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backbackemsThe Subin family of Scarsdale has been anything but bored during this crisis. In fact, they are practically in a frenzy of activity ---performing hundreds of acts of kindness during this difficult time. It all began with baking – when SHS sophomore Brianna Subin decided to bake some cookies to thank the local police department. Not satisfied with baked items, she realized she could organize others to provide lunch for all of Scarsdale’s police, fire, ambulance workers and pharmacies. And then, it expanded beyond food – to gift cards, clothing and toys for those in need here in Westchester and beyond.

Explaining this ambitious venture Brianna says, "During COVID-19 our family wanted to give back by baking snacks for those who serve and are in need. The concept quickly grew to inspire others to donate in many different ways, including ordering restaurant meals, making cards and gifts."

Soon the whole family got involved. Mom Melissa, a former tennis professional, is in charge of business development, her sister Melanie is in charge of fulfilling the orders and sponsorships. Brianna’s brother, 13 year-old Benji Subin, helps out with merchandising, baking and assisted in the development of the website. Father Herb Subin, a personal injury attorney, is baking, handling the finances and social media.

The mission of Bake Back America, Heroes Helping Heroes, is to serve as a fulfillment center and clearinghouse for those who wish to give back to the people who are fighting the Corona crisis. Contributors can give in a variety of ways: they can simply donate money which will be used to fund and deliver meals to a selected organization or they can bake themselves and work with BakeBackAmerica to get their donations to the right place. Restaurants with excess food can also contact BakeBackAmerica to deliver meals to those in need.

In the past few weeks their work has grown exponentially. They have delivered over 6,000 meals, baked goods, PPE, creative cards and beaded bracelets to key cities throughout the country with a concentration in New York City and the suburbs. They have also done deliveries in other hard-hit states like Washington, Michigan, Florida, NJ, CT and are expanding daily.bakebackrecipients

Several families are working with teachers of children with second to seventh grade classrooms to bake and make bracelets and cards.

Beyond baked goods and lunch, BakeBackAmerica has asked Scarsdale residents to clean out their closets and donate clothes, games and toys to families in need. Bake Back America will be doing pick-ups throughout the week in Scarsdale and will send these donations along with baked goods and bracelets and cards to the 175 people at the Coachmen Family Shelter in White Plains this coming weekend. Top of the Line Drapery will contribute 500 masks for the shelter, McDonalds in Hartsdale will contribute 200 meals, the White Plains Fire Department will bring a fire truck for kids to see from their rooms and Meredith Grossbach is spearheading the baking and beading for the weekend event.

In addition, Scarsdale Firefighters will be delivering masks provided by Bake Back America to elderly homebound or underprivileged residents. Take a look at the impressive list of recipients here

One grateful pharmacist wrote,

Yesterday, the pharmacy department received a food donation and we are so grateful for that. It means a lot during this pandemic that we have patients who do think of us and appreciate what we are doing for the community. I know you also mentioned that you were donating supplies and food for other organizations and front line workers so thank you for that as well, you are doing an amazing deed for the entire community. We cannot thank you enough for the meal you provided for us! Everything was delicious!"

Sincerely,
Gina Lee, RPh, Doctor of Pharmacy

BriannaSubinBrianna SubinThe family is invigorated by the work, and through it, they are teaching their kids and volunteers to develop empathy, to be organized, set priorities and realize the rewards of giving to others.

If you are interested in giving funds or getting involved, visit bakebackamerica.com to see how you can donate, or bake or perform other acts of kindness for your community.

The Subin family is busy paying it forward and would love more volunteers, donations, and food from individuals or corporations. To get started, click here or email bakebackamerica@gmail.com.

BenjiSubinBenji Subin

bakebacklogo

magnoliaAs recently stated by Fordham University President, Father McShane, we are in “a moment of peril and a moment of great goodness.”

I will start with the peril that we still face. We are beginning to hear that we reached the apex as well as hearing early discussions about easing the restrictions that have been somewhat successful in constraining the spread of the Coronavirus. It is still important for us to continue to be diligent to battle the virus as victory is not yet won. As Governor Cuomo expressed yesterday, “we are controlling the spread of the virus, [but] progress will be incremental.” He continued, “The worst is over, if we continue to be smart.”

Our path to normalcy may begin as early as next month, but this is a path, not an immediate resumption of regular activities. The pandemic will not be over until there is a proven vaccine. It is important that we continue to listen and follow instructions to protect against a relapse or second wave of infection. We have worked collectively to make real progress and our collective efforts will determine our course until an effective vaccine is available.

Moving on to the great goodness we have seen. The generosity of spirit that we have seen has been nothing short of extraordinary and is necessary to continue to save lives and help those in need. Please keep doing what you have done. I will now provide other ways in which we may help each other through this trying time.

Plasma and Blood Donations
People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have high levels of immunity in the form of antibodies. Their plasma can be used to help save the life of another struggling to survive. Please consider donating plasma if you have recovered from the Coronavirus. Mount Sinai and White Plains Hospital/Montefiore have regional locations that will be accepting plasma donations, and you may volunteer to have your blood tested for high levels of antibodies. If you are interested, please contact Mount Sinai or White Plains Hospital/Montefiore.
White Plains Hospital/Montefiore screening will take place at Scarsdale Medical Group’s office at 259 Heathcote Road.

Blood donations have been dramatically reduced due to social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives. Many people have asked me how they can help and this is a very straightforward way in which we all may contribute. Those interested in donating blood may reach out to: AABB (www.aabb.org), America’s Blood Centers (www.americasblood.org), American Red Cross (www.redcrossblood.org), Armed Services Blood Program (www.militaryblood.dod.mil), or Blood Centers of America (www.bca.coop). Thank you to all who donate for your life saving generosity.

Needed PPE

There is real ongoing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) at medical centers and for first responders. Please consider donating any PPE you may be able to share with our first responders, including Scarsdale Police, Fire and Volunteer Ambulance Corps; White Plains Hospital; or other medical providers. Constituents may donate goods, services, or space to New York State’s response to the COVID- 19 public health emergency by emailing icanhelp@westchestergov.com.

Mental Health and Mindfulness During Crisis

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that New York State has partnered with Headspace to provide New Yorkers with free meditation and mindfulness resources. As the Governor’s announcement noted, “We can't underestimate the impact this public health crisis has on mental health. New Yorkers can access a collection of free guided meditations, along with at-home mindfulness exercises and additional resources to help address rising stress and anxiety. Visit www.headspace.com/ny.”

New Yorkers may also call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling. New York State has been actively engaged in providing mental health resources to assist residents struggling during this highly unsettling time.
Health Insurance

New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health through May 15, 2020. Residents must apply within 60 days of losing health insurance coverage. New York State of Health may be accessed at www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov.

Village Budget Update
The Village will hold a public budget hearing this evening and must adopt its budget no later than May 1st to comply with NY State requirements. The filed tentative budget has been posted on the Village website and will be addressed at the budget hearing this evening.

The approach the Village has taken to manage its current fiscal and the FY 20-21 budgets is to: (i) identify near-term threats to revenues, (ii) prepare a downside analysis to identified revenue threats, (iii) identify primary sources to fill expected revenue gaps, and (iv) identify secondary sources to fill the downside revenue gaps. The Village Manager and Treasurer have accomplished these goals and the Village Board has supported staff’s recommended approach to manage this time of economic strain.

The Village Board has stated that it is seeking to make thoughtful and responsible adjustments to the FY 20-21 budget based on data that becomes clearer over the coming weeks and months. The Village will also continue to search for ways to recognize the financial strain that many residents are dealing with at this time.

Social Distancing
Please be diligent in social distancing when outside of the home. Governor Cuomo announced the state is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the state's social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence to the protocols.
It is critical for management of the pandemic that we strictly adhere to social distancing – for our own benefit and for our friends and neighbors, especially those who are most at risk. Also, inform your children of the importance of social distancing. Thank you for your diligence – whether on line at a store or walking. It is up to each of us.

Landscaping
New York State has clarified guidance on landscaping. Please note that only work which is “for maintenance and pest control purposes has been designated as essential.” Therefore, please have your landscapers refrain from planting decorative plants – though you are welcome to do so yourself.

Leaf Blowing
I would like to remind all residents that the local leaf blowing ban goes into effect on June 1st. Please be sure to limit use of gas-powered leaf blowers starting in June.

A number of people have asked whether leaf blowers may spread Coronavirus. To date, the NYS Department of Health has not issued any guidance that indicates that the virus may be spread by leaf blowers. Should the NYS Department of Health issue guidance that may link leaf blower use to the spread of the virus, the Village will immediately accelerate its ban on the use of leaf blowers.

Census
The Census is underway. Participation in the census is important as federal dollars are allocated based on census data. I was informed yesterday that Scarsdale’s participation rate so far is strong with over 60% of residents submitting census surveys so far. For those that haven’t yet completed their census surveys, please do so. Thank you.

Concluding Remarks
The Village remains committed to providing essential services and preparing for the difficult weeks ahead as well as the time in the not too distant future when we return to a new normalcy that is rooted in the past while incorporating learnings from the current adjustments we are all making.

While I know the uncertainty of the weeks ahead weigh heavy on residents’ minds and hearts, we must continue to have hope and take comfort in the strength of our community and its resilience. Reach out to neighbors and friends to say hello and just connect. Together we will face this and together we will overcome the adversity. We need each other more than ever and while we cannot be together we can be “together apart”. Be well and please stay home.

no mulch volcanoes by StofkoAs the weather warms and we all get ready to enjoy our yards and neighborhood landscape, here are some ways to improve the sustainability of your surroundings:

Go Organic: Organic yard care gives us a beautiful, healthy, thriving landscape, and it’s also beneficial to us, our pets, wildlife, and the environment. Many organic products, such as fertilizer and weed control, are readily available. Organic landscaping can be accomplished whether you do your own yard work or hire a landscaper. Read the CAC’s previous article about organic landscaping. 

Plant Trees: Trees enhance the beauty of our community, provide shade, soak up water, and help wildlife. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, further helping the environment. Whenever possible, plant native trees and plants --those that grow naturally in our area--as they are better suited to our climate and terrain. Once established, native trees can thrive with less water and fertilizer (and no pesticides), saving time and money.

Plant Perennials that Attract Pollinators: Butterflies, bees, and birds play an important role in our environment. Plants that attract these pollinators add beauty to our landscape while helping make our world healthy. Replacing part of your lawn with native plants is an inexpensive, simple way to support a healthy environment and to reduce costly lawn maintenance. Some plants to consider include coreopsis, Joe-pye weed, butterfly weed, aster, purple coneflower, salvia, and sedum.

Spare the Mulch: Placing mulch in garden beds and around trees can help keep moisture in and weeds out. However, too much mulch or improperly placed mulch can seriously harm trees and shrubs. Never pile mulch (or soil) against the trunk of a tree because the mulch will eventually rot the trunk as well as cause roots to grow in the wrong direction. Keep mulch approximately 6” away from tree trunks and about 3” deep in plant beds and around trees.

Water Wisely: To encourage stronger and more drought-resistant plants--and therefore, healthier lawns--water your lawn 2 times per week for a total of 1’’ of water, usually around 30 minutes per watering. Watering should be done in the early morning when the most absorption takes place. Use drip hoses to water trees and shrubs. Experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for home irrigation is wasted due to overwatering and evaporation. Although Scarsdale requires all home irrigation systems to have a rain sensor--which shuts down the system when it’s raining—an even better way to go would be to add a smart water controller, which uses a WiFi connection to access weather data from the internet to automatically adjust watering schedules. Help save water and reduce your water bill.

Properly Care for Your Lawn: Keep grass about 3” high to promote deeper roots and a healthier, more drought-tolerant lawn. Taller grass is also less susceptible to weeds. Leave grass clippings on your lawn as they provide a natural fertilizer and help the soil retain water. Leaving lawn clippings also reduces the use of gas-powered blowers--a leading contributor to air and noise pollution--which are banned by the Village from June 1st through September 30th. Using high-powered electric or battery-operated blowers to clean driveways and walkways is a viable alternative.

Talk with Your Landscaper: Sometimes old habits are not easy to break, so it’s important to share information and to let your landscaper know that you want an organic, healthy, sustainable yard.

If you have any questions or comments, contact the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council

LightUpBelow find a letter dated April 8 from Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick:
Dear Scarsdale Residents,
On Monday evening, the Village came together – each in our front yard – and sang “God Bless America” to show our solidarity for our health care providers and first responders. Personally, I was struck by a sense of unity and togetherness that came from singing with my family and hearing my neighbors doing the same with their loved ones. This was another recent event that highlighted the sense of community that makes Scarsdale special and will be the base from which we move beyond the difficult weeks ahead to heal and renew our community.

I would like to acknowledge two people that made Monday night’s heart-warming community song a reality. Lee Fischman sent me the idea of a Village-wide collaboration of “God Bless America” over two weeks ago. While I thought Lee was onto something, I did not take the reins and run with the idea. Fortunately, my wife, Cynthia, spoke with Lee last week, fully embraced the idea and rushed into action to make it a reality. Thank you, Lee and Cynthia, for your vision and execution – singing “God Bless America” together was a perfect way to recognize those working hard to keep our community safe and to remind us: who we are, what is important to us, and that we will get through the difficult time ahead together.

Plasma and Blood Donations
People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have high levels of immunity in the form of antibodies. Their plasma can be used to help save the life of another struggling to survive. Please consider donating plasma if you have recovered from the Coronavirus. Mount Sinai and White Plains Hospital/Montefiore have regional locations that will be accepting plasma donations, and you may volunteer to have your blood tested for high levels of antibodies. If you are interested, please contact Mount Sinai or White Plains Hospital/Montefiore by completing a survey here:  White Plains Hospital/Montefiore screening will take place at Scarsdale Medical Group’s office at 259 Heathcote Road.

Blood donations have been dramatically reduced due to social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives. Many people have asked me how they can help and this is a very straightforward way in which we all may contribute. Those interested in donating blood may reach out to: AABB (www.aabb.org), America’s Blood Centers (www.americasblood.org), American Red Cross (www.redcrossblood.org), Armed Services Blood Program (www.militaryblood.dod.mil), or Blood Centers of America (www.bca.coop). Thank you to all who donate for your life saving generosity.

Needed PPE/Other Donations
There is real ongoing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) at medical centers and for first responders. Please consider donating any PPE you may be able to share with our first responders, including Scarsdale Police, Fire, and Volunteer Ambulance Corps; White Plains Hospital; or other medical providers.

Constituents may donate goods, services, or space to New York State’s response to the COVID- 19 public health emergency by emailing icanhelp@westchestergov.com.

Mental Health and Mindfulness During Crisis

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that New York State has partnered with Headspace to provide New Yorkers with free meditation and mindfulness resources. As the Governor’s announcement noted, “We can't underestimate the impact this public health crisis has on mental health. New Yorkers can access a collection of free guided meditations, along with at-home mindfulness exercises and additional resources to help address rising stress and anxiety. Visit www.headspace.com/ny.”

New Yorkers may also call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling. New York State has been actively engaged in providing mental health resources to assist residents struggling during this highly unsettling time.

Health Insurance
New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health through May 15, 2020. Residents must apply within 60 days of losing health insurance coverage. New York State of Health may be accessed at www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov.

Village Budget Update
The Village must hold a public budget hearing no later than April 15 and adopt its budget no later than May 01 to comply with NY State requirements.

The approach the Village has taken to manage its current fiscal and the FY 20-21 budgets is to: (i) identify near-term threats to revenues, (ii) prepare a downside analysis to identify revenue threats, (iii) identify primary sources to fill expected revenue gaps, and (iv) identify secondary sources to fill potential downside revenue gaps. The Village Manager and Treasurer have accomplished these goals and the Village Board has supported staff’s recommended approach to manage this time of economic strain.

The Village Board has stated that it is committed to making thoughtful, appropriate, and responsible adjustments to the FY 20-21 operating budget based on data that will become clearer over the coming weeks and months. The tentative Village budget has been posted on the Village website and will be addressed at the budget hearing on April 14 at 7pm via Zoom teleconference.

At the budget hearing, we expect to see a proposal for the first change in the FY 20-21 operating budget. Since the library budget was prepared and presented to the Village in January, the expected reopening of the renovated library was pushed from September 01 to November 01. This two-month completion delay will correspond with a commensurate delay in the re- staffing of the library to full operating levels, which will result in operating savings for the library of about $210,000.

It is expected that the Village Board will recommend that the full reduction in the library budget be used to reduce the FY 20-21 tax levy to recognize the financial strains of residents during the economic upheaval resulting from COVID-19. If adopted by the Board of Trustees, that would mean that the annual increase in the Village tax levy would be reduced from 1.98% to 1.46% and the average home would see its Village real estate taxes increase by about $95 rather than the $128 shown in the filed tentative budget.

Please note that the library’s FY 21-22 operating budget will be its first full year in operations after reopening. This will cause a known one-time elevated percentage increase in its FY 21-22 budget relative to FY 20-21.

The Village budget is a working document that is revised on a regular basis. This year is no exception as there will be continuous reviews of the Village’s financial position. As is always the case, the Village encourages resident participation in all budget discussions.

Social DistancingSamwick Welcomes the CrowdMayor Marc Samwick at Light the Dale in December, 2019
Please be diligent in social distancing when outside of the home. Governor Cuomo announced the state is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the state's social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence to the protocols.

It is critical for management of the pandemic that we strictly adhere to social distancing – for our own benefit and for our friends and neighbors, especially those who are most at risk. Also, inform your children of the importance of social distancing. Thank you for your diligence – whether online at a store or walking. It is up to each of us.

Landscaping
New York State has clarified guidance on landscaping. Please note that only work which is “for maintenance and pest control purposes has been designated as essential.” Therefore, please have your landscapers refrain from planting decorative plants – though you are welcome to do so yourself.

Leaf Blowing
I would like to remind all residents that the local leaf blowing ban goes into effect on June 01. Please be sure to eliminate use of gas-powered leaf blowers starting in June.

A number of people have asked whether leaf blowers may spread Coronavirus. To date, the NYS Department of Health has not issued any guidance that indicates that the virus may be spread by leaf blowers. Should the NYS Department of Health issue guidance that may link leaf blower use to the spread of the virus, the Village will take immediate action.

Concluding Remarks
The Village remains committed to providing essential services and preparing for the difficult weeks ahead as well as the time in the not too distant future when we return to a new normalcy that is rooted in the past while incorporating learnings from the current adjustments we are all making.

While I know the uncertainty of the weeks ahead weigh heavily on residents’ minds and hearts, we must continue to have hope and take comfort in the strength of our community and its resilience. Reach out to neighbors and friends to say hello and just connect. Continue to be kind and make selfless gestures that are the hallmark of Scarsdale. Together we will face this and together we will overcome the adversity. We need each other more than ever and while we cannot be together we can be “together apart.” Be well and please stay home.

During this week of religious observances for many residents, we cannot help but note the connection of this pandemic to the stories and teachings we are about to encounter. In spite of the current difficulties and stains we are facing, I wish you joyous and meaningful celebrations with family.

Sincerely,
Marc Samwick, Mayor

This letter was submitted by Jennifer Hong in response to a request from 10583 to learn more about the Scarsdale Chinese Association’s efforts to help in the fight again COVID-19.

I am a member of the Scarsdale Chinese Association (SCA). I am not writing this on behalf of the SCA but as a volunteer who has helped in this donation effort. This is not an official SCA statement but rather what has taken place from my perspective. Thank you to Scarsdale 10583 for your willingness to highlight our effort.

A team of volunteers from the Scarsdale Chinese Association collaborated and, with a concerted effort, were able to purchase and have 5000 masks shipped directly from China. 3000 masks were donated to the first responders and essential workers in Scarsdale Village. Thanks to Dara Gruenberg for helping coordinate with the Village and distribute the masks. The remaining 2000 masks were donated to White Plains Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, and two New York City hospitals. I, along with many members of the SCA, volunteered in this effort. Biggest thanks goes to Kiki Hong, Dr. Jun Xu, Dr. Ru-Liang Xu and Dr. Hong Su.

surgicalmasksSCA also turned to our members for donations of their own masks to help alleviate the hospitals’ urgent needs. As you may be aware, China has a problem with smog and air pollution due to rapid industrial growth. Many families in Scarsdale buy masks to wear when they or their relatives go back to China. Ever since COVID-19 first broke out in Wu Han, we have been monitoring the development closely, and some residents bought masks as a precaution. We know how grim the situation has been in China and how contagious the virus is. SCA was able to collect 1000+ different kinds of masks from its members and has delivered all of them to nearby hospitals. Although some of these mask are anti-fog, not up to the stringent medical standards, the hospitals took them with great appreciation. Local families here have exhausted the supplies we have in our homes. Lauren Yang, SCA President, Lisa Tan and other volunteers spearheaded this effort.

What inspired SCA to initiate this effort was that Dara Gruenberg sent some of our members an email asking for donations to provide funding for meals to the Emergency Department staff at White Plains Hospital (WPH). SCA immediately stepped up to donate, and Han Zhou volunteered to lead this effort. SCA members, who are doctors at Westchester Medical Center (WMC), after hearing about the contributions to White Plains Hospital, reached out to us about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) at WMC. We learned that many hospitals were in the same dire situation. This gave the SCA the idea to expand our efforts to help, in addition to the meal donation initiative. SCA quickly started a campaign to assist hospitals on many fronts: Lisa Tan made a portal page for SCA members to donate money directly to WPH and WMC; to donate masks; and to donate towards a fund for purchasing PPEs for hospitals.

Many in SCA are pursuing leads of PPE donations or trying to help hospitals purchase directly from China. Ailun Yang and I are working with a charity foundation in China to donate masks and gowns directly to hospitals here.

Besides those mentioned above, Judy Yang, Ellen Sun, Yin Lao, Leon Xin, as well as so many others, are helping. Several SCA members are asking friends and family back in China to send PPEs to us directly. I feel so proud of my fellow Chinese Americans and Chinese.

We, Chinese Americans, are standing together with every Scarsdale resident in unity and solidarity. Many of us are US citizens. We are firstly Americans with Chinese heritage. This is our country too. When we see our neighbors and friends at the frontlines combating the potentially lethal virus without enough protection, our hearts sink at the risks they are taking so we are doing everything we can to help. We hear the battle cry from Governor Cuomo and are joining the fight against this vicious disease.

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