We have had a whirlwind day here at 16 Croton Avenue-- with just 22 minutes to spare, we managed to get in under the wire for the grant funding through the DEC for our very first electric car! Our Building Inspector will soon be riding in style in his new Nissan Leaf on which, I have mentioned, the Town is getting an incredible deal. I want to offer my special thanks to Victoria Cafarelli in my office, along with Ron Kamen from Sustainable Westchester, for working so very hard to get the ball rolling on this, and for getting it finished in what the lease company confirmed was "record time."
We also have spent some time over at Cedar Lane Park as our crew is preparing for the grand re-opening on April 21st. As the paving is due to begin late next week, the guys split their time between prepping and rolling the parking lot and preparing the Ice House for placement of the kilns and the final electric work.
The work that has been done on the site continues to amaze me and, although the team was moving fast earlier this week, all of the rain has pushed them back inside and put them a bit behind schedule. However, under the direction of our Parks Foreman Mario Velardo, I have no doubt that we will be looking very fine indeed for the maiden voyage of the Cedar Lane Arts Center. I hope you and your family will join us for this event, which has been years in the making!
On Wednesday, Maddi from my office attended the kick-off event for Relay for Life Ossining. There were several teams represented, including Team GioStrong, which will be "relaying" this year for Gio Toribio, a very brave little guy who was diagnosed last summer and has been in remission since January. Gio was there, along with his mom and grandma, to get everyone psyched to relay on June 24th at Anne M. Dorner Middle School. The Town and Village will be partnering with Team GioStrong this year, and we are expecting to make a great turnout and raise a lot of money for the American Cancer Society. The Ossining event had 259 attendees in 2016, and I believe we can do even better this year! If you want to join us on Team GioStrong or start your own team, visit the Ossining event site here.
While Maddi was there, I was attending the annual members meeting of Energize NY/Energy Improvement Corporation. I have been on this board since last year’s annual meeting and have had the opportunity to use some of my prior experience navigating Albany to help secure funding for the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program through NYSERDA for 2018. This will mean this product, which can help businesses and not for profits secure financing for energy improvements to their building with very favorable terms, has a chance at becoming as successful in New York as it is in many other parts of the U.S. NYSERDA committed $1.8 million in funding. We will also continue to work with Energize to see how we can expand the residential program in Ossining and Briarcliff to make sure those who have not yet gotten energy assessments of their properties have an opportunity to still do that, and to see if they can achieve long term savings by making recommended improvements.
April marks the celebration of Arbor Day, and my office is working with the Ossining Schools and our Parks Department to plan a tree planting at the Anne M. Dorner School for the end of the month. That's the good news. The bad news is that we received an email earlier today from one of our residents that oak wilt, a fungus carried by beetles or through tree roots, has been found in Brooklyn and that oak trees in Westchester are particularly vulnerable. In order to help protect the oak trees in the yard of your home or business, the Department of Environmental Conservation recommends NOT trimming or pruning your oak trees during the growing season (spring/summer), while also being familiar with the symptoms of oak wilt so that you can notify the DEC if you have a tree that you believe is infected. If oaks are wounded during this time, they can be covered with wound paint to prevent beetles from entering. Spiking trees is never advised, but is especially not advised for oak wilt prevention. You can learn more about Oak Wilt here.
As we move into the weekend, I am sorry to say the weather is not looking so great, so much so that the Jesse Collyer Youth Sports Annual Parade has been postponed and will instead take place NEXT Saturday, April 8th. However, you are in luck-- there is plenty to do indoors this weekend as well, starting with the second-to-last performance of Sister Act at Ossining High School, as well as the Lion's Club Dinner honoring the Ossining Food Pantry volunteers.
The weather is looking much nicer for Sunday-- why not take a trip to Teatown? This weekend's event is "Herpetology 101", an event for learners aged 10 and up focused on reptiles and amphibians in the Hudson Valley. You can sign up or look at other upcoming programs here.
I hope you will join us at our Town Board Work Session this Tuesday evening (April 4th), where we will hold a short Special Meeting to hold a public hearing on a law to extend our development moratorium before we move into a series of presentations. Our three Town Justices will be with us to discuss the operations of the consolidated Town Court, we will have Robert Rosenbloom from the Housing Action Council to give a short presentation about foreclosure prevention services, and resident Bob Fritsche will be joining us to ask for the Board's support on a bill to extend cancer treatment to volunteer firefighters. However, maybe we will also cross paths at one of the many others events in Ossining next week. Of particular interest are two events related to the Hudson River, the first being an installment of the Ferry Sloops Lecture series on Wednesday evening at 7:30PM, where the authors of Hudson Valley Ruins, Thomas Rinaldi and Rob Yasinsac, will speak about some of our oldest landmarks along the banks of the Hudson and their influence on the history of our region-- you can learn more about this lecture and the rest of the series here. Later in the week, the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club will host a screening of "Hudson River At Risk" on the evening of Friday, April 7th. The screening begins at 7:30PM and will be followed by a panel discussion-- come on down to hear more about the issues facing our beloved Hudson and how you can advocate on her behalf.
These next few events are a bit farther off, but you will want to mark your calendars for all of them, especially our 6th Annual Earth Day celebration!
On April 29th, I will be joining Ossining School Superintendent Ray Sanchez for a hike at Teatown Lake Reservation. I know the April weekends tend to fill up fast as everyone celebrates the big thaw, but I hope you will consider joining us to talk about where Ossining is headed while we enjoy some beautiful scenery!