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September 22, 2014
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SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Two successful businessmen. Two beautiful and loving families. Two young boys with leukemia.

Unhappy story? Not for the Mongiello and Scancarello families—Anthony Scancarello (age 8) and Anthony (“Lilo”) Mongiello (age 5) are leukemia survivors. And that’s not the end of the story either. The boys and their families are working hard to help other leukemia sufferers.

Fifty years ago, on September 3, 1964, the Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, following 60 drafts authored primarily by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society...

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We are suspended between summer and fall—in the gold and green pause—just a few seconds before autumn begins.

My friend’s son asks: “Would you rather have a million dollars or be able to...

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Maybe you remember: it was a beautiful Tuesday morning, clear and sunny. I had spent a couple of early morning hours training with my martial arts teacher, and I was headed home to start in on my...

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For me, the term itself borders on the oxymoron. Early in life, my mother drummed punctuality into my head and insisted that bad manners were not to be tolerated. “It’s rude,” she’d say, “and...

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I set out from work with an unusual mission. I was not headed to the subway. No no, there would be none of that wimpy stuff for me on this late summer evening. I was going to walk the 50-plus...

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The days are getting shorter and somewhat cooler with Labor Day come and gone and fall just around the corner. However, even during the warmer days of August, there were signs of the impending...

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That was the week that was...

The “circle of life” was in full swing this week, as I augmented my schedule minute by minute. Sullivan County lost one of its local treasures on Wednesday, March 16th when Blanche Masters, the irascible, tenacious, one-of-a-kind pit bull (with a heart of gold) owner of Blanche’s Diner on Rt. 17B in Mongaup Valley passed away peacefully at home.  Read more

Vendors sought

Barryville Artisan Fair
BARRYVILLE, NY — The Barryville Artisan Fair will take place along Austin Road located at the intersection of the Route 97 Scenic Byway & NYS Route 55 and adjacent to the BrookHouse Gallery, on one Saturday a month from May through October.

The fair is seeking participants who produce high-quality hand-made crafts, fine art, outdoor garden sculpture and hand crafted furniture. Email kim@kimlustpottery.com.

Festival of the Arts  Read more

Sign-up open for Lego contest

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Children ages five through 12 can test their building skills at the 5th Annual Children’s Lego Contest during the free Wayne County Builders Association Home and Garden Festival. The contest will be held Saturday, April 30 during the two-day WCBA Home and Garden Festival, at Ladore Camp & Conference Center, in Waymart. Contestant sign-in begins Saturday at 1 p.m.; the contest runs from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Two age groups are eligible: five-to eight-year-olds and nine-to-12-year-olds. Pre-registration is required. Prizes will be awarded in each age category.  Read more

Honesdale’s Roots & Rhythm: Who could ask for anything more?

Before we know it, our parkas will be put away, we’ll be relaxing at our favorite swimmin’ holes and the lawnmowers will be humming. I’m already humming a different tune, having attended the annual Roots & Rhythm Arts and Music Festival kick-off party (and fund raiser) last week at the Narrowsburg Inn.

A nice crowd was on hand to lend their support and dig into their pockets while several great acts performed, whetting my appetite for the sixth annual music and arts festival, slated for June 18 in Honesdale, PA.  Read more

Keeping secrets

How well do you keep a secret? When your best friend tells you something in confidence, do you tell your husband and no-one else? Do you tell a small circle of friends and hope they’ll keep it in the circle? In my experience, keeping a secret that doesn’t involve our personal safety is rare and difficult.  Read more

Sad news

Several friends contacted me in February to say that Richard Talleur had passed away. Next, the newsletter of the Pike-Wayne chapter of Trout Unlimited arrived with the news that Fredrick Eck had died. Mr. Eck had operated fly fishing shops in the Honesdale, Scranton and Starlight areas. His then wife, Patti, had been an excellent ambassador of good will at his stores. She had an uncanny knack of remembering the names of even those who were only sometimes customers. Rick also gave freely of his time to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum.  Read more

The fishing dog

Years ago I used to fish a beautiful little trout stream, the West Branch of the Croton, where it flows between West Branch Reservoir and Croton Falls Reservoir. Being self employed, I was able to steal away at times for a long lunch hour and do a little fishing. I would park my car up at the property of the Putnam County Fish & Game Association. From there it was a short walk down a steep ridge to the brook and some of my favorite pools. The club caretaker owned two dogs. One was a large brown mutt, the other a spaniel type breed.  Read more

A killer fly

I was pleasantly surprised to discover on Wednesday, December 29 that I have inadvertently tied a most miraculous fly for catching sand bass.

On the 28th, my fishing partner Mark Froelich phoned, suggesting we try for sand bass at the Elm Fork of the Trinity below the Ray Roberts Dam. His friend Jerry, a local fishing guide, had told him the sand bass were running in the Elm Fork. Sand bass is Texas talk describing a white bass.  Read more

‘The Word Police’

I have acquired a new nickname. The other night at dinner my family bestowed upon me the new moniker of “The Word Police.” As in “What are you anyway—the word police?” (I picture tickets, sirens and flashing lights.) All for pointing out the juvenile overuse of the word “gross.” For despairing of children’s voices in an over-zealous shout of the phrase “boo-yah.”  Read more

Francis

There is an African saying from the Fang tribe: “When an old person dies we say a library has burnt down.”

So it could be said for my uncle, Francis Dirig, who died just before Christmas, at the age of 86.

His obituary reads simply: “He was a logger and farmer all his life…” But within this spare line lies a whole world of life and work and knowledge that tells of a vanishing time and place.  Read more

When food is the best medicine

Our six-year old Schnauzer Aengus has taught us a thing or two about love since we brought him home from a pet store in Port Jervis at eight weeks old. We named him Aengus, Dog of Love, knowing immediately that love was what he was all about, for us. His name was a play on words: Aengus is the Celtic god of love for whom Yeats wrote “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”  Read more

‘...Next!’

Thirty-five years after graduating with a BFA in Acting, I was going to my first commercial audition in NYC. This was the real deal, arranged for me by an agent who was taking a chance on an actress who had not taken a chance in 35 years.

Ann Berlin has been “in the business” at least as long as I have been “out” of it. When she agreed to represent me, I was full of giddy anticipation of the opportunities ahead. I wasn’t angling for a lead on Broadway so much as hoping for a role as a bag lady on “Law & Order” or in a commercial selling long-term care insurance.  Read more

Rumblings

Has the earth shifted under your feet yet?

No, I’m not talking about Christchurch, New Zealand, which was recently hit by its second major earthquake in less than six months. I’m not talking about Arkansas, where a recent increase in seismic activity has been linked to the “fracking” process for extracting natural gas. And while I am speaking metaphorically, I’m also not referring to the political changes that are still reverberating across many Arab countries as I write, “earth-shattering” though those changes certainly are.  Read more

Preferred narratives

Happy New Year! A recent “Morning Edition” segment discussed how newspapers in England are more openly political than ours. In that story, NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen opined that we should know more about the biases and beliefs of reporters, rather than rely on their supposed objectivity (which Rosen referred to as “The View from Nowhere”). I think Rosen has a strong point. So, although I’m a columnist rather than a journalist, let me start this year by sharing some of the experiences that have led me to my present positions.  Read more

Backyard birding

The rewards of backyard bird feeding are many. While I frequently see chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, juncos, goldfinches and nuthatches just outside my kitchen door, a new visitor showed up sporadically this winter to take advantage of the black oil sunflower seeds offered there.  Read more

Arts Alive open house and auction

BARRYVILLE, NY — An open house and silent auction on Saturday, March 19 at Brook House Gallery will support the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance’s Arts Alive drive. The event, which will run from 4 to 7 p.m., will feature an exhibition and silent auction of works by guest neon artist Rocky Pinciotti, Brook House artists Kim Lust, Tom Holmes, Laurie Stuart, Janet Rutkowski and Walter Kenul, and resident artist David Bush. Other contributing artists to the silent auction are Nancy Wells, Julie Gross, Jane Biron and David Soete. The gallery is located at the junction of Routes 55 and 97.  Read more

Root Out Ur Rhythm Tour hits Narrowsburg

NARROWSBURG, NY — Join the Root Out Ur Rhythm Tour at Narrowsburg Inn on Bridge St. on Friday, March 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. for an open mic event. The Narrowsburg Inn will donate $1 per bottled beer sold between 7 and 8 p.m. Admission is free. The event benefits Honesdale’s Roots & Rhythm festival. Calll 570/352-4768 or email kellykoch@paupackhills.com.

Self-guided maple tour

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Wayne Conservation District has partnered with the Wayne County Cooperative Extension and the Northeastern Maple Producers Association to organize a self-guided maple tour of producers in and around Wayne County. The tour is scheduled for March 19 and 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A list of area maple producers, along with directions and map, is available at wayne conservation.org. Those without internet access can call Paul Reining at 570/253-0930 or Ed Pruss at 253-5970 to have information mailed to them. Fliers are also available at local Agway stores.

Potluck and music by Rupert Wates

NARROWSBURG, NY — RiverFolk will present Rupert Wates in concert at Jill & Mike’s at 78 Kirk Road on Wednesday, March 23. A potluck dinner will start at 6:30 p.m., and music will start at 7:15.

Mark Tucker of the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange wrote, “We have a new and unique songwriter-musician already in the first rank… Rupert Wates is an exceedingly rare talent.” Tickets cost $10 and reservations are required. There is a limit of 15 guests. BYOB. Call 845/252-6783.

Casino Royale fundraiser

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce is planning a Casino Royale fundraiser on Saturday, April 9 at the Monticello Motor Club, and is currently seeking sponsors.  Read more

Thu., Sep. 18 Pork dinner
Thu., Sep. 18 Family Game Night
Fri., Sep. 19 Silverstein: A Theatrical Reading
Sat., Sep. 20 Art & antique auction