Ashokan fountain shut down for upgrades

Above: The fountain at the Ashokan reservoir which will be temporarily closed until mid-August. Photo courtesy of DEP.

A popular spot for graduation photos won’t be camera-ready this weekend, or for most of the summer, while its underground hardware receives a make-over. 

The fountain at the Ashokan Reservoir will be shut off while the hydropower equipment beneath it is upgraded, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today. 

The DEP said the shutdown was needed while the New York Power Authority (NYPA) "updates the control mechanisms on the the two hydropower turbine units."  Installed in 1982, these units produce 4,700 kilowatts of electrical power for surrounding electrical grids. 

While work is being done underground, the 5-acre park area surrounding the fountain will stay open. However, a fence has been installed around immediate work area and warning signs have been posted.

The fountain should be up and running again around Aug. 15, the DEP said. 


Sharon Springs teen arrested on burglary charges

State Police from Cobleskill arrested a 14-year-old Sharon Springs resident in connection with an April burglary.

According to Police, the teen broke into the Eclipse Overhead Door store, a garage door company on State Route 10 in Sharon Springs, and once inside, proceeded to steal an item and smash several windows.

Windows of three vehicles outside the store were also broken.

Police said after they processed evidence and conducted interviews, the teenager was charged with one count of burglary in the third degree and two counts of criminal mischief in he third degree, all felonies.

The suspect will answer charges in the Schoharie County Family Court due the person’s age, police said.

Sullivan County passes resolution against SAFE Act

Sullivan County legislators passed a resolution protesting the New York Secure Ammunition Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act last week, according to the Times Herald-Record.

State departments that oversee enforcement of the SAFE Act had said “they plan[ned] to use the seals and insignias of counties on their website and on recertification notices to pistol-permit holders,” according to Times Herald-Record reporter Steve Israel.

But last week, Sullivan County legislators voted 8-0 to not allow the county seal to be used.

This resolution, introduced by Legislator Gene Benson, was one of many passed against the SAFE Act in New York counties since it was signed into law in January of 2013.

The SAFE Act bans high-capacity magazines, the sale of various semi-automatic firearms and requires that those who already own them to have them registered with authorities.  Read more

This Weekend: The 2014 Upper Delaware BioBlitz

Above: The photo awarded "Best in Show" in the 2014 Upper BioBlitz Photo Contest, "Head in Clouds" by Todd Anderson. Photo courtesy of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County.

Winners of the Upper Delaware BioBlitz photo contest will be recognized on Sunday at the Ten Mile River Camp in Tusten as part of the weekend-long event celebrating the biodiversity of the Upper Delaware watershed.

Out of a pool of 300 submitted photos, the judges selected 25 winners in landscape, people, art, plants and various animal categories — which they had to subdivide even further to include more winners. 

The “Best in Show” winner was Todd Anderson’s photo “Head in Clouds,” a scene depicting a Tusten sunset in a watery reflection.

Anderson’s prize is a Canon Powershot ELPH digital camera and a framed 11x14 print of his photograph. The other first place winners will also receive framed 8.5 x 11 prints of their pictures.

In addition to the awards, attendees of the BioBlitz can check out specimens from the area, meet various scientists and tour the Ten Mile River Camp site to find out more about the different species on the property.  Read more

Celebrate Catskills Family Creameries July 4th

Farmer Shannon Mason with Xenia, a 9-year-old member of the Jersey herd that supplies milk for Cowbella's butter, yogurt and kefir. Photos by Jennifer Strom.

For Catskills dairy farmer Shannon Mason, it all comes down to controlling her own—and her family’s--destiny.

Putting the fruits of her labor on a milk truck every two days meant surrendering to the economic realities of the commercial market, with its fluctuating prices and other forces beyond the producers’ control. That’s why Mason, a member of the sixth generation of Jefferson’s Danforth Jersey Farm, launched Cowbella Dairy Products back in 2010.

Left: Cowbella’s milk and kefir are now available at local stores, along with yogurt and butter.

“We wanted to get to the point where we’re controlling the outcome, and not so reliant on market prices,” Mason said one day this spring, showing off her brand-new production facility. In mid-May, Cowbella began processing and bottling 150 half-gallons of whole and skim milk a week, along with about 400 12-ounce bottles of kefir in four flavors: plain, maple, strawberry and vanilla. Since they began arriving on shelves in farm markets like Barber’s in Middleburgh and stores like Good Cheap Food in Delhi, the milk and kefir have regularly sold out, Mason said. Cowbella also makes butter and yogurt, which sell at bigger retailers like Price Chopper and Hannaford. Mason plans to market the new products there as well, and is already fielding orders from NYC shops for the kefir, she said.  

Mason is just one of a group of seven local dairy farmers using creative thinking and good old-fashioned elbow grease to bust out of the old milk-truck model. By bottling and selling their own milk and crafting value-added products like yogurt, cheese and gelato in small batches, the members of the Catskills Family Creameries have made huge strides since they first banded together in 2013.

  Read more

This Weekend: Bounty of the County raises funds for Schoharie flood relief

Above: Photos from last year's Bounty of the County fundraiser.

The Schoharie Valley, at the northern edge of the Catskills, is still recovering from the ravages of Tropical Storm Irene, which submerged the valley and its fertile farmland in 2011. Out of that disaster sprang Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery, known as SALT, a nonprofit that funds disaster recovery, often by directly helping out flood victims themselves. 

SALT throws a two-day foodie event called Bounty of the County in June to raise flood relief funds. This year, the Bounty of the County features cocktails with Sharon Springs' own Fabulous Beekman Boys, a four-course dinner prepared by Las Vegas chef (and Middleburgh native) Nicole Brisson, and a country brunch and farmers' market.

The Watershed Post is proud to be one of Bounty in the County's sponsors. Check out the full press release about the event below, and consider chipping in to eat, drink, make merry, and help out with flood relief. 

Bounty of the County, benefit for SALT Recovery. Saturday, June 28, 5:30 p.m. The Carrot Barn, Route 30, Schoharie. To buy tickets, click here or call 518-702-5017. More info at 

Read the full press release below:   Read more

Cycling the Catskills: From steep trails to smooth sails

A cyclist takes a break for the panoramic view from Castle Point on the Shawangunk Ridge, at the southeastern edge of the Catskills. Photo courtesy of Riding the Catskills (

Climb up and over the rocky Shawangunk Ridge to a spectacular vista overlooking the Hudson Valley. Meander along hundreds of miles of carriage lanes and trails through the Mohonk Preserve. Ride through rolling pastureland on 19th- century dirt roads, lined by mossy stone walls and shaded by tunnels of overarching trees. Travel winding country roads for hours without seeing more cars than you can count on your fingers.

The Catskill Mountains were made for cycling. And if you’re not here already, they’re easier to get to than you might think. From New York City, in less than two hours by car, you can leave urban sprawl far behind and discover a cycling utopia. You don’t even need a car to get here: Bring your bike on a scenic 90-minute Metro-North train up the majestic Hudson River to Poughkeepsie, cycle across the Walkway Over the Hudson, and you’re practically in the Catskills.  Read more

Narrowsburg school purchased to become a rehab center

Above: The Narrowsburg School building is located in the center of town in Tusten. A screenshot of the street view via Google Maps.

The Narrowsburg School building, vacant since 2005, has been sold to a developer who plans to turn it into a drug rehabilitation center. The school is the latest in a series of Catskills schools that have been shuttered and repurposed because of declining student enrollment.

Following an executive session at Sullivan West Board of Education meeting on Thursday, River Reporter’s Linda Drollinger reports that the school board chose to accept one of the two purchase offers on the table for the building — the $751,000 offer from Joan Buto to convert the building into a rehab center. 

Drollinger writes that several board members “apologetically defended the board’s decision [to go with Buto’s bid], insisting that state law clearly dictates that the board’s first responsibility must be to maintain the district’s fiduciary responsibility.”   Read more

This weekend: historians recount the Fenian raids

Above: Historians in Fenian uniforms from an event last fall. Photo courtesy of Sam Levitt.

For those who have never heard of the Fenian Raids, a piece of little known Irish history, they will be recounted this weekend at the Old Stone Fort Museum Complex in Schoharie.

The Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish republic organization in North America held attacks on British Army forts in Canada between 1865 and 1870 to protest the British control of Ireland.

The following scenario will be presented at the event:

Historians, portraying civil war veterans will meet, in what is supposed to be 1865, to discuss the Fenian Brotherhood and their split from Irish leaders in Dublin.

Volunteer and event organizer Sam Levitt said this scene is a pivotal moment in the history of the Fenian Brotherhood.

“Not only did this weaken their effectiveness, which would diminish by the year until only the most die-hard were left,” Levitt said. “But it also marks a significant beginning of when Irish Americans began to view themselves separately from the country of their heritage or birth”  Read more

Ellenville man arrested for assaulting an infant

An Ellenville man was jailed after recklessly assaulting an infant, police say, leaving the child with a skull fracture and other injuries.

Thierry A. Owens, 21, was arrested on Wednesday and faces two felony counts of reckless assault of a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. 

Police say the child was first brought to Ellenville Regional Hospital and was later transported to the Albany Medical Center’s Pediatric Care Unit for further treatment. The investigation will continue through the Ulster County District Attourney’s Special Victims Bureau. 

Owens was remanded to the Ulster County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 secured bond.