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Contributed Photo Courtesy of TLC

MICHELANGELO’S RESTAURANT CO-OWNER Mike D’Abbraccio spent some time with Genevieve Gorder, the host of “Town Haul” who he “won” at an auction aimed at raising money for the Jeffersonville Fire Department. Work will commence on the restaurant in the next and final episode of “Town Haul.”

TLC Moves To
Main Street Proper

By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE — February 22, 2005 – Tempers were flaring on the Saturday night episode of The Learning Channel’s (TLC) “Town Haul.”
Host Genevieve Gorder and crew chose Episode Five of the six-part series to air work done on Jeffersonville’s firehouse – a neat brick structure on the main drag that Gorder said boasted “one of the more depressing interiors in town.”
The interior designer got an invitation into the department’s inner sanctum by President and Fire Commissioner Walt Hallock.
He said the decorated department needed a new trophy case to replace their already overflowing cabinet.
But Gorder had other ideas.
“These rooms obviously need a major overhaul,” she said, eyeing the Naugahyde chairs in the department’s meeting room and a couch in the center where the men hang out that had seen better days a good 10 years prior.
Although Hallock and the majority of the firemen agreed the place was “comfortable,” Gorder insisted change was coming.
She got the townspeople on board by mentioning the project at the “Town Haul” meeting held in the early days of filming at St. George’s Roman Catholic Church and reused in each episode.
Then she named one of the department’s younger members, Dave Yanetta, as project manager.
Yanetta was charged with keeping the peace – through much of the episode he mediated disputes between Gorder’s crew and the firemen, who were unsure about the changes planned for rooms they’d worked on themselves in the past.
After an argument with Chief Dave Bodenstein, who asked where the carpenter was on this job (besides the host, none of the “Town Haul” “experts” were seen in the firehouse until the reveal at the tail end of the episode), Gorder said the men were being sexist and unreasonable.
“They think design is about fluffing pillows and throwing chintz,” she lamented to Carpenter Jimmy Little, General Contractor Ray Romano and Landscape Designer William Moss.
“I don’t have the energy to convince you beige is an OK color,” she added, after yet another question from the guys at the firehouse. “C’mon – that’s as safe as it gets.”
Eventually Gorder ordered the men locked out of the two rooms in the upstairs of the firehouse, giving volunteers like “painting diva” Fran Haskell and Jack Costello carte blanche to get the job done.
The sparks continued to fly, with Yanetta walking off the job at one point, frustrated that he was being treated like a child.
But in the end the decisions pleased both the “old guard” of the department (folks like Don “Pop” Hauschild who has served more than 50 years) and the younger generation.
A new plasma screen TV and leather armchairs went a long way toward convincing the guys change was good, and a donation from MasterCard (a “Town Haul” sponsor) pleased the commissioners, who will now be able to purchase new pumps to use during a flood.
The credit card company matched funds raised right in the village with an auction devised by the Sattler family (who saw their ice cream stand remodeled in the first two episodes of “Town Haul”).
The “Town Haul” crew was auctioned off to the highest bidder, with Romano agreeing to make dinner for the lady who ponied up nearly $100 for his services, Moss heading to the Callicoon Center house of Global Home owners Vivian Hung and Joe Giamarese for $90 worth of landscape advice and Gorder bringing in the most cash – a $400 offer from Michelangelo’s owner Mike D’Abbraccio.
Folks who remember Gorder waiting tables at the Italian restaurant might just see themselves on next week’s episode as the host fulfills her auction obligation.
They will also see the fulfillment of the “Town Haul” crew’s promises to rehab half of Main Street, a project that began Saturday night with a decision to work on Ted’s Restaurant, Michelangelo’s and the Jeff Pharmacy.
The crew split up to talk with business owners.
Romano tackled Michelangelo’s, getting an OK from Mike and brother Angelo to renovate the facade, with an emphasis on the beige exterior of the second story.
Moss visited Ted’s, where he spoke with owner Gus Kabacki about adding a more Turkish flair to the front of the building to reflect the owner’s heritage.
Kabacki’s building, which was completely renovated just a few years ago, was the first Main Street project begun on Episode Five – much to the owner’s chagrin.
Kabacki stepped out of his eatery to find Romano and crew ripping brand new siding off the front walls. According to the owner/chef, that wasn’t part of the deal – his chat with Moss that appeared on air only showed the two discussing plants.
The final building owner to sign on was Joe Fiorille of the pharmacy, who stood across Main Street with Gorder debating the possibilities for his storefront.
Gorder said she’d keep the well-known orange “drugs, prescriptions” sign for its retro kitsch value, but made suggestions that will likely see the light of day in next week’s final episode.
Episode Six will also include work done on a vacant swath of property next to the Landmark Building which Moss will be landscaping to create a village park (a use approved by the village board at a meeting late last year), and folks are expected to see one more building added to the list – the sign that now graces Jeffersonville Hardware was also put up by “Town Haul.”
Gorder will also announce the Main Street project manager – a mystery until now, although most in town know “Clock Man” Frank Haskell was tapped for the job.
Folks who haven’t gotten a glimpse of “Town Haul” can tune in Saturday afternoon for a complete review of the show from beginning to end.
The reruns will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday with the Kelly’s Kones episode, followed at 3 p.m. with the Cowboy Bob show. The Amazing Bargains work will air at 4 p.m., and the Village Hall/Teen Center episode will follow at 5 p.m.
Saturday night’s Firehouse show will be aired again at 6 p.m.
The final episode of the show will be aired at 10 p.m. with an encore at 1 a.m. Sunday.

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