State Court of Appeals upholds home rules against fracking

New York’s State Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of local officials right to home rule against hydraulic fracturing (hydro tracking), upholding a lower courts decision to support the rights to pass zoning laws banning the controversial natural gas extraction method within their borders.

In their 5-2 ruling, the courts stood by the decision from last year, saying that the statewide Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) does not trump local governments home rule authorities to pass zoning laws.

Based on cases from New York towns Dryden and Middlefield,  the courts ruled that the towns were within their rights to enact zoning laws against fracking.

“The towns both studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately-cultivated, small-town character of their communities,”  Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote in the decision.   Read more

Woman dies after falling from Kaaterskill Falls

CBS 6 in Albany has reported that a woman who fell nearly 70 feet from the Kaaterskill Falls on Saturday has died from her injuries.

The woman, who has not yet been identified, died at Albany Medical Center while undergoing emergency surgery, according to The Daily Mail.

Tannersville Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Tuomey told The Daily Mail that the woman, who he estimated to be in her mid to late 50s, was found by the Tannersville Rescue Squad and the Haines Falls Fire Department around 1:45 p.m. with head, leg and internal injuries after she fell to the water basin while hiking with her husband at the bottom of the main falls.

She was airlifted to Albany Medical Center where she was in very critical condition.

Green Wolf Brewing Co. hops onto Middleburgh Main

Above: The logo of Green Wolf Brewing Co., recently painted on their wall at their Middleburgh location. Photo by Katherine Speller.

When Justin Behan’s wife was in her later stages of pregnancy, she told him about a dream she had one night: a green wolf walking through their property.

Around that time Behan, a brewer of craft beer, was putting every word he could think of in front of “Brewing Company” to try and name his business, all while working on his own beer recipes in his kitchen. 

And Green Wolf Brewing Co. worked— from its Latin roots (the word for hops comes from the latin word for wolf), his strong environmental ethos, his need for money to stay afloat and its ties to the Middleburgh school’s colors. 

Left:  A few of Green Wolf's beers in their taproom. 

It seemed like the right call for his farm brewery located at 315 Main St. in Middleburgh. 

“I want [Green Wolf Brewing] to be a community place: a real destination for locals and those just visiting," Behan says.   Read more

Floods damage roads in Delaware and Schoharie Counties

Above: The back of 330 Main Street in Middleburgh after the wall had collapsed in the storm Wednesday night. Photo by Katherine Speller.

Multiple towns across the Catskills region declared a state of emergency after flooding caused by thunderstorms, forcing the closure of a number of roads.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather warning early Thursday morning for severe thunderstorms in central New York — followed by a flood warning at 8:57 a.m. for the Mohawk River at the Delta Dam.

Schoharie County

Around 7:30 last night, amidst the heavy storm that flooded several areas of Schoharie County,  police received a report of a husband, wife and cat trapped in their mobile home on South Gilboa road.  

“Water was rising around their home and in ditches surrounding it,” Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said. “They couldn’t get out.”

Grand Gorge Fire Department’s rescue squad was sent out on the call but soon realized they weren’t able to get the couple out on their own, Desmond said, so they called in for assistance from other local departments from Schoharie and Delaware Counties.
  Read more

Grahmsville man arrested for menacing with a shotgun

A 40-year-old Grahmsville man was arrested Sunday after pointing a shotgun at a woman and her five-year-old daughter following an unfavorable ending to a Nascar race, police said. 

Scott Hynson was arrested by New York State Police at Liberty after they responded to reports of a man with a gun. Police said the investigation found that Hynson pointed a loaded Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun at a woman and her five-year-old daughter threatening to kill them.

“He [Hynson] was upset and yelling due to losing a Nascar race and financial troubles,” Public Information Officer at New York State Police Troop F, Trooper Steven Nevel, said.

Hynson was charged with misdemeanors of menacing in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

He was arraigned at the Town of Neversink Court and remanded to Sullivan County Jail instead of the $10,000 cash bail. 

Fireworks and festivities: a 2014 Catskills guide to the Fourth of July

Above: Fourth of July in Margaretville, 2013. Photo courtesy of Flickr User Frieda Suess.

Those spending their 4th of July Weekend in the Catskills needn’t look too far to find some patriotic displays of pyrotechnics. We’ve got you covered for this year’s festivities with a jam-packed list of potential Independence Day plans.

The events featuring fireworks are listed first — if you read on, you’ll find some less-explosive, but still excellent, alternatives. Unless otherwise specified, the fireworks happen at dusk. 


Fireworks  Read more

West Coxsackie man arrested on heroin charges

A West Coxsackie man was arrested on multiple drug charges last Wednesday after he was found in possession of over 300 bags of heroin.

Members of the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) arrested Brian DeJoy, 47, of 111 Martin Road, West Coxsackie, for possession and sale of a controlled substance on Wednesday, June 18 in the parking lot of the Price Chopper in the Village of Saugerties after he was caught selling 100 bags of heroin.

Police said they also found 250 bags of heroin inside the rental vehicle operated by DeJoy.

DeJoy was taken into custody and transported to Ulster County Law Enforcement Center where he was charged with five counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, four counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, all felonies.  Read more

Ashokan fountain shut down for upgrades

Above: The fountain at the Ashokan reservoir which will be temporarily closed until mid-August. Photo courtesy of DEP.

A popular spot for graduation photos won’t be camera-ready this weekend, or for most of the summer, while its underground hardware receives a make-over. 

The fountain at the Ashokan Reservoir will be shut off while the hydropower equipment beneath it is upgraded, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today. 

The DEP said the shutdown was needed while the New York Power Authority (NYPA) "updates the control mechanisms on the the two hydropower turbine units."  Installed in 1982, these units produce 4,700 kilowatts of electrical power for surrounding electrical grids. 

While work is being done underground, the 5-acre park area surrounding the fountain will stay open. However, a fence has been installed around immediate work area and warning signs have been posted.

The fountain should be up and running again around Aug. 15, the DEP said. 


Sharon Springs teen arrested on burglary charges

State Police from Cobleskill arrested a 14-year-old Sharon Springs resident in connection with an April burglary.

According to Police, the teen broke into the Eclipse Overhead Door store, a garage door company on State Route 10 in Sharon Springs, and once inside, proceeded to steal an item and smash several windows.

Windows of three vehicles outside the store were also broken.

Police said after they processed evidence and conducted interviews, the teenager was charged with one count of burglary in the third degree and two counts of criminal mischief in he third degree, all felonies.

The suspect will answer charges in the Schoharie County Family Court due the person’s age, police said.

Sullivan County passes resolution against SAFE Act

Sullivan County legislators passed a resolution protesting the New York Secure Ammunition Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act last week, according to the Times Herald-Record.

State departments that oversee enforcement of the SAFE Act had said “they plan[ned] to use the seals and insignias of counties on their website and on recertification notices to pistol-permit holders,” according to Times Herald-Record reporter Steve Israel.

But last week, Sullivan County legislators voted 8-0 to not allow the county seal to be used.

This resolution, introduced by Legislator Gene Benson, was one of many passed against the SAFE Act in New York counties since it was signed into law in January of 2013.

The SAFE Act bans high-capacity magazines, the sale of various semi-automatic firearms and requires that those who already own them to have them registered with authorities.  Read more