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. 

In a brief appearance at the Supreme Court on Thursday, lawyers for the petitioners, The Amenia Fish and Game Club, submitted papers discontinuing the Article 78 proceeding against the town and its planning board and the developer of the Silo Ridge project. In a brief appearance at the Supreme Court on Thursday, lawyers for the petitioners, The Amenia Fish and Game Club, submitted papers discontinuing the Article 78 proceeding against the town and its planning board and the developer of the Silo Ridge project.The club has entered into an agreement under which the developer will pay for the construction of an above ground shooting range. The enclosed range serves two purposes: to provide safety for residences within 500 feet of the range and to mitigate the sound of shooting that might be a nuisance to houses on the Silo Ridge property.

The first of four restored columns was installed at Smithfield Church late Friday afternoon, October 30, 2015 amid the rainbow bounty of newly fallen colored leaves from Friday's drenching storm.

Darlene Riemer, R.A., AIA, Architect of Record for Smithfield Church Restoration Project said to TMI: "The columns are being set in place almost to the date of the original columns, as one hand-written note on the wooden capital base revealed: "this column was put up November, 1847." This date verifies that the present columns are original to the structure. Through laborious work by many craftsmen, the original columns, bases, and capitals were repaired, restored, and installed at their rightful place of 'birth' of November, 168 years ago." 

Underneath layers of paint on the column bases in dark ink script were the names of some of the 1847 church members. Smithfield Church will be publishing a book about the restoration project which will include numerous pictures, including pictures of the names inscribed on the columns.















1247 Kids from four schools painted and collaged pictures of owls




















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




Three candidates are running for two town board seats in Amenia. 

The seats that are open are Steve Perotti’s, for a two-year term, since he is stepping down, and Vicki Doyle’s four-year term.   

We queried the candidates about their priorities. 

1239 Damian Gutierrez, a new Democratic face on the scene, ran for a Town Board position two years ago and is running again.  He and his wife live in Wassaic and are an active part of the Wassaic Project community.  He has a background in information technology and is an associate partner at a technology consulting firm called Control Group.  Damian grew up in Long Island as the son of two teachers.  He says he believes he has good listening skills since he has to listen to his clients’ challenges and come up with solutions.

October 26 —The board of directors of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announced today the appointment of Peter Taylor as president. Taylor was selected after a national search. He will be the fourth president in the foundation’s nearly 30-year history. 

Taylor has been a vice president of the Maine Community Foundation, a statewide community foundation with $400 million in assets and 1,500 funds.  

“We are thrilled that Peter Taylor will join us to lead Berkshire Taconic into the future,” said Bill Dunlaevy, chair of the board of directors. “His track record of fostering collaboration and marshaling resources to achieve broad community objectives makes him an ideal choice to expand our role as a force for good in our communities.”

Taylor oversaw the Maine foundation’s $24 million annual grantmaking, scholarship and impact investing programs.

Oct. 25, 2015: A new inn in Pine Plains has opened. It was booked for the parent’s weekend of Millbrook School.   

A new eight-room lodging facility, The Inn at Pine Plains, opened its doors last weekend at 3036 Church Street. It is the latest addition to Pine Plain’s inventory of commercial establishments inspired by citizens interested in bringing back this once-thriving crossroads known as "the hidden gem of Dutchess County.” 

The Inn has four double rooms on the first floor and four suites upstairs.  All rooms have bathrooms “en suite.” The Inn is located directly across the street from the Pine Plains Presbyterian Church.

As lawn signs posted along our highways proliferate, they remind us that an election looms on November 3, but they tell us very little about the candidates.  Believing in an informed electorate, we are making an effort to talk to the candidates and pass along to our readers what we have gleaned from those meetings.

The County Legislative Race

Amenia, Washington and half of Pleasant Valley are in the 25th legislative district.  Two candidates are running, Tom Hurley (Dem.)  and Sandy Washburn (Rep.).  The incumbent, Mike Kelsey (Rep.) was defeated in a primary. 

Tom Hurley 

Tom Hurley, a life long resident of Millbrook, has been president of the Millbrook School Board for 22 years, an elected position that manages a $28 million dollar budget.  He has entered the race because he figured it was time to become engaged in the bigger picture and serve a larger constituency. 

Poughkeepsie, October 20, 201: Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced this morning that his 2016 Executive Budget, to be released on October 28th, will include the first property tax rate decrease in eight years, as well as a continued reduction in the property tax levy. The County Executive made the announcement at the Dutchess County Association of Realtors 2015 Annual Meeting & Governmental Affairs Breakfast at Dutchess Golf Club in Poughkeepsie. County Executive Molinaro will present his 2016 Executive Budget proposal on Wednesday, October 28th in advance of the November 1st deadline required by the Dutchess County Administrative Code.

The trustees of the Millbrook Free Library are asking taxpayers to pony up an additional $84,000 on top of the $100,000 they currently pay in property taxes by approving a measure that will be the on ballot November 3.

Margot Peters, the library’s treasurer points out in the materials being circulated that even after the increase, the Millbrook Free Library will still be getting less than half its funds from taxpayers, whereas most the of the libraries in the Mid-Hudson system get 60% of their funds from taxpayers.

The library budget is $416,341.  $35,000, or 6% of it budget, is spent on acquisitions of materials. 60% of the budget is spent on staff.  The rest is spent on the building, supplies, fees and memberships.

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