More crocuses!

Watershed Post reader Sarah Mesh found evidence of spring, in defiance of the forecasts of snow for tomorrow, in Delhi last Saturday. (We spotted crocuses in Andes two weeks ago. But it wasn't enough to keep the snows away.)

If you'd like to share a photo with us, email us or post it to our Flickr group.

SUNY Cobleskill student found dead in apartment

The Times-Union reports:

Investigators are examining the death of a 20-year-old State University of New York at Cobleskill student found in an apartment on Tuesday, village police said.

Police were called to the Hammerstone Village Apartments at 5:21 p.m. and discovered the body of Elizabeth T. Cornelius.

The cause of Cornelius's death is still unknown.

Long Islander, mesmerized by GPS, drives into creek

This just in from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office: A Seaford man drove into a creek in Hamden and flipped his car, after failing to stop at an intersection. Here's the press release:

On 3/19/2011 Delaware County Sheriff's Deputies investigated a one car motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Basin Clove Rd. and Terry Clove Rd. in the Town of Hamden. The driver, Robert Nelson, 51, of Seaford, was driving south on Terry Clove Rd. Nelson said that he was looking at his GPS when he didn't see the stop sign at the intersection. The vehicle slid across the intersection and into the creek on the other side of the road. The vehicle came to a rest on its roof. The driver or passenger weren't hurt in the accident. There were no tickets issued.

City of Kingston: Now on Twitter

Kingston Citizens reports that Brooklyn-on-the-Hudson our fair city to the east is dipping a toe into the waters of social media, and has gotten a Twitter account.

Good news! The city of Kingston is finally working to access social media outlets to communicate with the citizens of Kingston.  We’ve been trying to get them to pay attention in this way for years. Back in the stone age, BW. (Before WordPress).  Remember yahoo groups? HTML?

Their new handle is @KingstonNYgov, and here's their first tweet:

  Read more

7,000 pot plants seized in Sullivan County

The Times Herald-Record is reporting that teams of federal and Sullivan County officials have made one of the biggest marijuana busts in the county's history: 7,000 marijuana plants, a haul worth about $10 million.

"We believe it will be a record, probably the biggest seizure in Sullivan County," said Undersheriff Eric Chaboty. He said the grow operation was "highly sophisticated."

Sixteen people were arrested in connection with the grow operations, 14 of them illegal immigrants who were reportedly tending the plants in seven different locations in three different towns. 

NBC has its own report, which adds that the cops were tipped off to operation by smell:

Officials said authorities found the major supply after sheriffs pulled over a car and smelled marijuana.

Watershed Post comments: Now more Facebooky

We're debuting something new today: Facebook comments. Instead of our old system, which let people choose between anonymous commenting and registering for a username on our site, we're now asking commenters to use their Facebook identities to post comments. (Feel free to give 'em a spin on this post to see how they work.)

What this means:

1. No more anonymous commenting. We hope this won't turn anybody away who's been leaving zesty, on-topic comments for us. We KNOW it's going to get rid of masses of unseen spam-trolls, to which we are glad to say, "Sayonara."

2. You'll have to have an account on Facebook (or Yahoo or AOL, which have entered into agreements with Facebook) to comment on our site. A few years ago, this would probably have been a dealbreaker for us. But Facebook is where people are online -- over half of Americans over the age of 12 are now on it. You know what they say: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  Read more

Lit cigarette causes fire at Ellenville Central School

According to the Ellenville Central School District's website, a lit cigarette caused a fire in the basement of the High School and smoke damage throughout the school building last night.

A previous post on the school's website this morning, which has since been edited, reports that the school was closed today but is expected to reooen tomorrow "pending completion of an extensive cleanup operation and air quality testing." *

Hat tip to the Daily Freeman.

*Update, 7pm: The school's website now says school is closed tomorrow, on account of lurking asbestos in the area of the fire:  Read more

Good news for New York farmers: Gillibrand to chair Senate ag subcommittee

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced yesterday that she had been named chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security. From the press release (via the Catskill Chronicle):

Senator Gillibrand will continue to work hard in the Senate to overhaul the milk pricing system with fair competitive pricing for dairy producers, make the pricing system more transparent, prevent looming cuts to the MILC program, bolster New York’s dairy exports, stabilize dairy trading prices, and provide dairy farmers with the tools and information they need.  Read more

Lee Hoiby, Catskills composer, dies

Lee Hoiby, a reclusive Catskills-loving composer who adapted one of Tennessee Williams' plays into an opera, died yesterday, according to the Times Herald-Record:

Lee Hoiby, a Sullivan County-based composer whose operas were performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Narrowsburg's Tusten Theatre, died Monday. He was 85. The cause of death was cancer.

In the world of classical music, Hoiby was known as the composer of such lyrical works as "A Month in the Country," his adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke," and "The Serpent," made famous by the great Leontyne Price.

But in Sullivan, where he lived next to a waterfall and pond in Long Eddy with his partner, Mark Shulgasser, Hoiby was also known as a "gracious, lovely man" who lent his talent to local classical events like the Weekend of Chamber Music and the Delaware Valley Opera.  Read more

The Catskills: Full of bears

Black bear cub. Photo by Alan Vernon, via Flickr.

According to the New York State Department of Conservation's 2010 hunting numbers for bear and deer, which were released yesterday, the Catskills are the place to go if you're hunting black bear. Three Catskills counties -- Sullivan, Delaware, and Ulster -- ranked in the top five in the state for numbers of bears bagged within their borders last year.

In Sullivan County, which was second only to St. Lawrence County in its bear take, 92 bears were taken, compared to 85 bears in Delaware County and 72 in Ulster County, which came in fourth and fifth in the statewide rankings.

At the town-by-town level, Shandaken wins the title as the bear-iest town in the Catskills. Sixteen bears were harvested in Shandaken last year, the most in any town in the five-county region. Colchester, in Delaware County, comes in second, with 15 bears taken.  Read more