Mass lay-offs in Hobart pharmaceutical plant

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest employers in Delaware county, will eliminate approximately 15 percent of the positions at their manufacturing and distribution plant in Hobart.

“Based on the ongoing evaluation of resources in Hobart, including recent changes in long-term demand, operational improvements and a change in shift schedules, we are taking action to realign and reshape our resources as part of our effort to position the Hobart Plant to be a top-performing manufacturing site,” Media Relations Manager at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Lynn Phillips said. “The actions we are taking will result in an elimination of positions that will impact the workforce at our Hobart Plant.”

Affected employees will be notified this week, Phillips said, and most will leave the company by early July. Those laid-off will be given severance benefits that include outplacement services. 

Sources say 85 to 100 jobs will be cut.   Read more

Storm leaves Delaware County residents without power

Above: Fallen trees along Main Street in Bovina as a result of the storm that hit Delaware County early this morning. Photo by Ray LaFever

A storm with winds in excess of 60 mph that swept through Delaware County early this morning has left thousands without power, according to New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG).

The storm was brief, beginning at midnight and lasting roughly 20 minutes, but caused major damage, especially to the towns of Bovina and Delhi, according to Director of Emergency Services and Fire Coordinator for Delaware County Steve Hood.

Hood said the storm resulted in a large number of fallen trees throughout the area and sections of two roads in Delhi — Federal Road No. 2 and Glen Burnie Road— have been blocked off because of it.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Binghamton issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 11:45 p.m. last night, effective until 12:45 a.m. Wednesday for Broome, Chenango and Delaware Counties.

The NWS warned that the line of thunderstorms found by the doppler radar were capable of producing quarter sized hail and damaging winds.  Read more

For young Walton filmmakers, CMFF is just the beginning

Above: Devin Hulse, left, in his role as the "lonely kid," making snow angels after finding his imaginary friend, played by Ricky Wood, right, in the CMFF award winning music video "Imaginary Friends." Photo courtesy of The Castkill Mountains Film Festival.
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Eric Webler pulled his buddy’s van into the McDonald’s parking lot and began editing what would become an award winning film.

“We’re amateurs,” Webler said. “We needed the wifi.”

Webler said he was 10 years old when he got his start in filmmaking after gaining a sizable following on YouTube from his stop motion videos of toys cars.

Seven years later, Webler, 17, is part of a crew of five Walton teenagers who produced the music video “Imaginary Friends.” In May, the video won a coveted “Catty” award for best high school music video at the Catskill Mountains Film Festival (CMFF).

Music by artist Laszlo is the backdrop for the video that tells the story of a lonely kid’s adventure.

Fifteen year-old Devin Hulse portrayed the lonely kid — a recluse who wanders the bare, snow-banked streets in search of excitement.

He finds fun in the form of a friend, played by Ricky Wood 16, who seemingly pops into existence. They venture off until confronted by two bullies, played by Webler and Robbie Phraner, 16.  Read more

This Weekend: History from beyond the grave

Above: The Sanford Cemetery, which holds the remains of European settlers from the Middletown area, sections were also used for reinterment of remains taken from areas flooded by the Pepacton Reservoir in the 1950's. Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown.

Although a summer evening stroll through a graveyard sounds like something straight out of “The Addams Family," the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown’s cemetery tours offer an educational twist on an otherwise spooky outing.

Held on Saturday, June 21, groups can tour the Sanford Cemetery on County Route 6 in Dunraven from 4 to 7 p.m. to hear costumed presenters portray several different historical figures buried in or around the area. 

The cast of characters include pioneer farmers, teachers, tavern keepers and even an Esopus sachem, all researched at-length by historical society members, President of the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown Diane Galusha said.

Instead of recounting eerie ghost stories and chain rattling, Galusha said the tours provide insights into the lives of Middletown residents.   Read more

Callicoon Flea Market owners killed in PA house explosion

Late on Sunday night, a massive propane explosion leveled a house on River Road in the Pennsylvania town of Damascus. Across the Delaware River, on the New York side, residents of the Sullivan County hamlet of Callicoon heard the blast and saw the flames. 

Sullivan County Democrat editor Frank Rizzo took some photographs from across the Delaware:

 

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Catskills trail volunteers get a boost from the DEC

Above: Volunteers with the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference help build a new section of the Long Path over Romer Mountain near Phoenicia. Photo taken in 2012; on June 7, 2014, the trail was opened to the public for the first time. Photo courtesy of the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference; for more photos of Romer Mountain trailbuilding, see their Facebook album.

The miles of trails that crisscross the Catskill Park would be in rough shape, if not for the volunteers that brave mud, weather, prickers and bugs every year to keep them in good condition. 

This month -- just in time for National Trails Day -- those volunteer efforts got a major boost. With funding from the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC) has formed the Catskill Conservation Corps, a volunteer program that will build trails, help with the DEC's scientific research, and generally support outdoor recreation in the Catskill Park.

"DEC is pleased to partner with the Trail Conference to form the Catskills Conservation Corps to protect and improve lands and waters in the Catskills and create additional access for residents and visitors,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a recent press release. “Working together, we will preserve critical habitats, develop and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking and fishing, promote tourism in the Catskills and ensure our environment is in good hands.”  Read more

Flash flood watch issued for western Catskills

Above: National Weather Service radar shows two bands of thunderstorms headed eastward across central New York. Screenshot taken at 3:25 p.m. on Friday, June 13.

Bands of thunderstorms and heavy rain are headed eastward across western and central New York, prompting National Weather Service forecasters in Binghamton to issue a flash flood watch for south-central New York and the western Catskills.

Forecasters are expecting over two inches of rain to fall over a period of less than three hours on Friday afternoon and evening, which could cause flooding in small streams and areas of poor drainage.

Included in the flood watch are Delaware and Sullivan counties. The watch will remain in effect until midnight. 

Below: A forecast posted on Facebook by NWS Binghamton forecasters.

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Horseback riding in the Catskills

Riders head out on the trail. Photo courtesy of Bridle Hill Farm.

Strapping on your hiking shoes isn’t the only way to see the Catskills: You can also hit the trail on horseback. Trail-riding companies operate throughout the region, and they offer an alternative way to enjoy the spectacular views and fresh mountain air that make the Catskills a paradise for hikers.

Novice and experienced riders alike should have a pre-ride safety check with the trail ride leader, says Laura Phoenix, a riding coach and equestrian specialist at Country Meadows Equine in Delaware County. Before embarking, beginning riders should be shown how make their mount turn left or right — and most importantly, how to stop.

As you ride, the group should set the pace at the comfort level of the most inexperienced rider, in order to ensure a successful ride for everyone in the group.

After horse and rider have gotten acquainted, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the views.

Spring is a great time to take a trail ride, Phoenix says.  Read more

This weekend: Taste of Country Festival returns to Hunter

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Above: A video of highlights from the 2013 Taste of Country Festival, which featured Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Hunter Hayes, Billy Currington and more. Source: Taste of Country Festival's YouTube channel.

Ready your cowboy hats and Daisy Dukes for this weekend’s Taste of Country Music Festival, kicking off tonight at Hunter Mountain.

The four day, two-stage event is the only multi-day country music festival in the Northeast, offering country music lovers a star-studded line-up of performers, along with vendors, activities and food. Folks can take a break in between sets and check out some fireworks, frisbee and golf demos and even a live-action “Farmville 2” petting zoo. 

The lineup includes headlining crooners Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert and Hank Williams Jr. Also performing will be newcomers Chase Rice, Thomas Rhett and Jamie Lynn Spears (yes, Britney’s younger sister).  Read more

This weekend: Kingston Kayak Festival

Above: Kayaks lined up on Kingston Point Beach at the 2013 Kingston Kayak Festival. Photo from Kenco's Facebook page.

Kenco's Kingston Kayak Festival returns to the Kingston Point Beach on Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to offer opportunities for both seasoned and novice kayakers alike.

Kayakers will be able to learn new skills in beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons — on both land and water — that include instruction on kayak fishing.

Beginners will be provided with a kayak for a guided tour. Experienced kayakers are expected to bring their own.

Instructional offerings on how to pick the right paddle and kayak will also be available.

Food vendors, boating brands and exhibitors will be present, tabling products including used gear and boats.

Scheduled events will end with an auction of gear from 3 to 5 p.m.  Read more