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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