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The reason you’re seeing pink ribbons all over town is that last week SOUL RYEDERS launched its 4th annual TieTheTownPink breast cancer awareness campaign. The local nonprofit invites everyone in the community to serve and support families affected by breast cancer and join in the fight against the disease by making this month Pinktober in Rye.

Last year, Rye merchants and homeowners in Rye, Rye Brook, and Rye Neck ordered over 750 ribbons and volunteers festooned mailboxes, front doors, benches, and trees.

SOUL RYEDERS is hoping to break that record this month.

Ribbons cost $25. Order yours today at www.soulryeders.org. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOUL RYEDERS is a volunteer-driven charitable organization based in Westchester County, that is committed to empowering those in our community who are affected by cancer.  From diagnosis through treatment, recovery and survivorship, SOUL RYEDERS offers practical resources and nurturing support services that provide dignity, confidence, hope, and compassion.

By Janice Llanes Fabry

MC and Paul McEvoy, founding board members of MAC Angels, will be honored at the nonprofit foundation’s annual gala November 4 at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle. The MAC Angels Foundation supports families with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), an incurable motor neuron disease. Under Paul’s presidency, selfless volunteers continue to alleviate the emotional, physical, and financial challenges faced by patients and their families.

“It’s always nice to be acknowledged for the work that you do. At the same time, we’re humbled,” said Paul on behalf of the couple who have dedicated their lives to affecting positive change through service. “We’ll always continue our support for MAC Angels.”

The McEvoys only learned of ALS in 2001 when Paul’s mother, Beth McEvoy, was diagnosed at age 71. It took time to confirm the diagnoses because there is no blood test for ALS and it can mimic a number of several other neurological diseases. Initially, doctors suspected that she might be slurring her words as a result of possible anesthesia complications after rotator cuff surgery a year earlier. That turned out not to be the case.

“I didn’t know what ALS was all about. My mother had the bulbar form, which tends to affect speech and swallowing before moving on to the limbs,” said Paul upon making the initial discovery. “The fact that she could not communicate was so frustrating and difficult for her and for all of us.”

When MAC Angels’ former Executive Director Richard Mauch requested the McEvoys become involved in the inception of such a foundation, they didn’t hesitate for one moment. 

“We could relate to ALS,” explained MC. “And it was important to us to offer our help in memory of Paul’s mother.”

Paul, who recognized a void, added, “My mother was a saintly woman and we were lucky to have my father, my siblings, and a support network that most people don’t have. It wasn’t a difficult extrapolation to learn these families need counseling, medical resources, financial help, and caretakers.”

In 2010, the Friends of Claire Foundation, named for Claire Gormley Collier for whom the McEvoys helped raise funds, and the Mary Ann Collier Foundation, named for Claire’s philanthropic mother-in-law, joined forces to become MAC Angels.

The McEvoys have been instrumental in defining the foundation’s mission. They’ve also been leading sponsors of all the fundraising that is critical to MAC Angels’ goal of enhancing the quality of life for patients, family members, and care givers impacted daily by ALS.

As MC remarked, “I feel good about being able to help families and about making their day to day lives a little easier, whether it’s having a ramp built for handicap access, providing a lift to a doctor’s appointment, supplying meals and palliative care, giving someone a TV for some entertainment, or gardening alongside a caretaker to give them a break.” 

Indeed, it takes a village to begin to offer the resources and satisfy the needs, or what MAC Angels calls the “survivorship gap,” of ALS families. Chris Curtin, founder and MAC Angels’ first president whom Paul calls “Mother Theresa,” oversees all services. Program Director Ellen DiCicco has been raising awareness and assisting families directly by navigating available resources since the beginning. Social worker Carol Sommerville does all the intakes with new families and provides healthcare advocacy. Executive Director Kelly Corwen, in spite of not having a family connection, handles all the behind the scenes operations and is running this year’s gala with Nora Powell. 

“In the ALS world, everyone is familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge to find a cure, but unfortunately at the moment there’s little prospect,” lamented Paul. “The best thing the MAC Angels could do is ease the burden on the families, as well as the patients.”

Open for Business

By Janice Llanes Fabry

The Granola Bar just opened at 96 Purchase Street and its owners Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily are feeling their oats. After all, this is their fifth location. They’ve tapped into a loyal clientele that gravitates towards healthy, clean eating in an eatery that’s contemporary, casual, and crisp. Offering much more than a great selection of granola flavors and bars, their menu includes salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, eggs, and avocado entrees.

“We’ve selfishly put on the menu all the things we love to eat that we’ve always made in our own homes,” explained Noorily.

“We opened here because Rye has the true culture of a suburban/urban market,” said Mountain. “It has the energy of a small town tapped into the city.”

In sync, the two owners genuinely enjoy working shoulder to shoulder. Though Mountain runs more of the brand and product side and Noorily is on the operational end, they admit, “we like to do everything together and go our separate ways at five o’clock. It’s the perfect marriage.”

As most young mothers do, Noorily and Mountain met through their 3-year-old daughters, who sat next to one another at a children’s birthday party in 2010.

Having both made the leap from professional women to full-time moms, they felt somewhat like “fish out of water.”

“I had the idea of making granola and packaging it as gifts, but I wanted to build a business with someone,” said Mountain, whose background was in marketing in the music industry.

Formerly in finance, Noorily added, “Julie pitched it as ‘the Bergdorf of granola’ and I liked the idea of creating something. This felt like a toe in the water from being at home to doing something for myself.”

The fact that they are both self-proclaimed foodies sealed the deal. They established the first iteration of their business, O.A.T.S. Granola, and sold it to friends and family in 32-ounce mason jars. Mountain and Noorily took the next step and started selling them in their hometown Whole Foods in Westport, which led to the Whole Foods in New York City’s Tribeca. Before long, their product was sold in 90 Whole Foods, Stew Leonard’s, and Fresh Market supermarkets.

One day in New York City, the entrepreneurs came upon Dannon’s Yogurt Culture Company and were struck by its model. Fortuitously, Dannon’s CEO took them under his wing and convinced them to open up a storefront of their own. Granola Bar was born in Westport’s Playhouse Square in 2013. They’ve been on the fast track since day one, eventually opening in Greenwich, Stamford, Armonk, and Rye. All locations exude the same vibe with a signature gray palate, exposed millwork, and modern lighting.

With over 80 employees now, the days of making the granola themselves are behind them. They have a catering business, a Granola Bar food truck available for parties, and a Granola Bar app so patrons can order ahead. Those mason jars they started out with still make an appearance with coffee, almond butter, or as gift items. The daughters behind their serendipitous meeting are now 10 and call themselves, “the original granoly girls.”

What’s next? “We’re always innovating and making our stores better than the day before.”

<For more information or to book an event at the store, visit thegranolabarct.com or call 709-4229.

Open Monday-Friday: 6-5; Saturday: 8-5; Sunday: 8-4>

When the Bird Homestead nonprofit, which operates the Rye Meeting
House, embarked on an investigation inside the historic building to
determine the colors of paint layers over time, the board of trustees
never expected to find any artistic images. “It is a special, but
diminutive building. We thought we would find a series of solid
colors,” said Anne Stillman, president and CEO.  

Instead, while carefully scraping off the existing ivory-colored paint, Walter
Sedovic Architects found a stenciled image of a fleur-de-lis. That
was just the beginning.

The nonprofit hired Evergreene Architectural Arts to investigate
further. A conservator revealed one surprise after another. The
maroon fleur-de-lis on a brick-colored background did not appear in a
single line of stenciling, as would have been more common, but covered
almost an entire plaster wall of the chancel in a pattern alternating
with a star. A representative section has been uncovered. Above this
area, which resembles wallpaper, the conservator found a border of
green stylized trees with golden fruit. These small orbs retain tiny
traces of real gold leaf.

A row of almost abstract circular images in paler colors borders the
stained glass window. Formerly an Episcopal chapel, the building was affiliated with Rye’s Christ’s Church for about 90 years. In 1959, the Religious Society of
Friends purchased it for use as a meeting house. It is now
a secular site operated for historic, environmental, and educational
purposes.

The building retains an interior cruciform plan with the elevated
chancel as the focal point. “It turns out that the chancel was highly
decorated during the building’s 19th-century life as a chapel,” said
Stillman. “We were astonished and thrilled.”

The newly discovered colors reflect the taste for earth tones of the
Victorian era. Wainscoting exists below the plaster on the three walls
of the chancel. It was made of a less expensive wood and subsequently
painted over. However, in the late 19th-century, it was painted to
imitate the look of oak paneling in a technique called graining or
faux bois. Copying an original untouched sample found under a later
molding, an artist from Evergreene replicated the color and subtle
graining design.

To avoid the risk of covering over any images that may still be
hidden, the organization has decided to defer plaster repair until a
full investigation is completed. The goal remains to reveal as much of the original stenciling as possible and to continue to restore the chancel to its 19th-century appearance. With this exciting discovery, the Bird Homestead nonprofit will need to raise more funds for continued investigation and conservation.

Members of the public are invited to stop by the Meeting House and see
the work-in-progress on Saturday, October 14 between 1 and 4 at an informal open house. Light refreshments will be served.

The Jay Heritage Center is excited to share news of a terrific discovery made by an Eagle Scout candidate with Rye’s Pack 2, Chris Parker. Chris, a senior at Fordham Prep, led a group of a dozen volunteers in a methodical field excavation at the Jay Estate this summer. Dr. Eugene Boesch, who has undertaken archaeological investigations in the Hudson Valley and Manhattan for more than 30 years, supervised this ambitious project. Their objective? To search for supporting evidence of a small pre-existing structure of 18th century origin that appears in two separate archival drawings in the Jay Heritage Center Collection. The results are all the more remarkable given the location of their shovel tests – the National Historic Landmark home of American Founding Father John Jay on the Boston Post Road.

Over the course of three weeks of careful investigation Chris and his team from different area schools and troops, successfully unearthed numerous artifacts from both the late 1600s and 1700s. What they found – including pieces of period slipware, redware, refined earthenware, china, bottle and window glass fragments, bone, shell, clay pipe stems and stamped bowls, glazed bricks, and cut nails – gave clues to the daily habits of another era. The most intriguing discovery was what appears to be a collapsed brick chimney with metal straps: its configuration suggests a modest colonial era outbuilding associated with “The Locusts”, the Jay family’s ancestral home in Rye. Dr. Boesch believes the structure may have served as a workhouse for the farm or possibly a small servant dwelling. 

Dutch yellow bricks, long buried and preserved in the dirt like the ones found here, are typical of pre-Revolutionary War sites and help establish a timeline. This initial probe and the cultural objects uncovered will help the Jay Heritage Center better recreate the daily life of Rye’s earliest settlers, particularly the Budd and Jay families, as well as their servants, enslaved and free. Chris plans to display some of the artifacts and show visitors the dig site at JHC’s upcoming fall festival, Jay Day on Sunday, September 24 from 11-3. 

The Jay Heritage Center is grateful to Chris, his friends, and Dr. Boesch for their dedication and perseverance in this endeavor. Volunteers included Abigail Repetto, Kristina Marchand, Adele Harshbarger, and Melissa Bergin from Rye Troop 2282; John de Toro from Mamaroneck Troop 2 along with his father Jeff and sister Natalie; Fordham Prep students Christian Gjelaj, Aiden Foley, Luis Mendoza, Andrew Wetty, and Jonah Shortall.

Ongoing archaeology, conducted according to the standards of the US Department of the Interior and State Historic Preservation Office standards, is a hallmark of the Jay Heritage Center. Findings like these expand the interpretation of the site and add to the narrative of all the men and women who lived and worked there.

Chris Parker showing some of his finds.

Digging up the Jay Mansion’s backyard