This weekend is Memorial Day, a chance to honor those servicemen and women who died in service to our country. Usually, Ossining and Briarcliff observe the holiday with a parade, but leading organizations have decided to err on the safe side while COVID is still a risk. The Ossining Centralized Committee of Organized War Veterans will hold a ceremony at Nelson Park on Memorial Day, starting at 10:45am. The Briarcliff Manor American Legion Post 1054 will hold a ceremony at Law Park at 11:30. Shout outs are in order for Boy Scout Troop 49 of Ossining and 36 of Montrose for helping put out flags on veterans’ graves in our cemeteries, and to the Ossining Girl Scouts for once again making wreaths for the Ossining ceremony.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer. In celebration, our Spray Park at Louis Engel Park will reopen tomorrow! The Spray Park will be open from noon to 7pm, every day until the end of the summer season. Since kids cannot be vaccinated, we ask that masks be worn around the playground and Spray Pad area. Masks do not need to be worn while in the Spray Pad area itself. Kids should not visit the Spray Park if they are feeling sick or have been exposed to COVID-19.
Summer also means boating season is here, and the Town recently adopted new regulations regarding the Bryan Johnson Boat Ramp at Louis Engel Park. Permits are required for launching, and daily and seasonal passes are now available for purchase online at www.buymypermit.com/ossining/. Please note that with our new electronic permits, you need to be prepared to show proof of your paid permit to members of the Ossining Boat & Canoe Club or Ossining Police upon inspection. The most seamless option is to plan ahead, and buy a seasonal pass. With a seasonal pass, you will be mailed a sticker for your trailer and your license plate will be permitted for parking in the trailer parking spaces near where you can launch your boat. Please note daily permit holders are not allowed to park in the trailer spaces. It may take a couple of days to get all this functionality processed and in place, but you will be ready to go boating on the Hudson for the rest of the summer with ease. Plus, the fee for a seasonal pass is just two times the price of a daily pass for a resident, so even if you only end up launching your boat twice this summer, it pays off. We are working on getting updated signage at Louis Engel Park as we just recently finalize our new local law, so in the meantime, we appreciate your patience and please spread the word to the rest of your boating friends!
As our summertime activities are getting into gear, I know a lot of people have favorite events on the mind like our annual Independence Day Fireworks, Summer Concert Series, and Food Truck Fridays, all of which we had to skip in person last year due to the pandemic. This year we are happy to announce we will be hosting our annual Summer Concert Series and Food Truck Fridays, starting Friday, July 2nd. However, due to the large crowds (usually between four to six thousand people) we expect for our Fireworks display, we opted not to host that event in July this year. While we are making great progress on the COVID-19 front, given the nature of the event and the number of people, including many, many children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, we thought it would be much more responsible to wait a little longer for a more festive celebration, and have therefore scheduled the fireworks celebration instead for the end of summer Friday, September 3 of Labor Day weekend. We hope by then more people will be vaccinated, and COVID-19 numbers will be much reduced. Please stay tuned – more details will be coming! In the meantime, please mark your calendars for our Friday night events. These weekly concerts bring out a much smaller crowds than fireworks, and we hope they will be a welcome respite for the community as we start to return to some sort of normalcy. We are also working again with the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce and Sing Sing Kill Brewery to feature local restaurants and New York craft beverage purveyors to help support our local businesses, and are grateful for the help the Riskos provided in curating our bands for the concerts as well as helping get the word out. We will be sharing more information very soon via social media, so get your lawn chairs ready!
Memorial Day will affect the sanitation schedule for Town residents. Regular Monday pick-ups will shift to Tuesday, and regular Tuesday pick-ups will shift to Wednesday. You can always review your schedule with the ReCollect widget on our website. You can also have service alerts sent to you directly using the Recycle Right Westchester app. This is specifically for those living in Unincorporated Ossining.
This week we received reports of damage at Sparta Cemetery, which is owned by the Town. The Ossining Police Department coordinated with the Sleepy Hollow Police Department, who were investigating damage sustained at their historic Old Dutch Church Cemetery. Police have concluded that an out-of-state visitor used a type of modeling clay to create casts of the stone in order to recreate ornamental portions of the gravestones, leaving a residue on the stones themselves. The visitor’s actions do not appear to have been malicious and do not rise to the level of a crime. However, this is another reminder that we should always take extra care in historic sites and around landmarks. Sparta Cemetery has historic gravestones that are over 200 years old and even accidental damage can indeed be irreparable.
The Ossining Community Equity Task Force held a press conference at Engel Park yesterday to discuss efforts to close the Digital Divide, which is the gap created by unequal access to the internet and digital services. The Task Force invited NYS Senator Shelley Mayer to discuss her E-LEARN legislation. Thank you to all the wonderful speakers and Task Force members working to make internet access and technology more accessible. For more information about the Digital Divide, please see our Press Release. To watch a recording of our livestreamed Press Conference, visit our Facebook page.
The best way to take advantage of great summer events is to get vaccinated. Luckily, there are a lot of convenient places to get the vaccine! The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps (OVAC) is administering Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at its headquarters on 8 Croton Avenue. Walk-ins are welcome but scheduled appointments are preferred. Get an appointment here. The Ossining Briarcliff Vaccine Angels are wrapping up their efforts, and shifting to a county-centric group. If you need help filling out the OVAC scheduling form, please contact 914-989-1540.
Starting on June 1st at 9am, residents can apply to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). This program was created by New York State to support households which are behind on their rent, have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and that earn at or below 80 percent of area median income. Once approved, eligible households will receive up to 12 months of past due rent. Those eligible could also receive up to 3 months of additional rental assistance, if the household spends 30 percent or more of its gross monthly income on rent. The program also will provide up to 12 months of utility arrears for eligible applicants. Read the eligibility requirements and prepare to apply here.
The Town of Ossining partners with Sustainable Westchester to connect residents with information on how to save money and go green. If you are interested in solar energy, but cannot put panels on your home, the Community Solar program is perfect for you. Community Solar lets resident use electricity generated by nearby solar farms. The program can reduce your electric bill by up to 10%. Sustainable Westchester can help you sign up or answer any questions you might have. Visit the Sustainable Westchester website or call Sustainable Westchester's Claire Kokoska at 914-242-4725 ext. 112.
May is National Biking Month and TravelStorys is ready to help you combine cycling with history. With help from local partners, Historic Hudson RiverTowns created historic audio tours for drivers, walkers, and cyclists. Use the free TravelStorys app to learn about Ossining, Briarcliff, the Bear Mountain Bridge, or more than 15 other local sites. Bike lanes have been added to a number of local roads and we are happy to see residents explore this eco-friendly hobby.
You may have noticed a new ship docked in Ossining this week. Currently at Shattemuc Yacht Club, the Apollonia is a carbon-neutral merchant vessel powered by wind. The Schooner is delivering 12,000 pounds of grain to breweries and distilleries, in waterfront towns including our very own Sing Sing Kill Brewery. Transportation of goods is a major contributor to the release of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. It’s exciting to see local businesses embrace this green effort.
Earlier this week we learned that Mike Risko Music was named a Top 100 Music School and Store in the world for the 8th year in a row by NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants). This is quite prestigious and we are all so proud that one of “our own” continues to gain international recognition! Please join me in congratulating them on this achievement.
This Saturday, May 29th Gullotta House will host its 5th Annual Charity Duck Race from 10:00am - 12:00 noon at Dale Avenue Park! 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.
Bethany Arts Center is hosting a nature walk tomorrow as its closing event for its exhibit (s)mother 2.0 care in (a time of) crisis. The exhibit was launched on Mother’s Day as an exploration of mothering and motherhood. The nature walk will begin at 2pm but you can catch the exhibit beforehand too. Visit the Bethany Arts Center website to learn more.
Wildflower Island is a two-acre refuge within the greater Teatown preserve, home to roughly 280 species of wildflowers, trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, and rushes. Join experienced guides on weekends in May and June to explore this natural paradise. Sign up on the Teatown website.
Juneteenth is celebrated across the country every June 19th in honor of the day Union soldiers reached Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and free enslaved peoples. The day has taken on different names over the years (Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day) and was only formally recognized by New York State for the first time last year. I will join the Juneteenth Council of Ossining on June 2 as we raise the Juneteenth Flag at Market Square. A separate Juneteenth celebration will take place on Juneteenth itself, Saturday, June 19 at Louis Engel Park at the Ossining waterfront.
On Wednesday, June 2 you can join Amanda Bayley to learn about native plants in your backyard. The Jug Tavern is hosting the event on Zoom, starting at 7:30. Pop in and for helpful information on gardening, our eco-region, and how to “rewild” your backyard.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef will host a virtual Town Hall on June 3rd to discuss Ranked Choice Voting. This method of voting was recently adopted in New York City and is quickly growing in popularity. Join the Assemblywoman and her panelists in a Zoom webinar using Meeting ID 829 9730 5054.
On June 4th, I will join the Ossining LGBTQ Alliance as we raise the Pride flag at Market Square. June is Pride Month, a chance to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ community. The event will be livestreamed here starting at 9am.
Ossining Innovates and WEDC are launching Cohort 3 of their Inclusive Entrepreneurship Accelerator. This program is designed for residents considering opening their own business or non-profit. The free, year-long program includes 20 weeks of entrepreneurship training (Thursday evenings 6-9pm) as well as coaching, mentoring, and community support. Seats are limited, so fill out an application sooner rather than later. Learn more at ossininginnovates.com
The Town of Ossining is hosting its very first Compost Give Back Days on June 4th and 5th. Our Food Scrap Recycling program used to haul full toters to Ulster County to be converted to compost, but now they only have to travel to Sustainable Materials Management, Inc. in Cortlandt Manor, which is even better news for the environment. We are excited to be illustrating the full circle of food scrap recycling by providing compost from this facility. So, yes, the compost at this event really will be from Ossining’s food scraps and from other neighboring Westchester municipalities as well! Pick up some local compost and bring healthy nutrients back to your garden. We ask that people sign up in advance so we can be sure we have enough compost to go around. Learn more about Food Scrap Recycling and the Ossining Composts program here.
The Ossining Fire Department Venturing Crew 467 will be hosting Propane Tank Drop-Off Day on Sunday, June 6 from noon to 3. If you have some old empty propane tanks sitting around that cannot be refilled or exchanged, here’s your chance to safely get rid of them.
The AMD PTA is holding a Food Truck Friday Fundraiser on Friday, June 11, 2021 from 6-8 pm. Featured food trucks include Wanna Empanada, Gyro Uno, El Patio, and Mister Softee Ice Cream. All of the food trucks will be giving a portion of the evening's proceeds to AMD PTA. You can sign up for the event here.
Stop by OVAC on June 18 for a blood drive. Our area is facing a blood shortage, a critical resource for hospitals. You can schedule your donation appointment here.
Artis Senior Living of Briarcliff Manor is holding Shred it Day, a chance for residents to protect sensitive information from ending up in the wrong hands. There is a suggested $10 donation to participate and proceeds will support the Alzheimer’s Association. RSVP online or by calling 914-223-7195.
The next Historic Sparta Walking Tour is scheduled for June 20 at 1pm. Join Dr. Alan M. Stahl, Sparta historian, resident, and vice-president of Jug Tavern of Sparta, Inc., for the fascinating 200 year history of The Jug Tavern as well as Sparta's homes and residents. The tours are outdoors, masked, and socially distanced. Sign up for the June tour here.
The inaugural Hudson Valley New Voices (HVNV) Festival continues at the Westchester Collaborative Theater next weekend. From June 4-6 HVNV will showcase Vintage Voices, featuring dramatic works by seniors. The festival concludes June 18 – 20 with Voices of Color, featuring original plays by writers who identify as People of Color. All tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or by calling (914) 263-4953.
May is Small Business Month. You may have seen this Bingo Board on our social media pages as a reminder of some of the easy ways to support our great businesses. Ossining and Briarcliff are full of amazing mom and pop shops. Please take the opportunity to think about buying locally first, whenever you have the urge to purchase!
The next Town of Ossining Board Meeting will be a Work Session with a Special Meeting on Tuesday, June 1st at 7:30pm on Zoom. Join us with Meeting ID 837 5189 3782 and passcode 778627. Read the Meeting Agenda here. Meetings are recorded and uploaded to Facebook and YouTube every week.
Wishing everyone a restful, enjoyable weekend as remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms.