The day we had been dreading finally arrived this week-- our Highway Foreman Johnny Martin and MEO Rick Planamenta worked their last day for the Town of Ossining. We didn't get the big snowstorm that was predicted at first, but it did flurry a bit in their honor. Maddi and I stopped by around lunchtime to bring cupcakes to the guys and say our final "see ya later" to Johnny and Rick.
We got them talking about their first day on the job with the Town (which, as you may recall, was somewhere around 30 years ago), and to think of the institutional knowledge that those guys have, there are big shoes to fill. Luckily, both guys are only a call away and we know we will see them soon, but boy, will we miss these faces!
The Town Board did not meet this past week (5th Tuesday), but we will be holding our regularly scheduled Work Session on Tuesday, February 6th at 16 Croton Avenue, followed by a short Special Meeting-- one of the most important orders of business? Appointing Matteo Velardo to the position of Acting Highway Foreman. We still have some details to work out as far as staffing the department, but hope to move ahead quickly with a permanent appointment and a new Laborer-level hire. We have a few exciting topics planned for our Work Session, including a visit from Executive Director Shannon Laukhuf from SPCA of Westchester, who will join us to talk about the service they provide to the community and tell us about their expansion plan, and we will have the Honorable Sue Donnelly, former Town Supervisor, come to speak about the great work that GOTV (Greater Ossining Television) has been doing since she took over as Station Manager last year. Sue has really revamped the structure of the organization and has expanded the programming to include community events that haven't been covered in many years-- we are appreciative of her efforts and you will want to hear about what's in store next.
Also at our meeting on the 6th, we have invited Ron Kamen of Earth Kind Energy to come speak with us as part of our Work Session about two topics, the first of which is an IMA with Sustainable Westchester which will allow us to get better prices for some new electric and hybrid vehicles as well as lawn care equipment for our parks and public spaces. Ron will also stay with us to discuss recommendations for how to make sure our three charging stations are implemented in the best way possible, so they are ready to serve our electric car users as soon as they are installed (we are hoping to cut the ribbon at Earth Day in April). We asked Ron to come give us some advice on how to establish a pricing structure for the charging, as well as what parking regulations and signage will be required to make them as efficient for users as they are for the environment.
Speaking of our Town Parks, before you know it, it will be that time again-- the Summer Concert Series traditionally kicks off at the Independence Day Fireworks Celebration, which this year is scheduled for Tuesday, July 3rd. Do you know of a band who is interested in playing the series? Please direct them to the Summer Concert Series page on the Town website-- all prospective acts must fill out this form in order to be considered. It's fairly simple-- don't be dissuaded! The deadline to apply is March 1st, so please help us spread the word!
The weather is looking a little dicey for this weekend, specifically for Super Bowl Sunday, but there will be plenty to do around Town that will keep you warm and cozy indoors. I will be spending my day tomorrow at Bedford 2020, learning from our neighbors' experiences about how we can implement more sustainable initiatives in Ossining-- I hope to see many of you there!
I will be spending Saturday evening at the Westchester Collaborative Theater Mid-Winter Dance Party-- join me in supporting this great local organization at their first fundraiser of the year-- the fun starts at 7:30PM at their space on Water Street.
Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away, but don't worry, you still have plenty of time to pick up a great gift for your honey! The Lantern Gift Shop at St. Paul’s on the Hill will be holding a special event tomorrow (Saturday, February 3rd) between 10AM and 3PM. They will offer homemade cards, gifts, and don’t forget the famous Valentine’s Day Bake Sale. Be sure to enjoy a free cup of hot tea or coffee while you shop (you will need it... it's going to be frigid outside!)
Teatown’s Eaglefest 2018 is next weekend! This year's celebration will take place on Saturday, February 10th. Between 9AM and 4PM, bring the family down to Croton Point Park to enjoy eagle shows, bird walks, children's activities, and this year, a musical performance by the always fabulous Lilith Fair all-star, singer-songwriter (and author!) Dar Williams. Of special interest? A history-only tour guided by our very own Town Historian Scott Craven, which kicks off at 2:30PM (happens to be the last tour of the day). Get more information on this wonderful annual event by visiting Teatown's event page. Want to get the inside scoop on eagles before the big day? Bring the kids (recommended for 4-7 year olds) to "Story Sundays: The Eagles are Back" at Teatown on Sunday, February 4th-- register here. If you ask me, this program has it ALL over what the Philadelphia Eagles will be doing that day :)
If you don't plan to attend Eaglefest all day long, the Ossining Public Library is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year, and all are invited to the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, February 10th at 2PM, featuring special remarks, a performance by students from Ossining High School, and a reception to follow. This will be the kick-off for a year of special events, including the Kids & Teen Celebration on Sunday, February 11th at 5:30PM. Both events will take place at the OPL at 53 Croton Avenue, all are welcome.
I hate to end with sad news, but we got word yesterday that Ossining resident and good friend to the Ossining community David Swope passed away on Wednesday evening at the age of 76. David had a big heart, and to say that he gave generously to local causes would be an understatement. David, who early in his life had served in the Peace Corps and formed a legal aid society in Mumbai, devoted the last several decades of his life to supporting charitable organizations near and dear to his heart, both through his sizeable donations and through work on many governing boards. Some of his favorites (to name just a few) also happen to be some of mine-- Ossining Children's Center, Pace University Environmental Center, Westchester Community College, The First Steps Program in the Ossining School District, Westchester Land Trust, and Teatown Lake Reservation, which Mr. Swope's family donated the land for many years ago. David was an amazing man and an inspiration to so many, and his idealistic spirit, kindness, generosity and friendship will be sincerely missed by all of us here in Ossining.