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Mix Up the Workout at MYX Fitness

MYX3Oh, how we fretted in Scarsdale when Body Fit closed. Although there are plenty of gyms cycling and yoga studios to join, Body Fit offered their own unique approach that devotees feared they would never find again in Scarsdale. But when they heard the MYX Fitness had opened, former customers and many others headed over to tour MYX's beautiful new facility and sample their diverse workout menu

Located in the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center, (side note: there's parking! And it's free!) MYX was founded by Cindi Fisher of Scarsdale and her partner Stefanie Rosenzweig who describes MYX as "...an upscale, boutique fitness spot." But what is boutique fitness and why might you want to try it? Stefanie answered this for me. "Boutique fitness may be a bit more expensive than the traditional big box gym (it's pay-per-class), but we offer smaller class sizes so you are able to receive more personalized attention and form correction than when there are 40+ people squeezed into a room," she said. Personally, I loved that no one seemed to be pushing for a mat or for weights because there were so many fewer people than at "the gym" when I tried out MYX's classes. Stefanie added, "At MYX, you only pay for the classes you use and our passes never expire. There's no fee to join and you don't get charged when you're not using the facilities like with gym memberships."

This was my first experience with boutique fitnessmyx1 and I quickly saw the appeal. When you walk into MYX, you get a locker and choose a couple of numbers to make it lock. (Stefanie is always ready with the master key for people like me, for example, who forgot the TWO numbers I chose.) There are couches in the entry area and socializing is encouraged. There are amenities galore like almonds to grab on-the-go, name brand toiletries, clean and gorgeous bathrooms, and even a shower loaded with everything you might need. Heart rate monitors are distributed before each work out to allow you to monitor yourself during the class as well as over time through the web-based tracking system employed by MYX.

So how does MYX differentiate its fitness training from other places in the area? Stefanie said, "We offer classes no one else is offering in a desirable, boutique setting: HIIT , TRX, Boxing, Tabata (Q-MYX), and more and all of the classes are a full 60-minutes. At MYX, you can take 10 different types of classes and you're not locked into just one type of workout." She continued by saying, "We have secured some of the best fitness instructors in the area and between their energy, passion, and experience paired with our personalized customer service, it has not been surprising to see new faces every day as well as the same people now continuing to come back." The instructors I chatted with gave me the sense that they felt honored to be teaching there.

myxheartrateMYX's philosophy is based on muscle confusion and continuously changing the workout routine to increase your fitness level and change your body. Without a change in type of exercise, we hit an inevitable plateau- both with our bodies and our minds. MYX works with clients to strategically alternate through different classes to maximize the workout. Rochelle W., a very happy new client, testified to the fact that she's never felt better since beginning classes at MYX. "MYX opened at the right time for me as I was ready to get serious about exercising. I love the variety of the classes and quality of the teachers. I have significantly improved my fitness level and have lost weight and inches."

Classes are not limited to women. Eric T. just finished up a workout with MYX instructor Harry Otto and said, "Classes are hard core and great!"

Nutrition services are offered as well. "MYX Reboot" is a 4-week customized meal plan paired with a workout schedule to help get someone started on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

And for germaphobes, I witnessed the cleaning staff come in immediately after the classes to clean the mats before they were used again. I don't know about you but when I see someone pour sweat onto a mat and then they roll it up and stick it back in the rack at the end of their workout, I say "ew" out loud.

MYX gives back to the community and beyond with $1/person/class donated to a charity of the month. This month they are raising money for the PaulieStrong Foundation.

MYX is open 7 days a week in the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center at 1142 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale. 914-472-6000. http://www.myxfitness.com.

This is sponsored content from MYX Fitness.

Trustees Hold Work Session on Library Proposal

libraryplanMayor Jon Mark called a meeting with the Village Board of Trustees, Village staff and the Board of the Scarsdale Library to review new information on the proposed library project and answer some open questions. The entire project, including the construction and maintenance of a temporary library during the two-year construction period is priced at $19.5 million, with $7.5 to come from private donations and the balance from a Village bond.

Board President Terri Simon offered some new information at the opening of the meeting.

First, to those who were concerned that the debt payments on the library would add to an increased load on taxpayers from debt payments for school projects, Simon said that the school district will only take on new debt when old debt is retired.

Simon said that the Library Board met with the Advisory Council on Seniors to see how the new library could meet their needs. She reported that the new facility could accommodate seniors' programming needs.

The library's building committee is looking for ways to economize on the design plan and also investigating whether they can raise more than $7.5 million to fund the project. They are looking into potential grants and state aid for libraries.

Mayor Mark then said, "It is about the money. It's a wonderful project – but unless there is sufficient support, it won't go the way we wish it to go."

The discussion turned to the environmental review. Village Planner Elizabeth Marrinan said that she did not anticipate problems with wetlands or parking and thought that all issues could be handled through the environmental review by the Planning Board. There are current 107 parking spots and only 70 are required. The current parking lot could possibly be re-configured.

The Village's Director of Capitol Projects, Paul Zaicek, reviewed the architect's contract and also discussed the current building conditions. The Village had asked him to review the architect's fees and Zaicek said that the $1.1 million contract could go as high as $1.4 million if plans changed or the timeframe was extended. He also indicated that site evaluation and planning would be billed as an extra cost, the environmental review and parking study could cost $20-$30,000 and commissioning could cost $45,000.

Zaicek said that the current building estimates assume that the building's structure and systems are sound. However, if inspections show otherwise, Zaicek estimates that the construction cost could go up another 8-10% above the $14 million budget. The village has already begun a structural analysis of the building and subsurface testing in advance of new construction.

For now, the plan is to renovate the building at Supply Field to use as a temporary library during the construction. The Village has retained an architect at a cost of $9,500 to make plans for installing heating, cooling, bathrooms and outfitting the 3,100 square foot space for usage as a library. The budget for the renovation of the Supply Field building is $750,000.

Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards reported on an analysis of potential spaces for the temporary library. In addition to Supply Field, they evaluated the Weinberg Nature Center on Mamaroneck Road and the former site of Body Fit on Scarsdale Avenue. They determined that the Weinberg Nature Center is too small, dark and remote. If used, the wildlife would need to be moved and all nature center activities would have to be suspended for two years. Body Fit has enough space but only 11 parking spots. The rent is $12,000 a month plus $2,500 a month for maintenance. The cost of renovations would be the responsibility of the Village – and once the space was no longer needed the Village would not benefit from the work done at the building.

Supply Field is already owned by the Village so there is no rent to pay – and after the library is completed, the renovated building could be used for another purpose. In addition, there are 39 parking spots at Supply Field and the temporary library could work their schedule around the game schedule.

Last, the trustees asked Library Director Beth Bermel for information on demolishing the existing library and constructing a new building rather than renovating the existing structure. She said that the architects estimate that it would cost 20% - 40% more.

Architect thinks that constructing an entirely new building would be 20-40% more than the renovation, due to demolition and site costs. Bermel also said that she did not think that there would be significantly higher maintenance costs for the new building and that there should be savings on energy costs from the new windows and lighting. During construction she expects that personnel costs will go down as she is not replacing a few retirees and staff hours will be reduced.

Though many in the audience appeared to have come to the meeting with the intention of speaking, the meeting ended promptly without opportunity for public comment. The mayor said that when more information becomes available, he will schedule a subsequent meeting.

Trustees Vote No to Homestead Act; Thereby Preserving Low Taxes at Christie Place

Christie-PlaceEnactment of a provision that would have doubled the real estate taxes for 42 condominium owners at Christie Place was defeated unanimously at the Scarsdale Village Board meeting on February 23rd. After two lengthy public hearings, and much discussion both for and against, the trustees voted "no" to the adoption of the Homestead Act, for the second time in just two years.

What was at stake? During a revaluation, NYS law permits municipalities to enact the Homestead Provision, primarily as a way of balancing the tax burden between residential and commercial properties. If adopted, condominiums at Christie Place would be assessed similarly to single family homes, rather than based on their potential rental income. Speaking in favor of the adoption of Homestead, realtor Lynne Clark pointed out that a condo at Christie Place is now on the market for $1.5 million with real estate taxes of $16,000, while a single family home is on the market for the same price, with taxes of $36,500.

Residents and Village organizations were divided in their views on the topic. While the Scarsdale Forum, the Advisory Council on Scarsdale Senior Citizens and Bob Harrison's "Taxpayer Alert," favored adoption of Homestead, the League of Women Voters, residents of Christie Place and their families opposed it. Since the Village considered the adoption of Homestead at the time of the Village-wide revaluation in 2014 many of the same arguments were echoed on both sides.

Those favoring Homestead argued that the condo owners were being treated as a special class of taxpayer and enjoying enormous tax savings at the expense of the 5,700 homeowners who are estimated to pay an average of $99 more per year to foot the bill for the Christie Place homeowner's "discount."

Seniors in single family homes said that the condo owners, one of whom needs to be 55+, were getting "special tax treatment" that seniors in single family homes don't enjoy, even though for the most part, they are not utilizing the schools.

Bob Harrison circulated a petition in favor of the adoption of Homestead and collected 112 signatures that he distributed to the Board of Trustees.

Robert Berg continued to press the board to vote for Homestead saying Christie Place condo owners were getting a "50% discount." He asserted that at the time of purchase the condo buyers were not guaranteed that the low taxes would remain in place. He also stated that the condos were not difficult to sell because of the age restriction. In fact, he said, they are in great demand.

Before voting some of the trustees explained the rationale behind their votes. They repeated many of the same reasons they gave in 2014, among them:

Condo buyers assumed that their tax levy would remain fairly constant when they purchased their units and paid a premium for their units.

The intent of Homestead was not to transfer the tax burden from one class of residential homeowners to another – but to balance the taxes between residential and commercial properties.

Third, the trustees said that condos should be taxed similarly to co-ops and other multi family dwellings, and by singling out condos and doubling real estate taxes on these units, the trustees were unfairly burdening 42 condo owners.

Fourth, if Homestead were passed, owners of these units would see their taxes rise on average $13,409 per unit per year. If not, owners of the 5,700 single family homes would each pay an average of $99. Trustees believed that such a significant tax increase for 42 homeowners was simply not fair.

You can watch the trustees speaking on the matter here:

The meeting ended with a unanimous vote against the adoption of Homestead – which precludes the School Board from considering it, as the Village needed to adopt it first before the School Board could adopt it.

Below find a statement from Mayor Jon Mark on Homestead:

Statement of Jon Mark with Respect to the Homestead Tax Option
Special Meeting of the Town of Scarsdale Board
February 23, 2016

I analyzed the Homestead Tax Option in March 2014 when it came before the Board I sat on at that time as a Trustee. More recently, I have read the Scarsdale Forum "Report of the Assessment Revaluation Committee on the Homestead Tax Option in Connection with Scarsdale's 2016 Townwide Revaluation," emails from residents received over the past month or so and listened to resident comments at the Town Board meeting held on February 9, 2016 and at this meeting. My view of whether or not we should adopt the Homestead Tax Option is unchanged from 2014 by the circumstances presented to this Board. My analysis starts with the basics: what the Homestead Tax Option is intended to do, what it would do in this case, and how residents would be benefited or burdened. In my view, when the numbers are crunched, adopting the Homestead Tax Option will place an enormous dollar burden on the few condominium owners in Scarsdale with only a minimal dollar benefit for most Village residents who are single family residential homeowners. Given the level of public interest in this subject, I would like to explain once again the reasons for my decision to vote against adopting the Homestead Tax Option. I note that my view derives from the facts and circumstances as they have been presented to us.

 

Background

 

1. As a threshold matter, it is noted that a Village-wide revaluation does not raise additional taxes. It results in a re-allocation of how the aggregate tax revenues to be raised are borne by residents.

 

Example: Assume pre-revaluation, two homes: House A is valued at $700,000 and House B valued at $400,000. The amount of taxes to be raised is $60,000.

 

House A pays $40,000 in property taxes. House B pays $20,000 in property taxes.

 

Post-revaluation: House A is still valued at $700,000. House B is now valued at $700,000.

 

The amount of taxes to be raised is still $60,000.

 

However, House B now pays $30,000, a $10,000 increase and House A pays $30,000, a counterbalancing $10,000 decrease.

 

Note that the re-allocation thus accomplished was the result of up-dating the values of the two homes. It was not the result of any change in the methodology used to value the homes for property tax assessment purposes.

 

The Homestead Tax Option

 

1. Similarly, the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option does not raise additional taxes either. Whether it is adopted or not, the amount of taxes raised, or to be raised, in any given year is the amount needed to fund the budget for that year. The adoption of the Homestead Tax Option simply permits portions of the property tax burden to be re-allocated from one property class to another.

 

2. Those in favor of adopting the Homestead Tax Option have argued that the sense of fairness which motivated the decision to engage in the Village-wide revaluation should also prompt the Village to adopt the Homestead Tax Option. Having considered the matter, I do not believe the two scenarios are comparable and disagree.

 

3. To put the matter in context it is noted that the principal purpose of the Homestead Tax Option is to allow a municipality to counter one anticipated effect of a village-wide revaluation. Because residential properties may (depending on economic conditions) appreciate faster or in greater amount than other classes of real property (commercial properties, for example) one effect of a re-valuation may be to cause a greater proportion of the aggregate real property tax burden to be re-allocated to residential properties as a class than was allocated to that class of properties before the revaluation. Whether that sort of shift occurs at all, and whether it is significant will depend on the mix of different property classes in the municipality undergoing the revaluation. The more evenly divided property classes are between residential and other classes, the greater the potential shift and conversely, if the residential class greatly outnumbers the other property classes, the smaller the shift might be.

 

4. Therefore the primary purpose of adopting the Homestead Tax Option is to allow a municipality to establish a preferential tax rate post-revaluation for residential properties which would allow that class to limit its aggregate allocated portion of the property tax burden to the pre-revaluation level as against other property classes. In other words, the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option could be used to counteract a reallocation of additional tax burden from non-residential classes of properties to the residential class of properties attributable to a village-wide revaluation. The heading of Article 19 of the NYS Real Property and Tax Law, the Article in which the Homestead Tax Option is set forth underscores this point. The heading of that Article is: "Preservation of Class Share of Taxes Other than in Special Assessing Units."

 

5. That threshold rationale for adopting the Homestead Tax Option is of little or no relevance to Scarsdale. Since residential properties presently bear approximately 94% of the Village property tax burden, a Village-wide revaluation causes an insignificant shift of tax burden effecting residential properties as a class, post re-valuation. There seemed to have been general agreement on this point among the members of the public who commented on this issue, including a comment to that effect in a Scarsdale Forum Assessment Revaluation Committee Report of January 11, 2014.

 

6. Data prepared by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance in connection with the 2014 Village-wide revaluation bore this point out. The data showed that rather than experiencing an increase in allocated tax burden, the residential class experienced an aggregate decrease of less than one quarter of a percent without adoption of the Homestead Tax Option and would have experienced less than half a percent decrease if the Homestead Tax Option were adopted. There was approximately one quarter of a percentage point difference between the two scenarios – percentages which are immaterial when considering whether to adopt the Homestead Tax Option to counter the shifting of tax burden between different property classes.

 

7. Further, in Scarsdale's case, if the Homestead Tax Option is adopted, the only property class that would be affected would be condominiums.

 

8. This would come about because if the Homestead Tax Option is adopted, the methodology for valuing condominiums would change. Under present law (and unless the Homestead Tax Option is adopted), condominiums are taxed using a rental income approach (assuming a hypothetical rental income stream and hypothetical operations and capitalization costs). Multifamily rental apartments and co-ops are taxed the same way.

 

9. If the Homestead Tax Option were adopted, instead of valuing condominiums as rental properties, they would be valued by using their market value, just as single-family homes are. Adopting the Homestead Tax Option would thus make a fundamental change in how condominiums are valued for purposes of assessing property tax. Multi-family rentals and co-ops would not be affected. Making such a fundamental change only in the case of condominiums is a significant distinguishing factor from how the reallocation among individual residential properties comes about as a result of the Village-wide revaluation.

 

10. If that significant distinction were the only factor presented, it might not be a basis for not adopting the Homestead Tax Option, in my view.

 

11. However, while adopting the Homestead Tax Option might have fairness as its purpose, its expected effect should be considered in order to conclude whether or not adoption would be fair. The relative benefits and burdens of adopting the Homestead Tax Option must be taken into account.

 

12. Based on the particular circumstances existing in the Village, I do not believe that adopting the Homestead Tax Option would produce a fair result for the following reasons.

 

13. There are 47 condominiums presently in the Village: 42 of which are residences in Christie Place, the other five are commercial properties in Christie Place. In contrast, there are now approximately 5,700 single family residential properties in the Village.

 

14. The five commercial condominium units would be unaffected by the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option. It is noted that the project at 2-4 Weaver Street is being marketed as co-ops and we are advised that the development on Weaver Street known as Heathcote Manor is being organized as a homeowners' association, so neither of these new additions to the Village housing stock would be impacted by the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option.

 

15. The Village Assessor has provided a preliminary draft analysis of the expected impact of the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option on the 42 condominium units at Christie Place. The analysis is based on preliminary 2016 re-valuation estimated data and does not reflect changes that might result over the next two months as the re-valuation process is concluded. The analysis was presented by the Village Assessor at a public joint meeting of this Board and the Board of Education held on February 2, 2016 and was presented again at the February 9th Board meeting.

 

16. The Assessor's analysis looks at the projected 2016 valuations of the 42 condominium units and corresponding projected 2017 taxes in two alternative scenarios: one in which the Homestead Tax Option is adopted and one in which it is not adopted. The analysis also excludes County taxes from the calculations made because County property tax methodology is restricted by law to using the income approach for rentals, co-ops and condominiums. School District taxes are, however, included in the analysis because if the Town adopts the Homestead Tax Option, the School District would then be faced with considering whether or not to adopt the Homestead Tax Option. If the Town does not adopt the Homestead Tax Option, the School District will not have to consider the matter. Looking at the numbers reveals the following:

 

With adopting the Homestead Tax Option, the Village-wide revaluation would cause:

 

Approximately $563,000 of tax burden to be shifted from residential properties as a class to the 42 condominiums. That works out to an average tax bill increase of $13,409 per condominium unit and an average decrease of $99 per property for the approximately 5,700 residential properties in Scarsdale.

 

Without adopting the Homestead Tax Option, the re-allocation of the $563,000 to the condominiums would not occur and the average of $99 per residential property would remain on that class of properties.

 

17. By focusing the analysis on the dollar impact of adopting the Homestead Tax Option, the relative benefits and burdens of doing so become clearer. For the condominium class, a relatively significant dollar burden would result, with a rather minimal dollar benefit to the residential class when looked at on an average per unit/per property basis. As the figures noted are averages, there will be a range of dollar amounts above and below these averages among individual properties and units.

 

18. In my view making a fundamental change in the methodology used to assess condominiums that produces a significant tax dollar burden on 42 condominium units and an insignificant tax dollar benefit for approximately 5,700 residential properties is not a fair result.

 

19. Further, since we are not considering adopting the Homestead Tax Option for its primary purpose – to re-establish pre-revaluation property tax allocations among residential and other property classes, it would seem that adopting it solely to change the methodology for valuing condominiums has a punitive quality that also strikes me as unfair.

 

20. The Scarsdale Forum Committee report states that I have "argued" that the Homestead Tax Option is an option – i.e., that it is optional as to whether to adopt it or not. That is not an argument. It is a statement of fact. It is the way the law is written. Specifically, the opening line of the relevant Section of the NYS Real Property and Tax Law, Section 1903, reads: "The governing body of any approved assessing unit except a county may adopt the provisions of this section..." [emphasis added]. Note: "may" not "shall."

 

21. There are other points to be made as to why adopting the Homestead Tax Option would be unfair and my fellow Board members have raised some of the points that they find persuasive. However, because of what I perceive as a material lack of comparability between the general impact of the Village-wide re-valuation and the very specific impact of the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option, I do not believe that fairness compels the adoption of the Homestead Tax Option. To the contrary, fairness compels me to conclude that the Town should not adopt the option and I intend to vote against doing so at this time.

Stick it to Me: The Elective IV Infusion Trend

infusionClaiming by some to make you "feel like a superhero," "boost your immunity," "help prevent heart disease," "detox now," "discover your fountain of youth," and "restore your balance," elective intravenous (IV) infusions of vitamins and minerals (and saline, of course) are en vogue in 2016.

Having risen in popularity in celebrity hotspots like Miami, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan, IV infusions are now available right here in Scarsdale. You can get one in an office setting or you can request a house call. One Manhattan IV infusion therapy spot offers hydration via IV, touting "trade eight glasses a day for one easy 30-minute infusion."  At $250 a pop, that's some very expensive water.

Scarsdale Integrative Medicine offers "IV for everyone." From poison ivy and dementia to cold intolerance and cancer, there's an IV drip that they claim will make everyone feel better. Dr. Delayne Gratopp, a naturopath associated with this group, took a course in naturopathic medical school on IVs and it covered both nutrient and rehydration therapy. I asked her about scientific evidence that warrants the use of elective IV therapy. "I had a chance to do clinical training in two different inpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers; one that utilized IV therapies and one that didn't. The differences in the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs, alcohol, and other addictions were so dramatically improved with the introduction of IV nutrients into their bodies that I could not ignore that evidence," she said. However, is one person's experience "evidence?" Or is a randomized, controlled trial that gets published in a peer-reviewed journal a more scientific way to study medicine?

Dr. Gratopp continued by saying, "IV therapeutics can be used for a range of things from general rehydration to an immune boost...when you feel a cold or flu coming on. It allows you to get enough vitamin C to be antibiotic and antiviral." I did an extensive search of pubmed for published research that backed this claim and I did find two articles to suggest the use of high-dose, IV-administered Vitamin C in patients: one article showed a potential benefit specifically in patients with Epstein-Barr virus (though it is not an FDA-approved nor commonly accepted treatment) and another article showed an anti-viral immune response in mice in the laboratory leading me to learn that high-dose vitamin C has actually been scientifically studied for 50 years and it's still not a proven treatment for anything Dr. Gratopp says it may treat.

Dr. Gratopp believes that "IV therapy...is an excellent tool for healing. Many people who are suffering from chronic illness such as an auto-immune disease, IBS, Crohn's, psoriasis, etc., have trouble absorbing nutrients and many people just eat what we call the Standard American Diet (SAD) which is devoid of many nutrients needed for average bodily function. There are a variety of nutrients needed daily for your body to merely function, or symptoms occur like headache, nausea, pain etc. When you can't absorb your nutrients it is difficult to function and heal. IV nutrition helps with healing by get you the nutrients needed, in the proper form, bypassing your gastrointestinal tract, which is where most of the malabsorption of nutrients occurs. The immediate benefits are felt in the first few days for most basic nutrients."

In fact, patients who have had IV therapy often say they feel great for several days after receiving it. Is it a perception, though, or an actuality? Dr. Albert Wu, a practicing physician and director of the Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, reports that most Americans don't even need a multivitamin. "[We are] thinking they'll make us healthier at best and at worst, they'll do no harm. In fact...most people in their 50s who eat meals several times a day and who eat something that's even remotely balanced never have any deficiencies in anything." 

Angela Middleton, a Scarsdale mom of three, was anemic and tried using iron pills to increase her iron levels. They weren't working, so she tried an IV iron drip. She was pleased with the results so since then has done several other IV infusions: glutathione, Vitamin D, L-carnitine, and additional iron boosting. "I'm not bothered by the lack of data surrounding elective IV therapy," she noted. "I believe alternative therapies can be enhancing to overall health and I view this as a safe and effective way to boost my vitamin levels." She feels great and plans to continue infusions.

Helen Morey, a Scarsdale mom of two, became horribly run down a couple of years ago. She had been through treatment for cancer, two high-risk pregnancies, chronic illness due to mold contamination in her house, and her immune system was shot. "I kept getting sinus infections," she said, "and every time I'd stop the steroids I'd get another infection." She had surgery for a deviated septum hoping that would help. Her surgeon recommended elective IV infusions. "I began IV infusions that were heavy on the vitamins and minerals," she said. "B spectrum, Magnesium, and Vitamins A and C, I believe. After the first session, I wasn't getting sick the way I had been and I was dragging less. I saw a slow but steady improvement in my immune system and my overall sense of well being."

Proponents of IV infusion therapy like the fact that nutrients go directly to cells (unlike oral vitamins). The drips can be completely customized and serum levels of nutrients increase quickly. "Administration via IV means that the GI system is not affected so the high-doses do not need to be tolerated orally," Dr. Gratopp said. "Vitamin C at high doses is difficult to take as it can cause diarrhea. But when you bypass the GI tract, you are able to give a much better immune nutrient boost."

The National Cancer Institute has conducted studies reviewing the role that high-dose vitamin C (specifically) might play for cancer patients. Some laboratory studies have shown that vitamin C works with anticancer therapies to help cause cancer cell death. However, other studies have shown increased tumor growth in mice. High dose vitamin C may work with certain therapies and certain cancer types in a beneficial way, including an increased quality of life, but it may be harmful to patients with other types of cancer or not work concomitantly with other anticancer treatments. There is still not enough evidence for supplementation (i.e. it is not approved as a form of cancer treatment).

The Firshein Center for Integrative Medicine in Manhattan, under the direction of Dr. Richard Firshein (a regular on Fox News and the Dr. Oz show), treats many patients with IV infusion therapy for a multitude of ailments as well as preventatively. I have asthma so I called to inquire about their asthma protocol. The woman who answered the phone was sure to let me know that although some insurances may reimburse a portion of the fees, they are out of network and many services are not reimbursable. An initial consultation is $600 and then bloodwork runs between $1700-$2800. Skin testing costs an additional $1200. So on the high end, you're in for $4600 before treatment begins. Infusion therapy and supplements are used to treat asthma and the infusions alone cost between $225-$250 (some people come weekly, some come every other week). Supplements vary in price. When I asked about data to support the use of IV infusion therapy and supplements to treat my asthma, (and data to support me shelling out thousands of dollars), she seemed confused and asked what I meant by data. She told me outcomes vary and it works for some people but not others. "Everyone's body works differently," she said, "but we do know it works because most people keep coming back."

A local hospital-based physician I spoke with said he believes the hype that people feel better with the infusions but that the "feel good" part is related to being ultra-hydrated. "If you get an IV infusion of pure saline, most people will feel great after that. I have yet to see data that injecting massive amounts of vitamins and minerals into your body heals you of every ailment under the sun and prevents everything else." He thinks it's an expensive way to get the nutrients your body needs and most likely gets enough of in the first place.

The vitamin industry is huge, to the tune of over $30 billion, and much of it is unregulated. (Proceed with caution if your naturopath seems anti "big pharma" as "big vita" is out there too.) It is important to note that, according to the FDA, "...dietary supplements [like vitamins and minerals] are not intended to treat, diagnosis, prevent, or cure diseases" and claims such as these should make the educated consumer think twice about ingesting the supplement. The FDA is only required to review a dietary supplement if it contains a NEW ingredient. It will be reviewed (not approved) for safety, but the FDA will not review it for effectiveness.

So the jury is out on infusions. They are generally well tolerated (although it's been argued that there are few side effects because there are few effects) and even thought there is not substantial published and peer-reviewed evidence in favor of this type of treatment, people who have experienced infusions continue to go back for more and report feeling an improvement in their overall well-being and quality of life. One must, of course, be willing and able to tolerate having a needle inserted into the vein. They are expensive and time consuming but if you've got the hours and the dollars, you've got plenty of friends who swear by it.

Girls Varsity Basketball Team Loses 44-45 in Section Quarterfinal

Basketball(Updated Sunday February 21) Before Wednesday February 10, the Raiders Girls Varsity Basketball team hadn't won a league title since 1995. All of that changed when they defeated Mamaroneck 55-28, becoming co-league champions with Ursuline. The pivotal moment to this title was February 2nd, when the Raiders defeated Ursuline at Ursuline 69-49. Scarsdale had fallen to Ursuline earlier in the season at home, and winning this second game helped catapult Scarsdale to a share of the league title. In the regular season, the Raiders went 15-5, making them the No. 3 seed going into the playoffs. The team is coached by Mike Blanco, along with assistant Coaches John Schwartz and Genette Zonghetti.

Graduating seniors, Rachel Cohen, Lindsay Kramer, Alexis Kline, Kayle Waterhouse, and Ally Dweck, have helped to carry the team towards their goal of making it back to the County Center. Last year, the Raiders made it to the semifinals of the section at the County Center, but ended up losing to Lourdes. This year, the team is working hard to get another opportunity to play for a section title.

Each member is critical to the success of the team. Rachel Cohen is a leading scorer and rebounder. When the Raiders lost to Ursuline earlier in the season, Cohen was injured and could not play. After their latest victory, where Rachel scored 22 points, it is evident that she makes a major difference on the floor. Lindsay Kramer, a guard, is a powerhouse for the team. Her speed, agility and ball handling skills help her dominate on the floor, making her a leading scorer as well. Alexis Kline, also a guard, is a major playmaker for the team. Her extraordinary game sense makes her a key to the Raiders' success. Kayle Waterhouse, a center, is also a leading scorer for the team. During the season, she scored 30 of the raiders 60 points in their victory against White Plains. She is aggressive and rebounds against many formidable opponents. Junior Emma Coleman is the only non-senior starter for the Raiders. She is valuable because of her defensive skills, and she is often the player to guard the leading scorer on the opposite team. Senior Ally Dweck also rotates in regularly, coming in clutch during intense game situations.

Other players on the team include juniors Jordie Cohen, and Ashley Barletta, who is currently injured. Sophomores Samantha Mancini, Lily Steckel, and Audrey Shaev, and Freshman Emmeline Berridge complete the team's roster.

The Raiders won their playoff game on Wednesday February 17 against Ketcham, putting them into the Section 1 Quarterfinals on Saturday February 20. There they met John-Jay East Fishkill who had defeated Suffern to get to the Section 1 Quarterfinals.

In an an aggressive game, the Raiders lost by just one point to John Jay East Fishkill 44-45. Although this was not the best way to end an exciting season with a talented group of seniors, the team had their best season in twenty years and the legacy these players left has set the foundation for a strong girls basketball program in the future.

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