This week the jury in Minneapolis handed down three guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial. The Town of Ossining, Village of Ossining, and Ossining School District released a joint statement supporting this act of accountability in our justice system and reaffirming our commitment to make our community equitable for all.
The Ossining Community Equity Task Force will host a virtual Town Hall event on Monday at 6:30 to discuss inequity in Ossining during the Coronavirus Crisis. The Task Force will explore COVID’s impact on healthcare and education, while also taking time to recognize the community partnerships that have helped residents in this difficult time. Panelists will include speakers from Neighbor’s Link, the Open Door Medical Center, WESTCOP, the Ossining School District, the Ossining Public Library, elected officials from the Town and Village of Ossining, and representatives from other local organizations. The event will be streamed to Facebook and via Zoom.
In celebration of Earth Week, Mother Nature decided to show off a full range of talents, with a few gorgeous days, a sudden mid-day thunderstorm, some hail, and chilly weather to follow. The good news is that Green Ossining prepared a full calendar of over 100 virtual and in-person events and special small business deals so you could find the perfect activity regardless of the weather—and it continues through this Sunday. Special thanks to Suzie Ross and her Green team for making this year’s Earth Week festivities possible.
Tomorrow you can join Elisha Fernandes Simpson of Crossover Yoga Project (CYP) for a grounding yoga practice on the waterfront, as long as the temps reach 60. Meet at Louis Engel Park stage at 9am with your mat and start the weekend off on the right foot (and the left, too, for balance of course!). This class was postponed from last week (because it was only 39 degrees!) so I am excited to see it come back. Register online through Community Pass and keep an eye on the sky as the class will be cancelled if temperatures dip too low again.
The Town collaborated with a number of organizations for Earth Week to discuss ways residents can save the planet and save money at the same time. Our partnership with Sustainable Westchester has opened up excellent resources for residents looking to learn about solar panels, buying an electric vehicle, and much more. During this week’s lunch and learn we explored three programs Ossining residents can benefit from. You can watch yesterday’s presentation here, and check out previous discussions with contractors and neighbors on our Facebook Page.
The second program is called Community Solar. If you like the idea of supporting solar power, but cannot put panels on your own house, condo, or apartment, this program might be the perfect fit. Get your electricity from a solar farm’s clean energy and you can get up to 10% off your electric bill. You can even select Maryknoll’s solar canopy as your source of solar energy! But hurry - those credits are going fast! Learn more about this program, watch a walkthrough of the signup process, and get on board through the Sustainable Westchester website.
The third program discussed in our webinars this week is called EnergySmart Homes. You may have even seen the giant banners and signs around town. This program is for homeowners looking to drive down their heating and cooling costs while also not relying on fossil fuels. Air source heat pumps extract heat from the air outside and distribute it inside your home. During warmer months, the process is reversed to provide cooling by pulling heat out of your interior space. Ground source heat pumps extract heat from the ground during cold weather via an underground pipe system, which is then distributed throughout your home. During warmer months, the process is reversed to provide cooling. A heat pump hot water heater can provide reliable hot water for your home 2 to 3 times more efficiently than conventional storage or demand water heaters. If any of your systems are failing or are at the end of their useful lives, it’s a perfect time to consider switching to one of these cleaner options with all of the incentives in place to help you. Learn more about what could work for you on the Sustainable Westchester website.
On Monday, the Town participated in an Earth Day event with the Cornell University Climate-adaptive Design studio. The studio was originally hosted in Ossining during the 2019 fall semester. The student-developed designs reimagined our waterfront to be more resilient to climate change. These designs will hopefully be good jumping off points for us as we consider improvements to our assets along the Hudson. The designs were shared as posters at the Ossining Train Station in the morning all week, and we plan to move the posters to other sites for more people to view. You can also check out the students’ designs or watch a recording of our Lunch and Learn here.
During our Town Board Meeting on Tuesday we unveiled a proclamation in honor of monarch butterflies. Monarchs, and other pollinator species like bees, are increasing at risk across the world. These species’ biggest threat is habitat loss. You can actually help this by mowing your lawn less frequently. Plant diversity peaks at 3 weeks between mowings. Peak bee diversity occurs when lawns are only mowed every two weeks (which represents a grass height of about 4 inches or so). You can download this fun sign to let your neighbors know what’s going on.
The Clerk’s Office is reminding residents that all dogs in New York State are required to be registered. In the Town of Ossining, all dog licenses expire May 31 of each year – this changed after the Town Board passed a local law regarding dog licenses in 2019. Those with existing dog licenses should have received the renewal information in the mail within the past few days. But, the Clerk’s Office is taking new applications all the time, whether you just welcomed a new four-legged furbaby into the family, or just learned of this State law. Thankfully, registering Fido (or renewing a registration) is quick and easy online.
The Briarcliff Fire Department is looking for members to join their ranks. If you are interested in learning more about the BMFD volunteer experience call 914-941-4440 or visit their website to chat with firefighters, ask questions, and learn more.
The financial impacts of COVID remain a pressing issue, especially for small business owners. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act has provisions specific to small businesses and hard-hit industries. For more information, business owners can contact U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s local office at (914) 734-1532. Office staff can help walk you through the process to get the aid you need. Visit the Small Business Association website to learn more about the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Paycheck Protection Program, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Applications for the NYS Empire Pandemic Relief Reimbursement Fund are currently open. Through this program, essential workers and first responders can apply for up to $1,000 (per household) in State reimbursements for out of pocket costs incurred during the pandemic. Eligible expenses include child care, transportation, and lodging. Learn more or find applications for this program on the New York State website.
Vaccines are available to all New York residents ages 16 and older. Local pharmacies are stocking Moderna and Pfizer vaccines (the Johnson & Johnson supply is still on hold). Appointments at local sites can be made directly through the businesses. There are appointments available this weekend and early next week at the Westchester Community College Campus in Valhalla, click here for Saturday, April 24 from 9am to 5pm, click here for Monday, April 26 from 1:30pm to 5pm, and click here for Tuesday, April 27 from 10:30am to 4:30pm. Quite a few members of Town Staff, including myself, got our vaccines at Westchester Community College, and we can assure you that it is a very well-organized site. And literally painless – I didn’t even feel my second shot when I got it last Saturday! You can also schedule appointments through the New York State Coronavirus webpage by reviewing the sites and clicking “Get Started.” The Governor announced today that for anyone 60 years of age or older, walk-in vaccinations are available at any State run vaccination site, like the Westchester County Center. Please remember that vaccines take approximately two weeks from your latest dose to be fully effective.
Westchester County maintains a Special Needs Registry for residents to voluntarily provide information that may be useful to local emergency responders. Any Westchester resident with a disability or access and functional need who may require assistance in the event of a major emergency or disaster may be eligible. The Registry is only intended for those who live independently and not in a residential facility (i.e. nursing home). If you or someone you know is interested in registering, please visit the Westchester County website.
On Monday, May 3, 2021 at 7:30pm, Ossining Village Historian Joyce Sharrock Cole will present some amazing local history at this year’s Jug Tavern annual meeting. Ms. Cole will speak about the life of Captain Lewis Brady, resident, homeowner, and fisherman in 19th-century Sparta. Ms. Cole will trace the life of Captain Brady, his escape from Delaware to Sparta before the Civil War, the family roots he planted, how he lived, and the legacy we can celebrate today. Join the conversation on Zoom.
Saturday, April 24th, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The Ossining Police Department allows residents to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications every day, but this national event is a good reminder for all of us. Proper disposal of these items prevents them from entering our drinking water, rivers, and streams. Clearing unneeded prescriptions from your medicine cabinet also reduces the likelihood of those medications being misused or abused. Call it an opportunity for some spring cleaning!
Registration for the 2021 Ossining & Briarcliff Community-Wide Tag Sale ends tomorrow. This annual event, planned by Green Ossining, is the perfect opportunity to declutter. For the $25 registration fee, you receive a double-sided sign to post on your lawn three days before the sale; additional signs to hang around your neighborhood; a link to your home and items for sale on our Google map; and promotion in the Pennysaver, local press, bulletins, and assorted social media outlets. For more information and to sign up visit the Green Ossining website. For previews of the items on sale, check out their official Tag Sale Facebook Group.
The Bethany Arts Community is hosting a pottery show with works by Hudson River Potters. Entry is free for the in person event on May 1st and 2nd. On line shows are also available April 26-30th. Visit the Hudson River Potters website for more information.
Town Historian Scott Craven will be back, virtually, to host a special Wildlife in the Hudson Valley presentation in honor of Earth Day. This presentation, through the Ossining Public Library, is planned for Wednesday, April 28 at 7pm. To register for this event, visit the Library website.
The Town and Village of Ossining will host a tree planting in honor of Arbor Day, Friday, April 30th. This is the Town’s 21st annual Arbor Day celebration. The tree will be planted at Nelson Sitting Park at the site of the Ossining COVID-19 Memorial.
Teatown’s Plantfest is happening now (yes, as we speak, or rather as you read)! This year, Teatown will offer purchases of their curated herbs, annuals, and perennials through curbside pickups. The pre-sale runs until Wednesday so review their collections now and place your orders.
Saturday, May 1st is I Love My Parks Day. Celebrate by learning more about native species and taking part in fun events. This year there are five Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park locations from which to choose when you register, including the one starting at our very own Gerlach Park. Specific information about each project is available on the registration site.
In 2020 the #RiverkeeperSweep removed more than 16.6 tons of trash from local waterways, and over the past decade of Ossining-based clean-ups, has cleaned out over 4 tons of trash. Help make an even bigger impact this year by registering for the May 1st Riverkeeper event. A number of local site clean-ups are planned, including at Engel Park, at the Sing Sing Kill, and Gerlach Park. Join the Ossining Parks Habitat Stewards for an invasive species removal at Ryder Park. Over 100 similar projects will take place throughout NYC and the Hudson Valley. Register here on the Riverkeeper website.
The Ossining Public Library will offer tax assistance until May 13th in light of the extended federal deadline for income tax payments. The assistance is available thanks to AARP's Tax Aide program. Appointments are required. Residents should call (914) 810-3384 to make an appointment for assistance with preparing and filing federal and state income taxes. When calling to make your appointment, please be sure to leave a message with your name and phone number, and a Tax Aide volunteer will be in touch to schedule your appointment with you, go over the required paperwork, and answer your questions.
On Sunday at 4pm, the Ossining Community Equity Task Force is joining the Coalition for Understanding Race through Education (CURE) in welcoming author Isabel Wilkerson in a discussion of her book Caste. Other book club discussions are scheduled for later this month and early May. Hard copies and digital copies of the book can be requested through the Ossining Public Library. Pick up a copy and register here to participate in one of the book discussions.
Mark your calendars and save the date for Gullotta House’s 5th Annual Charity Duck Race on Saturday, May 29th from 10:00am - 12:00 noon at Dale Avenue Park in Ossining, NY—good luck getting your duck to beat mine! There will be a top prize of $1,500, a second prize of $250, and $100 gift cards for the third, fourth, and fifth prizes.
For more information about this year's event or to purchase a duckie for the race, please click here. Gullotta House has continued to provide free prepared meals to local families, and has even stepped in and delivered food to our seniors when we needed some help! Thank you for your support and we hope to see many of you or your ducks there!