Recognizing the Importance, Possibilities of STEM

Promoting STEM, educational outreach/Photo: Meg Kaufer

Promoting STEM, educational outreach/Photo: Meg Kaufer

Students in Mamaroneck High School’s four-year Original Science Research (OSR) choose a mentor for their own science projects or a more advanced version of a science project.

Max Schechter, 18, chose a mentor at The Rockefeller University’s Hoover Science Research Program.

“I’ve been working there the past two summers and will major in biochemistry,” the graduating senior said last week during a break from volunteering at STEM-tastic. “Right now I’m thinking pure academic science research yet that might change to more clinical.”

He might one day become a physician.

Editor-in-Chief of The BrainSTEM — a peer-reviewed science publication featuring articles written by Mamaroneck High School students — Schechter shared his view on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) outreach re the event and the New NY Bridge.

Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare explains that communication is key on major projects/NNYB Outreach

Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare explains that communication is key on major projects/NNYB Outreach

“The STEM Alliance (of Larchmont-Mamaroneck) came to our school looking for people to get involved with the event and with MHS Talks (roundtable discussions with students the Friday preceding it),” he said. Volunteers brainstormed ideas, reaching out to STEM professionals. “We really wanted people from the bridge project. They like outreach because STEM is alive and prevalent, and it’s important. I emailed (state Senator) George Latimer’s office, and was referred to Brian.”

Students appreciated that the panels were more than career discussions.

“We didn’t talk as much about the bridge; we talked more about the job of a communicator and how important it is to get people to talk with one another,” he said. “I didn’t realize how many professions it takes to do a huge project like that.”

Making a presentation at MHS/Photo: Meg Kaufer

Making a presentation at MHS/Photo: Meg Kaufer

Schechter feels people will think differently about the project in the coming months because now that the foundations are in place “you’re actually going to see the bridge come up.”

What does this future physician find most fascinating about science?

“It’s really nice to be exposed to all the things you can do with science and engineering and technology,” he said. “The bridge project shows there’s so much you can apply science to besides medicine, and it’s important for kids to know that science has other applications.”

This is why he believes educational outreach is important. “At Rockefeller it’s a lot of science outreach in terms of medicine and the medical research they’re doing. It’s really important to have community outreach for STEM and not just medicine.”

MHS is looking to start a STEM Alliance Club next year, and while Schechter will be at college, perhaps he’ll be asked to be a MHS Talks guest speaker.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Boaters: Take Extra Precautions Near Project Site

Observe U.S. Coast Guard’s Regulated Navigation Area and Safety Zone when boating this summer/© Janie Rosman 2015

Observe U.S. Coast Guard’s Regulated Navigation Area and Safety Zone when boating this summer/© Janie Rosman 2015

Because there are about 155 boats, barges and other Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) vessels in the river — making boater safety a greater concern now that clubs and marinas are open — project officials said this morning during a press conferences prior to the holiday weekend.

Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare emphasized the US Coast Guard’s Regulated Navigation Area 500 yards north and south of the existing bridge and the safety zone banning recreational boaters from a two-mile area along the Rockland shore where construction barges are located. Information is posted on the New NY Bridge website; link to it here.

“Boaters can radio U.S. VHF Channel 16” designated by the FCC,” Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) Safety Manager Jim Sixsmith said.

Calls are monitored by police and the Coast Guard and then routed to local channels. If a boater is calling for a transient slip, for example, a marina will route the call to another channel to keep 16 free.

boater-safetyLast August, six lighted channel markers were added to guide boaters to and from the Piermont shore; two more were recently added.

“It’s not people at the boat clubs in Westchester and Rockland they’re worried about because they’re aware of the dangers and the restrictions,” Hudson River Boat & Yacht Club Association President Scott Croft said. It’s the wild card, people who travel the Great Loop.”

Boaters take the route north up the Hudson in summers and south in the winters. “People find it helpful to be reminded,” Croft said.

Westchester County Police Marine Unit Lt. James Luciano and Rockand County Sheriff’s Marine Unit Lt. Dennis Stoll said both units added extra overnight patrols to monitor the construction zone.

“We encourage all boaters to keep their checked, take lifesaving classes and wear safety vests (personal flotation devices),” Paul Okura of Westchester Power Squadron said.

GPS trackingBridge Project Safety enhancements through the summer and beyond include lighted buoys around the barge moorings, eight channel markers including two additional markers for access to Piermont marinas, GPS tracking for TZC vessels and barges and an interactive map that shows vessel movement, high-tech security and patrols and extensive educational outreach with boating groups and marinas.

Effective May 1, 2014, anyone born on or after May 1, 1996, must complete an eight-hour boating safety course before operating a mechanically-propelled vessel in the state’s navigable waters. Those born before May 1, 1996, are exempt.

HRBYCA past-president Frank Bergman agreed its difficult to reach boaters who aren’t affiliated with local clubs or who come from other areas and don’t read the Local Notice to Mariners. The weekly bulletin is excerpted and in its entirety under Boater Safety Information on the New NY Bridge website. A LNM primer is here.

“There’s a stronger presence from Westchester and Rockland marine police since last year,” Bergman said. “They’re no longer adversaries; they’re keeping us safe.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Cuteness Alert: Falcon Chicks Naming Contest

falconsOne Pergrine falcon caught me spying on the nest today. What did I do? I went back to look at a later time.

Three chicks (eyases) were born in April, and project officials are having a Name-the-Falcons poll now through May 27 at 6 p.m. Names that draw the most votes will be announced next month, and schools that suggested them will be recognized.

falcons1The two females and one male were recently tagged with identifying bands by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) so project officials and the DEC can identify them and track their health and migration habits.

If you miss them during the day, then check the FalconCam archives, which show the nest at hour intervals.

Rockland and Westchester elementary school students put on their thinking caps to come up with 10 names. I’ve made my three choices. Have you?

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

No Toll Increase; Modified Budget Closes Gaps

No toll increases on Thruway system this year/Rani Levi

No toll increases on Thruway system this year/Rani Levi

The Thruway Authority Board approved a $1.9 billion spending plan today that closes a gap identified in the original 2015 budget approved last December. It includes more than $22 million in spending cuts, nearly $44 million in reduced debt service costs and no toll increases for any part of the Thruway system.

“The budget approved by the board today reflects the commitment of the Thruway Authority’s new management team to scrutinize all spending and to take a more conservative approach regarding revenue estimates,” Board Chair Joanne M. Mahoney said.

An estimated $750 million of the $1.285 million in bank settlement funds will go toward the bridge project. The Thruway’s modified 2015 budget addresses this year’s higher-than-expected winter-related costs and gives addition support to statewide capital projects.

The Thruway Authority’s fiscal year is January 1 through December 31.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Overnight Thruway Lane Closings, Traffic Stops

Note: The photo above is not the New York State Thruway

Note: The photo above is not the New York State Thruway

Three-lane closures on southbound I-87/I-287 from near Exit 11 to the bridge begin Monday (tomorrow) to Friday; roads will be clear for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Details about this week’s construction are in the May 15 press release.

The first lane will close at 8 p.m., second lane will close at 9 p.m., and the third lane at 10:30 p.m.; all will reopen the following day at 6 a.m.; Saturday at 8 a.m. One lane will be open at all times.

All four lanes southbound lanes will be closed periodically near Exit 11 Monday to Friday between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Ramps will remain open during this time. State police will be stopping and holding traffic before the lanes are closed so construction crews can move equipment from the right shoulder to the left.

Note that access to the Thruway southbound will be via Route 59 in Nyack from Wednesday at 9 p.m. until Thursday at 5 a.m. while the Exit 10 on-ramp is temporarily closed.

work map

The bridge builder is modifying the Thruway for the temporary toll gantry until a new toll plaza is built in Tarrytown. Five weeks ago part of the former police barracks was demolished to make way for a staging area.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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