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WoodyCrouch4Those who claim that the Scarsdale’s Nominating Committees only select longtime volunteers and Scarsdale insiders will be pleased to learn about the nomination of Woody Crouch by the Scarsdale School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC). Though he has lived here for 40 years and many do know him, he’s not the guy you would find at your PTA meeting. In fact, when I received notification of his nomination, my reaction was “Woody? … Woody who?” I’ve been publishing Scarsdale10583 for 10 years and have lived in Scarsdale for 28 years but had never crossed paths with Mr. Crouch.

In order to rectify that situation and find out why Woody wanted to run for the School Board, I scheduled a breakfast with him. While everyone else was enjoying an indoor snow day, Woody and I were huddled over coffee at the Parkway Diner where he shared his amazing life story.

Turns out, Woody grew up in a place that is about as far from Scarsdale as you can get. He spent his early years in Pineville, Louisiana, a town with a population of only 5,000 people. He told me that he’s been working almost everyday of his life, and it all began with a paper route when he was 10. In order to secure the newspapers, he had to ride his bike across a bridge over Red River and bring them back to Pinefield to deliver, some on dirt roads. At the time, papers sold for a nickel each.

As a student, he was always strong in math and ended up going to a larger high school in Alexandria, Louisiana. Not sure what to do upon graduation, he decided to attend a small Baptist college where he worked in the bookstore to support himself. His father was a veteran and spoke to the local Congressman about giving Woody an appointment to West Point – but when another student took the only available spot, Crouch was offered a place at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, where he enrolled in the engine program and emerged an engineer.

From there, he spent a year at sea on a small cargo ship called the SS Harry Culberth and then came back to New York, where he landed a job at a naval architecture firm, designing the engine room of a destroyer.

Seeking a job with more security, Crouch walked into Con Edison headquarters at 350 Broadway and was hired on the spot. He spent seven years building a power plant and, from there, he got a job at the New York Power Authority, where he stayed for 30 years. During his tenure, he built New York State’s power infrastructure, negotiating with politicians and residents to allow major projects to extend through their neighborhoods.

Speaking about his ability to navigate controversy he said, “I would go into meetings where hundreds of people were up in arms about a power lines or plants in their communities, and by the end of the meeting no one was angry.” He managed large- scale installations on very tight deadlines, and was able to meet the schedules and get the jobs done on time.

Why does he want to serve on the Scarsdale School Board? Crouch says that he has lived in Scarsdale for 40 years and that his children attended the schools. He now has five grandchildren in the district, two in Edgewood, two in the middle schools and one in high school. He says, “I want to do the right thing for Scarsdale. I think I can make a difference.” With the schools district in the midst of plans for major renovations and infrastructure improvements, Crouch believes his knowledge of construction and engineering would be an asset to the Board of Education.

He also says he has an “understanding and respect for teachers, as his wife, two sisters and a brother were teachers. He said, “They are the most important part of the system,” and believes that we should “let our teachers be creative and use their strengths.”

Crouch continues to work as a consultant in the power field but has also found time for volunteers work in Scarsdale. He is known to many in town from his years on the Drake Edgewood Association, on the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association of Presidents (SNAP), as chair of the Edgewood Athletic Association and a coach for girls and boys basketball, soccer and softball teams. He is currently a Committee Member of Boy Scouts Troop 2 and a Merit Badge Counselor for Engineering, Energy, Citizenship in the Community and Family Life. He was on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of IHM CCD program and President of the U. S. Society on Dams.

Crouch’s grandson was born with Sturge Weber, a rare disease, and only lived for five months. This prompted Woody to get involved with Sturge-Weber Foundation where he served as the Chairman for six years and now serves as a Board member.

Even more striking than his depth of experience is his genuine willingness to listen. Crouch is open to many points of view, and eager to learn more about parents’ concerns and the challenges that face the Scarsdale Schools. His years of engagement with stakeholders statewide and his ability to forge agreements will serve him well if elected.

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NewTrusteesThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 from Justin Arest, Lena Crandall and Jane Veron.
To the Editor: We want to start with the most important words we can say: Thank you, thank you, thank you, Scarsdale.

As volunteers ourselves, we appreciate that Scarsdale’s strength is the depth of commitment and generosity of so many residents who give freely of their labor, time, and expertise to make our community better.

For the second year in a row, Scarsdale voters came out in large numbers to cast their vote in a Village election. Over many weeks, volunteers for all four candidates passionately urged their friends and neighbors to execute the most important responsibility of citizens — to show up, participate, and be counted. We believe the hours spent on the phones, on social media, debating on Letters to the Editor pages, participating in or attending the League of Women Voters forum, knocking on doors, shaking hands at train stations, and distributing palm cards demonstrates a level of engagement that we plan to carry over as we shift from the excitement of campaigning to the thoughtful work of governing.

Alongside our deep gratitude, we're also humbled by the responsibilities that come with such robust support. When we stood before the 30 elected volunteers of the Citizens Nominating Committee, representing a diverse cross-section of our community, we knew what would be expected of us. We know that we are the latest in a long tradition of volunteer public servants who have come through the non-partisan system. Our Village has a long track record of elections that have been free from the corrupting influence of money, special interests, and acrimonious partisanship. We are the envy of neighboring municipalities due to our emphasis on character, judgment, and good government. It will be up to us to continue to prove the wisdom of our unique system through our actions as Trustees. We take this responsibility seriously, and we are honored to serve.

With gratitude and hope,

Justin, Lena and Jane

(Pictured Above: Jane Veron, Justin Arest and Lena Crandall: Photo credit: Harvey Flisser)

electionresultsSCNP Campaign Co-Chairs Jon Mark and Dara Gruenberg announce the results. Photo credit Harvey Flisser

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letter-to-the-editorDemocracy in Scarsdale (or anywhere) is precious and fragile. Many Scarsdale leaders for a century have maintained an effective democratic system here. The Scarsdale system depends on its Village Manager for safety and common services while it keeps the Village Manager's authority within popular democratic bounds. Government is the Village Manager and Village employees, on the one hand, and the Non Partisan system for electing vetted volunteer Trustees from throughout the Village, on the other hand, is our democratic safeguard.

Unlike New England town meetings, the residents of Scarsdale are represented through a nonpartisan system that works through a grass roots nominations process, engaging every neighborhood. The process ultimately selects a slate of locally experienced leaders whose gifts include primarily the capacity to listen to all points of view. As Trustees, their job is to be sure the ideas of residents are heard. This Trustee discipline curbs the power of the Village Manager.

Working against this tradition, of course, are individual champions of particular ideas who believe their own ideas are more important than the ideas of the people. These individual champions wind up in a fight against other Trustees and against the Village Manager.

During our 46 years of Scarsdale residency, we have witnessed this tug of war many times, between vetted volunteers who insist on listening to all the people and the self-anointed champions who need to upend the nonpartisan system to enforce their ideas. Every election is crucial to maintain Scarsdale as the democracy it is.

What struck us initially about Lena Crandall, a new Trustee candidate in the upcoming Village election, was her desire to "get all ideas on the table." Perhaps this desire stemmed from her legal training, or her immigrant family upbringing, but it became her personal signature. No matter how strongly she felt about an issue, she was restrained and encouraged contrary ideas.

We saw this first during her service in the Town and Village Civic Club (now the Scarsdale Forum). Lena wanted to be sure that special effort was undertaken to hear the ideas of residents who were Chinese or Latin American who had no experience with American democracy or limited English to understand. As Scarsdale has become more diverse in national heritage and languages, this emphasis on inclusion is even more necessary than in earlier years. Lena still insists that every resident, regardless of citizenship, needs to be included and heard.

It is not surprising to us that Lena Crandall, who rose through her twenty years of service within Scarsdale Forum (and other groups), first as Committee Chair, then Vice President, then President, and now a Past President and Co-chair of the Special Events Committee, has been nominated as a Trustee for Scarsdale's election in March. The nonpartisan system of Scarsdale has found her for us, along with Justin Arest and incumbent Trustee Jane Veron. It's up to us to vote the slate, elect Lena and keep Scarsdale on track.

Lynne and Merrell Clark
Walworth Avenue

(Letter from Eric Lichtenstein)

To the Editor:

I am a Scarsdale Village resident writing in strong and proud support of Justin Arest, one of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party's candidates for election as Village Trustee on March 20, 2018. I was a member of this year's Citizens Nominating Committee.

I met Justin shortly after moving to Scarsdale in 2014. A mutual friend introduced us after realizing that Justin and I were neighbors with growing families on similar timelines. It was a successful match.

What I love most about my friendship with Justin is that he is a great listener. He cares deeply about his friends' lives and is never quick to make judgments. I have had numerous discussions with Justin about our mutual interests during family visits, phone calls and backyard chats. What we share is a deep commitment to our community. I did not grow up in Westchester, I'm a Long Island transplant, and although the various New York City suburbs share many things in common, there are some subtle differences that occur in Westchester and Justin – a Westchester lifer – is my go-to guy for answers.

Justin is extremely committed to the Scarsdale community. From serving on boards and volunteering, to being an active participant in neighborhood discussions, he has proven his eagerness to work hard for Scarsdale. Justin also brings a new and fresh perspective to the Village which in the current economic environment is a huge plus. We need to encourage more millennials and young people to want to move to Scarsdale and raise their families here. Justin sets an inspiring example of civic volunteerism for others in his generation.

I have witnessed Justin's hard work and commitment to Scarsdale and its improvement in working with him on the Library Renovation Project. Another example of Justin's commitment to the community is his work on both the Zoning Board of Appeals and on the Freightway Steering Committee. He has shown that he already dedicates extraordinary time and energy to be of service to Scarsdale even with the commitments of having a young family. I expect him to continue to do so if he is elected to serve as a Trustee.

Justin is rational, thoughtful, and conscientious. He can debate the issues with fairness and keep an open-mind to all sides of an issue. He exercises mature judgment, and he is not afraid to take an unpopular positon if he believes it is the right thing for the long-term.

I can't think of a better candidate to entrust with the position of Scarsdale Village Trustee. I know that Justin will have the community's best interests in mind and that residents will respect his values, judgments and overall character. I strongly urge all eligible Scarsdale residents to vote for Justin on March 20.

Eric Lichtenstein
15A Richbell Road
Scarsdale, New York

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arest(Sent to Scarsdale10583.com by Justin Arest, Candidate for Village Trustee) My name is Justin Arest, and I am running with Trustee Jane Veron and Lena Crandall as this year's Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party slate. I wish timing allowed me to speak with all of my neighbors individually before this election. I would take that opportunity to share more about me, my passion for working with others to make our community better and, more importantly, to hear your thoughts about what you love about Scarsdale and what issues you think need to be addressed. Obviously, that is not realistic, and therefore I write this piece to at least introduce you to me in hopes of earning your vote on March 20th.

Growing up in New Rochelle, I spent a good part of my life in Scarsdale. In fact, I met my wife in the Golden Horseshoe almost twenty years ago. Allison grew up in Quaker Ridge, and we feel so fortunate to be raising our two children as third generation Scarsdalians.

When we moved to town, I knew I wanted to get involved. It was a natural extension of my time as a member of my Community Board in Manhattan. Here, I was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals, a logical place for my professional training and experience. I am a trained attorney and manage a real estate investment company based in Manhattan. However, I am aware that different roles require different hats. I do not consider myself a real estate manager or investor when I sit on the Zoning Board. I consider myself first and foremost a resident who takes considerable pride in the character of the Village in which we live. That's why with every application, I am careful to consider not only the applicant and his or her neighbors, but also the impact on the community as a whole, including future residents. I am always concerned about the potential for unintended consequences, and I work hard to identify and prevent what might be detrimental in the long term. What makes this Village special did not happen overnight. It deserves our protection. As a Trustee, I would continue to maintain that same sensitivity, and I would commit fully to the responsibilities of the position to represent all Scarsdale residents.

Next, I was asked to serve on the Library Project's Capital Campaign Committee. After learning more about the possibilities that a more vibrant library could offer to all Scarsdalians as well as the attractive public-private nature of the project, I wanted to help. It has been a great experience working with such a talented group of volunteers. I was flattered when the Library Board then invited me to serve on its Building Committee. We work with the architect, engineers, construction manager, Village staff, as well as other experts, to ensure that the vision of the project is translated into the final plans.

These experiences led to the Board of Trustees asking me to serve on the Freightway Steering Committee. That, in turn, led to some lively debates between me, Village staff, and the Trustees regarding the planning aspect of our Village Center area. I am a staunch supporter of holistic planning in all regards. I saw a possibility that as developers desired to redevelop their properties in favor of currently popular transit-oriented development trends, the Village may review such applications piecemeal. My hope is when we look back in decades to come, we don't regret missing opportunities to plan right and plan better. The Freightway Steering Committee did a great job at involving the community in creating its Vision Statement for the site. This type of outreach should continue at every stage of the process.

I have also taken on responsibilities within the Scarsdale Forum, a 501(c)(3) with a history of strong civic ties to the Scarsdale Community. The organization's president recognized my willingness and ability to serve and invited me to get involved. She also noticed the countless hours I had spent in Village budget sessions asking tough questions, making suggestions, and speaking with our Village Manager and Treasurer to fully understand our Village budget – both the constraints and opportunities that can exist. I am currently Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Scarsdale Committee, and also participate on the Forum's Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Nominating Committee, as well as a member of a number of other committees including the Assessment Revaluation Committee. I believe that we have learned so much from the last two revaluations that can and should only lead to a better preparedness for our next one. We must look to the future and always understand that equity is the primary goal of our Assessor's Office, and that stability is also important. This, of course, applies to a future revaluation but also is applicable to our current grievance system. I am completely committed to the goal of restoring our community's confidence in our Assessor's Office.

A constant theme throughout all of my volunteering is that communication is not only important, it is essential. Even the best efforts at transparency can be wasted if there are not efficient and effective ways to disseminate that information. The best decisions from our elected officials can only come when they understand the needs and concerns of the residents they serve. The onus to obtain the information should not be placed on our neighbors, the Village needs to reach everyone. That is why when Jane Veron announced the formation of an Ad Hoc Communications Committee, I volunteered. We have done great work over the last year, but there is so much more to accomplish.

Improving the Village we live in can only happen one way—by working together. That is why, regardless of the position, my approach to decision making is simple: I want to get the best information possible by researching, listening and often learning. I try to understand all perspectives regardless of where I start out. I ask a lot of questions. I believe we can all learn from one another and I will encourage open discussion by the Trustees throughout the decision-making process. I understand that my role as Trustee will be in an oversight capacity, but that should not lead anyone to believe that the role is passive. Trustees control policy as well as make budgetary decisions. I have great respect for the Village professionals and trust they do their jobs with integrity, but ultimately, Trustees are accountable and hold a fiduciary duty to the community to do what is in our collective best interest.

It has been an honor serving this community as a resident volunteer. It has allowed me to meet and work with an incredibly talented group of neighbors and become thoroughly versed in significant town issues concerning finance, land use, assessment, development, and renovation of a community asset. I hope I can gain your trust and your vote to represent you as Trustee.

Please Vote Row B on March 20th. Let's support our non-partisan system that looks to record over rhetoric.


Meet the Candidates:

The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party (SCNP)  will host a "meet and greet" event with its slate of candidates – Justin Arest, Lena Crandall and Jane Veron -- on Sunday, March 18, 2018. The event will be held at the Scott Room, Scarsdale Public Library, 54 Olmsted Road from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Residents will be able to meet and learn about the experience and qualifications of SCNP's candidates running for the office of Trustee. There is no charge for the event and refreshments will be available.

According to Campaign Committee Chair, Jon Mark, "With the election around the corner, we want to make sure the public has access to the candidates with the most significant and relevant experience for the challenging job of running Village government. The Citizens' Non-Partisan candidates, Justin Arest, Lena Crandall and Trustee Jane Veron have the qualifications and temperament to lead."

Mark noted that "SCNP candidates have been chosen by the Citizens Nominating Committee – a committee of thirty residents representing a cross section of the Village by geography, age and even their length of residence in the Village which ranged from two years to over 50 years. The committee members were elected by their neighbors to vet and select candidates for Village office. This non-partisan system has been in place for more than a century and remains as vibrant and relevant today as it was at its inception.

Over time, the track record speaks for itself. Our real estate is in exceptionally high demand for the schools, services and the way of life offered by our special community. Scarsdale has a AAA financial rating because of decades of competent non-partisan leadership of Trustees on our Village Board. The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party is proud to continue the 100-year tradition of CNC-researched candidate endorsement."

RSVP by emailing to: scarsdalenonpartisan@gmail.com.

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braytonsmallUpdated at 7:15 PM: We received the following from Captain Thomas Altizio of the Scarsdale Police: "According to ConEd, as of 6:30 pm, there were 1,345 customers in Scarsdale without power. The Police Department has received dozens of reports of trees down with wires as well as downed utility poles. We have been forced to close roads at multiple locations while we wait for ConEd to remove wires. Where wires are not involved, our Public Works Department has personnel working throughout the afternoon and evening to remove downed trees and limbs. The Police Department has additional personnel working throughout the afternoon and evening, and have received a high volume of calls reporting auto accidents, downed trees, poles and wires, medical emergencies, as well as our normal volume of daily calls."

"We have no information from ConEd regarding restoration estimates. Keep in mind that the damage and outages from this storm are widespread, so I think it is fair to say that restoration will take longer than usual. Because of the dangers posed by all of the downed wires, poles and trees, the Village has issued a press release declaring a "State of Emergency" as of 5:30 pm, and until the necessary repairs and cleanup can be completed. Additional information will be disseminated through Press Releases and the Village website as the situation changes."

Powerful winds, sleet, rain and snow blew threw Scarsdale today, taking down power lines in many areas of Scarsdale. Here in Greenacres, the power is out after a large tree fell across Walworth Avenue just north of Brayton Road, taking down the power main. Another big tree fell on Ogden Road in Fox Meadow leaving some in the dark. The Police are inundated with calls about downed trees and power lines throughout the Village.  Even the Con Edison outage map is not working properly.

The Village of Scarsdale declared a State of Emergency at 5:30 pm, prohibiting driving and parking on Village roadways until the State of Emergency is lifted. Freightway Parking lot is open and available for parking.  Storm related calls should be made to the Scarsdale Emergency Operating Center at 914-722-1150. Call 911 or 722-1200 if using a cell phone. Report power outages to Con Edison at 1-800-752-6633.

As of Friday night at 6 pm, authorities said that at least half the village is without power and Con Edison cannot work until the winds die down. The Fire Chief did not sound optimistic that the power would be back on anytime soon.

The picture above is the one on Walworth - and below see windblown fences in Quaker Ridge. Let us know where the power is out by commenting in the section below.

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