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Letters to the Editor

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Letter to the Editor: René Atayan on Off-Year Election Results PDF Print Email

 

 

 

To the Editor:

Bronxville residents enthusiastically turned out to vote in the 2013 off-year election. Called an "off year" because it fell on an odd-numbered year and turnout tends to be low. Not so this election cycle.

Thanks to those of you who braved the e-scan machines, and most of all, thank you for Bronxville's resounding support of County Executive Rob Astorino and the Eastchester Town Council slate.

Our county executive kept his promises, governed in a bipartisan manner, and has both represented and defended our village's best interests.  In return, almost 80% of Bronxville villagers' vote went to Rob. Such strong turnout propelled him to a 10+ point win countywide over his challenger.

This was a crucial election. As had been frequently articulated, our community's sovereignty and fiscal well-being was at stake.

Thank you for taking the time to preserve and support our hardworking leadership.

René Atayan
Chair, Bronxville Republican Party
Bronxville, NY

Editor's Note: MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in letters to the editor, and the opinions do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. Its objective in publishing letters to the editor is to give air to diverse thoughts and opinions of residents in the community.

 
Letter to the Editor -- Dr. Julia Golier on Health Risks of Lighting Chambers Field PDF Print Email

 

 

To the Editor:

In a letter to the Editor, "Circadian Rhythm Not Affected by Lighting on Athletic Field," dated October 23, 2013, the authors assert that the proposed installation of permanent stadium lighting on Chambers Field would be safe. As a parent and physician, I have serious concerns about this claim. 

The mainstream medical community increasingly recognizes that exposure to excess light at night is hazardous to human health. The American Medical Association's (AMA) 2012 position paper entitled "Light Pollution: Adverse Health Outcomes of Nighttime Lighting" notes that breast cancer is the most serious health outcome linked with nighttime lighting; both breast and prostate cancer risks have been found to be increased in regions with the brightest levels of outdoor lighting. Other disorders associated with light pollution are obesity, diabetes, depressive disorders, and reproductive problems.

The potential carcinogenic effects of light pollution are believed to be due to the suppression of melatonin, a hormone with tumor-suppressing properties. Melatonin suppression is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon for which a single threshold of light level can be determined. It is dose-dependent and now-believed to occur at levels previously thought to be too dim to have any effect. In fact, the AMA’s position on human sensitivity is quite clear:  "Even low intensity nighttime light has the capability of suppressing melatonin release."

The aforementioned letter correctly states that "the AMA report gives no specific measures or thresholds for what is a safe or unsafe amount of nighttime exposure." Since there are no standards about what level is safe, it is inconsistent for the authors to selectively define a level or to assert that it would be harmless to brightly illuminate a large athletic field with downward- and upward-facing metal halide lights atop 70- to 80-foot towers along with additional lights on the pedestrian walkways, especially as the field is immediately adjacent to many homes in a densely populated village.

The letter also seeks to reassure us that since all-night-long exposure isn't anticipated, the exposure would be harmless. While the all-night exposures associated with shift work and constant jet lag are the worst types of exposure, they are not the only significant ones. The interruption of circadian rhythms is experienced in all persons exposed to excess light at night even if they have a normal sleep/wake cycle.  

The current state of the science does not permit a definitive determination of the additive health risks to individual neighbors or to persons on the field from the proposed stadium lights. But that does not give us permission to deny there are potential health risks and to impose them on others.

No matter how shielded, sports field lights cause light pollution. Lighting technology has evolved, but there is no way to satisfactorily mitigate the many negative effects--biological, ecological, and aesthetic--that stadium lighting would have on our village.

As has been clearly documented in public forums over the past few months, stadium lighting would most especially harm families living close to Chambers Field, including my own. Therefore, I am grateful that the Bronxville Board of Education is now diligently evaluating alternative field space options. As they deliberate, I respectfully urge them to limit the options to those that could potentially help all our students without causing harm to any of them. 

Julia A. Golier, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Bronxville, NY
November 6, 2013

Editor's Note: MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in letters to the editor, and the opinions do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. Its objective in publishing letters to the editor is to give air to diverse thoughts and opinions of residents in the community.

 
Letter to the Editor -- Carol Holley on Chambers Field Stadium Lights PDF Print Email



To the Editor:

I firmly believe that our board of education must have unassailably strong reasons to even consider justifying radically changing the character of the village by placing permanent lighting on Chambers Field. 

These reasons need to be compelling and accepted by the full community. As it stands today, they are not. So let's get this proposal off of the table, as it has been a divisive issue within our small community.

While I believe that the burdens of such lighting seem obvious (irrevocable marring of village landscape; pollution in the form of traffic, light, and noise; as well as harm to the value of homes surrounding Chambers Field), the justification presented by light advocates for a need for significantly greater field time is just not that compelling.

Indeed, attendees at board of education meetings often hear the much-repeated statistic that since 2002 player participation in Bronxville athletics has increased by 54.3% (Field Usage Report presented in September 2013).  This increase in participation, the argument goes, has forced hardships on our student-athletes, such as sharing the turf field with other school teams and starting games earlier than is commonly accepted to compete in daylight.

But why measure the growth in field sports participation from 2002?  I would submit that 2005-2006 is a better starting point for analyzing this need. 

Village residents generously donated over $1.5 million to install artificial turf on Chambers Field in 2005-2006 (largely based on much of the same justification offered for installing lights today) with the understanding that student participation rates in athletics would grow.

In WBA Group's 2005 report presented to the board of education advocating for the turf installation, it was noted that a new turf field would support "nearly 4x the capacity of a well maintained natural turf field." The report further projected that in "2005-2006, student field sports participation would range from 326 to 346 depending on the season (on average 336 students)."  Thus, if we assume the realization of the projection in 2005-2006, the growth in student participation in field sports has risen 23.5%, from 336 to 415 over a period of eight years, or about 3% annually since 2005.

This 3% annual field-sport-participation growth rate since 2005-2006 should be easily absorbed in a facility that was built to provide a 400% increase in capacity, but advocates for the lights insist that it is not enough. This is troubling to me for two reasons.

First, this discrepancy does not appear to point to a capacity issue, but rather suggests a field management issue. Second, even if the proposed lighting scheme were in place, what assurances are there that this would be enough to solve for the perceived need? If a 400% increase in capacity is not enough, then what is there to suggest that the addition of nighttime hours would sufficiently suffice? 

Knowing that field space is always an issue for most schools that offer multiple field sports, one can easily foresee this perceived need for more playtime as a future excuse for expanding the lighted hours to 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm or spending additional dollars on other endeavors such as renovating and "turfing" other fields. 

Whether the professed need for more playtime is real or perceived, a better effort by the school, the board, and the village should be required before we blindly apply remedies to symptoms rather than assess the true problem. The approach thus far has unnecessarily and clumsily divided our community. Due diligence should be required before we even consider feasibility.       

To be clear, participation in athletics by our students is a good thing. Indeed, we--the village--created conditions to allow the growth in participation since 2005. However, I have seen no effort, analysis, or basis that would lead me to accept the inevitable consequences that permanent lighting would bring as an acceptable price to pay for more time at extracurricular activities.

Our school sports teams are currently competitive with the facilities the village offers, which I would submit is better than most. Addressing the "issue" of more playtime by materially and adversely affecting the character of our village and the quality of the lives of those who live in this area is simply not the right thing to do. The board of education can do all of us a service and put an end to this matter by taking the permanent-lighting option off of the table. 

Carol Holley
Bronxville, NY
November 10, 2013

Editor's Note: MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in letters to the editor, and the opinions do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. Its objective in publishing letters to the editor is to give air to diverse thoughts and opinions of residents in the community.   

 
Letter to the Editor: Dave Ruby on Litter on School Athletic Field PDF Print Email

 



To the Editor:

While using the track on Saturday at 1:00 pm, I observed a significant litter of empty Gatorade bottles around the benches.

I realize that, except for the security guard, the school has limited control over the field.  But it does require the school staff to clean up an unnecessary mess.

Any guest using a recreational facility should respect the "you carry it in, you carry it out" rule.

I can't say if this litter was from the youth league or school practice.  Nevertheless, it speaks poorly to the values of some team's coaches and players.

Dave Ruby
Bronxville, New York 10708
Nov. 2, 2013


Editor's Note: MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in letters to the editor, and the opinions do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. Its objective in publishing letters to the editor is to give air to diverse thoughts and opinions of residents in the community.

 
Letter to the Editor: Dan Schultz on Supervisor Tony Colavita PDF Print Email

To the Editor: 

My wife and I moved to Eastchester in 1999 to raise our family because we were impressed by all the town had to offer, including its great school system. I am glad to see the level of cooperation and support of our schools by Supervisor Tony Colavita and his administration.

During his tenure he called for the first-ever joint public meeting of the Eastchester School Board and the town board to solve the traffic and parking issues around the high school and middle school area. The town expanded the middle school lot, closed the dangerous driveway from the lot to White Plains Road, and added more spaces on some streets surrounding the school.

He supported the Communities That Care Program and has vowed to continue the police department's "DARE" program despite budget pressures. He always personally appears at school board meetings to recognize the efforts of the school board during school board recognition week. He never misses a graduation and has been very supportive of our Eastchester Eagles Sports Club.

Both the town and school have worked together through Supervisor Colavita's Sports Council to best utilize each other's playing fields. The town stepped right up when the high school's turf field was deemed no longer playable and made sure our kids would continue to play home games at Haindl Field.

The ripple effect of the loss of one field is immense and the town recreation department and Colavita are doing their best to work with Jason Karol, the Eastchester High School athletic director, to re-shuffle all of the team schedules to accommodate everyone as best as possible.

I am supporting Tony Colavita on Election Day as Town Supervisor of Eastchester.

Keep up the good work!

Dan Schultz
Eastchester, NY
November 1, 2013

Editor's Note: MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in letters to the editor, and the opinions do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. Its objective in publishing letters to the editor is to give air to diverse thoughts and opinions of residents in the community.

 
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