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.

A new attack against a looming green menace?

A truck injection. Photo from the Arborjet website.

The insatiable emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that is death to ash trees, has already been spotted in parts of the Catskills, including Kingston, Saugerties, and locations in Greene County. While some have suggested harvesting all the ash trees in the state before they are destroyed, a story in the Berkshire Eagle describes another, slightly less destructive solution: something called "trunk injection."

I have been in contact with representatives of Arborjet, a company that has developed a trunk injection system to fight EAB. With this system small doses of pesticides are injected directly into the tree's transport tissues, thus enabling distribution within the tree while limiting the impact to the environment ... They claim that it can stop damage even if the tree is under attack without harming the surrounding environment. However, it may be too late if more than 50 percent of the canopy is dead. The cost of tree injection for homeowners can range from $70-150, depending on several variables, including tree size and how many trees a homeowner is treating at once. This is considerably less than removing and replacing the same trees.

According to Arborjet's website, its trunk injection is approved in New York State. Whether it might be a viable weapon in the fight against the Green Borer of Doom is a question to ask an expert.

An Emerald Ash Borer: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.orgPhoto by David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.orgLuckily, Emerald Ash Borer experts are coming to Oneonta on March 5 for a workshop sponsored by the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, an organization affiliated with the best acronym ever (CRISP) that is affiliated with the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Here's the info on the workshop, from a CCCD press release:  Read more

NY Daily News wants to have its water and drink it too

In the NY Daily News yesterday: An editorial urging the city to buy every last possible scrap of land in the Catskill-Delaware watershed, to forestall the massive cost of another filtration plant like the one recently built to handle water from the Croton watershed.

That would be a killer. Think of finding space not for 8 acres of construction, but 80 acres. Think of spending not $3 billion, but likely $30 billion and perhaps $50 billion on the job.

This must not happen. The city must do all in its power to maintain the Catskill/Delaware watershed's natural, clean state. Among other things, that means continuing to buy up as much surrounding land as possible, to be kept vacant. The state last week gave the city permission to continue purchases for another 15 years. Since 1997, the city has spent $541 million on acquisitions. They are well worth the price.

And the money line (cymbal crash):

Buy, buy, buy, or it will be bye-bye, New York.  Read more

Catskills cubism

If you could build your dream cabin in the Catskills, what would it look like? For architect Peter Gluck, it would be the cube cottage pictured above, which is designed to hold 10,000 books, a desk, a beautiful view, and not much else. From an article on Freshome.com, which also has lots of luscious photos:

This unusual building accommodates over 10 000 books belonging to the architect and his wife, a scholar of Japanese history. You can look at the incredible looking studying refuge as a 20 feet cube filled with knowledge. While the ground floor has no windows as it was especially developed for storing books, the upper level is open towards the inspiring natural environment. The large windows offer panoramic views of the surrounding forest and contribute to creating a charming retreat, perfect for studying and relaxation. There is plenty of space within the beautiful studio, enough to shelter a comfy sofa, work spaces and bookshelves.  Could you imagine a better office?

Photo by Paul Warchol, via Freshome.com.

DEC's position on muddy Esopus releases has changed

Today, the Daily Freeman has a revealing interview with James Tierney, the assistant commissioner for water resources at the state's Department of Environmental Convervation.

The topic is New York City's decision to clear out its Ashokan reservoir this winter by releasing muddy water into the Esopus Creek. Last week, the DEC made headlines by fining the city's Department of Environmental Protection $2.6 million for water pollution.

This interview with Tierney shows that the DEC's decision to punish the city is a recent one:  Read more

Gas drilling hearings set for this week

The Delaware River Basin Committee will be taking its draft regulations for gas drilling to the people this week at three sites in Pennsylvania and New York. We wrote about the meeting dates and times in an earlier post:

The public hearings will be held 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Feb. 22 – Honesdale High School Auditorium, 459 Terrace Street, Honesdale, Pa.

Feb. 22 – Liberty High School Auditorium, 125 Buckley Street, Liberty, N.Y.

Feb. 24 – Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, N.J.

In preparation, the topic of fracking is in the air. There are several stories in the Times Herald-Record about gas drilling, and the National Resources Defense Council has a blog post about how to speak out against gas drilling to the DRBC.

The Wayne Independent has an interesting take on the DRBC's regulations. On Friday, the paper covered a meeting of Pennsylvania and New York landowners, including landowners from the counties of Sullivan and Delaware, to discuss their concerns about the new regulations, which they see as taking power from landowners:  Read more

Dog shot after mauling infant in Saugerties

The New York State Police are reporting today that state troopers and town of Saugerties police officers shot and killed a pit bull after it attacked three people, including an infant, in a Saugerties home yesterday.

The infant was reportedly saved from further attack by a Time Warner Cable employee named David Dargan, who was in the home for a service call. Dargan was also injured, but was treated and released from Kingston Hospital.

The infant was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center to undergo reconstructive surgery, the press release states. The third victim, 59-year-old Patricia Risley, was taken to Albany Medical Center to be treated for possible ligament damage.

The Daily Freeman has more information about the attack, including the fact that Risley was the infant's babysitter and that the dog belonged to her son:

[State police Senior Investigator Peter] Kusminsky said the pit bull belonged to the baby sitter’s son, but “we’re not quite sure yet how it got access to the child.  Read more