Thursday, February 28, 2008
The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg
Judge Rory Bellantoni’s Court Hosts Swearing-In Of 123 New Citizens
Last Wednesday afternoon, a large group of brand-new United States citizens were sworn in at the Westchester County Courthouse, White Plains, by County Clerk Tim Idoni in the presence of, and under the authority of, County Judge Rory J. Bellantoni. The naturalization ceremony took place in the Central Jury Room, filled with the participants and their families, more than 250 in all.
In addition to Clerk Idoni and Judge Bellantoni, each of the new citizens were greeted by Mr. Sam Zherka, Publisher of The Westchester Guardian, who had delivered a brief, encouraging and congratulatory address. In his remarks, Zherka described himself as the son of Albanian immigrants, “who came to America 40 years ago.” He explained that his father, now 80, was a superintendent of a building in The Bronx
and that, through hard work and modest living, he went on to purchase that building, and several others as well.
Zherka confided that, although born in New York, he did not learn to speak English until he was seven years old, in school. Congratulating the newly-sworn citizens, he told them, “You hit the lottery today!”
Amongst the new citizens was Karla Dinora Alvarado, wife of County Legislator Jose Alvarado, of Yonkers. She was sworn in, in the company of her husband and their three little girls. Alvarado took the opportunity to tell this reporter that Publisher Zherka’s remarks were “inspiring.”
Both Clerk Tim Idoni and Judge Rory Bellantoni encouraged the participants, each informing them that they were the grandchildren of immigrants. They encouraged the newly-minted citizens to sign on with both the Board of Elections as well as the County Clerk’s Passport Office, each of which had representatives present at the ceremony.