We started out this week with a press conference officially launching our food scrap recycling program here in the Town of Ossining! Along with our friends at Teatown Lake Reservation, Green Ossining, representatives from Town, the Villages of Ossining and Briarcliff, Westchester County, and state government, and other stakeholders, we cut the ribbon at our drop off site at Cedar Lane Park. You can now purchase your residential kit for $20 at Cedar Lane Arts Center on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9:30am to 4pm, or at Teatown from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week, and get started collecting! Food scraps that are dropped off at Cedar Lane Park will be recycled into compost at a commercial compost facility in Ulster County. This program is open to all Town of Ossining residents (including those that live in the Villages of Ossining and Briarcliff) so I hope everyone takes advantage of this exciting new offering. For more information, visit www.ossiningcomposts.org.
Huge thanks to our collective team from the Town of Ossining and Teatown for all of the hard work relating to this program.
Thanks to our Town Parks staff for their hard work getting the site set up and ready to go. Parks Foreman Mario Velardo attended our Town Board meeting this past Tuesday and shared some "behind the scenes" pics of what it took to get our new food scrap collection point set up, and all of the other exciting work they have been doing the past few months. Check out the YouTube video recording of the meeting to see his report, as well as a Departmental Report from our Receiver of Taxes Holly Perlowitz.
At Tuesday night's Town Board meeting, we started off with a moment of silence in memory of Marilyn G. Scwartz who passed away on February 21. Marilyn served the Town of Ossining starting in 1978 as a member of the Town Board, serving several terms through the 1980s and early 1990s. Marilyn even stepped into the role of Supervisor for six months in 1993, filling the unexpired term of former Supervisor Richard Wishnie. We thank Marilyn for her many years of service to the Town of Ossining, and extend our deepest condolences to her friends and family, especially her children Janet and Bill, during this sad time.
We also recognized someone who has become a fixture at our Town Board meetings in recent months. Stanley Dorsainville, district representative for Senator David Carlucci, has religiously attended all of our Town Board legislative meetings since starting in this role last year. We have all grown quite fond of Stanley and greatly appreciate his dedication to the Ossining community, and thoughtfulness in his efforts to help make Ossining a place we all want to live, work and play. Stanley is moving on to his next challenge, so we thought it would be appropriate to send him off with a certificate of appreciation for his service to the Town of Ossining during his time working for Senator Carlucci. Thank you Stanley, we will miss you, and best of luck! Please keep in touch!
On Wednesday, I joined many of my colleagues from Westchester municipalities, including Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, to hear about a new program the New York Power Authority is proposing. Basically, NYPA is offering to put out a bid for all public and possibly even a few non profit entities interested in developing roof tops, parking lots and other vacant land into community solar projects. With the ability to aggregate multiple projects, and also utilizing their engineering team to vet them, they believe they can offer very competitive high quality opportunities to develop a lot more solar power generation that could benefit everyone in Westchester County. We will certainly submit potential property ideas to see if they could be incorporated and then ultimately assessed for feasibility, in hopes that we can lower costs to taxpayers and rate payers while helping achieve carbon neutral goals for the entire state.
On Thursday, we joined our staff and elected officials from the Village of Ossining, Village of Briarcliff Manor, and Town of New Castle for a Community Resilience Building Workshop led by Emily Vail from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance and Andy Peck from the Nature Conservancy. During this all-day workshop, our local experts (village managers, first responders, engineers, highway, public works, and parks staff, our assessor, and finance department staff, among others) broke up into groups and discussed various infrastructure, societal, and environmental resources that are either strengths or vulnerabilities in weather events like extreme coastal flooding, inland flooding, and drought. These weather impacts, that we know are being caused by climate change, are very real challenges we must be prepared to face in both the near and distant future. It was a great opportunity to work together, thinking critically about these resources we value so strongly in Ossining and our surrounding communities, and begin developing plans for ways to build resilience for our vulnerabilities or take advantage of our strengths in case the worst happens. The work we completed this week will be compiled into a report, which we will share with the community once it is complete. We anticipate being able to use this work to help look for additional funding streams to help develop hardening efforts, as another step in preparing ourselves for the future.
At next Tuesday's Work Session, we will have several visitors, including our Town Clerk, Assessor, and Comptroller with a few departmental reports and other pending items. We will also be discussing the draft Request for Proposals for the Comprehensive Plan. In November, we reviewed a draft of this document and decided it would be best to wait until our Steering Committee had been formed and reviewed the draft before releasing the Request for Proposals. A few weeks back, the Steering Committee reviewed the draft RFP and made some recommendations. We incorporated their recommendations, and look forward to sharing these changes with the Board this week in anticipation of advertising for firms to respond in the coming weeks. We are glad to be keeping the ball rolling on this topic and moving forward!
We are grateful to the Westchester County Executive's office and County Department of Health for keeping us regularly informed of updates regarding the Coronavirus and what all entities can do to prepare for its potential impacts. As of this week, there are no confirmed cases in Westchester County, but eight individuals are being monitored for this illness. These individuals are self-quarantined, following CDC and New York State Department of Health guidelines. As you may have seen in the news, the CDC has issued travel health notices advising everyone to avoid any nonessential travel to China and South Korea, and advising older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions to avoid travel to Iran, Japan, and Italy. Before making any travel plans, residents should visit the CDC website which is being constantly updated with more information.
Westchester County Departments, including the Departments of Health and Emergency Services, continue to participate in state and federal briefings on the latest guidance. The County also remains in communication with local hospitals, medical providers, and first responders as new information is obtained. The Westchester County Health Department has a dedicated webpage, and the New York State Department of Health has a special hotline staffed by experts to answer your questions -- (888) 364-3065.
All of us should remain informed, calm, and take usual steps to prevent illness. Wash your hands at least 20 seconds with soap and water, cover your moth when you cough or sneeze, preferably with your elbow, nor your hand, use cleaning products that contain bleach, get your flu shot, and stay home if you feel sick. These steps will also help prevent the spread of seasonal illnesses like the flu. Most importantly, bear in mind that Westchester County and Ossining are wonderful tapestries of people from many different backgrounds, religions, and languages. Events like this outbreak can cause stress and anxiety which can lead to biases against those of specific ethnicities or countries of origin. Please remember that we are all co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates, fellow community members, and be kind to one another. We are all in this together!
On a lighter note, check out this cute graphic that our friends in the Village of Ossining shared this week to remind you of the best practices for handwashing to avoid the spread of illness. This is always a good reminder during flu season -- also share with your kids to keep all of those school germs out of your house!
Did you know that the Town and Village of Ossining have partnered to form Ossining Counts, a committee focused on ensuring an accurate count for our community during the 2020 Census? Every week, updates on the upcoming US Census will be sent out -- sign up here! If you missed this week's update, which focused on the importance of Census Data and how it benefits our community, it is available on the Village's website. I will also continue to include updates on the 2020 Census in my Supervisor's Update on a regular basis.
The New York State Plastic Bag Ban goes into effect on Sunday! Get ready to start the habit -- make sure you always have a reusable bag (or two!) with you when you go to the grocery store. Did you know that New Yorkers use over 23 billion plastic bags every year? That is simply unacceptable and devastating to the environment. Learn more about the plastic bag ban online.
The Village of Ossining is seeking proposals to lease the Kiosk at Gourdine Park. Ossining’s busy waterfront is home to the Summer Concert Series and Food Truck Fridays, the Louis Engel Spray Park, playgrounds, picnic areas and unbeatable views of Hudson River sunsets, and directly abuts the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club, the Ossining Metro North railroad station and the Haverstraw/Ossining ferry. The Village hopes to find a tenant to run a seasonal concession in the Kiosk beginning in May 2020. If you have a great idea for the Kiosk, or know someone who does, please have them visit the Village’s website to view the RFP; all responses must be returned to the office of the Village Clerk no later than 10AM on Monday, March 9th.
Starting in February and ending April 15th, IFCA Housing Network is 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.
There is also tax preparation help available at the Ossining Public Library. Here are the details:
Ossining CAP is a drop off location for donations to support victims of domestic violence, to be delivered to patients at Phelps Hospital. See below for more information, and consider donating.
Tonight, you have a few options of programs to attend:
The Ossining Public Library's Friday Night Flix choice this week is Jojo Rabbit a satirical and heartfelt coming of age story: when a boy discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic, he is forced to grapple with his beliefs. The screening is tonight, Friday, February 28 at 7pm in the Budarz Theater. The library doors will open at 6:45 and popcorn and drinks will be provided.
Or, head over to Ossining High School for the My Brother's Keeper, Prestigious Ladies of Power, and Black Culture Club's Black History Month Program, featuring 4 Women Performance and more. Another excellent choice!
Bethany Arts Community is also holding an Artist Meet and Greet tonight for its 2020 Winter Exhibit, and yes, it also starts at 7pm!
I don't know about you, but I know I am going to have a hard time choosing just one event to go to this evening! I hope you will also consider spending your Friday night out locally tonight.
The Ossining Public Library has an online book club that starts this weekend! Grab your copy of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides and start following #OPLReads on Facebook to participate in the discussion starting tomorrow, Saturday, February 29.
The Ossining Public Library has also started a really cool program to make it that much easier to check out books and read more as a family. Students in the Ossining schools can now bring their books to their school to return to OPL. Get reading and fill up those orange crates!
On Saturday, February 29 at 6:30pm join the Ossining Arts Council for their Souper Supper Fundraiser at the Steamer Gallery, 117 Main Street. Tickets are $25 for members/$30 for non-members, for a homemade soup meal inside of a homemade ceramic bowl! There will also be live music by Deuces Child.
The Crossover Yoga Project is hosting their annual fundraiser at Bethany Arts Community on Sunday, March 8 from 2pm to 5pm. Join them to celebrate Crossover Yoga Project's mission of empowering vulnerable teen girls through trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness, and creative art expressions. Can't make the annual fundraiser, but still want to support Crossover Yoga Project? Consider attending Poses2Pints at Sing Sing Kill Brewery this Sunday, March 1 at 11:30am which supports this organization and features one of their yoga instructors. I plan to attend both, so I hope to see you there!
Hope everyone enjoys their extra February day tomorrow -- Happy Leap Day and see you in March!