Not too cold for robins

Barbara Small photographed two robins brightening up Southside Road in Margaretville this week. Share your cold-weather photos with us via Facebook, our Flickr group, or by old-fashioned email

Sloansville man found dead in his car in Schoharie

A man who spent Saturday night in his car, parked in a driveway in the village of Schoharie, was found dead in the car on Sunday. The cause of death is still under investigation, but no foul play is suspected. 

On Monday, the Schoharie Sheriff's Office identified the man as 35-year-old Mark Trendell of Sloansville. According to a Sheriff's Office press release posted on the Schoharie News, Trendell asked permission of a homeowner if he could sleep in his driveway: 

At this time the investigation has revealed that, Mr. Trendell, had spent the evening in his vehicle in the driveway of an acquaintance, with their permission. The last contact was about 7:30 Saturday evening. At about 11:40 the acquaintance went to check on Mr. Trendell, who’s vehicle was still running in the driveway, and found Mr. Trendell unresponsive. The resident called 911. Responding police and Scho-Wright EMS determined that Mr. Trendell had passed.  Read more

DEP cop says Reese told him: "I shot Aron twice"

David Reese, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of DEP employee Aron Thomas, admitted to the act after the crime, a DEP police officer told a Kingston court judge on Monday.

At a preliminary hearing in Kingston city court on Monday, Feb. 10, Lieutenant Justin Kight of the DEP Police gave testimony about the events that unfolded on the morning of Monday, Feb. 3 at the DEP's Kingston office.

Reporter James Nani of the Times Herald-Record has an account of Kight's testimony, in which Kight told the courtroom that immediately after the shooting, Reese knocked on his door and allowed him to take a Glock pistol from Reese's jacket pocket.

Kight testified that as he was escorting Reese out of the building, Reese admitted to shooting Thomas, and alluded to some ongoing workplace dispute:

Kight said Reese told him "you know Aron's been stalking me," that "I shot Aron twice" and "you know they've been breaking into my office."  Read more

"Operation Angry Birds": Cockfighting ring busted in Ulster County

Above: Two roosters square off at a cockfight in Andhra Pradesh, India. Photo by Flickr user Vijay Chennupati; posted under Creative Commons license

About 3,000 roosters were seized from a Plattekill farm on Sunday, as part of what Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling "the largest cockfighting takedown in New York State history." 

The farm was breeding roosters for cockfights at a venue in Queens, with help from a Brooklyn pet shop, according to a press release from Schneiderman's office. Raids were carried out and arrests made at all three locations on Saturday night and Sunday morning.  Read more

Franklin firefighter suffers fatal heart attack on duty

A member of the Franklin Fire Department, Assistant Chief James Wilber, suffered a fatal heart attack while responding to a call Sunday morning.

A public news release sent out by the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services stated that Wilber was a 39-year veteran of the Franklin Fire Department: 

It is with deep regret that Delaware County Department of Emergency Services and Franklin Volunteer Fire Department announce the Line of Duty Death of Assistant Chief James C. Wilber. Jim suffered an apparent cardiac event while responding to a call this morning, February 9, 2013. He was transported to Tri-Town Regional Hospital in Sidney by the Unadilla Emergency Squad and Cooperstown Medical Transport where he was declared deceased a short time later.

Assistant Chief Wilber was a dedicated member of the fire service with over 40 years invested in volunteering, 39 years of which he served with the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department.

Jim is survived by his wife, Sue, his son, Ken and his sister, Debbie.  Read more

Golden eagle caught and tagged in Andes

Above: A juvenile golden eagle was captured in the town of Andes on Saturday, February 8 and fitted with a GPS tracking device. Photos by Julia Reischel. 

A rare eastern golden eagle was captured and fitted with a solar-powered GPS device this morning in the town of Andes. It is the first golden eagle captured in New York state under a research program run by the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society (DOAS). 

"This is a very rare bird in the east," said Tom Salo, the research coordinator for the DOAS Golden Eagle project, who was on-site on a frigid morning in Andes to watch the eagle get tagged and released. "It is an endangered species in New York State, where it is no longer nesting."

Below: Tom Salo measures the golden eagle after it is captured in Andes.

Below: The GPS tracker attached to the golden eagle's back. Each tracker costs about $2,500.   Read more

This weekend: Winter Hoot at the Ashokan Center

This Friday through Sunday, the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge comes alive with the twang of banjos, the stomp of feet, and the sweet sound of voices lifted in harmony. (And even a little "electrified Americana," in the form of a set by Saugerties' Conner Kennedy.)

The Ashokan Center's Hoot, now in its second year, is a biannual folkfest fundraiser for the center's environmental education activities. Hosted by local folk duo Mike + Ruthy, the son-in-law and daughter of Ashokan Center co-founder Jay Ungar, the fest is quickly earning a devoted following among folkies. The late Pete Seeger made an appearance at the first Summer Hoot last August -- and later sent a postcard to its hosts saying it was "one of the best song gatherings I've seen in all my 94 years."   Read more

Mohonk Mountain House closed after stomach bug hits guests and staff


Above: Mohonk's norovirus outbreak hits Twitter.

The Mohonk Mountain House closed its doors for a week on Friday, Feb. 7, after many guests and staff came down with a highly contagious norovirus that caused vomiting and diarrhea. 

The virus also caused another outbreak on social media: Attendees of a conference held at Mohonk began tweeting with the hashtag #MoChunk  Read more

SUNY New Paltz student found dead in dorm room

A first-year SUNY New Paltz student was found dead in his dorm room on Thursday night, Feb. 6. The cause of death is still unknown.

On Thursday evening, campus police responded to a 911 call and found 18-year-old Eric Vandelaar of Monroe, N.Y. not breathing. No foul play is suspected in Vandelaar's death, according to a university news release.

On Friday morning, university officials released Vandelaar's name, which they had withheld til his family could be notified.

Grief counselors are available on campus to students and staff, the release said:

Members of the residence life staff and the Psychological Counseling Center have been providing grief counseling and assistance to students. The Counseling Center staff is welcoming those students who may feel the need to talk to someone and work through their personal feelings of loss. The Counseling Center can be reached at 845-257-2920. For those employees who are interested in speaking with someone, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available at 845-257-2886.  Read more

Measles patient at Albany Medical Center may have exposed others

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday that a young child with measles had been admitted to Albany Medical Center, and that patients who were in certain parts of the hospital on Friday, Jan. 31 or Saturday, Feb. 1 may have been exposed. 

This case is the second confirmed in the Capital Region this week. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the DOH reported that a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute had come down with the highly contagious disease.  Read more