Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last '08 Post

DYNABOUGHT. GreeneLand’s aerospace technology company, DynaBil Industries, has been sold. The buyer is another aerospace specialist, California-based Duocommun Inc. As announced by Duocommun president Joseph Berenato and reported in various news organs, the purchase price is $46.5 million in cash ($39.5 million) and promissory notes.

That sum will be paid to four private investment funds and to GreeneLanders Hugh Quigley and Michael Grosso They started DynaBil in 1977 in a Coxsackie garage, built it into a substantial fabricator of titanium firewalls, bulkheads, and nacelles for aircraft, and sold control of the 200-employee facility in March 2006 to venture capitalists while retaining a 20 per cent equity interest.

DynaBil will become part of the buyer’s Ducommun Aerostructures division, which, according to the company’s web site, “designs, engineers and manufactures the largest, most complex contoured aerostructure components in the aerospace industry. Our integrated processes include stretch-forming, thermal-forming, chemical milling, precision fabrication, machining, finishing processes, and integration of components into subassemblies.” We are also the largest independent supplier of composite and metal bond structures and assemblies in the US, including aircraft wing spoilers, helicopter blades, flight control surfaces and engine components.”

Duocommun Incorporated’s 1865 employees work at 12 sites in six States and in Mexico and Thailand. Sales in the past year, with Boeing as the biggest customer, reached $396million. Company shares, listed on the New York Stock Exchange (as DCO) have ranged in price from $12.03 to $38.53. In early November, Ducommun shares were touted in a Forbes magazine column as a “cheap growth stock.”

AWARDED to Cairo-Durham Middle School, as a prize in Samsung Electronics of America’s Hope for Education program: $61,000 worth of electronic digital hardware and software plus cash. The award was one of 30 First Place prizes given to schools around the country. Winners were chosen on the basis of essays responding to the question “How has technology educated you on helping the environment and how or why has it changed your behavior to be more environmentally friendly?” Authorship, on behalf of a school or a school district, could come from anybody. In this case the author was Cairo-Durham Schools Superintendent Sally Sharkey.

GRANTED to the Greene Arts Foundation, for use in creating the Quadricentennial musical show “River of Dreams” based on Hudson Talbott’s book, with songs by Frank Cuthbert and stage parts performed by high schoolers: $1000 from the Athens Cultural Center and $2000 from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Those awards are fractions of what was requested. More grant applications, says impresario Casey Biggs, still are Out There.

LITIGATION FRONT. Law partners Eugenia Brennan and Edward Kaplan are suing the Trustees of Coxsackie Village. The plaintiffs want to be paid for representing Mayor John Bull in connection with his contentious firing, many months ago, of the police chief, Robert Helwig. As reported in The Greenville Press (12/18), the Board majority has refused to pay the fee out of Village funds because Mr Bull retained the firm and incurred the debt without being authorized to do so. The lawsuit is an “Article 78” action, like those brought recently by “Unk” Slater and by Galen Joseph-Hunter against Cairo officialdom. Those cases are slated for court hearings early in 2009, along with volunteer firefighter Joel Shanks’s long-stalled suit against the Village of Catskill.

NAY SAYERS in the Coxsackie-Athens School District voted down, by a whopping margin of 1066 to 426 (in an electorate of about 6000), a $20million construction and renovation project (euphemistically priced at at $19,954,420). According to a Daily Mail report (12/17; Billie Dunn), preponderantly negative votes, in about the same proportions, were cast in Coxsackie and in Athens. Disappointed advocates pointed out that much of the contemplated work was in nature of mandated repairs, and that much of the State money that was available for the work will not be, or may not be, available. That portion amounted to $14.5 million. Did the voters understand that?

GREENVILLE now has an official web site: In contrast, Cairo’s official web site is defunct. And leads to the Antiques Center.

RUMOR has it that a GreeneLand man has lodged a complaint alleging to his employer that a female colleague harassed him sexually, when it really was the other way around. Rumor also has it that a GreeneLand teen-ager rented a room at the Friar Tuck resort, invited friends in for a bibulous party, led or joined them in trashing the place, will be facing charges. Rumor has it too that a recent shuffle of administrative staff in a GreeneLand public organization was not driven altogether by the quest for efficiency. But then, “Rumor has it” is bafflegab.

MADOFF JUNIOR? Just as many victims of Bernard Madoff’s monumental swindle remain to be counted, so do victims of the late-December stunt by Catskill Buick Pontiac GMC Cadillac. GreeneLanders galore received an advertising card to which a key, resembling an ignition key, was pasted. Recipients were invited to play Scratch Match. “If your number matches the wining number below,” the dealer promised, “you’ll definitely win one of the four prizes!” Available to win, specifically, were $5000 cash or a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am, a Flat Screen TV, $500 cash, or a Golf Spa Package. Eureka! Catskillian Jerry Sarlin’s uncovered number, 78425, matched the winning number! But then so Valerie Johnson’s number. And her neighbor’s. And his neighbor’s. And yours. Let’s hope for better dealings in 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Remembering Ray

In addition to being GreeneLand's official historian, Raymond Beecher was the county's foremost benefactor. His death on October 11th, at the age of 91, preceded by two weeks an event at Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, that he had planned to attend, as usual: the annual Raymond Beecher Lecture. As a prelude to that lecture, a member of the Cole Site's board of trustees, David Barnes, drove 13 hours from Columbus, Ohio, to deliver this eulogy.

Through Thomas Cole’s eyes, we were given a vision of our natural heritage and cultural identity. 160 years later, through Raymond Beecher’s eyes, we were given a vision of what Cedar Grove could be today. Simply put, without Ray’s hard work, his determination, his ability to inspire others and--yes, as he loved to say, plenty of his beer money--there would be no Cedar Grove today, to celebrate Thomas Cole and the birthplace of the Hudson River School.

Ray was adamant that Cedar Grove must never become just another “historic home” filled with period furnishings. He wanted Cedar Grove to be a vital, dynamic force in education and in scholarship, those touchstones of Ray’s career. And that’s why, in addition to saving Thomas Cole’s home, one of the many gifts Ray gave Cedar Grove was this lecture series that bears his name. Today is the third annual Raymond Beecher lecture, but the first without him. Ray passed away two weeks ago, peacefully, at his family home overlooking the Hudson River in Coxsackie. Of course, when someone lives to be 91 years old, as Ray did, we’re not supposed to feel cheated. But because of the kind of person Ray was, I think he could’ve lived to be 191 and we’d still feel cheated. I don’t think we feel too differently today than William Cullen Bryant felt when he said, in his funeral oration for Thomas Cole, that "His departure has left a vacuity which amazes and alarms us. It is as if the voyager on the Hudson were to look toward the great range of the Catskills, at the foot of which Cole, with a reverential fondness, had fixed his abode, and were to see that the grandest of its summits had disappeared – had sunk into the plain from our sight."

Ray’s life was full of accomplishments, none greater than his 50-year marriage to Catharine Shaffer Beecher. He earned degrees from Hartwick College and Boston University, including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Hartwick College, his undergraduate alma mater. And he led men into battle in two theaters of operation in WWII, displaying an ability to get people to do things that would become very familiar to those of us he led in the battle to save Thomas Cole’s home.

For over 50 years he was a proud member of the Greene County Historical Society, and his love for this beautiful area was unsurpassed: he learned more about it than anyone, and devoted his life to preserving it and educating people about it as historian, preservationist and author.

His undying passion was Cedar Grove. He knew more about it than anyone else. The last thing he ever wrote, found on his desk after he died, were four shining paragraphs of what would’ve been a superb article he was writing about Cedar Grove for our Winter Newsletter.

To the end, he was the very embodiment of a gentleman and a scholar. With Ray’s passing, we’ve lost a dear friend, an irreplaceable inspiration, and an enormous amount of knowledge. But what inspired him, and the gifts he gave us, are still here, to inspire us, and future generations. It’s a legacy I know he’d be proud of.

Friday, December 19, 2008


The gold doubloon that entitles its finder to claim the gem-encrusted “Captain Kidd crown” has been unearthed. Its discovery marks the culmination of a GreeneLand treasure hunt that had baffled searchers over the past 17 years.

Taking possession of the glittering prize this morning at a ceremony in the Greene County building was Michael Reid of Catskill. He and members of his extended family, organized as Team Ria, set out in early October to decipher clues embedded in the story Captain Kidd and the Missing Crown and then, on weekend forays, to test hunches.

According to the story they deciphered, in 1699 the notorious Captain Kidd and his crew sailed up the Hudson River, landed somewhere along the Greene County coastline, buried a hoard of piratical loot in a secret spot, sailed away, and were caught and hanged in 1701 before they could return.

That story, seasoned with Da Vinci Code-like clues and written in florid Elizabethan style, was concocted back in 1991 by the mystery writer Jack Hashian. It was devised in support of a promotion organized by civic leaders, including county attorney George Pulver (now county judge) and fuel oil supplier Martin Smith. They were looking for a way to reprise a previous treasure hunt that had engaged locals and visitors in a search for the gem-laden ninepin that ostensibly had been left behind by Rip Van Winkle. That lucrative project had lasted until 1990, when a sleuth from Connecticut, Gerald Park, after seven years of trying, traced the ninepin to a spot in the Evergreen Mountain in Catskill Park.

The Captain Kidd story, as characterized by Greene County Historian Raymond Beecher (to a TimesUnion reporter, back in 2005), was “hokum”; but “Why let the facts get in the way of an entertaining story?” It served well as a promotional stunt, funded mainly by the TrustCo bank. In early years it attracted plenty of publicity and of tourists. Hundreds of copies of Captain Kidd and the Missing Crown, duly illustrated, were distributed. Some hunters returned year after year. But gradually, as failures multiplied, interest faded. A local antiques dealer, George Jurgsatis, opined three years ago “we’re not clever enough around here” to decipher the clues.

Team Ria’s quest for the coin, as explained by Mr Reid and his wife Laura, came about in the wake of the death, after an abrupt illness at an early age, of Laura’s sister Maria Ciancanelli-Kelly. In tribute to Maria’s partiality for pirates, and as a therapeutic exercise, the 15 adults and children set out to succeed where so many others had failed.

From clues planted in the Hashian story they reasoned that thedoubloon, representing the buried treasure, must be located somewhere close to a sailing ship’s mooring site: not in the mountains, then, but near the river or a navigable creek. And so it was. The hiding place actually was a short walk from what had been Martin Smith’s place of business, a fuel oil company fronting on Catskill Creek. The gold coin reposed for 17 years under a rock occupying a strip of tidal beach that was close to where, in the course of the years, thousands upon thousands of people had congregated for picnics and concerts and children's: Dutchmen’s Landing.

At this morning’s press conference, Warren Hart, director of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning, hailed “a highly successful tourism promotion effort.” “Although no one discovered the coin until last week, almost everyone who came discovered, in the process of looking for the treasure, something wonderful about Greene County.”

In a similar vein, Catskill Village President Vincent Seeley said “the treasure hunt did what it set out to do: draw visitors….” Discovery of the treasure, moreover, qualifies as a timely “bright light” at a time of economic gloom.

What will the Reids plan to do with their prize? The golden crown, ornamented with diamonds and other precious stones, has appreciated considerably since its cash value was appraised back in 1997 at $10,600. The Reids downplayed the idea of displaying it at the family’s incipient new place of business: a bakery and café on Brandos Alley in Catskill, to be opened next Valentines Day. Mr Reid said the goal is to “unlock” the crown’s value in a way that “will do something wonderful to commemorate Maria’s life.”

At this morning’s news conference, Martin Smith, who is now the chairman of the Bank of Greene County, was asked if another GreeneLand treasure hunt might be in the offing. “Nothing definite,” he said; “but there’s been vague talk about a Legs Diamond stunt or a Thomas Cole event.”

(For a rich chronicle of the quest, richly illustrated and with links to reports in The Daily Mail and The TimesUnion, go to

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wintry Greene

ATHENS, says Lisa A. Phillips in today’s New York Times (“A River Town with Restoration in its Bones”), “has the feel of a living museum of American architecture.” First settled in the late 17th century, the village “became a thriving hub for shipbuilding, brick making and ice harvesting” and, through the 18th and 19th centuries, became the home as well of exemplary “Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Stick, Second Empire, Folk Victorian and Queen Anne” houses. But it “fell on hard times” when the Rip Van Winkle bridge, opened in 1935, eliminated Athens's value as a ferryboat port. In recent years, however, its vintage homes—-more than 300 are listed on national and state historic registers-- have attracted a growing population of restoration-minded newcomers, especially “Lawyers, journalists and other professionals from New York City and North Jersey.”

ETHICALLY HANDICAPPED? In Cairo, establishment of a Board of Ethics has been authorized but not achieved. The problem is staffing. It’s difficult to find willing candidates who do not hold other governing offices (Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Commission) and who are disinterested with regard to hot local issues (Alden Terrace, sewer systems, taxes, site plan regulations, firematics, party affiliations).

Meanwhile, the Town’s official web site,, has gone blank. And local feelings seem to be of such a character that strictly technical explanations evoke skepticism.

PRICE WAR NEWS. Inserts in local newspapers on Wednesday (12/10) from Rite Aid and new Catskill rival Walgreens do not, in most cases, permit direct price comparisons. However, Walgreens offers 4 2-liter bottles of Pepsi for $5, and Rite Aid makes the same offer, except that use of a manufacturer’s coupon, valid through today (12/13), yields a further $1 discount. In print advertisementss four days earlier, on the other hand, Folgers coffee was $2.99 at Rite Aid, vs. 2 for $5 at Walgreens. On the other hand, Rite Aid will part with Russell Stover Chocolates at the price of 2 boxes for $8.99, vs. Walgreens’s $4.99 per box. As for over-the-counter drugs at these two putative drug stores, well, a 50-pack of Excedrin Extra Strength goes for $3.99 at Rite Aid, while Walgreens offers 100-packs at the price of 2 for $12 less a “register rewards” discount of $3. Meanwhile, both stores offer putative discounts on house brands of aspirin, acetaminophen and naproxen. The discounts are phrased in exactly the same way: “buy 1, get 1 50% off” the regular price, which in no case is specified.

RACKET? New York State’s vaunted Empire Zone program gives tax breaks of various kinds to companies that place new enterprises in selected locations, in return for promises way of job creation. According to Elizabeth Lynam of the non-partisan Citizens Budget Commission, that program is a hopeless failure. Companies take the breaks (in sales tax, property tax, credits) without providing the jobs. The program should be scrapped. See .

BUST-UP. Termination of an amorous relationship led to the rupture of a business relationship and then to the wreckage of a GreeneLand business. That’s the story that emerges from court papers submitted by Carl E. Lundell, of Tannersville, asking Acting State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Lalor to dissolve what remains of the business of NorEaster Heating & Cooling, whose headquarters is at 4431 Route 32, Catskill. Mr Lundell owns 25 per cent of NorEaster. The majority owner is Gail J. Curry of Kiskatom. They lived and worked together until late in 2007. Invoking the terms of Business Corporation Law 1104, Mr Lundell contends that after he jilted her, Ms Curry committed “illegal, fraudulent and oppressive” acts whereby NorEaster’s assets were “looted, wasted and diverted for non-corporate purposes.”

SATURDAY (12/13): Holiday Strolls (=multiple events) in Windham, from 2pm, with Santa in attendance, and in downtown Catskill (late afternoon and evening, with galleries and Santa and fireworks). Details: http://windhamchamber.organd plus And in Hunter, the Catskill Mountain Foundation presents, at the Doctorow Center, an evening of song (Ball In the House quintet; Greene Room Players choir) and dance (Catskill Dance Theater).

SUNDAY (12/14). “Christmas Carols You Never Heard” are described and played, at the Village Square Bookstore & Literary Arts Center in Hunter, from 2pm, by Jim Planck, musician, pedaler and ink-stained wretch.

>>>Tannersville Christmas tree-lighting and menorah (!) ceremony, with music and Santa and gifts, from 5pm at the Veterans Memorial. 589-5850.

>>>”Follow That Dream,” an original musical devoted to the history of Catskill’s Mayflower Sweet Shop, performed by local children along with rock diva Lex Grey ((Gray?)), opens at 6:30pm at the Community Center and moves across the street to the original café, where the finale is followed by light refreshments served by cast members.

NIMBY NEWS. Jurors in the trial of the Democratic Party’s county chairman were dismissed after failing to reach a verdict on the charge that he attacked a woman at a campground in Greene County, Indiana.

APOLOGY. Due to the recent economic crisis--stock market crash, bank failures, budget cuts, rising unemployment, unstable world conditions, outsourcing of business to foreign lands, the hysterical cost of insurance and electricity and petroleum and housing and taxes of all kinds--the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Special

EXPOSED. Tomorrow’s (=Friday’s) Escapes section of The New York Times will contain a long-awaited article (by Lisa A. Phillips) about the character, the quaintness, the people (especially the Clever newcomers) of Athens (the near Athens, not the Greek one). Readers also are shown what sort of property can be acquired in the way of a low-end, mid-range or high-end home (e.g., a pre-Revolutionary War stone house on 90 acres, for $750,000).

EXCEEDED in previous item: prudential limit on parenthesizing.

BUSTED on Tuesday (12/9) on charges related to copulating with a minor: State Police officer Nathan Van Fleet, 30, of Durham. His arrest by fellow officers followed investigative evidence that Van Fleet, while on duty as well as off, collaborated coitally with a 16-year-old girl. After being arraigned in Catskill Town Judge Robert Carl, on charges of statutory rape, child endangerment and official misconduct, he was taken to the county jail where, after posting a $10,000 bond, he was released.

ALSO BUSTED this week was a former Muddy Cup employee who has been charged, along with a confederate, with stealing the shop’s cash register. According to a Daily Mail report (12/10) Terrence Jackson, 25, faces charges of burglary, larceny, and felony criminal mischief. Anthony Colao, 18,faces similar charges. Jackson, who was fired from the café last Friday, is suspected of using a key to enter the place along with Colao on Monday evening, of making off with cash register and contents (around $250), and of throwing the register into a Water Street dumpster.

GONE from downtown Catskill, after a hapless seven-month food operation by Denise and Steven Pilego at Brando’s Alley, is It’s A Wrap. A tastier successor, says landlord Michael DeBenedictus, is in prospect. That would be a fine improvement. So would be a relocation of the admirable Panini Café from its unfortunate West Bridge Street site to a Main Street location.

RECHARGED. Durham’s Code Enforcement Officer, Al Schmidt, was placed by the Town Board on suspension many months ago, pending a judicial hearing of charges alleging misconduct and incompetence. As reported in The Greenville Press, a judicial hearing was almost held recently, only to be postponed at the instigation of the Board, so as to make time to revise the charges. The Town attorney’s notice to Mr Schmidt included an instruction to stay away from work—as he has been doing, as previously instructed, while drawing pay and benefits, since June. When (if?) the hearing takes place, and if he were acquitted, he would be entitled to get what he is getting already: back pay. Get it?

CAIRO CAPERS. Michael Camadine (ardent Republican, former County Legislator, on-off State Assembly candidate) says (Greenville Press, 11/26) Town Board members Ray Suttmeier and Richard Lorenz should resign because (or/and that) they “have consistently lied to the taxpayers.” He neglects to identify their putative falsehoods. Anyhow, could his salvo be connected to a plan to run in the spring against John Coyne for Town Supervisor?

POLITIC$. The election battle here between U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican challenger Sandy Treadwell evidently was the nation's costliest Congressional contest. According to figures posted on the web site of the Center for Responsive Politics, the two candidates raised $11.67 million altogether and spent $11.4 million. Those sums surpass the next costliest race (14th district, Illinois) by about $1.5 million.

-----Spending on that scale is all the more remarkable in view of local contrasts. In the 19th Congressional district, Rep. John Hall—a first-term Democrat, in a previously Republican-dominated electorate, like Ms Gillibrand— won reelection handily with a $2.2 million spend (versus $608,000 by challenger Kieran Michael Lalor. In the neighboring 21st district, incumbent Rep. Maurice Hinchey raised some $697,000, and spent a lot less, in swamping his Republican challenger, George Phillips.

-----The Gillibrand-Treadwell race was unusual not only on account of the scale of spending, but also on account of the weightings. What normally occurs in Congressional (and State, and local) elections is that the incumbent office-holder raises and spends a lot more money than does the challenger. In the recent Federal election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics—drawing on figures supplied by the Federal Elections Commission—the 435 incumbent Representatives who sought re-election raised $582.5 million in campaign funds, or $1.34 million on average. Their challengers, numbering 645 individuals, raised $215.5 million, or an average of $334,000. Most the incumbents—would you believe?—were re-elected.

-----In the 20th Congressional District, however, the usual ratio was reversed. Mr Treadwell, the challenger, out-raised and out-spent the incumbent by ratio of about 3 to 2. He did so, most immediately, by self-funding his campaign to the tune of $5.9 million.

WHERE? Referee Marilyn Carreras will sell at public auction December 17th, at the Greene County Building, in a foreclosure sale against defendants Lorraine Bradt et al, “premises known,” says the standard legal notice, “as 601 High Hill Road, Catskill.” The property is “all that certain plot piece or parcel of land, with the buildings and improvements thereon erected, situate, lying and being in the Town of Coxsackie.”

TOMORROW (Friday, 12/12) at the Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra, the Cornell Co-Operative Extension will start a new program: art exhibitions. Starring in the first of what is planned to be a series of shows is locally renowned landscape artist (and author) Stanley Maltzman. Opening reception at 5pm. (While this event is touted in a press release, it is not mentioned in the Center’s web site,

YOGI SAYS. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

GreeNews Bits


-----I love that you raise money to get these fantastic book that you gave us. The gift you gave me was really really cool! I’m going to use this dictionary for poems and writing. I will use it and be gentle with it. I got stock on a word on Monday; when I grow I will get the word. Now I can look up words, find new words, define words, spell words, use it in reading group, and look up how to say new words. My school name is Catskill Ementary. I am going to show my mom and dad then tomorrom I am going to bring it back for the whole antire school year. We always use them all the time in Reading Group. In our reading group we used the dictanary to help us with the prnounsyasions.

Your friend, sincerely,

Kimani, Jacob, Toya, Christina, Nyen, Molly, Jose, Emily, Shiann, Joshua,Eli,, Alley, Andrew,CeeJay, Zhira, Olivia, Luis, Quinasia, Robert, Tyanna, Keely (of Ms Tedford’s third-grade class).

P.S. I used the dictionary to spell sincerely.

“TO SMOKE OR not to smoke. It’s not even a question”=a GreeneLand sixth-grader’s contribution to the recent Great American Smoke-Out program.

GONE from Cairo’s Planning Board is Vice Chairman Mike Vilella, whose resignation letter (Greenville Press, 11/20) cites“administrative changes and time restraints of my work,” “made worse by the new Site Plan Review law.” That the Town Board adopted in pointed disregard of his opinion. Before the new measure was adopted, Mr Vilella quit work early, went to the Town Board meeting, and “waited two hours” for the proposed new law to be discussed, only to be “told that there would be no discussion.” The law, he warns, will provoke lawsuits and seems to be aimed at “slamming the brakes on commercial growth’ in Cairo. “I can’t in good conscience waste any more of my time working in a process that…will hurt our town….”

ANIMAL OVERLOAD? Coinciding with the return of Catskill’s Cat’n’Around show next summer will be street art renditions of bears and butterflies in Cairo and, in Saugerties, of horses.

TREES “respond to injury, disease and or decay in …only one way. They bulge. Trees cannot heal any sort of wound or repair any injured tissue so they simply seal off the injured tissue and grow new tissue around it.” --Bob Beyfuss, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

CROSSING. Lillian Johnson is about to move her Imagine That! shop (“come on in and paint a [ceramic] piece”) from 396 Main Street, Catskill, clear across the street, to the bigger space lately occupied by Mountain Buddies and then by Republican campaign headquarters.

CHANGED, and rightly touted as “new and improved,” is the web site of The Candyman Chocolates. And for tasty eye candy, click the link to Gabby’s Corner.

PUBLISHING NEWS. Sarah, the “authorized biography” of “possibly America’s next Vice President,” published (and started, and written) during the recent election campaign, is now available--and billed as a “new biography”-- from for free (plus shipping & handling). In different parts of the on-line blurb, it is endowed with different sub-titles: How a Soccer Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down, and How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down. This information comes to us from Human Events, the proudly “conservative” magazine and web site that has lately been self-designated as “headquarters of the conservative underground.” Also advertised on that site are newly published, photo-filled Sarah Palin wall calendars.

BiG BEEF. County Legislator Dorothy Prest (Catskill, District 1) deplores her colleagues’ past and prospective outlays in support of the Think BiG (=Buy in Greene) campaign. Spending 180,000 taxpayer dollars for a marketing campaign in the hope of augmenting sales tax revenues, she says (Daily Mail, 12/3), “is defeating its purpose.” A better use of the currently proposed outlay would take the form of restoring the cuts that have been inflicted on various semi-public agencies’ applications for support.

FETED as Catskill High School “teacher of the year,” at a ceremony in advance of his coming retirement after 32 years in harness: Michael Shantz.

PUMP PRICES. GreeneLand continues to be costlier for motorists than neighboring counties, and the State, and the nation. As of Monday (12/1), the nation-wide average for regular gasoline, per gallon, was $1.81. East Coast, $1.86; Massachusetts, $1.80; New York State, $2.14. Apart from averages, regular was available in downtown Hudson for $2.05 per gallon as well as at the bridge; Kingston, $2.09; Albany, $1.97; various places in New Jersey, $1.57 (!); but here the price ranges up from $2,04 on West Bridge Street (Hess; Cumberland Farms) and $2.05 (Citgo)-$2.07 (Getty) at the Rip Van Winkle bridge exit.

NEW AFFILIATES of GreeneLand’s Chamber of Commerce include Clear Paths Reflexology in Greenville (Irene Vance), The Deer Watch Inn B&B in East Durham (Jo-Ann McGreevy-Rascoe), Green in Greene in Earlton (Jessica and Keith Abrams), IA Financial Advisers in Windham (Graham Merk), and The Retail Doctor (Bob Phibbs) and Starfish Communications (Cheryl Elkins) in Coxsackie.

TONIGHT (12/5/08). Treble Choraliers perform with guest singer Derek Hood at First Reformed Church, 320 Main St, Catskill.

>>Santa Claus joins Christmas tree lighting celebration at the Riverside Park gazebo in Coxsackie, 6:30pm.

TOMORROW (12/6). Holiday Forest Farmers Market, from 10am, at Agroforestry Resource Center, Acra; locally grown and crafted products.

>>Winter Festival showcasing of local food and other products, at Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Hunter Village Square.

>>Holiday Gift Sale by Catskill Garden Club members, with refreshments, at Beattie-Powers House in Catskill, from 9am.

>>Victorian Holiday Stroll (revived after 15-year hiatus), starting at 1pm from Athens Cultural Center.

FINE PRINT eludes readers? It evidently happened among readers of Seeing Greene’s final Nov. 21 item. Our story about canoodling among jail inmates was seen by careless readers as a story about THIS Greene County. Local officials who have received queries on the matter deny that the callers demand to be locked up.

VARSITY PLAYER? A Greene County woman has been charged with the crime of taking indecent liberties with minors. Tammy Harlow Cox, 39, was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies on the basis of evidence indicating that she sent lascivious text messages to, and copulated with, tackles on a local high school’s football team in Greene County, Virginia.