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September 25, 2016
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MILFORD, PA — At most writers’ festivals, there is no interaction between the writer and the people who read their words—the reader. No dialogue, just lecture. The first Milford Readers and Writers Festival wants to do it differently, to break the mold of the literary festival. When Milford mayor and owner of the Hotel Fauchere, Sean Strub, got together with friends for dinner one evening, they fantasized about creating a literary festival in Milford. Less than six months later, a group of 10 to 15 volunteers set out to make that dream a reality.

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else…” So said Emily Dickinson, the eminent poet of microcosm and wonder.

I think of this as I sort through the laundry, sweep up...

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The past few weeks have been challenging, not only personally, but for many I have come into contact with as well. Even though I tend to think of myself as the guy who reports on the good times...

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In a week or two, huge numbers of broad-winged hawks will fill the skies in some areas like Hawk Mountain in PA or Sunrise Mountain in New Jersey. That will be near-peak migration time for them as...

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Well… I’m not at all sure that I “oughta be,” but as it happens, I am this week. Usually, I’m pretty busy on the other side of the camera, attempting to capture all that is happening throughout...

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Myths and misunderstandings abound in nature and can lead to undesirable outcomes. Such is the case when it comes to two plants that flower at this time of year. One of them provokes an allergic...

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Next time you’re in your favorite local grocery store, take a little stroll down the breakfast cereal aisle. Plant yourself in front of the Cheerios section, and start counting. How many different...

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Tribute to American Movies: Manhattan Symphonie returns to Milford Theatre

MILFORD, PA — The Manhattan Symphonie ensemble is returning to the Milford Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on September 13. The concert is presented by Kindred Spirits Arts Programs.  Read more

Conan featured Nick Vatterott headlines Comedy Night

HAWLEY, PA — Nick Vatterott headlines Comedy Night at Harmony Presents in the Hawley Silk Mill on Friday, September 12 at 8:30 p.m. In 2010, Vatterott was named one of the “break-outs” at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival by the Hollywood Reporter and since then has performed on “Conan,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and has a half-hour special on Comedy Central. Also performing are comedians Mara Marek and Andrew Collin.  Read more

Historian Carol Smythe on her new book

GRAHAMSVILLE, NY — Town Historian Carol Smythe will give a talk on her new book, “Around Neversink: From the Rondout Reservoir to the Neversink Reservoir,” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 13 at the Time and the Valleys Museum on St. Rt. 55.  Read more

The Boxcar Lilies: Angelic three-part harmonies

HAWLEY, PA — Harmony Presents will host The Boxcar Lilies in the underground theater of the Hawley Silk Mill on Saturday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. The trio plays a mix of folk, country and bluegrass accompanied by clawhammer banjo, ukulele, bass and washboard.  Read more

Coaxing music from a cigar box

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.  Read more

Science and sensibility

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 the fact that this was not a conventional photovoltaic (PV) array, but rather a solar thermal installation using concentrated solar power (CSP). The plant deploys 300,000 garage door-size mirrors that concentrate sunlight to boil water in three 40-story towers, producing steam for turbines that generate electricity.  Read more

Bamboozled over bug I.D.’s?

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 nearby, many will not associate it with a red-winged blackbird. It probably is the same species, but is a female. The dull-colored female has none of the contrasting black-and-red plumage of the male.  Read more

Americana romp with Spuyten Duyvil

HAWLEY, PA — On Saturday, September 6 at 7:30 p.m., Harmony Presents will showcase Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced “Spite-n Dive-l”). Hailing from the Hudson Valley, the band features vocals, traditional jug band energy, slide guitar, incendiary fiddle and Chicago-style blues harp.

Stephen D. Winick of the The Huffington Post described the band as “channeling straight honky-tonk country one minute and drug-addled mystical blues the next... ”  Read more

Free Milford walking tour highlights Pinchot family history

MILFORD PA — A walking tour of downtown Milford that illustrates the many contributions to the community made by the prominent Pinchot family since the 1800s is planned for Saturday, September 13, beginning at 11 a.m. Participants should meet on the lawn of the Milford Community House at the intersection of Broad and Harford streets, rain or shine.  Read more

Wyndham Baird covers Bob Dylan songs

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — On two nights next week, Wyndham Baird performs “Another Side of Nashville,” songs from Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” and “Nashville Skyline” era. On Tuesday, September 9 he will appear at the Old North Branch Inn (845/482-5925) in North Branch and on Wednesday, September 10 at the Dancing Cat Saloon (845/583-3141) in Bethel. Each performance begins at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free with a suggested donation.

Flora and fauna artist workshops combine nature and art

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — Join the Western Sullivan Public Library for a five-part series that combines the science of our local flora and fauna and the creativity of local artists to produce original artwork of your own. All participants are invited to display their artwork at the Jeffersonville branch.  Read more

Barker jazzes up CAS

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — The Catskill Art Society will present the renowned jazz drummer Thurman Barker and his band for a concert at the CAS Arts Center on Saturday, September 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $10.  Read more

Musical Chairs to have screening at SUNY Sullivan

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — SUNY Sullivan will host a screening of the film “Musical Chairs” on Thursday, September 11, at 2:30 p.m. in the Seelig Theatre. Admission to the screening is free, and the film’s producer, Janet Carrus, will be on hand to introduce the film and facilitate a period of question and answer following the screening. The film is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America.  Read more

The Catskills by Moonlight

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — A topographic map of the moon over 10 feet tall will be on display at Morgan Outdoors starting September 6, kicking off a month focused on the moon titled “The Catskills By Moonlight” with Jim McKeegan and Russ Johansen.

In addition to the map, compiled in 1963 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Army Map Service, two free indoor/outdoor programs will offer a new appreciation for our nearest celestial neighbor, the subject of prose, poetry, art, music, inventions and exploration.  Read more

The flood of 2014

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 had foolishly left the water running in the bathroom. I checked; I had not.

As I walked into the kitchen, the sound got louder, and I realized that something was very wrong; water poured down through a light socket and splashed loudly to the floor.  Read more

Fall festivals at Bethel Woods celebrate the bounty of the season

BETHEL, NY — The annual Harvest Festival, celebrating Sullivan County’s farm-to-table tradition, as well as the beauty and talent of the region, returns to Bethel Woods for its 16th season. The free festival runs every Sunday through September 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival grew from a small farmers’ market with a handful of products to a full-scale festival featuring close to 100 local farms; fresh produce and baked goods; artists, vendors, and craftspeople; children’s activities; and live performances with changing themes each Sunday.  Read more

The times, they are a-changin’

Some of us embrace it, others tend to balk. It’s the six-letter word that often strikes fear in the hearts of even the strongest. Change. Whether we like it or not, it’s the only thing that remains constant and that, in itself, aggravates me. One would think that by now, I’d be used to it… but no. As I wend my way through the Upper Delaware River region, I hear whispers of malcontent. “What happened to summer?” folks ask, as if I have the answer. “Where did it go?” I understand that it’s all about perception. In truth, the seasons have the same lifespans that they have always had.  Read more

The Great Zucchini Cook-off, or What’s a person to do with ALL those zucchini?

MOUNT PLEASANT, PA — August 8 was National Zucchini Day, also known as “Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.” If you are a gardener and grow zucchini, this surely will put a knowing smile on your face, because chances are you, too, have grown too many zucchini and have begun giving them away. Or perhaps you’ve been the recipient of some other gardener’s zucchini largesse.  Read more

The heart of the matter

If it’s true that a school is the heart of a community, someone ripped our heart out more than a decade ago. This being a democracy, we may have no one to blame but ourselves. But blame is not the answer—action is.  Read more

Boardwalk trail opens at Darling Preserve

A new 2.2-mile trail and boardwalk were dedicated earlier this month, providing easy public access to a 2,500-acre tract of special Pennsylvania property known as the Thomas Darling Nature Preserve at Two Mile Run, pieced together over time and through partnerships.  Read more