We got some beautiful weather this week. I hope everyone had a chance to spend some time outdoors. If you spent some time in our Town parks, or just walking around your neighborhood, you may have some thoughts on how the Town of Ossining can make our community better in the future! Join us in April for our second Comprehensive Plan public workshop. On Thursday, April 8 from 7:30pm to 9pm you can learn more about the “Sustainable Ossining” Comprehensive Plan. (Mark your calendars now!) Based upon feedback from the first public workshop, a survey, and the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee’s input, draft goals have been developed. This workshop will be an interactive opportunity for the public to review the draft goals, see how your input has been incorporated into this draft vision for the Town, share more input, and stay involved in the process. The flyer below includes the Zoom information, and we ask that you join via computer, versus a smartphone or tablet, so your interactive participation can be enhanced. And for those of you without access to Zoom, there will be more opportunities to provide feedback via non-virtual methods in the Spring. For e-mail updates specific to the Comprehensive Plan process, please subscribe on our website.
This week, the Town kicked off its annual MS4 Stormwater Reporting process. Annually, the Town must complete the MS4 report and detail its efforts from the previous year to mitigate adverse stormwater impacts. These actions include inspecting catch basins, monitoring outfalls, reporting illicit discharges, and continually providing educational materials to the community about how to preserve our environmental assets here in the Town. Learn more about our Stormwater program on the Town’s website, and stay tuned for a presentation at a future Town Board meeting on our 2020 report.
Last week, the Town adopted a Complete Streets Policy which codifies our work, as we improve roadways, to ensure we take into account all types of users’ safe access to those roads (pedestrian, cyclists, wheelchairs, cars, etc.) Yesterday we had a chance to meet with the Mid-Hudson South Transportation Council Committee to discuss the Millwood-Ossining Go Plan and the possibility of funding sources to help establish a dedicated, safe bike lane along Rt. 133 to ultimately connect downtown Ossining to the Empire State Trail. We are hopeful that the continued popularity of cycling will help bring more business to our retail establishments while also supporting healthy outdoor activities. This project is still in the early planning phases so we are grateful for the partnership with Town of New Castle and Village of Ossining as we work together to improve our roadways for all users.
And today the Town and Village of Ossining met with ConEd Government Relations staff and those responsible for the Municipal Liaison program to learn about some new programs underway that will hopefully make storm restorations go more smoothly and quickly. Fingers crossed!
The Town of Ossining is hiring a seasonal employee! Our Parks Department is working hard to get our parks, trails, and open spaces ready for the summer months. Have you ever considered coming on board to be part of the action? Applications, along with a longer job description, are available on the Town website and can be returned in person at 16 Croton Avenue or emailed to Victoria Cafarelli in my office. All applications must be received by April 9th at 2:30pm.
And speaking of our parks, we know everyone is super anxious to get right into spring season. Our Parks Department has just started to be able to do some spring cleanup. Please be patient after a very snowy (and therefore now super rainy) season, there is a lot to do, but our crew is out there working hard.
The warm temps and continued vaccine rollout are making this spring feel so much more hopeful than we all felt one year ago. Over 8 million doses have been administered in New York State, with over 27% of residents fully vaccinated. Eligibility expanded this week to residents over 50. Pharmacies will vaccinate those over 50, teachers, and people with co-morbidities. All other eligible residents can visit a state-run mass vaccination site. Appointments for these sites are scheduled online here by clicking the “Get Started” button.
Appointments for COVID testing are available at a number of sites in Ossining and Briarcliff, including many local pharmacies. Westchester Medical Center will offer testing at the Ossining Community Center on Sunday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. In order to sign up to be tested, residents must make a reservation. Reservations can be made in English or Spanish by calling 914-202-4530 or through the Westchester Medical Center website. Testing is also available regularly at OVAC. You can use the Find a Test Site Near You feature on New York State website to find other locations.
The Department of Labor has reported an increase in scams since the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, an increasingly popular one uses a person’s personal information to apply for unemployment. Protect yourself and your identity by being wary of requests for your social security number, financial information, or passwords. Additionally, avoid listing personal information on social media that could double as the answer to a security question. If you are the unlucky target of this particular scam, notify the NYS Department of Labor and make sure your employer knows what is going on. Alert the credit reporting agencies and file a report of fraud with the Federal Trade Commission. If you are the victim of a scam you can call the Ossining Police Department (for Village of Ossining and unincorporated residents) at (914) 941-4099 or the Briarcliff Police Department (for Briarcliff residents) at (914) 941-2130.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act has provisions specific to small businesses and hard-hit industries. A Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created to issue grants (not loans) starting soon. The grants can be used to cover payroll costs, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, outdoor dining construction costs, PPE, operational expenses, and more. I will share more information about this Fund as it is published. Additionally, the Paycheck Protection Program provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed (borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness). Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the U.S. Small Business Association is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal will begin accepting applications on April 8th. For more information you are also welcome to contact my office at 914-762-6001, or you can also directly contact U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s local office at (914) 734-1532. They can help walk you through the process to get the aid you need.
Even though it is Spring, the winter Farmers Market is still going strong! (Spring Vendors will be joining pretty soon.) We are lucky to have this asset all year long. Check out the full list of our great vendors at the Down to Earth website. There’s more than just great food at the Farmers Market. Did you know you can donate unwanted towels, clothes, and bags at the market? Green Tree Textiles will reuse and recycle these items (no rugs or blankets). Green Ossining has a table there weekly to collect Food Scraps in case you find that more convenient than dropping them off at Cedar Lane Park. They can also answer questions about energy-saving programs available to residents, including EnergySmart Homes, Grid Rewards, Community Solar and the new Carbon Tracker.
The Ossining Farmers Market also accepts Ossining Food Pantry coupons. You can also go to the manager’s tent to use your SNAP EBT card to get tokens. Fresh Connect checks available.
Before we jump into events, I would like to remind everyone that sign-ups for the Police exam close next week. If you were waiting for a weekend to register, now is the time. The exam is only offered every few years. The Ossining Police Department has shared a number of videos to help explain the process. They have also set up a computer in the lobby of the police station for anyone in need of free internet for the test registration. Scholarships are even available for those seeking police exam preparation courses.
I am excited to share a number of events are happening around town!
This week, the Recreation Department shared their spring programming and announced their plans for summer camp. There are some great in-person and virtual programs, including esports, pickle ball, stained glass class, LEGO programs, oil painting, and so much more. Click here to learn more about the programs.
Ossining High School students are offering income tax help! The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board (WPWDB) program runs until April 15th. Customers must make an appointment by calling 211 or (800) 899-1479 to schedule a drop-off time at OHS or the Mount Vernon Career Center. You must make an appointment to participate. Once an appointment is made, tax filers will drop off their documents at their preferred location.
The IFCA Thrift Store is accepting donations just in time for spring cleaning! Donate spring and summer items at 138 Spring Street between the hours of 10:30am and 4pm. The store will open for shopping on April 7th.
Neighbors Link is offering free citizenship clinics for those 18 or older with Green Cards. The program is virtual and pairs applicants with lawyers and others who are trained in the naturalization process. For more information, or to register call 914-666-3410.
The Briarcliff Police Department is hosting a Books & Badges event on Saturday, April 10th from 10am to 1pm. Kids can get a free book, bag, and snack by visiting the drive through event at the Briarcliff Manor Youth Center.
The Earth Day festival is expanding this year to a weeklong, town-wide extravaganza- but unfortunately we are not planning the all-day waterfront festival we all know and love. This year, participating stores, stops, and events will be published on the Green Ossining website, so check it out! The Town and Village will be hosting a Lunch and Learn on the Cornell University Climate-adaptive Design studio that was hosted in Ossining during the 2019 fall semester. The student-developed designs which reimagined our waterfront to be more resilient to climate change will hopefully be good jumping off points for us as we consider improvements to our assets along the Hudson. Join us to learn more – we will share the Zoom webinar link as we get closer. 2021 is the 51st anniversary of Earth Day (the 50th unfortunately passed during the height of the first wave). This event is a local favorite and I am excited to put it on my calendar. Green Ossining has also announced that their annual town-wide tag sale will take place on May 1st. I will share more information about this event as it approaches.
The Mike Risko Music School has announced their Summer 2021 camp programs, including Summer Rock Camp. Half day, full day, and virtual options are available. Visit mikeriskomusicschool.com for more info.
Next week is the fifth Tuesday of the month, which means there is no work session or legislative session scheduled for our Town Board. We will, however, hold a special meeting on Tuesday, March 30 at 7:30 on Zoom. Join us with Meeting ID 814 5706 0565 and passcode 597732. Read the Meeting Agenda here. Meetings are recorded and uploaded to Facebook and YouTube every week.
Wishing everyone who celebrates a very Happy Passover and do not overdo the matzah! Enjoy the lovely weather, sign up for your vaccine if you are eligible, and have a great weekend!
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that the registration for the police exam ended in the "middle of next week." This is incorrect. Applications for the police exam must be submitted online by March 29, 2021.