Archive for April, 2011

Gigli’s Photo of the Week

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Photography by Rich Gigli

Cape May Spring

“It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest and living close to nature.”

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

Zero Energy in New Paltz

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

By Shawn Dell Joyce

How would you like to get a check back from Central Hudson instead of paying them thousands in utilities this year? If you lived in Green Acres in New Paltz, that could happen to you. Green Acres is a Net Zero Energy housing development nestled amid a conventional housing development at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge.

Zero Energy Homes, or houses that produce as much (or more) energy as they use sounds like the stuff of science fiction. For years many people have thought it impossible, and builders speculated they would be unaffordable, but recently they have become a reality.

“The myth that zero energy homes are impossible in the Northeast, or cost prohibitive, has been broken,” says homebuilder Anthony Aebi. “I’ve found that it wasn’t a problem.” Aebi is the owner of Greenhill Contracting, and builder of Green Acres in New Paltz, NY.

Green Acres consists of twenty-five lots, only seven have finished houses and all but two of those houses have been sold. The average size of Aebi’s houses are four bedrooms, and less than 2,000 square feet. The average price for these homes is around $500,000 but take away the cost of the expensive property and the house itself is only 20 percent more than average market value. Aebi notes that homebuyers last year were given more than $40,000 in tax credits which helped offset the additional costs.

But there’s nothing average about the houses in Green Acres, the homes are all oriented toward the south for maximum passive solar, all have breath-taking views of the ridge from the West facing windows. Each house has curb appeal, and very few have any visible solar panels or signs that they are any different from the neighboring housing development.

What makes Green Acres different is the houses are not conventional “stick frame” houses, like most houses build today. These houses have walls made of foam and metal with concrete poured between them. The panels have a very high insulation value (R22) and give the house the strength to last through earthquakes (up to 9 points on the Richter Scale) and winds of 200 mph. The houses are insulated from top to bottom with sprayed-in foam insulation in the attic and R20 insulation under the floor slab. The houses are so tight that they remain at a constant temperature year round without any heat on.

“There’s no dust,” notes Green Acres architect David Toder of Bolder Architecture. Each home is equipped with a heat recover ventilation unit that makes the indoor air fresher and cleaner than the outdoor air. Geothermal wells provide heating/cooling and hot water to the homes, while eight kilowatt solar panels provide energy. Toder is a LEEDS certified architect and designed the homes to meet LEEDS Gold standards.

But the real proof on Zero Energy houses lies with the people who live in them. David Shepler was one of the first people to buy into Green Acres. Shepler is not your average homebuyer, and was looking for a greener house than the “typical McMansions on the market today.” Shepler notes that financing was the biggest hurdle between him and Green Acres.

“Appraisers don’t value green features,” said Shepler. This made it hard to get an accurate assessment of the cost savings of having no monthly utility bills. He has lived in his zero energy house for more than two years, and notes that he received a check from the local utility company for $80 after his first year, and $172 after his second year. Utility companies measure net zero on a yearly scale, starting in January. For a home to be zero energy, it has to produce as much energy as it draws from the grid, resulting in no monthly utility bills. Shepler’s home is slightly better than zero energy.

Shepler estimates that his monthly out-of-pocket costs for the luxurious home he and his sons live in roughly equivalent to a $450,000 home. Greenhill Contracting’s website cites that the cost of purchasing a $600,000 zero energy home at a 5 percent mortgage will cost you roughly the same per year as a $452,000 home. The difference is in a lower cost of living, and government incentives which could go towards your down payment.

Aebi didn’t set out to build a greener house, and is quick to point out that his houses are built to last with “green” being a side benefit. “I’m not an environmentalist,” he claims, “I just wanted to build a practical home that would last.”

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning newspaper columnist and the director of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery.

Hayworth Declines

Monday, April 18th, 2011

By Jeffrey Page
Still no response from Rep. Nan Hayworth on what seemed like a fairly straightforward question following her recent Town Hall declaration in Warwick. “I want taxes to be lower,” she said. “Our mission is to cut federal spending.”

Very courageous, but I thought there would be more to it than that. So I dashed off an email to Hayworth asking her if she would please be specific.

You say your “mission” is to cut federal spending, I said, so how would you do it? Specifically, which federal programs would you cut back? And by how much? And which programs would you eliminate altogether?

In a piece for Zest of Orange, I offered her some possibilities. Would Haworth eliminate the Veterans Administration? NPR? Maybe Farm aid? Or Yellowstone National Park? How about the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides milk, eggs and cheese to poor women and to their children younger than 5? How about cutting Congressional salaries? Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid?

It’s so easy for politicians to stand up with a microphone and tell us how profligate we all are if we fail to agree that spending must be cut. But isn’t it astonishing how reluctant the pols – Republicans and Democrats alike – are when someone raises his or her hand and asks for a little preciseness?

Hayworth isn’t the only politician to take the easy way out by refusing to name the programs that would have to go. But she’s the one whose House web site contains this invitation: “Learn my views on spending cuts and debt.”

Now, that sounded promising. Maybe there would be some serious answers at last, something a little more substantial than: Spending is bad, not spending is good. But I was to be disappointed. If you want to learn her views, she responds with: “Spending cuts and debt affect us all and dealing with these issues are [sic] important to my work in Congress.”

That’s her “view?”

That’s it.

Only in Washington could 19 words be the definition of one’s “view” on anything.

In case you wish more than 19 words, Hayworth invites constituents to contact her Washington office. Well, I tried that in March and got no response when I asked that dangerous question about naming the programs she would kill.

Meanwhile, this from a friend of mine. “I called Hayworth’s office in Washington out of concern for the new bill that would severely cut Medicaid and Medicare in the future…. I told [Hayworth’s aide] that as a constituent this is of great concern to me.”

The aide took his name and phone number and promptly never got back to him.

Has this happened to you when you tried to contact Hayworth at her local office (845-206-4600), or John Hall before her, or Sue Kelly before him? Drop me a line here at Zest with your thoughts about being taken for granted.

Jeff can be reached at

‘Drive-thru’ no way to pay respects

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

By Michael Kaufman

Some modern conveniences I can do without.  For example, I don’t like sensor-activated toilets and urinals that flush automatically. For me the timing always seems a little off and it makes me wonder if I am doing something wrong.  Even worse are the automatic faucets. I can’t tell you how many times I have stood at a sink, waving my hands around in a futile attempt to get water to come out, only to discover that I picked one that is out of order.

Sunday morning, during a break in an Empire State College program at the FDR museum site in Hyde Park, I couldn’t get the automatic paper towel dispenser to work. Fortunately, a fellow student more adept at dealing with modern technology showed me where the sensor is located. I had been waving my dripping hands around in the wrong spaces. 

Call me old fashioned but I would rather get lost driving than be told where to turn by a computer-generated voice. And please don’t get me started on all the other computerized gizmos and LCD (or is it LED) displays that clutter the dashboards of today’s new cars. I once heard a guy complain that his new car broke down and the mechanic told him he needed a new “mother board.”

All these things came to mind when I saw the headline over a News Brief in Monday’s newspaper: “Drive-thru casket viewing offers last look on wheels.” The article reported that the Robert L. Adams Mortuary in Compton, California is now offering “the ultimate in drive-thru convenience: drive-thru casket viewing.” Thus, “it is possible to view the deceased resting in a display window while cruising past in your car.” Thankfully this item did not appear in the “My Ride” section.

“You can come by after work, you don’t need to deal with parking, you can sign the book outside and the family knows that you paid your respects,” said owner Peggy Scott Adams. “It’s a convenience thing.”

 I admit I don’t know much about casket-viewing customs but this seems to me like a pretty disrespectful way to pay respects. Why not make it even more convenient by putting the casket on webcam so you can view it on line….after which you can Tweet your respects? Imagine….you won’t even have to get into your car to go to the drive-thru! 

The story mentioned that we are already accustomed to “drive-thru burger joints and drive-thru banks.” This led to some interesting speculation among our family members about additional potential uses of drive-thru convenience. We thought of drive-thru museums and botanical gardens, drive-thru psychotherapy, and drive thru haircuts. “How about drive-thru breakups?” our 19-year-old daughter suggested.

Readers are invited to suggest additional drive-thru ideas and/or other examples of conveniences you would be happy to live without. 

Meanwhile, for those who are celebrating Passover this week and anyone of any denomination who would just like to have a good laugh, have I got a link for you! Here is a high-tech version of the Passover story that may one day replace the traditional Haggadah because, you know, it’s a convenience thing: 

Michael can be reached at

Fame: From ‘Joe’ Heller to ‘Tony Pro’

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Tony Pro

Tony Pro

By Bob Gaydos

A couple of weeks ago, in a display of pure ego, I wrote about the famous people I had encountered over the years. Kind of a check list on where the journey has taken me so far. They tell me it’s one of the charming things about blogs — they don’t always have to be about serious stuff going on in the world. Sometimes they can be personal and can let readers know a little about the blogger. And of course, in this social networking world we now inhabit, willingly or not, it allows the blogees to respond with personal information of their own.

So, at the end of my personal who’s who of my life, I asked readers to send in their own close encounters. A few brave souls actually replied and so I will give them their due.

  • Elmer Brunsman (who reads and contributes to all those serious blogs) wrote: “You put down a challenge at the conclusion which you will regret. How about these for openers, just openers: Interviewed Harvey Milk shortly before he was notoriously assassinated in San Francisco (if you haven’t seen the Sean Penn portrayal, rent it. It is one of the few best political movies ranking above “All the King’s Men” and you name it); Daniel Ellsberg, Dick Gregory, Daniel (at a couple of seminars) and Phillip Berrigan (on my radio program), Little Richard, Dr. Meyer Friedman (Type A Behavior and Your Heart), numerous writers including Kay Boyle, Leonard Bishop (with whom I studied writing), Francis Ford Coppola, Ralph Nader (that one was only in front of an elevator), Jane Fonda, lesser figures such as Diane Feinstein before the Senate, before mayor, while on board of city supervisors … I think I’ll stop now.

Thanks, Elmer, I get your point. Thanks for stopping (and somewhere in the back of my brain I have a fuzzy recollection of meeting the Berrigans as well). Ellsberg? Cool.

  • Jeff Page, fellow Zest blogger, who worked for the Times Herald-Record before joining The Record in Hackensack, N.J., wrote: Here are some of the people I’ve spoken with as a reporter: Cesar Chavez (in a visit to Paterson); Barbara Deming; Allen Ginsberg; Christopher Reeve (when he rough-landed his small plane at Teterboro); Estelle Parsons (at her country house near Mohonk); Matt McHugh; the incomparable Maurice Hinchey; Pat Robertson; Tony Provenzano (“Keep your nose clean, kid,” he advised.); John Hall, the congressman; John Hall, the Jets place kicker; William V. Musto, Hudson County pol (went to prison); John Armellino; Hudson County pol (went to prison); Tom Whelan (Hudson County pol (went to prison); Dennis Flaherty, Hudson County pol (went to prison; Bella Abzug; Howard Samuels; Mary Ann Krupsak; Arnold Toynbee; Louis Ginsberg; and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Jeff’s Hudson County (N.J.) reminiscences stirred a vague recollection in me of a meeting with Neal Gallagher, Hudson County pol (went to prison). Since Jeff and I escaped, many more Hudson pols have followed the same career path. In fact, I challenge anyone to match my home county for political corruption. And Jeff, I’ll give you Krupsak even though she was a lieutenant governor, because I like Allen Ginsberg.

  • Anita Page, Jeff’s wife and a writer in her on own right, offered: Bob, I once interviewed Joe Heller who gave me this advice. “Every writer should have a bed in his office for frequent naps.”

Wow, Joe huh? It’s still Mr. Heller to me. And he sure took one, long nap. But he was right about the bed. My computer/work area is in my bedroom and I frequently catch 22 winks. Get it?

  • Finally, checking in from Ulster County, former TH-R reporter Jo Galante Cicale humbly wrote: I often thought I didn’t do so badly for a kid from the lower East Side. OK, so Tony Pro was my uncle and Carmine Galante, too. But that hadn’t anything to do with reporting. (Mario) Cuomo was a family friend – yeah, I’m boasting now, but you started it. John Hall a neighbor and friend; ditto with Hinchey. But, the most memorable from reporting days was Al Sharpton who, during the Brawley days, was more street gangsta with dirt under his nails, lots of gold and body odor.

Yo, Jo, no disrespect intended. Drop names all you want. You win.

Bob can be reached at

Carrie’s Painting of the Week

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Reservoir Morning

By Carrie Jacobson

Winter spins here into spring, picking up the old dead leaves and whirling them into the woods, releasing the plants and greenery beneath. Primroses poke up early, immune to frost and pounding rain and the late, bad-surprise snows. This winter took its toll on year-old forsythia, grocery-store azaleas, and the roses that ended up beneath the snowplow’s piles, but all seem to be scrabbling back into some form of life.

At dawn, the air resounds with the songs of hundreds of birds returning to their summer trees. Flickas peck at fallen seeds, goldfinches flit and glitter on the thistle, and blue jays scream at each return of the red-tailed hawks to their nest beside the driveway.

Along the reservoir, the early mornings are sometimes softened by fog, and wisps of clouds, and sea-smoke rising from the night-cool water. And on these past few evenings, the April moon has risen huge and close and brilliant in the coming cool of night.

We never know how many springs remain, and so I remind myself to stop in these too-busy days, and smell the air, feel the soft earth, listen as this longed-for spring unfolds.

This painting is oil on canvas, 16×20. If you’re interested in price and delivery details, please email me at

Babe Ruth’s Secret Therapist

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

By Michael Kaufman

Mike Pelfrey, ace-by-default pitcher for the New York Mets, deserves to be congratulated for his candor in discussing his relationship with the late sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman. According to reports in the New York sports pages, Pelfrey was devastated when he learned of Dorfman’s passing on Feb. 28. No longer would he hear Dorfman’s words of inspiration on those dark mornings the day after a rough start. If Pelfrey’s early-season outings are any indication, Mets fans can expect many of those this season.

As noted by baseball writer Steve Popper in Tuesday’s editions, “Pelfrey was anointed as the Mets’ No. 1 starter this winter with Johan Santana sidelined for at least the first half of the season and if the pressure might have gotten to the nervous right-hander he then went out on opening day and struggled badly. He followed that up with another bad performance in Philadelphia. Monday he was improved, if still far from where he wants to be and where the Mets need him to be.”

Pelfrey says that when he spoke with Dorfman, “I laid it all out. It wasn’t just baseball. I talked to Harvey about my wife, about being a father, about past girlfriends….I talked to him about everything in life. Obviously that relationship is gone.” He says he hopes to establish a similar relationship with the new therapist recommended by his agent Scott Boras.

Pelfrey’s openness is a far cry from the secrecy that surrounded Babe Ruth’s therapy sessions with Hans Krumholz, a psychoanalyst who spoke of the Yankee slugger as “George R.” in a letter to Sigmund Freud seeking advice. A copy of the letter was forwarded to Zest of Orange by Ralph Krumholz of Warwick, a great grandson of the little-known therapist.

“I never knew much about my great grandfather other than that he had been a psychoanalyst and that our family has kept an envelope addressed to him by Freud…and that it has a letter in it,” Ralph explained. “I looked at it once a long time ago and I was disappointed: Freud had simply returned a letter my great grandfather had written to him with a brief note at the top saying, ‘I’m sorry but your name doesn’t ring a bell.’

“I didn’t bother to read further and only recently took the time to read what my great grandfather wrote to Freud. I was stunned when I realized that he had once been Babe Ruth’s secret therapist.”

“Dear Dr. Freud,” began the letter from Hans Krumholz. “You may remember me because I was your patient when I was a little boy. Back then I had a phobia about horses. Today I have a lucrative psychotherapy practice of my own in a suburb not far from Vienna. I am writing to ask your advice regarding a patient referred to me by an acquaintance, the team doctor of a professional sports club in America. The doctor is concerned about the patient’s habitual abuse of alcohol (which he says the patient thinks enhances his performance). The patient, George R, is apparently one of the best practitioners in the sport of baseball, about which I knew very little prior to this case.

“I am now familiar enough with the game to appreciate that it is fraught with homoerotic implications. The teams take turns at bat using large wooden phallic symbols to attempt to hit a ball thrown by an opposing player. The hitter stands at “home” and this is also the place where points (or “runs” as they are called) are scored. There are a number of ways in which the bat wielders can help their team score runs. The most dramatic is the hitting of a “home run” and it is in this aspect of the game that George R. excels.

“A large and I daresay overweight man compared to the image one might expect of a great athlete, George uses the thickest and heaviest bat of all the players on his team. Unlike many other batters he grips the bat firmly at the base of the shaft rather than “choke up” on it to get more but less powerful or significant hits. In this manner he hits many home runs, which makes him a huge favorite among the game’s aficionados.

“Yet despite his great success, George R. has an extremely weak and fragile ego. In one of our first sessions he confided that he has small feet for a man of his size and that as a result he thinks he looks ‘funny’ when he runs or trots around the bases after hitting a home run and other players make fun of him. I would hazard to guess he has similar fears regarding the size of his widdler. This seems an area worthy of further exploration in therapy.

“Also worthy of exploration is the symbolism of “home” in his chosen sport. George R. was sent away from his own home at age 7 after becoming “too much of a handful” for his busy parents. Young as he was, he was often found wandering the dockyards, drinking, chewing tobacco, and taunting the local constabulary. His beleaguered parents sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a Catholic orphanage and reformatory that became his home for the next 12 years.

“While at the orphanage, young George particularly looked up to a monk named Brother Mathias, who he says became a father figure to him.  Mathias and several other monks introduced him to baseball. By the time he was 19, his baseball skills had caught the attention of Jack Dunn, owner of a minor league team. Because George was still too young to sign a professional contract without an adult guardian, Dunn became his legal guardian. This led teammates to jokingly call him “Dunn’s new babe.” The joke stuck, and George quickly earned the nickname ‘Babe.’ At least that is George’s explanation. I have a feeling there may be more here than meets the eye.

“George mentioned that he is sometimes so comfortable standing at home and awaiting a pitch that he can actually visualize where he will hit the ball for a home run. I suggested that it would be a good boost to his ego if he pointed to the spot before the pitch so everyone in attendance could see for themselves. I was delighted when he followed my advice….but he told me later that he will never do it again. When I asked why he grumbled, ‘because the pitchers would use my head for target practice.’  I wonder what he meant by that. 

“He also rejected my suggestion to remain at home plate for a few moments to watch the flight of any ball he thinks will be a home run. ‘Nobody will ever get away with that in baseball,’ he said flatly. Finally, he grew angry and uttered a vulgar term referring to female anatomy when I suggested that he pump his fists and raise his arms while trotting around the bases after a home run: ‘Bush!’ 

 “I would be most grateful if you can help me understand why George would say such a thing. I would also welcome any suggestions you may have as to the appropriate avenue to pursue next with him. Do you think this would be a good time for us to talk about his widdler?”

Michael can be reached at

Manny and the Donald

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

The Donald, taking off?

The Donald, taking off?

By Bob Gaydos

It’s silly season in America, time for the clowns. As evidence, I offer these current news stories:

  • A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released this week has Donald Trump tied with Mike (Foot-in-Mouth) Huckabee for the lead in the dismal field of potential Republican presidential candidates. And you wonder why Barack Obama always manages to look so cool.

According to the poll, Trump and Huckabee both were favored by 19 percent of likely GOP voters. Yeah, not exactly a landslide. Fox’s favorite daughter, Sarah (Half-term) Palin is second, with 12 percent, with Mitt (What health-care plan?) Romney and Newt (I’m a slave to love) Gingrich tied for third with 11 percent each. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last week had Trump tied with Huckabee for second place.

Is there no unqualified, hypocritical, snake oil salesman the right wing of the GOP won’t support if he tells them what they want to hear? Apparently not. The Donald, as you’ve probably heard, has based his presidential hopes on his “suspicions” about Obama’s place of birth. Trump’s sending investigators to Hawaii to check it out. Even Palin had to call the birth certificate “issue” a distraction, which is her way of saying it ain’t true, folks. Trump also has made the obligatory anti-Muslim pitch to Birther Nation. In referring to a “Muslim problem,” he said on the Christian Broadcasting Network: “There’s a lot of hatred there. Now I don’t know if that’s from the Koran, I don’t know if that’s from someplace else. But there’s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Well, if Donald doesn’t know, I surely don’t. But I do know pandering when I hear it. And there’s none of that hatred stuff on his cutthroat reality TV show, right?

Trump’s primary credential for running for president apparently is that he is a good businessman. Remember how far that got Ross Perot? What Trump is is what he shows on his TV show — a bully who likes bossing people around. That is not a desirable trait in a president. You can’t fire Congress. Not only doesn’t he play well with other kids, he would be a disaster at diplomatic relations. And business? His namesake hotel and casino both declared bankruptcy. How do you manage to fail to make a killing at gambling? And for those evangelicals who apparently love him for his anti-gay, pro-life comments, in addition to his efforts to get rich on gambling, there’s the inconvenient matter of his two divorces. Just saying.

  • After failing a second test for banned substances, Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez announced he was retiring from baseball rather than accept a 100-game suspension.

There were two guys known as the Clown Prince of Baseball — Al Schacht and Max Patkin. Schacht wore a top hat and oversized glove. Patkin featured a funny face and baggy clothes. Both engaged in wacky antics, as they say.

Manny Ramirez was just a clown. There was never anything remotely princelike about him, except maybe that he always acted as though he should be treated like royalty.

Manny could hit with the best of them and loaf with the worst of them. A lousy teammate, he would refuse to play in games, show up late for games, fail to run to first base, jog after fly balls, demand to be traded and, when that didn’t happen, play poorly enough that his team had to trade him, if just to silence the boos from the fans. He’s a guy who had all the talent to be remembered as one of the game’s alltime great hitters and none of the moral fiber to be just an average decent Joe.

And he seemingly never cared. That may be because he’s made more than $200 million playing his brand of baseball. Manny being Manny they called it and he laughed all the way to the bank. His act finally got stale in Boston, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. Even clowns with dreadlocks can become wearisome.

What makes these two stories even more annoying is that neither Manny nor the Donald seems to care what the rest of us think of him. Each man got his and that’s all that matters. We bought Manny’s shtick until he got caught trying to get by on the sly yet again. As usual, he took the easy way out. The Donald, however, is still peddling his wares, with seemingly enough willing buyers to keep him in orange hair dye for a few more years.

Now, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, but hey, guys, I’m not laughing here. Seriously, there’s really no room — in the Hall of Fame or the White House — for either bozo.

Bob can be reached at

Locally Grown School Lunches?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

By Shawn Dell Joyce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates with our current rate of obesity, a third of our children born in 2000 will develop diabetes. The statistic is up to a half for African American and Hispanic children. Asthma, allergies, anxiety disorders and learning disabilities can all be traced to diet. Something has gone terribly wrong with our children’s nutrition.

For the first time in fifteen years, the United States Department of Agriculture announced it will upgrade nutritional standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast program. Under a new law signed by President Obama in mid-January, children will be offered something that comes closer to current nutritional standards. The act came after much effort by health-conscious parents and groups to limit the high fat, high sugar school lunches that currently contribute to childhood obesity, and juvenile diabetes.

Soon, our children can expect to find an increase in fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays. This means nearly four half-cup servings a week of real vegetables, not just French fries or ketchup which used to qualify under the old standards. New vegetables will include dark green veggies and legumes, and more whole grains. At least half the grains served must be whole grains, and milk will now be fat-free or low fat instead of whole. Sodium levels will also be reduced.

While these changed are laudable, many local foods advocates want to see the reforms go farther to include sourcing the fresh fruits and vegetables locally whenever possible. In a recent New York Times editorial Alice Waters, a famous chef and local foods advocate, and Katrina Heron point out our schools “pay good money for what are essentially leftovers from big American food producers.”  The duo admits it would cost “about $5 per child to feed 30 million schoolchildren” an organic, locally-grown meal, “but the long term benefits would be worth it.”

Benefits like improving children’s dietary habits, food safety would be easier to track, and attention spans would likely improve as well. Probably the greatest benefit would be the money diverted from big food processors would go instead to local farmers thus improving the economy of the school’s community.

Pablo Rosado is a chef manager for Flik Independent School which provides food service for private schools including Tuxedo Park. If your child is lucky enough to have Rosado’s lunch program; they would choose between a salad bar with a whole grain salad, leafy lettuce salad and 15 other vegetable choices, deli buffet featuring whole grain bread choices or flavored pitas, or a hot lunch with a vegan soup choice. Rosado follows guidelines from on-staff dieticians including  no trans fats,  no synthetic  hormones, also uses local produce  with a focus on organic  when he can find it. Rosado’s lunches cost around $2.50 per student, while most public school lunches cost around $1.50

Wouldn’t you pay the extra $1 for your child to eat a more nutritious lunch with local ingredients? We need to overhaul our food system, now, as part of our economic recovery. Shifting from a global food system to a local food system would solve many problems at once. Not only would more people have access to fresh, varied local produce, but communities would benefit from the economic stimulus generated by keeping food money in the local economy.

The USDA has created a portal that is open to public comments on this new law only for a few more days. Comments may be submitted Federal eRulemaking Portal at

Shawn Dell Joyce is the director of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, and an award-winning newspaper columnist.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Jamestown Afternoon

By Carrie Jacobson

For better or worse, and believe me, it’s both, Peter and I have seven dogs, all rescues, all with issues, many in varying stages of decrepitude.

We’ve had a spate lately of accidents that, while horrifying at first, have ended up with no injuries but have left me wondering just what the heck we’ve gotten ourselves into here.

One of the dogs, Zoe, is just plain blind and now nearly deaf, too. But she is a Lhasa apso, quick on the draw and aggressively protective.

Another of the dogs, Kaja – a German shepherd/chow mix – is about 14, shaky and arthritic, stone deaf, half-blind and increasingly unwilling to watch where she’s going. She’s decided she is going to walk wherever she wants to walk, and if there’s a bad-tempered Lhasa apso in the way, so what.

Kaja steps on Zoe, who jumps up snarling, but of course, Kaja is completely deaf, and the alpha dog to boot, so the little one might just as well be a flea, or less, far as she’s concerned.

Lately, Kaja has taken to walking into the water bowl and knocking it over, oh, two or three times a day. Our kitchen floor has never been cleaner.

She has figured out that we will give her pretty much anything that she wants, now, so she will turn her nose up at regular dog food and wait until we give her the good stuff (canned food) or better yet, pieces of our own meals.

And you know what? At 14, she deserves whatever tastes good to her, that’s what I think.

The bad-tempered Pekingese, now 14 himself and pretty much deaf, growls and snarls for the heck of it, also aiming much of his ill temper at Kaja, who I believe goes out of her way to step on him.

The ancient Samoyed, 98 percent blind and the sweetest dog in the world, crashed down a short set of steps this morning into the basement, where no dog has ever been. He is fine, but the big lummox was trembling like a leaf in my arms.

His sworn enemy, a bichon with neuroses and deep-seated and inexplicable hatred of the Samoyed, stood at the top of the steps and barked nastily as I hauled the Samoyed up.

So we go on, our aged and aging dogs growing more and more dear, as they accompany us into the latter part of our lives. Sometimes I am sad beyond words at all of us. Sometimes their crashes and bickering, their bad tempers and refusals, just make me laugh, and make me glad to be alive.

All of which has nothing to do with this painting, but is something I was thinking about this Sunday morning.

What about you? Are your pets helping you deal with the passing of the years?

This painting is oil on canvas, 16×20. If you want price or delivery information, please email me at