October 29, 2008, The Jewish Journal: 'The First Basket' Highlights Catskills Role in Basketball

October 29, 2008

‘The First Basket’ depicts journey from Ellis Island to shooting hoops

CCNY star Bernie Fliegel with
legendary CCNY Coach, Nat Holman

CCNY star Bernie Fliegel with
legendary CCNY Coach, Nat Holman

It's true that major league baseball has seen a renaissance of Jewish players during the past few years, but the historic American Jewish sport is surely basketball.

It makes sense if you think about it: Easy to play on the concrete surfaces that are ubiquitous in urban areas, basketball was the sport most accessible to the sons of the immigrants who had flocked to the United States between 1880 and 1920.

As David Vyorst makes clear in his comprehensive and entertaining documentary, "The First Basket," those sons took to the game with fervor. Interview after interview with former players and coaches makes clear that basketball, not religious observance, was what mattered to this Americanizing generation.

"My father was busy trying to make a living. My mother was busy taking care of the household. And we were busy in the streets, and in the schoolyard, playing basketball and growing up," Ralph Kaplowitz says in the film. Kaplowitz lived in the Bronx and later played two years for the New York Knicks.

Kaplowitz wasn't alone in making a religion out of basketball: The Jewish kids who learned the game in the rough-and-tumble New York City neighborhoods of Brooklyn's Brownsville and Williamsburg, on Manhattan's Lower East Side and the Bronx's Grand Concourse, later stocked the top collegiate teams and the early professional ranks.

The trailer

Indeed, the film's name stems from the fact that in 1946, a Jewish player, Ossie Schectman, scored the first basket in the Basketball Association of America, the precursor to today's National Basketball Association.

Considering the paucity of Jewish players in today's NBA (there's currently one, the Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Farmar), it's astonishing to remember that several members of Schechtman's 1946-1947 Knicks team were Jewish, as were players on other teams. Some still affectionately refer to the game that they and top coaches such as Red Sarachek and Red Auerbach developed -- emphasizing teamwork, crisp passing and defense -- as "Jew ball."

This style of play originated earlier in the 20th century, when Jewish players competed on both the amateur and semiprofessional levels. Teams were sponsored by settlement houses that wanted to Americanize immigrants, and by labor unions and Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring branches.

Players on the most famous of these teams, the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association, or SPHAs, wore Hebrew letters and Stars of David on their uniforms. What's more, after many SPHAs games, the court was turned into a dance floor where young Jews could socialize and look for husbands and wives. Some of the figures mentioned in "The First Basket" -- Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes and current NBA Commissioner David Stern, both of whom were interviewed in the film -- are well known.

Others are less familiar to casual fans. Barney Sedran, for instance, was an early 20th-century player who, at 5 feet 4 inches, is believed to be the shortest player in the Basketball Hall of Fame. During his heyday in the 1910s and '20s, Sedran played in as many as three games a day, often for different teams.

The Jewish connection to basketball isn't entirely rosy. "The First Basket" points out that the roots of the 1950s-era college basketball scandals rest in the Catskills summer resorts. The cooks apparently were the first to fix the games with college players, who were there for summer jobs and a bit of basketball.

In the Catskills, gamblers first made the connections that would eventually rock the college basketball world and lead to the suspensions of several City College of New York players, as well as players from other schools in New York City and around the United States. No longer would such New York City teams as CCNY, New York University and Long Island University dominate college hoops, as they did between 1935 and 1951. In a devastating archival clip that is part of the documentary, Nat Holman, the legendary CCNY coach, admits that he never got over his players' participation in gambling.

The Catskills gambling story could be a nice segue into some of the pitfalls of Americanization: Do any of the players interviewed for the documentary have regrets about their rebellion against their parents' religiosity? Did they maintain their Jewishness, and did they pass it on to their children and grandchildren? An exploration of these questions would have added another layer of complexity to the film.

Also, the final section of "The First Basket" feels a bit disjointed. Sure, Holman helped bring the game to Israel, contributing to basketball's globalization. But the link between Maccabi Tel Aviv's stirring victory in the 1977 European Cup semifinals against a Soviet team and the acculturation of American Jews through basketball, which is the film's focus, feels tenuous.

To its credit, however, "The First Basket" is a rare documentary that not only provides context (thanks to interviews with scholars of Jewish history), but also is fun to watch. The film's story, while covered in such works as Peter Levine's 1992 book "Ellis Island to Ebbets Field" (Oxford University Press), has not been put on celluloid in such detail.

Vyorst's interviews allow for a glimpse into a generation of Jews who shaped basketball - and who are proud of their accomplishments and their toughness. As Jack "Dutch" Garfinkel, who played for the Boston Celtics from 1946 to 1949, remembers with a smile: "I'm the first man who used the look-away pass in basketball. My passes were very tough. I broke a lot of fingers."

"The First Basket" opens in Los Angeles on November 14. For more information, visit www.thefirstbasket.com.

October 30, 2008, Elmira Star Gazette: Millennium Pipeline set to go online Dec. 1


October 30, 2008
link is here:

Millennium Pipeline set to go online Dec. 1

Testing, other work continues in Chemung, Steuben counties

By Michael Hill
The Associated Press

ALBANY -- A long-planned pipeline stretching across 182 miles of the state is to begin delivering natural gas to the New York City area in December, a month behind schedule.

The Millennium Pipeline will run from Corning to Ramapo in Rockland County, where it will tie into other lines and provide gas to area utilities.

The pipeline was first proposed in 1997 as a 425-mile link connecting gas supplies in Canada with the New York City market. Work was delayed for years by a combination of regulatory complications and local opposition. The plan was eventually retooled to the existing 182-mile pipeline, 30 inches in diameter.

Construction on the pipeline is expected to finish Dec. 1, and gas will start flowing soon after, said Millennium spokesman Michael Armiak. There will be a compressor station in Corning, where Millennium will tie into another pipeline that brings natural gas down from Ontario.

Millennium says the pipeline can handle enough gas on a daily basis to handle the needs of about 2 million households.

"By introducing more supply options, it should make the prices more competitive with national averages," Armiak said.

Armiak said Millennium also will be able to carry gas from wells and subterranean supply fields in western New York. That region has undergone a boom in gas exploration in the past decade and more wells could come online once exploration of the deep but plentiful Marcellus reserve gears up in New York.

Armiak said while the company is now focused on completing the pipeline, its capacity could be increased to handle production from Marcellus wells.

The pipeline is owned by subsidiaries of NiSource Inc., National Grid and DTE Energy Co. Millennium has long-term deals to provide gas to the utilities Consolidated Edison, KeySpan and Central Hudson.

Columbia Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of NiSource, will use the gas to serve its existing customers including, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Central Hudson and New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

Construction began in May 2007 and was expected to be finished by Nov. 1, but crews hit some snags. Wet weather this spring slowed crews down, work in environmentally sensitive areas took longer than anticipated, workers hit hard bedrock while drilling under water bodies in the Catskills region and the company had to wait for materials, Armiak said.

"There's so much pipeline construction going on around the world the suppliers were behind schedule," he said.

As of this week, pipe was still going in the ground in Orange, Delaware, Sullivan, Broome and Tioga counties, while pipeline was being tested in Chemung and Steuben counties. Work also was continuing on the Corning compressor station.

Millennium is nearing completion as other plans to update New York's energy infrastructure have faced difficulties. The governors of New York and Connecticut this year announced their opposition to a plan to build the world's first floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound, and a proposed 190-mile long high voltage power line through upstate New York has been vehemently opposed by local residents.

Heather Briccetti, vice president of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State, the increased gas supply from Millennium will be beneficial.

"There's certainly the market for it in the New York City area," she said.


October 30, 2008: New York DEC, New York Eases Access Requirements to 13,000 Acres Located in Catskill Mountains

New York Eases Access Requirements to 13,000 Acres Located in Catskill Mountains 
From New York Department of Environmental Conservation

-- New York State and New York City officials recently announced the completion of a landmark agreement to ease recreational access to approximately 13,000 acres of city-owned property in the Catskills.

Under the cooperative agreement, hiking, hunting, fishing and trapping on dozens of city-owned parcels that are adjacent to state Forest Preserve land in the Catskills no longer require a separate city permit.

This is the latest in a series of recent recreational improvements for the Catskills, including opening new areas to mountain biking at Mount Hayden and launching a pilot program for boating at Cannonsville Reservoir.

For many years, DEP permits have been required for access to city-owned land in the Catskills watershed. Under the new agreement, first outlined a year ago, the applicable DEC hunting, fishing and trapping licenses will be the only permits needed on the land impacted by this agreement. No permit will be necessary for hiking.

Maps showing the affected areas in parts of Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties are available at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed_protection/huntmaps2.shtml

Under the new access initiative, DEC will patrol the these areas to enforce regulations, help protect the environment, and further assist in the management of these lands. New York State owns over 200,000 acres in the city's watershed west of the Hudson River, the vast majority of which is located within the Catskill Forest Preserve.

The state and city have joined with local leaders to expand recreational access to Catskill Region lands on several fronts. In September, the city granted DEC a land-use permit to manage Mount Hayden (Windham, Greene County) that will enable visitors to hunt, trap, fish, bike and hike without the need to obtain a city access permit (http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/46639.html).

At the same time, DEC adopted a State Land Master Plan for the Catskill Forest Preserve that creates a new, 156-acre bicycle corridor in the northern Catskills (http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/46638).


October 29, 2008: Mid Hudson News, Agreement gives public easier access to split 13,000 Catskill acres

Agreement gives public easier access to split 13,000 Catskill acres

ALBANY – New York State and New York City officials Tuesday announced the completion of an agreement to ease recreational access to approximately 13,000 acres of city-owned property in the Catskills.

Under the cooperative agreement, hiking, hunting, fishing and trapping on dozens of city-owned parcels that are adjacent to state Forest Preserve land in the Catskills no longer require a separate city permit.

This is the latest in a series of recent recreational improvements for the Catskills, including opening new areas to mountain biking at Mount Hayden and launching a pilot program for boating at Cannonsville Reservoir.

"This is a significant accomplishment that will boost recreational opportunities in the Catskills, and a sign of the rejuvenated partnership among state, city and local officials," said state DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis.

"DEP is committed to working with its partners in the watershed to improve recreational and economic development opportunities," said New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd. "It is important that recreational access is expanded while vigilantly protecting the high quality of New York City’s water supply."

For many years, DEP permits have been required for access to city-owned land in the Catskills watershed. Under the new agreement, first outlined a year ago, the applicable DEC hunting, fishing and trapping licenses will be the only permits needed on the land impacted by this agreement. No permit will be necessary for hiking.


The Catskills Satellite Photo by Google


October 8, 2008 Catskill Mountain News: Board of Supervisors To Vote On Resolution Opposing Bans on Gas Drilling

Catskill Mountain News
October 8, 2008

Board of Supervisors To Vote On Resolution Opposing Bans on Gas Drilling

By Matthew J. Perry

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors will vote today on a resolution that calls for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) not to single out the county for stricter regulations concerning natural gas drilling.

Resolution 191, which was filed by Middletown supervisor Len Utter on October 2, is a lengthy document that will be forwarded, if passed, to many state officials, from the governor down to members of New York City’s council. 

The resolution argues that natural gas drilling presents a unique opportunity to enrich local communities while addressing national demands for energy and the country’s dependence on foreign oil. 

“Delaware County Board of Supervisors are committed to developing alternatives that will allow the communities, as a whole, to benefit from the natural gas reserves and provide a source of revenue and energy that will create more employment with living wages and health insurance,” the resolution states. 

Recent calls for moratoriums or bans on gas drilling within New York City’s watershed have sparked controversy and anger upstate, particularly among residents who see these positions not as attempts to protect the environment and public health but as the latest attempt by outside influences to control the region’s resources. 

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd has criticized the DEC for being lax in overseeing new drilling techniques, and the DEP has called for a one-mile perimeter around all city reservoirs that would be free of drilling.  Tom Gennaro, of the NYC Council, has called for a ban throughout the city’s watershed system. 

The board’s resolution states that such bans “[would] discriminate against private landowners in the watershed[,] depriving them of long-term future income and will deprive the local municipalities of the potential real property tax benefits from the mining of the natural gas.”  It goes on to cite Environmental Conservation Law 23, which addresses the DEC’s mandate to enable the extraction and use of the state’s natural resources, including gas.  A ban would be a violation of that mandate, the resolution argues, and would require that the state “provide funding to landowners in the watershed to mitigate lost income opportunities that a DEC ban would cause.”

When the board was addressed by DEC representatives in August, its collective mood was clearly one of support for natural gas drilling and confidence in DEC’s ability to prevent any serious harm to the city’s watershed or any other aquifers.  This attitude is reflected in the pending resolution, which states that “there is no scientific basis to regulate natural gas mining within Delaware County in a manner different or more stringent than elsewhere in New York State.”

Opponents of gas drilling would not disagree with that claim, but would use it as an argument for stronger regulations on gas drilling everywhere.  “What drilling would do to the City’s watershed is no different than what it would do to any other water source,” says Wes Gillingham, Project Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, which has called for a moratorium on drilling, not a ban.  “This is a human health issue, not an environmental issue.”

Gillingham states that through public hearings and review of the DEC’s General Environmental Impact Statement, it is necessary for all communities above the Marcellus Shale to come together and be aware of the threats presented by gas drilling as well as the benefits.  The task set by Catskill Mountainkeeper and other groups, at present, is to slow down the review process and install necessary protections, rather than resist drilling outright. 

“I totally understand their position,” Gillingham said of the Delaware board.  “Delaware County especially, for many years, has dealt with New York City imposing their needs on them.”  

October 26, 2008, Road Trip Journal: Windham, NY - The Land in the SKY

Located in the Catskill Mountains, on the edge of Catskill Park is the quaint town of Windham. This small resort community offers numerous outdoor amenities and seasonal festivities. Three hours north west of New York City, one hour south west of the state capital Albany, Windham is a great destination for a day trip or weekend get-a-way. Take your family on a vacation that won't break the budget but will still deliver fun and relaxation for everyone.

Traveling east along Route 23 from the NYS Thruway, you wind your way up the mountain. The views from this mountain side drive are spectacular, offering a five state view. On a clear day you can see Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and, of course, northeastern New York.

This mountaintop community offers cooler temperatures in the spring and summer, a welcome relief from city heat. Camping, fishing, hiking and mountain biking opportunities abound since Windham is surrounded by thousands of acres of forest preserve offering miles of trails. Other summer activities include, golf, swimming at CD Lane Park, mountain invasion paint ball, Summer Concert Series put on by the Windham Chamber Music Festival, plays by the Schoharie Creek Players, and even a Vineyard for the wine connoisseur.

Fall is a beautiful time of year to take a road trip to Windham. The breathtaking scenery of autumn leaves changing on the mountainsides provides a spectacular view. Usually held in mid-October, the Autumn-A-Fair is an event not to be missed. All along Main Street, this fall festival features a variety of artisans, crafts, children's games, local flavor and more. Live music and the energetic atmosphere provide a celebration for the beauty of fall. Stroll along visiting the delightful shops and art galleries through out the town.

Winter is just as fun as the rest of the seasons with down hill & cross country skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, and snowmobiling. Windham Mountain, a world-class, family-oriented ski and snowboard resort, offers a wide variety of terrain for all ages and abilities. If you enjoy winter road trips and are a novice skier or have wanted to try snowboarding, Windham Mountain offers you an environment that is just right for your skill level. The base lodge includes a ski school, rentals, day care, cafeteria, fine dining and more.

If you plan an extended stay in Windham, there are many beautiful and inviting bed and breakfasts and hotels located within the town and surrounding areas. Adding to the experience of the relaxing atmosphere, there are many fine restaurants for your dining pleasure.

Located in Greene County, there are numerous area attractions within a short drive of Windham. The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is open for summer tours, Howe's Cavern's, hiking to Kaaterskill Falls, New York's highest cascading waterfall, kayaking on North Lake, and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Riverside orchards, farmer's markets and roadside stands offer fresh fruit, produce and baked goods. There are many art galleries to browse through, museums, even a waterslide park.

With year round events and attractions, scenic mountain top views and each season just as exciting as the last, Windham is a great destination for your next family road trip.

Nothing is more freeing than the open road! For generations, Americans have enjoyed the wind in their hair traveling from coast to coast seeking romance and adventure. Road trips are as American as baseball and apple pie. If you have always dreamt of taking that journey, Road Trip Journal has the information you need to plan that rite of passage. Visit us today at http://www.roadtripjournal.com

October 26, 2008, Times Herald Record: Study: New services, resources needed to keep Sullivan second-home market vibrant

Study: New services, resources needed to keep Sullivan second-home market vibrant

MONTICELLO — The market for second homes in Sullivan County remains strong, but its future could depend on improving services like cell phone coverage and health care, and marketing to a new generation of buyers, according to a study by the county's planning division.

The study surveyed 1,379 second-home owners last year - 10,085 own second homes here - asking them myriad questions about quality of services, shopping patterns and reasons for buying in Sullivan. The results were compared to a similar study from 1997.

The survey uncovered many trends. Snowbirds appear to be a dying breed; those coming from Florida to summer in Sullivan dropped to roughly 2 percent from 5 percent. More second-home owners are coming from New Jersey, Long Island and Manhattan, while fewer drive from Brooklyn and Queens.

Second home owner general profile

The majority of second home owners in Sullivan County fit the following profile:

Age: 55-74

Race: White

Primary home: New York City

Family: No children at home

Education: Bachelor's degree or higher level of education

Employment: Employed full time

Income: $100,000 to $149,000

Source: County second home study

Most discovered Sullivan County through family connections or by vacationing in the Catskills. The majority decided to buy second homes here because of the scenery and proximity to their primary homes.

The second home market in Sullivan has grown steadily since 2001, but the survey indicated it might take improvement of some services and a new marketing strategy to sustain the momentum.

"The major issue we want to keep an eye on is demographic factors," said William Pammer, the county's planning commissioner. "As the baby boomers age, the question becomes to what extent will the next generation participate in the second home market to keep it vibrant."

Pammer wondered if the next generation will have enough money and credit to invest in second homes. The study says residents over 60 years old will usually sell their second homes based on deteriorating health or widowhood. That trend could hurt Sullivan because only 15.8 percent of the surveyed owners expressed confidence in local health care services.

Respondents were also worried about spotty cell phone coverage, a lack of municipal services like sewer and water, and rising property taxes.

"Many said they don't mind paying taxes, but they wanted to get services in return for it," Pammer said. That has led many second-home owners to locate in the county's budding hamlets, which have those water services.

Sullivan must respond to these concerns and target its marketing, using the power of the Internet, to keep the second home owner market strong in future years, the study said.

[email protected]



‘CITY THAT DRINKS THE MOUNTAIN SKY’ (Saturday) In case you haven’t guessed, that city is New York, and the mountains are the Catskills, the ultimate source of all that pours from local taps. This production uses poetry, music and puppets to tell the whole story of the New York water supply, from the prehistoric melting of the glaciers to the present. At 1:30 p.m., TriBeCa Performing Arts Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, (212) 220-1460, tribecapac.org; $25.

Arm of the Sea Theatre

City That Drinks the Mountain Sky

Saturday, October 25 @ 1:30PM


With poetry, puppetry and evocative music, City That Drinks the Mountain Sky brings alive the lyrical landscape of the Catskills, portraying the ongoing story of the watershed and those who must protect its vulnerable flowing treasure. Expect visual punch and timely wit as the Hudson Valley's premier eco-logic theater traces life's quintessential liquid from mountaintop to city tap.


Is anyone here good at finding legal advice?

I found a really good website which is www.personalinjuryqanda.com.  What i would like to know is if there are other webpages out there similar to this one?  It is basically a website where i can go an ask all of my legal questions.

I love forums but you never know how qualified a person is thats giving the advice.  with the website i went to they have professionals answer for you, which i think is the best way to go for serious issues. 

Any help would be nice.  Thanks :-)


Upcoming Events

Catskill Mountainkeeper

Like us on facebook and be a part of our movement!