Budget season officially kicked off this week in the Town of Ossining! Budget Director Maddi Zachacz and Deputy Comptroller Dale Ferreira joined me as we met with each department head to review and discuss their budget requests for 2020. It was a great opportunity to reflect on our progress in 2019, and plan ahead for 2020. All of our departments have so much planned for the new year, we are very excited to start sharing these new programs, offerings, and projects with our residents!
At our Town Board Work Session this past Tuesday, we heard from the Ossining branch of the NAACP and discussed how we can work together to educate the public on hate crimes and symbols of hate in an effort to ensure that these horrific instances have no place in our community. This was an essential conversation to have, and we look forward to working together in the future to establish a task force that can come up with an ongoing plan of action to ensure Ossining is safe and welcoming to all.
Earlier that evening, I had the opportunity to join Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia, the Westchester County Department of Planning, and the Village of Ossining for a Town Hall discussion on the 2020 Census. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the process for 2020 and why it is so important to ensure an accurate count. Our Census count determines so much on the federal level, including our representation to Congress and funding allocations – yes, including school district funding. The Town looks forward to being a partner in this process and we will share more information about how we can all help to ensure an accurate count when the Census kicks off next spring.
We also got our flu shots this week! Town and Village of Ossining staff are all prepared for flu season -- most of us have been immunized and are ready to serve you by staying healthy through the worst months! The flu can become serious, and even deadly, very quickly. It is very important to get your flu shot to protect not only yourself, but also your family, friends, co-workers, clients, neighbors, and everyone else you interact with during the worst of flu season. This is especially important if you have a loved one with a compromised immune system. Getting your flu shot is a great step we can all make to make sure we stay healthy through the winter. I promise it doesn't hurt -- that much!!
Somehow -- Halloween is right around the corner! Get your tickets now for this year's Forest O'Fears: The Haunting at Cedar Lane. I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek today from director Fern Quezada, and believe me, you are not going to want to miss this event -- it really gets better and better every year, and this year is no exception! On both weekends, we are lining up food vendors and beer vendors to ensure this is a fun night for the whole family. And bonus -- all of the proceeds this year are going to the SPCA of Westchester right on North State Road, so while you're having some Halloween fun, you will also be supporting a great local non-profit at the same time.
Fall weather is finally here, and there are so many events going on around Town to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Start your Saturday with the Green Ossining Ossining/Briarcliff Town-wide Tag Sale. Check out the Facebook page for a preview of the great items for sale across Ossining and Briarcliff. Tag sale shopping and buying second-hand are easy--and fun--ways to reduce your impact on the environment.
If you find yourself shopping for baby clothes and toys for the littlest ones in your life, why not stop by the Ossining Library's Early Literacy Baby Shower? With raffles, giveaways, food, storytime, and an opportunity to get a library card, this event is a great way to get on board with early literacy and the countless benefits it will provide for your children as they grow up. Ensuring that babies and toddlers get as much exposure to reading and literacy is the best way to ensure their continued educational and lifetime success. It's a fact!
The Ossining School District also has some fun activities scheduled for this Saturday. Saturday, October 5th kicks off the first sessions of the newly established Saturday Explore and Learn. The School District has lined up some excellent programs for kids of all ages and parents, too! Please take a look at the catalog, and consider signing up for these free enrichment opportunities where you can expand or develop your passions with instructors who will share theirs with you. The School District has also coordinated transportation to the Chappaqua Children's Book Festival. The Chappaqua Children's Book Festival is very well known and brings authors from near and far, so it is sure to be a fun event for school-aged kids (yes, it is a good sign if your kids consider authors to be celebrities!). If you ride the bus from AMD, you will also get some book vouchers to bring home a souvenir. Should out to Elizabeth Blye from Ossining OUFSD for all her hard work helping to expand this big event.
This Saturday is also the annual Fall Family Fun Day at Market Square from 10am to 1pm. There will be a hayride, crafts, pumpkin painting, and more. Head down to Market Square, and give yourself some time to explore the Down To Earth Farmers Market as well. Pick up some fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies to incorporate local foods into your meals this week. It might just be the perfect weekend to bake an apple crisp with your Saturday haul!
Meanwhile, Bethany Arts Community is holding their first annual Artoberfest on Saturday, October 5th from 10am to 4pm. Get your paint shirt on and get ready to participate in any of the great activities offered for the whole family, including a bee-keeping demonstration and information about our very own Cedar Lane Arts Center pottery offerings. The fun continues Saturday evening with a ticketed Artoberfest concert starting at 7pm. For $20, enjoy an evening of music with jazz trumpeter Ted Daniel, featuring Aisling & Friends with Alan and Ellen Marzelli, and artists in residence Ashtyn Nilsen, Faye Chiao, and Tasha Gordon-Solmon.
If that's not enough local music for you, check out WCT's performance, also this Saturday evening, October 5th. Anne Carpenter is one of my absolute faves, and hearing her sing Joni Mitchell sounds too good to be true!
On Sunday, October 6th at 11am, join Ossining Schools Superintendent Ray Sanchez for a hike at Teatown. This is always such a great opportunity to get outside with the family and enjoy the beautiful fall weather, and you get a chance to bend Dr. Sanchez's ear while observing frogs and polliwogs. Please park in the Lakeside lot, and bring a bagged lunch to enjoy after the hike.
Then, after what is sure to be a fun-filled weekend, it will be time to celebrate our very own Chief Nick Franzoso from the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps! Chief Franzoso and his team at OVAC work tirelessly to ensure that our community remains healthy and safe, day in and day out. The Westchester County Board of Legislators will be honoring Chief Franzoso as part of their Italian Heritage and Culture Month celebration on Monday, October 7th at 6:30pm. Chief Franzoso is an amazing public servant, and it is so exciting that he is being recognized on the county level for his continued service. Extra thanks to County Legislator Catherine Borgia for always being supportive of leaders in her district.
Next Thursday, October 10th is Organ Donor Enrollment Day. Once again, the Town is sponsoring "Team Ossining" with the goal of getting as many people in our community enrolled as Organ Donors. There are so many New Yorkers waiting for a lifesaving transplant -- New York still has one of the lowest registration rates of all states in the nation -- and registering as an organ donor is an easy and thoughtful way to help save someone's life. Stay tuned for more details -- we are hoping to make a big push with outreach to the staff in our schools next week. If you are not registered as an organ donor, please consider doing so and learning more from LiveOnNY, the organ recovery organization for our area. Or even better -- wait for Thursday, and stop by the Town offices to register and count towards Team Ossining! Last year we collected the most registrations of any municipality. Let's see if we can repeat that success again this year!
On Friday, October 11th, Sing Sing Kill Brewery is hosting a fundraiser in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, with some great live music. The $10 donation at the door will go towards RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) to support the amazing work they do for refugee and immigrant families along the Southern border of the United States.
On Saturday, October 19th, New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef is hosting a community celebration to recognize the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage. At the Ossining Historical Society starting at 1pm, Assemblywoman Galef has invited women in our community to read a portion of the Declaration of Sentiments, which was written in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, and modeled after the Declaration of Independence, demanding equal rights for women. The Declaration of Sentiments was a document that shifted the course of women's rights in the United States, and certainly brought us to where we are today, shepherded by so many influential and strong women throughout history. I have been asked to participate, and I am so honored to stand alongside the many female leaders in Ossining and remember those that came before us to ensure that we have equal rights today. Please save the date, and plan to join us for this moving celebration.
Save the date for more Halloween events coming up later this month! The call to artists closes on Tuesday, October 15th for Ossining Arts Council's Day of the Dead exhibit. If the topic of Día de los Muertos and associated vibrant imagery inspires you, there are just a few days left to get in your submission.
This coming Tuesday's Town Board Regular Meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday, October 10th at 8am. The Special Meeting Thursday morning will be to clean up a few pending contracts and pay bills. We will return to our regularly scheduled meetings next Tuesday, October 15th with a special Town Hall meeting to discuss our upcoming Comprehensive Plan with Sustainability Elements. Tiffany Zezula from Pace University's Land Use Law Center will join us for a presentation and conversation about best practices in Comprehensive Planning and next steps for Ossining. I hope you will consider joining us, especially if you are interested in getting involved in our Comprehensive Plan. Now is the time to plan for Ossining's future and we want to hear from you!