New York state bans fracking


A video posted by Mark Ruffalo (@markruffalo) on

At a cabinet meeting that was open to the public today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens and New York Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced that the practice of natural gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be prohibited in New York State.   Read more

Tonight: Forum on safety at Kaaterskill Falls

Above: After two people fell to their deaths while hiking Kaaterskill Falls in 2014, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation installed a new fence and signage at the top and bottom of the waterfall. Photo via NY DEC. 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is drafting an amended management plan for Kaaterskill Falls, a spectacular Greene County waterfall where two hikers died in 2014.

After lobbying by state and town officials, the DEC installed new fences and signage at the waterfall in October, according to the Daily Mail.  Read more

BAM! New Margaretville business association forms

Above: Jess Olenych (with Joey, Jess's dog) and Karen Fairbairn at the inaugural meeting of the Margaretville Business Association. Photos by Julia Reischel.

Fifteen business people and one small dog gathered to form the Business Association of Margaretville--BAM! for short--at the Molnar Financial Building (the former Margaretville e-Center) on Main Street on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Karen Fairbairn, owner of the Lazy Crazy Acres gelato company in Arkville, was elected to be president of the group, and Jess Olenych, the owner of Home Goods in Margaretville, was voted Vice President. 

Below: More photos from the meeting.  Read more

New robotic buoys measure water quality from under Ashokan ice

Above: New York City Department of Environmental Protection staffers install a new "under-ice water quality monitoring buoy" on the Ashokan Reservoir on Thursday, Dec. 11. Photo via the NYC DEP's Flickr page

Before this year, scientists at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection had to spend the winter taking an airboat into the icy waters of the Ashokan Reservoir to sample the quality of the water destined for the city's taps by hand.

Now a robotic sensor designed to spend the winter under the ice will take over the job. 

Robots mounted on large rafts already sample the water on the city's Catskills reservoirs in warmer months, but they are too large and fragile to handle ice and snow. Every winter, they are hauled out.

  Read more

Man trapped by snow in remote Schoharie County cabin for three days

A man was trapped by snow in a remote cabin in the Schoharie town of Broome for three days last week, according to a press release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office. 

Sixty-year-old David Garrison lives in a cabin with no phone or electricity. On Friday, Dec. 12, one of his neighbors called the police to say that Garrison hadn't been seen since Tuesday, Dec. 9. Over 22 inches of snow fell between Tuesday and Friday in that part of Schoharie County, police say.

Sheriff's deputies riding on snowmobiles reached Garrison's house on Laura Lane on Friday afternoon and found Garrison alone with his dog. The snow had kept Garrison, who has some disabilities, from reaching his woodpile. He had kept warm by burning pieces of his house in his woodstove, his home's only source of heat, the press release says.

The Daily Star's Jessica Reynolds has more details about the rescue:  Read more

After police reportedly find drugs during traffic stop, man runs out into Route 17

Left: Julio L. Martinez. Photo via the New York State Police. 

After police allegedly found drugs in his vehicle, a Monticello man attempted to flee the scene by running into traffic on busy Route 17, according to a New York State press release

Julio L. Martinez, a 36-year-old from Monticello, was driving a black 1999 Honda westbound on Route 17 in the Sullivan County town of Thompson when New York State troopers pulled him over for unspecified traffic violations, the police say.

After the police reportedly found heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride in the vehicle, Martinez allegedly "attempted to flee the area on foot by running out onto State Route. 17, obstructing traffic."

Martinez was arrested a short distance away from where he was pulled over, police say.  Read more

Greene County drug dragnet arrests 18 people

Eighteen people were arrested on drug charges after a 14-month investigation by Greene County and New York State police and officials on Friday, Dec. 12, according to a press release from the New York State Police.

The arrests spanned Greene County from Jewett and Lexington to New Baltimore. The lengthy investigation involved undercover operatives buying cocaine, crack, heroin and prescription drugs from suspects around the region. Sealed indictments were handed down throughout November and December, police say.

The list of the 18 people arrested is below:

Joey Rodriguez, age 34, of Catskill, N.Y.: Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts) and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts)

Gregory “Rebel” Bernard, age 37, of Catskill, N.Y.: Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts) and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts)

Brian Bridgham, age 31, of Catskill, N.Y.: Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd (1 count) and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd (1 count).  Read more

Man killed after ATV flips on top of him in High Falls

Above: A Yamaha Grizzly 350 all-terrain vehicle. Photo via the Yamaha product website

A 68-year-old man driving an all-terrain vehicle on a wooded trail in High Falls died on Sunday, Dec. 14 after his ATV flipped over, pinning him beneath it, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Bruce Turner, a 68-year-old Stone Ridge resident, was found unconscious under a Yamaha Grizzly 350 ATV on an inclined section of the trail at 7:04 a.m. on Sunday morning, a press release from the Sheriff's Office states.

First responders pulled the ATV off Turner and performed CPR. Turner was then taken to HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, where he died of his injuries, police say.

Hundreds of Santas raise thousands of dollars at Windham Mountain

Above: Santas ride the chairlift on Sunday, Dec. 14 at Windham Mountain Ski Center. Screenshot from Windham Mountain's video of the event, which you can watch below. 

Windham Mountain invited Santa Claus to ski for charity on Sunday, Dec. 12, and 300 Santas answered the call. Hundreds of skiers wearing red and white received a free lift ticket and paid $20 apiece.

The fees--over $6,000 in all--were donated to the Windham Community Food Pantry, along with a matching $2,000 donation from the ski center, according to a video released by Windham Mountain.

Lance Wheeler also shot a video of the event. Watch it by clicking here. 

See video

Naked man spent 14 hours outside in Summit, prompting helicopter search

Above: Photo via Flickr user rabiem22

A 28-year-old man wearing nothing but a pair of boots turned up on the porch of a residence in Summit after spending 14 hours naked outside on Sunday, Dec. 7, police say.

"You've never seen a guy shake that much in your whole life," said Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond, whose office helped with the search.

The man, who is not being identified, was reported missing by his family at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, prompting a large search of an area near Charlotte Valley Road in Schoharie County, according to a press release from the New York State Police.  Read more