Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sprain Nursery Fire Could Accelerate Deal

At approximately 9PM on Sunday, a fire broke out at the Sprain Brook Nursery, located at 448 Underhill Road and burned into Monday morning. The building that caught fire at the  nursery literally burned to the ground during the multi-hour event. While the operation was strictly a “surround and drown” operation, no people were injured during the fire. This was the Nursery’s second fire in two years.

In December of 2014 the nursery suffered from a fire and three propane tank explosions. Numerous fire departments were dispatched to the site after 10 p.m. for a blaze of an outbuilding on the property. Back then, explosions of at least three 50-pound propane tanks shook nearby homes and generated numerous 9-1-1 calls. According to accounts at that time, Fire Chief Daniel Raftery said they had received reports from at least a quarter mile away from people who heard the explosions.

The last few years has found many area nurseries struggling to stay afloat. The Sprain Brook Nursery, which is owned by Al Krautter, was begun by his parents in 1944. This past year saw him revamp the operation into an all-organic facility with a much smaller staff. It had been reported that he might be closing due to a tougher-than-usual economic climate. He was closed for a short period of time this year apparently to determine what he would do with the nursery.

The Sprain Brook Nursery property is now under contract with a company called Formation Shelbourne Senior Living Services, to build what is turning into a somewhat controversial 80-bed, 70 square foot, assisted living facility at that location. A poorly and yet specifically written bill, crafted by the attorneys for the Brightview Assisted Living facility and later adopted when presented to the Town Board, has left the door open to allow for a new facility to be built on this postage size plot. However, the controversial aspect of this proposal relates to what is considered normal conditions that must be addressed with any undertaking such as this.

Several reasons Civic Associations and neighbors are against the proposal are due to fire safety, health, traffic, noise and that assisted living facilities do not belong in the middle of residential areas. To those who say that the nursery did not belong there as it is a commercial entity in a residential neighborhood are also right, but it had been grandfathered into the residentially  zoned area, which explains why it was there. The space is covered by the Greenville Fire District, with a paid fire department. It is the one paid fire department Mr Feiner chose to not include when he was pushing fire consolidation amongst the Fairview, Hartsdale and initially Greenville Fire Districts. When the Edgemont neighborhood protested, as well as the Fire District, Mr Feiner realized he had bitten off more than he could handle. He once again risked an Edgemont secession which would negatively affect his bloated budgets. He could not afford to lose that income so he backed down.

More importantly, fire investigators are looking into the cause of this year's blaze. Coincidence? Perhaps. Accidental? Perhaps. Intentional? Perhaps. ABG is not saying there was any foul play. However, with a pending sale, similar timing, hard times and retirement ahead, investigators will have their hands full trying to sift through all of this. We hope that this was another accidental fire and that there was no wrong-doing. We also hope the Town truly sees the error of their adoption of an ill-conceived and executed law and decides not to build this huge facility at this location. But, it doesn't seem to matter to Mr Feiner and his Town Board what the residents think. He only cares what matters for his developer friends and residents be damned! And this fire might just be the impetus to speed his process along. This has to stop. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Going To The Dogs

With all the media coverage being generated by Mr Feiner for the Pets Alive Animal Shelter, outsiders would think that's the only issue affecting the Town. It’s hardly an accurate assessment. Mr Feiner has a knack of taking center stage for non-critical issues. Don’t get us wrong, we favor a no-kill animal facility but recognize the complexities of maintaining a facility such as this. Why was the facility allowed to operate and never be inspected by the Greenburgh Building or Fire Inspectors prior to the structural problems that were finally discovered this past year? Someone dropped the ball.

Mr Feiner negotiated an ironclad contract with Pet’s Alive back in 1994 for them to utilize the property they purchased for $10 from the Town located behind Brookfield Recycling (formerly Brookfield Auto Wreckers). Subsequently, through the years, the building developed structural issues that were ignored, not discovered or addressed until recently. Almost immediately, the building was declared dangerous and uninhabitable! Pet’s Alive didn't know what to do, but ultimately began transferring their animals to other locations.

In the meantime, they sought to sell the property as they could not finance the extensive repairs necessary to fix the building. Pet’s Alive sought to sell the property since they couldn't afford to repair and ultimately stay in the facility. Mr Feiner, only interested in headlines, wrote to his regular media outlet sources saying Pets Alive must find a way to stay. In fact, the original sale of the property mandated that Pets Alive could not sell it if they weren't interested in keeping it. It could either be used as a Pets Alive/no-kill pet facility or be returned to the Town for use as a park, recreational or municipal purposes.

ABG knows there is a bit more to this unfolding story, however, the gist of it, regardless of Mr Feiner’s desires, is to either preserve the property or return it to the Town. While ABG prefers to see the facility either repaired or replaced, financial constraints indicate that probably won’t happen. As with the Town’s failing infrastructure, had regular inspections by the Town Building and Fire Departments, among others, and maintenance been performed, Pet’s Alive may have been able to circumvent the troubles they are having now. Some blame must also be cast toward the Pet’s Alive organization for not being vigilant about their facility. However, with taxes, costs and expenses as high as they are for businesses to operate in the Town, Pet’s Alive is as much a victim of Mr Feiner’s bad management as are the Town’s taxpayers!

If Pet’s Alive does in fact leave the property, ABG has a creative solution for the property. Once the Town removes the facility as it has been deemed uninhabitable, they should turn the property into an enhanced dog park. Where the building is currently located, there could be a large roof, similar to what we have at Ridge, Yellowstone and Macy Parks. Where the fenced in kennels are, there could be a free-run space for the dogs. Nearby there could be large concrete blocks with a water feed that would be used to groom dogs or cool them off on hot days. We can also offer the space to dog trainers for training classes. Along with the roof/shelter, there could be barbecues and outdoor benches with tables for families similar to other parks to picnic at while their dogs get some exercise. This could be a win-win for residents.

Putting caveats on contracts can be good. They can also work against us. Instead of trying to keep a failed facility simply because everyone loves pets, this is one of those times where we can make the best of a bad situation by letting the Town “go to the dogs” for a good reason. Then we will see A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Memorial’s Disrepair Requires Overhaul

We understand Mr Feiner's proclivity towards grandstanding and hype. We also understand that after 22-years in office he has nurtured and become his own brand, developing a cult-like following and an ability to circumvent and/or ignore any opposition. Yet, to follow the traditional media's take on him, he can do no wrong. Not so, and we expose his illegal and unethical actions every chance we can.

We have continually followed and high-lighted the "other side of the story," often taking on issues that others prefer to ignore while Mr Feiner bloviates attention away from them and those with a critical eye. The Town employees, no doubt under orders from Mr Feiner, routinely obfuscate, delay and out and out refuse to supply information requested under the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL).

Just ask Dorinne Livson, the President of the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association. She and her Civic Association are still waiting for a copy of the supposed Game On 365 contract
after being given the run-around from Town Hall. ABG believes it is because there never was a contract and the Town is simply stalling in hopes of not being caught violating the law (again). By the way, when she asked Town Attorney Tim Lewis when she could expect the results of the FOIL request in 2013, he said rather matter-of-factly, "Sometime in 2015." 2015 is almost over and still no contract. Shameful.

With press releases galore, regurgitated in every printed and online source seeking to move his agenda, Mr Feiner is now claiming that the Memorial Wall at Webb Field/Richard Presser Park on Central Avenue, is in need of repair yet again. Several years after the original Memorial Wall was constructed through the generosity of an Arts Westchester, the Rotary Club and Walmart's Sam's Club, the tiles originally mounted began falling off. Subsequently, 1,686 cataloged tiles were cleaned, repaired and numbered and finally transported back to the Wall for reinstallation.

At the time of it's construction, many favored a different and more accessible location to have a Memorial built. But since this is where Mr Feiner wanted the monument, that was where it was to be built. Now, as we have learned through Mr Feiner's media deflection, the Wall is once again in need of having the tiles repaired because they are again falling off. ABG is critical because like so many patches that are made to our infrastructure, they are not designed to last. Could this be intentional on Mr Feiner's part so as to set up his next media campaign, soliciting sympathy, empathy, and more importantly, votes? We believe so.

So now he has offered several solutions with which he “hopes” to involve the public. We’re convinced he doesn't really care, but he can get more publicity from this. Most people won't even realize he's using this issue to campaign for re-election. His options are listed below in italics.
 

Options we have: Tear down the existing wall.

Preserve the tiles.

Replace the large wall with a new design.

Place the murals on the new memorial design.

Fix the wall.

The problem is that we tried to repair the wall in 2011, and it did not work. Some people believe that the climate changes contribute to the deterioration of the wall. I prefer a lasting memorial, not a memorial that will look bad every few years. Our goal is to maintain a beautiful 9/11 mural at Richard Presser Park.


Here is ABG's suggestion for the Wall:

Contact all of the high schools within the Town to assist in taking the existing tiles off the Wall, cataloging them and packing them up. This would qualify as Community Service hours for the students. Convicted criminals, Mr Feiner included, sentenced to community service could also participate. Then the Town should tear down the existing Wall and return the property to its original state. Have the tiles in need of repair get the necessary repairs to make them usable again. Map out the dimensions for the existing Wall and replace it on the Greenburgh Library's Wall near the main entrance and traffic circle area of the Library. This would avail everyone who uses the Library an opportunity to view the Memorial and it would be under constant scrutiny by everyone who sees it and works there, enabling better maintenance. It was also suggested to put the tiles on the handicap ramp from the bus stop at Route 119 toward the top, culminating at the top by the Library.

Mr Feiner decided how and where to put the Memorial Wall. It was under his direction that the repairs were made. The qualifications of those involved were never vetted, similar to what we see when Mr Feiner and the Town Board are the lead agency for a project. There are numerous examples of lead agency failures, such as the failed geothermal heating system at the Library, as well as their inadequate heating and air conditioning systems. We're not going to list them but suffice to say the list is long. If the Library is chosen as the new Memorial location, the brick siding would need to be properly prepped so we don't have to repair it again in five years after another installation. Besides prepping the wall, we'd suggest using a track system to accommodate expansion and contraction due to climate fluctuations. Similar, if you will, to the way vinyl siding is installed to accommodate the shift due to weather.
 

We want to see the victims of the horrific September 11, 2001 attacks honored. Since this Memorial Wall has had a sketchy past, perhaps this administration can finally do justice to the memory of those lost on that fateful day. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Town Taxpayers Continue Losing

Mr Feiner won again and the Town lost. The upcoming elections that he will run in unopposed, will garner him 7k+ votes. Back in the driver's seat again, he'll do what he does at every Town Board meeting and adjorn to Executive Session when the public pushes too hard. Secretly, do the Town Board members give "high-fives" when they adjourn to Executive session? They seem to adjourn regularly into Executive session to address “personnel issues” and leave the audience to wonder what's transpiring in the back room. Amazingly, the one personnel issue they’ve never addressed is the appointed Tax Assessor’s racist remarks during a meeting with subordinates. If you haven’t read our previous post, here’s an excerpt of a complaint letter that arrived to ABG recounting racist remarks made by Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy. Warning: this may be offensive to many:





This employee’s original letter was addressed and delivered to Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy and carbon copied to the Union President and most importantly Mr Feiner. ABG's understanding is that Mr Feiner, nor the union, took any action to address these racist remarks then or now. This speaks volumes of the duplicity, favoritism and disparate treatment of the “chosen” people within the Feiner administration and the rest of us. ABG has had conversations from others speaking about various wrongdoings within the Town.

One question that has been raised by many is why isn't the Journal News or any of the weekly newspapers pursuing this racism in Town Hall under Mr Feiner? They chose to ignore Mr Feiner’s bad behavior, condoning racism, and then create a series of stories about intolerance in Mahopac! The Journal News is also the first place many will go to champion separatism, under the guise of individuality, segregation, under the guise of cultural heritage, and uniqueness under the guise of personality. Do you recall the 1960’s when the mantras of the times were “give peace a chance”, “love is the answer”, “power to the people”, and “don’t trust anyone over 30”?

The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of joining together and fostering a “oneness” with all people. Yes, there were problems .There was also disdain for those who would act prejudiciously towards others as the generations then sought to better our circumstances. New and sometimes radical ideas of equal pay for equal work, affirmative action to right the wrongs of the past, tests for civil service positions to remove nepotism and favoritism with job appointments were the talk of the decade. Great strides were being made as our society moved to better ourselves. The anti-war movement begot the environmental cries to “save the planet” and healing in our country between races, religions, gay/straight, and so on finally seemed on the mend. Schools were now teaching that we were all “one”. So what happened?

One thing that was mentioned was our eagerness to hyphenate into groups, losing the uniqueness we enjoy by being Americans – and to a degree, political members within the Greenburgh communities became more divisive and isolated than ever before. Theodore Roosevelt’s speech on hyphenated Americans rings true in some depth of what is going on in these times. We refer to his speech* tendered on May 31, 1916 in St Louis as it related to fighting abroad in other countries and allegiances to the United States. While the model was used toward countries that were escalating toward the first World War, we can see a parallel to what is going on today.

Mr Feiner goes out of his way to deflect attention from his own bad behavior toward others. He’s manufactured issues by writing incendiary op-ed pieces about closing Indian Point without  suggesting alternatives. He went after a fire chief who said something derogatory about him years ago and apologized continually utilizes Greenburgh Town Hall as his personal bully pulpit without paying the costs associated with keeping it open or staffing it to foster, some say fester, unworkable proposals such as a High Line Park. And when questioned about rising Town expenses by concerned and tax weary residents, he ignores them. At meetings he simply looks down and plays with his phone.

It was he who created a fervor over keeping the old Tappan Zee Bridge “up” as a high-line style park, a la NY city’s own, completely different and easily maintainable high-line park. He lost traction with that hype once Governor Cuomo put his foot down and said, “No!” He conveniently “forgot” how he had earlier decried the need to replace the aged bridge because needed maintenance was too costly and the bridge was unsafe and could collapse at almost anytime. Not true. His administration is filled with experts; he with nuclear power and bridge construction and Town Attorney Tim Lewis with Hazardous Materials contamination and remediation.

When the WestHelp debacle began, it was he who decided to make illegal payments to the Valhalla School District, condoned by his Town Board. Town residents questioned Mr Feiner as to why even make those payments? He simply whipped out his cell phone, looked down and ignored those questioning his motivation and illegal behavior. It was he who decided to violate the WestHelp contract with the County. He decided to toss away $1.2 million per year, forcing Town residents to make up the difference. In the Fortress Bible Church case, even a Federal judge found his actions illegal, finding him guilty of discrimination, lying under oath, destroying evidence and more! That episode ended up costing the Unincorporated taxpayers $5.5 million ($6.5 million in total)!

It was Mr Feiner who insisted on eliminating the after school homework assistance program for the costlier and instituting the supposedly “better” Xposure program and then told Commissioner Carter he needed to raise income at the Center. Homework assistance ceased as did use of the Theodore Young Community Center while the Xposure program was running, effectively shutting the center down to the non-participating Xposure members of the community. This list is endless.

Of course, we haven’t mentioned all of the bad and illegal decisions Mr Feiner has made to cost us income. The list continues to grow as we witness more and more of his costly and disrespectful actions toward Greenburgh taxpayers. It must stop. Only then can we have A Better Greenburgh.

*Access President Roosevelt's speech here: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/images/research/txtspeeches/672.pdf

Monday, September 14, 2015

10-13 Greenburgh Officer Needs Assistance


























           Officer Jeff Cerone, a nine year decorated veteran of the Town of Greenburgh Police Department has been diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic defect that effects the function of the kidneys. This rare defect occurs in five people per million.
            Currently, Officer Cerone is being studied on a grant at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Unfortunately due to this rare disease, and the damage that occurs to both kidneys in all patients with this defect, Officer Cerone is in dire need of a kidney transplant. This transplant is needed as soon as possible.
            According to the study team at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, if Officer Cerone does not receive a donor kidney, he will most likely be put on dialysis and this, unfortunately, would end his career as a proud member of law enforcement.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
     
We are looking for people willing and able to consider donating a kidney to Officer Cerone as both kidneys are compromised due to this extremely rare genetic defect. 

THE FIRST STEP IS TAKING PART IN A DONOR SURVEY.
      
       Officer Cerone could use the help..... He has answered the public's call for help over nine years without hesitation, now for the first time this fine officer needs the public’s help.
       If you are interested in taking the FIRST STEP in helping Jeff Cerone on the road to recovery, please take time to fill out a donor survey provided by Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
       Donor Inquiries can be made to Jennifer Van Beaver at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Please call (212)-305-6469.
         The other way you can help is by making a donation here on gofundme.com. This would help alleviate the cost of doctor appointments, medicines, and the total cost of the surgery.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering September 11th

September 11th has a heart-wrenching connotation for most New Yorkers and in fact, Americans. Sadly, beyond the deaths suffered on that day, there is a feeling of life-altering change. There were also births on that day and birthdays that missed celebration everywhere across America and in New York specifically. Most adults understood the somber effect the day had on everyone, but children would have been hard-pressed to know why their parties were cancelled. Now, fourteen years later, they might understand.

Several ABG staffers responded to the 9-11 attacks mid-day as members of the fire service. One of them should have been celebrating his birthday that day. The other would normally be helping him celebrate. Friends since high school, they now found themselves downtown on this fateful day. Another friend who worked in the area was able to escape and is now dogged with a life of respiratory illness. Still another, who experienced the attacks in 1993, was getting into an elevator when she felt the building shutter, reminding her of the previous attack and just ran. It saved her life.

Once dispatched, the two friends were directed to a firehouse in the Bronx to respond in place of the regular staff. They were also there to respond for hazardous materials alarms, as most of FDNY's hazardous materials responders were either killed or busy from the attacks. One memory that remains is the smell from the towers that permeated the City. The obvious feelings of sadness, disgust, anger, fear, and so many others hung over us. Many tasks needed to be done that day, some as simple as assisting the directing of traffic as people drove frantically to exit the city. But even at a distance there was the smell. It would become the smell of death.

Actions and responses taken that day have been exhaustively critiqued, picked apart, analyzed, criticized, over-analyzed, studied, written about, talked about and dissected thousands of different ways. Those actions have altered security measures at airports. They have been changed in hopes of increasing safety and decreasing another attack such as this. But are we any safer? That seems to always be the question raised immediately after that discussion is broached. Emergency responders now have new protocols to follow when they respond. They no longer leave emergency vehicles open and unattended whether at an alarm or not. Locks are used where there had never been any. Now they must be concerned for terrorists stealing emergency vehicles to use to breach security. And still the smell lingers.

Many firefighters and other first responders quickly learn to identify the smells associated with fires, much like many recognize the smell of burning leaves in the fall. And, things we take for granted were missing that day. The sounds of sirens throughout the city were missing after the initial responses. Crime seemed to stop that day. The sky, a picture perfect blue, was bereft of airplanes and sound, except for the occasional Air Force jet and AWAC now on patrol. It was an eery feeling on top of an already surreal day. Everyone there was on edge. Dark humor that serves first responders well was conspicuously absent. What wasn't absent was the smell. Many responses to fires even today bring back that smell. But on that day, no matter where we found ourselves, the smell always found us.

Some say we should make September 11th a national holiday. Perhaps. But along with a national holiday will be the retail community making it another "Sale" day. Look at what has happened with Memorial Day and how it has become more about barbecues, shopping and going to the beach rather than honoring those who have sacrificed for us. We'll leave that discussion for another day. Today, as we remember those who perished, we wish our friend and colleague a Happy Birthday, as well as all those born on September 11th.

Some said, "Let's roll." Others, including us, say, "Let's remember!" And of course, we can never forget.

Pets Alive Struggles To Stay

 Pets Alive Westchester recently closed their doors due to the condemnation of their building by the Town of Greenburgh Building Department. Then they held a marathon pet "sale", and consolidated the remaining animals to their Middletown, NY, location. The obvious and remaining question is how the building was allowed to get to such a state of disrepair before reaching a point of condemnation? Structural cracks were increasing the danger of continued use of the building.  Approximately $50k had been spent in an attempt to secure the building. The location is near Brookfield Recycling and has had construction, truck traffic and other contributing factors that are thought to have affected the Pets Alive structure.

Town Building Department officials forced Pets Alive to shut the building down citing it was an non-repairable building and many volunteers were devastated by the news of the projected closing. Many of the animals there were "long-timers" due to either their "bite" history or unfriendly to human beings making them difficult to adopt. The costs associated with an adoption at the time of their regular operation was anywhere from $125 to $300. High operating costs were also a contributing factor towards the closing.

In July it was determined that the deed from the Town to the Pets Alive property had a stipulation that the not for profit could not sell the property for a profit. The property was sold by the Town to Pets Alive for $10 for use as a no-kill animal shelter only. Since its only use could be as an animal shelter, failure to do that would force the property to be returned to the Town for municipal use. No public determination has been expressed toward returning the property to the Town. In fact, it has been quite the contrary. However, Mr Feiner has said one solution might be transferring the deed of the property to another management company and the other is for the property to first be returned to the Town and then to a new manager. However, this "solution" would again saddle the cost of repairs or replacement upon the Unincorporated taxpayer. ABG believes this is unacceptable!

Sadly, we've experienced Mr Feiner's incompetence in choosing management companies for other Town projects. His inability to find and choose established and capable management companies has literally cost the Town's Unincorporated taxpayers millions of dollars! While the building is not the responsibility of the Town, if the Town resumes ownership, the Unincorporated taxpayers will be "on the hook" for necessary repairs. While we disagree with this path,  ABG believes the Town should stay with Pets Alive and work closely with them to get their building back to a habitable state. The Town's overburdened taxpayer does not need to foot the bill for another Feiner Folly. It's time for this administration to focus on running the Town, not grabbing headlines. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, September 7, 2015

House of Sports Sold

In a surprising turn of events, the successful House of Sports facility based in Ardsley, New York, was recently sold to the American Skating Entertainment Centers. American Skating Entertainment Centers claims to be the largest independent owner/operator of ice skating and indoor sports facilities in the United States. They have partnered with the Robert Martin Company and Diamond Properties to acquire the House of Sports.

Constructed in 2012, the House of Sports is a 100,000 square foot, state-of-the-art indoor sports facility offering lacrosse, basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, camps, birthday parties, and Athletic Republic performance training. House of Sports opened in 2012, spearheaded by CEO Donald Scherer. Mr Scherer became well-known after he made numerous appearances at Greenburgh Town Board meetings protesting Mr Feiner's illegal lease offer to GameOn 365's owner for the former Frank's Nursery property. You'll recall negotiations for that "deal" took place before the Town even acquired the property through foreclosure.

One of the main factors of the illegal lease deal that Mr Feiner continued to push for with GameOn 365 was their proposed use of an 83-foot tall inflatable bubble on the property to enclose their sports fields - in a residentially zoned neighborhood! Mr Feiner did his usual arm-twisting and sought numerous concessions from the neighbors throughout the Town to accept the deal. Everyone objected.

Subsequent investigations by ABG and others brought to light many safety issues with these bubbles, actually acquiring footage of bubbles collapsing during storms. GameOn 365 insisted they were safe. That is, until their smaller bubble at their facility in New Jersey collapsed. People interviewed by news crews at that time believed they could have been killed. More problems lay underground. After learning that the former Frank's Nursery property had many unidentified contaminants buried in it, the neighborhood civic associations, residents and businesses protested trying to utilize the former Frank's Nursery property for kids' use.


GameOn 365 eased out of the public eye and continued to secretly work behind closed doors with Mr Feiner. Suddenly, GameOn 365 was back before a Town Board Work Session seeking their approval to build a fixed structure with an outdoor field and 80-foot tall lighting. But this latest proposal would be next door to the former Frank's Nursery property on the Visioli Golf Driving Range property! Apparently, they entered into a contractual agreement to have the "right of first offer" to purchase the property. For some unknown reason, GameOn 365 was bent on remaining on Dobbs Ferry Road. Our staffers' best guess is because Mr Feiner promised to push all applications, variances and requests through as his trifecta-Board is unstoppable. Or are they?

The House of Sports sale means little in the fight to keep the Town from changing the current zoning restrictions to allow commercial entities a variance to build in a residential neighborhood. This is the main problem with the GameOn 365 proposal to build where they want, not where it's zoning appropriate. THAT is the objection that everyone has toward this project. The Worthington Woodlands Civic Association has been steadfast in their mandate: build residential in a residentially zoned neighborhood. And, while Mr Feiner has contacted numerous area residents one-on-one to try to convince them to acquiesce for the last several years, he has failed.

We wish the new owners of the House of Sports well. We also thank the former owners for all of their participation thus far and hope they will remain engaged in Town events and issues. They have proven it is possible to accomplish your goals without "special considerations" from Mr Feiner and his Town Board. In the end, the Town's zoning codes must be maintained to keep the beauty of Greenburgh. Mr Feiner has continued to wholesale parts of Greenburgh to developers - except when it's in his or his Board members' backyard, such as the JPI development in Ardsley. The Villages have Mayors and Village Boards that protect the interests of the residents. Unincorporated Greenburgh could use that same protection but do not get it with the elected officials we have. It must change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Happy Labor Day

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Injuries and even death were commonplace at many work places and was the inspiration such books as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Jack London's The Iron Heel.

As early as the 1860's, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn't until the late 1880's that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class. A revolution was brewing. An estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight hour work day. As more of the workforce mobilized against the employers, these radicals conceded to fight for an 8-hour work day, realizing that the tide of opinion and determination of most wage-workers was set in this direction.

Today we see tens of thousands of people embracing the ideals of those original activists. Back then, it was known as the "Haymarket Martyrs" and caused the establishment of May Day as an International Workers' Day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized as such here, where it began.

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public's memory by establishing "Law and Order Day" on May 1. Today, however, Labor Day has a somewhat different connotation and is no longer celebrated as a "revolt for working people", and more of a signalling of the official end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Whichever way you choose to celebrate this Labor Day, enjoy the day.