Accident shuts Route 30 in Blenheim

 

 

Above: Photo from the scene of an accident on Route 30 posted to Schoharie Fire Wire and News. For more photos from the scene, see their Facebook page.

A collision between an SUV and a truck hauling a dumpster on Wednesday morning left two men injured and forced the shutdown of Route 30 in Blenheim, police said.  Read more

NWS: Tornado touched down in Parksville on Sunday

Above: Damage to trees and a trailer near a house in Parksville, after a tornado blew through on Sunday, July 13. Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service in Binghamton.

A fierce storm that blew through the tiny Sullivan County hamlet of Parksville on Sunday, July 13 has been determined to be a tornado, National Weather Service meteorologists say.

A team from the NWS's Binghamton office, whose territory includes Sullivan County along with 23 other counties in central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania, visited the site of the storm in Parksville on Tuesday to survey the damage. The team found severe tree damage in a small area around two homes, although the homes themselves had only minor damage from the storm. No one was injured during the storm.

Winds from the Parksville tornado reached 90 miles per hour, making it an "EF-1" storm. The NWS's scale for rating tornadoes runs from EF-0 (winds of 65 to 85 miles per hour) to EF-5 (over 200 miles per hour).   Read more

Mud and chaos mar Hudson Project music fest

 

Above: A Hudson Project festgoer earns her 15 minutes of Internet fame, as she shrieks at the river of trash and belongings running through her campsite. Source: The Festive Owl's Facebook page.  Read more

Despite "mistakes," New York Safety Track escapes contempt order

A supporter of the New York Safety Track waits outside the Delaware County courthouse on June 13, 2014 to attend a hearing. Photo by Julia Reischel

A Delaware County judge has refused to hold the Harpersfield-based New York Safety Track (NYST) and its manager, Greg Lubinitsky, in contempt for allegedly violating a declaratory judgement that prohibited racing, automobiles, large engines, and large crowds.

Opponents of NYST have argued that throughout May 2014, the track violated the judgement with the presence of automobiles, more than six motorcycles, and more than 25 people at a time.

In a July 8 decision, Judge Brian Burns wrote that his hands are tied in a matter that the town of Harpersfield must enforce.

"A finding of contempt is not authorized for alleged violations of a declaratory judgement under our laws," Burns wrote, adding that the opponents of the track "must rely on their municipality to enforce its local laws."  Read more

Boot-camp drug rehab didn't keep Walton man from reoffending, police say

A month-long investigation by Delaware County police into local drug traffic has led to the arrest of a Walton man on heroin-related charges. The suspect was a recent graduate of a "boot camp" drug treatment program to which he was sentenced after a previous felony conviction, police say.

Walton resident Matthew S. Parker, 36, was arrested last week on several felony charges, after he was allegedly found to be in possession of 293 bags of heroin, according to a Delaware County Sheriff’s Office press release.

On Thursday afternoon, Delaware County investigators and sheriff's deputies arrested Parker on a sealed grand jury indictment warrant charging him with three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance.  Read more

Catskills Irish Arts Week kicks off in East Durham

Above: Musicians performing at the Catskills Irish Arts Week. Photo by Timothy H. Raab, from the Catskills Irish Arts week Facebook page.

Fervid followers of traditional Irish music and dance descend on East Durham this week for the twentieth annual Catskills Irish Arts Week.

The week-long event, which started in 1995 with 10 instructors and 70 participants, has grown to include over 70 instructors of music, dance, art and writing who will lead workshops to hundreds of participants. In the evenings, local pubs and music venues host performances and more informal music sessions.

On Saturday, the week winds up with the East Durham Trad Fest, a day-long celebration of Irish music, dancing and storytelling. This year's Trad Fest will honor Felix Dolan, a longtime member of the Catskills Irish Arts Week teaching faculty who died in 2013.   Read more

Guide me a river: The art of Catskills wilderness guiding

Longtime Catskills wilderness guide Charles “Sonny” Somelofski has earned a few more gray hairs since this photo was taken — and caught countless more fish. Photo courtesy of Catskill Outdoor Adventures (catskilloutdooradventures.com).

Charles “Sonny” Somelofski of Catskill Outdoor Adventures in Margaretville (catskilloutdooradventures.com), remembers when the licensing process to become an outdoor guide in New York state was a simple paper questionnaire with a $2 fee that asked whether he could swim, handle a boat, and read a map and compass.

“That was it, back then,” Somelofski says. “Bang! I was able to take people out and do it all.”

Today, being a state-licensed outdoor guide requires a bit more: taxable income disclosure forms, a physician’s statement, and certifications in first aid, CPR, and water safety. Those are the just the basics. Guides can be licensed in a number of different categories, ranging from camping and fishing to whitewater rafting and ice climbing, each with different licensing requirements.

The heart of guiding, however, has remained the same: proving to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that you can reliably take paying customers out into the great outdoors and bring them back again in one piece.  Read more

Cairo man charged with assaults with fist and fireworks

A 20-year-old Cairo man has been charged with assault after allegedly punching one person in the face and dropping lit fireworks down the shirt of another.

Cory M. Thompson was arrested by New York State Police at Catskill following an investigation into events occurring on July 5 at a private residence. 

In a press release dated July 10, New York State Police said that last Saturday, Thompson “repeatedly punched an individual in the face,” leaving the victim with facial fractures and a broken eye socket. That same day, police said, Thompson also dropped lit fireworks down another man’s back, leaving him with several burns from the explosion between his shirt and his back. 

Thompson was charged with second-degree assault — a class D felony — and third-degree reckless assault, a class A misdemeanor.  Read more

Locals brace for Hudson Project music fest

Winston Farm in Saugerties: About to get a lot more populated. Photo from the Hudson Project Facebook page.

Locals are gearing up for traffic, crowds and delays this weekend as the Hudson Project, a new music and arts festival in the tradition of Woodstock, kicks off in Saugerties.  

Legions of hippies and hipsters — an estimated 20,000 a day — will flood 800-acre Winston Farm for the three-day festival, according to a report in the Kingston Daily Freeman.  The farm previously played host to 1994’s reprisal of the famed Woodstock festival, and was the intended site for the original 1969 event before it relocated to Bethel.  

At the helm of Hudson Project is original Woodstock festival co-founder Michael Lang, who told the New York Times that the Project is his attempt at bringing a successful recurring festival to the area.   Read more

State audit finds ORDA in the red

Sign at the entrance of Belleayre Mountain, a state-owned ski center in Highmount that has been run by ORDA since 2012. Photo source: Belleayre's Facebook page.

The regional authority that runs Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in the Catskills, along with Gore and Whiteface in the Adirondacks, has some troubling financial problems, according to a new audit released Wednesday by the New York State Comptroller's Office. 

The audit has been in the works since March of 2013, when state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that his office would be taking a closer look at the authority's finances.

In the audit report (embedded below), DiNapoli found that the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) has racked up $45 million in losses in a three-year period from 2010 to 2013.

The authority took over management of Belleayre in 2012. The mountain was previously run by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The audit found fault with several aspects of ORDA's management of Belleayre. In one instance, auditors wrote, ORDA awarded a contract for ski rental equipment concessions at Belleayre to an outside company without seeking competitive bids. The authority should open up the process to competition, the audit report stated:  Read more