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Letters to the Editor - The Millerton news - 5-12-22

National energy prices are also a local concern

This week I was shocked to learn fuel oil has topped $6 per gallon. Since many area residents rely on oil heat, this could very well become a budget buster this fall. Hopefully we’re looking at an anomaly that will correct itself soon.

The war in Europe and a government bent on the elimination of fossil fuel at any cost has led us down this road.

I suspect our politicians will come up with even more giveaway programs as inflation runs its course. Elementary economics dictate that will lead to more inflation as we continually kick the can down the road.

The problem is, eventually you wind up with a lot more takers than givers. At some point the system fails. Putting it quite simply, what we’re doing now isn’t working.

To me we’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. This country runs on oil; the vast majority of items we consume rely on it too.

I don’t have a problem looking for ways to reduce its use. But this headlong attack without any concern for consumer pocketbooks is reckless.

During our last energy crisis, I recall conversations about people, especially seniors, trying to make a decision between purchasing food, heat or medication.

I wonder how many of us will fall into that category should things continue in this direction?  Something to think about.

John Walters



Amenia supervisor changing tune about settling with mine company

I was pleased to see an article about the threatened settlement between the town of Amenia and the gravel mining company Kent Hollow, Inc., in The Millerton News of May 5.

As the resident who spoke to town Supervisor Victoria Perotti about the matter, however, I found some of her statements regarding our conversation confusing.

When I went to see her on April 8, I asked her to explain what had occurred in the executive session meeting about Kent Hollow litigation that was on the March 16 agenda.

She replied that the town and Kent Hollow were negotiating a settlement that would allow Kent Hollow to increase mining on their property at 341 South Amenia Road.

I’m not sure why she stated in the article, “There’s no settlement — I don’t know where all this came from.”

My information about the settlement came directly from her. I was pleased to read her declaration that the Town Board is “standing by our ZBA and we’re in discussions, but nothing has been done, no settlement, no agreement, no nothing,” and I hope that is true — but it directly contradicts what she said to me.

Ms. Perotti couldn’t give me any specifics, as the issue is in litigation, but she did tell me the Town Board and Kent Hollow were negotiating details of quantity and timing of gravel mining. She assured me that it would be “at least a few weeks” before a settlement was reached.

A few weeks didn’t seem like much time to me, so my husband Phil Sicker and I worked as quickly as we could to bring the news of the settlement to our neighbors whose land, like ours, abuts Kent Hollow, and to other Wassaic and Amenia residents.

Since the negotiations have taken place in secrecy, we didn’t feel confident that we would be alerted by the town should the settlement be finalized.

The idea that the board’s negotiations have been “transparent,” as Ms. Perotti claims, is absurd. If I hadn’t happened on a mention of the March executive session meeting online, none of us would have had any idea that a settlement was imminent.

Our concerns, as the article of May 5 noted, are as follows: the noise, air and water pollution that the expanded mine will produce; the threat to endangered species and other wildlife from the mining; decreased property values; and the increase in loud and dangerous truck and heavy equipment traffic on our narrow, winding country road.

In addition, though, we are deeply distressed by the lack of transparency shown by the Town Board, and by the board’s apparent willingness to subvert its own Master Plan.

Ms. Perotti said to me in person, about the lawsuit, “We’re tired of it, and they [Kent Hollow] are tired of it.”

If a wealthy company can continue a lawsuit until the town of Amenia is “tired of it” and backs down, what meaning do our zoning laws have? Why bother to create a Master Plan at all?

Diane Zahler

Philip Sicker



Millerton News does Dover proud, on Earth Day and every day

Thank you for reporting on the Dover Earth Day Celebration & Fair and including us in your Earth Day editorial. You help keep Dover and the Harlem Valley on the map — literally and figuratively.

Assistant Principal of the Dover Middle School Emily Krieger attracted organizations from New Jersey, New York City and west of the Hudson to join exhibitors from the Harlem Valley and nearby organizations and businesses to share the same message: The work of a single steward (or detective dog) will generate positive outcomes all around.

Reporter Kaitlin Lyle has an eye for detail and is a storyteller at heart. Her article deftly connects three exhibitors who think globally and work locally: the Pollinator Pathway Project, the Waterman Bird Club and the Invasives Strike Force. Each in their own way illustrates how local habitats support the ecosystems of the larger Appalachian Mountains landscape, and provide information about what students can do here to steward this magnificent “Wild East” flyway in which we live.

To protect and improve the habitat of the bluebird, the Waterman Bird Club Bluebird Trail project has installed over 490 nesting boxes to date.

The countywide bluebird trail is monitored by over 19 volunteers. These additional nesting sites alleviate competition from more aggressive birds like house sparrows, an invasive species.

To bring it home, Susan Iannuci and Sariena Masiero displayed and raffled off a bluebird box. With that one box, the winner will help boost the population of our state bird.

Because birds travel the larger landscape, WBC works with Audubon New York and Connecticut, and ultimately Audubon nationwide.   

The Invasives Strike Force team is part of a national anti-invasives organization. As Kaitlin observed, Arden Blumenthal and her invasives-tracking Detective Dog Peat were show-stealers. Arden, Peat and their colleague Ryan Goolic were first-time exhibitors, and Peat demonstrated his sharp scenting skills in the school courtyard.

This crew is working locally on a search and destroy mission to save a section of the Appalachian Trail in Dover from “Sticky Sage,” an invasive which if left untreated would spread across the Appalachian landscape.

Janet Pickering and her partner-in-planting Master Gardener Michelle Lam started the Dover chapter of the national Pollinator Pathway Project. They were on hand to demonstrate how planting a garden, no matter how small, or leaving a section of lawn unmown — while monitoring invasives — will increase biodiversity and support the birds and insects that connect the dots along the way.

In articles and editorials, The Millerton News creates connections and community within the ecosystem of the Harlem Valley towns and the larger landscape. Your paper is the voice for our side of the county, and you tell our stories in our own words.

Your message is one of cautious optimism, and you wear it well.

With gratitude,

Stancy DuHamel


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