Christina Faulkner and her brother, Freddy Photo Credit: Provided
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. spoke after receiving an award from the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center. Photo Credit: Provided
Christina Faulkner Photo Credit: Provided
From left to right, Eric Faulkner, VP/GM Ross Aviation; Chris Richards, owner Academy of Aviation; and Michael M. Smith, executive director of ACDS Photo Credit: Provided
State Sen. Pete Harckham with town of New Castle officials at Millwood Recreational Field Photo Credit: Provided

Around The Towns: Fighting Bias, Flight Of Dreams, $250K Park Improvement

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. was honored by the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center at its annual dinner on Oct. 24. Scarpino was recognized for his ongoing support of the professional development of educators on the topics of the Holocaust and bias in society. In addition, the recognition honors DA Scarpino for “protecting our community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice.”

For the last three years, the DA’s Office has granted funds to the Westchester-based Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center (HHREC) for its important conference for educators to give them the tools they need to teach about race and racism and its consequences.

In his keynote address, Scarpino told attendees: “I am always impressed by the work and commitment of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center, and proud that my office can collaborate with you on important initiatives. Your commitment to protecting our future as we learn from our past is of value to our entire community – no matter what religion, belief, race or ethnicity.”

Scarpino added, “Join us in our mission to create a safer and more secure Westchester. Let’s stand together to fight violence and the ignorance that spawns discrimination and its evil twin, hate.”

The District Attorney also informed the attendees about the ongoing work of the Westchester School Safety Commission and this year’s implementation of extreme risk protection orders under the state’s new Red Flag law. The awards dinner was held at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison. Scarpino was presented the award by HHREC Chairman Joseph Kaidanow. 

Spencer Barback, a partner in CitrinCooperman, also was honored for supporting the organization. HHREC's mission is to enhance the teaching and learning of the lessons of the Holocaust and the right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect.

$125,000 donated at Flight of Dreams event

ACDS hosted its first ever Flight of Dreams event last month. Organized with Ross Aviation Vice President Eric Faulkner, whose daughter Christina graduated from ACDS’s pre-school, sponsors called it a unique and exciting evening. 

The inaugural fundraiser, which raised more than $125,000, featured live music from Westchester-based band Class Action and on-site aviation experiences donated by Wings Air Helicopters. The event was held in Ross Aviation’s airplane hangar – which was transformed but still maintained its unique details.

The event attracted prestigious sponsors including Academy of Aviation, Lamb Insurance Services, Scully Construction, Ross Aviation, Weil Family Foundation, Cardoza Plumbing Corp., and Tudor Investments. 

All funds raised support ACDS programs in Westchester and on Long Island. Multiple local government officials attended the event, including Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins and Hugh Greechan, commissioner of the Department of Public Works and Transportation.

ACDS’s Executive Director Michael Smith said: “We were been blown away by the response and look forward to making Flight of Dreams an annual event. This would not be possible without the incredible energy, commitment, and vision of Eric Faulkner and the support of our sponsors in Westchester and on Long Island.” 

Eric Faukner said, “I was motivated to host this event for ACDS because my daughter, Christina Faulkner, opened my eyes to such a wonderful, inspiring community and for that I am eternally grateful.”

ACDS, with headquarters in Plainview, NY, provides lifetime resources to individuals with Down syndrome, autism, and other developmental disabilities. Since 1966, the agency has been helping those living with developmental disabilities develop to their fullest potential. 

New Castle Park Lands $250,000 State Grant

State Sen. Pete Harckham was able to secure $250,000 in state grant funding for improvements to the popular Millwood Recreational Field in the Town of New Castle. A number of town officials joined Harckham for the Oct. 22 announcement and expressed their thanks for his support of an important local project.

The facilities at Millwood Recreational Field currently include a softball/baseball field, tennis courts, children’s play area and seasonal restrooms, all of which are scheduled for improvements with the state grant.

“Public spaces are critical to maintaining community in the digital age. Parks and recreation areas promote exercise and wellness for people of all ages, and maintaining the infrastructure of these facilities, many of them well-used and much loved, is a fundamental public service,”  Harckham said. 

The grant that Harckham secured will be used to install lights on the softball/baseball field and lights in the parking lot; upgrade the infield; resurface the tennis courts; buy new playground equipment and remove trees.

Ivy Pool, New Castle town council member, said, “Millwood Park is located at the heart of the hamlet. By renovating and lighting the ball field and tennis courts, and replacing the playground equipment, the Town will be able to expand its recreational programs while also driving economic development.”

Another New Castle town council member, Jeremy Saland, said, “Coupled with our sidewalk upgrades and the town’s commitment to the park, Senator Harckham’s partnership ensures that residents of all ages will have a recreational destination they can be proud of, and one that will be an asset to all of New Castle for years to come.”