Practice Stop: White Plains

August 19th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano
Coach Marcel Galligani (grey shirt) and Midfielder Derlis Zayas (no shirt) discussing strategies for the upcoming season.

There aren’t many teams in the section who have fans watching its tryouts on the first day of practice. But in the case of boys’ soccer powerhouse White Plains, there were a few on hand to witness what Coach Marcel Galligani has in store.

Every season, Galligani and the Tigers try to build on their reputation with a section title. Unfortunately last fall, the post-season was an unpleasant experience.

Their season ended after a disappointing first round loss against then No. 19 seed Carmel. During the regular season, the team went undefeated against all section opponents and was seeded third in the playoffs. But when it was said and done, neither the record nor the seed meant anything.

“I think we have a nice core group that will be returning and has learned from that experience,” Galligani said. “Winning all the games we did and getting a good seed just to lose was a tough pill to swallow, but I think we have some resilient kids who will bounce back nicely.”

With eight returning starters on the field, including senior standout midfielder Derlis Zayas, it would be insane exclude the Tigers from any section title discussions. If the Tigers pull it off, it is almost guaranteed Zayas will have something to do with it.

“He’s instrumental in everything we do,” Galligani said about his senior captain. “He’s a good vocal leader who keeps himself fit by playing soccer all year round.”

Only worry for them thus far is figuring out who will replace last year’s gifted goalkeeper Alejandro Romero. Once their goalie problem is solve, the Tigers will be focused for a title run.

“Every year we come into the first day of practice expecting a good year,” Zayas said. “I want to win championships. That is what we are here for.”

Practice stop: Mahopac Indians

August 19th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano

Practice stop coverage provided by: Sharieka Breeden 

Coach Jim Gencarelli spent four years as the junior varsity coach for Mahopac. Now he is stepping up as the head coach for the Indians who were 12-3-1 last season.

“We graduated six players. I am familiar with these guys and they are familiar with me,” Gencarelli said. “There a few good players that I am looking at to step up and rise to the occasion.”

This upcoming season Gencarelli’s plans to keep the team focused as they work to repeat last season’s success.

“I think we are looking good and I am excited to start,” Gencarelli said. ” We are going to try to take it one game at a time. Kids can get ahead of their selves looking at the schedule. We want to make it back to sectionals.”


  •  Key loss- Joseph Iraola who finished his senior season with 19 goals and five assists. Iraola is playing at American International college now.

  •  Key returners: Jared Milian (senior center midfielder), Conor Butler (senior center midfielder) Mike Bernardi (junior goalie).

  •  The indians will count on Jesse Lichtman (senior, defense, Ray Arcieri (junior, defense), Mike Bernardi and Matt Fariselli (senior midfielder)  to help lead the team with strong defensive play.

  • After an overtime loss to North Rockland last season in a Section 1 Class AA semifinal the team’s focus will be to complete the season with another tournament appearance.

  • Preseason Preparation: The Indians spent their summer playing in the Lakeland summer league where they competed against Byram Hills in the championship.

  • New league competition: With powerhouses Arlington and John Jay EF, Mahopac looks forward to rising to the occasion during the regular season. Coach Gencarelli said facing Arlington will be a good determiner of where the team stands.

  • Season opener: Mahopac will kick the season off against Brewster on  September 10th.



  • Soccer team takes a break after a morning of drills.


Former New Ro wrestler Max Gomez competes in X Games

August 14th, 2013 by Vincent Mercogliano

I recently wrote about former New Rochelle wrestler Max Gomez, who had his right foot amputated shortly after his wrestling career ended. Although this isn’t necessarily a wrestling story, I wanted to share it because it is an inspirational story about a former Section 1 wrestler who has overcome tremendous odds to excel as an athlete. 

Considering where he had been just over a year ago, no one could blame Max Gomez for being a bit starstruck.

The New Rochelle resident had part of his right leg amputated after a motocross accident in June 2012, but on the first weekend of this month, he found himself in Los Angeles competing at the X Games surrounded by athletes he’d grown up idolizing.

“It still hasn’t really set in,” the 19-year-old Gomez said. “Just to watch that on TV for so many years, and then to get the invite, I still didn’t even know what it was all about. I get there and look at all of these guys who are pros standing next to me, it’s like, ‘Wow.’ Then they talk to me and are like, ‘Wow, this guy only has one leg,’ so it was like a mutual-respect thing.”

gomezBefore he competed among the best in his sport, Gomez’s life changed in an instant on June 2, 2012, when he took a fall down a 10-foot ledge on a western Pennsylvania course and slammed onto his feet. The impact shattered his right ankle and tore blood vessels, as Gomez knew right away that this wasn’t just a typical bump or bruise.

“I’ve had a lot of other injuries — I’ve broken my arm, my foot, my femur,” he said. “With any other injury that I’ve had, the pain wouldn’t go away, but I’d be able to eventually find a comfortable spot. With this one, I couldn’t find a comfortable spot. … The pain the entire time was so severe and constant that I knew there was no way that it could be a sprained ankle.”

Several efforts to restore blood flow to his foot were unsuccessful, leading doctors to recommend amputation from the ankle down.

“Literally every doctor that looked at me told me this would be the best thing, whereas carrying it on there would be like dead weight,” Gomez said. “I knew that I couldn’t dwell on it and had to make the best of it. I couldn’t sit there and cry about it, so I got on the computer and started looking stuff up. There are a bunch of successful people with prosthetic legs, and I knew I would be able to make it work.”

Getting back on a motorbike was the last thing any of Gomez’s family and friends were thinking about shortly after the accident, but it was at the forefront of his mind. His father, Alex, who introduced him to the sport when he was young, said he had “a hard time with it” when Max expressed his desire to continue, but Max was determined to show he could keep doing what he loves.

“It was about a week after (the amputation),” Max Gomez said, recalling when he started talking about motocross again. “I knew it was taking a big toll on the rest of my family, so I was just like, ‘I’m not going to keep doing this (to them).’ After watching some videos of guys who had similar injuries on the bike, I knew I could do it.”

gomez2Gomez initially had trouble riding with the prosthetic foot that he was given for walking, but in February, he reached out to someone who was able to help.

Mike Schultz, who has medaled several times at the X Games on motorbikes and snowmobiles with a prosthetic left leg, started the prosthetics-manufacturing company Biodapt. After hearing from Gomez, Schultz offered to send his prosthetic at a discounted rate.

“I remember the phone call from his dad when he got it,” Schultz said. “He said, ‘Holy cow, you should have a video camera on people when they open this.’ Max was all excited and running around the house, and it got me a little choked up.”

“As soon as I put it on, I knew it was going to work,” Gomez said. “I didn’t even have to get on the bike. That was kind of like the starting point.”

Schultz and Gomez formed a quick bond, and with Gomez now comfortable again on his bike, the two would soon be competing against each other.

Gomez really put his name on the motocross map in May when he won the Extremity Games — beating his mentor.

“It was an epic race,” Schultz said. “We battled back and forth. I obviously wanted to win, but to see him win with my equipment was pretty darn special.”

The success at the Extremity Games earned Gomez an invitation to the X Games — a tremendous feat, but not a complete shock to those who know him well.

“I was definitely surprised, but at the same time, I know Max’s character,” said Aaron Butler, Gomez’s good friend and former teammate on the New Rochelle High wrestling team. “He’s not a person who dwells on things. Once it’s done, it’s done, and he’s looking forward.”

Gomez went on to take fourth in the Moto X Adaptive final, with Schultz winning the gold.

As a result of the national exposure, Gomez has received a tremendous response from the New Rochelle community — as well as people around the country — who look at him as an inspiration. But for Gomez, it’s all about living his life and doing what makes him happy.

“The sport is either in your blood or it’s not,” Gomez said. “You’re either born to do it, or you can’t handle it. The injuries test you and show you whether you really want to be in this sport or not. You have to respect the machine, because it can do damage to you. Every injury is like a milestone, and you can learn from it.”

State Legislature proposes harsher penalties for killing police dogs, horses

May 21st, 2013 by Steve Lieberman

Legislation dictating harsher penalties for those who kill or injury police dogs and horse while they are on duty was adopted Tuesday by the state Assembly and Senate.

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, was a main sponsor of the proposal in the Assembly.

State and local law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on these animals in crime solving, rescue and recovery operations. Under current law, killing a police animal is a misdemeanor.

The legislation passed by both houses on Tuesday would make harming the animals a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison, the highest penalty for killing an animal in the state.

“The role of police animals has significantly expanded over the past few years leading to increased use in investigations and apprehensions,” Zebrowski said in a statement “These animals provide protection, assistance and improve public safety.”

“State and local police invest a great deal of time and resources in the training of these extraordinary animals,” he said. “These animals are viewed and respected as ordinary police officers and we should begin to reflect that by increasing the penalty for killing them.”

The rest of the Zebrowski press release says:

Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-C, Newfane, also sponsored the proposed law that helps recognize the important roles these animals have in crime solving, rescue and recovery operations and other duties by creating a felony-level offense.

“Police animals do a remarkable job protecting and serving the citizens of this state,” Maziarz said in a statement released by Zebrowski’s office.

“In 2011, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office lost their K-9, Rocky, when he fell off a roof tracking clues regarding a robbery,” Maziarz said. The use of police animals is increasing and they continually undertake tasks that our own police officers do. It is time that we provide these animals the protection they deserve under the law when they are injured or die in the line of duty.”

In addition to the loss of Rocky, another high-profile death of a police animal came in March 2013 when Ape, a newly-trained FBI dog, was fatally shot as police searched for Kurt Myers – a suspect in the deaths of four people in Herkimer.

“The role of police animals has significantly expanded over the past few years leading to increased use in investigations and apprehensions,” Zebrowski said. “These animals provide protection, assistance and improve public safety. State and local police invest a great deal of time and resources in the training of these extraordinary animals. These animals are viewed and respected as ordinary police officers and we should begin to reflect that by increasing the penalty for killing them.”

Photo: Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski

Westchester Cycle Club welcomes spring with Bike Shop Tour Series

March 22nd, 2013 by Robert Brum

The Westchester Cycle Club held the first of its Spring Bike Shop Tour Series at Bicycle World in Mount Kisco on Wednesday, March 20.

The club has partnered with area bike shops to encourage people to get out, get fit, be safe and have fun riding. Evenings include food, demonstrations and socializing.

With a beer garden theme, the Bicycle World program was held upstairs, and participants sampled local brews from Captain Lawrence Brewery, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and German food.

Discussion topics included bike handling techniques, proper gear selection, getting the most training benefits from your time on the bike and mechanical tactics.

Programs will be held next week and throughout April. All programs $25 and are from 6:30 p.m. -9 p.m. Future programs include:

Danny’s Cycles, 644 Central Ave., Scarsdale; Wednesday, March 27. Manufacturer representatives will speak about wheels and clothing.

Hastings Velo, 45 Main St., Hastings-on-Hudson; Monday, April 1. A demonstration of the latest in electronic shifting and discussion the virtues of a custom bicycle. Food by David Dibari of the Cookery.

Hickory and Tweed, 410 Main St., Armonk; Monday, April 8. Helmets, bike clothing, specifically bibs and shorts, followed by a discussion about triathlon bikes.

Yorktown Cycles, 1899 Commerce St. Yorktown Heights; Wednesday, April 10. Dr. Stuart Weitzman will address different nutrition or fuel requirements for your rides – from shorter rides or races to Century or Iron distance rides.

Signature Cycle, 1899 Commerce St., Greenwich, Conn., April 18. Learn more about frame materials and have your questions answered about differences and attributes of carbon, steel and titanium bikes. Cuisine from Tarry Lodge.

WCC members can register on the WCC website www.westchestercycleclub.org under Events. All others please contact Events Organizer Flori Doyle to register: Floricdoyle@gmail.com . All welcome, but registration is limited, so register early.

The Westchester Cycle Club is a not-for-profit organization that has been riding since 1975. Annual membership ($20) provides a variety of member-led rides – beginner through expert – throughout Westchester as well as Putnam, Dutchess and Fairfield (Conn.) counties. For more information on the club or to become a member, please visit www.westchestercycleclub.org.

 

            Left to right: Eric Marcos, owner of Bicycle World, with organizer Flori Doyle and some Westchester Cycle Club members at first event.

Monsey man gets probation for sex abuse, makes lawyer’s job harder

March 19th, 2013 by Steve Lieberman

Moishe Turner of Monsey got sentenced to 10 years probation Tuesday morning for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy on seven occassions in July 2011.

He didn’t get state prison time – facing a maximum of seven years – because the boy’s family didn’t want the child to testify, tying the hands of the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.

But the 59-year-old unemployed father of five children didn’t make life easy for his lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz, the former Rockland County prosecutor. He lives off of food stamps and gets Section 8 rental subsidies.

First off, Turner’s pre-sentence report by Rockland County probation officer recommended six months in jail.

Justice William Kelly said the report stated Turner was seemingly trying to blame the 14-year-old, calling the youngster sexually aggressive and a wild child.

Kelly allowed Gribetz a recess so he could talk to turned. Gribetz could be heard telling Turner it’s time to stop the nonsense (cleaned up version).

At some point, when Kelly was talking, Turner’s cell phone went off, leading to a rebuke from Gribetz.

After Kelly classified Turner as a Level 2 sex offender, Turner asked Gribetz why not the lowest designation – Level 1.

Gribetz essentially told Turner the judge was talking about the highest classification – Level 3 – so he should take Level 2 and leave.

See full article on lohud.com

Haverstraw Elks hosting Rockland cop recognition night on March 21

March 6th, 2013 by Steve Lieberman

Rockland police officers will be honored on March 21 during the Haverstraw Elks Lodge 877’s 41st Annual Law Enforcement Recognition Night.

The event starts with cocktails at 7 p.m., followed by a prime rib dinner and ceremony. The honors include outstanding investigative award, unit appreciation award, and civilian award.

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe is the scheduled speaker.

For more information and a list of contacts, for $35 tickets, go to http://www.rcpba.org/pdfs/2013_Elks_FLIER.pdf or call Spring Valley Officeer Phil Fantasia at 845-356-7400 or Sheriff’s Office Detective Hank Bender at 845-638-5446. cq

Rockland Sheriff’s Office offers free gun locks

January 30th, 2013 by Steve Lieberman

The Rockland Sheriff’s Office will offer free firearm locks for county residents who possess firearms.

Starting Friday, the Sheriff’s Police Division will begin to disseminate firearms cable locks.

• These cable locks will be provided to Rockland residents free-of-charge, on a first come, first received basis.
• In an effort to provide these devices to the maximum number of residents, a limit of four cable locks per household has been established.
• Persons seeking to receive the locks will be asked to complete a voluntary basic information form. If a person chooses not to complete the form, they must display visual proof of residency to the issuing officer.
• If requested and if time permits, the issuing officer will explain how to install the cable lock on a firearm.
The Rockland County Clerk’s Office also has been provided with a quantity of these cable lock devices. They will be participating in this distribution program as pistol permit amendment applications are processed.

Clarkstown cop Bill Sherwood resigns under OT cloud

January 30th, 2013 by Steve Lieberman

A veteran Clarkstown police officer has resigned rather than challenge potential departmental accusations that he filed for several hours of overtime and didn’t work the hours, authorities confirmed.

William “Bill” Sherwood, a decorated officer for more than a decade, filed for routine overtime of four hours allowed for a scheduled appearance before a Rockland grand jury, authorities said.

“We came across a discrepancy in his overtime,” Police Chief Michael Sullivan said. “We did an investigation and some overtime he submitted he didn’t work.”

Read more at LoHud.com

Hillcrest firefighers’ Christmas Party for kids set for Sunday

December 10th, 2012 by Steve Lieberman

The Hillcrest Fire Co. will hold its annual children’s Christmas party on Sunday at the Mount Ivy Firehouse, 16 Thiells-Mount Ivy Road, Pomona.

The volunteers’ party starts at 3 p.m.

Aside from gifts, food, drink and entertainment, the hightlight of the party is Santa Claus visting the firehouse in his firetruck and talking to the children.

Read more about the Hillcrest Fire Department.