Saturday, July 28, 2007

What's Cooking in GreeneLand

HOME AGAIN. After training at the Culinary Institute and working in big league restaurants (The Bellagio in Las Vegas, Aqua in San Francisco, Straightwharf in Nantucket), Adam Monteverde has returned to his GreeneLand roots. His grandparents and parents ran the Athens Hotel. Now Adam is head chef at what is now called The River Tavern at Stewart House.

NEW DEMOCRAT. Catskill Town Councilman Lewis O’Connor (who also is Catskill Village superintendent of public works) has switched his voter registration from Republican to Democrat. The change marks a return. “I was a Democrat until 1980,” Mr O’Connor told Seeing Greene, “when I needed a job.” His re-affiliation with the locally recessive party does not have immediate electoral implications, as his term does not expire until 2009. It came about “because I was not happy with some of the old-time politics here.”

NEWS BIZ NEWS. No longer mastheaded as Executive Editor of The Daily Mail, as of June 20th, is Theresa Hyland. With her excision, the top names are Roger Coleman, Publisher, and Raymond Pignone, Managing Editor. Nobody holds the title Editor-in-Chief. At the sister paper in Hudson, The Register-Star, Ms Hyland still is billed as Executive Editor, as she has been since last September. A new man, John Santana, is Managing Editor.

AND THE GOUGING GOES ON. The price of regular gasoline, on average, nation-wide early this week was $3 per gallon. On the East Coast, the average was $2.92; New York State, $3.08; New York City, $3. In GreeneLand, the lowest price of regular was the average State-wide price. In Claverack, yesterday, $2.97. County legislators, why not investigate?

ORDER IN THE CLASSROOM! In prospect is rental by Greene County of the former St Patricks Academy in Catskill, for temporary use as courtrooms and related judicial functions during renovation of the county courthouse.

VA VA VOOM!= Title of latest album--“wild hybrid of bawdy blues and rowdy rock”--emitted by GreeneLand’s Lex Grey & the Urban Pioneers. To hear it, to order it, and/or to hear and see much more, google

LITIGATION FRONT. The lawsuit against Peckham Materials and three of its business associates opened in Catskill on Thursday, with Greene County Judge Daniel Lalor presiding as acting State Supreme Court judge. Plaintiff Lee Anne Morgan asked Judge Lalor to order the defendants to stop doing some of the things they are doing at, and on the way to and from, Peckham’s quarry site at the end of Fyke Road in the town of Catskill. She also urges the judge to find the defendants guilty of showing contempt of court, by breaching the terms of a restraining order that he previously had imposed and then lifted. Nothing was resolved immediately. A second day of proceedings was set for August 17th. As specified by plaintiff’s attorney Eugenia Brennan Heslin, Ms Morgan asked the judge to prohibit Peckham and “tenants, lessees and occupants” of the Fyke Road site from running trucks to and from the Fyke Road site on Sundays, as well as between 5:30pm and 7am. She also asks the judge to stop “the storage and assembly of explosives” at the Fyke Road quarry along with “all uses” that under Town zoning and noise laws are illegal. Attorneys appearing for the various defendants contended, in brief opening remarks, that *the activities of which Ms Morgan complains date back 50 years, long before Ms Morgan arrived. She accordingly could and/or should have known about the noise and traffic. This legally vitiates her “nuisance” complaint. *any claims about breaches of Town law must be brought by Town authorities rather than private parties. *as for the balance of “equities” in the matter, any suffering which the plaintiff has incurred is dwarfed by the suffering that would be caused—to the defendant companies, to their customers (builders, excavators, road construction contractors) and their employees—by cessation of the quarry site activities. Negotiations looking toward a settlement between the parties took place in Judge Lalor’s chambers. Substantial progress, we hear, occurred. Also present at the trial yesterday was Lawrence Rappaport, representing the New York State attorney general. He is managing a State lawsuit charging Peckham with breach of the terms of the mining lease granted for the Fyke Road site by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

MOVED, from the front of Catskill’s Community Theater, across Main Street, next door to the Community Center: Sterling Trophies, operated by Pat and John Del Giorno (who sell bags and belts, pendants and plaques, custom embroidery, shirt and medals and gifts, as well as trophies). For the vacated site, owner P J Maisano plans to make the space “look more like the front of a theater” with a visible ticket office. Interior renovations also are in the works.

NOT DEAD: the John Birch Society. A sign of life on the part of that once-flourishing “conservative” organization appeared yesterday (7/27) in Cairo at the Youth Fair, in the form of a leaflet that was left at (as distinct from being distributed from) the booth devoted to hunting. As shown on its web site, the Society’s leaders are all elderly white men. Their youthful obsession with home grown “communists” and with protecting our republic from becoming a democracy have been succeeded by preoccupations with illegal immigration, euthanasia, “civilian disarmament,” Al Gore’s “global green Fascism,”, and international connections such as NAFTA, the United Nations and “the humanistic worldview." As for the farm-flavored Youth Fair, at Angelo Canna Park, it goes on today until 9pm and from noon to 5pm on Sunday. Check it out at

IMPENDING. July 29 (Sunday) and July 30. Monday). Auction of materials, furniture, artifacts/stuff/souvenirs from the Firemen’s Home in Hudson. Thousands of items, big and small. Proceeds to help pay for the now-operational new retirement home for New York State firefighters. Info:


Friday, July 20, 2007

Dropout News & Stuff

NOT RUNNING. Sheriff Richard Hussey missed the deadline (5pm Thursday, 7/19) for filing petitions that would entitle him to be a candidate, in the September primary elections, for adoption as the Republican candidate for re-election. Meanwhile, Lt. Greg Seeley did file his petitions at the Elections Commissioners’ office and he will be unopposed in November’s general election. So will District Attorney Terry Wilhelm. The only contest for a party nomination for a county-wide elective office is for the county clerkship, with Elizabeth Reich and Michael Flynn competing on the Republican side; Terry Gustas stands unopposed on the Democratic side. Sheriff Hussey had said recently that he “definitely” would seek re-election, notwithstanding Republican caucus and deputies’ association endorsements of Lieutenant Seeley. Regarding the no-show, a knowledgeable observer quipped “It’s no surprise that Dick failed to file the necessary papers. Processing papers is not what he does best. You should see the piles--the stacks, the mountains--of papers in his office.”

“PURR-FECT” says writer Jonathan Ment, in the July issue of the Catskill Mountain Region Guide, about Catskill’s 50-feline Cat ‘N Around show—including “Community Cat-alysts,” “Picatso,” “Historic House Cat,” “Mia Feral,” “Rip Claw Winkle,” ”Backpack Cat,” “Pink Catillac,” “Purr-fection,” “Tyger Burning Bright” and “Feline Groovy.” The whole article is a good read, and the Guide’s prize photographs on pages 103 to 110 are superb. Here’s hoping the magazine, published gratis by the Catskill Mountain Foundation, acquires a more attractive name and better local distribution.

6500=approximate number of dollars raised for the St Patricks CYO sports program in Catskill last Sunday at the Kiwanis Club-sponsored Albert Natarnicola Memorial golf tournament. Participants, 100 strong, paid entry fees of $85 apiece to play & drink & eat at Catskill Golf Club. Hole sponsors, 60 strong, contributed between $50 and $250. Raffle ticket buyers, 90 of them, paid $5 apiece for a chance to win a new golf bag; the winner, Michael Bulich, declared that he did not need a new bag, so the prize was auctioned off for $75. The putting contest prize of $120 went to Ron Coons, with Steve Worth as runner-up ($65). Winning the scramble event, with a score of net 57, were Cal Lacy, Rock Lacy, Bill Oravsky and Tony Vizzie. They won on a count-back over Joe Matties, Chick Matties, Greg Sager and Wayne Moore. Pivotal organizers: Jim Riley, Frank Porto.

TIMELY ACE. Speaking of golf: Last Wednesday week (7/11), at Christman’s, on the 7th hole, with a 9 iron, Joan Snyder, the noted Windham potter, scored a hole in one. On her birthday.

QUELLE DOMMAGE! At 7 o’clock Saturday evening, after 36 customers had placed their orders for dinner, in anticipation of getting to the 8pm concert across the street at the Windham Performing Arts Center, the stove at Bistro Bread & Brie ran out of gas.

COMING to downtown Catskill, by October or thereabouts: The Cathedral Restaurant, Ale House & Wine Bar. That’s the name Carol Blaes and husband Robert Lightcap have chosen for the place, across from the County Courthouse, that from the 1870s was the First Baptist Church and then, recently, the evangelical Full Gospel Tabernacle. Contrary to rumors (=wishful thinking?) they do not plan to install a micro brewery, but they do plan to have 20 micro brews on tap. The food, says Ms Blaes, will be “casual American,” at prices “reasonable enough to allow people to feel they can come more than once a week.” Seating will be in authentic church pews arranged in booths seating four, or six, or eight people. Lots of refurbishing is under way. The most costly improvement, at $40,000 has been air conditioning. The “biggest hurdle” they have encountered is “placing and designing a main-floor bathroom that meets the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.” Exterior brickwork is being repointed where necessary, trim is being repainted, and the splendid stained glass windows will be protected (“they were close to ruin”) by Plexiglass and tempered glass shields. During the last seven years, under the rubric Industrial Mobile Catering, Ms Blaes and Mr Lightcap ran a fleet of trucks delivering food to work sites. That business has been taken over by Betty and Lou Miller of Betty’s Diner in Leeds.

SLEEPY NO MORE. After nine years as manager of the Sleepy Hollow Lake Community, Doug Calkins is stepping down, as of July 27, in favor of a property management consultancy. His successor, following a rigorous selection process, will be Jeff DeJernette . Mr DeJernette will inherit a once-floundering, now-flourishing enterprise, which is bound to undergo a fresh spurt of growth, now that a developer has bought the 442 building lots that the county had owned by way of foreclosure.

BEST BETS for GreeneLand entertainment tomorrow (Saturday, 7/21) could be the Irish Cultural Festival at East Durham’s Michael J. Quill Irish Culture and Sports Centre, from noon to 9pm. (; or the all-day, most-of-the-night Rally for Rich, a rock (and other) music jamboree at Historic Catskill Point, raising money for the severely injured tattoo artist Rich Wagoner; or, for something complete different, you could be a player in “Play It Again, Sam.” This will be the first “Play-ful Evening” organized by Tony DeVito in his new bookstore at 347 Main Street in Catskill—an evening in which “the audience are the actors, drawing names from a hat, with role-switching from act to act.” The play is the Woody Allen comedy in which a sad-sack hero gets courting tips from Humphrey Bogart. Thus, a player could be the ghost of Bogey in Act I and his eager student in Act II. For more information: (518)966-4038 or Among Sunday attractions, the Bronck Museum’s “family at home” tour will illuminate social and cultural life in GreeneLand during the earliest (Dutch) settlement days. Check it out at or (518) 731-6490.

NAME GAMES. Cutting Corner is the clever name Rachel Campbell devised for her Freehold business, at the intersection of Routes 67 and 32, cutting hair.

NOTE TO “DEE DEE”/Doreen: Now that we have your comments posted, would you like to share with us some of the correspondence you had with Martha Ivery in the course of being bilked? You could even write a memoir (funny as well as poignant) about your experience as scam victim.

DAILY MAUL. Today’s issue of GreeneLand’s pre-eminent daily newspaper contains a nice long article, 28 column inches, about “events in Greene County this summer.” The calendar listing starts with July 14th.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Super Saturday

It’s party time tomorrow, all day and for much of the night, in two GreeneLand villages. In Athens, the annual street festival begins. with a parade starting at 10am. from the D R Evarts Library, and ending at 11pm., or later, after Riverside Park fireworks. The all-day festivities include 12 bands, lighthouse tours, sidewalk crafters and vendors, entertainers, pony rides…. In Catskill, after the Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market at Historic Catskill Point (with music), Second Saturday Stroll festivities will include at least two new gallery shows: works by Gail Gregg (photos, paintings, collages…) at Gallery 384, and, at nearby M Gallery (350 Main St), under the title “Attempting Grace,” pictures by Jimmie James. These are in addition, of course, to ongoing exhibits at the other six downtown galleries, as well as events at other shops. Moreover, parents can park their children tomorrow at the Community Center, with care and entertainment provided. Meanwhile, at Windham’s performance hall, the 10th anniversary of the Windham Chamber Orchestra will be celebrated by, of all things!, a concert. Starting at 8pm. With visiting soloists.

10=number of enterprises on West Bridge Street that will have been established between last January and next December, says Village President Vincent Seeley. Many of the newcomers already are established. At any rate, the West Bridge revivalists include Dimensions North, the restoration building specialists led by Rich Rappelyea; masseuse Beth Tilley, at Massage ‘N Mind; an Italian delicatessen, where a pizza parlor operated briefly; a kids’ shoe specialist (including hand-painted footwear), on the site of the erstwhile Bill’s Grill; a bridal shop, which owner Amanda Passaretti has daringly dubbed The Bridal Shop; a real estate agency; a lemonade stand (“Yeah Boy,” run by foodie Bill Muirhead); a haircutting salon, in the former Army-Navy Store; another delicatessen (M & M), at the erstwhile House of Wax; and “Tin Man” Scott Ursprung’s heating and air conditioning business in the former Ritters Garage. That is just a couple of doors west of Divine Enlightenment, where Diana (“Hello from Heaven”) Harris provides (according to a Daily Mail report) a “bridge” to “the angelic and spiritual world.”

PAINTERS’ PODIUM is the prospective name of a gazebo-like structure that soon will eventuate on Catskill Creek, in the midst of the prospective Artists’ Ledge condominium development. It will present a viewscape, open to the public, that is just what Thomas Cole and other painters saw and portrayed in the 1800s. Construction of the project will begin, we understand, in about two months. Eventually the development will swallow the current Tatiana’s Restaurant--which is not, repeat NOT closed; and still serves good food in comfortable settings, indoor and out.

UPDATE: ST LAWRENCE CEMENT. We reported last week (briefly, vaguely) on a lawsuit by the Riverkeeper organization against St. Lawrence Cement company, a suit based on allegedly polluting outflows from the company’s plant at the south end of the town of Catskill. After that we talked with Tony Madrazo, human resources manager at that facility. According to Mr Madrazo, Department of Environmental Conservation investigators came to the site, “made a thorough investigation” and “confirmed” the defendant’s claim that the strange-colored plume that flowed into the Hudson River from the SLC site was not plant discharge but rather was outfall of muddy clay from an eroding embankment. “It was not pollution but was still an eyesore. The DEC made recommendations about re-routing the outfall and we implemented them. No un-permitted activity occurred.” For more information:

JUST OPENED, on Main Street in Catskill: another addition to the burgeoning art scene. In this case it is not a gallery but rather is a studio, where the distinguished graphic designer, Michel Goldberg, will pursue his creative fancies. He will be creating a few more sculptures, drawings, prints and paintings that he will exhibit in September. Choosing items from the Goldberg oeuvre will be the distinguished Athenian artist Carol May (no kin to the journalistic wretch who afflicts Seeing Greene).

TRAVEL TIP. If you’re traveling to Sicily, says a returning GreeneLander, there’s a Bed & Breakfast in the town of Selinunte that is eminently worth a visit. It’s called Villa Sogno, and from Charme e Relax it gets this buildup:

Dipped in the nature to little minuteren from incontaminate beaches…it offers the of a hotel, the confidentiality of a house and the services of a Bed & Breakfast that every brace can wish. The beginning dwelling century, has been restructured completely holding account of the style ‘Neoclassico’ and modernized for giving a great one confort with last technologies…rises in means to the nature, encircled from plants (secular palms, citrus groves and ulivi), offers to the possibility of parking…. The structure has eight matrimoniale rooms…furnished with furnitures of several ages and equips you of all the comfort. Passing for a tree-lined tree-lined avenue. It is possible to have use of one swimming pool, …mails on the back for giving greater confort and privacy to the hosts. The moving atmospheres for the reading and relax, the solarium, terrace-panoramic with annexed common space or on hand of the customers…. Income with hall furnished …with one common zone for the reading and the relax. A veranda to the closed one for breakfast service, it knows it recreational with Tv Satellitare,.. 2 matrimoniale rooms to the flat earth….. Fabulous sight of the templi and the sea…is possible to admire one. … On the back neighbor the swimming pool is present an alcove with the two matrimoniale rooms in Arabic style. Easy raggiungibile with every half it is lend to being a point of departure for the excursions…. Telephone & Fax 0924 941038

NAME GAME. “I was doing field work on the east bank of the Hudson River south of Albany, NY. I opened up the topographical map, found our location and started laughing. My colleagues were puzzled until I explained that we were along the banks of the Black Black Creek Creek (Black Schwarzenkill Creek.” --Liz Mikols.

IN PREPARATION: Coxsackie Capers. The Boat Rescue Fiasco. Gillibrand’s Challengers. Seward’s Reform Proposals. Bad News-Giving: Local Examples.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Litigation Front

--Coxsackie’s mayor, John Bull, is suing three of his fellow Village Trustees. He says the trio illegally took upon themselves the authority to fire the police chief, Robert Helwig, and to hire a replacement. Those deeds in turn seem to be interwoven with Off-Tracking Betting Corporation business in Albany, with intra-Republican Party wranglings, and more. The defendants voted to use Village-funded insurance to meet their legal fees. Mayor Bull hopes to tap the same source but probably can’t marshall the votes.

--New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation is suing Peckham Materials Corporation, along with three co-defendants, for alleged deviations (explosive, fiery, trashy deviations) from authorized uses of its limestone quarry site on Fyke Road in Catskill. That action in turn stems from a Fyke Road resident’s suit against Peckham and the D.E.C. (reported in Seeing Greene of 2/15/07). Plaintiff Lee Ann Morgan in the latter case treats the D.E.C. as passive abettor of the alleged offenses perpetrated by Peckham and its business associates. The D.E.C.’s action offers a kind of confirmation.

--A father and son are suing the Village of Catskill’s Trustees and Fire Company (as reported in Seeing Greene, 3/17/06). That proceeding has contributed in some measure to an initiative to promote conciliatory dialogue among village firefighters and ex-firefighters, with a view to healing wounds suffered in the course of the consolidation of Catskill’s fire companies. In the meantime, the Shanks suit has not reached trial (or acknowledged negotiation), but one development is noteworthy. Joel Shanks claimed that he was made the butt of punitive maltreatment in retaliation for whistle-blowing, or complaining (secretly) to a State agency, the Public Employees Safety and Health Bureau, about health and safety problems in his company. His complaint was dismissed, and even mocked, by the PESH investigator. He appealed that judgment to another government agency, the Occupational Safety and Health division of the United States Department of Labor, whose regional administrator dropped a bomb on the PESH treatment. The PESH investigator, said Patricia K. Clark, failed to gather manifestly relevant evidence, much less to evaluate it. “PESH did not gather facts as they stated and PESH failed to test the assertions made by Respondent and Complainant. All assertions made by Respondent were accepted at face value.” “PESH did not consider all the evidence nor did PESH test any of the assertions made by Complainant and Respondent.” PESH pretended that Complainant concurred with “administratively closing” the case when in fact he dissented explicitly and persistently. PESH did not properly notify Complainant of his right to appeal its findings. With regard to the Whistleblower Program investigation, PESH was afflicted with “systemic program deficiencies.”

--Two children are suing GreeneLand’s Department of Social Services, claiming that the agency bears a portion of responsibility for the wrongful death, back in November 2004, of their 3-year-old sister. The civil suit was filed by attorney Eugenia Brennan Heslin, of Hunter, on behalf of Nyasia Smalls, 8, and Neisha Rose, 9. Although the live-in lover of Egypt’s mother, is doing prison time for murdering the child, Egypt Phillips, aged 3, and the mother, Tanya Rose, is doing time for negligent homicide. The plaintiffs maintain that the DSS people were well aware of the mortal danger under which Egypt was living and failed to fulfill their duty to intervene effectively. Other county agencies are named as defendants, along with a pediatrician. The plaintiffs seek financial compensation. Their claim has gained indirect credibility from the terms of an opinion recently voiced, in an altogether different case, by the Chief Judge of the State Supreme Court along with a judicial colleague. According to Judge Judith Kaye (as reported by Chris Garifo, Daily Mail, 6/13), our Social Services Department failed utterly in the other case to meet its duties of care, advice and protection.

Each of the foregoing cases deserves a more thorough exposition, by Seeing Greene’s small, ill-paid, beleaguered staff.

BEST BET for GreeneLand fun this weekend is the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Mountain Culture Festival—music, films, heaps of crafts, food—in Hunter, from noon on Saturday and on Sunday. Also in prospect tomorrow is the Kelly Miller Circus (out of Hugo, Oklahoma) at the Upper Rip VanWinkle Lake grounds in Tannersville. Tickets are $5 (kids) and $9 in advance, $6 and $12 on site. An advertising insert touts, for “more things to see and do in Green [sic.] County,” the web site , which actually is a source for the conservation-minded (in contrast to

TOO BIG? Some GreeneLanders are voicing distress calls about the prospective giant retailing center in Coxsackie. “It would destroy the Mom & Pop stores we have in Coxsackie, Catskill and Ravena,” says local resident Betty Becker. Coxsackie “could use another grocery store,” she adds--and a YMCA, a theatre, a playground, a skating rink—“not more retailers." “Let’s support the people and the stores we already have.”

NOTE TO ANONYMOUS of 7/4/07, 6:20pm: Your plaint about the paucity of information about events in Coxsackie is eminently post-worthy. Too bad you did not sign it.

PRIMPING is under way at the historic building (with “Edgar Peelor” plaque on the wall) that stands at the Y between West Main and Broome street in Catskill. (Edgar died, at age 35, back in 1880, and is buried in Catskill Rural Cemetery. Parents William and Caroline outlasted him). Owner Albert LaBonte has already moved his beauty supplies business down to Tampa (hoping for more pedestrian traffic past his stock of wigs, hairpieces and extensions). Paint is going on outside the building, along with remodeling inside. The 3900 square foot building contains a two-story shop and a separate-entrance apartment. Asking price: $199,000. Inquiries: (845)313-8664.

FORMED in Greene County: a company called The Catskill Fig. We are inquiring.

RECOGNIZED, YET AGAIN: Greene County Historian (and philanthropist, fount of information, nonagenarian and consummate gentleman) Raymond Beecher, this time by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, in the form of the Alf Evers Award, to be conferred July 14th at the Center’s Arkville headquarters.

4 D’S. What forces bring goods to auction houses? According to Russ and Abby Carlsen, they are Death, Desperation, Debt and Divorce.

“OUR” PAPER. In the June 19th issue of GreeneLand’s only home-grown daily newspaper, five of the A section’s 14 pages were devoted (as announced by successive giant space-eating headlines) to “Arts & Entertainment.” The stories on those pages told of events in Spencertown, Hudson (4), Austerlitz, Craryville, Greenport (2), Annandale-on-Hudson and Tivoli. Nothing artistic or entertaining in GreeneLand, it would seem, met The Daily Mail’s criteria. Meanwhile, one of the A section’s pages was billed as “Greene County.” It contained the Calendar of Events and two articles. The calendar’s first item cited a Hudson event. The top story emanated from Albany and contained no Greene County angle. The other story—Eureka!—dealt with weekend programs at the Mountain Top Arboretum in Tannersville. (Reference to those programs was absent from the Calendar).