Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
27 March 2020 04:30PM

As of 4 pm, March 27, 2020, Columbia County has 27 positive cases of COVID-19. We have received 291 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 96 under mandatory quarantine and 35 under precautionary quarantine. There are 10 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

Today Governor Cuomo announced all New York State schools will be closed until April 15th at which point the matter will be reevaluated. It is important now more than ever to stay vigilant and STAY HOME. If you do have to go out, don’t touch common surfaces (credit card reader, doors, countertops, shopping carts). Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.

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Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
1 September 2019 12:47PM
Enid Futterman

Returning for our 50th reunion was a real high! All of us have lived parallel—though of course very different—lives. In common, we seem to have a confidence born of long lives with more successes than failures and a philosophical attitude towards the latter. Did Bennington contribute to our self-confidence? I would say probably yes.

My personal life since Bennington has consisted of pretty traditional stuff: friends, marriage, children, a move from city to country, a house, dogs, cats, a vegetable garden, and—sigh!—grandchildren. I’ve pursued my work in pretty UNtraditional ways, though, at least according to the way I thought it would go from my youthful perspective at college.

I was, in my own mind (and probably in the minds of my excellent teachers, Paul Feeley, George Holt and Dan Shapiro) expected to continue painting and making woodcuts. (Well, actually I DID continue with the woodcuts—I carved our holiday cards for many years while the children were young.)

Painting as a “career” I abandoned pretty early. At Bennington during the ’50s, an unspoken, but definite message was communicated that “fine” art was superior to anything that might be considered practical or“commercial.” For example, in Herta Moselsio’s basic ceramic class we were instructed to make a “tile,” but not anything that could be presumed “useful.”After four years as an abstract expressionist painter, I had a strong need to spend hours simply studying and drawing an onion—or the human body. Immediately after graduation and a summer at Yale Norfolk, I enrolled in the Art Students’ League to study anatomy withRobert Beverly Hale. We drew for five hours a day for eight months! I have loved drawing—primarily the human figure or face—to this day. It is, for me, the equivalent of playing scales or exercises for a musician.
Several years ago, I had a show in my home village entitled “Across the Table, selected sketches from eleven years of board & other meetings.” It consisted of more than 60 simple line drawings of mostly recognizable local people done with a fine felt pen on ordinary letter-size paper. I continue drawing every chance I get (and, as I serve on a number of area boards, there’s no lack of opportunity). My other work is still mostly abstract, but my drawing is not.

I have worked as a photographer, graphic designer and textile artist. For ten years I concentrated on dyeing fabrics adapting the traditional Japanese techniques of Shibori. The silk scarves produced by this method ere sold at the Gallery Shop at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC, among other places, but I preferred the works I made from silk pieces patched together and hung from poles.

The most fun I’ve had, though, was curating and designing two Close But Not Art? installations held at Time & Space Limited (TSL) in Hudson NY during October ’98 and ’99 (Close, But Not Art? and Close, But Not Art ll.) The reviewer in the Albany Times Union called the ’98 show “unique and important” and
Metroland, an alternative monthly, named it the third of that year’s ten best. These two shows, consisting of collections of ordinary “junk” presented in a manner more appropriate to “art” objects, were my way of investigating the importance of context and the effects of considerations of intrinsic values versus “marketability.” One critic wrote that the gallery space exuded “the quiet reverence one might expect in a holy place.”

I have trained myself to be, I think, a pretty good graphic designer. For example, as the owner of the Blue Plate, an informal restaurant in my local village, I design the menus, cards and ads. I design posters and fliers for local events and organizations. There is something deeply satisfying about using one’s skills for such humble and practical purposes. I don’t see such a big difference. You just have to make the work fit the purpose and not get carried away because you’re an “artist.”

The “discovery” of the computer, about 15 years ago, was responsible for big changes in the way I work. Unlike some of my contemporaries, including several of my dearest friends, I had no problem embracing the new technology. As far as my design work went, I felt totally liberated: a three-year-old’s first adventure with crayons! I continue to be amazed at the possibilities. (Most of my drawing, however, continues to be with a simple pen.)

One of my current involvements includes a challenging project: to construct a small, environmentally sound performance space for music and dance (PS/21) on 100 acres of preserved orchard-farmland which I own near Chatham Village.
(Dance is still a strong interest—I regret that I didn’t take advantage of my years at Bennington to pursue it.) The architects are my youngest son and his
partner. (The theater designer is the one who worked with Frank Gehry on the Fisher Center at Bard.) The planning and application process (we were required
to do a complete environmental review under NY’s SEQR law) has so far taken six years, but, finally, we have been approved, and will start, next summer, with Phase I, which consists of a large, seasonal tent to be used until funds can be raised for the permanent structure. We have recently opened a resale clothing shop, Rewraps, on Chatham’s Main Street to benefit the project. (This
is FUN!!!)

The real joys of my life, though, have more to do with family and friends. My wonderful husband died in 1997 (after 37 years of being together) but left me with our extraordinary sons and their children. My dearest friend, Toby Carr Rafelson, with whom I lived for three-and-a-half years in an upstairs corner room of Canfield House, has remained in my life for 54 years of infrequent but joyous reunions, letters, postcards and rambling cross-country late-night phone conversations. I cannot imagine life without her, and I thank Bennington for having brought us together.

Other Class of ’55 friends that I have enjoyed a continuing relationship with (although we don’t see each other as often as we’d like) are Sue Humbert Zuch, Grace Bakst Wapner and Jenny Van Horne Greenberg.

Through a totally serendipitous occasion, my “twin,” Barbara “Babs” Henkin Rothenberg (listed with the grads of Bennington class of ’54) and I were invited, along with our architect husbands, to the same dinner party about 20 years ago and, as a consequence, our “re-ignited friendship” (as Barbara wrote in the 1954
50th Reunion booklet) has continued to grow and deepen. We discovered that both our personal and work lives contained numerous fascinating and uncanny parallels. (Barbara’s career as an artist, however, has been much more purposeful and focused than mine.) We have even been invited to combine our work in a dual retrospective to be held at the aforementioned TSL Warehouse in September of next year. We are both Gemini women, so the show will probably have a thematic connection to that fact.

I’m not sure I’ve actually answered all those questions we were given. But I do still, after all these years, very much consider myself, for better or worse, a “Bennington Girl.”

1. Judy Backer (Grunberg) and her roommate and friend for life, Toby Carr (Rafelson) at Bennington, circa 1951-1955

2. Toby and Judy at Bennington

3. Judy’s Bennington yearbook picture, Class of 1955

4. Judy’s Bennington graduation picture. Toby and Judy in the front row, 2nd and 3rd from the left

5. Bennington Class of ’55 40th Reunion: Judy and Toby kneeling in front

6. Bennington Class of ’55 50th Reunion: Toby and Judy

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Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
19 June 2019 03:25PM

Want to explore Schor Conservation Area in a new way? Supersoul Yoga has teamed up with the Columbia Land Conservancy to celebrate the summer solstice. The two organizations invite you to celebrate the spectacular beauty of Schor Conservation Area at Supersoul-stice.

CLC’s Conservation Education Manager Heidi Bock will lead a guided hike through the property, which features a pond, woodlands, and far-reaching views of the Hudson Valley. After the hike, you can wind down and stretch with an all-levels yoga session led by Supersoul Yoga near Jon’s Pond.

“We’re really excited about this event,” says Heidi. “There are so many ways to enjoy CLC’s Public Conservation Areas, and Schor is a great site for yoga, mindfulness, and reflection.”

Supersoul-stice will take place June 22, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. A $15 donation is suggested to support both organizations. Attendees are encouraged to register at clctrust.org, and can either pay in advance, or day-of-event. Schor Conservation Area is located at 58 Shore View Drive in the village of Red Rock.

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Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
18 June 2019 07:51PM
Christian Sweningsen


Claverack Town Park Pavillion, 91 Church St, Mellenville
2 pm – 6 pm Saturday June 22 and 10 am – 2 pm Sunday June 23

The public is invited to “get on the air” with the assistance of a licensed amateur radio operator.

Here is a chance to experience ham radio contesting and communications, and to
see what can be done when cell phones and the internet are down.

The Rip Van Winkle Amateur Radio Society will be operating several amateur radio stations under simulated emergency conditions, with generator power and emergency antennas deployed. Included will be satellite contacts.

Although the open house is during daylight hours, we will operating through the night.

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Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
20 February 2018 08:23AM
Daniel Zuckerman


OAK HILL — The 34th annual Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival returns to Walsh Farm in Oak Hill with a mixture of established and up-and-coming artists such as The Del McCoury Band, The Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas and Billy Strings. The lineup was announced on Feb 14.

Other artists scheduled to perform at the festival, to be held July 19-22, include Sierra Hull, Hot Rize, The Wood Brothers and Della Mae.

Strings will be the weekend’s artist-in-residence, a new addition to the long-running festival, Grey Fox Public Relations, Marketing and Web Content Director Mary Burdette said. Strings, a hot name on the bluegrass scene, will perform several times throughout the weekend with different musicians, host jam sessions at the festival’s campsite and meet with fans.

Grey Fox producer Mary Daub wanted to get Strings into the lineup. Burdette said Strings plays traditional bluegrass.

“She wanted to have him at the festival and inspire other young people to play music,” Burdette said. “She knew he was something special.”

Pictured: Billy Strings

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Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
11 November 2015 03:54PM
Art School of Columbia County Executive Director


The Art School of Columbia County welcomes the community to its semi-annual Student/Faculty Art Show on Saturday, November 14 from 5-7 pm.

Join us for an exhibit and reception of art created by ASCC’s faculty members and students from our summer-fall 2015 classes. Everyone in the community is welcome to join us this evening to view art, meet fellow students and faculty, and enjoy a great reception. Summer and fall student award nominations will be announced.

Learn more about how ASCC is making a difference in the community, through providing many free or affordable art programs: over 60 art classes offered year-round, our scholarship program, ARTalks, our free art programs for students K-12, and our new Portfolio Review program — free to students ages 15-24.

In its third year of offering high-quality art classes to the community, the Art School of Columbia County is a non-profit organization with a vision of “imagining art for everyone.” Full class descriptions and information about ASCC’s scholarship program are on the school’s website.

Classes are held at the Old Schoolhouse, 1198 Route 21c in Harlemville, at the intersection of Harlemville Road and Route 21C. Next to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, the building is centrally located within Columbia County, a ten minute drive from Chatham, and one mile from the Taconic Parkway, at the Route 21c exit. To register for classes online, go to artschoolofcolumbiacounty.org. For more information, email info@artschoolofcolumbiacounty.org or call 518-672-7140.

Image credit: detail images by ASCC faculty member Draga Susanj (l) and ASCC student Lori Rothstein (r) – images courtesy of the artists.

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Germantown, New York
Local living | Tech
19 January 2014 06:23PM
Mark Scherzer

Saturday was the kind of day that gives winter a good name. A gentle snowfall most of the day, with thick, wet flakes, coated all the branches and the ground with an inch or two of snow, creating a perfectly picturesque winter scene, calming the atmosphere by muffling all the neighborhood’s motorized sounds, and presenting no impediment to our farm routine at all. It was warm enough, in the lower 30s, to make outside work comfortable. As long as we avoid polar vortexes and vicious nor’easters, I think to myself, winter is really not such a hard thing.

In fact, as is typical for me around this point in January, usually prompted by the annual post-Christmas thaw, I have begun having what Peter would call my repeated delusion that the end of winter is just around the corner. The days are certainly getting longer and, I think, the coldest days are behind us. And I start making comments such as “spring is in the air” whenever the temperature gets into the 40s. It drives Peter crazy.

But then, he drives me crazy too. As many of you have no doubt heard before, some months ago, at a moment of frustration over out of control pig misbehavior, I gave Peter an ultimatum: “either the pigs go or I do”. And he replied wryly, “Give me a few days to think about it. ”

As you can tell from his glowing report last week on our upcoming “Puttin’ on the Ritz” dinners at Cochon 555 in the City and The Meat Market in Great Barrington, he seems to have made his choice: our Ossabaw porkers are still very much a going concern at Turkana Farms.

It seems now that the choice is now mine. I can cave in and embrace the breeding and raising of these rambunctious, chaotic creatures or I can retreat to the City and leave the farm in Peter’s ritzy porker loving care entirely.

This lovely winter Saturday I was sorely tempted to the latter course. I was busy working in the chicken coop, trying to fortify it against a third round of fisher attacks that have brought the total of chickens lost to this creature since October to 23. I was interrupted in that important work as Peter yelled to me from the back door to tell me that a friend had just telephoned the house. She had just walked by and had spotted four of our adorable little September-born piglets loose on our next-door neighbor’s front lawn. I hurried next door and found that they had returned to our back field, but by chore time, we’d had a visit from the neighbor herself, to complain about our piglets digging up her front lawn.

After chores, I walked the fence line in the waning light to find and secure the spots where our piglet could crawl under. I was pretty sure I found the exit they had been using and closed that up, but as I walked north toward the summer piggery, I noticed several more potential exits. The work of securing the fence line took up all Sunday morning, even though Kyle came over to help.

As we worked, Kyle told me that everywhere he had been recently – down the street, at the feed supplier, out shopping – he had been asked whether we had wild pigs living on our property. Apparently, since the first escapes a few weeks ago, the rumor has been flying around town that we are keeping feral black pigs.

The black razorbacked appearance of our Ossabaws seemed to leave many people with the impression that they are feral. Almost a year ago, the slaughterhouse where we’d processed our pigs for the last 6 years was assigned a new USDA inspector. Someone we sold piglets to brought his pigs in for slaughter and she refused them admission on the grounds that they were feral. The snafu took months to work out. Peter enlisted the assistance of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, we assembled all the birth and veterinary certifications from Washington’s Mt. Vernon, where our breeding stock had been obtained, and an appeal was made to USDA regional headquarters in Philadelphia. Only then were we able to resume the processing of our pork in a USDA slaughterhouse. Nothing about these pigs is simple.

I can acknowledge that these piglets are smart, cute, playful and creative. I am happy that they will grow into fat, happy, and still very smart pigs. I can heartily enjoy, as I did Saturday night, our own spit roasted pork loin, especially when accompanied by our own pickled quinces. But neither their personally engaging character, nor their excellent flavor, can outweigh, in my view, their essential nature as demonic forces of chaos and trouble.

Peter sometimes suggests that my distaste for pig raising has something to do with my being Jewish. But I don’t think that’s it. To me, who experiences the farm as a persistent effort to impose order on a world of plants and animals that naturally seems to tend to disorder, pigs are the element that most threatens to undermine my feeling of agricultural success.

Lest you think the farm is a battlefield for incessant combat and mutual annoyance, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is much about the farm that brings us together. This weekend, for example, we collaborated closely and harmoniously to make common cause against that murderous fisher. Usually we are like the doting parents of a loving family when it comes to caring for our adored sheep herd. But these pigs? I’m not sure that even “agreeing to disagree” is the right way to characterize the current situation. If the choice is between farming with pigs and not farming at all, let’s just say that now I’m “taking a few days to think about it”.

Remember next weekend’s pig pork events featuring our Ossabaws, along with other heritage breed pigs: Saturday night January 25 at 7 pm in Great Barrington, MA, at Jeremy Stanton’s Meat Market (www.themeatmarketgb.com).

Then, Sunday, January 26, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in lower Manhattan, Cochon 555, featuring 5 different heritage breed pigs: http://cochon555.com/

We sold 5 of our 6 pigs that just went to market as whole pigs. We have several orders coming out of the remaining pig, and probably have capacity for just one or two more pork sample packs, $200 for 20 lbs of a variety of cuts. If that’s of interest to you, let us know as soon as possible. If you don’t have freezer space we can store part of your purchase for you on our palettes in the Livingston freezer space we rent: farm@turkanafarms.com.

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