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Monday Morning Rundown

Republicans mull sending Candyce Corcoran up against Ryan for County Legislature: Amodio, Bombace, Russell, Sheehan, Tuck vie for 2 Council nominations with Delgado slotted to run for Term 2. Mayor Delfino interviews.

Dr. Constance Iervolino, School District Curriculum Head, retiring. School District searches for replacement. School Budget Public Hearing is Monday, May 7. Code of Conduct hearing: May 21

New NYPH Head of Neurosurgery, and Proton Accelerator designer assert the proton beam is as safe as hospital linear accelerators now in operation at hundreds of hospitals: No radioactive waste. No radioactive water waste. Electric demand does not cause brownouts in brownout-prone San Bernardino. Public information meeting attracts 30 persons, three from Common Council and one candidate.

Concerned Citizens for Open Space schedules annual fundraising meeting for May 20 at Westchester Ethical Society.

German School final vote by Zoning Board moved off again to June 6. Gretsas says demolition plan for old Macy's building will be presented to Council "shortly."

By John F. Bailey

CityLine: May 7, 2001: New York Presbyterian Hospital: Our senior correspondent and observer of the White Plains Republican Party, Bill Waterman, remarked to WPCNR at New York Presbyterian Hospital Sunday, that the Republican Nominating Committee is busy with a sudden onslaught of candidates who want to run for council, due to what is seen by Republicans as a very weak Democratic ticket.

Mr. Waterman made his remarks to WPCNR while attending New York Presbyterian Hospital public forum on the proton accelerator.

Waterman reports that Tim Sheehan is back in the running for one of the two Council seats the Republicans are shooting for. Two other sources confirm he is being joined by John Bombace as another late darkhorse. Former candidates for council, who ran and lost: Michael Amodio and Robert Tuck and Serena Russell are also in the mix.

Waterman told WPCNR that the Republicans are also seriously considering asking Candyce Corcoran to run for the County Legislature against William Ryan, the Democrat candidate seeking reelection, who had the Mayoral nomination wrested from him by Robert Greer.

Waterman says no other Republican contender for the county board has emerged to challenge and he thinks Corcoran has "a clear shot." He also reports that former Mayor Alfred Del Vecchio at this time is apparently not considering a run for any office at this time. Mr. Waterman's words were "The Lion is quiet."

Mayor Joseph Delfino interviewed with the Republican Nominating Committee last week, signaling for the first time that he is serious about running for a second term.

CityLine: May 5-7 2001: Education House: The School District will present the adopted 118.7 Million dollar 2001-2002 school budget in a public hearing Monday evening, and update the public on the development of the District Code of Conduct. A public hearing on the District's Code of Conduct (mandated by the New York State Project Save Law to be in place as of July 1), will be held May 21.

The agenda will also accept the retirement of Dr. Constance Iervolino, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the district. It will take affect September 1.

The loss of Iervolino who has masterminded the massive District effort to upgrading the curriculum to respond to the new skills and standards required by New York State Standard Tests, is a disappointing development according to Lewis Trippett of the Board of Education. However, Trippett tells us Dr. Iervolino has agreed to consult with the district after her official retirement as needed to transition her successor. The School District has already placed advertisements seeking her replacement.

CityLine: May 5, 2001: New York Presbyterian Hospital: Thirty persons attended the New York Presbyterian Hospital Public Informational Meeting Sunday afternoon in the Staff Annex Two Building on the Bryant Avenue campus.

They heard Dr. Philip Stieg, the Neurosurgeon-In-Chief of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Philip Livdahl, who helped to establish the Loma Linda University Proton Treatment Center.

Constance Hildersley, Vice President of Real Estate for the Hospital, opened the meeting, by remarking that "the location (of the proton accelerator and the Bourne Research Facility) will be looked at thoroughly with the community," but said that Dr. Stieg and Mr. Livdahl would be confining themselves to the safety issue.

She also said that Mr. Livdahl had no financial interest or business affiliation with the manufacturer of the proton accelerator, Optivus, or the Hospital, and was speaking strictly of his own experience.

Councilpersons Pauline Oliva, Robert Greer, and Rita Malmud attended, as well as candidate for Common Council, Tom Roach. No representatives from Concerned Citizens for Open Space attended the meeting.

Dr. Stieg said he had been trying since his arrival at NYPH (in November) to bring the proton accelerator to Manhattan, but when he saw the White Plains NYPH campus he thought it was a much better site.

He said the proton accelerator is seen by radiation oncologists as very effective for tumors of vascular malfunction of the central nervous system and for pediatric oncology. Stieg said the proton therapy administered by the accelerator delivered the precise radiation needed to kill tumors in areas of the upper body that cannot be treated with X-ray therapy: the brain stem, the optic nerve and the spinal cord.

Stieg remarked "Radiation oncologists will tell you they can kill any tumor, but the question is can you kill without killing the patient?"

He said proton therapy is able to deliver higher radiation amounts (more than X-Ray therapy can deliver safely) precisely to tumors in sensitive areas without damage to surrounding tissue. This is because the protons can be stopped at the tumor without passing through the rest of the tissue surrounding the tumor. Stieg allowed this was highly effective in treatment of prostate tumors because X-Ray therapy often causes incontinence by passing through the rectum and the area around the prostate.

Stieg said the proton beam is showing success in clinics in treating vascular malfunctions related to heart disease, the number one killer in the United States and is "extremely effective" in treating cancer, the number two cause of death. He also said proton therapy shows great promise in treatment of vascular lesions of the brain which cause strokes, the number three killer.

Stieg personally has operated the Harvard cyclotron, and says he has suffered no ill effects from the proton radiation, and would not use the therapy if he felt it was in any way dangerous, since he has a 7-year old daughter whom he intends to spend a long time with.

Livdahl, who was treated for his own prostate cancer back in 1991 with the Loma Linda accelerator, which he helped design and construct, was also the first person to be treated exclusively for prostate cancer by the facility. He said, "I know the physics is right. I know the biology is right."

Livdahl said he felt the accelerator was "overshielded" in its present facility, and that the water coolant used in the system was recirculated, losing its radioactivity in 4 hours, so there was no radioactive water waste generated by the planned facility, countering one of the major fears raised by opponents of the facility at the previous Council Scoping Session.

He said "beam loss" was not a problem because the radiation lasts only a short time in the "beam dump." "In fact," Livdahl said. "There is none (radioactive waste)." (This was another fear promulgated by speakers at the Scoping Session last month.)

He said there was no noise associated with the treatment (the gantry makes no sound). There was no fire danger, (facility would be completely sprinkled), and the worst fate he could imagine befalling a worker at the facility was an electric shock involved with the circuit breakers.

The facility at Loma Linda requires 700 kilowatt-hours an hour to operate and has not caused any electrical shortages, according to Livdahl, in the Riverside, California area, (servicing San Bernardino), which is very sensitive to brownouts.

Question cards were collected and all were read aloud by Hildersley. Pauline Oliva asked of the 6,000 persons treated how many were cured. Dr. Stieg answered that cancer is not considered cured until you are about 15 years out, and currently patients who have survived are about 10 years out, but he did not elaborate.

(WPCNR note: Elsevier Science Inc. in "Urology" reports in the article "Conformal Proton Therapy for Early-Stage Proton Cancer," that overall 5-year clinical and biochemical disease-free survival rates were 97% and 88% respectively....It appears that patients treated with conformal protons have 5-year biochemical disease-free survival rates comparable to those who undergo radical prostatectomy(removal of the prostate), and display no significant toxicity.)

CityLine: May 5, 2001 -- Saxon Woods -- Concerned Citizens for Open Space will hold its annual fundraiser at the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester on the afternoon of May 20, featuring Assemblyman Richard Brodsky as speaker. It begins at 3 PM at the Society building off Saxon Woods Road. For information, contact Allan Teck at 949-5629.

CityLine: May 2, 2001 -- Zoning Board -- A Havilands Manor correspondent reports the German School cap decision by the Zoning Board has been continued another month to June 6.

CityLine, May 4, 2001 -- City Hall -- George Gretsas,City Executive Officer, said City Hall continues to meet with Cappelli Enterprises officials and their attorneys to devise a plan with city department heads to allow for imminent demolition of the old Macy's building. Gretsas said the demolition plans would be presented to the Common Council "shortly," but would not define "shortly."


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