Reinforcement of the Gilboa Dam is complete

Photos and video by Julia Reischel. 

State bigwigs and local officials doused the massive new concrete spillway of the Gilboa Dam with buckets of reservoir water on Friday, Oct. 31 to celebrate the completion of the dam's $138 million rehabilitation project.

"We are serious about public safety," said New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd at the ceremony. "This was a safety project foremost."

After flooding in 1996 broke a record for the amount of water that overtopped the dam, the NYC DEP found that the structure, built in 1927, might not withstand similar floods. The agency embarked upon a $138 million reconstruction project to increase the dam's flood resistance and to protect residents downstream in the Schoharie Valley.  Read more

Halloween in the Catskills: Part 2

Above: A ghoulish performance of dancing skeletons, ghouls and pumpkins is slated for 6 p.m. at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock on Friday, Oct. 31.

Halloween is a whole week of festivities this year. The fearsome fun began last weekend and continues through the big day itself on Friday, Oct. 31 and beyond.

Here's our guide to Catskills Halloween events for Oct. 30 - Nov. 2.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Left: A demon wolf is ready to scare visitors to a haunted house in Hancock. 

On Friday, Oct. 31, come out to Walton for the 3rd Annual Knight in the Castle Halloween Party and Dance at the Castle on the Delaware. It’s an atmospheric night of dancing to Blues Maneuver, and there’s a buffet.  Read more

Sheriff's deputy involved in head-on crash in Walton; other driver seriously injured

A 27-year-old woman is in critical condition after a head-on collision with a car driven by a Delaware County Sheriff's deputy, according to a press release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office. 

The sheriff's deputy is Stephanie Proffitt, and the driver in the other car is 27-year-old Amber L. Phraner of Walton, according to the press release. Proffitt's leg was lacerated in the crash, while Phraner was airlifted to a hospital in Johnson City, where she is in critical condition. 

The crash happened in the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the Delaware County town of Walton. Details are still scanty. The New York State Police have been called in to investigate.

Here's the full press release, which was issued this morning:

On Wednesday evening a Delaware County Sheriff's Deputy was involved in a head-on motor vehicle collision on State Highway 10 in the Town of Walton that resulted in serious personal injury to the driver of an on-coming vehicle.  At the request of Sheriff Mills, investigation of the accident is being conducted by the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit.  Read more

Post-season swimming hole

On Oct. 10, Watershed Post reader Tim Cox visited Blue Hole, a legendary swimming hole in the Ulster County hamlet of Sundown, and shared his shot in our Flickr Pool. (No word on whether he took a dip.) 

Police: Man who held girlfriend hostage breaks into her home

Left: James D. Garcia, in a mugshot issued by the New York State Police.

James D. Garcia, a 22-year-old Monroe man who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly holding his girlfriend hostage with a knife while driving, has been arrested again on charges of breaking into her home, according to the New York State Police. 

At 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, Garcia allegedly broke a living room window at the his ex-girlfrend's home in the Ulster County town of Woodstock, said Steven Nevel, a spokesman for the New York State Police.

Garcia then entered his ex-girlfriend's home and waited there, according to a State Police press release  Read more

Look familiar? Lucius releases Catskills music video

See video

The Catskills remain Brooklyn's primary source for American-Gothic-style atmospherics.

A new music video for "Hey Doreen" from the Brooklyn-based indie band Lucius features familiar sites along Route 28 in Delaware and Ulster counties, including the Phoenicia Diner, Margaretville Bowl, and Fleischmanns' Main Street. (It's not the Margaretville bowling alley's first time in a music video.) An alpaca, presumably a Catskills native, also makes a cameo. 

Keep an eye out for local faces, several of whom meet grisly ends at the hands of the murderous songtresses. Recognize somewhere or someone? Share it in the comments. 

Boiceville sculptor's "Stargate" installed in Baltimore museum

Above: "Stargate," a sculpture by Boiceville artist Steve Heller, installed in the sculpture garden of Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum. Photo by Martha Frankel.

A Boiceville sculptor has just returned from Baltimore, where he helped install his “Stargate”—a massive metalwork crafted mostly of upcycled vintage auto parts—in a prime location at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Left: Heller next to his sculpture of a guitar made out of a 1953 Pontiac. Photo via the Fabulous Furniture website

Perhaps it was written in the stars. Steve Heller, the creative force behind Fabulous Furniture, a furniture store based in the Ulster County hamlet of Boiceville since 1971, is passionate about automobiles, dinosaurs and rocket ships. Drivers passing his workshop on Route 28 can see some of his creations, including a silver Dodge Magnum licked with green flames called the “Cro-Magnum” and a large silver rocket labelled “Roswell or Bust.”

Deep space travel via wormholes is a logical extension.  Read more

Police: No connection between abandoned car and PA shooter

Above: A stock photo of a Porsche Cayman similar to the one found in the Delaware County town of Bovina on Oct. 22. Police at first suspected that fugitive Eric Matthew Frein used the car to escape Pennsylvania, but subsequent forensic tests have shown no connection to Frein. Photo via the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Forensic tests show that a black Porsche Cayman found abandoned on a country road in the Delaware County town of Bovina on Oct. 22 has no connection to wanted fugitive Eric Matthew Frein, who is accused of shooting two state police officers, one of them fatally, in Pennsylvania in September. 

"Nothing ties the vehicle to Frein," Nathan Riegal, a spokesman for the New York State Police, told the Watershed Post on Monday, Oct. 27.

Riegal said that DNA and fingerprint tests were conducted on the Porsche by the New York State Police's forensics lab. The results of the tests showed that there is no evidence that the Porsche was used by Frein, Riegal said.

Police initially suspected that Frein used the car to escape Pennsylvania, where he has been the subject of a manhunt since Sept. 12. The Porsche was stolen on Oct. 18 about 15 miles from the epicenter of the manhunt.  Read more

New charges in Sidney drug raid; Bonacci's wife arrested

Left: Brittany M. Bonacci. Via the Delaware County Sheriff's Office. 

Delaware County Sheriff's Officers have arrested the 24-year-old wife of a 43-year-old man accused of dealing drugs in Sidney, and have charged him, his wife and his mother with additional felonies, according to a press release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Police raided the Sidney home of Gabriel V. Bonacci on Friday, Oct. 17 and arrested him, his mother, Donna M. Bonacci, and four other people on charged related to drug dealing.

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, police arrested Gabriel's wife, 24-year-old Brittany M. Bonacci of Sidney, and charged her with felony possession of cocaine with intent to sell. They also charged her with felony possession of a stun gun.

Police have also charged Gabriel Bonacci with three more felonies, two for drug possession and one for possession of a stun gun.  Read more

Woodstock man arrested for robbery of Hess station

Above: An image of the robber distributed by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Twenty-six-year-old Cassidy L. B. Buckley was arrested early on Friday, Oct. 24 on charges of robbing a Hess Mart in the Town of Ulster on Wednesday, Oct. 22, according to a press release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Department.

Following up on a tip, detectives received a search warrant for Buckley's Woodstock residence, and searched the home early Friday morning. They reportedly found enough evidence to charge him with the Hess robbery, as well as stolen firearms from another robbery. That robbery is being investigated by another police department.

Buckley was charged with felony robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, and grand larceny. He was also charged with two misdemeanors for the stolen firearms.

Buckley was arraigned in Woodstock Town Court and was remanded to the Ulster County Jail in on $100,000 cash bail.  Read more