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Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 10-8-20

Please wear your mask and respect social distancing

Dear fellow residents and honored visitors, among the delights of our towns is the bountiful harvest of all things edible, pourable, drinkable. 

I always shop at the Millerton Farmers Market and am happy to see our town abuzz with others eager to “shop local.”

But, as a vulnerable elder, and responsible citizen, I am distressed at the casual approach to mask wearing — or not. Even if one is done with being inside a shop, pulling the mask down or off does nothing to protect you or others on the crosswalks and sidewalks, where 6 feet is impossible to observe without someone walking into the traffic. It needs to be 6 feet AND a mask, and one that fits securely over the nose, cheeks and chin.

We now know that the virus picks up where people mingle, so we all need to follow the practices known to be protective. 

Masks should only come off once we are in our cars and heading home. It’s safer for everybody. 

Thank you for being more mindful in the future.

Martha Zimiles



Trail to Train already a boon to Wassaic

Thanks so much for reporter Kaitlin Lyle’s recent article about the Trail to the Train extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail from the Metro-North Wassaic Station to the hamlet of Wassaic. There were a few errors that I would like to correct. 

Mark K. Morrison was never hired or paid by the town, even though he donated hundreds of hours of volunteer time on the project. He created all the graphics that helped us get the grant: a preliminary design, schematics and map of the trail. He attended many meetings with the permitting agencies and was our technical consultant. His firm submitted bound copies of the 42-page report, which helped the town, state and county understand the scope of the project.  

After all that he was not hired for the project, another large engineering firm was, even though our committee advised that it would be better to hire a landscape architecture firm with experience building bike trails since he had already built many such trails, including the Fisher’s Island bike path.

The Trail to the Train Committee did not exist when I first initiated the project back before the Metro-North Train Station was extended. The Metro-North representative, Robin Hollander, said that if the town had asked for it the, the railroad would have installed it. Then-town Supervisor Arlene Iuliano said she did not think it was needed.

It is unbelievable that ex-officio town Supervisor Wayne Euvrard still does not understand the fact that this trail benefits the town and the hamlet of Wassaic, which is already a destination.  He said in your article that he “did not think the trail would benefit even a small percentage of residents.”

Since the trail has opened, the hamlet of Wassaic has attracted new businesses that benefit many people, including a bicycle repair and rental shop run by Wassaic Commons, selling locally sourced items. Literally hundreds of cyclists are coming to and from the town every week to access the Harlem Valley Rail Trail from the Trail to the Train. The users of the trail are coming from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York City as well as the nether reaches of Dutchess County as well as many from our local area.

They all love the new trail.  The project would have been completed far sooner and for far less if the town of Amenia had followed our recommendations.  I don’t understand why towns have committees if they don’t listen to them?

Dick Hermans, chairman of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, stated in your paper in July, “The trail built by the town of Amenia [the Trail to the Train] will be a fine addition and a benefit to the businesses in the small hamlet of Wassaic.”

Yes, it has taken 20 years since I first advocated for the trail to finally get it built. In the future I hope that the town of Amenia understands the importance of tourism for our region. Wassaic is definitely already benefiting from the Trail to the Train in many ways. 

Tonia Shoumatoff

Ex-officio chair of the Trail to Train Committee



Vote for Claire Owens, I know I will

I strongly recommend you vote for Claire Owens for North East Town Board. I served on the Zoning Board of Appeals with Claire, and I know her to be a thoughtful and fair person who will bring these same abilities to the Town Board.

Claire will bring youth and energy to the board, and provide a different point of view as the board moves forward to solve the various challenges the town faces.

Claire is a marketing and communications professional who works for a veterans’ organization that serves wounded warriors and their families. This has allowed her to develop important insights into the needs of these veterans and their families, which are often the same as those faced by the residents of North East.

Claire understands the importance of bringing new retail businesses to Millerton and developing work force housing so those young workers who have grown up here can stay and raise their families in our unique environment.

The Town Board needs new perspectives, and Claire will provide them. Please vote for her on Nov. 3, or on one of the early voting days starting on Oct. 24.

Jon Arnason



Fact check to rational thinking

In response to Ronald Murphy’s letter to the editor, I am addressing his distortion of U.S. history to support his position as none of the documents mentioned in the letter were written “around God’s words.” 

The Constitution does not mention God. The Declaration of Independence’s purpose was to formally sever ties with Britain, a move motivated to escape religious persecution. It has only four references to a higher power in which the words God, Creator, Supreme Being and divine Providence were used as the Founders were mostly deists and needed to use language that would be acceptable to the variety of believers fighting for independence. 

The Pledge of Allegiance added “under God”  in 1954, 62 years after it was written. “In God We Trust” was added to all forms of money in 1956 when it became the official motto of the U.S. by a joint Declaration of Congress signed by President Eisenhower. That is a fairly recent change (motivated by the fear of Communism) and a real loss to the U.S. spirit as it replaced the original official motto of “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “from many, one.” 

Mr. Murphy believes there is conflict in the U.S. due to an attack on “our God,” which is ironic as we are founded on religious freedom. He is  correct that God and Christianity are not words to “cringe” from, but neither is “Liberal,” as it is based on belief in liberty, consent and equality — rights addressed by the documents Americans agree are vital. 

There is no point debating whether “God is in charge” as Mr. Murphy states, however, we can see that politicians, social media and the media are controlling facts, ideas and our lives to their own self-serving interest, putting them in the driver’s seat. 

Fact checking will help us to understand other points of view and together we should be able to rationally think our way out of this mess. 

Maureen Earls



Let Congress know that we need aid

Municipal finances aren’t usually a national or global issue. The excellent reporting on the Amenia Town Board meeting of Sept. 17, however, makes it clear why town revenues are hurting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Town Supervisor Victoria Perotti’s description of its effects on Amenia’s budget for next year are sobering. State aid to Amenia cut by 20%, county aid expected to decrease, and a decline likely in property taxes. In Congress, the Senate’s relief bill omits aid to local and state governments. While the House bill includes such aid, the Senate leadership has not relented in its opposition to the measure. 

Aid to towns and states that have borne the brunt of care for hard pressed citizens in this emergency — from unemployment checks to playground hand sanitizers — should not be a party issue. It isn’t. 

Republican Supervisor Perotti and Democratic Governor Cuomo both want Congress to provide stimulus money for local governments. The need is real, right here at home. 

The Senate’s leadership should hear from all citizens, Democrat and Republican alike. Act now!

Laurie Nussdorfer



Finding the right adjective

A question to Mr. Murphy: 

Since your grandparents, parents, and I assume, you, are not racists (and since you were raised to respect everyone): What adjective do you feel is appropriate for someone who speaks negatively about people who did not grow up here (by which I assume you mean America), are liberal, wealthy, Democrats, Marxists, Socialists, Communists, Muslims, atheists, non-Christians, BLM proponents and people who are opposed to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology (i.e., Antifa)?

Is it more correct to say you are biased, prejudiced, bigoted or something else?  


Mike Klein



Rail Trail extension improves quality of life in Wassaic

My husband, Mark, and I rode from Wassaic hamlet to Amenia on our bikes recently, about 7 miles round trip. I saw many different people, of all ages, enjoying the newest extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. It was heartwarming to see neighbors at a safe distance enjoying the beautiful fall colors, Wassaic Project art installations along the trail, and amazing wetlands along the way. They walked/rode the trail alone, with friends, with family. Every age group was clearly enjoying this new, peaceful linear park. 

I think the Rail Trail and the newest extension has dramatically increased our quality of life for local residents. People are able to safely walk their dogs, stroll with kids in strollers, teach their kids to ride their bikes, walk or jog for mental and physical fitness — it’s so important to our community, especially during the pandemic.

It is liberating to know that we can get safely from the Wassaic hamlet to the Wassaic Train Station to Amenia, and all the way to Copake Falls, 23 continuous miles, without a car. 

Vicki Doyle

Amenia town councilwoman



Re-elect George Kaye to the North East Town Board

Join me on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and vote for George Kaye to serve a one-year term as a town of North East councilman.

As a former town supervisor, he has the knowledge and experience needed to help guide our community forward in these unprecedented times. George’s accomplishments and strong relationships with leaders in other municipalities, county and state government cannot be overlooked. These are credentials our current Town Board apparently acknowledges and appreciates, as in January it appointed him to fill a vacant board position.

I’ve known George for years. He is intelligent, open-minded, approachable, thoughtful, hard-working and decisive. I’m not voting for George Kaye because he’s a registered Republican. I’m voting for George Kaye because George Kaye is a good person and the most qualified person for the job.

Elect George Kaye for Town of North East councilman.

Stephen Waite

No Official Party (NOP)



Pine Plains Presbyterian Church needs your support

COVID times have hurt our communities in many ways. Our small community church continues  to provide spiritual, emotional and financial support to those in need,  including holding outdoor services all summer and into the fall.   

Like many other community service organizations, we face real difficulties in holding traditional fundraisers to provide needed revenues to continue community care. The Pine Plains Presbyterian Church has had to cancel our Spring and Fall Women’s Association sales as well as Spring and Summer Dinners.

Our first attempt at a fundraiser will be a “Grab &Go” Chicken BBQ with each meal containing a half chicken by BBQ Master Wesley Chase plus two sides, a roll and a brownie on Saturday, Oct. 10, with pick up between 4 and 6 p.m. at 3039 Church St. Reservations can be made by phone at 518-398-7056 or by emailing carolhart131@aol.com, with a suggested donation of  $15. Pickup will be curbside and masks covering the nose and mouth must be worn during the payment and pickup processes.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Jeanne Valentine-Chase

Pine Plains

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