The Town is getting ready to leave for a three day weekend in honor of President's Day, and before I tell you about our week, I want to share some interesting events related to presidents and our local history.
I would also encourage you to check out the Gallery outside the Budarz Theater at the Ossining Public Library for a peek at "Me and My Presidents," a collection of presidential memorabilia compiled by local history buff William Reynolds. Although the installation runs through February 28th, the Library will host an Opening Reception on Sunday, February 19th between 2 and 4PM, light refreshments will be served.
This past Monday, my office spoke with Superintendent of Recreation Chris Soi and our Parks Foreman Mario Velardo to continue planning the grand re-opening of the Shine House in Cedar Lane Park. Just in case you haven't been following along, this is a project that has been going on for many years. Longtime residents may remember when the Town of Ossining, under Supervisor John Chervokas, purchased the land that is now Cedar Lane Park from the 52 Association, an initiative that more than doubled our acreage of parkland while also becoming one of the area's most beloved open spaces. When the Town purchased the property, the area that is now the Organic Community Garden was instead an in-ground swimming pool, and the Shine House served as the pool house. The pool was dealt a fatal blow in Hurricane Floyd and was demolished, but the pool house remained and, as it was not being regularly used, it began to deteriorate. Seeing a unique opportunity to add to our recreational facilities, previous Town Boards began to rehab the Shine House, with the majority of the labor being done with by our talented Parks staff. (I stopped by earlier today to check on the progress and found Mario and Juan hard at work, taking care of last minute touches. As you can see, the finishes are looking very nice. They stopped for a few minutes to show us around and pose for this quick photo.)
With that brief look back into history as perspective, I am sure you can appreciate why we are so very proud to announce the grand re-opening celebration, which is scheduled for Friday, April 21st. Our hope is to offer tours of the building, while also offering a program for children and adults to introduce them to our new pottery studio and flex space, and possibly also kicking off Mind, Body, Spirit-Ossining for the 2017 Spring/Summer season (speaking of which, have you filled out our survey yet?) We will also, very shortly, be calling for entries for a contest in which the winner will be producing a one-of-a-kind art piece to be mounted in the Shine House entry and welcome everyone to the building. So, consider this your invitation! We will have more details in the coming weeks, and we can't wait to see you at the Shine House!
On Tuesday, the Town Board had a short morning meeting to pay our bills and conduct some pressing business, and then most of us headed down to the Community Center to enjoy Valentine's Day Breakfast with our Seniors. I want to offer special thanks to the ossining School District and the National Honor Society students as well as all the student performers who put together an exceptional morning for our Seniors, as well as to our Town Senior Nutrition and Village Recreation staff who, as always, put together a fine morning out for our senior sweethearts.
That wasn't the end of the Valentine's Day celebration, though. Accompanied by Director of the Ossining Girl Scouts Rosie Foster, and the hundreds of valentines the Ossining Girl Scouts made, I participated in Veteran Patient Recognition Week at the Montrose VA facility, and delivered valentines and a little cheer. Special thanks to the Vietnam and World War II Vets who posed for pictures with us, as well as Nursing Administrator Chi Chi and Yvette Rodriguez from the VA for working with my office to set up this wonderful afternoon.
I also want to be sure to share how much of the Town and Village staff has been fueled by delicious food from Good Choice Kitchen this past week, most recently, this afternoon, where we were in very good company! Our office tends to lean towards veggie-based meals on a regular basis, but the variety of soups, salads, and meals available at Good Choice Kitchen will satisfy any palate. We are so proud to have this fantastic new restaurant in our community; if you haven't visited yet, I hope you will pop into their storefront at 147 Main Street and say hello!
As we move into a new week here in Ossining, I hope to see you at some of these upcoming events, including Thursday, February 23rd's Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series presentation of "What's Race Got to Do With It?", a film screening accompanied by a panel discussion, which will include students in Ossining High School's SUNY Racism, Sexism and Classism class. You can see the trailer for the documentary here.
Next Monday and Tuesday, Councilwoman Feldman, Town Budget Director Maddi Zachacz, and I, along with representation from our Tax Office and Town Court, will be attending the Association of Towns annual meeting in New York. Last year was the first time around for Councilwoman Feldman and I, and we learned a lot from the experience. I look forward to making even more contacts this year-- getting to know folks in other Towns who have encountered challenges similar to ours, and made a way around them, is well worth the price of admission! I will also be voting on behalf of the Town on Wednesday morning; the Association of Towns is one of our most powerful lobbying tools at the State level, and I am glad to serve as the voice of our community to make sure our needs are considered by the State of New York.
The Town Board will not be meeting this coming week, so the next time we communicate with you will be Friday, February 24th in my next Supervisor's Update (as a final reminder- the Town and Village offices will be closed on Monday, February 20th). Until then, enjoy the warming weather and the long weekend!
Even though the snow is done falling, it is still awfully crisp out there. I want to offer special thanks to our Town Highway and Parks crews and the DPWs in both of our Villages for ensuring that our residents and first responders could get around safely. It was a tough storm to deal with due to ice, wind, and cold temperatures, and I think you will agree that they battled it admirably.
First and foremost, if you aren't doing anything tonight, I would strongly recommend that you attend the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series' "The Hudson River At Risk" event tonight (Friday, February 10th at 7PM at the Ossining Library), where they will be sharing three short (and timely) films followed by a panel discussion. Come learn about how pipeline projects, the proposed anchorages and contamination have the potential to affect our river and all who enjoy it, and what you can do to help.
Before I touch on this coming weekend's other events, I wanted to share with you some of what we've been up to in the Town over this past week. When we last spoke, I was en route to join many friends and neighbors at Market Square for a Unity Vigil. I was so very pleased to see such a fantastic turnout that was also incredibly representative of Ossining's diverse population. Although the weather was freezing, the crowd continued to grow as I was joined by Councilwomen Liz Feldman, Kim Jeffrey and Karen D'Attore, as well as Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Assemblyman David Buchwald, Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia, Mayor Victoria Gearity, Village Trustee Rika Levin, and dozens of other community leaders, all coming together for the sole purpose of demonstrating how, regardless of political persuasion, that we recognize that we are stronger together than we will ever be apart. I was invited to speak, and I wanted to share my thoughts with those who were unable to attend, which I read to the crowd in both English and in Spanish.
"We are one Ossining!
Somos Un Ossining!
We are special because of the fabric of our individual lives coming together here in harmony
We are interesting, intelligent, and international
We work together to improve our lives and the lives of our neighbors, sisters, brothers and friends.
We are beautiful because of our colors.
Because of our religions.
Because of our diversity.
Because of our love and respect for one another.
We have wonderful schools, parks, businesses.
We have crafts people, boaters, professionals, entrepreneurs, and teachers, and so many more.
We have love.
This is what makes us rich.
This is what makes us powerful.
We believe in our diversity and we embrace it so that the tides of the Hudson on our grounds will raise all ships.
Let our passions, let our love for each other, let our respect for one another raise our ships and those of our neighbors and shine.
We are strong because we are one Ossining. Somos un Ossining.
Let's show the world why America is Great because of all our Ossining's by being who we are, every day, no matter what. And loving it."
My office has also been working with Sustainable Westchester to get moving on our newest "green" initiative, which involves bringing electric cars and trucks into our fleet, putting in solar charging stations, and finding a place for solar panels to help offset the Town's electric bill. We are hoping to report more details after we have finalized the logistics. There are a ton of incentives and grant funding out there for these kinds of projects, not to mention the long-term savings that come from a lower dependence on fuel and the benefits to our environment.
Our Parks crew is also hard at work getting the Shine House (and the Ice House) ready for its grand re-opening this Spring. We are still planning this event, but we are not just talking about a ribbon cutting. Be prepared for an exciting day in our newest recreation space that just so happens to have the most exceptional views around.
Speaking of our Parks, we are ramping up for our second year of Mind, Body, Spirit- Ossining and want to hear from you about what you loved and what we can improve this time around. If you participated, please take a few moments to complete our survey. We are here to make the best possible programming available for you, so tell us-- how did we do?
Finally, we are working towards getting photos of all of our Town Department Heads posted on the Town website. With the help of Michael G. O'Connor, we did an extensive photo shoot a few weeks back (see below) and I'm pleased to share that most department pages now feature the opportunity to recognize the folks who keep this place running. We still have a few who have yet to model for us, but hopefully we will have the project completed by month's end.
There are a ton of great events going on in Ossining this weekend, including the annual favorite Eagle Fest! You can find a schedule of the day's events here.
I hope to see you out and about in Town this weekend. Don't forget to pick up something for your honey, Valentine's Day is on Tuesday-- even if you aren't exchanging gifts, a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients from Down to Earth Market is a gesture they won't soon forget. You can check them out at their indoor Winter location at the First Presbyterian Church on South Highland every Saturday through April from 9AM to 1PM; Good Shepherd Distillery will be on site with their special fruit brandies, so you can treat yourselves to this awesome Valentine's Day cocktail to make your day even sweeter.
February 14th, 2017- 8:30AM
All Board Meetings are televised LIVE on GO-TV, on Channel 78. Taped shows are repeated every Thursday at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Channels 78 and 18.
Well, the weather folks seem to have gotten it right. Snow is falling quickly and roads are icing up. Aside from essential storm personnel, Town and Village offices will be closed today, but we look forward to serving you bright and early Friday morning.
We urge you to do your best to stay indoors and off the roads, so that our Highway/ Parks and DPW crews can keep the path clear for emergency responders. It is also quite windy, which could mean downed power lines and outages. Be sure to charge up all devices, have flashlights and extra batteries nearby, and call 1-800-75-CONED to report service problems and downed wires. As a reminder, if you see a downed wire, steer clear and call Con Ed right away.
The roads are so slippery that even our bigger trucks are having difficulty. Suburban Carting also would like us to share that they were not able to complete their usual Thursday route today, so if they did not reach you, please be patient- they will get to you tomorrow when conditions clear up. The affected neighborhoods are Hudson Watch, Deerfield, Fox Hill, Ganung/ Cooper/ Stonegate/ Lakeville, and Studio Hill/ Tappan Terrace/ Leawood. If you are not in these areas and did not get a pickup today, please call our office and we will be sure to let Suburban know.
I hope everyone is able to stay warm and dry (at least, until the shoveling begins!)
We just got the 4PM update from Westchester County, and it seems unlikely that Ossining will get through the next 24 hours with less than 6 inches of snow, with some estimates coming close to 15 inches!
Our Highway and Parks staff will be coming in around 4AM to meet the heaviest snowfall; the system is expected to move quickly and be gone by early afternoon on Thursday, but in the meanwhile, we have a few reminders for the next few hours:
Please do your best to stay off the roads as much as possible starting around midnight tonight through tomorrow evening, when conditions are expected to be at their worst. Additionally, please be sure to take all your regular storm precautions (charging cell phones, having flashlights and extra batteries nearby, avoid downed power lines), as this sort of weather often brings power outages.
In the event that you do lose power, please dial 1-800-75-CONED to report the outage, or use Con Ed’s app on your smart phone; you can also text REG to OUTAGE (688243) to get signed up for text notifications, but be sure to have your account number handy in order to complete the registration. You should also use this number (1-800-75-CONED) to report any downed poles or wires. Finally, be sure to check on elderly neighbors and friends and, if necessary, help them prepare for the bad weather too.
- We will be watching the weather closely overnight; in the event that the weather precludes Town staff from getting into the offices on Thursday, we will let you know in the morning.
- To be on the safe side, the Town Court of the Town of Ossining is cancelled for the evening of Thursday, February 9th, 2017. If you are scheduled for Civil Court (6:30PM) or Parking Court (7PM) on Thursday, February 9th, you will be rescheduled. Please call (914) 762-8562 for more information.
- Our Highway Department requests that you clean up with consideration-- do not shovel snow into the roadway (this includes pulling your car into the road to clean it!), and please ask your contractors to do the same. We also ask that you observe the Town parking ordinance, which requires that you do not park on Town roads between 3AM and 6AM-- if you leave your car half in the driveway and half in the street, this makes it harder for our trucks to get through and clear the roads for emergency responders. We appreciate all efforts to make the cleanup easier on everyone!
Be safe and stay warm,