Volume 7 Issue 3

Edward Pulling and his wife, Lucy, founded the Millbrook School more than 80 years ago with the idea of developing intelligent, socially responsible young adults. To that end they devised the school’s motto, “Non Sibi Sed Cunctis”: “not for oneself but for all.” Today that idea of giving back to the community through stewardship and service is integrated into all aspects of school life. “All” includes not just humans but all living creatures. Millbrook is the only school with a zoo as a key part of its program. 

The Pullings’ dream is being carried on today by the current headmaster, Drew Casertano. “Leading an institution with such a meaningful and important mission—to help students to develop their ‘best selves’ in ways that ‘serve the common good’ is such a privilege,” he says. 

783 The Flagler Chapel is a focal point of the school

February 2015

Saturn, the last planet we can see with the naked eye has moved into the sign of Sagittarius.  As the keeper of boundaries, we tend to want to push him back and he is solid rock.  The philosopher finds the limitations frustrating.  On the world stage, belief systems are being tested.      Tom Stoppard has written a new play on Science and Consciousness, the origins of theater were Religious stories.  Be prepared for convictions and self righteousness to be front and center.  Be careful of being fanatical about fanatics.

If you know your ascendant, please read that too.

Aries ruled by Mars

For most of the month you are restrained by compassion.  Action is more your cup of tea.  You will be more astute in your new endeavors by the ruminating qualities of having had to be concerned for others.  Spend time with children.  Watch stock market trends and go to the theater.  The light bulb in your head will not be dimmed

Taurus ruled by Venus

After almost seven years of heading up the Amenia Wastewater Committee, Janet Reagon resigned last week. She sent in her letter of resignation to Supervisor Victoria Perotti on January 22.

“The best chance Amenia has had in years to find a solution to the long-standing need for a sewage treatment system in the hamlet of Amenia has slipped away.”  

Reagon’s letter explained what happened: 

“A year ago, things looked promising: the NYS Environmental Finance Corporation had guaranteed a $3 million no-interest loan, we were working closely with the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority, and there was a reasonable plan for treating wastewater in a manner similar to the method used in Hillsdale, NY.” 

           “In order to get the EFC loan, the Town had to show by May, 2014, that there was a plan in place to come up with the other $1.4 million without borrowing more money.  Steps need to be taken in order to close the financing by August 5, 2015, which cannot happen without such assurance”.

Common Core, a curriculum that has been adopted by most states, is now a fixture in the education of most children attending public schools. It continues to generate controversy. We here begin a series examining how it affects our students, teachers and parents. We look at what it was intended to achieve and ask if those goals are being met. (The federal government is not empowered to legislate on education. It is strictly a state issue.)

Public education (K–12) has long been the subject of “reform.” Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books have been written on the subject of reform, all on the assumption that our systems could be doing better. Many books talk about our failures. Many recent authors, however, blame not the system, not the teachers, but the cruel facts of poverty.    

On Jan 29, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to approve the Keystone XL, a proposed 1,179-mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Every Republican Senator and a handful of Democrats voted in favor of building the pipeline with a final vote of 62 to 36.  This is the Senate’s first law of the session.  

The Senate had previously refused to pass a bill introduced by Bernie Saunders, Independent from Vermont, that would have recognized that global warming is caused in part by human activity.  

It is not clear whether the Republicans in the Senate actually believe the PR line of the oil lobby, or whether they simply fear the wrath of the Koch brothers.  What is clear is that the Senate is bought, and bought good.

I was pleased to see your editorial promoting the end of suburban planning and supporting open space.  But you didn’t address the equally antiquated real property laws that have encouraged suburban development.

When unused open space (by people, that is) is taxed at its maximum potential value, it only follows that it will fall to development, as that is where the maximum value lies.  If these undeveloped open spaces survive, they only serve to subsidize the partially developed areas, which continue to enjoy relatively low taxes.  Once land is developed, and the open space disappears, taxes rise and the inefficiency of suburban living is realized. 

One improvement would be to use income taxes to pay for schools.  School districts would become more uniform if Federal taxes were distributed equally for educational purposes.  This measure would, by itself, slow suburbanization.   


Jane Geisler



“I apologize in advance because this is all very sad.” Leaning in towards the microphone, Edward Hirsch’s hands rested half-open on the table as he offered this small introduction. On Saturday, Hirsch visited Vassar College to read and discuss his latest work, a book-length poem entitled Gabriel. It is an elegy for his son, Gabriel Hirsch, who died from seizures induced by an illegal club drug at twenty-two years old; and yes, it is sad. Though Hirsch began this reading with an apology, the poem itself grieves openly and unapologetically. 

As part of its Winter Concert series, the Millbrook Arts Group sponsored a jazz quartet, Walking Distance, at the library last Saturday evening. The group consisted of Caleb Curtis (alto sax), Kenny Pexton (tenor sax), Adam Coté (double bass), and Shawn Baltazor (drums). These young musicians, in their early twenties, courageously offered original compositions of cool bop, composed by Paxton. The music was interesting and well performed, yet the group needed seasoning in the smooth texture of tempo that cool bop excels in. Nearly a hundred people attended—with standing room only once the concert began.

Alison Roland of the Dutchess Day School spoke about the Art Blast exhibit adorning the library walls. Some teachers and many students (some of whose paintings hung on the walls) from the school were there; the youngest, well-behaved and fascinated by their first live jazz concert, sat on the floor up front and in the aisles. Aurelia’s Restaurant provided complimentary hors d’oeuvres and white wine. 

Garrick Ohlsson is truly one of the giants of the piano, not just by virtue of his impressive size but for a special kind of gentleness that bespeaks the humanity that he brings to every piece he plays. His concert at Alice Tully Hall last Thursday, part of the Great Performers series, took a good look at three Russian composers: Prokofiev through four short early works, Rachmaninoff through a late piece, and Scriabin through five difficult pieces. 

Two young soloists will be featured at Bard’s American Symphony Orchestra concert this Friday and Saturday evening, both 2014 Bard Concerto Competition winners. Sophomore Gabriel Baeza will perform Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s noted Violin Concerto in D major, and graduate student Adrienn Kántor will solo in Carl Reinecke’s Flute Concerto. Kántor has performed in 11 countries over the past five years, winning two concerto competitions in Scotland from the Royal Conservatoire. Baeza, who began playing the violin at five using the Suzuki method, toured Eastern Europe last summer with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra. Conductor Leon Botstein remains committed to showcasing vibrant new talent for concert subscribers who want to hear tomorrow’s stars today. 

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