Monday, November 28, 2011

Greene Gobbling

EULOGIZED as lawyers’ lawyer, devoted husband (of Patricia Ann Murphy, for 53 years), mountaineer (Kilimanjaro; Everest), runner (of marathons), builder (of a family chapel near home), chef, conversationalist, friend to many, staunch family man (six kids, 22 grandkids), polymath (engineering, law, theology), dutiful citizen, campaigner (folksy door to door bid for election as District Attorney), eternal energetic optimist,“class act”…; by Greene County’s legislators (unanimous resolution, 9/21/11), and by a procession of lawyers and judges, addressing a plenitude of lawyers and court functionaries and kinfolk, in a Greene County Court session last Wednesday (11/25): Charles J. Brown (1933-2011), late attorney for Greene County.  As recounted by witnesses, after graduating from Notre Dame University (1955) and from Fordham Law School (1962), Mr Brown worked in New York City as a specialist in intellectual property issues.  Two experiences with Lower East Side street muggings impelled him to move with his family up-State, to Ashland, in 1971.  Starting with a solo practice in Windham, he subsequently partnered what became the foremost law firm in GreeneLand.  At the same time he worked as an assistant county attorney and then (from 1996), as County Attorney, retiring from that office in 2002.  He continued to practice privately, and to play energetically, until the onset of an 18-month battle against cancer, ending on September 14.  

DISREGARDED by prospective bidders: the recent (11/17) foreclosure auction on November 17th , on a downtown Catskill sidewalk, of the extraordinary, almost-completed Union Mills Lofts development. Turnout for the announced sale consisted of two spectators. Michael Whartenby, attorney for the plaintiff, M & T Bank of Buffalo, said his client’s bid as creditor would have been $935,000.  Which means that a solvent buyer could have acquired the complex for a few dollars more.  And which also could mean that a solvent buyer, by saving the bank the expenses of agent-hiring, taxes, maintenance and other holding costs could acquire the property now for something like $800,000.  Which could be a bargain, since the defaulting debtors originally bought the complex for $2 million and then pumped big sums into rehabilitation and conversion.  The part of the property that formerly was Orens Furniture is by far the most capacious retail space in downtown Catskill.  The part that formerly was Oren’s venerable, solid brick warehouse, fronting on Catskill Creek, is far along in being converted into nine gracious condominums, with an elevator.  But the cost of completion depends in some measure on the scale of damage inflicted by September’s flooding on the warehouse’s basement (and the wiring, etc.)--an area that once housed a night club.  The lawyer and the referee who appeared for the auction did not have a key to the place.  That is why the whole thing was conducted on the sidewalk.  And a subsequent query from Seeing Greene, about how one can get inside, did not attract an answer.  That silence fortifies, in some measure, an accusation made by the defaulting borrowers, namely, that the M & T bank “malevolently” sought to shrink the imputed value of the Union Mills project so as to make it ripe for plucking by “prized customers.” 
OFFERED IN ACRA tomorrow:  a workshop on how to “lower your energy bills this winter and make your home feel more comfortable in the process.”  The EmPower New York event, from 6 to 8pm, sponsored by the New York Energy Research & Development Authority, will be conducted by Cornell Co-operative Extension’s educator, is free, and includes a light supper, a door prize, and even an energy kit (weatherstripping, shrink window insulation, outlet and light switch gaskets...).  The deadline for registration has passed, but a telephone call to the Agroforestry Resource Center (518 828 3346) could disclose that space is still available.  Otherwise, there will be a repeat workshop on December 8. 
ON OR ABOUT THANKSGIVING DAY a century ago, republican revolutionaries in China were besieging defenders of the imperial Manchu Dynasty, European powers were entangled in conflicts that would soon trigger what came to be known as The Great War, warfare between Turkey and Syria produced the first use as an airplane as an offensive military weapon, politicians in Washington were preoccupied with anti-trust issues, and (via N.Y. Times reports):
Thomas Edison passed word along that he would not accept a Nobel Prize for physics, since he believed that such awards should go to financially struggling scientists.              
The daughter and son-in-law of Karl Marx committed suicide, leaving a note predicting “with supreme joy” that glorious future awaits the cause of “international Socialism.”   
White Star Lines commenced construction of a 1000-foot-long luxury liner, The Gigantic, sister of HMS Titanic.
Explorer Ronald Amundsen reached the South Pole.
A fire in New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Company killed 148 people.
For discovering radium and polonium, Marie Curie received (and accepted) a Nobel Prize.
Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst was barred by Harvard University’s overseers from giving an on-campus talk  about “Votes for Women.” 
Hunters residing in the Tarrytown NY area complained that foxes, raccoons and other animals were all taking refuge in John D. Rockefeller’s 6000-acre property in the Buttermilk Hill area, where no hunting is allowed, leaving the remaining woods empty of game.
Dr Julia Sears, head of Boston’s New Thought School, estimated that “There are enough people on the planet to-day who remember one of more of their incarnations to make it a certainty that reincarnation is a positive fact.”  She herself recalled having been a Chinaman.  Many dreams and intuitions, she affirmed, really are memories of previous lives.  “And that strange feeling that you have been somewhere before, or known some one you meet, is but an evidence that you have lived before.” Members of her 112-strong audience recalled having been Italian minstrels, German monks, and a decapitated/guillotined French noble.  


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