This letter is to sing the praises of Matt Slater, candidate for Yorktown town supervisor.
We first met Matt when he was working with then Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy. As secretary of the Jefferson Owners Corp. and a resident of Jefferson Village, we also interacted with Matt as chief of staff to Senator Murphy. He was always there making sure things were going well in our community.
Jefferson Village is a 55-plus community of 1,000 units. When Senator Murphy came to check on our community during winter storms, or hurricanes like Hurricane Irene, Matt was in the background making sure everything Senator Murphy wanted done for us went accordingly.
To this “elderly” couple, we found Matt to be a sincere and honest person—and a family man to boot. He has from the start involved his wife and his son in his life. We know he will be a wonderful asset as our town supervisor. He has grown up in Yorktown, has family here, and wants to stay here to make Yorktown a great place to live!
Read more in the Yorktown News.
Fios1’s Ali Rosen reports that for the 2,000 veterans in Yorktown, its nice to get recognized, but it would be even nicer if the town offered more veteran-related services. Town Supervisor candidate Matt Slater and his running mates want to put a plan in place to do so within their first 30 days in office to make sure local veterans aren’t forced to leave town for basic services.
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YORKTOWN, NY – Surrounded by a dozen local veterans at Yorktown’s Patriot Park, Supervisor candidate Matt Slater announced his plans to help streamline the benefits and services he believes local veterans have earned. Announcing Operation Thank You, along with Councilman Tom Diana, Councilman Ed Lachterman and Town Clerk Candidate Mary Capoccia, Slater said their plan would be implemented within his first 30 days in office.
“We have developed a plan that raises the bar for Yorktown’s veterans and will better serve our local vets and their families,” Slater said. “Our plan is to give them a stronger voice in our community while streamlining access to benefits and services.”
The plan includes establishing a Veterans Council and exploring the need for a Veterans Service Agency Office for Yorktown. Several municipalities in Westchester County, including Bedford and Cortlandt, help streamline services through municipal veterans councils or veterans service agency offices.
Yorktown can be a better resource for those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and freedoms, Slater said. “Yorktown’s Veterans Council will provide assistance and connect their fellow vets to an array of services from VA assistance, to property tax exemptions to mental health services.”
Slater said he saw the struggles of a local veteran, Frank Garcia, who had to wait decades to be designated a disabled veteran as well as receiving the New York State Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption. With Slater’s help, Mr. Garcia was able to receive the exemption but his experience highlights the complicated systems local veterans have to endure to receive the benefits and services they deserve.
Yorktown Veteran Frank Garcia said, “I waited 40 years to be classified as a disabled veteran after being injured during training with the National Guard. After meeting Matt he was able to quickly track down new information that I was not aware of which entitled me to the property tax exemption from New York State. I appreciate his efforts.”
Working alongside State Senator Terrence Murphy who represented Yorktown for four years, Slater helped deliver and protect critical funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program for both Putnam and Westchester Counties. The Dwyer Program offers mental health services to soldiers suffering from PTSD or recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
Town Clerk candidate Mary Capoccia applauded the plan saying, “Having a Veterans Council would be an important resource to assist our veterans and their families.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman, who has spearheaded Yorktown’s Annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, wants the council to be charged with developing a living history program to preserve the primary accounts of Yorktown’s local veterans. Calling it Operation Remember, Lachterman explained it would be geared toward the continued education of neighbors and students about the experiences of our local veterans.
“Through my work supporting places like the Country House, I have heard first hand accounts of D-Day invasions and merchant marine operations, simply amazing stories,” Lachterman said. “In addition to forming this council we will task them with completing Operation Remember, a living history program in partnership with local veterans, civic organizations and our public schools to capture and digitize the firsthand accounts of our local veterans to preserve the memories of their service to our nation.”
Yorktown is no stranger to veterans causes. Councilman Tom Diana helped lead the charge to make Yorktown a Purple Heart Town and designating parking spots in front of Town Hall for Purple Heart Recipients.
“Our freedom isn’t free and we have incredible men and women who have made our country what it is today,” Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana added. “My father was in World War II serving in the Battle of the Bulge. We owe a veterans in this town an extreme amount of thank yous and help when we can do so. The Veterans Council is just a mere token of the sacrifices that these men and women have made for us. To all of our veterans, and their families, thank you.
Eugene Lang, a Holocaust Survivor, Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient Eugene Lang added, “We have signs up in both sides of town saying Yorktown is a Purple Heart Town and parking for Purple Heart recipients. I thank Councilmen Diana and Lachterman for their help getting this done.”
More than 2,600 local veterans in Yorktown currently receive a property tax exemption.
YORKTOWN, NY – Albany officials passed a measure this week adding three more of Yorktown’s local lakes to the State’s Inland Waterway List, but local residents fear the town will do nothing after waiting a year for Supervisor Gilbert to take advantage of similar legislation. In March, Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater called on his opponent to initiate the process of forming a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for Lake Mohegan. With the State adding three more local lakes to the program Slater is seeking a status report as to Lake Mohegan’s LWRP.
“For the New York State Legislature to designate three more of our local lakes it is obvious lawmakers see great value in having municipalities develop LWRPs for our local waterways,” Slater said. “The State’s deadline for grant applications is July 26th and residents have not been presented with any update from Supervisor Gilbert on Yorktown’s plan to engage in this process for Lake Mohegan which means, once again, this administration is leaving money on the table that could help our local lakes and community.”
Slater served as Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy and helping to pass legislation that added Lake Mohegan and Lake Osecola to New York’s Inland Waterway List. In addition, he assisted in passing the original legislationgiving Sparkle Lake, Junior Lake and Mohansic Lake the inland waterway designation. Local residents have raised concerns over the condition of Sparkle Lake on social media calling for Sparkle Lake to get a “makeover.”
This year New York State allocated $15 million to support Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans. According to the 2018 REDC Awards booklet, the program, “…helps communities breathe new life into their waterfront and underused assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization.”
In 2018 39 projects received State funding through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program ranging from water quality improvement, to recreational and park enhancements, to green stormwater improvements, feasibility studies, trailway development and improving public access to waterfront attractions.
In a press release announcing the passage of S.3444, State Senator Pete Harckham stated, “The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) has noted water quality problems at Spark, Junior and Mohansic Lakes in Westchester County. To protect these important lakes in my district, which are an integral part of the Croton Watershed and our drinking/recreational waterways, these lakes must be designated as inland waterways. This bill will allow the affected communities of Yorktown and Yorktown Heights to become eligible for money from NYCDEP to improve the water quality and protect the watershed.” This was Senator Harckham’s first bill to pass the New York State Senate.
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne cited the bipartisan effort needed to add Sparkle Lake and Junior Lake to the Inland Waterway List. “These lakes are a source of drinking water for the community, and provide various recreational benefits to Yorktown residents. People visit and move to our area because of our green spaces and waterways. It’s crucial that we work together to protect them and revitalize them where possible.”
The legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo.
YORKTOWN, N.Y. – One of Yorktown’s parks got some tender love and care last week after residents and a political hopeful rattled cages in the form of social media posts and a television news broadcast.
Touring the overgrown Blackberry Woods Park with a reporter from News 12, Republican town supervisor candidate Matt Slater criticized the current administration for allowing such conditions to exist.
A day after the report aired, the Marcy Street park had been landscaped and cleaned by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. Earlier in the week, a Facebook post showing conditions of the park received dozens of comments from frustrated residents.
“It shouldn’t get to this point,” Slater told Yorktown News. “Obviously, there’s no plan. This should be done earlier in the season. People want to use their parks.”
Slater called the condition of town parks inexcusable. For example, he said, construction equipment and materials are being stored on unusable tennis courts at Shrub Oak Park and Downing Park.
“It starts with management. It starts with having a plan,” Slater said. “It falls squarely on the supervisor’s shoulders.”
Before looking into hiring more parks employees, Slater said, he would order a full inventory of the town’s parks to determine what work is needed and in what order. The town’s website should also have an interactive map of its parks, letting residents know what equipment a park has and where they can park their cars, he said.
The town should also be more transparent about planned improvements to its parks, Slater said. Residents should at least know the town is aware of issues and has plans to fix them, even if the repairs may take years to complete.
Slater’s criticism didn’t end with the condition of the parks. He said residents have also expressed concern to him about what the town is using to control weed growth.
“Are [kids] playing in Roundup or are they playing in something else?” Slater asked.
The Parks and Recreation Department has since clarified it does not use chemicals, but rather an “organic-based solution.”
“We apply natural citrus oil commonly found in the citrus peels of oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits,” the department said in a statement provided by Gilbert’s office.
“The use of citrus oil on weeds is applied in small amounts or spot applications. The product is a safe, fast acting, effective approach to controlling weeds and the department only schedules an application on a case-by-case basis.”
Still, Slater said, neighborhood residents should be notified about when the department plans to use this mixture in their parks.
“It’s an issue of transparency,” Slater said.
Read more in the Yorktown News.
YORKTOWN – Yorktown residents say some of their parks are unusable and even dangerous.
Matt Slater, who is challenging Ilan Gilbert for town supervisor of Yorktown, says this has been a problem at many of the town’s 31 parks for over a year.
At Blackberry Woods Park on Marcy Street in Mohegan Lake, people have to weave through overgrown trees and grass to reach part of the park, which leads to a tennis court.
“I’ve talked to the homeowners on the other side of the street, no one uses this,” says Slater. “There’s been reports of coyotes and of course we have to worry about ticks.”
One slide is warped, equipment is rusted and benches are covered with overgrown weeds.
At Shrub Oak Park on Sunnyside Street in Shrub Oak, cinder blocks and gravel fill what are supposed to be tennis courts.
On Facebook, one woman said the grass at Blackberry Woods once reached 3-to-4 feet. Another said her kids came home covered in ticks after playing in another park.
Slater says this is because Gilbert hasn’t sent crews to maintain the parks. Read more on news12.com.
YORKTOWN, NY – Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater says the town should be doing more to provide information to residents and town employees that could calm concerns regarding the use of herbicides and pesticides before they rise. Slater believes Yorktown should enhance its notification capabilities to allow concerned residents and employees to receive notices when vegetation management is underway at town parks and public buildings. In addition, he is proposing the town provide an online account of vegetation management practices cataloged by property so the public can see, before arriving to their destination, if any pest management controls were applied.
On March 1, 2001 New York State enacted the Neighbor Notification Law to ensure advance notification of the use of pesticides to neighboring properties. Westchester County opted into the state program in 2009 which applies to commercial pesticide applicators, property owners, retailers and homeowners. Recent vegetation management at Willow Park, located on the corner of Curry Street and Tulip Drive, have raised questions over Yorktown’s own notification policies when addressing vegetation issues on town owned property.
“Private businesses have strict notification requirements and it is time our town government holds itself to the same standard,” Slater explained, “As a parent who often visits Willow Park with my young son I can understand the concerns neighbors have when they see and smell what appears to be chemical use in a kid or pet friendly place. Our local government can easily provide accessible information that not only preempts questions or concerns but ensures the public is indeed safe from harmful chemicals.”
Originally questions were raised on social media about the overall condition of the park. Residents posted pictures of weeds growing through benches, damaged slides and trash in the play area. On Saturday evening, more concerns were raised over the state of the park as well as “…the strong odor of weed killer…”
Chemicals that are frequently used as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programs are registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and cataloged to provide detailed information of the ingredients contained in them.
Slater continued, “It is time to redesign local government with the end user in mind. Thankfully, in the case of Willow Park, organic weed killer was used to combat overgrowing vegetation but we should be taking the extra step of proactively informing our citizens and providing clear and accessible information to those who are searching for it.”
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – In October of 2018 the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a resolution supporting the creation and distribution of special pins to be displayed on the uniforms of local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical service workers who served or are serving in the nation’s armed forced. At Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Mohegan Lake Fire Department, County Legislator John G. Testa, State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and local dignitaries recognized the service of more than 20 volunteer and paid firefighters who served in the United States Military.
Westchester County Legislator John G. Testa said, “We can never do enough to thank and recognize our veterans. I am honored to be able to present area Veterans who are also First Responders the recently created Westchester County Veteran Pin to show our appreciation for their tireless service to both our county and community. They are special individuals who should be thanked and appreciated for their dedication and service to others.”
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne added, “We are always grateful to our veterans and active military who serve our nation. This occasion was particularly special as we joined our local and county partners in government to honor veterans who continue to serve in Westchester County as a member of emergency services. We honor these brave men and women for their years of service to our nation in the military, as well as their continued service to the community in the Mohegan Lake Fire Department.”
Andrew Cerrato, President of the Mohegan Lake Volunteer Fire Company said, “I would like to thank our past and current members who have served our country in various branches of our military service. May God bless them all!”
Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana applauded their past and continued service saying, “I thank County Legislator Testa for bringing this great recognition to Yorktown. Our town is blessed to have such patriotic and passionate individuals who have protected our freedoms and are now serving our community. This was just one small way for us to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman agreed saying, “Just last weekend my wife and I were guardians on the Hudson Valley Honor Flight. Anytime we can honor the service of the brave men and women who protect our freedoms we should. I thank County Legislator Testa for taking the lead on this initiative and look forward to our partnership in recognizing similar citizens within our community.”
Matt Slater, former Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy, praised the honorees saying, “Our community was built with the blood, sweat and tears of incredible citizens like those we honored last night. We thank all of our local veterans for their service to our nation and continue to pray for the safe return of all active military members. It is our responsibility to find innovative ways to ensure our brave warriors receive the acknowledgement and benefits they have clearly earned.”
Similar events are being planned to recognize additional veterans and active military members serving in the Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Yorktown Police Department.
YORKTOWN, NY – After nearly a decade of effort by local historians, a piece of Yorktown’s Revolutionary War history will now be preserved. On the 238th anniversary of the Battle of Pine’s Bridge, which took place on May 15, 1787, the town’s Pines Bridge Memorial Plaza and Walkway will be officially unveiled tomorrow.
Funding for the $250,00 project came from a variety of private and government sources, including a $50,000 State and Municipal Grant secured by the office of former State Senator Terrence Murphy.
Matt Slater, candidate for Yorktown Supervisor and former Chief of Staff for Senator Murphy, praised the community effort to preserve an important part of the town’s past. “People often forget how rich our region is with history dating back to the Revolutionary War,” Slater said. “The efforts by the Yorktown Historical Society, Michael Kahn, Town Planner John Tegeder and the Yorktown Planning Department will ensure future generations know about the important role our town played during our nation’s fight for independence and the story of the Rhode Island Regiment in particular.”
Though the colonists ultimately lost the Battle of Pine’s Bridge, it was one of the most heated engagements involving the Rhode Island Regiment, which was one of the first racially integrated units fielded in battle by American forces. The Rhode Island Regiment integrated European, African and Native American soldiers more than 150 years before the United States Army officially took similar action under President Truman in 1948. The unit suffered 14 killed and 30 captured while defending the Croton River against the British at the Pine’s Bridge crossing. The unit’s commander, Colonel Christopher Greene, and its executive officer, Major Nathaniel Flagg, were executed by loyalist guerrillas and are now interred near the First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown.
Former State Senator Terrence Murphy added, “I am proud to have been able to support this important memorial during my time in the State Senate. During a time when history seems to have taken a back seat in our culture, it is refreshing to be a part of a community that embraces its history and protects it for future generations to learn from.”
Under the Grace Administration, the Pines Bridge Memorial received two installments from the Town of Yorktown totaling $167,500. Originally to be displayed at Downing Park, the monument and plaza were relocated to Railroad Park in the Heights Hamlet.
Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana added, “As a lifelong resident of Yorktown I am thrilled to see this important historical memorial and plaza be completed. All good things come to those who wait and I thank everyone who helped pitch in to make this a reality.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman stated, “I am proud to have been part of a town board that not only recognized, but took action, to promote the historical significance of Yorktown. All of the hard work that went into this has finally paid off. I would like to especially thank the Pines Bridge Committee for their dedication, and of course, Lorraine DeSisto who unfortunately passed before its completion.”
Commemorative bricks will remain on sale to raise funds for the memorial and be installed annually at similar events to commemorate the Battle of Pine’s Bridge.
As Senator Murphy’s Chief of Staff, Slater was instrumental in maximizing the project’s funding. Originally, State Senator Greg Ball provided a $50,000 grant through the Community Capital Assistance Program in 2012. CCAP grants can benefit municipalities and non-profits. In 2015, Slater reprogrammed the original money to support Putnam ARC, while securing a $50,000 appropriation from the State and Municipal Facilities Program, which directly supports municipal projects. Ultimately, it was the funding from the 2015 allocation that was used to complete the Pines Bridge Monument while Putnam ARC was able to renovate their headquarters in Carmel.
YORKTOWN, NY – Since 1972 school nurses have been celebrated as part of National Nurse Week. According to the National School Nurse Association, there are more than 95,000 school nurses in the United States. Wednesday, Matt Slater representing New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, joined local school nurses and the New York State Association of School Nurses to commemorate this year’s celebration.
“Our school nurses are a critical component to maintaining a high level of physical and mental health for our students,” Slater said. “Today is a day for us to celebrate their efforts and thank them for the kindness and care they show our kids on a daily basis.”
Cindy Scinto, a school nurse at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES which is located in Yorktown, received the 2019 Excellence in School Nursing Award. Scinto, who has been on the Yorktown BOCES campus since 2006, cares for children between the ages of 5 and 21 who have a variety of serious health issues.
State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “Cindy goes above and beyond through her normal duties because of her compassion and sincere care for her students. This award is well deserved and highlights the overall importance of having a school nurse available to our students. Our school nurses leave a lasting impression on all of us and we thank them for all of their efforts in creating a healthy learning environment.”
Both Slater and Byrne have a long history of advancing policies to improve work conditions and supporting the nursing profession. As Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy, Slater tackled the heroin epidemic by working with health and school officials to allow school nurses to administer the opioid overdose antidote narcan on school grounds. He also helped create a Nurses of Distinction event, which recognized nearly 30 local nurses, including Mary Beth Guyett, a school nurse for the Lakeland School District.
Slater and Byrne have also fought for a strong public health system and access to quality care by strengthening staff ratios in local hospitals.