Millbrook Central School District welcomes four new staff to the district this fall. The Millbrook Independent was able to catch up with them to find out where they are coming from, what position they will hold and what they hope to bring to the district this school year.  

Christopher DelVentura is the assistant principal for the Middle school and the High school. DelVentura holds a bachelors in history and a minor in Political Science.  He has a masters in Social Studies, a certificate of Advance Studies in School building leadership and district leadership from CUNY New Paltz. Before coming to Millbrook DelVentura worked for 12 years as a Social Studies teacher in Connecticut’s Washingtonville school district. DelVentura learned about Millbrook from his niece who graduated from the high school last year. 

DelVentura said the most important part of his job is “the safety and well being of the kids.” Although physical safety is important, emotional safety is equally so. “My number one goal is to make school a positive experience for the kids.” New challenges include social media. 

September 10, 2014

People in Millbrook had their first chance to meet Stephanie Harrison, the new director of the Millbrook Free Library, at Community Day on Saturday, September 6. Since Stephanie started work just two weeks ago, she is still learning the ropes and getting to know the staff. She says that so far “people have been very nice.”

Originally from Illinois, Stephanie has a BA in History and Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a MLS as well as a MA in History from Simmons College in Boston, where she met her husband, Matthew, who is from the Hudson Valley.

Stephanie spent a year as records manager for Calvin Klein in New York. When commuting became too much, she worked at the Adriance Memorial Library in Poughkeepsie before becoming a prospect researcher at Marist. After her son was born in 2004, she took a few years off before returning to Adriance as the director of the library’s Public Computer Center. 

September 10, 2014

On Saturday evening September 6, the Dutchess Day School held a party for the school’s parents, board of trustees, faculty and staff to commemorate the opening of the new science wing. Head of school Nancy Hathaway, thanked the major donors who made the million dollar capital project possible. Former president of the board Sarah Stack then announced that last spring the board had voted to name the wing after Nancy in honor of her 20 years of service to the school as a parent, board member, teacher, and now head of school whose incredible leadership made the wing happen.

Nancy told TMI she had started thinking about renovating the wing a little over a year ago. However, after consulting with architects Kaeyer, Garment and Davidson she realized renovation was not feasible. They would have to start from scratch. She said, “I was determined that it would be 100 percent funded before we went ahead.” The necessary money was quickly raised. 

September 10, 2014

The Rev. Dr. Matthew H. Calkins, the new rector of Grace Episcopal Church, was on hand to meet members of the parish on Community Day. The first service at which he will officiate service will be on September 21, 2014. TMI caught up with him for a chat at Babette’s. 

Father Matt, as he likes to be called,  was born in Los Angeles but grew up and went to school in Sleepy Hollow, near Tarrytown. For some years he and his wife, Mary, lived in LaGrangeville, where he was in business as a carpenter and general contractor. In 1990 the Calkinses took their son Elias to be baptized by Fr. Ken Swanson, the then-rector at Grace Church. 

Afterwards Father Matt, who as a child had been baptized and confirmed an Episcopalian, began asking himself what it meant to be baptized. He began to receive teaching from Rev. Swanson. In 1995, in what he calls “a leap of faith,” the Calkinses closed their business, rented their house so that Father Matt could attend Union Theological Seminary in Morningside Heights in New York City. 

September 10, 2014

“I love Community Day because it showcases the best things about Millbrook for everyone else,” said village trustee Mike Herzog while standing on bustling Franklin Avenue on Saturday.  Community Day was well under way, the streets were filled with tables hosted by businesses or clubs and crowds of the curious were circulating around downtown Millbrook.

672 The Blazers cheerleaders sold cookies Elizabeth, Brienne, Amanda Silva, Luca, and Heidi - photo by Carola Lott

The day started with the Millbrook Farmers Market, which was moved to the Veterans Green. Almost everyone said how much they preferred the new location to the parking lot.  

673 photo by Carola Lott

On September 2 The Town of Washington Planning Board voted unanimously to deny the application for the Homeland Towers. For a year the board has heard residents, lawyers, engineers and specialists in the prolonged debate on a cell tower proposed for Fraleigh Hill. Planning Board Chairman Joshua Mackey asked each board member to give a response to their decision. Some said the character of the neighborhood would be altered by the presence of the tower which would have a negative impact on this scenic area. The tower wouldn’t solve the problem of coverage gaps in the area.. The Town Comprehensive Plan section regarding cell towers was also used to defend the denial.

At the previous meeting Homeland Towers mentioned small cell technology to the board as a cell invasive alternative to the tower. However the board felt that the applicant didn’t provide enough information about small cells and other new technology that could be used in the future. 

A large group of Amenia residents gathered in the Amenia Town auditorium on September 4 to raise a range of questions about impacts of the Silo Ridge development.  Due to so many people speaking and asking for an extension of the hearing the Chairman, Joseph Fontaine, agreed to hold another public hearing in the same place on September 18 at 7 p.m. 

South Amenia resident, Andy Durbridge explained his comments saying: “My intention was to generally encourage the Planning Board to attach great importance to the decision before them on this project. It is a potentially a 'town-changing' decision.”

He went on: “I tried to express the value of the advice from our town consultants who are specialists, whose advice should be regarded highly, and if we give waivers there should be extremely good reasons for doing so.” 

At its August 21 meeting the Amenia Planning Board accepted the documents submitted by Silo Ridge, thereby technically declaring the application complete prior to a public hearing now scheduled for September 4.  The documents included the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), which was submitted to the Planning Board office only two days before the meeting; the Water Report; comments from the scenic protection expert; a report about the underground propane tanks and the subdivision plat.  

Last week this paper reported the date of the hearing as September 6, a Saturday.  That date had been announced at the prior planning board meeting but was later changed.  The planning board did not respond to calls asking for confirmation of the hearing date.  This newspaper has learned from several sources that planning board consultants have been told not to respond to requests from this newspaper.  

Rhinebeck has been abuzz all week as farmers, 4H youth, livestock, crafters, singers, carnies and families from across the county trekked to the fair. Every August for six days thousands of people visit the town for the second largest county fair in New York State. Daring rides, honky tonk on steroids, fried Oreos, onions and dough enough to send dieters to distress; it’s all there. No matter your age, the Dutchess County fair will bring out your inner child. 

 At its core the fair is a celebration of the agriculture and livestock of this region. Growers competed in a total of 2,793 different class entries in the 4-H livestock and exhibit halls. There were 24 Alpaca/Llamas, 54 beef cattle, 45 canines, 9 cavy, 114 dairy cattle, 321 dairy goats, 291 Hogs, 220 horses, 50 meat goats, 147 poultry and 152 Rabbits.

For children involved in 4H, the fair is their chance to put all their hard work and dedication to their animals to use in the competitions.

Andrew Cuomo’s future as governor of New York could start to unravel if he doesn’t win the Democratic Primary this coming September 9. He has to beat out Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who also wants to be governor and is on the primary in what may the least watched race of the season.   Although Cuomo is reported to have $35 million in his campaign chest, he has less than two weeks to overcome the advantage that an unknown law professor who lives in a walk-up in Fort Greene in Brooklyn presumably has over a seasoned politician who has carloads of baggage.  Ms. Teachout thought she had the backing of the Working Families Party, but the unions who control the politics of that party opted to back Cuomo who they thought would be more likely to offer them a good deal on their contracts since he is the more likely to win in the general election.  Ms Teachout picked up an endorsement from NOW, the women’s organization.  If Cuomo should lose the Democratic line to Ms. Teachout, he will still run on the Working Families Line (and several other lines as well) against Republican Rob Astorino, the County Executive of Westchester.  

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