Wednesday, January 13, 2010
SAVED: The Shamrock House in East Durham, which evidently will remain in operation as an iconic Irish pub and resort, still run by the Kellegher family but under new ownership. A deal was struck in advance of the foreclosure auction that took place last week (1/6/10) in the temporary GreeneLand courthouse. The unpaid debt on the mortgage amounted to about $858,000 and the defaulting mortgagees, John and Neil Kellegher, had declared bankruptcy. John and Suzanne Quirk, who operate the popular Lawyer’s General Store in East Durham, struck a deal with the mortgage holder, Gaffken & Barriger Fund, to buy the mortgage for an undisclosed amount. In the meanwhile, they made a contract with the Kelleghers to continue operating the Shamrock on a monthly lease. (Much of the foregoing is based on Daily Mail reporting on 1/7/10 by Colin DeVries). IN SUSPENSE: the Union Mills Lofts project in Catskill. The historic brick building that began life as a Civil War uniform-making factory and most recently served as the warehouse for Orens Furniture has been undergoing extensive, sensitive restoration as the prospective site on three floors of high-quality creek-site condominiums. The project is “eighty-five percent complete and on budget,” says Jim Cunliffe, the project’s originator and hands-on manager; but the Long Island investors have declined to commit to supplying the last quarter of projected capital. Mr Cunliffe’s response is to book a trip overseas, where old friends with deep pockets know him as the builder (on budget, on time) of hospitals, laboratories, and schools. He will invite them to join in backing a package of historic renovations in northern New York. All being well, by Winter's the project will be revived, and Union Mills Gallery will again be available for choice events. [Final sentence added 1/14] CLOSED to the public, as of Tuesday (1/12/10): the Catskill Public Library. But the closing is only for three days, during which the staff will be engaged in shifting books and equipment in preparation for the festive re-opening on Saturday. All who come then will witness a major transformation. The whole downstairs is being refitted to serve young patrons. The old children’s room on the main floor is being shifted downstairs to the Carnegie Room, which is triple the space. And the facilities for young patrons will include the array of computers that previously occupied a portion of the main floor and were available to users of all ages. Meanwhile, adult customers on the main floor will be greeted on Saturday by a new array of laptop computers, donated by the Bill Gates Foundation, along with other improvements. ------ Absent from Saturday’s bibliophilic festivities will be David DeShong, who was the library’s Director until departing in early December, after a year on the job. According to reliable sources, his departure came about by mutual consent with the governing trustees. It followed absences that were necessitated by family obligations and by personal illness.The DeShongs have returned to their Southwest roots. The search for a successor is under way. GENDER NEWS. Judging by a report from Catskill High School, boys in the top grade have nearly caught up, in terms of high academic achievement, with girls. Eight of the 18 High Honor Roll achievers were boys. But in the lower grades, girls out-performed boys by a much bigger margin. Among High Honor Roll achievers in Grade 9 were nine girls and only five boys. INCINERATED: most of the town hall and firehouse of Ashland. According to Michael Ryan’s gripping account (Daily Mail, 1/12/10), a devastating Sunday blaze also destroyed or damaged important records as well a four fire trucks, a new ambulance, and a kitchen. TERMINATED, sort of: The Catskill Mountain Region Guide. That stout monthly magazine, published by the Catskill Mountain Foundation since August 2000, with feature stories about local cultural matters and abundant graphics, is being turned into a shadow of its former self. Publisher Peter Finn announced in the December (“final”) issue that the Guide will “continue as a monthly print publication” (keeping its unappealing title, presumably) but will be “much smaller.” It will retain the photography portfolio and will provide “detailed information…on the many programs of the Catskill Mountain Foundation” plus “synopses of articles that will be available in full on our Web site.” That site will carry “stories…on arts and other attractions in the region” and “over time” the site will provide comprehensive “profiles of the resources available in our region”--“information on performing arts venues, galleries, hotels and B&Bs, restaurants and other business that would be of interest to both residents and visitors to the area.” The professed aim is to make www.catskillregionguide.com “the premier Web site of the Catskill Region.” Neither the Web site nor the shrunken Guide will carry advertising. ------Mr Finn attributed the changeover to the malady—plunging advertising revenue--that has afflicted the whole print media industry. He did not explain the decision to forego advertising altogether. IMPERILED too is GreeneLand's other home-grown monthly: InsideOut. Advertising has tanked, the drive for paid subscriptions fell short, and warm praise for the contents does not cover the costs of production. Publisher/editor Owen Lipstein feels "uncertain" about the future but is keen to sustain the magazine, perhaps as a quarterly and an on-line periodical.