Fire at Catskill Tractor

There's no story on its website yet, but the Daily Star has posted some amazing photos of a fire at Catskill Tractor in Franklin on Facebook.  

5/3/11 Update: Today, the Star has full coverage. It seems that the fire didn't hurt anyone:

Wayne Worden, who at 364 Center St. lives next door to Catskill Tractor's main building, said he was in his backyard at about 7:30 p.m. when he heard a "puff, a bang."

"We looked out and smoke was coming out of the far side of the building," he said. "It was all black smoke."

...    

For a while the flames and smoke were frightening, Worden said.

"It was getting scary _ it was getting big and black," he said. But crews were able to contain the blaze, Worden said, and he and his wife were able to go inside their house and watch "Dancing With the Stars."

City bear, country bear

It's been a banner week for bear sightings in upstate New York -- and not just in the remote, forested areas where bears are a regular fact of life, but in some unexpectedly urban spots as well.

Last Wednesday, a 200-pound young male black bear was spotted in Poughkeepsie. DEC officers tranquilized the bear and removed it for release in a less populated corner of Dutchess County. Flickr user Ben Helmer -- who took the photo above -- lives near the spot where the bear was trapped, and got some incredible photos of the process. Here's his Bear In Poughkeepsie photo album.

On Friday, another young bruin showed up in downtown Newburgh, where he gave a crowd of rubberneckers quite a show before the DEC could get there. The Times Herald-Record's Doyle Murphy clearly had a good time writing this one:

Every moving shadow looked like a bear. Every breaking twig sounded like bear.  Read more

No entrepreneur left behind

A young entrepreneur sells lemonade in front of the Wal-Mart in Catskill yesterday. Photo by Bob Phibbs, via the Lemonade Day Greene County Facebook page.

After weeks of enthusiastic preparations, hordes of kids across Greene County celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit during "Lemonade Day" yesterday. The goal of the project, which had outposts across the country, is to teach kids the tenets of running a small business the fun way -- by encouraging them to start one for a day.

According to the Daily Mail, over 500 lemonade stands were in business yesterday, and no two were alike:  Read more

New lands and new leak fixes from the DEP

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has been a busy bee lately. On Friday, it announced that it is opening 6,600 acres of city-owned land for recreational use, and on Saturday, Adam Bosch at the Times Herald-Record wrote an article about the department's plan to plug the leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct using lots and lots of lime.

According to a press release, the DEP is converting 5,800 acres of its land into public access zones, where anyone can hunt, fish, hike or trap without a permit. (The rest of the acreage mentioned in the article requires a free permit to access.)

This latest move brings  Read more

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 (www.nyc-dep.org) 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