Dear Pine Plains,
This letter will start out talking about some heroic gestures townspeople have made in the midst of this pandemic, which deserve to be broadcast. The new owners of the old library organized a fundraiser for restaurant workers out of work here in town, and raised over $25,000 with the help of 80 citizens here. People gave $25 and people gave much more. The checks were cut this week and are being distributed to the full and part-time workers designated by their employers.
Our second hero is 14-year-old Paige Arent, who, all on her own, raised the money to help people on unemployment with 15 grocery cards worth $100 each. She is starting her distribution soon. Paige used her free time during the pandemic to do a great thing for people here, and she is the best of the best in Pine Plains. It is people like her who make this place what it is. She follows a great tradition of giving in this small town, and I want to publicly thank her here, as I will at the next Town Board meeting.
I would also like to extend our condolences to the Hegarty family, who lost their son Danny last week to cancer. He was 18, and we have all followed his struggle with leukemia for many years. He too was a hero, enduring many years of struggle. He was a friend to many kids here in town, and the subject of many a fundraiser here. We are so sorry to lose him.
We continue to monitor the County’s progress towards re-opening businesses. Although the PAUSE has now been extended to June 13th, the metrics for re-opening continue to build here. We have as of this writing reached 5 of the 7 metrics. We still lag behind in number of deaths and hospitalizations. This is why wearing a mask is so important—not only is it a sign of respect for others whose health might be compromised, it is a way to keep the spread of infection down and for speeding up therefore the re-opening of the County. If you see someone in a store or restaurant refusing to wear a mask, you have every right to say something, or to leave and not shop there.
Phase 1 begins Monday: the resumption of Construction (all kinds), Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Curbside pickup of retail items in store, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade. For construction, the Guidelines are these: Building Equipment and Finishing Contractors, Foundation, Structure and Building Exterior Contractors, Highway, Street and Bridge Construction, Land Subdivision, Nonresidential Building Construction, Residential Building Construction and Utility System Construction.
NOT OPEN YET: Phase 2: Professional Services, Retail, Administrative Support, Real Estate/Rentals and Leasing; Phase 3: Restaurants/Food Services dining-in; Phase 4: Arts/Entertainment/Recreation and Education.
Hopefully, every 2 weeks another phase will open, but unless we get our metrics down, we will not be allowed. Remember when that boy in the back of the class misbehaved and the whole class got punished? It’s kind of like that. Pine Plains is not immune from the virus. And any uptick will shut everything down again. Check out the whole process at: https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase
The Durst Organization came to the Planning Board this week (LIVE on YouTube and recorded there) and presented their pre-sketch plan on the conservation easements. A lively and informative discussion took place, and I hope you will look at the meeting and learn what’s going on. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Mq6XtGozf20YyvnEzVeRA
As our ability to begin physical projects resumes, look for the Town Park to begin renovation. This project has been in the works since Edward Kinsser passed away leaving a legacy to the Town of $25,000, which the Board designated for renovating the Park as a memorial both to him and to others who’ve given much to the Town. The committee tasked with the design and implementation of this is led by Vikki Soracco, Thayer Durrell and Carl Baden. The first step was to take down a beloved pine tree that got too big for the park and was overwhelming the space and the foundation of the building beside it. We look forward to creating a space where people will want to gather to sit and talk, play chess, and admire the hamlet.
Stay masked, Pine Plains, and stay well.