Two independent candidates have declared their intent to run for town board seats in Amenia.  P. Damian Gutierez and William C. Kroeger will be appearing at the South Amenia Presbyterian Church on South Amenia Road this Sunday, August 11 at 2:30 p.m. to introduce themselves and answer questions.  Neither have held elected positions.


We paid a visit to the playing fields under construction on the plateau behind Millbrook High School last week.  Construction activity is still under way.  We wanted to see what the lighting fixtures that are among the items in litigation with a neighbor looked like.

The lighting fixtures look expensive.  They are.  We were told that the four poles with thirteen light fixtures per pole run about a quarter of a million dollars.  They will turn night into day.  The total wattage was not readily available, but it is something like 1500 watts per bulb with thirteen fixtures per pole.  The total wattage for four poles is therefore 78,000 watts. The manufacturer of the poles and fixtures is Musco, a top of the line supplier whose website claims there is little spillage of light onto neighboring properties.

Rev. Cam Hardy, faculty member, student advisor and Episcopal minister, led a group of ten Millbrook School students to India earlier this summer to work and learn in what proved to be a concentration in social work. With her colleague Nancy Keller-Coffey, Cam co-directs a global service learning program at Millbrook. When they contacted Rev. Ajung Sojiwal, the interim minister at Grace Church, she suggested that they consider Deep Griha Society, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that works in marginal communities in the city of Pune, in the state of Maharashtra.     

In an interview at Cam’s office at Millbrook School, Cam explained that the NGO was started by Dr. Neela Onawale and her husband, Rev. Bhaskar Onawale, in 1975 to provide health care to slum dwellers, but they soon expanded their services to address a range of social needs. A rural school with 400 students and a boarding community for 45 boys is now a part of the complex of services operating under the Deep Griha umbrella.

The Wassaic Project’s Summer Festival kicks off this Friday, August 2 to Sunday, August 4th. The free three-day festival is filled with art, music, dance, film, community programs and food. For a full schedule of all the festival’s events visit Here are some of the highlights happening each day throughout the weekend. The Argonauts, are artist-mythological explorers who have staged a program of performances, temporary instillations and participatory events throughout the weekend retelling the hamlets history through an exploration of the art. Fridays, Argonauts include Tomoe Tsutsumi’s Bring Wassaic Home at the Maxon Mill Yard and Whacks collaboration between Amanda White and Brinton Jaeck’s M.A.R.D.I at the Furnace Bank Road. The Summer Exhibition Homeward Found open at the Maxon Mills from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Films screenings will take place at the Luther Barn Auction Ring with several short films by Martin Starr at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Q&A seating is limited reserve a ticket at

Shooting and cigars go hand in hand during the Davidoff Shoot at Orvis Sandanona.

Sponsored by Davidoff Cigars, a day of shooting combines cigars and Glenmorangie Malt Scotch Whiskey.  There are three Davidoff shoots a year at Orvis.  Sunday, July 28th was the summer shoot. 

“If you’re a member it’s $60;  $75 for non-members,” said Andrew Johnson, Orvis sporting traditions associate.  “That gets them 100 targets on the course, scotch tastings and cigars. Brian Bodnar from Davidoff the representative is out in the middle of the course cutting and lighting cigars for people as they go along. ”

Orvis has shooting competitions throughout the year.  The Davidoff shoot is different. Its non-competitive.  Anyone, no matter their shooting level, can test their skills with friends on the 1.7 mile course. 

Malcolm Travelstead said that the rain wouldn’t stop him from missing a Davidoff. The seasoned shooter has been visiting Orvis from Climax, NY since 1997 Sunday was his tenth Davidoff.

“I come here about once a month and I love the Davidoff shoots,” said Travelstead.

Amanda Whitehead seems like an average 22 year old.  She is getting her degree, taking trips to Florida with friends, and trying to stay busy. With one exception: most 22 year olds don’t know how to shoot a M4 carbine and a M9 pistol. Whitehead carried these weapons with her 24 hours a day seven days a week for twelve months in Kandahar, Afghanistan. 

In September, Whitehead learned that her battalion, the 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, was being deployed to Afghanistan. Whitehead joined the army at 17 when she was a junior at Webutuck High School, where she played volleyball, basketball and track. Whitehead is the youngest of three sisters and a brother. Her father, Stanley Whitehead, is highway superintendent of Amenia. She is the only one of her siblings interested in joining the Army.

“When I first told my mom that I had to get parental consent to join,” said Whitehead. “She said OK as a joke thinking I would never do that.  Then I ended up really doing it.”

Whitehead knew that there was always the chance she would get deployed but could never imagine it happening. 

Any drones spotted flying around Millbrook are more likely to have been sent by Jimmy Crisp of Crisp Architects than by the federal government. In a talk to his fellow Rotarians this week, Jimmy explained that his original intention was to take pictures and 360-degreevideos of his job sites. He imagined that the enhanced views would be both useful and spectacular. He therefore purchased a "quadcopter" with remote and equipped it with a fairly sophisticated camera in  protective housing.  It took some getting used to. As a matter of fact, Jimmy spent more than a hundred hours practicing with this new toy—often losing control of the apparatus, which went far off the intended path. Moreover, Jimmy explained, it is so dangerous he anticipates liability and insurance issues. "Trying to capture the quad is like trying to stop a flying Cuisinart coming at you."

A trip to Hudson almost always includes a walk down Warren Street. The business center contains trendy furniture stores, antique dealers, boutiques, gourmet restaurants and everything a city dweller might be looking for when taking a day trip upstate. Once one makes their way down the descending street that leads to the waterfront the cosmopolitan atmosphere shifts. Many buildings are boarded up, infrastructure is deteriorating and the amount of government housing becomes more prominent. Sitting at the bottom of the hill before the Hudson River is Bliss Towers, one of Hudson’s only public housing high-rises. This section of Hudson is called the 1st and 2nd ward.  The people living in this section of Hudson are living below the poverty line with the majority being minorities.  

“Hudson is divided racially, there is a lot of discourse about what gentrification means,” said Daniel Seward, radio talk host for WGKC.  “Dutchess and Poughkeepsie has gone through that in last 10 to 15 years and its still it’s an ongoing conversation.”

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?” 

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