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NabihaThere are so many great tales from the ‘Dale and a host of talented community members to tell them. The second annual night of storytelling on April 12, produced by the Scarsdale Adult School, brought together an animated group of students, teachers, former teachers, moms, Scarsdale natives and a few from outside our community with amazing stories to share.

Sandi Marx, a Moth slam favorite and former Greenacres denizen produced the evening at the Heathcote Auditorium. She told a story of her own and invited others to spin their stories. The event drew a rapt crowd who laughed, cried and cheered for the talent.

The performances will be shown on the Scarsdale Cable Television (SCTV) and streamed on video, and I recommend that you watch. Trying to describe a great performance is only second to seeing the performance yourself, so look for it on SCTV.

The evening opened with Sandi Marx who told us how she shared a ride downtown with her childhood idol, Carole King. Marx poked some fun at herself. Usually glib and quick with conversation Marx was overwhelmed when she met King. Marx grew tongue-tied and in an attempt to connect, found herself playing with the famed composer’s curly hair.

Two Scarsdale High School teachers and a retired faculty member were on the program. Joe Vaughn, who teaches physics and also coaches the debate team revealed how a jack knifed tractor-trailer made him three hours late to his interview in Scarsdale, which involved teaching a class. Only 22 years old, he was sure that the mishap would cost him the job. But as hundreds of high school students know, there was a happy ending to this story.

Former A-School Director and social studies teacher Howard Rodstein brought us back to those terrifying 2-minute conference nights, when parents and teachers “speed date.” Rodstein, who revealed that he had trouble with names, confused two students and gave their parents progress reports that they did not expect. How did this play out in the semesters to come … with one of the poorest students thinking he was the class star, and the star fearing he needed to work a lot harder? There is an ironic lesson in this mishap.

Denise Del Balzo told a bittersweet tale about her tempestuous relationship with her mother. Del Balzo Del Balzohad a tough time living up to her mother’s expectations, especially when it came to taming her unruly hair. The hair was a metaphor for their conflict; Denise’s was wild and her mom’s was straight, neat and always perfect. It was only after her mom passed away and Denise was in mourning for the relationship she would never have with her mother, that she read a book that unlocked the secret to getting along with her.

The show included a student at SHS, and an Edgemont alum, and an SHS alum who all shared poignant stories.

Julia Brody, from the Edgemont class of ’13 created the Storytelling Club and was featured in USA Today. During her college years at the University of Delaware, she found a group of soul mates who spent time deep in meaningful conversation. Brody has been honing her storytelling at the Magnet Theater NYC and now has an Instagram account with over 7000 followers. On Thursday she shared how she ultimately used her storytelling skills to help her deal with her mother’s sudden and unexpected death. She said, “I am going to continue to share my story – it makes me feel less alone.”

Also impactful, was SHS junior Nabiha Qadir, who struggled to integrate her Pakistani heritage with her wish to be American, like many of her classmates. After spending years hiding her Pakistani culture she decided to “come out” to her friends, and show them her true self. She found that she was far more comfortable living with her real identity than trying to pretend she was someone else.

Justine Gelfman found out that she could learn more that science from her Physics teacher when he suffered a tragic loss during the year. Though she dreaded science, and didn’t know the difference between astrology and astronomy, she came to love the class and her teacher. After he lost his wife, she wondered if he would return to finish the school year – which he did – demonstrating lessons in courage, strength, tenacity and resilience that Gelfman will remember for a lifetime.

Another SHS Alum, Lori Weitzner returned for an encore appearance, this year sharing the story of how she came to publish a book. An accomplished textile and wallcover designer and the recipient of many design awards, she set her stars on publishing a book – but struggled to figure out what that book should say. At a loss for words, she collected her ideas in a box of inspiration with swatches, poetry and mementos, hoping to communicate through color. Eventually, an editor at Harper Collins helped her overcome her writer’s block and identify her thesis, saying, “I think you are trying to write the book of what people want to read, not what you want to say.”

RodsteinAnd there’s more – Rebecca Gabin, the daughter of Russian immigrants, and herself a mother of three, explained how her impulse to rescue others frightened her parents who were survivors who believed “no good deed goes unpunished.” Pregnant with her first child, she rushed to help an elderly woman who had fallen on the streets of the city, and ended up taking a strange ride in an ambulance.

Other community members got in the act as well. Pastor Pete Jones from Hitchcock Church recounted a story from his training years when he was instructed to pay a visit to a Baptist minister, in the last days of his life in a hospice. Fearful that he did not have the theological knowledge to address the man, he was surprised that all the minister wanted was someone to sing to him and make him feel loved as he slipped away.

For the tale from beyond the “Dale,” tech entrepreneur Justin Hefter told the thrilling story of how he and three relative strangers used social media to facilitate peace activist Mohammed El Salhawi's escape from Yemen. It’s a true story that has been turned into a book, The Fox Hunt, and is even being made into a Hollywood film by producer Marc Platt (LaLa Land) and Academy Award winning writer Josh Singer (Spotlight). He came directly to Scarsdale from The Megyn Kelly show. Wow!

Also on the program was Mary Wasacz who shared her adventure trying to recapture her lovebird who flew the nest and ignited a neighborhood chase.

The event was hosted by Sandi Marx and produced by Scarsdale Adult School co-chairs Ann Sacher and Leesa Suzman, and Executive Director Jill Serling.

Kudos to SAS and everyone involved.

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megaphoneThe LWVS comments on recognizing donors to the Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation as well as the budgeting process at the School Board meeting on April 10. Here are their comments, read by Linda Doucette-Ashman, League Co-President and Leah Dembitzer, Chair of the League School Budget Committee.

Donor Recognition
The LWVS Board listened with interest to the discussion at the last Board of Education Meeting on March 19, 2018 regarding the proposed Scarsdale School Education Foundation (the “Education Foundation”) donor recognition displays for the High School Design Lab and Fitness Center. I also want to acknowledge Mr. Natbony’s remarks from earlier this evening about the Board currently focusing on cost issues of the displays and not the gift policy issues.

However, at this time, the LWVS Board requests that the Board of Education provide scheduled time for community discussion of any questions or issues associated with the Education Foundation, including donor recognition, similar to tonight’s public engagement regarding Butler field.

The LWVS has issued statements in 2013 and 2014 to the Board of Education regarding the School District’s relationship with the Education Foundation. The League has recommended that the Board develop and adopt a gift policy that is specific to the Education Foundation and addresses the recognition of gifts initiated by donors, including naming rights.

It is with these past League statements in mind that we intend to issue a League Board statement on the proposed Education Foundation donor recognition signage at the next regular Board Meeting on April 16.

School Budget Process
As an organization whose mission is to promote the active participation of citizens in government, the League encourages the Board of Education to continue to be proactive in engaging the community. The Budget Process and community involvement go hand in hand in order to produce a budget that reflects our community’s educational values and priorities.

The reason that the League consistently recommends that the District provide an early full draft budget book to the community – though we understand that it would be a preliminary draft – is to give the community ample time to study, understand and raise questions well before the date scheduled for formal community input. Giving context of the budget numbers is integral to the community’s ability to evaluate the Budget. The additional time will allow for discussion of community priorities regarding what is to be funded and what is not.

The League further recommends that the Board implement ways to more proactively engage the community in next year’s budget development process and affirm -- both through words and actions -- to encourage comments from the public, whether at board meetings or community forums, to ensure that the public understands that public dialogue is genuinely welcomed, considered and heard.

By giving the community a draft budget book (with an introductory letter from the Board of Education) and hosting community meetings earlier in the process, the Board of Education will provide members of the community with the contextualized budget information and the additional time it needs to allow for more methodical and timely discussions of issues and community priorities. The ultimate goal for all of us is to have a well- developed budget that supports and enhances our District objectives, goals and the community values.

In light of:
The School Board and Administration discussion during the March 19 meeting;
The District’s publicly-disseminated meeting highlights from the March 19 Budget Study Forum;
And the March 26 letter sent to the community by School Board Leadership;

The League Board finds it necessary to reiterate and emphasize some of our Consensus points and recommendations on the Proposed Draft Budget 2018-19.

Although we support the proposed school budget:

1) The League is concerned with the District’s tight budgeting practices, which restrict the District’s ability to adapt to constantly changing educational and facilities’ needs. Though the School Board has recently discussed possible additions to the budget, the League reiterates its concern that the Board is putting forth a budget considerably below the tax cap and the League calls attention to potential resulting financial implications on future budget development.

2) As the District makes an effort to keep more students in District Schools, and with an increasing elementary population forecast for 2018-19, the League strongly emphasizes our recommendation that the Board and Administration articulate and clarify the class size policy for Bridge and Co-taught Inclusion classes, being mindful not only of student/ teacher ratio, but also the physical space and square footage of the classroom, in order to ensure the adequate delivery of educational services for all students.

3) The League recommends that the Board clearly articulate its approach to annual budgeting for Plant and Capital improvements in the context of a long-range facilities plan and that it use the annual budget for consistent investment in capital improvement sufficient to keep a long list of infrastructure repairs from necessary inclusion in the next bond.

4) Regarding current substantial issues with future budget implications, such as Air Conditioning and Food Service; the League Consensus statement did not suggest inclusion of these elements in the Proposed Budget, as was noted in the District Highlights from the March 19 School Board meeting. Rather, the League statement requested that the status and progress of District-level committee discussions on Air Conditioning, Food Service and Sustainability, be conveyed to the greater community in a timely manner, in order to proactively inform and engage the public.

In addition, regarding Butler Field, the League acknowledges the Superintendent’s comments from the March 19 meeting to thoughtfully and proactively gather thorough community feedback and facts on the positive and negative effects of various synthetic turf and natural grass options.

I would like to note that all members of the Board and Administration received copies of our full Consensus statement. If community members would like to read the full statement, it is available on the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale website (

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BOWL(This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Terri Simon, Chair of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee)
I encourage Scarsdale residents to join me in attending the Scarsdale Bowl Dinner on Wednesday, April 25, at the Fountainhead in New Rochelle. The Bowl Dinner is one of the most inspiring events in town because it honors deserving individuals devoted to the extraordinary culture of public service that makes this community so special – and this year’s Bowl honoree, Beverley D. Sved, has tirelessly served our community for almost 30 years.

If you don’t already know Bev, an engineer and Chartered Financial Analyst by training, she had a long and successful career at IBM in the areas of Corporate Strategy, Business Forecasting and Industry Analysis. At the same time, soon after she and her husband Paul moved to Scarsdale in 1988, she began taking on volunteer responsibilities large and small in Scarsdale, including serving as a Village Trustee from 1998-2002 and as Mayor from 2003-2005. In addition, she was a director on the boards of the League of Women Voters of Westchester and the Scarsdale Forum (both organizations in which she remains active), a Trustee and then Vice President of the Scarsdale Foundation, a member of the Village Board Finance Committee and the Planning Board, President of the Westchester County Historical Society, a director on the boards of the United Way and Scarsdale & Edgemont Family Counseling, President of the Overhill Neighborhood Association and Chair of Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents. She has been an exemplary volunteer whom we are proud to honor.

The Bowl Dinner is also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbors. Whether you are a veteran volunteer or someone who has yet to explore the many public service opportunities the Village provides, all of us can appreciate the spirit of service celebrated by the Scarsdale Bowl. Resident volunteers head Village government, serve on Village Boards and Councils, comprise the Board of Education, and serve on Parent Teacher Associations and neighborhood associations. In addition, many community members work with the Scarsdale Forum, League of Women Voters of Scarsdale or religious organizations, or serve as volunteer firefighters, athletic coaches, scout leaders or with other local service organizations. These efforts give residents a real voice in how Scarsdale operates – and it is truly inspiring to see so many longtime residents gather to honor an exemplary volunteer from among their ranks.

The 76-year tradition of the Scarsdale Bowl is sustained by the Scarsdale Foundation. The Scarsdale Foundation funds need-based scholarships to deserving Scarsdale High School graduates and Scarsdale residents in their sophomore through senior years of college, funding over $120,000 in scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, the Foundation funds specific grants for civic purposes to strengthen local non-profit organizations. The Bowl dinner is not itself a fund raising event so when you RSVP to the Bowl, please also make a donation to the Scarsdale Foundation.

Tickets are available at, by April 9. If you did not receive a paper invitation, or want another copy, please contact Robert Jeremiah, Secretary to the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, at Join us April 25th at the Fountainhead in New Rochelle, in celebrating Bev Sved and the value of volunteering to our community.

Terri Simon, Chair, 2018 Scarsdale Bowl Committee

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 Dr.KurI remember the look on my kids’ faces when they found their grandfather’s dentures in the bathroom. We all had a good laugh but then the discussion turned towards all the issues he has with his dentures and his habit of clicking them in and out of place in his mouth. My kids may be forever traumatized. My sister brought up the potential for dental implants but he waved off all suggestions for improvements because of “…things I’ve heard,” he said.

After extensive research online, I chatted with Dr. Benjamin Kur, a board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in his tenth year of practice. He regularly sees patients who are candidates for dental implants but have received incorrect information about low success rates, issues with infection or bone grafting. Dr. Kur answered some questions to set the record straight about modern dental implants.

Who is a candidate for a dental implant?
Patients who are candidates for implants have lost teeth, have teeth that cannot be restored or have had sustained trauma to the teeth.

What are the most common objections you hear from patients about why they are not considering a dental implant?
Many patients feel that age is a factor and this is no longer the case. Patients have also been told that they don’t have enough bone for an implant and again, this is no longer a concern for us or them. Technological advancements, surgical techniques and computer guided surgery have essentially removed all variability from the equation. There are very few circumstances where an individual is NOT a candidate. The only time a dental implant may be contraindicated is if a patient has a pre-existing condition such as an endocrine issue or is immunocompromised. We have really come a long way in our specialty.

How long can one expect a dental implant to last?
Thanks to the incredible technology we have available to us today, I expect dental implants to last one's lifetime.

What is the process like from start to finish? When can a patient expect to be fully "utilizing" the implant as if it were a real tooth?
There are different circumstances that will determine if a patient can have the dental implant placed by the surgeon immediately or if it will be delayed. The literature does not support either and the success rates are within 5% of each other. However, in areas where there is a large infection or the bone is compromised, the implant placement is delayed until reconstruction and bone growth is achieved. This is usually three months from the removal of the teeth and/or bone grafting. The bone graft is utilized to prevent the original dimensions of the bone and extraction socket from resorbing, thus limiting the size of the implant planned. In areas where patients require surgery in the "cosmetic zone", or anterior part of the mouth, we place the implants immediately and work with the restoring dentist to fabricate a temporary crown so a patient never has a gap in their mouth. This is a huge advancement in oral and maxillofacial surgery because it limits the amount of time patients are without teeth and as well as the number of surgeries the patient must endure in order to achieve a final result.

Are there certain foods, drinks or activities that may be limited after an implant?
There are no limitations with diet other than when the implant is placed and the temporary (or loaded) crown is immediately placed. The patient cannot chew with the temporary crown as it may lead to micro-mobility and failing of the implant. We always tell patients that any food they can cut with a fork is safe to eat. Once the temporary crown is replaced with the permanent implant, there are no restrictions and patients feel their quality of life has improved because they can eat and drink anything with no worries.

Are there any downsides to dental implants?
There are really no downsides and in fact, it’s the exact opposite Replacing a single tooth with a bridge, for example, destroys the adjacent teeth and the success rate for bridges is significantly lower than single or multiple implant placements.

Dr. Kur lives locally (in Scarsdale) and his office is in Hawthorne/Valhalla directly across the street from Westchester Medical Center. Parking is convenient with a valet on-site (no tips accepted). He is currently welcoming new patients.

Dr. Benjamin Kur
Westchester Oral & Maxillofacial Associates, PLLC

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JonathanLewisScarsdale's Jonathan Lewis will challenge Democratic incumbent Eliot Engel in the primary to represent New York's 16th Congressional district, which extends from the Bronx and Mt. Vernon to Yonkers, Scarsdale and Rye.

Lewis said, "I'm running for Congress because I believe our democracy is in trouble. We must all stand up and participate to ensure we have a full debate on the issues within the Democratic Party. I am running in the Democratic primary to ensure there is a complete discussion on issues such as campaign finance reform, healthcare and affordable prescription drugs, and equality of educational and economic opportunity."

"Now more than ever," Lewis explained, "we need candidates and elected officials who stand for democratic values and who haven't gone the way of Washington - which is fundamentally broken. Too many politicians take corporate money, do the bidding of lobbyists for big corporate interests that aren't even in the district, take perks, enjoy privileges, and go on privately funded trips, rather than working for the district. Instead, they come to work for themselves and their donors. If our Democracy is to survive, this needs to stop."

Getting corporate money out of our elections is especially important to Lewis. "Corporate money is undermining our democracy and silencing our representatives," Lewis explained. He will not accept corporate PAC donations to his campaign and he will not be beholden to special interests. "We must stand up to Donald Trump and the Republicans with a clean heart if we hope to deliver on priorities like good jobs, affordable health care for all, and major investments in education. We Democrats must strengthen our party from within if we are to be victorious in this struggle."

Born in Mount Vernon, Jonathan Lewis spent his early years in Eastchester, where his father was Town Democratic Chairman. He has lived and raised his family in the district for the past two decades. "I'm troubled that many of my neighbors have not benefited from the economic recovery since the Great Recession," Lewis explained. "We have large numbers of our neighbors in this district living in poverty, without access to opportunity, healthcare, or a great education. The hard-working people of Westchester and the Bronx need someone in Washington who is actually fighting for the folks back home and I will deliver on that commitment," said Lewis. "Anyone who goes to the drugstore to fill a prescription knows that the cost of staying healthy is spiraling out of control. This is unfair to working families, and a threat to the financial viability of our healthcare system," he explained.

A trustee of Yonkers Partners in Education and a former elected trustee of the Scarsdale Board of Education, Lewis is also a member of Business Executives for National Security. He will focus on areas where he has extensive experience including education, economic opportunity, healthcare and homeland security.

Lewis, 55, is a successful business executive and entrepreneur who co-founded a firm that invests in municipal bonds that finance roads, bridges, schools and universities. An active volunteer he has served as president and a board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Westchester County Chapter. Both of his children have Type 1 Diabetes. Jonathan Lewis is a former trustee of the American Jewish Historical Society and a staunch supporter of the state of Israel. He is the author of two books on U.S. foreign policy and national security issues. A longtime member of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), in 2004 he received the CIA's Agency Seal Medal for his work on intelligence reform. Lewis holds a MA in history from New York University and an MBA in finance and management from Columbia University.

The seat is currently held by 15-term incumbent Eliot Engel. The Democratic primary is June 26th.

For more information on Jonathan Lewis' campaign visit

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