Friendly neighborhood cider-man: Hard cider in the Catskills

Above: Bottles of Yankee Folly Cider at the cidery in New Paltz. Photo by Tom Smith.

Hudson Valley Cider Week begins on Friday, Nov. 14 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 23, 2014.

Hard cider is the fastest-growing beverage in the alcohol industry—and it’s right at home in upstate New York, a region that’s home to dozens of orchards. A new group of cider makers are taking the trend and giving it a regional twist, using high-quality local produce and employing that famous Catskills tenacity.

Hudson Valley Cider Week, which begins on Friday, is the perfect time to try local cider. Tastings and events are being held from Yonkers to Albany, with fifteen regional cider makers participating.  Read more

Roxbury Motel owners buy historic waterfall; plan expansion

Above: Greg Henderson stands next to Stratton Falls in a video shot in June 2014. Still from "The Roxbury at Stratton Falls - Dream Stage" video.

Greg Henderson and Joseph Massa have purchased Roxbury's historic Stratton Falls waterfall and its adjoining mansion, and hope to develop them into an expansion of their popular Roxbury Motel.

The couple, who have run the Roxbury Motel since 2003, closed on the Stratton Falls property on Tuesday, Nov. 4. They announced the news on Facebook on Nov. 5.

They posted an explanation of their plans and a tour of the property in a video, which you can watch by clicking here

"There are still way too many variables and moving parts to announce any specifics about the project," Massa told the Watershed Post. "For now, we are just enjoying the magnitude of the beauty of the property and grateful for the opportunity to preserve its rich history."  Read more

The big gamble: Casino decision looms for Catskills

An artist's rendering of the Montreign Resort Casino, which a developer wants to build in the Sullivan County town of Thompson. Source:

The prize casino developers have been vying for all year is almost at hand. The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board is scheduled to announce plans to build up to four casino resorts across the state--with two possibly slated for development in the Catskills--later this month. 

But the economic impact of casino resorts may not be as big as developers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo hope.

In an article on Thursday, Nov. 6, the New York Times tells how a casino resort built in the Poconos in 2006 has failed to live up the promises of developers and elected officials. The hope was that the casino would revive the economy of the whole region, a Pennsylvania mountain resort area that thrived in the mid-20th century.

The NYT reporters reviewed Mount Airy Casino Resort's earnings and talked to locals about whether they're seeing more customers since its opening.   Read more

Superintendent: Threat at Margaretville school "has been dealt with"

A student making a verbal threat to other students prompted Margaretville Central School to issue a recorded voicemail to parents on Monday, Nov. 10.

The recorded message stated:

Margaretville Central School became aware of a threat made to students. We have been in contact with the appropriate authorities to deal with the situation.

Interim superintendent John Riedl told the Watershed Post that the threat was made by a student, but that the situation was under control.

"It was a threat, just a verbal threat," Riedl said. "The student said it without a lot of forethought. It's a very difficult situation, and it's been dealt with. Help is being arranged."

Riedl said that the school's administration decided to issue a message to parents to prevent rumors circulating on social media about the incident. 

Editor's note: Julia Reischel is a parent of a Margaretville Central School student. 

Two-car accident on Route 28 in Shokan causes injuries

Above: The intersection of Route 28 and DuBois Road in Ulster County.

Four people were injured in an accident at the intersection of Route 28 and DuBois Road in the Ulster County hamlet of Shokan on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 9, according to the Daily Freeman.

A Freeman reporter talked to a state police deputy, who said on Sunday that names had not yet been released in the accident. He described what happened:

[A] small sedan was headed eastbound on Route 28 and attempting to make a left turn onto DuBois Road when it was struck by a Ford Ranger pickup truck that was traveling westbound.

A call to the state police for more details on Nov. 10 was not immediately returned. We'll update this post when we hear more from police. 

Three arrested for shooting at Margaretville gas station

Above: Keishaun Randall Harper, Joann Winne and Danielle Vitale. Photos via the New York State Police.

Three people have been arrested in connection with a shooting at the Hess Express gas station on Route 28 in Margaretville that left an Arkville man wounded, according to a press release issued by the New York State Police on Friday evening, Nov. 7.

Keishaun Randall Harper, a 34-year-old man from Charlotte, North Carolina, was charged with felony assault and attempted robbery. He allegedly shot McKenzie Alexander of Arkville in the back of a car in the gas station's parking lot at 10:13 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6.

Two women were also arrested in connection with the incident. Thirty-two-year-old Joann Winne of Margaretville and 24-year-old Danielle Vitale of Arkville were each charged with felony attempted robbery. 

The three suspects were taken into custody by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department and the New York State Police from Kingston, and then were arraigned in the Town of Middletown Court and remanded to the Delaware County Jail, the press release states

Below: The Hess Express gas station in Margaretville. Photo by Lissa Harris.   Read more

Catskill Watershed Corporation bristles at Eldridge over comments

Former congressional hopeful Sean Eldridge has drawn the ire of the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) with his comments about economic development in the New York City watershed.

Eldridge, a Democrat, lost the race for New York State's 19th Congressional District to Republican incumbent Chris Gibson on Nov. 4. 

Before the election, Eldridge gave an interview to the Watershed Post where he discussed the importance of lending money to small businesses in the Catskills.  Read more

Home invasion rattles Schoharie residents

A man wearing a ski mask and a blue hoodie has the residents of Schoharie County nervous this week after he allegedly invaded a home on Route 30 early on Saturday, Nov. 1.

Social media lit up with gossip on Saturday as drivers along Route 30 saw police action in the town of Schoharie.

According to a press release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, a man invaded the residence at 8:49 a.m., and then fled along Route 30. Police are looking for anyone who matches his description.

The Schoharie Times Journal called the incident "bizarre," and said that one person was injured. The paper got more details about the crime from Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond:   Read more

Man set fire to house with six people inside, police say

Left: Caleb Segura. Photo via the New York State Police

Nineteen-year-old Caleb Segura intentionally set fire to a house while a family of six was inside, police say.

Segura was charged with arson and attempted murder, and is being held in the Greene County Jail on $1 million bail. 

The fire consumed much of the back of the house in the Greene County village of Catskill in the wee hours of Monday, Nov. 3, but no one was injured, according to a New York State Police press release:  Read more

This Weekend: Simi Stone and other "Ladies of the Valley"

Above: Simi Stone. Photo via her Facebook page

Simi Stone, a Woodstock-based music phenom who blows audiences away with her huge voice and stage presence, will be playing the Bearsville Theater on Sunday, Nov. 9. alongside a phalanx of other female musicians from the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.

They'll be performing their own songs as well as songs by legendary female performers, including Carole King, Carly Simon, and Aretha Franklin. 

Stone, who has toured with Simone Felice and Natalie Merchant and who also plays violin, guitar, and piano, has a new album of what she calls "Mountain Motown" music. She's helping to produce Sunday's show, which is a benefit for the Family of Woodstock’s Crisis Hotline and Walk-In Center.  Read more