We were walloped this week with by Tropical Storm Isaias knocking out power of about one third of ConEd’s customers, not to mention phone, cable, and internet service interruptions as well. We are extremely grateful for the hard work of our first responders, specifically our Ossining Fire Department, who was busy round the clock during and since the storm responding to multiple calls hourly, OVAC who climbed over trees to get to people in need, as well as for our Police Department, specifically to Chief Kevin Sylvester for helping keep everyone apprised of the situations and how to stay safe, and Lieutenant Dan Slater who has been and continues to work closely with our ConEd municipal liaison through all of the downed lines and trees emergencies, and is hoping to get to restorations. Big shout out also goes to our Town Highway Department and Superintendent Pete Connolly and his crew as well as our Parks Foreman Mario Velardo and his crew for stepping up immediately post storm to start the long and hard job of cutting and clearing roadways and making the Town as safe as possible while waiting for ConEd to de-energize lines or other required work.
We share the frustrations of so many of you who are still without power and other services, and many who are dealing with severe damage to homes, yards, and cars. ConEd reported this was the second most severe storm in our area in the history of the company, second only to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. They called in mutual aid crew from all over the country, but unfortunately, the response was delayed as a result of underestimating the exact impact of the storm, as well as crews being delayed addressing their own local issues. As with most severe storms, Ossining called for a ConEd “municipal liaison” specifically assigned to coordinate and communicate between us and the crews to get as much attention to the priority areas as possible. Cut and clear crews and tree crews started on Wednesday and have been making their way through the Town. On our daily calls with ConEd, they cited these muni liaisons as examples of progress, however, we know there is much work to be done in terms of coordinating efficient and effective communication within their organization, because once again, there was much information their own people were receiving and sharing that did not correlate to reality. It seems a foregone conclusion that ConEd was not sufficiently prepared for this storm. Local, County and State leaders as well as congressional representatives have all been outspoken about this and demanded explanations. We continue to work on restoration with the hard working crews we get assigned and to advocate for additional resources. We will also work proactively with ConEd to provide a better plan to ensure adequate service response times for future weather events. Governor Cuomo has announced an investigation into ConEd and other communication companies.
The Ossining Community Center is operating as a Cooling Center and Charging Station. The Cooling Center is open from 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday, as it is throughout the summer. An outdoor area to charge your electronic devices has been set up on the lower level. Social distancing and masks are required in these areas. Please also note that many of our Town and Village buildings, including the Community Center, have been experiencing some issues with phone lines as well, and internet service. If you need immediate assistance, please call my office directly at (914) 762-6001 during our office hours – 8:30am through 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. For emergencies, call 911.
Our Town offices are up and running. As stated above, many of our staff members are coordinating with storm response crews despite our own limited access to internet and phones. We are making every effort to adjust to this unique situation and respond as best we can, given the circumstances.
Our Planning Board Meeting scheduled for this past Wednesday night was cancelled to allow residents more time to respond to the storm’s aftermath. The Public Hearing has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 19. For Zoom meeting information, please see our posting.
Our Town Board meeting will be held as scheduled this coming Tuesday, August 11 at 7:30pm via Zoom. Click here to view the agenda and Zoom access information. Please note due to internet outages at our municipal offices, we were unable to complete processing our voucher entries prior to our usual deadline of Friday afternoon for Town Board review and posting to our website. As such, we need to schedule an additional meeting next week on Friday, August 14 at 9am to approve payment of vouchers. This meeting will be formally noticed and access information will be blasted early next week (fingers crossed!)
The Municipal Building at 16 Croton Avenue in Ossining continues to be open to the public for in person business with reduced office hours. If you must attend to something in person, we are open Mondays through Fridays from 9am to 2:30pm. We understand many people are being called back to work, and these hours may not be convenient for you. Our Clerk’s Office has done a terrific job transitioning to online accessibility for so many of its forms and functions. To request a marriage license, dog license, cabaret license or other popular requests, visit the Clerk’s page on Town of Ossining website. As a reminder, if you are visiting Cedar Lane Dog Park, your dog must be registered with the Clerk’s Office.
Our Parks team, led by our foreman Mario Velardo, has been working to clean up storm debris from our parks so please be patient. We had a large tree come down on the access road to the dog park at Cedar Lane which they removed yesterday, and Ryder Park was also hit hard, with some damage sustained to the beloved Girl Scout built GaGa pit.
Speaking of our wonderful parks, we continue to notice many people congregating at them in groups that look bigger than a household’s worth of people, but without wearing masks. Please be safe and come prepared to wear masks in public when you are not going to be socially distancing. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in “lost” masks in our parks and on sidewalks around town. We know people probably do not mean to drop their masks out of their pockets, but single-use masks are not great for the environment. The good news is that if you handle your mask properly you reduce the chance of getting sick and you are less likely to lose it. The CDC reminds us that you should not fiddle with your mask, touch it, or take it on and off unless you can immediately wash your hands. That means your mask should not have the chance to fall on the ground outside and get lost. Masks should only be removed by the strings or ear loops. You should never touch the cloth portion of the mask unless you can immediately wash your hands, even for a quick snack or lunch.
We always love to see pets (with their parents!) in our community. Let me take this opportunity to remind you that you are responsible for cleaning up after your pets – even in front of your neighbor’s house, in remote areas or areas you think no one else knows about. Repurpose some of those plastic bags that fill your trash can (we share our newspaper bags with my sister for a very inexpensive pooper scooper option). You could also use the small brown paper bags for a more eco-friendly option.
As a reminder, if you are looking to travel this summer, please pay special attention to the New York State Travel Advisory. New York has created a list of “Restricted States” based on their current positive case numbers that balances active cases and total population. Restricted States should be avoided unless travel is essential. The Travel Advisory requires a 14 day quarantine for anyone returning from a Restricted State, even if you are a New York resident returning home. I know there has been some confusion about the advisory and which states and territories specifically are included, and it does seem to change daily. I encourage you to review the COVID-19 Travel Advisory section of the New York State website before and after travelling.
If long lines on Election Day are something you want to help prevent, you can sign up to be a Poll Worker on Election Day! The Westchester Board of Elections is hiring workers for $350 a day to help voters at polling stations. You must be a registered voter and over 18 to be hired. And even if you are not quite interested in being a poll worker (yes the hours are a bit daunting!) please make sure you are registered to vote! If you are over 18 years of age, or turning 18 prior to the November election, and are a US citizen, register now! Registration form Regardless of your political position, we can all agree that this year’s General Election is critical. Please remind your family, friends, neighbors, and more to register to vote today so they can be sure their voice is heard during this year’s election. This is your civic duty, and essential to the democratic process in our nation.
Governor Cuomo announced early this week that he is extending the window for victims to file claims under the Child Victims Act. This is due to court delays caused by the pandemic and the new date now extends to August 14, 2021. Survivors of abuse can visit the New York State website for more information.
Throughout August, the Ossining Public Library will be hosting interactive workshops via Zoom to help the class of 2020 in their job hunts. The initiative is a collaboration between #GrowWithGoogle, the American Library Association, and the Public Library Association. The workshops are available as both morning and evening sessions, each week focusing on one of four topics: online job searching, resumes/cover letters, interviews, and networking. Sign up on the Library’s Website to get ahead of the curve.
Got graduation or choir gowns in your closet? Make some room by donating them to the Tri-State Mask Making Group. TSMMG has been making cloth masks and PPE for our community since March. Now they are collecting gowns to transform into protective medical masks. Gowns can be dropped off at 119 Edgewood in Ossining. If you want to support the Tri-State Mask Making Group, you can donate through their GoFundMe campaign.
The Ossining School District is continuing their online conversations with parents about their reopening plans for the 2020/2021 school year. Please visit the District’s Reopening Website for more information. They also lost power this week, so hopefully they will be able to respond shortly. Please continue to extend your patience to all of our public institutions as we are all dealing with service interruptions affecting communications.
For kids overwhelmed by hours of screen time, take a visit to meet the OUFSD bookmobile on its Summer Tour. Ossining schools have launched their Ossining Loves to Read Program where students can request books, leave book reviews, and set up book deliveries to their home. Check out the program at the Ossining Loves to Read site.
Home Run Against Drug is looking for sponsors to help provide desks for their new space. 16 desks are needed. Paypal options available! Visit for more information.
Green Ossining volunteers will be at the Farmers Market every Saturday from 9:30am - 11:30am. We now have two locations for food scraps drop offs: the Farmers Market and Cedar Lane Park. You can pick-up your pre-purchased food scrap recycling kits at the Farmers Market. Kits are not available for sale in-person at the Market, but learn more about getting your own and the Ossining Composts program by visiting: www.ossiningcomposts.org.
The IFCA thrift store at 138 Spring Street has reopened and donations will be accepted again starting August 3rd. The thrift store sells new and gently used clothing, shoes, bedding, dishes, pot/pans, costume jewelry and handbags. It’s a great find for new parents, new homeowners, and just-moved families.
I know a lot of people started home gardens as prices rose at grocery stores. For teens looking to hone their skills, the Ossining Public Library is holding outdoor gardening classes. Register here.
Happening tomorrow! Grab your yoga mats - the Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining program is holding its first in-person event of the 2020 summer season! Join in for some socially distanced relaxation at the waterfront’s Engel Park on Saturday, August 8 at 9am. You can register for this FREE class through the Community Pass section of the Recreation and Parks site. A second class is already scheduled for Saturday, August 22 at the same time. Register now for either class.
LEGO lovers will be thrilled to participate in this in-person building class. Available through our Recreation and Parks Department, this class is great for kids who want to build. Sign up now through Community Pass for this Snapology class.
Ossining Matters will be hosting a drive-in movie fundraiser on Saturday, August 15 at Brookside Elementary School (30 Ryder Rd, Ossining). The featured film is Sonic the Hedgehog, a family-friendly movie. Tickets go on sale TOMORROW at noon.
On August 20th, 2020 from 3PM to 7:30PM OVAC will be sponsoring a Blood Drive at their headquarters (8 Clinton Ave, Ossining NY). Blood supplies are very low due to the cancellation of large donation events at colleges and businesses. If you would like to donate please go to NYBC.org or NYbloodcenter.org and search for location or "Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps." Once you set up an account you can schedule your donation time. If you have any questions you can direct them to OVAC through their Facebook page.
Food Distribution events have been taking place since early March through a number of channels, including the Gullotta House which also helps support local restaurants while serving those in need. Gullotta House has distributed over 75,000 meals throughout Westchester, and will be hosting their weekly Food Distribution today starting at 4pm at the Ossining Stop & Shop.
Information about what is available right now to help people is included in our easy-to-access COVID-19 Resources Document. This is a joint effort by the Town and Village to organize information during this hectic time. The document lists information on legal assistance, WiFi access, services for seniors, and much more. If you cannot find what you need in this doc, you are welcome to reach out to the Town offices. Our Town staff will respond to all calls and emails.
Right now, weekly on Tuesdays, there are three pickup food distribution locations running during the day. A number of organizations are coordinating together to keep these distributions ongoing.
For children under 18, the Ossining School District is continuing its summer food program Monday through Friday at Park School (22 Edward St, Ossining).
We are sad to announce the Westchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association September parade has been cancelled. But, we are hoping to host this event next year. Stay tuned!
It is with heavy hearts that we share that this year’s beloved Earth Day festival has been cancelled. The event was originally pushed from April to September in hopes that crowds would feel safe in gatherings. The Green Ossining festival plans to return in April 2021.
Please continue to be safe out there, be patient, be kind to one another – we all need it! And have a lovely weekend.