Former Village Manager Al Gatta Urges You to Support SVAC
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 465
The following letter was writeen by Al Gatta, former Scarsdale Village Manager
To the Editor,
A short note to the residents of Scarsdale and its elected officials.
I have managed five municipalities in the country over the last 45 years, the last of which was 20 years in Scarsdale. In every year and every jurisdiction, I dealt with the most complicated, confounding, life/death, complex, intriguing, interesting matters and issues imaginable. A critical item and service that seldom is recognized, overlooked or taken for granted is Emergency Medical Services.
Until I worked in Scarsdale, I never truly realized the critical importance of EMS. Looking back, I am struck by how truly fortunate Scarsdale is to be served by Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps. (SVAC) The relationship is effective and rewarding for all residents and officials, but many times not fully understood by many people.
SVAC and the Village have a unique and rewarding relationship that has benefited the community for decades by providing the most modern, advanced, enlightened emergency medical services of any place in the country.
SVAC has initiated its annual fundraising effort and I ask that residents, merchants and others donate to this appeal. We depend on the generosity of Scarsdale volunteers, village government and residents to continue to contribute to maintain one of the best Emergency Medical Services in the country.
Please make a contribution.
Alfred A. Gatta
Former Village Manager of Scarsdale
Alfred A. Gatta
33 Jared Drive
White Plains, NY 10605
November 2, 2021
Letter from Amy Paulin: It's Time to Stop the Suffering
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 886
The following was submitted by State Assemblymember Amy PaulinThe horrific suffering I witnessed my sister endure at the end of her life is something that will remain with me every day for the rest of my life. It was one of the reasons I decided to introduce the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act, which allows terminally ill adults with a confirmed prognosis of six months or less to live to take medication prescribed by a doctor to end their lives peacefully and with dignity. Just as I strongly support legislation that gives compassion and fairness in life, I support this bill which would give terminally ill people that same compassion and fairness when it comes to their death.
Medical aid in dying is currently legal in 10 states, including New Jersey. Even in these states, it’s only available in a narrow set of circumstances: you must be 18 or older, have an incurable and irreversible illness or disease, have a prognosis of six months or less to live confirmed by two doctors, be mentally capable, make the request both verbally and in writing, and be able to self-ingest the medication.
There is a quarter-century of history and data on medical aid in dying since the first law took effect in Oregon in 1997. We know from that data that very few dying patients request a prescription and about one-third of patients who request the prescription never take it. But we also know that for many of them, having the prescription – or just knowing it was available – provided them with the peace of mind they were seeking as they faced the end of life.
Since introducing this bill I’ve heard gut-wrenching stories from countless New Yorkers about how their loved ones were forced to endure horrible deaths. No one should be forced to needlessly suffer, or have to watch their child, parent, spouse, or sibling suffer as they die, wishing they could just close their eyes and pass away peacefully. New Yorkers should have an option and across-the-board overwhelmingly support medical aid in dying. A recent Marist College poll showed New York voters support medical aid in dying, 59-37 percent, with support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents, upstaters and downstaters, white New Yorkers and New Yorkers of color.
New York doctors overwhelmingly support the medical aid in dying bill. The New York Academy of Family Physicians said, “Supporting the authorization of medical aid in dying is commensurate with the Family Physician’s desire to empower our patients not only in their pursuit of wellness, their management of chronic disease, but also the alleviation of suffering when faced with a terminal illness.” The Medical Aid in Dying Act is also supported by the League of Women Voters of New York State, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York State Public Health Association, StateWide Senior Action Council, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, NOW-NY, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Harlem United, Latino Commission on AIDS, and the WESPAC Foundation, among many others.
The Medical Aid in Dying Act is supported by New York doctors and New Yorkers because it provides a compassionate and dignified option to those suffering horribly as they approach their inevitable death.
Now is the time. New Yorkers have endured enough suffering. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to pass this law in 2022 and give dying New Yorkers a compassionate end-of-life care option.
Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) is the prime sponsor of the Medical Aid in Dying Act in the New York State Assembly, along with over 50 co-sponsors.
Girls Tennis Team Undefeated: Onto the Sectionals
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 785
The Scarsdale Girls Varsity A scored another fast victory at home on Tuesday October 5 at a make-up match against Ursuline. As the Scarsdale B team needed the courts for a home match as well, the coaches agreed to play one eight game pro set rather than the usual three set matches.
The Raiders, who are undefeated for the season were on an off the court in a flash. Playing first singles for the team, Natalie Hu served ace after ace. Her opponent often watched in awe. Hu barely dropped a point the entire eight games, and was the first to finish, 8-0.
Freshman Giana Marks also overpowered her opponent. With daunting serves and deep ground strokes to the baseline she secured an 8-1 victory. Playing third singles, Maya Cukierman also had a smooth win at 8-3.
In fact, Ursulines two singles players had paired up to play first doubles, so that match proved to be a bit more challenging for the Raiders. However, the talented team of Campbell Alin and Laura Mendez prevailed, 8-3. The well oiled second doubles team of Maya Vora and Yelena Sahakyan prevailed with an 8-1 victory, and the third and fourth doubles teams followed suit, winning 8-4 and 8-1.
Commenting on the team’s stellar season, Coach Jennifer Roane said, “With so many new players this year I wasn’t sure what to expect. What a happy surprise…. and they are nice kids too!
The team will send three singles players and two doubles teams to the sectional tournament at Harrison High School this coming weekend. On Thursday October 14, the entire team will play in the first round of the regional tournament at home.
Following the match, Giana Marks showed off team mascot Ace the Bear who was sporting a Wilson tennis bag with a mini racquet inside. He’s been with the team since 2019.
Scarsdale Public Library Receives Award for Furthering Employment for the Disabled
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 692
In honor of the 2021 National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, “Powered by Inclusion,” the Scarsdale Public Library was selected to receive a regional award honoring their contribution in furthering employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. SPL was nominated by ACCESS-VR, a member of the Westchester Employment Network, a consortium of agencies who work together to promote the employment of people with disabilities. Each year, they recognize select businesses that have incorporated the talent of persons with disabilities by making them part of our workforce.
As part of her testimonial, Library Director Elizabeth Bermel said, “One of the Library’s goals is inclusivity and access for people of all backgrounds and abilities, and we strive to achieve this in our employment practices as well as our programs and services.”
Marcus Renna, Library Clerk, stated, “Working at the Scarsdale Public Library has been a truly wonderful experience. You are given equal opportunity as everybody else in the workforce, and can’t help but want to continue to learn and grow. You are taught the same methods and skills as everybody else and are never made to feel different or less than.”
“Marcus’ love of learning, friendly, approachable demeanor and willingness to assist in any way possible makes him an outstanding employee. Marcus has played a key role as we reinvent ourselves in our newly renovated building and new ways of serving the public.”
The Scarsdale Public Library was recognized at a virtual awards event on Friday, October 8th.
Broadway is Back! Are you Going? Reader Survey Results and More
- Written by Stacie M. Waldman
- Hits: 1101
March 12, 2020 marked the darkest day in Broadway history. The COVID-19 pandemic hit and Times Square emptied out as theatres went dark and shut their doors for what was originally mandated to be three weeks. As a result, almost 100,000 people were immediately out of work. It was a huge loss for Broadway fans and employees that turned into an 18-month closure.
This month, Times Square came alive again the weekend of September 17-19 to celebrate the curtains going back up in NYC theaters. Representatives from The Broadway League and the Times Square Alliance spoke about the plan for reopening Broadway and casts from both established and new shows performed including Phantom of the Opera (four phantoms sang together), Dear Evan Hansen (four Evan Hansens performed together), Tina, Mrs. Doubtfire, Ain’t too Proud, Aladdin, The Lion King, Caroline, or Change, Company, Chicken and Biscuits, Chicago, Come from Away, Diana, Hadestown, Girl from the North Country, Jagged Little Pill, Lackawanna Blues, Pass Over, Six, Thoughts of a Colored Man, Wicked, and more.
Broadway is back with plenty of free concerts, sold out shows, a Tony Award ceremony, and strict yet easily manageable safety protocols that aim to keep audiences, artists and staff safe.
What stuck with me from the September 19 Curtain Up! concert wasn’t a performance, but a plea from Hunter Parrish from the original cast of Spring Awakening and from “Weeds” (HBO) fame. He is rehearsing with a new cast for the return of To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway, and said, “…there’s one character missing, and it’s you.” The audience.
So, what will it take for YOU to be back in a theater?
Here’s what a survey of Scarsdale locals revealed:
Scarsdale is a cultured village, and 87.5% counted yourselves as regular pre-pandemic patrons of Broadway. Close to 10% have already been to one of the 15 shows that have reopened and another 10% are going to a show in the next month. Almost 30% of respondents plan to see a show in the next three months and 20% more by early 2022. However, a little under one-third of those surveyed do not plan to be in a theatre in the near future. Why? Reasons include brining COVID home to unvaccinated kids, concerns about people removing masks and a complaint about having to wear a mask inside if you are vaccinated.
According to the Broadway League, all 41 Broadway theatres in New York City will require proof of vaccination for those over 12 years of age and proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours (or within 6 hours for a rapid test) for those under 12 or those exempt due to a medical condition. Proof can be shown with the actual card, the Excelsior pass, or a photo of your vaccination card. Masks must be worn in the theatre at all times, except while eating or drinking in designated areas.
Scarsdale’s response? A solid 72% of people do feel comfortable with these rules and 28% do not feel safe and are not ready to be back in a theatre.
Real World Experience
In order to assess the experience, I attended Come From Away. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m here to report that I felt extremely safe and believe that theatre is one of the safer inside places to go during the pandemic. Here’s why:
Even though there was a downpour of rain, a COVID-safety officer was outside checking vaccine cards (or test results). My son, age 11, was PCR-tested the day before and there are rapid test stations all over Times Square so it’s simple to get a test right outside the theatre. Several people responded that they would not go to a show until the entire audience, including kids, is vaccinated, but I was reminded that my son goes to school every day with hundreds of children that are not vaccinated due to age. He plays soccer and he went to day camps, and most places we go don’t consist of mostly vaccinated and fully masked adults.
Remarkably, every single person in the theatre that I could see had a mask on and was wearing it properly. Masks stayed on. Those attending Broadway shows now tend to be people who want to see more Broadway shows open and stay open and are motivated to do their part. The vaccine mandate assures that you’re not surrounded by anti-vaxxers and the mask mandate assures that you’re not surrounded by anti-maskers. Ushers WILL escort you out of the theatre if you remove your mask. We had box seats so we had a beautiful view of a fully masked audience; this also allowed us to be socially distanced.
What’s Open Now? What’s on the Horizon?
New York Theatre Guide is a good source for what’s playing now and what is opening soon. There are currently 15 Broadway shows open and 28 will be in action by the end of October. 37 out of 41 Broadway houses will be in operation before the end of the year. There are also a number of off-Broadway shows that are worth checking out and can be found on the same site.
Back to Broadway
Being back in a theatre was emotional for me. You can feel the appreciation the performers have for the audience that took the leap to come back to Broadway. The ushers are happy to greet you and even the staff in the ticket booth, who might be notorious for quotes such as, “Are ya getting a ticket there’s a line of people do you know what you want if not come back please bye,” have been so thankful for a ticket purchase.
In the play Come From Away the pilot, Beverly Bass, was ready to fly again after 9/11 but realized that passengers weren’t when she returned to an empty airport. She thanked each person she passed on the way to her flight for getting back on an airplane. That’s what it felt like to be back in theatre. It took a leap of faith to buy that first ticket, but once we were in our seats and the first performer came out on stage, applause erupted and it felt great, it felt right and it felt safe.
Also worth noting is safety and crime. In NYC. I have been in the city (including commuting in on Metro North and using the subway) and I feel safe traveling by myself, including at night. Times Square is as busy as ever and most restaurants are open for business. Many restaurants have extensive outdoor dining options (good-bye wide sidewalks and street parking) and heated spaces. Restaurant Row on West 46th is quite a scene these days with large outdoor dining structures. Some restaurants are offering Back to Broadway specials. Bringing the kids? Bareburger has $10 off $30 when show of your theatre ticket and they have legendary Brussels sprouts, by the way.