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April 20, 2014
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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.

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...

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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.

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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...

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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 (...

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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...

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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...

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Birds, stand up and be counted!

Along with the winter holiday season comes a time for birdwatchers to take to the field and survey the species and numbers of birds they see. Any bird gets counted; if it has feathers and not in a cage, it gets tallied. This is the time for the Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  Read more

Peace

Peace whimpers at wars
She uproars at bullies
Peace can’t bear the toxicants of pollution
She hears the sounds from tiring guns and sees the flashes
in horror.
Peace is knowledgeable and is as wise as an old owl
She is the symbol of all things great and peaceful
Peace shares bliss with all who love nature as much as her
Peace is everywhere and is in everyone
Give peace a chance and she will leave her mark on your
heart.

[Kayla Medina is a fifth-grader from the G. L. Cooke Elementary School in Monticello, NY.]

Future forward

Christmas is over. The welcome gifts are already in use—earrings, a museum membership, electric teakettle. A bag of paper awaits recycling. Books are piled high awaiting free time and curious minds. The tree lights still twinkle. There is no snow.  Read more

‘We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne’

The words for the most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s eve, “Auld Lang Syne,” come from an old Scottish ditty that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in 1796. Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns’s homeland. According to www.infoplease.com, “Auld Lang Syne,” which asks whether old friends and times will be remembered, is “one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to."  Read more

Garden club announces holiday decorating contest winners

ROSCOE, NY — The Roscoe-Rockland Garden Club has announced the winners of its Holiday Decorating Contest, who hale from Shandelee, Deckertown, Morsston, Johnston Flat and downtown Livingston Manor.
The first prize in the commercial category went to Lanza’s Country Inn, with the second prize in that category going to the Wildlife Gift Shop.  Read more

Locally shot film to be screened for CineArt

CALLICOON, NY — The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance CineArt feature for January is “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (R), a movie about a cult that was filmed and edited in Sullivan County in the summer of 2010. Screenings will be held at the Callicoon Theater, 30 Upper Main Street, from Friday, January 6 through Tuesday, January 10. Screenings are at 7:30 daily with additional 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.  Read more

May I quote you?

Scanning through the archives of columns I’ve penned in the last year, I failed to find inspiration in a single word I’ve written. Rather than be depressed, I decided to turn to others for pithy comments and have (blind, unfounded) faith that I may say something worth remembering as 2012 unfolds.  Read more

Historical society to hold dinner and a movie

MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Historical Society will present the next installment in the “Aunt Marge’s Movie Lounge” series on Friday, January 13, a screening of Alfred Hitchock’s “The Birds.” The casual evening in the Columns’ Foundation Room offers a home-cooked meal, the screening of a movie that was a favorite of the museum director’s much beloved and quirky Aunt Marge, and dessert and coffee. Guests can also view a case of what are known as “Audubon’s Birds,” varied taxidermied specimens done by the leading taxidermist of the time, John Bell.  Read more

Free Christmas dinner

HONESDALE, PA — Grace Episcopal Church will offer a free dinner at 12 noon on Christmas Day to all in the community, a festive holiday dinner with all the trimmings that is offered every year.  Read more

Flamenco dance for New Year’s Eve

CALLICOON, NY — There will be a family-oriented dance party at the Delaware Youth Center on Creamery Road, featuring live traditional Flamenco and Middle Eastern dances on Saturday, December 31 from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight. Bring a dessert for the potluck table. The cost is $10 per adult, children under 12 admitted free. Money collected will benefit Delaware Riverkeeper. The event is alcohol free. Call 570/224-0813.

‘Gathering of Spirits’

BEACH LAKE, PA — The Upper Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold “The Gathering of Spirits” on December 24 at 4 p.m. Gather in the spirit of transformation at the one-hour service at the Berlin Township Community Center. It will feature carols and the presentation of Lorenz Graham’s “Every Man Heart Lay Down,” the story of the birth of Jesus, offered in the idiom of the West African native.

Refreshments and fellowship will follow. Visit www.uduuf.org or call 845/252-6626.

Light the Tree

When I was growing up, my parents and I went out in our yard to cut down our Christmas tree every year. This made sense because I grew up in the middle of the woods. (I have memories of trudging though the snow and it being very, very cold.)

The trees were usually of the Charlie Brown variety; thin but very pretty. We decorated them with ornaments collected over the years and colored lights while we listened to Christmas music. (Usually “The Nutcracker,” but in full disclosure I also really liked the “All-4-One Christmas Special.”)  Read more

Sullivan West students have a Tuba Christmas

NEW YORK CITY — Students from Sullivan West participated in the 28th annual Tuba Christmas at the ice rink in Rockefeller Center on Sunday, December 11. There were 502 performers this year at the event, a new record. Shown here are Cole Sensiba, left; Sabryna Keebler; Trish Ellmauer, elementary music teacher; and Gabe Pinciotti.

It takes a village...

I’ve heard that expression bandied about for years, and being unclear as to its origins, did some research. Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) never fails me, and I learned several things pertaining to the adage, including the fact that “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us” is a book published in 1996 by First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton. In it, Clinton presents her vision for the children of America. She focuses on the impact individuals and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child’s well-being.  Read more

Hanukkah decoded

With so much information available on the Internet these days, I thought it might be interesting to explore the meaning of various terms and traditions associated with Hanukkah, which started on December 20 this year. Having been raised with a Jewish education, I was surprised to discover some unknown facts and a few rare insights, as well as historical tidbits, songs and poems that enliven homes as families gather all around the world to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights.

What is Hanukkah?  Read more

River love

The Delaware River is many things to many people, in addition to sustaining the abundant variety of flora and fauna that characterizes the Upper Delaware region. Named America’s Most Endangered River in 2010 by the American Rivers Organization and Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for 2011, the Delaware continues to elicit the passionate devotion of thousands who cherish its generous gifts. From sportsmen, recreationists and residents, to artists, writers and visitors, the Delaware has touched the spirits of people of all ages and from all walks of life.  Read more

Trout hunting

As a young boy, I always enjoyed taking exploratory hikes into forested hills and valleys far off the beaten path. My curiosity would urge me to seek whatever mysteries lay in the valley just over the next hill. When I am on a trout stream, the current pushes me along until I discover what lies around the next bend. Sometimes this curiosity leads to difficulties. My aging legs remind me that I am no youngster. Yet my curiosity suggests that the unknown and beautiful lies only a bit further on.  Read more

Late fall bugs

After the Halloween snow that coated the roads and trees, it seemed that winter was trying to get a foothold in time for November. November, however, was not ready for winter. The Halloween snow soon melted, and by the end of the month, the weather was very mild. During the weekend after Thanksgiving, temperatures were approaching 60 degrees.  Read more