For Starters

A Valley publishing company goes green, Flag Day etiquette, and solutions to soothe summer skin.

For Starters


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Psychedelic Shutterbug

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A local lensman gets noticed for his computerized creativity


Photography goes psychedelic in “Sybil,” this award-winning digital image by Orange County photographer Les Howard.


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The computer-enhanced artwork was done primarily with Photoshop CS2, according to Howard, who says he “played around and experimented” with manipulating shapes and colors. “Sybil” – named for the 1973 book (later made into the 1976 movie starring Sally Field) about a woman with 16 personalities — won a blue ribbon from the Professional Photographers’ Society of New York State at their March convention in Niagara Falls.


Howard, a grad of the Rochester Institute of Technology, runs Les Howard Productions, a photography and video company in Goshen, with his wife, Linda. But photography is in his blood. His father was house photographer during the heyday of the legendary Grossinger’s resort; Howard later shot photos at the Concord Hotel when it was a Sullivan County landmark. Howard recalls hanging out with the likes of Liz Taylor while growing up at Grossinger’s. “We would walk into the dining room, and they were all in front of us — the movers and shakers of the time,” he says. “We had no idea what it was about. It was a daily occurrence — I thought that was how life was. You wake up and see these people everywhere.” 


These days, Howard specializes in wedding videos and photography – the “Sybil” image is actually based on the headshot of a bride. (No comment from the bride on this one.) Howard also presents a multimedia presentation, “Imagination is Greater than Knowledge,” for local photography groups. It focuses on creativity in photography using computerized digital technology; “Sybil” is just one of 300 images that Howard uses to illustrate the technique that he began experimenting with in 1999. Other images he’s worked with include shots of Muhammad Ali and Bannerman Castle.


“It’s fantastic,” he says of the marriage between digital imagery and art. “A lot of people aren’t impressed, but it does take skill. But more than skill, it takes creativity. It’s not what a computer program can do; it’s what you can do with that computer program.”

 — Rita Ross




A New-Fashioned Barn Raising


It’s not every day that movie stars, television crews, and local movers and shakers get together to tear down an old, decrepit laundry building. Then again, it’s not every day that the ABC hit TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition comes to town.


In March, EMHE (as those in the know call it) enlisted hundreds of volunteers to help demolish the building and erect a new recreation center and playground for the Clearpool Education Center in Kent, Putnam County. Ty Pennington, host of the show, and singer/actress Mandy Moore even attended a campfire to entertain about 200 volunteers and locals as they celebrated the project’s completion.


Why Clearpool? It’s a bit complicated. First, EMHE built a new home for Albany resident Debbie Oatman. Oatman has three adopted children, two of whom are HIV-positive. The show’s producers learned that the kids had attended Camp Heartland, a Minnesota-based camp specializing in the needs of kids with HIV/AIDS. When Heartland decided to hold an East Coast camp for the first time this summer, they found the Clearpool site. They also found that it needed some work. And there was EMHE, ready to help. (At press time, the show was scheduled to air on May 20.)


“It was just incredible,” said Heather Boylston, Clearpool’s director of operations, of the makeover. “We had 200 to 300 volunteers a day, and they worked pretty much 24 hours a day. But it was such an incredible, fun atmosphere.”


Among the many volunteers were employees of Pine Bush Equipment of Ulster County. The company loaned 14 light towers and some rough-terrain vehicles, as well as staff members who performed various duties. Volunteer Donna Nowak called the experience “phenomenal. Everyone is so dedicated. It’s amazing to see what they can do in five days.”


The new,  2,000-square-foot center has a deck, game room, stage, and big-screen television. It will serve as a learning and meeting space for both local groups and thousands of disadvantaged children who come to the camp each year.


“It was so amazing,” says Boylston. “I’d go to bed at night, or I’d try to for a little while, and then the next morning, suddenly walls are up and windows are in where there was nothing before.”

— David Levine



Suddenly Sun


The weather’s getting warmer, and the air isn’t the only thing that’s heating up this June. Red-hot summer essentials like hats, swimsuits, skin care, and all things outdoors are springing up on store shelves all over the Valley. We searched high and low — well, at least at a handful of our favorite shops — for the perfect items to make your fun-in-the-sun summer more enjoyable for the whole family.

— Laura Calhoon


Shady Essentials

Big sunglasses: functional and oh-so-trendy.

 “Have Mercy” in black $70, “Gatsby” heart design $65

Jacqueline’s Boutique, Warwick. 845-987-9602


Beach Bums

Play (and relax) all day in a comfy pair of swim trunks. Men’s suit: $45;
Boy’s suit: $35 Macy’s Department Store. 1-800-BUY-MACY


Bathing Beauties

You’ll be a shore sensation in a lovely
bathing suit. Women’s suit: $120 cesaré & lili, Rhinebeck 845-876-4009;
Girl’s suit: $39.50 Macy’s Department Store. 1-800-BUY-MACY


Bag Lady

Step out in high floral fashion with this handbag $225, and sunglasses $94-$98 or reading glasses $55  deMarchin Ltd., Hudson. 518-828-2657


Kiss the Cook

Tasty  BBQ sauce turns ordinary grilled meats
into a finger-lickin’ good meal $6.99

Beechwood House, Monroe. 845-782-8454


Picnic in the Park

Picnics are so much fun, and this basket — complete with accessories — is perfect for your day out $65 Macy’s Department Store. 1-800-BUY-MACY


Nice and Neutral

A bag made of natural materials fares well
in the sand $28  Rhinebeck Department Store, Rhinebeck. 845-876-5500


Cool and Collected

Nothing is more soothing than
tingly peppermint soap after a long, hot day $4.95 Merriweather’s, Poughkeepsie. 845-454-5566


Top it off

These light-as-a-feather paper brim hats are perfect for shading your face from the sun’s rays $30

Rhinebeck Department Store, Rhinebeck. 845-876-5500


Goodbye Dry

With scents from jasmine to patchouli, these sweet-smelling
massage oils have got your dry summer skin covered $15.95 Merriweather’s, Poughkeepsie. 845-454-5566


She Sells Seashells

No summer outfit is complete without jewelry culled from beautiful natural materials. Turquoise bracelects: $34/each, Coral necklace: $88 Sugarplum Boutique, Rhinebeck. 845-876-6729


Footwear Fashionista

These chic shoes will look great with that sundress you’ve been waiting to wear since last winter. Flip Flops $18 at cesaré and lili, Rhinebeck. 845-876-4009; Sandals $20 at Sugarplum Boutique, Rhinebeck. 845-876-6729





Skin Salvation

By David Levine


Fun in the sun is all well and good, but what about your skin and hair? The June sun can sizzle your skin, causing painful burns, premature aging and an increased risk for skin cancer. Not to mention how the soggy humidity can turn your summer ’do into a frizzy “don’t.”


How can you help your skin and hair survive summer? Maria Ferguson, owner of the Hudson Valley School of Advanced Aesthetic Skin Care in New Paltz, has some tips.


Is it really true there is no such thing as a healthy tan?

Pretty much. The sun does make you look older. It might make you feel sexy for the moment, but long-term it’s not a good thing.


I’m not saying all color is bad. There are different ways of receiving it. If, say, you were a runner who exercises in the late afternoon — after 4 p.m. — and pick up a little color, or you take a morning walk at 7 a.m., that would be better than being out when the sun is stronger. Of course, whenever you do go out, you need protection.


What kind of sun protection is best?

A sunscreen will allow you to get some color. With a sun block, you won’t. Either way, remember to reapply it often. I always say that every SPF factor of 10 equals one hour. So with an SPF of 15, reapply every hour and a half. With SPF 30, every three hours.


Try to avoid being in the sun between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., when it’s strongest. When you do go out, wear clothing to cover your skin and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Squinting in the sun leads to crow’s feet. Wearing a hat or sitting under an umbrella is good, too. 


The FDA has recently approved a new type of sunscreen compound that’s supposed to offer more protection against the wrinkle-causing ultraviolet rays of the sun. What do you know about it?  

I just went to a plastic surgery convention and got a sample of it. It’s been available in Europe and Canada, and now it’s being sold by L’Oreal in a daily moisturizing cream. It will be called Anthelios, and will be out in the fall. What I know is it offers more balanced protection against the sun’s rays. I also know it isn’t as heavy. Some sunscreens with a higher SPF feel very heavy and clog the pores. They make it more difficult to put makeup on. This new product doesn’t have that heaviness to it.


If you do end up getting sunburned,
what are some ways to help soothe and heal your skin?

Remember to treat it like any other burn. Your skin is wounded and needs to breathe. Don’t wear tight clothing. Wear loose, baggy clothes during the day and to bed, so the skin is able to heal. Dress the skin in a healing-type emollient.


A water-barrier product, like Vaseline, keeps the skin moist and hydrated. This helps prevent the skin from contracting as it heals, then splitting and peeling. There are also copper-based ointments that are lighter and less greasy than Vaseline. You can get those from an aesthetician. And of course, aloe vera helps cool the fire.


If you were a tanning fanatic when you were a kid, can you remedy the damage already done to your skin?

That’s called photo-damage. The analogy I use is that your body has taken a photograph of your skin. It takes on a shade that gets stored in the body. That shade reappears as we get older.


I like to say that everything is correctable. It just depends on how much money and time you want to spend. The type of treatment depends on whether you want to get rid of it immediately or slowly. Some take a few days, some take weeks.


The technology is changing so rapidly, you just need to look for which practitioner has the most up-to-date equipment.


Faster treatments, such as skin peels, can help if you’re a motorcyclist who never used a windshield and your face looks like a pocketbook. Or there are slower treatments like light treatment or something more progressive like microdermabrasions.


On your own, there are treatment products you can use at bedtime, such as hydroquoinone, that can bleach the skin. And, of course, you need to use sunblock to prevent more damage.


What advice would you give to someone who complains about her makeup melting in the summer heat?

Ideally, people should have perfect skin so they don’t need makeup (laughs). Check to see if your foundation is water-based or oil-based. Use a water-based makeup. Spray your face first with water, then apply makeup to your wet skin. That thins out the makeup.


The sun also takes its toll on hair. Any tips for people with dried-out, fried locks?

There are sunblocks for hair. Salon professionals will have a full line of hair products with sunblock in them. You just spray it in your hair. I use a product called Keratase.


You also need a conditioning hair mask. Take a tablespoon of the mask — it’s like a rich cream — and pull it through your hair before you go to sleep.


The summer humidity leaves people with curly or wavy hair a frizzy mess. What can they do to remedy these hair woes?

After shampooing, try a leave-in conditioner. That should tame the wildness. There is also a great hair oil made by a company called Bindi. It’s an Ayurvedic oil. You put it on dry hair, and it calms down the frizz.


I love to swim, but the chlorine discolors my hair. What can I do?

There are shampoos that can be used biweekly, in addition to a regular shampoo, that take the minerals out of your hair. A good shampoo line has every type of product, including for chlorine.




And the Gift Bag Goes To …


In 2004, the village of Athens experienced movie madness when Tom Cruise and crew showed up to film several scenes for War of the Worlds. Now, the Greene County town is once again going Hollywood. On June 9, the Athens Cultural Center holds a raffle of Hollywood awards show gift bags — and these are the real deal. Given out at major 2006-07 award shows — including the Emmys, the Grammys, and the SAG Awards — each bag is valued at just under $600 and comes stuffed with a wide assortment of high-end fragrances, skin care, cosmetics, CDs, apparel, and other gift items.


Want a sneak peak? Here are a few items you can expect in the swag-filled sacks:


• InStyle cotton bath robe

• Kenra Platinum texturizing taffy

• Bumble and Bumble Styling Crème

• Dr. Pai Lieb Sexy Smile teeth whitening


The dollar-a-ticket raffle is part of a free opening reception for “Many Eyes, Many Views,” a photography exhibit featuring works by members of the Greene County Camera Club. An exhibit celebrating the centennial of the Athens library opens at the same time. An evening of jazz at Athens’ Waterfront Park, capped off with fireworks, will follow.


For a full listing of the bags, visit

Athens Cultural Center 24 Second St., Athens  Saturday, June 9: Reception 6-8 p.m. Jazz in Waterfront Park, 8-10 p.m.

     Jennifer Leba



It’s a Grand Old Flag …


 … and should be treated with the utmost respect, according to Keith O’Hanlon, a dedicated member of American Legion Post 739 in Pleasant Valley. And that  includes when you burn it. What? A dedicated serviceman advocates burning the American flag? Relax, all you patriots out there. O’Hanlon is referring to the Flag Day tradition of burning old flags. “All American citizens should know how to care for the flag,” says O’Hanlon. First, the colors should never be allowed to touch the ground. If Old Glory is flying in front of your house, it should be either illuminated at night or taken down at dusk. When your flag begins to unravel, or is in any way defaced, torn, or tattered, you should get rid of it and get a new one. The proper disposal? Bury it or burn it. (This is old news to those of you who grew up in a military family.) Each June 14, the American Legion, along with the local Boy Scouts, conducts a formal flag-burning ceremony. But you can dispose of your flag at any time of the year by dropping it in the flag deposit box — that’s the thing masquerading as a bright red mailbox — situated in front of Pleasant Valley Town Hall.


But Pleasant Valley is certainly not the only local town to show its red, white and blue on Flag Day.  It just so happens that the biggest Flag Day celebration in the entire nation occurs in Troy each year. Now in its 40th year, their annual parade — which often attracts more than 40,000 revelers — kicks off on Sunday, June 10 at 1 p.m.  

— Laura Calhoon



Paper pushers


Saving the planet may seem like a tall order for a small company. But that’s just what Keene Publishing is hoping to do. The five-year-old Warwick, Orange County book publisher has become part of the Green Press Initiative. Comprised of more than 200 authors, 60 publishers, as well as a number of printers and paper mills, this nationwide group strives to ease the impact that producing books has on the environment. The initiative “works on three major fronts,” says Diane Tinney, Keene’s president and publisher. “We try to educate other publishers that the rain forest is precious, and it should not be used as the source of wood for making paper. We encourage them to buy ‘forest-friendly’ paper that is made from between 10 and 30 percent recycled material. And we urge them to choose printing mills that carry recycled paper.” By following these guidelines, Tinney estimates her company alone will spare over 100 mature trees over the next three to five years (that’s equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by six homes during a year).


An independent publisher, Keene plans to release six new titles in 2007, three of which will be under their Moo Press children’s imprint. Doing their part to conserve resources is “just the responsible thing to do,” Tinney concludes. “The healthier the planet is, the healthier the people on it are — and hopefully they’re reading our books!”

— Polly Sparling



Caption: “I like this one because it’s simple yet effective,” says Howard about “Mad Cow” (above), which snagged a blue ribbon at the 2004 state competition. “It

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