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Countywide Head Start Open Enrollment begins in Dutchess

POUGHKEEPSIE (March 24) – Astor Services for Children & Families is pleased to announce open enrollment for the 2015 - 2016 school year for its Early Head Start and Head Start Programs. Early Head Start/Head Start are federal, early childhood programs for low-income families with children 0 – 5 years old. Astor administers these programs in Dutchess County in Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, Millerton, Wingdale, Beacon, Wappingers Falls (Mt. Alvernia) and Hyde Park.

“We have been providing these critical services to children and families since 1978,” says Mary Sontheimer, Assistant Executive Director, Astor’s Early Childhood Programs..  “Our philosophy is deeply rooted in providing quality, comprehensive child care — that is, our Early Childhood Programs not only benefit children, but their entire family.”

Last year, both Early Head Start and Head Start Programs were at 100% capacity. During that period, Head Start served 435 children and 415 families, and the Early Head Start served 208 children and 181 families.

Children in this program are eligible to receive: breakfast and lunch, vision and hearing screenings, mental health services, parent meetings and workshops, family service support and home visits.

For more information or to locate the Early Head Start/Head Start Center nearest you please call (845) 452-4167.  


SUNY New Paltz achieves STARS Silver Rating

NEW PALTZ (March 24) - SUNY New Paltz has joined an exclusive list of fewer than 350 higher education institutions that have earned recognition from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Recently, the College was granted a Silver Rating from the AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

“Filing a report with STARS has been a priority of the Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS),” said Lisa Mitten, campus sustainability coordinator. “Compiling this data gives us a starting point and allows us to track our performance over time and to compare ourselves to other institutions."

To read the STARS report for SUNY New Paltz, including the College's score in each of the rubric’s credit categories, click here.

Over the last decade, the College has undertaken a number of infrastructure improvements and made policy reforms to advance environmental education, research and performance on its campus. The College is a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and in 2010, developed a Campus Sustainability Plan to serve as the blueprint for expanding environmental education and achieving carbon neutrality. In recognition of these advances, the College has been named to Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges” for the last several years in a row.

With more than 650 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. The system is designed to enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions by using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the international campus sustainability community.


Helping your teen get enough sleep

NYACK (March 24) -- Teenagers don't get enough sleep, and the consequences can be harmful, says Nyack Hospital sleep medicine specialist Anita Bhola, M.D. Parents can help their teens understand the importance of good sleep habits, and how to carve out time from their busy schedules to get adequate rest, she says. 

Full details on our Health Page


The bedroom of Ruth Livingston Mills

Staatsburgh State Historic Site opening for the season

STAATSBURG (March 20) - Staatsburgh State Historic Site, also known as Mills Mansion, will open for the season on Thursday, April 16.  Tours will be offered Thursdays through Sundays from 11am to 5pm (last tour begins at 4pm), along with a full roster of special programs including the very popular Downton Abbey-themed tour and the Gilded Age Tea & Talk series.  The 79-room mansion overlooking the Hudson River is in the hamlet of Staatsburg, between Hyde Park and Rhinebeck.  A time capsule of the Gilded Age, Staatsburgh retains its original furnishings and opulent décor.

Staatsburgh was the autumn home of industrialist and philanthropist Ogden Mills and his wife, Ruth Livingston Mills, a prominent figure in New York Society.  The mansion was redesigned by the famous architect Stanford White in 1895 and was decorated in the styles of 17th and 18th century France.  In this lavish setting, Ruth Livingston Mills hosted parties for the elite of Gilded Age Society.  Guests would typically include people such as her cousin, John Jacob Astor, her neighbors Fredrick and Louise Vanderbilt, and her twin daughters’ close friend Alice Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt’s eldest daughter.    

Visitors to Staatsburgh see a remarkable relic of a vanished era.  Still decorated with the Millses’ antique furniture, oriental carpets and art work, the mansion vividly recalls the atmosphere of the Gilded Age.  Visitors learn what it was like to be among Society’s elite, to attend one of Ruth Mills’ exclusive weekend parties, and to be looked after by an army of servants. 

Staatsburgh State Historic Site and the Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park are located on Old Post Road in Staatsburg, off Route 9 between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. The historic site is one of 6 sites and 15 parks administered by the Taconic Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

For more information, call 845-889-8851, or visit Staatsburgh’s websites at, and .


NYC Department of Environmental Protection encourages college students to apply for watershed internships

NEW YORK (March 6) - The New York City Department of Environmental Protection encourageS college students to apply for one of 19 paid summer internships at offices throughout the watershed. Those accepted into the summer internship program will have the chance to work alongside scientists, engineers, planners and other professionals who help run the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States.

“Our summer internship is a great opportunity for college students to explore their field of study by working alongside world-class engineers and scientists who operate and protect New York City’s water supply,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “I encourage college students from around the watershed and state to apply for these excellent internships.”

The intern positions available include summer work associated with upstate water quality laboratories, water quality field operations, engineering, wastewater facilities, community water connections, wildlife biology, natural resources, stormwater management, and science and research. The internships are located at DEP’s offices in Downsville, Hawthorne, Grahamsville, Kingston, Margaretville, Shokan and Valhalla.

The application deadline is April 1. Prospective interns are encouraged to carefully read the qualifications for each job to determine whether they meet the enrollment, GPA, coursework and other requirements.

Information about these internships, including online applications, can be found on the DEP website at:


SLCH will award scholarships to local students demonstrating scholastic achievement and volunteerism

NEWBURGH (February 18) - St. Luke’s Cornwall Health System Foundation will award three scholarships to graduating high school seniors entering an accredited university or community college in the fall of 2015. The annual scholarships will be provided in recognition of scholastic excellence and volunteerism.

The 2015 scholarship opportunities include:

  • Albert M. Berkelhamer Memorial Scholarship: $1,000
    Candidate must have completed 50 hours of volunteer service at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and demonstrate scholastic achievement. This scholarship is made possible through the generosity of family and friends of Albert M. Berkelhamer.
  • Michael L. Pappis, MD Memorial Scholarship: $1,500
    Candidate must plan to pursue a career in the health-related field, demonstrate scholastic achievement, and actively participate in community service and extra-curricular activities. The SLCH Medical Staff and the Pappis Family established a lasting memorial tribute to Dr. Michael Lukas Pappis through the creation of this scholarship fund.
  • St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship: $1,000
    Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school student who is the son/daughter of a St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital employee and/or is an active St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital volunteer. Candidates must plan to pursue a career in a health-related field and demonstrate scholastic achievement. This scholarship made possible by the generosity of the St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital Auxiliary.

The application deadline is April 10, 2015. For more information about these scholarships, or to download the applications, please visit, e-mail Allison Morris at or call (845) 568-2585.


SUNY Orange announces scholarship application deadline

MIDDLETOWN (February 18) - Coming off three successive years in which it has issued a record number of scholarship awards, the SUNY Orange Foundation expects, for the first time ever, to distribute more than $300,000 in scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year, with a healthy chunk of that money earmarked for students who will be entering the College during the Fall 2015 semester.

For those scholarships where recipients are selected by the College, interested students may apply online at the College website ( The application deadline is April 1. Recipients of some available scholarships are selected by representatives of the school district where the scholarship has been established (deadline dates for those scholarships vary and interested students should contact their respective high school’s guidance office for more information).

Available scholarships can be awarded on the basis of academic merit or a combination of academic merit and financial need. To establish financial need, students are required to file the 2015-16 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

To be eligible for SUNY Orange entering scholarships, students must be graduating from high school and planning to enroll full-time in a SUNY Orange degree or certificate program for Fall 2015 semester.

Thanks to the generosity of the late George Shepard, longtime dean of students at the College who left a sizable donation from his estate to support the College’s scholarship fund, SUNY Orange will issue one George Shepard Scholarship to a graduating senior from each of Orange County’s public high schools.


Red Cross teams with Highland High School to teach hands-only CPR

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 16) – For the second consecutive year, in honor of National Heart Month, the American Red Cross has partnered with Highland High School to bring Citizen (Hands-Only) CPR to all of the school’s 600 students.

Full details on our Health Page


Early Learning Junction

Children’s Museum accepted into National Museum Excellence Program

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 27) - The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum has been accepted into the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C. MAP helps museums strengthen governance, plan for the future and embrace best practices for museum operations. It is a one-year technical assistance program designed to help museums attain excellence through a confidential process of self-study and peer review.

“The Children’s Museum is in an exciting time of transformation and growth and we are thrilled to have been accepted into this program,” said Lara Litchfield-Kimber, executive director. “The public knows and loves us for our hands-on exhibits, early education programs, and special events, but there is also very important work going on behind-the-scenes in the areas of governance, finance and administration. Our involvement in MAP will help us review every aspect of the museum and will position the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum as a leader in the field.”

MAP is part of the “Continuum of Excellence” and is administered by the American Alliance of Museums, which has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 18,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, the Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience ─ past, present and future.

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is a destination for families with young children. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am to 5:00pm and Sundays from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is $8.00 per person. Children under 1 year are free. Visit   



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