It is really starting to feel like fall! We have been enjoying the cool breezes this week. Our fingers are crossed that the weather holds out for all of the great Ossining events this weekend, including the PBA 5K in Cedar Lane Park as well as the Ossining Arts Council's Open Studio Tours (I had a little preview today and there is some very exciting work!), many of which will also take place in Cedar Lane Park at the Arts Center. They are rain or shine so dress for whatever the weather gods throw our way.
I hope to see everyone out and about for this great day enjoying our great park, especially our newest round of upgrades. Our Town Parks staff finished their work at the Cedar Lane Park Pavilion and has been hard at work getting the path around the pond ready for tomorrow's race. When we did a walkthrough a few weeks back, we identified several areas of the path that weren't looking their best.
Mario and his crew have spent the past few days ripping out the old path, widening some spots to have a consistent width throughout, and laying down some lightly colored Item 4.
Not only will this benefit the folks running tomorrow, but it also will help us to be ready for the next big project in the plans for Cedar Lane Park-- the completion of the path, additional landscaping (including some post and rail fence along one section of the path), and a new dock.
(I will also mention that, while checking out the finished product this afternoon, we ran into Councilwoman Liz Feldman and her buddy Zac, who gave the new path 2 very enthusiastic paws up.)
Zac steered us up to the Dog Park (which was just highlighted in White Plains Hospital magazine) where we continued to view the work that our Parks crew had completed there this past week. The Dog Park now has a fresh layer of mulch, as well as a repaired area in the paved section outside of the park fence, which is what we did with the leftover paving from the pavilion area.
We told Zac and we'll tell you too-- because of the race tomorrow, the Dog Park will be closed until 12 Noon. Please plan your outings accordingly!
Last night, the Town of Ossining hosted the Westchester Municipal Officials Association monthly meeting at The Briarcliff Manor, Antipasti di Napoli. Every five years, each member municipality is asked to host a meeting and has the chance to show off their best venues and cuisines. We were joined by elected officials from all over Westchester County, as well as many of our local leaders, for the meeting, where we took the chance to show off all things Ossining-- we collected literature from many of our local businesses and organizations to share with our visitors and tell the Ossining story. I want to extend a big thanks to all of the groups who got this material to us on such short notice!
We were lucky in that WMOA allowed us to participate in choosing the speaker and topic for the event, and I could think of no one better to give a presentation than Sean Pica of Hudson Link.
Sean's story is a fascinating one-- after receiving a 24 year jail sentence at the age of 16, he was encouraged by the guards to take advantage of the educational programs at the facility in which he was incarcerated. After completing a high school diploma, he went on to get his Bachelors and Masters degrees while completing his sentence, and was offered the chance to return to Sing Sing to expand the education program after his release. Sean is such a brilliant, warm, and sincere person, and hearing first-hand about his experience and his intrepid spirit, a wonderful gift to share with our guests. But more than that, Sean's message was a simple one: everyone deserves a second chance. Sean advocates for "banning the box," in reference to the box on job applications that asks applicants whether they have been convicted of a crime; continuing to leave this box on job applications discourages the formerly incarcerated from applying for jobs that they may otherwise get, even once the prospective employer has completed a background check. Sean is the perfect example of this premise-- not only might he have been denied the position with Hudson Link that has allowed him to change so many lives for the better, the State of New York would have been denied a generation of young men and women who otherwise may not have re-entered the work force and may have landed back in jail.
Thanks to all of the Town and Village elected officials and staff who joined us for this showcase of Ossining-- I am so very proud to be part of such an excellent team.
We continue to hear from many of you about your feelings on the Homestead Option. For those unfamiliar, every year that the Town undergoes a revaluation, the governing board has the option to consider enacting the Homestead Option, which is a tax policy that would, among other things, begin to tax condominium units as though they were single family homes. A group of private citizens sent out a mailer to many homes in the community encouraging residents to contact the Town Board and support enacting Homestead in 2018. In the meanwhile, we have heard from hundreds of residents, some for, some against, the Homestead Option, and we continue to receive phone calls and emails on an almost daily basis on this topic. To be clear, at this time, the Town Board is not planning to consider the Homestead Option (you can read my statement to the community in my October 6th Supervisor's Update). We have scheduled a Town Hall Meeting on the subject for Tuesday, November 14th at the Ossining Public Library to hear from Mr. Gerald Benjamin of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, who has studied and written about the city of Kingston and how enacting Homestead negatively affected their business community; you can see the study pdf here (3.98 MB) . We have also invited Mr. John Wolham from the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services to join us on this topic. I do hope you will join us at the Ossining Public Library for this important meeting-- our hope is to begin the meeting at 7PM, since we will have a short Special Meeting to pay bills and address any pressing business.
Some other reminders-- the Westchester County Mobile Shredder will be at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center tomorrow (Saturday, October 14th) between 10AM and 1PM. Residents can bring up to four file sized boxes of personal documents with all paper clips, binder clips, report covers and bindings removed. This is a great time to clean out some drawers and closets to make room for the new season.
Shattemuc Yacht Club will be holding an Open House tomorrow (10/14) between 12 Noon and 4PM-- come down to 1 Westerly Road to check out what the Club has to offer. I also encourage you to come to Veteran's Park (upper field) to support our youngest athletes at the Ossining Little League K/1 Games on tomorrow night (10/14) at 6PM. DJ Johnny G will be playing some tunes, and there will be food, raffle tickets and OLLF gear for sale. Visit www.ollf.org for more information.
Ready to kick off the Halloween season a little early? At 9:30AM on Saturday the 21st, the Village of Briarcliff Manor, along with their Recreation Department and Fire Department, will host the annual Ragamuffin Parade. The parade kicks off in front of the Engineering building at 1360 Pleasantville Road-- costumed marchers will process through the Village to the Fire Department parking lot, where goody bags, refreshments and entertainment will be waiting!
Also on Saturday, October 21st, the Ossining Arts Council will host "Off the Wall" and a "Souper Supper" at the Steamer Fire House on Main Street. There will be art for sale in all price ranges-- what better holiday gift could you give than a piece of original artwork? You can also come for the Opening Reception "Souper Supper," which will feature a variety of homemade dishes served in handmade ceramic bowls that you can take home with you! The bowls are limited, so be sure to arrive right at 6:30PM to make sure to get yours. $25 will buy you two plentiful and delicious servings of food, plus salad, bread and dessert! A variety of beverages will be on sale at the bar. $15 for those of you who arrive too late to get a handmade bowl. Visit www.ossiningartscouncil.org for more information.
The Mike Risko Music School will be joining other local musicians at the "Rock 2 Rebuild" event on Sunday, October 22nd. A group of Westchester Musicians who will be playing the music of The Band, The Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band between 1PM and 5PM at the Shenorock Shore Club in Rye to raise money for hurricane relief. Tickets are $40 per person or $10 if you're a student-- visit www.rock2rebuild.org for more information on this fun afternoon out for a great cause.
Another great event at month's end? The 3rd Annual Howloween Parade for Pets and Kids, presented by the Ossining Uptown Alliance, is a chance for your kiddos and the family pooch to strut their stuff and show off their Halloween spirit. Kids and pets in costume will gather at 11AM on Saturday, October 28th at the Ossining Elks Club at 118 Croton Avenue, and will march up the hill to the Mike Risko Music School, where there will be activities, snacks and prizes for all. This fun event is sponsored by The Elks Club, the Mike Risko Music School, Dragonfly Yoga, Posh Pets, Greg Perry Photography and Family Veterinary Care.
Finally, please note that this week is Fire Prevention Week, and this year's theme is "Every Second Counts-Plan 2 Ways Out!" Now is a good time to speak with your family (and especially the children in your home) about what to do in case of fire. Check out some of the helpful tools for coming up with a plan here.
We are so very grateful to our Ossining Fire Department and first responders who had to respond to a very unfortunate accident in the Waterview Apartments on Cedar Lane early this morning. Luckily, they were able to respond quickly as to contain the fire and stop it from spreading. They were not, however, able to save the resident who perished. We are so saddened by this loss to our community. Accidents can happen for all sorts of reasons, so knowing what to do in the event that such an incident happens where you live or work can make all the difference.