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I Am More ScarsdaleIammoreMarcy Berman-Goldstein and Abbey Solomon of I Am More Scarsdale will host Impact100, a collective giving organization in Westchester County engaging women in philanthropy on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 from 10:30 am to 6 pm.

Community members are invited to attend this Shop, Support & Learn event to learn how Impact100 Westchester engages women in philanthropy and funds transformational grants for nonprofits serving Westchester County. I Am More Scarsdale will offer customers 10% off their entire purchase and will donate 10% of all in-store and online sales to Impact100 Westchester.

I Am More Scarsdale is a unique women’s retail concept in the heart of Scarsdale Village, whose mission is to empower women to make them feel confident, support up and coming and established women-owned businesses and designers, and to give back to local and women’s philanthropic organizations. They recently celebrated their one-year anniversary on October 18th and their charitable events have provided over $10,000 in cash and $50,000 in merchandise to more than 25 charitable organizations. Store owners Marcy Berman-Goldstein and Abbey Solomon were recently named as Westchester’s most powerful women in The Business Journal of Westchester and Fairfield Counties.

I Am More launched its first product line, Strong + Beautiful, in collaboration with Safe Horizon in New York City, the nation’s leading victim assistance organization, whose mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities. Strong + Beautiful was created to remind all women of their internal strength and beauty, no matter their current state of mind or well-being. Kira Kazantsev, Miss America 2015, is the Strong + Beautiful brand Ambassador. Strong + Beautiful products include a reed diffuser and candle, notepads and leatherette pouches, as well as T-shirts, Muscle Tee’s and Sweatshirts. 20% of all proceeds benefit Safe Horizon. Strong + Beautiful products are available for purchase in-store and online at www.iammorescarsdale.com.

“We have seen a groundswell of interest in recent Village Center events and are grateful for the leadership provided by our local merchants. In this changing economic landscape, consumers have many choices; and they will patronize establishments that reflect their sensibility and values. I Am More remains true to its mission, to serve the entirety of its customers. With Shop & Support, all the Village benefits. We’ll see increased foot traffic, and the community can take great pride in helping the greater good,” said Jane Veron, Scarsdale Village Trustee and liaison to Scarsdale Business Alliance.

Over the past five years, Impact100 Westchester has engaged women in philanthropy through collective giving. By pooling resources, they have awarded over $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving Westchester’s most vulnerable populations.

Each year they provide Transformational Grants that are used for a specific project or program and Core Mission Grants that are unrestricted funds to be used to advance the core mission of the nonprofit.

In some cases, Impact100 grants catalyze further support for their beneficiaries. For example, Pace University chose to expand its support for the Pace Women’s Justice Center after Impact100 helped fund construction for their new walk-in legal clinic, allowing them to serve almost 500 more people each year. “The Impact100 grant started the ball rolling and we are growing and expanding our services,” says the Women’s Justice Center’s Executive Director, Cindy Kanusher. “We are so grateful.”

Scarsdale resident Sharon Salomy Douglas founded Impact100 Westchester in 2013 after witnessing the Philadelphia chapter in action. There are over 50 chapters worldwide. In their first year they had 132 members and that has grown to 332 women last year. They are currently in their membership drive for the 2019 grant cycle. Grant money comes entirely from membership dues—$1,000 per year for the grant fund, plus $100 to cover administrative costs—so a larger membership means greater opportunity to make a difference.

Some members simply send their membership dues and attend the annual meeting, but many take active, year-round roles in the organization’s various committees and outreach efforts. Last year, over half the membership participated in the rigorous grant-application review process. Selected finalists present their projects to the entire membership at the annual meeting in spring, at which time every member will vote to determine the winners. To date, Impact100 Westchester has awarded grants to 30 local organizations aimed at tackling a variety of issues, including children’s mental health, education access, and support for survivors of abuse.

“This model is quickly becoming an influential and effective way for women to participate in philanthropy while networking and building friendships. Our community of Westchester County has areas of extreme wealth, yet, 10% of the residents live in poverty. When we pool our funds, we can achieve transformational results and change lives. We are grateful to I Am More for hosting this Shop, Support & Learn event on behalf of Impact100,” says Susan Bloom, Co-President of Impact100 Westchester.

Joining Impact100 gives women an opportunity to learn about the needs of their neighbors and allows them to respond with much needed assistance. The Westchester chapter continues to expand, and they are currently looking for new members to help them grow. If you are interested or would like more information, please email us at info@impact100westchester.org or visit the website at www.Impact100Westchester.org.

2018 was an exciting year as they celebrated their 5th anniversary and awarded additional core mission grants as well as 3 transformational grants.

Transformational Project Grants - $90,000 each:

The Guidance Center of Westchester: Culinary Arts/Vocational Program
Westchester Parks Foundation: Camp Morty Pavilion
Youth Shelter Program of Westchester: Miller Place Project

Core Mission Grants - $12,333 each:
Gilda's Club Westchester: Teen Cancer Center
Westchester Exceptional Children's School: Gymnasium Renovation/Adaptive Physical Education Program

Core Mission Grants - $5,000 each:
Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle
Community Resource Center
Hillside Food Outreach
Hope Community Services
Women's Enterprise Development Center

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werun2When the summer heat receded and we had our first chilly Sunday, Team WeRun knew it was race day for the annual Westchester Healing Half & 10K Run.

Team WeRun remained the No.1 charity fundraising team for Westchester Medical Center. In addition, the runners also performed well on the race course.

On Sunday October 14, 2018, Shuangyuan Luo (37:59) won the first place in Men’s 10K Overall ranking, and Xiaojuan Hu (1:32:22) won second place in Women Half Marathon Overall ranking. The WeRun team has been one of the major teams in this event. Kudos to the team!

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WeinbergSome Quaker Ridge residents are upset about the potential location of a dog park at Weinberg Nature Center. We have heard complaints about traffic, noise and fears that the presence of dogs would drive away the wildlife that currently inhabits the Nature Center.

It turns out that Weinberg is just one of several possible locations under consideration. We spoke to Scarsdale Mayor Dan Hochvert who explained that the Trustees have not selected a site for the park. They agreed to ask the Village Staff to request bids from two engineering firms on doing a feasibility study for various sites in Scarsdale that might be home to a dog park. How much would it cost? What would be involved? What are the environment impacts?

Hochvert explained that along with Weinberg Nature Center, the Village might consider placing the dog park at Drake Field, George Field Park or Crossway. Once the firm is selected, they will study all potential sites.

We also received the following letter from the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents (SNAP) to clarify their position on the creation of a dog park:

Dear Mayor Hochvert and Trustees:

We write to clarify the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association President’s (SNAP) position with respect dogs1to the idea of a dog park in Scarsdale. The SNAP proposal for a dog park states that SNAP “requests the Village Board consider the establishment of a dog park in an appropriate Village location.” Accordingly, while SNAP supports an examination of the creation and feasibility of a dog park in the Village, SNAP has not recommended or requested the construction of a dog park at any specific location. Consistent with our proposal, SNAP respectfully requests that the Trustees engage in a comprehensive analysis of the feasibility of the creation of a dog park within Scarsdale at ALL potential locations. We believe it is premature to have adopted a resolution naming a specific location; our position is and has been that all viable locations should be considered jointly.

Thank you,
Sarah Bell
The Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents (SNAP)

So, clearly it’s not a done deal yet. The Mayor invites all residents who want to express their opinion on the placement of a dog park to attend a meeting at Village Hall prior to the Village Board meeting on Tuesday November 13. Ruff!

We are running a survey on Scarsdale10583 to find out what you think about a dog park. If you're a Scarsdale resident, please complete this short survey by clicking here.

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pekarekDeb Pekarek has been named Chair of the 2019 Scarsdale Bowl Committee. Randy Guggenheimer, President of the Scarsdale Foundation, announced the appointment.

Mr. Guggenheimer also announced that Abby Sroka will be joining the Bowl Committee as Secretary/Treasurer.

The Scarsdale Bowl is awarded annually to a Scarsdale resident in recognition of their outstanding volunteer service to the community.

As Bowl Committee Chair, Deb Pekarek will head the Scarsdale Bowl nominating committee and the community celebration dinner to be held on Wednesday April 10, 2019 at Mulino’s at Lake Isle. When she accepted her appointment, Ms. Pekarek noted, “Volunteerism and Scarsdale are synonymous. To be part of the process to recognize one of our many volunteers is a great honor. I look forward to our Scarsdale Bowl Dinner! Please join us!”

Deb has been an active volunteer in a multitude of Scarsdale organizations and boards most recently as a Village Trustee and Police Commissioner, chaired Personnel, Sustainability, Municipal Services, and was Fire Commissioner. She has also served as Vice President and chaired Planning & Zoning with the Scarsdale League of Women Voters, was a director of the Friends of Scarsdale Parks, President of the Greenacres Neighborhood Association, vice chair of the School Board Nominating Committee, Scarsdale Forum Sustainability Committee chair, Junior League of Central Westchester

Finance and Training Chair and Greenacres PTA Carnival Chair. Deb graduated from Elizabethtown College with a degree in business administration and received her Masters of Teaching from Manhattanville College. She was a product manager for ten years and then was a teacher in Mamaroneck and the Bronx. She and her husband Jon Leslie lived in many communities across the country and moved to Greenacres in 1992 with their son Jeffrey, who graduated from SHS.

The Scarsdale Bowl is administered by the Scarsdale Foundation, which operates as a not-for-profit community foundation to promote the civic welfare. The Foundation provides need-based financial aid to Scarsdale High School graduates who are entering their sophomore, junior and senior years in college and to children attending the Recreation Department summer day camp. It also administers a number of special purpose funds and makes grants for various community needs, which have included the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the Scarsdale/Edgemont Family Counseling Service and the Scarsdale Public Library.

Additional information about the Scarsdale Foundation and the Scarsdale Bowl can be found at www.scarsdalefoundation.org.

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dogs1On Tuesday 9-25, the Scarsdale Board of Trustees put forth its plans to consider the feasibility of a dog park at Weinberg Nature Center, and were met by over a dozen residents who debated the drawbacks and merits of such a facility.

The board’s action follows two independent reports, by the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents (SNAP) and Scarsdale Forum, that detail the community benefits of dog parks, and recommend further study into the possibility of siting a facility in Scarsdale, as well as related operational, legal, fiscal and environmental impacts.

First and, perhaps, the most difficult task is determining a location for the dog park. Generally speaking, one acre of relatively clear space is required, and other factors, such as proximity to homes, availability of parking and the ability to provide a water source must be considered. This limits local options considerably. The village has identified Weinberg Nature Center as the only site “potentially capable of meeting the minimum site requirements.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the BOT approved a resolution authorizing the engagement of an outside consultant to develop plans and specifications for creation of a dog park that would inform further study. But before voting on the resolution, the trustees heard from members of the public who voiced concerns about the location and cost, and those (including yours truly) who endorsed the idea of a space that offered a sense of community among Scarsdale dog owners.

Andrew Sereysky (Walworth Avenue) began the discussion saying, “I come to you tonight to urge you to pass the resolution with regard to the dog park… this has been a long time coming… As you know, the SNAP organization is 100 percent behind it… On behalf of the hundreds and hundreds of dogs but, more importantly, dog owners in Scarsdale… I really urge you to pass this and move ahead, and get dogs in our park legally.” To further illustrate his views, Sereysky quoted a member of the Seattle City Council, who said the following when considering dog parks in her community: ‘This is not a dog issue, it’s a people issue. It is about recognizing off-leash activity as a valid recreational activity. It’s about… residents who pay taxes to support our parks system, who willingly pay for swimming pools, tennis courts and fields that they may not get to use but ask, in return, that they be allowed, in some places, in some parks and in some areas to be able to engage in their favorite recreational activity.’”

Bob Berg (Tisdale Road) followed and said, “The time has really come. We’ve been studying this at SNAP… it is really the first project that SNAP decided to do… this is something we’re all behind… I have dogs that play with various dogs in the neighborhood, perhaps not in a kosher fashion, on the Crane-Berkeley field, which is a private field... The dogs have a terrific time running without a leash, and it’s a wonderful social activity for residents. I’ve met so many people that I wouldn’t normally come in contact with and it’s a terrific community building experience. I think a dog park would be a wonderful amenity for the community, and I’m delighted it’s finally getting on the agenda so it can be discussed openly by the public, and we get feedback from residents, both pro and con.”
Mike Lilly (Brown Road) agreed, saying, “Just to follow up on what Andrew and Bob said… There’s definitely a need for it. It’s also very good for me and my wife. We often joke that, if it wasn’t for my black lab, I wouldn’t know anyone in the neighborhood…there’s a lot of truth to that. There’s a need for (a dog park) and, hopefully, this can get done.”Weinberg

Frederick Green (Mamaroneck Road) voiced opposition to a dog park at Weinberg by saying, “I’m a lifelong Scarsdale resident… my house is adjacent to the Weinberg Nature Center… I bought my house because of the park, the serenity, the quiet, the wildlife… I’m also a lifelong dog lover… I have managed to enjoy my dogs throughout my lifetime, and enjoy and love the Village of Scarsdale without a dog park... I don’t have anything in particular against dog parks, but that is based on a presumption that they don’t pose material harm to residents… First, I’m concerned about noise… There are deer, there are turkeys, there’s fox, there’s rabbits… and they’re constantly wandering the neighborhood... That certainly can’t exist with dogs barking.” He went on, “I’m concerned about… the ability to enjoy my own property; and, I’m very concerned about the traffic. The traffic on Mamaroneck Road has changed markedly in the last years. There’s the Hutchinson River Parkway… we have the Saxon Woods Golf Course, we have the swimming pool, we have the fields at Crossway… The notion that we can put this in the Weinberg Nature Center and completely change the complexion of that place, and change the traffic pattern, and change the ability of the neighborhood to enjoy their homes is completely inappropriate.”
Immediately following Green’s remarks, Mayor Dan Hochvert clarified that the nature center occupied just over seven and a half acres (7.6). Green had stated it was 30 acres, likely including the surrounding fields in his assumption.

Steven Bochner (Barker Lane) then commented, “Thank you, mayor, for pointing out it’s only seven acres, so that a one acre dog park is more acutely taking over the wildlife refuge that Weinberg Nature Center is deeded to be.” He continued, “The Weinbergs’ trustees did point out that they wanted the legacy of the center to be for the recreation of the citizens of Scarsdale. Last I looked, dogs inhabit the town of Scarsdale, but they’re not citizens… It’s very sad if dogs are confined to the average half-acre home in Scarsdale to run around… but Scarsdale is a community of homes, not apartments, as city dwellers do find they need a dog playground… A simple Google tells you that everyone that has a dog park made certain that it was within a reasonable distance from peoples’ homes. All of the examples in the resolution are places… that are in ‘bumpkin’ land, with farmland surrounding the dog park.”

Sabine Bochner (Barker Lane) joined her husband in criticizing a dog park at Weinberg, saying, “I printed out an ultimate guide, from Westchester magazine, on dog parks, and then I went on Google and located each of them. Practically all of them are not near a residence…” She continued, “It seems that, also… the location has been decided… As someone with a degree in urban planning… it’s clear to me that no considerations were made to choose the site, no traffic evaluation, no parking, no impact on the neighborhood, the nature center itself, on the wildlife… I think this is… people on a mission who want a dog park and we’re doing this in a very unprofessional manner.” Bochner continued, “I’d like to mention (the impact on) the value of our property… We bought this property facing a nature center and now when I have to put this property back in the market… people are going to say, ‘Across the street, a dog park? Not happening. This traffic? People parking on your street when that parking lot is full… I don’t see anywhere in these studies any consideration of the impact on residents in this area.”

Hochvert then responded, “The purpose of the resolution is to determine the physical feasibility of that property, not a decision to choose that property… I want to make sure people understand that.”

Tereza Mrijaj (Hutchinson Avenue) followed and voiced her objection to the Weinberg location. “We’re really concerned about the noise and it’s very dangerous there too… Cars drive really fast off the parkway and sometimes you have to wait there for a long time. It’s a big concern for dogs and people who are walking… We’re not opposed to having a dog park but we’re opposed to having one in that area.” She concluded, “We don’t feel like it’s an appropriate place for it… I value the fact that you appreciate the people who live in town and you take the time to listen… and it’s very important that you listen to us… and I hope that you’ll reconsider the location.”

Julie Stonberg (Brookby Road) expressed support for a dog park, stating, “I was so excited that you may be thinking of a dog park… No one ever wants anything near their property. Sixteen years ago, I remember trying to get a community center and indoor pool… and no one wanted that near their property… and nobody wants lights at the high school if they live near the high school.” She went on, “I think (a Scarsdale dog park) would be so nice… It’s really social for the dogs and neighbors too… There are tons of people who would want a dog park.”

Anu Ramachandran (Barker Lane) then spoke against the proposed site, saying, “My house is on the market now and we’re not having a great time selling it… Whether my house sells or not, this is something that is going to sit there… and it’s going to hurt everyone… Ward Acres (dog park) is literally five minutes away from this proposed location… I don’t think that this is something we need to have right now… My kids play baseball; we could use a so much better baseball field before a dog park…. To take the nature center, which is an educational facility, and then flatten it down… oh, and we are penalized for taking trees down, but you take an educational green space and put in a dog park?” She continued, “(It’s) $14 for a permit in New Rochelle… Pay the $14 and bring your dogs there… get out of town and meet people in White Plains and New Rochelle and Mamaroneck. You don’t have to be within Scarsdale.”

Stuart Katchis (Barker Lane) followed and said, “I’ve lived at Barker Lane now for over 20 years…. I would have thought that, if site selection had gotten this far along, there would have been a notice to the neighbors who are bordering this property. I want to reiterate what others have said about Mamaroneck Road… We have everything on that road – the Weinberg Nature Center, the pool, the school, the fields – it’s a crowded place. The nature center parking lot is totally inadequate… It is what it is, but I don’t think we need to add another thing.” He went on, “One other little thought, because I’ve heard from the government often enough (about) cutting costs and taxes… should we share a fire department, should we share a police department, can we combine (services) with Eastchester, do we have to have our own? Couldn’t we begin that process with a dog park? …There’s no reason to spend money right now to build a whole new thing just so we can call it our own.”

Jeff Watiker (Wynmor Road) stated, “As a member of the Weinberg Nature Center… my last time there, I saw four deer, two turkeys, a muskrat and various other wildlife. I’m very nervous that bringing dogs onto the property will undermine, significantly, the outdoor part of the nature center… The tranquility of that seven acres being given over to a dog park (is what) I’m nervous about.” He went on, “As president of the East Heathcote Neighborhood Association… I was party to the SNAP discussions… The resolution that SNAP adopted was carefully crafted not to recommend a particular site. The reason for that was there was a lot of internal disagreement within SNAP, particularly about whether the Weinberg Nature Center was appropriate… I will say (however) that l think that the idea of a dog park is a good one.”

Barbara Carlton (Nelson Road) said, “I’ve been a resident over 15 years now… we have used the other dog parks… but I’d really like to stay in the neighborhood… I’d rather talk to Scarsdale residents… to get to know the community. “

David Cohen (Crane Road) spoke in favor of the resolution by saying, “Maybe we will figure out there’s a better place, but we think that studying (the Weinberg location) is worthwhile… It would benefit the community and Scarsdale residents to have the opportunity (to access a dog park)… We should study this and see if it’s responsible.”

Michelle Kaplan (Crane Road) closed the discussion by expressing enthusiasm for the plan. “I support having a dog park in the area. Currently, I don’t think dogs are allowed in any park in Scarsdale and one of my favorite activities… in New York City was to go to a dog park in the community, bring the kids and the dog, and let them run off and have fun. I would be grateful if you would do research on an area acceptable for everyone.”

Laura Halligan is a local writer, editor and marketing consultant. She is principal of Pinch Hit Prose and provides communications services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits.

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