Locally made snacks for your outdoor adventure

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in VISITvortex

fall-113-2016

Part of what makes the Hudson Valley such a beautiful place this time of year is its many destinations that have been taken over by autumn colors. Now is the time to plan some outdoor adventures like a hike up Overlook Mountain, a climb on the Shawangunk Ridge, or a bike along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail.

It’s always important to be prepared whenever you explore the outdoors by bringing maps, first aid kits, and some form of communication. You should also bring energy-packed snacks to keep you going until the end of your excursion.

Here are some healthy, locally made snacks to pack for your next Hudson Valley adventure: Continue reading “Locally made snacks for your outdoor adventure”

Tiny Arts Day in tiny West Fulton

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Watershed Post

The town of West Fulton may be tiny, but it has a lot of heart—and art.

“West Fulton is a very interesting place, made up of extremely creative people,” said Cornelia McGiver, the artistic director of Panther Creek Arts, a new arts venue in the small Schoharie County town. “And what I find special about that place is that there is a willingness to exchange and complement ideas.” Continue reading “Tiny Arts Day in tiny West Fulton”

Care for our bees and butterflies: Plant a pollinator garden

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Illustrations by Teresa Hewitt
Published in VISITvortex

Honey bees are actually not native to North America, but neither are many of our crops and garden plants. Nevertheless, these little golden soldiers have become essential to our horticulture.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, honeybees are responsible for pollinating 80 percent of our flower crops, which accounts for one-third of everything we eat. Nuts, alfalfa, apple, cantaloupe, cranberry, pumpkin, sunflower, and many other delicious and healthy foods depend on pollination by honeybees.

Yet the USDA also said that honey bees and other pollinators have had to face increasing obstacles in recent years, including deformed wing virus, nosema fungi, new parasites, nutrition problems, and possible effects of pesticides. Continue reading “Care for our bees and butterflies: Plant a pollinator garden”

Ways to help this holiday season

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in VISITvortex

Image from VISITvortex.comThe holidays have a way of inspiring the best in people, and whether it is helping to shovel a neighbor’s driveway or helping to take care of a friend’s dog, volunteering your time to make another person’s life better is really a noble thing—and it can be fun. Here are some suggestions to help you get into the holiday spirit and get involved with your community: Continue reading “Ways to help this holiday season”

Field trip: The Rail Trail Cafe

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Watershed Post

Above: The Rail Trail Cafe. Photo by Charlene V. Martoni.

A nook off the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a 24-mile hiking and biking path through Ulster County, is the last place you’d expect to find a food truck. But that’s just where to look for the Rail Trail Cafe, a non-motorized food cart with a decidedly rustic take on mobile dining.

The kitchen is housed inside a 96-square-foot cabin made of reclaimed wood; a hand-built clay oven sits nearby, and the dining area opens to the lush green canopy overhead. Continue reading “Field trip: The Rail Trail Cafe”

Maple syrup season gets underway in New Paltz

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Watershed Post

Six-year-old Lucas Lemos gets a taste of fresh maple sap at Brook Farm in New Paltz.
Six-year-old Lucas Lemos gets a taste of fresh maple sap at Brook Farm in New Paltz.

New Paltz—Three bundled-up boys huddled in the morning mist to catch drops of sap as it trickled out of a freshly drilled 1-inch deep hole in the bark of an old maple tree. Lucas, 6, licked the sap from his finger and looked up at his father, 39-year-old Luciano Lemos of Riverdale, in shock.

“It tastes a little like syrup,” he said, smiling. “Like watered down syrup.”

A handful of folks from all over New York State traveled to Brook Farm on Saturday, February 23 to take part in a maple sugaring prep-work party. The volunteers scrubbed metal buckets for sap collecting and piled up firewood to be used later for distilling the sap. They also set up maple tree taps on the 20-acre property.

The Brook Farm Project is a nonprofit sustainable farm just west of the village of New Paltz. The farm runs on a community supported agriculture (CSA) model, where members purchase shares of the season’s produce and pick up fresh crops each week from June through November.

But Saturday’s gathering was all about harvesting maple syrup, and it proved to be an opportunity for experiential learning. Creek Iversen, a 46-year-old farmer who recently took over as Brook Farm’s new manager, explained that it takes a lot of maple sap to make just a little bit of syrup. Continue reading “Maple syrup season gets underway in New Paltz”

New Paltz students reduce stress by practicing yoga

Video by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

This piece is part of a series that examines how SUNY New Paltz students spend their free time.

Yoga is a popular extracurricular activity at the State University of New York at New Paltz.  The Athletic and Wellness Center on campus offers students free weekly yoga classes, and many students also attend meetings of the school’s Yoga Club.  Whether they are beginners or advanced yogis, SUNY New Paltz students cultivate their yoga interests by joining together to exercise.

The Entertainer

Audio slideshow by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

This piece is part of a series that examines how students find themselves at New Paltz.

Immediately after graduating an Italian high school, Nadia Durigon, 24, decided to follow her lifelong dream and work as an entertainer on a cruise ship. She said working on the ship helped her to meet new people and to experience the world.

Three years later, Durigon decided to attend the University of Urbino in Italy, but eventually she chose to follow another dream and go to America.

Now, Durigon is studying Communications and Media as a foreign exchange student at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She enjoys her weekends traveling around the U.S., and she plans to leave résumés at businesses in New York in hopes of working in America in the future.

Nadia’s journey to New Paltz

Audio clip by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

Listen as Nadia Durigon, 24, tells the story of how she decided to follow her lifelong dream and work as an entertainer on a cruise ship immediately after graduating high school. Three years later, Durigon decided to attend the University of Urbino in Italy, but eventually she chose to follow another dream and go to America. Now, Durigon is studying Communications and Media as a foreign exchange student at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Budding business

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The New Paltz Oracle

New Paltz resident Lynda Saylor strolls The Flower Kart along the sidewalk, pausing for some time on the corner of Plattekill Avenue and Main Street to speak with customers.

Saylor, 45, said she opened the cart in August as an additional source of income when the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center, where she had worked as a nurse for 12 years, began to cut back on overtime. Continue reading “Budding business”

9/11 changed forever: victims database (10th Anniversary Spread)

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News / The Poughkeepsie Journal
9/11 10th Anniversary Spread

Robert L. Scandole, Jr. was a family man, and his two daughters, Emma and Katie, were his world.

Days didn’t really begin, said his wife, Sheila, 47, until 6:10 p.m., when the beloved father would walk through the front door of their home in Pelham.

They would eat dinner together, and he always read his daughters their bedtime stories and gave them their nighttime baths, she said.

The girls were just toddlers when they lost their father.

Continue reading “9/11 changed forever: victims database (10th Anniversary Spread)”

PowWow to share art, music traditions

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

HARRIMAN STATE PART—A celebration of Native American culture will take place this weekend at the 14th annual Bear Mountain PowWow.

The two-day event, organized by the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, is expected to draw crowds at Anthony Wayne Recreation Area for its abundance of song and dance, lively storytelling, native foods, indigenous arts and activities.

Since 1994, the council, a nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, has been dedicated to preserving indigenous culture and educating people about Native American heritage.

Continue reading “PowWow to share art, music traditions”

Gay couples wed at Nyack park

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

NYACK—Nora and Tina Lopez-Chiaffarelli walked into a gazebo, holding hands and flower bouquets.  The same-sex Nyack couple, together for a year and a half, proclaimed their love for each other amid a community of friends and family.

Their wedding ceremony was the first of the day at Nyack’s Memorial Park.

The Rev. Sala Saran of Valley Cottage, an associate minister with the Interfaith Temple of New York City, had announced last week that she would be available to perform marriage ceremonies throughout the day at the park’s gazebo.  Saturday was her first time performing same-sex marriages.

Continue reading “Gay couples wed at Nyack park”

Fresh Air families welcome NYC kids

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

MAHWAH—A welcoming family greeted Karen Carreon, an 8-year-old from Spanish Harlem, when she stepped off the bus in Mahwah Friday.

The Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit, had sent a group of New York City kids to enjoy free summer vacations experiencing the outdoors.

Through the fund’s Friendly Town Program, families can volunteer to host a child between the ages of 6 and 12 for two weeks during the summer.

Continue reading “Fresh Air families welcome NYC kids”

Family cheers 11-year-old’s ‘Jeopardy!’ win

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

NEW CITY—Phyllis and Tony Morena’s grandson has been watching “Jeopardy!” since he was a toddler, and now he has become an expert.

An episode that aired on July 8 showed Tony Harkin, 11, winning first place on “Jeopardy! Kids Week.”

After passing an initial 30 question online test, he continued to a 50-question test in Manhattan where he participated in a personality interview and a mock “Jeopardy!” game.  After excelling in New York, he went to Los Angeles to compete.  The hard part, Tony Harkin said, was preparing for the finals.

Continue reading “Family cheers 11-year-old’s ‘Jeopardy!’ win”

Irish Feis, games honor traditions

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

HARRIMAN STATE PARK—Bagpipes, kilts, and curly-headed kids were on hand for Sunday’s festival of Celtic culture, bringing a little hub of Ireland to the Lower Hudson Valley.

Some 926 participants and their families and friends came from as far away as Ireland itself to the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, said Mary Curran, a committee member for the Rockland Feis.

Their quest: to compete in the 38th annual Feis and Field Games competitions.

Continue reading “Irish Feis, games honor traditions”

Boulders games will help raise money for charity

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

RAMAPO—The Rockland Boulders and Active International are teaming up this summer to offer a series of 10 baseball games that will benefit Rockland charities and community organizations.

The 2011 Charity Challenge, to take place at the Provident Bank Park in Ramapo, will be held throughout July and August.

Thursday’s game against the Pittsfield Colonials, which sponsored People to People, was a success, said Joe Allen, senior vice president of Active International.

Continue reading “Boulders games will help raise money for charity”

Suffern cyclist plans event for Livestrong

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

SUFFERN—Anne Bari watched as cancer took hold of her grandparents and two of her uncles.  When her mother was diagnosed with stage-four renal cancer in 2008, she decided to fight back.

Bari, 48, of Suffern, got on her bike and got involved with the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Armstrong started the foundation, commonly referred to as Livestrong, in 1997 after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.  The foundation was created to encourage cancer education and screening, promote a healthy lifestyle, and brig together a community of support.

Since its creation, Livestrong has raised more than $400 million, according to its website.

Continue reading “Suffern cyclist plans event for Livestrong”

Team gifted with safer helmets

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

A group of Clarkstown South High School graduates recently started a company dedicated to spreading athletic safety awareness to youths.  Now, they’re giving back to their high school by equipping next year’s football team with top-of-the-line concussion-reduction helmets.

Brandon Drummond, 22, and Anthony Fiume, 23, worked together to form Save Your Brain, Inc., a company that combines education and entertainment to inform young athletes about safety and concussion prevention.

Continue reading “Team gifted with safer helmets”

Pet park fosters play, friendships

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

PIERMONT—Daniel Sherman and Richard Skipper used to drive their Yorkie, Horace Vandergelder, from Sparkill all the way to New City for some pooch playtime, but now Horace can mingle closer to home.

Sherman and Skipper teamed up with friends from Piermont, including Margaret Grace and Linda Hacker, to organize the Piermont Dog Run, off Ferry Road just behind the Art Rittenberg Field park.

“It’s just a simple project that some local folks put together,” said Grace, who visited the dog run Thursday with her French bulldog, Miss Giles.
The Piermont Dog Run opened in May after a successful fundraiser at Happy Dog Gallery.  The event generated about $12,000, exceeding expectations, said Sherman, who volunteered as the project’s landscape architect.

The group used the money to design the dog run with canine fun and safety in mind, making sure to consult experienced professionals.

Continue reading “Pet park fosters play, friendships”

Tappan Zee grad commands Navy unit

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

SPARKILL—For the McGuiness family, service in the Navy runs in the blood.

When Dan McGuiness enlisted in the Navy in 1981, he was following in the footsteps of his father, Thomas McGuiness, and an uncle.  Another uncle is a Vietnam veteran.

Dan McGuiness, who attended Tappan Zee Elementary School, was selected to participate in the Navy’s limited duty officer program and was commissioned as an ensign in 1993.

McGuiness, 47, in May became commanding officer of the Naval Ocean Processing Facility in Dam Neck, Va., in the Virginia Beach area.

Continue reading “Tappan Zee grad commands Navy unit”

Couple invigorate local Fresh Air Fund

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

TAPPAN—For the past two summers, 12-year-old Sharron Dubarry has left his home in Brooklyn to spend two weeks experiencing the joys of summer in Rockland County.

David and Cathy Booth first invited Sharron to their Tappan home in 2009 after opening a recruitment letter from the Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency that provides free opportunities for New York City children to enjoy summertime outside the city.

The Booths, whose two children are grown and out of the house, decided to participate in the fund’s Friendly Town Program, in which families volunteer to host a child between the ages of 6 and 12 for two weeks.

Continue reading “Couple invigorate local Fresh Air Fund”

200 volunteers are cadets for a day

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

WEST POINT—Smiles initially greeted the 200 civilians Friday morning at the U.S. Military Academy.  But the drill masters of the rehearsal for Monday’s Reception Day, when hundreds of plebes will enter the academy as the class of 2015, quickly turned serious.

Rehearsal volunteers lined up to begin “Beast,” the initiation into military life.

“Face and eyes forward!” yelled one cadet.  “Do not fidget!”

This was easier for some volunteers who had completed the exercises before.  For most, however, keeping focused was difficult.

Continue reading “200 volunteers are cadets for a day”

7 Eagle Scouts advance together

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

NEW CITY—A group of seven friends from Boy Scout Troop 79 have formed a lasting bond through their dedication to scouting.

After the first achieved his Eagle ranking, the highest honor in Boy Scouting, the six others followed.

“They came together in Cub Scouts,” said Len Kinnick, Troop 79 committee chairman, “and all made Eagle.  That’s pretty amazing.”
With each other’s help, all seven Scouts, now high school seniors, completed service projects in the community.

Continue reading “7 Eagle Scouts advance together”

Scout to restore historic cemetery

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

MONSEY—New Hope Christian Church’s cemetery, at Saddle Brook Road and Maple Avenue, dates to the early 1800s, and many original settlers of Rockland County, including nine war veterans, are buried there.

The cemetery, however, has become overgrown with weeds, and headstones lie in pieces apart from their graves.

The Monsey Lions Club has made efforts toward maintaining the cemetery grounds since 1970, but construction of a temple on property adjacent to it caused a substantial amount of damage to the grounds, said Jeffrey Negrin, 48, of Spring Valley.

Negrin’s son, Brian, 20, has dedicated his Eagle Scout service project to restoring the cemetery.

Continue reading “Scout to restore historic cemetery”

Hasbrouk: A student’s extended family

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

Alton Campbell is a Hasbrouck employee by day, graphic novelist by night. He disguises himself with a blue or orange shirt and matching visor. He quietly serves students salad and refreshes cheese by the panini machines.

When he goes home, he enters a new world—a post-apocalyptic world—where a hero with super-human powers is desperately needed.

“No, really, actual super-human powers,” he said.

Behind every Hasbrouck meal, there is a staff of numerous employees who work to prepare it. Underneath every employee uniform, there is an individual with a unique story. Students may not realize it, but they encounter people like Campbell every day: paintball fanatics, first generation immigrants and motor hobbyists. Continue reading “Hasbrouk: A student’s extended family”