New York Times' "Living City" explores NYC's water supply

Up here in the Catskills, in the heart of New York City's vast rural watershed, it's impossible to forget that one lives in the middle of the city's water supply. The city's huge reservoirs dominate the landscape. Watershed affairs dominate local politics. New York City's watershed police patrol along sleepy back roads a hundred miles from Manhattan.

For most downstate New Yorkers, though, water is just a thing that comes out of the tap. This week, the New York Times introduced its readers to their astonishing water system in "Living City," a video series that explores some of the wonders of urban engineering that make life in our nation's largest city possible.  Read more

Don't tread on me (or my lawn)

Photo by Flickr user Timothy Allen

On Monday, Oct. 13, the citizens of the Delaware County town of Walton rose up in opposition to a proposed law that would have capped the height of grass and weeds in the town to ten inches, according to the Walton Reporter

The proposed amendment was prompted by complaints about one particular house on East River Road.

But at Monday's town council meeting, multiple Walton residents criticized the idea of making rules about tall grass. 

Some used pretty high-flown rhetoric, the Reporter reports:  Read more

Mount Tremper man sentenced for Boiceville bank robbery

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, 54-year-old Nicholas Liakis of Shandaken was sentenced to a lengthy prison term for robbing Community Bank on Route 28 in Boiceville in February.

Left: Nicholas Liakis, in a photo from the Ulster County District Attorney's office. 

According to a press release from Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright, Liakis was described as a “persistent violent felony offender” at the hearing.

Liakis has multiple bank robberies and holdups in New York City and Queens on his record, according to the Daily Freeman  Read more

Man who robbed two Ulster County banks sentenced

A 49-year-old Hunter man was sentenced to two back-to-back prison terms of three to six years each on Tuesday, Oct. 14 in Ulster County Court for robbing banks in New Paltz and Saugerties in 2013, according to a press release from Holley Carnright, the Ulster County District Attorney.

Left: Collin Lambert in a photo released by the Ulster County District Attorney's office.

Collin Lambert pled guilty to robbing Key Bank on Market Street in Saugerties on January 11, 2013, and to robbing Chase Bank on Plattekill Avenue in New Paltz on April 2, 2013.

In both robberies, Lambert displayed a note saying that he had a gun, but did not display a weapon or injure anyone.

Lambert was arrested at his Tannersville home in March after allegedly robbing a third bank in Herkimer in December 2013.  Read more

Car plows into village office building in Margaretville

Above: First responders and witnesses on the scene of a one-car crash on Margaretville's Main Street. Photo by Lissa Harris. 

An erratic driver in an Elantra coupe jumped the curb, took out a streetlight and hit the Gottfried Municipal Building at 773 Main Street in Margaretville on Wednesday afternoon. Luckily, it was a drizzly Wednesday and not a sunny Sunday, and few people were on the street.

The accident occurred around 4:45 p.m. No one was struck, and the building did not appear to be badly damaged. The Gottfried building houses the Margaretville village office and local DMV branch.

The driver, who appeared to be conscious after the accident, was taken from the scene by ambulance by Margaretville Hospital Emergency Medical Services. 

Jess Olenych, owner of the Home Goods kitchen store across the street from the building, saw the crash happen and was the first to call 911. 

"She just came around the corner and hit the light pole and just kept going," Olenych said.   Read more

This Weekend: The Woodstock Film Festival

Above: A trailer for I Believe in Unicorns, a film that was partially shot in the Hudson Valley. It is a featured film at this year's Woodstock Film Festival. 

The annual Woodstock Film Festival kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 15, bringing big names -- actors Natalie Portman, Jennifer Connelly, Courteney Cox, and Melissa Leo, playwright Tony Kushner, director Darren Aronofsky (who directed Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan), and jazz musician Hugh Masekela -- to the Catskills and the Hudson Valley to talk film.

Lots of this year's events and panels are already sold out, including tonight's premiere screening of East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem, a documentary about Israeli musician David Broza’s new album, made against the larger backdrop of tensions between Israel and Palestine. (Broza himself will be playing a set after the screening, along with singer-songwriter Steve Earle.)   Read more

Flash flood watch for the western Catskills

Above: Rains will move across New York on Wednesday night, Oct. 15, according to a radar image posted on NWS Binghamton's Facebook page. 

Flooding on smaller tributaries and streams may occur in Delaware and Sullivan counties in the western Catskills throughout the night on Wednesday, Oct. 15 and into the following morning, according to NY-Alert and the National Weather Service in Binghamton. 

NWS Binghamton issued a flash flood watch at 4:18 p.m., to last through late morning on Thursday, Oct. 16:  Read more

O+ leaves its mark on Kingston

Last weekend's O+ Festival filled the city of Kingston with artists, musicians, and healthcare professionals, who swapped checkups for performances.

Some of the creativity was permanent: Singer-songwriter Jack Dishel and graffiti collective Vor138 left a permanent mark on the side of the Keegan Ales building on Saint James Street. Thanks to the O+ Festival for letting us share their photo.

Nation watches Bloomingburg's tensions over influx of Hasidim

Above: Bloomingburg in 2008. Photo by Daniel Case, via Wikimedia Commons.

National news outlets like Bloomberg News and Newsweek are watching the tiny Sullivan County village of Bloomingburg, which is being rocked by controversy over the arrival of a large community of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews.

On Sept. 30, the village held a referendum on whether or not to dissolve itself and to transfer its governance to the town of Mamakating.

The outcome of the vote won't be known for weeks, according to Time Warner Cable News, because the votes are being challenged and counter-challenged.

Those who want the dissolution hope that it will allow the larger population of Mamakating to repeal the village's zoning laws and stop the construction of a housing development that many expect will fill with Hasidic Jews moving north from Brooklyn.  Read more

DEC and volunteers clean up garbage, tires in Kaaterskill Clove

Above: Volunteers stand beside trash they picked up in Kaaterskill Clove during a clean-up event on Oct. 5. Photo by Georgette Weir.

Volunteers and New York State Department of Conservation staff picked up tires and filled over a dozen large garbage bags with trash during a litter clean-up event in Greene County's Kaaterskill Clove on Sunday, Oct. 5, according to a press release from the Catskill Conservation Corps, the event's organizer.

The clean-up effort targeted parking areas and trails near Kaaterskill Falls, which is one of the attractions along scenic Route 23A, a mountain road that has been plagued with trash this summer. (We wrote about local outrage over the trash last month.)

That outrage is being channeled into action. Along with DEC staff and a newly-appointed "backcountry steward," nine volunteers showed up on Sunday to pick up litter in Kaaterskill Clove, the press release stated:  Read more