NewsShed: Chesapeake bails on Southern Tier gas leases

Above: Protesters at a fundraiser for local Republican Congressman Chris Gibson on Tuesday, at which House Speaker John Boehner was the featured guest. Detail from a larger image posted on Facebook by Citizens Action of New York, whose members took part in the protest.

Happy Wednesday, Catskills. Look out for scattered showers over the next few days, as a warm front moves into the area. Nighttime temperatures are climbing back up into the balmy 60s -- which is good news for everybody's ripening tomatoes.

Reuters got a hot scoop on Tuesday: Chesapeake Energy, which had been battling landowners to extend its gas leases in Broome and Tioga counties, has agreed to drop the leases. Some landowners who had leases with Chesapeake are hoping that they can now get better deals for their land. Others are just glad to be rid of the gas company.

Student scores are out for the new -- and widely dreaded -- Common Core state standardized tests. The results aren't pretty: Only 31 percent of third through eighth graders in New York State are considered proficient in math and English language arts. To see how your district measured up, check out the data from the New York State Department of Education.

Kingston and Ulster police are looking for a pair of counterfeiters -- one male, one female -- who have been passing fake $100 bills in the area.

Shandaken voted recently to pass a resolution in honor of Phoenicia's 70s-era fiberglass Davy Crockett statue -- all except one town board member, who just isn't having it.

A pox on both your houses: Democrats and Republicans in Saugerties are working hard to court local voters, who are increasingly inclined not to enroll in either major party.

You might think Andes couldn't possibly get more twee, but you'd be wrong. W Magazine profiles Hasbeens & Willbees, a rather well-connected little art gallery-cum-antique-store-cum-restaurant that opened recently in the old Slow Food building, with a nod to the taxidermy egrets and the white-balsamic-marinated beets with cilantro and goat yogurt.

Less goat yogurt, more Yankee pot roast: The grand old Victorian Thompson House in Windham got a nice review from an Examiner travel writer recently.

An annual Catskills tradition: Those fiberglass sculptures of cats or lighthouses or carousel horses or Rip Van Winkle or what have you that are decorated by dozens of different artists, and put along local Main Streets to bolster local pride. Another annual tradition: Vandals messing with them. A fiberglass dog in Catskill was recently found damaged and dumped on Factory Street -- prompting village president Vincent Seeley to declare that "vandals don't run this town," and the Daily Mail to run with the awesomely hyperbolic headline "A nightmare for 'Dream Dog'."

Tourism in Sullivan County is slowly growing, according to data from 2012 -- but it's down in the Upper Delaware, possibly because a massive Phish concert at Bethel Woods in 2011 threw all the numbers off.

Fleischmanns is looking for a couple of new planning board members, after the recent resignation of two on the five-member board -- and the unfortunate discovery that a third member's term had expired without anybody noticing.

The last working orchard in the Rondout Valley will keep growing apples: Stone Ridge Orchard farm manager Elizabeth Ryan is buying the property, which has been on the market for a couple of years.

Attention, big rig drivers: Don't drive your trucks up High Street in Walton, no matter what your GPS tells you. You're not gonna make that Park Street turn.

Attention, everybody: If there aren't any lines painted on the road, you're not supposed to pass. A Woodland Valley resident is upset about dangerous passing on her road, and recently showed up to a Shandaken town meeting to say so.

The Parrott House in Schoharie is closed yet again, after having been declared "unfit for human occupancy" by a village code officer.

NewsShed, our snappy little weekday digest of news, weather and hot bloggy goodness from around the Catskills, is a new item here at the WP. Got a hot tip or a photo for the NewsShed? Send it to [email protected].