Friday, September 21, 2007

The Beat Goes On

90=number of copies of American Wilderness: The Story of the Hudson River School of Painting (just published by Black Dome Press) that were sold, at $26 each, at last Saturday’s standing-room-only “salon” in the Storeroom Studio of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Author Barbara Millhouse came up from Winston-Salem NC for the event. Introducer David Barnes came east from Columbus, Ohio.

RASH OF RED DOTS appeared on walls of Catskill’s BRIK gallery last Saturday evening, as visitors responded to pictures and sculptures created by GreeneLand’s Michel Goldberg (and priced between $350 and $3000). This first one-man show, says proprietor Frank Cuthbert, surpassed expectations. Who knew that so many people see things in black & white?

SHOT at Coeymans Hollow last week, according to a TimesUnion story by Scott Waldman: scenes for “Against the Current,” a film in which the protagonist (played by Joseph Fiennes) resolves to swim from Troy to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, to deal with death of his pregnant wife. Much action filmed at Yanni’s Too restaurant in Coeymans Marina. Next stop: Beacon.

DIRECTOR OF PROBATION for GreeneLand is being sought officially, at long last. The call for applications is noteworthy in that Barbara A. Valicenti is still pictured and identified on the county government website as Director, although she has been on paid leave from the $65,000 job since early this year. Anyhow, suitable candidates, according to the official advertisement, must be “articulate, possess good communication skills, have the ability to supervise subordinate employees in a non-confrontational manner and have a minimum of 3 years experience in a supervisory or administrative position in a probation agency.” Likely front-runner would be the respected acting director, Alan Frisbee. The 14-person department needs catch-up work. For example, its web site gives cursory information about its activities in 2004.

SLATED FOR CENSURE, by New York State’s Commission on Judicial Conduct, for allegedly mishandling a case that came before her, is Tannersville Village Justice Noreen Valcich. For details, click , then click on Matter of Noreen Valcich, and read the news release and the Determination. The commissioners decided that Judge Valcich should not have presided during 2004-05 over a harassment case in which Marlene Rice was charged with harassment against her former convenience store employer, Patricia Ragan. Judge Valcich allegedly took on the case “notwithstanding that she had a professional and social relationship with the defendant”; failed to disclose to the People’s attorney that relationship; discussed the case out of court with the defendant and the complaining witness; and made dispositive decisions in disregard of her obligation to consult the prosecutor (the District Attorney). The commission’s majority also noted that the part-time judge had twice been cautioned previously for “ethical transgressions”: stalling on a bail motion, and showing partiality by failing to consult the district attorney before reinstating a matter that had been adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. Six commissioners endorsed the Determination. Two were absent, and two dissented. One of the dissenters, Richard Emery, assailed his compeers for making “a precipitous decision” in favor of “granting censure instead of what might well be removal if all the facts were known.” Judge Valcich is “a three time offender whom the Commission is giving another chance to harm the citizens who appear before her.” This “rash choice of clemency for a recidivist ethical violator” is being made without ascertaining “the relevant facts” as distinct from relying on a statement on which complainant and respondent agree. Anyhow, the commission’s judgment in favor of censure is subject to appeal to the State’s Court of Appeals for a review. If she does so, within a prescribed period, the court can accept the determined sanction, impose a different one, or impose no sanction. If she does not appeal for review, censure is invoked. According to a report in The Daily Mail (9/8/07), Judge Valcich said “I’m not going to appeal it.” Ms Valcich operates, with her husband Roy, the Snowed Inn. For last year’s part-time work as village justice she was paid $5743 along with benefits. She has been Village Justice in Tannersville since 1991. In last Spring’s local elections, she beat back a challenge from Republican newcomer Nancy Covey by a margin of 162 votes to 48.

LEX GREY now has big, clippings-loaded My Space site: The lady purportedly “has mesmerized New York's die-hard music lovers since she thundered on the scene like Mae West on a Harley. Rapidly rising to the status of cult rock diva, her repertoire blends the tortured soul of the blues with bawdy burlesque and Brooklyn attitude…. On stage The Urban Pioneers explode with energy and passion creating a musical and visual patchwork of wild rock concert, bar room blues, vaudeville theater and after-hours jazz jam. Fronted by sultry Lex in her sequined gown, torn fishnet stockings and well-worn motorcycle boots, the band's eclectic earthiness draws in and embraces people of every taste and background.” Web site visitors can audit “Va Va Voom,” “Grave Is Kept Clean,” “ Dirty Sleazy Blues”….

WEIRD NEWS. “Greene County is currently developing a Housing Action Plan that will quantify and assess the county’s current housing market, propose action steps to streamline and focus the development process and produce guidelines that can be used by developers and municipalities to meet the housing needs of various types of Greene County households.” Moreover, “Greene County has begun a Hudson River Corridor Study that will bring together local officials and community leaders to plan for the growth and development of its Hudson River corridor and establish policy and standards for the review of projects at the county level by the Greene County Planning Board.” Those words from the office of Warren Hart invite us to think of Greene County must be a Mr or a Ms--a conscious, thinking, volitional she or he. It’s a common goofy bit of journalese. The real news is embedded in later paragraphs of the respective news releases:

IMMINENT >In East Durham over the weekend, Blackthorn Resort hosts a “Round-Up” of Mustangs (the automotive kind). (518)634-2541. >At Hunter Mountain Resort, Saturday and Sunday, a microbrew and wine festival. In Acra tomorrow (Sept. 22), at Wave Farm, a picnic, with live musical entertainment. “We will have the grill going,” says Tom Roe, “ and all are welcome to bring food to put on it, and beverages to drink. E-mail me back at if you would like to attend…” > In Coxsackie tomorrow, Bronck Museum takes part in Hudson River Valley Ramble, with a special tour showing how life on a Dutch farm in the 1700’s affected natural resources, hygiene and family health. Info: (518)7316490 or > In Catskill on Sunday, at Dutchman’s Landing, at noon, completion of the community sundial will be celebrated. Assembled by Dina Bursztyn (Open Studio co-owner) and a team of volunteers, the sundial was built using ceramic and glass shards found on the nearby riverbanks. The site was formerly a dump and many of the shards are fragments of turn-of-century pottery, bricks and glass. (518)943-9531 or > AND THEN, at Historic Catskill Point, from 1pm, the Cat’s Meow Auction & Gala. Brunch and viewing of the fabulous 50 sculptured cats, followed by live auction. (518) 943-0989 or

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