Shandaken gets permit to dredge

This just in: The state Department of Environmental Conservation has granted the town of Shandaken a permit to dredge the Stony Clove Creek to alleviate flooding in Phoenicia. The Times Herald-Record reports:

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued the permit on Wednesday. Work is expected to begin sometime in May.

The permit will allow town workers to dredge roughly 2,700 cubic feet of gravel and sediment from the Stony Clove Creek, extending roughly 690 feet upstream from the Route 214 bridge.

DEC officials have generally frowned upon dredging projects in flood-prone towns, but authorities said they approved this project because it would not pass flooding along to another community downstream. The DEC warned that a long-term solution would still be needed.  Read more

The politics of produce

Onions v. corn: Which one can take the political heat? Photo by Flickr user Matthew Fugel

Sometimes, even fruits and vegetables are political. Today's Daily Freeman features an update in an ongoing drama over where to locate the Catskill farmers' market, which occupied Main Street last year before business owners complained that the resulting street closure had cost them customers. In March, Daily Mail reported at the time, the subject of where to put the market occupied hours of village trustee time at a contentious community meeting.  Read more

Used car dealer in Saugerties charged with fraud

The State Police in Middletown report that Derek Winnie, proprietor of Winnie's Auto Sales in Saugerties, has been arrested and charged with various crimes related to the furnishing of fraudulent documents in the sale of a vehicle.

Here's the press release:

On April 12, 2011 The New York State Police at Kingston in conjunction with the Town of Saugerties Police Dept and The New York State Dept of Motor Vehicles Division of Field Investigations arrested Derek S. Winnie, age 43 of Saugerties,  N.Y. Winnie is the owner and operator of Winnie’s Auto Sales on Rt 9W in Saugerties.

The arrest is the result of a lengthy investigation which indicated that Winnie had forged documents required by the New York State Dept of Motor Vehicles with regard to the sale of a motor vehicle at his place of business. It is alleged that Winnie provided false information about a vehicle that he sold and also filed an MV-50, retail certificate of sale, containing false information.   Read more

Fatal motorcycle accident in Colchester

The Daily Star has the story:

A 27-year-old East Branch man died Monday evening when he lost control of his motorcycle, state police in Binghamton said.

Tony C. Eggler, 27, was driving west shortly after 8 p.m. on state Route 206, just east of Ackerman Acres Road, in the town of Colchester, when he failed to navigate a slight left-hand turn, troopers said. The road was wet at the time.

Filmmaker takes a rare look inside a local slaughterhouse

Last week, we featured a video by New York City food blogger Liza de Guia, who recently visited the northern Catskills to make a two-part mini-documentary about slaughterhouses. This week, we return for a peek at Part II. For anyone who grew up on a farm, the images here may be familiar. But for readers who haven't seen first-hand the process of how a cow or a sheep becomes food, this film will be eye-opening (and, be warned, graphic -- the film shows several animals being killed and processed).

In Part I of her film, de Guia interviewed Chris Harmon of the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship about the need for more slaughterhouses to meet the growing demand for local, grass-fed and artisanal meat. Here, she interviews local meat cutter Larry Althiser, of Larry's Custom Meats in Hartwick.  Read more

Natural gas line break closes road in Walton

According to an alert from Delaware County Emergency Management, State Highway 206 in Walton was shut down earlier today after a natural gas line break, and was re-opened around 12:45 pm.

The Walton Reporter writes on their Facebook wall that they've visited the site of the gas line break, and will have a report in tomorrow's paper.

Davenport judge barred from bench

Edie M. Halstead, the former justice for the town of Davenport who resigned from the bench last October, blew off her own traffic tickets and withheld thousands of dollars in collected court fines from the court's bank account, according to a Commission on Judicial Conduct decision made public yesterday.

Halstead, who served as the court clerk in Davenport before becoming the town justice in January 2009, has been barred from holding judicial office as a result of her misconduct. She has until May 4 to appeal the CJC's decision.

According to the ruling, which you can read in full below, Halstead repeatedly failed to deposit court fines that she collected as Davenport's judge into the court's bank account. At one point, the town's bank account was missing over $5,000. For seven cases in which fines were collected, Halstead reported to the State Comptroller that no money had been received. When she became the town justice in 2009, Halstead attempted to fix discrepancies in the court's account -- which she had handled for her predecessor as court clerk -- with a deposit of $1,248 of her own money.  Read more

Flooding in the Catskills: The bad news about climate change

See video

On Saturday, the Watershed Post attended the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program's annual Ashokan Watershed Conference. The subject this year was a timely one: "Flood Resilience for Towns, Businesses and Landowners." We'll be posting about what we learned in various conference sessions all week. This first post focuses the effect of climate change on weather, "extreme precipitation events," and flooding. 

Storms are getting more severe, rainfall is getting heavier, droughts are getting dryer, and flooding, a great Catskills bugaboo, is getting worse. That was the message that Dan Zarrow, a meteorologist at Cornell University's Northeast Regional Climate Center, told a packed room of landowners and municipal authorities at the Emerson Resort on Saturday.  Read more

Botched cat cremation leads to suspicions

On Saturday, the Daily Freeman ran a story good enough to appear in a fine satirical publication like The Onion. The headline itself is a gem: "Cat wasn't burned alive, New Paltz police say."

As you may have guessed, this is a follow-up story to a story than ran in the paper two weeks ago, in which a New Paltz resident described how she had found a cat in her backyard that had "burned to death on a pile of wood:"

That woman, Linda Kennedy, offered a reward for information about the feline's killer, and spoke to the Freeman at length about her horror at the crime:

“Its claws were curled up really tight, so I knew that something traumatic and painful had happened to it,” she said. “That poor thing must have suffered.

But in fact, according to Saturday's follow-up story, the cat died of natural causes. It was then the beneficiary of an amateur's attempt at cremation:  Read more

Beefstock 2011: Ten years of rocking in Oliverea

Last weekend, the Full Moon Resort in Oliverea played host to the wonderfully-named Beefstock music festival -- an annual get-together of musicians that has been going for ten years now. 

Beefstock, which has been called "Bonnaroo for great obscure New York bands," began as a tribute to Darren Bohan, a musician who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

We dropped by on Saturday to catch some of the Beefstockers doing a raucous set of "crash course karaoke," complete with instruments. Above, you can see, from left to right. Fred Gillen Jr. (vocals), Joe Filosa (drums), Loren Mattina (vocals), Andy Mattina (bass), Kate Fitzpatrick (vocals), Alan Bigelow (guitar), Joe Mitch (drums), and John Sharples (keys), doing a rousing version of "Love Shack."  Read more