Friday, February 12, 2010

Greene Life

“MY LIFE changed forever on October 13, 2006,” says Sarah Gray Miller, in her editor’s note (“Finding My Way Home”) in the current Country Living magazine.

That’s the day my husband and I closed on our first home, a Victorian charmer in New York’s Hudson Valley. After some 15 years cooped up in teensy Manhattan apartments, Tony and I ran around our new old country house like two kids on Christmas morning…. There’s an upstairs! A porch! A yard! A freakin’ barn! honest-to-goodness linen closet….

Of course, mere square feet, even 3000 of ‘em, didn’t make the difference…. It took spring for Tony and me to discover the peonies and lilacs planted by previous owners—and a couple of years before we started coaxing heirloom tomatoes from seed. Slowly, we got to know our local farm store, drive-in theater, auction house, and bighearted neighbors. We hosted dinner parties, whiled away Saturdays at the creek, joined forces with like-minded preservationists…. Even our bonds with longtime city friends grew stronger, as a few hours of chitchat in the latest downtown restaurant gave way to whole weekends’ worth of genuine conversation over pajama-clad breakfasts and late-night marshmallow roasts.

The home to which Ms Miller refers is located, along with those bighearted neighbors, in Athens.

GOING from GreeneLand to Portland ME, to Portland OR, to Naples FL, to Brooklyn NY and to Manhattan NY: art works, largely in the form of BIG “public” installations, by the dynamic duo of Carol May and Tim Watkins. Emerging from the work bays of the former firehouse in Athens are a kinetic (swaying) construction, “Wind, Water and Sun,” that will grace the entrance to an elementary school; a 110-foot-long creation (lots of welded metal curves and swirls), “Leaf Dance,” for a County Government headquarters; a multiple-mobile “Sea Fancy” for a children’s dental clinic; solar-powered mobiles for the interior of a new library; and big structure for a gallery exhibit addressing the problem of childhood obesity. (To gain a better understanding, go to the web site Click on some of the pictured “public art.” Enlarge the pictures to a screen-filling maximum. The resulting sights do not do justice to the scale of May/Watkins art). While executing these formidable commissions, the May/Watkins team also have found to design sets for “O’Sullivan Stew,” the musical adaptation of the illustrated Hudson Talbott book, to be performed this spring and summer by a GreeneLand teen-agers.

“SNOW BALL fund-raiser for Columbia Memorial Hospital’s Kaaterskill Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Center brought in some $65,000, according to a Daily Mail report. ( This was the sixth and most lucrative year for the event, whose major sponsor was First Niagara Bank. Participants, who packed the Anthony’s banquet room in Leeds, waited and waited some more for the dinner’s main course.

VILLAGE POLITICS. Three men will be standing for two seats on the Catskill Village Board of Trustees at the March 30 elections, and one of them is a sure winner. Vincent Seeley, current president of the five-man Board, was endorsed on Tuesday (2/9/10) by the Republican caucus and then by the Democratic caucus (meeting separately). He will be turned to the board (and deserves it). The other seat will go either to Angelo Amato, 38, incumbent Trustee of six years’ duration, who was endorsed by the Republicans who met in the Town courtroom, or to Brian Kehoe, who was endorsed at the Democratic caucus that was held at Doubles II. Mr Kehoe, a relative newcomer to Catskill, is a trained urban and regional planner.

POLICE REPORTS: FEEDBACK. Our report about the inaccessibility of Catskill Police Department reports—public information that Chief Dave Darling shields from the public—yielded a thoughtful Comment which is posted at the end of our January 19th (“Blottery”) blog. Also generated were some anonymous comments, including “Chief Darling doesn`t want these arrests [publicized] because he is forming a network of snitches by not reporting who was or who wasn`t arrested. Without the help of these ‘rats’ there would never be any crimes solved in Greene County”; and “…it is unfair to make public an arrest when the person can not defend themselves and only one side of the story is usually seen in print leaving the public to speculate and ruin a persons reputation….”

-------Those remarks strike a contrast to the glib cynicism of other commentators, opining that Chief Darling doesn’t want the public to learn, from the paucity and triviality of cases, that his department is over-staffed and under-worked.

Meanwhile, the Village Trustees were invited, as the police chief’s employer, to join the conversation about access. That invitation drew a blank, BUT a funny thing happened shortly after our January 19 posting. On the last two Wednesdays, the “Catskill” section of The Daily Mail’s “Greene police blotter” contained accounts of activities of “the Catskill Police Department” as well as “State police.” Thus, six items in the February 3 “Blotter” reported that during January 26-30 the CPD charged Brandy Fiore, 36, of Cairo with trespass and disorderly conduct; Alice Meisner, 18, of Oak Hill, with petit larceny; Daniel Ciccarelli, 45, of Coxsackie,with unlawful possession of a noxious material; Jesse Malaney, 21, of Schenectady, with failure to appear in court as ordered; Noe Medina, 20, of Greenport with petit larceny; Robert Hacker, 26, of Catskill, with endangering the welfare of a child; and Candie Becker, 24, of Catskill, with driving while intoxicated and endangering a child’s welfare. Similarly, included in last Wednesday’s “Greene police blotter” were 11 items recounting charges lodged during February 3-6 by “the Catskill Police Department” (and only one alluding to State police activity). Various people were charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, larceny, forgery (of inspection certificate), failure to pay a fine. Apparently the technical barriers against public access to CPD’s public records have been surmounted.

VERDICT(S). Nathan Van Fleet, a former police officer in Hunter and Durham, was convicted by Coxsackie Town Court jury yesterday of sexual misconduct. The jurors agreed that the defendant was guilty, as charged, of engaging, back in September 2008, of sexual intercourse with a 16-year old girl. In reaching that verdict, as reported in The Daily Mail today (2/12/10) the jurors relied on physical evidence (semen, blood, DNA samples) and the girl’s testimony. Implicitly, they also found two Durham police officers, who had backed up Van Fleet’s alibi—couldn’t have done it; was on duty that night far away from the girl—guilty of lying.

DAILY MAUL. “The first day of proceedings also heard testimony from the girl, now 18, who confirmed that Van Fleet had sexual relations with him on Sept. 13, 2009.”

1 comment:

Lissa Harris said...

Just wanted to leave you a note to let you know we've been following the Catskill village police issue--and your blog in general--on our new Catskills-area website, the Watershed Post.

Nice work. Some pots could use a little stirring.