HAPPILY, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, after residing for 31 summers at a Columbia County hay farm, is moving to GreeneLand. As determined by organizer Mary Tyler Doub, the country music and dancing party, with instruction as well as performances on four stages, will take place on the 200-acre Walsh Farm in Oak Hill during July 17-20. (www.greyfoxbluegrass.com )
UNHAPPILY, the announced days of Grey Fox bluegrass overlap with Irish Arts Week, which is scheduled for July 13-19 at the Michael J. Quill Irish Culture & Sports Centre in East Durham. That event, now in its 14th year, will be preceded by the venerable Irish Festival that comes on Memorial Day weekend (5/24-25). (www.east-durham.org )
RE-GRANTED to Eli Joseph Hunter of Cornwallville, by and/or through the Arts Councils of Greene and Columbia Counties: $2500 in support of a contemplated “Year In Hand” project which would--in his words, as quoted in a Council release--“marry” the “media” of “earthwork, photography, and the moving image.” In addition to being a documentary film maker, Mr Hunter is the woody plant expert for The Phantom Gardener. Another $2500 re-grant for art work went to Michael Chameides of Hudson, who plans to make a video, “On Water’s Edge,” about local Bangladeshis’ use of his city’s waterfront park. His and Hunter’s awards are re-grants in that the money comes from the State Arts Council.
ACCEPTED for participation in America’s pre-eminent bass fishing tournament, to be held during February 22-24 at Lake Hartwell in Greenville SC: former GreeneLander Chris Loftus. As pointed out by Outdoors columnist Dick Nelson (Daily Mail, Feb. 10), Mr Loftus is the first mid-Hudson competitor to earn a spot in this 37-year-old, 50-contestant Bassmaster Classic. The former Lexington resident, now a chemical engineer based in Wilmington NC, graduated from Windham-Ashland-Jewett High School, where he was valedictorian (as was his brother). His father developed a flourishing real estate business in Windham after retiring from the New York City police force. His mother worked for Greene County. When remembering Mr Loftus as a young GreeneLander, former friends and mentors, such as Danny Powell and Tom Gentalen, use superlatives: “nice,” “honest,” “really bright,” “special person,” “true gentleman….”
PRAISED, by Wall Street Journal reviewer Terry Teachout: the latest revival of “Moby Dick—Rehearsed,” a stage play written by Orson Welles and first performed in London in 1955. “Greatly impressed” was Mr Teachout with this “surprisingly postmodern piece of lyric theater,” as performed by members of the eminent Acting Company of New York and directed by GreeneLander Casey Biggs. With “seamless stealth” did Act I’s “naturalistic” style give way to Act II’s “expressionistic” mode. With subtlety did acting, lighting, sound effects, directing and script (in blank verse) coalesce so as to “ease us out of the everyday world into the vortex of Ahab’s obsession.” Back in 1999, when the Berkshire Theatre Company did “Moby Dick—Rehearsed,” Mr Biggs played Starbuck, first mate to Captain Ahab on the whale ship Pequod. That was before he won international fame (behind heavy makeup) as Damar the Cardassian on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
BUYING LOCAL. For every 20 gallons of gasoline that we buy somewhere other than in GreeneLand, the county loses about $2.50 in sales tax revenue. We hurt ourselves when we buy elsewhere. But when prices in neighboring counties (even on the Freeway) are lower than in GreeneLand, it’s hard to pump locally. Could our legislators do something about that? Make regular inter-county price comparisons. Ask regional managers of Getty, Hess, Citgo, Sunoco, Stewart’s Shops, Cumberland Farms and the like to account for the inter-county, anti-GreeneLand disparities. And use local radio outlets to broadcast tips—already available on the Internet—about where the local price is “lowest today.”
SLIPPAGE. Greene County Bancorp Inc., parent of our Bank of Greene County (as distinct from The Greene County Bank of Battlefield, Missouri), underwent a drop in net income during the last quarter of 2007 as compared with the same period in 2006: $626,000, or 17 per cent. According to company president Donald Gibson, the slippage was due largely to non-interest expense increases and to the fact that the higher 2006 quarter included a one-time gain from the sale of a former Coxsackie branch site.
SLUMPAGE? Coinciding with that decline in GreeneLand bank business during 2007 was a drop in real estate activity. According to the New York State Association of Realtors, the volume of sales of single-family multiple-listed homes in GreeneLand dropped by a whopping 19.3 per cent. That figure is one of the highest among counties in the State, and much higher than equivalent figures for Albany, Columbia and Ulster counties. The figure is based on numbers supplied by the Columbia-Greene Association of Realtors. But the local transaction numbers coming from the same source, broken down by agency, show only a modest (5%) drop from 2006 to 2007 in GreeneLand transactions—a drop that is about the same as in neighboring counties. We called the local Association in quest of clarification. The lady wasn’t interested. (“We don’t do statistics”).
DAILY MURK. “During the cell search, inmate Quincy Palmer assaulted [Correctional Officer Chris] Fernandez after discovering a toothbrush that had been sharpened to a sharp point.” “Upon finding the toothbrush Palmer allegedly lunged at Fernandez and proceeded to reign blows down at the back of his head and back. Fernandez fell forward and struck his head upon a sharp object that caused multiple lacerations, one in the middle of his forward….” “A fellow officer…ran to his aide after hearing the commotion.” Fernandez only recently “recovered from shoulder surgery from an injury suffered by an inmate….”
UPCOMING. > Saturday (2/16) in Athens: Poetry from 2pm at the Cultural Center. Barbara Adams and Guy Reed, with piano intervals by Don Yacullo, plus open mike. >Saturday in Catskill: Gallery-hopping along Main Street from 6pm. “Paint-In” (everybody dips and daubs) at M Gallery; with refreshments. Winter group show at nearby Gallery 385. Ceramic shapes and assemblages at Open Studio. Astounding artistry with laser light at Play of Light. Closing party for the Frank Faulkner “Critical Mass” exhibition at Terenchin Fine Art. >Sunday. Pancakes breakfast for all at West Athens fire house, on Leeds-Athens Road just west of Route 9W, from 8am. >Sunday in Catskill: “Music Mosaic” at Beattie-Powers House (just off Prospect Avenue) from 2pm. Bard Conservatory students play music of Milhaud, Poulenc, Bach, Ibert and one Alberto Ginastera. The musicians hail from Tasmania (south island State of Australia), Taiwan, Guandong (China) and exotic Detroit. www.friendsofbeattiepowers.org or (518) 943-4764.
REST IN PEACE. Diana Zamorano, 16, a junior at Catskill High School, who on Monday hanged herself in a barn near the Friar Tuck resort. She was at least the sixth CHS student to commit suicide since 1997.