This week, although it was just four days long, I was able to pack in a lot of meetings on some very important topics! This started with the Sustainable Westchester Annual meeting on Tuesday. I was officially elected to the board of Sustainable Westchester at this meeting, although was serving unofficially starting earlier this year. It was great to learn about the new efforts being worked on collectively, including HeatSmart, Zero Waste, Recycle Right, Solarize/Community Solar, Electric Vehicle Municipal Fleets, Westchester Power (our Community Choice Aggregation!) and so much more. All of this work helps us to meet the State goals of reducing Carbon Emissions and helps us reduce our impact on the environment.
To that end, the Village and Town of Ossining met this week with representatives from The Nature Conservancy, Hudson River Watershed Alliance, and Pace University to begin planning for a Community Resilience Building Workshop in March. The team from these great organizations have been working their way down the Hudson to offer these trainings for most municipalities on the shoreline to better plan for flooding events and other dangerous impacts of climate change. This workshop will be attended by municipal staff, first responders, and other key stakeholders to identify community assets and infrastructure that are vulnerable to these types of events, as well as strategies to ensure community safety and long term planning to make us all more resilient to the devastating impacts of climate change. We are planning for February or March for this workshop, I look forward to sharing with you any new plans or procedures that come out of this collaborative planning effort.
On Wednesday, I attended a meeting on the findings from the Westchester County Housing Needs Assessment. The data for the Town of Ossining revealed that there has been no significant growth in affordable housing in the Town of Ossining in recent years. I am hoping to utilize the data collected by the County as we move forward with the Comprehensive Plan.
Speaking of the Comprehensive Plan -- we also held interviews this week with potential candidates for the Steering Committee! We had many excellent applicants from various neighborhoods in Ossining, with a variety of interests, specialties, and connections to the larger Ossining/Briarcliff community. At our Work Session this week, Town Planning Consultant Valerie Monastra led the Town Board through a discussion on the components of a successful Steering Committee, and I think the applicants we received check most of those boxes. The next step will be for the interview committee (myself, Councilwoman Shaw, Planning Board Member Gareth Hougham, and Assessor Fernando Gonzalez) to make recommendations to the Town Board for specific appointments.
Finally, earlier this morning I attended a press conference for Teatown's annual EagleFest, scheduled for Saturday, February 8th from 9am to 4pm at Croton Point Park. This is one of my favorite annual events, so I was glad to join representatives from Teatown and my fellow elected officials this morning to highlight this upcoming event. There was also a class from Brookside School in attendance and we all got to meet Aurora, an eagle who was saved after having been hit by a truck in Illinois and suffering a broken wing so can no longer fly. But Aurora can still flap around a lot and put on a great show care of Christine, her falconer. Teatown, in addition to annually putting on an amazing EagleFest, also reaches into local schools to help educate our students and start them on the path of lifelong environmental stewardship. They are also one of our most valued partners -- they are helping with the education and outreach associated with our new food scrap recycling program, launching in just a few short weeks. This program will help take food out of our waste stream and put it back into the environment in a healthy sustainable way. We hope you plan to participate!
And again from Dale Cemetery Superintendent Pete Connolly, please pick up any seasonal decorations from Dale Cemetery or Sparta Cemetery by this coming Monday, January 27th. Otherwise, the decorations will be removed and disposed of by our Cemetery Staff. If you have any questions, please call the Cemetery office at (914) 941-1155.
The Ossining School District's Saturday Explore and Learn series continues this Saturday. Check out the many fun offerings they have for the whole family!
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef's annual Town Meetings kick off tomorrow, January 25th, at the Desmond Fish Library in Garrison at 10am and the Field Library in Peekskill at 1pm. Assemblywoman Galef will also be more local to us at the Briarcliff Manor Library on Thursday, February 6th at 7pm.
Tomorrow, January 25th is the Westchester Collaborative Theater’s Mid-Winter Dance Party with DJ Johnny J starting at 7:30pm at 23 Water Street. Get your boogie on with this local non-profit and enjoy a fun filled evening of music, as part of their 10th anniversary season.
We are gearing up for the 2020 Census -- plan on joining County Executive George Latimer for the Westchester County kickoff on Monday, January 27th at Pace University. It is absolutely essential that Ossining and Westchester County are accurately counted in 2020, we know that was not the case in 2010 and that has cost us millions of dollars per year in state and federal funding since -- including education funding. Westchester County Planning Commissioner Norma Drummond presented at our first Work Session of the year on this important topic -- I urge you to learn more and get involved in this process, even if that just means sharing the facts with your friends, families, and neighbors during the coming months.
Shannon Reilly of Simplified by Shannon (aka Ossining and Briarcliff's local Marie Kondo) is offering a "Getting Organized" workshop in Ossining at Speak Easy Creative Workspace on Main Street on Wednesday, January 29th at 7pm. Shannon was one of the temporary employees we hired this fall to help with a records management grant we had received, and she helped transform our records management program! If she can help us, I know she can help you get organized in the New Year.
Think you know everything about Ossining? Test your Ossining knowledge at the Ossining Trivia at Sing Sing Kill Brewery on Wednesday, January 29th starting at 7:30pm, hosted by Village Historian Dana White. I hear Town Historian Scott Craven will also be making a special guest appearance with some questions focusing on Hudson River trivia. This event is free to enter and is sure to get pretty competitive!
Starting February 3rd and ending April 15th, IFCA Housing Network will be providing free income tax preparation services at their offices on Spring Street and at Ossining High School. This program is for New York State residents, who work in New York State, have incomes less than $56,000 per year, and who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. You can start making appointments now by calling (914) 941-5252 for sessions at IFCA's headquarters at 138 Spring Street and appointments are available Monday (12pm-3pm), Tuesday (10am-3pm), Wednesday (1pm-5pm), Thursday (10am-3pm), Friday (1:30pm-3:30pm), and Saturday (12:30pm-3:30pm). There will also be walk-in hours on Mondays from February 3rd through April 6th at Ossining High School (Room 202) from 4pm through 8pm. Please note the walk-in hours at OHS will not be held on February 17th, April 6th, and April 13th. This program is sponsored by Wells Fargo Foundation.
Our very own Receiver of Taxes Holly Perlowitz and Town Clerk Susanne Donnelly are the guests of honor at the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce's February 11th Business B4 Breakfast at Tasty Table. Come, meet your local elected officials, and learn all about the services provided by our Receiver of Taxes and Clerk's offices to the entire Town of Ossining.
Save the date, Saturday, February 15th, for Gullotta House's 3rd annual Escape from Sing Sing Plunge! Register now, or become a sponsor -- the proceeds fund the Gullotta House's many deserving causes. You know I will be plunging. Brrrrr!