The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

HOME     |     SUBSCRIBE     |     ADVERTISE     |     NEWSROOM     |     CONTACT

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

NEWSSTAND LOCATIONS

Single copies $1.00

ARCHIVES

December 6, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

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)


Katonah

  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    

The Record-Review is available

at these locations:

Subscribe

The Record-Review is delivered to subscribers’ mailboxes every Friday
for only $40 per year.
Click here to subscribe
or to purchase a gift subscription.

Advertise

  1. View our Media Kit for deadlines, specs and circulation information.

  2. Special Sections

  3. Index to Advertisers

  4. Contact your Ad Representative.

Take part

Submit story ideas, announcements, press releases, letters to the editor, and photos.

The Record-Review  • 16 The Parkway, Katonah, NY 10536  • (914) 244-0533 • Fax (914) 244-0537 • www.record-review.com

©2013 THE RECORD, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART IS FORBIDDEN WITHOUT PUBLISHER’S WRITTEN PERMISSION.


Jump to: THE SCARSDALE INQUIRER or THE RIVERTOWNS ENTERPRISE

HOME     |     SUBSCRIBE     |     ADVERTISE     |     NEWSROOM     |     CONTACT

Katonah-Lewisboro

Parent protest sends police response to Meadow Pond


By NATALIA BAAGE-LORD

Parents protesting the possible closure of a Katonah-Lewisboro elementary school caused havoc, frightening children and bringing a police presence, as they attempted to raise several safety concerns at Meadow Pond Elementary School on Tuesday morning.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, a convoy of roughly 20 protesters in cars conducted what they called a “traffic study” to show the increased traffic at the remaining schools if Lewisboro Elementary School is shuttered. While members of the group said that the demonstration was not meant to upset anyone, onlookers described the scene as chaotic and unsafe for students, drawing Lewisboro police to the scene.

The protesters  drove 3.7 miles from the Lewisboro town center to Meadow Pond Elementary School, which is expected to receive approximately 135 incoming new students if Lewisboro Elementary closes. Their plan was to have the local community feel the effects of a school closure. The convoy cars were detailed with anti-closure posters on their windows.

Right as school was beginning, traffic was backed up across Route 123, causing congestion at the intersection of Route 35, which is approximately 1.8 miles north of Meadow Pond Elementary School.

“We were representing the extra traffic flows that could be coming over next year,” said Brittany Serra, a South Salem resident and representative for the Save Katonah-Lewisboro Schools group.

“This was really meant to gather information,” she said. “It was a test. If the closure happens next year and there are more vehicles, it’s going to be worse than this. This was a successful test to show what’s going to happen.”

But some Meadow Pond and Lewisboro residents were appalled by the demonstration. “If this is what they’re doing on short notice, imagine what they’re going to do given more time,” said Rich Delin, a parent with three children who attended Meadow Pond Elementary School. “How far will they go? At this point, aside from appeasing some very angry people, I don’t know why the school board would wait. And after what the protestors did, do you want to live with terrorists for another year in your own neighborhood? What they did was really crazy.”

Lewisboro police chief Frank Secret, liaison to the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, did not return repeated calls for comment on police response to the event.

Katonah-Lewisboro School’s District’s Superintendent Paul Kreutzer did not respond to requests for comment, referring inquiries to a letter sent to parents posted on the district website and sent to district parents that the demonstration was “an extremely irresponsible act” from the protesting parents.

“A spontaneous act like this is dangerous and inappropriate,” wrote Dr. Kreutzer. “The board of education continues to provide adequate public forums for expression regarding the issue that these residents apparently were protesting.”

According to Dr. Kreutzer and other on-site witnesses who vented their frustrations on Katonah-Lewisboro’s parents’ Facebook group pages, the protesters did more than just stop traffic. During their demonstrations, they drove through the bus loading/unloading zone and circled the area, causing an unsafe environment for the schoolchildren.

Save Katonah-Lewisboro Schools spokeswoman Ms. Serra maintained that the cars in the convoy all obeyed the posted speed limits and rules of the road, and did not put anyone in danger.

Other members of the Facebook group declined to be interviewed.

“I’m very disappointed in the behavior today,” said Charles Day, Katonah-Lewisboro’s school board president, on Tuesday evening. “But it’s very important to emphasize that this was a very small minority of people who don’t reflect the values or expectations of the people in this district. The protesters are a small group that’s really loud.”

Mr. Day said that the protesters’ behavior was “not normal and was not an accurate representation of the district’s mindset and stance on the possible Lewisboro closure.” He said that many parents — even those who were, at first, against the closure — called and emailed him following the demonstration, now urging him to close Lewisboro Elementary next summer.

“People are very disappointed in how the protesters behaved,” said Mr. Day. “People who may have supported them are now rethinking their support. People who were urging us to wait a year, emailed me and said, ‘You have to do it now.’”

The demonstrations caught the attention of many; however, not the way that the protesters initially intended. The Meadow Pond parent, Mr. Delin, said that he knew that the district needed to shutter a school, but did not see it as a pressing issue. After Tuesday’s demonstrations, he now wants the school closed as soon as possible.

Several of Mr. Delin’s neighbors were at Meadow Pond Elementary School on Tuesday morning, and reported to him that they were “upset” with the event.

“Actually, to say that they were upset would be a gross understatement,” said Mr. Delin. “They were shocked, appalled and disgusted. People here are wondering why there were no arrests.”

Mr. Delin added that his children were at Meadow Pond Elementary nearly a decade ago when the school was at its maximum capacity. Contrary to the protesters’ opinions, he said, the traffic lines during drop-off and pick-up times were never a problem.

Ms. Serra said that she and other parents remain firm in their opposition to closing Lewisboro Elementary School. Ms. Serra said that while she and her husband — a Katonah-Lewisboro School District alum — do not yet have children, they bought a home in South Salem so that their future children could attend Lewisboro Elementary School.

“We both worked really hard to be able to be in this area and send our kids to Lewisboro Elementary,” said Ms. Serra. “So even though we don’t have kids yet, we feel it’s important to keep the community school open.”

The protesters’ press release said that one of their main reasons for the Tuesday morning traffic study was in response to school closure task force chairwoman Janet Harckham’s statement that the district has not hired a consultant to study the traffic impact that a closure would have on the community.

Lorraine Gallagher, a parent of two current Lewisboro Elementary School students, said that conducting a formal traffic study is imperative. While the demonstration was an informal investigation, she said that it created a significant impact at Meadow Pond Elementary School.

“I think that this has become a heated and emotional issue because of the direct impact it is making on people’s lives,” Ms. Gallagher said. “The direct impact will be magnified next year as it is likely that there will be many more cars dropping children off at and picking the children up if Lewisboro Elementary is closed. This issue must be examined closely and carefully.”

Ms. Gallagher added that she and many other community members have asked the school board for additional information regarding the impact of Lewisboro Elementary School closing. A vital piece was a formal traffic study, Ms. Gallagher said; however, the closure taskforce has not conducted one prior to their recommendations to the board.

“I feel that many concerns have fallen on deaf ears,” Ms. Gallagher continued. “There is a perception by some in the community that the board long ago made up its mind to close Lewisboro Elementary School and are simply going through the paces now.”

An anonymously-presented website, wakeuplewisboro.org, says it has 630 members and asks residents to “let everyone in your area, community and school know that this issue is not just for the Lewisboro Elementary School Students.” They urge residents to “attend meetings … We need to fill the room with our bodies so that our voices will be heard.”

Bedford police said on Wednesday that they sent an officer, Richard Hubert, to Katonah Elementary School as a precaution in the aftermath of Tuesday’s protest at Meadow Pond Elementary School. There was no incident.

The school closure task force presented its impact report at the Dec. 5 school board meeting. On Dec. 19, the task force will give their final recommendation to the board. The school board will make its definitive decision about the closure on Jan. 23.


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.