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coyote2Scarsdale Police are reporting several coyote sightings in recent weeks throughout the Village. Here is some information from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) about what to do should you come across a coyote.

According to NYS DEC, if you see a coyote:

Be aggressive in your behavior – stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones.

Contact your local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if you notice coyotes exhibiting "bold" behaviors and having little or no fear of people, or if you see them repeatedly during the daytime in a human-populated area or near residences. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior.

Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise all outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable.

Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.

Of course, if there is ever an emergency involving a coyote, please contact the Scarsdale Police Department at (914) 722-1200. A police officer will be dispatched.

Please check the DEC website for further guidance and information.
DEP Regional Office: 845-256-3000 

firesafetyTraditionally, the Scarsdale Fire Department celebrates Fire Prevention Week by holding its annual Fire Fair. In light of the current Public Health guidelines, the Scarsdale Fire Department has decided not to hold its annual Fire Fair this fall. Even though we will be unable to hold the fair in its traditional manner, we remain committed to providing this service to our community in a virtual manner.

This year’s theme for Fire Prevention week is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen”. The focus on fire safety while cooking is a response to the fact that home cooking fires represents the leading cause of U.S. home fires. Nearly half (49 percent) of all home fires involving cooking equipment, and unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires.

Key messages of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” will include the following:

Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking; never leave cooking unattended

Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — at least three feet away from your stove top.

Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

To get this fire safety message out to the public, the Scarsdale Fire Department will be posting several safety messages and videos throughout October on our social media platforms. Check out the sites listed below and be on the lookout for new information and fun throughout the month of October. If you have any question, please contact the Scarsdale Fire Department Fire Prevention office at (914) 722-1221.

Check Out these sites throughout October:

Website:
https://www.scarsdale.com/fire
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/scarsdalefire
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/scarsdalefire

SelvaggioRobert Selvaggio obtained 4,318 resident email addresses after a FOIL request.After exploring all legal avenues not to comply with a FOIL request for 4,318 resident’s private email addresses, the Village of Scarsdale turned over the list to resident Robert Selvaggio of Rochambeau Road on September 11, 2020.

Selvaggio, who is running for Village Trustee as a candidate for the Voter’s Choice Party, filed a FOIL request in April, 2020 to receive the email addresses of all residents who were signed up on the Village’s “Notify Me” communications system. The system is used to disseminate information about emergencies, storms, road closures, sanitation schedules, recreation opportunities and more. The Village built the system as a way to improve communications with residents who opted in to receive Village emails and alerts.

On April 24, Selvaggio sent the following FOIL request to Scarsdale Village Clerk Donna Conkling:

“Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law, I am requesting the list of email addresses of subscribers to Scarsdale’s “Notify Me” system and the list of email addresses to which the “Mayoral Community Update: April 23, 2020” was addressed.”

Scarsdale10583 filed a FOIL request to see Selvaggio's request.

Village managers were highly reluctant to turn over the list for many reasons. They feared that it would betray the public trust in the Village, as many residents assumed their private email addresses could not be shared. Managers feared that if residents started to receive unsolicited communications, they would opt out of the Village’s Notify Me list. In addition, if Scarsdale yielded to this request, what would prevent more requests for the list from others seeking to reach Scarsdale homeowners?

According to Village Manager Steve Pappalardo, “The Village was not concerned about the requestor, but rather, on a more comprehensive basis, relative to the potential invasion of privacy and any perceived violation by the Village of the public trust. In our view, Notify Me subscribers should have a reasonable expectation of privacy when providing this contact information to the local government.”

Furthermore, Pappalardo said, “We also had concerns about cyber security to the extent that making the public records available to anyone may elevate the risk of a cyber attack. And a third concern was that releasing the emails might stymie our ability to maintain or increase enrollment in Notify Me.”

In order to determine if they were legally bound to release the list, the Village reached out to their attorney as well as the NYS Committee on Governance.

Pappalardo said, “Access to public records in New York State is governed by the Freedom of Information Law as adjudicated by the NYS Committee on Open Government (COG). We asked the Village Attorney to review the FOIL request and determine our ability to withhold/deny the request based on the above concerns. Based on his review of the law and pertinent case law on this point, the Attorney determined that the email addresses should be released. Subsequently we wrote to the NYS COG for a formal opinion/response. After reviewing, the COG responded that the emails should be released, citing several previous COG opinions and case law.”

There was one caveat. According to Pappalardo, “The New York Public Officers Law (FOIL) Section 89.3(a) specifically provides that an agency may require a person requesting lists of names and addresses to provide a written certification that such person will not use such lists of names and addresses for solicitation or fund-raising purposes and will not sell, give or otherwise make available such lists of names and addresses to any other person for the purpose of allowing that person to use such lists of names and addresses for solicitation or fund-raising purposes. Mr. Selvaggio was asked and complied by executing, having notarized, and submitting a Certification to this effect, as written by the Village Attorney.”

Will Selvaggio use the newly released list to send emails asking for votes for the Voters Choice Party candidates on Tuesday September 15? It is not clear whether the provision that bars the use of the list for “solicitations” includes campaign emails. The Oxford Dictionary defines solicitation as “the act of asking for or trying to obtain something from someone,” which would seem to prohibit campaign-related emails but we won’t know until the election is over on Tuesday night.

There is precedent for the decision. In a similar case about the release of the email addresses of residents in Greenburgh in 2016, an appellate court ruled that “the Town, Town Clerk and Town Board all violated the New York State Freedom of Information Law when they refused (two years ago) to disclose in electronic form, the names and email addresses of subscribers of the Town’s email list so that a resident could respond to political arguments made on the Town’s “gblist” by Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.”

Commenting on the issue, Scarsdale Village Trustee Jane Veron said, “Yes, I am aware that the FOIL request was fulfilled today, and I think it is a regrettable result. While I am a strong proponent of open government, I believe the release of personal email addresses for private use is beyond the bounds of what is necessary to achieve transparency. I have always been determined to make government more accessible to our residents. When I joined the board, I sponsored the communications committee, and together with a diverse team, we built a user-friendly website, launched e-newsletters and implemented the Notify Me system. Every decision we made was guided by a commitment to public trust. I hope that trust endures.”

Even if Selvaggio refrains from using the list to garner support in the election, it’s hard to understand how forcing the release of private email addresses benefits residents in anyway, or as the Voters Choice Party political signs say makes for a “better Village.”

What do you think? Share your comments below.

shsorchestraMr. Williams conducting his Chamber Orchestra class.September 18, 2020 marked the first day of school for students in Cohort A at Scarsdale High School. As students shuffled into school with masks wrapped around their faces, they followed stickers that showed them which direction to walk and to remain six feet apart.

Many changes can be seen around the high school such as the new safety guidelines featured on signs all throughout the building. As one steps inside, one’s eyes are immediately attracted to the Old Commons, an area once filled with noisy students one next to another in the morning, sitting in tables preparing for their classes, and feasting on a protein bar or two before class started. Now, the lounge area has become filled with empty rows of seats separated from each other.

As one enters into the classrooms, one can notice that the rooms all consist of the same layout, rows of chairs with several feet of distance between them. An empty chair is placed in the front of the classroom for the teacher to place his or her laptop for all virtual students to watch the lesson, while other teachers chose to display the virtual students on the smartboard.

The teachers no longer walk up to student’s desks, but rather remain at the front of the classroom, teaching through their masks.

SHSMr.HarrisonMr. Harrison, Social Studies Department Chair, talking to his virtual students in the AT US Government class.

As senior Andrew Lofaso discusses his first day of school he describes how as he walked into the building, “At first it was a shock, just to see the school in that kind of state, but after a little time, adjusting wasn’t so bad. The biggest adjustment was having to wear a mask all day and not being able to interact as intimately with your peers and teachers.”

While there is a learning curve to virtual classes and it can take time adjusting to the hybrid schedule, students and teachers alike are working together every day to make the transitions as smooth as possible for everyone.AndrewLofasoSeniors Andrew Lofaso and Trevor Koch wearing their masks while participating in their Spanish class. SHSMs.DeAngeloSpanish teacher, Ms. D"Angelo, teaching her students, including her virtual students, that remain on the smartboard.

SHSMr.SipeMr. Sipe teaching Honors Geology class to his seniors.

9780593087725 1Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz, authors of "Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit and the Making of the College Admissions Scandal" will speak at an event sponsored by the Friends of the Scarsdale Library (FOSL) on Thursday October 8 at 8 pm.

Veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz, have written “ a propulsive true-crime drama of greed and privilege run amok, set amid America's most exclusive enclaves and prestigious institutions. And it’s an important interrogation of class divisions and the myths of meritocracy in higher education; loopholes in admissions systems ripe for corruption; and modern parenthood and the lengths to which the privileged will go to preserve their status.”

The Library has purchased additional copies of the book so the community can have a chance to read it in preparation for the event. Dara Gruenberg, president of FOSL, will be moderating the talk with the authors. Upon registration, individuals will have an opportunity to submit anonymous questions that will drive the discussion about the largest admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department which sent shock waves through American schools and families.

A zoom link will be sent prior to the event.

Register to attend the event here

Please submit questions prior to the event here: https://forms.gle/mhjRP9eVzngdwDgk9

JenniferLevitzJennifer LevitzMelissaKorn credit Erin Silber PhotographyMelissa Korn

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