The heat wave finally broke this week, letting us enjoy the summer without 90 degree temperatures. Adding to our good news, local coronavirus cases remain low and the state-wide infection rate has been under 1% for more than a week. Nevertheless, we have seen a slight uptick in cases in Unincorporated Ossining, so please remember to continue wearing masks and social distancing, washing your hands and taking every necessary precaution to reduce spread.
Our hard work at the State level lead to an announcement from the Governor’s Office that bowling alleys can reopen at 50% capacity. Gyms can reopen on August 24 at 33% capacity. Special air filters are required to be in place and local municipalities will be allowed to assist counties to perform inspections. Both gyms and bowling alleys have been closed since March. If you were a regular at these types of businesses, be sure to bring your mask when you return to support them.
We also learned from Governor Cuomo this week that he has signed into law three bills regarding the upcoming Presidential election this November. These new pieces of legislation allow voters to request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID, voters can begin requesting absentee ballots as of yesterday (Thursday, August 20), and all Board of Elections in New York State must count all ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received within seven days after Election Day, as well as all ballots without a postmark received on November 4 (the day after Election Day). We continue to participate in weekly calls with Westchester County officials which are held on Monday each week, and we anticipate learning more about what this new legislation means for voters in Westchester County. We also expect to learn more about locally focused efforts to ensure each vote gets counted in November. We will share more details as we learn them. In the meantime make sure you are registered to vote! You can even register to vote online and it is super simple. If you have any teenagers in your life who have recently turned 18 years old, or will turn 18 years old before the election, make sure they also get registered to vote. Following this week, which marked 100-years since the 19th Amendment was passed constitutionally allowing women to vote in the United States, we owe it to those Founding Mothers, and the Founding Fathers and Mothers of the Civil Rights Movement who ensured ALL women received the right to vote, to exercise our civic duty and register to vote. We also must make a plan today to ensure our vote gets counted in this election, which will truly be like none other. Learn more at the Westchester County Board of Elections website.
Speaking of civic duties – has your household responded to the US Census yet? The Census determines our representation to the House of Representatives as well as critical funding decisions for the next ten years. Yes, the next ten years! It is extremely important that we ensure an accurate count in this year’s Census as Ossining stands to lose $2,500 per year for each uncounted person. So if there are four people living in your house, and your house does not respond to the Census, that is $10,000 per year. That is lost money that could go towards infrastructure improvement, hospitals, schools, and many more public services we simply cannot afford to lose. It takes less than ten minutes to fill out online, right here at www.2020census.gov.
OK, before you are allowed to move on – if you are eligible to do so, are you registered to vote? Has your household responded to the Census? If not, take a few minutes right now and get those off your to do list! Now that you have done your civic duty, basically for the next ten years, you can continue reading this Supervisor’s Update! Your Ossining community thanks you.
This week has been very busy in the Supervisor’s Office! We have been meeting on various topics this weeks, ranging from upcoming plans for re-introducing in-person programming for our Senior Nutrition program, to participating in round table discussions with Town Supervisors throughout New York State to learn and share strategies for grappling with the financial strain the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for local governments. We have an uncertain fall season ahead of us, but I am very proud of our “Team Town” as we begin to brainstorm to bring the best services we can to our constituents.
Additionally, we held a meeting with our Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee – the first with our Comprehensive Plan Consultants from WXY Studios participating. It finally feels like we are really kicking off this project now, and we all cannot wait to bring the entire community into this important conversation. WXY Studios is a cutting edge planning firm, utilizing innovative strategies and tools for visioning communities. They recently worked with our neighbors, the Village of Tarrytown, on their Comprehensive Plan, so they are definitely familiar with communities in our area. They will be working in partnership with Pace Land Use Law Center who will help us with our public engagement. We hope to schedule a Town Hall style meeting in the very near future regarding the Comprehensive Plan, so stay tuned!
The Coronavirus Crisis has put a spotlight on health and wellness. This weekend the Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining program will be hosting a free outdoor event. Grab your yoga mat for some socially distanced relaxation at the waterfront’s Engel Park on Saturday, August 22 at 9am. Register to reserve your spot on the stage through the Community Pass section of the Recreation and Parks site.
In other news, the Village of Briarcliff reopened its Village Hall this week. The building is available to the public by appointment only Monday through Thursday from 8am to 4:30 and Fridays from 8am to noon. Staff are following CDC guidelines and a greeter will be at the door to take your temperature. Remember to wear your mask. Call 914-941-4800 with questions or to make your appointment.
The Village of Ossining is currently hiring for a part-time intermediate clerk. This position is a great introduction into local government. The position will also help with temperature checks as a greeter for the municipal building. To learn more about this job opportunity, visit the webpage for the Village Personnel Office.
The Town of Ossining Court has announced their September schedule. As a reminder, walk up window hours are different each weekday. Criminal Court resumed on Tuesday, August 4th. Civil matters will be heard on Thursday, September 10th. Small Claims matters will take place on Monday September 14th and 21st. Vehicle and Traffic cases begin at 6pm on September 17th and September 24th. Other than walk up hours, you should always refer to information sent from the court for appearance dates. If you have questions for the Court, you can reach out to them at (914) 762-8562.
Town Offices at 16 Croton Avenue are open to the public from 9am to 2:30pm, Monday through Friday. Public access is limited to just the first floor but all our offices are available to assist you on the first floor. We have a greeter at the door who will be conducting temperature checks and asking questions for contact tracing purposes. Remember to wear your mask. The good news is that town staff is available by email and phone. If you are looking for information from the Clerk’s Office – like a form renewing your dog license - check out their bank of forms and licenses.
The Ossining Community Center is operating as a Cooling Center for anyone who needs a break from the heat, although as mentioned, it has gotten markedly cooler this week. The Cooling Center is open from 9am to 6pm, Monday through Friday, throughout the summer. Social distancing and masks are required.
Here’s a reason to be happy this week: mid-August is the start of the annual fall migration of Monarch Butterflies. The Department of Environmental Conservation shared the fun fact that these butterflies are the great-great-grandchildren of the monarchs that migrated to Mexico last fall. (How cool!)
Did you know Ossining has a dedicated Butterfly Stop? Beside Engel Park and the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club, is an area with nutritious flowers for butterflies to stop and rest. You can start your own little butterfly stop to help the monarchs on their long journey south. Plant milkweed and other native wildflowers. Avoid using herbicides since they kill butterflies. Ossining’s peak for sightings will be probably be around mid-September, but you can report a sighting and let me know if you see one.
Share a photo of your favorite mask on Monday as part of our #MaskMonday awareness campaign. There are lots of great, creative masks in Ossining – let’s see them!
People looking to travel this summer (just a few more weeks!), should 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. I encourage you to review the COVID-19 Travel Advisory section of the New York State website before and after traveling.
Food distribution also continues here in Ossining to help families keep food on their tables. 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.
Gullotta House has distributed meals throughout Westchester, and will be hosting their weekly Food Distribution today at 4pm at the Ossining Stop & Shop. Through this program, the Gullotta House has been able to help restaurants too, by purchasing meals direct from local restaurants for distribution.
I know many people are looking for information about school re-opening plans. I have been so impressed by our school leaders as they navigate this nearly impossible task. Ossining School District has a Reopening Website with updates and information. Briarcliff Schools have released a Reopening Document on their website, detailing their plans for the school year.
The last stop is fast approaching on the 2020 OUFSD Bookmobile Summer Tour. Can you believe it’s August 21st? Reading skills are important for students of all ages. Ossining schools has maintained 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.
Browsing hours are back at the Ossining Public Library! The curbside pickup program is continuing if you already know what story you want. Indoor browsing visits will be limited to 30 minutes. They also have age appropriate kits of books for all ages, if you are looking for a quick pick up option. Some areas of the building are restricted or by appointment only, and no computers will be available for use. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, or make an appointment to browse. Masks are required for everyone over 2, and everyone should be mindful of social distancing.
By the way have you checked out their calendar recently? Despite a pandemic, a misbehaving air conditioner, and remote staff, the library has managed to curate an impressive calendar of events.
The Open Door Medical Center is hosting FREE digital literacy classes with one-on-one, personalized training sessions to meet your needs and goals. To learn more or to set up a virtual training time, please call 914-772-0057.
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. It is a little late for placing your order for pick up tomorrow, but if you place your order earlier in the week, it will be ready for next Saturday!
Scheduling update! On August 28th, 2020 from 3PM to 7:30PM the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp will be sponsoring a Blood Drive at 8 Clinton Ave, Ossining NY. The event was originally scheduled for this week, and we’re happy it was postponed rather than cancelled. Blood supplies are very low due to the cancellation of large donation events at colleges and offices. 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.
Westchester Community College is hosting virtual Admissions information sessions, including some on nursing and admissions assistance. Learn more at https://www.sunywcc.edu/admissions/tour/
Cedar Lane Arts Center is up and running, just waiting for enrollment for everyone, from beginners to more experienced artists. Check out the full catalogue of programs available on the Community Pass website.
The IFCA thrift store at 138 Spring Street has reopened and will be hosting an outdoor sidewalk sale on Thursday, September 27th. Add this date to your calendar. The thrift store sells new and gently used clothing, shoes, bedding, dishes, pot/pans, costume jewelry, and handbags. It is a great find for new parents, new homeowners, and just-moved families. The store is also accepting item donations for everyone who needs to clean out their closets.
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. Visit the Board of Elections website and scroll to the “Poll Worker Application Form.”
Last week, I shared this graphic about updates made to our parks. Renovations to our comfort stations began last year, and even before any of us had heard the word “Coronavirus,” we began looking for hands free options. Who knew it would be such a well-timed decision?
After a brief bout of fall-like weather this week (I for one, really enjoyed the break from the heat!), we are looking at some hot days coming up this weekend. That being said, I would like to plug my (almost) weekly reminder that if you choose to spend some time in our parks to get outdoors and cool off, please remember to wear your mask and avoid large gatherings of people. We still must remain vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID. Additionally, please be reminded that swimming is not allowed at the Louis Engel Park Beach. Hopefully one day it will be safe to do so, but that day is unfortunately not today. Maybe try your hand at kayaking or paddle boarding, two safe options for enjoying our Hudson River access here in Ossining.
Or, simply just enjoy the beautiful vistas – we are lucky to be able to call Ossining “home”!