Today is the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It is amazing to think that this terrible day was so long ago, before the first birthday of children who will be graduating high school this year. It also feels so recent, because of how intensely many of us remember exactly where we were when we first heard the news. This year, memorial ceremonies across the country will look a little different due to restrictions on gatherings. The Governor has not issued any guidance specific to 9/11 ceremonies and health guidelines have not been eased. It is especially important to consider that the Coronavirus is a respiratory illness, and people who were close to Ground Zero on that tragic day now often have a higher risk of respiratory infection. With this in mind, there are several ceremonies happening across the county today that are closed to the public. These efforts are being made to protect the health of our dedicated firefighters, EMTs, and police officers. We thank them for their service on that horrible day and their continued service.
The Town of Ossining will participate in the 9/11 ceremony tonight to pay our respect for those lost. This ceremony is organized by the Ossining Volunteer Fire Department and is strictly limited to observe protocols. Because we are unable to gather today in person as a community to remember those we lost on September 11, 2001, I wanted to share some remarks with everyone virtually.
Some of you may have watched the ceremony at Kensico Dam today that Westchester County hosted and shared on Facebook. Shortly after sunset the Tribute in Light memorial will be projected into the New York City skyline. The twin beams of light are created by floodlights placed near the World Trade Center site.
The anniversary of the attacks reminds us each year to thank the people who put themselves in harm’s way to better protect us. In a year defined by a global pandemic, we are especially thankful for our emergency response workers and essential service workers. In March, when the rest of us were told to stay home, they were asked to continue working and take on an additional risk. These decisions should not be overlooked. Now in the sixth month since the crisis set in, it may be easy to forget that masks and other PPE were not immediately available in the beginning. Even now, shortages are reported and supply levels are monitored.
Late last week, there were reports of the infection at the Holy Innocents Church in Pleasantville. Thankfully, those exposed took swift action and we have not seen a large uptick in numbers. Remember that we wear masks not to protect ourselves, but to protect others. Though it may seem exhausting, we must remain vigilant.
This week we saw school buses again for the first time since March. Wasn’t it strange to see them again? Be sure to drive carefully in the morning (well, always really) and be on the lookout for kids crossing the street to get to their bus. Remote and hybrid options are in place in many schools.
Speaking of things by mail, absentee ballot applications have begun to arrive in our mailboxes. I want to emphasize the word application here. If you want to vote by absentee ballot you must fill out that form and mail it back. Following a change made by Governor Cuomo, the “unable to appear at the polls due to illness or disability” option has been expanded for anyone looking to reduce their risk of exposure. If you choose to fill out the application, get it in the mail right away to give the Westchester Board of Elections time to review your request and mail you the actual ballot.
If you are eligible to vote but are not registered, be sure to get your name on their radar. The last day to register to vote for the November election is October 9, in person or by postmark. Do this now! It is simple and easy, and you can even register to vote online. Our Town Clerk’s office at 16 Croton Ave in Ossining also has plenty of voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications available to the public. Stop by the Clerk’s office in person Monday through Friday during our public office hours (9am to 2:30pm).
New York State has three options when it comes to voting this year: absentee ballots, in person early voting, and in person voting on Election Day, November 3. Early voting, starts on October 24 and here’s something not many people know: this election, you can vote at any of the seventeen early voting locations throughout Westchester. For a complete list of locations and hours, visit the Board of Elections website. Find the one that is most convenient for you. The most local location for Town of Ossining residents will be the Ossining Community Center at 95 Broadway.
As you may know, polling places are often school buildings, fire houses, and other public buildings. Due to the threat of COVID-19, some of our regular polling places for Election Day in-person voting may be different. Prior to November 3rd, you will receive a postcard in the mail from the Board of Elections which will let you know exactly where to go. If you bring it in with you to the polling place, they can scan the QR code for you to speed up your in person voting experience.
Local elections in the Village of Briarcliff are scheduled for this Tuesday, September 15. Voting will be held at the WJV Community Center (at 1 Library Road) from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM. The Village uses paper ballots by tradition and separate pens will be provided for each in-person voter. Absentee ballots were able to be requested until September 8th, but are still able to be obtained in person until 14 September. The application is available online or from the Village Clerk who can be reached at 914-941-4800.
If you are looking ahead to the November election, you may be interested to know that the Westchester County Board of Elections is hiring. Senior citizens often work at polling places, but many decided this year to decline due to Coronavirus risks. You can help keep lines short at polling places by coming on board for $350 a day (remember there are early voting days and training days available). You must be a registered voter and 18 or over to be hired. Visit the Board of Elections website and scroll to the “Poll Worker Application Form.”
In some good news: instead of closing on Labor Day some local beaches and pools are open for extra fun! Playland Park Beach in Rye and Croton Point Park in Croton will be open this weekend Sept. 12-13 and Sept. 19-20 from 11 am to 6:30 pm. Briarcliff Pool is open to village residents this weekend from 12 noon to 5:00pm. The Ossining pool and indoor splash pad at the Rec Center is open all year round.
Stop by the Ossining Farmers Market Saturday for some great produce, and also from 9:30am - 11:30am Green Ossining will be there to answer questions about our Food Scraps program. You don’t need a kit to participate but if you are interested in purchasing a kit, you can buy it online before Saturday and then pick it up at the Market or at Cedar Lane. 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.
Also tomorrow, Teatown Lake Reservation will host Beachcombing at RiverWalk at Sleepy Hollow’s Kingsland Point Park to learn about the objects found on the river shore, while learning about the Hudson River itself. This event takes place from 11am to noon and is free for members (and only $5 for non-members).
Starting September 14, the Ossining School District will be offering free meals Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7pm. This program is expected to run until the end of 2020, though it is at the discretion of the Federal government. The meals are for 18 year olds and younger.
The Briarcliff Police Department would like to remind you to always lock your car at night. We have been hearing reports of people rummaging through unlocked cars locally. Before you leave your car, cover any valuables – or better yet, bring them inside. Always lock your car and never leave your keys or fob in the car. This #9PMROUTINE will help protect you from being a victim of theft.
The popular Blaze pumpkin festival will be taking place this year with limited crowd sizes and staggered entrance times. As a reminder, events like this can only take place when everyone cooperates, so grab your autumn-themed masks and reserve tickets. Tickets will not be sold on site this year.
Every Saturday at the Farmers Market you can drop off unwanted clothes, shoes, bags, towels, sheets, and fabric at the drop box for Green Tree Textiles for reuse and recycling. No rugs or blankets are accepted. If you have any questions or want more information while you drop items off you can speak to the manager at the Down to Earth Markets tent.
Ossining Recreation is offering free Wi-Fi access for students who need an internet connection to complete their virtual studies. Students are required to bring their own devices, headphones and masks. Wi-Fi access will be available for two daily sessions Monday through Friday, until December 22. Session 1 will last from 9AM to 11AM each day, Session 2 will last from 11:30AM to 1:30PM. Students should enter through the Community Center's rear entrance and students under the age of 14 require adult supervision. Register here to reserve a spot.
Sing Sing Kill Brewery and Crossover Yoga Project are partnering for a Poses2Pints FUNraiser on Sunday, September 20. You can zoom into the event, which will also be streaming live. Tickets are $10 and come with a $5 coupon to the brewery. Learn more about the event on the Sing Sing Kill Facebook event. The Brewery had some big news this week. Next time you stop by, congratulate them on their new fermenters & brite tank, which are now hooked up and running. The Brewery’s packaged beers are made individually by hand, but their new canning line will help speed that along.
On September 22, the Sing Sing Prison Museum will present a webinar titled Justice Talks; COVID-19 and Incarceration. The webinar will discuss what is occurring on the federal and local level, the realities and history of disease inside prisons, and what the experience of being incarcerated under these circumstances means. The museum has assembled a panel of experts on criminal justice, epidemiology, and advocacy who will explore what is happening and what more can be done in a moderated conversation. The event will be streamed live on Facebook, you can also register here.
The Ossining Public Library is holding a “library by appointment” program for people who need some quiet space to work alone. Remoting college students especially are encouraged to check out this program. The curbside pickup program is continuing if you already know what book or other media you want to check out. 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.
Also on Saturday, September 26 Green Ossining is hosting an event to clear invasive species from Crawbuckie Nature Preserve. Volunteers must wear a mask and gloves, long pants/long shirt preferred if sensitive to poison ivy, and bring loppers or saws. Please remember that hydration is crucial during high heat and humidity so bring water (and a snack). Pre-registration was required by Friday, August 7th through the Community Pass Program. Please call the Recreation Center if you would still like to register but missed the deadline, at 914-941-3189.
And finally, the Census. You have only 19 days left to complete the Census. That’s only 19 days to help our community get the funding and representation we deserve. Ossining lost $2500 per resident per year since 2010 because of our response rate. To date, only 68.1% of Town residents have completed the 2020 Census. We need to get those numbers up people. Remind your friends, family, and neighbors. It only takes 10 minutes to complete – ten minutes that helps determine where billions of dollars are distributed. Complete the census by mail, phone, or online now. You are not allowed to start your weekend if you have not already responded to the Census! Ok, just kidding, but seriously it is quick and easy, so before you scroll to your next e-mail, just follow the link and get it done.