Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rensselaer County Dairy Princess and Hoosic Valley student Leah Remington Says Farewell

Princess Leah Remington
I wrote in December, how since being named Rensselaer County Dairy Princess in July, Hoosic Valley High School junior Leah Remington religiously emailed The Record every week with her dairy princess update. Well, the Hoosic Valley High School student's reign is coming to a close. Below is her final missive. We wish her all the best!.

From Princess Leah:

Eighty-five thousand servings, that’s how much dairy the average person should consume during their lifetime. My goal, as Rensselaer County Dairy Princess, was to encourage a bunch of kids to become lifelong dairy consumers.

 During my reign, I’ve had more than 80 newspaper articles published in The Express, Eagle, Pennysaver, Agricultural News, Country Folks, Eastwick Press, Troy Record and Times Union. Each weekly article not only contained a dairy recipe, but a paragraph or two on what I was doing as the Dairy Princess, a dairy update or personal thoughts on my life or life on the farm. I wrote several detailed articles for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Agricultural News. The Times Union also did an extensive interview and article about me and the Dairy Princess program.

I attended more than 75 community events. I proudly contributed to a Wegman’s Cooking Demonstration disaster with Melissa Osgood (ADADC) and State Dairy Princess Katie Brosnan at the State Fair. I spent numerous sweltering, dusty hours in the judging arena, observing kids proudly showing their dairy cows. I’ve explained to students that being the Dairy Princess does not, unfortunately, entitle me to special privileges at Cinderella’s Castle. I hosted, with other Princesses, the banquet at State Fair where Battenkill Dairy won the prestigious award for the highest quality milk in the State. I scooped hundreds of ice cream cones. I can’t recall one event that I attended where I didn’t have a great time.

One of my favorite experiences during this year was visiting ARC’s Brunswick Center Services, a school for the disabled. I explained to the students how to make milk punch and we worked together on the recipe…laughing, visiting and making a mess along the way. They were so excited and happy to have me there and I was just as thrilled to be there. I realized during that visit, that those students stole a little bit of my heart. They gave me something valuable in return. They made me realize that not only do I want to be a teacher, but I would like to major in special education.

We put lots of mileage on, and spent countless hours in, the car. It was worth every minute and every mile. I know many farm businesses are closing and it hits close to home. I can relate to the farmers and the families who have had to sell their cows or even their farms. So many people are so far removed from farming that they don’t realize the farm’s importance to their lives and those of their family.

I have reached out to the young, the old, and everyone in between; to teach them the importance of supporting dairy farming and understanding the effort farmers make to provide them with nature’s most perfect beverage. I’ve tried to instill in them the huge benefits of consuming three servings of dairy every day. I could go on forever about it, but then I’m preaching to the choir…

My reign as Rensselaer County Dairy Princess has come to an end. It has been a busy year and it has gone by fast. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people and made some friends that I can’t imagine my life without.

I want to thank those that supported me since the day I decided to pursue this journey. I have been encouraged by those that have read my articles and taken the time to drop me an email or letter to tell me I was doing a great job, stopped me at an event to tell me that you appreciated my efforts, or invited me to an event where I could spread the dairy message.

As I say goodbye, I’d like to thank the Rensselaer County Dairy Farmers. Without the support of our farmers, there wouldn’t be a Dairy Princess Program. I feel honored and privileged to have served you. You have, what I consider, one of the toughest, most underappreciated jobs in the world. I hope I’ve left a positive mark on your industry.

I am so fortunate to have had this experience; it has helped me become a better person. Not many people can say they are a Princess, but now I can (I’ve got the tiara and pictures to prove it)!

I encourage anyone interested in serving your community and your dairy farmers to consider getting involved in your local Dairy Princess committee. The Dairy Princess program is made possible through the support of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council – the local planning and management organization funded by dairy farmer check-off dollars.
I had many opportunities to teach children, as well as adults, about the importance of milk and dairy products, farming and our dairy farmers.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Empire State College holds grand opening for downtown offices in Troy, N.Y.

There has been some great news this week about investments in Troy: a $2 million project at the Troy Boys and Girls Club; the start of work from another $2 million project - this one repairing the streets, sidewalks and curbs of South Troy; and the grand opening of a downtown branch of Empire State College.

I attended the grand opening of college's new offices at the historic Rice Building at 216 River Street last night. The offices will bring some much-needed foot traffic to the riverfront area.

As an aside ... Visitors to the site will have a birds-eye vista from the third floor to view the demolition this summer of the former city hall across the street and then, at least for awhile until redevelopment occurs, a nice view of the river.

Welcome to downtown Troy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Record's own Lisa Robert-Lewis is honoree at 10th annual tribute to the late Jack Dwyer

The Record's own Lisa Robert-Lewis, editor, is this year's honoree at the 10th annual tribute to the late Jack Dwyer, a former Rensselaer County undersheriff who passed away on Jan. 5, 2001.

The event is 6-9 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at the American Legion, Main Avenue, Wynantskill. Cost is $35 per person; proceeds to Capital District Cancer Resource Foundation. For info/tickets call Nora @ 518-527-1705.

Troy Boys and Girls Club plans $2 million make-over; local businessman Scott Earl offers matching funds

Scott Earl hugs Troy Boys and Girls Club Executive
Director Sharon Smith after meeting with club officials
about a matching gift to completely refurbish the
organization's building in downtown Troy.

In the midst of reports from a local double murder trial and the usual other bad news of the day, it was gratifying to be present yesterday when Scott Earl sat down, reviewed architect plans and cost estimates to completely renovate the Troy Boys and Girls Club in downtown Troy, and opened up his checkbook to offer the club a matching gift to fund the project.

It was an extraordinary gesture by a man who was simply moved to tears on a previous visit by the condition of the club, and the desire to ensure youth have a better facility for generations to come.

The club's board and executive director Sharon Smith now have to set to work to reach out to the community at large to solicit donations to fully fund the estimated $2 million renovation (full disclosure: I am a member of the Troy Boys and Girls Club board). Construction won't be delayed however; Earl, who recently sold a company he founded, County Waste, is providing immediate funds to renovate the first floor this summer while the club's youth are transported daily to its Camp Barker. Phase 1 is expected to be complete by early/mid-September.

This gift was made possible by the board's vice president Dan Crawley, who invited Earl for a club tour earlier this spring.

The timing coincides with an effort by The Record, Camps4Kids, to fund scholarships for youth wishing to attend Camp Baker. The newspaper started Camps4Kids last summer as a spin-off of its long-standing winter Clothe A Child effort. Fundraising for the scholarships begins later this month.

For more on the story, see link 1 and link 2.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

San Francisco Giants bring trophy 'home' to Troy, NY for a visit

Dignitaries at trophy presentation including
The Record sports editor Kevin Moran
(second from left).
The Record launched an online petition late last fall asking readers and fans to sign in hopes of getting the San Francisco Giants - whose origins are in Troy - to bring the trophy "home" for a visit. The Tri-City ValleyCats called upon their major league baseball connections to help bring make it happen; the collaborative effort resulted in a two hour visit by the trophy on Thursday.

For background on Troy's baseball history and the petition, click here.

For Editor Lisa Lewis' blog on the event, click here.

To see a video from the live-streamed coverage, click here.

For video of the trophy event, click here.

For coverage and photos, click here.