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Sage 3A Greenacres man is ciruclating a petition to ask Village Trustees to include the streets around Greenacres Elementary School in a traffic study they have commissioned. Upon learning that the Village is studying traffic around Scarsdale Village and Sprague Road, Greenacres residents also wanted to raise awareness about dangerous conditions near the school.

Below find the petition, and the link to sign it if you wish.

Dear Board of Trustees,

Greenacres School brought together a great community with new young families playing outside and getting together in each other’s lawns. It brings great joy watching our children walk themselves to elementary or high school in the mornings and afternoons during the school week or during weekend sports practices.

However, the reality starts hitting right away when cars are getting into the picture as kids and cars don't mix.There are NO side-walks or designated bike/walk paths. Sage 4

The streets around Greenacres school, particularly Putman and Sage Terrace and Brewster to Fenimore as leading to Greenacres school and High School are very dangerous. Sage and Putnam streets is simply too crowded for people, parked cars and passing traffic and cars zip down Brewster Road straightaways, dodging our children like an autocross.

We implore the Board of Trustees, to include Brewster, Sage and Putnam into the RFP for consultant looking into the traffic in the village and Sprague Street.

One child traffic accident will be too much.

Respectfully yours,
Greenacres neighbors

See the petitioni here.

Commenting on the information above, reader Russ Kopp said, "It might be of some interesting for some of relatively newer residents, which I am not, to know about some of history of the signage that exists around the Greenacres school, as well as absence of signage I wish existed.

Around 15 years ago, a women who shall remain nameless, but who now is unaffected by the policies she helped establish (as she now I believe calls California home) organized a petition to have one side of Sage Terrace between Putnam and Brewster Roads closed off to parking during drop off and pickup times at the school.

While she fairly claimed difficulty for vehicles to travel bidirectionally at this location with parking on both sides of the street, I found her claims of pedestrian risk at this location for those with homes South of Sage or West of Brewster (i.e. affected people) a little tougher a pill to swallow as said walkers could alternatively walk up Brewster or Brite to Huntington, where there is a sidewalk. Equally important, my requests for 15 mph signage on Sage, between Huntington and Putnam, which while one way, also has a sharp curve---was turned down at this time by the Village's traffic committee.

I am all about safety, but remind people to approach this as if it was there home affected by any changes. Karma does strange things, and this same person who organized her petition for the common good found herself not so willing to support similar arguments when Police headquarters expanded about a decade ago, and her home was affected."

Sage 5

needlepoint 578757a5What is BARGELLO?

Christine Fitzgibbons and Leslie Meyers, two longtime Westchester residents, recently opened Bargello, a new needlepoint shop in Tuckahoe. Named for a distinctive “zigzag” needlepoint stitch, Bargello is colorful, playful and chic.

“For those who already needlepoint, they know what Bargello means and for those who don’t yet: we hope they want to find out,” Leslie said.

Both women have a background in finance, with Christine working most recently in non-profit management and Leslie in wealth management, but this is their first foray into retail. The longtime stitchers, with seven children between them, both learned to needlepoint when they were in elementary school from their mothers and are looking forward to sharing their passion with the community.

“What I love about needlepoint is that it’s both meditative and productive,” Leslie said. “I love working on a project that I can finish into something beautiful.”

Christine added: “I love that you can multi-task while stitching. It also helps me to feel calm while raising teenagers!”

The store, located in Tuckahoe Plaza, is brightly decorated in the shop’s signature mix of orange and purple. The colors, chosen for their respective alma maters (Princeton and Northwestern), reflect the vibrant and bold nature of the canvases the shop will carry.

The co-owners emphasize that Bargello is welcoming to both experienced and novice stitchers. “Pick a canvas with colors and a design that you love and we’ll help you get started,” Leslie said.

Wednesday nights the store is open late and offering “sip and stitch” from 6-7:30 p.m. This is open to everyone from beginners to seasoned stitchers. “We aspire to create a supportive, fun sense of community around the art of needlepoint for all levels,” Christine said. They offer individual instruction and eventually hope to offer classes.

needlepoint store

Like any hobby, needlepoint takes some time to master. “You don’t just pick up a tennis racquet and expect to win matches,” Leslie said. “You get better as you go along and that’s part of what makes it rewarding,”

“There’s no ‘should’ in needlepoint,” Christine added. “It’s one stitch at a time.”

Bargello is located at 24 Columbus Avenue in Tuckahoe. The hours are Tuesday 10AM-4PM; Wednesday 2-8PM; Thursday 10AM-4PM; Friday 10AM-4PM; Saturday 10AM-2PM. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Jessica Benjamin is a resident of Bronxville and a new stitcher.

cannibus 1080x675A report from the Scarsdale Forum recommends that the Village Of Scarsdale take steps to leave their options open in regard to new laws regulating the sale and usage of marijuana. A 9-23-21 report from the Scarsdale Forum recommends that Scarsdale should opt out of marijuana sales and lounges before December 31, 2021 in order to give the Village more time to examine the potential effects of marijuana sales and the potential revenues.*

Why? The new state law says that it the Village moves to opt out before the end of the year they can opt in later, but if they fail to opt out by 12/31/21 they cannot do so later.

The report also recommends that the Village prohibit smoking and vaping of tobacco on all Village owned property and outdoor public spaces as well as the oral consumption and open containers of cannabis edibles, capsules and oils.

The Scarsdale Drug and Alcohol Task Force (DATF) issued a similar statement in July 2021 citing concerns for Scarsdale’s underage users. In their statement they say, “Of immediate concern are the impact on our youth and the uncertainty of the regulatory and implementation framework. As a community that attracts families for the outstanding quality of resources and opportunities for youth, allowing marijuana stores/businesses to operate in the Village poses a significant risk for our young people.”

Here are excerpts from the Forum Report:

MRTA permits a local government to opt-out of state-licensed dispensaries and lounges within its borders by passing a law before December 31, 2021. A municipality that opts out can decide to opt in later but if it fails to enact an opt-out law by the deadline, it cannot opt out later. MRTA amended the smoking restrictions in the New York Public Health Law by adding cannabis smoking and vaping. Local governments can enact additional restrictions on smoking and vaping of tobacco and cannabis in public places.

The most prudent approach is for the Village to avail itself of a legal provision that gives it more time and allows the Board and the community to study the regulations that ultimately will be adopted, and also other consequences that may flow from permitting retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption establishments in the Village. In particular, additional time is needed to assess the potential impact on the use of cannabis by underage residents, to more accurately estimate tax revenue and additional costs – both “hard” costs (such as hiring more police and enforcement agents) and “soft costs” (such as education and training) – from a cannabis establishment in the Village, and to learn from the experience of similar communities that allow dispensaries. The Village should pass an opt- out law by December 31, 2021 and not make a premature, irrevocable decision to allow dispensaries and lounges by failing to act.

There is no downside to taking a “wait-and-see” approach. While MRTA legalizes the possession and use of cannabis immediately and requires municipalities to exercise their option to opt out by December 31, 2021, the actual sale of adult-use cannabis is not expected to begin until late 2022 or early 2023.6 Consequently, the Village would not receive any revenue until 2023 at the earliest. The two state regulatory bodies specified by MRTA – the Cannabis Control Board and the Cannabis Management Office – have not been created. Extensive regulations governing cannabis lounges and dispensaries are expected but will not be in place by the opt-out deadline.

State regulations may or may not address the myriad issues involved in retail sales of cannabis, including: what kinds of products can be sold, the concentration of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),7 types of packaging, permissible ingredients, labeling requirements, security standards, signage, local advertising, marketing strategies and materials, including distribution of “swag” and use of cartoon characters or other product “sponsors,” and whether and under what circumstances underage individuals can enter the dispensary. Despite the New York legislature’s establishment of the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board to regulate licensing of producers, distributors, and retailers of marijuana products in the state,8 industry observers estimated, as of June 2021, that “it could be over a year before New Yorkers can purchase weed from dispensaries in the state.” New York's legal implementation process also appears to have been delayed, owing to “a political struggle as to who will oversee the industry.”

What is known is that local control will be minimal. Specifically, Cannabis Law section 131(2) preempts county, town, city and village governing bodies “from adopting any law, rule, ordinance, regulation or prohibition pertaining to the operation or licensure of registered organizations, adult-use cannabis licenses or cannabinoid hemp licenses.” 10 The law permits towns, cities and villages only to “pass local laws and regulations governing the time, place and manner of the operation of licensed adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption site, provided such law or regulation does not make the operation of such licensed retail dispensaries or on-site consumption sites unreasonably impracticable as determined by the board.”

MRTA allows the Village to assess the impact of these many unknowns by opting out by December 31, 2021 and then opting in later, even before sales begin or at any time in the future, when a more informed decision is possible. Given the substantial uncertainties about potential tax revenue and costs, yet-to-be-written state regulations governing the operations of these cannabis businesses, as well as the potential impact of a cannabis store or lounge in the community on cannabis use by our young people, the prudent course of action would be to opt out by the deadline to avoid making an irrevocable decision without full information. The overriding factor in favor of Scarsdale opting out of this currently undefined course of action is that there is no penalty for doing so. Scarsdale may opt-in to participate in the program at any time later on, also without penalty. By taking the prudent course, by viewing this moment as an opportunity to chart its own path, and by taking its time to study the ramifications and also await state regulations, the Board will be able to become better informed about how to prepare for its next decision in the exercise of its own discretion.

*Please note, this Report has been approved by the Board of Directors of the Forum and authorized for release to the public, but it has not yet been submitted to the Forum members for their approval.

sculptureThe work of Scarsdale artist Simone Kestelman will be featured in an exhibit of sculpture by women at RoCA, the Rockland Center for the Arts in Nyack, starting on October 15, 2021.

The Women in Sculpture exhibit is a part of a tribute to the 20th Century artist and feminist, Dorothy Gillespie. The exhibit will open October 15th in The Catherine Konner Sculpture Park at RoCA. Artists include works by Dorothy M. Gillespie, Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Aurora Robson, Simone Kestelman and Cathrin Hoskinson.

Dorothy Gillespie (1920-2012) pioneered joyful, new directions of metal sculpture and is best known for large-scale, colorfully painted arrangements of cut aluminum strips curling, radiating, or undulating in giant arrangements of ribbons, enchanted towers, or bursting fireworks. She was well known as a painter, sculptor and installation artist whose work incorporated many significant 20th-century trends in art.

An influential force in the women’s movement, Gillespie encouraged more women’s art in museums and art in public spaces through demonstrations of large museums, such as the Whitney, as Founder of Women Artists Historical Archives of the Women’s Interart Center in NY, as co-founder of the NY Professional Women Artists group, taping interviews of the most important women artists of the 20th century, and teaching at colleges and universities.

She was more fortunate than women sculptors in the 19th Century who were mostly hired as studio assistants by established male sculptors with few exhibitions. They did not pursue monumental work as frequently as men did. Today many more women are now entering traditional male dominated sculpture roles in metal, wood and stone, thanks to the pioneering activism of women like Dorothy Gillespie in the 20th century.

Dorothy Gillespie’s career spanned seven decades, always at the forefront of the American Art movement. Her works grace many institutions, museums, colleges, universities and public spaces, including the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the United States Mission to the United Nations.

More women than ever are entering mediums of sculpture that were traditionally occupied by men. They are also securing monumental public sculpture commissions. The accomplished female sculptors of the 21st Century being featured along with Gillespie each have made a contribution to the art world through their mediums.

Among the artists is Scarsdale’s Simone Kestelman’s glass Warriors sculptures representing different types of inner strength. Together they show that individuals are strongest when they accept their vulnerability and stand strong in spite of it. Glass sculptures may appear fragile but are resistant to heat, cold, pressure and chemicals. They can endure heavy rains, snowstorms and heat waves. In stressful times, if we stand still, we realize how strong we are to overcome adversity. The stripes in her pieces represent the DNA that makes us each unique. These sculptures express the diversity of both individuality and
Kestelman’s work reflects on important social issues and comments on them through her work, focusing on injustice, inequality and abuse by stepping beyond traditional imagery and sculpture. Her intention is to drive more people to think and act to promote the protection of women and children in vulnerable situations. She was the Director of SK Gallery in White Plains, NY and has exhibited at the Museum of Art, Morago, CA, the Tucson Contemporary Womens Art Collective, the United Nations, MOCA in Calgary, Canada and A Hebraica Gallery, Novotel Sao Paulo, Brazil.

See more about the upcoming exhibit here.

GardenRoadsite2This letter was written by Andrew and Lisa Rodman from Cushman Road in Scarsdale.

The Village of Scarsdale is a community internationally known for its first-class school system and regionally recognized as the Village in the Park because of the town’s commitment to “green space. In recent years Scarsdale has undertaken projects such as adding cobblestone curbing along many of the village’s streets and repaving major streets such as Fenimore Road. A few years ago the town completed a major infrastructure improvement when a 7-acre water retention pond was built at George Field Park and along Post Road adjacent to the headquarters for the Scarsdale Police and Fire Departments.

Every Scarsdale resident knows that the cost of maintaining the village’s commitment to excellence does not come cheap--real estate taxes in the town are amongst the highest in the country. Scarsdale’s governmental leaders have recognized that there are limits to how much taxes can be raised every year and accordingly, always are on the lookout for additional sources of revenue. Over the past 10-15 years, one such source of incremental revenue has been tax dollars raised from the development of new homes in the community. Obviously, there is an inherent conflict between the need to raise new taxes and the need to not overly ‘tax’ the village’s infrastructure and services.

One current example of this conundrum is the desire of a local developer to construct eight new homes on Garden Road, adjacent to the town’s architecturally unique water tower. As of the time of the writing of this letter, it appears that Scarsdale’s government is inclined to choose easy money over the health and safety of its current residents. The proposed Garden Road site is a wetlands. In the best of times the land is swampy. After rain events such as the ones the community experienced three weeks ago (Hurricane Henri) and two weeks ago (Hurricane Ida), the site becomes a lake. The irony is the current situation comes to the Planning Board after heavy rains, but these rains have just brought to light the conditions that have prevailed for the 30 years we have been a residents of Cushman Road.

The developer of the proposed site has pretended to address the site’s soil problem (the underlying geology consists of dense clayey soil, rock, and a highly elevated water table) by proposing to elevate the site by 5-6 feet. The proposed Garden Road development will massively aggravate a bad situation. The existing homes located on Garden Road and Cushman Roads undoubtedly also will materially suffer. As every resident of Scarsdale knows, water flows downhill. The elevated platform proposed by the developers will flood its neighbor’s homes. No water collection system designed by the developer’s engineers can possibly hold all of the water that will be collected after a rain storm. This is a massively failed plan. One only had to visit the new George Field retention basins after Hurricane Ida (such visit was only possible by rowboat) to recognize that after such a heavy rain event the retention ponds overflowed and shut down several of the local streets. Can you imagine what it would have looked like without the George Field retention basin in place! When it was built we all hoped that would remediate the problem. It has helped but it has not solved the area’s flooding situation.

The Garden Road developer also cleverly ignores addressing critical issues such as who will maintain and pay for their proposed drainage system. It’s a very good bet that after the system fails several times, the new homeowners will request that Scarsdale Village assume responsibility for funding and maintaining the water collection system. In other words, at the onset, Scarsdale’s government officials likely are thinking that the real estate taxes collected from the proposed new homes will be accretive to the Village’s tax base. In reality, the damages caused to village property most probably will cost the Village more than it collects as it focuses on constructing new water retention facilities that the developer of the proposed site failed to properly address.

One last point should be highlighted. In classic real estate developer fashion, the builders of the proposed site have requested approval to construct eight new homes. Even they know this is a ridiculous request. They probably are hoping only to build four homes. When the decision makers who decide such matters for Scarsdale ‘cut’ the developer’s request from eight to four homes, they likely will feel like they ‘beat’ the developers and showed how they could not be played. The Garden Road site realistically can support (with extensive engineering) only one or two new homes.GardenRoadsite3

Please go to the Houlihan Lawrence website. One can see the developer is so audacious that he is already advertising the sale of these unapproved and unbuilt home. Lot #5-#6-#7 are being offered. One must ask oneself with previous failed attempts to get approvals, how can they be so confident? Has control of the narrative been handed over to developers in Scarsdale?

This is one of multiple attempts over the years by developers to try to push through a plan at the site. What has changed? The climate change issues that face the rest of the world are being felt in Scarsdale. Nothing should be giving the developers confidence except that the sitting government of Scarsdale has changed. We appeal to the present Scarsdale government officials who will rule on the outcome of the proposed Garden Road development. JUST SAY NO. Just as other Boards have done in the past, put the interests of the community’s current residents over those of the real estate developer whose only goal is short term profits.

Lisa & Andrew Rodman
Cushman Road
(residents for 30 years)

Photos taken of the water pooling on the proposed building lots from the Garden Road water tower.

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