Happy Friday, Ossining! This last week absolutely flew by, it's hard to believe we are already done with our first week in October! It has been beautiful out and sometimes you just have to take a beat to stop and enjoy it-- check out this great sunset pic taken at 16 Croton this past Tuesday.
That picture was taken while we were on our way to the Town Hall Meeting at the Ossining Public Library. After a short Special Meeting (during which we adopted our Zoning Law, at long last,) we hard from the folks responsible for Scarsdale's Food Scrap Recycling Program. Michele Sterling and Ron Schulhof are volunteers who wanted to get a large-scale composting program going in their community. They walked us through the extensive research they have done to get it just right and gave us some advice on how it can be duplicated or possibly even improved upon right here in Ossining. The meeting video is available on Youtube (Michelle and Ron's presentation begins at the 30 minute mark) or you can check it out pdf here (1.41 MB) .
After hearing from Michelle and Ron, we had planned to move right into a short presentation on the Request for Proposal (RFP) that the Town will be putting out shortly for refuse and recycling services for the Unincorporated Town. However, we had many members of the audience who had expressed that they wished to hear an update from the Town Board on the Homestead Issue after the mailing that had been circulated by private residents a few weeks ago urging the Board to enact Homestead for 2018. Although Homestead was not a scheduled topic on the agenda, I shared the following statement:
"This board continues to question the supposed benefits of enacting homestead. We are not convinced that it would be fairer or better for our community to adopt this legislation because of the negative impact it has had on other communities throughout NY State that have adopted it. If it has a negative impact on the commercial tax rate, as it certainly has had elsewhere, and is irreversible, it could in fact be worse for taxpayers rather than better. Expanding our business community is the fastest most enduring way to hold down residential taxes, where as a shrinking commercial base costs everyone more. We have lined up some experts who have studied the impact of Homestead in other communities in New York State to discuss their findings with the greater Ossining Community. We have them tentatively scheduled to come to us on Monday, November 20th (stay tuned for final date and location) and look forward to seeing all of you again then. The location will be announced shortly."
We are still working out a date for this meeting, and it may in fact take place during the week of November 13th instead. Please stay tuned for updates as the month of November grows closer.
Later that night, while we were all fast asleep, some local ghouls were up to no good. Do these look familiar?
Our Goblin-in-Chief Fern Quezada was very busy on Tuesday night, tying balloons up all around Town to advertise the Haunted Hayride, which will take place on two nights this year (October 27th and 28th) in Cedar Lane Park.
If you were one of the lucky few to find and pop a balloon, congratulations! We will see you in late October for a spin through Cedar Lane Park, on us! No such luck? Tickets are still available here. Word to the wise-- tickets will sell out for some, if not all, time slots, and tickets will not be sold at the event. Even if the spookiest stuff isn't for you, there is plenty to do for the faint of heart, including carnival games, a hay maze, a fire show, some amazing food trucks, and music by DJ Johnny G.
Speaking of Cedar Lane Park, our Parks guys have been hard at work getting our Pavilion ready for Halloween. If you haven't visited this week, you are in for a treat. It's hard to believe that just one week ago, it looked like this:
The flag pole got moved, the road got paved, and in the middle of it all, our guys created a small flower garden around the existing monuments and relocated the flag there.
These pictures barely do it justice-- you have to take a ride to the park this weekend and look (just make sure to park down by CLAC and walk up-- the new pavement isn't quite ready to be driven on yet.)
Big thanks to Mario Velardo, our Parks Foreman, and his crew Juan, Marco, Steve, Larry and Matteo (on loan from the Highway Department,) along with Village/Town Engineer Paul Fraioli for his advice on this project. We cannot wait to see you at the Pavilion!
On Wednesday, my office, along with volunteers from OVAC and staff from Open Door Family Medical Center, the Village of Ossining, the Ossining Public Library and the Ossining School District, signed folks up for Organ Donor Enrollment Day. We started the day with a Press Conference at 16 Croton Avenue, where I was joined by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, County Legislator Catherine Borgia, Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, Ossining Public Library Director Karen LaRocca-Fels, and representatives from the community and Live On NY, who gathered to share their stories with us about how the gift of organ donation impacted their lives. It was incredibly touching to hear from folks about how this selfless act helped to improve and lengthen the lives of their loved ones, and I feel grateful to have so much generosity right here in our community.
This is the 2nd time we have done this in Ossining, and while we are still waiting to hear our final numbers, we want to sincerely thank everyone who helped make this day a success, including Walgreen's and CVS Chilmark. We also had an awful lot of fun-- check out some of the great Ossining folks who signed up to save lives!
This is Marco, who works for our Town Parks department. He's a pretty cool guy, but even cooler now that he's an organ donor!
This is former Town Supervisor and County Legislator Richard Wishnie. Richard has done so much for Ossining, it is no surprise he has signed up to make this selfless gift.
Former Town Supervisor Sue Donnelly came down to help me man the table at Open Door late in the day, and we got a few more folks signed up. It was a beautiful day with a lot of people out and about, and it was great to get into some real conversations with passersby about how just one organ donor can save up to 8 lives!
On Thursday, Victoria Cafarelli and I were joined by Village of Ossining Director of Planning and Development Lynn Brooks-Avni and Westchester County Planner Tracy Corbitt at Club Fit Briarcliff to hold two MOGO (Millwood Ossining Go!) bike lane forums. We got a fantastic turnout from the local community of bikers and walkers, all of whom gathered to generously share their ideas and experiences with us as we move forward in the planning process. In case MOGO is a new word for you, check out the tab on the Town's homepage and take our survey-- we want to know how you think we can better connect the neighborhoods, open spaces and commercial hubs in our community!
I want to give a big thanks to David Swope and Ellen Koelsch at Club Fit for hosting us and being so hospitable. Did you miss us? Not to worry. Join us at the next forums taking place at the Ossining Public Library in November.
We have a fantastic weekend coming up in Ossining, so I hope to see you around Town at the Farmer's Market, Fall Family Fun Day, or one of the many Green Ossining Community tag sale locations (you can find them all here.) I want to remind everyone that Town and Village offices are closed on Monday, October 9th for the holiday, and also that on Tuesday, October 10th, the Town Board will hold their Regular Meeting at 16 Croton Avenue instead of at the Court House to accomodate a special presentation. Until then, here are some fun events this weekend and beyond right in our backyard-- see you there!
The WC Mobile Shredder will be at 5 Van Lu Van Road, past the Youth Center, in the Village of Briarcliff Manor on Saturday, October 7th from 10AM to 1PM. If you can’t make it then, the Shredder will be back at the Joseph G. Caputo Center in Ossining on October 14th between 10AM and 1PM. Residents can bring up to 4 file-size (10”x12”x15”) boxes of confidential papers per household. Please remove all large binder clips and covers. This is for the disposal of personal household papers. All business, institutional or commercial papers are not acceptable and will be rejected, as will any junk mail, magazines or newspapers.
Saturday, October 14th is going to be a busy day in Cedar Lane Park. The Ossining PBA will be hosting a 5K race early in the morning, and then the Ossining Arts Council will be hosting the Artist Open Studio Tours for those artists who are not able to host visitors themselves. This will be one spot of many, and will begin at 11AM, so we are asking race visitors and participants to park on the upper parking lot by the football field, and the spots in the lower lot will be for artists and visitors to CLAC.
Finally, this has been an incredibly dark and unnerving week for our country, and many of us are left feeling powerless in the wake of the seemingly unending loss, violence, and despair we have witnessed recently. I shared this statement at the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday:
"There are really no words that can be said about what took place Sunday night in Las Vegas. All I have been thinking about is just the fact that none of us are born wanting to commit such atrocities. Indifference, cruelty, and hatred are learned. And if we can learn them, we must be able to unlearn them. Better yet, we can make sure we do not teach them to our children at all, but rather that we teach just the opposite. This community of Ossining is beautiful because of the sheer number of folks who do this work every day: Of meeting hatred with radical hospitality; answering callous indifference with compassion; teaching acceptance, inclusion, and love. This work has never been easy to do. But rarely is anything easy that is worth doing. I know that I will continue to teach my children how to love deeply and widely, how to deal with their internal struggles appropriately, and how to make our world safe and welcoming for friends and strangers alike. And I will continue to share those same messages with my friends, my neighbors, and our community members. It is certainly hard to do in the face of such hatred because it is hard not to get caught up in an eye for an eye, but that’s just the way it is. I am here for every single person in this room and in this community, as we do this together—whether rising up against random acts of violence or working to combat the more entrenched forms of violence, such as poverty, bigotry, and callous indifference--I am here for you, and we, your Town Board, is here for you. Frankly, as I am sure we all feel, there is no alternative."