We finally have a trial date set for November 16th at 9:30am. For those unfamiliar with our case, we have been battling over our property tax exemption with our municipality, the Town of Catskill, since they removed our exemption in 2007 with no explanation. We have been fighting to get it back ever since. They have provided no answer to the question of why and as best as we can figure out, they want to make an example of us to any other alternative religious group that wishes to set up shop within the town borders. We are a 501(c)3 religious organization and we use the property as worship space, convent housing for priestesses as well as providing emergency/charitable housing to women in need. All of these are considered exempt uses under New York State Real Property Law. We will need to do some serious fundraising to make sure all of our legal bills are paid. If you would like to make a contribution, there is a PayPal link on our homepage, www.gallae.com.
And speaking of charitable housing, Julia, our last emergency case, has now moved on to a new home after nine months with us. We miss her and wish her well. Now we have a new girl staying with us, and she is something of a first for us in many ways. She is from Nepal, possibly the very first one in her country. She had endured threats and violence in her homeland and is seeking asylum here. With the help of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, we are getting a good start on this process. If anyone out there has any experience with these kinds of immigration issues, please drop us a line. We would still welcome the help and advice.
Palenville Pagan Pride Day for 2011 will be held on August 27th. We still have openings for vendors and presenters. Email Viktoria@gallae.com if you’re interested. Pagan Pride Day is an educational event as well as a food drive. It gives an opportunity for representatives of various pagan paths to educate the public about their beliefs and practices. The event is from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Here is some more mundane news about what is going on at the Maetreum. The Second floor walls and floor are finally done! I’m hoping to add some decorative molding and stencils to finish it off.
The kitchen has finally been properly organized into a workable space! This one has been plaguing us for years. The room itself is L-shaped and has always been very hard to work with. Last month, I took a few days off and Cathy and I spent them taking down and moving around cabinetry, reorganizing storage, moving the refrigerator and freezer and cleaning everything and the results are so worth it! We have also begun milling our own flour with a grain mill that Julia had given us. We’ve been milling spelt and hope to start growing it next year as a grain crop. This year we planted tomatoes, asparagus, some blueberries as well as squashes. We already have mature Chinese chestnut, walnut and apple trees as well as a blackberry patch. One day we hope to become as self-sufficient as possible.
Another very worthwhile project that is nearly finished is our library. We had long intended to turn the old tool room into a library and we are now almost done. We’ve since moved the tools into the room at the end of the ground floor hallway and removed trash. The room has been cleaned and the book cases and furniture are now in place. I have yet to organize the books as well as finish the decorations (East Indian style!). I have also ordered some special, library book pattern upholstery fabric for re-covering the chairs.