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Mt. Kisco Chamber Set to Honor Key Contributors at Annual Dinner

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Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Jean Farber. She will be honored along with Twigs Thriftree Shop and Leonard Park Wines & Spirits at the chamber’s annual dinner Wednesday evening.

Jean Farber has long admired many of the community-minded people who have been viewed as pillars of Mount Kisco over the decades.

Figures such as former mayors Dick Flynn and Pat Reilly and local news media stalwarts Carll Tucker and Martin Stone, among many others, all made indelible marks by making significant contributions to life in the village.

Next week, Farber, whose impressive community service resume is led by her 10 years on the Village Board, will match their achievement when she is recognized as the Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.

Farber will be honored at the chamber’s annual dinner on Wednesday evening at the Mount Kisco Country Club, alongside the thrift shop Twigs of Northern Westchester Hospital, which has been named Organization of the Year, and Business of the Year Leonard Park Wines & Spirits.

“I was really blown away,” Farber said of being notified of the honor earlier this year by chamber leaders Dan Taplitz was Donna Arena. “That came out of left field. I was stunned. I was grateful and truly bewildered. I can kind of predict certain things; I didn’t predict this one.”

Along with her Village Board service, where for three years she was deputy mayor, Farber was a founding member of the Mount Kisco Arts Council and continues to serve there, is a current member and the treasurer of the village’s Historical Society and is on the municipality’s Board of Assessment Review. She also had been honored in 2019 by the Italian American Club of Northern Westchester as its Woman of the Year.

Her love of serving her community goes back to her childhood in Nashville, a tradition that she kept alive with her late husband, Irving, whom she met after moving to New York to pursue a journalism career in the big city. Farber had studied broadcast journalism at the University of Florida, worked for the NBC affiliate in Nashville, then headed to Atlanta, before deciding to come to New York with a friend.

But when she interviewed for a job in New York, instead of considering Farber for a position in the news department, human resources personnel asked how fast could she type. Instead of taking a job beneath her abilities, she responded that she’s not a secretary. Eventually, Farber gravitated to real estate and has been affiliated Houlihan Lawrence.

She and her husband raised their two children in Bedford, where Farber first became involved in local politics as a state committeewoman in the 93rd Assembly District for 14 years. They later moved to Mount Kisco. As the years have progressed, Farber’s involvement has only seemed to increase.

“I’ve been very, very fortunate and there’s been no reason not to,” Farber said. “Otherwise, what would I be doing? I’d be playing mah-jongg, which is something I’m actually going to be taking lessons in June. Again, as you get older you see what is really, really important.”

Twigs of NWH

Twigs Thriftree thrift shop presents a check for $142,000 to Northern Westchester Hospital Executive Director Derek Anderson last week. Pictured with Anderson, are Tracey Hynes, left, treasurer of Twigs, and Deb Coffino, president of Twigs.

Also being honored by the chamber is Twigs Thriftree, which has provided Northern Westchester Hospital with thousands of dollars each year in donations since it opened its store, located at 449 Lexington Ave. in Mount Kisco, in 1964. In that time, the all-volunteer operation, has now topped $4 million in donations to the hospital with the sale of donated items from members of the community, said Twigs President Deb Coffino.

Last Monday, during its annual luncheon, Twigs presented Northern Westchester Hospital Executive Director Derek Anderson with a check for $142,000 representing the proceeds from the store during the past year. Considering that Twigs sells new or gently used donated items that are great for gifts, including clothing, bric-a-brac and pillows, blankets and anything else new moms might need at extremely low prices, makes the size of its donations even more impressive.

“It’s just been amazing with the passion, the dedication of the staff,” Coffino said. “The place looks better than it ever has. The merchandise is great, just terrific. The dedication we’re putting in, the new customers we’re getting in because of all the social media that we’ve really stepped up on. It’s been great.”

There are 50 to 70 active volunteers at Twigs, dividing up the shifts at the store and other tasks needed to make the operation run smoothly, she said. Each group of volunteers has its own day at the store, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations are always accepted, but the public is asked to call ahead of time before bringing items in.

“I think what I’m most proud of in all of this is that especially over the past two years, we’ve always been a community, but we’re a community of people that really support each other,” Coffino said.

Pictured, from left, are Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Jean Farber; Matt Grasso, president of the chamber board; Jane Fulton, manager of Twigs, the organization of the year; Deb Coffino, president of the board at Twigs; Jo-Ann Bueti Larizza and Rocco Larizza, owners of Leonard Park Wines & Spirits, the Business of the Year, and Antonia Larizza from Leonard Park Wines & Spirits.

Leonard Park Wines & Spirits

This family-owned establishment will also be honored as the chamber’s Business of the Year. Founded more than 55 years ago, Leonard Park Wines & Spirits moved to its current location at 487 Main St. in 2008.

The business, under the direction of the husband-and-wife team of Jo-Ann Bueti Larizza and husband Rocco, gives back to the community by hosting regular wine tastings with proceeds donated to various causes. Recipients have included the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer, the Mount Kisco Little League, the American Heart Association, Magen David Adom in Israel, along with donating baskets and use of their wine room to various organizations in Mount Kisco and the Bedford School District.








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