“The turnout showed that the people have a
lot of concerns and have spoken and been heard,” Cross said.
“My opponent made a valiant effort which I commend him for.”
Winning seats on the town board alongside Cross were incumbent Jane
Todd and former county tourism director Joe Munster.
Cross, Todd and Munster will make up a new Republican majority when
the new board convenes in early January. Edna Hoyt and Paul van Blarcum,
who won four-year seats two years ago, do not come up for reelection
again until 2005.
In the supervisor’s race Cross won a total of 722 votes while
incumbent Pete DiModica received a total of 649.
District by District breakdowns, based on unofficial counts that don’t
jibe with the county figures above, were as follows:
In District 1 (Phoenicia), Cross received 280, Di Modica.266.
In District 2 (Shandaken), Cross won 153, Di Modica 107.
In District 3 (Pine Hill/Big Indian), Cross received 179 votes, Di
In District 4 (Mt. Tremper), Cross won 135 votes, Di Modica received
In the town council races, incumbent Republican Jane Todd proved the
big winner, with a total of 757 votes, Winning a seat alongside her
was Republican Joe Munster, with 669 votes. Also running respectably
were Democrat Randy Ostrander with 607 and Planning Board member Howie
McGowan, a Democrat, with 595 votes .
The breakdown for those races were as follows.
In District 1 (Phoenicia), Todd received 339, Munster won 244, Ostrander
received 248, and McGowan got 243.
In District 2 (Shandaken), Todd received 165, Munster won 114, Ostrander
received 109, and McGowan got 97.
In District 3 (Pine Hill/Big Indian), Todd received 193, Munster won
178, Ostrander received 157, and McGowan got 151.
In District 4 (Mt. Tremper), Todd received 136, Munster won 134, Ostrander
received 124, and McGowan got 131.
The biggest vote getter for the day was popular (and longstanding)
tax assessor Rosalie Boland, who brought in 1,176 votes in a three-way
race for two seats. Joining her and Doris Bartlett as an assessor
will be Independent Brian Grant, who ran as a Democrat and received
685 votes. Incumbent Erich Griesser, who was planning to retire, won
a total of 503 votes.
Incumbent Highway Superintendent Dick Merwin defeated Conservative/Independent
candidate Ken Berryann by a vote of 1,115 to 195.
Town clerk Laurilyn Frasier won reelection by gathering 753 votes,
In the race for the County Legislature’s sprawling District
Two seats, votes from Shandaken, Woodstock, Hardenburgh, Denning and
a portion of West Saugerties saw Republican incumbent Mike Stock and
Democratic Brian Shapiro won seats with vote tallies of 1,859 and
2,510, respectively. Also running were Democrat Toby Heilbrunn of
Woodstock, who received 1,616 votes, and former Shandaken supervisor
Wayne Gutmann, with 696 votes.
As of press time, it also looked like the long-held Republican majority
had been whittled down to one or two members, with even those in jeopardy
as of press time.
A referendum to move towards a smaller legislature in the year 2012
passed, with an unofficial count, from 159 of 164 districts, of 20,029
in favor and 10,644 against. A referendum to push for single-member
districts by that time passed, by the same unofficial talley, with
18,028 in favor and 10,563 against.
“In politics, negative campaigning works. We have a different
value system and chose not to do that,” said Di Modica. “Now
that he has the job I hope Bob can bring the community together as
he says, listen to all the people, and do what’s right by the
“The final result showed that the majority of the town would
like to see change,” Cross said.
Creativity is scattered about like confetti, and as Valerie weaves
deftly in and out of the piles of work, drips of newsprint, strings
stencil cut outs, ìI can draw what I see I just donít
want toî paint, telling tales, veering off into a tangent, leaping
decades into the past and back to now in one breath, her mind is revealed
to have a sort of collage aspect to itóstories are begun, dropped,
finished by other stories, like Borroughís cut-up technique
of the fifties.
There is the armature of a woman in the center of the room, just feet
and torso, too small head. Which explains the mass of industrial wire
coiled and dangling around Valerie, like a found art necklace. Sheís
making a woman, as are many other artists, for a Spencertown Academy
show, much like the cows painted by multiple artists in NYC.
She sews into paint, leaving trails of buttons and labels, matches,
until one wonders, that everything she steps on and sticks to her
shoe ends up in her hart. I mention multiple styles, and she fires
back "I know, schizophrenic."
There is also a furry little beast named Moose that skitters about
and eyes me warily. "Careful, it bites." Says Valerie. Then
adds. ìItís not mine. I hate this dog and she loves
me all day long.î But, like most of Valerieís stories,
youíll never hear the end of it because this master of the
nonsequitorial segue is off telling another.
Sheís got Einstein over her bed. ìI like him he used
his fame for good.î She explains. Somehow I pick up a resume
of sorts, in bits: Sheís a published artist (Fiberarts, American
Artist), a teacher of at-risk kids and adult workshops, boardmember
of the Womenís Studio Workshop, founded Studio 28, a Boiceville
arts school, does set design for CDROMs. Sheís an Armenian
from New Jersey, her grandmother walked for 3 months and ended up
in Beirut. Sheís 101 and still alive. She has an art education
degree, worked as a ìprofessional organizerî, a degree
in accounting and worked for a while ìin silk stockings, high
heels, and suitsî in NYC for William E. Simon, Secretary of
Treasury under Ford, and shows me the two-dollar-bill with his name
on it and matching autograph to prove it.
ìI went from Park avenue to the boardwalk at Seaside.î
I built sets in the winter, would count money, painted teeth on Cabbage
Patch dolls. Those ones that got their first teeth were valuable,
so we painted them on. "Once, I saw scrounging around in some
sawmill looking for machine parts, and I just laughed, remembering
five years ago I was in high heels a suit and stockings with a walkman
on my head"
She also assists Philippe Petit, outlaw highwire artist who did renegade
walks over the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Notre Dam, and the Twin Towers,
may they rest in peace. By now sheís showing me her company
ìLoose Cannonsî and her website, www.catskillartist.com,
and gets an email from Philippeís wife, partner and producer,
K. asking what Valerie wants her title to be for some project upcoming.
Valerie fires back Ö.. ìWe leave this colorful domain
to head back out to the mill. "As far as I knew you go to the
store and things get there somehow. Ten years later Iím being
asked to be on the Foresting Development Council."
Her stepfather bought the mill in 1986 but died two years later, leaving
Valerie to run it, which she did, for four years. "I gotta find
a spade by the end of the day" she says. (Eventually I find out
thatís spade as in a deck of cards and the comment relates
to an art project.) There are logs as fat as Iím tall, piles
of sappy pine ìdon't touch or youíll regret it all day!î
Valerie runs her hands over the ends of wood, pulling at splinters,
sniffing, labeling white oak, birch beech, ìI uses to know
so fast, now I have to lookî rips and peers at oak.
a spinning mass like the jaws of some Geiger beast, teeth ripping
bark. ìLike eating corn on the cob.
The roll onto a carriage, run on a diesel generator. The massive chipper
"send that to International Paper, nothing gets wasted here."
Barn full of sawdust, blown down a long tube into barn.
Joe DeBellis, "that means of beauty," he's got his own sense
of things. Heís not a white neck. He owns it now fifty-fifty
with my mother. Heís a genius. We walk by some huge supports
heís welded, past the smashed log truck that he rolled one
day. El camino, a Hudson Valley Apple produce truck covered in vines,
a 1959 ford, pass a second of each car "Joe buys doubles for
parts," all, of course, on their way to rust-colored. Moose starts
ìreverse sneezing" as V puts it, and she stoops, concerned
for the dog she ìhates.î ìTheir tracheas are small,
We head into a log art studio, she shows me delicate collage pastels,
a series sheís doing for the walls of the Terrapin Restaurant
in Rhinebeck. He work has an almost invisible subversive quality:
a collage with typewriter print, written backwards, but held to a
mirror, reads clearly as a dis of a local famous artist. There is
a gold-framed ìdo not removeî pillow tag. "A child's
first outlaw instinct is to rip that off." A delicate plant drawing,
on closer inspection, is made from the text of a poisonous bug-spray
label, and a painting with "Hail Mary" written in Arabic
Back in the house, she hands me a delicious triple-chocolate cookie
"It's true love that Iíve shared it," she says.
She shows me how she de-faces local artist opening cards, a correspondence
with her friend, artist Nanette Gillligan, the first one she shows
me is the work of a friend of mine. "Artists are as common in
Woodstock as lawyers in Washington." She opens up a box of frames
she ordered, and true to style, sheís drawn more to the imperfect
backside of the frame. "Should I use them backwards?" she
wonders out loud.
If I mention I like anything- a book, a red oxilil plant- she hands
it to me, insisting I take it. On the way out I notice something that
seems to sum her up, if such a thing were possible. On her studio
door is a quote from Marya Arnim "Life is certainly such a queer
business and so brief and such a lot of it."
Fish purchased the building over a year ago with her husband Neil,
who, when not helping his wife with the business (they do the early
morning baking and brewing together), works as an engineer for Northeast
Cinemas in Kingston.
" We did tons of work on the place," said Neil. The brightly
painted new exterior and redecorated interior make this evident, however,
the couple spent a lot of time improving the building‚s infrastructure
" Every major system, such as the electric and the plumbing,
has been redone," Neil explained. "We tried nursing the
heater through to Spring, but that died, so we replaced that too."
The next project, the couple said, is to hook up the heater for the
large greenhouse that is located behind the building so that they
can begin retailing plants from its interior as early as December.
Fish, who was born and raised in Glenford, said she comes from a family
of "avid gardeners" who were also in the restaurant business.
For 20 years, her family ran Kurta‚s in Glenford where Fish
spent many hours working and gaining the experience she applies to
her business today.
Neil is a transplant from out West, having grown up in Oklahoma, moving
to the area in 1982. The couple, with their two children, Jenna Leigh,
17, and Sydney, 12, have lived in Olivebridge for over 15 years.
Beyond the Gate is currently opened 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm,
but the couple may change the hours as the traffic pattern for the
coffee house becomes more evident. During the weekdays, Fish said,
"We seem to get a late morning crowd, and a lot of people between
10:30am and 2:00, stopping in for lunch." The coffee house draws
a fair crowd on the weekends as well, the couple said. And as the
business becomes more established, they hope to get traffic from weekend
skiers and hikers.
Because the 7 day work week is demanding on the family, the Fishs‚
plan to build a family room along with an office on the building‚s
second floor so that they "can spend good quality family time
And what about Elizabeth‚s own gardens? "It's been difficult.
I haven‚t even cut back everything for the winter, but, it's
supposed to be nice this weekend. Maybe I can sneak away then."