Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro delivered his third state of the county address Tuesday, March 3 at Dutchess Community College. His speech centers on transforming county government.
In November of 2011 Molinaro took on the county executive job, succeeding William Steinhaus, who had been in office for a span of 20 years. On Monday, Feb. 24 this reporter sat down with Molinaro in his office in Poughkeepsie to preview the issues he would be raising in his state of the county address.
TMI: Can you give us a preview of what your speech will focus on?
Amenia is nearing the formation of a sewer district, the next step on the road toward a wastewater system to serve the hamlet. Formation of a district requires approval by the residents that would be served by the district. Many of the residences in the Broadway area—west of 22 and south of 44—were built after the flood of 1957 that emptied Lake Amenia, now a low-lying swamp. Of the 154 units in the proposed district, approximately 50 are in this area, where most of the people are against the district because they cannot afford the projected annual fee of $800 to $1,000.
On Monday, February 24, the Amenia Wastewater Committee gave residents an overview of the Hamlet Sewer Project and explained the technology of an alternative wastewater system. Candace Balmer, Community Sewer Development Specialist for RCAP Solutions, presented. She has been working with the Amenia Wastewater Committee to find a sewer system that decreases the danger to public health from malfunctioning septic systems.
Last Thursday morning smoke was still rising as several spectators gingerly picked their way up the rutted driveway to see what remained from the fire that had raged for much of the night on North Tower Hill Road. All that was left of the 12,000-square-foot white house, built by Heidi Otto amidst a sea of controversy in the 1990s, was a shell of charred timbers and twisted steel.
Tod Kitchen, who was coyote hunting on Tamarack property behind the O’Keefe farm, about 300 yards from the west end of the house, called in the fire to the state police.
When he first saw it, shortly after 7 p.m., Kitchen said, he thought it was a bonfire. It started as a little glow, then he could see some smoke, and minute later he heard glass breaking. He then saw an orange glow emanating from the metal studs in the building. Seconds later the entire building was on fire. By the time Kitchen left—obviously the coyotes had fled the scene—“all three peaks were fully engulfed.” He said the fire seemed to have started in the center of the house and spread to the west end of the building.
The public hearing for the cell tower on Fraleigh Hill was packed on Tuesday, February 4. Cudy & Feder attorney Neil Alexander reminded the TOW planning board that he represented the applicant for a tower in the same location in 2004 that the board approved for an 85-foot monopole. That approval lapsed. In October 2013 the present application was made for a tower that Homeland Tower would build and lease to AT&T.
Alexander said the proposed tower is an improvement on the original application, with less area of disturbance, a lower height and a better site. The original tower site was on the hill; now, the 105-foot monopole will be located at the base of the hill.
The Town of Washington Planning Board drew a full house Tuesday night to hear five applications and offer comments on two. Daytop Village, Homeland Towers LLC (reported elsewhere in this issue), Dutchess Day School’s addition, the Millbrook School’s solar installation and the Rollins subdivision and wetlands permit were all before the board.
The board swiftly approved the two-story Dutchess Day science wing, which will add a science lab and two classrooms. The Millbrook School’s solar array also met no resistance and was approved.
This is part II of series on Prescription Drug and Heroin abuse in Dutchess County
“Heroin use is a rapidly escalating problem, with more overdoses being reported than ever before, from all across Dutchess County. There is a clear need for agencies and individuals beyond the law enforcement community to help tackle this issue. We need parents, school officials and other members of our community to join efforts like the Council on Addiction, Prevention and Education’s (CAPE) Community Coalition to build awareness and take part in drug prevention efforts. Together, we can confront this issue and save lives,” said Marcus Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive.
The Stanford Library is like the Little Engine that Could. It is gathering steam. Not to climb a mountain, but to grow into a new building that will emerge on Route 82 in the center of town. The library is now located in a small building at 14 Creamery Road built in 1970 next to the recreation fields, but that building is not handicapped accessible, lacks expansion space, and is not meeting the town’s needs for a place for library activities.
For almost a decade the Library board has been considering a new building. They have acquired a one-acre site on Route 82 and cleared the land of an old, dilapidated building. The cost of the land and clearing was $230,000, all of which was raised, so there is no debt. The library now has $858,000 in cash or pledges toward a new building that is estimated to cost $1.8 million. They are 47 percent there.
U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson told the Millbrook Independent that he has worked to extend the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill to access mitigation dollars for upstate communities damaged by flooding. He is also working on a bill in the House that would continue Medicare Advantage and preferred insurance.
“Medicare Advantage gets high marks. If you want to keep your insurance plan, you can. I am also working on legislation that will allow people to access insurance across state lines,” he said.
When asked how much he thinks the Affordable Healthcare Act will cost the federal government he replied that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently came out with a study showing that the country will lose 2.5 million jobs due to the implementation of the new healthcare law.
“Costs are going up, deductibles are getting higher, premiums are going up, all this is having an adverse impact. The goal was to drive down costs while expanding care, but we are doing just the opposite. We have to convince the president of the adverse impacts of this law.”
According to an email received Monday, Feb 10, National Grid, one of the four bidders that wants to widen the power lines right of way, brought charges against an owner of property adjoining the right of way when that owner said “don’t use my driveway.”
David Wickes, owner of a stately house in Schodak in southern Renssaelaer County is now facing criminal charges in the Schodak town court.
Wickes told three representatives of National Grid to get off his property (they were in his driveway, not the right of way) which they eventually did. They brought charges claiming an “attempted assault”. Wickes was handcuffed, booked and charged by the town police on the complaint of National Grid which asserts they had a right to cross Wickes’s property and Wickes had no right to deny them access.
National Grid is an $86 billion dollar British company that has expanded its operations to the U.S. It claims its U.S. rate base is $15 billion. National Grid bought Niagara Mohawk in 2001 for about $3 billion.
Experts are in agreement that substance abuse is becoming more of a problem, not just in Dutchess County, where drug-related deaths are climbing dramatically, but everywhere. After the drug overdose death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman on Sunday and the Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin using his entire state of the state is address Vermont’s heroin crisis, the public eye is turning toward a rapidly escalating problem. County Executive Marcus Molinaro released a county report from the Dutchess Health & Human Services Cabinet stating the abuse of prescription drugs is a public health crisis.