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”

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”

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.

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”

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”

Grads told to ‘wander’ to their destinies

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

PEARL RIVER—The Pearl River Pirate community gathered in the high school’s gymnasium Thursday for the 2011 commencement exercises.  The students wandered down the center of the room in pairs of blue and white, waving to their family members.

“Be the best you can,” said Principal William F. Furdon to the graduates, “and you decide what success means to you.”

Furdon highlighted the achievements of the class of 2011 and expressed his satisfaction with the time he spent with his students.

Continue reading “Grads told to ‘wander’ to their destinies”

Kaplan School celebrates achievements of 17 grads

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

WEST NYACK—At the Jesse J. Kaplan School’s ceremony on Friday morning, guest speaker Jessica Sirota set an example for the 17 graduating students.

“Every person in this room is a person with abilities,” said Sirota, a member of the Abilities Resource Council of Rockland.

“Down syndrome is something that I have,” she added.  “It is not who I am.”

The Jesse J. Kaplan School, an extension of Rockland BOCES, serves people ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities.  Students are offered academic and vocational instruction, and they are given support in their search for future opportunities.

“We want to give kids the same experience that their brothers and sisters get,” said Carl Fedkenheur, a teacher at the school.

Students on Friday were sent on their way with an encouraging farewell.
“No matter where you go from here,” Sirota said, “no matter what you do, keep learning.”

Continue reading “Kaplan School celebrates achievements of 17 grads”

19 graduate, bid farewell

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Journal News

VALLEY COTTAGE—Rockland Country Day School is known for its intimate classes and progressive educational philosophies.  Its image was upheld at Friday’s graduation ceremony, when 19 students reminisced about their time together.

“Only you will remember this place, at this time, in this way,” said Jim Fyfe, assistant head of the school.

The students congratulated one another on their senses of individuality.  They attributed their independence to having graduated from a school that supported them and allowed them the freedom to pursue their unique interests.

“From these strong roots we really do flourish,” graduate Sarah Friedhoff said during remarks before fellow graduates and family members.

Many of the graduates addressed the audience, expressing appreciation for the small class that helped them to form more meaningful relationships.

Continue reading “19 graduate, bid farewell”