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Recently, Scarsdale10583 wrote a piece about AFYA. I am pleased that Greenburgh residents responded.

On Friday, January 29th the lobby of the Greenburgh Town Hall was the scene of a unique fundraiser for the victims of the horrible Haiti earthquake. Musicians donated their talents and performed in the lobby of Town Hall from 11 AM to after 6 PM. The effort was organized by Town Clerk, Judith Beville and we raised about $2600 for the victims.

All proceeds will go to AFYA--an organization based in Yonkers (and founded by Danielle Butin of Hastings) that sends medical supplies to Haiti. The Greenburgh police department also donated unneeded supplies to Haiti.

The effort to help the Haitian victims is not over. AFYA needs tents and sleeping bags. Many victims of Haiti are without shelter. AFYA and other organizations are trying to help create temporary villages. If you would like to donate a tent or a sleeping bag you can drop the items off at Town Hall and AFYA will pick them up.

Please e mail me at if you would like to donate these specific items. One community helping another.

Also, AFYA desperately needs pilots to help fly supplies to Haiti. If you are a pilot or know people who fly --ask them if they would like to help.

We can all make a difference.

Paul Feiner

Dear Scarsdale10583 Readers: The Scarsdale Farmer's Market needs your help. As the Manager of the market, I know you love the market because you tell me all the time. But due to dwindling attendance, it has become difficult to keep the vendors coming back every week.

The mission of the Scarsdale Farmer’s Market is to support local, regional and sustainable commercial farms by providing an outlet for direct sales of agricultural products. Please think about the food chain in our country and shop local. Farm-to-table freshness is available to you so why would you want it any other way? Show your support for the Scarsdale Farmer's Market by joining us in the Christie Place Garage every Saturday from 9 am to 1:30 pm.
Carol DeLisa
Market Lady

Dear I am writing  to you, in total frustration.  It has come to my attention that the Scarsdale Varsity Cheerleaders, who have worked tirelessly over the past 5 months both cheering for the football team, and practicing and competing in local, state and regional competitions,with the dream of making it to the National Championships, will not be attending, DESPITE the fact that they came in first in last weeks competition in Pennsylvania l which qualified them to compete in Orlando Florida mid February at the  National Competition in Orlando.

I completely understand that economically times are very difficult and that economically this trip is a challenge for some families whose children are on the squad .  I JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY ARE WE JUST GIVING UP.  The amount of money we need to raise in order to send those few children is nominal and would not take much effort.  In fact if every member  in the Senior Class of 2010 donated $10 instead of eating out or ordering in lunch 1 day of one week in January, the cheerleaders  would have the money they need to attend. Then the Senior Class of 2010  could say that the Cheerleaders went to Nationals and maybe even won the year they graduated. Or, If every chid in the school gave $2.25 they would have enough money to go and represent our community.  There are so many options. All it takes is the desire not to give up and some creativity.  Why can't Maroon and White donate 1/2 the money  and have the girls raise the other half through bake sales or a  $5.00 raffle of donated items like ipods or gift cards donated by people or local stores who have an interest in making sure they can participate. 

I am a graduate of Edgemont HS and was Captain of the Cheerleaders in 1979.  I have two girls in the senior class who are beyond appalled that in this community of abundance that their friends on the squad, who have committed so much of their time are not going to this competition.  I can tell you that in 1979 I wanted nothing more than to have a squad good enough to make it to regionals, let alone Nationals. I did not but we DO.  It is wrong in a community like ours where with a little effort any goal can be reached, that we are just giving up on these girls.

Please let me state that I DO NOT have a child  on the squad but I am a huge supporter of cheerleaders and High School  sports in general.  We should be so proud of these girls, that we turn Scarsdale UPSIDE DOWN to make sure they go.  It saddens me to say but I am quite sure, that if it were the Varsity Boys Basketball, Lacrosse or Football teams that had both this opportunity and this challenge, that somehow the money would be raised. IE..$750,000 for the turf field.

Scarsdale  has had such bad press over the past few years that to give up the opportunity to send our talented Varsity Cheerleaders, who in reality  commit more hours to their sport than the children in any other sport in the HS, as representatives of our wonderful community is a travesty.  There MUST be some way to raise the money.  I respectfully request that we do not give up on these girls and that we commit to  making it happen!


Beth Warren
Scarsdale Resident
Mother of two Seniors Class of 2010

Other Scarsdale residents have expressed their feeling about the “Heathcote Manor” development now being built on Weaver Street, not far South of the Five Corners and the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps building.  I want to join in their dismay, and emphasize some additional issues.

To use President Obama’s phrase in connection with the recent security lapses on the airline flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, what has happened and is happening at the Heathcote Manor project reflects a “systemic failure” of Scarsdale’s oversight of development.

First, as others have noted, “the Wall” is an abomination.  I find it ironic that it was built just about on the twentieth anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, to which it bears some resemblance in appearance.  If a Scarsdale homeowner had proposed building even a miniature version of such an ugly wall, the Planning Board and Board of Architectural Review would have stopped it in its tracks.  Indeed, there have been cases in which wither the Planning Board or BAR have required the tearing down or painting over of four foot high fences that weren’t the right color.  Not only is the Weaver Street Wall incredibly ugly and inconsistent with the character of Scarsdale, it appears to violate the setback requirements for structures bordering State or County roads such as Weaver Street/Route 125.  The Wall also constitutes an “attractive nuisance” because it presents a temptation for children and teens to “test their mettle” by jumping from it or even merely trying to paint graffiti on such an inviting canvas.

Second, how could the Planning Board have approved clear-cutting almost three (3) acres of woods, including some trees well over two feet in diameter?  Again, had a homeowner proposed anything even roughly analogous, the Planning Board would almost surely have denied permission.

Third, our local law seems to allow a developer to apply for site plan approval, allow that approval to lie fallow, and then start to build twenty (20) years later, when conditions have changed significantly, without ever undergoing an updated review.  That is precisely what has happened at Heathcote Manor.  Environmental conditions – primarily traffic congestion – along Weaver Street have indeed changed (for the worse): There are currently under construction a number of residential subdivisions on the New Rochelle side of Weaver Street, which can only increase traffic flow, adding still more volume to the highly congested stretch of Weaver Street north of Quaker Ridge Road, the retail development at the Citgo site at Five Corners is moving through the Planning Board approval process, and there is a proposal to build an apartment house next to the Bistro Citron (formerly Heathcote Tavern), also on Weaver Street, and SVAC has moved its expanded headquarters to Weaver Street, all since the Heathcote Manor subdivision and site plan were approved. 

I submit that the Board of Trustees and its relevant committees or the Planning Board consider amendments to local law to impose an expiration date – say three years – on any permit or site plan approval and to require re-application if an issued permit or approval has not been “activated” by genuine efforts to build the proposed project.  I use “genuine” to avoid a developer obtaining approvals, sitting on them until just before expiration, then starting – and quickly stopping – some merely token activity to keep the permit “alive.”

I suggest that the Village Board and the Village Planning Board become more proactive with respect to regulating significant development projects, and not merely react when the community expresses outrage.  I also suggest that the Village authorities be as “hard nosed” and vigilant in monitoring the activities of professional developers as they are in policing the small additions or modifications of owners of single family homes.

Sincerely yours,
Martin S. Kaufman

Here is a heartbreaking tale from Greenburgh resident Kristina Casone Bracken about the destruction of vegetation along the Sprain Brook Parkway and the devastating effect on the homes above the roadway:  Ten years ago, my husband and I bought a very small house (less than one thousand square feet) on one of the smallest properties in this part of Greenburgh.  The house itself was not what we loved about theproperty.  It was the fact that it sat amidst beautiful woods and, despite the nearby power lines,there was lush greenery in every direction. Directly behind our property is the Catskill Aqueduct.  Our understanding was that aqueducts are protected natural land; they cannot be built upon and their integrity as natural, clean habitat is intended to be maintained.

Because our house was so small and our property so lovely and private, we created a wonderful outdoor area in which to relax and entertain.  With our own bare hands, we put in a pool, a stone patio, a large vegetable garden, and a volleyball area.  We have done significant renovations on the property and have just begun renovations on the house, as we plan to expand our family.

At the end of the fall in 2007, Con Edison suddenly started cutting trees to the ground – tons of them.  The sound of the highway became much louder on our property and was quite noticeable to our friends and neighbors.  It was a disruption to the enjoyment of our outdoor area during the summer. Suddenly, for the first time, we could see the highway and people commented that they could see us on our deck from the Sprain. The enjoyment of our outdoor sanctuary was greatly affected by this reduction in privacy, as well as the visual and auditory impact.  

This change was hard to come to terms with, but we were convinced by Con Edison that this was a one-time aggressive cutting and we could look forward to the beautiful and lush low-lying growth that would now be encouraged, along with its associated wildlife.  This did not happen, as their application of herbicides and further trimming continued.  The highway sounds became harder and harder to deal with.

Last week, and without due notice, Cons Edison clear cut the entire wooded area behind our house and all along the Catskill Aqueduct.  The sounds of the highway now are intolerable – even in the house with all of the windows closed for the cold weather.  It is a struggle to have a conversation anywhere outside our house and loud voices need to be used in order to be heard.  If you’ve ever changed a tire on the side of a highway you know what it sounds like to stand on our property.

The needless devastation to natural habitat is heartbreaking and inexcusable; the view of each and every car driving on the Sprain Brook Parkway is offensive (not to mention the total loss of privacy); and, the property values of our home and those of our neighbors have been reduced.  The most salient issue for us right now is that we cannot find respite from the constant reminder of what was done because of the auditory assault of the sounds from the road cannot be drowned out, even inside the sanctity of our house - and even with a white noise machine running.

Con Edison has refused to provide any of the paperwork that justifies this type of radical “maintenance.”  They outright lied to us and our neighbors when they were repeatedly asked if the intent was to clear-cut the trees.  They have cut down healthy, low growing trees, old and stable trees, and continue to insist that they are cutting only tall, fast growing trees.  The real situation is that they have cut down all trees, regardless of species, all along their right-of-way.  They are continuing to do this type of cutting all along the power lines, with no fair warning to the towns or the neighboring property owners.  

Con Edison has justified their cutting by using high emotional-response phrases such as, "power outage," "safe power transmission,” and, "access to the lines."  The reality is that an unimaginable amount of trees have been cut that have absolutely nothing to do with any of these scare-tactic phrases.  

Con Edison has continuously stated on record (e.g. news programs, newspapers) that falling trees were the cause of the 2003 blackout and other major blackouts.  This is pure deception.  According to the Final Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout in the U.S. and Canada (conducted by U.S./Canada Power System Outage Task Force), tree contact by a transmission line did occur and caused a line to trip on August 14.  However, the contact was between a low-sagging, overloaded transmission line and a tree on a right-of-way that was not maintained.  This tree contact was not the first occurrence of a long sequence of events (which included mismanagement of systems and human error, among other things) that caused the blackout in 2003.  In fact, according to the report, “…system modeling by the investigation team has shown that this outage [caused by tree contact] did not cause the subsequent events in northern Ohio that led to the blackout.”

The report discusses the causes of all of the major blackouts in the U.S. for the past 40 years or so.  In the few cases where trees were involved in major blackouts, sagging, overloaded transmission lines caused contact with trees that were on improperly maintained rights-of-way.  Since we’ve lived alongside of it, the Catskill Aqueduct has been thoroughly maintained, therefore would not pose a problem.

It is important to point out that trees and branches falling onto local distribution lines are a tremendous contributor to the cause of local blackouts.  Distribution lines are the lines along the road that bring electricity right to our homes.  This is a completely different maintenance issue than that of the high voltage transmission lines.

The massacred trees – some of them very old – cannot be brought back; it is too late for them.  But, we are asking for restitution.  We need a sound barrier to be built along the Sprain Brook Parkway to reduce the overwhelming noise, to reduce the air pollution and highway dust in our houses, and to restore the privacy that was lost with the felling of the trees.  Con Edison should absorb the cost of this, since they caused the problems here.  In addition, Con Edison should be required to replant low-growing trees where they have devastated residents’ quality of life and the natural habitat of the wildlife that was here.

Kristina Cascone-Bracken

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