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Catching some porch time

Catching some porch time

“How was your weekend?” It’s a common pleasantry, designed to take the edge off the back-to-work grind of a Monday morning.

The question, of course, is not meant to probe. It’s more of a greeting. Grouchy on Mondays by nature, I usually respond that my weekend was lousy. That’s not usually the case, but it makes me feel better about being relegated to an office for the next eight hours. I’m not a confinement kind of guy. Must be my tendency towards claustrophobia.

Anyhow, I recently started giving more thought to the “How was your weekend?” inquiry. Not all weekends are great, naturally, but mostly they are pretty good.

Our weekends took on a different tone a few years back when we moved to greener pastures. Or, more accurately, rockier pastures. The Catskills are well-known as having a high rock content. When you relocate to the side of a mountain the “two stones for every dirt” theory is multiplied by about 100 on the stones end. And they are likely big ones.

I’m providing this information as background for how I spend my weekends. “Starting over” is work. A lot of work. I’m not complaining, just explaining.

Turning forest into lawn is not an easy task. Fortunately, most of this labor was performed with the assistance of huge pieces of equipment. Still, there was plenty of digging left for the “finish work.” And my heavy machinery ownership is limited to an “experienced” garden tractor that demands the word, “Whew!” every time I complete a mowing without a call to the repairman.

No shortage of work

As with any house not covered in vinyl or constructed of brick, there’s always a fair amount of painting on the “to do” list. Porches with bright southern exposure are great for sitting, but harsh on the paint. In fact, I dedicated a good chunk of time last weekend to scraping and reapplying a few fresh coats of paint to the front porch.

I’m pretty sure my inspiration for completing this project (which I successfully ignored last season) was jumpstarted by a visit from friends over the summer who commented, “Oh, the porch is looking well-used.” Ouch.

The never-ending pursuit of firewood also occupies much of my weekend “spare” time. No matter how much wood I have on hand, the arrival of autumn sparks a mini-panic in me and I feel an urgent need to add to the collection.

Or, maybe it’s the fact that this is the time of year that I try to get the oil tanks filled that creates this firewood urgency. It’s probably a combination, but firewood chores cut deeply into my weekends during each autumn.

I guess a ‘good” weekend is a productive one. It makes one appreciate “porch time” more. Of course, there’s not much room on the porch now with the bulging racks of firewood. Plus, I have to worry about marring the new paint job. When it comes to relaxing, I guess it’s the thought that counts.

— Brian Sweeney

(Return to Humorous Columns…)

If the hat doesn’t fit…

If the hat doesn’t fit…

OK, I’ll admit to not always being on the cutting edge of trendiness. So, when I do venture out of my self-imposed seclusion, I’m often a bit shocked at what I’ve been missing. Or not missing.
 For instance, last week I went to see one of my favorite musicians, Nicole Atkins. Because I prefer musicians who are “on the way up,” the venue was not large. But, the place was packed with beer/music lovers.

And guys with tiny hats.

Yes, that’s right — tiny hats. One can assume that these fellows also had tiny heads, but that’s not for me to judge. Still, the hats were pretty small.

There were so many of these tiny-hatted fellows that, after awhile, I began to think I missed a memo about proper attire for the event.

“Do you think there’s a late-night tiny hat shop around here?” I asked my wife. 
She didn’t think so, but assured me that as long as we paid the cover charge she was sure we’d be allowed to stick around.

In reality, as much as I wanted to hear Nicole in person, I doubt that I would have stayed if management had demanded that I don a tiny fedora. I think they are, well, dumb looking. And, when you get a room full of fellows all wearing undersized hats…it’s not good.

As we hung around in the bar for the music to start — my confidence given a lift by a full-bodied ale — I finally turned to one the mad hatters and asked, “Where do you get such a hat? And, more importantly, why?”

Uh, oh

You’re probably thinking that my next words were incoherently mumbled to 911 personnel as we raced to the hospital, me having suffered a pretty good beating.

Fortunately, the tiny hat fan whose taste I had questioned must have had his hearing squelched by the pressure of a tight-fitting hat.

“Huh?” he responded.

By now I had noticed that this fellow’s biceps were much larger than his headgear. Maybe, I thought, I should lower the risk of an old-fashioned thumping.

“I said, ‘Where did you get your hat — it makes your face look thin?’” I smoothly lied. He smiled and tipped his cap. I quickly melted into the crowd and tried to fit in — as much as I could without the aid of a miniscule fedora to assist my cause.

As mentioned earlier, the concert area was not large, but a lot of people could fit in there — if they were packed tight and no fire inspections were occurring. I realized that it might get pretty hard to see the show, with all those tiny hats sticking up in front of us.

Then, something wonderful happened. Maybe Nicole realized that, since neither my wife nor I were wearing tiny hats, that we were there for the music — not the scene. Right before the show started, she announced, “Let’s make room up front for everyone without tiny hats — so that they can see the show.”

The tiny-hatted folks were very polite and let us (and the other two hatless spectators) move close to the stage. High-energy, great Rock-n-Roll followed.

A few hours later, when the last note had been played, Nicole told the crowd. “Hat’s all folks.” Well, not all, but quite a few.

— Brian Sweeney

(Return to Humorous Columns…)

Things will never be the same

Things will never be the same

It’s the end of an era here at the Catskill Mountain News. This week’s paper marks the last one on the job for jack-of-all-trades Esther Snyder of Roxbury.

At a few years north of the traditional retirement age, Esther will be stepping down from her twice-a-week chores as typesetter/proofreader/obituary editor. I doubt, however, that she’ll be slowing down much.

As noted, Esther has worn several hats in her quarter-century of work at the News — her second career after an even longer stint performing office duties at Roxbury Central School. Back in the “olden times” there was plenty of type to be set here, as most news items arrived via the post office. As the trend of e-mailing news rose, Esther shifted her focus more to proofreading duties.
Anyone who has ever proofread knows that this is a thankless task. In the office, there are plenty of comments like, “Wow, glad you caught that one before it made its way into print!”

A few always slip past

Unfortunately, there are always some typographical errors that elude every set of eyes that glances over them. Despite the fact that the errors originated on someone else’s keyboard, the proofreader is a common fall-guy/girl.

As much as I would like to blame others for my typos, I have a hard time pinning my mistakes on Esther. Oddly enough, Esther takes care of this task for me. You see, even though she’s already read the entire paper, she does so again with final product. The following week, she’s fond of saying, “Did you see the error(s) that got in?”

Being a big fan of “ignorance is bliss,” I usually am unaware of the typo(s) that Esther is about to point out. Naturally, I am thankful for her sharing the knowledge that these errors made their way into print. Forever.

Along with plain, old-fashioned typos, she politely points out common grammatical errors to the writing staff. Esther makes certain that the comments being delivered are not actually coming from her, but from “Mr. Webster.”

Wrote the book on it

Ironically, after 25-plus years on the job, Esther has no real need to refer to Webster’s dictionary — she has compiled her own volume of notes regarding certain spellings, rules for hyphenating, etc. For instance, are you aware that “firehouse” is one word? We weren’t either. Until Esther corrected this mistake numerous times.

And speaking of the aforementioned hyphens, I love them like I love baseball — but Esther is not nearly as fond of these little devices. I’m not taking that last one out, however.

She’s also a stickler for the proper spelling of names. I’m willing to bet that she knows how to spell the first and last names of just about every man, woman and child in the Town of Roxbury. Her diligence in this department has saved countless errors over the years.

I noted above that Esther was the obituary editor. This was an unofficial title, but well-earned. Of all stories in the paper, Esther has always had a grave concern about errors in obituaries. She is always very respectful of the dignity of an obituary. These pieces are no place for mistakes — or puns like “grave concern.”

Bringing back the past

Being from the “old school,” Esther grew up reading this paper when it was dominated by “social” news about the comings and goings of neighbors. That side of the paper has been in steady decline for many years and has largely disappeared.

However, Esther has done her part to keep such news alive. When the scarce amount of news to be typeset is finished, she often “heads downstairs” to make some calls to see if anyone in her community is interested in sharing their activities in The Roxbury News.

Esther’s diligence usually nabs a few folks, but there aren’t many residents who participate. I like to joke that Esther’s persistence has spurred an avalanche of Roxbury residents opting for Caller ID.

It’s only natural that Esther wants to see the news she has collected make its way into the paper, but when it’s tight, this column sometimes gets left out. I like to remind Esther that she could ensure The Roxbury News makes it into print, if some “Andrew Jacksons” make their way to my wallet. Darned if she didn’t track down a supply of counterfeit mini-Jacksons that she funnels to me upon request. They are hard to spend, but I appreciate her effort.

Late-night writing

Esther’s day doesn’t end when she leaves the office, either. She often arrives and tells us she was up until the wee hours — writing letters. In fact, her letter-writing volume is so legendary, I think she may single-handedly be keeping the post office afloat.

Over all the years, Esther’s quirky personality has spawned many memories. I think the one that will always stick with me occurred several years ago when her car was in the shop and she borrowed a family member’s Monster Truck for a few days. I’m not sure how she got in or out of this hulking, mud-covered beast, but she did.

Plus, there were mechanical problems with the Monster Truck, as well, and I believe she could drive only in second gear. I’m sure that cut down on her opportunity for doing some donuts in the cornfield on the way home.

I could go on and on about my years with Esther as co-worker and friend. Anyone who knows her is aware of Esther’s devotion — to family, friends and newspaper readers.

Even though she won’t be coming into the office each week, I’m sure we’ll be able to keep tabs on her by reading The Roxbury News — as long as the Jacksons keep flowing, of course. Thank you, Esther — I sure hope there are no typos in this piece.

— Brian Sweeney

(Return to Humorous Columns…)

Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties

Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties Weathers The Storm

Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties has moved back into its Margaretville office space, after extensive repairs to overcome damage caused by Hurricane Irene.

The Bridge Street real estate company was among the hardest-hit businesses in the village on August 28 as raging floodwaters relentlessly slammed the structure. The flooding resulted from an estimated 10-plus inches of rain that deluged much of the region as Hurricane Irene raced up the east coast and left torrential rains inland.

When the record-breaking flood had receded, the historic Granary building in which the Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties is located, had sustained several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of damage.

In addition to the widespread destruction at the real estate office, the popular Flour Patch eatery (also located in the Granary) fell victim to the flood’s devastating power. Adding to the losses was the fact that Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties offices had undergone extensive renovations just prior to the flood.

Although the water did not reach the Granary’s second story, tenants in seven loft-style apartments were displaced for more than a month as potential structural concerns were addressed.

Company President Eric Wedemeyer founded Timberland Properties more than four decades ago and said he’s never seen a natural disaster with the impact of the August 28 storm.

Quick reaction

Despite the fact that his primary location (Timberland Properties also has offices in Delhi and Stamford) sustained a massive amount of damage from the record-breaking high-water event, Mr. Wedemeyer was able to quickly regroup. Within days after the flood, the real estate office was operating out of a temporary location in the Commons Building on Main Street. The company remained there until the December 9 move back to its longtime home at the village entrance.

“The community resolve to get back on its feet quickly was evident from day one,” Mr. Wedemeyer stated. “Despite the historic flood, Margaretville is open for business and is refocusing on its role as a retail center for the region to be more vibrant than ever” he added.
Mr. Wedemeyer said it took a remarkable effort on the part of many people to get things back in shape so quickly.

“I want to thank the hard work and cooperative spirit of the entire community which helped so much in making this happen. My special appreciation to Code Enforcement Officer Patrick Davis, Mayor Bill Stanton, Peg Ellsworth and the entire MARK Project staff, Lee Liddle of Second Nature Construction and his crew, the Margaretville Telephone Company and so many others who helped achieve the speedy reconstruction of this historic building. Without them, and the outpouring of community support, it would not have been accomplished.”

He also cited the financial backing from NBT Bank and the Delaware National Bank of Delhi as vital to the rebuilding effort.

“If it were not for the backing of these banks, there would not be a finished building here today,” Mr. Wedemeyer explained.

A staunch advocate of the Margaretville business community, Mr. Wedemeyer said he never considered relocating his office. The building will now be more flood-resistant than ever.
The Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties office has been renovated and remodeled from bottom to top, as was the Flour Patch. Mr. Wedemeyer pointed out, however, that the most important changes were of the structural variety.

He explained that the front of the building (facing Bridge Street) has been completely reinforced with storm-resistant framing and windows. In addition, thick concrete walls have been poured in front and on the south side of the building to offer sturdy protective barriers designed to divert subsequent floods. The walls have been faced with decorative stones to provide aesthetic appeal.

Along with strengthening the structure and bringing back the existing businesses in “better than new” condition, Mr. Wedemeyer also took the opportunity to create two totally renovated retail and/or professional spaces between his offices and the Flour Patch.

“These new spaces have a southern exposure facing Margaretville’s entrance and Route 28. The units have energy-efficient central heating and air conditioning along with pleasant landscaping approaching their entrances. We now have these facilities for rent — more businesses are always a welcome plus for the village,” Mr. Wedemeyer explained regarding his decision to add the Margaretville’s commercial offerings.

Mr. Wedemeyer said he’s very pleased to have his office back in business so soon.

“I can’t tell you how many people have walked up to me and said ‘thank you.’ It was really touching to see the support shown for us having faith and trust in Margaretville and for reinvesting.”

(Back to Business News Releases…)

Alta Log Homes

Alta Log Homes Looks Ahead to Housing Market Improvement

Halcottsville, NY – With the arrival of spring not far off, Alta Log Homes Vice President David Mann is optimistic that the housing market is slowly turning around.

Entering its 41st year in business, the company has weathered numerous economic cycles and Mr. Mann sees signs that the housing industry is finally emerging from a prolonged slowdown.

“We’re all planning for a bit of a recovery in 2012,” Mr. Mann commented.

He pointed out that the National Association of Home Builders reports that the inventory of available homes is down and that the demand for new housing should show a corresponding improvement. That forecast is proving true at Alta.

“We have recently completed projects in New Paltz and West Hurley and have a house going out to Westerlo in a few weeks. We’ve also seen an increase in design deposits and housing orders for spring,” noted Mr. Mann.

The positive signs are encouraging, he said.

“The improvements are modest, but I feel we’re starting to head back into the right direction,” Mr. Mann added.

One of the country’s leading manufacturers of log homes for more than four decades, Alta continues to expand in new directions.

Last fall, the company finished construction of a commercial building on Route 30, Halcottsville. The exterior is complete and Alta is seeking tenants for the building and will finish the interior to meet the needs of the tenant(s).

Alta is also expanding its accommodation offerings, a field the company entered into two years ago with the establishment of Log Home Lodging. Alta has built two lodging facilities near its office in Halcottsville. The success of those rentals has resulted in plans for several similar units.

Alta is also offering a cross-promotional incentive for visitors who stay at Log Home Lodging — crediting the price of single or multiple stays (up to $1,000) off the purchase of an Alta Log Home for guests who “try out” the company’s product with overnight visits.

 

Housing leader

Since its start in 1971, Alta has been at the forefront of its field. The company’s unique log profiles and innovative construction system have helped set the business apart from other log home manufacturers.

Alta has also been a pioneer in the movement to construct environmentally friendly “green” homes that are built with conservation and cost-savings in mind.  Alta is an Energy Star partner and the company’s new log homes can be built to qualify for Energy Star and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. LEED is an internationally recognized green building method based on third-party verification.

Alta has more than 50 standard models and customization options provide an endless array of design choices. In addition to serving residential customers, Alta has constructed restaurants, stores, motels, schools and churches.

Mr. Mann pointed out that Alta’s contemporary styling lends itself equally well to rural or suburban settings.

“Over the years, we have been asked to meet a wide array of design requests. Our ability to customize is another trait that helps set Alta apart in the log home field,” he noted.

Alta is located on Route 30, Halcottsville, about five miles north of Margaretville in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. For additional information, please call (800) 926-2582 or visit: altaloghomes.com

(Back to Business News Releases…)

Bob Marley’s Band

Belleayre Music Festival
at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center
Belleayre Music Festival, Route 28, Highmount, NY
PO Box 198, Highmount, NY 12441 • (800) 942-6904, ext. 406
For immediate release Aug. 2009
Photos available at: http://belleayremusic.org/press/

Bob Marley’s Band The Original Wailers
Brings Popular Reggae Tunes to Belleayre

Highmount, NY — The Original Wailers, Bob Marley’s band that propelled the infectious beats of reggae music into the international prominence, will perform at the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m.

Bob Marley’s “Exodus,” was voted Time magazine’s “Best Album Of The 20th Century.” The Original Wailers will bring to life the timeless reggae tunes that swept through the United States and abroad during the 1970s and continue to influence today’s music scene.

Marley’s best known hits include “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Exodus,” “Could You Be Loved,””Stir It Up,” “Jamming,” “Redemption Song,” “One Love” as well as the posthumous release “Buffalo Soldier.”

The compilation album, Legend, released in 1984, three years after his death, is reggae’s best-selling album, being 10 times Platinum (Diamond) in the U.S. and selling 20 million copies worldwide.

The Original Wailers is a reggae band made up of several members of the former backing band of the legendary Bob Marley. The leaders of the band, Al Anderson and Junior Marvin, are most known for their lead guitar and backing vocal work while playing with Bob Marley & The Wailers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Original Wailers formed in September 2008 with the combined efforts of Al Anderson, Junior Marvin, and Earl Lindo, another former member of Bob Marley & The Wailers.

These musicians were an integral part of Bob Marley & the Wailers, a band that has sold millions of albums in the last four decades and propelled international success. Today, three legendary Wailers have reformed to create a new, tighter band, The Original Wailers. Keyboardist Earl “Way” Lindo, joined Bob in 1973, for the band’s Island Records debut, “Catch A Fire,” along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

American-born guitarist Al Anderson joined the band a year later and played on “No Woman No Cry.” He’s also played with Peter Tosh, James Brown, Traffic and Ben Harper. Junior Marvin, lead vocalist/guitarist for The Original Wailers often sang alongside Marley and as lead. Junior appeared in the ’70s and played on “Exodus,” which Time magazine voted “Best Album Of The 20th Century.” Junior also has played with Ike & Tina Turner, Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder, Toots & the Maytals and recently with OAR.

Junior, Al and Way toured and recorded with Marley until his death. The band will perform all the songs of Bob Marley and the Wailers as they faithfully have since the meteoric rise of Bob Marley and the Wailers. This reformed configuration will breathe new life into each and every live show. The Original Wailers carry forward the true spirit of “One Love” that they helped create with Bob Marley as one of the most influential bands of all time.

Opening act will be Ila Mawana, which features pure roots reggae and dark driving dub. From the most mellow songs to intense afro driven beats, iLa Mawana brings undeniable energy to its reggae rhythm. Combining elements of roots reggae, afrobeat, dub, and funk, Ila has transcended beyond one single genre.

Supremes & ABBA:

The final two weekends of the season will feature Mary Wilson of the Supremes Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. and ABBA— The Tour on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m.

Ticket for all shows in the 2009 summer concert season at the Belleayre Music Festival, are on sale via Ticketmaster. For additional information, please call 800 942-6904, ext. 1344 or visit: www.belleayremusic.org. The festival’s e-mail address is: festival@catskill.net.

For information on where to stay, dine, shop or to simply enjoy the great outdoors when you’re in town for the Belleayre Music Festival, please visit: www.catskillhighpeaks.com, www.ulstertourism.info or www.greatwesterncatskills.com. Belleayre Music Festival concerts are held on the grounds of Belleayre Mountain in Highmount.

Belleayre Mountain is located in the heart of New York’s Catskill Mountain region. The area is located just off Route 28 and is 37 miles west of Thruway Exit 19 at Kingston; 55 miles southeast of Oneonta on Route 28; 40 miles from the Route 17 exit at Roscoe; and 95 miles southwest of Albany and just two hours north of NYC.

(Return to Event Promotion…)

Thrift Shop Move

Margaretville Hospital
Route 28, Margaretville, NY 12455 • (845) 586-2631
For: Immediate release    Date: Jan. 2009
Attn: Health/Life News

Thrift Shop Move Planned to New Main Street Location

Margaretville – The Auxiliary of Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center will soon be moving its Thrift Shop to 850 Main Street, Margaretville. The Thrift Shop will be relocating by mid-February to a building owned by Peter Neumann. The structure was completly renovated several years ago after being utilized for a long time as a warehouse for a plumbing store across the street.

The Thrift Shop has been located for the past 12 years on the ground floor of the Masonic Building. That building has been sold to the Delaware County Industrial Agency which will soon begin work to create an eCenter business incubator at the site. When they learned of the possible sale, auxiliary officials began exploring new locations for the organization’s popular Thrift Shop.

The Neumann building (which is situated across the street from B&D Motors) offered a good fit in terms of a Main Street location and ample space.

“Our intention is to have a well-designed shop with a little of everything from clothing, housewares, bedding and linens, jewelry, toys and possibly some furniture,” commented Auxiliary President Sue Adams. “There will be plenty of storage space as well as a nice sized shop.”

Mrs. Adams said the new space site will provide approximately 1,300 square feet of actual shop space, which is similar to the present location.

In addition, an adjacent garage will be utilized for product sorting and storing seasonal items. A loft area will be provide office space, thus allowing the organization the added benefit of keeping everything in one place.

Margaretville Hospital is a 15-bed acute care facility. The health care campus also includes Mountainside Residential Care Center, an 82-bed long-term care home. Both facilities are members of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley.

For more information,
Contact Sue Adams at 845 586-1175

(Back to Business News Releases…)

Leather Smithing Demos

Pakatakan Farmers’ Market
at the Historic Round Barn • Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mid-May through Columbus Day
5 miles north of Arkville/Margaretville on Route 30 • Free Admission • (845) 586-3326
Attn: Entertainment or Features Editor
For immediate use — Thank you. June 2009

Leather Smithing Demos Saturday at Market

Halcottsville — Liza Belle Burke of the “Lost Art of Living” in Margaretville will demonstrate custom leather smithing on Saturday, July 4 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market at the Round Barn in Halcottsville.

The custom crafted sandals and accessories of Liza Belle Leather appeal to both the functional needs of the Catskill locals and the fashion sense of the shopper from the big city.

“Sandals and leather attire date back earlier than any other manmade item,” says Liza Belle, “but there has been a recent resurgence of interest in the beauty and elegance of neo-classical designs.” The weak economy has actually fueled demand, as budget conscious shoppers are willing to pay more for custom footwear that lasts longer. “Imported sandals may be cheaper, but they don’t fit as well or hold up as long. My hand-cobbled sandals are also easier to maintain,” according to the Margaretville-based leather smith.

Although sandals are the main offering at Liza Belle Leather, the same primitive aesthetic and robust functionality are shared by the artist’s belts, bracelets, necklaces and bags. Liza Belle’s work can be found at the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market or at her shop, the Lost Art of Living on Main St. in Margaretville as well as at Brooklyn Adorned in Williamsburg.

The Lost Art of Living is open weekends or by appointment, call 845-586-4006 for more information.

This week’s demonstrations are part of a weekly event from 10 a.m.-noon at the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market, sponsored by the Catskill Artisans’ Guild. For a complete event schedule, visit: www.pfmarket.org.

The Pakatakan Farmers’ Market is held rain or shine. The market is located at the historic Round Barn on Route 30 near the Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville, in the central Catskill Mountains. The market is five miles north of Margaretville / Arkville and eight miles south of Roxbury. The location is 50 miles west of Kingston on Route 28 (turn right at Arkville cutoff road); 45 miles southeast of Oneonta on Route 30; 35 miles south of Middleburgh on Route 30; and 40 miles north of the Route 17 exit at Roscoe. Information: (845) 586-3326.

(Return to Event Promotion…)

Children’s Author

Kimberly Wickham
Millbrook Road
Margaretville, NY 12455
(845) 586-4982
For Immediate Release March 2008
Attn: Arts/Book Editor

Children’s Author Explores Innovative Teaching Methods In Book Series Featuring Angels, Horses and Quantum Physics

Margaretville, NY — The best children’s books skillfully weave a spellbinding tale while seamlessly passing along a message about life.

Such is the case with the first two enticing tales in a multi-book series by author Kimberly Wickham of Margaretville. Angels and Horses and its follow-up, Summer of Magic Horses take readers on a magical and engrossing ride following the experiences of nine-year-old Tina.

Through a series of adventures involving her beloved horse Dancer and visits by her guardian angel, Marguerite, Tina learns important lessons about herself and others. The term “quantum physics” is not usually something associated with children’s books. However, the author does a masterful job making the principles of quantum physics a focal point of these tales, breaking down these complex themes into easily understandable concepts through Tina’s experiences.

Readers follow Tina as she deals with real-life issues such as the illness of a loved one and peers who present difficulties through their actions.

Marguerite visits Tina periodically, providing insights and guidance to Tina as she encounters a variety of everyday situations. The primary lesson that Tina learns, with the help of Marguerite, Dancer and other recurring characters, is that each of has the power to change the path of our lives through our own actions and thoughts.

Bold ideas

It’s a simple concept, but through Tina‚s adventures, Ms. Wickham skillfully employs the principles of quantum physics — which essentially teaches that the nature of the universe as being much different then the world we see — into explaining the consequences of our actions and our thoughts.

Ms. Wickham is able to achieve the difficult task of illustrating the basics of quantum physics through Tina’s daily interactions. The key to the book series is that Ms. Wickham is able to incorporate these themes through the actions of a nine-year-old and her everyday experiences. The books are geared toward readers ages 8-11, but adults will learn from and enjoy the writings as well.

“Reading Angels and Horses with my children opened up conversations that allowed us to explore what we believe, and what we create in this world. This is one of those rarest of books that draws you right in, entertains you tremendously, and, ultimately inspires you to be more of who you are. We didn’t want it to end!” wrote Deb Busser, inspirational speaker and metaphysics teacher.

Educational quest

The book series is the latest foray in Ms. Wickham’s lifelong quest of adventure and learning. She spent much of her early life living in Europe and both her love of horses and art began during her time in Italy. Upon returning to the United States at age 18, Ms. Wickham began her practice and study of art. Her first major commission, at the age of 20, included glass art designs for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Margaretville, near her Catskill Mountain home.

While working as a glass artist, Ms. Wickham was also pursuing advanced degrees in art and education. She subsequently began a 20-plus year career in teaching.

Ms. Wickham’s other lifelong passion has been the study and love of animals, particularly horses. She has earned certification in Equine Sports Massage Therapy, as well as many other naturopathic therapies.

In recent years, Mr. Wickham’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge has led her to the study of both meta and quantum physics. Through her books, Ms. Wickham’s interests in education, art and horses have been combined into an easy-to-read series of tales that is entertaining and thought-provoking. Ms. Wickham’s third book, Angels, Horses and Other Worldly Lessons, is scheduled for release in 2008.

New teaching method

The author explained that her book series is the predecessor to further involvement in the theories of quantum physics and related subjects.

Ms. Wickham has begun working with a group of educators from around the world, who share similar viewpoints on teaching, to develop an alternative curriculum for students ages 8-12.

“I believe that kids are different — they are more visual learners in today’s world, because of their constant exposure to things like television and computers,” Ms. Wickham explained. “And they tend to be people who are conceptual thinkers. Many of today’s young people are visual/spatial and complete concept learners. They don’t necessarily need information delivered in an auditory, linear fashion.” Because visual learners cannot learn in the traditional linear teaching fashion (but not vice versa), Ms. Wickham has teamed with a number of educators who feel it‚s important to offer a alternative means of presenting material to students.

She is currently in England working with educators from various countries as they begin to map out the various curricula they are developing. They eventually hope to introduce students around the world to this learning method via the Internet.

“It will be a downloadable format that features written material, videos and games. The curriculum will really be geared toward the visual aspects of learning,” she explained. “We want to make learning come alive.”

As an example, Ms. Wickham said that a student who loves baseball, but has a difficult time learning mathematical concepts in the classroom, may be more successful processing these ideas if they are presented in relation to the sport.

Learning option

The people with whom Ms. Wickham is working ultimately hope to engage educators from all fields who can translate their expertise into visual elements that are more easily learned by students. “The goal of this curriculum will be to help the kids and the parents of the kids who are not surviving school in the classic way. We hope it’s a resource for those types of kids,” she noted.

Ms. Wickham said the initial portion of the curriculum is expected to take about two years to complete. Once underway, the curriculum will continually be enhanced and expanded.

“Ultimately, we hope that parents will press the schools to utilize our teaching concepts as a supplement to the standard educational process,” Ms. Wickham pointed out.

“You never know where students‚ brilliance is — this type of learning will help it emerge,” she concluded.

Additional information about the author is available at: www.kimberlywickham.com or call 845 586- 4982 to learn more.

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Digital Mammography

Margaretville Hospital
Route 28, Margaretville, NY 12455 • (845) 586-2631
For: Immediate release Date: Dec. 2009
Attn: Health/Life News

Digital Mammography Equipment Now In Use at Margaretville Hospital

Margaretville – Margaretville Hospital is now utilizing state-of-the-art digital
mammography equipment.

The new digital mammography system was placed in service on November 12, following a 10-day period for installation and staff training. The equipment has received certification from the American College of Radiology.

The new Hologics equipment enables Margaretville Hospital to provide services that are “the standard of care for breast imaging,” explained Director of Radiology Tony Allen.

He pointed out that the digital mammography equipment provides the highest quality images and offers shorter exam times.

The results of this testing are also faster. Mr. Allen said the average turnaround time for results from the previous equipment was five days. Now exam results are available within 24-48 hours.

Mr. Allen noted that the exam procedure is essentially the same, but “the acquisition and transmission of images is different.”

Margaretville Hospital is a member of HealthAlliance of Hudson Valley, an affiliation that includes Kingston and Benedictine hospitals. Margaretville previously would send mammogram films to Kingston by courier where they would be read by a radiologist. With the digital system, exam results are sent immediately to the radiologist via the Internet.

Mr. Allen added, “This is technology that is not normally available in a small, rural hospital. The system works in conjunction with the R-2 checker that will scan the film and will put marks on the film where it feels there may be changes in the breast. It can bring subtle changes to the radiologists’ attention that the eye may not pick up as quickly.”

He continued, “The key is early detection – to notice changes early and begin treatment and stop the spread of the cancer,” Mr. Allen stated. “The patient may not feel the lump and the digital exam can pick up problems earlier.”

He pointed out that great strides have been made in breast cancer awareness programs and these have resulted in a vast improvement in cancer survival rates.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago, breast cancer awareness was in its infancy. Now, people are well aware of what’s best for women’s health and this work has been very successful in prevention and treatment of the disease,” Mr. Allen stated.

Grant funded

The digital mammography equipment, including a printer, was purchased through a $202,000 Rural Access Grant that the hospital applied for nearly a year ago. Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ed Morache said that the hospital demonstrated a need for such equipment and this fact was recognized with the grant award. He pointed out that digital mammography services are the first step in the creation of a Women’s Health Center that will be set up when the hospital begins renovations to its Emergency Department next month. The Women’s Health Center section will include testing equipment and an education room.

Mr. Morache added, “This is an important piece of equipment. It’s another example of Margaretville Hospital and the HealthAlliance being proactive in maintaining high standards of care for the community. We feel that by bringing this into our neighborhood, more people can take advantage of it.”

Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center, an 82-bed skilled nursing facility, are located on Route 28, Margaretville. For additional information, please call 845 586-2631.

Photo caption:

In Service – Margaretville Hospital is now utilizing state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment. Looking over the new equipment are Director of Radiology Tony Allen, left, and Chief Executive Officer Ed Morache.

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