No, really: Don't feed the bears

On Friday, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation made it illegal to feed a black bear, even accidentally. From a DEC press release:

As black bear numbers have increased significantly in recent years and bears have become more widespread throughout New York, the number of interactions between bears and people has grown, often resulting from the intentional or incidental feeding of bears.

Previously, DEC prohibited the intentional feeding of bears in proximity to certain locations. In an effort to reduce bear habituation to human-supplied foods and future human-bear conflicts, DEC's new regulation prohibits both incidental and intentional feeding of bears statewide.

The new regulation is very simple -- you can read it here. If you're wondering what "incidental" feeding of bears entails, here's the regulation's definition:

"Incidental or indirect feeding" means using, placing, giving, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering any material for a different purpose but which attracts one or more black bears. This includes storage of garbage or refuse and use and storage of birdseed in a manner that is accessible to black bears.

By that rule, the folks at Hunter Mountain might have to change the way they store donut holes

Photo from the DEC's website.

Deputy saves Wawarsing infant

Last Friday, an Ulster County Sheriff's deputy reportedly plucked 15-month-old Sarah Schmidt from death.

The baby's parents, Alexander and Andrea, called 911 when Sarah stopped breathing, according to a press release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. When the deputy and State Police arrived at the Kerhonkson residence, Sarah was unconscious and unresponsive.

What happened next is straight out of the hero playbook: The deputy, Chris Lutz, grabbed the baby and resuscitated her on the spot.

From the press release:

Seizing the infant from the family, the Deputy Lutz began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which revived the child, enabling her to begin breathing without assistance.

Then, instead of waiting for the EMTs to arrive, the officers bundled Sarah and her mother into a State Trooper vehicle and sped them to Ellenville Hospital. By the time she arrived, the baby was already in good condition.

Three cheers for good old-fashioned heroics. Read the full press release below:  Read more

Walton: When life hands you subzero temperatures, make ice art

Frankly, we're a little jealous of the Walton Reporter's new sign, created for them by culinary students from SUNY Delhi. Pretty cool, huh? (Ba-dum bump!)

The second annual Winter Festival in Walton last Saturday was by all accounts a smashing success, with ice sculpting, snowmobile drag racing, ice skating and general merriment. WBNG has a nice video and written account of the festivities -- though, note to WBNG, that thing you carve ice with is called a "chisel," not a "chizzle." (That's kind of the best typo ever, though. Fo' shizzle.) Check out the video:

Clock ticking for Emilio and Analia Maya

In the Freeman today: An update on the case of Emilio and Analia Maya, the Argentinian brother-sister duo behind the Tango Cafe in Saugerties, who are currently facing deportation next month for having illegally overstayed their visas.

For now, the Mayas remain in the country, thanks to a one-year stay of deportation that was granted last year by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. But the stay runs out on February 7, and the Mayas' hopes now rest on a bill introduced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey that has so far failed to gain any traction.  Read more

RAG fetes Arc photographers

Roxbury Arts Group Opening Reception - Picture Our Passion from VeccVideography on Vimeo.

We know it's barely been a week since we featured a Jessica Vecchione video about the Delaware County Arc, but we just can't help but do it again today.

This time, Vecchione has put together a short film about the opening of a photography exhibit hosted by the Roxbury Arts Group last weekend.

The exhibit, "Picture our Passion," featured the new work of five young locals who attend programs at the Arc: Billie Jean Savory, Sam Conklin, Matt Wilson, Rebecca Todd and Thomas Ferrante. Roxbury photographer Jill Ribich taught and mentored the photographers, and worked with RAG to help put on the show.  Read more

Cold enough to make coffee into snow

Across New York, we're getting the kind of cold that you don't see that often. In the Catskills, there were warnings of wind chills of 20 to 35 degrees below zero last night -- the kind of temps that could kill you if you stay outside too long.

In Sushan, in Washington County, it was -22 degrees this morning. How cold is that? The workers at Flying Pigs Farm show you by illustrating exactly what these kinds of temperatures do to a cup of coffee:

Foreclosure looms over pagans' tax battle

A pagan group that wants the town of Catskill to recognize it as a religious organization may lose its Palenville home before the end of the year.

The Maetreum of Cybele, a pagan community that owns the former Central House hotel on Rte. 23A, has been fighting the town of Catskill over property taxes since 2007. (We wrote about the dispute last year.) Despite the group's use of its Palenville property as a temple and a convent, the town of Catskill has refused to grant it a religious exemption to property taxes. 

The Maetreum is fighting the town's decision in several court cases. In 2009, it filed a lawsuit charging Catskill with religious discrimination. But Greene County is beginning a foreclosure process that could exile the pagans from their home before either case is resolved.

The county calculates that the Maetreum has racked up $13,835 in unpaid taxes and interest on the Palenville property. On January 15, Ellen Crouse, the Greene County Director of Taxes, sent the Maetreum a letter demanding payment in 60 days. You can read that letter below.   Read more

Pine Hill: The little hamlet that could

This week, the Woodstock Times profiles the little hamlet of Pine Hill, which is currently mustering its few hundred residents in a community-wide effort to get listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.  Read more


It's cold. Really cold. Tonight and tomorrow night, temperature lows are going to be well below zero across the Catskills, according to the National Weather Service. On Sunday night in Kingston, the mercury will go down to -8; in Ellenville, it will hit -7; in Delhi, the temperature will be -14. Don't stay outside too long this weekend unless you know what you're doing.