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May 2011

Hang it up

I still remember a diving catch I made in a baseball game of my youth. It was perhaps my finest defensive play. It was the summer of 1998, I was 15 and I was playing second base for the Tusten Chiefs. It was down on the baseball field in Narrowsburg.

It was kind of an out-of-body experience. The crack of the bat and a jump and the glorious feeling of the ball landing in my glove. I don’t remember thinking much about it, just doing it. In my mind, the crowd went wild. But I’m not sure about that particular detail.  Read more


Steven C. Banks, formerly of Monroe, NY, passed away Friday, May 13, 2011. He was 45.

Son of Veronica Costa Whitehead, he was born February 28, 1966 in Englewood, NJ. He was a member of Elks Lodge, Brevard, NC.  Read more


Frances “Fifi” Grabek of Monticello, NY, a lifelong area resident, died Saturday, May 21, 2011 at Doylestown Hospital, Doylestown, PA after a long illness. She was 59.

Born on February 8, 1952 in Mongaup Valley, NY, she was the daughter of the late Stanley and Sophie Kemitch Grabek.

Fifi was a member of St. Peter’s RC Church in Monticello and a volunteer for Sullivan County Office of the Aging.  Read more


May “Florence” Lynch entered into rest on April 29, 2011 in Elant at Newburgh, NY with her loving family by her side. She was 84.

She was born November 30, 1926 in Newburgh, the daughter of the late George and Estelle Decker Smith.

She was a retired waitress in the area as well as in the Thruway Hot Shop in Modena. May also was a secretary in the Town of Newburgh Police Department.  Read more

John Joseph McKenna III

John Joseph McKenna III of Honesdale, PA died Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at his home. He was 35.

He is survived by his wife of seven years, the former Andrea Elizabeth Hazen.

Born August 9, 1975, in Denville, NJ, he is the son of John J. McKenna Jr. and Vickie Merrill McKenna of Gouldsboro, PA. He was a graduate of Delaware Valley High School.

John loved watching sports, especially wrestling every Monday night, and enjoyed playing video games. John loved his two children and spending time with his family and nephews. He looked forward to teaching his daughter how to fish.  Read more

Here kitty kitty

I love birds. They are the only wild creatures who present themselves so readily to us, singing us awake in the morning, building their nests on outcroppings of our own nests, inviting us to imagine a life that defies the gravity that keeps us rooted. They are signals of the wildness we are part of. And they are oh so beautiful.  Read more

Not a panacea

A recent article in another newspaper asks “(c)an safe fracking jump start Sullivan County’s economy?” and seems to answer with a resounding, “yes.”  Read more

The good life in Bradford

After seeing some TV advertisements for jobs recently in Towanda and other parts of Bradford County, where natural gas drilling is already taking place, and where a recent spill occurred, I decided to take a ride out there. On arrival I saw a town that was booming. People were cheerful; they looked happy and were very friendly. They did not hesitate to talk about gas drilling and how it is improving their economy. Gas companies are looking for truck drivers, security guards and laborers. Restaurants are seeking waitresses and other help.  Read more

Make me

Recently I watched a PBS documentary about the Freedom Riders who, in 1961, shamed the U.S. government into banning segregation on public transportation. These non-violent, young, black and white students endured beatings and imprisonment while the Kennedys decided whether they could risk the political consequences of taking a stand for integration. Years earlier, President Franklin Roosevelt, when confronted about his lackluster support for civil rights, said that he agreed with the cause but that the people involved needed to make him act.  Read more

Time for another look at health insurance costs

Last year, the Town of Callicoon hit property owners with a 7% tax increase. Residents were given little advance notice of the tax hike, and the town board didn’t make much of an effort to close the budget gap by trimming expenses. But this is an election year, so perhaps our elected officials will now consider adopting some of the proposed reforms that they rejected last year.

One way to reduce the burden on taxpayers would be to reign in the spiraling budget expense of health insurance which now costs the town over $320,000 a year.  Read more