Paine to Pain Half-Marathon & Youth Mile This Sunday

Paine to PainEach year, the Paine-to-Pain half-marathon attracts hundreds of runners to our city.  And with good reason – it’s a terrific race, covering the outer loop of the Colonial Greenway, with trails winding through parks, woods, and historic neighborhoods.

The starting gun for the seventh annual Paine-to-Pain is this Sunday, September 21st at 9:00am, by Thomas Paine Cottage on Broadview and North Avenue.  There’s still time to register.

And this year, there’s a special addition for young runners – the Paine to Pain Youth Mile, sponsored by New Ro Runners and the Tailwind Track Club.  There will be pace groups available for 5:30, 5:45, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 & 8:00 minute miles.  The Youth Mile kicks off on Sunday, too, at 9:30am at New Rochelle High School.  For more information, call Richard Alter at 914-419-9272.

If you’re like me and a half-marathon is beyond your abilities, you should still find time to hike and explore the Colonial Greenway.  It’s one of the nicest walks in southern Westchester.  I was part of the committee that created this trail system a few years ago, and it’s really gratifying to see it get such good use.


Fifteen Fantastic Fleur-de-Lis Forms (Say That Ten Times Fast)

Fleur-de-lis sculpture at Memorial Plaza.

Fleur-de-lis sculpture at Memorial Plaza.

Fans of public art now have fifteen new reasons to visit downtown New Rochelle.  That’s how many fleur de lis sculptures, each individually designed by a local artist, were installed this month.

For a self-guided tour, you can pick up a map of the sculptures and a profile of each artist at the New Rochelle Public Library or download it from the BID’s website.

There’s more information in this press release issued by the New Rochelle Council on the Arts, the Business Improvement District, and the City.



The 4-1-1 on New Ro Leaf Collection

Mulch Workshops

Click to enlarge.

With a new leaf collection policy taking effect in New Rochelle this fall, the City is making a special effort to provide homeowners with complete information about the rules and options.  Postcards are in the mail, lawns signs are being placed, flyers are going home from school — all with an important message:

Loose piles of leaves can no longer be placed at curbside.  Instead, homeowners can: (1) mulch mow their leaves; (2) bag leaves for weekly pickup by DPW; or (3) ask their gardener to transport leaves to the City disposal site.

For most properties, mulch mowing will be the best choice.  Mulch mowing improves lawn health by recycling nutrients back into the soil, it is practical even for areas with heavy tree cover, and – with a little practice – it should be no more difficult or costly than traditional methods of leaf disposal.

If you want to learn more about mulch mowing, please attend one of seven free workshops being held all around town during the next few weeks.

There’s much more information at (be sure to click on the links at the upper left for frequently-asked-questions) or you can call 914-740-6145.

Changing habits is almost always difficult.  Some landscapers have mounted an organized campaign in opposition to the new rules, and I’ve heard from a number of residents and friends who have concerns.  I respect those objections, but the City Council adopted this new policy for compelling reasons: improving road safety, reducing flooding, encouraging environmentally-sound practices, and saving tax dollars.  It is worth noting that about 60% of Westchester has stopped collecting loose leaves at curbside, with more poised to make a similar change, and the experience in those other communities has been positive.



Preparing for the Next Disaster


Click to view video.

Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for many communities around the country.  Even as we work to address the global challenge of climate change, it’s also vital to take local action to prepare for the next disaster or emergency.

While physical resilience – infrastructure, land use policies, and so forth – tends to get the most attention, the “social resilience” of a community can often be just as important to an effective disaster response and recovery.  That means building strong relationships between government and not-for-profits, activating volunteer networks, and helping neighbor to look after neighbor.

The time to get ready, of course, is before disaster strikes.  So to meet this challenge, the City has teamed up with the New Rochelle Council of Community Services to survey local agencies and service providers and get a better handle on how we can work together in a future emergency.

Check out this video for more information, but keep in mind that the video message and survey are intended for organizations, not the general public.


9/11 Serve & Remember

Volunteer NY ImageThirteen years after September 11, 2001, 9/11 remains a date of sober reflection for our entire country.  But it has also become something more – a date of service, an opportunity to contribute to the present and the future, even as we remember the past.

Here in Westchester, Volunteer New York has taken the lead by organizing more than twenty-five different volunteer projects, from feeding the hungry, to providing live-saving blood, to bringing dignity to those less fortunate, to mitigating environmental damage, to nurturing early literacy.  These activities will extend from September 11th through September 14th, and most are family-friendly.

Here’s detailed information about all the different volunteer opportunities, or you can call 914-948-4452 to learn more.  Early registration is encouraged.

Let’s make this 9/11 a day of remembrance and service.



New Rochelle Branding Initiative Gets Underway

Branding - Not Just For Cattle.

Branding – Not Just For Cattle.

Back in March, the City Council decided to launch a major “branding” initiative, bringing in national-caliber professionals to shape a comprehensive strategy for marketing New Rochelle’s assets and attributes.  Branding is more than fluff – it can have a big impact on a community’s economy, property values, and civic image, so it’s worth doing.

Now the effort is getting underway with a number of sessions aimed at gathering local input and perspectives.  If you are interested in participating, please attend this public meeting:

•  Tuesday, September 9th from 6:00pm to 7:00pm in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Or tune in to watch the City Council meeting on Wednesday at 3:45pm on cable or the web.

There’s more information in the full press release.