Thursday, May 24, 2007

Politickling & Caterwauling

Yesterday we wrote the following anticipatory treatment of the Republican committee meeting that took place last night. Technical difficulties, among other kinds, thwarted posting then. Here is the treatment, followed by a retrospective comment, followed by other matters that were intended for posting yesterday. CAUCUSING TONIGHT in the county courthouse, and for all intents and purposes deciding who shall occupy most of GreeneLand’s county-wide elective offices, will be Republican delegates from the party’s town committees. They will overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, endorse incumbent Terry Wilhelm for District Attorney (holder of our highest-paying county job, at ($120,000 per year), and incumbent Willis Vermilyea for County Treasurer. Those men will not be challenged in the Republican primary elections in September and, on present indications, will not even be faced with Democratic challengers on the November ballot. (Rumors that Joe Izzo, retiring Catskaill Town Supervisor, would challenge Mr Vermilyea for the $70,000 per year Treasurership seem to be baseless). Tonight’s conferees, moreover, will likely take the rare step of refusing to re-endorse a willing incumbent. For the $62,000-per-year office of county sheriff, they will bless Lt. Greg Seeley at the expense of his boss, Dick Hussey. It remains to be seen whether the sitting sheriff will accept that rejection stoically or will try to counter by standing in the Republican primary election, by soliciting the Democratic Party nomination, or by standing as a third-party candidate. (One observer speculates that Mr Hussey will resign before his term expires, leaving it up to the Governor--a Democrat!--to fill the short-term vacancy). Much less predictable is the outcome of the contest to win Republican committee endorsement for the office of County Clerk. Long-time Republican incumbent Mary Ann Kordich is retiring. Four would-be successors have taken the field. Our sauces rate Mike Flynn, the Cairo Town Judge and former State trooper (with close connections to ex-Governor George Pataki), as the most likely winner. Betty Reich, wife of a former Highway Superintendent, claims (credibly) to be the most qualified of candidates, since she was deputy county clerk for many years before retiring. She is 68 years old, however, and her immediate backers, Hunter Republicans, swing only a few votes. Marilynn Farrell of Athens is married to GreeneLand’s Emergency Services Director; she has held clerkships under Ms Kordich’s supervision for some 14 years; and she is rumored to be Ms Kordich’s preferred candidate—a story that Ms Kordich does not deny. Well qualified and connected too is Laurie Sprague Cornelius, daughter of Catskill’s Town Clerk, wife of GreeneLand’s Chief Public Defender, and, by way of the Public Service Commission in Albany, an experienced administrator. The $50,000-per-year office of County Clerk in GreeneLand is unusually demanding. Its occupant runs the Motor Vehicles department as well as regular record-keeping operations. There could well be a Republican primary election contest for the job. And a Democratic candidate may materialize. (The anticipated results did come to pass. In the case of the county clerkship, Mr Flynn won a plurality of votes in the first round, then a solid majority in the run-off, followed by a show of solidarity. A primary election contest is unlikely to occur).

HOWLING success: the witty, variegated, marvelously crafted cats of Catskill. All up and down Main Street. In number and variety of style and ingenuity, they surpass all expectations. Find out for self, soonest. And here's hoping the Village police make steadfast use of their surveillance cameras.

VISITING GreeneLand currently are veteran thespian Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper in “Dallas,” among many roles) and his wife Carla (veteran director). Leigh also is a painter (see the artwork on the Rolling Stones’ current Big Bang tour) and a writer. He “reVisions” classic stories, and in his latest book, In the Splendor, he expounds on “the awakening of our sacred DNA.”

WEEKEND TREATS. Tonight (5/25). Pamela Pentony sings, backed by Steve Raleigh & Lou Pappas & T. Xiques, at Stella’s Lounge, while on the adjacent main stage of the Catskill Point entertainment center, The Preachers sound off. 943-3173. Saturday. *Community-wide yard sale in Cairo, from 9am. *Celebration of the life of the late Carol T. Savage, BRIK , 473 Main St, Catskill, from 6pm. Apart from being a high-level business executive, Carol had been chair of the governors of Thomas Cole National Historic Site and an active supporter of Hudson Valley Technology & Commerce, Hudson River Classics Showcase Theater, Manhattan School of Music, the Olana Partnership, and Greene County Planning Board. *Tom DePetris trio plays at Stella’s Lounge, with Lex Grey & the Urban Pioneers rocking the main stage at the Catskill Point entertainment center. 943-3173. *Durham Irish Festival, at Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre. Plenty of wonderful entertainment. Check is out at

GASOLINE PRICES. Getty station on west end of Rip Van Winkle Bridge was selling s regular for $3.14 per gallon yesterday, and so was the rival Citgo station. That dreadful price actually was lower by 5 cents than the Mobil station price at the bridge’s east end. And today the figure at both Hess and Cumberland Farms on Route 9W was $3.16. Those prices are actually less than the national average ($3.21 per gallon for regular) and the California average ($3.44!), but more than the East Coast, New York State and New York City averages ($3.105, $3.135, $3.10). So much for tooling around in a half-ton pickup.

NOSTALGIA DEPT. On display in the window that formerly displayed Orens furniture are old publications and items of clothing that, during renovation, were liberated from the walls of that establishment.

Meanwhile, antiquarian Pat Walsh recently came across an old poster announcing the schedule for ferry boat trips (on the pictured “A.F. Beach,” for example).across the Hudson. That was back in 1930, 18 months before the opening of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. For a car and driver, the 30-minute ferry crossing between Catskill and Greendale (yes; a stop called Greendale) cost 50 cents; additional passengers cost 15 cents each. There were 28 daily trips each way, starting from 7:15 in the morning and ending at 8pm. Those terms, according to a notice sponsored by manager Charles Loveland and printed by The Daily Mail, were “subject to change with without notice.” (The proofreader is not identified). As for Greendale, it was the east-side-of-Hudson stop for this ferry service, across from Catskill Point, with a connection with New York Central trains. And the poster unearthed by Mr Walsh contains a poem by one Kingsland Spencer, rhapsodizing about that destination:

There’s nothing in the city I care to see or do— The people are too many The trees are far too few. But up the stream at Greendale The trees stand all about And overbearing buildings Will never crowd them out. The train shakes off the city With sullen crank and jar The Pullmans and the diner, And my ordinary car— But on the way to Greendale Its anger always fails And it hums above the sleepers And clicks along the rails. The ferries of the city Are dingy water-bugs They dodge the ocean liners And intimidate the tugs; But I know where there’s a ferry Leaves a lonely wake of foam— And it takes me out from Greendale To the hills that are my home

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