Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - May 26, 2022

Come to Fountain Square for Planting Day

On behalf of Amenia’s Enhancement Committee, I hope residents will join us in planting flowers around Amenia’s War Memorial on Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to noon.

I’m unsure when residents began planting red, white and blue annuals on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but probably when they re-aligned the major intersections of routes 343, 22 and 44 in the center of town, circa 1991.

At that time, Darlene Riemer and other volunteers saw to it that the fountain — long ago abandoned in a dump where the town garage is currently located in Wassaic — was repaired and reinstalled at the intersection as part of the new highway improvements.

Planting Day was already a tradition when I moved here in 2011, per the Enhancement Chair at the time, Herb Eschbach.

Please keep this rich tradition alive by planting at least one annual with your fellow volunteers in honor of our fallen soldiers.

Then, come back to Fountain Square on Monday to be part of Amenia’s Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony on May 28. Firefighters and members of VFW Post 5444 will step off at 10:45 a.m. from the Amenia firehouse on Mechanic Street, march up East Main Street, and join residents at Fountain Square at 11 a.m. for a brief ceremony. Fountain Square is at 4958 Route 22, Amenia.

Sincerely,

Vicki Doyle

Amenia town
councilwoman and
Enhancement
Committee liaison

Wassaic

 

Give the American flag the respect it’s due

I recently saw a news report regarding a garbage collector discovering our American Flag in someone’s trash. This caused mixed emotions.  How could anyone throw the Flag of our Country into the garbage? That made me “heart sick.”

However, seeing the garbage collector salvaging the flag and ceremoniously folding it made my heart swell.

Memorial Day is a few days away and I encourage anyone who has a flag in disrepair to give it to a veteran, VFW or Legion organization for proper disposal. Let us fly our American Flag, the flag of our Country, proudly and respectfully.

God Bless America.

Diane Walters

Millerton

 

Let’s just follow our town’s planning laws

As a resident of the South Amenia area, I try to follow issues affecting my hamlet, and importantly the governing municipality, Amenia.

For many years, one persisting issue has been the land use of the ‘Kent Hollow’ land, owned by Mr. Steiner and his corporation from Connecticut.

Many years ago, Amenia took a necessary step, with public involvement, great care, and professionalism, enacting a Comprehensive Plan. This is the ‘map’ that guides the land-use rules, and without it, any town would have a planning disaster!

At that time, all parties, including mining interests, were involved in helping craft the details of the overlay districts. The outcome was that existing mining operations, and potential areas where natural materials existed, were included.

Today, our mining overlay district covers hundreds of acres within the town. This respects all interests, and ensures the continued supply of building materials, subject to all other mining requirements.

At that time, Kent Hollow was not a permitted mine, and their lands were not within any of the other mining areas.

Much of the Kent Hollow case history can be read within the archive of this publication, but in brief, Mr. Steiner has in recent years challenged most of our local laws, elected officials and appointees in order to change his land-use status.

He, and his lawyers, have singled out many serving members, in order to dilute or destroy the functioning of the boards. He has also spent many legal dollars as a weapon to try and force our town into submission.

Most of his lawsuits are SLAPP actions to try and limit the participation by intimidation.

Currently, his pending litigation is on-hold with the courts, because the lawyers expressed a wish to find a settlement. But it could come back to the judge, if they find none.

Clearly, Kent Hollow wishes to subvert or avoid our town land-use laws, for their own ends.

Thankfully this publication, and good citizens try to present facts, so we stay informed.

Unfortunately, our local government has no obligation to “spread the word,” so we need to rely on attendance at meetings, and asking direct questions to stay informed.

I would hate to think that our elected officials are either eliminated from voting, or intimidated by lawsuits, all created and paid for by Mr. Steiner, to game the system and get his way.

If there is to be a legal settlement in this case, it needs to respect local laws, or potentially the Town Board could be challenged for failing to uphold them.

It should not be a decision by the Town Board to give in to special interests because it is tired of defending our laws!

There are examples of communities being destroyed by “Special Interest,” and hopefully we can avoid joining that list.

Thank you to those who have spoken up on this, and shone a light on the facts.

Andy Durbridge

Wassaic

 

Excellent Towns and Villages with focus on affordable housing

Many thanks for dedicating this year’s Towns and Villages publication to ways that towns are finding to create more housing, and thanks to the supplement’s editor Cynthia Hochswender for her excellent introductory article.

I agree wholeheartedly that there is a severe shortage of affordable housing in our communities. Unfortunately, there is a history of intense opposition to solving this problem. I suspect that some of the opposition has come from self-interested current landlords, who have been afraid that increasing the housing supply would lead to lower rents for existing housing.

Unfortunately, many people who are not landlords also have opposed the development of affordable housing. This seems to arise from a wish to keep our communities unchanged, and from anxiety about some “foreign element” that may move in.

It is a mistake to think of affordable housing as something that would benefit only people who want to move to our communities. In fact, it also would be a great benefit to those of us who  already live here. Our shops and restaurants are suffering severe staff shortages, to the point where some of them have had to reduce their hours. We also have trouble recruiting teachers, nurses and many other kinds of professional and nonprofessional workers whom we really need. Our schools are shrinking because our population is getting older, which keeps increasing the cost per student of educating our children.

In many ways, we need new people to help us maintain, and increase, the vibrancy of our communities. Developing more housing in which the people whom we need can afford to live will make things better for all of us, in education, healthcare, comfort,  convenience and general economic development.

Let’s all get involved, and work with our local governments to solve this problem

Cavin P. Leeman, MD

Amenia

 

Kelsey defends his record and reputation

Dear Readers:

Last week I was released from state custody after six years in prison for crimes I did not commit. The article appearing in The Millerton News (TMN) announcing my release fell short of accurate reporting.

I was not accused (or convicted) of “molestation” as TMN reported. Nor did the article inform readers that my conviction remains under review in state and federal court (for which I believe my name will eventually be cleared). 

Much about the 2014 police investigation and my 2016 trial remains unreported and unchallenged by the press. This includes exculpatory affidavits that the New York State Police withheld from the Court, and deposition testimony from my accusers revealing that they were intoxicated to the point of vomiting when they concocted their stories against me. Sworn statements verify that both accusers denied they were touched until their parents hired an attorney to sue.

The record reveals that my prison sentence was punishment for insisting on my rights to present a defense and because I defied a judicial order to take any of four unsolicited prosecutorial-generated plea deals — all without prison time.

A balanced story might have noted that the State did its worst to me, but I am still standing — and eager to contribute to society anew.

A balanced approach might also have raised doubts about my conviction by reporting that the District Attorney who prosecuted me — in whom her St. Lawrence County Legislature voted “No Confidence” the week before my trial — has since been suspended from the practice of law for prosecutorial malpractice.

I have witnessed up close a broken and largely unaccountable justice, appellate and correctional system whose failings in law enforcement, the bench, and the bar are not being redressed. Will journalists continue to conceal these problems, or commit — as I have — to being part of the solution?

Michael N. Kelsey

Former Dutchess
County legislator
and The Millerton News columnist

Salt Point

 

Ugly, I don’t believe so…

When I read in the May 12 Hudson Valley News that the town of Amenia was considering topping the old toxic dump with solar panels, but Silo Ridge didn’t approve because it thought it would obstruct their view, I was amazed. Because when I look at solar panels, I see the beauty in how they can help save our planet.

Solar energy can help save our planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What I see as ugly is when people are parked and leave the cars idling. New York has passed a law against idling cars because of the increased rate of asthma and emphysema they can cause in our children.

Please, let’s set healthy priorities for our town.

Sarah Laliberte

Amenia

 

U.S. Rep. Maloney: 17th or 18th District?

I am a Dutchess County Democratic Committee representative from Stanfordville who spent days petitioning for Congressman Sean Maloney.

For a senior Democratic representative, never mind the chair of the DNCC, to desert an open swing district to run against a freshman incumbent in a safer district is outrageous on many levels.

I readily understand (as it apparently took him all of 25 minutes to decide) that running in the 17th is advantageous to himself. It certainly is not for the Democratic Party, especially in this time of desperate need.

I hope that he will reconsider this selfish decision.

Benjamin Miller

Stanfordville

 

PTA organizers say thanks for Webutuck Community Day

The Webutuck PTA hosted the Community Day Event at Webutuck High School on Saturday, May 14, from 10 to 2 p.m. The weather was beautiful and there were many exciting activities enjoyed by all.

Some of these things included Bee Bee the Clown shows and balloon making, the Community Car Show, Touch a Truck, Vendor Fair, Dunk Tank, Petting Zoo, Opening Ceremonies for the School-Based Health Clinic, community organizations and school organizations.

Hosting events like this are very important for our community. They bring people together and provide an opportunity to share important information that is offered within the community.

In order for us to all be successful there needs to be engagement and involvement. It’s also essential to share community pride, which is easily achieved through community events like this.

By coming together, we support each other and provide opportunities to volunteer, participate and be involved. Community events bring all of our stakeholders together for a common goal, to promote socialization, support for one another, overall health and the well-being of everyone involved.

We want to thank everyone who came out and supported the event and all those who helped make this event come together. Thank you to all emergency service workers that volunteered their time to join us: the Millerton Fire Department, the Amenia Fire Department, the Wassaic Fire Department, the Amenia Ambulance and Northern Dutchess Paramedics.

Thank you, also, to Officer-in-Charge Mike Veeder of the Millerton Police Department and the entire MPD, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and their K-9 Unit, ATV Display and Marine Unit for joining us.

Looking out to see the back of WHS filled with over 300 smiling faces, this is what makes all the long hours of volunteer work so rewarding.

Leah Sprague

Webutuck Community Day event coordinator

Millerton

Anna Kall

Webutuck Community Day event coordinator

Wassaic

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