Sunday, Aug 07th

MadelaineThe Bronx River-Sound Shore (BRSS) Audubon Society selected Madelaine Eppenstein as their honoree in March of 2020, but the official granting of the honor had to wait more than two years. On June 2, 2022 the time finally came to celebrate Eppenstein for what she worked so hard to deserve.

The 37-year Westchester resident has been a local conservationist pioneer, described as a “go-to” person for any conservatory endeavors. Her work to procure and plant over 1000 trees and shrubs in Scarsdale is just one of many of her notable accomplishments in this field. The BRSS newsletter added, “Now every spring she applies for a grant for trees, and the Friends of Scarsdale Parks holds a Scarsdale Community Planting Day involving hundreds of volunteer children and adults.”

The event took place via zoom and friends and admirers popped on to praise Eppenstein. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin was present for the celebration, and was delighted to give Eppenstein a citation. She said, “From snow removal to gas leaf blower regulations, she has been vocal in the community about how Scarsdale can become greener and more sustainable in an efficient, meaningful way.”

Scarsdale Mayor Jane Veron added her accolades. She called Eppenstein “Thoughtful , determined and kind.” She said, “She carries stature in Scarsdale – she is the stamp of approval for everything in Scarsdale. She is industrious, develops proposals that are well researched and documented,” and “is the person who makes things happen.” She said, “What you have done is priceless for us.”

Mike Burger, the executive director of the New York and Connecticut Audubon Society said “It is our honor to share with this event our congratulations for your work. You improve everyone’s life: not just the birds or young people, but everyone. This is what we need to see more of. The way you bring in lots of people to help and helping them see they can be part of the solution going forward is an amazing thing to do.

A representative for Westchester County Executive George Latimer was present to show his respects, offering thanks on behalf of Latimer and apologizing that he was not able to make it even though he most certainly would have if he could.

Eppenstein described her successes with the area between the Scarsdale Library and Scarsdale High School, which used to be used as a sort of “dumping ground,” but it is now a well-protected green area, and she thanked the Westchester Executives for their recognition on this work. She expressed her sincere gratitude for the Audubon Society’s “precious relationship with each other and shared goals” and for putting on the festive event.

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Students at SHS registered their feelings about school shootings and gun violence on Wednesday June 1, 2022. The Amnesty International Club organized a student walk-out and rally at 9 am to protest gun violence and according to reports, there were about 300 students in attendance.

Here is the text of the speech given by the student organizers, who made a banner, a petition, signs and buttons to raise funds.

Remarks:

Thank you all for joining us today as we take the time to remember the 21 innocent lives lost in the school shooting last Tuesday at Robb Elementary School. As a part of Amnesty International, we felt it was necessary that our club did something to stand up against what happened, as Amnesty’s overall purpose is to help those who cannot help themselves.

What happened in Uvalde Texas was absolutely unacceptable. Unfortunately, school shootings are not as uncommon as one would hope. Prior to Tuesday, there had been at least 77 incidents of gunfire on school grounds within this past year alone, resulting in 14 deaths and 45 injuries. We’ve been here before. This isn’t the first time Scarsdale students have taken a stand against gun violence in a walkout. Just a few years ago, students held a walkout for the shooting at Sandy Hook as well as one for the shooting at Parkland right on these very school grounds. When is enough, enough?

While shootings that take place in schools are especially concerning, any gun-related incident creates more hate and less safety in our society. On May 14th, an 18 year-old man, barely older than most of us here, brought an AR-15 into a grocery store, killing 10 people and injuring 3 more. What’s even more disturbing is that he live-streamed the whole event, proud of the horrific damage he caused. Because of this event, the New York History Regents Exam was canceled, due to parts of the test that may have caused trauma following the shooting. The Regents Exam was supposed to be today for the Juniors here. The shooter’s intent wasn’t to affect students and schools, yet he did. Any shooting or violent incident like this affects so many aspects of society, making people feel unsafe in their day to day life. “In a number of other countries—notably New Zealand and Norway—a single mass shooting has been enough to force widespread change.” Look at New Zealand for instance. Only a week after a mass shooting occurred in New Zealand in March 2019, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced sweeping gun control reforms. After that point, gun owners were required to sell their weapons back to the government and over 60,000 firearms were sold back to the government. About a year later in June 2020, the nation introduced additional gun laws meant to track the buying and selling of weapons and ban certain guns.

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One aspect that is most upsetting about the way that gun violence issues are handled in America is that, in America, any adult is able to access arms/weaponry that have been used during wartime, often without any thorough background check. In the most recent incident in Uvalde, two AR-15 style rifles and 1,600 rounds of ammunition were acquired on one occasion. And no suspicion was raised. Even after the horrific incident, Marty Daniel, the store owner of ‘Daniel’s Defense Guns’, the store where the attacker in the incident acquired these weapons, continues to stand firmly in his opinion that “all firearms laws that limit the rights of law-abiding citizens are unconstitutional.” Marty, along with many other Americans throughout the nation, believe that any legislation, even legislation that would require thorough background checks for anyone purchasing firearms, should not be implemented. This is the problem. In our world, everything is so split. However, if we want to ensure the safety of students in learning environments, we need compromise. We need to take safety measures to ensure that anyone purchasing firearms does not have mal intent.

Currently there are three pieces of legislation in Congress that have yet to be passed that would address gun violence and create stricter regulations for the purchasing of guns:

1. Universal Background Checks
2. Ethan’s Law, which promotes the safe storage of guns, andGunMap
3. Break the Cycle of Violence Act which would provide federal grants to communities for evidence-informed community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence.

Members of Amnesty International have written up a petition that we will send to government officials urging them to pass these three pieces of legislation. We have printed out copies for you all to read, as well as pieces of paper for you to sign your name if you are in support of this petition. We additionally are selling pins and the proceeds will go towards supporting the families in Buffalo and Uvalde. Furthermore, the sheet you were given while you were walking out contains QR codes with verified links to donate to the families in both Buffalo and Uvalde and a link to a petition to urge Congress to implement more background check regulations.

Alexandra Simon (president)
Sophia Garcia (vice president)
Ally Scheffler (secretary)
Eva Gibney (treasurer

ScarsdalePoolThe first batch of ballots for the Municipal Pool Complex survey have been sent out to 2,000 randomly chosen Scarsdale residents. The survey is a key way to gauge community opinion and input on the pool’s imminent redevelopment.

Village Hall urges those who receive the survey to fill it out and return it in a timely manner to keep the dialogue about the pool open and efficient. The town is calling for as much public engagement as possible when it comes to the pool’s potential renovations.

After the 2,000 residents have had ample time to review the survey, thoughtfully completed it, and mailed it back to the surveyors, every Scarsdalian will be able to complete the same survey online (in a few weeks’ time from now). The two-folded approach to surveying is to create a control group before the general public gets the opportunity to send in their survey results.

There are many other ways for residents to continue to be involved in the pool’s future: the surveys are just the tip of the iceberg. On June 3rd, a public engagement session will be held at the Scarsdale Pool for all to attend. The following day, during the Scarsdale Music Festival in the village, another session will be held. Contact manager@scarsdale.com for any comments about the proceedings, and the “correspondence will be reviewed and considered.”

Visit Scarsdale.com/poolproject for the latest updates regarding the pool study.

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The Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC) is a non-partisan group of Scarsdale residents who select a slate of non-partisan candidates for the offices of mayor, trustee and village justice. In a CNC member’s 4th year they serve on the CNC’s Procedure Committee (PC). The PC is responsible for administering the procedures governing Scarsdale's non-partisan election system, doing things such as publicizing and recruiting nominees for the CNC, providing election information and administering elections, and recommending any changes to the guidelines of the CNC if necessary.

Membership on the CNC is elected, however residents may serve on the PC by appointment. The PC is therefore inviting any Scarsdale residents to join them on the PC! We would welcome new members and it is a terrific way to get to know and be involved in Scarsdale’s non-partisan system of government.

The PC will have several online meetings through November of this year. If you are interested in joining please contact Michelle Sterling (michellesterling1@gmail.com) or Peri Zelig (perizelig@gmail.com) for more information.

Veron May 22The following statement was made by Scarsdale Mayor Jane Veron at the May 10th meeting of the Board of Trustees:

Over the past couple weeks, my travel schedule has picked up, and I’ve been connecting with government officials at the local, state and national levels. When they hear I am Mayor of Scarsdale, they ask me what it’s like to have such an active and engaged population. I say it makes us the very best. 

This Board wants to facilitate connection. Last evening, many of you joined Trustee Gans and me at the Dine the ‘Dale tent for informal conversation. The topic that consumed our time was the pool survey, and your strong feelings about that beloved community asset. You reminisced about your early days in Scarsdale when the pool was the place to make new friends and to teach your little ones how to swim and you spoke as passionately about your summers as empty nesters, reuniting with old friends. It is clear that the pool has played a prominent role in your lives. 

Since we announced one year ago that we were embarking on the Pool Complex Study, you have flooded my inbox, stopped us in the street, at games and in the market to share your perspective. No one will be left out. We want to hear from each and every one of you as you help to shape the direction of the pool complex project. 

When we selected experts to guide us on the pool complex project, we searched for not only those who had deep experience with the engineering and design of community pools but also those who understood the importance of community input. For this project, our consultants engaged a professional market research firm, and they suggested an online survey for the entire community, to be as inclusive as possible. They said that we would get essential and broad reaching insight from an open online survey. The Board supported the inclusivity of that approach but also wanted to conduct a statistically valid survey as a safeguard to the qualitative one. We have been asked to ensure that special interest group responses don’t drown out the myriad of perspectives in the community. So, we will be getting the best of both worlds.

Every member of this community will have the opportunity to share your thoughts. The survey contains 4 pages of questions that seek your views on pool design, operation and financing. It is not good enough to ask for your vision without also understanding what you are willing to pay. So, please do soul searching and think hard about your responses. For those of you with children in your household, ask them what would make the pool a major draw. When I’ve been a guest at the schools, many of your sons and daughters have enthusiastically shared their ideas with me. In fact, they delivered their artistic renderings of daredevil slides and water features. They certainly feel passionately about the Scarsdale Pool. 

For those of you randomly mailed, please don’t put the survey aside. Dive right in and share your views. We need these surveys completed so we have a full data set. The qualitative and quantitative surveys will complement one another, and every perspective will be captured.

Moreover, we will host in person community engagement opportunity during the Scarsdale Music Festival on June 4 as well as June dates at the pool. You will get the chance to speak directly to our consultants who will have interactive activities for adults and children alike.

As long as you participate and don’t delay, the experts will be able to synthesize and analyze your input and will present the findings to the public this summer. You will be kept apprised at every stage of this project’s development.

I can’t underscore enough how important your participation. Your collective input will guide the development of the concepts for community consideration. We will engage again, speak about the tradeoffs, refine and modify and come to consensus. So, join us. Be a part of the journey.

And it is not only the pool that we are reimagining; we are also rethinking the Village Center with the Mobility and Placemaking study. We seek to improve traffic and circulation, multimodal connectivity, and the activation of gathering spaces. Earlier this evening during our work session, FHI presented results of their data collection which included past studies, walking tour feedback and drone insight. They reviewed high level key findings and suggested focus areas for next steps. What is super exciting is that next month, they will have some ideas and concepts that offer real time potential solutions for the Village Center. You can follow along and submit comment on our dedicated website www.scarsdalemobility.com or simply visit scarsdale.com and scroll down to our update. And please accept our invitation to join us on June 14 at 6 pm for our virtual public meeting to present ideas and concepts on this project.

The online survey link will go live on Monday, May 30. In the interim, a random sample of residents should be receiving surveys in the mail as soon as next week. Please all, give us your feedback!

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