Monday, April 19, 2010

Hooked on Greene

LAUNCHED this morning, up and down the Hudson: the 23rd annual River Basin Sports Striper (as in striped bass) Contest. Participation this year, reports organizer Tom Gentalen, set a “new record”: 603 entrants. Setting out from Dutchman’s Landing and elsewhere between Troy and West Point, they will make repeated attempts until May 30 to land the longest striper, thereby earning a bundle of cash. Sponsored by the River Basin Sports Shop in Catskill and by the Greene County Tourism Department, this event is the oldest, longest, most popular, and most rewarding of Hudson angling contests. All of the $15 entry fees will be turned into prize money for six winners. Last year’s top winner—Pete Longo, with a 463/4-inch beauty—took home $5730 of the $11,458 prize money.

Participants (hook & line only; no gaffing) are limited by State law to one keeper per day. Minimum length for contest eligibility is 38 inches. Consequently, as Linda Gentalen points out in a message to Seeing Greene, “Most sport fishermen practice ‘catch and release,’ with the occasional dinner excepted."

Dinners based on striped bass—cousins to Chilean sea bass--are extraordinarily tasty. And stripers are peculiarly at home in the Hudson. They arrive seasonally from the Atlantic Ocean, following on the tails of herring, their favorite food. The Hudson is their main spawning ground,” says Ms Gentalen, because of its character as a tidal estuary. “The eggs of striped bass must remain suspended in water until they hatch---if they find rest, they die”—and the Hudson’s movements back and forth—“current running out, tide running in, without pause”--meet the need.

PAGANISM evidently is alive and growing in GreeneLand. It is practiced with special fervor in Palenville, in a three-acre grove and a venerable 18-bedroom former inn (Central House) that houses the Maetreum of Cybele Women’s Spirituality Centre, worldwide home of the Cybeline Priestesshood.

Cybeline Pagans, says First Battakes (=reverend mother) Cathryn Platine, practice a “Goddess-centred, reconstructionist” but “not Wiccan” religion. Their diet is lacto-ovo vegetarian. Their Maetreum (=temple of the Great Mother, site for Evening Praise) also is a Phrygianium (=recollection of Phrygians’ center in ancient Rome, “destroyed by the Catholics at the beginning of the 5th century and all the priestesses murdered in their sleep”).

The priestesses’ presence since 2002 has been met by some local hostility, says the Battakes, as well as by disputation over their eligibility for property tax exemption as a religion (as distinct from a cult). Anyhow: a Palenville Pagan Pride Day has been promised for August 28. More information is vouchsafed at and at . A recent message from the priestess closes with a quote from Voltaire: “He who can lead you to believe an absurdity, can lead you to commit an atrocity.”

MISCREANTS FILE. Clifford Rea of Palenville was jailed recently, according to a State Police report, after he tried to escape arrest riding (helmet-less) an off-road motorcycle (unregistered) on State Route 23A in Hunter and Catskill, with troopers’ cars in pursuit. He subsequently tried, the report says, to land a punch on Trooper Felix Donnelly.

*Corey J. Kimmel of Catskill pleaded guilty of harassment for saying that somebody should “gut” a Suzanne R. Komaroni; other charges are involved in the case.

* Sylvester Rambharose of Brooklyn was busted on suspicion of running a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation in a house in Palenville.

*Christian Deparma and Jennifer Mauro of Ashland were arrested on similar charges, as well as on suspicion of endangering the welfare of three resident children.

*Nathan Van Fleet, who was a Durham and Hunter police officer before being convicted last February of sexual misconduct (with a Tannersville teen) has been arrested on suspicion of possessing firearms and grenades at home in East Durham. According to a Daily Mail report (4/14) “Convicts of serious crimes in New York are not allowed to possess any of the weapons in question, police said.”

*Albert H. Forte, Michael H. Kudlack, and Francisco Gonzalez of Cairo were charged by State police with stealing steel guide rails from the Town Highway Department and selling them for scrap.

*Jessica Marie Roman of Catskill faces multiple charges involving welfare fraud; she is suspected of cashing some $20,000 in unemployment checks that were addressed to her children’s father, who, as a prison inmate, already receiving State-supplied room and board, is ineligible for such benefits.

*Seeing Greene’s March 11 “Testimonial” item, citing a health care blogger’s praise for the Homeoblock, gave a “totally inaccurate” account—says Pamela King-Belfor, wife of the inventor--of what that dental device does. It draws on the body’s physiological resources not to “correct jaw deformities” but rather to foster “holistic outcomes in the cranial region.”

ACHIEVERS FILE. The web site of GreeneLand’s Thomas Cole National Historic site, has been selected (among 8000 candidates) as an Honoree in the Art division of the annual Webby awards. The site provides an in-depth tour of the Catskill home and the works of Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of Art. Credit for site design, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, goes to Historicus Inc. of Concord NH, specialists in illuminating “the intersection of new media and humanities scholarship.”

*Pat Feinman, Catskill artist and business owner (Functional Sculpture Tire Shop, with Art Klein), is the subject of a nice feature story, with video link, by Ann Gibbons, in The Daily Freeman (4/18):

*Michael Brantley, son of former Catskillian and Big Leaguer Mickey Brantley, graduated late last year from a minor league baseball team to the Cleveland Indians, and after spring training this year won the starting left field spot. (

*Sean Byrne, Haines Falls-based attorney, has been appointed by Gov. David Paterson as commissioner of New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services.

*Brigit Binns, known to the gastronomic world as Roadfoodie, having survived a period of short rations commercially, tells Seeing Greene that last week she “landed three book deals in the space of 48 hours,” all of them carnivorous. One will elucidate “home butchery, for all of us who’d like to have fun with large animal carcasses.” Another will explicate “home, artisanal sausage-making.” For these tomes she “will act as credited co-author to a San Francisco chef,” meaning that “I do most of the work and he thanks me profusely in the acks.” The third book contract, BB’s “tenth solo title for Williams-Sonoma,” will contain 100 recipes featuring meat.

*Jim Planck, the long-bearded Daily Mail scribe and descendant of early up-State pioneers, has composed and performed “All Creation,” a collection of folk/protest songs. Copies of the compact disc (released by Kaaterskill Records, from In Earth Music) are available at the Village Square Bookstore in Hunter and at Van Gorden & Company at 371 Main Street in Catskill. (BTW: Van Gorden’s has a generous assortment of local history books: many Black Dome Press titles plus Richard Philps’s Catskill Village and the Greene County Historical Society’s Historical Places of Greene County).

*Vahap Avsar, who only recently returned to his vocation as an artist, after an 11-year hiatus, scored his first new sale, at Sotheby’s in London, for euros aplenty, to an international collector, with a piece he assembled in his Athens studio. It’s made of basketballs and footballs.

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