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Town Supervisor Updates

Dear Pine Plains 4.16.21

4.16.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

Last night we approved the final phase of the Town Park Redesign. It includes a fountain and a pergola and it will be really beautiful. Our committee of designers is well-versed in Pine Plains weather and flora. I feel that the town deserves a beautiful place to sit, and with maintenance, this will be a real gift. As you know, the money for this was left to us by one Edward Kinsser, who gave it to us in his will. It was strongly suggested too that we make this committee into a regular committee to help handle maintenance and oversight of the park. Let us know if you are interested.

Arbor Day is virtual this year! Tune in April 27th for a lively discussion on trees and their care. See the end of this letter for info.

May 1st is the dedication by our Little Nine Partners Historical Society of the historic marker to commemorate Jacob Bowman who built the opera house that is now Pine Plains Pharmacy. The ceremony will be held in front of the pharmacy at 11am and features Thayer Durrel repeating his performance of Jacob from the Cemetery Tours. Mark your calendars!

May 27th, the Zoning Review Committee will meet again to look at draft zoning changes. These meetings are on Youtube at Town of Pine Plains videos.

I want also to report on the Pattern for Progress Fellows Program which the town board sent me to as a Fellow. The subject this year is Institutional Racism, and the time in class every two weeks has been invaluable to my understanding of how one can create a policy which actually promotes inequity. In our quest for more housing in Pine Plains, that becomes key. I have been put on the work-group that concerns Police Department relationships with citizens. Lots of great ideas are coming out of this and I can’t wait to share them after June, when the program ends.

This week we met with numerous business owners whose 32 buildings would comprise the recommended District for a small, innovative wastewater system.  Mainly, it is the businesses that comprise the Business Hamlet zoning in town. We made some more edits to the draft of the Study and will hold a public meeting on this hopefully sometime in May or June. Everyone will be welcome to come hear the engineers speak and ask questions.

Finally, a word about bike safety and your kids: it is actually a New York State Law that kids under age 14 must wear helmets, have a bell on their bikes, lights on both front and back, and operate their bikes in a safe manner. A lot of us think back on our own behavior once we got the freedom of having a bicycle, and operating it safely was not high on our lists of priorities. I certainly remember racing around and crashing into things without a helmet. Wheelies were a goal. It’s hard for our police to even want to enforce laws like this when we know how much fun it is to ride around on a nice day. So I’d like to ask the parents of Pine Plains to please take the time to talk with your kids about how to survive having a bicycle. There are often people on our local roads who don’t know them well, or are in a hurry, or are distracted, and god forbid they don’t see your kid losing control of a wheelie beside them. I understand that the adolescent ego is often tied to things like doing wheelies down Lake Road and jumping curbs on 199. Maybe we can figure out a place where kids can practice these kinds of fun things, but I have no ideas yet how we might do that, so for now, please keep your kids safe above all else. It is not long before they start driving and then the issue of safety becomes far more terrifying to everyone in town. I do not want to lose one more child to the roads here ever again.

This weekend many people will be out cleaning up the sides of the roads. Saturday is compliments of the Democrats, Sunday will be a teen group from the high school. Join us, or just bring us coffee.

Will work for cappuccino!
Darrah Cloud

Arbor Day this year is virtual. You can join the discussion of trees online as follows:

Arbor Day Virtual Celebrations
Ask an Arborist – live Q&A – 7 PM Tuesday April 27
How can you take the best care of your trees? What’s the right way to prune a limb? How do you know when to call a professional? And what is an arborist anyway? Join the NY Urban Forestry program and NY-ISA (international society of arboriculture) for a live question and answer session with certified arborists to answer these questions and more! This event is free but registration is required in advance: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec03bd581ec443dae7778384269bcd3c7
Facebook live: Arbor Day Tree Planting – Village of Liverpool Wednesday, April 28 at 11:30 am
Join the Central NY (R7) ReLeaf committee for a tree planting in celebration of Arbor Day. The committee, in partnership with the Village of Liverpool and Cornell Cooperative Extension Onondaga County are planting a few trees for arbor day at the Liverpool Willow Museum and streaming the event live. (Weather date: Friday, April 30 at 11:30 am). Join the Facebook event to get a reminder: https://fb.me/e/4ghTUEcwS
Facebook live: Preparing to Plant a tree – Friday April 30, Time TBD
So you want to plant a tree on your property but you don’t know where to start? Join us for a Facebook live all about how to pick the perfect spot for a tree, all the things to consider, and what species to plant! We’ll talk about all the parts that come together to get the right tree in the right place!

Dear Pine Plains 4.9.2021

4.9.2021
Dear Pine Plains,

What a beautiful week. Everything is budding out and the daffodils are blooming spectacularly everywhere, it seems.

Thursday, a group of citizens held a tiny parade and cupcake ceremony for our beloved FEDEX Delivery guy Pete by surprising him with a motorcade accompaniment into town, where a gathering of people displaying signs of thanks stood by to herald him. Pete is moving on after 21 years delivering to us here, and we are happy and sad at the same time. Here was a man who often stopped his truck to help someone, or shoot a few hoops with a kid playing alone on a court, or to give dog biscuits to canine citizens. (Think of all those Chewy boxes!) He will be missed.

Gregg Pulver stopped in at Town Hall to talk with Alice and I about Phase 2 of the Hometown Heroes Project. This is his baby, and we are helping to implement it. Phase 2 will be going up with the help and dedication of Kyle Lougheed and the crew of Ginocchio Electric. Kyle always steps up to help the town do things like this and we can’t thank him enough. Phase 3 of the Heroes is being gathered right now. If you have someone to sponsor, please come out to Town Hall and talk to Alice. It costs $200 and if you don’t have the money we might be able to help.

I got to see Tilly the Bloodhound this week, whose handler, Trooper Justin Bell, related a search she did recently and successfully for a missing woman down in Ossining. Tilly and Saffy, Justice Dave Humeston’s calendar-girl Ridgeback service dog are frequent visitors to Town Hall. Drop in! You might catch them!

I want to remind people that our Recovery Coach comes to Pine Plains on a weekly basis and is at the Episcopal Church to talk to anyone who wants help with drug or alcohol-related issues, whether the struggles be your own or a family member’s. Her name is Deb Hagan and she is there at 18 Pine Street inside the Parish house on the 2nd and 4th Mondays 4-8pm and the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays 11am-3pm. Think we don’t have a problem in Pine Plains? Think again. It hides well. People exchange their prescriptions for methadone and sublaxone for fentanyl and other opioids, so it is very hard to see what’s going on. Suffice it to say, the town police know, and are often the first ones on the scene of an overdose. Narcan has become a verb.

Our Broadband Committee received some nice publicity for their work in gathering Northern Dutchess towns together to examine the issue of high-speed internet in the area. We hope to have an announcement soon about the results of all their hard work.

The Town Park Committee is just about to get started on the renovation of the corner park at 82 and 199.
On a sad note, we lost Maria Heaney this past week, one of our favorite members of our senior group. We will miss seeing her at the tables in the Community Center. Our hearts are with her husband, Bernie.
Reminder: we have a call out for help with the Bicentennial in 2 years—we must start planning now—as well as a call out for people interested in being on a Housing Committee. Finding a place to live around here is becoming harder and harder. If you’d like to help the town figure out what to do about this, please write me at supervisor@pineplains-ny.gov So far I have 3 wonderful people. I think we need at least 2-4 more.

Keep tabs on all the things going on in town at www.pineplains-ny.gov, our website. Check out the Town Projects page.

Stay tuned in, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 4.2.2021

4.2.2021Dear Pine Plains,

The Town Beautification Committee is about to get underway with the town park renovation which is being financed by a legacy given to the town by a man named Edward Kinsley. They have a lovely design. It will become a pastoral place to sit and enjoy a coffee or read a book or watch the clouds.

Incredible work is underway via grants to bring the lakes to health with the help of our Highway Department and the DEC. Our designation as a Clean Energy Community will be enhanced by our stewardship of the headwaters of the Wappingers Creek Watershed.

We would like to convene an Affordable Housing Committee in order to handle the research on bringing and maintaining affordable housing in Pine Plains. If you are interested please contact the Town Supervisor.

The Durst Organization delivered their initial development design to the Planning Board. An explanation of this project is on our website in the area devoted to Town Projects. www.pineplains-ny.gov
All of our projects are there.

And this week the County brought a Pop-up Vaccination site to Pine Plains. It was an extraordinary operation, with numerous stations set up to receive recipients and all inside the gym at the high school, matching our own Nasir Mahmood’s mission to vaccinate everyone in Pine Plains. Dana Smith, County Commissioner of Emergency response came up, as well as many volunteers from all over the County and their energy and enthusiasm for the work made it all the more exciting being there. Again, it felt like we were making history, and frankly, we were. Over 250 vaccinations were administered, including one to our County Executive, Marcus Molinaro. He did not have to make that extra effort, and he did it in order to give us a shot in the arm, if you don’t mind my pun. He also gave me the theme for this week’s newsletter.

I remember being in the 4th grade and entirely unaware of what was going on in the world around me, specifically of the fact that our school district was about to be integrated via busing. Kids from Evanston would be bused to Skokie elementary schools, and in turn, we would be bused to the middle school in Evanston. Our teachers prepared us for handling this without our knowledge by teaching us the meaning of “noblesse oblige”. I have never forgotten the lesson. It means this: “the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged.”

Defining privilege is daunting. It can mean nothing more than two parents who stay together, living in a neighborhood where everyone looks after everyone, an ivy league education, a swimming pool and ski trips to Aspen. No matter what our definition, when it’s in action, served by a sense of noblesse oblige, it is like the radio-active spider-bite in Spiderman: with great power comes great responsibility. It can be a burden. It can be a cause for separation. Or celebration. Such is government at the local level. One serves everyone, regardless of who they are or what their circumstances are, or whether they appreciate it or not.

This charge is behind the best things that happen in Dutchess County. It is what makes the difference between getting a project done for the good of many people, not just oneself, and refusing to do much out of fear of losing a position or backlash. It means you leave your politics behind and you address the needs of everyone, and you do more than is required by the situation. Or appreciated by the recipients. So many people in Pine Plains have a strong sense of noblesse oblige, no matter how modest their backgrounds might be, or how vast their wealth. I mention this a lot but it never ceases to amaze me, and we have a fellow traveler in the County Executive. Thank you Marc, for coming here, and thank you everyone who donated this past week to the Erin Shanley Memorial fundraiser for St. Jude, and participated in the Trivia contest the night before, also to raise money for St. Jude; to all those who give money for college scholarships each spring at the high school, and keep the doors of the churches open, and are building The Stissing Center brick by brick; who raised funds for out-of-work restaurant workers during the pandemic, and the Library, who serve on our committees and give land to our trails initiative. To all who live by a sense of noblesse oblige when comfort might be easier, who get out and do things for this community.

Merci, Pine Plains.

Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 3.26.21

March 26, 2021Dear Pine Plains,

As of today, the Broadband Committee has delivered its Final Report to County Executive Marcus Molinaro, County Legislative Chair Gregg Pulver, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, Senator Sue Serino and Congressman Antonio DelGado, as well as our Town Board. It is the result of 9 months of weekly meetings to study our lack of high-speed internet in Pine Plains. As you know, we have now teamed up with the rest of the towns in Northern Dutchess to ask for help in getting complete coverage. This was not only a brilliant committee that did brilliant work, but a wonderful group to be a part of. Once again, our profound thanks for all the hard work.

The Sewer Feasibility Study Committee met with our engineers and the new plan is very exciting. The district has been re-drawn, and the system proposed is quite innovative. There is a lot of work ahead.

Work continues on the Zoning Review Committee. Again, if you have any problems with zoning we might not have heard about, please contact the Committee via Town Supervisor at supervisor@pineplains-ny.gov

Many people are asking about Town Cleanup Day. It is always the weekend after Labor Day. Start getting ready now! We will be mulching the brush pile earlier than usual this year due to sheer volume. Make sure you get those branches over to the highway department. And remember, there is a lot of wood chip mulch down there for the taking.

We are beginning to get serious about forming the Pine Plains Bicentennial Committee. The town celebrates its 200th birthday in April of 2023. It will take a lot of planning. For your excitement, we have begun gathering ideas with the historical society and they are listed at the end of this letter. We welcome your ideas but most of all your participation in this momentous event. Contact me or Alice at the above email address,

Trivia Night is tonight at the high school! Play from anywhere! All donations go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Check it out at Info: https://sites.google.com/…/virtual-trivia-night-nhs/home

Sign-up: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSclLzMf11zFiW…/viewform

And if you love forms, you love vaccinations this year. I got my 2nd vaccination and again I want to thank all the volunteers who made the experience personal and professional. I hope everyone knows that everyone at the site was a volunteer. They were all amazing. I had n00 side e**6ects except x%!nnn(**bl5ah…

Stay x%!nnn(**bl5ah…, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

 

 

Ideas for Pine Plains Bicentennial 2023 

(April 1 is actual anniversary date) 

(Suggestion – have a week-long celebration in October to coincide with AG Day) 

  • Invitations to state and county officials (Town) 
  • • Certificate (Town)
  • • Logo? (Town)
  • Challenge coin (Town) 
  • Press and Publicity (Town) 
  • Create a photo or video montage wishing town a happy birthday. Celebrate how it’s changed. Share it on website and social media. (Town and LNPHS) 
  • Give an award to the oldest (and newest) businesses. (Business Assoc.) 
  • Free dinner with entertainment and door prizes. Bring everyone together for a community-wide picnic or BBQ. (Town, Participating Restaurants) 
  • Create a passport program that participants get stamped as they visit businesses in town. It’s a fun way to reward people for shopping in the community. Complete and get ____________ (Business Assoc.) 
  • Scavenger Hunt. Paint and hide 200 rocks throughout the community. (Scouts) 
  • Kids’ Art Show with Theme. (Elementary school) 
  • Guided Nature Hike to Tower. (FOSL) 
  • Bury a time capsule. Celebrate retro style with this idea. The way things change so quickly now you could probably dig it up in a decade and still be surprised by its contents. (JR/SR High School) 
  • LNPHS 2023 Scholarship award would have bicentennial theme (LNPHS) 
  • • FFA Fair with Bicentennial Theme
  • • Invite people to help identify old photos (LNPHS) 
  • • Historical Cemetery Tour (Library and LNPHS) 
  • • Revolutionary War encampment at GB House (Neil Murray and LNPHS) 
  • • GB House Open House with historic displays (LNPHS) 
  • Pine Plains Police Department Event
  • Pine Plains Fire Department Event
  • Car Show
  • Walking Hamlet History Tours—Eno Law Office, Deuels Weigh Station, Cemetery, Patchins Mill…

 

In BOLD: Little Nine Partners Historical Society leading

Dear Pine Plains 3.19.21

De

View this email in your browser
3.19.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

This letter will just be a summary of the past month of Board activity. It was a busy month.

First and foremost, the American Rescue Plan will provide the Town of Pine Plains with a grant of $260,000 (this is based on our 2020  census results). We obtained the advice of our town accountant as to how best to spend the money, but we would love to hear from people with their ideas. No idea when it will come in, but of course, I am betting we can all think of a thousand ways to spend it.

The bids are in on all our projects for Highway garage repairs, slope stabilization on Hicks Hill, and the demolition of 8 and 12 N. Main. The companies were chosen and the work is set to begin.

The Zoning Review Committee launched with our planners BFJ Planning, and got off to a rousing start with a long and exciting meeting to detail all the things we want to correct in our zoning.

We have received a surprise $5000 grant from NYSERDA for earning a Clean Energy Community status back in 2019, and I learned about new programs for more grant money from our new representative there, Anilla Cherchin. We earn points by doing projects with the environment in mind, and those points lead to rewards of grants. It’s kind of like green stamps. Remember those?

Vaccinations came to Pine Plains via the heroic efforts of our pharmacist Nasir Mahmood and the cooperation of our Fire Department in providing a place to give them. I heard that people were complaining about having to stand in a line at the beginning, but that line did not last long and the operation has gone smoothly each of the days it has been here. More vaccine is coming, and the parameters of who receives it are about to open up even more. NOTE: The County will be holding a POP-UP CLINIC for the region around March 31st. They will be giving the Johnson and Johnson 1-dose vaccine. For this one, you need to sign up on the County site, at: dutchessny.gov/VaccineInfoForm Once again, if you want help filling out forms for signing up, or know someone who needs help, send them to Town Hall or the Library. We can help.

The Sewer Feasibility Study is in and we are examining it still in order to understand the ramifications of the results for the Town.

Our Emergency Action Plan was completed by Heather Emerich, Rich Prentice and I so that we now have a complete plan ready to implement should we ever have another disaster like the pandemic. The Board passed it with the addition of Board approval for any shut-down or re-opening of within 5 days of the initial decision.

Our Broadband Committee reached out to three other towns to help them start their process for getting high-speed internet, as well as to join us in lobbying our legislators, senators and County Executive for help in finishing the build-out in Pine Plains. Our report should be finished at the end of next week and we will issue it to all the electeds in our efforts and put it on our website. We are also asking for a liaison to be created on the Town Board for Broadband, and for that person to be the point person for helping community members access high-speed internet and troubleshoot problems.

Monday’s Town Board Workshop involved working on how the Town might receive a gift of trails land on the Mitchell property behind Stewart’s. How we designate that, who maintains the trails, and Pilch Drive were all subjects for consideration. These trails are the first step in creating a system that could weave throughout Pine Plains and be a real asset to the town.

If you will remember, sometime in 2018 Pine Plains joined the Wappingers Watershed Inter-municipal Council as guardians of the headwaters of the watershed. We had not been active in this Council for a while and our cooperation was essential in preventing what has become a horrible pollution problem at the end of the watershed at Wappinger Lake in Wappingers Falls. That lake is almost dead due to runoff from farms and other businesses along the creeks that feed into it.  Now many municipalities have gotten together to clean that up. I attended a number of meetings then handed over the reins to our current Pine Plains representative, Hollie Bart from the TWILA. After months and months of very hard work, Hollie and her lake association have just been informed that they have won numerous grants upwards of $60,000 to start the hard work of cleaning up the watershed beginning with Twin Islands Lake, which will have a positive effect on Stissing Lake as well. The method for the cleaning is called a Biochar Sock, and it needs to be applied while the lake is at high levels in the spring. These grants are coming from the Local Waterfront Revitalization grant opportunity through the State and once you get one, you are in there for life. The State rewarded our participation in taking responsibility for the health of the watershed, and numerous innovative practices can be put into action now due to these funds. Congratulations to Hollie and TWILA for putting Pine Plains on the map as more than just a pretty face.

A goose abatement plan for Stissing Lake was approved as well as the purchase of a new police car. The new car comes with everything included through a purchasing opportunity with the County Sheriff’s Department. Vicky, the old Crown Victoria, will be sold and the Taurus–which our police can hardly fit into with all their safety equipment on–will become the parade car.  I think we should name the new one: Elsie, or Gary, in honor of retired officer Gary Hoysradt. But as you know, cars choose their own names…

Finally, after more than 40 years, the old memorial hall now known as The Stissing Center has heat, hot water and central AC. As the country opens up after the pandemic, I know we are all looking forward to being in there to hear music and all the other possible things the organization will bring to Pine Plains.

La la la, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

View this email in your browser
3.19.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

This letter will just be a summary of the past month of Board activity. It was a busy month.

First and foremost, the American Rescue Plan will provide the Town of Pine Plains with a grant of $260,000 (this is based on our 2020  census results). We obtained the advice of our town accountant as to how best to spend the money, but we would love to hear from people with their ideas. No idea when it will come in, but of course, I am betting we can all think of a thousand ways to spend it.

The bids are in on all our projects for Highway garage repairs, slope stabilization on Hicks Hill, and the demolition of 8 and 12 N. Main. The companies were chosen and the work is set to begin.

The Zoning Review Committee launched with our planners BFJ Planning, and got off to a rousing start with a long and exciting meeting to detail all the things we want to correct in our zoning.

We have received a surprise $5000 grant from NYSERDA for earning a Clean Energy Community status back in 2019, and I learned about new programs for more grant money from our new representative there, Anilla Cherchin. We earn points by doing projects with the environment in mind, and those points lead to rewards of grants. It’s kind of like green stamps. Remember those?

Vaccinations came to Pine Plains via the heroic efforts of our pharmacist Nasir Mahmood and the cooperation of our Fire Department in providing a place to give them. I heard that people were complaining about having to stand in a line at the beginning, but that line did not last long and the operation has gone smoothly each of the days it has been here. More vaccine is coming, and the parameters of who receives it are about to open up even more. NOTE: The County will be holding a POP-UP CLINIC for the region around March 31st. They will be giving the Johnson and Johnson 1-dose vaccine. For this one, you need to sign up on the County site, at: dutchessny.gov/VaccineInfoForm Once again, if you want help filling out forms for signing up, or know someone who needs help, send them to Town Hall or the Library. We can help.

The Sewer Feasibility Study is in and we are examining it still in order to understand the ramifications of the results for the Town.

Our Emergency Action Plan was completed by Heather Emerich, Rich Prentice and I so that we now have a complete plan ready to implement should we ever have another disaster like the pandemic. The Board passed it with the addition of Board approval for any shut-down or re-opening of within 5 days of the initial decision.

Our Broadband Committee reached out to three other towns to help them start their process for getting high-speed internet, as well as to join us in lobbying our legislators, senators and County Executive for help in finishing the build-out in Pine Plains. Our report should be finished at the end of next week and we will issue it to all the electeds in our efforts and put it on our website. We are also asking for a liaison to be created on the Town Board for Broadband, and for that person to be the point person for helping community members access high-speed internet and troubleshoot problems.

Monday’s Town Board Workshop involved working on how the Town might receive a gift of trails land on the Mitchell property behind Stewart’s. How we designate that, who maintains the trails, and Pilch Drive were all subjects for consideration. These trails are the first step in creating a system that could weave throughout Pine Plains and be a real asset to the town.

If you will remember, sometime in 2018 Pine Plains joined the Wappingers Watershed Inter-municipal Council as guardians of the headwaters of the watershed. We had not been active in this Council for a while and our cooperation was essential in preventing what has become a horrible pollution problem at the end of the watershed at Wappinger Lake in Wappingers Falls. That lake is almost dead due to runoff from farms and other businesses along the creeks that feed into it.  Now many municipalities have gotten together to clean that up. I attended a number of meetings then handed over the reins to our current Pine Plains representative, Hollie Bart from the TWILA. After months and months of very hard work, Hollie and her lake association have just been informed that they have won numerous grants upwards of $60,000 to start the hard work of cleaning up the watershed beginning with Twin Islands Lake, which will have a positive effect on Stissing Lake as well. The method for the cleaning is called a Biochar Sock, and it needs to be applied while the lake is at high levels in the spring. These grants are coming from the Local Waterfront Revitalization grant opportunity through the State and once you get one, you are in there for life. The State rewarded our participation in taking responsibility for the health of the watershed, and numerous innovative practices can be put into action now due to these funds. Congratulations to Hollie and TWILA for putting Pine Plains on the map as more than just a pretty face.

A goose abatement plan for Stissing Lake was approved as well as the purchase of a new police car. The new car comes with everything included through a purchasing opportunity with the County Sheriff’s Department. Vicky, the old Crown Victoria, will be sold and the Taurus–which our police can hardly fit into with all their safety equipment on–will become the parade car.  I think we should name the new one: Elsie, or Gary, in honor of retired officer Gary Hoysradt. But as you know, cars choose their own names…

Finally, after more than 40 years, the old memorial hall now known as The Stissing Center has heat, hot water and central AC. As the country opens up after the pandemic, I know we are all looking forward to being in there to hear music and all the other possible things the organization will bring to Pine Plains.

La la la, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

View this email in your browser
3.19.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

This letter will just be a summary of the past month of Board activity. It was a busy month.

First and foremost, the American Rescue Plan will provide the Town of Pine Plains with a grant of $260,000 (this is based on our 2020  census results). We obtained the advice of our town accountant as to how best to spend the money, but we would love to hear from people with their ideas. No idea when it will come in, but of course, I am betting we can all think of a thousand ways to spend it.

The bids are in on all our projects for Highway garage repairs, slope stabilization on Hicks Hill, and the demolition of 8 and 12 N. Main. The companies were chosen and the work is set to begin.

The Zoning Review Committee launched with our planners BFJ Planning, and got off to a rousing start with a long and exciting meeting to detail all the things we want to correct in our zoning.

We have received a surprise $5000 grant from NYSERDA for earning a Clean Energy Community status back in 2019, and I learned about new programs for more grant money from our new representative there, Anilla Cherchin. We earn points by doing projects with the environment in mind, and those points lead to rewards of grants. It’s kind of like green stamps. Remember those?

Vaccinations came to Pine Plains via the heroic efforts of our pharmacist Nasir Mahmood and the cooperation of our Fire Department in providing a place to give them. I heard that people were complaining about having to stand in a line at the beginning, but that line did not last long and the operation has gone smoothly each of the days it has been here. More vaccine is coming, and the parameters of who receives it are about to open up even more. NOTE: The County will be holding a POP-UP CLINIC for the region around March 31st. They will be giving the Johnson and Johnson 1-dose vaccine. For this one, you need to sign up on the County site, at: dutchessny.gov/VaccineInfoForm Once again, if you want help filling out forms for signing up, or know someone who needs help, send them to Town Hall or the Library. We can help.

The Sewer Feasibility Study is in and we are examining it still in order to understand the ramifications of the results for the Town.

Our Emergency Action Plan was completed by Heather Emerich, Rich Prentice and I so that we now have a complete plan ready to implement should we ever have another disaster like the pandemic. The Board passed it with the addition of Board approval for any shut-down or re-opening of within 5 days of the initial decision.

Our Broadband Committee reached out to three other towns to help them start their process for getting high-speed internet, as well as to join us in lobbying our legislators, senators and County Executive for help in finishing the build-out in Pine Plains. Our report should be finished at the end of next week and we will issue it to all the electeds in our efforts and put it on our website. We are also asking for a liaison to be created on the Town Board for Broadband, and for that person to be the point person for helping community members access high-speed internet and troubleshoot problems.

Monday’s Town Board Workshop involved working on how the Town might receive a gift of trails land on the Mitchell property behind Stewart’s. How we designate that, who maintains the trails, and Pilch Drive were all subjects for consideration. These trails are the first step in creating a system that could weave throughout Pine Plains and be a real asset to the town.

If you will remember, sometime in 2018 Pine Plains joined the Wappingers Watershed Inter-municipal Council as guardians of the headwaters of the watershed. We had not been active in this Council for a while and our cooperation was essential in preventing what has become a horrible pollution problem at the end of the watershed at Wappinger Lake in Wappingers Falls. That lake is almost dead due to runoff from farms and other businesses along the creeks that feed into it.  Now many municipalities have gotten together to clean that up. I attended a number of meetings then handed over the reins to our current Pine Plains representative, Hollie Bart from the TWILA. After months and months of very hard work, Hollie and her lake association have just been informed that they have won numerous grants upwards of $60,000 to start the hard work of cleaning up the watershed beginning with Twin Islands Lake, which will have a positive effect on Stissing Lake as well. The method for the cleaning is called a Biochar Sock, and it needs to be applied while the lake is at high levels in the spring. These grants are coming from the Local Waterfront Revitalization grant opportunity through the State and once you get one, you are in there for life. The State rewarded our participation in taking responsibility for the health of the watershed, and numerous innovative practices can be put into action now due to these funds. Congratulations to Hollie and TWILA for putting Pine Plains on the map as more than just a pretty face.

A goose abatement plan for Stissing Lake was approved as well as the purchase of a new police car. The new car comes with everything included through a purchasing opportunity with the County Sheriff’s Department. Vicky, the old Crown Victoria, will be sold and the Taurus–which our police can hardly fit into with all their safety equipment on–will become the parade car.  I think we should name the new one: Elsie, or Gary, in honor of retired officer Gary Hoysradt. But as you know, cars choose their own names…

Finally, after more than 40 years, the old memorial hall now known as The Stissing Center has heat, hot water and central AC. As the country opens up after the pandemic, I know we are all looking forward to being in there to hear music and all the other possible things the organization will bring to Pine Plains.

La la la, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

ar Pine Plains 3.19.21

Dear Pine Plains 3.5.21

3.5.2021
Dear Pine Plains,

I dived into three particularly interesting things this week: what the American Rescue Plan could mean to Pine Plains, the vaccination situation in Pine Plains, and our Broadband Committee meeting with Gregg Pulver and Town Supervisors and Committee members from Stanfordville, Northeast, Milan and Amenia.

BUT FIRST, BREAKING NEWS! At 5:34 last night, I received an email from NYSERDA informing us that we have received a $5,000 grant for achieving the status of CLEAN ENERGY COMMUNITY. If you can recall, we began pushing to become a Climate Smart Community in 2018 and by 2019 had achieved 4 large climate actions to qualify to become a Clean Energy Community. We replaced all our street lights with LED, not only saving energy but saving tax dollars of around $6,000 per year in electricity. We instituted the Unified Solar Law, making it easier for people to switch to solar power. We installed an Electric Vehicle Charging Station, inviting eco-tourists here, while promoting electric cars, and did it all via grants and donations. The 4th action was to essentially pledge to become a CEC, which of course we did. This grant came out of nowhere and we are very grateful–now, how do we spend it? Think ecology! (BTW, work on the Town Park at the corner of 82 and 199 commences as soon as bids come in and we decide on a landscaper!)

On to the week. All NY-19 Supervisors and Mayors as well as County officials were invited to a ZOOM Meeting to understand the funding that could come available to us should the Rescue Plan pass. There were 85 officials in attendance with representative DelGado, and we spoke for an hour about the Plan. The gist of this is that he has been advocating in every Plan that has been suggested so far that funding be allotted directly to towns and villages. Each time a pandemic rescue plan has been passed, that aspect of it has been taken out. We should all hope that this year is different. It could mean a fair percentage of our 2020 budget might be given to us to use to shore up the effects of the Covid pandemic. I will be honest with you: our direct costs here have been minimal, mainly because we are so small and everyone is essential. No hours or jobs were cut in town government. We did add hours on to our Buildings and Grounds for extra help in cleaning and recycling. All of our PPE was either acquired (as in “chased down”) through the State and County for free or donated to us by our own Pharmacy. However, there are projects which we could use the money for that would help us prevent the effects of another situation like this which would also count. I have attached the information Rep. DelGado gave us on this opportunity. It was pretty amazing sitting on a ZOOM with all those folks from our district at one time. Just seeing their faces brought home how big this community of New Yorkers here is and how small.

By the way, this funding is calculated via the 2020 Census findings. This is just one way that extra funding for small towns like ours is what is at risk when people do not fill out the Census. There is no other way to determine who lives where, and how many of us there are.

Yesterday, our Broadband Committee organized a meeting with all the towns around us and County Legislator Gregg Pulver to outline the work we have done on Broadband here, and to ask for help from the County in our effort to bring high-speed internet to every household in Pine Plains and Northern Dutchess. The pandemic highlighted how inadequate our system up here is, and good high-speed access is an economic development driver as well as more and more an agricultural tool for farmers. Gregg was enthusiastic about all our work on this and promised to bring our ideas back to the County Executive during their next meeting, which was, coincidentally, right after the one we were all in. He commented on the fact that Southern Dutchess, which has the most population, has the most coverage and so it is not an issue for them. But for Northern Dutchess, it is a big issue.

Finally, I want to relate my experience with our own local vaccination rollout here in Pine Plains. First of all, Nasir Mahmood, our beloved pharmacist, was relentless in annoying County and State government until they recognized the wisdom of allowing his pharmacy to distribute the vaccine. He then recruited retired nurses (who retained their certifications) to help administer the shots, secured space at the Firehouse and readied his staff for handling the paperwork. He had no idea when the vaccines would arrive. In the meantime, since he knew that we were getting some, he put out the word on Facebook with a sign-up sheet. We all immediately learned how to sign up for something using our smart phones and he quickly amassed a list of over 1000 people. Then suddenly, a box arrived and it was all hands on deck. It turned out that I was one of the first people to sign up, so I got a call. I had to fill out more paperwork online, sign up for a time to go in, and then show up. When I walked into the Firehouse that Thursday, I was surrounded by familiar faces and I immediately calmed down. I realized what an amazing and historic moment this actually was. We sat in chairs waiting to go in to get our shots and gabbed. Many of these people I hadn’t seen up close in about a year and it felt so wonderful to be around them again. I went in and received my shot from another friend, which really was very important to me. I was then instructed to sit down for 15 minutes to make sure I had no reaction and then I could go home. Here was another opportunity to sit with people I know and catch up a little. Yesterday, we did this again, this time with more doses available. And we are helping people sign up and sign in out at Town Hall—now that we know what it entails—and at the Library whenever it is open. If you know someone who fears the internet or doesn’t have it or does not have an email address, please tell them we are here to help. I cannot express the gratitude I feel to Nasir and every volunteer helping with this extraordinary push to keep the people in our town healthy and safe. This is what they truly mean when they talk about “the greater good”. The greater good is accomplished by regular people just doing it. They are what is great.

Stay great, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud

Delgado Local Government Funding Formula

Summary:

The House’s American Rescue Plan includes Representative Antonio Delgado’s local funding formula, which delivers $130.2 billion to local governments across the United States. Rep. Delgado has fought for direct federal support for counties, cities, towns, and villages since last May when he introduced the first proposal to provide relief — irrespective of population size.

New York’s 19th Congressional District will receive an estimated $400 million via Rep. Delgado’s formula.

Eligible uses of the funds are broad. They include:

  • Responding to/ mitigating the public health emergency
  • Covering costs incurred as a result of the public health emergency
  • Replacing revenue that was lost, delayed, or decreased due to the public health emergency
  • Addressing the negative economic impacts of the public health emergency

Funding Allocation Breakdown:
Local governments: $130.2 billion divided evenly between cities and counties.

  •  $65.1 billion to cities using a modified Community Development Block Grant formula

o   $45.57 billion for municipalities with populations of at least 50,000, sent directly from the Department of Treasury within 60 days of submitting a Certification of Need.
o   $19.53 billion for municipalities with populations of fewer than 50,000, with allocation capped at 75% of the locality’s most recent budget as of January 27, 2020. Funds would be sent to the state to distribute within 30 days based on population. States cannot change the allocations or impose additional requirements.

  • $65.1 billion to counties based on population and sent directly from the Department of Treasury within 60 days of receiving the county’s Certification of Need.

FAQ:

When is the funding available?

For Counties

  • Counties will receive funding directly from the Department of Treasury within 60 days of the agency receiving the county’s Certification of Need.

For Cities, Towns, and Villages

  • Once signed into law, the Treasury should quickly issue guidance around implementation.
  • When that happens, municipalities with populations of fewer than 50,000 should receive funding from the state within 30 days.
    • States cannot change the allocations or impose additional requirements.
    • The state has a deadline of 30 days to disburse funding; they can request an extension for good reason but no longer than 120 days

How much will my county, city, or municipality receive?

  • This legislation provides $130 billion earmarked for local governments across the United States.
  • Local governments in New York’s 19th Congressional District (counties, towns, and villages) will receive over $400 million.
  • The House Committee on Oversight has provided estimates for municipalities based on Rep. Delgado’s funding formula in the House-passed American Rescue Plan.
  • Click Here for local funding estimates for states, counties, cities, towns, and villages.
  • Please note that these are estimates, and can change based on action in the Senate

What do I need to do to receive the funding?

For Counties

  • Counties will need to submit a Certification of Need to the Treasury
  • Based on the CARES Act and conversations with the Department of Treasury, we expect the certification to be a simple statement from an authorized representative of the county that the county requires federal assistance and will use such assistance in accordance with federal law.
  • It is our understanding that Counties will NOT be required to list the specific ways they will use this funding

For Cities, Towns, and Villages

  • Municipalities with less than 50,000 people do not need to submit a Certification of Need
  • The funding will be distributed by the state

What can my county/town/city use this funding for?

  •  Under the House-passed bill, this funding can be used to:
    • Respond to/mitigate the public health emergency
    • Cover costs incurred as a result of the public health emergency
    • Replace revenue that was lost, delayed, or decreased due to the public health emergency
    • Address the negative economic impacts of the public health emergency
  • Unlike the CARES Act, this bill allows this funding to be used to replace lost revenue, and there is no time limit on spending the money.

 

Dear Pine Plains 2.26.21

2.26.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

No matter how still it might look outside in terms of the Covid shut-down, there is a lot of activity going on inside in Pine Plains.

The Library is up and running again with some really fun events announced for the next month. The Little Nine Partners Historical Society is holding their annual meeting and discussion. The Zoning Review Committee has officially launched, and a new business is soon to open, Roosters Home and Hardware at 2978 Church Street next to the barber shop. I spoke with the owners last summer about Pine Plains, and they were eager to find space here to expand their business. There will be more new business announcements in the coming months, so it feels like Spring to me.

But of course, warmer weather means the ice rink season has come to a close. I know we have thanked the volunteers a lot here, but it doesn’t hurt to thank them again. Matt Zick and his crew worked really hard to get the rink up and running and shoveled off and smooth so that we could all skate. It opened January 6th this year and lasted until this week, so we had a decent season. I skated once and shoveled a number of times!

Please let anyone you know who is struggling with addiction, or has a family member struggling, or just wants someone to talk to about it, that Deb Hagan will now be at the Episcopal Church every week, on either a Monday or a Tuesday. Hours will be posted around town and at the church. She is also doing Narcan training on the last Wednesday of every month. Deb walks the walks, and knows what she’s talking about. Please seek her out.

This week’s biggest news is that Nasir Mahmood at the Pine Plains Pharmacy received 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and set up a vaccination site at the firehouse on Thursday for the first 100 people who had signed up for it. I know that he has lobbied incessantly for local Pharmacies to be able to distribute this vaccine, and even though 100 seems very small, it is the first step. He is another Hometown Hero of ours who deserves great thanks. The sign-up process remains difficult for those without smart phones or internet, and to that end, Alice and I can help anyone who comes out to Town Hall to sign up with the County for the next distributions. If Nasir is able to receive more vaccine, then we will help with sign-ups for that too.

And there is a lot to plan for: summer camp will take place again, Covid-style, and baseball and softball organization is happening now. Rec Director Mike Cooper is looking for volunteers. We are talking to the Triathlon people about what they might do.

I spoke with one of our wonderful seniors yesterday and had a nice long welcome conversation about life and Pine Plains. She loves living here, but the loneliness is getting to her, as she has been very active in town. Her husband passed away in November at a nursing home, a fact I did not know, and the loneliness of that just compounds in so many ways. Please reach out to your neighbors and even if it’s just a chat through a screen door, know how important that is to a lot of them. And how rewarding it is to you. You just never know what people are really dealing with in their lives. As I said in the beginning here, there’s a lot going on on the inside.

Take care, be well, and reach out, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 2.19.21

2.19.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

It was a good month for attending to the paperwork of the last year, pulling together and finalizing the specs for 3 RFPs for the Highway garage as well as demo for 8 and 12 N. Main. These will all be out in the next week.

We received word from the State that speed limit reductions were approved for STREVER FARM ROAD, CARPENTER HILL ROAD, CHASE ROAD, AND BETHAL CROSS ROAD. All will be reduced to 35 mph. These come at no expense to the town for road speed studies due to the manner in which we made our presentation.  I want to thank Mike Manning for his invaluable help with this. Now we can ask for the next set of speed limit reductions!

The Willowvale Bridge is all set for repair in March, according to the County. This will be a one-lane bridge designed to slow down traffic in the area as well as to discourage trucks from using this spur as a short cut. The bridge design will be historic, reminiscent of the kind of work the County did at Patchin’s Mill.

My Broadband report is discouraging. We have a tremendous committee working on this, and have entertained numerous officials from both the legislature and the Broadband Companies themselves. I signed the NDA so that Consolidated would give us their maps and make an estimate as to what a build-out would cost to cover all corners of Pine Plains. They still have not sent this material. Altice was supposed to attend one of our meetings, set it up, cancelled and have not been heard from since.  But the fact is that adequate high-speed internet for everyone is dependent on the federal and state governments taking the lead on this and completing this work, perhaps naming internet access as a utility and finding the money. The internet companies are not going to complete service on their own. They will not invest the money. They will however, build out on a road if all the homeowners on that road join the contract to pay a $150 startup fee and $130/mo after that for 3 years. These fees pay the cost of extending the lines. Municipal Broadband in the form of a town-owned company just does not make sense for a variety of reasons here. We will continue to monitor changes in law and funding opportunities, but we also recommend looking into Starlink, a system using satellites that has contacted numerous homeowners for sign-up opportunities even though the system is not yet available. I think they might be looking for adequate numbers to make this worthwhile. We will keep you updated. A huge thanks to Jim Petrie for doing the data entry on the maps we created ourselves. Heroic undertaking.

I have continued my participation in the Pattern for Progress Fellows Class on Institutional Racism, and have found that you can expand the concept to people without money when it comes to ways of keeping certain kinds of people from owning their own homes via zoning. I think Pine Plains has actually done a good job paying attention to its zoning in this regard, and the new Zoning Review Committee will be tasked with securing more ways to ensure equity in housing availability in Pine Plains. At the Town Board Workshop on Monday, we launched the Zoning Review with our planners, and the work begins in earnest in March. It will take about 6 months and will clarify and adjust numerous items in our list of things to fix and change. This work comes as a result of the Comprehensive Plan Update we completed last year, as well as consultation with the Building Inspector, and the Planning and Zoning Boards as to issues that have come up which need attention in their minds.

Finally, a shoutout to some really wonderful high school students who have begun a group to look at Diversity in Pine Plains. They meet online every Thursday evening, and I look forward to hearing about their work together. Diversity is the key to sustainability.

So stay different, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud