The Hudson Independent

Switch to desktop Register Login

Some Sleepy Hollow Village Parks Reopen

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:01 Published in Notices

From the Village of Sleepy Hollow:

The following Village Parks are now open to the public:
-Kingsland Point Park & the Dog Park
-DeVries Park
*Douglas Park remains closed until further notice.

Disney Theatrical Group has chosen two Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow schools to pilot new adaptations of the classic musical THE LION KING for young performers and audiences. The fourth and fifth graders at Washington Irving School will be rehearsing and performing THE LION KING KIDS, a 40-minute version for elementary aged performers. Sleepy Hollow Middle School will be working on THE LION KING JR., an hour-long version of the Broadway musical. The Family YMCA at Tarrytown is the producer of the elementary school version; the Middle School production is sponsored by the Tarrytown School District. Peter Royston is the director for both shows. Disney has chosen these two schools – along with Harlem School of the Arts - to test these new adaptations of THE LION KING before they are released for other schools to perform.

THE LION KING KIDS is produced by the Tarrytown YMCA and had three incredible performances at Washington Irving School on November 28th and 29th.

THE LION KING JR. will be performed at Sleepy Hollow Middle School (210 N. Broadway, Sleepy Hollow) on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 10:00 am, 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm.  For more information, call Peter Royston at 914-589-4405.

The Y gratefully acknowledges the support of the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, MHV Foundation and The Kids’ Club.

6th annual Givingthanksgiving!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 20:20 Published in Goings on Around Town

The 6th annual Givingthanksgiving is coming up soon! For those of you who don’t know, Givingthanksgiving is an organization that provides a Thanksgiving meal for our neighbors and friends at the Life Center in Sleepy Hollow. Givingthanksgiving is asking for $30 dollars donations (or more if possible) to help pay for their holiday meal consisting of chicken, rice, beans, apple pie, apple cider, and fruit that each family will be receiving. All checks can be made out to “Givingthanksgiving.” Please send all donations to Anita and Kyle McGovern, 35 Barnes Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591 by Friday November 16th.
Maddy McGovern, Jack McGovern and Julia Zallo thank you in advance for all for your contributions!

Con Edison, FEMA and social services representatives will be on hand to answer questions.

Site at County Center in White Plains will be open seven days a week

County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced today the opening of a multi-purpose Hurricane Sandy recovery center in White Plains that will be staffed seven days a week.
Astorino will officially open the site on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. The County Center is located at 198 Central Ave., White Plains. He will be joined by officials from FEMA, county commissioners and non-for-profit representatives. At Astorino’s request, Kevin Burke, chairman and CEO of Con Edison, also will be there. 
Starting Friday, the recovery center will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. Parking fees at the County Center have been waived. The FEMA center will handle as one storm Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter.
The center will be staffed with representatives from:
•    Con Edison to answer customer questions about outages and restorations
•    FEMA to help individuals, households apply for financial aid for losses and damages caused by the storm
•    The Small Business Administration, which will help businesses apply for low-interest loans for storm-related damages
•    A variety of social services agencies to provide residents with recovery assistance
•    The Department of Health, which will be giving free tetanus shots to anyone involved with cleanup, at the County Center  Friday, Saturday and Sunday and at other locations.
         “The idea behind the center is to provide a place where people can get up-to-date information about their personal needs,” Astorino said. “One thing I heard over and over again as I spoke with people around the county was utter frustration in not getting questions answered from Con Ed. In times of crisis, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact with someone who has the information you need to make decisions. In the case of Con Edison, representatives will be here to answer customer questions about power restoration to their homes and neighborhoods. FEMA will help people navigate through the process of applying for disaster relief. The idea is to get information and help to people as quickly and as easily as possible.”
    As of noon Thursday, Con Ed reported that 31,553  of its Westchester customers were still without power. New York State Electric & Gas reported 1,308 without power in Westchester.
    Said Burke: “We understand that it has been incredibly frustrating for our customers to be without power this long. We have an army of our own workers and thousands of utility workers from across the United States and Canada helping us restore power following the worst storm in our region’s history. We have restored nearly 240,000 of Westchester customers from both storms and  are working to restore the remaining 35,000 customers this weekend.”
    With Westchester being declared a disaster area by President Obama, residents are eligible to apply for disaster aid, along with local governments and nonprofit agencies. The first step is to register either by calling FEMA’s registration number 1-800-621-3362; or logging into For those with speech or hearing disabilities, use the TTY number at 800-462-7585.
    FEMA strongly advises that people register in advance of visiting the disaster center. Residents can apply for FEMA aid without coming to the County Center. The FEMA representatives are simply there to help residents with the process.
    In addition to state and federal partners at the center, staff from the Department of Social Services and other county departments will be on hand to help residents. There will also be representatives from the Small Business Administration, who can explain low-interest loan packages available to individuals, nonprofits and businesses of any size.
These loans are for the repair or replacement of real estate and/or personal property damaged by the storm and related flooding, officials said.  People who register with FEMA may be sent a loan application from the SBA. No one is obligated to take out a loan, according to the SBA. Applicants have six months after approval to decide whether to accept the loan.
    Astorino said that it is imperative that residents and businesses document their losses with photographs and with receipts from repairs. In addition, those impacted must contact their insurance company to find out what – if anything – is covered.

FEMA advised that all persons applying for assistance at the center should be prepared to provide:
•    Social Security number (including your spouse’s if applicable);
•    Private insurance information, if available;
•    Address and zip code of the damaged property;
•    Directions to the damaged home or property;
•    Daytime telephone number, and
•    An address where you can receive mail.

The free  tetanus vaccines from the county Department of Health are available for anyone who is involved in cleanup. People who removed debris from homes, parks, roads, treatment plant and other critical facilities could be vulnerable to tetanus; an infection caused by bacteria present in dust, soil and manure, and can benefit from this vaccine, according to health officials.
     “Anyone who removed debris and cleaned up after this storm can benefit from the Tdap vaccine,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “Harmful bacteria can enter your body through a puncture cut or wound, but this vaccine provides protection.”


Stay Warm Safely and Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
        Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino is concerned that as thousands of Westchester residents remain without power due to Superstorm Sandy, some may use their ovens or improperly vented generators, charcoal stoves or other gasoline-fueled equipment to heat their homes.
        “Carbon monoxide poisoning is a tragedy that is easily prevented,” Astorino said. “Never run gas-powered generators in your garage, basement or on a covered porch. Keep them outside and away from windows and doors to keep dangerous carbon monoxide from entering your home.”
        Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is highly poisonous and is produced by gas and charcoal-powered equipment. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death.
        “Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in just minutes and it can be deadly,’’ warned Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “Be sure your carbon monoxide alarms are working and your generator is properly installed. Don’t risk the life of you and your family members. If you think you may have carbon monoxide poisoning, seek immediate medical attention.”
        The Westchester County Health Department recommends the following measures to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
  • NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in the home. Keep it protected from rain and snow in its own shed.
  • ALWAYS locate the unit outdoors on a dry surface, away and downwind from doors, windows, vents
  • and air conditioning equipment that could allow CO to come indoors.
  • Follow the instructions that come with your generator. Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Fire may result.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  • Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
  • Remember that you cannot see or smell CO, and portable generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. Do not delay!
  • For a poison emergency, call the New York Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 immediately.
  • Only use grills and camp stoves outdoors.
  • If you use a fireplace, wood stove, or portable kerosene heater to stay warm, be sure there is adequate ventilation to the outside. Without enough fresh air, carbon monoxide fumes can build up in your home.
  • Never use a natural gas or propane stove/oven to heat your home.
  • If you use a kerosene heater, use 1-K grade kerosene only. Never substitute with fuel oil, diesel, gasoline or yellow (regular) kerosene.
  • Open a window to provide ventilation when a portable kerosene heater is in use to reduce carbon monoxide fumes inside the home.
  • Never add fuel to a space heater when it is hot. The fuel can ignite, burning you and your home.
  • Keep the heater away from objects that can burn, such as furniture, rugs or curtains.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher, keep it nearby.
  • Never leave candles burning if you leave the room.
  • Keep children away from space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves to avoid accidental burns.

        For more information on this and other health topics, visit and; Like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @wchealthdept.      

Makes individuals and governments eligible for disaster aid; Register online or by phone
            President Obama this morning declared Westchester a disaster area due to Hurricane Sandy, making the region eligible for federal aid, County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced.
            The declaration means that individuals and governments may be eligible for help. Further information about aid for businesses will be announced shortly.  
            To qualify, individuals who have unreimbursed losses must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Individuals should do so in one of the following ways:
·        Apply via smart phone at
·        Call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
            “This is important information for all of those in our county who have been devastated by Sandy,” said Astorino. “We will continue to share information as we get it. In  the meantime I urge people to register with FEMA.”
            On Thursday night, Astorino was part of a conference call with President Obama, Gov. Cuomo and other regional county executives where they shared information about Sandy and the cleanup.
            Further information will be posted at as it becomes available.

Dogs Officially Banned from Coffee Labs

Thursday, 01 November 2012 22:36 Published in Latest News

A huge blue water bowl outside Coffee Labs Roasters on Main Street in Tarrytown is frequented by dogs that stare into its huge window, or look through the door, unable to cross the threshold. Its website tells visitors “DOG WAIVER PENDING — check back soon.”
After nearly three years of letters, emails, phone calls, meetings and site visits to the cozy neighborhood coffee nook owned by Mike Love and Alicia Kelligrew-Love resulted in a letdown when the Westchester County Health Department, under Commissioner of Health Dr. Sherlita Amler, said it will not allow canines in Coffee Labs. Specifically, the department refused to consider a waiver to Section 14-1.183 of the New York Sanitary Code that allows patrol dogs to accompany security police officers and guide dogs to accompany blind persons.
“It’s hurting business instead of promoting small business,” Love said after hearing the news. “How can you give us guidelines, and when we comply, you say no?” Kelligrew-Love agreed, “This doesn’t seem like a way to help small businesses in the community.”
“Protecting the health and safety of residents is the Health Department’s paramount concern,” Director of Public Health Information and Communication Caren Halbfinger said. The shop “was always subject to NYS Sanitary Code and never had permission to allow dogs to enter the establishment,” which Love admitted. “It’s part of who we are. It’s our identity. It’s our brand,” he said two years earlier.
Partially named after their pets, the award-winning coffee house had allowed dogs inside its 1,000-square-feet space since opening in 2003 — until the Health Department said Love needed a dog waiver, outlining a list of concerns that needed to be addressed before the department would consider the waiver request.  Prior to this, there were no violations, incidents or complaints at Coffee Labs pertaining to dogs since it opened.
Thus the Loves began to work on the requirements until personal issues demanded their attention; when they were able to move forward again, the answer was different.
“They gave us a ‘yes,’ and when we didn’t follow up right away we called them, and they said it never happened,” Kelligrew-Love said. Phone calls to the Health Department in September 2011 resulted in phone tag —  and the department’s change of heart. “We have the paper that says ‘yes’ to the waiver. Needless to say, we are upset!”
“The department had ongoing dialogue with Mr. Love regarding these pending concerns, but the concerns were never addressed,” Halbfinger said. No other jurisdiction allows non-service dogs inside restaurants, it determined “after a comprehensive search, and discussions with several health departments across the country.”
Coffee Labs’ owners were hopeful in June 2010, when the Westchester County Board of Health — nudged by the public’s overwhelming response and a 3,000-signature petition created by Coffee Labs employees — agreed to meet with them to discuss a waiver to the aforementioned code.
The independent body of 12 people reviews all complaints and approves or denies any waiver to Health Department rulings.
Then Acting Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Archibald told Love, attorney Andrea I. Castro, and the 10 to 15 supporters that the June 2010 meeting was “to inform the board of all the information related to this request.”
Frank Guido, MPA, RS, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Public Health Protection, said at the time that the situation at Coffee Labs will set a precedent and that the variances to the New York State code are being considered to minimize risks to staff and customers. “It (Coffee Labs) is a low-risk establishment, which means there is a low potential for food-borne illness,” Guido said. “The store has pre-made muffins, and the staff cut open bagels that they spread with cream cheese or butter.”
Posted on Coffee Labs’ door and window were signs indicating dogs are allowed inside, and that they (dogs) had to be licensed, leashed and vaccinated. Since none of the board’s 12 members had even been to Coffee Labs, they visited before the following month’s meeting.
“They looked the place over,” Kelligrew-Love said. “Things we had done for many years, they said were a violation. We thought we had it all worked out, and it was a go.”
An email to Amler received no reply, and a phone message left for Assistant Commissioner of Health Peter DeLucia, who the Loves said had been assisting them, was forwarded to — and answered by — Halbfinger.
Coffee Labs rallied support via its page, Help Coffee Labs Become the First Official Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse, and Facebook, including canine fans who kept asking when they’d be allowed to return.

Sleepy Hollow’s concerted effort to identify and prosecute landlords guilty of housing code violations is paying off.  Since trustees created the village’s first Housing Court two years ago, more than $136,000 in fines have been collected, and many neglected buildings are now in the hands of new owners who are investing time and money to bring the properties up-to-code.
“The only thing people understand is to haul them into court and make them pay,” said Sleepy Hollow Trustee Evelyn Stupel, who heads the Safe Housing Committee. “It’s finally beginning to sink in that if you violate the housing code, you will be caught, you will be prosecuted and you will pay.”
The owner of a two-family house at 279 North Washington Street paid nearly $8,000 in fines when it was discovered that the building had been illegally subdivided into five apartments.  The illegal apartments in the basement, attic and above the garage were vacated. The house is currently on the market for $479,000.
Since Sleepy Hollow began prohibiting the sale of properties with code violations in 2010, many owners are choosing to walk away from their mortgages and letting the banks repossess, rather than bring their buildings up-to-code.
The owner of 170 Cortlandt Street borrowed more than $400,000 from the bank to make improvements. The owner had been cited for operating an unlicensed laundromat on the first floor and two illegal apartments on the upper floor. 
The building is now vacant and the owner, Turquino Corp., was due in court October 26.  Similarly, the building at 86 Beekman, owned by Taylor Holding Corp., is now in foreclosure after two illegal apartments were discovered and the first floor food establishment abandoned with food left to rot.
“The banks want to get rid of these properties and you frequently end up with a new owner who wants to do a good job and take care of the property,” said Stupel.
A Victorian house at 51 Pocantico Street is undergoing an extensive renovation after the previous owner abandoned the property. 
“He was cited for having “weeds five feet tall,” so he put weed killer on the lawn creating a “grassy, weedy kind of fire hazard,” said Stupel.  The property was repossessed by the bank and sold in the low $200,000s to a new owner who is creating four legal apartments.
Sleepy Hollow Housing Court is held every third Thursday at village Hall at 3 p.m.

SH High Grads Indicted for Scheme to Derail Probe

Thursday, 01 November 2012 22:26 Published in Community

Two longtime friends from Sleepy Hollow High School were indicted October 18 for scheming to obstruct a federal fraud investigation into the conduct of an alleged conspirator.
The indictment charges former FBI special agent Robert G. Lustyik, Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, Johannes W. Thaler, 49, formerly of Tarrytown, and Michael L. Taylor, 51, principal of a Boston-based security company, each with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.
“While active in the FBI, former Special Agent Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off the criminal investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. “He allegedly acted through a childhood friend to secure promises of cash, purported medical expenses and business proceeds in exchange for abusing his position as an FBI agent.”
The indictment alleges, in September 2011, Taylor learned of a federal criminal investigation into whether he, his business and others committed fraud in the award and performance of a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. Soon thereafter, Taylor allegedly began to give and offer things to Lustyik in exchange for Lustyik agreeing to impair and impede the probe. The indictment also alleges that Thaler, a childhood friend of Lustyik, served as a conduit between Taylor and Lustyik.
Taylor and Lustyik were both previously arrested on prior criminal complaints in the case. Taylor has been detained pending trial and Lustyik received a $2 million bond. Thaler was expected to surrender to authorities.
Each defendant could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted and thousands of dollars in fines.

Tarrytown Nursing Home Aides Arrested

Thursday, 01 November 2012 22:22 Published in Community

Two certified nurse’s aides at Tarrytown Hall Care Center were arrested October 24 for allegedly causing the death of an 86-year-old resident by failing to provide care and covering up the crime.
Maureen Flowers, 53, of the Bronx is facing a maximum seven years in prison and Donna Pagan, 35, of Peekskill could receive four years behind bars for their roles in the alleged felony crimes, according to State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
“This is a sad and disturbing case of a nurse’s aide who, by ignoring both the rules of the home where she worked and her training, caused the death of one of our most vulnerable citizens,” Schneiderman said.
On February 15, Flowers was assigned to provide care for a patient who suffered from several debilitating physical ailments that prevented her from walking and rendered her dependent on staff. She required a mechanical lift and two people to move her from her bed to a wheelchair.
Instead, Flowers allegedly attempted to transfer the patient without help and the patient fell to the floor, suffering fractures to her spine and right leg, and a broken nose. Flowers then allegedly left the patient bleeding on the floor and asked Pagan to cover up for her. The patient died two hours later at Westchester Medical Center.

Page 1 of 5