Friday, June 24, 2005


BRAIN DEAD BOYS? When it comes to achievement in school, GreeneLand’s boys seem to be chronic laggards. Awards Night at Catskill High School offers a case in point. Apart from sports, 66 kinds of awards, varying by donor or type of performance (in scholarship and/or service), were bestowed the other night on 104 recipients. Among those recipients, only 26 were boys (not 26 different boys). Girls won all four Catskill Teachers Association scholarships, all five New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence, all four President’s Awards for Educational Excellence, nine of ten Senior Academic Recognition awards. The story was much the same GreeneLand’s other high schools. Nine of the top 10 Greeneville High School graduates are girls, as are 7 of the top 10 Cairo-Durham graduates and 6 of the top 10 Coxsackie-Athens graduates. It was much the same last year, and the year before.

BEST OF BEST. One CHS senior, by the way, wore herself out on Awards Night. Climbing to the dais 16 times to be hailed as Valedictorian, Advanced Placement Scholar, Lions Club Scholar, County Medical Society Scholar, Oren Memorial Scholar, Kiwanis Scholar, Science Scholar, National Honor Society scholar, Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence winner and a few other titles was Erin Guldenstern.

IMMINENT: Saturday (6/25). Festive opening (free refreshments, prizes, entertainment) from 8:30am. of Bank of Greene County’s stylish new Cairo branch (Route 23 at Matthew Simons Road). Sunday (6/26). Mushroom Walk. From 9am., John Boyle at Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra leads trek identifying mushrooms that vary in look, medicinal use, edibility. $15. Advance registration: 622-9820. Wacky Raft Race from Athens’s Riverfront Park (11 am.) to Catskill Point, site of prize-giving festivities. Good spectating. For more info: Daniela Marino of GreeneLand Tourism & Promotions, 943-3223. Wednesday (6/29). “War of the Worlds” opens in hundreds of movie theaters, including Catskill Mountain Foundation’s house in Hunter, Community Theater in Catskill, and Coxsackie Hi-Way Drive-In. Thursday (6/30). War Party. After “War of the Worlds” has its Catskill Community Theater opening (7:30 pm.), ex-extras who helped to make GreeneLand scenes for the film are invited to a party at Riverside Park and at Stewart House in Athens, scene of the local filming. Likely turnout: 300 people.

“WAR”’ NOTE. Billing for stars of “War of the Worlds” seems to have undergone a change. Miranda Otto (of “Lord of the Rings” fame) evidently has climbed past Tim Robbins and Dakota Fanning to be, ahem, closest to super-star Tom Cruise. That’s what appears, at any rate, on the web site trailer.

WHAT’S NEW: new dean at newly established New School for Drama (three-year MFA degree) at New School University in Manhattan is Coxsackie’s Robert LuPone. He’s a Broadway and off-Broadway veteran, a soapie star (“Guiding Light;” “All My Children”), co-founder of play-producing Manhattan Class Company, and brother of cabaret star Patti LuPone. (Would Patti and Bobby follow lead of sisters Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway, doing a show called “Sibling Revelry”?).

MOVING? It now looks as if GreeneLand’s Arts Council will not be moving to (and refurbishing) historic Beattie-Powers House (owned by Village of Catskill), but Sandy Mathes’s Industrial Development Agency (now awkwardly housed above First Niagara Bank) will do so. And Heart of Catskill Association may follow (although that office really belongs on Main Street?).

EXPANDING. Also in prospect is sale of old County office building, at 288 Main Street in Catskill, to Bank of Greene County. The bank was sole bidder, and topped the reserve price of $385,000. County legislators will meet soon to approve the sale. Bank President Bruce Whittaker says the new property will house operations staff. At around $30 per square foot, the building is quite a bargain.

RELIEVING? GreeneLand’s new Chief Public Defender, D.J. Cornelius, now a full-time functionary, is making use of his increased availability by spending more time—ideally, a visit every week-- with jail-bound clients. That policy could make quite a difference for the mental state of inmates. According to David C. Fleming, who ‘covers’ the jail for GreeneLand’s office of Mental Health Services, inmates “experience greatly increased anxiety and frustration when they do not hear directly from their lawyer about their legal cases for prolonged periods of time… I have observed on many occasions that an individual with a minor or moderate depression problem can become seriously despondent, and even experience suicidal thoughts, when incarcerated for weeks or months…without a face-to-face meeting with their lawyer….” Stress reduction for inmates, he adds (in a letter of thanks to Cornelius), means stress reduction for their keepers.

SWEENEY SWINGS. According to MidHudson News (6/21), our United States Representative, John Sweeney, recently accused his neighboring Representative, Maurice Hinchey, of doing abundantly what he (Hinchey) faults Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay for doing, namely, taking privately funded trips. According to Hinchey, Sweeney’s emphasis on frequency blurs the issue, the central issue, of sponsorship legality. Sweeney’s accusation (or use of Red Herring device) was voiced, according to Mike Gross of MidHudson News, at a Dutchess County Republican function last week. Gross’s wording is memorable. “Sweeney said” that Hinchey “was one of the earlier and most outspoken critics on what he said were abused by the House majority leader as it related to privately funded trips. Come to find out that Mr. Hinchey not only took more of those kinds of trips, but he was one of the most well traveled by such means, privately funded, members in all of Congress.” Got that?

AND AGAIN. Also reported on MidHudson News (and nowhere else, apparently) is Sweeney assurance that U.S.A. is winning the war against terrorism.

DAILY MAUL. “Fire ripped through an apartment building where the former New York State Police barracks once stood…” (Translation: fire consumed building that had ceased to exist). “By upgrading to an intermediate service ambulance staff with the specified certification will perform certain procedures, such as start IVs before a paramedic arrives on the scene.” “…Pulver said Cobb was one of the finest judges ever to sit on the bench and often sought his advice.” “The accident was investigated by New York State Police at Catskill and were [sic.] assisted by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department and the Catskill Fire Company.” “The total Thruway system totals 641 miles.”

RELIEF from language mangling may be obtainable from an alluring new guidebook by Laurie Rozakis entitled Comma Sutra and billed as the ticket to instant grammar gratification. Rules of fourplay; position yourself for success with good grammar; create perfect harmony between subjects and verbs; boost your linguistic libido. Surprisingly, this tome is not sub-titled The Joy of Grammar. Neither does it tease with topics such as antecedents: the backdoor approach to description; premature interjections; practicing safe syntax; or dodging dangling participles. (I pilfered those titles from a young Texas writer named Kathryn Edwards).


Friday, June 17, 2005

Martha Chronicles

INDICTMENT. She “willfully and knowingly devised, and intended to devise, a scheme and artifice to defraud prospective authors and to obtain their money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.” In pursuance of that scheme, as United States Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby’s construes her Federal indictment, she

*pretended to be at least two GreeneLanders, a book publisher and a literary agent.

*“demanded and accepted a variety of fee payments prior to publication of a given book, including initial payments to publish, separate fees for representation by a literary agent, separate fees for editing, separate fees for illustrations, separate fees for a Special Markets Program, and separate fees for a prospective author to purchase copies of her own book prior to publication.”

*“offered a variety of excuses for non-publication years following the initial payment, including, problems with illustrations, problems with printers, lost manuscripts, computer viruses, failed computer disks, and production backlogs…”

*”made false representations regarding book signings, international book fairs and expos, complimentary cruise vacations and travel, as well as appearances on television talk shows.”

*filed for bankruptcy so as “to insulate herself…from the demands of dissatisfied prospective authors,” and then “reconstituted” her publishing operation under a new name and “continued to solicit payments from the same prospective authors under the auspices of the new entity.”

The alleged perpetrator of that alleged scheme is Catskill’s Martha Ivery, 56 (a.k.a Kelly McDonnell and other personae). Following a lengthy FBI investigation led by Special Agent William Chase, Martha was indicted (6/1) by a Federal grand jury on charges of mail fraud (15 counts), credit card crime, and lying in bankruptcy court. Arraigned in Albany (6/3), Martha entered a plea of Not Guilty and currently is free on a personal recognizance bond. Evidence is still being marshaled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Thomas Capezza) and by Victim Witness Co-Ordinator Rachel Feeber in Albany ([518] 431-0247).

SCAM CENTRAL, according to the prosecutors and complainants, was 291 Main Street in Catskill, across from the post office (and above the law offices of landlord Ed Cloke, the former District Attorney). There, for around five years until 2003, Martha operated Press-TIGE Publishing Company (later New Millenium); alter ego O’Donnell, the literary agent, made do with a post office box in Leeds.

THE SCALE. The charges against Martha stem from a sub-set of complaints that were voiced in recent years. Many of those complaints were relayed to the FBI after being voiced to Writer Beware, an organ of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America ( “As usual with indictments of this sort,” says Victoria Strauss ( “only a fraction of Ivery's fraud is included: just sixteen of her nearly 300 victims, $55,000 of her "take" of more than half a million dollars, and one of nine documentable instances of false sworn testimony before the bankruptcy trustee.” (The latter instance consists of claiming that “Claude Roussan” was a real person—a publisher--rather than a Marthian invention). Martha allegedly ran

a soup-to-nuts operation: writers came in through one of the agencies (which charged "marketing" fees and pressured clients to accept paid editing services) and were then passed on to one of the publishing companies (which charged several thousand dollars). The connection between the agencies and the publishers wasn't revealed; to further the deception, clients were encouraged to believe that the Kelly O'Donnell who ran the agencies and the Martha Ivery who ran the publishers were two different people. Writers who paid fees to Ivery--whether for agenting, book doctoring, or publishing--frequently didn't receive the promised services. Manuscripts submitted for agenting were never sent to publishers, or were placed with vanity publishers…which paid kickbacks to agents…. Promised editing was never completed or was poorly done. Books contracted for publication were never produced, or if produced, weren't marketed. In addition to whatever fees had been agreed upon, Ivery bombarded authors with demands for even more money for nonexistent services: publicity, warehousing, even a Press-Tige cruise (not surprisingly, the cruise was canceled and authors never got refunds). Ivery was notable for her attempts to intimidate dissatisfied clients and people who attempted to expose her activities. Authors were told that she would "blacklist" them so that publishers wouldn't look at their manuscripts. Writer Beware staff received death threats. She was also adept at fabricating outlandish excuses to explain her habitual nonperformance. For instance, in the aftermath of 9/11 she variously claimed to have been "seriously burned" in the disaster, or to be in mourning for relatives who'd been killed. She had numerous heart attacks. She frequently got cancer. As both Martha and Kelly, she died several times. Of course, with so much to remember, once in a while she got her lies mixed up. One pesky author, shocked to learn of Martha's sudden and tragic death, was later somewhat taken aback to receive a call from her. As a result of numerous author complaints (and lobbying by Writer Beware), a criminal investigation into Ivery's activities was launched by the FBI in 2001. Writer Beware assisted the case agent…. Under pressure from the investigation and dogged by increasing public knowledge of her scammery, Ivery decided to fold the business. On June 19, 2002, Press-Tige Publishing filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York…. At her first bankruptcy hearing… Ivery testified under oath that all the authors listed on Schedule F of her bankruptcy petition had canceled their contracts with Press-Tige. This was a lie.... Ivery didn't provide any of the documentation that she was directed in writing to bring to the hearing. Ordered to present it at the second hearing, on August 20, 2002, she again failed to bring the material, and again perjured herself on a number of issues. She also admitted that much of the testimony she'd offered at the previous hearing was perjury....

KELLY AT WORK. Among self-described victims of Martha was a woman who grieved through the web site called, which also is run by Ed Magedson. This author tells of signing a $3000 contract with “Kelly O’Donnell” in 1995, going through dodges galore, eventually rejoicing to see actual publication (with “shabby editing”) in January 1998. But no distribution. A listing on Amazon came and went in one week. And “I know she has many other victims,” says this dejected customer, because Martha (qua Kelly) “had the nerve early to have them call me for a reference.”

BOLD MARTHA? Another aggrieved writer, alerted by that message on, credited Martha with being “crafty, brazen, and audacious.” In the words of Mike, of Woodstock KA, Martha

strings people along as long as she can and milks them for as much money as possible. To her credit, her best selling book was about Bill Clinton and his plan for a better America, a book of blank pages (which closely commensurates with the promises she keeps with contracted authors). Her attempts to placate are amateurish and childlike at best. When no longer able to appease, she releases clients from their contracts (most of them) but they never see their money, because ‘the artists quit’ or other ‘problems’ beyond her control.

MORE KELLY. An additional, major channel which would-be authors used to air complaints was (and is) the Whispers and Warnings forum run by Angela Hoy as part of an ezine for free-lancers ( Correspondent John Shriver, for example, responded to an earlier alert in these terms (5/2002): If this Kelly O’Donnell is the same one who misrepresented herself several years ago to me, she supposedly had a literary agency at Round Top, NY. After only one query letter she was telling me how great my book was (send me $2500) and that she wanted to see the entire manuscript (send me another $1000 for copying) and had several publishers in mind (send me $500 for postage). It did need some serious editing (send me $2000) but that could be taken care of in-house….The supposed contract offered to publish my book for a sum of $3990. Turned out it was a subsidy publisher in deep trouble with the [Utah] Attorney General plus 49 other states. When I requested the return of my manuscript, Ms. O'Donnell wanted $100 for postage and handling….

DITTO. “I entered into a publication contract with Press-Tige in August, 1999,” recalls Charley Scholl in a message aired on Writers Weekly.

Contract stated that my book, Dustin's Debut, was to be published in 6-9 months, with a 3 month clause for unforeseen circumstances. I was sent one copy of an unsigned, undated, contract. It was to be signed, dated, and returned within a specified time period with a cashier's check for $3950.00, the author's share of publication costs. I fulfilled my end of the contract, however, it took several e-mails from me from August through October before I actually received a copy of the completely signed and dated by both parties contract. I finally received that after sending an e-mail telling Press-Tige that I had, in fact, made a copy of the signed contract before sending it. Believe it or not, Press-Tige sent me the original contract and asked me to make a copy of it and send it back, she claimed her copy machine was down. Press-Tige asked for an initial disk copy, cover blurb, author photo, and other promo stuff in October, which I promptly sent. Nothing happened after that…

REJOINDER. Countering such moaning was another message received early in 2002 by Writers Weekly. It came from Jack Powell and voiced warm praise for Martha Ivery. After posting it, however, editor Angela Hoy noticed that the testimonial had come from Martha’s own word processor. She deleted the message, posting an explanation. Martha reacted with a touch of asperity:

For your information, Mother Fucker, Jack Powell was staying at my home as he visited Howard Stern in NYC last week. Asshole. You're not to [sic.] smart when it comes to anything, are you? especially people in general. Why don't you go back to the country you came from? No one in this country likes Japs and that is what you are, a stinkin, fucking Jap. Ms. Hoy. what kind of a name is that? if I had a name like yours, I'd shave my ass and walk backwards.

Martha followed that message with another in the same vein:

Ms. Hoy, or whatever the hell you call yourself. I hate Japs, let it be known to the world. Your grandfather probably was the one that bombed the American sailors as they were on their ships. That's why I can't stand you. You come to this country and think you can get everything for free, you are a terrorist. Scumbag. Put that in your mouth and suck on it. Asshole

(Angela Hoy is, as it happens, a WASP).

FICTIVE MARTHA. Before disclaiming interest in works of fiction (in favor of “How-to, New Age, Self-Help, Spirituality, Witchcraft/Wicca”), Martha ostensibly put out (“available in 1998”) Lilac and Lace, whose protagonist, according to the publisher’s clumsy blurb, is stirred with “inner feelings of love lost buried in her hurt spirit. Could she resist the temptation which aroused within her?” The story, prospective readers were assured, is told “with grace, authority and compassion” By whom? No author was identified.

MARTHA ON MARTHA. Among titles for which Martha takes credit as author and publisher are two in a series aimed at children. The first, Pickles and Peanuts, is touted falsely in the publisher’s blurb as “non-fiction” and, sub-literately, as “an exciting adventure for one little girl, and the discovery of events that take place on a horse farm, and how to take care of your horse or pony.” The sequel, Pickles and Peanuts Meet Sandpiper the Wonder Horse, is said by publisher Martha to be “written from first hand experience who are a third party to an emotional conflict.”

MENTAL MARTHA. “At one time or another, almost everybody has had a premonition come true. What if there was a way to harness this sixth sense and use it to fundamentally improve one's life?” Those promising words (1999) invite attention to a 222-page guidebook called What's Your Psychic I.Q? How to listen to your inner voice and let it guide you to a better life. The putative guide is Martha herself, who, says publisher Martha, “shows readers how to evaluate and enhance their intuitive ability through a series of creative exercises. She shows that psychic ability is a natural and beneficial component of everyone's personality--and when explored, it can open the door to knowledge that is hidden to the other five senses.” Copies are listed for sale on Amazon (new, $14; used, $34!) and on Barnes & Noble (current sales ranking: 604,706). What is more, a Portuguese translation seems to have materialized. Meantime, What’s Your Psychic I.Q.? has the distinction of being the only Ivery-authored book that is catalogued in Catskill’s public library. The listed copy, however, was checked out in January 2004 and not returned.

TALK AROUND TOWN. Since Martha has been a GreeneLand personage of long standing, Seeing Greene trolled for comments following the news of her indictment. Some excerpts: “How come it took them”—the investigators—“so long?” “We blacklisted her after getting calls and complaints….” “She took a one-year lease on a storefront for a news agency, and was in and out in a few weeks.” “What about the bigamy rumor?” “Which Ivery did she marry?” “She was a wonderful inventor of schemes that would bring untold wealth.” “What about her ‘Hollywood contracts’ and her ‘television contracts’?” “We had to stop doing business with her; she kept fiddling with the terms of her policies.” “I didn’t know we had such a clever, creative swindler in our midst. Makes me kinda proud.”

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hot June News

SWINDLER? Widely known GreeneLander Martha Ivery (a.k.a. Kelly O’Donnell) has entered a plea of Not Guilty to multiple counts of a Federal indictment for fraud in connection with her Press-TIGE book publishing business (or former business). It’s a rich juicy story, which we will amplify in a near-future installment of Seeing Greene.

BEAR OUT. State Police responded recently (5/31) to word from a Renwick Avenue, Tannersville, resident that a small brown bear had opened the driver’s side door of a 2002 GMC pickup truck, climbed in, closed (or experienced the closing of) the door and, at 6:30 in the morning, was honking the horn and flashing turn signals. The troopers found the bemused bear resting quietly inside, after she or he had ripped insulation stripping from the door and had chewed a piece out of the dashboard. The senior trooper told Seeing Greene’s mountain correspondent that when he opened the truck’s passenger side door, the bear fled without incident.

RIP RETURNS. Catskill’s wooden sculpture of Rip Van Winkle is back at the old stand at top of Main Street.

RUNNING FOOL. On the afternoon of June 1st, police officers Brian Kozloski and Rick Deyo, together with Sheriff’s deputies Tracy Helmedach and David Schoenborn, are manning a checkpoint outside the McDonald’s on Maple Avenue (=Highway 9W) in Catskill. Among drivers they detain for failure to wear a seat belt is Matthew C. Ainsworth, 24, of Barre VT. Following standard procedure, they run a check on Ainsworth’s driver’s license. Suspended. That makes the detainee subject to arrest for aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle. To that end, in keeping with standard procedure, he is ordered to step out of his vehicle and is handcuffed in preparation to being transported to a local judge for arraignment. But the subject chooses to run. With arms pinned behind him and officers in pursuit, he makes it as far as the Begnal Motors garage. Now he is delivered to Village court and arraigned not only for AUO, but also for attempting to escape arrest. Judge Veronica Kosich rules that in order to be released, defendant must post bail in the amount of $2500 cash or $5000 bond; otherwise he goes to jail. So, at post time for Seeing Greene, he is still a guest of GreeneLand taxpayers. Meanwhile, his borrowed Ford Ranger, having been towed to Post Bros. impound lot, awaits retrieval by its owner who must pay storage charges that increase daily. None of this would have happened, of course, had Ainsworth worn the seat belt. And so much for experiment of telling a story in present tense.

FUNNIES? Last Sunday’s local newspaper contained the usual a four-page collection of comic strips starting with Doonesbury. That strip consisted of six blocks of names of American soldiers who since April 2004 have been killed in Iraq. Just above that was the usual headline: Your Funnies.

NEW HUDSON? Albany’s TimesUnion bestowed Best New Art Gallery title on Catskill’s Open Studio, adding that the Dina Bursztyn/Julie Chase establishment is “just two doors down from the Greene County Council on the Arts’ galley and directly across the street from the new art center that’s currently being built. Could Catskill be the new Hudson?”

MORE BESTS. Also cited in that whimsical Best Of feature ( were Greenville’s Rainbow Golf Club (Best ‘Unknown’ Golf Course), Catskill’s Day & Holt (Best Duck Decoys; “the real thing when it comes to the vintage and hand-carved variety…”; “sweet collection of wooden waterfowl”) and Tannersville’s Snowed Inn (Best Hotel Name).

AND ANOTHER. KIND. Saturday night’s glittering Columbia Memorial Hospital Ball at Catskill Point brought together 600 partysans--a sellout--and raised $375.000. What with the refreshments and the balmy weather, recalls Hospital Foundation director Keith Lampman, “Nobody wanted to go home, so the band played on for an extra hour.” Special feature of the night was electronic wizardry performed by Midhudsonmedia, including a video tribute to honoree Clara Kellner and, throughout the evening, digital photographic IMAX pictures of celebrants.

APOSTROPHIZING. Sawyer Motors of Saugerties, which is close kin to Sawyer Motors of Catskill, bought full-page advertisements (6/3) blaring, in effect, in big red letters, “We are illiterate.” Sawyer proclaims eagerness to sell Cherokee’s, Durango’s, Pacifica’s, Liberty’s, Cab’s and—are you ready for this?—Country’s. With telling inconsistency, the Sawyers refrain from putting superfluous apostrophes in sales, values, reports and savings.

RUNNING AFTER ALL. Coxsackie lawyer Eugenia M. Brennan has been endorsed as Democratic candidate for Greene County Judge. Although she faces “long odds” as challenger against the incumbent, Republican George J. Pulver Jr., says Greene County Democratic Party chair Barbara Van Kuren, Mrs Brennan is “a fine person and a worthy candidate.” She is not, incidentally, the strumming, singing Eugenia B. who plays with the Irish band called, of all things, The Brennans. And, incidentally, our Eugenia Brennan received Democratic endorsement at a May 31st meeting in Cairo community center—an event that The Daily Maul reported on June 8th, , without saying where or when.

IMMINENT --Riverside Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market at Catskill Point, Saturday (6/11) from 9:30 am, with music by keyboard artist Michael DeBenedictus, plus Plant & Bake Sale by Catskill Garden Club. --Round Top Senior Soccer Tournament, Saturday and Sunday, at Riedbauer’s Resort (telephone [518]622-0584). Thirty teams from northeastern U.S. as well as from Europe and Japan. --“Pygmalion” performed at Catskill Mountain Foundation Theater, Saturday (6/11) from 8pm, by Jean Cocteau Repertory Company. Details: (518)263-4908 ext. 202. --“Plant Pathology” talk, June 15th (Wednesday) from 6:30pm, by Cornell Co-Operative Extension ace Bob Beyfuss at Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra. “…most common insects and diseases that affect trees and shrubs in our region with an emphasis on…Integrated Pest Management options….” $15. (518)622-9820.

--“Pond Construction and Management for the Homeowner” talk, June 18th , from 10 am. “Evaluating your property for a pond, pond construction and cost, fish stocking and aquatic plant management.” Same place.

TOWNHALL.COM = web site claiming to offer “conservative news and information,” actually offering “liberal”-bashing commentary plus get-rich-quick advertising, such as tipster Mark Strousen’s “next great tech stock opportunity.” Of course, one must pay to get that priceless tip. Let’s think about that. If I knew what stock is going to soar soon, I sure wouldn’t tell you about it; I’d buy and buy before the word gets out. Meanwhile, if I owned a lot of shares of stock that’s in the tank, I’d be tempted to tout it far and wide as “next great buying opportunity.”

CORRIGENDA. That incipient movie cited here last week is “Ghost Dance” not “Ghost Town.” Allen Blumberg is director and writer as well as producer. Filming on Main Street, Catskill, last Thursday night (6/2) consisted of “establishing” shots, without sound, which gets put in later. End product will be in film noir-ish black & white.

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 CafĂ©. 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.