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Bronxville Government and History

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Events in Bronxville this Week: June 15 to June 22 PDF Print Email

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Wednesday, June 15:  There will be a flag-burning ceremony for proper disposal of old and damaged flags at 6:00 pm at Concordia College's Feth Hall.  The event is sponsored by The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Thursday, June 16:  The Bronxville Board of Education will hold a meeting at 7:00 pm in the multipurpose room in the Bronxville School.  For more information, call 914-395-0500.

Saturday, June 18:  Commencement exercises for the Bronxville High School Class of 2011 will take place on the front lawn of the Bronxville School (inside in case of rain) starting at 6:45 pm.  A reception will follow the ceremony.

Sunday, June 19:  There will be a "Pop-up Adventure Playground" from noon to 4:00 pm in Sullivan Oval Park and Playground on Spruce Street next to School 23 in Yonkers for children ages 2 and up.  There will be loose play parts, such as cardboard boxes, wood, tires, and fabric for the children to manipulate, with trained play-workers onsite from The Child Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College (CDI) to inspire free play.  The event is free of charge and is hosted by CDI and Groundwork Hudson Valley.  For more information, call Anais Murphy at 914-395-2530.

Tuesday, June 21:  The League of Women Voters will have its last coffee of the season from 9:30 am to 10:30 am at The Bronxville Women's Club, 135 Midland Avenue in Bronxville.  There is no charge, and coffee and light refreshments will be served.  For more information, call E. Szold at 914-793-0298.

Pictured here:  An admirer of some flowers at the Bronxville Garden Tour held Saturday, June 11.

Photo by A. Warner

 

 
Bronxville Board of Trustees Begins New Fiscal Year; Two Percent Tax Cap May Affect Expenditures PDF Print Email

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June 15, 2011:  The Bronxville Board of Trustees held its first meeting of the new fiscal year on June 13, and Mayor Mary Marvin reported that over the summer the trustees will examine the village's capital improvement program.  Department heads have been asked to submit their project wish lists.  The mayor and trustees will prioritize the projects and decide what can be accomplished.

"Frankly, one of the few benefits of this downturn in the economy is that the cost of borrowing money is much less expensive.  With interest rates low, we hope to have a good capital program," Marvin said.  She further stated that the two percent tax cap mandated by the state might affect what the village can accomplish in terms of capital improvements.

The mayor reported that negotiations with unions representing police officers and library employees continue, but no agreements have been reached yet.

Marvin reminded residents that property tax bills have been mailed, and taxes can be paid without penalty until June 30.

Trustee William Barton announced that, as of June 1, the village has expanded its recycling capacity to accept plastics with designations 1 through 7.  He also indicated that FIOS high-speed Internet and digital television cable will be laid on Sagamore Road over the summer, which will necessitate minor street construction and disruption.

Trustee Donald Gray met with the Bronxville Green Committee to discuss its current project designed to reduce the village's leaf-removal costs in the fall.  The program encourages residents to mulch a small percentage of their leaves.  "It's an easy program everyone can buy into," Gray said.  The committee will hold a workshop in August to help residents understand and participate in the project.

Trustee Anne Poorman announced that Bronxville resident Ruth Walter has been appointed to the position of Bronxville Village court clerk effective June 15.  Poorman also related that the Bronxville Police Department reported a number of thefts from parked vehicles in the village.  "Please double check that you lock your car when parking anywhere in the village, downtown, or on residential side streets, even if you're going to return in a few minutes," she advised.

In new business, the trustees passed resolutions to set public hearings on provision of a new zoning district to be known as Central Business A Transition District, together with concomitant amendments of the zoning map for the designation as well as regulations for permitted uses and off-street parking for that district.  A public hearing will also be held on Proposed Local Law #7 to amend the Animal Law.

Public hearings will be held at a special meeting of the board of trustees on Tuesday, June 28, at 7 pm in the Trustees Room at Village Hall.

The trustees passed a resolution to accept additional funding in the form of a reimbursement from the New York State Department of Transportation for snow and ice removal on Route 22 this past winter.  Resolutions on the appointment of Ruth Walter as village court clerk and Timothy Griffin as Bronxville Village prosecutor passed unanimously.  The trustees also resolved to enter an intermunicipal agreement with the Village of Tuckahoe and the Town of Eastchester for street resurfacing and repair.

Mayor Marvin announced the death of Village Finance Committee member Victor Samra and noted the time and talent he graciously gave to the village.

The mayor and trustees commended and congratulated all who helped organize the Memorial Day Parade.  "We got to celebrate the service of all of our veterans," Marvin said.  "I want to thank everyone involved in the parade who did a little bit extra for us."

The next regular meeting of the board of trustees will be Monday, July 11, at 8 pm in the Trustees Room of Village Hall.

Pictured here:  Bronxville Board of Trustees at June 13 meeting.

Photo by Carol Bartold

 

 
From the Mayor: New Municipal Lighting under Consideration; Three Options to Consider PDF Print Email

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June 15, 2011:  The purpose of this week's column is to begin a community conversation about the municipal lighting throughout the Village, particularly in our commercial district.

The Trustees and I must undertake a capital project in the very near future to upgrade lighting, most importantly because of the energy inefficiency of our current configuration as well as a desire on our part to illuminate the Village to reflect the needs of our 2011 walking and driving population.

Currently, the Village is illuminated with 189-watt incandescent bulbs.   Incandescent bulbs are energy-inefficient.  They are now outlawed in Europe and will cease to be manufactured worldwide in just two years.  So the issue is not should we embark on a lighting capital plan, but rather just how we implement a new technology.

Since the development of the incandescent bulb by Thomas Edison in 1879, lighting has remained one of the last technologies still encased in glass tubes, in contrast to cameras, TVs, and computers, which have moved to digital/solid state technology.

As background, our current incandescent bulbs have a life of 2,000 hours, versus 30,000 to 100,000 hours for the modern lighting systems currently available.  Over 90% of the power consumed is emitted as heat rather than light, making these bulbs the least expensive to purchase but the most expensive to operate.  We estimate that our power bill for street lighting could be reduced by as much as 70%, from the current $100,000 to $30,000, with a capital project employing any one of the newer technologies.

The current $100,000 cost does not even reflect the labor required to constantly change our current bulbs.  These bulbs each contain a fragile filament, and one Department of Public Works employee spends a full day per week replacing bulbs destroyed by wind, rain, or snow conditions long before they have reached the end of their average life.

The Trustees and I realize that we need expert help on this project because the type and color of the emitted light as well as the pole design will affect the landscape and ambiance of our Village for years to come.  It is quite possible we may have to replace all of the light poles as well as the internal mechanisms.  In the coming weeks, we will be interviewing lighting consultants with an expertise in municipal work.

We are also in the process of reviewing all Village lighting studies undertaken in the past that remain in Village files to determine their applicability to our 2011 needs.

In addition, we are reaching out to colleagues both locally and nationwide who have completed lighting upgrades to learn from their successes and failures.

As with most things, all of the new lighting technologies have pluses and minuses.

Induction lighting, which is a cousin to fluorescent lighting, involves the creation of a magnetic field to excite gas, which then generates a white light.

The advantages of the induction system are reduced energy consumption and extremely long bulb life.  An induction bulb has an average life of 100,000 hours, versus the incandescent's 2,000.

Induction lighting has a significantly reduced level of energy consumption as well as a less expensive initial cost to change fixtures as compared to the available alternative technologies.

The disadvantages are that the bulbs do contain some mercury, the need for large lamps limits the available fixture choices, and critics believe the quality of light is not as well dispersed as in other options.

A second option is the Light Emitting Diode, or LED lights, which are solid state semi-conductors that convert electrical energy directly into visible light.

The benefits of LEDs include a long bulb life similar to the induction system.  It is the most energy-efficient as well as the most environmentally friendly option due to the lack of filaments or mercury and has a very low maintenance cost once installed.

Disadvantages include the lack of suitability for all lighting needs due to limitations on maximum mounting heights, the highest initial cost to install of all the systems, and a perceived glare by some users.

The third viable option, the Advanced Ceramic Metal Halide light, or "CosmoPolis," is currently used throughout Europe.  It is highly efficient, versus the fluorescent bulb (30,000 hours of life vs. 2,000), but much less efficient relative to the induction and LED systems.

Benefits include the miniature size of the bulbs, which allows for improved and controllable optics, and both the start-up and maintenance costs are lower than the other two options.  Disadvantages include the emission of a white light versus a golden tone that some users prefer, and small amounts of mercury are contained in each bulb.

We look to you, our residents, to share your particular expertise, knowledge/view of lighting in communities you may have visited, and a general opinion, positive or negative, on the lighting systems available.  We would also appreciate any thoughts on historical accuracy or aesthetic needs relating to a new lighting system integrating into the character of our Village.

We also anticipate installing lighting poles with the various technologies employed as samples for residents to view and comment on.

Lighting is a major component of the character of our Village and your input is strongly encouraged.

 

 
Max McGrath: Man's Best Friend; Sure Hope New Dog Ike Can Spell PDF Print Email

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June 15, 2011:  The oldest evidence of the domesticated dog in the United States was carbon-dated back to ten thousand years ago and found in Idaho at a pre-Colombian Native American site.  On an evolutionary scale, the dog has been around the planet about ten minutes longer than the Lassie series on TV.  I was always a Rin Tin Tin fan myself.

The dog is the only hunting predator in the animal kingdom that humans have successfully domesticated, making the "woofs" an integral part of the family unit.  Sometimes I try to think how this amazing relationship of mutual need ever came about.  Its origins still continue to baffle scientists and enthusiasts alike.

I hold the same high esteem for our first cave-dwelling ancestor who taught a wolf pup to fetch a stick as I do for the first guy to eat a clam.  In my opinion, two very moxie moves with an outcome that could have been literally gut-wrenching.

You all know I'm a typical boy-and-his-dog story.  I just love dogs, even the small walking swatches that folks carry around in their pockets or in their handbags.  I don't understand it, but in most cases I prefer the pocketbook stuffer than the person toting the bag.  Mostly, however, I like big dogs.  Big, roughhousing, eat-you-out-of-house-and-home, four-legged persons that you are aware of even when they are silent.

Most of you know I had to send my beloved dog, Buck, on the great journey.  It would have been selfish to watch him suffer just to have him around longer.  The piper was coming and we both knew it.  I took him to the ethereal escalator, staying with him until he was well on his way--the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  It was a decision I prayed I'd never have to make.

It is said that I can be testy.  Where folks get that idea is a mystery to me, but with Buck's absence around the house I found myself slightly out of sorts.  The responsibility of caring for another living soul had been removed, suddenly surprising me that it was missed.  I needed another companion around, not only to spend time with, but to help me write these stories.  After all, Buck could spell better than I.

I will always adopt a dog versus buying one from a puppy mill or even a breeder.  There are too many of "man's best friends" being tossed to the street, much like the banks are currently doing to homeowners.  I reviewed the many great dogs that my BHS friends had in the hopes of settling on a specific breed or even a mixed doggie.

Frank Pompea ('62) had a beautiful Irish setter named Brendan.  The problem with Brendan was that he was typically Irish and found ingenious ways to wander off, even to other towns miles away.  The police were always bringing him home in a squad car.  I found the backseat of police cars very uncomfortable, myself.  Brendan's roving wouldn't work in Florida.

The Clappiers had a black lab named Sambo, who could use a slide rule and take apart a carburetor.  In that house of geniuses, the dog had to be smart and draft blueprints with a smile. Labs were on the short list.

Cam and Kate Fairchild have the pugs known as "the Girls."  I love them, but if I tripped and fell, it would result in canine pancakes.  My girlfriend in high school had a swatch-like terrier named Chumley.  This dog loved seeing me, but only because he thought of me as a huge chew toy.  I would go home after dates with welts, leaving a blood trail behind.

I was back to white shepherds like Buck.  I contacted Echo Rescue on the web, finding they saved white shepherds from the needle.  They are all volunteers who even transport nationally.

On Sunday I'm driving over to Sarasota to pick up my new white shepherd friend, who will be renamed Ike.  He told me on the phone he is a Republican and prefers that name, so be it then.

Yes, I'm keen and nervous.  I'm in trouble if he can't spell.

 
Bronxville Cemetery; A Quiet Tribute in a Quiet Corner of Town PDF Print Email

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June 15, 2011:  Without the sound of bagpipes or a marching band, Bronxville's Cub Scouts paid a quiet tribute two days before Memorial Day by planting 148 American flags in a quiet corner unknown to many Bronxville residents.  The site is the Bronxville Cemetery, which has been a final resting place for hundreds of village families for more than a century.

The cemetery is tucked into 1.8 acres behind Bronxville Village Hall, bounded by the Department of Public Works truck depot on Palumbo Place, Midland Avenue, and Alden Place.  No sign indicates the location, and the cemetery is reached only by a driveway adjacent to a two-story frame house occupied by the manager, Dr. David A. Weir, and his wife, Dr. Bonnie E. Weir, the third generation of caretakers.

The cemetery has no connection to any Bronxville church.  It was moved to Bronxville in 1852 from Manhattan by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Covenanter Synod).

The cemetery's history was written by David Weir in Building a Suburban Village, the history published for Bronxville's centennial in 1998.  A teacher at Nyack College, he is the son of Dr. Richard Weir, chairman of the English department at Pelham High School; his wife, Jean Crawford, was a teacher at Bronxville Elementary School.  She was also the daughter of earlier caretakers of the cemetery, John and Alice Crawford, emigrants from Scotland.

The place was even more obscure before 1947, when bulldozers cleared a wooded hill at the corner of Palumbo Place and Midland to make room for the Bronxville firehouse.

Most of the several hundred tombstones are modest, but a handful of obelisks tower above the rest, and the cemetery also contains two locked crypts.  Among the notables buried there is Lewis Bowman, the celebrated architect of many Bronxville homes.   His is an austere monument containing only his name, the word "architect," and the years of his birth and death.

Among the more poignant markers is that of a 17-year-old, so weather-beaten that the words cannot be read.  The gravestone of a John A. Adams notes that he was a presenter in the Reformed Presbyterian Church.

If the cemetery is unknown to many village residents, it is known to funeral directors, who mention it as an option among burial sites to bereaved families.  The cemetery is non-denominational, but applications must be reviewed by the church.

The Bronxville Cemetery is about to be somewhat better known because it is included in a major new three-volume publication, The Cemeteries of Westchester County, by Patrick Raferty, published by the Westchester County Historical Society.

 
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