We made it through another week of winter! Even though it is absolutely frigid out there today, the sun is shining and nothing is falling from the sky, we'll take it!
We also made it through another tax collection-- the last day to pay your 2nd half school taxes in person was yesterday. Our Tax Office was open late to receive the last of our residents, and the staff in the office did us proud. As you can see, the ladies were still all smiles at 6PM after the crowds dispersed.
Special thanks to our Receiver of Taxes Holly Perlowitz, Deputy Receiver Patti Cunningham-Jay, and Intermediate Clerk Martha Quituisaca-- we heard from more than a few residents that your cheerful demeanors made paying that bill just a little more pleasant.
As you know, through New York State’s Local Government Efficiency Municipal Restructuring Grant program we have been looking for ways to make our Town government more efficient. One of the suggestions that arose which we shared through an online survey and most recently through our Community Conversations at the Ossining public library, was the concept of changing the elected offices of Highway Superintendent, Tax Receiver and Town Clerk to appointed positions. We plan to have a conversation at our next Work Session this Tuesday, February 5th about the feedback we have received to date and possible next steps. Please tune in to our YouTube channel if you aren’t able to make the meeting.
Isn't it cool to see photos of what's going on in our Town departments? We are always excited to share with you what we are up to, but only a few of our departments send photo evidence our way. So, we have decided to change that. Each week between now and the end of April, we will feature a department in this weekly update. True, not everyone is building things and rehabbing playrounds, but I find that very few residents know what goes on in the Town on a daily basis, so we are excited to give you a "behind the scenes" look at some of our unsung heroes. Stay tuned-- we plan to feature our Highway Department next week!
That being said, here's some cool Parks stuff.
A few weeks back, our Parks crew began some work on the Caretaker's Cottage at Ryder Park. The house, which was originally built in 1900, has long been rented by one of our employees who helps us to keep an eye on the park. However, we have noticed that the house could use some work, and we figured as long as we were doing the work, let's "Energize" it! (Well, that's not really true-- as a municipality, we can't participate in the Energize program). BUT, we are going through the motions evaluating where we can make improvements by sealing up the house, insulating it properly, converting lights to LED and appliance to those with an EnergyStar rating. We started with some asbestos and mold abatement in the basement which happened in late 2018. One of the first orders of business for 2019 was to take down a wall in the back that had some very obvious water damage. This is what HGTV might call an "open concept." Don't blame me, that's a Mario joke.
The crew reframed the wall...
...on both sides of the doorway...
...and boxed it in, and it now awaits new insulation once the rest of the basement is ready to go.
Next steps are to replace the basement door, fill in the insulation, and a visit from JP McHale for termite remediation. Old houses are beautiful, but they sure can hold a lot of surprises!
Within the next two weeks, the Parks guys should be headed up the stairs to work on the kitchen, and then will be doing some minor improvements on the exterior of the house once the weather warms up a bit.
One last bit of Parks news-- would you believe that plans are already in the works for our Independence Day 2019 fireworks display? This morning, Maddi and I met with Lieutenant Damiano and Parks Foreman Mario Velardo at Engel Park to map out what we are planning for July 3rd. We were not the only ones as bundled as can be-- here were some very intrepid pups and their people down at the Waterfront taking a morning stroll right alongside us. Their "outfits of the day" put ours to shame for sure.
The weekend is upon us, and there is a lot to do out there in Ossining and nearby! Happy Chinese New Year, for those who celebrate! Tonight, visit the Briarcliff Manor Public Library to learn about Chinese New Year and create a special paper cutting for your home with Chinese Language & Culture Instructor Cristina Lee. The fun starts at 7PM. Looking for more celebrations of the Lunar New Year? Check out the Lunar New Year Festival at the ArtsWestchester Gallery at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains tomorrow (Saturday, February 2nd) between 1PM and 4PM. Celebrate the Year of the Pig with music, dancing, crafts, and food. Visit artswestchester.org for more information.
Tomorrow morning, many Ossining-ites, including our own farmer's market guru Victoria Cafarelli and family, will be stocking up on olives and pickles at Pickle Licious, maybe even a pickle and olive platter for the Super Bowl! (They are partial to the jalapeño stuffed olives and the peppadews.)
Other recommendations include a stop at D&J Farms for veggies (even though it has been freezing cold for days they always have delicious, fresh produce including wonderful baby bok choy, and they keep heaters near their lettuce so it doesn’t freeze), Wave Hill’s garlic loaf (with giant chunks of whole roasted garlic cloves), and no visit is complete without a stop at Meredith’s Bread for chocolate chip cookies and vegan blueberry muffins – staples in the Cafarelli household! And, if you're planning for some especially decadent Super Bowl snacks (we see you, garlic knots), check out the Pure Barre Pop-Up Class at Sing Sing Kill Brewery on Sunday at 12 Noon-- I did this class the last time they came to Town, and it was a serious workout! Sign up here.
Tomorrow, February 2nd, The Lantern Gift Shop at St. Paul's on the Hill (Ganung Drive) will host their annual Valentine's Day Sale and Bake Sale from 10AM to 3PM. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so be sure to stop by and grab some gifts for the special someones in your life. Don't forget to swing by the bake sale and get some sweets to enjoy over the weekend, with or without a romantic companion.
You could also check out the free "City of Science" Festival at the Westchester County Center tomorrow between 10AM and 4PM-- learn more about this family friendly program here. RSVP recommended but not required, and parking will be free too!
Just one week from this Saturday, Eaglefest comes back to Croton! They have some new stuff planned for this year, so check out the schedule and get your tickets here.
After you work up a sweat spotting eagles around town, you are invited to the "Friends of 49" Annual Pasta Dinner and Basket Raffle, sponsoring Boy Scouts of America Troop 49, between 6 and 8PM. On February 9th and held at St. Augustine's School on Route 9, enjoy a pasta dinner and great conversation for just $10 per adult and $6 per child, and don't forget to participate in the raffle! Proceeds go to benefit the scouting program-- call Jack Reilly at 941-7407 with questions.
Then on Sunday, February 10th between 4 and 7PM, come down to Demeter’s Tavern & Sports Bar in Tarrytown and test your knowledge against other teams (bring your own team or come ready to make some new friends!) Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, and all proceeds go to benefit the Ossining Children’s Center. Click here to learn more and get your early bird tickets.
The snow squall messed up a few schedules this week, one of which was the Westchester County Public Forum on housing. County Executive Latimer has rescheduled for Monday, February 11th at the Community Center, so please consider attending. Co-sponsored by IFCA and Neighbors Link, the CE wants to hear what you think about the availability, accessibility and affordability of housing in Westchester County. This forum will take place between 6PM and 8PM. Be sure to come and make your voice heard by Westchester County as they draft their housing needs assessment.
While Thursday, February 14th is Valentine's Day, don't forget that February 13th is known to some as "Galentine's Day," a chance to give some love to the special ladies in your life! Looking for someplace to celebrate? Bella Maiya Day Spa in Briarcliff Manor has your back. For just $10 per person, come for chair massages, an eyebrow shape-up, collagen eye treatments, and even a smoky eye application while you snack on appetizers and sip wine. What could be better? Spoil yourself for a change, right here in town. Call 236-3711 to save your spot for this fun Girl's Night Out on Wednesday the 13th.
Looking at the Hudson River this morning, I am not sure where exactly we will cut the hole in the ice so we can plunge, but I will be there plunging! Hope you can join the fun for this great local organization to support families in need and scholarships for Ossining High School students.
Finally, I shared with you last week that we in the Town and Village were mourning the loss of Penny Markowitz-Moses, a (practically) life-long Ossining resident who passed away last week. When I joined Penny's family and friends at her memorial service last week, I was touched by how many fond memories of Penny were shared among the group assembled. One of Penny's good friends passed out copies of Penny's favorite Brisket recipe, which was her signature dish for all holidays and celebrations, and it seems only fitting that we share it with you. Enjoy it in good health, and stay warm this weekend!
Tomorrow is also Groundhog's Day, which means we will soon find out if we can expect another few weeks of winter, or if we're almost in the clear (learn about the Punxsutawney Phil legend here-- fascinating stuff). Check in with Phil tomorrow to find out what we're in for this month-- I know Michael G. O'Connor will be doing the same!