Maybe before the mailman slid the January 2014 issue of Hudson Valley magazine into the mailbox he looked at the cover. If he did, he?d have seen a stack of pancakes highlighting the magazine's breakfast feature. Maybe he raised his eyebrows?intrigued?and checked around to see if he was being watched as he flipped to the story to explore.
For the last 40 years, each issue of Hudson Valley magazine has delved into the area?s newest restaurants, shops, entertainment, and travel destinations. The editorial staff prides itself on digging deep to find the most compelling content and creating polished, sophisticated copy on local trends and issues. Some months, articles might include a Best Of list to give readers a quick taste-making guide to the hottest spots. Other months, it might include a page-turning profile of a local actor, chef, architect, artist, or Sasquatch.
Situated on the west end of Trolley Square, The Delaware Center of Horticulture unfurls as a fragrant oasis for plant life amid the urban bustle of Wilmington. The colorful gardens frame the DCH depression-era main building, which houses an art gallery and regular workshops for local green thumbs. Since 1977, the cooperative efforts of philanthropic earthworms and volunteers have driven the nonprofit organization's plethora of public works and outreach efforts designed to enrich the existence of humans through the power of plant life. One such initiative, the Parks and Public Spaces program, has introduced rich greenery to pavement-laden private and public urban landscapes throughout the state.
Boasting one of the area’s only master goldsmiths, Stephen’s Jewelers crams its displays with everything from watchstraps and batteries ($30–$60) to fine gold, silver, and platinum finery, as well as custom-designed pieces. The knowledgeable staff can help shoppers find something to cover naked appendages and pet bonsai trees in the boutique's selection of sterling-silver rings and pendants by Lilly Barrack, Sherry Tinsman, and Pam Ingersall ($75–$150). Custom rings, pendants, and other jewelry crafted in-house run the gamut from engagement-worthy bling to diamond-encrusted eye confections ($200+).
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Forever Clean owner Raylene Ewing, who's worked in the cleaning industry for 16 years, still channels her degrees in criminal justice and psychology to make savvy business decisions. She hires fully bonded and insured housekeepers to scour homes from top to bottom, sending the same employees on repeat visits to increase familiarity with the home. By heeding common complaints about other companies, she has also developed a reliable system for leaving each room spotless, which includes hand washing all the hard floors instead of simply lighting them on fire.
The staff members can purge private residences, apartments, and offices of grime. They strive to accommodate homeowners by providing detailed estimates over the phone, even after traditional business hours, and do not charge additional fees for homes with pets.
Founded in 1998, Operation Warm distributes winter coats to children across America, protecting their health and safety as well as buoying their spirits. We spoke to executive director Rich Lalley about the organization?s history, mission, and accomplishments.
After reading a newspaper story about children waiting at a bus stop on a cold February day just a mile from his home, retired businessman Dick Sanford was "outraged," Lalley said. "He couldn't understand how children in his community could be without coats. He went to a department store and bought all 58 children's coats in stock" and distributed them through a school, whose superintendent he knew from the Rotary Club. "Dick was blown away by the reaction of the kids and reaction of the parents."
Why a New Coat Means More Than Comfort
"Our motto is 'more than a coat,' and I like to say we bring happiness and warmth to children through a new winter coat," Lalley said. "When they get a brand-new winter coat all their own, it's like Christmas day. You will hear stories of a girl who wears the coat to bed for three weeks, the boy who wants to wear it into April. It's oftentimes the first new piece of clothing the children have received in their lives. They feel better about themselves, and when they feel better about themselves, children perform better in school."
"This Coat Was Made Just for You"
"One of the first coat distributions I was on was at a little afterschool program in [Chicago?s] Rogers Park. A Rotary Club near Rogers Park provides a great deal of support to this little afterschool program called Family Matters. One of the little girls looked at me and said, 'Thank you for the coat. When do I have to give it back?' And we said she could keep it. That's why all our coats have the label 'this coat was made just for you' sewn inside and kids can write their names on it."
Kid-Friendly Coats Made in the United States
Operation Warm distributes hundreds of thousands of new coats around the country each year?so many that it contracts with factories to make coats specifically for it. The organization's coats are brightly colored and have extra-deep pockets and detachable hoods, and they come in sizes 3T to adult large. Although domestic manufacturing tends to be expensive, Lalley says 20% of its coats (about 60,000) are made in a union factory in the United States.