Supervisor’s Update – January 7, 2022
Happy First Snowy Day, Happy New Year, Happy Epiphany/Feliz dia de Reyes to those who celebrated yesterday, and Merry Christmas to those celebrating according to Orthodox Christian tradition! I hope that everyone has had some time for celebration, and rest.
In the last days of 2021, I took a little time to reflect on the year behind us and all we were able to accomplish, together, in spite of the challenges we faced. You can read that reflection here.
We also recently celebrated the Inauguration of our new Town and Village of Ossining officials on New Year’s Day. Congratulations to all the recently installed elected officials, particularly those being elected for the first time - my new Town Board colleagues Gabrielle Hamilton and Angelo Manicchio. You can view the video of our Inauguration on our Town Facebook page (facebook.com/townofossining) or here on our YouTube channel.
Also, huge shout out to our very own County Legislator, Catherine Borgia, who joined us for our local inauguration, and who is also now Chair of the County Board of Legislators. It is a boon to our community to be so well represented at the County level. It is also historic - this is just the second time that a woman has held the position, and the first time that a female chair will hold the position alongside a female vice chair, Legislator Nancy Barr of District 6. As many of you know, Catherine also served as Ossining Town Supervisor prior to running for legislator. We are so incredibly proud of our hometown hero, and grateful for her leadership and representation!
Unfortunately, we did not leave COVID-19 behind us in 2021, and it seems like we were saying much the same in January 2021–almost a deja vu. As I write this, there are 1,993 active cases in the Town and its two Villages, almost 14 times the number of active cases we had three weeks ago, the last time I reported on COVID incidence in the Update. Governor Hochul has extended the mask mandate to February 1, 2022 and announced new measures to combat the virus in our state; click here to read more. There is also updated guidance from the State regarding quarantine rules, which reflect the changing implications of infection & exposure as vaccination rates increase. If you do need to quarantine and need food assistance at that time, the County has established a new hotline you can call for help: 914-995-5566. Hotline hours of operation are 9-5 Monday through Friday.
We encourage everyone to step up and take as many precautions as they can to reduce the spread of this virus. Masks and vaccines continue to be our best protection against serious illness; though breakthrough infections are certainly happening, they almost always produce less serious symptoms than infections among the unvaccinated. The overwhelming majority of us (over 90%) in the Town and its villages have at least one dose of vaccine, but the percentage of people who have completed the vaccine series is only 79.8% in 10562 and 79.4% in 10510. If you have not already done so, please complete your vaccine series and/or get your booster shot. Pediatric vaccination rates lag among adult ones all over the state; please also take your children to be vaccinated.
Lastly, we hope to occasionally receive supplies of masks, home test kits and other tools from other levels of government as we continue to combat this virus. Special thanks to OVAC for helping us and the Village of Ossining to distribute the test kits that were allotted to our municipalities just prior to Christmas. (By the way, if you are in a position to donate to a worthy cause, please consider OVAC! Their operating costs have increased significantly due to all of the extra service they have been providing our community in the midst of this pandemic. Click here to make a donation.)
Going forward, we will be taking a strategic approach to ensure that our essential workers, first responders, highest-risk populations (e.g. those in group living facilities) and most economically disadvantaged households are prioritized during the distribution of free supplies like home test kits and masks. So far we have distributed masks to churches during holidays, the Ossining Food Pantry, Open Door Medical Center, the Briarcliff-Ossining Ministerial Association homeless shelter, and the Ossining Recreation afterschool program (for the pediatric masks we received). We also distributed masks to front-line municipal staff such as the Department of Public Works, Highway Department, and Clerk’s Office to keep Town services up and running to the fullest extent possible. We will notify the public via email and social media about any additional distributions, in addition to sharing information from other organizations and governments that can help residents get access to masks, testing and vaccines.
To that end: If you need a PCR test and are having difficulty finding one, try the new testing site at SUNY Purchase, which began operating today. Hours are 8:30-4 PM. Click here to find an appointment. The County is also releasing appointments for testing every three days; click here for more information about testing and a variety of other services and resources. The Ossining School District will be holding a vaccine clinic on Thursday, January 13 in the Ossining High School gym from 3:30-7 PM; pediatric and booster shots will be available. Click here to register.
Onward! If you have little ones who will be four years old on or before December 22, Pre-K registration for the 2022-2023 school year begins this coming Monday, January 10.
If you or someone you know has interest in Allied Health careers, Westchester Community College is hosting free registration days and information sessions at the Ossining Extension Center this month. Dates are as follows:
- Thursday, January 13, 5:00 PM
- Tuesday, January 18, 1:00 PM
- Thursday, January 20, 5:00 PM
Congratulations are in order for a number of local seniors, teenaged and elderly. On the young end, we have our latest group of Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars - Natalie Calman, Rose Cioffi, Nyasha Nyoni, Aaron Song, and Cameron Takmil, all from Ossining High School. Thank you to these amazing students for filling us with #OPride! And thank you to Ossining High School’s Science Research program for once again making Ossining the best performing district in the county in this contest. Next, congratulations to Thomasina Laidley-Brown and Northern Wilcher for being inducted into the Westchester County Senior Citizen Hall of Fame! We thank them for their outstanding contributions to our community, which were rightly recognized during a ceremony last month.
Bad news for those who had been looking forward to the Green Ossining Repair Cafe next Saturday, January 15; it has been canceled as a precaution in light of rising COVID case counts. They hope to be back for the next scheduled event, which will be on Saturday, March 12. Save the date!
Good news for Village of Ossining residents: the Village has joined the Town in using the Recycle Right app! Village residents can click here for more information and links to download the app for iPhone or Android. The Town of Ossining has been using this app for a couple of years now, so if you are in the Unincorporated Town and haven’t yet signed up, click here. It’s the best way to learn how to dispose of everything (recycle, upcycle, etc.), and find your own refuse pick-up schedule specific to your address.
And good news for those looking for enriching summer camp opportunities for their kids, or a summer job! Registration has begun for Teatown Summer Camp, which is also looking to hire camp counselors. Click here to apply as a returning camper (registration for new campers begins next month). Click here to apply for the job opportunity.
Next Thursday, January 13 from noon - 1 PM, Teatown will be hosting a lunchtime chat about community composting. Learn more about our food scrap recycling program! We are so happy our neighbor in Yorktown Heights has also partnered with Teatown to help remove food waste from the traditional refuse stream and turn it back into gold–that’s healthy soil to you! Click here to register.
Registration is open for winter art classes at Bethany Arts Center! Click here to see the class schedule and other events.
Artists should also check out a new fellowship opportunity made possible by the Westchester Community Foundation. Learn more and apply here. Applications due February 15.
If you are behind in your mortgage payments due to causes related to the pandemic, the New York State Homeowners Assistance Fund can help. Applications opened up this past Monday, January 3; click here to learn more and apply.
Note for small business owners: the State’s COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program has recently been expanded. Visit nysmallbusinessrecovery.com to learn more and apply for assistance.
Please reach out for help if you or someone you know is having difficulty heating their home. Applications are open for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), overseen by the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Click here to read more about the types of help that are available, check your eligibility, and apply.
Continued rental assistance is available for people who have been displaced by Hurricane Ida.
If you’ve been feeling depressed or sad since Hurricane Ida, help is available for that too.
FEMA also recommends that you protect your home with flood insurance. To learn more about it and the National Flood Insurance Program, click here.
Ossining Communities that Care is encouraging adults to step up and begin having conversations with the young people in their lives about avoiding substance abuse. Visit their Grown Ups Show Up page for tips and talking points to guide these conversations.
The YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester is accepting applications for its Y Leaders program, a free leadership initiative that aims to equip high school and college-aged women and gender minorities with the tools they need to be effective and empowered leaders. The program takes participants through workshops and conversations that will teach them how to improve communication skills, how to incorporate daily affirmations into their lives, how to empower each other and how to navigate spaces in a way that affects change. You can read more about Y Leaders here, and students can apply here. The application deadline has been extended to January 14, 2022, and the program will begin on January 19 from 5-7 PM via Zoom.
A note from our Superintendent of Cemeteries Pete Connolly: If you have holiday decorations placed at cemetery plots at Dale or Sparta Cemetery, please remove them by Monday, January 17 if you would like to retrieve them. They will be removed by cemetery staff after that date.
Tax reminder: Village of Ossining taxes are due on January 31, 2022, as well as the second half of this year’s school taxes for both Ossining and Briarcliff School Districts. Click here for the Village of Ossining payment link and here for school taxes.
We will see you soon - till then, be safe. enjoy the snow, and stay healthy!