2017: A Partial Look Back
When The Pawling Record launched with its inaugural issue in May, it filled a five-year void that existed while the Town and Village were without a local newspaper. Setting forth under the motto of “community, commerce, and culture,” the publication aims to report local news in an unbiased fashion. As the name implies, the paper has served as a record for all manner of stories, large and small, that have occurred within the Pawling community over the past eight months.
When the paper first arrived on newsstands on May 19, it delved into the oft-discussed rift that had formed between the Town of Pawling and Daryl’s House Club. The venue, owned by renowned musician Daryl Hall, had been cited months earlier by a Town fire marshal for being filled over capacity during a performance. During this time, the club was also beginning the process of seeking approval for an outdoor amphitheater for a summer concert series. In response to the violation, Daryl’s House filed a $3.2 million lawsuit against the Town of Pawling and Supervisor David Kelly. During this time, there was speculation that the litigation would result in the popular restaurant-theater leaving Pawling. The lawsuit was dismissed on June 27 by the State Supreme Court in Poughkeepsie, and both sides began working toward a resolution. Currently, the outdoor stage is under review by the Town Planning Board, with sound tests being conducted last month.
Whaley Lake Dam
In July, Pawling took major steps forward in the reconstruction of the Whaley Lake Dam. The project was conceived in 2006 in order to renovate the dam to meet current design standards, as well as eliminate seepage and repair the existing masonry. Town officials approved the $4.7 million cost of the project, which began in July. Reconstruction has been underway since; the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
‘A Quiet Place’
As the summer drew to a close, Pawling was chosen as a filming location for a major motion picture. Production of Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place began on September 6, necessitating the closure of a section of West Dover Road for nearly two months. The horror film, starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, may have temporarily disrupted local traffic, but it earned Pawling celebrity status as an active player in Dutchess County’s thriving film industry. Residents will surely recognize locations from the area when A Quiet Place opens in theaters on April 6, 2018.
‘Fill a Truck for Texas’
In late August, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, bringing with it unprecedented destruction. The Category 4 Hurricane destroyed 94,000 homes, forcing 30,000 residents into emergency shelters and leaving more than 80 dead. Relief efforts sprang up across the country, and Pawling residents answered the call. Seeing the need for emergency supplies, lifelong residents and local business owners James Schmitt and Gary Tiso began to “Fill a Truck for Texas.” The initiative received aid from Senator Terrence Murphy, and numerous Pawling residents volunteered their time and donated supplies. Ultimately, the effort filled an 18-wheel tractor-trailer with 42,000 pounds of food, clothing, and supplies in less than a week. The truck was then driven to a Red Cross Relief site in Texas City, TX, by Gary Tiso himself.
The political landscape in Pawling would see several changes following the November elections. In 2018, James Schmitt will begin a two-year term as the new Town Supervisor, and Jay Dickinson was elected as Town Superintendent of Highways. The Town Board will also see changes in the New Year with the election of James “Jimbo” McCarthy, and the resignation of longtime Town Councilman Michael Montemarano in December 2017. Election season also saw the first ever “Meet the Candidates Night,” sponsored by Pawling Public Radio. The event provided a forum for members of the community to hear from the candidates before the election.
Decemberfest . . .
As the holidays approached, the Decemberfest celebration and Christmas tree lighting ceremony was in jeopardy of being cancelled. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the event is an annual tradition to ring in the Christmas season in Pawling. Several weeks before the celebration was to take place, a lack of donations threatened the status of the ceremony. In a testament to the spirit of the community, members of the Chamber of Commerce and officials from the Town and Village embarked on an ambitious fundraising campaign. More than 65 residents, organizations, and businesses contributed funds, ensuring that Decemberfest 2017 would continue as planned. The event drew a crowd of more than 500 to the heart of the village to take part in the holiday entertainment.
. . . And More
The Pawling Record was also pleased to be included in many longstanding traditions this year. Lakeside Park hosted the 30th Annual Pawling Triathlon, and the farmer’s market opened for its 10th season on the village green. In spite of inclement weather, the Town’s Memorial Day Parade proudly honored our Veterans, and the annual Fire Department Carnival provided rides, food, and fireworks for residents.
As 2017 draws to a close, a reflection on the past eight months shows that there are many big things happening in this small town. Pawling is truly a place rich in community, commerce, and culture, from local happenings to events on a national scale. The Record has been privileged to be a part of them all, and looks forward with excitement to what the New Year will bring.