EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – As we turn the page on 2012 and look ahead to 2013, The Eastchester Daily Voice took a peek back on some of the most prominent local stories, in no particular order.
After years of planning, construction was formally started over the summer on the nearly $40 million project that will replace the decaying Crane Road Bridge on the Bronx River Parkway. The 34-month venture will lead to various lane and exit closings until its completion in the spring of 2015. Residents were hesitant about being thrown into another construction project, and aired their concerns to village officials and workers involved in the reconstruction.
The December vote on the county budget got messy when seven Republican legislators and two Democratic defectors passed their own version of the budget after the chairman of the Board of Legislators had attempted to adjourn the meeting. County Executive Rob Astorino signed the budget later that day, but Democrats argued that it had not been legally passed. The Republicans contend that it is now law.
The Girl Scouts went head-to-head with the Town of Eastchester before eventually signing a three-year lease on their Highland Avenue cabin. The town attempted to control the “house that Girl Scout cookies built,” even though the lease had been regularly renewed for $1 each year since 1958. In the end, Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita and the Scouts were able to reach an agreement that will give the Girl Scouts a place to host monthly meetings and summer camp.
Truck drivers, many of whom were using GPS devices designed for passenger vehicles, not tractor-trailers, struck county overpasses 62 times in 2012, the most in five years. Despite more signs, wayward trucks continue to make their way onto county parkways. In September, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate GPS devices for all truck drivers.
The Westchester County Airport was the subject of many headlines in 2012. Geese struck a JetBlue plane in April, AirTran Airways left the airport in August, and Hurricane Sandy forced all activity to be shut down at the end of October.
It took a decade of planning, but the Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe broke ground on the long-awaited parish gymnasium in June. Throughout 2012, there were several fundraising efforts, and a noticeable amount of work was completed by the end of the year. The gym will serve as a home for the parish basketball and volleyball teams.
In September, The Capitol Theatre returned, bringing big names and a revitalization in Port Chester. More than 40 shows have been played since, including big-ticket names such as The Roots, Bob Weir and The Rascals.
For a century, the Tuckahoe Public Library has been a fixture in the village, and library officials celebrated with a series of events in 2012, culminating in a party at the Community Center. Festivities began in January with a gala at the Generoso Pope Foundation building, and there were several other events during the year. County Legislator Sheila Marcotte presented the library with a proclamation in honor of its long tenure in the village.
One of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the East Coast struck Eastchester and Tuckahoe hard. Powerful winds uprooted trees and downed power lines, causing residents to go without power for more than a week and a half. Power was restored more quickly to Tuckahoe, but Eastchester struggled with the fallout for upward of two weeks. The storm caused a gasoline shortage, which led to lengthy lines at the pump. Police resources had to be diverted to deal with traffic buildup from the shortage and intersections where traffic lights were dark.
A former Rye building superintendent was accused of breaking into an apartment and engaging in sexual acts with a Labrador retriever puppy in February. In October, he plead guilty. He is to be sentenced on Jan. 13.