Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 4-1-21
Millerton may be great, but it does have its issues
Recently, the New York Times published an article in its Real Estate Section that highlighted the beauty and welcoming nature of Millerton for potential new residents. But when you really read the article, you notice the callous mentions of our town’s challenges and “tips” for new residents to work around them. In describing the idyllic scenery and hip new additions to our downtown, the author managed to completely disregard the residents that predated the COVID boon we’ve seen in the last few months. By glossing over — and even offering ways to circumvent the issues that we face as a town — the article only serves to compound the issues that have found us in the situation we are in.
Our town faces many challenges: a fledgling school district, a dearth of quality shopping options and a complete lack of affordable housing options. Yet, it didn’t seem like the stories of families making do with groceries from the local gas station or chain pharmacy because they can’t afford other local options or don’t have transportation to travel to other, more economical stores made it to print, perhaps because it didn’t fit the “youthful energy” vibe of the article. Either way, our challenges don’t define us as a community, and if we work together — long-time residents and newcomers — we can build a stronger Millerton for all.
For those of us who live here and see them first hand, our problems don’t disappear when we simply choose not to acknowledge them. It’s not enough to ignore our school’s lack of funding by sending our children to private schools or work around the fact we have no grocery story by picking up dinner from the prepared foods section of one of the high-priced speciality stores in the area.
We have to find solutions to them. Solutions that will benefit both those who have called Millerton home for generations, as well as those who have just discovered how incredible our little corner of Dutchess County is. Solutions like zoning and building law changes, incentives for new businesses that the local community desperately needs and infrastructure development to make our town increasingly functional for all.
Bridging the divide that this piece quietly alludes to will take time and work. It won’t be easy — but it will be much harder if our town is strictly populated by those who the article suggests our town is most suitable for: those with the means to create a town that “caters to their tastes” while ignoring very real issues faced by those who were here long before they arrived.
As stated above, Millerton is a welcoming place, filled with people who are eager to bring you into the fold. But, it is a two-way street. We need to know that when someone new comes in, they are willing and able to find ways to join the community in ways that benefit us all. That will ensure we create a future Millerton we can all be proud of.
Candidate for Dutchess County Legislature (D-19)
Message on flag too offensive to fly?
There currently appears to be a “flag issue” in Millerton. For a year, a homeowner flew a large “Trump2020” flag on the front façade of their house, a flag that remained for months after the election — and well within their rights. Then the homeowner inexplicably replaced it with an upside down American flag (a symbol of distress) and more recently, a blunt and vulgar “F*** BIDEN” flag has been put in its place.
The flag is large and prominent on the main road into the village on Route 22, just before the Main Street intersection.
Even as a progressive Democrat, I and others I’ve spoken with had no issue with the “Trump2020” flag flying indefinitely, but admittedly the upside down American flag felt like an escalation — and now the homeowner appears to be pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable for public view. I believe in the First Amendment and would feel the same way if the situation were reversed, and the flag were offensive toward former President Trump. It is the public verbiage that I find appalling.
Millerton is a small and fairly apolitical community, but during presidential elections, there is notable political signage, and more so for local elections. This homeowner made a political statement with the “Trump2020” flag. This new flag does not make the same kind of statement.
The Village of Millerton Board of Trustees held a special meeting that addressed this issue on March 22 (also available on their Facebook page). The village is proposing an amendment to its existing sign and banner/flag ordinance to prohibit profane or obscene language and is consulting with village attorneys on what can be done.
The village has also scheduled a public (Zoom) meeting for April 19th regarding this issue. Apparently this is an issue the village has not run into before and is scrambling to react.
Millerton is a tolerant community and doesn’t usually wear its politics in public and it’s impossible to know, simply by strolling through the village, who is a Democrat and who is a Republican.
An example of one rare bold protest last year was a young woman at the route 44/22 intersection sitting alone with a large Black Lives Matter sign. She was there for several days. People drove by and honked, but you were never certain if they were honking in support of her statement or not.
Free speech is a constitutionally protected right, but this flag is simply a vulgarity on a main road where it can be viewed by heavy auto and pedestrian traffic, including children.
I would invite the homeowner to attend the April 19th virtual Village Board of Trustees public meeting and/or respond with a letter to the editor as to why he or she feels compelled to fly such an offensive flag on their property.
Messages of hate not welcome
As I consider the senseless acts of violence against Asian Americans and other innocent humans the past couple of weeks, I look to the things in my life that bring me joy. Some of these things are right here in Millerton: people enjoying the new stretch of Rail Trail, colorful signs advertising businesses, kids lining up at the bus stop and dogs stopping to sniff at whatever delights this early spring thaw has revealed.
And then, I see the obscene and profane signs, flags and bumper stickers that a few village residents display on their homes and vehicles.
To those of you who insist on sharing your hate-filled messages against the president, women (yes, I mean those “funny” bumper stickers that mention women’s genitals), specific political parties or ideologies you disagree with: Enough! Get that garbage off your house, your lawn, your car. Scream those words into your pillow at night. Share them with your buddies in private. Leave the rest of this village out of it.
You are not funny, you are not cute and the rest of us think you are immature and foolish.
While you are welcome to your own opinions and to share them in an appropriate manner, you are not welcome to shove your obscenities into my face, or more importantly, into the little faces of the kids waiting at the bus stop.
Please, grow up!
Willow Roots co-founders grateful for paper’s support
It is with a complete sense of relief and peace of mind that I am writing to the staff of The Millerton News this day. It is Sunday, and it is exactly one week since we saw reporter Kaitlin Lyle at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Willow Roots. What a difference a week makes. We are beyond grateful for all of your support.
There is no doubt in my mind that your paper single handily motivated and inspired people to reach out and offer their support. You are all a branch on our willow tree, and you have allowed more leaves to find us. We have made new friends and there are new possibilities for our future at hand.
There is no way to truly thank you, but to let you all know that you are forever a part of our family. You were with us at the very beginning and you have grown with us. Your staff’s support and constant concerns are what truly makes this a symbiotic community. We are grateful and honored to call you our friends.
Lisa and Nelson Zayas
Willow Roots food pantry