Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 3-2-23

Tri-Town coalition Housing Expo

Thanks for your coverage of the NE/Millerton Working Group’s terrific exhibit (at the Library Annex) of the many options available to address our region’s unaffordable-to-those-who-work housing crisis. Supported by a modest grant from the Foundation for Community Health, and organized by Sam Busselle, Meg Winkler, Tom Parrett and Karen Jacobsen (Congratulations all), portable boards displayed images of successful housing types from across the country. They present a range of small-scale solutions designed for rural communities. These are familiar-looking homes for your struggling neighbors. Half of us are currently unable to provide for our families due to high rents and low wages.

I’ve been part of the Tri-Town Coalition for four years now. A collaboration of the North East Community Center and Hudson River Housing (yay Christine Sergent and Christa Hines), volunteers in Millerton, Amenia and Pine Plains have been working hard to solve a lack of starter housing.

Only luxury product has gotten built for decades. Everyone I talk to understands it is incredibly difficult to find houses or rentals in the area.

Covid made it worse. Essential workers (firefighters, teachers, mail carriers) can no longer afford to live here. Nor can seniors, or their recently graduated grandkids in first jobs. To feel hopeful about retaining local families, head over and see this show.

In the past year Amenia has made remarkable progress toward our goals. The Amenia Housing Board, led by energetic chair Charlie Miller, has at last three projects in the hopper. HRH purchased land on the edge of town to construct 21 (I think) brand-new two-family units, and site planning is started. Habitat for Humanity proposed to build a multi-family home on town-owned land. And AHB pursued grants to purchase and renovate a historic one-family property.

Finally elected officials at the County, State and Federal levels recognize this real problem and promise some funds to build. Our towns need their support.

Leo Blackman

Amenia Town Board member



The newest chapter in Troutbeck’s story

As a lifetime neighbor of the Troutbeck property, and a personal friend of Lewis and Sophie Mumford, I find it ironic that at Troutbeck’s own website one can read Lewis Mumford’s essay ‘The Story of Troutbeck’ in which he predicts this time of reckoning for the historic property.

He states: “...admittedly, there are moments when, in walking around Troutbeck, one remembers Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard,’ and wonders whether its fate is to be that of many country houses in Europe and America: to become the rural outpost of some metropolitan institution, or to be broken up like a suburban subdivision into building lots. That may be Troutbeck’s destiny; yet there is something in the personality of the place that makes one hope for a different outcome when it changes hands...”

The following poem, written by my husband, reflects how we feel, that the Troutbeck property should, for centuries to come, be protected from development in such a significant manner.

Marian M. Paton



A Reflection on the Newest Chapter in Troutbeck’s Story

For many in life there will come one time;

a moment, a crossroads, that itself defines

how we are remembered throughout the ages.

For most of us that history is small and soon forgotten to the past,

but on the newest chapter in Troutbeck’s story

history will shine it’s honest light, and forever

allow our children’s children and great-grandchildren

to vividly see, with clarity,

how in that moment we chose to write,

forever, our family’s legacy.

I’ll echo Lewis Mumford’s prescient words

who spoke of Troutbeck’s timelessness being freed

from the city’s urgency (and carelessness).

He eloquently wrote of the spirit of a place

that has, since Caleb Benton’s time,

linked families to that soil and land

and for generations has inspired

the continuation of a collaboration

between the world of nature and the spirit of man.

With learned insight he hoped that reverence

would for centuries to come rise up

and protect those glens from greedy plans

for development and parking lots.

If you own a manor with history profound,

before you move to defile that hallowed ground,

(where Sinclair Lewis and Mark Twain both

spent days of quiet leisure)

sit down, alone, with a quiet mind,

(as did John Burroughs and Myron Benton)

and there beside that lovely stream

(so admired by Emerson and Thoreau)

open your hearts and embrace the past

in a spirit of introspection,

and before becoming historic villains

first contemplate those unspoiled fields

and that wooded mountain.

That majestic mountain, eons old,

stands a silent monument

to those men of fame who nature so adored,

who fought to stay the selfish hand of man

and the earth’s destruction did abhor

and did shield that ancient hunting ground

held sacred by true native clans

from the soulless excavators wanton claw

and the bellowing bulldozers gaping maw.

James Robertson Paton



Act against Iroquois pipeline project

The “Iroquois” Pipeline Company proposes to drastically increase the amount of gas they push through their existing 37-year-old, 414-mile long fracked gas pipeline, which runs from the New York/Canada border through Connecticut and into Long Island and New York City. In order to push more gas through the aging pipeline, they are applying to double the size of four already toxic and noisy compressor stations along the route of the pipeline —  in Athens and Dover, New York, and Brookfield and Milford, Conn.  The company is seeking a permit to expand “Enhancement by Compression” to a degree which is inconsistent with state climate law.

It seems clear to me that enhanced compressor stations would be a terrible addition to the already terrible “Iroquois” pipeline project, increasing stress on old and unsafe infrastructure and emitting more harmful particulates into our already over-burdened atmosphere.

We have to move away from the use of fossil fuels immediately.  We are so far down a path to our own destruction — there should be no question that this project is furthering our ongoing climate and health disaster.

I do not live in New York state but Dover, New York, is half an hour’s drive away, and Brookfield, Conn., about an hour, and the state borders don’t restrain airflow.

Please act against this project.

Patricia Mullins

Sharon, Conn.

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