Friday, May 02, 2008

Post May Day Post

BIG DEAL. Foreclosure auctions in GreeneLand take place every week. The amount of lien (what the defendant owes the mortgage-carrying plaintiff) seldom reaches as high as $200,000. A property at 158 Jefferson Heights Boulevard, for example, will be auctioned on May 23d, with lien advertised as $156, 504.18. But a property that is slated for auction next Friday (5/9) at 11am, in the usual place--the lobby of our county courthouse, on Main Street in Catskill--is different. The advertised ”amount of judgment,” apart from “interest and costs,” is an “approximate” $1,433,544 and 15 cents. The property, whose address is given as 844 Sunside Road in Cairo, occupies a 104-acre site, where a big upland house) overlooks a glorious eastward panorama. Along with the house (“magnificent” but substantially deteriorated even though recently constructed, according to witnesses) come a barn and an equestrian complex. The defaulting defendant is Valerie T. DiDamo, who is of special interest as the former wife of a formerly prominent local lawyer, Kevin Maldonado. The default goes back to 2006, not long after the loan was granted (in September 2005) in the amount of $1.3 million, with promised monthly payments of more than $8000. The estate project, sources tell us, sprang from a huge legal settlement that came Mr Maldonado’s way. Its abrupt end sprang from a marital split.

DIRTY DEAL? Residents of homes abutting East Red Mill Road in Greenville have complained about a neighboring car and motorcycle race track. “I’m eating dirt,” says James Week (Daily Mail, 4/24). “I want out of this town so bad I can’t tell you,” says Patrick Leonard (Greenville Press, 4/24). When the aggrieved neighbors turned to the Town Council for relief, they got—and so did the Council members—a surprise: former Town Supervisor Aldo Cardomone, along with former Town Attorney Andrew Brick, had signed an agreement stipulating that Kearney Rally Village’s commercial operations do not violate the relevant rural-residential zoning regulations, and the dust and noise arising from rally sprint events do not constitute a public nuisance. The other Town Council members, as well as the neighbors, were not told of that agreement.

BAD DEAL? Senator James Seward commends the idea that, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, taxes on gasoline be suspended. If the State tax were suspended, he says in a May 1 mailing, motorists would “save” 33 cents per gallon. If Federal and local taxes also were suspended, we would “save” about 65 cents per gallon. That result “would reduce costs for hardworking families, local businesses who [sic.] have to fuel their delivery trucks, students and commuters. Lowering gas costs will lead to cheaper prices for consumers across the board.” Actually, consumer goods prices would go down only if vendors chose to reduce them. By the same token, gasoline prices would go down only if, and to the extent that, vendors chose to pass along the “saving.” Meanwhile, governments would lose revenue, generating unanticipated debts that would not go away; they would need to increase taxes of some other kind. And motorists’ incentives to reduce gas consumption, thereby easing the shortage that has driven up costs, would be reduced; instead of driving less this summer, we would drive more.

BACKWARD BOYS. Latest report of High Honors achievers among 12th graders at Catskill High School cites 14 girls, only 8 boys. At the Honors level, girls outnumber boys by a margin of 8 to 4. It’s no different in the lower grades, or in other GreeneLand and regional schools. Among the highest 12th grade achievers at Hunter High School, 4 out of 5 were girls. Among achievers of the next-highest rank, 5 out of 8 were girls. What should be done? Gender-based remediation? Extra points for boys on tests?

GO LOCAL! The call to buy stuff in GreeneLand rather than elsewhere applies not only to gasoline and other consumer goods, but also to government papers. For example, DO NOT renew your driver’s license or registration by means of the pre-addressed mailer that comes from the State Department of Motor Vehicles in Albany. GreeneLanders who do that, says County Clerk Michael Flynn, cost us “tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue per year.” To avoid that pitfall, bring your renewal forms to the local DMV office (411 Main St, Catskill; 719-3255) or mail them to PO Box446, Catskill 12414. Similarly, DO NOT procure or renew your passport, or get a passport card, at a Post Office. Go instead to the County Clerk’s office. The fees are the same but the money stays here.

ON TOUR: “Moby Dick Rehearsed,” an Orson Welles play directed by GreeneLander Casey Biggs, and “The Prophecy of Isaiah,” written and directed by Isaac Klein from a text written by his father, GreeneLander Art Klein. “Moby” was performed recently in, of all places, New Bedford MA, and soon it will have a Manhattan debut, attended by the author’s daughter. “Prophecy,” dwelling on the wages of wealth, played in Easthampton. Isaac’s next projects include being assistant director of a “Camelot” revival (at Lincoln Center, with New York Philharmonickians forming the pit orchestra), and then as assistant director of “West Side Story” revival.

RECENTLY, according to Press reports and other sources: >>An applicant for a job in a big-box GreeneLand store, after telling his interviewer that he had attacked his former boss with a claw hammer, was--would you believe?—not hired. >>Near-GreeneLander Gary Owens, of Ravena, bought a Win For Life lottery ticket at a delicatessen on Route 9W, scratched his way to a “$10 million” (pre-tax!) windfall. >>Wasana and Harold Nicholos launched a celebration of the 10th anniversary of their Thai restaurant operation (336 Main St,Catskill), by lopping 20% off prices for a month. >>Dana Wegener and Mary DiStefano celebrated their second year of business as the MOD cafĂ© at 395 Main St. >>Lloyd Zimmerman of Black Horse Farms joined an Agriculture Commission jaunt to Havana, aimed at selling New York food products to Cubans (whose ability to pay is extremely limited). In the words of a Daily Mail scribe, “An array of foods…were [sic.] presented to Cuban officials….” >>Light, substantially more than before, illuminates the sometimes-enlightening resources of the Catskill Public Library, thanks to the recent renovations. >>Bob Hempstead, he of the big white moustache and the vintage vehicles, was dubbed “Environmental Hero” by GreeneLand legislators for his 37 years of work in GreeneLand’s Highway Department, including 22 at head of solid waste recycling. >>Spring turkey hunting season opened yesterday, and Outdoors columnist Dick Nelson warned hunters about the abundance, in wild turkey habitats, of Lyme disease-spreading ticks. New York leads the country in the incidence of that scourge, and Greene County ranks sixth in the State. >>Four minors were nabbed by State police on suspicion of perpetrating burglaries in downtown Cairo. >>Unemployment in GreeneLand was estimated by the State Labor Department to amount to 6 per cent of the labor force. That’s a slight decrease from February’s 6.2%, but a jump for March 2007’s 5.2%. It also is higher than the State-wide figure of 5.1%. >>Moves are afoot in Catskill to require that pet cats be licensed. In that connection, a local journalist reported, so to speak, that “James White, of Summit Avenue, approached the Catskill Village Board to address the issue he’s had with his neighbor, of whom he says has become the harbinger of feral cats.”

COMING ATTRACTIONS Tonight (5/2): Dinner dance in support of the eminently support-worthy Community Action of Greene County, with silent auction and with music by luscious, anything-but silent Lex Grey & Company. or 943-9206.

Tomorrow (5/3): Nickel social fund-raiser at Washington Irving Senior Center in Catskill. 943-1343. *“Lensworks,” an exhibit of photographs by 14 Greene County Camera Club members. Opening reception from 6pm with music and refreshments augmenting “aesthetic stimulation” at Athens Cultural Center. and *“Artist Takeover!” show at BRIK (473 Main St, Catskill), opening party at 5pm, with 25% of proceeds from sales of works by 6 Capital Region artists, allocated to Animalkind. 943-0145.

Sunday. “Thomas Cole’s ‘Sketch’ Paintings: An Exploration of the Creative Process” opens the 2008 season at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, and does so with a never-before-assembled collection of Cole’s field sketches, in oils, along with his original brushes and palettes and with field sketches by Hudson River Schoolmates Sanford Gifford, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church. The show will be open for public viewing from 10am. At 2pm, the curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum, Eleanor Jones Harvey, will elucidate the creative process that is represented by those and other Hudson River School preparations.

GOLF SEASON has resumed, and with it comes alluring advertised deals. For example, Rainbow Golf Club beckons players with an offer of $49 (with coupon) for two weekday cart riders. Also of note are recently suggested terms for shots and situations. An unreadable putt is a “James Joyce,” while a putt that looks straight but isn’t is a “Rock Hudson.” If you blundered but got away with it, you achieved an “O J”. And if you got away with it in the form of a ball hitting water but bouncing out, why, that must be a “Ted.” As in Kennedy. A chronic hooker would be a “Heidi” (Fleiss). A right-bending shot would be/could be/might be a “Rush’(Limbaugh), while a vicious slice is a “Coulter.”

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