Friday, April 04, 2008

April in GreeneLand

TRANSMISSION ART is not related to cars or trucks. It’s something that is happening right here in GreeneLand. Find out by way of Wikipedia or go right to the heart of the matter, in Acra:

CLOSE CALL. A local public service agency hired an office assistant recently—and quickly turfed her out; and changed the locks on the doors. The new hire, as it turned out, was on probation after being convicted of stealing $4300 from the Parent-Teacher-Student Association of Red Hook, while operating as treasurer of that organization. She was sentenced under the name Maureen Kevan. She applied for work as a $12.15-an-hour clerk in GreeneLand under the name Maureen Leggett, of Germantown. Her PTSA escapade, however, was not what prompted her abrupt removal from a job in GreeneLand. The trigger instead was information about the disappearance from Columbia’s County’s Housing Resources Agency, by way of account shuffling, of $21,000.

COMING to Catskill's First Reformed Church, on April 18th: debut concert by the newly formed Catskill Community Orchestra, led by David Woodin (who by day is a legal scholar) and including, in the program, two of his compositions. "My music," he assures us, "is not 'modern'."

FOR SALE OR LEASE: the Catskill Point waterfront property, containing the Point restaurant plus mooring plus a takeaway hut and Stella’s Lounge. According to owner Frank Guido (845 616 2468;, tenant Steve Tanner declined to renew his five-year lease or to exercise his option to buy the property. We will miss the good jazz at Stella’s. Service in the restaurant, we will not miss.

REOPENING SOON: the café in what Catskillians know as the Mayflower Building. The new Main Street operators of Café 355 are Jeffrey and Joseph Myers, with Jeffrey, a 1998 Culinary Institute graduate, presiding as chef. They will begin with breakfast and lunch, then may add dinner time. Building owner Andrea Lowenthal says she and previous operator Bean “are both happy to see that the good karma from the community helped give Jeff and Joe the confidence to take on this venture.”

REOPENING May 2: Juniper Woods, “clothing optional nudist resort” off Schoharie Turnpike. 945-1399.

REOPENING May 15st, with ebullient chef Adam Monteverde back on the job, and with boss Owen Lipstein anticipating a “breakout summer” for the place: Stewart House in Athens.

“EXHILIRATED” is how the aforementioned Mr Lipstein describes his current mood, too, about the future of his magazine, which is now titled, without bisecting virgule, INSIDEOUT. The 15,000 printed copies of the current “Hope” issue proved to be inadequate to keep the shelves stocked. Although it’s a “controlled” (=free) publication, scores of people sent in cards requesting subscriptions. In pages and in advertising, the coming “Play” issue, to be published in late April, will be “our biggest ever. So, in this time of depression about print media, I’m allowed to feel cheerful.”

OPENING in mid-May or thereabouts, in Catskill’s former Osborn Company firehouse, across from the County Courthouse: an Armed Forces Career Center. Recruiting Sergeant Paul Echols foresees a ribbon-cutting, an open house, prizes….

DWINDLING to disturbingly low numbers: the Hudson River’s population of American shad. According to Pete Grannis, commissioner of the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (, the downtrend dates from the early 1990’s, and current population is 70% lower than the post-1980 average, and the “primary cause” of the trend “has been over-fishing.” Emergency regulations require that sport fishermen throw back the shad they catch and that commercial operators heed new rules about acceptable gear and acceptable times and places of fishing.

DWINDLING TOO have been GreeneLand home sales. In February, according to the NYS Association of Realtors, sales of existing single-family homes were down from the February 2007 figure by 10 per cent. That shrinkage was less than the State-wide fall in sales (19%) and the Columbia County fall (16%), but more than the Ulster County decline (4%).

GROWING but, fortunately, in a small way: GreeneLand’s rate of unemployment. In February the figure, provided by the State Labor Department, was 6.2 per cent, as compared with February 2007’s 5.9%. The recent figure could signify that 6.2% of persons who are classed as members of the private sector non-farm labor force are counted officially as unemployed. Or it could signify something else. The mavens who talk glibly about an unemployment “rate” of "X per cent” habitually neglect to answer the question: “per cent of what?” At any rate , the GreeneLand percentage figure is higher than for the United State as a whole (5.2%), for New York State (5.0%), for New York City (4.8%) and for Columbia County (5.1%).

CLOSED today, for renovations until April 21, is Catskill’s Public Library. That news received page-one treatment today in GreeneLand’s foremost daily newspaper and on its web site. In the latter case the caption said Head Librarian Jessica Maisano “stands by the walls and on the floors getting painted beige and refurbished floors.” That would be the same publication has reportified lately that “Ochoa shoots takes lead in Safeway International,” that “County Sheriff’s to patrol 24 hours,” and that in the course of a bit of burglarious fumbling, “locks were broken on some commercial establishments but apparently not invaded.”

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