Tomorrow is May 1st, also known as International Workers' Day. I would like to extend a special thank you to all the workers who have kept the world spinning this past hectic year. Essential workers continued to staff our grocery stores, delivery services, healthcare systems, and emergency services, as well as take care of our roadways, parks, and at our Town/Village offices, accept payments, and issue permits. Remoting workers adapted to zoom meetings, spotty WiFi, forwarded calls, and homeschooled kids – just to list a few. We are so grateful for all that workers did to keep things as much on track as possible at some very difficult moments, to say the least.
Today I joined leaders from the Village of Ossining for a tree planting in honor of Arbor Day. This is the Town’s 21st annual Arbor Day celebration, and the Village’s very first! We are excited that the oak tree planted will support over 500 different species of butterflies and moths native to our area, making it an excellent pollinator for our area. The new tree was planted at Nelson Sitting Park at the site of the Ossining COVID-19 Memorial. You can read our press release about this event for more details.
On Monday evening, the Town hosted the Ossining Community Equity Task Force’s first virtual Town Hall. Thank you to all our panelists and presenters for Inequity in Ossining; How the Pandemic Brought Issues of Inequity into the Spotlight. If you missed the Town Hall you can watch the recording here. The next regular Task Force meeting is scheduled for May 6 at 2pm (join us on Zoom using meeting ID 835 5100 4869). Subcommittees will be discussing their ideas to dismantle and disrupt inequity.
If you like the idea of supporting solar power, but cannot put panels on your own house, condo or apartment, consider Community Solar. This program allows residents to get electricity from a solar farm’s clean energy and it can lower your electric bill by up to 10%. You can even select locally right now, because the soon-to-be-built Maryknoll solar canopy is a community solar project you can select! Some people get nervous because the program asks for your banking information, but this is needed for the billing process, and you will see savings to your energy costs. Learn more about the program, get your questions answered, and watch a walkthrough of the signup process through the Sustainable Westchester website. Make sure you have your ConEd bill or online account handy. Sign up takes only seven minutes – or less!
The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp received 200 doses of Moderna vaccine to distribute to residents 18 and older over the course of the next month. Appointments will be available at 8 Clinton Avenue (OVAC headquarters) and EMTs will make house calls for homebound as well as to help people feel more comfortable getting their first dose. Schedule appointments here or call to ask questions (914) 941-9196. Huge shout out to OVAC Chief Nick Franzoso for all of his hard work during the pandemic, he has been an instrumental leader in helping the Ossining community fight COVID-19, from OVAC making their own disinfectant in the early months, to offering testing for first responders and community members, and now vaccines. Not to mention, always being on the frontline of emergency medical care for our community. There is not much Nick and his team can’t do!
Appointments at local sites can be made directly through the businesses. There are appointments available at the Westchester Community College Campus in Valhalla (click here then select the “vaccine information” tab for current scheduling options). You can also schedule appointments through the New York State Coronavirus webpage by reviewing the sites and clicking “Get Started.” The Governor announced this week that walk-in vaccinations are available at any State run vaccination site, like the Westchester County Center, for people of all ages. Please remember that vaccines take approximately two weeks from your latest dose to be fully effective.
After some initial delays, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) finally opened. This relief program is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act to help small businesses and hard-hit industries. Assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Paycheck Protection Program, and Restaurant Revitalization Fund is still also available. 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.
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.
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.
And now for some events – including quite a few this weekend!
The biannual Ossining & Briarcliff Community-Wide Tag Sale is back tomorrow. This event is always a great way to meet your neighbors and save money without shopping at big box stores. Over 50 households across town are participating this year and Green Ossining is so dedicated to reducing carbon emissions they have even created a route representing the most fuel-efficient and time-saving way to reach each property. Masks are required (of course!) and this year some sellers may accept digital payments (Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal) to decrease cash handling. For previews of the items on sale, check out the Green Ossining official Tag Sale Facebook Group.
Tomorrow is also 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 (though that one has been maxed out for registrants for some time now!) Specific information about each area is available on the registration site.
A number of local site clean-ups are also planned for tomorrow’s Riverkeeper Sweep including ones at Engel Park, the Sing Sing Kill, and the one at the Aqueduct accessed through Gerlach Park (which is still maxed out!). 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. 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.
The Bethany Arts Community is hosting a pottery show with works by Hudson River Potters. Entry is free for the in person event on Saturday and Sunday. Visit the Hudson River Potters website for more information.
On Monday evening, Ossining Village Historian Joyce Sharrock Cole will present some amazing local history at this year’s Jug Tavern annual meeting, taking place remotely. 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.
The Ossining Public Library will offer tax assistance until May 13th in light of the extended federal deadline for income tax payments. This 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. A Tax Aide volunteer will be in touch to schedule your appointment with you, go over the required paperwork, and answer your questions.
Westchester Craft Crawl will return on May 15th and 16th this year. This year’s Crawl will feature 56 regional professional craft artists from Westchester, NYC and the Hudson Valley region, with several stops in Ossining. Check out the full list of artists and stops along the crawl here.
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!
Historic Hudson River Towns and all its member communities, which include the Villages of Briarcliff, Ossining, and the Town of Ossining, worked with the company Travel Story to develop a driving tour of communities along the Hudson, north of the Mario Cuomo Bridge. The tour app is available for free via the TravelStorys app. Check it out! Big shout out to former Ossining Village Historian and current Village Trustee Dana White for her work creating the Ossining sections of the tour.
The Town received word from Con Edison today regarding the wind gusts expected to hit our region tonight into Saturday morning. Con Ed has secured 75 mutual aid full time line workers to be ready to respond to potential system impacts. Customers can report power outages or service problems by calling 1-800-75-coned or online at www.coned.com (where they can also view service restoration information and an outage map). Customers can also text REG to OUTAGE (688243) and follow the prompts. You will need to enter your Con Edison account number to complete the registration process. Once you've registered, you will not need your account number to report or check the status of a power problem.
The next Town of Ossining Board Meeting will be a Work Session on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:30pm on Zoom. Join us with Meeting ID 836 3762 7373 and passcode 287261. Read the Meeting Agenda here. At this meeting, we are going to hear from our project manager, Chris Rice, of our planning team at WXY Studios with an update on the Comprehensive Plan. We are close to finalizing draft goals for the Comprehensive Plan, and now gearing up for the fun part – developing objectives and strategies to achieve those goals! We are still looking for community members to weigh in on the draft goals, and take part in an exercise about Ossining’s strengths and weaknesses as we dive into the next phase of planning. Visit the Sustainable Ossining website to complete these exercises (yes you can download and print a PDF too), or visit the Ossining Public Library or Little Free Libraries at Gerlach, Ryder or Engel parks to get a hard copy. Meetings are recorded and uploaded to Facebook and YouTube every week.
Have a great weekend. I hope to see you at some of the amazing events planned.