We started this week commemorating Veterans Day, and in the Ossining community that was done through the Central Committee of Organized War Veterans' annual ceremony at Nelson Park. I was humbled to stand alongside my fellow elected officials, representatives from the Ossining American Legion and other veterans' groups, honoring all the veterans in our community that have given so much in service to our country. We must always be grateful for their dedicated service, and it was an opportunity to take time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices all veterans and their families have made for our freedoms. The Ossining community was even represented at Arlington National Cemetery, as the Ossining Girl Scouts presented a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Ossining Girl Scouts annually make wreaths representing our community's veterans' organizations locally for Memorial Day, so it was so wonderful to see them representing Ossining in Washington, DC on this solemn day, via their Instagram page. Go Ossining Girl Scouts!
At this past Tuesday's Town Board Meeting, we held a special presentation in memory of Mario Conte, a Court Officer and Constable in our Town Court for many years, who tragically and suddenly passed away last year. Mario was a dedicated employee and member of our community, serving thirty-three years in the Ossining Auxiliary Police and as an active member of the Ossining Hose Company in the Ossining Volunteer Fire Department. His death truly left a void in the Ossining community. A few months ago, the staff of the Town Court approached the Town Board about installing a plaque at the Courthouse, in memory of Mario, right where he stood week after week, welcoming people into the Town Justice Court. This request from our Court staff highlighted just how much the Town Court is truly like a family.
We heard from one of Mario's close friends, Lieutenant Damiano, and he told great stories that captured Mario's personality. In case you didn't know, May 15th is Mario Conte Day in the Village of Ossining, as proclaimed on his 30th anniversary of joining the Ossining Auxiliary Police. Mario was very proud of this honor, so I hope you will take a moment next May to remember him -- as I'm sure he would all want us to do.
Then, we all gathered in the vestibule of the Court, to unveil the plaque in Mario's memory, led by Court Clerk Ann Malone.
I hope the next time you visit our Town Court building, you stop and say hi to Mario, one of our most dedicated Town employees.
Later in the meeting, I also shared a proclamation with Kemi Pogue, founder of Hit a Home Run Against Drugs, an organization she founded in her father, Alexander Pogue's, memory after he died from a battle with cancer in 2000.
Alexander was dedicated to educating and empowering young people in the community, all with the goal of fostering healthy lifestyles away from the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and misuse. This Saturday, November 16th, Mr. Pogue’s birthday, we have dedicated as “Hit a Home Run Against Drugs” Day in the Town of Ossining, alongside our colleagues in Westchester County, Peekskill, and the Village of Ossining, in Alexander's memory and in recognition of all of Kemi's hard work for the youth in our community. Thank you, Kemi, for all you do!
At next Tuesday's Town Board Work Session, we will be having a few important discussions, starting with our annual presentation of next year's Town Budget. I encourage you to join us in person, or via your TV for Budget Director Maddi Zachacz's presentation of the 2020 Tentative Budget. I am pleased with the recommended budget we are putting forth, as it stays within the two percent tax cap for the ninth year in a row, while still recommending funding for much needed infrastructure improvements and new, innovative programs. All documents on the 2020 Budget can be viewed online. (Side note -- we will also be holding budget meetings with department heads that are open to the public on Wednesday, November 20th from 11am to 3pm and Friday, November 22nd from 12noon to 5pm, if you really want an in depth look at the budgeting process!)
Also at Tuesday's meeting, we will be discussing the draft request for proposals for a consultant to work on the Comprehensive Plan. We hope to issue the RFP and receive responses during the month of December, so we can hit the ground running with a consultant lined up in January. We will also be discussing the parameters for applications for community members to join the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. Of course, the application will be open to the community at large, so I urge you to consider putting in an application! If you would like to learn more about Comprehensive Planning, please check out the video from the Town Hall meeting in October, it was extremely informative.
Today, I attended the Urban Land Institute's Urban Planning Institute at Pace University's Land Use Law Center. It was a great opportunity to get guided help from seasoned professionals to learn how to address competing interests for communities when considering development and rehabilitating downtowns. I hope to be able to use some of the skills I learned during the Comprehensive Planning process!
Before I get into upcoming events, I would like to share a quick message from our Highway Superintendent, Pete Connolly, and our Highway staff. We have been receiving some complaints about garbage. For those in the unincorporated Town, we have been informed by Suburban Carting that they can only accept three yards of bulk waste, which should be placed curbside and will be picked up on your second garbage day of the week. Please -- no construction debris! The quantity of brush and branches should be no more than two piles of 4ft x 4ft tied bundles per week. Pick up for brush should be expected on Thursdays or Fridays, depending on weather and staffing. If you have a contractor doing work in your yard, that should not be placed curbside -- your contractor should remove it. If you have any questions, please contact the Highway Department at (914) 941-2241.
Also, our Highway Department has been hard at work removing leaves these past few weeks. All residential leaves in the unincorporated Town should have been picked up at least once at this point, except for Old Albany Post Road, Cedar Lane, Croton Dam Road, and Stormytown Road, which our staff will be getting to starting next Tuesday, November 19th, weather dependent. A second sweep will start soon and will be completed in the next few weeks, hopefully before we get any snow! And again, if you have any questions or concerns, give our Highway Department a ring at (914) 941-2241.
Hudson Valley Restaurant Week continues this weekend, running until Sunday, November 17th. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is a great way to check out our region's amazing eateries, while keeping costs down -- a three course lunch is $22.95 and a three course dinner is $32.95 at all restaurants. Check out the many offerings, including some local Ossining and Briarcliff restaurants!
Join Bethany Arts Community tonight, November 15th,for their “ART IS COMMUNITY” 2nd Annual Fundraiser. Enjoy an entertaining evening with great food, cocktails, music, art creators, performance and numerous silent auction items including original art! Get your tickets here.
If this cold weather has got you inspired to do lots of early holiday shopping, you are in luck! This Saturday, November 16th is the Holiday Celebration at St. Paul's-on-the-Hill, with a soup and sandwich luncheon and shopping at the Lantern Shop, from 10am to 4pm. The Lantern Shop always has a lot of unique treasures for everyone on your list, and the bake sale is even better!
Saturday afternoon, head over to Mike Risko Music from 1pm to 1:45pm to learn how to play guitar! Spots are limited, so be sure to register in advance.
While you're at Mike Risko Music, consider donating a gently used instrument for their Musical Instrument Drive. All instruments will be brought back to life and donated to organizations to support music education.
Join All My Friends and Lauren West (of American Pinup) for a night of catchy punk tunes & local libations, this Saturday, November 16th from 8pm to 10pm at Sing Sing Kill Brewery. All My Friends is a punk band from Ossining and the brainchild of Christina Picciano. Their first record, "In Ossining," is an ode to reconnecting with one's hometown and the struggles that come with it. As per usual, no cover.
On Sunday, November 17th at 2pm at the Ossining Public Library, the 400 Year Project (a County-wide collaborative), the Ossining NAACP, and Historic Hudson Valley are presenting “People not Property: Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North.” Led by Michael A. Lord, Director of Content Development at Historic Hudson Valley, this presentation will share the individual stories of enslavement in the Colonial North, including those enslaved at Philipsburg Manor and throughout the Hudson Valley. Although slavery in the north is well documented and researched, its existence and significance to the development of America’s commerce and culture continues to be obscured, ignored, or misunderstood. This presentation will hopefully shed some light on these stories, including those that are so significant to the history of our own backyard. I hope you will consider attending.
Briarcliff Congregational Church is hosting a musical festival to benefit the BCC Music Scholarship Fund on Sunday, November 17th, starting at 4pm. The music festival features many local favorites and three scholarship recipients, including the Briarcliff Congregational Church Choir, the Old Mill Singers, the Northern Westchester Chinese Chorus, as well as soloists Elaine He and Njioma Grevious (both violinists from the Juilliard School) and soprano Charlotte Luttkus, who grew up in Briarcliff and is currently a vocal performance major at University of Florida in Tallahassee. Admission is free to this event, but donations are appreciated to support the scholarship fund. Visit BCC's website for more information, or call (914) 941-4368.
Also Sunday afternoon, Ossining's very own Mike Risko will be hosting an acoustic Open Mic night at Croton Tapsmith, from 4pm to 7pm. Sign ups begin at 3:30pm -- all are welcome!
The Briarcliff Manor is hosting "The MeatBowl" fundraiser on Monday night, November 18th to support the missions of the NFL Alumni -- Caring for Kids, First Responders, and Vets. See more information below to learn how to support these great causes. Active and retired first responders receive discounts for all donation levels.
New York State Senator David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef are hosting their annual Senior Fair on TUESDAY, November 19th (please note this correction from the flyer below). This event is always extremely informative for our community's seniors and their families, so I encourage you to consider attending. The Town of Ossining will be represented by staff from our Receiver of Taxes and Assessor's offices (and of course our Senior Nutrition staff will be on hand right down the hall to encourage our seniors to take full advantage of this program right in their backyard!) Be sure to stop by and say hi!
On Wednesday, November 20th from 12:30pm to 2:30pm, Westchester County is offering another training session for residents to learn the strategies and skills they could use to survive if an active shooter event occurred in their place of work or other public venue. Known as Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), the training class will be offered at SUNY Purchase, 735 Anderson Hill Road in Purchase. The training is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required. The lecture-style training will be held in the college’s Choral Hall. Parking is in the West 2 lot. Westchester County Police have also provided CRASE training to many school district employees and other members of law enforcement, who have then brought the training back to their local communities. In addition, County Police have worked closely with educators, staff and students to enhance the prevention of, and response to, an active shooter event in school buildings where County Police officers serve as School Resource Officers. Here at Ossining Town/Village Hall, we are also planning active shooter training for staff early next week. This is a tough, but unfortunately necessary training so we can all be a little more prepared if the unimaginable ever happens, especially in the wake of the shooting that occurred just yesterday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. As prepared as we can be, we certainly pray we will never have to use the skills we might learn from these trainings. We can also help in other ways to prevent active shooter situations by supporting organizations like the Sandy Hook Promise or Everytown for Gun Safety, and by always encouraging our local, state, and federal legislators to push hard for sensible gun violence prevention legislation, mental health resources, and policies to get ahead of potential tragedies.
Come one, come all to the next Tarrytown Ukulele Jam, on Wednesday, November 20th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. They're back at SSKB this month. Bring down your ukulele and your singing voice & they'll provide the sheet music. Free to participate.
Join in for some holiday cheer and support Crossover Yoga Project in this the last fun-raising Poses 2 Pints event for 2019 on Sunday, November 24th from 11:30am to 12:30pm at Sing Sing Kill Brewery. Empower marginalized girls with an OMamazing yoga class and refreshing brew crafted by Sing Sing Kill Brewer. Limited tickets available at SSKB or on Eventbrite. Since the CYP's onset in Dec 2015, they have empowered over 3,800 marginalized girls through trauma-informed yoga, art and mindfulness curriculum. You may remember Elisha Simpson from Mind, Body, Spirit -- Ossining! Visit their website to find out more about their incredible mission.
Finally, after this extremely cold week, why not think ahead to the Summer Concert Series? We have opened up the call to performers for the 2020 Summer Concert Series. Fill out the application to throw your hat in the ring for next summer’s performances. The deadline for applications is December 19th, so make sure your favorite bands apply!