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Author: Assistant Supervisor

Parking Rules and Regulations

Pursuant to Town Law 251-11, by order of the Pine Plains Town Board, parking is prohibited between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 am the following morning during November 1st and April 1st.

If you are a tenant with parking privileges, please be sure to park in the designated tenant parking area only, when parking overnight.

Thank you.

Dear Pine Plains 12.31.21

A LAST LETTER AND A WAY FORWARD

12.31.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

This is the last letter I will write as Town Supervisor of Pine Plains. I have written recently about all the things the Town Board accomplished in the four years that I was a part of it, but now I want to emphasize the work that still needs to be done to ensure that Pine Plains is a place where your children can grow up, be safe, and prosper as adults should they choose to stay.

I see people on social media once in a while asking folks what businesses they’d like to see in Pine Plains. Every single time someone replies, “a gym” or “general store”. Often, they complain about landlords and the lack of a place to rent here. All of these things are tied to the availability of a wastewater system here. There old Deuel’s is a prime location for a lot of wonderful ideas—but there is no septic system there, and the town has no system of its own. The lots our businesses are built on are too small to allow for systems that comply with the regulations dictated by the County and State Health Departments. Old men sit at Stewart’s in the mornings stoking fears of rising taxes and strange people coming to town should we improve the infrastructure here. They’ve had their lives and fear their bills. But the rest of the town is not over. Far from it. We are on the verge of being a real center, of having a downtown that bustles and yet remains full of rural character and goals as per our Comprehensive Plan. We need the small, innovative central septic system that the engineers we hired have recommended and we need to collaborate with the Catholic Archdiocese on this project because now is the time to get the money from the government, and the archdiocese is ready and willing to work with us. It took yeoman’s effort to get to this point and to have all that wasted would be tragic for the town.

Broadband and the lack thereof is a huge issue for us. Whereas we have a dynamic school superintendent who had the wherewithal to find the money to give every kid in school a device so that they could reach the internet, that does not help the many college students who were sent home to study and who live without access to that essential—dare-I-call-it—utility. In addition, economic development is dependent on access to the internet. That is just the truth about our economy. People are working at home and their businesses can’t begin or thrive without internet. The town committee on Broadband again did heroic work on this and is the first to collaborate with the County but the work is slow and we don’t know what the County will discover about ways to help us. Amenia and Northeast and Stanford are in the same boat. We collaborated with them and our brilliant committee handed their report to the County, but this needs to be pursued with a loud voice and relentlessly.

Town Hall needs to be in the center of town. Every new enterprise—even government—that comes to our downtown helps all the other businesses stay open. A vibrant town center where people come to pay taxes, chat with the Town Clerk over marriage and fishing licenses, and attend Board meetings would re-invigorate our downtown in all the right ways.

And speaking of our downtown—there needs to be a Pre-Plan designed by the Fire Department to protect the very rare and fragile old buildings we have in town. This Plan cannot all be in one person’s head—it must exist for all the volunteers to know and understand and be shared with other departments in our mutual aid system so that they know exactly where to go should there be a fire here. The Knox Box (there’s one on the library—it contains a key so that the PPFD can get inside without breaking all the glass) can be used in buildings like The Stissing Center, where unnecessary damage to the glass and building could be avoided by the availability of a key. This can be arranged by the PPFD for all our vulnerable buildings downtown.

We need to use our American Rescue Plan money wisely and for the greatest return. We still have a water line project to build down Route 82 so that those pipes can be replaced with larger ones with better pressure. That is the kind of infrastructure we can use the money for. We could also dedicate it to the central septic system, should it be in a phase where that seems possible.

We have to protect our own Town Police Department at all costs. Depending on the County system of sheriffs and troopers who don’t necessarily know us and who are not always nearby makes everyone less safe. We have our share of problems—opioid addiction and domestic violence and DUIs are our biggest—but as long as no one steps outside the laws they are entrusted to enforce, our collaboration with these other agencies in a kind of checks-and-balances manner is what keeps the town humane with no shots fired.

There were many projects that I has in mind—and which came up in these last months as priorities—but in a way, I think there is one that stands out more than any of them: the uniting of the disparate groups in our town. The “from heres” versus the “found heres”. You could say townies versus weekenders too, but that’s not really accurate these days, as many people with second homes ended up living here and liking it. But there is a rift, and we need to fix it. To that end, I found a way to bring people together to work on the problem: it is called a Citizens Assembly. Think of it as kind of like jury duty: random representatives from all walks of life here would be asked to be a part of this think tank that meets once a month for a few hours over the course of half a year or a year perhaps to work on the issue, most probably in our case at the Community Center. 5 tables of 6 people each could convene, led by facilitators trained to this, paid for by a grant which I know I can get from someplace. It is a very advanced idea, a way to preserve and in some ways bring to the fore participatory democracy at its best. It would produce recommendations by citizens for action by the Town Board. They are using this method in France to discuss Climate Change and it is catching on around the world as a way to bring opposing factions together to work on vital issues. If they can do it in Paris, why not Pine Plains?

If there is one thing that has really frustrated me these past four years, it is the lack of participation in democracy that has taken hold in our country and most notably in our town. Complaining on Facebook is not participating in democracy: it is not facing people it is hurting people. It is harmful to others. Political signs which are code for expletives, and signs that belittle others just hurt everyone. If someone is frustrated with things they lash out, but we don’t have a mechanism for doing something better than that. A Citizens Assembly could be that mechanism. Facing each other across a table takes courage and I hope we can all summon our inner Harry Potters and Hermiones and make this happen. I have a cape and a wand. (Well, I can borrow one from my kid.) It wouldn’t take magic to do this, but if we succeed, the process could be magical.

Get out your wands, Pine Plains! Make good magic!

Over and out,

Darrah Cloud

PS: Here are photos of the desk I am leaving to the new Supervisor. Here are all our projects!

A LAST LETTER AND A WAY FORWARD

12.31.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

This is the last letter I will write as Town Supervisor of Pine Plains. I have written recently about all the things the Town Board accomplished in the four years that I was a part of it, but now I want to emphasize the work that still needs to be done to ensure that Pine Plains is a place where your children can grow up, be safe, and prosper as adults should they choose to stay.

I see people on social media once in a while asking folks what businesses they’d like to see in Pine Plains. Every single time someone replies, “a gym” or “general store”. Often, they complain about landlords and the lack of a place to rent here. All of these things are tied to the availability of a wastewater system here. There old Deuel’s is a prime location for a lot of wonderful ideas—but there is no septic system there, and the town has no system of its own. The lots our businesses are built on are too small to allow for systems that comply with the regulations dictated by the County and State Health Departments. Old men sit at Stewart’s in the mornings stoking fears of rising taxes and strange people coming to town should we improve the infrastructure here. They’ve had their lives and fear their bills. But the rest of the town is not over. Far from it. We are on the verge of being a real center, of having a downtown that bustles and yet remains full of rural character and goals as per our Comprehensive Plan. We need the small, innovative central septic system that the engineers we hired have recommended and we need to collaborate with the Catholic Archdiocese on this project because now is the time to get the money from the government, and the archdiocese is ready and willing to work with us. It took yeoman’s effort to get to this point and to have all that wasted would be tragic for the town.

Broadband and the lack thereof is a huge issue for us. Whereas we have a dynamic school superintendent who had the wherewithal to find the money to give every kid in school a device so that they could reach the internet, that does not help the many college students who were sent home to study and who live without access to that essential—dare-I-call-it—utility. In addition, economic development is dependent on access to the internet. That is just the truth about our economy. People are working at home and their businesses can’t begin or thrive without internet. The town committee on Broadband again did heroic work on this and is the first to collaborate with the County but the work is slow and we don’t know what the County will discover about ways to help us. Amenia and Northeast and Stanford are in the same boat. We collaborated with them and our brilliant committee handed their report to the County, but this needs to be pursued with a loud voice and relentlessly.

Town Hall needs to be in the center of town. Every new enterprise—even government—that comes to our downtown helps all the other businesses stay open. A vibrant town center where people come to pay taxes, chat with the Town Clerk over marriage and fishing licenses, and attend Board meetings would re-invigorate our downtown in all the right ways.

And speaking of our downtown—there needs to be a Pre-Plan designed by the Fire Department to protect the very rare and fragile old buildings we have in town. This Plan cannot all be in one person’s head—it must exist for all the volunteers to know and understand and be shared with other departments in our mutual aid system so that they know exactly where to go should there be a fire here. The Knox Box (there’s one on the library—it contains a key so that the PPFD can get inside without breaking all the glass) can be used in buildings like The Stissing Center, where unnecessary damage to the glass and building could be avoided by the availability of a key. This can be arranged by the PPFD for all our vulnerable buildings downtown.

We need to use our American Rescue Plan money wisely and for the greatest return. We still have a water line project to build down Route 82 so that those pipes can be replaced with larger ones with better pressure. That is the kind of infrastructure we can use the money for. We could also dedicate it to the central septic system, should it be in a phase where that seems possible.

We have to protect our own Town Police Department at all costs. Depending on the County system of sheriffs and troopers who don’t necessarily know us and who are not always nearby makes everyone less safe. We have our share of problems—opioid addiction and domestic violence and DUIs are our biggest—but as long as no one steps outside the laws they are entrusted to enforce, our collaboration with these other agencies in a kind of checks-and-balances manner is what keeps the town humane with no shots fired.

There were many projects that I has in mind—and which came up in these last months as priorities—but in a way, I think there is one that stands out more than any of them: the uniting of the disparate groups in our town. The “from heres” versus the “found heres”. You could say townies versus weekenders too, but that’s not really accurate these days, as many people with second homes ended up living here and liking it. But there is a rift, and we need to fix it. To that end, I found a way to bring people together to work on the problem: it is called a Citizens Assembly. Think of it as kind of like jury duty: random representatives from all walks of life here would be asked to be a part of this think tank that meets once a month for a few hours over the course of half a year or a year perhaps to work on the issue, most probably in our case at the Community Center. 5 tables of 6 people each could convene, led by facilitators trained to this, paid for by a grant which I know I can get from someplace. It is a very advanced idea, a way to preserve and in some ways bring to the fore participatory democracy at its best. It would produce recommendations by citizens for action by the Town Board. They are using this method in France to discuss Climate Change and it is catching on around the world as a way to bring opposing factions together to work on vital issues. If they can do it in Paris, why not Pine Plains?

If there is one thing that has really frustrated me these past four years, it is the lack of participation in democracy that has taken hold in our country and most notably in our town. Complaining on Facebook is not participating in democracy: it is not facing people it is hurting people. It is harmful to others. Political signs which are code for expletives, and signs that belittle others just hurt everyone. If someone is frustrated with things they lash out, but we don’t have a mechanism for doing something better than that. A Citizens Assembly could be that mechanism. Facing each other across a table takes courage and I hope we can all summon our inner Harry Potters and Hermiones and make this happen. I have a cape and a wand. (Well, I can borrow one from my kid.) It wouldn’t take magic to do this, but if we succeed, the process could be magical.

Get out your wands, Pine Plains! Make good magic!

Over and out,

Darrah Cloud

PS: Here are photos of the desk I am leaving to the new Supervisor. Here are all our projects!

 

Public Notice December 16, 2021

Public Notice
TOWN OF PINE PLAINS
RESTATED RESOLUTION APPROPRIATING A SPECIFIC AMOUNT TO PAY THE
COST OF PREPARING A MAP, PLAN AND REPORT FOR THE CREATION OF A
PROPOSED WASTEWATER DISTRICT WITHIN THE TOWN OF PINE PLAINS
CENTERED AROUND THE HAMLET BUSINESS ZONING DISTRICT
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Pine Plains has been considering the
establishment of a wastewater district for the Town of Pine Plains, which will be centered around
the Hamlet Business Zoning District pursuant to the provisions of Article 12-a of the New York
State Town Law; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board has determined that the engineering firm of Tighe & Bond
Engineering & Landscape Architecture, P.C. (Tighe & Bond) is duly qualified to prepare such
map, plan and report, as required by §209-b of the New York State Town Law; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board has determined that the cost of the preparation of the map,
plan and report will not exceed $11,700; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board has applied for, and received, an $11,700 Water
Infrastructure Grant to pay for the cost of such map, plan and report.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it
RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of Pine Plains, in regular session duly
convened, as follows:
1. That the engineering firm of Tighe & Bond be, and hereby is, directed pursuant to
the provisions of §209-b of the New York State Town Law to prepare a map, plan
and report meeting the requirements of said section of the law.
2. That the expense incurred for the preparation of the map, plan and report shall be
a general charge and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as other
Town charges except that it is anticipated that the preparation of the map, plan
and report will be completely funded by the said grant.
3. That this Resolution, in accordance of §24 of the Municipal Home Rule; Article 7
of the New York State Town Law and §209-b of the New York State Town Law
is subject to a permissive referendum.
The question of the adoption of the foregoing Resolution was duly put to a vote on roll
call on December 16, 2021 which resulted as follows:
Supervisor Cloud Aye
Councilman Bartles Aye
Councilman Chase Aye
Councilwoman Jones Aye
Councilman Zick Aye
The Resolution was thereupon declared duly adopted. 5-0 Passed.
__________________________________________
MADELIN DAFOE, TOWN CLERK
By Order of the Town Board
Madelin Dafoe
Town Clerk

Dear Pine Plains 12.17.21

Dear Pine Plains,

Carol Hart asked me to announce that Wreaths Across America will take place at noon on Saturday the 18th at the Evergreen Cemetery. That night at the Stissing Center the Stissing Theatre Guild is putting on The Bald Soprano, an absurdist play, with a cast of fine teenagers from Stissing Mountain School. The Presbyterian Church holds their Christmas Concert at 4pm on Saturday as well.

And Sunday please come to the Stissing Center for the 3rd New Play Reading for the series, Local Produce. Local playwrights and actors will read from Anne Undeland’s MR. FULLERTON, the story of Edith Wharton‘s one true love affair.

Last night I held my final Town Board Meeting. We have gotten a lot done the last 4 years. To wit:

We launched and maintained a new user-friendly website
Hired a fantastic planning company and launched the Comprehensive Plan Update that culminated in January of 2020 via a grant we wrote and won

Took that Update and launched the Zoning Review that led to the text and map changes in zoning to correct some problems in our zoning
Created a Broadband Committee which did incredible work mapping internet service and now serving on a committee with the County
Became a Clean Energy Community and Climate Smart Community with NYSERDA providing grants to the town for environmental projects; received a grant to install an EV charging station to bring eco-tourists to town
Convened a Solar Committee and wrote a Solar Law
Launched the feasibility study for a small innovative Central Septic System to basically create economic opportunities in PP and wrote and received grants for every phase so far
Brought a Recovery Coach to Pine Plains for help for those struggling with addiction
Bought and demolished 2 decrepit houses in order to build a new Town Hall in that location on our municipal parking lot–a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Countless repairs to facilities: Library, Highway Garage, current Town Hall
Maintained the Budget and created the SWEEP account for an extra revenue stream
Wrote and received a $70,000 grant to build an all-abilities playground as well as a grant to purchase two GRIT all-terrain wheelchairs so people with physical challenges can get to our beach and trails
Wrote the Mandated Police reform policy with Stakeholders Committee: Brenda Jackson, Lisa Michetti, Nelson Zayas, Sarah Jones, Keary Hanan
Spearheaded bridge repair for Willowvale Road and Speed reductions for 8 roads
Contact and negotiations begun with Catholic Archdiocese and Negotiations for acreage for central septic and possible affordable housing development or a park
Wrote Mandated Emergency Action Policy
Created standing ZRC
Liaison with Durst Organization and hosted their representatives through numerous public meetings and general meetings regarding the Hudson Valley Project
Founded Tri-Town Coalition for Affordable Housing and worked with Hudson River Housing to purchase the already-built condos at Town Centre for permanent affordable rentals for the town
Handled Town business and kept all departments going during an unprecedented and historic pandemic which included learning new technologies like ZOOM for conducting remote meetings and filming all meetings
Began and wrote Dear Pine Plains a weekly Newsletter
Wrote numerous White papers on all town projects
Requested and received re-paving of State Roads 199 east and west
CDAC Member giving grants to municipalities and agencies in DC
DC Affordable Housing Committee member
DC Supervisors and Mayors Association Secretary and Executive Board member

None of these accomplishments could have been done without the support of an extraordinary group of people employed by the town: and it has been my privilege to get to work with them. I loved every minute of that, and I will miss our camaraderie immensely.

I often wonder why it seems like people aren’t curious anymore. We want to declare things, and be sure of things, we can’t admit it when we’re wrong–perhaps if we are curious that would de-stabilize our security. But I think curiosity is the only way we can grow, as people and as a town.

And so my Holiday wish for you is infinite curiosity, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains,

Carol Hart asked me to announce that Wreaths Across America will take place at noon on Saturday the 18th at the Evergreen Cemetery. That night at the Stissing Center the Stissing Theatre Guild is putting on The Bald Soprano, an absurdist play, with a cast of fine teenagers from Stissing Mountain School. The Presbyterian Church holds their Christmas Concert at 4pm on Saturday as well.

And Sunday please come to the Stissing Center for the 3rd New Play Reading for the series, Local Produce. Local playwrights and actors will read from Anne Undeland’s MR. FULLERTON, the story of Edith Wharton‘s one true love affair.

Last night I held my final Town Board Meeting. We have gotten a lot done the last 4 years. To wit:

We launched and maintained a new user-friendly website
Hired a fantastic planning company and launched the Comprehensive Plan Update that culminated in January of 2020 via a grant we wrote and won

Took that Update and launched the Zoning Review that led to the text and map changes in zoning to correct some problems in our zoning
Created a Broadband Committee which did incredible work mapping internet service and now serving on a committee with the County
Became a Clean Energy Community and Climate Smart Community with NYSERDA providing grants to the town for environmental projects; received a grant to install an EV charging station to bring eco-tourists to town
Convened a Solar Committee and wrote a Solar Law
Launched the feasibility study for a small innovative Central Septic System to basically create economic opportunities in PP and wrote and received grants for every phase so far
Brought a Recovery Coach to Pine Plains for help for those struggling with addiction
Bought and demolished 2 decrepit houses in order to build a new Town Hall in that location on our municipal parking lot–a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Countless repairs to facilities: Library, Highway Garage, current Town Hall
Maintained the Budget and created the SWEEP account for an extra revenue stream
Wrote and received a $70,000 grant to build an all-abilities playground as well as a grant to purchase two GRIT all-terrain wheelchairs so people with physical challenges can get to our beach and trails
Wrote the Mandated Police reform policy with Stakeholders Committee: Brenda Jackson, Lisa Michetti, Nelson Zayas, Sarah Jones, Keary Hanan
Spearheaded bridge repair for Willowvale Road and Speed reductions for 8 roads
Contact and negotiations begun with Catholic Archdiocese and Negotiations for acreage for central septic and possible affordable housing development or a park
Wrote Mandated Emergency Action Policy
Created standing ZRC
Liaison with Durst Organization and hosted their representatives through numerous public meetings and general meetings regarding the Hudson Valley Project
Founded Tri-Town Coalition for Affordable Housing and worked with Hudson River Housing to purchase the already-built condos at Town Centre for permanent affordable rentals for the town
Handled Town business and kept all departments going during an unprecedented and historic pandemic which included learning new technologies like ZOOM for conducting remote meetings and filming all meetings
Began and wrote Dear Pine Plains a weekly Newsletter
Wrote numerous White papers on all town projects
Requested and received re-paving of State Roads 199 east and west
CDAC Member giving grants to municipalities and agencies in DC
DC Affordable Housing Committee member
DC Supervisors and Mayors Association Secretary and Executive Board member

None of these accomplishments could have been done without the support of an extraordinary group of people employed by the town: and it has been my privilege to get to work with them. I loved every minute of that, and I will miss our camaraderie immensely.

I often wonder why it seems like people aren’t curious anymore. We want to declare things, and be sure of things, we can’t admit it when we’re wrong–perhaps if we are curious that would de-stabilize our security. But I think curiosity is the only way we can grow, as people and as a town.

And so my Holiday wish for you is infinite curiosity, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 12.10.21

12.10.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

A special call is out for help with vaccination clinics in Pine Plains. As you know, our town has vaccinated over 85% of its citizens! One of the best things about this is that it is our friends who gave us our shots.
Might you consider helping now? The crew is stretched thin and needs more volunteers to direct traffic and assist with check-in, as well as more nurses with NYS licenses to administer the shots. Please contact Kathy Bartles at 518-398-7568 if you are willing and able! The next clinic is December 21st and there will be more.

The thrift shops at the Episcopal Church and the Methodist Church are wonderful places to shop for the holidays. I found hand-stitched napkins there the other day with meticulously sewn ornaments on them. Real treasures.

Covid numbers have risen in Pine Plains to over where we first began back in 2020. Here is last year’s holiday newsletter–a reminder of where we were back then:

“12.18.2020

Dear Pine Plains,

Here we are in the midst of the holidays—and a pandemic. There is so much to say about the past year, and not enough time or space to say it. Perhaps this time requires celebrating what good has come out of it.

First of all, our food pantries really stepped up to the plate, serving at times more than 120 people weekly from the area. They were assisted by all of our restaurants in keeping families fed and children able to therefore pay attention in school.

Our schools and teachers. We are one of the few towns around that was able to provide internet hotspots to every student who didn’t have internet so that they could attend virtual school. I have read many complaints and the heartache of many parents watching their children struggle with this situation, but if you really step back and breathe, you will see what an astonishing thing the schools have accomplished here. More on this in a bit.

Our Police Department has been newly challenged by an increase in difficulties around town, and yet Pine Plains remains a very safe place to live because of their vigilance. Our prosecutor recently called to tell me she could only surmise that the reason there was so much less crime in our town than in the other small towns she serves was that our Police were apparent here in a way that most other towns don’t see, and that they worked so well with the State Troopers and Sheriff and each other as mentored by Officer in Charge John Hughes.

I celebrate the diversity of great minds on both the Broadband Committee and the Police Stakeholders Committee. Both committees have done deep thoughtful work on their projects, and if you missed the presentation by the broadband Committee Monday night, you can find it on youtube.com at Town of Pine Plains. The breaking news that came in after that meeting is that our school district has been invited by the Governor’s office into a program for obtaining rural broadband with the help of a not-for-profit called the Education Superhighway. www.educationsuperhighway.org

If all goes well, this organization would pay for the build-out of high-speed internet to reach those homes with students who don’t have access to it. Dr. Handler will be collecting the street addresses (no names) of those families who don’t have internet in order to help make this happen. Perhaps the whole town can piggy-back on this effort to get high-speed internet to everyone.

Last week I attended the virtual Land Use Law Conference at Pace University on the subject of Institutional Racism in Land Use Law. The history of using the law to exclude people from neighborhoods where they grew up or to which they aspire is an inescapable fact. The inability of people to buy a home historically has created the poverty we see in many of our cities but it also has affected our rural towns. Equity in a home is the best way a citizen can rise out of poverty, but if they are relegated to certain areas or neighborhoods where an increase in the value of a house can’t happen, or they can’t get a loan in order to buy a decent house in a decent place, the only result is the perpetuation of need. This was an invaluable education in land use in a small town, and how to make it work so that everyone has a chance to live well, side by side, no matter what color they are.

Our Covid numbers are up again—6 this week, 7 in Milan, 16 in Stanfordville. I want to celebrate all the gals who have made and given away all the masks you see on a lot of people in town, and all the people who wear masks. You are the ones responsible for keeping our numbers low.

The Sewer Feasibility Study is in and we are studying it! The 2021 Budget is in and approved by the County. I celebrate that!

Finally, I want to celebrate learning something new. That has been a key asset to this pandemic. Maybe the only asset. But it is vital. I know that we have all learned from it, perhaps something about our selves or our neighbors, but also about things we thought we already knew and actually, we didn’t!”

This year in 2021, I celebrate you, Pine Plains!

Darrah

12.10.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

A special call is out for help with vaccination clinics in Pine Plains. As you know, our town has vaccinated over 85% of its citizens! One of the best things about this is that it is our friends who gave us our shots.
Might you consider helping now? The crew is stretched thin and needs more volunteers to direct traffic and assist with check-in, as well as more nurses with NYS licenses to administer the shots. Please contact Kathy Bartles at 518-398-7568 if you are willing and able! The next clinic is December 21st and there will be more.

The thrift shops at the Episcopal Church and the Methodist Church are wonderful places to shop for the holidays. I found hand-stitched napkins there the other day with meticulously sewn ornaments on them. Real treasures.

Covid numbers have risen in Pine Plains to over where we first began back in 2020. Here is last year’s holiday newsletter–a reminder of where we were back then:

“12.18.2020

Dear Pine Plains,

Here we are in the midst of the holidays—and a pandemic. There is so much to say about the past year, and not enough time or space to say it. Perhaps this time requires celebrating what good has come out of it.

First of all, our food pantries really stepped up to the plate, serving at times more than 120 people weekly from the area. They were assisted by all of our restaurants in keeping families fed and children able to therefore pay attention in school.

Our schools and teachers. We are one of the few towns around that was able to provide internet hotspots to every student who didn’t have internet so that they could attend virtual school. I have read many complaints and the heartache of many parents watching their children struggle with this situation, but if you really step back and breathe, you will see what an astonishing thing the schools have accomplished here. More on this in a bit.

Our Police Department has been newly challenged by an increase in difficulties around town, and yet Pine Plains remains a very safe place to live because of their vigilance. Our prosecutor recently called to tell me she could only surmise that the reason there was so much less crime in our town than in the other small towns she serves was that our Police were apparent here in a way that most other towns don’t see, and that they worked so well with the State Troopers and Sheriff and each other as mentored by Officer in Charge John Hughes.

I celebrate the diversity of great minds on both the Broadband Committee and the Police Stakeholders Committee. Both committees have done deep thoughtful work on their projects, and if you missed the presentation by the broadband Committee Monday night, you can find it on youtube.com at Town of Pine Plains. The breaking news that came in after that meeting is that our school district has been invited by the Governor’s office into a program for obtaining rural broadband with the help of a not-for-profit called the Education Superhighway. www.educationsuperhighway.org

If all goes well, this organization would pay for the build-out of high-speed internet to reach those homes with students who don’t have access to it. Dr. Handler will be collecting the street addresses (no names) of those families who don’t have internet in order to help make this happen. Perhaps the whole town can piggy-back on this effort to get high-speed internet to everyone.

Last week I attended the virtual Land Use Law Conference at Pace University on the subject of Institutional Racism in Land Use Law. The history of using the law to exclude people from neighborhoods where they grew up or to which they aspire is an inescapable fact. The inability of people to buy a home historically has created the poverty we see in many of our cities but it also has affected our rural towns. Equity in a home is the best way a citizen can rise out of poverty, but if they are relegated to certain areas or neighborhoods where an increase in the value of a house can’t happen, or they can’t get a loan in order to buy a decent house in a decent place, the only result is the perpetuation of need. This was an invaluable education in land use in a small town, and how to make it work so that everyone has a chance to live well, side by side, no matter what color they are.

Our Covid numbers are up again—6 this week, 7 in Milan, 16 in Stanfordville. I want to celebrate all the gals who have made and given away all the masks you see on a lot of people in town, and all the people who wear masks. You are the ones responsible for keeping our numbers low.

The Sewer Feasibility Study is in and we are studying it! The 2021 Budget is in and approved by the County. I celebrate that!

Finally, I want to celebrate learning something new. That has been a key asset to this pandemic. Maybe the only asset. But it is vital. I know that we have all learned from it, perhaps something about our selves or our neighbors, but also about things we thought we already knew and actually, we didn’t!”

This year in 2021, I celebrate you, Pine Plains!

Darrah

Covid -19 Testing is available at the Pine Plains Pharmacy

Covid-19 Testing is available at the Pine Plains Pharmacy!

CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

The Pharmacy offers 3 testing options:

1) Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Rapid Test
-Results are available in 15 minutes!

2) ACCULA RAPID COVID-19 RT-PCR Test
– Results are available same day

3) COVID-19 RT-PCR Test (Molecular/NAAT)
-Results are available in 24-48 hours!

Testing is available curb-side  Monday through Saturday.
Make sure you are making an appointment for the correct test as required.

Please follow CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT and fill out the necessary intake form.

If you have any questions, the Pharmacy can be reached at (518)398-5588.