Friday, Apr 12th

Native Plants(From the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council)

As the weather warms nonw is the time to get your yard ready to enjoy and some ways to improve the sustainability of your surroundings:

Go Organic: Organic yard care gives us a beautiful, healthy, thriving landscape, and it’s also beneficial to us, our pets, wildlife, and the environment. Many organic products, such as fertilizer and weed control, are readily available. Organic landscaping can be accomplished whether you do your own yard work or hire a landscaper. Read the CAC’s previous article about organic landscaping.

Plant Trees: Trees enhance the beauty of our community, provide shade, soak up water, and help wildlife. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, further helping the environment. Whenever possible, plant native trees and plants --those that grow naturally in our area--as they are better suited to our climate and terrain. Once established, native trees can thrive with less water and fertilizer (and no pesticides), saving time and money.

Plant Perennials that Attract Pollinators: Butterflies, bees, and birds play an important role in our environment. Plants that attract these pollinators add beauty to our landscape while helping make our world healthy. Replacing part of your lawn with native plants is an inexpensive, simple way to support a healthy environment and to reduce costly lawn maintenance. Some plants to consider include coreopsis, Joe-pye weed, butterfly weed, aster, purple coneflower, salvia, and sedum.

Spare the Mulch: Placing mulch in garden beds and around trees can help keep moisture in and weeds out. However, too much mulch or improperly placed mulch can seriously harm and eventually kill trees and shrubs. Never pile mulch (or soil) against the trunk of a tree because the mulch will eventually rot the trunk as well as cause roots to grow in the wrong direction. Keep mulch approximately 6” away from tree trunks and about 3” deep in plant beds and around trees.

Water Wisely: To encourage stronger and more drought-resistant plants--and therefore, healthier lawns--water your lawn 2 times per week for a total of 1’’ of water, usually around 30 minutes per watering. Watering should be done in the early morning when the most absorption takes place. Use drip hoses to water trees and shrubs. Experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for home irrigation is wasted due to overwatering and evaporation. Although Scarsdale requires all home irrigation systems to have a rain sensor--which shuts down the system when it’s raining—an even better way to go would be to add a smart water controller, which uses a WiFi connection to access weather data from the internet to automatically adjust watering schedules. Help save water and reduce your water bill.

Properly Care for Your Lawn: Keep grass about 3” high to promote deeper roots and a healthier, more drought-tolerant lawn. Taller grass is also less susceptible to weeds. Leave grass clippings on your lawn as they provide a natural fertilizer and help the soil retain water. Leaving lawn clippings also eliminates the need for using electric blowers (remember, gas blowers are banned from January 1st to October 1st) as well as the need for bagging grass clippings.

Talk with Your Landscaper: Sometimes old habits are not easy to break, so it’s important to share information and to let your landscaper know that you want an organic, healthy, sustainable yard.

If you have any questions or comments, contact the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council.

no mulch volcanoes by StofkoAs the weather warms and we all get ready to enjoy our yards and neighborhood landscape, here are some ways to improve the sustainability of your surroundings:

Go Organic: Organic yard care gives us a beautiful, healthy, thriving landscape, and it’s also beneficial to us, our pets, wildlife, and the environment. Many organic products, such as fertilizer and weed control, are readily available. Organic landscaping can be accomplished whether you do your own yard work or hire a landscaper. Read the CAC’s previous article about organic landscaping. 

Plant Trees: Trees enhance the beauty of our community, provide shade, soak up water, and help wildlife. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, further helping the environment. Whenever possible, plant native trees and plants --those that grow naturally in our area--as they are better suited to our climate and terrain. Once established, native trees can thrive with less water and fertilizer (and no pesticides), saving time and money.

Plant Perennials that Attract Pollinators: Butterflies, bees, and birds play an important role in our environment. Plants that attract these pollinators add beauty to our landscape while helping make our world healthy. Replacing part of your lawn with native plants is an inexpensive, simple way to support a healthy environment and to reduce costly lawn maintenance. Some plants to consider include coreopsis, Joe-pye weed, butterfly weed, aster, purple coneflower, salvia, and sedum.

Spare the Mulch: Placing mulch in garden beds and around trees can help keep moisture in and weeds out. However, too much mulch or improperly placed mulch can seriously harm trees and shrubs. Never pile mulch (or soil) against the trunk of a tree because the mulch will eventually rot the trunk as well as cause roots to grow in the wrong direction. Keep mulch approximately 6” away from tree trunks and about 3” deep in plant beds and around trees.

Water Wisely: To encourage stronger and more drought-resistant plants--and therefore, healthier lawns--water your lawn 2 times per week for a total of 1’’ of water, usually around 30 minutes per watering. Watering should be done in the early morning when the most absorption takes place. Use drip hoses to water trees and shrubs. Experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for home irrigation is wasted due to overwatering and evaporation. Although Scarsdale requires all home irrigation systems to have a rain sensor--which shuts down the system when it’s raining—an even better way to go would be to add a smart water controller, which uses a WiFi connection to access weather data from the internet to automatically adjust watering schedules. Help save water and reduce your water bill.

Properly Care for Your Lawn: Keep grass about 3” high to promote deeper roots and a healthier, more drought-tolerant lawn. Taller grass is also less susceptible to weeds. Leave grass clippings on your lawn as they provide a natural fertilizer and help the soil retain water. Leaving lawn clippings also reduces the use of gas-powered blowers--a leading contributor to air and noise pollution--which are banned by the Village from June 1st through September 30th. Using high-powered electric or battery-operated blowers to clean driveways and walkways is a viable alternative.

Talk with Your Landscaper: Sometimes old habits are not easy to break, so it’s important to share information and to let your landscaper know that you want an organic, healthy, sustainable yard.

If you have any questions or comments, contact the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council

Arest WhitestoneWith the Village election behind us, Trustee Randall Whitestone’s four years on the Scarsdale of Trustees has come to an end.

On Tuesday night March 26, Whitestone attended his last meeting on the dais and was lauded by fellow board members and community leaders and given an engraved silver platter by the Village of Scarsdale.

Heedan Chung spoke on behalf of the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale. She extended their gratitude for his service and thanked him for addressing quality of life issues, for his financial aptitude and for being a voice for cost effectiveness. She praised his honest and respectful approach and said he will be sorely missed. She gave heartfelt appreciation for his service and wished him the best in his future endeavors.

On behalf of the Scarsdale Forum Sarah Bell thanked Whitestone for “your service to our great town.” She said, “Scarsdale is better for your leadership and your steady guiding hand.” She said, “you are a great listener and leader,” and looked forward to welcoming him back to the Forum.

Here are tributes to Whitestone from Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest and the members of the Board of Trustees:

Mayor Justin Arest

Your financial insight, unwavering commitment to public safety and quality of life, remarkable knack for navigating through complex issues to highlight critical information, and your relentless pursuit of community betterment have been invaluable. You stand as a testament to the effectiveness of our governance model, showcasing the profound impact dedicated individuals can have on our community.

Reflecting on our journey since the 2020 Village election, where you would eventually embark on your inaugural term and Trustee Lena Crandall and I on our second, it's astonishing to consider the unique circumstances that brought us together. The unprecedented decision by the Governor to delay the election due to the pandemic leading to what must have been the longest electoral period in Scarsdale's history. Despite these challenges, your engagement and contributions through virtual meetings were instrumental from the outset.

Getting to know you and collaborating with you post-election has been a genuine pleasure. The CNC's discernment in recognizing your capabilities and potential was spot on. I am especially grateful for the friendship that has grown between us throughout your tenure on the board—a friendship I anticipate will endure beyond your official duties.

This experience underscores what makes our system truly exceptional. It's not merely about acquaintances endorsing one another but about community members with a shared passion for Scarsdale nominating leaders to run who often grow to become friends through their mutual dedication and contributions. Your service has embodied this spirit magnificently, and for that, I am thankful.

Trustee Sameer Ahuja

On a personal level I tend to find a lot of positivity in thinking about someone I have worked or interacted with in trying to remember what I learn from them. Usually someone I have a good relationship, I can recollect that they changed me or influenced me.

For my three years of working with Randy, I have learned a lot from you.

These are forums where there is often amongst ourselves, or the staff of the village, or other stakeholders, there is a lot of emotion depending on the issue. And, especially being someone who wears my emotions on my sleeve, I have learned a lot from you about a steadiness of reactivity in a crisis. Always steadiness. Perhaps that comes from your work, perhaps that comes from who you are, perhaps that comes from your better half, would not surprise me.

I also have found that people who are very effective at these roles are excellent listeners. You very much are. You let all of us interrupt you all the time. More so than others. A mark of the good leader is being a good listener.

The last thing is patience. The work of government is not easy, it requires collaboration. There are a lot of people with a lot of vested interests, and you have the patience to see things through, and you understand that there is a process to government.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and capabilities with me and with all of us and with the Village.

Trustee Karen Brew

Randy - you have been on the Board with me from the day I started three years ago. While I did not know you before our time together as Trustees, I really came to know, respect and like you through our work together on behalf of Scarsdale.

In my first year we worked together on Personnel with Me as Chair and you as Vice Chair. As you had chaired Personnel the year before you provided strong guidance when asked, but also let me run with things my own way. But you never shied away from taking on half the work as we split making all of the calls and vetting the applications.

Throughout our time on the Board I have admired your approach. In every situation you are always calm, fair, well thought out and always communicated with straight forwardness and polish. We often times agreed, but even when we didn’t, you explained your position without being overbearing or pedantic, but also not backing down. You also always showed a willingness to change your stance, as you truly listened to all points of view and were willing to have additional input sway you.

Most recently your work as Deputy Mayor, Vice Chair on the Finance & Budget Committee and Chair of the Public Safety Committee has been insightful and impactful.

Randy - I will miss your kindness and warm presence in the Chair to my right. I wish you and Lisa enjoyment in reclaiming your Tuesday evenings and so much other Board work time back.

Trustee Jeremy Gans

Randy, I want to begin by thanking you for your service to the Village and this Board. You’ve been a tremendous asset during my two years on the Board and we will miss your wisdom and guidance.

Randy and I ran together, with Trustee Mazer, in 2022. Randy reached out immediately upon hearing that I had been nominated and, even though our election was uncontested, it was still stressful for a first-time candidate. Randy’s guidance and advice kept me calm along the way.
It's been similar during my time on the Board. In two years, I have never once seen Randy get angry or emotional on any topic. He’s someone I, and I think all of us turn to when we are looking for a calm and measured opinion on a subject.

Trustee Dara Gruenberg

Randy, I am so sorry to miss your last meeting. It has been a privilege to serve alongside you on the village board. Your grace under pressure and unwavering dedication to this community are truly admirable. Your capacity to analyze a situation with precision and then offer a fresh perspective is so impressive and has helped steer so many of our decisions. You have a unique ability to cut to the core of an issue with brevity while also managing to be eloquent. That is a talent that will be sorely missed. Your passion for and deep knowledge of Scarsdale’s history infuse so many of our discussions giving broader context to issues the village has faced before and helping us to navigate where we go next. Randy, thank you for your four years of service to our beloved village and for always being of good cheer. Scarsdale is a better place because of you. I wish you all good things in your next chapter!

Trusteee Ken Mazer

Randy, your service and conduct on the board has been a model to us all. You brought a thoughtfulness and patience to each issue as you carefully evaluated all the vantage points. Every time you spoke the room fell silent as we hung on your every word. You offered sound judgment without being judgmental. And in the process, you earned our deep respect and helped lead Scarsdale to a stronger future. While you are leaving the board, I look forward to our path continuing to cross.

Randy, your guidance and ability to steady the ship will be missed. I thank you for all of the advice that you have provided to me during the past two years. I hope that you continue to serve the Village. Best of luck!

Below find his reflections on his service and tributes from the Board:

Parting Words from Randall WhitestoneWhitestone Silver

It's been my pleasure to serve alongside three mayors and 11 different trustees, all of whom performed with dedication and purpose and made a positive difference in the life of our community.

Before I thank my fellow trustees, I want to make sure to commend the efforts of the folks who keep the lights on. I appreciate the dedication of these more than 200 individuals, from the sanitation workers making their rounds in snow and rain to the DPW workers clearing storm drains to our police officers and firefighters ready to spring into emergency action at a moment’s notice. The same goes for David Raizen and the independent and tireless Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Now to my fellow trustees.

Dara. I’m sorry you couldn’t be here. I’ve so enjoyed working with you over the years. We share philosophies on public transparency and proactive communications, and you have done so much with the ACC and on the board to put those philosophies into practice. Your open and candid way of expressing yourself – informed by your pragmatic, commonsense approach to issues – has enlivened and enriched our discussions. We’re a better board because of your hard work and insight, not to mention your sense of humor and can-do attitude.

Jeremy. You bring to bear on pressing village matters an organized legal mind and perceptive views on land use. I enjoy learning from your deep digs into code and your understanding of process. You take a step back and a hard look at whatever crosses your plate, and often arrive at an independent point of view that advances and shifts our collective thinking. You’re good-natured and low-key, but with an intensity and analytical ability that greatly benefits the board and the community. And I’d be remiss in not saying thanks for pushing your chair in!

Ken. Your humanity is admirable. Serving the community is nothing new given your extensive work as a volunteer firefighter. I value your dedication to our golden resource, Scarsdale’s seniors, and your partnership on public safety. You ask excellent questions, rightly viewing yourself as speaking on behalf of the proverbial average resident, adding facts and insights to our public discourse. You always say hello with a smile which brightens what can otherwise be routine and serious work – thanks for your pleasant demeanor, good cheer, and warmth.

Sameer. I always enjoy our healthy give and take and our shared experience of juggling corporate and community service lives. You bring to our board duties the added burden of frequent travel and management of a dynamic, fast-growing technology company. Your insights on HR, organizational structure, communications, and technology enhance our operations and strategy considerations – you’re yet another example of the community benefiting from a high-level business talent for no pay. Your work on the pool and on telecom gives new meaning to the term “sweat equity.” I look forward to seeing you carry all of these initiatives forward; just let my fellow trustees know when you’ll be out of town so they can expect good dinners.

Karen. I’ve enjoyed being your seatmate the past three years, as well as our work together on personnel and quality of life. On all issues before us – both thorny and straightforward – you bring to bear your practical experience in business coupled with your time as a community volunteer and a keen understanding of how our decisions impact our neighbors. You’re open-minded and truly take the time to research issues before coming to a conclusion. I have great respect for your views, and you have in fact changed my mind on occasion after hearing your well thought out arguments. I’m thankful the village will continue to benefit from your clear-eyed wisdom, and an Edgewood perspective. Go Rangers!

Justin. We really came to know each other during that crazy 2020 election campaign. During our seven-month shared journey, we bonded and became mutual sounding boards. I’ve learned a lot from you and admire your deep knowledge of municipal code and finance. The value you’ve provided to the board, the staff, and the community stems from your drive to deeply research issues to gain a full understanding and a command of details: you’re a quick study but not a superficial study. We don’t always agree, but I find we have a healthy ability to exchange views and arrive at better outcomes. I also value your dedication and desire to serve the entire community, and your ability to filter out loud voices to get to an optimal conclusion. Plus, a dry sense of humor and a twinkle in your eye. I’ll try to be a respectful constituent during the second half of your term.

To my board colleagues collectively: thank you for the culture we’ve developed. You are a fearless, patient, and honorable bunch dedicated to doing the right thing. I’m proud to have served alongside you.

Lastly, I want to say a word about my personal journey. As some of you know, my grandparents moved to Scarsdale in 1928, and my mother, at the age of 100, is perhaps the senior-most graduate of Scarsdale High School, Class of 1941, and likes to keep tabs on her hometown.

I grew up in Chappaqua, and my late father spent many nights during my childhood serving as president of the Town Club and the elected Library Board. No one was more responsible for building a new Chappaqua Library in the 1970s – a well-loved library that still serves that community to this day. His example inspired me to dedicate time to public service.

I hope I have carried on both of my parents’ sense of mission and tradition. And I thank you for the opportunity to serve the people and the community of Scarsdale.

SVACAwardDavid Raizen and SVAC Staff and Volunteers were Honored by Westchester CountyThe Westchester County Board of Health and County Executive George Latimer presented the 2024 Public Health Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions to public health in Westchester by two adults and one student at Scarsdale Library on Thursday April 4, 2024.

Latimer acknowledged the work of the Westchester County Department of Health and celebrated the accomplishments of the public health MichelleandDavidMichelle Sterling presented David Raizen with a citation from the NYS Assembly.
community: “Today, during National Public Health Week, we honor two individuals whose efforts ensure that emergency responders in Westchester are well-prepared to answer our calls, and a student who persistently advocates for residents who wrestle with mental health challenges and addictions. I also want to thank the dedicated staff of our Health Department, our Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, and the volunteers who serve on our Westchester County Board of Health, for their essential service to our community.”

Latimer presented the winners with proclamations honoring their achievements and continued: “These awards highlight the vital role that public health plays to preserve, protect and promote the health of Westchester residents. With their extraordinary concern for others, these volunteers set an example for all of us. I congratulate the winners and encourage other residents to choose this path.”

Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD, presented the 2024 Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Public Health Service Awards to David Raizen, the owner of a home security company who has dedicated his life to ensuring a robust and well-trained staff of volunteers and professionals is available around the clock to respond to emergencies in and around Scarsdale.

Baker said: “These honorees set a shining example for all of us with their dedication to serve our community and their fellow residents. The work they do helps preserve and improve public health in Westchester. This is an inspiring and accomplished group we are proud to honor.”

Raizen said: “I am honored to be recognized and to share the spotlight with the men and women of the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, who continually work to improve their skills and to better serve our community.”

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, “I’ve lived in Scarsdale for more than 40 years and have witnessed time and again the incredible work of our Scarsdale volunteer ambulance corp. SVAC is made up of highly trained and skilled paramedics who live and breathe healthcare. They are our beacons of light in life’s darkest moments. What SVAC did during Covid was herculean – vaccinating and testing thousands, and providing high-quality at-home care for the elderly and immuno-compromised – and they continue to valiantly serve our community. I congratulate them on receiving this well-deserved honor from Westchester County in honor of National Public Health Week. Most of all I thank them for their incredible service to the residents of Westchester County.”

Public Health Awards 03

The Board awarded the 2024 J.R. Tesone Youth Public Health Service Awards to Ashley Madden, a Pleasantville High School senior who has become a persuasive advocate for prevention, treatment and better allocation of resources for people who have one or more mental health challenges and an addiction, a combination known as co-occurring disorders. Madden has volunteered for five years with the harris Project, a not-for-profit agency founded by Stephanie Marquesano with the mission to raise awareness about co-occurring disorders.

Madden said: “I greatly appreciate this recognition of my commitment to community service. As a youth advocate, my mission is to empower individuals to address their mental health needs with compassion and resilience. I appreciate my mentor and nominator, Stephanie Marquesano, for entrusting me to serve as an ambassador for the harris Project and for giving me the confidence to elevate awareness, foster resilience and prioritize well-being for my peers.”

Amler presented the Commissioner’s Award to Emil Nigro, MD, an emergency medicine physician and the Medical Director of the Hoch Center for Emergency Education at Phelps Hospital Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow.

Amler said: “I am grateful to Dr. Nigro for his dedication to emergency medicine and for ensuring that hundreds of clinicians, paramedics and other emergency responders have a state-of-the-art space where they can sharpen their skills and inspiring professionals to teach them at the Hoch Center for Emergency Education.”

Nigro said: “I am honored to be given the Commissioner’s Award by Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. As the medical director of the Hoch Center, I value the partnership we have with the County’s Health Department and the Emergency Services Department and frontline staff.”

Cake2024Mazer, Curti, Wise and Gans cut the cake.It’s official! Scarsdale elected three Village Trustees and a Village Justice on Tuesday March 19, 2024 at Scarsdale Library. Village Trustees Jeremy Gans and Ken Mazer were re-elected to serve their second two year terms, newcomer Jeremy Wise was elected to his first term and Michael Curti was voted in as Village Justice.

As the election was uncontested, it didn’t draw historic numbers of voters, but that didn’t detract from the spirit in the room at a celebration after the polls closed.

On hand were family members, friends of the candidates, Campaign Chair Joe Zakierski and the members of the Scarsdale Citizens Non-Partisan Party’s Campaign Committee, former Village trustees and County Executive George Latimer who stopped by to congratulate the candidates.

After the vote count was announced by Village Clerk Taylor Emanuel, assisted by Melissa Vasami, the newly elected officers gathered around the cake to toast the results.

Kudos to the members of the SCNPP Campaign Committee, chaired by Joe Zakierski: Dan Besikof, Lena Crandall, Kay Eisenman, Ralph Geer, Diane Greenwald, Mary Pat Jones, Jon Leslie, Jon Mark, Bill McInerney, BK Munguia, Camille Roche, Jill Spielberg, Jared Stern, Lisa Van Gundy and Elaine Weir.

A swearing in ceremony will be held on Monday April 1 at noon at Village Hall and the public is invited.

Here are the vote counts:

Jeremy Gans 192
Ken Mazer 188
Jeremy Wise 193
Michael Curti 205

Photo credit Lisa Van Gundy

JeremyandLisaJeremy and Lisa Gans

JeremyandRandiJeremy and Randi WiseCurtiParentsMichael Curti with his parentsMazersMelissa and Ken Mazer with Jeremy WiseJoeandCandidatesCandidates with Campaign Chair Joe ZakierskiTaylorandMelissaMelissa Vasani and Taylor Emanuel

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