaries operating across six continents. Libra has substantial renewable energy interests as a prime operator in Europe. Greenwood has a strategic relationship with EuroEnergy which undertook the Libra Group’s first solar investment in 2005 through the acquisition of a local developer. Other Libra subsidiaries are involved in shipping, aviation, hospitality and real estate as well as a range of diversified investments.
- Tom Roach (Mayor, White Plains)

Laura Rossi: is the Executive Director of the Westchester Community Foundation. Prior to her career in philanthropy she practiced law in New York City and Westchester, and worked for local and statewide nonprofits on behalf of women’s rights and farmworker rights.

- Nancy Seligson (Supervisor, Town of Mamaroneck)

- Mike Spano (Mayor, Yonkers)

Another article, linked below to the EveryThingCroton site, was subsequently posted as this article was being written. It is from the Croton Mayor detailing some reasons as to why they voted against Sustainable Westchester for their Croton community. Read about it here:

http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-letter-from-dr-greg-schmidt-why-we.html

While there is rarely any resistance to cavalierly going against a proposal with any scrutiny, if any, the Greenburgh Town Board usually seems to find themselves on the wrong end of many decisions as the abjectly follow Mr Feiner’s mandates. We believe this to be the case with Sustainable Westchester, especially, now that fuel and energy costs have plummeted for whatever the reason. It should be incumbent upon this administration to not jump into every suggestion put before them. Obviously, leaders from communities such as Croton are capable of doing their due diligence and making good decisions for their taxpayers!

Isn’t this the kind of politics most people complain about in disgust and why politicians are thought of so poorly? Of course it is. People are fed up with government and politicians being on the inside track and claiming this is just business as usual. It’s also very possible that while no one is technically breaking any laws, the appearance of impropriety is enough to question their motives. 


We seek to have these handsomely funded businesses with well-paid employees not be given an easy pass simply because they have the not-for-profit moniker. Many not-for-profits do legitimate and worthwhile work. This not-for-profit, during this upcoming three-year experiment, promises to become a for-profit business when this experiment concludes – on your dime! ABG is pretty sure this was never the intent for not-for-profit businesses. However, having lawyers and politicians working the system to their advantage until they can “prove out” their business model is just wrong! It must end. Croton is seemingly on the right path. Some day Greenburgh may follow. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ESCO Approved! Cheaper Energy?

We’ve again received the daily campaign email from Mr Feiner, this time alluding to potential savings by mandatory participation in an ESCO or Energy Savings Co-Operative. He states you could save money up to 8 to 14%. What he doesn’t tell you is that it is 8 to 14% of your energy supply fee, one of the smallest portions of your energy bill. And, the claim is based on four New Jersey communities who are participating in an ESCO, not necessarily the same company he and his Town Board are forcing all of us into. The delivery charge is what is highest and Con-Ed just asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) for another increase of 1.8% of your current rate or about 4 dollars or per month. Mr Feiner needs to fight with the PSC if he really wants to help.

He also recounts the last Town Board meeting from Wednesday where, “...the Town Board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the Town Supervisor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") affirming that the Town and Sustainable Westchester, Inc. agree to participate in a Community Choice Aggregation program ("CCA") to procure energy supply from one or more Energy Service Companies ("ESCOs") for the residents of the Town of Greenburgh.”

In Mr Feiner’s email he repeats the same information multiple times, almost trying to convince everyone that this is a good deal. In fact, Ken Stahn of the Sprain Road Civic Association, met with, studied, and presented his findings to the civic associations’ umbrella organization, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, the Town Board and others. However, despite Mr Stahn’s pleas to slow down the process to acquire answers before jumping into this, he was summarily thanked and dismissed by the Town leaders. It’s ABG’s belief that Mr Feiner told his Town Board how to vote and they did as they were told.

While Sustainable Westchester has a cool sounding, environmentally friendly name that would evoke a feeling of energy conservation and environmental friendliness, the reality is that this is an experimental program being started by a group of hedge-fund attorneys looking to initially do their testing as a non-profit and if they are successful, change to a for-profit venue. With Mr Feiner and other elected leaders blessing this operation without answers to important questions, people may be lulled into a false sense of security. Simply, Mr Feiner has made us all guinea pigs for this test program!

ABG, Ken Stahn and others have all questioned the logic of people having to opt-OUT of this scheme because Mr Feiner and his Town Board want it that way. What we and many others have been saying is that residents and taxpayers should have to opt-IN to this experiment. After all, government should not have the right to decide on what and how you spend your money. Opt-IN, not OUT should be the standard. Some of the community leaders that Mr Feiner has referenced that are participating in this experiment have been appointed to Board of Director positions on the Sustainable Westchester Board of Directors. Does this sound like a conflict of interest to you? What’ next, telling us which cell phone or television service we can buy?

Mr Feiner states that Sustainable Westchester is “leading the way...” and “Their application to form the first pilot community aggregation program has been granted, and the rest of the state is watching and waiting.” Mr Stahn had expressed reservations about being the first, again guinea pigs, and that we have the ability and luxury of waiting until this model is proven elsewhere and can supply real numbers instead of projected guesses. He also stated that the falling costs of energy around the world is making the entire project even more suspect and asked Mr Feiner and the Board to not rush into anything. A three year minimum commitment is mandated to all residents. ALL residents, you may ask? Yes, Mr Feiner has signed up all residents in the Town to participate. They must opt-OUT to be excluded. How will you know? The Town will mail you a postcard that you must return to be opted-OUT. Maybe he has another plan to improve post office performance.

The language used in the contract was boilerplate at best and wrought with mistakes and inaccuracies. Mr Feiner had no problem at that time accepting it until Mr Sheehan decided to slow that runaway train down. After rewording the contract, there were still problems and Mr Stahn remained vociferous about it. Yet, each time Mr Stahn sought to rectify issues and get clarity and answers, the ESCO representatives provided little if any. Mr Feiner, supposedly with our best interests in mind, did nothing to assuage these fears and questions.

Mr Feiner has stated in his campaign that he, “Will keep you updated on the company that Sustainable Westchester will enter into an agreement with and will advise residents how to opt out of the program if you do not want to participate. It's our hope that program will start later this year.” Mr Stahn had contacted Mr Feiner and said, “One last thing Paul is on the air waves pushing something that he has no idea yet what pricing the RFP has generated.”

Mr Stahn has told ABG that he is willing to discuss with anyone the details, strengths and pitfalls of this project if they reach out to him. Feel free to contact him if you have questions.

Kenneth G. Stahn; e-mail kgstahn@aol.com; cell 917-642-7516

This is a sketchy plan without any real safety net for residents. It’s also sketchy because we are all being forced in without having a say-so. The postcard option seems flawed. You may recall when you received the notice to have your home re-evaluated for the Town revaluation project. It looked like junk mail and many residents simply threw it away! That might be what these people are counting on to keep their enrollment numbers up to what they need. Time will tell. Until then, tell Mr Feiner and his Board that you will make your own decisions, not him. It is how we will get A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sports Bubble Bursts

We previously wrote on February 17, 2014 about the apparent safety issues with sports bubbles being more common than we were led to believe by the Town Administration and other proponents of sports bubbles. However, the bubbles they all referenced were smaller than the proposed bubble originally slated to be inflated at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, the former Frank's Nursery property. Other safety concerns were quickly dismissed by Mr Feiner. Contamination cleanup of the property was also quickly placated by Town Attorney Tim Lewis, an unacknowledged and unknown hazardous materials remediation specialist.

Worthington Woodlands Civic Association members were not against development of that property. Yet their one constant was that no commercial entity be allowed to use the space and that it be utilized as zoned, for residential housing. Mr Feiner continued to assault the neighborhood with plans of an eight-story, 84-foot tall sports bubble as well as other commercial endeavors. WWCA balked and maintained their ground. 

Safety issues continued to be the topic du jour when discussing the use of the property. It seems there is an active proposal to develop the property as an assisted living facility. The WWCA has endorsed this project as it conforms to the zoned usage and will be used as intended, for residential housing. 

The sports bubble that had been proposed by GameOn 365 for that location then decided they would locate it next door to the Visioli's Golf Driving Range. The safety issues still remain regardless of the location. As was just witnessed this past weekend, a severe snowstorm hammered our area. With about two feet of snow, many roofs collapsed in traditionally built structures. In fact, crews for many businesses could be seen clearing their flat roofs of snow to lighten the stress the snow was placing on the structures. 

In Mt Vernon the Sports Underdome, often referenced by Mr Feiner and others who supported (pun intended) using a dome at the former Frank's Nursery property, had a collapse due to the crushing weight of the snow. Fortunately, no one was hurt. This same dome had had previous collapses in February of 2003 and December 2010. Third times a charm? In an ad hoc interview, the newly elected Mayor of Mt Vernon stated the owners should have cleaned the dome off during the storm. Classic politician response.

No doubt sports bubbles can provide a respite from inclement weather if used judiciously. Utilizing a sports bubble for 15 years, as has been proposed in our Town, is an aberration of the intent these flexible devices allow. We should remain adamant that resident and guest safety is too important to allow people to be put at risk through the use of sports bubbles. We would support a change in our code disallowing them and keeping people safe. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Update To Preventing Public Access to Conference Rooms

ABG posted an article on January 23rd, about the Town enacting a new policy when the public was not present, severely restricting the use of Town Hall’s assorted conference rooms for neighborhood meetings. We believe this is nothing more than another ploy by the Town politicos to hinder public interaction with Town Hall. Seemingly operating covertly and under the cover of darkness, this move is exacerbated by an already untrustworthy administration.

We posted: 
In an unexplained move that we’re told originated from the Town Clerk’s office, the public is no longer allowed to utilize Town Hall conference rooms for meetings!”  We were told that this originated where we said. However, in the comments section of that previous article, Town Clerk Judith Beville posted this statement:

“Dear All;
Please be informed that changes in the use of meeting rooms at Greenburgh Town Hall absolutely and unequivocably did not originate with the Office of the Town Clerk. The official resolution on this matter was approved on December 22, 2015 and is posted on the Town's website. Once again, these changes did not "originate" from the Town Clerk's office nor is the Town Clerk authorized to make such changes. Thank you for this opportunity to share a comment and thank you, too, for your attention to my note of clarification regarding this misconception.
Best regards to all,
Judith A. Beville
Greenburgh Town Clerk”


We will not refute the statement and in the interest of fairness, accept Ms Beville’s comments as correct.

Another comment we made in that same article was regarding a question we had posed to the Police Chief, Chris McNerney. We had said:
“The Board has supplied a nicely written list of “Whereas’s” to cover themselves, it “states” and uses the Police Chief as a scapegoat, saying this is being done upon his recommendations. We reached out to the Police Chief for information but did not receive a response.”

We have finally received a response from the Police Chief and share it below:

“ I hope all is well with you. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. 
The lack of security and porousness of Town Hall have been concerns of mine for a long time. Town Hall is considered critical infrastructure and must be protected as such. This includes limiting after hour use by non-essential individuals. In doing research on public use of municipal City, Town and Village Halls, I only found public use of a “Meeting Room" when the specific room was designated as a "Community Room". We have a Community Center. I was unable to find a City, Town or Village Hall in Westchester that permitted open public use of their government headquarters during non-business hours. If you know of one please let me know. Common sense dictates, it’s a bad practice.
All Town Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils will still be using Town Hall. 
Other municipal buildings in the Town are staffed during non-business hours and have designated public meeting rooms. The Library is converting some space to add an additional public meeting room. 
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks,
Chief McNerney”
  
While we can appreciate the Chief’s concern, we also realize that there needs to be some give and take from Town Hall. Once Mr Feiner invited the Hamas members to use Town Hall for an anti-Israeli meeting, he opened the door for numerous problems ethically, financially and security-wise. Yet, the most upsetting part of this is the disruption it causes to the numerous legitimate organizations that utilize Town Hall for their meetings, such as support groups, civic associations, etc.

Town Hall belongs to the taxpayers - period. Access to meeting rooms, and reasonable restrictions to certain areas is what is needed here, not an entire cordoning off to all residents. Surely there can be a happy medium. Mr Feiner and his Town Board suggest that residents and taxpayer groups use meetings rooms at the Theodore Young Community Center, Veteran Park and the Greenburgh Library instead of Town Hall. 

ABG went to the Greenburgh Library, identified why we were asking about availability for meeting rooms. We were told that all of the Library’s meeting rooms were booked through April, with one exception being the large community room for March 17th. ABG was asked if we'd like to look into future months but was assured the result would be similar. The representative we spoke with mentioned it was a bit unfair to residents to take away the use of Town Hall and then dump these people onto the Library who would be forced to refuse their requests. No fee schedule was available at the time, however, there is a charge for the use of rooms if and when they are available.

We then went to the Theodore Young Community Center (TYCC) and asked about availability there, both daytime and night. We were basically told the same thing. The representative we spoke with also agreed that Town Hall belongs to the taxpayers and people should be allowed to access its meeting rooms if they are available. This representative stated that the facility has some rooms open during the day, But is usually booked up way in advance, so if you have a specific date and time you need a room, get your request in right away. Then it was explained how the XPosure program also impacts the center's availability. Both locations stated they will not pre-book regular events such as monthly meetings.

Rental fee schedule for the Theodore Young Community Center




















We havent contacted Veteran Park representatives but are pretty sure well run into the same issue. Apparently, Mr Feiner's decision to surreptitiously shut the public out of Town Hall and shun them to unavailable venues is another example of circling the wagons against growing criticism and failures. Instead of closing off all of Town Hall to the people who pay the bills and pay the judgements for his illegal behavior, they can simple close and lock doors to offices, cordon off areas they dont want the public entering, and make other simple adjustments that allow the reasonable use of the building by resident taxpayers. After all, we now have security guards in the building after the fiasco he created with the anti-Israeli meeting. His bad behavior must end. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Storm's Over, Start Digging

Expert, and we use that term loosely, meteorologists finally got it right. Between the Doppler system, NOAA, and other systems used to predict the weather, they hype-ageddoned this storm to ridiculous proportions but finally hit the nail on the head. Each time they over-hype a storm, making it the news story of the day, and it fails to materialize, it not only hurts their credibility. The public begins to experience the "crying wolf" syndrome and ignores the next warning. Their catch-all after that is, "Better to be safe than sorry."

It's funny, growing up we relied on a thermometer to tell us it was cold outside, or our parents telling us to wear a jacket. Plus, growing up also taught you a few things. One was, when it was winter, you needed a jacket. If it was raining you used a raincoat or grabbed an umbrella. Common sense seemed to be just as valuable then as it is now. But we seem to rely less on common sense now than ever before.

The other interesting thing is the need for all of the news reporters to stand in the storm/blizzard/flood as though that will make their reporting more authentic or dramatic. Doubtful. We watched a YouTube video of a reporter doing her thing in either a hurricane or some other event with high winds when she is struck and knocked off camera by a flying Stop sign (visible during a slow motion replay). She never saw it coming. Another crazy aspect of this reporting is the constant interviewing of people out during the storm. What are they expecting these people to say? "I came out to experience this because I'm an idiot."

Now that the sun is shining, the temperatures are rising and we'll soon begin to dig out, the reporters will be showing us cars buried under snow, roofs that have collapsed and in coastal areas, flooding. We have a flooding problem in Greenburgh thanks to micro-over development of every parcel of land that's vacant. Thankfully, though, there was no flooding in Greenburgh during this storm. But, there's always another one on its way with leaders who would rather get media coverage of it than help the residents by fixing it. Stay safe while you recover from this storm.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Town Prohibits Residents From Using Conference Rooms

In an unexplained move that we’re told originated from the Town Clerk’s office, the public is no longer allowed to utilize Town Hall conference rooms for meetings! We’ve heard the decree even forbids all Town Civic Associations as well as Town appointed Boards, such as the Historic Preservation Board, from using the conference rooms. We hope this is not the case. Previously, local groups, neighborhood groups and civic associations had always had access to conference rooms for meetings, discussions, etc, in their Town Hall. Why the sudden change?

One reason that comes to mind is simply censorship and control from the corner office. You may recall we wrote about censorship originating from Mr Feiner in our article found here in our article from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Censoring The Public, when we discussed Mr Feiner’s blatant censoring of the public – unless of course having a dialog with any individual was something he wanted to do – at the “Scoping Session” for the Jefferson at Saw Mill project. Then he said he would be following Twitter-type rules of only allowing residents to speak for one minute.

Another school of thought refers back to the demonstration that Mr Feiner organized inviting Hamas supporters to utilize Town Hall for an anti-Israel demonstration. It bordered on some ugly behavior with some terrible things said. One older gentleman (using the term loosely) threatened a resident with death threats. We wrote more in depth about this in another article on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Anti-Semitic Board Offers Hamas Town Hall.

ABG believes this newest elimination of the taxpayer’s rights to use their own, taxpayer-funded building for their groups and organizations meetings is nothing more than retribution against those same taxpayers trying to slow and stop Mr Feiner and his Town Board’s agenda(s). ABG also believes this is the culmination from backlash the corner office received for handing over the keys to the anti-Israel haters. They should not use their own bad behavior to create edicts against the public! At that time, Ms Beville was the one who controlled use of the Town Hall facility and no doubt followed orders from Mr Feiner. But now they are forcing residents to go to different Commissioners for usage of even fewer conference rooms!

This Board seems bent on limiting our resident’s participation and voice, usually because the residents are looking for their leadership to do the right thing and then call them on it when they don’t. Don’t believe us? They have routinely “run the clock out” to adjourn before “allowing” residents to have their 5-minutes at the podium. They have also delayed the official start of meetings with poetry readings, presentations, musical performances and such and then abjectly eliminated the public comment session claiming there “was not enough time” to allow the public a chance to speak. 

The resolution, not requiring a hearing and most importantly, public comments, allows this Town Board to run rampant over the people who not only pay their salaries, but who own the building! The Board has supplied a nicely written list of “Whereas’s” to cover themselves, it “states” and uses the Police Chief as a scapegoat, saying this is being done upon his recommendations. We reached out to the Police Chief for information but did not receive a response. It also says that in addition to not being able to use Town Hall for meetings, groups can use the conference rooms in the Library and Veteran Park. Factually impossible because these rooms are booked almost throughout the year already, they also suggest the Theodore D. Young Community Center as another alternative. Again, rooms in the TDYCC, like the other locations, are only available for a small window during the day and many are already booked as well. This is nothing more than Mr Feiner boasting another way he can control and manipulate the public.

Clearly, this move is wrong for the Town, it’s residents, and most importantly the taxpayers. Town Hall belongs to the public. It is everyone’s building and while Mr Feiner has been there for 24-years, he remains a guest there and should always remember that. That’s when we’ll see A Better Greenburgh.

Another Great Snowstorm

With blizzard conditions socking it to the area, we started discussing bad snow storms that we could remember. Then one of our industrious staffers did a search for the worst snowstorms. He found one in particular, from the evening of January 28, 1922 that had a record 25 inches of snowfall. Three miles away was a slightly different measured amount of 30 inches. 


Photo credit: WeatherBook.com

















Apparently, several hundred people fought their way through the greatest snowstorm in Washington DC’s history to see a show at the Knickerbocker Theater, then the city’s largest and most modern moving picture theater of the time. Unbeknownst to the theater patrons, the Knickerbocker Theater’s flat roof was tremendously burdened by the weight of the snow. 

Shortly before 9:00 p.m., the Knickerbocker Theater’s orchestra was play­ing for the intermission. The lights had dimmed and the people were returning to their seats. Suddenly, a loud hissing noise filled the room. The ceiling, weighed down from the snow, had begun to split apart down the middle. The few people who had noticed the splitt­ing ceiling dove under their seats or ran for the door. As the roof fell in, it collapsed the theater’s balcony and pulled down portions of the surrounding brick walls, killing 98 people and injuring 133. Some of Washington’s prominent politicians and business owners were among the casualties. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst in history, and the snowstorm continues to hold the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall. 
Looking into the orchestra pit of the Knickerbocker Theater
Photo credit:WeatherBook.com




















Locally, in separate incidents years ago, the Town’s two bowling alleys also experienced roof collapses due to snow weight. The Elmsford Lanes on Saw Mill River Road, had a roof collapse from snow weight but was repaired and reopened. Ultimately, it became what is now known as Sportime USA. Also collapsing from the weight of snow was the roof on the old Skytop Lanes on Knollwood Road. It was subsequently torn down and replaced with office buildings. More digging, no pun intended, by staffers found numerous roof collapses in the area due to snow. It’s more common than you might think. In fact, ABG has just learned that a sports bubble in Mt Vernon, NY, has just collapsed under the weight of todays snowstorm! Weve always questioned the stability and safety of inflatable domes.

We even recall back in the late 1960’s there was a significant snow storm in our area that shut down just about everything. In fact, one staffer recalls that Olivieri Construction, along with others, used bulldozers to create a path in several neighborhoods to allow access by emergency vehicles. He even recalls seeing a Volkswagen Beetle being the only vehicle able to fit in the path. Apparently the driver went for supplies for the neighbors. 

We've already learned of several deaths due to today’s storm. If you dont need to go out, stay home, play some games, watch a movie, catch up on house work or just relax. But please stay safe. It helps us have A Better Greenburgh. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baby It’s Cold INside

Now that we’re finally being treated to real January weather, the usual suspects have reared their ugly heads. Accidents due to freezing water on our streets have begun to happen again. Notices to seniors and children to bundle up are part of every news broadcast. And of course, our old nemesis at the Greenburgh Town Library is back. We’ve learned once again that there is little if any heat on the second floor, making it unusable. This, after we had been told by Mr Feiner that a new supplemental furnace had been installed this past year.

An email was sent out by one of the administrators regarding meetings that are to be held on the second floor:
“...wanted to let you know that there is no/little heat on the second floor of the library. There was an issue last week, and it is still not fixed. It will only get colder as the day goes on, so I am CANCELING tonight's ... meeting.”

Mr Feiner has bragged numerous times about purchasing a new auxiliary boiler for the library. You may recall the under-powered and inadequate HVAC system for the library installed during the library’s renovation was overseen by Mr Feiner and his Board as the lead agency. They touted a new energy saving geothermal heating system for the library that would reduce heating costs. However, it was incorrectly installed as well as installed on the wrong side of the building and failed as a cost savings energy solution.

Last year found the Fairview Fire Department responding numerous times to the library as the uninsulated sprinkler pipes in the uninsulated area above the drop ceiling on the second floor burst. While damage was minimal to library resources, this issue should have been addressed years ago! But since there is rarely monies budgeted for maintenance and infrastructure replacements, the library continues to languish as Mr Feiner’s personal political football. It needs to stop. The library should be made whole again with working systems, hours that accommodate the public and more books, videos and meeting rooms. While we will probably have to be content with the lack of promised meetings rooms, these changes must be made. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.