Friday, Apr 12th

Natrual MarketIt’s no surprise that the massive Bed Bath & Beyond Store on Route 119 in Elmsfordis closing. We visited the store in the fall and found depleted inventory, empty shelves and close-out sales. Even sadder, the same announcement says that all Harmon stores will close as well, leaving our area with fewer options to purchase beauty, cosmetic and personal care products. Harmon is a subsidiary of Bed Bath & Beyond. According to Retail Dive, Bed Bath & Beyond defaulted on a $550 million loan form JP Morgan Chase and their Q3 report says sales fell 33% year over year.

Who will fill all this vacant retail space?

In happier news, Natural Market has opened at 66 Garth Road, Scarsdale replacing another fruit market that disappeared overnight last year. This incarnation has fresh fruit, groceries, dairy, nuts, snacks and all the essentials. The market is bright and clean and the fruit is delicious. Acccording to Jin, behind the register, this is the market’s second location, with another in the Bronx.

Welcome Natural Market to Scarsdale and adieu to Bed and Bath and Harmon.

NaturalFruitNaturalDairyJin

EqualityActBelow is a statement from NYS Assemblymember Amy Paulin on the Equality Amendment to safeguard human rights. This constitutional amendment will go before voters in a referendum on November 2024.

Here in New York, we pride ourselves in championing policies that ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect. That commitment has been strengthened this week by the New York State Assembly passing the Equality Amendment to protect New Yorkers from discrimination (A.1283). This resolution would memorialize in our state Constitution protections against discrimination based on an individual’s ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, or sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as well as pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes and reproductive health care decisions.

Current New York State constitutional protections guard against discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or creed and this expansion builds on and reaffirms the State’s commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from unjust and prejudicial treatment on the basis of their identity.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, enshrining reproductive rights in our state constitution is paramount. This measure builds on New York’s record of protecting people’s fundamental right to choose, and would put into our state constitution the right to access contraceptives and abortion. We previously codified the protections afforded under Roe v. Wade into state law, and last year we passed laws to protect health care providers and patients from other states’ attempts to access abortion in New York State (Chs. 218, 219, 220, 221 and 222 of 2022).

After passing both houses of the Legislature for a second consecutive year, the Equality Amendment will go before voters as a ballot referendum in 2024. I look forward to voting for the Equality Amendment, and hope all New Yorkers will join me voting in favor when it goes before voters in 2024.

SBNCLogoJPGTen candidates have been elected to join the Scarsdale School Board Nominating Committee for 2023.

The following candidates were elected:

Edgewood – Jennifer Armas

Fox Meadow – Kevin Chen, David Kirshenbaum, Susan Lee

Greenacres – Arthur Rublin, Molly (Yue) Tu, Jocelyn Zoland

Heathcote–  JacobAdlerstein

Quaker Ridge – June (Xun) Deng, Jennifer Simon Tabak

A total of 461 votes were cast in the election, 297 in person,164 by mail-in ballot. Vote totals by neighborhood were as follows:

Edgewood: 46

Fox Meadow: 40

Greenacres: 159

Heathcote: 22

Quaker Ridge: 194

This year’s new SBNC members will join the continuing members of the committee, each serving a three-year term on the SBNC followed by a 2-year term as part of the SBNC Administrative Committee.

The SBNC will have its first meeting on January 22, 2023, and by the end of March it will nominate 2 candidates for the Scarsdale Board of Education to fill the seats currently held by Amber Yusuf and Robert Klein whose terms expire at the end of this school year.

All Scarsdale residents are welcome to propose Board of Education candidates to the SBNC chair at sbncchair@gmail.com. The SBNC Board of Education candidates, along with any other candidates who may choose to run, will stand for public election May 16, 2023 at the same time as the school budget vote.

pubertypodcastThe eye rolling, the back talk, the slammed doors…most parents of adolescents are familiar with the rollercoaster of communicate with tweens and teens. Our once adoring children, who used to turn to us to answer their every question…after question…after 385 questions, now believe that we are the dumbest people on earth who just “don’t get it.” For many parents this can be infuriating and we can easily get caught in a cycle of arguments and yelling. Luckily for Scarsdale parents, on January 12th the Friends of the Scarsdale Library treated patrons to a wonderful program, “Communicating with Tweens and Teens” aimed at helping parents navigate the intricacies of these beautiful but sometimes trying years.

The presentation was given by Vanessa Kroll Bennet, mother of 4, writer, entrepreneur, and co-host of the Puberty Podcast. Bennet delivered her informative yet entertaining talk with a sense of humor and humility that had her audience both laughing and feeling that as parents, we aren’t in this alone.

To start her discussion, Bennet reminded us, “If we meet adolescents where they ARE, not where we EXPECT them to be, we can reach them in powerful and wonderful ways.” She then went on to describe how hormones have a huge impact on children’s moods, thoughts, and behaviors and this is not something they can control or have the tools to deal with in constructive ways. Even worse, Bennet clarified that puberty now starts two years earlier than it used to but the average age of a girl’s first period is still twelve. As Bennet points out, this means that puberty starts earlier but lasts longer, so kids are in this stage of life for nearly a decade. While dealing with moody tweens and teens isn’t easy for parents, she encourages us to have empathy for what they are going through.

Though we know that the highs and lows of puberty are developmentally appropriate, it doesn’t make dealing with them any easier. Bennet had some remarkably sage advice. First, she described how when our kids come in like a tornado of emotions or withdraw to their rooms in silence, parents tend to want to find out what their problems are and then try to fix them. Instead of indulging the urge to pry and to problem-solve, Bennet suggests just sitting and listening to your children and offering validation where you can. She also encourages parents to “dip into” conversations with humor (when appropriate), curiosity, and empathy. Though we should listen more than we talk, “listening isn’t necessarily silent,” and so Bennet offers the following as words of connection:

- “That’s such a bummer.”
- “Sounds like a tough day.”
- “Ugh, I’m sorry that happened.”
- “Do you want me to just listen or do you want me to offer solutions?”

While empathy and validation are important ingredients for healthy communication, Bennet gave this quote from Dr. Aliza Pressman which says, “All feelings are welcome. All behaviors are not.” If a parent feels their child is crossing a line or being disrespectful, Bennet encourages them to set boundaries and create appropriate consequences that fit the offense.

Bennet reminded us to recognize that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. If we do slip-up and lose our cool, say the wrong thing, or ignore/avoid important feelings, Bennet proposes that we take a “do over”. Although the do-over might not take place right away (in fact, according to Bennet, we should try to not address issues when emotions are high because it makes it hard to have productive conversations), she advised her audience:

-It’s never too late for a do over.
-Acknowledge to your kid that you messed up.
-If appropriate, explain why you reacted the way you did.
-Ask for another chance to have the conversation.

Also important to consider when trying to communicate with tweens and teens is remembering to leave your own baggage at the door. Bennet suggests that when a conversation with your child “triggers” you or you find yourself having an outsized reaction, you should ask yourself “where is this coming from?”

She recommends that parents:

-Recognize when our own histories are coloring our approach to an issue.
-Take note that kids are growing up in such a different world (social media, the pandemic, etc.) -Remember we can’t possibly know what it is like for them.
-Remember our narratives (especially about body image and trauma) should not dictate our children’s narratives.

For healthy communication with our children, Bennet further suggests that parents try to suspend our judgment. She stressed that parents should avoid phrases like:

- I know exactly how you feel. (Because again, we live in very different times and we can't possibly know exactly what someone feels).

- Why do you hang out with that kid, they’re bad news. (which will likely just make your kid cling to the friendship even more).

-It is not a big deal. Get over it. (Bennet reminds parents that because of their hormones and their still-developing brains, tweens and teens feel things way more intensely. To your child, it IS a big deal and when we say that it is not, it invalidates them).

Though your inner monologue might shout, “Give me a break kid,” our outer monologue (what we express to our children) should say something like “That stinks, I’m sorry that happened.” She also believes that it is incredibly helpful for parents to ask questions and offered these conversation prompts:

-What did you notice?
-How do you feel about…?
-What’s it like for you when...?

Bennet concluded her presentation with the idea that adopting new communication styles isn’t easy and will take a lot of practice. She also reiterated that in the end, teens and tweens want to feel a sense of validation and connection with their parents. She suggested that it is in the most unexpected moments that your child will open up to you, or offer you nuggets of insight into their lives. So just sit with them, get “elbow to elbow,” show interest in their interests, even if you really just want to go to bed and read your book, Bennet suggests sitting and listening to their stories about Fortnite or why the new Taylor Swift album means so much to them. In one of the last slides of the evening Bennet shared a quote from Wendy Mogel, Author of Voice Lessons that perhaps sums it up best, “Be enchanted with their enchantment…there are some things they are very happy to talk about with tremendous enthusiasm.”

Vanessa Kroll Bennet had many more ideas, suggestions and tips on how to better communicate with your tweens and teens. Throughout the program she touched on how to talk about sex, pornography, smartphones, drugs, going to parties and so much more! Most of these topics are covered in her weekly podcast The Puberty Podcast which can be found here:

Vanessa Kroll Bennett is a podcaster, writer and entrepreneur who helps adults navigate uncertainty while they support the kids they love. Vanessa is the co-host of The Puberty Podcast and President of Content at Order of Magnitude. She was the founder of Dynamo Girl, a company focused on building kids’ self-esteem through sports and puberty education. As the host of Conversations on Parenting and Beyond at the JCC Manhattan, Vanessa explores all aspects of growing families. She is a contributor to Grown & Flown and Scary Mommy as well as writing her Uncertain Parenting Newsletter about the messy process of raising tweens and teens, including her own four children ages 11 to 19.

libelines(Updated January 3, 2023) This is the opinion of Scarsdale10583 Publisher, Joanne Wallenstein.
An estimated 700 people turned out for a story hour with actor and evangelist Kirk Cameron at the Scarsdale Library on the afternoon of December 30, 2022. Cameron, the author of children’s book, “As We Grow,” exploited free speech laws to hold his event at Scarsdale Library. Cameron and his publisher Brave Books targeted Scarsdale because the library held a “drag queen” story hour and Cameron is preaching against what he calls “woke ideologies” in school and libraries, objecting to gay marriage, transgender and LGBTQ people and abortion. About public schools he says, “America's public schools have become incubators for far-left progressive agendas, including critical race theory, gender ideology, and Nikole Hannah-Jones' 1619 Project.”

Though the story hour was held during vacation week, right before the New Year, the word got out to sympathizers who arrived early to line up to attend the event. The library was quickly overwhelmed as only 170 people could fit into the Scott Room. The crowd formed lines from the lobby to the children’s room, from the café to the rear of the library with another line outside.libescene

The library staff, along with Scarsdale and county police were on hand to regulate the crowd. According to Scarsdale Police Chief Andrew Matturro, “Lieutenant Carroll, the Detail Commander estimated the number of people to be approximately 700. He also reported that there were 2 readings in the allotted timeframe and 170 were in each reading. There were no incidents reported. Six Scarsdale officers were supported by six County officers for traffic and crowd control. The event concluded on schedule.”

Attendees who were able to get inside said that the reading was handled well by the police and staff and was calm and at no point became unruly. Though no one knows where all the people came from, there seemed to be few Scarsdale residents in the crowd. The library’s parking lot filled up quickly, and cars overflowed to Tompkins Road, Brewster Road and even into the Scarsdale High School Parking lot.

Though it was billed as a story hour for young children, the visitors included grandparents, parents, teens and toddlers.

Only one session was planned, but the library permitted two to accommodate more visitors. At the end of the second reading some requested a third session to allow the last of the crowd to get in, but the time allotment was over and the library staff asked everyone to leave.

What does this bode for the future? Will other outside political groups request use of the community’s new library? This event demonstrates the strain these type of gatherings put on Village resources. Extra police coverage from the Village and the county was required, as turnout was unpredictable and the building could easily become overwhelmed. Who should pay for this coverage?

Furthermore, the event prevented regular visitors from the use of the facility. Rather than assisting residents, the entire staff was called upon to control the crowd. The meeting room, designed for a maximum of 170 could not accommodate the turnout.

Do the rights of political groups from outside the community trump the rights of residents? Perhaps the library can re-examine their bylaws to draft workable parameters for use of this public space. These are questions that the Library Board and Village Board will need to examine in upcoming months.

We asked Scarsdale Library Director Elizabeth Bermel a few questions about story time and here is what she shared:

Please let me know where you think all those people came from and how they were mobilized? We did not inquire. As a public library, we are open to all. Given the large turnout, we were pleased that there were no incidents.

Were you concerned about the safety of the staff and security of the building? The Scarsdale Police Department and their public safety partners did an outstanding job to ensure the safety of staff and public.

What message does this event send to our library and others for the future? The Scarsdale Library's mission (to encourage the joy of reading, the exploration of ideas, and the pursuit of lifelong learning for the children and adults of our community), has not changed. Our mission, vision, and values inform our response to challenges and help to maintain our reputation as a premier cultural and educational institution. By viewing challenges through this lens and always engaging in a manner consistent with our values, the Scarsdale community and our patrons will always see and experience the Scarsdale Public Library as a treasured community asset, and a model for other public libraries. The community has always been supportive and involved with their library, and we hope they will continue to engage with us as we find ways to best support our mission.

Commenting on the event, Mark Gompertz, Group Editorial Director at Skyhorse Publishing and a seasoned executive in the industry said, "I read the article and it it does a wonderful job of explaining the complexities of free speech in a public space. It is a thorny question for sure. While I’m not sure how I feel about all the outsiders coming into the community, I applaud the village/ library for allowing it just as I would a story hour about a drag Queen even if alt right groups didn’t feel it was appropriate. Crazy world."

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