Catch up with Catskills food trucks

Above: Heather Williams of Pippy's Hotdog Truck greets customers in Palenville. Photo by Clancy Nolan.

The geographic spread of the Catskills region creates often-daunting distances between would-be diners and their dinner plates. One solution to that problem: mobile meals. The food truck scene is growing exponentially here, both in numbers and in variety of cuisine. Artisanal hot dogs, all-sliders-all-the time, Alsatian flammkuchen—there’s a food truck specializing in each of those things, traveling the hills feeding hungry customers. During warm months, they gather for a monthly rodeo in Saugerties called the Hudson Valley Food Trucks Festival; during the winter, many of them operate as catering kitchens that come right to your work or home for parties and events.

Specializing in roasting whole pigs to serve hungry throngs at weddings and parties in Delaware County and beyond, Catskill Mtn. BBQ is a mobile unit (formerly parked in Gilboa), now open in a permanent spot in Grand Gorge also. Pork, brisket, chicken and ribs are marinated and slow-smoked for 14 to 24 hours. Grand Gorgecatskillmtbbqteam.com

Black-Eyed Suzie’s is a travelling food stand and caterer with a local, seasonal menu that changes weekly, celebrating the seasons and using fresh, beautiful local ingredients from neighboring farms. Woodstockblackeyedsuziesupstate.com @BESupstate

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Route 42 in Lexington to reopen Wednesday

Above: A rock that slid from a steep bank above Route 42 in Lexington last week lies next to the road's damaged guard rail. Photo taken Thursday, May 15 by Lissa Harris.

A stretch of Route 42 in the town of Lexington, which was shut down last week after a landslide, will reopen on Wednesday morning, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) announced.

Since the morning of Thursday, May 15, Route 42 has been closed to traffic from the intersection with Spruceton Road -- near the area of the landslide -- to the Ulster County line. Officials were concerned about the stability of the bank after the landslide, which sent a cascade of large rocks tumbling down from a steep bank overlooking the roadway.

DOT spokesperson Bryan Viggiani said that repairs to the roadway are scheduled to be finished by Wednesday:

Motorists are advised that Route 42 in the Town of Lexington, Greene County, is scheduled to reopen by Wednesday morning.  Read more

School voters go to the polls

Tuesday, May 20 is election day for school districts across New York State. Today, voters go to the polls to decide the fate of school budgets, elect candidates for local school boards and vote on school propositions. 

Statewide, increases in school taxes are slowing, according to a report from the NYS Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO). Schools are under pressure to keep tax increases low because of a statewide tax cap passed in 2011, which restricts the growth of the annual tax levy unless voters pass an override at the polls. The average school tax levy increase in the state this year is 1.8 percent -- the lowest increase in six years, according to NYSASBO. 

Here are a few of the most interesting school races around the region this year:   Read more

Fire destroys building on Catskill's Main Street

Above: A photo of a blaze on Main Street in Catskill, tweeted by a Watershed Post reader late Monday afternoon.

A fast-moving fire destroyed a building under renovation on Catskill's Main Street on Monday afternoon, the Catskill Daily Mail reports:

The structure, at 609 Main Street right next to Tatiana's Italian Restaurant, was fully engulfed a little after 5 p.m., and has been called a total loss...

...Catskill Assistant Fire Chief Ed Dolan said the basement and first floor were in flames when he arrived on the scene within a minute of the call going out.  Read more

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Slush fund: NYS doles out extra cash to fix weather-battered roads

Upstate New York is notorious for its rough winters. But even for those inured to feet of snow and frozen mountain passes, the winter of 2013-14 was a brutal one, marked by long stretches of subzero temps and winter weather that lasted well into April. 

Amid the storm clouds was a silver lining: Towns and villages are getting a little bit of extra cash from the state to fix up roads that took a beating during this year's unusually harsh winter. This spring, the New York state budget included a one-time $40 million fund for winter weather recovery, in addition to $438 million in the state's regular highway budget.  Read more

Rock-thrower arrested in Sullivan County

A Bloomingburg man was arrested on Friday after he allegedly threw large rocks at another man and an occupied pickup truck, sending the man to the hospital and smashing up the truck.

Arrested was 41-year-old Bloomingburg resident Hugo Afamasaga, who is charged with second-degree assault, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Police say Afamasaga threw rocks at another man, causing head and neck injuries that were serious enough that he needed to be treated at the Orange Regional Medical Center. Police say the rock-hurling Afamasaga also shattered the windshield, windows, headlights and side mirrors of an occupied 2012 Chevrolet Silverado. 

Afamasaga was arraigned in Mamakating town court, and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail with no bail. He is due to appear in court again on Wednesday, May 21.

Oorah sues town of Jefferson over building permits

Oorah, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that runs two summer camps for Jewish children in Schoharie County, filed a lawsuit this week against the town of Jefferson, where Oorah's Boy Zone camp is located. 

In the lawsuit, filed in Schoharie County court on Thursday, Oorah claims that the town and its building inspector, Keith Brooks, are delaying construction and deliberately withholding certificates of occupancy for the camp's new buildings. The camp claims that the town is seeking to obstruct the building project in order to keep Oorah from being granted full property tax exemption on the camp property. 

Oorah has asked the court to force the town of Jefferson to "approve construction plans, inspect construction, and issue certificates of occupancy" for their new gymnasium and other buildings. If the town approval is not granted, the camp will not be able to legally use the new buildings.

The current dispute is part of a larger battle between Oorah and the town of Jefferson over the camp's tax-exempt status. As a religious organization, Oorah is exempt from federal taxes, but the tax-exempt status of the camp itself is in dispute.   Read more

Flood watch in effect for Catskills

Above: A graphic produced Friday morning by the National Weather Service in Albany, showing widespread flood watches west of the Hudson River. 

Flood watches are in effect across the Catskills region for Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, as heavy rains move into the area.

A slow-moving band of rain is moving from west to east, and is expected to drop an inch or two on the Catskills region before moving on. Hudson Valley Weather is predicting drier weather for the upcoming weekend.

If you have a rain gauge, the National Weather Service in Binghamton is looking for rainfall reports.  Read more

Route 42 in Lexington closed after mudslide

Above: A landslide on a steep bank overlooking Route 42 in Lexington. Photo by Lissa Harris.

A stretch of Route 42 in Greene County was shut down on Thursday morning after a mudslide, and remains closed. Traffic has been shut down from Spruceton Road in Lexington to the Ulster County line, and drivers are being detoured around the area via Route 23A and Route 214

The mudslide was discovered around 9:40 a.m., according to Bryan Viggiani, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT). 

On Thursday afternoon, Viggiani said the DOT had staff at the site of the mudslide assessing the situation, and more were en route to the site. It is unclear when the road will be re-opened, he said.  Read more

Accused NYC pedophile made child porn in Sullivan County, police say

An Upper East Side man who was arrested in March on charges of attempted pedophilia -- and possessing over 11,000 images of child pornography -- now faces a new charge of creating child porn in the Sullivan County town of Lumberland, police say. 

The story behind the recent arrest of 62-year-old Stephen Brown, a former information technology employee at a prestigious prep school in the Bronx, stretches back some 30 years. A recent -- and astonishing -- article in the New York Daily News tells the story of how two of Brown's alleged victims, now both in their 40s, helped police track him down to the Inn on the Hudson in Peekskill, where he allegedly planned to meet a 12-year-old boy for sex on March 4.   Read more