The Young Dreams/Good Ideas Petition for Rhinebeck and Clinton sign now

For the last four years (since 2004) I've sponsored a District #11 Essay Contest for graduating high school seniors in Rhinebeck and Clinton-- the challenge being an essay of five hundred words or less on what they would do if they were in my position (county legislator for Clinton and Rhinebeck); over the years these young men and women have come up with a number of good ideas.

Once again (as since '04) Rhinebeck High School Principal Dr. Edwin Davenport has been nice enough to allow me to be a small part of RCS' annual commencement exercises here in 2008 and present the fifth annual essay contest award winners with $100 savings bonds and certificates from our County Legislature (thanks to the generosity of Rhinebeck's Duncan Christy, Janet Stetson, and Frances Sandiford, among others).

Recall graduating Rhinebeck High School senior Rachel Neifeld's award-winning essay just a few years back (see effort started by yours truly for local teen center with folks like John Honey):

Rachel then wrote: "I would put great effort into creating a place for teenagers to associate after nine o' clock. Instead of having to travel to Kingston to find some night time entertainment, there should be a casual setting for people to reside in the center of town. A community center in the heart of Rhinebeck would provide kids with reasonably priced food and events during late night hours when other options are limited. This desperately needed social setting, dedicated to the youth of the town, would be a great place to grab a bite to eat after a movie, or just relax with friends on a Friday night. With something to do, kids may be less likely to have drinking parties at friends' houses, and would not resort to unhealthy recreational decisions."

[note-- if you haven't yet, check out Young Rhinebeck's website: especially the Youth Programming Needs Assessment report online there; Lea Cassarino et. al. have been making positive strides lately to address much/all of this]

But to the point-- read below this year's (2008's) award-winning essays from Rhinebeck High School graduating seniors Kayla Arsenault, Forrest Hackenbrock, Alex Landa, and Scott McDonald-- and contact me at 876-2488 or [email protected] if you'd like to see their dreams and visions actually become reality sooner than later in Rhinebeck and Clinton.

[you just never know what might happen if we pull together on these to make them happen!]

Joel Tyner
Dutchess County Legislature Environmental Committee Chair
County Legislator, Clinton/Rhinebeck
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]

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From Kayla Arsenault...

"Growing up in Rhinebeck I've come to notice the Fairgrounds rarely used. Using the Fairgrounds for events such as concerts that our local Hudson Valley bands could play at, a local drive-in movie theatre, family potluck days, and various competitions would be an effective use of the Fairgrounds space. The local bands would gather the surrounding towns creating a stronger community. Many people from around this area would come spread or get inspiration from this event. Local businesses will benefit greatly from this because many people will stop and eat or shop at Rhinebeck's local businesses. Also another plus would be that teens would get into less trouble because they would be attending these events instead of having free time to do whatever they please.

To make families closer it would be great to have family field days. May through August would be acceptable months to have this because it would be after the car shows but before the fair. Things such as cook-offs, go-cart racing, and bull-riding would be fun and exciting for people to attend. For these events we could invite local business vendors to serve, display, or market their business' food. By gathering the residents of the community it would truly strengthen our neighborhood.

Another way to use that space would be to have a drive-in movie theatre. This would give a place for kids to go at night and is also closer than the Hyde Park drive-ins. Some ideas for this would be classic movie night for the seniors and late-night movies for teens and adults.

I'm hoping that you will take these ideas into consideration considering the fast growth in crime in Rhinebeck. Involving kids, teens, and adults back into the community is the main purpose of these ideas-- so if you make any of my ideas reality, I'm positive that a lot of things will change around Rhinebeck."

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From Alex Landa...

"Rhinebeck, New York- a rather beautiful town, with an old-fashioned comfort that's rare these days. It's become a famous place to raise the young, and for the elderly to enjoy their wisdom years. Where does the middle stand, the teens, the young adults, and the working family? To be honest, many teens and even adults find it difficult to have a good time in town. This is a fairly stale area in all honesty, which has many people, teens and even adults resort to doing hard drugs and drinking their time away. I've lost friends due to this circumstance, and the idea of an internet cafй could spark some creativity through artistic means, as opposed to resorting to artificial means.

This town lacks the creative side, as it's focused on entertaining the elderly and wasting too much time making artificial beauty to bring in naпve spenders from large cities, primarily New York City. Although the town has its fair share of narrow-minded people, who take natural beauty for granted, there are still the ones who need a spot to be with other artistic people, sharing their works, and having a mentally safe environment. I propose to make an internet cafй, of which is fairly self explanatory; a cafй with Wi-Fi connection, but with more. I also propose to include two separate venues to the side, one being an art gallery of which could be updated periodically. The second venue would be used for different occasions each week, one week it could be an open mike night, a battle of the bands, poetry slam, karaoke, plays be performed, and even setting up a projector and have a film festival.

Not only could this generally bring a lot of amusement to Rhinebeck, it could greatly improve the economy. It would create new jobs; have builders create the new building, people running the cafй, setting up internet, creating the events, and so on. It would bring more people to Rhinebeck, as this idea doesn't seem too common in Dutchess County, so it could potentially have people bring their disposable income, which could go to the school, and fixing up some less that adequate roads and sidewalks throughout Rhinebeck. It could easily relieve parental worries; I'm sure they'd rather have their child come home fatigued from creative stimuli rather than narcotic stimuli.

Rhinebeck, New York- beauty, relaxation, calmness, and low crime rate. Rhinebeck, New York- stale, drug filled, and not the best place for the middle range. This town needs spice, the cinnamon on top of a well-made cappuccino. Helping the economy, destroying boredom, potentially lowering the drug problem, and bring some more creative elements, I see, might not be a bad thing. My purpose for said proposal is to improve a town of which seems to dearly need improving. Lest we not forget, in today's day and age, living in a whirlwind of social demons, even this small addition to Rhinebeck could serve as a sanctuary to young, elderly, and middle range alike."

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From Forrest Hackenbrock...

"If I were county Legislator I would focus on a few things. First I would attempt to survey the youth in the area, maybe by going to elementary high schools and asking various groups to fill out questionnaires. In the survey there should be questions about what kids would like to see more of in our area. I feel that in the town of Rhinebeck and Clinton, there is a lack of recreational resources for kids. The mini park is mainly for toddlers and younger kids. The rec park and Crystal Lake are the only other area in town that kids can play sports or hang out. These facilities are in good condition and provide recreation but there could be more. There is a quite large skateboarding community that is oppressed by a lack of skate spots. If there was even a small skate park, at the rec park or somewhere near by town, I think a lot more kids would be active and interested in such activities. I believe kids in our community would also benefit from a community center where they could just hang out, play pool, etc. If there were to be a stage where bands could perform I know it would flourish. I know this is easier said than done but with the right sponsors and support it is a possibility.

Another thing I would concern myself with is environmental issues. I feel that many people in Rhinebeck and Clinton are involved with the green movement while others may not be. There should be public service announcements telling quick tips or facts on how to reduce our destruction of the environment. These could be billboards, or small signs around town, or commercials on the radio or TV. Our community must be aware of our carbon emissions levels and take a stricter approach on littering.

The town of Rhinebeck obviously caters to tourists, especially from New York City. I enjoy our town and find it very unique and interesting. I like how the only corporation is CVS. Corporate involvement should be kept to a minimum in our town. As I walk through town I notice all the new establishments are upscale, and do not represent locals' needs. There should be more stores with practical items and prices, along with restaurants.

I moved here in 2000, and did not like it very much. However, as I grew up, Rhinebeck grew on me, and I am now very happy and privileged to be living here. I think we are living on a high standard and should maintain that. The suggestions I made are the only improvements I can think of, because Rhinebeck is a very well established town. As long as the town can communicate with the community, the harmony that exists will continue to live on."

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From Scott McDonald...

"In a town like Rhinebeck where poverty and crime are almost nonexistent, other subjects come to mind when I consider what could be changed to better our community. Our community as well as our country as a whole misuses resources, create ridiculous amounts of waste, and operate in an inefficient manner. I feel it is appropriate and necessary for me to use Rhinebeck High School, the institution with which I am most familiar under our local government, to demonstrate these observations as well as provide alternative modes of action.

Everyday Rhinebeck High School deposits hundreds of sets of styrofoam trays and plastic silverware in the trash. To me, this waste is inexcusable. It would not only be cost efficient, but it would relieve a huge environmental burden if our school would just decide to buy real plates with real silverware and wash and reuse them each day. Also, Rhinebeck High School continues to feed the kids processed, canned garbage from some large food processing company located in the middle of nowhere when they could be providing healthy produce and supporting local agriculture at the same time. The school could also set aside a piece of land for growing fresh fruits and vegetables and use it as an opportunity to teach kids agriculture and nutrition as well as provide community service opportunities.

The school district also tends to use artificial light instead of natural sunlight by keeping the window shades closed and turning the lights on, frequently to keep kids from being distracted by the outside world. This is wasteful in terms of electricity and energy, not to mention artificial light has been shown to be less stimulating to students in a learning environment. For the times when artificial light is necessary, the school should have full spectrum light bulbs installed as it is proven to be more likely to keep students alert, healthier for the body chemically, and cost effective in the long run.

If I were county legislator for Rhinebeck and Clinton, I would try to impact the school system for several reasons. Not only is the system run poorly, but if done correctly, instilling values of conservation and local agriculture in the youth now would go on to prove very beneficial to both our town and the world in the future."

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