Happy Passover and Easter to all those who celebrate. Many of you have taken time this week to spend with family and friends and I hope you have had time to rest and rejuvenate as we move into spring with full force. Please be reminded that all Town Offices will be closing early this Friday, April 14th, in observance of Good Friday.
This past Monday, Victoria Cafarelli in my office and I took part in a tour of the mostly abandoned facilities that are being developed to become the Sing Sing Prison Museum -- the Powerhouse and the 1825 Cell Block. Both of these buildings are such important historical resources as well as architectural artifacts in the community, and it is so exciting to see the vision of the Museum Board and the Executive Director of Historic Hudson River Towns, Jerry Faiella, come closer to fruition. Jerry will be visiting a Work Session soon to discuss the progress on this new tourist destination for Ossining, so stay tuned for more information on his presentation soon.
Yesterday afternoon, I returned to Sing Sing for an event called C.H.O.I.C.E.S or Choosing Healthier Options In Confronting Every Situation organized in large part by Sing Sing's Voices from Within Project. The Voices From Within Project was started by 11 inmates attempting to redefine what it means to "pay a debt to society" by sharing their stories, in an effort to impact young people with vivid experiences of the consequences of crime. Yesterday's C.H.O.I.C.E.S event was part of an educational initiative to provide strategies to young people to make responsible choices and avoid crime, in order to break the cycle of criminal activity and gun violence. Voices from Within creates a unique lens for evaluating the gun epidemic and the criminal justice system by sharing the first hand experiences of inmates to hopefully encourage others to avoid the path they have followed in their lives, as well as to highlight the many flaws in our society that lead people to commit crimes. This event was so inspiring, especially to see how the leadership at Sing Sing Correctional Facility is committed to pioneering initiatives that support rehabilitation and encourage inmates to make an extraordinarily positive impact on our society, even while incarcerated.
Tomorrow, I will once again be visiting Sing Sing, this time to mark the 76th anniversary of the deaths of Ossining Police Officer James Fagan and Sing Sing Prison Guard John Hartye. These two dedicated officers gave their lives on April 14, 1941 to protect the Ossining community when three inmates attempted to escape from Sing Sing. At last year's ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of their deaths, the Town Board designated April 14th as Prison Guard James Hartye and Patrolman James Fagan Day in the Town of Ossining, hoping that we will continue to remember their sacrifice every year on the day of their deaths.
At last night's Town Board meeting, we were joined by Town Assessor Fernando Gonzalez to deliver a departmental report. We are so proud of the hard work the Assessor's Office produces, and how they continue to work to ensure fair and accurate valuations on all properties in Ossining. Fernando came to discuss the sales reports data compiled by his office, which allows all property owners and future property owners in Ossining to view current data on sales in their neighborhoods. This is available on the Town's website and is a great resource for all residents. Fernando also reminded everyone that May 1st is taxable status day, meaning all applications for exemptions are due on that day. Please be reminded that anyone that has Enhanced STAR, Senior, Volunteer Fireman's, Clergy, Disability or Religious/Non-Profit exemptions must submit all renewal documentation by May 1st for the 2017 assessment roll. Grievance Day is also scheduled for June 20th, which is the last day to file all assessment grievances and meet with the Board of Assessment Review to discuss your case. Fernando encourages all residents that feel their assessment is inaccurate to schedule a meeting with the Assessor's Office to discuss your property prior to June 1st, before turning to an expensive consultant. If you have any questions, please call the assessor's office at (914) 762-8393 and they will be happy to help!
During the Public Hearing portion of our meeting, we heard from many residents in the Crotonville section of Ossining who shared their views on the new proposals for the town code zoning changes. As such, we will continue to discuss this new zoning at on April 25th in a Special Work Session which will follow the continuation of the Public Hearing. We encourage everyone to attend.
On Thursday, I was invited to a special Force on Force exercise which the Ossining Police Department orchestrated in collaboration with the Croton and Briarcliff Police at Claremont and AMD schools. It was an excellent opportunity to see firsthand the type of in depth training our officers receive in scenarios, which helps them be best prepared should they ever need to be, and gives them the opportunity to see how they work with other police departments so they can all be on the same page in the case of such emergencies.
Next week, there will be a Town Hall Meeting at the Ossining Public Library, with some great community presentations slated. First, we will be joined by Mike and Miriam Risko of Mike Risko Music to hear more about their vision for music and books in our parks. Mike and Miriam are proposing installing a Little Free Library and Guitar Box music kiosk, for visitors to pick up a guitar and make music. Then, Paul Fraioli and Mario Velardo will be giving a presentation on the new Cedar Lane Arts Center -- from the Shine House with no walls, to the beautiful ceramics studio it is now. We will then be having a short special meeting to appoint a part-time position in our Highway Department.
Most of us will be busy this weekend with holidays and enjoying the beautiful weather. Please keep in mind that St. Ann’s Church will be holding its annual Stations of the Cross Procession on Friday, beginning at 6pm and ending at 8pm at the church. See below for route. The procession will stop at Ossining High School, on Maurice Avenue, at Park School, and Market Square. Please be mindful of potential traffic changes, and follow the instructions of the Ossining Police Department as they assist participants.
On Saturday, if you are looking for baked goods to bring with you for your Easter celebration, visit the Ossining Historical Society Museum’s tag sale from 10am until 4pm. Many hidden treasures will be for sale, as well as Easter baked goods. For more information on the bake sale, please contact Peter Cassidy at 845-721-7708.
We have a lot to look forward to next week. We were recently told that the DOT will be holding its second annual “Trash Blitz” clean up on Tuesday, April 18th, with a rain date of April 20th, which will include the section of Route 9A in Ossining. We often receive complaints about the litter and other debris along 9A, so we are very excited that the DOT is being responsive to these complaints by including it in their Trash Blitz day.
Green Ossining has spent almost an entire year planning its 7th Annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 22nd at Louis Engel Park from 11am-4pm. The focus of this year’s festival will be food sustainability, highlighting the many organizations and businesses in Ossining that aim to remediate this important problem facing our world. Also, on Saturday, April 22nd, the Ossining Historic Cemeteries Conservancy will be holding a grave cleaning & restoration workshop at Dale Cemetery from 9am-12noon. I hope you will be able to participate in these important community events. There is a special event for kids which is part of Earth Day but which requires pre-registration and that happens at Crawbuckie. Here are the details:
TITLE: Food Foraging Expert Comes to Ossining! *IMPORTANT***ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE REQUIRED BY 4/21. Not JUST for KIDS!
WHAT: With the Green Ossining's 7th Annual Earth Day Festival theme being food sustainabilty - we thought it would be really cool to show folks how to forage. Food foraging is not just about searching for wild food resources., its also about being outside and cultivating an intimate appreciation of nature, as well as re-connecting with nature. So, we called in Naturalist, Wildman Steve Brill, to do the job! Steve is a sought-after and re-known environmental educator with a lengthy resume of impressive accolades and positions. He regularly performs foraging tours throughout NYC ,Westchester County and Connecticut, and when available, he brings his 10-year old foraging expert daughter, Violet, as a co-lead.
WHEN:Saturday, April 22nd from 930a-10:30a, before the Earth Day Festival begins at 11am at Engel Park. Plan to arrive at Crawbuckie by 9a/915a.
WHERE Crawbuckie Nature Preserve where we should find chickweed, which tastes like corn, lemony-flavored sheep sorrel and wood sorrel, sweet violets, savory dandelions, field garlic (a superior member of the onion/garlic family), and related day-lilies, which also have a bite. Other spicy greens in the grass or in the woods include poor man’s pepper, hairy bittercress, and garlic mustard, all members of the mustard family. Overgrown areas could harbor a variety of root vegetables.
In the woods, you'll find jewelweed, a major medicinal herb with juice that relieves a variety of skin irritations (from curing insect bites to preventing poison ivy rash), black birch (which contains oil of wintergreen), a low-dose aspirin precursor that makes outstanding tea and an exotic flavoring for pudding and homemade ice cream. There will probably be plenty of sassafras, a renewable tree you can use to make tea, root beer, gumbo, and use an exotic sweet seasoning.
FEE:Adults: $12 Children Under 12: $8
INFORMATION : Participation is limited. Details and to register go to www.greenossining.org
Info on Steve Brill: https://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/
I also want to bring your attention to a great event that Mike and Miriam Risko launched last year, and is scheduled for June 21st this year– the summer solstice – Make Music Day Ossining-Briarcliff. We were the first community in Westchester to hold Make Music Day, and it was a huge success, highlighting the many talented musicians that call Ossining and Briarcliff home. This is an event that requires a great deal of planning and coordination, and we thank the Riskos for their efforts doing this, so we hope to keep you up to date regarding this event as we get closer and closer to summer. For more information on being involved, please visit www.MikeRiskoMusicSchool.com or call 914-762-8757.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Passover, Happy Easter, and Happy Spring!!