A Christmas flood watch (and other weather warnings)

Above: A Flood Watch is in effect for the eastern Catskills until the day after Christmas. Image via the National Weather Service in Albany.

It's going to be a rainy Christmas in the Catskills. The National Weather Service has issued multiple weather warnings for the region, including a flood watch that goes into effect at 1 p.m on Wednesday, Dec. 24 for Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties and lasts through Friday, Dec. 26:  Read more

Constitution Pipeline files 55 eminent domain lawsuits against Catskills landowners

Above: The proposed route of the Constitution Pipeline in 2013. Via the Constitution Pipeline's website.  

Since Dec. 12, the Constitution Pipeline has filed formal eminent domain proceedings against 55 landowners along the pipeline’s proposed 124-mile route through Schoharie, Delaware and Chenango counties, federal court records show.

The pipeline, which received conditional approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 2, has wasted no time in using the power of eminent domain to force people to allow the 30-inch natural gas pipeline to cross their land.

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, the pipeline’s law firm sent a letter to resistant landowners offering them a chance to accept compensation in exchange for an easement on their property. The letter gave the landowners until Dec. 11 to make up their minds.  Read more

Crash on Route 6 and Margaretville Mountain Road

Above: A crash at the intersection of Route 6 and Margaretville Mountain Road on Dec. 22, 2014. Photo by Julia Reischel.

Two cars collided at the intersection of Route 6 and Margaretville Mountain Road in the Delaware County town of Middletown around 12 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 22. A first responder at the scene told the Watershed Post that one person was injured. Ambulances were on the scene and the road was closed to traffic after the crash.

Police: Man bit off his father's finger

Left: Twenty-one-year-old Christopher Clarke in a booking photo taken after a bar brawl on Dec. 19. Photo via the New York State Police.  

A 21-year-old Greenville man bit off part of his father's right index finger during a fight in a the parking lot of an Orange County bar on Friday, Dec. 21, police say.

Christopher Clarke was "highly intoxicated" when he left the Dark Horse Tavern in Slate Hill at 11:25 p.m. on Friday night, according to a New York State Police press release. After he allegedly began a fight in the parking lot, his father, 44-year-old Christopher Clarke of Greenville, tried to restrain him. In the process, the younger Clarke bit off part of his father's finger, police say.  Read more

Police: Margaretville cocaine dealer arrested

Left: Rafael Figueroa, known as "Cano" in Margaretville. Photo via the Delaware County Sheriff's Office. 

A 35-year-old Roxbury man known around the Delaware County village of Margaretville as "Cano" was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 18 for allegedly selling cocaine in the village, according to a press release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Rafael Figueroa, who has a prior felony drug conviction, was also arrested in 2013 for driving into a house on Route 30 in Margaretville, causing "extensive damage," according to a police blotter report in the Catskill Mountain News.  Read more

Cuomo celebrates with anti-fracking activists

See video

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is basking in the celebratory mood of his constituents this week. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, his administration announced that New York State will ban hydraulic fracturing natural gas drilling and also gave a green light to a casino resort in the Catskills.

Cuomo has travelled the state to glad-hand with supporters of both moves. He gave a speech in Bethel on Thursday, Dec. 18 to a cheering pro-casino advocates in Sullivan County.  Read more

Neighbors may sue DEC over Belleayre Resort

Above: An interactive timeline of 15 years of Belleayre Resort review.

The staff of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation say that they have thoroughly vetted the environmental impact of the proposed Belleayre Resort on a Catskills mountaintop. But two families who weren’t part of the project’s marathon 15-year review process may sue the DEC if the agency allows the resort to go forward.

The Gould family, prominent Catskills philanthropists who are descendants of the 19th-century Catskills developer Jay Gould, own large amounts of land in Ulster and Delaware counties.

Ben Korman, a New York City real estate developer, and his wife have owned the Galli-Curci mansion, a historic property on Route 49A, since 2002.  Read more

Cuomo congratulates Sullivan County on casino win

See video

Gov. Andrew Cuomo attended a celebratory rally at Bethel Woods in Sullivan County on Thursday, Dec. 1 to kvell about the state Gaming Facility Location Board's decision to allow a casino to be built on the site of the former Concord Resort Hotel.

"A whole generation of people can be reintroduced to upstate New York. And they're going to come to the Catskills, and they're going to see the Catskills, and they're going to love them," he said. "This is the magnet to do it." 

The governor directed his remarks to the people of Sullivan County, who faced fierce competition from other developers in other counties.

"You came up with the best product and you deserve to win, and you made that happen," he said.

Watch the whole video of the Governor's remarks above.  

Driver hits pedestrian as both leave the same holiday party

A man driving away from a holiday party on Arrowhead Road in the Ulster County town of Wawarsing last night hit a pedestrian walking home the same party, leaving him in critical condition, according to a press release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Nicholas P. Bach, a 28-year-old from New Paltz, was leaving the party after midnight on Thursday, Dec. 18 when he allegedly crashed his Toyota Camry into 29-year-old William Johnson of Kerhonkson, who was leaving the same party on foot, police say.

When sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene at 12:16 a.m., they found "one pedestrian lying in the roadway with serious physical injury," according to the press release.  Read more

This Weekend: Holiday Pop-Up Farmers' Market

Above: Vendors set up at a Stamford holiday market in 2013. Photo via the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce's Facebook page.

Farmers and artisans will give you one last chance to buy Catskills-made local gifts this weekend in Stamford at a Holiday Pop-Up Farmers' Market hosted by the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce.

Local meats, cheeses, maple products, honey and jam and herbal teas will be available, as will pottery and sewing crafts. The Ate.O.Ate Food Truck will dispense holiday snacks as you shop.   Read more

This weekend: Light up the Dark in Callicoon

A mother and son make a homemade lantern in preparation for the the Light up the Dark Lantern Walk in Callicoon. A lantern-making workshop will be held on Friday, Dec. 19, and the walk is on Sunday, December 21. Photo by Laura Moran.

The winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, is this Sunday, Dec. 21. In Callicoon, a group of local artists are leading a community lantern walk to light up the longest night. Walkers will hear stories and carry lanterns through a 30-foot labyrinth to honor the souls of the dead. From organizer Laura Moran:   Read more

Montreign Resort Casino in Monticello wins the Catskills jackpot

Above: A rendering of the Montreign casino.

The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board has chosen to allow one developer to build a casino in the Catskills: the Montreign Resort Casino in the Sullivan County town of Thompson. The board also granted two other casino licenses in two other regions in the state in its selection report, which it released today. (Read the full report by clicking here.)

Montreign, a division of Empire Resorts, will be built on the site of the former Concord Resort Hotel in Monticello. The casino will be part of a larger destination resort called the Adelaar.  Read more

New York state bans fracking


A video posted by Mark Ruffalo (@markruffalo) on

At a cabinet meeting that was open to the public today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens and New York Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced that the practice of natural gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be prohibited in New York State.   Read more

Tonight: Forum on safety at Kaaterskill Falls

Above: After two people fell to their deaths while hiking Kaaterskill Falls in 2014, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation installed a new fence and signage at the top and bottom of the waterfall. Photo via NY DEC. 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is drafting an amended management plan for Kaaterskill Falls, a spectacular Greene County waterfall where two hikers died in 2014.

After lobbying by state and town officials, the DEC installed new fences and signage at the waterfall in October, according to the Daily Mail.  Read more

BAM! New Margaretville business association forms

Above: Jess Olenych (with Joey, Jess's dog) and Karen Fairbairn at the inaugural meeting of the Margaretville Business Association. Photos by Julia Reischel.

Fifteen business people and one small dog gathered to form the Business Association of Margaretville--BAM! for short--at the Molnar Financial Building (the former Margaretville e-Center) on Main Street on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Karen Fairbairn, owner of the Lazy Crazy Acres gelato company in Arkville, was elected to be president of the group, and Jess Olenych, the owner of Home Goods in Margaretville, was voted Vice President. 

Below: More photos from the meeting.  Read more

New robotic buoys measure water quality from under Ashokan ice

Above: New York City Department of Environmental Protection staffers install a new "under-ice water quality monitoring buoy" on the Ashokan Reservoir on Thursday, Dec. 11. Photo via the NYC DEP's Flickr page

Before this year, scientists at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection had to spend the winter taking an airboat into the icy waters of the Ashokan Reservoir to sample the quality of the water destined for the city's taps by hand.

Now a robotic sensor designed to spend the winter under the ice will take over the job. 

Robots mounted on large rafts already sample the water on the city's Catskills reservoirs in warmer months, but they are too large and fragile to handle ice and snow. Every winter, they are hauled out.

  Read more

Man trapped by snow in remote Schoharie County cabin for three days

A man was trapped by snow in a remote cabin in the Schoharie town of Broome for three days last week, according to a press release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office. 

Sixty-year-old David Garrison lives in a cabin with no phone or electricity. On Friday, Dec. 12, one of his neighbors called the police to say that Garrison hadn't been seen since Tuesday, Dec. 9. Over 22 inches of snow fell between Tuesday and Friday in that part of Schoharie County, police say.

Sheriff's deputies riding on snowmobiles reached Garrison's house on Laura Lane on Friday afternoon and found Garrison alone with his dog. The snow had kept Garrison, who has some disabilities, from reaching his woodpile. He had kept warm by burning pieces of his house in his woodstove, his home's only source of heat, the press release says.

The Daily Star's Jessica Reynolds has more details about the rescue:  Read more

After police reportedly find drugs during traffic stop, man runs out into Route 17

Left: Julio L. Martinez. Photo via the New York State Police. 

After police allegedly found drugs in his vehicle, a Monticello man attempted to flee the scene by running into traffic on busy Route 17, according to a New York State press release

Julio L. Martinez, a 36-year-old from Monticello, was driving a black 1999 Honda westbound on Route 17 in the Sullivan County town of Thompson when New York State troopers pulled him over for unspecified traffic violations, the police say.

After the police reportedly found heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride in the vehicle, Martinez allegedly "attempted to flee the area on foot by running out onto State Route. 17, obstructing traffic."

Martinez was arrested a short distance away from where he was pulled over, police say.  Read more

Greene County drug dragnet arrests 18 people

Eighteen people were arrested on drug charges after a 14-month investigation by Greene County and New York State police and officials on Friday, Dec. 12, according to a press release from the New York State Police.

The arrests spanned Greene County from Jewett and Lexington to New Baltimore. The lengthy investigation involved undercover operatives buying cocaine, crack, heroin and prescription drugs from suspects around the region. Sealed indictments were handed down throughout November and December, police say.

The list of the 18 people arrested is below:

Joey Rodriguez, age 34, of Catskill, N.Y.: Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts) and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts)

Gregory “Rebel” Bernard, age 37, of Catskill, N.Y.: Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts) and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 2nd (2 counts)

Brian Bridgham, age 31, of Catskill, N.Y.: Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd (1 count) and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd (1 count).  Read more

Man killed after ATV flips on top of him in High Falls

Above: A Yamaha Grizzly 350 all-terrain vehicle. Photo via the Yamaha product website

A 68-year-old man driving an all-terrain vehicle on a wooded trail in High Falls died on Sunday, Dec. 14 after his ATV flipped over, pinning him beneath it, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Bruce Turner, a 68-year-old Stone Ridge resident, was found unconscious under a Yamaha Grizzly 350 ATV on an inclined section of the trail at 7:04 a.m. on Sunday morning, a press release from the Sheriff's Office states.

First responders pulled the ATV off Turner and performed CPR. Turner was then taken to HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, where he died of his injuries, police say.