As we welcome the arrival of spring (don’t forget to turn your clocks forward on Sunday), our community has much to celebrate and acknowledge in the month of March. This month is an important time to recognize and celebrate the diverse range of cultures, traditions, and identities that make New Castle such a vibrant and welcoming place to live.
One of the most colorful and joyous celebrations in March is Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. This festival marks the arrival of spring and celebrates the victory of good over evil. On behalf of our Town, I extend my warmest wishes to our Hindu residents as they celebrate this important occasion.
March also marks the beginning of Purim, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people from their enemies. It is a time of celebration, feasting, and gift-giving. I wish our Jewish community a joyful and meaningful Purim.
As we continue to celebrate the diverse range of cultures in our community, I want to recognize the contributions of our Irish American residents during this month of March, which is designated as Irish American Heritage Month. We celebrate our Irish American community and their important roles in shaping our history, culture, and traditions.
On behalf of the Town, I also want to extend my warmest wishes to our Muslim residents as they begin the holy month of Ramadan later this month. This month of fasting, prayer, and reflection is an important time for our Muslim community, and we stand in solidarity with them during this special time and in wishing peace, happiness, and spiritual renewal to all who observe it.
In addition to these celebrations, March is also Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This is an important time to raise awareness about the challenges that individuals with developmental disabilities face, and to recognize their contributions to our community. Let us work together to ensure that everyone in our town is treated with respect, dignity, and compassion. Thank you to our EPIC Committee for all the work you do not just in March, but throughout the year.
Finally, March 8th was International Women's Day. This day provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history and to advocate for gender equality. I am proud to live in a town where women play important roles in all aspects of our community.
As your Supervisor, I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. I encourage everyone to celebrate the wonderful diversity that makes New Castle such a special place to live.
If you have a community shout-out (birthdays or otherwise), please send an email to CommunityCorner@mynewcastle.org. We make our Community Corner announcements here and at each of our public meetings.
We did not have a Town Board meeting or my regular open office hours this week. Each will resume on Tuesday, March 14th.
NYS Housing Compact Update
I must admit that I took a couple of days for myself this week to attend the Houston Rodeo with my daughter. In my absence, I am happy to report that Councilwoman Ally Chemtob represented New Castle at a roundtable discussion with a bipartisan group of elected officials from Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam Counties to raise concerns with Governor Hochul’s proposed housing compact in the state budget. As you know, while New Castle supports the goals of increasing attainable housing, we believe that the legislation should be taken out of the proposed State budget. It should instead work its way through the full legislative process with the involvement of all municipalities to determine how to best implement these goals without using a one size fits all approach.
These are some of the most important comments shared by those that attended the meeting:
SEQRA - Everyone agreed that removing the SEQRA environmental review from required review for additional housing under the housing compact is incredibly troublesome, especially for communities like New Castle in the protected watershed.
Local Resources – Like New Castle, many of our local municipalities rely on volunteer fire and ambulance services. This legislation would likely overwhelm theses volunteers and require many municipalities to start paying full time firefighters and ambulance workers. This would cost New Castle millions of dollars, for which we would need to increase taxes and likely break our tax cap.
Schools – Many are concerned with the impact this legislation will have on schools with regard to class size and funding for infrastructure and resources to maintain our level of education.
Infrastructure -- A common refrain was infrastructure first, people second. We need to have proper infrastructure in place before we are able to adequately handle the expected influx in population. At a minimum, we must understand what changes need to be made and at what cost, especially as the cost of materials and work has increased so drastically since the pandemic. The $250 million proposed state-wide is just a drop in the bucket. New Castle alone could use all of that money!
We will keep on top of this issue.
In the meantime, please email our State representatives with your thoughts on the housing compact:
New Castle’s NYS Senator & Assemblyman:
Senator Peter Harckham - email@example.com
Assemblyman Chris Burdick - firstname.lastname@example.org
Also request that Senator Harckham and Assemblyman Burdick forward your email to Gov. Kathy Hochul and the following NYS elected officials (or copy them on your email):
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins - MajorityLeaderCommunications@nysenate.gov
Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie - Speaker@nyassembly.gov
Also please note that we report all pothole complaints on State roads to the NYS Department of Transportation. The Town is not permitted to fill potholes on State roads, but we certainly advocate for their repair, and we try to expedite those repairs as soon as possible
New Law Alert
I wanted to make you aware of a new law recently enacted in Westchester County. Following the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimous passage this past Monday, March 6th, County Executive George Latimer signed into law a measure aimed at further reducing the amount of plastics in the County’s waste stream.
The law states that:
No food service establishment shall provide single-use foodware or condiment packets to any dine-in or take-away customer unless specifically requested;
Single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage “splash sticks” are no longer permitted. Retail food stores may sell packages or boxes of single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage splash sticks to their customers; and
Lastly, when requested, single-use foodware items or condiment packets must be provided individually and not in a package containing multiple items.
Thank you to our Sustainability Advisory Board for your attention to this issue!
Take the Broadband Survey
On April 16, 2021, New York enacted the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act of 2021, which directed the Public Service Commission (Commission) to prepare an annual study on the availability, reliability, and cost of high-speed broadband service in New York State. On June 16, 2022, the Commission released its first interactive broadband map and report.
The Commission is currently preparing its annual update to the report and invites public comment regarding the availability, affordability, and adoption of residential and commercial broadband internet access across the State. The purpose of the study is to ensure that all New Yorkers have the necessary affordable access to the internet going forward. To ensure full public participation, the Commission will hold virtual public statement hearings on March 21, 2023, to solicit input and comments regarding the annual study. Any person wishing to provide a comment at the hearing must pre-register by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2023.
ThisNOTICE provides detailed information on how to participate in the forums and how to submit comments.
Relay for Life 2023
Save the date for this year’s Relay for Life event on May 6th beginning at 6 PM at the Horace Greeley High School Track. According to the American Cancer Society, one in every three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. At this community event, our amazing youth will be raising money and walking all night to remind us that while the road is long, there is hope at the end of the journey. I, for one, am thrilled to be able to walk the survivor lap at the event! This is a fun and uplifting event for the entire family!
Congratulations to the Greeley Boys Swim Team! The Town is proud of your hard work and dedication!
Today, New York Blood Center (NYBC) declared the first blood emergency of 2023. The blood emergency is due to several evolving factors, including recent poor weather, school breaks and cold and flu season. Last month, NYBC and its divisions across the nation received 6,000 fewer blood donations than the year prior and blood donations are 12% below hospital and patient needs.
The number of blood donations still are not back to pre-pandemic levels. Compounding the problem is a continued lag in first-time and youth donors, which remain about half of pre-pandemic levels. And while New Yorkers are returning to in-person work, office and community blood drives and visits to NYBC Donor Centers are significantly down. People working from home had an easier time donating in our donor centers, but we’re seeing a dramatic decrease at our centers.
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