Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Soft Greene Powder

OPENED for business on Monday, after lavish ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Saturday: GreeneLand’s new Urgent Medical Care facility off Grandview Avenue (near Walgreen’s) in Catskill. Initial activity, says Dr Robert Schneider, was “busier than we expected,” with more than 30 prospective patients coming in—no appointment necessary—from as far away as Greenport. Dr Schneider heads a crew of 15, including two physicians, three physician’s assistants, four x-ray technicians, a nurse practitioner plus administrative and clerical people who will be staffing the facility seven days a week, 12 hours per day. (943-9100.The web site is still in the making).

The time gap between proposing to build the new facility and opening the doors of Urgent Medical Care proved to be exceptionally short. And for that, said Dr Schneider to a Seeing Greene interviewer/patient, much credit goes to the “amazing,” “incredible” support provided by public officials: county legislators, Village trustees, Planning Board members, the Public Works Department, the police department….

------Opening of Urgent Medical Care comes on the heels of special public recognition given to the established GreeneLand model: EmUrgentCare, operated by Stephen and Pamela Hassett in Coxsackie ( The proclamation of esteem from the Coxsackie Town Council was augmented, moreover, by a Daily Mail editorial (12/1) hailing the Hassetts as “role models” for their community.

RAY REMEMBERED. “Many preservation success stories have at their core a champion: some one who sees past the immediate impossibilities, envisions a site as a viable historic resource preserved for the future, and marshals the forces to bring the idea to fruition.” Such a champion, says Winthrop Aldrich of New York State’s Historic Preservation sub-division, was GreeneLand’s Raymond Beecher (1917-2008). The preservation championed by Mr Beecher is the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill. Back in 1998, Mr Beecher gave $100,0000 to facilitate the Greene County Historical Society’s purchase of Cedar Grove, the ruined home of the founder, in the 1840’s, of America’s Hudson River School of art. After instigating a rescue effort, Mr Beecher “watched over the restoration, and was a tireless advocate and fund raiser.” Thanks to his efforts and those of other backers, the house and grounds were reopened for tours in 2001. To this cause Mr Beecher contributed “significant personal funds” along with a million-dollar bequest—the Raymond and Catherine Beecher Memorial Fund—for the site’s maintenance. In the last 20 years of his life, moreover, Mr Beecher also “wrote a weekly newspaper column, initiated the establishment of the Greene County Historical Register, was active with the Vedder Research Library, served as a municipal historian, wrote several books, and helped lead the Greene County Historical Society.”

These activities yielded “rewards and honors” that were “almost as extensive” Mr Beecher’s “record of public service.” And “one of the best” of those rewards, although posthumous, was the transfer of responsibility for the Cole property from the Greene County Historical Society” to an independent governing board.

“From doomed ruin to a restored site, vibrant with tours and educational programs, the future of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site promises to be all that Raymond Beecher could have wished.”

Those words of tribute were delivered yesterday (12/8) in Cohoes, in a restored music hall (bullt in 1874), at a ceremony sponsored by the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the purpose, Mr Aldrich said, of “recognizing exemplary preservation partnerships and achievements,” “expressing gratitude on behalf of all New Yorkers,” fostering appreciation of historic preservation as “an important tool of economic development,” and inspiring people “to safeguard the State’s heritage.” Of the various rewards dispensed on this occasion by Carol Ash, commissioner of the State’s department of parks, recreation and historic preservation, Ray Beecher was cited as the foremost individual contributor to the cause of historic preservation in New York.

BUST. That seems to be the story concerning the bankruptcy auction of GreeneLand’s biggest resort: the Friar Tuck. The supposed buyer, Joseph Abbo of Oklahoma City, seems to be inaccessible, and his business, lawn care, is hard to locate. We tried various telephone calls and inter-net sources, and Daily Mailman Colin DeVries pursued the matter more thoroughly. Rick Caridi, co-owner of the resort, evidently is contemplating a lawsuit against the auctioneer, Auction America of New York City, and against real estate broker Win Morrison, for damages allegedly arising from failures to heed established protocols at the Nov. 19th auction and from contributing to the false impression that the resort is closed. Judge Robert E. Littlefield Jr may be presiding over a bankruptcy court conference today (12/9) in Albany.

Meanwhile, the Tuck has indeed stayed open and continues to attract, so to speak, rave notices: “dirty, outdated and just CREEPY”; “dirty, empty and potentially dangerous”; “Oh, the Horror”; “flies driving me crazy”; “Twilight Zone”; “Worst place to stay ever”….

Still rivaling the Tuck in popular esteem is GreeneLand’s derisively named Quality Inn. According to recent guests who have shared their experiences with Trip Advisor readers, that hostel is “rundown,” “moldy,” dirty, bed bug-infested, an “eyesore,” akin to a “flophouse,” “needs HELPPPPPPPPP!”

JOBS. Rates of unemployment in GreeneLand and in nearby counties evidently are not getting worse. As reported by the State Department of Labor, the unemployment rate here in October was 8.3 per cent of the work force. That figure is fractionally smaller than in September. It also is higher than the figures reported for nearby communities and for the State as a whole: 6.8% in Albany County, 7.4% in Columbia County; 7.7% in Ulster County. It is a bit smaller (which is to say, better) than for the whole country (9.5%), for the State (8.7%) and for New York City (10.3%). In October of 2008, however, rates of unemployment in the U.S. at large, in New York State, and in various parts of the State ranged from 4.8% to 6.1%.

INDUCTED into the National Honor Society at a November 16th ceremony recognizing their scholarship (90+ average from first year on), as well as community service, leadership and character: 26 Greenville High School students, of whom 17 are girls.

--------That gender distribution seems to be representative of GreeneLand schools. Another example would be Hunter-Tannersville students named to first quarter Superintendent’s honor roll: 8 girls, 2 boys.

RESTORED, thanks to Town of Catskill efforts spurred by the late Coucilman Joe Hausik: The Little Red Schoolhouse in Jefferson Heights. As pointed out at the Novermber 21 dedication ceremony by Richard Philp, Catskill Town and Village historian, this was the third one-room schoolhouse built by Van Vechten family members, on Van Vechten land. Back in1882, its operation for the year—maintenance, firewood, supplies, teacher’s salary—cost $368. Many living GreeneLanders attended that school before 1948, when it was closed.

[This item was edited after posting, so as to eliminate an error kindly pointed out by former School Board member--for decades--Jack Guterman.]

LAUNCHED in Durham eight days ago (12/1): a project of recording, for prospective later broadcast (on streaming radio, at least) meetings of the Town Council. Even if the broadcasts would not attract many listeners, the records would be available as incipient transcripts of proceedings (unlike what is done by town clerks).

1 comment:

WGXC said...


Town meetings being recorded and placed on the internet for listening and downloading, and sometimes listening live, was not launched Dec. 1. WGXC has been doing this for many months, in towns such as Cairo, Hunter, Catskill, Athens, Claverack, Chatham, etc., etc. When WGXC goes live on FM 90.7 next year, you will hear excerpts of these town meetings, live and recorded, on the radio. But this has been going on for months and months and months. We do appreciate the publicity, even if you do not mention who is doing it. Go to to listen for yourself.