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votinglineVoters lined up at the Westchester County Board of Elections on Quarropas Street in White Plains on Monday morning October 26.Early voting began Saturday October 24 and business has been brisk at the polls. On Tuesday October 27, the Westchester County Board of Elections announced that they have extended voting hours, See below for hours.

Over the weekend, local voters turned out to vote in droves, waiting in line in Eastchester, Greenburgh and at the Westchester County Board of Elections in White Plains. The people we spoke to were eager to cast their votes early as they were unsure how long the wait would be on election day. Though some reported waiting more than two hours outside in the rain, by Monday afternoon the crowds had abated and we heard that the wait was just thirty minutes.

Early voting continues on the following schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 from noon until 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 from noon until 9 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct..31, 2020 from noon until 6 p.m.
(except Mt. Kisco Mem Complex 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 from noon until 6 p.m.

Here are Westchester voting locations – registered voters can vote anywhere in the county:

Eastchester Public Library, 11 Oakridge Place, Eastchester, NY 10709
Dobbs Ferry Village Hall, 112 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, White Plains, NY 10607
Veterans Memorial Building, 210 Halstead Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528
Pound Ridge Town House, 179 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Mamaroneck Town Center, 740 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Mt. Kisco Memorial Complex at Leonard Park, 1 Wallace Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
Mt. Pleasant Community Center, 125 Lozza Drive, Valhalla, NY 10595
Mt. Vernon City Hall, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550
New Rochelle City Hall Annex – 90 Beaufort Place, 90 Beaufort Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, 95 Broadway, Ossining, NY 10562
Peekskill Nutrition Center – Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Avenue, Peekskill, NY 10566
Somers Town House, 335 Route 202, Somers, NY 10589
Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601SamwickandStevensVotingFormer Scarsdale Mayor Carolyn Stevens and Current Mayor Marc Samwick waiting to vote.
Grinton I. Will Library, 1500 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710
Riverfront Library, One Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY 10701
Yorktown Cultural Center, 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

 

TraisterVotingDr. Michael Traister waits his turn to cast his vote.

votesmallNovember 3 is around the corner but there's still time to vote by absentee ballot. You also have the option of voting early in person or on election day. If you do plan to vote in person on election day, note at the bottom of this article that some of the Scarsdale voting locations have changed.

Below find detailed information on the three ways to vote in the General Election from the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale.

1) You have the option to vote by Absentee Ballot. Voters may choose "temporary illness" for fear of contracting Covid-19 as the reason for applying for an absentee ballot.

For information on voting by Absentee Ballot, please go to: https://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/voting/absentee-ballots

Once you have completed your ballot, you may submit it via mail (include first class postage); you may also submit it in person at the Board of Elections (25 Quarropas Street, White Plains); or you could drop off your ballot in a secure, contactless drop box/drop bag at any Early Voting polling site or Election Day polling site (during voting hours): https://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/images/stories/pdfs/2020absenteedrop.pdf

The Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, is currently open for longer hours to allow voters to request, pick up and drop off absentee ballots. Here are the extended hours for the Board of Elections:
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, until 8 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, until 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct.24, 2020, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, until 8 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, until 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, 9 a.m to 2 p.m.

The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail, email, fax or through the online portal is October 27. The last day to request an absentee ballot in person at the Board of Elections is November 2.

2) You may vote in person during the Early Voting period. Early Voting begins this Saturday, October 24 and runs through Sunday, November 1. Voters may vote at ANY Early Voting polling location in Westchester. Below, please find the voting hours and poll locations closest to Scarsdale:

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct.. 25, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct.. 26, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct.. 27, 2020 from noon until 8p.m.
Wednesday, Oct.. 28, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct.. 29, 2020 from noon until 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct.. 30, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct.. 31, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.

Eastchester Public Library, 11 Oakridge Place, Eastchester, NY 10709
Mamaroneck Town Center, 740 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY 10543
New Rochelle City Hall Annex – 90 Beaufort Place, 90 Beaufort Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601

For a full list of Early Voting locations, please go to: https://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/voting/early-voting-2020

3) You may vote in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, at your assigned polling location. To find your Election Day polling location, please visit this webpage: https://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/find-polling-place

Please note that your polling location may be different than past years. If you are voting on Election Day, it is very important to check your assigned polling place.

Here is a full list of Scarsdale's Election Day polling locations:

District #1 - Greenacres School - Multi-purpose Room, Sage Terrace Entrance
District #2 - Greenacres School - Multi-purpose Room, Sage Terrace Entrance
District #3 - Fox Meadow School – Gym, Chesterfield Road Entrance
District #4 - Fox Meadow School – Gym, Chesterfield Road Entrance
District #5 - Fox Meadow School – Gym, Chesterfield Road Entrance
District #6 - Scarsdale High School – Café, Entrance on Brewster Road
District #7 - Scarsdale High School – Café, Entrance on Brewster Road
District #8 - Edgewood School - Gym – Parking Lot Entrance
District #9 - Edgewood School - Gym – Parking Lot Entrance
District #10 - Edgewood School - Gym – Parking Lot Entrance
District #11 - Fox Meadow School – Gym, Chesterfield Road Entrance
District #12 - Fox Meadow School – Gym, Chesterfield Road Entrance
District #13 - Heathcote School – Gym, Palmer Avenue Entrance
District #14 - Heathcote School – Gym, Palmer Avenue Entrance
District #15 – Quaker Ridge School, Multi-Purpose Room, 125 Weaver Street
District #16 - Quaker Ridge School, Multi-Purpose Room, 125 Weaver StreetDistrict #17 - Heathcote School – Gym, Palmer Avenue Entrance
District #18 - Heathcote School – Gym, Palmer Avenue Entrance
District #19 – Greenacres School – Multipurpose Room, Sage Terrace Entrance

To find information specific to your ballot, VOTE 411 is an essential resource: https://www.vote411.org.

For voting questions, you may contact the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale, Voter Service at LWVSvoterservice@gmail.com.

tennisWith a registration Deadline of Wednesday, September 30th, we urge all youth and parents to sign up for the Scarsdale OPEN Youth Tennis Tournaments for boys and girls , ages 6 to 18 for all skill levels - beginner, novice, intermediate and  advanced to be held at the Middle School Tennis Courts during the next week at convenient times for players after school and on the weekends . The Village has sold over 593 Junior Tennis Permits up over 50 % this year. We urge all youth to sign up and participate.

All players will get participation trophies and winners will get championship trophies in each skill level. Social distancing will be practiced and masks will be required to  enter the courts. Players must have a valid Scarsdale Junior Tennis Permit . Every player will get to play at least two matches. The tournament fee is $ 50 per player payable to the Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League .

Contact Bob Harrison , volunteer tournament director, to sign up for the tournament draws and any additional information at proscars@aol.com or 914 725-0962 or 914 646-4054 (cell) by text .

11DolmaRoadAn unexpected report from the architect’s granddaughter may have been instrumental in saving a 1928 Scarsdale manse from the wrecking ball. During a hearing to consider an application to raze a French Normandy style farmhouse at 11 Dolma Road on September 29, Ann Gregory Cefola joined the ZOOM hearing to offer information on her grandfather architect Julius Gregory’s resume, his accomplishments and impact on the development of homes in New York, the Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut. She said, “My family came to Scarsdale in 1927. My father grew up here, I grew up here and I have a sense of this town and its character.” Cefola was so incensed when she learned that the home at 11 Dolma Road might be demolished that she drafted a 47-page history of his work, with citations of his myriad publications and corrections to many of the claims in the applicant’s documents.

Her testimony as well as a letter from architectural historian Andrew Dolkhart provided persuasive evidence that 11 Dolma Road met two of the Village’s criteria for preservation, proving that Gregory was “a master” and that the home “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction that possess high artistic value.”

After two hearings, the Committee for Historic Preservation voted 5-2 to deny the application to take it down. They considered the background of Julius Gregory, the architect of the home as well as the design of the home and its contribution to neighborhood character in Scarsdale.

At a hearing held just before the first Presidential debate on September 29, 2020, the committee heard appeals from attorney Lawrence Graham of Cuddy and Feder and architectural historian Emily Cooperman as to why architect Julius Gregory was not a master along with evidence that renovations made to the 1928 home were not “sympathetic” to the original design.

The Committee first heard the case in June but held it over to give committee members the opportunity to study the documents and walk the property. The case was brought on behalf of homeowner Sarah Binetter, who with her husband Steven, wished to demolish the home. They are not currently living there and the property has been neglected since the sale, leaving the house overrun with vegetation.

The Village of Scarsdale sought an opinion on the home from Andrew Dolkhart the author of the 2012 Reconnaissance Level Cultural Resource Survey of homes and landmarks in the Village. In that report Dolkhart said, “The talented architect Julius Gregory, whose work can be seen in other areas of Scarsdale (including his own house), designed a huge French farmhouse at No. 11, one of the finest houses of the type in Scarsdale (Figure 7-10-11). The L-shaped brick house has a polygonal corner tower and an entrance set beneath a shed hood, a sophisticated rendition of vernacular rural French design.”

The report says Gregory was a “specialist in suburban homes, and among the most talented architects in the United States, designing this type of house for the upper middle class.”

Describing 11 Dolma the report says, “In their picturesque massing, with steep roof slopes, gables, and dormers, and in their use of such features and slate roofs, casement windows, and tall chimneys, English Cottages resemble their Tudor Revival cousins; some even have small amounts of half timbering. But these buildings tend to have less decorated facades, relying for effect largely on the use of wide expanses of stucco. Architect Julius Gregory, a resident of Scarsdale and major proponent of the English Cottage style, noted in the magazine Architectural Forum that these houses constitute “one of the most interesting and picturesque forms of our domestic architecture. When carried out in the spirit of the old work and placed amid a proper setting, no other type of architecture can equal it in its quality of charm and what we may call ‘livableness.’

The applicants questioned whether or not Gregory was indeed a master, and contended that if he was a master he was a master of the small house, not the large home found on Dolma Road. They showed his work in Fieldston in Riverdale and Shore Acres in Mamaroneck, saying Gregory was best known for his design of smaller suburban dwellings.

About the house as it now stands, they claimed that extensive renovations in the 30,’s, 40’s and early 2000’s by different architects had altered the homes facades, adding and removing dormers, changing a shed roof to a gabled roof and the appearance of the rear of the homes.

Commenting on the design of the house, Cooperman, who was retained by Cuddy and Feder said, “There is a flatness and awkwardness to 11 Dolma – the service wing with gabled end… walled dormers, almost as if they decided to reflect the corner. It doesn’t have the interest, flair and high aesthetics.”

Committee member Lauren Bender defended the alterations made to the home, calling them “sensitive and sympathetic accommodations to the original structure.” Referring to changes made to the servants’ quarters, she said, “We live differently now.’ Calling on her background in art history she said, “When we consider the provenance of a painting we look for where it was exhibited, documented and reproduced.” She pointed out that there was a lengthy record of publications in which Gregory’s homes appeared and said the home was the work of a master and had “high artistic value.”

Cooperman repeatedly referred to the criteria for historic designation for the National Register used by the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Committee. However CHP board member and architect Mark Behr pointed out that , “The criteria for designation is different than the criteria we use for the CHP. It would not meet the criteria for the National Register.”

53 Old Orchard Lane53 Old Orchard LaneAmong the homes Gregory designed in Scarsdale were his own house at 3 Church Lane, the Bannerman house on Elmdorf. the Stritzinger House, “a remarkable English Cottage” on Brewster Road; and four “exceptionally fine” English Tudors on Heathcote Road that display “the originality and variety that [Gregory] brought to Tudor design.” In January 2017, the Committee voted to save a home at 53 Old Orchard Lane, also designed by Gregory. Details on the exterior include herringbone brickwork and ornamentation and a steeply-pitched slate roof. The Committee for Historic Preservation found the home to be an excellent example of a stone and stucco Tudor style home.

Defending her grandfather’s legacy, Ann Gregory Cefola said, “Dr. Cooperman limits my grandfather’s work to small houses but he did a wide range of work for the cultural tastemakers of the time including the publisher Alfred Knopf, and Ruth and Harry Bakwin for whom he designed a 10,000 square foot house in Ossining where they welcomed distinguished guests like Alexander Calder and Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Beyond residences he was one of the original designers of Scarsdale Village. Cefola’s report says, “In 1926, Gregory put his stamp on the village center by designing its southeast corner— one of four dramatic entryways into the downtown area. The challenge: to create a corner building for the Scarsdale Supply Company with upper-floor offices and storage. The design had to integrate “architectural character” that would be “a distinct credit to the community.”

Cefola called Gregory’s work “majestic” and said the preservation criteria were being manipulated by the Binetter’s attorneys.35PophamRoad

Also during public comments Scarsdale realtor Angela Retelny made a passionate plea to save the home. She called Dolma Road “exquisite, elegant and breathtaking,” noting it’s “character, elegance and unique homes.” She said, “It’s what makes Scarsdale beautiful. It is in great condition. I am familiar with Gregory’s work. I do believe he is a master, an admired architect. As a realtor and resident I believe this home needs to be preserved.”

Committee Chair Adam Lindenbaum noted that an aerial view of the home was shown in a NY Times article on living in Scarsdale.

Committee member and architect Mark Behr said, “The style, construction and materials are the embodiment of a Norman style farmhouse. “It was designed by a master – a master in Scarsdale.”

About the claim that Gregory was only a master of small homes, Behr said, “We don’t need to specify architects as masters of one style.” Lindenbaum agreed, saying, “He had a broad pallet and that may make him masterful.” Jonathan Lerner said, “Picasso is a master and he had many styles. Was he only the master of his blue period?”

2ElmdorfAfter some discussion it appeared that several board members agreed that the homes met two of the criteria for preservation:

-That the building is the work of a master; or

-That the building embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction that possess high artistic value;

The Chair put the application to demolish the home to a vote and it was denied by a vote of 5-2.

Commenting on the decision, Chair Lindenbaum said, “11 Dolma was a well-prepared and thorough application, and all points of view were heard over approximately five hours that spanned two hearing dates. In the end, I personally agreed with the opinions of Professor Dolkart that the home is historically important within the meaning of the Village Code.”

Ann Gregory Cefola, cheered the decision saying, "It's incredibly rewarding to see the Committee on Historic Preservation, in a majority decision, affirm my grandfather's role as a master architect in creating what we know as modern Scarsdale--from setting the distinctive Tudor style of our village center to generating a diversity of gorgeous homes that form much of our town's character."

schoolbusHow’s the reopening going at the Scarsdale Schools? According to some parents, it’s been a frustrating experience. After prolonged negotiations between the district, the teachers and parents this summer, it appeared that a balance had been struck between the parent’s wish for some in-person learning and teachers’ desire to limit exposure to students and the virus. In order to mitigate risk, it was agreed that high school students would attend school two mornings per week, middle school students two days per week and elementary school students for two hour sessions, either mornings or afternoons, four days a week with alternating Wednesdays. For high school and middle school students, Wednesdays were set aside for professional development, tutorials and special help.

Though the agreement seemed reasonable to many, once implemented, the plan’s shortcomings are irking many parents and students.

First we have heard from many that in-person teaching is limited. Even when the high school students are in school for their two mornings, their schedules are peppered with free periods and study halls. Parents are wondering why students can’t have a full morning of academics for the limited time they are in class. Who needs to go to school to have a free period?

Another bone of contention is the decision to have no synchronous learning on Wednesdays, which leave students unaccountable on Tuesday nights and Wednesdays. Though there should be asynchronous learning going on, some parents have suggested that their kids can complete their assignments too quickly. They have dubbed Wednesdays, “Netflix Wednesdays” and are asking if Wednesday is the new Sunday. Other parents are asking why teachers are working fewer hours than they would work if students were in school, either in school or virtually.

Compounding the problem is that students are reporting frequent “no-shows” from their high school teachers. Without any prior announcement the teacher failed to appear.

Both parents and students are concerned that at this pace they will not learn the entire curriculum and be ill prepared for regents, SAT’s, ACT’s and advanced placement tests. Some teachers have set the bar low, telling the students that they plan to cover only 54% of the usual material this year. As one mom said, “When I asked for time in school for my son rather than a full virtual program, I was not told that it would mean a tradeoff of 50% of the curriculum. Had I known, we may have opted for a fully virtual program.”

At a recent Board of Education meeting, multiple parents asked why the district could not livestream classes, so that students in one cohort could attend class virtually while the other cohort was in school. This would bar the need for teachers to repeat the same material twice and allow them to cover more ground. Dr. Hagerman responded to the request for livestreaming, saying that “conversations about live streaming are ongoing but that the district is mindful of the student’s amount of screen time.”

Parents of middle school students are finding it hard to have their children unsupervised three days a week. They say that’s a long time for an eleven year-old to engage in asynchronous work and activities. Some are turning to structured programs at the Y or other private schools to keep kids occupied and learning during these long weekdays.

Another mother wondered if the real reason the district wasn’t addressing these issues is that they expected a case or two of COVID to break out soon and force the entire district into a virtual program.

Meanwhile parents and students are betwixt and between, trying to find their stride in this new learning environment.

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