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SVACTeamScarsdale’s Volunteer Ambulance Corps took home four awards, including the coveted Chairman’s Award at the Westchester Regional EMS Council Annual Awards dinner on Thursday night May 23 at SUNY Purchase. Founded in 1970, SVAC became the first ambulance service in the county to offer advanced life support in 1996. They now have three ambulances and handle over 1,800 cases each year. The corps provides service to Scarsdale as well as the north end of New Rochelle and has an on-scene arrival time averaging less than five minutes.

For the past eight years, SVAC has offered EMT classes and they became an official New York State Training Center in 2016. Since then they have graduated 16 classes of EMT’s and offered a six-week EMT class for high school seniors.

For recognition of the agency as a whole and their educational excellence, SVAC was granted the Chairman’s Award, which had not be given in five years.

ChairmansAwardSVAC President and champion David Raizen was given the Westchester County Leadership Award. Raizen is a lifelong resident of Scarsdale and took CPR while a student a Scarsdale High School. When he turned 18, he started riding the SVAC ambulance and continued his education, receiving his EMT certificate in 1979 and certification as a Paramedic in 2017.

Under his 15 years of leadership, the corps has grown from 25 to 130 volunteers. He has upgraded the level of service and provides advanced life support. In 2014 David became the youngest person to be awarded the Scarsdale Bowl, the Village’s highest award for volunteering.

SVAC also won two additional awards related to lifesaving work at specific events:

Four members of the Ambulance Corps and four Scarsdale Police officers received an award for saving the life of a man found at the bottom of his pool. According to his son, the man had complained of chest pain a few hours earlier. His son found his father at the bottom of the pool and called 911. Emergency workers arrived within 3 minutes and were able to rescue the man from the bottom of the pool and successfully resuscitate him.


Here are the names of those who received the award:


David Raizen Paramedic
Robert Rizzo Paramedic
James Gross EMT
Elissa Schilmeister EMT

Scarsdale Police

Anthony Santana
Michael Coyne
Michael Siciliano
Victoria Wanterman

A second award was given for saving the life of a 25 year-old man who had overdosed on heroin. His father found him and summoned SVAC who found the father doing CPR on his unresponsive son. David Raizen and Paramedic Wolfgang Lawton administered large doses of NARCAN while performing CPR and resuscitated the victim. Also credited for their efforts were:

Alyssa Murray Paramedic
Heliodoro Mendes Paramedic
Deborah Fuchs EMT

In both instances, the victims left the hospital in the same condition they were in before the events.WREMSCOAwards

Congratulations to SVAC on the awards and thanks to all they do for residents of Scarsdale. They rely on community support to fund their work. Please give a gift to keep this vital service available to all residents. Learn more and donate here:

Photos by Jon Thaler. See more here:

USCThe widely reported college admissions scandal has become a hot topic among parents of college-bound students. The dishonesty that prevailed among members of the highest echelons of society – business executives, actors, law firm partners, doctors – is staggering. It feeds the narrative that wealthy people in the United States have an unfair advantage in gaining their children’s admission to top colleges and universities. This, in turn, adds to the political polarization that prevails today and the class warfare narrative that sadly informs some modern day politicians and commentators.

Most people with whom I’ve discussed the matter view the scandal with disgust. They are taken aback by the dishonesty, lack of ethics, and the influence of money and power in a system that is supposed to be merit-based. A common refrain is a lament of many students’ and parents’ focus on college rankings and a small subset of elite schools, which can have an unhealthy impact on the experience of high school students throughout the already stressful college admissions process. I believe the scandal illuminates the reality that in a competitive community such as Scarsdale, admission to college causes families to lose perspective. Most people would not cheat or buy their way to their kids’ acceptance to a top school. Still, the lengths to which some will go are concerning. Many families spend thousands and thousands of dollars on test prep for the ACT or SAT; kids are encouraged to engage in year-round athletics; they assume burdensome academic schedules; they suffer sleep deprivation; and they otherwise engage in excessive behaviors over multi-year periods in response to the pressure to get into their dream school. While I’d like to think my wife and I have completely avoided these behaviors with our own kids, that would be an overstatement.

There are other factors at play insofar as parents are concerned. People are influenced by what they hear at community events, on the sidelines at school athletic contests and at cocktail parties. Before one knows it, which college your child is attending becomes a barometer of how good a parent you’ve been. Similarly, students succumb to the buzz in class, in the hallways and at practices and their sense of self-worth is tied up in the name of a college.

In short, in affluent communities it can seem like everyone is gunning for admission to a top school. We might recognize deep down that college is not really about a prize or status, but then emotions, competitiveness and insecurity create a reflexive desire for admission to the most selective school. There’s no question that most of us want the best for ourselves and our children. So, the logic goes, college selectivity must be tied to quality.

But that’s where the logic, to some extent, ends. As I wrote in an earlier column for Scarsdale10583.com, studies repeatedly show that the greatest early determinant of career success for most students from upper middle class and wealthy families – measured by lifetime income – are the academic credentials of the student applying to college, and not the identity of the college. In other words, all things being equal, take two highly motivated students with identical grades and identical standardized test scores, send one to an elite college and one to a middle-of-the road state school, and the data consistently shows that their lifetime earnings will be roughly equivalent. (Minority students and students from less wealthy families do tend to earn more than their peers if they attend an elite college, with the most common explanation given that the institutions have broader professional networks that help facilitate early career advancement.)

For most of us in Scarsdale, the reality is that whatever motivates the college application rat race to get into the best school possible, it’s more about prestige, ego and bragging rights, and not about the student’s future career prospects. As we ponder the lessons of the college admissions scandal, we’d be well served to re-evaluate our priorities and recognize that when it comes to helping our children get into an elite school, it’s as much about our own status as it is our children’s future success.

Do you have comments on the college admission scandal? Share them below!

East EndMayor Marc Samwick and Deputy Mayor Jane Veron sat down recently to discuss the May 15th public forum that will be held at Rutherford Hall at 7:00pm to address the redevelopment of the Freightway parking garage. Here is what they shared:

We have been hearing a lot about the redevelopment of the Freightway parking garage; what’s going on with the project?

MS The Freightway parking garage was built in 1972 and is currently in need of nearly $2.5 million of repair and upgrade work. After looking at the very successful development of Christie Place, the Village Board decided to assess resident interest in the potential redevelopment of the Freightway garage site. For those of you who might remember, Christie Place was nearly built as a stand-alone parking garage at taxpayer’s expense. At the last minute, the Christie Place project shifted and is now a vibrant residential and retail hub with below-grade parking for village residents. Learning from that experience, in 2017, the Village Board chose to take a proactive approach, initiating a visioning study. The results showed support for a redevelopment under a model similar to that of Christie Place.

JV We are fortunate that at this moment when we are considering the possibilities for Freightway, the development community has demonstrated strong interest in transit-oriented development (TOD). With the goal of attracting millennials and empty nesters, many neighboring communities have pursued TOD opportunities. In this environment, Scarsdale has the chance to evaluate again a potential taxpayer funded parking garage as compared to a new residential and parking structure funded by a private developer. If Scarsdale enters into a public-private partnership, the mixed-use development would seek to integrate both sides of our Village Center and to create sustainable benefits to our community, such as public open space and better pedestrian connectivity, all funded by the developer.

Where are we in the process and how can we expect the process to continue going forward?MarcSamwickMarc Samwick

JV Last July, we initiated a two-step process to engage with the development community. At that time, we issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) to private developers who might be interested in partnering with the Village to create a new hub that would bring vitality to our Village Center. The foundation for the RFEI were the guiding principles developed by the community through the visioning study. We were very pleased to receive seven responses from top developers that addressed these principles. The next step in the process will be to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), where the development community is asked to offer more detailed plans. The process continues with interviews, presentations and ultimately the selection of a Preferred Developer; negotiation of a mutually acceptable development agreement with the Preferred Developer; and the standard land use process which will include the Planning Board, Board of Architectural Review and the Village Board.

What’s happening at this Community Engagement Meeting and why is it important to attend?

MS - The Village recently retained a planning firm, AKRF, to advise the Village on the Freightway project. AKRF has extensive experience throughout Westchester County, the New York Metropolitan Area and the Boston-Washington corridor and has worked on TOD projects involving the MTA. They bring valuable experience to the project. The meeting on May 15th is designed to introduce AKRF to the community and to provide the community with the opportunity to express its preferences about the redeveloped Freightway site prior to the issuance of a Request for Proposals in June. Residents are encouraged to review the responses to the RFEI here prior to the public forum.

What is the timeline for the next steps in the project?

MS - As I mentioned, on May 15th we will hold a Community Engagement Meeting at 7 pm in Rutherford Hall with our planning consultant, AKRF. The intent of the meeting is to bring residents up to date on the Freightway process and to engage the public prior to issuing the RFP. The Village expects to issue the RFP in June 2019. The development community has been waiting to hear back from the Village since the RFEI submissions were provided in October 2018. We expect the RFP process to result in the selection of a Preferred Developer later in the year.

Anything else?

JaneVeronheadshotJane VeronJV - We encourage residents to attend the May 15th Community Engagement Meeting to hear more about the Freightway process and to share their preferences for the redevelopment of Freightway prior to the issuance of the RFP.

MS - The Village Board started with extensive resident input through the visioning study and will continue to seek resident input throughout the process at events such as this public forum.

JV - The Village Board is focused on issues that matter to residents, namely the potential impact on parking, traffic and schools among others. There will be ample time to address these matters, and other potential concerns, as we better understand the plans that are developed for the Freightway site.

MS - We believe that we are embarking on a project that can materially enhance our Village Center, and we look forward to creating a shared vision with the community.

AlumniDayOn Stage: Heather Harrison, Andrew Ross Sorkin and Jeffrey Hoffman: On Screens: Lindsay Gotlieb and Andy JassyThe Scarsdale Alumni Association celebrated the 100 Year Anniversary of Scarsdale High School on Saturday, May 11th. Scarsdale alumni, administrators, and students gathered in the Scarsdale High School Auditorium followed by a networking reception at the Learning Commons. "Scarsdale is one of the preeminent communities in the world," said Zach Harrison, President of the Scarsdale Alumni Association. "It's great to see so many alumni at this event to celebrate our 100 year anniversary." Harrison encouraged alumni to promote their great experiences growing up in Scarsdale wherever they go "to ensure we continue to have great people choosing Scarsdale as their community for the next 100 years and beyond."

The day started with a panel of distinguished Scarsdale alumni featuring Andrew Ross Sorkin, Andy Jassy, Lindsay Gottlieb and Jeffrey Hoffman who shared their inspiring life stories which started in Scarsdale. The panel was moderated by Heather Harrison. Proceeds from the event will go to fund scholarships for deserving Scarsdale students in need.

darienlightsHow many nights would the lights be on at Butler Field if the plan to install them goes ahead? And how would the lights, noise and traffic impact the neighborhood?

That’s what Scarsdale Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi sought to clarify at the Scarsdale Board of Education meeting on Monday night April 29. Using a rubric from Rye, Pappalardi mapped out a plan for how many nights the lights would be on until 8 pm, 9 pm and 10:30 pm.

Discussing the mitigation of effects from noise, light and traffic, Pappalardi conceded that the district would not be able to manage unamplified noise during evening practices and games. He said there was no way to control the sound of kids playing, referees whistles and spectators cheering. However the use of a targeted sound system, which could be purchased for around $30,000, would control the effects of amplified sound from the announcer.

About the light, Pappalardi suggested that the planting of a natural screen of Green Giant Arborvitae would help to cut down on the light on the neighbors and quoted a fee of $5,000 for 50 trees.

About the schedule, Pappalardi showed the proposed calendar below outlining the field usage and “lights out” times for field usage based on 2019-20 dates.


He anticipated the following number of night games per year:

Up to 15 scheduled night games
--5 with lights off by 10:30 pm
--10 with lights off by 9:00 pm

Up to 4 playoff games with lights off by 10:30 pm

Up to 2 night games for each youth Independent Sports Organization including Rec Football, Boys' Soccer, Girls' Soccer, Boys' Lacrosse & Girls' Lacrosse for a total of 10 games.

That makes 29 night games per school year.

Lights would be used for the fall season from August 19 to November 15 and in the spring from March 9 through May 29.

In addition, the lights would be used for practices almost every night during the season until 8 pm. Here is what the proposed memorandum outlines:

“A maximum of ninety (90) athletic practices and twilight games (other than weekend events) using lights shall be allowed at the stadium during any given school year. Within the 90 events, a maximum of thirty (30) practices may be scheduled in the fall and spring and shall end with lights off by 8:00p.m, Monday through Friday only. An additional maximum of thirty (30) events may be scheduled in the fall and spring as twilight games at the stadium in any given school year. These games shall be scheduled Monday through Friday only with lights off by 8:00p.m. or 30 minutes after the end of the event in case of an injury delay, overtime or a significant public safety event.”

It is interesting to note, that the document from the Rye Board of Education upon which the Scarsdale draft is based allows for a total of 16 night games – rather than 29 games in the Scarsdale draft, and 70 practices until 8 pm in Rye, rather than 90 in the Scarsdale draft.

In the public comments portion, the Board heard from both a supporter of the plan and a neighbor with concerns about the policy.

Speaking for the “Light the Future Committee” of Maroon and White , Matt Conlan of Madison Road discussed the benefits of the lights and the need for a tiered donation policy.

He said, “350 players use the field and another 400 use it occasionally. That’s more than half the school. Extending the usage beyond sunlight is a huge asset for the community…. Through discussions we have learned that the neighbor’s biggest concern is the noise that accompanies field usage. Ray has been looking at an amplified system that will be a win-win. Garbage, parking and traffic have also been brought up and will be addressed by the school’s event management strategy.

…This will allow practices and games that were otherwise shortened by sundown to be played and conducted normally. This will allow them to play their full games.

…Among our prospective donors there are a lot of principled objections, that our property taxes, the highest in the country, can’t cover lights on the sole turf field in the community. The community wants lights, the student athletes certainly want lights and having a donor recognition plan is critical to raising money outside the school budget. …

Our intention is to recognize every donor … no matter the size…. The lower donors (will be recognized in the Scarsdale PaverGardenMaroon and White is requesting a tiered donor recognition policy as there will not be enough space or funds to recognize all donors with inscribed pavers.Inquirer, on our website and in our sports journal. Permanent recognition costs money and takes up space. A paver brick costs about $35. Making that available for a $250 donation means that 15% goes back into it. … We don’t have a enough physical space to put a brick down for every $250 increment of donation – We will be seeking a tiered recognition plan with $1,000 as the minimum for recognition for practical reasons….

…The plan needs to be tiered so that we can recognize a $10,000 donor – rather than ten, $1,000 donations. The real inclusivity is the lights. That’s what we should be focused on. Everyone will benefit from those lights. Our purpose is to improve the athletic experience for everyone.”

Commenting on the proposed schedule of use for the lights, Susan Kohn of 20 Carstensen Road thanked Ray and community leaders who have worked together. She said, “We only saw the proposed policy on Thursday. The neighbors will provide you with feedback on the policy. …We used a policy that was adopted by Rye as a starting point but the proposed policy is much broader than the one in Rye and much broader than the neighbors would feel is satisfactory in terms of scopes of usage….

…. Our concerns are real. Weekly practices every night on weeknights are a living reality for those of us who live around the field …. it’s week night, school night disruption for every night of the school year. While we support student athletics the concept of well-being and having quiet in order to study – as academics come first – is of primary importance.”

Commenting after the meeting, Kohn added: "With respect to the proposal that Ray provided to the Board, involved neighbors are concerned about a number of provisions. In general and among other things: The hours and frequency of usage are too broad; there is no statement of consequences for violations or mechanism for enforcement; and there are continuing concerns about the level of noise, light, and traffic even with proposed amelioration, as we are being asked to make a leap of faith that the proposed systems will work. (For instance, we do not have engineering specifications or other objective information on which to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed lighting and sound systems.) There are legitimate concerns about the effects of extended use of the field on students, including those on the field and those in neighboring houses (these two groups are not mutually exclusive - we are parents of student athletes, too!), that have not been studied or addressed.

We will be submitting a more detailed response to the Board and to Ray shortly. The issues raised by the current proposal are not unique to a community like Scarsdale. Please note that the policy in Rye, which was used as a model for Ray’s draft, better addresses many of our concerns. For instance, frequency and time periods permitted for usage of lights are much greater in Ray’s proposal than what is permitted in Rye, and Rye’s proposal clearly sets forth consequences for policy violations."

The Board also reviewed proposed changes to the district gift policy concerning donor recognition and other matters that can be reviewed here.

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