About Us

The Zest of Orange is an informative, scrappy, argumentative, contrarian and thoroughly entertaining site sure to delight some readers and infuriate others.

We’re veteran journalists, most of whom live in Orange County, N.Y., and who once wrote or shot photos for local newspapers and other media. Readers tell us that our public voices have been missed since we were either laid off or retired.

At this Web site, we’re once again writing about our favorite subjects: politics, dogs, art, the environment, sports, family and spouses, and life in Orange County. Each week, we will also give you extraordinary local photos by photographer Rich Gigli.

Please bookmark us on your computer and come back to visit often. For a weekly e-mail about what’s new on the site, sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the right-hand menu on our home page.

We’ll be here waiting for you with something new each week that we hope will make you laugh, cry, shout out “Right on!” or get hopping mad.

Our prize-winning contributors include:

bethquinnBeth Quinn, whose popular column in the Times Herald-Record ran for 21 years until May 2008, when she left the paper. During the last eight years of her time at the newspaper, her column became the Hudson Valley’s voice for frustrated liberals who shared her anger with the Bush Administration. But she also captured the public heart with her writing about kids, dogs and other interesting creatures – subjects that know no politics. Her work, which earned 39 state and national writing awards over the years, also has appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as Reader’s Digest, Sporting News and Dog Fancy. Quinn can be reached at beth@zestoforange.com.

Bob Gaydos is veteran of 40-plus years in daily newspapers. He began as police reporter with The new me(Binghamton) Sun-Bulletin, eventually covering government and politics as well as serving as city editor, features editor, sports editor and executive editor. He was also managing editor of the Evening Capital in Annapolis, Md. He retired from daily newspapering in 2007 after 29 years with the Times Herald-Record, where he was Sunday/features editor and, for 23 years, editorial page editor. He won numerous awards for his editorials from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association and The Associated Press and in 1992 was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Gaydos continues to write on a freelance basis, including a column on addiction for the Record.  Gaydos is serving as editor of Zest. He can be reached at bob@zestoforange.com.

jefferypageJeffrey Page was a reporter for The Times Herald-Record for eight years before leaving in 1980 for a career at The Record in Hackensack, N.J. There, he wrote about transportation in the form of a column written with plenty of attitude. The Road Warrior column’s basic tenet was that the users of highways and mass transit invariably get screwed by government and autonomous authorities. After 13 years as Road Warrior, Page was given a local column and later an op-ed column. Page’s other interests include the condemnation of private property for the sake of private sector redevelopment. His writing on the murders of newborns has been recognized by the Deadline Club of New York. He has been honored eight times by the New Jersey Press Association. Page wrote the text for the book “Ground Zero Spirit,” a collection of photographs of the attacks of Sept. 11. Page has a long-held belief that everyone has a story to tell, He can be reached at jeffrey@zestoforange.com.

shawndelljoyceShawn Dell Joyce is the founder of the Wallkill River School, a nonprofit artists collective with an environmental mission to save open spaces and small farms. She is also a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist who writes “Sustainable Living,” featured locally in the Wallkill Valley Times and Poughkeepsie Journal Sunday paper. Her sustainable artworks and writings have been widely publicized in many national newspapers and magazines like the New York Times and Mothering Magazine. She has won many prestigious awards for her work such as the “People’s Choice” Award at the International Plein Air Paint Out in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her works are in major museum collections like the Museum of Modern Art, and Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. Dell Joyce can be reached at shawn@zestoforange.com.

michaelkaufmanMichael Kaufman has been a sportswriter, investigative reporter, and medical writer for more than 30 years. His writing has appeared in Sport, Crawdaddy, Black Sports, Hockey, Woman’s World, Health, and other periodicals, and in several anthologies and sociology textbooks. He has interviewed the tallest man in the world and the oldest living dwarf for the National Enquirer. More recently he was a contributing writer for the Reader’s Digest best-selling books, Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things and More Life for Your Stuff. Kaufman can be reached at michael@zestoforange.com.

carriejacobsonWhen Mike Levine hired Carrie Jacobson to be the art director of the Times Herald-Record, she knew she’d found the job she’d keep for the rest of her life. Jacobson had worked in newspapers across the country before coming to the Record. She’d been the editor of papers in Westerly, R.I., and Westminster, Md. She’d worked as bureau chief for the two top papers in Maine. She’d run the copy desk at the Virginian Pilot, and worked as a copy editor and page designer at the Idaho Statesman in Boise. But five years after Levine hired her, and months after his death and the death of Jacobson’s mother, the Record eliminated her job. Jacobson and her husband moved from their home in Cuddebackville to southeastern Connecticut, where they’d grown up, and where their family members still lived. These days, Jacobson is making her way as a painter of landscapes and pets. You can see her work at carriejacobson.blogspot.com or at jacobson-arts.com. She can be reached at carrie@zestoforange.com.

gigli-portrait-0051Rich Gigli began his career in 1957 at the age of 17 serving as a staff photographer for the Paterson Evening News, where he worked for 20 years before moving on to The Record of Hackensack, New Jersey. Gigli covered general news photography, sports and features until his appointment as The Record’s director of photography in 1989. He was responsible for an award-winning staff of 20 editors and photographers, with whom he worked to develop The Record’s respected reputation for quality photojournalism.
He was responsible for producing “Ground Zero Spirit,” a collection of photographs of the attacks of Sept. 11, including Thomas E. Franklin’s photo of the raising of the flag by the New York City firemen at Ground Zero. A CD of the book received the National Press Association’s Highest Honors. Gigli then served as The Record’s assistant managing editor for photo until his retirement in 2008. After many years as a practitioner, Gigli has resolved the fact (philosophically) that “we do not own the image we take but rather we send the image out into the world to be reborn again in the minds and hearts of the viewers.” Gigli can be reached at rich@zestoforange.com.

Gretchen Gibbs always wanted to be a writer, but dealing with English majors was too daunting, in spite of what Garrison Keillor has to say.  Instead, she became a psychologist, and spent most of her career as a teacher, researcher and administrator at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She did manage to write, co-editing three books, producing over 30 chapters and articles, and making  over 100 presentations at professional conferences.  When she retired, she finally had a chance to write from the right side of the brain.  She’s written a little poetry, is working on a historical YA novel about her ancestors, and enjoys writing about her  interests for Zest.  These include not only psychology, but the environment, politics, the Mets, tennis, and her cats.

EmilyEmily Theroux was born in South Carolina and grew up on the Gulf Coast during the civil rights era. At 25, she purchased a dancewear store in western New York and then decided after eight years to abandon Reagan-era “free-market capitalism” and put her English degree to good use. She freelanced as a features writer, did technical and advertising copywriting, wrote poems and essays, gave collaborative poetry/dance performances with a local choreographer for Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament, wrote for Current Biography, and worked as a newspaper and magazine editor. In 1987, Theroux moved to Orange County, where she was employed for 13 years by The Times-Herald Record, including five years as magazine editor. She is a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has won both statewide and national awards for writing and design. Theroux can be reached at emily@zestoforange.com.