Thursday, June 02, 2005

Busy Weekend

SHOT, on 380 Main Street, Catskill, between 4 and 10 pm on Thursday (6/2): scene for movie “Ghost Town.” Location manager John Schuman contacted Village President Vincent Seeley with request to film the scene, with camera shooting from Unique Jewelry store on to what appears (via period clothing and cars) to be action in 1952. This would complete a picture (independent; produced by Allen Blumberg; about a corruption-sniffing newsman) whose other scenes were shot last summer in Hudson. Regular traffic here was blocked between Community Theater and Bell’s Café. Village accounts payable clerk Nancy Richards performed extra duty. (But maybe none of this happened. I’m writing it before the event). IMMINENT: REEL TEENS. Friday through Sunday evening (6/3-5), from 7:30, at Hunter Movie Theatre, Greene Room Players’ Media Project presents award-winning films and videos made by teen-agers around the country, in program run by Woodstock-based Reel Teens USA. Prizes to be given to best in seven categories. More info:; 845 2461598. --MOUNTAIN TOP Historical Society opens Saturday afternoon, in former Ulster & Delaware Railroad station, Haines Falls, with book-signing (Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide), by author Robert A. Gildersleeve, lecture on “Lost Trails of the Escarpment” (2 pm), exhibit of Francis X. Driscoll’s mountain landscape photos, and guided hikes. -- “MURDER ON The Mountain” = mystery play enacted by Schoharie Creek Players as part of dinner party and fund-raiser at Windham Mountain on Saturday (6/4). $45 buys a meal, a drama, access to the bar, a look at items up for bid by silent auction, and support for a good cause, Community Action of Greene County. Phone 943-0205. And down on the plains: --AGFEST: tractor pulls, pie-eating, other country doings at Van Etten farm, Saw Mill Road, New Baltimore, Saturday and Sunday. (518)756-3517. --ATHENS BICENTENNIAL celebration starts Friday evening (chicken barbecue on Village green; opening ceremony at 7 pm), includes Saturday parade (1 pm), Founders’ Ball at firehouse, lots more. At the Cultural Center on Saturday & Sunday will be an exhibit, “Athens Then and Now,” of old photos of local scenes, coupled with photos of same scenes now. And coinciding with that birthday party will be --OLD HOMES tour of Athens, organized by County Historical Society, Saturday 10am-4 pm. Pick up site directions at First Reformed Church, 16 N. Church St. Twelve dwellings, dating from as far back as 1705, will be on show. --HAPPY TRAILS. On Sunday, at Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, and later at South Lake’s campground pavilion, comes official opening of the Hudson River School Art Trail. It’s all about retracing, by word and illustration and by foot, the mountain sites that entranced Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and their painterly friends and followers. From 10:30 am at Cedar Grove, participants can see pictures by the late Benjamin B.G. Stone, view paintings and hear a talk by contemporary Hudson artist Thomas Locker, buy signed Hudsonian books by Raymond Beecher and Robert Gildersleeve, and have a picnic lunch (bring your own, or reserve a box lunch by calling [518]943 7465 ext 4). Thence to South Lake campground’s pavilion, for an introductory talk and then self-guided tours (with maps) following in footsteps of Hudson River School painters. (Missing from that compound event, and missed, will be Barry Hopkins, who had so much to do with developing the Art Trail as well as with the splendid school program A Greater Sense of Place. He’s recovering from surgery). --“MUSICIANS for Musicians Extravaganza” sponsored by Catskill Music Parent-Student Association at Rip Van Winkle Country Club in Palenville. Local bands (The Digits; Steppin’ Out) plus performances by Catskill music faculty members, Catskill alumni, Catskill High School students. Dancing, door prizes, raffles, silent auction. From 4:30 to 9 pm. $20 per person. More info: Robin at (518)943-4316; Linda at (518)943-0574 extension 108. --YARD SALES. Dozens? FOR SALE, by sealed bid, until 3 pm Wednesday (6/8): our former County Office Building at 288-92 Main Street, Catskill.. If only we had a clutch of techies who could use the whole complex. They might meet minimum bid price of $385,000. Details at (518)719-3270. DRUG BUYS. Last August (long before he announced bid for governorship), New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer established a web site devoted to shedding light on retail prescription drug costs. By going to, people could get information about prices of 150 commonly prescribed medications. But the price checkers did not cover all or even most pharmacies. Until last March, in Columbia County not a single pharmacy was covered. But after that, six places were price-shopped. As for GreeneLand, the surveyors did a strange thing. They checked prices at one pharmacy last September: Rite Aid in Greenville. Then in January they surveyed PriceChopper, Eckerd and Medical Arts in Catskill, and CVS in Cairo. Then in March they covered Windham Pharmacy. And then the genius who runs the web site scrubbed the comparative information for GreeneLand, leaving only the Windham data on view. It happens, however, that Seeing Greene’s intrepid scrutineers had already copied down most of the previous results. Accordingly, we venture to pass along the following bits of guidance about prescription drug buying: **Eckerd and Price Chopper compete closely in GreeneLand for Best Prices prize. **Windham and Medical Arts vie for distinction of being highest-priced. **Costs to individual customers vary from posted regular prices, what with age (discounts available to some seniors for some medications) and status (membership in a plan). **Lowest prices in Columbia County (from GU in Valatie and WalMart in Greenport) beat lowest prices in GreeneLand by about 10%. FEARS EXPRESSED. “The wolves are at the door.” Corporation for Public Broadcasting “has been taken over by a committed band of Republican appointees who have made it clear that they think public broadcasting is too liberal.” New bosses are “preparing a litmus test that will allow them to deprive stations that offend their politics of their share of the public’s money.” So “We have established a First Amendment Fund anticipating the new political reality. We will use that money to fight in federal court when the new censors threaten our share of the pubic money.” “This is the most serious threat to what we do that I have ever seen….”-- Alan Chartock, president of WAMC, in 6/5 Program Guide. NUMERACY PROBLEMS. What’s wrong with the following statement? “From March 2004 to March 2005, the statewide rate of unemployment…declined from 6.7 percent to 4.9 percent, a remarkable one-year decline of 1.8 percent.” (Stephen Kagann, chief economist of New York State). Well, first, the cited decline is NOT 1.8%; it’s 1.8 percentage points; which from a base of 4.9 works out to about 37%. And second, the statement is vacuous. Its author speaks of change in “rate of unemployment,” and gives percentage figures, but does not answer the question Percentage of what? “GAS SALE TODAY!” sign in front of Citgo station near Rip Van Winkle bridge approach is rich with suggestion. It invites belief location of sign is site of a special event; that what’s happening today differs from, and is better for us than, what’s happening there tomorrow or what happened yesterday; that gas has been singled out from other stock for sale at sub-normal price. But proprietors can deny responsibility for any of those hasty conclusions. ABSENT, from current Greene County telephone directory: listing for Catskill Post Office. Previous directory is more informative. It gives an 800 number (275-8777), which is for several post offices, but no local number. NAMESAKES Dept. If you google Rick Snowden, you get the skinny on a guy who bears little resemblance to GreeneLand’s First Baptist cleric. You get an impresario of exotic dancing.

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