Jeff Senterman named new director of Catskill Center

Above: Jeff Senterman accepts his new post as the executive director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development on Saturday, Aug. 29. Photo via the Catskill Center's Instagram feed

Jeff Senterman, the former Catskills program director of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, was appointed the new executive director of the Catskills Center for Conservation and Development after the departure of former director Alan White. White completed his term earlier this month.

Senterman accepted his new position at a gathering of the CCCD's members on Saturday, Aug. 29. (A Senterman is still at the helm of the NYNJTC, though -- Jeff's brother, Doug, is the new Catskill program director at the NYNTC, after getting the job earlier this year.)  Read more

Prattsville remembers Irene anniversary with MudFest

Above: The 2014 MudFest in Prattsville. Photo via the MudFest Facebook page. 

It was four years ago today that Tropical Storm Irene flooded towns across the Catskills. The Greene County town of Prattsville, which saw much of its Main Street swept away by muddy water, commemorates the anniversary with the Prattsville MudFest, a celebration of mud and survival. 

MudFest begins tonight with live music, a performance of the Calico Indian Showdown and fireworks on the Prattsville town green. The fun spills into a daylong festival tomorrow that features a "human foosball table" and an impressive muddy obstacle course lined with challenges such as "the rotten log" and "the bale jump."   Read more

Woodstock Writers Radio with Martha Frankel and guests

After audits, Delaware supervisors tighten up procurement, vehicle policies

Above: Jim Eisel, the chairman of the Delaware County board of supervisors, at the Aug. 26 meeting of the board. Photo by Robert Cairns.

In the aftermath of two state audits that criticized Delaware County's procurement and surplus property disposal policies, the county's board of supervisors adopted an update of those policies at its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

A procurement policy was adopted in 1992 and updated in 2008. A policy for the disposal of surplus property was adopted in 1995. Both are superseded by the new policy.

There was little discussion on the resolution to adopt a new policy at the meeting. It passed, unanimously.

The resolution states that “it is appropriate that from time to time the board revisit, update and clarify its policies and procedures so that county agencies may function efficiently while simultaneously providing safeguards to protect county taxpayers.”  Read more

Driver seriously injured in three-motorcycle crash in West Shokan

Above: A motorcyclist was seriously injured on Sunday in a chain-reaction crash in front of the driveway to Snyder's Tavern in West Shokan. Image via Google Street View.

Three motorcycles were involved in a crash near Snyder's Tavern on Route 28A in West Shokan on Sunday, Aug. 23 that seriously injured one driver, police say.

That driver was in stable condition as of Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to State Police Lieutenant Jared Duffy. 

The crash is one of many that occurred in the towns Shandaken and Olive this week -- four crashes, one fatal, happened on nearby Route 28 on Tuesday and Wednesday  Read more

The Schoharie News folds

Above: The front page of an issue of The Schoharie News, via the Schoharie News website

The Schoharie News, an online-only news website that reinvented itself as a print weekly broadsheet earlier this year, has thrown in the towel after 13 weeks.

The paper's owner, editor and founder Tim Knight, said that he decided to close the paper after he realizing that he was making less than half of what he made while working at a local deli.

Knight posted a closing editor's note about the newspaper's demise on Tuesday, Aug. 25:  Read more

This weekend: New Old Franklin Day

Above: A sign for the pie sale at the 2014 Old Franklin Day. This year, the revamped event, known as New Old Franklin Day, still features pies. Photo via the Greater Franklin Chamber of Commerce website

The annual community day in the Delaware County town of Franklin has been revamped this year as the bigger, better "New Old Franklin Day," happening on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Businesses like the Tulip and Rose Café and Franklin's new Gone Local Marketplace will be open alongside a pie sale at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a book sale at the Franklin Free Library, a mini-version of the Franklin Farmers' Market, a performance of "An Enemy of the People" at the Franklin Stage Company and a block party and dance starting at 6 p.m.  Read more

Police: Driver clocked 107 mph, consumed alcohol in vehicle on Route 17

A 22-year-old man from Yonkers drove 107 miles per hour on Route 17 through the Delaware County town of Hancock early on Wednesday morning, police say.

Mark B. Frederick was sent to the Delaware County Correctional Facility on Wednesday, Aug. 26 after he was stopped by Delaware County Sheriff's deputies for speeding while traveling west near exit 90 in the hamlet of East Branch, police say. 

Speeding reportedly wasn't Frederick's only offense. He was also ticketed for reckless driving, failure to comply, consumption of alcohol in the vehicle and other violations, according to a press release issued by the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Death on the roads: Three fatal crashes in the Catskills

It's been a horrible week for car crashes in the Catskills, with three separate collisions in the region resulting in fatalities since Sunday. 

A crash killed four people around noon in the Ulster County village of Saugerties on Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to media reports. Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra spoke with the Daily Freeman this afternoon and confirmed that the crash was fatal, and later elaborated that four people died.

Time Warner Cable is reporting that four people died in the Saugerties crash today when their car drove over an embankment:   Read more

Another day, two more Route 28 crashes

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Above: A helicopter lands in Phoenicia's Parish Field on Tuesday, Aug. 25 to transport a person who was injured in a crash on Route 28 at the entrance to the hamlet of Phoenicia.

Two crashes occurred on Route 28 on Wednesday, Aug. 26 -- the second day in a row that two crashes have happened on the road. 

"When it rains, it pours," Detective Fred Holland of the Shandaken Police Department said. 

The first crash happened at 3 a.m. just west of the Ulster County hamlet of Phoenicia, Holland said. A male driver reportedly fell asleep while driving and crashed into the woods, he said. The driver was issued four tickets, he said.   Read more

This weekend: The Bethel Woods Harvest Festival

Above: Carriage rides at the Bethel Woods Harvest Festival, via the Bethel Woods website. 

Harvest season is upon us. This Sunday, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in the Sullivan County town of Bethel kicks begins its weekly Harvest Festival, which brings live music, country games, animals, a corn maze, a craft village and a farmers' market to the famous site of the Woodstock Festival. This weekend Project Identity and the Dan Brother Band play.   Read more

Two crashes, one fatal, on Route 28 in one day

Above: A map of four recent crashes on Route 28.

Two serious car crashes occurred within hours of each other on Tuesday, Aug. 25 on a stretch of Route 28 in the Ulster County towns of Olive and Shandaken that has already seen multiple collisions this summer. 

The first crash was a head-on collision that injured three people, one critically, according to Rich Muellerleile, the chief of the Shandaken Ambulance Service, which assisted at the scene.

The crash, which occurred at 7:30 a.m. in the hamlet of Shokan near Route 28's intersection with Dancing Rock Road, was a head-on collision that "heavily entrapped" one person in a vehicle, Muellerleile said.

"The trapped patient was extricated by the Olive Fire Department and transported to the Healthalliance Broadway Campus in critical condition," he said in a Facebook message today.  Read more

Man arrested for threatening to throw rock at wedding

A wedding at the Emerson Resort and Spa in the Ulster County hamlet of Mount Tremper took a violent turn on Saturday, Aug. 22 when one guest threatened to hit another with a rock, according to a press release from the Shandaken Police that was reported by the Times Herald-Record.

The paper reports that the Shandaken Police arrested a 46-year-old man who was causing a "large altercation" during the evening nuptials:

They arrested Maurice Lane, 46, of Mt. Marion for menacing and harassment, both misdemeanors. Lane allegedly menaced fellow wedding guests with rocks and threatened bodily harm to one guest in particular.

Tony Lanza, chief operating officer of the Emerson, declined to comment. 

Update, 9/46/15: Detective Fred Holland of the Shandaken Police Department said today that the fracas at the wedding happened during the reception, when two women and two men got into an argument.  Read more

Half-day hike: The Andes Rail Trail and Bullet Hole Spur

Photos by Alan Via.

The trailhead for beautiful Andes Rail Trail hike is located on County Road 2 (also known as 266 Depot Street) at the edge of the Delaware County hamlet of Andes. The attractive Andes Rail Trail and Train Depot sign surrounded by gorgeous flowers herald its location. The trail begins at a register found immediately beyond the restored train station.

Above: A view of beaver dams from the railbed trail.   Read more

Woman trapped on Gilboa cliff rescued with ropes; ticketed for pot


Above: Photos of the rescue, shared on the Schoharie County Fire Wire and News Facebook page.

Schoharie County's Search and Rescue Team rescued a camper who was trapped 100 feet up a cliff near a Gilboa campground on Wednesday, Aug. 19, according to a press release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office.

The victim was 34-year-old woman from Milford, Connecticut who was staying at the Nickerson Park Campground in the Schoharie County town of Gilboa with her family, police say. Her name is not being released.

The woman had scaled a sheer rock cliff near the campground and somehow became trapped more than 100 feet up, the rescuers told the Daily Star:

"She was up in this little crevice in this cliff, and it is a sheer cliff almost," said Schoharie Sheriff Tony Desmond, who joined the rescue workers during the operation ... "She just couldn't get down," the sheriff added. "She apparently made a little leap to get across to where she was, and it didn't work out too well for her."

At 7:45 p.m., someone at the campground called 911, and a team of first responders from the Grand Gorge Fire Department and Rescue Squad and the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the scene.

They quickly realized that they needed a rope rescue team to reach the woman, according to the press release:

When it became apparent that a specialized rescue team was required, [Grand Gorge] Fire Chief D.J. Speenburgh requested that the Schoharie County Search and Rescue Team be dispatched to the scene.

  Read more

This Weekend: Ashokan Center's Summer Hoot

Above: A girl hula hoops at the 2014 Summer Hoot at the Ashokan Center. Photo by Rosalind Dickinson. (This image is featured on one of the covers of our 2015 Catskills Outdoor Guide.

Three days of concerts, music making, camping and camaraderie at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge begin today, Friday, Aug 21, during the center's annual Summer Hoot festival.

The weekend features lots of local musical luminaries including Amy Helm, Elizabeth Mitchell, 22-year-old fiddling phenom Dylan Foley, songwriters Ira and Laurie McIntosh and the Ashokan Center's own Jay Ungar and Molly Mason and Mike + Ruthy.

Big acts visit the rustic outdoor stages, too. There will be clog dancing by Vanaver Caravan, jams from Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, banjo virtuosity by Tony Trischka, songs from Loudon Wainwright, reggae from The Big Takeover and an appearance by folk music legend Baby Gramps from Seattle.   Read more

Scattered power outages across Catskills

Above: Power outages in Schoharie County, according to National Grid's outage map

Power outages are dotted across five Catskills counties on Friday, Aug. 21, with thousands of households in the dark in Schoharie County and hundreds without power in Ulster County as of 11 a.m.

Earlier this morning, thousands of people in Sullivan County were without power, according to the Times Herald-Record, but most of those outages appear to have been fixed, according to NYSEG's outage map

In Schoharie County, 1,726 people are currently without power, according to National Grid's outage map. Power is expected to be restored there around 12:30 p.m.  Read more

The market for Catskills real estate returns–on the low end

Image by Dan Moyle, via Flickr. 

Real estate sales are up all over the Catskills, according to realtors across the region who say that rustic, country and move-in-ready homes are attracting buyers.

But while the number of sales are up, the price of what’s selling is going down.

Realtors say that is because the most interest is coming from savvy bargain hunters from New York City who are searching for an upstate escape where they can relax and maybe even earn a few bucks.

“Finding that special, unique property is what the buyer is looking for now,” said Jennifer Grimes, the owner-broker of Country House Realty in the Sullivan County hamlet of Grahamsville.   Read more

Scenes from the Delaware County Fair

Above: The start of the Delaware County fair's Demolition Derby on Monday, Aug. 17. Photo by Michael Wentland.

The Delaware County Fair opened for a weeklong celebration of agriculture, carnival rides and demolition derby smashups on Sunday, Aug. 16 in Walton.

Photographer Michael Wentland, who carries his camera wherever he goes and uses a photojournalistic style to document the Catskills and its events and people, was at the fair this week. Here are a few of his shots. You can follow Michael's photography on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To see larger versions of these photos, check out our album on Flickr. 

Above: The rabbit barn at the Delaware County Fair.   Read more

Bovina to fix its slowly sinking highway garage

Above: Metal siding on the exterior of Bovina's highway garage has buckled from the force of the building’s descent approximately four inches into the ground. Photos by Robert Cairns.

One end of the highway garage in the town of Bovina, which was built just six years ago, is sinking into the earth. Last week, the town council took action to stop it.

At the town's Tuesday, Aug. 11 council meeting, Bovina Supervisor Tina Molé said that the garage began sinking “almost immediately” after its construction in 2009.

“It's concentrated in the area of the office,” she said. “The rest of the building is fine.”

Above: Bovina's highway garage, seen here, has been slowly sinking since its construction in 2009.

Bovina Highway Superintendent Ed Weber said that the northwestern corner of the building has sunk four inches. A sloping floor is evident in his office.

“Some of the doors, you can't open,” he said. “We can still sort of open one window.”  Read more

Hammo's Brewpub and Lodge opens in Hensonville

Above: Brewmaster and chef Ryan Fields at Hammo's Brewpub and Lodge. Photos by Paula Ann Mitchell.

Ryan Fields doesn’t have to think too hard when he starts playing around with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a unicellular fungus more commonly known as yeast.

To him, it’s all elementary--the 30-year-old holds a degree in environmental science from Plattsburgh State University.

The Canandaigua native uses the organism as a key ingredient in the ales he makes from scratch at Hammo’s Brewpub and Lodge in the Greene County hamlet of Hensonville, which held its grand opening on Saturday night.

Fields has created eight beers, including a brown ale known as Mountain Goddess and one called The Hoppy Carpenter, a caramel-like malt layered with five different hops.

He’s been working 90-hour weeks to get it all right and said he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at this stage in his life. With 16 years of restaurant experience, Fields has turned his love of brewing into his dream career.

  Read more