Secret Ashokan floating casino deal unveiled

Artist's rendering of a planned floating luxury casino to be located on the Ashokan Reservoir. Photo credit.

OLIVE, NY – The Tuscarora tribe has entered into a secret deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to build a floating luxury casino on the Ashokan Reservoir.

The Tuscarora, now based in Lewiston, New York, historically lay claim to land in Brown's Station, now submerged beneath the Ashokan reservoir.

Elaborate precautions will be taken to ensure that the casino, tentatively dubbed “Drowning Waters,” will not impact water quality.  Read more

Delhi stickup: "It's a good story, but it didn't happen"

Note: This isn't an April Fool's joke. You can't make this stuff up. --Ed.

Rumors are flying in Delhi that the Tractor Supply Co. store on Main Street was hit by armed robbers on Wednesday. The stories vary, with some of the more extravagant ones describing multiple gunmen. According to the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, none of them are true.

"It's a good story, but it didn't happen," said Michelle Murray, the communications supervisor at the Sheriff's Office, who says that she has spent the week dispelling the rumor.

What did happen, according to Murray and Senior Sheriff's Office investigator Karl Vagts, is that the State Police out of Margaretville were investigating a report of a possible burglary-in-progress on Wednesday afternoon in the vicinity of the Tractor Supply Store.

"Apparently there were some troopers down there in that area," Vagts said. "Whether they were even in the store is unclear."  Read more

Fishing season opens with snow, celebrities, and an innovative "fly dryer"

A homemade fly dryer, invented by Paul Cowell, of Paul's Angling Journal. Photo used with permission.

Happy fishing season opener day! Despite that sunny-sounding news, today doesn't feel very springy, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is warning that anglers making their first casts of the year might be disappointed:

Unlike last year when opening day trout anglers were greeted with relatively tranquil conditions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) informs this winter's heavy snows and resultant high, cold stream conditions will not be friendly to early season trout anglers.  Read more

Lower Esopus: Prepare for more dirty water tomorrow

This just in from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection: The agency is planning to push water into the lower Esopus via the Ashokan waste channel starting tomorrow, in response to predicted snowstorms in the Catskills region. According to a DEP press release, the agency has gotten the blessing of Ulster County, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Town of Hurley to make the releases.

Here's the full press release:  Read more

Layoffs at the Daily Star

Former Daily Star reporter Patricia Breakey, who was among several editorial staffers laid off last month by the newspaper. Photo courtesy of Breakey; used with permission.

On February 11, the Oneonta Daily Star – the only daily print newspaper that systematically covers Delaware County – laid off its main Delaware County reporter, Patricia Breakey.

Breakey has been covering the county for the paper for over twenty years (minus a stint in the '90s as the editor of the Walton Reporter).

“In essence, what they did is they closed the Delaware County bureau,” she said. “There's no way they're going to have as much coverage in Delaware County. They'll probably try to maintain some kind of presence, just so they don't lose all those subscribers.”

Daily Star publisher Armand Nardi said the paper would continue its news coverage of the county.

“We'll be covering Delaware County, and we'll have reporters in that area,” he said.

Nardi said he could not comment on personnel matters.  Read more

Organic farmers sue Monsanto

Photo of organic seed packets by Flickr user LollyKnit.

Reuters reports that the Public Patent Foundation, a nonprofit organization located at Cardozo School of Law and dedicated to preserving "freedom in the patent system," has filed suit against the agricultural giant Monstanto on behalf of a group of 60 farmers, seed businesses and organic boosters.

PUBPAT is preemtively suing Monsanto to prevent the company from suing farmers or seed suppliers for patent infringement if they unwittingly grow or use Monstanto's patented seeds. As Reuters points out, Monsanto is known for aggressively defending its patents on its seeds in the courts. 

The lawsuit clearly intends to make a splash. In a press release, the PUBPAT executive director, Dan Ravicher, suggests that Monsanto is trying to take over the world's entire food supply:  Read more

The budget has landed (and a breakdown of local school cuts)

For the first time in five years, Albany has gotten its act together and passed a budget on time -- indeed, a day early.

That's the good news. The bad news? With all the cuts required to close a $10 billion budget gap, state-run services are being slashed across New York State.

Here's a look at the sector that took some of the deepest cuts: education. In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed to cut $1.5 billion from state aid to schools; since then, $230 million of that has been added back in. Of the $230 million restored, $51 million is going to New York City, $45 million to Long Island, and $134 million to the rest of the state.  Read more

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.