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HFA Summer 4An 11th hour call from Governor Andrew Cuomo which will allow day camps to open on June 29 appears to have come too late for many camps to pivot and open for the summer. Cuomo’s executive order was not accompanied by any requirements from the County or State Departments Of Health so camp owners were left wondering what would be required if they did decide to open for the summer. With only three weeks to plan and hire staff, it simply left too little time to allow them to welcome campers this year.

We surveyed some local camp owners and received mixed messages. Here is what we learned.

Anticipating that many kids would need options for this summer, Backyard Sports adapted early and is offering programs for kids in their own backyards. According to Danny Bernstein, “Backyard Sports is teaming up with Next Level Camps this summer to bring summer camp to you. As camps and village programs close their doors due to the current health crisis, we are determined to provide the fun and interactive activities that mean so much to your kids… and to do it safely from your own home. With our Next Level 2 U “Backyard Bound” and “Backyard Sports Academy” options, families can choose from various sports, summer camp activities and enrichment options to create a flexible two-hour program that is fun, engaging and age appropriate for your child. We will send an experienced coach with equipment to your home to work with a small, predetermined group of 4-8 children chosen by you (the parents). Morning and afternoon scheduling options are available, ages 5-12 years old. For families looking for a more intensive sports experience, the Backyard Sports Academy option is for you. For a more traditional summer camp experience with a combination of sports, camp games and various enrichment options including art, dance, cooking, yoga, drama and more, the Backyard Bound option is right for you. For more information and to register, please visit www.nextlevel2u.com or call Danny at Backyard Sports for program details: 914-304-4052.”

Matt Davanzo of Squire Camps is hoping to be open. He said, “We are not sure what we are doing  yet.  We have a plan in place to run for 6 weeks, and are planning on opening, but awaiting some more information from the county until we say definitely yes.”

Camp Ramaquois also hopes to open, but not until July 20, given the proper information by the NYS and Rockland Departments of Health.

Challenge Camp is sticking with their plans to host a virtual summer camp. They said, “We will not be holding in person camp. We will be virtual only with Challenge Camp @Home. As an academic oriented camp, a sizable portion of our staff is older and we had concerns for their safety and the safety of our camp community. While the Governor has announced that camps can open, they still have not released the rules and regulations. Based on the CDC's guidelines that we have seen, the restrictions will be highly limiting as to what campers will be able to do.” However they “are absolutely still taking signups - http://www.challengecamps.com - and offering parents the flexibility to sign up for 2,3,4 or 5 classes each session so they can customize their campers schedule in a way that works best for the family's summer schedule.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester will also be strictly online this summer, as well as the Steffi Nossen School of Dance who reports, “We have decided, after long deliberation, that we will remain virtual for the summer and see how things feel.  We hope we will be back in the studio for fall, but make that decision later over the summer.”

However, the Governor’s delay left some without options:

Deputy Village Manager Rob Cole said the following about Scarsdale’s popular day camp run by the Recreation Department. “Like many Westchester communities, the Governor’s call authorizing came too late. Summer Camp programs involve a great deal of preparatory work, including coordination with Westchester County Department of Health, hiring, contracting, etc. Therefore, there is no current plan to offer summer camps. However, the mini-camps are still be planned, as related in our press release that announced the Summer Camp cancellation.”

blacksquareWe, the digital population, need to be careful about reducing the complexity of systemic racism into a 1080 x 566 pixel rectangle. We have to do a lot better.

“Blackout Tuesday” was intended as an expression of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and an opportunity to go “silent” on social media to reflect on George Floyd’s murder. However, it appears the deluded two-dimensional virality distracted from opportunities to prompt collective human reflection and invite a broader call to action. To assuage the guilt of generational passivity, thousands “checked the box” on activism posting their black box. If we are so desperate to prove our morality to our followers, we will likely forget to consider how we can play a more meaningful, lasting role to create peace, justice, and safety in any slice of our nation we can reach.

Like so many of our nation’s wounds, the answer appears simple, but the solution is complicated. The answer: many Americans face fear, violence, and hate in a pervasive reality that other Americans do not want to see up close. The solution: is anywhere but Instagram.

Instagram can be an admirably powerful tool for organizing, educating, communicating, and growing awareness. The risk is if we fall short on execution and mindful intent. In the filter bubble of my predominantly white private institution, kind, caring souls post and repost lists and lists, lists of more lists of articles, quotes, pictures, poems, books, and Spotify playlists. While sincere, I can’t help but question the longevity and impact of that mass quantity of content: in short, please only post that list if you really have read those books. If our primary reactions to racial violence come in the shape of cowardly craving for instant gratification, we are in danger of neglecting tangible steps toward social justice. Piecemeal, distant sharing seems to exonerate the digital citizen from having to feel and experience a hidden, ugly truth that only periodically resurfaces in unspeakable tragedy.

I appreciate that hearts are in the right place and intentions are pure, but that does not certify white allies to speak over leaders of color on social platforms. I urge my digital comrades to think before you link. Let’s habitually ask ourselves, is my black box really me listening? How have I listened better as a result? The inescapable noise of largely unqualified white voices on social media may undermine the very goal of this social movement to empower voices of color. Social media is a hard place to listen and not speak, so we should consider migrating to face-to-face (or phone-to-phone) direct, intimate conversations on race. We need to look beyond the surface of Instagram to reflect on how we can each best use our voice and platform for enduring justice. In our hasty self-branding, we may have forgotten the pandemic disproportionately afflicting communities of color. Amongst a thousand actionable ideas, maybe become a contact tracer, register to vote, call your local elected officials, write your state representatives, have an uncomfortable conversation, take the implicit bias test, or think about how you can orient your studies or career towards a more equitable world. We owe communities of color a more permanent commitment in our own lives; we owe this world a more careful reflection on how we engage with it.

It is human nature that we are tempted to insert ourselves into the narrative unfolding around us, to make sense of it by tying up the questions and emotions in a neat bow, then to flash it to our followers to signal some degree of ethical enlightenment, respect, and intelligence. A signature and a donation may count toward some marginal illusion of change, but this comes at the risk of complacency. Once we click, repost, sign, like, comment, I fear we close our phones and move on. When “Blackout Tuesday” content is no longer trending, we feel like we have done our part already. We pick back up with whatever concerned us before, because many white observers’ very public shock distinguished this week from normal life. Collapsing the history of American racial violence into our regular reflexive regurgitation of Instagram electrons impedes us from integrating this pain and suffering into normal life. Instead, let’s try to find the part we can play in something so much bigger than ourselves.

Carly Glickenhaus is a 2020 Georgetown University graduate, student-athlete, and tour guide, with hopes for a generation of human reflection and conversation on race and justice that take us beyond our screens.

marcgreenwaldThis letter was submitted by Marc Greenwald
To the Editor - I understand that Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez is now running for Scarsdale Board of Education. I write to make sure the community is aware that in 2017 Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriguez spearheaded a group that sued the Village because of her view about the fairness of the 2016 Village-wide property tax revaluation. Because she represented to the court that she spoke for “all Scarsdale taxpayers,” another group of residents who thought the lawsuit was misguided sought to intervene and support the Village in having the lawsuit dismissed. My law firm represented those residents pro bono. The court did allow these Scarsdale residents to intervene, and then dismissed Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriguez’s lawsuit for lack of merit. All the pleadings in the lawsuit and the court’s dismissal are publicly available under the Index No. 50542/2017, and I urge Scarsdale voters to review these papers when considering Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriguez’s candidacy.

Four points about the suit: 

First, the suit was filled with baseless insinuation of corruption designed to inflame and sow discord.

Second, the Village spent large sums on legal counsel to defend this meritless suit. And those expenditures continue because Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriguez has appealed the dismissal.

Third if Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriguez actually obtains the relief she seeks in the lawsuit, that result could bankrupt both the Village and the Scarsdale School District because of the refunds she and her group are seeking back to 2016.

Fourth
, home sales since the 2016 reval have shown that it was, in the end, more accurate than the prior reval. But Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriguez continues her claims that the 2016 reval was unfair.


Ms. Kirkendall-Rodriquez chose to sue our Village, but there were less harmful options to effect change. Any individual taxpayer should grieve an unfair assessment. The Village has since hired a new Village assessor and I hope we can move forward, focusing on process improvements to ensure fair tax valuation for all, a community goal.

During these already tumultuous times, the community would be wise to consider candidates for school board prepared to serve with positive, inclusive approaches. This year’s SBNC process generated two great candidates for the open seats: Amber Yusuf and Bob Klein. Nominated for their temperament, integrity, and experience, Ms. Yusuf and Mr. Klein will continue the tradition of excellent leadership of the Board of Education.

My wife Diane and I support Scarsdale’s non-partisan system because we see first-hand how it promotes good government and dynamic participation. I served 3 years on the CNC and then chaired this year’s committee as a non-voting administrator. Diane this year served her third and final year on SBNC as a voting member. It is a deliberative and respectful process that nominates candidates absent individual agenda – it works.

In addition, the current school board has proposed a sober and responsible budget for these unprecedented times. I urge the community to reject divisiveness and an “only I can fix things” approach. Vote “Yes” on the budget and for Amber Yusuf and Bob Klein for school board on June 9.

Marc Greenwald
Oak Lane

K9 Unit(Updated May 28) Police launched an extensive search of Scarsdale on Wednesday afternoon May 27 around 3:30. Residents reported many police cars patrolling Murray Hill Road and Mamaroneck Road. According to a press release from the Village, there was an active investigation going on involving a stolen vehicle.  Helicoptors were overhead and police dogs were actively searching.

Here is an eyewitness report of the incident from an observer on Murray Hill Road.

A man driving a stolen car pulled into the driveway of a home on Murray Hill Road and exited the car. At the time, a dog was missing in the area and a resident was searching for his lost dog. Thinking that the man in the car had something to do with the missing dog, a young boy exited the house on Murray Hill Road and spoke to the suspect, who was described as having dreadlocks.

As the two were talking police drove up and the suspect fled on foot behind the house, running toward Birchall Drive and the Scarsdale Middle School.

At that point, police converged on Murray Hill Road, an aviation unit was summoned and a canine unit was called to search for the man. Residents reported helicoptors swarming overhead.

At 5:58 pm, Scarsdale Police Chief Andrew Matturo confirmed that the suspect was caught on Morris Lane and turned over to County Police. Matturro does not know where the car was stolen from but assured the community that he was the only suspect and there was no danger.

An earlier press release from the Scarsdale Police said, "Both Scarsdale and Westchester County Police are on-scene, including a canine unit and helicopter support, aiding in location of the suspect, now on-foot. Area residents are requested to immediately report any suspicious person or activity by dialing 911, or 914-722-1200 if calling by cell phone.

letter to the editorTo the Editor: The 2020 School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC) proudly presents Amber Yusuf and Robert Klein for election to the Scarsdale Board of Education.

Amber Yusuf
Amber is an 11-year resident of Scarsdale with a dynamic volunteer resume demonstrating successful leadership and civic trust. Amber is currently, a member of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, a volunteer consultant at TAP (The Accelerated Project,) co-chair of PTA-sponsored STEAM Day, and a previous member of the Citizens Nominating Committee. Amber was a a board member on The League of Women Voters, PTCouncil President, Heathcote PTA President, chair of After School Club and many more roles.

An engineer, an MBA and a working parent, Amber is able to sift through loads of information and extract the important and fine details. She makes the most complex issues digestible to everyone making her a unique and ideal candidate for our school board. Amber and her husband have 2 children who attend Scarsdale Middle School.AmberAmber Yusuf

Robert Klein
A retired architect, Bob has been a resident of Scarsdale for 36 years. He and his wife raised two children who graduated from Scarsdale High School and are now raising families of their own. In his career, Bob focused on the “pre-planning” end of the business, helping clients articulate and frame their strategic vision. Trained as a careful listener and armed with knowledge about the built environment, Bob is sure to be a unique asset to the district.

Committed to service, Bob currently serves as a board member of the Neighbors for Refugees and Clay Arts Center. An ‘empty nester’ and a lifelong learner, Bob remains devoted to student success and will serve the community with his valuable perspective.

BobKleintjpgBob KleinNon Partisan Process
The SBNC is a dynamic committee of 30 citizens -- each serving one 3-year term, in staggered classes -- for the purpose of nominating candidates to fill vacancies on the Scarsdale Board of Education. Eligible residents are welcomed to present themselves to the SBNC in a confidential evaluation forum, answering several predetermined questions about their candidacy. All candidates are then carefully vetted in respectful and thorough deliberations and are nominated for their community experience, character, integrity, and commitment to educational values.

SBNC’s non-partisan system:
-Promotes town harmony by avoiding divisive and costly campaigns;
-Encourages potentially excellent board members to run, who might otherwise not subject themselves to a political campaigns;
-Ensures that board members’ approach issues impartially because they have not committed themselves on issues during an election campaign;
-Ascribes to the philosophy that better school board governance results in a better education for our children.

For the last 96 years, the non-partisan system has served the Scarsdale community and will continue to do so for many more to come.

Amber Yusuf and Robert Klein are highly qualified candidates bringing different backgrounds and experiences to serve the community but share a deep commitment to maintaining the excellence of the Scarsdale schools with integrity.

Look for your ballots in the mail shortly – and mail back by June 9.

Amy Lewis
2020 SBNC Chair

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