Sullivan is road-deathiest county near NYC

The public-transportation-promoting blog Cap'n Transit published an interesting (and disturbing) map on Sunday that shows that Sullivan County has more car crash fatatities per person than any other county in the New York Tri-State area.

The map, which is reproduced with permission above, uses data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Census Bureau to show the number of crash deaths per capita by county in 2005. (Ulster and Sullivan county are included as part of the NYC metropolitan area, but Delaware, Greene, and Schoharie are not.)

The map shows higher rates of deaths per population per county as deepening shades of red. As you can see, the farther west you go from New York City, the higher the percentage of a county's population dies in car crashes. And the highest numbers seem to be concentrated in the Delaware Valley, or, as the blog calls it, the "Upper Delaware Valley of Death."  Read more

Arson destroys First Baptist Church in Walton

Above: WBNG footage of the scene at the First Baptist Church in Walton, destroyed by fire early this morning.

This just in from the Walton Police Department:

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DOJ to Greene County: You didn't use it, now you lose it

In the Daily Mail today: The Greene County Sheriff's Office will have to return $214,000 in federal grant money, awarded in 2001 for the purchase of computer equipment and never spent for its intended purpose. Colin DeVries reports:

According to a letter from the federal Department of Justice, the sheriff’s office “drew down” $214,000 of the awarded $214,088 on March 2, 2006 after the grant had been expired.

A closeout report kit was sent to the sheriff’s office in August 2006 . In the report Hussey noted the equipment had not been purchased and there was no method in tracking the redeployment, according to DOJ.

[Sheriff Greg] Seeley had discovered the funding was sitting idly in the sheriff’s office budget and attempted to contact DOJ about the reimbursement process.

In a letter to DOJ, Seeley wrote that “the former sheriff chose to utilize only $6,000 of this tremendous award. Of the $214,088, $208,000 of the grant is in the sheriff’s office account with the county legislature.”  Read more

Jefferson 2-year-old dies after choking on ball

Tragic news coming out of Jefferson in Schoharie County: On Sunday, 2-year-old Joshua Falconio, who would have turned three later this month, died on Sunday after a small yellow ball became lodged in his throat.

According to a press release from the State Police, Falconio was sitting on a couch in his living room eating a candy bar when the small yellow ball found its way into his mouth. He began to choke, and his mother called 911. EMTs were able to extract the ball from his throat in the ambulance while rushing him to Bassett Hospital, but Falconio died as they worked. 

The full press release is below:

PRESS RELEASE

January 10, 2011  Read more

Two views of the buy-local movement

There's a fine line between supporting local industry and trade protectionism. Case in point: Congressman Maurice Hinchey's effort to give the U.S. solar energy industry a boost may be causing some consternation in Beijing. From the New York Times yesterday:

The military authorization law signed by President Obama on Friday contains a little-noticed “Buy American” provision for the Defense Department purchases of solar panels — a provision that is likely to dismay Chinese officials as President Hu Jintao prepares to visit the United States next week...

...Representative Maurice Hinchey, Democrat of New York, said he had fought for the provision to be included in the bill.  Read more

Ski shop owners: This season shaping up to be bonanza

Although the woes of local ski mountains are making headlines these days, Hudson Valley Business reported last week that, as far as ski shops are concerned, this year might be the most lucrative one ever. Reporter Jim Gordon intereviewed several Hudson Valley shopkeeps, including one right on Rte. 28:

“We’ve had a month of December like we’ve never had before,” said Paul Zajkowski, manager of Potter Brothers ski shops, with five locations including its headquarters shop on state Route 28 in Kingston. Zajkowski has been in the ski business with Potter Brothers for 40 years and said the season is “absolutely wonderful.” He said an improving economy has created conditions where “People want to go have a little fun,” he said and many are buying new equipment to go do so.

Watch out for (literally) red-handed bank robbers

Suspected bank robbers who hit Key Bank in Uptown Kingston around 11am this morning may be speeding by you on a highway right now,  according to the Times Herald-Record.

Police are asking passers-by to keep a lookout for a two men in a white Ford Taurus,. the newspaper is reporting. Because alert workers at the bank reportedly included exploding packages of red dye in the cash that was handed over, the suspects and possibly their vehicle might be streaked with red ink.

Shots fired in Andes were to euthanize deer

On Saturday, the sound of gunshots rang out in the center of the town of Andes. Andes resident Jack McShane, a board member of the Catskill Mountain Club, emailed us to explain that the shots signaled the merciful end for an injured deer found in Ballantine Park:  Read more

Teens arrested for Wallkill break-in

The Ulster County Sheriff's Office reports that it has arrested two teenagers who attempted to rob a deli in Wallkill early this morning. Eighteen-year-old Louis A. Ponessa of Wallkill and an unnamed 15-year-old were both charged with burglary.

Read the full press release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office below:  Read more