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What You Should Know About Sexual Assault On Campus

assaultAccording to American Association of University Women (AAUW) one in 5 women are a target of sexual assault. The last thing students and parents want to think about is sexual assault .... but unfortunately it's an issue that has become prevalent among high school and college students – affecting girls and boys alike. To address this sensitive issue before the class of 2016 heads off to college, the SHS PTA organized a panel of experts to speak on the issue on Thursday May 19th. Included were Laura Murphy from Westchester's DA office, Chief of Police Andrew Matturo, Sarah Dougan from Fordham University's undergraduate admissions office and SHS principal Ken Bonamo.

Murphy is the Chief of Sex Crimes and a prosecutor in the Westchester County District Attorney's office. All sexual assault cases that occur on college campuses in the county come through her office. After years of experience at home and in the office Murphy said, "I am more frightened for my 15 year-old son then I was for my two older girls". She explained that she has seen a lot of cases where girls appear and act older than they are so boys believe that are 17 or older and can therefore give legal consent to engage in sexual activity. However if the girl is underage, boys can be prosecuted for sexual assault. Laura also warned that if a girl is drunk or unconscious, she may not remember giving consent and suffer the consequences afterwards. According to Murphy she frequently encounters cases where victims do not remember what happened to them at the time and later want to file for assault. She says these cases are devastating because the victims often have blacked out from drinking and can't remember if they gave consent. Though you need to be 17 years old to give consent, under New York State law you only need to be 16 to be prosecuted as an adult. She also cautioned the audience that even though people think they have deleted photos on Snapchat, Instagram or other social media sites, these photos can be recovered and used as evidence in a lawsuit.

Sarah Dougan, the Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission at Fordham University spoke specifically about sexual assault incidents that occur on college campuses. She pointed out that 100% of sexual assault cases that have occurred at Fordham have involved alcohol. Sexual assault occurs the most during the "Red Zone" period between the beginning of freshmen year through Thanksgiving break. She explained that people typically drink more alcohol than usual during these first few months and so there is more sexual assault on campus. Alcohol serves as "confidence juice" for kids who are thrown into a entirely new atmosphere. Sarah suggested that when underclassmen visit prospective colleges, they ask tough questions about sexual assault and how it is handled.

Scarsdale Chief of Police Andrew Matturo discussed how the Scarsdale Police handles juvenile cases. He has been in the force for over 32 years and served as the detective youth officer. He encouraged those in the audience to feel safe about coming to the police with issues involving sexual assault. When it comes to juvenile cases the police take many factors into consideration including; the nature of the crime, age, criminal record, availability of social services, and recommendations from the victim, and the department focuses on changing an assailants behavior rather than on the punishment. Matturo encouraged the community to utilize the 411 hotline created for anonymous information for people to share or report on any troubling activity.

Last but not least Scarsdale High School Principal Ken Bonamo gave his insights into sexual assault at SHS. He focused on three popular student activities: senior spring beak, road rally, and prom activities and the dangers they pose to students. This year the SHS administration sent an email to parents about spring break to make them aware that not all students go to the Bahamas for spring break and parents should not feel pressured to send their kids to "Baha". In regards to Senior Road Rally, Bonamo received a list of the activities that students participated in last year to gain points. He learned that students who participated were required to photograph sexual and illegal activities. He was concerned that these photos could get released and have personal and legal consequences. Despite his best efforts to end this tradition, the event continues to take place. If it continues this year, he vowed to take further steps to prevent it from happening next year. To keep students at the Prom safe, the school has mandatory supervised busing for students to prom along with a school-run pre-prom event. These two changes have made the prom safer and the administration will continue to look for ways to improve it. Bonamo said that parents have varying ideas about alcohol consumption but it is clear to him that sexual assault at the High School is connected to the use of alcohol.

For more information on this topic visit the links below.

Links for sexual misconduct information/crime victim sites:

Links for digital disrespect/sexting issues/dating violence:

Greenacres Celebrates Colonial Day


On Monday, May 16th Greenacres 4th grade students learned what it was like to live in the colonial era when Scarsdale was founded. Students, parents and teachers celebrated their annual Colonial Day by dressing up in traditional colonial clothing and participating in various activities including churning butter and colonial dancing.

The fourth grade teachers Ms. Cooper, Ms. Deppert, Ms. Erigo, Ms.Mcdermott and Ms.Witmer did a wonderful job planning Colonial Day by having many different events for the students to participate in.

In one of the 4th grade classrooms students were able to see and participate in the processes of churning butter and spinning wool from a traditional sewing machine. Outside the classroom students were led through different colonial games and introduced to colonial dancing. A guitarist accompanied the dancers playing music of the era. Overall the day was a success as students had fun and were introduced to colonial culture.

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Local Expert Provides the Latest on Zika

gorobetzScarsdale's Dr. Susan Klugman is the Director of the Division of Reproductive and Medical Genetics at Einstein/Montefiore where they are now seeing pregnant patients at risk for Zika infection. She is an obstetrician with a specialty in genetics. Though she runs a general obgyn practice most of her days are spent in the Reproductive Genetics Department at Montefiore seeing pregnant patients whose fetuses are at risk for genetic disorders. She also see patients considering pregnancy, patients at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes and patients whose family members have genetic disorders

Since we have an expert in our midst, Scarsdale10583 asked Dr. Klugman for the latest information on Zika – and here is what she shared:

You recently attended a national meeting where Zika was discussed. Tell us what you learned?

The meeting was over a month ago and so much has developed since! Just last week, with certainty the CDC declared that Zika does in fact cause microcephaly. This is unprecedented! This is the first time that a mosquito bite is associated with a severe birth defect. We are keeping current through the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Centers for Disease control (CDC) and the NYS Department of Health. Plus at Montefiore we have a team addressing this issue. We have pediatricians, obgyns, pathologists and others on the team

What has been your experience with Zika at the hospital? Have you seen any cases? What advice are doctors giving these patients?

We are currently screening all patient who have had travel to one of the countries with known Zika and we are also screening pregnant patients who have been sexually active with partners who have travelled to one of the known countries on the CDC list. As of April 27,2016 there are 36 cases of Zika infection in pregnant women in the US. All of these cases are associated with travel outside of the US and 8 are sexually transmitted. Any positive cases at Montefiore are followed by an interdisciplinary team along with the Department of Health, as mentioned above.

At what point in a pregnancy can tests show whether or not a fetus has been affected by the virus?

This is a very difficult question to answer. We can tell if a woman has an active infection by blood and/or urine tests if performed at the appropriate time (i.e. close to the time of infection). However there is uncertainty as to whether or not a fetus is infected if a mother shows signs of infection. For example, an amniocentesis can be performed to look for Zika in amniotic fluid but even if it is found to be positive that does not mean the fetus is infected. Also, if a patient is positive for Zika and her fetus has microcephaly, we cannot assume with 100% certainty that the microcephaly is due to Zika. There are other causes for microcephaly.

Currently , it is believed that those patient with microcephaly had Zika exposure late in the first trimester to early in the second trimester. Patients who have Zika exposure are at risk for miscarriage and those exposed late in pregnancy make have poor growth or fetal death. In addition, there are many neurologic issues that may affect the fetus.

The CDC's recommendation is that women and men avoid pregnancy/conception for 2 months if they have travelled to an area with known Zika infections and men avoid conception for 6 months if they have had a Zika infection. Women with Zika virus disease should wait until at least 8 weeks after symptom onset before attempting conception. No data are available regarding the risk for congenital infection among pregnant women with asymptomatic infection.

Concerning travel, what are your recommendations?

Avoid travel to destinations where local transmission of the Zika virus has been reported (that means where infected mosquitoes have transmitted the virus to people) There are good recommendations for prevention on the CDC website if patient has to travel. 

When do you think a vaccine will be available?

This is unclear

How long do you think it will take for the situation to be controlled?

That is a very difficult question to answer. Hopefully there will be government funding soon to help combat the problem and research the options for control and possible elimination of the virus.

For more information please check the CDC website or call Dr. Klugman's office between the hours of 9 and 5 :914-287-7730 Tuesday and Thursday OR 718-405-8150, Monday to Friday.

An Outdoor Art Gallery in Fox Meadow

kestlemanpearlsIf you've driven down Hampton Road lately, you probably noticed some interesting artwork adorning the front lawn of a house at the corner of Hampton road and Olmstead road. No, it's not holiday decorations or pumpkins, the lawn sculpture is the work of artist, Simone Kestelman, who recently moved to the home and has enhanced both front and backyards with her work.

She calls the large, ceramic orange orbs, "The Beginning" and says they signify the seven days of creation in Genesis. And what about the string of white spheres hanging from the tree? Kestelman says these are a necklace, saying that "pearls for some are just what you wear when you want to look classy." For her the "pearls embody wisdom acquired through experience and are symbols of faith, love, harmony and new beginnings". The seven pearls that are unattached from the others are symbols of love, endearment, the holy day of rest, creation, blessing, females and the bride. Kestelman says the sculptures are weatherproof, but also fragile and strong at the same time.

If you're lucky enough to be invited behindkestlemanpetals the house you'll find the secret garden Kestleman created for her 11 year-old daughter. She made an "art" garden with ceramic flowers that bloom year-round and built a tree house that would be the envy of any child. Kestelman says, "creating art gardens with children means involving the kids in the design and evolution of the garden, working together to produce something unique. Nature facilitates more creative and imaginative play and creates a capacity for learning. More and more children today have less and less contact with the natural world. We had this problem since we came from a country (Brazil) where we had to have bullet proof cars."

kesstlemantreehouseKestelman's work extends far beyond her home. A multi-media artist, she works in glass, ceramics and photography using casting, fusing and a variety of finishing techniques. She has a studio on Westmoreland Avenue in White Plains that was converted from an old dairy farm. She recently showed her work at the Context Show on Pier 94 in New York. There she displayed two large works to raise awareness about violence against women and children. The work, "A Fairy Take Bride" will be included at the Glass Art Society at the Corning Museum, and she has upcoming shows at the Gutfruend Cornett Art exhibition who creates shows to highlight art as activism and at St. Mary's College Museum of Art.

Kestelman is a native of Rio de Janeiro, where she received a BA in economics. She trained in working with glass at the Corning Museum and has 30 years of experience working with glass and ceramics. Her work is currently in the permanent collection of the Newark Museum of Art and in private collections in Brazil and Europe.

The artist is represented by Glenn Aber Contemporary Art in Greenwich. Learn more about Kestelman and see her work here. kestlemanbridekestlemanshoes

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Expressions of Motherhood on Canvas

alla1Scarsdale artist Alla Goldburt-Annopolsky will show her work at a solo exhibit at Masterpiece Framing in Harrison from April 25 to May 22. This exhibition of 12 paintings is part of a larger collection of 182 pieces completed over the span of a year as a way for Annopolsky to connect her dual roles as a new mother and a working professional. "Going back to work full-time while still devoting myself to my son, I felt splintered," says Annopolsky. "Each day I collected fragments of thoughts and feelings. Each night I poured them onto canvas. With every painting I felt more whole, with renewed ability to experience love for my family and fulfillment in my work."

There will be a reception for the opening on Saturday April 30th from 6 -8 pm.

Alla came to United States from the former Soviet Union in 1980. She graduated from the Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has been painting all her life, influenced by her late mother, the Russian artist Berta Kuznetsova. Alla's artwork has been shown in numerous galleries, including the Museum of Russian Art in Jersey City. Alla continues to hold a full-time job in IT and paints every chance she gets.

We asked Alla a few questions about herself and her work and here is what she shared:

When did you begin the series of paintings about motherhood that you will exhibit?

AG: I started this series of paintings on January 1, 2002. At that time, as happy as I was in my new role as a mother, I also felt tired and sleep deprived, after going back to work. I no longer had the freedom to paint when I wanted, or as long as I wanted to, obviously. In my studio I was able to find peace, and the sense of accomplishment that I felt after completing a single painting motivated me to continue that painting journey.

-How many children do you have and when do you have time to paint?

AG: I have one son, who is 15 years old. During the time of the Art Marathon, I was painting at night after getting my son to bed. This was my time to invest in myself. Being a working Mom, I couldn't imagine doing anything away from my son during the time he was awake, as the feeling of guilt of being away most of the day was too strong. This nighttime in the studio became my escape. I no longer felt tired, I felt like I was walking on air once I began painting every day.

Now that my son is older, life is still busy but in different ways. I continue to find solace in my studio in the evening after most of the day's challenges are behind me. It continues to be my escape.

-How long have you lived in Scarsdale and what do you like about living here?

AG: My husband and I moved to Scarsdale in 1999.alla2 When we decided to buy a house, Scarsdale was at the top of our list. After coming to Scarsdale for the first time in the fall of 1998 around Halloween time, we fell in love with the area and, specifically, with the first house we saw here, which we purchased! We love the people and the sense of community. Through the years we have made very special connections. We also enjoy the proximity to Manhattan which we visit frequently.

-What are you hoping to convey about motherhood through your paintings?

AG: A mother at peace with herself can give a lot more to her child and to the family. People/mothers find their escape in various areas. I found it in art. Creating art helped me to recharge, and to reconnect with myself. I would like to share my experience with other mothers, those who might be going through challenging periods in their lives and those who have already found balance. I hope to encourage these women to continue to invest in themselves and appreciate art in the process.

Alla's website can be found at She also can be reached at

allaprofileThe Masterpiece Art Gallery hosts shows for local artists and provides framing services for the public. The gallery is located at 243 Halstead Ave., in Harrison, NY. More information can be found at or by calling 914-835-6686.