Bring the Family to see Mamma Mia! this Weekend
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 1279
Don’t miss the Scarsdale High School Drama Club’s performance of the hit musical Mamma Mia! on November 18 and 19 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 20 at 2pm. Three performances!
Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical based on songs recorded by Swedish group ABBA. On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding — one which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is! Her mother Donna, the former lead singer of the 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands. Sneaking a peek in her mother’s old diaries, she discovers three possible fathers: Sam, Bill, and Harry. She secretly invites all three to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him. But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought!
Told through the legendary music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! has become a worldwide sensation that has audiences everywhere dancing. Get your tickets here.
Photos by Joe DiMartino
Residents Young and Old Support Pesticide Ban and Speed Limit Reduction
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 1369
Residents young and old voiced their support for two resolutions at Public Hearings at the Village Board meeting which was moved to Monday night November 7 due to Election Day.
Residents spoke out in support of a reduction of the speed limit on Village streets from 30 mph to 25 mph and for codifying a ban on the use of pesticides on Village owned lands, that has been in practice since 2017. The speed limit would be reduced on all streets with the exception of New York State and Westchester County roads that run through Scarsdale including:
The Hutchinson River Parkway
The Bronx River Parkway
Post Road (Route 22)
The Heathcote Bypass
Trustee Jonathan Lewis led the Public and all comments were in favor of the move.
Bob Harrison commented on the speed people drive on Popham Road, calling it a
“superhighway.” He asked the Village to erect a speed sign there and was in favor of lowering the speed limit Village wide.
Anne Hintermeister of 40 Chase Road supported the reduction in the speed limit. She complimented the Village on the proposal for the speed reduction including the memos and studies. She thanked the Board and Village Manager for their persistent engagement with the state to make this happen. She also noted the FHI mobility study registered significant concerns about safety in the Village and said, “We can accomplish the speed reduction at no cost.”
Susan Douglass of 59 Crane Road echoed Anne’s comments. She asked the Village to reduce the speed limit but also to enforce the speed limit. She said the signs without enforcement will have little effect. About the leaf piles in the roads, she said cars are swerving around these piles endangering pedestrians and dogs.
Elaine Weir of 138 Brewster Road supported the reduction in the speed limit and the presence of speed clocks that monitor driver speed. She also spoke in favor of elevated crosswalks painted white to slow traffic.
Devon Green from 57 Carthage Road said he plays in the street around his house and sometimes has to “dive” to avoid getting hit by a car. He asked the Village to reduce the speed limit to allow kids to play in the street.
Madelaine Eppenstein of 18 Autenreith Road said, “As a member of the Scarsdale Forum and the CAC, we have been working on this issue. She said a fatality has occurred on Popham Road and serious accidents on Crane Road. “Nothing is more important than protecting our safety, health and well-being” and thanked the Board for considering this as well as for a ban on toxic pesticides. She said getting across the street safely should be assured. “Scarsdale should continue to lead by example and pass these important initiatives.”
Carol Silverman, of Spier Road and the Advisory Council on Senior Citizens spoke on behalf of seniors who walk more slowly and favor the reduction in the speed limit.
Daniel Seife supported the change. He said, “it can be extremely dangerous to cross the street and I amvery worried about this. Sometimes soccer balls roll into the street and it can be dangerous to retrieve them.”
Dr. Darlene LeFrancois Haber of Nelson Road and the Scarsdale Forum leant her full support to the drop in the speed limit. She said “this is an important and sound initiative that will improve our safety.”
Kelly Sperling of 57 Woods Lane was “thrilled that the Village is considering the drop in the speed limit. It will give drivers more reaction time. The leaves in the streets and the lack of sidewalks makes the streets very dangerous.”
Sophie Fenton spoke in favor of the ban on pesticides for dogs and for small children.
Bram Levin of Overhill Road supported the speed limit reduction and spoke about comprehensive changes including more sidewalks and bike lanes. He asked the Village to discuss the details with the neighborhood association and also asked for enforcement of the speed limit. He said, “the quality of life has decreased in our area.”
David Fenigstein of Brayton Road supported the measure. He said, “People in this town drive way too fast,” and it is very concerning. Parked cars and leaf piles make it very dangerous to walk at night, especially on Greenacres Avenue. As the father of a new driver, I see the effect of speeding on those who are driving at the speed limit. NYS lowered the speed limit 5 mph recently, and accidents were reduced by 22%.
Joaquim Leonel of Brewster Road likes to ride his bike and said speeding cars endanger him.
Trustee Randall Whitestone held a public hearing on the ban on the use of pesticides on Village property by the Village and private contractors. The Village has already been employing this practice for several years. All speakers supported codifying this policy.
Evie Schiff of Lyons Road spoke in favor of banning toxic chemicals which she said, “are not healthy for the earth nor us. Pets and younger children can be hurt by the pesticides.”
Michelle Sterling thanked the board and Village Manager for proposing this important code change and for not using the pesticides and “doing the right thing.” She said, “Thanks for taking this next step in being a leader in this area.”
Jason Kaufman of Lockwood Road supported the change. He said “my family spends a lot of time on the fields and at the pool. Thank you for codifying this change.” He appreciates the pool which he called a “tremendous resource.” He said that “My son and I were the last ones in the pool on closing day. We think it should be brought up to code, but no more.”
Elaine Weir, 138 Brewster Road supports the pesticide ban. She said, “We do not use them on our lawn and I am glad this will stop in the future.”
Adam Rublin from Donellan Road said he feels that Scarsdale’s youth deserves to play on fields that are not dangerous to their health. He added, “The ban will make kids more inclined to go outside and play.”
Anne Hintermeister from 40 Chase Road supported the ban on pesticides and other non-organic products. She said “The use of pesticides is a major environmental health problem. Pesticides are poison they are bad for the environment, all life forms, children and pets. Our playing fields and parks look great. We have had a long time to test this. It should also encourage residents to adopt this practice.” She encouraged the Village to educate residents and landscapers about the dangers of pesticides and to consider a ban on the use of pesticides everywhere in the Village.
Susan Douglass from the Scarsdale Forum echoed Anne’s comments and asked the Trustees to consider a ban on pesticides Village wide.
However, the Village Attorney pointed out that the use of pesticides on private properties is regulated by the state.
Devon Green of 57 Carthage Road said he was in “heavy support” of the pesticide ban. He is concerned about pesticides on the paws of his pet, and of the presence of pesticides on football fields. He said, “it’s unfair for competitors to come to Scarsdale and lose and get sick.”
Abigail Finger, a middle schooler from Innes Road, expressed concern about pesticides on her pet’s paws which will “make her sick.” She said, “It can also be harmful to me and my family.”
Daniel Seife an 11 year old boy from Montrose Road said he was “deeply concerned,” because of pesticides on his dog’s paws which can kill them. He said, “while playing soccer he could be exposed to pesticides.” He also said that pesticides can travel into storm sewers and transported into our water system.
Cynthia Roberts of Autenreith Road said she was “heartened and inspired to hear our youth.” She appreciated that the trustees were considering both the health effects and the environmental effects of pesticides. About the code change, she supported formalizing the ban on pesticides. She asked the board to publicize the fact that they are mulch mowing Village properties and maintaining them without the use of pesticides. She said, “We can make this a learning experience for everyone.”
Judith Schiamberg, of 19 Elm Road supported the ban. Appreciated the way the BOT led this initiative and showed that these toxins are unnecessary.
Darlene Le Francoise Haber, Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the Scarsdale Forum said, “Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms…Many think that certain pesticides are targeted, but this is far from the truth. These chemicals are in our homes, on our carpets, in our water, and in our bodies. They are carcinogenic and cause damage to our endocrine system. … They invade our water system and cause algae blooms. I support adopting an organic landscaping plan and practices moving forward. Mulch mowing is a good example.”
Tali Swann Sternberg from Clarence Road voiced strong support for the ban on pesticides. She said, “When I moved to Scarsdale the ban made me feel good about taking my child to play in the playground and I encourage everyone to think about adopting this practice on their private lawns.”
Carol Silverman, 110 Spier Road said “everything has been said so well. Seniors support the banning of pesticide use on public land.”
Susan Portez from Ardmore Road voiced support for codifying this practice. “It sets a great example for other municipalities who may be considering a ban.” She called the participation of youth on this call, “inspirational.”
Kelly Sperling from Woods Lane included her voice in support of codifying the ban.
Lana Deharveng of Mamaroneck Road said, “one of the reasons we moved to Scarsdale was for the amazing public spaces. I am pleased the fields do not have toxic pesticides on them.”
Eli Gordon from Mamaroneck Road favored the ban because of his dogs and his love of playing sports on Scarsdale fields along with students Christopher Bramhold. Elliot Stern and Bob Harrison also voiced support for this initiative.
Trustee Whitestone was heartened by the level of participation and thought that has gone into this resolution.
During public comments, Gerry Antell spoke about the Scarsdale Little League’s proposal to install field lights on Crossway Field.
-The lights are non-compliant due to space constraints
-No expert study has been done on the increase in noise and traffic
-No consultant has reviewed the proposal for safety issues.
-A lighted field would also be requested for use by other sports groups and asked for a potential total usage report, not just for Little League.
-There is already a large surplus of baseball fields and a field inventory should be conducted.
-All of the technical specs have come from the vendor who is trying to make a $500,000 sale. Relying on the vendor is clear conflict of interest.
He asked for all of this work to be done prior to making any decision.
Alan Garfunkel from Lincoln Road and the West Quaker Ridge Light Committee spoke. He said that he submitted a report to the Village last spring that examined other 90 foot baseball fields around Westchester and found that virtually all of them were located in commercial, industrial or non-residential areas and were in compliance with Little League regulations. He said he would resubmit the report.
Susan Douglass asked the Village Board to address leaf vacuuming before the next leaf season. She said, “Landscapers are dumping branches and debris into the leaf piles.” She asked the Village to address this wasteful practice.
Deb Pekarek from 43 Greenacres Avenue said that over 40 volunteers planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs at the front of Weinberg Nature Center on Saturday November 5. Elaine Yellen was the resident gardener and obtained the bulbs for free. She thanked Penny Bauersfeld, Steve Frantz and Brian Gray who eliminated the poison ivy.
Train Station at Depot Plaza
Trustee Ahuja introduced a resolution to terminate the lease with Metro North for the empty 1,200 square foot train station building at 1 Depot Plaza at the Scarsdale Train Station. He said that some communities have repurposed train stations and called this an opportunity to do something with the building. The lease termination was approved unanimously.
Scarsdale Forum Celebrates Community at Octoberfest
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 887
(This letter was written by BK Munguia of the Scarsdale Forum)
The Scarsdale Forum welcomed over 100 members and guests to Octoberfest 2022, its thirteenth annual membership party at The Scarsdale Woman’s Club on Saturday, October 29. Guests were greeted by Forum President Susan Douglass and directed to the many outdoor activities throughout the grounds. In addition to the games and craft activities set out for the children, Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps brought its ambulance to explore, the Scarsdale Fire Department showcased an antique firetruck and the Scarsdale Police Department sent one of its finest in a patrol car. Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service hosted an informational table throughout the afternoon. Over the balmy fall afternoon, Cynthia Roberts conducted a tree tour on the club’s grounds.
Bruce Wells held court under the grand white oak at the popular beer tasting station featuring his home brewed beers. Manny Lourdes, MC Catering served a delicious buffet luncheon. Guests were entertained by the Hoff Barthelson Music School Advanced Jazz Ensemble in the club’s Music Room. Octoberfest 2022 was a zero waste event thanks to the efforts of Darlene LeFrancois-Haber, chair of the Forum’s Sustainability Committee.
We thank Lion’s Heart for providing several young volunteers as well as local vendors Bronx River Books, La Dentelliere, Learning Express, Metro Diner, Parkway Café, Serenity and Setsuko at Jean Claude for generously donating raffle prizes for the event.
The Scarsdale Forum is a 118 year old charitable organization dedicated to improving life in Scarsdale through its educational programs and activities. The Forum offers programs of interest to our community, engages in studies of the issues affecting Scarsdale and sponsors public events such as the Sunday Speaker Series. All Scarsdale residents are welcome to join: www.scarsdaleforum.com.
A special thank you to Scarsdale10583 for its assistance in publicizing Octoberfest 2022 to the community.
Lena Crandall and B. Kathleen Munguia, Co-chairs
Special Events Committee
Vote Today to Protect Your Right to Vote
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 616
This is the opinion of Scarsdale10583 site founder Joanne Wallenstein:
As a former Senate Page, a daughter of a member of the ACLU and a longtime member of the League of Women Voters, I must admit that I took my right to vote for granted. When I read about election fraud, voter intimidation and tampering with the results in other countries, I never imagined that those issues would come home to roost. It turns out it can happen here.
All it took was one crafty President to undermine what I believed was a secure election system. Trump stole the playbook from corrupt leaders and launched a campaign to redistrict, scour valid voters from the roll, limit the right to vote, intimidate local election officials, intimidate voters and even throw away ballots in order to secure his own victory.
In a talk hosted earlier this year by the LWVS of Scarsdale, Lauren Miller, a lawyer with the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program documented how false claims about the “Big Lie,” and the 2022 election have prompted the passage of anti-voter laws and mistrust in the election process.
According to Miller:
-One in six election officials have experienced these threats – and they are in association with the big lie.
-One in five election officials are preparing to resign before the 2024 election.
In order to combat challenges to our election system, the Brennan Center advises people to get involved in their local government, and the first place to start is to vote.
Though Trump was ultimately unsuccessful in swinging the election, these same tactics, fueled by changes in the law, will undoubtedly be used this week to cast doubt on our elections.
Of course there are many issues to consider when you decide whether or not to vote this year, and who you will vote for, but I think securing your right to vote should be paramount in your decision.
Why? Because if we permit these national trends to invade New York, by electing candidates who are not committed to free and fair elections, we will lose the right to pick the best leaders, now and down the line.
And your vote does matter. As a Congressman, Lee Zeldin, now the Republican candidate for Governor of New York, actually stood with President Trump and 146 Republicans in his effort to overturn the 2020 Presidential election. After the attack on the Capitol on January 6, Zeldin voted to block the creation of an independent commission to investigate the violence.
Zeldin has tried to change the debate from Trump to crime and inflation, but it’s important to recognize what he stands for. As a voter, the key issue in this election should be retaining your right to vote in a free and fair election.
I urge you to safeguard our rights by voting for candidates and justices who will uphold our democracy and protect your right to vote. That’s what is at stake on November 8, 2022 in New York and around the country. Nothing less.
(Pictured at top: a movie theater in Oakland, CA)
Celebrating Diwali in the 'Dale: Should It Be a School Holiday?
- Written by Wendy MacMillan
- Hits: 1608
You may have read recent headlines announcing that NYC public schools will observe Diwali as an official holiday, or maybe you saw friends and celebrities posting photos of their Diwali celebrations on social media, or perhaps you took note of politicians wishing all who observe, a Happy Diwali! Whatever the case, it has been hard to miss the buzz around this important spiritual holiday.
Since Scarsdale is known to have ample cultural diversity, it may come as no surprise that there are a significant number of neighbors celebrating Diwali right here in the ‘Dale. The Scarsdale Public School District recognized the holiday with a message on their Facebook page, “Wishing you a Diwali that brings you happiness, prosperity, and joy…”. The post went on to explain “Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and even some Buddhists around the world are celebrating Diwali today. Using light as a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness, this 'festival of lights' celebrates the symbolic victories of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance with lamps, candles, feasts and sweets.”
Scarsdale resident Pallavi Mehta explained that Diwali is the “Festival of Lights” that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and hope over despair. She said that Diwali honors the Goddess Lakshmi who symbolizes wealth, good health, and prosperity and that it is a high holiday in India that truly represents many Indian cultural traditions and beliefs. For the past fifteen years, Pallavi Mehta’s family has been hosting a Diwali celebration in keeping with many of these cultural traditions. Her family gathers wearing traditional Indian clothing, conducts a puja (an act of worship) for Goddess Lakshmi and exchanges Diwali gifts and sweet treats (called Mithai) with family and friends. Mehta and her family adorn their house with flowers and diyas (small, clay lamps) to invite Goddess Lakshmi to bless their home. For their children, celebrating Diwali each year has allowed the Mehtas to pass on the religious and cultural aspects of their Indian heritage.
Although she is no longer in a strictly Hindu family, another Scarsdale local, Shilpa Spencer, feels it remains important for her to honor the traditions of her childhood and to pass some of those traditions to her children. Spencer’s childhood memories of Diwali are centered on great feasts, great company and great celebration. She remembers the celebrations as boisterous, joyful events with fireworks and a lot of laughing and dancing. As an adult, these are the aspects of Diwali that Spencer chooses to focus on: warm company, great food, and a festive atmosphere which over the years has come in many different forms. This Diwali, the Spencers invited good friends over for a smaller, but very festive dinner and fireworks which she hopes created strong memories for all that were there!
For Sushma Shadaksharappa and her family, Diwali is a very special holiday. To celebrate the Festival of Lights they place glowing diyas all over the house to signify light overtaking darkness. In addition to diyas, the family draws elaborate patterns on the floor with colored sand and decorates with fresh flowers to welcome Goddess Lakshmi and to pray to her. Most years, the Shadaksharappa family likes to make Mithai at home and then pack them in little, sweet boxes that they decorate and exchange with each other as well as gift them to friends.
When celebrating at home, Shadaksharappa prepares a traditional Indian meal for her family to enjoy after the puja but, before the pandemic, she and her family attended big, festive Diwali parties. In fact, for many years, Shadaksharappa and her friends organized a Scarsdale community Diwali party at a local Indian restaurant with food and lots of Bollywood dancing. Also for many years, the Indian community held a Diwali program showcasing cultural activities so both kids and adults could connect with their culture. Whether celebrating with friends or at home, the Shadaksharappa family likes to complete the Diwali festivities with firecrackers and sparklers and with lots of Mithai to end the evening on a sweet note.
For another Scarsdale resident, Minisha Sood, Diwali is a time to reflect and to be with loved ones. Sood begins decorating her home about a month before Diwali so she can get the Diwali spirit going and give her family a nice, visual cue to start thinking about the meaning of this important festival / holiday. During the days and weeks preceding Diwali, Sood talks often about family and choosing knowledge and wisdom over ignorance. In the week or so leading up to, and the week after Diwali, Sood takes part in local celebrations - some big and some small - which involve wearing new clothes, dancing, lighting fireworks and lights and eating delicious food. Sood and her family also say prayers for the continued wisdom to choose the righteous path in life.
For Sood, Diwali is such an important holiday that when her children were younger and it was easier for them to make up missed lessons or work, she would keep them home from school so they could fully participate in the celebration. Sood points out that as her children grow up and their deeper understanding of the meaning of Diwali crystallizes, they’d love to stay home and celebrate the holiday but they’d then miss very important academic work and so, are forced to make a tough choice. This year Sood’s children chose to attend school and were pleasantly surprised that some teachers chose not to assign homework, yet others still did. Sood argues that because of the inconsistent awareness, instead of being able to relax with family, pray and enjoy themselves fully when they got home from school, her children were focused on completing homework. Sood feels it is unfortunate that Diwali isn’t recognized as an official school holiday to reflect the broader community of Westchester and she hopes that this will soon change here in Scarsdale.
Sheetal Mehta wholly agrees with Sood and would like to see Scarsdale observe Diwali as an official school holiday. As Sheetal explains, “Diwali is THE most important festival for Hindus (also celebrated by some Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists too) and marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. It is the time when, once a year, we come together as a family to offer prayers, exchange hope and give thanks. We thank God for our blessings and pray that our troubles go away. We celebrate by decorating the house, dressing in nice clothes, making traditional food and desserts, lighting sparklers and exchanging gifts. The mood is as if someone has sprinkled happiness all around. We cherish each other’s presence and relish the joyful vibes all around.”
“However, when the kids do not have the day off from school, the spirit to celebrate our most important festival does not remain the same. The day starts off with calls/messages to wish family and friends, but when there’s no school holiday on Diwali, the kids are not able to exchange greetings. We decorate the house in the morning, which is a great activity to involve the kids in, only if they are at home. The kids want to stay home for this once-a-year celebration, but there’s the trade off of missing instruction/tests/quizzes/school work etc. if they were to miss school.” Without observing Diwali as an official holiday, Mehta says that her children “come home tired in the afternoon, with homework and tests on their mind. They are not as excited to get dressed in traditional clothes and participate in offering prayers in a timely way. It becomes a half hearted attempt at the most important part of the celebration…Not having a day off for Diwali presents a lot of challenges to keep our cultural identity alive.”
And finally, even though she is kept busy with her job as a realtor at Houlihan Lawrence here in Scarsdale, Bela Sheth still somehow finds the time to beautifully decorate her home with diyas, and flowers and to lovingly prepare a delicious Indian feast called an Annkut, with 60 different dishes! While she frequently opens up her home and warmly invites all friends and loved ones to join her family in a festive Diwali celebration, this year Sheth hosted a Hindu priest who performed a traditional worship service. Dressed in customary Indian clothing, Sheth and her family took part in a special puja where they kept with Hindu tradition and made several offerings of fruit, flowers, and sweets to Lakshmi and Ganesh. Sheth explained that there are different auspicious times of the day that are difficult to celebrate when children are at school so she and her family usually only celebrate in the evening. With smiles lighting up the room just as brightly as the glowing diyas, it is easy to conclude that Sheth and her family are indeed blessed with happiness, light, and joy and readily share it with others.
The author would like to thank all the families that shared their stories of celebration and allowed the greater Scarsdale community to gain a better understanding of the importance of this high holiday.
Wendy MacMillan is a former teacher and now a proud mom of two, school aged children. With a background in psychology, education, and mindfulness, Wendy has long been passionate about wellness and helping others.