Friday, June 24, 2005


BRAIN DEAD BOYS? When it comes to achievement in school, GreeneLand’s boys seem to be chronic laggards. Awards Night at Catskill High School offers a case in point. Apart from sports, 66 kinds of awards, varying by donor or type of performance (in scholarship and/or service), were bestowed the other night on 104 recipients. Among those recipients, only 26 were boys (not 26 different boys). Girls won all four Catskill Teachers Association scholarships, all five New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence, all four President’s Awards for Educational Excellence, nine of ten Senior Academic Recognition awards. The story was much the same GreeneLand’s other high schools. Nine of the top 10 Greeneville High School graduates are girls, as are 7 of the top 10 Cairo-Durham graduates and 6 of the top 10 Coxsackie-Athens graduates. It was much the same last year, and the year before.

BEST OF BEST. One CHS senior, by the way, wore herself out on Awards Night. Climbing to the dais 16 times to be hailed as Valedictorian, Advanced Placement Scholar, Lions Club Scholar, County Medical Society Scholar, Oren Memorial Scholar, Kiwanis Scholar, Science Scholar, National Honor Society scholar, Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence winner and a few other titles was Erin Guldenstern.

IMMINENT: Saturday (6/25). Festive opening (free refreshments, prizes, entertainment) from 8:30am. of Bank of Greene County’s stylish new Cairo branch (Route 23 at Matthew Simons Road). Sunday (6/26). Mushroom Walk. From 9am., John Boyle at Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra leads trek identifying mushrooms that vary in look, medicinal use, edibility. $15. Advance registration: 622-9820. Wacky Raft Race from Athens’s Riverfront Park (11 am.) to Catskill Point, site of prize-giving festivities. Good spectating. For more info: Daniela Marino of GreeneLand Tourism & Promotions, 943-3223. Wednesday (6/29). “War of the Worlds” opens in hundreds of movie theaters, including Catskill Mountain Foundation’s house in Hunter, Community Theater in Catskill, and Coxsackie Hi-Way Drive-In. Thursday (6/30). War Party. After “War of the Worlds” has its Catskill Community Theater opening (7:30 pm.), ex-extras who helped to make GreeneLand scenes for the film are invited to a party at Riverside Park and at Stewart House in Athens, scene of the local filming. Likely turnout: 300 people.

“WAR”’ NOTE. Billing for stars of “War of the Worlds” seems to have undergone a change. Miranda Otto (of “Lord of the Rings” fame) evidently has climbed past Tim Robbins and Dakota Fanning to be, ahem, closest to super-star Tom Cruise. That’s what appears, at any rate, on the web site trailer.

WHAT’S NEW: new dean at newly established New School for Drama (three-year MFA degree) at New School University in Manhattan is Coxsackie’s Robert LuPone. He’s a Broadway and off-Broadway veteran, a soapie star (“Guiding Light;” “All My Children”), co-founder of play-producing Manhattan Class Company, and brother of cabaret star Patti LuPone. (Would Patti and Bobby follow lead of sisters Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway, doing a show called “Sibling Revelry”?).

MOVING? It now looks as if GreeneLand’s Arts Council will not be moving to (and refurbishing) historic Beattie-Powers House (owned by Village of Catskill), but Sandy Mathes’s Industrial Development Agency (now awkwardly housed above First Niagara Bank) will do so. And Heart of Catskill Association may follow (although that office really belongs on Main Street?).

EXPANDING. Also in prospect is sale of old County office building, at 288 Main Street in Catskill, to Bank of Greene County. The bank was sole bidder, and topped the reserve price of $385,000. County legislators will meet soon to approve the sale. Bank President Bruce Whittaker says the new property will house operations staff. At around $30 per square foot, the building is quite a bargain.

RELIEVING? GreeneLand’s new Chief Public Defender, D.J. Cornelius, now a full-time functionary, is making use of his increased availability by spending more time—ideally, a visit every week-- with jail-bound clients. That policy could make quite a difference for the mental state of inmates. According to David C. Fleming, who ‘covers’ the jail for GreeneLand’s office of Mental Health Services, inmates “experience greatly increased anxiety and frustration when they do not hear directly from their lawyer about their legal cases for prolonged periods of time… I have observed on many occasions that an individual with a minor or moderate depression problem can become seriously despondent, and even experience suicidal thoughts, when incarcerated for weeks or months…without a face-to-face meeting with their lawyer….” Stress reduction for inmates, he adds (in a letter of thanks to Cornelius), means stress reduction for their keepers.

SWEENEY SWINGS. According to MidHudson News (6/21), our United States Representative, John Sweeney, recently accused his neighboring Representative, Maurice Hinchey, of doing abundantly what he (Hinchey) faults Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay for doing, namely, taking privately funded trips. According to Hinchey, Sweeney’s emphasis on frequency blurs the issue, the central issue, of sponsorship legality. Sweeney’s accusation (or use of Red Herring device) was voiced, according to Mike Gross of MidHudson News, at a Dutchess County Republican function last week. Gross’s wording is memorable. “Sweeney said” that Hinchey “was one of the earlier and most outspoken critics on what he said were abused by the House majority leader as it related to privately funded trips. Come to find out that Mr. Hinchey not only took more of those kinds of trips, but he was one of the most well traveled by such means, privately funded, members in all of Congress.” Got that?

AND AGAIN. Also reported on MidHudson News (and nowhere else, apparently) is Sweeney assurance that U.S.A. is winning the war against terrorism.

DAILY MAUL. “Fire ripped through an apartment building where the former New York State Police barracks once stood…” (Translation: fire consumed building that had ceased to exist). “By upgrading to an intermediate service ambulance staff with the specified certification will perform certain procedures, such as start IVs before a paramedic arrives on the scene.” “…Pulver said Cobb was one of the finest judges ever to sit on the bench and often sought his advice.” “The accident was investigated by New York State Police at Catskill and were [sic.] assisted by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department and the Catskill Fire Company.” “The total Thruway system totals 641 miles.”

RELIEF from language mangling may be obtainable from an alluring new guidebook by Laurie Rozakis entitled Comma Sutra and billed as the ticket to instant grammar gratification. Rules of fourplay; position yourself for success with good grammar; create perfect harmony between subjects and verbs; boost your linguistic libido. Surprisingly, this tome is not sub-titled The Joy of Grammar. Neither does it tease with topics such as antecedents: the backdoor approach to description; premature interjections; practicing safe syntax; or dodging dangling participles. (I pilfered those titles from a young Texas writer named Kathryn Edwards).



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A reasonable guide to the purity of an essential oil is its price. Pure essential oils are generally more expensive. Common oils such as lavender and geranium are much cheaper than frankincense and carnation oil. It is advisable to become familiar with essential oil prices and then rely on this knowledge when purchasing oils from unfamiliar sources. Keep in-mind that you will generally get what you pay for. A price list from a reputable dealer is a valuable resource when purchasing essentials oils.

Usually, pure essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be mixed in a base oil to reduce their strength. Base oils such as almond oil or wheatgerm oil are commonly used for this purpose. Base oils are generally derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables and allow you to create essential oil remedies that can be massaged into the skin.

So, what do you need to get started with essential oils and natural remedies?

Without a doubt, Lavender is one of the most useful and desirable oils. Not only does it work wonders on cuts, bruises and burns, it also aids sleep and helps with relaxation.

The Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils are useful for treating a variety of respiratory ailments. These are excellent for the treatment of colds and coughs. They can be massaged into the chest or burned in an oil burner to help clear the airways and prevent congestion. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and can be dabbed on cuts, bites and stings. It is often used to treat spots and pimples and when diluted with water, acts as a mouth gargle (keep in-mind it should never be swallowed).

Another basic antiseptic is Geranium oil. With its distinctive perfume and pain relieving properties, it is a necessary inclusion when starting out.

Peppermint oil should also be purchased as it treats digestive complaints and may be used in preparations for freshening breath.

For fragrant perfumes and establishing ambience in a room, buy some Patchouli and Ylang-ylang oils. Often combined in scented candles and air fresheners, a few drops of each in an oil burner creates a wonderfully perfumed home. Orange oil mixed with Cinnamon oil is a lovely winter alternative that evokes seasonal, holiday smells. Besides their perfume qualities, all four of these oils have other properties. Patchouli treats eczema and dandruff. Ylang-ylang is reputed to relieve stress, palpitations and high blood pressure. Orange is used in natural remedies for depression and nervous tension and Cinnamon is excellent for warts and viral infections.

The herbs, Thyme and Rosemary can be grown in pots and used when needed. To create essential oils from herbs, stew some large amounts in pure water, collect the steam and cool it. The oil will rise to the top of the drained water and can be collected with an eyedropper. Alternatively, a "flower still" can be purchased to make the job easier. Thyme and Rosemary are both antiseptics and can be used in skin care preparations. They are also delicious when used in cooking.

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Citronella oil is perfect in summer to keep the insects at bay. Another natural repellent is Garlic. Fleas will not bite a dog that has been eating garlic, so a few garlic capsules in the dog food are a cheap solution to your pet's flea problem. A soft collar soaked in Citronella will also do the job.

Garlic also helps to promote a healthy immune system when the weather turns cold and viruses begin to circulate. In fact, most of the oils and herbs listed above are effective in helping to prevent many common winter illnesses.

Whether you are looking for remedies or nature friendly products to use around the house, the oils and herbs suggested above should help get you started. You will be ready to make some healthy changes in your way of life!

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