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waltershotdogsPeople travel far and wide to get a taste of the famous split hot dogs from Walter's in Mamaroneck. A nationally recognized historical landmark, Walter's Hot Dogs is located in a Chinese pagoda on Palmer Avenue and has multiple food trucks that travel to both private and public events. 

Now Walter's is hopping off the truck and into two new restaurants in the area! The new Walter's locations are 186 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, and Habor Point in Stamford, Connecticut. The Harbor Point restaurant should open by the end of the summer, and the White Plains restaurant in the fall. Customers can expect all the classic Walter's food items at the new locations, including hot dogs finished with house-made mustard, crispy potato puffs, curly fries, milkshakes, and ice cream. 

waltersstandKatharine Woodward, the 98-year-old family business' PR and Events Manager, commented on the expansion: "We are so excited to be expanding our family business and to bring the Walter's experience to more of Westchester and beyond! It has brought so much happiness to generations and generations of customers and sharing our family tradition, and the food and recipes our great grandfather and grandfather created, make us so proud."

uberAs of June 29, ride sharing services Uber and Lyft are now operating legally in Westchester County. In order to safeguard passengers, the county has announced a voluntary fingerprinting program for drivers called "Thumbs Up." The fingerprint test will cost drivers $90 and will serve as a background check. After fingerprinting, the driver will receive a certified decal from the County Department of Public Safety to place on their cars and their names will be entered in a database that will be shared with employers. Fingerprinting is currently mandated for drivers of ride sharing services in New York City though it is not required by the state. The county will not receive any share of the proceeds from the fares - but 4% goes to the state.

Though local taxi and limousine companies lobbied to prevent the ride sharing companies from entering the county, ultimately the Westchester County Board of Legislators did not vote to opt-out of the service. Uber lobbied hard for access, with a program of robo calls and mailers pressing residents to support ride-sharing.

County Legislator Ben Boykin, who chairs the Public Safety and Social Service Committee sees many benefits to allowing ride sharing in Westchester. In an email to constituents he said, "Across the country, ride-sharing has proven to be a significant driver of economic opportunity, a safe and affordable transportation option, and a means of reducing traffic and pollution. Not only will consumers benefit from ride-sharing services, but Uber and Lyft have thousands of potential drivers interested in signing up. Ride-sharing companies provide a flexible and innovative way to provide jobs for people across all communities, including students and retirees. The benefits to ride-sharing far outweigh the potential downside."

However, understandably Peter Blier, manager of Central Taxi in Scarsdale has another view. He had lobbied for the county to opt out of permitting services like Uber and Lyft to operate here. Commenting on the news he said, "Uber's competitive advantage has historically been to break the law. Breaking the rules is part of their corporate culture." Now that they have won approval to operate here, Blier says he is not sure if and how much these services will cut into Central Taxi's business. He says, "I don't think Scarsdale customers will embrace the idea of any driver, any car. People here want to be safe and comfortable. With Uber you don't know where the cars are coming from or if they are properly inspected and insured. Plus our rates are regulated and theirs change all the time." Blier also pointed out that Uber's minimum rate for a ride within Scarsdale is $7, while Central Taxi charges a $5 minimum.

What else? In order to modernize their service, Central Taxi is now offering riders the ability to text 723-0016 to request a ride. Navigation systems have been installed in all the cabs so that the dispatcher can give customers a more accurate assessment of their drivers' current location and the wait time for pick up. In addition, those with monthly house accounts can now pay their bill online via Quick Pay.

In the end, Blier hopes that the long-term relationships that the company and the drivers have with the community will buffer them from this latest threat to their business. He said, "Scarsdale is the only community we serve and we are here to serve the community."

What do you think? Should Uber and Lyft have been permitted to enter the area? Will you be using them? Comment below:

BBS2The Scarsdale School administration and architect offered some new information on facilities plans at two public forums on June 20. At meetings on May 22 and June 12, district architects BBS reported on their assessment of district- wide facilities needs and presented their recommendations for facilities updates and the addition of cafeterias at three elementary schools and a major overhaul and expansion at Greenacres. The June 20 sessions were held to answer community questions about the proposed projects.

Both meetings included a summary review of what was already presented but here is some new information that was revealed:

At the opening of both the morning and evening public forums, School Board Vice President Bill Natbony announced that the Board had requested analyses and information from the architects and financial advisors that they will make available to the public when they receive it.

They have asked for the following:

  • A long-term comparison of the costs of a new school vs. a renovation at Greenacres including financing, state aid and energy savings. Maintenance costs for the renovated building will also be factored in.
  • An analysis of where students will be sited during a renovation, whether it be inside the school, in trailers or in other locations.
  • A traffic study detailing the mechanics of student drop-off and pick up at a renovated Greenacres School.

Read Natbony's statement here:Garden City HS 01

Timing: Roger Smith, the principal from BBS said the firm was moving toward a December, 2017 bond referendum, but cautioned that the date might be "a push" given all the questions that need to be answered before a vote. Also in regards to timing, Board Vice President Bill Natbony added that the Board is considering holding additional community meetings this summer to consider these issues.

Historic Preservation: Smith said that he spoke to the NYS Parks and Recreation Department about Greenacres and now says that the existing building may be appropriate for historic preservation and might not be "eligible for demolition." That was curious because if the building warrants historic preservation, the architects would be required to maintain the facades. Plans now call for two of those facades to be demolished.

BBS3Setbacks: Plans call for the building to be expanded almost to the street on both the Huntington Avenue and Putnam Road sides. Just how far the school would extend had not been revealed and no renderings, aerial views or elevations have been provided. When asked, the architects said that on Huntington Avenue, the three-story building would be built to within eight to ten feet of the property line. The large building looming over the sidewalk may be a visual obstruction and it is difficult to imagine where children will line up to cross the street to the field, if only the sidewalk remains. In this area of Greenacres, which is in zone A3, zoning code requires homes be set back 30 feet from the curb, three times the distance proposed for the school. However, school construction is not subject to review by the Village Architectural Review or Zoning Boards.

Parking: The architects' schematic calls for 28 additional parking spaces to be built across the street on the area that is now the blacktop. Since the parking spaces on the school side of the street would be lost, more spaces will be needed. However, one speaker noted that if the parking lot was placed there, the children would need to traverse it to get from the school to the field and playground.manhassetlibrary

There were many questions and comments at both the morning and evening sessions. Those who wish to save the Greenacres field reiterated their views on the importance of the green space while parents who will have children in the school during the proposed renovation voiced their concerns about the risks of renovation to their children's health. Older residents, primarily from Greenacres, shared their feelings about the school and proposed solutions to forge consensus.

Thomas Giuffra, the father of a 7 year-old and a lawyer who deals with lead contamination raised the risks of lead exposure to children and adults of all ages and asked that the children be removed from the school during renovation. Pointing to the environmental engineer he said, "People like you make promises they can't keep and other people get hurt." He also asked if the entire building would be brought up to code during the renovation with fire sprinklers throughout the building. That question was not answered.

Responding to parents who were concerned about environmental toxins during renovation, Dr. Hagerman defended the safety of the renovation pointing to two large homes that were built on Sage Terrace across from the school in the past few years. He said though there were few safeguards for those projects, there would be many controls in place during a school renovation. The environmental engineer at the meeting said there would be continuous air testing and Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey said asbestos removal and lead abatement would be done when the children were not in the school.

There was much discussion about the BBS cost estimate of $59 million for a new school, almost double the estimate for the renovation. Some came to the mic to ask for an apples-to-apples comparison of the features of a new vs. a renovated school. Would the new school include an auditorium or theater? They asked for more details on the design of the renovated facility and the new school. How large will the maker space be? Will it be light and look like a 21st century school? Another new voice asked for a qualitative analysis of a new vs. a renovated school, focusing on factors beyond the money, to give residents a framework beyond the money.

When asked about the life span of the renovation, Smith said it would be 30-40 years. He contended that the portions that are 100 years old are still good as well.

There were still many questions to be addressed:

Foremost, parents wanted to know how the construction will be staged, where the construction equipment will be placed and how the school will function during this two to three year renovation. Smith said the district has hired a construction management firm that will analyze the work plan and provide a construction implementation plan (CIP).

In response to a question about how lunchrooms would be staffed, Stuart Mattey advised that there would be self-funded food service that would not require staffing for food service but would require district management. There was no discussion of how food would be delivered or waste picked up in tight neighborhoods or the need for additional parking spaces to accommodate the workers.

The architects have prioritized all facilities needs on a scale of 1 to 5. There has been no discussion as yet about why, for instance, priority 3 items at many schools were included in the numbers for the bond proposal or how pressing these needs were.

Next steps: There is a Board of Education meeting and a Board retreat scheduled for July 6th. A refined presentation from the architects is expected at that time.

You can watch both forums in their entirety on the school district's website here:

(Pictured here are schools designed by BBS – photos from their website.)

duckpondThis week, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner continued to do battle with the Edgemont Incorporation Committee over their fight to incorporate as a Village, independent of the Town of Greenburgh. We received the letter below from Feiner objecting to the tone of the debate, and a reply from the Edgemont Incorporation Committee to Feiner's claims.

See below for the latest in the fight for Edgemont:

(From Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner)
As many of you may have experienced, the debate related to Edgemont's proposed incorporation has produced a level and intensity of rhetoric which has inflicted real damage on every segment of the Town's population and staff, as well as the outside world's view of both our Town and its Hamlet of Edgemont.

At this time, the attacks on the Town Board, our staff and on me have become increasingly personal and in many cases cruel and hurtful. I have not reacted previously to the ever-mounting, non-stop barrage of vicious commentary, as I believed that acceptance of criticism comes with the "turf" when you choose to be a public servant. However, this process, which I truly believe is an orchestrated plan by the pro-incorporation group to discredit every aspect of the Town, comes with a severe cost. Residents, both pro and con, are at "each other's throats." Words like racism and elitism are being tossed about outside and within a community which previously had been seen as a bastion of acceptance of diverse opinions. The results of this campaign will clearly live on beyond the Edgemont referendum, both in the form of our residents' perception of each other's values and in the manner in which the Town of Greenburgh and its Villages are viewed by the outside world. In addition, the effect of this nasty rhetoric on our staff, who fear for their jobs and whose spirits are being broken by the constant criticism of their commitment and ability to professionally fulfill their responsibilities, is wrong and unacceptable.

I am the elected Town Supervisor for approximately 90,000 feinerresidents of the incorporated Villages and unincorporated Town of Greenburgh. In conjunction with a Town Board comprised of individuals I trust and respect, we endeavor to do the best job we can, for all residents. The Town Board and I oversee 434 full time and 268 part time Greenburgh employees, who are dedicated to serving Greenburgh's residents and have proven their competence and commitment, over and over again. The Town Board and I have great pride in these individuals and respect for each and every one, on a personal and professional level. They are the best of the best and provide the highest level of service anywhere.

At some point Edgemont voters may cast ballots in a referendum to determine whether Edgemont will become a Village. Let us be clear, the potential loss of nearly $17,000,000 in revenue will absolutely have a devastating effect on many of the more than 42,000 residents of unincorporated Greenburgh. As Supervisor of "The Town of Greenburgh," not just any single entity, I will do my best to ensure the fairest outcome for my entire constituency.

I appeal to those Greenburgh residents on both sides of this debate, to our local newspapers and media outlets, to pursue their objectives, as is their right and responsibility, to their fullest, but to utilize restraint in their tone and presentation. Our community and our children are watching, and regardless of the outcome, it is my fervent hope that Greenburgh's reputation for civility and acceptance can remain intact.

Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

(From the Edgemont Incorporation Committee)

Dear Supervisor Feiner:

The EIC completely agrees that the discussion on Edgemont's incorporation should be civil and respectful.

Since it began, the Edgemont Incorporation Committee has conducted a fair, open, information-based, transparent process. The thousands of Edgemont residents who have attended the dozens of meetings, forums, open houses and petition-signing events over the past year can attest to the depth of the discussion, the sincerity of the views held (on all sides), and the genuine spirit of civic engagement that has animated the entire process. Thousands of visitors have examined, analyzed and debated the detailed information assembled by Edgemont volunteers and experts on our website.

Edgemont's residents are not "at each other's throats" -- we are discussing, debating and challenging each other to build a better community. What we are attempting -- with no help from you and your regime -- is to exercise our rights under state law and under the constitution.

But let's be clear about what Edgemont has gotten in return from you, your board, your hired investigators and some of your anti-incorporation supporters:

- a consistent pattern of obstruction, deception, and delay at every step in the process.
- a secret and outrageous scheme (revealed through emails to which you were a party) to organize and support an opposition campaign, including false allegations of intimidation.
- vulgar gestures directed at Edgemont residents in a public meeting
- the active solicitation of false objections to Edgemont's legitimate petition.
- the use of Town funds for private investigators to deceive petition signers into disowning their signatures.
- and most recently, an attempt to thwart democracy with an unconstitutional home-rule bill.

The EIC endorses any call for civility in this process. But even more importantly:

We call for DEMOCRACY. After months of assurances that you were merely trying to follow the law, it turns out you could only pretend to care about the law as long as you were winning. So last week, you decided if you couldn't win an Edgemont vote, you would try to have Edgemont's right to vote taken away altogether - by ramming a "home-rule" request through the legislature in Albany on the last few days of the legislative session. With no notice, no debate, and then a sham last-minute meeting on Father's Day, you had your Board of Supervisors rubber stamp your anti-democratic end-run in Albany. It was only thanks to the very civil appeals of hundreds of Edgemont residents to their legislators in Albany that your scheme was halted.

We call for HONESTY. Don't hide behind your hired guns to disclaim responsibility for the private investigator fiasco. It was your responsibility and your decision. Don't tell us, with a straight face, that the home-rule legislation you tried to ram through the legislature had nothing to do with the Edgemont incorporation effort.

We call for RESPECT. The Edgemont community has expressed its clear will to hold a vote on incorporation. The EIC has expressed its clear intention to promote a fair and cooperative process between the Village of Edgemont and the Town of Greenburgh. You have rejected the community's petition based on fabricated technicalities and outright falsehoods, and you have rejected any possibility of a constructive, cooperative dialogue with the Village of Edgemont.

The Scarsdale Inquirer's editorial page this week called you "a desperate man" and said your latest attempt to stop Edgemont was "manifestly desperate," seeking "new, totalitarian authority to keep [Edgemont] and their money right where they are." This week's Lohud article calls your "failed effort to change the rules in the middle of the game seems desperate, if not vindictive."

We agree.

Mr. Feiner - the CIVIL thing to do would be to honor the will and the right of Edgemont's citizens to hold a vote on incorporation and to accept the outcome. If you insist on fighting, do so on the facts. Argue the merits. Accept the voters' will. That's civility.

One more thing:

It is not a fact (as you continue to state) that Greenburgh will lose $17-million in revenue when Edgemont incorporates. The EIC has consistently, repeatedly, emphatically laid out many scenarios in which the Village of Edgemont might find it advantageous to contract with the Town of Greenburgh for a variety of services. What is a fact is that after Edgemont incorporates, you - Paul Feiner -- will lose your personal control over that $17 million in revenue. You will no longer be free to use that money, among other things, to pay multi-million court judgments for your unconstitutional actions (Fortress Bible) or to hire private investigators to come into our homes and trick us into surrendering our constitutional rights.


SVAC1On Tuesday night June 13, Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SVAC) held its first ever graduation celebration for eleven senior option students. This was the culmination for a challenging six weeks of dedicated class time, practical labs, and ambulance ride rotations. The program was deemed a success as the students worked very hard to cover a curriculum normally spread out over several months.SVAC3

The class was taught by paramedic Caroline Osborn, with assistance from several other EMS members from Westchester. The program was able to occur due to the efforts of David Raizen, who checked in frequently on all participants.

Within the 150 hours of class time, students learned practical skills such as taking vitals, splinting limbs, assembling oxygen tanks, and more. Through their ride rotations, students were able to apply their knowledge and assist SVAC's EMS crew on real calls.

At the graduation celebration, each student received a certificate of completion. All of the students genuinely bonded with each other and the crew, and many are preparing to take the state test to become certified New York State EMT's.


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