Helicopter makes unplanned visit to snowy Greene Co. field

A Black Hawk helicopter with a minor mechanical problem made an emergency landing by Rte. 9W in New Baltimore yesterday, the Daily Mail reports. It was quite a sight:

If you were driving on Route 9W in New Baltimore just south of the Town Of Coeymans border around 11 Friday morning, scenes from the movie “Black Hawk Down” might have been the thought that came to mind at the sight of a UF-60 Black Hawk helicopter stranded in the middle of a field of snow. The field, between the New York State Thruway and 9W, served as a safe and handy landing zone when a crew of two Army National Guardsmen from the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment out on a training mission detected a warning signal on one of the dashboard controls.

The helicopter was repaired and on its way by early afternoon, leaving a small crowd of gawkers in its wake.

Feds not hot on Bridgeville casino scheme

Apparently, as opponents of a plan to build a resort casino in Sullivan County gathered at Albany this week, the casinos backers were getting "frowns" and "bad vibrations" in Washington about the plan.

The Times Herald-Record reports that members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans and their politician backers were in DC on Thursday, and have come back discouraged:

"It is going to be a real tough push to get approval," said Todd Diorio, president of the Hudson Valley Building Trades Council. Diorio met with national union leaders and attended a meeting in [U.S. Senator Charles] Schumer's office.

"I don't think we are as close as I did a month ago."

...

Sen. John Bonacic, R-C-Mount Hope, said his meetings with the BIA left him with "bad vibrations."

"Things are not looking good," said Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini, who did not attend the meetings in Washington but has been contacted by the tribe.

DEC: Not feeling Shandaken's pain

In this week's issue of the Woodstock Times, Violet Snow reports that the DEC has (for the time being) rejected the town of Shandaken's request for an emergency permit to dredge the Stony Clove Creek. With Shandaken still recovering from two catastrophic back-to-back floods in the fall, and hoping to avoid further fish-swimming-down-Main-Street incidents come snowmelt, supervisor Rob Stanley isn't happy about it.  Read more

Lawsuit attempts to block casino deal

The Capitol Confidential blog is reporting this afternoon that a lobbyist for a Saratoga Springs racino is suing Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration. The suit charges that the Sullivan County casino deal negotiated under former governor David Paterson is illegal.

101 Llamas

Above: Some of the 100 starving llamas rescued by Wes Laraway in Schoharie County last week. Photo from the Northeast Llama Rescue blog.

A massive cross-country llama rescue operation coordinated by a Schoharie-county "llama whisperer" is making headlines, and has inspired  some charitable impulses in a celebrity llama owned by the Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Last week, Wes Laraway, a Middleburgh history teacher who runs an animal rescue center at his Red Maple Farm, rescued 100 neglected llamas from a failing large animal sanctuary in Montana where over 1,000 animals were reportedly slowly starving to death. Laraway, who says that he thinks the rescue is one of the largest since Hurricane Katrina, funded much of the rescue himself, according to the Times Union:  Read more

When the going gets tough, the tough collaborate

The rural Catskills have never been an easy place to do business. When the rest of the country is popping champagne corks and watching the stock market boom, the good times always seem to pass us by. And when recessions hit, the already-hungry local economy tightens its belt even further.

What can a small mom-and-pop business do to weather the storm? In Delaware County, a pair of tiny eateries are trying teamwork. For the last month or so, the Cha Cha Hut (a BBQ joint in Andes) has been collaborating with the Kaaterskill House (a coffee shop in Stamford) to do pre-ordered BBQ delivery for the Kaaterskill House's customers. From a recent story in the Mountain Eagle:  Read more

Daily Star: Legalize gay marriage

The Oneonta Daily Star printed an emphatic call for New York to legalize gay marriage today, in a strongly-worded editorial that cited the First Amendment and Elton John:

Singer Elton John, who is openly gay, said he is tired of being treated like a second-class citizen in the U.S. John became a father to a baby boy on Christmas Day with his partner, David Furnish.

John is right. Gays are treated unfairly in our country. They are denied the right to marry the person they love.  ...

It's time we stopped degrading our gay brothers and sisters. They are people, too, and they deserve the same rights as every other person.

The paper states that New York's new set of government officials could take up the issue this spring.

Hancock trailer burns down

WBNG Action News is reporting that a fire engulfed a Hancock trailer home this morning. Although the trailer didn't have a smoke detector installed, the article reports that "2 adults and three kids living at the home made it out safe after noticing the fire."

A cube off the old block

The staff of the Hanford Mills Museum cuts ice blocks in preparation for Saturday's Ice Harvest Festival. Image from the Hanford Mills Facebook page.

Ice used to be a crop in the days before refrigeration, and at the Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, it still is. On Saturday, the museum is hosting its annual Ice Harvest Festival, where visitors can grab a vintage saw, wrest blocks of ice out of a pond, and then haul them to an ice house for storage long into the spring and summer.

This year's festival is stuffed with food, outdoor fire pits, hockey demonstrations, and the ice-carving stylings of the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center's Ice Team. For more info, see the calendar entry in our Catskills Event Calendar.