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Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 8-12-21

To an incredible community of people, from NECC

My original hope was to reach out to you post-COVID with a huge thank you for your support of the North East Community Center (NECC), but the pandemic has not ended as we had all hoped. However, I believe it is important to reach out now, even though the path ahead is still uncertain. If there is one thing I have learned over the past year, it is that this community has unwavering strength in the face of difficulty, profound compassion in the presence of suffering and boundless generosity in a time of shared struggle. We can and will get through this final phase. Looking back over the last year gives me all the evidence I need of our collective resilience. 

When we learned that we would have to shut our doors, it took only three hours for our staff to move to “remote” operations. I can assure you — our staff has impressed me every day in their ability to keep working, and to work harder than ever, to ensure that we serve those who need help… all while suffering the same pandemic challenges we all experienced. 

Despite our fellow organizations and businesses having to distance, never have I seen more effort to aid the community we serve than I have during this pandemic. This support came as:

• The Watershed Center, LaBonne’s and Hillsdale IGA helping us order food supplies.

• Businesses such as Montage, Hammertown Barn, The Farmer’s Wife, Hotchkiss School and others holding fundraisers.

• Moore and More Printing, Main Street Magazine, Millbrook Rotary, The Millerton News and Lakeville Journal offering free/discounted support to spread the word about our helpful services, crisis fund and ways to donate/volunteer.

• Local farms and gardeners such as Rock Steady providing local produce for our food pantry.

• Farmers Market vendors that stuck with us through the pandemic including Breezy Hill Orchard, Broadfork Farm, Coco’s Crumbs, Herondale Farm, Jacuterie, Miracle Springs Farm, Moon In The Pond, Philmont Community Bakery (aka Light Force Bakery), PBP Farms and The Baker’s Wife.

• Staff/leaders of the towns, villages and county we serve for aid throughout the pandemic to better serve our region.

• Our local foundations who contributed incredible support. 

• State and other entities for keeping our grant-funded programs going.

We witnessed extraordinary dedication from 50-plus volunteers who helped, even during the worst days, to deliver meals, maintain gardens and transport produce from farms to tables. 

I also must thank individuals and businesses who supported our 2020 and 2021 Chef & Farmer Brunch fundraisers. We reached our 2020 fundraising goal, despite the pandemic, and continue to invite donations to the 2021 campaign. 

As we all look ahead at an uncertain path, our Board of Directors and I express our full-hearted gratitude to this wonderful community of people, working hard to help each other. We’ll continue to be here for you and thank you for being here with us. 

Christine Sergent

NECC Executive Director



Poison sprays could lead to a ‘Silent Spring’

This Sunday evening, taking a drive from Perry’s Corners Road and Route 22 in Amenia to the village of Millerton, I was struck by the evident dead weeds, grasses and bushes along the road at every pole, sign and guardrail. 

The ground is scorched and dead. Some bushes are burned in large swaths above my head. Obviously the Highway Department must have figured spraying poison is easier than having a crew mechanically reduce the foliage growth at each key site? 

I’m impressed by the die off and wonder what else is being killed: the bugs, bees, birds?  Shouldn’t the community be warned or alerted to such an application? 

How can we get full disclosure on what is in the poison that is being sprayed across our neighborhoods and near our waterways? Have we learned anything since Rachel Carson wrote “Silent Spring?”

Tilly Strauss


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