News + Views

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne Speaks in Favor of Distracted Driving Legislation





Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,Ref-Mahopac) offered remarks in support of legislation aimed to reduce the threat of distracted driving at a press conference in Albany on Monday, April 24.

On Monday, April 24, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,Ref-Mahopac) participated in a press conference in support of legislation aimed to reduce the increasing threat of injury due to automobile accidents caused by distracted drivers. The proposed bill, named ‘Evan’s Law’ in memory of Evan Lieberman, a young man who lost his life in a car accident with a distracted driver in 2011, would set into motion a number of initiatives to combat distracted driving. Notably, ‘Evan’s Law’ would allow for the use of police technology to detect if a driver was using a cellular phone at the time of an accident without accessing any of the device’s private messages or personal data. Byrne, an EMT and volunteer firefighter who also suffered serious injuries in a car accident with a distracted driver on April 29, 2016, was vocal in both his support of the bill and the need for technology and protocols to police distracted drivers.

“As a first responder and an individual whose life was profoundly affected by a car accident involving a distracted driver, I have seen firsthand the need for additional oversight and support for policing this dangerous and all too prevalent crime,” said Byrne. “Distracted driving is a serious issue that affects us all, and unfortunately, the lack of attention paid to this matter has led to unconscionable scenarios like what we have seen with the Liebermans, where grieving families are forced to seek justice on their own due to the absence of investigation protocols needed for these accidents.

“Statistics show that without the necessary tools and equipment, it is nearly impossible to ensure distracted drivers are held accountable for their actions after an accident,” continued Byrne. “In the face of the digital age’s ever increasing array of hand-held distractions, I call on my colleagues to unite in support of ‘Evan’s Law,’ and reaffirm their commitment to keeping our roads safe.”

April 26, 2017 |

Students from Longview Break Ground on Their Seed to Salad Garden


The garden outside the Studio Around the Corner has begun. With the students of Longview School and the help of master gardeners, Ed Illiano and Anita Conway, we planted early season plants.

Each student was given a 2×2 plot of land in which they planted a mosaic garden Plants included lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas and herbs. The produce will be used for a “Seed to Salad” celebration in late June.

As part of the “Come Grow with Us” project, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County will be running monthly classes at the studio teaching gardening methods and caring for our larger vegetable garden. The next class on May 24 will be the planting of warmer weather veggies. This program is open to the public and free.

For more information, visit the Cultural Arts Coalition’s Garden Around the Corner’s webpage at, email or call 845-363-8330
The Studio Around the Corner at Old Town Hall
Cultural Arts Coalition
67 Main Street, Suite 101
Brewster, NY 10509
(845) 363-8330
Facebook: Old Town Hall

About The Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition
The Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining cultural arts within the Town of Southeast and its surrounding region. TOSCAC was established as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation in August 2010 with the purpose, as detailed in the incorporation papers, “… to promote and raise funds for the development and effective management of affordable, accessible performance space that will provide citizens of the Town of Southeast opportunities to participate in and appreciate cultural arts, including lectures, theater, dance, film, music, visual arts, and inclusive community events.” 

Our current focus is the renovation of the Southeast Old Town Hall, a historic landmark within the Village of Brewster and a perfect venue to serve as a cultural hub. The Old Town Hall has been described as a “Jewel in the Center of Brewster” and its renovation will help foster the revitalization of downtown Brewster.

April 26, 2017 |

Pleasantville Music Festival Battle of the Bands Begins


April 20, 2017, Pleasantville, NY–On Sunday, April 30th, Pleasantville Music Festival’s ‘Battle of the Bands’, sponsored by Lagond Music School, will be holding its first of two semi-final rounds from 1pm to 5:30pm at Garcia’s, 145 Westchester Ave, Port Chester. Young musicians from throughout the region will be competing for a chance to open up this year’s July 8th festival in Pleasantville. In addition, scholarships to attend Lagond Music School’s summer program in Elmsford will be awarded to two participating young musicians.

The second phase of the semifinal round of the Battle of the Bands will be held on May 6th at Copper Face Jack’s,166B Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains. Admission to all of the Battle of the Bands competitions and the Announcement Party is free.

April 26, 2017 |

Journey to the Magical World of Neverland as Seven Star School of Performing Arts Presents Disney’s Peter Pan Jr.


Journey to the magical world of Neverland as Seven Star School of Performing Arts presents Disney’s Peter Pan Jr on May 12 & 13 at Brewster High School Performing Arts Center 50 Foggintown Rd in Brewster, NY.

Based on the Disney film and J.M. Barrie’s enchanting play, Disney’s Peter Pan JR. is a modern version of the timeless tale about a boy who wouldn’t grow up! The score includes new arrangements of classic Disney songs, such as “Following the Leader,” “You Can Fly,” “The Second Star to the Right” and “Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me.”

Wendy Darling loves to tell stories to her brothers, Michael and John. But when her father announces she must move out of the nursery, Peter Pan comes to visit the children and whisks them away to Never Land. Their adventure introduces them to the Lost Boys, Mermaids, Indians and even the infamous pirate, Captain Hook!
The cast includes student from Brewster, Patterson, Carmel, Wingdale, Putnam Valley, Mahopac, Dover Plains, Holmes, Fishkill and South Salem, NY and Danbury, New Fairfield and Ridgefield, CT.


Members of the cast are Lauryn Ariola, Isabella Basile, Sophia Bran, Kiley Brooks, Emily Bruno, Jacob Caraballo, Massimo Cartategui, Maggie Cassidy, Sarah Cassidy, Mason Cipriani, Sadie Cipriani, Jordan Coates, Sean Condon, Angelina Curtin, Gabriella Dimas, Hayden DiTomaso, Adalina Donohue, Emma Donovan, Emiko Dunn, TJ Fink, Shayla Franklin, Erika Gard, John Gard, Katie Grgecic, Joshua Grill, Rebecca Grill, Lauren Guarna, Carter Hamboussi, Davis Hamboussi, Breanna Harding, Jemma Hollander, Macey Hollander, Sarah Kelley, Lori Kreh, Ariana Lopez, Paige Marchand, Hannah E. Martin, Kaitlyn McCarthy, Aracely Mendez, Sofia V. Molé, Stevenson Nadig, Chelsea Nicole Newton, Sophia Salvatore, Alexandra Schajer, Kaelyn Schuchat, Calianna Schwark, Olivia Schwark, Sarah Shectman, Andrew Smith, Kayla Smith, Ava Stano, Isabella Tamaro, Liliana Tamaro, Lucia Trudo, Madison Vendel, Hailley Vieira, Anastasia Villani.

The production will be co-directed and choreographed by Nicole Aravena & Williams Coates with Lisa Lombardo as musical director. Student stage manager is Grace Lara and co-producers are Donna Aravena and Margaret Carey. Students were also taught by special guest director, Michelle Aravena currently in “A Bronx Tale” on Broadway.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door. For more information visit , email or call 845.278.0728.


April 24, 2017 |

Sunshine Children’s Home Presents: “Communicating with Your Special Needs Child Care Providers”-Sunday, April 30


Sunday, April 30, 1-3 pm

Gary Shulman, Advocate for Families of Children with Special Needs
will Launch “Sunshine Sunday Speakers” – A New Community Speaker Series

WHAT:          The Sunshine Children’s Home in Ossining, NY has launched “Sunshine Sunday
Speakers” — a free Community Speaker Series, aiming to bring in top speakers
to families of children with disabilities in the area.

Sunshine Sunday Speakers will kick off on Sunday, April 30
from 1:00-3:00pm, with:

“Communicating with your Special Needs Child Care Providers”

Learn how to have successful communications with the various support professionals in your children’s lives. This interactive workshop will explore:

• How to express what you need so professionals will listen
• How to document your communications
• How to deal with difficult encounters
• The importance of creating an environment where everyone is on the same page, working together to meet your child’s needs.

*Participants are encouraged to bring their stories, strategies and wishes to achieve positive and productive communications with their child’s team.

Light refreshments will be served.

Gary Shulman has over 25 years of experience working as an advocate for families with special needs children. His stated passion is and has always been bringing relief to families of children with disabilities, as well as to the professionals who support them. He has worked as a teacher, advocate, educator, resource ‘guru’. Through a safe and interactive format, participants will be taken on a journey of discovery. 

**Advanced Registration is Recommended as seats are limited. To Register, please contact: Paula Listi, 914-333-7051 or

WHEN:         Sunday, April 30, 2017, 1-3 pm
WHERE: Sunshine Children’s Home
15 Spring Valley Road
Ossining, NY

WHO: The mission of the Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center, located in
Ossining, NY in the Town of New Castle, is to create a loving and supportive
environment that provides the highest level of quality pediatric care for
children who need it. Sunshine provides a quality home for children from
birth to 18 years of age, who require post-acute medical care and/or
rehabilitative therapy, combined with psychological and developmental
interventions. About 46 percent of the children in residence require palliative
care, while an equal percentage of others improve enough with care to be
discharged to a group or community facility, or ideally, at home with their
families. For more information, visit


April 20, 2017 |

7th Annual Volunteer Fair at Washington’s Headquarters


Find out what organizations in your community are doing, and how you can lend them a helping hand. Come to the 7th Annual Newburgh Volunteer Fair at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site on Saturday, April 29th, from 11 AM until 3 PM. Learn how you can get involved with local community organizations. Representatives from many of the non-profit organizations based in Newburgh and the surrounding area will be there with information about volunteer opportunities for teenagers, adults and seniors. This is a chance to build useful skills, meet new people and take a more active part in your community. Come and see what opportunity is waiting for you. All are invited to attend the Fair, visit the tables, learn about and make connections with these important local groups.

The fair is being held at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, the first publicly owned historic site in the nation. It was here that General Washington, his wife, Martha, and several of his aides, guards, servants, and slaves resided during the final months of the Revolutionary War. While here General Washington announced the cease fire, a prelude to the signing of the Treaty of Paris which officially ended the Revolutionary War, composed his circular letter, laying out his principles for a new government, and created the Badge of Military Merit, precursor to today’s Purple Heart. Support from our sponsors has made admission to the Hasbrouck House and Museum free for the day, encouraging visitors to experience the important role Newburgh played during the War of Independence.

Music and refreshments will be offered. The Newburgh Volunteer Fair is a yearly event organized by Washington’s Headquarters, Safe Harbors of the Hudson and the Newburgh Free Library. In case of inclement weather, the Fair will be held in the Historic Green Room located in the Cornerstone Residence (rear entrance next to the Ann Street Gallery) at 104 Ann Street. For more information call 845-562-1195.

Also, on the same day, the Newburgh Urban Farming Fair will be happening at 80 Broadway, on the corner of Broadway and Grand Street. Urban farming is a celebration of farm fun with “how-to” demos, kids’ activities, chickens, bees, goats and more! This is another opportunity you might want to support and promote that strengthens the community by working together

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national historic landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historic District. The site is one of 35 historic sites within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information contact: (845) 562-1195. For more information about New York State Parks, please visit our website at, or . For more information call 845-562-1195 or visit us on Facebook at


April 20, 2017 |

Ripton Cooke and Cheryl Lewis Have the Spirit in the East Hudson Youth Soccer League


The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that Ripton Cooke and Cheryl Lewis are being honored as our Personalities of the Month for April.

The married couple are natives of Jamaica who came to soccer in different ways. Ripton played soccer recreationally growing up on the Caribbean island, then played on his high school team at Evander Childs High School in the Bronx during his senior year. He also played on a military base in England while he was enlisted in the US Air Force.

Cheryl explained, “I never played the sport because girls were not encouraged to participate when I was growing up in Jamaica. We became involved with soccer as parents 14 years ago when our son Nathan was five years old and playing AYSO.“

Ripton became an emergency coach for Nathan’s team when he was eight years old and the coach quit in the middle of the season.

“It took quite a bit of convincing on my part to get him to do it but once he became involved, it quickly developed into a passion,” said Cheryl.

Ripton, along with Donovan Evans, Steve Lawrence and Curtis Walker, co-founded the Spirit of Mount Vernon Soccer Club ten years ago in 2007 as a non-profit organization when they put together a summer clinic for the City of Mount Vernon, then ran an indoor soccer program at the Sports Underdome that winter.

“We were formed as Mount Vernon FC was folding. They catered to only the top players in the city,” Ripton said. “We instead wanted to serve all the players in Mount Vernon.”

The Spirit of Mount Vernon joined the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) with one team in 2009 and four teams––Boys-Under-12 Tsunami, Boys-Under-14 Lightning, Boys-Under-17 Hurricane and Boys-Under-19 Thunder––now wear the club’s red, white and blue uniforms in the EHYSL. A total of seven girls compete on those four boys teams. Other kids in the city are registered with neighboring clubs who also play in the EHYSL while other children and teens there play pick-up soccer only and are not on any formal teams. Since Mount Vernon has a population of 67,292 (according to the 2010 census) coming from 98 nations, the club has room for growth.

“With the right funding, we could work wonders because the kids in Mount Vernon have tremendous raw skill,” Ripton explained.

It is very appropriate that its teams are named after storms as the Spirit of Mount Vernon has faced many challenges during the past decade, with finding a field to play on being a huge one despite a new turf field seemingly debuting every month in Westchester County.

Through Ripton’s role as assistant coach of the boys varsity team at Mount Vernon High School, the soccer club was able to secure the use of their grass field a couple of years ago. He was promoted to head coach last fall. But the club, and not the city or school district, maintains it by cutting the grass and lining the field. Ripton volunteers his time as club President and head coach and Cheryl serves as club manager despite having moved seven years ago to Wappingers Falls, a whopping 60 miles from Mount Vernon.

Ripton coaches practice six days per week and Mount Vernon plays games on Sundays while Cheryl travels to Mount Vernon four days weekly to manage the club.

“Both Ripton and Cheryl are great representatives of their club within our league,” stated EHYSL President Jim Purdy. “The greatest contribution they make is giving the youth of Mount Vernon the opportunity to play our great game. It is clear to me the reason those children and young adults have the opportunity to play soccer is due to the unwavering dedication of both Ripton and Cheryl. This recognition from Eastern New York is very well-deserved.”

And all this volunteering is in addition to being parents to six: Jeremiah (25 years old), Nathan (19), Naomi (17), Nazari (just turned 15 in April), Neriah (just turned 14 in April) and Neah (11). Jeremiah played youth soccer plus Nathan, Neriah and Neah are currently playing soccer.

With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.

(Photos attached courtesy of Ripton Cooke and Cheryl Lewis. The first photo is of the couple. The second photo is of the Mount Vernon Thunder receiving awards with Ripton on the far right.)





















April 19, 2017 |
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