MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – In the short time of The Daily Mount Pleasant’s existence, many major news stories have occurred. As 2011 comes to an end, we are looking back on our top stories from the past year. Here is a list of the top 10 stories of 2011 in Mount Pleasant.
10. WCC Implements Smoking Ban- In late November, Westchester Community College announced that they would implement a new policy on January 1 that would ban smoking completely on their campus. Representatives from the school said the policy will be loosely enforced, yet multiple students questioned whether it could work at all.
9. Westchester County Leads State in Rabies Occurrences- In July, the New York State Department of Rabies Laboratory reported that Westchester County featured the most rabies incidents so far in 2011. In Mount Pleasant, there were four rabies incidents during the month of July alone.
8. Superintendent Susan Guiney Receives Pay Raise- While programs and staff members were being cut due to budget constraints, Mount Pleasant Central School District Superintendent Susan Guiney signed a contract extension in June that will give her a 23 percent pay increase over the next five years. Many parents in town questioned the pay raise, as Guiney’s previous contract was not set to expire until 2013.
7. County Police Officer Arrested for Drug Smuggling- In September, Westchester County Police Officer and Hawthorne resident Michael Brady was arrested as a part of a drug ring at the Westchester County Airport. Brady, an officer stationed at the airport, allegedly took bribes from drug dealers to allow them to smuggle oxycodone illegally.
6. Smith Tops Nonna in District 3 Race- After the results were initially too close to call, Republican challenger Michael Smith was declared the winner in the District 3 County Legislator Race. The victory was Smith’s first political race and was an upset over the two-term incumbent Nonna who was also the former Mayor of Pleasantville.
5. Westchester Medical Center Announces Layoffs- After a long and ugly negotiation process, the Westchester Medical Center announced in early December that they would be forced to eliminate 250 positions from the center, including 132 nurses. Multiple departments of the hospital were affected, including the AIDS and wound care treatment centers.
4. Taconic Tragedy Lawsuits- Two years after the tragic wrong-way Taconic Parkway accident that took the lives of eight people, lawsuits were filed by surviving family members in attempts to place blame. The ugliest of them all, Daniel Shuler, husband of Diane Shuler who was driving intoxicated and under the influence of marijuana, filed suit against Warren Hance claiming that Hance was liable since Shuler was driving Hance’s minivan at the time of the accident. Hance lost three young daughters in the accident.
3. Snowy October- No one could have guessed that the first major snow storm of the winter season would arrive before Halloween. For that reason, many were left unprepared in late October when over seven inches of snow fell and caused power outages across Mount Pleasant that lasted as long as a week.
2. DJ Henry Anniversary & Lawsuits- In October 2010, Pace University student DJ Henry, 20, was fatally shot by Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess. In June, Hess filed a lawsuit against Briarcliff Wines & Liquors, claiming that they sold alcohol to the underage Henry which in turn caused Henry to strike Hess with his car and subsequently caused Hess to fatally shoot Henry. Hess and his lawyer claimed that had Henry not been intoxicated, the situation would have never occurred. This October, students and members of the Pace University community remembered Henry with a candlelight vigil held on campus and dedicated an entire issue of their student newspaper in his memory.
1. Hurricane Irene- In late August, the storm that was deemed by many as the worst storm threat in the northeast in over two decades slammed Westchester County. Major roads that run through Mount Pleasant including the Bronx River, Hutchinson River and the Saw Mill River Parkways were all closed for an extensive time due to flooding. High winds also closed down the Tappan Zee Bridge temporarily. In the aftermath of the storm, tens of thousands of residents throughout the county were left without power for up to a week and many residents were left with extensive flood damage in their basements.