Hazel Akerley, cafeteria ninja

Three cheers for Hazel Akerley, a cafeteria monitor who works at Liberty Middle School. In her time working at the school, she has saved two students from choking on their food by performing well-timed Heimlich maneuvers, according to a news brief in the Times Herald-Record. Her latest save was earlier this month:

Akerley recently saw a girl choking on a piece of chicken and began performing the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the food, the school district announced Dec. 20. "I'm just glad that I know how to do it (the Heimlich maneuver)," said Akerley, an 18-year cafeteria employee. "It's all in a day's work."

Frozen body found in Sullivan County

The Times Herald-Record is reporting that a 59-year-old man who was living in a nursing home in Swan Lake was found dead outside on Sunday morning:

The frozen body of a man who was a resident of the New Swan Lake Adult Home was found dead early Sunday morning about a quarter-mile from the facility, state police in Liberty have confirmed.

Phoenicia, NY: So much cooler than Talkeetna, Alaska

Until February 11, Budget Travel Magazine is taking votes on which of twenty small American towns is the coolest. In the running: artsy, funky Phoenicia.

Two and a half hours north of New York City, this tiny town in the Catskill Mountains is a smaller version of nearby Woodstock: quiet and rural, with a hippie vibe and an artsy edge. Phoenicia's main drag is humbled by panoramic views of the magnificent 286,000-acre Catskill Forest Preserve, but surprisingly trendy stores line the street, like Mystery Spot Antiques—packed with vintage clothing, out-of-print books, and quirky housewares—and the Arts Upstairs, a seven-room gallery of original works, often by local artists.  Read more

Public shaming still works

Remember that guy who stole the stuffed animal from the Toys for Tots box in the Town of Ulster? After the State Police blasted a photo of him out to the media, he turned himself in, the Daily Freeman reports.

It's snowtime

Snow falling in Roxbury, NY this morning. Via WIOX'a Facebook page.

For once, it looks like we got off easy with the weather in the Catskills. While we've gotten about a foot of snow since yesterday, that looks pretty good compared to 20 inches in Central Park and 31 inches in New Jersey. (We're doing better than our neighbors in Columbia County, as well, where there is an official state of emergency delcared.)

Among the many closings and delays is a planned protest at Belleayre Mountain which was scheduled for today. It has been moved to this Friday at noon in front of Belleayre's gates.  Read more

Potshots: American Gothic

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.
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Settling our brains for a winter's nap

We here at Watershed Post HQ will be taking today and the weekend off to celebrate the holidays. If there's any big news, however, we'll be on it -- let us know about stories we need to cover over the Christmas weekend by commenting on this post or emailing us at editor@watershedpost.com.

If there are no floods, blizzards, fires or crazy new regulations coming out of state or federal government, however, we'll leave you with the above photo of a snowy barn in Walton, taken by Watershed Post reader and Flickr group member Relles9.

Happy holidays!

Roxbury Motel: Now twice as shagadelic

Warp drive: In the Roxbury Motel's new Final Frontier suite, a "window" peers into a skyful of shooting stars.

After months of hammering, sheetrocking, tiling and mood-lighting, the mighty fortress of fabulosity overlooking the East Branch in Roxbury is finally complete. Last week, Roxbury Motel owners Greg Henderson and Joseph Massa announced the official opening of the motel's new 8,000-square-foot North Wing, which will double the motel's capacity.

True to the Roxbury's essential mission of grooviness, the new wing is as camp as ever -- there's a Charlie's Angels-inspired room called Angel Hair, and a Wizard of Oz room with its very own yellow brick road. But for all its winking pop-culture references, the new wing is pretty luxurious, too: it's a glittering palace of mosaic-tile bathrooms, giant soaking tubs and flat-screen TVs. (There's a whole new spa in the North Wing, too.) To quote the press release:  Read more

Mike Hein feels Phoenicia's pain

Ulster County executive Mike Hein visited Phoenicia's Main Street yesterday afternoon, to discuss the county's response to the village's increasingly dire flood problems. Hein, who promised the county's support for the town of Shandaken in an application for permits to do emergency dredging in the Stony Clove, assured Phoenicians that he felt their pain:

I remember coming across that road and seeing the fish right where we stand. It's unacceptable. Every time there's a flood like that, it does incredible damage. But it does much more damage than just what it does to bricks and mortar. It does damage to the psyche of the people that live here, because it makes them feel they don't matter. It matters to me.

Thanks to Watershed Post contributor Claudia Fragnito, here's a video of Hein's press conference in front of Sweet Sue's.  Read more