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Dear Pine Plains 10.01.2021

Dear Pine Plains,Much news this week as to changes all around us. Perhaps the one that is of most interest is the fact that Sharon Hospital will be phasing out their Labor and Delivery department. So many people in Pine Plains were born at Sharon that I know this will bring up a lot of feelings. Here are the changes they are implementing:

  • Expanding Primary & Ambulatory Care: Sharon Hospital will pursue opportunities to expand its primary care footprint and ambulatory service offerings to best meet the current and future needs of the Sharon community. Investing in these services will allow Sharon Hospital to prevent, detect, monitor, and treat health issues earlier, improving patient outcomes and reducing the need for more complex care that requires a hospital stay.
  • Investing in Behavioral Health: Sharon Hospital will expand their adult behavioral health offerings to fill a gap in care in the surrounding region. By expanding adult behavioral health offerings, Sharon Hospital can better meet the needs of our growing 65+ population and expand our services to adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the future.
  • Consolidating Inpatient Care Services to Capture Efficiencies in Staffing and Care: Sharon Hospital will convene clinical and administrative work groups, including physicians and nurses, to develop a plan to effectively consolidate inpatient care services. These workgroups will ultimately allow for more effectively assigned staff and resources to better serve the needs of our patients, while keeping patients at Sharon Hospital whenever possible.
  • Phasing Out Labor & Delivery: Sharon Hospital has seen fewer than 200 annual deliveries for the past four years, an average rate of fewer than one delivery per day, some days passing with no births at all in a fully staffed unit. An underused Labor & Delivery unit cannot be maintained while also ensuring Sharon Hospital can continue serving its patients and community in the long-term.

Northern Dutchess’ Birthing Center will remain open as will Vassar.

The Tri-Town Coalition on Affordable Housing is offering training for advocates to learn how to help solve the region’s housing crisis. If you would like to be a part of this, please write Nathan at or call him at 518-789-4259 ext. 129. They write:

  • Priority will be given to participants who live or work in Millerton, Amenia, or Pine Plains. Sessions will he held once/month for two hours in the evening beginning in October. All trainings will be held virtually over zoom.
  • Stipends of $30/session are available upon request.
  • Stipends will be prioritized for those who do not otherwise receive compensation for their time from an employer or haven’t made or a previous commitment to volunteer service for their community. If you are interested in a stipend, please indicate that at registration for follow up. A request for a stipend does not guarantee approval.
  • Training provided by the Regional Plan Association with support from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Northeast Dutchess Fund.

The Tri-Town Coalition (TTC) unites a geographic area including the towns and villages in Pine Plains, North East, and Amenia as a single voice to attract investment to our region and to address common challenges by combining our resources. The TTC does this in part by providing both information on housing ideas, innovations, and decision-making in our region and a platform for residents to engage with the process. We are seeking those who share our belief that everyone should be able to access housing that is within their means and who want to make that possible.

As everyone knows by now, Pine Plains is no different than any other town here and lacks affordable housing for young families and seniors. We have been working on this as a Board for many years. (Don says over 20!) The more people who volunteer to help the more likely we are to figure out a solution. In addition, I just received my appointment letter to the Dutchess County Housing Needs Assessment Steering Committee from County Executive Molinaro. As a co-founder of the Tri-Town Coalition on Affordable Housing, I look forward to bringing what I have learned from that experience to the County as a whole.  I will keep you informed about what we’re doing and how it applies to Pine Plains.

This summer I wrote a grant called the Downtown Revitalization Initiative for help with downtown revitalization, as per our Comprehensive Plan, and all our work/dreams regarding improvements to wastewater management and sidewalks/bikeways and bringing the Town Hall into town. The State got back to us asking us to make a video about the town. We are doing this in the next week with the help of Stan Hirson and Patrick Trettenero and lots of volunteers willing to be interviewed on the subject. Many thanks to everyone who said YES! You may see us filming around town this next week.

The DEC is asking us to monitor sightings of dead deer due to the wasting disease, which is transmitted via gnats. Unfortunately, we are finding a fair amount of them. If you spot any, please call the Town Hall and report the whereabouts to Alice in the supervisor’s office, ext. 1. We will then report to the DEC. They are also asking for people to watch for the spotted lantern fly cocoons. They look like white fluff stuck on a tree branch. Don’t remove them—but do report back to us or to the DEC directly. You can Google this for more information.

Ag Day is fast approaching! I can’t wait! And don’t forget the fundraiser for the FFA at The Stissing Center–a square dance! Saturday night the 9th, $10.

It’s Crazy Creature Time, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud