Friday, January 27, 2006

Politickling

ASSEMBLY. Daniel J. Hooker, whose 127th State Assembly district includes most of GreeneLand plus parts of four more counties and all of Schoharie—in short, a goofy seat, made to give a Republican life tenure—has announced that he will not seek-re-election later this year. He has only nominally been ‘in office’ since last April, when he was called up as a Marine Corps reservist to report to Camp Lejeune. According to reporter Joe Prout of Hudson Valley Newspapers, he made a parting statement affirming “fundamental virtues of free enterprise, limited government, individual liberty and traditional American values.”

Four men have emerged so far as prospective candidates for the Republican nomination to succeed Hooker. One is Peter Lopez, Schoharie County Clerk, who is rumored to be Hooker’s preferred arch-“conservative” successor. Another is James Powers of Butternuts, a dairy farmer and Otswego County legislator. Two are GreeneLanders: Michael J. Camadine of Cairo, who is a furniture store manager and a member of the Greene County Legislature; and Matthew Tully of Hunter, a lawyer with offices in Albany and Catskill. Tully came to public attention when he took on pro bono, and won, the case of a Muslim law enforcement official in New York who had been the victim of workplace discrimination in the wake of 9/11. As a major in the National Guard, Tully served in Iraq; but he also denounced the war. He also succeeded last July in winning an administrative ruling that entitled thousands of National Guard and Reserve members who also were government employees to back pay for certain days spent on weekend training. Furthermore, Tully is evidently a man of candor. Speaking to Seeing Greene about normal realities in Albany, he said "Let’s be honest: this is the best part-time job in the country ($79,000 to work a couple of weeks a year in a dysfunctional body)."

VILLAGES. Catskill Republicans meet Jan. 31 (Tuesday) in Town Hall to endorse candidates for Village Trustee (two terms are expiring) and Village Justice (Charles Adsit’s term is expiring), and the Democrats meet for the same purpose the following night. We expect incumbents Forest Cotten (Democrat) and James Chewens (Republican) to seek re-election. Economic development guru Peter Markou has announced a bid for Republican endorsement and Chewens may solicit Democratic cross-endorsement.

Coxsackie's Joseph Zanchelli, most vociferous of opponents of the United Mobile Homes scheme, has been appointed by Mayor Dianne Ringwald to complete the late Bob Baker’s term as a Village trustee; and he will run for a regular term at the March 21 elections. Mr Zanchelli, 43, is a Republican, a bereavement counselor at Community Hospice, and an ex-Marine whose career got a nice write-up by Terry Brown last December 12th in the TimesUnion. With regard to the UMH controversy, Mr Z was quoted by Anthony D’Arcangelis (Daily Mail, 1/13/06) as saying “I know people may not believe this, but I am going to be fair about this.” That could be a challenge. His faulty policy reasoning was dissected in the Nov. 18 issue (“Rationality-Hunting”) of Seeing Greene. That blog elicited a lengthy rejoinder (click Comments; see the 10:42 am. Entry). It was heavy on ad hominem twaddle (my motives are pure, so my position must be sound; your motives are suspect) and light on cost-benefit analysis..

THE CONGRESS. Kirsten Gillibrand of Hudson seems to be making a serious effort to challenge our incumbent Republican Congressman (20th District), John Sweeney. She has family roots in Albany politics and, in addition to being a wife and mother, is a high-powered New York lawyer (with the David Boies firm). She’ll make a formal announcement of candidacy for the Democratic nomination on Monday in Saratoga Springs, with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer as star attraction. Her campaign has claimed that the seat is no longer a Republican sinecure; but it is still rated “likely Republican” by the authoritative Cook Political Report. The Gillibrand forces will attempt to tie Sweeney closely to Tom DeLay and the corruption scandals. Already in circulation is a video publicizing “how Congressman Sweeney spends his weekend: skiing with lobbyists!” Expect more about weekending.

HEALTH BENEFITS. Should local government employees and elected officials be given free health insurance? Cairo’s Taxpayers Association thinks not. Judging from two reports in The Daily Mail (Andrea Macko; 1/18/06, 1/19/06), Taxpayers Association chief Charles Umbach says the town’s councilors gave themselves, along with the full-time workers, full health insurance in what was virtually a stealth action. He estimates the cost to local taxpayers at $700 per beneficiary. Query: what are prevailing local policies on health insurance for employees and (especially) for part-time elected officials?

        #

MISNOMERS Dept. “Vedder will also discuss the literary and artistic precedents for the Hudson River School.” “With the Hudson River frozen over, Cedar Grove was essentially isolated in a world prehistoric to modern technology. An excursion to a local frozen waterfall will ethenticate the event.” (Daily Mail, 1/23/06)

NEOLOGISMS Dept. “If this was the Marines he would have been arrested for going a-wall.” (Anonymous blog commentator).

SALES PITCH Dept. "Make a Fast Friend" = slogan on behalf of commercial invitation from Paula LaPorte to adopt a retired greyhound. www.foreverhomegreyhound.com

Monday, January 23, 2006

Non Sequitur - Jan 23, 2006

Non Sequitur - Jan 23, 2006

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vinnie Takes a Turn

This blog has become a two-headed monster. One head consists of regular installments of news and occasionally ane remarks about GreeneLand matters. The other consists of comments ‘attached’ to installments. The latter have grown immensely. In volume of verbiage they dwarf the actual blogs. Most of them are not responses to the subject matter of the respective blogs. Most of them deal more or less directly with a single topic: the Catskill fire company. Most of them come from dissident firefighters or ex-firefighters. Most of these voice animosity toward the department’s (and the Village’s) current leaders and toward (it amounts to the same thing) alumni of the erstwhile Hose 1 company. Most of their messages are bitter, repetitive, abusive, smug, casually defamatory, and anonymous.

An occasional, almost incidental, target of these bloggers has been the president of Catskill Village’s board of trustees (who also bears the title of Mayor), Vincent Seeley. Attacks on Mr Seeley intensified recently, after he attended a meeting of the fire company, and made an appeal for compromise, for civility, for dreamy stuff like that. He decided to respond to the accusations and insinuations by way of a comment of his own, signed. When he voiced that intention, he prompted the directorate of Seeing Greene to start implementing a contemplated policy, namely, posting Guest Blogs. We are open to submissions and suggestions for other Guest Blogs, e-mailed to dickmate@mhcable.com.

My Turn

by Vincent Seeley

As a public official, I expect to catch a lot of flak. But some things that have been spewed out on this blog site, among other places, call for a response from me. Here goes.

“Forced Father.” I would appreciate that you would keep family out of this but I will answer your question. I have a sixteen year old daughter that my Wife of 5 years and I have custody of and her Mom lives in Florida. I fought the "system" and won. It was a long tough battle and I used the Internet as a tool and was successful. So I do understand your use of this Blog, I just do NOT do it anonymously as most entries in here are. I do not know where the misinformation in that post came from. Do me a favor, please feel free to bash the hell out of me but leave my family life at home.

My “Site.” "Dont forget to visit Vinnys site Villageofcatskill.blogspot.blog."
I do not have a site. You are just going to have to believe me on this one.

Secrecy. “VINCE SEELEY IS A PART OF THE PROBLEM. HE IS ARROGANT AND WANTS TO HIDE HIS ACTIONS IN SECRECY!!!!!” “… Seeley treats being on the board of trustees like being on the board of a private company. He doesn't think the public has a right to know what he is doing as a village trustee and he doesn't believe that the public has a right to know what the village board is doing or what decisions they are making. Doesn't he realize that we have open meeting laws because the public has the right to know.”

As a Village representative, I try to present a professional image at all times. I have worked very hard in my life to get the things I have. I am sure nothing was handed to you either. OK, I'll confess to the arrogant part, but what actions am I hiding in secrecy? Oh yeah, my wife has called me a few choice words recently, I’ll share if you want.

The past 20 weeks of Board meetings have been essentially standing room only and have gone over two hours. I make it a point to ask the public to step forward and address the board. What else can I do? Do we discuss topics during the week and before the meeting? Of course. The Village is a 5 million dollar business, do you expect for it to be run one night every two weeks? I frequently seek input from the public, including from the author of the question.

Bloggery. "Vince Seeley wants to shut this blog down because he doesn't want people to know what is going on."

Not true. I did say that I would talk with Dick in getting the this back on its original mission and balancing negative and POSITIVE. I do think the anonymous entries are out of control and provide little overall value. Sometimes, when too many reckless words are delivered, credibility gets questioned. Everyone loses.

“Alcohol at the Firehouse” The Bar is shut down while we investigate and determine a final outcome. Do I feel that there should be beer allowed in the social room? Yes. Do I feel that there needs to be changes made in policy to protect Firefighters and the Village? Yes. Will I treat grown men as children? NO.

Double Standard/Hypocrisy. In GreeneLand, “if you have money or you hold office, you don’t have to live by the same rules or laws that the commoners do.” For instance, Seeley instituted a cleanup program, in which police required people to remove unregistered vehicles from their property, “despite the fact that [he] had numerous unregistered vehicles”—a dump truck, a car, a motorcycle—“on his property.”
My 18 acre parcel is currently under development. Is there construction equipment on my property? Yes there is. I continue to work with property owners who have "works in progress" like me. The motorcycle mentioned is in the garage and that concerns me because besides being an anonymous blogger, you are also a trespasser. The contents of the garage are only visible if you are on my property. Besides all of this, let us not forget that I have property in both the Village and Town. The end result of the construction will be more than 5 high end homes on the Village tax roll. Thanks for appreciating that.

Ditto. “Or that he had numerous condemmed buildings on his property which the fire department burned down for him a few years ago.”
I did have unsightly buildings, and did burn them under fire department supervision--as anybody is entitled to do, and ought to do. It happened before I was a public official. I also donated money for the fire company's time and effort.

Ditto. “Or that he still has a building that is as bad if not worse than the building that was torn down on the corner of West Main and Bridge Street.”

The West Main/West Bridge building posed a danger to passersby. We went through elaborate legal proceedings before arriving, reluctantly, at the point where we had to tear it down. The structure on my property is sound, and again, can only be seen while trespassing.

Ditto. Moreover, Mr Seeley “didn’t…have to file work permits and appear in front of the planning board like the commoners when he had some 1800’ of a water line run into his property.” There’s a mystery about the authorization (if any) of this connection and/or of use of Water Department equipment to trench and install this water line. This was “misuse of taxpayer equipment.” And “Was the Police Sgt who helped install this water line the same one who served some 30 or more violations of unregistered vehicles causing owners to get rid of their property.” "How else would the tax payers on Landon Ave know that they too can simply borrow Village of Catskill machinery to install a water line on Landon Ave, just like the service folks on Edge mere Road was provided. Has the Edgemere road residents been charged or was this a Village of Catskill freebie?"
Ah yes, the infamous water line. The residents on Edgemere road were not charged EXCEPT for one, ME. Every last inch of this line was paid for by my wife and I at the tune of over $50,000. I have receipts for everything and would love to share. All permits were filed so feel free to contact Village Hall.
So what if a friend of mine helped install a water line off duty and made the Village a better place to live while on duty? I thought people would be happy that we built a $300,000 home in the Village of Catskill and added it to the tax rolls. This would be an issue if I got on the board and pushed through a free new water line or a road. Not the case.
I am not sure what Landon Avenue has to do with anything. The folks on Landon Avenue have an inadequate water supply; we are fixing that. I had several PUBLIC informational meetings which were all well attended. No back door.

"DOWN WITH SEELEY." Does this come with a picket sign? I am not sure but I am assuming that this is negative. I guess that I have really succeeded in screwing up my part time job when I get chanted "down with seeley". Contrary to"anonymous'" beliefs, I very strongly believe in open Government; as a matter of fact, I may have been the only person in many years to talk openly about the deficits in the Village budget and, with the Boards help and support, acted on and fixed the deficits. I have even contributed to this blog, through Dick, on occasion. So, get down with Seeley.

And Finally. Although I am not happy about the recent blog entries, I do prefer you attack me instead of others not in public office. I realize that my response will undoubtedly gain more attention and earn me more thrashing. At the endof the day we should take pride in that the Village of Catskill is makingtremendous progress despite the dismal outlook provided by some of you. The Board of Trustees works very hard to make our community better. Jim Chewens is one of the hardest working men I know and he continues to be a valuable asset to our Village. Too often, the negative is clouding the positive and the great work that is being done is not recognized. Lastly, I commend the Fire Fighters who have stayed on and never wavered from the simple truth that fire fighting and saving lives is your main mission. Keep up the great work and thank you for your time.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Stonewall

The existence of a lawsuit brought by a former head janitor against the Catskill Central School District was acknowledged in public for the first time last night (1/11) It was acknowledged in the form of a refusal to talk about it.

During question time at the special “community meeting” in Catskill’s new Senior Center, the school district’s trustees were invited to confirm or deny that the lawsuit had indeed been filed; that the plaintiff, Stanley Dushane, had accused the trustees of making him the victim of political persecution; that a settlement had been reached; and that in accepting the settlement the trustees had not acted on advice of counsel.

To these questions, posed by a Seeing Greene reporter, Superintendent Kathleen Farrell responded by alluding to a “sealed court document” that “cannot be discussed.” (She also alluded to a “letter of commendation” from the board to Mr Dushane that was included in the confidential agreement). Citing that out-of-court settlement of a “personnel” matter, Dr Farrell declined to say any more about the case. Board President James Garafalo endorsed that position. The other trustees were silent.

Dr Farrell’s response marked the board’s first public acknowledgement of a civil suit that had been filed in June 2003 before State Supreme Court Justice Leslie Stein. Information about the case had never been shared at the board’s public meetings, and had not appeared in the news media, other than the October 25th issue (“The Secret Lawsuit”) of Seeing Greene.

Mr Dushane accused the school trustees—with Morris Darling as president at the time, and Geraldine Wolff as superintendent—of fraud. They had put through a series of administrative changes that included abolition of the Head Janitor position in favor of a Director of Facilities whose educational and technical requirements were relatively rigorous. Mr Dushane did not apply for the new job; he was offered, and accepted, an ordinary custodial appointment. But then he went to court, claiming that in essence he had been the victim of wrongful dismissal, with deprivation of accumulated benefits. In the words of his formal complaint, Catskill’s school trustees engaged in “intentionally misleading” and “defrauding” him; they did so as “retaliation for plaintiff’s involvement in the political activity between local fire hose companies.”

The secret settlement of the secret lawsuit took place last September. According to the best information we have been able to gather, the settlement calls for the trustees to pay Mr Dushane $35,000.

Now for some hunches:

*In deciding to settle and to pay, the trustees were not heeding advice of counsel.

*By settling out of court and acting in secrecy, the trustees have tacitly endorsed serious accusations (fraud, political persecution) against their predecessors (including, in some cases, themselves). Did Mr Dushane withdraw those accusations? Was he asked to do so? The settling parties evidently do not want us to know.

*The board’s rationale for stonewalling is spurious. Although the out-of-court settlement’s immediate terms may be confidential, they do not preclude open acknowledgement of the suit’s existence, open discussion of the formally filed complaint and rejoinder and amended complaint, or discussion of procedures that led to settlement. Moreover, stonewalling cannot be rationalized as appropriate handling of a “personnel” matter. The matter is legal and financial. The trustees evidently have concealed an outlay of taxpayers’ money.

*Stonewalling serves powerfully to fortify doubts about procedural integrity. The settlement with Mr Dushane followed substantial change in the composition of the school board. It came about after Mr Galafalo and Michael Battaglino came on board, after Mr Galafalo became President of the board, and after James DiPerna was elected as Vice-President. Those men are close friends indeed of Stanley Dushane. They were active, presumably, in deciding how to handle the case. They collaborated in concealing the whole business. It’s still possible, however, that they helped to shape an outcome that, in the final analysis, has merit. #

IMMINENT. Saturday (1/14): 4-artist show opens at Windham Fine Arts. Trey Finney, Xiangyuan Jie, Christopher Magadini, Daisuke Tsutsumi. That night, from 8 pm., at Windham Civic & Performing Arts Center, from 8 pm., folk singer Kevin Briody performs vocals with acoustic guitar. He was Connecticut’s official State Troubadour in 2000-02, says a Daily Mail blurb of 1/6.

Sunday (1/16): “Origins of the Hudson River School.” Dr Lee Vedder, curatorial Fellow at the New-York Historical Society, on political, social, and artistic influences shaping emergence of Thomas Cole and his followers.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Filings

ERRATUM. For readers of our last blog (Downers & Uppers), the link we supplied to Brian Branigan’s webmercial for Catskill may have failed. And some readers may have been led to an earlier version of the video, with a British-accented narrator. Here’s another try at the link: http://www.hudsondesignconsultants.com/client/catskill/slideshow If the link still does not work, try putting all of the foregoing into Google or Yahoo.

SOLD: 365 Main St, Catskill, present home of Birdland Music, topped by two apartments; by Tom Thornton, with Linda Overbaugh as broker; at a price of--well, the ask was $349,900; for conversion into a lighting fixtures showroom. The notice to vacate in 30 days comes at an awkward time for Birdland proprietor Bill Trotman.

OFFERED BY AUCTION: the former Sunside Inn in Cairo; a 2575-square-foot, 4.8-acre restaurant property; on January 28th; by and at Absolute Auction Realty of Pleasant Valley (Dutchess County); without reserve. Touted by the agent (www.absoluteauctionrealty.com) as a 4-season business that stands to benefit from proximity to “Wyndham.”

ADJOURNED: Catskill Town court appearance yesterday (1/5) of James Davis, on charges of maltreating animals. Heeding complaints from neighbors, investigators have reported “minimal” care provided by Davis, and that “not on a daily basis,” for the two resident horses, the billy goat, the two pigs, and the 12 dogs kept at his place on 721 Vedder Mountain Road.

ALSO adjourned: trial of Danielle Gardella, of Cairo, who is charged with aggravated harassment (second degree) of her ex-husband, Kevin Lindau, by means of “hundreds” (he says) of scream-filled cell phone calls.

RE-ARRESTED: Jonalynn Barrett, 24, of Cairo. She was arrested by Catskill Village police on December 30th for allegedly stealing(with two confederates) items from Advance Auto Parts, arraigned in Village court for petit larceny, released on $250 bail. But then police officers learned that an arrest warrant had been issued by Cairo Town Justice Thomas Baldwin, in connection with a credit card-related felony. On the charge of grand larceny (fourth degree), Ms Barrett was arraigned by Catskill Town Justice Peter Margolius and, in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, consigned to the county jail. She is due to face trial (1/10) Tuesday in Cairo.

JAIL PROBLEMS. Need to build a new county jail (mentioned months ago in Seeing Greene) has been acknowledged officially by our county legislators, with establishment of a task force headed by William Lawrence and including Sheriff Richard Hussey and County Executive Doug Brewer. The project is sure to be expensive ($30 million? More?) and, judging from experience in neighboring Ulster County, it is likely to be agonizing. Construction of Ulster’s new jail is two years behind schedule and $13 million (thirteen million dollars) over budget, so far. The mess contributed to big turnover among legislators, with Democrats moving from minority (16 seats out of 33) to strong majority (21D-12R). For GreeneLand, putting the new jail near the State prisons in Coxsackie might yield economies and other conveniences. In any event, a new jail not only will be expensive, but also will increase daily operating costs of the sheriff’s office. Inmates will have to be transported and escorted under secure conditions to and from the county courts. At present, it’s just a matter of walking across an alley. Maybe the optimal solution would be to establish a modern jail annex outside of town while adapting parts of the old jail so as to meet current code requirements.

SHIVERING, on Wednesday (1/4): pupils and teachers and aides in Catskill Elementary School. Owing to a defunct circulatory pump, classrooms were heat-less. Fortunately, so to speak, the natural temperature was a bit above freezing. Send the kids home? Not when both parents have jobs.

DANGLING: construction of sentence saying (Daily Mail, 1/1/06) “While walking through the enormous building the vintage architecture and d├ęcor is unmistakable, as is the strength of the structure.” Translation: vintage architecture is name of a pedestrian.

GRANPAS FOR LIFE. That’s the putative sponsorship of a quarter-page Christmas Eve advertisement in The Daily Mail, saying: “Thank God for Christmas. The Abortion clinic will be closed so that staff can be at home with their live babies. Praise the Lord!”

VALUING GREENELAND. In terms of the sum of assessed valuations, in the year 2000 our county was worth about $2.7 billion. In 2004 the figure was $3.4 billion. The current figure is four billion dollars. That’s a big jump for a place whose population has only grown slightly and is still under 50,000.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Downers & Uppers

GreeneLander Carlton C. Carr, 22, has been jailed in Hudson on drug-trafficking charges. Tiffany Richards, 39, a high school cheer-leading coach, has been charged with misappropriating funds given to her by students to buy uniforms and equipment. (For exculpatory considerations, stay tuned). David Lloyd, 47, has been charged with stealing cellular telephones from Radio Shack and with passing bad checks at Dunn’s Builders Supply. Nicole Patrick, 19, was arrested recently on suspicion of grand larceny, in the form of going on a buying spree with a credit card that had been left inadvertently at the Hess service station. Jennifer D’Ambrosio, 24, was arrested on a charge of stealing money (about $150) from the cash register of her workplace, Burger Kings. Thomas Murtagh, 31, has been charged with stealing power tools belonging to his employer—twice. Ted Kenneally has been charged with stealing from his mother; he allegedly took her debit card, without permission, and withdrew money from an ATM window in Leeds. His companion, Thomas Lifgren, has been charged with the same larceny and with other crimes. Kasey L. Prostler, 46, of Leeds, faces a series of charges after Sheriff’s deputies, routinely scanning the parking lot behind the county office building, on Water Street in Catskill, noticed what they took to be suspicious activity inside a parked car. When they zoomed in electronically, they detected what they interpreted as the rolling of a marijuana cigarette, while children waited in the back seat. Local police confirmed the deputies’ suspicion, charging Ms P not only with unlawful possession of marijuana, but also with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, with operating a motor vehicle without insurance, and with violation of probation arising from previous offenses. But Alex L. Lashley, 43, currently holds the local record for criminal charges: aggravated harassment (of his ex-wife, with telephone calls, collect, from jail); criminal contempt (violating an order of protection, by bothering her at her workplace, a local bank, in spite of that order); theft of services, by stiffing a taxicab driver, who drove him from Albany down to Catskill; plus bothering his jailers (and the taxpayers) with spurious heart attacks.

Feeling depressed now? Read on.

Ron Chiminelli of Leeds, whose day job is dentistry in Hudson, has won grand prize in a National Parks Service photography contest. As reported in a recent Daily Freeman, Dr C’s winning picture will grace the cover of National Parks Passes issued to four million tourists in 2006. The win is no fluke, as is evident from the array of pictures shown on the man’s aptly named web site, majesticlightscapes. Go there. Thanks to support from lots of people on the Mountain, the new Gwen Allard Adaptive Sports Foundation center for handicapped children has opened in Windham next to the Wintergreen Club. It was venue for an evening of fine wine, food and art on December 28, and the official dedication will take place Saturday (1/7/06) afternoon. Eddy Messnia left the kitchen at Christman’s Windham House to open the eponymous Messina’s Italian Restaurant. His successor at Christman’s is Timothy Cross, alumnus of Johnson & Wales University cookery college in Rhode Island and veteran of ten years’ practice in Australia. Stephane & Claudia Degaches will add further to dining choices in Windham, come spring, when they open their Brie & Bordeaux restaurant. Marlon Munoz, of Leeds, has devised a gadget that he calls The Co-Pilot. It is a “system that generates safety warning messages” to vehicle drivers. It delivers “safety related messages” that can be played at chosen intervals, countering distractions brought about by radios and cell phones. To learn more, google SafeCoPilot.com Paul W. Bragulia, Catskill High School student, won a commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, for his test results. According to the school district’s newsletter (delivered in early December, wishing all a happy, healthy Thanksgiving), Paul ranks among the top 5 per cent of a million students who took the tests. Ted Hilscher, GreeneLand attorney and historian, has composed a paper entitled “The Parking Lots of Main Street in Catskill”and no, it’s not boring. Mr H expounds the daring thesis that Main Street’s commercial and cultural health has been related inversely to the availability of parking. He also mentions that a fire truck may be buried under the paving at 431 Main; that among Main Street merchants in 1917 were a carpet weaver, cobblers, a furrier, two blacksmiths, a piano seller and four cigar makers; that before the Rip Van Winkle Bridge was opened, Columbia County people found it less convenient to go to Hudson than to take ferry boats from Greendale dock to Catskill Point, then trolleys or carriages up Main Street; that “In 1930, shoppers had their choice of three bakeries, nine stores carrying men’s clothing and one more selling hats only, ten butchers and one fish dealer, eleven grocers, three jewelers, a camera shop, six places to buy paint, seven places to buy shoes,” plus four banks, several pharmacies, and two gambling dens. Judging from his analysis, the most urgent next step in the revitalization of downtown Catskill must be getting good mid-scale tenants (vs. drunks, crackheads and Welfare slobs) for the refurbished apartments that are above the renovated, newly occupied storefronts. Those tenants would generate demand for after-dark services whose ensuing availability would in turn draw outsiders to Main Street. Brian Branigan, in addition to making a documentary on historian Ray Beecher, and laying the groundwork for a Hudson River documentary, and touting the idea of establishing a GreeneLand film school, has made a video, or webmercial, singing the praises of up-and-coming Catskill. It is visible and audible and a treat at http://www.hudsondesignconsultants.com/client/catskill/slideshow/ Brian cites the absence of a bookstore, a bakery and a Mexican restaurant. So for 2006 we can wish for those things, plus the new breed of downtown tenants. Plus comity in the fire-fighting fraternity.