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Dear Pine Plains 11.19.21

11.19.21

Dear Pine Plains,

On Monday night we held the last public meeting regarding the Sewer Feasibility Study where our engineers presented the Final results. It was well attended and the District Map and presentation as well as a film of the meeting by Stan Hirson are all up on our website. Go look at this very innovative idea for bringing a system to Pine Plains that will be basically maintained by the businesses in the business district and allow those businesses to thrive and survive.

This Sunday please come to The Stissing Center for a reader’s theater presentation of a play called Music Lessons. This reading is part of Local Produce, a series of plays written by people in the area. And this one of course will feature music! Our first presentation was a huge success—Donn Potter’s The War trial of Robert S. McNamara. Don’t miss this one! 3pm $5

Decoration Day is the 27th and starts at 3pm with tree decorating, Santa, and a parade. The Business Association would like to remind everyone that this is a free event meant for everyone to enjoy.

Every year at this time since I’ve been in office, I have tried to thank the key people who have made the year particularly successful in Pine Plains. 2020 was truly the Year of the Pandemic and the fact that we got through it at all is a testament to all these people. Caveat: I always forget to mention someone really important. That said, the following people made a huge difference this year in Pine Plains: First and foremost, I want to thank our pharmacist Nasir Mahmoud, and his crew of retired nurses and medical personnel, for vaccinating more than 80% of the entire town. Thank you my fellow Board members whose wisdom drove the changes in zoning that will help sustain homeowners and businesses alike; the Girls’ Town Rec Softball 10 and Under Team and Coaches whose trip to State Finals brought us all together in support of something bigger than ourselves; Bobby Lee “Sherm” Couse, who knows everything about every system the town handles and keeps it all running any hour of any day; the entire new town park committee for designing the park and implementing that design so well; Tim Jones for donating the fountain which is such an awesome tribute to the farms in our area; Madelin Chase for being a ray of sunshine in the Town Clerk’s office; Warren Replansky and the entire Zoning Review Committee—a number of whom were town employees who gave their time freely–for guiding the really life-changing zoning revisions we’ve been able to bring about this year; Ray Jurkowski for going above and beyond the call of duty in everything he does for the town; all the volunteers and leaders of both the Willow Roots Food Pantry and the Food Pantry at the Methodist Church for continuing to feed needy people in town—who could not have predicted how many people there would be! Thank you, John Hughes and all our officers, for your dedication to your work here, for writing the new police policy with me, and going to training sessions constantly without complaint, and for never missing a day during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when they were the only employees of the town to remain face-to-face with the public. Thank you, Assessors, for working in a leaky moldy trailer and doing such an exceptional job that other towns envy us; thank you Alice Nuccio for not only keeping the town running, hosting our seniors’ events and luncheons, but also sewing the patches on police uniforms and providing a sympathetic and warm embrace to everyone who walks into Town Hall—you are truly the face of Pine Plains. Thank you, Justice Dave Humeston, for figuring out an incredible system for court hearings which kept everyone healthy and moved things along at the same time. Thank you Saffy Humeston for accompanying Dave so elegantly and giving him some class. (Ditto Leo Hughes—I can’t leave you out, although you are not so elegant.) Just seeing you both always makes me so happy. Thank you, Trish and Sean Devine, for bringing your kids in on Thursdays—they also bring joy to Town Hall and inspired the candy jar. Thank you volunteers of the Planning Board who had a record year of difficult projects to oversee and did it thoroughly and professionally. Thank you, Erin Moore and Kyle Kortright, engineers from Tighe and Bond, who came to town, met people, understood the economic challenges here, and came up with a plan for a wastewater system that is small and innovative and doable without hurting cash-strapped citizens. Thank you, Stan Hirson, for filming their important presentation and for decades of incredible footage of our town. Thank you, Highway Department, for being so safety conscious that the town was awarded two substantial refunds by our insurance carriers; Beth Coons at the Bank of Millbrook and Bianca Martin and Sarah Murphy at Salisbury Bank for helping me with all the banking issues we have to deal with. Their vigilance over our accounts did not waver during the pandemic. Neither did the dedication of all our farmers and business owners to finding ways to stay open despite everything possible that could have gone wrong.  Thank you, Vinnie Parliman, for being so dedicated to recycling. And thank you to whomever I forgot to thank—I will catch up with you in December. All of you have gone beyond to keep Pine Plains going in the midst of an historic pandemic, and it is a better place because of all of you.

Thanksgiving might be a myth—welcoming indigenous people worried about the Pilgrims had to save them from starvation and so came together and held a banquet for them—and even if all the intentions were not mythic, the fact that everyone sat down together over food for one afternoon was something of a miracle. I hope you all enjoy your own version of this miracle on Thursday.

I might be the only fan of a movie called Heaven’s Gate. In it, a wealthy Harvard grad named Jim Averill gets a job as a Sheriff in a town in the west because he wants to do good in the world and becomes unwillingly embroiled in the battle between new immigrants flooding the area and cattle ranchers who accuse them of stealing and devastating the grazing land with their sheep, a battle that did indeed take place in Wyoming in the 1800s. It is a bloody, sad story. The battles are deadly, and, in the end, the only man trying to end the war left standing is Jim. What does he do then? He leaves. He goes back east, taking his money with him. He gets out, leaving all the people who either hated him or looked to him for help still fighting with each other. That scene has always stuck with me.  I think our behavior towards each other is key to our economic survival. And I hope against hope that we can all come together in Pine Plains for a greater good.

Happy Thanksgiving, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud