2014 as seen through the rear-view mirror

By Michael Turton

Someone once said that “time is merely a device to prevent everything from happening at once.” Thought provoking, but until we master travel at the speed of light, time will be a constant in our lives. An hour will be an hour — and a year will be a year.

Time itself may not vary, but our perception of it does. There are periods when it seems to speed up. Days and weeks pass quickly, sometimes to our dismay. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” On other occasions, it can slow to a crawl. “Will this winter never end?”

When we look back in time, even to relatively recent events, our sense of when things occurred can also be skewed. “Did that really happen this year — wasn’t it last year?” Or: “Last week;s vacation already feels like it was months ago.”

Some of the following news items, whether significant or trivial, may feel as though they happened just yesterday. You may swear others took place much longer ago.


  • Pete Seeger performs at Cold Spring's waterfront in 2009. Photo by Maggie Benmour
    Pete Seeger performs at Cold Spring’s waterfront in 2009. Photo by Maggie Benmour

    Beacon-area resident Pete Seeger dies at age 94. An icon of American folk music, Seeger is also remembered as a social and political activist, and champion of the Hudson River cleanup. (“Hudson Highlands Hero Dies at 94”)

  • The Village Board finalizes its decision to demolish the Cold Spring Boat Club building as part of the remediation of toxic coal tar near the riverfront. (“Boat Club Slated to Be Razed”)
  • Cold Spring’s post office closes and moves to temporary quarters in a trailer adjacent to Foodtown. Its future location remains undecided. (“Cold Spring Post Office Relocation Begins”)
  • A proposal for an equestrian center and upscale leisure village off Horton Road begins drawing intense interest, compounded when a revised plan comes before the Philipstown Planning Board in the autumn. (“Weekend Residential Village Proposed for Philipstown”)


  • A snowy February car accident. (Photo courtesy of GVFC)
    A snowy February car accident. (Photo courtesy of GVFC)

    Philipstown residents find themselves in the throes of the coldest, snowiest winter in recent memory. (“More Snow, More Trouble”)

  • Putnam County officials continue their opposition to gun control, this time by objecting to New York State Police use of the county seal on messages sent to gun owners reminding them to comply with the state’s 2013 Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, passed after the 2012 massacre of 20 children and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. (“Putnam Pols Poised to Protest NY SAFE Gun Control Law”)
  • Cold Spring bans formula businesses or “chain stores.” (“Formula Business Ban Approved”)
  • The first of three public planning sessions on the proposed Hudson River Fjord Trail, a pedestrian and bicycling path between Cold Spring and Beacon, draws a crowd of residents with numerous suggestions. (“Let Fjord Trail Hug Hudson River”)



  • The shed (Photo by Michael Turton)
    The shed (Photo by Michael Turton)

    At a forum held at Haldane, parents discuss drug addiction with Susan and Steve Salomone, whose son died of a heroin overdose. Earlier in the month, The Paper published a series of articles examining local heroin use. (“Heroin Addiction: Parents Hear From Parents”)

  • The Cold Spring Zoning Board of Appeals approves a variance, allowing a controversial structure, “the Shed” on Stone Street, to remain in place after a multi-year dispute among neighbors. (“Cold Spring ZBA Approves Stone Street Shed Variance”)
  • Residents meet with consultants to discuss shoreline protection at Dockside Park. The Village of Cold Spring is negotiating management the property, which is owned by New York state. (“Alternatives Presented for Dockside Protection”)


  • The Cold Spring Village Board approves the much-anticipated B4A zoning, paving the way for redevelopment of the 5.7-acre Butterfield Hospital site, ending what developer Paul Guillaro describes as “a long, hard road.” (“Butterfield Zoning Approved”)
  • Members of the Nelsonville, Cold Spring and Philipstown governing boards met May 14  (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)
    Members of the Nelsonville, Cold Spring and Philipstown governing boards met May 14  (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)

    Town of Philipstown and Village of Cold Spring elected officials meet to discuss consolidation of their building departments, possibly to include the Village of Nelsonville. A month later, the Cold Spring Village Board shelves the idea. (“Town and Village Boards Talk Again About Consolidated Building Department”)

  • President Barack Obama delivers a speech on military and foreign policy as he presides over the graduation of cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. (“President Delivers West Point Commencement Address”)
  • Crude-oil train traffic along the west shore of the Hudson River leads to growing concerns about dangers, following issuance of a New York state report and preliminary action by the federal government to call attention to the issues involved. (“Crude Oil Train Hazards Bring Federal Emergency Action, State Efforts”)


  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation postpones the cleanup of coal tar at the Cold Spring Boat Club for one year, delaying demolition of the club’s building. (“Coal Tar Cleanup at Boat Club Delayed for One Year”)
  • Sean Patrick Maloney, left, and Randy Florke, right, leave St. Mary's in the back of their wedding car. Photo courtesy of Maloney's Congressional staff
    Sean Patrick Maloney, left, and Randy Florke, right, leave St. Mary’s in the back of their wedding car (photo provided)

    Cuts in arts and athletics are averted when a contract agreement is reached between the Haldane Board of Education and the Haldane Faculty Association. (“Haldane Program Cuts Restored With Union Contract Settlement”)

  • The Preservation League of New York State designates a 6-mile section of Old Albany Post Road as one of “Seven to Save” sites, adding it to an elite statewide list of places considered too valuable to neglect. (“Old Albany Post Road Gets Rare Designation”)
  • Sean Patrick Maloney, a Philipstown resident, marries his partner at a Cold Spring church, drawing crowds and security measures that later spark questions at a Putnam County legislative meeting. (“Maloney Weds Long-Time Partner Florke in Cold Spring”)


  • Fire destroys the High Street home of Anne Impellizzeri and Dan Wright. The intense blaze draws emergency responders from two counties and several jurisdictions. (“Fire Engulfs Home of Long-Time Cold Spring Village Volunteers”)
  • Lions Club members surround Betty Budney, seated center, and her daughters Cathy Greenough, left and Denise Brewer. 
    Lions Club members surround Betty Budney, seated center, and her daughters Cathy Greenough, left and Denise Brewer.

    The Lions Club honors longtime Philipstown Town Board member and former club president Betty Budney and her late husband Mackey, dedicating a new riverfront bench in their name. (“Lions Club Honors Budneys”)

  • The Summer Sunset Music Series returns to the Cold Spring Dock for the 12th consecutive season, sponsored by the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce. (“Summer Sunset Music Series Returns on July 13”)



  • Foodtown celebrates the opening of the newly renovated supermarket, an expansion that increases floor space from 6,500 to 8,500 square feet. (“Foodtown Celebrates Grand Re-Opening”)
  • The new Dunkin' Donuts will include a drive-thru, convenience store and gas station. Franchise stores and drive-thrus are now banned by a local law passed after the Dunkin' Donuts plan was approved.
    The new Dunkin’ Donuts will include a drive-thru, convenience store and gas station (file photo).

    After more than two years of rumors, fears and delays, construction of Dunkin’ Donuts begins on the site of the former Elmesco Citgo service station adjacent to Foodtown Plaza. (“Donuts, Coffee and Gas Coming”)

  • Site-plan review of the Butterfield project begins.
  • For the first time in their long history, the Haldane Blue Devils play the annual homecoming football game “under the lights.” (“Homecoming Under the Lights”)




  • The Cold Spring Fire Company unveils plans for a three-story, $6 million firehouse to replace the aging structure on Main Street, setting off what is sure to be a lengthy debate. (“Firehouse Plans Unveiled”)
  • Andrew Cuomo announces new economic development grants, including $935,000 for the Hudson River Fjord Trail. (“Million Dollar Stocking Stuffer”)
  • Less than a month after his death, Gordon Stewart’s goal of mounting a second performance of Handel’s Messiah is realized as St. Mary-in-the-Highlands Episcopal Church hosts a repeat, again drawing a large crowd. An empty maestro’s podium honors Stewart, who conducted the 2013 performances. (Messiah Draws 500 to Benefit St. Mary’s and Food Pantry”)
  • The Philipstown Town Board accepts a bid in its effort to sell the VFW building, long used for town and village meetings and other public events. (“Town Board Considers Composting Village Leaves”)

Time passes, a community evolves, a new year beckons

As 2014 drew to a close, Philipstown was not the same community it had been just 12 months earlier. Change was as inevitable as the passage of time. People who were important to us died. Newborn infants were welcomed into the world. Families moved away while others made this their new home. Businesses closed and new enterprises opened their doors. There were wins and losses — in sports, in politics and in life.

The ticking of the clock and continued evolution of our community may be the only sure bets when it comes to predicting what 2015 will bring. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features

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