Tonia Shoumatoff

November 2, 2015 

Three locations are being considered for new cell towers in Amenia.  The first monopole proposed is located at 67 Kent Road in South Amenia, by SBA Communications, and would provide reception for Verizon.  The company provided a visual “balloon test” for the approx. 167’ pole earlier this year, and is still apparently a work in progress despite opposition by neighboring residents, and their need for a variance from the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals.  It was rejected by the MTA and the ZBA as it would need to be extraordinarily tall to get a signal over the high ridge to the west (RM) and fill the service gap in the hamlet of Wassaic."

 A second monopole is being proposed at the Wassaic Train Station (owned by MetroNorth) near the back of their parking lot and the old race track which was used for trotters in the ‘forties.  MTA needs to enhance MTA police communications and response to emergencies such as hurricane Sandy, which has been deemed inadequate by Homeland Security.  The proposed monopole will be appx. 170’ high and is slated to be constructed before year-end. 

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1247 Kids from four schools painted and collaged pictures of owls

 

 

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1246 At the Great Swamp Art show last weekend in Pawling, Dover artist, Sue Hennelly, won first prize for her watercolor of a Great B

 

 

 

October 23, 2015-

Millerton has moved from proclaiming the dangers of climate change to doing domething about it.  On October 20 the Moviehouse showed This Changes Everything, a film based on the book of the same name by Naomi Klein.  It is an epic re-imagining of the challenge of climate change with action as its theme.   The movie was followed by a discussion led by Brooke Lehman and Gregg Osofsky of the  Watershed Center.

A large crowd seemed genuinely moved by the plight of the communities at the front lines of the climate change crisis.  They included the devastated lands caused by the mining in the Alberta Tar Sands, Hurricane Sandy’s ruthless destruction and the stifling smog of Beijing.  

Germany is called a success story.  It has switched 30% of its energy needs to solar and wind.  The county’s emissions have gone down, their economy is up, and citizens are now reaping economic benefits of their alternative energy investments.

September 18--Dr. Annette Lanjouw is a globally respected primatologist who is helping conserve and protect threatened populations of great apes.  She was invited to the Cary Institute to speak about her work.  She works with the Arcus Foundation, perhaps the largest foundation funding ape conservation work globally. For 15 years, Annette was the Director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), a partnership to protect the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

She has carried on the important work of Dian Fossey in protecting the endangered gorilla in Africa, in dangerous and war-torn areas.  She also works to protect chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos and to restore their habitat in such areas such as Borneo where deforestation is rampant.

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The Millbrook Independent queried the MTA about the MTA Police, what their duties are, what their budget is and how they different from the Transit Police and the NYPD.  We received the following answer from Aaron Donovan, Deputy Director for External Communications of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The MTA Police are part of the MTA.  The MTA’s annual operating budget, encompassing Metro-North, NYC Subways and Buses, MTA Police, the LIRR, the Staten Island Railroad is about $14 billion (more than half of which is paid for by fares and tolls). The MTA Police budget is $140 million per year, or 1% of the MTA’s budget.

The cost of the project to upgrade the police radio system is about $90 million over multiple years.

The Transit Police used to patrol the subway system, but they were subsumed into the NYPD Transit Bureau.   The NYPD is not part of the MTA.  It is part of the City of New York.   The Transit Police was never involved with Metro-North. 

On September 10th a small turn-out of Republican voters selected with only 220 voters coming out for the office of Supervisor. Victoria Perotti and Mike Delango were vying for the position.  It was a close race, with Delango garnering 96 votes and Perotti winning with 123 votes. 

Victoria Perotti told TMI: “I would like to thank the voters for their support and look forward to working together on important projects for the Town of Amenia.”

The race for County Legislator was between incumbent Michael Kelsey and Sandra Washburn.  37 year-old Pleasant Valley resident Washburn, won with 260 votes to Kelsey’s 132.  The Dutchess County GOP Committee had endorsed Sandra Washburn, “a Republican of impeccable character,” back in August, an unusual action, since they had previously stated that they would not endorse candidates before a primary.   They had cited the criminal sexual abuse charges against Kelsey as the reason for their endorsement of Washburn.

September 8, 2015- A letter was sent to the Town of Amenia from Metro-North on June 12, 2014, from Metronorth introducing the construction of a 220-foot cell tower.  “This project will take place on Metro-North property and is needed to ensure public safety and security…..The current MTA Police radio system suffers from several issues including a congested network due to inadequate radio frequencies, gaps in radio coverage throughout Metro-North’s service area and antiquated radio technology.”

The letter describes how the MTA police have partnered with the New York State police “to improve critical public safety communications through state-allocated radio channels” which will “provide uninterrupted communications throughout all Metro-North stations, on all five train lines.”  According to the letter there are dead areas where radio reception is not possible and if trains were stranded in between stations in those areas they could not be reached by radio.

Celebrities rubbed elbows with crunchies at the opening of a new health food store on Mechanic Street in Amenia.

At the ‘soft’ opening friends and fans were served wheat grass juice, spanokopita, local cheeses and watermelon and fruit concoctions.

Ann Marie Pallan gave us a tour of the store showing us “Wholey Oats” granola bars , a business out of Wingdale, locally-produced honey by Alekie Apiaries in Sherman, coconut milk ice cream by a Hudson Valley confectioner, organic meats from Dashing Star farms and Meili’s.  

The list of businesses from the region went on with sheep milk yogurt from Chatham, local kimchee, salsas from Hyde Park, Mama’s Cheese breads and Hudson Valley skin care.  And the contractors,  a who renovated the store were from Amenia and Connecticut.

Marvin Scott, the award-winning reporter from WPIX Channel 11 was on hand as a friend, not as a reporter, and had the following to say:

The Town of Amenia is considering permitting a commercial composting operation on the border of Amenia and Dover Plains off Route 22 on two parcels, one of which is the former Lopane Nursery.

Leslie Carille, Deputy Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Solid Waste Management was invited to the Amenia Town Board meeting on September 3 to make a presentation about composting.  She encouraged the town to consider the application for a large commercial composting operation by a landscaping concern from Westchester County.  The group, Bulfamante Landscaping of New Rochelle, would like to bring grass clippings and leaves from the properties for which they do maintenance.

On their website, http://www.bulfamantelandscaping.com/, they say they are “one of New York’s best landscaping, design, install and maintenance companies. For the past twenty years we have been working on Public Parks, Residential and commercial properties located in Westchester County, Fairfield County, Connecticut and New York City. “

There's something special about the late summer and county fairs. The 103rd Goshen Agricultural Fair retains the spirit of fairs of long ago.  Chicken, sheep, goats and cows are judged by breed.  Young people from 4-H and the Future Farmers of America proudly display their animals which they have spent months feeding, preparing and grooming for the fair.  Many of the young people work with animals on family farms or at the Wamogo and Housatonic Valley High School’s FFA programs. 

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These young people are learning responsibility, discipline and showmanship.  We took photographs of a few of them with their animals. 

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