First of all, I would like to address the upsetting incident that occurred at Ossining High School this week. I learned yesterday that symbols of hate, including a swastika and a racial slur, appeared in Ossining High School. We have a community that works every day to celebrate all that we share, but also the differences that make our world that much more interesting and rich. In Ossining, all our many cultures, religions, skin colors, languages and choices make us the desirable place to live that we are. Our schools, more than anyone, always showcase this diversity in the most incredible way each and every day, making this horrific anomaly even that much more troubling -- and it is an anomaly, in Ossining. These types of symbols have not appeared in our schools in any time recently in our collective memories.
As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I know what these symbols represent--in my case the loss of my great grandfather who was herded like cattle to a concentration camp where he met his death, simply because of how he worshiped. These symbols and others like them are triggers that hold so much meaning for the people who have been directly impacted by hate crimes. They are not funny, they are not edgy or cool. They represent the worst of humanity. We need everyone in our community to continue to work together, as we already do, to help stop this madness of propagating symbols and messages of hate in and around our communities. We will not tolerate this behavior. We must come together to put an end to it and instead to get the word out that all are welcome here. To that end, the Town had already committed to set up a task force in partnership with the Village of Ossining and other stakeholder groups like the NAACP and houses of worship focused on educating our entire community (beyond the school district) about these symbols and their impacts in an ongoing fashion. Today, we gathered together for a press conference to re-affirm our commitment to addressing how we can work together against these symbols of hate appearing in our community. We will be announcing more details about this group in the coming weeks.
The Ossining Police are continuing to work closely with the Ossining Schools to fully investigate this incident. If you have information that might be helpful to their investigation, please contact the Ossining Police at (914) 941-4099. As always, calls to the police can be anonymous.
Even though we did not have a Town Board meeting this week, it was still a very busy week in the Town offices. I filed the Town Supervisor's Tentative Budget this week with the Town Clerk, and I am very proud of the recommendations our Department Heads put forward for the Town Board to now evaluate. For the ninth year in a row, we are proposing a budget that stays within the two percent tax cap. To read my 2020 Budget message and all other budget documents, visit the Budget Office page of the Town website. Huge shout out to Budget Director Maddi Zachacz and Deputy Comptroller Dale Ferreira for their hard work this budget season! At our November 19th Work Session, there will be a presentation on the 2020 budget, and we will hold the public hearing on the budget at our November 26th regular meeting. The Town Board will be meeting with department heads on Wednesday, November 20th from 11am to 4pm and Friday, November 22nd from 12pm to 5pm in the 3rd floor Conference Room at 16 Croton Avenue.
On Tuesday, I joined my colleagues in the Village of Briarcliff Manor and other stakeholders for a press conference to call on the New York State Department of Transportation to address the real safety challenges along 9A. Village of Briarcliff has been doing a lot of renewed work to bring attention to this old roadway which has outlived its 1930's design and is in dire need of a redo. It is so important that the state adequately addresses infrastructure needs, especially along roadways like 9A that were built decades ago and have not been able to adapt to the increased traffic levels of today. I look forward to continue to work with Mayor Vescio and our colleagues in Briarcliff, as well as our state and county legislators to demand that the DOT finally address this dangerous roadway, including at a meeting scheduled this coming week by County Legislator Catherine Borgia's office with leaders on the state and county levels of DOT.. You can find the Journal News coverage of the press conference here.
Early voting continues this weekend -- you can cast your ballot tomorrow, Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd, from 12noon to 5pm on both days. Anecdotally, early voting has been very well received, with people who have voted early saying the process was smooth and easy, and wait-free. The early voting location in Ossining is the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center at 95 Broadway.
Early voting takes a break on Monday, but as always, on Election Day, November 5th, you can vote at your regular polling place between 6AM and 9PM. As a reminder, the Town Board has put forth three ballot initiatives to ask voters to convert the elected positions of Town Clerk, Receiver of Taxes, and Highway Superintendent to appointed positions. If you would like more information about these ballot initiatives, and why the Town Board feels they are worthy propositions to bring to the public for a vote, please visit the Project Forward website, check out the League of Women Voters hosted forum about them in this YouTube video on our Town page, or see the reasons below. We hope these many ways to get more information about them will be helpful when you reach the polls.
We are continuing to seek input on the future of the Ossining waterfront! Thanks to Cornell University's Climate-adaptive Design studio, hosted here in Ossining for the fall semester, a mapping activity has been designed to gain a better understanding of how people currently use the waterfront, what they would like to see happen there in the future, and what concerns they may have about flooding and sea level rise. This activity invites people to place colored dots on a map of the Ossining waterfront to indicate different activities they would like to have available (such as sports, arts and culture, or water access). Space on the map is provided for community members to write ideas, and more detailed responses can be shared in a comment box. The mapping activity is provided in English and Spanish, and will be available in the Ossining Public Library (53 Croton Avenue) and Joseph G. Caputo Community Center (95 Broadway) through next week. Feedback gathered through this activity will be incorporated into the proposals of students in the Climate-adaptive Design Studio. Together with Councilwoman Feldman, Village Manager Karen D'Attore, Mayor Victoria Gearity, and I, we will personally deliver your feedback to Ithaca next weekend, when we will be visiting the students to participate in their midterm presentations. Save the date Monday, December 16th for when students will be presenting their designs to the public at the Ossining Public Library – more details to come on this event! We are so excited Ossining was selected to participate in this innovative program this semester, and look forward to seeing their final suggestions, with your input. Here is the display at the library -- stop by this week!
Tonight, Friday, November 1st starting at 8pm, Deni Bonet will be Live at the OAC Steamer Firehouse Gallery -- she is a pop/rock singer/songwriter and classically trained violinist who has recorded and performed with R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, Cyndi Lauper, Scissor Sisters, and Warren Zevon among many others. She was an original member of the cast of the nationally syndicated NPR radio show Mountain Stage; singing and performing in her own right and accompanying guests on the show. Deni left the show to pursue a solo career, with a mission to prove that there is more to the violin than concertos and hoedowns. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, Lilith Fair and the White House for President Obama, the First Lady and Vice-President Biden. Deni Bonet has become an in-demand act, headlining various festivals, performing arts centers, clubs, colleges and international venues. Her music has been featured on HBO, NBC, American Airlines, several film and modern dance projects, and has been described by the Wall Street Journal as like Sheryl Crow meets the B-52's". So cool that she is in Ossining tonight! Grab your tickets now.
This weekend is jam packed with fun activities.
The Ossining Schools, in partnership with Feeding Westchester, are hosting a community fresh market at Ossining High School from 9:30am to 11:30am, tomorrow, Saturday, November 2nd. All members of the Ossining community are welcome and there will be free fresh fruits and veggies for all. Thank you to the Ossining Schools for recognizing the simple, but important steps, we can all take to ensure our families are healthy. Eating lots of fruits and veggies, especially ones that are fresh and local to our area, is top on that list!
Green Ossining is back with its Repair Cafe on Saturday, from 11am to 3pm at the Ossining Community Center. Bring your broken, but beloved, items in to be fixed for free. You would be amazed what these volunteers can do to ensure that these items do not end up in the trash! We got our electric lawnmower fixed last time, and are hoping to get some guidance on a bicycle tire this time round. How bout you?
The Westchester Collaborative Theater Jazz Series also continues this Saturday, November 2nd with the Willie Martinez Latin Jazz Quartet:
The Little Bertie Genealogical Society has two events coming up this week, both at the Ossining Public Library. I hope you will consider attending to learn more about the history of so many of Ossining's families.
Monday, November 4th is the opening day for the Friends of the Library Children's Corner. Every Monday and Thursday during the months of November and December from 9am to 12noon, you can buy children's paperbacks for $0.50, hardcovers for $1, and puzzles for $1 to $3 in the Friends Corner at the Ossining Public Library on the first floor. This is an easy and affordable way to share the love of reading with the littlest ones in your life.
The Ferry Sloops Fall Lecture Series concludes this Wednesday, November 6th at 7:30pm at Shattemuc Yacht Club, with "The Ghosts of Undercliff: A Forgotten Community" presented by Palisades Interstate Park historical interpreter, Eric Nelsen, in the clubhouse at Shattemuc Yacht Club. Did you know that there was a time when the Palisades riverfront bustled with diverse communities of rivermen and their families? Through images and narrative, the program sheds light on these forgotten people and places -- and how these settlements got romanticized over time -- even as the life of these forgotten river communities went on, oftentimes hidden in plain sight after the Interstate Park was created. The presentation also highlights the use of the river by sailboats and steamships, as well as the shad fishing industry into the 1980s. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Rotary Club of Ossining is hosting its annual scholarship fundraiser next Friday, November 8th at the Ossining Public Library. Instead of their usual Employee of the Year recognition ceremony, the Rotary has planned what is sure to be a compelling inspirational talk by Gian Paul Gonzalez. There will be a silent auction, music, 50/50 raffle, wine, and hors d'oeuvres, all to support scholarships for Ossining High School students.
Next weekend, November 8th, 9th, and 10th, with performances at 7pm at Bethany Arts Community, Theater O presents “And a Child Shall Lead” by Michael Slade, featuring middle school actors. This is a heroic and true story of children coming of age in Terezin, the “Jewish city” established by the Nazis near Prague as a way station before the death camps. In the face of unspeakable horror, these children use their determination and creativity to build lives filled with hope and beauty--playing, studying, making art, and writing an underground newspaper—all at the peril of being executed. Their actual poems and stories are woven into a fast pace drama, evoking the universality of children caught in the insanity of war. Appropriate for children ages 9+. Please be mindful of the subject matter before having young children attend, the performance is appropriate for most children 9 years old and up, but you know your children best. This is sure to be a compelling performance. Tickets are available at Theater O's website for $10 each.
Next weekend, November 9th and 10th, is the Hudson River Potters Pottery Show and Sale at Bethany Arts Community, featuring our very own Cedar Lane Arts Center Instructor, Keith Gordon!
Save the date for two events hosted by our state legislators, Senator David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, scheduled for later this month:
Another great way you can help out your community this fall is by becoming an MBK Mentor. You must be a man 18 years old or older to participate. Here is some more information on this transformative opportunity for Ossining's youth:
Town Offices will be closed on Tuesday, November 5th for Election Day. We will not have a Town Board meeting on Tuesday night, instead we will have a Work Session on Wednesday, November 6th at 7:30pm in the Boardroom at 16 Croton Avenue. Don't forget to go and vote!