Category Archives: Harrison Review

County police report sheds light on accidental shooting case

Photo Courtesy of Harrison PD

Photo Courtesy of Harrison PD

County officials have closed the case surrounding a Harrison police lieutenant who accidentally discharged a .223 caliber assault rifle amid a high-profile sting operation last October, finding no basis for criminal prosecution.

During the arrest of three suspects who were wanted in connection with an interstate burglary ring, Harrison Police Lt. Vito Castellano‑a 15-year police veteran and county firearms instructor‑accidentally fired two shots from his department-issued LMT Guardian 2000 assault rifle, striking a suspect and a fellow officer in the fracas.

“The evidence indicates that Lt. Castellano fired his weapon accidentally and not intentionally,” said Westchester Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth.

This story first appeared in the May 10, 2013 edition of the Harrison Report

District Concerned With High Stakes Curriculum

Assistant Superintendent Michael Greenfield explains some of the processes Harrison Central School District underwent to adhere to new state standards. Photo/Daniel Offner

Assistant Superintendent Michael Greenfield explains some of the processes Harrison Central School District underwent to adhere to new state standards. Photo/Daniel Offner

Harrison students in grades 3-8 are breathing easy after completing the newly implemented state English Language Arts and Mathematics exams this past month. But for administrators and faculty within the public school district, the pressure is on as the state Department of Education finalizes its assessments of the Common Core curriculum.

First adopted by the Board of Regents in 2010, the Common Core Learning Standards are designed to create a baseline to assess the knowledge and skills students must achieve within each grade to better prepare themselves for college and careers. The standards have been adopted in 45 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and are the current standard used by the Department of Defense Education Activity, a federal program that provides education overseas in Europe and the Pacific regions as well as domestically.

This story originally appeared in the May 10, 2013 edition of the Harrison Report. 

Increase in state aid funding restored to HCSD

The Harrison Central School District’s reduction in state aid has been restored in its entirety despite a missed state deadline to file an annual teacher and principal performance evaluation plan.

School officials were given the formal approval of their evaluations from the state Education Department on Jan. 22, five days after the filing deadline. The state’s decision came after a debate with school district and state officials 15 minutes before the deadline regarding a measure added to the requirements of high school principal evaluations that take the percentage of students admitted into a four-year college into consideration.

Prior to NYSED reversing course, district officials were under the assumption that Harrison would not be eligible for any increase in aid funding this year, unless the department backdates its approval.

This story first appeared in the April 5, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report.

Increase in state aid funding restored to HCSD

The Harrison Central School District’s reduction in state aid has been restored in its entirety despite a missed state deadline to file an annual teacher and principal performance evaluation plan.

School officials were given the formal approval of their evaluations from the state Education Department on Jan. 22, five days after the filing deadline. The state’s decision came after a debate with school district and state officials 15 minutes before the deadline regarding a measure added to the requirements of high school principal evaluations that take the percentage of students admitted into a four-year college into consideration.

First appeared in the April 5, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report

Tax Challenges Down, Still A Hurdle For Harrison

The Town/Village of Harrison saw a decrease last year in a number of tax challenges it received, but still faced a costly burden of refunding back taxes.

After hitting a record high in 2011–with 10,596 tax appeals–the number of county residents filing tax grievances reported a slight decrease last year. Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni recently reported a total 9,068 small claims assessment review or SCAR petitions, filed among 38 municipalities in 2012.

“A decline in the volume of appeals means less stress on local tax rolls,” Idoni stated in a press release. “When appeals are granted or settled, it forces municipalities to identify equivalent reductions in spending or unpopular increases in revenue.”

Story originally appeared in Jan. 25, 2013 edition of The Harrison Review.  

Roy Aletti: The Collector

Some know him simply as “Mr. Christmas” due to his exuberant display of lights and sound that fill his front lawn each December. Others call him a comedian for his quick wit and one-liners that could leave even the surliest of people in stitches.

Easily recognized by his signature mustache and overalls, Harrison resident Roy Aletti is a man of many interests. A lifelong resident of Parsons Street, a painter, a volunteer member of the Harrison Fire Department, a musician, a veteran of a foreign war, a bachelor, a small business owner and a gardener. But perhaps most interesting of all, Aletti is a collector.

Aletti’s childhood chum, Vito L. Faga, Jr. said the display isn’t just made from some items picked up at the local shopping center, either.

“Everything you see is an antique,” Faga said. “He drives all over the country for them.” Aletti said his display includes pieces he has picked up from as far away as Nebraska.

From the 1950s style mailbox addressed to the town of Santa Claus, Ind., to the statuesque toy soldiers that he loans to Rye Playland after the holidays, nearly every item in “Roy’s Christmas Land,” has its own backstory.

“I like to do everything to the extreme, in case you can’t tell,” Aletti said.

Harrison Holds $61M In Debt

As the Harrison Town Council mulls a $56 million budget for 2013, a bill for roughly $61 million in debt waits to be paid at a later date.

With interest rates at a record low, the Town Council has been of the view it is a good time to borrow. As $5.3 million in bonds came off the books this year, new bonding replaced it, according to Town Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican.

“Whatever is coming off, we’re putting right back on,” Belmont told The Harrison Report in June.

Originally appeared in the Dec. 14, 2012 edition of The Harrison Report (Now, Harrison Review). 

Master Plan Process Extended

The members of the Harrison Town Council have decided to defer approving a new town/village master plan and continue to hear public comment on the document until, at least, the board’s next meeting.

“There is still major work that needs to be done here,” said Councilman Joseph Cannella, a Republican.During a Dec. 3 meeting of the Town Council, residents expressed concerns over the ambiguity of several proposals put forth in the plan, which was drafted by consultants at BFJ Planning. The draft suggests an increase to property lot requirements in the two-family zone, rehashing a controversial proposal that has been the result of an ongoing battle to alter the zoning regulations within the two-family residential “B” zone.

The increase would allow for new development but restricts the 1,500 existing two-family properties to non-conforming status. This means the existing property could remain at the current 5,000 square foot lot requirement, but in the event of a disaster or major modification, a home would have to be rebuilt in a manner conforming to the new code or seek a variance.

Originally appeared in the Dec. 7, 2012 edition of the Harrison Review. 

Veterans Day Parade in Harrison (Nov. 2012)

Veterans Day Parade (Nov. 2012)

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Rep. Lowey Wins By Landslide In Strong Showing for Dems

A hard-fought battle over the state’s 17th Congressional District seat resulted in another landslide victory for 24-year incumbent Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat who triumphed over GOP contender and Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin by a 65 to 35 percent margin.

Lowey1“It looks like Rockland will be Lowey Land,” said Rockland County Democratic Chairperson Kristen Stavisky, after the poll re- sults from Westchester and Rockland showed

Lowey comfortably in the lead. For Lowey, who will serve her 13th term in Washington D.C., the district will only include a sliver of her former mainstay in Westchester. Due to a recent reconfiguration of district lines, the new 17th district will cut several communities in the Sound Shore region including Mamaroneck, Larchmont, New Rochelle, and Pelham, as well as parts of Port Chester, Rye and Harrison.

This story originally appeared in the Nov. 9, 2012 edition of the Harrison Review

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