Category Archives: Politics

Levittown Welcomes School For Autism

The ELIJA school for autistic children has just settled into its new home, after signing a three-year lease to rent out the 13-room Laurel Lane primary school in Levittown. On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, ELIJA school stakeholders gathered with county, town and school officials for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.

“This is a fantastic use of the property,” said Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes. “It involves and helps people in the community.”

ELIJA—which stands for Empowering Long Island’s Journey Through Autism—is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by two parents in the spring of 2002 and uses applied behavior analysis to keep educational programs effective, exciting, enjoyable, for children with autistic spectrum disorders.

This story originally appeared in the April 10, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.

Federal Case Looms Over Farmingdale

Nearly a decade has passed since nine Hispanic residents first sued the Village of Farmingdale over allegations that the redevelopment of 150 Secatogue Avenue discriminated against the Latino population. Now, almost ten years later, the anti-discrimination case is heading to federal court for a trial in January 2014.

“With most civil litigation, it takes a long time,” said Stefan Krieger, a law professor at Hofstra University who took on the case on behalf of the nine former Farmingdale residents.

“[The individuals] were treated with a total lack of dignity… and we’re not going to let that happen. We’re going to continue to fight.” 

Debt: Harrison’s History of Borrowing

For more than a decade, Harrison has faced a growing crisis—a debt crisis.

By the end of 2012, the town owed nearly $80 million. For a community of roughly 25,000, the Town/Village of Harrison’s debt level, which rivals some cities, has become a polarizing issue.

Whether you find yourself exploring the hillside streets of West Harrison, or shopping in the central business district downtown, you’re sure to spot something, somewhere that was a contributing factor to the town’s financial plight.

First seen in the July 19, 2013 edition of the Harrison Report


Harrison Dems Name Unprecedented All-Female Slate

Harrison Town Supervisor Ron Belmont and former Town Supervisor Joan Walsh Set to Face-Off  Photo/

Harrison Town Supervisor Ron Belmont and former Town Supervisor Joan Walsh Set to Face-Off

After a special caucus held on June 10, the Harrison Democratic Committee has named its slate for the 2013 election. It is the first all-female Democratic slate in Harrison history.

At the top of the ballot, Joan Walsh, the former two-term mayor of Harrison, leads the all-female ticket with the intent of reclaiming leadership from first-term incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican.

“I felt a sense of responsibility to the town,” said Walsh, 78, regarding her candidacy, “which I’ve worked so hard for, for so long.”

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report

Walsh gets Democratic nod for mayor

It has been nearly two years since Ron Belmont won in a landslide victory for Harrison mayor—securing 63 percent of the vote—over then-Mayor Joan Walsh.

Now in her late seventies, Walsh, a Democrat, has returned from a two-year hiatus from the political arena with plans to reclaim the mayoral seat.

“Many people are dissatisfied with the current town board,” Walsh said. “When I was mayor, we really watched every dollar…now, [the council is] spending money and they’re borrowing money.”

Story first appeared in June 14, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report

Ryan Steps Down, County Legislator Race Heats Up

While seeking the Democratic nod for Westchester County Executive last October, County Legislator William Ryan announced he will not seek re-election for a ninth consecutive term on the board.

“Although my service with the county board will conclude Dec. 31, [2013] it is not my plan to retire and I am currently considering several public sector offers for 2014,” Ryan said.

Although the April 24 Democratic Convention did not provide Ryan the support for which he’d hoped, as he placed third out of three candidates vying to challenge Republican Rob Astorino for county executive, Ryan reaffirmed his stance not to seek another two-year term on the Board of Legislators.

This story first appeared in the Harrison Report on May 31, 2013. 

Avalon Tapped To Develop Train Station Project, Sources Say



Sources indicate the Town of Harrison has plans in motion to strike a development deal with the AvalonBay Communities concerning the long-awaited Transit Oriented Development project with the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

It has been more than two years since Harrison received bids for construction of the project, but town officials have been mum ever since. Any motion will be the first in just over a year since residents expressed skepticism that the proposed Town Center would ever see the light of day.

However, recently sources with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations between the town, MTA and Avalon, have informed The Harrison Report that AvalonBay Communities will in fact be the developer of the long-awaited project once discussions are finalized.

This story originally appeared in the May 24, 2013 edition of the Harrison Review

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

Day Care Subsidy Impacts Westchester

child-care-council-of-westchester-logoLike many single parents in Westchester County, Wendy Urbima, 25, works to provide for her daughter, Priscilla, who is 3 years old. Urbina currently struggles to pay bills and the Sleepy Hollow resident is expecting to pay even more to keep her daughter in day care.

“I might need to leave my job and go on welfare to spend time caring for my daughter,” Urbima said. “I wouldn’t feel safe… no education would be available to provide the social environment she would need for the future.”

Working parents like Urbima who currently receive financial assistance from the county’s Department of Social Services Child Day Care Subsidy Program are expecting to pay more this November, when a 15 percent increase in family contribution costs will go into effect. The childcare subsidies, which were designed to make day care program- ming affordable in Westchester County, now require self-sufficient parents pay almost double what they have in the past based on their weekly income. But according to Executive Director of the Harrison Children Center Debbie Imperia, families in the Town of Harrison that currently earn between $7 and $15 an hour will no longer be eligible for assistance.

This story originally appeared in the Oct. 5, 2012 edition of the Harrison Review

Harrison Water Rates Hiked 17 Percent

The Harrison Town Council approved a 17 percent water rate hike on July 5, just days after a relatively nominal–yet nonetheless dramatic– 11 percent increase was estimated by town officials.

The 3-2 approval of the new rates came after representatives of Westchester Joint Water Works made a public presentation, which had several members of the council scoffing at the fiscal management of the utility.

The Westchester Joint Water Works, a utility jointly run by municipal leaders in Mamaroneck and Harrison, proposed the town approve the hike for the 2012-2013 fiscal year in order to keep up with the increased cost of supply from New York City, where the water works purchases its water. The city increased its sales rates by 9.8 percent.

This originally appeared in the July 13, 2012 edition of The Harrison Report. 

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