APRIL 27, 2012

Twenty years, building respect for all

Talk to any longtime resident about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Community Center of Northern Westchester, and they’ll say, “Already?”

This weekend the center will be marking this milestone with a celebration in Katonah, commemorating the first steps in 1992 of a few local volunteers to organize a place for those in our area to find a helping hand or food for the table.

It’s easy to see how quickly time has passed in light of this critical regional need.

In 1992, the first volunteers and visionaries recognized that not everyone in northern Westchester was well-heeled, employed or in a position to feed their family. And they recognized that a place like the Community Center, where residents could find temporary help in the form of food, clothing, a job and parenting and language skills, could provide a stopgap against family crisis, hunger, even homelessness.

These volunteers overcame extraordinary odds to acquire what was then known as the King House, a small, collapsing property on Bedford Road in Katonah. They were able to navigate the complex path posed by New York City’s DEP, Westchester County and the town’s boards to rehabilitate this structure and turn it into a viable space with a grocery, offices and space for volunteers and donations.

In 1998, the Community Center served 250 households a month. This year, nearly 1,800 families came to the center for help.  Over the past 12 months, the average number of families that visited the center for monthly supplemental food was 622 per month, according to center director Sherry Wolf.

Over the years we have seen the faces change, but the level of commitment and community enthusiasm has only grown — evidenced by the center’s spread to northern Westchester, and its links with dozens of community religious and civic groups. For more information, visit www.communitycenternw.org/.

“They help build your spirits when you’re feeling low,” says a client, Mary, in their impressive video history. “This is just the best place to come.”

At 1 p.m., the afternoon begins with a tree planting in honor of Ralph Van Sicklin. Supervisor Lee Roberts will present anniversary remarks at 2 p.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m., kids of all ages can enjoy barbecue, ice cream, center tours, a bouncy castle and face painting.

While there are many differences in the center today from its inception in 1992, the path is still the same: to the human heart, and to our sense of sharing with all citizens. The center provides us with an admirable way of thinking, and a valuable way of living.

The Rainmaker

The quickest way to make rain during a dry season is to write an article about the weather in the newspaper. Last Friday we pointed out the dry weather increased potential wildfires, crop damage and risk to animals. The lack of snowpack this year has led to a decrease in humidity that has exacerbated the problem.

Over the weekend we found a respite in the form of high winds and several inches of rain in our northern Westchester area. More rain is in the forecast, and that’s a good thing.

But with a weird weather pattern that brought record high temperatures over the winter, a meager snowpack and continues with drought in many parts of our region, it remains wise to keep an eye on the forecast and a gauge on the reservoirs.

As for our reservoirs, the Croton system is operating at a comfortable 94.4 percent capacity, but the upstate Schoharie reservoir is down to 75.2 percent. In February, the rainfall was only 1.52 inches — normally 2.69 inches — and March precipitation was 1.16 inches, only a third of the historical 3.56 inches. Until this weekend, April was even dryer. The DEP is acting proactively to reduce the amount of water flowing into reservoirs, measuring snowpack and graphing water flow in upstate reservoirs. The same care must be maintained in measuring our own local water supplies through awareness, conservation and prudent management.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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