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Senior Appreciation Day at Empire City

Thursday, 18 August 2011 17:29 Taghira Herrar
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On August  15th Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and the Mt. Vernon Recreation Department hosted more than 100 seniors for a day of appreciation. The seniors were provided with free round trip transportation to the event.
Mt. Vernon’s seniors enjoyed socializing with old friends as they enjoyed their complimentary lunch and hoped for big bucks as they played the slots. A variety of raffle prizes from blankets to fondue sets were given out to the winners. Empire City Casino also provided the seniors with $10 vouchers for slot machines.  The seniors were grateful for their day of acknowledgement and appreciation, Rosa Nash stated, “It’s a wonderful event, I’m enjoying it very much; it really is a treat for seniors.” “It’s a good idea, it gets seniors out when they otherwise wouldn’t.” said senior Betty Nash when asked why events like Senior Appreciation Day were needed.

During lunch, the seniors were able to greet special guest speakers Senator Jeffrey Klein and Mayor Clinton Young.  Both speakers emphasized the importance of celebrating seniors as they were people who helped to build our community before us.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2011 17:31

Mt. Vernon Youth Honored at the King Solomon and Queen Sheba Ceremony

Thursday, 18 August 2011 16:41 Taghira Herrar
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On Thursday, August 11, the Mt. Vernon Youth Bureau in partnership with the Afrikan Brotherhood held the King Solomon and Queen Sheba Afrikan Youth Ceremony at Macedonia Community Center. The event recognized 33 youth for completing their high school requirements, being role models for their peers and younger kids, and their community service efforts.
More than 100 people including several elected officials, Mayor Young, Councilman Yuhanna Edwards, Councilwoman Roberta Apuzzo, County Legislator Lyndon Williams and Comptroller Maureen Walker attended to show support and appreciation for the recently graduated students of Mt. Vernon.  Mayor Young welcomed attendees and encouraged the honorees to continue to accomplish great things wherever they may go in life, “The Mount Vernon Youth Bureau is extremely proud of the youth that have been selected as awardees,” Mayor Clinton Young stated. “They have demonstrated civic responsibility by participating in community service and various Youth Bureau programs. This is the norm in our city. The large majority of our youth are educated, community oriented and progressive thinkers. We must take time to honor them for a job well done."

Members of the Afrikan Brotherhood began with a prayer to acknowledge the ancestors and celebrate African-American culture. The honorees were presented with kente cloth as a badge of honor.

Honoree Shanice Morris said, It’s a great event. It feels good to be appreciated. The Youth Bureau really cares about its youth.” Honoree Jillian Perry was also happy about her award and expressed her commitment to civic engagement, “Community service helped me realize I enjoyed helping others and major part of life is to give back to your communities.”

Mr. Wayne Woodbury, coordinator of the event emphasized the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of youth, “This event is about honoring our young people. They are very rarely appreciated in their own communities; we want them to know that we did not forget about them.”


Skinny Barbecue

Monday, 15 August 2011 14:28 Taghira Herrar
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Having a healthy barbecue does not mean getting rid of everything you enjoy. Small changes can make a big difference. For example, having fat-free or reduced fat versions of cheeses, mayonnaise, and spreads can help in the battle of the bulge. When making burgers, try having veggie burgers or lean turkey burgers available for your guests. There are several brands out there - just make sure you read the labels. The best burger patties can be the ones you make yourself. Purchase minced beef that is no more than 95 percent lean to cut fat and maintain moisture for tasty burgers. Making your own patties can be healthy and cost-effective; try adding beans or veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini, or carrots. This not only adds fiber and protein to your burgers, but also allows you to make more (which can come in handy when your guests bring unexpected extra mouths to feed). Marlene Carneiro, Outpatient Dietician at Lawrence Hospital, encourages incorporating vegetables into your barbecue.

“Take advantage of the summer’s seasonal fruits and vegetables,” Carneiro said. “They are full of nutrients and flavor and can be purchased at low prices. Be creative and add fruits and veggies to your meals and snacks they’re all natural and delicious!” “In August, Cantaloupes are at their peak. Being naturally high in water makes them great for cooling off and re-hydrating in the summer heat.”

The extra veggies can reduce the number of calories you take in. Try grilling them or adding them to kebabs.

Of course with all this healthy food comes the concern about taste: after all, no one goes to a barbecue to eat bird food. “Healthy doesn’t have to mean bland,” Carneiro added. “Try using herbs, spices and dry rubs, also grilling fruits can add great flavor to your meals.” Desserts can be tricky, but fresh fruit is always a great alternative. Try freezing bananas and dipping them in dark chocolate for a quick, and easy treat.

Healthy barbecue is not only what you eat, but in the preparation. Food should be kept chilled until it’s time to be served or prepared. Always avoid cross contamination, especially when using cutting boards for meats and veggies. Lastly, it may seem safe to char food to avoid salmonella poisoning, but according to the National Cancer Institute, charred meats have a higher concentration of HCA (Heterocyclic amines) which have been found to be carcinogenic in animals and a potential threat to humans.

Barbecues should be enjoyable for all who attend. Sanjeeta Ahuja, Director of Nutrition Services at Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, believes that moderation makes a big difference. “Just because a barbecue is four hours doesn’t mean you need to eat the entire time you are there,” said Ahuja. “A barbecue is not a food marathon. Make sure you keep hydrated with water, and control your portions.”  Ahuja also encourages people to shop smart and prepare a menu beforehand: “Planning can also be helpful as everyone can participate in preparing a dish for the family function.”

If you make a few changes to your menu and follow these tips, you are sure to avoid bursting out of your bikini. Read below for a few fat-busting recipes.


Using a high flavor-rub (a mixture you rub on meat before grilling) can add a punch of flavor with out all the salt. Try this high-flavor rub on skinless chicken breasts, fish steaks, pork tenderloin, or lean beef steaks. Rub some of the spicy mixture on food and cook like usual.


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients;

Store in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.



1/4 c. paprika

1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. oregano

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper

3 Tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder

1 Tbsp. salt

1 1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme


For a healthy, low-fat alternative from the usual beef burgers, try these tasty and flavor packed herb chicken burgers. Serve with a salad to make this a really healthy treat!

Herb Chicken Burgers

*   1 pound lean ground chicken

*   1 sweet onion, chopped

*   2 garlic gloves, minced

*   1/4 cup of mixed fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, chives)

*   1 large egg, beaten

*   1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

*   salt and black pepper to taste



1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, sweet onion, garlic and fresh herbs. Add the egg, bread crumbs and seasonings to taste. Mix all together well and form into 4 patties.

3. Grill over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink. (Internal temperature should be 165 degrees F)


Note: You can grill, broil or pan-fry these burgers.


Summer for Seniors

Saturday, 13 August 2011 10:37 Stephanie Reed
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Summer isn't a time for only young and middle-aged adults to participate in social activities. Senior citizens can get in on the action as well!

Recreation Day at Hartley Park is a source of interaction and activity for senior citizens and other members of the community. On July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., health-screening services for diabetes and blood pressure were provided, informational health booths with representatives from the Hudson Health Plan, the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Healthwise, and many others offered information about healthcare services. Food and prizes were also given out. Recreation Day also provides activities for children such as face painting, carnival games, and more. “It's [Recreation Day] a way to get the community involved and know what services are out there,” said Eunice Parkes, who has been involved in Recreation Day for two years.

The Mount Vernon Armory at 144 S. fifth Ave. provides activities for senior citizens such as arts and crafts, quilting, computer classes, and bingo. The Armory also hosts informational meetings on issues and concerns such as health screenings and health and safety issues, as well as providing trips to museums, Wildwood, and even the Statue of Liberty. The series of senior activities continues this month.

Provided is a list from the Department of Recreation for senior citizens to check out:


Mount Vernon Senior Programs


Monday 08/01/11

Executive Board Meeting   10:00AM


Tuesday 08/02/11

Medicare Minutes by Bob Anthony 11:00AM

Thursday 08/04/11

Marciana Rogers on Health & Happiness  11:00AM


Thursday 08/04/11

Pathmark Shopping   10:30AM


Thursday 08/11/11

Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center B/P & Glucose Screenings   11:00AM


Thursday 08/11/11

Yonkers Farmers Market   10:00AM


Friday 08/12/11

Lyndhurst Historic Mansion    9:00AM


Monday 08/15/11

Mayor Young’s Day @ Yonkers Raceway   10:00AM-4:00PM


Monday 08/15/11

MetroCard Van @ Petrillo Plaza 1PM-3PM


Thursday 08/18/11

Pathmark Shopping    10:30AM


Thursday 08/18/11

Mount Vernon Farmers’ Market   10:30AM


Friday 08/19/11

Piermont Art Galleries & Antique Stores    10AM-2PM


Wednesday 08/24/11

Brazillian Jazz @ St. Paul’s Church    1:00PM


Thursday 08/25/11

Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center B/P & Glucose Screening    11:00AM


Thursday 08/25/11

Super Bingo  1PM-3PM


Monday 08/29/11

City Island    11:00AM


Daily Program



Current Events   10:00AM


Monday & Tuesday

Hair Cuts – Women & Men    9:00AM-11:00AM



Monday Quilting 10:00AM-2:00PM

Tuesday Quilting 10:00AM-1:30PM

Tuesday Arts & Crafts 10:00AM-2:00PM

Wednesday Arts & Crafts 10:00AM-1:30PM

Monday Knitting 10:00AM-12:00PM

Monday Crocheting 10:00AM-11:00PM

Monday Pokeno 10:00AM-12:00PM

Tuesday Line Dancing at the Doles Center 10:30AM-11:30AM

Tuesday Ceramics 8:00AM-12:00PM

Thursday Ceramics 8:00AM-11:30AM

Tuesday & Thursday Bingo 1:00PM

Thursday Shopping 10:30AM

Thursday Exercise 10:30AM

Daily Dominoes & Cards


LUNCH SERVED DAILY Suggested Contribution $2.00

For further information please call (914) 665-2435.

Lunch Reservations must be made the day before.






Last Updated on Saturday, 13 August 2011 10:50

College Students & Summer: What Do I Do Now?

Saturday, 13 August 2011 10:00 Stephanie Reed
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For college students, the place that they have considered home may seem like unfamiliar territory – after experiencing life in a different environment, one may feel like they are now strangers in their own hometown. Why? Because returning students may feel uninformed about job, internship, and volunteer opportunities in their communities.

Breanna McKenley, studying Early Childhood Education at Buffalo State College, was  confused upon returning to her home in Mount Vernon, New York after her freshman year. She initially struggled to find summer employment, but she managed to obtain a teaching job in the city of Yonkers. Now a senior, McKenley thinks that the situation has not become any easier. “It's only gotten harder,” she said. “I've stopped looking for jobs in Mount Vernon.” McKenley feels that college students are at a disadvantage when it comes to employment in comparison to those who don't attend college – potential employers know that college students will eventually leave to resume their studies, whereas people who aren't attending school can work full-time. In addition, McKenley didn't find much to do in Mount Vernon other than visit her guidance counselors and former elementary schools. For fun, she would go to Cross County or Manhattan with her best friend.

Brittney McNab was also not aware of what was going on in her community.

McNab, a sophomore studying Chemistry at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, enjoyed coming back home to Mount Vernon. But it was not easy for her to find opportunities.

“It was difficult,” McNab said. “I hadn't realized that the application deadlines for internship, volunteer jobs, and regular jobs had already passed and that most of the positions were already full.” But her summer is anything but unproductive: she baby-sits her little sister daily and is getting a head start on her studies for the Fall semester. For fun, she travels to other cities in Westchester, though she sometimes visits the parks in Mount Vernon. Despite enjoying her vacation, McNab wishes that there were more resources for young adults in Mount Vernon to turn to for help finding opportunities.

Breanna McKenley advises college students returning to their hometowns to volunteer if they cannot find a job. “If I didn't get the teaching job, I planned to volunteer at a school for troubled children.” Brittney McNab offers advice to freshmen, “Be aware of deadlines for jobs and volunteering because they come up in March and April.” She also reassures college freshmen that it is okay if they do not obtain a job or internship their first year returning home, but should definitely work towards finding those opportunities after their second year returning and beyond.


Last Updated on Saturday, 13 August 2011 10:15

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