This week in news: 9/27 – 10/4

This past week has been a relatively normal one on Marist campus. Classes picked up and workloads increased, just as everyone began to find their routine. More and more desks filled up at the library, while the walk there became increasingly more grueling.This week’s weather gave us a small glimpse into the intensity of happenings in the rest of the world. The Red Fox Report focuses that lens on the top news Outside the Marist Bubble this week. Continue reading

Jay Blotcher details his colorful life for Marist students

To say Jay Blotcher has led an interesting life is quite the understatement. Blotcher is the Puerto Rican and Eastern European adopted son of Conservative Jewish parents and is also openly gay. His struggles with both his ethnic and sexual identity were the subject of an enlightening discussion held on Thursday in the Student Center.Jay Blotcher

Blotcher is a writer, publicist and activist for the LGBT community who currently lives in Ulster County with his husband Brook. His work began in New York City during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as an active member of ACT UP, a popular organization dedicated to fighting the epidemic worldwide.

Blotcher’s struggles with his ethnic, religious and sexual identity began in a suburb outside of Boston as the adopted child of two Conservative Jewish parents. As a child, Blotcher dreamed of being white and felt confused by the fact that he did not look like the rest of his family. “Why not be a WASP? Kids liked them more,” he explained during his speech. He also explained that Massachusetts at the time had tough adoption laws, so he was never fully aware of his backstory.  Continue reading

From Marist to the Pros, Where are they now?

Marist College has a unique history with former athletes making the jump to the professional level. As a particularly small Division One program, Marist doesn’t produce a high percentage of athletes to the major sports here in America. The most successful and talked about former Marist College athlete is Rik Smits, who was the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft. Marist has come a long way since then producing a lot of athletes overseas and some currently making an impact in the National Football League.

Two former stand-out Men’s Basketball players, Adam Kemp and Chavaughn Lewis had the opportunity to play in the National Basketball Association’s summer league this past summer. Adam Kemp played for the Detroit Pistons, where the General Manger is former Marist men’s basketball head coach Jeff Bower. Chavaughn Lewis played for the Philadelphia 76ers where assistant coach Eugene Burroughs is a former Marist assistant. Lewis, who also had the chance to play for the Toronto Raptors this summer, is the all-time leading scorer for Marist College. Both Kemp and Lewis will be playing overseas this upcoming season, Kemp in Kazakhstan and Lewis in Lithuania for the BC Juventus team. Adam Kemp played his 2014-2015 season for a team in Macedonia and I was able to catch up with Kemp and Lewis about the summer league and their professional overseas careers as well.

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The fall (and hopefully rise) of the spring concert at Marist College

Spring semester for Marist College students is marked by a variety of events, but one event that receives some of the most attention is the spring concert. Many students are under the impression that the tuition price of Marist has influence on what kind of artist should be performing the spring concert, but this is a wide misconception. There was confusion and disappointment after the last minute performer, the band Bleachers, was announced to be last year’s spring concert. This was deeply reflected in the low attendance rate of approximately 300 students, where typical attendance is approximately 1,000 students.

Past years’ performers of the spring concert include bigger artist names such as the band Goo Goo Dolls and rap artist Big Sean. When the late announcement of the less popular band Bleacher’s performance broke, students were confused and many felt let down. Unfortunately, many students do not understand what factors affect this situation                                                       Continue reading

Student proposes Kappa Sigma charter, Student Government to decide

In a fortified effort to promote brotherhood, Marist senior, Cody Brooks, spearheads the charter of Kappa Sigma (KΣ) Fraternity to his school’s Poughkeepsie campus.

Kappa Sigma, founded in 1869 at the University of Virginia, boasts the largest membership of any college social fraternity with over 230,000 living members throughout the United States and Canada.

Kappa Sigma's official crest

Kappa Sigma’s official crest

“My dad was a brother of Kappa Sigma at University of Central Florida when he was in school, so I thought I would carry on the tradition,” Brooks said. Previously a rower with a lack of time as his biggest deterrent, Brooks is optimizing his first free fall semester since freshman year.

Beginning a chapter, however, is not an immediate pronouncement. Particularly at a private college like Marist, where Greek life must first be applied for an assessed as a club, Brooks is in the early stages of a three-tiered, judicial process.
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A haunt for halloween

Many have come to associate October as the month of Halloween. The beloved holiday falls on October 31st and the weeks leading up to it have often been dedicated to finding the perfect costume, partaking in other fall activities such as apple and pumpkin picking, but, perhaps most importantly, haunted houses.

The Hudson Valley is well known throughout the nation as one of the haunt capitals of the United States. Aside from the well-known Headless Horseman Hayride, there is another attraction in nearby Wappinger’s Falls that people may not have heard of. Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion provides a variety of frights that many may not be expecting.

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As weather drops so do sales for Mancini

Mario Mancini, the longtime owner and manager of A&S Pork Store and Fine Foods, isn’t the only one who doesn’t cheer for the weather to turn cold. However, his reason is a little different than most.

During the dog days of summer and even during the warm months of spring, Mancini often finds himself working his busiest and longest hours of the year. The scheduled store hours are from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M, but when business is booming, the hours that Mancini finds himself at the store more closely resemble 8 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. The store is open seven days a week with Mancini rarely taking a day off.

“The weather unsurprisingly plays a role in our sales,” Mancini said. “When the weather is beautiful, the line seems to be out the door routinely.”

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Local farmers thrive in spite of drought

In the last two months out here in the Hudson Valley, it seems like we have not seen the rain in forever.

The ground over at Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Jct., NY

The ground over at Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction

While the drought out here does not appear to be as abysmal as in California, it has still been a burden for many, namely farmers. We reached out to local farmers in the area to see if they could weigh in on this recent weather phenomenon, and while all of them seem to be keeping their crops alive in spite of the lack of rain, most admit that (to quote Luke Bryan) rain is a good thing.

Many farmers are irrigating their land using various methods to keep their regular crops alive. Beth Dykeman, who runs Dykeman Farm in Pawling along with her husband Wright, describes how they irrigated their land every month this year using irrigating ponds that were installed by Wright’s father. “They help because you don’t have to worry about wells,” she explains. She added that she leaves all the irrigating to her husband, who typically starts around 6:00 a.m. and goes until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.

Amongst the many kinds of crops that are grown at Dykeman Farm, the sweet corn appears to be getting the most tender, loving care according to the farm co-owner. “It gets watered four times a day!” she exclaims. She doesn’t believe that the crops turn out any differently because of the irrigation, but “rain does a much better job than we can at irrigating. You have to irrigate or your production is going to be down.”

Norman Grieg, owner of Grieg Farm in Red Hook, says of irrigation methods: “It’s effective, [but] it’s just a slower way to get water on the ground.”

Ray McEnroe, who runs the McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton alongside his brother Eric, uses an overhead wheel for the purposes of irrigation on his farmland, but says that the “lack of rain has certainly affected [the farm’s] crops.” “I don’t plan on growing things much larger than September 20,” he claims.

Over at Tantillo’s Farm in Gardiner, co-owner Beverly Tantillo has not had the best luck with her farm’s irrigation system. “Our irrigation system needs work,” she claims matter-of-factly. “Our veggies and apples need the most work.” Still, business has not slowed down one bit at this farm. “We sell out by morning [each day], no problem,” she says. “We have been extremely busy lately.”

In fact, business has generally been great across the board for each of the local farms out here in the Hudson Valley. Many farmers do not believe that the drought has affected the sale of their products, even though it has clearly affected production.

Jay Armour of Four Winds Farm in Gardiner believes that while the record heat this year did not cause a downturn in business for their products, he says that it is a far cry from when the farm had their best business year last year, calling it “an exceptional year.” He chalks that up to the fact that last year’s summer was far milder than most, which allowed for more people to come out to buy some of the products being sold each weekend since the temperature “never really got up to the 90s.”

During Cody Creek Farm’s first year on the farmer’s market circuit, farmers have been feeling the pressure to churn out sufficient supply as a drought-fueled summer season comes to a close. “We have been using overhead sprinklers so far,” says Vivian Beatrice, who’s new to the farm. “We’re looking to get a drip installed at some point, but that might not come into play until next year.”

Still, Beatrice is thankful that what has been happening out in the Hudson Valley is nothing like the extreme drought in California. “I’m not sure if you know what’s going on in California,” she remarks, “but there is no real mechanism for checking irrigation in California. People there are relying on fracking water to grow their crops and there are no real background checks to see what’s in the water.”

The farmers out in the Hudson Valley continue to hold on, thankful that summer is coming to end and grateful that the area does not have it as badly as out west.

Rain: a movie theater’s best friend

“The weather plays a very important role in our business.”

Not something you hear every day, but for Thomas O’Connell, manager of Showtime Cinemas in Newburgh, it certainly makes sense. O’Connell has been working as a manager at the theater for nearly four years, and says that over the course of his time working there, he has noticed that the weather has a direct iqmpact on the amount of ticket sales. “Rain is one of the biggest factors when it comes to how many people come to the movie theater,” O’Connell stated. “It gives people something to do, to get out them of the house for a few hours.”

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Johnson’s shifts focus as winter approaches

Johnson’s farmers market in Medford, New Jersey is hoping to keep up the summer weather and business as long as possible. Nearing the end of September the weather is starting to move away from sunny summer days and more towards chilly winter days. Over the past years Johnson’s farmers market has come up with different events coinciding with the weather not necessarily surrounding just crops and food. “Apple picking and Pumpkin picking tend to wrap up around the end of October and we switch to the more of the cold weather products,” said employee Jessica Deihm. Johnson’s turns away from apple and pumpkin picking to switch to products like popcorn, sweet potatoes, Broccoli, and Cauliflower.

Besides the crops, Johnson’s continues to have hayrides through the end of November which is extremely successful around the time of Halloween. “I bring my kids here every chance I can approaching Halloween to pick pumpkins and carve them for decoration,” said Bernadette Pastore. Johnson’s faces the tough winters of Southern New Jersey which have recently been much more harsh than normal. The events at the end of October begin to be geared towards Holiday motivated events such as the correlation of pumpkins to Halloween as well as haunted hay rides. In December, kids have a chance to meet with Santa, gingerbread man and cookie decorating as well as marshmallow roasting and a Christmas Light Show Hayride. Continue reading