Friday, July 29, 2005

Finis July

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:// 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 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?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Joy in July

THE ALARM. When the apparent disappearance of a 5-year-old boy was reported to Catskill police at 1 pm. today, the response was immediate. Within five minutes, four officers showed up at the boy’s front door. When their search of the house and the immediate neighborhood proved fruitless, they called for help. They got it. Within less than an hour, at least 50 people had been mobilized. They included not only a slew of Village police officers, but also State troopers (personally led by the district’s Chief Investigator), the County Sheriff and deputies, and volunteer firefighters. A dog team started down from Albany (nearby sniffers being already assigned to anti-terrorism duty). Because the boy’s home was near the Hudson River, boats from above (Rip Van Winkle Bridge) and below (Dutchman’s Landing) were put in the water with a view to supporting the men who were scouring the riverbank. But the dogs were recalled before arriving, the boats did not leave their berths, and the bush-beaters and door-knockers soon were recalled. Owing to a confusion of domestic signals, as it turned out (after an anxious 70 minutes),the alarm was a false one. The boy was never in danger. Meanwhile, witnesses received a demonstration of how far our designated security forces will go, and how swiftly, when it looks like they are needed. DUELING FAIRS. Talks aimed at merging GreeneLand’s venerable Youth Fair with our resurrected official County Fair have manifestly failed. The result this year is direct competition: simultaneous fairs, a few miles apart. The Youth Fair opens next Thursday (7/28) and runs through Sunday at, as usual, Angelo Canna Park in Cairo. Its emphasis is on, as you might expect, achievements of local youths, especially in agriculture and domestic arts. For information, call Anne Marie Conroy at (518) 239-6159 or e-mail The County Fair (now approaching its fourth year, following a lapse of many years) starts a day earlier (Wednesday, 7/27) and also runs through Sunday. It will be held on the grounds of the Irish Cultural Centre on Route 145 in East Durham (although the leaflet circulated by the Tourism Department does not mention the ICC). For more information: TOO MUCH INFO? GreeneLander Tony Rago voices concern, bordering on alarm, about new Google service (or feature) whereby anybody who knows your telephone number can instantly learn your home address and be given a map leading to your door. To test it, go to Type your phone number (including area code) in the search bar, hit Enter, follow the Map link. It will probably work even if your number is not listed in the printed directory. But if you want to block Google from supplying your mapped location, click on the line above the telephone icon. SHOTS FIRED? Not exactly. What sounded recently to riverside GreeneLanders like shotgun practice on the banks of the Hudson was in fact a rhythmic series of blasts from a propane-fueled ‘cannon’ on George Brown’s Cherry Ridge Farm (at east end of Rip Van Winkle Bridge). The intention is to scare away cherry-pecking (non-paying) birds. The gadget “works a bit better than other noisemakers,” says George. He voices regret for the disturbance. ((We think it’s a cost we are happy to bear, given quality and accessibility of his produce)) NEWEST OPENING. Downtown Catskill’s fifth art gallery will have “premier opening” July 29th (Friday) at 473 Main Street. It’s called The Brik, and that orthographic innovation gives a signal, as do the fresh paint job (brick red with Yorktowne Green trim), the superb lighting, the announcement’s slogan (“A new space. A new vision”) and the character of the first exhibition. The signal is ‘We aim to be cutting edge.’ (Maybe Gallery 6 will be called the WACE, for We Are Cutting Edge). Brik’s first show will feature pictures made by three prominent denizens of the new Greenwich Village, i.e., the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn NY. The artists selected by impresario Frank Cuthbert are Sarah Barker, Jim Klein and Chuck Bowdish. And in September, with guidance from curatorial consultant Betty Stevens, Cuthbert will mount a show devoted to “Artists Influenced by Thomas Cole.” Not likely: that Friday’s show will attract what New York Times reported in another case, namely, “bearded men wearing berets and children.” SPEAKING OF BROOKLYN (or of Breuckelen, the original Dutch name, as recalled by Russell Shorto in the brilliant book An Island At the Center of the World), where would you guess is the home of Brooklyn Industries? Your guess is only half right. Though based substantially in that borough (in trendy Williamsburg, specifically), B.I. also is run out of Athens, by enterprising owners Lexy and Vahap Funk. And far from operating a sprawling heavy-industry conglomerate, they design and market--in “eclectic hipster boutiques” (New York Times)--in New York and Japan, as well as on the internet (, street wear. NOISE. Too much of it from vehicles on Catskill’s Main Street? Some residents say so. Some officials and other Villagers regard the noise--especially from motorcyclists who come and who spend--as a small price to pay for the patronage. We like the position that calls for diligent enforcement of laws against disabling standard-issue ‘bike mufflers. Meantime, warning to Main Streeters: there will be lots of traffic this weekend, thanks to the big fishing tournament launched from Dutchman’s Landing. CLUB NEWS. At Windham Golf Club, plans have been drawn for construction of a new clubhouse, on site of the present one but with greatly enhanced views of the course and grand vistas. But that project is contingent on consummation of a deal ($1 million-plus) to sell big parcel of choice land (75 rolling, gently sloping acres?) above the present practice range. Meanwhile, plans are afoot at Catskill Golf Club to build a new pro shop, probably on site of the present one. BUY LOCAL? A local business man recently bought an Atlanta-Albany round-trip airline ticket from All Aboard Travel here in GreeneLand for less, he reports, than the price quoted on Expedia and Travelocity. TEACHER PAY. GreeneLander Bill Ottinger loved teaching school in Ravena but in 1980 he quit. With a Masters degree and seniority, he had reached the top of the salary ladder: $14,900. Fast forward: if he started now with an M.A., he’d be paid about $40,000 per year (consisting of about 10 months) plus benefits worth an additional 25% or more. ROLL ME OVER. How many times has Catskill Central School District’s new $35,000 John Deere tractor-mower been rolled already? by whom? Stay tuned; or turned.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Daily Maul

Welcome to News Writing 101, where we try to identify good journalism by spotlighting bad, and we pick on live local cases. Today we concentrate on a single news story. So: what’s wrong with this opening paragraph?

Thanks to generous donations from the Greene County Bank and the family of James L. Scanlan, the Catskill Public Library and the Palenville Branch Library have purchased new children’s books for the 2005 Summer Reading Program. These books are in addition to the new books that come in on a regular monthly basis.
Ready? Cart before horse, or putting attention to cause(s) of an event ahead of identifying that event. The real news here seems to be a statement that the summer reading program at the Catskill and Palenville public libraries will be endowed with an abundance of new children’s books. (Full reading of the story suggests another version of the real news: launching of summer reading program). Editorializing. Whether the cited donations are “generous” is a value judgment not suitable for straight news. Lose the adjective. Reporting dollar amounts of donations, somewhere in the body of the story, would not be amiss. Misnomer. That donating financial institution is the Bank of Greene County (NY), not the Greene County Bank (which is located in Tennessee). Duality. Two-sentence beginnings (known among professionals as ledes) violate journalistic convention. No justification for departure is apparent here.

Now what about this article’s second paragraph?

“When we knew we had the money to spend, we delegated it immediately to children’s books. We believe you can never have enough picture books, or really, really fun and entertaining books for kids to read over the summer,” said the Library Director. “We want to keep the kids imaginations running with fresh, new and interesting materials. Summer is all about enrichment and imagination.”

Who-lessness. The quoted words are ascribed to a“Library Director” whose name is not supplied. Punkchewashun. In “…the kids imaginations” there should be an apostrophe after kids, denoting function as possessive adjective. Misnomer? Either the Director used to inapt term “delegated” (a transfer of authority) rather than, say, allocated, or the reporter mis-quoted him or her.

Paragraph 3:

The selection includes books by Judy Blume, including “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” more in the series “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” by Lemony Snicket, more in the popular “Magic Tree House” series, junior historical fiction titles, books by the popular children’s author Kevin Henkes, Audrey Wood, Rosemary Wells, Ezra Pound Keats, Paul Galdone, including his classic “Henny Penny,” as well as many, many others.

Garbled series. We are led to believe that we are about to be told what the selection “includes” but eventually are told that the list is not inclusive. In between we get two includings. Meanwhile, the popular children’s author Keven Henkes” seems to be six people. Alternatively, “author” should be authors. Garbled names. Surely there is no children’s author, popular or otherwise, named Ezra Pound Keats. Paragraph 4:

The new books are part of the plan to provide a great summer reading experience, including summer library events and activities, at both libraries this summer. A list of library events for children throughout the summer are available at the libraries or through the libraries’ web calendar, which can be accessed at Click on “Events” to view the calendar.

Redundancy. Projected “summer reading experience” will include “summer events”—would you believe!--“this summer.” LAG, or lack of agreement, in second sentence, between subject (“list”; singular) and verb (“are available”; plural). Final paragraph:

Both the Catskill Public Library and the Palenville Branch Library are participating in the 2005 New York State Summer Reading Program, “Tune in @ Your Library.” Sign-up for the program starts Friday, June 17. Studies show that children who read and who are read to during the summer have a much easier time adjusting to school in the fall.

Somewhere in those sentences is what could have provided this story’s lede. And since it was published June 17th, the report should have said that sign-ups commence today. Still, the blunder is minor compared with publicizing what will happen at a date prior to publication. (For example, the Daily Mail of July 15th contains a story saying “On July 14, the Upper Hudson River Alliance ‘Social Paddle’ moves north….”

OTHERWISE. Alert reader Ray Johrlich calls our attention to news item from, saying “The jury delivered [sic.] for about six hours before returning the [Guilty] verdict” against a soccer coach, 50 years old, who had carnal dealings with a 15-year old female player. As student of journalism, Johrlich also notes that the story lacked completeness; it did not identify the player’s position

Friday, July 08, 2005

Lively Days Ahead

FLASH. Prospect of sale of Catskill’s Community Theater--long on the market; often ‘almost’ sold--is hotter than ever. Proprietor Tom Thornton denies that a contract has been inked for the movie house (and quondam Vaudeville venue, with adjacent storefronts), but confirms that an offer has been made and rates it “the best we’ve ever had.” Prospective buyer is rumored (vs. reported, known, confirmed, etc.) to be a young New York businessman who is more than solvent. Meanwhile, and separately, we hear that Sundance Film organization could be interested in the place as a venue for screening independent films. Details to follow when/as/if ascertained.

IMMINENT MOUNTAINWARD: Mountain Culture Festival, at Catskill Mountain Foundation grounds in Hunter. Music, films, crafts, hikes, food, farm work displays, performers…. Both days from 10am.

  • Amati Music Festival, devoted to “European Romantics,” at Windham Performing Arts Center, from 8 pm.
  • Alps Festival, with yodeler, puppets, Schulplatter dancers, German food…, at Bavarian Manor in Purling, this weekend and next weekend. or (518)622-3385.
  • Windham Chamber Music Festival, next Saturday night (7/16). Excellent program, including new composition by conductor Robert Manno. Reservations: 518-734-6378 or or

IMMINENT RIVERWARD: Athens Street Festival. 95 booths+ parade+fireworks+classic cars+music+cruises+shows. Saturday (7/9) from 10am. Check

  • Fishing Tournament off Catskill Point. Sunday Qualifying event for New Jersey and Pennsylvania members of ABA (=American Bass Anglers, not American Bar Association).
  • Sunday Salon at Thomas Cole’s Cedar Grove, in Catskill, with Robert M. Toole dilating on history of the grounds of the artist’s studio and home. From 2pm.
  • Auction of tax-foreclosed GreeneLand properties, at Elks Lodge, 45 North Jefferson Ave, Catskill. Some land, some buildings, some wrecks. Info at Printed catalogue mentions 42 properties, a shrinkage (via last-minute payments) from 76, but further shrinkage has cut actual choices to 30. Check out numbers 41 (Cairo) and 63 (Tannersville) for haunted house-style quaintness. Auctioneer gets a commission from seller and from buyer. Latter is speciously called “buyer’s premium.”

MID-WAY: Irish Arts Week, July 10-15, 60 classes daily devoted to traditional Celtic music and other arts, culminating Saturday (7/16) in Irish Music Festival, at Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre, E. Durham. Info at 634-2286 and/or

VERSO is the name bestowed by Harold Hanson on downtown Catskill’s fourth art gallery. This one is distinctive—apart from stench of tobacco--for emphasis not only on pictures and sculptures but also on well-designed modern objects for use: glasses, pitchers, chairs, ware. It’s right next door, at 388 Main Street, to office of Northeast Journal of Arts and Antiques from which Harold has just retired as publisher (and founder). Verso means back of a printed page, and/or left-hand page at back of an elegantly printed book.

OPENING next Saturday (7/16), with “collaborative installation” (all hands on materials), under title “Breaking the Vicious Cycle, and Other Invocations” (I inserted the comma), featuring work of five artists, is new show at Open Studio, just up from Verso at 402 Main Street.

NEXT UP on Catskill gallery scene is festive opening July 29th of Brick (or maybe Brik) gallery, Frank Cuthbert’s gem. And Patrick Milbourn vows that his new Main Street gallery, having been relieved of effects of buckled floorboards, will open—“certain sure”— September 10th. Thespian duties will not daunt him. TOUTED: GreeneLander Elizabeth Stevens who, says Paul Smart in Ulster Times, “knows how to make an art scene happen.” She learned her craft by running several contemporary art galleries in New York City, applied it locally when she curated the Blakelock and Inness exhibits here at Thomas Cole’s Cedar Grove, and now is directing the “hothothot Yellow Bird Gallery…complete with hiphiphip store and roof terrace” in Newburgh. She felicitously blends technical knowledge with “the same quirky sensibility that draws us all into the Hudson Valley.”

MARTHA CHRONICLES. Her trial on multiple fraud charges (discussed earlier in Seeing Greene) evidently will take place later this year in U.S. District Court in Syracuse. Meanwhile, GreeneLand’s Martha Ivery is free on $50,000 bond and has achieved national scam celebrity. An Associated Press report on Thursday (7/7) appeared in nearly all big U.S. newspapers, as well as in smaller papers and broadcast news organs. Reporter Michael Hill’s story leads with the case of an Ohio woman who allegedly encountered all sorts of grief, and substantial expense, in the expectation of getting her story Frumpy’s Grumpy Day published by Martha. “Ivery not only ran Press-TIGE out of the sleepy [sic.]town of Catskill, N.Y.,” Hill goes on to say, “but posed as a literary agent named Kelly O'Donnell, federal prosecutors say. “Clients worked with both O'Donnell and Ivery without being told they were the same person. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Ivery told writers that O'Donnell died in the World Trade Center and O'Donnell said Ivery died in the attacks, according to A.C. Crispin, a science fiction writer who co-founded the scam-busting Writer Beware Web site....” Conducting Martha’s defense will be the formidable Richard Mott, who is better known around the Mid-Hudson for representing clients who are charged with crimes of violence. Mott succeeded here back in 1998, against tough odds, in getting “T J” Hall acquitted of a murder rap. He is currently defending Tina Brandt in a Hudson trial for burglary and murder in connection with death of Livingston fruit farmer Henry Gropp. (Also appearing for other defendants in that case are ace GreeneLand defense lawyers Dennis Schlenker and Greg Lubow). HISTORICAL SOCIETY may expand territorially so as to achieve frontage, hence greater visibility, on Route 9W in Coxsackie. It will happen if terms of deal to acquire Pet & Chow facilities are worked out.

VENDING. While regularly selling vintage hickory-shafted mashie-niblicks on eBay, GreeneLander Wayne Marquoit occasionally hawks other items, such as classic intact baseball bats (a Rogers Hornsby signature model Louisville Slugger…), a left-handed catcher’s mitt, or a model Minuteman missile (level 6; a few bucks at yard sale; $100-plus to determined collector). He did not peddle the new bicycle whose packaging included instructions concerning the bell: "The structure of this bell is not able to dismantle. Improper use of disable the bell will cause eternal damage."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Going Fourth

So how are you going to celebrate Independence Day? Back in 1820, a few bold lads from Cairo and Catskill marked the occasion by hiking to the head of Kaaterskill Falls. There, in the words of author Eric Posselt (The Rip Van Winkle Trail, 1952), they “proceeded to execute an extraordinary bit of mischief.” “From time immemorial, a great boulder weighing some 50 tons and estimated to be about 175 feet in circumference” had “rested precariously on the very lip” of the falls. “With much heaving and pushing, huffing and puffing,” our vandals “managed to topple the boulder into the mighty abyss. “The effect…was awful and sublime, the crash tremendous, exceeding the loudest thunder—the tremulous motion of the earth and the long murmuring echo rolling from point to point through the ravine gave the scene an indescribable degree of grandeur. The rock was shattered in a thousand pieces. “Toasts were then drunk and volleys of musketry fired.”

MEANWHILE REHEARSALS for “The Seagull,” the famous Anton Chekhov play to be performed in August at Catskill Point, are well under way. Veteran director (and GreeneLander) Joseph Capone, has again lined up top local talent to perform in spaces that is not a regular theater but is extraordinarily right for the story. Back in 2001, Capone staged Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard” inside and outside Catskill’s Beattie-Powers House. This year, thanks to a $2500 grant from the GreeneLand Arts Council’s allocation from the State Arts Council’s Decentralization program, “The Seagull” will flutter inside and outside the Point’s Old Warehouse. Action unfolds on a putative Russian country estate (Catskill Point Park), with a lake (played here by the Hudson River) as backdrop. The comedy, as described by the author back in 1895, has “five tons of love in it,” with each character offering, seeking or receiving love in the wrong places. Medvedenko, the local schoolteacher, adores Masha, the estate manager’s daughter, who loves but is spurned by Konstantin Treplieff, who in addition to angst-laden playwriting loves Nina, a neighbor and aspiring actress who falls for a visitor, Trigorin, who is a renowned author and is the lover of Arkadina, who in addition to being a fading famous actress, is the mother of Konstantin and the sister of Sorin, who owns the estate and secretly loves Nina, who (remember?) loves Trigorin. There’s more. The estate manager’s wife (Paulina) loves the local physician (Dr Dorn); her husband (Shamraeff) has a hankering for Arkadina. That’s just what gets established or intimated in the first act. In the ensuing three acts, Trigorin lusts after adoring Nina, but Arkadina refuses to release him. Nina flees to the big city in quest of theatrical fame, leaving Konstantin distraught. There Nina becomes Trigorin’s mistress, bears his child (who dies), is dumped by Trigorin, tours in plays, returns to the old neighborhood. When Sorin takes ill, Arkadina returns to the country estate with retrieved lover Trigorin. Masha, meanwhile, has married Medvedenko and borne a child, but she still adores Konstantin, who still loves Nina, who has slipped back to the village and who still loves Trigorin. Having confessed that to Konstantin, she dashes off into the wintry night. Having been told that, he rips up his manuscripts, exits. Gunshot. Curtain. That much story would take three years to unfold in a television soap opera. Playing the plum role of vivacious, narcissistic Arkadina (Meryl Streep did it in Manhattan) will be Jean Walker, an off-Broadway veteran, cabaret performer, alumna of the 2001 “Cherry Orchard,” and Haines Falls resident. Existentially anguished, oedipal Konstantin will be Stephen Hansel, a Sienna College student. Talented, love-blighted Nina will be represented by Lora Lee Ecobelli of Carmel NY. Charles Neighbors of Lexington, who by day is a writer and editor, plays woebegone Sorin. David Fanning of Millbrook NY will be Trigorin. Richly represented in the production, moreover, are GreeneLand artists of distinction: Tina Chadin (Paulina), Keith Muller (Shamraeff) and Patrick Milbourn (Dr Dorn), along with set designer Kico Govantes. Catskillians Joseph Matula and Gretchen Mallory also will perform. The costume designer is Karine Mason of Chatham. Performances will be given on successive Friday and Saturday nights, August 5-6 and 12-13. To inquire about block bookings of tickets--a really good idea, club members—call 943-2680.

TRASH TALK. Village officials were more than a mite peeved at failure of Catskill school administrators (food service director Bill Muirhead, especially?) to remove trash created by their big Dutchmen’s Landing picnic last Thursday. The amount of throwaway, we understand, was far above normal, because participants spurned the organic hot dogs and got their own, ignored the 6 bushels of clams, and left behind all 150 pounds of fully roasted pig meat. Every bin was crammed full—and left that way, although the Village’s regular Music in the Park program came right on heels of the schools party.

DAFT RAFTS. Winners of last Sunday’s glorious Wacky Raft Race, from Athens to Catskill Point, were “The River Cats,” captained by our new Catskill Central Schools superintendent, Kate Farrell. According to Leigh Hornbeck of the Albany TimesUnion, the winners’ power came from the efforts of two school administrators and two teachers who “peddled a pair of tandem bicycles aboard their raft.” But in fact they were not selling; they were pedaling. And, according to usually reliable sauces, they functioned as a machine that was well oiled

FAKE LICENSES. Two clerks in Kingston’s Motor Vehicles Department office took bribes in return for issuing drivers’ licenses to people (mostly illegal aliens) who presented fake documents. This came about in consequence of an elaborate Federal and State investigation. In contrast, staff in GreeneLand’s DMV office alerted authorities to illegal applicants, thereby helping in the capture of would-be recipients of licenses based on phony documents. During April 18-24, 18 out-of-towners, suspected of offering false instruments for filing, were arrested.

DAILY MAUL. According to headline and first paragraph of a 6/27 story, crash victim Evalyn Thomas was a Catskill resident. According to sub-head and second paragraph, she lived in Leeds. And according to a 6/29 obituary, survivors of late Abbey N. Brown of Cairo “include her mother…and her [mother’s] finance.” And according to a 7/1 sports page story, “The Greene County Volunteer Fireman’s will be hosting their second annual golf tournament” on July 10th; “The coast to enter… will be $75 per person”; “The coast” covers most everything; and reservations should be made on or before 7/1 (=on or before publication date).

NIMBY COURTHOUSE NEWS. Plaintiff’s attorney: “What is the date of your birth?” Blonde witness: “June 10th.” “What year?” “Every year.” “And at the time of the collision, what gear were you in?” “Gucci sweats and Reeboks.”