Friday, March 26, 2010

Catskill Village Election

Catskill Village voters who turn out for the local election on Tuesday (3/30/10) will confront a happy hardship: filling two seats on the Village Board by choosing between three good candidates.

(In case you did not notice, that sentence mixes exposition, prognostication and evaluation. The evaluation—“happy hardship,” “good candidates”—operates rhetorically, in context, as advocacy: prodding you to feel that the choice is indeed between good candidates and thus is indeed a happy choice).

Best known of the three is Vincent Seeley, who is seeking a third two-year term on the Board, who has been elected by his peers for the last six years as President of the Board, and who brings to his leadership an insomnia-fueled dedication.

Also seeking re-election is Angelo Amato, a local businessman (Candyman Chocolates) and native Catskillian whose six years of Board tenure have been marked by a distinctive touch of independent-mindedness.

The third candidate, Brian Kehoe, a new Catskillian, brings to his candidacy an extraordinarily appealing background: a professional career in community and land use planning.


Mr Seeley, a registered Republican, has been endorsed by the local Democratic Party committee as well as by the Republican committee. Mr Amato has been endorsed by (and is a leader of) the Republican committee. Mr Kehoe has been endorsed by the local Democratic committee.

(We supply that information because it is customary to do so, and because the ballot identifies the candidates by party backing. In adhering to custom, however, we run the risk of sustaining the delusion that information about party affiliation is richly informative, if not definitive, about the merits--character, principles, policy leanings--of candidates for elective office).


The three candidates were invited to provide statements for posting on Seeing Greene. On reflection, however, we decided, with his concurrence, to dispense with a statement from Mr Seeley. The veteran Village President is well known to GreeneLanders. His return to office seems to be assured and, in the judgment of the Seeing Greene gang, richly deserved. Mr Seeley can be impulsive and stubborn, but he works resolutely for the good of Catskill. As for the other two candidates:


For the last six years, I have worked alongside the other Trustees to make the Village of Catskill a better place. Brian Kehoe has even been quoted as saying he “…praised the Board for all they have accomplished in revitalizing the Village and improving the recreational opportunities.” Moreover, Village Board President Vincent Seeley has said “The current Village Board has worked very well together, to get a massive amount of work done over the past 6 years in order to make Catskill a better place to live. Each of us brings a different perspective to the table; Angelo…helps us see things from a small business point of view. Having grown up in Catskill, Angelo and I have seen Catskill at its best and worst and that experience is vital to help our board continue to bring the Village of Catskill forward. Angelo has demonstrated he has the skill-set I am looking for to bring much needed checks and balance to our board.”

One example of improved Village recreational opportunities is the new ice skating rink…. I am proud to say that I secured part of the funding to make that happen. At the same time, I have worked tirelessly to keep tax increases to a minimum. I have never voted for more than a 4 percent tax increase and have rejected the idea of raising taxes for special projects, like sidewalks, without an urgent need and a study supporting such need.

During my tenure on the board we have successfully worked to create over 500 new jobs with the creation of Walmart, Lowes, Walgreens, Urgent Care etc. Presently being proposed are new projects that would add to that total. Also, I am working on a grant proposal for an elevator in our Village Hall building. If we are awarded the grant we will bring a historic building into ADA compliance, making it handicap accessible at no cost to our taxpayers.

As a local business owner and lifetime resident, I know first-hand the tribulations of running a business in Catskill and have witnessed the Village’s ups and downs over more than three decades. As a member of the Downtown and Waterfront Revitali-zation team, I know the challenges of attracting and retaining new businesses. Making Catskill a destination for visitors, while providing goods and services to our local population, are essential elements of revitalization.

Since the current Trustees are working well together and are on track in revitalizing the Village, why disrupt an effective, pro-active, team that has a proven track record?


I am hopeful that my professional skills would be of significant practical use to the work of the Board of Trustees. The next State budget will result in reduced revenues flowing to the Village, just at a time when the Village is suffering a net loss of businesses and sales and when big infrastructure repairs and investments must be made soon.

My contribution will consist of assisting the Board and staff to prioritize and add efficiency to all operations. I have direct experience with managing large municipal budgets, completing infrastructure projects and economic development. Provision of municipal services in an efficient and effective manner will be a key attribute of municipalities in difficult times. Responding proactively to the State Comptroller’s report, which called out a set of lapses in budgetary procedures, we must put our fiduciary house is in order. We also must maintain existing facilities better. Sidewalks are a real issue.

We must celebrate the urban character of the Village and the reality that we are Greene County’s cosmopolitan center. We also must continue to support revitalization of historic structures as well as enhancement of Main Street with unifying amenities such as period lighting, raised crosswalks with brick pavers, and a pocket park with benches.

We must actively court businesses that would thrive here – even take trips to lure folks out of Brooklyn, Beacon, and other places where rents are high. Never give up on Main Street, even when it seems easy to do so.

We must tap into the great wealth of skills existing in our population. Catskillians care. They want their village to thrive and they are willing to work for free to make it happen, as is evident in the community garden, the community center, the farmers’ and artisans’ market, the volunteer firefighters, Beattie-Powers Place, Little League, the arts council, the Thomas Cole House….

Having worked with a variety of municipal boards in my career, I understand how much effort is required to be useful as a Trustee. I will attend all Board meetings and will work with my colleagues as a team player.


The three candidates appeared on March 19th at a 90-minute forum in the Catskill Community Center. At the invitation of moderator Fawn Potash of the Mid-Hudson League of Women Voters, they made brief opening statements, responded more or less to written questions, and made brief closing statements. Noteworthy about the audience of about 30 was the presence of long-active local Democrats and the comparative dearth of local Republicans.

The forum’s proceedings were recorded by Tom Roe, program director of our nascent community radio station. The post about the candidate forum is here. Direct linkage to the audio recording.

Among matters raised by auditors and responses given and not given:

TAXES. In response to several questions from auditors, the candidates acknowledged the heavy weight of local taxation. Aside from the general idea of attracting more taxpayers and thereby spreading the load, none named a specific target for cost reduction. None advocated a systematic comparison of Catskill outlays per capita, and per budget category, with other Villages’ outlays. Mr Kehoe emphasized the need “to manage our money better” and cited his experience as a professional municipal planner as a source of for likely success in finding economies. He also alluded to expanses of under-utilized creek-side properties. The utility of outside grants as a local expense reducer was affirmed but, as Mr Amato pointed out, many grants require recipients to raise matching funds. Mr Seeley suggested that Catskill’s heavy taxes are due in some measure to “bearing the weight” of being the county seat.

All three candidates voiced support for the idea of economizing by sharing facilities or operations with the Town of Catskill. No target for sharing was nominated. In the context of that discussion, Mr Seeley addressed the subject of consolidating Town and Village governments. He voiced unqualified opposition (“The Town is the Town, the Village is the Village”). No candidate said that the subject of consolidation deserves methodical, objective study.

FIREWORKS. About the vexed question of whether to move the traditional July 4th fireworks show from Dutchmans Landing to downtown Catskill, Mr Amato said he believes the event “should remain down there” but if out-voted, he will show solidarity with fellow Trustees. Mr Kehoe passed on the chance to voice an opinion. So did Mr Seeley, but he indicated preference for the change of site. He did not put the case, as he has done before, in terms of boosting downtown business. Instead, he alluded to traffic and security problems arising from heavy traffic into and out of the Dutchman site, and to the desirability of “trying new tricks.”

(The business-boosting case for the transfer is hard to sustain in view of the facts that the fireworks show would take place on a Sunday night, the one Trustee who runs a downtown business does not favor the transfer, and the directors of the local Chamber of Commerce also oppose the shift, unanimously).

PROMOTION. In the context of discussing ways of bringing more people and commerce (and taxpayers) to Catskill, Mr Seeley said “Our best sales force is the five thousand people who live here.” From those people, in large part, must come persuasive invitations to prospective new enterprisers. Meanwhile, much would be gained here if members of different local groups inter-mingled more than they do. Thus, firefighter families ought to take a greater interest in Village’s art heritage, and art trail devotees ought to be exposed to the firefighters’ sub-culture.

In response to a question from the floor, the candidates acknowledged that community participation by non-white Catskillians is particularly meager. Mr Seeley said he has tried hard to alleviate that problem, but has found that local non-whites generally “do not feel comfortable participating in community functions.”

TRANSPARENCY. The value of making the doings of Village governors (boards, commissions, departments) readily visible to the citizens received assent (would you believe?) but no ideas about how to do it were voiced.

The subject was brought up by a Seeing Greene minion. It was prompted by discovering recently that the “Minutes and Documents” section of the Catskill Village web site contained no minutes or documents (or anything else), that until last Friday no print-out of minutes of Village Board meetings had been made since last September, and that the minutes themselves are abnormally cryptic. Those minutes, such as they are, already exist in computer text files. So do reports from committees and departments, including Police Department action and incident reports. So does the Village budget—the plan of expenditures and revenues. To copy those files onto the Village web site would involve little more than the flick of a switch. The payoff in terms of access to public records and hence transparency would be substantial.


Published in The Daily Mail yesterday (3/25/10) was a letter in which three elected officials (a county legislator; two Town Council members) urged support for “the Seeley-Kehoe team.” That language gave a boost of sorts to observers who noticed that the paper previously contained a picture of Mr Seeley and Mr Kehoe, smiling together after appearing at an unidentified “gathering.” No similar picture of Mr Seeley with Mr Amato has appeared. At the same time, however, many campaign signs depicting Mr Amato and Mr Seeley (and Village Justice Charles Adsit) as a slate of candidates are visible around the Village, and no signs coupling Mr Seeley with Mr Kehoe (as a team) have appeared. Moreover, the signatories of the letter praising the Seeley-Kehoe “team,” though not identified by party in their letter, are Democrats.


Polling place for this election is the firehouse at 1 Central Avenue, Catskill, and the voting booth will be open from 9am to 9pm.

On the ballot, in addition to the three Village Board candidates, is Mr Adsit, who is unopposed in his bid for re-election as Village Justice.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Delinquent Greene

-------This year’s collection of tax-delinquent GreeneLand properties that are headed for sale at auction will be bigger than usual. The crop will be bigger not only because of our economic slump, with more owners being unable to meet their tax obligations, but also because last year’s scheduled auction did not take place. It was canceled in the wake of the untimely death of Michael Deubert, keeper of the county treasurer’s record-keeping system. Consequently, there will be an extra auction. The postponed auction will take place in late April, with the regular one coming in September.

-------If all overdue taxes on those properties were paid tomorrow, along with accumulated interest and penalties, GreeneLand’s treasury would be enriched by about $2.5 million. If all delinquent owners paid up after waiting until near the last permitted day—usually a week before the scheduled auction--the intake, what with increased penalties, would be even greater.

-------No windfall of that size will eventuate. Some delinquent owners are broke, some are dead, some are unreachable. Some properties that do end up on the auction block will go for even less than their overdue tax bills.

-------County Treasurer Willis Vermilyea’s roster of properties subject to sale at the scheduled 2009 auction originally numbered 1220. Following the postponement, and then notices about the new date, that list had shrunk to 92. If the charges on all those parcels were paid as well, the county treasury would grow to the extent of about $580,000 and the auction would be canceled. Some of the 92 delinquent owners, having been warned, have already paid up (including interest charges at the rate of one per cent per month). More redemptions will arrive ahead of the deadline. Drawing on past experience, Mr Vermilyea and his Director of Taxes, Ellen Crouse, estimate that about 45 properties will go on the block at Anthony’s banquet hall in Leeds on April 28.

-------Those parcels are scattered around the county. By town locations they range from two (New Baltimore) to 18 (Catskill). By amounts due, they range from $806 (169 West Main St, Catskill; Great Horizon LLC) up to $25,074 (Jems Noble Corp; 288 Platte Clove Road, Hunter).

-------Some delinquents own more than one parcel. The champion in this respect, for the year’s first auction, is Great Horizon, which owns five parcels in three different towns, for a total tax debt of $31,927. Great Horizon is a specialized property enterprise, buying up parcels at bargain tax-auction prices, and marketing them, or trying to do so, in subsequent months.

-------The September auction will be much bigger. Notices to delinquents went out just recently. They encompassed 408 parcels, on which $1.9 million in taxes, interest and fines were due. Amounts owed on single parcels in this collection ranged from just $191 (land in Jewett; Ralph Larsen) to $78,767. The latter sum is currently owed by ZAC Holding Company, and it applies to a historic site: the old shirt factory site at 162 West Main Street, Catskill, fronting on the east bank of Catskill Creek, whose three acres are zoned for use as a marina.

-------In number of delinquent parcels per town and village, the winner is Windham, at 77, closely followed by Hunter, at 71. Those numbers surpass more populous communities because the mountain towns have been the objects of subdivision ventures that turned sour. One company, Windy Ridge Corporation (headed by realtor Robert Kallman of Hensonville), owns 43 tax-delinquent properties in Windham, most of them building lots (27 on Glennamady Drive, 12 on Vining Road; total delinquencies about $40,000). Eagles Landing LLC owns eight Windham parcels.

-------In Hunter, 19 tax-delinquent parcels, mostly on Ski Bowl Road, are registered to one owner, Fless 5 Development Inc. of New York City. Five parcels belong to Damul Corporation. Five others belong to an individual, Richard D. Norarevian.

-------By way of contrast, 21 of the 22 tax-delinquent parcels in Athens (for the second auction) are registered to different owners. Three of those parcels are located right in the Village, at 46 Second St (Dennis & Dana Heines; $11,886), North Washington St (Joseph & Rose Oliver; $3501) and South Washington St (Margaret Guterwill; $474). Two parcels are building lots in the up-scale Sleepy Hollow Lake development. They can be redeemed before auction for less than $600 apiece.

-------In Catskill, with regard to the second round of auctioneering, properties that are currently in arrears on taxes belong to 28 owners.

-------In Cairo, 39 properties make the Treasurer’s list as prospective auction lots. If all of them were redeemed tomorrow, the county’s coffers would swell by $246,397. Those properties are registered to 33 different owners. Dancing Lamb Farm on Harold C. Mayer Road can be rescued from surrender to the county for $21,400. Three properties belong to Armando and Scolastica Didomenico, and would cost the couple at least $30,000 to be rescued from the auctioneer.

-------In Coxsackie, the 37 currently delinquent properties are listed as belonging to 26 different owners. Foremost among them, financially, are Darlene and William Downes, who are on the hook for about $41,000 for two parcels on Medway Earlton Road.

-------In Durham, 31 parcels are listed currently as subject to sale at the Treasurer’s second auction this year. They belong to 24 different owners.

-------Totals due before the September, by town (or town and village combined): Ashland, $38,143; Athens, $92,634; Cairo, $246,400; Catskill, $189,351; Durham, $140,648; Greenville, $66,315; Halcott, $6441; Hunter, $138,353; Jewett, $58,456; Lexington, $38,802; New Baltimore, $98,310; Prattsville, $89,144; Windham, $156,906.

-------Some of those properties represent opportunities. A few enterprisers specialize in acquiring tax-delinquent parcels. They do so by studying the Treasurer’s list of parcels and then either contacting owners in advance of the payment deadline or by attending the auctions. To delinquent owners of chosen properties they make low-ball offers, which look attractive as compared with outright, uncompensated loss of title. If an offer is accepted, the buyer takes title, pays the tax bill, and looks for a profitable sale.

-------Bargains also can be sought at the auctions themselves. Since tax-delinquent properties go on the block without reserve prices, a parcel whose market value is in the $50,000 range could be knocked down for $5000 or even $500 (plus the auctioneer’s 11% buyer premium), if that is the highest offer. Such possibilities are limited, however, by one constraint: Each sale is subject to approval by the county legislature.

[NOTE: another list of tax-delinquent GreeneLand properties was published in on March 18th. In a full-page and a half-page advertisement, it identifies hundreds of properties that were tax-delinquent in 2009. If they remain delinquent through this year, foreclosure proceedings would commence and they would be subject to sale at auction in September of 2011. Included in the listings, however, are all the parcels that are due for auction this April. Go figure.]

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bright Greene

HONORED for showing practical ingenuity in Odyssey of the Mind competitions: two teams of Catskill High School students. Joey DiStefano, Jackie Monsell, Kortney Kost, Olivia Fiske, Patrick Hedges, Sean Daly, and Stefania Buta entered the Odyssey organization’s Mechanical Vehicle division challenge, which called on contestants this year to “design, build and drive,” at a cost below $145, a “Nature Trail’R” that would travel to a campground, traverse a team-created nature trail, overcome an obstacle, clean up the environment, encounter wildlife and undergo repair. That team’s mechanical creation was judged best in the regional competition and entitled thereby to vie, at Binghampton University on March 27th, for State-wide honors. --------Meanwhile, Sonia Bragulla, Ayla Steere, Mike Cothren, Kyle Sanson, Paul Sira, and Sofia Young entered the Performance division which, under the heading of “Food Court,” required participants to create and present a humorous performance where a food item is accused of being unhealthy and must defend itself among its food peers. Contestants were obliged to write, dress (at no more than $125) and play the parts of accused, accusing, and other edibles. The CHS Performance team placed second in the regional competition. --------Teacher-coach Stefanie Loomis took on responsibility for Odyssey participation three years ago. Since then, Superintendent Kate Farrell notes, CHS teams have placed in the top three in regional competions, and one team each year has won entry to the State-wide competitions.

HONORED as foremost Scholar-Athlete in the Patroon conference and in all schools of his size in the Capital Region: Coxsackie-Athens High School’s Nathan Tailleur, son of Beth and Chip Tailleur. The award (including $200) from Capital Region Basketball, bestowed at a gathering last Sunday in the Albany Marriott, pays tribute to basketball prowess plus academic achievements plus community involvement. Nathan will enter Cornell University in September.

HONORED by a long line of customers who, having attended her illustrated lecture, were eager to buy her book, at $50 per copy: Linda Ferber, art historian of the New-York (sic; the hyphen stays) and author of The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision. The lecture was delivered at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill. Unfortunately, only 20 copies of the book were available. The demand tells a lot about the quality of speakers who have responded to Cole House recruiters, and about the taste and number of listeners.

HONORED by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association, as a Bed & Breakfast of Distinction, in light of architectural excellence, historic preservation and utility as a local tourism booster: Hunter’s Fairlawn Inn. (Daily Mail, 3/12/10)

REWARDED with publication in the February 21 issue of Forbes magazine of “In Building Communities Marketers Can Learn from Cults”: GreeneLand marketing guru Douglas Atkin.

CORRECTED here and now, by this blogger: errors in the February 27 (“Down & Up”) edition of Seeing Greene. (1) “Teejay” Hall was represented this time, as well as earlier, by attorney Richard Mott. (2) The case did not go to trial this time. Under Mr Mott’s guidance, and with District Attorney Terry Wilhelm’s concurrence, Hall entered a plea of guilty to the crime of burglary (second degree felony; home invasion), on the understanding that Judge Daniel Lalor would impose a sentence of no more than 81/2 years of imprisonment.

FORESHADOWED in various announcements:

* Musical “Peter Pan” staged tonight (3/19) at Catskill High School, at 7pm, as well as well as Saturday night and Sunday afternoon (2pm). 943-2300.

-------*Maple syrup—what, how, why…--expounded tomorrow (3/20) at the Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra, from 10am. 579-622-9828

*St Patricks Day parade tomorrow in Greenville, from St. John the Baptist Church at 1pm down Ropute 81 to Hill Street and beyond.

--------*Catskill Village candidates’ forum tomorrow, from 10:30am, at Catskill Community Center. Angelo Amato, Brian Kehoe and Vincent Seeley (named here in alphabetical order), candidates for two Village Board seats, offer statements and respond to questions, with Mid-Hudson League of Women Voters providing a moderator. [NOTE: Mr Amato responded to that sentence with two comments that seem to be too choice to be relegated to the regular Comments section: "1) And I thought you were listing us candidates in order of preference, NOT alphabetically (haha, just kidding). 2) Even funnier would have been if you mistakenly "mashed up" the last 2 paragraphs something like: 'Catskill Village Candidates forum, tomorrow at Juniper Woods, Greenlands clothing optional nudist camp....' Without humor, life would not be worth living].

-------- *On July 11, during National Nude Weekend, visitors to Juniper Woods, GreeneLand’s “clothing optional nudist” camp, will participate in a nation-wide effort to surpass last year’s world record Skinny Dip.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunny Greene

STEWART HOUSE, the venerable restaurant, inn, and gathering place in Athens, is changing hands. Owner Owen Lipstein has entered into a sales contract with Reggie Young of Athens, a food industry veteran who leads a small syndicate of investors.

------ Funding for the purchase would come not only from the partners in Athens Hotel Enterprises, a limited liability company, but also from a mortgage and construction loan, an economic development loan, and a New York State Employment grant. The purchasing syndicate is still in the process of formation. Final closing of the transaction is anticipated by or before April 15.

------ Mr Young, an Athens resident since 2002, brings to the project decades-long experience in the food business, chiefly in up-scale Manhattan restaurants, along with sustained professional involvement in historical preservation and restoration.

------ Mr Lipstein told Seeing Greene that he is “happy with this change, and happy with who I’m selling to…. Indeed, I’ve been trying to talk Reggie into buying the place for years. He’ll do the job brilliantly for everyone’s benefit.” At the conclusion of the prolonged negotiations, “Everybody stayed friends.” “I look forward to being a customer again”—perhaps after a long trip with his friend Sandy Boehm.

------ Mr Young confirmed that, following “years of consideration and conversation,” he and Mr Lipstein “have reached an agreement for me and a group of investors to buy the place and take on the next leg of ‘stewart-ship’.”

------ Envisioned for the “next leg” is a new “menu and concept” for the 100-seat restaurant. Next to the restaurant would be “a small market focusing on local products.” The building’s upstairs rooms would be renovated, “with soundproofing and modern amenities” shaping a 12-room “comfortable hip hotel environment.” Also, “Further development of the facility’s garden, dock and waterside features” would be undertaken, the centerpiece being a 60-seat “outdoor wood-fired pizza shack.”


---- *FOAM FILLED. The big, long-empty building that housed an Eckerd Drug store, at the top of West Bridge Street in Catskill, won’t be empty much longer. After :it has been refurbished and landscaped (at the expense of some of the asphalt that covers the huge parking lot in front), it will open as a discount beverage outlet: Beer World.

---- *TANKS MAY ROLL. Moves are afoot to remove the Main Care oil tanks from Catskill Point.

---- *FRIDAY FESTIVITIES. Among special events beckoning GreeneLanders tomorrow are a poker party and a dance party. Visitors are invited to the Athens Firehouse, from 6pm, to take their chances at playing the Texas Hold’em variety of poker, with house profits going to Little League. Alternatively, the Catskill Community Center will house a Contra dancing party (live music; caller; refreshments), starting at 6:30 on Friday, to raise money for radio station-to-be WGXC as well as for the center. Friday at 6:30. Bring $10.

----- *SATURDAY’s attractions include a St Patrick’s Day parade in Tannersville, a Chris Wilson concert at the Windham Fine Arts center, and, at Peace Village in Haines Falls, exercises devoted to “The Healing Power of Virtue.”

----- *TESTIMONIAL. A noted health care blogger, Ryan Koch, has just voiced warm praise for the Homeoblock device that draws on the body’s physiological resources in aid of correcting jaw deformities. That device is the brainchild of GreeneLander dentist Theodore Belfor.

----- *TALK. The author of a new book that is of special local interest will come to GreeneLand on Sunday. Linda Ferber, senior art historian of the New-York Historical Society, will expand on matters addressed in The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, and then will join listeners for wine, cheese, conversation and book-signings at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill. From 2pm. Open to the public; $8 for non-members.

----- *OPPORTUNITY. Preceding that lecture, from noon on Sunday, will be an open house for people who may wish to be trained by Education Director Joanna Frang as knowledgeable volunteer guides at the Site.

------ *MUSIC. GreeneLander Frank Cuthbert, who composed the songs for last year’s new locally-created, locally-performed musical, “River of Dreams,” and who is doing the same for this year’s local creation, “O’Sullivan Stew,” also is creating yet another show. This one is set in a New York City beach resort. The lyrics of one of its songs go like this:

Don’t you know I love you?

Think the whole world of you.

Even, though you’re mad at me,

I’m still mad for you.

No one makes me happier, leaves me feeling snappier,

Naturally toe tappier, happier than you.

You’re a glimpse of paradise, slice of heaven every night,

Old Aunt Sadie sure was right, a shiksa wouldn’t do.

No other girls are prettier, as elegant or wittier.

Napoleon built cities for women just like you.

All day long I wait for your smile.

All night long, we cuddle just like crocodiles.

No use being serious. Life is too delirious.

Mazeltov! Mysterious! I’m in love with you!

No one makes me happier, leaves me feeling snappier,

Naturally toe tappier, happier than you.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sickly Greene

--------GreeneLand evidently is unhealthy. Among this State’s 62 counties, according to figures compiled by University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute monitors, GreeneLand ranks 59th. Only Chenango, Sullivan and Bronx counties are less healthy. Healthiest of the 62 is Putnam County, closely followed by Saratoga. As for GreeneLand’s neighbors, in health “outcome” scores they rank 27th (Albany), 32nd (Ulster) and 45th (Columbia)

--------Those rankings ( ) stem from statistics that could be inaccurate or could be poor indicators of geographic variations in health. They were calculated on the basis of two equally weighted components. One is “mortality,” which the Health Institute measures by rates of death among residents who have not reached the age of 75. By this gauge alone, GreeneLand sinks to 60th among New York counties (with Nassau first, Albany 36th, Columbia 58th, Ulster 32nd, Sullivan 62nd).

--------The other component of the Health Institute’s “health outcomes” indicator is labeled “morbidity.” It was measured by way of percentage of people rating their health as poor or fair, of numbers of days people estimated that they felt fair or poor in physical and in mental health, and of rates of births of under-weight infants. In morbidity, so measured, GreeneLand ranks 29th among New York counties. Top ranking on this scale goes to Ontario County, with Saratoga placing 9th, Albany 18th, Columbia 16th, Ulster 32nd, and Bronx at the bottom.

--------Coupled with the Health Institute researchers’ effort to rate and rank county populations by health outcomes went an effort to identify, measure and compare health “factors,” or likely contributors to variations in outcome. To this end, the investigators drew on available figures relating to patterns of behavior (smoking, drinking…), to socio-economic features (schooling, jobs, …), to health care facilities, and to physical environment. From the figures they compiled, and the weightings they assigned to the cited factors, the investigators inferred that the best-endowed county in New York State is Nassau. The worst is Bronx. GreeneLand comes in 39th—substantially below neighboring Albany (12th), Columbia (23rd), and Ulster (30th).

--------GreeneLand’s score on health “factors” got pushed down chiefly by the habits and traits of its inhabitants, rather than by its physical environment or the availability and quality of health care facilities. Compared with their neighbors and with residents of a lot of other counties, GreeneLanders are poor (41st among NYS counties), ill-educated (62nd!), under-employed (38th in rate of adult employment), and still addicted to tobacco.

--------Among adults who smoke, the percentage by county ranges from 14 (Rockland) to 33 (Jefferson). The percentage imputed to GreeneLanders is 26. That figure is higher than for Albany County (22%) and Columbia County (18%) and is the same as for Ulster County. In terms of rankings, GreeneLand’s smokers put their county in 46th place relative to other New York counties. That ranking (the lower the rank, the higher the percentage of adult smokers) marks a huge contrast with neighboring Columbia County (10th place) as well as with Albany County (24th).

LATE BULLETIN: DUMPS. The county transfer stations in Catskill, Hunter and Windham are not open on Wednesdays, but are open on Mondays. Only the Coxsackie station is open on Wednesdays. The changes were made recently, with minimal public notice.

RECORD SETTER? Robert C. Knissel of Palenville, 31, was scheduled to appear in Catskill Town court yesterday (Thursday, 3/4/10) to face two charges: the felony of showing contempt of court by violating an order to stay away from a young Palenville woman; and the misdemeanor of committing aggravated harassment of that young woman, by calling her, in the course of a few days in February, 46 times. He was arrested on February 25 and spent some time in jail in lieu of posting $2500 bail or $5000 bond. His court case before Judge Robert Carl was adjourned yesterday until April Fools Day.

MEANWHILE, another Palenville resident was busted recently by State police on welfare fraud charges. According to a bulletin (2/22/10) from the Greene County Social Services Department, Christopher Lis, 66, is accused of collecting from the Department, between May 2007 and September 2008, more than $13,000 in Medicaid benefits to which he was not entitled. Charged with grand larceny, welfare fraud, and filing false instruments, he is due to appear before Catskill Village Justice William Wooton on March 11th.

GREEN IN GREENE Dept. Last Friday (2/26/10) Michelle Plummer sold 1000 shares of Greene County Bancorp at $15 apiece, and bought 4000 shares for just $3.94 apiece. In other words, she paid $15,760 for goods whose immediate market value was $60,000. Not many people can do that. Ms Plummer was exercising options that she had been granted years ago as an employee of the bank. She holds the titles of Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Chief Operating Officer—second only to the titles of President and Chief Executive, as held (along with Board membership) by Donald Gibson.

ReSTORE (not Restore) is the name of a new, ahem, store in Hudson that could be restorative for some GreeneLanders. No, it’s not health foods emporium. It’s a sales outlet run by Habitat for Humanity volunteers, dispensing used and surplus building materials including paint, stain, floor tiles, insulation, plywood, bathroom fixtures, and furniture—all at prices far below normal retail, all in aid of structural renovation qua restoration. It’s located in a big facility at the intersection of State Routes 9H and 66, and is open on Fridays and Saturdays.

TOMORROW at the Agroforestry Resource Center: a workshop on producing (growing, drying) hops, which go into sleep aids as well as beer. The registration deadline was yesterday (3/4) but maybe they’ll accept a late entry.

And after dark, at Windham Mountain, organizers hope to achieve a massive, record-setting “parade” of torch-bearing skiers and board riders.

SUNDAY at Christman’s Windham House: Dinner show featuring Schoharie Creek

Players enacting a female version of “The Odd Couple,” from 5pm.

DAILY MAUL. “Under Sec. 182 NYS Lien Law, property will be sold at Public Auction on Friday, February 19, 2010, at 10 AM on the premises of J&M Self Storage…to satisfy non-payment of rent….”

---------------- --Public Notice published on March 2d.