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Northern Dutchess News This Week...

The Northern Dutchess News is a member of the Southern Dutchess News group and is fast becoming a staple in the lives of individuals in communities north and east of Poughkeepsie. Already named an “official newspaper” of Stanfordville and Rhinebeck, it also serves Hyde Park, Red Hook, Tivoli, Milan, Pine Plains, Amenia, Dover, Millbrook, Clinton Corners, Salt Point and Pleasant Valley. The Northern Dutchess News provides coverage of local town, village and school news, the Dutchess County Legislature, county legal notices, obituaries, plus coverage of arts and entertainment, hospitals, 4-H clubs , farming news, businesses and organizations.

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The Town of Milan's Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony will be held SUNDAY, MAY 24, at noon. Hosted by the Town of Milan Veterans’ Committee. Parade steps off next to Camp Taconic, follows Route 199 to Town Hall. Ceremony at Town Hall after parade. Contact: Supervisor Bill Gallagher, (845) 758-5133, ext. 2, or

5/20/15 Highlights of this week's edition...

Memorial Day: Making sure the ‘war dead’ are not forgotten

by jim donick

(Continued from cover) The holiday has lately become partly confused with Veterans Day, which celebrates the service of all military veterans. Memorial Day is to remember those who died in that service.

In this country we don’t ever have far to go to find a cemetery on Memorial Day with flags decorating the graves of veterans and of war dead. There are a lot of war dead who weren’t brought home, though. What of them? After the Korean conflict it became US policy to bring home all remains that could be recovered. Prior to that the fallen were buried near where they fell, and at the end of hostilities they were recovered and either shipped home or reburied in military cemeteries. While 61 percent of the dead from World Wars I and II were returned home at their next-of-kin’s request, almost 40 percent still rest in the lands where they fell.

Responsibility for those graves and for a number of other monuments to the contributions of the American armed forces falls to the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), a small agency within the Executive Branch of the federal government.

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Golden Gals of the Hudson Valley to be honored in Rhinebeck

Super-centenarians (from left) Vera Van Wagner, Anna Mae Swenson and Dorothy Peters enjoy some time together.

by Stacey van den Thoorn

Monday, May 24 marks the day that Vera (Schrauth) Van Wagner, resident of The Community at Brookmeade in Rhinebeck, will become one of only 52 super-centenarians in the world as she celebrates her 111th birthday. A special ceremony will be held in honor of Mrs. Van Wagner along with fellow residents Anna Mae Swenson, who turned 106 last November, and Dorothy Peters, who turned 100 in February.

Vera was born in New York City in 1904. Her father was from New York City and her mother was from Saugerties. Her siblings included her brother Charles and sister Katherine. Her family roots in Poughkeepsie date back to 1854, when grandfather Jacob Schrauth emigrated from Germany and opened a bakery on Main Street. The business expanded to include ice cream and confections and was, according to fellow super-centarian Anna Mae Swenson, a popular spot.

“Everyone went to Schrauth’s,” said Anna Mae. “People from all over Dutchess County would go there.”

Vera attended local schools, and recalled a time in middle school when she had to travel to Newburgh for a home economic-type class which required her to bake a loaf of bread.

“The loaf came out of the oven and it looked so delicious and smelled so nice ... then I went to cut it and sliced my finger. Never got to eat the bread! I still have the scar right here,” Vera said pointing to her finger.

In 1926 Vera was employed by Vassar College in the Information Bureau and Message Center. Vera’s face brightened as she reminisced about her job at Vassar College.

“It was a lovely place to work,” she said with a smile.

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Tale of two champions

Guitarists Muriel Anderson and Helen Avakian will display their winning styles at the Towne Crier.

Fingerstyle Guitar Champions Muriel Anderson (holding a harp guitar) and Helen Avakian will perform at the Towne Crier in Beacon this Friday evening. Photo courtesy Helen Avakian

by Kate Goldsmith

What are the chances of the only two female fingerstyle guitar champions in the world performing on the same bill in Beacon, New York?

Pretty good, as it happens.

Muriel Anderson and Helen Avakian will share the Towne Crier stage this Friday evening, demonstrating why they are among the best of the best. Each will perform a solo set and then join forces for a few tunes.

A longstanding popular presence on the Hudson Valley music scene, Avakian is an accomplished singer-songwriter who was voted No. 1 Favorite Acoustic Act four times by Rhythm and News magazine and has won numerous songwriting awards. Comfortable in a variety of musical settings, for several years she was accompanist for Bard College’s flamenco dance program and taught guitar at Marist College and Dutchess Community College; and has performed classical compositions with longtime partner Terry Champlin.

When she began competing in fingerstyle contests, Avakian took her playing to yet another level.

“When I first tried it [competing] I didn’t know what to expect. There’s some absolutely phenomenal players,” she said. “It became kind of an addiction. It helped me get a lot better, and I met a lot of people.”

In 2013, she finished in the Top 5 at the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship at the Walnut Valley acoustic music festival in Kansas. Last year, she took it to the top, becoming the first woman to win since the competition went international in 2004, and the second since Muriel Anderson won in 1989, when it was called the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship.

Asked how it felt to finally have some company at the top, Anderson said she was proud of Avakian’s accomplishment.

“People cite[d] me as the only woman to win the championship, and I always [said], ‘So far!’” she said.

Doc Watson was Anderson’s first guitar hero. Her guitar teacher, Anne Jones, recommended young Muriel’s parents buy her one of Watson’s album for Christmas.

“I remember running home from school to learn every song from that album,” said Anderson, an Illinois native who now lives in Nashville.

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Also in the May 20-26, 2015 issue:

  • Artist unveils sturgeon sculpture at CIA

“Old Diamondsides” was unveiled on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America on May 13. Photo by Curtis Schmidt

  • Jablonski to square off against Molinaro
  • Summer senior picnic schedule announced
  • Revolutionary War veterans honored in Red Hook
  • County ready to approve low-interest energy loans
  • Barn Star brings excitement to ‘Antiques at Rhinebeck’
  • Extensive coverage of Memorial Day events in the region

In Creative Living:

  • Ron reviews ‘Noble’
  • Love to Cook: Looking at coleslaw in a new light

Slaw on a burger adds crunch and texture. Photo by Vicki Frank Day

  • Get Growing! Volunteers maintain Hyde Park garden designed by Beatrix Farrand

Schools of the Week: Regina Coeli students meet Cardinal Dolan at St. Mary’s in Wappingers

  • If your school has a program you’d like to see featured in School of the Week this session, e-mail and put “School of the Week” in the subject line.


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