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SaundersBestselling author and winner of the Man Booker Prize George Saunders drew a sold-out crowd to the Scarsdale Library on February 8 for an interview and reading from his latest book, Lincoln in the Bardo. Also on stage was Andy Ward, Editor in Chief of Random House who has edited Saunders' work since 2005. The evening was hosted by the Scarsdale Adult School.

Saunders will be sixty this year but looks far younger and has a terrific sense of humor and a warm, engaging way about him. Former Scarsdale Adult School Board member Nancy Alderman introduced Saunders and explained his long road to becoming an author. Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas and attended the Colorado School of Mines where he studied engineering. He eventually found his way to the MFA program at Syracuse but struggled for years, working as a technical writer by day and writing fiction at night. He now teaches writing at Syracuse.

Lincoln in the Bardo, is set in a graveyard during the Civil War and is narrated by a chorus of ghosts. President Lincoln has just lost his beloved 11 year-old son Willy, and reflects on his loss and the loss of thousands of soldiers in the war. Saunders' characters are drawn from historical texts and the book reads like a play, with a cast of unfortunates who are caught in purgatory.Lincoln

SAS Director Jill Serling served as narrator while a group of volunteers read from a section of the book. On stage were Ann Sacher, Sue Silver, John Seider, Alexa Trujillo, and Steven Orlofsky with Saunders playing the role of Lincoln, because as he explained, "It's my book."

Following the reading, editor Andy Ward came to the stage and Saunders explained that he was inspired to write the book when he saw Lincoln's crypt in Washington twenty years ago. He said that before writing this book he had written and abandoned another book set in a graveyard in upstate New York. When a student suggested he write a book of monologues from ghosts he went back to the idea about Lincoln and eventually created his bestselling work.

saudnerslibrarySaunders said he became obsessed with Lincoln and has a shelf full of books about him. He said that he "inhabited him" for several years. He explained that like Lincoln, he values kindness. This thought was reflected in a now famous graduation speech delivered at Syracuse by Saunders in 2013, when he said the following: 

"So here's something I know to be true, although it's a little corny, and I don't quite know what to do with it:
What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.
Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.
Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?
Those who were kindest to you, I bet.
It's a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I'd say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder."

Lincoln in the Bardo is now available in paperback and Scarsdale was Saunders second stop on his book tour.

It was a night to remember in Scarsdale. Scarsdale Adult School Director Jill Serling wishes to thank Nancy Alderman, Esther Newberg, Andy Ward, Sue Silver, the SHS students, the custodial staff at the library and the entire staff of the Scarsdale Adult School.

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On January 16, 2018, at its weekly Tuesday luncheon at Muscato Restaurant in Scarsdale, the Scarsdale Rotary Club honored the local charities awarded discretionary grants through an application process. These grants are funded through the Club's annual Winetasting Fundraiser held each Spring. The charities which received discretionary grants are:

• Children's Aid Wagon Road Camp
• Girls Inc of Westchester
• Haiti MaryCare
• Hospice of Westchester
• The Luke Moretti iPad Program at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital
• Make A Wish of the Hudson Valley
• My Sister's Place
• Pace Women's Justice Center, and
• Scarsdale Task Force on Drugs and Alcohol

The Rotary Club's Ninth Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser, which will take place on Thursday April 19, 2018 at the Scarsdale Golf Club from 6-8:30 PM. There will be a live auction and raffle, wines by Vintology and food will be provided by local restaurants, including Muscato, Chat, Meritage, Lange's Deli, Scarsdale Golf Club, Ruffled Feathers, Martines and others. This annual event funds grants to the Club's five annual charity partners (The Greenburgh Nature Center; Lakota Children's Enrichment; Scarsdale & Edgemont Family Counseling Services; The Scarsdale Foundation; and Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps), the discretionary grants like those made at the January luncheon and other charitable works supported by the Rotary Club throughout the year.

To learn more about the Scarsdale Rotary Club, or to purchase a sponsorship and/or tickets to the April 19, 2018 event, please visit the Club's website. The Scarsdale Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

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2 awardsTwo longtime Scarsdale employees, Mary Lou McClure, Scarsdale Village Chief Financial Officer and Custodian of Taxes, and Maggie Favretti, a Scarsdale High School social studies teacher, were on honored for their service on Tuesday with the Thomas Sobol Award. This is the second annual presentation of the award, which is sponsored by the Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service (SFCS) and honors the legacy of Dr. Thomas Sobol, an extraordinary educator and a visionary in his field.

Held at the Harwood Building in Scarsdale Village, the presentation opened with remarks from Susan Greenberg, SFCS board president, who talked about Dr. Sobol's impact on the Scarsdale school community and why the award is given in his name.

"We are honoring two special employees of the Scarsdale Village and Scarsdale School Susuan GreenbergDistrict because Tom believed in collaboration between the village and school district," she said.

Following Greenberg's remarks, Bill Miller, director at large for SFCS, expounded upon the educator's emphasis on collaboration and went on to introduce McClure and Favretti as "two people who personify the legacy of Thomas Sobol, who saw public service as his calling."

Stephen Pappalardo, Scarsdale Village Manager, presented the first award to McClure, who he described as someone with "intelligence, professionalism, work ethic and integrity" and the "ultimate team player." As a Scarsdale Village employee, McClure administers all matters relating to finance and supports the preparation of the annual Village operating and capital budgets. Bill MillerHer hard work has helped the Village Board adopt consistently responsible annual operating budgets and maintain Scarsdale's Aaa bond rating. Always looking to improve operational efficiencies, she helped to upgrade the Village's Financial and Enterprise Resource Planning system and implement online bill payment and online recreation registration.

"In considering a worthy candidate for this award, I thought of Dr. Sobol's modest brilliance and innovative top-down support for bottom-up education reform," he said. "Mary Lou's consistent and continued pursuit of more efficient and effective service enhancements to benefit the Village and greater Scarsdale community, and her modest, professional, collaborative, and unassuming manner is consistent with Dr. Sobol's approach."

Next, Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Scarsdale Superintendent of Schools, took the podium to honor Maggie Favretti. He commented on her intellect, her dedication, and her "genuine belief that as educators, we can improve the world around us." As a teacher, Favretti has Mclurecontributed much to Scarsdale High School and her students, most notably developing interdisciplinary teaching and world history programs and serving as an adviser to various school clubs.

"Maggie has done a wonderful job of connecting student learning to real world situations," Dr. Hagerman said. Outside of SHS, she has published short works about the commodification of the American landscape, women's poetry during the Enlightenment, food history, and local history, and served on committees for the World History Association, the College Board, and various historical associations.

"Maggie has connected with countless students, families, and community members," Dr. Hagerman said. "We are delighted that she is this year's recipient of the Sobol Award." He also announced that sadly, it would be Favretti's last year working in the Scarsdale School system and that he had no doubt she would bring the same passion and energy to her future endeavors.

After the award presentations, Harriet Sobol, the wife of Dr. Thomas Sobol, spoke fondly of her late husband's accomplishments and about his devotion to the Scarsdale community.

"It's a wonderful way to remember him," she said. "He would have been happy to see Favretti and Hagermanpeople being rewarded for going above and beyond their responsibilities."

Dr. Sobol was known for going above and beyond throughout his career, as Superintendent of Schools for Scarsdale from 1971-1978, the New York State Commissioner of Education from 1987-1995, and as a Professor of Education at Columbia Teachers' College until his retirement in 2006. During his time in Scarsdale, Dr. Sobol was influential in the development of the Scarsdale Community Youth Service Project, a unique collaboration between the Village and the Schools and administered by SFCS, contributing significantly to the well being of students in the middle and high schools. Later he served as a board member of the SFCS and was the recipient—with his wife Harriet—of the SFCS Open Door Award for service to the community. Dr. Sobol passed away on September 3, 2015, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease.

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HandsUpThe Personnel Committee of the Village Board is asking residents interested in volunteering to serve on Village Boards, Councils, and Committees to submit their names for consideration. New terms will begin April 02, 2018. Candidates interested in serving on any Board, Council, or Committee should apply using the application form available on the Village website or in-person at Village Hall. It is also helpful for Scarsdale residents to provide written suggestions of individuals who should be considered for appointment. Please submit contact information including email addresses.

The information may be submitted on or before March 01, 2018, in one of two ways:

Online: Just click HERE to apply. One may also visit, scroll down to the Village Highlights section, and click on the Highlight story, "Volunteers Needed for Citizen Boards, Councils, and Committees." From there, simply click "APPLY today."

In-Person or by Mail: An application may be picked-up from the Village Clerk's Office at Village Hall and either submitted in-person or by mail to Trustee Seth Ross, Scarsdale Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, Scarsdale NY 10583.

Residents are welcome to contact the Personnel Committee Chair, Trustee Seth Ross, by e-mail at with any questions about these opportunities to serve the community. The Village Clerk, Donna Conkling, is also available to assist by phone at 914-722-1175, or by e-mail using

Pursuant to the general policy adopted by the Village Board, guidelines for membership on Scarsdale's appointed Boards, Councils, and Committees cover four areas:

1. Residency

Boards, Committees and Advisory Councils are comprised of residents of the Village. While comments from outside the community can be sought as needed, actions recommended or taken by Boards, Committees and Advisory Councils should ultimately reflect the views of Village residents.

2. Professional or Business Affiliation

Various professional skills and training are required by Village law or deemed desirable by the Village Board of Trustees for the successful fulfillment of some Board, Council or Committee charters.

3. Civic Interest and Involvement

The majority of the members of Village Boards and Councils are appointed by reason of demonstrated interest in Village affairs, through volunteer involvement. Scarsdale is the beneficiary of a long history of voluntary civic endeavors. Since the overriding purpose of Boards, Committees and Councils is to assure the continuation of high community standards, it is appropriate that members on Boards, Committees and Councils be those residents who have demonstrated willingness and initiative to work in support of this objective.

4. Specialized Knowledge

Certain Boards, Committees and Councils benefit by having one or more members with specialized knowledge. For example, the Cable Television Commission benefits by having people with knowledge of the communications industry; the Advisory Council on People with Disabilities would benefit from the experience of residents with disabilities; the Advisory Council on Youth would benefit from people who have worked with young people.

The following are the terms of office and responsibilities for members appointed to the Boards, Councils, and Committees:

BOARD OF APPEALS - (5 years - one term). Rules on appeals from zoning requirements, including setbacks; on permits for construction of swimming pools and tennis courts, and on non-conforming uses.

BOARD OF ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW - (3 years - two terms). Its basic purpose is to preserve the character and appearance of the Village. Review of all applications involving construction of buildings, or additions to, or reconstruction of existing buildings affecting the exterior appearance.

PLANNING BOARD - (5 years - one term). Advises Village Board on master planning; rules on applications for sub-division of lots, street designations, construction in wetland areas and non-residential buildings.

BOARD OF ETHICS - (5 years - one term). Possible conflicts of interest or other issues of ethics affecting Village personnel are referred to this Board by the Board of Trustees.

CABLE TELEVISION COMMISSION - (5 years - open-ended terms). Administers and monitors the Cable Franchise Agreements with the Village and encourages use of the cable access channels.

CONSERVATION ADVISORY COUNCIL - (2 years - open-ended terms). Advises the Village Board on such matters as programs, areas, facilities, public relations and other matters pertaining to conservation of the environment.

COMMITTEE FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION - (3 years - two terms). Determines if a structure located in the Village for which a permit for demolition has been requested is a structure of historical importance.

LIBRARY BOARD - (5 years - one term). Responsible for the administrative and operating policies of the Scarsdale Public Library. Operates independently of the Village Board and selects its own President.

ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - (2 years - open-ended terms). Advises and assists the Village Board in matters of concern to residents with disabilities. Assists with programs and activities, increases public awareness of the needs of the disabled, acts as liaison with other Advisory Councils, and promotes participation in community affairs by disabled persons.

ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HUMAN RELATIONS - (2 years - open-ended terms). Considers and recommends actions at the request of the Village Board to foster mutual respect and understanding among all members of the community.

ADVISORY COUNCIL ON PARKS AND RECREATION - (2 years - open-ended terms). Promotes the recreation program in the Village and advises the Village Board on the use of Village parks for recreation and passive uses, recommends the use or non-use of all open space, and acts as a liaison between the Village Board and the community on all matters relating to recreation and parks.

ADVISORY COUNCIL ON SCARSDALE SENIOR CITIZENS - (2 years - open-ended terms). Advises and assists the Board of Trustees in all matters concerning the senior citizens of the Village of Scarsdale.

TOWN BOARD OF ASSESSMENT REVIEW - (5 years – open-ended terms). This Board reviews property tax grievances filed with respect to property tax assessments.

ADVISORY COUNCIL ON TECHNOLOGY - (2 years - open-ended terms). This Council has a broad mandate in advising the Village Board and staff on technological matters. It provides advice, explores strategic options, and develops recommendations on how the Village Board can best utilize technology, including the Internet to improve efficiencies.

ADVISORY COUNCIL ON YOUTH - (2 years - open-ended terms). Advises and assists the
Board of Trustees in responding to the needs of Scarsdale's young people and works to generate a favorable climate for growth and development of youth in the community.

JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE - (5 years - two terms). The Committee's function is to assist the Citizens' Nominating Committee and the Mayor, respectively, with the selection of individuals who are qualified for the offices of Village Justice and Acting Village Justice.

REPRESENTATIVE TO SCARSDALE ARTS COUNCIL - (2 years - open-ended terms). At-large representative (total of 4 appointed by the Village Board) to the Scarsdale Arts Council Board. The Council's mission is to encourage the arts to flourish in Scarsdale by, among other methods, improving communication among arts programs and by attracting grant support and to raise public awareness and participation in the arts.

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food-bank-1-1-1The United Interfaith Food Bank (the "UIFB") is a cooperative of houses of worship in southern Westchester which has been helping to feed the hungry since 2004.

The UIFB will enter a new phase in 2018, partnering with the  and with Family Services of Westchester to provide food to low-income and extremely low-income families in White Plains. Through the Food Bank for Westchester, the UIFB is able to obtain food at steeply discounted costs and therefore help feed more individuals at less cost. Family Services of Westchester runs Head Start programs at several sites in White Plains. The young children attending these programs are provided with breakfast, lunch and a snack during each school day but they (and their siblings and parents) are at risk for going hungry on weekends and holidays. The UIFB seeks to help bridge this gap by providing bags of food to these families to supplement what they need to purchase, freeing up some of their limited resources for other family necessities.

Each month, volunteers from the houses of worship comprising the UIFB (Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont & Emanu-El, Scarsdale Congregational Church, Shaarei Tikvah - The Scarsdale Conservative Congregation and St. James the Less Episcopal Church), unpack deliveries from the Food Bank for Westchester, collect supplemental food items, sort and re-pack the food into individual family bags and deliver approximately 100 bags of food to Family Services of Westchester Head Start site(s). Each bag contains a variety of foods such as canned vegetables and fruits, beef ravioli, tunafish, soup, black beans, rice, pasta, pasta sauce and cereal.

Historically, the current members of the United Interfaith Food Bank, together with Christ Church Bronxville, served three sites in the north Bronx from 2004 to 2017, providing 100 bags of food twice a month to three Bronx organizations offering vital services to needy children, families and seniors. Each house of worship has raised funds and/or organized targeted collections, usually tied to major holidays, to encourage congregants to provide food and funds. Anyone wishing to donate to support this worthy program can donate online here. Just select "social action" from the choices of funds. All monetary donations have gone directly to purchasing food as necessary to supplement in-kind donations. We have no administrative costs.

Volunteers are needed. 
Contact us here if you are able to help.

Thursday afternoons (once or twice a month), to help unload deliveries from the Food Bank for Westchester;

Thursday afternoons or Friday mornings to sort and pack individual family food bags for delivery to the Head Start children;

Fridays before 2:00 P.M. to deliver food bags to White Plains

Scarsdale Synagogue is a reform Jewish congregation located at 2 Ogden Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583. 914.725.5175. Scarsdale Synagogue Website

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