Friday, August 10, 2007

Gloriou$ NewS

AWARDED, by the National Endowment for the Humanities, to the Greene County Historical Society’s Cedar Grove committee, in aid of the “Interpreting America’s Historic Places” program: a grant worth, ahem, three hundred twenty thousand, nine hundred dollars. As reported today by Elizabeth Jacks, executive director of The Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, the grant would fund the making of a permanent exhibition composed of an introductory film, educational panels, thematic displays of collection objects, interactive computer stations, printed booklets and brochures, guided tours of the site, and related sources of “insights into America's cultural history through the nineteenth-century artist Thomas Cole,” founder of the Hudson River School of art. The compound exhibition will “address Cole’s art-making process and the significant role his appreciation and interpretation of the American landscape had in shaping an emerging national and cultural identity.” Project planning already is “well under way” thanks to previous NEH and New York State Arts Council grants, which funded consultations with community members, with neighboring institutions (Olana; the Albany Institute of History and Art) and with experts.

TRIUMPH. Growing, glowing local support for the Cole cause was demonstrated on July 21, when the annual “PIC-NIC” turned out, Ms Jacks reports, to be “our most successful summer party yet.” Attendance rose by 18 per cent over last year’s, and net profit jumped 20 per cent. More than 200 participants paid between $75 and $100 each for hors d’oeuvres, beverages, music and schmoozing at Cedar Grove, followed by dinner at the home of any of the 13 hosts, on both sides of the Hudson, who entertained 10 or more (up to 60) guests. Since the hosts covered the costs of the food they prepared and the beverages they served, and since more than a few well-wishers provided special sponsorship, the Site achieved, from a gross income of about $43,000, a net of about $35,000. Major in-kind donations came from Douglas Koch, whose floral arrangements graced the cocktail party, and from Eddie Domaney in Great Barrington, who donated cases of sparkling wine for the party’s Bellinis. “As a result of your generosity and support,” Ms Jacks told sponsors, “we are able to grow Cedar Grove into your source for learning about the Hudson River School.”

THE VOLUNTEERS. Painter. Musician. Actor. Professor. Government department head. Psychologist. Magazine editor. Museum curator. International journalist. School teacher. Lawyer. Banker. Gallery manager. Student. Art teacher. Art dealer. Nurse. Businessman. Doorman. Those are some of the occupations, current or past, of the people who serve, pro bono, as volunteers in support of the Thomas Cole site.

THOSE FIREWORKS just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge last Saturday night were occasioned by a wedding. After Alexandra Bouchard Pulver and John Lancaster Bassett were married in Hudson, by Rev. Phillip Smith of St Mary’s Church in Hudson, a plenitude of well-wishers celebrated at the Catskill home of the bride’s parents, Greene County Judge George J. Pulver Jr. and his wife Michelle. The couple, graduates of Cornell University, will be living in New York City, where the bride, 30, plans to begin study at Pratt Institute for a master’s degree in industrial design. Until June, she was a project manager at the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Her husband, 31, having received a Master’s degree in architecture from Princeton University, works for Richard Meier and Partners in Manhattan. He is the son of William Bassett, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco, and Jacqueline Bassett, a real estate agent; they live in Alamo CA.

CITED as witness to a torrid recording studio scene starring Hard Rocker Axl Rose aboard a “cute 19-year old stripper” who supplied audible gasps and groans to the “Rocket Queen” track of the Guns ‘n Roses album Appetite for Destruction, in Issue 1032 of Rolling Stone: GreeneLand’s Victor Deyglio. The veteran engineer and guitarist now leads a relatively sedate life as partner to the torrid, larger-than-life, yet civilized, rock diva Lex Grey.

GRADUATED from U.S. Naval Academy, with commission in the Marine Corps: Travis A. Ursprung, son, grandson, brother, nephew of multiple GreeneLanders. As reported in The Daily Mail (8/5/07), Lieutenant Ursprung made that transition by way of Navy enlistment after graduation from Coxsackie-Athens High School in 2000.

REAPED from last Saturday’s Wacky Raft Race: more than $8000, supporting the revived, flourishing Catskill Community Center. To view pictures of the event--lots of pictures in an electronic ‘album’ just like the Cat ‘n Around photos—click to

WHO? He’s Brendan Kennedy in the Daily Maul headline (8/7/07), Brandon in the picture caption. In either guise, this son of distinguished author William Kennedy is another of our richly talented Athens residents.

PRAISED, so to speak, by recent visitors, in reviews on GreeneLand’s foremost resort, the 526-room Friar Tuck. “It wasn’t that bad,” says a July visitor from Central Islip, referring to previous Trip Advisor reviews that “scared” him. “It is what it is! Relaxing!” says another July visitor, affirming that all four family members had great fun and will return. Compared with other reviews, those words qualify as rave notices. Another July visitor says “What you’ve read”—a succession of damnations—“is true.” Her bedroom “reeked of mildew,” while the bathroom was “positively disgusting,” to the point where allergic reactions drove her family away after one night. The complaint about stench seems to persist. The Central Islip visitor’s room “stank to high heaven” until, after shopping trip in Cairo, she sprayed it with “febreeze and air fresheners.”

ACED, on Monday (8/6), by Angel Hernandez, with a 9 iron carrying 136 yards to an elevated green: Catskill Golf Club’s sixth hole. It happened during the Rotary Club-organized fund-raising tournament for the Greene County Women’s League (help for cancer victims) and won him a prize of $56. But if it had come on hole number 2, Mr Hernandez’s ace would have earned a Buick Lucerne.

COULDNESS. A pending property sale could be more newsworthy than usual. Alternatively, it could be just another dreary foreclosure auction, conducted in the lobby of the county courthouse by a referee who gets $500 to read aloud a long routine statement to one prospective bidder. In this case the referee will be Jon Kosich, the scintillating event is scheduled for 10am on August 21, and the likely single bidder will be an agent of the mortgage holder, Deutsche Bank, offering exactly what the creditor is owed.

The event could be noteworthy, however, if there were a special story behind the big discrepancy between what the creditor is owed and what the property seems to be worth. The lien, as estimated in the relevant court order’s quaint language, is in the “approximate” amount of $219,215 and 27 cents “plus interest and costs.” The property, as recorded on the books of Hunter Town Assessor Mark Hummel, is assessed for tax purposes at $77,000. That figure applies to a two-acre property, at 45-49 County Route 25, that is occupied by an 1150-square-foot house (vintage 1900) and a 760-square-foot cottage. The disparity between the property’s assessed value and the lien amount is unusual. And possibly noteworthy. And possibly due only to a big time lag since the last reassessment.

The property sale also might be newsworthy on account of the name of the defaulter: Kenneth Schermerhorn. Could this be the musical, internationally distinguished Kenneth Schermerhorn? the conductor of orchestras in Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Hong Kong and Nashville? the wild, crazy, gifted, charismatic guy whose charming, gifted, free-spirited wife sang an opera role in the buff?

Alternatively, could the defaulter be a descendant of pioneering GreeneLander Frederick Schermerhorn? If so, his local ancestry traces back to a Round Top farmer the Round Top farmer who was abducted by Indians during the Revolutionary War. Well, 15 Schermerhorns are listed in the local telephone directory. Three of them are Kenneths. The Haines Falls Kenneth’s telephone works but nobody answers. The other local Schermerhorns do not know this one, or each other.

So much for what would be news if...

TONIGHT (8/10)

Athens: Music of the Tom Healy band, Riverfront Park, from 7pm.atskill: Live music at Stella’s Lounge.


Windham: Art Fest (visits to 7 galleries and 8 studios) from 10am. (518)734-5076.Chamber Music Festival (string quartet “Ethel” doing classical & contemporary & jazz & pop & rock all in one evening;

Hunter: plays by Horton Foote (“The Actor” and “The Dancers”) live at Doctorrow Center for the Performing Arts. or (518)263-2063 or

German Alps Festival (authentic Bavarian beers, food, music) at Hunter Mountain.

Cairo: Renaissance Faire at Angelo Canna Park. Discounts for Cairo residents and for patrons dressed in "Rengarb.” and/or

Catskill: Second Saturday festivities up and down Main Street, hailed & detailed in Live music, poetry, dancing, a book-signing (foodie Brigit Binns at Hood & Co.), and a tasting reception at DREAM (388 Main) showcasing “A Perfect Pear,” Napa Valley condiments.

SUNDAY (8/12)

Tannersville: “The Actor” and “The Dancers” performed at Elka Park, 2pm.

Hunter: More of Alps Festival.

Cairo: Renaissance Faire concludes.

Round Top: “Extreme Latin!” matinee program at Altamura Center for Arts & Culture, offering "fusion of classical, Flamenco, hip-hop, tango and Afro-Cuban sounds with classical piano, Latin percussion and cutting-edge break-dancing.”

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