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. 

At the Feb. 2 board of education meeting Superintendent Philip D’Angelo and Assistant Superintendent for Business Brian Fried told the board of education where the MCSD stands in the budget process. D’Angelo, Fried and Ackerman have been meeting with all the principals in the district to assess and review each school’s needs. Fried has been working with BOCES’s Questar service, which offers assistance to school districts in state aid and financial planning. 

Across New York State school districts grapple with staying within the two percent tax cap while making sure students core needs aren’t cut. When the levy limit was first implemented two years ago, MCSD had a levy increase of two percent. Last year it was 3.89 percent. Fried announced to the board that after running his numbers with Questar he doesn’t see the district staying under the two percent tax cap this year. 

Lots of informed global-warming talk has been alarming. Scientists from the godfather of global-warming data, James Hansen, to PhD-staffed blogs often talk about thresholds and tipping points beyond which we’ll have no control except as individuals. 

Opposed are deniers, from the four-thousand-dollar suits who come and go at trade groups like the American Gas Association and the Heartland Institute to professionals with degrees at MIT and Oxford—Professor Richard Lindzen is an excellent example—who are extreme skeptics and, among their colleagues, rogue outliers.

In science, outliers are disregarded if the data set is large enough. Climate science pits these few against three thousand or so engaged climatologists —not meteorologists or geologists or chemical engineers. (The further from the real substance of a degree, the less lucid the argument, it turns out.)

But what if these deniers were not only a little wrong but were delusional, as incognizant of science as Lord Chamberlain was of Hitler’s ambitions in 1938? 

The projected fund surplus for the Pawling schools for the current school year was revealed at the Pawling School Board meeting last Monday, January 27. Last year the surplus was $2.6 million, resulting in a final reduction of the projected tax levy of nearly 3 percent in August 2013. This year the answer is more complex, with a net result closer to $400,000. That could change before the end of the school year.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance Dr. Neysa Sensenig made a presentation with her “best guess” for the operating surplus for the 2013–2014 school year. The board complimented her on the clarity of her explanation, but there are many details that cannot be explained at this time. This is true partly because it is early in the school year and partly because Sensenig is still figuring out the financial records left behind by previous Assistant Superintendent for Finance Warren Donohue.

The Pine Plains Free Library will move back to its old quarters across South Main Street in mid- to late February “to facilitate the town’s purchase” of the new building the library has occupied since June 2009, according to a brief press release from the library’s board of trustees, dated January 26. The move will take place sometime after February 17, according to James Mara, president of the board of trustees, as soon as the extensive repairs and renovations that the town has undertaken on the old library building are completed. The work includes upgrading the electrical work, making the bathroom ADA-compliant, and repainting and recarpeting the space. The town’s intention was to prepare the building for the library’s return in the event that the purchase of the new library building, at 7775 South Main Street, did not come to pass.  

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