The power of the people

Sometimes people like to rally around a cause. The cause in question can be about anything, from a heated political issue to a controversial social issue, it can even be about a competitive sports team or a favorite television series. Whatever the reason it seems we humans find a certain amount of comfort in surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals who are similarly willing to go to bat when something really matters.

And sometimes a community works in concert, sending out a cry for help when the cause is important enough. Case in point, the condition of Rudd Pond at Taconic State Park. The pond, both a valuable and greatly valued resource in the village of Millerton, has fallen on hard times. It is being swallowed up by milfoil and other wily weeds. Downed trees litter the banks of the pond and the once sparkling beach is dirty and rocky. The bath house and boat house are also in dire need of repair, but that’s another battle for another day.

In August, Millerton Mayor John Scutieri, let the community know how badly Rudd Pond is doing. He put out a call for support during an interview with this paper. The result? The state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation was bombarded with so many phone calls and emails that its regional director had to personally call Scutieri and ask him to call off his hounds, so to speak.

“That article was fantastic,” Scutieri said, basing it on the results. Those results equate to state representatives (including state biologists) setting up a meeting with town and village officials come Nov. 12 in hopes of determining the best solution to clean up Rudd Pond.

Excellent. Immediate gratification. There was a call to action and it yielded results. That’s government working at its best — and the people of Millerton and North East should be congratulated for their success. True, solutions still need to be found, funded and executed, but the phone calls and emails were catalyst enough to put the wheels in motion. And kudos to Mayor Scutieri for taking the initiative and that first step to appeal to the public for its support. It’s just another example of the many advantages of living in a close-knit rural community where neighbor knows neighbor and the mayor knows everyone.

Now that the public has made its voice heard and the state has acknowledged it’s listening, the real work will begin. With leaders like Scutieri, and his counterpart North East town Supervisor John Merwin, there’s hope for Rudd Pond yet.