Lydia Lawrence Ratcliff: October 12, 1933 – February 14, 2018

Lydia Ratcliff, by all standards, was a driven woman, well ahead of her time. Born and raised in the Captain John’s House in Snedens by her parents John D. Ratcliff and Marie-Françoise Tonetti, Lydia’s first exposure to farm animals was attending to several goats owned by her mother. Graduating from the Palisades Grammar School, Lydia attended Nyack High School for two years. Thereafter, she enrolled at the newly founded Putney School, an alternative, co-educational school in Putney, Vermont. Early educational programs at Putney not only included core subjects, but also required students to actively participate in running the farm owned by the school. It was this early exposure to farming that eventually led Lydia to her second career.

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Neil Balm and The Trumpet

Neil has been described as a virtuoso. He is principle trumpet for the New York Pops and the Mostly Mozart Festival and co-principle trumpet for the New York City Ballet. He made his solo debut at the Kennedy Center in 1991 and has been a soloist on “Live From Lincoln Center.” He plays for Broadway shows, the opera, big band and with chamber music groups. He records for television, radio, commercials, major motion pictures and with numerous ensembles. He even played rock for Peter Frampton in 1979 in front of 60,000 screaming fans.

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The House that Palisades Restored: A Love Story

It started out as a quest to find a new home in the country. Hiroko and Keizo Tsukada were living in a condo in Jersey City with their three-year-old retired Greyhound racing dog, Gavin. When Gavin broke an ankle and had to be carried up and down flights of stairs, the idea of a home with a backyard was alluring.

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In Memoriam: Carol Elevitch, 1928 - 2018

Carol Lee Kageff grew up in Detroit, Michigan with her parents Bertram and Charlotte and younger brother Burt. She graduated high school Valedictorian in 1946 and went on to earn her B.A. at Wayne State University and M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Michigan, winning a Hopwood Graduate Short Fiction Award for her novelette The Hovering Gulls. In early 1956 she met Morton Elevitch, also a University of Michigan English grad student/writer. By August they were married.

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Faye Fleming: An Artist Of Her Own

When Faye Fleming drove down Washington Spring Road that day six years ago, she knew she’d found home. A perfect place, she said, to garden, raise chickens and write novels. This is something coming from a woman who has lived and worked all over the globe in the fast paced, glamorous world of art.

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Allie Rosenwasser married

On October 7th, a beautiful Indian summer day, we celebrated the marriage of our daughter Alexandra to Jacob Klein of Baltimore, Maryland. Allie, who wanted to be married at home on Ludlow Lane, asked that the ceremony be held in front of the majestic Magnolia grandiflora, which was planted to commemorate her birth. The wedding party of nine groomsmen and nine bridesmaids was family and close friends. Katie, Allie’s sister, stood as maid of honor; Jake’s best man was his brother Sam. Cantor Tracey Scher of Larchmont Temple officiated the vows.

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THOMAS JOSEPH WENTLAND, 1949-2017

Thomas Joseph Wentland passed away October 17 at the Bronx VA hospital. He was born to Cyril F. Wentland and Pauline E. Sawinski at Nyack Hospital on July 28, 1949. He was a life long resident of Rockland County, having lived in Camp Shanks, Nanuet and Palisades. He attended Nanuet public schools and graduated in 1967. Tommy was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Germany and Vietnam with the artillery unit from 1969-1971.

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Sand

David Wolk will tell you that he doesn’t believe in all his own opinions, but in this case, his excitement about his new collection of photographs is shared by people in a position to know. “I will never walk on sand the same way again,” they say. And now he has blown the whole thing up.

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Cemetery Stories

Our historic Palisades Cemetery is a beautiful place, and I have learned some fascinating stories about its residents. If you haven’t yet visited it, open the gate one day and take a look around. Everyone is welcome. One of the most poignant recorded events is the death of ten-year-old Sarah Pennoyre. On October 11, 1836, Sarah, whose family lived in New York City, was visiting her grandmother Betsy Scudder in Piermont. The Palisades diarist Nicholas Gesner, who was Betsy Scudder’s brother-in-law, recorded what happened. “A Terrible Accident — one of Cooks boys with a pistol to Day (Afternoon) shot Pennoyres young Daughter in the Side, was at her grand Mothers New Landing — the poor Girl said she would die, requested her Grand Mother to pray for her and others, but none could pray. Garret Onderdonk was sent for, talked with her and prayed." She died that night.

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Palisadian Tony Vero Helps Out in Puerto Rico

On September 29, one week after hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, while power was still out over most of the island and many people were still lacking food, water and shelter, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey sent a team of 75 men and two women, comprised mostly of airport maintenance workers, to San Juan International Airport, at the request of Governor Cuomo. Their job was to help restore the infrastructure at the airport and at the port itself. Tony Vero, who lives on Horne Tooke Road, was one of three airport managers who led this group of plumbers, electricians, roofers, air conditioner mechanics and other construction specialists, and answered a call for volunteers to help in Puerto Rico’s dire situation.

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In Memorium: William Anthony Gerard January 4, 1954 – April 21, 2017

William Anthony Gerard, called Tony by friends and family, lived in Palisades his entire life. Throughout his 63 years, Tony Gerard lived life his own way, with a driving force that impressed everyone who knew him.

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In Memorium: Judy Tomkins October 17, 1926 – May 19, 2017

How Judy Tomkins came to live in Palisades is worth repeating. When a teenager living in Nyack with her mother, she was invited to go trick-or-treating with her friend Caroline Lalire, nee Abel, who lived on HeyHoe Woods Road. On Hallowe’en, the two girls walked down Washington Spring Road and crept around to the back of the Joshua Martin House where the young architect Rex Allen lived with his mother. They peered through the dining room window to see Mrs. Allen seated at the piano, dressed in a long black gown. She rose suddenly from the bench and turned slowly and stiffly toward the girls, who panicked and ran screaming back up the road. Once at a safe distance, Judy said to her friend, “One day I will live in that house.”

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Don Bracken: A Path Now Taken

“In 2006, I was challenged by a friend to computer-plot the 384 major battles of the Civil War,” Don Bracken relates. “At the time, I knew nothing about computers nor the Civil War but I accepted the challenge and learned a lot about both.”

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Cristina Biaggi: in Her Own Write

Cristina Biaggi, age 19, sold some jewelry her father had given her and with the money, flew to Turkey. She then boarded a bus where she made friends for the afternoon with a young man who asked her, probably with the intention of seducing her, where she was going. “To the Bosphorus. I’m going to swim it,” she replied. “Would you like to come with me?”

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In Memoriam: Jerry Lieberman

Do you know that man you would always see taking long walks in our neighborhood over the years and clocking them for mileage? That was no man - that was The Great Lieberman: Master of Animation. Jerry passed away on February 24, 2017 from complications due to leukemia (CLL).

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In Memoriam: Betty Batchelder

Palisadian Betty Batchelder passed away on January 27, 2017 after a fall at home. She spent her last few days at peace in the Joe Raso Hospice Center in New City, New York. Betty was born Grace Elizabeth Batchelder in 1926 and was named after her mother. She grew up in Orange, New Jersey, but at the age of 11 her father died suddenly, and she and her two siblings were split up among family members and foster homes.

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In Memoriam: Chuck Barris: A Dreamer and a Doer

Charles Hirsch “Chuck” Barris, was born in Philadelphia in 1929, and achieved enormous success as the creator of the hit game shows The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show. He was also an accomplished singer/songwriter, and six-time bestselling author. He passed away on March 22 due to natural causes. He was 87, and our neighbor of 14 years.

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Ward Cotthaus

Ward Cotthaus, of Palisades and Highland Mills in New York, passed away on February 20, 2017. He was in hospice care in Stuart, Florida, after a difficult battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his sons, Skip and Glenn, and by his significant other, Arvinda Moore. He also has two nephews in Rockland county, Clayton and Billy. Arvinda, Skip and Glenn were by his side.

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Elaine Landriau, 1928-2017

Elaine Landriau died peacefully at home on April 1, 2017 in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where she lived with her daughter Denise and son-in-law Greg. She was 89 years old.

Elaine was born in Manhattan in 1928 to her French-American mother, Blanche, and Swiss father Leon Ledermann. She grew up in Washington Heights and attended French Sunday School downtown before moving to Auburndale, Queens and attending Bayside High School. Elaine was the first member of her family to attend college, and at 20 years old she graduated from Queens College with a B.S. in math.

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Oh, Well That's Really smart

It’s always a good laugh when asked which college I’m going to, especially when standing next to two particular friends. I’m often the third of the bunch to be asked where I go, and the responses are always the same, Columbia, NYU, RCC… It’s amusing because the person who asks, which can be anyone of any demographic, whether young, old, rich or poor, always replies with the same three phrases: “That’s amazing,” “Wow,” “Congratulations” and “Oh.”

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