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News That Matters – Monday, November 15, 2010 – The Anniversary Edition

Early maps show Philipstown being more recatngularish from when it was divvied up among the Philipse Family. The 1892 USGS map shows the current westernmost line of Kent, the line that runs along the Philisptown Pike (Route 301) AND the *old* town line as well. That line is missing from the 1941 map which has the current town lines in position. […]


News That Matters – May 12, 2010

Do we ask doctors and auto mechanics and cops and educators and store clerks to pay a “fee” to work in the county? Does the county require gas station attendants to carry personal business insurance? Does the county require your vet to use e-Verify? No, so why just blue-collar workers who are mostly self-employed and struggling through this economic recession? What is it about the people who form the backbone of our economy the County Legislature doesn’t like? […]


News That Matters – May 5, 2010

Since 2001 there have been 858 fires and explosions, 69 deaths and 1349 injuries on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico – alone. Millions of gallons of oil have been spilled making the Gulf one of the most polluted seas on the planet and yet, Republicans are still pushing for more drilling and exploration along US coasts. Can you believe that? Why not spend that time and effort on conservation and alternative energy? Haven’t we done enough damage to our environment with oil and coal? […]


Breaking News – Who is paying the taxes at Tilly Foster?

Good Monday Afternoon,

Who is paying the $19,500 owed in property taxes at Tilly Foster Farm?

That’s a good question which Legislator Dan Birmingham would like an answer to.

In a three page memo dated today, Legislator Birmingham asks County Executive Bondi this very question and lays out the properties that are taxable and hopes that you and I will not be picking up the tab.

The three properties are:

56.-1-20.3 The Cottage – assessed at $375,000 56.-1-32.1 The rental house – assessed at $250,000 56.-1-20.4 The Country Store – assessed at $100,000

Each of these taxable parcels are being used by Preserve Putnam as income generating facilities and hold a combined property tax liability of somewhere around $19,500… or so.

Mr. Birmingham writes in part:

If I recall during these many public discussions [on the contract] , the County was assured by Preserve Putnam on numerous occasions that Tilly Foster Farm would be “self sufficient” and that the cost of the operations of Tilly Foster Farm would be borne exclusively by Preserve Putnam

I certainly hope that you would agree with me that this tax liability should not be paid for by the taxpayers of Putnam County. I […]


News That Matters – October 16, 2009 – Things To Do Edition

Good Friday Morning,

The weather report was something along the lines of gusty windy, driving rains, falling trees and power lines. Instead, it has gently snowed and snowed enough that I was throwing snowballs last night. It’s still snowing outside this morning.

The Town Board in Kent, in its tentative budget, proposes to give itself a raise. Putnam Valley, so I hear, is intending to do the same thing. Raises for elected officials when foreclosures are higher than ever, unemployment is reaching 10% and everyone else is cutting back?

Looking for a hike this weekend? Take a walk around the Wiccopee Reservoir on Wiccopee Road in Putnam Valley (about a mile west of the Taconic State Parkway. The Wiccopee Reservoir holds water for the City of Peekskill, releasing it into the Hollow Brook as it flows on its way to that city on the Hudson. This 500 acre property, backed by the scouting reservation and Fahnestock State Park, offers an easy 3 mile loop hike (on a serviceable road) around the lower reservoir and a walk along a beautiful portion of the upper. It takes you across the top of one, and then along the base of the other […]


News That Matters – August 21, 2009 – Things To Do Edition

Interior/Exterior House Painting by someone you can trust. TaconicArts.com

Good Friday Morning,

The League of Women Voters hosted a candidate’s forum in Kent last evening at which I was on the panel and all I can say is that it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. It’s not the same being on that side of the table as it is on the other!

Everyone was pretty chill until the closing statements when John Greene (yes, if you can believe the surname mashup that I still consider intentional,) got a little testy properly raising the ire of councilman Lou Tartaro who seems to be specifically targeted for removal from the board by various forces. While Lou and I are in direct competition for the board seat he currently occupies I’m not running against him – I’m running FOR the seat – there is a difference. But John seems to have Lou and Supervisor Doherty in his gunsights, and to a lesser extent Republican candidate Tom Maxson, and has for the past few months. There was a cameraman from the North County News present […]


News That Matters – July 20, 2009 – 9th Anniversary Edition

PlanPutnam: Now in our tenth year!

“I think society puts young people in a box — people 15, 16, 17 — and does not expect them to do much but go to high school and play football and stuff like that. This just shows they can do a lot more with some strong ambition and desire. My [advice] is to get out there and do your thing with all you got.” - 17 year old Zack Sunderland, the youngest to ever to sail around the globe – solo.

Good Monday Morning,

This issue of News That Matters begins the 10th year of PlanPutnam!

As of this morning we have near 500 readers who receive NtM directly by email and another several hundred who read it online each day. As the column is posted on several blog sites and is picked up by Google and other web crawlers, I have no idea how many others are reading. And, while this column is certainly not the most read media source in the county it has become the most influential and for that you should all be proud. You don’t know how many times I’ll be talking to […]


County exec’s cattle-boarding arrangement prompts flap on Tilly Foster lease | The Journal News

County exec’s cattle-boarding arrangement prompts flap on Tilly Foster lease Susan Elan selan@LoHud.com

While Putnam officials negotiated a 40-year, no-rent contract with Kent gentleman farmer George Whipple to run a county-owned farm in Southeast, some of Whipple’s cattle grazed at County Executive Robert Bondi’s 348-acre farm in western New York.

The boarding agreement was not disclosed during the often contentious negotiations over a long-term lease for Tilly Foster Farm. It came to light this week in connection with an announcement of a workshop on solar-powered watering systems at Bondi’s hilltop farm in Steuben County next month.

Some Putnam officials and residents are crying foul over the failure to disclose the arrangement. Bondi and Whipple say they are overreacting.

Legislature Chairman Tony Hay, R-Southeast, has asked the Law Department to investigate a potential conflict of interest.

“A transaction like this should never have taken place, in order not to give the appearance of impropriety,” Hay said.


News That Matters – July 10, 2009 – Things To Do Edition

“I was taken off the Personnel Committee with no discussion, or hearing, or input on my part but they’re not going to stop me from doing my duty as legislator.” – PC Legislator Tony Fusco (see story)

Good Friday Morning,

The Town of Kent is in the process of constructing a bathroom at Farmer’s Mills Park, a project that will cost tens of thousands of dollars, I think unnecessarily. I asked Supervisor Doherty if the Town had considered the use of composting toilets and to her credit she said they had but that the county health department wouldn’t approve their use.

I might advise the town not to engage in the drilling of wells, the digging of septic or the laying of pipe for a leach field just yet, when for tens of thousands of dollars less they can go the way of national governments and state and national parks across the globe with the use of a composting toilet instead.

Just because the Department will not approve of this tax dollar and environment saving utility does not mean the town should throw up its hands and move forward with the more expensive project. Rather, […]


NtM – June 12, 2009 – Things To Do Edition

Good Friday Morning,

As if you haven’t noticed it’s been raining for the past week or so.

But it’s the perfect time to look at your streets and roads for signs of stormwater problems which will be evidenced by grit and sand spread out in ‘alluvial fans‘ across the pavement. While seemingly innocuous, that sand (which is carrying other pollutants) will end up in a lake or creek and have a negative effect on the quality of our recreational and drinking water supplies. So if you see a problem, call your town’s stormwater committee and let them know where it is. Take some photographs (like Brian’s in Wednesday’s column and again to the left) to document the problem and then let’s get them fixed.

Tony Caravetta and the Kent highway guys have been out in western Kent these past few days sweeping the streets which has made a marked difference in the amount of silt and sand flowing into local streams. Has your highway department been out? If not, call them and ask them why.

I’m in shape. Pear’s a shape, right?

A friend of mine pointed me to an article about how the nation is […]