Friday, September 11, 2009

News That Matters - September 11, 2009 - Things to do Edition

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Good Friday Morning,

I don't look at News That Matters subscriptions all that often but when I do I'm always surprised to find that we're growing steadily. So, as I occasionally do, Welcome to our New Readers!

Grey, dreary, wet and cold (53°). Welcome to autumn! I've noticed reservoir levels are down and there's no longer water running over the dam at Boyd's so a day or two of rain is a good thing. Besides, anyone who has fall crops planted (peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, etc.,) is getting a free watering. Sunday should start out foggy but the sun will come out and temps will rise into the upper 70's again.
This kind of weather also gets one to thinking about heating their homes this winter and what the costs might be. If the price of crude is any indication it's going to be expensive especially if you're heating with oil. For those who heat with propane it's pretty amazing how a product, once burned off as waste, has become gasified gold.

As I wrote a few weeks back, one way to save some money on heating this winter is to make sure your home is well sealed against the elements. Have your windows and doors caulked and if you're living in a home with real wood siding, make sure the clapboards are tight. A good paint job or seal-coating will do wonders and if you've got a wood stove, you'd best get that firewood split, stacked and covered against the elements.
Schools, Senior Centers and county health departments across the region are preparing for an expected outbreak of Swine Flu this winter. Some reports say that the H1N1 flu has shown that it's generally no worse than any other flu outbreak which annually kills about 36,000 Americans. Some say otherwise. The key - so far - is that H1N1 has not mutated into something we cannot control and if it does, all bets are off.
If you can scratch together the $20, the Putnam County Department of Health will host flu vaccine clinics for residents age 18 and older. On September 21 and October 19, 2009 from 2:00pm – 6:30pm at the Garrison fire house and in Kent on September 10 and October 22, 2009 from 2:00pm – 6:30pm at the Lake Carmel fire station.

Symptoms of swine flu are like regular flu symptoms and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

In the meantime, wash your hands once in a while. Sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm rather than into your hands and for godssakes, teach your kids to do the same. And, if you feel a flu coming on be a good neighbor and stay home from work and/or school.
Local elections are heating up in time for party primaries next Tuesday. A few weeks ago I asked readers to drop me a note telling me why you wouldn't be voting in the primaries and since I received not a peep from any of you I expect to see you all out at the polls on Tuesday. (Don't worry, I'll remind you all again on Monday!)
While we're talking about elections, some of the primary races have gotten pretty warm, if not downright HOT in a few cases. The type of negative campaigning that goes on genuinely turns my stomach and though some voters are swayed by the rhetoric I know - for a fact - that regular News That Matters readers are smarter than that. When a candidate attacks his opponents rather than staying focused on his own abilities and the issues there's usually something wrong.

But you knew that.
While we're talking about politics, remember South Carolinian Joe Wilson who shouted, "You Lie!" during President Obama's speech burying single-payer the other night? Well, he's finding out it doesn't pay to Diss the Prez, at least in that way. His opponent in the race, Rob Miller, raised over $41,000 in contributions since then. Congressman Wilson's official website is also down, for maintenance, as the page now says. He should have stuck with his poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache or previewing a Soviet military parade since they have  traction and don't seem to bother anyone all that much.

The Prop 8 guys out in California have taken a new tact. Facing the possibility of same-sex couples actually earning equal rights, the author of the California Protection of Marriage Act, John Marcotte, has petitioned the state to place a bill banning divorce on the ballot in 2010. Divorce rates in California now set at about 4.3%. On the other hand, Massachusetts, which allows civil rights, has a divorce rate that sits at about 2%. Go figure.

While we're talking about divorce and marriage, let's also talk about gluttony, pride, sloth and the other 4 Seven Deadly Sins. Where in this nation would you want to live if Greed was your primary focus? Why, The northeast, Florida or southern California! What about if you wanted to avoid wrath? You'd want to move to Illinois, Iowa or Nebraska. How do we know this? Wired Magazine and Kansas State University recently mapped out all this out and the results are pretty interesting. Take a look for yourself.

World Facts:
Nations that have tried to occupy Afghanistan: Dozens.
Nations that have successfully occupied Afghanistan: 0.

There's a lot going on out there this weekend. Get out and do something!


Michelle LeBlanc at Arts on the Lake

Jazz and history, quite an unlikely pair but Michelle LeBlanc does not think so. Michelle LeBlanc, a jazz vocalist, history buff and Putnam Valley resident performs songs from her new CD, "I Remember You." At Arts on the Lake at  the Lake Carmel Cultural Center, 640 Route 52 Kent, NY, Friday September 11, 2009 at 8:00pm.

Michelle LeBlanc has been performing in Hudson Valley jazz club and concert stages since the early 1990's. She is a popular bandleader, bringing great jazz musicians together to provide entertainment for clubs, concerts and private events.. Michelle has worked with many Hudson Valley jazz greats including Bill Crow, Ed Xiques, Tom Kohl, Ron Vincent, Jeff Tillman, David Amram, Steve Lamattina, Bill Conway, David Jones, Joe Stelluti, Calloway Brooks, Joe Puma and Carmen Leggio.

Michelle's first effort at creating a show evolved into a journey through the decades of American jazz music, a show which received much attention including an interview by The New York Times. That same year Michelle released her first CD, Now or Never. Soon after, she was commissioned by the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers NY to develop ELLA!, a show celebrating the artistry and international career of Yonkers native Ella Fitzgerald. Michelle's 2002 show, Women in Jazz, was commissioned by the Southeast Museum in Brewster NY and featured songs written by jazz luminaries including Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Dorothy Fields, and Abbey Lincoln. More recent show titles include Cole Porter, Jazz Standards, Starlight Swing, The Jazz Age and 1950's Jazz: Bop, Cool, R&B.

In addition to her regular Hudson Valley appearances, Michelle has performed on several New York City stages including The Friars Club, The Riverside Chapel, Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room with the Cab Calloway Tribute Orchestra and at Town Hall as part of the annual Mabel Mercer Cabaret Foundation showcase. Michelle has studied with several New York City based coaches including Mary Cleere Haran, John Wallowitch, Sheila Jordon, Monica Robinson, and Claude Stein.


Clearing Fishkill Creek for New Water Trail – Volunteers needed!

Members of the MidHudson Chapter of the Adirondack Mtn. Club (ADK) and the Fishkill Creek Watershed Committee are carrying out plans to open a canoe and kayak trail on the Fishkill Creek.  The new water trail will provide a superb recreational resource, and will be nearly 5 miles long and include portions of the creek from Rte. 9 in the Village of Fishkill to Glenham, with the possibility of extending from Hopewell Junction to Fishkill.  It is essentially an easy moving-water route, with the exception of the couple of miles between Brinckerhoff and Rt. 9, which has some Class I rapids (which could easily be avoided if desired).  To prepare the establishment of the water trail, organizers are planning two creek clearing days, August 29th and Sept. 12th.  Volunteers are needed!  No particular skills are needed.  For more information or to register, please contact Russ Faller at 845-297-5126 or

Appalachian Trail Work

9 AM - Join Tim Messerich and his crew at Fhanestock State Park to help perform some much needed trail maintenance on the portion of the AT that passes through our county. For more information call Tim at (845) 297-9573. You'll be meeing on the west side of Canopus Lake along Route 301.

Antique Tractor & Farm Implements Show

10 AM - 4PM - At Tilly Foster Farm, Route 312, Southeast. The Putnam County Antique Machinery Association returns for its annual show of antique farming equipment, some of it still in working order. It's a learning experience for all ages! This year featured will be an 1890's drilling rig, a wood shingle mill, hay rides and food and drink for the entire family. Contact the farm or Jeff Hyatt (845) 878-7596 for more information.

Dutch Legacy Weekend at the Van Wyck Homestead

10 AM - 4 PM. Van Wyck Homestead Museum, 504 Rt 9, Fishkill, NY ( Jct. I-84 & Rt9 ) Dutch Legacy Weekend.  Exhibits of paintings, artifacts and documents of the Dutch Heritage of the Hudson Valley including an exhibit of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909 on loan from the Toy Museum of Limerick, ME.  Dutch treats in the 1732 kitchen with Dutch apple fritters. Free. 845-896-9560

Clearing Fishkill Creek for New Water Trail – Volunteers needed!

Members of the MidHudson Chapter of the Adirondack Mtn. Club (ADK) and the Fishkill Creek Watershed Committee are carrying out plans to open a canoe and kayak trail on the Fishkill Creek.  The new water trail will provide a superb recreational resource, and will be nearly 5 miles long and include portions of the creek from Rte. 9 in the Village of Fishkill to Glenham, with the possibility of extending from Hopewell Junction to Fishkill.  It is essentially an easy moving-water route, with the exception of the couple of miles between Brinckerhoff and Rt. 9, which has some Class I rapids (which could easily be avoided if desired).  To prepare the establishment of the water trail, organizers are planning two creek clearing days, August 29th and Sept. 12th.  Volunteers are needed!  No particular skills are needed.  For more information or to register, please contact Russ Faller at 845-297-5126 or

Science on the River - National Estuaries Day Celebration at Norrie Point Environmental Center

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Research Reserve invites the public to celebrate National Estuaries Day as we highlight some of the exciting research being done on the Hudson River Estuary. Scientists from the Research Reserve and other research organizations in the region will be on hand to talk about their work and demonstrate their equipment and techniques for studying the Hudson. Get the latest update on invasive species like zebra mussels and Chinese mitten crabs. Help fish the waters around Norrie Point to find out who lives in this stretch of the Hudson. Find out about the growing real-time observational network on the Hudson. Learn how new technologies are becoming our eyes and ears in the river. Take a brief canoe trip around Esopus Island with reserve staff (weather and space permitting). There will be activities especially for children, so all ages are welcome.  This program is free and wheelchair accessible. For directions, go to: For further information, please call (845) 889-4745 x 105, or email

Fund Raiser for Congressman John Hall

7-10 PM - 1408 Peekskill Hollow Road Kent Cliffs, New York 10512 - Any reasonable donation accepted. With Live Performances by:

Michelle LeBlanc and the "Accidental Standards"
With guitarists Pat Cummings, Tim Pitt and Ron Gluck

John Cohen of the "New Lost City Ramblers"
With special guest Annabel Lee

"The Kitchen Table Band"
With Drew Howland, Dennis Klubnick, Lora Lee Ecobelli, Maaike Hoekstra and Jan Hoekstra

Michael Klubnick
With Pat Cummings, John Stech and Steve Adler and Brian Crimmins

RSVP to Darren Rigger at: 845-598-3971 or

Godspell Jr.

7:30 PM (repeats on Sunday at 4PM) - The Pied Piper Youth Theater presents Godspell at 275 White Pond Road (White Pond Community Center). To reserve tickets email or call the Ryerson's at (845) 878-9780.

Clearwater Benefit Concert

8PM - Tarrytown Music Hall. a special show benefiting Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and starring a group of performers known for their longtime support of social and environmental issues—Dar Williams, Guy Davis, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, and Joe D’Urso. Tickets for the concert are $35 and $65, with special $125 tickets also available that include a reception with the artists after the show and a Pete Seeger: The Power of Song DVD. Proceeds from the concert will support Clearwater’s wide range of environmental action efforts on the Hudson River.


Cary Institute Forest Ecology Walk

10 AM - Noon - Forest Ecologist Dr. Charles Canham will lead an interpretive walk on the Wappinger Creek Trail. Dr. Canham will discuss how plant life reflects past land use patterns such as farming and logging, which have transformed the Hudson Valley landscapes. The hike will begin at the Gifford House parking lot, located at 2917 Sharon Tpk., Millbrook. Free. Wear long pants & sturdy walking shoes. 677-7600 x121 or

Kent Community Day

11:00Am - 6:00PM - The Kent Recreation & Parks Department, in co-operation with Kent Free Public Library, Kent PBA, Lake Carmel Fire Department, The Mission Church, Carmel Kent Chamber of Commerce, Kent Fire Department presents Kent Community Day at Ryan Town Park and Tribute to our Kent Senior Citizens. Refreshments will be on sale - sweepstake prizes. Rides for the children, sack races, running races, basketball games, music, children show, story hour, additional surprises to be announced. Very Important! Your admission ticket is a can of food per person so our Kent Community can support The Hunger Network that help our friends and neighbors. Thank you. Kent Recreation Activities call Leisure Line 845-225-1400

Art & Nature: A collaborative nature themed fine art photography exhibition

1 PM - 4 PM Opening Reception, Putnam Arts Council, Tilly Foster Farm. The Photographic Eye, a resident artist group of the Putnam Arts Council, will be shown in the Main Gallery. Please visit our website at The Digital Discussion Group, a small group of fine art photographers whose emphasis is on supporting creative growth, will be shown in the Library Gallery. Free Admission.

The photo show will be on through Oct. 2. Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10-4, Sunday 1-4. The exhibitors, who are creative fine art photographers, are members of The Photographic Eye, resident photography group of the Putnam Arts Council (PAC), and The Digital Discussion Group.

 “The Clock is Striking Autumn,” a floral show from the Brewster-Carmel Garden Club, will enhance the photo exhibit Friday, Sept.18, 1-4 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 to 4.

“Partnerships and collaborations such as this are very important concepts to PAC,” said Joyce Picone, executive director.  “They are the way to grow.  We are very pleased to have been able to bring these groups into our space at once and to create attractions for diverse audiences.”

Robert Zubrycki and Friends, Benefit Concert for St. Andrew's

4PM - St. Andrew's Episcopal Church has been an important part of Robert's family life here in Putnam County for over 40 years. He hopes you will join him and his colleagues for this special benefit concert on Sunday, September 13th at 4pm. A reception prepared by members of St. Andrew's will follow at approximately 5:30PM.

St. Andrew's is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks and has been a vital part of our community for well over a hundred years. Some of the Church's current activities include:
  • Brewster Community Food Pantry, over 114,000 meals served in 2009.
  • The St. Andrew's Nursery School, still going strong after 35 years.
  • The Church is also home to the Brewster Theater Company and is a meeting
  • place for many local groups and organizations.
  • The Church provides many youth activities and community events throughout
  • the year.
Tickets for the Concert are $25 or $20 for two or more. To purchase tickets, contact Suanne Ritchey at: or call (845) 278-6906

Judging an American Idyll: Water Quality in the 19th Century Hudson Valley

Photo (c) Jeff Green5 pm - Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry School Museum, Cold Spring. The 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's explorations reminds us of the importance of rivers in America's history. From an environmental history perspective, it also affords an opportunity to reflect on the fate of this river, and freshwater resources generally, through time. In this talk, Putnam County Historian, Patricia Houser draws from her 2007 doctoral dissertation on New York City's water supply to provide anecdotes about water quality and land use in the seemingly idyllic lower Hudson Valley of the 19th century.

Patricia Houser is a teacher of geography and urban planning at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Ct. She has a Masters degree in geography from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and two children in Carmel, N.Y.


Collaborative Concepts Outdoor Sculpture Show

2PM - Opening Reception. The Collaborative Concepts Outdoor Art Exhibit begins this weekend (and runs through October) on Sandy Saunder’s Farm at the intersection of the Old Albany Post Road and Highlands Road in Philipstown. Admission is free and the scenery is ‘to die for’. If you go, it’s possible you’ll be sharing the space with Sandy’s cows and horses making the event even more fun. The horses are very friendly yet the cows are only interested in the grass – and occasionally nibble on some of the art. Don’t miss this show.

Collaborative Concepts invited local, national, and international artists to place sculptures throughout 100 acres of an historic farm in Garrison, NY. The rolling hills and wooded glens of Saunders Farm culminate in panoramic views of the Hudson Highlands. Black Angus cattle can be seen grazing peacefully in stone-walled pastures. More than 50 site-specific artworks were chosen to complement the farm’s spectacular vistas.

The exhibition is free and can be viewed from 10 am to dusk, Labor Day weekend into late October. Visitors should dress appropriately for a walk in the country.

If you haven’t been to this show, it’s really worth the time to drive over and see it. For one, the trip to the Saunders Farm is a gem. Dirt roads, farms, rolling countryside and a view of Putnam County that is quickly being lost to the Paul Camarda’s of our world. It’s also a huge event, spread over 100 acres of rolling hillsides with expansive views to the east and a hidden view of the “gap” through the break between Storm King and Breakneck ridge… if you look for it!

Into the Future:

Monday and Tuesday, September 14

Houseplant Clinic

6-8 PM  Do you have a "black thumb"� when it comes to houseplants? If so, you need to attend our houseplant clinic! All aspects of houseplant care will be discussed. Participants may bring in houseplants with problems for diagnosis. This will help teach other participants about houseplant problems.  $10 per person, payable at door. Light refreshments will be served. At Dutchess County Farm & Home Center, 2715 Rt 44, Millbrook. Pre-registration is required - contact Nancy Halas or 845-677-8223 x 115 (Registration is closed but call anyway just to make sure.)

2009 Watershed Science and Technical Conference

The 2009 Watershed Science and Technical Conference will bring scientists, engineers and technical experts together with watershed stakeholders and the public, to technically inform and present leading-edge research findings on the most current scientific trends and data regarding climate change as it relates to watersheds and water supply. This year's theme is climate change and its effect on watersheds. The conference will be valuable to elected officials, directors of public works, buildings, planning and highway departments, land use planners, consulting engineers, regulated industries, attorneys, educators, environmental groups and interested citizens. Conference attendees will find themselves in a unique forum for collaboration, providing an opportunity to enhance information and technology transfer and increase coordination among the array of entities working with watershed protection science.  Organizers include the Watershed Protection & Partnership Council, NYS Dept. of State, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and the NY Water Environment Association.  For more information and fees, or to register, please see or Location:  Thayer Hotel in West Point, NY

Wednesday, September 16

Kent CAC Meeting

7PM - Town Hall, 25 Sybil's Way, Kent Lakes, NY. Among issues to be discussed, Update on the Septic Repair, County Energy Commission, Hikes: Summer Review, Foliage Hike, Winter possibilities. Vision for Mead farm. Natural Resource Inventory: What to include?? Planning Board: Hillcrest Commons

Thursday, September 17

The SEQRA Solution: Finding the Right Balance

8 AM - 2 PM - SUNY New Paltz, DEC Commissioner Peter Grannis will attend. Explore and discuss how SEQRA could be revised or applied more efficiently.  Featuring officials, developers, attorneys and environmental advocates. $40 members, $50 non-members, $30 municipal officials.  Agenda information at or call 845-565-4900 for more information.

Saturday, September 20

Constitution Island: American Landmark

Putnam Arts Council is pleased to announce our September film, "Constitution Island: American Landmark" screened in honor of the Hudson Quadricentennial. This brief documentary written and presented by Richard de Koster, executive director of the Constitution Island Association, includes wonderful material about Constitution  Island and its history, and has recently been the recipient of a GHHN Award toward Excellence. The screening, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20 at noon, co-ordinates with the dates logged for Henry Hudson sailing up that area of the river (Sept. 15, 1609), and will be offered at the Arts Council’s headquarters at Tilly Foster Farm, Building #8.

Other screenings in this series include “Who Does She Think She Is” (10/24) which explores the different tasks and presumptions female artists frequently must address, and “Sand and Sorrow”, an in depth look inside the Darfur crisis (11/15). This series is made possible by the continued sponsorship of SLS Health Services, and in the words of PAC Director, Joyce Picone, “…has been designed to not only bring access to free screenings of several films that our audience may be seeing for the first time, but also to try and spark a conversation and prompt an exchange of ideas among those who attend.”

Reservations are requested as seating is limited and admission and parking are free. For directions or more information on our Independent Film Series and all our programs, classes, special events and services, visit our website:

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