Mamaroneck Review to roll out new website

 

mam-constructionThe website for The Mamaroneck Review is currently under construction and a new website is in the process of being created to provide viewers with an enhanced digital version of our newspaper. This new website has been in the works for more than a month already and is set to launch, under the same domain name, in the coming weeks. The new mamaroneckreview.com promises to offer a fresh look, improved functionality and a uniqueness that has long been missing from our online presence. Speaking on behalf of the company,  we’re excited to put the old, archaic site to bed in favor of launching something new, fresh and worthy of complementing our traditional print product.

All you have to do is stay tuned.

-Christian Falcone, editor-in-chief

Rye councilwoman preps for state Senate run

Rye councilwoman preps City of Rye Councilwoman Julie Killian, a Republican, plans on launching a campaign for state Senate. Killian will try to upend popular Democrat George Latimer. Both candidates live in the city of Rye. File photofor state Senate run

City of Rye Councilwoman Julie Killian, a Republican, plans on launching a campaign for state Senate. Killian will try to upend popular Democrat George Latimer. Both candidates live in the city of Rye. File photo

By CHRISTIAN FALCONE
Julie Killian, a city of Rye councilwoman, will try to do what no other Republican has been able to: beat George
Latimer.

Killian announced that she pl-
ans to seek the New York state Senate seat for the 37th District currently occupied by Latimer, a Democrat, at a Rye City Republican Committee meeting last month, the Review has learned. She is in her first full term on the Rye City Council and earlier this year was appointed deputy mayor. Killian, a mother of five, first joined the council in 2012 after being appointed to the seat following a vacancy.

Tony Sayegh, a political analyst for Fox News and News12 Westchester, said the 37th District, which stretches from the city of Yonkers north to the town of Bedford, is one of the Senate’s very few true swing districts in the state, meaning that either political party could wrestle control in a given election cycle. “It really requires somebody who is independent in some respects,” he said, adding that it’s also a very diverse district.

Sayegh, also a Republican strategist, has already been retained by the Killian camp as she prepares to officially launch her candidacy with an announcement expected on Friday, after press time. According to Sayegh, she has been listening to people’s issues and gaining a better understanding of the district.

“Julie is trying to understand all of the concerns and slowly we’ll be rolling out some of the solutions to those problems,” said Sayegh, adding that as far as a platform, it’s still too early for Killian to start talking specifics.

But the analyst said, based on her record of service, Killian is viewed as a problem solver. “She knows how to build consensus, she’s worked across the aisle [and] she has been a thoughtful leader in the realm of public policy,” he said.

Killian, 54, has been a member of the Westchester County Charter Revision Commission, a group established to recommend changes to the county charter, as well as New Yorkers for Growth, a PAC that promotes fiscally responsible policies in the state.

In Rye, she has served on the city Finance Committee, been a volunteer in the Rye school district, and a supporter of the Rye library, Rye Historical Society and Rye Arts Center. Her latest project was helping to launch an anti-drug coalition in Rye in 2015.

“Julie is a positive person, that is one thing that overwhelms you when you talk to her,” Sayegh said. “I imagine she will stand up for issues she believes are right and also draw a contrast where there is a difference of opinion.”

Conversely, Sayegh criticized Latimer by calling his record of bipartisanship hollow, adding that he has voted with the Democratic leadership more than 98 percent of the time. “He has aligned himself with the Bill DiBlasio New York City agenda,” he said, referring to the liberal mayor of New York City.

For Latimer, 62, the criticism is nothing new, as he seems to always be the target of state Republicans, who want to maintain control of the Senate. The senator told the Review that he has a bull’s-eye on his back.

“It’s because I don’t have personal wealth,” he said. “I have lived within my means. Given the fact that my salary as an elected official is all the income I have, that is not a lot of money in a place like Rye. It’s probably laughable to people [with] successful business careers. [Republicans] know they can always outspend me.”

But Latimer, who is seeking his third term in the Senate, said there is a reason why he has been consistently re-elected.

“I don’t think anyone has proven they care more about the people they represent than I do, day after day,” he said.

Latimer has never lost an election, winning 14 consecutive races dating back to his one term on the Rye City Council in 1987.

Killian’s campaign is likely to be well-financed with a high level of organization and full of support from some of the top Republicans throughout the state.

However, the last time the GOP put an all-out assault on Latimer, it backfired.

In 2012, with Latimer seeking the Senate seat following the retirement of longtime Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, a Democrat, the state Republicans ran Bob Cohen, who nearly defeated Oppenheimer just two years prior.

Many pundits predicted 2012 was Cohen’s time.

Cohen and Latimer battled it out before a statewide audience. The duo set the record for campaign expenditures in a state race at the time; the Cohen campaign spent more than $4 million on attack ads, including radio spots and TV commercials. But Latimer won the seat in surprisingly easy fashion, with 54 percent of the vote, and celebrated his hardest fought victory to date.

In 2014, Latimer defeated Republican Joe Dillon, a late entry who didn’t launch his campaign until July.

The district encompasses the cities of Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle and Rye; and the towns of Eastchester, Harrison, Mamaroneck, Rye, Bedford and North Castle.

Candidates are elected to the Senate for two-year terms with an annual base salary of $79,500.

Killian could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: chris@hometwn.com

 

Senegal puts Mamaroneck High School on the map

Mamaroneck High School sophomores Colin Lavin, left, and Tim Sommer, far right, pose for a selfie with a trio of Cem Lambaye students. Just 30 students can be accommodated on the trip to Senegal. Photos courtesy Jamie Schiff

Mamaroneck High School sophomores Colin Lavin, left, and Tim Sommer, far right, pose for a selfie with a trio of Cem Lambaye students. Just 30 students can be accommodated on the trip to Senegal. Photos courtesy Jamie Schiff

By SARAH VARNEY
A few members of the Students for Senegal Club at Mamaroneck High School used to think that lions ran wild in the streets of the West African country of Senegal, but now that the organization has been around for four years, they know better. In this country, too, dangerous wild animals are kept in nature preserves far from populated areas.

While the distance between Senegal and Mamaroneck is about 4,000 miles, the gap has been bridged by AP Chemistry teacher Amary Sek, a Senegalese native who left his country 40 years ago.

Sek, who spearheads the high school club and its 24 members, recently traveled to the country over the winter holiday break to deliver books and other goodies. The club makes the trip to the village of Lambaye every two years, Sek, who grew up poor in the village, said.

Students for Senegal started out as a small club in 2009, and is now a separate nonprofit organization that strives to foster cross-cultural exchange and extend the gift of education to the people of Senegal, according to its website. Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $75,000 and has sent more than 30 preschoolers to school in Lambaye. The organization has also expanded chapters to Hommocks and Fieldston middle schools.

Students for Senegal evolved from the childhood stories Sek used to tell his students after school. Although Sek left Senegal years ago, his memories of growing up are fresh.

“I would tell [students] stories about how I grew up, how things were in my village,” he said. “More and more students would come and listen, and then one day a student came up with the idea to have a formal club.”

Since its inception, the club has undertaken numerous fundraisers and charity drives and has raised a total of $100,000 toward its goal of building a Learning Center for Lambaye. The Learning Center will have a women’s center, a preschool and a meeting room. The students organize all the fundraisers themselves, Sek said. Once a year, they hold a gala event as their biggest fundraiser.

Sophie Miller, an 11th-grade member of Students for Senegal, hangs out with a group of middle schoolers in Lambaye. Group members say they feel like rock stars when they arrive at the village.

Sophie Miller, an 11th-grade member of Students for Senegal, hangs out with a group of middle schoolers in Lambaye. Group members say they feel like rock stars when they arrive at the village.

Lambaye currently has a population of nearly 13,000, but Sek said economic conditions are not so different from the way they were when he was growing up there, and that the area is still quite poor.

Senegal is a country about the size of South Dakota, sandwiched between Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Mali, with a population of 13 million. A secular Muslim country, 52 percent of the population is under 19 years old, according to a 2013 census.

While the value of an education is understood in more populated areas of Senegal, such as Dakar, the capital city, the message has been slower to trickle down to more rural areas like Lambaye, Sek said.

It is common for fathers to take one or more of his children away from a home village to the city to become street vendors. “There is an exodus of many of the men,” Sek added. “They are leaving their wives and kids behind and often they are not given support.”

Like many African countries, the culture is warmly receptive to visitors. “They are honored when someone comes to visit. They make lots of food; there is dancing. It is a very big deal,” Sek said.

Jamie Schiff, a senior member of Students for Senegal, bears out Sek. “Their [Senegalese hosts’] welcoming attitude and the way in which they received us was like nothing we’d ever experienced before,” she said.

Students for Senegal has donated thousands of books in both English and French, Senegal’s official language, and have founded a small library at the school.

The Students for Senegal Club gathers beneath its logo. The club at Mamaroneck High School currently has about 40 members. Photo/Sarah Varney

The Students for Senegal Club gathers beneath its logo. The club at Mamaroneck High School currently has about 40 members. Photo/Sarah Varney

One of Sek’s stories fostered “Smiles for Senegal,” a 2015 drive that collected hundreds of toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste for their peer students in Lambaye. When Sek mentioned using a stick as dental floss, the Students for Senegal Club discussed how to promote dental health in the country.

Since the club’s involvement with the students at Cem Lambaye, the passing rate for students taking the critical exam that enables them to move on to high school has increased from 30 percent to 70 percent.

Mamaroneck High School students in the Students for Senegal Club benefit from their involvement as well. “You can see your efforts pay off firsthand,” junior Molly Nodiff said.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

 

Income inequality hits Mamaroneck schools hard

 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Annie Ward, right, begins her presentation entitled “Systems Challenge Update” with a mention of Eric Jensen’s 2009 book “Teaching With Poverty in Mind,” which emphasizes enrichment instead of just remediation for low-income students. Photo/Sarah Varney

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Annie Ward, right, begins her presentation entitled “Systems Challenge Update” with a mention of Eric Jensen’s 2009 book “Teaching With Poverty in Mind,” which emphasizes enrichment instead of just remediation for low-income students. Photo/Sarah Varney

By SARAH VARNEY
A mid-year report delivered at the Feb. 23 Mamaroneck Board of Education meeting revealed that a new approach instituted in September 2015 aimed at raising grades and test scores for the district’s approximately 900 students living in poverty is showing some signs of progress, particularly with the Hommocks Middle School’s Opportunity Plus group.

The problem of closing the increasing gap between a growing population of low-income students and the downward trend in their test scores and grades is a complex one that has plagued educators for decades, Mamaroneck’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Annie Ward said. “We have families with $10 million houses on the sound, but we also have several hundred homeless students,” she said.

The rate at which children from wealthier backgrounds succeed and their level of success academically forms a gap between them and the increasing number of low-income students who are not succeeding and in fact are doing worse in the classroom, Ward added.

New technology enables administrators to sift through student data on a more granular level so it’s easier to find the kids who need help and makes it easier to track and project academic performance.

Since September, the district has strategized with administrators and teachers to use very specific helping methods with individual students. “Enrichment” instead of “remediation” is the new focus.

The theory is that low-income students who gain confidence and feel comfortable in the school community can ultimately do well in classes, Ward added.

At each of the district’s four elementary schools and the middle school, there are small groups of smart, low-income students chosen for this kind of attention.

That attention takes many forms and has led teachers to find unexpected barriers for low-income students. For example, a trip to the Mamaroneck Public Library revealed that many of the low-income students’ library cards had been frozen from overdue fines or missing books. “That was something that we didn’t even know happened,” Ward said. Teachers worked with library personnel to fix the problem.

Other teachers have found that lack of Internet access at home and even finding time to do homework in the face of family responsibilities can impede academic success.

In one instance, a child at Mamaroneck Avenue School acted up right before recess after the only snow storm of the season. “He had never played in snow before and he knew he wouldn’t be allowed outside without the proper clothing,” Mamaroneck Avenue School Principal Carrie Amon said.

School staff were able to find snow pants and boots and the child was allowed outside.

Amon also recounted a Sunday trip to Fordham University with some of her low-income fourth- and fifth-graders, led by administrators and teachers. The children, who were part of the Mamaroneck Avenue School Amazings group, watched a basketball game, met the Fordham players and toured the locker room along with the campus.

“We’re trying to give them the opportunity to experience things that they might not usually be able to,” Amon said.

At Hommocks Middle School, Assistant Principal Rob Andrews oversees a group of 32 low-income students encouraged to join on the basis of their grit, leadership potential and intelligence. Using enrichment activities such as trips to local colleges and exclusive study and tutoring sessions, some students in the group raised their grades in core subjects by as many as 15 points. In addition, 24 of the 32 students in the Opportunity Plus program have perfect attendance records.

“Our early data is indicating progress,” Andrews said.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

Traffic commission hopes to see bike lanes

The Larchmont Traffic Commission is proposing to implement bike lanes within the village, a plan that has been in the works for several years. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

The Larchmont Traffic Commission is proposing to implement bike lanes within the village, a plan that has been in the works for several years. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

If approved, Larchmont could launch a pilot program to implement bike lanes in the village, beginning with one extending from Palmer Avenue to Magnolia Avenue.

If approved, Larchmont could launch a pilot program to implement bike lanes in the village, beginning with one extending from Palmer Avenue to Magnolia Avenue.

By KILEY STEVENS
The Larchmont Traffic Commission has a presentation and proposal ready for the village Board of Trustees to create bike lanes in the village, that, if approved, could begin with a pilot program from Palmer Avenue to Magnolia Avenue.

According to Traffic Commission Co-Chair Carol Miller, the idea was formed in either 2007 or 2008, and the commission started working with the Rye YMCA to come up with ideas on how to incorporate bike lanes into the wide village streets. After the project was tabled for a while, Carolyn Lee, a resident of Larchmont and chairwoman of the Recreation Committee, approached the mayor about it to pick up where the Traffic Commission left off. They were able to dig up a report that the Rye YMCA completed with the help of New York University Wagner, the graduate school for public service.

The report was a study researching the “Complete Streets” strategy, which according to the study’s findings means, “to implement policy measure and design features that make streets safe and accessible for all users, regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation.”

In this study, which included the city of Rye, the town of Mamaroneck and the villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck, the NYU Wagner team describes types of bike lanes, including sharrows—painted markings on the roadway, indicating that the road is a shared space for both motorists and recreational users—dedicated bike lanes—space for bicyclists along roadways, at least 5 feet in width and in the same direction as prevailing traffic—and two-way bike lanes—the same as a dedicated  bike lane, but doubled in width, allowing for two directions of bike traffic.

The study recommends two different sections of roadway in the village of Larchmont, the first for Chatsworth Avenue (from Palmer Avenue south to Boston Post Road) suggests dedicated bike lanes on both sides of the road, as well as sharrows used in areas where the avenue has four vehicle lanes. The study suggests dedicated bike lanes because Chatsworth Avenue is 54 feet wide—the streets were designed for a trolley system in the late 1800s and early 1900s—allowing for the 5-foot wide requirement to be met.

For Larchmont Avenue (from Palmer Avenue south to Magnolia Avenue), the study suggests a two-way bike lane, a dedicated bike lane and sharrows, or a single, southbound dedicated bike lane.

Lee, who told the Review that she is an avid biker, feels strongly that residents should be biking and walking more.

“My kids bike to school or walk to school every day, and they’re not the norm,” she said.

Lee, however, realizes that many parents make the choice to drive their children places simply for safety reasons. “The design [of the roads] is not welcoming,” she said. “It doesn’t make you want to hop on your bike.”

The implementation of these lanes would be fairly simple, according to Miller.

“It requires some careful measuring and painting, and possibly labeling,” she said, adding that it would be cost-effective. “There’s no construction, nothing has to be widened, and no traffic patterns have to change.”

Miller added that she hopes to see the issue on the agenda for a village board meeting soon. She requested that it be added to an agenda last November, and it was scheduled for a meeting in January but was pushed back. Larchmont Mayor Anne McAndrews, a Democrat, said she is not yet ready to comment on the proposal, but is excited to see the commission’s presentation at an upcoming board meeting.

CONTACT: kiley@hometwn.com

 

Walkways being discussed for Mamaroneck Ave.

 

According to village officials, the installation of walkways would improve the convenience of parking lots and give residents and visitors an alternative to parking directly on Mamaroneck Avenue. File photo

According to village officials, the installation of walkways would improve the convenience of parking lots and give residents and visitors an alternative to parking directly on Mamaroneck Avenue. File photo

By KILEY STEVENS
In attempt to incentivize commerce and increase pedestrian safety, the village of Mamaroneck is considering installing walkways between Mamaroneck Avenue and public parking lots in the adjoining business district.

The idea of creating pedestrian walkways in the village’s business district spawned out of discussions within the planning department. In a recommendation to the village Board of Trustees, the department outlined many reasons to increase the number of walkways in the village, highlighting sustaining businesses on the avenue and pedestrian safety as the two major factors. In addition, the department believes the creation of walkways would improve the convenience of rear parking lots and give visitors and residents an alternative to parking directly on Mamaroneck Avenue, which, at times, suffers from limited parking due to lack of turnover.

Ray Schramm, owner of Northeast Oyster Co., located at 152 Mamaroneck Ave., said he has realized that parking is a much bigger issue than he thought.

“Anything that is going to help with parking, I’m all for,” Schramm said.

Currently, there are only two walkways connecting parking lots behind businesses on the avenue—one near CVS and the walkway that connects the parking lot under the Emelin Theatre, located on Library Lane, to Mamaroneck Avenue.

Assistant Village Planner Gregory Cutler said the planning department is recommending implementing an amendment to the zoning laws that will encourage storeowners and developers to create open-air walkways by granting them extra space to build to make up for space lost by the creation of a walkway.

Because building space is limited in the central business district, without an incentive, there is little leverage to encourage development of walkways that will take away from the overall density of a business’ building, according to Cutler.

Saidur Dawn, owner of Café Mozart, located at 308 Mamaroneck Ave., said if the village doesn’t find a solution to the parking problem soon, people will stop frequenting the avenue.

“If they make a walkway between the parking spaces and the avenue it would be a good thing to do,” he said.

In an effort to make up for potential building space lost by creating walkways, the planning department has suggested that applicants be granted a 10 percent building bonus, as long as it complies with a list of guidelines as determined by the village Planning Board. However, when the proposal was brought to a work session in June 2015, the Board of Trustees expressed concerns about how the building bonus would be calculated.

A memo from Cutler to Village Manager Richard Slingerland stated that the Board of Trustees believed the criteria for the calculation was not fair. But after a recent village board work session, village trustees asked the planning department to draft a code for these guidelines so that the board may move forward in putting this incentive in motion.

CONTACT: kiley@hometwn.com

 

Cuomo vetoes hotel tax, upsets local officials

 

The Mamaroneck Motel is one of two motels in the village that would have been affected by a hotel occupancy tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have imposed the 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on patrons in some Westchester municipalities.  Photo courtesy Mamaroneckmotel.com.

The Mamaroneck Motel is one of two motels in the village that would have been affected by a hotel occupancy tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have imposed the 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on patrons in some Westchester municipalities.
Photo courtesy Mamaroneckmotel.com.

 

By ANGELA JORDAN
After finally passing through the New York State Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Dec. 28, vetoed a bill that would have imposed a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on motel patrons
in Mamaroneck.

Cuomo also vetoed requests for a hotel occupancy tax, also known as a “bed tax,” from other Westchester towns and villages including North Castle, Tuckahoe, Greenburgh, Harrison and Port Chester.

In his veto message, Cuomo said that the state Legislature has only advanced hotel occupancy tax bills like this for counties and cities so far, with the village of Rye Brook being a special circumstance in 2011.

“If there is to be policy change on this issue, it should be done pursuant to a comprehensive and determinate statewide policy as advanced by the Legislature,” wrote Cuomo in his veto message. “If the Legislature sets such a policy, I will commit to reconsidering this issue.”

This decision has upset elected officials from both parties, at both the state and local levels.hotel-glance

“This bill has bipartisan support,” said New York state Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat. “[The veto] is hard to justify.”

The village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, expressed displeasure with the veto, but said that the lack of a bed tax is not a “dire” loss to the village, which has only two motels.

“I find it very disappointing,” Rosenblum said. “They continually lower the tax cap which is a continuous pressure on
local municipalities.”

Ultimately, Rosenblum said, this gap in revenue negatively affects  property owners the most.

According to Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland, the potential revenue lost by missing out on the tax is between approximately $34,000 and $35,000. He also noted, however, that with rising costs and stricter tax caps, “every little bit helps” during municipal budget seasons.

“We’re trying to do a lot of things with the annual budget,” he said. “We’re reviewing all other revenue sources, such as village fees.”

This bill, in conjunction with the other local hotel occupancy bills that were vetoed, was strongly opposed by members of  the Westchester Hotel Association. Dan Conte, the president of the trade group and manager of the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, penned a letter to Cuomo on Dec. 16 urging the governor not to pass the bill.

Conte wrote that hotels in Westchester County already face a 3 percent Room Occupancy Tax from the county, in addition to state and county sales taxes. He said that by allowing these bills to pass in Westchester, the total tax on hotel rooms would increase from 11 percent to 14 percent.

“Our business relies heavily on annual bookings of large blocks of rooms by the businesses whose corporate travel planners could easily shift their hotel choices to adjacent markets in northern New Jersey and Fairfield County, Conn.,” he wrote in the letter. “All would be hurt as well as the local economy which benefits from the visitors they attract.”

Conversely, state Assemblyman Steve Otis, a Rye Democrat, said that in other Westchester municipalities, such as the cities of Rye, New Rochelle, White Plains, Peekskill and Yonkers, and the village of Rye Brook, bed taxes have been quite useful for local governments.

“Hotel taxes are [a] uniquely valuable alternative to the property tax, as they are primarily obtained by visitors rather than local residents,” Otis said. “Rye Brook, for example, has used all of that money each year to help fund their capital projects budget. Generally, municipalities pay for that by additional debt or raising taxes.”

Latimer agreed that this particular tax would have been best for the communities asking for them. “Every time the word ‘tax’ comes up, it’s a ‘bad word’; but in this case it would have alleviated the tax burden on locals,” he said.

Conte could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: angela@hometwn.com

 

Black team earns stripes

 

Harrison Fried takes a shot against Mount Pleasant on Jan. 2. Fried is one of the captains of Mamaroneck’s second varsity team.

Harrison Fried takes a shot against Mount Pleasant on Jan. 2. Fried is one of the captains of Mamaroneck’s second varsity team.

Harrison Fried bodies an Ice Cats defender at Hommocks.

Harrison Fried bodies an Ice Cats defender at Hommocks.

Tommy Conley starts the rush against Mount Pleasant. Photos/Mike Smith

Tommy Conley starts the rush against Mount Pleasant. Photos/Mike Smith

Matt Croly looks for an open teammate on Jan. 2.

Matt Croly looks for an open teammate on Jan. 2.

By MIKE SMITH
On Jan. 2, Mount Pleasant topped the Mamaroneck Black team 9-4 at the Hommock’s Ice Arena, but for the Tigers’ second varsity team, the loss was just another learning experience for a promising young group. As the Tigers continue to make strides on the ice, they are turning into a very serious contender within Section I.

Mamaroneck stayed tight with the Ice Cats—6-1 thus far this season—through the first period and a half, carrying a 3-3 tie into the second period before Mount Pleasant was able to pull away for a five-goal win. Sophomore Colin Lavan had a goal and two assists in the loss.

Thus far, the Mamaroneck Black squad, which is comprised mainly of sophomores and freshmen, has shown the ability to hang with some of the top teams in the section, including the Ice Cats, despite a marked lack of veterans.

Mamaroneck’s ranks have swelled this year, leading to the creation of a second varsity team, but Mike Chiapparelli Jr., who heads the Black team, said that through the first 10 games of the season, his skaters are showing that they’re more than just a junior varsity squad.

“We are playing against teams with a lot of senior leadership,” Chiapparelli said. “The biggest thing for us is coming in and not thinking of ourselves as a ‘B’ team.”

Chiapparelli, whose father is the longtime coach of Mamaroneck’s more established varsity team, which is currently 10-0, has been pleased with the play of his young squad, which has acquitted itself well on the varsity level this year, compiling a 3-5-2 record to start the season. With 32 players on the roster, none of whom came into the season with previous varsity experience, the Mamaroneck Black team has had to learn on the fly as they adjust to the speed of the game. Two of the team’s losses have come to top 10 clubs, the other being a Dec. 21 loss to 10-1 Rye Town/Harrison.

“Our defense is very deep, we can roll out about eight or nine players who do a great job,” Chiapparelli said. “We are just having trouble with missed opportunities on offense, which comes from not having a lot of varsity experience yet.”

Chiapparelli Jr. and the Tigers are looking to push ahead in 2016 and get back to .500. According to the head coach, that will only happen if the team finds a way to start quicker.

“The first period has been our biggest problem,” he said. “But we’re bouncing some ideas around to figure out how to change that.”

The Tigers will be back in action on Jan. 8, when they host Rye Town/Harrison in a much-anticipated rematch. A win over the Titans, who are coming off a 13-0 rout over Rivertown, could be the signature victory the young squad has been looking for.

“We tested them at their place,” Chiapparelli said. “So we’re definitely motivated to come out and play them again.”

CONTACT: sports@hometwn.com

 

Column: Misery loves company

On Jan. 3, Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills dashed the Jets’ playoff hopes with a 22-17 win over Gang Green. For a Giants fan like Sports Editor Mike Smith, the Jets’ loss was a bright spot in an otherwise terrible NFL season. Photos courtesy Wikipedia.com

On Jan. 3, Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills dashed the Jets’ playoff hopes with a 22-17 win over Gang Green. For a Giants fan like Sports Editor Mike Smith, the Jets’ loss was a bright spot in an otherwise terrible NFL season. Photos courtesy Wikipedia.com

I swear that I’m not a spiteful person, but when it comes to sports, it seems like a healthy dose of “schadenfreude” is sometimes unavoidable.

Last Sunday, while watching my New York Giants put the finishing touches on a dreadful 6-10 season—and Tom Coughlin’s coaching career—the only thing that gave me any sort of comfort was seeing the Jets’ season come to an equally disastrous end.

I know. I’m a bad person.

The truth is, even for a Giants fan, this wasn’t a hard Jets team to root for. After jettisoning swagger-y blowhard Rex Ryan in the offseason, Gang Green was under new management in the form of Todd Bowles, a coach cut from the same cloth as the no-nonsense Coughlin. They played hard-nosed defense, had the franchise’s most explosive offense in more than a decade and had a likeable—if not imperfect—signal caller under center in Ryan Fitzpatrick. What’s not to like?

But jealousy is a strange emotion. I came into Week 17 with every intention of rooting for the Jets to beat the Bills—now helmed by Ryan—and clinch a playoff spot. But as the two 1 p.m. games unfolded, I found myself almost subconsciously cheering each Buffalo third-down conversion, delighting in the growing despair of the Jets fans around me.

I guess part of it is the residual resentment built up from the Rex Ryan regime. I never had strong feelings one way or the other about the franchise before Rex took over, but his tenure was marked by the kind of bravado and boastfulness that doesn’t engender a lot of goodwill from opposing fan bases.

But mostly, it had to do with the Giants’ failures. If I had to watch my team blow chance after chance and miss yet another postseason, why should anyone else—let alone people I have to see every day—have the right to be happy?

Am I being juvenile? You bet. But at least I’m not alone.

Throughout the course of the game, I was communicating with some friends in a group chat, the majority of whom were Giants or Eagles fans, and had no real stakes in the Bills-Jets game. Only my friend Mike, a season ticket-holder for years, swears allegiance to New York’s other team. But as Fitzpatrick’s interceptions doomed the Jets, you would have thought the rest of us were members of the so-called “Bills Mafia.”

Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin lost his job after another bad season for Big Blue. For Sports Editor Mike Smith, the only silver lining is that the Jets aren’t in the playoffs either.

Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin lost his job after another bad season for Big Blue. For Sports Editor Mike Smith, the only silver lining is that the Jets aren’t in the playoffs either.

GIFS of plane crashes, butt-fumbles and jubilant Rex Ryan celebrations flooded the chain, as we did our best to pile on to our buddy’s already crummy day.

I may not be proud of myself, but if I can’t be proud of the Giants, watching someone else suffer might just be the next best thing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Tyrod Taylor jersey to order.

 

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Column: Hopes for 2016

New Year’s resolutions are fine for matters within our own power to control such as what we do to others and to ourselves. But for what is beyond our reach we can only hope and pray for, according to our beliefs. Here are some yearnings that fall now into the category of mere hopes.

I hope that in 2016, we Americans will gain a president-elect with the brains and stamina for this hugely demanding responsibility. Considering the broad range of our present and foreseeable problems, the person we need may not seem to be able to beat the present in our sight. But candidates can sometimes rise above their prospects.

I hope that our organs of government will function successfully in 2016, bringing about lawful and practical solutions that have been thoroughly discussed among the interested parties.

I hope that age-old religious schisms and hatred of other humans, regardless of race, color, creed or beliefs may be defeated by love and kindness and, if that fails, by either a national or international criminal court where the eyes of world might be “the jury of their peers.”

I hope to see a new Rye City Council that swears off the sloppy habit of holding private meetings to discuss the public’s business. Even in the infrequent situations where allowed by state law, private meetings are a blot on our civic reputation.

And I also hope to see a City Council where differences of opinion are welcomed and aired in a spirit of respectful debate, rather than being shunned as some sort of juvenile behavior. Let friendly smiles and good will prevail in City Hall.

And I hope to see continued support for architectural and environmental preservation in our city of Rye and that the only rock-splitting sounds that we hear this year will come from the traditional suburban “garage band” of a guitar, bass and drums and not from any destructive earth-shattering chipping machine.

And I hope to see all members of our community, Republicans and Democrats, white collar and blue collar professionals, women and men, young and old, continue to volunteer their time and expertise on our many boards and committees, our firefighting companies, nonprofit organizations and houses of worship in order to preserve the unique character of this place that we call home.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net