Thursday, June 15, 2006

News in -eds

SHUFFLED, by the Catskill school board, on recommendation of superintendent Kathleen Farrell: principals of local public schools. We just got the news, and may not have the straight scoop; our calls have not been returned. Sources say that Patrick Wemmit, who has been principal of grades 4-6 of the Elementary School, is being shifted to the High School (as principal? as vice-principal under William Ball?), with present High School Principal Lisa Slutzky going over to the Elementary School—except that the office being vacated by Mr Wemmit will be occupied by William Coyle, administrator for Special Needs programs, who is now housed in the Superintendent’s building. Selma Friedman continues as principal of kindergarten through third grade classes (or is she senior principal of all elementary grades?) and Marielena Davis stays put as principal of the Middle School.

ASCENDING, meanwhile, from vice-presidency to presidency of the governing Board of the Catskill Central School District, as of July 1, is James DiPerna.

RECOGNIZED, by the [United States] President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, for his work as volunteer executive director of Greenville’s non-profit organization All Arts Matter: Anthony DeVito. Tony’s been doing this volunteer work since the founding of All Arts Matter in 2000. He’d welcome recruits. Check the web site www.

FETED, by Allstate Insurance Company, for being a heavyweight writer of auto, property and commercial policies, and for keeping loss claims down: Frank J. Porto III. He has been a GreeneLand broker since 1960, an Allstate agent since 1985. Business in the past five years, he tells Seeing Greene, has been terrific, with volume rising 5-10 per cent each year. According to the Daily Mail (6/13), Sonny “will be recognized” by top Allstate officers at a Chairman’s Inner Circle Conference. But that “conference” has already been held—in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

PINCHED (so to speak), by State troopers, on suspicion of being the man who, while wearing wigs and women’s clothing, committed armed robberies in a country store and a Dairy Mart in Ulster County: Brian P. Johnson, of Route 23A in Palenville.

ELECTED, as vice-president of Hudson Valley Tourism Inc., the 10-county promotional agency: Daniela Marino, who is Greene County’s tourism director (has been since 2002). The new president is Mary Kay Vrba, who is Tourism Director of Dutchess County, as of last March.

CONVERTED or about to be: charter of the Bank of Greene County, from State savings bank to Federal savings bank, placing it, like its parent company (Greene County Bankcorp Inc.) under Federal Office of Thrift Supervision. So? We don’t know either.

WANTED, for Common Ground (“a place to settle differences”) in Greene and Columbia counties: certified Mediators. Training will be given at July 13-15. workshops. Information: 943-0523.

SIGNED, to another contract with Penguin Putnam, this time for an illustrated children’s book about the Hudson River: GreeneLander Hudson [sic.] Talbott. He’ll need to find time away from reviving the Catskill youth center, being an active Friend of Beattie-Powers Place, restoring downtown properties, and organizing programs at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Perhaps he’ll develop a synergistic arrangement with Brian Branigan, who is planning a video series on the majestic Hudson.

STRIPPER ALERT. Bob Beyfuss, GreeneLand agriculture/horticultural guru, warns that we are probably in for siege of tree defoliation wrought by newly hatched forest tent caterpillars. They are rapacious leaf eaters, more menacing than eastern tent caterpillars. For defensive information email Mr B at

WINNERS. Catskill High School’s baseball players won the Class B championship in this section of New York, then beat the Section III champs before being eliminated in quest for the State title. And GreeneLander Jesse Muller, 17, tied for eighth place, in a field of 99 players who had already passed through a series of regional eliminations, in a in a State-wide golf tournament for high school kids. He shot 76-76.

IMMINENT *Tonight (Thursday, 6/15). Opening of Music in the Park series for 2006, at Dutchmens Landing, Catskill, from 7 pm. Free. The band is No Limits. This is first of 14 free concerts given in 12 weeks, including a July 4th (Tuesday) show with fireworks and an August 11 (Friday) special. Organized by Heart of Catskill Association; sponsored chiefly by Bank of Greene County with inputs from Town and Village. *Friday (6/16). New art show, “UDU—Burnt Earth,” featuring work of Frank Giorgini, at Broderick Fine Art Gallery in Ruby’s restaurant in Freehold, from 5 pm. *Saturday (6/17). Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market opens at Historic Catskill Point, this being first of 20 Saturdays. From 9:30 a.m. Versatile Musician Michael DeBenedictus provides musical entertain from 10:30 am. *Sunday (6/18). Antique & Classic Car Rally, Main St, Tannersville, from 10 am.

DAILY MAUL. “Survey: 24 percent between 18-50 tattooed.” *“Her campaign galvanized and gaining momentum, Gillibrand, 39 and prominent Hudson attorney said, she added in the upcoming months the Americans’ ability to cope with a rising cost of living will become a preeminent campaign issue.” *“…the [Sugar Maples] recovery is being praised by residents of the community who welcome the elimination of an eyesore and the economic potentials.” *”At issue here is for whom two residents…had shown support for in the press release submitted by Karkheck.” *“The 127th Assembly District covers seven counties in Greene County excluding Coxsackie and New Baltimore.”

RE-OPENED: the Comments slot of Seeing Greene. Let's see how it works this time. The procedure is indicated below. Meanwhile, the indirect, e-mail channel,, still is open.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Catching Up

Hello again. The Seeing Greene crew hereby returns with news (and stuff) of a rave and of sundry goners.

RAVE REVIEW is what Art Times editor Raymond J. Steiner bestowed on 30 paintings that are currently on view in The M Gallery (350 Main St, Catskill) under the title “American Landscape Painting: A Tribute to the Catskill Region.” Artist Patrick Milbourn is a“painter of fine observational skills” who “combines an accomplished grasp of draftsmanship with a sensitive eye for the beauty inherent in both detail and scope.” “Captures the exquisite complexity of the struggle for existence between untended wildflowers…as well as the breath-catching grandeur of dramatic skies….” Able even with pastels “to convincingly bring up from his ground the fine detail of individual stalk, branch, or leaf.” “Firm grasp on tree, meadow, stream or roadside clump of unkempt flowering weed….” “…speaks truth to the gatherer of wood lore” while also evoking “the divine sublimity for which so many of the early Hudson River Painters mightily strove.” Such praise, from a discerning critic, is all the more noteworthy in light of the fact that Patrick only recently devoted himself to landscapes. The show runs until June 30th. Some of the pictures are still for sale.

GONE, last Friday (6/2), from the desk in Catskill Town Hall that he had used for 27 months as assistant to tax assessor Sue Golden: Carmine Pizza (yes; P-i-z-z-a). He has moved east to be sole assessor for Greenport. His successor, Jessica Misevis, daughter of the well known Jerry & Sandra (she being Catskill Town Comptroller) is a lot thinner.

GONE to prison, for causing the death of a 3-year-old Coxsackie child, Egypt Phillips: her mother, Tanya Rose, and her mother’s live-in lover, James Smith. A GreeneLand jury found them guilty respectively of criminally negligent homicide and second-degree murder. Judge Daniel Lalor gave Rose the maximum allowed sentence, of 21 months to four years in State prison, after she violated the terms of a plea bargain that related to the prosecution of Smith. To Smith, who evidently subjected Egypt to persistent cruel abuse, Judge Lalor also meted out the maximum sentence: 25 years to life in prison. But in the course of her battered existence, Egypt’s plight was known to Child Protection Services and to Social Services personnel here. Reports were written; protective orders were issued; Smith continued to receive public money to “care for” Egypt; the abuse continued; the child died. What procedures and/or social workers allowed that to happen? If our county legislators have been asking, they’ve kept quiet about it. The relevant agencies are under their supervision. They have been dilatory.

GONE, from the field of candidates aiming to be Republican nominee for election to the 127th District of the New York State Assembly, after a promising start and a specious pretext: Matthew Tully, 33, of (sometimes) Hunter. Tully’s departure essentially delivers the nomination to Peter Lopez of Schoharie County (although James P. Powers, the dairy farmer from Otsego County, is still formally a contender). Tully ascribed his decision to desire to avoid a battle that could, gulp, enable a a Democrat to win the seat. But it’s an awfully safe Republican seat (covering most of Greene County and lots of rural territory). Tully also, we suspect, was tugged by the pressures of business (his law practice is flourishing) and of paternity (baby coming). Anyway, he voiced the hope that Republican chieftains will remember his sacrifice. Their ability to reward his seeming devotion would be hampered, however, by the absence of Republican control over the Legislature and the offices of attorney general, controller, and governor.

GONE, yesterday, from the field of candidates aiming to be Republican nominee for Governor of New York State, after losing the party convention’s endorsement along with high-level support: William Weld. His departure clears the field for John Faso to take the drubbing that will be administered in November by Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer. His exit and that of Matthew Tully have something in common: the immediate intra-party winner in each case is the reputedly more “conservative” contestant, in a State that has manifestly been inhospitable to “conservatives.” Thus, Faso’s electability was assailed by references to a voting record that put him well to the “right” of fellow Republicans in Albany as well as of voters at large. Republican activists had been urged (by the Orange County GOP chairman, Bill DeProspo) to worry about the fact that Faso’s voting record as a State Assemblyman, apart from rampant absenteeism, was “extreme.” It included voting along against bills requiring equal pay for equal work and impartiality as between men and women in the work place. Faso and Lopez seem to be “social conservatives” who fret about restrictions on personal freedom but limit their attention to guns and business practices. They support restrictions on abortion, assisted suicide, contraception, prostitution, marriage partnerships, drugs, smut, and stem cell research.

GOING back to private life, next January, after 14 years as State Assemblyman in District 108, which includes northern end of GreeneLand: Pat Casale, 71, Republican, of Spiegeltown NY. Albany pundits name three candidates for the vacant GOP nomination: Peter Santiago of Bethlehem, Martin Reid of Rensselaer County, and Carmello Mantello, who is a director of the Canal Corporation. Not noted so far is the prospective candidacy of a certain Republican wheelhorse from GreeneLand: Ed Barber. As for the Democratic nomination, serious consideration to making the race is being paid by Virginia Martin of Columbia County, who is a newly minted Ph.D. (in rhetoric) and a stalwart contributor to the Greene County Forum. [P.S.: On Monday, Mr Reid formalized his candidacy. And last night (Tuesday, 6/6), at a meeting of the New Baltimore and Coxsackie Republicans, Mr Barber, who had indeed been thinking about seeking the office, moved that Mr Reid be endorsed by his co-partisans. The motion passed unanimously. [P.S.S.: Virginia Martin is running in the 103rd, not the 108th, Assembly District. We goofed]

GONE, from the Board of Catskill Central School District, in consequence of the May 16th election: Michael Battaglino. While the two other incumbents who sought re-election (James Garafalo and Kenneth Goldfarb) were successful, Mr Battaglino was out-polled by newcomer Dawn Scannappieco. This outcome ran contrary to the advice of a Daily Mail editor who had endorsed all three incumbents. Mr Battaglino preceded his departure with a campaign statement (a “profile” in the District’s pre-election newsletter) that showed skill, honed over decades of public office-holding, for vacuous vociferation. His “goal,” he said, is “to assure that the students…are given the education for their future.” And he shared with electors the insight that “Many new projects are being started this year and a few years down the road. [He] would like to continue to oversee these projects to be assured of a proper job when they are completed” as well as to “ensure that spending is controlled for the people who pay, the taxpayers.” Meanwhile, in his pre-election “profile,” Mr Garafalo informed readers that “He and his wife…have 2 children who are graduates of Catskill High School and has a grand- daughter currently enrolled in Catskill Elementary School.” As for the newcomer, Ms Scannapieco flunks the apostrophe test. Thus, she endowed herself with a husband and two “son’s” and she singularized (“…Foster Parent’s Association) a plural. Both of these Board members could take a lesson from their colleague, the eminently literate, as well as informative, Mr Goldfarb.