We endeavor to inform our readers throughout the year, to make sense of events and what happens in our community. As the year draws to a close, The Paper looks back at 2013, and our staff members highlight important stories we’d like to revisit with our readers.
1. Girl Rising Screening Draws Many to First in Empower Film Series
Samantha Kapsas, Haldane senior and Saint Basil resident, driving force behind film series
By Alison Rooney
Girl Rising Screening Draws Many to First in Empower Film Series is all about how bonds forged on a small scale — in this case between Haldane, Saint Basil Academy, a teacher, a social worker, a student and then many in the community — are indicative of the greater strengths that community holds, something seen more clearly as 2013 continued. That these bonds were derived from literature, film and finally person to person action, commitment, and support makes this story and its subjects all the more resonant.
[For complete coverage, see: Girl Rising Screening Draws Many to First in Empower Film Series, May 19, 2013.]
2. Moratorium on Wind-Turbine Project
Town Board Passes 2014 Budget
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
By a unanimous vote, the Philipstown Town Board on Nov. 20 imposed a 6-month ban on new wind-turbine energy projects. The move gives the board and public leeway in 2014 to determine how to proceed.
Impetus for the moratorium came from a year-long controversy over a Garrison resident’s bid to generate household energy with a 152-foot-tall wind turbine, a form of 21st-century backyard windmill. Opponents raised questions of aesthetics, as well as of noise pollution and dangers to wildlife. Eventually, the town Zoning Board of Appeals allowed that turbine to go ahead. However, the debate prompted calls for a moratorium on further activity to provide time to revise the zoning code to more adequately address wind turbines and other alternative energy devices.
“This shows how seriously we are taking this issue,” Supervisor Richard Shea commented the night of the vote. “In my 12 years” in government “there’s never been a moratorium on anything. I think the open question is, ‘do we want to entertain this [form of energy] at all?’ [And] yes, absolutely, we will be looking for public input as to which direction we’re going.”
On the same busy evening, the board also ratified an agreement to launch planning for the hiking-biking Hudson Fjord Trail and approved next year’s budget.
[For complete coverage, see: Moratorium on Wind-Turbine Projects; Fjord Trail planning approved, Nov. 24, 2013; and Town Board Passes 2014 Budget, Nov. 22, 2013]
3. BOCES Offers Students Alternative Career Path
By Michael Turton
While the Common Core Curriculum and reduced state funding dominated the news in 2013, Philipstown.info covered another significant education story which first appeared in our print edition.
Choosing a career is daunting – but the BOCES Tech Center in Yorktown Heights teaches skills that can lead directly to a job – or be the steppingstone to higher education. Juniors and seniors attend BOCES as an extension of their regular high school curriculum. Forty programs cover several professions including Business, Construction, Communications, Cosmetology, English, Environmental Science, Health, Hospitality, Teaching and Transportation. Seventeen Haldane students enrolled at BOCES in 2013.
A common myth about BOCES has been that its students are not college material. “About 80 percent of our students go on to college,” said Catherine Balestrieri, Director of Career and Technical Education at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES. “Fifteen percent go directly into jobs related to their field.”
“There has been a real shift … they (students) are highly motivated,” Balestrieri said. “We’re getting away from the stigma (that) a trade means you don’t go to college. We’re also seeing change in (parents’) thinking. They want their kids to go off to college knowing where they are headed.”
While some students prefer hands-on job training, strong academic students are now also considering BOCES. “New Visions” is a rigorous, one-year program for college-bound seniors. Students earn honors, AP and college credit while working with industry professionals, often in on-the-job settings. Areas of study include Health, Environmental Science, Education and Engineering. Students also receive academic instruction in English, Government and Economics.
[For complete coverage, see: BOCES Tech Center Offers Alternative Career Path, May 26, 2103.]