Palenville man arrested on child pornography charges

This just in from the New York State Police:

The New York State Police at Middletown N.Y. report the arrest of EVAN P. SPITZ, age 24 of Palenville, N.Y. for POSSESSING A SEXUAL PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD, a class E Felony.

SPITZ was arrested after an investigation conducted by the New York State Police and the New York State Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (I.C.A.C.). 

EVAN SPITZ was released on an Appearance Ticket returnable to the Town of Catskill Court on 03/17/2011. Prosecution of this case is being conducted by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.

Reservoirs: Full to the brim

Times Herald-Record reporter Adam Bosch reports on his environment blog that the New York City reservoir system is full to capacity -- plus a little extra. (Not sure exactly how that's possible, but OK.)

The reservoirs currently stand at 101.1 percent full, which is roughly 12 percent than the average for this time of year. Seems like a series of big rainstorms last week, combined with the melting snowpack in the Catskills, has filled ‘em to the brim.

The result? The reservoirs are spilling over into local waterways, Wawarsing is still basically a giant water fountain, and the lower Esopus is once again the color of Yoo-Hoo.  Read more

In Fleischmanns recount, Morrell still wins, but only by 2 votes

This just in from Ben Fenton, village trustee in Fleischmanns, about this morning's electoral recount for the position of village mayor. Fenton reports that incumbent mayor Dave Morrell still wins the election, but only by a razor-thin two votes: 37 to 35.

The original count had Morrell winning 37 votes to challenger Fred Woller's 33 votes. After the recount, which featured Bush-Gore Florida-style ballot-by-ballot examination, officials from the Delaware County Board of Elections added two ballots to Woller's tally, Fenton reports:  Read more

The Bobcat Byway

After a winter of designing and judging, the Central Catskills Collaborative has chosen a new logo for the newly-christened Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, the stretch of Rte. 28 that runs from Hurley to Andes.

You can see the winning logo above. According to a press release issued by the Collaborative today, Kurt Boyer's winning design features a bobcat pawprint:

Collaborative Selects Logo for Proposed Scenic Byway   Read more

Local kids learn about the watershed

Clarence Gilmer, of the Ashokan Center, leads teenagers from Onteora High School, South Kortright Central School, and Margaretville Central School on a hike in Olivebridge on Tuesday. The activity was part of the 2011 Watershed Youth Symposium, an event held every year by GrowNYC, the Catskill Watershed Corporation, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Later this spring, the teens who participated in this week's symposium will get their hands dirty by planting trees throughout the watershed region. Photo by Diane Galusha.

Recount in Fleischmanns

Ben Fenton, a village trustee in Fleischmanns, emailed yesterday to report that yesterday's mayoral election in Fleischmanns isn't quite over. Apparently Fred Woller, the village trustee who challenged incumbent mayor Dave Morrell and lost, had demanded a recount.

Fenton reported that the Village Clerk sent out the following email yesterday afternoon:

"Please be advised that Village Trustee Fred Woller has requested a recanvass of the votes taken at the March 15, 2011 General Village Election.  According to law his request was forwarded to the Delaware County Board of Elections. The Delaware County Board of Elections will be here at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning to do a re-count of the votes and they have requested that the candidates be present."

As the vote stands now, Morrell beat Woller 37 to 33.

Minor earthquake shakes Canada

A small earthquake was detected this afternoon on the Quebec/Ontario border in Canada, according to NYAlert and the U.S. Geological Survey, which are reporting that the quake had a magnitude of 3.7.

The Toronto Star is reporting that Canadian authorities have measured the quake at 4.7:

Natural Resources Canada says the quake was centered in Lachute, Que., between Ottawa and Montreal, and struck this afternoon about 1:36 p.m.

The ground started shaking and stopped after about 10 seconds.

The quake was felt as far away as the western suburbs of Montreal, in Cornwall, Ont., and by some people in Ottawa.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

And the votes go to ...

Election day in Fleischmanns. Photo contributed by Ben Fenton.

The results are in from most of the region's village elections. Here's a roundup:

In Fleischmanns, the newly-reelected (and unopposed) village trustee Ben Fenton emailed us yesterday about the village's use of old-fashioned paper ballots and a "big metal box." (See photo above.) The results of the election, according to the Fleischmanns Facebook page:

The votes are in, and Dave Morell has been re-elected mayor. Todd Pascarella and Ben Fenton have been elected trustees.

In Sidney, deputy mayor Andrew Matviak beat Jacqlene Rose to win the mayor's seat, the Daily Star reports. In Hobart, the paper reports, incumbent Aaron Kaufman won the mayor's seat over former mayor Kenneth Brockway.  Read more

Ulster County legislature bans fracking on county lands

The Mid-Hudson News reports that the Ulster County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution banning hydraulic fracturing on publicly-owned county lands at its meeting last night:

The only question raised among Ulster County legislators before voting, unanimously, to prohibit the leasing of any county-owned lands for natural gas extraction was ‘why limit it to county lands’?

Democrat Susan Zimet, who introduced the resolution that drew solid bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans, said it is better to do this a step at a time.

Here's the text of the resolution:  Read more

Catskill to lose cement plant, 100 jobs

WGXC, the Daily Freeman, and the Daily Mail all have reports sparked by a press release issued yesterday: The Holcim cement plant in Catskill is being "mothballed."

The press release reports that 100 jobs will be lost:

"We deeply regret having to mothball this plant," said Bernard Terver, president and chief executive officer of Holcim (US).  "In 2010, we highlighted the challenges faced by this plant when we announced a temporary layoff.  The mothballing of Catskill is a direct result of continuing economic challenges and market conditions in the region.  We have looked at all available options and feel that this move is necessary in order to meet the company's current and future business needs."

Approximately 100 hourly and salaried employees will be affected by this decision.  

Mothballing includes ending production operations and securing the plant in such a way that operating permits and equipment will be preserved for possible future operations.

Sam Pratt, a blogger and activist who says that he predicted the closure of the plant in 2005, has his own interpretation of what "mothballing" means:  Read more