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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Home Government Subject: West Nile & Mosquitoes; Comments: Biting

Subject: West Nile & Mosquitoes; Comments: Biting

At the Rye City Council meeting Monday night, Hen Island agitator Ray Tartaglione was at it again, and his comments were biting.

Tartaglione, known for his one-man band Hen Island antics with Mr. Floatie, charged locations in Rye have tested positive for West Nile virus according to his sources at the Westchester Department of Health. He was suggesting the City knew this and had not disclosed this fact. During the meeting Tartaglione refused to release any report or name his source inside the Westchester Health Department.

Tartaglione's vitrol included telling Rye Mayor Doug French "you are a disgusting individual who should be relieved of his position today" and then nailing the Rye City Manager with the comment "you are a liar Mr. Pickup."

Then today (Wednesday) Rye Mayor Doug French forwarded a report from the Westchester Department of Health detailing an inspection of Hen Island on July 19th where one batch of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus (although most of the report says all other things for the most part are in order).

Mayor French said "As you may know, the City relies on the County DOH [Department of Health] — as most local municipal governments do — to provide the necessary expertise and guidance on health and environmental matters to ensure the safety of our residents and acts accordingly based on their directives.  The complaints about sewage, potable water and mosquitoes were once again investigated by the County DOH and attached is the latest report.  Please contact the County DOH directly should you need further information or have any questions." The report was conducted in response to a complaint filed. One would have to imagine it was Tartaglione who complained.

This report aligned with a report of 17 cases of West Nile found in June and July listed in the Westchester County web site; three of the cases are listed in Rye (exact locations are not named). Further, Rye Nature Center head Christene Siller told MyRye.com yesterday "Westchester County monitors several locations throughout the area for West Nile.  Our site is one of several places in Rye where this monitoring occurs. There is no official report that I have been given by the County as to whether the Nature Center tested positive or not this year."

  1. “a report of 17 cases of West Nile found in June and July listed in the Westchester County web site; three of the cases are listed in Rye”

    Okay, so why does it matter who filed the complaint, whom Ray’s sources are, Ray’s position, the City’s position, Mayor French’s defense, YADA YADA YADA??????????

    The report CLEARLY names Rye……
    it doesn’t speak on the complaintiff, the Mayor, City Manager, Ray, inside sources, etc. etc.
    The report speaks on WEST NILE VIRUS!!!!!


    There is huge health risks involved here and all everyone wants to talk about is sources & Ray?????????

    You have all clearly LOST YOUR WAY!!!

  2. Mayor French along with the County Health Department once again is trying to make light of this situation and in many instances are lying to the public.

    That report is filled with untruths and omissions. The funniest one is the Health Inspector’s failure to disclose that they had to barrow mosquito repellant from island workers because they could not conduct their testing due to the heavy mosquito infestation present in the area where they were testing.

    The water storage compiled with the lack of maintenance on Hen Island encourages the breeding of Westchester County’s worst mosquito infestation in history. Anyone who has visited the Island could tell you about the horrific infestation.
    Hen Island is a 25 acre mosquito breeding site located in the epicenter of Westchester County’s West Nile Virus test result area. All 17 positive test results in Westchester with the exception of one located in Tibbits Brook park in Yonkers were centrally located within 5 miles of Hen Island. Mosquitoes are capable of flying 25 miles but are known to fly on average of 5 miles from their breeding site.

    Please watch the below video on how Rye’s Mayor French and the County Health Department headed by Rye’s ex City attorney Kevin Plunkett has been avoiding enforcement for Years. It’s still going on people and their actions are risking the lives of our children and seniors every day. https://vimeo.com/47034186

  3. Ray, you still at this meritless cause? Here, a helpful link where you can help another community that could use you!
    THE WIZARD OF OZ is looking for a group of 12 skilled dancers and singers engaged in an ongoing study of acting, music and/or dance to perform timeless classics such as “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” and help bring this national treasure to the Birmingham stage. The selected children will be from an existing group and will be based on the best overall group talent. No individual children and/or partial group will be selected nor allowed to audition.

    Ray, your time to shine!

  4. Make note of Mayor French laughing and Deputy Mayor Jovanovich making jokes during the presentation. It appears that they both think this issue is funny. The residents of Rye may want to make their own determination on how Mayor French, Deputy Mayor Jovanovich and City manager Pickup are protecting the health and safety of the public by watching this portion of the City Council meeting dealing with West Nile Virus.


    Every summer day, hundreds of unsuspecting children, parents and grandparents all, boat, swim, sail and play at camps and clubs on Milton Point and throughout Rye. Shenorock and Coveleigh Shore Club, American Yacht Club, the Rye Nature Center, The Rye Golf Club and the Green Haven home-owners association beach are all located less than a 1/2 mile from Hen Island. Mosquitoes typically travel up to 5 miles from their breeding grounds depending on wind speeds and wind direction.
    Hen Island is located at the mouths of Mamaroneck’s and Rye’s harbors and it is municipally regulated by the City of Rye. Last month Westchester reported the first positive test results confirming WNV countywide were found in Mamaroneck. A few days later, test samples pulled from Hen Island revealed WNV infected mosquito larva out there.

    For over 60 years Rye has permitted the 34 cottage home’s on Hen Island to ignore state and federal health laws requiring residents to be connected to either potable municipal water sources (already available to the island) or to approved water wells they could drill.

    For over sixty years Rye officials have also allow Island residents to fill in vacant areas of the island with debris that has floated in over the winter, leaves that have fallen from trees and left over construction material thus creating acres and acres of breeding sites on the island. Even though Mayor French, City manager Pickup and the Health Department are aware of these issues Hen Island remains exempt from regulations despite its shorelines being only 450 feet away from Rye’s wealthy Green-Haven and Milton Point sections.

  5. @Jay Sears

    “This report aligned with a report of 17 cases of West Nile found in June and July listed in the Westchester County web site; three of the cases are listed in Rye (exact locations are not named).”

    This statement is misleading. There have been NO reported cases of WNV in Westchester. What has been reported is that there are 17 different locations in Westchester were WNV has been detected in mosquitos. Big difference. The question everyone should be asking the BOH is how could WNV be so pervasive in Westchester’s mosquito population mean while no Westchester resident has reported falling ill to WNV infection. How could that be?

  6. Let’s see, within the city govt there is a movement to put sharrows on Forest Avenue to prevent “unpleasant and potentially life-threatening encounters,” before they happen.

    Yet, the city is (it seems) doing little to prevent the unpleasant and potentially life-threatening encounters Rye residents could have with WNV infected mosquitos, before that happens.

    What’s the difference?

  7. August 8th – “Further, Rye Nature Center head Christene Siller told MyRye.com yesterday “Westchester County monitors several locations throughout the area for West Nile. Our site is one of several places in Rye where this monitoring occurs. There is no official report that I have been given by the County as to whether the Nature Center tested positive or not this year.””

    Seeing the above – and Ms. Siller’s similar comments in the Rye Sound Shore Review I wrote to her on August 9th with the following:

    New York State Laboratory test results issued on July 30th (and that’s over a week prior by my count) for The Rye Nature Center for West Nile Virus showed the following:

    Collected on July 8th – positive for Culex pipiens-restuans – pool 20
    Collected on July 17th – positive for Culex pipiens-restuans – pool 55
    Collected on July 17th – positive for Culex pipiens-restuans – pool 10
    Collected on July 18th – positive for Culex pipiens-restuans – pool 60
    Collected on July 18th – positive for Culex pipiens-restuans – pool 40

    I believe Ms. Siller was kept totally in the dark – as were the parents of the young children attending her day camp last week. This is shameful behavior by Rye City Hall.

    If the county can provide these results to concerned private citizens by Friday August 3rd – why can’t our corrupt local government AT LEAST protect the most vulnerable among us – the very young and the very old – on a similar timetable?

  8. Jim Amico,

    Seems a little disingenuous that a man who makes his living in an industry that kills 1 in 6000 people would be horrified about the 1 in a million chance of being killed by West Nile. Why don’t we ban cars from Westchester first before we move on to much lesser threats?

    BTW, most of the 17 sites that tested positive for WNV are within 5 miles of Bob Schubert’s stagnant pond. Hmmmmm…… What’da say about that tedc? Is Bob Schubert’s pond ground zero?

  9. John,
    In an area where West Nile occurs, the longer you’re exposed to biting mosquitoes and the higher the concentration or number of mosquitoes at the location, the higher your chances are of acquiring the virus.

    Hen Island is Westchester’s highest concentration of mosquito infestation. Those mosquitoes increase the exposure rate of Rye residents tremendously.

    “We” (Rye residents) should not have to do anything. The City should issue violations, compel the Island owners and stockholders to remove the 33,000 gallons of roof collected bird feces infected, standing, stagnant water, drill wells or connect to city water, clean the acres and acres for mosquito breeding grounds where Islanders have been depositing leaves and debris that has washed ashore every year for the past 60. (The aforementioned should and will be their own expense)

    PS. The Schubert pond is an easy fix (mosquito dunks) and all the other ponds that Mrs. Parker was speaking about at the last city Council meeting are also not factors as the fish eat the larvae. . Let me know when I should start to convert my shop to horse stables. I would not want to be stuck with all that unnecessary equipment.


  10. Johnj – Schubert’s Pond is now almost entirely salt water – changed twice a day at high tide. Mosquitoes don’t breed in salt water. The previously vigorous fresh water stream diverted subsurface by the deep illegal backhoe excavations in the Gates’ upstream backyard wetland no longer feeds it more than a trickle. I got 50 years of history with the site so don’t bother with any more spinning.

  11. Tedc,

    No spin. According to yourself, a trickle of fresh water is constantly entering Shubert’s Pond. According to the BOH a cup of untreated fresh water breeds thousands of mosquitos and I’m sure it’s more than a trickle after one of the downpours we’ve experienced lately. So don’t try and spin it. There is untreated standing water in Shubert’s pond and right at ground zero of the 17 reported sites. I’m sure a walk down Forest Avenue at dusk on a nice hot,still humid day at dusk would be all the evidence I need.

    Mr. Tartaglione,

    The industry you chose to make a living kills one in 6000 people. All anyone has to do is think about how many people they personally know who have been killed in car accidents to prove my point. Everyone knows someone who has died from , or has been seriously injured by a car. I personally know at least 4 who have been killed and scores who have been hurt. As Peter Lynch once said, “the market is right in front of your face” and it is true with the market of death as it is with the stock market. Be truthful, do you know of anyone who has died or has been infected with WNV? I personally know of no one who has died from WNV or been infected by it and I know of no one who knows someone who has been infected by WNV. Stop the fear mongering and start acting like an adult.

  12. John,
    Ted is right, my bad, I forgot about the tide factor at Schubert’s pond. And the answer to your question is yes I do.

    My question for you is, why is Rye always the leader for positive test results in Westchester year after year? Should Mayor French and City manager Pickup be looking a little closer at this problem? Should 33 selfish Hen Island residents be allowed to raise risk factors for 15000 Rye residents? Do you live on Hen Island. If you don’t why would you not want to help make risk factors as low as possible.

    Maybe you can bring your fear mongering argument to this group of people that I have been involved with for a few years now. It is called West Nile Survivors and Supporters. See how you make out with them.


    Did you find the video upsetting?

  13. Jim Amico,

    You too are in the auto body industry, are you not? Ever question how deadly and dangerous cars are while you put them back together after they’ve been involved in a crash ? I think someone in your line of work see mosre crashed cars then most. Why aren’t you not outraged about the dangers of autos like you are about West Nile? How could anyone who works in the auto body business “have a knot in their gut” about WNV as they put their daughter IN A CAR to drive her to the doctors?

  14. Mr. Tartaglione,

    The reason you forgot about the tide tedc mentioned is because tedc is lying. You guys can’t keep your story straight. Remember when Bob Schubert told the Council that the only time salt water washed into his pond was on unusually high moon tides? Remember that? I’m sure you and tedc do remember that but that wouldn’t be good in defense of your argument. Bob Schubert informed us about that a couple years back but that doesn’t fit your narrative now. Remember when he said that the unusually high moon tides was no where near enough water to keep his pond full of water because of how infrequent it occurred? So now a constant trickle of fresh water flows into the pond, a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos.

    BTW, if you were such good friends with Mrs. Schubert and cared for her so much, why didn’t you already advise her to put mosquito dunks in her pond BEFORE WNV showed up or did you just use the Schuberts for your own agenda and forgot to keep in touch?