After a grueling four-hour meeting on February 27, the North East Planning Board, based in the Village of Millerton, determined that its written Environmental Assessment Form is all that is needed for the approval of a supermarket, believed to be Hannaford, on Route 44 near the Connecticut border. The decision was 4 to 3 in favor of the negative declaration, will not have to undergo the long State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). Dale Culver, chair; Willem de Vogel; and Bill Kish were in the minority. They thought the environmental issues warranted a SEQRA review.
The project’s proximity to wetlands containing rare fens, known habitat for bog turtles, kept the application before the planning board for two years. Last June Dr. Michael Klemens found a population of bog turtles, including juveniles, on the Connecticut side of the Stateline Swamp. Klemens, along with a number of other biodiversity experts, recommended a 300-foot buffer next to the swamp. That buffer would have shrunk the store from 36,000 square feet to 26,000 square feet.
The Dutchess County Solid Waste Management Plan, now in draft form, was the subject of a public meeting on February 26 at the Farm and Home Center. The meeting drew an estimated 100 people, many of whom questioned why Dutchess County is in the business of promoting the burning of garbage in an antiquated incinerator that spews toxic fumes into the Hudson Valley.
Lindsay Carille, Dutchess County’s Director of Solid Waste Management, said that all comments will be considered. The last day written comments on the plan can be made is March 14th.
The draft plan says the goal is to increase recycling, but speakers at the February 26 meeting critiqued the plan’s failure to provide incentives or systems that would accomplish that goal.
Residents of Pine Plains and surrounding towns packed the Stissing Mountain Middle/High School cafeteria to capacity on February 26 for a special town board meeting addressing both a proposed town revaluation and the town’s position on the fate of the Pine Plains Free Library. The library is currently housed in the library and community center building acquired by the Bank of Millbrook for $1.45 million in a January 9 foreclosure auction.
Amenia, once known as the gravel mining capital of Dutchess County, is pocked marked by the remains of abandoned mines, battlefields of rusting equipment, fetid pools, a scarred earth and a barren soil whose only cover is a scattering of weeds because nothing else grows in the impoverished soil. Law suits, citizens groups, legal bills and court decisions are part of that legacy. There is now a public trained in opposing the mining industry.
The Town of Amenia has taken an environmentally sensitive approach to mining in their recent comprehensive plan which now requires that all mining operations be in the soil mining overlay district. Mining applications need to apply for special use permits and must also comply with stringent DEC remediation agreements which have only been required since 1977 when the NYS DEC first started a mining reclamation department.
The snowstorm of December 24 turned out to be an expensive one for the Town of Washington. One of its snowplowing trucks, top heavy with a load of sand and salt, slid off the road, tumbled down an embankment and fell over. It was totalled. No one was hurt, but the loss of the truck puts a dent in the equipment inventory of the town’s highway department. Not long after that, a front-end loader, a Volvo L60F, slipped a gear and it too was on the disabled list. Two pieces of heavy equipment short, the highway department had to stretch its resources in the last snowstorm.
At the town board meeting of February 11, Highway Supervisor Brownell reported that repair of the loader might have been $26,000, the first repair estimate. Bob Audia, who knows about these things, was able to talk Volvo down on the replacement parts because the loader was only five years old. The
At the Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, February 12, a resolution of the Bennett impasse appeared to be taking form. Audrey Friedrichsen Scott, the village’s attorney, reported that Supreme Court Judge Maria Rosa signed an injunction on January 16 ordering the owners to obtain the necessary permits and file an operational plan for demolition within 60 days. Permits must be obtained from the village, the DEC, the Department of Labor and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Preservation. The order does not say that the owner must demolish the buildings, but the Village of Millbrook has issued that directive, and the court can, at a later date, be asked to enforce that order. If the owner, Bennett Acquistions, LLC does not comply with the order within the time specified, the court can find the owner in contempt, impose penalties or take other actions.
Three out of the four Millbrook High grads contacted by TMI were generally pleased with Dutchess Community College. Two of these grads reside in the dormitory at DCC. They are also employed by the residence hall.
The four students contacted were Angelika Juerss, Amy Muñoz, Katie Navarro and Mary Richwine. Angelika, Amy and Mary were generally pleased with DCC’s academics and activities. Angelika is a freshman and works as a front desk assistant in Conklin Hall, the new residence hall at DCC. It is named after the college’s president, David Conklin. Mary is an RA (Resident Assistant) in the residence hall, overseeing a floor of residents. Amy commutes and will be graduating after this semester.
Navarro expressed her dissatisfaction with the college, saying that, “no one has any answers when you ask for help.” She said she is transferring. She declined a further interview.
Why, in Dutchess County, where our local farmers offer such an abundance of beautiful and tasty produce, do our school cafeterias serve up so much processed and fried food instead of more healthful choices made with fresh fruit and vegetables? It seems like a simple question, but there is a very complicated answer.
The operating costs of school lunchrooms are not part of school budgets, and thus they are not paid for by local taxpayers. Instead the cafeterias are expected to raise enough money through the sale of food to the students to cover the costs of producing and serving that food.
In his sunny office, where books not only line the walls but are piled on the floor and spill from chairs and tables, Leon Botstein initiates and oversees what seems a sprawling empire of programs that have their headquarters at Bard College. Since he became president of Bard 37 years ago, Botstein has transformed the college from a small, financially straitened institution into what he proudly calls “one of the most distinctive institutes of higher education in the country.” Under his leadership Bard’s enrollment has grown from 600 students to 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students. This year more than 6,000 students applied for just 500 places in the freshman class.
Bard’s programs and affiliations are numerous and growing. Among its international projects, Bard partners with Smolny College, in St. Petersburg; Al-Quds University, in the West Bank; and with the American University of Central Asia, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In this country Bard is affiliated with dozens of graduate and undergraduate programs in almost all disciplines of the arts and sciences.
On Saturday, April 20, the Hudson Valley Honor Flight will leave from Stewart Airport to transport our local veterans of World War II and the Korean War for a day-long visit to our nation’s capital. Veterans are flown, fed and cared for, free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis. The Hudson Valley chapter, part of the national Honor Flight Network, recognizes American veterans for their achievements and the sacrifices they made by flying them to Washington, DC, “to see THEIR memorial” and to visit Arlington Cemetery at no cost to them. Top priority is given to World War II veterans and to terminally ill veterans from all U.S. wars.