Friday, December 11, 2009

B's & C's

BANTAMWEIGHT now reigns over the historic Cus D’Amato Gym, and is—gulp—female. Sandra Lewis Smith, a Catskillian with much experience running New York City jails, aims to bring a resurgence of community support to Cus’s creation, along with programmatic variety and attractions for out of towners. (Not specifically anticipated is retraining program for punch-drunk journalists, such as the one who depicts Mike Tyson as “the boxing world’s most explosive ad fascinating figure,” who deems it possible to “surge toward new horizons” and to “implement innovative concepts as [a place] moves forward,” and who imputes to somebody “looking to expand the therapeutic applications to various demographics” as well as aspirations to “bolster the presentation and vibrance of this local iconic living museum.” Perhaps that scribbler belongs to the cohort he has identified as the “underslept” people.) B & B. The big Catskill house on the big lot at 174 Spring Street, associated in local memories with the Post family, will become a Bed & Breakfast, with four of its 18 rooms adapted for that purpose. Members of the Village’s Zoning Appeals Board, after collecting expressions of opinion from neighbors and from people who attended a public hearing Wednesday night in the Senior Center, voted last night to grant the variance that was required to authorize mixed (commercial and residential) use of the property. It was an easy decision, since all the expressed opinions were supportive. -----The Appeals Board’s action cleared the way for sale of the historic house by Gabrielle Brown and John Lippert, through real estate agent David Ludwig, to the intending hosts: Gilbert and Mary Ann Bagnell. The Bagnells plan to take up residence soon after moving up from Lexington, South Carolina. Ms Bagnell is a retired teacher, Mr Bagnell is a lawyer and sometime restaurateur, and both of them originally came from the northeast. BOOK NOTES II. Our overview last week of GreeneLand-related books was incomplete. We failed to include Wide Awake Men, Ted Hilscher’s brief and illuminating history, from its founding as a building and loan association in January of 1889, of the Bank pf Greene County. Copies are available, free, at BOGC branches. CHIEF. The Village of Catskill could be getting a new police chief in 2010. That could happen even though the Village Trustees would like to keep the present chief, Dave Darling, and he would like to stay on, and no other candidate is in sight. The problem, as reported in The Daily Mail by Susan Campriello (12/4/09), has to do with Chief Darling’s eligibility to remain in office while also retaining the retirement benefits he accumulated in the course of a career as a State policeman. Eligibility hinges on the granting by the State’s civil service commission of a waiver. The commission did grant the required waiver for a two-year stretch when Chief Darling was hired in 2005. It renewed the waiver for 2007-09. This time, however, it has only agreed to grant a six-month extension, terminating in June. Chief Darling’s draws a Village salary of $69,000 per year, to which benefits amounting to about $14,000 are not added. CLOSED, without even waiting until after Christmas: the Hallmark Cards shop in the Catskill strip mall called Grandview Plaza. CORRECTION. Last week’s item under the heading “Launched” suggested that the recording of Town Council proceedings, and placement of the recordings on the internet, began on December 1. Not so. It was new only for Durham. Community radio station WGXC has been doing this work for many months in many GreeneLand towns, and the results are accessible on When the station goes live next year on FM 90.7, we will be able to audit the proceedings as they happen. (BTW: some WGXC personnel are leading members of a society that is devoted to a little known cause: Acoustic Ecology. See COMING TOMORROW. GreeneLanders are offered an embarrassment of riches, which we will not attempt to enumerate here. Especially rich with attractions are Athens and Catskill. Best sources of information: ; ; ;

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Soft Greene Powder

OPENED for business on Monday, after lavish ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Saturday: GreeneLand’s new Urgent Medical Care facility off Grandview Avenue (near Walgreen’s) in Catskill. Initial activity, says Dr Robert Schneider, was “busier than we expected,” with more than 30 prospective patients coming in—no appointment necessary—from as far away as Greenport. Dr Schneider heads a crew of 15, including two physicians, three physician’s assistants, four x-ray technicians, a nurse practitioner plus administrative and clerical people who will be staffing the facility seven days a week, 12 hours per day. (943-9100.The web site is still in the making).

The time gap between proposing to build the new facility and opening the doors of Urgent Medical Care proved to be exceptionally short. And for that, said Dr Schneider to a Seeing Greene interviewer/patient, much credit goes to the “amazing,” “incredible” support provided by public officials: county legislators, Village trustees, Planning Board members, the Public Works Department, the police department….

------Opening of Urgent Medical Care comes on the heels of special public recognition given to the established GreeneLand model: EmUrgentCare, operated by Stephen and Pamela Hassett in Coxsackie ( The proclamation of esteem from the Coxsackie Town Council was augmented, moreover, by a Daily Mail editorial (12/1) hailing the Hassetts as “role models” for their community.

RAY REMEMBERED. “Many preservation success stories have at their core a champion: some one who sees past the immediate impossibilities, envisions a site as a viable historic resource preserved for the future, and marshals the forces to bring the idea to fruition.” Such a champion, says Winthrop Aldrich of New York State’s Historic Preservation sub-division, was GreeneLand’s Raymond Beecher (1917-2008). The preservation championed by Mr Beecher is the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill. Back in 1998, Mr Beecher gave $100,0000 to facilitate the Greene County Historical Society’s purchase of Cedar Grove, the ruined home of the founder, in the 1840’s, of America’s Hudson River School of art. After instigating a rescue effort, Mr Beecher “watched over the restoration, and was a tireless advocate and fund raiser.” Thanks to his efforts and those of other backers, the house and grounds were reopened for tours in 2001. To this cause Mr Beecher contributed “significant personal funds” along with a million-dollar bequest—the Raymond and Catherine Beecher Memorial Fund—for the site’s maintenance. In the last 20 years of his life, moreover, Mr Beecher also “wrote a weekly newspaper column, initiated the establishment of the Greene County Historical Register, was active with the Vedder Research Library, served as a municipal historian, wrote several books, and helped lead the Greene County Historical Society.”

These activities yielded “rewards and honors” that were “almost as extensive” Mr Beecher’s “record of public service.” And “one of the best” of those rewards, although posthumous, was the transfer of responsibility for the Cole property from the Greene County Historical Society” to an independent governing board.

“From doomed ruin to a restored site, vibrant with tours and educational programs, the future of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site promises to be all that Raymond Beecher could have wished.”

Those words of tribute were delivered yesterday (12/8) in Cohoes, in a restored music hall (bullt in 1874), at a ceremony sponsored by the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the purpose, Mr Aldrich said, of “recognizing exemplary preservation partnerships and achievements,” “expressing gratitude on behalf of all New Yorkers,” fostering appreciation of historic preservation as “an important tool of economic development,” and inspiring people “to safeguard the State’s heritage.” Of the various rewards dispensed on this occasion by Carol Ash, commissioner of the State’s department of parks, recreation and historic preservation, Ray Beecher was cited as the foremost individual contributor to the cause of historic preservation in New York.

BUST. That seems to be the story concerning the bankruptcy auction of GreeneLand’s biggest resort: the Friar Tuck. The supposed buyer, Joseph Abbo of Oklahoma City, seems to be inaccessible, and his business, lawn care, is hard to locate. We tried various telephone calls and inter-net sources, and Daily Mailman Colin DeVries pursued the matter more thoroughly. Rick Caridi, co-owner of the resort, evidently is contemplating a lawsuit against the auctioneer, Auction America of New York City, and against real estate broker Win Morrison, for damages allegedly arising from failures to heed established protocols at the Nov. 19th auction and from contributing to the false impression that the resort is closed. Judge Robert E. Littlefield Jr may be presiding over a bankruptcy court conference today (12/9) in Albany.

Meanwhile, the Tuck has indeed stayed open and continues to attract, so to speak, rave notices: “dirty, outdated and just CREEPY”; “dirty, empty and potentially dangerous”; “Oh, the Horror”; “flies driving me crazy”; “Twilight Zone”; “Worst place to stay ever”….

Still rivaling the Tuck in popular esteem is GreeneLand’s derisively named Quality Inn. According to recent guests who have shared their experiences with Trip Advisor readers, that hostel is “rundown,” “moldy,” dirty, bed bug-infested, an “eyesore,” akin to a “flophouse,” “needs HELPPPPPPPPP!”

JOBS. Rates of unemployment in GreeneLand and in nearby counties evidently are not getting worse. As reported by the State Department of Labor, the unemployment rate here in October was 8.3 per cent of the work force. That figure is fractionally smaller than in September. It also is higher than the figures reported for nearby communities and for the State as a whole: 6.8% in Albany County, 7.4% in Columbia County; 7.7% in Ulster County. It is a bit smaller (which is to say, better) than for the whole country (9.5%), for the State (8.7%) and for New York City (10.3%). In October of 2008, however, rates of unemployment in the U.S. at large, in New York State, and in various parts of the State ranged from 4.8% to 6.1%.

INDUCTED into the National Honor Society at a November 16th ceremony recognizing their scholarship (90+ average from first year on), as well as community service, leadership and character: 26 Greenville High School students, of whom 17 are girls.

--------That gender distribution seems to be representative of GreeneLand schools. Another example would be Hunter-Tannersville students named to first quarter Superintendent’s honor roll: 8 girls, 2 boys.

RESTORED, thanks to Town of Catskill efforts spurred by the late Coucilman Joe Hausik: The Little Red Schoolhouse in Jefferson Heights. As pointed out at the Novermber 21 dedication ceremony by Richard Philp, Catskill Town and Village historian, this was the third one-room schoolhouse built by Van Vechten family members, on Van Vechten land. Back in1882, its operation for the year—maintenance, firewood, supplies, teacher’s salary—cost $368. Many living GreeneLanders attended that school before 1948, when it was closed.

[This item was edited after posting, so as to eliminate an error kindly pointed out by former School Board member--for decades--Jack Guterman.]

LAUNCHED in Durham eight days ago (12/1): a project of recording, for prospective later broadcast (on streaming radio, at least) meetings of the Town Council. Even if the broadcasts would not attract many listeners, the records would be available as incipient transcripts of proceedings (unlike what is done by town clerks).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Greene Ink

STELLAR accomplishment” of “monumental” proportions. That’s how reviewer Esther Blodgett, in November’s Catskill Mountain Region Guide, characterizes a new GreeneLand book: Historic Places in Greene County, a richly illustrated, anecdote-seasoned product of five years of effort by members of the Greene County Historical Society. Publication (by Flint Mine Press) of this “historical banquet” will be celebrated tomorrow (12/5) from 2pm at the Historical Society’s Vedder Research Library in Coxsackie. MEMOIRS of living in GreeneLand have been produced, more or less lately, by local authors. The newest, A Path of Pebbles. My Road to Life in America, comes from Waltraud Maassmann, matriarch of Blackhead Mountain Lodge. It traces her experiences from a childhood in Germany during World War II to GreeneLand and a family-run golf resort. -----Earlier this year, Roy Davis produced Crest Park. A Catskill Moutain Memoir. The title refers to a boarding house that opened back in 1899 on South Street, Windham, and subsequently was operated by members of the author’s large, warm family. The author dwells particularly on growing up in the 1950’s and 1960s, with card parties and lemonade on the porch, maple syruping, sledding…. -----Also noteworthy in the way of GreeneLand memoirs is A Tongue in the Sink. The Harrowing Adventures of a Baby Boomer Childhood (Osprey FL: Eiffel Press, 2004), by former Catskillian Dennis Fried. Locals of a certain age will appreciate his references to Washington Irving Elementary School, all-black Willard’s Alley, hand-setting pins at the bowling alley, Dad’s dental practice, Grandpa Jake’s drug store, Uncle Dick and Aunt Sybil, the Prest family, 15-cent matinees at the Comuunity Theatre, Ms Van Vechten’s snack bar on Slippery Rock creek, the former public swimming pool, soap box derbies, cap guns…. Doctor Fried (he aggressively sports his advanced degree) also envisions a “Land of Rip-Off Winkle.” After driving west across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge can immediately fill his gas tank “at the Rip Van Winkle Service Station, have lunch at the Rip Van Winkle Diner, wash…clothes at the Rip Van Winkle Laundromat, dine at the Rip Van Winkle Tavern, then bowl a few games at the Rip Van Winkle Lanes,” then sleep at the Rip Van Winkle Motel. That bit of hyperbole may work in a standup routine. It is almost as false as Doctor Fried’s recollection that Catskill abounds with Italian-Americans (true) who are named Louis (false). Louis is a French name. WATCHING GIDEON (Simon & Schuster 2009) is a GreeneLand book not on account of its setting but on account of its author: Stephen H. Foreman of Windham. It is Mr Foreman’s second novel (following Toehold) and stands along a considerable body of work as script writer and director. Reviewer Blodgett (Catskill...Guide, 11/09) hails Watching Gideon as “a masterpiece in character study,” “a poignant, moving portrait” of father-son bonding, “a snapshot of America’s rugged, gritty history, ad a fast-paced story of lust, green [sic] and self-satisfaction,” “a jewel of a novel.” THE SHACKLETON LETTERS, similarly, ia a GreeneLand book not on account of its setting—the Antarctic Circle, mostly—but on account of its compiler: Regina Daly of Catskill. Published by the Erskine Press of Great Britain, abundantly illustrated, and sub-titled Behind the Scenes of the Nimrod Expedition, it’s all about the 1907 expedition to the Antarctic led by Ernest Shackleton during the heroic age of that activity. Ms Daly will talk about the book, and the story at the Union Mills Gallery (Catskill) next Sunday (December 12th). GLUE is the prospective title of a prospective book by another GreeneLander (via England and New York): Douglas Atkin. This work-in-progress would be a kind of sequel to The Culting of Brands. Turn Your Customers Into True Believers (Penguin Portfolio, 2004). The latter title reads like an advertisement for work as an ad campaign manager, and indeed it does offer advice on how some branded products (Harleys; BMWs; Apples; Dungeons & Dragons) win loyalties that operate to bring people together. The subject matter of Culting, however, is broader than that, with references drawn abundantly from social psychology. The Glue project, says Mr Atkin, will offer guidance, drawn from interviews as well as from published studies, on methods of nourishing within communities a sense of, well, community. (Devising names such as 'GreeneLand'?).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Prospect

*SATURDAY’s special GreeneLand events commence at dawn with a shot. Or a fusillade. It’s the start in New York’s southern tier of deer hunting season; and thousands of whitetails, according to Outdoors columnist Dick Nelson, are likely to perish by the end of the day. -----Meanwhile (key word signaling topical leap) restoration of the venerable eLittle Red School House in Jefferson Heights (Catskill) will be celebrated officially at 10:30am. In the afternoon, at theVillage Square Bookstore in Hunter, GreeneLander Stephen Foreman will sign copies of his new novel, Watching Gideon. Back in Catskill, many art galleries will be open in the afternoon and evening, and the Arts Council’s galleries (downstrairs and up) will feature small works by members, with a reception commencing at 6pm. Elsewhere on Main Street, at 6pm the Community Theatre will screen the documentary “Freeing Sarah Baraldini.” at 6pm. (The film, about 1960’s domestic radicals, received an award called a Stiffy, in the “Most Principled” category. To see a trailer: : At 7pm, anyhow, the Community Center will house a second performance of the original GreeneLand play “Olive Cheritree.” *”O’Sullivan Stew” is the likely name of a new musical show to be performed next Spring by a teen Greene troupe. It will be a sequel of sorts to this year’s triumphant “River Of Dreams”: original story based on a book by GreeneLnd author and illustrator Hudson Talbott; original music by GreeneLand composer Frank Cuthbert; sets and costumes designed by GreeneLand-based artists Carol May, Tim Watkins and Jared Aswegan; produced and directed by a GreeneLand-based show business veteran Casey Biggs, performed by students from at least three GreeneLand high schools. Instead of celebrating Hudson River-based history, however, this show will bring to the stage what Mr Talbott calls “A Tale Cooked Up In Ireland.” *TUCKED IN? According to a report in today's Daily Mail, a single bid for the Friar Tuck Resort was submitted and accepted yesterday at the bankruptcy auction. The $4.5 million offer came, via realtor Win Morrison, from a Joseph T. Abbo of Caterpillar Law Service in Oklahoma City. But the Abbo telephone numb er (405 767 3391) seems to be disconnected, and the company is not listed in telephone and business directories. Googling yields no information. Anyhow, if the deal does close, GreeneLand tax revenues will swell by around $450,000, as unpaid taxes first bit at bankruptcy sale money. The major creditor, Ulster Savings Bank, along with the many other creditors, would get some fraction of what they are owed. *“The General Electric Superfraud. Why the Hudson River Will Never Run Clean” is the title of an article in the coming December issue of Harpers magazine, written by by David Gargill, with photographic illustrations by GreeneLand’s Susan Wides.
*Food Stuff. Silver Spur Steakhouse & Saloon may open soon at 2540 Old Kings Road, Catskill—unless that is just the business address. Falvey’s popular steak house in Windham, having overcome a liquor license problem, will reopen soon. Jerry’s Deli will move from its present hard-to-find Boulevard Avenue location, off West Bridge St, Catskill, to the heavily trafficked site that for many years was The Whole Donut and for a few weeks was Souper Sammys. (Another luncheonette, Sunny Jim’s Sandwich Emporium, opened formally in Coxsackie last Wednesday, and sports a remarkably apt telephone number: 731-SOUP). *HOSTELRY. Recent sale of a spacious East Catskill property, (house, pool, tennis court) may pave the way for establishment of a Bed & Breakfast that is particularly advantageous for the Thomas Cole Historic House (formerly known as Thomas Cole National Historic Site; and the change of name only hints at a great story). *ZIPLINE will be added to toys for tourists in Hunter, thanks (in part) to a $200,000 economic development loan. Get a grip. *"AN ANGEL BESIDE ME" is not the name of a prospective new GreeneLand business. It's in Rhinebeck. *FOR SALE by auction, December 2 at 11am, at the temporary county courthouse on Woodland Avenue, Catskill: the former golf driving range in Windham. Creditor plaintiffs in the action are Paul J. and Mary H. Mademann. Defaulting debtors named in the court order are Adam Okonski, George and Antoine Flouty, and the Mademanns’ older son David. *TOUTED by billboard for sporting goods store at Albany's Crossgates mall:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So it's Friday the 13th

RETIRING from office at the end of this year: long-serving County Ttreasurer Willis Vermilyea and his long-serving deputy, Madelyn Brandow. The latter departure means that there will not be an obvious or ‘logical’ successor—a person who would be appointed by the legislators to complete Mr Vermilyea’s present term and then, perhaps, would stand for a full four-year term at the November 2, 2010, election.

-----Mr Vermilyea, 64, a trained accountant, was a county legislator (R-Coxsackie) before being elected in 1979 to the Treasurer’s office. He subsequently left public service briefly to be chief financial officer of the (now former) Greene County Memorial Hospital, then returned to the Treasurer’s office in 1994. In addition, he has been a County Industrial Development Agency board member for 20 years, some of them as chairman.

-----IIn a generally circulated statement, Mr Vermilyea voiced particular satisfaction over the facts that during his tenure the county’s unrestricted fund balance rose from less than $1 million to more than $8 million, that a “fully integrated accounting and budget system” was put in place, and that GreeneLand’s credit rating has risen from close to the bottom among New York counties to the top fourth (a change that “relates to thousands of dollar in savings on future interest payments”).

-----The Treasurer’s job pays $74,000 in yearly salary plus liberal health and retirement benefits.

FORCED OUT by a Stiefel Laboratories announcement of plant closings will be, barring a reversal, 260 employees of at Stiefel's Oak Hill plant, along with the same number in Sligo, Ireland, plus 100 in Singapore and another 60 in Coral Gables, Florida. Such is the news that was passed down Wednesday night from GlaxoSmithKline, the giant pharmaceuticals company that bought Stiefel last spring, and gave what some locals took to be assurances that the Oak Hill plant would remain in operation (especially in light of various tax concessions). The announced closings would be phased to completion in 2012 or 2013. No word yet on the fate of other Stiefel/GSK employees in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Pakistan, as well as elsewhere in the U.S.A.

UNEARTHED by archaeologists working at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill (the estate known as Cedar Grove) last week: the original stone foundations of artist Thomas Cole’s “new studio,” which was opened back in 1846, was used by the artist until his death in 1848, then fell into disrepair until being demolished in 1973. The revealed foundations now are covered in plastic, to be shown on educational occasions and to await the accumulation of capital that is sufficient to fund the studio’s restoration (in period style on the outside, but with interior arrangements ensuring the health and safety of exhibits). POST-ELECTION NOTE. Heated as they were in some towns, the GreeneLand elections of last November 3 did not attract heavy participation. The turnout figure, according to the Board of Elections, was 9327. That's a lot less than the turnout of voters for the 2008 presidential-on-down elections: 17,259. It's also a bit less than the turnout for the local elections in 2007: 9791 voters.

OF CHURCH & STATE. Does the use of church premises as polling stations in civic elections mark a breach of the principle of separation of church and state? Rev. Victor Nelson of Cairo’s Resurrection Lutheran Church uses that question as point of departure (in a Daily Mail letter) for thoughtful reflections on related matters. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, he reminds us, does not prescribe church-state “separation.” It prescribes, rather, that Congress shall neither make a law respecting the establishment of religion (making one denomination the official or preferred denomination), nor make a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Within that framework, Reverend Nelson notes, “Cooperation and interaction” do take place, what with churches being obliged to get building and signage permits from local governments, public authorities renting church spaces for voting and other secular purposes, churches renting school auditoriums for worship services, Congress and the Supreme Court opening their sessions with prayers, chaplains serving in prisons and military units at public expense, and our national motto being is “In God We Trust.” The Constitution, says the cleric, prohibits the removal of God from every aspect of life and forbids our government to be religious. Both restraints, he affirms, are good things. (Not addressed by Reverend Nelson: implications of churches' exemptions from property taxes, with attendant issues of deciding what qualifies to be classed as a “church”).

MURPHY DISSENTS. U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, who won his special Congressional election battle here last April, was one of 39 Democrats who voted AGAINST their House leaders’ big health care reform proposal, which passed on Saturday by a vote of 220 (all Democrats plus one Republican) to 215. In voting Nay, Mr Murphy broke with all but two of his fellow Democrats from New York State (including the newly installed Bill Owens, victor in last Tuesday’s special election in the far-north 23rd district). The other dissenters were freshmen Eric Massa (29th District, in north country) and Michael McMahon (13th District, in Staten Island and part of Brooklyn). Mr Muphy’s rationale, as conveyed in a public statement (accessible on his official web site, , then click News Releases) dwells on “an unacceptably high price tag.” The bill

makes a number of important reforms, …including the elimination of the lifetime caps on insurance benefits and the pre-existing condition exclusion, invests in prevention and primary care, creates a health insurance exchange to force insurance companies to compete and offers a public option for people who want to get away from for-profit insurance companies.

----However, I have consistently said that any bill that Congress passes must curb costs and keep health care affordable in the long term. During these difficult economic times, an unacceptably high price tag will stress our already overstretched federal budget and place even more burdens on our hard working individuals, families and small businesses. We need to fix the system now, and not put off the hard choices for another generation. Furthermore, I am deeply frustrated by the last minute addition of over $50 billion in taxes on the two largest private employers in the 20th District – medical device manufacturers and paper mills.

----As a small businessman, I am also concerned that H.R. 3962 falls short of making health insurance affordable for the small businesses of the 20th District; it fails to reform the fundamentally flawed incentives in the system, which continue to drive costs upward; and it fails to restrain the monopolistic practices of private insurers, which allow them to continue to increase premiums already weighing on families and small businesses.

Most of Mr Murphy’s fellow Nay-voting Democrats represent “conservative” districts that had until recently been held by Republicans or that gave majorities to the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, in 2008. (For details, see The New York Times of Nov. 8). Also dissenting, however, was Rep. Dennis Kucinich. (For his rationale, see and News Release for Nov. 7)

-----Mr Murphy’s decision has triggered attacks from, from The Huffington Post, and from Citizen Action of New York, whose organizers planned to hold a protest rally on Thursday (11/12) outside Mr Murphy’s Clifton Park field office. The published protests so far have not addressed the terms of Mr Murphy’s explanation. PROTESTS against the State Government's recently enacted License Plate Reissuance Act take the form, in GreeneLand among other places, of petitions imputing to it economic hardship, "waste of natural resources" and incompatibility with the cause of having "a green environment." The Act mandates that when renewing two-year motor vehicle registrations, owners must buy new blue and gold license plates ($25, vs. $15 previously) and, if they want to keep an old plate's number, they must pay an additional $20. Moreover, up-State leaders damn the Act's discriminatory effect, since there are many more cars and pickups, per head of population, north of subway- and taxicab-rich New York City.

WEEKEND SPECIALS. On Friday night comes the opening gala for the Fortnightly Club’s annual Festival of Trees (at Anthony’s in Leeds; 943-2044). The festival (decorated Christmas trees and wreaths; crafts; gifts…) is open to the public over the weekend. “Santa Clause [sic] will be there too!” says the advertisement. On Saturday morning, at the Oak Hill-Durham Firehouse, an all-you-can-eat breakfast will be served in conjunction with a vintage snowmobile show and swap event (966-8628). On Saturday and Sunday, the Greene County Historical Society presents (at 11am, 1pm, 3pm) Chilly Willy Winter’s Eve tours of the Bronck Museum site (dwellings dating from 1663 and 1738 in Coxsackie), spiced with ancient legends and period Dutch refreshments; On Saturday night in Hunter, at the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Doctorow Center, the Lyric Piano Quartet plays chamber music ( ) while in Catskill, at the Community Center, the Soup To Nuts troupe gives the opening performance of “Olive Cheritree,” a play about an Oak Hill-based landscape artist of the 19th century, and at the top of Main Street, in the BRIK gallery, from 7pm, lots of talent will be on show in support of our embryonic community radio station, WGXC.

ADVERTISED by a GreeneLand firm, on a Route 9W billboard: Our gift certificates are gift wraped! Not forcibly wraped, then.