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Joseph and Barbara Albanese of Middletown were among the many New York State residents to get their COVID-19 vaccines at one of the first clinics held at Dover High School in January 2021; both received the Pfizer vaccines. Archive photo

Reflecting on the challenges of 2021

A Year in Review — Part I

HARLEM VALLEY — After a year of cataclysmic developments in 2020 that included a global pandemic, which forced citizens around the world to adjust their lives to fit a new normal, 2021 was a testament to the ways in which communities can rally together to create meaningful change and help one another navigate life in the wake of major upheaval.

As is tradition for The Millerton News, in our first edition of the New Year we like to reflect on the major stories reported on in the year before throughout the Harlem Valley. Some of the headlines that grabbed the most attention follow below.


Despite the impact COVID-19 made on the state, counties and many municipalities, Harlem Valley communities were determined to move forward on critical projects.

In our area, there was a consensus that infrastructure projects had to be addressed as a priority. The North East, Pine Plains and Amenia Town Boards all focused their attention on improving broadband. All pursued federal grants to get faster and more secure internet service.

They also all pursued ways to install central wastewater systems — key to improve economic development. The Millerton and Millbrook Village Boards are also looking into wastewater systems.

Housing was another major issue; the Amenia Housing Board and the Tri-Town Coalition, an affordable housing group representing Amenia, North East/Millerton and Pine Plains, actively worked to create affordable housing in northeastern Dutchess County.

There will be new housing in Pine Plains, if its Planning Board approves the Durst Organization’s revamped proposal for a 237-lot conservation subdivision. The board has been reviewing Durst's Hudson Valley Project since the spring. The project was proposed more than a decade ago, originally as the Carvel Property Project.

The Pine Plains Planning Board heard complaints this year, too, from neighbors of the Willow Roots food pantry about traffic on North Main Street during Saturday distribution days. After a long and contentious back and forth, Willow Roots moved its distribution center to 7730 South Main St. and had a ribbon-cutting ceremony in March.

Find Part II of The Year in Review here.

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