2022 TUFSD Budget Vote and Board of Educaltion Election (Updated 5/15/22)
The 2022 School Board election and budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 17. This year, five candidates are vying for three open spots on the Board of Education: incumbents Dan Castricone and Lucy Scully as well as Kimberly Breiland, Salvatore Saetta and Heather Kidde.
The make-up of the school board is extremely important as it has a direct impact on the future of the School District as well as every one’s taxes. In addition to the annual budget, the Board of education is responisble for developing and adopting the policies and curriculum that drive the District as well as providing oversight of any facility-based issues. Therefore, understanding these candidates, their areas of expertise and their levels of experience is crucial in making an informed decision.
In an effort to inform the community, TPFYI presented each candidate with a basic questionnaire, designed to focus on their biographical information as well as their levels of experience and reasons for running. What follows are the resposes received, unedited and in the order that we received them.
Kimberly Breiland Name: Kimberly Breiland Education/Degrees: Pratt Institute/BFA Vocation/Employer: Creative Director/22 Graphics Years of residency in Tuxedo: 6 years Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
• St. Mary’s Church: Sit on the Vestry, created logo, help with Sunday School
• Tuxedo Garden Club: Have volunteered for events
• Tuxedo UFSD: Created logo for school district, designed billboard art, designed ads and flyers for the school, and led an acting “after-school” class for the high school students
• Tuxedo Community Activity Council: Volunteered to help with events
• Tuxedo Trail Committee: Created trail map
• Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce: Created business map for train station kiosk
• Tuxedo Recreation Department: Created graphics for Tshirts provided at events Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I ran for this seat last year. I have just reviewed my response from one year ago and I stated:
“?The District is turning the corner with the introduction of a COVID Response Summer Program, Facility Improvements, Curriculum + Library + Textbook + Software Upgrades, a Transportation Program that reduces costs, and most importantly a more Transparent Accounting System. I have been a part of all this. And I would like to continue to work hard to ensure our District remains on a forward path.”
It is obvious that the path that was set was not taken this year.
• Monroe Woodbury is having a Summer Bridge program to help their students, our district is not.
• Our facilities are finally getting work done because of emergency situations.
• Curriculum is lacking and an overabundance of study halls is unacceptable.
• Budget is not looking to be in good health.
If I am elected my focus will be on Academics, Arithmetic, and Accountability. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
• Academics need to be enhanced in the lower school and upper school
• Eyes on the budget must be a monthly task
I have been keeping track of Board meetings and actions this past year. If you want to learn more on what has been happening within our district visit KBfortheBOE.com
Salvatore L Saetta Name: Salvatore L Saetta Education/Degrees: Advanced BA Vocation/Employer: Portfolio Manager / Wells Fargo Financial Network Years of residency in Tuxedo: 2.5 Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo: N/A Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
Our town has a unique opportunity to attract new families while preserving and growing our property values. Neither of these goals can happen without a strong school system. I’ve seen internal conflicts appear between BOE members, lack of accountability and no measurable goals or improvements for our kids and our property owners. We’re looking at tax increases for this year and have nothing to show for it. Buildings need repairs and enhancements, so where and how were our tax dollars spent? We as residents should be tired of the lack of leadership and having no way of holding the leaders accountable for the headwinds our school faces. Our children are not getting the school social life that is so cherished for high school aged children and they are not being shown how to compete properly once out of school. Living in the NY metro area is one of the most competitive areas in the world and the competition is both relentless and on an international scale. It starts with our schools to get our youth ready. The years of revolving staff, absent leadership have led to a culture of getting nothing accomplished with no action on holding them accountable. This should matter to all of us, as Tuxedo has some of the oldest demographics in the state and cannot attract the young families we need. Our property values should be far more stable and higher to be in line with our immediate surrounding areas and they cannot get there due to the schools. The schools need to be addressed and they should have been addressed in a concise and organized manner years ago. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
- Have stated and measurable goals year over year with assessments on achieving them.
- Accountability for all involved on not meeting their goals (Staff, administration and BOE members).
- Consider all options with the best interest of property owners and students in mind first.
- Spending tax payer dollars efficiently.
Dan Castricone Name: Dan Castricone Education/Degrees: Bachelors University of Buffalo in Economics, Juris Doctor Pace University School of Law Vocation/Employer: Solo Attorney and Risk Management Officer for Orange County NY Years of residency in Tuxedo: 27 year resident with three children who graduated from GFB High School. Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
President, Tuxedo UFSD Board of Education
President Tuxedo Sons of Italy, member Scholarship Committee
Ramapo Valley Rotary, member Scholarship Committee
Founding Board Member Tuxedo Little League
Eagle Scout Coordinator Tuxedo Boy Scouts
Tuxedo Zoning Board, Tuxedo Town Board, Orange County Legislature, Advisor for United Monroe. Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
The survival of the school is the most important factor in the future of the Town of Tuxedo. We are on the cusp of Tuxedo Farms finally adding the children we need to add vibrancy to the school. My running mate, Lucy Cerezo Scully and I have accomplished so much as Board President and Vice President including adding an elementary school literacy teacher, adding a numeracy teacher (to be hired for 2022/23), and reinstating the elementary STEM teacher.
We’ve hired the new administrative team, settled the collective bargaining contracts and overhauled the high school schedule for 2022/23 that extends teacher contact time to 47 minutes and eliminates study halls. We’ve enhanced technology, cyber security, and disaster recovery and implemented effective professional development for our staff. We even added new colleges to our “College in the High School” program.
Fiscally we’ve kept residents’ taxes low and stable. (Over our three years on the board, tax increases have been 0%, 0% and this year’s proposed less than 1%)
We’ve implemented a zero-based budget process for the first time, a huge improvement over prior years’ roll-over incremental budgets.
We are also taking care of our buildings. We instituted an energy performance agreement with Honeywell where the district will get 1.4 million dollars in building improvements, paid for in energy savings guaranteed by Honeywell. We moved 2 million dollars out of our bloated unassigned fund balance into a Capital Reserve fund so we can improve our buildings without adding debt to the backs of taxpayers. We even made the most of our recent flood to make improvements and upgrades wherever they could.
We’re on a path to making our schools among the best small schools in the state with a goal of being in the top 100 nationwide. Working with a cooperative and intelligent board and administration that puts the children and district before everything else, this goal is achievable. Simply, we’re running because we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished but there is so much more to do. We need to expand our programs in the High School. We need to increase test scores. We need to see our kids being accepted to the best colleges. We need fix the lunch program and sports and extracurriculars. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
We need to ensure that the School District is treated fairly by the Related Companies and the Town when it comes to the Tuxedo Farms project. I have been around and involved long enough to know what the school was promised, what is possible, and what deals can be made to protect the school and get us a good project. Continued, stable leadership at this time may be more important than ever before.
We need to add children to the district and stop the defection from the district into local private schools. The steps we’ve taken so far will help us here. The College in the High School program allows our children to graduate with an entire year of college credits under their belts. The literacy teacher in the elementary school is already affecting test scores. Next year the numeracy teacher will do the same. Our pre-school program gives families a taste of the quality education they can expect here. As the program continues to improve, so will our student retention and recruitment. Look for improved marketing programs soon to make sure the world knows about our amazing schools.
We must continue to improve the districts financial controls and ensure that we provide low, stable taxes to our community. We underspent last year’s budget by $220,000 because of careful controls instituted by our board and administration. Every payroll run was certified. Waste was eliminated. Auditors were hired. Continuing to provide low, stable taxes improve our property values and protects our seniors ability to stay here and thrive.
Please vote on the Budget and the Propositions and for me, Dan Castricone and Lucy Cerezo Scully for School Board. Thank you!
As a candidate in campaign literature I speak as a citizen not for the board but I realize I might be too close to the line. *Last sentece edited and disclaimer added at the request of D.C. 4/29/22
Heather Kidde Name: Heather Kidde Education/Degrees: Colgate University, BA Economics & Psychology Chartered Financial Analyst designation Vocation/Employer: Portfolio Manager, Northern Trust Wealth Management Years of residency in Tuxedo: 12 years in Tuxedo/2 years in TUFSD Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo: Sloatsburg Food Pantry Board Member & volunteer: 2020 - present
GGM Fifth Grade co-class parent: 2021 - present Girl Scouts Leader (Tuxedo Park School): 2018-2020 Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education? Our family moved into the Tuxedo Union Free School District to send our kids to George Grant Mason Elementary School. We love the small class size and the wonderful community.
I am running for the Board of Education because I want to be part of the future of the school district. As we emerge from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to make sure our schools and teachers have all of the tools to keep our kids on track. My focus is on supporting our students, teachers, and administration toward a common goal of providing a top tier education. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
The most important issues currently facing the School District include enrollment, infrastructure, and programming. We cannot accomplish all that needs to be done without strong financial oversight to make sure we are spending our tax dollars appropriately and not wasting valuable time and money.
Declining enrollment is not an issue unique to TUFSD. We can attract students to tuition into our school with an excellent curriculum and class sizes that make our public school feel like a private school. In addition to making sure our students are well prepared in academics, it is important to provide extracurricular opportunities to attract and retain students and families.
We need to include building improvements in our budget to make sure these historic buildings are safe and have the amenities needed for the future of education.
Lucy Cerezo Scully Name: Lucy Cerezo Scully Education/Degrees: Alfred University School Counseling Program, MSed College of St. Rose/CITE School Building Leader Touro College MS Linguistics/TESOL
Fordham University: Cum Laude BA Theater, New York University: Educational Theater, Certifications: School Counseling, NYS School Building Leader (SBL) NYS Theater K-12 Vocation/Employer: The City of New York, Department of Education Years of residency in Tuxedo: 5 years permanent residence
Purchased my home in 2010 resided part time until 2017 when I moved permanently
One child in the district attending GFB Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Vice President, Tuxedo UFSD Board of Education
Parent Volunteer for school musicals
Board of Education Policy Committee
Board of Education Advocacy and Community Outreach Committee Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am the only candidate who is a professional educator. I have thirty years of experience in education and bring quite a bit of insight to the Board of Education. This was my First year as Vice President of the Board.
Those who have participated in the monthly board meetings or are otherwise aware of what is going on in the District know of all the progress we made this year and would be impressed with the gains the schools have made in 2021/22.
The first factor in student success in the classroom is an effective teacher. This year we hired approximately 1/3 of the teaching staff to fill the vacancies of retirees. These new hires are all highly experienced and competent teachers who complement our existing staff.
The second factor in student success in the classroom is a competent, effective, and stable administration. This year we hired a new superintendent and administration; all of whom are highly experienced and accomplished professionals.
Our new budget keeps low stable taxes for our community and supports education. We have charged our administration with making Tuxedo a Top 100 school district and we are on our way to achieving that goal.
After two years of interrupted education due to COVID-19 it is more vital than ever that we support our students with a literacy teacher (who has already been hired) and a new numeracy specialist to be hired for the 2022-2023 school year. These supports are invaluable for students to fill the gaps caused by the recent pandemic.
During my time on the Board we also created a new academic schedule that extended each period to 47 minutes, expanded college in the classroom, added pre-school to the school, and are addressing critical facility infrastructure issues. All union contracts have been settled fairly.
I am running for reelection to continue this progress and forward momentum. After a decade of turn-over we need stability. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
In addition to my desire to continue the great work we accomplished this year, we must also foster a partnership with the Town and Related Properties to ensure the building at Tuxedo Farms. These new homes will expand our enrollment and increase the assessment rolls both of which will have a great impact on the District. We must also make sure that Related Properties stands by their pledge of $2.5 million and 40 acres of land to the school district. We also need to develop a long-range plan to effectively incorporate all of this change into our schools.
I would also like to see better retention of our students. Marketing all of our programs and progress will help in that regard and we are developing plans to improve communication and our school brand. We need to ensure our program offerings and opportunities continue to expand in the high school. Ensuring that our educators continue getting effective professional development will also help us to continue to raise our student performance.
Finally, we must continue to provide an excellent education for our students in the district while maintaining financial controls to ensure that we provide low, stable taxes to our community. Please come out on May 17th to vote on the budget and Castricone for the Board of Education.
Important Voter Information:
**The public hearing for the 2022/2023 budget will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm.
Copies of the budget presentations can be found on the school website or by clicking here
**The budget vote and election will take place on Tuesday, May 17 from 2-9pm in the multipurpose room at GGM.
If you are going to be out of town for work or studies, will be having a medical procedure, or are confined to your home due to illness or physical disability you can fill out an absentee ballot application to vote for the proposed 2022/23 school budget and Board of Education members. The application must be received by the District Clerk at George F. Baker High School, 1 Tornado Drive, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987 at least seven days before the election if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or the day before the election, if the ballot will be picked up personally by the voter. Absentee ballots can only be picked up by the voter named on the application. The absentee ballot must be received by the Office of the District Clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day of the election.
Click here to download the application for an absentee ballot.
On Saturday, May 14 the Tuxedo PTO posted the following candidate Q&A on YouTube
Short History of the Tuxedo Union Free Scool District(Posted 4/3/22)
By George Langberg and Joe Rickard
The Tuxedo Union Free School District (TUFSD) is located in the Town of Tuxedo, at the southern end of Orange County, New York. The Town includes Tuxedo Park, a community founded by Pierre Lorillard in 1886, which later became an incorporated village. More than 70% of the Town is protected park land.
The Tuxedo District’s two public school buildings, the George F Baker upper school and the George Grant Mason lower school, are adjacent to each other on the west side of NY Route 17. The school district is community-based, focused on providing small class sizes and personalized instruction. In June 2021, Tuxedo announced the appointment of Jeffrey T. White as Superintendent.
Tuxedo was originally part of the Town of Monroe and its schools were in the Monroe School District. After becoming a separate town in 1890 (1), Tuxedo formed its own school district, with a small school building located on Route 17 immediately south of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Roman Catholic Church. This building was expanded several times to accommodate a growing student body.
In 1902, the Tuxedo Union Free School District was formed by joining the several smaller districts within the Town of Tuxedo (2). One of the new district’s first actions was the raising of a $25,000 bond to replace the inadequate school building on Route 17 (3). The result was a beautiful Georgian-style brick building, which sadly no longer exists. Shortly thereafter, in 1905, a separate primary school building was added on the site of the current George Grant Mason Elementary School. (4) In 1911, the high school housed 14 students and 3 teachers (5). Three years later, there were 44 students and 4 teachers (6), and by 1930, the combined junior and senior high school student body were more than 150 (7).
Boundaries for the District have shifted multiple times throughout the years, and the current District is the union of the former Eagle Valley and Scott Mines districts with the original district formed when the Town was established.(8)
Building of the George F. Baker School
In 1930, the district committed to building a new junior-senior high school. Doing so required the removal of more than a dozen buildings and relocations of streets.(9) The new George F. Baker High School was a joint gift of the late George F. Baker, Sr., and George Grant Mason. George F. Baker was a leading banker, financier, and philanthropist of the era who, along with philanthropist George Grant Mason, lived in Tuxedo Park.
The school was modeled after the Baker Library at The Harvard Business School. Within the building’s foundation was placed a metal box containing, among other things, names of the members of the Board of Education, names and portraits of the donors, names of the building committee members, a history of the school, a pencil sketch of the old building, and a list of the first graduating class in the new school. (10)
The building was a state-of-the-art educational facility with a spacious auditorium, laboratories, workshops, and classrooms. At its opening in 1932, the Ramapo Valley Independent described it as follows: “A magnificent building of pure colonial architecture, the new school stands on an eminence to the right of travelers southward on Route Seventeen at the lower end of the village. A four- faced clock in the belfry serves an artistic as well as utilitarian purpose.” Principal Ruth Bissell added, “It was designed for the future, however, and I think there will be little trouble when we find it necessary to expand.” (11)
The elementary school, originally built in 1905 and later named the George Grant Mason School, is the home for grades Pre-K to 5th grade. The spacious and modern facility, located adjacent to the upper school building, has been moved, renovated, updated, and expanded multiple times through the years.
Voters Reject Merger
By the 1960s, members of the Board of Education questioned the viability of a small District in modern times. In 1966, they voted to pursue a merger with the Ramapo School District 1, Suffern. The plan was to send 175 students to Suffern High School. The possibility was met with strong opposition from the community. The ref- erendum was defeated 389 to 187.(12 ) The community voiced their approval of main- taining their small school.
Since that time, the District Board of Education on multiple occasions has reviewed options of mergers and the “tuition out” of high school students. Each time pro- posals have been rejected. The last time the district reviewed the possibility was in 2018. It was defeated in a Board vote 6 to 1. Again, the community committed to a small school approach to education.
Greenwood Lake Leaves Tuxedo
Throughout the years, students from neighboring Districts without high schools in- cluding Sloatsburg (13) and Southfields sent their students to the Tuxedo High School. Beginning in 1981, students from Greenwood Lake began attending George F. Baker High School. In August 2012, Greenwood Lake students were on the move again. Their Board of Education voted to leave Tuxedo and attend lower-cost neighboring High Schools (14). This move drastically reduced the number of students at George F Baker High School and returned the school to its small school roots.
Tuxedo Farms Development
In January 2022, the Town of Tuxedo approved the development of 1200 residences to be built within the Town.(15) This will impact the size of the school district. The district’s mission is to continue to foster a small school educational setting. The district is eagerly awaiting the arrival of its new students.
About the Authors
George Langberg is the Tuxedo Town Historian and a graduate of the Tuxedo Union Free School
Joe Rickard is a member of the Tuxedo Union Free School District (TUFSD) school board and has a deep appreciation for the history of Tuxedo.
1 Headly, Russel, Editor, The History of Orange County, NY, 1908, pg18
2 Ibid pg400
3 The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Volume 70, 1900 pg1308
4 Crofut, Doris, Town Historian, Life in Tuxedo Village, Circa 1900-1910 January, 1979
5 Report of the Education Department, Vol 7, University of the State of New York, 1911, pg734 6 Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Vol 137, Issues 23-24 pg884
7 The Ramapo Valley Independent, January 8, 1932
8 Headly, Russel, Editor, The History of Orange County, NY, 1908, pg400
9 Middletown Herald, October 29, 1930
10 The Ramapo Independent, January 8, 1932
12 The (Bergen) Record, April 22, 1966
13 The (Journal) News, September 5, 1930
14 Recordonline.com, James Nani, August 30, 2012
15 Town of Tuxedo Documents, https://www.tuxedogov.org/tuxedo-farms/pages/2022-tuxedo-farms-documents
Joe Rickard firstname.lastname@example.org 201 805 2694
Board of Education Poised to Remove Former President on December 15
On Wednesday, December 15 at 7pm the Board of education will hold a special meeting for the purpose of entering into an executive session to conclude/discuss the hearing of current Board member and former President Dorothy Ziegelbauer and to receive advice from council.
Mrs. Ziegelbauer was formally brought up on undisclosed charges of misconduct at a special meeting back on September 24, when the Board voted 5-2 in favor of hiring a hearing officer at a cost of $250 per hour as well as a stenographer for the proceedings. This came on the heels of an investigation authorized by the Board a month prior at a cost of $10,000 concerning an alleged breach of confidential personally identifiable student information. The results of the investigation were never publicly revealed or discussed.
The hearing began on Friday October 15 at 9am, at which point Mrs. Ziegelbauer and her attorney requested that the proceedings be held in public, allowing for full transparency with the community, but this request was ultimately denied by the BOE. This resulted in a contentious exchange amongst Board members as well as with many members of the public who had gathered. (A recording can be heard here)
After 6 hours in executive session the hearing was continued to Thursday, November 4 at 9am. Members of the public who attended this second meeting were denied the right to make public comment. The hearing continued for 10 hours in closed session and remained unresolved at the end of the day.
On November 10, a FOILed copy of the charges against Mrs. Ziegelbauer were made public via the blog KB for BOE. (Click here to view the post) and are as follows:
CHARGE I — OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT
In that on or about August 9, 2021, Dorothy Ziegelbauer revealed, without authorization, by email, confidential information about the District’s negotiations position in bargaining with the Tuxedo Teachers’ Association (“TTA”), that she learned of in a duly convened Board of Education executive session held on July 28, 2021. Such revelation was made to the TTA’s New York State United Teachers bargaining representative Carienn Broderick.
CHARGE II — OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT
In that on or about September 15, 2021, Dorothy Ziegelbauer was issued a confidential report prepared by Board appointed investigator, Margaret Muenkel, regarding an alleged breach of confidential personally identifiable student information that was reviewed in executive session and to be collected back from each member of the Board to protect the privacy rights of those individuals identified in the Report. Ms. Ziegelbauer refused to return the report at the meeting and refuses to return the report to date.
Marion M. Walsh, Attorney for Mrs. Ziegelbauer, has publicly indicated that charge number one centers around her client having accidentally hit “reply all” when responding to an existing email thread. With regard to the second charge, it was indicated in the appeal that that there was no established agreement to return Muenkel Report. It has been speculated that the alleged breach of confidential personally identifiable student information investigated by Muenkel had to do with Ziegelbauer’s daughter.
To date the District has spent at least $15,000 on the investigation and hearing ($10,000 for investigation and $5000 for the Hearing Officer) and this does not include the stenographer or any legal expenses they may have incurred.
Mrs. Ziegelbaurer has allegedly spent $50,000 out-of-pocket in legal fees fighting the charges and attempting to clear her name. A go-fund me has been created within the community to help her with these expenses. (Click here to view)
Former BOE Member and Village Resident Kimberly Breiland has been following the story since the onset. More detailed information can be found on her blog at :https://kbfortheboe.com/
The End of The Wee Wah Beach Club? (Posted 11/16/21)
The future of the Wee Wah Beach Club is in jeopardy this week as the Village Wee Wah Lake & Park Committee has come forward with a formal proposal for replacing the 87 year old Club with a professional Aquatic Management Company.
Village Mayor David McFadden made his desire to make drastic changes known this past April when he publicly proposed a new management structure for the Club. Citing his responsibility as Village fiduciary, the Mayor suggested that under the current lease agreement/system of management the Village Taxpayers had been forced to shoulder the burden of property and facility maintenance costs and that having the Village take over ownership of the Health Permit, collection of membership fees and definitive control of the finances and facilities would be more economically beneficial for the Village. He further suggested that one reason that the Club had not been turning a profit in recent years could be because their membership dues were too low and that with the right balance of setting membership fees, improving the grounds, and paring down expenses, the Village could turn a profit running the Club. Although he supported having the Village take control of the both the finances and the facility, he also stated that he would be happy to have the current Beach Club manage the day-to-day operations and that "a show of good faith.” he had proposed a 5 to a 10-year term of guaranteed hamlet membership.
The Mayor’s proposal was received with some controversy throughout the community and after much public debate it was determined that the Beach Club would open as it always had for the 2021 season and that a committee would subsequently be formed to explore the future of the Club and what, if any, changes would be made. When the Board of Trustees reorganized in July, a committee entitled “ Wee Wah Park & Lake Committee” was unilaterally put together by Mayor McFadden. Their mission statement, as per the Village website, states:
“Our purpose is to find the best use and management of the village-owned property located on Wee Wah Lake. The property was used for fowl and clay shooting and bathing in the early 20th century and was known as the Wee Wah Lake and Bathing Beach, with at least two shingle-style clubhouse structures located on the property. The property is a peninsula-shaped piece of land located in the northwest area of the lake. The recreational area of the property is shared with members of the Hamlet during the summer season also open to village residents run by the Wee Wah Beach Club (WWBC) under an annual lease agreement with the Village. The Village also leases the use of the property to the Wee Wah Fishing & Boating Club (WWFC). The Village Department of Public Works (DPW) has its warehouse and mechanical building, and equipment storage on the same property.
In the spring of 2021, the Village Board and WWBC Executive Committee agreed to work together to determine the most efficient way to manage the facility for the coming 2022 season. These discussions could result in the Village running the finances of the facility and the WWBC running the day-to-day operations. One thing not under consideration is eliminating Hamlet memberships. The mayor offered the WWBC a 5-10 year membership to never eliminate the membership in the future. (see Mayor's Co-Management Proposal on the lefthand sidebar).
In mid-August, an unnamed realtor approached the Mayor about selling the property. The client is interested in buying the entire property as a future home site and relocating the DPW. The Board takes all offers seriously. Our first responsibility is to the Village Properties taxpayers.”
There is a disclaimer beneath this posting that reads “Committee descriptions are posted and updated by the Mayor and may not reflect the Trustees' views.” and the only Committee member listed is the Mayor himself. No members of WWBC Executive Board were invited to serve on the committee.
At the October 25 meeting of the Village Board of Trustees, Mayor McFadden provided a Wee Wah Park Committee update, in which he announced that the committee was accepting bids from professional aquatic management companies for “co-management consideration.” He further indicated that the committee had intended to seek a co-management proposal from the WWBC, but were surprised to the learn that the Club had submitted a lease proposal from the 2022 season indicating that they were not interested in a co-management proposal. In response, WWBC Board member Marc Citrin indicated that the WWBC had publicly indicated their desire to negotiate at the August meeting of the Trustees, but had never been contacted by either the Village or the Wee Wah Park Committee to begin those negotiations. “On August 18th I stood before you (Mayor and Trustees) and I asked specifically on the record for the committee to contact me or the President of the Wee Wah Beach Club to begin negotiations with respect to the summer of 2022. August came and went. September came and went and here we are in October. Pursuant to the 2020 lease, the terms required us to submit a proposal for a lease for 2022 by October 31. So, by mid-month, having not heard from the Committee or anybody from the Village to begin the negotiating process, I felt it was necessary to put forward to the Board a proposal with respect to 2022. I am here today to tell the Board that we are still ready, willing and able to engage in substantial negotiations with the Committee or any designee of the Board with respect to a renewal of the license agreement for 2022. I want to make it clear that the fact that they did not reach out to us was not our fault because we were waiting for a call because we had asked for a call…and that call never came. So, I would respectfully request that the Mayor, the Board or a representative of the committee reach out to either myself or the Beach Club President Bonnie Takeuchi or Vice President Jennifer Darling to engage in negotiations.”
It was subsequently agreed amongst the Trustees that Trustee Brooke would reach out to Committee Chair Denise Tavani in an effort to move these negotiations forward.
These negotiations did not take place. On November 12, Mr. Citrin and WWBC Executive Committee received the attached letter from Mayor McFadden, in which he outlines Village plans to replace the Beach Club with one of three professional Pool Management companies. He further states that the Village hoped to work collaboratively with WWBC Executive Committee on “an orderly management transition to smoothly open to the 2022 Summer Season.” With regard to Hamlet membership, the memo indicated that in addition to those members who had joined in 2019 and after, “persons who could establish that the TPA employed their direct ancestors” would also be able to join, even if they had not been members in 2019. A proposed fee structure for membership is also outlined in the letter.
Click here to read the Mayor’s letter to the WWBC.
On that same day, an article entitled “Wee Wah Park Committee Recommendations for the WWBC” was both posted to the Village website and circulated by the Village via email to Village residents. The posting contains formal recommendations as well as a proposal from NYS Pools Management to run the Beach Club during the 2022 Season. Click here to view this article.
In response to the Mayor’s letter and the NYS Pools Management proposal, the Beach Club has come forward with a number of concerns relative to staffing, finances, insurance and capital improvements to the Beach Club property.
Click here to view a full outline of these concerns.
Additionally, the Beach Club has sent a memo to its’ membership, making them aware of the situation and encouraging either attendance at this Wednesday’s BOT meeting (7pm. Accessible via Zoom) or direct correspondence with the BOT. Click here to read the memo
Details emerged publicly earlier this week regarding an ongoing hearing against Board of Education member Dorothy Ziegelbauer, in which the Board is seeking her removal based on her involvement in a special education issue.
When the hearing commenced during an abruptly convened Special meeting of the BOE on October 15, little information was provided despite a barrage of questions from the public.
Despite repeated requests from both Mrs. Ziegelbauer and her attorney to conduct the hearing in public, Board president Dan Castricone stated that because the hearing would involve confidential information regarding special education, students, employees and whistleblowers, it was their intention to conduct it within an executive session, which they did. They initial session lasted more than 5 hours, with no result. The hearing was continued to November 4 at 9:30am. Members of the public who gathered on that date were unable to ask questions and in fact, despite a somewhat heated debate between Board members and attorneys before the hearing began, were not allowed to comment at all. The November 4 session lasted more than 10 hours once again with no result. The hearing has once again been continued, this time to December 15.
A TPFYI update on the hearings’ progress posted to the popular Facebook Group ’Tuxedo Moms and Dads’ garnered over 70 comments from community members over the weekend. Among them was the revelation and subsequent outcry over the recent dismissal of beloved former interim Superintendent Nicole Scariano. Ms. Scariano was escorted from the Building by law enforcement on the afternoon of October 22 but to date there has been no word from the District with regard to her sudden departure or the reason behind it.
On Tuesday, FOILed documents clearly outlining the two charges against Mrs. Ziegelbauer and her subsequent appeal to the Commissioner of Education appeared as part of an article entitled ‘FOIL’ed’ posted to the local education blog KB for the BOE.
Among other things, the KB post seeks to connect the charges against Mrs. Ziegelbauer with the dismissal of Scariano as well as a recent investigation that took place within the District, the results of which were neither discussed nor released publicly.
Click here to read the FOILed Document and click here to read the KB for the BOE post.
On Wednesday, TPFYI received a copy of a written statement from Ken Ziegelbauer. Mr. Ziegelbauer had intended to read this statement into the record at the November 4 session but was unable to do so when the Board voted against allowing public comment.
With no apparent end in sight the hearing has already cost the District at least $14,250 ($10,000 for the investigation which preceded the hearing and at least $4,250 for the hearing officer, who makes $250 per hour) and this does not include stenographer or attorney fees.
Meanwhile, a steady uptick in the number of study halls in lieu of course offerings at the High School has given parents some cause for concern about the number of instructional hours and the overall quality of the program. The recently approved TTA contracts allows for a 9-period day with shorter academic periods. Concerns were openly raised at the September and October Board meetings. In September, Board President Dan Castricone responded by suggesting that because the program advances many students when they are in 7th and 8th grades that by the time they get to their Junior and Senior year they have often completed most of their requirements, thus leaving them with free time. At the same meeting, the newly hired administration outlined plans for a “College in the High School” program, which will begin in the Spring and provide with students with the ability to take college level courses in addition to classes through Lincoln Tech. In October when concerns were again raised by a concerned member of the Public, President Castricone responded by informing them that their comments did not pertain to agenda items and abruptly moving on to the next speaker. At the same meeting, the Administration proposed the hiring of a scheduling consultant to assist the District in rectifying the situation.
The next meeting of the Board of Education will take place on November 17 at 7pm. meetings are streamed online , however only those members of the public who are in-person are permitted to make comments.
Who doesn’t love leaves? We all appreciate the beautiful colors in the fall, and the environment welcomes leaves as a protective, and nutrient-rich layer for its plants and wildlife. Fallen leaves shelter plant roots from excessive heat and cold, and once they decompose, they keep the soil healthy. So why do we spend millions of hours and millions of gallons of diesel and gasoline to get rid of those leaves?
Leaf Peeping Season Has Arrived! (Posted 10/17/21)
Tuxedo is truly a stunning place to be during leaf peaking season each fall! Send us your pictures and we will add them to our annual community album, to be displayed both here on the website and over on our Facebook page!
Submit photos to email@example.com between now and November 1.
The Voters in Tuxedo Park will Play a Decisive Roll in This Year's Town Election (Posted 10/9/2021)
Earlier this week Village Mayor David McFadden sent an open letter to all ofthe cadidates seeking office in the upcmoing Town Election asking for their views on the recently proposed amendments to the Special Permit for the Tuxedo Farms project.
Below please find the letter and responses tfrom each of the candidates:
Dear incumbents and challengers:
Congratulations on your decision to run to serve the Town of Tuxedo, and by extension, the Village of Tuxedo Park.
Recently the Related Development Company Tuxedo Farms project managers have applied for an alteration in the Special Permit. Among other things, they have asked the Town to increase the density of the units from 1,200 to 2,000.
Some of my constituents have concerns about increased vehicle traffic, negative environmental impact, increased light and noise and safety and security, as the developments immediate geographical neighbor.
On the other hand, increasing tenants may help the school and local businesses, which is no concern.
Regarding revenue, the requested density approaches the Woodgrove Apartment Complex in Sloatsburg, purchased by The Watchtower Org., removing it from the property tax roll. This is noteworthy and could happen here.
Early voting starts Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Please articulate your position on granting the Special Permit. I will publish your response on the Village Website on the voters’ behalf.
The voters in Tuxedo Park will play a decisive role in this year’s election.
David McFadden, Mayor
Village of Tuxedo Park
Editor’s note: The mayor’s letter ends with this sentence: “This letter may not reflect the Trustees’ views or all Tuxedo Park residents and property owners.”
Read Supervisor Ken English's responseHERE(Incumbent)
Read Dan Castricone's responseHERE(Candidate for Town Supervisor)
Read Jay Reichgott's responseHERE(Incumbent Candidate for Town Council)
Read Dierdre Murphy's responseHERE(Candidate for Town Council)
Tuxedo Farms on Track to Move Forward (Posted 9/28/21)
Related Companies publicly presented the Town with proposed plans to move the Tuxedo Farm project forward at Monday night’s Town Board meeting. The developer is seeking an amendment to the previously approved Special Permit, which will allow them to increase the overall density of the project, adding some 800 units to include what they define as “missing middle” housing. Other proposed changes include: increasing allowed density and certain flexibility in planning to provide for a more active town center and more walkable community, allowing areas in Phase 2 to be started prior to completion of Phase 1 and the conversion of the School Site to hospitality or multi-family housing.
The project as approved is regulated by its’ own zoning and design code (otherwise known as ‘The Smart Code’) This code defines the intended character of each subsection within the development by regulating the elements therein such as building density, height, setbacks and land use. Additionally, the Smart Code assigns product types to each area/neighborhood, which are meant to co-align with its character. As part of the proposed amendment, the developer is also seeking permission to modify the code in a way that will allow them to redefine the various neighborhoods and the types of materials allowed within each.
Part of the amendment would also include an accelerated operational date for the new wastewater treatment plant, a service that is somewhat desperately needed by the Town.
Property tax revenue from the development will support the existing Tuxedo Union Free School District. The additional homes should provide a solid increase in the number of projected students.
Theproposed timeline calls for construction to begin in 2022.
The full, detailed version of Relateds’ presentation to the Board can be viewed here
The official request to amend the Special Permit can be viewed here
Comments, questions and/or concerns can be submitted in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be addressed at the next Town Board meeting, which will be on Wednesday October 13 at 7pm.
New Administrators Greet Students at Both TPS and TUFSD (Posted 9/2/21)
September means Back-to School and this year Students at both TPS and TUFSD will be greeted by new administrators.
Stuart Johnson joins TPS from St. Bernard’s School, a kindergarten through 9th-grade school for boys in Manhattan, where he served as headmaster for 35 years.
During his time at the school, Stuart played an active role in admissions, secondary school placement, school publications, curriculum, strategic planning, fundraising, and the hiring, evaluation, and development of teachers. He planned and executed significant capital campaigns, raising over $60 million during his tenure, and led a 63,000-square-foot expansion of the school’s facilities.
Throughout his time at St. Bernard’s, Stuart continued to teach Latin, Greek, and modern European history and directed an annual Shakespeare play. Stuart’s references consistently spoke of his commitment to knowing and respecting each student, devotion to faculty, natural leadership skills, strong relationships with alumni, and love of education. He began his teaching career at St. Bernard’s, leaving briefly to teach at Groton School in Massachusetts. Stuart holds a BA in History from Yale University and is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and St. Albans School.
Stuart is excited to join the TPS community, learn and embrace the traditions, and lead TPS to realize its full potential and its next generation of students. TPS is also pleased to welcome Stuart’s wife, Susan O’Connell, a former attorney and now active tour guide at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and their son Stuart to their family.
Newly appointed TUFSD Assistant Superintendent/High School Principal Roy Reese has had a long and successful career in K-12 Education having served as a teacher for eighteen years, department chair, head varsity football coach, baseball coach, athletic director, high school principal for eighteen years, and school superintendent at Goshen and Washingtonville for a total of ten years. Roy, a thirty eight year resident of Orange County, has also been an adjunct professor of education at Mount Saint Mary’s for twenty-one years and has been a theatrical lighting designer for thirty seven years. The TUFSD community extends a warm welcome to this highly distinguished, yet humble, affable and true gentleman.
Tuxedo Summer Bridge & EdCamp Program Celebrates a Successful First Week Complete with Trip to The New York Botanical Gardens (Posted 7/28/21)
Tuxedo Summer Bridge & EdCamp is a multi-sensory educational program that offers enriching experiences both in and outside the classroom," Nicole Scariano, founder of the program and former interim Superintendent of Schools for Tuxedo, explains.
This innovative program has gained tremendous popularity with families residing in and outside the boundaries of the Tuxedo school district. Families who wish to register their child are now waitlisted due to popularity.
The program, funded by federal and state grants, is to address learning loss from COVID-19 pandemic and has exceeded all expectations. "It's NOT summer school, it's a summer educational program." Scariano explains.
Each week students go on a field trip and then create an artifact to add to their growing Summer Bridge Museum". The museum will be open to visitors on August 27th, the last day of the program, as a showcase of all that students have learned and created.
The program runs July 21 - August 27 and has its own Instagram page: @tuxedosummerbridge .
Should the Village Use Hebicides in The Reservoir? (Posted 6/23/2021)
Mitigating the persistence of Eurasian Watermilfoil in the Village lakes has been an ongoing issue for more than a decade. Since 2008, the Village has worked with a number of reputable firms including the New York State DEC, the New York State Federation of Lake Associations (FOLA), Princeton Hydro, Aquatic Invasive Management (AIM), Allied Biological, SOLitude Lake Management and now North East Aquatic Research (N.E.A.R.) in an effort to understand and resolve the problem. A resident advisory committee was formed in 2008 and although their name and membership has fluctuated over the years, they continue to meet and offer recommendations to the Trustees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in various methods of management including a wide variety of studies and a battery of testing each time a new Management Firm is selected, but the Village has never been able to commit to a long-term management plan. DASH Harvesting has been employed in all three lakes with limited success in the reservoir. Rigorous boat cleaning regulations have been adopted and employed, yet the Village has still been forced to close off certain areas of Tuxedo Lake as the milfoil continues to aggressively spread there.
On Thursday, June 24 at 7pm, the Trustees will host a lakes management discussion with A.J. Reyes of N.E.A.R., the most recent management firm to do business with the Village. A.J. has been invited to discuss the use of herbicides as part of a long-term program to eradicate the invasive aquatic weed Eurasian Watermilfoil in all three Village lakes. The herbicide he will be discussing is called ProcellaCOR. ProcellaCOR is made for use in drinking reservoirs and approved by the NYS DEC and Federal EPA through a Special Aquatic Pesticide Permit. Last year the Village tested ProcellaCOR in Pond No. 3 with generally positive results and without any apparent harm to the good aquatic plants, fish, water quality, pets or people.
This is not the first time the Village has considered the use of herbicide to combat the milfoil in the big lake. Back in 2018, SOLitide Lakes Management presented ProcellaCOR along with 6 other EPA approved herbicides used for plant control in New York State as one option for abatement. Ultimately the Village chose not to move forward with chemical use after a number of residents openly expressed their concerns with the lack of long-term studies and potential health risks associated with using the relatively new herbicide in the Reservoir.
In 2019, Mayor McFadden circulated an informal survey to lake front property owners and subsequently reported that an overwhelming majority of them had indicated that they were in favor of chemical treatments. However once again, after some debate and with input from the Lakes Committee, the Trustees decided to hold off on using ProcellaCOR in Tuxedo Lake,citing the need for more community-wide education and input. They did, however, agree to give it a go in Pond #3. This marked the second round of chemical treatments in that lake, which had been treated the year prior using the aquatic herbicide Navigate with varying degrees of success.
Chemical treatments in Pond #3 and Wee Wah Lake come with their own battery of health-related concerns as both lakes are open to swimming and spill directly into the Ramapo River, which is a major contributor to regional drinking water downstream.
Over the years many residents have come forward to both express their concerns and volunteer their time in preserving the lakes. In 2018, former Mayor and member of the original Lakes Committee, Susan Goodfellow, submitted this letter of concern to the Trustees following SOLitudes recommendation for herbicide use. In an effort to help educate the community, Lakes Committee Chair Jim Hays authored the articles Tuxedo Lakes and Us and A Report on Tuxedo’s Lakes . Most recently, this letter of concern from Peter Van Zandt was sent to the Board.
The use of herbicide in Tuxedo Lake is an important decision that will impact the entire community. Should the Village decide to move forward, they will assume full responsibility for any of the associated risks. Are there efficient long-term studies to affirm safe use? If not treated, will there be an increase in algae blooms? Will all Village water customers (both Village and Town) be afforded the opportunity to ask questions and provide input? It is critical that residents educate themselves and ask the appropriate questions to ensure that the right steps are taken to preserve not only the lakes but the quality of the drinking water and the long-term health of Tuxedo residents and all of those downstream.
Tuxedo Art and Music Plein Art Festival June 16-20(Posted 6/4/2021)
Guided by a virtual map, artists, residents, art, and nature lovers can create their own adventure throughout the town to discover and explore.
Painting will take place from June 16th-18th, culminating in a “Meet the Artist” Exhibit and Reception at the Tuxedo Train Station on Friday, June 18th. Artists’ work will remain on display and for sale during the Farmer’s Market and throughout the weekend.
The event is open to all Plein Air artists throughout the Hudson Valley, limited space is available, and participants are on a first-come basis.
Applications for artist participation and or sponsorship please contact:
The project is made possible with funds, awarded to the Tuxedo Park Library, from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.
Meet The Candidates Who are Running for Board of Education (Posted 5/3/2021)
The 2021 School Board election and budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 18. This year, four candidates are vying for three open spots on the Board of Education: incumbent Kimberly Breiland and newcomers Gary Heavner, William Givens and Alyssa Horneff. Current Board members Mike Arone and Meg Vaught will be retiring, each having served two terms.
The make-up of the school board is extremely important as it has a direct impact on the future of the School District as well as every one’s taxes. In addition to the annual budget, the Board of education is responisble for developing and adopting the policies and curriculum that drive the District as well as oversight of any facility-based issues. Therefore, understanding these candidates, their areas of expertise and their levels of experience is crucial in making an informed decision.
In an effort to inform the community, TPFYI presented each candidate with a basic questionnaire, designed to focus on their biographical information as well as their levels of experience and reasons for running. What follows are the resposes received, unedited, in the order we received them.
Kimberly Tee Breiland
BFA from Pratt Insitute Vocation/Employer:
22 Graphics, Inc. (Marketing/Advertising) Years of residency in Tuxedo:
Going on 5 years now Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I have helped with many of the “art” needs for the community. I have created a billboard, logo and flyers for the school. I have created a new map of all the trails in Tuxedo Park; I have created flyers for St. Mary’s and the Parks Department; and I created a map for the Chamber of Commerce. Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education:
Initially, 3 years ago, my sole objective was to keep the high school open.
Today I run because I actually believe we have a diamond in the rough that can and will be the heartbeat of our town. Our school can resemble, if not supercede other New York public schools such as Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical, and LaGuardia High School of Music & Performing Arts. I want to be a part of making that happen.
The District is turning the corner with the introduction of a COVID Response Summer Program, Facility Improvements, Curriculum + Library + Textbook + Software Upgrades, a Transportation Program that reduces costs, and most importantly a more Transparent Accounting System. I have been a part of all this. And I would like to continue to work hard to ensure our District remains on a forward path. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
I think our top two priorities should be working to build and enhance our program and strengthening our communications district-wide. It is imperative we are all working well together and that all our messages are direct, clear, and concise. Communication is the key; not just between Board members, but also Parents, Students, Teachers, the Union, and the Administration. We all need to work together to capture our goal of a brighter future.
Then we need to focus on the level of education we offer our students. What new programs can we introduce? How can we be more supportive? What can we supplement or enhance? Academics are paramount.
I would like to see strong academics, incredible arts, and specialized sports.
When we tackle these two items, we must focus on student retention as well as increasing the student body.
New York University (NYU)
Business - Stern School of Business
Dance - Tisch School of the Arts
Pascack Hills High School - Montvale, NJ
Clearing, Head of Operations
Columbus Preschool NYC - Teacher of Early Education & the Arts
Joffrey Ballet School, Associate Executive Director & Instructor
Flatiron School, VP of Operations & Data/Analytics
Break the Floor Productions, Director, Operations & Business Dev
NBC Universal Pictures & Red Bull International, Marketing Associate
Metropolitan Opera, Ballet Dancer among many other companies, jobs, etc!
Years of residency in Tuxedo:
I have been a proud resident of Tuxedo for a little over 4 years now.
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
NYC Cares volunteer for 5+ years
Serve monthly at my church in Ringwood, NJ
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
As a mother of two young boys -- my top priority is ensuring the long term well being of my family. In an increasingly competitive world that means providing them with access to the best educational opportunities while also ensuring they can safely experience all the joys of childhood.
My work experience as a pre-school & arts teacher and more recently as the VP for Operations at one of the foremost online education programs in the country affords me with a unique perspective that understands how students can succeed in today’s competitive educational landscape and career market without sacrificing self-identity or worth.
What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
Not to discount the trials our district has gone through in the last couple years, (and I may be a contrarian) but I believe that the pandemic has presented the district with a truly once in a decade opportunity to attract new families to our town. One of our impediments in the past is that our approach to attracting these new families is still rooted in 20th century approaches which to date have yielded little results despite significant investment. I would hope to bring modern digital marketing expertise alongside a more strategically targeted outreach to bring in new families who are seeking a community that allows for commutability to the city as well as proximity to natural beauty.
The district continues to have a fleeting opportunity to market itself as an intimate, safe, and high-quality school district. To date, however, we have missed the mark and find ourselves making the same old mistakes -- dealing with limited enrollment while attempting to put out or inadvertently flaming PR fires. The reality is that to attract new families you need to understand new families.
Gary Lee Heavner
Vassar College B.A.
Pace Law School J.D.
Vocation/Employer: Career Prosecutor
Years of residency in Tuxedo: 2
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Tuxedo Trail Angels
Tuxedo Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative
NY-NJ Trail Conference Trail Maintainer – Sterling Forest
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
As a dad, a career prosecutor, a former teacher for a brief time, and a lifelong advocate for kids, I know that education is the greatest tool we can give our children. I fundamentally believe that all students deserve to have access to a high-quality education. COVID-19 has added challenges this past year, and students are falling behind academically and socially. I am running for school board because I believe in the potential of all kids and I believe we can do better at helping them realize it. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
After the selection of a new Superintendent, I think we have got to focus foremost on the massive loss of learning that has happened as a result of this pandemic. We need to start by providing increased tailored supports to catch kids up to where they need to be. We should start by targeting students who are at the highest risk for long-term learning loss. Additionally, we should balance the dual needs of meeting students where they are while continuing to expose them to grade-level content through scaffolded supports that keep high expectations for and a high belief in all kids.
My Name is Gary Lee Heavner and I am a candidate for the Tuxedo School Board.
My wife and I moved to Tuxedo just before COVID hit in 2020, when we moved from Pomona, from the house in which I was born. We selected Tuxedo as the school district we wanted to send our youngest child (now a junior) five years ago when we researched several private and parochial schools and luckily stumbled upon the district’s STEM program. We like the school so much, we paid the ‘out of district’ cost to attend GFB for three- and one-half years before finally purchasing our house in the Maple Brook neighborhood. My oldest children are beginning their own careers having graduated recently from Penn State and Harvard. My wife Ann is a Registered Nurse at West Point. We all love our new community.
Immediately after college I taught secondary school social studies for two years in Sussex County. After attending law school, I was a career prosecutor for over twenty-five years in various offices.
My experience with boards of education began back in the early 80s when, as class president, I represented my school to the East Ramapo Board of Education for four years. I really never stopped attending board meetings and following the board’s activity. Unfortunately, as a prosecutor, I have also investigated Rockland school boards and district officials for misconduct.
I also have experience on several not-for-profit boards that have similar budgets and staffing as the Tuxedo board, including the Hudson Valley Council Boy Scouts of America, The NY State Soccer Association and USA Rugby.
Some local groups I volunteer with include, The Tuxedo Trail Angels, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Trail Maintainer – Sterling Forest and the Tuxedo Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.
I have previously volunteered and ben involved in many civic and youth organizations including: PTO presidents in multiple schools; CCD teacher; youth rec and travel soccer coach; youth, college, semi-professional rugby coach; World Rugby Judicial Officer; Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster, Order of the Arrow Lodge Advisor and Girl Scout Troop Leader.
Why am I qualified to serve as a School Board member?
My interest in school boards began years ago when I was multiple times selected by my high school to represent the student body to our local school board. I have regularly continued to attend school board meetings the rest of my life. Professionally, I have experience investigating school districts and officials. As a dad, I have always been active in my children’s schools and activities, including being president of several PTOs, a Girl Scout troop leader, soccer coach, rugby coach and CCD teacher. I also have board experience on several local, state and national not-for-profit boards that have similar budgets and staffing as Tuxedo. Therefore, as a dad and candidate who has had direct classroom and board experience, I bring a relevant perspective and understanding of the challenges that teachers, parents and board members face because I’ve literally walked in their shoes.
What’s my vision for education in Tuxedo?
My vision is to ensure all Tuxedo students have access to a high-quality education. This includes fairly distributing resources to get students back on track. It also involves growing and retaining a teacher workforce, as research shows teacher quality and representation are important elements of student outcomes. I want to foster nurturing learning environments through expanded social emotional and mental health supports and more fresh air time for kids.
How would I rate the school district’s performance during the pandemic?
I think the district’s response to the pandemic was slow. There was too much time spent deliberating about how to get students back to school as it once existed, versus jumping quickly into action to restructure the approach to education so it served the needs of all kids in a new reality. I would have acted with more urgency to ensure Tuxedo virtual and remote learning options were equitable, accessible, and offered high-quality instructional opportunities for kids no matter which option parents chose. I also would have focused on ensuring teachers and families were trained properly and thoroughly on how to navigate these new systems and ensured that support was ongoing. I would have ensured that our students and teachers felt safe and heard, and started updating in-person learning spaces early on so that they were ready to accommodate students in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols once in-person learning began again.
If I could change one thing in the Tuxedo School District, it would be …
In addition to focusing on my key priorities and all the topics covered here, I’d love to see more physical improvements in the buildings and facilities.
Do I have concern about student achievement in the Tuxedo School District?
I am deeply concerned. COVID-19 disruptions have caused students to fall further behind than they already were. We cannot approach the issue of student achievement in a vacuum. If we focus solely on boosting assessment scores through an age-old approach of teaching kids how to test, we will continue to fail them. We need a comprehensive approach to education that includes social-emotional resilience and project-based learning to increase students’ problem solving and relationship skills, culturally relevant instruction so students can see themselves in the content they’re learning, and that affords our wonderful teachers the capacity, flexibility and resources they need.
What are my thoughts on the current proposed Tuxedo School District budget?
I admire the proposed budget that Tuxedo was able to create amid so many financial challenges during COVID-19. The Board needs to continue to be financially conservative to keep all future tax increases as infrequent and as small as possible.
Are there specific curriculum changes I would advocate?
I’d advocate for more curriculum that expands relevant and 21st century skills. We are living in a digital age where technological proficiency is critical for students to succeed in today’s economy. I’d push for more increased focus on digital literacy as it is not only essential for remote education, but has long been essential to all learning (e.g., to complete homework, access information, learn basic research skills, etc.) I’d also push for financial literacy to become a core component of our students’ education, as we have a responsibility to equip them with the tools to build the futures they want for themselves. Finally, I’d push for more project-based learning in all subjects, as research proves its effectiveness on students’ confidence, engagement, and achievement.
What is another important issue?
The school board makes short- and long-term policy decisions that directly impact families with kids in school now, families that will attend Tuxedo schools in the future and the overall prosperity of our community There are a lot of candidates on the ballot, and that can make the process of sifting through all of them feel daunting. However, given the stakes, I strongly encourage Tuxedo voters to research a little about each candidate, learn more about their priorities and make informed decisions that will serve the best interests of our students.
William (Bill) Givens
Bachelor’s of Science
Minor: Political Science
Minor: Computer Science
Managing Director at Morgan Stanley
Years of residency in Tuxedo:
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Coached many years of T-Ball in the Tuxedo Little League
Annual volunteer at the Tuxedo Park Library’s Memorial Day Community Picnic
Chaperoned multiple TUFSD School field trips
Worked volunteer events for the Tuxedo PTO
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
See Candidate Statement - Below
What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
See Candidate Statement - Below
My name is William (Bill) Givens, and I am running for the Tuxedo Union Free School District School Board, because I want to serve the community that my family and I have been a part of for the past 13 years. I have a degree in Economics, have 25 years’ experience in finance, and have spent the last 12 years at Morgan Stanley, where I am a Managing Director. All 3 of my children are currently, and have always attended TUFSD. My youngest attends GGM, while my older two have moved on to GFB. Between them, they have collectively attended 24 years of school in this district.
I strongly believe that all children are entitled to a quality public school education. As a taxpayer with children who attend TUFSD, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing the district. In particular, the delicate balance that needs to be struck between ensuring adequate funding for the school, and running it in a fiscally responsible way.
Our school has one job, which is to ensure that our children are getting a first-class educational foundation that will prepare them for whatever the next chapter in their lives may be. However, between the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the mid-year change in the district’s leadership, the past year has been extremely challenging for our children and our teachers. As we turn the corner on the challenges of the past year, I will push for safe open schools, our district to be more competitive, and for TUFSD to become the district of choice for parents, students, and teachers.
If elected, I will advocate for our children, hold the school’s administrators accountable for academic excellence, and demand that our tax dollars are spent wisely. I have strong analytical and communication skills and am not afraid to ask the tough questions that should be asked, which I think are essential tools for effective board service.
Change in Management for the Wee Wah Beach Club? (Posted 4/11/2021)
Village Mayor David McFadden has publicly proposed a new management structure for the Wee Wah Beach Club, raising flags of concern for many in the Tuxedo community. The beloved swim club has been in operation for 87 years and extends its membership to residents of the Hamlet and East Village neighborhoods in Town as well as local first responders and all Village Residents. Although issues with the Wee Wah Dam and Covid-19 have impacted the timeline for the last few summers, historically the Club has been in operation from Memorial Day through mid-September. During the rest of the year, the Village owned property is accessible to Tuxedo Park residents only. The Club is managed by its Executive Board, which is made up equally of members from both the Village and the Town.
Each year during the months of March and April, the Executive Board negotiates a lease agreement with the Village, allowing the Club to operate on the property. This year, Mayor McFadden is looking to make some major changes, which will likely have long-term impacts on the Club and its membership.
The annual lease agreement was discussed during the Village Board’s March 24 meeting, with the majority of Board members in favor of allowing the Club to operate during the 2021 swim season. There were a number of items to be finalized, such as the lease amount (several options were discussed), definitive dates of operation and Covid-19 protocols. It was agreed that the Mayor would meet privately with representatives of the Executive Board to iron out these details.
On April 9, the Executive Board circulated an email to their membership entitled Wee Wah Beach Club Proposal in which they reported that Mayor McFadden had proposed a “revamping of club operations” and further suggested that his proposal would ultimately eliminate the 87-year old Beach Club. Although they noted that the Mayor had assured them that the Club’s relationship with non-Village Resident members would be retained, they implored their membership to consider reaching out to the Village in support of the Club’s current and long-standing management plan, including email addresses for the individual Board members as well as copies of communications between the Executive Board and Mayor McFadden within their letter. (Click here to view the letter)
24 hours later, Mayor McFadden circulated an email to Village residents in which he addressed, among other things, his plans for the property. Citing his responsibility as Village fiduciary, the Mayor suggested that under the current lease agreement/system of management Village Taxpayers have been forced to shoulder the burden of property and facility maintenance costs and that having the Village take over ownership of the Health Permit, collection of membership fees and other payments, and definitive control of the finances and facilities would be more economically beneficial for the Village. He suggested that one reason that the Club had not been turning a profit in recent years could be because their membership dues were too low and that With the right balance of setting membership fees, improving the grounds, and paring down expenses, the Village could make money running the Club. He further proposed that although he supported having the Village take control of the both the finances and the facility, he would be happy to have the current Beach Club manage the day-to-day operations. In response to concerns about the Club’s membership, he proposed a 5 to a 10-year term of guaranteed hamlet membership as "a show of good faith.” (Click here to view an excerpt from the Mayor’s 4/10 e-mail to residents)
Mayor McFadden has stated that he invites constructive comments on the issue. The Board of Trustees will meet next on Wednesday, April 21 at 7pm. Anyone wishing to comment publicly can attend and do so during one of the public comment sessions. Otherwise, contact information for Mayor McFadden and the other members of the Board is as follows:
TUFSD Plans Budget With 0% Tax or Budget Increase Through 2023 (Posted 3/22/2021)
At least week's Board of Education meeting, TUFSD Consultant Dr. Ronald Valenti and Interim Superintendent Nicole Scariano revealed an unprecedented and exciting budget proposal for the District, which includes both a 0% tax levy and a 0% budget increase for the next two years! Yes, you read that correctly, the District is proposing to freeze the current budget of $13,699,535 and keep expenses entirely flat through 2023 and they intend to repair and replace aging infrastructure, upgrade both school buildings and enhance the academic program while doing it.
How are they going to make it happen?? The key component is the Districts’ Undesignated Fund Balance, which as of June 20, 2020 was $2,308,439, 17% above the 4% currently allowed by the State. The Undesignated Fund Balance is comprised of monies in the budget that have not been assigned to specific line items. In conducting a thorough analysis, Dr. Valenti has concluded that in keeping the budget flat by June 30 of 2023, the District will have an estimated $6,558,439 in Undesignated Fund Balance. $1,360,535 of this will be used to keep the tax rate at 0% through 2023. $4,300,000 can be used to fund facilities upgrades, specifically those projects that were put forward as part of the Districts Bond proposition, which was defeated by taxpayers in February of 2020. Some of these include roof, boiler, window and door replacements throughout the buildings, re-pointing of brick exteriors, mitigation of gutter, run-off and drainage issues, construction of entryway vestibules in both buildings, the addition of a handicap accessible ramp at the high school, a new playground for the elementary school and re-facing of the gymnasium. $92,000 will be used to offset the deficit in the school lunch program. The remainder of the money will be used to increase District Reserve Funds.
Several academic improvements including revised curricula in all subject areas, new textbooks, technology upgrades, software investments, library resources and enhanced professional development opportunities were also outlined as part of the presentation.
Dr. Valenti also outlined budget goals for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, including exploration of outsourcing options for the both the school bussing and school lunch programs as well as the development of a multi-year plan to bring 18 out-of-district
“This isn’t just about no tax increase,” said Board member Joe Rickard in response to the presentation, “this is about no budget increase. I don’t remember in the all the years I have been in Tuxedo a time when there has been both. I have tears in my eyes. To get this excess out of the budget and get it in the hands of special education placements back into Tuxedo schools. the students and protect our buildings is a major move forward and it’s also going to allow us to really think through educationally what we want to do for the District.”
TUFSD Board Plans for Full Scale Superintendent Search (Posted 2/17/2021)
The TUFSD Board of Education has begun laying out plans to conduct a full service Superintendent search following the January resignation of previous Superintendent, Timothy Bohlke.
As outlined during their February Workshop meeting, the search will be led by the District’s HR Consultant, Dr. Ronald Valenti and will adhere to a well-established timeline, resulting in the presentation of a slate of strong, qualified candidates to the Board of Education and the Community at large.
“The whole purpose of this search is to draw as wide a net as possible and to motivate as many potential candidates as we can find to be part of the process, particularly well qualified and certified individuals.” said Valenti as he laid out his proposed timeline, which calls for the majority of work to be done over 90 days during the months of March, April and May.
The search will be formally announced between March 1 – March 15, utilizing the District Website as well as carefully developed recruitment application materials. Dr. Valenti has also recommended that the District utilize the BOCES Network, OLAS, in addition to several State and National Organizations such as the New York Council of School Superintendents, the New York School Boards Association, the New York State Personnel and Business Associations, the American Association of School Administrators and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development to announce the search. He is also recommending that the District utilize the media with postings on Linked-In and INDEED as well print advertisements in the New York Times and Education Week in addition to other local news venues. Finally, he recommends a mailing be sent to all Hudson Valley Superintendents as well as to Regional Master’s and Doctoral Degree granting institutions.
Between March 15 and April 30 the District will engage in community outreach via a online survey entitled “Qualities of New Superintendent” as well as the formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee of 10-12, led by Dr. Valenti and consisting of 3 board members along with representatives of the professional associations (TTA & TEU unions) PTO, various community groups and local officials. This committee will ultimately be responsible for narrowing down the list of semi-finalists in order to present the Board with a slate of finalists. Along with the committee, Dr. Valenti has recommended a series of school community meetings for staff, parents and taxpayers/residents.
March 31 will be the final day for applications and nominations. Between April 1 and April 15, Dr. Valenti will conduct preliminary interviews with qualified candidates assembling a semi-finalist slate. These individuals will then be subject to background and reference checks. Between April 15 and April 30, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee will interview the semi-finalists with the hopes of putting together a slate of 4-6 finalists for the Board of Education. From May 3 to May 26 the Board of Education will conduct detailed interviews with the finalists with the intention of selecting a candidate. If all goes according to the proposed timeline, the District hopes to announce the appointment of a new Superintendent, effective July 1, 2021.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about how to get involved with either the Citizen’s Advisory Committee or one of the community meetings, we recommend contacting the Board of Education at email@example.com
Winter in Tuxedo - A Community Album (Posted 1/31/2021)
Tuxedo is a beautiful place when it snows! We've started an album showcasing pictures from snowstorms past. We hope you will enjooy checking out photos of the old toboggan run at the Tuxedo Club, turn of the century ice skating, and the beautiful snowly landscapes! Help us grow and expand our album to include all areas of Town by submitting your winter pictures to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Then check back here weekly or follow us on Facebook to view the album as it grows!
Adios 2020! Some Year End Stats for Tuxedo (Posted 1/1/2021)
There is no easy way to sum up 2020. It has truly been a year like no other. While one the one hand tumultuous, terrifying and tiresome, 2020 has also had its share of resiliency, heroism and hope.
A year ago the idea of lockdowns, mask mandates, social distancing, remote learning and Zoom meetings never crossed the minds of most people but now these concepts are a part of our daily lives and words like “quarantine,” “closed,” “canceled,” “paused,” and “postponed” are in heavy rotation. The Covid-19 Pandemic coupled with heightened concerns over racial justice and climate change has compelled us to rethink the ways in which we work, study, and socialize with varying degrees of success. Although there have been some silver linings in the perpetually cloudy skies, for most of us, it will be good riddance to a year of loss and turbulence. While we hope and pray that 2021 brings a better year, let's take a look back at some of the data from the whirlwind year that was 2020 in Tuxedo:
As of July 1, 2020 the total population in the Town of Tuxedo is 3,593. There are 628 people living in the Village of Tuxedo Park
There are 1,455 households in the the Town of Tuxedo. The average family size is 3. The average household income is $154,139. The average home value is $661, 731
There are 251 households in the Village of Tuxedo Park. The average family size is 2.5. The average household income is $196,194. The average home value is $1,336, 935
18 properties were sold in the Village of Tuxedo Park and 21 properties were sold in the Town of Tuxedo
22 couples applied for marriage licenses in the Town of Tuxedo during 2020 and 13 couple held their ceremonies here
Babies were welcomed, but none were born in Tuxedo. St. Mary’s celebrated 2 baptisms with one postponed until 2021
St. Mary’s hosted 61 Celebrations of the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and 40 on weekdays. There were 142 offices of morning and evening prayer and Saturday compline was offered 31 times. Live-streamed services were viewed over 4,000 times.
The Village of Tuxedo Park Police responded to 3,136 calls for service
There were a total of 42 crimes reported in the Village and 20 arrests (these include 15 non-custodial arrests for suspended license or suspended registration)
Village Police issued 165 traffic tickets and there were two motor vehicle accidents in the Park.
Village Police patrolled a total of 26,800 miles
13 Seniors graduated from George F. Baker High School 26 8th graders and 10 9th graders graduated from TPS
There were a total of 150 positive cases of Covid-19 in Tuxedo
The TUFSD reported 6 cases of Covid - 4 of these were students and 2 were faculty or staff
There were 21 deaths in the Town and 2 in the Village. There were 6 burials at St. Mary’s.
*This article will updated over the coming days as additional data is received. If you have any relevant data to contribute, please reach out to us via email at email@example.com
Please be aware that there will be a change to our usual mass schedule for the Christmas Season. We are limited to 50% capacity and must maintain social distancing. With that in mind we ask that you wait for an usher to seat you. Everyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask.
December 21, 2020 St. Joan of Arc – 3 to 4:30pm Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – 4:30-5:30pm
Christmas Mass Schedule
St. Joan of Arc
Christmas Eve – 4pm & 5:30pm
Christmas Day – 8:30am & 10:30AM
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Christmas Eve – 4:30pm & 6pm
Christmas Day – 8am & 10am
ST. ELIZABETH'S CHAPEL:
Due to the CV-19, services at St. Elizabeth’s Memorial Chapel – included the Christmas Eve carol service and Christmas day celebrations – are canceled until further notice. Please check our website for future updates. Thank you and stay safe.
The Cheymore Gallery Re-Opens October 24! 11am-3pm! (Posted 10/09/2020)
We are excited to announce the reopening of the gallery with an exhibition of Karen Lederer's paintings and monoprints. Karen Lederer 'Afternoon Sun' opens Saturday, October 24.
Karen Lederer received her BFA in Printmaking and Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 and an MFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. She was an artist in residence at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Lower East Side Printshop, and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. Her work has recently been featured in solo exhibitions at One River School, Guilford College Art Gallery, Tennis Elbow at The Journal Gallery, Grant Wahlquist Gallery, and Field Projects. She has participated in many group exhibitions most recently at Morgan Lehman, Danese/Corey, Gloria's Project Space, The Flinn Gallery, and Ortega Y Gasset Projects. She lives and works in Brooklyn.
There's Something for Everyone at Tuxedo Park Junk Shop! (Posted 9/10/2020)
Tuxedo Park Junk Shop opened in Tuxedo Square on New Years Eve of 2019, but it wasn’t until a bright green neon sign was installed earlier this summer that many residents realized it was there! The small gallery and antique shop specializes in fine art, fine jewelry, and objets. The collection is both extensive and eclectic. There is truly something for everyone to be found there!
Owner and Tuxedo resident Patrick Bradbury has worked in fashion for over 20 years. Originally from Minnesota, Patrick earned his BFA in modern dance from CalArts, before relocating to New York. He currently sits on the advisory board for RxArt, a non-profit that works with world-class contemporary artists like Jeff Koons and Ed Ruscha to place one of a kind art installations into children's hospitals. He is a lover of both American mid-century design and ceramics and this is evident when exploring the shop.
The fine art collection features photographs from Mapplethorpe, Man Ray, and Laurie Simmons to name just a few. The paintings are varied with examples from known artists such as Rolph Scarlett (whose abstract geometry was collected early on by the Guggenheim museum) There are collages from Chicago Bauhaus artist Edgar Bartolucci, Robert Rauschenberg and the legendary Texan Dorothy Hood. There are also prints from masters like Warhol, Dali, and Rauschenberg.
Bradbury also has a fascination with Chinese ceramics and has an extensive collection in the shop ranging from a Han Dynasty Cocoon Vessel from the 1st Century BC (to more modern Famille Rose pieces and everything in between.
Patrick’s eye for fashion has influenced the shop’s jewelry collection with everything from dramatic Navajo turquoise jewelry to vintage Elsa Schiaparelli, and a Wedding Cake Ring, with 8 canary yellow diamonds surrounded by a few dozen white diamonds in a tiered setting. Shoppers will find these items displayed amongst a variety of antique objets, many of which are several hundred years old.
For those of you looking for home wares, Tuxedo Park Junk Shop has plenty. “I have a section on my website called The Butler's Pantry,” notes Bradbury, “which highlights the fantastic selection of items for entertaining, such as Christofle champagne buckets, Lobmeyr champagne coupes, and stainless steel pots from the kitchen of the Four Season's restaurant.”
There is also a section of the shop dedicated to artsy, vintage toys.
“I want people to think of Tuxedo Park Junk Shop when they need to find a special gift - something one of a kind,” says Bradbury, “and I want them to drop in to browse and explore. I am constantly bringing in new things from auctions and dealers.”
Most recently, TPJS has collaborated with natural beauty maker Toni Hacker of Beacon Mercantile to produce a line of scented candles. The latest of these is called Stolen Bicycle and brings together lemon and mint, amber and neroli, and teakwood and leather.
While things may have gotten off to a bit of a quiet start, Patrick is extremely grateful for all the support he has received locally. “I have been so fortunate to have the support of some really fantastic residents like Elizabeth Grubagh, Kathy Norris, Jen and Pat from Dottie Audrey’s, Laura Denberg and the godfather of good taste, Michael Bruno, who has been uber-supportive.”
Tuxedo Park Junk Shop is currently open mostly on the weekends, but Bradury plans to expand his hours this fall. He is also available by appointment.
You can learn more by checking out their website www.tuxedoparkjunkshop.com or by following them on Instagram and Facebook.
Some of the galleries larger pieces can be found on display in both The Tuxedo Hudson RealtyandAntique Center as well as the Gallery at Valley Rock Inn.
You are a resident who surely values Tuxedo Park and its surroundings, so we thought you would like to ensure that it will thrive for many years to come.
The recent pandemic has undoubtedly reminded us of how important our unique oasis of tranquility, recreation, and family life is. It is an essential respite from urban life.
We also hope it inspires you to do even more to preserve our spectacular retreat by sending TPFYI a donation.
TPFYI is the only local news source about Tuxedo Park and the Town of Tuxedo. It has a high viewership averaging over 8,000 readers monthly. We strive to ensure that Tuxedo residents have a balanced source of timely and relevant information to the issues that are important to the future of both the Village and the Town. Over the years, our commitment to accurate, factual reporting has earned TPFYI the trust and respect of our community.
But with a website and reporter to maintain, many issues to review, and thousands of viewers each month, we count on Tuxedo residents like you to help keep TPFYI alive.
Our reporting covers tax review, lake maintenance, new developments, planned improvements, emergency information distribution, election coverage, historic preservation, and much more. TPFYI covers it all, providing a complete view of all municipal meetings.
Your donations provide the solid foundation TPFYI relies on to continue informing residents while delivering valuable content throughout the year. Annual expenses total $20,000. The majority of this pays for a reporter who attends all Village and Town municipal meetings, writes articles and services the website and social media accounts daily. This year your donation is even more vital as we update TPFYI’s website, newsletters, etc.
Individuals like you, who love Tuxedo, provide nearly all of the funds needed to keep TPFYI operating 365 days a year.
If you are one of our most loyal supporters, we profoundly thank you. If you would like to see, TPFYI continue, you must now show your support by making a significant donation to TPFYI’s 2020 annual appeal. Your gift can, of course, be anonymous, but you also have a choice to be listed on our website as a Friend ($100-$500), Supporter ($501-$1,000) or Patron (more than $1,000). Contributions of any amount will be gratefully accepted.
Make a lasting impact and return your most generous donation to TPFYI today.
Checks should be made out to Tuxedo Park Communications LLC. and mailed to:
PO Box 681
Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
With kind regards,
The Sponsors:Peter & Barbara Regna, David du Pont, Mary Graetzer, Inger Rein Grueterich,James & Nancy Hays, Sue Heywood, Kent Kroeber, Jake & Michele Lindsay, Meg Vaught.
TUFSD Unveils 'Return to Learn' Plan (Posted 8/14/2020)
The TUFSD has unveiled their 'Return to Learn' plan for re-opening in September. Families have been given a choice between full-day, in-person learning with safety protocols in place or remote instruction.
America's Favorite Pastime Comes to Tuxedo! (Posted 8/01/2020)
Are you looking for some quality, free, safe, outdoor entertainment??? You have the opportunity to watch excellent baseball this summer right in here Tuxedo! The I.D. League is a midweek college coaches baseball and softball exposure program and they have made Tuxedo’s Quarry Field their home for college league baseball this summer!
Under the direction of former pro player, manager and Don Bosco Alum/Coach Joe Clemente, games are played daily at Quarry Field (26 Warwick Brook Road) and feature some of the most talented high school and college ball players in the North East.
Official Games take place every Monday and Thursday at 2pm and 5pm with a tournament scheduled from 9am-7pm on Thursday August 13 and the League Finals to take place on Friday, August 14 from 10am-2pm.
So grab a lawn chair and a mask and come out to Quarry Field to indulge in some of America’s favorite pastime!! Cheer on future college and professional stars, while easily distancing from others! Fun for the whole family!
More Information about the I.D. League can found on their website idlsports.com.
People in Tuxedo are helping neighbors, especially at this time. But few know about the Trail Angels, who are helping strangers, and have been doing so for more than 20 years. Ever since 1999 the Tuxedo Trail Angels have been delivering fresh water to a spot in the northern part of Tuxedo just off East Mombasha Road where the 2100-mile Appalachian Trail crosses on its way from Georgia to Maine, or vice versa. The tradition started when Edie Sonne of Tuxedo Park hiked the entire trail and told about ”trail angels” who had delivered magic to her and her fellow hikers along the way. She also told about the serious lack of good water in this area, a fact that is regularly borne out by notes from the hikers about the pond scum that they had been trying to filter for consumption.
The group of Angels consists of five or six locals who take turns delivering gallon jugs of water. July is the busiest and most demanding time, so now an Angel goes every three days with eight gallons. The same people seem to volunteer year after year, though the group diminishes now and again as a result of death (Lucy Edwards, Chris Sonne) or departure (Betty McWhorter, Thayer Woodcock, Chauncie Rodzianko) and then we are looking for new recruits.
Why do we do it? The answer is simple, and is confirmed every time we read the log book that is left by the water. The hikers are so grateful, and they love us, and bless us and shower us with words that make us feel good because we have made them feel good. Some have even told us that we saved their lives. Here are a few comments taken from the book: “I love you guys, may this year’s harvest be bountiful and your chickens lay 1000 eggs.” “Awesome water cache.” “Thanks for the water as we take one step at a time.” “ I look to the mountains, where does my help come from….” “ I lost my water filter, and then one of my two nalgenes. Thank you…the best thing that has touched my lips in days.” “Thank you – it’s my birthday.” And on and on.
Sometimes we meet hikers, but often we silently drop off the bottles, read the messages, and wait for our next turn. We might even be in a hurry if it is raining, or the bugs are biting. The hikers we do meet all seem to be happy and positive about their journeys, even when they are battling bugs and sweating in the humidity. Just last week Odeta, one of the Angels, had a most interesting experience when she met one guy, and they chatted for a long time. Here is her account: “It was my turn to drop off water at the Appalachian Trail on early Sunday morning. And what a morning it was! I met a most fascinating hiker, Cheshire Cat (David) with his well-trained dog Stella Blue. He has been hiking for the past few years all over the country. He told funny, interesting, frightening at times stories about his adventures and people he met on the way. He told me about Trail Angels he encountered on his expeditions on the West Coast, East Coast and in the desert. David told me a story how a few days ago he shared some of his rations with other hikers on AT. Next day he reached Mt. Peter and ordered a hot dog for himself and his dog at the stand. The shop owner said to him “no charge, the other hikers told me about how Cheshire Cat shared his food with them.” David said with tears in his eyes how moving it is to receive such kindness, he equated the encounter at the hot dog stand with finding fresh water. He said over and over how these simple acts of kindness inspire and touch so many people, how it becomes a ripple effect, a chain of magic links and makes everyone a better person making the world a better place for all. He repeated a few times ‘you don’t even know how much joy you bring with the fresh water from Tuxedo Park! Blessings and God’s love to you all Trail Angels.’ Now, that brought me to tears.” That sums it up!
2020 Trail Angels – Sally Sonne, Odeta Beggel, Lili Neuhauser, Tom Fuller, Paul Gluck
The Tuxedo Bears have been active over the past couple of weeks! Have you seen these guys?!!? If you have or if you do.....snap a picture or a video and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit it to us on Facebook. Help us build our Tuxedo Bears 2020 Community Album! Updates are posted every two weeks!
Our neighborhood bears have been busy these past couple of weeks! Thank you to all who contributed photos! The full album can be viewed on our Facebook page. We will continue to update it every two weeks, so if you happen to see our furry friends, grab a camera and submit your photos to us at email@example.com!
It’s Bear Season Tuxedo…and photos of Mama Bears with cubs and large papa bears roaming around on their own have been popping up in news feeds all over Town! Although they can be a nuisance when digging through trashcans and ransacking bird feeders, black bears are beautiful creatures!
Over the summer months, TPFYI will be creating a bi-monthly chronicle of the Tuxedo Bears for publication every other Friday comprised of photos and videos shot by YOU….the residents of Tuxedo!! Please submit your photos either via in-box here on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is critical that residents keep in mind the BearWise Basics and always use extreme caution when photographing and or videoing bears!
We look forward to seeing your photos and videos!
Now check out this guy….spotted just inside the Front Gate of Tuxedo Park this past Friday Evening.
Residents of Tuxedo Park Take A Knee for George Floyd (Posted 6/5/2020)
A group of more than 75 Tuxedo Park residents gathered in front of American flag located in front of the police station on behalf of the late George Floyd Tuesday evening in an event organized by village residents.
Mayor David McFadden greeted his fellow residents and introduced the primary speaker, a civil rights attorney who lives in the village, who spoke for 15-minutes about the discrimination over the course of the country’s history as a republic including a woman’s right to vote, marriage equality, LBGT rights and systemic racism.
The mayor described the event as non-partisan. “We started and ended the gathering with a prayer from St. Mary’s in Tuxedo Episcopal Church’s the Rev. Rick Datos-Robyn.
“Four to five young folks and four to five adults spoke to the crowd with very personal statements appealing for peace, ending racism at all levels, importance of voting and the responsibilities of each generation,” McFadden added.
“I spoke about our goal of returning the attention back to George Floyd where it belongs and away from those who have hijacked the message by looting and rioting.
“We all took a knee to open the gathering and during the closing prayer,” the mayor said. “Two of our on-duty police officers joined with us and participated in the gathering. There were only several signs and a minimal amount of chanting. We all had masks and did our best to social distance. The event lasted from 5:30 to 6:30 with many staying and talking after the event was over.”
*Follow this link to view original article in the Phtonews:
Michael Bruno Launches New Platform Aimed at Saving Small Businesses in Upstate New York
Local Entrepreneur and founder of 1stdibs.com, Michael Bruno has created a new platform aimed at helping small business in Upstate NY make it through and service the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tastemakers Guide is a free platform allowing 300+ crucial small businesses in the food and dining, hospitality, art, and design fields to connect, share their current operating status and update their notes from the field in real-time.
"There are so many places to go to have an intimate experience in Upstate NY,” says Bruno of the site, which launched earlier this week. “We wanted to make it easy to find out who is open and what they have to offer – all in one place. The guide focuses on places to go in the art, design, hospitality and natural worlds. Most of the places within the guide were shared by some very cool Tastemakers who live in or frequent the Hudson Valley and Upstate region.”
Michael Bruno firmly believes in supporting small businesses and is passionate about the Upstate region – he thinks it’s the closest thing America has to the European countryside with locally-owned inns, restaurants, farms, and shops scattered throughout the region. He also lives and works in the lower Hudson Valley (less than 1 hour from NYC) and employs a team of locals at his boutique hospitality property, Valley Rock Inn and Market.
As the founder and CEO of 1stdibs.com for 17 years, Michael found himself in charge of a large online community of small business owners during 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 financial crisis. The entrepreneurs that were on his site came through these difficult times stronger than ever because of their strength in numbers. He is applying those same principles in a grassroots effort to Tastemakers Guide and is fortunate enough to have the resources to cover the cost of running the platform and providing it to businesses for free after selling 1stdibs.
Michael has also enlisted the help of several lawyers to work pro-bono to break down the new Federal and NY State Government programs (grants and loans) that help small businesses, as well as to offer them guidance while they are applying for these potential lifelines.
Learn more about the genisis of Tastemakers Guide and Mr. Bruno himself by checking this cool Q&A session on the Tastemakers Guide website....and don’t forget the explore the site while you are there!
TUFSD Capital Bond Vote to Take Place February 25 (Posted 2/4/2020)
On February 25, 2020, the Tuxedo Union Free School District will ask voters to approve a Capital Bond Project in the amount of $4.2 million.
The proposed project comes at the end of an extensive two-year review process, during which the Board of Education carefully assessed the recommendations from Middletown-based architecture & engineering firm Clark, Patterson Lee. Every five years, the New York State Education Department mandates that school districts hire a third party company to perform a thorough inspection of all buildings. The result of these inspections is a Buildings Conditions Survey, which is essentially a laundry list of items in need of improvement, repair or replacement.
The estimate for all of the work as originally proposed to the Board of Education back in 2017 was just over $7 million, however in evaluating the survey and assessing the immediate needs, they have reduced that amount by almost half. In an effort to further reduce the burden to their taxpayers, the District has decided to put $1.2 million in reserve funds towards project, brining the total tax impact down to $3 million.
Some of the items Included in the proposed project include:
Façade Improvements to include repointing of the brick masonry
Structural Improvements in the Boiler Room
Select Exterior Door Replacements
New Security entrances in both the High School and Elementary School
Structural Improvements to the front steps at the High School
New ventilation system in the auditorium
Roofing restorations for flat areas at both the Elementary and High Schools
Installation of a Handicap accessible ramp at the High School
Window replacements in the elementary school
New C02 Detectors
Site Drainage Improvements
Also, included is a façade renovation of the gymnasium and the installation of a small playground behind the elementary school, which will service the Districts’ new Pre-K program in addition to students at the lower grade levels.
Detailed information clearly outlining what has been proposed at each building can be found by following the links below.
So how will the bond impact your taxes if approved??
The increase in tax is based on assessed property value. More specifically, it is estimated that it will cost the taxpayers $1.485 per $1,000 assessed value. What does this mean?
Freely translated, a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would see a $148.5 increase in annual taxes.
To help folks get a better understanding of what this might mean for them, the District has put together a spreadsheet based on recent home sales in the various neighborhoods effected (including East Village, the Woodlands, Maplebrook, Table Rock, Hamilton Estates, Sterling Mine Road, The Village of Tuxedo Park and School House Lane.) detailing the estimated impact for various types of homes in each neighborhood. Click here to view that information.
All of this information has been presented in detail in public meetings before both the Town Board and the Village Board of Trustees. There will be two additional community based meetings on Thursday, February 6 at 6pm and Saturday, February 22 at 10am in the Community Room at the High School. School District residents are encouraged attend these meetings, where they will have the opportunity to ask questions of both the District and the project engineers.
The Bond resolution vote will take place on Tuesday, February 25 from 2-9pm in the Multi-Purpose room at the George Grant Mason Elementary School.
Village Hires New Chief of Police (Posted 1/20/2020)
At their meeting on Wednesday, January 16 the Village Board of Trustees voted in favor of hiring Dave Conklin as the next Chief of Police in Tuxedo Park. Chief Conklin comes to the Village with 28 years of Police experience including time spent as an officer, detective and Sheriffs deputy in addition to two years as Chief of Police in the Village of Monroe.
Although a life-long resident of Monroe, Conklin is no stranger to Tuxedo, having served five years with the Town of Tuxedo Police (1995-2000) prior to his service in the Monroe department. He is also no stranger to the Village as his younger brother Jason Conklin, a Tuxedo Park Police Officer, was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident in the line of duty in 1997.
In a recent letter to the community, Mayor McFadden cited Conklin’s experience as a certified police instructor with strong human resource skills and record of reducing both sick-time and overtime expenditures. The Mayor also highlighted Conklin’s track record of developing both community policing programs and various communications platforms for the purpose of keeping residents well informed. Monroe Town Supervisor, Tony Cardone, is quoted as having said “Dave has been nothing short of upstanding, honest and diligent as a Police Officer and Chief over the many years he served Monroe. He represented all of us well, served us with honor, and has been involved in the Monroe Community as a person of integrity.”
Conklin’s prior experience as a Police Chief coupled with his knowledge of the Tuxedo community should allow him to “hit the ground running” when he begins work in early February.
Welcome to Tuxedo Park Chief Conklin! The Village is lucky to have you!
The Legion, located in Southfields NY, boasts 2500 Square Feet of beautifully renovated space available to host your next event. Top Floor seats over 100 people with plenty of room for a dance floor. Bottom Floor features a sitting area, pool table, foosball table, full kitchen, two bathrooms, 65 inch TV and Bar.
Great space for a Birthday Party, Communion, Baptism, Bridal/Baby shower, Graduation, Holiday party or Business Meetings. Also great rental space to host Sip and Paint or Yoga/Zumba class. The options are endless!
Give them a call at (845) 591-8972 for additional information and rental rates.
Many of you may be aware that Billy Saul our recycling man was injured on the job at the Sterling Carting Transfer Station and is unable to work. He is now on a much reduced income. Billy has always gone that extra mile to be helpful to so many of us. With the holiday season here if anybody would like to send him a Get Well/Merry Christmas Card or even send his Holiday Tip to him, it’s likely his wife Theresa and family would greatly appreciate that.
His family’s address is:
30 Mueller Rd.
There’s a new Urgent Care in Town!! Tuxedo Park Urgent Care, located on the Northern side of The Duck Cedar Plaza, opened its doors back in October and is ready and waiting to serve patients on a walk-in basis. The attending Physician/Medical Director is Dr. Henry Baquiran. Dr. Baquiran graduated from University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine & Surgery in 1978 and has been in practice for 40 years. Having begun his career working in emergency surgery at St. Claire Hospital in Manhattan, Dr. Baquiran made the jump to the urgent care business after filling in at a friends practice in Norwood, NJ. Delighted by the ability to easily serve patients in need, he decided to open his own practice, Health First, in Hewitt NJ in 1989. It did not take long for him to build up a successful practice, with a reputation for speedy, high quality service. (Average wait time 15 minutes or less) In 2013, after 25 years in Hewitt, Dr. Baquiran was invited to join the Valley Medical Group, which he did, and he remained with them until 2018, when once again he decided to strike out on his own. Closing his office in Hewitt, Dr. Baquiran spent a brief period of time working at American Family Care in Airmont, before opening Tuxedo Park Urgent care in the fall of 2019.
In addition to practicing both Emergency and Family Medicine, Dr. Baquuiran provides services that many other Urgent Cares do not offer on site….he will take blood and send it for testing, he will sew stiches and he has both X-Ray and EKG capability. He has and will administer flu shots. He serves patients of all ages, including infants. He accepts most insurances including Medicare. He also has a working relationship with Haas Pharmacy in Sloatsburg!
So, whether you’ve got an emergency, a cold/virus or are just looking for a more convenient, localized Doctor, Tuxedo Park Urgent Care has you covered! Drop by or give them call!
Hours of Operation:
Monday- Friday 9am-6pm
Saturday - 9am-3pm
Tuesday November 5 is Election Day and this year voters in the Town of Tuxedo will have some important decisions to make when they head to the polls. 6 candidates are vying for 3 open spots, those of Town Supervisor and two seats on the council.
The candidates are as follows:
Supervisor – Ken English
Council – Michele K Lindsay
Council – Maria May
Supervisor – Michael Rost
Council – Chris Dollbaum
Council – John McNamara
Additionaly the following are running unopposed:
Town Clerk – Donnna Matthews
Highway Superintendent – Rob Dollbaum
In an effort to help residents get a better idea of who the candidates for Town Supervisor and Town Council are, why they have chosen to run and what their priorities will be if elected, TPFYI presented each Candidate with a brief questionnaire. Below please find their unedited responses posted in the order that they were received.
Candidate: Kenneth English - Tuxedo Town Councilperson, candidate for Tuxedo Town Supervisor
Vocation: Director for Adult English Language and Literacy Instruction for the New York Public Library System for 23 years.
Tuxedo Town Coucilperson, committed to public service.
Years of Residency in the Town My wife Carolyn and I moved to Tuxedo In January 2004. We have been hiking in Harriman State Park since 1973 which motivated our dream to live here.
Government Experience I was elected to the Tuxedo Town Board as a Councilperson in November 2017. Since moving here in 2004, I have been a regular participant in Town Hall meetings and I have continued to grow in my knowledge of how local government works through experience, formal training and study.
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo • I am the President of the Northern Tuxedo Residents Association, (NTRA), a group of over fifty families that is focused on improving and protecting Tuxedo, building relationships with local government officials, beautifying Tuxedo, and bringing residents together.
• I am an active volunteer for the NY/NJ Trail Conference, maintaining local trails in Harriman and Sterling Forest, and I engage in fund-raising and advocacy efforts.
• I have been leading a study circle group at the Tuxedo Library on the basics of local government with Councilperson Michele Lindsay. We have delivered eight sessions in 2019 and plan on continuing the well received series.
Why are You running for Supervisor or Town Council? Local government is the foundation for our democracy and has the most impact on our community. It is where residents need to come together to build consensus and a vision for our future. My experience in public service at the New York Public Library and locally here as a member of the Town Board and President of the Northern Tuxedo Residents Association has given me the opportunity to develop my skills for team building and leadership. I hope to use that experience to rally residents to get engaged and work together with all of the dedicated Tuxedo public service professionals to continue to move our town forward. I love Tuxedo and am committed to its future.
What attributes will You bring to the Town Government? • Respect
• Fiscal responsibility
• Attentiveness to details
• The time in my life to seriously devote to community service
What are the three most important issues currently facing the Town? 1. The refinement of our Comprehensive Plan that defines how we will promote the development of businesses and housing that is needed to expand our tax base, attract new families, bring jobs and needed amenities, and keep Tuxedo a community that is affordable for our growing senior population. It’s imperative that we have a Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code that highlights opportunities and demonstrates that Tuxedo welcomes business and articulates what we want our community to look like.
2. Resolving the issues around the Hamlet sewer district and the need to bring on line the new sewage treatment plant. Additionally, the Long Meadow Road Highway Department’s facility has a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) consent order that mandates the clean up of the site. Both of these issues present major fiscal liabilities and environmental concerns to the town.
3. Engaging residents in local government by educating and encouraging concerned neighbors to get involved and form or join local organizations (Volunteer fire departments, attend school board meetings, come to Town Hall meetings, consider service on the Planning and Zoning Boards, join or form resident associations, etc.) We must encourage qualified people to seek public office and positions of service to the community. Take your kids to Town Hall. We need to nurture the leaders of the future. And don’t forget to VOTE! Usually less that 40% of registered voters exercise their civic duty.
If anyone would like to communicate with me directly send me an email, KennethEnglishforTuxedo@gmail.com
Candidate: Michael Rost
Vocation: Town Supervisor
Years of Residency in the Town 23yrs
Government Experience 6yrs as Town Supervisor
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo PTO, Scouts, WeeWah Beach Club, Coach/Manager and President of Tuxedo Little League
Why are You running for Supervisor or Town Council? After 6yrs of “fixing” the deficiencies of the Town, I now want to grow and build the Town to what it should be.
What attributes will You bring to the Town Government? Management.
Fiscal responsibility, budgeting, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, streamlining government and improving efficiencies to better serve our residents.
What are the three most important issues currently facing the Town? Outside of Tuxedo, the Town is perceived as fighting growth. Examples would be Tuxedo Farms and Duck Cedar Plaza. The owners of the plaza sold the building because they assumed residents would “fight” growth such as a 7-11. We need to demonstrate that Tuxedo is Open For Business!
Board divided- The Town board needs to work together better and put personal agendas aside. Work needs to be done in between meetings so when we have the meetings, we are prepared to take action instead of talking and getting nothing accomplished.
Keep taxes and spending under control.
Candidate: Chris Dollbaum – Town Council
Vocation: National Project Director – Interstate Restoration & Construction
Years of Residency in the Town 1987 – Present
Government Experience While I do not have any personal government experience, I have handled several large-scale construction projects on behalf of government entities.
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo
Why are You running for Supervisor or Town Council? I am running for Town Council because I want to help Tuxedo make forward progress. For too long, we have been a forgotten stretch of highway on the Rt. 17 Corridor. If elected, I will work to encourage small business development from Southfields to the Hamlet, while maintaining our historic small-town charm.
What attributes will You bring to the Town Government? A strong background in construction and development has strengthened my leadership and ingenuity. It has also taught me to persevere when challenges arise. I have managed multimillion-dollar budgets and negotiated contracts of equal magnitude. Beyond that, I take pride in my integrity and doing the right thing.
What are the three most important issues currently facing the Town? The three biggest issues facing our town are obvious, to me:
• The stalled development at Tuxedo Farms.
• The low enrollment of our wonderful school system.
• A lack of places to grab a bite to eat, have a post-work cocktail, or go shopping.
I believe that all of these are tied together, starting with Tuxedo Farms. If we get the single-family development structure, that has been proposed, this will increase our school enrollment and tax revenue. This will add to the population of our town, creating a wider demand for the goods and services of small businesses. If elected, I will work with the other board members to make this a reality.
Candidate: John McNamara
Vocation: Vice President, Business Control Manager, at one of the top l0 financial companies in the US.
Years of Residency in the Town 20 Years
Government Experience 1st time candidate.
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo I’m looking forward to identifying volunteer opportunities where I can best serve utilizing my skills.
Why are You running for Supervisor or Town Council? I want to give back to the Town of Tuxedo by contributing my business leadership skills, experience working with groups and projects, and my passion to make the Town of Tuxedo the best place to live that it can be.
What attributes will You bring to the Town Government? 28 years of financial services experience which included:
Directly lead a team of 40 salespeople
Responsible for managing the P&L, compliance, and recruiting. Regulatory oversight for over 50 sales employees
Manage internal and external compliance examinations
Project management from start to end.
Good common sense
Ability to see the big picture
Ability to understand and explain complex ideas in a simple and clear way
What are the three most important issues currently facing the Town? We need to keep our focus on economic development that adds value and prosperity to our community. Make it easier to do business in our town!
We need to continue the balanced approach to keeping taxes low while preserving and expanding services in a fiscally responsible manner.
We need to continue to be innovative, smart, and open to new ideas to preserve the most important assets our town has - our residents. An example is the recently enacted elector-initiated Pl an of Consolidation, that allows our leadership to determine whether or not pipelines can run through our town.
Michele K. Lindsay
Candidate: Michele Kennedy Lindsay
Vocation: Town of Tuxedo Councilwoman since January 2016. Former Vice President at JPMorgan with a career in monetary policy research and municipal finance.
Years of Residency in the Town My husband Jake and I moved to Tuxedo Park in 1995. We were drawn here by the opportunity to raise our two daughters, Hillary and Claire, in a small town with such natural beauty.
Government Experience I During my four years on the Town Board I have taken advantage of conferences and training in local governance by New York State, the Association of Towns, Orange County Planning Department as well as regional organizations. While continuing to learn more, I am knowledgeable about proper procedures of municipal operations and laws.
As Economic Development liaison I am leading workshops with Orange County Directors of Development and Tourism, Tuxedo business leaders and residents. As leader of the Climate Smart task force I am working with the Hudson Valley Regional Council, Orange County Planning and local professionals.
I have successfully secured grant monies from State and Federal programs.
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo • Treasurer, St. Mary’s Preschool
• Chair, Village Improvement Advisory Committee
• President, Tuxedo Park Garden Club
• Chair, various committees at Tuxedo Park School
• Member, Sterling Forest Partnership
• Co-facilitator, Library Series on Local Government with Councilman Ken English
Why are You running for Supervisor or Town Council? Since moving to Tuxedo I have been motivated to work for economic development that will provide good local jobs and revenues to keep taxes low so the town can provide necessary services for residents. I believe it is important to work collaboratively with residents to form and work towards a vision for the future of Tuxedo. In reaching out to neighbors in the different areas of town I have learned how dedicated we all are to the Town and to building a better Tuxedo. It is important to me that we grow so that seniors can stay in their homes and people will be attracted to move here as we were 24 years ago.
My goal is to establish a town council that is welcoming to all, transparent, visionary and solutions-oriented. I am proud of all the people who work for the Town with dedication and I want to ensure that they are fulfilled in their important roles for Tuxedo.
I believe it is crucial to develop relationships with State and County officials and regional organizations in order to secure support and funding for growth in Tuxedo. In building these relationships I have learned about resources and ideas that will help us achieve our goals.
I believe it is important that Councilmembers are independent and represent all areas of Tuxedo.
What attributes will You bring to the Town Government? • Experience
• Relationship building
• Fiscal responsibility
• Strategic planning ability
• Commitment to Tuxedo residents
• Belief that we can all work together
• Desire to learn from residents
• Attention to details and proper procedures
What are the three most important issues currently facing the Town? 1. Economic development, fiscal responsibility and long-term planning go together. We must keep taxes low and strengthen our schools by attracting businesses and new residents to town. The Economic Development group I am working with brings the expertise we need to reach these goals. I want to work with the private developers towards the successful development of Tuxedo Farms. And I believe we can create a long-term plan for the best use of town assets, including Quarry Field and Powerhouse Park.
2. An informed and engaged public is essential to successful government. I want to conduct open workshops before Public Hearings so that people are prepared to contribute important comments on the budget, new laws and other issues facing Tuxedo.
3. I pledge environmental leadership to reduce energy costs for taxpayers and to work toward climate mitigation and infrastructure improvements. As the task leader for the Climate Smart group I am working with professionals toward Certification that will allow us to apply for grants to further our energy reduction goals.
Candidate: Maria May
Vocation: As an educator with a Ph.D. from Fordham University, I’ve had the opportunity to experience different professional roles. I have been a teacher, Director of Admissions and Development, Literacy Specialist and college professor.
Years of Residency in the Town: I have lived in the Southfields Hamlet of Tuxedo since 2009
Government Experience: Although I’m a first-time candidate, I’ve been involved with local issues and in local campaigns for the past few years. In my work with the Regional Board of the PTA and Advocacy Committee of the Suffern Central School District, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Representatives Brabenec and Jaffe and with local education leaders on issues affecting schools, students and families. I was also a part of NYS revision of the Common Core Education Standard as a Technical Advisor to the Governor's Common Core Taskforce.
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Board Member of the Central Hudson Regional PTA
Volunteered at the Tuxedo Library Memorial Day Community Picnic
I have also volunteered for the Tuxedo Economic Development Group, a citizen’s advisory committee that aims to bring the Town Board, Tuxedo business leaders and residents together to foster business growth in town.
Why are You running for Supervisor or Town Council?:
I am running to be a Tuxedo Town Council person because I want to give back to the town that has been my home for the past 10 years. I love Tuxedo, its historical significance, natural beauty, and most of all its caring neighbors. I believe that our town deserves leadership that is inclusive, professional, transparent and accountable. I also believe that my experience, broad knowledge and character have prepared me to be that kind of leader and public servant. Advocating for children and families has enabled me to develop a varied skill set that includes the ability to plan, listen and work well with people; to gather and synthesize ideas, and to work across professional and political ideologies.
What attributes will You bring to the Town Government?:
I’m a caring individual committed to listen, learn and advocate for the benefit of all Tuxedo residents
As a person who has undergone the rigorous process of achieving multiple advanced degrees while raising children and working full time, I have the intellectual capacity and persistence to see projects through. I’m able to plan strategically, listen to multiple points of view and to gather and synthesize issues and ideas.
As a single mother who raised two successful college graduate daughters on a single income, I know the importance of fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint. I aim to bring that experience and frame of mind to budgetary issues in Tuxedo
What are the three most important issues currently facing the Town?
Business development is an important issue currently facing our town. While out canvassing I repeatedly heard neighbors pleading for a local market and an increase in essential services. While communities surrounding us have experienced a huge business boom, this kind of economic growth has so far eluded Tuxedo. As part of the Economic Development group, I am working with Councilwoman Michele Lindsay, business and county leaders and town residents to explore ideas and possibilities that will lead to economic development and growth in Tuxedo.
Another issue I think the town needs to address is transparency and public engagement. I think that Town Board leadership needs to be more open with residents about crucial issues of high impact. We need regular updates on the Tuxedo Farms development project, as well as on the waste dump at the Highway Department yard and the aging sewer plant in the downtown area. These issues have a serious impact on residents and can become a financial liability to taxpayers. Informing the public with well-advertised hearings and workshops will go a long way to make residents feel listened to, informed, invested and engaged.
A third issue is fiscal responsibility and strategic planning that will facilitate sustainable economic growth. To me this means completing the town code in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan so that folks wanting to invest in our town will have a good idea of the needs and opportunities Tuxedo presents. Enacting the Comprehensive Plan and keeping taxes low will lead to new business opportunities, attract young families that can add enrollment to our schools, allow seniors to stay in their homes, and bring the resident base needed to attract the amenities folks in town long for.
Voting on November 5 will take place from 6am-9pm at the following locations:
Orange County Board of Elections Polling Site List General Election - November 5, 2019
Town/City Election District Polling Site Location
Tuxedo Dist 1 & 3 Tuxedo Town Hall
Tuxedo Dist 2 Sterling Forest Fire House
Tuxedo Dist 4 Eagle Valley Fire House
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature agreed to allow early voting in New York, making it one of 39 states that will let residents vote for federal, state and local offices before Election Day. Residents can now vote at a polling site in their county as much as nine days early. Early voting opens Saturday, Oct. 26, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 3. The law requires each county to have at least one polling site, depending on its size. The law mandates one site per 50,000 registered voters, but doesn't require more than seven sites. Tuxedo’s early polling site is the Warwick Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Highway in Warwick.
No free time on Tuesday November 5, 2019.......
GO VOTE EARLY !!!
Saturday - October 26, 2019 10am to 3pm
Sunday - October 27, 2019 10am to 3pm Monday - October 28, 2019 - Noon to 8pm
Tuesday - October 29, 2019 7am to 3pm
Wednesday - October 30, 2019 Noon to 8pm
Thursday - October 31, 2019 - 9am to 5pm
Friday - November 1, 2019 Noon to 8pm Saturday
Saturday - November 2, 2019 1pm to 6pm
Sunday - November 3, 2019 - 10am to 3pm
After what seemed like an almost interminable wait, Steve’s Wood Fired Pizza finally opened it’s doors for business on Wednesday October 2!
Although the grand opening, originally scheduled for this past July, was delayed due to permitting issues with the County, locals were not deterred and opening day found long lines of hungry residents looking to sample the specialty pizza. Initial feedback has been fabulous!
The menu is simple and competitively priced. Diners can choose between a variety of delicious brick oven pizzas, salads, burgers and sandwiches.
The inside of the building has been elegantly designed to include a simple, yet tasteful and comfortable eating are with decor largely focused on trains (no doubt an homage to the tracks that run just behind the building).
Steve’s mission is to offer value while serving high quality food prepared in a pristine open kitchen. The focal point of the kitchen is a beautiful, large customized brick oven and patrons can watch all the action as each pizza is made to order. "We want our guests to feel connected to the kitchen and part of the community that makes Tuxedo such an important gateway to the Hudson Valley region,” says owner Steve Germano.
Germano operated a successful brick oven pizzeria in Ridgewood, NJ from 1996-2004. Germano sold his restaurant to pursue manufacturing / distributing two patented products invented while operating his restaurant. That company has grown to become an equipment dealer for pasta and pizza cuisine, you can visit his store at www.pastapizzastore.com.
There has been some concern with regard to parking, as spots are limited. In many cases patrons are parking at the school across the street and crossing Route17 on foot. This poses an issue of sorts as there is only one crosswalk and it is located at the northern end of the school property. Although it may not seem it, crossing at the southern end of the property, directly across from the restaurant, is quite dangerous due to the combined lack of lighting and speed of motorists coming into Tuxedo from the South. Because Route 17 is a State Road, neither the Town nor the School District have the authority to replace or install signage indicating the boundaries of the School Zone or the reduction in speed limit. Representatives from the Town and the School District have reportedly been working together to lobby Senator Jenn Metzger for help in getting the appropriate signage, and possibly even second crosswalk installed in an effort to ensure the safety of those crossing the street in that area. In the meantime, those who choose to park at the school should plan to use the crosswalk to get over to Steves.
This is an appeal from TPFYI, your trusted source of local news and information, for a contribution.
TPFYI enjoys high readership. Monthly viewership averages 8,000. The site is the only source of local news about Tuxedo Park and the Town of Tuxedo. We strive to ensure that the residents of Tuxedo have a balanced source of information that is timely and relevant to the issues that are
important to the future of both the Village and the Town. Over the years our commitment to unbiased, factual reporting has earned TPFYI the trust and respect of our community.
Since its inception in 2006 the TPFYI website has been privately financed through contributions, primarily from one local resident. Annual expenses total $20,000. The majority of this sum goes to pay for reporters who attend all Village and town municipal meetings, write articles and service the website and social media account on a daily basis.
Last year, we sent out a fund raising letter to readers in an attempt to offset these costs. The effort raised roughly 30% of the annual expenses. Our goal is to have contributions from our readership fund the majority of our costs. If you would like to see TPFYI continue, please show your support by making a significant donation in 2019. Your gift can of course be anonymous, but you also have a choice to be listed on our website as a Friend ($100-$500), Supporter ($501-$1,000) or Patron (more than $1,000) Contributions of any amount will be gratefully accepted. Checks should be made out to TPFYI and mailed to: TPFYI PO Box 681 Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Peter & Barbara Regna, David du Pont, Mary Graetzer, Inger Rein Gruterich James & Nancy Hays, Sue Heywood, Kent Kroeber, Jake & Michele Lindsay, Meg Vaught
New Series About Local Government Begins This Week at the Tuxedo Park Library
Tuxedo Councilpersons Ken English and Michele Lindsay have scheduled a new series about local government at the Tuxedo Park Library. The goal is to engage residents in discussion and to provide information that will empower them to participate more fully in Town and Village governments. Registration is required on the library website or by calling 845-351-2007.
Wednesday, August 14, from 7:00 – 8:30 Changes in Election Law
with Louise Vandemark, Commissioner, Orange County Board of Elections
Early voting: poll locations and dates
Voter registration: deadlines, party registration, changing registration
How to become a poll watcher
Local political party committees
How to run for local office
Upcoming dates are Wednesdays, September 18; October 16; November 13 and December 18. Topics will include Open Meetings Law, Long-Term Capital Planning, Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code, Public Hearings and Getting Involved with Local Government.
Village Planning Board Poised to Approve 9-Lot Subdivision
Posted July 24, 2019
After more than a decade of intense review, the Village Planning Board is poised to approve the Overton Subdivision early next month. The subdivision is a project consisting of 9 buildable lots to be located on both Mountain Farm and Camp Comfort Roads near the Tuxedo Park School. The lots range in size from 4 to 7 acres and take up a total of 67 acres, however only 11 acres of disturbance is anticipated from construction. Five of the lots will be serviced by a private access road, to be constructed. Two of the remaining 4 lots will have private driveways off of Camp Comfort Road and two will have driveways linked to a pre-existing driveway on Mountain Farm Road. It is anticipated that building permits will be granted at a rate of 2 per year in order to minimize the impacts of construction. The project has undergone an extensive environmental review, addressing a multitude of issues such as land disturbance, construction, water, sewer and traffic.
Once the application has received Planning Board approval, the Board of Trustees will also need to issue some approvals before the project can move forward. These pertain primarily to water and sewer hook-ups for 5 of the lots, which are considered by the DEC to be “extensions.” As there is currently a DEC enforced moratorium preventing the hook-up of extensions, Overton will have to finance certain mitigation efforts as defined by the DEC in order to allow for the hook-ups. Additionally, the Village will have to approve permits for the remaining lots to hook into the system via the Tuxedo Park School private lines.
Representatives from both Overton and the Village Planning Board along with their attorney provided the Board of Trustees with a detailed presentation of the project and the remaining approvals at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting on July 17.
Documents including full site plans and environmental review reports can be viewed here.
Voters from all areas of Town came out on July 16 to vote in favor of a consolidation referendum. The results were as follows:
QUESTION 1: Shall the Village of Tuxedo be incorporated pursuant to the elector-initiated Petition?
Yes - 478
No - 23
QUESTION 2: Shall the newly incorporated Village of Tuxedo be immediately consolidated with the existing Town of Tuxedo to create the Town-Village of Tuxedo in accordance with the Elector-Initiated Plan of Consolidation?
Yes - 615
No - 22
Here is what the Times Herald Record had to say about the vote:
Tuxedo voters overwhelmingly supported new village
TUXEDO - Residents of the unincorporated parts of the Town of Tuxedo voted 478-23 on Tuesday to create a townwide village that prevents any future villages from being formed at the 1,200-acre site of the failed Tuxedo Farms housing development or anywhere else in town.
In a second referendum vote that also was open to Village of Tuxedo Park residents, the town voted 615-22 to consolidate the newly established village with the town so that another governing board would not be needed.
The outcome of the election was known Tuesday night, but the vote tallies weren’t released until Wednesday morning.
Town-Wide Consolidation Referendum to Take Place Tuesday, July 16
The Town Board of Tuxedo received and approved a petition from Tuxedo Residents expressing their desire to form a second Village in the Town of Tuxedo. A referendum will be voted on by all registered voters at their regular polling places on TUESDAY, JULY 16 from 12PM-9:00PM. Voter FAQ, referendum questions and additional information are available on the Town's website. by clicking the consolidation tab in the main menu.
QUESTION 1:Only voters who live in the Town of Tuxedo answer this question:
Shall the Village of Tuxedo be incorporated pursuant to the elector-initiated Petition?
QUESTION 2:All voters in the Town of Tuxedo and the Village of Tuxedo Park answer this question:
Shall the newly incorporated Village of Tuxedo be immediately consolidated with the existing Town of Tuxedo to create the Town-Village of Tuxedo in accordance with the Elector-Initiated Plan of Consolidation?
In order to communicate with residents about this issue and other important town matters, please visit the Town's website and enter your email address in the "sibscribe to our mailing list" box at the top of the home page.
Town-Wide Referendum on Consolidation to Take Place July 16
Posted June 26, 2019
On July 16 there will be a town-wide referendum on the proposed Town/Village consolidation. Registered voters are eligible to partake in the vote
The purpose of the proposed action will be to create a new incorporated Village within the Town. This new Village will consist of all the land in the Town excluding Village of Tuxedo Park. Immediately after the incorporation, the new Village will be consolidated with the Town of Tuxedo to create the consolidated Town Village of Tuxedo. A consolidated town-village is similar to a coterminous town-village, which is when a town and village include exactly the same boundaries, (i.e. both municipal boundaries start and end at the exact same place.) Coterminous town-
villages are a special and unique form of organizing local government that is starting to become more popular in New York State, as five other town-villages already exist in New York: Mount Kisco, Harrison, and Scarsdale, in Westchester County; Green Island in Albany County; and East Rochester in Monroe County.
Since the proposal includes two procedures—incorporation and consolidation—these procedures will be voted on separately based upon voter residency pursuant to state statute. Only residents of the Town (not including Tuxedo Park) can vote on the incorporation. This is because only those residing in the proposed area of incorporation and qualified to vote in town elections may vote on that question.
The entire Town, including Tuxedo Park residents, can vote on the consolidation.
Ultimately, there are two main reasons to vote yes for each referendum question. The first two have to do with the difference between the powers villages and towns were given by state statute. Unfortunately, towns have fewer powers than villages in two important arenas. First, villages are able to prevent pipelines from traveling through their borders. By creating a town village, the Town of Tuxedo will be able to combat the increasing development pressure from pipelines in the area. Second, the creation of a town-village will prevent any other villages from incorporating within the Town’s borders. This has the added benefit of preventing future financial burdens to the Town and its taxpayers by avoiding the threat of multiple unconsolidated municipal governments existing within the Town. Multiple unconsolidated governments can create additional expenses for residents, as overlapping municipal governments in turn create overlapping taxes for the provision of redundant residential services.
To summarize, approval will generally allow the Town to exercise the above increased powers of a village while continuing to operate as a town.
What is the effect of the referendum on the preexisting Village of Tuxedo Park?
This will not affect the preexisting Village of Tuxedo Park. The referendum aims to retain the existing relationship between the Town and the Village of Tuxedo Park, a Village with its own unique history and status.
The new town-village will be formally called the Consolidated Town of Tuxedo.
Informally, it is expected that the town-village will continue to be referred to as the “Town of Tuxedo.” It wil be governed by the existing Town Board. The school district boundaries are not affected by this procedure nor will it affect current or future downtown revitalization plans.
Tuxedo Farmer's Market Kicks off it's 15th Season June 15
Posted June 14, 2019
The Tuxedo Farmer’s Market kicks off it’s 2019 season this coming Saturday from 9am-2pm in the Train Station parking lot. It has been 15 years since the Market first began back in June of 2004 with the goal of brining locally grown, raised or produced foods and goods to the community. Needless to say, the Market has been a huge success with the local community as well as neighboring towns actively supporting year in and year out. All of the support has allowed the Market to expand and what began as a few vendors selling their goods has grown into a bustling marketplace complete with live entertainment and no fewer than a dozen vendors on a weekly basis in addition to “ever-other-week” and monthly specialty vendors. This season’s line-up includes: weekly vendors: Bella Mozzarella- with fresh made mozzarella, cannolis, dry sausages; Bella Pane with fresh baked breads, stuffed breads, pastas, sauces, hard cheeses; Bergen Greens- with micro greens, potted herbs, cut flowers; Cedar Rock Products with Jam, Jellies, Catnip, Dried Herbs, Spices, Meat Rubs, trail mixes; Cornucopia Concept Caterers with Greek specialties, hummus, 3 cheese mac & cheese, chili, pulled pork, stuffed grape leaves, baklava; Daggle Brothers Produce with fresh picked seasonal vegetables and herbs (a bigger variety of vegetables every week); Green Mountain Energy with alternative energy information; Kariba Farms with dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, nut crusters, nut rubs, muffin mixes; Kookie Kueen with gluten free baked goods, granola; Peaceful Aromas- aromatherapy items, soy wax candles, lotion bars, skin and lip care items (will be at the market three weeks per month); Peg's Eggs and Honey with Free Range & Organic Chicken & Duck Eggs, Chicken, Chicken Sausages, Duck and Turkey, Pure Raw Honey, Soap, Candles, Lip Balm & Maple Syrup (Peg also sells for Lowland Farms - All cuts of Grass Fed Beef, Woodland raised Pork, lamb); and Pennings Farm Market with fresh peaches, plums, corn, tomatoes Will join the market when peaches ripen Dr. Pickle with pickles, olives, relishes (will be at the market this week) will be at opening day, after which they will frequent the market on an every-other-week basis.
Guest vendors on opening day include Pallotta Hot Sauce with a wide variety of hot sauces and Warwick Valley Winery/Distillery with wine, hard cider, liqueurs, distilled products
Orange and Rockland has proposed the first of 4 projects that will result in a massive upgrade to the main line overhead distribution system and increase reliabilty. The proposed project, which is expected to serve a little over 1/2 of residential customers along with The Club, TPS, The DPW and the DPW and the Dewer Plant, is expected to take 6-9 months and will involve extensive tree trimming to allow for the replacement of 94 poles with new, taller 45-50 foot polls. Check out the project proposal here.
Despite reports to the contrary earlier this spring, the Wee Wah Beach Club WILL open for the 2019/2020 season. As announced at the May 15 Village Board of Trustees meeting, representatives of the Beach Club and the Village were able to come to an agreement which will allow the Club to open for picnicking 7 days a week throughout the summer. Swimming will be prohibited for the time being, pending approval from both the Department of Health and Village Lake’s Manager (North Eastern Aquatic Research – N.E.A.R.) although Mayor McFadden indicated that he is hopeful to see swimming reinstated before the end of the season. Until these approvals have been granted however, the beach and swimming area will remain fenced off to the public.
The Beach Club will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, June 2 at 7pm in the Town Hall and all past and present members of the Club are invited to attend. At this meeting they will be electing their Executive Board for the 2019 season. Any adult who is at least 21 years of age, was a member in the 2017 season (last season of operation) and still resides in the Village of Tuxedo Park or the Hamlet may run for office. An equal number of board members from the Village and Hamlet will be elected. The Executive Board and the Village Trustee liaison will then elect the officers from these board members.
Although the Club’s lease with the Village began on Memorial Day Weekend, the opening date is dependent on their receipt of a certificate of insurance, which is expected sometime in Mid-June.
On May 21, 2019 School Board elections will take place in the Town of Tuxedo. This year, seven candidates are vying for 4 spots.
Running for re-election are current BOE members Michael Arone and Dorothy Ziegelbauer. Running for first time seats are Daniel Castricone, Joe Rickard, Alyssa Horneff, Lucy Cerezo Scully and Anne Susan Heywood.
The make-up of the school board is extremely important as it has a direct and immediate impact on the future of the School District as well as every one’s taxes. Therefore, understanding these candidates, their areas of expertise and their levels of experience is crucial in making an informed decision.
TPFYI presented each candidate with a basic questionnaire, designed to focus on their biographical information as well as their levels of experience and reasons for running. What follows are the resposes we received, unedited, in the order we received them.
BA History, Queens College
MS Secondary Education, St. John’s University
MBA Marketing, Hofstra University Vocation/Employer:
I am a former HS History teacher and Basketball Coach. After leaving teaching, I have had a career that led to executive level positions in marketing and general management at two Global Fortune 500 companies.
I have published over 60 articles. In the past three years, I have co-authored the Graphic Communications Skills Competency (GCSC) standards for Six STEM/Vocational School Subjects. These Standards are used by States, School Districts and Vocational Schools throughout North America. I have also co-authorized SkillsUSA assessments that are currently being used to certify student achievement.
Currently, I run a training and consulting company, Intellective Solutions (intellectives.com) and over the past two years I have worked with School Districts across the country to implement new curriculum and vocational programs. I have worked with School Superintendents and Administrators who have developed innovative and outstanding programs in the face of declining enrollment and tight budgets. Years of residency in Tuxedo:
17 Years Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Member of Tuxedo Recreation Committee
Social Member of Tuxedo Ambulance Corps Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
This past year, our District experienced a difficult, and at times a contentious decision on whether to maintain our high school. Now it is time to move forward. This year, there are some big challenges and opportunities for us to address.
After this year’s Budget and Board vote, there will be a referendum on a significant capital bond for the school buildings, evaluation of transportation options and decisions about new personnel and academic initiatives.
In a collaborative and respectful manner, I will insist that the District while providing a great education for our students is controlling costs and tax levies. I will not just be a “rubber stamp” for our School Administration but will actively research and evaluate all major matters that come before the Board. I will represent all the residents of the District.
I am convinced our already great District can be the most outstanding in the Hudson Region. If selected, I intend to bring new and creative ideas to the District based on my extensive education and business background.
What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
Based on my observations and conversations with parents, our K-6 program is very strong. Also, the history, the tradition of the District and the beauty of the High School Building is terrific. During the times that I have visited the school, I was impressed with the quality of the teachers, administration, volunteers and support staff and their commitment to the students.
The small school size allows teachers to provide more individualized instruction and enables them to know the needs of each student.
To improve our enrollment in the District, we need to retain and attract students from within our District. I would focus less on trying to attract “out of District” students. Since our school is small, there are many things we can do to differentiate ourselves from traditionally large school districts.
Here are few examples. We are still structured and organized as a large school and have not been creative enough utilizing our resources. I would encourage more personalization of programs for each of our 7 to 12 grade students. Each student should have a mentor and Individual Success Plan (ISP) that is updated bi-annually. We should be benchmarking outstanding small public schools within and outside the State. We need to ensure we have a technology pathway that aligns with current university, business and nonprofit requirements and standards. We should look to re-organize the school structure to allow flexibility in scheduling and to facilitate better partnering. We can be more innovative and creative.
As far keeping the HS open, after much debate, the Board this year voted 6 to 1 to keep it open. At this point, I would gain a consensus of the Board on what is the minimum number of students to sustain a good high school while working toward making our entire District the best in the Hudson Region. I would make sure we are holding our current administration accountable. I would insist there is a well-documented implementation plan that would be provided to the public before any final decision was made.
Platform Website: www.VISIONFORTUXEDO.com Education/Degrees:
Pascack Hills High School, Montvale, NJ
New York University, BFA
Business, Stern School of Business
Dance, Tisch School of the Arts
Flatiron School x WeWork
Director, Sales Operations
I currently work as a Director of the Flatiron School, a programming academy that provides education and career placement for the future of the workforce focused in areas of technology such as software engineering, data science and design.
Years of residency in Tuxedo:
My husband and I moved to Tuxedo to start our family a little over two years ago.
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education? / What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
My name is Alyssa Horneff. After living in New York City for the past decade, my husband and I moved to Tuxedo to start our family a little over two years ago. As a new mother to my 20-month old son -- my top priority in life is ensuring his long-term well-being. In an increasingly competitive world that means providing him with access to the best educational opportunities while allowing him to safely experience all the joys of childhood.
With the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley surrounding us, the historical significance of the Park, and the new development both here and in Sloatsburg I believe that with the right leadership Tuxedo can serve as a beacon for new families. To help make this a reality I would adhere to three principles:
Focus on the Student: Our children deserve the best academic, athletic and social opportunities and as a community, it's our responsibility to provide them.
Lower Property Taxes: New families are the heart of our town and attracting them means we need to make it economically feasible to join and grow roots in our community.
Specialize and Partner: The school should focus on specialized academic and extracurricular programs while partnering with neighboring communities to expand its unique footprint.
After graduating from NYU I worked as a teacher, performed in the Metropolitan Opera, and eventually was an early employee for the fitness technology company ClassPass. In my current role as a Director of the Flatiron School I help drive new students to our schools where we provide education in areas of technology such as software engineering, data science and design as well as guaranteed career placement to build the future of our workforce.
Learn more about me and my platform at www.visionfortuxedo.com.
Daniel Castricone Family:
I am a 24-year town resident, married to Marie and father of three. Daniel age 22 (GFB class of 15)
Samantha age 19 (GFB class of 18) and John age 16 (GFB class of 21) Civic-Volunteer Activities: Member, TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee
President, Order of the Sons of Italy in America, HH Rogers Cabrini Lodge
Orange County Legislator, 8th District (Chairman Personnel and Compensation Committee)
Town of Tuxedo Councilman
Town of Tuxedo Deputy Supervisor
Town of Tuxedo Zoning Board of Appeals member
Town of Tuxedo Zoning Law revision committee member
Town of Tuxedo Master Plan committee chair
Founding Member of the Board of Directors of the Tuxedo Little League
8 year Manager of Tuxedo Little League Teams
Eagle Scout Coordinator Boy Scouts Education:
Pace University School of Law White Plains, NY Juris Doctor
Graduate of the State University of NY at Buffalo BA Economics Employment:
Tuxedo Based Attorney and Small Business Owner
I am committed to providing the greatest possible educational opportunities to our children within Tuxedo. As part of the Strategic Planning Committee I explored opportunities to make our High School a top choice for out of district students to tuition in to us and to increase retention of Tuxedo children within our district. I focused on “College in the High School” whereby our children could take advantage of our small, safe environment and graduate High School with significant numbers of transferrable college credits. I am hoping to work on implementing that program if elected.
As the former Chairman of the County’s Personnel and Compensation Committee I have extensive experience negotiating Government Employee Union Contracts and in searching for and hiring administrators and managers. As a Ways and Means Committee Member I have worked on $700+million government budgets and authored $90+million dollar budgets.
While our cost per student has increased as we divide our fixed costs over fewer students, our taxes have remained reasonable. They are in fact lower than any of our surrounding districts. My commitment is to make sure that is always the case while providing the best possible education for our children.
Finally, I want to make sure our schools remain the amazing educational facilities they have been. Having sent three children through our schools, I know the quality of education and positive impact our incredible teachers and staff provide from Kindergarten right through 12th grade.
I feel that I am well qualified for this important position. I know our community and many of the families that live here. I ask for your support.
191 Maplebrook Rd
Tuxedo, NY 10987
Anne Susan Heywood [ Sue]
I am standing for the Board of Education because I am a resident of Tuxedo who cares deeply about the future of the town, the residents, and most particularly its children. The next Board will be making some important financial and educational decisions and I will commit my time to carefully considering all the facts and supporting, in a totally unbiased way, whatever is in the best interests of the students and the Tuxedo tax payers.
Born and brought up in England, I graduated from the University of London before embarking on a teaching career in international schools and high schools in six different countries. We made our home in the US in 1988; in Tuxedo in 2000.
Throughout my teaching career I have always been committed to developing extracurricular activities for the students, particularly Dramatic Arts. I have also coached team sports, swimming, and track.
After retiring, I linked up with Literacy Volunteers of America teaching Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language to adults. I also prepared students for GED. This led to my classes becoming a part of the programs offered by Tuxedo Park Library and currently Sloatsburg Library.
I was the founder of Tuxedo Performing Arts Group and served as its president for 11 years. I serve on the Vestry of St Mary’s Church and am Outreach Chair. We are passionately committed to helping local families, which has led me to interact with the faculty and students of Baker High School and George Grant Mason School.
The most important issues currently facing the School District have been identified by the Board of Education, and a Strategic Plan to address these has been set in place. I have studied their plans to increase enrollment, to promote the schools’ image to the wider community, and further enhance the quality of educational experience for all students.
If elected, I look forward to working to implement these plans in a fiscally responsible way. I believe my lifelong background in education has given me the ideas and experience necessary to contribute wisely and energetically to this work.
Suffern High School graduate
5 years of Steamfitter apprenticeship school Vocation/Employer:
Employed by Local 638 Steamfitters (NYC) Years of residency in Tuxedo:
I have lived in Tuxedo for 19 years (my wife Sheri is a life long resident of Tuxedo) Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I served 7 years on the Tuxedo Little League Board of Directors as well as managing/coaching teams. I served 3 years as den leader in Cub Scout Pack 2146. Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for a 2nd term on the TUFSD Board of Education because if given the opportunity I would like to continue to work on important issues such as the school budget, the execution of the 5 year strategic plan and to maintain transparency within the board and the community. What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
One of the most important issues currently facing our school district is enrollment. Included in our strategic plan is marketing to people looking to tuition their kids to our schools. I understand that we are all concerned over student numbers in the classrooms but at the same time our children are receiving a quality education.
I believe we need to continue to improve student achievement as well as striving to increase enrollment. We have faced so many issues over the past 3 years, the decision has been made to keep the high school open, so now with the help of the community is the time to move forward to make our district the best it can be.
In closing, I encourage residents to attend any school board meetings that they can to witness the challenges that the board/district faces.
Lucy Cerezo Scully
My family and I moved to Tuxedo two years ago, although we had a home here for over nine years. In those nine years both my children attended summer camp and my youngest couldn’t wait until we were able to move permanently to Tuxedo. Our biggest draw was the school and the surrounding community.
I am educator teaching for over 25 years and have taught College courses as well as Pre-k. For the past three years I have worked closely with the NYS Education Department in the Standards Writing Committee and most recently I am serving on the Content Advisory Committee. I am a teacher trainer for the NYS Education Department in my content specialty and hold an administrative license for School Building Leader. I believe this experience gives me a unique perspective to work with all stakeholders in collaborating to improve our school and student achievement.
Serving on the Tuxedo Education Board would afford me the opportunity to collaborate with our community in developing a high performing district. I have been working with the Strategic Planning Community Sub-committee bringing forth many viable plans to support our school. The students are the future of this town. This is why I believe it is important to look into all possibilities to make our school strong and have a shared vision for the community.
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
My name is Dorothy Ziegelbauer, and I am running for a second term on the Tuxedo Board of Education. In the three years I have served on the BOE I feel that we have made some significant strides to move the district forward. The board has worked diligently to ensure that our budgets are fiscally responsible, while also meeting the needs of the students in the district and enriching our educational programs.
We have increased transparency into BOE business, which has vastly improved community relations. With board support the district has also modified its approach to assess student learning in conjunction with teacher performance. This enables administration to quantifiably identify and reward teachers for developing successful teaching strategies, as well as identify any deficits in student learning that can be proactively addressed in the classroom.
However, I believe there is still work to be done. We need to continually assess the effectiveness of our programs and ensure that we are providing the best education possible for the children in the district.
I support the STEM curriculum in our schools, but think that there are opportunities to improve this aspect of our programs, and am hopeful we can add additional enrichment opportunities for our students in this area. We added additional STEM related field trip opportunities for all grade levels this year (K-12), and I think we should continue to look for ways to add unique STEM related opportunities to our programs.
I have a seventh grader in the district and love our small class sizes, and the individualized attention our children receive. I like the fact that we have a private school feel in a public school setting. I feel that this aspect of our district is unique, and is something that should be celebrated.
Please support me and the, district by voting YES on Tuesday May 21st for the 2019/2020 School Budget.
Many residents will likely remember this pack of local black bears, who have been living in the woods of Tuxedo for the past couple of years, swimming in the Village lakes and openly feeding on everyone’s garbage. They appear to be a Mama and her 3 cubs, however the cubs have grown substantially over time and the group is quickly turning into a pack of full-grown bears.
“With frequent encounters nearly inevitable, it is good to know how to keep those encounters safe and enjoyable for you and the bears” states the NY Department of Environmental Conservation in their informational Brochure entitled “Living With Bears.”
With spring finally upon us, the Tuxedo bears are back and have already been sighted on several occasions in both the Town and the Village. Please take a moment and review these safety tips from the DEC, which highlight steps you can take to avoid bear related problems.
Click here to viewthe Living With Bears pamphlet larger.
Living with bears
The Tuxedo Bears meander through a resident's back yard in the Town of Tuxedo on April 9, 2019
Steve’s, at 156 Route 17, Tuxedo Park - NY, will open early July 2019. The building has been under construction for 9 months and is close to being completed. The gambrel architecture pays homage to the former Take A Break ice cream store. Steve’s building was a collaboration of the Village Historic Committee and owner Steve Germano’s vision for the property. Both wanted to preserve the charm of the old Take A Break building yet modernize it for efficiency.
Steve’s will be a casual, brick oven restaurant with pizza cooked in a wood burning oven, sandwiches & salads prepared with wood oven made ingredients, burgers done the old fashioned way - on a flat griddle, and homemade country desserts. Everything on the menu will be prepared in house. Steve’s will offer a working man lunch to include a sandwich, drink, and homemade chocolate chip cookie for $10. Steve’s will serve beer, wine, soft drinks, bottle waters, teas, and a proper espresso / cappuccino.
Owner Steve Germano operated a successful brick oven pizzeria in Ridgewood, NJ from 1996-2004. Germano sold his restaurant to pursue manufacturing / distributing two patented products invented while operating his restaurant. That company has grown to become an equipment dealer for pasta and pizza cuisine, you can visit his store at www.pastapizzastore.com.
The urge to open another operation has been in the works for years, and the lure of being in the Tuxedo Hudson Valley Region was always a dream. After meeting Town Supervisor Mike Rost, a plan was put in place to find a location that would work. The location needed to be in the Town, have good curb appeal, and parking. When local real estate broker legend Mary Ann Mitchell listed Take A Break, a deal was signed and the early planning stages started in early 2018.
Steve’s mission will be to offer value while serving high quality food prepared in a pristine open kitchen. We want our guests to feel connected to the kitchen and part of the community that makes Tuxedo such an important gateway to the Hudson Valley region. We hope to see you this summer enjoying a bite in the country!
For over two years now, residents of the Village and the Hamlet alike have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the Wee Wah dam project, which in turn would trigger the re-opening of the Wee Wah Beach Club, a rustic yet beloved, community swimming spot located on the Wee Wah Lake. For the past two summers swimming in the lake has been impossible due to extremely low water levels and while the Beach Club remained open for picnicking only during the 2017 season, dam construction during the summer of 2018 commanded complete closure of the Club. While swimming was an option prior to 2017, problems with the dam during that time required that the Village keep the water levels low and as a result, not only was the diving board removed but on several occasions warm weather and lack of rain caused potentially harmful algae blooms, requiring closure of the swimming area.
The loss of swimming at the Beach Club during 2017 and 2018 left many residents without a local swimming option and the Town Recreation program, which historically offered swimming lessons to campers via the Club on weekdays during the months of July and August, was forced to find another much more limited option. For the last two years children attending the camp have been offered swimming once a week at best.
Throughout the construction process, the promise of “historic lake levels,” which would allow for the return of the Beach Club and local swimming for its membership, has kept residents both optimistic and hopeful. With the project 99% completed and a visible increase in lake levels, everyone assumed that the summer of 2019 would mark the return of the Club, however on March 6 Village Officials sent a letter to both the Beach Club and the Town Recreation Program, announcing their decision to close the area to swimming and keep the Beach Club closed for another year (read the letter here) The reason for this decision appears to be concerns over Eurasion Water Milfoil.
Eurasion Water Milfoil is a highly invasive aquatic plant that has begun infesting all three Village lakes over the course of the last decade. As part of a potential Lakes Management Plan, the Village Lakes Committee has undertaken the process of researching various companies who could provide the Village with both a thorough analysis of the issues they face as well as proposed action plans for remediation and maintenance moving forward. At the March 4 meeting of the Trustees, Committee Chair Jim Hays presented the Board with two options for these services and they were analyzed and discussed. During the course of these conversations, it was acknowledged that, although there were several areas with high concentrations of the invasive this past fall, the current state of milfoil growth in Wee Wah lake is unknown at this time and that ultimately, they will not know how dire the situation is or is not until daily temperatures have increased and all the ice has melted away. (listen to this discussion here) Once they have assessed the situation, they will then have to make a plan for addressing it. Chemical remediation of Milfoil in Pond #3 took place last fall with some success, however the treatments were controversial amongst residents as there is some uncertainty as to whether or not the chemicals used contain carcinogenic material that could be harmful to humans and animals over long periods of time.
Ultimately, all the uncertainty has led the Village to both close the lake to swimming and prohibit access to the Beach Club property (referred to as “the park”) for the upcoming season due to possible liability concerns.
Needless to say, the decision is a blow for the Wee Wah Beach Club, whose membership has been steadily declining over the past several years relative to the condition of the lake. Although the Village had been openly discussing a cleanup of the property along the shoreline and the possible installation of mats on the bottom of the lake to help control the spread of milfoil in the swimming area, these conversations were abandoned in recent months and no such work was done prior to completion of the dam and subsequent refilling of the lake.
Despite all the uncertainties that surround this situation, one thing seems unfortunately certain…which is that many Village and Hamlet residents will have to endure yet another summer without a place to swim.
Dow Family Hosts 4th Annual Benefit for Christina Seix Academy
The Dow Family will be hosting the 4th Annual Fundraiser benefiting the Christina Seix Academy Graduates Fund on Saturday May 4th in Tuxedo Park, NY. This year's event will explore the fantastical world of robotic and kinetic art, featuring a unique installation by the PRATT Consortium for Research and Robotics and exhibits from three prominent artists in this field. The soundtrack for the evening will be provided by Sweet Meg and the Wayfairers and DJ Soy.
This special evening raises money to provide scholarships for the graduates of the Christina Seix Academy. Founded by Christina Seix Dow in 2012, the Academy provides an outstanding private school education for exceptional students from single parent families living below the poverty line in Trenton, NJ.
Thunder..Thunder.. lightning and THUNDER! Tuxedo has a new team on the map! The Tuxedo Volleyball Club is in its first few weeks of their inaugural year. With the support of the Tuxedo Union Free School District, Co-Directors Chris Scanlon and Theresa Ruscillo have teamed up to bring the first Travel Volleyball league to this Orange County town. The support of the Tuxedo School District was key to making this program a reality for the founding parents. Mr. Jason Schrammel, Principal of the Tuxedo Union Free School District, was extremely supportive bringing the new Club onto their campus. Athletic Director, Mr. John Landro was excited to see another feeder program be added to the athletic options for the students of the district.
Co-Director, Theresa Ruscillo stated, “We are very appreciative that the TUFSD Administration was so receptive to our idea from the very beginning. This is another example of how a small school district can move quickly to make things happen for our students. I am very proud that we were able to create this club, able to give our players more game time and have parents that had the faith in us to do it.”
The goal of TVBC is to keep their girls playing throughout the year at a competitive level while having fun in a developmental atmosphere. The bonus is that the club has also managed to focus on maintaining a reasonable price point for their parents.
The league is starting off with one Girls U16 team, Tuxedo Thunder, comprised of players 13 to 16 years old from the towns of Tuxedo, Monroe and Suffern, New York. The team is led by Head Coach Isabel Minano and Assistant Coach Elizabeth Minano. The TVBC Sister Coaches are proud alumni of the Tuxedo School District playing for the George F. Baker Girls Varsity Program under Coach Michelle Hines from the 2012 - 2018 seasons. The Coaches are part of an impressive legacy that earned their way to the New York Section 9 Championship 5 years in a row and the Regional and State Championship Finals in 2016 and 2017. The team has also been awarded the NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete Team Award for the last three years, with this year having the highest team average GPA of a 95.
TVBC is part of the GEVA - Garden Empire Volleyball Association that is a member of USAV - United States Volleyball Association. Their first year they are playing 7 volleyball tournaments around the Hudson Valley area, competing as close as Ramapo, NJ and traveling as far as Philadelphia, PA to showcase their talented squad.
The future of Volleyball is bright in Tuxedo!
TVBC - Thunder Team Photo:
From left to right: Isabel Minano, Adelaide O’Keefe, Juliana Scanlon, Natalie Welsh, Zoi Rodriguez, Talia Posta, Elizabeth Minano, Sophia Ruscillo, Emily Ferri, Katrina Patrick, Anastasia Veshnevskaya
George. F Baker High School Presents CATCH ME IF YOU CAN The Musical
By Madison Spivak
Tickets are now on sale for George F. Baker High School’s production of Catch Me If You Can, a show featuring the true story of one of the most famous con artists in history: Frank William Abagnale Jr. (played by John Castricone). The plot follows teenage Frank Jr. as he runs away from home, cheats over one million dollars from the federal government, and finds the girl of his dreams. To evade witty FBI agent Carla Hanratty (played by Catherine Heavner), Frank Jr. poses as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and more under assumed names.
The cast and crew have been hard at work, and they’ve enjoyed watching the show come together. At this point in the production process, students are gathering props and costumes, building sets, and mastering their songs and choreography.
This is sophomore Castricone’s first experience as a lead, and he has learned a lot about perseverance this winter. “I’ve always had a ‘the show must go on’ attitude, and this year I had to put my money where my mouth is and get to work.” Heavner, a freshman, commented on the distinctiveness of George F. Baker’s theater program: “Everyone involved contributes to the production and is excited for rehearsal. The director isn’t a dictator, and the students have a say in the performance.”
You won’t want to miss Tuxedo students light up the stage in this fast-paced musical full of big band jazz, dance, and comedy, so catch a show - if you can!
Friday, February 22 @ 7pm Saturday, February 23 @ 7pm Sunday, February 24 @ 2pm To Purchase Tickets Visit: https://tuxedo.booktix.com/
Frank Abagnale, Jr. …… ………………….............................…. John Castricone
Carla Hanratty ……………………..……………………………… Catherine Heavner
Brenda Strong & Stewardess ……………………………………... Madison Spivak
Paula Abagnale ………………………………………………………. Cristal Pichardo
Frank Abagnale, Sr. ………………………………….………………. Thomas Iazzetti
Agent Branton …………………………………………………………… Chima Operaji
Agent Cod ………………………………………………………………. Reginald Juance
Agent Dollar, Nurse & Patient ……………………………………... Grace Donnelly
Carol Strong ………………………………………………………...……. Grace Rinaldo
Roger Strong ………………………………………………………. Joseph Castellanos
Jack Barnes …………………………………………………..…….. Arturo Dominguez
Diane ………………………………………………………………………….. Eliza Vaught
Motel Manager ………………….…………………………………. Madison Villalobos
Cheryl Anne ………………………………………………..…………………. Leah Dolan
Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent & Dancer ……………………….... Gabriella Hekl
Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent, Dancer & Bully 1 …………….. Natalyn Peralta
Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent, Dancer & Bully 2 ..……….…. Rachel Levinsky
Principal Owings, Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent & Dancer..…… Ava Rattazzi
Tailor & Doctor ……………………………………………………………… Emilia Stillo
Train Conductor & India Ink ………………………………….……… Marley Vaught
Betty & Bartender …………………………………………………………… Zoe Vaught
Healthy Fast Food Restaurant 'Happy Belly Kitchen' Opens in Sloatsburg
Happy Belly Kitchen opened it doors for business in Sloatsburg on January 4, and has been receiving rave reviews from folks with happy bellies all over Social Media ever since! Owned by Ilan & David of Suffern’s Airmont Eats, HBK bills itself as a “vegetarian/vegan/soup restaurant” and strives to offer patrons a variety of “real” tasty, healthy fast food options at reasonable prices.
Earlier this week, some of the TPFYI staff decided to swing in for lunch to find out for ourselves what the fuss is all about!
To begin with, the ambiance in the little building, once a wine shop and before that a barber, is quite charming. The space is divided into two rooms, one for food service and the other for in-house dining. The dining area includes a large, wooden communal table, along with several smaller tables for two and a copper counter with stools facing Route 17.
The way the food service works is not unlike Chipotle in that guests are asked to build their own platter based on options presented at the food counter. There are 3 types of Platters: Happy Belly, Wrap and Market. Those choosing the Happy Belly are given a choice of 1 base, 1 entrée and 2 market sides, while those choosing the Wrap get a wrap and 2 market sides. Market Platter customers choose 3 market sides. There is also a variety of delicious looking home made soups for an additional cost. Bases include rice, quinoa and spinach. Entrees are protein based and include chicken, beef or tofu. Currently, featured wraps are Chicken Fajita, Veggie Hummus, and Teriyaki Tofu. There are 12 different market sides to choose from, both hot and cold, including various salads, salsas, fruit and vegetables. There are 4 soup options. The menu clearly states that all bases and sides and 100% vegan and gluten free unless otherwise noted. There is also a variety of healthy chips to choose from.
On this particular day we chose to go with one Happy Belly Platter and one Wrap Platter, forgoing the soup, although all 4 varieties looked quite good. Our service was both prompt and friendly. After a brief explanation of the process, we had our meals before us in less than 60 seconds! Cost for the two platters was $20.18. We easily found seats at one end of the communal table.
The Wrap Platter, containing a Veggie Hummus Wrap, Roasted Sweet Potato and Mediterranean Salad, was delicious! The hummus was very tasty, the potatoes sweet and warm and the salad fresh and flavorful.
The Happy Belly, containing rice, curry chicken, fruit salad and beet salad was also very good. The curry was excellent and the fruit juicy and sweet. The beet salad was yummy although quite spicy, which our server warned us about in advance. If you do not like cilantro, we recommend that you stay away from this particular choice.
The entire experience, from entry to exit, lasted less than 20 minutes and we left with full happy bellies!
If you are looking for a burger and fries, or a deli style sandwich, HBK is probably not the right place for you. If you are seeking a quick, flavorful, healthy meal however, HBK is definitely a good choice.
In summation, TPFYI enthusiastically gives Happy Belly Kitchen 2 thumbs up…and encourages everyone to give it a try!
WELCOME TO OUR COMMUNITY HAPPY BELLY KITCHEN! GOOD LUCK!!
TUFSD Welcomes 6 New Students as Strategic Planning Gets Underway
As the kids headed back to school last week, the Tuxedo Union Free School District was pleased to welcome 6 new students: three in the elementary school and three in the high school. Of these, 5 students are new Tuxedo residents and 1 is a tuition paying non-resident student. All of this as strategic planning for the District’s future gets underway on Thursday evening with the first Strategic Planning Committee meeting, taking place in the multi-purpose room at 7pm. Committee members include representatives from the Board Of Education, Administration faculty and student body as well both resident and non-resident high school parents and members of both the Town Board and Village Board of Trustees. The meeting will be open to the public. The committee was formed following the BOE’s 6-1 decision to keep the high school open this past November. Creating a strong strategic plan will be crucial for the District which has faced a fair amount of criticism since the departure of Greenwood Lake back in 2015. Most of the opposition has been due to the low enrollment numbers, which have in turn led to a much higher cost-per-student rate. Tuxedo’s budget remains the smallest in the area though at just over $13 million, and a majority of residents continue to support the high school, despite the high cost-per-student.
TPFYI will report on Strategic Planning efforts throughout the process and encourages all residents to keep informed.
Some positive news for Tuxedo!! Moody's has rewarded the Town of Tuxedo for the changes they have made by revising the rating from negative outlook to positive outlook. They recognize that Tuxedo is on the right path and as cash balances continue to grow, the rating will continue to improve. Thank you to Supervisor Rost and everyone who has worked so hard over the last 4 years to make these changes happen.
On Saturday December 8 New York State Senator Elect Jen Metzger spent over an hour at the Tuxedo Train Station, outlining her platform and chatting with Tuxedo residents about their concerns. Issues touched upon included public education and the Tuxedo School District, the increasing number of large trucks traveling through town on Route 17, the Ramapo River and environmental oversight, funding for local libraries, affordable childcare and the proposed Woodbury Commons expansion project. Metzger will officially take office on January 9, when she is sworn in up in Albany. Her main office will be located in Middletown. Between now and then she will focus her efforts on getting to know the many communities in her widespread District. The meeting in Tuxedo was the first of its kind.
It's Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas In and Around Tuxedo!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Tuxedo! Despite the gloomy forecast the Holiday Season kicks off with BANG in and around Tuxedo this weekend with a plethora of festive events!
Beginning Thursday and running through Saturday is St. Elizabeth’s annual poinsettia and wreath sale located at the chapel out in Eagle Valley! Start your decorating and stock up on festive flowers and wreaths from 12-5pm on Thursday and Friday or all day on Saturday from 9-4pm. Also, the Tuxedo Historical Society has extended their Holiday sale! They will be open from 10-2 on Friday, November 30! Stop by and do some Holiday shopping!
On Friday evening, don’t miss the annual Town Tree Lighting at the Tuxedo Train Station beginning at 6pm! The GFB Jazz ensemble will entertain with sounds of the season and word on the street is that Santa is scheduled to arrive at 6:05pm to visit with the little ones and pose for some pictures!! After visiting with Santa, kids and families are invited to walk across the street to the Tuxedo Park library for snacks and a Holiday Movie!
Saturday brings with it two festive Holiday Markets. Down in Sloatsburg at Village Walk, check out Winterfest between 1-6pm! The holiday-themed, Sloatsburg Chamber-sponsored event will have vendors aplenty, kid-friendly crafts, heaters to warm you, and lots more. Back in Tuxedo starting at 2pm, visit the annual St. Mary’s Christmas Market on the great lawn, where Tuxedo Youth will be selling
Handcrafted Christmas Ornaments and gifts, body scrubs and lotions, Christmas Cookies, fudge and more! Enjoy Christmas music, take a festive Holiday photo and enjoy roasted chestnuts and caroling around a campfire in the late afternoon before the lighting of the Christmas Tree at sundown!
Beginning at 6:30pm, weather permitting, in the Village Suffern is the annual Christmas Parade featuring floats, marchers, community groups, bands and of course the one and only Santa Claus himself!!! The rain-date for this event is the following day, Sunday December 2.
Next week the festivities continue with the lighting of the Town Menorah and reception on Monday, December 3 at 6pm…and the annual Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer will take place on Thursday, December 6 starting at 6pm at Tuxedo Park School. Get your tickets today!
State Senator Elect Jen Metzger Coming to Tuxedo December 8!
On Saturday, December 8th from10:00-11:00am come and meet our new State Senator, Jen Metzger, at the Tuxedo Train Station. She’ll share her hopes for the upcoming term, and listen to residents ideas and concerns on how to shape the future of the Hudson Valley.
Is There a New Traffic Booth in The Village's Future?
During the November 14 Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor McFadden revealed drawings and potential plans for a new Traffic Booth at the front entrance of the Village.
Many may recall that estimates for the project as previously designed came in at $200,000+, which was considered by the Trustees to be an unrealistic sum. As detailed by the Mayor at the October BOT meeting, there remains $46,000 left over from The Keep project that has been earmarked by the Village for the entrance. In addition to this a committee of private residents has raised roughly $65,000 towards the effort. Keeping a total budget of $110,000 in mind, the Mayor reached out to some custom fabricators back in October and was able to find 2-3 vendors per trade. One of these was a company who could construct the steel frame of a booth and customize it for the Village based on the drawings. The two estimates collected for this service were $30,000 and $12,000. The second company would provide bullet-proof windows, two teller drawers (one for cars and one for trucks)and a tilt & open bullet-proof window to face traffic. The two estimates for these products were $18,000 & $13,000. Carpentry is estimated at $35,000 and electric work (to include two intercom systems….one for cars and one for trucks) at $8,000. It is estimated that engineering and permits would cost about $8,500. John Ledwith would be assigned the roll of project manager and the Mayor would stand as the liaison for the project.
Renderings of the proposed booth were revealed on November 14 as were plans to poll the community in order to determine how the majority of residents would like to proceed. These plans, and a link to the poll can be viewed by clicking here.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of putting the project as proposed out to bid in early January, which will enable them to provide the public with a more realistic idea as to what it will cost.
(Read a full account of the November 14 meeting here)
This letter is an appeal for a contribution to support TPfyi, our community’s only independent news reporting website. Established thirteen years ago, TPfyi has evolved into the trusted news source for local municipal government and community events. TPfyi has filled the gap for objective local news reporting overlooked and often ignored by other regional media sources.
The TPfyi website enjoys a loyal readership consistently averaging eight thousand hits per month. A recent on-line survey of readers has shown that 97% believe the website to be a valuable and informative resource, covering both Village and Town news.
Over the last thirteen years TPfyi has been supported primarily by one of its Sponsors at an average annual cost of approximately $20,000. The site’s major expense is our reporter’s compensation for attending all Village and Town municipal meetings and writing other articles.
As informed, active members of the Tuxedo community we are appealing to you to become a supporter of TPfyi by making a contribution. The time has come to share the financial responsibility of maintaining our news source. Without your support and the help of others, the future of TPfyi is in doubt. Wewelcome any amount you care to give.
A contribution can be made by personal check to TPfyi and mailed to TPFYI, P.O. Box 681, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987 We thank you in advance for considering our appeal and we will work to deserve your continuing support.
Sincerely, Peter & Barbara Regna, David du Pont, Mary Graetzer, Inger Rein Gruterich, James & Nancy Hays, Sue Heywood, Kent Kroeber, Jake & Michele Lindsay, Meg Vaught
Powerhouse Concert Series Well Recevied Despite Bad Weather
Despite the rainy weather, folks turned out to support the first of the Powerhouse Concert Series in Town on October 6. Although the weather did impact attendance, those present were extremely enthusiastic about the event, which headlined with Commander Cody and featured a number of other talented artists, all of whom made strong contributions to the “California Rock” themed festival.
“I talked to many people that day and was told by all of them how great the venue was and one even put it on his top 10 list of places to go see music. Since the event, the powerhouse facebook page has begun to take on new likes everyday. The investment we put into it are the seeds for next year,” said Deputy Supervisor Dave McMillan. “The ultimate success will come from the high caliber performers next year, which we have begun to work on already. The vast majority of the folks that attended were from outside of Tuxedo! Tuxedo got on the music scene map through this event... and did so with many compliments from the performers, the sound engineer (who is Barbra Streisand's sound guy) and everyone else who came.”
The concert reportedly cost the Town of Tuxedo roughly $25,000 to produce, however $20,000 of this amount came in the form of a “give-back” from County Executive Steve Neuhaus. “The County had a windfall with additional tax revenue that they shared with all of us in the County,” explained Supervisor Mike Rost. “When he made his announcement, Neuhaus requested that rather than to put the money into the fund balance that it be reinvested in our own communities in order to promote economic development and travel tourism. That is what we did.”
Plans are already in the works to continue the concert series next spring, with hopes of brining in bigger acts such as Stephen Stills and Phil Lesh. “There are many other municipalities which are involved with investments in entertainment. Chester just bought the Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center, Monroe has frequent concerts to bring in outsiders... but NONE of them have what we have with train & bus stops serving NYC and points north right to the doorstep of Powerhouse Park,” said Mcmillan. “If we fail to make Tuxedo a destination, then we fail the taxpayers.”
Rock and Roll is coming to Tuxedo!!!! On Saturday, October 6 from 11am-6pm Tuxedo will host the first in series of concerts, which has been dubbed “The Tuxedo Powerthouse Park Concert Series.” The music of Commander Cody, Reverend Jefferson, Englishtown Project, Patrick Stanfield Jones and The Lost River Boys will headline the ‘California Rock” themed concert and attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a range of savory fare provided by several food trucks offering BBQ, cheese steaks, empanada's, hamburgers/hotdogs/fries and ice cream! There will also be local winery presence along with craft beer and a Coca Cola/Monster tent serving Coke products. With two-time Emmy award winner David Kramer producing the event and the Orange County Department of Tourism and Travel helping with print and radio advertising, event organizers are hoping to attract as many as 2,000 attendees on the 6th. TPFYI recently had a chance to catch up with Town Supervisor Mike Rost, Deputy Supervisor Dave McMillen and Town Board member Michele Lindsay for a quick Q & A about the event.
How did the Powerhouse Park Concert Series Come about and how will it benefit Tuxedo? McMillen: Mike (Supervisor Mike Rost) and I have always wanted to use the Powerhouse Park for events. The idea was to try to attract outside interest to Tuxedo in an attempt to make it a destination. No other town has the transportation options we have, almost right to the doorstep of the Powerhouse. We need to exploit the good about Tuxedo…..Sterling Forest and the surrounding hiking trails, the quaintness of our town and its appeal to folks who may want to move from the city and into beautiful rolling hills and parklands and still only be 45 minutes from the city by rail, car or bus. Drawing outside interest can provide a needed spark. Bringing people into Tuxedo will also bolster business within the community at large. Also Orange County has embraced this idea! Amanda Dana, OC's Director of Tourism and Travel, has agreed to help with our radio and print advertisements for these events going forward. Steve Neuhaus has also celebrated the idea and is promoting this event through his office. This concert event on October 6th is the reality of the vision that Mike and I had years ago. Tuxedo IS open for business. Rost: The reason for the concert is twofold. One, Dave McMillen and I have discussed this for years. In Buffalo we have the "concert in the square" every Friday. It is downtown in Buffalo and very well attended. There is a good band, food trucks and farmers market. I have been saying that with all the commuters going through Tuxedo, we could do the same thing here. I think that the Power House is an under utilized resource that we have. I have our Town engineer looking for grant money for the property and doing some work on the river. I brought the County down to look at the property for some help and input with developing it. Second, with my time with the little league, I saw an opportunity to bring people to Town and show them/sell them, the Town of Tuxedo. People loved coming to Tuxedo to our fields. We have the most beautiful baseball fields in the district. An umpire requested every Tuxedo game because he loved the beauty of our fields and Town. As the supervisor of the Town, I have the ability and an obligation to showcase the Town and support our businesses. I have baseball being played on all of our fields when we rent them out. We are bringing people in from northern NJ and the city to see our Town and support our business's. Lindsay: Powerhouse Park is a beautiful spot along the Ramapo River that we can use for events to establish Tuxedo as a “destination” location. We also have brainstormed about other types of attractions: car shows, art and craft shows, etc, that would attract people to our town and all we have to offer. Concerts and shows could be coordinated with events at Tuxedo galleries, the Library, Train Station, Historical Society and local businesses. We could coordinate with Sterling Forest Visitor Center and the NY NJ Trail Conference for informational sessions and guided hikes. Tuxedo played an important role in the establishment of the Appalachian Trail, too. There are so many possibilities!
Tell us about the events’ producer David Kramer McMillen: David Kramer is a two - time Emmy Award winner, currently in the midst of finishing the most complete and definitive documentary ever assembled on Jimi Hendrix. With a Masters degree in Communication Arts specializing in Computer Graphics from NYIT, he also earned the Alumni of Distinction Award from SUNY Oneonta where he received his BA in Fine Arts. Mr. Kramer has produced concert events for over 25 years for the likes of Buddy Miles, Cornell Dupree, Larry Coryell, Joe Cocker, Gregg Allman, Terry Reid, David “Honeyboy “ Edwards, Roby Krieger of the Doors, Leon Hendrix (Jimi's brother), Johnny Winter, Richie Havens, Frank Marino (Mahogany Rush), Commander Cody and many more. He now presents the first of many concert events to come to the Tuxedo Powerhouse Park Concert Series.
What other types of concerts might Tuxedo hope to see as a part of this series and how frequent will they be? McMillen: We will expose the Powerhouse to multiple genres of music next year. We are currently in talks with Steven Stills, of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jorma Kaukanen of Hot Tuna, Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead and Rick Derringer. We will also do an all blues show and an all Motown show. We will also highlight a Doo-Wop concert, which includes Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na Na along with the Flamingo's and The Crystals, featuring Dick Clark artist La La Brooks. At the Oct 6th concert, we are doing a theme of California Rock, which includes the music of the Commander Cody, The Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Marshall Tucker, and Jefferson Airplane however we will go off genre in the opening acts. We are also bringing in the daughter of Mike Yeager, who is the owner of Tuxedo based Hickory Hollow Nursery. Kate Yeager, is a singer-songwriter who just recently signed with Sony. She has caused quite a sensation within the NYC music scene. (Learn more about Kate Yeager here: http://www.kateyeagermusic.com) We plan to organize at least 6-7 concerts during the summer season next year. Rost: If properly executed these events will bring 500 to 1000 people into the greatest Town and County in the Hudson Valley 8 times per year.
Will there be food and drink at the event? What kind? McMillen: There will be several food trucks at the event that offer BBQ, cheese steaks, empanadas, hamburgers/hotdogs/fries etc. and an ice cream truck from the owners of the Tuxedo Gulf station. There will also be local winery presence along with craft beer and a Coca Cola/Monster tent serving Coke products. We will even have something most events like ours NEVER have. Luxury lavatories for women only!
Anything to add? Rost:I got into being supervisor because I was tired of seeing all of our kids in Town go through the little league grow up, go off to school and never come back. We have to/ I have to work hard to give them a reason to return. If we all work together, get some help from the State and County, we can make something special happen here in Tuxedo. Tuxedo is open for business.
Links to all the bands who will be performing can be found on the venue site. Tickets can be purchased there as well or at Ticketmaster.com by searching for Tuxedo Powerhouse Park. Mark your calendars and dust of those dancing shoes Tuxedo! We’ll see you on October 6!!
* Deputy McMillen is a performing artist himself and will be on stage at the October 6 event as a drummer for Patrick Stanfield Jones’ band.
In the fall of 2011, Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM), an invasive aquatic plant, was discovered in the northern portion of Tuxedo Lake, with highest concentrations in front of the Tuxedo Club. Susan Goodfellow and the Village Board of Trustees (BOT) quickly organized the mapping of its distribution and initiated an annual program of divers to uproot the EWM plants. In spite of these efforts, EWM has spread around Tuxedo Lake, into Pond Three and the Wee Wah. EWM spreads primarily through stem fragmentation, is difficult to control and very difficult to eradicate. Because Pond Three and Wee Wah are shallow, EWM could clog most if not all the waters of both lakes. In the deeper Tuxedo Lake, the infestation is currently spreading to waters less than 12 feet deep, around the margins of the lake and an extensive area at the lake’s southern end. Thick stands of EWM pose a serious threat to the ecological health of our lakes, to their beauty and to their use for recreation. Consequently, its spread can negatively affect our property values.
In 2008, through the efforts of Susan Goodfellow, our Village joined the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP), a New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) managed program, through which measurements and observations of lake properties are taken by Village residents during the summer months and reported to DEC. DEC then processes and analyzes these data and prepares reports on the ecological health of our lakes.
The CSLAP data indicate that in recent years our lake’s phosphorous and nitrogen concentrations have risen, probably contributing to blue green algae blooms, which when severe, can become toxic. Phosphorous is an essential nutrient for plant growth but has very low concentrations in natural freshwater lakes. Plant and algal growth are therefore limited by these low phosphorous concentrations. So, small increases in phosphorous can lead to exponential increases in algal growth. Soils have relatively high concentrations of phosphorous but terrestrial plants, especially trees and shrubs, use it for their growth. If trees and shrubs are removed from the lakes’ margins and the banks of streams feeding the lakes, rain will wash the soil into the lakes and increase their phosphorous concentration. As a consequence of the increased concentration of algae, the water clarity of our lakes is declining. The alkalinity (pH) of our lakes’ waters is generally rising as is their electrical conductivity, trends which are often due to soil erosion and road salt contamination.
To address these conditions, the BOT asked Solitude Lake Management, the Village’s current lake management firm, to recommend control procedures for both EWM and algal blooms. Solitude recommended the use of a variety of chemicals to control both in all three lakes. The BOT is currently seeking a second opinion from another lake management firm, Princeton Hydro LLC. The BOT also reactivated the Village of Tuxedo Park Lakes Committee (VTPLC), which is charged with advising the Village Board on lake issues and helping them, with the assistance of a professional lake management firm, develop a long term plan to improve the ecological health of our lakes. Such a plan will establish a set of objectives, procedures to achieve those objectives and estimated costs. The success of the procedures will be evaluated and the plan reviewed and possibly revised annually by the committee and the BOT. This planning will be aided by a previous Lakes Management Plan prepared by Princeton Hydro in 2009. Unfortunately, few of the recommendations of that plan have been implemented by subsequent boards.
Although reluctant to follow Solitude’s recommendations this year for Tuxedo Lake and Wee Wah, the BOT did consider the use of herbicides to control the EWM infestation in Pond 3. This recommendation was supported by a number of Pond 3 residents. The Tuxedo Park Lakes Committee was also asked for their recommendation. After considering this option, the committee recommended against it, (click here to read the committee report) not because, in their judgment, there were substantial risks to residents or the ecology of the lake but rather because there are always uncertainties as to the long-term impact of chemicals. Any use of chemicals should only be as part of a long-term strategy for the control of EWM and such a strategy has not yet been developed. As an alternative, the committee recommended an aggressive diver assisted pulling program. Nevertheless, Pond 3 was treated with an herbicide in mid-July to reduce the growth of EWM.
The Village of Tuxedo Park Lakes Committee is currently exploring ways to help the BOT increase the efficiency of the mechanical removal by pulling of EWM plants from our lakes and will explore methods to reduce the input to our lakes of nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen) and road salt.
In the meantime, boaters should retrieve all floating plant fragments with pool skimmers that can be purchased at any swimming pool supply store. The fragments can be placed in a plastic bag and deposited in the garbage or composted. The natural fragmentation of EWM is beginning now and will reach a maximum this month. The fragments float for about two weeks then sink and will form new EWM plants if the water depth and bottom conditions are appropriate.
Any effort to substantially improve the ecological health of our lakes and reverse current trends will require a multiyear program, using procedures specifically designed for our system of lakes. This work will require a close working relationship between the TPLC and the BOT, it will involve Village employees, professionals to administer the control procedures, numerous volunteers and the cooperation of all those who use the lakes or have residences along their shores. In other words, it must be a concerted community effort.
Stuart McGregor Presents Tuxedo Park Past - Law and Disorder - August 30 in Newburgh
Tuxedo Park was planned as a gated and fenced recreational community created by Pierre Lorillard IV approximately 38 miles north of New York City in 1886. The “Tuxedo coat” was named after its introduction at the Tuxedo Club in 1888. The country watched and read about this small private and secured community populated by the very wealthy and social set of the Gilded Age. They learned the residents behind the gates were suffering the same insecurities of many others in the country due to the industrialization and population growth that spread from the great cities of the new growing America. Explore Tuxedo Park’s darker past in the early 1900’s. Learn about crimes investigated and which were solved and unsolved.
For those of you who may have missed your chance to hear Stuart McGregor at the Tuxedo Park Library back in March, here's your chance! Stuart will be speaking at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York on Thursday, August 30, 1 - 2:30 PM.
There is a $15.00 registration fee and space is limited. Won't you join us if in the area. Call the Desmond Campus at 845-565-2076 or register online at www.msmc.edu/communityedu.
It’s been an eventful summer for a couple of outstanding Tuxedo Park Residents.
In late July, Rich Donnelly competed in his 20th Iron Man Triathlon in Lake Placid. He was one 4 racers who have competed in the race every year since its inception in 1999. The competition is composed of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and then a 26.2-mile run. Donnelly, who is 55, has been competing in marathons and triathlons for years, having completed two iron mans in one year back in 2012 (Lake Placid and New York City) as well as the World Championship race in Kailua-Kona in 2013. Why does he keep doing it? He told the Photo News that he asks himself this after every race, noting that he is neither an elite athlete or adrenaline junkie. “Most of these guys are a hell of a lot faster than I am,” Donnelly said. “But I’ve got a lot of endurance.”
Over on the literary front, local author RM Gurino is enjoying the success of his recent debut novel, “The Gates of Golorath (Chaos of Souls #1)” The fantasy novel, which has been referred to as ‘a new twist on “Angels and Demons” is receiving rave reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads. “Incredibly disappointed to find that the second book to this isn't out yet! This is a wonderful book, well worth reading” wrote on reviewer. “This book is a labor of love -- that much is clear. It's an intelligent story with a lot of heart and soul. The characters are not stock, and the prose is well crafted. Seriously, there's so much junk in the marketplace, and so much in the genre that blurs into one another.... that a story like "The Gates of Golorath" is a welcome addition on my shelf,” wrote another. The highly anticipated second book in the series entiled “Angels of Perdition” is due out any day now. You can read all about it on the author’s website: https://rmgarino.com
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is often quite easy to forget that we are living in the middle of a beautiful forest. One of the things that makes Tuxedo unique is the history that has been preserved within woods here in the form of a somewhat extensive network of trails. Some of them are old bridle trails, while others were always intended for hiking but whatever their original purpose, they are now primarily recreational and there has never been a better time to get out there and enjoy them.
Many residents might not know this, but Sterling Forest State Park encompasses almost 22,000 acres of forest including multiple lakes, streams and miles of hiking trails. The Park is also home to significant historical sites relating to the mining of iron ore and production of iron products from colonial times through the early 20th century! If you have an interest in hiking, fishing, hunting, birding or American history, Sterling Forest State Park is a great spot to visit! The Lautenberg Visitor Center, located at 116 Old Forge Road in Tuxedo, offers a sweeping view of Sterling Lake and features a giant, interactive map detailing the location of trails, lakes and places of interest throughout the park. Additionally, Friends of Sterling Forest provide a variety of free programing including free hikes, lectures and activities for the kids! During the month of August there will be group hikes along Long Swamp Trail (8/5 1pm) and around Sterling Lake (8/26 11am) and on Sunday August 19, they will proudly present the lecture NO MAN’S LAND: THE NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY BORDER DISPUTE.
If you are a Village resident and looking for something even more local, try hiking one of the many Village trails! Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Village Trails Committee, they are now in better shape than they have been in a fairly long time.
Over the past couple of months, extensive work has been taking place on the Village trails making them more accessible for recreation. A large number of fallen trees have been cleared and the trailways themselves have been lined with woodchips, which keep grass and weeds from growing while also helping to keep insects and ticks at bay. Beautiful new signage has been created and installed so that the trail heads are easier to find and thanks to the efforts of Village resident and graphic artist Kimberly Breiland, the old bridle trail map has been reworked, with copies available to Village Residents at the Village office.
There has never been a better time to get out there and explore the woods! Explore Sterling Forest State Park on your own or with a group. Check out the sweeping views from Eagle Mountain, hike out to Eagle Valley or along the base of Fox Hill. Take a moment to experience the forest in which we live….and appreciate its natural beauty. If the summer heat is too much for you, make a plan to check out the fall foliage or to snow shoe/cross country ski the trails in the wintertime. We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful landscape!
Crowd Gathers For Dedication of New Northern Entrace at Race Track Nature Preserve
After a week of rain, the sun was shining this past Saturday as Village residents gathered for the dedication of the new Northern Entrance to the Race Track Nature Preserve. Following a guided tour of the preserve, Tree Advisory Board Chair Chiu yin Hempel gave a brief speech, thanking everyone for their attendance and on-going support of the project, especially the Founding and Meadow Stewards. With the help of a delighful young audience member, TAB member Chritopher Gow then unveiled the new plaque, which lists each of the Meadow Stewards by name. A similar plaque, listing the Founding Stewards, can be found on the other side of the preserve.
Much of the Town is a buzz this week with the news that the Tuxedo Farms developers are considering selling their property to the virtual reality entertainment company DraggonsGate Entertainment Ltd, who are in turn proposing to build an “interactive adventure fantasy park” on the land. An article running in the July 14 addition of the Times Herald Record dubbed the project as “Comic-Con meets the Renaissance Faire” and claimed to have seen a proposal for the park which includes plans for “900 costumed characters and over 1,000 acres of massive ancient fantasy exteriors and huge interior Hollywood movie sets,” where guests would use virtual reality equipment to roam though eight different fantasy worlds, including those related to knights, samurai, vikings and Rome. The whole thing sounds a bit like the classic film & HBO series WESTWORLD come to life (minus the robots of course)
While DragonsGate met with Town Supervisor Mike Rost and various County officials to pitch the idea on July 12, they have yet to sit down with the Related Companies, much less acquire the land in question. How much the project will ultimately cost and how DragonsGate intends to fund it are also key unknowns at this point.
Supervisor Rost remains cautiously optimistic, telling the Times Herald Record that he thinks the park is “an interesting concept” and that the Town would be willing to consider it if DragonsGate ends up purchasing the land.
DragonsGate founder Michael Hamilton has suggested that the environmentally friendly park would employ 1,200 while providing “additional financial support for the educational needs of the local schools and the children of Tuxedo.”
A few more details were revealed at the July 23 Town Board meeting, where Supervisor Rost noted that DragonsGate is planning to build 10 parks globally, including one in Atlanta, GA, where they have recently purchased property. According to the Supervisor, if they acquire the land, they anticipate investing $500 million into the Tuxedo park, which they believe would attract roughly 3 million visitors per year. The Park would be comprised of 6 themed worlds with two indoor movie sets intended for virtual reality activities.
With the Related Companies and DragonsGate set to meet in the near future, no further information is available at this point in time. Residents of Tuxedo are left to wait and wonder about the fate of the 1,195 home housing development that has been in the works for more than 20 years and whether or not the giant swath of cleared land at the southern end of Town will ultimately become a virtual reality playground. Time will tell.
Tuxedo said a bittersweet goodbye to Take-a-Break last week as the longstanding dairy barn was raised to the ground in order to make room for Steve’s, a new pizza and ice cream restaurant to be built in the same location. Owner Steve Germano has had his eye on Tuxedo for a while and is very much looking forward to bringing his new business to Town. The new building is expected to be a red barn with white trim and will sit on the same footprint as the previous structure. Mr. Germano already runs a successful business pastapizzastore.com and he intends to use Steve's as his working showcase for customers while providing a much needed service to the community. Steve’s will be serving pizza, pasta, panini's, ice cream and gourmet coffee.
Saying goodbye to Take-a-Break is definitely bittersweet for many. It was a summertime staple in Tuxedo. Countless Tuxedo teens worked their first jobs scooping ice cream and serving up snacks for generations of locals. It’s charm will not soon be forgotten.
There is a bright light on the horizon though with Steve’s and we very much look forward to embracing this new business here in town.
5th Annual Tuxedo Club Concours d'Elegance & Father's Day BBQ
More than 200 people packed the great lawn at the Tuxedo Club on June 17 for the Fifth Annual Tuxedo Club Concours d’Elegance and Father’s Day Barbeque. “The theme of the event is ‘bring what you love to drive,” explains its’ founder Gordon Borteck and participants did just that with over 70 cars in this year’s show, models ranging from the 1930s to the 2000s. What began five years ago as a smallish event, showcasing roughly 25 cars belonging primarily to Club Members, has grown exponentially over the years to become rather well known, drawing an eclectic mix or old, new and unusual automobiles. Local photographer Susan Magnano was on hand to capture the afternoon!
The Energy supply company Global Partners announced Tuesday that they would be scaling back crude oil operations at their Albany facility and had withdrawn plans to handle heavy tar sands crude and to install an oil pump station in downtown Albany.
Back In 2012, Global quadrupled the amount of explosive Bakken crude oil it handled at its facility, turning Albany into a crude oil hub, increasing the amount of dangerous cargo transported by train and barge down the Hudson River and enabling the proposal for new barge anchorages along the river as well as crude oil pipelines. One such pipeline, the Pilgrim Pipeline, is a proposed 178-mile pair of side-by-side pipelines running between Albany and Linden, NJ, which would carry products like gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel and home heating oil northbound from Linden to Albany while delivering up to 200,000 barrels of highly flammable Bakken formation crude oil per day Southbound from Albany to Linden. The proposed tract for the pipeline leads it right through the Town of Tuxedo, and although the exact location remains uncertain (through or around the Tuxedo Farms property) one absolute certainty is that it poses a significant threat to both public safety and the environment for reasons too numerous to count.
Global’s decision to scale back crude oil operations and withdraw their proposals in Albany will have a detrimental effect on the Pilgrim Pipeline plan as it will remove a major crude oil terminal and thus render the proposed tract unviable. While Pilgrim could certainly search for another client, they will not find one in Albany and therefore, there is a strong likelihood that Hudson Valley residents up and down the Hudson River can safely breathe a heavy sigh of relief this week.
There have been a plethora of fox sitings in the Village over the course of the last couple of months! These are red foxes and residemts should know that seeing a fox out during the day is not cause for alarm and does not mean that the animal is rabid. We encourage you to take a moment and read this article from the Humaine Society entitled What To Do About Foxes. We can live in harmony with these beautiful animals.
Will There Be Swimming In The Wee Wah This Summer?
With spring finally making an appearance this week and summer right around the corner, one questions is resting firmly on the mind of many Tuxedo residents.....will there be a swimming season at the Wee Wah Beach Club this year?
The answer is, Mother Nature willing, yes!
During the April 18 meeting of the Village Trustees, Deputy Mayor Alan McHugh reported that work on the Wee Wah dam project is slated to be at a point of “significant completion” by May 18, which will allow them to begin refilling the lake. Assuming average precipitation rates , it is anticipated that it will take 20-40 days to refill the lake.
If all goes well, the Village is hoping to see Wee Wah Lake hit a level of 492 feet, which is much higher than it has been in many years. To put this into context, two summers ago (which is the last time there was swimming permitted in the lake) the level was at 486 feet, and currently it is at 481.
The Trustees stressed that all of the time estimates that have been provided for when the lake will fill are subject to normal rainfall patterns and deviations there of. “It’s cutting it pretty close in terms of a high level swim season,” Trustee Gluck stated, be he added that there was a degree of comfort that given normal rainfall there would be at 486 feet by the end of May, which again was where it was two summers ago.
Congratulations to Lili Neuhauser, our Weekly Photo Contest Winner, for her photo of !The Amaxing Mr. Fox! Thank to all participants! (photos displayed below) We love seeing your photos, so please keep sending them!
Winner - "The Amazing Mr. Fox" submitted by Lili Neuhauser
Submitted by Joaniemaker:
Babcock Brook & Snow Shoe Trail In The sun submitted by Edie Sonne Hall:
Congratulations to Joanie Wanamaker, our Weekly Photo Contest Winner! There were so many great photos this week...it was a tight race! Thank to all participants! (photos displayed below) We love seeing your photos, so please keep sending them!
Winner - "Behind Tuxedo Manor" submitted by Joaniemaker
"The Morning After" and "Puppy Luge" submitted by Lili Neuhauser
"Night Time" submitted by Heather Hubert
Submitted by Kimberly Breiland
"Snow Day" submitted by Naomi Moon
“Guess we aren’t having lunch on the porch today” and “I think I can dunk now” Submitted by Stuart McGregor
Stuart McGregor to give presentation at the Tuxedo Park Library this Sunday, March 11
Last summer, I was asked to give a speech to The Tuxedo Historical Society on June 10, 2017. The topic was A History of Kincraig and Family Recollections of a Time Gone By. The presentation was well received and a number of members, guests, and those who couldn't attend asked if there were copies available as there was no videographer present. My wife, Jean, suggested I rework my notes into a more inclusive transcript with photographs. As a result, I self-published a signed, limited edition (100 copies) hard cover, 50 page book that was also well received and reviewed.
I have been once again asked to make a presentation, this time to the members of both The Tuxedo Library and the members of the Tuxedo Historical Society, guests and friends at 2:00 PM on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the Tuxedo Library. It is open to the public but seating is limited.
This year's topic will be Tuxedo Park Past, Law & Disorder. It includes: The story of the fabulously wealthy William B. Dinsmore family, and a son who was a forgotten early resident of Tuxedo Park. The beginnings of the Tuxedo municipal organization that focuses on its Police Chief Gilmore O. Bush. A description of some of the incidents that occurred to many famous families despite the imposing Main Gate, surrounding fence and assurance of security.
When preparing for the presentation I was transfixed by these topics and have again expanded on the speech and self-published a companion book to my first on Tuxedo. This book is again a signed, limited edition of 100 copies and will be first available at The Tuxedo Library on March 11th. A limited number of remaining copies of my earlier book will also be available for signing at that time.
To my friends, neighbors, and residents of Town of Tuxedo and Tuxedo Park, I believe you will find this book about the history of Tuxedo life and its early residents fascinating. Those who have reviewed this new book thought it again illuminates a little-known chapter of Tuxedo Park history, a worthy companion to "Kincaid...." and a perfect fit for:
· A hard copy for those who appreciate the history of Tuxedo.
· Bedside table book for guest bedrooms.
· Coffee table books for the Tuxedo home and other residences
Congratulations to Gina Bambace Conklin, our Weekly Photo Contest Winner! Thank to all participants! (photos displayed below) We love seeing your photos, so please keep sending them! Next week's contest is officially open!
Winner - Lake Kanawauke submitted by Gina Bombace Conklin
Oh What A Time It Was - submitted by Stewart Mcgregor
Sunset - submitted by Stefan Christian
Before Dinner Walk - submitted by Christian Vaught
The Swans of Alexander Pond - submitted by Gina Bombace Conklin
Tuxedo is an incredibly beautiful place and home to a varied, vibrant community!
We're looking for your best photos, taken around Town. From scenery and landmarks to residents, events and local activities, we want to see it all! Submit your photos either via email at email@example.com or via inbox on Facebook.
Photos will be arranged into a weekly album to be featured each Sunday on our website! Additionally, each week, one winning photo will be selected for the album cover and prominently featured on our Facebook page. RULES:
All participants should be above 18 years of age., however submissions on the behalf of minors can be made by parents or guardians.
One submission per person, per week.
Submissions must depict people, places, scenery and/or activities within the Town of Tuxedo or the Village of Tuxedo Park
HOW TO ENTER:
Submit your photo either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Messenger on Facebook.
TPFYI editorial staff will judge all eligible entries received based on location and interest of subject matter. The decisions of the judges with respect to the selection of the winner and in regard to all matters relating to this Contest are within Sponsor’s sole discretion and shall be final.
**Photos depicting any activity that is prohibited or illegal will not be posted or entered into the contest.
During their final meeting of 2017, the Town Board initiated discussions regarding the idea of consolidating the Town and thus becoming The Consolidated Town of Tuxedo. This process would involve forming a newly Incorporated Village, consisting of the Town outside of the already existing Village of Tuxedo Park, and simultaneously consolidating it with the Town. This would be done under both the New York Village Law, which puts forth provisions for incorporation and the new New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act, which allows for the consolidation. The boundaries of the Town would remain the same and the existing Town Government would be preserved. The rights, duties and obligations of the municipalities would be combined and there would be minimal transition costs. To become a Village will require a petition signed by 20% of the electors. Once a Village has been formed, another petition signed by 10% of the electors will be needed in order to move ahead with consolidation.
Why is the Town interested in making this change?
There are a number of reasons.
The Board believes that consolidation will allow for greater economy & efficiency while also providing for greater flexibility & authority to provide services. They think it will help to protect the Town against wasteful overlapping authority while allowing them to retain their existing relationship with the Village of Tuxedo Park. Perhaps most importantly, as a Village, Tuxedo would have the ability to reject the impending Pilgrim Pipeline by passing legislation, which would prohibit petroleum pipelines in the Village. This is a right, which is afforded only to Villages and not Towns. (The Village of Tuxedo Park adopted such legislation last year.) During the winter of 2017, the Town twice attempted to push a Transportation Law through the State Assembly and Senate, which would have afforded Towns these same rights, but the movement was unsuccessful. As the proposed the path for the Pilgrim Pipeline runs right through Tuxedo, it is understandable why the entire community would want the right to legally object.
What does all of this mean for the Village of Tuxedo Park? At this point, things are unclear. While the Town Attorney has suggested that nothing will change, at the December meeting of the Trustees, Village Attorney Brian Nugent expressed some concern over whether a Village could legally be formed where another Village already existed, thus creating two Villages within one consolidated Town. There are certainly many examples where towns have consolidated and formed villages in New York (Mount Kisco, Harrison, Scarsdale, Green Island and East Rochester to name a few) but he is not aware of one where there was a pre-existing Village and this could potentially create some hurdles. The two attorneys are slated to meet and discuss the situation in depth after which there is sure to be more information forthcoming to the community.
Often times we as people feel the need to make a resolution to complete some great task at the start of a new year. But, I urge you to think on what you promise to yourself. Give your resolution some thought, if you must make one at all. It should be plausible, not just possible.
Many make the promise that they will “eat better” or “lose weight” or even “go to the gym a few times a week.” The problem with promising to feed yourself better, is that the mind tends to wander to what it wants, not what it needs. Health is a mindset, even a skill. Call it what you wish, it’s much easier said than done. You can promise what you will, but without the interest acquire the knowledge necessary or access to the resources you need, your goal of getting fit again will likely crash and burn.
Think about it, the period from New Year’s Day until about the 10th of January is both the worst and the best time to be in a gym, depending on who you are. If you’re one of the people running said gyms, these feeble “get healthy” promises are a good thing, because those program sign-ups and membership fees are earning you extra money during that time. If you’re a regular at the gym, and you enjoy the quiet or even just don’t like the cold so you’re exercising inside, the onset of New Year’s resolution makers is a force that will likely keep you away from your gym. People who aren’t regulars can be chatty; they can stare; even make a fool out of themselves for trying too hard.
So instead of promising yourself that you are going to go and do something that many people don’t enjoy, even if it sounds so good in your head, why not consider trying to find something that can benefit others and not just yourself? Helping others, even something as small as holding the door for someone, can make you feel like a better person. Even just initiating small talk with someone can help your days to brighten, and you may even find a new friend in the world. Just remember, for every person who vows to work to be a kinder person, and then actually does one of these things, here is one less empty promise in the world!
The New York University School of Medicine is in negotiations to sell its 7-acre campus located on Old Forge Road in Sterling Forest State Park. The facility, established in 1947, is devoted to research into the ways that environmental factors can cause human disease. It was instrumental in determining the toxicity of dust in the wake of the World Trade Center disasters, and critical in linking smoking to lung cancer.
The facility is publicly offered at a price of $3.9 million (through Cushman Wakefield’s Pyramid Brokerage of Newburgh, NY), although the county assessor evaluates the full market value of the property at nearly $20 million.
Current facts about the status of the sale are difficult to obtain. NYU and its broker have been uncommunicative, except to confirm that negotiations are in progress, and additional offers are not being entertained at this time. Researchers and employees on the campus have been instructed to vacate the buildings by June 2018, according to other sources.
The sale is a matter of concern to the Sterling Forest Partnership, a local citizens committee that was instrumental in the establishment of Sterling Forest Park, and that remains dedicated to the park’s preservation. The NYU campus sits near the Park’s Lautenberg Visitor Center, and borders its most popular hiking trail. An inappropriate tenant in that location could produce waste, traffic, noise, and degrading impacts on Sterling Forest extending well beyond the limits of the 7-acre property.
Upon learning of the offering in early May 2017, Sterling Forest Partnership members alerted conservation-minded organizations and entities which might have an interest in acquiring or protecting the property. For a variety of reasons, no state agency or private entity found an avenue into the negotiations.
The Partnership also drafted a position statement and delivered it to the Trustees of the NYU School of Medicine in July. The statement was signed by about 20 local and regional organizations, including A Better Tuxedo, the Friends of Sterling Forest, the New York New Jersey Trail Conference, the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Sustainable Warwick, the Ramapo River Committee, and several others.
The statement attempted to remind the NYU School of Medicine, an institution dedicated to public health, that it would be appropriate to consider the health of the environment when selling the campus. “We are concerned,” the statement reads, “that NYU will sell the property without regard to its sensitive and privileged location, as if the surrounding state park were no different from an industrial park. … We feel that NYU bears a responsibility to the Sterling Forest environment.” The statement closed by urging NYU “to energetically seek tenants who are compatible with the park’s purpose.”
Once again, NYU did not respond, and the distribution of the statement to the press produced no echo.
Other efforts to communicate with NYU were equally rejected. As recently as October 2017, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney expressed his concern to NYU School of Medicine Trustees about the property. Maloney’s letter to NYU suggested that “NYU can play a role in ensuring the continued health of Sterling Forest Park” by simply adding protective language into the property deed prior to its sale.
Ideas about how the property might become an asset to the State Park environment abound. Brainstorming sessions with members of the Friends of Sterling Forest, the Sterling Forest Homeowners Association, and the Sterling Forest Partnership have envisioned a museum of the Hudson Valley, a performing arts center (the facility includes a 400-seat theater), artists studios, a music school, and an archive.
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton told members of Sterling Forest Partnership that current zoning restricts usage of the property to non-profit or educational institutions for limited impact purposes. The campus, he said, could not be converted to multiple-family housing or to industrial use.
Co-Chair Sterling Forest Partnership
*The New York University School of Medicine is located on Old Forge Road, off of Long Meadow Road, which is technically in the Town of Warwick.
Our lovely and very talented Student Intern, Claire Zuern, had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Traci Ferreria, who began work as the New Assistant Principal in the Tuxedo Union Free School District on November 1 of this year:
The following is a Question / Answer set I sent to Mrs. Traci Ferreria, the new Assistant Principal at George F Baker High School, as of early November. Mr. Eric Sorenson, the former Assistant Principal, resigned in August, so she’s here to pick up where he left off! Please keep in mind that Mrs. Ferreria answered the questions herself, so it’s written in first person!
~ Claire Zuern
1.Where did you go to college? My undergraduate degree is from Appalachian State University which is located Boone, NC. It is in history and secondary education. My first graduate degree is from Hofstra University, which is located in Hempstead, New York. My master’s is in education. My second graduate degree is from Rutgers University of New Jersey and that degree is in Educational Leadership and Supervision.
2. Where did you go to high school? I went to high school in North Carolina. I actually went to 2 different high schools. The first one was Eastern Randolph High School and then I moved my junior year and graduated from High Point Central High School in High Point, NC.
3. Have you always lived in New York / New Jersey? I moved to New York in August of 2000 in order to attend Hofstra University’s graduate program.
4. What drew you to the teacher’s life? (meaning why do you like it?) Both of my parents were in education. They were teachers and then administrators. I guess you can say it is in my blood. I have also felt the need to help students, even when they were in my own class, which got me into trouble sometimes because I would not get my work done. I have always loved watching the “light bulb” go off when somebody understands something.
5. How long have you been in your field of work? This is my 24th year in education.
6. Why Tuxedo? For the past 2 years in the Nyack School District, I have been the district-wide Instructional Technology liaison which has afforded me to be able to go to the 3 elementary schools, the middle school and high school, push into classrooms and work with the students in order to increase instructional technology and the shift to a 1:1 device model. I have also been able to work with teachers in order for them to gain confidence with their technological skills in the classroom. Tuxedo offers the ability for me to continue my passion with instructional technology on the K-12 platform and the ability to continue to create a learner active technology infused classroom. Plus, I grew up attending a K-8 elementary school that is very similar to Tuxedo with the small classes and the family atmosphere and that was what I was looking for with my move from the classroom to administration.
7. Have you worked in any other schools? Nyack Public Schools since 2001
8. What is your favorite subject to teach? My favorite subject would be US History.
9. Are you the kind of person to stress over a deadline? I tend to be very organized and try to plan ahead to minimize my stress level. I think everybody stresses to a certain degree but as long as you are organized and do not procrastinate and plan for any contingencies then you can minimize stress.
10. Given a large assignment, do you get it done right away or save it until the last minute? When given a large assignment- I tend to break it into chunks in order to minimize my stress. I have to see the trees instead of the forest. So if it is a large assignment/project- I will break it down and plan it out to minimize my stress and to ensure that all parts will be taken care of.
11.Do you have kids? Nope!
12. Do you have any other interests outside of your job? (as in hobbies) I love to read, play on the computer, cook, bake and anything outdoors
13. What are some of your favorite books/movies/TV shows? Currently I have been binging on Mindhunter and Luther on Netflix. Books- Anything by Ron Rash (Southern writer) Movies- It has been forever since I went to the theater that I can’t even remember what I saw last.
14. Give the choice between a good book or a movie, what do you generally go for first? Definitely a book
15. What is your favorite genre? I tend to read a lot of Southern authors- Ron Rash, Michael Malone, Eudora Welty, Genre would almost be like Southern Gothic
16. Do you know any other languages other than English? Unfortunately no
17. Where did you grow up? Pleasant Hill, NC→ On a family farm in Alamance County; nearest town was Liberty, NC
18. Do you have a favorite age group to oversee? (Meaning a favorite grade range) Even though I have spent the majority of my teaching career with high school age students, for the past two years, I have spent a lot of time with elementary students and I find them to be quite enjoyable so right now I would have to say all grades- K-12.
Take a deep breath of the fresh air, smell the flowers and grasses, listen to the birds’ songs, relax your eyes on the trees, and ponder the shifting shapes of the clouds. You are in the Race Track Nature Preserve.
I have visited the Preserve on countless occasions at different times of the day and in different times of the year. On each visit, I feel I have entered a remote nature sanctuary; I can’t possibly be only forty-five miles from Manhattan.
A year ago, on October 23, 2016, the Tree Advisory Board, a group of volunteers concerned with conserving the natural environment, received the Board of Trustees’ unanimous permission to dedicate the then abandoned 21-acre Village land as a community Nature Preserve. At that time, the entire area was smothered in invasive plants such as barberry, porcelain berry, and multifloral rose. You couldn’t see the northern portion of the basin when you entered from Tuxedo Road. Walking the 0.4-mile circular path – created by the generosity of Dena Steele some ten years ago after the Village had stopped using the basin as an unsightly and unhealthy tree refuse dump – felt like navigating through a maze: what could be hiding beyond the tunnel of gnarly twisted vines?
A year on, the Preserve is well on its way to being transformed into a meadow of native flowers and grasses, surrounded by a healthy forest of trees. The native vegetation, when fully established, will yield color interests all year round, and provide an excellent habitat for local and migrating wildlife, including a wide array of birds and butterflies that make an annual journey between Canada and Mexico/the Caribbean.
Generous donations from 29 Founding Stewards and from Mae Shore who gifted the entirety of the sales proceeds from her original woodblock print, “Native Meadow”, as well as the support of other donors have enabled the Village to hire, via an open-bid process, the design and implementation services of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, well-known for their natural landscape and native meadow work, including for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The money raised – which is tax deductible to the donors – is also funding the ongoing work of eradicating invasive plants and seeding of the 10+ acre flat basin with native flowers and grasses planned for June 2018, the best time to plant a meadow.
Meanwhile, working with the DPW and a group of volunteers who call themselves the “Deviners” and “Deweeders”, we have been removing strangling invasive vines off trees and culled many invasive Norway Maples that crowd out native trees. We created a new north entrance with a convenient parking area at East Lake Stable Road to connect with the Fox Hill Trail. There, the DPW, using enormous slabs of indigenous gneiss rocks harvested from the forest, constructed a magnificent flight of steps that looks to have been in place since 1900. In the middle of the basin, we created a meandering walking trail that connects with the circular path to provide better viewing points. We planted two flowering dogwoods, six spreading grey dogwood shrubs, and one tulip tree – in honor of John Yrizarry, the naturalist who documented the biodiversity of the Race Track and provided the scientific data that informed the Village Board’s decision to turn the land into a Nature Preserve. We also uncovered a section of the historic drainage channels (quite by accident when the DPW’s front loader slid into a depression while grading the basin to prepare it for seeding) and foundations of the Racing Grand Stand and Officials Tower, built by Pierre Lorillard’s son. These relics will be landscaped to provide historical interest.
With the invasive plants under control, many native flowers and grasses have returned. This summer saw the re-emergence of Milk Weed, Spiderwort, Black-eye Susan, Golden Rod, Sassafras, Trillium, ferns, Bloodroot, and more. These native growths will be augmented by the meadow seeding in June next year.
The Preserve is a labor of love for many residents and Village employees. Its transformation will be a multi-year process. During this time, the color, texture and even scent of the meadow will change from season to season, and from year to year, as the invasive plants are progressively eliminated in favor of the natives. This summer, for example, many residents have commented on the beauty of the basin, with the palette of green and yellow at the northern end, and the silvery expanse closer to Tuxedo Road. The green and yellow are in fact a mix of native plants and residual invasive weeds, while the silvery bloom, unfortunately, is Miscanthus, a highly invasive grass that, if not controlled, would cover the entire basin with its sterile mono-culture. The Miscanthus will be replaced with a similar-looking native grass that will be even more visually stunning.
The native meadow, once established in about 3 years, will be self-sustaining requiring only a small amount of maintenance. A meadow does not require watering – ever – not even in the first year. Once seeded in June, it will be mowed once a month from July to October to encourage new growth. From year two onwards, it will only be mowed once a year – in March.
Beautiful and ecologically positive, native meadows are also cost-effective. A number of Tuxedo Park families are planning to install them on their own properties, or to introduce native meadow flowers and grasses into their gardens as accents, driveway borders or in a mixed composition with the much less cost-efficient and ecologically sterile lawn.
I am particularly gratified that one of these properties fronts the Tuxedo Lake. The meadow there will reduce nutrients (fertilizers) runoff into the Lake and help erosion control. The reason: meadow plants have roots that extend to 15 ft., compared to blue grass’s 2-4 inches. Thus, meadow plants are superior at breaking down nutrients and at absorbing storm water. Nutrients are the major cause of milfoil and algal bloom that negatively impact our drinking water.
But some people may still ask: why bother?
We bother because the Preserve will improve the natural environment of our Village. It will give us cleaner air. It will improve the filtration of water from the surrounding hills that feeds underground into our lakes/reservoir as well as the Ramapo River, a source of drinking water for millions in New York and New Jersey. It will provide a venue for scientific learning for our children and the local school. It will be a place for quiet enjoyment, relaxation and communion with nature for all residents. It will enhance the vista from Tuxedo Road and Clubhouse Road. Its beauty will help raise the real estate value of Tuxedo Park.
In creating a meadow-ed Nature Preserve, we are at the forefront of an environmental and aesthetic movement that is taking hold in New York State and indeed, the North-East region. We are in good company with Croton Point Park in Westchester, Cornell Tech Meadow on Roosevelt Island, Dene Slope at Central Park, and the High Line in New York City.
The Race Track Nature Preserve Friends are now fundraising for the second stage of work: to add plants (not only seeds) into the basin to enhance the health and biodiversity of the meadow, and to landscape the two entrances at Tuxedo Road and East Lake Stable Road.
Come and walk the paths at the Race Track Nature Preserve – and experience the gift of nature.
Please stay on the mowed paths to avoid accidental injury and ticks. Bring your dogs, but keep them on a leash to prevent them from darting into the field and harming wildlife, and please pick up after them. Bring your children so that they can discover flowers hidden under luxuriant ferns, and (after the first snow) footprints of birds, foxes and even bears. Bring a glass of wine, as one family already does, at sunset and start your evening by relaxing in nature.
Our work can only be performed with your support. Please visit www.tptreeboard.org to learn more about the Race Track Nature Preserve and related environmental and tree-care information and to find out how you can help.
Chiu Yin Hempel
Chair, Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board
October 29, 2017
Someone I know told me something recently that made me think. She said I deserved to be happy; that I should stop taking everyone so seriously and just have fun… She just doesn’t understand; this is the seed that will grow to be the rest of my life, and I’m not the only one that needs help. By helping others, I help myself.
Many around me have planted their seeds, whether they be for sports, for teaching, or something else. They all have a lofty goal, and no means to get there but hope and practice. But where to start? My seed is just planted, ready to sprout.
There are some that see kindness as pointless..even a waste of time. I find it necessary in order to progress. My world and theirs are very different; they see facts, whereas I see opinions based on what they want to see. I may see a man in New York City rummaging through garbage with a dog by his side, probably looking for food, and think,“ What did they do to deserve this?” whereas others may ignore them, stare, even call names.
I see a flower near me struggling to grow, teetering between success and utter failure. Others send cruel comments, even mock her, but I see a beautiful girl who just needs to be understood for who she is. Others see a weed that needs to be plucked from where it grows, and be thrown away like any other failure. I won’t let that happen, not when I can help.
So when the rain clouds your judgement, open your eyes and try to see what another sees. Don’t throw your own thoughts into the mix. Just try to understand, not judge people based on things they cannot control. And remember that every weed is a flower, just trying to make things work. Remember that every flower can bloom in the rain.
With Halloween well on its way, and the changing leaves dancing in the wind, what better way for George F Baker High School to issue a season’s greeting than to haunt the halls?
For a few years now, Tuxedo’s resident high school has put on a dramatic production, starring their own students, as a sort of halloween play. Completely original every year, the students, sometimes teachers, dress up, taking tours of people through their spellbound halls. Complete with effects, lights out, and spooky makeup and costumes, if successful, audiences will leave after having a good scare!
Again this year the drama department has something new in store… with a “Mother Goose” nursery rhyme gone wrong! Complete with haunted mirrors, creepy noises, and creatures of the night, this is sure to have some poeple quaking in their boots!
Please be advised that however much your kids may like scary things, anyone under the age of 8 probably shouldn’t be there. Haunted Hallways will be taking place at George F Baker High School from 7 o’clock pm to 10:30 pm on October 20th and 27th. If you call (845)351 - 4786, you can get tickets early. All tickets will be $10 for each person.
TPFYI is thrilled to be working with the talented Claire Zuern, a Junior at George F. Baker, who will be interning with us for the next several months! We invite you to enjoy her latest create offering: DREAMWORLD: THE HORROR MAZE.
Dreamworld: The Horror Maze
Sometimes in dreams there are certain things the dreamer just knows are true, such as a light in the eyes can kill a creature of darkness… which was exactly the case in my coming nightmare.
I found myself waking up on a bench outside a carnival-like haunted house, as if I had fallen asleep waiting for friends who never showed up. I didn’t know where I was, but I figured I may as well have some fun while I waited for whoever was coming.
Walking up to the building, there was a booth to buy tickets, and luckily I had just enough money with me to buy one for myself. There were about six other people waiting for the session to start, and so I walked over and tried to be friendly. I didn’t know any of them, nor did any sense of recognition stir in my memory. None of them had ever heard of this place, but rumors said no one had really gone in. They had all assumed the place was a new addition and probably ran under the streets.
Our conversation was interrupted by someone clad in black, bearing flashlights and little black sticks. The man pulled a similar object out of his own pocket, brandishing it and pressing a button on the side. The objects were switchblades; which was such a strange object to have in a place that was supposed to be fun.
Each of our little group of seven took one, and one of the others noticed my flashlight was green, and hers was black, so she asked me if we could switch. Personally I didn’t really care what color the flashlight was, but i did notice the one she handed me was a slight bit heavier. I didn’t pay that little fact much attention however, mostly because the man in black beckoned for us to follow. This entire time he hadn’t said a word.
The man led us down a narrow, dimly lit hallway to a small elevator, witch had an iron barred door, like those old mining shaft elevators you usually see in sci-fi movies. The seven of us piled in and the man pressed the button and closed the door. The last thing I saw before being plunged into darkness was the wicked grin creeping across the man’s face.
From there, time seemed to skip through a few hours, though in the darkness under the streets, no one’s phone worked, and I’d lost my sense of time. Somehow I’d gotten separated from the group, and I had no idea where any of the others were. Walking through the endless tunnels, there was only an occasional, dying oil lamp to light the way, other than the flashlight I flicked on once in awhile. There was no sound, other than the occasional skitter from the assumed city rat, or the drop of dampness from the streets above.
That is, no sound until six, unique screams ripped through the tunnels one by one, slowly getting closer. Something inside me wanted to turn and run, but the other half told me to follow where the screams had come from to make sure the others were okay, though deep down I knew I was preparing for the worst.
I had picked up a dying lantern along the way… and at first I thought the shadows were playing tricks with my sight, for around the small room lay six broken, bloody heaps. The entire room smelled of blood. A few splatters dripped from the walls, and my eyes darted from pile to pile. These people weren’t simply killed, they were ripped apart quickly, and judging from the blood spray, whoever or whatever had did this to them had done so when they were still alive.
As I gazed around the bloodsoaked room, a creeping realization struck me. Whatever killed these people was still in this maze with me… somewhere. Then, movement broke to my left, then to my right; a black blur was darting around the room.
It landed in front of me, a quadrupedal creature. It was humanoid, with void-black skin like sun baked leather… and its smile was a full-fanged sneer that stretched to the base of where its ears should have been. In their place was simply a small hole; no cup, just a hole.
At the beginning of this encounter I wouldn't have questioned a man in a creepy costume; shine a light in their eyes and they would run away, or even fall to the floor and pretend of be in pain. But now as this creature crept closer in the darkness, I fumbled with the switchblade, though I knew all I could do was buy time. There were two problems with the flashlights the group had been given.
Gazing around the room, all of the flashlights were near the bloody, fresh corpses that were once living people. Mind racing, I briefly wondered why they hadn’t used them, and landed on the conclusion that the black flashlight was the only one with a battery. The second problem was what I was facing, where the others had failed… this creature had ripped its eyes out of its skull…. Leaving nothing but empty, bloody, bulbous holes in its crooked face.
The last thing I can remember before waking up was the creature launching at me, ready to tear into my own body…
TPFYI is thrilled to introduce our new intern, Claire Zuern, to the community! Currently a Junior at George F. Baker High School, Claire aspires to a career in writing and is off to a great start, having already published two books, Shadows of the Mind Book 1and Shadows of the Mind Book 2on Amazon.com. Claire is not a resident of Tuxedo, having chosen to tuition in to the Tuxedo District from Monroe. In the months ahead Claire will be working with TPFYI to provide exciting new content for the site ranging from fictional works to editorials and reporting! We are extremely excited to be working with her and to share her talent with the Tuxedo Community!
My name is Claire Zuern, a Junior at GFB high school. I love fantasy, and reading is my escape from anything that may be bothering or stressful. Writing is a stress reliever as well, so an internship at TPFYI was perfect!
Currently my big project that I am working on is a short story series called Shadows of the Mind. The first half is done, with two books published through Amazon.com and one being edited. My books are about a winged wolf named Rune, and her father, Blackthorn, who started a war on the day she was born.
Though fantasy is my focus point in writing, I would like to explore other genres and areas as well. Historical fiction is also very appealing, but I prefer to read about that rather than write it. Sci-Fi is also fun, but much of that gets turned into horror, like the Alien movies. That being said, real life, current events can scare me about as much as horror movies can. Thus, my interest in reporting.
I’m planning to go to college for Creative Writing, and most likely take some art classes, since I’ve had a handful of graphic novel ideas as well. I’ll probably do something close to home, like community college. I have a wide vocabulary, , so I’ll probably focus on writing classes to improve grammar, wording and style. That being said, I haven’t ruled anything out, so anything is possible!
My general philosophy in most conflicts, whether it be walking into a conversation in school, settling a conflict between friends, or sometimes even online, is “To each their own”, so long as no one gets hurt.
I was actually born in Toledo, Ohio, not New York. About a year into my life my family and I moved to Wisconsin, where we lived for a couple years. The year I turned 6, we moved back to ohio, this time in a small town on Lake Erie’s shoreline, called Avon Lake. About four years ago we moved from Ohio to Monroe, where I spent my seventh and eighth grade years In Monroe Woodbury Middle School. After that I was in Monroe’s High School. My freshman year went well, but my grades struggled, mostly because to me the sheer size of the student body made it stressful. The work wasn’t that bad, but my mind was always wandering to what was next in the day, so I could never focus on my work. Sophomore year, I spent a semester in Monroe, but after winter break, my parents and I decided to move me to Tuxedo’s public high school, where I am now! Since the switch, My grades have gone up, I’m not constantly stressed, and I can actually get work done after school!
All this being said, I don’t feel out of the ordinary where I am, even though I am an “outsider”. At the same time, I know I’m different! My background and personality always have been unique, and that’s not a bad thing at all! To be honest, I wouldn’t change it for the world!
One Tuxedo Park Resident Riding for a Cure in the 2017 Pan-Mass Challenge
Posted July 7th, 2017
NEEDHAM, Mass. July 7, 2017 – On Aug. 5 and 6, a rider from Tuxedo Park will cycle up to 192 miles in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) with the goal of raising $48 million for critical research and cancer care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
During PMC weekend, more than 6,200 cyclists from more than 40 states and eight countries will return to Massachusetts to participate in the PMC, choosing from 12 routes of varying mileage that run through 46 towns. Cyclists are anywhere between 15 and 84-years-old and range from seasoned triathletes to weekend warriors who trained for this event alone and everything in between.
“We are thrilled to be approaching our 38th PMC ride weekend. Seeing our growth over the years has been truly incredible and we look forward to achieving our fundraising goal of $48 million for Dana-Farber,” said Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the PMC. “We want to wish all of our riders and volunteers a safe and enjoyable ride weekend – I’ll see everyone out on the road.”
Many riders participate in the PMC to honor a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer. More than 600 riders and volunteers are cancer survivors or current patients, considered “Living Proof” of the PMC mission to find a cure. The average cyclist trains for three months, solicits 40 sponsors and raises more than $7,000. Volunteers, spectators, donors and sponsors are part of the camaraderie on ride weekend, all working together toward a cure.
No other single athletic event raises or contributes more money to charity than the PMC. Since 1980, the PMC has raised $547 million dollars for Dana-Farber through the Jimmy Fund, its fundraising arm. In fact, the PMC is Dana-Farber’s largest single contributor, raising more than 52 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue.
The PMC is presented by the Red Sox Foundation and New Balance. To make a financial contribution to a rider from your town or become a virtual rider, visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Connect with #PanMass2017 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Good luck to the following participant from Tuxedo Park: Graham Caparulo
The Town of Tuxedo and the Village of Tuxedo Park are actively opposing the Pilgrim Pipeline. Both municipalities have passed resolutions to that purpose.
You can find the actions taken by the Town and links for further information about Pilgrim, upcoming meetings and calls for action on the Pilgrim tab on the Town’s website: http://www.tuxedogov.org/pipeline
oppose the designation of the DEC and the NYS Thruway Authority as co-lead agencies for SEQRA, the environmental review
press for a 90-day Public Comment Period so that municipalities have enough time to prepare statements and gather public comments.
The Town Board held a public SEQRA workshop led by our Town Planner which discussed the Pipeline, its potential route, and ways that the Public can get involved. More workshops will be held after Pilgrim submits a draft environmental statement, the DEIS, to the DEC. (A preliminary DEIS has been submitted which you can access from the DEC page listed above.)
The Town supports the activities of CAPPIT – Citizens Against Pilgrim Pipeline in Tuxedo – and we appreciate the input from CAPPIT organizers. Karen Dougher and Sue Scher update the Board at Public Meetings on the activities of the larger CAPP-NY group which includes municipalities throughout the Hudson Valley. ( www.stoppilgrimpipeline.com )
A NY Transportation Law gives Villages and Cities the authority to approve or disapprove petroleum pipelines on their land. Tuxedo, along with other towns in the Hudson Valley, supports a current bill in Albany that would amend the Transportation Law to include Towns. Supervisor Mike Rost and I are meeting with officials to garner support for this bill.
Participate in call-in and write-in actions. The Town recently posted information about the call-in to Governor Cuomo which resulted in 1800 calls last week from our region. To read resolutions which have been passed by Tuxedo, Tuxedo Park and municipalities in NY and NJ – and for help in writing letters and to sign a petition online, go to:
What is the Pilgrim Pipeline Project, and why are so many people concerned about it? How might it impact our lives here in Tuxedo?
These are important questions that all residents of Tuxedo should be exploring.
If constructed, the pipelines will most definitely have a direct effect on this community.
Let’s start with the basics - What You Should Know:
What has been proposed is the construction of two new parallel pipelines running between Albany and Linden, NJ. The pipes would be roughly 170 miles long, with 116 of those being in the State of New York. The southbound pipe would carry Bakken crude oil while the northbound pipe would transport refined petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene and heating oil. (Many believe that Bakken crude is more dangerous to transport than other types of oil. Information about this can be found here.) The pipes would be capable of transporting roughly 200,000 barrels of oil per day. Along with the two main pipelines, five single product lateral pipelines would be constructed at intermediate delivery points in addition to four pump stations. Ten-meter stations would also be constructed. 79% of the mainlines would be installed within the New York State Thruway right-of-way and an additional 7.5% would be co-located with other roads, utilities and railroads. The remaining 13.5% would be newly acquired Right of Way. The Pipeline will have the power of Eminent Domain, which essentially means that they can put the lines wherever they want to so long as the plans have been approved.
This map shows where the pipeline would run through Orange County, and this one gives an overview of the entire route. The current proposal shows the lines coming down the Thruway into Tuxedo and then crossing Route 17 somewhere in the area of Stevens Lane. It would then travel along Fox Hill, down and through the Village of Tuxedo Park just above Front Gate and then continue south through the Tuxedo Farms Development and on into Rockland County. This map is over a year old. It is believed that updated maps showing revised routes may exist, however Pilgrim has not released them.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Thruway Authority will share Lead Agency Status for this project in New York. This means that they will be responsible for the Environmental Review under SEQRA and, ultimately, approval of the project. Although it is uncertain whether or not the route has been finalized, the SEQRA process has already begun with applicant having submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and initial scoping sessions scheduled for the coming months.
Municipalities all up and down the proposed lines (almost 40 in NJ and more than 20 in NY), including both the Town of Tuxedo and the Village of Tuxedo Park, have signed petitions and sent letters objecting to the project and in January of 2016 the Village passed legislation prohibiting its construction in the Village. (A copy of this legislation can be viewed here)
Unfortunately, unlike gas pipelines, there is no government agency at either the state or federal level charged with responsibility for overseeing the siting process for an oil pipeline like Pilgrim.
So, Why should we be concerned?
For starters, there’s the obvious, potentially hazardous and frightening effects that any pipeline of this nature would have on any community through which it travels. The proposed route brings the pipelines through densely populated residential areas, near schools, hospitals and businesses, and would cut through numerous environmentally sensitive and protected areas, including across 3 major drinking water rivers and numerous smaller streams. In New York it crosses 232 regulated streams. The Ramapo Valley Aquifer will be directly impacted. A pipeline spill could potentially contaminate the drinking water for several million people and dozens of municipalities who rely on these water sources. Oil pipelines leak. According to stoppilgimpipeline.com, between 1986 and 2013 pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year or more than 3 million gallons. This is equivalent to 200 barrels of oil spilled into our environment every day. Also, Pipelines explode. Oil pipeline explosions can be lethal and devastating and they happen with some regularity. Click here to view the overwhelming list of accidents that have occurred in this country in the last 15 years.
When it is installed, large swaths of land will need to be cleared on either side of the pipeline to ensure access and maintenance. Needless to say, the there will be unfortunate, visual impacts. Pilgrim has also stated that this land will be maintained largely with herbicides, which is another cause for environmental concern.
If it goes in, the pipeline will surely have a negative effect on property values. The threat of an accident, be it an explosion or a spill, and the subsequent damage in enough to turn many potential buyers away.
How Will This Project Impact Tuxedo?
Ultimately, the severity of impact that this project will have on the Town of Tuxedo and the Village of Tuxedo Park specifically will depend on the route that it takes through the municipalities. As previously stated, the pipeline will have Eminent Domain powers and could potentially leave a handful of residents homeless. It also has the potential to seriously impact the progress of the Tuxedo Farms Development. In September of 2015, representatives of the Related Companies (owners of the Tuxedo Farm’s Project) attended a Village Board of Trustees meeting and publically expressed their concern with the proposed route, which goes right through the center of the development. Here is an excerpt from TPFYI’s coverage of that meeting (the entire report can be found by clicking here)
“Megan Guy from the Related Companies was present and concurred that the developer does share the Village’s concern. Ultimately they will have 1,200 homes to sell and they do not want to see the pipeline running right through the center of their development. To this end, their lawyers have been attempting to negotiate a deal with the pipeline, which consists of an alternate route. Although admittedly not ideal, the proposed alternate route would run across the old golf course property, just south of the old gatehouse, through the northern tract, behind the hills and across the negotiated buffer zone between the Village and development. This is not ideal, however it would limit the number of people and homes effected by avoiding not only their development but the school property, Route 17 and the Front Gate as well.”
The pipelines are already having an impact on Tuxedo. The developers are understandably hesitant to move forward with building until the route has been finalized for a plethora of reasons. In fact, they have applied for yet another 6-month extension on their current permits with no apparent plans to begin construction before the spring.
Regardless of which route the pipeline ultimately takes, this is for certain; it will run underneath the Ramapo River and dangerously close to Tuxedo Lake, posing a giant threat to everyone’s drinking water.
What Can We Do About All Of This?
So what can we, the residents of Tuxedo, do about all of this? At this point, the best thing to do is to remain informed and voice concerns publicly whenever possible. As previously mentioned, the Environmental Review process has begun and the scoping process is underway. What is scoping? Scoping is a process by which a written document addressing/analyzing potential environmental impact of the project is developed. It is the precursor to the development of the final Environmental Impact Statement and it ensures that the public has a say in that process. The Town Board will be scheduling a workshop meeting with their Planning Consultant, Bonnie Franson, so that they can take a closer look at all of the potential environmental impacts and begin to develop ideas and thoughts as to comments for submission. TPFYI encourages residents to attend this meeting and further inform themselves as to what is going on and how individuals can officially voice their concerns.
Additionally, there are a number of websites providing a great deal of information regarding this project. TPFYI encourages you to check this out as well. Two of the most informative are:
How community-minded conservation, nature, and extraordinary biodiversity changed the landscape of Tuxedo Park
Posted November 4th, 2015
Tuxedo Park offers sanctuary to a diverse range of wildlife. This is unique – vast expanse of natural environments does not often exist so close to metropolitan areas. Tuxedo Park, however, is rich with biodiversity. Here, more than 450 species of trees and plants, 150 species of butterflies and moths, and nearly 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians thrive. Its lakes and feeder streams teem with life year round.
A new book, Tuxedo Park: The Gift of Nature tells the story of the village’s diverse species and scenic beauty through more than 200 original color photographs. On November 15th, Author Chiu Yin Hempel and Photographer Greg Miller will discuss their experiences and adventures creating the book. Tuxedo Park and other area residents, nature and photography enthusiasts, conservationists, and people who simply enjoy wildlife and history are welcome to attend. The presentation will be held at the Tuxedo Park Fire Department. Registration is required; the event is free.
Founded in 1886, Tuxedo Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nature in Tuxedo Park appears almost untouched by man. However, over 100 years of conservation-minded community development has been responsible for the village's continued ecological health and unspoiled beauty.
While writing the book, Ms. Hempel worked closely with John C. Yrizarry, naturalist, author and wildlife artist who spent more than a decade compiling his Field Notes of natural species in Tuxedo Park. “Tuxedo Park is a historically important, ecologically rich Shangri-La. John showed me so many species, including some not easily found in the Hudson Valley region, such as purple trillium and the protected pileated woodpecker,” said Ms. Hempel.
“Together, Chiu Yin Hempel’s historical research and writing, Greg Miller’s photographic talent for capturing light, and John C. Yrizarry’s work on documenting natural species tell the story of nature’s gifts in Tuxedo Park,” Carol Monderer, the book’s publisher said.
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com. This is the third volume in an illustrated trilogy about the historic community of Tuxedo Park, New York. The other books are Tuxedo Park: Lives, Legacies, Legends and Tuxedo Park: The Historic Houses.
This presentation is part of the Tuxedo Park Library’s Authors’ Circle. The Event will take place at the Tuxedo Park Fire Department: 2 Contractors Rd. Tuxedo Park, NY. Please make a reservation:registeron the Tuxedo Park Library website, send an email to the library at email@example.com or call (845) 351-2207.
Tuxedo Park: The Gift of Nature - Author and photographer chronicle biodiversity and scenic beauty in historic village
Posted October 2nd, 2015
TUXEDO PARK, N.Y., Sept. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Undisturbed expanse of natural environments rarely exists in close proximity to metropolitan areas. Yet, just 45 miles north of New York City, there is a village of extraordinary biodiversity. Tuxedo Park is home to more than 450 species of trees and plants, 150 species of butterflies and moths, and nearly 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Its lakes and feeder streams team with life year round.
The story of Tuxedo Park's diverse species and scenic beauty is told in Tuxedo Park: The Gift of Nature, a new book featuring over 200 breathtaking original color photographs. The book is available for purchase from Amazon.com.
This book is the third volume in an illustrated trilogy about the historic community of Tuxedo Park, New York. The others are Tuxedo Park: Lives, Legacies, Legends and Tuxedo Park: The Historic Houses.
Founded in 1886, Tuxedo Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Gilded Age luminaries, including Waldorf Astor, Augustus Juilliard, and Emily Post lived there. J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt were members of the Tuxedo Club. Bruce Price, Carrere and Hastings, Frederick Law Olmsted's sons, and John Russell Pope endowed the village with architectural masterpieces. Nature, however, is what truly distinguishes Tuxedo Park from all other towns and villages in the New York metropolis. This exquisite environment is now given a voice in Tuxedo Park: The Gift of Nature.
Carol Monderer, the book's publisher, said, "Tuxedo Park is home to extraordinary biodiversity, and this book serves to inspire conservation throughout the region so that nature will be cherished, respected and preserved for future generations."
"Tuxedo Park's nature appears almost untouched by man, but over 100 years of community conservation-minded development, in reality, has been responsible for the village's continued ecological health and unspoiled beauty," said Chiu Yin Hempel, author of Tuxedo Park: The Gift of Nature.
Greg Miller, photographer, said, "My photos of the four seasons open the senses to this magical, dreamlike world."
Author Chiu Yin Hempel wrote Tuxedo Park: Lives, Legacies, Legends and co-edited Tuxedo Park: The Historic Houses, which was selected by HouseBeautiful as one of the magazine's ten favorite books in 2007. Both books won the Award for Excellence from the Greater Hudson Heritage Network. Chiu Yin Hempel is a Trustee of the Preservation League of New York State.
Photographer Greg Miller is known for his panoramic landscape photos and for his consummate focus on the myriad qualities of light falling upon the landscapes. Miller's book, The Hudson River: A Great American Treasure, was chosen by The Bloomsbury Review as one of the "2008 Editors' Favorite Books of the Year."
Sometimes Tuxedo seems like one of those people who has been living on sponge cake, and who suddenly realizes that they had better start working out. They just have to get up out of the hammock and take that first heavy-legged jog around the block.
That jog took place on Saturday, June 13, when members of the Orange County Citizens Foundation and a large group of Tuxedoans met in the emblematic Tuxedo train station for a dialog on Tuxedo’s sense of place, and an organized “Placemaking Tour” of the Hamlet.
An informal citizens council calling itself “A Better Tuxedo” organized the event, which nearly a hundred people attended.
A Better Tuxedo grew out of discussions between members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Tuxedo Residents Association, the Tuxedo Garden Club, the author of the MyHarriman blog, and other community leaders. The group has stated that its mission “to stimulate opportunities for commercial growth in balance with nature, and to create a sustainable economy based on utilizing Tuxedo's greatest assets....”
Stu Turner, a resident of Tuxedo and co-chair of the OCCF “placemaking” committee, led the discussion and explained the purpose of meeting: to try to think about how Tuxedo can reform its inherent weaknesses and make the most of its gifts.
Town Historian George Langberg presented a brief historical survey of Tuxedo, beginning with its settlement in the 18th century as Augusta Falls, its decline in the first half of the 19th century, its revival with the creation of Tuxedo Park, and the effects of modern circumstances such as the New York Thruway and independent neighborhoods.
Chamber of Commerce President William Sweet questioned what has prevented Tuxedo’s retail businesses from thriving. After listing several advantages that Tuxedo enjoys, including beautiful parks, safety for families, and public transportation arteries to New York City, there was a long discussion of factors that might hold the town back in spite of its assets. Sweet suggested that Route 17 undermines Tuxedo’s downtown. It looks like a highway, Sweet said, so cars blow through. The highway’s commotion leaves little opportunity for pedestrians to stroll, and as a result, few shopkeepers bother to take care of sidewalks and storefronts. All of this leads to a downtown that appears tired and run-down. Sweet recommended changing the nature of Route 17, transforming it into a village main street (like Route 9 in Westchester County, or Route 94 in Warwick). Street-side parking, shaded pedestrian walkways, and bike lanes carved from Route 17’s corridor could turn downtown into an inviting commercial district.
The president of the Northern Tuxedo Residents Association, Kristy Apostolides, recalled a popular children’s story in which a magic spyglass enables people to see things not only as they are, but as they could be (a weedy backyard could be a garden, for instance, just look through the spyglass). She suggested that Tuxedo could flourish if only the townspeople and their leaders could see the potential it holds, rather than focusing on the negative. The spyglass in the story allowed people to see under the overgrowth and beyond the cracked paint to reveal underlying character and beauty.
Apostolides, who has worked with A Better Tuxedo, said she hoped the gathering at the train station with OCCF would function as an initial “spyglass” to allow residents and officials to see Tuxedo’s potential. She emphasized that the vision is only the first step in the process and that work and commitment are needed to follow through and make those visions reality.
Other comments were delivered by Tuxedo Town Supervisor Mike Rost, Tuxedo Park Mayor Lili Neuhauser, and by Ken English and Sona Mason of the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.
A salient point of discussion was that the Town’s vast parkland can be a resource for economic growth based on tourism, and that changes in the Town’s services and physical plan should facilitate these recreational opportunities.
Following the discussion, a walking tour of the Hamlet was led by Sterling Forest Partnership chairs Sue Scher and Rodger Friedman. The walking tour drove home the points made by Sweet about Route 17, which discourages conversation and pedestrian strolling. The tour took in the struggling storefronts on Route 17, the inviting footpath around the Catholic Church, the Bruce Price houses of the Hamlet, the warren of residential streets, and the municipal parking lot leading to the Powerhouse.
The next step for the group and Tuxedo community is to come together for a public planning session to brainstorm ideas on how to affect change in our town. Since Tuxedo is limited in population and resources, a key effort in this meeting will be identifying volunteers who can take on responsibility for a task that they believe in and see it through to completion.
If you are interested in participating in Tuxedo’s revitalization, now is the time to get involved. Please contact members of A Better Tuxedo directly at ABetterTuxedo@gmail.com or (845) 350-2076 or through Lisa Favia (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the contact link of MyHarriman.com (http://www.myharriman.com/contact-2/).
For further information, part of the presentation, along with Tuxedo’s 2011 and 2003 revitalization plans are available for download at tuxedochamber.org/placemaking.
Genting Group Says It Is Vying for a Casino License
Posted April 24th, 2014
The Genting Group, among the biggest gambling interests in the world, announced on Wednesday that it was vying for one of the four licenses that will be available to open a casino in upstate New York.
Genting said it had paid the $1 million application fee to the state. The deadline for filing was midnight on Wednesday.
The company said it was considering several sites in the Catskill and Hudson Valley regions, but would not be more specific. At least 16 companies are expected to compete for the licenses to establish casinos, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo considers critical to lifting the struggling upstate economy.
Genting Group operates the Resorts World slot parlor at the Aqueduct track in Queens, as well as multibillion-dollar resorts in Asia.
Earlier this week, Caesars Entertainment became the only major Las Vegas gambling company to bid for a license, with plans for an entertainment complex worth more than $750 million in Orange County, about 50 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. Caesars’s entrance is considered a boost to Mr. Cuomo, who has been trying to lure Las Vegas gambling companies to New York.
The casinos will be allowed in three regions: the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, which includes Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties; the Saratoga-Albany region; and a narrow strip in western New York, running from Binghamton north to the Canadian border.
The Catskill-Hudson Valley region is the most lucrative because of its proximity to New York City, an appeal underscored by the fact that two major gambling operations — Caesars and Genting — want to open there.
But there are concerns that a casino license might end up being steered toward a site in Orange County. It is much closer to New York City than Sullivan and Ulster Counties, whose economies are in far worse shape.
Many big players have also been wary about the prospect of opening a major casino upstate because of the many gambling options that already exist.
With new casinos or slot machine parlors opening in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and more to come in Massachusetts, some analysts think the market is already oversaturated.
In New York, there are now five Indian casinos upstate and electronic slot machine parlors at nine racetracks.
Of the 3,468 Veterans who won the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest combat award, only 78 are alive today. The total was 79 when I began writing this article, but Bud Hawk, who won the award in Normandy in 1944 for running back and forth across enemy fire to direct US tank destroyers in spite of a severe leg wound, passed away on November 4th.
One of these great men – Jack Jacobs – is visiting us at the Tuxedo Park Library on Sunday, November 17th, to share his story of leadership, sacrifice, and the fabric of our country.
I feel like I know Jack already because his story is, in many ways, my own. Both of our fathers were engineers and US Army veterans, his serving in combat in World War II, mine during the Cold War. We were both pulled into our college ROTC program and military service partly from a sense of obligation and patriotism, yet, to be completely honest, also by financial reasons. Mine was to pay for college, and his for what he describes as “a derisively small stipend… [and] I needed the money desperately.” We both went to jump school at Fort Benning. Soon after pinning on lieutenant’s bars we found ourselves leading soldiers in an unpopular and controversial war – mine in Iraq in 2003, and his in Vietnam in 1968.
Where Jacobs and I differ are his incredible actions in combat, which he details in his book, “If Not Now….When?” On a fateful day in March of 1968 while on patrol in Kien Phong, Vietnam, Jacobs’ unit was hit by a Viet Cong ambush, and he was wounded by mortar fragments in the head and arms. In spite of impaired vision caused by his injuries, and with blood streaming down his face, Jacobs was able to take command, running through heavy enemy fire several times in an effort to evacuate his fellow soldiers. In this amazing act of heroism, he was able to personally save at least 12 lives while defending against at least three different armed patrols by the enemy.
Jacobs suffered incredibly for his actions, and admits even today that “the nature of a combat wound is that it often necessitates continuous medical care… occasional tune-ups and replacement parts.” The book’s forward begins with an incident in which Jacobs finds a piece of shrapnel near his nose 30 years after leaving combat. Yet after his convalescence, Jacobs fought his way back to Vietnam and arrived in Saigon again on the 4th of July in 1972.
He left his second tour with a total of two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. He retired as a full colonel in 1987.
Jacobs has spent his time in public after rising to prominence as a military analyst at NBC News going out of his way to downplay his actions. “Soldiers do not think of valor,” he writes, and that they “act not for the accolade but for the lives of their comrades.” He didn’t publish his book until 40 years after he won our nation’s highest combat award, 21 years after he left military service. His friend and NBC News anchor Brian Williams said that “I rather proudly assumed I knew the details of his Vietnam experience… it turns out I knew but a fraction of his story.”
So what changed? Why did he choose now to tell his story?
The answer goes back to Bud Hawk – Jacobs is feeling the pull of time. “We Medal of Honor recipients are now few in number,” he told me via email. “Because we are a wasting asset, we have decided to focus our attention on the one thing about which we feel passionately and which we may be able to affect: education.”
To that end, Jacobs and the Medal of Honor Foundation have created a resource for educators called the Medal of Honor Character Development Program. “Recipients of the Medal of Honor feel strongly that the award is less a recognition of individual effort than it is representative of the sacrifice and patriotism of all those who have served, many of whom did not survive to talk about it.” It is available – for free – online at cmohedu.org. If you are an educator or know one, please let them know about it.
And so Jacobs is here to tell his story in an effort to reach the next generation. To inspire them to serve, not just in the military, but in our community as well. It’s an important message.
Few are better equipped to reach them than Jacobs. He has an incredible story. He is an excellent speaker, and incredible person, and is surprisingly candid. He loves poker. He jokes about his height (five-foot-five), saying that “large objects such as former offensive tackles are at a huge disadvantage... [o]nce the shrapnel starts flying.”
Please join me in giving Col. Jacobs a hero’s welcome to Tuxedo this weekend, for him, for Bud Hawk, and all of the great Americans we both served with here and abroad.
You just don’t get a chance to meet someone like Jack Jacobs every day.
William A. Sweet
Jacobs visits the Tuxedo Park Library on Sunday, November 17th, at 3:00 PM. Seating is limited; please call the Library to register at 351-2207.
Copies of Jacobs’ book, “If Not Now, When?” are on sale at the front desk.
Village Objects to Nungin Sun Won Variance Application
Posted January 25th, 2013
On January 22 Applicant Nungin Sun Won appeared before the Town Zoning Board of Appeals regarding their application for a Use Variance, which would allow them to construct dormitories at their facility, located at 371 Route 17 A. Numerous members of the public spoke out against the application for a multitude of reasons. What follows are two letters, submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals by Village Mayor Thomas Wilson and former Town Planning Board member (and Village resident) Susan Goodfellow, outlining some of the major concerns with the applications.
7 Stable Road Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
Zoning Board of Appeals
Town of Tuxedo
One Temple Drive
Tuxedo NY 10987
January 21, 2013
Dear Chairman Peverly and Zoning Board Members,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment upon the Nunjin Sun Won application to allow for building 63 dormitory spaces. I appreciated receiving the minutes for September and October’s meetings and the opportunity to read documents submitted by the applicant. Mrs. Villanueva was very helpful.
Nunjin Sun Won purchased the property in an LIO district. This property was available for purchase for many years. Nunjin Sun Won applied for and was granted a religious use.
The property was removed from the tax rolls. The Building Inspector apparently misspoke at the October meeting. Greg Stevens confirmed that Nunjin Sun Won was not put back on the tax roles after being given a permit to use a major part of the property for a commercial purpose in 2009.
In a recent conversation, Greg Stevens told me that Nunjin Sun Won pays no county or school taxes. They made an agreement to make a payment to the Town “in lieu of taxes” of about $5000. I have not confirmed whether those voluntary payments have actually been made.
In seeking the permit granted in 2009, Nunjin Sun Won said they were unsuccessful in creating a viable religious use, so that led them to create a commercial business. In 2009, they were given a permit to rent classroom space to colleges and universities for commuter students. This business is called NYIU.
Apparently classroom rentals to colleges or universities hasn’t worked out well. It looks like no colleges and universities are renting classroom space. Given that many schools are creating online programs for students, it may be that Nunjin Sun Won’s business model is antiquated.
SUNY New Paltz was one of the schools they said they were negotiating with when presenting to the Tuxedo Planning Board. New Paltz was featured in a January 16th article of the Times Herald Record touting the launch of online degree programs in the Fall of 2013.
The SUNY New Paltz program is typical of what is going on around the country because it is a much more economic and convenient way to provide commuter students with courses.
In this application, Nunjin Sun Won appears to be pursuing the same line of business (renting classroom space to colleges and universities), hoping that dorm rooms might make their business more attractive, but without providing any data to show this would be the case. Further, there is no written description for how the rooms would be leased (to one school, to multiple schools, rented directly to students?). There is no business plan.
From reading the minutes, it doesn’t look like they have a contract with any school. The so-called marketing plan submitted is not a plan but a mishmash of documents.
One the documents in the “marketing package” shows that Nunjin Sun Won allowed RCT to actively advertise and conduct classes for elementary school children in the summer of 2012, even though the site plan notes expressly state “space to be leased can only be leased for purposes of higher education (post high school)…” . How is it that Nunjin Sun Won disregarded limits of the existing permit?
A recent article in the Photo-News (January 11, 2013) indicates that Nunjin Sun Won has been in conversation with the local school about dorm rooms for high school students. This further confuses the direction they are going in and makes the application before you suspect.
Has Nunjin Sun Won been candid with the Board?
The September and October minutes do not show that Nunjin Sun Won actively pursued all business opportunities that are consistent with each permitted LIO use.
So, on what basis should the Board grant the request for dormitories? The applicant does not have a unique hardship situation caused by the Code. Their unsuccessful business was caused by their own choices.
For all of the reasons cited above: 1) the applicant’s lack of unique hardship, 2) the role of the applicant in creating its own hardship, and 3) lack of clear evidence of exploration of each permitted use, I request that you reject this application. Approving the application would create a dangerous precedent without a demonstrated need.
The request for dormitories is a use not contemplated for in the LIO District. Residential use is not contemplated in this zone in the Comprehensive Town Plan. Dormitory use represents a fundamental change to LIO zoning. This serious issue rightly belongs in a broader discussion and examination of the Town Plan.
Many thanks for the work you have done in examining this application and for considering the comments I have made. I regret being unable to attend the meeting on Tuesday and wish you well in the deliberations.
Saturday Morning Enrichment Classes at TPS begin January 12
Posted January 11th, 2013
By Kathleen McNamara
On Saturday, January 12 we launch what is proving to be a very exciting expansion of our school’s offerings, both to Tuxedo Park School families and to the wider community in which we live. Saturday morning Enrichment courses are now in full swing from 9:00am to 12:00pm at our school, with such diverse offerings as chess, fencing, drama, “minecraft,” supervised open gym, yoga and Chinese, the latter two of which are also available for adults. We’re thrilled by the response we’ve had so far, and we welcome you to go to our website tuxedoparkschool.org to learn more about our Enrichment courses. We are so proud of the community we have built among the families of our 243 students, and it is exciting to have another opportunity to extend that to the people who live near our school. For well over a century, Tuxedo Park School has been supported and enriched by our local community and it seems a natural transition to open our doors to its neighbors.
What you will find here is a group of lifelong learners of every age—from our faculty to our students to the family members who enable the important work that goes on here. TPS families volunteer at our school and in our community with outreach programs such as supporting the Food Pantry in Sloatsburg, the Suffern and Warwick Soup Kitchens and the BackPack Food Program in Tuxedo. The recent hurricane gave us all an opportunity to give, and to benefit from the goodwill that emerges after such disasters.
The ways in which our school’s story is interwoven with that of our community are extensive and they reach deep into history. We were fortunate enough to have Tuxedo Historic Society recently feature that story in an exhibition about our 113-year history. TPAG (Tuxedo Performing Arts Group) frequently stages performance on our campus, including the one last year by the West Point Glee Club. St Mary’s Church recently hosted a lecture about our school, and its rector, Betty McWhorter serves as a school Trustee. The Tuxedo Club hosts many of our racquet sports, our new rowing program on the beautiful Tuxedo Lake, and is the setting of many important TPS events, including our annual benefit in April. We are very grateful for the ways our larger community has welcomed and integrated us as a school, and we invite you to enter through our doors and feel similarly welcomed.
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD: Celebrating 113 Years of Dedicated Curiosity and Fostering Lifelong Learners
Tuxedo Park resident Kathleen McNamara writes about the exhibition Tuxedo Historical Society is staging on Tuxedo Park School, where she serves as Head of School.
Just over 70 years ago, over a dozen WWII British “war orphans” came to Tuxedo Park School where they attended as boarding students. They lived at the nearby “Children’s House,” a vacant home in the Park that was repurposed and staffed to accommodate the children taken in from British families fearful of the German “Blitz.” The children’s host here was a group of local Park families led by Caro Mulford Sonne, whose husband owned the home, and whose son (Chris Sonne, the current Tuxedo Historian) will be giving a lecture on the English children on November 11 at 2:00 pm at St Mary’s church.
The children sailed here to Tuxedo Park in a convoy with another ship which was torpedoed en route, thus making our batch of children the last ones to make the harrowing cross-Atlantic voyage before war’s end. The New Yorker famously chronicled their tenure here in a 1944 article that focused on our community and the young ex-pats’ assimilation with the school’s population of local Park children. This infusion of new faces at the school was a welcome one, and it sparked a tradition of outreach beyond the gates that has thrived and expanded to this day--our students currently hail from 41 towns, five counties, and two states. The school’s diversity is now socio-economic, ethnic and religious, as well as geographic, and it is thriving because of it. It is important for our school’s 243 students to understand the rich legacy that precedes them here, so we set about documenting that story. We are happy to announce an exhibition about our 113-year-old school at the Tuxedo Historical Society, “TUXEDO PARK SCHOOL: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD,” which runs from October 29 to November 20.
Six years ago a different kind of documentation occurred on our school, this one led by the auction house, Christie’s, which was charged with selling the most valuable art and furniture from the collection of Mrs. Natalie Knowlton Blair, the woman whose Carrere and Hastings-designed home, Blairhame, has housed Tuxedo Park School since 1957. Her Charles Willson Peale portrait of General George Washington sold for over $20 million, and many pieces of her collection are on permanent display at the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mrs. Blair’s scholarship of Americana is renowned, and she created her own mini-museum in the rooms of Blairhame’s third floor. It is exciting for a school to inhabit a space as special as this, with children playing field hockey and soccer on the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and dining in the shadow of a 10-foot replica of the Charles Willson Peale portrait of Washington.
We also operate in the shadow of the dedicated people who preceded us here at the school, including Anthony Barber, who brought the Green & Gold Team tradition to TPS in 1941, and created several academic awards that we continue to sustain 60 years later with annual inductees of current students. Ten Heads of School have preceded me here at Tuxedo Park School, and I am pleased to recognize their efforts in creating the school we have today. We’ve been fostering life-long learners for well over a century, and as we navigate our second century we’re grateful for the lessons and stories from our history. These stories have been recorded via a technology project among our students, who created an iPad app to house the oral histories of alumni they interviewed for the exhibition. Museum visitors will be able to hear these recordings and view digital photos from our three historic campuses at eight iPad stations at the rear of the exhibition. We invite you to stop by the Historical Society at 7 Hospital Road, just off Route 17 in Tuxedo. October 29 through November 20, Sundays from 11:00am to 2:30pm, Monday – Friday from 8:30am to 12:00noon and on Fridays from 3:00-5:30p, as well.
Over the course of the past week or so, an orange foamy substance seems to have cropped up on the rocks in and around the mouth of Warwick Brook, where it joins with the Wee Wah Lake. What exactly is this stuff???? Although testing remains to be done, a similar foam can be traced up Warwick Brook to Four Corners Pond on Long Meadow Road and beyond it to a broad marsh, adjacent to which is found the Mulch Pile on Tuxedo Town Property. The Village Board of Trustees is acutely aware of the situation and plans to hold a special meeting within the next day or so at which they will discuss testing.
Fish Kill Along The Warwick Brook in Sterling Forest State Park
by Geoff Welch
A major environmental horror has occurred along the Warwick Brook in the Town of Tuxedo, A fish kill along the Warwick Brook and particularly in Four Corners Pond in Sterling Forest State Park. The Mulch site for the Town of Tuxedo is the probably source of the problem.
Getting To Know Kathleen McNamara An In Depth Interview with the New Head of TPS
In the ten months since her arrival at TPS, Head of School Kathleen McNamara has weathered an earthquake, a hurricane, a freak October snow storm and two lingering power outages, but she has not been at all deterred--quite the opposite in fact. Not only is the school thriving, with an all-time high enrollment of 237 students, new Extended Day and Discovery Programs, a blossoming iPad curriculum, and a student trip to China later this month, but Ms. McNamara is also settling into the greater community by joining the congregation at St. Mary’s and taking on a leadership role in T.P.A.G. All this and she still finds time to teach a French class, attend academic conferences, sing in the faculty “glee,” write journal articles, and lead a strong family life (complete with a new Golden-doodle puppy, Leo).
So, who is this dynamic, motivated woman who seems to be taking both the school and the community by storm?? Her background is impressive. Kathleen McNamara graduated from Rutgers with a BA in French, going on to earn an MA in French Literature from NYU before delving into the world of education as French and English teacher at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY. From there she moved into a leadership role as high school placement counselor and 9th grade English teacher, and then on to Head of the Rippowam Campus at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, NY for 10 years before journeying out West where she served for five years as the Assistant Head for the Upper Division at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA. Ms McNamara is a motivated educator and an experienced leader, and while this is all very imposing, there is only so much one can learn about a person on paper. To that end, TPFYI sat down with Ms. McNamara herself in hopes of learning a little bit more about what inspired her to come here, how she feels things are progressing so far at TPS, and what she hopes to achieve in her role moving forward. We found her sitting by a roaring fire in the office she inhabits just off the school’s main entrance, a location that allows her to keep up with the bustling activity of the school itself—it all files by her door, often with growing puppy Leo keeping sentinel.
TPFYI: What first attracted you to TPS and what was it that ultimately made you want to come here? KM: It was the impressive students and their passion for learning; they are so self-possessed and motivated. It was clear to me that this was the result of dedicated faculty and families, so by extension, these groups were also an important part of the appeal. Tuxedo Park School teachers make the effort to know and teach each child as an individual, and the TPS parent population is very inclusive and engaged.
TPFYI: How would you sum up your first 6 months? KM: I am the 11th Head of School at TPS, so I join a long line of impressive school leaders. There was much to be learned about what they brought to this school so I spent my earliest months learning about the rich traditions that came before me. I’ve also engaged in an extensive “listening tour” including parents throughout the TPS community. Our students come from two states and 40 towns, so it’s a diverse group with unique viewpoints and concerns. It was important for me to get to know them personally, and I’ve gained remarkable insight from this process.
TPFYI: What sets TPS apart from other schools where you have worked? KM: This school evolved in such a unique community, it really can’t help but reflect that uniqueness in the kind of faculty and student families it attracts, in the culture and in Blairhame itself--the school building. TPS has been home-grown here in Tuxedo Park over the past 112 years so there isn’t another school quite like it. At the same time, it truly is a welcoming place of incredible diversity with a commitment to being part of the global community beyond the gates.
TPFYI: Has the school (and this community) lived up to your expectations? What, if anything, has surprised you? KM: It is an exceptional community—and our school’s history is tethered directly to that of the Park itself. In fact on Oct 15 the Tuxedo Historical Society will be hosting an exhibition on Tuxedo Park School and we’re in the throes of researching and cataloguing that shared history at this moment. It’s an undertaking that involves both faculty and students and it has proven to be a very enriching experience for both. If I’ve been surprised by anything, I’d say it is by how many members of the Tuxedo Park community have been supportive of the school—even those who do not have children here.
TPFYI: Many people in the community do not know much about TPS--either because they have no children (or are empty nesters), their children go to another local school, or they are people living outside of the Park. What do you want them to know about TPS and why should they care about the school…how does it affect them? KM: Tuxedo Park School is a premier elementary educational institution, and there is nothing like it anywhere in the area. In many ways this makes TPS a significant draw for potential new Tuxedo Park homeowners with children. Our student families are an incredibly diverse group and I think there is a benefit to them spending time inside the Park. Additionally, the school has rich programs for non-students as well, including summer camp that is sponsored in partnership between the Tuxedo Club and School. We recently held a reception at the school where we welcomed residents of Tuxedo Park and we had terrific response. We think of ourselves as a resource for the community with offerings including lectures, musical performances, such as the West Point Glee Club performance here under the direction of TPAG, and this week we’ve opened up the school musical, Grease, to the public and hope that members of the local community will all come (March 7 and 8 at 6pm). Ultimately, having strong institutions within the Park is good for all residents of the Park.
TPFYI: Do you think there are ways for students at TPS to become more involved in our community? KM: We place a high priority in being involved in our local community and in the world. We release trout into the lake every year on Earth Day and recent service projects include fundraising for Hurricane Irene victims, making meals for the soup kitchen in Suffern, hosting food drives for the food pantry in Sloatsburg, visiting the seniors at the Promenade at Tuxedo Place, and we are currently holding a baby item drive for local charities. Our annual “Community Helpers” luncheon is always a highlight for us, gathering local police, firefighters, postal workers to have lunch with primary school students. We also have a great relationship with the Chamber of Commerce, TPAG, St Mary’s, and The Tuxedo Club.
TPFYI: What is your favorite thing about the school community to date and what is one thing that you would change if you could? KM: I love the great traditions here such as the Green & Gold competition, which dates back to 1942. Students and faculty alike enjoy being a part of the good natured competition and I have enjoyed making the students laugh with funny green and gold outfits. Change is inevitable in schools in the 21st century and while our programs are strong, I am excited about the work that our faculty are doing to make our curriculum even more innovative and challenging. We are looking to bring in new technologies to ensure we are preparing students for whatever the future may hold for them. Beyond iPads and apps we are looking to instill new ways of teaching students to collaborate, create, and think critically. As educators our mandate is to be as fearless and open-minded as we ask our students to be.
TPFYI: In your bio on the TPS website you say: "I have learned that one of my roles is to set clear expectations for faculty, students and parents and to lead, as much as possible, by example. I have found tremendous satisfaction in my relationships with all three of these groups. After twenty-two years in education, I am still enamored of all the respect and love that teachers give students and students accord teachers." What are some of these expectations? KM: For students at TPS their mandate is: “Be Kind, Be Fair, Be Responsible.” For Parents, the “listening tour” roundtables are set up to encourage a meaningful home-school communication and to support each other as we endeavor to educate these children. For teachers it is to model a lifelong love of learning and a passionate curiosity about the world.
TPFYI: Your numbers may seem small to some readers, but in the last 20 years the student body here has doubled in size. What do you see for the future of TPS in terms of growth....will it continue to get larger? Should it? KM: Our new wing allowed us to grow in the past decade and I think the school has benefited from that. But our student-teacher ratio is still deliberately low and we relish that. Our ideal maximum capacity is 250 and we are quickly approaching that number; already in many of our classes there are waitlists because there is more demand for seats than we will accommodate. We are committed to our tag line: “Small School. Big Difference.” We will always maintain that every student will be known, appreciated, and have opportunities to participate and lead.
TPFYI: What are some of your long-term goals for the school community? KM: We want to continue our high standard for education and character-building, increase the role that TPS families can have with the school, build 21st century skills in our students such as critical thinking, the capacity to collaborate and be innovative. We relish our connection to this unique community and look forward to finding new ways of being an active, contributing member of Tuxedo Park.
On January 10, 2012, Village of Tuxedo Park Mayor Thomas Wilson officially announced his candidacy for Congress in the 19th district of New York. TPFYI sat down with Mr. Wilson to find out a little more about why he decided to run and what he hopes to achieve if elected.
TPFYI: What was it that made you decide to run for public office?
TW: A new political will & real leadership must take control of Washington. Elected officials must stop trying to gain political advantage in partisan politics and put aside their differences, or America may soon become yet another declining world power whose time has come and gone.
This new leadership and political will must not simply be Democratic or Republican, but instead, purely American. Un-selfish & open to the enormous pool of American talent, resources, & enthusiasm that will propel this nation into an era of re-born prosperity & mark the beginning of its greatest century yet.
TPFYI: How do you plan to balance your Congressional Campaign with your job as Mayor? Will you still be able to dedicate the necessary amount of time to running the Village?
TW: I received a leave of absence from my full time job in Manhattan, so I will be in Tuxedo Park full time to focus on being Mayor and running for Congress.
TPFYI: Since most Village Mayors have devoted at least 2 terms, how do you plan to smoothly transition from Mayor to Representative if successful?
TW:The Village has a re-organization meeting every July where a Deputy Mayor is appointed to assist the Mayor. Should I become elected to Congress in November, 2012, the Deputy Mayor will become Mayor in January, 2013. His or her term will expire in July, 2013.
TPFYI: In your view, what are the most important issues facing our district? How do you plan to address these?
TW:I plan to address the following issues with purpose & passion, and most of all with my usual commitment & diligence: high property taxes, high school taxes, high health costs, high energy costs, infrastructure re-building, power outages, mass transit, job growth/creation, Indian Point, Sullivan County fracking, immigration reform, climate change & stormwater flooding.
TPFYI: In what, if any, ways do you feel you might be able to serve/help Tuxedo specifically if elected?
TW: Provide infrastructure funding to create a smart grid that is less reliant on Orange & Rockland, build a new sewer facility that does not rely on concessions to The Related Companies, solutions to mitigate flooding of the Ramapo River, create a Route 17 tax free zone to encourage new business, job creation, & a Northern highway exit to alleviate traffic on Route 17, continued use of Baker High School for education, better cell phone coverage, & super broadband connectivity independent of cable.
TPFYI: What sets you apart from Nan Hayworth, aside from your affiliation with the Democratic Party?
TW:I will focus on solving District issues rather than promoting a personal/Tea Party agenda for national attention.
TPFYI: The recession and high unemployment are lasting much too long. In your view, what needs to be done to make significant improvements? How can you influence that as a congressman?
TW: We need new leadership on affordable health care, immigration reform, burdensome regulations, education & apprenticeships, tax simplification, & innovation revitalization.
Simple ideas like allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines will increase competition & lower health care costs. Passage of the DREAM Act will create jobs, generate new tax revenues, & spur entrepreneurial enthusiasm.
Adoption of a Design-Build process for infrastructure projects will save time & money. Quality of construction can be insured by the use of Public-Private partnerships with municipalities, private entities, & Union pension funds. Union pensions have to generate close to double-digit annual returns to keep up with the aging population of their membership. Rather than invest in infrastructure projects in third world countries, we should encourage Union pensions to invest in projects locally like the Tappan Zee Bridge. A Public-Private partnership with Union Pensions and a Design-Build process will create new union jobs, quickly improve mass transit, & increase prosperity throughout the Hudson Valley.
To reduce burdensome regulations that often layer over multiple jurisdictions, we should look at repealing outdated regulations & establish periodic reviews of existing regulations. New initiatives must be considered to exempt certain types of small businesses from new regulations as they grow & expand.
Finally, many young people are either uninterested in going to college or unqualified to get a job. The charter school trend is an encouraging alternative to the traditional education model but it is not a cure-all. There is a growing consensus that school districts need to re-think the way they hire, retain, fire, and inspire teachers. To encourage the hiring of young workers, we should also look at apprenticeship programs that allow people to acquire skills and gain experience, while employers benefit from a graduated wage structure.
TPFYI: It seems as though partisanship is growing more deeply entrenched in Washington D.C. and the general population is becoming more frustrated with the political process. What can you do to try and change that and still remain effective for this Congressional District?
TW:The purpose of the Tea Party is to create national grid-lock. We need new leadership and political will to create comprehensive solutions rather than partisan solutions. For instance, Peter Dolan & I recently met to put aside our differences on Tuxedo Reserve & agree to work together on solutions for the Town & Village. If Peter & I can agree to work together after all our differences, I am confident that I can find similar solutions in Washington.
TPFYI: Which current representative do you admire most and why?
TW:There are two Representatives that I admire for similar reasons. First, Representative John Lewis from Georgia's 5th District. As one of the original Freedom Riders, and member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was on the front lines with Dr. Martin Luther King. The Freedom Riders were the object of much hatred and brutality. Lewis suffered a fractured skull in Selma, and he bears the scars of those bloody days today. His activism and suffering during the Civil Rights Movement continues to inspire me, and I hope, guide me to make a difference as well. As Lewis said on February 27, 2008, “Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.” I want to take that great leap with Representative John Lewis.
My next choice is Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois’ 28th District. In some ways my esteem for Gutierrez is akin to my esteem for Lewis; both advocate non-violence and civil disobedience. Gutierrez is a national leader on comprehensive immigration reform. He is the first elected official to sponsor the DREAM Act – legislation that requires education or military service in exchange for conditional permanent residency to illegal immigrants that arrived in the U.S. as minors. In addition, and this is something I feel very strongly about since my father is a Vietnam veteran, Gutierrez also introduced legislation that makes treatment and counseling available to veterans in times of need. He also expanded health care service to veterans by securing $92 million for grievous injuries and prosthetic limbs.
Both men are unafraid to tell the truth. They both stood for the truth when the truth was unacceptable. When I am your Congressman, I will not tolerate unacceptable truths either.
TPFYI: Is there anything that you would like to address that has not been covered in this interview?
TW:Living in Tuxedo Park over the last 11 years has profoundly changed my life. This community has given me life-long friends and made me a better person. Most importantly, public service has been the most rewarding experience of my life & I hope that you will continue to support me in my run for Congress.
Poughkeepsie, NY, like most old cities in our part of the world, is full of mysterious stone retaining walls. I often wonder what used to be behind them, before today's mini-marts, parking lots, office buildings, subdivision houses, and (usually funky) "garden apartment" complexes.
The one in the image above borders a short street called Dongan Place, located a block east of the Poughkeepsie Amtrak station. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so Poughkeepsie's city fathers have abhorred the emptiness of the space that miraculously survives behind this wall. Since 1949 they have repeatedly tried to fill it, first with low income housing projects and, more recently, with a proposed mix of retail and (presumably) higher income housing.
They have failed so far because it is a public park, destruction of which requires state-level legislative approval. To date this has not been forthcoming. The beleaguered patch of lawn in the image above was once a small estate that still contains its original Italianate mansion. Called Hill House, it was built in 1859 for George and Charles Pelton, a pair of rich Poughkeepsie carpet manufacturers. Charles got married; George never did.
They all lived together at Hill House, dying one by one, until family heirs sold it to the City of Poughkeepsie in 1910. A $4000 bequest to the city from a deceased believer in what at the time was called the American Playground Movement enabled the municipality to put together the $10,000 purchase price. The posthumous donor's name was Mrs. Charles Wheaton, and it seemed appropriate to rechristen the place Wheaton Park.
Oh, the indignities old houses suffer. Old people too, if you think about it. Those of us in our sixties may find it sobering indeed to gaze upon Hill House, with its awful screw-on shutters, flaking paint, filled-in porches, macadamized lawn and brutal fire escape affixed to its facade like a giant carbuncle on the nose of a beloved aunt. OK, OK, I'm overdoing it. More important than aesthetics is the fact that, for the last 100 years, this house has been of invaluable service to the neighborhood as a day care center. Since its founding in 1907, the Poughkeepsie Day Nursery has helped legions of young parents who might otherwise have been in grave difficulties. It's not the Nursery's fault that neither they nor the City of Poughkeepsie has the funds to properly maintain Hill House.
This of course was once an open porch affording sweeping views of the Hudson.
Those views, alas, have been compromised by an Amtrak parking lot and four elevated lanes of roaring traffic on Route 9. The bridge in the distance is the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, opened in 1889, on the verge of collapse by the 1990s, and restored recently as a pedestrian walkway that is terrific fun. It's our local High Line.
My heart goes out to the Day Nursery for those eaves. I have so been there.
Here's the other side of the house, showing how the porch wraps around. I can well imagine it with awnings and wicker and potted palms. The upper deck looks to me like early 20th century work – basic ideas intact, but details simplified. In 1951, Day Nursery Director Josephine Talbot described the view from this porch as an education in itself for the children.
"There is the river with the mountains in the back. The leaves are turning now and they'll want to know why. Ships come up the river now and then and we imagine where they're going ... to China or Europe or South America. Of course with the railroad station just below, it's a virtual utopia for the youngsters seeing the engines slow down right outside their window."
I liked the look of all those brackets.
It's hard to get much sense of the past here, but somehow this angle of the porch columns and the glimpse of the river beyond do it for me.
This path leads out of Wheaton Park to a little street called Davies Place, once a rather distinguished place to live.
That's Hill House hidden in the distance behind the big tree on the left. The building in the foreground is currently used as a community house by the Church of the Holy Comforter, a neighborhood landmark at the other end of the block.
You know money is short when broken windows are repaired with plastic drop cloths.
This beautiful iron railing – beautiful in spite of its damaged condition – runs between the church house and a mansion next door. The latter was built in 1860 for a prosperous local builder and one-time Poughkeepsie mayor named William Harloe.
The Harloe house has been divided into three apartments and is currently for sale for $159,000.
Another house on Davies Place. People are trying very hard in Poughkeepsie, a city brimming with terrific old houses. Many are in neighborhoods where nothing at all is run down and a grand old house will still cost under $400,000.
There must have been a building frenzy on Davies Place on the eve of the Civil War. Both the Pelton and Harloe houses were either still under construction or only just finished in 1860 when this church went up on the corner of Davies Place and Main Street. Called the Church of the Holy Comforter, its designer was none other than Richard Upjohn, architect of New York's Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall. Holy Comforter has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.
Holy Comforter seems in pretty good shape, all things considered, even though the chain link additions to its wrought iron gate are a little alarming.
Looking north on Davies Place with the Church of the Holy Comforter on the left.
Family Turns Grand Old Ballroom Into Livable, Viable House
Photo by Jonathan Becker/Town & Country
The January issue of Town & Country runs a profile of Tuxedo Park, the 5,000-acre NYC bedroom community that's credited with the modern dinner jacket of the same name and will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year. Names such as William Henry Poor, Emily Post, Harry Truman, and Dorothy Draper—whose parents' grand stone manor is currently asking $3.3M—made Tuxedo Park famous, as do its many impressive estates (ranging from lakefront manses to lots and lots of Tudors). After the Great Crash of 1929, certain properties fell into disrepair and were converted into unconventional spaces—and in the realm of the unusual, it doesn't get much crazier than living in what used to be a ballroom.
Enter the Kilgore family, who in 1999 paid $1.3M for a freestanding 75-by-45-foot ballroom that had been built in the mid-'20s and once faced Villa Blanca, a manse likely designed by McKim, Meade & White. (It was torn down in 1937.) The place was converted into a residence in the '60s with the addition of a second floor for the bedroom and bathroom, renovated again by actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg in the late '90s—she was in contract to buy the ballroom but eventually settled on a larger actual house in town—and again by the Kilgores, who divided the bedroom so their daughter would have a place to sleep, too. Other changes were made on the surface level to make the place look like it stepped out of the 18th century. As to what life actually feels like there? See this kicker from an old NYT story: "Although Mr. Kilgore can’t quite explain why, whenever he returns to the ballroom and opens the elaborate iron gates at the entrance to its driveway, he feels as if he should mix a shaker of dry martinis for a party that is about to begin."
EVEN in a turn-of-the-century gated enclave famous for its architectural extravagance, a freestanding ballroom built into a rocky hillside with urn-shaped finials, huge windows rising to fanlight transoms, a limestone balustrade and a 28-foot ceiling is an unlikely choice for a weekend getaway. But when this one came up for sale, Jack and Kim Kilgore had no hesitations. “It was quite impractical,” Mr. Kilgore said, but “quite magical, and we have never for a moment regretted it.”
It was also, in spite of its opulence, a one-bedroom house, thanks to a conversion in the 1960s, and in that sense one of the most modest dwellings in town. A 2,050-acre gated community in Orange County, less than 50 miles north of New York City, Tuxedo Park is known for its scores of enormous mansions, built by some of most prominent American architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and ranging in style from shingle style to Arts and Crafts, Tudor to French chateau, Italianate to pure Shangri-La. In a setting like this — the splendor of which has just been documented in a 350-page book, “Tuxedo Park: The Historic Houses,” and will be showcased in an upcoming photography exhibition — it would be easy to overlook a 1920s annex to a long-demolished mansion. The Ballroom, as the building has always been called, is almost an afterthought in the book, sequestered in a section about the town’s lost houses. But the Kilgores set their sights on it the moment they learned it existed.
That was in 1997, when they came to Tuxedo Park to look at another house. Sitting in the broker’s office, Ms. Kilgore noticed a flier advertising the Ballroom, and was told that it was a local folly, under contract to Whoopi Goldberg. “My heart sank,” Ms. Kilgore said, “because I knew at once it was exactly what I wanted.”
For the next two years, the Kilgores — he deals in old masters and has a gallery, Jack Kilgore & Company, in New York; she was working as an adviser to clients at Christie’s at the time — kept coming back to Tuxedo Park. Friends would invite them up, and although they were always on the lookout for a house to buy, nothing compared to the Ballroom. Then, in 1999, Ms. Goldberg, who had decided to buy a larger house nearby, put this one up for sale.
WHEN the Kilgores bought it in 1999 for just under $1.3 million, the Ballroom still had one of its crystal chandeliers, but the parquet flooring, interior lattice work, floor-to-ceiling mirror and indoor fountain, all visible in an old photograph they had seen, were gone. What remained was a shell that needed a lot of work.
The Ballroom had been built in 1926 by Amory Carhart Jr. and his wife, Isadora, possibly in celebration of a daughter’s society debut. It originally faced Villa Blanca, an Italianate mansion built by the first Amory Carhart, an heir to a banking and railroad fortune, in 1900 — 15 years after Tuxedo Park was established by a tobacco magnate tired of life in Newport, R.I. Nothing is known about the Ballroom’s architect (the main house, torn down in the 1940s, is believed to have been designed by McKim, Mead & White), but the building, particularly the interior, bears a resemblance to the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Amory Carhart III, whom the Kilgores reached through a friend a few years ago, told them that it was built as a place for the family to hold its parties.
The original 60s conversion had cut off about a third of the space to make room for a kitchen and dining area downstairs and an upstairs bedroom and bathroom. Ms. Goldberg had replaced the rotted parquet floor with oak flooring, and divided the kitchen and dining area with a wall. The Kilgores considered doing a full-scale renovation, but having bought a house in New York City and decided not to live full time in Tuxedo Park, they opted to simply divide the bedroom in two to create a room for their daughter, India, now 6. Instead, they focused on bringing the Ballroom back to its original grandeur.
A room that measures approximately 75 by 45 feet and has such a high ceiling presents a decorating challenge. To unify the space, the Kilgores replaced the original lattice work in the alcoves with a series of 12 plaster plaques of classical themes that they had cast in Paris (the originals are in the Louvre). They painted the walls and hung an eclectic mixture of modern and classical art, often in small groupings since anything short of an enormous painting would be lost on its own on walls so big. A beige wool carpet covers the floor, tying the room together and dulling the echo caused by the height of the ceiling. On it rests an Aubusson rug, bought at auction in London. Scale, of course, is all-important, so the furniture, much of it 18th century, is oversize.
Since they knew they wanted the Ballroom to have an 18th-century classical look in keeping with its architectural exterior, they selected French, Italian and Dutch pieces, generally of this period, which they purchased mostly at auction. While the painting and decoration of the interior took less than a year, furnishing the Ballroom took more than four years, and the Kilgores said they used crates to sit on for quite some time.
The garden also needed a great deal of work. Woods had to be cleared and a new driveway installed. Mr. Kilgore designed an overall plan and brought in a local garden designer to advise him on plantings. More than 200 boxwood bushes were put in, the hillside was terraced, a stone pathway extended, and a parterre garden created within the remains of two of the Villa Blanca’s original greenhouses.
The most daunting task was repairing the huge outdoor fountain made of bronze, marble and limestone, a replica of the 16th-century Fontana delle Tartarughe (Fountain of the Turtles) at the Piazza Mattei in Rome that was cast in Naples around 1905. While a local artist was found to recarve the broken marble bowl, replacing the missing bronze turtles, added by Bernini in the 17th century, proved more difficult. But Mr. Kilgore located the foundry in Naples that had made the fountain, and that foundry was able to locate the original molds and recast the turtles. The piping was repaired and the fountain, which had probably not worked since the 1930s, now gushes water through all of its five spouts.
In the decades after the Ballroom was converted into a house — by a Hungarian couple, Anthony and Josetta Karolyi, who bought it for less than $100,000 in 1968 — it was both a romantic and demanding place to live. David and Alexandra Parker, who rented it from the Karolyis in 1993 and 1994, have vivid memories of it, especially in winter, when it reminded them of scenes from the film of “Doctor Zhivago”: “On cold days, you could see indoor clouds of your own breath,” Ms. Parker said. They also remembered living in constant fear of freezing pipes. There was no insulation, and the old, inefficient furnace was in a basement room that could only be reached by going into the garden and down a set of perilous stairs, often covered with snow in winter. If water that had seeped into the fuel line began to freeze, they would have to telephone a maintenance man, who came from miles away to shoot CO2 cartridges into the line to break up the ice.
That kind of problem is now a thing of the past; one of the first changes the Kilgores made was the furnace. Still, the past seems to haunt the place: Although Mr. Kilgore can’t quite explain why, whenever he returns to the Ballroom and opens the elaborate iron gates at the entrance to its driveway, he feels as if he should mix a shaker of dry martinis for a party that is about to begin.
“Tuxedo Park: The Historic Houses,” edited by Christian R. Sonne and Chiu yin Hempel, with photographs by James Bleecker, is being published this month by the Tuxedo Historical Society. It can be ordered for $85 plus shipping at tuxedohistoricalsociety.com or (845) 351-2926.
The editors will talk about the architecture and social history of Tuxedo Park tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, 20 West 44th Street. Tickets are $10; reservations: (212) 730-9646, extension 106.
An exhibition of Mr. Bleecker’s photographs of Tuxedo Park will be on view from Oct. 3 to Nov. 4 at the Allen Sheppard Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, (212) 989-9919.
Friday Night Salon Series at Harmony Hall November 18 - 7:30pm
Geoff Welch, Curator of Harmony Hall, will be presenting some fascinating Ramapo Valley art history on the Hudson River School Artist, David Johnson (1827-1908). The Friday Night Salon Series at HarmonyHall on November 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm will be on David Johnson’s Nature Studies in Ramapo, New York in the 1870s. In the 19th century Ramapo generally referred to what we now call the Hamlet of Ramapo (the area near NY Thruway Exit 15A) where the Pierson Brother’s Ramapo Works supported a population of 800 people. This was the most important industrial site in Rockland. Ramapo Lake, no longer extant, was formed by the dam constructed across the Ramapo River by the Pierson’s, ca. 1797. This lake became a noted scenic location noted for its fine fishing.
David Johnson in the 19th century was called “the best painter of trees in America” and he produced some fine drawings and paintings detailing cedars, oaks and rock formations in Torne Valley. Johnson also created a masterful painting of Ramapo Lake with Torne Mountain in the background. Johnson was a student and friend of Jasper Cropsey (1823-1900) who also painted many wonderful depictions of Torne Mountain and the Ramapo River throughout his career. David Johnson undertook several sketching rambles along Torne Brook and on the terraces of Torne Mountain during the summer and fall in 1873, 1874 and 1876. These beautiful drawing and paintings produced by Johnson, Cropsey, John F. Kensett and other important artists offer a cultural and environment window into this scenic regional landscape which is also a vital interstate watershed. Geoff’s side show will include some recently located images not shown in previous lectures.
In recent years, key land acquisitions have extended the Harriman Park Boundary and protected most of Torne Mountain and Valley. Recognition of the high regard the Hudson River School artists had for this area underlines the importance of these conservation efforts.
This coming Saturday (9/17) marks the opening reception at the Chey More Gallery, Tuxedo’s newest (and only) contemporary art gallery. The Gallery is the brainchild of life-long Tuxedo Park resident Mae Shore, who also serves as its director. Having been involved in the New York City art world for the past 12 years, the gallery seemed like “a perfect fit” to Ms. Shore. “ I love Tuxedo. There’s no contemporary art gallery in the area and it’s what I know and love, so I thought it would be fun to bring that here.”
Located in the Tuxedo Square building, the Chey More is hoping to showcase all types of work from painting, printmaking and sculpture to sound, poetry, and film.
The opening exhibit six by seven by eleven features the work of photographer Scott Hurst and will fun through November 12. Stop by and check it out!!!!
This history of the origin of the men’s formal dress was written in 1988 by J. Earle Stevens, Jr. (b. Nov. 23 1905-d. July 21, 2010). It was recorded based on conversations about the true origin of the tuxedo that Earle Stevens had about 50 years earlier with Greenville Kane, an original resident of Tuxedo Park and member of The Tuxedo Club.
For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Earle Stevens during his long and fruitful life, this historical document is indicative of his love of history and especially the history of Tuxedo Park. Earle grew up in Tuxedo Park during its golden years and personally knew the early residents. His father, J. E. Stevens, completed in 1910 the still existing mansion overlooking Tuxedo Lake on Cannon Hill Road.
Earle had two younger brothers Ludlow and Pelham. He attended private school in New York City and Harvard University, class of 1929. After a short career in New York City, Earle went to England to attend Cambridge where he obtained a law degree from Trinity College. During the early years of World War II, Earle worked in London with a U.K. Government agency responsible for resettling the hords of immigrants from Europe that had fled to England. In late 1941 Earle returned to the United State to work with the State Department in Washington, D.C. . After the War, Earle went back to New York City and commenced a long and successful commercial career in Real Estate and ultimately, in Public Relations.
In December of 1968 Mary Rose Jackson and Earle were married and a few years later settled in Tuxedo Park. After his retirement, Earle remained very active throughout his long life with a myriad of varied interests and projects indicative of a person with a retentive mind and broad intelect.
The Petty Project - Making Rockstars Out of Residents
If you’re looking for something local and fun to do this coming Saturday night, (May 14) swing by Taverna Tuxedo for a late supper and catch Tuxedo’s newest rock and roll superstars, The Petty Project. Comprised of Village residents Christian & Meg Vaught, Glenn & Kerrianne Cavada and Seth Denbeg, along with Town residents Robin Brennan-Seibel and Glenn Donovan as well Christopher “Nuz” Nuzzolo and Joel Bachrach from New Jersey, this cover band promises not to disappoint. Born out of a common love for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the band has expanded their repertoire to include a wide array of classic rock tunes by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Neil Young. Saturday’s performance will mark the third of its kind at Taverna within the last year, each one more successful than the last. This past October the group raised over $1,500 for the local PTO when they played to a packed house of “Petty fans”
So mark it on the calendar, make a date, hire a sitter….you won’t be sorry. The Petty Project will definitely rock the house!
Proceeds from Saturday’s performance will go to benefit 15-year old Amy Clifford, recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. (for more information on Amy, click here)
*Can’t make it this Saturday? Don’t despair! The Petty Project will be playing at Rhodes Tavern on June 23!
Tuxedo Park Resident Janine Safer Whitney To Produce Broadway Play
Our neighbor and twenty-five year resident of Tuxedo Park, Janine Safer Whitney, is fulfilling a life-long dream of becoming a theatrical producer, with her debut as Associate Producer of the revival of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, opening on Broadway on March 17th at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. For Janine, she is really starting at the top, as Arcadia is what she believes to be perhaps the finest play written in the 20th century. The play is set in April 1809 in a stately home in the English countryside, where a gifted pupil proposes a startling theory, well beyond her comprehension. All around her, the adults, including her tutor, are preoccupied with secret desires, illicit passions and professional rivalries. Two hundred years later, academic adversaries are piecing together puzzling clues, curiously recalling those events of 1809, in their quest for an increasingly elusive truth.
Janine is thrilled to be part of the production and to be working with an outstanding cast as well as a playwright as celebrated and prolific as Tom Stoppard, whose works include The Real Thing, Travesties, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and The Coast of Utopia. It is quite a change for Janine, who is rounding out three separate careers in the areas she loves the best – rock ’n’ roll (she commenced her professional life working for musicians, starting with Led Zeppelin), travel (Janine was named one of the top travel specialists in the world by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine for eight consecutive years) and now, in her third incarnation, theatre.