Reporter could have been more curious about why citizens distrust Gerken

To the Editor:
I confess I was taken aback by Noah Zweifel’s account of the meeting at the Rensselaerville Town Hall on Sept. 7. This was not a matter of “much ado about nothing,” as the slightly snarky headline implies.

Throughout his piece, Zweifel seemed determined to minimize concerns and skew tone. I know Katherine (not Catherine) Lanpher, and I assure you that when she said “We are people who have poetry readings and hoedowns, OK?” the delivery was droll and certainly not lacking in humor.

Zweifel’s remark, “Some also needled in unrelated complaints about Gerken’s son riding a motocross bike on the property” reveals an unfortunate bias in his choice of the word “needled.” Many people who reside in the vicinity of the Gerken property, which is right on the edge of the hamlet, have been disturbed by the noise emanating from that property.

And while Gerken trumpets his bona fides as a Middleburgh High School graduate, I’m sure Rebecca Platel, whose questioning of oversight of Gerken’s proposed permit was cited by Zweifel, could easily best him on that front — her parents have lived in Rensselaerville for decades, while her sibling and half-siblings and their kids, plus her partner and his family, are all locals.

Gerken’s closing remarks telling anyone opposing his request to “go back to where you lived or came from” kind of says it all in terms of his sense of community spirit. Perhaps Zweifel could have been a touch more curious about why so many people showed up at that meeting — both long-standing Rensselaervillians and more recent additions to town — and what it is about Gerken’s interactions with his neighbors that has caused multiple citizens to become distrustful of his intentions.

Katherine Dieckmann


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