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So What Should I Get for the Person Who Has Everything?

valsoapOne thing that Scarsdale resident Valerie Neustadt never liked was picking up a slimy, used bar of soap in someone's guest bathroom. It felt, well, used. She finally decided that there had to be a more personalized way to treat house guests. Valerie had recently left a career in fashion and wanted to bring that extra touch to a rather mundane household item. Thus began her venture into the business world as she brought single use, olive oil-based, disposable soap chips to market under the name Valsey and Me

Valsey and Me all-natural soaps are 1" x 2" in size and individually wrapped so you can say goodbye to germs. (We all have those friends who are germ freaks.) They are packaged in an attractive, paper mache box of your choosing and can be personalized not only with your choice of font and ribbon color but with the customer's own message. Messages are as creative as the sender and Valerie is always happy to help. Popular customization examples include:

Happy Holidays!valseygifts
The Schwartz family

Please Take One!
Hazel guests

Casa Smith

There are eight unique scents from which to choose: Apple cider, lavender oatmeal, milk almond and honey, white grapefruit, strawberries and cream, cinnamon orange, lemon verbena and cranberry rose. You can mix and match the scents or order exclusively one.

Valsey and Me soaps have adorned bathrooms in the homes of celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, Reese Witherspoon and former NBA basketball player and Westchester resident Isaiah Thomas. The Chicago Tribune called these soaps, "the greatest housewarming gift since the potted plant." They have been featured by Hoda and Kathie Lee, Oprah, In Style Magazine and have been displayed at a number of high profile weddings.

If you are in search of something different for your favorite Scarsdale resident (who may seem like they have everything), teacher, boss or in-law, these wonderful soaps present beautifully. They also make for unique corporate gifts.

valIn honor of Valsey and Me's 10th anniversary, customers are being treated to 25% off all soap orders before December 20th. Just visit and enter code Holiday10583 at checkout. Be sure to check back in the new year as they will be launching all-natural, personalized liquid soap in early 2017. Stay clean!

Marine Unit Assisting Wayward Whale Rescues Man Who Jumped Off the GW Bridge

policeboatOfficers from the Westchester County Police Marine Unit, who were diverting a wayward whale back toward New York Harbor, rescued a man from the Hudson River Friday evening 11-19 after he jumped from George Washington Bridge.

Detective C.J. Westbrook and Officer Wilberto Saez had been working with other marine units during the day to safeguard a humpback whale that had headed up the Hudson River. The county police Marine 2 patrol boat stayed with the whale when it turned back south at the Bronx-Westchester border on Friday afternoon. The officers were keeping a visual watch and providing a safety zone around the whale so it would not be struck by another vessel as it headed back down the Hudson River.

As Marine 2 approached the George Washington Bridge at 5:22 p.m., the two officers observed a man leap from the span and plummet to the river below. They located him quickly, pulling him aboard the patrol boat before he could slip beneath the surface. The man was in cardiac arrest and the officers began to perform CPR.
Marine 2 brought the man to the Englewood boat basin in New Jersey where he was turned over to police and EMS personnel for continued medical aid. He was transported to a New Jersey hospital.

Scarsdale Runners Go the Distance in the 2016 NYC Marathon

megansimonfriendsThere were many current and former Scarsdale residents among the 50,000 runners from 120 countries who ran the NYC Marathon on Sunday November 6. It was a beautiful warm day, and these runners were exhilarated by the experience and shared their stories with us.

Megan Simon, a Greenacres mother of two also megansimonran her first marathon on Sunday. She trained using the TCS NYRR Official Virtual Marathon Trainer, a 20-week virtual program that was customized by NYRR for each runner and emailed her a workout plan for each day. It also provided helpful tips about the course, race day prep and nutrition. Megan was surprised by how much fun she had. She said, "No matter how much pain I was in I just wanted to keep going and I was smiling the whole way. I was also really touched at how all five boroughs come together to be so supportive. From Brooklyn to the Bronx the people were so amazing!! I was very proud yesterday to be a New Yorker running this race!" She continued, "I was inspired by all the amazing strangers that were cheering me on and the fact that my friends and family were at mile 19 and mile 22. The bands and music and enthusiasm were truly like nothing I have ever felt before."

marathoncheerScarsdale kids turned out at the train station to cheer their folks on. Pictured here, they were holding signs for Megan Simon and Gregg Monterosso.

Discussing his experience, Gregg Monterosso said, "This was my 4th NYC marathon and I am happy to say that I finished all four of them. I trained using an online training application for 16 weeks starting back in the first week of July. My training consisted of running 4-5 days per week and a pyramid of increasing mileage and then tapering down during the final two weeks prior to the race.

New York is always an amazing marathon experience...the people that line the streets make it an amazing day! This year I ran for Fred's Team, which is a fundraising team gregseidenfor Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and I raised over $3,300 dollars.

My sister in law passed away in June 2015 from breast cancer, leaving behind my brother(her husband) and two young children, sso this race was special to me this year. That is what kept me going this year despite a knee injury that hampered me during my training and also from mile 7 on to the finish on Sunday. I will absolutely do it again as I want to beat my personal best time of 4 hours 24 minutes.

Matt Hershey (SHS '09) and Greg Seiden (SHS '11) have been friends since they learned to walk but had no idea that they both were running their first marathon. They met toward the end of the course and were thrilled to finish together. Greg Seiden age 23 said he felt really good until the 20-mile mark on the Willis Avenue Bridge and pressed on to the end, even walking at times, due to the cramping in his legs.

Matt Hershey said he trained by doing short to medium distance runs before work during the matthersheyweek and long runs on the weekends. He was inspired to stay the course by friends and family along the way and a great playlist on his phone. He was surprised by how sore he was the day after the race but is already making plans to do it again.

Scarsdale High School friends Hannah Fastov and Julie Salzman, both ran their first marathons with the Athletes to End Alzheimer's Team. Hannah took a few practice runs with the team, but mostly trained on her own, increasing the length of her weekend runs and ultimately doing a 22-mile final training run.

She was surprised by how friendly all the runners were at the starting line which "relieved some of her nerves," and she make several friends along the way. Fastov said, "The crowds along the route were awesome, each unique and true to the ethnicity of their neighborhood. The music was a treat and a motivation to keep moving."

Julie Salzman says she's been salzmanhobbling on sore legs since Sunday and almost asked a man to give up his subway seat for her a few days after the race. Though she was athletic when she was growing up she only started running three years ago and also trained with the CaringKids Athletes to End Alzheimers team. She said she had no idea how difficult a marathon could be and her legs ached early in the race with the pain setting in at mile 17. She says she kept telling herself, "One more mile until I will see my family, a half a mile until my friends. I had to finish because I heard there would be incredible yet embarrassing, loving signs waiting for me!" She decided not to bring headphones and listened to the encouraging strangers along the way who fed her snacks to keep her going.

She ran for herself, her Grandpa Les and for all of the strong people on thannahhe team who have been affected by family members with Alzheimer's. Though she loved the experience, for now, she's going back to yoga.

We also received marathon photos from Andy Mayer and sisters Mei and Sue Zhou. Did you run? Send your photos and experiences to Scarsdsale10583 at and we'll include them on the site.


WeRun Club Sends Seven to the Marathon:

The WeRun club sent seven runners, two event volunteers and one cheering team to join the 51k runners and 2 million spectators from around the world. All their runners finished the daunting 26.2 miles run.

Meiliang Wu 3:08:52werun3
Lei Zhang, 3:35:25
Chen Zou, 3:40:41
Zhanjie Li, 3:41:36
Xiaohui Wang, 4:23:10
Aihui Li, 3:55:36

This was Lei's first marathon, he said he trained by following a plan from "Advanced Marathoning". "The second half is a lot harder than expected even with long training runs. The crowds, the friend, the family support and determination are main inspirations," recalled Lei, "the crowd is awesome! Too bad I missed a few friends when they yelled at me but it's a wonderful experience." "I would continue to run the marathon" added him.

Same feeling echoed by Zhanjie, who also ran it first time. "I run routinely 3-4 times for total around 25 miles every week. For marathon, extra long runs on werun1weekends are necessary to go long and experience the ultra distance, and at the same time build the necessary cardinal and muscle strengths." "I was surprised by the enthusiasm I saw from other runners as well as the cheers along the way." Zhanjie has been running for several years, "marathon is always the one task on my schedule. This one is definitely a long overdue one. I want to give it my best all the way to finish line." He continued "the crowds along the way are great. The supports and cheers they gave are tremendous." As to the question - do you think you'll do it again? With no hesitation "Yes, it's a tough dashing to the finish line but fun after your cross it."

For seasoned runner Chen, this was her third time marathon race. "I do not have much time to train. I normally train at the early morning or 9:30pm when my kids are in bed, and Sunday morning when they are in Chinese school." She said, "I am surprised by the "bonding" experience for my body and spirit. During the training and after the marathon race, I feel I am stronger, I can take more challenge in all aspects." "I am inspired to have a better me, and to show my kids the strength of persistence." She agreed that the cheering crowds are very very enthusiastic and encouraging, "the crowds give high fives, cheer, or provide food and drinks." "Yeah, I will do it again. I will keep it going!"werun2

One member from the WeRun cheering team, Tony, said "as a spectator, I've been to the events several times, cheering for family members, friends, colleagues and all other runners and always got inspired by participators and their lengthy training stories. This year, that feeling became ever stronger. Since joining the WeChat running club, founded by Westchester local Chinese residents earlier this year, I resumed my regular training, which have been stopped since college. For the first time, I feel I can be one of them, instead of just applauding for them. I believe that day won't be far away."
It has been a fun and fruitful year for the WeRun club. Their members practice every Saturday morning along the beautiful Bronx river trail. They exchange the training experience and race information, and as always welcome all seasoned and novice distance runners. For more information, email Lisa Tan at

Plans for Greenacres School Hang in the Balance

libraryThough there was welcome news at the Scarsdale School Board meeting on Monday night about new construction at many Scarsdale Schools, a solution for Greenacres seems to be slipping off the radar. Greenacres has been passed over for work in the last two bond referendums and the previous administration promised that Greenacres would be a priority for a May 2017 bond vote, which is now unconfirmed.

Superintendent Thomas Hagerman followed up on a community wide email sent out on Sunday 11-13 that questioned and dismissed many of the concerns and assumptions parents and teachers have about the aging school.

He said the administration is "Revisiting all of the assumptions and design options that have been discussed to date," which he defined as air quality, water and mold remediation, aging infrastructure and the Model School program.

He announced that there are no issues with air quality, water or mold and that several other district buildings are the same age as Greenacres, and therefore the age of the building was not an issue.

Addressing concerns about the size of the classrooms, he said that some of architect KG&D's numbers were incorrect and they are re-measuring the classrooms and will compare them to the size of classrooms in other schools. Though some believe the model program refers to the square footage requirements defined by New York State and national education standards, Hagerman referred to the model program as a comparison of the size of the classrooms at Greenacres to the three other oldest schools in the district.

He announced that some of the kindergarten, first and second grade classes are "among the largest in the district," and said, "if anything, the fourth and fifth grade classes are small." He said, "We are going back and looking at every assumption and will come forward with an updated report when that information is finalized."

A few Greenacres parents were present at the meeting and waited until the end to comment.

Jon Krisbergh of 107 Greenacres Avenue said, "When the pause for Greenacres was announced I was worried that the administration and the board were re-setting evaluation criteria because one of the options was wholly inadequate and because that option did not solve the problems for the district the problem had to be redefined. We have seen the dangers of false equivalency and the two options should not be viewed as equally viable. The four pillars discussed tonight are not the standards considered before the board heard from those opposed to a new school. Three of the pillars fall under one of the rubrics originally used, i.e. school conditions. I could be wrong but the model program is not just a comparison with other district schools but objective criteria taking into account state standards. To go back and undermine those standards now seems to be disingenuous. The feasibility study listed several criteria including:

  • Upfront costs
  • Building conditions
  • Educational adequacy
  • Operational and ongoing costs
  • Future expansion capability
  • Aesthetic considerations
  • Historical and community concerns
  • Safety and security
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability

I can't believe we are debating whether Greenacres needs or deserves updating
It sounds like we are going down a path where Greenacres will once again be left behind.

PaulinaReferring to the square footage numbers in the architects feasibility study, Paulina Schwartz of 17 Oakstwain said, "I pointed out that the number were wrong and its incredibly important that the numbers are right.... I hope that the people (who are re-measuring) know what they are doing. Lets put out a comparison chart that is right – and put out floor plans for all the schools. At a minimum, the other schools have maker spaces that are not on that chart. Plus you need to add the new Heathcote cafeteria and Edgewood's brand new library. These can't be added at Greenacres. And I ask – but you never answer me ... Who is doing this analysis? Are we getting a new architect? Are you looking at doing something different or are you looking at doing nothing? Make public where you are going with this. Board members: Hagerman is telling you how fantastic the conditions at Greenacres are. I ask the board members to tour Greenacres. Go without him. Talk to the teachers. He has told you not to talk to them. But they will talk to you ... especially the ones with tenure. You will see why two years ago Greenacres was seen as a top priority for this district. Talk about the safety at drop off and the issues with having kids crossing the street to go to the playground. Go see this school and ask yourself, "Is this a 21st century learning facility?""

Mitch Kahn 198 Brewster Road said, "KG&D made numerous mistakes. They can't get this right. This is incompetence. They have led us down a path. This is shameful. I can't believe we're here again. It seemed like the Board was ready to vote on a renovation and now we're told that Greenacres is fine. We were told that we needed air conditioning in the roof and now we're told to put it in the basement. The only thing that has changed is that people said, we don't want you to renovate with children inside. People got more vociferous. All of a sudden Greenacres is fine! Seems pretty neat and buttoned up. People in Greenacres know that we have been left out of the last two bond issues and that there is more work that needs to be done in the district. If something is not done for our school those things are going to have a difficult time passing."

Dr. Hagerman responded. "I gave a specific update. I did not talk about the future of Greenacres ...I did not talk about a change in our commitment to this work. I talked about a step in challenging the assumptions we are working with this. Teachers have never been told they can't talk about the school! About the conditions or anything else they want to. I want to be sure that we are clear and accurate about the language that we share. There will be much more to talk about Greenacres. We have not lessened our commitment."

Board President Lee Maude also spoke, saying, "Every board member has toured the school including the basement and the boiler room and beyond. We saw every part of that building. Get that fact out there."

Watch the meeting here:

Have a comment? Please include your name and we will post it.

Burglar Enters Occupied Kensington Road Home on Halloween Night

6KensingtonRoad(Updated November 2) Scarsdale Police report that a brazen burglar wearing a ski mask forced his way into a home at 6 Kensington Road through the back door around midnight on Halloween and went into the homeowner's bedroom where he was asleep.

There were a total of five people in the house at the time but they didn't realize that the man was inside until the homeowner woke up and the burglar fled.

The homeowners called police at 12:08 am on November 1 and officers were on the scene quickly. The suspect took a few items, but dropped them on the way out of the house. Detectives will send the dropped items to the Westchester County Crim Lab for DNA analysis and they are also reviewing security footage skimaskfrom videos of the home and the neighborhood.

No one was injured and police report that there has not been a burglary in Scarsdale since August 24th.

This special report is brought to you by Scarsdale Security who can protect your home and family with the latest security technology. Call them at (914) 722-2200.