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rocah1Leah Dembitzer, Mimi Rocah and Dara Gruenberg.On a rainy Sunday afternoon, legal analyst and Scarsdale resident Mimi Rocah spoke to a crowd of over 100 residents and dignitaries who filled the Scarsdale Woman’s Club to capacity. Ms. Rocah is a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, the current Distinguished Fellow of Criminal Justice at Pace University Law School, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The event, held on October 20, was jointly sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale, the Scarsdale Forum and the Scarsdale Public Library.

Rocah provided an honest and in-depth conversation about many of the political and legal topics that dominate today’s news headlines. Leah Dembitzer, President of the LWVS, and Dara Gruenberg, President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library and Co-Chair of the Scarsdale Forum’s Program Committee moderated the informative discussion.

Rocah briefed the audience on her background. She spent a number of years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. As she described: “My experience at the Department of Justice became a part of who I am as a person…The SDNY taught me from day one to do the right thing.” Of particular influence on Ms. Rocah was her time at the U.S. Attorney’s office in NYC on 9/11. It was a “horrible but transformative” experience. She left the SDNY in 2017, “spurred on by Trump’s election.” Initially, as a woman, she felt that it was not right to leave her post at the U.S. Attorney’s office as it was important to stay on to mentor the younger women whom she oversaw. Eventually, after seeing what was happening in the media, particularly President Trump “slandering our institutions,” Rocah thought it was important to join the media to help “push back” given her unique knowledge of the Department of Justice.

VeronJane Veron, Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Mimi Rocah.When asked about the influence of social media in today’s political climate, she noted that she had not been on social media prior to the 2016 Election. Social media today informs people, but may also mislead. Rocah finds President Trump’s use of twitter as an attempt “to normalize behavior that is really outrageous.” His tweets about Russia, for example, are “not normal” of the presidency. Rocah now follows many on twitter and looks to certain people for her information. She follows Professor Ryan Goodman on twitter and views him as “reliable and smart.” As a side note, Professor Goodman will be the featured speaker at the LWVS food for thought luncheon on November 8th. Click here for more details.

Rocah is particularly appreciative these days of her brother’s work at the ACLU. There is a new sense of importance of the work the ACLU does to protect First Amendment rights, among another things. Donations to the ACLU have “skyrocketed” since 2016. Ms. Rocah believes that people no longer take for granted rights about which they may not have previously thought.

The very topical subject of President Trump’s involvement with Ukraine was of particular interest to the crowd. Rocah thought that Bill Barr acted more like President Trump’s personal attorney than the head of the Department of Justice. However, she is hopeful that state prosecutors will step in, especially in New York, to fill the void where the Department of Justice has not acted. With respect to pardons, Rocah noted that there are “very few limits.” The President can pardon himself, and his family. However, members of President Trump's family could be subject to state prosecution even if they receive a federal pardon under a new law approved in New York. Double Jeopardy would not attach in these cases. Forward thinking, Rocah observed that we need more “rules” and “guardrails” on the use of “presidential power.”

With respect to the current impeachment inquiry that is dominating the news, when asked “why now?” Rocah said: “This feels different. ThererocahfoleyTim Foley, Dara Gruenberg, Leah Dembitzer, Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Mimi Rocah is momentum that hasn’t been there before.” With the Mueller Report, “Trump controlled the narrative before it was released.” However, with the issues involving President Trump and Ukraine, the information is happening “in real time.” Real time information “is more persuasive.” Ms. Rocah thought Nancy Pelosi waited for the right moment to start the impeachment inquiry and “putting it with Adam Schiff’s committee is perfect” as he is a “former prosecutor and follows the facts.”

Rocah answered questions from the audience with candor and a broad knowledge base. Her prosecutorial background has informed her well. She ended by noting the importance of pushing back on social media - “Don’t give up on correcting the factual record.”

samwickMarc Samwick, Dan Hochvert and Justin Arest.In addition to the many Scarsdale residents who attended Sunday’s event, NY Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NY Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick, Deputy Mayor Jane Veron, and Trustees Justin Arest and Lena Crandall joined the event. Mayor Marc Samwick noted: “This was an excellent event and it was great to see collaboration with the League, the Forum and the Library. I look forward to more events like this that inform and educate us.”

HandsUpThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Terri Simon:
Now that the school year is in full swing, it is time once again for the annual rejuvenation of our community’s important and valuable non-partisan nominating system for members of the Board of Education. I encourage residents who care about sustaining our outstanding school system to step up and run for a seat on the School Board Nominating Committee.

Our district’s exemplary track record arises in no small part from our non-partisan system of selecting thoughtful, intelligent, fair-minded candidates for our Board of Education. This system, however, simply cannot be sustained unless we all stretch ourselves a little bit and step up to play a part in making it work. The SBNC is a finite commitment of time during a short stretch of each term year. This is not a burdensome commitment, but it does make a genuine contribution to our community.

I’ve served twice on the SBNC (in the late 90’s and again during the past few years) and also on the Board of Education (2001-2007). I have been consistently impressed with the caliber and dedication of those who participate in this important process. When looking for candidates to put their names in the hat for SBNC seats, however, it’s been frustrating to hear so many prospects respond with “this is just not my thing,” I can’t help wondering if it’s their “thing” to have outstanding schools.

Everyone has busy lives and, of course, particular personal challenges may make serving difficult – I do get it – but this nominating system cannot remain robust without broad participation including, at the very least, a competitive slate of at least four candidates in each neighborhood.

If you have kids at home, they will be proud of your service (and of your co-parent for holding the fort during those Sunday afternoon meetings). If your kids have already graduated from the system and embarked upon their next life chapters, how better to “give back” than to contribute your experience in the community toward sustaining the system that launched them?

It’s easy to run. You need only collect ten voter petition signatures from your neighborhood and submit a brief bio by November 18. Forms and detailed information are available at www.scarsdalesbnc.com. The election is in mid-January and SBNC meetings are concluded by mid-March. To participate in selecting prospective trustees for the Board of Education, those charged with oversight and policy for the entire school system, is immensely gratifying. After all, by playing a role in this process you will help maintain precisely the wonderful schools that we all moved here for.

Terri Simon

MichaelsNancy Michaels has been named Chair of the 2020 Scarsdale Bowl Committee. Randy Guggenheimer, President of the Scarsdale Foundation, announced her appointment and also announced that Abby Sroka will continue as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Committee.

The Scarsdale Bowl is awarded annually to a Scarsdale resident in recognition of outstanding volunteer service to the community. As Bowl Committee Chair, Ms. Michaels will head the Scarsdale Bowl nominating committee and the community celebration dinner to be held on Wednesday, April 22nd, at Brae Burn Country Club.

Nancy Michaels has been an active volunteer in many Scarsdale organizations. She has served on the Board of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale, on the Executive Committee of Maroon and White, and as Secretary/Treasurer of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee. While raising her children in Scarsdale, she was indefatigably involved in activities related to education, serving as Heathcote PTA President, PT Council Vice-President, Chairperson of the Scarsdale Task Force on Drugs and Alcohol, and Co-founder of STOP (State Testing Opposed by Parents). She has also been a member of the Scarsdale High School Compact Committee, the School Board Nominating Committee, SHS College Information Task Force, and the Health Advisory Council. The recipient of the 2011 Brotherhood Award at Westchester Reform Temple, Ms. Michaels served as a Vice President and Secretary of her synagogue and co-chairs many committees including the Refugee Initiative Committee. She is also a dedicated member of the Giving Circle of Lower Westchester and the Scarsdale Student Transfer Education (STEP) Board.

Ms. Michaels graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Human Nutrition and received her Masters of Medical Science from Emory University. She was a Clinical Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist at a New York City hospital for several years before moving to Scarsdale and is currently a partner at Collegistics, a college application advisory firm. She and her husband David are 30-year residents of Heathcote, where they raised their three children, Debra, B.J., and Emily, who all graduated from Scarsdale High School.

The Scarsdale Bowl is administered by the Scarsdale Foundation, a not-for-profit community foundation that works to promote civic welfare. The Foundation provides need-based financial aid to SHS graduates entering their sophomore, junior, and senior years in college and to children attending the Recreation Department summer day camp. It also administers a number of special purpose funds and makes grants for various community needs, which have included the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service, and the Scarsdale Public Library.

More info on the Scarsdale Bowl Award can be found at scarsdalefoundation.org.

MorrisonWeddingLauren Elyse Romo and Andrew Flanders Morrison were married Saturday, September 28, 2019 at La Mesita Ranch Estate, an equestrian ranch and event space in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Reverend Pete Jones, of Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale, officiated.

The bride, 33, is a marketing manager at Lovely Bride in New York. She graduated with a degree in Journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

She is the daughter of Lisa E. Romo of Albuquerque, NM, and the late Richard R. Romo. The bride's mother is a procurement specialist at CES, a purchasing cooperative aiding Public Schools in New Mexico. Her father was an attorney and proprietor of Romo Law Firm in Albuquerque, NM.

The groom, 34, is a Senior Consultant in the Anti-Money Laundering group at Deloitte. He graduated from Scarsdale High School in 2003 and from Colgate University with a major in Political Science, a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. He later went on to obtain his Juris Doctorate from George Washington University and his Masters’ degree in the Science of Teaching from Pace University while teaching second grade as a Teach for America Corps member in New York City.

The groom's mother, Martha J. Flanders, is a resident of Cortlandt Manor, NY and a partner at Dorf & Nelson, a law firm in Rye, N.Y. The groom's father is a resident of Princeton, NJ and is a Senior Manager at EY where he consults to help corporate legal departments.

About the Couple
Drew and Lauren met on the dating app, Bumble. Initial conversations quickly uncovered that Lauren was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys while Drew was a fan of the Cowboys’ notorious rivals, the New York Giants. They were able to overcome this news and decided to meet for a drink.

The day of the date rolled around and Drew texted Lauren around lunchtime to check if they were still on for that night. Lauren excitedly replied that yes, she was still in. Another text from Drew followed, letting Lauren know that he could not stay out late that night as he had to do laundry. (Laundry??) Having heard it all at this point, Lauren assumed Drew either did not actually want to go on the date or even worse he had another date after theirs. She immediately texted this update to every girlfriend in her phone. Later that day, Lauren nervously walked to the meeting spot. She walked in to find Drew anxiously waiting for her in the nearly empty bar. They were both wearing Barbour jackets. She made a joke about it. Things were off to a good start. Over drinks they talked about their love of college football, their fantasy football teams, and Lauren's position as commissioner of her all lady league and Drew's recent trip to Lauren's hometown of Albuquerque, NM. They had easy conversation and a lot in common. Drew was known as "Laundry Guy" for many months into their relationship.

Morrison2


After almost three years of dating and a few hiccups in the lead-up, Drew finally proposed to Lauren in Paris at the Luxembourg Gardens and then they spent a week at Drew's mother’s family home in the South of France.

Once engaged, Lauren knew they had to be married in Santa Fe. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM and spent a considerable amount of time as a young girl in Santa Fe with her parents and brother RJ. The rehearsal dinner was held at Cowgirl Santa Fe, (a restaurant that has ties to New York's Cowgirl and Cowgirl Seahorse) that Lauren has been going to with her family since she was young. The wedding attire was Cowboy Black Tie, a fashion challenge for their East and West Coast guests.

The couple loves to travel, play golf, watch college (and professional) sports and can also be found every Saturday mornings composting and buying fresh, local, eggs and produce at their local Greenmarket on East 82nd Street.

KahanSistersThe Kahan Sisters: Lila, age 9 Alma, age 7 and Sophia, age 11.Jennifer Kahan and her three young daughters are busy this fall maintaining the beautiful perennial garden at the intersection of Church Lane and Harcourt Road. The garden was originally designed by Elaine Yellen and she welcomes the help of the Kahan family.

Jennifer Kahan said, “I became involved in the garden because Elaine and I met while I was weeding and gardening in my front yard. Elaine was working across the street from my house as a landscape designer for my neighbors. We would frequently see each other outside while doing our mutual "gardening" on the street. We eventually met and Elaine asked me if I would like to be involved in the community garden, to which I responded with an enthusiastic "yes"!

She explained how she met Yellen: “I live on Rectory Lane in Fox Meadow section of Scarsdale. My three daughters are: Sophia Kahan, 6th grade at SMS; Lila Kahan, 4th grade at Fox Meadow, and Alma Kahan, 1st Grade at Fox Meadow. We find time on the weekends or sometimes after school to help out with weeding or cutting back the shrubbery and flowers. I am working alongside Elaine and learning from her. She provides me with guidance and is still involved herself in the gardening. I also volunteer alongside Laura Gelblum, who is on the Executive Board of the Fox Meadow Neighborhood Association who oversees the garden.”

She said, “It is "joyful" work and the garden is so lovely as is and self-maintaining because it is mainly comprised of drought resistant perennials that Elaine purposefully planted from the outset. We often supplement in the spring with a few plantings and occasionally, budget allowing, plant bulbs for the spring bloom.”

Commenting on the young gardeners, landscape designer Elaine Yellen said, “Jennifer is in charge of the triangle garden at Church Lane and Harcourt Road in Fox Meadow. Her daughters are wonderful stewards of the garden. They weed, trim and plant. Never too young to start a gardening life!”briteavenue

HarcourtRoad

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