News + Views

Greene Means Go! Go! Go! for Kennedy Catholic High Star Athlete



One of the drawbacks of John F. Kennedy High’s athletic switch to the Catholic League this school year is that the followers of Section 1 sports miss seeing some fine players.

Players like Leah Greene, the JFK senior who led its championship soccer team in scoring and does an outstanding job point-guarding its winning basketball team.

Of course, don’t blink or you might miss her.  She’s that fast.

Even before people tell you how nice she is, how smart she is, and how incredibly athletic she is, they tell you how fast she is.

“She’s very, very fast,” says Kennedy soccer coach Brent Tieber. (more…)

January 9, 2014 |

Poughkeepsie’s Scott Westgate Honored as Eastern New York’s Boys Recreational Soccer Coach of the Year

Scott Westgate

Scott Westgate

The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that Scott Westgate of the Town of Poughkeepsie Soccer Club, a longtime member of the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL), is being honored as our 2016 Boys Recreational Coach of the Year and he will receive his award at Eastern New York’s Holiday Party on Sunday, December 4 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.

Team parent Rheam Deans wrote, “I can’t say enough good things about him. We have a very culturally diverse team with parents who struggle with English, and several students with medical and physical limitations, and Coach Westgate not only accommodates the environment for them, but he also emphasizes their abilities while drawing out their very best and empowering the kids with special needs. He also shows interest and cultural sensitivity to students of diverse backgrounds and is incredibly respectful. Coach Westgate is the best role model my son Aiden could have. Not only does he set a perfect example for the students regarding sportsmanship, he is a perfect example of good citizenship, respect and cultural appreciation.“

“In addition, my incredibly shy and self-conscience son, who didn’t speak in public until he was six years old because of an articulation delay, is really blossoming and is obsessed with soccer, wearing only soccer-related paraphernalia every single day. He has grown exponentially as an outstanding soccer player both in skill and technique, but what pleases me more is how he has grown as a kind, understanding and appreciative human being. I am so honored, proud and grateful that Aiden has the best possible coach, who is one in a million.“

Congratulations to Scott Westgate, the 2016 Boys Recreational Coach of the Year in Eastern New York.

With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.

September 29, 2016 |

Easter Egg Dye — The Natural Way

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Our children grew up on the stories and customs shared by my husband’s parents.  Born in Europe, they brought with them a world of wonderful customs that our children looked forward to each holiday and on special occasions. Holiday times were more special in my in-law’s childhoods because it broke the rigorous farm work routine, giving children something special to look forward to.

“We were happy and excited over receiving even the smallest treat or presents at holiday times,” grandma related. There were no stores where one could buy packaged dyes, so her family colored eggs with the ingredients available on hand.  This was one of the traditions introduced to our children when our firstborn was about five years old.  By this age, a child can help prepare the ingredients and fully participate in the process.

There are no exact measurements for dying eggs the natural way.  We experimented to see which shades of color we liked best.  Each batch of eggs is boiled separately—typically six to a batch.  As they are boiling, in some cases, the ingredients are added to the water.

Onion skins are used for one color.  Remove the outside, brown skins from a three-pound bag of onions, using all the skins. Put enough water in the pot to cover the eggs, and then add the skins.  The egg color will be tan. Celery or carrot top greens produce pale yellow eggs when placed in the water while the eggs are cooking.  For lavender eggs, soak hard-boiled eggs in a cup of grape juice. Blue eggs are made by gently rolling the hard-cooked eggs in a bowl of mashed blueberries.  Grandma used “fresh blueberries from the farm,” but we used a small bag of frozen ones.  We created a light pink by soaking the cooked eggs for twenty minutes in a mixture of crushed cranberries.

When the dying is finished, place the colored eggs in a natural straw-woven basket filled with “bunny grass.”  If Easter falls later in the year, we often try to use real garden grass.

When I think about it, this family custom has really found its place in our time now. Instead of being “old fashioned,” grandma’s customs have actually become “trendy.” With everything “getting back to nature and away from chemicals,” we were perhaps even ahead of our time, proving everything does go full cycle.



March 23, 2016 |

Moscato Cheese Spread Party Dip


Moscato Cheese Spread Dip
Just A Pinch Recipe Column

Guaranteed Party Favorite, Moscato Cheese Spread
By Janet Tharpe

Start the holiday season off right by making Michelle Koletar/Mertz’s Moscato Cheese Spread for your next gathering. The gorgonzola cheese really gets your attention, and the tasty wine keeps you coming back for more! Serve this along side crackers and you have a guaranteed crowd pleaser. (more…)

December 11, 2013 |

Flavorful Sides for the Win


In Good Taste








(Family Features) Much like a star quarterback, grilled foods get all the glory when it comes to tailgating, but the often overlooked side dishes are the supporting players that help drive your menu to victory.

Whether you’re tailgating in the parking lot or hosting a “homegate” in the backyard, plan a well-rounded menu with a wide range of sides. To be sure your sides and apps get the play time they deserve, rely on bold flavors that keep guests coming back for more. These tips from the makers of Tabasco Sauce will help create a flavor-rich spread that makes you the fan favorite.

* Stay ahead of the game. Plan ahead by prepping appetizers and chilling drinks beforehand. This allows plenty of time for the ingredients to blend and develop perfect crowd-pleasing flavors.

* Change up your lineup. Upgrade traditional tailgate fare with healthier and tastier versions. This Cajun Country Caviar is a delicious take on a tasty tailgate dip that incorporates protein and fresh, seasonal vegetables. Then take it up a notch with some Tabasco Original Red Sauce to make sure it’s the MVP of the party.

* Make a pass on budget, not flavor. Inexpensive cuts of meat, such as drumsticks, flank steak and brisket, can make for delicious football fare. Be sure to season well and offer variety of flavor combinations to really impress.

* Give veggies some play time. Skip the side salad and throw your favorite veggies, such as corn, zucchini and lettuce, on the grill. The uniquely smoky flavors from the grill can transform everyday basics into applause-worthy apps in minutes.

For more ideas to heat up your menu, visit

Cajun Country Caviar
Created by Jessica Koslow of Sqirl in Los Angeles

For black-eyed peas:                         12785
2     cans black-eyed peas, drained
1     teaspoon chives, thinly chopped
1/4     cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3     cup lime juice
1/4     cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2     teaspoon salt
1/2     teaspoon Tabasco Original Red Sauce
1/2     cup carrot, thinly shaved
2     tablespoons radish

For avocado:
2     avocados
1/2     teaspoon salt
3     limes, juiced
1/2     cup cilantro

In large mixing bowl, combine black-eyed peas, chives, parsley, lime juice, olive oil, salt and Tabasco Sauce. Add additional salt and lime juice to taste.

Using knife, slice off tops of carrots on bias. Using mandolin, shave thinly from top to bottom; place in ice bath for 5 minutes. Remove and place on towel to dry for 5 minutes; add to bowl.

Using mandolin, shave radishes thinly; place in ice bath for 5 minutes. Remove and place on towel to dry for 5 minutes; add to bowl.

Slice avocado from tip to tail to open; secure pit, twist and remove. Score each side vertically 3 times and horizontally 4 times. Using a spoon, remove avocado from rind and add to blender.  Add salt, lime juice and cilantro; blend until smooth.

On large serving platter or in wide bowl, spread avocado mixture in wide, thick circle. Pile black-eyed peas mixture high in center. Serve with corn chips.

Source: Tabasco

August 19, 2015 |

Stay Young at Heart (and in Body and Mind)


To Your Health






(Family Features) When joints ache and you don’t move as fast as you used to, it may seem that growing old is anything but graceful. While you can’t stop the hands of time, there are ways you can keep your physical and mental well-being in tip-top shape for years to come.13505_aPO

Even if you’ve spent a lifetime practicing healthy habits, your senior years are no time to allow those practices to fall to the wayside. On the other hand, if you put off quality self-care for later in life, rely on your experience and maturity to know that taking care of yourself is as important as, well, life itself.

Eat balanced meals. It’s never too late to begin paying more attention to what you eat. Seniors may be prone to poor eating habits for the sake of convenience or because it’s not as much fun cooking for one or two when you once had a full house to feed. Actually, as you age, keeping your weight in check and continuing to fuel your body with essential nutrients is more important than ever.

Keep moving. It’s true that aches and pains may keep you from being as spry as you once were, but limiting your movement can actually create a snowball effect that results in even less mobility over time. Muscles that aren’t used regularly can weaken and restrict your movement even more, so work with your physician to determine an appropriate amount of activity for your condition.

Mind your mind. When you’re in the workforce, or while you’re tending to the needs of a growing family, you rely on your brain to power through, probably without even thinking about it. Yet over time, most people experience some degree of cognitive deterioration, partially from basic biology and partially from lack of “exercising” that vital muscle. Keep your mind sharp by communicating regularly with your family and friends, and seek out activities that put your brain to use, such as crossword puzzles or word games.

Be a social butterfly. A common lament of middle-age is the lack of time to nurture friendships. With an empty nest and an open calendar, there’s no time like the present to strengthen long-term bonds or seek out new companions who share life experiences and a desire to age with grace. Close connections with friends and family members will not only boost your emotional well-being, they can ensure there are others watching out for you on a regular basis.

Do as you’re told. When you’re younger, skipping an annual checkup here and there seems like no big deal. As you age, those regular assessments are more important. They serve an important role in identifying potential issues and introducing treatments before big problems arise. Honor your regular medical appointments and heed the advice you’re given – including taking any medicines as prescribed.

Find more tips for living healthy as you age at

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription Costs 
For 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, the New Year means any new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans, or any changes to your existing plans, take effect. If you signed up for coverage, it’s important to understand how your prescription drug costs may be affected.

13505_bPOEven if you did nothing to alter your coverage, some features of your plan may have changed for 2017.

A survey by Walgreens shows that even though prescription drug costs are among the top concerns for Medicare beneficiaries, approximately one out of every five beneficiaries lacks a good understanding of their insurance plan. Roughly the same percentage falsely believes that all pharmacies charge the same copay and one-third of respondents didn’t know they can switch pharmacies at any time, including outside of the annual enrollment period. To make the most of your benefits and find potential cost savings for your prescription medications under your Part D coverage, here are three easy steps to get started:

Use a less expensive brand or generic. The brand-name drug your doctor prescribed can do wonders for your symptoms but be worrisome for your budget. Many brand-name drugs have generic or other brand substitutes. First, make sure your doctor considers generic options. If those options aren’t available, there may be lower-cost brand-name drugs used to treat the same condition. Ask your pharmacist if you have that option then talk with your doctor to see if switching brands makes sense in your situation.

Verify whether your plan has a preferred pharmacy network. Many prescription drug plans have a preferred pharmacy (preferred cost share) network where you can pay a lower out-of-pocket copay for the exact same drug. Walgreens is in the preferred pharmacy network for many of the largest Medicare sponsors and, effective January 2017, offers copays as low as $0 on generic medications for select plans. Filling a generic medication at a non-preferred pharmacy could cost you $3, $5 or even $10 for the same drug.

Seek Medicare’s Extra Help program and other ways to save. Medicare offers an Extra Help program to help people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug program costs, like premiums, deductibles and coinsurance. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your insurance coverage, which may cover non-prescription items, like vaccinations and certain over-the-counter medications.

Medicare beneficiaries seeking help navigating prescription drug costs can find additional resources and a list of Medicare plan sponsors at

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

February 1, 2017 |

Mike Risko Music Announces Fall Musical Theater Class, Disney’s The Lion King KIDS!


WHAT:    Singers, actors,  and musical theater enthusiasts in grades 1 through 9 can register for Mike Risko Music School’s fall 2016 musical theater production, Disney’s Lion King KIDS, and kids ages 4 and 5 can participate in the junior chorus. Costumes and props along with multiple community performances at the end of the session will make this an exciting learning experience for kids who are interested in musical theater. The cast will be able to participate in set design and other aspects of the production. The show is 45 minutes long and in addition to being part of a show, participants get to have some instruction in musical theater and voice. Limited spots are available.

With rehearsals one or two evenings per week and occasional weekends, this program is designed so that it will not conflict with after school activities, enabling busy kids to be a part of a big production and still participate in their many other fall commitments.

For kids ages 4-5, the junior chorus is designed to incorporate younger singers into the show by teaching ensemble songs and minimal stage direction. This junior chorus will meet on Mondays at 5:30 or Wednesday’s at 6pm for 30 minutes.

Mike Risko Music also offers private lessons on guitar, bass, drums, piano, strings, brass and woodwinds; musical instrument rentals for school music programs, Rock Band Groups for kids and adults, and group piano and orchestra bootcamp. Classes start up again in September.  Call Mike Risko Music at 914-762-8757 for more information and to register.

WHEN:    Rehearsals begin September 6 and run through mid-December. There will be two performances – on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11.

REGISTER:    For more information and to register, call 914-762-8757 or visit

WHERE:    Mike Risko Music
144 Croton Avenue
Ossining, NY 10562

August 15, 2016 |
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