Tonia Shoumatoff

September 3, 2014- Feeding up to 450 people a month at their food pantry, providing like-new clothing and housewares at their thrift store and sending children home from school with enough food for the weekend through their backpack program are among the generous deeds of the Center of Compassion in Dover.

Originally called “Loaves and Fishes,” The Center of Compassion’s programs were originally started and run by Sister Maureen, as a ministry of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, in White Plains. The sisters had a house in Dover Plains for twelve years for their ministry. 

The Center of Compassion has recently relocated to 52 Mill St. in Dover Plains, New York, just over the train tracks on the right. The main focus of the Center is to be of service and to be available to those in poverty, especially women and children, the elderly and the infirmed.

When I received a letter from my insurance company, Health Republic of New York, saying that they will no longer be providing insurance coverage for Dutchess County after December 31st, 2015, I was alarmed, because they were known providing good insurance for free-lancers like myself.  They are a member-owned cooperative under the Affordable Care Act, and their premium was around $50 a month less than any of the other insurance companies for someone in my income bracket.. What I also found out was that Health Republic of New York was solely established under the Affordable Health Care Act to help people like me, and now is going out of business in our area.

August 22 - Attorney, David Everett gave the Amenia Town Board a list of to do items relating to the final aproval of the Silo Ridge project at it meeting Thursday, Aug. 20.  They included details on the bonding,  aprovals under SEQR, stormwater measures,  inspection procedures and the resolutions adopted by the Planning Board.   

“The Town has to issue an approval under SEQR for the Silo Ridge project and that has to be done by the town board, even though the Planning Board has passed resolutions to that effect.  You can make changes at this point as well, if they are deemed necessary,” said Mr. Everett.

Members of the town board asked where they could read these resolutions, not seeming to know that they have been posted on the town website for three weeks.  “Do you need us to make hard copies for you of the 45 pages of approvals?” asked Everett. 

August 17 - Ned Sullivan of Scenic Hudson, Cliff Weathers of RiverKeeper and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett struggled with the probing questions raised by three short films that aired Sunday morning at the Moviehouse in Millerton.  

The films talked about the “bomb trains” carrying three billion gallons of volatile fuel on rickety rails next to the river [see series by Tom Parrett: ], the ongoing safetly risks of Indian Point and why it must be closed and the environmental threats of installing two new bridges to replace the Tappan Zee.

Combining art and science may seem like a new idea, but the two are intrinsically interlinked and are complementary. Natural pigmentation can be a learning tool for studying science.  Extracting natural pigments from soils and rocks were familiar to indigenous and prehistoric peoples and provided the colors for such extraordinary cave paintings as those in the Lascaux caves in Dordogne, France.



July 24, 2015- After a delay of almost two years Olivet has renewed its stated goal of creating a university campus on the abandoned Harlem Valley Psych Center in Wingdale.   According to the original statements made when they first purchased the campus from the Dover Knolls developer, the campus will serve a mostly Korean student body. 

The concept plan was unveiled at a July 22 meeting at the Dover Town Hall showing how the abandoned Harlem Vallery Psych Center will be converted to a campus with 2500 students.  A site plan application has not been submitted.  Olivet expects to file it in August.  

July 20, 2015- Andy Durbridge of South Amenia submitted this letter to the Amenia Town Supervisor, Victoria Perotti, on July 16, regarding the continuing work and cost to the Town of Amenia of extra work on the Amenia landfill which had been a Superfund Site.  

Background:  The Amenia Landfill was found to contain hazardous materials that were illegally dumped by unscrupulous haulers in the 1950’s,‘60’s and ‘70’s.  The site was declared a “Hazardous Waste Site” in 1992. It took several years for government lawyers to put together a list of responsible parties who would be charged with contributing to the cost of the clean-up, and more years to reach an agreement as to how much each party would contribute.   Work began in 2012 and continued until 2014 when it should have been completed.  The  contractors (Sevenson Environmental Services) , the engineers (CT Male)  and the DEC said the work was complete in 2014, but rains created gullies and washouts and corrective work was necessary.  This work has dragged on for more than a year.     

July 20, 2015- A large serving vessel of an English-style bitter arrived at the Lantern Inn in Wassaic on Saturday, July 18, for a public tasting event.  It was rather quickly consumed by the large crowd of customers who had pleasing things to say about it.  A young Australian fellow who has worked in British pubs, Anthony Ferrier, who was up visiting friends in Millerton said that the bitters in England do not often taste as good as the ale he tasted at the Lantern:

“This tastes really smooth.  I like the fact that it is served cold, not warm as they usually are in England.  I am very familiar with this ale and it is actually better than what I often tasted in London pubs.”

July 12- Landowners from Westchester, Putnam parts of Dutchess convened on Sunday, July 12 at the Akin Library in Pawling,  to meet neighbors, share stories about their land and confer with foresters and other experts about how to work with their woodlands.

These forums, called the “Woods Forums,” are taking place all over New York and New England with federal forestry grants.

Ron Frisbee, a natural resource educator from Cornell in Delaware County facilitated the discussion and Kara Hartigan Whelan of the Westchester Land Trust brought together all the other land trusts and nature groups, including Putnam County Land Trust, Oblong Land Conservancy, Friends of the Great Swamp, Bedford Audubon and the Housatonic Valley Association.

July 9- The eagerly awaited final decision for the Silo Ridge Field Club was not forthcoming at the July 8 Amenia Planning Board meeting.  The Planning Board Chair, Norm Fontaine, said that the board is having their attorney, Dave Everett, develop a resolution for the decision which is expected at a future meeting.  

“Everyone has done their piece of the Findings Statement and we are working on putting it all together,” stated Amenia Town Engineer, Julie Mangarillo.  The Findings Statement is what is required to be submitted for the state environmental review (SEQR) by the town.  At the meeting on July 8, the Planning Board was poised to vote to accept the Change Request Protocol, that outlines the process by which  the developer can make field changes to the site plan without any review or approval by the Planning Board.

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