The Town of Washington and Village of Millbrook Historical Society collects and preserves historical artifacts and engages the public with presentations on local history. Stan Morse summed up what this 42-year-old association does during an hour-long interview last week. 

Since January the society has already held five of the nine programs they host a year at the Lyall Memorial Federated Church Community Room. Presentations have focused on antique machinery, Millbrook’s Italian heritage, the first settlers of Millbrook and the upcoming Museum in the Streets project. This Saturday, June 14, is the society’s annual tea for society members and prospective members, at Thorndale. 

Dr. Kathleen Affigne is Millbrook’s new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction who will take over the position now held by Christine Ackerman who is leaving the district to become superintendent of the Greenwood Lake schools in Orange County. Affigne directs instruction at Warwick Valley Central School District in Warwick, a few miles from Greenwood Lake.  Affigne took a moment to tell TMI more about herself via email. 

TMI: Where is your hometown? 

Affigne: I was born in Brooklyn, and moved to Monroe, NY (actually Blooming Grove in Orange County) when I was seven.  I am a Washingtonville High School graduate. I am married to John Affigne and we have a wonderful nine-year old daughter.  Lorraine, our daughter, will be attending Alden Place Elementary School in September.  

TMI: What is your educational background? 

Spring for Sound filled Millerton’s Main Street Saturday with what looked like thousands of music lovers.  

The music festival, in its fifth year, had 27 bands, five DJs, art openings and food vendors, all to benefit the North East Community Center (NECC). 

Spring for Sound was started four years ago by NECC board members Mimi Harney and Kristen Panzer. In 2009 they had four bands including Harney and Panzer’s own laughed Harney. 

“We knew Millerton had a special music scene,” said Harney. “We wanted to highlight the musicians and bands that are here. It started off as a showcase and its grown to the point where we can’t believe how many people want to sign up - it’s unbelievable. We had to turn bands away.  I feel like this year we really grew into a music festival.”

From noon until 11 p.m. live music sounded all over the village.  The North by Northwest had stages on both sides of the Railroad Plaza Green.  Stages were set up on the deck of the NECC, at the Jane Eckert Art Gallery, Gilded Moon Gallery and the Gilmore Glass Garage.  Harney and Sons served oysters in the Gilmore Glass Garage. 

The Millbrook library was where we started our Saturday amble in the village, looking for a book they didn’t have but could order (Plato’s letters). It is strange to think that letters written 2,400 years ago can still be found in libraries, but that is what libraries are for, storehouses of the written word (and now the spoken word) so they will be available to future generations. We moved on to the Millbrook Farmers’ Market (making sure the apostrophe is in its proper place to please Kate of Art of the Tart, who is as particular about apostrophes as she is about the design of her tarts), where we found mounds of fresh veggies, flowers, delicious carbs and delicious gossip. We could barely tear ourselves away to make the 11:30 talk by Michael Korda at Merritt Books but were glad we did.


Black bears are on the prowl on Tower Hill.  This one was sampling the contents Bill Beckmans’ bird feeder Monday evening.  Bill reckons he stands about 6 ½ feet. He is one of three seen regularly in the area.  Photo by Bill Beckman

Diana Bontecou, who grew up here in Millbrook, has become the new director of the Millbrook Library’s Off the Wall Gallery. She is replacing Lorraine Hartin Gelardi, who will remain as the director of development.

Diana comes to the job with years of experience in the arts. She graduated from Hollins College with a degree in Fine Arts and then spent several years working at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, as well as at the Wentworth Gallery. Soon after she returned to Millbrook in 1987 Diana took over JB and Mary Babcock’s Millbrook Gallery, which they gave her to run as her own

She says becoming director of the library’s gallery “is a dream come true.” As the upcoming exhibitions are already booked until the end of this year, she will have time to learn more about her position. She will also have to fill in other positions until the library finds a new director to replace Erin Barnard, who is leaving this autumn.

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, fourteen members of the Dutchess Day School’s eighth grade class -- Sarah Chalk, Jack Ellis, Connor Finemore, Katherine Fousek, Tiffany Hatfield, William Kantaros, Amanda Luzzi, Ava Quartararo, Corey Rundquist, Alexander Salnikoff, Amelia Smith, Will Stack, and Pamela Yang – celebrated their graduation. 

Head of School Nancy Hathaway welcomed everyone in her opening comments.  Presiding over her last graduation, board president Sarah Stack, who is stepping down from that role at the end of the month, remarked on the strength of the school and the exceptional qualities embodied by the graduates. 

Amelia Smith, a member of he graduating class, gave the school credit for teaching its students how to prepare for life beyond its walls by guiding them “in packing [their] suitcases for [their] next step in life…Three very important qualities ‘packed’ from our Dutchess Day School experience are patience, confidence, and the value of hard work.” 

Municipal officials from nine towns in the Tenmile River watershed congregated at the Carriage House at Wethersfield on Saturday, June 7, to learn about their watershed and how to protect it. The forum on the Tenmile watershed was presented by the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) and sponsored by Wethersfield. The officials were from Ancram, Amenia, Dover, Millbrook, Millerton, Pawling, Stanford, Salisbury and Sharon.

The HVA’s Tenmile River watershed coordinator, Tonia Shoumatoff, in her introduction noted that every town in the watershed is in the same stream together. She said, “You will learn about the basics of watersheds, what our greatest impacts are and how to do a watershed management plan that could get us a priority watershed listing in New York State.” 

There was a battle of wills between two engineers at the Amenia Planning Board meeting last Thursday. They happened both to be women.  One represented the Silo Ridge developers, and the other represented the Amenia Planning Board. They disagreed about the cost of remediating the Silo Ridge golf course if it has to be remediated in the future. The town’s engineer said it would take $3,900 per acre, and the developer’s engineer said it should cost $400 per acre. 

Twelve feet of soil have been removed from a section of the course to create a straighter driving range for golfers in the treasured Amenia viewshed. There is now a terrifying 30-foot drop from a point on Delavergne Hill, and that just happens to be the point on Route 44 affording the best view over the Harlem Valley looking south. 

When Giulia Menegollo boarded the plane to leave her hometown of Vicenza, Italy, she didn’t know what to expect. The 17-year-old would be spending the next year of her life living in the village of Millbrook. Up until that point all, she knew was that it was close to New York City, and it had always been her dream to visit the Big Apple. 

A year and three host families later, however, Menegollo sits in the Millbrook Diner sad to leave a community that she now calls home. 

Menegollo is one of 8,000 students from around the world who study abroad through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Students get the opportunity to learn a new language and experience a culture different from their own. 

“Before I came here, I thought my town was very small,” said Menegollo, laughing. “I came to Millbrook, and I realized it’s pretty big.” 

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