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Top 10 Stories of 2011 in Pleasantville

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - In the short time of The Daily Pleasantville’s existence, many major news stories have unfolded.  As 2011 comes to an end, we are looking back on our top stories from the past year.  Here is our list of the top ten stories of 2011 in Pleasantville.

10.  Pleasantville Music Festival- For the seventh straight year, the Pleasantville Music Festival rocked the village with 20 different performers.  This year’s festival, held on July 8, was headlined by Marc Cohn and Augustana and heightened by a beautiful summer day.  Over 50 local businesses and vendors used the festival to set up shop and sell goods such food, clothing, and jewelry.

9.  Steven Spielberg honored by Jacob Burns Film Center- This past September, the Jacob Burns Film Center honored Spielberg at their 10 year anniversary celebration by honoring him with their 2011 Vision Award for his career of excellence in film directing and production.  Spielberg was later named as a member of the film center’s board of directors, which includes founder Steve Apkon and fellow Academy Award winning director Ron Howard.

8.  Westchester County leads state in rabies occurrences- In July, the New York State Department of Rabies Laboratory reported that Westchester County featured the most rabies incidents so far in 2011.  In Mount Pleasant, there were four rabies incidents during the month of July alone.

7.  J.A. Henckels announces move to Pleasantville- In early December, J.A. Henckels, the world’s oldest knife company, announced that they would be moving their United States headquarters to Pleasantville.  Previously, the company was stationed in nearby Hawthorne.  The knife company will move in to the abandoned Medical Laboratories Association facility building on Marble Avenue at some point in 2012.

6.  Smith tops Nonna in District 3 race- After the results were initially too close to call, Republican challenger Michael Smith was declared the winner in the District-3 County Legislator Race.  The victory was Smith’s first political race and was an upset over the two-term incumbent Nonna who was also the former Mayor of Pleasantville.

5.  Taconic tragedy lawsuits- Two years after the tragic wrong-way Taconic Parkway accident that took the lives of eight people, lawsuits were filed by surviving family members in attempts to place blame.  The ugliest of them all, Daniel Shuler, husband of Diane Shuler who was driving intoxicated and under the influence of marijuana, filed suit against Warren Hance claiming that Hance was liable since Shuler was driving Hance’s minivan at the time of the accident.  Hance lost three young daughters in the accident.

4.  Governor Cuomo signs tax cap bill- Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Pleasantville in late June to sign the bill that limits school and local property taxes from increasing no more than two percent a year.  The ceremonial bill signing was held in front of the house of Pleasantville residents Russell and Tara Klein.  The bill will prevent residents’ property taxes from skyrocketing year after year, but also places a responsibility on schools and municipalities to manage their budgets fiscally.

3.  Snowy October-   No one could have guessed that the first major snow storm of the winter season would arrive before Halloween.  For that reason, many were left unprepared in late October when over seven inches of snow fell and caused power outages across the village that lasted as long as a week.

2.  Hurricane Irene- Hurricane Irene- In late August, the storm that was deemed by many as the worst storm threat in the northeast in over two decades slammed Westchester County.  Major roads that run through Pleasantville, including the Saw Mill River Parkway, were closed for an extensive time due to flooding.  High winds also closed down the Tappan Zee Bridge temporarily.  During the storms, Mayor Peter Scherer declared a state of emergency in the village and urged all residents to stay in their homes.  In the aftermath of the storm, tens of thousands of residents throughout the county were left without power for up to a week and many residents were left with extensive flood damage in their basements.

1.  DJ Henry anniversary & lawsuits- In October of 2010, Pace University student DJ Henry, 20, was fatally shot by Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess.  In June, Hess filed a lawsuit against Briarcliff Wines & Liquors, claiming that they sold alcohol to the underage Henry which in turn caused Henry to strike Hess with his car and subsequently caused Hess to fatally shoot Henry.  Hess and his lawyer claimed that had Henry not been intoxicated, the situation would have never occurred.  This past October, one year after the tragedy, students and members of the Pace University community remembered Henry with a candlelight vigil held on campus and dedicated an entire issue of their student newspaper in his memory.

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