Rhinebeck High School graduating seniors still have 5 days left to submit essays for my 13th annual contest

Hi Rhinebeck/Clinton folks, all…
JUST in case you hadn’t heard about this yet (flyers already distributed on this long ago @ RBK Highj)– if you are a graduating high school senior at Rhinebeck High School now (about to graduate next Saturday) or a graduating high school senior living in the Town of Clinton, you have ’til this Friday (June 24th) at 3 pmto email your essay of 500 words or less your essay on “What I Would Do If I Were a County Legislator for Rhinebeck and Clinton” to joeltyner@earthlink.net– to earn a $100 savings bond and the opportunity to share your essay on my Saturday morning WHVW.com 950 AM show!
Rhinebeck/Clinton folks– click here to copy/paste/share this on your FB wall(!):
Click here for more on last 12 years of my annual essay contest for RBK High here:
p.s. If essays received at offices of Dutchess County Legislature at 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 by Friday 4 pm, this acceptable too!

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Recall Casey Heady’s awesome winning essay from last year here:

“If I had the chance to be a county legislator and was able to influence and make a difference in my own community I would start with the things that are close to my heart. I would want to make it easier for high school graduates to get an affordable education with free community college. I would also want to make sure that there is always funding for programs that can help children through difficult situations in their early lives. These things are especially important to me because of the stage of life that I am now in. These things are personal and would affect me directly.

This past year has been a particularly difficult one for me and my whole family. Starting with my Dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnoses leading to the loss of his job. The year seemed to slip through my fingers so quickly without a real plan for my continuing education. With money getting tighter and tighter it was an easy decision to go to Dutchess community college for a cheap start to my college years. Yet it is still hard to find the money to attend a community college when you can’t even seem to find the money for a new shirt. There are many Rhinebeck high school seniors who would never even consider going to Dutchess but for the ones like me who are not in a crazy rush to leave Rhinebeck or may not be able to afford another school, free community college would be a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.

There are many graduating kids in the county who will not be attending any college next fall, and I think if there was a way to offer free education to them this would change. Education is so important and I strongly believe that money should never be an obstacle if you are hardworking and willing to learn. We do have a great opportunity that allows the top ten percent of each Rhinebeck high graduating class to attend Dutchess Community College for free but in such a competitive school for grades like Rhinebeck it is extremely hard to secure a top ten percent ranking. Also most kids in the top ten percent don’t have much of an interest in attending DCC. Free community college would allow everyone to have a good start out of high school and encourage them to do bigger and better things with their lives.

In 2006 when I was diagnosed with leukemia I spent a lot of time in hospitals. I was in and out and sometimes for prolonged periods of time. This brings me to another topic that I am passionate about. I wouldn’t have been able to have such a positive attitude if it weren’t for, of course, my friends and family but also programs like mill street loft. I remember them coming to Vassar hospital everyTuesday, it would be something I could look forward to. Something to keep me going, and when the day arrived it kept me occupied and distracted from the side effects of the chemo I was receiving. But it was much more to me than just a chance to do arts and crafts for the day. It was an opportunity to leave my room and talk to the other kids who were in similar situations. It was very therapeutic, and the volunteers running the program were always so friendly and interactive. I felt that I could really open up to them and they would listen no matter what even if they had no idea what to say, just having someone listen sometimes was good enough.

Funding for small programs like this may not seem so important with all the other craziness going on in the world but looking through the eyes of an eight year old it meant everything to me. I would make sure that programs similar to this one would keep going. I’m sure that most people wouldn’t realize how important something so small can be. But I know that both the kids and the mentors benefited from this program. There are so many issues that hit home for me that it would be difficult to decide where to start. But I believe that it is important to fix or continue things that you have a personal connection to.”

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[here below– more winning essays from 2010 and before]

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

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 café 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 naïve 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 café,
of which is fairly self explanatory; a café 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

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 café, 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

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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

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

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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