Encouraging Community Service

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BY ROSEANN SCHUYLER
In 2014, Croton United was formed by a group of volunteer residents who came together to work to improve our community. Community service is one of our core values and the people associated with Croton United are, not coincidentally, also long-time volunteers of other service organizations, such as the Croton Rotary, AYSO, CYO, the Croton Community Coalition and the Croton Caring Committee. We believe that volunteering in your community is an essential part of a healthy democratic society. Each and every time you volunteer you are, in essence, casting a vote in favor of the society in which you want to live.

Now that schools have reopened, I’m reminded of my years working as a high school social studies teacher.  One of the things I learned as a teacher is that the best, most effective and most engaging educational opportunities are those that allow students to learn through experience.

Each and every time you volunteer you are, in essence, casting a vote in favor of the society in which you want to live.

If elected, I would work with the village and the school district to establish an internship program to allow Croton students to work with our village boards and committees. Students win with expanded opportunities for community service; the village wins with added volunteers to assist our boards and committees, and the community wins with increased citizen engagement.

I agree with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that those engaged in community service “will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way.”

I hope to have your support in November.

Roseann Schuyler

 This is me with my first homeroom class. This picture was taken in September or October of 1988.

This is me with my first homeroom class. This picture was taken in September or October of 1988.

Meet Our Candidates

On behalf of Croton United I would like to invite you to the Meet Our Candidates event for the fall Board of Trustees election. The event will take place on September 7, from 7 to 10 p.m., at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Gotwald Parish Hall, 56 Cleveland Drive (at the circle). Everyone is welcome, no donation is required and light refreshments will be served.

Come meet Mayor Greg Schmidt, Deputy Mayor Bob Anderson and Trustee candidate Roseann Schuyler. This is a great opportunity to talk about village issues like the recent changes to the parking times in the lot next to Vassallo Park (the Merwyn Oak lot) that residents and business owners asked for; the current construction on Elliott Way, that will make it safer for people to walk and drive through that section of the road; or the potential acquisition of property on Route 129 for our DPW and Water Department. You may have questions about the new vape shop that’s opening or the proposed apartment complex on North Riverside Avenue.

You can also let us know how Greg, Bob and I have performed during our terms of office. We pride ourselves in listening to residents and working with them to resolve problems, but we know we aren’t perfect and we strive to improve.

We hope you can join us.

Ken Walsh
Chair, Croton United

A Personal Message From Mayor Schmidt

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Recent events in Charlottesville have caused pain and tragedy in our nation and in our community.

It was an organized group of racists who marched and murdered, and that is one of the most troubling aspects.

But organized bigotry and hate can be prevented, and that starts by recognizing that we are one community of Americans.

We can focus less on that which makes us different from each other and rather we can recall that which we have in common, for it is that commonality which unites us.

Hatred has always been within us. But we must not forget that love is also within us. If we as a community are to appeal to the better angels of our nature, then we as individuals must act on our nobler instincts.

To blame a politician or a mob for our decisions is to ignore the free will which we each possess. And in the exercise of that free will, we should not forget that we each on a daily basis struggle with the flaws in ourselves.

I have just been reading Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Written during the depths of national discord, the speech remains one of the greatest ever written.

Lincoln does not shy away from the repugnant moral rot at the heart of our nation's creation. He tells us that even if the slaughter of war must continue till every drop of blood drawn by the bondsman's lash must be paid for with a drop of blood drawn by the sword in battle, then we as a people have brought this upon ourselves.

But in the very next and concluding sentence, Lincoln tells us that we must have malice toward none and charity towards all if we are to bind the nation's wounds and achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves.

After 150 years, it is that last thought which inspires us today. We can bind up the wounds. We do not have to let hate win.

It is understandable and proper that we seek to hold accountable those who have perpetrated heinous acts of terror and murder. We are a nation of laws, and punishment is a part of our belief in the fundamental value of each member of our society. Punishment is necessary and justice must be done.

We should also remember that there is also a place for healing and for bringing out that light which is within even the most depraved member of our society. It is to that end that we, like Lincoln, look to a future which is different from the past.

We must not forget history; we must remember and learn from history.

Symbols which cause so much pain to so many of our fellow Americans are symbols of a past which warrants remembering with humility and solemn reflection.

Under the confederate flag, our fellow Americans were lynched. Under the nazi flag, millions of our fellow human beings were brutalized and thrown into the gas chambers.

Such symbols may be lawfully displayed, but the real question before us is whether it is moral to celebrate banners under which such unspeakable acts have been perpetrated against our fellow man.

Each of us must today look at our own conscience and answer that question.

For those of us who are parents, we have a special responsibility to guide our children as they find their moral compass. I as Mayor cannot do that, only each of you as parents can do that.

In our own time, we have seen firsthand the example of Nelson Mandela. If ever there was a justifiable reason to seek vengeance, Mandela had reason.

Yet when given the opportunity, Nelson Mandela invited his former racist captors to join with him and build a future together free of the apartheid history which had caused so much suffering.

He was harshly criticized for this, but he replied that "People will feel I see too much good in people.... whether it is so or not, it is something which I think is profitable. It's a good thing to assume, to act on the basis that... others are men of integrity and honor... because you tend to attract integrity and honor if that is how you regard those with whom you work."

Lincoln and Mandela were exceptional human beings. But each of us can aspire to be better than we are, and together we can create a community and a nation of which our children and grandchildren can be proud.

We can build that future, starting today and starting in Croton. Speak to your children, and speak to your neighbors, with tolerance and love. Let us each be an example to our family and our community.

Dr. Gregory Schmidt
Mayor, Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Why I'm Running for Croton Village Trustee

This letter appears in this week's issue of the Gazette.

To the Editor:
Many times over the last decade I have written letters to this newspaper to discuss a variety of village issues. In this letter, however, I wish to introduce myself to the residents of Croton as a candidate for Village Trustee this November. I am running with Greg Schmidt and Bob Anderson with Croton United.

I have been a resident of the village since 2004, and a local business owner since 2011. My husband and I own a law practice in Croton, and our children attend Croton schools. I have always believed that it is important to be more than a bystander in one’s community, and as such, have served in various volunteer positions over the last thirteen years, on the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, on the parent committee and advisory board of Circle School, as a Destination Imagination team manager and as a member of the Rotary Club of Croton on Hudson.

In 2014, I helped found Croton United, a nonpartisan coalition, with several other residents of various political affiliations (for the last twenty years, I have been a non-party aligned voter). We were brought together out of concern for our community and a commitment to core values such as good fiscal stewardship of the village, openness in government and service to the community. I served as Croton United’s first chair until my nomination for office recently, and in so doing, successfully brought together residents who, while expressing sharp ideological differences on matters of state and federal policy, nonetheless found common ground by embracing the principle that partisan politics is counterproductive at the most local level of government. The members of Croton United, myself included, are motivated by the desire to give service to our community, and not by the desire to advance individual or organizational political agendas.

If elected, I will draw upon the breadth of my experience—as a resident, a homeowner, a local business owner, a mother, a teacher, a lawyer and a lifelong community activist—to move our community forward responsibly for all residents.

While there are a number of challenges facing our community, I think none is more important than the need to prioritize responsible, long-term financial planning in all of our public policy decisions. Unlike some neighboring communities, the village no longer has large tracts of lands whose development represent the potential expansion of our commercial or residential tax base. In the current climate of steadily rising costs and unfunded mandates, it is more important than ever that we find ways to maintain and improve the quality of life for all residents while ensuring the village’s continued financial sustainability. To help us do so, Croton United’s elected leaders have leveraged the expertise of village residents who have given service to the community on the village’s newly formed Financial Sustainability Committee. Sound financial planning for our collective future has begun but more needs to be done, and will be done if I am elected.

It is also vital that we remain able to come together as a community to fashion practical, locally-focused and community driven solutions to village issues. To do so, we must remain able to see each other as neighbors and fellow stakeholders in the community we all call home. All voices need to be heard if we are to deliver the message that we care about each other. I want to encourage volunteerism and participation in local government. I want to make residents feel that when they give, they make a difference.

If elected, I will draw upon the breadth of my experience—as a resident, a homeowner, a local business owner, a mother, a teacher, a lawyer and a lifelong community activist—to move our community forward responsibly for all residents. I look forward to speaking with many of you during my campaign and thank you for your support.

A New Chair for Croton United

Since our long-time Chair, Roseann Schuyler, is joining Greg Schmidt and Bob Anderson and running for Trustee, Ken Walsh is taking over as Chair of Croton United. “I’m proud to be working with such an experienced team,” he said. “Together, we can continue to reach out and listen to Croton residents, business owners, committees and organizations so we can implement solutions that continue to make our Village a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”