Thursday, March 10, 2005
Shades of Greene
OUR COUNTY seems to be one of 15 Greenes. Others exist in Alabama (labor force of 2982), Arkansas, Georgia (whose county seat claims distinction of being first in America to be wiped out—fire and slaughter—by Indians), Indiana, Illinois (former home of warring Kickapoos and Pottawatamies), Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky (good sky-diving), Mississippi (once part of Choctaw nation), Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania (proud of 8 covered bridges), Tennessee, and Virginia. Most of these jurisdictions, like ours, are named in honor of Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Nathaniel Greene. HOO GREENE. Arkansas’s Greene County contains headquarters of International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. Whose officers bear titles not only of Sr and Jr High Hoo-Hoo, but also of Snark, Bagum, Jabberwock, Scrivenoter, Arcanoper, Custocatian and Gurdon. But we digress. WEIRD GREENE. Virginia’s Greene County web site imputes to that location a transparent mind, which is “expecting to expand the amount of residences living in Ruckersville” (quite a feat for a residence). But there we go again, digressing. WHICH GREENE BANK? It’s easy to confound Greene County Bank with Bank of Greene County. Former is in fact located in East Tennessee’s Greene County, while latter is right here in Catskill. Theirs is much bigger (more offices, employees, assets, market capitalization). Both companies’ shares are listed on NASDAQ exchange, as GCBS and GCBC respectively. Ours pays better dividend and has higher price-to-earnings ratio. BANK FORTUNES. Of ll community banks in Capital/Mid-Hudson region, our Bank of Greene County scored biggest gain in net income last year. Brisk business in mortgage lending coincided with decreased reliance on Certificates of Deposit and, says BGC President Bruce Whittaker, with fresh income from fees derived from new business of selling stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities. Assets approached $300 million mark. Net income rose 32% of fiscal 2003, when the figure was 29% over previous year. Dividend payout to owners of shares in parent Greene County Bank Corporation was up 15%. It could hardly have been otherwise. Big rise in real estate prices and in sales had to bring big increase in mortgage interest income. But BGC also surely prospered from competitors’ stupidity. When Troy Savings took over Catskill Savings, new bosses promptly discarded well connected local staff and venerable, locally resonant name. Depositors fled. Prospective orrowers shunned. Could same thing happen to BGC? PROPERTY MARKET. Dramatizing boom in GreeneLand real estate market (see previous Seeing Greene), an East Catskill home (top of Bridge Street) sold in September 2003 for $239,000, sold again in August 2004 (after improvements, to be sure) for $319,000. Do the math. “HEADLINERS AND One-Liners. Songs and Stories of Catskill Hotels.” That’s fetching name of live show to be given by Mark Singer & Darcy Dunn & friends, at Catskill Mountain Foundation’s theater in Hunter this Saturday (March 12). For more information, check Foundation’s web site (www.catskillmtn.org) or phone (518)263-4459, or e-mail email@example.com. MOVIES TOO. That show is only one of many wondrous offerings from Catskill Mountain Foundation. Lowland GreeneLanders lack awareness of same. There’s the bookstore in Hunter, offering new and used volumes in abundance, many at discount, with all profits recycled to good cultural causes. Mail orders welcome. Telephone inquiries at (518) 263-4448. Then there’s parade of superior films (Hollywood, foreign, independent…). Tomorrow night, for example: “Hitch” and “Hotel Rwanda.” Next up: “A Love Song for Bobby Long.” DEAR MELVIN: “….I hope you will display this personalized photograph of President and Mrs. Bush proudly as a symbol of your support for his positive vision of a better future for our country…And I hope it will also serve as a reminder of the importance of grassroots leaders like you…. It means a lot to me to know your photograph [inscribed with “Warmest Regards” followed by signature “George Bush”] arrived in good condition, and is suitable for framing and display. So please…complete the enclosed Confirmation Receipt and return it to me. And…please include a contribution of $25, $35…or whatever you can afford to become a Sustaining Member of the Republican National Committee.” “President Bush is counting on grassroots leaders like you to help guide our country to a better day.” --Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman to GreeneLander who died 12 years ago. “IRRESISTIBLY YUMMY yet wholesome, the degree of sweetness in each piece flavorfully subtle but not overpowering.” That’s author Pauline Uchmanowicz’s take on assortment of goodies confected by Karen Hernandez of The Candyman (4 Bridge St, Catskill). Writing in February issue of Catskill Mountain Region Guide (free; beautifully produced; hard to find), Uchmanowicz hails “dizzyingly pleasurable sugar, nut and fruit odors” pervading store, its resemblance to “an antiquated apothecary,” its “chocolate creams made variously with butter rum, cherry, lemon, lime, peppermint…,” its “almond, cashew and pecan barks,” its “nut and raisin clusters and turtles.” TRAVEL NOTE. Motorists on Palisades Parkway just north of New York City (and south of Freeway) could have paid $2.40 per gallon for regular gasoline on March 4 (among other days) or, within six miles, on the New Jersey side, $1.80. DAILY MAUL. Web site of GreeneLand’s only locally published daily newspaper carries two advertisements. One, for kilt-maker Anne Stewart, cites Main St (Catskill) address that Anne recently vacated. The other, for Kd Office Works, cites Hudson address and Catskill (Grandview Plaza) addresses, although Kd vacated latter site back in November. MORE MAULING. In March 2 feature story about forthcoming exhibition at Cedar Grove, name of famous Hudson School landscape painter Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) is rendered as Ashore.