This is a very special day for the Town and Village of Ossining-- not only is this afternoon our annual holiday party for all of our staff, but it is the evening of the Tree Lighting at Market Square! Beginning today at 1PM, Town and Village offices will close to allow our staff an afternoon of togetherness, fun, and food down at the Recreation Center. We will be back on Monday morning, bright and early, to assist you.


As for the Tree Lighting, this is a community favorite every year. The fun begins tonight at 6PM-- music will be performed by OHS' "Gimme the Mic" students before the tree lighting commences at 6:30PM, followed by a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and live music by the Mike Risko Band. All are welcome for cookies, hot cocoa, singing, and community cheer. I look forward to seeing you there in a few hours!



Another merry option tonight? The Ossining Historical Society has partnered with Ossining Wines and Liquors to raise some money for the Museum through a wine tasting starting at 6PM (196 Croton Avenue). $15 per person will get you light refreshments and hors d'oeuvres, and 20% of the proceeds from wine sold will go to benefit the Historical Society. Have a relaxing evening with friends while trying some new wine and giving to a great local cause.





Before I get into the rest of the exciting events planned around town this weekend, I want to share a few details of what we've been up to this week.


Unfortunately, two of our sewer pump stations, which operate in the area of the Fox Hill Condominiums, failed last Saturday.  Our Highway Department got there right away and was working round the clock to get a solution in place over the weekend. It is very unusual that two pumps which were 7 years apart in age, should fail so close to one another, so we are working with our insurance company and conducting an investigation to see what might have led to this very unfortunate occurrence.  We are hopeful insurance will cover some of the replacement costs. The new pumps arrived via overnight mail from Chicago on Wednesday and were installed yesterday, and have been up and running now for over 24 hours.  Thank you to Highway Superintendent Michael G. O'Connor, Highway Foreman Matteo Velardo and their crew for all their hard work in the trenches. 



On Tuesday, we were joined by Lorraine Hill from the New York State Archives, who met with employees from departments in the Town and Village in a several small groups to discuss best practices in records management and offered suggestions on how we can improve or systems to increase efficiency and ensure compliance with State regulations. We are considering applying for a grant to help us with our records retention in the Town and Village, which is something we look forward to working on in 2019. Thanks again to Interim Town/Village Clerk Victoria Cafarelli for organizing these workshops and bringing Lorraine to Ossining.



On Tuesday night at our Town Board meeting, we passed a few important resolutions. One was authorizing me to sign the Grant Disbursement Agreement with the New York State Dormitory Authority for monies related to the refinishing of the Spray Park at our waterfront. This project has been a long time in the making-- as you may remember, the plan up until this year was to recirculate the water at the Spray Park through a UV system, with the savings on our water bills repaying the bond over a ten year period. However, the more we learned about the wet conditions on the site, the challenges of the topography, and the recommended safeguards for the UV system itself, the longer the payback period became and the less we could justify going forward. We reached out to DASNY and Senator Carlucci's office, and they graciously allowed us to make changes to the application in order to repurpose the grant money into resurfacing the spray deck, a project that was also at the top of our "must do" list for safety reasons. Once we return the GDA to the State, we can finish the project, collect the money, and close it out. After more than 3 years of starting and stalling, that will be a welcome day indeed!



Another exciting bit of news-- we welcomed a new employee to our Town Parks Department! We received more than 60 applications for this spot, many of which came from right here in Ossining. We interviewed about a dozen of these folks who had excellent qualifications, but one application clearly stood out from the rest. We are so very pleased to welcome Michael Santiago, a longtime Village of Ossining resident, to the Town Parks staff.


Mike brings with him decades of experience in a variety of maintenance and construction related trades, and we know from our own experiences-- for the past several years, Mike has volunteered his time to the Haunted Hayride event, and it has been confirmed by all who have worked alongside him that his resourcefulness, enthusiasm and work ethic are unsurpassed. Mike's first day was this Monday, so if you see him around the parks, please congratulate him-- we are lucky indeed to have him with us.


The other big project we've been working on this week has been to do the final work on the 2019 budget. We held our Public Hearing on the 2019 Budget this past Tuesday night and we did not get any feedback from the public. However, based on a few Board comments during our Department Head meetings and on some final contractor numbers coming in, we have some small changes to make, which we will be reviewing with the Board at the Work Session this Tuesday. Following that step, we will be moving forward to (hopefully!) approve the 2019 Town of Ossining budget on Tuesday, December 11th. Also to be discussed at this Tuesday's meeting is the 2019 Fee Schedule-- we have a few recommended changes to be adopted in January and we want to review them with the Board as part of the budget discussion. I hope you will join us.


Finally, the national spotlight was on one Ossining Police Officer this week for an especially brave rescue. Officer Patrick McGovern saved a terrified chicken from the site of a house fire on Thanksgiving weekend, and the body cam footage of the rescue has made its way to the national news (if you haven't seen it, check out the OPD Facebook page). OPD Chief Kevin Sylvester also let us know that the department was offered a commendation by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and will be mailed a box of vegan cookies along with their "Compassionate Police Department Award." Congratulations to Officer McGovern for making us proud out there! Enjoy those cookies, but don't forget-- we are partial to vegan treats here at 16 Croton too!



I can hardly wait for this weekend-- the Campwoods Holiday Craft Fair will take place tomorrow (Saturday December 1st) between 10AM and 5PM and Sunday (December 2nd) from 11AM to 4PM. Stop by for artisanal crafts, wreaths, candles, pottery, ornaments, knit goods, jewelry, photography, natural body products, a raffle and much more. Make sure to find parking outside of the Campgrounds.


Another cool option for Saturday evening is at the Croton Free Library beginning at 7:30PM, where piantist Jesse Beller will play a live soundtrack to the Buster Keaton black and white silent film "Sherlock Jr." and the short film "Scarecrow." Jesse is a piano genius and I am really hoping to catch this performance, I hope to see you there!



On Sunday, December 2nd, support the 63rd Ossining Community Christmas Crib Dedication at 2PM. This annual event takes place at the House of Refuge Apostolic Church at the corner of Croton Avenue and Todd Place, and you can participate in a 50/50 raffle to help defray the cost of maintaining the crib. Call (914) 941-6013 for more information.





Chabad of Briarcliff will host the lighting of the Menorah on Tuesday, December 4th, also at Market Square. All are welcome for donuts (sufganiyot), warm beverages, latkes, crafts, and chocolate gelt. This free event begins at 6PM.


The Ossining Documentary & Discussion Series will host their final screening of the year on Thursday, December 6th. "How To Survive a Plague" chronicles the history of activism around the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and how raising awareness of the disease and its societal consequences caught the attention of the scientific community and turned a death sentence into a chance at life. The screening begins at 6:30PM and will be followed by an expert panel-- all are welcome to this free event at the Ossining Public Library's Budarz Theater.


As the weather gets increasingly colder and the holiday season is upon us, consider those in need throughout our community. The Ossining Police Department has partnered with the Ossining schools to host a coat drive for families in need this winter. Through December 7th, drop your new or gently used coats off at the Police Station at 86-88 Spring Street, or at 16 Croton Avenue on the first floor, and pay it forward this holiday season. There will also be boxes placed around the community where you can drop off formal or semi-formal attire for young men-- this drive, organized by My Brother's Keeper, will help young men of color in Ossining to be able to dress for success.


Also, the Ossining Boat & Canoe Club is once again collecting new unwrapped toys for children in our community who might not otherwise receive gifts. Working with our social service organizations, they will distribute these in time to make sure all children have the opportunity to receive an age appropriate gift this season. Look for the shiny red box on the first floor of Village/Town Hall at 16 Croton Avenue.







As a final note, If you plan to head into the city this weekend and want to take Metro North, make sure you check the schedule-- trains operating between Poughkeepsie and Grand Central will run on an hourly schedule, and local service between Croton and Grand Central will not be affected. Check out the revised scheduled on the Metro North website. Regular train service will resume on Monday, December 3rd.


I look forward to seeing everyone out and about this weekend for these festive events. Happy Hanukkah to those who will start celebrating on Sunday night! Although difficult to believe, tomorrow is December and 2018 is almost over. Let's make this last month a great one together!




Town Board Contacts

Town Supervisor: Dana Levenberg - phone (914) 762-6001 - fax (914) 762-0833

Council Members: Karen D'Attore, Elizabeth Feldman, Jackie Shaw, Northern Wilcher Jr.