News + Views

Somers Manor Wine & Food Festival – Tuesday, October 3rd 5:30-8:30pm


THE END OF ALZHEIMER’S STARTS WITH YOU…Come join us as our Somers Manor Walk team raises money to fight to End Alzheimer’s by throwing our 2nd Wine & Food Festival on Tuesday, October 3rd, 5:30pm to 8:30pm. 100% of ticket & raffle proceeds raised at this event will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Local Restaurants will be donating their delicious specialties. We will have 3 tents: Featured Food Tent, Spirits Tent, & Sweets Tent. Check out the attached flyer to see who is participating! This event is open to ALL in the community.

Cost of the Ticket/Donation includes all food & drinks. It is $20 per person. Please visit our fundraiser page to purchase tickets online at Click on the Wine & Food Festival Tickets Tab and follow the instructions from there. You will have to manually enter the amount in the · other amount box – for example: $20 per person for one ticket, $40 for two tickets, $60 for three tickets, $80 for four tickets, etc.

*Raffle Tickets for restaurant gift certificates/gift baskets will be sold at the event.


September 18, 2017 |

Group Decision-Making


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich



Making decisions within a group can often be challenging. When things go well, they can go very well. However, when things go wrong, groups can end up mired in conflict. Some group members may fight for recognition and position, others may be over-critical or disruptive, while still others may sit quietly and not contribute anything to the overall effort. Because of this, groups can often spin out of control and make poor decisions, suggesting that decisions by individuals working on their own is a better approach.

When this happens, it’s easy to see why some throw up their hands in frustration and give up. But when a group works in effective ways, it really works. Groups that function effectively together can outperform individuals and make much better decisions.

But how do you make your group effective? How do you get all members to contribute and inspire one another to great ideas and solutions? One way is to “prepare” the group for success. This is a “tried and true” method, and is applied across the board in most decision-making. Good preparation makes good practice, and good results.

  • Set an agenda that requires interaction. Ask group members to speak of their experience with the meeting topic and how it might contribute to an understanding of the issues and the expected outcomes. Alerting them to the interactive exercise ahead will stir their creative juices.
  • Assemble those who would carry the initiative forward — that is, those who have both the skills and the inclination to contribute to the venture going forward. You’ll begin to see the workings of the team you’ve assembled and form a view of the cohesiveness of the group and any missing links.
  • Ask group members to recommend the talents of those in the room for assignment. Each ought to be given the opportunity to elucidate the special talents of group members. This prepares people for the selfless dedication to the other’s success that best informs teamwork.

The Stepladder Technique

The Stepladder Technique is another useful method for encouraging individual participation in “group decision-making.” This simple tool manages how members enter the decision-making group. It encourages all members to contribute on an individual level before being influenced by others. It results in a wider variety of ideas, prevents people from “hiding” within the group, and it helps people avoid being “stepped on” or overpowered by stronger, louder group members.

How to Use the Tool

The Stepladder Technique has five basic steps:

Step 1: Before getting together as a group, present the task or problem to all members. Give everyone sufficient time to think about what needs to be done and to form their own opinions on how to best accomplish the task or solve the problem.

Step 2: Form a core group of two members. Have them discuss the problem.

Step 3: Add a third group member to the core group. The third member presents ideas to the first two members BEFORE hearing the ideas that have already been discussed. After all three members have laid out their solutions and ideas, they discuss their options together.

Step 4: Repeat the same process by adding a fourth member, and so on, to the group. Allow time for discussion after each additional member has presented his or her ideas.

Step 5: Reach a final decision only after all members have been brought in and presented their ideas.

The Stepladder Technique is similar to the Delphi Method, another tool that’s often used in groups to prevent Groupthink* and to encourage participation. While both tools have the same objective, they differ in a few key ways:

  • In the Delphi Method, an objective facilitator or leader manages the group. In the Stepladder Technique, all members are equal.
  • The Delphi Method keeps members anonymous. The facilitator manages the flow of information, and members may have no idea who else is in the group. The Stepladder Technique involves face-to-face meetings, so everyone knows who the other members are.
  • The Delphi Method is a lengthy process, while the Stepladder Technique is much quicker.
  • The Delphi Method is often used for major decisions that need input from a large number of people. The Stepladder Technique works best with smaller groups that make a wide range of decisions.

Some groups can begin to lose their effectiveness and ability to make quality decisions if they have too many members. Keep your group small — four to six team members — to maximize effectiveness.

The Stepladder Technique is a step-by-step approach to help ensure that all members of a group participate and are heard. The technique allows shy, quiet people to present their ideas before other group members can influence them, and it allows everyone to hear many different viewpoints before reaching a final decision. All of this helps the group make better decisions. The techniques help curb worker ferment and eliminate fainéant members who fear engagement.


*Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group consensus overrides people’s commonsense desire to present alternatives, critique a position, or express an unpopular opinion. This is what happens in the legislatures of most nations, where the unique view of parties divides people in the decision-making process into membership of a common view.

September 15, 2017 |

Quill Pen Writing Workshop at Washington’s Headquarters


Create your own 18th century style letter using a quill pen at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site’s Quill Pen Writing Workshop, Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th, at 2 PM each day. This all-ages workshop uses original documents as a model to assist you in creating your own 18th century style letter using a quill pen, just as General Washington’s aides-de-camp did while headquartered in Newburgh.

The fee is $3.00 per and includes your own quill pen to take home. Reservations are recommended.

While at Washington’s Headquarters for the workshop, take a guided tour of the historic Headquarters and explore the Museum’s exhibits, open 11 AM until 5 PM on Saturday and 1 PM until 5 PM on Sunday.

Call 845-562-1195 for further information and to reserve your spot.

September 14, 2017 |

An Oh-So-Close Miss for Loeb


Slater's Slant







By Chuck Slater


Success and failure are still major parts of the career of Jamie Loeb, the young tennis professional from Ossining. Now 22, the 5-foot, 6-inch athlete with the big forehand and two-handed backhand dropped out of Ossining High for home schooling after a sophomore season in which she won the state scholastic singles title. She wanted to devote full time to a tennis future.

After winning the NCAA individual championship at North Carolina University in 2015, she received a wild-card invitation to the U.S. Open but her own debilitating back injury and a fourth-seeded opponent in the first round added up to a quick exit.

She hasn’t made it back since to the American grand-slam championship which is currently ongoing. But she came close this year — boy, did she ever come close.

Jamie Loeb doesn’t regret her tennis-first decision. (PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMIE LOEB)

To qualify for the main draw, a hopeful for the big event must win three qualifying matches. Loeb won two in late August, routing NaLae Han of Korea, 6-4, 6-2, then outlasting the tough Russian Vera Zvonareva, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4. But, needing just one further win, the day after beating Zvonareva she fell to the talented Floridian, Sachia Vickery, 6-3, 6-4, in a match as tight as the score would indicate. And adding a touch of irony, Vickery had been Loeb’s practice partner for the matches ahead during the week.

“To come so close and not make it, it definitely hurts,” said a downcast Loeb shortly after the match. Counting her loss to Vickery, Loeb’s match record this year is 17-12 despite her hard work, dedication and talent. It is slightly better in doubles, where she has always excelled. She usually comes out first in one pro event a year — not one of the majors, of course.

Loeb’s next play-for-pay effort will start September 11 in Canada. And she now has an additional challenge: Her long-time, New York-based coach Felix Alverado, who has often accompanied her to tournaments, is moving to Florida. He has, however promised to be there for Loeb and she has decided to retain him. Alverado believes in his young athlete more than anyone except perhaps Loeb herself and her devoted family. “She needs to get in the top 100, the top 50,” he has said. “Jamie Loeb hits the ball as well as the girls in the top 20. And she works very hard. She wants it.”

You have to want it a lot. If you are not one of the girls in the top 50, the life of a traveling competitive tennis pro is not an easy one. You must handle your own travel arrangements and meals and do it as economically as possible while being alone in many strange places. In Loeb’s lone tournament victory this year, a $60,000 event back in February in Tasmania, the winner’s share was just $9,000.

But the girl who was introduced to racket sports by brother Jason before she could walk still has that overwhelming love of her sport despite hardships. Does she regret, she was asked, that decision to put tennis first after her sophomore year of high school? “Oh no, definitely not,” she said with the same firmness she hits a forehand.


September 13, 2017 |
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