Food For Fines Going On Now At Howland Public Library


The Food for Fines program at Beacon’s Howland Public Library is going on now through December 30th. This is your chance to do double-duty on clearing your late fines at the library, as well as donating to a food pantry.

While the program is called Food for Fines, the library is encouraging you to donate other toiletry items like tampons, adult diapers (Depends), and even new socks. People do a lot of walking, and it’s hard to do in run down socks. Conveniently, Rite Aid is located almost across the street, where you can find a lot of these items! Think baby formula, toothpaste, shampoo….anything you would want for yourself.

Beacon Remains Under 2% Tax Cap For 6th Year In A Row

If you got a refund from your property tax escrow account for being overestimated, this could be why (although we’re not property tax experts, but a refund did come our way this month). Mayor Randy Casale presented Beacon’s 2019 Budget in October, and stated: “In this year’s budget our homestead tax rate shows a decrease of 1.6518% and the non-homestead rate dropped 1.8073%.”

Before presenting the complex layers of a city’s budget, the Mayor also pointed out: “This is the fifth year in a row that we have received a ‘no designation’ classification from the NYS Comptroller’s Office with a score of 5. We have an Aa2 Moody’s bond rating. This shows our tax dollars are being managed thoughtfully and responsibly. This is the sixth straight year we were able to stay under the 2% tax cap while continuing to provide the services that keep our city safe, invest in our infrastructure and improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

Anthony Ruggiero, the City Administrator, reminded readers of the 2019 Budget Presentation of the history of the tax cap: “The tax cap law established a limit on growth of the annual property taxes levied to 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. As you may recall, last year the tax cap was actually 1.84%, however this year it is 2%.”

Select Increases Projected For Certain Line-Items In The 2019 Budget

Water and sewer rates will show increases: 5% for water and 10% for sewer. Said the Mayor in the 2019 Budget Presentation: “These increases will allow us to continue to make upgrades to both facilities and our aging infrastructure.“

Infrastructure upgrades have been going on in Beacon on several neighborhood streets since the summer. There was a sewer collapse on Main Street at Tioronda, which closed the street to cars for several days, and negatively impacted neighboring businesses, like Raven Rose who experienced sewage backup into the shop.

Says Emily Burke, owner of the kitchen store Utensil, which until very recently was located on the eastern end of town (she has since moved to the west end of town, with an expanded shop): “The ongoing construction certainly had an impact on all the east end businesses.”

Also significant is the retiring of Beacon’s Building Inspector, Timothy Dexter. He served the city for 36 years in several roles, including Firefighter, Building Inspector, Fire Lieutenant, Acting City Administrator, “and mentor to many,” Anthony stated in the budget presentation letter.

The position of the Building Inspector will remain, but move to the Building Department’s budget, and away from the Fire Department’s budget, where it was previously. Building Department staff will remain the same, and the number of firefighters (13) and fire chief (1) will remain the same.

There are other highlights of what budget line-items are increasing or decreasing, which you can see here in the budget itself.

Recycling Market Crash Significantly Impacts Beacon’s Budget

The City Administrator stated that Beacon will keep weekly recycling, but at a loss to what was budgeted previously. “This is significantly impacted by the collapse of the recycling industry. The City went from receiving a revenue of $15 a ton to an expenditure of $61 a ton. This, combined with the increases in garbage contracts, amounted to $99,698 increase in the general fund expense budget.“

If you need to see things visually, as a line-item, this could look like +$15/ton as income to Beacon, and now looks like -$61 as an expense. The collapse of the recycling market was predicted for years by business leaders in the recycling industry, and was triggered by the Chinese decision in January 2018 to buy almost none of the recycled paper pulp coming from the United States. (A reminder: When putting goods out for city recycling, all recyclable paper and plastic must be dry and clean. Rinsed and not soggy. Otherwise, if the plastic is coated in food or dirty, or the paper soggy, it does not get recycled.) A Little Beacon Blog hasn’t gotten an official quote on where non-purchased recycling goes if it’s rejected and not purchased by China.

Beacon Homestead & Non-Homestead Assessed Value Increased

As explained by the City Administrator in the budget presentation: “This year the homestead assessed value increased by 3.47% or $30,859,063 million. The non-homestead assessed value has also increased over last year by 9.65%, or $23,815,921. This year represents the fifth year since 2009 that the overall assessed values increased, and did so by $54,674,984. Homestead values remain more than $102 million less than it was in 2009. The non-homestead assessed value has fluctuated through the years, and while it increased approximately $23,815,921 this year, it is only the second year in a row that it has been more than in 2009.”

Public Input Scheduled For November 19, 2018

CORRECTION: This section originally stated December 3, 2018 as the Public Hearing. According to the Mayor’s letter in the Budget Presentation, that was the date set. However, the Public Hearing for the 2019 Budget was announced and scheduled for Monday, November 19, 2018.

Department heads have been meeting in workshops throughout the fall. Workshops are open to the public to watch, but not participate in. A Little Beacon Blog republishes workshops here to help increase accessibility to these videos and agendas of the meetings. The opportunity for the public to come out and contribute their opinion on the 2019 Budget was Monday, November 19, 2018 at 7 pm at City Hall. This is the white building near the train station that also houses the police station and courthouse.

New Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony At Visitors Center - November 24, 2018


A group of people have organized a new ceremony scheduled for Saturday, November 24, 2018, from 3 to 5 pm, to light up this well-known evergreen next to the Visitors Center at Polhill Park. The rain date is set for Saturday, December 1.

Tree Ceremony To Add To Merriment

Says Rosemary Merhige, one of the organizers of this lighting: “We started out with a group of Beacon residents and formed a committee. We have support of the Elks, City of Beacon, Boy and Girl Scouts, Beacon Recreation Department, Yanarella Dance Studio and others.”

There will be ornament making, refreshments, and entertainment. Look for Santa, carolers, tiny dancers, and more.

The Bicycle Tree Lighting from BeaconArts and the City of Beacon will be on December’s Second Saturday as it always is - this year it’s December 8. That is also the seventh night of Hanukkah, and BeaconArts will be lighting the menorah that night as well. The lighting of the menorah begins on the first night of Hanukkah: Sunday, December 2. Details about it are here.

Says Kelly Ellenwood, a past president of BeaconArts about the tree: “The tree next door [to the bicycle tree] was never left alone. It was always lit up and decorated, every year. Its juxtaposition to the Visitors Center makes it hard to see. A new tree somewhere where folks can gather ‘round will need to be planted (or sited) in the coming years.”

It is the opinion of this writer that a new tree on the other side of town - near the mountain - would help spread the abundant merriment down the full length of Main Street. It could serve as a new anchor to help draw people toward the east end of Beacon, and the shops, art galleries and salons that reside there. Oftentimes, people turn around after the Howland Cultural Center, where there is the big turn in the road. If you follow Main Street around the bend, you’ll discover so many more art galleries and shops, like Maria Lago Studio 502, bau Gallery, Russell Cusick Gallery, Kaight, Style Storehouse, and others. See A Little Beacon Blog’s Art Gallery Guide for a list of galleries.

The Holiday Wreaths Are UP!


It’s a most exciting time of the year, when we see the City of Beacon trucks loaded with holiday wreaths intended for the streetlamps slowly roll down Main Street, hanging up the festive greenery and bows.

Cheers to you this holiday season, on the eve of Thanksgiving. May you stay merry and bright.

PS: If you are decorating your house this season, please send your pics to us! We want to feature your houselights. Email for consideration. Including your address is optional. We’d love to see your work, so even if you set up one version, and then add to it later, get on our radar now - you can always send another picture when your masterpiece is complete!

Stockings for Soldiers - Stuff a Stocking For a Soldier, and Libby Funeral Home Ships It

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If filling stockings brings you joy during the holiday season, and so does giving the stockings to someone who isn’t expecting them, then this holiday initiative is for you. Libby Funeral Home has set up a free stocking for you to take home, decorate and stuff to the brim with holiday cheer. You will receive a list of recommended items along with the stocking.

Libby Funeral & Cremation Services will ship the stockings (at their expense) to troops abroad in time for the holidays. “Sending our heroes some good tidings and holiday cheer is a great way for us to show our support and appreciation for the sacrifices they make to keep our country safe and secure,” said Matthew Fiorillo, owner of Libby Funeral & Cremation Services.

Pickup of stockings is now through Saturday, December 15. You can stop by their Beacon location at 55 Teller Ave., Beacon, NY, 12508 (near Stock Up) on Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 2 pm to pick up your stocking and begin stuffing.

Another Way to Help: Recycled Cell Phones for Soldiers

FYI, for those looking to recycle their cell phones: Libby Funeral & Cremation Services is also an official drop-off center for Cell Phones for Soldiers. You can bring in your old cell phones to help American troops call home this holiday season. The old cell phones are recycled and turned into free calling cards for the soldiers. According to Matthew, businesses nationwide have so far collected enough old cell phones to provide American troops overseas with nearly four million free calling minutes.

LTC Caroline Pogge Gives A Woman's Perspective During Veterans Day Speech in Beacon


The Veterans Ceremony in Beacon on Sunday, November 11, 2018, was moved indoors after the chilly air proved to be too cold for most who were attending, including children, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, veterans, city leaders, and the public. The keynote speaker was LTC Caroline Pogge, who, according to her speech, was in part asked to deliver it so that people could get a female perspective on serving in the military.

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Her speech was given on the 100th anniversary of signing of Armistice, which marked the ending of World War I. In the second half of her speech, she gave a brief history of women’s involvement in serving in the military of this country - which began in disguise and in secret.

The lieutenant colonel followed up with a small part of her own story of serving in Iraq. LTC Caroline Pogge granted permission to A Little Beacon Blog to publish her speech in full here, with headlines added to help you skim down.

Following that is the video provided by the City of Beacon of the entire event, where you can also listen to her speech. We wanted to publish in text to help share the stories in history.

Good morning! Thank you for the wonderful introduction. As a 22-year and counting veteran, it was an honor to be asked to speak with you this morning. Not only because of what Veterans Day represents, but more specifically because of what THIS Veterans Day represents. 100 years ago today, the German delegation signed an Armistice in a train car outside of Paris, formally ending the “War to end all wars.” Unfortunately, as we know, this was not the case.

While there was an end to international involvement in the war, it was not an end to regional instability as civil wars, revolutionary and counter-revolutionary conflicts emerged across the globe. As nations split, empires collapsed and monarchies abdicated, boundaries were redrawn and new nations were created. In many cases this resulted in new players scrapping for position, some with less-than-honorable intentions as extremist attitudes, including ethnic cleansing, emerged.

This was not limited to Europe, but rather spread across to the Middle East with the fall of the Ottoman Empire; to Asia where Korea, influenced by President Wilson’s 14 Points, protested their independence and the Chinese Civil war raged; and to Africa where nations were trying to make sense of newly drawn boundaries that had little to do with cultural demographics.

All the while, the global struggle went seemingly unnoticed in America. Many of us spent a very short time discussing World War I and its global impact. Certainly far less time than we spent learning about the Civil War or World War II. For most Americans, it can be summed up simply as: WWI was a decisive victory brought about by American bravery and might.

WWI had a relatively small impact on the U.S. population, particularly when compared to Europe. During the one-year U.S. involvement, approximately 50,000 troops died from combat and another 50,000 died from the 1918 influenza pandemic. Unfortunately, the peace of WWI would fail and the ripple effect would have a tremendous impact on America for years to come.

By ignoring the wildfires spreading across Europe, America and the international community (led by the newly formed League of Nations) quickly learned a difficult lesson: that peace can not be won by simply stopping combat operations; rather, lasting peace must be reinforced through stability. This hard lesson influenced the development of the Marshall Plan after WWII and COL Hunt’s drafting of a Congressional report formally recognizing my specialty of Civil Affairs as a military function. Both these events continue to influence our military operations today.

But who are these soldiers and statesmen, fighting one day and securing the victory through stabilization operations the next? They are Americans who, as LTC G. Edward Buxton described in the American Legion’s Constitution Committee Report in 1919, “fight to perpetuate the principles of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.”

They are Americans who serve selflessly, not for accolades and praise, but as D. Bernard Ryan wrote home in November 1918, troops who want to know we “had contributed by personal contact to the rout of the Enemy and his defeat.” And simply knowing that makes our efforts “worth all we have endured.”

I’d like to now ask my fellow veterans, particularly those who may be standing incognito in today’s crowd, to make yourselves known as I announce your conflict era:

Among the 20.4 million living veterans, less than 10% of our population, there are fewer than 500,000 living WWII-era veterans. 

1.3 million Korean War-era veterans (pauses for anyone to stand)

6.5 million Vietnam War-era veterans  (pauses for anyone to stand)

and our current conflicts are included in the 7.4 million Gulf War-era veterans.

“Women Represent About 9% of the Veterans”

Of these, women represent about 9% of the veterans, a number expected to grow to nearly 18% by 2045. I was asked to speak a bit about my service as a woman in uniform. To do this I need to take us through another brief history lesson.

When Women First Started Serving In The Military - In Disguise or Unrecognized

While our formal involvement in the military is growing, women have served since the Revolutionary War, albeit not always in a sanctioned role. There are countless stories of women serving alongside their spouse or family member in disguise or even as spies. For example Deborah Sampson, who during the birth of our nation, in 1778, was the first woman to enlist, although as a man under the name Robert Shirtliffe. She served for three years before she was discovered while being treated for an illness, thanked for her service and promptly discharged.

Young Woman Rides Twice The Distance Of Paul Revere To Alert that British were Coming, Yet Remains Unknown

Or you may have heard about the Hudson Valley’s own Sybil Ludington, who on the night of April 26, 1777, at the age of 16, rode between Putnam County, NY, and Danbury, CT, alerting militia of the approach of British forces. We all know the story of Paul Revere, but despite riding nearly twice the distance and given her much younger age, even many locals do not know Sybil’s story!

First African-American Woman to Enlist In Army During Civil War - As A Man - As Buffalo Soldier - Was Discovered and Discharged After 3 Years

Fast forward to the Civil War and let me introduce you to the first African-American woman to enlist in the Army, Cathay Williams. She spent three years as one of the Buffalo Soldiers before being discovered and discharged from service.

Woman Surgeon Volunteers As Nurse - Since Female Surgeons Weren’t Permitted To Serve

Others were able to more openly serve, such as Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, who volunteered for the Union Army as a civilian nurse since women surgeons were not permitted to serve. Her work caused her to frequently cross battle lines to treat injured civilians and even resulted in her capture by Confederate troops, who arrested her as a spy. During her military career, she was eventually awarded a commission as a “Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon,” which made her the first-ever female U.S. Army surgeon.

Women Begin Formally Joining The Fight in 20th Century

Moving into the 20th century, we are witness to many women joining the fight, be it on the frontline, in the sky, or at sea. Mary Borden, born into a wealthy Chicago family and educated at Vassar College, used her passion and funds to create field hospitals on the front lines of WWI, which were credited for saving countless troops’ lives.

In WWII, the military finally started to recognize and award veteran status to women, but only to a handful of female Air Force service pilots, such as Irene Kinne Englund, who spent 18 months ferrying military aircraft, transporting medical patients and towing aerial gunnery targets which freed up men for combat service overseas. The tide began to change in 1948, with the passage of Law 625, “The Women’s Armed Services Act,” which allowed women to serve in fully integrated units during peacetime and leaving the Women’s Army Corps as the only remaining separate female unit.

But in reality, even women’s efforts during the Korean War and Vietnam were often little recognized and hard-earned. It is literally within my lifetime that women’s involvement has really increased. In 1976, two years after I was born just up the road at Vassar Brothers Hospital, the first group of women was admitted to join the military academies’ Classes of 1980.

“Women Continued to Blaze Trails Despite the Obstacles Such As Combat Limitations”

Women continued to blaze trails despite the obstacles such as combat limitations, which often limited their career progression. Mostly, women simply wanted to do what they were trained to do and serve beside their fellow troops. No one stopped LTC Eileen Collins and LT Celeste Hayes as they flew assault teams and wounded troops in and out of Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury in 1983, or CPT Linda Bray, who, at 29 years old in 1989, became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle, when she led a company of MPs during the invasion of Panama.

Women Were Banned From Combat Roles Until Recently

It was during the 1991 Gulf War that many Americans began to recognize the volume of women in uniform. Having come a long way from a few hundred troops, often in disguise, to over 40,000 women in uniform, we were no longer relegated to “safe” administrative and medical roles. Despite officially being banned from combat roles until just two years ago, we were still flying aircraft, serving on staff at the front lines and in some cases working right in the middle of combat operations.

SGT Leigh Ann Hester, who earned the Silver Star (the third-highest decoration for valor) for her role as a Military Police team leader during a convoy ambush in Iraq in 2005, and 19-year-old Army SPC and Medic Monica Lin Brown, who also earned the Silver Star for running through gunfire to shield wounded soldiers during a roadside attack in Afghanistan in 2007, are testaments to not only the amazing women I have the honor of serving with, but also great examples of why in 2013 Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women serving in combat, which became effective in 2016.

LTC Caroline Pogge’s Own Story

In reality, we have been serving in combat for decades, often by capitalizing on technical loopholes. Don’t tell my mother, or maybe more importantly don’t tell the Army, but in reality, when I crossed the berm from Kuwait into Iraq in the first week of April 2003, I was technically not allowed to participate in combat. But as a Civil Affairs soldier attached to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, my role took me through tank battles, leapfrogging elements of the 101st and 82nd Airborne, to finally settling into Baghdad on 17 April before ground combat was officially declared over.

In reality, I was looking forward to crossing the berm. Not because of a desire to go to war, or a drive to prove myself. But honestly I just wanted to leave Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, where someone was preying on female soldiers during SCUD attacks. Yes, while we were preparing to move north into armed conflict, I needed an escort to go to the latrine after dark because of a series of assaults on female soldiers.

Once in Iraq, my driver, SGT Betty Navarro and I, would notice the minute the locals “spotted us.” I frequently had to overcome additional cultural obstacles to achieve my mission, as often curious Iraqis would be surprised that a “woman could be in charge.” But being a female also had its advantage as frequently the ladies would welcome us into their community and offer us access unavailable to our fellow male troops.

Thankfully, I believe the military is much easier to serve in today for women than it was even 40 years ago. We are paid based on the same pay scale as men. We are now afforded the opportunity to serve in any role across the service, and have the same chances to succeed as our male counterparts.

“I Still Get Frustrated When Someone Sees My Veteran Tag On My Car And Asks If My Husband Served.”

I can only imagine the path the ladies before me had traveled and the obstacles they had to overcome which enabled me to stand before you today. From the days of Deborah Sampson hiding her gender in order to fight for her country, we have come a long way. It’s still a male-dominated profession, and I still get frustrated when someone sees my veteran tag on my car and asks if my husband served. But at least I can offer a smile and simply reply, “I don’t know. I haven’t met him yet.”

Let me close by asking one thing from all of you. They say one of the greatest things we can offer the next generation is inspiration. I hope you look around this crowd, and across our community at the many veterans who have served during peace and conflict over the past century and see countless reasons to be inspired. See the veteran who was drafted and sent to a place they may not even know to fight for justice, freedom and democracy. See the veteran who chose to join the ranks and found themselves standing watch to protect our way of life in far-away places. And see the veteran who today finds themselves in places like Afghanistan, Djibouti or Poland working to secure a lasting peace through the stabilization of democracies and economic freedom around the world. All these veterans are an inspiration and represent the best of what we can offer as Americans.

While President Theodore Roosevelt was addressing Civil War veterans in 1906, his description still rings true: “Veterans by their lives, by the records of their deeds, teach us in more practical fashion than it can be taught by any preaching, for they teach us by practice that the ultimate analysis of the greatness of a nation is to be measured not by the output of its industrial products, not by its material prosperity, not by the products of the farm, factory or business house, but by the products of its citizenship, by the men and women that that nation produces.”

By this measure alone, America is a great nation! Thank you to the many veterans in attendance here and particularly those standing watch today in posts around the world. It is an honor to serve with you. I wish everyone a happy Veterans Day, and may God Bless America.

What Is A Civil Affairs Specialty?

You may have wondered what “civil affairs” meant as Caroline mentioned it. We did too! Here’s how Caroline describes it:

“Civil affairs is a military specialty like infantry or military police. Essentially, we're the middlemen between the military and civilian populations, attempting to minimize the impact of conflict on the civilians and the interference of civilians in military operations. Post-conflict, we work with civilian populations in an attempt to get basic services back up and running. Pre-conflict, we attempt to identify gaps or areas of potential concern that could offer violent extremist actors to exploit the population and cause instability.“

Veterans Day Ceremonies for Beacon on Sunday, November 11, 2018

 The Veterans Memorial Building at 413 Main St., Beacon, NY.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Veterans Memorial Building at 413 Main St., Beacon, NY.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at the Veterans Memorial Building at 413 Main St., Beacon, NY at 11 am. The ceremonies begin when veterans gather outside on the front porch of the building. The guest speaker will be Lt. Colonel Caroline Pogge, according to a calendar posting at Dutchess Tourism. Over the years, the amount of people who attend this event has grown.

This spring, during a Memorial Day service at the same location, the presenting veterans acknowledged how appreciative they were of the turnout during that day, feeling the support from the community. City Council Member John Rembert, who is a veteran, also acknowledged this during the June 4th, 2018 City Council Meeting: “The veterans really appreciated it. It meant a lot to all of us.”

So get your hat and gloves on, and head over to these services. It will be a time to share a moment with your neighbors. Bring a to-go cup of coffee and nibble on a chocolate croissant as you walk down.

Veterans Day Ceremony
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Time: 11 am
Location: Veterans Memorial Building, 413 Main St., Beacon, NY
From the Dutchess Tourism Website:
”The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 666 will be sponsoring Veterans Day ceremonies on the front porch of the Veterans Memorial Building. The public and all veterans are cordially invited and encouraged to attend. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held inside the bingo hall of Veterans Memorial Building. Guest Speaker: Lt. Colonel Caroline Pogge”
Information >

Mount Beacon Eight Ceremony
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Time: 12:30 pm
Location: Fishkill Veterans Park, Route 52, south of I-84, on the north side of Route 52 between the Fishkill Town Police Department and the Fishkill Town Recreation Center.
A ceremony will be held to remember the service members who died in a plane crash into Mount Beacon. That plane crash happened on November 11, 1945, 30 minutes after leaving Wright Caldwell Airport in Caldwell, NJ. The men were en route back to the Quonset Air Naval Base in Quonset, RI when their Navy Beechcraft Twin Engine Transport plane crashed near the northwest ridge of Mount Beacon in the Town of Fishkill, NY.
Learn About the Mount Beacon Eight in A Little Beacon Blog’s Article >

200 Beaconites Protest Justice Department Shuffle of Jeff Sessions' Replacement, Matthew Whitaker

Yesterday we reported that people were gathering at Polhill Park in Beacon to protest the appointment of Matthew Whitaker to temporarily replace Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, after Sessions submitted his resignation letter (as requested by the president, according to the first sentence in the letter Jeff Sessions submitted). A participant sent in an estimate of 200 people in attendance at Beacon’s protest, one of 900 that happened across the country.

As a bring-you-up-to-speed if you need it, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation which is a look by federal authorities into if and how Russia influenced the 2016 election, and if the current president played a part in that in any way. Sessions has continued to do work that the president has directed him to do, but the president has openly resented Sessions for his recusal. Matthew Whitaker was the Chief of Staff under Sessions, and has vocalized wanting to end the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been protective of continuing the Russia investigation.

From a participant, Air Nonken Rhodes, we have a description of Beacon’s event, and pictures that Air took. In Air’s words:

About 200 people in total were there at the time of its largest crowd (5:30 pm), and about 80 people were there most of the rest of the time from 5 to 6:30 pm. Kids, grandparents, commuters coming off the train, people with their dogs, everyone showed up with signs and spirit to stand up against what we see as a power grab.

Conversations included how scary it is to see the checks and balances in our democracy unravel. The mood was generally light, with lots of hooting and hollering with joy whenever a car would honk in support. The commuter traffic going by was generally supportive of our signs.

A small minority shook their heads or gave thumbs-down, a dozen or so going out of their way to roll down their window in the cold air to shout curse-riddled invectives and diatribes against the protestors. A few were stunningly hateful, and took some careful explaining for the kids present. It was deeply sad to see this Trumpish incivility on our own Main Street.

One kid standing next to me asked, “Are we allowed to be here? Are we allowed to do this?” (meaning protest) and her mother explained proudly, “Yes, as Americans we have the free right of peaceable assembly and the right of free speech. We are allowed to be here and do this, and it’s very important to do so whenever something goes wrong. The President doesn’t think the rules apply to him, and we have to remind him that they do.”

Photo Credit for All Photos: Air Nonken Rhodes

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Thursday's Planned Local Protest in Beacon Is One Of 900 In USA In Protest of Jeff Sessions’ Replacement, Matt Whitaker

When: Thursday, November 8, 5 pm
Where: Polhill Park, intersection of Route 9D & Main St., Beacon, NY 12508
What: Citizens protest against President Trump replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matt Whitaker

On your drive or walk home from work, if you notice a gathering of people at the intersection of Main Street and 9D known as Polhill Park, they have gathered there in protest against President Trump replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matt Whitaker, who as of yesterday, was the Chief of Staff under Sessions. This protest is one of about 900 scheduled across the country, encouraged by, categorized under the theme “Nobody’s Above The Law”.

Air Nonken Rhodes, a citizen from Beacon, wrote into A Little Beacon Blog to alert us about the event, and had this to say about attending: “We are standing up against Trump's appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General because we see it as a clear move to thwart the power of the Mueller investigation… [It is my opinion that] Whitaker has been appointed not because he will make a good acting AG, but because he will protect the President. If Trump has nothing to hide, he would allow the investigation to continue. The American public (and people around the world) have the right to know the truth about the financing and influences in the 2016 election, Russia's interference in it, and Trump's personal, family, and business connections to these issues.”

Voted. How To Vote, And What To Expect While At The Polls


The polls are open from 6 am to 9 pm in Beacon.

If you’re looking for where to vote for your Ward, then you can click here to see the list of locations we compiled, including easy links to maps to see which District within a Ward you reside in. Or even if you don’t know what Ward you are in, you can find out by following those links.

What Is It Like? How Do I Cast My Vote?

To my surprise, my very own husband called to ask me this: “How do I vote? Are there levers?”

Levers? No. Ok, so here’s what it’s like to vote in Beacon:

You walk into your polling precinct, aka “place to vote” as I call it. This is determined by “Ward.” There are four Wards in Beacon. It’s like big borders, and you live within a border of one of them. Within a Ward, there may be a smaller zone called a “District.” You probably never think about these things until Voting Day, but usually that little yellow card that comes in the mail prior to election time tells you. The last time I saw a card was during the primaries this year. You can get a list of polling locations in Beacon here.

Once you get to your voting location, there are several tables set up inside. The tables are divided by District (that border within a Ward) and by name (in alphabetical order). You will find your name at one of them.

You may be asked: “What District are you in?” If you checked the locations list here, you’ll know. “I’m in District 2!” you could say, and volunteers will tell you what table you should go to next. However, if you don’t know what District you are in (like me), there is hopefully a table dedicated to District Discovery at your polling place just for telling you this information. (Insider Tip: Check this first! It will save you from waiting in a line).

Once it’s your turn in line, a volunteer will hand you a large voting card with a privacy sleeve. You’ll walk over to tall table/desks with metal privacy walls around the top of the desk. A pen is provided for you to mark your circle bubbles of your votes. The directions at the top of the voting card will tell you how many people to vote for in each race. Like for governor, you would vote for one person. For judges, you would vote for seven names. Just follow those directions at the top to make sure you’re not over- or under-filling in the circles.

When you’ve completed all of your circles, you walk it over to a scanning machine. Another volunteer will be there to make sure the machine doesn’t break, because you are feeding the machine with your voter card yourself. Once you slide your card into the machine, it tallies it, swallows your card, and tells you what number voter you were.

I was #60!

Thank You To The Volunteers

A HUGE thank you for the volunteers who are running these polls. If when you go to vote, and you wish it were run differently, or had better signs, it’s best not to take your frustration out on the volunteers. They are your friends and neighbors, and may not be as experienced at running an event as you are. Same goes for any event run in Beacon (or anywhere in the world). If you feel passionately about how something is organized, then it’s best you sign up to volunteer, and help make it a better experience for all of us.

Places to Vote in Beacon for Elections (for General and Primary)

EDITORIAL NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect how to vote in the election on November 6, 2018.

Wondering where to go vote this Tuesday, November 6, 2018? Did you toss your yellow card by accident? Below is a list of locations for where to cast your ballot based on where you live and are registered.

Polls for Beacon are open from 6 am to 9 pm, according to the Dutchess County Board of Elections.

There are two sources for this list of locations:


Lewis Tompkins Hose Company
Route 9D Entrance, 13 South Ave.
Beacon, NY 12508

Rombout Middle School
84 Matteawan Road
Beacon, NY 12508

James V. Forrestal Elementary School
125 Liberty St.
Beacon, NY 12508

First Presbyterian Church
50 Liberty St.
Beacon, NY 12508


Ward 1, District 1:
Lewis Tompkins Hose Company
Ward 1, District 2: Rombout Middle School
Ward 2, All Districts: Lewis Tompkins Hose Company
Ward 3, District 1: Rombout Middle School
Ward 3, Districts 2 and 3: James V. Forrestal Elementary
Ward 4, All Districts: First Presbyterian Church

District - Which District in Which Ward?

Voters can determine what District they’re in either by looking at the yellow voter card that arrived by mail, or by looking at the map on this website:

Or, you can find what District you are at this VoterLookUp web page from New York State's Register to Vote page.

The VoterLookUp tool will tell you what District you are in, as well as which Ward, Senate District, County Legislative District, Assembly District, and Congressional District apply to you.

Can I Vote in The Primary Elections?

Two answers to this:

  • You’ll need to be registered in Beacon if you’re not already. You only need to do this once for each move. If you got the little yellow card in the mail telling you where to vote, you’re good. Otherwise, look yourself up at this VoterLookUp web page.

  • You’ll need to be registered in a party if you want to vote in the primary elections. If you’re registered to vote, but didn’t officially declare a party on your registration, then you can’t vote in the primaries for your party. You also can’t sign name collection forms from politicians looking to get onto the ballot, BTW. You would need to be registered in their party. You will, however, have gotten a little yellow card in the mail, even if you haven’t officially affiliated with a party.

  • You do not need to be affiliated or registered with a party (Independent, Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Working Families, etc.) to vote in the General Election. You do need to be registered to vote, however, based on where you live (see above).

Where Can I Register to Vote?

Here’s how to register to vote in Beacon:

You could click here to do it via this website, and please note: You’ll need to snail-mail it in.

Or, you can register to vote with friendly people around town who have set up registration stations. Some that we know of:

  • The Howland Public Library

  • The Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2018. Look for a table from “We All Vote”

  • The annual Sukkah that happens each fall down at Polhill Park (the park across from Bank Square and Beacon Creamery where the Visitors Center is)

There is a deadline to register to vote - you’ll want to be all buttoned up by Sunday, September 30, if you’re doing it via the folks above. They are physically driving the registration forms to their destination in Poughkeepsie. “We are driving them to Poughkeepsie so we don’t give people stamps.

There are lots of rules about this,” says Ronna Litchtenberg, a volunteer with When We All Vote. Or, people can take the form home and mail it in themselves. “But we’re making it easy on you,” says Kelly Ellenwood, another volunteer. “We’ll hand-deliver it to Poughkeepsie to make sure it gets there.”

But don’t let it slide by again. In a small city town, your vote really does make a difference. "One vote matters, especially in Beacon where elections have been decided on by as few as 10 votes,” says Ronna.

Salvation Army's Seniors Art & Meal Program Continues To Flourish This Holiday Season


The Salvation Army is a Main Street staple. We featured the Salvation Army’s Seniors Program here at A Little Beacon Blog when there was fear of them closing their doors. The leadership at the Salvation Army has changed to Lts. Josue and Leilani Alarcón, and we’re happy to report that the Senior Program is still going strong and is flourishing after 17 years serving the community, according to Rhode Lopez Northrup, who runs the Senior Program.

The Senior Program is for anyone over 50 years of age. They are welcome to come to any Tuesday and Thursday meal, and enjoy activities like taking fun quizzes, games, songs and a crafty projects. 

2018 Thanksgiving and Christmas Meals for Seniors

The Seniors Program in the Salvation Army will be hosting an early Thanksgiving Dinner on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. They will also have a Christmas Celebration on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. More details will be added to our Events Guide on each event.

You can learn more about this wonderful program, see more pictures, and learn how to get involved and donate, by checking out this article.

Anti-Semitic Flyers Posted on Churches in Beacon; Person's Home Vandalized in Nelsonville

Editorial Note: This event is related to an event that happened to two churches in Beacon this month. Please click here to learn more about that.

If last night’s Halloween candy didn’t leave you feeling nauseous today, then these two revelations will: A person acting on behalf a neo-Nazi group has posted anti-Semitic flyers to two churches in Beacon: The First Presbyterian Church at 50 Liberty St., just over the Fishkill Creek, and the Salem Tabernacle church, which is located at 7 Delavan Ave., just past Mavis Tire off of Route 52.

If you care to see the visual of the flyers, you can in two articles at the Highlands Current: this one from Beacon, and this most recent one of vandalism on someone’s home in Nelsonville this week.

After the flyers were posted at the First Presbyterian Church, according to an article by Brian Cronin in the Highlands Current, Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink held up the flyer to his congregation, and said that it was not consistent with Jesus’ teaching to love and serve each other. According to the article, the Presbyterian congregation - which is normally silent during sermons - responded with a hearty “Amen.”

Pastor Ben (as he is known here in Beacon) smiled and chuckled at this out-of-character - but appreciated - outburst: “That’s something Presbyterians really don’t do,” he said with a smile.

The churches are not the only place the flyers showed up. They have been posted to Marist, Vassar, and Dutchess Community College. According to Brian’s reporting, on October 8, 2018, a man in a hooded shirt and rubber gloves was hanging anti-Semitic flyers at Marist College. He was confronted by police. The posters, according to Brian, say that they are sponsored by a local book club, which the Anti-Defamation League identifies as “small crews of young white men who follow and support” a person who started the neo-Nazi group referred to in the beginning of this article.

As reported by Michael Turton today in the Highlands Current, the Nelsonville home of a person of Jewish heritage was vandalized, with a swastika spray-painted onto their under-construction home. In his article, Michael quoted Rabbi Brent Spodek in advising how to cover these types of events: “Rabbi Brent Spodek of the Beacon Hebrew Alliance said he felt it was important for the media to cover anti-Semitic acts but that the focus should not be on whether the suspects are caught. The more important question, he said, is, ‘Where do average people in Nelsonville, Beacon and America stand be in these moments of fear?’ When hate crimes occur, he said, ‘there is no neutral.’ ”

Michael also reported this quote from the Nelsonville Mayor Bill O’Neill: “This hateful vandalism is outrageous and heartbreaking.” According to Michael’s article, the mayor “noted that village residents have expressed revulsion over the incident as well as support for our neighbors who have been subjected to this mindless act.”

According to Brian’s article, Mayor Randy Casale of Beacon said in a “swift” statement after the Beacon postings: “Hate has no place in our community, which is proudly a home to all faiths and backgrounds. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. We are stronger when we work together.”

One Beacon Presents: "Light in the Darkness of Racism & Anti-Semitism"


This evening, One Beacon will be hosting a special interfaith event at The Salem Tabernacle at 7 Delavan Ave. in Beacon, from 6 to 9 pm. Clergy in Beacon planned this event almost two weeks ago as a response to racism and anti-Semitism in our local area.

“When this event was being planned, we had no idea that the topic would continue to be more urgent, as we saw with the mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend,” said Jacolyn Dandreano, the Office Administrator for the Salem Tabernacle, who is also the pastor Reverend Bill Dandreano’s wife.

The event will include time for dinner together (many will be fasting until dinner on Thursday) as well as reflections and exhortations from several speakers from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities in Beacon, in addition to Mayor Randy Casale.

Speakers include:

  • Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle

  • Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church

  • Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance

  • Imam Abdullah Abdul Wajid of Masjid Ar-Rashid

  • Pastor Ronald O. Perry of Springfield Baptist Church will be in attendance but will not be speaking.

No sign-up or donation is necessary to attend. Salem Tabernacle is providing the food and venue, and childcare will be available for children ages 9 and under.

InterFaith Alliances And Support Shown In Beacon

Some clergy in Beacon met at the Beacon Hebrew Alliance on Sunday in order to show support to the Jewish community before they headed off to their own services. “Our pastor, Reverend Bill Dandreano, related that many were overwhelmed to the point of tears by the comfort this simple act provided,” said Jacolyn in an email to A Little Beacon Blog. From the event’s postcard:

“One Beacon calls on people of all faith and good conscience to come together to acknowledge our collective capacity for racism, anti-Semitism, as evidenced by the recent flyer attack in Dutchess County.”

Learn more about this event on their Facebook page.

Writerly Happenings: Growing Local Community of Writers and Readers - November 2018


Hi There, Reading Anything Good These Days? 

It’s Phoebe here - kicking off this column with what everybody is reading here at A Little Beacon Blog before we dive into the second installment in this new column, Writerly Happenings.

I just returned Peter Carey’s new “A Long Way From Home” to the library without getting too far, though he’s usually a favorite. Now I’m starting “The Glitch” by Elizabeth Cohen, which passed me by when it was published in 2012, but I’ve heard good things. 

Katie is reading edible Hudson Valley’s Fall issue about the secret hotel created by an app developer of luxury cars (what?!). He wouldn’t even let them take full photos - all secret photos.

Marilyn, our Managing Editor, is actually blogging about her yoga teacher training experience at her blog, Ink and Coffee.

Catherine, our Editor of the Art Gallery Guide, is reading science. Science! Actually it’s Anatomy this week. She is back in school to be a nurse.

Speaking of good things, here’s the second installment of this new A Little Beacon Blog Guide to Writerly Happenings. Every couple of weeks I round up the best events happening in our growing local community of writers and readers and the people who love them.


On Wednesday, November 7, Binnacle’s Book Club meets from 7 to 8 pm at Denning's Point Distillery to discuss “Lake Success,” by Gary Shteyngart. If you are going and want to buy the book at Binnacle, you get 10% off this title. I’m sorry to have missed the reading of “The Seas,” by Samantha Hunt, on Wednesday the 24th, but staying tuned for more events to come.

The littlest Halloweenies and literary types might love the storytime and costume contest at Split Rock Books in Cold Spring on Sunday the 28th with David Quinn, author of “Go To Sleep, Little Creep.” Grown-ups should check out local author and journalist Virginia Sole-Smith’s reading from her first book, “The Eating Instinct” - described as “a personal and deeply reported exploration of how we learn to eat in today's toxic food culture,” on Saturday, November 10, from 7 to 8 pm.

Get Lit Beacon has its monthly writer salon at Oak Vino on Sunday, November 11. Featured speaker will be notable author Leland Cheuk. Get Lit offers an option for any writer to read their own stuff, so you should also sign up to read some of your work. And - they made T-Shirts! So far you can only buy them at the event, so go. Last month featured a very engaging professional storyteller explain how to tell a story, as well as local journalists Brian Cronin of the Highlands Current, and Katie of A Little Beacon Blog.

On Tuesday, November 13, poets from Ruth Danon’s Live Writing workshops take over Quinn’s for a reading of their work. We’ll be back with an update once the Facebook event page is up. 

Beacon’s new Poet Laureate, who has not yet been announced, will be inducted on Tuesday, November 20, at the Beacon Library in the Community Room from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. 


For monthly musical open mic nights, check out The Falcon Underground in Marlboro, the Wherehouse in Newburgh, the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon and Fiesta Friday in Poughkeepsie.

Calling All Poets is having an open mic night at the Towne Crier in Beacon on Thursday, October 15, and on Friday, November 2, at its First Friday reading series up in New Paltz at Roost (the open mic on Friday, December 7, will feature Beacon local Ruth Danon).


Rough Draft Bar & Books hosts a reading on Tuesday, October 30, with local author John Langan reading from his horror novel set near the Ashokan Reservoir. Sounds scary and also totally worth a trip to Kingston.

We are prepared to tailgate to hear Roxane Gay discuss her book “Bad Feminist” on Wednesday, November 7, at Vassar. And we might have to because it’s first-come, first-serve to get in. Get your elbows ready!

And we are super excited that former Beacon resident Jon Beacham is back in the Hudson Valley and has opened The Brother In Elysium Books. This Tivoli bookstore had its grand opening at the end of September, a poetry reading earlier this month and in addition to focusing on poetry, literature, art, design, photography and film, also carries used and out-of-print books, actively buys books and “is also home to The Brother In Elysium publishing imprint and letterpress studio.”

We’ll see you back here in a couple weeks with more upcoming events. Tell us where to go and what to read in the meantime, if you like.