Appeals court: Hunters aren't a protected minority

Hunters aren't a protected minority just because they carry guns, a state appeals court ruled yesterday in a case involving a Sullivan County hunter who allegedly shot another hunter in 2009. 

The case involves a hunter named Robert Robar who, according to the Times Herald-Record, shot another hunter, Terry Pelton, in the town of Lumberland in November 2009. According to yesterday's decision from the appeals court, Robar was charged with assault and reckless endangerment; Pelton was seriously injured.

During Robar's criminal trial last August, his defense attorney, Jacqueline Ricciani, refused to allow five hunters onto the jury. Judge LaBuda then declared a mistrial, writing that Ricciani had discriminated against hunters, who, LaBuda wrote, are a protected class akin to women or ethnic minorities because they are exercising a Second Amendment right to bear arms.   Read more

NYC DEP punked by the Yes Men

No, the sticker above -- which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been spotted near public faucets around New York City lately -- isn't the work of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. It's part of a pretty slick anti-fracking campaign, complete with a website ( dressed up to look almost exactly like the DEP's actual site. There's also a fake "DEP" video, with instructions on how to tell if your water is safe. (Hint: Try to set it on fire.)

  Read more

On tap this weekend: Lots and lots of beer

The view at last year's TAP festival. Photo by Flickr user Caitlin Regan.

Tomorrow and Sunday, over 40 breweries and hordes of beer-lovers will descend on Hunter Mountain for the annual TAP New York Craft Beer festival. If you love beer, especially beer made by small breweries, you're probably already going -- the festival, according to the Daily Mail, has become one of the marquee craft beer events in the Northeast. 

Mail reporter Colin DeVries writes that this year's festival is the biggest one to-date:

This year figures to be as popular as ever. “It’s the biggest event we’ve had to date,” said Steve Laing of Hunter Mountain’s marketing department. “We have over 40 breweries… we’ve never had more than 35.”

For more info on this weekend's fest, check out our calendar entry.

Police: Three Margaretville residents hauled heroin in U-Haul

Above photo from the New York State Police.

On Monday, three young Margaretville residents were stopped in the town of Middletown as they were driving a U-Haul truck, which, according to a State Police press release, turned out to be loaded with 60 envelopes of heroin, each stamped with the word "Gucci." The three, 22-year-old Matthew A. Santiago, 19-year-old Courtney R. Williamson, and 19-year-old Michael V. Johnson, were arrested.

Here's the press release in full:  Read more

Crossroads development in New Paltz: Kaput

Chalk it up to stubborn environmentalists, the rotten economy, or maybe both: A planned development project in New Paltz that just a couple of years ago was drawing hundreds of irate citizens to packed town meetings is apparently dead. An eagle-eyed blogger over at New Paltz Gadfly points out that the site once destined for the Crossroads project is on the market:

Remember STOP Crossroads?

Well, it is officially "stopped". The Crossroads Project is Dead!

There's a new "For Sale" sign on the Plesser property; the asking price is $4.5m for the 2 parcels or $2.975m for each separately.  Read more

Route 206 in Trout Creek closed due to flooding

This just in from Delaware County Emergency Services:

State Highway 206 in Trout Creek has been closed between Masonville and Walton due to water across the roadway. A detour has been established taking the traveling public from State Highway 206 to County Highway 27 to Bullock Hill Road and then back onto State Highway 206. Tractor Trailer traffic will be diverted in Walton and Masonville and should not use the detour route.

The posted alert expires at 5pm.

The West Branch of the Delaware River is expected to reach flood stage in Walton this evening. Here's the live hydrograph:

West Branch Delaware River at Walton

An anniversary in verse

See video

Above: Video of the aftermath of the Margaretville shooting, April 25, 2007. 

Four years ago this week, Travis D. Trim, a 23-year-old parole violator, died in a shootout in a farmhouse on the edge of Margaretville that also killed State Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff.

According to a State Police investigation of the incident, which was detailed in a 2008 New York Times article, the standoff began when Trim shot a State Police trooper in a Margaretville gas station and ended with Trim surrounded in the farmhouse, exchanging gunfire with multiple officers.  Read more

Cairo: Moaning and groaning over zoning

A stretch of Route 23B in Cairo, by Flickr user dougtone. Published under Creative Commons license.

Unlike most upstate New York towns, the Greene County town of Cairo has never had zoning laws to govern where and how development is carried out. But for over four years, the town has been wrestling with the issue. A town-board-appointed zoning commission recently published the second draft of the proposed zoning regulations, a 163-page document covering everything from where new commercial development should be focused to how many llamas per acre a property owner should be allowed to keep.

Unsurprisingly, everybody's a critic. The Daily Mail reports that a Tuesday hearing about the new draft zoning law drew plenty of ire from local residents and business owners:  Read more

Thunderstorms and tornado warnings

Radar image of severe thunderstorms over eastern New York and Pennsylvania at 8:20am. Via the National Weather Service, Binghamton station.

It was a wild weather night for much of the Catskills region. Here in Andes, wind and rain reached a fever pitch around 6am, making us wonder if a tornado was nearby. Turns out that a tornado warning had been issued for much of Delaware County from 5:45am to 6:30am. Police scanner activity reported downed wires in the town of Andes, but not evidence that a real twister had touched down.  Read more

Tornado warning for Sullivan County

From now until 8am, watch out for thunderstorms so fierce that they might produce tornadoes in Sullivan County, according to NY Alert:

The National Weather Service In Binghamton Has Issued A * Tornado Warning For... Sullivan County In Central New York... * Until 800 AM EDT. * At 730 AM EDT...National Weather Service Doppler Radar Indicated A Severe Thunderstorm Capable Of Producing A Tornado Near Maplewood...Moving Northeast At 55 Mph. * The Storm Capable Of Producing The Tornado Will Be Near... Loch Sheldrake...Neversink And Woodbourne By 740 AM EDT... Grahamsville And 7 Miles Southeast Of Willowemoc By 745 AM EDT... When You Can Do So Safely...Please Report Hail...Or Damaging Winds To The National Weather Service By Calling Toll Free At 1-877-633-6772...Or By Email At [email protected]