HOLDING PATTERN: NEW MASTER PLAN NEXT–CONSULTANT TO HAMMER OUT AIRPORT FUTURE. NEW NOISE MONITORS. AIR POLLUTION MONITORS. WATER/SOIL INITIATIVES. AUTO COMPLAINT SYSTEM.

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Westchester County Airport Terminal

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER.  By John F. Bailey. August 13, 2018:

It will be months, well into 2019 OR 2020 perhaps before any directions and decisions on the Westchester County Airport  future will be made.

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That was clear after the early afternoon news conference  today at Westchester County Executive George Latimer (above) held at the airport above.

The County Executive said the next steps in deciding the future of the airport would be to develop a supplemental Master Plan to address the county vision for the facility in view of the age of the previous master plan to counter Federal Aviation Administration criticism of the current Master Plan including “Lack of a Strategic Vision.”

To help the county execute the supplement, Latimer said a new consultant would be hired that would work on the Master Plan. That consultant has not been hired yet.

Latimer said comments from public hearings two months ago would be considered in creating the new plan, as well as comments from the Board of Legislators and the Board reactions.

As part of that review the matters of governance of the airport, possibilities for the airport future and its management, presumably from a financial standpoint would be reviewed.

Asked by WPCNR if a leasing of the airport to an independent airport managent company with more profit to the county,and  a contract that gave Westchester County jurisdiction over any changes any potential lessor wanted to make in the airport would possibly be considered in the Master Plan. Mr. Latimer did not rule such proposals out,nor did he say he would consider such proposals.

Early in the news conference, Latimer disparaged former County Executive Robert Astorino’s lease plan that gave up county control of the airport in a long term lease deal that would have balanced the 2018 budget. The County Board of Legislators declined to consider that plan.

Mr. Latimer did not rule out exploring any such proposals that kept county control of the airport with more lucrative financial returns to the county,  and a shorter duration of contract. Whether the master plan preparation will explore leasing with a new start is not apparent, nor ruled out.

(One of the major flaws of the Robert Astorino Administration plan to lease the airport was its duration, 40 years, lack of adequate revenues and the county giving up control of the airport, to fill the 2018 budget gap ).

He said the former airport lease plan, (that the Westchester County Board of Legislators declined to consider in December), has expressed interest in revising their proposal, and if they wanted to come up with a new proposal, they would be welcome to do that. He said emphatically to one reporter that original proposal was dead. “It ceased to exist January 1,” he said

Meanwhile, Mr. Latimer announced county airport intiatives on complaints and issues expressed during the public hearings in June.

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Joan McDonald, Director of Operations for the County announced the county would be purchasing 10 new portable state-of-the-art Noise Measurement  devices (shown above), and would upgrade the existing 6 monitors. She said the 10 new monitors should be operative by the end of this month. McDonald said the county was organizing a new  automated complaint system consumers could use to report their observations.

John Nonna, the county attorney said the county is working with the Department of Environmental Conservation to measure and monitor drain off into the Kensico Resevoir (off Runway 34), and has located 49 monitoring wells at the airport. Nonna said those wells would begin to be monitored August 31.

The wells have not been monitored since 2007 (during the Andrew Spano and Robert Astorino administrations), according to the county news release on today’s conference.

The county news release also stated the last air quality emissions report was from 2007.

Nonna announced that monitoring of air quality  from aircraft exhaust would also be upgraded and the county was working with DEC to ascertain equipment to monitor air pollution. He said it would take four months before readings on air quality from the new monitors would be available.

Mr. Latimer said the county would begin to consider the 2019 county budget September 10 as to what options the county had in filling the reported gap in the budget, previously reported by the county auditors as $47 Million.

(Editor’s Nate:) To date the county sales tax receipts through July are on a pace to deliver half of that deficit by the end of the year. Another option the county has to consider to eliminate the alleged deficit, is to raise the county sales tax by ¼% which according to the auditors would address the present rate of growth of county expenses for the next two years.

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NY State Police Shocked, Shocked Motorists Speed on the Sprain Brook Parkway. Feiner Reports 60 Tickets Issued in One Day.

WPCNR THE FEINER REPORT. From Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. August 12, 2018:

If you don’t like getting tickets avoid speeding on the Sprain Parkway–60 tickets issued in one day!

I am suggesting a digital speed board be placed on parkway advising motorists how many tickets were issued

Sprain Parkway is one of the more dangerous parkways in our county – with numerous accidents, lots of speeding and periodic fatalities. According to the greenburghdailyvoice.com “dozens of motorists were cited for speeding on the Sprain Brook Parkway on Tuesday, as police conducted a special speed enforcement detail in Westchester.

New York State Police Troopers were out in force on the parkway on Tuesday in Greenburgh and Yonkers, dishing out a total of 60 tickets, including 49 for speeding.

The latest detail is the most recent for State Police, who have been busy all summer in an attempt to curtail speeding and distracted driving.

Last week, a man was clocked going 99 mph during a detail on I-684. Last month, nearly 12,000 tickets were issued statewide during the annual July 4 crackdown.”

I have written to the NYS police suggesting that they post a digital speed board at locations on the parkway indicating how many tickets they recently issued. I think that motorists would slow down if -while driving – they see a digital board advising them how many tickets were issued at the specific locations.  The Greenburgh police periodically post  ticket information on digital boards. And, I think it’s effective.

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Council of State School Superintendents expected a Delay in 2018 Assessment Test Scores but not this long.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. August 11, 2018:

The New York Council of School Superintendents knew that with the shortening of the duration  of the 2018 State Assessments in English and Math to two days, there would be a delay in receiving Assessment scores but not as long as the State Education Department confirmed to WPCNR this past week.

Robert Lowry, spokesperson for the Council of School Superintendents, issued this statement on the delay of scored assessments to WPCNR Friday:

“The delay this year is due to the change from three days of testing to two days.
That required some additional steps in creating scores and other test information.
We  (the superintendents) strongly supported shortening the tests and understood and accepted that it would create a delay in getting information to schools.
The delay has turned out to be a bit longer than we anticipated, but again, it’s related to the transition to shorter tests and should not be necessary next year.”
Lowry said he has not sampled superintendents yet as of Friday to how this longer than expected delay was affecting their adjustments to curriculum and instruction efforts for the new school year. this close to two month.
WPCNR notes that previously the scored assessments were delivered by the State Education Department the first week of August, this year they are expected by mid-September to end of September.
WPCNR also observes the decision to shorten the tests was made prior to the administration of the new 2-Day  tests in  April and May of this year. The State Education Department had five months before the tests were administered  in April and May of this year, to adjust their scoring system. Quesar, the test preparers in their first-time out test materials for the New York State Schools could also have expedited the State Education Department ability and preparation and expertise on how to score the shorter tests presumably, but WPCNR will check on that with the State Education Department.
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WHITE PLAINS WEEK–THE AUG. 10 REPORT ON INTERNET NOW ON YOUTUBE AND WHITE PLAINS WEEK.COM

WHITE PLAINS WEEK
for 8-10 has been posted 
  
YouTube link is
 
 
 
the whiteplainsweek.com link is
 
1-opener-ANNIVERSARY
THIS WEEK:
HOSPITAL SECURITY
DEC WILL TEST 52 NORTH BROADWAY ALLEGED TOXIC SITE DELAYING APPROVAL
PAVILION PROJECT FLOATS 70 CONDOS AS PART OF 814 APARTMENT COMPLEX
THE JIM BENEROFE  SKYLINE INVENTORY PROFILE:
JIM NOTES ALL THE APARTMENT PROJECTS WHITE PLAINS IS BUILDING 5,000 PLUS AVAILABLE.
STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DELAYS NEW 2018 ASSESSMENT SCORES RELEASE UNTIL LATE SEPTEMBER. ARE  STATE ASSESSMENTS REALLY NEEDED IF DISTRICTS DON’T REALLY USED THEM?
HOW WAS THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK?
TARRIFIC!
WHAT DID DINESH D’SOUZA DO WITH HIS PARDON?

 

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White Plains District Plans for Accelerating Achievement Using Own Assessments. Will Not Wait for Delayed State Assessments. Pleased with 2017-18 WP Progress.

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. August 9, 2018:

White Plains Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph Ricca told WPCNR  today  the New York State Education Department announcement  that scores New York State Students achieved on 2018 Assessment Tests would not be released to the public and the school districts until mid to late September was “unfortunate,” but would not affect the district’s ability to adjust curriculum to continue improving students’ performance.

Ricca said White Plains students continue to perform well and grow academically based on the district’s internal assessment outcomes; however, the raw scores sent to the district in June provide little assistance in measuring growth and planning for the next academic year.

Planning ahead, he said White Plains teachers and administrators have instead used their own benchmark testing and outcomes analysis from the end of last year (2017-18) to monitor student progress and plan for what needs to be done to prepare for the new academic year.

Asked if he was pleased with the raw scores the district was provided in June from the NYSED, he said, “we will need to learn more from the State Education Department once they ‘recalibrate’ their cut scores.”

However, he said White Plains school-based assessments indicated the elementary and middle school children  (Grades 3 to 8) did very well according to district goals.

While that data was not immediately available, he said he would get WPCNR the figures the school district has determined according to the district testing and performance standards for the students in Grades 3 to 8 at the end of 2017-18

Ricca told WPCNR  the district had not used the raw scores (received from the state the beginning of June) to determine new directions in the school curriculum because the raw scores did not include the cut score levels, or curve to determine what level of score passes at each of the 4,3,2, and 1 levels.

The state has the ability and can set the cut scores, which can inflate the number of students passing or failing by the determination of the cut score level.

“We have assessments (per grade) in place teachers can use to plan for our children. We don’t have to follow the state assessment scores (for guidance) and we recognize that assessments are simply one measure of student achievement,” Ricca explained.

Ricca noted that depending how the cut scores are set, the district could show marked improvement or not. He said that holding back the test scores was “unfortunate and a challenge for school district.” He noted  it increased stress for students and parents alike.

“People want to know where they are.”

WPCNR notes that before the new state Common Core assessments began in 2013,replacing previous state testing,  the previous tests were criticized by colleges and business for not measuring performance accurately because of students being unprepared for college and not as prepared for jobs.

In those state tests before 2013, cut scores for a passing grade could be set low by the state to give the indication more students were competent in English or Math. (Cut scores were never revealed to the public). When Common Core assessments debuted, achievement gaps for minority students compared to white students which had closed to within 10%, dropped substantially, calling into question whether the earlier assessments were scored too leniently. Not only did minority scores drop, the scores of white students plummeted, too.

The 2017-18 New York State assessments are the first tests created for the NYSED by Quesar, its new test contracter which replaced Pearson, the world wide creator of assessments, which created the previous tests reflecting Common Core standards which were criticized by parents, teachers, Superintendents and politicians.

WPCNR has contacted the New York State Council of School Superintendents for a statement on the problems, if any, caused by the State Education Depart delay in scoring the 2017-18 tests.

 

 

 

 

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Shooting in Room at Westchester Medical Center. Police: Murder-Suicide. No Metal Detectors, Searches at Hospital Entrance

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From Westchester County Department of Communications August 8, 2018 UPDATED 2:10 PM UPDATED 4:30 pm edt UPDATED August 9, 12 noon edt:

The Westchester County Department of Public Safety has confirmed a shooting at Westchester Medical Center (WMC) in Valhalla. At a news conference, police said a man in his 70s, who has not yet been identified entered a fourth floor room at the Center with a handgun and shot and killed a woman, described as “family member” in that room, then killed himself.

The Westchester Rockland Journal News reported Thursday morning the hospital does not search visitors to the hospital and does not have metal detectors, according to Kara Bennorth, the hospital’s chief administrative officer.

The two people who died in a murder-suicide incident at Westchester Medical Center earlier today are a married couple from the Town of Yorktown.

They are Richard DeLucia, 71, and his wife, Ann DeLucia, 70, who was a patient at the hospital. Richard DeLucia shot his wife in her hospital room and then shot himself. Each died of a single gunshot wound.

County Police detectives found a note early this afternoon at the DeLucia residence. In that note, Peter DeLucia indicated that he was distraught over his wife’s medical issues and wanted to end her suffering.

In a press briefing earlier today, Police Commissioner Thomas Gleason said County Police were notified at 9:39 a.m. that shots had been fired on the fourth floor of the hospital. A uniformed County police officer and two plainclothes officers arrived within two minutes, and proceeded directly to scene of the gunfire along with hospital security.

They discovered that Mrs. DeLucia had been shot in bed. Her husband and the weapon he used – a licensed .38-caliber revolver — were on the floor.

Medical personnel at the hospital rendered care to both but they died of their wounds.

“I am grateful to the Medical Center staff and the officers from the Westchester County Police, Mount Pleasant Police, Greenburgh Police and New York State Police for their prompt and professional response in the first minutes of this tragic incident,” Gleason said.

It has not been explained how the murderer was able to get a handgun into the hospital without it being detected.

As of 2 PM the incident was officially over.

 

 

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RESULTS OF 2018 STATE ASSESSMENT TESTS DELAYED. RAW SCORES DISTRIBUTED TO SCHOOLS ADMINISTRATORS IN JUNE FOR PLANNING.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. August 8, 2018:

The scores of State English and Math Assessment tests from the State Education usually released to the School Districts and public by the first week of August will not have the results until “mid or late September.”

The State Education Department told WPCNR , District administrators statewide were provided “raw scores in June so as not to affect curriculum planning for the 2018-19 school year. The raw scores were not released to the public at that time.

After  WPCNR inquired about the tardiness of the results, the New York State Education Department Communications Department which issued this statement on why the results were delayed:

 ”At its June 2017 meeting, the Board of Regents voted to reduce the number of sessions of the grades 3-8 State assessments in ELA and mathematics from three days each to two.

This change took effect beginning with the assessments administered in spring 2018 and applied to grades 3-8.

The Department shortened the tests in a manner that still provides for the valid and reliable measurement of student achievement of the standards.

As a result of the decision, New York State educators will review the performance standards this summer. Given the need for this standards review, the statewide scores will be released in mid-to-late September.

We anticipate the delay to only affect this year’s release.       

School districts will receive their score information just prior to the public statewide release, as is standard practice each year.

We had hoped to be able to provide the results to individual districts before the start of the school year; however, it was determined in January that the  schedule would have to be delayed slightly, to mid-to-late September this year because of the change in testing format.

     Please also note: In early June, instructional reports, based upon the raw score results, for the 2018 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Testing Program were made available for schools and districts. The reports are used by schools and districts for summer curriculum-writing and professional development activities. This early release provides educators additional time to use the results to plan for the upcoming school year.”

“School districts will receive their score information just prior to the public statewide release, as is standard practice each year.

We had hoped to be able to provide the results to individual districts before the start of the school year; however, it was determined in January that the  schedule would have to be delayed slightly, to mid-to-late September this year because of the change in testing format.

Please also note: In early June, instructional reports, based upon the raw score results, for the 2018 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Testing Program were made available for schools and districts

The reports are used by schools and districts for summer curriculum-writing and professional development activities. This early release provides educators additional time to use the results to plan for the upcoming school year.”

This year the State Education Depart put out an extensive news release saying how the new 2018 assessments have been adjusted ti address those concerns.

The State Education Department told parents and “stakeholders” prior to administering the state tests in the spring that the 2018 would be improved based on the widespread criticisms of the 2016- 2017 assessments by parents, teachers, administrators and state representatives. A new test creating firm was hired. Teachers were included in formulating the 2018 tests. In a WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW section on the NYSED website, parents were told the following changes to the tests

1. Fewer Test Sessions

2.Untimed tests

3.Test questions reviewed and written by New York State Teachers

4.Providing Results for Teachers and Improved Resources for Parents

5. Computer-Based Testing.

The delay in the results at least to the public is unfortunate since the first administration of the new Assessments are a test of state officials, teachers, as well as the students.

Whether the skills tested and the prowess of students’ abilities to answer and handle the new tests with more acceptable success that shows students are getting the material, just were tested wrong is at stake here.

This result will be test of the state education experts ability to devise a test that is both comprehensive to students taking them and reflective of education officials’ judgment of an effective, fair tests.

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HOMELAND SECURITY: IN 2017—701,900 DO NOT LEAVE AFTER VISA EXPIRED. 70,000 WERE STUDENTS. AND THAT WAS 7 MONTHS AGO

WPCNR IMMIGRATION INTELLIGENCE. Special to WPCNR From the Department of Homeland Security. (Edited) August 7, 2018:

The Department of Homeland Security today, reported that at the end of FY 2017, there were 606,926 Suspected In-Country (in USA)Overstays. The overall Suspected In-Country Overstay rate was 1.15 percent of the expected departures (52.7 Million)

Non-immigrants entering on a student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa), numbered 1,662,369 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in 2017. However, 4.15 percent (68,988) stayed past their Visa expiration.

Canada and Mexico Overstay Rates

For Canada, the FY 2017 Suspected In­-Country Overstay rate for those traveling through air and sea POEs (Ports  of Entry)is 1.01 percent of 9,215,158 expected Canadian departures leaving 101,367 Canadians overstaying their visas.

For Mexico, the FY 2017 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate for those traveling through air and sea POEs is 47, 537 (1.63% of 2,916,430 expected departures).  (This represents only travel through air and sea POEs and does not include data on land border crossings. DHS is currently working to improve its monitoring capability for land POEs.)

Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Country Overstay Rate

This report separates Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country overstay figures from non-­VWP country figures. For VWP countries, the FY 2017 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate was .051% of the 22,472,710 expected departures, or 1,146,108.

Non-Visa Waiver Program Participant Overstay Rate

For non-VWP countries, the FY 2017 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate is 1.91 percent of the 14,659,249 expected departures, meaning 278,525 of Non-Visa Waiver Program Participants are here past their time as of 7 months ago,

The  data is delivered in today’s U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.

(Editor’s Note: The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program of the United States Government which allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.)

The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrants through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY 2017.

The in-scope population for this report includes temporary workers and families, students, exchange visitors, temporary visitors for pleasure, temporary visitors for business, and other nonimmigrant classes of admission.

DHS has determined that there were admissions represent the vast majority of all air and sea 52,656,022 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions to the United States through air or sea POEs with expected departures occurring in FY 2017.

The report also breaks down the overstay rates further to provide a better picture of those overstays who remain in the United States beyond their period of admission and for whom there is no identifiable evidence of a departure, an extension of period of admission, or transition to another immigration status.

The U.S. government is using a multifaceted approach to enforce overstay violations, including improving entry and exit data collection and reporting, notifying visitors of an impending expiration of their authorized period of admission, cancelling travel authorizations and visas for violators, recurrent vetting of many nonimmigrants, and apprehending overstays present in the United States.

A further breakdown can be found below and the full report is available here.

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73 Years Ago. Hiroshima was Destroyed by the Atomic Bomb.

WPCNR OBSERVATIONS. By John F. Bailey. Reprinted from the WPCNR Archives. August 6, 2018:

Seventy-three years ago today in 1945, the Enola Gay, a single American bomber dropped an Atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan.

The terrible effects of that single bomb are a horror that has never been repeated

A second bomber, Bock’s Car on August 9, dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

Unknown thousands of Japanese citizens’ lives were vaporized, burned,  and maimed and two cities leveled to the ground in an instant in both bombings.

To grasp what one atomic bomb did to Nagasaki. Readers may see the photographs Japanese photographer Yosuki Yamato took of the aftermath of Nagasaki the day it happened at http://www.exploratorium.edu/nagasaki/photos.html#journey/63.jpg

The decision to drop the bombs was made after the United States, Great Britain and the Republic of China demanded Japan  surrender in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26 or face  ”prompt and utter destruction”.

The Japanese government did not surrender.

The United States deployed two nuclear weapons  dropping one on Hiroshimi, 73 years ago today and one on Nagasaki on August 9.

Over four months the bombs resulted in the deaths of   90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, half dying the day the bombs fell.

The Hiroshima prefecture health department estimated that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness.

In a US estimate of the total immediate and short term cause of death, 15–20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from burns, and 50–60% from other injuries, compounded by illness. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizable garrison.

The horror of those two bombings and the aftermath, the injuries created have resulted in an effort and reluctance on the part of nuclear-armed powers to avoid any nuclear attacks since that date.

Within a few days of those bombings, Japan surrendered unconditionally, officially ending World War II.

The decision to use the bombs by the United States has long been debated. A dialogue on what the bombs did, why the decision was made was collected in 1995, the fiftieth year since the bombings. It is available at http://www.exploratorium.edu/nagasaki/commentary/decision.html

 

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK THE AUGUST 3 SHOW ON THE INTERNET NOW on THE NEW PAVILION DESIGN, THE NEW GREEN POWER RATES LOWER THAN CON ED, INCUBATOR INITIATIVE.

THE ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE ARE BACK!

WHITE PLAINS WEEK  for 8-3 has been posted ON THE NET:
  the youtube link is
 
 
 
the whiteplainsweek.com link is
 

THE CITIZENETREPORTER

JOHN BAILEY

1-opener-ANNIVERSARY

THE ANCHOR FOR ALL SEASONS

PETER KATZ

THE DEAN OF   WHITE PLAINS NEWS

JIM BENEROFE

ON

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THE NEW REDESIGN OF THE PAVILION PROJECT EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF WORK SESSION

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DELAY IN GOOD COUNSEL APPROVAL

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TURNING THE VENUE INTO INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR SENIORS

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