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Croton Residents Share Coffee, Thoughts With Legislator

Westchester County legislator Catherine Borgia chatted with residents at The Black Cow coffee shop Saturday, Jan. 26. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella
New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, right, stopped by to hear what Borgia and residents were talking about. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia camped out in The Black Cow coffee shop Saturday to hear residents’ thoughts, complaints and ideas. In return, she bought them a cup of coffee.

For all involved, it seemed like a good deal.

“I always have fun doing these,” said Borgia. “It’s not just people talking to me, but it’s listening to people talking to each other. It’s a great way to learn from everyone.”

Borgia, who represents Ossining, Briarcliff, Croton, Cortlandt and Peekskill, tries to do “Coffee with Catherine” on a semi-regular basis. Saturday’s sessions from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. were her first of 2013.

New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef joined Borgia’s morning session to hear the latest buzz as well.

“I think it’s great that Catherine has these,” she said. “It’s so nice to learn about different issues in a relaxed, informal manner.”

A steady flow of residents stopped by to chat, with a smorgasbord of issues being brought to the coffee table.

Gary Shaw, a member of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, stopped by to introduce Borgia to a new resolution for public health and safety regarding Indian Point Power Plants.

“This resolution represents feasible structural and procedural changes that would minimize the chance of crisis at Indian Point,” said Shaw. “I hope it gets traction and goes up the latter of power.”

Hemlock Hill Farm adviser Andrew Morris popped in to ask Borgia how the third-generation Cortlandt Manor property can improve its business relationship with local restaurants and grocers.

“Hemlock is a very unique property that has opportunities available to help it grow,” he said.

One conversation that seemed to pique the interest of Borgia was the topic of local arts and their struggle to survive.

“Local arts are struggling right now and we need to look for ways to fund things we like to support,” said Valerie Leis, president of Croton Council on the Arts. “With the recession, we all feel it. But arts help build communities and enrich lives.”

Borgia said that one thing she always comes away with from her coffee talks is the intelligence of the residents she represents.

“Westchester is full of brain power and talent,” she said. “Hearing what they have to say and what’s on their minds gives me a lot to go off of moving forward.”

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