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Kids signing the benchJust before Christmas vacation Heathcote Elementary School students were given the opportunity to get involved with the school's new construction project. They were invited to sign a rafter that will be used in the new multipurpose room. The names of the current Heathcote students will forever be a part of the elementary school's new multipurpose room.

On December 20, Nancy Barbera, Project Executive from Savin Engineers and liaison to Heathcote Elementary, asked Heathcote students to sign a roof rafter that will be used to support the new multipurpose room. She came up with the unique idea to have their signatures be a "time capsule" of the project. 

(Photo credit Laura Halligan)

Bench signatures  Chris Casal Tech teacher 


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basketballThe Scarsdale Girl's Basketball team is used to blowing leads. Of the six games last season where the Raiders were leading into the third quarter, they won less than half. So during their game on December 18 against Suffern, when the score was tied at the half, it would have been easy for the team to accept an inevitable loss. The Raider lost to Suffern last season and it was an important test for this year's team.

"We have a solid group of veteran players. We just need to figure out where everyone fits, mesh in the way that we play, and get a few wins under our belt", said Senior Guard Audrey Shaev. The team returned all but three players from last year, losing Seniors Ashley Barletta, Emma Coleman, and Jordie Cohen. With a win, the team would differentiate itself from last year's roster. The Raiders lost their first two games of the season, one against the dominant section champions Ossining, and the other against an unfamiliar team from the New York City Catholic League.

A win against Suffern would provide a good basis to establish Scarsdale among Section 1 opponents. Going into the first quarter of the game, Senior Forward Lily Steckel emphasized the importance of consistency. "Usually we play well after we get on a roll, but for this game we wanted to make sure that we executed all 32 minutes." This attitude was evident in the first quarter, as Scarsdale went up early leading 15-7 going into the second. However, Scarsdale's lack of defensive intensity and inability to finish open shots allowed Suffern to tie the game at the half 20-20.

Coming into the third quarter, the girls' mentalities were altered. "We all wanted to win so badly, and we knew that if we didn't take advantage of the third quarter we would get blown out" said Sophomore Kayla Maroney. After a series of exciting runs by both teams, the score was 36-29 for Scarsdale going into the fourth. The team continued to capitalize on the efficiency of the veteran offense, led by Mancini, Steckel, and Shaev. The final score of the game was 52-37 Raiders. With this win, the team improved its record to 1-2.

On Wednesday 12/20 at 4:30 pm the girls will play Clarkstown North away and look to continue to prove themselves as a formidable opponent in league and section play. Support the Raiders at home on Friday 12/22 at 4:15 against Section rival North Rockland.

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santatruckAs the skies darkened on Friday evening December first, Scarsdalians gathered in the village center to ring in the holiday season at the Light the Dale celebration. People of all ages had the opportunity to grab a hot dog from Walter's truck, sip hot chocolate courtesy of Lange's, browse the local stores that extended their hours, and listen to Christmas carols beautifully sung by some talented Hoff Barthelson students. Children even had the opportunity to make some festive crafts.

Excitement filled the air when Santa, himself, arrived in on a fire truck. Children quickly crowded around Santa to have the chance to meet him and take a photo.

Around 5:30, there was a drawing to select the name of a lucky kid to help Mayor Dan Hochvert turn on the Christmas tree lights. After a name was picked, the lights were turned on and the holiday season officially began.


Overall, Light the Dale was a huge success and set the tone for a joyful and celebratory holiday season in town.

Photos and text by Samantha Blieden.

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PesticideSignPatricia (Patti) Wood, a leading expert on the environment and related health issues, will address Forum members at their meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2017 in the Scott Room at the Scarsdale Library. Refreshments will be available at 7:30 pm and the meeting will begin at 8:00 pm. The program is open to the public..

Ms. Wood's presentation will focus on health concerns raised by the significant and growing use of pesticides by homeowners and landscapers in their quest for the "perfect" lawn. A growing body of science has linked exposure to these chemical toxins with a myriad of serious human health problems, harm to wildlife and their habitats and the degradation of our water supplies. As Ms. Wood will explain, pesticide-free, natural lawns are living ecosystems, capable of sequestering carbon in their biomass, recharging and filtering rainwater and pollutants, and cooling ambient temperatures. Advances in soil science and natural lawn care product development in the past few years can produce that weed-free, dense lush turf that can satisfy even the most ardent lover of lawns.

Ms. Wood is a founder and executive director of Grassroots Environmental Education, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the relationship between environmental exposures and human health risks. Grassroots serves local and state governments, health care providers, school systems, community groups and other environmental groups and individuals nationwide.

She is the author of two books on health-related environmental issues The ChildSafe School and Helping to Heal; was a co-producer of Our Children at Risk, a thirty minute documentary film which explores the latest scientific research linking environmental toxins to children's health issues, and The BabySafe Project, a program designed to educate pregnant women about the potential risk to the developing fetus from exposures to wireless radiation; and was the co-creator of the web-based initiative, which addresses climate change, sustainability and environmental health on a local level. Ms. Woods has received numerous awards from government entities and private organizations for her work on these issues.

A Visiting Scholar at Adelphi University, Ms. Wood lectures on the environment and related health issues in the College of Nursing and Public Health. Ms. Wood is also a guest lecturer at SUNY Stony Brook, Pace University and Hostos Community College.

Commenting on Ms. Wood's planned program Darlene Lefrancois-Haber Co-Chair, along with Michelle Sterling, of the Forum's Sustainability Committee, said "We are delighted that Patti Wood is bringing her expertise to the Forum. We look forward to the opportunity to learn from a leading proponent of environmentally healthy living and hope to see many of our members and others from our community at the presentation on December 14th."

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questionmarkGreenacres parents received a letter about a finding of mold in the basement and classrooms at Greenacres Elementary School, just as the kids were being dismissed for Thanksgiving on Wednesday November 22, 2017.

The note explained that extensive testing of both the occupied and unoccupied portions of the building had been done on two dates in October and that mold had been found in the basement, Learning Resource Center, two classrooms and the Teacher's Lounge. The district said the mold would be remediated during the Thanksgiving Holiday and the school would be ready by the following Monday.

On the agenda for the Board of Education meeting for Monday night November 27 was a SQRA review for the proposed 2018 bond referendum that includes a large addition to Greenacres School, leaving much of the infrastructure of the old portion of the school intact.

Several Greenacres parents attended the School Board meeting and commented on the mold findings, questioned how the mold remediation would be done and asked how the school would be safeguarded in the future.

Michelle Sterling of 6 Brayton Road thanked the district for doing the mold testing. She said, "It is good to get the results. We have smelled it – there have been hunches.
My daughter is in one of the classes where the mold was found. We are looking forward to getting the new test results."

She said, "There is mold in the school. The kids are breathing in mold spores and it's not a good thing. I think we can all agree on that. I am not an expert in this area.
It would be good to see the 2015 testing that was done. I did not see it on the district website. Was there testing done between 2015 and now in the past 2 years? If there was, please release it so we can look at it."

She continued, "Because I am a lay person, it would be really helpful to have an expert come so that we can ask the expert about this report and about these results. I don't have a friend to go to who is an expert in this. What do the ranges mean? What does a moderate probability mean? That's open to interpretation. What do these tests really mean? To be honest, these are disconcerting. I don't want any kid to breathe in mold spores. They cause asthma."

Speaking of the future she said, "About the remedy. I know there are dehumidifiers running there now. So if we have had dehumidifiers and they are not working, if our remedy going forward is dehumidifiers is that a remedy? We are potentially spending millions of dollars renovating a moldy base."

Paulina Schwartz of Oakstwain Road said, "I served on the Greenacres Building Committee. We were told over and over again by John Trenholm that there was no mold. The results are very concerning. The committee would have liked to have had these results and perhaps asked for an expert to come in and tell us what it meant for Greenacres? Do we have a plan to test yearly? I read that spring is a better time for test. The humidity is very high in the building. Is there a long-term plan to deal with it? What we have done to this point has not been effective. I have a child in the class where the mold was found and it does concern me. I do hope there is a real plan for what we are going to do to stop this from happening again. This shouldn't happen again.

Patricia Schwartz of 25 Walworth Avenue expressed her "appreciation for the testing that has been done" However she said, "My neighbors hired outside experts and petitioned for this work to be done. It's frustrating because people who are paying their taxes had to spend their own money to make sure this got done."

About the renovation plan she said, "I would like to move forward in addressing the problem and make sure that the bond planning does not get derailed by these late in the game results that we could have addressed if the testing has been done earlier."

And concerning the remediation, she said, "The results have been shared with the Greenacres community. I would like to know more about what was done this past weekend. Some of the statements in the report were rather general. Such as, remove all paper products. One of the affected rooms was the art room which has a lot of paper products in it. Were people going through the paper sheet by sheet to look for mod? Or have large amounts of paper been removed? Was any wood or plaster removed? If mold was disrupted over the weekend, the spores could be in the air and our children are in the school."

She concluded, "What are the plans to retest? How are we going to address any recurrence?"

Responding to their comments, Board Presidents Bill Natbony said that the 2015 reports were available on the website. Stuart Mattey said the school would receive a thorough cleaning and would be actively monitored. He said more ventilation and dehumidifiers would be added to the basement to keep it "as dry as possible."

Highlighting the expense of maintaining the aging building, Dr. Hagerman shared that the air quality testing cost $15,000 in addition to lead testing and the installation of lead filters on the water fountains. He said, "We understand there needs to be a long term plan. We are going to have to replicate this at our other schools?" In response to the request for an expert they proposed that the PT Council hold a meeting on mold to inform the public.

The most recent renovation plan for the school calls for commercial dehumidifiers for the basement of the school and for removal of children from the lower level of the building. Portions of the foundation are dirt crawl spaces that generate humidity. It's not clear whether or not these new dehumidifiers will be any more effective than the present ones at decreasing the humidity in the building which was measured at about 65%, far higher than desirable ranges.

This is not the first time mold was found at Greenacres. Scarsdale10583 filed a FOIL request to find out more about the building history and we await the results. However, it appears that the high water table, moisture and humidity are breeding grounds for mold. The engineers have not offered evidence that the dehumidifiers can totally eradicate the mold from the building. With a $30 million renovation proposal speeding toward a bond referendum, the findings certainly raises questions about the future.

The Scarsdale Board of Education will hold a Public Forum on Monday, December 4 at 6:30 p.m. to hear comments from community groups and individuals on the proposed Bond Referendum scheduled for February 8, 2018, and the associated SEQR process. The Public Forum will take place at Scarsdale High School, 2 Brewster Road, in Room 170-172.

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