Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cold Weather Prospects

27+0. Those are numbers that Catskill school boosters would like to fix in the minds of voters. To that end, on March 9th, in the High School cafeteria, from 3 to 7 pm., to any and all visitors, the boosters (including many students) will be dispensing chowder (corn and clam) at the price of 27 cents for one bowl and, for a second bowl, zero. The numbers relate to costs to local taxpayers of bond issues for school construction and repair projects. The 27 recalls the fact that for the previous multi-million dollar project, the average Catskill taxpayer was obliged to pay 27 cents for every $10,000 of assessed property value. That contribution was a fraction of the total budget; the rest, the bigger part of the cost, came from State funds. As for the price of a second bowl of chowder--zero--that represents what local taxpayers would be obliged to shell out if the voters, on March 16, approve the proposed new bond issue. Zero. Says Superintendent Kathleen Farrell: “We have a referendum package totaling $16.7 million dollars [sic.], which will give our district the ability to provide many academic supports and needed programs, without any tax impact to you, our community members and property owners.” State aid funding would cover 94.5% of costs, and an EXCEL (Expanding Our Children’s Education and Learning) grant would cover the rest. Local taxpayers’ share: 0. Zero.

LONG GREEN IN GREENELAND. At the end of the year 2000, our leading bank reported $168 million in assets. At the end of 2006 the Bank of Greene County’s assets totaled $312 million. Those figures tell a story that is much more dramatic than what is suggested by the phrase economic progress.

DECLARED as candidate for Catskill Town Supervisor, to succeed retiring Joe Izzo at the coming November election: Peter Markou. The veteran public administrator and economic development guru will make an effort, we anticipate, to win Democratic as well as Republican endorsement. As for Town Council seats, apart from the incumbents, former Village Trustee Paul Rosenblatt Sr is considering a run, as are Gary Kistinger and (perhaps, maybe) Chuck Balsano.

IN PROSPECT for downtown Catskill in the near future, we foresee, are three new restaurants, a sporting goods store, and a 20-room creekside hotel. Moreover, the former Conrail passenger station may not be doomed to indefinite degradation.

INVITED: poems and photographs as entries in GreeneLand-sponsored competitions. For the eighth annual Rip Van Winkle Poetry Competition, sponsored by Greenville-based All Arts Matter and the Greene County Library Association, entries must be original, unpublished, and submitted by March 31. Cash prizes and public readings will be given for winners in adult and under-15 divisions. For additional information, telephone (518)966-4038 or check the Web site www.allartsmatter.org . The photo contest, sponsored by the Catskill Mountain Foundation, offers cash prizes for entries in ten different kinds of regional scenes. A grand prize of $1000 is offered, along with prizes of $100, $75 and $50 for top-rated pictures of mountain, water, forest, farm, Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer, wildlife, outdoor sports, and festival or special event scenes, drawn from any of the eight counties that make up the Catskill Region. Deadline for submissions is May 15th. Forms can be obtained from the web site www.catskillmountainregionguide.com. Or telephone (607) 280-9011.

FLEDGED as New York State trooper, after serving as a Catskill Village police officer, passing rigorous admission tests, then surviving six months of Academy training: Paul Rosenblatt Jr. He’s the only GreeneLand graduate in an unusually large class (235 graduates, of 267 starters). He and 13 other rookies, including two females, have been assigned to the Catskill barracks. They work 12-hour shifts, for five days in one week and then two days in the next week.

CONVICTED, after a three-day jury trial in Greene County court, of sexually abusing a 9-year old girl: Adam Phillips, 30, of Catskill. Phillips was living in a Broad Street apartment not only with his wife and two infant daughters, but also with a mistress and her two daughters, one of whom was his victim. Judge George J. Pulver Jr. scheduled sentencing (it could be 30 years) for April 17.

CITED, by the Catskill Town Council, for extraordinarily offensive accumulations of junk: four owners of local properties. They have been told—after several previous notices--to abate their nuisances by March 6th or else the Town Board will order clean-ups at their expense. The cited offenders and their trash piles are Dante Cinelli, of 10 Mill Lane in Palenville; Michael Ostoyic Sr, 39 Pine St, Smiths Landing; John Thorpe of John’s Kiskatom Grocery, 1187 Route 23A; and William Zielinski, a Poughkeepsie resident who is responsible legally for the mess on 3.7 acres at 3552 Route 23A in Palenville. We are happy to give them due recognition by name.

SHUTTERED, to clear the way for a major internal makeover: Stewart House, in Athens. According to proprietor Owen Lipstein, “incredibly exciting things” will be revealed, including floor-to-ceiling murals of Hudson River scenes, when the restaurant and hostelry reopens on April 2d. Meanwhile, out at his Three Hounds estate, Mr Lipstein is planning to install an ultra-modern studio as part of newly formed Stewart House Records, a company devoted to finding, developing and promoting musical talent. Also anticipated is a return of Shakespeare On Hudson this summer, with a performance, in the Three Hounds amphitheater, of “Othello.” (Here’s hoping the dates don’t clash with performances of “Cat on a A Hot Tin Roof” at Historic Catskill Point, by the locally recruited cast directed by Joseph Capone, on June 22, 23, 29 and 30 and July 6 and 7.

BOOKED for a “Today Show” appearance, March 14, on behalf of her cookbook series for Williams-Sonoma: GreeneLand’s Brigit Binns. Her layabout husband, Casey Biggs, will be guest star on a forthcoming episode of NBC’s “Medium.” He’s working on a “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” Broadway musical, fusing episodes of Cardassian capers; teaching a theater class weekly in New York; prepping for a Vegas gig with the Enterprise Blues Band. And those projects are small beer compared with Mr Biggs's colossal in-development GreeneLand project.

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