Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month – Dealing with Sinusitis

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This past winter, many of us experienced not just the common cold, but sinusitis. As someone who has never had this before, I had no idea how painful it could be.

Many of the symptoms mimic that of the common cold, with stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes and nose, and sneezing and/or coughing. However, sinusitis also presents with pain around the eyes and nose, headache, postnasal drip, and even pain in the roof of the mouth and teeth. If these symptoms are still present after 10 days, if you have a fever, or if there are underlying health conditions such as asthma or bronchitis, a doctor needs to be seen. Sinusitis can also lead to infections, which can cause even more pain, earaches, sore throat, heavy green or yellow discharge, and swelling of the eye area. If this is the case, antibiotics will be needed.

Otherwise, there are a few things that can be done at home. Massaging the eye area, using a humidifier to keep nostrils moist, and applying heat to the nose and eye area are a few of the most common treatments. There are also some over the counter sinus decongestants available, and some people find that cutting out dairy products cuts down on the mucus. Drinking more water and staying hydrated is important as well.

Since the common cold is one of the causes of sinusitis, it’s important to take precautions against catching one. Wash hands frequently, eat healthily, and try to avoid people who are showing symptoms of a cold.

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com

Contributing Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.

https://patch.com/new-jersey/scotchplains/scotch-plains-rescue-squad-tip-month-3

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Showcase Salutes – The Chelsea at Warren

By Sue Baldani

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Walk into the Chelsea at Warren, NJ, and you’ll feel like you’re in a luxury hotel. The bright, airy lobby is welcoming and immaculate. Residents and visitors alike will appreciate the fine craftsmanship and details that went into its design.

Like a fine hotel, this assisted living community provides many amenities. The lovely dining room serves nutritious and delicious meals designed by a registered dietician and prepared by experienced chefs. Besides regular meals, the Chelsea also offers a daily cocktail hour. Weekly housekeeping and laundry services make residents’ lives easier, and the fitness classes and on-site beauty/barber salon keeps residents looking and feeling their best. There is also a walking club which, in the nice weather, provides a relaxing stroll along the footbridge around the pond.

Weekly outings to grocery stores and shopping malls, events, and other local attractions are offered, along with daily activities such as crafts, bingo, and cooking classes in the center itself. There is also a community store and library run by the residents, and religious services for those who don’t wish to venture out. There is even a pub with a pool table for those who want a bit of night life.

Their independent living one and two bedroom apartments have high-end touches such as stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in the kitchens, and lovely open-concept living areas already wired for cable television and internet. The underground parking garage allows residents to come and go in comfort, and the security cameras give the residents peace of mind. Residents are also issued emergency pendants in case help is ever needed. As in the other units, there are 24/7 staff, on-site doctor and physical therapy appointments, and daily activities offered. And if preferred, add-on amenities such as prepared meals, laundry service, and house cleaning are offered. Continental breakfasts and daily cocktail hours are already included. The best part is, these apartments can be rented on a monthly basis at a reasonable cost and no down-payment is required.

While the Chelsea encourages independent living, they also have services for those who need a higher level of care. A professionally trained staff is on duty 24/7, and a 24-hour emergency response system is in place. In addition, there is also a full-time registered nurse on the premises, and for those who need them, on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapists.
For the memory-impaired, they have specialized, 24-hour care services in the secure Country Cottage. A dedicated staff offers a personalized program to stimulate and encourage residents in order to preserve the skills they do have in a dignified, comfortable atmosphere. For example, apartments are decorated with pictures and personal possessions so the person can feel at home. Assistance with everything from bathing and dressing to medications is provided, along with all housekeeping needs.

There are many other assisted living communities in the area, but the Chelsea is locally owned and operated. The owners are often in the centers and interact with the residents. They have been known to check up on those who are ill or having difficulties. Philanthropy is also an important part of their lives. After the hurricane in Puerto Rico, they were determined to help those left jobless by bringing them to the United States and giving them positions at The Chelsea. They also match whatever is collected at their various centers through fund raisers. The yearly Alzheimer walks raise money for Alzheimer’s New Jersey, and the charity golf outings raise money for the community’s first responders.

The staff, from the moment I walked in, couldn’t have been more friendly and courteous. The Chelsea also has very low turnover rates which is due to the appreciation and respect employees receive from management. I had the pleasure of speaking with Linda Ciminiti, the Director of Community Relations, and the passion she showed for the people who reside at the Chelsea was heart-warming. This isn’t just a job for her; she truly cares about the well-being of everyone there. By the way, if you live in Warren and want to meet some of the staff yourself, they are having their second free breakfast drive-thru on March 21, 2018 from 8:00 to 10:00 to show appreciation for the community.

Whatever the needs you or your loved one has, The Chelsea at Warren, NJ will be able to meet them. For more information, please call 908-903-0911 or go to http://www.chelseaseniorliving.com/new-jersey-senior-care-locations/warren-nj/

http://theshowcasemagazine.net/showcasemagazine/warren_edition/salutes/chelsea

 

 

Get Lost in a Good Book

My new article in The Country Register  – Jan/Feb 2018 Issue

There are times when life can be stressful and we just want to get away from it all. But jobs, families and other responsibilities cannot be left behind. However, there is a quick, easy way to get lost in another world and it’s right at our fingertips. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to cost a dime.
What is this escape, you ask? Why, books, of course! On a cold winter’s night, if you want to find yourself on a beach in Nantucket, pick up a book by Elin Hilderbrand. Or, would a murder mystery in front of a roaring fire pique your interest? Then delve into a Mary Higgins Clark novel.
One of my favorite pastimes is wandering the aisles of my local library. Since I’m such an avid reader, I depend on this free institution for much of my reading material, lest I go broke or fall into serious debt. I have always read a lot, but now that I take the train to work, I not only read a book at home every night before bed, I also read a different book on my commute to and from work. Yes, I have two different books going at the same time. Confusing, some may think. For me, not at all. I get so into the characters and plots that I have no problem keeping track of them all, just like people do with various television programs. While many of my friends are excited about a new season of the latest prime time shows, I’m anxiously awaiting my favorite authors’ new books. I would rather watch the story unfold in my mind than on a television screen.
I especially like continuing series, such as Patricia Cornwell’s saga about a medical examiner who helps the FBI and local police solve crimes, or Janet Evanovich’s tales involving a hapless female bounty hunter who tries and oftentimes fails to catch the fugitives she’s after. I have been reading certain series for years and have grown somewhat attached to my favorite characters.
Although fiction is my favorite genre, I am a fan of non-fiction as well. I am especially drawn to books that explore people’s strength and perseverance and show how they overcome many obstacles in their lives, such as The Last Sermon by Randy Pausch, or Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness by Richard M. Cohen. These kinds of true stories broaden my perspective and make the problems in my life seem somewhat trivial.
Whatever your interests are, there are books that will engage your mind and nourish your soul. If your budget is limited, libraries are wonderful resources, as are used book stores and various discounted websites. Or, if you choose to get a little fancier, buy yourself an e-reader and download to your heart’s content.
So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, get yourself a good book, curl up with a steamy mug of hot chocolate, and go on an adventure. When you return, you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle a new day.

http://www.countryregisteronline.com/Papers/FL%20CURRENT%20ISSUE.pdf

 

Batteries Not Included

My new article in The Country Register – Jan/Feb 2018 Issue
Board Games Can Cure Cabin Fever

It always surprises people when they walk into my living room and see a half-finished jigsaw puzzle. They ask, “Wow, people still do those?” Yes, yes they do. They also play Monopoly, Clue, Connect 4 and other non-tech games.

As a matter of fact, board games are making a comeback. Go into the toy department of any store, and you will still see a large array of not only board games, but card games and jigsaw puzzles as well. According to ArticleBiz.com, “Games like Risk, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and The Game of Life are some of the classic games that are still very much in demand and well loved. And traditional games like chess, checkers, and backgammon will always be favorites.”

Who doesn’t remember sitting around with family and friends while laughing and arguing about who was going to win the game? Or hearing the cheers and boos of your fellow players as you push that round checker across the board or try to extricate that wooden piece during Jenga? That cannot be duplicated on a computer, phone or television screen. And no slick 3D video game can replace this live social interaction.

For most of us, it started out with Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, and now the choices are many. Board games like Scattergories and Pictionary to card games such as Uno or Phase 10; there is something for everyone, at any age.  Also, as stated on howandwhys.com, when it comes to kids, “Board games play a huge role in children’s health and brain development: different types of board games help to develop logic and reasoning skills, improve critical thinking, increase verbal and communication skills, develop attention skills and the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.” Furthermore, if the power goes out or there are no batteries in the house, not to worry. You can still carry on with your game or puzzle. And besides, playing Twister in the dark may be a lot more fun and challenging.

So go into your closets, dust off those game boxes (or pick up some new ones), and make plans for a get-together with your favorite people. Whether you make dinner first, or just serve coffee and cake, it doesn’t much matter. Sit around and enjoy one another’s company while the televisions, phones and computers sit silent and lonely in the background. And remember, no cheating. Enjoy!

http://www.countryregisteronline.com/currentissueNJDE.html

Article written for the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad – published in local news outlets in January 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to not only trim our credit card bills, but to also trim our waistlines. It’s a fact that most of us gain some weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Being unhappy with the way we look and uncomfortable in our clothes are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the underlying problems, especially when it comes to obesity, which causes the most issues.

According to the American Heart Association, “Currently, one in three U.S. adults is obese, bringing forth a possible health toll, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Another third of Americans are overweight.” Therefore, it’s best to talk to your doctor and stick to the guidelines he or she recommends for your age, gender, height and weight.

In regards to your diet, eat foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat milk products. Get plenty of exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around your neighborhood. If you have underlying health problems, speak with your doctor about devising an exercise program that’s right for you.

A healthy lifestyle will help you avoid many health issues, plus it will give you the energy and stamina to accomplish everything you want to do. Everybody knows that giving up our favorite foods and adopting a more active lifestyle are tough, but the benefits are worth it.

This year, when you make that resolution to lose weight and exercise, stick to it and you will feel the difference in your body sooner that you think. And instead of visiting the doctor or hospital, go out and enjoy life.

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains, but also in surrounding towns when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and other groups. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com.
https://www.tapinto.net/towns/scotch-plains-slash-fanwood/categories/guest-column/articles/scotch-plains-rescue-squad-tip-of-the-month-have

Article written for the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad – published in local news outlets in December 2017

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Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month – Drink responsibly

 

Now that the holiday season is here, many of us will be attending parties and possibly eating and drinking more than we should.  While overeating may lead to tight waistbands, overdrinking and binge drinking can lead to much more serious problems.  According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), “Some of the most dangerous days of the year on our nation’s roadways are between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.”

 

 If you know you’re going to be drinking, prepare ahead of time by having a designated driver, or download the Uber App or one like it to your phone.  (The Uber App is the official designated driving App of MADD.)  Make sure you eat as well as drink, and keep track of what you are drinking and how much.  It’s easy to lose track while having a good time.

 

 If you see someone who has had too much to drink, make sure they do not plan on driving.  Also, if someone really overdoes it and passes out, don’t just assume that they’ll awaken once sober.   Besides falling unconscious, other signs of alcohol poisoning are confusion, seizures, irregular breathing and blue-tinged or pale skin.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death.”  If he or she vomits, turn the person on his or her side so they don’t choke.  Call 911, and do not leave the person alone until medical help arrives.

 

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad wishes you a very happy holiday and a Happy New Year! 

 

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed.  Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green.  We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do.  In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge.  Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you.  (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com

 

Contributing Author:  Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.

 

https://patch.com/new-jersey/scotchplains/scotch-plains-rescue-squad-tip-month-1

Another new article in The Showcase Magazine – November 2017

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Salute to Spice Isle in Warren, NJ

By Susan Baldani

If you want to take a trip to the islands but can’t get away right now, do the next best thing. Spice Isle in Warren is open and ready to tempt you with their Caribbean fusion cuisine. As your taste buds explode and tropical music plays in the background, close your eyes and imagine the sound of the waves and the feel of the ocean breeze.

Upon entering, the first thing you will see is a coconut tree. What fun! The soothing yellow walls and matching napkins, orange drop lights, and the orange and dark wood of the tables, bring all the colors of the tropics together. The style manages to combine the relaxed with the upscale. The chandeliers glisten off the copper recessed ceiling panels and the flickering candles on each table create a cozy ambiance, while the artwork in the dining room adds to the lavish feel. One of the paintings is of musicians playing the steel drums, and another captures the beauty of a beach in St. Croix. There is even art to be found in the restrooms. A bright colorful painting in the men’s room shows a vendor surrounded by the fruit of his island, and the painting in the ladies’ room is of women dancing in vibrant, flowing gowns.

The owner, Joyce Joseph, is very familiar with the Caribbean. She first visited the island of Carriacou, where her parents were born, when she was six. As a child, her parents introduced her to many of the dishes from home, often combining them with the foods and flavors of their new country when they moved to the United States. Through them she acquired a love of cooking these family favorites as well, and learned more by watching other cooks, such as Julia Child, demonstrating their skills.

Throughout the years, Joyce has traveled extensively to many of the islands in the Caribbean, including Trinidad, Antigua, Jamaica and Aruba. After obtaining an MBA and embarking on a long, successful career in the finance industry with many well-known companies, including KPMG and JP Morgan Chase, she decided the time was right to offer her favorite dishes in her home state of New Jersey, where she now lives. She is excited about the opportunity to expand Caribbean cuisine in the area and incorporate the foods of the various islands of the region. She states, “I wanted to take the best of the best of the various islands and get them into the menu.” Fusing these dishes with American favorites is a primary goal of hers, along with making it affordable so more people can discover the unique flavors the restaurant has to offer.

Many of the ingredients used in the dishes are found locally and emphasize what’s in season, so everything is fresh and full of flavor. There is something for everyone on the menu, starting with the Calypso Coconut Shrimp and Codfish Fritters. Entrees include Jerk Chicken, Tropical Salmon, and Curry Shrimp. Curry Goat, Pork Chops and their Spice Isle Ribeye will satisfy any meat lover, and vegetarians will appreciate their Rasta Pasta and other vegetable choices. If you have a hard time deciding what to have, share a Chef’s Platter with your dining companion. Of course, you have to include some of their delicious sides, such as Garlic Spinach, Yellow Plantains and Jamaican Festival Bread, and dessert with choices like Caribbean Black Cake, Gourmet Tropical Sorbet and Chocolate Cheesecake. To complement your meal, order a bottle of wine and sit back and relax. The wines are from Alba Vineyard in Warren County, NJ and are chosen specifically for Spice Isle. Or if you prefer, bring your favorite bottle with you.

Spice Isle is located at 41 Mountain Boulevard in Warren, NJ. They are open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, and for dinner from Tuesday through Sunday (they are closed on Mondays.) For reservations and more information, please call 908-834-8864 or go to spiceislenj.com.

http://theshowcasemagazine.net/showcasemag/warren_edition/salutes/spiceisle

Latest article in The Showcase Magazine – November 2017

Salute to Biagio’s in Stirling, NJ

By Susan Baldani

Walk into Biagio’s Italian Bakery and Deli in Stirling, New Jersey, and you may just decide to have dessert before dinner. There is a display of desserts that will make anyone with a sweet tooth want to rejoice. Napoleons, cannoli, Italian cookies, brownies, cheesecakes and more are there to greet you. However, keep walking, for the dining room of their new restaurant, Trattoria Biagio, has even more temptations.

With its high-end modern furnishings and sparkling chandeliers, it is truly a special place to spend a night out. The menu is filled with a variety of mouth-watering dishes, starting with appetizers such as Clams in a White Wine sauce and Mussels in Red Sauce. Their entrées, including my favorite, Chicken Francese, literally melts in your mouth. Other traditional Italian favorites, including Lasagna, Rigatoni Bolognese, Penne con Vodka, along with Pork Chop Giambotta, Ossobuco di Maiale, Black Sea Bass Del Giorno, and a Zucchini Parmigiana with Penne Marinara, are on the menu. Since the restaurant focuses on seasonal ingredients so that everything is fresh and flavorful, dishes may change depending on the time of year.

The owner and Executive chef, Biagio Iuliano, is living his American dream. Growing up in Italy, his love of cooking was fostered by his mother who encouraged him to help in the preparation of the family meals, which were often elaborate and contained multiple courses. After training in Salerno to be a baker and pastry chef, and attending IPSAR, where he studied courses in culinary arts, hotel and restaurant services, Biagio immigrated to the United States in 1996.

For many years, Biagio worked for various restaurants in the Morris and Union County areas, and even appeared beside Emeril Lagassi on the Food Network. Since his specialty is bread making, he decided to start his own bread business in 2003. “Unfortunately, people don’t know what good bread is, they are used to the supermarket stuff, which does not even compare with the type of product I put out.” he said.

His wholesale bakery in Millington, NJ supplied bread daily for area restaurants and delis. In 2010, he opened Biagio’s Italian Bakery and Deli in Stirling, where he creates his wonderful pastries and lunch offerings, and then in 2013, recognizing the need for southern Italian cuisine in the community, he expanded to include a dinner menu. With long lines of customers outside the door, in 2017 he expanded again and opened Trattoria Biagio, an upscale BYOB restaurant, right next door.

With his wife Carmela at his side, diners feel like part of the family. The couple often stops by tables to not only check how your meal is, but also to just chat and get to know you. Since it takes a team to run a successful restaurant, in addition to Carmela and Biagio, right there by his side is his highly experienced sous chef Raphael Armenti, who has worked in some of New York’s finer restaurants. Their daughter, Rikki Arale, the General Manager, helps keep everything running smoothly.

Biagio’s dream of coming to American and being a successful restaurant owner has indeed come true. And he still finds time to devote to beekeeping, and even sells his local farmed honey in the store.

And remember those desserts I mentioned? Whether ordering in or taking out, I can never leave without at least one of their Napoleons. And the cakes and bread! If something you want isn’t there, just order it and they’ll have it ready for you when you need it. Or stop in for breakfast for a Taylor Ham and Cheese, or for lunch to pick up one of their amazing sandwiches or salads. Planning a party? Ask for their catering menu. Whatever time of the day or night, and whichever part of the establishment you choose to visit, you won’t be disappointed. Molto delizioso!

Biagio’s Deli and Bakery is located at 239 Main Ave., Stirling, NJ and is open Tuesday 8:00-6:00, Wednesday-Friday 8:00-9:00, Saturday 7:30-9:00 and Sunday 7:30-1:30. Trattoria Biagio, right next door, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5:00-9:00. For more information or reservations, please call (908) 350-8064 or go to http://www.biagiosbakery.com

http://theshowcasemagazine.net/showcasemag/warren_edition/salutes/biagio

Article written for the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad – published in local news outlets in October 2017

Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month – Halloween Safety

October 7, 2017 Scotch Plains, NJ – Witches, ghosts, and goblins, oh my! Halloween is a time for make-believe and fun. Let’s make sure our kids stay safe and get to enjoy all those trick and treats.

Many people are aware of the importance of checking candy before letting kids eat them, but there are other dangers out there as well. For example, according to the organization Safe Kids USA, “children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car while walking on Halloween night than at any other time of the year.”

If you can, go out early with your kids so there is still some daylight left. If this isn’t possible, make sure there is reflective tape on their costumes and bags, or have kids carry glow sticks. Stay on sidewalks at all times. If there aren’t sidewalks, walk facing traffic and stay as close to the side of the road as possible. Make sure costumes fit well so kids don’t trip, and instead of masks, try to use face paint. This a much better option, but if kids are wearing masks, make sure they don’t block their vision. Regarding costumes, also make sure they are flame-resistant.

For older kids, stress the importance of putting down their phones and paying attention to where they are going. Tell them to make sure driver’s see them when crossing the street or walking past driveways. Also, it is better to go in groups than all alone, and to stay in neighborhoods they’re familiar with.

Drivers, remember that on Halloween there are more kids out running around than usual, and take precautions. Some will be wearing dark costumes which will make them hard to see, and because of their excitement, they may dart out into the street or between cars unexpectedly. So, on this day, drive a little slower than usual through neighborhoods and be extra vigilant. Turn down the music, stay off the phone, and make sure your headlights are on, even if it’s not dark yet. We want our little princesses and super heroes to get home safely.

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com

Contributing Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.

http://www.nj.com/suburbannews/index.ssf/2017/10/scotch_plains_rescue_squad_on.html

 

 

My latest articles published in The Showcase Magazine – September 2017

LOCAL TALENT
Artist Ralph Garafola

By Susan Baldani

When people think about where to find great art and artists, places like New York City, Philadelphia, and of course the grand cities of Europe quickly come to mind. However, many highly talented artists live right here in our surrounding communities. One of these LOCAL artists is Ralph Garafola, who has been practicing his craft for most of his life. Ralph’s paintings have graced the cover of The Showcase Magazine several times in the past years.

Ralph is originally from New York, and has been residing in Warren, NJ, for 40 years. He started out as a draftsman and became an illustrator, and in the evenings studied drawing at The Alliance Art School (Educational Alliance) in lower Manhattan. Soon after, though, he was drafted into the Korean War.

While stationed in Korea, he was an Army Combat Photographer MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) and a draftsman. From there, he went on to graduate from the Photography School at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. Then, once back in NY, he studied at the Art Students League of New York under Frank J. Reilly, who was also the Commissioner of Art for New York City. To broaden his education, Ralph also traveled to the southern United States, Italy, England and France to study the works of the Old Masters and find new inspiration for his future paintings.

When many of us look at a painting, we often don’t think of the hard work and training that went into creating it. We just enjoy it for its beauty. However, successful artists devote a lot of time learning and improving their technique, and never stop striving to make it better. Ralph is one of these artists. He works in both oil and watercolor, and considers his style one of contemporary realism. He paints portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still life and animals, wild and domestic. As he states, “All my paintings are portraits. Whether my subject is a person, landscape, seascape, still life or pet, my approach is to realistically portray my subject in its natural environment. It puts the viewer inside the painting.”

He has also authored two books. The first one, Frank J. Reilly – The Elements of Painting, explains what he was taught by his mentor, and what every painter needs to know. His second book, Frank J. Reilly – Outdoor Painting, is due out this year.

Ralph had also designed and directed the construction of the 911 memorial in front of the Warren Town Municipal Building. He belongs to many art associations and has garnered many awards, too numerous to mention here. There are multiple galleries, exhibits, and online sites where you can view his paintings.

Not one to slow down, Ralph started teaching in his 70s at the duCret School of Art, Plainfield, New Jersey, and because he spends winters in Florida, at the Florida at the Sarasota Art Center, Longboat Key – Ringling College of Art and Design, the Art Center Manatee and Art Expressions by the Bay in Sarasota. In addition, he also tutors private students.

To find out more about Ralph Garafola, or to see some of his extraordinary art work, commission a painting, or sign up for classes, please go to http://ralphgarafola.com/bio.html.

Susan Baldani has a MA in Education and a BA in Psychology. She enjoys writing and in addition to writing articles on small town life, is currently working on her second book. You can contact her at suebaldani@yahoo.com or at http://www.mywritingwall.com.

http://theshowcasemagazine.net/showcasemagazine/warren_edition/articles/localtalent

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Links to my other September articles:

http://www.mypivotalmedia.com/ezine/Warren/ShowcaseMagazine_Sept2017/index.html#?page=16

http://theshowcasemagazine.net/showcasemagazine/warren_edition/articles/FallFunFestivals