March 17, 2017

A resolution brings relief

The sense of relief and pride that followed the Bedford Town Board’s adoption on March 7 of a resolution declaring its commitment to upholding principles of inclusiveness and the safety of all residents, regardless of immigration or other status, was almost palpable last week. In the face of mounting pressure to take a stand against rising incidents of bigotry and hate, the board also used the occasion to put to rest fears over how local police might follow the new, more aggressive federal immigration policy enforcement guidelines. It issued a reasonable, thorough and specific statement, which did not please everyone but seemed to reflect a consensus position on the main issues of tolerance, inclusiveness and public safety.

The legwork that went into the drafting of the resolution helped assure the positive outcome, a unanimous 4-0 vote. As a starting point, Town Supervisor Chris Burdick looked to a recent statement adopted by the Town of Mamaroneck. Many different viewpoints worked their way into the exercise of tailoring the statement to this community’s population and character. Clergy members, the town’s top lawyer and its police chief were just some of those consulted for input. Equally noteworthy was what officials decided to omit from the resolution’s final wording. In the end, there was no mention of “sanctuary cities,” terminology that could set off alarm bells at the federal level, where leaders have threatened to cut off funds to local municipalities who deem themselves as such. While the words in the resolution echoed many of the core principles adopted by sanctuary cities, a blatant reference to the term was viewed as too risky for the town.

We were appalled to learn that board member Lee Roberts revealed at the same meeting that she had “been bullied and threatened and called a Nazi because I am a Republican.” No diligent public servant deserves those epithets.

One resident at the March 7 meeting who opposed the resolution wondered if it was “just a bunch of feel-good legislation.” Another speaker, who favored it, said she hoped the document “becomes more than just words on paper.” In the near term, at least, the passing of the board resolution is a welcome affirmation with a power to heal and unify the community around common principles. Over a longer time, we will have to see if the concerns of either of those speakers are proved right.

A ski lesson for all seasons

If you are not a regular reader of our sports pages, you might have missed a story in last week’s issue that made a deep impression. The story about the state skiing championships held in upstate New York at the end of February wasn’t just about performance or team standings. It was about one athlete’s startling display of character.

John Emerson, a member of the John Jay/North Salem boys ski team, disqualified himself from the slalom event 20 minutes before the awards banquet that would have recognized his impressive fifth place finish. Reviewing his father’s videotape of his run later that day in slow motion, John confirmed that he missed a gate on his second downhill try, which had catapulted him four places in the standing. The error was so slight and happened so fast, in a fraction of a second, that the judges at the event couldn’t detect it. But there was something about that run that didn’t sit right with John himself.

What John did next was something that one top state athletics officials said he has never seen in his 23-year career. He told one of his coaches that, because of his error on the hill, a slipup that no one else saw, he wasn’t comfortable receiving the medal.

The head of the athletics body overseeing the championship, as well as his coaches, accepted John’s position. Event organizers scrambled to recalculate all of the team and individual standings. When he opened the awards banquet, the official, Robert Zayas, who runs the New York State Public High School Athletics Association, remarked on the importance of sportsmanship in high school sports.

Later in the ceremony, a roomful of coaches, parents and students gave John Emerson a standing ovation when he was awarded the Section I alpine skiing sportsmanship award. 

“There is no podium for what this individual did, but there is a place beyond the podium where he stands and is recognized above all other champions,” said John Jay coach Tom Adamec. He described the skier’s voluntary disqualification as “an act that was selfless, honest, compelled by integrity and, most of all, loyalty to oneself.”

“John was able to demonstrate the highest level of sportsmanship to an audience of the top 120 athletes and coaches in the state of New York in a sport that has over 1,300 active high school racers,” noted Chris Reinke, the coach John told he didn’t feel he deserved the medal.

Some important lessons we learn in life don’t come from parents, teachers or coaches. They come from the students themselves.

For another interesting discussion of character education, see the story in this week’s issue on Page 13 about West Patent Elementary School.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market,Trinity Corners Shopping Center, 55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco, 66 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy, Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli, Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell, Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center, 193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli, Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli, 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)

  3. Meme’s Treats, 17 Adams Street


  1. Little Joe’s Books, 25 Katonah Avenue     

  2. CVS – Katonah Shopping Center, 294 Katonah Avenue   

  3. Katonah Sunoco, 105 Bedford Road

  4. The Reading Room, 19 Edgemont Road

  5. Weinstein’s Pharmacy, 101 Katonah Avenue

  6. DeCicco Family Markets, 132 Bedford Road

  7. Katonah Pharmacy, 202 Katonah Avenue

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News, 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Cross River Shell Station, Route 35    

  2. Cameron’s Deli. 890 Route 35

  3. Cross River Pharmacy, 20 North Salem Road

  4. DeCicco Family Markets, 1 Orchard Plaza

Goldens Bridge

Cardware Store, 100 N. County Shopping Center

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