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August 14- The County Executive’s office announced a lease deal on the County Airport under which FlightLevel Dutchess, LLC will take over the operations of the airport, eliminating an annual operating deficit that was picked up by taxpayers. 

The County will still be responsible for runway maintenance and debt charges on the outstanding bonds, but the bulk of the $2.7 million annual expense will be eliminated.  The debt service for 2015 was budgeted at $317,209.

The County Executive and local elected officials all applauded the deal according to the official press release. 

FlightLevel Aviation currently operates airports at Brunswick, Maine, Norwood, Ma. and Cape May, N.J.      

FlightLevel will invest up to $100,000 in improvements at the terminal and hangar 9 buildings.  In the first three years FlightLevel will establish an aircraft maintenance repair station at the airport that will offer inspection repair services to aircraft owned or operated by the general public. 

August 14: Kent Presents, “an ideas festival about what comes next,” got off to a rousing start Thursday evening as some 300 attendees gathered at the Kent School to hear the first of the weekend’s series of discussions. David Sanger, National Security Correspondent for the New York Times, and Ambassador William Burns, who has had a distinguished 33 year career in the US Foreign Service, discussed the risks this country is facing around the world. Both agreed that the deal reached with Iran, although it has its flaws, is as good as they could hope for. Other topics included ISIS, the need for a balancing act in our relations with Asia and the Middle East, and what is driving Vladimir Putin now that he no longer has a flood tide of oil to provide prosperity for the Russian people. When Ambassador Burns was asked what he thought about before going to sleep at night, without hesitation he replied the climate. “Climate,” he said, is the big issue.”  

August 5, 2015

Mike Kelsey, the county legislator for Amenia, Washington and part of Pleasant Valley, emerged vindicated in preliminary skirmish with the County Committee that had endorsed a total stranger to run on the Republican line this November.  As a result, Kelsey will be on the primary ballot on September 10. The Republican committee had challenged his petition to get on the ballot, but lost its challenge in a judicial proceeding. The stranger, who was the petitioner in the legal action,  is Sarah Washburn who lives in Pleasant Valley and works for the town of Lagrange as recreation director. 

Kelsey is battling a felony sex abuse charge in Saratoga County involving a camping trip in which teenagers, intoxication and politics played an unhealthy mix.  On the day the charges became public, the county Republican leaders called for his resignation.  Since then they have continued to pressure him to resign from his elected position.

Instead, he is running for re-election this November. 

 

 

 

When the Town of Amenia Planning Board adopted the Environmental Findings Statement for the Silo Ridge Field Club on July 29, they did so without comment or discussion and without hearing from members of the public.   Although the planning board had noticed two special meetings (July 29th and July 30th) to discuss the Findings Statement and related documents and waivers, they voted on these matters with no discussion and then cancelled the July 30th meeting.  Many residents and interested parties were under the impression that the planning board would entertain comments at both meetings. 

The Draft Findings Statement was made public only one week prior to the July 29th vote so there was little time afforded for the review of the documents that were adopted.

One set of comments was provided by Nina Peek, a professional planner and former chair of the Amenia Planning Board.

On Friday June,7 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. the eleven students who participated this summer in the Cary Institute’s Annual Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) will present the results of their summer research projects. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute's REU program attracts students from all over the country. 

Working with an institute scientist, students designed their project, carried out research, and analyzed data. This summer, projects have included the explorations of urbanization and vectors of human disease, microbial processes in urban ecosystems, effects of pharmaceutical and personal care products on aquatic ecosystems, the Hudson River and climate change, songbird behavioral ecology, and climate change effects on different mosquito species and natural controls.  

 

August 1, 2015

The store at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Front Street opened its doors Saturday to a collection of curious villagers seeing the glorious alpaca fabrics and clothes of Alicia Adams perhaps for the first time. They also saw comfortable looking beds with exotic headboards, brightly colored block printed sheets, pillows, quilts and fabrics designed by John Robshaw of John Robshaw Textiles who is taking a portion of the space.  The upscale transformation is now complete. Franklin Avenue has become a shopping destination. 

1090 John Robshaw with some of his designs - photo by Carola Lott

For the first time Alicia Adams has the space to show her complete line to local customers.  She had been operating in tight quarters at her home farm and in temporary spaces that were more for shipping and management than for retail sales.  While her line is in stores from Maine to Florida, they don’t carry the full line, that now includes robes and the most silken, furry toy alpacas ever made.  They are sure to be Christmas favorites.  

1092 Alegra Adams loves the softness of Alpaca fleece - photo by Carola Lott

 

ART GALLERY, REAL ESTATE AND ASSET MANAGEMENT

July 29, 2015 -  The Amenia Planning Board passed five resolutions, all drafted by the lawyers, approving the construction of the Silo Ridge Field Club very much in the form set forth in the developer’s application with, however, many conditions. 

Whether the holder of the conservation easement, required under the town’s zoning law, will be the Dutchess Land Conservancy (DLC) remains an open question.  The DLC, the town and the developer are in negotiations on several points, one of which is the removal of the restaurant from the hairpin turn which the DLC is considers important in order to protect the viewshed.  The town’s attorneys proposed a generic easement; the possibility of the town holding the easement was mentioned.  The deadline for approving the development was July 30th.

July 24, 2015 - A gathering of local celebrities, leading thespians, and literary giants were on hand to attend the March Hare’s tea party to which Alice had not been invited but she showed up as confused as the rest of us.  It was said to have happened on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. precisely. 

It was in part a celebration of Scott Meyer and the tradition of book related events that he initiated and for many years hosted in the upper room of the Merritt Bookstore.  The host today was Moby Mudge, author of a book on the sculpture of Central Park of which Alice figures as a main subject. (the Delacorte Memorial and a fountain honoring Sophie Irene Loeb, a noted civil leader of the 1930's).

The March Hare was played by David Greenwood, the dormouse by Fred Whitridge,  and the Mad Hatter by John Reid.  Alice was played by Barbara Rankin and the narrator was Anne Gillis.  

In truth, the meaning of mad was not determined, but they all had a mad time as did the gathered celebrities including those 7? and under.

July 24, 2015 - The draft Findings Statement is now posted on the Amenia website:  http://ameniany.gov/government/pboard/planning-board-minutes/2015/1272-amended-findings-final-draft-072115/file.html

On July 22, one of the last meetings before the expected approval of the Silo Ridge project by the Amenia Planning Board, David Everett, the attorney for the board, said “We need to adopt this Findings Statement and have a conversation about it before the final SEQR decision.”

The Amenia Planning Board will hold special meetings on July 29 and 30 at  7 p.m.  to consider the findings statement and other open questions relating to the Silo Ridge applicatiion. 

Resolutions for the special permit for the wastewater, the subdivision plat, the Master Development Plan for the whole project will be voted on.   Everett siad “There will be ongoing conditions, but what we are approving is one overall project.”

Planner Marianne Johnson, Dr. Michael Klemens and engineer Julie Mangarillo were on hand to discuss their ‘red line’ comments on the Findings Statement.

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.  

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