Letters to the Editor - 5-16-24

Our representatives failed us — it’s time for change

A few weeks ago the New York state Assembly passed the 2024-25 budget and in the process missed a major opportunity to clean up New York’s climate emissions and help New Yorkers deal with high energy bills.

A critical bill known as the NY HEAT Act didn’t make it through the Assembly’s highly secretive budgeting process. The HEAT Act would have cut subsidies to gas utilities while helping New Yorkers with their utility bills by capping costs at 6% of household income. The New York state Senate passed the bill in March, but it was torpedoed by Assembly members who rely on utility and fuel industry donations to fund their campaigns.

I’m particularly disappointed that our assembly member, Didi Barrett did nothing to advance the HEAT act. Barrett was appointed the chair of the assembly’s powerful energy committee in 2023, where she began advancing the utility industry’s agenda and blocking implementation of climate legislation. As energy chair, Barrett’s co-sponsorship of the HEAT act would have helped assure its passage, but her endorsement was conspicuously absent. Over $10,000 of gas and utility industry donations to her campaign since 2022 may have had something to do with this.

Because I believe strongly that we must take action to minimize the worst impacts of climate change and to ensure that New Yorkers aren’t forced to pay for the gas industry’s mess, I’ve decided to support Claire Cousin in her bid to replace Didi Barrett in the June Democratic primary. Claire has vowed to refuse gas industry donations and to hold polluters accountable. We know where Didi’s loyalties lie, I’m betting on Clair to be part of a new generation in Albany.

Bill Kish


Amenia Fire Co. assists in dramatic dog rescue

In a heartwarming display of community cooperation and swift action, the Amenia Fire Company played a pivotal role in the rescue of a small dog named Rippy from a perilous situation in the North Canaan area.

The North Canaan Animal Control received a distressing voicemail around 6:00 p.m. on Monday May 6th, reporting the sound of a dog barking near Lower Road, close to the quarry. Promptly responding to the call, personnel from North Canaan Animal Control, alongside quarry workers John and Bobby Foley, initiated efforts to locate the stranded animal. Despite hearing the barking, initial attempts to locate the dog were unsuccessful.

Subsequent to a Facebook post alerting the community about a missing dog, believed to be in the vicinity, further collaborative efforts ensued. Brian Ohler, the First Selectman of North Canaan, demonstrating unwavering commitment, deployed his drone to survey the area, although no heat signatures indicative of the dog were detected.

Undeterred, the search intensified the following day, with the dog’s owner providing crucial information about the missing pet. An observation by Bobby Foley during the lunch break revealed the dog’s persistent barking from the same area. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, coordinated efforts were made involving the safety and plant managers of Specialty Minerals, culminating in the dispatch of Northwest Rope Rescue Teams, The Amenia Fire Company, North Canaan Fire Company, and North Canaan Ambulance.

Harnessing their expertise, the Rope Rescue Team descended approximately 50 feet down the cliff to reach Rippy, who had fallen and become trapped. Miraculously, the resilient terrier mix was safely retrieved and reunited with his owner.

Amenia Fire Chief Christopher Howard, along with members of the Amenia Fire Company, including Lt. Richard Howard Jr., Lt. Zach Klingner, Rescue Lt. Christopher Klingner, Past Chief Richard Howard Sr, Firefighter Tony Maillet, Past Chief Aaron Howard Jr., and Probationary Firefighter Jason De Addio, played an instrumental role in the successful rescue operation.

The strong relationship between the Amenia Fire Company and the Northwest Rope Rescue Team is fundamental to providing effective emergency response in Eastern Dutchess County and the Northwest corner of Connecticut. Through regular joint training exercises and coordinated response efforts, these teams ensure rapid and efficient assistance in challenging situations, such as Rippy’s rescue.

“We are immensely proud of our team’s swift response and collaboration with other agencies, resulting in the safe rescue of Rippy,” stated Chief Christopher Howard. “This heartwarming outcome underscores the importance of community solidarity in times of crisis.”

Expressing gratitude to all involved parties, Rippy’s owner extended heartfelt appreciation, acknowledging the invaluable role played by each participant in ensuring Rippy’s safe return home.

Aaron Howard Jr.

Public Information Officer
Amenia Fire Co.


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