Vol. 10 No. 10 Visit TapIntoSomers.net for the latest news. Thursday, June 25, 2020
Renderings of Local leaders support
the Thank You making Juneteenth a
how it would
look with BY CAROL REIF end of slavery in the United
STAFF WRITER States—and it’s a day that is
written all especially relevant in this mo-
Local politicians and racial ment in history,” Cuomo said
OF MIKE DEBELLIS
equality advocates are weigh- in reference to nationwide
Up, up ing in on Gov. Andrew Cuo- demands for justice and racial
an awa !
mo’s promise to advance leg- equality in the wake of the
islation making Juneteenth an killings of George Floyd, Ah-
o cial state holiday next year. maud Arbery, Breonna Taylor
A portmanteau of June and and others.
nineteenth, June 19 is also “ is is a moment where
known as Jubilee Day and we could see change. And I
Liberation Day, a commemo- want to be a force for change,”
ration of the end of slavery in he said. Change could come
Kickstarter campaign brings the United States. through law enforcement re-
the ‘ ank You Balloon’ to Somers
It was on that date in 1865 forms and “expanded racial
that Union soldiers, led by understanding, sensitivity, and
Major Gen. Gordon Granger, progress.”
arrived in Galveston, Texas, “And if Juneteenth is part of
with the news that the war that and recognition of what
BY CAROL REIF anyway—with love and gratitude, of thankfulness printed on its nylon had ended and enslaved Af- happened, an understanding
STAFF WRITER both welcome sentiments in these envelope.
troubled times. rican Americans were now of what happened and an ac-
Contrary to popular belief, e pair hopes seeing the color-
the protagonist of Jules Verne’s Somers resident Mike DeBel- ful craft oat serenely by will lift the free. is was two and a half knowledgment of that, great,”
“Around the World in 80 Days” lis and his ballooning bro Lean- spirits of folks on the ground—es-
does not, gasp!, travel in a hot air dro Corradini of France recently pecially rst responders, essential years after President Lincoln’s he added.
balloon. launched a Kickstarter campaign to workers and others a ected by the
raise $16,000 for their “ ank You pandemic. Emancipation Proclamation, It’s more than a century
You can thank Hollywood for Balloon” project.
coming up with the iconic symbol e nonpro t’s mission is un- which had been made o cial later, and “there has still
in the 1956 lm of the same name e hot air balloon is to be built deniably very close to Corradini’s
starring English actor David Niven. by Corradini, own in Europe and heart. e aviation entrepreneur on Jan. 1, 1863. been rampant, systemic
then shipped here,where it will take was born and raised in Italy, the
But step aside, Phileas Fogg; now one-time global epicenter of the After making the an- discrimination and injustice
two other adventurers have set out ight in Somers and many other
to circle the globe—or part of it, towns and cities across the U.S. SEE BALLOON PAGE 8 nouncement Wednesday, June in this state and this nation,
It will carry up to 1,000 messages 17, Cuomo signed an execu- and we have been working to
tive order making June 19 a enact real reforms to address
paid holiday for state employ- these inequalities,” Cuomo
“Friday is Juneteenth— SEE JUNETEENTH PAGE 6
a day to commemorate the
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Page 2 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 25, 2020
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Thursday, June 25, 2020 The Somers Record – Page 3
For better or for worse
Town clerks continue with marriages, other functions
BY BRIAN MARSCHHAUSER clerk said. “We have a mailbox right out- Once-rigid meetings have taken on an When the big day comes, the couple is
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR side town hall. ey’ll tell us when they’re entirely di erent atmosphere, Fumagalli asked to bring all of their original docu-
coming; we’ll put the E-ZPass in there.” said. ments with them to town hall.
What does a town clerk do?
It’s a question with no easy answer. Maria Hlushko, town clerk for the small “It’s not as formal. People are more “We meet in the lobby of the court,”
town of North Salem, said residents being at ease. ere is better interaction with Fumagalli said. “ ey sit on one side [of
ey issue all sorts of licenses and per- barred from town buildings is the biggest people, and I think that’s really good,” Fu- the bench], I sit on the other side with my
mits. ey maintain vital records. ey change for her o ce. Otherwise, it’s busi- magalli said. But despite its success, noth- mask on. ey sign the marriage license, I
notarize signatures. ey respond to ness as usual. ing can replace human interaction. “I re- sign it, seal it, and then we’re done.”
open-records requests. ey run municipal ally miss the people. I miss the interaction
meetings and take minutes. Some perform “I go out with a mask and gloves with with people and seeing people, and that’s Quast’s o ce has performed marriages
marriages. And they’re usually the rst face a clipboard and pen that have been wiped been very, very tough.” in the back of town hall and at nearby Pa-
you see when you enter your town hall. down,” Hlushko said. “I do marriage li- triot Park. She said she tries to make the
censes in the parking lot.” In Yorktown, Quast’s home o ce looks day as special as possible for the couple.
With few exceptions, these elected of- more like a control room. She hosts the
cials have continued to perform nearly TAKING IT ONLINE meetings on a tablet; uses a laptop to “ ey had to cancel all of their [wed-
all of these functions as the world around Some towns were more equipped than search and review information and uses a ding] plans,” Quast said. “We just felt that
them continues to change in unexpected desktop to monitor the cable feed. being here for them was the most impor-
ways. others to transition to a mostly digital tant thing that we can do.”
“I’m sitting here in my living room, but world. Some towns, for example, manage “If you add two cellphones onto that
we’re doing everything that we’ve nor- records electronically while others keep with texts and emails, it’s an interesting Fumagalli and Quast have also per-
mally done,” said Lisbeth “Boo” Fumagalli, paper records in boxes. Some have online time,” Quast said. formed weddings on Zoom.
town clerk of Bedford. “I’m right in the payment systems while some only accept
middle of sending an email to a resident cash. But for the most part, handicap per- A town board meeting agenda can have “ e rst one was really great,” Fuma-
who needs a handicap permit. We’re going mits, dog licenses and even death certi - a dozen or more items with as many guests galli said. “ ere must have been 30 to 40
to send him the permit and then he can cates can now be issued without having to scheduled to speak. When guests arrive to people on, and really it was a lot of fun.”
send us the paperwork. We’re not going come to town hall. In Yorktown, the clerk’s the Zoom meeting, Quast will send them
to hold him up. So, that’s how we’ve been o ce will even come to you. into a virtual waiting room until it’s their In order to get married, even on Zoom,
handling a lot of things.” time on the agenda. Residents can also still both parties are required to physically be
Most o ces in this area are modestly Because of Yorktown’s mobile clerk’s of- have their voices heard during the public in New York. Right now, Fumagalli is try-
sized, rarely exceeding four people—in- ce, “I think it was a little bit easier for us comment portion of the meeting. ing to get a special waiver from the state
cluding the clerk. ough the public is to transition and work remotely,” Quast for a bride who is stuck in Germany while
rarely allowed into municipal buildings said. “We were already moving forward In some ways, the clerks said, the pan- the groom is in Bedford Hills.
these days, most clerks’ o ces are still be- and doing a lot more things electronically demic has resulted in a more engaged
ing sta ed. and online.” public. Donohue said the most recent “ ey would really like to get married
“We adapted by meeting [constituents] Lewisboro Town Board meeting had 41 on a speci c date because it has meaning
outside,” said Diana Quast, town clerk of e pandemic has given town clerks an- participants—far exceeding the usual to them and their family,” Fumagalli said.
Yorktown. “We do all the same business.” other skill to add to their resumes: “Pro- Monday evening crowd at town hall.
One of the few functions that can’t be MORE THAN A ‘CLERK’
performed digitally is notarizing signa- cient in Zoom.” e videoconferencing In Bedford, Fumagalli said her o ce Lewisboro’s town clerk almost also got
tures. Patricia Kalba, town clerk of Somers, app, which has seen its popularity and has dealt with a record number of open-
is doing them by appointment only. stock price surge since March, has hosted records requests under the state’s Freedom stuck overseas. In early March, Donohue
“I pick a day I’m going to be [at the nearly all municipal board meetings— of Information Law. was in Vienna, Italy, visiting her daughter,
Somers Town House] and for how many with only a few hiccups. who was studying abroad. She switched
hours,” Kalba said. “ en I’ll go into the “FOIL requests have gone through the her ight and arrived in New York at 8:30
parking lot and I’ll notarize your docu- “ e rst couple were tricky, and we got roof,” Fumagalli said. “People have been p.m. on a Friday, mere hours before inter-
ments. I’m still working at home on some Zoom-bombed one time when we didn’t sitting at home thinking. It has just been national travel was halted. Donohue was
days.” have a password cover on it,” Donohue unbelievable. We’ve been very busy. I re- then quarantined for two weeks.
Residents can also still purchase an E- said, referring to an unwanted digital in- ally feel good about the fact that we really
ZPass from their clerks. trusion into the Town Board’s meeting. haven’t missed a beat.” Since then, Donohue and her deputy
“I’ve been selling E-ZPasses out the “We learned to make all of our meetings have been coming into the o ce a few
back door,” said Janet Donohue, town password-protected.” HAPPILY EVER AFTER days a week, splitting mornings and after-
clerk of Lewisboro. “I tell people to bring Marriages have also increased during noons.
exact change or a credit card number.” ough worried at rst about how it
Fumagalli has taken an inventive ap- would work, some clerks now say they the pandemic, with Quast estimating her “Phones have been covered, emails have
proach to selling E-ZPasses without com- prefer using Zoom instead of meeting in Yorktown o ce has performed twice as been covered, and people are pretty sur-
ing into contact with her constituents. person. many as usual. prised that we get right back to them,”
“People will call us, they’ll give their Donohue said. “Town clerks, that’s what
credit card information,” Bedford’s town “Nobody wants to give up Zoom. We “We had a woman from Canada who we do. We make it work.”
all love it,” Fumagalli said. “I really don’t called to get married,” Quast said.
think we’ve skipped a beat. I think people When she’s not in the o ce, Somers’
were a little frightened at rst, especially e preliminary paperwork is done town clerk said she’s had her o ce calls
with zoning and planning [boards] with without the couple coming to the o ce. forwarded to her cellphone.
these huge plans, but it’s really worked out.
We’ve done bid openings on Zoom. at “We take a blank marriage license and “I’ve basically done things the most
has worked out absolutely ne.” we scan it to the couple,” Fumagalli said. traditional way I can possibly do them,”
“We have them ll it in and they send us Kalba said.
all of their documents.”
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Page 4 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 25, 2020
The Staff School budget passes in Somers
EDITORIAL TEAM BY CAROL REIF grams or making major sta cuts. hopeful, newcomer Dr. Rodric It has since set up a Reentry
STAFF WRITER Residents last week voted 3,127 Rabbah, garnered 1,774 votes. Coalition of about 75 volunteers
[email protected] to 1,080 on its $94.6 million 2020- Like other school districts including administrators, faculty,
BRIAN MARSCHHAUSER ere are still many uncertain- 2021 spending plan. knocked o balance by the coro- sta , students and community
SPORTS EDITOR: 914-302-5628
[email protected] ties about what classrooms will ey also returned two incum- navirus crisis in March when Gov. members to develop a plan for the
ADVERTISING TEAM look like in the near future, but it bents to the Board of Education, Andrew Cuomo ordered schools fall.
appears that the Somers Central Dr. Lindsay Portnoy and Mary- and colleges to shut down, Somers Meanwhile, the New York State
[email protected] School District won’t have to wor- Rose Joseph. Portnoy pulled 2,926 had to cobble together a distance- Education Department and Board
PAUL FORHAN ry about having to decimate pro- votes; Joseph, 2,795. e third learning system on the y. of Regents have launched their
[email protected] own school reopening task force.
845-621-4049 Its intention is to help educa-
JENNIFER CONNELLY tors transition to a likely “hybrid
[email protected] model,” which would combine in-
914-202-2941 person instruction with distance
SHELLEY KILCOYNE learning and follow health guide-
CO-FOUNDER lines such as social distancing and
[email protected] face coverings.
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/DESIGNER In a Wednesday, June 17, letter
to the community, schools Super-
TABITHA PEARSON MARSHALL intendent Dr. Raymond Blanch
CREATIVE DIRECTOR thanked those who voted for the
budget at, he said, a rate of “74
CHRISTINA ROSE percent.”
ASST PRODUCTION MANAGER BUY MORE, SAVE MORE “Given the personal, emotional
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THE SOMERS RECORD DEADLINE
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AND EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS FOR ing school year.
SOMERS RECORD IS THE THURSDAY e revised budget for 2020-
BEFORE THE NEXT PUBLICATION DATE.
2021 was $1,137,230 less than
FOR MORE INFORMATION,
CALL JODI WEINBERGER AT the original 2020-2021 spending
914-302-5830 OR EMAIL
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less-a uent districts do, Assistant
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FROM CURATED FARMHOUSE TO CONTEMPORARY STYLES e 2020-2021 budget revisions
were made in light of pandemic-
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Although the mail-in voting
230 RTE 117 BYPASS ROAD, BEDFORD HILLS, NY, 914.241.7000 process this year was complicated
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Thursday, June 25, 2020 The Somers Record – Page 5
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Page 6 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 25, 2020
JUNETEENTH path of equality for all is more “If we are to declare a new state you, we recognize you and we State Assemblywoman Alicia
important now than ever. It took holiday, I had thought Election stand with you.” Hyndman, a Democrat from
FROM PAGE 1 decades after Juneteenth ( June Day would have been at the top Queens, last week introduced
19, 1865) to end segregation of the list.” Susan Cody of Race Amity of a bill which would make June-
Making Juneteenth an o cial and yet we still see many racial Northern Westchester & Put- teenth a public holiday in honor
state holiday would enable all disparities today. We see this in Regardless, Byrne added, the nam said ursday, June 18, that of “black and African American
New Yorkers to use the day “to the outcomes from our state’s state Legislature “should have she applauded Cuomo’s promise freedom and achievements.”
re ect on all the changes we still education, health care, criminal been included in that decision- to make Juneteenth a state holi-
need to make to create a more justice, and failed public housing making process, rather than (by) day. On Wednesday, June 17, she
fair, just and equal society.” systems. another executive order.” read the following quote by for-
e National Center for Race mer slave Pierce Harper that
State Sen. Pete Harckham, “Everyone has a history, a Westchester County Execu- Amity has been lobbying Con- had been published in the 1937
D-South Salem, applauded culture, a family and a tradition tive George Latimer said urs- gress to establish the second Works Project Administration’s
Cuomo’s e ort. that is unique to them. at day, June 18, that Juneteenth car- Sunday in June as Race Am- “Slave Narratives of Texas.”
said, we as Americans, all share ries an “even stronger meaning ity Day, a time, the organization
“Our work in establishing in this history and we should all this year, as it falls in the midst says on its website, for all “to re- “When peace come they read
‘justice for all’ is still not nished, strive to continue the legacy that of a national call for justice, and the Emancipation law to the
but today’s action con rms we began with President Lincoln’s a movement to bring healing to ect (on) and a rm the dignity slaves people, they spent that
will continue moving toward a Emancipation Proclamation.” African Americans around the of the diverse racial, cultural and night singin and shoutin. ey
stronger future together while world.” religious backgrounds of the hu- wasn’t slaves no more.”
learning from the mistakes of However, Byrne said, he man mosaic that constitutes the
the past,” he said. was puzzled by the governor’s All county o ce buildings United States of America.” Harper was speaking about
decision to declare Juneteenth were closed Friday in honor of hearing he was free two and a
State Assemblyman Kevin a paid holiday for public the “historical signi cance” of In 2015, Massachusetts be- half years after his “given free-
Byrne, R-C-Mahopac, said employees in light of the state’s the day. came the rst state to do so; in dom” in Texas.
Sunday, June 21, that he was current budget de cit. 2019, South Carolina became
glad that Cuomo “has decided Latimer said Juneteenth, the second. “Black Emancipation Day,
to bring greater awareness to “If our state is so broke and which was marking its 155th June 19, 1865, also known as
Juneteenth.” desperate for federal funding, anniversary, should be used “as a Pointing to the recent Soli- Juneteenth, is pivotal in the joy,
how are we now able to a ord platform in our continuous pur- darity Rally for Black Lives held congregation and spiritual well-
“ at’s why I vote in favor of another paid day o for our suit for equality for all.” at Somers’ Reis Park and backed being of Black people in Amer-
a resolution in the Assembly to state’s public employees? We by her organization, Cody said it ica,” Hyndman said, adding
proclaim Juneteenth in the state can observe and celebrate special “To all those who have par- was evidence of more people be- that she was looking forward to
of New York every year.” days, like so many others during ticipated in peaceful protests coming “really conscious of the working with her colleagues and
the calendar year, without it over the past few weeks, and to full force of the situation.” the governor “to ensure Black
“Remembering, being a paid day o ,” Byrne said. those who will celebrate the true history and liberation stays at
understanding, and appreciating meaning of Juneteenth in the Making Juneteenth a state the forefront of progress.”
what it took for our nation to coming days, know that we hear holiday would be “a step in the
end slavery and move toward a right direction,” she added.
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Page 8 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 25, 2020
BALLOON tain State, stitching up one of his very own. thank him for introducing me to the sport,” PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE DEBELLIS
It takes about 1,200 yards of material and 3 said the teen.
FROM PAGE 1 miles of thread to make a typical envelope. and then use an old-fashioned paper map
Here is his message, in his native tongue. to gure out which roads would get them to
coronavirus crisis. DeBellis credited his mentor with send- “Avec toi je fais de superbes decouvertes the landing spot.
It’s important to DeBellis, too. e ing him o on a new life journey. et je passe de bons moments. Pleins de
bons souvenirs et de belles histoires nous Once it descends, the crew rushes in to
Somers High School grad’s brother and “ e whole sport of ballooning is really rapprochent. Pour toutes ces raisons, je te pack things up.
sister-in-law are both doctors in California built on gratitude. You can’t get somewhere decerne le titre de ‘Meilleur Grand Pere
where big spikes in the disease have been in ballooning without having another per- Aerostier de l’Univer.’ Merci grand-père.” e TYB crew also wants to see things
reported. son there to help you along the way,”he said Loosely translated, it means: “With you through to the end.
on FlyDOO Café, the project’s Kickstarter I make great discoveries and have a great
A believer in silver linings, DeBellis sees channel. time. Good memories and great stories Corradini was beyond excited when the
the situation as a chance for everyone to bring us together. For all these reasons, I Kickstarter campaign launched and mes-
“take a deep breath” and thank those “all ose who donate to the project will award you the title of ‘Best Grandfather sages started pouring in.
around them, and the people that protect have their “ ank You” messages embla- Balloonist in the Universe.’ ank you
them.” zoned on the balloon. A large panel goes grandfather.” “It gives sense to what we did,”he said.
for $280; a smaller one, $33. Corentin hasn’t learned to y yet. While His project partner feels the same way.
FLYING WRITE waiting to earn his pilot’s wings, he trains “Once we got the messages,there’s no way
According to DeBellis, the TYB stands Although many of this year’s ballooning with various ground crews. Pilots may get we could let it fail,”said DeBellis.
festivals have been de ated by the pan- lots of attention, but they can’t do much To donate, write a thank-you message,
65 feet tall and holds 77,000 cubic feet of demic, Corradini and DeBellis hope to without these folks. sign up as a pilot or volunteer, visit https://
air. It can carry two to four people—de- Balloons can’t be steered by other than www.thankyouballoon.org/
pending on their combined weight and y the TYB in 2021 at important venues changing altitudes to capture di erent
weather conditions. such as GEMAB (Grand Est Mondial Air wind currents. ey, and the people in them,
Balloons) in the Lorraine Regional Natu- are literally at the whim of Mother Nature.
Designed by Corradini, founder of the ral Park in northeastern France, and Al-
startup FlyDOO, the light sport balloon buquerque International Balloon Fiesta in TEAM EFFORT
system is completely foldable,ultralight and New Mexico. Preparing for a ight is truly a team e ort.
super compact. ose features make it ideal Crew members lay the basket on its side,
for the TYB project because it doesn’t re- MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
quire a lot to get it from place to place, good DeBellis and Corradini aren’t planning then lug over the big bag that stores the en-
news for the squadron of volunteer pilots velope. ey secure it with lines and make
who have signed up to y it. to seek corporate sponsorship because sure the burners and propane tanks are
they’d have to plaster the TYB with adver- working properly. After a large fan lls the
DeBellis, a 29-year-old self-proclaimed tising. And would mean less space for the balloon with heated air, the crew steadies
space nerd, is a digital marketer by trade, messages, which are kinda the entire point. the basket, helps passengers in and holds it
so handling the public relations part of the down until it’s time to go.
crowdfunding campaign is a breeze. So the project simply won’t y without
the help of people like Corentin Francois, e work doesn’t end there. A chase car
But building a hot air balloon from their very rst o cial backer. keeps track of the balloon until it descends.
scratch? at’s another thing. Prior to GPS, they had to keep it in sight
e 16-year-old from western France
DeBellis didn’t even know how to sew dedicated his TYB note to his grand-père,
before he met Paul Stumpf, a custom hot who is—not surprisingly—a hot air bal-
air balloon maker based in Vermont. Yet, in loonist.
January, there he was in the Green Moun-
“I thought it was an original way to
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