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September 14, 2014
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Photos by Anya Tikka

NORTH BRANCH, NY — Cigar box guitars—made from cigar boxes, as the name suggests, or almost any other kind of box that serves as a resonator— have served generations of musicians. Some of them simply couldn’t afford to buy a regular guitar and some went on to become famous, including music legends Jimmy Hendrix and Paul McCartney, said Mike “Katfish” Karash at his recent workshops at the Old North Branch Inn. Most folks who play them don’t make it that far but simply enjoy playing or making the instruments.

When the water started to fall, my first thought was that it was raining. But the downpour seemed much closer and not muffled by the windows of our apartment.

My second thought was that I...

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Many people who venture outdoors will recognize the red-winged blackbird for what it is; a black bird with red or yellow shoulder patches. However, if the same people see a streaky brown bird...

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I got some shocked questions recently from friends horrified by gruesome reports of birds fatally burned mid-air at a solar energy facility in the Mohave Desert. Buried in the news coverage was...

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Yes, it’s here. Actually, by the time this column hits the stands, September’s full moon will have come and gone, but still… even if I wanted to stop the seasons from changing I cannot. Autumn has...

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I remember a very early morning when the Great South Bay where I grew up was smooth as glass. I had just gotten back from college, and I was very happy to be home. I stood on the beach and looked...

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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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Puppy love

A doctor’s appointment has me on a late morning train. As fate would have it, Amtrak has other ideas for us this day. A stalled train in the tunnel to Penn Station has our train rerouted to Hoboken, NJ, causing us to take the PATH train from Hoboken in order to get to midtown 34th Street. Not the end of the world, only a slight inconvenience for me, but not everyone shares my optimism. It is obvious from the look on the faces of the two men seated across from me on the PATH train that this has ruined their day.  Read more

Ice frogs

A week ago Thursday, the morning was chilly, but the forecast called for mild temperatures and sunny skies. I wanted to check out the Tusten trail and it promised to be a good day for a hike. Most of the way up the steep part of the trail, in a small pond near a seeping rock outcrop, I heard a harbinger of spring: an army of wood frogs.  Read more

What fly?

The variables in fly fishing are considerable and perplexing to the beginner and experienced fisher alike. Deciding what to do in a given situation can be answered easily with about 10 years of trial and error. OR you can pick the brain of a seasoned veteran, already tempered by years in the school of hard knocks, and you will fast-track your learning.  Read more

Musical offering for Good Friday at Grace Church

HONESDALE, PA — Grace Episcopal Church will hold a special event on Good Friday, April 18, with a presentation of Giovanni Pergolesi’s musical adaptation of the sacred text, Stabat Mater Dolorosa, at 7 p.m. The Stabat Mater is a traditional inclusion in the Good Friday observances, typically used at the conclusion of observance of the 14 Stations of the Cross. Soloists Grace Hosie and Lisa van Muilekom will be accompanied on the organ by Rev. Edward Erb, rector of Grace Church.  Read more

Contra dance returns to The Cooperage

HONESDALE, PA — The Cooperage Project will hold the first contra dance of 2014 on Saturday, April 26 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at The Cooperage, 1030 Main St. Contra dancing is energetic, fun, and a great way to build friendships and create community.  Read more

A Titanic dinner with author of ‘Titanic 1912’

MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Historical Society will host an evening in honor of the Titanic on Sunday, April 27. The Hotel Fauchere will host a dinner in the Delmonico Room. In addition to being the largest liner ever built, when the Titanic set sail it also hosted the most advanced culinary facilities of any ship of its time. The chefs for this Titanic-inspired dinner will recreate dishes enjoyed by the passengers in the first-, second- and third-class dining saloons of the big ship. Each course will be introduced with a discussion of the culinary history of the Titanic.  Read more

UpFront’s spring artist’s reception

PORT JERVIS, NY — UpFront Exhibition Space will hold its “2014 Spring Artists Exhibition” on Saturday, April 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be live music by Walt Edwards along with complimentary food and refreshments. The public is invited at no charge.  Read more

Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet returns to Honesdale

HONESDALE, PA — The Cooperage Project will welcome back to the stage The Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet on Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. Honoring jazz tradition with straight-ahead swing and pushing jazz boundaries with bold improvisation, the Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet strives to express the beauty of a simple melodic line.  Read more

Wine tasting to benefit library

HONESDALE, PA — Wayne County Ford has offered its showroom for the Wayne County Public Library’s major fundraising event of the year. The seventh annual wine tasting event “In Good Taste” will be held on Friday, April 25 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  Read more

Mysteryland USA calls for Sustainable Design Challenge

BETHEL, NY — Mysteryland announced its first ever Sustainable Design Challenge. Producers of Mysteryland and MATTE creative agency are calling upon the creative young minds of the American design community to take on the challenge to create a sustainable, functional installation based on the Mysteryland motto, “Today is a Gift.”  Read more

It isn’t easy being green

That was my thought process last week as I headed out the door to check in at the 2014 Green Tourism conference in Callicoon, NY (www.DelawareHighlands.org/greentourism), but in fact, it’s easier than one might think. That was one of the topics of conversation that came up when I stopped to chat briefly with working group coordinator Adrienne Picciano. Even though it was still early in the day, the conference was already being heralded as a success. “It all came about from a conversation with friends and folks at the Delaware Highlands Conservancy (DHC),” Picciano told me.  Read more

Yarnslingers return for more storytelling

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — The Catskill Art Society (CAS) presents the storytelling group Yarnslingers at the CAS Arts Center at 48 Main St., on Saturday, April 19 at 7 p.m.  Read more

Leroy Justice: Classic rock for modern times

HAWLEY, PA — Rock band Leroy Justice will play at Harmony presents in the Silk Mill on Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. Jill Carletti, Managing Director of Harmony Presents, calls them “a classic rock legend in the making, displaying the kind of songwriting and arranging skills that have characterized our favorite American rock bands from Neil Young & Crazy Horse to the Allman Brothers Band while filled with powerhouse grooves and a strong rhythm section.”  Read more

Two women, 12 instruments

When you go to a Simple Gifts concert, you can expect to hear a variety of musical genres played on a variety of instruments. Karen Hirshon and Linda Littleton, two of the women in Simple Gifts, say audiences will learn and they will also laugh.  Read more

Fifty ways (at least) to defuse a world crisis

World events, no matter where, are no longer “remote,” and haven’t been for some time. Moment by moment, we can follow the search for a vanished jetliner over the Indian Ocean, or watch one country take a bite out of another along the Black Sea. Battles and disasters, once just abstract reports, take on specific human forms, with individual names and faces.  Read more

The first wildflower

A “fetid herb” is botanist Homer D. House’s perfect description in his 1934 book “Wild Flowers,” of our first wild plant to flower in spring.  Read more

Fascinating feathers

As if the Cornell Lab of Ornithology isn’t already fantastic enough, this leading authority on birds recently released a new in-depth website that explores many facets of feathers from scientific viewpoints.

Viewers can learn how feathers work in a section devoted to feather anatomy. In Feather Function, the various roles of feathers are explored, such as flight, display, camouflage, insulation and weatherproofing. Other sections illustrate how feathers develop and how they have evolved over time.  Read more

Student artwork on display at high school art show

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — The Catskill Art Society (CAS), in partnership with Sullivan County BOCES, will present the annual “CAS Sullivan County High School Art Show,” an exhibition of work by Sullivan County high school students. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 12 at the CAS Arts Center at 48 Main St., from 1 to 4 p.m. The show runs until May 4.  Read more

Spring ahead

I find myself back in the city in time for spring, and not just technically spring; I’m talking about actual warm weather, bare legs, iced coffees, sunglasses and smiles. It’s been so long I barely recognize it, and I still feel like I’m getting away with something nefarious when I venture out in only a sweatshirt.  Read more

Visual Arts Scholarship opportunity for high school seniors

REGION — The Stanley J. Segal Scholarship for the Visual Arts is being offered by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance to high school seniors in Sullivan County, NY or Wayne County, PA who wish to pursue advanced studies in the visual arts, including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and photography.  Read more