Dog Bites, Mischief and Injured Officer: From the Scarsdale Police
- Category: Today's News
- Published on 21 July 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Mischief: A housekeeper reported that someone had damaged the shed that holds the garbage cans and thrown garbage around at the home where she works on Sheldrake Rd home on July 14th. She also found that the newspaper had been removed from the delivery bag and shredded. The damage did not appear to be the work of an animal.
Dog Bite: A Post Road woman reported that her dog, a Bejian Frise, was bitten twice by a black and white husky at George Field Park on the morning of 7/19. The woman was walking her dog when a man walking a husky approached them. At first the husky was friendly but soon began to bite the dog on its neck and hind leg. When she returned home she found small lacerations on her dog and took it to the vet.
Police found two wandering dogs at the intersection of Canterbury and Mamaroneck Road on the morning of 7/17. Police secured both dogs and contacted the owner, who lives behind the Middle School at Kelwynne and Birchall Roads. She explained that the dogs had escaped while she was riding her horse.
Gatehouse Road residents called the police on the afternoon of July 17 when they discovered a ground hog resting against their garage door. Police attempted to secure the animal but it ran away.
A White Plains woman reported that she had lost her purse during a visit to the Scarsdale Medical Group on Heathcote Road. She went to the doctor on the afternoon of 7/14 with her purse then returned home to realize it had been misplaced. The Medical Center was unable to locate it.
A guest at Quaker Ridge Country Club reported that her wallet had been stolen from a locker on July 20th. Her wallet and black Gucci purse were placed in a locker at 2:45, but were missing when she returned at around 4:15. The locker was not locked. Missing were the $600 wallet, $400 in cash and her American Express card.
An 86 year-old woman who suffers from dementia left her home at 6 am on Monday, July 21th. Police later found her at the corner of Popham and Depot Roads.
Anita Valdmane, a resident of the residential home Search for Change who was reported missing last week was located at St. John's hospital in Yonkers on 7/19. When a car was sent to transfer her to New York Presbyterian in White Plains it was discovered that she had checked herself out that morning and was at large again.
A Claremont Road woman found an iPhone at the intersection of Walworth Avenue and Claremont Road on the night of July 16th. She turned over the phone to police who were able to identify the owner and contact her.
Lightening Strike: Stonehouse Road residents reported that their home appeared to have been hit by lightening overnight on 7/15 – 7/16. Police found damage to the roof, the third floor, the lighting, tile and walls. There was debris all over the yard from the slate roof and drainage system.
On 7-16 a Garden Road man reported that his Chase Credit Card was missing and two unauthorized charges were made on the account. A $100 gift card from Apple as well as an iPhone 5s were purchased using the card and the items were sent to UPS in Elmsford where they were picked up. The man did not know how his card had been stolen.
Flooding was reported on July 15th at the following locations:
- Brewster Road between Huntington and Kingston Roads
- 149 Brewster Road
- Fox Meadow and Paddington Roads
Harassed: On 7/15, a Bell Road woman reported that she was being harassed by a Private Investigator who had been hired by her father-in-law. She spoke to the P.I. on the phone, saw him driving near her house and saw him again at Trader Joe's. She has an order of protection against her husband and there was no court order to hire a P.I.
Singing: Police got a call about a woman sitting in her car in the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center and yelling at 6 pm on July 15. They found the woman who claimed she was singing.
A Christie Place man called Police after he made a $45 donation to the "American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens" and then received another phone call from a police organization who said they had not received his donation. Police told him that multiple organizations are calling to solicit donations and that next time they call he should say "no thank you."
Police got a call from a Brookby Road who was disturbed about a phone he received from Heather Gray from the IRS. He called back the number and "Sebastian Casey" told him his account had been audited and he had not paid taxes for the last 10 years. Casey claimed that the Scarsdale man would be arrested within the hour. The man called his lawyer who contacted Casey. Casey called the lawyer "a piece of shit." He determined that the call was a fraud.
A woman called police on the afternoon of July 18th when another woman near the train station would not leave her alone. Police located the two who were in a verbal disagreement about clean environmental solutions. When police arrived the woman was walking away from the complainant.
A Meadow Road man called police on the afternoon of 7/19 to say that his garbage had not ben picked up in several days.
Officer Hit by Car: A Westchester County Police Officer who was helping a driver at the intersection of Mamaroneck Road and the Hutchinson River Parkway at 9:30 pm on Saturday night 7/19, was hit by another car driven by a 63 year-old woman from Massachusetts. He was taken to Westchester County Medical Center for treatment and reported to be in stable condition on Sunday.
Below is the press release from the Westchester County Police Department:
The Westchester County Police officer who was struck by a car Saturday night on the Hutchinson River Parkway remains hospitalized today in stable condition at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
The officer was struck outside his patrol vehicle about 9:30 p.m., while assisting a motorist whose car had broken down on the southbound side of the parkway near Mamaroneck Road in Scarsdale. The officer and his patrol car were struck after he had closed the right lane to create a safety zone for a tow truck that had arrived on the scene. The marked patrol car's emergency lights were activated at the time.
The driver of the vehicle that struck the officer – a 63-year-old Massachusetts woman -- was evaluated by county police and determined not to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No charges have been filed, although the investigation is continuing.
"We are grateful that the officer's injuries, though serious, are not life-threatening," said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "The incident is a reminder of the hazards that officers face while keeping our parkways safe."
Commissioner George N. Longworth reminded motorists to exercise caution and move to the adjacent lane of travel when they encounter emergency vehicles on the parkways.
Lou Turchiano of Yonker responded to an outstanding bench warrant from Scarsdale police on July 18th. He was released without bail and given a court date of 7-23.
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.
Vaping: Is the Latest Trend Among Teens Safe?
- Category: Parenting
- Published on 17 July 2014
- Written by Stacie M. Waldman
Have you heard your teenager mention hookah pens? How about vape pens, e-hookahs, hookah sticks, or e-pens? The action of smoking one is called "vaping."
Though they go by different names, they're one in the same. Hookah pens are slick, convenient, portable, colorful, flavorful e-cigarette-type devices becoming increasingly popular among pre-teens and teens. Cigarettes are known to be cancer causing and drugs are illegal, but teens of today are finding new ways to circumvent both the unhealthy and unacceptable with the use of hookah pens.
Why are teens drawn to hookah pens?
Hookah pens are marketed as being nicotine free if desired (unlike cigarettes and e-cigarettes) as well as tobacco and tar free. In other words, they are being marketed as safe. They are sold with different "juices" touted as containing only propylene glycol, glycerin, flavoring, and water; or the same ingredients that are in your salad dressings and shampoos. Flavors are tempting and seductive: cotton candy, mountain dew, sensual vanilla, chocolate candy bar, jungle juice, mocha latte, energy, and bubble gum among others. The pens are cheap, disposable, and don't need to be cleaned or maintained. Youtube videos show people doing tricks with the vapor created by heating, inhaling, then exhaling the pen juice in the vaporized form https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF3MgxtmyQQ. Companies that produce hookah pens have come up with savvy slogans and terms such as "live loud, make clouds," "make your own smoke art," "fresh, outdoor clouds," "sun filled clouds," "airbending," and "vape towers."
Are hookah pens safe?
The perception is that they are much safer than cigarettes and even risk-free due to the seemingly innocuous ingredients in them. They are being aggressively marketed this way as well. However, questions abound and they are not even recommended for smoking cessation purposes. Jon Ebbert, MD, Assistant Director of the Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center, told Science Daily, "...vaping creates a vapor cloud that resembles cigarette smoke. As of right now, there is no long-term safety data showing the impact of repeated inhalation of propylene glycol or glycerin on lung tissue."
Propylene glycol and glycerin, while common and shown to be safe in foods and beauty supplies, have not been extensively studied in humans in their inhaled forms. Hookah pens haven't been around long enough to be scientifically studied and they are essentially unregulated. Most pens are manufactured in China and there is limited quality control. Recourse (such as suing a company) would likely be limited if they are found to put your health at risk. Companies cite "a study" on their websites that showed that hookah pens were safe but the study has no citation, likely because the study was not published and/or publishable.
Is vaping addictive?
Nicotine-free hookah pens aren't likely to be addictive, but may be habit forming. According to a New York Times article published this past March, "...health officials worry that...[it]will lead to increased nicotine use and, possibly, prompt some people to graduate to cigarettes" http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/business/e-cigarettes-under-aliases-elude-the-authorities.html?_r=0. Is the hookah pen industry eluding lawmakers by promoting their nicotine-free hookah pens to teenagers with the thought that young "vapers" will eventually graduate to the more addictive nicotine-laced hookah pen juice? There is also a legitimate concern that refillable vape pens can be used to surreptitiously smoke more dangerous products with no incriminating odor.
Can you purchase them legally if you're below 18 years of age? How are they purchased?
That depends on where you try to purchase them. Hookah pens are often labeled as nicotine-free and tobacco-free and they are relatively new to the marketplace. It is unclear whether they are safe or dangerous. Therefore, many states and counties do not yet have laws around the sale and use of these devices. It is unclear whether your child would be sold a hookah pen at a store. One thing is clear, however. The hookah pen business on the internet is booming and it is very easy to purchase them online with discounts offered for bulk purchases. They're cheap- between $6-10 for the disposable pens and $20 and up for the non-disposable ones. Of note, one of the larger hookah pen manufacturers and distributors just received financing to the tune of $4.7 million in order to expand its presence across the United States http://finance.yahoo.com/news/newhere-premium-vapor-products-finalizes-190500264.html.
With funding like this and investors and celebrities picking up on the trend, expect that hookah pen use will only be increasing in our schools and in our area.
Have you heard of hookah pen use in Scarsdale? Share your thoughts below!
On the Job in Scarsdale: Superintendent Thomas Hagerman
- Category: People
- Published on 22 July 2014
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Scarsdale's newly installed Superintendent Dr. Thomas Hagerman started work three weeks ago and according to Board President Mary Beth Gose, he has not stopped since. He did however take a few minutes out of his day to speak to Scarsdale10583 about his transition to Scarsdale, first impressions, and plans for the upcoming year.
Hagerman, who comes to Scarsdale from Winnetka, Illinois didn't have the easiest time finding a place to live in Westchester. He quickly discovered it was a highly competitive real estate market, and after two failed attempts to buy a home decided to rent instead. He is however discovering some of the County's best features such as the walking trails at the Rockefeller Preserve and good restaurants nearby.
In order to get up to speed on the issues and his constituencies, Hagerman is holding one on one meetings with teachers, administrators, union leaders, past and present board members, leaders of community groups and parents to hear their views and their concerns. Armed with answers to a series of questions he is posing, he will formulate his ideas about what the district needs to do to move forward.
However, he says there are some issues that require immediate attention and rather than wait to address these in a 3-5 year strategic plan, he will "build the plane while flying it at the same time," and take on issues that should be addressed now.
When asked about his overall educational philosophy, Hagerman said that he comes from a "strongly progressive background." Quoting Carl Washburn a famed educator from Winnetka, he said he believes in educating "the whole child" and in teaching students how to take care of themselves on all levels, emotional, physical and intellectual. Recognizing that Scarsdale can be a very pressured place where good grades triumph over educational passion, Hagerman hinted that work on meeting children's emotional needs would be a part of his plan.
Hagerman was drawn to Scarsdale by the district's focus on 21st century education and innovation. He is excited by plans for the maker's space, design lab and learning commons and looks forward to working with the faculty and technology team on developing the curriculum for these new facilities. He is also impressed with a new course in the high school called City 2.0 in which students undertake "project based learning" and integrate public policy, urban planning and economics to solve a real world problem in New York involving, for example, water or open space. Once the projects are completed, students present their findings to a group of professional experts in the field.
Though he is impressed with innovation in Scarsdale he recognizes that the district's infrastructure needs an upgrade. He said that in comparison to his district in Winnetka, many of our facilities look "rough" and ready for renovation. He said the high school looks like "Hogwarts" and that we need to create an environment where kids can learn. He also cited the need for an upgrade to our technological capabilities to facilitate better communication between schools and parents and to enhance educational opportunities using new technologies. He would like to improve the district's website to include more information about the schools, increase transparency and use it to display all that the district has to offer to outsiders.
He recognized that one of the challenges in Scarsdale is maintaining seven rather small schools and staffing each one with support staff. He understands that Scarsdale values its neighborhood schools and personal relationships between parents, teachers and students but said that a network of small schools is costly in comparison to a middle school of 2,500 students that he headed up in Winnetka.
Hagerman arrived in Scarsdale just as a new contract with the teachers was finalized. One of the provisions of the contract is the formation of a committee to make a recommendation on whether or not to continue to welcome the children of Scarsdale faculty who live outside the district to attend Scarsdale schools. There are approximately 120 out-of-district children in the schools and the new contract calls for a study of this practice to determine whether or not this continues to be feasible. This an issue that has apparently caused some rancor among the teachers and will be discussed with the new Scarsdale Teacher's Association leadership, President David Wixted and Vice President Joe Vaughn.
Though Hagerman realizes that the endpoint of a Scarsdale education is admission to college, he said "there is a college for every student," and hoped that the focus here could be on igniting a passion for learning rather than admission to a brand name school. His passion and enthusiasm for education was evident – and if he can convey that to the faculty and students, he is sure to make a difference.
Goodbye Old House, Hello New House
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 15 July 2014
- Written by Jamie Kayam
Does it seem like more houses are getting demolished in Scarsdale than usual? Ever wonder what the process entails, who's swinging the proverbial wrecking ball and who's designing the new homes built in their place?
There can be some very good reasons to replace an older home. It's fairly common for age-related wear and tear to bring a property's value and attraction down, prompting developers and enterprising buyers to invest in new house construction, and smaller homes on larger lots can offer the potential of untapped value. Sometimes a current owner may just want a new house.
The details on this subject can seem endless, so to start, this article focuses mostly on the process of building a new home in Scarsdale. We hope it offers some clarifying perspectives for our neighbors.
Risk and Reward
Right now, the real estate market in Scarsdale is hot. Many listings move into contract fast and every month there are new homes scheduled for construction. But that wasn't always the case; the economics of turning a dime can get tricky:
One particular project in Greenacres took a developer nearly six years to conclude; a property was purchased and demolished in 2006 for $1,181,000 million, built new and listed for sale in 2010 at $3,150,000 and stood vacant until it sold in late 2012 for $2,235,000. Holding the house for six years cost about $210k in property taxes, and the reduced price was $915k less than the intended sale price. That would have left a balance of $844k to develop the property. If new construction cost 700k, that would leave a profit of $144k — over a six year period that's about $24k per year.
Yet developers continue to see dollar signs all over our town. In June this year a listed property in Heathcote was aggressively bid on by multiple parties, and in just 2 weeks went to contract above asking price — by a developer. The buyer stated he intends to keep his new purchase as a rental home for clients while he completes multiple other projects in Scarsdale.
Demolition to Construction
What does it take to get a new house built? I spoke with Liz Marrinan, Scarsdale's Village Planner, to get a broad overview of the entire process. Here are the simplified steps from demolition to new construction:
- Submit an application for demolition to the Committee of Historic Preservation (CHP). The CHP is tasked with reviewing all demolition requests that involve over 50% of a structure. A review is conducted of a home's historical significance and can potentially be denied a permit for a tear down. But, if approved, start polishing your wrecking ball!
- Hold on, there are a few exceptions — in some cases, the Planning Board must conduct a review of your application as well. They'll get involved if your property is located on designated wetlands or is one of Scarsdale's rare flag lots (these are houses located behind other houses with long driveways).
- Submit your new home designs to the Board of Architectural Reviews (BAR). The BAR requires that new construction plans are submitted by a licensed architect, and will be reviewed for aesthetic qualities and adherence to design regulations. Once approved, it's time to proceed to step 4, but don't worry, the BAR will meet with you again for landscaping design before you can move in.
- Submit your plans to the Building Department and the Engineering Department. First, Engineering will need to review and approve your plans for a stormwater permit, and then a building permit can be issued.
- Congratulations, you may now pass Go! But hold on, your project will be subjected to multiple inspections by the Building Department as you progress. So make sure you run a tight ship and comply with all regulations.
One of the most intimate aspects of new home construction involves presenting the design for approval.
I spoke with Jack Scott Miller, Chairman of Scarsdale's Board of Architectural Review, to get some additional insight into how the BAR conducts the process.
For full disclosure, please note that I'm an alternative member of the BAR (an active substitute), so I sometimes sit on the BAR and assist in conducting design reviews.
Jack referred me to the BAR's official mandate, which states: "The purpose of this chapter to preserve and promote the character and appearances and conserve the property values of the village."
The BAR tries its best to hold the line on quality designs as changes in the architectural landscape persist, but developers and property owners are tenaciously lobbying for what they want as well.
A huge part of BAR public hearings are neighbor's concerns. Residents often appear at meetings in groups, prepared to express their opposition to proposed projects. Complaints range from home designs being too large and driveways too long to new designs that contrast with the theme of a particular block and driveways that meet the road too close to other existing driveways.
Neighbors also bring complaints about rainwater running off from new home sites onto their properties, resulting in flooding issues, but that concern is dealt with by the Engineering Department.
Building Permit and Inspections:
To gain better insight into the actual process of building a new house, I reached out to Scarsdale's Building Department Director, Nunzio Pietrosanti. We discussed some of his experiences and concerns as new projects come into his office for oversight.
Under ideal circumstances, a project application is processed in about four weeks if all paperwork is in order and there's a minimum backlog of submissions at the office. Sometimes processing can take up to eight weeks. The Building Department tries to work closely with everyone who's submitting a project, and I found Nunzio's openness to be a reflection of the department's efforts to be accessible and user-friendly.
There are typically two types of entities who come to the department to get a project started; property developers who bring years of experience navigating the process and individual property owners trying their hand at house building for the first time. Applications with errors can get rejected, so if you're going it alone, consulting with professionals and taking the time to study village regulations can help expedite a complicated process.
The Building Department has a busy schedule. The process of inspecting a new house as it's being constructed can require up to 15 on-site inspections over a period of about a year, and there are currently 2 inspectors on staff to accommodate all reviews. Larger houses can take even longer.
Inspections range from analyzing foundations and load-bearing structures to plumbing and natural gas lines, as well as coordination with Con Edison for electrical lines, and conformity to approved design specifications. Additionally, the Engineering Department gets involved in the inspection of storm drain installations, as well as approving soil erosion and sediment control measures in order to issue a stormwater permit.
It's a delicate dance between developers, inspectors and third-party specialists all trying to meet deadlines and expectations of safety and quality.
Ready to move in?
In addition to all of the professionals employed by the village, there's also the team that's going to actually build your new house.
If you've ever marveled at how complicated a small bathroom renovation can get, just imagine the details involved with a house. And don't forget to include the bathrooms.
To start, you'll need a land surveyor, architect, foreman, foundation builder, craftsmen, bricklayers and masons, plumbers, electricians, roofers, asphalt pavers, and you're definitely going to need a landscape designer. Which direction will your house face, how will the sun shine on it? Solar panels or geothermal heating, or both? How many zones for the central A/C and radiators? Lighting fixtures, faucets, door knobs, dumpsters, port-a-potties, marble or granite — can we move in yet?
The details can seem endless, and there's an enormous amount of talent and skill involved. Considering it all, it's impressive to watch these houses go up in just one year.
NaMu Steakhouse: Traditional and Fusion Korean Food
- Category: Good to Eat
- Published on 14 July 2014
- Written by Bruce Wells
After many months of teasing, NaMu Steakhouse Korean Bar & Grill has opened on Spencer Place between Häagen-Dazs and DeCicco's, and it is well worth the wait. The atmosphere is modern and soothing with a contemporary soundtrack, real candles, soft lighting and Zen-like decorations. It is family owned and run, and it shows with attention to detail and wonderful service.
To start, our waitress offered kimchi, a spicy pickled cabbage dish, bean sprouts, spicy summer squash and pickled vegetables. All were excellent and made fresh every day. The pickled vegetables were spicy, with thin slices of Jalapeño peppers and a slightly sweet finish. The kimchi was not super-spicy, but had plenty of flavor. The bean sprouts were great and simple, our favorite if we had to pick just one. They have a full liquor license and a well-stocked bar with Korean selections as well as all the favorites and they are looking into offering local craft beer.
The Mandu beef dumplings were excellent; handmade and pan fried to a perfect brown and crispy exterior. The beef filling mixed with vegetables was flavorful and when dipped in the accompanying light soy sauce, were some of the best dumplings we have encountered.
While the menu is not extensive, it offers both traditional Korean dishes and fusion dishes. Two examples are Korean tacos with a variety of fillings, and an appetizer of pineapple, asparagus or rice cakes on a skewer wrapped in bacon. They have a good selection of seafood dishes featuring scallops, salmon, shrimp, calamari and mussels. Meats include beef, chicken and pork.
We tried the Donkatzu, a Japanese dish of lightly bread pork cutlets served with a homemade soy based sauce that was excellent. The Pork Bulgogi, ordered spicy and served with rice, was amazing. Served on a combination stone and steel hot plate, it stayed piping hot to the very end. The pork was thinly sliced and tender, mixed with rice, was perfectly balanced and a highlight of the meal.
We were also offered Korean iced citron tea, which was a perfect complement to the spicy food and refreshing on a hot summer night. Citron is citrus fruit similar to a lemon, and the drink is like American lemonade, but not nearly as sweet with a more subtle light flavor. It is said to be a good digestive aid and healthful for its high vitamin C content. Worth trying and it could easily become a favorite.
Overall, the food is excellent, freshly prepared and high quality. The service was good and the atmosphere was relaxing and soothing. A good value for the quality and service offered. Highly recommended.
13 Spencer Place
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Open Sun-Thurs 11am - 10pm, Fri & Sat 11am - 11pm