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Briarcliff Superintendent, Board President Respond to Fields Article

Briarcliff Manor UFSD Superintendent Neal Miller and Board President Sal Maglietta pen a letter.

From the :

Dear Fellow Community Members,

By now, many of you have seen the Huffington Post article about the high school practice and softball fields and the incidences of cancer amongst some of our students. First and foremost, we know we speak for all the district’s administrators, teachers, staff and fellow board members when we say our collective thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have been struck by illness. There is nothing anyone can say to a parent who has lost a child or to the child and family who will forever wonder if the illness will return. We hope it provides some comfort to know that our entire community stands with them. 

With that said, there are some important facts in the story which we believe are worth reiterating:

  • Over the past decade the fields have been tested multiple times by several reputable environmental firms. On each occasion the tests found that the fields DO NOT pose a public health risk;
  • The incidences of cancer in our community are not unusual or abnormal, according to a pediatric cancer epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center, as researched and reported in the article;
  • After a comprehensive investigative process, the district is in the final stages of submitting a remediation plan to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Health. These state agencies must review and approve the remediation plan before the remediation activities can be implemented and the fields can be returned to active use. Only the high school practice field and the softball field are closed and subject to the NYSDEC consent order. 

The information regarding the fields is available on the district website, on the left-hand side of our homepage under “FIELDS PRESENTATION (NEW).”

Again, let us reiterate that our thoughts are with all of those in the community who have been stricken by illness. The safety of our students is our district’s number one priority, and we will always take the proper steps to ensure that our facilities remain a safe environment for all.

Sal Maglietta                                         Neal Miller

Board of Education President,               Superintendent of Schools
on behalf of the
Briarcliff Manor Board of Education

 

Mike Valenti August 16, 2012 at 12:31 PM
The Huffington Post Article failed to mention the many faculty and staff who have cancer and other serious illnesses in addition to the students who have died, developed serious illness, cancer, tumors and other sickness. Those teachers all teach in rooms with close proximity to the contaminated softball field. The testing that has been done is both suspect as well as inadequate in terms of grid. It reveals PAHBs, heavy metals and other known carcinogens above acceptable thresholds. Those thresholds apply to adults, not children.
Mike Valenti August 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I continue to call on the Administration and the Board of Education to take the absolute most conservative approach to remediating this situation which would necessitate adding an impermeable layer between the contaminated soil and the proposed new clean fill layer and the proposed new natural grass layer.
Mike Valenti August 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Thank you to the many, many residents who thanked me for bringing the Huffington Post article to their attention as well as my continued diligence and interest in this very serious issue. For those who missed the Huffington Post article, here is a link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/sudden-death-whats-in-the_n_1751931.html?utm_hp_ref=education
Mike Valenti August 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM
It is interesting to note that the one State Agency that looks forward (rather than just at historical data), takes qualitative data into account and exists to protect public HEALTH and SAFETY - The NY State Department of Health - does not appear to be in the loop on this issue. The district is communicating only to the NY State Department of ENVIRONMENTAL Conservation. This agency will study the suspect and inadequate testing as well as the narratives from our hired gun lawyers and consultants and make decisions about the ENVIRONMENT, not public HEALTH and SAFETY in a forward looking manner.
Bob August 16, 2012 at 02:48 PM
It's amazing that a School / Village that over spends on everything went on the cheap to buy contaminated fill. There was plenty of clean fill locally. I wonder what the thinking was to utilize this company???
eddie sacrobosco August 17, 2012 at 01:51 AM
@Bob, I agree that the original choice of Whitney Trucking needs to be looked at more closely. They first offered the fill Valhalla, who turned it down. The owners of Whitney Trucking, Thomas and Joseph Attonito were connected to organized crime and are convicted felons. Did the school district really know who they were doing business with? Valhalla did due diligence and rightly rejected the contaminated fill (although they later accepted many truckloads of contaminated fill in 2002-03).
Joetheplumber10510 August 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM
The only problem with this pr statement is.... it is contradicted by the statement by the district's own toxicologist, Robert Laumbach MD. He said on 11/17/2011... "Action to protect public healthwas/is warranted" Its right here on the 13th slide.... http://www.briarcliffschools.org/files/1423185/final%20slides%20laumbach%20briarcliff%2011%2017%2011.pdf You can watch his presentation too!
John Fitzgerald August 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM
According to the former superintendent of Valhalla Schools, Frank Ehrhardt, the Westchester County DOH advised against the fill deal offered in 1997. Yet when I confronted 3 board members who were there in 1997 and 2002 when we took 90,000 cubic yards of undocumented fill, they denied there ever was a 1997 deal. (Liars) I have some documentation and correspondence regarding Valhalla on my website www.valhallavoice.com I have a lot more documentation that is not up on the site yet if anyone in Briarcliff would like copies. Of course Valhalla's mound is on the edge of Kensico Reservoir and no one seems concerned about that. Also in the midst of all of this DEP employees, one who was also a councilman in Pawling, stole computers from the DEP office at the reservior. Someone need to start investigating and connecting the dot. The NYS Comptroller's audit if these deals estimates their value to the carters and the cost to the school districts, in the millions

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