CPW holds annual fundraising event

On Monday, Nov. 9, Cerebral Palsy of Westchester held its annual Taste of Westchester food and wine tasting event at The Renaissance Hotel in Harrison. The event showcased more than 20 of the area’s finest restaurants and chefs. The evening also included a cooking demonstration from Hive Living Room + Bar as well as a wine and food pairing by Aries Wines & Spirits. All of the proceeds benefit CPW’s mission to ensure that children and adults with disabilities receive needed services and enjoy activities regardless of the level of their abilities.

A large crowd was on hand to show support for Cerebral Palsy of Westchester’s annual event on Nov. 9. Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, left, with Richard Osterer, CPW board president, and Linda Kuck, CPW executive director. It was a girls’ night out with a cause on Monday in Harrison. Photos/Bobby Begun A demonstration by Jean Claude Lanchais, executive director of the Hive Living Room + Bar restaurant at The Renaissance Hotel.

Winter sports schedules


A Rye Town/Harrison player wins a faceoff in the 2015 playoffs. The Titans made the section finals last season.

A Rye Town/Harrison player wins a faceoff in the 2015 playoffs. The Titans made the section finals last season.

2015-16 Boys Basketball

12/09 4:15 p.m. @ ROOSEVELT


12/14 6:15 p.m. PORT CHESTER

12/17 7 p.m. BYRAM HILLS

12/21 4:30 p.m. @ PELHAM

12/23 4:30 p.m. @ WESTLAKE


01/06 6:15 p.m. @ BYRAM HILLS

01/09 3:00 p.m. @ RYE

01/14 6:15 p.m. PELHAM

01/16 11 a.m. @ WESTLAKE

01/20 4:15 p.m. @ EASTCHESTER

01/23 7:30 p.m. @ SCARSDALE

01/30 8 p.m. PEARL RIVER

Gia Mancini takes a shot against Tappan Zee in last year’s quarterfinal playoff game. The Huskies are looking to improve their fortunes this winter.

Gia Mancini takes a shot against Tappan Zee in last year’s quarterfinal playoff game. The Huskies are looking to improve their fortunes this winter.

02/01 6:15 p.m. RYE

02/04 6:15 p.m. @ PORT CHESTER

02/08 6:15 p.m. EASTCHESTER

* Slam Dunk Tournament


2015-16 Girls Basketball

12/04 7 p.m. @  CARMEL TOURNAMENT

12/09 4:30 p.m. SAUNDERS

12/11 7 p.m. @ PEARL RIVER

12/16 6:15 p.m. CARMEL


12/23 4:30 p.m. @ TAPPAN ZEE


01/12 6:15 p.m. RYE

01/14 4:30 p.m. @ PELHAM

01/20 6:15 p.m. EASTCHESTER

01/22 7 p.m. @ BYRAM HILLS

Zach Evans sets up the Harrison offense during the Huskies’ Slam Dunk Tournament game in 2014. File Photos

Zach Evans sets up the Harrison offense during the Huskies’ Slam Dunk Tournament game in 2014. File Photos

01/28 6:15 p.m. PORT CHESTER

02/01 6:15 p.m. @ RYE

02/03 6:15 p.m. PELHAM

02/04 4:30 p.m. @ PORT CHESTER

02/05 7 p.m. @ EASTCHESTER

* Slam Dunk Tournament

2015-16 Hockey


12/04 6 p.m. @NEW ROCHELLE

12/07 6:30 p.m. BYRAM HILLS

12/12 9 p.m. @BRIARCLIFF

12/14 6:30 p.m. PEARL RIVER

12/19 8:30 p.m. @BYRAM HILLS

12/21 6:30 p.m. MAMARONECK

12/28 6:30 p.m. SOMERS

01/04 6:30 p.m. IRVINGTON

01/08 9:30 p.m. @MAMARONECK

01/10 5:05 p.m. @ETB

01/11 6:30 p.m. SCARSDALE

01/16 7:10 p.m. @IRVINGTON

01/18 6:30 p.m. BRIARCLIFF

01/26 7:15 p.m. @SUFFERN

02/01 6:30 p.m. ETB

02/08 6:30 p.m. NEW ROCHELLE

Column: Tears of joy

New Rochelle quarterback Greg Powell breaks down after the Huguenots’ 44-25 win over John Jay in the Class AA finals on Nov. 7. The Huguenots’ emotional win was especially poignant for the senior signal caller.

New Rochelle quarterback Greg Powell breaks down after the Huguenots’ 44-25 win over John Jay in the Class AA finals on Nov. 7. The Huguenots’ emotional win was especially poignant for the senior signal caller.

Miles Harvey and Justin Cossifos look at the Section I championship plaque. For the first time since 2012, the Huguenots are Class AA champions.

Miles Harvey and Justin Cossifos look at the Section I championship plaque. For the first time since 2012, the Huguenots are Class AA champions.

New Rochelle head coach Lou DiRienzo leads his team in a postgame celebration. Photos/Mike Smith

New Rochelle head coach Lou DiRienzo leads his team in a postgame celebration. Photos/Mike Smith

Kevin Singletary flashes a big grin after the final whistle on Nov. 7. The Huguenots will be back in action on Nov. 14 in the Class AA regional finals against Newburgh.

Kevin Singletary flashes a big grin after the final whistle on Nov. 7. The Huguenots will be back in action on Nov. 14 in the Class AA regional finals against Newburgh.

One of my favorite postgame celebration moments ever came in 2013 after the Detroit Tigers clinched a playoff berth. The Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland, a notoriously prickly customer, was speaking with a few reporters outside of the clubhouse when the enormity of the situation seemed to sneak up on him. While discussing his team’s achievements that year, the baseball lifer began to stumble over his words, his eyes welling up, until he was rescued by veteran outfielder Torii Hunter, who hoisted up the 67-year-old skipper and carried him out of the room and into the midst of the players’ celebration. Leyland was then doused in champagne and beer, and performed a nifty moonwalk to the raucous cheers of his ballclub.

Simply put, it was an almost-perfect celebration.

I was reminded of Leyland and the Tigers on Saturday, as I found myself on the sidelines at Yorktown High School for the Class AA football championship.

With a 44-25 win over John Jay on Nov. 7, the New Rochelle Huguenots won their first section title since 2012. But out of everything about New Rochelle’s play—the big defensive stops, the offensive explosion—it was how they celebrated their win that is going to stick with me.

New Rochelle’s players were hardly uniform in their reactions, and with more than 50 players suited up on the sidelines, how could they be? Sophomore running back Jared Baron, a youngster who has emerged as one of the section’s top players quite early on in his short varsity career, had a delirious ear-to-ear grin as he bounded across the field to hug his teammates. Senior lineman Justin Cossifos, who helped anchor the Huguenots’ defense all year, got his hands on the Section I championship plaque and stared at it in disbelief, almost like he couldn’t quite comprehend what he and his teammates had just accomplished.

And then there was quarterback Greg Powell.

For a team as deep as New Rochelle, one that has succeeded not because of one player’s efforts but a collective team play, Powell’s spot as the starting quarterback has made him the de facto face of the program, something that was certainly not lost on him as he broke down in the arms of teammates and coaches after the final whistle blew.

All the pressure of leading the Huguenots back to the promised land was lifted from his shoulders on Saturday, and his recognition of that was a beautiful thing to watch.

Of course, New Rochelle’s story isn’t over yet.

With their regional final matchup with Newburgh looming on Nov. 14, the Huguenots were back at work on Monday, getting ready to tackle their latest challenge.

But on Saturday, none of that mattered. The only thing on the minds of New Rochelle’s players and fans was letting the program’s biggest win in three years sink in.

They’ll have all week to come down from their win over John Jay, but at least they got the chance to enjoy the ride for a few minutes.

And isn’t that why we all love sports?

Follow Mike on Twitter


Column:Thank you for your support

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the tremendous support I received on Election Day. Thank you for allowing me to serve the residents of Harrison, for another term, as mayor/supervisor on Harrison’s town board. It has been an honor to represent you and I will do my best to make your concerns my concerns.

There have been many successes over the last several years but we still have work to do. As we look to the future and face the challenges that lie ahead, I would like to encourage all of our residents to get involved. The town board and I will continue to do everything we can to serve the interests of the Town/Village of Harrison, so please come out and support the many exciting events that will take place over the coming years.

ArtsWestchester, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure the availability and accessibility of the arts for all Westchester residents, has announced that it will be honoring two of our residents at their upcoming 50th anniversary gala on Friday, Nov. 20. Purchase resident Froma Benerofe and Harrison resident Jacqueline Walker, both former presidents of the arts council, will be recognized for their efforts in bringing attention to the organization as it grew into a nationally known private arts council. Congratulations to both Ms. Benerofe and Ms. Walker for this very important distinction.

The Harrison Youth Council, HYC, is participating in Lord & Taylor’s fundraising shopping event, “Shop Smart, Do Good,” on Friday, Nov. 13 at Lord & Taylor in Eastchester. For a $5 donation, you receive a ticket with three savings passes, with a value up to 25 percent off regular or sale priced items. HYC receives 100 percent of your $5 donation. You can purchase a ticket at the youth council office at 84 Calvert St. in Harrison between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. For further information, please contact Debra Salerno at dsal725@optonline.net or the Harrison Youth Council Office at 835-7500.

Now that flu season is upon us, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. You can visit the Westchester County health department immunization clinics on alternating Fridays in White Plains and Yonkers. Call 995-5800 for White Plains or 231-2500 for Yonkers to set up an appointment. For more information, visit westchestergov.com/health.

In closing, “Praying for Greater Unity: Different Faith Traditions” will be the theme of the 2015 annual Thanksgiving service sponsored by the Interfaith Congregational Laymen’s Committee of Harrison, ICLC, to be held on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the JCC Harrison, 130 Union Ave. All are welcome. For additional information, please call Lola Geiger at 939-7066.

Sigma Alpha Mu unwelcome at SUNY Purchase



Purchase College

Purchase College

By James Pero
Purchase College has never been known for its Greek life; primarily because, unlike most other universities, it’s never had any. 

But for the first time in the SUNY school’s history, a group of students is actively sowing the seeds of what they hope could be the college’s first-ever school recognized fraternity; Sigma Alpha Mu, otherwise known as “Sammies.”

Ari Vizzo, 19, a sophomore studio composition major at Purchase, as well as the currently unrecognized fraternity’s treasurer is—with his 14 fraternity brothers—intent on bringing Greek life to the school in an official capacity; even if most members of the student body don’t want them there.

“A lot of kids aren’t in support of us being here,” Vizzo said.

Since its inception, Purchase College has never been especially welcoming to fraternities and sororities. Founded in 1967 as a bastion for the visual, performing and liberal arts, its goal was to foster an environment in which all cultural identities could flourish.

According to Ernie Palmieri, vice president of student affairs at Purchase, neither fraternities nor sororities were a part of that vision.

“Since the inception of the college in the late 1960s, the founding administration at the time did not want fraternities or sororities to be part of Purchase College’s campus culture,” he said. “This in part was due to the problems experienced at other college campuses around the country with Greek organizations during this time period.”

Now, he said, keeping in tradition with the original founders of the school, Purchase College plans to continue the same policy.

“The following administrations since the college’s founding have maintained this policy to the present day,” he said in a prepared statement.

In addition to Purchase’s long tradition of eschewing fraternities and sororities, official school policy states that no group or organization can discriminate based on gender, religion, or any other variety of factors, making fraternities like Sigma Alpha Mu—which requires that its members identify as male—much more difficult to gain recognition at Purchase compared to other universities.

According to Vizzo, despite the obvious appeal to being recognized by the university—school funding and resources chief among them—he said he would like the non-discrimination provision of recognized organizations to stay.

“While [school recognition] would be amazing…I don’t want that discrimination policy to be changed,” he said, noting that changing such a rule could open the door for gender-based and other forms of discrimination.

Still, such obstacles haven’t stopped the group of 14 students from pushing forward to legitimize their fraternity’s colony at the school. According to Vizzo, the brothers hope that soon their fraternity will become chartered with Sigma Alpha Mu’s national organization.

“We’re a colony,” Vizzo explained, noting that such a distinction is the official first step towards a legitimate fraternity. “They let you run things as if you are a chapter until we prove we can handle things on our own.”

Since word of Sigma Alpha Mu’s presence on campus has spread, a significant portion of Purchase’s student body has rallied to prevent the fraternity’s foray into campus life. According to, Cassidy Hammond, a junior anthropology major at the college and president of FORTH, the school-sanctioned feminist club, the sentiments from students have been far from welcoming.

“There’s a large group of the population that says ‘No, we don’t want [a fraternity],’” Hammond said. “A lot of people come up to me and are like…‘I think it’s really dangerous.’”

According to Hammond, much of the student body’s concern has centered on the issue of safety, which critics of the fraternity say could be jeopardized by bringing an institution like Sigma Alpha Mu to the campus.

While rattling off disconcerting statistics about sexual assault, hazing, in addition to drug and alcohol abuse, Hammond explained that fraternities can bring a myriad of problems to campus life.

“I don’t think of them as inherently dangerous people,” said Hammond referring to the members of Sigma Alpha Mu. “I think the institution [of fraternities] is really dangerous.”

Though the unrecognized fraternity is still somewhat new to the campus, Hammond said that discussions between members of FORTH and Sigma Alpha Mu have already occasionally turned into full-blown confrontations.

During a meeting held by FORTH in which members were invited to discuss their sentiments about a fraternity coming to the college’s campus, Hammond said members of Sigma Alpha Mu made an unexpected appearance that turned contentious quickly.

“It got pretty intense,” she said, adding that the meeting digressed into an argument between about 10 fraternity members and 15 FORTH members after concerns over the fraternity were voiced.

Vizzo stated that similar confrontations have erupted when members of the fraternity were approached by students while playing music on campus.

Whether or not Sigma Alpha Mu will go on to become officially recognized is still very much in the air according to Vizzo, who cites the student body’s backlash and many administrative boundaries as major obstacles.

This, however, won’t stop him and his brothers from pushing forward with the idea.

“The end goal is not really official university recognition,” said Vizzo. “It would be more the student body wanting to work with us and join us.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com


John Stossel offers other side at Purchase College



Deviating from their usual breed of speaker, Purchase College invited Fox News pundit John Stossel, who offered students and faculty a different take on politics and the economy. Contributed photo

Deviating from their usual breed of speaker, Purchase College invited Fox News pundit John Stossel, who offered students and faculty a different take on politics and the economy. Contributed photo

By James Pero
At this point in his career, John Stossel is accustomed to speaking to diverse audiences.

Having transitioned from a lengthy stint as a correspondent on ABC’s “20/20” with Barbara Walters to a career in political punditry at Fox News Business, Stossel, 68, has catered to a wide swath of people on the political spectrum.

And on Friday, Oct. 30, when Stossel took the stage at Purchase College’s freshly-opened Humanities Theatre to espouse his libertarian take on modern-day America, his lecture again found an audience disparate from the norm.

During Stossel’s hour-long lecture, which was attended primarily by political science students and faculty at the college, he wove through various topics relating to regulation and big government as they pertain to his libertarian ideology, and more importantly how they affect today’s political and economic environment.

“Unemployment has stayed high after this last recession because we have so many rules,” Stossel said to the audience. “Because we can’t do anything unless you first ask permission—it’s the ‘mother, may I’ economy.”

To bolster his libertarian arguments, Stossel used a series of PowerPoint graphs depicting various trends, particularly ones which he believed showed the inefficiency of the American government.

On the topic of Occupational Safety and Environmental Association regulations, which have been touted by many as a major step toward important workplace safety standards, Stossel showed an unattributed graph depicting decreasing workplace fatalities following the creation of OSEA.

Then in the next unattributed graph, which depicted a trend of decreasing workplace fatalities decades preceding OSEA’s creation, Stossel argued that OSEA has had little impact.

“Government is like somebody who jumps in front of a parade and says ‘I lead the parade,” Stossel said. “But they didn’t.”

Not all of his graphs were well received, however; particularly one that depicted the growth of government over time. In the middle of his point, a student interjected, adding that the bulk of government spending can likely be attributed to military growth.

“Do you believe in the army?… Because a lot of that is military spending,” the student said.

Though much of the night centered on political ideology, Stossel—who is originally from Chicago—would touch briefly on a few of the more personal aspects of his career, namely his transition from “20/20” with Barbara Walters where he won an impressive 19 Emmy Awards, to his recent tenure at Fox News.

“I started to criticize the corrosive government and suddenly my life in television changed,” Stossel said. “I’m no longer so popular; I’m no longer winning Emmy Awards. Someone came up to me on the street in New York and said ‘Are you John Stossel?’ Yes. ‘I hope you
die soon.’”

Stossel chalks the reaction up to a perception of him that has been formulated after taking his current role at Fox News.

“It’s because he’s considering me a conservative,” he said. “In Manhattan where I live it’s like being a child molester.”

While Stossel’s lecture was contentious at times, particularly during an engaging question and answer which allowed the traditionally liberal student body to broach topics of corporate greed, the sentiments from the audience members were primarily positive.

“I thought this was positive,” said Mitchell Kutin, a senior philosophy major at Purchase College. “I think it’s an important thing to hear the other side. We know what we think; we don’t need more people to affirm our thoughts. We need to hear the other side.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com


Prop. 1 victory means earlier budget for Astorino

By Sarah Varney
Proposal No. 1, a referendum question to move the yearly deadline for the Westchester County executive to submit a budget from Nov. 15 to Oct. 15 for capital projects and back

to Nov. 10 for the operating budget, was passed overwhelmingly by an 82 percent margin. With 100 percent of Westchester County’s 949 districts reporting as of press time, there were 71,335 votes in favor of the change and 15,146 votes against it.

The earlier deadline will give both community members and members of the county Board of Legislators more time to review County Executive Rob Astorino’s budget and to ask questions.

Moving up the budget dates required a change to the County Charter, which had not been altered since 2000 when the last Westchester countywide referendum was on a ballot.

The proposal is one of 16 ideas that has come out of the Charter Review Commission, a Board of Legislators committee set up in 2011. The commission’s charter was to review the county rules and to make advisements on changes that might benefit the legislative process.

County Legislator Sheila Marcotte, an Eastchester Republican, reviewed the referendum proposal as chairwoman of the legislators’ Budget and Appropriations Committee, as did county Legislator Virginia Perez, a Yonkers Democrat, as chairwoman of the Legislative Committee. Both expressed support for the proposal prior to Election Day and the Westchester League of Women Voters also gave the referendum the green light.

Not surprisingly, Marcotte was pleased with the approval of the referendum. “This was a no-brainer. It’s just a matter of good government. I’m delighted,”
she said.

The 2015 budget for Westchester County is $1.8 billion. The 2016 proposed budget is due Nov. 15, as the change to the charter will not take effect until the 2017 budget cycle and according to published reports there is currently a $25 million shortfall.

A representative from Astorino’s office said the county executive had supported the change.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com


Huskies headed to semis

Maxine Lieblich launches a serve against Mahopac. Photos/Bobby Begun

Maxine Lieblich launches a serve against Mahopac. Photos/Bobby Begun

Through the first two rounds of the postseason, the Harrison volleyball team has been up to the task, topping Lincoln and Ursuline for back-to-back 3-0 wins to reach the Class A semifinals, and their toughest test to date. With a showdown against top-seeded Walter Panas looming, the Huskies know full well that it will take their best effort to earn a berth in the section championship game. 

On Nov. 2, the No. 4 seed Huskies soundly defeated the No. 5 Ursuline squad in straight games, winning 25-19, 25-15, 25-19 to advance to the semis. Although Harrison coach Candy Light said she entered the postseason with confidence in the way her team had been playing, she admits she was somewhat surprised with the outcome of the team’s quarterfinal match.

“We expected it to go four, maybe five games, because I know [Ursuline] was a better team than what the scores showed,” she said. “But we’re very happy with the way our girls stayed tough and did the things we had to do.”

Senior Val Sprovieri had a big game for the Huskies with seven kills and six aces, but it was sophomore Kayla DeMartini who led Harrison’s offense in the win, notching 11 kills on the afternoon.

Huskies headed to semis

Huskies headed to semis

“[Kayla] has been a great player for us the entire season,” Light said. “She’s been working hard, using more types of swings and placing the ball well, so we’ve been very happy with her since she joined the program.”

At 25-4-1, Harrison earned the right to take on No. 1 seed Walter Panas in the semifinals on Nov. 4, after press time. Panas has compiled a record of 40-5-1 on the year and has been one of Section I’s flagship programs over the last several seasons.

“In some schools, the football program is the big thing, but in Panas, they’ve really gotten their community to rally around the volleyball program,” Light said. “Fans come out to see them play, girls come out for the team, and it’s always a great atmosphere to play there.”

Light acknowledges that the highly-charged atmosphere at Walter Panas High School will be one factor working against her club when the two teams square off.

“It’s definitely a bigger stage with so many fans there cheering,” she said. “It will definitely have that big game feel.”

As for the Huskies’ opponents on the court, Light believes the her girls will need to play their best game of the season if they hope to reach the section finals.

Kayla DeMartini hits the ball on Oct. 27. Against Ursuline, DeMartini led the team with 11 kills.

Kayla DeMartini hits the ball on Oct. 27. Against Ursuline, DeMartini led the team with 11 kills.

“We need to have every single player focused and on their game; we need to stop their big hitters and also have a great passing game,” she said. “We have to be on top of our game on offense and defense.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com


Column: The legend lives on: Dizzie Gillespie



Musicians may pass away, in the physical sense, but they never really leave us. Their legacy lives on in the music they wrote, in their recordings, and in the musicians they played with, trained and inspired.

Such is the case with Dizzie Gillespie, who would have celebrated his 98th birthday on Oct. 21. At the age of 12, Gillespie, the youngest of nine children, taught himself how to play trombone and trumpet, and the rest, as they say, is history. He traveled the world, jammed with all the greats, made numerous recordings, and is remembered today as an elder statesman of jazz, one of the most influential jazz trumpet players of all time.

In 1977, Gillespie was playing impromptu gigs throughout the Caribbean with saxophonist Stan Getz, and landed in Cuba. In Havana, he met a local man, Arturo Sandoval, who offered to show him around the city. Later that night, Sandoval, a trumpet player himself who idolized Gillespie, managed to play for the jazzman—and blew him away.

So began a lifelong friendship and musical collaboration, a story of jazz, travel and musical innovation. Gillespie was key to helping Sandoval gain political asylum in 1990; to this day, Sandoval lives here in the U.S. He continues to tour, and has evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer. And when he takes the stage, you can be sure that the legendary Dizzie Gillespie is right there with him.

Be a part of their story. Arturo Sandoval will perform for one night only on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. Tickets are $45, $50 and $60, and good seats are still available.


Mara Rupners is the director of marketing at The  Performing Arts Center.
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.
10577 Box Office: 251-6200 Hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. and on weekends
before performances Website: artscenter.org 

County foreclosure judgments near record high

According to the Westchester County Clerk’s office, foreclosure judgments are surging toward a record high in 2015. Photo/BasicGov via flickr.com

According to the Westchester County Clerk’s office, foreclosure judgments are surging toward a record high in 2015. Photo/BasicGov via flickr.com

By James Pero
As foreclosures in Westchester County surge for the second year in a row, the Westchester County Clerk’s office warns that a lingering foreclosure crisis isn’t quite over with yet. 

“These numbers are indicative of an alarming trend in New York state, especially in suburban areas, that the foreclosure crisis is far from over,” said County Clerk Timothy Idoni.

According to data from the county clerk’s office, between Jan. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2015 there were a recorded 1,697 foreclosure filings in the county compared to the filings in 2014, which totaled 1,738.

The concern, however, stems from the fact that while foreclosure filings haven’t fluctuated much, judgments for foreclosure cases have accelerated significantly since 2014.

Data from the county clerk’s office shows that in the first three quarters of 2015, foreclosure judgments have dramatically outpaced the numbers from 2014, reaching 871 at the end of September compared to last year’s 772 judgments for the year.

So far, according to the data, the only year rivaling 2015 in the amount of foreclosure judgments over the past nine years is 2008—the year that the mortgage bubble burst—when foreclosure judgments in Westchester County leapt to 1,034.

According to Idoni, if foreclosure judgments continue at the same rate this year, they may very well eclipse that total; in fact, he’s almost certain 2015’s numbers will break that threshold.

“We’re looking at about 1,200 foreclosures,” Idoni estimated.

The cause of Westchester’s rise in foreclosure judgments isn’t necessarily indicative of a rise in new foreclosures, however. Idoni suspects that a combination of lengthy backlogs and the reintroduction of some old foreclosure filings are to blame.

“This is a regeneration of a lot of those cases that were never heard years ago,” said Idoni, adding that about 50 percent of filings introduced in 2008 were thrown out for various reasons.

A report from the New York State Department of Financial Services shows that downstate regions of New York state have been affected by prolonged foreclosures proceedings significantly more than the rest of the state.

The report also states that the foreclosure process in downstate regions of New York could take up to 30 percent longer than foreclosures in upstate regions due to repeated adjournments among other factors. As a result, Idoni says that about 80 percent of Westchester’s foreclosure cases are backlogs, which he said is on par with the national average.

As for the effects of such a rise, Idoni says the biggest concern will be an increased number of vacancies in communities across Westchester County, some of which—such as lower income communities like New Rochelle and Mount Vernon—are already dealing with large numbers of empty homes.

“There are going to be some neighborhoods hit with multiple vacancies,” Idoni, the former mayor of New Rochelle, said. “That’s the biggest fear.”

Despite the concern such a rapid rise has generated, Idoni suspects that since many of the foreclosure judgments have resulted from lingering cases, we can expect to see the numbers return back to normal in about 12 to 18 months.

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com