Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Influential
In our bucolic corner of northern Westchester, we have among us a wide range of dedicated, influential, and creative neighbors. They can be counted on to lend their time, talents, andresources when it comes to enhancing Bedford, Katonah, and Pound Ridge. We asked locals who makes the biggest difference in our community in 2016. Here is our final list of honorees.
William Abranowicz is a renowned photographer whose latest book, A Year In the Mianus River Gorge, brought attention to a cherished natural resource we have in Bedford that benefits greatly from his work. Abranowicz is a licensed falconer and avid environmentalist with involvement in local, regional, and national water, land, and climate issues.
Joe Lombardo has spent more than two decades leading the UN’s recovery, security, and logistical efforts in some of the most dangeroussites on the globe. Locally, he is a key member of the Katonah Fire Department and vocal advocate for those in need.
John Stockbridge is Bedford Town Historian, co-author of Images of America: Bedford, chairman of the Bedford Historic Building Preservation Commission, and a member of the Town’s Wetlands Control Commission. He serves on the boards of the Westmoreland and Marsh Sanctuaries, the Westchester County Historical Society, and the Friends of the Bedford Burying Grounds. Stockbridge is also ex-officio to the Bedford Historical Society and the Bedford Hills Historical Museum.
Colette Dow is president of the Bedford Central School District Board of Education, owner of the Pound Ridge School of Dance; treasurer of the Pound Ridge Business Association, Pound Ridge Partnership, and Pound Ridge Harvest Festival; member of the Pound Ridge Recreation Commission and Bedford Pound Ridge Baseball Association board; former co-president and treasurer of Pound Ridge Elementary School PTA; and co-teaches religious education at St. Patrick’s Church in Bedford.
John Farr is a movie curator who channeled his knowledge and passion into the website BestMoviesbyFarr.com, for which he is the resident expert on all things movies. He helped restore the historic Avon Theatre in Stamford and is the guiding force behind the renaissance of the Bedford Playhouse. His work to save and transform the Bedford Playhouse is crucial to the ongoing vitality of Bedford Village.
George Bianco restored Maple Grove Farm; served as chair of the Westchester Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy; co-chaired the Bedford Open Space Committee; was a founding member of the Westchester Open Space Alliance; serves/ served on the boards of the Bedford Historical Society and Rippowam Cisqua School and as Assistant Scoutmaster of Bedford Troop 129; and is an Eagle Scout, marathon runner and private wealth advisor in NYC.
Paul Zofnass is a committed environmentalist who is responsible for creating the Westchester Wilderness Walk, a roughly 250-acre preserve in Pound Ridge where he has built a ten-mile-long hiking trail that attracts hikers from throughout the tri-state area. He has served on the boards of Riverkeeper and the Westchester Land Trust and is president of the Environmental Financial Consulting Group.
Carola Otero Bracco is executive director of Neighbors Link Northern Westchester. A first generation American born of immigrant parents from Bolivia, Carola worked in corporate financial management before joining Neighbors Link in 2004. She passionately embodies the organization’s mission of strengthening whole communities through the healthy integration of immigrants. Bracco also serves as a board member of Northern Westchester Hospital, the National Council of Workforce Development, and Nonprofit Westchester.
Billy Fortin has been serving the Pound Ridge community as the owner of Scotts Corner Market and Blind Charlie’s Café for decades. He raises funds, along with the Policemen’s Benevolent Association, for local non-profits annually through the Pound Ridge Car Show and never hesitates to support the local schools and scouts whenever help is needed. He has also served on both the Pound Ridge Business Association and Lions Club.
Richard Gere & Russell Hernandez, who, as owners of the Bedford Post Inn, transformed a dilapidated eatery in the heart of Bedford into a breathtaking restaurant, cafe, yoga center, and inn, providing the town with its most elegant dining establishment and its only overnight lodgings. Hernandez is a local building contractor and has been active with Neighbors Link, Bedford Historical Society, and Bedford Pound Ridge Baseball League. Gere is a renowned actor and humanitarian activist.
Lee Roberts cares deeply about the Town of Bedford and showed her love of all things Bedford by serving as a town board member for more a decade. She then went on to become Town Supervisor for 10 years. In that time she oversaw the installation of the water plant and created environmental initiatives like Bedford 2020. In 2015, she was elected as a Town of Bedford councilwoman for another four-year term and appointed Deputy Supervisor.
Rabbi Jason Nevarez is one of the co-leaders of the Bridges to Community program that brings local interfaith teens and adults to Nicaragua annually for a transformative service-learning experience. He serves to foster a congregation of learners at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford, and currently leads the Northern Westchester Interfaith Council. He is also on the board of Bedford 2020, helping to lead sustainability efforts in the faith community.
Paul Alcorn is pastor of Bedford Presbyterian Church, co-founder of the Emergency Shelter Partnership in Mount Kisco which provides hospitality, food, and a safe place to sleep for those in need; serves as a trip leader for teens performing service work with Bridges to Community in Nicaragua and Dominican Republic; and co-founder the Northern Westchester Interfaith Youth program. His latest initiative is a scholarship program for financially disadvantaged students at Fox Lane.
Martha Stewart bought Cantitoe Corners, a 154-acre Katonah farm that was in varying states of decay and refurbished each and every building on that property, preserving it for generations to come. She has opened up her home and farm to local charities for them to hold their fund raising events and actively participates and contributes to Bedford’s organizations.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a world-renowned chef, restaurateur, and local resident who jump-started the renaissance of Pound Ridge when he took over the shuttered, yet legendary, Inn at Pound Ridge in 2014. His highly acclaimed food and attentive service draw legions of diners from the throughout the tri-state area to our vibrant little corner of Northern Westchester.
Stacy Albanese serves as a trustee of the Mianus River Gorge and is the current president of the Board at the Bedford Historical Society, where she has been singularly responsible for lifting the Society’s fundraising events to a entirely new level. Her creativity and dedication is what made the BHS 2016 Centennial celebration the success that it was and is responsible for the current outdoor photo exhibit, Outside the Box: Bringing History to Life.
Inge Brouard Brown founded the Katonah Gallery which became the Katonah Museum of Art. She was instrumental in incorporating education and volunteerism into the DNA of the museum and continues today to be an active part of the emeriti board of trustees. Inge’s energy, intelligence, and spirit inspire countless people to visit the KMA, to be excited about art, life, and living in the moment.
Donna & Phil Satow of Pound Ridge are the founders of The Jed Foundation, the leading nonprofit public charity dedicated, since 2000, to strengthening the mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention safety net for millions of students on college campuses nationwide. Donna was the first executive director, and Phil is a successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur and corporate executive and chairs the Board of Directors of JED.
Gretchen & Peter Menzies have added immeasurably to the vitality of the Katonah business district by transforming Little Joe’s Coffee & Books into a thriving business offering books, gifts, and of course, amazing coffee, and by opening the Katonah Reading Room, an uber-popular café and gourmet market frequented equally by the work-from-home crowd, families, teens, celebrities, and friends just seeking a fun place to meet up.
Paula Desperito has devoted her life to making the Bedford Village Free Library the place it is today. She also served on the boards of the Bedford Central School District, the Bedford Historical Society, and the Bedford Cemetery Committee for years, volunteered on countless school and community committees, and is the invaluable conscience of the historic district of Bedford Village.
Paul Aquilino is one of Bedford Village Fire Department’s top responders who has seemingly been an active volunteer firefighter for a lifetime. Aquilino will always show an interested child the fire trucks and can regularly be seen at the firehouse waving to friends and those who pass by.
David Worby is a composer, screenwriter, playwright, author, and a trial lawyer, perhaps best known for representing 10,000 World Trade Center rescue and recovery clients experiencing Ground Zero illness. He sits on the boards of the Katonah Museum of Art, Bedford Playhouse (where he is building the 40-seat Worby Theater), Avon Theatre Film Center, Kennedy Center for the Arts, Student Assistance Services, and Heroes in Transition.
Sharon & Sophia Silverman are a mother-daughter team. As a Bedford teen, Sophia convinced her family how important it was to rescue abandoned dogs from kill shelters. Her mom, Sharon, worked by her side, and with the help of a dedicated and active base of foster families, volunteers, donors, and community supporters, A New Chance Animal Rescue was founded in 2011 and has been able to save the lives of more than 500 dogs.
Ellen Conrad, Olivia Farr & Mary Beth Kass are the leaders and the heart of Bedford 2020.They are working to address climate change in Bedford and beyond by focusing on energy efficiency, renewable and solar energy, waste reduction, clean water, local food, as well as engaging schools, businesses, and religious entities.
Clive Davis is a five-time Grammy-winning record producer, legendary music industry executive, and inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who currently serves as the chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment. While much of Davis’s philanthropic support goes to NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and the Grammy Museum, we are most appreciative of his ongoing efforts to keep our local highway, I-684, litter-free!