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Scarsdale Rocks Back-to-School Fashion

wyatlily1They've been back in the classroom for about a month, and it finally feels like fall. That means it's time to cozy up to beautiful jackets, new boots and a surge of back-to-school fashions. Because warm temperatures during the first few weeks of school tingled with summer's giddiness, back-to-school shopping is experiencing renewed interest in the village these days. According to Rachel Uchitel, owner of Wyatt Lily, "'Back-to-school' started late, but it's really going strong – because it basically just got cold this week. A lot of my customers are coming in now looking for leggings, comfort wear and other really warm and cozy things."

This year, Uchitel is seeing a strong demand for personalization and individuality in clothing. She offers in-store monogramming with glitter letters or monochrome letters so kids can wear their favorite sayings, sport their initials or interject a bit of humor into their looks. wyattlily4Popular personalization among the pre-school crowd includes "King of Time Out" and "I only date models." Older kids have also hooked into the trend. One student running for school government cleverly designed a cute sweatshirt advertising her candidacy and asking for votes.

"Glitter letters for the girls can really spice up simple tops and bottoms to make them special," Uchitel said. Leggings – especially in fun colors, faux leather, or camouflage prints – are the bottoms of choice this season. They're comfortable, cute and can easily be worn with other pieces to create a variety of looks.

Because this season's palette of navy, gold, black and gray expresses a toned-down vibe, Uchitel looks for clothing that has fun embellishments and interesting details. Patches, this year, are especially popular. For wyattlily2ultimate style, she recommends keeping everything a bit sophisticated, rather than childish. "I've got some really great, yummy, slouchy hats with sparkle for colder weather. Everyone loves them. I've also got fur wrist clasps that work like a snapping bracelet. They're so great that parents are buying them for themselves as well as for their kids."

Skull motifs, in sophisticated tones of silver, bronze and gold, are a favorite at Wyatt Lily. Just like the fur bracelets, any accessory embossed with a skull has become popular among all age groups. This season, Uchitel recommends getting the look through key chains, mini purses or backpacks – for young ladies and mommies too.

Phyllis Samuels, a 25-year-long buyer for Neil's Corner Spot, neils1said, "Although back-to-school shopping starts as soon as the buses from sleep away camp return, it continues throughout the fall." Among the most popular items this season are patches and denim, she said. "We're seeing a lot of jeans – skinny jeans, torn jeans and patches everywhere." Patches capture a retro, 1970s-style vibe, but they have become especially user-friendly through pin-on versions and stick-on versions manufactured by a company called "Hipsta." In addition to accessorizing jeans with patches, Samuels recommends using them on sneakers, leggings, backpacks and flannel shirts. She said, "Flannels – worn open over tank tops – continue to be a popular look for girls – as well as grommets and lace-up everything."

Construction details – such as laces, grommets and studs – are wildly popular embellishments within the season's palette of neutrals. "This is not a very colorful season. There's a lot of gray and olive," Samuels said. Black – the uniform color of the 1990s – is also back in style, as evidenced by the wave of students wearing black T-shirts rolling in and out of Scarsdale High School at the beginning and end of each day.

neils3"Back-to-school looks for boys focus on comfort, practicality and, often, a certain sports appeal," Samuels said, "Boys want the same kind of comfort that girls have long enjoyed." She said fuzzy pajama pants and jeans made from French terry with stretch are popular for boys now. College T-shirts, jerseys with draft picks and sports shirts from all the popular New York teams remain favorites too – and Neil's has them all. Flannel shirts are another trend in boys' back-to-school fashion this season. However, unlike girls, boys wear their flannel shirts buttoned-up and un-tucked.

For the high school crowd, most trends trickle down from young pop-culture icons like Kendall Jenner, 20, and Gigi Hadid, 21. According to LF Store stylist Alianna Anselmi, some of this year's biggest back-to-school trends include embroidery on denim, suede and sweaters; camouflage tops and jackets; vintage looks; bomber jackets in every color and fabric; off-the-shoulder, choker tops that zip at the back of the neck; lace tops for layering; and satin slip dresses. The palette is subdued – black, gray and olive – but tempered by the feminine softness of blush pink and plum. "It's like a 90s grunge look but more fun, young and girly," Anselmi said. "Imagine a vintage looking, oversized black band T-shirt paired with a pink skirt ... or a sequined slip dress worn over a casual T-shirt, layered with a denim jacket and boots."

LF4Because of the season's wildly changing temperatures, fall is all about layering. "We do a lot of mixing and matching at LF. This way you can experiment and play with your clothes. You can be inspired by those trends that Kendall and Gigi are wearing, but you can also personalize a look to make it your own. I always tell girls they should never be afraid to try a new trend. They should never be afraid to be the first person to wear something new," Anselmi said.

For a great fall wardrobe, she recommends a mix of fun trend pieces and amazing classics. These include some recommended essentials. "You'll want to start with a really great pair of well-fitting jeans that you can wear with everything, then mix it up with some of this year's ripped styles," Anselmi said. "You'll also want a really good skirt that you can wear all season with tights and tall, thigh-high boots. I'd go for a beautiful suede or leather skirt that you can dress up or down." Other gorgeous pieces include classic leather bomber jackets, pretty bralettes for layering beneath loose dresses and oversized slouchy sweaters, and flannel shirts embellished with mesh panels, contrasting sleeves or hoods.

Chokers – in denim, leather, lace, suede and bejeweled LF1– dominate this season's jewelry trend and "are a great way to give a basic top a totally new look," Anselmi said. Suede baseball caps in army green, black, gray and blush are another hot accessory for back-to-school. Because these caps are both practical and cute, some girls are buying them in every available color. "They look really cool, add definite style to your look – and are great for those days when you're rushing out the door or didn't have time to wash your hair," she advised. Over-the-knee boots, which were trending last fall, have already gone viral in this year's scene. Anselmi said, "Tall boots in beautiful suede are great with short, chunky heels or flat soles. You can wear them with fall's shorter skirts to keep your legs warm, or you can pull them over skinny jeans for a really stylish look. Some versions are coming in with stitched embroidery details or a distressed look, which I think is great because you don't have to worry about the scuffing up the toes when you wear them."
LF3

Double Standards for Parking Near Houses of Worship

noparkingScarsdale10583 received this letter from a reader
Dear Scarsdale10583: I have lived near Hitchcock Church for over 20 years where both sides of Walworth Avenue and Greenacres Avenue are often lined with cars on Sundays, weekdays and evenings. As the church has a very small parking lot, churchgoers, congregants and nursery school moms often fill both sides of the street, making it very difficult to pass. The street gets so crowded that only a single car can pass, often causing a back-up.

I am also a member of a local synagogue and note that on the two high holidays of the year, streets adjacent to the temples are lined with signs precluding synagogue attenders from parking. On some streets, where parking is permitted on all other days, parking is not permitted on either one or both sides of the block. It's frequently difficult to park to attend services, requiring a long walk to the temple.greenacresavenue

Why are church attendees permitted to park on both sides of the street, while Jewish congregants are not? Shouldn't the same standards apply for all houses of worship? Please explain.

The Buck Stops Where?

the-buck-stops-here1It seems that the mismanagement of the 2016 village-wide revaluation in Scarsdale has raised questions about the overall competence of village management. Though most have focused their questions on the office of the village assessor, and John F. Ryan, the man who conducted the revaluation, some are also blaming village managers for failing to oversee the process and intervene.

At the Scarsdale Village Board meeting on September 13, Ron Schulhof, a member of the Conservation Advisory Council, the Scarsdale Forum and Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on LED Streetlights called for Village Manager and the Board of Trustees to be more transparent with information and decision-making and called on residents to become more active.

In blunt remarks, Schulhof questioned the accuracy of the information and recommendations the Board of Trustees receives from Village staff and asked the Board to "micromanage" until confidence is restored. He asked the Board of Trustees to allow the public access to meetings where decisions are made that lead to the resolutions that are passed at the public meetings. He also wanted all the information the trustees review before meetings to be available online.

Schulhof likened Village Manager Steve Pappalardo to the CEO of Scarsdale and asked him to take public responsibility for what happened with the revaluation. He said, "Up to this point, he's been quiet, has barely said anything meeting after meeting. This community will not have confidence restored in village government until he takes responsibility. I want to hear Steve say "I take full responsibility" and I want him to mean it. "

As for residents, Schulhof asked them to get involved, attend meetings and push for more information.

Following Schulhof's remarks, rather than offer a defense or pushback, the Mayor simply said, "Mr Schulhof I agree with you – thanks for your comments."

For his part, later in the meeting, Village Manager Steve Pappalardo responded to Schulhof's request to take responsibility. He said, "I want to respond to Ron's statement. As the Village Manager and CEO, I take my responsibilities for village oversight very seriously. I have never shied away from that responsibility-– and had that same approach during the many years I served as Deputy Village Manager, which is, I believe, one of the reasons I was promoted. The 2016 revaluation was undertaken with the best intentions to maintain the property assessment as close to 100% market value as possible. The execution of the project was not what was expected. And even though it's not my responsibility as CEO to micromanage capital projects, and I do rely on the department heads, I accept the ultimate responsibility of this administration. I have been working with the staff toward achieving fairness and equity in tax assessments. The Mayor presents his reports. I have been quiet; but we work closely with the Mayor – so when he is speaking and talking about what is happening -- even though I am quiet, I am intimately involved and he is speaking for the board and its managers."

Though the Mayor and Village Managers had originally maintained that the Assessor's office was independent, they ultimately did take the fall for the assessor's actions.

It was a humbling moment for everyone in the room. See the meeting here or read Schulhof's full remarks below.

What do you think? Please enter your thoughts in the comments section below.

From Ron Schulhof:

Addressing the issues in our Village Management

Like most in the community I have been following the Reval proceedings over the past several months. I am not going to talk about the Reval itself tonight, but rather what we learned about our Village operations, the issues that exist and what I believe we can do to fix these issues.

What troubles me most is that all of the issues about our operations only came to light because the Reval was a project with high visibility and there were a number of residents who pushed through all the barriers to get at the truth. But what about all the other aspects of our operations and all the capital projects that also impact us but aren't so visible. How do we as a community have any confidence that all these aspects of our annual $50M budget are being properly managed? Whether you were for the Reval or against, happy with the outcome or dissatisfied, I think we can all agree there has been an erosion of confidence in our Village Management. The question of what to do about the Reval will continue, but it's also time to address how we make the necessary changes to our Village operations to ensure future decisions and projects are managed properly. Here is what I think we need to do.

The Board of Trustees
Management: Most of the decisions you make are predicated, at least in part, by information, analysis and recommendations provided by our Village Staff. I think until now it was assumed this information could be taken at face value. No more. There can be no assumptions on Village-prepared materials. Everything must be critiqued now. Until our confidence is restored, you will need to micromanage.

Meetings: Often there is information presented or topics discussed outside of this room; whether it is during the 7:30pm agenda meeting or in other forums. More discussion between the seven of you needs to be happening on this dais during public board meetings. Too often you explain why you made a decision at board meetings; instead you need to allow the public to hear your thought process before a decision is made to help us be more involved in the process. There is a time and a place for meetings and discussion outside of the bi-weekly board meeting, but too much has been shifted away from the public eye.

Public Information: The packet of information you receive on Friday before board meetings needs to be made public. We need more than seven sets of eyes on this information. For those who aren't aware, the Friday before each Board meeting the agenda of the upcoming meeting is posted on the Scarsdale website. The Board, however, receives an additional packet with information related to Village decisions and projects.

What I'm asking for is more transparency and until confidence in the Village is restored, more oversight of operations.

Residents
Be Present: We need to be present. That doesn't mean we have to be at every meeting. But at key junctures such as during the budget process, we need to be there. I will use the budget process, which drives so much of what happens each year in the Village, as an example. While there have always been presentations of the preliminary budget for residents, by the time we're presented with this information, it's effectively too late for change. We need to be at the meetings where the department heads present to the Board. This is where decisions are made. By law these meetings are public. They're long, almost all day, but we can divide up the time and ensure we're involved in the decision process. And if need be, provide the Board with key questions they may not have asked.

Be Heard: We need to continue voicing our thoughts. If you have an issue, a question, a suggestion or a constructive criticism – you need to voice it. And you need to voice it to the Mayor and the Board. You may have sent something to the Village Manager or a department in the past, but if you really want to be heard it needs to go directly to the Mayor and the Board.

We've seen what being present can do. If residents hadn't come to all these meetings, pushed for more information and stuck with their convictions, none of the issues with the Reval and our Village operations would have come to light. Now we need to continue doing it with projects at the outset to position us for success.

Village Manager
Responsibility: Our structure of village management is similar to that of a typical corporation. Instead of a Board of Directors we have a Board of Trustees. The Board sets high level policy and provides high level oversight. However there is no expectation that the Board will scrutinize every detail of daily operations. This is why we have a paid Village Manager, our CEO of the Village. This is Steve Pappalardo's role. It is the Village Manager that is responsible for the day to day operations of our Village and the implementation of the Board's policy decisions. And just like with the CEO of a company, the buck stops with the Village Manager. The execution of this Reval wasn't just a failure of our Assessors Department; it was Steve's failure too. Every department is HIS responsibility. When they succeed, he succeeds. And when they fail, he fails. We've had a major failure. And now we have a crisis of confidence. We need to know that he understands this on him. We need our Village Manager to publicly take responsibility. Up to this point, he's been quiet, has barely said anything meeting after meeting. This community will not have confidence restored in Village government until he takes responsibility. I want to hear Steve say "I take full responsibility" and I want him to mean it.

Moving Forward: Then we then need to hear his plan on what he is going to do going forward to ensure something like this doesn't happen again. Not just for the Assessor office but for all departments. Maintaining the status quo is not acceptable. I remind everyone, we've only scrutinized one department. What if we had looked in this level of detail at another part of our operation; a department, a capital project, a recommendation to the Board? We need to have confidence that if we start FOILing all the other departments that we won't find similar issues. We spend $50M every year on operations and capital projects; we need to know our Village Manager has his finger on the pulse of all departments and major projects.

This all needs to happen not with just the Board, not at a 7:30pm agenda meeting that isn't televised, but in this room at a public board meeting.

The last few months have brought to light a number of significant issues in how this Village is run. I hope we can look at these issues and work together to solve them. Thank you.

Ron Schulhof

 

Board of Trustees Continues to Deal with Fallout from 2016 Revaluation and more from Village Hall

hyattparkaThe Scarsdale Board of Trustees continued to consider a range of issues surrounding the 2016 revaluation at their meeting on Tuesday night September 27. Members of the audience brought up their own assessments, called for Village Assessor Nanette Albanese to be dismissed and questioned the decisions of the Board of Assessment Review.

Here is what was discussed:

Equalization Rate:
First, the Village has retained a consultant to consider a challenge to the 89.06 equalization rate that was assigned to Scarsdale. They have hired Mr. Laurence Farbstein of Latham New York to review property assessments to see if Scarsdale can be assessed at 100% of market value rather than 89.06. The Board will consider a formal appeal of the equalization rate after they hear back from the Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPST.) If the rate remains at 89.06, Scarsdale's portion of the county tax could go up, but that is yet to be determined.

Phase-In of Tax Increase:
The Scarsdale Town Board of Trustees will consider proposed legislation to phase-in real estate tax increases for qualified residents over a three-year period. The legislation, which would need to be passed by both the NYS State Legislature and Senate, would spread the impact of tax increases over three years to ease the burden on those hardest hit.

Greenburgh passed similar legislation following their recent revaluation and opted to allow those who had more than a 25% increase and were STAR eligible to qualify for the phase in. To be eligible for STAR the subject must be the homeowner's primary residence with a combined family income of less than $500,000. Qualified residents must also have a certificate of occupancy, be up to date on their taxes and have no changes in the value of their homes due to physical changes in the property.

However, the savings for qualified residents would mean an increase in the burden for the balance of taxpayers in Scarsdale. The Village staff did some estimates and found that only 128 households would be eligible for the phase in, which would mean that on average, the balance of taxpayers would pay $92.92 more in year one and $46.40 in year two.

The Board of Trustees will consider the resolution at a future committee meeting on October 13 at 6 pm when there will be opportunity for the community to provide feedback.

Hyatt Park Comfort Stations:
In other business, Deputy Mayor Marc Samwick, speaking for Mayor Jon Mark, relayed that $2,000 worth of damage had been done to the new bathrooms at Hyatt Field Park which were vandalized. The village will undertake repairs, and in response to an article on Scarsdale10583 about the fact that the bathrooms are locked and only available for use by Scarsdale residents who buy a key fob, will also reach out to the neighborhood for feedback to see if that policy should be changed. They will consider leaving the bathrooms open during the day so that everyone in the park can use them.

Speaking during the public comments portion of the meeting, the following people commented.

Petition to dismiss the Assessor:
Bob Harrison read a statement from Mayra Kirkendall Rodriguez introducing a petition to dismiss the assessor that is posted beginning on page 80 of the agenda of the Setpember 27 meeting on the Village website and has 130 signatures. The statement calls Albanese "unfair" and "rude," and says she "derides residents" and was too "cozy" with J.F. Ryan.

Bob Berg offered the following comment:

The proposed Resolution to Seek Authorization from the Legislature to Phase In the Ryan Reval Tax Increases for Certain Qualifying Property Owners is a really bad idea.

The resolution seeks to put a small Band-aid on a gangrenous limb that, instead, needs to be amputated. The fatally flawed Ryan reval needs to be invalidated – not triaged.

If you are going to seek special legislation for Scarsdale from the State legislature and the Governor, then ask for meaningful legislation. Ask the legislature to allow the Village to annul the Ryan reval because it completely failed to meet the goal of assessing properties at 100% fair market valuation.

Lobby the legislature to give the Office of Real Property Tax Services enforcement authority to make sure that municipalities conduct revaluations properly and to give the ORPTS the power to void them when they don't.

Use our political capital wisely to move towards the goal of the equitable distribution of Scarsdale residents' outrageous tax burden. Don't use it to foist the tax burdens of one small group of residents onto the backs of the rest of Scarsdale taxpayers.

You seem to be fond of doing that – twice in the last four years you have perpetuated the massive tax break that Christie Place condo owners get every year at the expense of every other owner of residential property by unanimously refusing the adopt the Homestead Tax option in connection with each of the two revals.

And you are considering doing so again with this ill-conceived proposal.

Scarsdale residents want our properties to be valued fairly so that the property tax burden is distributed fairly. We don't want to create special tax benefits for Christie Place condo owners and for certain STAR eligible property owners who have been hit hard by the Ryan reval.

We have all been negatively affected by the Ryan reval, even if our property values were decreased. Confidence in our Village government has been decimated. Capital projects requiring bond referenda are in serious jeopardy.

After three months of community uproar over the disastrous Ryan reval, you remain tone deaf to the community chorus. Forget this ridiculous resolution. Ask the legislature to allow us to invalidate the Ryan reval and reinstate the 2015 assessment roll.

Ron Parlato questioned the qualifications of people who are on the Board of Assessment Review. He argued that he "doesn't think the BAR has the tools the need. He said, "They need professionals to make these decisions. I don't agree with their decisions. I think we need the proper people to help the BAR."

Parlato continued, "I received an appraisal of $4.8 million – but the BAR brought mine down from $6.2 million to $6. Now I have to go back to the court and split the savings with an attorney."

He complained, "The assessor is ignoring the deed restrictions on properties in the Heathcote Association. The assessor is ignoring us, why?"

He also questioned the salaries paid to the people who work in the assessor's office and the number of people who work there. He asked if the assessor's salary could be reduced for failures on the job. He told the Board that Nanette Albanese, the Village Assessor, had a "bad slant" on the wealthy residents and should be dismissed. "Get rid of a person in this town who has destroyed the fabric of our real estate."

Norm Bernstein told the Board that if they considered phasing in the tax increases for qualified residents they should also phase in the tax decreases for those who received reductions. He said that he would consider suing the Village if they only gave the benefit to those whose taxes had gone up more than 25%.

The Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees is also seeking candidates to fill the following vacancies:

The Personnel Committee of the Village Board of Trustees has announced vacancies on the following Boards/Councils/Committees:

Board of Architectural Review
• Cable Television Commission
• Conservation Advisory Council
• Advisory Council on Human Relations
• Scarsdale Arts Council
• Ad-Hoc Committee on Communications – New Committee -Submission Deadline for this
Committee is Friday, October 7, 2016

 

Trustee Jane Veron, Chair of the Personnel Committee, encourages residents to apply for these positions by submitting their names, together with a listing of community service and relevant professional background. It is also helpful for Scarsdale residents to recommend other residents for consideration. Applications may be submitted in one of two ways:

 

• Via the Village Website – At www.scarsdale.com, click "read more" under
* Volunteers Needed for Boards and Councils (located under Village News on the home page). Then scroll down and complete the on-line application form, following the on-screen instructions.

 

• Via Village Hall – Applications are available in-person or online and should be directed to Trustee Jane Veron at Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, Scarsdale NY 10583.

 

To review the guidelines for membership, terms of office, and member responsibilities for Scarsdale's Citizen Boards, Councils, and Committees, visit the following link: http://www.scarsdale.com/Default.aspx?tabid=199

 

Please contact the Village Clerk, Donna Conkling, at 914-722-1175 or via e-mail dconkling@scarsdale.com for further information.

Senior Chalking Day at SHS

chalk1On Wednesday morning September 7 students came together at the Brewster Road entrance of SHS for Senior Chalking, an annual event for the senior class and their first opportunity to show its solidarity and school spirit. The festivities of the day included not only chalking, but also a "gridlock" before homeroom, during which the grade gathered in a hallway to cheer and celebrate. Additionally, each wore his or her senior T-shirt, which, commemorates the year of graduation with a punny slogan; this year's said "OUR BIG EX17." In honor of the fact that this year's senior class will be the school's 100th graduating class, the front of the shirt incorporated a "100" graphic design.

The morning was sunny and bright despite forecasts chalk8of rain, and, as seniors arrived at 7am to chalk, excitement was building. Many groups gathered to draw with their friends in pavement squares, but additionally, for the first time as suggested by the student government, the senior class collaborated on a giant design in the middle of the walkway. The class decorated the central pavement square with both the numbers 2017 and the names of all the students who participated in chalking. While in past years, school administrators, teachers, and students have complained about exclusive attitudes, this year, all of the seniors seemed willing to help each other, be it for the collective design in the middle or any other drawing. By the time kids of other grades began to arrive for class, the walkways up to the doors of the high school were covered in brightly colored drawings and slogans created by friends, teams, and clubs. The whole event was fun for everyone involved, and succeeded in getting the grade excited for its last year together in the high school.
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