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Since 1845 the Dutchess County Fair has brought tradition to the people of New York State. Today the fair brings half a million people to the 144-acre fairgrounds in Rhinebeck for the second-largest county fair in New York State. Over the span of six days, attendees can experience one of the finest carnivals in the country, filled with music, rides, food and entertainment around every corner. 

For many Dutchess County residents, however, involvement in the fair goes beyond mere attendance. For farmers, the Dutchess County Fair marks a time of competition as they compete with other farms showcasing some of the best horticulture, agriculture and livestock in the state. 

With the fair a week away—beginning Tuesday, August 20, and running until Sunday, August 25—our farmers prepare for some of the fair’s most highly regarded prizes.

Dutchess County turns 200 years old this year, and the town of Stanford was founded 220 years ago. So Stanford is staging a joint birthday celebration for the county and itself, changing this year’s Community Day to Heritage Community Day. Heritage Community Day is sponsored by the Stanford Grange No. 808, which has hosted community days for 55 years. 

To recreate history, crafts people and artisans who work in nineteenth-century cottage industries are invited to set up shop and demonstrate their craft on the Stanford Grange lawn.  Wanted are blacksmiths, whitesmiths, ironworkers, woodworkers, coppersmiths and similar craftspeople; candlemakers, silversmiths, spinners and weavers; saddlemakers, sailmakers, homemakers and bakers. Their will be no rent or fee charged, and no commission will be asked.  Collectors of nineteenth-century items are also invited to display their collections of rare bottles, old toys, ancient farm implements, old hay rakes and the like.

Stanford Heritage Community Day will happen on Saturday, September 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

With the cost of tuition so high at private universities and even state institutions, community colleges have become less of a last resort and more of a place to spend two years before transferring to a four-year institution of one’s choice. The option has become a trend for graduates of Millbrook Central School District. Many choose to attend Dutchess Community College (DCC) in the hope of eventually transferring. Emma Lomangino, the 2013 Millbrook High School valedictorian, did just that, deciding that  DCC was a better financial option for the beginning of her higher education. Last fall 122 students from Millbrook and the Town of Washington attended the college.

Dutchess County Community College is a popular option not only for Dutchess County residents but for students from surrounding counties. At $3,200 per year, it has the lowest college tuition in New York State. (Out-of-county student tuition is double, but the out-of-county students pay the same price as in-county students, due to a “chargeback”: their sponsor counties pay the host institution a chargeback to cover the county’s portion.)

Residents of the Town of Amenia have become more than skeptical that anything is ever going to happen on the idled Silo Ridge golf course. At a recent meeting for to introduce upcoming political candidates, residents said that the development is the biggest issue in town, yet the development has been on hold as its owners seek development partners.

Millbrook Ventures’s Pedro Torres gave us a quick view of where things stand on the project, which has already cost millions in planning, permitting and preliminary promotional materials and other soft costs.  

The big news is that Millbrook Ventures now has a development management partner whose name will be announced later this week. This partner has successfully built 14 developments with golf courses, hotel and residences, some private and some with public lodging.  

“We have picked the best group with the most experience who will be able to build in phases with no debt. Out of 14 projects, only one of them was affected by the economic downturn. We are trying to get everything ready so we can start construction by spring of next year,” said Torres.

Last week’s storm was more dramatic than damaging.  But with 4.24 inches of rain falling before it was done it hardly lacked for drama.  According to Vicky Kelly of the Cary Institute ? inch of rain fell in the space of five minutes not once but twice. “It was a bit scary honestly,” she said. 

Mary Alex said “our highway department was able to handle everything that God threw at us.” Almost no one lost power.

According to Highway Supervisor, Bob Collocola, “some storm drains clogged up which was normal.”  Apart from that the worst damage was near the monument along state road Route 343 by the entrance to Bennett Commons where the side of the road washed away.  A parking lot flooded and several people had backyard erosion. 

There was some flooding at the Cary Institute especially near the entrance to the lowlands loop from Fowler Road where the two roads split. However they usually get flooding there after a heavy rain, and the waters had gone down by Saturday.

On August 8, 2013, the Trail to the Train Committee met with Amenia Town Supervisor Bill Flood and Daniel Briar from WSP Sells, the company hired to design the pathway from the Wassaic Train Station to the hamlet of Wassaic. Committee members Martin Grossman and David Reagon were also present.

The main issue was the one-year delay from the original timeline.   Mr. Briar explained that although the timeline presented by Sells at their public meeting April 18 had the trail ready for bid this summer, the timeline was only a "conceptual design schedule." What he called "unforeseen outside agency reviews and environmental delays” have added to the time required. Briar said it is normal for these projects to take five years to complete. 

The original Greenway grant to fund the start of the project was awarded in March 2008. Although committee members were not convinced the delays were unavoidable, they agreed that at this point nothing could be done to remedy the situation.

The playground at Alden Place Elementary was, in the words of one of its frequenters, “falling apart.”

It was roughly 20 years old, the wooden structure was splintering and crumbling, plagued by bees and ready for a thorough demolition. 

Alden Place Principal Thomas Libka said that back in March they decided to research an upgrade.  He formed a student committee of 24 students who conducted a survey to find out what was wanted. 

“We surveyed roughly 230 kids, then we took those results to a parent and teacher committee,” said Libka. “Some things were added, some were subtracted, based on what they liked and felt was appropriate from a safety and realistic standpoint that we could pull off. It evolved over the past three months…. The board approved it in June and so we went ahead with the project….the place is full of equipment ready to be put together like a big LEGO project.” 

The Wassaic Project Summer Festival transports the sleepy hamlet of Wassaic, through which I drive almost every day, into an exuberantly creative community of visual and performing artists and enthusiastic crowds.  The three full days of transformation ended Sunday. 

Throughout the course of the weekend, I decided to taste a little bit of everything. With more than 100 artists, 25 bands, film screenings and dance performances, there was a lot to digest. 

On Friday I started off by attending a film screening in the Luther Barn. The auction ring is now a theater. As a Freaks and Geeks fan, I was thrilled to find that actor and comedian Martin Starr would be screening his short films and giving a Q&A. Starr is well known for his role as everyone’s favorite geek on the 1990s television show. 

Believe it or not, Millbrook’s Community Day is only a month away.  Saturday, September 7th  is the village’s day to draw people together to promote the businesses, the organizations and the resources of the community. 

The theme for this year’s Community Day is an old-fashioned country carnival. The Millbrook Business Association (MBA), the main sponsor, is adding new programs.

Each Millbrook business will have a jar in their store filled with small items of its choice. The contest is called Guess How Many Are in The Jar. People can stop by the store and guess how many items are in the jar. On Community Day the MBA booth will display the jars and announce the winners. 

The Carnival that was formerly held on the grounds of the Thorne Building will be located in the middle of the business district on Church Street. It will include a bounce house presented by Mary Alex’s Blue Bounce House with carnival games and prizes. The committee is looking for volunteers skilled in wood and carpentry to make wooden carnival games and frames to hold “Knock the Cans Down” and “Stand the Bottle.” 

Eric Rosi-Marshall has been teaching these gentlemen of a certain age to become rock stars. They are pictured here playing at one of their first venues - a benefit for KIPP where they had the entire party on their feet dancing until 2:00 am.

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