A podcast from Beacon, NY

Episode List

Episode 61: Singer, Songwriter & Fiddler Sara Milonovich

Sara talks about her new album “Northeast,” her seventh record overall and her third playing with Daisycutter.

Episode 60: Singing In Church Choirs And Pete Seeger’s Folk Group, With Sharlene Stout

In the early 1960s, Sharlene Stout was about 14 years old – a gifted singer in church choirs – when she Pete Seeger asked her to join his folk group. She went on to sing and tour with him for the next six years.

Episode 59: Judge For Yourself

We speak with the two candidates running for Beacon city court judge: Tim Pagones, the seasoned three-term judge and lifelong Beaconite, and Greg Johnston, a public defender with 17 years’ experience who has been endorsed by the Beacon Democrats.

Episode 58: The Pure Joy Of Movies, With Story Screen Founder Mike Burdge

Beacon’s independent movie theater opened in 2019, but it’s not only a theater. Founder Mike Burdge and his team – a “family” of 12 or so employees, partners, friends and his partner Diana DiMuro – have built a full-on community around the appreciation of movies, complete with festivals, online screenings, drive-in movies at University Settlement Camp, online criticism and podcasts.

Episode 57: Poet Edwin Torres

Edwin Torres is an accomplished poet who has published more than 15 poetry volumes. During the 1990s he was a member of the The Nuyorican Poets Café, a creative meeting place and cultural institution for the vibrant community of Puerto Rican artists living in New York City. This episode alternates between interview and readings.

Episode 56: Reforming The BPD, With Pastor John Perez

John Perez is pastor of the Faith Temple Church on Cedar Street and co-chair of Beacon’s police reform committee. In this episode, he talks about the work being done to transform how the force operates and how policing in this city might change going forward.

Episode 55: Home Cooking, With Jennifer Clair

Jennifer Clair is an expert on food and cooking and the founder of Home Cooking New York, a culinary school geared to home chefs. In this episode, she describes her journey in food (and food media) and offers advice for sourcing ingredients locally, dealing with burnout in the kitchen and more.

Episode 54: The Beacon Farmers’ Market Goes Big, With Sember Weinman

Sember Weinman is the executive director of Common Ground Farm, which oversees the Beacon farmer’s market. The market is moving to a much bigger location at the DMV parking lot, capable of supporting far more vendors. She talks about the change and the coming season at Common Ground.

Episode 53: Reopening, With George Mansfield

Dogwood owner and city councilman George Mansfield was the last guest we had in studio before Covid shut everything down. He’s reopening the bar this week and comes back on the podcast to talk about it. He also dishes on city business and what the summer might look like in Beacon.

Episode 52: Horticulturist Richie Cabo

After being shot, Richie left his career as a corrections officer to become a gardener. He worked his way up in the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to become director of the Citywide Nursery. While there he cared for the Survivor Tree, a Callery pear that was crushed in the 9/11 terror attacks. In Beacon, he founded the Sargent-Downing Garden, a project began with Richie’s interest in a Magnolia acuminata (cucumber tree) near the Craig House mansion. His research on the tree led to a fascination with the local Beacon legacy of two landscape designers and friends, Andrew Jackson Downing and Henry Winthrop Sargent.

Episode 51: Tina Brown, Mother to 100

Since she was 18, Tina Brown has foster parented children and teens. Over the years she has cared for more than 100 kids including her two biological children.

Episode 50: Understanding Damskammer

For this special 50th episode of Beaconites, we offer a comprehensive look at the proposal to rebuild a gas-burning power plant at the Danskammer facility across the river.

Episode 49: Meeting The Moment, With Paloma Wake

Paloma Wake is all about civic participation. She is active with Beacon4BlackLives and Mutual Aid Beacon, and she sits on Beacon’s Human Relations Commission. She talks about her life, work and ideas for Beacon as she kicks off her run for city council.

Episode 48: New Police Chief Sands Frost And City Administrator Chris White

The City of Beacon recently made two critical appointments, naming a new chief of police and a new city administrator. Chief Sands Frost is a longtime Beaconite who has worked in the BPD for 37 years. Administrator Chris White is a former Beacon city councilor who most recently worked for Ulster County for 9 years as the deputy director of planning.

Episode 47: Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan

Scenic Hudson has protected huge swaths of land in and around Beacon. There’s Mount Beacon, Fishkill Ridge, Madam Brett Park and of course Long Dock Park. President Ned Sullivan discusses the legendary environmental group’s mission, its operating model and its priorities for 2021 and beyond.

Episode 46: Homespun Foods Owner Joe Robitaille

Joe Robitaile bought Homespun from previous owner Jess Reisman in late fall 2019, a few months before the pandemic overthrew his plans for the business.

Episode 45: Pete Seeger And The Hudson River, With Captain Steve Schwartz

Steve Schwartz is a longtime captain of the sloop Woody Guthrie. In this episode, he talks about Pete Seeger’s vision to bring people closer to the Hudson River as expressed through sailing. He tells the story of the sloops Clearwater and Woody Guthrie, both replicas of the sloop workboats that once numbered in the thousands in the mid-Hudson region.

Episode 44: Luthier And Musician John Vergara

Luthier John Vergara owns the Lord of the Strings instrument shop, where he builds and repairs a variety of stringed instruments, including the Arabic oud, the Puerto Rican cuatro, classical guitar and violin. Some are built simply, others extravagantly, inlaid with mother of pearl or constructed from Spanish cypress.

Episode 43: Beacon’s Housing Market, With Realtor Claire Browne

Claire Browne is a realtor with Gate House Realty who has abundant knowledge of city housing. In this episode she discusses trends in Beacon housing and home values.

Episode 42: Acting Local, With Guy Felixbrodt

Guy Felixbrodt is dedicated to improving Beacon – and the world – through large and small acts of giving. He describes some local causes anyone can support through simple donations of time, from cleaning up Fishkill Creek to volunteering with the Animal Rescue Foundation.

Episode 41: Marika Blossfeldt, Health Coach And Natural Foods Chef

Marika Blassfeldt has written two books on nutrition that are also books about living well. Her latest book, “Cooking with Marika: Clean Cuisine from an Estonian Farm,” provides a framework for thinking about nutrition, gut health and healthy weight loss.

Episode 40: The Beacon Players, With Anthony Scarrone

Over the last seven years, Anthony Scarrone has helped grow the Beacon Players into a regionally famous high school theater program.

Episode 39: Art And Covid, With Former Whitney Museum Director David Ross

David Ross was the director of SFMOMA, the Whitney and other art museums. In this episode he talks about Covid’s impact on the art world and recalls a glorious but ultimately failed attempt to transform Beacon’s 19th and 20th century brick buildings into repositories of contemporary art.

Episode 38: Hudson Valley Brewery Founder John-Anthony Gargiulo

Gargiulo was a dolly grip working on major films in LA, but he gave up a Hollywood career to return to his native Hudson Valley and start a brewing operation.

Episode 37: Rebuilding New York’s Economy, With Senate Candidate Karen Smythe

Karen Smythe is running for New York Senate in the 41st district, a seat held by Sue Serino since 2014. In this episode, the candidate talks about health care, the economy, climate change, Black Lives Matter and other issues.

Episode 36: Beacon’s Hat-Making History, With Denise VanBuren

Denise VanBuren is a five-term president of the Beacon Historical Society and current president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She has written two books on Beacon’s history and is working on a third, a collection of writings by beloved local historian Bob Murphy, who passed away recently.

Episode 35: Beacon Is A Prison Town

Beacon Prison Action founder Laurie Dick talks about the lives of incarcerated people at Fishkill Correctional and Green Haven Correctional. She is joined by Priscila (last name withheld), who comes up from New York City regularly to visit her husband at Green Haven.

Episode 34: Storytelling, With Drew Prochaska and John Blesso

The Artichoke storytelling series is preparing for the return of live shows. Organizers Drew Prochaska and John Blesso describe their addiction to storytelling, their desperate efforts to keep performing during the pandemic and what comes next.

Episode 33: Growing Food, With Green Teen’s Helanna Bratman And Jeremiah Long

For 16 years, the Green Teen program has empowered young people in Beacon to become part of the local food system. Crew members gain experience with gardening, nutrition and entrepreneurship. In this episode, program director Helanna Bratman and crew leader Jeremiah Long, who is in the 10thth grade at Beacon High School, talk about the mission and the lessons of food.

Episode 32: Childbirth During Covid

Alyia Cutler and Meghan Conway are the founders of Wyld Womyn Birth & Postpartum, a collective of doulas operating out of Beacon. They talk about expecting parents’ changing mindsets during the pandemic and break down some common misconceptions about doulas.

Episode 31: Kalene Rivers And Dan Weise

Think of a public art project in Beacon over the last 10 years and there’s a decent chance Dan Weise and/or Kalene Rivers had a hand in it. Their undertakings have included the Electric Windows street art project, the “Welcome to Beacon” sign, Club Draw and the (late, great) Open Space gallery on East Main, to name a few.

Episode 30: Schooling This Fall, With Randolph School Director Josh Kaplan

Josh Kaplan is director of the Randolph School, a pre-K to 5th grade school on Route 9D in Wappingers Falls. Randolph prioritizes outdoor education and nature experience, an advantage during Covid times.

Episode 29: Coworking, With Beahive Founder Scott Tillitt

Scott Tillitt is the founder of Beahive, a network of coworking spaces in the Hudson Valley. He opened his Beacon flagship in 2009 at the Telephone Building on Main Street and expanded to Albany in 2012. Now here’s gearing up for new locations in Newburgh and Poughkeepsie.

Episode 28: Rabbi Brent Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance

Brent Chaim Spodek is the rabbi at Beacon Hebrew Alliance, a Jewish community that dates back to the 1920s. Rabbi Brent is a creative and highly engaged spiritual leader to the BHA family, and he has brought new energy and congregants to the synagogue since he moved here in 2010.

Episode 27: Reopening, With Barber Lucky Longo

Lucky Longo is the owner of A Lucky Cut, a non-traditional barbershop that offers a wide range of services and styles – short hair, long hair, shaves, beard trims and kids cuts. Like all barbers and stylists, Lucky has been shut down since March, but now she’s scheduling appointments again.

Episode 26: Beacon4BlackLives, With Ciarda Hall and Justice McCray

Ciarda Hall and Justice McCray are two of the youth leaders of the Beacon 4 Black Lives team that has organized a series of marches for racial justice. Their next rally takes place this Friday June 19th – Juneteenth – at 6:30pm.

Episode 25: Working By Hand, With Melanie Falick

Melanie Falick is a writer and editor of books about ceramics, woodworking, knitting, metalsmithing and other kinds of “handwork.” She talks about the importance of making things by hand in a post-industrial era and especially during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Episode 24: Supporting Minority Communities, With Aisha Benson

Aisha is a senior executive at TruFund Financial Services, a non-profit financial organization (also known as a Community Development Financial Institution or CDFI) that facilitates loans and economic development in underserved communities.

Episode 23: Covering Beacon, With Highlands Current Journalist Jeff Simms

Jeff Simms’ newspaper work has drawn him gradually north from his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As the Beacon beat editor for the Highlands Current, he covers education, development and a host of other local issues.

Episode 22: Displaced, With Honorable Ink Owner Matt Montleon

Matt was forced out of his apartment after April’s big wind storm damaged his building. In this episode he talks about the double setback of closing his business during Covid-19 and then losing the roof over his head a few weeks later.

Episode 21: Coronavirus And Purple Socks, With Sergio Perez

In 23 years of teaching, Sergio Perez has never been as sick as he was after getting Covid. He talks about enduring the illness, teaching high school students during quarantine and the consolations of family life.

Episode 20: Beacon’s Butcher Shop Is Back, With Barbara Fisher

Barb closed up shop in mid-March, motivated by safety concerns for her employees and customers. Six weeks on, she is close to reopening after installing plexiglass barriers, hiring a new cutter and taking other precautions.

Episode 19: The Best Covid Move Is A Garden (And Local Resource List)

Cary Baker offers inspiration and advice to those of us trapped at home who may want to use the time to grow our own food.

Episode 18: Photographer Robert Rodriguez Jr

Robert is a landscape photographer and teacher. For those of us trapped at home, his interview offers a meditative listen on the artist’s relationship to nature and the solitary pursuit of a creative practice.

Episode 17: Mutual Aid Beacon Founder Dara Silverman

Dar is the organizer of Mutual Aid Beacon, a decentralized network of 250 volunteers who are helping people in need during the coronavirus outbreak.

Episode 16: Superintendent Matt Landahl

Young people are hugely affected by the coronavirus situation. Matt Landahl talks about the closure of the district’s six schools and what teachers and administrators are doing to help students cope and learn through the crisis.

Episode 15: Mayor Lee Kyriacou

How is Beacon’s new mayor responding to the pandemic? Lee Kyriacou has lived in Beacon almost 30 years and served nine terms on city council. He started his first term as mayor in January, just before the coronavirus brought one of the greatest challenges the city has faced in recent memory.

Episode 14: Fareground Rises To The Moment

Food security is a big concern in Beacon right now, with sudden unemployment and social isolation. Kara Dean-Assael and Karen George talk about how their non-profit Fareground Community Kitchen is getting healthy and affordable meals to people in need.

Episode 13: Feeding Beacon During The Crisis, With Kamel Jamal

Kamel Jamal owns three restaurants in Beacon – Tito Santana, Ziatun and Beacon Bread Company – as well as Angelina’s in Cold Spring. He is trying to keep some of his places open for curb service during the Coronavirus, even as the state bans on-premise food service.

Episode 12: What Just Happened? With George Mansfield

First in a series. George Mansfield is the owner of Dogwood and a longtime council member. He talks about the crisis engulfing the city and the world, with focus on the impacts for business (his and others) and city government.

Episode 11: Beacon Endurance, With Jane Cervone and Stephen Heath

Beacon Endurance was created in 2013 as a resource to organize training and racing for athletes in the lower Hudson Valley. Since then it has expanded into a supportive and inclusive group of 40 active members who support each other through health and fitness goals.

Episode 10: AudraSonic

Audra Kizina and Matt Harle, the electronic/experimental music duo known as AudraSonic, perform in studio and discuss their collaboration. Catch them live at Dogwood on Sunday, March 15.

Episode 9: Music Man Stephen Clair

Stephen Clair is an accomplished singer/songwriter and the proprietor of Beacon Music Factory. In this episode he talks about his creative process, Beacon’s expanding music scene and the evolution of his music school on Route 52.

Episode 8: Destination Beacon, With Donna Haynes

Donna Haynes is a longtime resident who, along with her husband Jeff, has raised three kids in Beacon. She works for Metro North in a tourism role and talks in this episode about the steady stream of day trippers and weekenders who keep the Beacon and Hudson Valley economies humming, among other topics.

Episode 7: Beacon Connector Kelly Ellenwood (With In-Studio Performance)

Kelly Ellenwood is a driving force behind the Free Loop bus, Wee Play tot park and other Beacon initiatives. We talk about her journey from Lincoln, Nebraska to the Hudson Valley, her performing career and her steady work on behalf of Beacon’s local economy and the arts.

Episode 6: Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink

Ben Larson-Wolbrink was called to be Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church exactly 10 years ago, through 20 marriages, 31 baptisms, 40 deaths and 50 new members. In this interview, he describes his formative years, the life of his congregation and Beacon’s interfaith initiatives.

Episode 5: Meredith Heuer On Beacon’s Schools

Meredith Heuer is a photographer and two-term member of the Beacon Board of Education. In this episode she talks about her own school days growing up in Detroit, raising two boys in Beacon and key issues facing the city’s schools.

Episode 4: Musician Daria Grace (With In-Studio Performance)

Musician Daria Grace is a prolific bassist, ukulele player and singer who plays in six bands locally and in New York City. In this interview, she talks about her music career, sizes up Beacon’s expanding music scene and performs two songs on her baritone uke: “Night Owl,” popularized in the 30’s by Cliff Edwards (aka “Ukelele Ike”) and “Under the Milky Way” by Aussie rockers The Church.

Episode 3: Jean-Marc Superville Sovak (With Reading List)

Jean-Marc Supervllle Sovak is a Beacon-based artist whose work uniquely expresses the history of the Hudson Valley, including its industrial legacy and its art. He is also an art educator and a guide at Dia:Beacon.

Episode 2: Can Beacon Stay Affordable? With Terry Nelson

City Councilman Terry Nelson talks about growing up in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and how Beacon can resist the gentrification and spiraling housing costs that have stripped that neighborhood of its original character. Also: Four-story buildings, supporting the arts, creating jobs.

Episode 1: Mayor Randy Casale’s Exit Interview

Our first episode. Randy reviews Beacon’s changes during his lifetime, including the boom years (1950s-60s), the bust years (1970s-80s) and the revitalization. Also: Randy’s thoughts on development, Dia:Beacon, his election loss, Beacon’s future.

Episode 0: Announcing Beaconites!

Announcing a new podcast about Beacon, New York and the people who live here.

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