Friday, November 21, 2008

Doses of Greene

WALGREEN’S new Catskill store will open for business “next week” (11/24-28), says Bill Neal, a 35-year company veteran who has come down from Albany to manage the fledgling. Construction work is done, staffing is complete (at 24 employees), shelves are stocked. Meanwhile, according to a TimesUnion report, the parent company (6500 stores, $5.9 billion sales in the last fiscal year) plans to build a 14,800-square foot store in Clifton Park. That one, like the Catskill store, would be in close proximity to a rival.

COFFEE will continue to flow, we are assured, at Catskill’s Muddy Cup, contrary to the gossip we reported last week

HARD$HIP cases in GreeneLand are growing. In August, the Community Action agency gave emergency food supplies (three meals for each of three days) to 70 needy families. In September the number jumped to 84; in October, to 120. “And the demographics,” says executive director Florence Ohle, “are changing. We’re getting homeowners. People who have had their own businesses. People with some college education. But what is heartening at the same time is that people recognize the problem and are responding. Our intake of donations has been bigger than it was last year.”

SALUTED by Ms Ohle as an extraordinarily generous contributor of fresh foods to needy families--corn, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes--is Regina Bulich of Bulich’s Creekside Farms.

$LIPPAGE in GreeneLand’s real estate market is illustrated by the case in which vendors who had turned down an offer on their house six months ago, then accepted an offer last week that was 18 per cent lower. It came from the same bidder.

BLE$ING IN DISGUISE? Gov. David Paterson’s campaign to slash State spending, in light of the government’s looming huge deficit, could work to the advantage of GreeneLand’s economy. The austerity drive provides a plausible excuse for deferring, if not canceling, the planned outlay of $60 million of taxpayer money to expand and embellish the State-owned Belleayre resort in Ulster County. That expansion would work to the detriment, competitively, of our Hunter and Windham resorts.

TRANSFER of GreeneLand’s Deparment of Tourism Promotion into a division of the Department of Planning and Economic Development, directed by Warren Hart, has been approved by the county legislators. Judging from quotations in The Daily Mail (11/19), the merger was endorsed by Tourism Director Daniela Marino. A cost saving of $100,000 in the first year of consolidation has been touted (“greater efficiencies, better development of staff and elimination of redundancies”) but not identified.

POLITICAL STIRRINGS. If Hillary Clinton joins the Obama Cabinet (as Secretary of something), who will get her U.S. Senate seat? The successor would be appointed by Governor Paterson, serving until the 2010 elections. According to an Associated Press report, GreeneLand’s recently re-elected U.S. Representative, Kirsten Gillibrand, is one of eight hot prospects. She evidently ‘qualifies’ on account of being female, up-State, friendly with Ms Clinton and other party leaders, and an extraordinarily diligent, successful vote-getter. Whether her affiliation with the “conservative” Blue Dog Democrats in Congress is an asset or a liability is uncertain. From a party-political standpoint, her departure could make the 20th Congressional District much more retrievable in 2010 for a Republican candidate. Ms Gillibrand is wisely brushing off all queries on the matter.

POLITICAL LEANINGS. As the presidential battle raged during the past year, what politically topical books were GreeneLanders reading? Well, a contribution to answering that question may be drawn from borrowings from our public libraries. Most often checked out, according to Catskill library director David DeShong, was a literary whack job by journalist David Freddoso: The Case Against Barack Obama. TheUnlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate. Next in popularity, and radically different in thrust, was David Mandell’s fawning Obama: The Promise of Change, as adapted by Sarah L. Thompson for children. After that came Free Ride. John McCain and the Media, by David (Blinded By the Right) Brock and Paul Waldman.

SQUISHFACE is the name of a recently registered Hunter-based business. It is taken from the pet dog of Lauren and Timothy Shoffler, and the actual business is a revived Bed & Breakfast (four rooms, two with private bath), the Trail View Inn (263-5253;

ARTISTS are invited to submit paintings for possible inclusion in two kinds of GreeneLand exhibitions that will be opened in January: landscapes and psychic landscapes. For more light on the subject:

GETTING SHAFTED? Instruction in archery will be offered next month at the Catskill Community Center’s gymnasium. Don Sylvester of the 4-H Archery Club will guide young people on Mondy and Wednesday evenings in what is touted as a “non-competitive, skill-building activity that helps to develop self-confidence and camaraderie…” For more information, from Cornell CoOperative Extension, telephone 622-9820.

TRYST TWIST. Six Greene County jail inmates have been charged with the crime of escape although they did not leave the premises. The three men and three women reportedly found a way of leaving their cells and forgathering. The men unscrewed ceiling tiles in their shower, climbed up, and crawled to a spot where, on a dozen occasions in the course of a month, out of sight of security cameras, they met the women for amorous collaborations. The suspects are William N. Hutcheson Jr.,44, who was being held for probation violation; Jesse B. Ross, 38, drugs; AlexanderRathbun, 19, burglary; Misty M. Moore, 211, forgery; Kay C. Snyder, 27, battery; and Nicole Halderman, 26, drugs. In Greene County, Indiana.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Leaves of Greene Again

THOSE CONDOS. Twelve of the twenty Catskill Creek residential units that were put up for auction on November 1 were sold. According to lumbering GreeneLander Steve Dunn, the “well attended” auction was conducted in an “above-board, professional” manner, with purchase prices representing “good value” for prospective resident owners but not, all things considered (taxes, condo fees…) for investor-landlords. According to another attendee, Trevor Moran, the top sale price, “for one of the bigger, newer, better” units, was $297,500 (plus $29,750 buyer’s premium). Eight units were not sold. Information about them may be obtainable from a Bill Anderson, of the owning Tower Management Services Co., at 212 843 8052. (The adjective “lumbering” was a joke. Knowledgeable locals will understand).

NEW BUSINESS. Kathy Clearwater recently opened Revolution, a “contemporary boutique for women,” at 428 Main St, Catskill; 943-9888. Tom Martin opened Catskill Mountain Orchids at 65 West Bridge St, Catskill. Melissa Speenburgh opened a hairdressing salon for men and women at 209 Jefferson Heights Blvd. According to a Daily Mail advertisement, it is called D’Vine Reflextions. And Matt Kovner, having given the former convenience store at 390 Main St, Catskill, its original 19th century look, has made the place the headquarters of his Hudson Valley Historics business.

EXOTICA DEPT. Obambulate (v.)= to walk about; to wander. Barrack (v., in English English)=to cheer for, support vocally.

GOSSIP DEPT. Catskill Central School authorities decided not to buy a needed new tractor but instead chose to buy an unneeded mail truck (since a van could have been adapted)…. Some stupid schoolboys chose a highly exposed spot for smoking weed… Muddy Cup on Catskill’s Main Street, though sponsoring an event during tomorrow’s Saturday Studios sashay, will close--retrieving the fortunes of Retriever Roasters? The deli operation that succeeded La Rosa in Brandos Alley in Catskill started badly, and will end soon… A weight-training machine donated to Catskill schools by Summit Hill Athletic Club years ago, but never set up for use, will be dumped. A big load of training equipment, just donated by SHAC, will be put in storage until a new weight-training room is constructed….

FEEDBACK DEPT. Our “Bluish Greene?” blog elicited a signed response, which was duly posted, and some anonymous responses. Among the latter was a judgment that “it was [Sandy] Treadwell's support of and association with the Bush Administration, as well as his negative campaign ads, that cost him the election. At least that's why this Republican didn't vote either for him or the McCain/Palin ticket.

” CHRISTINE OWAD (aka Marie Owad, aka Ahes Owad), swindler of Green Card-seeking illegal immigrants, is defendant in two-headed foreclosure lawsuit involving property on Kaaterskill Road, Palenville (as distinct from the Prattsville farm property which, she claimed [Seeing Greene, 10/13/06], the Russian Mafia was trying to wrest from her by using New York State prosecutors). The case is two-headed in that a Peter Menlikov is a plaintiff and, with Ms Owad and others, is a defendant.

‘NO GAGGLE OF GREASE’ is the title of foodie Brigit Binns’s cookery article in the current (“Next”-themed; Obama-featured) issue of InsideOut. And Turducken, she warns,“is an unnatural assembly of hideous complexity” that, by the time it is fully prepared, “has been so over-handled that it must feel like eating your grandmother’s tea cozy wrapped in your uncle’s favorite muffler.” Now there's a bit of well cooked prose.

IN PROSPECT: >>Adaptation of River of Dreams, a new book by GreeneLand author/illustrator Hudson Talbott into a musical play directed by GreeneLand thespian Casey Biggs, with songs by GreeneLand composer Frank Cuthbert, with Catskill high schoolers involved in all stages of development, and with performances slated for 2009’s Quadricentennial festivities.

p> >>“VINNIE,” “a warm-hearted romantic comedy” opens November 29th at Stageworks/Hudson, across from the Amtrak station. But No, it’s not about Vincent Seeley, mayor and/or president of the Village of Catskill.

>>Publication of a book based on the 1910 title Panorama of the Hudson, a collection of black and white photographs of riverbank scenery as seen from the old Day Line steamers. Turn the pages from first to last, and you get east bank scenes; turn the book over, and you get west bank scenes. The prospective update, as compiled by Joe Aronson (of Woodstock and Manhattan), would be based on new color pictures taken from a helicopter.

>>Pullulation of pigs. Farmer Tom Pitstick has applied for State permits to enlarge the population of his Greene County pig farm. Citing the need to stay competitive by way of economies of scale, he proposes to enlarge his Pitstick Pork Farms swine stock to 4700 market hogs plus with 2400 nursery hogs (weighing less than 55 pounds). The animals, he estimates, would annually generate 2.2 million gallons of manure. In Greene County, Ohio.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Who Knew?

Well, we Greene seers pretended to know.

In the blog, 246 days ahead of The Event, we predicted that

a majority of Americans who vote in their national elections will choose, for the office of President of the United States, Barack Obama. In popular votes and State electoral votes received, Senator Obama will out-poll his main rival, John McCain, by an unusually big margin.


This picture of Barack Obama garbed as George Washington occupies the cover of the current issue of Athens-based InsideOut magazine. It went to press before Election Day.

That prediction was voiced long before Senators McCain and Obama had undergone most of the primary election and caucus ordeals that eventually won them the Republican and Democratic presidentialo nominations.

In the same issue of Seeing Greene we predicted that in the United States Senate the Democrats' majority would increase from 51 seats out of 100 (counting Senators Sanders and Lieberman) to 56 or more. And "In the House of Representatives, too," we foretold, "the Democrats' majority, acquired just two years ago, will increase. The net gain will be at least 15 seats, to 246 or more out of 435." Moreover, for New York State we predicted that all three of the Democrats who had captured Republican-held House seats in November 2006 would be re-elected, that at least one more Republican-held seat would fall to a Democratic nominee, and that in the State Senate, "the Democrats will pick up the they need in order to break the long-established Republican control of that law-making body."

Those predictions and the other ones, we claimed, were not based on tea leaf readings or on the configurations of birds' entrails. They were based on appreciating the electoral implications of already-established facts as well as on plausible guesses of what forces would be added in the ensuing days.

See for yourself: Seeing Greene, March 3, 2008.

P.S. Equally prescient was our package of predictions about the elections of 2006: "...a major political shift. The Democrats will...pick up half a doze governships. They will gain five or six seats in the U.S. Senate. They will gain an outright majority in the House of Representatives, with seats to spare. They will pick up scores of State and local offices that currently are held by Republicans." But that compound forecast (Seeing Greene, 8/29/06) was made only 70 days ahead of Election Day.

P.S.S. The Patriot Depot of Dallas GA (sic) will gladly part with "Vote Nobama. McCain-Palin'08" bumper stickers ("now a collector's item") for $3.95 per 5-pack ("retails $24.75"). Also touted (through Human Events, "leading the conservative movement since 1944"), at $9.86 per pair ("retails $19.95") are bumper strips declaring "You Can Keep 'The Change.' Palin* 2012."

Friday, November 07, 2008

Bluish Greene?

------No, GreeneLanders did not give a majority of their votes on Tuesday to the Democratic presidential candidate. Instead, along with majorities in 27 mostly rural and thinly populated counties, plus Staten Island, they gave majority support (55 per cent in our case) to the Republican nominee, John McCain. They did not side with majorities in neighboring Albany, Columbia and Ulster counties (63, 54 and 61 per cent support for Barack Obama). Neither did they join the hordes of Obamaniacs in New York City: 88% of Bronx voters, 85% in Manhattan, 79% in Brooklyn, 74% in Queens.

------What is more, GreeneLanders gave a massive majority of their votes on Tuesday to their incumbent Republican State Senator. On Jim Seward they bestowed 11,202 votes, or 62 per cent, with Democratic challenger Don Barber garnering 6727. The latter figure, however, marks quite a jump from zero; in seven previous elections, Mr Seward has faced no opposition at all.

------Other figures point to a pro-Democratic drift in GreeneLand political life:

------*Enrollment creep. Among registered GreeneLand voters, self-defined Republicans declined numerically from 13.970 in November 2000 to 13,702 in November 2008, while self-defined Democrats grew a bit from 7162 in 2000 to 7822 currently. Enrolled voters who decline to state a party afilliation, however, still out-number professed Democrats, by 624.

------*County offices. A few Democrats now sit in the county legislature.

------*Fence-jumping. In the last election for U.S. Senator (2004) and for Governor (2006) Democratic candidates (Hillary Clinton; Eliot Spitzer) won majorities (small ones) of GreeneLand votes. In this election, while majorities backed Mr McCain for President (marginally) and Mr Seward for State Senator (heavily, with cross-over Democratic support), they also supported Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's re-election to the United States House of Representatives. That majority, to be sure, was small: 10,827 votes, to 8458 for Republican challenger Sandy Treadwell. It marked, however, a big gain (38%) in support from 2006, when Ms Gillibrand challenged the Republican incumbent, John Sweeney. On that occasion, while winning the seat (with 52% of votes cast in the electorate's five counties and five pieces of counties, she lost, with 7865 votes to 8555, in GreeneLand.

-----Those numbers, incidentally, do not do full justice to Ms Gillibrand's feat. It is one of the great political performances, nation-wide, of 2008. It starts in 2006 when, as a newcomer, with family connections but no local base (State Assembly seat, county legislator, town supervisor, district attorney), in a district that was designed by conniving State legislators to be safely Republican forever, in a district where only one in four voters is enrolled as a Democrat, she undertakes to challenge an entrenched, repeatedly re-elected Republican incumbent. Thanks to Botch Administration mishaps, plus a late-hour scandal tainting the incumbent, she wins the seat. Shen then assumes the daunting task of holding on. She establishes field offices, emits myriad messages, processes special needs cases, makes appearances all over the district, woos veterans and farmers as well as traditional supporters, builds a war chest--while also bearing and then delivering a child. In due course she is confronted by a challenger who is not just a Republican, but is a scandal-free (apart from association with the Botch Administration), presentable, affable, articulate, well connected, rich Republican. This time Ms Gillibrand wins 62 per cent of the district's votes.

------The lady has a future.