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Bronxville Government and History

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From Bronxville to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Elizabeth's Hope Marks Second Anniversary PDF Print Email

Nov. 13, 2013:  The "Elizabeth’s Hope" flag had come a long way, from Bronxville, NY, to Tanzania, where it would be unfurled at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for pediatric brain cancer research.

But just shy of the summit, Tom Jones, 62, fell ill and wasn’t sure he'd make it. For two days he took the antibiotic Cipro, but there was no improvement. So he asked his fellow climbers and his porter, Aaron Sinkuya, a deeply religious man, if they would take the flag up to the summit without him. 

His porter and fellow climbers had been inspired by Jones's story of his best friend's daughter, Elizabeth Minter, who had died at age 21 of an inoperable brain cancer and the reason why Jones was making the climb.

"The day before the ascent, Aaron came by my tent to visit me and said that he'd been praying for me for two days, and God wanted me to make it to the summit for Elizabeth," Jones said. "Aaron then quoted Deuteronomy 7:15 to me, 'And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.'" He paused, and added, "I woke up the next morning at 3:30 am for the final ascent, and my stomach problems were no longer an issue."

Jones, a Bronxville resident since 1982 who works for Alvarez & Marsal, a turnaround/corporate restructuring and business consulting company, is but one of hundreds of Bronxville residents who have been inspired to support Elizabeth's Hope, launched by Emmie and Mike Minter, which is approaching its second anniversary on November 17. Another resident, Gretchen Scott, donated all the proceeds from a blouse she designed for Elizabeth's Hope.   

All these efforts to support Elizabeth's Hope have served to seed the Children's Brain Tumor Project at the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center, founded in 2011. Its website states, "The project owes its inspiration and launch to Elizabeth Minter, whose battle with gliomatosis cerebri--a rare and inoperable brain tumor--inspired her surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, to undertake this groundbreaking research initiative. In starting the Children's Brain Tumor Project, Dr. Greenfield joined forces with Dr. Mark Souweidane, who had already spent a decade researching and testing alternative therapeutic delivery systems for other inoperable brain cancers, such as DIPG." More than a dozen families throughout the country now support the project, but Elizabeth's Hope alone has raised nearly $1,000,000.

"Jeff [Greenfield] performed a biopsy on Elizabeth's tumor," Emmie Minter said. "Her prognosis was grim from day one. Jeff was inspired by her to do something for kids with rare and inoperable tumors. In the spring of 2011, he asked if Elizabeth and we were interested in supporting his vision, and the answer was 'yes.' He had incredible credentials and the passion and ambition to help these kids. It was an opportunity for us to be more than a passive victim. Elizabeth was unable to work or go to school. The project gave her some purpose and hope."

What Dr. Greenfield and his colleagues are pioneering is the idea of precision medicine, or getting a fingerprint for the tumor and personalizing the therapy.

"The one-size-fits-all therapy is not the way of the future," he said. "If we can figure out exactly in each tumor what's gone wrong, we can tailor the chemotherapy and the regimens directly to those patients. It's a very expensive and time-consuming endeavor. That's really what the vision was when I talked with Elizabeth and her parents and that's what's really gotten off the ground. We've made enormous strides and have started doing this in a routine way for a lot of kids. Their foundation and their dream has really taken off, and it's done something meaningful and hopefully it's just the beginning of something."

In July 2012, Dr. Greenfield, his wife Dr. Caroline Long, and their three sons, Liam, 6, Charlie, 4, and Sam, 1-1/2, moved to Bronxville.

"Maybe subconsciously I knew the outpouring of support and the amount of community behind Elizabeth was reflected in my decision to move," Greenfield said. "Certainly, being in Bronxville now for 1-1/2 years, I’m not at all disappointed. The sense of community is even greater than I would have expected. It’s just been a wonderful place to start raising my family."

Tessa Naso, 24, was an early supporter of Elizabeth's Hope. Two years older than Elizabeth at Bronxville High School, they were on the softball and tennis teams together. When Naso isn't working in marketing and public relations for the Union Square Hospitality Group, she devotes several hours a week as the volunteer coordinator for Elizabeth's Hope.

"I work with all the students and any Bronxville high schooler or anyone who wants to plan an event for Elizabeth's Hope," Naso said. "Anything from 'I'm running a race and I want to donate all proceeds to Elizabeth’s Hope, what can I do?' to 'I want to host a fun sporting event and could you help me brainstorm?'"

Her involvement with Elizabeth's Hope began when she organized a fundraiser at Soul-Cycle in Scarsdale two years ago.

"I just wanted to do something for her," Naso said. "I wasn’t working at the time and in between internships. I thought I'd do something fun while friends were home for Christmas and Elizabeth would be there. We raised $43,000, and then others started doing events. Everyone wanted to help; they just didn't know how."

Minter's classmates initiated fundraisers on their college campuses, ranging from a capture-the-flag tournament organized by Chandler Rutherfurd at the University of Virginia to a mixed doubles tennis tournament organized by Erin Hackett at Gettysburg College. Many of these have become annual events.

Bronxville High School's yearly Bronco Bonanza donates to Elizabeth's Hope. Recently, Caitlin Hudson ran the New York Marathon to raise money for the cause. Another Soul-Cycle event this summer raised an additional $15,000. The efforts by Bronxville High School students and graduates have raised nearly $80,000 to date, according to Sue Conroy, marketing specialist with the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.

"So many people are struggling with the same thing as Elizabeth went through," Naso said. "They’re Googling it and Elizabeth’s Hope comes up. [Fundraisers] are happening that I don't even know about sometimes."

The Minters, who moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, following Elizabeth's death on May 30, 2012, hope that, with a secure and growing source of funding, the lab will deliver new treatment options that at the very least can make the disease chronic as opposed to fatal. 

"At the moment, the diagnosis of inoperable brain tumor really means 'pray for a miracle,'" Emmie Minter said. "'Rare' means no clinical trials. No parent should ever hear upon diagnosis, 'Take your child home; there is nothing we can do.'"

As Elizabeth's Hope reaches its second anniversary, Naso encourages others to "get involved and look back on Elizabeth's legacy."

"Elizabeth's Hope is really amazing because it kind of continued what Elizabeth was," Naso said. "It helps bring people together and she always brought people together. Elizabeth had an amazing way of making everyone around her happy and bringing everyone into the same network. Elizabeth's Hope brought people together for a good cause, and she would be so happy to see what everyone is doing."

Tom Jones agrees that Elizabeth "could make friends with a rock." He had watched her grow up, but it wasn't until her diagnosis in 2011 that he connected with her "in a way that I do not have words to describe." He shared with Elizabeth that he was told he had cancer in 1974, a bad-odds cancer with less than one in three survival rate.

So when Jones reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, it was a personal victory for him as well, but what was more important to him was that the money he raised will benefit Elizabeth's Hope and the Children's Brain Tumor Project.

"The total is over $60K so far," he said happily. "And money is still flowing in."

Pictured here (rotating):  Elizabeth Minter, Minter and her family, and Tom Jones at summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Photos courtesy the Minter family, Irena Choi Stern, and Tom Jones
 

 
Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration Kicks Off 'One Book/One Community' Reading Program PDF Print Email


Nov. 13, 2013: Have you ever wondered how your great grandmother or any mother immigrating to nineteenth-century America provided food for her family in a strange world with foreign methods of food and preparation, especially given the barriers of language and custom?

Jane Ziegelman has tackled these culinary issues and the broader ones of heritage and legacy in her book, 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement. This easy-to-read social history explores how five different immigrant groups brought their food passions to New York and managed the challenges of producing family meals in cold-water flats.

Selected by the directors of the town's three public libraries in Eastchester, this is the first book in the "One Book/One Community" Reading Program for Eastchester's 350th anniversary celebration in 2014.

97 Orchard places these families in a context, tracing the immigration movement from mid-nineteenth-century Germans to the Irish and then to the German Jews and, finally, to the Russian Jews and Italians who followed in the 1890s and early twentieth century. The work also includes a realistic look at life at Ellis Island and the unique food terminology of the foreign-born groups that has contributed to today's common English.

Copies of the book may be borrowed from the Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville libraries. Tracy Wright, Eastchester's library director, pointed out that some are available on Kobo and Kindle for large-print readability. For library card holders, the book may also be reserved online through the Westchester Library System. Purchases may also be made at Womrath Bookshop in Bronxville.

As Swadesh Pachnanda, Tuckahoe's library director, explained, "The project's goals are to involve residents from middle schoolers to senior residents, from those who love cooking to those who simply love eating."

"With the book as a touchstone, there are many possibilities for community engagement: discussion groups, ethnic eating experiences, recipe sharing, cooking lessons, and trips to 97 Orchard Street (home of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum) and Ellis Island," added Gabriella Radujko, Bronxville's library director. The Bronxville Adult School included an outing to the Tenement Museum in its fall catalogue.

Eastchester's 350th anniversary will be celebrated with these common legacies throughout 2014, beginning with a lecture by 97 Orchard's author, Jane Ziegelman, on Sunday, January 26, 2014, at 3:00 pm, at the Sommer Center for Worship and the Performing Arts at Concordia College, with a reception to follow. This talk, part of Concordia's Books & Coffee Series, will kick off a yearlong array of events and programs that are open to all residents and described on the website eastchester350.org.

As part of the 350th anniversary's emphasis on the town's heritage of family, home, and neighborhoods, the youth services librarians of Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville have developed a list of age-appropriate titles for town youngsters to listen to, to read themselves, and to discuss.

If you wish to contribute your ideas to this program's development, contact your community's librarian: Tracy Wright (Eastchester) at CLOAKING ; Swadesh Pachnanda (Tuckahoe) at CLOAKING ; or Gabriella Radujko (Bronxville) at CLOAKING .

The steering committee of Eastchester 350 Anniversary, Inc., the organization overseeing the anniversary celebrations, welcomes volunteer participants in all of its programming and encourages those interested to contact the group at CLOAKING .

Pictured here: The cover of 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.

Photo courtesy Linda Doherty, co-chair, Steering Committee, Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc.

 
Bronxville Police Department Welcomes Two New Officers, Promotes Others PDF Print Email



Nov. 6, 2013: Families and friends filled the trustees room at Bronxville Village Hall on Monday evening, November 4, as six Bronxville Police Department officers were sworn in by trustee Anne W. Poorman, who was assisted by Lt. Richard Bunyan of the department, who represented Chief Christopher Satriale.

Two newly hired officers, two officers assuming detective duties, and two officers promoted to the rank of sergeant recited the oath and received their shields at the board of trustees meeting.

"This is the most exciting meeting of the year for me," said Poorman. "Being liaison to the police department is the best job to have."

New officer Cheryl Jarosz, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, began her law enforcement career in 2006 with the Mount Vernon Police Department and joined the Bronxville Police Department in April of 2013. She enjoys working on her home, which includes carpentry work. She is married to a retired Mount Vernon detective and has two children.

Officer Jason Kaiser was appointed to the Bronxville Police Department in February of 2013. He attended Orange Community College and SUNY New Paltz. He previously served in the Highland Falls (NY) Police Department. An avid runner, he also enjoys bicycling and weight training. Kaiser was recently married.

Veteran Bronxville officers William Carroll and Dennis Karaman were sworn in and received their detective badges.

Carroll began his career with the New York City Police Department in 2003 and came to the Bronxville department in 2007. He received his assignment as a detective in June of this year. Detective Carroll graduated from SUNY Cortland with a degree in education. He has taught various programs to students at The Bronxville School. He is married and has two children.

Detective Karaman came to the Bronxville Police Department in 2003 with seven years of experience in the Mount Vernon Police Department. A veteran of the United States Navy, his assignment as a detective became effective on November 6. Karaman and his wife have four children.

Promoted to the rank of sergeant were Officers Nicholas DeYoung and Erik Van Der Leeuw.

Both DeYoung and Van Der Leeuw began their law enforcement careers with the New York City Police Department in 2004. DeYoung was appointed to the Bronxville Police Department in 2007 and Van Der Leeuw in 2008.

Sergeant DeYoung, a member of the joint emergency response team, is a certified fingerprint examiner and one of the department's firearms instructors. Sergeant Van Der Leeuw, a graduate of Iona College with a degree in public relations, is a "competitive bagpiper" who volunteers to lead the Bronxville Police Department unit in the annual Memorial Day Parade.

In congratulating the newly hired and promoted officers, Mayor Mary Marvin noted, "We all agree that we have the best police force anywhere. It's a nice night to thank you and say 'welcome.'"

Pictured here: Bronxville police officers attending the Bronxville Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, November 4.

Photo by Carol P. Bartold

 
Astorino, Burrows, and Colavita Win PDF Print Email


Nov. 6, 2013: Incumbent Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Noam Bramson to win a second term of office. Bramson conceded defeat at 10:25 pm, with approximately 24% of precincts reporting and results showing Astorino with 55% of votes (59,979) over Bramson's 45% (49,339).

Voters in Bronxville overwhelmingly supported Astorino, with 1,058 votes over Bramson's 322 votes.

With 61% of districts reporting, Gordon Burrows, District 15 legislator and incumbent, easily won re-election with 91% of the vote (3,930) over Delfim Heusler, who received 9%, or 408 votes. In Bronxville, Burrows received 990 votes to Heusler's 69.

In traditionally Democratic District 10, the race between Sheila Marcotte and Mary Jo Jacobs still had not been called at midnight.

In the Town of Eastchester, with 30% of districts' results in, incumbent Supervisor Anthony Colavita, Republican, fended off a challenge by Democrat Michael Denning and will retain his office. Colavita won by a wide margin 65% (2,172 votes) to 35% (1,194 votes). Results in Bronxville showed 945 votes for Supervisor Colavita and 334 for Denning.

Eastchester Town Council members Frederick Salanitro and Luigi Marcoccia, both incumbents, ran unopposed and will retain their seats.

With 62% of districts across the state reporting, three ballot initiatives showed wide enough margins to gain approval. Proposition 2, which gives disabled veterans additional civil service after they are appointed or promoted, had an 84% approval. Proposition 3, allowing counties, cities, and towns to exclude indebtedness incurred to construct or reconstruct sewage facilities from constitutional debt limits, showed 63% approval. With 76% of the "yes" vote, Proposition 4, which resolves competing claims between state and private parties relative to land in the forest preserve, won approval.

Pictured here (rotating): Tony Colavita, Gordon Burrows, and Rob Astorino.

Photos courtesy the respective candidates

 
Trustees Amend Law to Limit Parking to Two Hours on Pondfield Road in Bolton Gardens Area PDF Print Email



Nov. 6, 2013: Long-term parking in Bronxville, always at a premium, became more scarce by seven spaces at the regular Bronxville Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, November 4.

The spaces, currently unrestricted, on the west side of Pondfield Road between The Reformed Church and Bolton Gardens will be subject to a two-hour limitation in conformity with parking in the immediate area.

"The issue came to our attention due to the fact that people in the Bolton Gardens area found that the spots in front of their homes were occupied for long periods of time," stated Village Administrator Harold Porr.

Village officials realize, Porr added, that downtown parking presents complex and complicated issues. He cited the work of Peggy Conway, deputy treasurer, in compiling and analyzing an accurate inventory of parking in the village.

The purpose of Local Law #5-2013, restricting previously unlimited parking, he said, is to identify those areas of Pondfield Road that haven't been marked and to accommodate residents in that area.

Bronxville resident Thomas Wolff expressed concern about the restriction's possible impact on three constituencies who use the spaces: employees of The Bronxville School, which is across the street from the spaces; visitors to The Reformed Church; and contractors working at Bolton Gardens.

Porr noted that notice of the law was posted in newspapers, as required, and in several locations in the village.

"I think the school is aware we made the change," said trustee Guy Longobardo, "since we made the change in front of village hall. This is a continuation which makes it consistent."

Trustee Anne W. Poorman noted that the trustees have made their intentions quite clear in encouraging parking turnover in the downtown area while respecting all interested entities. In balancing the interests of people who are going to various locations, she said, "I don't think we want to turn our major artery into a long-term parking lot for any entity."

Local Law #5-2013 will take effect immediately upon filing with the secretary of state.

In other announcements of interest, Mayor Mary Marvin reported that the Town of Eastchester and the County of Westchester have finalized the Scout Field agreement. Village Administrator Porr and officials from The Bronxville School are working with the county to ensure that the soccer field to be built on the upper portion of the field will be regulation size.

All constituent groups, according to Marvin, continue working to reach an agreement on repairs to the Parkway Road bridge, closed since July. At issue is an equitable division of responsibility for the bridge, part of which sits in Bronxville and, therefore, the Town of Eastchester, and part in the City of Yonkers. In a separate comment, Marvin expressed hope that, since all parties are willing to talk, they, rather than the courts, can resolve the issue.

The next meeting of the Bronxville Board of Trustees will be on Monday, December 9, at 8:00 pm in the trustees room at village hall.

Pictured here:  Bronxville Village Hall.

Photo by A. Warner

 
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