EXPLOSIVE NEWS. Although it now looks unlikely that fireworks will soar and burst over Catskill on July 4th, there will be fireworks over downtown Catskill on July 3rd. Plus festivities. Rockets will be launched from the creek-side near Cone-e-Island, the ice cream dispensary, which will be home base too for vendors, rides, games and an Elvis tribute. Sponsoring the show are Mountain T Shirts, Sawyer Chevrolet, the Wine Cellar, the Creekside Restaurant and the Fortnightly Club, as well as Cone-e-Island.
------This may soften the blow of the Village Board’s decision to forego the traditional Independence Day fireworks. That decision, made in the midst of strains over costs and locations, was sustained by the Board even though private parties offered to foot the bill to the extent of $8000—provided that the traditional hilltop Friary launch site was used. BUT there WILL be a fireworks show in Catskill on July 4th. BUT it will be a smaller and less visible than usual.
POSTPONED to July 2 (next Friday) from June 25: opening performance at Catskill Point of the famous Noel Coward comedy “Blithe Spirit.” The shift was ascribed by director Joseph Capone to illness. The sick performer(s) was/were not identified.
RELEASED from the peril of a grand larceny prosecution, on payment of $22,000 to a client: a GreeneLand building contractor. He acknowledged engaging in the Dummy Receipt dodge: getting vendors to put down fake amounts of charges for supplies—the listed retail rather than the builder’s discount—and presenting these to the customer for ‘repayment.’ He also engaged in submitting phony figures on hours worked. Having paid up, we hear, he’s doing the same to another client.
CLOSING: The Buick/GMC automobile dealership in Catskill. According to a Daily Mail report (6/19; Susan Campriello), customers have been notified that the long-established agency next door to Price Chopper, will be merged into the Romeo Chevrolet dealership in Kingston. That would leave the seat of Greene County, the main population center, with just two new car dealerships: Sawyer Chevrolet, and Lacy Ford/Lincoln/Subaru. A general announcement has not been issued yet. The closing will hurt GreeneLanders to the extent of loss of sales tax receipts (of 8%) on repair and service work that no longer will be done in the dealership’s workshop. As for tax revenue from sales of vehicles, payments go to the home county of the buyer.
BRANCHING OUT to another Columbia County location, according to a company announcement covered in the Albany-based Business Review (6/24): The Bank of Greene County. This branch, the company’s 12th, would be in Germantown, on Route 7G, in a former Bank of America building.
Also announced by the bank’s news office is a supplemental retirement plan for three top executives: Donald Gibson, the president; Michelle Plummer, executive vice-president and chief financial officer; and Steve Nelson, senior vice-president and chief lending officer (and long-drive ace). The plan calls for supplementing present pension entitlements. It also provides that the executives can defer receipt of salaries (up to 50 per cent) and benefits, with the money going instead into accounts that pay at least 5 per cent annual interest. Similarly, instead of collecting their annual bonuses, the executives can assign those sums to interest-bearing accounts. Some of the new benefits are contingent on staying employed at the bank for ten years from July 1. The arrangement evidently has a lot to do with income tax brackets.
FEATURED in a “House Tour” story in The New York Times (6/25): the vintage (1810) five-fireplace house in Athens (“active art scene” that has been restored, with period details retained, by Carrie Feder and Randall Evans. “Historic homes that do not need work typically cost around $550,000,” says the Times writer. For this one, in a riverside village boasting an “active art scene,” the asking price is $259,000. Or was. A sales contract has been signed.
GENDER NEWS. Among the valedictorians in graduating classes at GreeneLand’s six high schools this year, four are girls. Among the salutatorians, again, four are girls.
IN PROSPECT for GreeneLand next summer, in the wake of the recently performed “O’Sullivan Stew” musical, locally created and performed: a Performing Arts camp, in Catskill High School quarters, with GreeneLander Casey Biggs and other New School faculty teaching dance, writing, and voice as well as drama.
NOMINATED by Gov. David Paterson to serve as a member of the Empire State Plaza Art Commission: GreeneLand artist (and collector, and dealer) Kico Govantes. Once the appointment is confirmed by the State Senate, Mr Govantes would become one of 25 commissioners who look after the State’s valuable collection of paintings, sculptures and tapestries—most of them dating from the 1960’s and 1970’s—and who also attempt to add to the works by way of gift or loan. Plaza Art commissioners serve without pay but are eligible for expense reimbursements.
HONORED with Tech Valley High School’s first Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Award, a four-year, $15,000 annual scholarship: Kyle White of Palenville, fledgling physicist, who has just finished his junior year with Tech High’s inaugural class. Receipt of the award is contingent on attending R.P.I. (Daily Mail, 6/15/10).
HAILED by Ernst & Young, at a Marriott Marquis crowning ceremony last Tuesday week, with the title of retailing Entrepreneur of the Year in metropolitan New York: Lexy Funk, president of Brooklyn Industries (street wear; accessories) and (with husband and two sons) a part-time Athenian. District winners of Entrepreneur titles become eligible for national and then international crowns.
POT SWEEP. THE recent musical Mountain Jam in Hunter yielded more than a rich harvest of bluegrass. It also yielded an abundant supply of arrests for possessing another kind of grass. On opening day (6/4), State police nabbed 19 persons. On Saturday, the harvest was a bit smaller. Arrestees hailed from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont as well as from many New York State communities. Most of them were given tickets returnable to Hunter Town Court. But jail time was immediately meted out to suspects from Wingdale, Carmel, Buskirk, Burlington, Albany, Buffalo and Catskill residents.
PROSE SWEEP. In addition to generating a burst of drug busts, the Mountain Jam inspired an effusion of dopey prose. Readers of GreeneLand’s foremost daily newspaper were invited to contemplate festival “amenities” that “lay dormant” on Friday and then “launched” on Saturday, to appreciate that “the harmonies of Dr. Dog were absconded,” to behold a musician “igniting the fiddle strings,” and even to contemplate a “massive” “musical menagerie” that “is expected to do nothing less than set the mountain on fire.”