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Letter to the Editor - The Millerton News - 1-7-21

At the start of a new year, thank you

We made it through 2020.  That’s about all one can say. That year which started so well, with a nice round number suggesting perfect vision, turned out to be such a challenge, to put it very mildly. Between the coronavirus pandemic, the economic free fall which it produced, the complete disruption of work, of schools, the urgent focus on racial justice, and a bitter, toxic, political climate… well, it was a year to remember, and not fondly.

In our little corner of Dutchess County, we persevered. We socially distanced, we wore our masks, and we led markedly different lives than we could have ever imagined. Town government carried on, virtually at first, then in a mostly closed Town Hall, with much sanitizing, pass-through windows and Board meetings held on Zoom. The Town’s Courtroom got re-imagined and modified, and our Court continued its important work. Our great Highway crew kept after our roads, while construction continued on our new Highway Garage on Route 22. A big THANK YOU to all our Town of North East employees, who showed dedication and good cheer in a very trying environment.

We are also blessed to have such committed and engaged residents who volunteer their time on Town Boards and Committees. Our Planning Board, our Board of Assessment Review and our Zoning Board of Appeals each continued with their meetings and their work, thoughtfully and responsibly. Our Conservation Advisory Committee and our Climate Smart Communities Task Force continued their mission to make this part of the world both more resilient in the face of climate change and part of the solution in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And our newly formed Zoning Review Committee, formed in response to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, got off the ground with its critical but time-consuming work reviewing and revising our zoning code. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to all our Town volunteers!  And to all our residents who have contributed their time and energy, whether individually or as part of a non-profit, to help our community.

2021 will no doubt present a whole new set of challenges. COVID-19 is still very much present in Millerton and North East, perhaps even more so than it was at any point in 2020.

And there is a new, more infectious strain of the virus to worry about. Though the broader distribution of vaccines is hopefully around the corner, we need to stay vigilant, to stay smart and to continue protecting ourselves and others. We know how to do it. Let’s keep our small corner of the world healthy and resilient. And let’s all look forward to a time when we can be more relaxed and join together, joyfully, and in person.

Happy New Year!

Chris Kennan

Town Supervisor

North East

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