We have been inspired this week by efforts across the country to identify potential biases within businesses, organizations, and institutions. This is the first step to guarantee equity in society. While we believe our town has a considerable leg-up when compared to many others in our country, we know we still have a lot of work to do. Several community events are included further down in this update where residents can continue to voice their opinions and add to the conversation. It is so great to know that so many people have felt Ossining is a safe place to have these discussions.
Also great is seeing how seriously those at town-wide rallies, protests, and community forums have taken Coronavirus risks into consideration. All too often, past calls for action have been overshadowed by other events, but we cannot let calls for equity fall out of the national spotlight as concerns of a second wave of the pandemic grow. If you are participating in an in-person event, protect yourself and others by wearing a mask and social distancing whenever possible. I know when I was walking up the hill in last week’s march I needed to move over to the side so I could be far enough away from people to take off my mask for a few minutes and breathe. Please make sure you think about how to be safe and keep others safe!
Governor Cuomo announced last week that anyone who has been a part of a protest is eligible to receive a Coronavirus test, regardless of whether or not you show symptoms. I encourage all protestors to take advantage of this opportunity. Your healthcare provider may be offering tests, but click here for more nearby Coronavirus testing sites as well - including the Open Door Family Medical Center right here in Ossining. There are different types of tests available, but protesters should request a diagnostic test to see if they are sick or may be an asymptomatic carrier.
Coronavirus cases in our community continue to decline due to increased prevention and reduced community spread. One method for keeping our numbers down is through “contact tracing” during which trained volunteers track potential spread of the virus. If you get a call from the official “NYS Contact Tracing” caller ID you should pick up the phone immediately – you may have been exposed to the virus. Contact tracing teams can provide medical information, but they can also help you get food, testing, or other resources you may need. New York State was one of the hardest hit areas of the world, but we are on the road to recovery.
While our Town offices remain closed to the public, we are available by phone or email to help you. We have also collaborated with the Village to maintain this Resources Document, which has current information about resources available. I would like to remind Briarcliff residents that they are part of this too. Pop into the document now to scan the info topics – there is a lot of help out there if you need something!
As outdoor dining expands over the next few weeks, I encourage everyone to support our beloved local restaurants. Can you believe this list started nearly 100 days ago? Thankfully, it grows each week as more Ossining eateries return. This week’s color is pink – pass it on!
We are happy to see people (in their masks) taking part in events around town and smiling faces at livestreamed events. I’m proud to announce the Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining program will kick off the 2020 season tomorrow. Start your weekend off right with Morning Mindfulness at 8:30am via Facebook Live on our Facebook page. Please do not attempt to attend in person.
Family members concerned about the seniors in their lives may be interested in these senior-specific classes. Stepwise Now is offering classes focused on balance and movement for seniors, with safety in mind.
While we are on the topic of health, I would like to give a shout-out to our Parks team, led by foreman Mario Velardo, who helped to install a beautiful dock at Cedar Lane Park last week. This project has been quite a long time coming, so another huge shout out is owed to Office Assistant Fern Quezada for helping us cross the finish line! Another bonus is that this dock is being fully funded by a state grant introduced by State Senator David Carlucci! We will hopefully schedule some sort of ribbon cutting, within social distancing limits of course, to thank Senator Carlucci for his help securing this funding for the Town. We also met with our building inspector, John Hamilton, to review the dock’s safety and there are still a few add-ons needed which Mario’s crew will put in place, so we hope to open the dock to the public some time next week.
We have also heard that the Governor is now going to allow playgrounds, pools, and yes, our beloved Spray Park to open. We are waiting for guidance on how to allow use of these spaces safely and as soon as we can get all of these protocols in place, our public will be allowed to use them again. Please be patient. We ask for your continued cooperation when you are in our parks and public spaces to pick up after yourself, and deposit trash in receptacles. If they are too full since we have so much additional use right now, please consider carrying our your trash and recyclables so as not to endanger our community or our environment. We are adding weekend staff in an effort to keep up. We plan to open the Dog Park at Cedar Lane with Phase 4 opening, for those of you who have furry friends longing to see their buddies.
We are planning for a primarily absentee ballot primary election on June 23. However, in-person early voting and Election Day voting will be allowed for the June 23 primary. Early voting begins this Saturday, June 13 and runs through Sunday, June 21 at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, 95 Broadway, for all voters who reside in the Town of Ossining. The hours will be 12pm – 5pm on Saturdays, June 13 & 20 and Sundays, June 15 &21; 8am - 4pm on Monday, June 15, Wednesday, June 17, and Friday, June 19; and 12pm – 8pm on Tuesday, June 16 and Thursday, June 18. Voters will enter through the front door on the upper level of the Community Center, where there will be a greeter who will ensure only people wearing a mask are allowed to enter. You will be given your own pen to use for voting to be disposed of or taken with you after voting, and you will then be directed to the art room where voting will occur. Gloves and hand sanitizer will also be available. You will then be asked to leave through the museum exit door, to create a one-way-in and one-way-out path for voters.
For voting on June 23, registered voters who have not yet voted via absentee ballot will receive a notice in the mail directing them to vote at one of the two polling places that will be open that day – the Community Center or Roosevelt Elementary School. You will be required to go to your assigned polling place. Voting will be open from 6am to 9pm as usual, and similar protocols will be in place as for early voting. Please note, absentee ballots are still being processed and mailed out. Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Board of Elections by Tuesday, June 16. If you submitted an application and have not yet received your ballot, it will likely be on its way to you shortly. If you choose to vote absentee, your ballot must be postmarked by June 23. Please be patient with the Board of Elections as we navigate this very new way to exercise our right to vote. More information about the June 23 primary is also available on the Board of Elections website.
Last week the Library launched a curb-side pickup program! This week they have expanded to offer free printing services. Really, could you ask for a more amazing library?!! I don’t think so. Place an item on “hold” so they can be picked up. They have also maintained a great list of concerts, music, kids storytime readings, and museum tours during these challenging times. Here's a list of their "stuck at home" activities! Much love to our dedicated Library Staff.
Every Tuesday you can drop off donations of new or gently loved books at the Rec Center for the Book Harvest. Books will be quarantined and then distributed to local students! No textbooks please, also all donated books should be non-denominational. Recommended options include picture books, graphic novels, Junta, multicultural, young adult, bilingual, and chapter books. Stop by with book donations of all reading levels from 9am to 11am on Tuesdays to help support this program. For more information, visit the Book Harvest event page on Facebook.
The Sing Sing Prison Museum is hosting a discussion on civil liberties and racial inequity TODAY at 5. I will be speaking on a panel with other elected officials as we look at what we are doing at all levels of government to provide systemic, institutional equity in our community. Other speakers will include elected officials the state, county and local municipalities. This event requires registration, so hurry up and sign up here now.
Be a hero and help save a life on June 13 by donating blood. The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp is hosting the donation – so you know everything is going to be very clean and safe. Blood drives are usually scheduled for large-scale events on college campuses or corporate parks, but most were cancelled as Coronavirus concerns grew. OVAC is taking proper precautions to keep all donors safe. Remember to eat well before you go, and hydrate!
A peaceful protest has been scheduled for Sunday from to 1 to 2 at Chilmark Park on Macy Road in Briarcliff. This park is just a short distance from Ossining High School and has a large parking lot. Please remember to wear your mask and social distance when possible!
Business owners have been forced to get very creative these past few months. Hear how one entrepreneur has adapted to these crazy times. This program is brought to you by Ossining Innovates. The Zoom meeting takes place on June 16th at 7pm. Meeting ID 815 5386 1376. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81553861376
Parents of teens may feel especially cut off from the world during the pandemic. For parents looking for a forum for discussion or to ask questions and share their experiences, Student Assistance Services is hosting a zoom call every Tuesday. Topics are different each week. Last week they kicked off with teen sleeping patterns, next up is teen vaping.
Has quarantine finally given you the time to go through your boxes of old pictures in the attic? For those who need help connecting just how exactly Aunt Lillian is related to both you and Cousin Moe, check out this Ancestry Workshop program being hosted by the Ossining Public Library on Saturday, June 20.
Like many beloved local events, the Clearwater festival has gone virtual this year. Check out the Save the Sloop event happening Saturday June 20th for a day full of music, storytelling, activism, education, and celebration.
I know, I know, your Saturday schedule is starting to get full. Here’s one way to save some time. The Ossining Farmer’s Market is helping you do so by pre-ordering! Fill up a virtual shopping list by Thursday each week and pick-up on Saturday.
Ossining has teamed up with Feeding Westchester to continue to distribute food at many different locations. Dates and times are different each week, so please check out the helpful graphic below before either going to a site or sending someone else.
Tonight from 4-5:30 at Stop & Shop in Ossining, Gullotta House will be distributing hot meals in partnership with Neighbors Link, the Ossining PTAs and other volunteer groups. Congratulations to Gullotta House for providing their 50,000th meal last week – what an inspiring accomplishment. Support Gullotta House at www.gullottahouse.org.
Please continue to be safe out there and have a great week!