Before getting into the typical update content, I must first pause to acknowledge a disturbing incident that took place in a Village of Ossining park. A swastika was found spray painted on a slide at Nelson Park earlier this week. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, the swastika has a particularly painful resonance for me, and I am disgusted by the idea of someone trying to frighten members of our community by defacing Village property this way. The Town of Ossining stands with the Village of Ossining in condemning this hateful vandalism; symbols of bigotry have no place here or anywhere. We applaud the Ossining Police for the steps they have taken to address the situation. Visit the Village of Ossining website to read Village Mayor Rika Levin’s statement about the vandal’s actions.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming! Food Truck Fridays and the Summer Concert Series continue tonight with Jigsaww at the Louis Engel Waterfront Park stage starting at 7pm. Brothers Fish and Chips, Kinwich, MAC’s Food Truck, Cravin’ Jamaican, and Wrappers Delight will be in the house starting at 5! I can tell you firsthand they all have fantastic offerings. Get there early to avoid long lines. Sing Sing Kill Brewery and Captain Lawrence Brewing Company will once again be pouring at the Craft Beverage Corral so you can count on some mighty tasty beverage options as well. As always, special thanks go to the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce, Sing Sing Kill Brewery, Mike Risko Music and recreation superintendent Bill Garrison for their hard work organizing this series! Also, big shout out to our sponsors who are helping to bring this incredible free event to Ossining throughout the summer. They are listed on the posters (courtesy of our local Brian Sheridan, Hothouse Designs--thank YOU too!)
Please wear your mask when you’re walking around the park waiting for food or drink. If you forget yours, you’ll be able to grab one from us thanks to the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services. Help us keep the fun going by keeping COVID at bay! As I write this, active cases of COVID-19 are up to 64 in the Town and its two Villages, according to the county dashboard. In the 10562 zip code, rates of residents with at least one dose inched up one percentage point over last week, to 73.2%. 10510 is now up to 75.6%. We are so fortunate to have vaccines readily available to help us keep COVID infection rates low. If you have questions about the vaccine, or would like to learn of pop-up vaccination clinics in Westchester, visit VaxUp Westchester.
I signed the 2021-2022 School Tax Warrant for Ossining and Briarcliff schools late last week. School Tax Bills will be in the mail soon and the deadline for the first half is September 30. We will let you know exactly when the bills are mailed and available online, so you can keep an eye out in your mailbox, but mark your calendars now for the September 30 due date! Make sure to sign up for e-mail updates from Tax Receiver Holly Perlowitz, so you can be the first to know when tax bills hit the mail. Here’s a picture of me signing the warrant, with Town Clerk Sue Donnelly and Tax Receiver Holly Perlowitz witnessing. Thank you to the Ossining and Briarcliff School Boards and Ossining Public Library Board for presenting a sound budget that addresses the needs of our students, while keeping tax rates down, and to our Assessor, Receiver and Budget Director for working so hard to pull the warrant together.
Speaking of school, are you or your children experiencing stress related to the impending return to school? New York Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital is hosting a community talk, in partnership with the Ossining School District, on helping your child manage anxiety and stress at school this Monday, 8/23 at 7 PM. This program will be presented in both English and Spanish. Click here to register.
Car Free Day is right around the corner - save the date (September 22) and make your plans now to go car-free or car-lite for your commute and other trips on Car Free Day. This year, the Town and Village of Ossining are collaborating with Green Ossining to make Car Free Day a true community event. Right now, we are looking for local businesses to participate too. If you are a local brick & mortar business that would like to use this opportunity to thank people for going car-free as an alternative means of their usual transportation, please fill out this Google form, let us know what you might like to offer (for example, $1 off any purchase of $10 or more; an apple; a stamp on a frequent customer card, etc. Be creative!), and we will provide a poster for you to hang in your business and add your establishment to our promotional efforts. Learn more about Car Free Day on 511 NYRideshare’s website.
The County is also seeking input from residents on its Hazard Mitigation Plan. A planning committee has recently been formed to address natural disasters that may occur in Westchester County and develop strategies to mitigate against losses. Public engagement sessions are being planned. In the meantime, click here to take a survey to help the County determine what sorts of activities it needs to undertake to reduce the risk of injury or property damage in the future.
The Village of Ossining is seeking input from residents and other interested parties as it pulls together this year’s New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant application. Click here to take a survey soliciting community input on the vision for Downtown Ossining. There will also be an opportunity to speak with staff during the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, 8/28 from 9-11 AM -- save the date! Downtown Ossining has been a finalist in previous years, and the grant amount ($10 million) would be a game-changer -- here’s hoping this is the year the Village brings it home!
If you or someone you know is struggling with rent payments, assistance for those impacted by COVID-19 financial losses is still available. Renters and landlords who are not sure where to turn can use this new website from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which makes it easy to find rental assistance providers in our area. Be sure to share with others who may benefit from this assistance as well.
Also note that New York State has funds available for New Yorkers who lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic and were ineligible for other federal relief programs due to lack of citizenship or other factors through the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF). Visit the Department of Labor’s website to learn more and apply.
Bethany Arts Community will be featuring Performing Families with Inti Andino and Mariachi Sol Mixteco on Saturday, August 21 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Celebrate the bonds of music and dance with two family ensembles as they explore the connections between kinship, tradition and the arts. Bring your lawn chair or picnic blanket! This event is co-presented by ArtsWestchester and Bethany Arts Community and sponsored by Con Edison, Etain and New York State Council on the Arts.
Westchester County is conducting a Construction Jobs Career Fair on Wednesday, August 25th from 11-2pm at 123 Main Street in White Plains (the New York Power Authority Building). Those attending should bring their resume and be prepared to interview on the spot. Make sure to pre-register!
Looking for a way to earn community service credit? The Youth Event Planning Task Force is having weekly meetings until August 25. This is open to middle and high school students. Register on Community Pass.
This Thursday, August 26 from 4-6 PM, the Ossining Schools will be hosting a Community Kickoff party in anticipation of the start of school. The party will be on the lawn of Ossining High School and feature a school supplies giveaway, books, resources & activities for families! Join in the fun!
A reminder that the Town is still seeking community feedback on the latest draft of the Comprehensive Plan! Steering Committee members will be present at a variety of community events and locations using posters as an easy way to engage people in this conversation and to make sure people stay informed when the draft Comp Plan is released. If you see a Steering Committee member at an event or stationed at a local business with engagement posters, stop by, say hi and complete the activities! There will be boards up this week at Club Fit. Torview members, also keep your eyes peeled for these boards popping up as you arrive for your afternoon swim next week. We are looking forward to sharing the final result with the community, so stay tuned!
Please remember that the gas powered leaf blower ban remains in effect in the Unincorporated Town of Ossining through September 30. Thank you to Green Ossining for preparing the summary below. An easy way to remember the guidelines for gas powered leaf blowers is that they are generally allowed during the spring clean-up season (which typically wraps by the end of May) and fall leaf season (which kicks into high gear in October). Thank you for your cooperation, and please share this information with your friends, neighbors, and landscapers. We have made this available for download in both English and Spanish as JPG and PDF files. Please help us spread the word! This information was mailed directly to all landscapers who are based in Ossining for their reference.
Save the date - Westchester County will be commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 on Saturday, September 11 at 3:30 at the Kensico Dam, where the County will also unveil its memorial to first responders and those who died from 9/11-related illnesses. The event will also be streamed live on the County facebook page. The Ossining Fire Department will also be hosting its annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Louis Engel Park, in partnership with Ossining and Briarcliff first responders, on Saturday, September 11 in the morning. We will share more specific details soon.
And mark your calendars for the end of summer fireworks here in Ossining, coming up on Friday, September 3! More details to come soon.
Finally, Westchester County Office of Emergency Management and Con Edison have informed us that they are closely monitoring Hurricane Henri, which is currently in the western Atlantic. Its current trajectory will place the storm making landfall on the Northeast coast on Sunday. The most likely forecast scenario is that the storm will make landfall east of our area on Long Island and Rhode Island, causing less intense tropical storm conditions in our area. However, there is a chance that the storm could make landfall closer to New York City, which would bring more severe tropical storm conditions to Northern Westchester. I know this is not welcome news for those of us who had a sleepless night earlier this week monitoring the tornado warnings from Tropical Storm Fred! Please exercise caution and monitor the forecast for Henri over the weekend. Should the storm bring high winds, remember to not touch downed limbs or trees as they may contain electrified wires. Prepare for the storm by making sure all of your cell phones and devices are charged. If you lose power, report a service interruption online or by texting REG to 688243 and follow the prompts (you will need your account number and to confirm your zip code). You can also reach Con Edison by phone: 1-800-75-CONED. It is also a good idea to register for text messages and app notifications from Con Ed prior to the storm, so go grab your Con Ed account number now and text REG to 688243 to register for updates. Con Ed has put some new procedures in place since Tropical Storm Isaias in terms of getting more mutual aid boots on the ground assistance in place and ready, as well as more staging areas around the county to better distribute those resources should they be needed. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more. I hope this is all just a good reminder of emergency preparedness, and we won’t actually need to employ any of these resources this weekend, but it is always good to be safe than sorry!