Zephyr: Farm-to-table dining breezes into Pine Hill

Above: Zephyr's signature breakfast dish, the Carrot (Pan)Cake Stack. Three large carrot cake batter pancakes, frosted with cream cheese and festooned with candied pecans. Photo by Janel Bladow.

It took Michael and Amelia Hegeman eight years to find the perfect spot to open Zephyr, their new farm-to-table restaurant. The first time the couple set eyes on the 100-year-old building in the Ulster County hamlet of Pine Hill that is now Zephyr's home, they thought, “no way.”

“It had taken a lot of abuse,” said Hegeman, Zephyr's chef and owner.

Left: Michael Hegeman. Via Zephyr's website. 

But, with help from Amelia's family, the Hegemans bought the building in May, renovated it, and opened Zephyr for breakfast and lunch in August. Over Labor Day weekend, they expanded to dinner. Now the restaurant is open Thursday to Monday, serving all three meals.

The new restaurant and its emphasis on local food has been embraced by its mountainside community. Hegeman said that diners return regularly; sometimes, more than once a day.

“We do have people who come in for breakfast and then return that evening for dinner,” he said.

“All from scratch”  Read more

Sharing school services is on the table again in western Catskills

Above: Andes Central School's tiny graduating class of 2014. Photo by Joe Damone of Joe Damone Photography

A long-stalled conversation about sharing school services is being revived at a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22 in the Delaware County village of Margaretville, prompted by the departure of Margaretville Central School's superintendent this fall. 

The meeting, initially intended as a discussion about Margaretville's next superintendent, has become an impromptu regional summit on the painful issue of rising costs and declining enrollment in Catskills schools. Officials from four Catskills school systems in three counties will attend. 

No one in Margaretville has seriously considered sharing services since 2010, when a proposal to share sports teams with the neighboring Andes Central School caused an uproar.   Read more

This Weekend: Zombie Run 5K and Scare Fair

Above: Photo by Daniel Hollister of ThatZombiePhoto.com. 

Everyone knows that you run faster when you're being pursued by ravenous zombies. And there will be zombies galore at the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitor's Center in Blenheim this Saturday to scare 5K runners into performing at their personal best.

The Zombie Run 5K is a fundraiser for the Middleburgh Library--for $25, both runners and zombies are invited to participate. Come in costume or pay $5 extra for on-site zombification.  Read more

Cops arrest six in Sidney narcotics bust; find drugs, cash and $7,000 in pure silver

Photos via the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

A months-long investigation into heroin, cocaine and prescription drug dealing in the Delaware County town of Sidney led to six arrests and the recovery of a trove of cash, drugs and $7,000 in pure silver on Friday, Oct. 17, according to a press release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Police obtained grand jury indictments for five people in the Sidney area, charging them with selling controlled substances in the town and village of Sidney between June and Oct. 2014.

On Friday afternoon, armed with a search warrant and an indictment charging Gabriel V. Bonacci with selling heroin in Sidney on two occasions in July, police raided Bonacci's house on County Highway 23 in the town of Sidney. Bonacci has a prior drug conviction from 1998, according to the press release.  Read more

State trooper not fooled by counterfeit bills in Wal-Mart parking lot

Two SUNY Delhi students were caught while attempting to use counterfeit $10 bills to buy tire rims from an off-duty New York State Police trooper on Thursday, Oct. 16, according to a press release from the New York State Police.

Left: Brian Colon and Nicole Nunez. Photo via the New York State Police. 

Brian Colon, an 18-year-old from the Bronx, and Nicole Nunez, his 18-year-old girlfriend from Manhattan, were reportedly arrested after contacting the off-duty trooper through Craigslist.org, and then meeting him in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Oneonta to finalize the sale.

Colon reportedly paid the trooper $700 for four tire rims with 70 counterfeit $10 bills. Police say that Nunez knowingly possessed several more counterfeit $10 bills.  Read more

Police: Knife-wielding driver held passenger hostage before crashing on Route 28

A 22-year-old Monroe man driving on Route 28 through the Delaware County towns of Bovina and Delhi held his passenger hostage with a knife before she grabbed the wheel and crashed the car on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 16, according to Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond.

Left: James D. Garcia. Photo via the Delaware County Sheriff's Office. 

James D. Garcia and his girlfriend got into a domestic dispute in his car while driving south through Delhi, DuMond saidi. Garcia threatened the woman with a knife as they drove.

The women secretly called 911 on her cell phone, had a short conversation with the dispatcher, and then Garcia threw the phone on the floor of the car in an attempt to end the call. The phone stayed on as the couple drove on, the altercation escalating as they did so.   Read more

Fall blazes in the Schoharie Valley

Photographer Caleb Jacobus took these photographs of the blazing fall colors in the Schoharie Valley this morning, Friday, Oct. 17.

He was hiking on the cliffs in the town of Middleburgh, looking out towards Vroman's Nose and the Catskills. Below, there is a shot of the trail.

Caleb says that the colors of the shots are enhanced slightly by a filter on his camera, but are otherwise unaltered.  Read more

New York Times' "Living City" explores NYC's water supply

Up here in the Catskills, in the heart of New York City's vast rural watershed, it's impossible to forget that one lives in the middle of the city's water supply. The city's huge reservoirs dominate the landscape. Watershed affairs dominate local politics. New York City's watershed police patrol along sleepy back roads a hundred miles from Manhattan.

For most downstate New Yorkers, though, water is just a thing that comes out of the tap. This week, the New York Times introduced its readers to their astonishing water system in "Living City," a video series that explores some of the wonders of urban engineering that make life in our nation's largest city possible.  Read more

Don't tread on me (or my lawn)

Photo by Flickr user Timothy Allen

On Monday, Oct. 13, the citizens of the Delaware County town of Walton rose up in opposition to a proposed law that would have capped the height of grass and weeds in the town to ten inches, according to the Walton Reporter

The proposed amendment was prompted by complaints about one particular house on East River Road.

But at Monday's town council meeting, multiple Walton residents criticized the idea of making rules about tall grass. 

Some used pretty high-flown rhetoric, the Reporter reports:  Read more

Mount Tremper man sentenced for Boiceville bank robbery

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, 54-year-old Nicholas Liakis of Shandaken was sentenced to a lengthy prison term for robbing Community Bank on Route 28 in Boiceville in February.

Left: Nicholas Liakis, in a photo from the Ulster County District Attorney's office. 

According to a press release from Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright, Liakis was described as a “persistent violent felony offender” at the hearing.

Liakis has multiple bank robberies and holdups in New York City and Queens on his record, according to the Daily Freeman  Read more