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<The following letter was addressed to the Westchester County Board of Legislators and forwarded to us for publication.>

On behalf of the trustees of the nonprofit Bird Homestead and Meeting House in Rye, I respectfully urge you to reinstate the multiple curator positions at the County nature centers, which were eliminated in the administration’s proposed budget.

The nature centers’ trained professional curators hire, train, and direct teachers for ecological summer camps, which have provided a tremendously important service to generations of the County's children. The curators also teach on-site, hands-on programs throughout the year to students from preschool through college age. These are educational experiences that cannot be duplicated in the classroom.

Some of the recipients of this knowledge have gone on to become naturalists and scientists themselves. All have gained a greater understanding of the natural world. This is key to having a well-informed citizenry, especially as important environmental policy decisions loom ahead for our nation.  In this era of rising sea levels and ferocious hurricanes, environmental education should not be seen as a luxury. It is, in fact, a necessity.

Please do not think of the curators’ salaries as a cost. For a very tiny fraction of the County budget, they are, instead, an investment that will yield important dividends well into the future for our children and our society.

—Anne Stillman, President

Bird Homestead & Rye Meeting House

In the last issue, Mitch Silver wrote about the “preying” mantis in his backyard. I have no idea if the praying mantis on the mirror that we have leaning against our back porch wall is the same one or a relative of Mitch’s. (Actually, I don’t know if praying mantises have relatives. I do know that being a father mantis is a dangerous occupation.)

Perhaps our mantis thinks her reflection in the mirror is an attractive suitor and will stay there until he makes his move. Anyway, we have alerted all butterflies on our property to lie low.

— Allen Clark

 

My deep appreciation to the voters of Rye for their strong vote of confidence on my election as County Executive. I look forward to working with everyone in the community over the next four years on the important County issues we all care about.

George Latimer,

NYS Senator

It is time for positive change in Rye government. Mayoral candidate Josh Cohn and City Council candidates Sara Goddard, Julie Souza and Ben Stacks are four dedicated community volunteers. We know them, and they really care about our community. They have the willingness, as well as the professional skills, to find solutions to Rye's inadequate roads and sidewalks, periodic flooding, tight parking, and other issues that are important to us. 

The City is spending our tax dollars on hopeless lawsuits and neglecting to apply for readily available grants that would help pay for mandated infrastructure projects. Josh, Sara, Julie, and Ben all have financial backgrounds and would do a better job of fiscal stewardship. 

If you have ever gone to a City Council meeting, you may have been disappointed in the way you were treated. Josh, Sara, Julie, and Ben would make our local government more respectful and welcoming to the people of Rye.

As moms of elementary school children at Milton, Osborn, and Midland, we believe Josh, Sara, Julie, and Ben are the leaders we want for our community — candidates who are positive role models and candidates who have the type of leadership ability that will Move Rye Forward — the type of leadership that Rye deserves. 

— Sabrina Bunn, Claudine Hanley, and Erin Pymm

 

I think the Long-Range Plan proposal recently put before the community is premature.

Before Rye goes down the road of making changes to its existing Master Plan and comes up with an analysis of the wish lists of the community and how to respond to them, I think we need to project, to the best of our ability, what Rye will look like 10, 15, 25 years out; what its needs will be; and analyze Rye’s assets and what use might be made of them.

Then, we can make an informed decision as to what changes should be made to accommodate the projected reality.

None of this was apparent at the recent public workshop. The thoughts expressed as to the proposal were remarkably similar to what must have been those which resulted in the 1985 Master Plan — essentially, an assumption you merely needed to line-extend current issues.

What should we be doing? Following the advice of Wayne Gretsky, we should be “going where the puck is going to be.”

What enrollment figures does the School District estimate going forward?

Where do The Osborn and WESTMED, two of the biggest employers in Rye, see themselves 20 years out? (Remarkably, neither The Osborn nor WESTMED is represented on the Master Plan Committee.)

I think we’re looking at a major change in the business of Rye.

The combination of WESTMED, The Osborn, the desire of more Rye residents to remain in the area as they age (think of the success of SPRYE), and the proximity of White Plains and Greenwich hospitals suggest quite strongly that Rye’s business is going to be more health-centered. Assuming this is correct, perhaps we should look at zoning changes to permit in-law apartments with arguments pro and con.

Next, Rye has remarkably little in the way of significant parcels of free land.

The place to start, I think, is with land does Rye own or control.

Interestingly enough, in addition to Disbrow Park and whatever its claims may be as to the Thruway property (in fact, I believe, none!), Rye does have one significant parcel. If developed, it would increase public access to salt water beyond that already available through Playland and Oakland Beach, or could address affordable housing supported by the City for the folks who work for Rye — police, firemen, City staff.

It’s the Rye Golf Club course. 

As part of this process, should we consider reducing the course to nine holes and limiting membership to Rye residents?

We also need to identify and address the problem created by those who wish to live here for ten years to take advantage of our schools but contribute little to the community. This obviously affects the price of homes and property taxes.

Before getting into wish lists, we need to look at the larger issues and assess foreseeable changes over the next 15 or 20 years. 

Then, with that in hand, we can address the wish lists.

— Howard G. Seitz

I think the Long-Range Plan proposal recently put before the community is premature.

Before Rye goes down the road of making changes to its existing Master Plan and comes up with an analysis of the wish lists of the community and how to respond to them, I think we need to project, to the best of our ability, what Rye will look like 10, 15, 25 years out; what its needs will be; and analyze Rye’s assets and what use might be made of them.

Then, we can make an informed decision as to what changes should be made to accommodate the projected reality.

None of this was apparent at the recent public workshop. The thoughts expressed as to the proposal were remarkably similar to what must have been those which resulted in the 1985 Master Plan — essentially, an assumption you merely needed to line-extend current issues.

What should we be doing? Following the advice of Wayne Gretsky, we should be “going where the puck is going to be.”

What enrollment figures does the School District estimate going forward?

Where do The Osborn and WESTMED, two of the biggest employers in Rye, see themselves 20 years out? (Remarkably, neither The Osborn nor WESTMED is represented on the Master Plan Committee.)

I think we’re looking at a major change in the business of Rye.

The combination of WESTMED, The Osborn, the desire of more Rye residents to remain in the area as they age (think of the success of SPRYE), and the proximity of White Plains and Greenwich hospitals suggest quite strongly that Rye’s business is going to be more health-centered. Assuming this is correct, perhaps we should look at zoning changes to permit in-law apartments with arguments pro and con.

Next, Rye has remarkably little in the way of significant parcels of free land.

The place to start, I think, is with land does Rye own or control.

Interestingly enough, in addition to Disbrow Park and whatever its claims may be as to the Thruway property (in fact, I believe, none!), Rye does have one significant parcel. If developed, it would increase public access to salt water beyond that already available through Playland and Oakland Beach, or could address affordable housing supported by the City for the folks who work for Rye — police, firemen, City staff.

It’s the Rye Golf Club course. 

As part of this process, should we consider reducing the course to nine holes and limiting membership to Rye residents?

We also need to identify and address the problem created by those who wish to live here for ten years to take advantage of our schools but contribute little to the community. This obviously affects the price of homes and property taxes.

Before getting into wish lists, we need to look at the larger issues and assess foreseeable changes over the next 15 or 20 years. 

Then, with that in hand, we can address the wish lists.

— Howard G. Seitz