Letters to the Editor - 2-8-24

Clark’s appointment to publisher is welcome news

The news that James Clark will now be publisher and CEO of LJMN Media (which was The Lakeville Journal Foundation, but also for so many years The Lakeville Journal Company, and before that, simply The Lakeville Journal going back to 1897) should be welcome to anyone who values community journalism, and is certainly very welcome to me. Clark’s two-decade career, described in last week’s newspapers in depth, has taken him on a journey that educated him on every aspect of the company, which he has helped to define over that time. The current nonprofit board is fortunate to have him at the helm, as are we who are served by this local media group.

It was a joy to work with him over all those years when I was also there. He is a creative, talented and skilled all-around community journalist and leader, who has been active over the years at the New York Press Association and at the New England Newspaper and Press Association. He cares deeply about the ethics of community journalism and knows how to implement them week to week and year to year. This is not a skill that everyone possesses.

His consistency and strength in keeping the company on a smooth path moving forward is just what it will take, along with the support and hard work of his colleagues, to keep one of this area’s most important resources alive, vibrant and healthy.

Clark is also deeply committed to the communities he serves, volunteering at and supporting nonprofit organizations.

Congratulations to Clark and to all at the company. I wish all the best of success for them, and our communities in the region, going forward.

Janet Manko

Publisher Emeritus

Lime Rock

Congratulations James Clark!

What outstandingly good news that the Lakeville Journal company (now LJMN Media) has given James Clark the titles of CEO and publisher.

I worked with James for nearly two decades at The Lakeville Journal and can say with confidence that there isn’t a job at that company that he can’t accomplish quickly, skillfully, gracefully and diplomatically (a major feat in a small company with so many personalities and moving parts).

Congratulations to the board on recognizing James’ value and rewarding him for all the hard work he has put into keeping our community’s two newspapers alive and vibrant through some very difficult years. Let’s hope that the path is clear now for great success in the future.

Cynthia Hochswender


Questions on Amenia’s affordable housing choices

1. Why was the parcel behind Spruce Hill chosen by Hudson River Housing to build a 42 bedroom affordable housing project?

2. How will the residents be chosen?

3. Should zoning laws be changed to enable this project?

4. Does this project benefit Amenia?

The only conceivable reason this parcel was chosen is that it was cheap — cheap enough for a speculator to make a quick profit. It is agricultural land — which we want to preserve in Amenia. It is an inaccessible hay field at the top of a steep hill. The west side of the plot hangs dangerously on a cliff with a vertical drop hundreds of feet above an old quarry which has already been a site of fatalities. Residents will not be able to easily walk to the Hamlet, or even the Fresh Town Shopping Center, and will need a car. Access to Route 22 is on a blind curve. The property is zoned Suburban Residential and will need a “Spot Zoning” change to build the planned apartment buildings — starting a dangerous precedent of tampering with our zoning regulations. The property can be seen prominently from Depot Hill and will spoil the view of DeLaVergne Hill from the East side of the Hamlet. With the abundance of suitable land in Amenia why was this dangerous property chosen?

Apparently after the Amenia Housing Board recommended the property to Hudson River Housing, AmeniaVentures1 LLC bought the property for $150,000 and then resold it just two months later for $190,000 to Hudson River Housing, making a quick $40,000 profit. Because of information on record and conversations I’ve had with Spruce Hill owners, I have asked the Amenia Town Board twice to investigate the possibility that a Housing Board member is an investor in AmeniaVentures1 and used his position on the Board for private gain. I have had no response from the Town Board.

Proponents of the project say Amenia needs affordable housing for its workforce and that the children of older Amenia residents can’t afford to live in the Town. The Hudson River Housing project will not solve these problems. Hudson River Housing receives State and Federal funding and must open their housing to all Dutchess County residents. Presumably there will be a lottery and waiting list. It is very possible that residents of Amenia’s affordable housing will commute to Poughkeepsie for work. Hudson River Housing will choose the residents, not the Town of Amenia.

What this project will do is destroy the rural lifestyle of several of our neighbors who bought houses on Spruce Hill believing that they were moving into a low density area. Putting up a 42 bedroom housing project next to their back yard is not the way I want to treat my neighbors.

George Bistransin


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