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Contributed Photo Courtesy of TLC

GENEVIEVE GORDER, HOST of the TLC show “Town Haul,” continued her work in Jeffersonville on Episode Four on Saturday.

Village Hall Is Next
Project on 'Town Haul'

By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE — February 15, 2005 – Folks expecting a brand new look at Jeffersonville in Saturday’s “all-new” episode of “Town Haul” were slightly disappointed.
The fourth episode of The Learning Channel’s (TLC) newest series showed a little background from last week’s show – then it started out somewhere around the halfway point of Episode Three.
The crews “re-revealed” the work done by volunteers on Jeff’s one and only dollar store, Amazing Bargains.
The only difference?
Some extra footage.
Episode Three showed the store’s new facade being revealed to a crowd of screaming fans, including co-owner Steve Antoniou.
Episode Four showed the same thing – with a hectic scene preceding the removal of the “Town Haul” drape that hid the building from prying eyes.
Project Manager Kathy Herbert was back on camera directing her crew to quickly repot plants needed to decorate the new front deck on the dollar store. With just seconds to spare and a crowd waiting breathlessly on the other side of the partially-see-through curtain, Herbert swept up leftover debris and dirt dropped in the repotting process, and all was revealed.
Cameras then moved on to the episode’s main focus – the village hall up the street.
Host Genevieve Gorder renewed her vow to create a teen center in the abandoned upstairs of the municipal building – a project that began in Episode Three.
But in order to get it off the ground, Gorder claimed the crews would have to bring Village Clerk Louise Gorr on board.
Gorder said Gorr was one of the village’s chief opponents to a teen center. For her part, Gorr refused to comment on her feelings about the center – telling teens from WJFF’s Youth America program “no comment,” and skirting the issue when Gorder visited her during lunch at Ted’s Restaurant.
But Gorr couldn’t stay off camera – the TLC crews moved in to the downstairs of the village hall too, with big plans to revamp the ‘70s-style offices where the village’s clerk/treasurer has worked for more than 30 years.
In a quick load out similar to the timeline inflicted on the Sattler family in Episode One, Gorr had to clean out her offices and make way for Project Manager Rich Justus (brother of Mayor Ed Justus) and his renovation crew.
Her only stipulation?
The counter where she lays out the books when folks come to pay their taxes had to stay.
Within minutes, the counter was gone – victim to a chainsaw, and eventually to a bonfire at the Hills Country Inn in nearby Callicoon Center.
But “Town Haul” Carpenter Jimmy Little vowed to make something bigger and better to fulfill Gorr’s needs, and Gorder put her design skills to work recreating a brand new office.
The clerk was resistant to change, Gorder said, but it was bound to come. Her project manager, who admitted he hadn’t spent much time in the village hall, was a perfect antithesis to Gorr – where she was clinging to the current, he was willing to jump into anything with two feet.
Gorr’s setup was abandoned, and the crews decided to take space previously used for village meetings to add extra storage.
Little said the meetings would be moved upstairs to the teen center – although residents know that’s never happened. With no space available, the village has been forced to borrow a room from the Western Sullivan Public Library next door ever since the TLC crews worked their “magic.”
By the time the project was completed, Gorr’s office was unrecognizable. Ugly, dated paneling was replaced with brightly painted walls, and a fountain created especially for Gorr by the folks at Sticks, Stones, Crystals and Gnomes in the Beechwoods was added to offer the clerk a little “serenity.”
The result?
Gorr entered her changed offices in tears, welcoming a big hug from Gorder.
The crews could then focus their attentions on the teen center upstairs. Once again, they turned back the clock.
Although renovation work officially began in Episode Three, Gorder was seen on camera Saturday evening laying out her plans for the project to Project Manager Diana Justus (the mayor’s daughter) in a room that had yet to be touched.
Controversy touched on in the previous episode was revisited, with the second airing of a WJFF youth interview with town hardware store owner Russ Johnston and the audience’s first glimpse of Justus’ own feelings on the matter.
The teen took to the airwaves at the radio station while her parents, Fran and Ed, listened at home. Justus faced challenges from WJFF program members Katie Schroeder and Dave Lundgren, who questioned the need for a teen center and the burden it would put on the taxpayers.
“Our little girl is growing up,” Ed said, listening in his living room.
The youngest Justus blew off steam after the on-air battle in the toolshed confessional with best friend Laura Stabbert – they said they felt she’d been personally attacked.
But work continued, with young volunteers pouring in to help shop for the center, paint the walls and even come up with a new name.
Crews hit a stumbling block when General Contractor Ray Romano revealed there just wasn’t enough money available to make the project work, and Mayor Justus said the village wouldn’t be able to make up the difference.
But minutes later the problem seemed to have been resolved – Romano said the money was there to make the second-floor center handi-capped accessible, and heavy machinery was brought in to knock down the narrow stairwell on the side of the village hall.
The crews took advantage of the fact that the access to the upstairs wasn’t replaced – forcing a bit of hilarity first with camera crews stuck on the second story and later with Gorder having to think fast to get a pool table installed in the center.
The teen center, dubbed “The Lounge,” was revealed to much fanfare, with kids and parents dancing and playing pool.
“Town Haul” never tells the nation the real story behind the center – that the handicapped access was not, in fact, provided by TLC and the teen center hasn’t been used since the night of the reveal.
As of last week’s village board meeting, held in the library next door, the elevator which cost the village taxpayers $9,300 had not even been installed.
But with the project done to Gorder’s satisfaction, a preview of next week’s episode shows the crews are moving on.
Viewers can expect some drama – Ted’s Restaurant owner Gus Kabacki was seen in the preview protesting work done on his eatery. In a short clip, he said he was never informed of the project.
And if the preview is any indication, sparks will fly with the fire department in Episode Five, which will air Saturday at 10 p.m.
Episode Four will be rerun on Saturday as well at 5 p.m.

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