A Step Too Slow: Village Board Plans Business Meeting

After ignoring the problems for an extended period of time, the Mount Kisco Village Board will start to address the economic problems that are affecting Mount Kisco’s downtown.  In a news release sent out yesterday (the day before the meeting scheduled by Occupy Main Street), the Village announced:

The Mayor and Board of Trustees will hold a Work Session Meeting on Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 pm with Mount Kisco Merchants and Business Owners to discuss issues of mutual importance and concern and to hear how the Village and businesses can help each other achieve the same objective: To ensure that businesses remain successful while contributing to a vibrant downtown and enhancing our quality of life. The meeting will be held in the Community Room of the Mount Kisco Public Library located at 100 Main Street.

Of course, this meeting is like closing the door after barn animals are out. It is too late to save some local businesses like Acadia, a business that was harassed by the Village Building Department for the use of a children’s blackboard easel at its doorway, but a step too slow may be a step in the right direction.

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Mount Kisco’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday March 10

Celebratory Dinner to be Held on March 3

The Frank H. Fox Ancient Order Of Hibernians will be hosting its 22nd annual Mount Kisco Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  The parade will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2012 and step off at 2:00.  The marchers will line up on the side streets off of Moore Avenue and march down Main Street from Moore Avenue.  The parade will go through downtown and make a U-turn past the reviewing stand on South Moger.  The parade will have over 60 organizations, such as Irish step dancers, Irish bag pipe bands, military bands, military re-enactment groups, antique cars, fire trucks, marching bands and community groups. Special appearances will be made by 89th New York State Guard Military Band, New York State Fraternal Order of Police Pipes & Drums and Gold Star Mothers.

Before the parade, there will be a mass at St. Francis of Assisi at 11:30.

The Grand Marshall of the Parade will be Richard Roth, former Mayor of Mount Kisco.  Richard will be honored at the annual dinner on Saturday, March 3, 2011 from 6:30 to 11:30 at the American Legion.

The dinner will be a buffet dinner with beer, wine and soda and with music by DJ Frank & Lydia.  The cost of the dinner is $40.00 per person ($12.50 children under 12).  For further information contact dinner chairman Kevin Galvin at 914-242-5060 or visit the AOH website at www.AOHDIV16.org.  The dinner will also honor Hibernian of the Year Grace Murphy and Friend of the Hibernians Kevin Doyle.

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Mt Kisco Residents Promoting Local Business – Doing What Village Admin Did Not

Meeting on Wednesday, February 29 at 7:00 at the Mount Kisco Public Library

In the village election held in November 2011, Trustee Joseph Morreale, as quoted by Tom Auchterlonie of Chappaqua-Mount Kisco Patch, said “he is concerned about empty storefronts in the village, and would like to see an economic committee or office established.” Unfortunately, this is something else the current administration never did. If an economic committee or office was formed, the village may have had a plan on how to deal with the empty stores. Instead, of an economic committee, they resurrected an old public relations move and had a meeting with current commercial landlords. Like a similar meeting held years ago, this gave the mayor the opportunity to tell everyone about his “idears” which, without any follow through, will not change the village’s situation.

Thankfully, a few local residents have stepped in to help Mount Kisco businesses. Occupy Main Street, the brainchild of Sarah O’Grady and Maria Colaco, has been established to encourage Mount Kisco residents and other Westchester residents to patronize local businesses.

They will have their first Mount Kisco meeting on February 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the Mount Kisco Public Library and, quoting from their Facebook page, they “are hoping for a good turnout, and are interested in hearing all ideas and input for how to bring business to (and keep business in!) Mt Kisco!”

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Mount Kisco Board Meeting Tonight – Not Much Going On

The Mount Kisco Board of Trustees will meet tonight. Given the amount of issues that are confronting Mount Kisco, there is not too much on the agenda. The agenda for the Old Business and New Business is pasted below:

Old Business: None.

New Business:
a. Resolution authorizing the Village Manager to execute Fourth Amendment to Lease with Westchester Residence and Club LLC.
b. Resolution authorizing the Village Manager to sign Municipal Snow & Ice Agreements for 2013-2014.
c. Resolution supporting the repeal of the enabling statutes of the Urban Renewal Agency.

No old business to speak about. Nothing about: the economic situation facing our downtown, nothing about our police department, and nothing about code violations.

The issues facing the Village of Mount Kisco should be on the agenda every week until they are solved and not saved for executive session. The citizens of Mount Kisco deserve to know what is going on.

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On Super Bowl Sunday, Remember the Maroons

Today, as the New York Giants play the New England Patriots (a Jet fan’s nightmare), we should think about those who don’t play for pay.

Mount Kisco is lucky to have the Mount Kisco Junior Football League, Inc. and the football team they support, the Mount Kisco Maroons. The Maroons have a team of coaches that teach 5th and 6th graders how to play football and be part of a team.

The Maroons have players from Mount Kisco, Bedford and Pound Ridge and prepare them to be teammates at Fox Lane. Each year, they donate a college scholarship money to former players to help former Maroons succeed in college.

Stanley Greene and Mike McLoughlin are officers of the Mount Kisco Junior Football League and lead coaches of the Maroons. The players also benefit from the coaching of Coaches Jobin, James, Ken, Kevin, Anthony, Leon and Brian.

At this awards ceremony, Stanley Greene expressed hope that one year, a player of his will be on an NFL sideline and thank him for his coaching. Hopefully, one day that will happen. In reality, he has hundreds of players that thank him for the lessons he teaches them as they grow up to be better men.

This Super Bowl Sunday, remember the Maroons.

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Acadia Closing in Mount Kisco: Another Small Business Not Supported by Village Government

I was disappointed to receive the following email from the owners of Acadia:

After three years in business, owners Dan & Jane Sims are closing Acadia on Main, their outdoor lifestyle retail store in downtown Mt. Kisco. “Although the business was profitable and had grown substantially in spite of a difficult economic climate, in the end we felt it wasn’t worth the time commitment,” said Ms. Sims. “Dan was juggling his full-time job as a sports sales rep while trying to squeeze in time at the store, and I was freelancing as a health writer, driving our two kids to all of their activities, and working on the marketing for the store. We began to feel that the store was eating away the precious little free time we had.” The timing for closing the store coincides with the end of their three-year lease. “We were on the brink of deciding whether or not to renew another lease or just cut free,” said Ms. Sims. “We decided it made the most sense to focus our energies on our respective careers and reclaim our weekends so that we can enjoy time with our kids, who are both in high school and are getting older way too fast!”

Acadia on Main specializes in clothing, footwear and gear for the active lifestyle, including running, hiking, yoga, camping, travel, snow and water sports. The store will be running a Going Out of Business Sale beginning this Friday, February 3rd.

Acadia on Main is located at 115 East Main St., Mt. Kisco. The phone number is 666-6800. Store hours: Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday: noon to 5 p.m.

From the email, it is easy to see that it was a struggle to start a new business. A stgruggle that was made more difficult by the Village of Mount Kisco. Dan Sims is an acquaintance of mine that I see occasionally. He approached me one day to ask me a question on how to deal threatening notices he was receiving from the village.

Acadia was receiving violation notices from the village on a regular basis with threats of fines and other penalties. Among their “crimes” was the use of a children’s easel to hold the door open and advertise a daily sale. With all of the housing violations that occur in Mount Kisco, some that have led to fires, one of the Code Enforcement Officer’s and the Building Department’s most important priorities was to harass a local busuiness for the use of a children’s easel. The mugshot of one of Mount Kisco’s most wanted is included below (editor’s note: sometimes the sign would disguise itself with baloons).

I am sorry to see Acadia go. I don’t know if they would have stayed open if the village government was more accommodating and less harrassing, but it could not have hurt. I don’t know what is worse. Does the village board not know that the only Code Enforcement Officer in Mount Kisco is harrassing small independent businesses or do they know and not care?

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Eating my Spinach

I originally started MountKiscoNews as a community forum to report on local events and exchange ideas after the demise of The Patent Trader and consistent local coverage from The Journal News. After all, I was on the Mount Kisco Village Board and had information to share with residents and wanted their input to serve them better.

Soon after I started MountKiscoNews, patch.com started online to help fill the void and now there is TheDailyMtKisco. There is also now a free local paper, The Examiner. Although I really like Tom Auchterlonie and the breadth of stories he covers, Tom and his fellow writers are not Eugene Driscoll, an old writer for The Patent Trader and the best local reporter I have ever worked with. As a result of their focus, the current online publications and The Examiner, in my opinion, do not ask the difficult questions.

I kept MountKiscoNews going for a good while. While most of my stories were positive, some of the stories were critical, including criticism of the Village Board that I served on. In response to some of my articles, a man who I considered a good friend for many years, Mayor J. Michael Cindrich, stopped talking to me (while I was Deputy Mayor) and I have been threatened with law suits (baseless since my articles were factual).

After starting a new job last year, I could not keep up with my daily writing and MountKiscoNews suffered. Unfortunately, there are many stories that need to be told, and with the Village of Mount Kisco’s indifference to many issues that I hold dear, in the words of Popeye, “that’s all I can stand and I can’t stands no more”.

So I am going to try to bring MountKiscoNews back. Most of the articles will be positive but some will be critical or caustic. To quote Popeye again, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.”

Contributions and comments are always welcome.

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Picture of the Week: Snow Angel

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Mount Kisco Recovers from January Snow

In the first snow storm since October, the members of Mount Kisco’s Highway Department are cleaning up the roads. By about noon, the main roads were clear. As the pictures below show, Route 117 south of Guard Hill (left) and Route 133 going over the railroad tracks (middle), the roads were clear. Driving south on Route 117 from Bedford Hills, there was a noticeable difference between Bedford and Mount Kisco. Mount Kisco roads were plowed.

The members of the Highway Department were clearing the walkways near the library to allow patrons to access the library. Although many programs are closed, library staff braved the snow and opened the library, something to enjoy on a snowy day.

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Photos and Videos from Mount Kisco Fire Department 9/11 Memorial

Yesterday, in Mount Kisco, there was a moving ceremony to dedicate Mount Kisco’s 9/11 Memorial. The ceremony, presided over by Mount Kisco and former New York City Firefighter Richard Alexander featured the fire department and ambulance corps with a moving speech by Governmor Andrew Cuomo. Elected officials such as Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, State Senator Greg Ball, State Assemblyman Robert Castelli and Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham also spoke at the dedication. More on this dedication will follow. Please see the pictures and video below and this online news story from Channel 6 News using this link. Also, see pictures taken by talented local photographer Art Nelson posted at this website.

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