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A 20-year old former Millbrook student was arrested at gunpoint in the Millbrook High School parking lot Friday, Feb. 20. The man was seen wandering around the Millbrook Middle School looking for is sister who is in the 8th grade. An anonymous source said the former student had been kicked out the school a year ago. Village Police officer Justin Scribner said that he was acting suspiciously on school grounds. The man was arrested at gunpoint in the school parking lot with the two Millbrook police officers, four Troopers and two state police investigators present.  Many students, teachers and parents witnessed the arrest because it happened during the school’s dismissal time. District Superintendent Philip D’Angelo released this statement Monday on the incident.  

 

SCHOOL SAFETY UPDATE

Extending the Harlem Valley Rail Trail to Wassaic has been a slow process for Amenia’s town board. The need for the trail can be seen every August, when visitors to the Wassaic Project can be seen trudging along Route 22 toward the annual art show, which draws thousands, many of whom arrive by train. 

The extension of the rail trail been has been in the works for more than five years. WSP Sells, a large engineering firm based in Briarcliff, was hired to administer the job. On January 20 the  firm submitted a Final Design Report. A hard copy and a CD may be seen at the Amenia Town Hall. 

According to Amenia town supervisor Victoria Perotti, the project is estimated to cost $925,700. The federal Transportation Enhancement Grant (TEP) will pay $480,000. The town’s share is $120,000. The town has a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant that has been extended through 2015, a $100,000 Dormitory Authority Grant and a $10,000 Greenway Grant.   

When Oakleigh Thorne decided to bring his company, Thorndale Farm, LLC, to Millbrook from Chicago, he wanted something that would fit seamlessly into the rest of the town. He also wanted it to have the feeling of Thorndale on the outskirts of the village, where the Thornes have lived since the 1750s. 

To carry out his vision, he turned to two architects, Daniela Voith of Voith and Mactavish in Philadelphia and Gil Schafer of New York. Thorne had long admired their work—both the houses Schafer had designed here in Millbrook and the three buildings Voith had designed for the Millbrook School: the Math and Science Center, the Holbrook Arts Center and the recently opened West Dorm.  

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Schafer and Voith were what the latter describes as a “happy blending of expertise.” Schafer is primarily a residential architect; Voith’s experience is in institutional and commercial buildings. 

 At the Amenia Town Board meeting of February 5, risk consultant and surety underwriter John Duffy made a presentation in which he said that the improvements to the Silo Ridge project should secured by bonding so that 100 percent of the risks are covered. The risks are the reclamation costs and the costs of the site improvements. 

Duffy pointed out that “New York Town Law 277 stipulates that a performance bond or other security be taken in connection with site improvements and that it should be ‘sufficient to cover the full cost’ of such improvements.”  

The revitalization of downtown Amenia continues with the announcement of a sidewalk construction grant.  Dutchess County has awarded Amenia a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant to replace the crumbling sidewalk from downtown Amenia along Route 44 to Beekman Park.  The sidewalk will run along the south side of Rte. 44.   The grant will cover repairs to sidewalks in front of the Post Office, and in front of Four Brothers going North.  The town will pay $80,000 as the local match and the county will pay $150,000.

The new sidewalk will provide pedestrian access to the recreation park, one of the major goals of the town’s Comprehensive Plan and the Amenia Hamlet Plan.  In 2010 the Town completed a $200,000 downtown revitalization project that included new sidewalks and landscaping along Mechanic Street to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.  

Last year the town completed a $195,000 New York State Main Street grant that was used for improvements to three privately-owned buildings, and new street trees, benches, and planters.

Millbrook will soon boast a state-of-the art 6000 square foot fitness center when Pulse Fitness and Corso (currently in Salt Point) merge to take over Pulse's entire building on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Church Street. The two former competitors have combined forces to offer an array physical fitness options featuring seven certified trainers and eleven certified group fitness instructors.

The Stone Church preserve that started with a cave and stream running though it has expanded into a full scale hiking and walking venue with 170 acres  and wonderful views just beyond busy Route 22 in Dover.  The latest gift of 50 acres from Brian Vincent was coordinated and financed with gifts arranged by the Dutchess Land Conservancy.  Vincent’s land adjoined the preserve that was started in 2004 with an initial gift of   acres.   In 2009 the preserve was expanded.  It now covers a section of the wooded slopes on the west side of Route 22. The DLC holds an easement on the land which is owned by the Town of Dover. 

 DLC President Becky Thornton described how the latest gift cane about.  “In 2012, Brian Vincent was hiking at the Preserve and the idea occurred to him that adding his 50 acre parcel to it would be a perfect use for the property that has been in his family for generations.  He approached DLC and we immediately began work to try to acquire the land.”  

This posting corrects and updates the print version that appeared in the issue of Feb 19. The corrected information was received after the print edition’s deadline.

Steve Forschler, chairman of the East Clinton Fire District commissioners, early in the district’s February meeting asked the status of the claim for losses from an earlier chairman’s misappropriation of district funds.  That commissioner, Carl German, was charged with theft but the charges were never proved in court because German died in 2008, ending the investigation by the State Police.

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.    

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