Nine-Foot Statue Gone and More from the Scarsdale Police:
- Category: Today's News
- Published on 21 April 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Thefts: A Crawford Lane woman reported that a 9-foot metal sculpture, valued at $6,000 had disappeared from her front lawn. The sculpture depicted a frog holding a golf club. The statue vanished sometime between midnight and 9 am on April 17.
A supervisor at CVS on Popham Road reported the theft of $1,800 in ink cartridges. The theft occurred on April 11 or April 12. The cartridges had been secured to the wall with a magnetic locking mechanism which requires assistance from a store employee to open. The mechanism had not been tampered with, so the supervisor believed that the responsible party had access to the magnetic key. Police will review the surveillance tape though these items were out of view of the security camera.
A white leather bag, valued at $428 was stolen from Pookie and Sebastian on East Parkway on April 14 while the store employees were assisting other customers. The store manager gave police a description of the person he thought had stolen the bag but they were unable to find anyone matching the description in the area.
A Garth Road woman reported that her pocketbook was stolen from her car when it was parked on Depot Place on the afternoon of 4/18. The woman left her bag in her car and went into Dunkin Donuts. When she returned a few minutes later her Coach bag was gone, along with $100 in cash, credit cards, her driver's license and a gift card.
A butcher who works in the meat department at DeCicco's in Scarsdale Village reported that his wallet was stolen from him while he was at the store on April 16. It was taken from a work counter in the butcher's department. Missing are the wallet, the man's driver's license, his social security car and a NYS security guard license.
A Hickory Lane woman said that a bag of rare coins, valued at $3,000 to $8,000 had been taken from home. The coins were in a plastic bag next to a locked vault in her basement. The woman also noticed that upwards of $100,000 in jewelry was missing. She said she would give detectives a complete list. There was no damage to the doors of the house or the basement door where the vault is located.
Lost: A gold ring, valued at $1,5000 was lost in Scarsdale Village on 4/16. The owner picked it up at Wilson and sons Jewelers to have a repair made and en route to his car he dropped it. A search of the Village failed to turn up the ring.
Found: A Capitol One credit card was found at the Parkway Coffee Shop on April 15. The person who found it attempted to get in touch with the card owner – but when he was unable to reach her he turned it over to police.
A black lab was found on Church Lane on the afternoon of 4/19. Police tried to find the owner but the dog's vaccination tag was from Ottowa, Canada. As they were unable to find the owner, police called the New Rochelle Humane Society to pick up the dog. But before they came, a Scarsdale man came to headquarters and said that his sister in law, who was visiting Scarsdale, had lost her black lab.
Arrest: Kristina Posey, age 20 surrendered to Scarsdale Police in response to an outstanding bench warrant on April 16. She was booked and brought before Judge Galloway and given a court date of May 7, 2014. She was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Death: At 6:55 am on April 15, a River Road woman reported that her husband, Doug Bradley had passed away. She found him unresponsive on the couch Paramedics made an attempt to resuscitate the man but were unsuccessful. The Westchester Medical Examiner's office was advised.
Identity Theft: A Garden Road man reported that someone had filed a fraudulent tax return with the IRS using his personal information and also filed a state return in Michigan. The Scarsdale man did not know how his personal information was compromised. A Dolma Road man also reported that a fraudulent return had been filed in his name with the IRS and the state of Michigan.
A Bradford Road many complained that a personal check that he mailed to the Department of Motor Vehicles on April 11 had been tampered with and the funds had been diverted. He mailed a check for $3,086 to the DMV but someone intercepted the check, changed the payee name and the check amount and stole his funds.
Scam: A Fenimore Road woman received a phone call from someone who claimed to be from the IRS on 4/17. The caller said he was going to send the sheriff to her house in 45 minutes to have her deported if she did not pay overdue fines. When she told them that she would call the police herself, they hung up.
Vandalism: An outdoor light fixture at a home on Westview Lane was damaged on April 20. Two glass panes and two light bulbs were broken.
Police went to the intersection of Ewart and Montgomery Roads at 1 pm on April 14 to assist with taking a "drunk individual to the White Plains ER."
Unlicensed scooters: Police got a call about kids riding motorized scooters on Brite Avenue on the afternoon of April 14. They found one young man with a motorized scooter and told him that he was not permitted to ride it in the road.
Stranger in the bushes: A MacDonald Place woman called police on the morning of April 15 when she said someone rang her doorbell and was now hiding in the bushes in front of her house. Police arrived and found a landscaper doing work on the house.
Fence: On April 17, a Richbell Road woman called police to express her concern about her neighbor's "unsightly fence" which she thought may be encroaching on her property. Police told her to call the building department.
Unregistered drivers: Two drivers were nabbed by police for driving with suspended registrations. They were identified as Hilmar Fenger, age 40 of Croton on Hudson and Sabine Poisson, age 50 of Larchmont.
This police report is sponsored by Scarsdale Security who does more than just security. Contact them about remote video for your home or business. Call 914-722-2200 or visit their website.
Greenacres School Says Goodbye to Veteran Staffers
- Category: Schools
- Published on 23 April 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Greenacres will no longer be the place to be for six key staff members who plan to retire from the district at the end of the school year. In a true sea change, the school will lose its principal, music teacher, two long-time classroom teachers, speech and language teacher and the physical therapist.
A large crowd of colleagues turned out at the Scarsdale School Board meeting on April 22 to acknowledge the retirees and reminisce about their combined 225 years of service to the school. Principal Gerry Young, classroom teachers John (Jack) Dean and Oksana Slywka, School Psychologist Nancy Karagis, Music Teacher and STA President Trudy Moses, Speech and Language Teacher Eva Sax-Bolder and Physical Therapist Harriet Siegel will all say goodbye to Greenacres at the end of June.
Assistant Superintendent Joan Weber lauded each of the staff members and then Principal Gerry Young and Greenacres PTA President Dana Matsushita offered comments from the school community on these vital staffers.
Weber credited Dean for his "good nature, many aptitudes and inquiring mind." She said he had served on "every school committee imaginable," and also managed to volunteer as a docent at Kykuit and Lyndhurst. For his part, Dean said that "he was very grateful for his 26 years here" where he has enjoyed the "intellectual atmosphere."
Principal Young said that Jack told him early after his move from Canada to Scarsdale that "no one with any brains pays retail in New York." He called Dean a "positive presence at the school," and a man "of many talents with a kind heart." Quoting his students, Matsushita said Dean was "intelligent, tells funny stories, explains things really well and lets us watch CNN student news." Parents said that "Dean is a historian who knows everything that has happened at the school over two decades." He "focused on the arts and current events" and infused a love of reading in a student who learned English in Dean's class.
Oksana Slywka is another 26-year veteran of the Scarsdale Schools who started out at Quaker Ridge and then moved to Greenacres. Before coming to Scarsdale, she wrote for the Gannet Newspapers and taught at Hackley and the Master's School. Weber called Slywka "elegant and excellent."
Young said that Slywka "cuts a dashing figure." She is well known for her love of poetry and her annual poetry and punch celebration every spring where each student in the class recites a poem in front of the audience. He called her a "stickler for manners and etiquette," and also said she was a "rapier of sharp wit" who spouted "impressive zingers" and had a "sense of humor and style." Kids said she taught "tons of words in one week," was "hard on us" and "boosted our confidence to learn." One said, "She was my all-time favorite teacher," and added, "I love you and will miss you!"
School Psychologist Nancy Karagis has been at Greenacres since 1996 and served on the STA and PTA Executive Boards. She has been a key member of the school leadership team. Young called her "feisty, committed, outspoken, keen, caring, concerned and a tigress in defense of children." The kids said Dr. Karagist is "nice, friendly, listens, helps me get over my nightmares and is a great feelings doctor." Parents remarked on the girls' groups she ran for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders and hoped these would continue after her departure.
About music teacher and STA President Trudy Moses, Weber said, "How did a little girl from a small Southern town in Mississippi rise to fame and fortune in Scarsdale?" Weber called her, "highly effective and exceptionally fine," and said she had "outstanding rapport with students and parents." Moses led the STA for the past 12 years and demonstrated "integrity, intelligence, remarkable insight and perspective." She has "the ability to see the other person's point of view" and "knows when to thrust and when to parry." About her departure, Moses said, "You know when it's time and it's time."
Young said Moses' true love was music and said she was "amazingly good at training and shaping student voices. She has led second graders in 32 flag day assemblies." Kids said, "Ms. Moses ---you are the boss – you're the bomb. We love the flag day concert." Another said, "She puts on funny glasses and calls herself Madame Baboushka. If someone looks sad she lets them pick a song and sing it. She is a great music teacher." A parent said, "She is a class act. My whole family is sad about Ms. Moses' retirement."
Speech and Language Teacher Eva Sax-Bolder came to Scarsdale from California in 1998. Weber called her an "excellent and thorough diagnostician," who is both "demanding and encouraging." After 42 years of teaching, Sax-Bolder is now preparing to be a rabbi. Principal Young said Sax-Bolder was "exceptional with special needs kids," and took the "creative angle." She was also a keen supporter of the brain gym and laughing yoga. Kids called her "nice" and said "she helped me have better speech," she "helped me with my "r's", helped me with my "s's" and "helped me listen. A parent called her a "gentle guide for my son."
Young thanked Physical Therapist Harriet Siegal for her flexibility, saying that she worked wherever they could find room for her at the school.... the basement, unfinished office space and even behind the curtain in the gym. Kids said that she helped them get exercise and get stronger and parents noted her "warmth, kindness and knowledge." One said, "She has been a rock for our family for years." She is "smart, focused and makes kids feel proud."
About Greenacres Principal Gerry Young, Weber said that he came to Scarsdale from Canada after an "intergalactic search." She said that Young had an extensive "educational background" and called him "unique, unconventional and resourceful." She remarked on his office, which is hand painted with evergreen trees and furnished in rustic wood," reflecting his Canadian background. She said Young "took pride in student's accomplishments and achievements" and "made the right decisions for Greenacres." She called him "convivial, with a great wit, embedded with wisdom."
Young said his decision to come to Scarsdale "started on a whim," and admitted that "apart from the diet, he had never heard of Scarsdale or the school system before he applied for the job."
Speaking on behalf of the principals, Robyn Lane from Quaker Ridge spoke about her departing colleague. She called him "the free spirit among us," who was a good listener and "an advocate for Greenacres." She said he was "smart in so many ways and an excellent grammarian." She said his "wit and dry humor" will be greatly missed as well as his colorful stories about the airport, crossing the border and managing the commute from Canada to the U.S. She thanked Young for "enriching the lives of all who know you."
Like so many in Greenacres, my own family of three children had years in class with these teachers who introduced us to the district. Ms. Slywka taught my son in kindergarten and then took him with her for her first year in first grade. She aimed high. My son emerged from class with a long caterpillar of words that was tacked to his bunk bed. Who would have thought to teach first graders, who had only recently learned to read, to spell "pusillanimous" and even better, to know the meaning of the word? Only Ms. Slywka could see that these young minds could grasp a lot. My two girls were also in her class and Mr. Dean was another teacher we were lucky to have. We still laugh about the boy who lost his loincloth during the Native American presentation in fourth grade. We can't count the number of performances led by Ms. Moses that we attended but each one was a special occasion, rocking the auditorium with original tunes.
Do you have memories to share about these retiring staff members? Send in your thoughts in the comments section below.
You Know You're a Scarsdalian If...
- Category: Arts and Entertainment
- Published on 14 April 2014
- Written by Deborah Skolnik
Columnist Deborah Skolnik is out of town this week, but even down south she's got Scarsdale on the brain. Skolnik says, "Sitting here poolside, trying to enjoy the hibiscus flowers and instead wondering whether my daffodils are blooming at home, made me realize that you can take the girl out of Scarsdale, but can't take Scarsdale out of the girl. Which made me think you might enjoy this item...
YOU KNOW YOU'RE A SCARSDALIAN IF...
* You understand that the best stuff in life is free, but spend hundreds of dollars at Great Stuff every season.
* You spend summer days burning off 500 calories in the town pool in an attempt to lose weight, then consuming a 600-calorie Tornado Wrap at the snack bar.
* When someone in your office shouts out, "What does 'WRT' stand for?" You shout back, "Westchester Reform Temple!" before realizing the correct answer is probably "With Regards To."
* The phrase 'million-dollar home' brings to mind a 50-year-old, 3-bedroom ranch with avocado-green appliances, rather than Downton Abbey.
* Actually, though, you heard that that ranch house just got assessed for $1.7 million.
* You pity helicopter parents. They can't afford a hovercraft?
* You care, you really do, about Democratic and Republican platforms, but you care just a little more about platform tennis.
* When you hear someone mention The Homestead Act, you think of angry people sulking in luxury apartments rather than hearty 19th-century settlers plowing 40 rocky acres in Idaho.
* You've visited Salzburg and sampled Italian Village delights in a single day, without spending a dime on airfare.
* You know that being on the right track means working hard, being honest, keeping your goals in sight. Oh yeah, and running super fast up and over a covered bridge when Metro North gives you 30 seconds' warning that the city-bound train is coming in on the White-Plains-bound side.
Greenacres resident Deborah Skolnik is the mother of two and cops to doing at least 50% of the stuff listed here.
Moody's Give Scarsdale a "Negative" Outlook
- Category: Around Town
- Published on 21 April 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Moody's Investor Service, the bond rating agency, has given the Scarsdale School District a "negative" outlook while maintaining the triple A rating. In a report released last week, Moody's revised their outlook based on the district's declining fund balance, rising labor costs and the tax cap legislation.
According to their report,the district's decision to drain reserves to meet current expenses has reduced the fund balance and Moody's predicts that "that management will be challenged to produce structurally balanced budgets over the next two years which will likely result in the continued reduction of reserves for one year or more." Though they credit Scarsdale with a "large and extremely affluent tax base and a low tax burden," they note that the district budget will continue to be pressured by rising wages and benefit costs and the tax cap which requires a 60% vote to override budgets that exceed the designated cap.
Moody's says that the rating could go down if the district "continues to authorize Fund balance declines in excess of current expectations" and depletes the "General Fund balance beyond current expectations at end of fiscal 2015." This year after state auditors determined that the district's health care reserve of $777,715 no longer complied with state law, the Board allocated those funds toward the proposed 2014-15 school budget. In addition, the total fund balance is projected to be $14.7 million at the end of the 2013-14 school year and is estimated to be at $12.6 million at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
We spoke to several experts who agree that it is unusual for a district to have a triple a rating so that Scarsdale remains in a very strong position. Even this "negative" outlook should have little impact on a new bond offering under consideration for voter approval later this year. However, the new outlook does validate concerns that drawing down reserves could have a big impact down the road.
We asked, Assistant Schools Superintendent Linda Purvis for her interpretation of the news and here is what she shared. "I think what they are saying is what we have also been saying, which is that we have been relying too heavily in recent years on using fund balance to keep tax growth down. That can't go on forever. A triple AAA rating is only for the strongest, most stable organizations. There are only about a dozen school districts in the state with this rating. One measure of stability for a government is the fund balance. If it isn't there, you are inherently more unstable. Some people have said over the years that the District has held on to too much fund balance. Moody's is telling us that, from a bond rating perspective, this is not true. Continued use of reserves to fund ongoing expenses is not a long- term plan for fiscal stability."
We also spoke to Robert Berg, who has argued that the district was holding on to excessive reserve funds and advocated for the return of those funds to the taxpayer by including the use of reserves in upcoming operating budgets. Here is what he said.
"The big positive is that the School District, for now, maintains its Aaa rating, which is pretty rare among NY State school districts and municipalities today. But I would not be surprised if the bond rating is dropped if we go ahead with a $20 million bond offering later this year, especially given some of the possible capital projects that have been suggested. That's not to say we should delay or avoid a bond offering – that would be foolish if we can lock in near historically low rates and undertake important capital projects. But in this economic environment, we need to be particularly judicious as to what projects are undertaken. For instance, the Wellness Center, which was a lightning rod in last year's budget defeat, comes back as an expanded and doubly expensive proposal this year – now projected at 6,000+ square feet in size and $2 million in cost sans equipment. I would think that Moody's would be more impressed with expenditures such as replacing the Quaker Ridge roof or providing Edgewood with a usable library rather than a bigger, fancier Wellness Center and a still incoherent physical education curriculum. The Moody's press release describing its report on Scarsdale notes that the District will be challenged to produce structurally balanced budgets over the next two years. I agree. Rising fixed costs associated with wages and employee benefits and the tax cap constraints will sorely test the District's abilities to continue to provide an excellent education while not forcing residents, especially empty nesters, out of their homes with tax increases that exceed the CPI. Fortunately, the new Superintendent, Dr. Hagerman, appears to have substantial experience dealing with such difficult realities, and I expect that he and the Board will approach these challenges with a fresh and creative approach, and a willingness to engage the entire community in these decisions."
(Editor's Note: though Berg is entitled to his opinion, it should be noted that Moody's does not judge the appropriateness of the projects to be funded by a bond. They look at financial impact and trends that could destablize the district's finances.)
More Closings in Scarsdale Village
- Category: People
- Published on 17 April 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Another month of changes in the retail landscape for Scarsdale Village with stores opening and closing in rapid succession.
Space NK, the cosmetics store that occupied a double storefront that ran between Harwood Court and Boniface Circle is gone. According to one observer they seemed to be doing brisk sales until they opened another Space NK counter in the cosmetics department in Bloomingdales in White Plains. This could have put a big dent in their business. That space is now empty.
On the other hand, Paris Interiors, the decorating shop that was sited in a small storefront on Harwood Court has moved to bigger quarters on East Parkway and now occupies the space recently vacated by one of the stores owned by La Dentelliere. The original La Dentelliere is still there!
Yogo Joy, also on Harwood Court has closed as well. The owner sold both the Scarsdale and Rye stores to a new owner who will reopen in the same site and sell high quality frozen yogurt as well as other food items.
Last, the Cosmetic Boutique that briefly opened next to Langes Deli has also fled Scarsdale. Perhaps if they had waited for Space NK to leave town they would have attracted more customers. Apparently the owner was not happy to be located adjacent to the dry cleaners on Christie Place due to concerns about chemicals and decided to terminate her lease. So for now, we have gone from having two to zero cosmetics stores in Scarsdale Village.
Why do you think retailers are having so much trouble in Scarsdale? Is it limited parking? Aggressive ticketing? The reconstruction of the bridge on the Bronx River Parkway?
And what stores would you like to see downtown? Add your thoughts in the comments section below:
Water Line Break Should Be Repaired Tonight
- Category: Village Voices
- Published on 23 April 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
(5:30 PM Update from the Village) Please be advised that the Village contractor has successfully installed a line-stop approximately 200 feet east of the water main break in order to stop the water flow between these two points. The repair area is now free of water and the contractor is able to access the trench to repair the water main. Additionally, with the line-stop in place, Village crews will begin opening the valves that were previously closed in order to restore water to all homes that are currently out of service. Residents will experience low water pressure initially until the water main is repaired and the Reeves Newsome Pump Station is placed back in service. The water main and pump station should be back in service late tonight. Updated information will be available on the Village website and another message sent if necessary.
Please be reminded that traffic through the Fenimore, Fox Meadow and Walworth intersection is still restricted to one reversible lane with the associated traffic delays.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as the Village works towards remediating this situation.
A portion of Greenacres and Fox Meadow has no water, low pressure or discolored water following a valve failure at the Reeves Newsome Pump Station, which is currently under repair. The line and valve started to leak Tuesday morning April 22 and despite efforts to repair it all day and night, the leak continues on Wednesday April 23. Workers on the bridge now say they hope to have it repaired by tonight. A reader who lives on Oak Way says his home has had no water since last night at 6:30 pm.
The affected area extends from the Bronx River Parkway to the Post Road, north of Butler Road to Kingston Road.
There have been significant delays crossing the bridge to and from Scarsdale where a policeman is directing traffic through one open lane.
In addition to the issues at the bridge on Fenimore Road, the county has informed Scarsdale Village that the southbound exit of the Bronx River Parkway at Crane Road will be closed for three months starting 10 am on April 26. From this Saturday until the anticipated re-opening of the exit on July 26 drivers going southbound on the BRP who wish to go to Scarsdale Village will need to exit at Harney Road and drive north to the Village.