May 4, 2012

The Herodotus of Bedford Hills

Jaap Ketting of Bedford Hills died two weeks ago, nine days short of his 96th birthday. In reflecting on his death, we see that he led a life of heroism on a world scale as well as close to home.

Jaap Ketting was born in the Netherlands in 1916. He completed his studies in 1937; then, after a year of conscripted military service, he went to the Netherlands East Indies in 1938, where he was employed by a large pharmaceutical concern in Batavia and Semarang. As a sport flyer, he was drafted by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force when the war against Japan began. He was stationed at a secret airbase on Borneo one week before Pearl Harbor. He flew many missions in a Glen Martin B-13 bomber trying to stop the Japanese fleet. Mr. Ketting was wounded by a Japanese fighter plane during the first phase of World War II.

He managed to escape from Java the night before the Japanese occupation, taking off from a street that served as a secret emergency airstrip. He was sent to the Royal Military Flying School in Jackson, Miss., where he was trained as a B-25 pilot. He was one of the first group of graduates who returned to Australia in 1943 and stationed at an airbase near Darwin, joining the 18th Dutch Squadron. He earned several decorations, including the Bronze Cross with clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as the Dutch equivalent of the Purple Heart. In December 1946 he arrived in New York as a purchasing agent, with offices in Katonah, supervising the resupply of medical equipment and medicines for Indonesia.

And even with all this — his wartime years were worthy of “Bridge Over the River Kwai” — it was little Bedford Hills that held a lifelong fascination for him.

In two books, “A Brief History of Bedford Hills” and “Roosevelt Drive,” Mr. Ketting unearthed and chronicled a community of legend and lore. He traced the roots of Bedford Hills to the 1750s, and followed them through the arrival of the train from New York in 1847, giving the hamlet its first name, Bedford Station. He tells of how Bedford Station’s economy grew, and it became a thriving hub for the dairy industry serving New York City. He traced the name change — Bedford Station became Bedford Hills in 1911 — the arrival of buildings and monuments that stand to this day: Antioch Baptist Church, the Community House, the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Depot Plaza and the elementary school.

Mr. Ketting’s 192-page endeavor — along with his successful drive to create a Bedford Hills Historical Museum — was a labor of love. With it, our heritage is far the richer.

Pride Week

A remarkable event quietly occurred last week at Fox Lane High School.

From April 16 to 20, Fox Lane High School celebrated its inaugural Pride Week, raising awareness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning issues on campus. The halls at the high school were decorated with posters, including a mosaic of celebrities who are publicly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Pride Week was spearheaded by Sophie Milkes, a senior at Fox Lane High School and current president of the Fox Lane GSA.

The event is more than merely symbolic. It represents a sea change among high schoolers. Student pride and identity are always to be celebrated. And with the topic of bullying dominating teen concerns, the need to build confidence and security among all teens is vital.

Statistics show that one-fourth of all students from elementary school age through high school are the victims of bullying and harassment while on school property because of their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation. Unlike other victims of oppression, LGBTQ youths often cannot turn to their families for support — indeed, the family may affirm the hostility of the larger environment, including forcing the young person from the home.

We applaud Fox Lane High School’s assistant principal, Robin Schamberg, who called Pride Week “a bold step.”

“The kids really demonstrate a lot of courage by putting themselves out there,” she said. “That speaks a lot to the fact that Fox Lane is a safe place for everyone. Because if kids feel safe enough to take this risk and do this, then I’m feeling better about the world, honestly, or at least our little corner of it.”

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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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



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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