The Wassaic Project Annual Summer Festival is a chance for the public to visit the artist community in Wassaic and see the innovative art and imaginative installations artists from all over are creating. The free festival, now in its sixth year, includes a celebration of art, music and community.  Music was first included in the festival as a supplement to the art by giving people reason to linger after they had seen Maxon Mills. However over the past couple of years the music has taken on more of a center stage role.

This year’s line up consists of musical acts like Moon Hooch, Great State and Portable Sunsets. One could mistake these band’s names for a summer ale selection of Magic Hat beer, but for those plugged into the Brooklyn music scene like Scott Anderson, Music Director for the Wassaic Project, these bands are on the brink of making it big.   

Reverend Donna Frischknecht-Jackson’s life had many twists and turns before she ended up at Lyall Federated in Millbrook. The new pastor grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey. Until her sophomore year of high school, she would toy around with the idea of becoming a missionary. But by her junior year she had decided she was going to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.   

Frischknecht-Jackson has 12 years of experience working as a magazine editor for the high-end business publication called National Jeweler. 

“At the trade magazine, I was writing about jewelry. Towards the end of my career,  before I left to go into ministry, I went to South Africa to see the diamond mines. When I was there, I started thinking, I don’t want to come back and write about diamonds. I want to write more about what is happening over there. So I felt like I needed to use my writing for something else. That’s how I started going towards ministry. No one understood it. Everybody was like, what are you thinking?” 

It has been more than a year since the Watershed Center, a proposed educational center in Millerton, applied for a special-use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) of the Town of North East.  The center will be located on Brooke Lehman’s 73-acre Mt. Riga Farm. If its application for a special-use permit is granted, the center expects to provide programs and retreats for individuals and organizations on subjects ranging from permaculture to transformational leadership. 

The project has gone through a harrowing process while it seeks approval under the Town of North East’s zoning code. It has weathered one Article 78 proceeding that questioned the ZBA’s decision to permit the center’s application, vicious comments published in the Millerton News about Ms. Lehman’s politics and people from Connecticut coming to speak at North East’s zoning board meetings.   

The Public Service Commission (PSC) of New York State put out a request on April 3 for proposals for the Indian Point Contingency Plan, a proposal to “move forward with the next phase of the process to develop and implement a contingency plan for the possible shut down of Indian Point.”

Indian Point’s Reactor 2 is licensed to operate until September 28, 2013. It has had problems with a faulty valve that leaked up to 280,000 gallons of irradiated steam into the Hudson River in 2012.  This reactor provides 1,000 megawatts of electricity to the grid.  Indian Point produced a total of 2,000 megawatts, or 25 percent, of the energy for New York City and Westchester.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly taken a position in his speeches of intending to close the plant.

Two Pawling taxpayers filed an administrative proceeding with the State Department of Education claiming that the school board has wrongfully accumulated a budget surplus that rightfully should be returned to taxpayers.

The petitioners Christopher Wood and Helen Grosso rely on an audit of the school board performed by an independent accounting firm that calls attention to a surplus that exceeds the statutory guidelines.  The petition alleges that the school board knew of the surplus and intentionally failed to disclose it to voters when the budget came up for a vote.  The accumulated surplus was said to exceed  $5 million.  Despite the surplus, the board requested voters to approve an increase in the tax levy.

In 1997, when this reporter was head of the Amenia Conservation Advisory Council and was a volunteer for an aquifer study run by the hydrologist Russell Urban Mead, she had access to files and folders in the Amenia supervisor’s office. There she found a document from 1992, addressed to the town by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) stating that PCBs had been identified in the old Amenia landfill that were a serious threat to human health and the environment. 

Since the situation had never been brought to the attention of the public, and it was now five years later, the document was brought to the attention of then-assemblyman Maurice Hinchey, who came to Amenia and launched an investigation that resulted in the landfill being declared a Superfund site.

Sixteen years later, the landfill cleanup is nearing its end. The yellow construction machinery and construction trailers visible on Route 22 near the Wassaic train station will soon disappear. The price tag for the town is $1.07 million, which is only a fraction of the total cost of $7.6 million. The original estimate was $9 million.   

Stan Morse brought the Civil War to life Thursday night at the Fountains of Millbrook when he presented “Millbrook and the Civil War, Part II,” a lecture about the soldiers from the Town of Washington who fought with the 150th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment under the command of Col. John H. Ketchum of Dover Plains. In a talk last April Morse traced the progress of the 105th,, often known as the Dutchess regiment, from their enlistment at Little Rest to their departure in October 1862 for training outside Baltimore. They first tasted battle at Gettysburg. 

A year ago Morse knew very little about the 150th and not much about the Civil War itself. When the historical society was searching for a topic to fill their April calendar, Morse suggested the Civil War. “I had no idea of what I was getting into,” he said.

Before he knew it he was immersed in a full time project involving eight months of intensive reading and research. 


Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, spoke about his recent book, Foreign Policy Begins at Home, at a full house at Merritt Books last Saturday— despite the mistake in this paper that said Haass would be appearing on July 27. It seems neither the speaker nor the audience relied on the misinformation in the headline on page two of last week’s paper, which is, after all, where opinions are frequently expressed. It just shows that very few are swayed by editorial-page opinions, which turns out to be a lucky thing.

Haass explained that to remain an effective power in the world, the United States had better get its house in order. He also explained that being an effective power was important, mentioning the role that the United States plays as sheriff, a role discussed by Haass in other books. On the one hand, he said, the United States has attempted to do too much in the Mid-East, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, yet on the other hand, we have a continuing interest in the Mid-East that will persist even after we achieve energy independence, which he thinks we are well on our way to doing. 

Millbrook’s  Fire Department Carnival rolled into town Wednesday, July 10, for four days of carnival rides, bingo, games of chance and food. Every day the carnival had something special to offer, with Karaoke for Kids on Thursday, a live musical performance by Stolen Heart on Friday and the Firemen’s Parade on Saturday. The parade included 26 fire companies from Dutchess County, Columbia County and some from Connecticut. This year’s parade marshal was Millbrook Fire Department Life member Bob Myers. Village mayor Laura Hurley, Town Supervisor Gary Cifferi and U.S. Representative Chris Gibson joined the firemen in their crisp blue uniforms as they marched down Franklin Avenue. 

On Saturday, July 6, during the Millbrook Arts Group (MAG) concert, the Millbrook Lions dedicated a stone monument with plaque and a new garden to the memory of Robert Krall, who gave many hours to the advancement of the Lions and their many interests. 

 Robert Krall, O.D., was known as a relentless recruiter for the Millbrook Lions. Krall was a Millbrook business owner and a longtime member, having joined on May 1, 1969. Krall was an optometrist who started in Poughkeepsie before moving to Millbrook to open Family Eye Care. Krall was one of the early members of the Millbrook Arts Group.

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