Friday, May 27, 2005

First Summer N ews

ROUNDUP. Last Friday, after chases on foot around west Catskill, State and local police rounded up 17 Mexican men who just taken part in what appeared to be a forged-check-cashing racket. The suspects were immediately arraigned by Village Justice Veronica Kosich, on charges of grand larceny, possession of forged instruments (counterfeit paychecks), grand larceny (stealing by means of cashing those forged checks), conspiracy to commit those crimes and, in three cases (one involving 4 foot 9 inch “Raul Flores”) resisting arrest. Then they were released into the hands of Westchester County lawmen, who had been trailing the suspects—traveling north from Elmsford NY in two vans and a car, with license plates from three different States—and had alerted local GreeneLand authorities. Action here centered on the Cenco service station on Route 9W at Maple Avenue. According to Catskill police chief Roger Masse, the suspects parked their vehicles just out of sight of the gasoline pumps. Two of them got out, donned blue work shirts, smeared dirt on the shirts, then walked to the station and presented what appeared to be weekly paychecks from nearby Casings Inc., the tire recycling business that, along with Haines Garage, is run out of the former Conrail depot. The suspects—all Mexican nationals bearing false identification, evidently--were exploiting an arrangement whereby Casings employees regularly cash Friday paychecks at the station. And after the first two visitors cashed their ostensible paychecks, they walked back to the parked vehicles, passed the work shirts on to another pair, who repeated the operation. Altogether, 16 supposed Casings paychecks were exchanged for $13,000. That performance took place under police observation. And as the suspected counterfeiters started to drive away, the observers closed in. They arrested some suspects without incident. But the men in one van, upon being stopped, fled on foot. They were captured after some strenuous chases (“my legs are still sore,” said Chief Masse five days later), during which nearby Catskill Middle School and High School were, as a precaution, locked down. After arrest and arraignment here, the suspects were turned over to Westchester police for transportation south, further charges, and incarceration. Yesterday, Westchester’s district attorney, Jeanine Pirro, held a news conference concerning the case. (The Associated Press report was published in The Daily Mail here on page one; and again—same report—on page two). The suspects, she said, had been under surveillance from the time, two weeks ago, when they rented three rooms in Elmsford’s Saw Mill River Motel. They had been targeted as a result of a tip from Department of Motor Vehicles officials who suspected the men of using forged documents in applications for drivers’ licenses. They were suspected of check-kiting operations up and down the Hudson River area and elsewhere in the country. They were suspected, indeed, of being involved in an international counterfeiting ring. Those suspicions allegedly were fortified when, upon procuring search warrants, police searched the suspects’ motel rooms and vehicles, where they found an abundance of counterfeit checks, false identification papers, and cash. How the alleged gang acquired a Casings Inc. paycheck for duplication, authorities said yesterday, had not been established.

IMMINENT. May 28 (Saturday). Bronck Museum opens 2005 season with exhibition “Revolutionary Times.” --Jazz pianist Bill Charlap performs at Windham Performing Arts Center , 8 pm. --May 28-29. 28th annual Irish Festival at Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre in East Durham. Music galore (The Saw Doctors from the olde sod, 11 more bands) and much more. 634-2286.

SENTENCED to prison for at least two years, by County Judge George J. Pulver Jr, for arson: John Gallagher, former chief of Kiskatom Fire Department. Gallagher pleaded guilty to the felony and, according to District Attorney Terry J. Wilhelm, confessed to setting more fires than the one—torching a pickup truck, for insurance purposes--for which he was convicted. He reputedly set several fires and mobilized fellow volunteer firefighters to put them out.

HONORED. Dave Darling, GreeneLand’s lean, steadfast, garrulous senior State Police investigator, with Supervisor Recognition Award—first of its kind—at State Police Awards Day in Albany. --Trudy Merchant, of The Quarry Steakhouse, and Dan Frank, of Windham Mountain, as Business Woman and Business Man of the Year, by Greene County Chamber of Commerce, at Copper Tree Restaurant party on May 26th. (This event was reported twice, on page 2 and on facing page 3, in The Daily Mail). --The late George L. Cobb (1926-2004), GreeneLand’s Supreme Court Judge, at memorial service conducted by GreeneLand Bar Association, at The Point, Catskill, May 25th. --Jeannie and Clarence Soule of Jewett, by Gov. George Pataki, as New York Seniors of the Year. --Catskill’s Daily Mail, by New York Newspaper Publishers Association, for Distinguished Community Service, in form of a Deborah Travers/Christopher Smith series called “Aging Gracefully in Greene County,” and for Distinguished Business Reporting, in form of an Anthony D’Arcangelis feature “Bedding Company to Create 240 Jobs.” Those awards were given for from entries from papers in the under-10,000 circulation class. They were chosen over two rival candidates in the respective categories. That’s not an especially small number of candidates. Submissions in the Investigative Reporting category (for low-circulation papers) numbered 2; in Headline Writing, 4; in State Government Coverage, one.

INDICTED, SUSPENDED: Coxsackie Correctional Facility officer Barry Barizone, for perjury; and from work. He is charged with lying to a Federal grand jury about his dealings with, and on behalf of, reputed mobster Teddy Persico Jr of Saugerties. His suspension is based on suspicion of having unreported improper association with a parolee. Immediate circumstance of the case is a telephone conversation in which Persico told Barizone about being stopped for speeding, Barizone reportedly said he’d fix it, and the cops, who were bugging Persico, heard every word. That’s the story told (deftly), at any rate, by Brendan Lyons of the TimesUnion (5/21), and confirmed by the prison’s information office.

SCHOOL POLITICS. Recent balloting in GreeneLand’s various school districts showed substantial anxiety about costs (=taxes). In Cairo-Durham the proposed budget was voted down, by a narrow margin of 520-489—and thanks to a semi-literate Taxpayer Association media campaign. In some other districts, budgets as proposed by incumbent school boards won adoption by narrow margins: 461-398 in Catskill Central, 742-642 in Coxsackie-Athens , 596 to 549 in Greenville. But in the mountain-top districts of Windham-Ashland-Jewett and Hunter-Tannersville, voter support for proposed budgets (involving no additional taxes), was overwhelming. In the matter of electing school board members, meanwhile,three incumbents faced challengers and two were returned omfortably. They are Eric Johnson in Hunter-Tannersville (he beat serious challenger Cynthia Friedman by 375 votes to 251) and Joseph Garland in Coxsackie-Athens (735 votes, vs. 447 for Mike Petramale). In Cairo-Durham, in contrast, challenger Susan Kusminsky beat incumbent Lorraine Lewis, 354 votes to 306. Those figures are drawn from The Daily Freeman and The Daily Mail; but the Cairo-Durham case—the one instance of beating down a budget proposal—was covered in the latter a day late. In Catskill, meanwhile, the board elections were noteworthy for the spread of support. Since only four candidates sought to fill four vacancies, each was destined to win. But their margins of support ranged from 637 votes (for incumbent Vice-President Andrew Jones), through 581 for newcomer Karen Haas, 531 for incumbent Carol Schilansky, and 382 for Mike Battaglino. (In the Budget Newsletter for Catskill Central School District), aimed at the May 17 balloting, the name of bulky Mr Battaglino, on three occasions out of three, got shrunk to Battaglio).

HOT INVESTORS. Two Cairo-Durham students surpassed 380 contestants to win TimesUnion prize playing Stock Market Game. In 10 weeks August Freeman and Jasmine Ivery ran a hypothetical $100,000 in capital up to $114,076, according to a Daily Mail story (5/8). Reporter Deborah Travers calls that “a more than 18% return.” So does the author of a 5/11 Daily Mail.editorial. Go figure.

CORRIGENDA. Last issue of Seeing Greese misspells name of Day House host Bob Hoven (not Koven) and in same item alludes to “guest” where the right word was guests. Also wacky were some type face and size variations. Our copy editor has been admonished. But the editorial board decided to leave the Greese.

WHA?? “Greene County Sheriff Richard Hussey is alerting homeowners, especially seniors, to be on the lookout for con artists who pose as contractors who are out to rip you off.” Daily Mail, 5/20/05.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Living By Gerund

MUNCHING. At Catskill Point tomorrow, from 11am, comes GreeneLand’s Shad Festival. This will be the final party (for 2005) in a series sponsored, at suitable places, from Fort Lee NJ north, by the Hudson River Foundation. Some tasty words from the HRF:

The American shad, Alosa sapidissima (translation, shad most delicious) is an anadromous fish, meaning it spends its life in salt water, but returns to spawn in fresh water. This glistening silvery fish has been part of culinary life in the Hudson as long as its shores have been inhabited. The flesh has been served pickled, smoked and baked, and even the roe are considered a prized delicacy….. And each year at this time, Christopher Letts, a naturalist with the Hudson River Foundation, prepares his cherry and white oak planks to roast this wonderful harbinger of spring at traditional Shad Festivals up and down the Hudson Valley. The traditional method of planking and fire roasting shad…was passed down by the region's early settlers and is thought to have been adapted from a method used by the Algonquin Indians. Mr. Letts fillets the fish, covers them with strips of bacon, and then nails them to roasting boards. He then props the boards around a pile of red hot coals and allows the fish to roast for about one hour. The result is a delicious piece of Hudson River

(The Shad Festival is cited in our Promotions Department’s on-line calendar, but the cyber link sends visitors to the wrong place: Cornell Co-operative Extension, a shad-free site).

WITNESSING. “Artists’ Studios Past and Present” is title of symposium this weekend under joint sponsorship of Olana (over in Columbia County) and the Thomas Cole Historic Site (here in Catskill). On Saturday, participants will see and hear about the restored studios of those 19th century stars of landscape painting, Frederic Church, at Olana, and Thomas Cole, at Cedar Grove. They also will hear about and see pictures of studios of other famous 19th century Hudson area artists: Daniel French, N C Wyeth and Russel Wright. Then on Sunday they’ll be welcomed to active studios of living, working mid-Hudson artists. GreeneLand hosts, all with studios in or near Catskill, are Dina Bursztyn, Lucia Gannett, Jared Handelsman, Ruth Leonard, Patrick Milbourn, Portia Munson, and Fawn Potash. Starts on Sunday at 11, from the Arts Council’s gallery on Main Street. And could terminate unofficially at 473 Main Street, where (as covered in our previous blog), Frank Cuthbert is sponsoring a concert of fine music in advance of the opening of his new gallery, The Brick.

BANKING. At 320 Main Street, headquarters of Greene County Bancorp, parent of our Bank of Greene County, they are quietly celebrating a two-for-one stock split. It follows substantial growth, profits, and a 15% dividend hike. In the company-made news story as disseminated by “Business Wire,” incidentally, the bank’s president (identified only as “Mr. Whittaker” rather than as J. Bruce Whittaker) is quoted as rationalizing the split as a way to “enhance liquidity.” But the number of ownership shares does not manifestly affect a company’s financial liquidity. What matters is the proportion of assets that are in or near the form of cash, no? Main effects (and aims?) of share-splitting usually are to spread share ownership and to enrich current owners. When interviewed by Seeing Greene’s finance editor, Mr W stipulated that his “enhance liquidity” thesis was meant to allude to enlarging ranks of shareholders. He also foresaw imminent graduation of the bank to $300-million-in-assets status. That’s a pittance as compared with First Niagara’s $5 billion. But the BGC’s assets were all grown right here, not from pricey acquisitions all over upstate New York. Ripe for takeover? Not likely. BGC’s shares are closely held. And among banks their market price relative to company earnings is far above average.

HOSTING. Catskill Village now boasts two gracious, history-drenched Bed & Breakfast lodges. Just across from Caleb Street’s Inn at 251 Main Street, operated by Rita Landy with help from her great friend Homer Hager, we now have The Day House. As described by hosts Wayne Holmen and Bob Koven, accurately, the Day is “a stately brick mansion located in the heart of the historic town of Catskill,” meticulously restored and set in a capacious garden. It was built in 1791 by Stephen Day, Catskill’s foremost trader and first mayor. Two artfully decorated rooms for guest are available, along with use of the first-floor parlor, dining room, and flagstone patio. Check it out at

ENDORSING. County Judge George Pulver Jr solidified last night his already-strong prospect of re-election. By 127 votes to 56, at a meeting in the courthouse (followed by convivialities at the golf club), he became the endorsed candidate of GreeneLand’s Republican Party. His challenger for party endorsement, Greg Lubow, former Chief Public Defender, had thrown his hat in the ring just recently after Peter Margolius, Catskill lawyer and Town Judge, withdrew from the race. Prominent among Lubow’s backers, in addition to Hunter-Tannersville friends and neighbors, was Ed Barber, former chairman of GreeneLand Republicans. So far it looks as if Pulver will face no opposition on the November ballot. A run by Coxsackie lawyer Eugenia Brennan, by way of Democratic Party endorsement, has not eventuated. And the foregoing recitation leaves out the zesty undercurrents, mutterings, intrigues….

RENOVATING. After complications galore, ownership of the former Todd Martin Media building at 352 Main Street, Catskill, has passed into the hands of Stan Raven (for $115,000?) and renovation is well under way. All being well, the building’s ground floor will be done over so as to recapture the look—shown in an old photograph which Stan has pasted to the window--when it housed the Margolius family’s dry goods store. But the new store probably will not carry, as the old one did, a stock of corsets. MOVING: our venerable, spry, witty county historian, Raymond Beecher; from Vedder Library of G.C. Historical Society to an office in Catskill (probably in former Welfare building set back from upper Main Street). There he’ll work on archives, consult with judges and others about restoration of County Courthouse, write articles (including one about Thomas Cole’s son’s ill-fated venture into the oil business), be closer to Cedar Grove (and to cherished project of replicating the New Studio), and swap recollections with visitors. SPELLING. It evidently is not a prerequisite for managerial status at Burger King. Witness the recent big sign touting OMLETs. And past sign touting CHILLI. GARBLING. “As a valued subscriber, we’re pleased to offer you 20% off* online purchases through May 23,” says a cyber-advertisement from Macys. Such a sentence makes Macys the valued subscriber. MAULING (verbally). Did attorney Michael Esslie really say the Cairo planning board “continues to flaunt the law”? Or was he misquoted (Daily Mail (5/9) when he actually said flout? And did Cairo’s attorney, Tal Rappleyea, later say a certain issue was “mute” (vs. moot)? Anyhow, beyond question, a Daily Mail scribe wrote (5/19) of people who “are in the process of building a outdoor stage in Woodstock which the proceeds from the dinner will be used toward its construction.”

OPENING: folksy, funky Durham Center Museum and research library, on Route 145 in East Durham; for its 44th year; tomorrow (Saturday, 5/21) from 1 pm and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

CLEANING. On day of recent Hudson-long River Sweep, 25 GreeneLanders took part by collecting from river bank at Cohotate Preserve. According to Liz LoGiudice, education co-ordinator of GreeneLand’s Sanitation and Water Conservation District, “We collected 642 pounds of bagged garbage, plus 6 car tires, a truck tire, a tractor tire, a 12 foot axel with two tires and a big wooden spool….” Next year (or week) let’s have a clean-up campaign at north end of Dutchmans Landing. And by the way, if you have not strolled through the Cohotate Preserve, off Route 385 between Catskill and Athens, you’ve got a big treat in store.

MOURNING, over sale of “Kindred Spirits,” the Asher B. Durand landscape painting, to WalMart heiress Alice Walton: eloquent Kingston writer John Thorn.

Now we know how Egyptians feel about the Rosetta Stone…. Our treasure has been lost… Moving a Catskills painting to the Ozarks seems comical, and [this loss of a “regional monument” gives painful] cultural confirmation of what the marketplace has been telling us for decades now: the small cities, towns, and villages of the Northeast have become vast grazing lands, colonies for plunder by more prosperous sections of the country. We have been losing industry, jobs, population, and brainpower…as if we were bathing in a tub with a slow leak, wondering why we are feeling chilled. Our cultural artifacts seep into the heartland via Ebay. The time is not distant when our steepled churches and clapboard and fieldstone houses will survive only as part of a historical theme park for the rest of the nation, a Yosemite of quaint lifestyle and vernacular, a time capsule of an America that used to be. --“Walm-Art.” Saugerties Times, 5/20.
That “Catskills painting” was in the New York City Library, though, not the Catskills. And aren’t we enjoying a counter-current of immigration to mid-Hudson towns, by brainy solvent people? Buck up, John.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Arty & Farty

MONEY AND GLORY. That sale on Friday in New York of Asher B. Durand’s painting “Kindred Spirits” for an obscene $35-million-plus (highest sum ever paid for an American art work) is fraught with implications for GreeneLand. All works by members of the 19th century’s Hudson River school of landscape painting gain allure (=market value). Luster accordingly is added to Durand’s friend and mentor, the founder of the Hudson River school, our own Thomas Cole. Thus, no small gain in market value goes to Cole’s “Prometheus,” which reposes (deteriorated) in Catskill’s public library. And a huge dose of vindication goes to County Historian Raymond Beecher’s heroic, lonely undertaking to bring back to life Cedar Grove, Cole’s home and studio here. That project, with Jack Van Loan giving daily pro bono supervision to restoration work performed by Richard Rappelyea and his Dimensions North crew, is now the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, whose visitors will multiply. The Durand sale also serves to boost the value, and perhaps the financial feasibility, of the contemplated re-creation at Cedar Grove, according to the artist’s own drawings, of Cole’s New Studio. And perhaps the buyer of Durand’s painting—Alice B. Walton, daughter of Sam--would welcome an invitation to attend, this fall, a Cedar Grove “salon” devoted to the Durand-Cole connection. At the center of Durand’s picture are two figures: William Cullen Bryant, the poet, and his great friend, Thomas Cole. The salon would be dubbed “Kindred Spirits.”

CHOICE FOR TONIGHT. Pianists Vladimir Pleshakov and Elena Winther perform works by Mozart, Milhaud and Rachmaninoff, punctuated by nuggets of piano history, at Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Red Barn in Hunter. (518)563-4908.

HAPPENING NOW. “Heart of a Heroine: An Experiential Weekend Retreat for Women” is happening now (5/13-15) at GreeneLand’s Brahma Kumaris Center (; Here’s hoping that participants succeed in effort to “Discover how spiritual awareness can improve the quality of your life and enable you to become the heroine in your own life story.”

ON CHURCH, NOT AT. Tomorrow (Sunday, 5/15), at 2:30pm, “Frederic Church at the Center of the World” will be given exposition by superbly credentialed Katherine Manthorne. Locale is not Olana (Church’s famous citadel in Columbia County) or Cedar Grove (home base of Church’s mentor, Thomas Cole). It’s Gallery 81 in Greenville (intersection of Routes 81 and 32) and sponsor is culture-pitching All Arts Matter (=Tony DeVito & friends). By word and slide projection, Dr Manthorne, former executive editor of American Art, professor at City University of New York, exhibition organizer, scholar, will link Church’s interests in exotic places to his paintings and to creation of his Moorish castle and estate. (518)966-4038.

AND JUST AHEAD. “Into the Private Domain: Artists’ Studios Past and Present,” a touring symposium jointly sponsored by Thomas Cole National Historic Site and by Olana, next weekend (5/21-22). Talks will cover not only Thomas Cole and Frederick Church, but also other notable artists of the past--Daniel French at Chesterwood; N C Wyeth at Chadds Ford, Russel Wright at Manitoga—and, on Sunday, visits to working studios of live local artists: Patrick Milbourn, Lucia Gannett, Dina Bursztyn, Fawn Potash, Portia Munson, Jared Handelman, Ruth Leonard. $35 per person; $30 for members. Info from Valerie Balint, associate Olana curator, (518)828-0135 ext 314.

SHOW TIME at Catskill Mountain Foundation. “Headliners and One Liners: Songs and Stories of the Catskill Hotels,” with period photos. Mark Singer, who plays more than he sings, with Darcy Dunn, who sings more than she plays, perform with friends on Saturday night (5/21) at Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Red Barn.

“PRE-OPENING” (Is that like being pre-approved?). Before unveiling his new Brick art gallery at 473 Main Street in Catskill, entrepreneur Frank Cuthbert is hosting a “pre-opening concert” on May 22 (Sunday) from 5pm. The distinguished duo of Garfield Moore, cellist, and Stephanie Watt, pianist, play works of Marcello, Dixon, Nin and “Rachmaninov” (close relative of Mountain Foundation’s “Rachmaninoff”). Donations ($10; $5 for seniors & students) to Arts Council. Puzzled about composers’ names? Here’s a clue: in addition to being a concert pianist around New York area and Europe, an adjudicator of young artists’ competitions, and head of Piano & Theory Studies at Long Island University, Ms Watt is an ardent student, teacher, historian, player, and prize-winning dancer of the tango. For more info: (518) 965-2999.

HEADLINE ART (well, craft anyway): “Breathtaking plans for cops in their cups.”—New York Post, 5/11, reporting police commissioner’s plan to spring random breath tests on cops who’ve had alcohol abuse records. To appreciate it fully, you need to see how the words just fit into available one-column space. Not so well crafted are these amphibolous headlines, cited in World Wide Words: “Island Monks Fly In Satellite to Watch Pope’s Funeral”; “Rubber Whale Helps Train Instructors.”

MISNOMERS DEPT. Did Michael Esslie, attorney for opponents of allowing a Movie Gallery in Cairo, really say (Daily Mail, 5/9) the town’s planning board “continues to flaunt the law”? Or did he properly say flout?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Names & Stuff

TIN & SKIN is name of design business run out of 8055 Route 9W by Kipp Gertz. What they do there is (i) customize motorcycle bodies (hence the tin) and (ii) tattoo human bodies (skin). Well, they don’t do both things. Kipp and Steve Ramos do bikes, while Jody Putman and Jim Kane do people. (943-6588). But beware of commissioning verbal tattoos. Somebody there misspells outrageous and treats plural of tattoo as tattoo’s. HOME SWEET HOME ON THE HUDSON has succeeded St Joseph’s Villa as name of riverside nursing home on Prospect Avenue, Catskill. Business under new ownership has not been brisk. RECUPERATING: John Huszar, program director (formally speaking) of Catskill Public Library; from quintuple bypass surgery. Officially he’s on leave of absence, but is not expected back. The leave was not prompted by medical imperatives. . Though much esteemed by patrons (and by Friends, the support group) John did not have support of Board members or his boss. He’s one of four employees who, in past year, have been pushed out. SPRING CLEANING is apt title of Arts Council show that opened Saturday (5/7) at 398 Main Street gallery in Catskill. On show are found objects--stray bits, junk—transmuted into objets d’art by clever people, including McDowell Bryson, Maj Kalfus, Laura Jackett, and Arthur Tieger. HEART OF A HEROINE is what GreeneLand’s Brahma Kumaris Center calls forthcoming (May 13-15) “experiential weekend retreat for women” ([518]589-5000; “Discover how spiritual awareness can improve the quality of your life and enable you to become the heroine in your own life story.” THE BRONX is called The Bronx because that island borough of New York City was settled and farmed earliest by members of GreeneLand’s first family, the Broncks. That’s one of many things visitors learn here when they tour the restored, County Historical Society-maintained Bronck House. PUZZLEMENT. He’s not father of school kids. Did not attend public school. Acquired bare minimum of higher education. Has not taken part in school-related functions or in education issues. So why is Mike Battaglino running, again, for election (May 17th) to Board of Catskill Central School District? Could it be just that Board President Jim Garafalo wants another ally in his drive to control janitorial personnel matters? BOULEVARD AVENUE is actual name of a GreeneLand thoroughfare. If same redundancy-prone nominator is still around, we’ll be driving soon on Alley Lane, Road Street, Highway Way. MISNOMER DEPT. Page one Daily Mail story of 4/26/05 carries headline “Panel refutes firemen’s charges.” But text only reports rejoinders or rebuttals. To refute is to disprove or otherwise discredit. No basis for this judgment is laid in article. HOBO’S JOURNEY, Music For An Exorcism, Machine to Transform Illegal Aliens to Legal, Voice of a Tree, Mask to Scare Homophobia, Diskette With Master Plan of the Universe, and Totem Against Lesophobia are names of objects on display at Open Studio since April 16th opening. But you need to see the pieces (402 Main St, Catskill; in order to appreciate the wit. CLOVE as name for topographic feature seems to be a Catskills-only usage. It’s not recognized in Webster’s or O.E.D. That’s surprising in view of popularity of Kaaterskill Clove as subject for top American artists of 19th century. Maybe our Kaaterskill, Stony and Plattekill are world’s only geological, inedible cloves. In his splendid book The Kaaterskille Clove (2004), Raymond Beecher makes free use of that noun without pausing to define. By picture and usage, of course, he shows kinship of clove with gorge, ravine, arroyo, defile, gulch, gully…. GROSSMAN could be name of gent who might have been nabbed years ago in what could have been vice raid. He could have been caught because he tried to escape by a window. He could have been caught there because he got stuck. He could have gotten stuck because his body was, uh, gross. WEIRD SIGHTS. Firefighters (from Hudson and Athens, as well as Catskill) emerging from a house (such as 103 Bridge St, Catskill), shedding heavy gear, taking a swig of water, then lighting cigarettes. TIFANIE SONDAK topped Current Events competition at Greenville Central Middle School recently, just ahead of Jonah Coe-Scharff, Ross Bentley and Cordelia Kenney. But Tifanie was NOT rewarded with pen and pencil set, ostensibly made in USA, that included this Usage guidance: “Dipping pen point into ink, circumgyrating sopping up instrument for ink and revolving penholder tight.” RED RUMOR holds that quartet of erstwhile student radicals, now superannuated and no longer able to afford Berkeley or Woodstock living, will move to Tannersville and establish new headquarters of Peoples Uprising. Bakery.

Monday, May 02, 2005


EYE OPENER. Star attraction at re-opening this weekend of Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole Historic Site, was George Inness (1825-94). Thanks to efforts of curator Elizabeth Stevens, original works by that luminary of the Cole-founded Hudson River School of landscape painting—devotees of depicting nature as manifestation of the divine--were loaned by four museums, by the New York Grey Collection, and by LaVerne Decker of Catskill. Saturday’s preview and party for Benefactors, lenders, volunteers and Associates filled Cedar Grove. Sunday’s main event was lecture by Adrienne Baxter Bell, author of Painting Philosophy: George Inness, William James and the Metaphysical Landscape, delivered in anteroom of Cole’s old studio on topic of “Inness’ Sense of Place.” Now get ready for this, GreeneLanders: the place was packed out; people had to be turned away. In words of C.G. executive director Betsy Jacks, “turnout surpassed our highest expectations.” SWEET REVENGE. Especially clever of exhibition curator Stevens was posting scathing reviews aimed by contemporary critics at Inness. Back in 1867, for exmple, a Clarence Cook wondered in print whether “pretender” and “charlatan” were most apt labels for Inness or for “men who cry him up for a great colorist and call his pictures…poems on canvas.” Soon thereafter, Inness was being hailed by critics as America’s preeminent landscape artist; and being paid accordingly. NOW OPEN: Michael Angelo La Rosa’s eponymous La Rosa’s Café & Market at 1 Brandow Alley, Catskill, succeeding Michael deBenedictus’s operation. Ten days after opening, “Masterpiece Sandwiches on Tuscan Panini” at $6 each were being consumed at rate of 3 dozen per lunch time. “Italian Stallion” variety composed of Italian ham, salami, roni, provolone, roasted peppers, mozzarella, and mayonnaise infused with Italian dressing sufficed for two people. Meanwhile, nearby Bells Café on Main Street has undergone big interior renovations—pressed tin ceiling exposed and refinished, walls and floor painted, booths replaced with tables--whereby décor begins to catch up with quality of menu. And Keith and Yael soon will be licensed to serve wine with meals. HAMMER HELPER. Our Congressman, John Sweeney, aligns himself with 30 staunch Republicans who—says his spokeswoman, Melissa Carlson, in Associated Press item of 4/29—aim “to bring the focus in Congress back to issues at hand: tax cuts and economic growth, not individual members’ trips abroad, or individual attacks on members.” Translation: make no concessions; let’s stifle talk about ethical standards of our Leader, Tom DeLay. Further translation: would that tax cuts and economic growth were current issues, rather than Social Security, school financing, military equipment, national debt, or crashing stock prices. Anyhow, his avowal of stout support for The Hammer was not posted, as of today (4/30), on Mr Sweeney’s web site. Neither, for that matter, is verbiage about public policies. Among postings, meanwhile, is text of Sweeney bombast in response last January to President Bush’s State of Union Address: “Bold agenda for moving America forward at a time when we face a war for freedom abroad and a race for personal and financial security here at home”; “Armed with principle and motivated by purpose, the President outlined a program for the next four years that will be remembered for generations to come.” ELEGANT is apt adjective for new web site of ellipse-happy, Surprise-based artist Jeanette Fintz. And her site is one of dozens crafted for GreeneLand (and other) artists, enterprisers and organizers by ace web designer/manager Tony Rago ( TOLLS for Thruway use will go up on May 15, by 25% for passenger cars, 35% for commercial vehicles, but with 5-10% discounts off new regular toll for E-Z Pass users, and further discount deals available for heavy users. Rationale given by Thruway Authority is need for $2.6 billion to fix up some 500 of the complex’s 641 miles of roadbed along with 220 bridges. Also to add E-Z Pass lanes. First increase since 1988. (But increased volume has not generated savings for capital works?) CEMENTUM INTERRUPTUS = how some wags characterized termination of St Lawrence Cement Company’s plan to build mammoth coal-powered plant in Greenport. News stories have cited figure of $56 million as what SLC spent before giving up. Could land acquisition, drawings, submissions, advertisements, lawyers really cost that much? Anyhow, company mavens say SLC will put $10 million into work on existing GreeneLand (Cementon) plant without changing “footprint” and “throughput.” Incidentally, usually reliable sources report that Friends of Hudson’s 4/23 victory party left behind 95 empty champagne bottles. . WIDE AWAKE. At Sleepy Hollow Lake these days, things are anything but sleepy. According to owners’ association president Doug Calkins, 25 homes are currently under construction, plans for 14 more constructions have lately been approved, 10 applications are in pipeline. Gated 2200-acre residential community, with glistening 320-acre lake, 22 miles of roads, lodge, swimming pools, marina, tennis courts, driving range, meeting rooms, and other amenities now contains 615 homes. Property values have “increased substantially. My guess is about 250 per cent.” They’ve come a long long way from days when county took ownership of multiple lots for non-payment of taxes. “BAREY” is name of cartoon character who urges visitors to website to “escape from the hustle, bustle and overly clad daily grind.” He particularly commends escape to 65-acre, 50-campsite, “family oriented clothing optional resort” in westernmost Athens. Among “’natural’ fun” offerings this summer, on some Saturdays, are “Draw the Nude” classes. “Overt sexual behavior” is verboten, though, and “When nude [at poolside, e.g.] “please sit on your own towel.” Discounts await members of American Association of Nude Recreation or of Naturist Society. Not advertised and possibly fictional is tale that daughter of famous Doctor Ruth will be there some weekends to provide Gender Empathy training.