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Message from the Mayor: FNL, Grass, Bags, Gas lines, Home Safety, Library, Deer
Fellow residents,

Enough going on that an update was merited.  FNL, grass not being picked up, downtown gas mess, safety in summer, Library cocktails, and a brief disquisition on deers and sex.

Friday Night Live
We have the Spring Fling Friday Night Live coming up this Friday (6PM- 9PM) - really, one of the more ambitious ones of the year, with Warburton closed, vendors, music, food. A nice way to spend a Friday evening in June. The Blues Mothers will be playing, there will be games, and it will be the last time (given the construction downtown to replace gas mains) we will be shutting streets this summer. So come on out.  It will be fun.

Grass, suddenly, becomes an issue
Lawn grass, that is.  Specifically, grass clippings. Leaves, branches, brush and cut grass are gathered by our DPW and trucked to Yonkers for disposal.  Last week, Yonkers declared (without any notice) that they would no longer accept grass clippings.  They have since walked that edict back and have decided to accept grass again. For now.  Yonkers is under no obligation to accept cut grass from us, so we remain vulnerable to another change of mind.  We are looking to alternatives (just in case), but none are cheap, all are further away and there are only a few score households who don’t grasscycle or use services that remove the grass themselves so it may not make sense for us to incur a huge expense if it comes to that.  Which segues nicely to facing reality here.  Grass clippings are only a problem when they are removed from your lawn.  Cut by a mulching mower or a mulching blade, the clippings disappear quickly and yield the additional benefits that the lawn needs less fertilizer (think about it for a second: you’re removing plant material rich in the nutrients that made the plant in the first place) and you can use cut grass as mulch as well on your plant beds (as long as you haven’t sprayed them recently with herbicide, which you probably shouldn’t do much anyway).  More info here .  The long and the short of it is that we don’t know if Yonkers will suddenly stop accepting our clippings again and we may not be able to do much about it if they do.  It is best to begin to adopt grasscycling behaviors now at  your own speed while you still have a chance and choice. 

No more Plastic Bags and Styrofoam
The Board of Trustees passed a law last night outlawing carryout plastic bags and styrofoam in the Village. The law (here) won't take effect for six months and you will be hearing plenty about this in the upcoming months.  We join several communities in Westchester (Larchmont, Rye, Mamaroneck) in outlawing bags, and we are in the vanguard on outlawing styrofoam containers.  The decision came after much thoughtful input from both sides on the issue.  The Village will actively work with the Conservation Committee on implementation, including the distribution of reusable bags (the preferred option to paper bags) and working with merchants to minimize discomfort.

Downtown disruption
There will be an ongoing series of excavations downtown, starting with Spring Street, as one-hundred-year-old gas mains are replaced.  The timing is indeed unfortunate given the Warburton Avenue Bridge work underway, and unexpected in that Con Ed responded to repeated leaking gas complaints and identified a systemic issue they felt was sufficiently urgent to determine an immediate replacement of the antique mains.  These stresses don’t help our downtown merchants whatsoever, and I ask that you compensate by making a special effort to shop downtown and keep your dollars local and the merchants open during this tough time. The downtown is only lively and populated if we all shop there. So please do so.

Summertime Home Safety
Summer is the time for vacation and also a reminder that warm weather can lead to ground-level windows and doors left unlocked.  As safe as this Village is, no place is immune to burglary and the Police Department urges you to practice common sense (as in, lock up, please) and also to fill in a “vacation form” (here)when you leave for a week so the officers can keep an eye on your house in your absence. Ultimately, the few pairs of eyes that the Police have out at any given point can never cover the Village and so if you hear something just not right or see something askew, pick up the phone and give them a call (478-2344) with your observation.  They appreciate the assistance (truly, they do) and you’ll feel like a hero if you help stop a crime from happening (actually, that’s one of the definitions of hero, I think). 

The Library
This Sunday, a cocktail party from 5PM-8PM supports the effort to build a deck and extension to the library that will even further allow it to take advantage of the remarkable views and location it enjoys.  (Advance tickets are available $25 single /$40 couple at the  book sale at the Farmers Market or in the library. Miss the advance sale, and you can get tickets at the door $30/$50) There’s a silent auction underway as we speak with a wide range of terrific local art (and I do not exaggerate – its great) offered on the walls of the Library and down in the Orr Room, also in the Library.  You can bid on the spot or wait until Sunday at the cocktail party. (Library hours are Thu 9:30 – 8:30 Fri 9:30 – 2:00  Sat 8:00 – 2:00)

Deer, birds and bees
It is birthing season and many of you may see newborn fawns wobbling around.  In a few cases, some of you may have seen ear-tagged deer with a fawn in tow.  This is NOT an indication that the Immunocontraception project has failed. Without getting into too graphic a birds-and-bees discussion here, the darting took place three months ago.  Mating season was about eight months ago.  (Yes. Deer were darted while they were pregnant.)  Those darted does should now be immunized from getting pregnant again this Fall, 2014 and Fall 2015.  It will be far more interesting and noteworthy if you are observing tagged deer with fawns next June.  This time around, its just biology taking its normal course.

On that note, time to call it a night. Questions or thoughts, alwasy feel free to drop me a line.

Peter Swiderski

Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York