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Tag: ice rink

Dear Pine Plains 3.1.19

Dear Pine Plains,


Tomorrow is the All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for our own Bill “Homer” Hall, who is handling a serious illness. It’s at the Firehouse at 7 Lake Road from 5-8pm Adults are $15 and Kids under 10 are $5, and if you can’t be there, they will accept checks written to the Pine Plains Hose Company with FOR BILL HALL written in the memo. You can mail those in too, to PO Box 668, Pine Plains, NY 12567. Bill and his wife Rhea are terrific people and need our help.


This past week, I met with Dutchess Tourism, who asked me to bring together a passle of businesspeople for a meeting with them. We met at Brett and Josh’s Gallery and Goods, in the old Grange… I wanted to impress them with the beauty of that place as well as the energy and enthusiasm of Pine Plains’ businessfolk, and frankly, we succeeded handily. With lots of new ideas coming from this meeting, we at Town Hall will be adding some things to our website for visitors. Maps to our great trails and bike routes, a driving map for a Beverage Route, a Farm Store Route, etc. Ideas always welcome. One takeaway from this meeting was the fact that, if we are to attract visitors to Pine Plains, businesses have to step up their social media engagement as well as their capacity to deal with tourists. Working farms are a huge attraction in Dutchess County, but how many farmers can actually drop everything and give tours? If we can get together on this, perhaps we can come up with a solution. After all, We Are Pine Plains. That’s what we do.


Marti Steed has graciously offered to help us sell the Old Library building for no commission. This week, she showed the building 3 times, so interest is growing. Fingers crossed that we attract a new business and new folks who love who and what we are.


We also met with Hudson River Housing to begin talking about building affordable housing in Pine Plains. This is an awesome not-for-profit which also offers workshops on home maintenance, on buying homes, and on being landlords. Rental space is dear in Pine Plains, and the landlord class might inspire more people to rent to others, so look for them to come in the near future to hold these classes.


Central Hudson put up our LED lighting in record time! The workers were so excited by the project that they got it done in 4 days. (I think they just liked eating at our restaurants!) This will result in big savings for the town and people report liking the more focused light. The stars are still visible in Pine Plains.


And finally, we are hiring a planner! BFJ Planning will be helping us with our Comprehensive Plan Review in the coming months. You can look them up online at The Town Board is very excited.


The ice has been too soft to skate on, and the sidewalks too icy to walk on!


Stay upright, Pine Plains!


Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 1.26.19

Dear Pine Plains,

Our Communications Committee met this morning over the idea of a unified “look” for the way Pine Plains presents itself to the world. They poured over the old Comprehensive Plan for vision and identified three things they feel we can highlight about our town: Community, Opportunity, History. Economic development is something we can all be a part of: just cleaning up your yard or painting your house makes town look better. Committing to buying local helps the town prosper. Getting to know your neighbors and attending events makes the town a better place to live. Even though you might commute somewhere else for work every day, coming home to Pine Plains should be a joy and a sigh of relief.

To that end, the Town Board will continue its efforts this year to write grants for a central septic system to enhance small business opportunities, to open up the rail trails for hiking and biking, to find a doctor for our clinic, to bring Town Hall back into town, to fix our beach and support our active Recreation Department, promote vibrant programs at our Library, including bringing back adult education, to reach out to developers about affordable housing, and to welcome new businesses to town which can thrive here.

Our program for Seniors is called The Adventurers Club. This year, we are booking more trips, including one to The Westchester Musical Theatre for An American in Paris. The Club meets every Wednesday from 11:30am to 1pm or so, and every senior is invited to come play cards, socialize or take part in our programs. Call Lori at Town Hall for more information. 518-398-8600 ext. 1

The latest word on the Carvel Development Project is that the new design will reflect healthy lifestyles, including passive solar construction, and be delivered sometime after the first of next year. Phase 1 will feature a resort. In the meantime, project manager Lisa Baker will be here for meetings with interested citizens.

This past week, Chair of the County Legislation Gregg Pulver and Supervisor Cloud met with people from and CAPE, the Center for Addiction Prevention and Education. We are proud to announce a collaboration with these groups to present a forum for people struggling with addictions of their own or their loved ones to speak with recovery coach CaraMia Bacchiochi and each other every Thursday from 1pm to 2pm in the back classroom of the Community Center. Called Group of Strangers, this will be a no-judgment, no pressure safe place to discuss anything. We have also spoken with PAARI, the highly successful program out of Chatham, which we hope to bring to Pine Plains soon. Their training will help our town police and others help those who want it when they want it. Group of Strangers begins February 7th.

It’s hard to say that warm weather in winter is disappointing, but Town Board member Matt Zick is always sad when it’s too warm to ice skate at the new town rink at the ball fields. So hope for cold and get out there and join him there!

Chill out, Pine Plains!


State of the Town 2019

Established a TOWN EMAIL delivered most Fridays of the year; now have over 100 members on the list; all welcome to sign up on our new WEBSITE which we got up and running as well.

Passed Cold War Veterans Real Property Tax Law Exemption

Lease with Library

Began setting up the first of 3 forums with the Durst Organization with the result that they are re-designing the entire project as a passive solar healthy lifestyle resort/development. Project Manager Lisa Baker has been coming to town ever since, meeting with people at various locations to discuss their ideas. This will continue.  We are in touch with her on a weekly basis.

Became a Climate Smart Community. As part of this, we installed an EV Charging Station behind the bank as a way to draw people with elector cars—who are often healthy lifestyle folks—to visit our town. Because it takes a few hours to charge the cars, they stay and eat and shop. Drew attended Climate Smart Code Enforcement, and we approved LED lighting for the rest of our lights which will be a savings of about $6000/year in utility costs.

Passed our Trails Report which paves the way for zoning creation of trails

Passed a Deferred Compensation Plan for town employees and a short-term disability insurance program.

Saw the County repair our bridge on Route 83 and the State repair the west side of 199.

Bought tasers with a grant for PD and created Taser Policy; hired Michael Belliveau to the Town Police; and hired Kerry Yamashita as special prosecutor for our court. Her work has cleaned up the process for us and we are really lucky to have her. 

Water Dept dealt with numerous leaks and bad meters and saved town a lot of money. 

Wilson Endurance took over the Triathlon; very well run and they hope for a bigger turnout this year. Events like this are a part of our economic development.

PPMH is also a part of our economic development. Contrary to what some people believe, this is a 501c3 enterprise, not a profit-making organization, but a charitable one. It is a real gift to Pine Plains and something everyone can be a part of and contribute to either monetarily or with work. It will bring concert-goers and art lovers to town as well as music and art. 

Once again our Summer Camp was awesome, and the added middle school program was very successful. We re-paved the basketball court and added Pickleball to its capacity. We bought and installed an ice rink at the ball fields which is already very popular.  

We are trying to buy the Ruth Pulver House on the north side of the municipal parking lot, and await very slow response on this.

We made a deal with American Tower to lease our cell tower for the next 40 years. Helped add Dutchess Views Farm to the Land Conservancy and still have not sold the Old Library. We did shut it down this winter in order to save approximately $2400 in utility costs.

We created additional Town Board Workshop meetings every month, which have tackled highway department issues, solar law, etc.

We started a Town Clean-up Day to which Lenny Liberta donated the dumpsters. This was very successful and we plan to do it every year from now on. The brush pile was finally chipped up and townsfolk invited to take what they want for their gardens. 

A family of beavers was apprehended cutting the ropes at the beach. Due to the high cost of incarceration it was determined that they be transported to higher ground. 

New town signs were built and installed by Anthony Silvia for cost as an expression of his love for Pine Plains.

We passed resolutions to create Saturday hours for the Town Clerk—2nd and 4th from 10-12—come see Judy or she’ll be lonely—and to repair the beach septic system. 

We passed an updates sexual harassment policy and a new Investment Policy and invested our Fund Balance at a rate of over 2%, which could garner as much as $20,000 year revenue for the town. Bought a new Tractor for the Highways Dept. Invited a CAPE drug addiction counselor to town with the help of Gregg Pulver for funding.

Businesses have been sponsoring banners at the recreation fields.

Thanks to the following people for all their dedication to Pine Plains: outgoing Christi Acker, Nancy Proper, Bob Cordella, Kathy Rigano and Peter Salerno and incoming Ibis Guzman, Tricia Devine, Lori Patricola, Sandy Koch and Lynda Wisdo. Jim Mara will step down as chair of our assessors to be replaced by Rich Diaz. Our gratitude to both men.

Thank you go to Anthony Silvia for our beautiful new town signs;

to George McGhee for re-painting our historic signs; 

to Lenny Liberta for all his help with Town Clean-up Day; Vinnie Parliman and Mike Coons for their help that day as well, and everyone who brought their junk to the dumpsters; 

to Dennis Williams for maintaining our town clock after the death of Greg McEldowney; 

and to our fire department for their dedication to our citizens in need, our highway department ditto, our police department, all our volunteers and board members for your energy and wisdom: you keep Pine Plains running well and happily and make it the wonderful place that it is.
















Dear Pine Plains, 1.18.19

Dear Pine Plains,

All morning I sat in the supervisor’s office fielding phone calls from the press about the life of Shannon Smith Kent, a native of Pine Plains, a decorated Navy cryptologist stationed in Syria, who died in the attack there. I dearly hope I took some of the chaos off the shoulders of her wonderful family, her mother a friend and fellow writer and teacher, her father head of State Troopers in our region. We are so heartbroken about this loss. But what a life she led. What courage and vitality it took for her to live so far away in such a dangerous place and find the kind of important work that few ever get to do. How much a product of this particular place and her parents she was. The town of Pine Plains will miss her. Flags are flying at half mast in her honor.

This week, we held our Re-Organization meeting for the year as well as our Town Board meeting. Catch the film version. It will keep you on the edge of your seats.

The ice rink is already popular with many skaters. It’s down at the recreation fields opposite the beach. We are closing in on lighting for the area too. If you have any old skates to donate, we are gathering them to distribute to growing kids in an exchange program. We will ask people to use them until they don’t fit anymore then exchange them for the next sizes if we have them, thereby keeping a bank of skates in perpetual loan-out.

We passed the creation of our Solar Law Task Force, and held a workshop meeting with the town board to gather their feelings about solar power in and around Pine Plains.

Look for a public Workshop meeting on a possible nuisance law that would pertain only to the hamlet and off-road vehicles in back yards. The Town Board wants input from townspeople on this.

In the meantime, Lisa Baker was in town on Tuesday for breakfast at the Platter to discuss the Carvel Development. New redesigned plans are expected to arrive about a year from now.

With renewed energy, we will strive to write grants this year for economic development drivers such as a community septic system for our downtown, beach repair, and lake preservation. We dream of affordable housing and town hall re-located to our downtown every day. There is so much to do!

We are expecting 6-12 inches of wet snow this weekend, so tuck in for being unable to get out. As this will be a long weekend for the King holiday, I suggest a visit to the library for a pile of books. (And Peck’s for popcorn!) Speaking of the library, look for some exciting news on our work with the library in conjunction with the Pine Plains Memorial Hall. Think Pine Plains Pop-Up Learning!

And stay upright on those skates, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains,

Last week, Town Board member Sarah Jones and I attended the Land Use Law Conference at Pace Law School on Sustainable Development as a Market Driver. It was packed. Town Supervisors, land use lawyers, planners and planning boards were all in attendance from all over Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess Counties. This Town Supervisor was interested by the use of form-based codes for zoning, which allows for a town to make decisions for zoning based on what the town wants where, as opposed to being subjected to the whims of developers and corporations. This would create a kind of generic GEIS for use by prospective builders. The new Comprehensive Plan Review will therefore be an important factor in determining where things might be built in the hamlet, and what we as a town want built there. 

We got to hear from numerous town planners and builders on their experiences with economic development “their way”, increasing walkability for towns, sustainability for the environment in these towns, and hence economic development. “The three go hand in hand” was the theme of this conference. It turns out that when your town is walkable, your citizens are healthier, obesity is lessened, the air is cleaner, and your economy is stronger. As my kids would say, “duh”.

And make sure you look at the Library calendar for wonderful events there all winter. The Qi-Gong class on Thursdays at 11:30am is pretty fantastic. (Today we learned to move like cranes, monkeys, and tigers. I guess you had to be there…) It was awesome.

If you’d like to be on a committee in the coming year, please write or call Town Hall. We are looking for people to be on the Agriculture Committee, Trails Committee, Historic Designation Committee, Grants Committee. Or just come on in and suggest something you’d like to be a part of.

And watch for the opening of the Ice Rink down at the Ball Fields. We need cold weather to freeze the last few inches at the bottom and we’ll be good to go. You will go in by the big gate, and when it’s open the rink is open. Basically, the hours will be 10am-9pm weekdays, and until 10pmFridays and Saturdays. Wait for announcements. A watched rink never freezes…

Skate on, Pine Plains!