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April 24, 2024

Butterfly Garden

Short 6’’ to 15’’

Ajuga, Armeria, Aster, Ceratostigma, Chrysanthemum, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Gaillardia, Geranium, Heuchera, Iberis, Lavandula, Nepeta, Oenothera, Salvia, Scabiosa, Stokesia, Veronica, Viola

Medium 16’’ to 36’’

Achillea, Agastache, Aquilegia, Asclepias, Caryopteris, Centranthus, Chelone, Crocosmia, Dicentra, Digitalis, Hemerocallis, Leucanthemum, Liatris, Lilium, Lobelia, Lupine, Origanum, Rudbeckia, Sedum

Tall 36’’ and above

Aconitum, Aruncus, Baptisia, Buddleia, Echinacea, Eupatorium, Heliopsis, Helianthus, Hibiscus, Lonicera, Monarda, Phloax, Verbena

April 23, 2024

Vegetable gardening ideas

(Courtesy of Balet Flowers and Design)

Start-up garden

Seeds for planting from late April through mid-May: Spinach, carrots, radishes, beets

Other seed ideas as the soil warms up through May: Lettuce, beans, cucumbers, zucchini/summer squash, winter squash/pumpkins

Read the seed packets for planting depth. Generally cover the seeds with an amount of soil the same diameter of the seed; water just after seeding for optimum germination.

For plants, till or cultivate the garden area, and remove debris. If planting in a container, choose a container large enough for the crop, add compost or fertilizer to potting soil, plant and water as needed. Fertilize every 2-4 weeks.

Buy plants that are already started for quicker growing time. Plant in a sunny location for best production; water and fertilize as needed.

Plants worth buying: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, or any plants you want to get a head start on

April 22, 2024

Growing/companion planting tips

(Courtesy of Balet Flowers and Design)

Companion planting favorites

  • Nasturtium
  • Marigold
  • Calendula
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Mint
  • Summer savory
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

Best practices for containers: Start with a good potting soil mix; fill the container 3/4 of the way up; dig a hole and place the plant in loose soil, then fill soil around the plants; leave a reservoir of a 1/2-inch for smaller pots and up to an inch for larger pots; fertilize, either mixing organic fertilizer into the soil or using a liquid feed.

April 4

It's up to us to protect the environment around us. You can start by helping in this year's I Love My Park Day. 

It' the largest single-day volunteer event in the state, with thousands of volunteers rolling up their sleeves to help clean up parks, beaches, plant trees, gardens, and more. 

This year marks its 10th anniversary. It will be held May 1 and 2. To sign up, visit this website: 

March 31

Volunteers are needed to help with the COVID-19 vaccine administration process in the Hudson Valley.

Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital has put out the call on social media, asking for help at the SUNY Orange and Ulster County Fairgrounds sites. Volunteers are needed for all parts of the process, including check-in and data entry.

To sign up, click this link.

November 19

The U.S. Marine Corps is looking for your help this holiday season to make Christmas special for kids across the Hudson Valley. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the reserve has seen a significant drop in donations to their annual Toys for Tots campaign. Last year they received 80,000 donations. This year, they currently have only 2,000.

If you would like to donate monetarily or bring in a toy for a child this year, you can drop them off at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Toys can be purchased from their Amazon Wishlist here:

December 8

The Dutchess County Transportation Council has launched a study called “Poughkeepsie 9.44.55” — described as a detailed examination of the Route 9/44/55 interchange and the Route 44/55 arterials in Poughkeepsie.

"The Transportation Council is looking at ways these arteries might be redesigned to improve safety, simplify travel, and to better integrate them within the fabric of Poughkeepsie," the council said.

The council has made an interactive mapping tool on the project's website where you can add location-specific comments on a Google-based map. You can visit the website here.

October 31

Due to today's weather forecast, Central Hudson says you should prepare for possible power outages. Here's a link to Central Hudson's outage map.

Some tips they pass along:

  • Charge electronic devices
  • Keep a flashlight handy with fresh batteries
  • Avoid opening a refrigerator unnecessarily during outages

September 16

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide donation drive to help the people of the Bahamas recover and rebuild following Hurricane Dorian. To help with the effort, the governor will work with the Bahamian Consulate to expand the number of drop sites for priority donations of food, dry goods and personal hygiene.

There are no Hudson Valley drop-off sites, but there are a number in New York City:

  • Chisolm State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn
  • Jacob Javits Center, 655 W. 34th Street
  • Jamaica Street Armory, 93-05 168th Street, Queens
  • Roberto Clemente State Park, 301 W Tremont Avenue, Bronx
  • Bahamas House, 231 East 46th Street 
  • Adam Clayton Powell Building, 163 West 125th Street
  • New Covenant Dominion Cathedral, 1175 Boston Road, Bronx
  • New Covenant Dominion Church, 3601 Eastchester Road, Bronx
  • Memorial Presbyterian Church, 189 Babylon Turnpike, Roosevelt
  • United Methodist Church, 125-22 150th Street, South Ozone Park

Needed Post-Hurricane Dorian Relief Supplies:

  • Dry Soups
  • Noodles
  • Crackers
  • Rice
  • Assorted Cookies
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Canned meats
  • Canned fish
  • Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sugar
  • Dry Cereal (assorted)
  • Wipes (individual packages)
  • Diapers (assorted sizes)
  • Baby Milk (can/assorted)
  • Baby Cereal (assorted)
  • PediaSure
  • Ensure
  • Glucerna
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Tissues
  • Paper Towels
  • Insect Repellent Soap
  • Vaseline
  • Bleach
  • Detergent

September 12

The FBI is widening its investigation into MyPayroll HR's sudden shutdown. The bureau says if your business was impacted, please fill out a questionnaire here. Based on the responses provided, they may contact you to provide additional information.

July 18

With temperatures rising rapidly and heat advisories likely throughout the weekend, click on the Department of Health's page to find a list of cooling centers in your area.

March 12

Irish Soda Bread recipe


  • 1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 13 to 16 ounces buttermilk (depending on the consistency of the buttermilk)


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Mix the flours in a large wide bowl; add the salt and sieved baking soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and baking soda.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in all the buttermilk. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl, seconds later, the dough should be made.
  • Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the floured worktop. Fill the bowl with cold water so it will be easy to wash later.
  • Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and transfer to oven tray. Tuck the edges underneath with your hand; gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 1 1/2-inch thick. Now wash and dry your hands.
  • Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘blessing the bread’) and then prick it in the center of the four sections to let the fairies out of the bread.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 degrees for another 15 or 20 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until cooked (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack.

March 7

Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest - Pork Belly Mac & Cheese


  • 1 pound of cooked mini penne or cavatappi pasta
  • 8 slices pancetta, julienned
  • 6 slices sopresatta, julienned
  • 8 slices pepperoni, julienned
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup shredded asiago
  • 2 cup shredded fontina
  • 1 cup shredded fontinella
  • 1/2 cup pecorino
  • 1/4 cup fried panko
  • 8 1/4-inch-thick slices of cooked pork belly


  • Heat oil in a medium sautée pan and add the olive oil, sopressatta, pepperoni and pancetta.
  • Cook until the meats begin to get crisp and strain the fat into a tail pot.
  • Set crisp pork aside.
  • Add butter to the strained fat in the pot and heat until melted.
  • Add shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add flour and make a roux, cooking for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the milk, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, basil, bay leaves, and white pepper.
  • Cook until thickened and the flour taste has cooked out.
  • In a separate pan, season pork belly with salt and pan-sear pork belly until golden on both sides.
  • Turn off heat on the milk sauce and stir in all the cheese until melted.
  • Stir in pasta and serve garnished with fried panko bread crumbs and seared pork belly.

For the pork belly:

  • 4 pounds pork belly
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions for pork belly:

  • Combine sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Rub pork belly all over with salt mixture and place in a Pyrex dish.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and foil and place in a 250-degree oven.
  • Cook for 4 hours.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.