Environmental group calls for more (and smarter) development in the Catskills

Image: A graphic from the Open Space Institute's recent report on development in the Catskills, showing towns with the most privately-owned open space in darker brown.

A new report from the Open Space Institute, a land acquisition and conservation group based in New York State, says that development in the rural Catskills could quadruple without harming the environment.

You read that right. Here's a key quote:

This study shows that appropriately placed development can coexist with the region's natural resources, bolstering opportunities for reliable, year-round employment. It also indicates that the existing development footprint might quadruple, if appropriately sited, without compromising the economy or ecology of private farm or forestland resources. Planning and coordination are essential to secure a "win-win" in which development and open space complement each other.

The OSI hopes their report, which identifies "preferred growth areas" in Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, will be a road map that towns and developers can use to focus their efforts on less environmentally sensitive areas.  Read more

One Woodstock Commons lawsuit shot down, one to go

Design of the proposed Woodstock Commons housing project. Image from the RUPCO website.

A lawsuit against the Town of Woodstock and its planning board over plans to build an affordable housing project has been dismissed on a technicality.

The case, filed by Robin Segal, a vocal opponent of the Woodstock Commons project, had challenged the validity of the town's environmental review of the proposed development.

In a decision released on April 1, Ulster County Supreme Court Judge Christopher Cahill dismissed the case because Segal did not name the project's leaders, the Rural Ulster Preservation Company and EVK Realty, as the defendants in the case before a 30-day time limit ran out.

In an article published last September, the Woodstock Times explained the nit-picky nature of the rules that foiled Segal. It also explained Segal's suspicion that Woodstock's town attorney, Drayton Grant, wielded those rules unfairly:  Read more

A thousand union supporters rally in Newburgh

On Monday, labor organizers throughout the Hudson Valley and the Catskills demonstrated in droves in Newburgh to show their solidarity with unions around the country on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination.

The gathering, which reportedly drew over 1,000 demonstrators, was part of a national "We Are One" day event. In New York, the demonstration struck a chord with teachers and other public employees who are facing cuts because of Governor Andrew Cuomo's stringent new budget.  Read more

Police: Woman drove drunk with 12-year-old in car

The State Police are reporting that a woman driving on the Thruway through New Paltz on Monday was drunk with her 12-year-old daughter in the car.

According to a press release, Daphine Vinson of Huntington was stopped after police noticed her "erratic" driving. She was charged with aggravated DWI and endangering the welfare of a child.

Here's the press release in full:

SP Kingston - Troop T arrest Long Island woman for Agg DWI after 12 yoa child found in vehicle

On April 4, 2001 at about 10pm,  State Police at Kingston - Troop T, arrested DAPHINE P. VINSON, age 46 of Huntington, NY for Aggravated DWI more than .18 BAC, and Endangering the welfare of a Child after she was stopped for erratic operation by State Police on the Thruway in the Town of New Paltz. VINSON was found to have her 12 yoa daughter in the car with her at the time of the stop. VINSON was issued several V&T tickets returnable 4/05/11 in the Town of New Paltz.

Phoenicia Library must raise $116K to rebuild

Since the March 19 fire that claimed every one of its thousands of books, the Phoenicia Library has staged a remarkable comeback. A week later, a temporary library was opened in the former Maverick Health Center, and offers of help and donations were pouring in.

Still, the library has a long way to go.

Judith Singer, the president of the board of the Phoenicia Library, told the Shandaken Town Board at their monthly meeting last night that the library will have to raise $116,000 in order to re-open permanently, whether at its old location or at a new one.

The money will be needed to cover the gap between the cost of restoring the library and the amount that the library's insurance would cover, Singer told the Board. Insurance will cover 80 percent of the costs, she said.  Read more

The Wire: Catskills edition

Four cops on a stakeout. Six suspects making a drop at a hidden stash. Eleven female victims.

Egg-laden female walleye victims, that is. The sordid tale of a big bust of poachers after spawning walleye unrolls like an episode of The Wire in Dick Nelson's Daily Mail sports column today:

Acting on a tip from a concerned fisherman, Environmental Conservation Officer Anthony Glorioso positioned himself far enough away from the poachers as so not to be seen, but close enough where he could move in quickly to make an arrest.  Read more

Esopus sunset

It was too gray and misty yesterday to have a real sunset, but the trees against a misty sky along the Esopus in Shandaken had their own beauty. Photo by Julia Reischel.

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The tree wars of Kingston

Above: A memento left on the remains of a tree on Wall Street, cut down recently as part of Kingston's controversial "Pike Plan" to restore the 1970s-era wooden canopies over the sidewalks of the uptown Stockade district. Photo by local musician (and O+ Festival organizer) Alexandra Marvar; she says it's a piece of text art by Cody Walton, reproduced by a Kingston street artist called idleyes.  Read more

What does it take to keep a fading resort hotel alive?

Revelers at the Rock N Roll Resort festival last weekend in Kerhonkson. Photo via the Rock N Roll Resort Facebook page.

To stay in the black, a Borscht Belt resort needs to branch out into tie dye and bongs, according to the Times Herald-Record, which wrote yesterday about the efforts of the bankrupt Hudson Valley Resort and Spa to stay solvent.

The resort, located in Kerhonkson and facing $22 million in debt, has been hosting music festivals all off-season, reporter Michael Novinson writes:

Music festivals help keep the Hudson Valley Resort afloat during the off-season, which stretches from November until the start of Passover.  Read more

Boston arts fixture talks about her Bovina roots

Our friend and web guru Adam Gaffin, who runs the news website Universal Hub in Boston, sent us this link to an interview with Rebecca Griffin, the director of Boston's North End Music and Performing Arts Center. It turns out that Griffin, a local Boston art leader, had deep roots in the Delaware County town of Bovina, and was glad to tell NorthEndWaterfront.com all about them:

Becca, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Let’s get started by telling us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a very small town in upstate New York, Bovina Center. Bovine means cow in Latin. It’s about 3 1/2 hours north of New York City. We moved there when I was a baby in the 1970’s and there were mostly dairy farms and a population of just around 500 people. I graduated high school there in a class of 26.  Read more