Editorial: New Castle Name Change Intriguing But it Won’t Solve Divisions

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Government officials are often urged to devise creative ideas and solutions to problems. For that matter, business leaders are also looked to come up with unique ways to make improvements.

New Castle officials deserve props last week for doing just that, inviting discussion on the pros and cons of changing the town’s name to the one name everybody knows – Chappaqua.

Cynics could say it’s a distraction or maybe an idea from people who like to hear themselves talk. But for better or worse, when the name Chappaqua is uttered, people know what you’re talking about.

It probably has a lot to do with first, a former president and First Lady living here and, second, that the school district is consistently among the top public school systems anywhere. Like many communities in Westchester, the school district is easily the most likely reason why people move to a community.

So, the New Castle Town Board is considering an attempt to help the entire town, by spreading some of that cache to Millwood, the West End or areas that have Mount Kisco, Ossining and Bedford mailing addresses.

It’s a laudable effort, and maybe it will attract support from a large enough percentage of the population that enables officials to move forward with a change. Would it attract additional businesses, potential new residents looking for homes or development in the areas outside the Chappaqua hamlet? That’s tough to say.

It is worth a try, but there will undoubtedly be backlash from certain quarters. In Chappaqua, there may be some residents who look to fiercely protect their hard-earned large investments on their homes. In other areas, most notably the West End, where there is pride over a certain distinctiveness with larger parcels and more open space, there is also likely to be push-back.

Regardless of the name of the town, that’s likely not going to change.

In the coming weeks, residents will get their chance to let the town board know what they think of the idea. If you’re a New Castle resident, don’t be a spectator. Take the opportunity to let the board know what you would like your town to be called.

Indian Point Closure the Right Decision but Poorly Executed

For the many people who have fought to close Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, last Friday must have been like opening up a Christmas present that fell to the back of the closet.

The debate had been raging for so many years, that opposition to the plant seemed almost to be by rote.

At more than 50 years old and the oldest operating nuclear plant in the U.S., announcing target dates to close Indian Point is undoubtedly the right choice. More than a half-century ago, those who decided to site it in Westchester could not have envisioned the explosive growth of the county, that non-existent evacuation plans would ever be needed or the execution of 9/11-type terrorist attacks.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo permitting the news to break via a Friday afternoon story posted on The New York Times website is shameful treatment of and a slap in the face to local and county officials, energy consumers and area taxpayers who now face an uncertain future.

That’s typical Cuomo, who makes sure he remains distant and aloof while making sure he take the kudos. At the very least, he needed to send emissaries to the Town of Cortlandt, the Village of Buchanan and Westchester County to let them know what was coming.

Even more important now, his administration must come forth with a plan to replace the energy that will be lost – and do that soon – and what, if anything, will be done to help wean beleaguered taxpayers in those communities off the revenue they have depended on for decades.

The closing of Indian Point was the right decision for the long-term future of the area, but the manner in which it was done couldn’t have been handled any worse.

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