The Town of Washington public meeting on Thursday, September 13 opened with an enthusiastic round of applause for Mary Alex in recognition of her flawless organizing of Community Day and for Matt Rochford for his many invaluable contributions to the Millbrook Community.

Whether the position of town supervisor should be a two or four year term was first on the agenda of the Board meeting. If approved by voters, the town would be following the village which extended the mayor’s term in 2011. The other members of the board have staggered four-year terms.

Howard Shuman said he believed the current two-year system has served the public well. “Elections hold representatives accountable to the people.”  Shorter terms “give the public a chance to provide “more immediate feed back concerning the vision and agenda of the current supervisor.”  Supervisors in most of the other small towns in the county serve two year terms, he added.

“I have had my signs destroyed and defaced and my cars spray-painted. There are some very sick people out there. The State Police is investigating this, and arrests will be made,” said Amenia Town Supervisor Bill Flood at a meeting held by the Republican Committee to introduce the candidates on the Sunday before the Republican primary last week. Both Republican and Democratic candidates were invited to present at the meeting.

The Millbrook Independent spoke to Captain Watterson of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office, who said that the vandalism is being investigated but no arrests have been made.

We decided on a Sunday lunch at La Margherita, a well-known spot on the harbor at the island of Giglio, just an hour’s ferry ride from nearby Porto Santo Stefano.  We were joined on the ferry by a small number of day-trippers and a handful of photographers burdened with heavy video cameras.  Most of our fellow passengers clustered on the starboard side to get a look at the Concordia, the cruise ship that fetched up on the rocks on January 13, 2012, and has lain there ever since. An elaborate marine salvage operation was under way. After much preparation, the first phase was scheduled to start the next day, Monday the 16th.

Many towns have enhancement committees who take on the job of beautifying their villages.  In Millerton,  members of the Townscape Board are a 501c3 non-profit and raise funds, mostly from individual supporters,  to plants trees, install signs, put in flower boxes and provide businesses with holiday trees decorated with lights.  

Last year the Townscape Board planted crabapples, maples, tupelos, tulip trees and a serviceberry tree in front  of the library, the Town Hall, at the Veteran’s Park, the diner parking lot and several other key visible places.   They have also planted shrubs and are planning to install evergreens near the stoplight at the foot of Main Street.

Townscape is also responsible for planting the lovely flower boxes by the Rail Trail on Main Street, and across from the Millerton Moviehouse.   Members of the board are planning to install historic signs around the village in the future.  


Announced at the last Village Board meeting is the impending opening of a number of new businesses on Franklin Avenue this fall. They include "Rose Randolph Cookie Shop",  "Leaf & Bean"  and "Love Feast" (whom we know from Millerton and Amenia Farmers' Markets) who is opening a Vegan restaurant in town. Millbrook Nails has now moved to Franklin Avenue from its former location on Front Street. Owner Kevin Tran and his wife offer manicures, pedicures, waxing and massages.       Chef/owner Joe Comizio  of Franklin Avenue's new restaurant, Trattoria San Giorgio is looking for experienced staff. Qualified parties should send resumes to

ByNot a parking space was to be had at the Dover High School on the evening of September 4. The Town of Dover held their regular meeting at the Middle School auditorium to inform and accommodate the crowd of residents who wanted to learn more about the college that has purchased the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric center whose abandoned buildings have haunted the Wingdale section of town for over twenty years.  

Supervisor Ryan Courtien moderated as speakers from Olivet, consultants to the town and Kathy Schibanoff, new CEO of Olivet Management, presented their plans for redveloping the site. Over an hour was allotted for written questions from the public.

Ms. Schibanoff recalled the history of the property, explaining how 5,000 people in the area lost their jobs when New York State closed the facility in 1994.  

“We had a grant when I headed up the Harlem Valley Partnership to study the re-use of the buildings.  It was difficult to find an appropriate use for the site.”

Castagna Realty has resurrected its 200-acre project on the east side Route 22 in Pawling, but with a new name, new partner and new plan. At the September 3 meeting of the Pawling Planning Board, Castagna Realty and the Kearney Group presented a proposal for a land-use designation change for what will now be called the Pawling Commons Senior Community. The designation change will allow for the building of 80 senior affordable-housing units in a spot originally intended for office space.

The change from the originally planned Castagna Commerce Park was prompted by the economic recession, explained Ken Kearney, president of the Kearney Group, developer for the buildings.

"This is a market driven plan. There is great demand for senior housing, particularly on the east side of the county," he said, adding that there is not as great a demand for office space.

The affordable senior housing is the first phase of the project. The second phase will be a 36,000-square foot medical office building, and the third phase, 100 units of market-rate senior housing.

“We heard you loud and clear,” Supervisor Brian Coons said in an opening statement at the September 5 special meeting of the Pine Plains town board called to fix the amount of the bond for the purchase of the library building and to decide whether to put the question on the November ballot. After town attorney Warren Replansky determined that an environmental review was unnecessary, the board approved up to  $500,000 for the bond and the referendum, both unanimously on roll-call votes.

At the town board’s special August 20 meeting, the referendum options discussed included a proposal to raise $400,000 for retrofitting the building’s second floor and basement—areas not presently used by the library—for town offices. This idea met with a frosty reception as that would have increased the debt to $900,000.

If all goes well, Stanford’s Frankenstein’s Fortress, the source of scary screams, goose bumps and haunted dreams, will return in October for a three-week run, according to Susan Blouse, who is attempting to refurbish the facility. Sue, from the Stanford Recreation Department, and Peter Wing co-ran the program. Peter, busy running his new bed-and-breakfast business, does not expect to be involved, but work is commencing nonetheless.

Abandoned for two years, the Fortress has suffered from neglect, vandalism and  batterings by numerous storms. The trail to the Fortress has disappeared, and a bridge has collapsed. Heavy summer rains encouraged substantial undergrowth that now needs to be cleared. Broken windows need replacing, props need mending, and costumes need repairing. Nevertheless, Sue is determined to open the facility for the local children once more. If this attempt fails, however, the Fortress will live on only in the memories of those lucky enough to have experienced the headless horseman, dancing skeletons and the various other sideshow spectacles that were staged there. 

Victoria Perotti won the Republican Primary in Amenia against incumbent Supervisor, Bill Flood, 170-107.  These are paper results, uncertified, without absentee votes.  Ms. Perotti stated: "I want to thank all the voters and look forward to serving Amenia and Wassaic in the future."
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