This has been another difficult week for our nation, especially for our fellow New Yorkers, as we received news of yet another act of senseless violence in our midst. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their family members. We cannot and will not be cowed by those who mean to do us harm, and we need to continue to live our best lives in a world that does, and always will, belong to the good guys.
As we come to the end of another week, I encourage everyone to check out some of the great events going on in Town this weekend, including some live music at First Village Coffee this evening. A warm cup of delicious coffee and some gentle tunes sound pretty good right about now.
Before I go into the other events coming up, I have a lot to share about what we've been up to in Ossining this week.
When I last wrote, we were rushing out of the office to get down to the first night of the 4th Annual Forest O'Fears Haunted Hayride... and I'm pleased to report we had a great time! Fern Quezada, Mike Santiago, Jamie & Mike Idi, their volunteers and our Parks crew really outdid themselves this year with a very spooky trip through Cedar Lane Park and plenty of non-spooky activities for the younger goblins.
Between Friday and Saturday nights, we had several hundred visitors join us on the field for a fire show, a hay bale maze, some delicious food from Gyro Uno and Abeetz Pizza food trucks, and of course, some Halloween tunes played by DJ Johnny G.
We also had some amazing dance demonstrations from Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts, including a brave attempt at teaching the "Thriller" dance to the crowd!
(If you were on one of the last three trailers on Saturday night, you may also have noticed this bunny rabbit with a shocking resemblance to the Ossining Town Supervisor.)
The Hayride would not be possible without the dedicated effort of Fern's team and our outstanding volunteers-- the event effectively pays for itself through ticket sales, and is a great opportunity to get Ossining on the map as a Halloween destination. It is getting better each year, and during our de-briefings thus far, we have come up with some great ideas to smooth out the kinks, get more outside sponsorship, and bring more people to the event with different types of advertising. Special thanks again to our Parks Foreman Mario Velardo, along with Juan, Marco, Steve and Johnny Martin for their hard work to make this event so exceptional.
On Halloween itself, we kept the party going with the Village of Ossining at their 2nd Annual Halloween Spooktacular, which included food, music, games, and of course, Trunk or Treat.
I was joined by many of our local officials, including County Legislator Catherine Borgia, and candidate for Village of Ossining Trustee Omar Herrera, and we had a great time handing out candy and seeing all of the great costumes. Ossining, you sure are creative!
Our Police Chief, Kevin Sylvester, was also down on Main Street live-streaming the event. Hey Chief-- can I borrow that selfie stick?
Special thanks to the Ossining Department of Recreation and Parks, the Ossining Police Department, and the Ossining Rotary for putting together such a fun event for our residents-- it's great to have everyone all together in a safe environment enjoying one another's company and reminding us what a fun and exciting community we live in!
On Wednesday, I joined Ossining Village Mayor Victoria Gearity, Ossining Village Manager Debbie McDonnell, Water Superintendent Andy Tiess, Village/Town Engineer Paul Fraioli and other Village and Town officials for the ribbon cutting on the upgraded earthen dam at the Indian Brook Reservoir. This project has been several years in the making and, besides ensuring that the Town and Village have a safe and reliable water supply right here in Ossining (which means we don't need to purchase as much water from New York City), it will help us be better prepared for future storms. The newly constructed spillway has ten times the capacity of the original dam (built in 1889)-- this will protect the integrity of the dam in a heavy rain and will prevent the system from over-topping.
The Village team took great pains to ensure that this project was perfect-- one of the most interesting things we learned was that Chief Filter Plant Operator Steve Ho prioritized the preservation of aquatic life during the reconstruction, so much so that extra oxygen and nutrients were fed into the system to protect our animal friends and their food sources. Due to these efforts, there was no evidence of fish kills during the course of this project. Go Steve! Congratulations to the Village Board and Administration on this great success. We look forward to seeing the next piece of this project unfold, as the new Water Filtration Plant is designed, constructed and built in the coming years. Water security is more important than ever with climate change, so we are incredibly fortunate to be in such responsible and capable hands here in Ossining.
Speaking of our water system, work has begun on the water main replacement on Gordon Avenue and is anticipated to proceed for at least another month, possibly longer, before they take a break for the weather and prepare to finish up in the spring. Bypass piping has been put in place and tested, so all should be operational and there should be no service interruption while the new lines are installed. Thank you to Village of Ossining Water Department and Andy Tiess for including this important capital project in their work this year.
Yesterday, the Ossining Public Library hosted us for our second set of MOGO (Millwood Ossining Go!) public forums. Thanks so much to Xquisite Coffee owners Mark & Jovita Jefferson for graciously supplying some delicious coffee for visitors to both day and evening events. MOGO's goal is to create an "Emerald Necklace" of bike and walking paths that connect the commercial and recreational hubs in our community to one another. My office, along with the Village of Ossining, Town of New Castle, and Westchester County, have been working on this project for several months, and these forums are our opportunity to get input from the public about how they use our current infrastructure, how they might prefer to use it, and how we can think outside the box about walkability and bikeability on our often steep and sometimes windy Town and Village roads.
We got a ton of great input during each session, and (as expected) our community came up with many ideas that we've yet to consider. Former OPD Captain Scott Craven joined us at the afternoon session-- as a major cyclist on local roads, he discussed with us how he usually travels and what prevents him from traveling on certain routes we'd chosen (sewer drain grates that can eat bike tires-- who knew?) It was another wonderful opportunity to hear from our residents about how we can do better, and the input we got will undoubtedly push this project forward. Missed the forums? Not to worry. Check out the MOGO page and fill out our survey to let us know what you think! Next steps include synthesizing the community input to identify a priority route which we would study to understand the engineering requirements and costs that would be required to add a bike lane. We will come back to the public when we have some more information.
I hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy another beautiful (cool) Fall weekend in Ossining-- here's what's coming up. I encourage you to check out the General Interest Meeting for "Citizen Science for Everyone" at Teatown Lake Reservation on Sunday (11/5) at 1PM. Teatown is looking for some folks interested in volunteering to gather data about our natural world, which will be used by scientists to solve real world problems, and this meeting's goal is to match those folks with a project that speaks to your particular interest. Who knows? Your observations may be part of our next big discovery! Call (914) 762-2912 x110 to register.
Also, Open Door Family Medical Centers will be at the Ossining Farmer's Market tomorrow (11/4)-- come see them at the Community Table and learn how you can make small changes to your routine and live a healthier life!
That same night (11/16), Ossining Innovates! will feature Harry Campbell, the owner of Biofeedback Resources International, and Jovita & Mark Jefferson, founders of Xquisite Coffee Plantation, who will share information on how they became entrepreneurs and answer your questions. If you've ever considered starting your own business, check it out! The Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce will host at 2 Church Street, the event begins at 6:30PM. Learn more here.
Check out this fun concert at Tarrytown Music Hall on November 17th, featuring Ossining's own Mark Fineberg!
There are a few great opportunities coming up to get in the holiday spirit and get your shopping done, all while supporting local artists and businesses. The Lantern Gift Shop at St. Paul's-on-the-Hill will hold their annual Holiday Celebration on Saturday, November 11th between 10AM and 4PM-- come by to shop, order your fresh pine wreaths, and enjoy the Soup and Sandwich Luncheon between 11:30AM and 2PM. Or, check out the Ossining Public Library's Etsy Market on November 25th (Small Business Saturday)-- a portion of proceeds will go to benefit Friends of the OPL. (You can also check out the Ossining’s Chamber’s website for more information on Small Business Saturday events in Town.)
Also, Melita will be hosting a holiday bazaar with multiple vendors. Check it out on Main Street one flight up from her store on Small Business Saturday, 11/25.
Finally, be sure to mark your calendar for the Campwoods Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, December 2nd. This is one of my favorite annual Ossining events-- it features some incredible one-stop-shopping for everyone on your gift list, including a wide range of artisanal crafts, candles, soaps, pottery, and jewelry from local vendors.
Please don't forget that Tuesday, November 7th is Election Day! No matter who you plan to cast a vote for, it is your civic duty to get out and vote! Unsure about your polling location? You can check online with the Westchester County Board of Elections. All Ossining polling places will have "I Voted!" stickers for you-- be sure to pick one up and wear it proudly! Also, don't forget to turn the ballot over-- there are referendums on the back!
Also, please be reminded that we have a short week next week-- Town and Village offices will be closed on Tuesday (11/7) for Election Day and on Friday (11/10) in observance of Veteran's Day. The Town Board will be holding our Work Session on Wednesday, November 8th, beginning at 7:30PM at the Courthouse on Spring Street, I hope you can join us in person or online.
Don't forget, this weekend it's time to "Fall back"-- remember to turn your clocks back an hour on Saturday night before you go to bed, and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors!