Friday, December 02, 2005
Bother; Don't Bother
IMPENDING Today (Friday, 12/2) from 6 pm.: Sawyer Chevrolet’s Holiday Festival, with Santa in residence, refreshments, Radio 98.5FM, and prizes, including 100+ bikes and scooters (to kids under 12). Route 9W, Catskill. Tomorrow (Saturday, 12/3) *From 2 pm.: Zucchini Brothers, inter-active musicians (& magicians, & ventriloquists) perform at Greenville Cultural Arts Center. *From 3 pm.: Festivities at Cedar Grove (=Thomas Cole National Historic Site), Catskill. Premiere of filmed interview with Raymond Beecher, county historian and ace raconteur, richly illustrated, crafted by GreeneLand video artist Brian Branigan. At 4 pm., holiday party in the main house, with homemade cookies, flaming punch, and schmoozing. Admission for both events is free, but non-members can expect to be urged to join the Cedar Grove support group. *From 5 pm.: Winter Walk along Hudson’sWarren Street. Wine tastings, book signings, cheese tastings, chili, dancers, puppets, carriage rides, egg nog, music…. Yes, we know it’s not a GreeneLand event, but judging from previous years it will be grand fun. Sunday. Coxsackie’s Christmas By the River. Crafts, music, food, fun at Reed & Mansion Streets. THE MOVIE. The Catskill scene for “Stephanie Daley” (or whatever it gets titled, eventually) was shot Wednesday morning (11/30), again and again, with plenty of local notables on camera. The sturdy backs of sheriff’s deputies appearing in the scene at the doorway of the county courthouse belong to Darren Smith and Travis Richards. Playing a strong on-screen role, as lawyer and virtual bodyguard for the accused, was Hunter Village Mayor William Maley. Also conspicuous in the scene will be Catskill Village Mayor Vincent Seeley, along with Daily Mail reporter Andrea Macko and Channel 6’s Lance Wheeler. They play pesky newsfolk, clamoring for The Story about an alleged infanticide. As the camera follows the crowd down the courthouse steps (surrounding the defendant, played by Amber Tamblyn), three policemen move toward their periphery; they are Chief Dave Darling along with Sgt Scott Talay and Patrolman Brian Koslowski. Rick and Denise Satarala, taking time off from work across the street in Tony’s Luncheonette (and doing their third movie gig in the past 15 months) walk diagonally, hand in hand, ahead of the crowd. And coming the other way in the background are Maurice Latimer, furloughed from being inside the courthouse attending to a jury; and Seeing Greene’s copy editor. Shooting for the picture (budgeted at under $1 million, vs. $300 million for “War of the Worlds”), following early shoots at Hunter Mountain, Phoenicia, and Tannersville High School, is nearly done. They are talking about showing the picture at this January’s Sundance Film Festival (along with around 16 other movies, including “The Night Listener,” made last March in Ulster and Orange counties, with Robin Williams). That doesn’t leave much time for post-production. WINDFALL? Widewater Property Management Co. (of Syracuse) has requested a six-month extension on its option to buy the Grandview School site for development adjoining Catskill Commons. For $200,000. Payable to Catskill Central School District. Bringing return on the deal to $1.2 million. The district’s trustees, at Wednesday night’s meeting, did not act on the matter. The initial offer on extension of option, we understand, was $10,000. Widewater has been payinjg $1500 per month on an option, expiring Dec. 31, to buy the site for $1 million, with a view to building accommodations for tenants such as Mens Wearhouse, Starbucks, Ruby Tuesday, and even Walgreens. If the Widewater deal does not close, we understand, Nigro Constructions would love to add that piece of turf to its main plaza…. HOLDUP? Leaseholders of the Family Dollar store in Catskill Commons are resisting offers from Nigro to vacate their premises for new space nearby. They could seriously stall the WalMart super-store project, thereby postponing the day when GreeneLand’s taxpayers can expect relief thanks to this new source of revenue. The Family Dollar people don’t want a good price for terminating their lease and moving to new quarters in the plaza; they want $2.5 million. If they remain adamant, we may need to organize a boycott. WAYWARD PRESS. Banner headline on page 1 of Greene County edition of Kingston’s Daily Freeman of Wednesday (11/30) blares Grandview May Be Youth Site. The story imputes to Hudson Talbott, spokesman for an “ad hoc committee,” the news that Catskill Central School District Superintendent Kathleen Farrell “was more than willing to open the doors and gave us a big welcome” when (presumably) approached about the idea of putting a new community center in that vacant, old school building. Thursday’s D. F. imputes to Dr Farrell the statement that she has never met with or talked with Talbott, and thus did not make any welcoming remarks. And to Seeing Greene Talbott confirmed that version of matters. *Thursday’s D.F. ascribes to grant writer Steve Kirk the opinion that sidewalk improvements could be included in “upcoming”Catskill application for a $400,000 community development block grant. But Kirk was talking about an application that already had been made and accepted. **Misnomers Dept: “The Hudson Valley has a high instance of HIV/AIDS.” --MidHudsonNews.com, 12/2/05. MOVING? Soon to join the parade of new home improvement business and art galleries on Catskill’s Main Street, we understand, is N & S Supply Co., now quartered on Cauterskill Road. TAXING MATTERS Should church-owned facilities be exempt from property tax? That question has been raised by the leaders of GreeneLand’s chamber of commerce, who use it as a lead-in to pondering whether regular buyers of resort properties should be given tax breaks. The question and the proposal grow out of local experience. Most buyers of GreeneLand resort properties in recent years have been non-profit, mostly ecclesiastical, organizations. Each sale has brought a subtraction from the stock of facilities that are liable to property tax, thereby putting a heavier burden on the rest of us. Maybe the condition could be alleviated, the chamber suggests, by granting discounts to private buyers of resorts. The discounts could be spread, in diminishing increments, over ten years; it would be 90 per cent of the normal tax based on appraised value in the first year, and only 10 per cent by the ninth. But resort properties have been going to non-profits here because they have ceased to be profitable. Even if they can be bought at bargain prices (relative to their assessed valuations and past worth) they may not be viable commercially. The traditional resort industry is depressed and is not likely to revive. Given the choices that are available now for city dwellers, the only measure that could rejuvenate tourism--as GreeneLand’s real property tax expert, Fred J. Algozzine, dryly suggests—would be imposing a ban on second homes and condominiums. If that is indeed the reality, then the contemplated tax breaks would not produce the desired result. (In the meanwhile, they would discriminate against owners of surviving, unsold resort properties). On this showing, the wisest response to the chamber’s scheme probably is: Don’t Bother.