Tuesday, May 21st

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Perhaps you noticed that a large swath of trees have been cleared on Weaver Street across the street from Dunkin’ Donuts.  What’s going on there? Inquiries to the Village Manager’s office revealed that a new housing development is going up. Apparently plans for the new “Heathcote Manor” subdivision were originally approved in 1990. The project will include nine residential units in five structures around a cul de sac. In 2004 the Planning Board, approved an updated site plan, that was designed to meet the new storm water management regulations and includes a detention basin, which will accommodate a hundred year storm. Ample trees and shrubs will be planted to replace those that were cut down as the plans also call for the planting of over 190 trees, 1,000 shrubs as well as native wetlands plantings in the detention basin. The developer is PBH PAIS Built Homes of Pound Ridge, and they specialize in the construction of luxury homes in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.  You can learn more about them here: http://www.paisbuilt.com/

The original design for the units were primarily three bedroom homes and the development is zoned for residential use.  There are no special zoning requirements for workforce or senior housing.  The entrance and exit to the development are both on Weaver Street, which may be a cause for concern among residents who are already up in arms about traffic in the area.

Does our area need additional housing?  How much more traffic can Weaver Street accommodate?  There are already 26 new homes further down Weaver Street at the Homes on Hillandale, development is on the horizon at the Five Corners, there are unoccupied units at Christie Place and as of mid-September 138 homes were on the market in Scarsdale.

Somehow this project was not considered when residents challenged the Village Trustees on plans to sell village owned land to facilitate development at the Heathcote Tavern.  Undoubtedly nine more homes, two additional curb cuts and the possibility of additional students in the schools could exacerbate an already tense situation.

In the days since the white powder explosive threat, travel has become a whole new game.  We have all become jaded by the usual security routines and learned to leave time to go through hoops and scanners to get onto a plane.  But this week, though we expected increased security when we flew home from a family vacation, we weren’t prepared for the absurdity of the new security shenanigans.

Before boarding the flight, every passenger received a full pat-down and all carry-ons were thoroughly scrutinized –no water, mouthwash or even toothpaste would be secreted on board this time. Mothers of young children were pulled aside for even more intensive searches and passengers scrambled to unbuckle, unzip, remove shoes, watches and jewelry … only to re-assemble themselves seconds later.

But the best was the new drill that unfolded on the plane.  Rather than listen to the usual speech about what to do in case of disaster – grab your seat cushion, breathe through the mask, secure the mask on the child – you know it well … we learned that we were to be among the first to be treated to a new exercise.

Our highly-efficient Homeland Security Czar, Janet Napolitano, had managed to effect a policy change in just a day.  Under the new rules, for the last hour of a flight we would not have access to any of our belongings, could not have anything in our laps or be permitted to get up from our seats for any reason. To prepare ourselves, we were told we would be given a warning, ½ hour before this period, to stow our belongings and use the restrooms.  This all sounded reasonable at the start but as the flight unfolded, the problems with the new policy quickly emerged.

As it wasn’t a very long flight, lots of activity had to be packed into a very short time span.  The plane took-off, and ascended to cruising altitude, consuming a half hour of flight time. At that point, the flight crew practically sprinted up the aisles, first with the drink cart and then with the snacks, demanding to know what passengers wanted to eat and drink. No problem with leftovers crowding your tray… the flight crew was back in ten minutes to grab and dispose of the meal.  We took a short breather and then were informed that now, and only now was the time to hit the privy.  Realizing that you had to go now or never, caused almost the entire economy cabin to stand up at once to go.  The line extended from the bathrooms at the rear of the plane to the first-class cabin for a full half hour.  Even when we hit turbulence and were told to buckle-up, those who were queued up, stayed up, risking life and limb  to get to the can.

Watching the spectacle unfold it was clear that nothing makes you have to go more than the idea that you can’t go later on! And my husband learned something new on this trip – it takes 37 minutes for 200 people to use the toilet, not 30! Subject to the tyranny of our flight hosts, it sure was easy to understand why the second disobedient Northwest Airlines passenger had locked himself in the bathroom the previous day.

Fully relieved, we all buckled in for the last hour of the trip. Games were out as the tray tables needed to be up….all electronic devices were ordered to be off and we wondered if we would be permitted to read.  We caught a stewardess flying by and asked.  She shrugged her shoulders and said, “well the captain is even scaring me! I am headed back to secure myself in my jump seat, but if you hold the book up in the air, perhaps it will be okay.”

We sure hoped it would be, because we were warned over and over again that if we failed to be in compliance our names would be added to a list for Homeland Security, and who knew what that could mean! Fortunately we were spared the list, arrived safely and early, as we suspect the pilot was even more eager to get off the ship than the passengers. Leaving the plane we realized how quickly time had flown but also wondered how the new measures could prevent someone from evil deeds during the beginning or the middle of the flight.

Did the new rules make sense?   We can’t tell…but here’s our advice for any upcoming trips you may take. Make sure to empty your bladder before you climb the ladder. Happy trails to you.

According to the Edgemont Community Council, the Town of Greenburgh has almost $2.8 million in excess taxes collected since 1996, in their unclaimed fund account. Rather than refund it, they planned to use $836,000 of it to close their budget gap in 2010.  Monies in this fund derive from banks paying taxes on the wrong property, duplicate payments from homeowners or banks and erroneous account numbers. Though the town claims that they sent letters advising homeowners of funds due to them, many claim that they never received them.

The total in unclaimed funds collected since 1996 was $9.9 million.  In 2008 alone, there was $1.4 million in overpayments, of which $848,000 was returned.   And the amount of these overpayments on an individual basis can be high. One Edgemont resident was owed $11,000 in over-collected funds.

Find out if you’re among the hundreds of people due a refund by going to the Edgemont Community Council website and scanning the list of overpayments. If so, see their instructions on applying for a refund.

Democrat Ken Jenkins of Yonkers has been tapped by his fellow Democratic legislators to replace William Ryan as chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and Legislator Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon) will serve as the new Vice-Chairman. Bill Ryan, who represents White Plains and Scarsdale on the Board, won his seat over Robert Hyland by a very narrow margin this past November and was hurt by voter rebellion against high County taxes and spending. Ryan had served as the Chairman for three terms—or six years, and earned an extra $40,000 for the job alongside the $49,200 salary.

In the words of Ken Jenkins, “We are one Board, united behind the common purpose of getting Westchester County back on track and creating a government that operates in a more efficient and transparent manner to meet the needs of all its residents.  In the face of tough economic times, our newly elected leadership is committed to working with the new County Executive and all of our municipal officials to revive the economy, provide much-needed tax relief to our residents and to operate a lean and efficient regional government.”

Do you have a coin slot or "11's" between your eyes?  Are you tired of looking angry? Need a lift?  Many people wonder if Botox or Dysport (the FDA approved competitor), Botulinum Toxin-A (BTX) is right for them. Some fear a frozen or scared look, yet desperately need the magical wrinkle eraser. Most importantly people worry, "is it safe?"

Botulinum Toxin-A(BTX) has been used safely for cosmetic use since the 1990's.  It received FDA approval for use in the glabellar area-- those "11" lines or the coin-slot, that eventually remains between your eyes, even when you are not animating your face.  BTX is injected using thin, virtually painless needles into the muscles of the face, and results in a smoother, more well rested, youthful appearance.  When injected by a trained, aesthetically-minded physician, BTX leads to a lifting of the forehead and opening of the eyes with a natural result. There have been no reported cases of BTX causing brain damage or long term side effects.

The entire consultation and treatment takes about 15 minutes. I prefer to talk to my patients first, discussing how BTX works before beginning the injection, so that I can observe the muscles of their face and their animation.  The skin is cleaned with alcohol and the injections take very little time although extreme care is taken to avoid bruising or injecting the BTX in the wrong muscle group.  Many people do not want to look "over done."  A relaxed without frozen result can be achieved or a smooth and motionless look.  I customize treatment for each patient as each individual requires a different number of units and different placement.

When patients ask about treatment in other area of the face, besides between the eyes, I explain that this is technically "off label" use, however, very common and leading to extremely reliable results.  BTX can be used to improve "crows feet" around the eyes, erase the "writing table" from the forehead, smooth the "bunny lines" around the nose and even improve "smokers lines" around the mouth. 

 BTX typically lasts about 3-4 months.  It gradually wears off and people notice that they have more movement of a certain muscle group and the wrinkles come back.  Women with a fast metabolism may require more frequent injections. Some patients find that the effect on certain areas of the face lasts longer than others.   I charge patients by the number of units of BTX injected to achieve the desired result.  Some physicians charge  "by the area." This always works to the physician's benefit and patients pay more.  The evolution of the use of BTX has been rapid.  Antiquated dilutional techniques, limited injection days, and swelling, bruising and droopy eyelid all point toward a physician trained in the "early days" before the more up-to-date injection techniques

 Dysport now competes with Botox for a market share.  Dysport has a more rapid time to effect, usually 1-2 days versus 3-5 days for Botox.  Both BTX products last approximately the same amount of time.  Dysport is about 15% cheaper.

This brings me to cost. Treatment of the area between the eyes (the glabellar region) costs an average patient between $250-400 depending on muscle mass-- both the bulk and the width of the muscle.

Interested in finding out if Botox is right for you? Feel free to get in touch.

Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, MPH

The New York Group for Plastic Surgery

155 White Plains Road, Suite 109

Tarrytown, NY 10591


Dr. Thompson received her undergraduate degree from Yale, attended Johns Hopkins Medical School and did her residency at Harvard hospitals.  She also holds a masters degree in public health from Harvard.  She joined the New York Group for Plastic Surgery in 2007 when they needed an MD to help with breast reconstruction and new cosmetic procedures.  She lives in Fox Meadow with her husband and four children.

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