Hitting the Trails, Thanks to the Vision of a Special Few
By Jana Seitz
<“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead
Walk with me if you will in an “It’s a Wonderful Life” way to what Upper Westchester County could have been if some of our George Baileys had never lived. New York is a British colony. The Jersey Palisades and Hudson Highlands have been removed by quarry companies. A maximum-security prison is at Bear Mountain. There is no inn, no park, no bridge, no nothing.
Now, let’s insert the heroes who circumvented these near disasters, changing the direction of history. Firstly and most obviously, General George Washington under whose command two forts were built on the west side of the Hudson at the base of Bear Mountain to protect an upward surge by river of the British forces during the Revolution. Forts Clinton and Montgomery were connected by footbridge across a small tributary creek, and can still be walked through today. Washington’s action saved our young country on October 6, 1777, when the British got tricky and came by land rather than by ship in a “divide and conquer” tactic, rendering our chain across the river useless. The 700 American troops lost, but the battle detained the British troops just long enough for them to miss (and lose) the battle at Saratoga, a major turning point for us.
Secondly and least conspicuously, The Englewood Women’s Club of New Jersey, a small group of civic-minded, environmentally-concerned, tenacious ladies (like the Rye Garden Club) which began a movement to save the Palisades from being blasted to Kingdom Come. Their action led to the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) with a mission “to preserve land and to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation accessible to all.” The year was 1896.
By Peter Jovanovich
The new Superintendent of the Rye City School District, Dr. Eric Byrne, has only been at the helm for a few short weeks, but he’s already garnered our attention. At the June 27 Board of Education meeting, he presented his Entry Plan to “listen and learn” about the District in order to develop and execute an educational vision for the future. “It’s all about taking a deep dive: learning what we want to be.”
Unprecedented in its scope and detail, the Plan, which is posted on the District’s website, calls for Dr. Byrne to interview hundreds of individuals over the next six months, including teachers, administrators, staff members, students, parents, community leaders, and elected officials. Already, he has interviewed members of the Board and begun reviewing all the various reports and documents related to the District’s academic, financial, and operational performance.
Gene Collins, Traveling Teacher
By Dolores Eyler
For a man with a long history in finance, Gene Collins isn’t always good with numbers.
Take his anniversary. “Nancy and I have been married 42, no, 43 years,” he said of the woman he vowed to marry upon first sight almost 50 years ago. “It was some enchanted evening.”
“It’s 48 years,” said Nancy. “He has handled millions and billions of dollars but forgets these dates.”