Friday, July 29, 2005
NEXT CHIEF of Catskill Village police, following August 26th retirement of Roger Masse, will be Greg Sager or Rick Jacobs, or a nearly-local alliteratively-named Mr X. If the Village Trustees stick with the Civil Service list, and if they shrug off a technical problem, they’ll pick Investigator Sager or Sergeant Jacobs, since those men are the currently active local police officers who scored highest on the last captaincy (=chief) examination. But a valid list contains at least three eligible persons. That requirement was met until two officers who had scored top marks on the latest exam--Gary Carlson and Bill DeLuca-- went into retirement, thereby officially ceasing to be on The List. But they could ask for reinstatement and then consideration, we understand. But they probably won’t. But the trustees could decide to make a discretionary appointment rather than to go strictly by the Civil Service list. That would free them from what Trustee Forest Cotton calls “outrageously” narrow constraints on selection. And if they do go down that road, we hear tell, they would give earnest consideration to an individual who is not a Village police officer but is well known indeed to law enforcement people and is super-qualified. CHIEF MASSE, meanwhile, retires after a 21-year stint in CPD uniform, during which his salary climbed to $53,000 plus overtime, plus benefits worth another 25% or more. He’ll retain his ‘other’ job--Athens police chief--and will stay in that town along with wife Janice (a pre-school director) and four children. At age 46, and in good shape, he’s not likely to rusticate. ALSO RETIRING at the end of August, after 34 years as pastor of St Patrick’s Church in Catskill, at age 76: Father John J. Murphy. According to a news item in The Daily Mail, Father Murphy will return to his family roots in Troy. For a bit more (a tiny bit) see web site http:// www.geocities.com/stpatrickschurchcatskill. SOCIAL EVENT of the GreeneLand year takes place tomorrow (Saturday) in 21 places on both sides of the Hudson. In keeping with an 1846 painting by GreeneLand’s own Thomas Cole, founder of the now-celebrated Hudson School of landscape painting, the event is called “The Cocktail and Pic-Nic.” It begins with a 5 pm. party at Cedar Grove, the Greene County Historical Society’s national historic site that once was Cole’s home and workplace (218 Spring Street, Catskill), with libations of bubbly “Kaaterskill Kir,” music on period instruments played by The Shaker Creek Trio, a superabundance of fresh flowers in the garden, the house and the studio, and tributes to guest-of-honor Edith Cole Silverstein, who is the famous artist’s great-granddaughter and is, we can attest, is still lively and witty at age 86. Then at 7 pm. the guests--more than 200 at last count-- will disperse to dinner parties, for groups ranging in size from six to 24, at 20 assigned homes in Greene and Columbia counties. There they will be wined and dined by hosts who either have done the cooking or have, at their own expense, hired caterers for the occasion. Although most of the dinner places have been assigned, some last-minute guests, we are told, can be accommodated. For each current member, the price is $75. For a non-member it’s $100, which includes a new $50 membership. The affair is the big yearly local fund-raiser for Cedar Grove, and it is being underwritten by Rip Van Winkle Realty as well as by Douglas Koch Visuals, Michel Golberg Associates, Ruder-Finn Inc., and Domaney Liquors (of Great Barrington MA). For last-minute ticket information, check out www.thomascole.org. DISTRACTIONS. First, the elderly woman drew attention to herself exclusively while looking over Unique Jewelry store items. That diversion, according to what was reported to the police enabled her elderly male companion to scoop up an estimated $6000 worth of items, after which the couple made an unhurried, unhindered, escape. Second, in the ensuing commotion involving police investigators, passers-by and neighboring merchants, a gawking motorist ran his car up the back end of another. So that’s what happened on Catskill’s Main Street yesterday. BIGGEST FIRE in Catskill in last decade destroyed buildings and equipment at waste transfer station (Route 385) on Monday night (7/25). According to fire chief Randy Ormerod (a k a chief police dispatcher Ormerod), the blaze started somewhere in the pits where trash is dumped, and it must have raged for five or six hours before being discovered. Firefighters from both sides of the Hudson, eventually more than 100 strong, answered the call for help. Some of them “gave up a whole day” for the task. They proved to be “dedicated, co-operative, and efficient.” They came in more than 15 trucks—tankers, ladder trucks, rescue trucks, engines. “And we could have used another half-dozen tankers.” Those vehicles carry 1250 to 3500 gallons of water; which they can spray on a fire, to the point of being empty, in 3 minutes. Once those tanks were empty, the trucks had to be driven a full mile to hydrants for refilling, a procedure that took about 6 minutes. Ormerod said the experience served to underscore the need for a new rescue truck (“a tool box on wheels”). Procurement has been authorized by the Village Trustees. Bids from prospective suppliers, bids likely to hover around the $400,000 mark, are to be opened Monday (8/1/05). On-site staff told Seeing Greene that the transfer station may reopen for business, at least to the extent of accepting residential trash (as distinct from big loads of construction materials) within 30 days. Meanwhile, we say there MAY be no problem with bringing recyclables-- bottles, cans, plastics, cardboard, newspapers, magazines—to the Catskill station. Repositories of those items were not affected by the fire. But to lots of questions, the current Waste Management answer is “Don’t know yet.” BOMB SCARE. Rip Van Winkle bridge was closed to traffic for at least an hour Wednesday afternoon (7/27) in consequence of an alert concerning an allegedly suspect package that allegedly was left near a girder by a motorist. Local authorities took every precaution. When the bridge reopened for traffic, toll collectors professed to have no idea why the stoppage occurred. 4600 = approximate number of dollars cleared at Kiwanis Club-organized Albert Natarnicola Memoral Tournament at Catskill Golf Club on July 17th (a rain-spattered Sunday, but for most of the round the sky was clear). That nice piece of change goes to support the Village’s Community Center. It was achieved after expenses (food, refreshments, fees) thanks to support from sponsors (especially Post Bros., Mid-Hudson Cablevision, and Ginsberg Foods) and to entry payments of $75 per player. Top team in the Scramble event (as in many others) was loaded with Lacys. SENIOR CENTER’s opening ceremony took place last Friday (7/22) in what formerly was the annex of Irving Elementary School in Catskill. It’s a neat, spacious, well appointed place, as befits the product of a $750,000 makeover. Superannuation is not an entry requirement. When Seeing Greene’s senior correspondent dropped by, there was one other visitor: a TV-watching 15-year-old boy. OAK HILL made news last week not only for a town-wide yard sale (Saturday, 7/23) but also for a feature story in the Real Estate section of The New York Times (Sunday, 7/24). “Healing Buildings and Healing Souls in the Catskills,” by Fred A. Bernstein, tells about the Twelve Tribes sect (religious community? cult? commune?) whose local adherents run Oak Hill’s only restaurant and have been pivotal in renovating downtown Coxsackie. It was a real estate story to the extent that its author focused on property dealings. It was a richer story in that it dealt with beliefs and practices of the members. There seems to be a gulf between views that have been professed by or ascribed to Tribesfolk, and what their neighbors have experienced. If we concentrate on the latter, we get a benign picture. For more ominous observations, punch in Twelve Tribes on Google. HONORED, as outstanding art major at SUNY Potsdam: GreeneLand’s Ashley M. Hopkins. (Her achievement was reported three times in the same corner of the same page of the 7/19 Daily Mail). SALES PITCH. Latest Reader’s Digest subscription-seeking circular promises laughter galore. The editor’s top, premiere, lead-off, foremost joke: Q: Why did the cowboy buy the dachshund? A: Someone told him to get a long little doggy. That’s their best?