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Northern Dutchess News This Week...

The Northern Dutchess News is a member of the Southern Dutchess News group and is fast becoming a staple in the lives of individuals in communities north and east of Poughkeepsie. Already named an “official newspaper” of Stanfordville and Rhinebeck, it also serves Hyde Park, Red Hook, Tivoli, Milan, Pine Plains, Amenia, Dover, Millbrook, Clinton Corners, Salt Point and Pleasant Valley. The Northern Dutchess News provides coverage of local town, village and school news, the Dutchess County Legislature, county legal notices, obituaries, plus coverage of arts and entertainment, hospitals, 4-H clubs , farming news, businesses and organizations.

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04/16/14 Highlights of this week's edition...

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Grasmere vision combines tourism, keeping farmland

Johathan Mensch and his dog, Cooper, pose near the stone barns on the historic, 525-acre Grasmere Farm property near Rhinebeck. Photo by Curtis Schmidt

by Danielle Fried

RHINEBECK--Jonathan Mensch is bringing a little bit of the Napa Valley to the Hudson Valley. During a public hearing on April 7, the Rhinebeck Planning Board granted a special use permit, allowing Mensch to move forward with a re-envisioning of the historic, 525-acre Grasmere Farm property.

The project involves:
--Restoring the manor house to serve as an entry-point and offer 17 guestrooms;
--Creating a spa facility that also offers wellness programs;
--Building approximately 100 “eco-cabins” for lodging;
--Creating a restaurant in the property’s stone barns and using a portion of the space for conferences and events; and
--Maintaining 250 acres as working farmland.

Mensch said he toured California’s Napa Valley to hone his vision for the Grasmere project.

“So much of where the [local] economy is going is driven by tourism,” he said. “Generating tourism allows agriculture and open space to thrive, as the beauty and peace associated with it attract visitors.”

He said the Hudson Valley is similar to Napa Valley in that way. Properties similar to Grasmere have been developing in Napa Valley for the past 20 years.

For Mensch, this project answers the question: “How do you create value out of natural beauty, the maintenance of open space and working farms?”

Planning has been exciting, but not easy.

“The big challenge from a design perspective throughout the process has been: How do we add volume while keeping the character of the site? It’s a difficult exercise,” said Mensch. “What we’re really trying to do is create a sense of place and authenticity of experience.”

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Mom’s heroin-addicted son impels her to act

Jami DeLorenzo and Shelly Knight of Addiction Awareness & Support of Dutchess County prepare materials for a presentation at the Tymor Park Recreation Center. Photo by Curtis Schmidt

by Ray Fashona

Editor’s note: This story is part of an occasional series on the heroin epidemic sweeping Dutchess County.

Like any addict, Shelly Knight takes it one day at a time, trying to hold everything together. But the LaGrange mother of two is not an addict. Worse, perhaps, she is the mother of a 23-year-old son who has been in and out of recovery for heroin addiction for four-and-a-half years.

“It has been a living hell,” Knight said.

Her son is in a recovery program again and she hopes this time it will take. She hopes.

“I pray every day,” she said. “But I freeze every time the phone rings, wondering what might have gone wrong now.”

As a way to keep herself focused on trying to help – and to aid other parents who might be facing similar anguish – Knight has started a support group called Addiction Awareness, Prevention & Support. The idea is to discuss addiction, and how it affects families, openly.

The web site is The group’s next meeting is April 23 at 7 p.m. in LaGrange Town Hall. There is also a forum, with educational speakers, on June 17 at 7 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall in Hyde Park.

Knight is quick to acknowledge, with a touch of sadness in her voice, how her son’s addiction has wreaked havoc on her family. He has been jailed several times, sometimes to protect him from himself. He has stolen from the family to feed his habit.

“Everything of value we have left is locked up,” Knight said. “And there’s not much left.”

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Powerhouse charged up for a new season

John Patrick Shanley returns to Powerhouse with “The Listener,” one of three mainstage productions featured during the 30th anniversary season. Photo © Monique Carboni

New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, this summer celebrating the 30th year of their Powerhouse Theater collaboration, recently announced the three new works that will be featured on the mainstage during the 2014 Powerhouse Theater Season, running from June 20 to July 27 at Vassar College. Subscriptions go on sale May 7; full programming and ticket sale information will be announced at a later date.

“The Babylon Line” by Richard Greenberg will open the mainstage on June 25 and run through July 6. Directed by Terry Kinney, the play takes place in 1967 and centers on a 38-year-old writer from bohemian Greenwich Village who commutes to Levittown, Long Island to teach an adult-education Creative Writing class. He finds anything but the cookie-cutter lives he expected in this straight-laced community, as his students come to discover the power of storytelling to transform their lives.

“In Your Arms,” directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, with music by Stephen Flaherty, will run July 5-13. It features 10 dance vignettes written by an unprecedented collection of pre-eminent playwrights that each tell a story without words of a pair of lovers, constituting an evening of storytelling, dance and music with a cast of more than 20 performers.

As he has done many times in Powerhouse’s history, John Patrick Shanley will bring his latest work-in-progress to the mainstage. “The Listener” written and directed by Shanley, will run July 16-27.

“The Listener” is a mystery that unfolds against an international backdrop. The main character, a female insurance investigator, finds herself battling wits with a formidable Danish widow. “The Listener” is disturbing, funny, deadly serious and sexy, like a Hitchcock film with a modernist edge.

Visit and for updates and more information.

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Also in the Apr. 16-22, 2014 issue:

  • ‘Repair Café’ to debut in Rhinebeck May 3
  • Didi Barrett to host energy efficiency forum
  • FDR’s role in March of Dimes topic of exhibit

Left: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of FDR and National Honorary Chair of the March of Dimes Roosevelt Legacy Campaign, speaks at last week’s unveiling of the FDR Legacy Exhibit. Standing behind Anna Roosevelt are (from left) March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse; Dr. John Henry Felix, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association and a former chairman of the March of Dimes Foundation Board of Trustees; and LaVerne H. Council, Chair of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees. Courtesy photo

  • Fighting addiction is a cruel and constant battle
  • County unveils plan to become healthiest in state
  • Ground-breaking event held for NDH Medical Pavilion
  • FSA announces sign-up for disaster assistance programs
  • County assistant emergency response coordinator appointed
  • Tortarella appointed to finish Rhinebeck’s unexpired mayoral term

In Creative Living:

  • DC Fairgrounds 2014 schedule set
  • Ron reviews ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Ron Mombello enjoyed “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” In the photo: Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) revels among his women. Courtesy photo

  • Sharon Playhouse to celebrate silver anniversary season

School of the Week:

Ralph R. Smith Elementary, Hyde Park

  • If your school has a program you’d like to see featured in School of the Week this session, e-mail and put “School of the Week” in the subject line.


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