Just hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling…Merry Christmas, Ossining! This week’s Update is coming to you a few days early, but it does FEEL like a Friday! As a reminder, Town Offices will be open a half day tomorrow and will be closed on Friday for Christmas Day. Same is true next week, when we will open for just a half day on Thursday, December 31, New Year’s Eve, and will remain closed all day on Friday, January 1, 2021. A new year is truly just around the corner – can you believe it?
As we round out the holiday season, it remains important to continue to be vigilant against the spread of COVID-19. We are all super anxious for the vaccine, but obviously we are not even close to out of the water yet. Please celebrate in-person only with those who already live in your household. Hop on a Zoom call or FaceTime to celebrate with everyone else! Share around a treasured family recipe, so you can all still enjoy a meal together, even if it’s virtual. We know we have seen an uptick in cases as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday, and we just cannot afford to make the same mistakes during Christmas or New Years. Locally, we are seeing cases more in single-family homes, and less in congregate settings like nursing homes, so we know the majority of spread right now is “living room spread” as a result of small household gatherings. There are still so many ways you can celebrate the holiday, without putting your friends and family at risk. I know we are all ready to ring in 2021, and look forward to a much better new year when we can hopefully all gather together again soon!
As a reminder, there will be no trash or recycling pickup on either holiday. The Town Highway Department and Suburban Carting will offer collection services on the Thursday before (December 24th and 31st) to affected residents. Regular Thursday pickups will move to Wednesday (today and December 30). You can download the Recycle Right Westchester app for reminders, service changes, and information about special recycling days. Just plug in your address to the app and your house’s schedule will come right up. Sanitation Schedules for 2021 are in the mail and should arrive in your mailbox any day now, but the app is really easy to have on your phone and at your fingertips any time.
I want to say thank you to all our residents for your work this year. There was a lot of information to process and we rely on your feedback. In 2021 we will continue our engagement as we embark 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. One of our early steps has been to reach out with a survey to collect your opinions and suggestions! We extended the time to respond through January 1, so get started now and complete a quick survey here. The survey is also available in Spanish.
Important Scam Alert: As the vaccine roll-out takes place via guidelines set by New York State, residents need to be on heightened awareness for scams promising sign-ups to get the vaccine. The Westchester Consumer Protection Bureau reminds us that the vaccine is free for all New Yorkers and you cannot pay money to get your vaccine earlier. There are no sign-up lists for the vaccine. Medicare or Social Security (or other government agencies) won’t be calling you about getting your vaccine. Always protect your personal information, you do not need to provide your social security number, credit card number, or any bank info to qualify for the vaccine.
We all know holidays can be a super stressful time, which is of course, compounded by the pandemic. Government offices at many different levels are offering resources for residents and 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.
The Ossining Farmers Market will be closed on Saturday (12/26) and next week on 1/2. The Market will re-open outdoors at Market Square, from 9am-1pm on Saturday, January 9th.
The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp (OVAC) is hosting a Blood Drive on December 30th. Large-scale donation events were cancelled this year and blood banks are facing a shortage. 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.
If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping it is probably too late to order something online. The good news? We have amazing small businesses waiting and ready to step up. Use our Small Business Bingo board to help get ideas for how to support our local economy – financially and otherwise!
December 29th is a fifth Tuesday so we will be taking a week off from town meetings, but will be back on January 5th for a work session, and our annual reorganization meeting will be on January 12th.
For those who celebrate, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a very Happy Kwanzaa! Please stay warm and enjoy the snow for as long as it lingers. We are expecting some dicey weather tomorrow, so please be careful and stay safe! We will monitor the storm and coordinate any storm response necessary. Remember to report outages to the affiliated company so crews can be assigned and service can be restored more quickly.