Agloe, the Catskills town that doesn't exist

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Top: Screenshot of the former Agloe General Store, from a video by YouTube user and John Green fan ObviouslyBenHughes, who visited Agloe in 2010. Above: The full video. 

A Catskills town called Agloe is famous this week for the fact that it doesn't exist. 

The hamlet of Agloe, an imaginary place located at an rural empty intersection in Delaware County, was made up in 1937 by two mapmakers as a "copyright trap" designed to unmask competiting mapmakers who couldn't bother to do their own cartography research. 

Agloe's exact location is at the intersection of Route 206 and Morton Hill Road (some say it's Beaver Kill Road) just north of Roscoe over the line in the Delaware County town of Colchester.   Read more

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Next up: April showers

Photo by Lissa Harris.

Snow flurries heralded the first day of spring in the upper altitudes of the Catskills today, and there's a chance for more snow showers on Friday. But on Margaretville's Main Street, snowdrops blooming in front of the village hall serve as a reminder that spring is just around the corner -- even if it doesn't feel like it. 

Man jumps to safety from blaze in Stamford

A fast-moving fire destroyed a house on River Street in the village of Stamford last night, forcing a man, Nick Mattice, to jump to safety from the second floor of the structure before first responders arrived at the scene.

No injuries were reported, but the two-story wood frame residence is a total loss, according to Don Van Etten, the first assistant fire chief of the Stamford Fire Department.

The fire began around 7:50 p.m. on March 18, 2014 and blazed for hours before being extinguished by the combined efforts of four fire departments.

A family of four lived in the house, according to Van Etten, who asked that they not be identified. The family was later identified as Rose and Charles Mattice and their children, Nick and Sarah, by the Mountain Eagle. They are currently being helped by the Red Cross.  Read more

Constitution Pipeline to bring natural gas service to towns along route

Above:  A map of potential natural gas service areas near the Constitution Pipeline, issued at yesterday's press conference. 

In an attempt to build support for their proposed 124-mile natural gas pipeline, Constitution Pipeline officials announced yesterday that they will work with local utilities to deliver natural gas to businesses and residences in four locations along the pipeline.

The announcement is the latest twist in a fractious debate over natural gas within the town of Sidney, where an attempt to ban natural gas drilling was struck down by a state judge in January.  Read more

Tello's Green Farms owner arrested after chickens found dead

For over a decade, Tello's Green Farms has been a well-known producer on the Catskills local food scene, and a beloved vendor at the New York City Greenmarket. Customers rave about Tello's eggs; restaurant chefs wax rhapsodic about their marigold-orange yolks.

The egg farm, started by Colombian native Nestor Tello in 2000, is home to several thousand chickens who forage on pasture in large open-air coops. Tello farms in Coxsackie and Red Hook. Last September, a writer from the food blog Nona Brooklyn visiting Tello's Coxsackie farm found his chickens happily pecking at grass and scratching for bugs -- an experience most commercial egg-laying hens never get.

But when state police showed up at Tello's farm on Route 9W in Coxsackie on March 9, they found a very different scene: A farm littered with dead and starving chickens. 

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New Paltz man arrested for break-in at Woodstock home

Police responding to a burglar alarm at a Woodstock home on Saturday found a New Paltz man hiding in the attic, according to a news release from state troopers

The man, 44-year-old David Weisner, was arrested on Saturday, March 15 and charged with second-degree burglary, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Police say Weisner got into the house by breaking a rear window with a large rock. 

Weisner was arraigned in Ulster town court and remanded to the Ulster County Jail. 

Responding to the scene of the burglary were officers from the New York State Police, the Town of Woodstock Police Department and the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. 

Maple Weekend on tap: March 22-23 and 29-30

Above: Old-fashioned aprons hang in a Main Street window in Fleischmanns for the annual Maple Bake Off. Photo courtesy of Fleischmanns First.

The sights, sounds and smells of sap boiling in the sugarhouse mean that sweetness, like springtime, is just around the corner.

Syrupmaking is about as historic and local and hands-on as food production ges -- and nothing beats that flavor. Shake off the late-winter blahs and come celebrate Maple Weekend -- actually two weekends of open houses -- in the sugar shacks of the Catskills. Listed below are events that are within the Watershed Post's coverage area; a statewide list of all 146 locations can be found at mapleweekend.com.

Unless otherwise specified, the syrup-crafters listed below will be welcoming company on all four days of Maple Weekend: March 22-23, and March 29-30. Many visits and tours are free; there may be additional charges for breakfasts, pony rides, and other treats.  Read more

DEP: Trolling motors limited to Cannonsville for 2014

Above: A view of New York City's Cannonsville Reservoir in late spring. Photo by Flickr user kmitschke; published under Creative Commons license.

A sound that won't be heard on most of New York City's reservoirs this summer: The whir of electric trolling motors.   Read more

The green, green hills of Windham

At Windham Mountain, even the slopes were clad in St. Patrick's Day green over the weekend. There was plenty of snow on Saturday for Windham's "Irish I Was Skiing/Riding Festival," which featured live music and a skiing leprechaun.

Pictured above: Johan Hedlund, Peter Jenko, Michael Gallo and Stephen Brown of the Windham Mountain Ski Patrol. Photo from Windham Mountain's Facebook page.

Catskills villages head for the polls March 18

Illustration by Flickr user Adreson Vita Sá; published under Creative Commons license.

'Tis the season for green beer -- and rural voting. The day after St. Patrick's Day, New York State's littlest municipalities head for the polls to pick their elected officials.

Most of New York State's villages will hold elections on Tuesday, March 18, although a few opt to hold them at the same time as local elections in November, or at another time in the year. 

In the Catskills, most village elections are a sleepy affair, with few contested races. A couple of local villages this year have open posts for which no one is running, leaving the race wide open to write-in candidates. 

On the other hand, this year's election showdown between incumbents and Rural Heritage challengers in the Sullivan County village of Bloomingburg promises to generate more than enough drama for the whole region. Early Thursday morning, FBI agents swarmed the village, targeting properties owned by controversial developer Shalom Lamm, who recently bought several buildings and has apparently filled them with newly registered voters. If the FBI finds evidence of corruption in Bloomingburg, Lamm's apparent effort to sway election results in the tiny village of just over 400 residents could backfire. 

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