Talk of the Sound Year in Review 2019

Written By: Robert Cox

Top 10 Stories of 2019

10. New Rochelle High School Football Team Wins NYSPHSAA State Championship

Ranked #2 in the State after an undefeated regular season, the team entered the playoffs with high hopes which appeared to have been dashed when their head coach was suspended. The team won three games in a row including the title game in the Carrier Dome to set a New Rochelle record for wins in a season with 13.

9. Tree Crushes Girl on Halloween

Neighbors had complained to the City for months about the dead tree the came down on Halloween, severely injuring a young trick-or-treater who has was crushed underneath. The City had complained to Con Edison right up until the morning the tree fell. The incident exposed a flaw in how tree removal in managed in New Rochelle.

8. End of Parente-Trangucci Melodrama

With self-inflicted wounds, brothers-in-law Peter Parente and Louis Trangucci saw what is likely the end of their involvement in the public sphere. Parente’s foul-mouthed xenophobic rant on Facebook saw him removed from the New Rochelle Veterans Advisory Council. Trangucci’s acceptance of campaign funds from real estate developers, including an illegal campaign contribution, led to a trouncing at the polls on election day. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

7. Sentencing in January 2018 School Violence Cases

Z’inah Brown was sentenced to 17 years in state prison for the stabbing death of another New Rochelle High School student, 16-year-old Valaree Schwab. Dominique Slack and Carl Booker were both sentenced for stalking Schwab in an incident resulting in her death to “shock probation” where they were incarcerated in Westchester County Jail for six months and five years’ probation. Bryan Stamps was sentenced as a Juvenile Offender to one to three years in state prison for Assault in the First Degree, a class B felony. for stabbing a classmate at New Rochelle High School.

6. Westchester County Sales Tax 1% v 14%

Westchester County Executive George Latimer pushed through an increase in the Westchester County Increases Sales and Use Tax Rate beginning August 1, 2019, Westchester County is increasing its local sales and use tax rate from 3% to 4%. This change applies to all taxable sales and uses in Westchester County outside the cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains, and Yonkers. 44 of 48 municipalities saw a sales tax increase. The overall cost to consumers was an increase in the sales tax rate from 7 3/8% to 8 3/8%. Latimer and the media took to calling that a 1% increase when it is a 14% increase; taking the local sales and use tax rate from 3% to 4% is a 33.3% increase. Call it 14% or 33.3% just don’t call it 1%.

5. New Rochelle City Council Elections

For the first time ever, the majority of members will be women come January 1, 2020. Mayor Noam Bramson was re-elected, Barry Fertel and Jared Rice retired. Bramson named Rice as a judge on the New Rochelle City Court to replace Judge Gail Rice. Louis Trangucci was soundly defeated.

4. School Board Dysfunction

The New Rochelle Board of Education, under the leadership of Jeffrey Hastie became a dumpster fire with Hastie supplying the gasoline and matches. Like a dog chasing a car, when Hastie was chosen as Board President he did not know what to do. The past year continued the trend of high administrative turnover, state investigations into a failure to meet requirements for instructional hours at the two middle schools, a state investigation into the Apex grade inflation, a re-opening of the District’s Apex investigation, and more. A total CF (if you read the late Jim Bouton’s Ball Four you know the term)

3. Suspension and Resignation of New Rochelle head football coach Louis DiRienzo

The announcement that Coach D had been “reassigned to home” on the eve of the New York State playoffs generated shock and anger among the school sports community and beyond resulting in massive media coverage, protests and calls for the resignation of the Schools Superintendent and Board Officers. His resignation in December took the wind out of the protests but anger against District leadership continues to simmer at a low boil.

2. Swastikas in Schools

After a flurry of Swastikas was found at the high school and two middle schools in the Spring of 2019 there was a lull until around Thanksgiving when five more were found, 4 at New Rochelle High School and a big one at Albert Leonard Middle School. Since we first reported on the Swastikas 13 months ago a total of 20 Swastikas have been reported to New Rochelle Police. No one has been caught.

1. Hiring of Dr. Feijóo as New Rochelle Schools Superintendent

Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo has been the most controversial hire in the history of the City School District of New Rochelle. A month before her hiring was announced, she joined a $90 million reverse-discrimination lawsuit against the Schools Chancellor and New York City Department of Education leading to numerous protests, a formal complaint to the New York State Commissioner of Education and a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court. That was just a warm up for what came next, her decision to suspend Coach Louis DiRienzo caused a furor. The FUSE union demanded she be removed from office. Football parents joined in and went after school board members as well.

Top Talk of the Sound Articles for 2019

Best Deep Dives

Talk of the Sound Releases Secret Transportation Study Improperly Withheld by New Rochelle BOE for Years

In Wake of 2018 Stabbings, New Rochelle Officials Suppressed Gun Threat Investigattion of Students from Mount Vernon, Yonkers Enrolled in New Rochelle Schools

How Indivisible Westchester Co-Opted School Safety in New Rochelle to Elect Their Candidates on Your Dime

Standard Amusements Discloses Investment by Company Which Plans to Sell Off Rye Playland

Recently Departed School Board President Charged Personal Expenses to New Rochelle Taxpayers

New Rochelle Board of Education Statements on Swastikas Do Not Match NRPD Records

New Rochelle Board President Seeks to Redefine Racism

New Rochelle Pushed Con Ed for Weeks to Begin Tree Removal Process for Tree that Crushed Girl on Halloween, Records Show

New Rochelle Superintendent Directly Involved in Failed Effort to Bring Criminal Charges Against Football Coach

Apex Grade Inflation Chronology: What Really Happened with the New York State Investigation of New Rochelle High School?

Former High School Registrar Disputes Apex Investigation Claims by T&M and Two New Rochelle Board of Education Presidents

Apex Whistleblower Comes Forward, Details New Allegations in Grade Inflation Scandal

The Story Behind the Story: Coach D and Doctor B – Part I

The Story Behind the Story: Coach D and Doctor B – Part II

Dearth of CCTV Cameras Allow Swastikas, False Alarms to Go Unpunished in New Rochelle Schools

Best News Breakers

New Rochelle Football Coach Under Investigation by Yonkers Police

New Rochelle Board of Education Has Secretly Re-Opened Apex Learning Investigation; Inexplicably Denies Knowledge of Publicly Announced State Investigation

Mayor Offered Quid Pro Quo to End New Rochelle Police Moratorium on Cooperation with Iona College Over Zoning Dispute Months Before Valaree Schwab Murder

City Removes New Rochelle Veterans Committee Member Following Hate-Filled Xenophobic Screed on Facebook

New Rochelle Development Commissioner Involved in Elevator Altercation with Worker at Trump Plaza

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Former New Rochelle High School Social Studies Teacher Makes Unexpected Appearance in Court

Best Opinion Pieces

Westchester Media Pushes Phony “1% Sales Tax Increase“ Narrative on Latimer’s 14% Tax Hike

Latimer’s Magic Lamp

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New Rochelle Board of Ed

Grandson of Former Governor Malcolm Wilson Bellyflops in Media Rollout as GOP Candidate for Mayor of New Rochelle

Time to End the Trangucci-Parente Melodrama Infecting New Rochelle

New Rochelle Board of Education Promoting Illegal Fundraising and Political Activity in Public Schools

From Christchurch to New Rochelle: Words Matter

Open Letter to the New Rochelle BOE on Falsehoods Regarding my Concerns with the School Buddy Program

OP-ED: Why the New Rochelle School Board is Out of Control

Humor

Westchester County Government Set to Aquire Local Gannett Newspaper (April 1, 2019)

Favorite Talk of the Sound 2019 Photos

Talk of the Sound Year in Review 2019 – Month by Month

January

GETTING RESULTS: After Four Decades, New Rochelle School District Finally Has a New Law Firm

New Rochelle High School Student Bryan Stamps Sentenced to Prison for Stabbing Of A Classmate

New Rochelle Residency Auditor Projects $2.6mm to $7.8mm Spent Annually on Wrongly Enrolled Students

New Rochelle School Officials Deliver 2019 State of the District Addresses

School Official Diverted Millions In Transportation Funds to Ineligible Parochial School Students

February

Talk of the Sound Releases Secret Transportation Study Improperly Withheld by New Rochelle BOE for Years

New Rochelle BOE Fraudulently Claimed Millions in State Aid for Ineligible Bus Monitor Expenses, Study Finds

Secret New Rochelle School Transportation Study: No-Bid Contracts, No Required Voter Approval, Poorly Constructed RFPs, Plagiarism

In Wake of 2018 Stabbings, New Rochelle Officials Suppressed Gun Threat Investigattion of Students from Mount Vernon, Yonkers Enrolled in New Rochelle Schools

New Rochelle School Superintendent Confirms Report of Sexual Abuse Allegation at Middle School

New Rochelle Student Dominique Slack Sentenced In Stalking of Classmate Before Her Death

Former New Rochelle School Secretary Pleads Guilty to Stealing Funds from the New Rochelle Board of Education

How Indivisible Westchester Co-Opted School Safety in New Rochelle to Elect Their Candidates on Your Dime

New Rochelle Parties Selecting Candidates for 2019 Local Elections

Grandson of Former New York Governor Malcolm Wilson Running for Mayor in New Rochelle

Westchester Media Pushes Phony “1% Sales Tax Increase“ Narrative on Latimer’s 14% Tax Hike

Latimer’s Magic Lamp

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New Rochelle Board of Ed

Grandson of Former Governor Malcolm Wilson Bellyflops in Media Rollout as GOP Candidate for Mayor of New Rochelle

March

Why Bongo Promotion May Signal Doom for Parvey

New Rochelle Schools: Still No Budget and No Plans to Present a Budget

Standard Amusements Discloses Investment by Company Which Plans to Sell Off Rye Playland

City Removes New Rochelle Veterans Committee Member Following Hate-Filled Xenophobic Screed on Facebook

Rye School Bond Fails by 18 Votes

Man Threatens to Jump from Bridge onto I-95 in New Rochelle

Third Swastika Found at New Rochelle Middle School, That Makes 5 in 5 Months

From Christchurch to New Rochelle: Words Matter

New Rochelle Board of Education Statements on Swastikas Do Not Match NRPD Records

Two Dead after SUV Plunges Through Guardrail into Water off Hudson Park in New Rochelle

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson Delivers 2019 State of the City Address

New Rochelle Board of Education Names Special Counsel to Investigate Lost Instructional Hours at Middle Schools

New Rochelle School Board Attempt to Pin Lost Instructional Hours Fiasco on Former Superintendent Implausible

Feds Investigating Apex Credit Recovery in Newburgh Schools, Sources

Illegal Alien Arrested by New Rochelle Police for Child Rape Freed by Westchester County Despite ICE Detainer

New Rochelle BOE Members on Video Discussing New Regulations on Instructional Hours 6 Months Before Blaming Massive Fail on Former Superintendent

As the New Rochelle Board of Education Approved Special Counsel to Investigate Lost Instructional Hours, the Contradictions Pile Up

Former Controller Of College Of New Rochelle Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud And Failing To Pay Over More Than $20 Million In Payroll Taxes

Twice-Deported Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking Tied to New Rochelle Supermercado

Six Months in Jail for Second Teen Sentenced in Dunkin’ Donuts Murder of New Rochelle High School Student

Major Police Presence at New Rochelle High School Friday Following “Mini-Riot” on Thursday

Yet Another Swastika Found at New Rochelle School

Westchester County Legislator Unloads on Westchester County Police Officer at New Rochelle Board of Education Committee Meeting

April

Westchester County Government Set to Aquire Local Gannett Newspaper (April 1, 2019)

Man Struck by Drunk Driver in Downtown New Rochelle Dies

After Zero Meetings, New Rochelle Teachers Union President Accuses School Board of “Bad Faith” Non-Bargaining

May

20 Questions with New Rochelle Board of Education Candidate William Ianuzzi

20 Questions with New Rochelle Board of Education Candidate Valarie Williams

New Rochelle School Budget Passed Overwhelmingly

New Rochelle Homeless Man Pleads Guilty To The Murder Of A Woman Near The Armory

Yonkers Teen Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter In Death Of New Rochelle Schoolmate Valeree Schwab

June

New Superintendent in New Rochelle Brings Impressive Background – And Some Controversy

July

How the New Rochelle Board of Education Arrived at Hiring New Superintendent from NYC DOE

New Rochelle School District and F.U.S.E. Union Reach Tentative One-Year Agreement

New Rochelle Board President Seeks to Redefine Racism

Illegal Immigrant Sentenced to 20 Years to Life for Murder of Woman at New Rochelle Armory

New Rochelle Schools Announce Changes to Resolve Loss of Instructional Hours at Middle Schools

Recently Departed School Board President Charged Personal Expenses to New Rochelle Taxpayers

Incoming Superintendent Stands Her Ground at New Rochelle High School Community Dialog

Resignation of HR Director Tops List of New Rochelle Board of Education Personnel Decisions at Recent Meeting

Westchester Media Personality Leaves Terrestrial Radio to Embrace High Tech Future

Former New Rochelle Schools HR Director Takes Six Figure Settlement Deal

August

New Rochelle Board of Education Votes No on SROs, Yes on Armed Police in Schools

New Rochelle High School Murderer Gets 17 Years in State Prison

New Rochelle Board of Education Launches Investigation of Former President Jeffrey Hastie

New Rochelle Employees Scammed Union Welfare Fund, Audit Finds

September

New Rochelle Police, Other Agencies, Bust 50 in Red Smiley Heroin Ring – Many from One Family

Car into Trump Plaza in New Rochelle

New Rochelle Board of Education Promoting Illegal Fundraising and Political Activity in Public Schools

Man Arrested at New Rochelle Train Station for Making Terroristic Threat

New Rochelle Board of Education to Address Illegal Fundraising

October

New Rochelle Councilman Took Illegal Campaign Contribution from Real Estate Developer

New Rochelle Councilman Failed to File 24-Hour Notices, Final Pre-Election Campaign Finance Report

New Rochelle Board of Education Has Secretly Re-Opened Apex Learning Investigation; Inexplicably Denies Knowledge of Publicly Announced State Investigation

Mayor Offered Quid Pro Quo to End New Rochelle Police Moratorium on Cooperation with Iona College Over Zoning Dispute Months Before Valaree Schwab Murder

Trangucci Campaign Blames Board of Elections for Campaign Finance Irregularities

Review of Military Records Raises Doubts About Peter Parente’s Marine Corps Service

New Rochelle Development Commissioner Involved in Elevator Altercation with Worker at Trump Plaza

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Former New Rochelle High School Social Studies Teacher Makes Unexpected Appearance in Court

November

Trick-or-Treater Seriously Injured by Falling Tree in New Rochelle

New Rochelle City Council Debated Backlog of Dead Trees in Month Before Child Seriously Injured by Falling Tree on Halloween

Time to End the Trangucci-Parente Melodrama Infecting New Rochelle

New Rochelle Football’s Road to State Championship Hits Unexpected Speed Bump

No News on Investigation into New Rochelle Football Coach

Records Reveal Long History of Violence and Drug Use by New Rochelle VFW Commander Peter Parente

New Rochelle Turns Against School Board

New Rochelle FUSE Union Plans Another Friday Action; No Progress to Report on DiRienzo Investigation

The Story Behind the Story: Coach D and Doctor B

New Rochelle Board of Education Emergency Meeting on Football Coach Ends on Sour Note

The Interreligious Council of New Rochelle Issues Statement on Controversial Superintendent

New Rochelle Development Commissioner in Plea Deal on Trump Plaza Elevator Altercation

New Rochelle Superintendent Directly Involved in Failed Effort to Bring Criminal Charges Against Football Coach

New Rochelle Football Coach Under Investigation by Yonkers Police

Coach D Issues Statement

New Rochelle Pushed Con Ed for Weeks to Begin Tree Removal Process for Tree that Crushed Girl on Halloween, Records Show

The Story Behind the Story: Coach D and Doctor B – Part II

December

Against All Odds, New Rochelle Huguenots Romp 28-0 to Bring Home State AA Football Championship

Apex Grade Inflation Chronology: What Really Happened with the New York State Investigation of New Rochelle High School?

New Rochelle Man Among a Dozen Gambino Crime Family Members and Associates Indicted on Racketeering

Former High School Registrar Disputes Apex Investigation Claims by T&M and Two New Rochelle Board of Education Presidents

New Rochelle Re-Opens Search for High School Principal

Apex Whistleblower Comes Forward, Details New Allegations in Grade Inflation Scandal

Bramson Appoints Jared Rice for Judge on New Rochelle City Court

New Rochelle School District Hires Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum

Open Letter to the New Rochelle BOE on Falsehoods Regarding my Concerns with the School Buddy Program

OP-ED: Why the New Rochelle School Board is Out of Control

Dearth of CCTV Cameras Allow Swastikas, False Alarms to Go Unpunished in New Rochelle Schools

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