DEP agrees to keep reservoirs a little less full

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to make a bunch of changes to the way it manages its NYC watershed reservoirs, according to a press release sent out yesterday. The changes will have a big impact on the Delaware River, which was just designated a "Great Water" by a national coalition of environmental groups

Using its new multi-million-dollar computer program, the DEP plans to release more water from its reservoirs, which, it says, will help prevent flooding, help fisheries, and keep saltwater out of the Delaware River:  Read more

Hurley can't keep NYC from buying more watershed land

The Ashokan Reservoir, looking towards West Hurley. Photo by Flickr user Nick Stenning.

File under: Wishful Thinking. According to a couple of stories in the Daily Freeman – one this Wednesday, one a week ago – the town of Hurley is considering banning New York City from buying any more land in the town.

The catch? The town doesn't have the legal power to do that.

From Wednesday's story:

The Town Board is reviewing an option to ban the New York City Department of Environmental Protection from making further land acquisitions in the town.

Hurley supervisor Gary Bellows, who's quoted in the Freeman story, wants to put an end to city land purchases in the town.  Read more

Pages from the book of love

An image from Zena Gurbo's exhibit ,"The Book of Love: Three-dimensional Stories of the Whole-hearted." At the Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell until April 22.

Wondering how the book of love, as sung about by the Magnetic Fields, is illustrated? Otsego County artist Zena Gurbo has created a series of "three-dimensional paintings" inspired by the song, which is likely to make you quietly tear up -- especially if you listen to this Peter Gabriel version. 

The results are on view until April 22 at the Word and Image Gallery in the Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell -- and a sample "page" is above. Here's what Gurbo says about her project on the Bright Hill Press website:  Read more

Someday, it'll look like this outside

Remember what summer looked like? WIth a generous dusting of frost on the hills this morning, you may not. Luckily, Joshua VanBrakle, a Sidney forester who blogs about environmental issues from the perspectve of a conservative, sent us this photo of Relay State Forest in Stamford that he snapped last summer. Blue skies, green hills ... it's all starting to come back to us.

You can see more of VanBrakle's photography on his website, New York Nature Images.

Another Phoenicia fire

The little Shandaken hamlet just can't catch a break. The Daily Freeman reports that a log home on Wittenberg Road in Phoenicia was the scene of a three-alarm fire this morning:  Read more

Catskill appeals judge's ruling in pagan case

The Maetreum of Cybele, in Palenville.

The town of Catskill is appealing a judge's decision that it may have discriminated against a group of pagans by refusing to grant them a religious property tax exemption.

According the the Greene County Clerk's Office, a notice of appeal was filed on March 28 in the tax case pitting the Maetreum of Cybele, a pagan group from Palenville, against the Assessor of the Town of Catskill. The town appears to be asking for a higher court to review a tough-talking February ruling from Greene County Supreme Court George J. Pulver, Jr. in which the judge denied Catskill's request to dismiss the case.

As we reported in February, Judge Pulver's decision was a big victory for the self-described witches of the Maetreum, who argue that the town treated them differently from other religious groups when it placed their Palenville property on the tax rolls.  Read more

Hurley woman charged with running loan fraud scheme

jeri Lynn RossJeri Lynn RossAccording to a press release from the State Police, a Hurley woman is accused of stealing $279,000 from a series of people who lent her money. Jeri Lynn Ross, a 62-year-old who lives on Cedar St., reportedly obtained multiple fraudulent personal loans over several years.

Here's the press release in full:

Ulster, NY - April 6, 2011 -  Today, New York State Police in Kingston arrested Jeri Lynn Ross, 62, of 314 Cedar Street in Hurley N.Y.
Ross was arrested after an investigation conducted by The New York State Police and The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office revealed that she had stolen in excess $279,000 from numerous individuals by fraudulently obtaining personal loans over several years.
Ross was charged with Scheme to Defraud 1st, Grand Larceny 2nd and twelve counts of Grand Larceny 3rd. She was arraigned before the Town of Ulster Court and released on her own recognizance to appear at a later date.
Any persons with possible related information are asked to contact State Police at 845-338-1702.

Ambulance and cars crash in Town of Ulster

An ambulance rushing to a medical emergency on Rte. 9W this morning in the Town of Ulster attempted to turn against a light and collided with two cars, according to the Daily Freeman:  Read more

Police: Grand Prix leads cops on wild 50-mile car chase

An Albany man driving a stolen Pontiac Grand Prix allegedly led police and deputies from multiple jurisdictions on a 50-mile car chase through Albany, Greene and Schoharie counties yesterday before finally crashing in the town of Broome.

According to a press release from the State Police, police first tried to stop 44-year-old Joseph V. Wagner when they spotted him driving the Grand Prix, which had been reported stolen, through the Town of Guilderland in Albany county last night.

Wagner reportedly bolted into Greene County along Rte. 32, where the Greene County Sheriff's Department was waiting for him with spike sticks. Despite blowing two tires, Wagner allegedly didn't stop until he drove back through Albany County and into Schoharie County, where he ran off the roadway and flipped over in the town of Broome. The entire chase reportedly lasted about 45 minutes.   Read more

Rebooting upstate New York agriculture, one slaughterhouse at a time

Liza de Guia, a New York City food blogger who shoots mini-documentaries on food from farm to table at Food Curated, traveled to the Catskills recently to make a film about small-scale slaughterhouses.

Here, in Part 1, she interviews Chris Harmon, the director of the Oneonta-based Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE), about the need for more slaughterhouses to meet the growing demand for local, small-scale meat. Harmon's group has been working with Larry's Custom Meats, a meat processor based in Hartwick, to build a new USDA-certified slaughterhouse.  Read more