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zach1Soon to be senior at Scarsdale High School Zach Hoexter has undertaken an ambitious project to bring books to children in South Africa. Last summer, as a volunteer in South Africa, he witness first-hand witn pit toilets, poor conditions ... and no libraries. When he returned home he was inspired to send children’s books donated by families in the United States to elementary schools near Kruger in South Africa where many schools have no libraries.

Using social media he has already collected 1,500 books for Books for South Africa and donations continue to arrive daily. Undaunted by the challenge of shipping them overseas, Zach went through a lengthy application and approval process, and secured shipping from a major international shipping corporation who will deliver the books from New York to South Africa. Moreover, he’s excited to report that the company has invited him to a special event this week to meet their Global CEO and deliver a speech.

The issue is timely. The New York Times published a front-page article on zach3August 5th highlighting the mass corruption plaguing South African primary schools. It discusses exactly what Zach witnessed during his volunteer service there. South Africa has one of the lowest literacy rates of developing countries and less than 5% of the school in and around Kruger National Park have a library. He is working with a local organization in South Africa that is helping to improve literacy for these schools and the books he collected will stock a library for the Mphaku School in Kruger and possibly other primary schools in that area.

If you have books for children ages 5-13 that you would like to donate, click on the Go Fund Me link for instructions. https://www.gofundme.com/books-for-south-africa.

ZachAfrica

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HandsUpThe Procedure Committee, the ad hoc committee of volunteers who administer the village nonpartisan election system, invites Scarsdale residents to run for election to the Citizens Nominating Committee (“CNC”). Members of the CNC play a direct role in interviewing, evaluating and selecting candidates who will be on the ballot for village elected offices, under the banner of the Scarsdale Citizens Non-Partisan Party in the March 19, 2019 general election.

The CNC plans to meet 5 or 6 times on Monday and/or Wednesday weekday evenings in November, December and January to nominate candidates for the positions of Mayor, three Trustees and Village Justice. The CNC meeting dates for 2018-2019 are: Monday, November 26 (organization meeting); Wednesday, December 12; Wednesday, December 19, Wednesday, January 9, Wednesday, January 16, and if necessary, Wednesday, January 23.

CNC members serve staggered three-year terms followed by one year on the Procedure Committee. A candidate for the CNC must be a qualified voter (U.S. citizen and 18 years of age or older), and a resident of Scarsdale for at least two years. A CNC candidate may not simultaneously be a member of the Procedure Committee, the School Board Nominating Committee, the School Board Administrative Committee, the Scarsdale School Board or the Village Board of Trustees.

Residents in each of the five elementary school districts (Edgewood, Fox Meadow, Greenacres, Heathcote and Quaker Ridge) typically run for two available positions on the CNC in their districts. This year, there is an additional position for a one-year term to fill a vacancy in Edgewood. Candidates will need to file a short biographical sketch and a Nominating Petition with 10 signatures of registered voters from their district. Forms and filing instructions for both may be downloaded from the Procedure Committee website at www.scarsdaleprocedurecommittee.org. A FAQ sheet about the non-partisan system can also be found on the website.

The deadline for filing both forms is Sunday September 30. After this date, additional candidates will be accepted only if there are fewer than two candidates for each position in that school district. The CNC election will be held at Village Hall on Tuesday November 13, 2018 at 7-10 am and 2-9 pm.

For help in filing or for more information, potential candidates are welcome to contact the Chair of the Procedure Committee, Madelaine Eppenstein, Fox Meadow, at meppenstein@eppenstein.com and 914-262-6656, or Vice Chair Eric Cheng, Edgewood, at chengchoi@optonline.net, or one of the current Procedure Committee members. They are: from Edgewood, Eli Mattioli, David Peck and Richard Pinto; from Fox Meadow, Timothy Foley, Mayra Kirkendall-Rodríguez, Pam Rubin, Jill Spielberg and Bruce Wells; from Greenacres, Michelle Sterling; from Heathcote, Charles Baltman, Sara Bell, Jeff Goodwin and Greg Soldatenko; and from Quaker Ridge, David Dembitzer and Nancy Steinberg.

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8 Overlookfront(Updated July 11, 2018)  After being denied permission to tear it down, the owners of a Mid-century Modern home at 8 Overlook Road in Scarsdale have put the house back on the market.
The home was purchased in May 2018 for $2.97 mm and an application was filed to the Committee for Historic Preservation (CHP) to tear it down.

At their May 29 meeting the CHP denied the application and the house is now back on the market for $2,990,000. The 3,317 square foot home has 3 bedrooms, 4 baths and sits on .95 acres with a 45 X 15 foot swimming pool.

This was the first meeting of the Committee for Historic Preservation since a change in the criteria for preservation was enacted. The prior code was even stricter than the national code for historic preservation and said, “That the building is the work of a master AND That the building embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction that possess high artistic value.” Under the new code, the AND has been changed to an OR so that as long as one of these criteria is met, the house can be preserved.

The home at 8 Overlook Road was designed by Edgar A. Tafel, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, for Jacob J. Alpern, an owner of Grand Iron Works, one of the largest fabricators and erectors of structural steel in New TafelTafel's rendering of 8 Overlook Road as shown in The Herald StatesmanYork. It was later purchased by the Ottinger family. Richard Ottinger grew up in the house and went on to serve six terms in the U.S. Congress, to found the Peace Corps and to become the Dean of Pace Law School.

The application to raze the home was filed by current owners Josh Kaufman and Nicole Israel who were represented at the May 29, 2018 hearing by their architect Chris Kitterman of Deborah Berke Partners, an architectural firm based in Manhattan. Kitterman noted that Tafel was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and had built other homes in Larchmont, Bedford, Greenwich and Ridgefield. This house is the only example of Tafel’s work in Scarsdale. In addition, Tafel designed churches, including the First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in New York along with a chapel at JFK airport as well as a fine arts building at SUNY.

When committee members asked Kitterman if he thought Tafel was a master, Kitterman argued that Tafel was a disciple of Wright and said, “Just because we learn about an architect in school, it does not mean he is a master.”

The committee received many letter supporting preservation of the home, some offering evidence that Tafel was indeed a master.

A group called do_co, mo.mo_us, which stands for Documentation and Conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhood of the Modern Movement, sent a letter about the house to Adam Lindenbaum, the Chair of the Committee for Historic Preservation in May before the CHP meeting. In the letter, the group’s president, John Shreve Arbuckle said the following about Tafel and 8 Overlook Road:

“Tafel, who passed away in early 2011 at the age of 98, was the last survivor of Wright’s original Taliesin Fellowship team, and he was among the most prominent. Working with Wright and fellow apprentices from 1932 to 1941, he played key roles in the creation of such iconic structures as Fallingwater and the administration building for Johnson Wax in Racine, WI. After serving in the war, Tafel opened an office in New York City.

This house, completed in 1950, was among the earliest of his post-Wright commissions. It embodies distinctive design attributes of his residential work: modesty, practicality, and an intimate relationship with the landscape. Tafel was particularly attuned to the needs and rhythms of modern family life, which are reflected in his compact floor plans and built-in cabinetry. The house’s dipping eaves, cypress, and the continuation of exterior masonry as an interior finish are signature details of Tafel’s early residences.

Additionally, the design clearly reflects the influence of Tafel’s mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was sensitively restored by architect Linda Yowell for a prior owner.

It is rare to have a Modern Movement residence retain such design integrity. For the sake of preserving our region’s finite architectural heritage for the next generation, we respectfully urge your committee to use the full extent of your authority to prevent the unnecessary loss of this house.”

columbiaFrom the Edgar A. Tafel Archive at Columbia UniversityThe committee also received a letter in support of preservation from architect Linda Yowell who designed renovations to the house in the late 1990’s. She wrote that when the renovation was complete, she invited Tafel to see the house and in her words, “the house embodies the best elements of Tafel’s residential designs.” She also noted that there is a Tafel Hall at the Center for Architecture in New York
and at the Department of Architecture at the University of Illinois. Tafel was also instrumental in saving Wright’s house in Minnesota.

The house is also called out in the Edgar A. Tafel Archive at Columbia University. According to the archive, “Tafel was an apprentice at Taliesin from 1932 to 1941, after which he began his own architectural practice. There is evidence of a few of Tafel’s early residential projects from the early 1950s in the archive which survive in the slides, photographs, and in some files and drawings.”

Historian Andrew Dolkhart, who authored the 2012 Cultural Resources Survey of Scarsdale also 8OverlookFrom the 2012 Cultural Resources Surveyrecommended that it receive historic designation. In his report he said this about 8 Overlook Road: “Designed by prominent Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Edgar Tafel, this Mid-century Modern house has a horizontal profile, typical of Wrightian design, accented by the use of long thin Roman bricks. The house also has a hip roof and overhanging eaves. There is a prominent garage and a front entry set back from the street.

At the hearing, several neighbors spoke in defense of the house, one who said, “It would be a travesty to knock this down. The purpose of this new committee is to have some teeth and give some fight back to the community. If someone assumes they can buy a house and knock it down, there is no historic preservation.”

Jack Miller, a former Chair of the Board of Architectural attended the hearing and made an impassioned appeal to preserve the house. He brought Tafel’s books that are used when students learn about Frank Lloyd Wright and said, “These books are gospel.” He called the house “a timeless piece of art,” and an example of the magical results of a gifted architect and a willing client. To the members of the CHP he said, “This is the reason why you are here … This house is special…..I don’t understand why anyone would buy this without a contingency that it could be demolished. I am almost speechless.”

Committee member Lauren Bender said this house “embodies the distinctive characteristics of Mid-century Modern and Frank Llolyds Wright’s Usonian style and Prairie style – this is one of those seminal homes. It was built in 1950 and embodies 1950’s architecture.

The committee voted unanimously to deny the application for demolition finding that the home was the work of a master, which is defined as “A figure of generally recognized greatness in a field, a known craftsman of consummate skill.” They also believe it satisfies another criteria, that “the building embodies the distinctive characteristic of a type, period or method of construction that possess high artistic value.” However, the focus of their decision was Tafel’s “importance in the architectural history in the United States and of the Mid-20th Century period, and the particular integrity of the property’s design and construction as situated in the Fox Meadow neighborhood of Scarsdale.”

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swimmersMichael Zeller, Amanda Rachlin, Doug Rachlin, Joe Kaufman, Joel Talish, Carol Wolfe, Eldad Blaustein, Josh Glantz, John NeedhamNext week, on July 28, more than a dozen Scarsdale residents will take part in the 26th annual Long Island Sound Swim to raise money for cancer research and treatment. As part of Swim Across America, the Long Island Sound Swim has raised more than $10 million over the past 25 years benefiting immunotherapy research at the Swim Across America Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, pediatric oncology research at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and patient services with Cancer Support Team.

The Scarsdale residents participating this year include Joe Kaufman, Joel Talish, Josh Glantz, Noah Glantz, Eldad Blaustein, Patrick Bates, John Needham, Dan Needham, Doug Rachlin, Amanda Rachlin, Miles Rubin, Noonie Thompson, Jeannine Palermo, Carol Wolfe, Michael Zeller, Peter Doyle, and Chip Rich. They will be joined by kayakers Jeff Malsch, Joe Losardo, and Mitch Kulick.

Each year, the takes a name in memory or honor of someone close to our team who has lost their life to cancer or is currently fighting it. We hope that one year, we will fail to have a name. While sadly this is not that year, we're grateful to be swimming in honor of a friend and Scarsdale neighbor.

This year, the team is swimming as “Team Valerie” in honor of Valerie Narins Malsch. Her husband, Jeff, has accompanied the team in prior years as a kayaker and will do so again this year. Valerie, a lifelong Scarsdale resident and mother of four, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in April 2017. Multiple Myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Following her diagnosis, Valerie has undergone chemotherapy, immunotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, which required a three-week hospital stay and two additional months of very limited interactions with friends due to a severely compromised immune system. In May, Valerie’s blood tests and bone marrow biopsy results showed no detectable cancer, and she is currently considered in complete response. Still, she will continue to take a maintenance drug cocktail for the foreseeable future. Valerie feels and looks great, especially with her current GI Jane hairstyle, and Team Valerie is motivated by her fighting spirit to swim on her behalf.

Please consider supporting Team Valerie by clicking here: Donate to Team Valerie.

malschThe Malsch Family

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choiceScarsdale Middle School’s CHOICE program has often been celebrated for its inherently unique and independent nature. Yet a few months ago, the district announced that the CHOICE program would be moving into the interior of the middle school. Although the program will be moving merely a couple hundred feet, the implications on the student body are sure to run deeper.

CHOICE has been based in a former estate carriage house on the outskirts of the main middle school building for years. However the building is nearly 100 years old and is no longer compliant with ADA standards. The building also lacks a bathroom, so students regularly have to leave CHOICE to find a bathroom in the main building. If the CHOICE program were to continue as usual, the district would be faced with extremely expensive repairs and upgrades to the building.

In lieu of these repairs, the district chose to move CHOICE into two connected classrooms (the seventh grade health room and the speech room) and the Makerspace in the lower center.

There are many reservations about CHOICE’s move. “A big thing all Choice students are concerned with is having a space they feel like is their own. When we were in a separate building that was easy to accomplish. That will be the most difficult part to replicate when we move to the main building,” said Cynthia Parrott, CHOICE’S math teacher and Teacher-in-Charge.

Seventh grader Harrison Lambert commented that at first, many students felt confused and upset over the change. “The CHOICE building feels like our home now… you can tell how relaxed and used to the building that everyone is, and it’s sad to leave,” said Lambert.

However, the move will certainly bring many social and educational benefits for the students in CHOICE.

Lambert noted that better integrating CHOICE into the main building would help with the social transition to high school. “In the eighth grade, many of the kids say that ‘I’m moving into the high school and I’m not that good friends with people in the main building’ … it’s important for us to make stronger connections with the people in the building because if you’re only friends with the other 23 people in CHOICE, then there’s not even that good of a chance that you’ll get into many of the same classes as them in high school,’” said Lambert.

CHOICE will takeover the current makerspace --a newly finished technology room: filled with computers, iPads, laptops, soldering irons, and other technology tools. Given CHOICE’s emphasis on hands-on learning as well as science and math, further access to this space will prove invaluable.

Having all CHOICE classrooms in such close proximity to each other will enable the teachers to maintain the program’s close-knit community. The district is also in the process of planning a removable wall between the two classrooms CHOICE plans to take over “so we can have a large space for full group experiences that happen almost daily,” said Parrott.

New furniture and equipment has already been ordered to suit the needs of CHOICE’s unique Science and Humanities programs, and other renovation ideas are still in the process of being discussed. Parrott noted that many of these renovation suggestions came directly from students: a true testament to the collaborative environment within CHOICE. “Between the Choice students and the staff, we have some great ideas to make the space fit the program so much more effectively than our current small building does,” said Parrott.

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