The Ukraine conflict is a highly discussed topic. What is less prevalent in the media is a perspective from a former Soviet republic, specifically Kyrgyzstan. As the crisis continues to evolve, with a multitude of opinions in the media, it is often difficult to get a clear picture of the events. Taking a glance at the viewpoint from a country situated on the other side of the world may be helpful.

Twenty-five-year-old Jasmine Smith graduated from Drew University three years ago with a Bachelors degree in history. Drew is a liberal arts college in Madison, New Jersey, ranked number 107 among 2014 best colleges by the National Liberal Arts Colleges. Drew’s annual tuition and fees total $43,918. Jasmine comes from a working-class background, and her family couldn’t afford to finance her entire education. Although she received a partial scholarship from Drew, she still had to borrow, taking out a federal loan under Sallie Mae. 

After graduating, Smith paid $250 a month to Sallie Mae, less than her loan called for, because she couldn’t afford to pay the actual debt service with her first-job salary. Smith said that paying back her loans prevented her from being able to pay other bills and made it nearly impossible to live anywhere other than at home with her mother. Smith has $51,000 in debt—less debt than many Drew graduates have.  

Silo Ridge Field Club representative Pedro Torres appeared before the Amenia Planning Board on August 7 to schedule the final comments on the Silo Ridge project  so that a public hearing can take place in early September. The date was fixed for September 6 in the Amenia Town Hall.

Final comments by the planning board’s attorney and the expert on scenic overviews are expected to be submitted.  They will be the subject of a special meeting of the planning board on August 14. 

“You will have to make field changes after the public hearing, and those will have to be reviewed by someone in the town, either the building inspector or someone else: we have to think about a procedure that both Silo Ridge and the town can follow,” said planning board attorney David Everett.

Signs have been on the minds of all four brothers of Four Brothers restaurant since three or four of their signs were informally cited by the Town of Amenia’s zoning enforcement officer as being in non-compliance with the town’s sign ordinance, which became part of the town’s zoning law in 2007.  

The signs in question are not the big, flashing kinds of signs that you can see from a quarter of a mile away. In fact, you can barely seen these signs as you drive by on Route 22. These signs are not next to the highway. They are located around the area where you might be driving into the new drive-in movie or where you might be standing to pick up your order of hot dogs and fries at the outdoor counter. The signs that seem to be causing a great deal of bother say: “Show,” “Love,” and “Hollywood”—words that suggest summer drive-in types of movies with Doris Day and Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby and Vivien Leigh. Another sign says “Eat and Drink” and is located over the kiosk where people can buy Cokes and order a pizza.

The power lines under consideration for the link with the Pleasant Valley Con Ed station and Cricket Valley in Dover Plains has been associated with the Monster Power lines being proposed by the New York Public Service Commission (NYSPSC).  A meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in Pleasant Valley will address the issue.  What follows is a statement by Cricket Valley.   

Cricket Valley Energy is a fully approved and permitted natural gas-fired power plant that will be located on an abandoned, industrially-zoned site in Dover, New York.  However, since our approval, New York has initiated a program to strengthen the electrical grid across the state, and as a result, Cricket Valley Energy has been required to increase transmission capacity, redundancy, and operational capabilities by funding and installing a transmission line in the existing 14.6-mile Con Edison right-of-way between the Town of Dover and the Con Edison substation in the Town of Pleasant Valley, and re-conductering a 3.4 mile segment in the same existing right of way between Cricket Valley Energy and the Connecticut state line.

The Town of Amenia issued a Notice of Violation and an “Order to Remedy” to the owner of an abandoned gravel mine on Old Route 22 in Wassaic,  Washed Aggregate, LLC, that requires them to remove pieces of old mining machinery that had been there for enough years to have become something of a local landmark. The matter came up before the town board on July 24.   

The Order states that the owners of the property off Old Rte. 22 are in violation of Section 82. 3 (B):”Open storage of one or more junk or abandoned vehicles, junk trailers, or junk farm equipment shall not be permitted within the Town of Amenia, except as permitted in junkyards or automobile dealerships….You are hereby ordered to remove all abandoned junked equipment and abandoned junk trailers on the above mentioned parcel by August 6, 2014.”    The order was issued by the Amenia Building Inspector, John Fenton. 

The Millbrook Library’s board of trustees announced that the new library director is Stephanie Harrison who is expected to start on August 25. 

Ms. Harrison currently works in the Poughkeepsie Public Library District where she was  most recently director of the public computer center. Prior to that, she worked as a prospect researcher for Marist College.  She holds an MLS and MA in history from Simmons College in Boston, and a BA in history and anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

The announcement, posted on the library web site, says the board “will be partnering with Stephanie to ensure that the Library continues to be a dynamic life-long learning center for our community.” 

posted:  August 6, 2014


The 256-unit gated housing community now known as the Silo Ridge Field Club was the main event at the Amenia Planning Board meeting on July 17.  The Silo Ridge developers filed their stormwater and wastewater plans, along with well tests proving they can provide the water demand of 177 gallons per minute for the project.  

The project consultants provided maps for the stormwater and wastewater systems but little in the way of narrative to assist the planning board in the evaluation of what appears as complicated engineering plans.  

In a society in which information can be distributed across the world in a second, it becomes harder to regulate freedom of the press and national security.  The line between what should be public knowledge and top-secret government information blurs, especially in the post–WikiLeaks-Edward Snowden era.

Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gary Ross doesn’t have answers.  But he believes the way national security secrets are understood and managed can be improved. 

With more than 20 years of federal law enforcement experience, Ross has worked in criminal, counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations for the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  On Sunday, July 27, Ross discussed his book, Who Watches the Watchman, which explores the problem of maintaining national security while also abiding by freedom of the press. The lecture was hosted by the Kent Memorial Library was held at the Kent School Pre-Engineering and Applied Sciences Center.     

58-year old Msgr. Gerardo Colacicco is the new pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Pastor Gerardo comes to Millbrook after serving 12 years at the St. Columba Parish in Hopewell Junction. He will take the place of Father James O’Connor who retired and moved to Florida. 

Msgr. Colacicco was born in Poughkeepsie into a large Italian family.  eHe has spent the greater part of his life involved with the church. 

Msgr. Colacicco arrived in his new home in the village of Millbrook a month ago. He sat down in a comfortable chair for an interview with the Independent.

TMI: Tell me about your journey whether spiritual or personal?  

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