Police: Skeleton found in Monticello woods belongs to missing woman

A body found in the woods behind a Sullivan County housing complex was the remains of a 31-year-old woman who disappeared in May, the Monticello police said last week.

According to the Times Herald-Record and Mid-Hudson News, the village of Monticello's police department issued a statement on July 25 reporting that a body found near the Sleepy Hollow Apartments in Monticello on June 10 belonged to April Parker, who had been missing since May 26.

From the THR

The remains were positively identified as Parker's by DNA testing performed at the New York State Police Forensic Identification Center in Albany, police said. An autopsy determined that the manner of death was homicide, but authorities did not release any other details.

Monticello police said they do not believe Parker was the victim of a random act of violence.

TMI Project: Voices in Action plays Rosendale

Above: TMI Project stage manager Erica Pivko, left, talks with founder Julie Novak. Photo courtesey of the TMI Project. 

"I had constructed these pants when I was in one of my nuthouses," Joanee Tarshis says in a video produced by the TMI Project. "I had been refusing to make a wallet in occupational therapy. Only crazy people make wallets."

Stories like this, from mental health patients, at-risk teens, and domestic violence survivors, are the heart of "Voices in Action," a monologue show produced by the TMI Project that comes to the Rosendale Theatre on Tuesday, July 29.  Read more

See video

Transition Catskills proposes 'Catskills dollars,' tool libraries, and farmers' markets

Above: A design for a local Catskills currency created by members of Transition Catskills.

About two dozen people attended the first public forum of Transition Catskills, a group dedicated to making the Catskills more economically resilient, on Wednesday night at the Open Eye Theater in Margaretville.

“This was our first effort to organize a conversation,” said Jeff Tomasi, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who helped found the group.

There will be another film screening and public forum for the Transition Catskills movement on Saturday, July 26, at 4 p.m. at the Roxbury Arts Center in Roxbury.

Tomasi, who owns a second home in the Delaware County town of Middletown, also lives in London, where he first got word of Transition, an initiative that began in England around 2006 and addressed issues of oil dependence and economic instability.

“I’m not a leader, I’m a facilitator,” Tomasi told the group. “I’m not here to tell people how to live. Just here to start the dialogue.”  Read more

Manhunt on for suspect who robbed Kingston bank this morning

Above: A photo of the suspect in today's robbery of a Kingston bank, issued by the Kingston Police Department.

The Rondout Savings Bank on Schwenk Drive in Kingston was robbed this morning, and the suspect who fled from the scene along an old railroad bed is still at large, according to a press release from the Kingston Police Department. There were no injuries.

Around 11 a.m on Friday, July 25, a black man wearing a white button-down chirt, a black baseball cap, glasses, and a piece of cloth covering his face entered the bank and demanded cash from the tellers, according to the press release. The suspect then fled on foot along an old railroad bed that runs between a riverbank and Dutch Village Apartments. 

The Kingston Police Department has released a photo of the suspect, above, and is also searching for a possible witness to the robbery. Details are available on the Department's Facebook page

Activists lose case against Sullivan County foie gras manufacturers

Above: Whole roasted foie gras manufactured by Hudson Valley Foie Gras, served at Michael Mina Las Vegas. Photo by Flickr user Larry, via Flickr.

Animal-rights activists hoping to shut down Sullivan County foie gras manufacturers lost a court battle last week.

On July 17, the Third Judicial Department of the New York State Appellate Division denied the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund's request to declare foie gras, which is made from the livers of force-fed ducks and geese, an "adulterated food product."

In 2012, ALDF and a New York resident named Daniel Stahlie sued the state of New York and several Catskills foie gras producers, arguing that eating force-fed foie gras put Stahlie at risk of developing a medical condition known as secondary amyloidosis. The foie gras companies they sued were Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Bella Poultry and La Belle Farm Inc., all based in Ferndale, according to the Courthouse News Service  Read more

Albany Diocese condemns obituary and mass for accused former priest

In an unusual move, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany condemned an obituary and mass for a former priest who died last week as "highly insensitive" to the people he is accused of sexually abusing while he was a minister.

Former priest Robert H. Purcell, who died in the Delaware County village of Margaretville on Thursday, July 17, was permanently removed from the ministry in 2011 after an investigation by the Albany Diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board into charges that he had sexually abused minors.

In its investigation, the Diocese "found reasonable grounds to believe" that Purcell sexually abused minors, including a victim in Margaretville from 1995 to 2001, according to Ken Goldfarb, the director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, in a statement emailed to the Watershed Post today.  Read more

This Weekend: Catskill Forest Festival

Participants competing in a logging game at the Catskill Forest Festival. Photo courtesy of the Catskill Forest Association.

The fourth annual Catskill Forest Festival will celebrate the region’s forests this weekend by inviting people to participate in fun that promises to also be educational.

The festival, held in Margaretville Village Park on Saturday, July 26, will provide an array of family fun including music, games, horse rides and a food, beverage and vendor tent. 

In the spirit of the festival, vendors will be selling an assortment of crafts made from wood and other forest materials including hand-crafted furniture, boats, wood and pellet stoves and furnaces. Present will also be vendors selling maple products. 

The festival will be host to educational presentations by experts on subjects pertaining to the importance of New York forests such as bringing back near extinct trees and woody biomass opportunities for heating communities. There will also be talks about the history of the eastern golden eagle and forestry for wildlife.  Read more

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Catskills region

Above: A photo of the radar tracking the storm over Central and Western New York. Photo courtesy of the US National Weather Service Binghamton.

National Weather Service forecasters have issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Catskills and central New York, including Schoharie, Ulster, Delaware, Sullivan and Greene counties, lasting until 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

The following was posted on the US National Weather Service at Binghamton Facebook page at 2:30 p.m.:

Storms are starting to fire up in central NY. There is a Severe Thunderstorm Watch South and East of Rome, NY to Towanda, PA until 10 PM tonight. We are keeping a close eye on these storms. Be safe and remember, "When thunder roars, go indoors!"

Live radar tracking the storm's progress can be found here.

Wild boars escape in Bethel -- again

Above: Evidence of rooting by recently-escaped Eurasian boars in Bethel. Photo courtesy of the USDA's Justin Gansowski.

For the federal wildlife biologists tasked with keeping New York State boar-free, rounding up Zybysek Trunirz's escaped wild Eurasian boars has become something of a regular occurrence. 

A few weeks ago, it happened again: A group of boars escaped from Trunirz's Goldsmith Road property in the Sullivan County town of Bethel. A neighbor said the group included two "very pregnant" sows, according to a report from TWC News

Since early July, USDA wildlife officials have been in the field in Bethel, trapping and shooting the escaped animals. It took about three weeks, but USDA biologist Justin Gansowski said he believes the agents got them all.   Read more

Olive firewood dealer busted for selling logs infested with emerald ash borer

Above: An adult emerald ash borer. Photo by Jared Spokowsky, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org, via insectimages.org.

Firewood sold on Route 28 in the Ulster County town of Olive was infested with emerald ash borers, a destructive invasive species that is destroying ash trees in the Catskills, according to a press release issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

State environmental and agricultural officers destroyed 14 full cords of infested, cut and split ash firewood and 64 infested ash logs at the site of an unnamed Olive firewood dealer, according to the press release. The officers were alerted to the infested firewood by a tipster.

"If the infected materials were sold or transported off-site, it could have led to the further spread of this invasive species in the region," the press release stated.  Read more