Errors from TMI article

The Millbrook Independent wrote this article about Yours Truly, and we wanted to cross out every error which appears in this article, for review:

Barn declared unlivable
A group of youth from many quarters, but mostly from New York City, some of whom once occupied Wall Street, are now occupying a barn and a hillside along Old Route 22 between the hamlets of Amenia and Wassaic, much to the consternation of town officials and neighbors. The property once belonged to Dave Luther, the auctioneer, who sold it to the present owner.

The property belongs to William Henry who has a permissive attitude as to who lives on his property. He had been lax in the payment of taxes and mortgages, so his property has been in foreclosure for some time, is in a sad state of disrepair, and is ill-equipped with plumbing and other facilities suitable to house groups of unrelated people. Some of this crowd migrated up the side of Rattlesnake Mountain where they were discovered by a realtor, who was showing the property to a prospective buyer, running around naked. A small village of tents were scattered in the woods where the youth were seemingly living in a state of nature. Others have been living in the barn close to the road and others are in the house with a tarp draped over a section of roof.There has been legitimate agricultural housing for those who stay longer than a weekend, who tend the crops and provide for others to be able to visit and participate. We suspect the writer of this to be using outdated satellite footage to have come up with the tarp-on-roof conclusion.

The housing condition of this group came to the attention of the building inspector who found three building/zoning violations. Henry was given until July 9 to correct those violations by removing the illegal occupancies and doing other work. The County Health Department inspected the barn on May 13 and declared, on June 10, the barn’s occupation a nuisance, citing four serious health violations, including lack of toilets, water and sanitation and issued a cease and desist order. no such order was issued, nuisance is no longer, water is installed

Meanwhile, members of the group, who call themselves “ARC 38” appeared before the town board to request permission to continue their arrangements. They were told they would have to comply with the town’s zoning law and building code. The owner would have to file an application for a special permit. The group then met with John Fenton, the Building/Zoning Administrator, Nina Peek, the chair of the planning board and Victoria Perotti, a town board member who pointed out the numerous violations of the health, fire, building, zoning and DEC codes, laws and regulations that the group’s living arrangements incurred. It was only through persistent pressure from one to three individuals, that the Town Officials had to make this an issue and find something to write up as problematic.

Since the group has stated its intention to continue its occupation, the town has laid out the process the property owner must follow to obtain a special permit that would be necessary for the group to use the property for housing or other purposes not in conformity with zoning. The first step would be for the group to vacate the site, except for the allowed residence in the single family home.A preposterous proposal, no? We must not be there to do the work we are being told to do? Really? What about all the plants and animals we have been taking care of who cannot take care of themselves? To demand a complete closure is not in keeping with the sincere desire for an equitable transition from a lasting happening into a categorized entity, a process which usually destroys anything worth keeping, the very lifeblood of what made something worth instituting… Alas, Truth is Paradox!

To date the group has not vacated the property, nor has the owner filed an application for a special permit. The town can obtain a court order to terminate the illegal uses and evict the illegal occupants. The barns have been locked up for over a week, all resources have had to be accessed by different means until the designation as a safe building is in fact affirmed. We look forward to opening our doors again on that date.

Good Neighbor Policy

Recently, the Arc has had to undergo a massive amount of scrutiny, not always of the most compassionate or well-intentioned variety. Now, the kind of attention we give to the world affects how it grows. What we try to practice and teach here is Appreciative Inquiry, where constructive solutions can be brought to where it’s needed, through genuine investigation and honest feedback.

Much of recent attention was due to a concerned neighbor alerting every Town Official and possible Department about a small ceremony we were holding (including various online materials). We went before the Town Board and Town members were able to voice their thoughts and support– it was truly heartening and we essentially got the green light to go ahead. We held a peaceful Summer Solstice event, some locals came and joined us as did several Town Officials who verified the state of affairs and also concluded that a peaceful gathering was underway and under control. Participants shared nature, sang and danced around a fire, gave workshops, planted a circular garden and gave those came up a rare taste of our beautiful little slice of reality.

Our approach is that of nonviolence and searching always for creative solutions, so we will find a good match for meeting our needs and those of the greater community. We have finally started to really bridge that divide from those who are drawn to participate in our projects here and those who see one moment or another as they drive by or just happen to hear something around town.

Please don’t believe the rumors! The only way to know reality is through direct experience. We have many amazing people who have brought their talents through this portal at the end of the train line, only to return to their world knowing there are good people who live according to shared principles and not strictly on the exchange of Federal Reserve Notes for goods and services. Or according to prescribed institutional standards and traditions. Building solutions and practices which reconnect us with real value, and the living reality behind the numbers and impressions is a big part of our mission– and we get to start by solving these for ourselves.

These barns have stood strong for many years, and they have only improved in the last few years since this community has gotten involved with the landowner to fulfill his dream for this place. I had an encouraging encounter with a young fellow the other day who grew up here in Wassaic and has spent his whole life here. I asked him about his impressions of us: “That place looks so much better than it used to.”

Anyone who has been following our saga, from whatever distance, might appreciate how it felt for me to hear that. So much support has reached our shores here at the Arc since our first Town Board meeting. From smiles, waves and friendly little honks to solid advice and serious collaboration— all of that really helps us keep up our morale for the work ahead!

With a few individuals quite concerned, the Town was essentially forced to respond. Good neighbors can come by and let you know what they feel or think, or they can register complaints. Eventually, both courses of action can lead to a truly mutual resolution. After some additional information became available, we have been able to separate baseless fears from legitimate considerations.

We have worked assiduously with the Code Enforcement Officer of Amenia to delineate all of the the valid claims and the means and timetable for each remedy that is needed. Improper use of electrical extension cords, water and sanitation questions were largely already dealt with before our meager conditions recently came to light.

Next steps will include certifying the structural integrity of the barn, determining the most flexible, accurate and compatible means of clarifying our agricultural and community endeavor. This will include working with regional and town officials, professionals and experts to really do this right, as one neighbor explained the need for us succinctly: “To get the whole package together.”

We are very dedicated and service-oriented people who have already volunteered and participated in the area, and once we are on more stable footing here, we aim to become a viable resource for any who want to offer their interest or teaching to the greater community.

We appreciate the patience of those struggling to comprehend this phenomena. For whatever reason, people love this place, and are willing to put up with quite a lot to make this work, to build a sustainable solution for the present situation as a resilient foundation for the challenges and transitions ahead, which face our country, our state and our region.

We truly welcome your suggestions, insights and feedback!

Medicine Wheel project for the Land Here

In the sacred tradition of the iconoclast, for those whose visions and Spirit were ahead of their times— we are caught up! Let us be realized, at any stage of personality, through all the cycles of life. There has been call for building a lasting set of interconnected sacred spaces here in Wassaic.

Please evaluate this proposal from our neighboring Brother, Lightning Heart, who invites us:

“Here’s a Diagram of the proposed Wheel. Usually each person brings a stone and chooses which place they would like to put it on. A diagram can be drawn out on the land with flour or lime to mark the spots. There is a defined order to place the stones in which I will try to get printed.
Let your folks dance with this picture for a while and decide how you want to proceed. There is value in personalizing it and also value in the continuity of preserving tradition.”

Sun Bear's Medicine Wheel

Here’s Sun Bear’s description of the Vision he had:

In my vision I saw a hilltop bare of trees. There was a soft breeze blowing and the prairie grass was moving gently. Then I saw a circle of rocks that came out like spokes of a wheel. I knew that what I was seeing in my vision was the sacred circle of life, the sacred hoop of my people.
Inside of the center circle was the buffalo skull, and coming up through ravines, from the four directions, were what looked like animals. As they came closer, I saw that they were people wearing headdresses and animal costumes. They moved to the circle and each group entered it sunwise, making a complete circle before they settled on their place in the wheel.
First people came to the place of the North, to the winter, the time of resting for ourselves and the Earth Mother, the place that represents the time when we have the white hairs of snow upon our heads, when we prepare to change both worlds and forms. Then there were those who ended up in the East, the place of awakening, of birth and of spring, the place representing mankind’s birth and beginning. Next came those who would represent the South, thetime of summer, the years of fruitfulness and of rapid growth. Then there were people who came to the West, the time of fall, when we reap our harvest, when we have found the knowledge needed to center ourselves. The West is the home of the West Wind, Father of all of the Winds.
All of the people were singing the song of their season, of their minerals, of their plants, of their totem animals. And they were singing songs for the healing of the Earth Mother. A leader among them was saying, “Let the medicine of the sacred circle prevail. Let many people across the land come to the circle and make prayers for the healing of the Earth Mother. Let the circles of the Medicine Wheel come back”.
In this vision were gathered people of all the clans, of all the directions, of all the totems, and in their hearts they carried peace. That was the vision I saw.

¡¿ What Feel You, Family ?!

Notes from a Prologue

(by eric carter)

When I arrived at the arc, the late chill of the winter hadn’t lifted. The cold winds still blew through the valley, and we huddled around the kitchen table, well wrapped up, faces close to bowls of warming chili. I would look longingly out into the courtyard, wanting so bad to enjoy a warm spring evening. It makes the coming of the spring so much sweeter, and my departure so much more bittersweet.

I came here to The Arc38 project, having heard rumors of a new community of infinite possibilities being created in this beautiful valley, a summer that came and went like a fever dream, just in reaching distance of Manhattan. Still fighting the hangover of the excitement of Zuccotti Park, all I wanted was a chance to build some community. The year plus of watching people dive behind their newspapers, turn on their earbuds and turn off the rest of the world around them, had ground me down. I had seen too many people crying in silence on a lonely subway train. I had never been in a city so big with so many people desperately alone.

Now, slowly the arc is waking from it slumber. The slurry of potential, curiosity and ingenuity have been touched by that springtime sun. People are slowly making the migration up the mountain, the last thin veil of frost has pulled back. The promised summer of community, experience and most importantly love is at our grasp.

Through that love, the world is at our fingertips. I would be remiss to talk about the arc project without talking about how we are are trying to change the world. The imperative here is interconnectedness. To be here in the valley, you quickly gain the  reverence for the beauty that is our natural world, you can’t but be awed by the evident  nature of us all being one. Even as the cold set into your bones, the crocuses that sprung up were a reminder of the beauty that sat above below and around us. Even as we sit here in this idyllic valley— talk of sustainability and being the stewards of our world is the word on our lips. Here at the Arc we know that we are going to have find out not just how we interface with each other, but also how we interface with our mother earth. If you have an idea, if you have the energy, if you want to rethink, there has never been a more exciting place to be. As Eco says this is the time of the ancient future. We are going back, and forward, but most importantly we are going as one.

As I depart to go back to the places of long straight roads and big televisions, I want  to impart the idea of the potential of this magical place. The Arc38 is striving, imperfectly, to be a new model for a better world. I have been around this country from deserts of Utah to the swamplands of Louisiana. I have been to only a few places that have the possibilities of this farm, this retreat, this laboratory.

Stay tuned this summer: get involved in whatever way you can. Or, take that weekend. Jump on that train: they leave every 2 hours or so, and come and feel the energy, the hope, here down in the valley.

 

Support Flowing In!

Friends and Family

So many of you have recently contributed, and I want to state now a huge THANK YOU! Also, we will be launching an official fundraising gift package crowd-sourcing style soon, and want to assure any early donors that any gifts made in this critical interim period will be recognized and rewarded as such, so please act now and give anything at all if you can!

We’re going to be rolling out some exciting initiatives including video classes from our community, shared-templates of best practices, empowerment ceremonies and a brand-new product: anti-money! Gifts will include the services of those who are entered in our Job Bank (shoot us an email if you want to have your skills listed as we attract more clients), prints of art work made here, music compilations from live music recorded here, videos generated on-site and the ability to book your own retreat or project here.

Please, again, for all those who have been here before: let us know if you are planning to come back! Keep in touch, no matter where you are or what yer up to…

Be Safe, Be Love and Be Free!

I recently sent this to folks who I have been in contact with at some point, in that non-cyber world, and now I offer it here:

Fellow Earthlings

Many of you know that just on the other side of the train line from Grand Central, in idyllic Wassaic, a community dedicated to a new future has been forming. Born from connections made through answering the call against financial corruption— we have found common ground, inspiring us forward.

We are so many things: an experiment in living culture… a farm, a retreat, a performance space, a presentation venue, a base for activation and a launching pad. It’s a place where we come together— to celebrate and teach one another. We have already served hundreds of under-financed, over-burdened, hearty warriors from all walks of life. They have dedicated hundreds of hours making this a place of infinite opportunity.

We are now at a critical moment: the central home here has just been listed for sale. If every person on this list gave $75 to a common fund— we might collectively purchase the centerpiece of our property, the old Luther family farmhouse. With the show of support of one credit-worthy individual willing to make this possible, and with pledges or gifts from as many of you as can afford to pitch in for this crucial opportunity: we can bring this whole operation to the next level. We need to be able to jump on this very soon: let’s have a discussion at your earliest convenience! Read more about this here: http://arc38.org/save-the-house/

You can also support the farm and the endeavours sought here with a modest investment to help us through the season ahead. In addition to covering our one utility cost we are seeking grant and other assistance for the barn to become a model in the Hudson Valley for energy self-reliance. Now is the time to count yourself among those who are building a sustainable future! Even if you can’t help us purchase the house, if you can support our exciting projects— please do!

Featuring a main barn with a library, kitchen and gathering space, visitors are encouraged to ‘unlearn’ so many lessons of the artificial contemporary and to be truly honest with themselves and one another. Together we enjoy a forest with tenting and cliffs, ponds and trails as well as an open valley wetlands with a healthy array of Earth’s amazing creatures.

Spring is well underway, the new greenhouse is getting play, the fields are tilled, compost spread and we are waiting for the ground to finally get warm enough to take the seed. We are learning as we go, with experts in different fields appearing left and right. Now we are asking all of you for the best practices you know to help a community run smoothly, from housekeeping to social order, from authentic communication to practical permaculture: we are looking for the cutting edge basics. Come share what you know and have learned or shoot us an email and open a line of communication, come play some music or get involved in whatever way that you can.

We have provided a basic space for community activation in the past, and we are now ready for those next steps. We encourage everyone to come and feel the energy, add to the magic that manifests in so many different forms. Everyone on this list has something to add in one way or another, and new constellations are possible through the interactions of this unique and dedicated collection of individuals.

For everyone who has read this far: thank you! I would like to let you all know right now that I respect and value you, your time, and this shared mindspace.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, I would love to hear from you, possibly be able to alert others in support of your great work, and join forces, at least energetically, from any distance.

Eco and the Community at Arc 38

PS— Let us know what you’re doing and we can add your project to this page (and the web grows, Mother Gaia smiles and embraces us all). Thank you all for all you are!

A message from the quickly warming soil

Hundreds of seeds have been ensconced in the greenhouse here at Arc38, physically, mentally and spiritually. The last frost may still come, and the anticipation of a big bonfire on the mountain is building up. Walks up the mountain, in the crisp of the morning, are a joy to behold for those here to catch the early solitude. Cool nights are treated with warm soups, or hearty bean chili. The work up on the mountain and down at the barns has risen to a simmer, as if it’s ready to explode into a rolling boil.

 

This is summer number TWO and plans are being made at Arc38, from the energy of that first delirious summer, projects are incubating. In these last quiet chilly days of Spring, much work is being done daily. Familiar faces and new ones walking through the door every week, each bringing their own unique ray to the growing The barn is being transformed to accommodate all the positive energies that will soon be overflowing. Even with the quiet anticipation, every small step is pushing the sun higher into the sky. As the seeds hold their own potential we too are full of energy ready to burst into light. We encourage you to plan to join us, or continue to check back. Be a part of our project to change the world, right from our little farm here in the valley.

Finally— a Greenhouse!

Bill’s longstanding dream of having a South-facing greenhouse attached to the barn has been realized!

Thanks to the recent involvement of local folk Lola and North, the plastic was purchased and installed in time for seed starts to get a jump on the season. Bill’s go-to builder, Brian Buckner utilized a method taught to him by Sam, who kept a nice little garden in the center of Pine Plains for a few seasons.

Well, well, well…

Let there be water!

Another $4,000 invested into infrastructure, and now we have artisan water available for plants, animals and other people.

Still could use a solar heating solution, filters and other goodies– but major progress.

Bike charging & a canoe lampshade

A number of creative improvements started cropping up through collaboration with a friendly and talented local landscaper J! Like custom milled planks used with the broken futon frame to make a new raised bed for our wheatgrass this year. And a busted bike from the basement combined with a truck alternator and battery (plus an inverter from J, now missing only a Charge Controller for an off-grid circuit!) to make a bike-charging station.

Plus take a look at the mylar-lined Sea Nymph, turned into a lampshade for some overdue alternative lighting for the main barn space…