Burning the forest for the trees

Last week, the Millbrook-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies issued a report about the forests of the northeast United States and whether they could ever replace fossil fuels as our main source of energy.

According to a press release issued along with the report, the outcome of trees vs. fuels doesn't look so good for the trees:

Under best-case scenarios, however, the energy generated sustainably from forest biomass in the Northeast could replace only 1.4% of the region’s total fossil fuel energy.

The Times-Union ran an article about the report that quoted one of its co-authors, Charles D. Canham about how easily our appetite for energy could destroy our forests:  Read more

Suicide on the Rip Van Winkle bridge

The Daily Mail and the Daily Freeman are reporting that an unidentified person fatally jumped off the Rip Van Winkle Bridge this afternoon. The Mail reports that the bridge was closed for several hours as authorities inspected a suspicious package:

The recovery operation, undertaken by joint agencies from both sides of the river, was of longer duration because a suspicious package on the bridge had to be inspected, according to officials on the scene.

Raising money, the newfangled way

Christina Eliopoulos, the director of Demon on Wheels, a Margaretville-based documentary about outlaw mechanic and daredevil Mike Ondish, is raising the $25,000 she needs to finish her movie via the website Kickstarter. (We've covered the movie, which follows Ondish as he resurrects his 1968 Mustang and returns it to its past racing glory, here.)

Eliopoulos has already raised almost $4,000, but she needs to raise the rest by March 13 or else she forfeits every cent, according to Kickstarter's rules. To encourage potential funders to join the 70 people who have already given money to the cause, she's baited her hook with some neat freebies, including this enticing package deal:

Pledge $5,000 or more [...]  Read more

Don't call it "mid-century" if it's really "harvest gold"

Last week, Sullivan County realtor David Knudsen posted a delightful rant on his blog, Sullivan County Real Estate, in which he aired a pet peeve about realtors in the Catskills. Knudsen calls it the "incorrect use of architectural style monikers in listings." In other words, he hates seeing houses labeled "mid-century" when they could fit right in on the Brady Bunch:  Read more

Showing tonight at Onteora HS: "Race to Nowhere"

Tonight at 6:30, parents, teachers, and community members are gathering at Onteora High School to watch and discuss "Race to Nowhere," a provocative recent documentary about overachievement and the culture of American education. From a new blog called Phoenicia, NY:

Sponsored by the Phoenicia and Woodstock PTAs and the Onteora Middle School PTSO, there  will be a moderator led discussion between an invited panel of speakers after the screening and audience members are invited to participate.


Onteora Middle School PTSO member, Keiko Sono, writes:

“This is a documentary that would question the educational system as it stands, and therefore, is controversial. It is only distributed through grass roots screenings such as ours in local communities. It is not available on Netflix or for sale on DVDs. As a condition for screening, panel discussions are required, and it is this combination that has spawned many town-hall meeting type events throughout the country.  Read more

Armed robbery in Sidney

The Daily Star reports that police are searching for a man who robbed the Smoker's Choice in Sidney on Monday:

A male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans entered the business in the Great American Plaza at about 8 p.m., police said. He displayed a handgun and demanded money, police said. No one was injured.

Accident on Rte. 32 injures deputy

The Daily Mail is reporting that both a Greene County Sheriff's Office squad car and a minivan were totalled in a crash on Rte. 32 in Cairo yesterday. Interestingly, the Sheriff's Office is refusing to comment on the accident at all. Still, the newspaper has managed to construct a general idea of what happened via bystander accounts and the New York State Police:

State Police Sergeant Mark McTague at Catskill said Deputy Tor Tryland was traveling northbound when a southbound vehicle driven by Anthony Haack of Wappingers Falls attempted to make a left turn onto Evergreen Drive. The vehicles collided head on and the police cruiser came to rest near a phone pole.

The accident was a bad one -- the Daily Mail has a picture of the minivan, which was totally destroyed.

Hundreds pepper DRBC with comments on drilling


Yesterday's two public hearings on the proposed regulation of natural gas drilling by the Delaware River Basin Commmission had a good turnout. According to PoconoNews.net, about 500 people showed up at the meeting in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, while the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that 250 attended the hearing in Liberty.

In Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press, most of the speakers were pro-drilling:

Of the first 45 or so people to speak at an afternoon hearing in Honesdale in Wayne County, only five opposed drilling. Supporters said the regulations are cumbersome, have not balanced economic concerns with environmental ones and take away the rights of private property owners.

WNEP-TV, which aired a segment on the hearings which you can watch above, rounded up a few of the pro-drilling contingent's critiques:

Inside the auditorium, many of the comments were against the regulations, saying they are too tough on gas drilling companies.

"You have the audacity to claim that your proposed regulations prevail over our commonwealth, disregarding our own laws," said Carol Woodmansee of Lake Como.

"They would impose 500 foot setbacks from any stream, no matter how small. This is not reasonable," said Amber Stahl of Honesdale.

"We need natural gas now, to invigorate our economy," said Michele Stahl.

U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey didn't appear at either hearing, but his office submitted a letter to the DRBC that calls for bringing more public hearings to New York:

While the scheduling of three public hearings is a positive step in ensuring that communities throughout the Basin have a full opportunity to comment publicly on this important topic, this limited number of public meetings needs to be expanded and the comment period extended by an additional 90 days based on the importance and complexity of this issue. I would therefore reiterate my earlier request to the Commission to urging it to consider additional public hearings in New York State and other areas that will be impacted by the final regulations for natural gas drilling so that those in Sullivan County who cannot be here today have an opportunity to comment publicly.

Two anti-drilling celebrities -- both of whom are up for Academy awards -- spoke at the Pennsylvania hearing, the Times Herald-Record reports:  Read more

Man killed in Saugerties accident

Twenty-eight-year-old James Persico of Saugerties was killed yesterday when his Volvo crossed into an oncoming lane on Route 32 and collided head-on with a tractor trailer, New York State Police are reporting today. Here's the full press release:

The New York State Police Kingston, investigated a two car motor vehicle accident on State Route 32 in the Town of Saugerties. A 2002 Volvo sedan was traveling northbound on Sr 32 operated by Joshua Persico, 28, of Saugerties, NY. The Volvo crossed into the southbound lane and into the path of a 2002 International Tractor Trailer driven by James DeRusso, 50, of Latham, NY. Persico was pronounced deceased at the scene and DeRusso was transported to Kingston Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The State Police in Kingston are continuing the accident investigation. The State Police were assisted at the scene by the Town of Saugerites Pd, Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the Centerville Cedar Grove Fire Department.