Is Roscoe America's "Ultimate Fishing Town?"

Photo submitted to the Ultimate Fishing Town contest by Kurt Huhner.

In a contest that is eerily similar to Budget Travel Magazine's "coolest town in America" contest, only fishier, the World Fishing Network is asking small towns across the country to try their luck for the title of "Ultimate Fishing Town USA."

Roscoe, in Sullivan County, is making a good showing, with 64 people voting for it so far.

Will it win? If it does, the town will receive a $25,000 check. Erin Phelan, who submitted the original town application, has high hopes for the prize:  Read more

Wawarsing homeowners to get a bailout from the state

Photo: Some of the heavy-duty equipment deployed in the perpetual fight to keep Laura Zakotiria-Smith's Wawarsing neighborhood above water. From a photo album on Zakotiria-Smith's Facebook wall.

This just in: New York State lawmakers have agreed to use a buyout fund for homeowners in flood-prone areas in the Catskills to help a few dozen Wawarsing homeowners, who have been subject to flooding from a leaking New York City water tunnel below their houses for years. From the Times Herald-Record:

Roughly $4 million will be reallocated in this year’s state budget to buy the flood-ravaged homes along Route 209. That money was leftover from a 2008 regional buyout program that targeted homeowners near flood-prone creeks and rivers in the Catskills.  Read more

"Gasland" director's father cited for environmental violations on Del. River tributary

According to an article in the Patriot News last Thursday, the creekfront property that belongs to the family of anti-fracking crusader and filmmaker Josh Fox has been cited by Pennsylvania regulators for environmental violations. Fox is the director of Gasland, which was nominated for best documentary in this year's Oscar race. 

The newspaper reports that Fox's father allegedly burned a trailer on the property near a tributary of the Delaware River:

Fox, whose film “Gasland” suggests the natural gas drilling industry is a major threat to the environment, used the property in rural Damascus Township as a touchstone of unsullied natural beauty in his movie.

Citations from local and state officials suggest something a bit different.  Read more

High speed chase ends in Catskill

The Daily Mail is reporting that New York State Police were led on a car chase on Rte. 23 in Greene County in the wee hours of Sunday morning by an 18-year-old Cairo man.

According to the Mail's story, Angelo Joseph Agosto, came away with a number of drug and traffic charges:

Following the state police pursuit, which ended peacefully at about 1:45 a.m., police said, Agosto was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle (both class A misdemeanors), operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, reckless driving, unlawful possession of marijuana and 13 traffic infractions, including speeding in excess of 55 mph, failure to stop at a stop sign and driving through a red light

"High grade" pot operation busted in Neversink

The New York State Police are reporting that officers found 58 marijuana plants in a Neversink home on Thursday and charged Duane A. Sausville, the resident, with operating the growing operation.

The report states that Sausville, who allegedly first gave a false name to state police, eventually consented to having his home searched by officers and a police dog, who determined that every room in the residence except the living room was being used as a "high grade" growing operation. 

Sausville was also wanted in Franklin County on drug charges, the press release states. 

Here's the press release in full:  Read more

Retired Margaretville priest removed from ministry after sexual abuse claim

The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese announced yesterday that they have removed former Margaretville priest Robert Purcell from ministry, and placed three Capital-region retired priests on administrative leave, in the wake of recent sexual abuse accusations. From the Albany Times-Union:

The Rev. Robert Purcell, 76, retired pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, Delaware County, was removed from the ministry as the result of a recent abuse claim dating to 1957, 17 years before his ordination.  Read more

Armed robbery in Big Indian

According to the Town of Shandaken Police Department, two men broke into an apartment above Railroad Pizza in Big Indian early Friday morning wielding a rifle and wearing ski masks.

According to a press release, the two would-be robbers, one of whom was a 30-year-old homeless man named Craig D. Rose, were disarmed and overpowered by their victims, but not before Rose allegedly fired his .22 rifle inside the apartment twice. Rose and his partner, who was not identified in the press release, were both seriously injured in the tussle, and were transported to Kingston Hospital, the press release states.

Here's the press release in full:

Craig Rose Arrest Report

Phoenicia Library damaged by fire

Phoenicia LIbrary Fire Damage from Nathaniel Armstrong on Vimeo.

A fire damaged the Phoenicia Library in the wee hours of this morning. Videographer Nathaniel Armstrong says the interior was a complete loss.The Daily Freeman has a few details; stay tuned for updates as we find out more.

Someone has posted on the Phoenicia Facebook page:

Words cannot express the devastation of the losses- from rare historic photographs to the Bartlett Fly Fishing museum collection...more details will be posted as they come in...

Maple season is upon us

While the sugar maple sap is running, weather has a dramatic effect on the end product. Above: Maple syrup made on different days, from warmest to coldest. Photo by Flickr user astanleyjones; published under Creative Commons license.

It might not be as flashy as the crocus -- a recent transplant, native to the Old World -- but the running of the sap in the sugar maple is the real harbinger of early spring in the Catskill Mountains. Maple syrup is one of the oldest traditional American foods, first made by Northeastern Indians, who taught tapping to the early European settlers, and now made mostly on family farms handed down from generation to generation.  Read more