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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lights up on Newburgh Illuminated

Posted By on Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 9:00 AM

click image newburgh-illuminated-banner-bg.jpg

In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison brought his most famous invention, the electric light bulb, to Newburgh. Edison's company built the city's first power plant in 1884, making Newburgh one of the first cities in the world to be electrified. It's from this moment in history that the Newburgh Illuminated Festival (June 20-22) draws its inspiration. More than 50 giant lightbulbs will adorn the city streets, each individually decorated by local artists, as a symbol of the city's illuminated history.

Even before that, Newburgh was a bustling mini-metropolis, a hub of transportation, industry, and manufacturing, producing everything from boxes to bricks. In 1939, RCA test-marketed their new invention, the television set, in Newburgh, a good decade before Milton Berle and Lucille Ball turned the device into a must have for the rest of America. Now as the city has begun to see some signs of economic growth the organizers of the festival aim to highlight the city's storied history while also emphasizing the renewal and potential of the present day.

Under the theme “Made in Newburgh,” the festival will feature an exhibit by the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands that aims to tell the story of the manufacturing history of Newburgh. Other events include a punk concert Friday evening, special children's activities Saturday, and an art show Sunday afternoon. The festival runs from June 20-22, for more information check out their website. The exhibit will be on display between June 22 and August 30 at the Captain David Crawford House, see the historical society's website for more information.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Tips & Take-aways from the Small Biz Online Marketing Seminar with Dragon Search

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

A full house listen to the Mid Hudson Digital Marketers Panel

I sat in on the Small Biz Online Marketing Seminar at SUNY New Paltz not sure what to expect, but knowing that the three panelists are digital marketing experts who know their stuff. The event was organized and sponsored by Dragon Search Marketing and the Mid Hudson Valley Digital Marketers. Raleigh Green from Raleigh Green Inc., Aaron Mandelbaum of Ice Breaker Consulting, and Jason White, SEO genius of Dragon Search Marketing. The audience of about 200 were small business owners, SUNY New Paltz students, and marketers.

Advice for Small Businesses:

1) Avoid having an Aol address or Yahoo address on your business card or website. It sends the wrong branding message. ( I tend to agree with this though if I see a Yahoo address on a website and I really want to email the business, I don’t hesitate).

2) Buy all your domain names, not just the .com. For example, get,,, so a competitor or someone else doesn’t buy it and confuse your online audience.

3) Don’t slap your newspaper ad on to your website. Online visitors will want to know that you have free shipping. They won’t care about your brick and mortar operation.

4) “Rankings don’t pay the bills,” says Jason White. White calls that a “garbage success metric” that can’t be won. Don’t focus on things you don’t understand and you have no control over. Instead focus on your message, traffic, and branding.

5) Reach out to bloggers! Yes, that means connect, advertise on, and follow people like me, Hudson Valley Good Stuff, Watershed Post, Family Friendly Hudson Valley, and Happy Hudson Valley to get your brand out to readers who are connected to the Hudson Valley.

6) My favorite line came from Mandelbaum who said that capturing email addresses has become the equivalent of getting the bedroom keys in the online world. There is immense value in capturing an email address these days.

7) Get “Link Juice” by doing link exchanges with websites that are related to your business. (For example, if you are a shoe store, link up with sock store, etc.)

8) Start a blog on your company’s website to attract more traffic.

9) Reach out to publishing companies and journalists and frame your pitch as your story. If you can’t get through to an editor, try getting through to an intern. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is also a great source for getting your story out there.

10) Remember to register your domain name and business with Google, and Google Local, and look into every social media site that is out there. (It seems like there is a new one born every minute).

11) Having a mobile-friendly website is important. You can tell what percentage of visitors to your site are using smartphones, by analyzing your Google Analytics. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, at the very least, make sure your phone number and contact info is easily visible and clickable.

That is just a snippet of what was discussed. At the end the panel opened it up for questions. I left before the end, but there were a few interesting questions raised, “What is Google Plus, and why should I care?” and “What to do about negative reviews?” I had to leave before the Q & A was over, but it was very educational and entertaining 2 hours. I’m looking forward to the next Small Biz Online Marketing Seminar by the Mid Hudson Valley Digital Marketing group and Dragon Search. A fellow content writer who sat next to me thought that next time they should have a quick primer on blogging. I see a “Blogging De-Mystified” presentation for 2014 and speed-networking affair too! I arrived there 10 minutes late so I didn’t get to network at all, but White introduced me to the audience and gave me a quick shout-out so now more people know about Hudson Valley Good Stuff can help them get the word out about their business. Always appreciated! Thank you Dragons!

Vanessa Ahern founded Hudson Valley Good Stuff, a blog dedicated to where to eat, play & recharge your spirit in 2009.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Self-Guided Audio Tours at Boscobel Mansion in Garrison

Posted By on Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Boscobel Mansion
  • Boscobel Mansion

After facing certain demolition in the 1950s, Boscobel Restoration, Inc. rescued, dismantled, and relocated the 17th-century Boscobel Mansion to its current location in Garrison. The story of the famed site's rescue and restoration is one of the three tales included in Boscobel's new audio tour.

The self-guided audio tour, produced by Narrowcasters, is called "Stories of the Hudson River Valley: How Boscobel, the Hudson River, Storm King Mountain, and our Independence were Saved." The tour has three hours of stories containing interviews with famous historians and locals who give eyewitness accounts of some of these events.

The tour begins with Barney McHenry—Boscobel's president, lawyer, and trusted adviser of Boscobel's benefactor, Lila Acheson Wallace—telling the story of how Wallace, along with local historian Ben Frazier and others, helped save Boscobel from demolition in 1955 and rebuild it in 1961 on its current site.

Colonel James Johnson—military historian and former West Point cadet and officer—talks about the area's fight for independence during the Revolutionary War. Notable people, including Pete Seeger, Bobby Kennedy Jr., John Cronin, Bob Boyle, John Adams, and others, talk about how the US environmental movement was born in the Hudson Valley; how Scenic Hudson blocked Storm King Mountain's destruction; and how Bob Boyle's Riverkeeper program caught Exxon tankers dumping oil into, and taking clean water out of, the Hudson River.

The new grounds audio tour will be included in the paid admission fee. Visitors will also receive a keepsake color brochure, which includes a map of the grounds, a numbered list of the stories, and a small, lightweight audio player.

The tour will be available from opening until one hour before closing, and if time runs out before you finish the tour, you can return to Boscobel for a discounted price and listen to the rest. There is also special equipment for the hearing impaired and a downloadable app is in the works.

Boscobel is open Wednesday through Monday. The museum's hours for April through October are 9:30am to 5pm.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Brainstorm Computers & Technology: Local Computer Doctor

Posted By on Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM


Brainstorm Computers & Technology is a computer and technology repair shop in uptown Kingston, that also has computers available for rent by the hour. Shawn Conklin, the owner, calls this part of Brainstorm an Internet cafe without the coffee. The full-loaded workstations come with MS Office 2010, Adobe CS 5, and CorelDRAW x5 and are available by the hour or by the day ($5/hour for desktop $10/hour for graphic design computer). Brainstorm can also visit your crashed computer on-site.

Conklin and his staff can fix laptops, desktops, and servers. Brainstorm also offers tech laser engraving—custom engraving for leather cases, laptops, aluminum, wood, steel water bottles, etc. Conklin has graciously offered to engrave my Hudson Valley Good Stuff logo on something of my choosing, and once I figure out what it is I'd like to get engraved, I'm going to take him up on that offer. He said he would be able to engrave an iPad case so I may get the logo engraved on that.

Sorry, he doesn't fix cracked iPad screens, but when he examined mine he suggested I browse, which has thousands of how-to-repair-stuff videos for techies. That site is a bit over my head, though, so I may have to wait until Apple comes up with an easy cheap fix. It is nice to know there is someone local who can come to my rescue when my computer fails me. Conklin assures me that Brainstorm's turn around for repairs is much shorter than Geek Squad at the mall.

Find out about more great Hudson Valley people at, Vanessa Ahern's blog devoted to where to eat, play, and recharge your spirit in the Hudson Valley.

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