Weekly Report for October 14, 2017

Amazon #ChooseMV

The time has come for Mount Vernon to leapfrog themregion and awaken as an economic, sports, entertainment, and business capital of the northeast corridor. We are an edge city, only 22 minutes by rail to mid-town Manhattan, and home to centuries worth of innovators and entrepreneurs. We have implemented policies that allow creative industries to flourish and zoning rules that work at the speed of business. Amazon, you have an opportunity to build on our city’s historic platform of innovation. We are more than ready to build the future with you here in Mount Vernon, New York. Join the chorus of folks telling Amazon to choose Mount Vernon. Use the hashtag #ChooseMV.

Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

The City of Mount Vernon is proud to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge. Earlier this summer, Bloomberg staff hosted an in-depth workshop (link) with City Hall employees to develop a problem-solving process that will solve a critical Mount Vernon need. This week, we submitted our problem to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The challenge is: How Do We Make Mount Vernon the Most Educated City in the Country?

Our plan begins by offering FREE college education to seniors at the Wartburg via Concordia College. We are asking participating students to tutor toddlers to teenagers in the Mount Vernon public schools. The objective is to help the city school district increase graduation rates to 86 percent in 6 years or less. Mount Vernon has the 4th highest concentration of seniors in New York State. There is enough wisdom and, soon to come, more knowledge to share between the generations to facilitate much needed knowledge transfers.

Once we get through the first class of “SeniorU,” we hope to expand the program to age groups 40 to 65 to help bridge the middle skills gap and strengthen our local jobs market to be the most educated and competitive in be country.

Ride Along with DPW

Catching illegal dumpers, putting up LED lights, repaving Elm Avenue and addressing constituents needs.Just another day in the life of Mount Vernon’s Department of Public Works! Ride along with DPW Commissioner Joseph Nigro, Special Assistant Damani Bush, and Jeffrey “Shah” Holiday as they show you a typical day for DPW.

Eight Members of the Goonies Gang Indicted

This week, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Jooh Kim, along with Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino and Acting Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the FBI William F. Sweeney Jr. praised the hard Work if he Mount Vernon Police Department when they announced the indictment of eight Goonies gang members on federal racketeering, narcotics, and firearms charges.

The U.S. Attorney thanked the Mount Vernon Police Department for their hard work and partnership with the FBI and the Department of Justice to bring down this criminal enterprise.

Though we are delighted to remove these menaces to society from our streets, we have to be mindful that our kids get lost in the streets when they are faced with a failing situation at home in the schools or in the overall community they live within. This is why we need to bring back youth sports, fix our parks, and build upon music, art and other constructive programs to excite their imagination to become positive and productive members of society.

Meanwhile, the Thomas administration is continuing to advocate for an investment in public safety, so that our police men and women have all the resources they need to keep our community safe. By acquiring modern law enforcement technology like drones to assist the police department in tracking and surveilling criminal activity; modern fleet vehicles, and restoring the slashed police officer positions, our police department can better serve the people.

Philips is Lighting Up Mount Vernon

In an effort to bring light to darkness, Mayor Thomas is also working with Philips Lighting and the New York Power Authority to replace every streetlight in Mount Vernon. The new LED technology will create a safer, smarter city to illuminate Mount Vernon’s streets so drivers can see clearly at night, so people feel safer walking about town, and criminals no longer have places to hide. The new lights will help businesses thrive and we look forward to talking with each neighborhood on the types of decorative lights they would like to have installed in their area to add value to the rich character and distinction of their neighborhood.

Drug Court Graduation

This week Mayor Thomas was joined by Senator Jamaal Bailey, Shawn Harris, Acting Police Commissioner, Rev. Dr. Stephen Pogue, City Council President Roberta Apuzzo, Honorable Adrian N. Armstrong, Senator George Latimer and Rev. Dr, Angela Ryan in honoring our most recent group of Drug Court graduates. This Court is a “highly structured, court-supervised, clinically-based program designed to reduce the rate of recidivism directly or indirectly related to drug use” as stated in their mission statement. We would like to congratulate and send blessings to Jeffrey G., Alton H., Lance J. Raymond J., and Felipe S. on their recent graduation. We thank the Courts and law enforcement for having compassion in delivering justice.

Pink and Purple Parties

This past weekend Mayor Richard Thomas participated in two separate fundraisers promoting noble causes. The first was a pink party on Saturday at Tino’s Cucina in raising money for breast cancer research and awareness. The second was a purple party on Sunday at Apricots and Honey raising money for “My Sister’s Place”, an organization for helping and protecting women who are victims of domestic violence. Mount Vernon came out for two great causes, and we want to thank everyone involved in making these events happen, in particular the PDC Foundation, Det. Dave Clarke of the Mount Vernon Police Department, Dana Doggett, Brian Prichard, Ryan Tarantino form Tino’s Cucina, and the folks at Apricots and Honey.

Nightmare Neighbors Task Force

On Monday Senators Jeff Klein and Jamaal Bailey along with Mayor Richard Thomas held a press conference to announce the creation of a zombie home task force. The task forces goal is to eliminate the threat of zombie homes destroying communities and property values. This initiative addresses the effects of bank-owned, zombie and abandoned properties in Mount Vernon. The task force will include code enforcement as well as fines for banks who fail to maintain foreclosed properties. This initiative will task the owners of these properties to with keeping these eyesores clean and if they are not held up to standard then our administration will appropriately fine those responsible.


On Wednesday, Mayor Richard Thomas joined David Gentner, President and CEO of the Wartburg, and Rev. Dr. John A. Nunes, President of Concordia College, in kicking off their Senior U program. SeniorU is a program offering reduced cost and in many cases, free college educations to the seniors living at the Wartburg. Seniors will have the opportunity to learn a multitude of subjects including science, the arts, faith, athletics, history, theology, medicine and more! This is a win for our community as these seniors will now have the ability to close generational gaps by providing necessary insight to young teens on the values of learning and gaining a higher education.

Meeting with Business Owners in Mount Vernon’s Industrial Zone

This week, Mayor Thomas held a meeting with business owners from Mount Vernon’s industrial sector. The Mayor had an opportunity to hear their concerns and agree to work together to make a plan to address the issues plaguing businesses in Mount Vernon. One of the common threads was the issue of broken streetlights, leading to dumping, loitering and other criminal activity in those areas. Champion Lighting & Supply was at the meeting and offered to donate 10 new street light bulb. Many of the business owners expressed concerns that Mount Vernon is slow to pay them for services rendered. Mayor Thomas pledged to continue to advocate for an electronic payment system and to work with the new, incoming Comptroller to ensure Mount Vernon moves to a modern payment system so vendors no longer suffer.

Mount Vernon Fire Department Active Burn Training

Earlier this week, the Mount Vernon Fire Department conducted an active burn training exercise in Valhalla. The exercise was part of Mount Vernon’s fire training academy which started June 11th and ends October 27th. The probationary firefighters are now in their last week of training. The training will switch to code training October 25th to the 27th, followed by a few much deserved days off before reporting for duty on November 1st.

2nd Annual Pumpkin Blaze

The Second Annual Pumpkin Blaze is almost here. The blaze has become a two-day event to allow one full day for carving and another full day, next Saturday the 28th, to light up Hartley Park with the glow of Jack-o-lanterns. Over 800 pumpkins and 160 Bales of Hay and counting have been delivered to Hartley Park in preparation for the 2nd annual pumpkin carving day which will last from Saturday October 21st from 12–4pm. Bring a kit and your family and a few friends!

Listen to us live:

Every week, Mayor Thomas speaks to Yonkers Tribune radio with host Hezi Aris: Catch this week’s interview here for an unvarnished look at what’s happening in Mount Vernon: Mayor Thomas also hosts Mount Vernon Moving Forward every Friday on WVOX, from 5pm to 6pm. You can listen to this week’s show here for an in-depth discussion about the what’s going on in Mount Vernon. On the Internet, tune in to Future 98.9 every Wednesday at 8:30am to listen to Mayor Thomas and Minister P. Tyson. You can find last week’s interview here. On Tuesdays at 8am, you can hear Mayor Thomas on 101.5 Linkage Radio. Catch this week’s discussion here.