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Published by Halston Media, 2021-06-02 19:27:35

The Somers Record 06.03.21

Vol. 11 No. 7 Visit TapIntoSomers.net for the latest news. Thursday, June 3, 2021

Board of Education
discusses racial equity

Parents, students weigh in

Neighbors were alerted to BY CAROL REIF so far. It also unveiled a proposed
the fire in the early hours STAFF WRITER policy that reiterates its commit-
of May 29. ment to helping students experi-
Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. ence a sense of belonging and to
PHOTO COURTESY OF ree words that Somers edu- achieve academic success.
YORKTOWN ASSEMBLY OF GOD
cators say they’ve used as guide- e Somers Education Eq-
Local church avoids catastrophe posts in creating a school envi- uity Advisory Team (SEEAT),
ronment in which all learners which is made up of teachers,
Building saved by quick FD response, hero canine feel safe and respected. administrators and students,
among others, recapped the
BY CAROL REIF Kim Lewis, was startled out of shooting out of the roof of the Along that road, there have 2020-2021 school year at the
STAFF WRITER her sleep around 12:45 a.m. by church. been a few potholes. board’s meeting Tuesday, May
his frantic vocalizations. While 25.
Members of a Somers church usually commanding, these were She called 911 and then e Board of Education has
will still be celebrating its especially “alarming,” said Lewis, sprinted across the street to warn questioned its own role in civil Its guidance involves ensuring
50th  anniversary in their own a neighbor and a congregant of the church’s administrator, Lisa discourse as di cult issues such that collaboration takes place
sanctuary this July thanks in part the church. Wain, and her husband, Mat- as racism and bias arise. across all schools and with the
to one of God’s creatures. thew, who live next door. (Wain community and that curricu-
Just the day before, there had is the daughter of Pastor Don But as painful as some of these lum, organizational structures
Bear, a pooch owned by a been a break-in reported at a Foster.) conversations might be, no one and learning opportunities are
neighbor of the Yorktown As- nearby store, and she was afraid denies they are important and reviewed with anti-bias and an-
sembly of God on Mahopac Av- that the burglars were back. If Bear hadn’t sounded the necessary. ti-racism practices in mind. e
enue, started barking like crazy in alarm, Lewis would have been immediate goal is to have each
the wee hours of Saturday, May Lewis threw on shoes and a none the wiser. While school community building’s equity and diversity
29. robe and raced to her window members have been generally leaders identify things that are
to see just what Bear was rais- “I didn’t hear a thing,” she said. supportive of the way the dis- working well and which may
e German Shepherd’s mom, ing hell about. ere were ames trict is striving for a better fu- need improvement, such as the
SEE CHURCH FIRE PAGE 27 ture, some remain apprehensive student code of conduct and dis-
about where it’s all leading. And ciplinary practices.
the conversation has picked up
some steam this year in response A curriculum “audit” and rst
to protests of racially motivated
violence. SEE BOE PAGE 28

Last week, the district took a
look at what it has accomplished

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BUSINESS & REAL ESTATE 35
CLASSIFIEDS
ELEPHANT’S TRUNK 34
LEGAL NOTICES
LEISURE 4
OPINION
SCHOOLS & CAMPS 35
SPORTS
29 MEMORIAL DAY
10

25 Remember & Honor

20 pg 18

Page 2 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 3, 2021

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Thursday, June 3, 2021 The Somers Record – Page 3
Troop 228’s newest Eagle
Court of Honor
Scouts, Nicholas Cirillo,
Somers Troop 228 welcomes Nathan Bellio, Michael
ve new Eagle Scouts Witkiewicz, Nick Westhoff
and Brunon Kaminski.
On Sunday, May 23, ve members of Troop 228 were of- Michael Witkiewicz
cially declared Eagle Scouts at an Eagle Court of Honor held performed community Nick Westhoff
outside at the Amawalk Fire House.   service at the Rhinoceros constructed a new
Creek Reservation. sign for the Highway
e ve new Eagle Scouts are Nicholas Cirillo, Nathan Bel-
lio, Michael Witkiewicz, Nick Westho and Brunon Kaminski. Department.

Each of the Scouts planned and completed a local commu-
nity service project in Somers as part of the requirements to
become an Eagle Scout.

Nicholas built a 700 sq ft. paver stone patio and garden at
the Somers Intermediate School last summer. e patio is being
used as an outdoor classroom and activity area.

Nathan and Michael each built a new public hiking trail,
removing underbrush and invasive species, and building natu-
ral staircases and bridges at Rhinoceros Creek Reservation in
Somers with the support of the Somers Land Trust. e new
trails were completed this past fall and are open for hiking.

Nick created a roadside sign, where none existed, to inform pass-
ersby of the location of the Somers Highway Department. e sign
includes the name of the current Highway Superintendent Nick De-
vito.

Brunon built six bluebird boxes and placed them behind the
lower Reis Park baseball eld to help support the New York State
Bird’s population and restore the local ecosystem. He appreciates the
Somers Park and Recreation Department for supporting this project.

ese projects were all achieved with the help of Troop 228 Scout-
masters, fellow Scouts and parents, and those who donated in support
of these community projects.

Troop 228 would like to thank its charter organization, the
Somers Volunteer Fire department, State Senator Peter Harck-
ham, Somers Councilman Anthony Cirieco, and County Executive
George Latimer for their presentations at this Court of Honor and
for their support of Scouting. e Troop also thanks elma Barlow
from the GHV Council, BSA for her words of encouragement and
support.

Article provided by Somers Troop 228.

Nathan Bellio built
a new public hiking
trail at Rhinoceros
Creek Reservation.

Nicholas Cirillo constructed a patio and garden at the Somers Intermediate Brunon Kaminski made six bird boxes to
School. help the ecosystem at Reis Park

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALLYSON BELLIO

.

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Thursday, June 3, 2021 OPINION The Somers Record – Page 13

Let’s take pictures DR. LINDA

FROM PAGE 12

to help them learn how to deal with

THE the unbelievably spectacular moon important: the bride and groom; the rejection without feeling like failures.
SEASONED lighting up the sky on our honeymoon graduate; baby’s ‘ rsts’; they’re impor- Rejection is a part of life—we all su er
CITIZEN in Nassau, the Bahamas ( Jason had tant because they mark the changes in rejection in one way or another. If you
read an article in the New York Times our lives and we enjoy showing them to take these rejections as indications that

ADRIENNE about a fabulous new hotel, the Em- other people…but the ones living inside you somehow failed, your children will feel
KAVELLE erald Beach, opening the day after we us are the real pictures to be called upon like failures too.
were married. He wired ahead and we whenever we please.
Unless you know the registrar or some-

were amongst the rst group of people I have boxes and boxes of photos, and one familiar with the policies in force for

My daughter, Lisa, celebrated to stay there. It really was fabulous 3-Ds, and 8 millimeter movies that I next year’s freshmen, you’ll likely never
her 66th birthday with a
family picnic at a New Jersey with our room’s patio opening directly haven’t looked at in years.  Eventually know why Kevin wasn’t accepted at his
“reach” schools. And as Princeton re-
on to the beach.  We took midnight someone will throw them away, but they searcher Alan Krueger said to students

walks, toes in the ocean, held hands and can’t throw away what’s in my head and

zoo. Surrounded by her husband, moonbathed). Yes, these are memories, heart.  I see them as clearly as if I held who choose to apply to and attend “safety”

children and grandchildren, she took but they’re also snapshots led away to them in my hands.  ey are the days schools: “Don’t believe that the only school

many pictures in order to remember the conjure up at will. Jason and I felt that and weeks and years of my life, always worth attending is the one that would not

day. Later she told me how sorry she spending time taking pictures took us waiting, always there. admit you.”

was to not have captured more with her away from really enjoying life. Living in Live in the moment and don’t waste ere’s no point in wasting your time

handy telephone digital camera. the moment photographs and seals the time capturing it on lm. Take pictures going over and over the disappointment.

Jason and I did a lot of picture taking image into your memory to be recalled of sunsets and moonlit nights, if you Instead, rejoice in the acceptances. Once

for a while until we recognized the and relived. like, but just savor the time you have the acceptances come in (and they will

camera of the mind. We stopped pho- We had a stereo camera and took with your family…it disappears so fast if he applied to “safety” schools, too),

tographing and started enjoying each many 3-D photos. After a while we you don’t realize until too late all the visit those colleges before making a nal

and every minute, storing them in the stopped looking at them because each joys you might have missed. decision. If you’ve already been, visit them

albums in our hearts.  Seeing through image was still there, bonded on to the again. Make sure Kevin knows that if

the mind’s eye beats all the visuals you albums carried inside our hearts.   Contact Adrienne at: [email protected] after he chooses, he feels he’s in the wrong

can project or print.   I started writing this column because college for him, he will always have the

So many pieces of life pop into my Lisa bemoaned the fact that she hadn’t option of transferring to another college.

head and I not only see them but expe- taken more pictures. But she had!  ey And as long as he’s doing well academical-

rience them as well: my three children are all there in her head waiting to be ly, he can reapply to those “reach” schools

growing from infancy to adulthood; developed. We must enjoy the mo- that rejected him—and have a much better

standing in the kitchen, my husband’s ment and not worry about having them chance of getting in.

arms around me and both of us laugh- to look at later.  ey’ll be there, to be Dr. Linda

ing exuberantly; the little bunch of vio- taken out and savored whenever we

lets he always left for me; Jason himself, want them.  Send your questions to [email protected]

sitting quietly in a corner and sculCpOtiMnPgA; NY IDSome still pictures, though, areFACE MASK Find more articles on my blog at StrongLearning.com.

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Page 14 – The Somers Record OPINION Thursday, June 3, 2021

Jacque’s Spin on Music for June 2021

BY JACQUE ROCHE at 5:30 p.m. ACQUE’ acoustic music on Friday and (845) 306-7165
It looks like we will Saturday evenings outside Live Solo musician performing in the
CQUEhe month of May sure ew by. from 6:30–9:30 p.m. dinning room Tuesday, Wednesday and
A ’I can’t wait to tell you about the be having some Dan Zlotnick will be Saturday evenings at 6 p.m.
great times this If you have a space for live music, I’d
Tnew musicians who reached out, love to talk about what live music events
S you have going on. Please send me an
SPI email to [email protected] y.net.
Full disclosure! I rely on HearIt ere.
S com to research live music events in the
SPI area. I can search by geography, date,
J there on June 4, 11 time or genre. I also receive a weekly
USIC newsletter. Musicians are entering their
gigs frequently and this is the most ef-
J cient way to keep on top of who’s play-
USIC ing within a short drive of your home.
and one new restaurant I discovered that summer with e service is free to musicians and mu-
sic fans. If you haven’t already pulled out
is hosting live music three nights a week! live music as the and 25. your phone to sign up for their weekly
newsletter, please do.
A live music supporter I’m working backtrack to our Oscars II Italian
Jacque Roche is a freelance writer, editor
with is Louis Mooney, owner of e lives again. Please Restaurant, 325 and music blogger for HearIt ere.com
and contributor to More Sugar Magazine,
Hangout Cafe in Carmel. Louis has pre- remember, you Route 100 HamletHub and e Patch. Archived
Nsented a solo musician in the dining room don’t have to travel N (914) 556-6687 broadcasts of 2016-2020 shows can be heard
Alternating outdoor streaming on Mixcloud.com and found on
on Tuesday, ursday and Saturday nights far. ere is great ON M live music will feature the FB page, @Jacque’sGiantMusicShow.
since opening in mid-April. Together, we music right in our a Somers native, original

O N Mare lling the restaurant’s summer music own backyards! singer-songwriter Dan Zlot-

calendar with local solo musicians such

as; Harry Rios, Max Geller, Dave Kain, NORTH SALEM nick on June 10 and June 25 from

Artie Tobia, Omar Ramirez, Dan Ste- Hardscrabble Cider, 130 Hard- 5-8 p.m.

vens, Chris Brown and Simon O’Keefe. scrabble Road Salsa Verde Taqueria and Bar, 325

I hope you will make plans to visit the (914) 485-1210 Route 100

restaurant for a meal and check out Live music every Friday and Saturday (914) 556-6626

some of the new musicians I’ve met this nights from 6-9 p.m. ere are food Wednesday, June 16 Austin Charnis

past month. trucks, and reservations are strongly Acoustic Guitar 6-9 p.m.

Salsa Verde in Somers began hosting recommended. Puppets For Hire will be performing

Instrumental Jazz Nights with Doug in the Breezeway on Father’s Day, June

Munro in May. Doug brings a new ac- SOMERS 20 from 6-8 p.m.

companist along on alternating Wednes- Barnwood Grill, 2 Old Tomahawk

day evenings at 5:30 p.m. e Grammy Street, Yorktown 10598 (for GPS) CARMEL

nominated guitarist will have saxophon- (914) 248-8100 The Hangout Café, 184 Route 52

ist Albert Rivera on Wednesday, June 9 Weather permitting; there will be Suite152

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When you advertise with The Somers Record, you are reaching thousands of households and businesses throughout the Town of Somers, including all of its hamlets
and Heritage Hills. To advertise or to place a classified, call Brett Freeman at 845-208-8151 or email [email protected]

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Thursday, June 3, 2021 OPINION The Somers Record – Page 15

All the wrong moves

TRACY So, you could imagine his we worked like a well-oiled boxes by myself. is near impossible—in one day.
BECKERMAN excitement when we moved into machine, until tragedy struck. My back went out. When this kind of thing hap-
a new, very old house, lled with And when I say tragedy I mean, is wasn’t the rst time I had pens, I really don’t know how
If you asked my husband lots of rusted thingamabobs of course, I bent over to tie my long the pain will last. It could
what his favorite item is for and squeaky whooziwhats that sneaker. To be honest, it wasn’t ever thrown my back out. And be a couple of days, or it could be
xing things, I have no doubt all needed oiling. While I was the tying of the sneaker that maybe it shouldn’t have been next Christmas. Which begs the
he would say, without hesita- sure that Super WD40Man was the tragedy, it was what that shocking considering I tried question:
tion, WD40. From his passion could, actually, x a few annoy- happened as I bent down to tie to completely unpack and put
for the stu , it would seem that ing things in the house, I wasn’t my sneaker, eight hours after away a kitchen, bathrooms, bed- How do you move into a
any household problem could be quite as convinced as he was that unpacking a kajillion moving rooms, and other assorted rooms
solved with a pair of needle-nose he could x everything in the and stu —a challenge which SEE BECKERMAN PAGE 16
pliers and a big can of WD40. house, as well as all the squeaky
In fact, he is SO enamored with items on the deck, in the yard, Replacing scores of
WD40, that if it could pick up and on the planet. Allstate | State Farm | Geico
his dry cleaning and make him
dinner, I would de nitely be Most of the time I am ne Policies Everyday!
deemed an unnecessary part of with his WD40 obsession
his life. because sometimes it helps and
also, it keeps him out of my hair
when I am trying to get other
things done, such as unpack a
kajillion boxes after we moved
into the new house. is all
seemed like a great plan, and

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Say No to Starbucks, 7-11
Come See Travelers • Foremost
To the editor, Hy Reichbach and Susan Rohrig Progressive • Safeco
e town of Somers is unique, and unlike most towns in West- For Experience, Knowledge and Service Kemper • Hartford
Mercury • 1st American
chester County has been able to preserve and keep its historic charm Aardvark Insurance Main Street America
and integrity. Adding a Starbucks or 7-11 at the proposed loca-
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[email protected]
Recognizing the proximity of this proposed Starbucks to the traf-
c light of Route 100 and Route 202, this intersection will become The Carmel Aardvark Insurance office is merged with the Mahopac office
much more dangerous because an in ux of cars will want to cross effective November 25, 2015.
over the two lanes of tra c. e tra c is already congested on Route
202 going east and west on a daily basis with cars, school buses and 914-617-8541
commuters headed to school, work, the train station and 684. Right 621 Route 22
now any car trying to exit this proposed location is going left, right, Croton Falls,
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cation on a daily basis would increase the congestion and severity of NY 10519
this situation. As you know Chase Bank occupied this space having
only a limited numbers of cars on a daily basis. However you cannot www.railyardartsstudio.com
compare the volume of cars going in and out of a drive thru bank
compared to a drive thru Starbucks or the steady in and out tra c of [email protected]
a 7-11.
In addition, the town of Somers already has a Duncan Donuts
and Bobo’s Café. Adding a similar business such as Starbucks is not
necessary and would be detrimental in their future loss and revenue.
It is my suggestion that the town of Somers look to incorporate
this space for town o ces since it is walking distance from the
Elephant Hotel and the closest building to Town Hall.
For the safety and future of the town of Somers, I hope that this
proposed site is not used for a Starbucks or 7-11. I would highly
suggest a tra c study be done to prove the validity and con rm that
the added tra c, and entering and exiting of this proposed location
will not only make this location more dangerous but a hazard to
public safety and people’s lives.

Tee Cotter

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Thursday, June 3, 2021 SCHOOLS & CAMPS The Somers Record – Page 25

Pulsera Project comes to Primrose
Somers Middle School students
prepare for
Students at the middle school found a way to connect with and help people in
Central American countries without ever leaving Somers. e International Club, SIS
made up of 15 students in all three grades, brought the Pulsera Project to Somers
Middle School. Moving from one school to the next can PHOTO COURTESY OF SOMERS CENTRAL SCHOOL
be intimidating, but many of the second- DISTRICT
“We went around the school and sold “pulseras” which are hand-woven bracelets,” grade students at Primrose Elementary
says eighth grader Gabriella Paucar. “We also sold mini-purses.” School are feeling more secure after in per- The students in Meredith Stirpe and
son orientation visits to Somers Interme- Lauren Bello’s second grade class listen
e Pulsera Project is a nonpro t organization that educates, empowers, and con- diate School, where they will begin third intently to Liz Turner’s description of third
nects Central American artists with students in U.S. schools. Artisans in Guatemala grade in the September. grade at Somers Intermediate School.
and Nicaragua weave colorful bracelets and purses and send them to students to
sell. All proceeds go back to the artisan’s own communities to improve education, “It is not so scary, now that I have been Maneyapanda asks Turner which genres of
employment, healthcare, and housing. Each woven piece comes with a picture and here and walked around,” says Anchit books they will explore in reading.
description of the person who made it. Shankar.
“I was hoping to hear that we would be
“I thought it was pretty fun to do and it bene ted a lot of people,” says seventh Last year’s third grade orientation was learning about ction,” says Lila. “Because
grader Jimmy Gallivan. “I found it interesting being able to speci cally see who done entirely online after the buildings were anything can happen in ction.”
made the bracelets.” closed due to COVID-19.
“Are the school days longer?” asks James
e International Club members prepared their classmates for the sale of the $5 “It was a shame we couldn’t do this last Harrison.
bracelets and $10 purses by playing videos in Advisory Class about the Pulsera Proj- year,” says Liz Turner, the intermediate
ect and the communities it helps. Teachers then led discussions about the di erence school principal. “ ere is value in getting Turner explains that the number of hours
between charity and solidarity. familiar with the school building, with our is the same, but the schedule is slightly later,
routines, and understanding that there are and James sighs in relief.
“We had conversations about how this is a solidarity project,” says club co-advisor so many similarities to Primrose. It helps to
and world language teacher Annette Soares, “Helping communities by giving them alleviate a lot of the nerves.” Turner also tells the students that the
a market and selling their products as opposed to just sending them money.” school has nature trails that lead to an out-
Turner says most of the questions by door classroom, as well as snow sleds for
“ e kids made a nice connection,” says club co-advisor and world language students are focused on the routines and physical education class.
teacher Angie whether they will change classrooms for
Gottlieb, “In re- academic subjects,which they do not.Other Article provided by Somers Central School
alizing that one questions are often about lunch, recess, and District.
act of kindness specials.
– purchasing one
bracelet, helped During the tour, eight-year-old Lila
someone else in
need.” ATTENTION HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!
College, Academic and Career Counseling
e club mem-
bers sold the
bracelets and
purses for one
month and raised
$1310 for the
Pulersa Project.

Article provided PHOTO COURTESY OF SOMERS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT Schedule a
by Somers Central Students and their International Club advisors model the Pulsera
School District. Project bracelets made by artisans in Central America. complimentary
meeting

for your child today

with a GuidED

Team Member:

www.guidedconsult.com

It is never too early to
begin exploring colleges

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application process.

(845) 628-0726

900 South Lake Blvd., Suite 8 • Mahopac, NY 10541

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Page 26 – The Somers Record LEISURE Thursday, June 3, 2021

CLUES ACROSS 26. Female deer 48. Psychic phenomena 12. As happily For puzzle solutions, please see
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Thursday, June 3, 2021 The Somers Record – Page 27

CHURCH FIRE mercial buildings are espe- Services had to be canceled
cially dangerous and require Sunday, but the congrega-
FROM PAGE 1

a lot of manpower due to tion is hoping to get back in

According to fire officials, their sheer size as the fire there once power is restored,

the blaze started on the exte- can rapidly grow,” Mackey and they get the thumbs-up

rior of the church and spread said, praising his crews for from the electrical inspector.

to its attic. doing an “excellent job in The church’s school for lit-

Somers Fire Chief Jon stopping this fire from being tle ones, Sonshine Preschool,

Mackey said Sunday that a catastrophe.” had to be closed temporarily.

the cause was determined to He also thanked their mu- But parents are being very

be electrical and accidental. tual aid partners: Somers supportive.

It started in the vicinity of EMS, Yorktown Heights “They are just so thrilled

the cross on the front of the Volunteer Fire Department, that no one was hurt and

church. Mohegan Volunteer Fire the church is still standing,”

There was fire damage Association, Mahopac Falls Wain said Sunday.

to the roof and water dam- Volunteer Fire Department, Lewis said that firefight-

age to the sanctuary, but the Mahopac Volunteer Fire De- ers told her that the church

building itself was saved. partment, Croton Falls Fire might have been lost if the

The cross is back lighted, Department, Katonah Fire 911 call had come in just five

as is the steeple, said Wain, Department, and the West- or 10 minutes later.

who was told the fire could chester County Department Meanwhile, prayers for

have been caused by a bird’s of Emergency Services. the church’s recovery were

or bee’s nest set aflame by There were no injuries flooding in from all over the

the heat of the light bulbs. reported. The scene was community and Bear was

The congregation posted cleared around 2:45 a.m. getting the extra treats and

its thanks to God and to Thanking responders, hugs befitting a real canine

Bear on Facebook, saying Wain said they were “just hero.

that things “could have been blown away” by the numbers “After all,” Lewis joked

so much worse.” who showed up and their lovingly. “DOG spelled

“Fires in these large com- kindness. backward is GOD.”

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.
EXPERT HELP.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KIM LEWIS

Bear alerted his owners to the church fire.

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Page 28 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 3, 2021

BOE she said. at’s why organiza- dent Policy Review Committee students “ nd a safe space of not e board will discuss the pro-

FROM PAGE 1 tions need to determine whether “great thinkers” and “amazing just comfort, but true acceptance posed policy before a nal vote

they’ve been “inadvertently el- trendsetters.” in all of our schools.” on its adoption.

area of “focus” is expected to be evating some” biases and not oth- According to SPRC member SEEAT’s commitment to seek It states: “All children deserve

completed next month. ers. Naoko Todo, a graduating se- as many di erent perspectives as to have equal access to oppor-

Schools Superintendent Dr. Acknowledging inequities is nior and president of the student possible and each member’s “ded- tunity regardless of their race,

Raymond Blanch noted Tues- not enough, said Kaishian. “You council, the group reviewed the ication to ensuring a comfortable gender identity, religion, sexual

day that the “why of this work is can be aware of things, but what code of conduct and the high space for all students really stands orientation, the languages they

more like a why not.” are you really going to do about school student handbook. It as a testimony to the strength of speak, learning di erences, back-

“Why wouldn’t we do this it?” came up with a glossary of more Somers community bonds,”Todo ground or any other di erence.

work? We are creating an envi- A school psychologist at Prim- inclusive terms for the handbook said. is freedom is fundamental to

ronment where all of our chil- rose, Kaishian noted that student and created a dress code philoso- Its actions should not only “re- our K-12 education program and

dren know they’re cared for and concerns about racism and bias phy. cycle inspiration and hope within is extended to everyone without

loved,” he said. were “coming to a crescendo” in e committee also proposed each one of us, but it should com- exception. Racism, discrimina-

at ties in with the district’s spring 2020 as the Black Lives new “restorative justice” measures pel us to further introspection tion, and marginalization of

mission of supporting the “whole Matter movement gained steam. and a dedicated space for every- and action,” McClary said. any people or groups of people,

child” and of fostering “global She said the “why” of her par- thing from con ict resolution O’Shea also praised the SPRC whether intentional or not, have

citizenship.” ticipation in SEEAT was “once “peace circles” to places where members for their contributions no place in our schools, our dis-

Every person is unique and “we you know, you have to do better.” students can “calm down and re- and for sharing their stories. “Let trict or our community.”

are stronger together with our e team is “really about tak- focus.” me tell you, we learned a lot.”

di erences,” Blanch added. ing action,” Kaishian explained, All the students’ work has been PARENTS WEIGH IN

Just as the world is constantly adding: “It’s good to be an ally, compiled by McClary and will be NEXT STEPS “It was nice to hear that ev-

changing, so must schools, said but it’s better to do something submitted to the school board for In May, the state Board of ery child has a sense of belong-

SEEAT member Dr. Regina about it.” review. Regents acted on measures to ing, that they’re loved, that they

Kaishian. Most importantly, SEEAT Todo, who is Asian American, promote civic education and speak their truth,” parent Joanne

To be a learning organization, hopes to elevate the voices of all said her motivation to do social bring “diversity, equity and inclu- Chiodo told the board Tuesday.

she said, “You have to be an or- children. justice work was “double-sided.” sion” to New York schools. e “ ose are all great things, and

ganization that learns,” she said. Teachers Shondra McClary Part was to prove herself as an framework it provided, say local I’m happy and comforted to hear

“We all have some biases; that’s and Brenda O’Shea called the individual, but a “larger desire” educators, is quite extensive and that.”

how we make sense of the world,” teens who formed the new Stu- of hers was to ensure that future requires study to carve out tools But while the district may have

each district can e ectively use to “the best interests of our kids

implement change. at heart,” she said, “Sometimes

What makes our home “Part and parcel to an equi- some ideas might be a little mis-
table society is civic education, guided.”
which can lead us to a more just Chiodo said she felt compelled

so special has a lot to democracy for all New Yorkers to speak after hearing references
do with the service. and enable students to be power- during the SEEAT presenta-
ful agents for social change,” said tion on changing terminology in
Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. the student handbook. She said
she had heard that other school
e Regents “strongly en- districts in Westchester (Ossin-
couraged” every school district ing) seemed to be implement-
to adopt some form of “diver-

sity, equity and inclusion” policy, ing teachings that involve critical

said board Vice President Heidi race theory “under the guise of

Cambareri. other names.”

Meanwhile, the board on at, she said, feels “so incred-

Tuesday approved on rst read- ibly destructive.”

ing a policy that states the district Critical race theory is an aca-

“is committed to creating and demic approach that explains

maintaining a positive and inclu- how race and racism function in

sive learning environment where law and society. Conservatives

all students feel safe, included, have called it divisive and have

and respected, and experience a said that critical race theory is

sense of belonging and academic SEE BOE PAGE 29
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Thursday, June 3, 2021 The Somers Record – Page 29

BOE students a space where they feel “privilege” and “power.” “We don’t want our children school, help them with their

FROM PAGE 28 safe,” Toledo said. “A school can While “100 percent” support- indoctrinated; we want fairness, homework, read to them at night
provide all the resources a child ive of diversity and inclusion, she equality, inclusivity, diversity,” she and make sure to keep them on

needs to grow academically, but if is afraid that things she’s hear- said, calling them “amazing val- track. is is not a genetic lot-

racist in itself and teaches Marx- a student is being dehumanized ing about other districts could ues” and sharing her belief that tery; this is a system that works,”

ism. Conservatives have also and bullied by other students be- be “very easily turned into some- what is taught at home “should he said, demanding that Portnoy

criticized use of the term equity, cause of their race, then they can’t thing that could be negative.” be carried over in the schools.” apologize to “all of the hardwork-

which they say advances equal possibly be expected to utilize all Board President Dr. Lindsay Mark Shkreli accused certain ing and honest people of this

outcomes rather than equal op- the resources that they’re given.” Portnoy pointed out the board trustees, whom he did not name, town and their children”and then

portunity. Republican legislatures Toledo praised SEEAT for was talking about reviewing a of using their positions to promote step down.

in half a dozen states have ad- all it has done to combat racism policy on diversity, equity and di- their own political viewpoints. Portnoy responded: “I would

opted or advanced laws aimed at and bias, adding, “ ere’s always versity and not curriculum, which “ e board is not an advocacy thank you, but I found that

banning its teaching. more work to be done.” it does not create. group and these sessions should completely disgraceful and dis-

“I’m not saying that this is Maria Leverde, noting that she Donna Pascucci, who has three not be used as a political play- respectful, so my apologies, but I

what’s happening in Somers. I was speaking on the anniversary biracial children, said she was ground. Politicized classrooms can’t thank you for that.”

want to make sure we’re not fall- of George Floyd’s murder, told tired of words and wanted action. will not only harm our children, Sharon Paige,a teacher who re-

ing into these traps of white guilt the board Tuesday that she felt “You’ve been talking the same but will ruin this school district,” cently moved to Somers, praised

and white shaming of kids and inspired, hopeful and moved by thing since my youngest was in he said. the school board for doing a “tre-

making kids of color feel victim- the students and teachers who the school system and nothing Children need to be “taught mendous”job addressing issues of

ized,” Chiodo explained. shared the reasons why they has changed. ere’s still bul- how to think, not what to think inequity. She said she was grate-

e answer to discrimination thought SEEAT’s mission was so lying. ere’s racism. It exists. I in a healthy, nonpolitical setting,” ful to be in a district where these

can’t be “blanket discrimination,” important. “ ere’s still so much don’t deny it. I’m fully support- he said. conversations were being held

she said, contending that all stu- work to be done, but today, in- ive of inclusion and diversity, but Shkreli went on to attack Port- even if they’re “di cult.”

dents should be elevated. stead of being critical, I say thank this has been preached for all the noy personally, calling comments Paige said her own students

So a Toledo, a Somers High you.” years I’ve been here, and it hasn’t he said she made in March about have shared with her that “when

School senior, said she’s been Sharla St. Rose said she changed.” racial privilege “appalling.” you empathize with someone,

“fortunate” not to have been sub- thought working toward equity With all the discussions about “ e achievements of the you begin to understand them

jected to any “overt” racism dur- and inclusion can sometimes critical race theory, Pascucci said, people of this town should not and you can’t x a problem until

ing her 13 years in the school dis- be mistakenly compared to the some parents are worried that be deemed a privilege nor should you understand it.”

trict. However, she’s “had to deal teaching of critical race theory. their kids might be made to feel our di erences be called ineq- SEE BOE PAGE 30

with several microaggressions She suggested that the district that being “white is bad.” uities. We wake our kids up for

and incidents that made me feel schedule public discussions to

uncomfortable in my skin.” clear up any such “misunder-

Toledo said she’s heard white standing” on the topic and hoped

students use the “N-word” and it continues “to do the really

has seen it written on bus seats brave work.”

and bathroom stalls. Parent Kara Morett said

“Although these may only be she had read the state Regents’

small events, they do build up framework and thought it con-

very quickly,” she told the board. tained “a lot of good stu .” How-

e school’s job is “not only ever, she was concerned about the

to teach children, it’s also to give language acknowledging white

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Page 30 – The Somers Record Thursday, June 3, 2021

BOE respect for each other.” the progress the district needs to odically to ensure there’s a “lens” “Maybe we’ve picked up some

FROM PAGE 29 He said he was surprised by make.” through which “everybody who’s steam this past year; that’s a pos-

some comments about critical He encouraged others to get here to learn sees themselves; sibility,” she said.

Anna Valentin applauded race theory because “they seem involved in SEEAT or reach out (that) they know that they’re a Michael D’Anna, who is wrap-

Portnoy for her “dedication and uninformed.” to him, its “boots on the ground,” part of this; they’re part of all of ping up his last term, said all poli-

support” during a “very di cult “ e important thing is to be if they need further clarity. us.” cies are carefully reviewed.

and challenging period.” honest and do the best for our He added he was con dent “We’re trying to be as open

“ e world is changing. kids. Be a volunteer in these BOARD MEMBER that everyone was “going to get as possible with the community.

Somers is changing. And with meetings and not insulting or COMMENTS through this together” and “get at’s what I like about Somers;

change comes a lot of resistance threatening board members,” Ly- Trustee Ifay Chang, referring better together.” that’s what I like about this com-

and a lot of disappointment ons said. to SEEAT’s S.M.A.R.T. (Strate- Trustee MaryRose Joseph munity, is that we really are pull-

and that’s understandable. But If anyone doesn’t like a certain gic Measure Achievable Relevant drafted an anti-racism letter last ing together. We may not agree

change is inevitable,” she said. trustee’s positions, “then don’t Timebound) goal, suggested year in the wake of the George with one another and there are

Lisa Soraci also came to the vote for them. You certainly don’t adding an “ER” to the end: e Floyd murder. It was never made a lot of times that we shouldn’t,

board’s defense, saying the meet- ask them to step down.” “E” for evicting and the “R” for o cial because board members but these are the times that really

ing had gone to “a really ugly Rodric Rabbah, who ran un- the roots of racism. couldn’t agree on its language. should pull us together.”

place.” successfully for the school board “Its root is grown in history. Responding to a parent who Cambareri, who was just re-

“I had no idea that critical race last month, has been involved History has to be taught, recog- had asked why the board hadn’t elected to another three-year

theory was on the agenda. I don’t with SEEAT since 2019. Criti- nized and respected. It doesn’t taken a stand in light of the re- term, said she thought that some

think it was. e fact that people cal race theory has never come up matter what color you are, we all cent rise in antisemitic attacks, events of the past year have

chose to politicize it, to ll this at any of the group’s meetings, he have to recognize, respect and Joseph said it supports “all in- people “so riled up and sensitive

meeting with disinformation and said, but while campaigning he learn from history,” he said. dividuals in our community” no that there’s been a lot of impos-

with radical right-wing talking heard the term brought up by a Trustee Chadwick Olsen said matter their identity. ing partisan politics on the school

points as opposed to the truth I signi cant number of voters. there’s nothing new with the She added that she planned to board that is not about partisan

nd disgusting,” she said. Words that are that politi- equity policy the board’s con- draft a letter and to send it to the politics.”

Jonathan Lyons also had kind cally “charged” are unnecessarily sidering. “It’s really just codify- board for consideration. “ at is not how any of us are

words for the board, telling trust- divisive, Rabbah noted, adding ing what we believe in and what Joseph said she appreciated making our decisions, or should

ees that he knows there have that the way society moves for- we’ve already been doing and the comments from the public be, in the best interest of the

been disagreements, but they’re ward is “not to amplify the divi- working toward.” but felt that the “tone” of some kids,” she insisted.

always handled with “dignity and sion because it gets in the way of Curriculum is reviewed peri- speakers was inappropriate. She opined that the com-

When board members have dis- mentary Tuesday indicated that

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have spoken up about before, she ing racism an issue “that’s been
said, adding that SEEAT has ex-
isted for a long time. SEE BOE PAGE 31

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Thursday, June 3, 2021 The Somers Record – Page 31

Troop K appoints new commander

BY CAROL REIF other side of the Hudson. Troop in 2017. Major Kathryne M. Rohde PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW YORK STATE POLICE
STAFF WRITER F covers Rockland, Orange, Sul- In 2018, she transferred to
livan, Ulster, and Greene counties.
e New York State Police’s Troop K Zone 1 as the Zone 1
Troop K has a new commander. She was promoted to Sergeant Commander.
in 2005 and stayed with Troop F
Major Kathryne M. Rohde of- until 2010 after being assigned to e Long Island native received
cially stepped into her role on the Governor’s Protective Services bachelor’s and master’s degrees in
Detail. criminal justice from SUNY Al-
ursday, May 27. bany.
Troop K covers Westchester, Two years later, Rohde was pro-
Putnam, Dutchess, and Columbia moted to Lieutenant and initially She has lived in the Catskills
counties. worked with the Professional area for 25 years and has two chil-
Rohde was appointed by the Standards Bureau. dren.
state police’s Acting Superinten-
dent Kevin P. Bruen. Not long after, she was trans- “I wholeheartedly believe in the
She replaces Major Michael J. ferred to the Computer Crimes oath I have taken and will contin-
Drake who now serves with the Unit where she served as the ue to serve this state, its citizens,
Division of State Police in the New York State Internet Crimes my coworkers, and the people I
Professional Standards Bureau. Against Children Commander. have been blessed to lead with the
Rohde attended the New York utmost honor, integrity, respect,
State Police Academy in 1999. In 2015, Rohde transferred to and compassion,” Rohde said,
Her rst assignment after gradu- Troop K and was assigned as the adding: “I’m truly grateful for this
ation was with Troop F on the Assistant Zone 2 Commander opportunity and look forward to
until her promotion to the rank leading the outstanding men and
of Captain, Zone 2 Commander, women assigned to Troop K.”

BOE all have di erent views on how we don’t think that’s appropriate,” he Board members are not there to tribute in a positive way,” Portnoy
should get there,” he said, adding said. represent their personal beliefs or said.
FROM PAGE 30 that board discussions have been to further “an agenda.”
respectful. Portnoy, praising Blanch and Blanch, saying community in-
plaguing humanity for thousands SEEAT for the “beautiful presen- “We are here to make sure every volvement is vital to educational
of years,” said “we’re not going to Marra also decried the com- tation,” said the district’s e orts to single person in our town, in our progress, noted that “not long ago,
get rid of it in a lifetime or two.” ments Tuesday “that could reason- support equity, diversity and inclu- community of Somers, is getting maybe, we could have done this
ably be perceived as threatening.” sion re ect a “culture of caring, a the best quality education and is on our own accord,” but things
“I think that we all as a board culture of constant learning.” able to go into the world with suc- are getting more “sophisticated” in
agree that everyone should be “ ere are ways of expressing cess and con dence and with ef- how schools need “to support our
given an equal opportunity and ev- views without making someone on “ is is how we, as humans, children.”
eryone should be treated fairly. We the board feel threatened; I really progress in a society,”she said. cacy that they are going to con-

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