Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias

Agarwal, P. (2020).  Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias . New York, NY: Bloomsbury Sigma.

Title: Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias
Author: Pragya Agarwal
Published: 2020 by Bloomsbury Sigma
Length: ~448 pages
ISBN: 978-1472971357

Summary: Think, understand, and evaluate your biases in a scientific and non-judgmental way with Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias. Using real world stories underpinned by scientific theories and research, this book unravels the way our unconscious biases are affecting the way we communicate, make decisions and perceive the world. A wide range of implicit biases are covered, including left-handedness, age-ism, sexism and aversive racism, and by using research and theories from a wide range of disciplines, including social science, psychology, biology and neuroscience, readers learn how these biases manifest and whether there is anything we can do about them.


APA (6th ed):
Agarwal, P. (2020). Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias . New York, NY: Bloomsbury Sigma.

Progressive Community Action

Mehra, B., & Rioux, K. (Eds.) (2016).  Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science . Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Title: Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science
Editors: Bharat Mehra and Kevin Rioux
Published: 2016 by Library Juice Press
Length: ~382 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936117-65-9

Summary: Progressive Community Action explores theories, methods, approaches, strategies, and case studies on social justice work in library and information science. This edited volume includes entries on the intersections between critical theory and social justice in LIS while focusing on social relevance and community involvement to promote progressive change. Contributes include LIS researchers, practitioners, educators, social justice advocates, and community leaders.


APA (6th ed):
Mehra, B., & Rioux, K. (Eds.) (2016). Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science . Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries

Jones, S. D., & Murphy, B. (Eds.) (2019). Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Title: Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success
Editors: Shannon D. Jones and Beverly Murphy
Published: 2019 by Rowman & Littlefield
Length: ~210 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5381-1438-4

Summary: Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success offers best practices strategies tempered by experiences and wisdom. Intended to help libraries realize a high level of inclusion, chapters in this scholarly anthology are arranged into three parts: Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter, Equipping the Library Staff, and Voices from the Field.


APA (6th ed):
Jones, S. D., & Murphy, B. (Eds.) (2019). Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Diverse Views and Discussions in Library Programs

NYLA 2021 Social Responsibilities and Libraries Speaker Series

Part of ALA’s core value of Social Responsibility lies in helping inform and educate the public in addressing critical problems in society, and encouraging them to examine the facts of, and many different views on, these problems. This panel will discuss successful initiatives taken with public library programming, partnerships with local schools, and an academic library One Read program, to help you learn how you can bring similar programs to your library. Come with questions on how you can create engaging and enlightening discussions at your library, from hosting them yourselves to allying with your local school, community volunteers, or committee at your academic institution.


Alexander Andrasik, Adult Services Librarian, Penn Yan Public Library

Alex Andrasik is the adult services librarian at Penn Yan Public Library in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Alongside professional interests and responsibilities that include technology instruction, pop culture programming, and sustainability, he strives to incorporate racial justice and equity education into the library’s offerings.  PYPL’s efforts in this area are very much a work in progress, but represent an essential aspect of library service in every community, including rural places like the Finger Lakes.

Heather M. Cook Volunteer Circle Keeper/Facilitator, Penn Yan Public Library

Heather M. Cook (she/her/hers, White) lives on the unceded homeland of the Onöndowa’ga:’ /Seneca people of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ / Haudenosaunee Confederacy in the Seneca Lake watershed, in what is commonly called the Finger Lakes area of New York State. With a background in conflict transformation and circle processes, she works as a facilitator and trainer at Partners for Restorative Initiatives (PiRI) in Rochester, NY.  She stumbles her way through trying to become less racist, and seeks to do that work in community, and to take risks for the liberation of all beings.

Rosemary Farrell Senior Librarian, Programs & Engagement, The Nyack Library

Rosemary Farrell is the Senior Librarian for Programming and Community Engagement at Nyack Library in the Lower Hudson Valley where she has worked for over ten years in various departments and lived for the past eighteen. She works with her colleagues in Adult Services to offer a robust calendar of programs encompassing an array of topics from personal finance, health, politics and social justice, to trivia, local history, the arts and sustainability.The Nyack Library strives to work with other community organizations to provide materials and services to our diverse population.

Arielle Hessler Emerging Technologies Librarian, John Jermain Memorial Library

Arielle Hessler is the Emerging Technologies Librarian at John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, NY. In addition to researching and implementing new technologies at her library, she runs programs from monthly trivia and game nights, to serious discussions such as a Film Club that tackles assumptions on race and culture. Her library also partners with the local school for a parent/teen program called Tough Topics, and an annual program called The Wagner Dialogues that invites panelists with diverse political, religious, or cultural viewpoints to speak with the community. 

Charlene V. Martoni Student Workforce Supervisor, University at Albany Libraries

Charlene Martoni is the Access Services Student Workforce Supervisor at the University at Albany Libraries. In addition to motivating and mentoring student employees and full-time staff, Charlene participates on the Libraries’ newly reinstated DEI Climate Committee. By adapting a workflow she had developed while chairing a One Read committee in New Paltz, NY, Charlene collaborated with her new colleagues at the University at Albany to trial a library-wide One Read of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Charlene will share insights, strategies, and survey data to help participants prepare to facilitate book discussions with colleagues on topics ranging from race and culture to ability status and gender identity.

Lora Tucker Volunteer & Discussion Moderator, John Jermain Memorial Library

Lora René Tucker is Brooklyn born and Brooklyn Public Library raised.  Ms.Tucker’s career reflects over 30 years of racial and social justice activism; creating and teaching antiracism, diversity, and cultural empowerment. Lora, now living in Sag Harbor, recently facilitated John Jermain Library’s Film Club for Black History month, and its joint “Tough Topics” events with the Sag Harbor school district’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Lora is an active member and facilitator of Racial Justice East End, and presently facilitates poetry therapy workshops at Stonybrook/Southampton Hospital’s Wellness Institute. She published “Writes of Passage” and now writes about the “-isms” we endure. She is studying for her MFA at Stonybrook University, receiving an award for returning to academia at the age of 60 (And in the middle of a pandemic!)    

Submit a Testimonial!

Have you collaborated with Librarian Charlene and her team? Have we helped you in your quest for knowledge or possibilities? Please consider submitting feedback to help us continue to support our online and in-person community patrons. Thank you so much!

Librarian Live!

Libraries are awesome, and so are the people who work in and visit them!

Join me for honest and insightful conversations with library-lovers from around the world. Get to know the many different kinds of people who go into fields within and related to the information science professions, and learn how they got to where they are. You’ll hear our perspectives on current events, issues in the field of librarianship, resource recommendations, and more. Join the conversation by checking @feministlibrarian stories and chatting with us live!

Amanda Hunt

Heather Shimon

Renae Rapp

Shannon Bland

Aisha Redux

Karina Quilantan-Garza

Sign up to Read Against Racism

Reading Stupid Black Girl by Aisha Redux

Our next meeting is August 19th
& we’ll be discussing pages vii-36.

Click here to add the meeting to your calendar:

Sign up below to receive a Zoom invite via email one week prior to the meeting.


I Remember

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published by Collective Unrest

I wore brown boots that night.

I remember ice cubes clanking
In one burnt-umber glass
Clutched inside your grasp

I remember street lamps shining
On the soaked sidewalk
Stained with soil

I remember knee-high socks,
Toes toward the ceiling
Legs spread, and your face

I remember asking how
I remember saying no

I remember.
I wore brown boots that night.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

A Letter to my Body, Reborn

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Dear Body,

Of stardust-chaos, 
You are sparkling
In webs purple-blue and
Bruised, and battered—

Are splintered-wood bones, 
Smoke-hazy eyes,
And burning-ember nerves. 
Sunshine, Fire Bird,
From pain your wings birth

When snuffed, we blaze back
Crackling, and sparking 
Rainbow flames.
A cobra slides 
Down our belly

Though you are not perfect (nothing is perfect), 
You are mine, and I love you.
Through you I roam
The world,
If only for this moment
In you.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved


Written by Charlene V. Martoni

She reaches 
Her arm across your chest 
So you don’t fall 

She is lost but
You feel found, surrounded
By the deep early-darkness
Of the late-fall evening.

“When evening falls so hard,
I will comfort you,”

She sings 
Along. You are 
In love
With the song, with 
Your mom.

She amazes

“Sail on silver girl, 
All your dreams are on their way.”

The velvety cloth-covered seat
Feels damp on your dream-dewy skin
As she looks at you and smiles. 
It is the first time in your life

She was ready 
For you to sit up front
In the passenger seat,
Next to her on this journey.

*Quoted lines are from Simon and Garfunkel’s 
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African

by Aisha Redux

Topics: Race, first-generation Americans, mental health, sexuality.
Citation: Redux, A. (2020). Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African. Street Noise Books.

Goodreads description:

Redux explores common themes to her experience of existing in a Western country as a West African. Born to two parents who immigrated from Africa, Redux faces the world in a way she deems alienating yet powerful. She covers themes such as spirituality, mental health, and sexuality as it is interlaced with her experiences of racism and misogyny.



About the author:

Image courtesy of stupidblackgirl.com

Aisha Redux was born and raised in New York City. Her parents emigrated from West Africa. She is originally from the Upper West Side, has lived in Harlem and has been a proud resident of The South Bronx since her late teens.   She is noted for her great capacity in conveying original insight through her writing and other creative outlets. As an avid culture seeker with an insatiable interest in global lifestyles, Aisha loves to travel. She speaks fluent English, French and Sou-sou dialect and has a unique comfort and aptitude for assimilation to any environment. Also, through these travels, she has gained valuable connections, a vast knowledge of cultures and the force to launch a media and creative projects that inspire and impact. She has written for  various publications and loves interviewing and  podcasting. In addition to her writing ability, she is well versed in pop culture. The creation of ‘Stupid Black Girl’ is a culminating out pour of her talents and inspiration.


Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Topics: American history, masculinity, police brutality, race, segregation, slavery
Citation: Coates, T. (2015). Between the World and Me. Random House.

Goodreads description:

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

New York Times “Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’”

About the author:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.




by Yaa Gyasi

Topics: American history, Ghana, race, slavery
Citation: Gyasi, Y. (2016). Homegoing. Random House.

Goodreads description:

A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoingfollows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.

NPR “‘Homegoing’ Is A Sprawling Epic, Brimming With Compassion”
Washington Post “‘Homegoing,’ by Yaa Gyasi: A bold tale of slavery for a new ‘Roots’ generation”

About the author:

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. Her short stories have appeared in African American Review and Callaloo.




Orange is the New Black (2011)

by Piper Kerman

Topics: Poverty, rehabilitation, women in prison
Citation: Kerman, P. (2011). Orange is the New Black. Random House.

Goodreads description:

Orange is the New Black Book Cover“With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before.
But that past has caught up with her.

Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424 — one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance.

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.” —GoodReads

Listen to the Orange is the New Black audio book free HERE.

New York Times Prison Life, Real and On Screen
NPR Behind ‘The New Black’: The Real Piper’s Prison Story
NPR  “Piper Kerman: Recipes for Survival
Slate  “What’s a Nice Blonde Like Me Doing in Prison?” (Book review)
Huffington Post  “Piper Kerman, ‘Orange is the New Black’ Author: What’s Real, What’s Not About Netflix Show
Huffington Post  “The Real Woman Behind ‘Orange is the New Black‘”

About the author:

“Piper Kerman is the author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison from Spiegel & Grau. The book has been adapted by Jenji Kohan into an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series for Netflix.

Piper works with Spitfire Strategies as a communications consultant with nonprofits, philanthropies, and other organizations working in the public interest. She is a frequent invited speaker to students of law, criminology, gender and women’s studies, sociology, and creative writing, and also to groups that include the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force, federal probation officers, public defenders, justice reform advocates and volunteers, book clubs, and formerly and currently incarcerated people.

Piper serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, and she has been called as a witness by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights to testify on solitary confinement and women prisoners.  She has spoken at the White House on re-entry and employment to help honor Champions of Change in the field.  In 2014 Piper was awarded the Justice Trailblazer Award from John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime & Justice and the Constitutional Commentary Award from The Constitution Project.” —Piperkerman.com

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (2016)

by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

Topics: Hunger, poverty, welfare.
Citation: Edin, K. & Shaefer, H.L. (2016). $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Mariner Books.

Goodreads description:

A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t think it exists

Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no cash income unless she donated plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends.

After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s — households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children.

Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones) with her procurement of rich — and truthful — interviews. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge.

The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. More than a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.

Check out the full website for $2.00 a Day!

About the authors:

After decades of research on poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before—namely, that many of the people she was talking with had virtually no cash coming in. She then teamed up with H. Luke Shaefer, who confirmed a spike in the number of U.S. households living on less than $2 per person per day in the wake of the 1996 reform that abolished a federal guarantee of support to the poor and thereby ended “welfare as we knew it.” Edin and Shaefer then traveled from Cleveland, to Chicago, to the Mississippi Delta to spend time with 18 families, trying to better understand how the 1.5 million households living in this extreme poverty, including 3 million children, are able to get by at all.

Photo by the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Kathryn J. Edin, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, is recognized as one of the leading poverty researchers in the U.S. Noted for her “home economics of welfare” (Mother Jones), Edin uses both quantitative research and in-depth observation to try to better understand the lives of people living in poverty in the U.S. Her other books include Promises I Can’t Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City.

Photo by the University of Michigan School of Social Work

H. Luke Shaefer, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Ford School of Public Policy as well as a research affiliate at the National Poverty Center, is an expert on Census surveys that track the incomes of the poor. His recent work explores rising levels of extreme poverty in the U.S., the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on material hardship, barriers to unemployment insurance, and strategies for increasing access to oral health care in the United States.

Behold the Dreamers (2016)

by Imbolo Mbue

Topics: Cameroon, economy, immigration, urban living
Citation: Mbue, I. (2016). Behold the Dreamers. Random House.

Dubbed one of the “totally hippest novels of 2016” by the Washington Post.
Oprah Winfrey’s 2017 Book Club Pick.
2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

Goodreads description:

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Check out this reading guide from Penguin Randomhouse!

About the author:

Photo by Kiriko Sano

Imbolo Mbue is a native of the seaside town of Limbe, Cameroon. She holds a BS from Rutgers University and an MA from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for more than a decade, she lives in New York City.



Free Expression vs. Misinformation Online: Who Decides?

Description: This webinar explores the question, “How do Americans weigh a core value like free expression against the downsides that come with harmful content and misinformation online?” A report by Gallup and Knight Foundation, released June 16, 2020, explores attitudes toward key issues in tech policy, including content moderation, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and approaches to industry self-governance like Facebook’s Oversight Board. This new study provides a springboard for tech companies, government, and citizens alike to advance a conversation about free expression online.


  • Evelyn Aswad, Professor of Law and Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law, the University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • Paul Barrett, Deputy Director, New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
  • Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation, the Stanford Cyber Policy Center
  • Heather Moore, Governance and Strategic Initiatives, Facebook
  • Spencer Overton, President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • John Samples, Vice President and Founder, the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute

Why I trust it: The Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots that invests in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. The Knight brothers believed that a well-informed community could best determine its own true interests and was essential to a well-functioning, representative democracy. The Knights formed the Knight Foundation to promote excellence in journalism and the success of the communities in which they worked.

Use: Use this resource to understand the complexities in the relationship between freedom of expression and misinformation.

Access: This webinar is accessible at this link.

Citation: Free expression vs misinformation online: Who decides? (2020). The Knight Foundation & Gallup. https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/2385290/B1DC447C174AAFED9CF96941BE01B79F

Encyclopedia of Associations: National Organizations of the U.S.


Description: This resource lists organizations in the U.S. that are officially recognized.

Why I trust it: For 65 years, Gale has provided libraries and other educational institutions with databases on a variety of subjects. The publishing company uses a world-wide network of scholars to curate and review its content.

Use: Use this resource to verify the world-wide recognition of an organization with which you plan to become involved.

Access: This resource is available through several university library systems. If it’s not available at your library, you can try requesting it through interlibrary loan.

Encyclopedia of associations: National organizations of the U.S. (59). (2020). Gale Research Inc. https://www.cengage.com/search/productOverview.do?Ntt=Encyclopedia+of+Associations%3A+National+Organizations+of+the+U.S.|11059768470553036219263470251746241506&N=197&Nr=197&Ns=P_CopyRight_Year%7C1&Ntk=APG%7CP_EPI&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

Dictionary of Political Biography


Description: This online dictionary offers short biographical entries of 870+ noteworthy political figures from the twentieth century, compiled by trustworthy experts.

Why I trust it: Oxford Reference has existed as a producer of scholarly publications since the 15th Century. Currently, the Oxford Press is governed by a large group of academics, and its publications are trusted by libraries worldwide.

Use: There are a lot of political names in the news. Use this dictionary to look up unknown names of major people who have shaped the world. You’ll find trustworthy snapshot biographies. You don’t need to read an entire biographical book to understand how that person plays into the story at-hand.

Access: This resource is available through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to request a guest computer pass.

Kavanagh, D. & Riches, C. (2016). Dictionary of political biography (2). Oxford Reference. http://www.oxfordreference.com.libproxy.albany.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780191751080.001.0001/acref-9780191751080

Measuring News Media Literacy


Description: This scholarly article details a study that measured levels of news media literacy among 500 teenagers. The researchers applied Potter’s 2004 model of media literacy to the concept of news literacy and found that having greater knowledge about topics in the news, conditions under which news is produced, and the effects news can have on society results in higher levels of news media literacy.

Why I trust it: Published by the open-access Journal of Media Literacy Education, this article is peer-reviewed through the University of Rhode Island.

Use: Use this resource to learn about strategies for media literacy assessment. It has a long list of references for further reading.

Access: Users can access this through the Education Source database through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to request a guest computer pass.

Maksl, A., Ashley, S., & Craft, S. (2015). Measuring news media literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(3), 29-45. https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol6/iss3/3

The First Amendment Encyclopedia


Description: This online encyclopedia is a collection of articles about free expression in America, curated by faculty of the Middle Tennessee State University.

Why I trust it: This resource is presented by the Free Speech Center and the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. It is edited by two scholars, one of whom, Dr. John R. Vile, is a professor of political science and dean of the University Honors College at MTSU. The other scholar, David L. Hudson, Jr., is a former member of the Nashville First Amendment Center, and he now teaches at the Nashville School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. A unique aspect about this encyclopedia is that it provides you with direct contact information for its collaborators. If you have questions, reach out to these experts for an interview.

Use: First amendment issues are all over the Internet, and understanding them will help you think critically about the information you consume. Use this encyclopedia to understand more about freedom of speech and expression.

Access: Users can access this online encyclopedia with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Vile, J. R. & Hudson, D. L. (2019). The First Amendment encyclopedia. Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved from https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment

Media Literacy: Keys to Interpreting Media Messages


Description: This worksheet includes a series of questions to help information consumers determine the process, context, and framework of a media product.

Why I trust it: This worksheet is included in a book meant to aid people in decoding diverse types of media. It is published by Praeger, a company affiliated with ABC-CLIO and trusted by libraries worldwide.

Use: This worksheet can be used to help you evaluate the quality of a piece of information you find on the internet.

Access: Users can access this book through many university libraries, including SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Orange. It can be requested through the UAlbany interlibrary loan service as well.

Silverblatt, A., Smith, A., Don Miller, C., Smith, J., & Brown, N. (2014). Keys to interpreting media messages [worksheet]. Media literacy: Keys to interpreting media messages (4th ed., pp. 203-9). Praeger.

Issues: Understanding Controversy and society


Description: This database is a collection of authoritative, scholarly eBooks on a broad range of topics. It includes more than 7,300 primary and secondary sources, including 4,900 photos and illustrations and 160 audio and video recordings.

Why I trust it: ABC-CLIO (a collaboration between the American Bibliographic Center and CLIO Press) has been developing leading, authoritative reference resources for more than 60 years. It also offers professional development through its Libraries Unlimited program, aimed at supporting educators and librarians in lifelong learning.

Use: This database is full of trustworthy information to help you learn more about a topic you discuss or read about in the news. It includes a standards based curriculum, updated daily by a team of subject-specific experts and supported by an extensive range of instructional material. You can also find a collection of commentaries from noted scholars commissioned to foster critical thinking through exposure to varying viewpoints.

Access: You can access this database through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to ask for a guest computer pass.

Carter, G.L., Dunbar, J., Gypton, J., Stewart, C., and VanHorn, A. (2020). Issues: Understanding controversy and society [database]. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from https://publisher-abc-clio-com.libproxy.albany.edu



Description: This informational website is a collection of information on 70 controversial issues.

Why I trust it: ProCon.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public organization with a mission to promote critical thinking and informed citizenship. It was awarded a platinum rating by the nonprofit reviewer Guidestar.

Use: When you hear or read about a controversial current issue or event, you can use this website to understand major points on both sides of the topic.

Access: Users can access this website with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Markoff, S.C. (2004). ProCon.org: Pros and cons of controversial issues. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.procon.org

BBB Scam Tracker


Description: This resource is a database of reported and investigated scams, compiled and researched by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). BBB is a nonprofit organization that accredits businesses.

Use: Mysterious voicemail? Offer too-good-to-be-true? Think you’ve stumbled upon a scam? The BBB Scam Tracker might be able to help you determine if it is. Pop keywords into the search bar and see.

Access: This resource is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Better Business Bureau. (2020). BBB scam tracker [database]. https://bbb.org/scamtracker

The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News


Description: This scholarly article critiques common strategies used to teach news literacy, arguing that many lesson plans only teach people to analyze the surface of a website and that “determining who’s behind information and whether it’s worthy of our trust is more complex than a true/false dichotomy” (p. 4).

Why I trust it: Sarah McGrew, one of the article’s authors, co-directs the Civic Online Reasoning Project at the Stanford History Education Group with Joel Breakstone. Breakstone’s research focuses on instructional assessment. Sam Wineburg is the founder of the project and is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford. Teresa Ortega is the project manager.

Use: If you’re an educator, use this resource to critique and strengthen your news literacy lesson plans so that your students internalize lifelong news literacy skills.

Access: You can access this online for free through the American Educator archives.

McGrew, S., Ortega, T., Breakstone, J., & Wineburg, S. (2017). The challenge that’s bigger than fake news: Civic reasoning in a social media environment. American Educator. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.aft.org/ae/fall2017/mcgrew_ortega_breakstone_wineburg

A Short Guide to the History of ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation

icfj.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/A Short Guide to History of Fake News and Disinformation_ICFJ Final.pdf

Description: This short eBook addresses the fact that fake news is not new. It offers an overview of major moments in the history of disinformation, in timeline format. It includes events from the Marc Antony smear campaign of 44BC, to the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in 1493, to the 2005 creation of the Colbert Report, to a 2017 European Union report on fake news. The last few pages of the eBook detail an accompanying learning module.

Why I trust it: This resource is a relatively recent publication that was sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, a nonprofit that has worked with more than 100,000 journalists from 180 countries. Its aim is to provide journalists with resources that enhance their skills and expertise, and the resource itself presents facts without bias.

Use: The best way to arm yourself against fake news is to understand how it developed into what it is today. Use this resource to quickly grasp the overall timeline of disinformation, or use the learning module to help others understand as well.

Access: This resource is free for download from icfj.org.

Posetti, J. & Matthews, A. (2018). A short guide to the history of ‘fake news’ and disinformation: A new ICFJ learning module. International Center for Journalists. https://www.icfj.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/A%20Short%20Guide%20to%20History%20of%20Fake%20News%20and%20Disinformation_ICFJ%20Final.pdf

Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints


Description: This database is a collection of research-based entries covering current issues. It approaches the information in a pro/con format and includes articles, maps, infographics, and more. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: For 65 years, Gale has provided libraries and other educational institutions with databases on a variety of subjects. The publishing company uses a world-wide network of scholars to curate and review its content.

Use: When you hear or read about a controversial current issue or event, you can use this database to understand major points on both sides of the topic.

Access: You can access this database through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to ask for a guest computer pass.

Gale in context: Opposing viewpoints [database]. (2019). Gale. http://go.galegroup.com.libproxy.albany.edu/ps/start.do?p=OVIC&u=albanyu

Not Real News


Description: This weekly Associated Press column offers an overview and fact-check of the top viral social media content.

Why I trust it: The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news producer that has been in existence for over 150 years. It has won over 50 Pulitzer Prizes, and its content is trusted and reproduced by newspapers world-wide.

Use: Stay on top of the news you find on social media by reading this column each week.

Access: Users can access this column with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

The Associated Press. (2019). Not real news. AP News. https://www.apnews.com/NotRealNews

The Chicago Guide to Fact-checking


Description: This Chicago guide, published in 2016, offers tools and best practices for fact checking across multiple forms of media.

Why I trust it: This guide was published by the same company that publishes the Chicago Manual of Style, and it draws on the expertise of over 200 professional writers, editors, and fact-checkers. The book’s editor, Brooke Borel, is a former research editor at Science Illustrated and a former fact checker at Quanta. She also teaches science communication workshops at New York University.

Use: Use this manual to beef up your fact-checking skills. You’ll find numerous strategies to fact-check across multiple forms of media. You’ll also find, at the end of the book, 20 full pages of references organized by chapter. This allows you to trace the information inside the book to make sure it’s authoritative.

Access: This title is accessible in-library through the University at Albany Libraries’ reference collection under call number ZA3075 .B67 2016. You can also request this title through the New York Public Library, or you can try requesting it through interlibrary loan.

Borel, B. (2016). The Chicago guide to fact-checking. University of Chicago Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1043503275

Hudson’s Washington News Media Contact Guide


Description: This periodical reference has been published for over 50 years and offers contact information for over 4,000 key media contacts. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: This publication offers new, updated editions annually. It includes media contacts that one would not typically be able to find on the Internet.

Use: Have a question about an article you are reading? See if the author’s contact information—or the contact information of a cited source— is available through this resource. Reach out and verify the information before you trust it.

Access: This resource is available through several university library systems. If it’s not available at your library, try requesting it through an inter-library loan.

Hudson’s Washington news media contacts guide. (2020). Grey House Publishing. https://www.greyhouse.com/hudsons_washington_news_media_contacts

Fact Checker: The Truth Behind the Rhetoric


Description: This column, based on sound news media principles, is authored by professional fact checker Glenn Kessler and his colleagues Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly. Its goal is to fact check the statements of political figures and weed through political rhetoric. The authors also investigate answers to questions submitted by readers. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: Glenn Kessler is an award-winning journalist whose career spans decades. His fact-checking team analyzes political statements on both the left and right, and they do so without inserting opinion. The column appears in the national-news section of The Post, seperate from the editorial or opinion sections. Also, members of the team are not permitted to engage in partisan political activity or make contributions to candidates or advocacy organizations.

Use: Use this resource to fill in missing context in political statements and get a more comprehensive, unbiased picture of topics mentioned by politicians.

Access: Users can access this column with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Kessler, G. (2020). Fact checker: The truth behind the rhetoric. Washington Post. https://washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker.  

Is it True? A Fake News Database


Description: People send in suspected hoaxes, doctored images, and fake websites. Then, Politico’s team works to determine the truth.

Why I trust it: Politico’s mission is to provide its audience with accurate, nonpartisan information. In 2012, the Poynter Institute found that about the same percentage of Politico readers identify as democrat as do those that identify as republican, so you can bet their investigations are unbiased. Learn more about Politico here.

Use: Reading something you suspect could be fake? Pop keywords into this database to see if it’s been investigated by Politico. If not, visit this link for a submission form.

Access: Users can access this database with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Lima, C & Briz, A. (2018). Is it true? A fake news database. Politico. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2018/is-this-true



Description: Snopes offers an archive of investigated rumors and claims, debunking or verifying them so you don’t have to.

Why I trust it: The oldest and largest online fact-checking site, Snopes’ contextualized analysis uses evidence-based practices to fact-check the media. The company has been independently verified by the International Fact Checking Network, and, in the spirit of truth-seeking, it invites skepticism and challengers. The fact-checkers attempt to contact sources for interviews, and they seek out supporting information. They consult experts, and each fact-check travels through multiple staffers. Learn more here.

Use: Reading something you suspect could be a false or a hoax? Pop keywords into the Snopes search bar to see if it’s been investigated.

Access: Users can access this site with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Mikkelson, D. (2020). Fact check. Snopes. https://snopes.com/fact-check



Description: This reverse image search engine accesses a multibillion index of web images to determine an image’s origin and locate/track modified versions.

Use: Wondering if that picture is a hoax? Try reverse searching it with TinEye to find its true origin. Learn more about how to use TinEye here.

Access: TinEye is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Reverse image search. (2020). TinEye. https://tineye.com

Census Data


Description: Census Data is a government-funded database of community facts—from population data, to school district data, to data on income. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: It’s just the data—plain and simple. Independently reviewing raw data gives information consumers an opportunity to evaluate it without biased commentary.

Use: Fact check news and statements by public figures by popping cited census data into the Census Data search bar to see if it matches or if the article’s language is misleading.

Access: Census Data is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Census Data. (2020). Census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. https://data.census.gov/cedsci



Description: The PolitiFact nonpartisan investigative team rates political statements for accuracy based on independent news expertise and then awards statements a score on a “truthometer.” Learn more about PolitiFact’s methodology here.

Why I trust it: PolitiFact’s core values include: thorough reporting, independence, transparency, and fairness. PolitiFact does not accept donations from political parties, elected officials, candidates seeking public office, or anonymous sources. Learn more about PolitiFact’s financials here.

Use: This organization has been fact-checking since 2007, and it has gained a reputation for unbiased investigation into the truth (or lack thereof) of political statements. Use it to gain some perspective on political entities on all sides. 

Access: Politifact is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Holan, A.D. (2020). PolitiFact. The Poynter Institute. https://politifact.com

100 Poems for 100 Voices

Written and published by Lester Mayers
Edited by Charlene V. Martoni

Click to purchase on Amazon.

100 Poems for 100 Voices is not only a burgeoning poet’s first manuscript; it’s a profound offering of untold stories from the Gay Black experience that transcend across place, time, and identity. Mayers’ poetry has a rhythm synonymous with his heartbeat, with his breath. His poetry is textured. His messages are raw. They are honest. When you read them, you will feel them in your bones. Touching upon topics such as slavery, Africa the Homeland, American culture, LGBTQ* freedom, love, relationships, and deep trauma, Mayers’ takes an honest look at all of life’s facets, from the beautiful to the painful. It is clear that Mayers’ masterpiece is not written from a distance: indeed, it is up close and oh so personal.

Book Club Addresses Cultural Differences

Written by Madalyn Alfonso
Published in the New Paltz Oracle

A town-wide book club full of members of a variety of ages, backgrounds and ideologies may seem like a big idea, but with One Book One New Paltz, that idea comes to life every year.

As a diverse crowd shuffled into Lecture Center 100 on Monday, Oct. 2, author Imbolo Mbue, a native of Limbe, Cameroon and current New York City resident, prepared to speak about her debut novel, Behold the Dreamers in the first event of One Book One New Paltz (OBONP) this year. Faculty, students and fans of the novel settled in to hear Mbue read an excerpt and talk about her process.

“Mbue is a very honest writer,” said sophomore psychology major Ashley Rodriguez. “She spoke so openly about her personal life. I found the event very interesting and made a lot of connections with her personal life to mine.”

Behold the Dreamers is about an immigrant family from Cameroon trying to get by in America by working for a rich, white family in New York City. The book explores the ideas of class, race, immigration, family and the disillusionment of the American Dream.

Charlene V. Martoni, committee member of OBONP and the conversation moderator began the evening by introducing Mbue and her book, explaining the praise it has received in recent news publications, such as being chosen for Oprah’s book club, and then giving Mbue the floor to kickstart the four-day long series of programs.

“I was driven by inspiration,” Mbue said. “I was very observant of the class differences in New York City, and I did a lot of research. This book is a love song to many places for me; Cameroon, America, Harlem, and writing this book was a way of going home.”

One Book One New Paltz is a project that began in 2005 and was founded by Dr. Gerald Benjamin, Director of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, to promote reading as a way of connecting people in the College and neighborhood. Every year, the committee chooses a book that becomes the “community read,” which is meant to encourage people of all backgrounds to participate in and celebrate their community by having a shared reading experience.

Behold the Dreamers was chosen because it fits the criteria the committee uses in their selection process. The chosen book needs to incorporate many different issues that can open a conversation that is accessible to various groups of people. Mbue’s goal for the book was to focus on empathy and challenge people to think of their world differently and consider other perspectives.

“Everyone deserves empathy, even if we disagree,” Mbue said. “It was hard for me to empathize with rich white people for this book, but I needed to develop empathy for these characters, even if I didn’t understand the struggle of the one percent. I wanted to connect two drastically different worlds.”

Martoni interviewed Mbue and audience members were also invited to participate in the Q&A. Mbue spoke on her inspirations, her struggles in immigration and understanding America and where she hopes to head next from here.

“I dreamt that America was full of rich people and that everyone had a wonderful life. Coming to America I realized how rough it actually is.” she said. “While America is a wonderful country, it has many issues and flaws, and it is not wonderful for everyone.”

The final event of One Book One New Paltz 2017 will take place on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Elting Memorial Library in the Village of New Paltz, with the book discussion and wrap-up. Behold the Dreamers can be purchased as a paperback in local book stores Barner Books and Inquiring Minds Bookstore for $14.50.


2017 T.E.A.L. Walk

Fundraiser and walk participant since 2015.

Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer, Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation also known as T.E.A.L.®’s mission is to promote public awareness and education of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of Ovarian Cancer, while providing support to survivors and raising funds for research in order to find the cure for Ovarian Cancer.

Meet Our 2016 NYLA-Dewey Award Winner

Written by Daphne Jorgensen
Published by the UAlbany College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

University at Albany’s 2016 NYLA-Dewey Scholarship Award winner, Charlene Martoni, is no stranger to winning… and giving back to others.

Information Science student Charlene Martoni has been selected as a recipient of the NYLA-Dewey Scholarship. This award of $1,000 is sponsored by the Lake Placid Educational Foundation and the New York Library Association. It is awarded each year to students pursuing a master’s degree in a program in New York State that is accredited by the American Library Association. Successful candidates are selected based on evidence of strong scholarship, leadership, and a commitment to work in a library or library system in New York State for at least two years after graduation. References writing in support of Ms. Martoni’s application for the award praised her leadership and supervisory skills, one calling her “a bright, talented and motivated leader in her field.”“My main career aspiration is to support marginalized and struggling people through library and information science, education, and literature,” said Martoni.

Charlene is no stranger to triumph, and her desire to give back to her community extends far beyond her professional aspirations. Since recovering from cancer, she has participated in the annual Brooklyn TEAL Walk for Ovarian Cancer. She explains, “I do this because I feel that, as a survivor, it is my responsibility to spread awareness and support research about ovarian cancer so that other people have a higher chance of early diagnosis like I had.”

Charlene is currently enrolled in the dual master’s program in information science and English. Within the M.S.I.S. program, she is in the school library media specialist track. She works as the Evening and Weekend Circulation Supervisor, Social Media Manager, and Textbook Collection Manager for the Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz, where she did her undergraduate work. Charlene also worked at the Sojourner Truth Library while an undergraduate. She serves as a volunteer on the One Book/One New Paltz committee as a library representative and was the committee chair in 2015 and 2016. Her hobbies include reading nonfiction books and memoirs. She says, “I’m always looking to learn something new and understand the world from others’ perspectives.”

New Paltz communally reads $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

Written by Frances Marion Platt
Published in the New Paltz Times

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)
Photo by Lauren Thomas. Committee members from left to right: Darlene Davis, Sue Books, Charlene V. Martoni, Myra Sorin, Shelly Sherman, and Linda Welles.

One Book/One New Paltz, the annual joint community reading and discussion experience, returns to town with a week’s worth of activities from November 13 to 20. But this year it’s going to be a little different: Instead of the usual novel, the book selected by the One Book/One New Paltz Committee is a sobering non-fictional account of the lives of people living in extreme poverty. The 2016 Community Read is titled $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).

“It’s such an important, compelling topic,” says Shelley Sherman, a longtime member of the Committee. “And as for programming, it presents so many possibilities.” That a book will “lend itself to programming” is one of the criteria by which a One Book/One New Paltz selection is chosen, Sherman explains, along with being well-written, accessible and not more than about 350 pages in length. The Committee has also looked for a representation of diversity in both topics covered and authors as well.

But it wasn’t simply a matter of One Book being “due” for a nonfiction title this year, says Sherman. The multi-tiered selection process starts each year around February, with a list of 50 or 60 titles suggested by Committee members, derived from surveys of attendees at the previous year’s events or added to suggestion boxes placed at the Elting Memorial Library, the Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY-New Paltz and local bookstores. The initial list is weeded down to about 20 semifinalists, then to five or six titles thought to be especially strong. Committee members will then make sure to read the finalists and prepare to “come in with arguments pro or con” at the meeting where the final selection is made.

Certainly the long, slow recovery from the Great Recession and many of the topics in the air during a presidential election year make a book about the poorest of the poor in America a good fit with the current zeitgeist. “You know that saying about how we’re all one paycheck away from poverty? Well, most people are, to some extent,” Sherman notes. She says that the families profiled in the book often start out middle-class, but are struck by one or more turns of ill fortune, such as the catastrophic illness of a breadwinner or the need to take in other relatives who have a disability or an unplanned baby on the way. When the family’s income is nearly nonexistent, efforts to improve their circumstances are often severely limited by such factors as the cost of child care, transportation and other logistical difficulties or simply the inability to afford to buy appropriate clothing for work.

Edin and Shaefer are sociologists who traveled around the country to spend time with 18 families, both urban and rural, to gain a better understanding of how the 1.5 million households living “under the radar” in such extreme poverty, including 3 million children, are able to get by at all. Some manage to get sporadic seasonal work; some collect cans and bottles for deposits; one woman they interviewed periodically sells her blood plasma. They are the legacy of the “welfare-to-work” social services reforms of the 1990s, and America provides no safety net for them beyond food stamps. “The book is not like a college sociology text,” says Sherman. “These are interesting tales of real people.”

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America can be found at local bookstores (Inquiring Minds and Barner Books, both on Church Street in New Paltz) and at the Elting Library and Sojourner Truth Library, as well as on Kindle. The week of One Book/One New Paltz programming scheduled from November 13 to 20 will include more than a dozen events: presentations on poverty as seen through the lenses of various academic disciplines; book discussions; an open mic night for creative expression; discussions and perspectives on poverty by those experiencing it directly; and a workshop on résumé building and job search. Full program details are available at the One Book/One New Paltz website,www.onebookonenewpaltz.com.

Locally made snacks for your outdoor adventure

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in VISITvortex

Part of what makes the Hudson Valley such a beautiful place this time of year is its many destinations that have been taken over by autumn colors. Now is the time to plan some outdoor adventures like a hike up Overlook Mountain, a climb on the Shawangunk Ridge, or a bike along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail.

It’s always important to be prepared whenever you explore the outdoors by bringing maps, first aid kits, and some form of communication. You should also bring energy-packed snacks to keep you going until the end of your excursion.

Here are some healthy, locally made snacks to pack for your next Hudson Valley adventure:


This homegrown, non-gmo popcorn is popped by the sun and seasoned with all-natural, gluten-free, and vegan ingredients—no butter or cheese. The BjornQorn signature flavor is created with nutritional yeast, making it high in protein and B vitamins. Bjorn and Jamie, the duo behind BjornQorn, met at Bard College where Bjorn was known for his family’s popcorn recipe and Jamie for his wild ideas. Thus, BjornQorn was born. You can buy this snack at The Big Cheese in Rosendale, High Falls Food Co-op in High Falls, Kelder’s Farm Stand in Kerhonkson, and at other locations throughout the Hudson Valley. Visit bjornqorn. com for a full listing of locations.


Runners and bikers swear by the New Paltz Bakery’s energy bars, made with nuts, dates, apricots, seeds, sesame tahini, honey, and vanilla. They’re gluten-free, have no refined sugar, and are high in protein. Dave Santner has been making this recipe for his whole baking career, even before opening The Bakery in 1981. The bars have been featured in Runner’s World, and the recipe is included in Runner’s World Cookbook. 13a North Front Street, New Paltz. 845-255-8840. ilovethebakery.com.


A cross between an energy bar and a candy bar, the fruit bars sold at Comparetto’s Bakery in Marlboro were originally created to provide bursts of energy for a local football team. They’re packed with molasses, nuts, and raisins to keep you going—a reward during a big adventure. 20 Western Avenue, Marlboro. 845-236-4440. comparettobakery.com.


Organic, vegan, and gluten-free, Ragi’s little energy balls are handmade in Woodstock with coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and a hint of sea salt. They were created to provide energy without dropping blood sugar.

Try their cacao, cashew, strawberry, or mango varieties. You can pick them up at Mother Earth Storehouse in Kingston, Village Apothecary in Woodstock, and at many other locations throughout the Hudson Valley. Find more locations and varieties at rajisdivinedelights.com.


These delicious bites were inspired by creator Mark Reynolds’ childhood favorite—key lime pie. Mark’s energy bites are 100-percent raw, vegan, and organic, made with dates, coconut shreds, seeds, lime juice, lime zest, and Celtic sea salt.

With 2.4 grams of protein and 6.5 grams of fiber, these 290 calorie bites are loaded with vitamins E and B complex for eye, digestive, and muscle health. You can find them at the Tea Haus in Rosendale. For more information, visit facebook.com/chromaticculinaries.


If you’re looking for a unique granola, this granola made at Raspberry Fields Farms in Marlboro is just the ticket.

Rolled oats combine with crisp rice, whole dried raspberries, sunflower seeds, coconut, and more to create a delicious granola perfect for an outdoor excursion. Check out other varieties at raspberryfieldsfarm.com. 601 Lattintown Road, Marlboro. 845-236-2551.


If you’re going to explore the Hudson Valley, Upstate Granola just makes sense. This Woodstock company offers unique varieties of granola, like praline pecan, sunflower, and blueberry granola or maple pecan and dried cherry granola. They also offer gluten-free and paleo options. For a full list of flavors, visit upstategranola.com. 65 Tinker Street, Woodstock. 845-532-1218.


Perfect for the fall, the chai granola sold at LaGusta’s Luscious in New Paltz will reinforce the autumn-ness of your fall hike or bike. Taste the flavors of the season as you trek into the golden Hudson Valley wilderness.

LaGusta’s Luscious also sells a pre-packaged Rock Scramble, made with corn flakes, pistachios, marshmallows, and organic fair-trade dark chocolate—perfect for the chocoholic hiker. 25 North Front Street, New Paltz. 845-255-8834. lagustasluscious.com.


Grok Bites appeared on the Hudson Valley scene in 2015 and have quickly gained popularity in the area. These snack-sized, packaged squares are handmade in New Paltz with raw, vegan ingredients like dates, cashew nuts, cacao powder, and coconut. Each package contains about 10 percent of your daily protein and 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber. Try the Nutty Expressor variety for a caffeine kick, or try the new flavor, Purple Rain, made with mulberries, pomegranate, and lavender.

Grok Bites can be found at many local businesses, like The Tea Haus in Rosendale, The Cheese Plate in New Paltz, and Monkey Joe’s in Kingston. Find other locations and flavors at thegrokbar.com. 845-384-2264.


For a savory protein kick, try some venison snack sticks from Highland Farm in Germantown. At just two bucks a pop, these sticks are loaded with 8 grams of protein and come in smoked, teriyaki, pepper, hot, and cheddar varieties to satisfy any savory craving. Visit eat-better-meat.com to discover even more snacks from Highland Farm. 283 County Route 6, Germantown. 518-537-6397.


The easiest food to pack for an outdoor adventure is a fresh, locally-grown apple—or other fruit—from a local farm or farmers market. Pick your favorite!


Add this elixir to tea or juice for an immune boost during your outdoor adventure. Packed with ginger and turmeric, it will aid in digestion and help to control inflammation in your body.

Visit the ImmuneSchein Tea Haus in Rosendale for some drinks with this elixir already mixed in. You can also buy bottles of it to make your own personalized drink! 446 Main Street, Rosendale. 828-319-1844. immune-schein.com.


If you’re bringing your dog along on your excursion, remember to pack some food and water for her too. Highland Farm in Germantown sells all-natural, raw pet food, made with no preservatives, chemicals, or additives.
Try some farm-raised venison and game blended with locally-grown produce. It’s flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed, so just pack it in your bag. You can also request made-to-order custom blends for your pooch. 283 County Route 6, Germantown. 518-537-6397. eat-better-meat.com.

Another great option for pets are the biscuits made by Gooddog Biscuit Company in Poughquag. They’re always made with natural and organic ingredients.
Try the peanut butter cookies or the sweet potato dehydrated chips! You can buy these snacks at many markets and festivals in the Hudson Valley. Visit facebook.com/gooddogdiscuitco to find out where they’ll be sold next. 845-243-0673.

2016 T.E.A.L. Walk

Fundraiser and walk participant since 2015.

Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer, Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation also known as T.E.A.L.®’s mission is to promote public awareness and education of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of Ovarian Cancer, while providing support to survivors and raising funds for research in order to find the cure for Ovarian Cancer.

Tiny Arts Day in tiny West Fulton

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Watershed Post

The town of West Fulton may be tiny, but it has a lot of heart—and art.

“West Fulton is a very interesting place, made up of extremely creative people,” said Cornelia McGiver, the artistic director of Panther Creek Arts, a new arts venue in the small Schoharie County town. “And what I find special about that place is that there is a willingness to exchange and complement ideas.”

Panther Creek Arts, which is located in a former grain and feed store from 1919, is all about inspiring this exchange through artistic, recreational and educational events. The building’s upper level, known as The Hall, includes a stage and long, natural-wood picnic tables that can seat 80 to 200 people. Meanwhile, the ground level houses BITE ME, a cafe that serves delicious foods like curried chicken salad over fresh greens, gluten-free sweets, kombucha and more.

“It’s been our mission to bring world-class music and arts to that venue,” McGiver said.

On Saturday, June 4, The Hall will turn into an art gallery for the second annual Tiny Arts Day in a Tiny Town, a mini-festival that, with the help of a community arts grant from the Greene County Council on the Arts, will showcase the work of five artists. Last year’s fest drew upwards of 150 people, and this year’s is expected to draw even more.

“You’ll have someone who is a curator of a museum in Manhattan talking to local farmers, and for me, I’m so warmed by that—so touched,” said McGiver. “There are people who would never see each other—would never meet—but here they are enjoying each other.”

If you go to Tiny Arts Day, you will have the chance to meet Elisa Jensen, an artist from Brooklyn. She is a 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow and was a 2012 finalist for the foundation’s Basil Alkazzi Award for Painting. Jensen is also currently a faculty member at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture and is a visiting faculty member in the Foundation Drawing Department at Pratt Institute.

The other artist who will be featured in The Hall is Pamela Salisbury, who lives and works in Kinderhook. She completed her undergraduate studies in sculpture at Bennington College in Vermont and received her MFA in painting from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture.

Copper and stonework by West Fulton’s own Mark Swanberry, whose designs are inspired by nature, will be shown on the ground floor, and there will also be metal sculpture by Mario Bustamante of Brooklyn on display in the park, just a stone’s throw away from the center itself.

“A very big piece of artwork by David Wilson will also be on display across from the park. It’s a surprise,” said McGiver. “And when I say big, it’s big.”

But traditional artwork won’t be the only type of art at this festival. McGiver and Panther Creek’s advisory board and volunteers have also curated a fine list of local craft brewers, distillers and food vendors, including Green Wolf Brewing Company, 1857 Spirits, Kymar Farm Distillery and Sap Bush Hollow Food and Drink. Food and drinks will be available throughout the day.

The festival will start at 3 p.m. with an enchanting origami and handcrafted mask storytelling performance by Kuniko Yamamoto, featuring myths and fables from ancient and modern Japan made fresh. Then, the art gallery will open at 4 p.m., offering guests the opportunity to purchase their favorite pieces.

“I’m very interested in artists being paid for what they do,” said McGiver, “because I think our culture could benefit from understanding and valuing artists to a greater degree.”

The day will conclude with yet more art: a musical performance starting at 8 p.m. by Brooklyn’s Musette Explosion, featuring the accordion, tuba, and guitar.

McGiver is already looking to the future, considering bumping up the musical performances to two, incorporating theatre art and staged readings, and including more local vendors for next year’s festival.

“I do like the idea of incorporating more of the town into the project,” she said, “with people strolling through the town.”

Though Tiny Arts Day in a Tiny Town is only in its second year, it’s clear that it has an important influence.

“We all know what it’s like to be a part of the arts in an urban center like New York City, Albany, or Boston,” McGiver said, “so it’s exceptional for people coming to West Fulton to find that there is such a broad sense of community in such a small place and that they are welcomed into it.”

Volunteers are also welcome. If you would like to help out, contact McGiver at panthercreekarts@gmail.com. You can also contact her if you need ticket sponsorship. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and tickets for the storytelling performance are an additional $5.

Tiny Arts Day in a Tiny Town. Saturday, June 4, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Hall at Panther Creek Arts, 1468 Sawyer Hollow Rd., West Fulton. panthercreekarts.com.

Care for our bees and butterflies: Plant a pollinator garden

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Illustrations by Teresa Hewitt
Published in VISITvortex

Honey bees are actually not native to North America, but neither are many of our crops and garden plants. Nevertheless, these little golden soldiers have become essential to our horticulture.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, honeybees are responsible for pollinating 80 percent of our flower crops, which accounts for one-third of everything we eat. Nuts, alfalfa, apple, cantaloupe, cranberry, pumpkin, sunflower, and many other delicious and healthy foods depend on pollination by honeybees.

Yet the USDA also said that honey bees and other pollinators have had to face increasing obstacles in recent years, including deformed wing virus, nosema fungi, new parasites, nutrition problems, and possible effects of pesticides.Eric Stewart of Greenman Garden Design in Accord said that applying herbicides and pesticides to lawns and gardens not only harms beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies, but it also exposes people and animals to these same harsh chemicals.

Stewart also encouraged taking action against the use of chemicals by petitioning local governments to stop spraying herbicides and pesticides. He said that in 2015, local legislators and activists convinced the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation to stop spraying a controversial herbicide, glyphosate, along the Town of Olive’s roadways.





Blue fortune is a vigorous variety of anise hyssop that grows three to four feet tall on tough, semi-woody stems. It features colorful spikes of violet-blue flowers that readily attract bees and other pollinators. This plant is not picky about soil and thrives in most any sunny location. Plus, the fragrant green leaves can be made into a tasty tea, and it is resistant to grazing by deer and other garden pests. To brighten your garden, try golden jubilee, another variety of anise hyssop with yellow-green foliage.


This native species is commonly found growing in meadows throughout the area. Often reaching three to four feet tall, its clusters of bright golden-yellow flowers provide a bonanza of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. If you have a stand growing on your property, do Mother Nature a favor and leave it be. Or, transplant a few stems to a garden where it can spread vigorously.


Milkweed is the primary source of food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. It’s a tall, native perennial with large, smooth leaves that ooze white sap when cut or broken, and it produces large clusters of small mauve flowers that transform into silky parachutes in the fall. You can usually buy two variations of milkweed at your local garden store: butterfly weed and swamp milkweed.


As the name suggests, this attractive perennial is a magnet for many pollinators, including hummingbirds. A member of the mint family that flourishes in average to moist garden soil, it features showy clusters of claw-like flowers in scarlet or magenta as well as foliage that can be used to make a delicious bergamot-like tea.


These plants are food sources for both you and for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Dill, the familiar herb used in pickling and on fish dishes, is a delicious yellow-flowering annual. Fennel is a tender perennial that can grow four to five feet tall and boasts airy clusters of pale yellow flowers with tasty seeds. Purpureum is a particularly attractive variety of fennel with lovely bronze coloring.


According to Victoria Coyne of Victoria Gardens, “One of the best ways people can help honey bees is by planting plants and flowers that help to feed them.”



Earlier blooms are literally a lifeline for bees to sustain their hive in March and April. Some favorites are valley valentine and brouwers beauty, which are floriferous and provide bees with much needed pollen and nectar. Also, hellebores perennials bloom in March, sometimes pushing blooms up from under a layer of snow.


In May, a great option for bees and other pollinators are annuals. Two favorites are lantana and sweet alyssum. These beauties will bloom all season long, providing sustenance for bees, butterflies, and humming birds.


Bees excitedly buzz from bloom to bloom once we enter the full swing of summer. Two of their summer favorites are lavender and pincushion flowers.


As other perennials fade, these flowers will extend your garden’s food supply for busy bees getting ready for winter: lion’s tail, red hot poker, salvia, and butterfly weed.


Autumn can provide boisterous color in your garden, even as the leaves change. Blanket flower, coneflower, yarrow, and sedum provide bees (and you) with continuous blooms right up to the first sub-freezing frost.


Stewart said an additional species to plant in your garden is the lovely butterfly bush, a shrub that acts as a butterfly magnet with its large panicles of fragrant pink, white, blue, or purple blooms.

HERBS like lemon balm and lavender are excellent for honey bees, and currants and blueberries are also great at attracting pollinators.

FLOWERING TREES, such as crabapples, dogwoods, and hawthorns also make wonderful additions to pollinator gardens. Other bee-friendly trees include willows, maples, sweet gum, and sumac.

GREENMAN GARDEN DESIGNelsgreenman@aol.com



1 Cottekill Road, Rosendale

845-658-9007 victoriagardens.biz

PERFECT Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Recipe by Charlene V. Martoni, inspired by a recipe from Mom on Time Out

Aunt Dot (my boyfriend’s aunt) hosts a cookie exchange party for the holidays, and I look forward to it each year. However, December is always a busy month for me, with school, family gatherings, and work. These sweet but tangy cookies are perfect because they are easy to make; you just slice them up when you want them!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

~2 dozen cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), very cold and cubed
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract if you don’t like the almond flavor)
1 heaping tablespoon orange zest (I use Penzey’s dehydrated peel and rehydrate it with a tablespoon of water.)
1 cup craisins
Continue reading “PERFECT Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies”

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe by Charlene V. Martoni

This is a warm but bright soup that I love to make during those cold months of winter and early spring. The apples add a touch of sweetness to the silky butternut squash base, but the spices keep it savory. It’s completely vegan, too!


~4-5 12-ounce servings

1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other healthy cooking oil
2 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped celery
3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon vegetable base
4 tablespoons white wine
2 cups roasted butternut squash
3 small apples, peeled and chopped
1-3 cups of water, depending on how thick you like your soup
Salt, turmeric, and cumin to your taste. Continue reading “Apple Butternut Squash Soup”

Orange Is The New Paltz: Miss Rosa Visits New Paltz

Written by Amanda Copkov
Published in the New Paltz Oracle

Having made her great escape from Litchfield Penitentiary, Miss Rosa of “Orange Is the New Black” made a pitstop at SUNY New Paltz.

Actress Barbara Rosenblat, referred to as “the Meryl Streep of audiobooks,” plays the role of Miss Rosa in the critically acclaimed, top-rated Netflix series and came to the College as part of the One Book/One New Paltz (OB/ONP) program. The goals of this program are to foster community, encourage reading and support literacy by making one read accessible to everyone in the community, according to OB/ONP Committee Chair and Webmaster Charlene Martoni.

“The goal is to get people thinking so that they can go forth and make a difference in the world,” she said.

Martoni said she pushed for “Orange Is the New Black” by Piper Kerman to be read among those in the program because of all of the prevalent themes within the book, such as the issues of transgender people and sexual violence in prisons.

“These are issues college students can really make a difference about if they learn about them,” she said.

Martoni said she felt that this novel would be an important read in the community as more of these types of injustices are coming to light in the media.

“It’s important for people to realize that these communities, these institutions, have their own [injustices] going on inside of them,” she said. “The only way that they can be fixed, really, is if people outside of them are aware of them. Because the people inside of these institutions do have rights, but their rights aren’t easy to protect, so they need help from other people.”

During Rosenblat’s Nov. 21 presentation, she held a Q+A session and read an excerpt from “Out of Orange” by Cleary Wolters, the ex-lover of Piper Kerman, whose pseudonym in the “Orange Is the New Black” book is Nora, and who is portrayed in the Netflix series as Alex Vause, played by actress Laura Prepon.

Rosenblat, the narrator for the audiobook version of “Out of Orange” read from “Prologue: Karma,” where Wolters expresses her initial reaction to reading Kerman’s “Orange Is the New Black.”

The author wrote of her first experience watching “Orange Is the New Black” — unbeknownst to her. At first, she admitted, she thought the opening scene of the first episode was a shampoo commercial, nearly ready to turn off the television with her finger on the power button. There was a “soft, tinkling piano” playing in the background and an attractive blonde woman taking a bath, drinking a glass of red wine.

Then all of a sudden — a “loud-sounding alarm interrupted the piano and the haunting sound of a heavy, metal door slamming shut” gave her chills. The camera zooms out of the happy, showering blonde woman to reveal that she is now in prison. In the next scene, the same woman is dressed in an orange jumpsuit and says, “My name is Piper Chapman.”

“And I dropped the remote,” Wolters wrote. She heard “lesbian lover” and “drug smuggling” and instantly caught on to what she was watching — an on-screen adaption of the experience of her ex-lover.

Rosenblat said she was thrilled at the prospect of being in a show that took place in a women’s prison and had initially auditioned for the role as Russian character Red.

She was told she wouldn’t be cast as Red but was instead offered the role as Miss Rosa, a fictional character only found in the “Orange Is the New Black” Netflix series. To her agent she said, “Great, who is she?”

“A prisoner.”

“Oh, what’s she done?”

“We don’t know.”

“Where’s she from?”

“No idea.”

“Okay …”

“And by the way, she’s got cancer. Will you shave your head?” Rosenblat was asked.

Rosenblat said she initially walked away from the role, but decided otherwise days later when the producers of “Orange Is the New Black” employed three-time Emmy award-winning special effects makeup artist Josh Turi, known for his special effects makeup in movies such as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014), “Men in Black 3” (2012) and “Ted 2” (2015). She kept her hair and endured a three-hour-long makeup process during each day of filming.

She said that the challenge of being cast as Miss Rosa was finding out who the character was, as she did not have much help.

“As an actor, you have to bring your A-game and you try to build something from whole cloth,” she said. “You have to invest what you get with blood, plasma, guts, a soul, an attitude and you have to make a choice and hopefully the director sees that and says, ‘Yeah, we can work with her.’ They like that.”

Rosenblat said she learned a lot about the life of women in prison as she played the role of one.

“The thing to understand is that they are people,” Rosenblat said. “They are mothers. They are sisters. They are daughters. And they have lives.”

Martoni said that the OB/ONP program is a great opportunity for people in the New Paltz community to learn more and empower themselves.

“This program and the books we choose get people inspired,” she said. “We have a very diverse age range, from the elderly to those in high school, and I think that the benefit of being empowered affects them all.”

OB/ONP chooses a book each February. Book suggestions for the upcoming year can be emailed to onebook@newpaltz.edu.

Michael K. Buckland’s Liberation of the Information Sciences

Essay by Charlene V. Martoni

Kudu_antelopeInformation is pertinent in any discipline, which is why so many meanings for it exist. In his 1991 article, entitled “Information as Thing,” Michael K. Buckland, a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information, identifies three variant definitions for “information” in relation to the information sciences: information-as-process, information-as-knowledge, and information-as-thing. He then elaborates on the final of these definitions, information-as-thing, in his 1997 article, entitled “What is a ‘Document’?” Buckland shows, in these pieces, why it is necessary for information professionals to widen the parameters for what should be considered an informative document. In presenting his ideas, Buckland opens the information sciences to new possibilities, and so he opens the world to them as well. Continue reading “Michael K. Buckland’s Liberation of the Information Sciences”

Hot Chokola

Recipe by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in VISITvortex “What we love about winter”

Yield: 4 cups

“Here’s a simple hot cocoa recipe, a variation on the traditional Hatian Chokola Peyi, which you’ll love.” —Charlene

Image from VISITvortex.com

2 cups of milk*
1 four-ounce bar of 100%
unsweetened cacao
2 anise stars
1 cinnamon stick
1 fourteen-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk* 1 twelve-ounce can of evaporated milk* Continue reading “Hot Chokola”

Ways to help this holiday season

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in VISITvortex

The holidays have a way of inspiring the best in people, and whether it is helping to shovel a neighbor’s driveway or helping to take care of a friend’s dog, volunteering your time to make another person’s life better is really a noble thing—and it can be fun. Here are some suggestions to help you get into the holiday spirit and get involved with your community:

Volunteering at a soup kitchen, like the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen in Kingston, is a popular activity around this time of year because it involves helping to feed hungry bellies while meeting exciting new people. Volunteers may find themselves preparing and serving meals or assisting with an emergency food pantry and food deliveries. In doing these activities, there is always the hidden opportunity to learn something new.

The Caring Hands Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit organization partnered with the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, which serves meals Monday through Friday at noon. On average, the kitchen receives between 60 and 120 hungry people per day. That means there are a lot of occasions to help out.

To volunteer at the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen, located at 122 Clinton Avenue in Kingston, contact Stephen Crawford, office manager, at 845-331-7188. Walk-in volunteers are welcome, but some notice is appreciated so the regular kitchen staff can plan accordingly.

Image from VISITvortex.comAnother popular activity around this time of the year is helping those who do not have places to call home, and making care packages is a great way to do so. Put snacks and supplies into a waterproof container like a large zip-lock bag, and keep these packages in your car to hand out to people asking for help.

Try hosting a party to encourage your friends to keep some of these care packages in their car too. Go to the grocery store together, bring everything home, and assemble the packages while drinking some wine and watching holiday movies.

Some food supplies to pack include crackers, nuts, granola bars, fruit snacks, and pull-tab canned or pouched goods. Remember to only include items that can be easily opened. Keeping some water bottles in your trunk is a good idea too, and it is also important to pack things like socks, gloves, and air-activated hand warmers during these cold months.

For hygienic supplies, pack some individually wrapped toothbrushes and travel-sized toothpaste, 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, tissues, lotion, and hand sanitizer. Of course, some first aid items like Band-Aids, lip balm, and Neosporin packets are always helpful, and a few gift cards to local food venues and a letter with some words of encouragement would be nice additions as well.

Can’t find anyone to give the packages to on the road? Try dropping them off at local family support service locations like Family of Ellenville or Family of Woodstock.

Image from VISITvortex.comOne additional, and beloved, tradition during the holidays is participating in toy drives, like the CSEA Local 610 sponsored Annual Holiday Toy Drive, which benefits Family of New Paltz, a nonprofit walk-in crisis center that provides counseling and case management and also houses a food pantry and clothing store.

Anthony Adamo, New Paltz local president for the CSEA, passionately said the mission of the toy drive is to “make sure no child goes without a toy during the holidays.”

To make this happen, toy drive volunteers may find themselves requesting that community members donate toys by soliciting outside local businesses, communicating with Family of New Paltz in order to provide more personalized gifts to the children, and publicizing for the toy drive throughout town.

And of-course there is the opportunity to donate some toys yourself, which should be unopened and unused for safety reasons.

To volunteer for the toy drive or to donate, contact Anthony Adamo at 845-399-7426.

For additional volunteer opportunities during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year, visit ulstercorps.com, a non-partisan, countywide resource dedicated to fostering a community of volunteerism.

One Book/One New Paltz initiative takes on the prison system with this year’s community read “Orange is the New Black”

Written by Sharyn Flanagan
Published in the New Paltz Times

Pictured are some of the members of the One Book/One New Paltz Committee (L-R): Linda Welles, Abby Chance, Darlene Davis, Charlene Martoni, Shelley Sherman, John Giralico, Sue Books and Myra Sorin. This year's book is “Orange is the New Black” by Piper Kerman. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Book clubs are a great way for people to get together to talk about ideas. But usually the clubs are made up of people who are already friends, or at least already know one another, and therefore probably have somewhat similar backgrounds. But what if a book club could encompass an entire community; a diverse range of people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and economic levels who could stimulate each other’s ideas through the common ground of a shared reading experience?

That’s the premise behind the “One Book, One City” concept that began in 1998 when Nancy Pearl, executive director of the Washington Center for the Book in the Seattle Public Library, initiated a project called, “If All Seattle Read the Same Book.” She obtained funding to bring an author to the area and invited members of the public to read his book and discuss it in a series of free public programs.

Since then, “One Book, One City” projects have been adopted nationwide. People in New Paltz have had the opportunity to participate in One Book/One New Paltz since 2005, when Dr. Gerald Benjamin, director of The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, founded a committee to organize the annual project as a way to build community between the college and the greater New Paltz population.

The initiative also promotes reading and literacy, says Charlene Martoni, who recently became chairperson of the One Book/One New Paltz Committee. “It’s really all about bringing people together and getting them talking and getting them thinking, so that we can start a conversation about current ideas going on in the world,” she says. “We present these ideas without any bias on our part, through the book, and through program speakers who offer their own take on the book.”

With minor exception, the programs are free of charge to attend. With 15 offered this year during the week of November 15-22, there are ample opportunities for people to attend one or more of the book discussions, film screenings and presentations that will be offered at different locations throughout the town. “The whole point of having so many programs is to give everybody the opportunity to be a part of the experience,” explains Martoni. “We encourage people from all backgrounds to participate; the more diverse, the better.”

The book selected by the One Book/One New Paltz Committee for this year’s community read is Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, a memoir by Piper Kerman. (It should be noted that the discussions in New Paltz will concentrate on the book by Kerman and not the Netflix TV series that it inspired, which changes names and takes creative license with the facts.)

In her memoir, the author recounts how her decision to help a woman she was romantically involved with led to her indictment years later on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Despite the fact she’d left that period of her life behind and moved on to graduate from Smith College and live an upright life, Kerman was convicted and spent 13 months in the federal correctional facility in Danbury, Conn. She later wrote Orange is the New Black about that period in her life. Kerman now serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association and frequently speaks to students and judicial groups about prison reform. The One Book/One New Paltz program will use Kerman’s story as a jumping off point to look at issues relating to our nation’s flawed criminal justice system.

The book was selected for the community read because it fits the criteria the committee uses each year in its selection process. The book chosen needs to encompass many different issues that can be talked about in the various programs and has to be relatable to different parts of the population, says Martoni. Suggestions are taken during the first months of each year and after books are read by several members of the committee, a final five are voted on with one selected by spring.

In addition to editing VISITVortex Hudson Valley magazine and doing graduate studies on library and information science, Martoni works at the Sojourner Truth Library on the SUNY New Paltz campus as the evening and weekend circulation supervisor. One of her goals for One Book/One New Paltz, she says, is to increase the student turnout for the programs and the college’s involvement with the project, noting that a student panel discussion will take place in the Student Union Room 62/63 on Monday, November 16 at 2 p.m. — in which SUNY New Paltz students and professor of sociology Alexandra Cox will speak about their work with inmates in educational and advocacy contexts — and an academic panel led by Dr. Gerald Benjamin will follow at the same location at 4:30 p.m.

Benjamin still serves on the One Book/One New Paltz Committee he founded a decade ago.

In addition to chair Charlene Martoni, who also serves as webmaster, the group includes Mick Adams, professor emeritus of mathematics at SUNY New Paltz; Joanna Arkans, New Paltz High School librarian; Gerald Benjamin, committee founder and director of The Benjamin Center at the college; Sue Books, secondary education for SUNY New Paltz; Abby Chance, Barner Books; Mark Colvson, Sojourner Truth Library; Jacqueline Denu, SUNY New Paltz; John Giralico, director of Elting Memorial Library; Robin Jacobowitz, The Benjamin Center; Linda Welles, Elting Memorial Library trustee; and New Paltz residents Darlene Davis, Shaylene Meyers, Shelley Sherman and Myra Sorin.

More information is available at http://www.onebookonenewpaltz.org.

2015 T.E.A.L. Walk

Fundraiser and walk participant.

Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer, Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation also known as T.E.A.L.®’s mission is to promote public awareness and education of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of Ovarian Cancer, while providing support to survivors and raising funds for research in order to find the cure for Ovarian Cancer.

Field trip: The Rail Trail Cafe

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Watershed Post

Above: The Rail Trail Cafe. Photo by Charlene V. Martoni.

A nook off the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a 24-mile hiking and biking path through Ulster County, is the last place you’d expect to find a food truck. But that’s just where to look for the Rail Trail Cafe, a non-motorized food cart with a decidedly rustic take on mobile dining.

The kitchen is housed inside a 96-square-foot cabin made of reclaimed wood; a hand-built clay oven sits nearby, and the dining area opens to the lush green canopy overhead.

Husband-and-wife proprietors Brian Farmer and Tara Johannessen have been serving freshly made pizzas, dumplings and baked goods out of the cafe since May. Most of their menu items are made using local products, including microgreens sourced from their own farm, the Farmer’s Table, located a quarter of a mile away. Farmer, who has experience as a professional chef, says that using produce that they grow themselves makes the distance from farm to table even smaller.

Plus, according to Johannessen, it’s just good business practice.

“It’s important to buy and eat local not only because it supports local economy, but also because interfacing with farmers and business owners creates stronger communities,” she said.

Open Friday through Sunday in the warmer months, the cafe serves up hearty items like smoky wood-fired pizza topped with farm-grown zucchini, and steamed dumplings with sesame-ginger-shoyu dipping sauce. Snacks on offer include oat-buckwheat-cranberry scones and Cosmic Nectar Balls, made with raw cacao, pecans, coconuts and dates.

The couple had considered opening a food truck for some time. They stumbled upon the perfect place when they were working their farmland near the rail trail one day, and noticed the amount of foot traffic passing through. Realizing the potential of the spot as a pit stop for hungry hikers, they launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 to raise funds. Soon, they had almost $7,000 in startup capital to fund the construction of the cafe’s mobile kitchen, parked on a small plot of land leased from nearby Stone Mountain Farm.

“We wanted to provide a service that relies on the beauty and simplicity of enjoying a meal in the woods,” said Johannessen.

Farmer designed and built the structure himself—with help from Johannessen—out of donated leftover lumber donated by friends and investors. He equipped the 96-square-foot kitchen with refurbished kitchen appliances from Green Demolition and items from Craigslist.

Most of the baking goes down outside the kitchen, however, in the alfresco wood-burning oven, built by Farmer’s friend, Shawn DeRyder, out of a mixture of sand, clay and straw.

Above: Brian Farmer feeding wood into the clay wood-burning oven at the Rail Trail Cafe. Photo by Charlene Martoni.

The Rail Trail Cafe is an eco-friendly operation from stem to stern. The eatery’s seating area is comprised of found tables and chairs that have been upcycled and decorated using leftover paints. Farmer and Johannessen reduce waste by composting food scraps and using biodegradable cups.

The cafe hosts performances by local musicians on Saturday nights, and the owners are hoping to host a speaker series and poetry readings going forward.

“We want the cafe to create a closer community, one that knows itself,” said Johannessen.

The cafe will stay open until Columbus Day weekend, and Farmer and Johannessen plan to return for business next May. Another Kickstarter campaign is in the works to raise funds for improvements like a sheltered seating area and the hiring of additional staff.

The restaurant’s success so far is due mainly to word-of-mouth from customers like Stone Ridge resident Alex Kahan, who stopped for a bite one Saturday afternoon with his girlfriend.

Continue reading “Field trip: The Rail Trail Cafe”

In the loop

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The New Paltz Times

For the Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT), SUNY New Paltz students are 7,767 opportunities to gain ridership, and Village of New Paltz residents are an additional 6,000.

Over the past few months, UCAT has focused on encouraging more students to ride its countywide bus system, recognizing that SUNY New Paltz and the surrounding village comprise the second largest population center in the county.

Improvements that have been made in New Paltz so far are expected to work with additional effort.

According to UCAT Director of Transportation Bob Di Bella, Ulster County students used public transportation about 30,000 times in 2012, and about 13,000 of those rides were by SUNY New Paltz students.

Guiding Out of the Darkness

Written by John Tappen
Published in the New Paltz Oracle

Photo from oracle.newpaltz.eduCharlene Martoni’s best friend lost  someone to suicide.

“I saw how one person’s suicide can have an affect on others — a ripple effect,” Martoni said.

For three years, Martoni, a fifth-year journalism and education major, has been the chairperson for the SUNY New Paltz Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention.

Martoni said the walk is an event where people can feel safe speaking about suicide — a subject that continues to be stigmatized.

“No one wants to talk about it,” Martoni said.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, following car accidents and addressing this fact is important because “suicide is preventable,” Martoni said.

During her time coordinating the Out of the Darkness Walk, Martoni said she has met neighbors, classmates and co-workers who are suicide survivors and felt comfortable talking about their experience.

The term “suicide survivor” encompasses anyone who has attempted suicide or has had a close friend or relative attempt or commit suicide, Martoni said.

“The biggest problem is getting people to talk about it,” Maria Idoni, Hudson Valley and Westchester chapter area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said.

Idoni said the goal is to make people comfortable speaking about suicide — much in the same way that in the past it was taboo to talk about drunk driving or child abuse.

The Out of The Darkness Walk will raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Idoni estimates that in its first year, the event amassed $6,000.

Martoni said through working with the area AFSP, she “feels a part of a family,” and each year organizing the walk has gotten easier. Martoni said she’s been able to do more with this walk because of her experience from previous years.

At this year’s walk there will be three musical performances, a raffle and guest speakers from the school and from AFSP, Martoni said.

The walk, which will take place on Saturday, April 6 at 1:30 p.m., will begin on Parker Quad.

Martoni said the walk is “slow-paced and calming” and will culminate in a closing ceremony that involves announcing raffle winners, and a reading of names of lost loved ones given by participants at the beginning of the event.

Biodegradable balloons will be released at the end to honor the victims of suicide, Martoni said.

The Hudson Valley and Westchester chapters of the AFSP will host another Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday, May 19 at Clarkstown High School North, Idoni said.

Maple syrup season gets underway in New Paltz

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Watershed Post

Six-year-old Lucas Lemos gets a taste of fresh maple sap at Brook Farm in New Paltz.

New Paltz—Three bundled-up boys huddled in the morning mist to catch drops of sap as it trickled out of a freshly drilled 1-inch deep hole in the bark of an old maple tree. Lucas, 6, licked the sap from his finger and looked up at his father, 39-year-old Luciano Lemos of Riverdale, in shock.

“It tastes a little like syrup,” he said, smiling. “Like watered down syrup.”

A handful of folks from all over New York State traveled to Brook Farm on Saturday, February 23 to take part in a maple sugaring prep-work party. The volunteers scrubbed metal buckets for sap collecting and piled up firewood to be used later for distilling the sap. They also set up maple tree taps on the 20-acre property.

The Brook Farm Project is a nonprofit sustainable farm just west of the village of New Paltz. The farm runs on a community supported agriculture (CSA) model, where members purchase shares of the season’s produce and pick up fresh crops each week from June through November.

But Saturday’s gathering was all about harvesting maple syrup, and it proved to be an opportunity for experiential learning. Creek Iversen, a 46-year-old farmer who recently took over as Brook Farm’s new manager, explained that it takes a lot of maple sap to make just a little bit of syrup.

“From each tree you tap,” Iversen said, “you could get about 10 gallons of sap, which will boil down to just about a quart of syrup.”

Iversen told an old Native American legend that explains why it takes so much effort to make maple syrup. A long time ago, Iversen said, people could lick sap right out of the tree and it would be as sweet and tasty as syrup.

“Since it was so easy,” he continued, “people would sit around all day drinking syrup from the maple trees.”

Legend has it that this behavior angered a spirit, who decided to pour water into the trees to weaken the sap.

Stephen Gilman, 44 of Stone Ridge, said he and his son, 6-year-old Ben, enjoy volunteer activities like this that involve some educational aspect. Gilman is the board president of UlsterCorps, a local nonprofit organization that works to connect people with volunteer opportunities.

Gilman said he and his son have a lot of maple trees on their property, so they were interested in learning something about them.

“We got several great things in one morning,” said Gilman. “We got to learn something, support a CSA farm and do something fun.”

The volunteers were encouraged to sing fun work songs, which Iversen explained were traditional on farms to keep workers’ spirits up and to keep them in rhythm when sawing wood or pulling ropes. He also said that some of the songs were meant to help lumberjacks learn the alphabet.

“A is for axe,” he sang, and he soon came to the chorus. “So merry, so merry are we. There’s no one on earth who’s as merry as we,” he belted.

Below: Creek Iversen teaches a group of Brook Farm volunteers a lumberjack alphabet song. Video by Charlene V. Martoni.

Lily Bergstein, a 16-year-old from New Paltz, has been volunteering at Brook Farm since she was 11 years old. She said she enjoys volunteering at the farm because she likes singing, and she is interested in studying sustainable agriculture when she goes to college.

When it came time to tap the trees, Bergstein grabbed the drill and tried it for herself before returning inside to enjoy fresh homemade applesauce and a potluck lunch with the rest of the volunteers.

Iversen’s partner, 31-year-old Lisa Mitten of New Paltz, said that yesterday’s event is one of many to come. On the second Saturday of each month, the Brook Farm Project will host a volunteer workshop. Upcoming workshops will include a seeding party and a how-to on making natural cleaning supplies. The farm’s calendar can be found at brookfarmproject.wordpress.com.

The maple sugar taps that were installed Saturday will be collected, and the sap will be distilled into syrup on March 10 at a workshop where volunteers will learn how to make maple syrup at home.

Across the Catskills and New York State, syrupmakers are getting ready for Maple Weekend, an annual celebration of the harvest featuring events, syrup-making demonstrations and pancake breakfasts. This year, Maple Weekend will span two weekends: March 16-17 and 23-24. More than 110 New York State maple producers will host open houses similar to the ones at Brook Farm. For more information and a schedule of events, visit mapleweekend.com.

New Paltz students reduce stress by practicing yoga

Video by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

This piece is part of a series that examines how SUNY New Paltz students spend their free time.

Yoga is a popular extracurricular activity at the State University of New York at New Paltz.  The Athletic and Wellness Center on campus offers students free weekly yoga classes, and many students also attend meetings of the school’s Yoga Club.  Whether they are beginners or advanced yogis, SUNY New Paltz students cultivate their yoga interests by joining together to exercise.

The Meaning of Freedom for the Press

Essay by Charlene V. Martoni

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that no government shall make a law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.  A free press is essential to a democratic society because it provides a platform for the discussion of ideas and the exchange of information.  However, there have been circumstances throughout history where attempts to limit freedom of the press were made in order to protect other basic rights or to prevent certain harms.  Continue reading “The Meaning of Freedom for the Press”

The Entertainer

Audio slideshow by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

This piece is part of a series that examines how students find themselves at New Paltz.

Immediately after graduating an Italian high school, Nadia Durigon, 24, decided to follow her lifelong dream and work as an entertainer on a cruise ship. She said working on the ship helped her to meet new people and to experience the world.

Three years later, Durigon decided to attend the University of Urbino in Italy, but eventually she chose to follow another dream and go to America.

Now, Durigon is studying Communications and Media as a foreign exchange student at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She enjoys her weekends traveling around the U.S., and she plans to leave résumés at businesses in New York in hopes of working in America in the future.

Nadia’s journey to New Paltz

Audio clip by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

Listen as Nadia Durigon, 24, tells the story of how she decided to follow her lifelong dream and work as an entertainer on a cruise ship immediately after graduating high school. Three years later, Durigon decided to attend the University of Urbino in Italy, but eventually she chose to follow another dream and go to America. Now, Durigon is studying Communications and Media as a foreign exchange student at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Budding business

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The New Paltz Oracle

New Paltz resident Lynda Saylor strolls The Flower Kart along the sidewalk, pausing for some time on the corner of Plattekill Avenue and Main Street to speak with customers.

Saylor, 45, said she opened the cart in August as an additional source of income when the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center, where she had worked as a nurse for 12 years, began to cut back on overtime.

“I’ve been wanting to do something involved with plants and flowers for a long time,” Saylor said. “My co-workers kind of teased me about this for years.”

Saylor, a single mother, said she considered getting an additional nursing job, but her passion for flowers convinced her otherwise.

“I do make some income,” Saylor said. “But it’s really more about the experience.”

Saylor’s daughter, Trisha, 17, sometimes helps her transport the cart into town, and Saylor’s ex-husband, Michael Saylor, 43, built the cart for her over the summer.

“He built it and I painted it,” Saylor said. “But before I let him build it, I wanted to make sure I could get my permit.”

Saylor said she spoke to businesses in town to find out their thoughts on the potential flower cart. For the most part, she said businesses did not mind.

“When I actually went to the town hall they were very accommodating,” Saylor said. “I think it took two weeks for them to okay it.”

Saylor said she has permission to roll the cart around town, but she usually stays in the sidewalk area outside of Starbucks.

“Sometimes I stroll down to Snugs,” she said, “but people usually end up just coming to me.”

Saylor said she usually has an assortment of 100 roses, some sunflowers and about 20 bouquets made of gerbera daisies and big mums.

“I like my flowers to be shocking,” Saylor said, “and I usually have some sort of cooking herb in a bundle to use for a meal.”

Most of the flowers and arrangements, which cost $3 to $25, come from Alders, a flower wholesaler, and the smaller bouquet flowers are grown in her home garden, Saylor said.

Saylor said she will try to have her flower cart available until the end of October.  She usually brings it into town Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday during the day, weather permitting. She also said she hopes to get her cart back out for Valentine’s Day.

“I really do enjoy it,” Saylor said. “My co-workers always say that it fits my personality to go up and down the streets with a little flower cart.”

Sonnet 2: Dusk ’till Dawn

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Since our awakening,
The circular cycle of day and night
Has been marked by the rise and set of sun
And moon: the presence or absence of light.

We trust what we see, and so we follow
Revolving embers in the sky, but we
Do have four other senses that can grow
And fade with the pattern of stir and sleep.

You can choose to abide by another
Sensation to regulate days and ground
Your routine.  I rotate wake and slumber
Through the sensation and cadence of sounds.

For in mornings I hear tiny birds tweet,
And in evenings, crickets sing me to sleep.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Sonnet 1: Orange Turnpike

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Cars are creatures with no patience,
The way they tend to zip past fast with no
Interest in lives within, no intentions
Toward taking time to see the faces—no.

It’s easy to get locked in speeding cars,
Caught in life’s lonesome traffic.  We rush past
The eyes we should want to pierce through, stare far
Into.  But through this window’s frame, at last,

Lights roll slow over us.  I lay my mind
On the chest of a boy I once loved—now
A man—whose soft, smoke-soaked breath tucks behind
My ear, and whose chin sets upon my brow.

Beneath crisp sheets, in an old attic high
Above the street, we rest as cars drive by.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Heat wave strains power grid, public

Written by Charlene V. Martoni and James O’Rourke
Published in The Journal News

Near-record temperatures led to near-record power consumption Friday as extreme heat drove some to crank their air conditioners and others to seek relief at the county’s cooling centers.

Maria Pollard, a spokeswoman for Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc., said Friday’s demand for electricity was the second highest in company history, topping out around 1,599 megawatts at 4 p.m.  The figure is just shy of the 1,617 megawatts of demand required Aug. 2, 2006.

The anticipated increase in demand drove the company to issue a heat alert Friday morning, but Pollard said O&R’s systems had responded well throughout the day and into the evening.

Continue reading “Heat wave strains power grid, public”

A Light out of the Darkness

Written by Katie Kocijanski
Published in the New Paltz Oracle

The overall goal of the Out of the Darkness campus walk held last Saturday, May 1 was to bring suicide out of the Darkness and into the light. The money raised will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and the third among adolescents between the ages of 17 and 24, said first-year visual arts and graphic design major Lynda Hartley.

“The more that people are aware of such a devastating epidemic the more they can help and prevent,” said Hartley.

Hartley said he believes that the walk has a greater impact then people really think.

“When students see a big procession through campus they are naturally curious as to what is going on,” said Hartley. “Even if we don’t get them all to come to the walk, we can still impact and make them think.”

The Out of the Darkness walks are just a small part of the grand picture. The money they raise goes into research to help the future, said Hartley.

According the AFSP website, the foundation, which was founded in 1987, is one of the leading national, non-profit organizations that uses research, education and advocacy to understand and prevent suicide. The founders of this organization were shocked by the rise in numbers of suicide and felt that it was necessary to take action.

AFSP is working to educate the public through workshops, website, and videos . The website has numerous resources for the general public, schools, colleges and health institutes. The AFSP also plays a large part in the aftermath of suicide. They have support groups for families and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide and workshops on coping with the pain. There are also groups for those who have survived the pain of suicide.

Third-year graphic design major Dennis Yu also participated in the walk. He alone raised around $250. Yu hopes that this walk shows people and locals that there are people who care about those dealing with depression.

“I hope the walk raised awareness for suicide victims and I wish people would take hints of suicide seriously,” said Yu. “If I do not see the signs of a suicidal victim, I want to make myself available for those who are on the verge of taking their life.”

Yu became involved with the cause after speaking with many friends who had become depressed. He believes that by becoming involved with the AFSP, he is able to show people he is here if they need him.

“I believe that you are able to prevent suicide if you see the signs of depression before suicide,” said Yu. “I want to show that anyone can be a victim of suicide and people should care because you cannot gain a life once it’s gone.”

According to the captain of the team for the walk, Charlene Martoni, a total of $1,462 was raised. The people who participated walked in honor of lost loved ones, or were survivors of suicide; there were also people there who were “touched by the ripple-effect that suicide often creates.” Between 20 to 30 walkers participated.

Walkers and volunteers met outside of the Athletic & Wellness Center where registration took place. Food was offered and informational pamphlets were handed out as music played.

Martoni and Nicole Giordano of the Psychological Counseling Center spoke about signs and causes of suicide. Jackie Northaker, who lost her best friend to suicide, shared her experiences as well.

Professionals from OASIS/Haven set up a table to speak with anybody who needed to talk. Participants walked around campus. Upon returning, a raffle took place. Donations came from Barner Books, Manny’s Art Supplies, The Gilded Otter, and Rhineback Artist’s Shoppe. Finally, biodegradable balloons were let go and bubbles were blown in memory of those lost.

For more information or to volunteer visit http://www.afsp.org or http://www.outofthedarkness.org or contact Martoni via e-mail.

Not Your Average Spring Break

Written by Kathy Kim
Published in The Little Rebellion

Photo from thelittlerebellion.comFor 10 SUNY New Paltz students, this past spring break didn’t involve basking in the sun and sipping fruity alcoholic beverages. It instead was a different kind of break, an ‘Alternative Spring Break.’

“This program was for students to stay here in New Paltz to do volunteer work during their spring break,” said Erica Wagner, service-learning coordinator of the Career Resource Center.  “Instead of going to a sunny beach to party or to just go home and having nothing else to do, students had this opportunity to benefit their community.”

During this one week, students developed team building and leadership skills as well as volunteering with New Paltz Youth ProgramRondout Valley Animals for AdoptionHabitat for Humanity and Queen’s Galley Soup Kitchen.

“I think it was important for students to ‘give where you live’,” said Alexandra Saba, second year psychobiology major. “Sometimes people in the community have negative feelings about college students and this was an opportunity to show we aren’t always on our cell phones and that we really do care.”

Students first participated in interactive team building and leadership activities. One game was called the ‘Game of Life,’ where people from the Student Affairs division on campus showed students how stereotyping could keep people down in the working world. Students were given a certain race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and had to deal with the stereotypes involved.

“We normally don’t experience this because we are in college and not really trying to get a job,” said Kara McDermott, fourth year English major.  “It was interesting to see what people could go through, especially if you are dealing with people that are rude and racist.”

Another was Playspent.org, an online game that simulated the life of those in poverty and students had to learn how to distribute money and get through a month of living at the poverty level.

“You lost your house, your job and had only $1000 to make it through the month,” said Pamela Alverez, fourth year production major. “It simulated the feeling really well of trying to survive with all the difficult and different things coming up in life.”

After the interactive games, students cleaned up, swept and painted rooms in the New Paltz Youth Program center. At the Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption, students played with dogs and puppies. Students also demolished and did some restoring construction work for the facility of the Ulster County Habitat for Humanity. They also helped cook and serve lunch/dinner at the Queens Galley Soup Kitchen as well as a collection of goods and money at Shop Rite. They extraordinarily collected $409 and 333 items totaling 399 lbs of food, which was donated to the Queens Galley Soup Kitchen.

Charlene Martoni, third year journalism and secondary education major,walked away with a strong bond with her 10 new friends. They all plan to keep volunteering together in the future.

“The most memorable part was the last day where we reflected on all of the volunteer work we did and how close the group had gotten,” said Martoni. “It was amazing to see how genuine all of our relationships were because they were formed through a challenging experience of volunteer work.”

Martoni believes that volunteering was difficult at times, yet productive, inspirational and memorable. She encourages other students to get out and do the same.

“I think it’s important for students to specifically volunteer because it helps them grow as people while positively affecting their community,” said Martoni. “It’s always good to try new things and what you give will come back to you in some other way.”

Students can learn more about volunteering by making an appointment at the Career Resource Center with Erica M. Wagner. For more information email at wagnere@newpaltz.edu or call the Career Resource Center at (845) 257-3265.

Hasbrouk: A student’s extended family

Written by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in The Little Rebellion

Alton Campbell is a Hasbrouck employee by day, graphic novelist by night. He disguises himself with a blue or orange shirt and matching visor. He quietly serves students salad and refreshes cheese by the panini machines.

When he goes home, he enters a new world—a post-apocalyptic world—where a hero with super-human powers is desperately needed.

“No, really, actual super-human powers,” he said.

Behind every Hasbrouck meal, there is a staff of numerous employees who work to prepare it. Underneath every employee uniform, there is an individual with a unique story. Students may not realize it, but they encounter people like Campbell every day: paintball fanatics, first generation immigrants and motor hobbyists. Continue reading “Hasbrouk: A student’s extended family”