Wednesday, May 29th

hitchcockTo celebrate the centennial of Hitchcock Church, the Perspectives committee will host a special panel discussion and luncheon featuring three experts on the history of the church in Scarsdale. The event, titled “3 Views of Hitchcock’s 99 Years ,”will bring together Scarsdale Village Historian Eric Rothschild, Tom Hughart, a long-term Pastor in the Hudson River Presbytery and Scarsdale Inquirer Editor Linda Leavitt. They will discuss the Scarsdale, Westchester and civic view, the Presbyterian Denominational view, and the personal view of a member who grew up in Scarsdale and Hitchcock.

New area residents and new members of Hitchcock are urged to attend and older members of Hitchcock and the community are invited to participate and contribute their own recollections. All interested historians or active members of the community are welcome.

A buffet luncheon will be provided at noon, at a fee of $10 and will precede the panel. Reservations for the event are required.

Reservations for available seats and servings can be made by telephone or email no later than Wednesday, January 25. Earlier reservations are strongly encouraged. Call or email, Merrell Clark at 914-472-6238 or merrellclark@gmail.com. (Leave your phone number and email address on the message.)

Special “Perspectives” Panel Luncheon
Hitchcock Presbyterian Church
January 27, 2012 at Noon
Lower Children’s House
6 Greenacres Avenue
Scarsdale, NY

“Perspectives” is a subcommittee of Presbyterian Women of Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, Liz Perrone, Chair; Jensina Olson, Chef.

 

 

Spieler2The Scarsdale School district appears to have avoided a feared budget crisis posed by the 2% tax cap imposed by NYS State. At the first of two community budget forums on the night of January 11, Assistant School Superintendent Linda Purvis presented a preliminary look at the 2012-13 school budget and the feared $8 million gap has now shrunk to $1.5 million.

The projected $8 million gap for 2012-13 was the difference between what it will cost to run the schools and the taxes that could be levied to support the budget. Under the cap, the district can only raise the tax levy by 2% over the 2011-12 levy, without receiving any relief from state mandated costs that are rising at double-digit percentage rates. To comply with the cap, the Board and Administration feared that draconian cuts would be necessary.

However, new projections show that the district has contained expenses this year and expects lower costs next year that together will cut $6.500,000 from the $8,000,000 gap. The district will realize an unanticipated surplus in the 2011-12 budget due to personnel related savings, and surpluses from reduced utility and health insurance expenses totaling $3,100,000. Purvis explained that many senior staff members have retired and been replaced with new teachers at lower salaries, decreasing the district’s personnel expenses. In addition, the district has reduced the staff by 13 full time positions and 7 support staffers since 2008-9. The $3.1 million savings from the 2011-12 budget, coupled with an estimated $3.4 million reduction in the 2012-13 budget will yield $6.5 million, thereby reducing the $8 million gap to $1.5 million.

Under an override provision of the tax cap law, the Board can decide to present a budget to the community that exceeds the 2% gap in the hope that residents will approve the budget with 60% or more of the vote. In the next few months they will seek community input and weigh community values versus economic necessity to make this decision.

After presentations from Purvis and Superintendent McGill on the enhanced education offered in Scarsdale, the Board asked for public comment. Though attendance at the meeting was strong, the group was relatively quiet. Statements in support of the budget were made by representatives from the PT Council Executive Committee and the Coalition for Scarsdale Schools. Speaking for the PT Council Executive Committee, Suzanne Glaser said, "while it is obviously necessary to be fiscally responsible in these difficult economic times, we feel that it is critical that the administration and Board of Ed create a budget that continues to provide the outstanding education that is the primary reason many of us moved here."

Miriam Popp Seely of the Coalition called the tax cap “an arbitrary number waived around by politicians in Albany that could undermine the program,” and said that the “community has demonstrated support for quality and unique programs.” She urged the Board to “consider core community values before coming up with a budget that complies with the cap.”

Several residents questioned the Board’s budgeting, with one resident posing questions about the funds the Board holds in reserve and another asking for a long term plan that could ease the budgeting process year over year. The meeting, which had been planned to last two hours ended early as a subdued group digested the news that big cuts would likely be averted.

A second community budget forum is planned for Wednesday January 18 at 10 am at the Girl Scout House on Wayside Lane. Community members are encouraged to attend. This was just the first conversation in the budget process that will continue until the vote in May. Stay tuned.

 

 

nextglogoEdgemont residents were surprised last week by a series of emails from Ellen Weininger, the Educational Outreach Coordinator for Grassroots Environmental Education, concerning a proposal from NextG Networks of NY to get permission from the Town of Greenburgh to install cell phone antennas on existing utility poles all over Edgemont! I was especially concerned for two reasons: 1) Why had this proposal not been made public? I read all the emails I get from everyone (including the Town of Greenburgh) and I had never heard about this proposal even though I live one block away from one of the proposed sites and 2) I am concerned about the possible health risks from these antennas in residential areas.

My understanding of the situation is that NextG is seeking to install a series of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). These systems consist of cell transmitters mounted on utility poles right outside of area homes. Some believe these transmitters pose an even greater exposure risk than cell phone towers. No one I spoke to in Edgemont had heard anything about the public hearing that occurred on December 14th .  According to Deborah Kopald, an expert on cell towers and radiation issues, "proximity to the transmitter is a larger factor in total radiation exposure than total power output. In other words, this is the cell tower issue multiplied several-fold; cell towers in residential areas increases more people's cumulative exposure to microwave radiation. Homeowners in close proximity will have more radiation exposure from these transmitters than they would have from most cell towers."

I contacted Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner who said that: the town has an antenna review board that reviews all applications. However, Federal law limits the ability of governments to reject antenna applications for health reasons. Feiner asked the Town Attorney's office and the Edgemont Community Council (ECC) to review the federal statute to see if anything can be done legally to restrict the placement of antennas in residential areas. Feiner stressed that if the town can legally keep antennas away from homes and if the Town can authorize them in non-residential areas, he would prefer that compromise option.

Geoff Loftus, president of the ECC, responded to Feiner that he had consulted with some of the ECC members who are lawyers and they felt that under a Greenburgh law passed in 1998, the Town has the right to not allow cell phone antennas in residential areas except by special permit. Furthermore, in their opinion, Next G does not qualify for a special permit so the Town will be able to restrict where Next G places these antennas. Hopefully, the Town Attorney's office will concur with this opinion and Next G's cell phone antennas will be placed away from any residential area.

There is a following up hearing on Wednesday January 25th at 7:30 pm at Town Hall that is open to public comment. Hopefully, there will be a more widespread distribution announcement for this meeting. I asked Feiner to include me on any email distribution list for this proposal and he agreed to do so and urged me to have other residents to contact him if they also wanted to be included. He can be emailed at pfeiner@greenburghny.com.

In preparation for this hearing at Town Hall, a group of Edgemont residents will have a community meeting on Thursday, January 5th at the Edgemont High School LGI room at 7 pm. All residents are encouraged to attend. Environmental educator, Ellen Weininger , will speak about the dangers of DAS, as well as Deborah Kopald.

The proposed locations In Edgemont are on the following existing wood utility poles close to: 155 Highland Road, corner of Sprain Brook Parkway and Jackson Avenue, 2 Skytop Drive, Ardsley Road (north of Sprain Valley Road), 35 Sprain Valley, 404 Ardsley Road, Clifton Road (east of Central Avenue), 3 Longview Drive, 644 Fort Hill Road, 400 Underhill Road, 37 Sprain Road, corner of Westminster Road and Ardsley road, and 11 Old Army Road. There are also several other locations through the town on Greenburgh. The actual forms filed with The Town of Greenburgh in August, 2011 can be found by clicking here and scrolling to "Town Antenna Applications" towards the end of the page.
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athletaTwo new storefronts are set to open on White Plains Road next week. The Fresh Market, a specialty grocer opening in the former Old Navy space at 723 White Plains Road, will hold its grand opening Wednesday, January 18 at 9:00 am. Athleta, women’s high-end athletic-style clothing, will debut with a special shopping evening on Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00 pm and officially open Wednesday, January 18.

The Fresh Market, a specialty retailer focused on providing high-quality food products, will hold its grand opening at 9:00 am on Wednesday, January 18. Must-go-to Grand opening activities will include chef demonstrations, food sampling throughout the store, and drawings for The Fresh Market gift cards. A reusable shopping bag and sample-sized bag of the company’s gourmet coffee will be free to the first 1,000 customers. According to Craig Carlock, the company’s president and CEO, “We look forward to introducing The Fresh Market’s concept of quality perishables, excellent customer service and a unique atmosphere to an expanded customer base, and we look forward to offering neighboring communities a rewarding new food shopping experience.”

This will be their second location in New York State with another The Fresh Market opening soon in Southampton. The freshmarket21,000-square-foot facility, located in the former Old Navy space, will offer a bountiful produce department with more than 400 items and a large organic selection; salad, soup and sushi bars; an expansive bakery offering freshly baked breads and 14 different pie varieties daily; prepared meals; an extensive coffee selection; a European delicatessen; and custom-made gift baskets. In the bulk department, shoppers will find granola, nuts, dried fruits and fresh herbs and spices. Gluten-free items will be available throughout the store, which will have dark wood paneling, soft lighting with antique décor, and piped-in classical music. Fresh seafood will be delivered to the store several times per week and there will be a full-service meat counter with a butcher always on duty, as well as more than 200 imported and domestic cheeses. And, as a bonus, the staff will cheerfully carry your groceries to your car or SUV, no tip required.

Historically, each new The Fresh Market generates 90 jobs, most of which are filled locally. In addition, as a good neighbor, The Fresh Markets partner with local food banks and other nonprofit organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry. Its stores donate both perishable and nonperishable products to local food banks on an ongoing basis. The Fresh Market was started in North Carolina in 1982 and currently operates 111 stores in 21 states, located in the Southeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. With the addition of The Fresh Market, Fig & Olive, Haiku, and Sakura, Scarsdale residents will not lack for food choices. Visit the company’s website at www.thefreshmarket.com and sign up for “Fresh Ideas,” the company’s weekly e-mail newsletter that includes specials, as well as recipes and information about in-store events.

The Fresh Market 725 White Plains Road, Scarsdale www.thefreshmarket.com

Finish up at the gym early on Tuesday, January 17 because Athleta is putting on what promises to be an exciting event to celebrate the new store opening. From 5:00 pm-7:30 pm, shoppers will be able to enjoy cocktails and a private shopping event showcasing the Spring 2012 collection. This marks the ninth store for Athleta and the third one in metro New York. The brand, founded in 1998 and now owned by Gap Inc., provides women athletes (sorry, nothing for men) with apparel for different sports and fitness activities. The next day, Wednesday, January 18, the Athleta chain will open up its 3,700-square-foot store, carving out space from the newly renovated Gap store next door. For those who love GapFit’s athletic-style clothing, it will continue to be carried by Gap, but Athleta will cater to a different customer base by offering the best quality fit, technical detail, stretch, performance and durability at a higher price point. The Gap will continue to offer women’s, men’s and children’s clothing in its ultra-chic renovated storefronts.

Athleta Vernon Hills Shopping Center, 700 White Plains Road, Scarsdale www.athleta.com

lindaparty1Some 50 women gathered recently at the home of Scarsdale resident Linda Plattus to enjoy lunch and contribute holiday gifts for children served by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS). A WJCS Board member, Ms. Plattus has organized these luncheons for seven years and the generous donations of Scarsdale families have helped fulfill holiday wishes. At this year’s luncheon, nearly 150 toys and more than $1,800 in gift certificates were collected for the annual WJCS Have-a-Heart for the Holidays Gift Drive. The items will be distributed to families in need served by WJCS, which sponsors more than 70 programs throughout Westchester. WJCS welcomes donations of items all year long. To donate goods or funds, contact Meryl Lewis at 914-761-0600 ext. 222. For more information about WJCS, visit www.wjcs.com

Founded in 1943, Westchester Jewish Community Services provides comprehensive mental health, developmental disabilities, social services, home health care and community- and school-based programs on a non-sectarian basis to people across the life span, and cultural and economic boundaries. A state-licensed, non-profit WJCS serves 17,000 yearly with programs funded through government grants, UJA-Federation, United Way, foundations, corporations and individuals. For more information, go to www.wjcs.com. Follow them on Facebook Westchester Jewish Community Services. lindapart2lindaparty4

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UJAScarsdaleUJA-Federation of New York's Scarsdale community made the holidays brighter for kids at the Henry Ittleson Center. The Ittleson Center is a Bronx-based residential treatment center and school run by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS), a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, which helps children ages 5 to 13 who have emotional disabilities or have experienced trauma.

The event, which took place on December 11, 2011, was part of the Gift of Chanukah, a program during which UJA-Federation communities in Westchester share the holiday spirit by collecting and distributing gifts and celebrating at parties with agency clients. Guests brought gift cards to Target that were distributed to the kids as holiday gifts. The event was chaired by Jennifer Fischer, Jennifer Goldfarb, and Ilissa Siegel of Scarsdale and Sue Pearson and Ilysa Rosmarin of Purchase.

Pictured: Riley Meltz, Billie Eichel, and Drew Siegel of Scarsdale take a break from arts and crafts.

 

 

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