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andrewweberAndrew C. "Andy" Weber, a 1978 graduate of Scarsdale High School, will speak about "Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction" at the Scarsdale League of Women Voters’ Spring Membership Luncheon on Friday May 18, 2018 at the Scarsdale Golf Club, at 11:45 a.m. Mr. Weber has dedicated his professional life to countering nuclear, chemical, and biological threats and to strengthening global health security.

Tickets are available online here. You may contact  Anne Lyons at 914-725-9810 with any questions.

Mr. Weber’s thirty years of US government service included five-and-a-half years as President Obama's Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs. He was a driving force behind Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction efforts to remove weapons-grade uranium from Kazakhstan and Georgia and nuclear-capable MiG-29 aircraft from Moldova, to reduce biological weapons threats, and to destroy Libyan and Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles. In addition, he coordinated US leadership of the international Ebola response for the Department of State.

Prior to joining the Pentagon as Advisor for Threat Reduction Policy in December 1996, Mr. Weber was posted abroad as a US Foreign Service Officer in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.

Mr. Weber is an independent consultant and a Strategic Advisor for IP3 International and Ginkgo BioWorks. He serves on the Board of the Arms Control Association and the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies International Advisory Council. He taught a course on Force and Diplomacy at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service for seven years, and was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Weber graduated from Cornell University and holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) degree from Georgetown University. Buy your tickets here:

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dara photoScarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service (SFCS) today announced it has selected Dara Gruenberg to receive its inaugural Rising Star Award in recognition of her volunteer leadership and contributions to many Scarsdale organizations.

The annual Rising Star award recognizes an up-and-coming leader in the Scarsdale community who has demonstrated dedicated, impactful and active community service and leadership. The Award will be presented to Ms. Gruenberg at the SFCS's annual benefit gala, Magic and the Mind: An Evening of Enchantment and Mystery, Thursday, May 10 at the Scarsdale Golf Club. Tickets to honor Ms. Gruenberg can be purchased here.

"This award recognizes that Dara has become one of Scarsdale’s most active and valued civic volunteers over the last seven years. The responsibility, commitment, and energy with which Dara approaches her multitude of appointments and positions has earned her the respect and acknowledgement of both the members and leaders of the organizations she serves," said James Genova, LCSW, executive director, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service.

"Dara’s involvement is always driven by her desire for the betterment of our community and to see those around her thrive. Her leadership style is defined by a recognition of the inherent value of collaboration and teamwork. Dara’s volunteer efforts are deeply influenced by her care for the rich history, intrinsic character, and promising future of our Village."

Dara Broxmeyer Gruenberg serves as President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library and a Co-Chair of the Library’s Capital Campaign. Concurrently, she is serving as a Village appointed member of both the Ad Hoc Communications Committee and the Board of Ethics, a member of the Foundation Board at White Plains Hospital, a Trustee on the Board of Westchester Reform Temple (after serving five years as Chair of the Temple’s Early Childhood Center’s Parent Association) and a Chair of the Connections Task Force. Additionally, Dara is a member of the Board of Directors of the Scarsdale Forum, Co-Chair of the Forum’s Membership Committee, and a member of its Nominating Committee. This past fall, Dara was elected to Scarsdale’s Citizens’ Nominating Committee.

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treeremovalIn addition to a visit by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Tuesday's well-attended board of trustees meeting focused on conservation issues, with a public forum about proposed amendments to the village's tree code, and a resolution to establish enhanced sanitation services with regard to recycling (See accompanying article.)

Trustee Deborah Pekarek opened the public hearing about changes to the village tree code that was last amended in 2009. She invited residents to express their views and provide the board with constructive feedback. "Our guiding principal throughout this process has been to listen, collaborate, deliberate, modify and refine this code."

Community groups and the board have been discussing trees for five now. Many community members have expressed concern about maintaining Scarsdale's "Village in a Park" in a way that would ensure public safety while safeguarding property rights. The proposed amendments to the tree code have been developed and modified by a working group of members of Friends of Scarsdale Parks and Conservation Advisory Council, Scarsdale Village staff and trustees. Four public meetings resulted in additional changes based on residents' comments. Key code changes include:

1) Two trees may be removed in a 24-month period without a fee or permit;

2) Removal of one or more trees with diameter of more than six inches at breast height that are dead, dying, hazardous or diseased, as determined by a tree expert, can be removed with permit, but without a tree replacement requirement;

3) Any tree that must be removed in an emergency situation may be removed immediately without a permit; and,

4) Any 24-inch diameter tree removed must be replaced. Replacement tree may be smaller and planted in a different location.

Trustee Marc Samwick followed Pekarek's comments by stating, "This is an example of a deliberate municipal process. ... (We're) trying to balance property rights with maintaining the character and integrity of our community. " But, as members of the public approached the podium, it became clear that they had a variety of reservations and questions regarding the proposed amendments.

Michael Levine (Walworth Avenue) began public comment by saying, that the language used in the amendments was unclear and did not reflect key changes as described by Pekarek. Samwick responded that there was language in the draft that needed to be clarified. Levine continued, "... two trees per 12 months still makes sense. And, why set any diameter? If a member of the public thinks a tree is too close to power lines or too close to a house... I don't understand reducing the diameter. I don't agree with the diameter limit and I think you should go back to 12 months." Levine also took issue with the "permit" requirement. "It's not consistent with the commitment (made) in January," he said. "The commitment... was that you provide notice, but there was no need for an application, no review by the engineer or anything like that." Samwick responded, "We had a similar comment... whether we call it a notice or permit may be different, we may prefer permit, but an as-of-right, no fee permit. We had the same comment...it will be addressed."

Ellen Zweig (Old Orchard Lane) commented, "I think it's important to take into account your property size. Taking down two trees from a third of an acre lot has a much greater environmental impact than taking down two trees from, for example, a five acre lot."
Linda Killian (Forest Lane) said, "Data was presented, and did show that development and remodels drove the majority of (tree) removals... Why are we hitting residents over the head for simply trying to protect their homes and their families? If you put this is in the land use section of the village code, you can directly address development, expansion of homes, tear-downs... But it's not, it's in the tree section of the code, so basically, you're killing residents who want to remove a couple of trees for safety... for the sins of developers." She continued, "And, why would the ordinance as written, seriously curtail tree removal? ...You're not going to be able to do that unless you have heavy fines and restrictions, and heavy fees on tree replacement. Otherwise, a $50 permit isn't going to deter any developer in Scarsdale."

Joelle Campbell (Wayside Lane) stated, "I found that this proposal is extremely restrictive for homeowners... It takes a lot of the rights and considerations away from homeowners. If you're trying to address developers, that's a whole different thing. I think homeowners are, generally, very thoughtful." She also expressed confusion about how the changes were written with regard to diameter restrictions.

Novisi Nirschl (Colvin Road) said, "Based on the text that's been written and the fact that you would require a permit, I think it will slow the removal of trees for homeowners... due to confusion or some type of permit process... If you think that homeowners are very aggressive, that's one thing. It sounds like you think the developers are aggressive. Anything you do to that will slow down pruning, caretaking and prudence, I think you should consider very carefully."

Matthew Miller (Roosevelt Place) commented, "I am a developer, I have taken down many trees in Scarsdale and... it an awful shame when someone has a lot of beautiful trees near their house... Actually, when the engineer spoke about tree replacement, I thought it was a good idea to replace trees if you're taking a lot of trees down... (But) the trees are people's property, not the town's property. Where do the (tree removal) fees go?" Village Manager Steve Pappalardo explained that they are added to a tree preservation fund that is dedicated for tree replacements. Miller continued, "I have a problem with fees for taking down trees... I don't think it's fair for you to charge us to remove our own trees. They are our property. Why do I have to get a permit to cut down my own trees?"

Zoe Berg (Tisdale Road) said, "I'm the last person who wants to remove a healthy tree, but when storm systems barrel through our village and knock out power... it is essential to consider public safety... I would expect that the safety of our residents to be the priority of this administration and... do not believe that residents should be penalized for removing healthy trees on their private property if the residents believe that the tree or trees present a danger to their wellbeing... I encourage the town to consider plant more trees in our plethora of public parks."

Robert Berg (Tisdale Road) stated, "I've been asked to read comments from Tanya Singer, Montrose Road: '...While it appears (in the code) that the Village Engineer is meant to consider the potential hazard presented by a given tree, this language is far too subjective. The hazard presented by a tree is a function of not just its health, but also its size, species, deviation from vertical and proximity to homes. The evaluation of risk is not an exact science... The village must not impose its own, potentially greater, appetite for risk on a homeowner seeking to protect his home from a risk he has deemed unacceptably large.'" Berg then said, "I've been arguing against this law for months now... I pointed out, that in 1926, there was virtually no tree canopy in Scarsdale, as Scarsdale was vacant farmland... You guys are trying to preserve a post- suburbanized tree canopy...these trees are now nearing the end of their natural lives... these trees were planted very close to houses and power lines... and they're dangerous. Homeowners, who have a reasonable fear that their healthy trees are going to come down, should have the right without filing for permits, without paying fees or without having to pay for replacement trees, to take those trees down."

Ellen Zweig returned to the podium to add, "With regard to experts, experts can be wrong... I don't want a town expert coming by to tell me if I can or cannot cut down my tree... We had a tree that was struck by lighting... a tree expert said the tree would be fine. We had a windstorm and the tree came down... We shouldn't be relying on decisions by some expert(s).

Ira Silfin (Continental Road) added, "I haven't encountered anyone who is in favor of this law. When there is one-sided opposition to the law, and no support for the law other than a few conservation (and) tree people, there's a reason there's a feeling that this law is being rammed down our throats. For this to be continuing after months of opposition... it baffles me that this is going on... They're not your trees, they're our trees."

Greg Schwend (Barry Road) concluded the hearing by saying, "When this was introduced, the words 'safety,' 'safeguarding property rights," 'not burdening us with bureaucracy' were brought up, but it appears that the law is in opposition to those principals... What data do we have to support the changes? Is resident behavior driving the need for further restriction? Additionally, the safety concern is one that residents have to take into account on our own... I oppose the law."

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WaxmanCookiesJules Waxman created Baked in ColorMeet Scarsdale’s Jules Waxman who has taken chocolate chip cookies to a whole new level. In 2016, Waxman, a Fox Meadow mom of three, launched Baked In Color, and she’s been sharing sweets and building her brand ever since. Here are her responses to our questions about this impressive entrepreneurial endeavor:

What is Baked in Color and why are the cookies unique?

Baked in Color offers the first rainbow and custom colored chocolate chip cookies. Happy, fun and delicious, these cookies can be customized by color for all of life's special occasions: holidays, mitzvahs, corporate events, college acceptance, school spirit, sport events, birthday parties, you name it!

What did you do professionally before you began the company?

As a student at Cornell, I founded and ran a cookie delivery business, Quickie Cookie. We baked, packaged and delivered fresh cookies, with a quart of milk (think Insomnia cookies). I sold the company and spent the next several years working in Corporate Retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's. While working for these companies, I developed my skills in business development, strategic and financial planning, merchandising, team building, negotiation and marketing. After twenty years in corporate retail, I was excited to launch my own business.

How did you get the idea to start Baked in Color?BakedinColor

Chocolate chip cookies are America’s #1 dessert and colorful rainbow desserts are the #1 social media dessert trend. I was inspired most by the rainbow bagel. Rainbow bagels look incredibly cool but don't taste great. I had a delicious recipe for chocolate chip cookies and knew that if I could figure out how to execute color, I would have something very trend right and extremely marketable. Thousands of test batches later, Baked in Color was born.

What were a few of your big breaks that helped to move the company forward?

Social media has been the big driver for Baked in Color. We started posting our cookies on Instagram and were quickly noticed by food influencers who posted the cookies on their Instagram and Facebook feeds. Six months after our launch, INSIDER took notice and shot a feature for their INSIDER FOOD and INSIDER DESSERT platforms. 

The video went viral, receiving over 7 Million views on Facebook, in addition to millions of views on Instagram. Baked in Color was also featured by Today.Com, Huffington Post and Spoon University. The media exposure drove our sales tenfold, putting our brand on the map for big corporate players such as Goldman Sachs, Barney's NY, and Time Inc.

Where/how are most of the cookies sold?

BakedinColorPurpleBaked in Color has a New York City location at TurnstyleNYC, the underground market at Columbus Circle, at 58th street and Broadway. We deliver throughout Westchester County and NYC and ship nationwide. We specialize in both personal and corporate events.

How can people buy the cookies – and what do you offer?

Orders can be placed online at www.bakedincolor.com. In addition to our online offering, we customize cookie colors and packaging to make the perfect dessert or party favor for your special occasion or event.

What advice would you give to others in the community who are thinking about starting their own business?

GO FOR IT! Be patient and stay positive. Work hard and move forward each day. Things will not always go well but don’t get discouraged. Some days will bring opportunities and others will bring knocks. Hang in there. It’s a long haul. Don’t take rejection personally just move on to the next opportunity, of which there are countless. Be aware of the competition but don’t get bogged down by it. Network, network, network. It’s free to ask so ask others for help; people are generally happy to help. You can learn from most people and often each meeting leads to another opportunity. Follow your instincts but pivot when things aren’t going well; cut your losses and move on.

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handshakePrior to the Board of Education meeting on Monday March 5, Scarsdale Board of Education (BOE) members met with Scarsdale Village trustees to discuss improved communications and collaboration, as well as issues of common interest.

School Board President Bill Natbony began by congratulating the village administration on its "herculean" efforts in remediating storm damage. Scarsdale Schools Superintendent Thomas Hagerman then addressed the importance of the meeting by saying, "We try to do this at least once or twice a year, to address common interests and concerns... to talk about things that are working and things that we can constructively improve moving forward." He continued, "We (promote) our own identities – who's in charge of what – but it takes all of us working together in order to support our community, our schools and our families."

The first item for discussion, Butler Field renovations, is an example of one of those common concerns. The district plans to spend $1.2 million to replace the field's artificial turf and resurface its running track. However, the property is leased from the village through just 2021, and the district does not want to commit such a large amount of funds without assurance that the lease will be extended at least through the useful life of the improvements (15 years). Scarsdale Village Manager Steve Pappalardo assured the BOE that the lease could be extended to 2032, subject to Board of Trustees' approval. "The district has used Butler Field and the surrounding property for decades... it's another example of cooperation between the district and village. "

The next point of discussion was the parking situation near the schools. Hagerman pointed out that the lack of parking and related traffic problems resulted from a number of factors, including physical space limitations, increased size of cars, lack of sidewalks and basic human behavior. After a lengthy discussion about these challenges and the need for input among a variety of community stakeholders, it was decided that the district would first outline specific parking issues and reach out to other districts to learn best practices. The village and district then will explore next steps, including how to work together to find solutions and determine who should be involved in the process.

The group then focused on collaboration, communications and messaging. To illustrate a need for improvements in this area, Natbony referenced the confusion about prepayment of taxes in December. "I look back at the... issue, which was an issue of great emotion and great concern... Even though there were communications eventually... I wish it was earlier; I wish it was consistent." Both groups then made a commitment to look at opportunities to compare points of view and information, as they work to be on the same page in communicating with the public. "If we're going to be dealing with something that impacts the other, we want to be sure we reach out," stated Natbony. Pappalardo agreed and said, "We need to be cognizant of our roles in communications and develop relationships (with each other) on an administrative level. We have all the best intentions and I think it is an issue of understanding each other a little better." Hagerman continued, "We always want to support the village's efforts... As much as we understand that we have different goals and priorities, the community looks at us as one in the same. We are looking to work together on behalf of our families."

The last item on the agenda was possible construction of a comfort station at Scarsdale Middle School. Scarsdale Mayor Dan Hochvert explained that that the facility would be beneficial to many community members and a worthwhile project. He also offered the village's resources for construction, which would result in significant cost savings. "In light of what we've been talking about, and recognizing that there are things that are probably higher priority, I really think we should find a way to do this."

Steve Pappalardo estimated that the project would cost about $60,000, if completed by village staff, and proposed that the village and school district split the expense evenly. However, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Facilities Stuart Mattey pointed out that the state department of education would need to get involved, likely increasing the cost of the project. "It would have to meet codes, it's on school property, students would be using it... I guess that the costs would be escalated." Mattey and Hagerman agreed to research the issue further. "We're certainly willing to be partners in this work and find out how to make it happen." Pappalardo responded, "We have to do it together and I believe there's mutual benefit, but I understand the complications."

The meeting concluded with a renewed spirit of cooperation between the two groups and a hope to provide real benefits to the community in the future. As Hochvert said, "Another way of thinking about us could be that we are two divisions of a company, with the stockholders being the taxpayers in this town. All we're doing is managing the pieces that are assigned to us by those stockholders."

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