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Real and positive

The Millerton News Editorial

Monitoring the news these days on the national or international front requires a steady and determined attitude in the face of adversity. Or as Merriam-Webster would put it: a stiff upper lip. However, checking in on the local news this past week shines a light on some real and positive outcomes on  important matters in Millerton and its surrounding county.

For one, the Village of Millerton and the Town of North East can be hopeful that Rep. Pat Ryan will succeed in his request for a $2 million Community Project Funding grant to be used toward the village’s proposed wastewater system project. The system would encompass the village’s business district, commercial areas along Route 22 and the town’s Boulevard District along Route 44 plus a few surrounding residential properties in the village. This project, in the works for at least seven years, appears to have momentum. Mayor Jenn Najdek and Town Supervisor Chris Kennan should be saluted for recognizing the importance of this initiative for Millerton.

Another local news item: The Village gets a new police chief. Joseph Olenik was appointed to the part-time post after the village Board of Trustees in late March placed the Millerton police on paid leave, suspending their activities until a police chief was in place. Olenik comes to the job with close to a half century of experience in law enforcement, including years at the North Salem Police Department and at SUNY Purchase. He currently holds a full-time position as director of facilities, operations and support for Putnam Hospital in Carmel and Sharon Hospital, both part of Nuvance Health. The status of the Millerton Police Department remains a contentious topic, but village trustees are taking steps to provide more clarity. For his part, Olenik says he believes in community. An early riser, residents can expect to see him on patrol during morning hours. And it’s a positive sign that the new chief has been walking around the village, meeting business owners and residents.

Last week’s news also affirmed the mission of the Moviehouse — and equally that of Sharon Hospital — to connect with the community. A panel of physicians assembled on stage to offer advice on healthy aging. The keynote speaker was Chris Crowley, 90, a best-selling author who lives in Lakeville, and whose “Younger Next Year” series of books has sold more than 2 million copies. It should not go unnoticed that six doctors representing geriatrics, neurology, internal medicine and palliative care, primary care, obstetrics and gynecology and orthopedic surgery appeared on the Moviehouse stage to talk to the community and answer questions — and connect with the community. Hats off to those MDs, to Sharon Hospital and to nonagenarian Chris Crowley.

And lastly, in neighboring Columbia County, the late Charlotte Shutts, a longtime Hillsdale resident and supporter of the Roeliff Jansen Library in Copake, left a bequest to the library that will enable it to retire its mortgage and fund a new outdoor pavilion. Shutts, who died in December, was known to be shy, but volunteered at the front desk. This good deed deserves to be honored.

Real and positive outcomes are welcome news. No stiff upper lip required.

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