Press Releases



Unique program provides support for US military families separated during the holidays

Buffalo – October 18, 2010 – HeroConnect, a program that enables military families to stay connected across time-zones, continents and oceans begins operations today. Throughout the fall of 2010, HeroConnect will create personalized storybook gift packages to ship to the children of deployed soldiers during the holidays–at no cost to the soldiers or their families.

Deployed soldiers visiting will select one of two award-winning children’s picture books to read aloud and record. Soldiers will upload or email their recorded media files to HeroConnect’s secure website. HeroConnect staff–which includes volunteers from Clarence, NY High School’s Digital Media Club–will access and download the recorded media files and press them to DVD media. The personalized DVD recording will be paired with the selected picture-book, wrapped and shipped to the child identified by the service member, all in time for the holidays.

The HeroConnect program is introduced to the military and the public with a series of short, informative and humorous videos airing on YouTube and being forwarded to key military personnel for troop distribution. Deployed soldiers will be able to participate in the program on a first-come-first-served basis. To pay for the gift packages, HeroConnect Corporation is raising funds from corporate and individual donors. “Many people around Western New York are so grateful for the sacrifices made by our soldiers,” says HeroConnect Board Member, Douglas W. Dimitroff. “Supporting this program is just a small way that we can say “thank you”, and provide their families with communications we take for granted in our everyday life. Hearing a parent’s voice reading a story from so far away is a gift a child will never forget. It’s priceless.”

More information regarding HeroConnect can be found at


July 27, 2010


Celebration of Literature, Art, Small Business and a Living Main Street to premier in September

Western New York will celebrate its first STORYBOOK WINDOW WALK event in the village of East Aurora, on September 18, 2010. Like the famed holiday storybook windows on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, storefronts from Pine Street to Elm Street will showcase the original paintings and text from the pages of THE SCARIEST DREAM EVER, a whimsical picture book for children, written by Maria T. DiVencenzo, author of the award-winning, critically acclaimed The Star of Christmas (Winterlake Press, 2009) andLittle House in Brookfield, Little Town at the Crossroads, and Little Clearing in the Woods (HarperCollins Publishers.) The magical, mixed-media illustrations are created by East Aurora, NY artist and gallery owner Alixandra Martin.

A one-of a-kind celebration that includes a full day of family activities, the STORYBOOK WINDOW WALK will highlight East Aurora’s thriving art and literary communities, small businesses, and Living Main Street. Beginning at 11 am with the first public reading of THE SCARIEST DREAM EVER, the event will feature crafts and contests for kids, sidewalk chalk murals, Pocket Lady surprises, character readings, book seminars and signings, food and fun. Like the story’s main character, children are encouraged to take part in the festivities wearing – what else? Their favorite pajamas! Live music and refreshments will be provided at redFISH Art Studios from 4-10pm.

Story continued…


November 1, 2009

Finger Lakes Illustrator’s First Picture Book Earns Gold Medal and Praise from Trade

Timeless Christmas book celebrated for its beautiful watercolor illustrations. Illustrator Elaine Verstraete in local appearances; series of book signing events will begin at Artizanns, in Naples NY in mid-November. more


October 1, 2009

The Story of Winterlake Press

Husband and wife team defy the odds and the capital markets to launch their children’s publishing company from scratch. Winterlake Press demonstrates that experience, grit, savvy and passion are essential in challenging economic times. First book project earns gold medal award. more


October 1, 2009

The Star of Christmas

New Christmas book is timeless; celebrates both the spiritual and the secular elements of Christmas. Subtly explains the sacred meaning of Christmas to children while speaking to the child in all of us. more



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