Tuesday, June 30, 2009
July 12 4:00 at Connie's home - chicks will spend time learning how to take care of their bikes. If you want to ride a good road bike, YOU MUST learn how to maintain it. It is one thing to ride on the roads, but maintaining the bike is most important.
Simply taking the bike to the bike shop is not enough. You need to know what is not working on your bike, and what parts might need replacing. Asking a bike shop to check your bike is NOT enough. As you have no idea what that means if you are not up to speed on what it takes to keep your bike running smoothly.
some things to know about:
1. chain maintenance
2. cables and derailleurs
5. tires and tubes
6. what to carry on your bike
and it goes on and on, as i have said, don't wait for the bike shop, boyfriend or hubby to maintain your bike - It IS YOUR job!
Monday, June 29, 2009
"where in boxes meet"
I have downloaded it and I am having fun using it, apparently it is rather new but all social networking is rather new. Facebook is only about 5 years old. Twitter is less than that. Fuser is a beta app, so that means it is still in development, send them feedback if you discover problems.
Fun stuff, at least for me, and yeah, I know, I got way toooo much time on my hands.
We had a great ride on Saturday but I allowed some bad mistakes on the ride.
1. Bunching up at intersections - this has to be a NO NO, cars get mad, don't blame them, we should know better
2. Not getting single file fast enough - again, we know better, we have to be aware of the cars on the road
3. when we stop for rest stops, we MUST get off of the road, again, these mistakes are the mistakes of the ride leader which is ME
so let's all help me by trying to remember the above issues, a very problematic road is Powell Road when we are climbing it and heading onto rt 162, next time I have a group on this road, we will go up in smaller groups and have a plan, this past Saturday we were pigging the entire road
Bad Form, so let's pitch in and help in these matters, thanks
Hey chicks, many of us are now connected via Facebook as well as Twitter as well as the blog and it goes on and on. I personally find it all a ton of fun and something to do. For shut ins or older folks or retired folks or just plain ole folks, Facebook is a good way to share photos and goings on in families and for special interest groups.
ALSO, another shout out to chicks and friends for our BIKE CLINIC and TWITTER Party on July 12, email me for details or do a search on the blog for twitter party posts.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Time for Lunch Petition
This summer Slow Food USA is launching an awareness campaign called Time for Lunch to bring public attention to the need to help our schools feed our children healthy foods (not fake or fast foods), and to help our schools source real food locally.
This fall the Child Nutrition Act, the bill that governs the National School Lunch Program, is up for reauthorization in Congress. The National School Lunch Program provides a meal to more than 30 million children every school day. By giving schools the resources to serve real food, 30 million children will benefit with better health, better nutrition, better concentration, and, as many studies have shown, academic achievement.
The Slow Food USA platform is recommending these inclusions to the bill:
Invest in children's health - Give schools just one dollar more per day for each child's lunch.
Protect against food that puts children at risk - Establish strong standards for all food sold at school, including food from vending machines and school fast food.
Teach children healthy habits that will last through life - Fund grants for innovative Farm to School programs and school gardens.
Give schools the incentive to buy local - Establish financial incentives that encourage schools to buy food from local farms for all child nutrition programs, thereby creating jobs in our communities, rebuilding rural economies, supporting family farmers, and shortening the distance food travels to save oil and ensure school foods are as fresh and healthy as possible.
Create green jobs with a School Lunch Corps - Train underemployed Americans to be the teachers, farmers, cooks, and administrators our school cafeterias need in a program similar to Americorps.
To sign the Time for Lunch petition and learn more: www.slowfoodusa.org/timeforlunch
Contact Your Legislators
A second component is telling your legislators that this issue is important to you. Quick steps:
1. Write a letter to your Washington legislators to vote for the reauthorization.
2. Make a phone call to tell them that change can't wait: It's time to provide America's children with real food at school.
3. Invite your legislators to your Eat-In (see third component below) and/or set up a meeting to talk in person.
To find your legislators' addresses, visit http://congress.org and type in your zip code. Remember that politicians work for you.
Community Eat-Ins on Labor Day
A third component of the campaign involves heightening media attention on the need to reauthorize the Childhood Nutrition Act through hundreds of Community Eat-Ins across the country on Labor Day. An Eat-In is a potluck that takes place in public and gathers people to support a cause - like getting real food into schools. Any type of Eat-In can be planned - big or small.
To learn more and for details on how to organize your own Eat-In on Labor Day, visit the Slow Food USA website at http://www.slowfoodusa.org/timeforlunch.
If anyone is interserested in hosting an event or would like to join an event, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slow Food International is a non-profit, member-supported organization founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Today, we have over 85,000 members in 132 countries. To become a member, or renew your membership to Slow Food USA, please visit:
Saturday, June 27, 2009
We had a fabo ride today, the weather could not have been better, started with 12 riders and about halfway home or so, the faster riders took off. We did cue# 127 which is a nice cue, fairly flat and scenic.
I was heading home from Hot Foot, going east on Marshall Road approaching High Street. I was clipped in and was trying not to unclip as the light had just changed. I got sandwiched between a car and the curb and then BOOM, lost my balance and went right into this large thorn bush.
I vanished into it, finally got out but had thorns stuck in me everywhere. I really had to laugh. I mean, can I fall in any more odd spots than I have already??
I think today was the final trophy in my long line of spectacular falls.
Friday, June 26, 2009
anyone up for a Sunday morning ride if Saturday gets rained out??
can pick a shorter cue if you want or we can do the same one posted for Saturday
so check blog and Twitter for updates
LibsM Twitter username
to receive tweets to phone, sign up and then set your device to ON
then using your phone, text to 40404
this will bring the messages to your phone
We will have balloons and instructions available to figure out what your vital lung capacity is.
use this terminology when searching
" rides for the week of date"
for date, weeks start on SUNDAY, so use that format, you will see the posts come up for the week you are searching for
or you can check the wccc ride page
Saturday July 4 8 am Hot Foot cue #161
if the group is large , we will split it up according to speed.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
then veer off onto N Creek and take it all the way to rt 162, cross rt 162 go left, go right on N Creek and take it to rt 322
cross rt 322 and head up Frank Road past East Bradford Elementary school and follow Frank which turns into Copeland School Road to rt 322, cross it again and take Highland then right on Brookworth
cross rt 322 AGAIN, and take W Ashbridge to New, follow New to Hot Foot
nice path and it avoids 842 and 322 and Frank is nice and quiet
give it a whirl if out someday
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Opens July 1
Food, Inc. is more than a terrific movie-it's an important movie, one that nourishes your knowledge of how the world works (or, in this case, has started not to work)." (Entertainment Weekly)
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner talks to best-selling authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma) to lift the veil on our nation's food industry—a nexus of mechanized farms, engineered food, and unhealthy practices that's been effectively hidden from American consumers by slick public relations and slack government regulation. This eye-opening documentary explains how unfettered corporations exploited laws and subsidies to create wholesale monopolies, and explores how modern developments in food production pose grave risks to our health and environment.
Opening Night, July 1, 7:00 pm with Frederick Kirschenmann, a longtime leader in sustainable agriculture. Kirschenmann is President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills and Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He also oversees management of his family's 3,500-acre certified organic farm in south-central North Dakota.
Robert Kenner. 2008. 94 m. NR. US. Magnolia Pictures.
Anyhooooo if no rain tonight, will be offering a much shorter ride, 15 miles and I am calling for newbies to come give it a try.
Meet at HotFoot at 530.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
at the Brandywine Cyclery in Brabmar Plaza
They are having ladies night on Thursday night the 25th., they are having a rep from specialized there as well as discounts...thought you may want to pass this onto the other chicks in the group. I think I am going to go. Its at the crossroads of Silverside and Marsh roads.
View Larger Map
A nice tape job makes your bike look well maintained and also makes for a nice comfortable ride for your hands and keeps your grip tight.
Monday, June 22, 2009
As you may know there have been some problems on the SRT near Norristown.
The Montco bike folks have put together a reporting system to address this,
(from Steve Sheetz)
I wanted to be the first to congratulate John Bringhurst on his
efforts in making the reporting system for NON-911 worthy issues!
Ladies and Gentlemen, PLEASE use 911 if you are attacked, but use
this reporting system if you see criminal activity on the trail,
(like a drug deal, for example, do not stop or do anything other than
note the location and then tell authorities with this system) IF
kids are throwing rocks or are verbally harassing you, use this
reporting system... If you are not sure what, but it seems like you
are seeing suspicious activity... Consider this a type of
neighborhood watch reporting device.
I would really appreciate it if the webmasters of the area clubs post
this link on their clubs' web page. My goal is 100% reporting of
incidents that occur on the SRT. Ladies and Gentlemen, WE are
responsible for our security, and only WE can help make sure the
places we ride are safe.
Jon, THANKS AGAIN!!!! Awesome Job!!!
You can view it at: http://www.trailreporter.com/
Chair, Montgomery County Cycling Committee
Safety and Legislation Coordinator, Suburban Cyclists Unlimited
Every evening this week, Monday, Tues, Wed Thurs, I am posting a ride, since the weather is so iffy, i will try each night to get a ride up.
We will take off at 530 sharp, so come prepared. If this weather holds today, I will be up there at Hot Foot, cue will depend on weather and folks who show up, if you want to ride faster than me, bring a map so you can find your way around.
Tonight will be a simple cue and you can probably make your way home without me if you need to ride fast.
Saturday morning 8 am ride, cue # 127, 38 miles, nice and flat and not bad, we will take our time, those that want to ride ahead, BRING a cue and be prepared to get yourself home.
ALL rides this week will be geared to getting ladies on bikes. SO if you are sitting and home and NOT biking, come on out. I will do all in my power to provide a good ride at YOUR speed.
Again, if you want to ride fast, bring a cue or try Shaun's B group. He is there most tuesdays and thursdays.
SEE YOU TONIGHT, use Twitter for updates, username LibsM
Sunday, June 21, 2009
and from what I have seen, we have way more husbands and boyfriends riding than the women.
So again, I am asking for C level ladies, get your bike out and RIDE. It is amazing at how men make time in their schedules to ride their bikes. These men have kids and jobs and soccer and swim team, but they do get out.
We have a strong core group of Chick riders but have failed to attract large new numbers. Cassandra has become one great great new rider, Charlene is improving so fast she is gonna be biking with the B riders. But there are many many ladies NOT riding, why I have no clue?
SO those ladies sitting at home, what did your husband/daddy do today? Does he ride a bike?? If so, how come you do not ride with him? If you have kids, get them bikes, and hit the Schuylkill Trail with the whole family. Or do the Struble Trail in Downingtown.
An active mother is the best example for her kids. Get on your bike and take your kids biking. They will need a bike with gears but most kid bikes come with gears. A good bike store for kids' bikes is the one in Downingtown. It is right on rt 30 in Caln. Tell the fellow that Libby sent you and you may get a discount. I bought many kids' bikes there. Ask for Ken.
So what is wrong with the pic above?? where the heck is the mom's bike? Now i know the kid has no helmet but he is not really riding. Hopefully they bought him a helmet.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Some days nothing works, while none of us fell today, we got soaked, I put my BUP into action.
What you say is a BUP? why your "back up plan' in case of emergencies, despite trying to shield my phone, I think it is a goner. Should of had it in a plastic bag. SO from now on, carrying a zip lock bag in case of rain.
Learning while we ride, always a process.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We ride all summer long and many times we forget we have to check out bikes periodically to see if everything is running okay. Not only do you have to clean your chain and derailleurs regularly, you need to maintain the integrity of the chain and your back gear set.
One site I have found has some useful tutorials on bike maintenance. I am suggesting this one on how to check to see if your chain has stretched.
If your chain has stretched noticeably, you may need a new rear gear set as well. I highly recommend you get yourself knowledgeable BEFORE going to bike repair store. You need to be able to tell the bike store what you need done.
Simply telling the guy to check your bike will not always guarantee a job well done.
At our next bike clinic we will cover some of this advanced bike maintenance and help you sound smarter when you take your bike into the bike repair store. July 12 is our next clinic, scroll down for the post for details or click the link above.
Starting on July 19 Sunday, Ellen and I will be biking the trail to the Art Museum and back. Rides will start at 7:45 am at Betzwood and some rides will start all the way back at the Phoenixville extension.
This will continue through the rest of the summer on Sundays except Aug 2 which is the She Rox Triathlon. We have the Dog Daze on Aug 1 so will still have a fun ride available.
From Betzwood to Art Museum and back is around 50 miles, but ladies, it is flat and easy.
From Phoenixville it is about 70 miles. Thought we might try that in August and stop for lunch etc in Manyunk.
Riding around the Art Museum is tons of fun and just a great ride. No cars, no hills and fun.
SO mark your calendars, any change in the rides will be posted but for now, make your plans and come out and join Ellen and I on a Sunday morning.
Rides will LEAVE at 7:45 so be on time.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
from the site above
Tour and Race Information:
• Helmets are required.
• 25-Mile ProCAP Competitive race starts at 7:30 a.m.,
on Legislative Mall and ends at Bayhealth Medical
Center nearby. Racers will be provided with t-shirts
and after-race breakfast.
• Bike tour starts 8 a.m.; day-of registration ends at 10
• Bike tour begins and ends at Legislative Mall
(Mapquest: 411Federal St.).
• Bike Tour Distance: 15, 25, 50, 62 and 100 miles —
your choice! Bring friends and family.
• Rider Support — Phone-equipped SAG support
continuously patrols for cyclists with physical or
mechanical issues. Provided by Bike Werx and
Dunbar’s Cyclery until 5 p.m.
• Event is rain or shine; no rain date.
• Bike tour benefits Central Delaware YMCA Youth
Programs and Amish School House Education
• ProCAP bike race benefits Prostate Cancer
• There are NO REFUNDS for any reason.
After-Tour Party Info:
• Catered picnic: One BBQ lunch included in your bike
tour (not competitive race) registration; extras may
be purchased for $9 per person) from 11 a.m. to 4
p.m. Competitive racers are invited to join the fun,
but lunch will cost extra.
• Door prize drawings.
• Live music by Friends of Folk and yard games.
• T-shirt and hat sales. (T-shirts, $20 before August 21
with bike tour registration; $25 day of bike tour).
I would rate Chester County as the nicest place in PA to bike. Not only do we have spectacular scenery but the roads are not really deserted, hence it is a pretty safe place to bike.
Horse farms, cow farms and you name it, you will see it when biking in Chester County. If you are thinking of biking as a hobby, we have the perfect county for biking.
Plus we have access to the Schuylkill River Trail and hopefully the Chester Valley Trail from Exton to Norristown and the Schuylkill River Trail.
What else do you need, bike stores?? You have many to choose from - Bike Line, Exton Bike, West Chester Bike, Hot Foot and bikes stores in Media and Phoenixville as well. Downingtown has a nice bike shop on rt 30 called the Downingtown Bike Store.
We have 2 spectacular bike clubs, West Chester Cycling and Brandywine Bike Club. You can pick or join both.
Plus you got me, begging you to bike. I run bike clinics, do Newbie rides, will wait for anyone and everyone on the road. I can fix a flat, chain and cable and I carry the supplies to fix YOUR bike on the road.
See you soon, Lib
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Thursday eve 530 Hot Foot if not raining, I will ride in cloudy weather, so come on out, just doing 20 miles, in and out, not hard. Give it a whirl
Saturday morning 8 am Hot Foot, cue # 145 flat and nice ride, come on out, give it a try
Monday morning 10 am NEWBIE RIDE on the Schuylkill River Trail
meet at Betzwood (look on the right column of the blog, right under the calendar is a link to directions to Betzwood)
Will do whatever the Newbies want. Get the dust off of that bike and come ride. Hey, if I can fall in front of a lot of folks and have to have some big guy pull me off of my bike, you can ride on a safe FLAT trail. You have no excuse. See you there, pop me an email or a Tweet to let me know if you are coming. Bring a friend, bring anyone, just show up.
Twitter was scheduled for a 2 hour maintenance and decided to postpone this close down of Twitter for the sake of Iran. Imagine the outcome of many of our historical events had people had the benefits of instant communication.
Apparently the radio was key is helping Hilter rise to power. People could hear him. Imagine having Twitter during the Holocaust. Since no one controls Twitter, the folks on the street are able to have their voices heard.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Well, after 3 years of NOT buying cleat covers, I have learned that this piece of equipment is vital to saving my cleats. Since new cleats can be expensive, having covers will save your cleats from wear and tear when you walk on pavement or unpaved surfaces.
These are easy to carry in your back pocket of your bike jersey and can be slipped on easily. I plan on wearing my covers now whenever I am walking in my bike shoes.
A broken derailleur cable during a ride can make it hard to get home. Fixing a cable on the road can be problematic as it takes time and requires a good wire cutter. There are a few shortcut things that can be done to get yourself home without replacing your cable. Or you can learn how to replace a cable on the road. If none of these makes sense to you, then you MUST have your back up plan in action. You need to be able to call for help and have someone come get you.
When you go out on your bike, do you have a phone number of someone who will actually answer the phone and be willing to come get you????
To check your cables, you can make a visual inspection. Look at the cable, follow its path and look for stray threads coming loose on your cable. This is one sign of a weak cable. Most times though cables break up in the handlebar where they start.
Proper maintenance and changing cables on a regular basis will prevent this problem. A new cable costs $5.00, so it is foolish to not keep up with this type of maintenance.
This is more of the interesting stuff you can learn about at our next clinic.
After all the walking I had to do at the French Creek Iron Tour, I decided to take a look at my cleats. They were well worn so I bought a new pair that also came with cleat covers.
It is a good idea to turn your bike shoes over and take a look at your cleats. Now if you have mountain bike shoes and cleats, their maintenance may not be as critical since the cleat is recessed.
I have Look pedals and exposed cleats so that when i walk on my bike shoes, my cleats hit the pavement. It is also a good idea to check the screws and make sure they are tight.
If you replace your cleats, use the templates that come with the cleats and follow the directions on how to replace your cleat into the same spot as the old cleat.
I save the extra screws and washers and carry them in my bike bag in case I lose one on a bike ride.
Hey, this is just some of the good information that you will get at our next Bike Clinic and Tweet Party. So come on out and learn something new.
Monday, June 15, 2009
1. Tweet Party July 12 Connie Synder is inviting all chicks, come learn how to Tweet, and Connie has some more fun planned.
We will have balloons and instructions available to figure out what your vital lung capacity is.
Libby- shrimp cocktail, would not miss this, sounds like so much fun
2. Got 3 RIDES UP THIS WEEK, TUES, THURS AND SAT, COME ON OUT, CHECK WCCC RIDE PAGE FOR DETAILS
3. Upcoming rides, Dog Daze Aug 1, great ride, not bad for hills, Brandywine Bike Club makes a nice ride and a doable ride
4. Covered Bridge Metric, Aug 16, nothing beats a ride in Lancaster, FLAT, really flat, and the scenery, woweee zoweeeeee
SO come meet some new ladies at the Tweet Party and come bike, as i have said, if I can do this, ANYONE can
I have encountered every bad thing you can encounter and I am still ticking and still biking.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Now me, i had on Gatorskins Tires, and got no flats. But that is the only good thing working for me on the ride.
I AM NOW SHOUTING this loud and clear. ALL you wimpy ladies afraid to fall while biking, read up. I was climbing a very steep hill and simply ground to a halt, could not make my pedals go around and BOOM, I went down like a Redwood tree on a bad hill. Lucky some really big guy came buy and helped to extricate me from my bike and get me on two feet.
But i still had a problem, I cannot start my bike and clip in when going up a steep hill, so i had to walk a long long ways, was wishing for my big son Frey to help me get clipped in, he woulda run next to me to get me going, that is just the kind of kid he is. Frey, where were you????
oh yeah, in Florida,
Then Cassandra whom I am riding with takes off at mile 30 and i never see her again, where cassy went is anybody's guess cuz I was burning flubber to find her. Think she had some invisible motor on her bike cuz the last i saw was her blond hair blowing as she vanished ahead.
Plus if i had to ride up one more hill I was going to call a cab. Really, geez oh man.
BUT, ladies, i fell, i am exhausted but you know what, I will be biking again, falling is not hard, just go with the bike and in a short time you hit pavement and the fall is ALL over.
The ride was good, a good prep for my North Carolina ride where i have to climb Mt Everest. But three weeks in a row of 50 + mile rides and I am looking forward to doing just 30 miles.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday will be a 530 ride and we will do less miles, out Camp Linden, Brandywine Drive, rt 162 and back on Ground Hog College. A nice ride and not too long.
So plan your week accordingly if you can and get out and bike.
I plan on being at the registration table at 730 and hope to take off shortly after. Last year it took me 6 hrs to do the 50 miles, so I am hoping for a better time this year.
Took my bike to my brother in law who showed me how to change the front derailleur cable which is actually pretty easy.
Changing the back derailleur cable will be tougher as the tension needs to be adjusted for the shifting. That will be my next lesson.
But slowly over time I am learning how to do everything on my bike myself. I also got a lesson on how to tape the handlebars, also, not that hard, just takes practice.
So for now, I carry the quick release chain link, an extra cable and a chain tool. So hopefully I can make enough repairs to at least get myself home if something breaks.
If you buy the quick release chain link, make sure to count the chain rings on your back gear cassette as it makes a difference which link you buy.
Same for the cable, tell the clerk the brand name of your derailleur.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
government officials, plus a roomful of concerned cyclists. Much was
discussed, which I will leave to Steve Sheetz to report on, since he is
heavily involved in these type of things.
I do want to mention that one of the most important things I got out of the
meeting was the value of reporting ALL incidents. I was amazed when we were
told that there were very few incidents in the last 3 years, while the
experiences of those in the audience painted a very different picture. It
seemed like many had a story to tell, mostly of harassment, but some with
violence or the threat of violence. It appeared that the scope of the
problem in that area was news to many of the police/government people in
There will be some things set up to make it simple for anyone to report an
incident of ANY nature. Once set up, I will see that this mechanism is
displayed on the BCP website, and would recommend SCU do the same. We can
look forward to details from Steve (sorry to put all this pressure on you,
but you are the man).
Bottom line, PLEASE report anything, regardless of how small it is, not just
something that would require a 911 call. Its the only way to capture the
extent problems, and where they lie.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
We have so many nice area rides to choose from as well.
Chester County Challenge May 31, a fantastic ride, hard but worth it
Pedal to Preserve, June 6 which i just did and will DO AGAIN
French Creek Iron Tour, June 14, biking in countryside that is beyone nice and quiet, yes we will have hills, but this ride is worth the effort, did this ride last year and loved it
Dog Daze August 1, Brandywine Bike Club, this ride is right in our backyard and super fun
Covered Bridge Metric August 16 out in Lancaster, we bike through 7 covered bridges and see Amish country up close and personal
This many rides so close to home makes our county unique and gives cyclists a chance to ride in different areas with ride support, food and SAG both and to support good causes.
SO get your bike out and do some fun cycling.
there is going to be a public meeting listed below about the recent attack on the female cyclist who managed to get away from a group of folks intent on hurting her, read below for details of the meeting if interested in attending.......... from Steve of the Phila Bike Club
The meeting, with county officials and the Norristown Police Department will be held Wednesday in 1 Montgomery Plaza. If you are arriving by bicycle, I will be at the Norristown Transportation Center from 6:30, to point! If you do not know me, I will be the rather large Cyclist wearing a Hammer Nutrition Jersey riding a black bike with "Red Tail Hawk" on the down tube.
The meeting will start at 7PM in Room 202, second floor, One Montgomery Plaza, Swede and Airy Sts. Norristown.
Bikes can be left in the building lobby, there is a security guard on duty. ______________________
I have no ride up yet for Saturday, looking for a volunteer to lead a ride
as French Creek is on Sunday and i do not usually ride two days in row if the 2nd day is the harder ride
email if going, so we can meet up, i hope to be on the road by 730 ish
there is no mass start at this ride, so we can take off as soon as we register
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Check out this video, as it shows what is probably the only way to get women on bikes!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Will get some pics up later, but for you ladies still sitting at home fretting over riding, you missed one humdinger of a ride.
Anyone could make the 50 on this ride. Not much different from biking on the Schuylkill Trail and apparently a lot safer. Only folks we saw were the Amish.
NEXT SUNDAY, FRENCH CREEK IRON TOUR, another fabo ride right in our backyard.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
What Were Those Jurors Thinking About?
Last Wednesday afternoon, May 27, the jury in the federal criminal trial of Wayne Simoes, Yonkers Police Officer, brought in a verdict declaring the 39-year old, nine-year veteran of the force, “Not Guilty”, within minutes of their self-imposed 4 pm deadline. Earlier, at 1 pm, they had sent out a note to Judge Karas asking, “To be willful, does the person need to have a bad or evil purpose?” After reading the note aloud in the presence of Defense attorneys and Government prosecutors, but out of the presence of the jurors, the Judge, almost spontaneously, responded, “Yes”.
There then ensued a long conversation between Karas, Defense Attorney Andrew Quinn, and Prosecutors, principally Assistant United States Attorney Torrance, assisted at one point by Cynthia Dunne, who significantly prefaced her remarks to the Judge with an apology for speaking despite having apparently promised she would not be throughout the trial. In sum and substance, Quinn would argue repeatedly that a simple “yes” answer would do just fine while Dunne kept insisting, through Torrance, that there was a need for qualification of the affirmative response. Quinn, at one point, declared, and the Judge agreed, “A bad or evil purpose is what separates this procedure from a 1983 [Civil Rights] suit, a criminal from a civil suit.”
Karas bolstered the comparison by saying, “That’s what distinguishes a 242 [federal criminal statute] from a 1983,” further stating, “An evil act isn’t necessarily a crime. Merely saying ‘yes’ is not helpful.” Quinn, however, came back, “Most respectfully, I believe a simple ‘yes’ is best.” The fact was the jury was stumbling over the notion that in order to find Wayne Simoes guilty, they would need to find that he intended the outcome, and this jury, this middle-class, sheltered jury, could not grapple with that conclusion. Never mind what horrible damage was done to Irma Marquez’ face, head and neck as she was deliberately swung like a rag doll, face-first, to the tile floor; this jury’s sympathies were with a rogue, mindless cop with an abundance of testosterone, and not with his victim.
Therein lies the significance of the very real role that Janet DiFiore played in the whole, horrible affair. By not only failing to prosecute the
rogue cop, the perpetrator, Wayne Simoes, as any honest, uncorrupted DA would have, but instead prosecuting his victim, Irma Marquez, on bogus, trumped-up charges of Disorderly Conduct and Obstructing Governmental Administration, Janet DiFiore insured the fact that Simoes would not be tried for Assault, or Reckless Endangerment, or any other offense which he would’ve been convicted of. As a result, once the
videotape repeatedly aired, the United States Attorney’s Office was virtually compelled to step in and charge Simoes with the federal charge of Denying Marquez Her Civil Rights By Use Of Excessive Force. That would require “proof of intent,” in order to obtain a conviction.
In reality, when the jurors sent out their request for clarification, they were signalling their difficulty in accepting their assignment. They were unwilling, for the most part, to acknowledge that a policeman, someone they wanted to believe was really motivated to protect them and even someone so unlike them, Irma Marquez, could possibly have purposely used such force, driving her face and head from more than seven feet in the air, to the hard tile floor, then, immediately jumping on her unconscious body to handcuff her without hesitating a second to examine
what damage had been done to her face and head.
So unwilling was this jury to think about a victim who had been out drinking in a bar in the poor side of the city, that they never stopped to ask, “If he didn’t intend to hurt her, why in Hell did he bodyslam her? And, if he didn’t intend to bodyslam her, why lift her two feet off the ground, putting her head seven feet in the air? Was he intending to slowly slide her back on her feet?”
Then there was the issue of the rogue cop’s ‘cheering squad’. Of course, his wife and parents and, perhaps, some of his buddies at work were to be legitimately expected to come to Court and support him. However, what began on the first day of trial, with about 12 Yonkers police officers, grew daily until, by Wednesday, some 37 officers, including PBA President Eddie Armour, a well-known henchman of, and apologist for, DA Janet DiFiore, filled not only the Defendant’s side of the spectator’s gallery, but much of the other side as well. These officers were clearly intimidating to the jurors. Their message went far beyond mere moral support. Theirs was a You v. Us mentality and, clearly, one of approval of what their pal had done.
There is a big difference between the kind of crowd that will come out for a wrongfully-prosecuted cop, and one that will support a rogue who got caught on tape. Simoes’ fan club was basically telling the world, “We would have done the same.” And, given the number of individuals that we are aware of, who have been subjected to Yonkers police brutality, scores and scores of them; men, women and children; witnessing some three dozen of them clapping their hands vigorously for a cop who bodyslammed a 120-lb, five-foot tall woman, and who got away with it, was no surprise at all!
The real issue now involves just what this acquittal means. There are many unanswered questions. Some enlightened observers are questioning whether the United States Attorney, in assigning two second-string prosecutors, Skotko and Torrance, to the trial, while keeping their female gladiator, Cynthia Dunne, confined to the role of advisor throughout the trial, was really serious about getting a conviction or just faking it. After all, here they had what should have been an easy conviction of someone who the world could plainly see intended to render
the little woman unconscious and helpless; someone who was damned guilty; so guilty that several police officers, including a captain, who is
now a deputy chief, committed perjury under oath at a state trial of the victim, and before Internal Affairs in their effort to cover him up.
Yet, that same United States Attorney’s Office has kept the same Cynthia Dunne working hard at harassing, trying, and wrongfully convicting an innocent former County Correction Officer, Paul Cote, in another bodyslam case where the videotape, and other Brady material, if not withheld by Dunne, would have proven Defendant Cote’s innocence and the guilt of John Mark Reimer, the Government’s key, lying, witness. Clearly, the Government’s sincerity is in question.
Along these same lines, how is it that the FBI, after years of investigating numerous documented cases of Yonkers police brutality, and the Justice Department for whom the information has been gathered, have so far failed to prosecute even a small fraction of them, and only stepped into the Simoes case because of its strong public exposure and the absurdity of DA DiFiore’s prosecution of such an obviously innocent and egregiously injured victim?
The sad reality is that the Federal Government, because of the unethical and wrongful social relationship between former United States Attorney Michael Garcia and DA DiFiore, has thus far let down the People of Westchester, particularly those in Yonkers; innocent men, women and children who have been, and continue to be, harassed and brutalized by a stubborn contingent of rogue cops whose activities we can only guess will now be stepped up and embrazoned by the outcome of the Simoes case.
In conclusion, Yonkers Police Officer Wayne Simoes did not slip, nor accidentally drop Irma Marquez, as his Defense attorney, Andrew
Quinn, attempted to sell as alternate excuses for the outcome of his violent behavior. If that had been the case, what was he intending to do with her if he didn’t slip? He intended to do exactly what he started out to do when he grabbed her and elevated her to where her head came crashing down from some seven feet above the floor in an arc the force and velocity of which made her hair fly out as though she were sitting in an open convertible at 70 mph.
Defense counsel never offered any reasonable explanation of what Wayne Simoes was intending to do with Irma Marquez if he didn’t “slip” or she didn’t “fall”. Any pretense that Simoes hadn’t intended to bodyslam her was negated by his immediate occupation with handcuffing her upon her collision with the tile floor, that Deputy Chief Geiss testified, “sounded like the loudest slap he had ever heard, and at the same
time, like a bowling ball falling from the second floor.” No matter, this officer, who will claim for the rest of his life that he never meant to do what he did, never meant to hurt her, went right to the business of handcuffing her.
Truth be told, now that a police brutality as obvious and brazen as the one perpetrated against Irma Marquez has gone unpunished, the People of Yonkers can expect even more than they have already suffered with, so long as Janet DiFiore is the District Attorney.
In Our Opinion...
Sotomayor: Is It Form Over Substance?
The nomination of Second Circuit Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, though widely-expected, nevertheless, was an action that brought great delight and pride to the Latino community last week, particularly to the Puerto Rican community of New York. After all, she was the first Hispanic ever nominated to the High Court, and only the third woman, following Sandra Day
O’Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who she would join if confirmed.
We are very mindful of the historic moment that President Obama has brought to conception, as well as the altogether fitting and reinforcing significance of the unique nomination with respect to the inclusiveness promised by the new Chief Executive. And, while we applaud his bold and swift response to the early opportunity to diversify the nation’s highest tribunal in order to more closely reflect our present demographic, we would hope that gender and ethnicity were secondary considerations in the presence of judicial temperament and record.
It is not unrealistic to expect of a president of Mr. Obama’s mandate and intellect, a careful and comprehensive vetting of any offering for elevation to the Supreme Court. We contemplate no skeletons in Justice Sotomayor’s closet. At this early stage of the confirmation process, we are most concerned that her philosophy and her judicial record and temperament will be thoroughly scrutinized and reconciled. Her appointment, or her rejection, must not be determined by form, but rather by substance.
Neither should the popularity and persona of her designator compensate for an otherwise deficient or innapropriate designee. Justice Sotomayor must survive the process all who have gone before her have had to survive. In the final analysis, she will sink or float based upon the package she presents to the Senate of the United States, barring any as-yet unrevealed action or decision that might be deemed sufficiently egregious and unacceptable; enough to be a torpedo.
We have been both pleased and distressed by some of Justice Sotomayor’s judicial activities with respect to Westchester cases over recent years. Last year, she inspired our ire in what we described as her “misguided” surrender to pressure from then-United States Attorney Michael J. Garcia who, in a personal first, argued the Government’s appeal of United States District Court Judge Charles L. Brieant’s overturning of the conviction
of former Westchester County Correction Officer Paul Cote for an incident that resulted in an ultimately fatal injury to a belligerent inmate.
Judge Brieant, who had conducted both the pre-trial hearings, and the trial, in vacating Cote’s conviction and conferring a directed acquittal, in effect found that the jury had arrived at a verdict inconsistent with the evidence presented. He was in the courtroom, and fully in a position to evaluate the reliability and credibility of the witnesses.
He knew only too well what a dirty case the Government was putting on, and was completely aware of the political and criminal objectives woven into the unconvincing original State Court case seven years earlier under District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. He had told Assistant United States Attorney Cynthia Dunne, in our presence, in a pre-trial hearing, “If your case fails, I will not be sad.”
We were saddened when, a year later, Sotomayor and two other distaff judges yielded to, and fell into lockstep with, then-United States Attorney Michael Garcia, totally disrespecting, and trashing, that great jurist’s courageous act in defense of Justice. Mr. Garcia would later boast of his accomplishment, in another weekly publication. He had succeeded in knowingly restoring a totally bogus prosecution and conviction of an innocent public servant, Paul Cote, who had come to the aid of the fellow correction officer whose violent, reckless body slamming response to a belligerent inmate who had punched him in the face would result in the inmate’s death some 14 months later from head trauma. That individual, John Mark Reimer, who caused the death, of course, was elevated to sergeant and was the Government’s key witness.
On the other side of the ledger, with respect to Justice Sotomayor, in Feb. 2007, in the Anthony DiSimone case; a case that, for 15 years, continues to illustrate the worst in prosecutorial misconduct, We were present in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals when Judge Sotomayor, one member of a three-judge panel, fully grasping the essence of Double Jeopardy inherent in Janet DiFiore’s handling of DiSimone, said to Assistant DA Valerie Livingston of the Appeals Bureau, “You’re really not going to retry this case, are you? Isn’t that Double Jeopardy?”
When Livingston, who had been making several misrepresentations to the Court, responded that the District Attorney wanted to retry Mr. DiSimone “under the old law of Depraved Indifference Murder”, Sotomayor came right back with, “Your language is very sloppy. You are going to have to release the Defendant and then re-arrest him for something else.” DiSimone was then immediately released from prison by the panel on a writ of habeus corpus, without bail, and with a clean record.
Our Readers Respond....
Young Reader Expresses Her Feelings About Her Uncle Paul Cote
My name is Gabriella Wilkinson. A tragic thing happened when my uncle, Paul Cote, was taken away. Many years before this incident, my mother was stricken with cancer. This was very sad, too, because I was only five years old. My dad had to constantly take my mom to the hospital so my Uncle Paulie stepped up and took care of me. This was when I became close to the family.
I really did appreciate all of the help, even though I was only five. He did a lot for me, my mom and my dad. I truly love him dearly, and it breaks my heart to see my own uncle in jail for something everyone well knows he didn’t do.
I don’t think it was right or even legal. Telling the truth and being honest will get you far in life, and lying will just hurt you in the long run. So I was very happy to hear that his sentencing day is on June 1, his birthday. My mom is stating that this is like a new birth. I just know he’ll finally get out. I mean, how can he not?
I would stay up real late looking at and reading the paper with my dad. I’ve learned a lot about the case. Overall, the things I’ve learned, the most important thing I’ve noticed was that my Uncle Paulie didn’t do wrong and shouldn’t have to stay any longer.
So, in conclusion, I would like to see my uncle outside, at his own home again. So please let him out to live his life again, taking care of his family. He is not the animal the prosecutor portrayed him as. He is actually a teddy bear.
Mt. Vernon School Board Candidate Tells All
On Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at approximately 4:00am, two Mount Vernon School Board Candidates, myself and Mrs. Brenda Silvera-Milligan,
who are running mates, were out in the Fleetwood neighborhood distributing flyers for the upcoming School Board Trustee Campaign in Mount Vernon. While distributing these flyers on Fleetwood Avenue, Ms. Milligan noticed that someone was removing the flyers and posters we
had placed on the cars. She immediately notified me by cell phone to join her. We then followed the individual to attempt to identify who
it was. It was Ms. Carol Ben Reuben, an incumbent for position as School Board Trustee.
Mrs. Milligan and I followed Mrs. Ben Reuben and noted that she met up with another individual who was identified as Mrs. Lynne Frazer-
McBride, also an incumbent for position as School Board Trustee. Mrs. Milligan and myself approached the individuals and asked them why
they were removing the flyers. At first, they pretended that they did not hear me. I repeated the question but Mrs. McBride & Mrs. Ben Reuben
continued to remove flyers.
I then said to them again, “Why are you removing our flyers? You know we once voted for you.” Mrs. Ben Reuben replied, “Yeah and we once respected you!” I then asked, “What do you mean? What have I done or said to you?” Mrs. McBride said to me, “You’re prostituting your children! Ask your children, ask the people from Riverside. Even the white people say you are prostituting your children!” Once again, I asked,
“What do you mean? What does that mean I’m prostituting my children?”
I called the News 12 Breaking Hotline telephone number to report what had taken place. and also my husband, Mr. Herman R. Crump, Sr. who joined Mrs. Milligan and myself. I later witnessed Mrs. Ben Reuben & Mrs. McBride rip down one of our campaign flyers at the Longfellow Elementary School!
My husband shouted to them, “You better not rip down another one of my flyers again!” Mrs. Ben Rueben & Mrs. McBride jumped in their car and sped off!
Feiner On Red Light Cameras And Other things
In April of this year the New York State Legislature approved red light cameras to be installed at intersections in Yonkers, Nassau & Suffolk Counties. Cars that run red lights will receive tickets if caught on camera. Unfortunately, this new law only applies to a handful of communities in the state.
There is no reason why the state should be limiting these cameras to only a few cities in New York State. Poor motorist behavior in Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon or Bedford should be treated no differently than bad driving in Yonkers, NYC, Nassau & Suffolk Counties (cities that
can install red light cameras).
Every locality in New York State should be granted permission to install these red light safety cameras. Safety is important all over! Running red lights has caused 850 deaths and thousands of injuries each year. If red light cameras save one life it is worth it. I urge the New York State Legislature to adopt a law that will treat every locality in New York State the same when it comes down to public safety.
At Wednesday night’s new resident reception held at the Greenburgh Library, about a dozen residents stopped by at the Abbott House table and expressed interest in becoming mentors to foster care children. Town Clerk Judith Beville, Town Councilwoman Sonja Brown, Town Attorney
Tim Lewis and I have also expressed a desire to serve as foster care mentors. The requirement: only 2 hours a week of mentoring to a child. These two hours could make a world of a difference to a young person. If you are interested in signing up please contact Jack Toone, mentor and volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 591 7300 x 3090. Town Clerk Judith Beville’s parents took in about a 100 foster care children during their lives.
The Town Board approved a new law that will enable the Chief of Police to impound vehicles against which three or more parking summonses
have been issued but not paid. A significant number of owners are persistent violators. Some have out of state registration of vehicles, transfer ownership and re-register vehicles and are able to evade existing enforcement measures. This new law will enable the police to enforce parking orders in the case of vehicle owners who fail to timely respond to summonses issued for violations. The police indicated that they will use this law against the more significant violators.
Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor
People Of Mount Vernon Must Know, Part 2
First and foremost, let me say thank you for printing my last letter in your April 30, 2009 edition. Your paper, by far, is the true meaning of the people’s paper, you bring the facts to the people. It is mind-boggling that day in and day out Commissioner Horton continues to steal from us all.
We, the taxpayers of Mount Vernon, ask where is “the” Inspector General? Why is this man (Mr. Harry Stokes) not investigating Mr. Horton
for all the illegal activities: 1. Doing work in his neighborhood with DPW workers on city time and city payroll, (blocks and blocks of sidewalks, streets, trees, and so on); 2. Shakedowns of city residents and business owners, even as far as Con Edison. Let’s ask them what Commissioner Horton does to them. Why doesn’t “the” Inspector General look into Mr. Horton carrying hand guns in city hall and all over the city? Gee, how
did this convicted felon get a gun permit to begin with? is man does not only have one gun but carries two guns at all times. Mr. Inspector General, ‘Mr. Independent Inspector General’, we want to know why you have not done anything about this? I am sure the F.B.I. would love to hear what is
going on here. We need HELP!!!
As I mentioned in my earlier letter, has Mr. Horton figured out what day of the week it is yet? This man is a danger to our city. Oh, yeah, I forgot for a minute he is Junior’s very good friend. After all, Mayor Young and Horton went to Italy together, even though Horton did not have enough time on the books to take two weeks off to travel with Junior. Add that to our tax bill. We need HELP!!!
Why doesn’t “the” Inspector General investigate Mayor Young, and his willingness to sell our city to cover up the incompetence, arrogance and ignorance of his chief of staff (Mayor Robinson). Mr. Inspector General, this is our money that is being thrown away, but what do you care, you do not pay taxes in Mount Vernon. Where do you live, Somers? Maybe if you went to work more often you would have the time to see what we are losing, but yet, again, you are in Junior’s pocket also. We need HELP!!!
People of Mount Vernon, wake up, you must know. Add all this corruption to our tax bill. “Mr. Independent Inspector General”, we want to know why is it that you are not doing anything about our Building Commissioner, Ralph Tedesco?
Why is he exempt from all city codes? Is it because he is the Building Commissioner or is he as corrupt as Junior? Why can he do what he pleases
on his property (Devonia Avenue), no questions asked? Why can he shake people down and no questions asked? We need HELP!!!
There is a lot more to follow but this is enough for now, for my fellow taxpaying citizens of Mount Vernon to digest and spread to everyone they
know! Please talk to anyone and everyone in our city; let them know what is happening to ALL of us.
The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik
Indicted In False Statements Case In District Of Columbia
LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that BERNARD KERIK, a former New York City Police Commissioner and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections, was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia on charges of making false statements to White House officials during his vetting for the position of Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security. According to the Indictment: KERIK, in 1999 and 2000--when he was the New York City Commissioner of Corrections and then the City’s Police Commissioner--spoke to City regulators on behalf of contractors who were seeking one or more permits to do business in and with the City. The contractors then spent more than $255,000 renovating KERIK’s apartment in Riverdale, New York. Thereafter, in 2004, when KERIK was under consideration by the White House for the
position of Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, KERIK gave false and misleading answers to questions by White House officials about his relationship with the contractors.
In particular, and among other things, the Indictment alleges that KERIK falsely denied that there was any possible concern the President should have about KERIK’s relationship with the contractors, and that as a public official he had had any financial dealings with individuals seeking to do business with the City; and that KERIK sent an e-mail to a White House official containing false and misleading statements concerning the renovations to the apartment in Riverdale.
Charges similar to those in today’s indictment were initially brought as part of an indictment returned in the Southern District of New York in November 2007 but were dismissed from that indictment because the crimes are alleged to have occurred in the District of Columbia and not in the Southern District of New York.
If convicted, KERIK faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each of the two false statement charges in the Indictment.
Mr. DASSIN praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service for their
efforts during the investigation, and thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for its assistance in the transfer of this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys ELLIOTT B. JACOBSON and MICHAEL S. BOSWORTH are in charge of the prosecution and have been designated as Special Assistant United States Attorneys in the District of Columbia for the purpose of prosecuting this Indictment.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Amazingly she didn't fall off her bike and was able to get away. According to police there has been an increase in gang activity in the area and that may (or may not)explain the red shirts. We had another report earlier in the day of 4 men in red shirts but that cyclist reported other people around.
This location (Schuylkill River Trail at Haws Avenue) has had isolated cyclist harassment problems in the past in the late spring and summer although there have been no serious injuries to date. The county has responded by clearing brush to prevent bad guys from hiding in the shrubbery.
We recommend that you should not travel alone in the vicinity of Haws Avenue in the late afternoon or evening. If you are alone carry your cell phone and wait for other bicyclists before proceeding. If you see trouble get yourself to a safe place and call police and render aid if you need to.
Members of the Bicycle Coalition's Montgomery County Committee are talking to the Norristown Police about this incident. The location is less than a mile west of the Norristown Transportation Center you should see signs as the Norristown Farm Park Connector Route which begins at Haws Avenue.
Catherine Wilson, Bureau Chief
Paving Over Our County’s Heritage
Our region is currently celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River. But for thousands of years before Hudson ever sailed into the New York Harbor, Native American tribes such as the Mohawks and Mohicans lived in the Hudson River Valley. Evidence of their villages and burial grounds dating between 1,000 and 6,000 years ago have been uncovered in Westchester County at Croton Point Park. Sadly, that evidence is being bulldozed and cemented over by the County construction crews as you read this.
The Guardian spoke at length to a group of concerned local residents about their battle with the County to preserve the Native Americans heritage at this site. One local expert on this issue, Bob (named changed to protect his identity) discussed the events leading up to the construction project Paving Over Our County’s Heritage at Croton Point. He said, “The current construction is for a sea wall. The initial plans for this project called for an inspection of the area which confirmed and documented the already-known pre-historic site. Previous development and construction work done at the park in the 1970’s had uncovered this site”.
When the historical significance of the Croton Point site was confirmed in 2005, a Phase II archeological investigation was recommended. Calling for this investigation meant the County was now obligated to inform the New York State Historical Preservation Office of the initial
findings and that the site would then be considered for placement on the state and national historical registers. That status would give the Croton Point settlement and burial grounds the protection and dignity they deserve. Any future development or construction at this park would then be subject to oversight by SHPO and all construction permits would have to be approved by their office to assure that the historical artifacts would not be affected.
Unfortunately for the Native Americans, the County did not pursue a Phase II review of Croton Point nor did they ever seek any historical preservation status for the settlement area and burial grounds. Instead, the County opted to circumvent proper channels for their current construction project and have proceeded without the proper authorizations and permits from the SHPO. The County is even ignoring proper
Federal construction reviews for this sea wall project.
According to a recent notice to the Westchester County Department of Parks Commissioner Joseph Stout from the Army Corps of Engineers, obtained by the Guardian, any “in-water construction activities located below the mean high tide line and associated discharge of
fill material into waters of the United States proposed at Croton Point Park as detailed in your DA permit application dated November 9, 2007, could be accomplished under the nationwide permit program, provided that the work was completed in accordance with the general and special conditions of the nationwide permit program.
It has been brought to the attention of this office that historic artifacts were discovered during the construction operations at Croton Point Park. It appears that your agency had previous knowledge, as indicated on the submitted New York State Coastal Zone Management Program form, that the proposed activity could reasonably be anticipated to affect or be located in, on, or adjacent to, historical resources listed on the national or
state Register of Historical Places. The continuation of work after the discovery of such cultural resources….. constitutes a violation of the
general conditions of the nationwide permit program, and thus non-compliance with the project’s authorization”.
The Army Corps of Engineers in this letter issued a “cease and desist” notice to Westchester County: “Therefore, the Westchester County
Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation is hereby directed to immediately cease from performing further work in the discovery area”. The Corps notified the County Parks Department that “failure to comply with the provisions of this directive will result in further enforcement action by this office, including the possibility of substantial civil and criminal penalties”. (all emphasis added). The original planners involved
with this project correctly followed up with the County on their recommendations.
According to the Guardian’s source, Dave DeLuca of the County Parks Department admitted that the Phase II request was never submitted to SHPO and that he “never read or ‘forgot’ the recommendations in the original Phase I report”. Cynthia Blakemore of SHPO confirmed that the
Phase II report was finally sent to the State in 2009 at the request of SHPO. This report recommends a “data recovery” at the site meaning
the area has to be examined for artifacts and other historical remains. According to Blakemore “the site needs to be examined to determine if it is of historical significance. In order for this site to be nominated to be placed on the State Registry of Historical Places, it first has to be determined ‘why is it significant’? And the owner has to be on board.” Since the owner here is Westchester County, the County has to agree that the site has historical significance. Given that the County is circumventing permit procedures to advance its construction plans at this site, it would appear that the County is placing development over historical significance. According to the Guardian’s sources, the state process would also provide an opportunity to identify the extent of the historical site, what the significance of the site is, and how to redesign any undertakings at the site
or recover the artifacts from the site if a redesign is not possible. Any visitor to Croton Point can see the historical significance for themselves.
Scattered along Teller’s Walk are artifacts from the early inhabitants such as shell remnants of a shell midden. Shell middens are a heap of clam, oyster, mussel or other shells used in campsites. These middens are found near coastlines and major rivers, and generally date to prehistoric
times. A preliminary investigation of the shell middens at Croton Point dates them as being between 1,000 and 6,000 years old. According to local investigators, there is also evidence of a campsite at Croton Point, a village, and even a fort. Local and state archeologists are eager to investigate
this site thoroughly to determine its archeological and historical significance. As one local resident asked “why can’t we have a preservation
site for cultures”?
Other Native American sites in New York have fared far better than Croton Point. In 1998, Native American human remains were found during on a construction site of the American Rock Salt Company’s mine project in Groveland, Livingston County. The Commissioner of Parks at that time, Bernadette Castro, noted, “Representatives from American Rock Salt have properly notified both DEC and State Parks and with these findings, work at the site where the remains were found has been halted and the area protected.”
According to their press release issued upon the notice of these findings “the State parks provided the oversight for the archeological investigation and worked with the mine company to ensure proper treatment of the findings”. Castro assured that the parks department along with the DEC
would determine the appropriate treatment of the remains in consultation with Native American leaders. Castor vowed, “We are committed to working with representatives of the Native American community and the other parties involved to sensitively address the issues raised by this discovery”. Even though the initial discovery appeared to be an isolated find, the mine restricted its construction to other areas of the mine and
established a monitoring protocol to ensure that any future unanticipated discoveries were adequately addressed as construction proceeded.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a permit for the American Rock Salt mine in Livingston County which contained “extensive conditions to protect archeological, historic and cultural resources. These conditions include avoidance of construction at the
southern end of the project, establishment of set-aside areas along Route 63 and requirements for archeological resource investigations t the mine site under professional oversight of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. The permit requires the use of State Parks protocols to notify Native American representatives in the event human remains are identified on the mine property. American Rock Salt is in full compliance
with these permit conditions.”
The NYS DEC did issue permits to Westchester County to proceed with this construction, but if these permits circumvented the historical preservation reviews, those permits would now be invalid. Local residents protesting the ongoing work at this site have been shown the DEC permits as so-called proof of the County’s authority to proceed with the construction. Local residents involved with this issue were not able to confirm that the DEC permits were ever forwarded to SHPO, or if the DEC contacted the representatives of local Native American tribes as mandated by Federal preservation laws.
In its submitted $7.3 million budget for the sea wall project [Croton Point Sea Walls Restoration Project #RCP09] to the County Board of Legislators, the County Parks Department promised, “An in-depth archeological study will be a part of the initial study work preceding design,” thus acknowledging the archeological significance of this site. Yet, only an initial study was performed. The in-depth follow-up that was recommended was never done.
So why did the County even acknowledge that Croton Point had archeological significance if they had no intention of following up on the recommendations of their requested report? According to the County budget for this project, it was to be funded entirely by issuing bonds. Could it be that the County knew if they applied for Federal grants for this project, they would be subject to the guidelines of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act? According to the federal guidelines, in any undertaking that affects an historic site, any plans should involve the public
and any other interested parties; in this case, representatives from the Mohawk Tribal Council.
Local residents investigating Croton Point have found evidence of burial areas at the bluff by the entrance to the park. Some burial remains were recovered during previous construction at this park and those remains were initially forwarded to the Museum of Natural History. The Museum turned the remains over to representatives of local Native American tribes for reburial. While those remains were at least correctly identified it
raises the question as to why those individuals could not be left undisturbed in their ancestral lands?
Why did we have to dig up someone’s ancestor just because County residents wanted a ball field? If the County of Westchester does not honor the remains of the dead, how can we expect to be treated by future generations? Imagine having your remains dug up and transferred to a foreign location far away from your loved ones and the area that you loved just because a future generation wants a parking lot? Is this the respect the true
founding families of our area deserve?
Calls to the County Commissioner of Parks, Joseph Stout, on this issue went unanswered by press time. Contacting the descendents of those original tribes proved to be a daunting task. There are no local tribal councils for the Mohawk or Mohican nations. The closest representatives
for the Mohican and Oneida tribes are in Wisconsin which is where they were located to during the government’s early 19th century’s ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans. New York State also abolished their office of Native Americans; there are no representatives for Native Americans at the state or federal government levels. In contrast, Canada has a National Aboriginal Branch in their Federal government and even acknowledges a National Aboriginal Day, June 21, the day of native summer solstice celebrations, in honor of their native peoples.
Despite the Army Corps of Engineers’ “cease and desist” order, the work at Croton Point is not only proceeding but workers at the site confirmed to several local residents that they have sped up the project to be completed in time for the Clearwater Festival at the park in June. However, Thomas Staudter, the Communications Director for the Clearwater Organization, told the Guardian, “We have not asked the County to speed
up any construction work on our behalf. All we need is a safe environment for our participants to enjoy the festival and we can work around whatever work the County may be doing at Croton Point”.
The sea wall project is not the only work planned by the County for Croton Point. In the County’s capital budget, several additional projects are identified:
• A $3.8 million picnic area planned for 2010;
• A $1.7 million RV and tent camping grounds planned for 2010 and 2011; and,
• $2.5 million of general projects is also planned for 2010 and 2011 including improvements to the wine cellars.
Do Westchester County residents really want more picnic tables, camp sites, and a wine cellar at the expense of our Native American cultures? The Guardian intends to follow up its coverage of the current construction at Croton Point and any future projects as well.