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edgewood teachers 1Teachers and Administrators Lined the Streets of the Edgewood NeighborhoodAnother amazing and memorable car parade took place in honor of the Edgewood elementary school class of 2020 on June 19, 2020. On a sunny and warm morning, the cheers of students and their families could be heard throughout the Edgewood neighborhood. Cars honked and students waved as they drove around in cars decked out in blue and white balloons, paint, and other eye-catching decorations. The entire Edgewood community came together for the event in order to give the fifth graders the recognition they deserve. Many neighbors watched the parade, held signs, and dressed in the school’s colors. There was even a dog dressed in an Edgewood shirt!

edgewood carsFifth Grade Families Covered their Cars in Fun-Filled DecorationsThe celebration began at Edgewood school on the corner of Edgewood Road and Nelson Road. The cars looped twice around the school, then continued the motorcade throughout the neighborhood. Teachers and administrators lined the streets in a socially distant manner, making sure to capture this opportunity to honor their students' hard work and accomplishments. As cars drove by, they waved pompoms, enthusiastically cheered, and danced to upbeat music. In true Edgewood spirit, they were dressed head to toe in blue and white.

edgewood balloonsBalloons on John Coulter Memorial FieldDespite being unable to attend a traditional moving-up ceremony, the Edgewood students were overjoyed by the parade, greeting the sidewalk cheers with smiles and waves. Principal Tashia Brown made sure that each student was still individually congratulated by announcing the names of the fifth grade students as they passed. Many students even said the socially distant parade was much more fun than the typical moving-up ceremony.

Following the student parade, the teachers did their own parade up and down the Edgewood streets. Students and their families stood outside on their front lawns to cheer the teachers on and thank them for a great year. Congratulations to the graduates Edgewood Elementary School and best of luck at Scarsdale Middle School.

Click here to see a video recap of the celebration.

Black Lives Matter sign copyThis Black Lives Matter sign is posted on the writer's front lawn.Dear Scarsdale Community: My name is Erica Schneider, a graduate from the class of ‘05. My wife and I have been staying with my parents since the start of COVID-19 and will be here until it’s safe to travel again.

This is an open letter to the person who sent us an anonymous letter in the mail regarding our Black Lives Matter sign on our front yard.

The letter said:

“Dear Neighbor,

Google David J Harris Jr. from June 8 at 7:45am. This African-American man makes a good point.

Your fellow neighbor.”

Here are my feelings on your message.

1. The video you direct me to is about how there are several Black people buying guns to protect themselves from protestors. The man states that Black Lives Matter is largely made up of ANTIFA members, that the movement is anti-government, anti-community safety and anti-America.

You assume that defunding the police means no more police officers. That is not the case. Defunding the police means reallocating funds to build up more social programs. In my opinion, we don’t need an armed officer responding to somebody who is sleeping in their car at a Wendy’s drive-through. The movement is calling for an open-minded approach to restructuring a broken system.

2. The video makes sweeping generalizations about a massive international movement. Black Lives Matter, at its core, is about achieving racial equity. Whether that is through defunding the police, restructuring how we fund educational institutions, building more affordable housing in towns like Scarsdale, or a myriad of other efforts.Anonymous Letter copyThe anonymous letter received in her mailbox.

I believe the system is broken, racism is ripe (whether conscious or subconscious) and we as a country have never gotten it right. I am hopeful this movement will continue to inspire monumental and sweeping change. I decry your suggestion that the movement is not justified.

3. You, the anonymous letter sender, make sure to point out that the man in the video is a Black person. May I note that simply because one (or several) Black people say that they don’t believe systemic racism exists, I prefer to listen to the millions of Black people pleading for help. I also listen to my friends and their personal experiences. Your one Black person’s opinion is not going to change that.

4. You assume I am open to listening to a conspiracy theorist. Regardless of party alignment, I prefer to get my information from news sources.

5. The person in the video is angry. His rhetoric is defensive and aggressive. His posts are divisive, promote fear and revel at the misfortune of others. It’s quite sad to skim his page, actually. This is the exact opposite of what our country needs right now. We need to come together and listen to those who are begging for help, not dismiss their cries as irritating misgivings.

We wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement, hence the sign. I am a privileged white person who grew up in one of the wealthiest towns in this country. I disproportionately benefitted from this upbringing. Systemic racism is real; just look around.

We will not be taking the sign down. In fact, in telling this story to our nearby friends, we’ve inspired them to put up signs too.

This movement is a wakeup call for everybody who lives in communities like ours. The wealth and power here must be used to drive actual change. It is my hope that the leaders and residents in this community use their privilege to help further, not dismiss, this movement.

To the greater Scarsdale community, I hope this inspires you to put up your own Black Lives Matter sign. It is not enough to assume that your neighbors believe that a) racism exists and b) Black Lives Matter. Racists live among us and feel emboldened to send anonymous letters urging us to back down. We must do the opposite.

Please join me in publicly displaying a Black Lives Matter sign.

I know that the majority of people that live here are good, hard-working people with big hearts. Ask yourself: does the outside world know this? Do the Black people that live in this community truly know that their neighbors support the movement? Do the people that drive through our community who don’t live here know how we feel?

It would bring me great joy to drive through our community and see Black Lives Matter signs on more lawns. We spoke to the police regarding your letter and they understand that the sign is not an attack against the police and are in no way adverse to us displaying it.

Let’s send a unified message that we stand with the Black community and we stand with Black Lives Matter.

Thank you,

Erica Schneider

outdoordiningAfter months in quarantine, Scarsdale is coming back to life. Tuesday June 9 marked the Phase 2 re-opening of Village businesses, including hair salons and outdoor dining.

In order to make more space available to eat and do business outside, the Village held a public hearing and then passed a resolution for a temporary zoning change to allow street level businesses to use the sidewalks in front of their stores to sell food and serve it. Specifically the resolution revises code “allowing for owners and lessees in the Village Center or other owners or lessees of rental or food establishment properties in other areas of the Village, to store, display and or sell goods, wares and merchandise on or directly above Village-owned rights of way.”

The Village is working with local business owners to do even more to improve commerce in Scarsdale. See below for an announcement from Deputy Mayor Jane Veron detailing plans for a tented food area in the Village to increase dining space downtown. They are also increasing parking options and extending the length of the Sidewalk Sale.

In other news, after a survey of Village residents about the pool, trustees have decided to open the open the pool for a shortened season from July 18 through September 13. See remarks from Trustee Rochelle Waldman below:

Comments from Jane Veron

Today marks Phase Two of the NY Forward Reopening plan. What that means for Scarsdale is that many of our long shuttered businesses will be opening their doors to welcome you back. The list includes in-store retail, offices, real estate, hair salons and barbershops. The Governor has also made permissible outdoor dining to add to takeout and delivery services.

In record time, our Scarsdale Reopening subcommittee comprised of representatives from the Scarsdale Business Alliance as well as many members of our Village staff came together. I can’t overstate how quickly village staff rose to this challenge. They embraced our request to think out of the box and have been incredibly responsive with lightning speed turnaround. In just two weeks, we had multiple zoom meetings and site visits. Leading the charge is Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards, Village Engineer David Goessl, our new Village Planner Greg Cutler with help from DPW head Frank Diodati and Dan Pozin our counsel. Village Manager StevePappalardo and Mayor Samwick, thank you for your leadership.

We are excited to announce many upcoming changes that our community will see over the next few weeks throughout our retail hubs. Just a note: each Scarsdale retail hub (that is the Village Center, Garth Road, Scarsdale Avenue, Heathcote Five Corners, Colonial and the Golden Horseshoe) has different needs and ownership. We made sure to reach out to merchant representatives and property owners from every area to understand their desires and put together recommendations. Here are the first of many actions we hope to take:

1.If we expedite the vote on pending legislation after the public hearing tonight, and the vote carries, merchants will be able to make use of their sidewalks to showcase their wares and afford social distancing. This legislation covers Village owned sidewalks.

2. We plan to set up a tented food area in the Village Center for both table service and self serve. The SBA has rallied the membership and will be sponsoring the effort with financial contributions from landlords led by Scarsdale Improvement. The Village will then close Spencer Place from Harwood to East Parkway allowing Parkway Diner and Yeomiji to expand capacity to serve their patrons and also to provide space for takeout from Martines, Bango Bowls, Popojito, Haagen Dazs and others. We’re working with Sapori to expand their outdoor footprint with a closer adjacency. And are also hoping to add seating to Boniface Circle. Traffic will be routed around Harwood Circle and out through Chase Road. Discussions with Garth Road eateries are still ongoing.

3. We are hoping to provide outdoor liquor service and are working out the details.

4. We are issuing free Freightway permits for the merchant community so that spaces in the Village Center can be used by consumers.

5. We will be exploring making available Christie Place parking typically used for commuters given the excess capacity. We are also hoping to extend the parking time to 3 hours as this change has been a strong desire of our community.

6. This year we are hoping to have the Village Center sidewalk sale run for 7 days from July 27-August 2.<x-apple-data-detectors://17> There is a tremendous amount of inventory that merchants want to offer to their patrons. We have envisioned a sidewalk sale that is pedestrian friendly, with the closure of the heart of the Village Center. We want to afford ample space for social distancing. We are hoping to coordinate with other retail hubs. More to follow.

7. We are exploring opportunities for gyms and yoga studies to provide sessions outside at our parks or parking lots. Our next step is to coordinate with the recreation department and legal counsel.

Scarsdale residents, we are doing everything we can to bring back our businesses and bring back our community. Please be patient with us. There are no playbooks for us. We are making decisions real time and are relying on our community to be of generous mind and spirit as we will likely stumble along the way. We also ask our residents to respect the Governor’s orders and to ensure safety and comfort for your neighbors. Wear your masks, keep a distance and wash your hands. Our end goal is provide vital retail hubs while adhering to the new requirements..

I know I will have more to report each time we meet. A special thanks to Trustee Arest who has been my partner in the reopening efforts as well as to Marcy Berman-Goldstein, co-president of the SBA, who has been working her magic to turn ideas into reality.

The Scarsdale Pool: Comments from Rochelle Waldmanscarsdalepool

Earlier this evening the Village Board met in in a work session to discuss the opening of the Scarsdale Pool and the results of the survey that went out to the community.

I would like to thank Brian Gray and the PRC for distributing the survey, analyzing the data and your thoughtful presentation to us tonight.

The Village and the Board of Trustees has maintained a desire to open the Pool complex while we await guidance from NYS. The County is opening its pools and has provided its operating guidelines for us to use as a benchmark.

The Recreation department recently sent a survey to the community and we thank the 2,284 residents who responded.

Our intent was to gage interest from the community to make a fiscally responsible decision.

Based on the responses and comments, 78% of respondents said they would be willing to buy a permit for the limited season and the majority are willing to accept limitations placed on capacity and programming as directed by NYS.

We are sensitive to residents needs and appreciate all the comments we received (over 800) and are happy to work with the community to provide this valuable community resource during these difficult times.

While we are still waiting for NYS guidance we intend to open the pool from July 18-Sept 13, an 8 week season at a discounted rate.

Public Comments:

Not everyone was pleased with the resolution to permit street level businesses to utilize the sidewalks to sell and serve. Robert Berg of Tisdale Road challenged the Village’s effort to relax sidewalk restrictions to help street facing merchants under constitutional grounds because it did not include other commercial tenants that may be on higher floors.  He mentioned that doctors and lawyers might want to meet with people under tents or at sidewalk tables. He also said that the Village did not give proper notice for a meeting they held on Friday June 5 to discuss the resolution, though he did attend the meeting.

Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez commented on the resolution to allow business on sidewalks at the public hearing. She thanked everyone for their focus on small businesses and said, “I worked with the Downtown Revitalization Committee with Ms. Susan Douglas and her husband and my husband…. I remind you that in that survey, people do want services, so I urge you to be mindful of how to provide assistance to any of the marriage counselors, therapists, everybody else… so I do remind you to think of business as a broader theme, not only providers of restaurants and clothes."

bearTo the Editor: Recently, four black bear sightings were reported in Hastings, Scarsdale, Greenburgh (Boulder Ridge) and in White Plains. The sightings occurred within a period of four days. The New York State DEC will not remove bears from our neighborhoods unless they feel they pose a danger to residents. When I spoke to the NYS DEC they mentioned that we can expect more bear sightings in southern and central Westchester in the future.

Some residents have questions or concerns about black bears. At the Greenburgh Town Board meeting on June 24th at 7 PM, Emily Carrollo, a wildlife biologist at the NYS DEC, will speak and answer questions and explain DEC policies.

If you have questions that you would like asked at the meeting please email them to me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com. If you would like to participate in the meeting (which will be held remotely via zoom), send me an email and we will send you a link to the meeting.

After the meeting is over the town of Greenburgh will prepare a you tube video and share it with residents whenever black bear concerns come up.

Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

The following letter is from Gamaliel Isaac

I have posted a petition asking that the DEC deal with the dangerous wildlife that is invading our streets at http://chng.it/vXVC5CNHfK .

Paul Feiner, superintendent of the town of Greenburgh, asked the department of Enviornmental Conservation to remove the bears. They refused his request. He then sent out a robocall warning people about the situation. After receiving the call I created the petition. Paul said he would help publicize the petition on social media.

Previously I have asked them to do something about the growing population of coyotes and they refused that to. The argument they make is that attacks by these creatures are rare.

Attacks of these creatures are rare because up to now they have been kept away from city streets and Westchester parks. The more hungry bears and coyotes their are the more likely someone's child will become animal food.

Please help by publicizing the refusal of the DEC to act and please post my petition so that concerned people can sign it.

Thank you,
Gamaliel Isaac

MimiRocahScarsdale’s Mimi Rocah is running in the Democratic primary in Westchester County for District Attorney against incumbent Anthony Scarpino. With Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the country, the issue of police brutality and accountability cannot be more relevant.

We asked Rocah for her views on the demonstrations and police misconduct and here is what she said:

“My basic view is that the murder of George Floyd was horrific and all four officers should be charged and held accountable more swiftly than we've seen. I am encouraged by law enforcement speaking out against this brutality and I will be a DA that will help lead change from within of this system that has tolerated police abuse for too long.”

Rocah just released a plan today, "Right Side of Justice Agenda," which calls for meaningful reforms and transparency to address police brutality. Read about it below and see more here.

Here is the press release:

Meaningful change needs to come from within the criminal justice system. I call on all law enforcement partners — police and prosecutors — to start dealing with this problem head-on in an open, honest, and transparent way.”

Mimi Rocah, the 16-year federal prosecutor running for Westchester District Attorney, today released a comprehensive plan to address police misconduct and proactively build stronger relations between the police and the communities they serve.

As the nation grapples with the horrific murder of George Floyd, the latest police killing of an unarmed person of color, Rocah said that real reform is needed to address the systemic problems exposed by the killings.

“As someone who served as a prosecutor for 16 years, I have had the privilege of working with many good officers who truly believe in the work they do to keep our communities safe,” said Rocah. “But every time even one officer commits an act of unjustified violence, it tears at the moral fabric of our society, it makes communities of color feel threatened and unprotected, and it harms law enforcement by ratcheting up distrust and anger toward our criminal justice system. There needs to be meaningful change and the change needs to come from within the criminal justice system. I call on all law enforcement partners — police and prosecutors — to start dealing with this problem head-on in an open, honest, and transparent way. To me, the biggest sign of hope since Mr. Floyd’s killing has been the unprecedented number of police and prosecutors around the country who are together speaking out, taking a knee, or marching peacefully with protesters in unity.”

The delayed arrest of one of the officers who murdered George Floyd, no action taken against the other officers, and a charging document full of unnecessary prejudicial information about the victim, have made an already volatile situation worse, Rocah said. Acknowledging racial disparities within our criminal justice system and creating real systems to hold police accountable are important steps toward a longer mission of rebuilding community trust.

“African Americans make up just 14% of Westchester County, but 59% of those sentenced to prison. Is it any surprise that people of color feel targeted by our criminal justice system instead of protected by it?” said Rocah. “No one can be above the law, especially those entrusted and empowered to enforce the law with lethal force. We must have systems of oversight that work for everyone, from the police to the communities they serve.”

Rocah’s “Right Side of Justice” Agenda," which was developed after multiple conversations with community members, faith leaders, police officers, criminal justice reform advocates, and elected leaders, includes:

Independent investigations of all police-involved fatalities and injuries, and independent prosecutions when laws have been broken.

Zero tolerance for police brutality of any kind, with perpetrators being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Working with local police departments to develop comprehensive policies on the use of force that include training, investigations, prosecutions, data collection, and information sharing.

Support a county-wide independent oversight structure to identify and track officers with a history of misconduct allegations, to be applied across all local police agencies so that officers credibly accused of misconduct are not re-hired by another department.

Require all police officers to wear body cameras and promptly release body camera footage to the degree possible.

Work with police to include better training on de-escalation and alternatives to arrest when appropriate.

Partner with police departments to reinstate and prioritize community policing programs that involve partnerships with and working with community-based groups.

Refuse campaign donations from police unions.

Explore alternative first-responder programs in cases where individuals are experiencing mental health crises that can be better addressed by medical professionals.

Full transparency of policies, protocols, and agreements regarding officer-involved incidents available for public review, and public reporting on all investigations, prosecutions, and dispositions of misconduct allegations.

Routine release of list of officers found to have Adverse Credibility determinations.

Mandatory and regular implicit and explicit bias training for all police officers and ADAs.

Implementation of victim-driven restorative justice, which prioritizes the needs of victims and holds offenders accountable.

Establish the county’s first Conviction Integrity Unit that will independently conduct internal audits of evidence and department procedures to reveal mistakes or misconduct that warrant a review of all cases affected.

Partner with police agencies across the County to establish higher training standards for police.

“Police officers are an essential part of our criminal justice system. But we need them to do their job as professionals, to be active partners in de-escalating violence and conflict, and to build trust with the communities they serve. We need law enforcement to be leaders in the solution to the crisis of confidence we currently have,” said Rocah.

The election is this month. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail or in person on June 23, 2020.

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