Yesterday was our first snowstorm of the season. I saw lots of posts the night before nervous for SNOWVID, but thankfully the storm brought a winter wonderland without power outages. Special thanks to our Police Department under Chief Sylvester, our Highway Department under Superintendent Pete Connolly, and our Parks Department under Foreman Mario Velardo for helping to keep our roads safe. Thanks to their efforts, our streets were salted and plowed timely and folks were able to get out and about, with care, today. As you are all aware, there was quite a lot of snow, and I know we all had our hands full shoveling ourselves out yesterday and today. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as our team navigated the worst snowstorm we have seen in quite a few years.
2021 is around the corner, which means it is time to start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Here is just one suggestion for your consideration: There were a lot of opportunities to observe institutions in action this year, from schools, government, emergency services, and more. These organizations are dedicated to serving you. They also depend on feedback and engagement from you to serve you even better. The next two items in my Update are looking for your opinions. Get involved and help us help you by sharing your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas.
The Town is embarking on a Comprehensive Plan, which is a blueprint for land use over the next decade and lays out priorities, goals, and suggestions of how to move forward. There will be workshops and virtual town halls in 2021 to map out this plan more, but an easy way for residents to get started is to complete a quick survey here. The survey is also available in Spanish. The survey is open through Sunday, so share it far and wide.
This week, healthcare workers in the United States became some of the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We are excited to see some good news. To discuss the status of the virus and vaccine, I (virtually) met with Stacey Petrower, the President of NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital and Dr. Craig Hametz, Cardiologist & Chair of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. You can watch our conversation here.
Government offices at many different levels are offering resources for residents. New York State has launched a program to help New Yorkers find services and benefits. The Find Services Feature provides an easy-to-use starting point for community members in need of social services, including Paid Family Leave, tax relief, accessing addiction services, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline, Mental Health Resources, Child Health Plus, COVID-19 resources for New Americans, NY State of Health (Official Healthcare Marketplace), Medicaid, and the NYS Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Hotline. If you would like to reach out to a more local office for this information, you can use the County information hotline by dialing 211 or call my office at 914-762-6001.
Valhalla American Legion Post 1038 is making food accessible to Veterans in need. On Mondays through early 2021, Veterans are welcome to stop by 27 Legion Drive in Valhalla for contactless drive-through and pick-up of grocery items. If you know a Veteran in need, please share this with them. If you have any questions, please call Commander John Creskey at 914-282-3169.
Teatown’s Holiday Store is online just in time for holiday shopping. “Bundles of Joy” gift baskets come in 11 different varieties, including “Garden Lovers Bundle,” “Deluxe Bird Bundle,” and bundles for kids by age range. All proceeds support Teatown’s mission to inspire our community to lifelong environmental stewardship. Browse the entire selection on the Teatown website.
The Ossining Farmers Market will be open tomorrow, but closed for two weeks over the holidays (12/26 – 1/2) to give staff and vendors a much needed break. The Market will re-open from 9am-1pm on Saturday, January 9th.
In the spirit of generosity, there are a number of toy drives happening across town. Demand is high this year due to the record unemployment rates since March. If you are interested in donating to one of these organizations, please be sure to read their guidelines for the types of toys they accept and where they can be dropped off.
Open Door Family Medical Center is hosting a Toy Drive with a goal to collect 5000 new, unwrapped toys and gift cards. The target age for toys ranges from newborn to 14 years and should be valued around $20.
Sherwin-Williams Paints of Briarcliff Manor (1908 Pleasantville Rd in the Chilmark Shopping Center) is hosting a Toy Drive until Tuesday. They are offering a free Purdy brush with each donation.
The Marine Corps Reserve is hosting their annual Toys for Tots collection. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Municipal Building by the Clerk’s Office. The office is on the first floor and our screener will greet you at the front door. See the list of suggested items below and stop by between 9am – 2:30 pm (M-F) to drop them off.
The Westchester Department of Social Services is accepting gift cards for the County’s foster children. Currently, Westchester County has over 500 children in foster care, ranging from infants to 21 years old. You can learn more about this Holiday Fund by calling 914-995-1937 or visiting the County website.
This time of year can bring out the best in a community. Here are a number of other charitable events happening around town!
Gullotta House is holding a Charity Restaurant Raffle. Purchase your tickets at the Gullotta House website and the organization will email or test your raffle numbers. A live drawing of the winner will be done on Facebook Live Sunday.
Baker-Collyer is hosting a Cheer Fund to purchase food for local families in need. You can make a donation as part of this century old tradition at the Baker-Collyer Christmas website.
The Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce is offering gift cards for free meals at food distribution locations in Ossining. The gift cards are available through the Chamber’s Virtuous Collective, which helps bridge the financial gap between local restaurant menus and residents with food insecurity. For more information or to donate to this program, go to the Virtuous Collective website.
Ossining Padres Hispanos is celebrating the season with their Adopt-A-Family giving program. The program supports families who are experiencing difficult times. Sponsors are asked to provide one new gift or one new clothing item per child or a combination of both. Sponsors are also asked to bring a basket of food or gift card for food. Sponsors can provide more if they wish. Reach out to Ossining Padres Hispanos to be assigned a family and receive a wish list. Contact Ana at OPH for more information.
And now for some events!
Pop into a virtual gathering of neighbors and friends at the Sparta Zoom Holiday Celebration on Sunday from 4 to 6 pm. Click here for the Zoom link.
If you plan to make your home a festive escape, snap a few pictures and enter the Holiday House Decorating Contest hosted by the Ossining Families, Positively Ossining, or Ossining Moms Facebook groups. Be sure to post your photos with the caption #winterossining2020 by Monday.
The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp (OVAC) is hosting a Blood Drive on December 30th. Make an appointment online and then stop by to help save a life.
The Town and Village of Ossining Inauguration of Local Elected Officials will be virtual this year. All are welcome to join this Zoom event on Friday, January 1 at noon. Click here for the Zoom link. The meeting ID is 942 7543 4613. To call into the meeting, you can dial (929)-205-6099 and then enter the Meeting ID.
Light shows are a fun way to remain socially distanced while still enjoying an event with others. The #lightsonjenkinscourt is returning for a fourth year to bring cheer to the neighborhood. Please see their Facebook event for the address and their requested rules. Remember, this a private residence, so be respectful of their home and the homes of others on this street.
Sing Sing Kill Brewery’s current art exhibition features the works of Ossining artist Garrett Ball. The exhibition, titled Silent Songs runs through the month of January. Ball moved to Ossining in 2015 and has painted backdrops and scenery for dozens of Broadway, major film, and TV productions. You can meet the artist on opening night from 6:30-8:00pm. The brewery will be following all COVID-19 health guidelines.
Lastly, I would like to encourage all residents to shop local. You can use our Small Business Bingo board to help get ideas for how to support our local economy – financially and otherwise!
Today is the last day of Hanukah, for all those who celebrated! It is also hard to believe that next week is Christmas. Please be reminded that Town offices are closed a half-day on Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas Day.
Have a great weekend, stay warm and enjoy the snow.