Run, paddle and bike your way around the Cannonsville Reservoir

Continuing a trend of loosening its tight grip on access to boating on its Catskill reservoirs, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is co-sponsoring a triathlon on the Cannonsville Reservor this June, in what tourism organizers hope will become an annual tradition.

Last week, the NYC DEP sent out a press release announcing the details of the race, which is being called the Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon (its nickname is the "CAT race"), adn will include a 10K run, a 4-mile paddle, and a 12-mile bike ride:  Read more

Project Budbreak: Citizen scientists wanted

For most of us, the arrival of the first buds of early spring is a welcome sign that winter's on its way out. For an ecologist, every unfolding blossom is a data point. By making careful records of when each plant begins to bloom, scientists hope to paint a clearer picture of how the climate is changing, and how living things are responding to it.

The science of how the life cycles of living things respond to the weather is called phenology, and it has a long history. The keeping of detailed weather data is a relatively recent phenomenon in history, but records of plant flowering and harvest dates -- many kept by farmers, who are keen observers of weather and nature -- go back hundreds of years in some places.  Read more

Sidney student heads to national spelling bee after acing the word "hydraulic"

The Daily Star, which was one of the sponsors of Saturday's Regional Spelling Bee, reports that 12-year-old Tatum Kiff from Sidney Central School won a trip to Washington, DC. She'll compete against other kids from across the country in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this June.

The winning word that led Kiff to victory? "Hydraulic." That's a pretty appropriate piece of Catskills vocabulary to master, we think.

Police: Toy thrown by Port Ewen man injures 5-year-old

According to a press release issued by the State Police, Dayton Harper of Port Ewen was arrested last week after reportedly hurting a 5-year-old child on two occasions. Harper allegedly struck the child and, in a separate incident, threw a toy at the child which lacerated the child's head.

Here's the press release in full: 

Investigators from the Ulster County Family Violence Unit report the arrest of a Port Ewen man Thursday following an investigation that the man assaulted a five year old child.

Investigators charged Dayton R. Harper, 31 years of age with two counts of Assault in the second degree (Class D Felony) and four counts of Endangering the welfare of a child (Class A Misdemeanor) The investigation revealed that on 03/05/2011 Harper threw a toy at the five year old and caused a laceration two the head. A three year old child was also in the immediate vicinity but was not injured. In the second incident Harper struck the same five year old and caused bruising.  Read more

An on-time budget? In New York State?

If so, it'll be the first since 2006, says the NY Daily News. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders announced a deal on the budget this afternoon, and it looks a lot like the budget Cuomo proposed back in February:

The budget calls for a 2% decrease in overall spending and closes a $10 billion deficit - without any new tax hikes or borrowing.

"It is a big deal when this state passes a budget on time," Cuomo said after striking the deal. "It's an exceptionally big deal when the state passes a budget on time under these circumstances."

Aside from a handful of changes, the agreement largely mirrors the spending plan Cuomo proposed on February 1 and represents a significant victory for the freshman governor.  Read more

Ulster County teens arrested after break-in bacchanalia

With a glut of vacation houses standing empty most of the year, break-ins are a perennial problem in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. But this one kinda takes the cake: A scrum of (mostly) teenagers allegedly occupied a house on Beaverkill Road in Stone Ridge for a week: drinking, hosting live bands, and even stealing the homeowner's car and abandoning it in midtown Kingston.

Three people have been arrested: 16-year-old Jade Terwillegar of Connelly, 18-year-old Marshall Joslin of Stone Ridge, and 20-year-old Jeremy Bennett of Port Ewen.

The Times Herald-Record has an account of the debauchery, including this tidbit:

Police said they solved a second case when they busted the party house. Terwillegar had been partying for so long that someone reported her as a missing person.

Potshots: Politics in Wawarsing

"Potshots," by Bovina artist Gary Mayer, runs every Sunday. You can see Gary's collected Sunday cartoons by clicking here. For some context on this week's cartoon, click here and here.  Read more

Alleged antiques thieves didn't go far enough to sell their booty

With the help of two antiques dealers, the Ulster County Sheriff's Office is reporting that it has arrested Joseph Hunter and Quinn Gaffney for allegedly stealing antiques on Partition Street in Saugerties and then selling them 100 yards away on Main Street.

The suspects, according to a press release, are two Saugerties teenagers who allegedly stole the goods from the Partition Street store by sneaking in through a back entrance.  After chatting about the robbery with the owner of the Main Street store, the owner of the Partition Street store reportedly identified his stolen property himself.

Here's the press release in full:

Detectives from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office report the arrest of two Saugerties residents on burglary related charges stemming from an investigation that began in late December, 2010.  Read more

Late night with Liz

Martha Frankel, a Boiceville-based writer, artist and provocateur, shared some intimate memories of the late Elizabeth Taylor with the Daily Freeman this week. Frankel recalls that she met Taylor while strenuously trying not to offend her by making eye contact on the set of Sweet Bird of Youth in 1989:

After a while, though, Taylor must have noticed this woman who tried to not even look at her, because, Frankel said, “she finally came over to me and said, ‘OK, who are you?’”

Taylor then invited Frankel to her house for a party, where Frankel had a front-row seat as Taylor stayed up until 2am telling stories about her famous life and times:  Read more

90 anti-frackers demonstrate outside governor's chambers

The Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog reports that scores of protesters chanted "No Fracking Way" in the War Room of the Capitol building in Albany yesterday, in a show of force that probably reached Governor Andrew Cuomo's ears in the next room over. Reporter Rick Karlin notes that these protestors came from one particular demographic: 

These folks were older and whiter than the protesters who’ve been marching for a Millionaire’s Tax and against school cuts, but they were plenty energetic.

See a video that the blog posted here.