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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

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."

FoodlineLast week as Scarsdale’s Amy Nadasdi and her 16 year-old daughter Lydia drove home from Whole Foods with a trunk full of groceries, they passed the Salvation Army and saw a line of over 100 people snaking all the way down Post Road towards Scarsdale. There were young, old, men, women, and many, many children all wearing masks and standing apart from each other. Most of them were carrying empty grocery bags. Amy and her daughter froze with the realization that these people were waiting in line for food, and Amy started to cry.

She could not get the image out of her head. The next morning she reached out to the Salvation Army to understand the situation, and spoke with Clare Wares, one of only a handful of Salvation Army employees at the site. Wares explained the depth of this crisis and the huge number of community members that the Salvation Army is trying to feed. Last week they provided food to 202 households. Amy immediately vowed to help, and asked about their greatest needs. She learned that the Salvation Army is desperate for funds to purchase bulk food items, but Amy knew if she just wrote a check, her daughter would feel that “mom took care of it” and perhaps move on from thinking about the is problem. In addition to a donation, Amy suggested that they help to organize a food drive, calling on family and my friends to help.

Amy initially thought that some friends would be willing to donate and asked a few to send out emails to their networks. Isabel Finegold sent an email to the neighbors on her block and within an hour she had boxes and cans on her front steps. Joanne Teoh offered to “guest” Amy at Costco where they purchased cases of peanut butter and pasta sauce. Amy’s husband Jim become invaluable in helping to carry, sort, pack and load the car. Daughter Lydia posted on her social media, and her friends and their families also pitched in.

Amy started to get a great response from the people she knew, but many more responded to a post on Facebook of a photo of the long lines on Post Road and a request for donations. Amy was overwhelmed with the response from people she knew, but also from the many people she didn’t know. Within an hour over 50 people had responded and by then end of the night she could barely keep up with the messages she was receiving about offers of donations. She woke up with an inbox of over 150 promises of donations.

Many people were not aware of this dire situation that is so close to home and were thankful for bringing it to their attention. Several people asked how to make monetary donations, which are also appreciated by the White Plains Salvation Army. If donors write in the memo line of their check “Food Distribution” they can be assured that those funds are going directly to the purchase of food. Check can be sent directly to Salvation Army of White Plains 16 Sterling Ave, White Plains, NY 10606.

Primarily, Scarsdale residents seem happy to donate food, as they feel more of a direct connection between their actions and theamy1 people the food will help. Some of the people who have come to drop off food have admitted to hoarding food during the early days of quarantine, and now have over-stocked pantries of shelf stable food. Others are just happy to add a few extra items to their weekly grocery delivery from Fresh Direct or Peapod. Many are involving their children in helping to select, purchase and transport food. One contributor said, “It feels much more real than just writing a check to a large organization.”

Amy plans to continue to accept donations and deliver to the Salvation Army for as long as people are willing to contribute. The number of households in search of assistance continues to grow each week. Amy will continue to post updates on the Scarsdale Buzz Facebook page with any changes in needs or specific requests.

However people choose to help, the kindness and generosity of this community has overwhelmed her. Amy is so proud to live in Scarsdale and call the people of this community her neighbors and friends.

To find out how you can contribute, email Amy at amynadasdi@gmail.com.

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.

parade1The Scarsdale Fire Department and Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps covered over 270 miles celebrating 200 kids in town during the past six weeks as part of their drive-by celebration program. They took their last birthday ride on Saturday May 16, 2020.

Recognizing that the outbreak of the virus caused many to miss their birthday parties, emergency workers stepped up to provide a different kind of celebration. Emergency vehicles formed a parade and drove by homes on Wednesdays and Saturdays to offer good wishes to birthday boys and girls who were surprised and excited to see a parade in their honor!

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Scarsdale photographer and SVAC volunteer Jon Thaler shared his wonderful photos og the parades. See more here

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