Grandpa Woodstock arrested; charged with selling marijuana and narcotics

Above: Grandpa Woodstock in happier times. Photo by Flickr user flat-outcrazy.

Woodstock's 70-year-old hippie icon, Grandpa Woodstock, was arrested on Friday, August 8 on charges of selling marijuana and controlled substances out of an apartment at 135 Tinker Street, according to a press release from the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team and the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. 

Left: Allyn M. Richardson's mug shot, courtesy of the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Grandpa Woodstock, whose real name is Allyn M. Richardson, came to the attention of law enforcement after "numerous complaints" by neighbors that he was dealing from his apartment.

After Richardson's apartment was broken into by an armed assailant in June, Ulster County's team of narcotics investigators swung into action, conducting "numerous undercover buy operations."

The narcs closed their net on the septuagenarian this afternoon. Using a search warrant to enter Richardson's apartment, they found marijuana, diverted pharmaceuticals, electronic scales and drug packaging material, according to the press release.   Read more

Two-year-old boy allegedly killed by mother's boyfriend

Above: Toddler Mason Decosmo, in a photo posted on a fundraising website.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of a two-year-old Marlborough boy, according to a press release from the New York State Police

The man, Kenneth M. Stahli (left) of Milton, allegedly abused the boy, Mason L. Decosmo, over the course of several days. Stahli was dating the child's mother, according to the press release. An autopsy detemined that the child died of blunt force trauma. 

After finding the boy unresponsive on Tuesday afternoon, the babysitter called 911, according to the Times Herald-Record. The newspaper reports that the couple had recently moved into the trailer where the child died.   Read more

The Catskills are hot (again)

The cover of August's Hudson Valley Magazine.

Brace yourselves: The Catskills are having their biggest moment since the height of the Borscht Belt resorts in the '50s.

Hudson Valley Magazine has dedicated its entire August issue to the region, declaring that "The Catskills Are Back," and featuring the pool at Phoenicia's The Graham & Co. hotel on its cover.  

[T]he big story of the day is that the Catskills have seemingly overnight transformed from a sleepy, somewhat rundown region to a hip ’n happening hangout for all types of urban culture vultures and — dare we say it — hipsters.

What is this we hear? It seems that every season, at least one new boutique hotel throws open its doors — and more and more city folk flee upstate to the forest. Cultural offerings abound, gastropubs serve up farm-to-table fare, you can even stay in a luxury yurt. Yes, glamping has come to the Catskills.  Read more

Route 23 overpass in Catskill going down to one lane for repairs

The Route 23 bridge above the CSX railroad line between Route 9W and Route 385 in Catskill, Greene County, will be one lane only next week.

The Route 23 bridge in Catskill will be one lane only on Friday and next week as the New York State Department of Transportation resurfaces it, according to a travel advisory issued by the DOT:

Motorists are advised that the New York State Department of Transportation will resurface the Route 23 bridge above the CSX railroad line between Route 9W and Route 385 in Catskill, Greene County, over the next week.

Route 23 will be reduced to a single alternating lane of traffic controlled by flaggers between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday as NYSDOT mills the bridge surface. Paving is scheduled to occur during weekdays of the following week starting Monday, with a similar pattern of traffic controlled by flaggers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Next Week: The Delaware County Fair

Above: The demolition derby at the Delaware County Fair. Photo by Ann Roberti.

The Delaware County Fair, the Catskills' annual bacchanal of butter statuary, demolition derbies, livestock, and country pride, kicks off Monday, August 11, and runs through Saturday, August 16. 

The Delaware County Fair. August 11 - 16. Walton fairgrounds, Fair Street, Walton. Tickets $8. delawarecountyfair.org.

Below: Carriage racing at the 2012 Delaware County Fair. Photo by Ann Roberti. 

A Catskills guide for the outdoor bride

Photo by Castro Photography.

What's the most exciting thing you can do in the great outdoors? Get hitched. Catskills weddings with an outdoorsy twist —in a barn, near a bonfire, on a ski lift or horseback — are on the rise, according to Lydia Castiglia, who runs Catskill Weddings, a wedding and event planning service in Clovesville.

“We've had brides — after they've had a few cocktails after their ceremony — do the zipline at Stone Tavern Farm," she said. “Last year, I had a client do a bounce house at her wedding. One of my brides this year is renting a mechanical bull."

Casper de Boer is the co-owner of the The Roxbury Barn, a 42-acre event venue in Roxbury where couples say their vows in the rolling fields, next to the pond, or in a secluded pine grove, and then party afterwards in the barn or around a bonfire.

At one ceremony by the pond,"the officiant started rapping, and a guy appeared with his electric guitar in the barn door and started this insane electric guitar solo," de Boer says.  Read more

Suspected vandal arrested amidst anger over Hasidic development in Bloomingburg

Above: Bloomingburg in 2008. Photo by Daniel Case, via Wikimedia Commons.

A man has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing a building in the village of Bloomingburg owned by Shalom Lamm, a developer at the center of a heated controversy over a Hasidic housing development in the tiny Sullivan County village. 

The man, 38-year-old Michael Essig (left) of Wurtsboro, was arrested on August 3 on charges of breaking of a large plate glass window at 79 Main St., according to the New York State Police.

The store is a former hardware store owned by Lamm that has been vandalized repeatedly in recent months, according to the Times Herald-Record. Lamm has called the vandalism a "hate crime."   Read more

Tannersville bets big on arts; launches third season of Jazz Factory

Above: Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts at the 2013 Catskill Jazz Factory. Photo courtesy of the 23Arts initiative.

Piers Playfair and his wife Lucy believe that the arts are the key to economic development in the Catskills.

“It’s important we have a strong artistic spine,” Playfair said.

The couple decided to bring renowned jazz musicians to the Catskills two years ago, when they founded the Catskill Jazz Factory -- a series of performances, workshops, and master classes -- in the Greene County hamlet of Tannersville.

The Jazz Factory, which kicks off its 2014 season tomorrow night, was such a success that the Playfairs are making it the highlight of new organization that plans to run year-round arts programming in and around Tannersville.

The new initiative, which launched this summer, is called the 23Arts Initiative (23Ai for short), and is named after Route 23A, which runs through Tannersville.  Read more

This Weekend: Trail maintenance workshop, forest hike and farm tour

Above: The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference's Willowemoc Trail Crew work around Frick Pond in June 2014. Photo via the NYNJC's Facebook page.

It's high season for the Catskills outdoors, and this Saturday there are two hiking events that should get your boots on the trail. 

Learn how to lead a team of volunteers on a trail maintainance hike during a hands-on workshop on Saturday at the Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls in Greene County. From the NYNYC's press release:

The workshop will be led by experienced volunteer trail leaders of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. This free, one-day workshop is a great opportunity to sharpen your leadership skills and learn how to manage volunteers. It is open to anyone interested in learning more about how to lead volunteers on volunteer stewardship activities in the Catskill Park.  Read more

Cyclist heading to Tour of the Catskills ends up in high-speed car chase instead

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Above: Tour of the Catskills racers riding the grueling Devil's Kitchen climb in 2010. 

Cyclists from around the world hit the roads in Greene County over the weekend for the Tour of the Catskills, three days of racing that feature some of the steepest mileage in the northeast.

Not all the contestants made it to the race, however. Herb Jiminez, a cyclist from Montclair, New Jersey, missed the Tour of the Catskills entirely when his car was stolen on Friday, the morning he was setting out for Tannersville.

But Jiminez got his endorphin fix anyway when he spotted the car thieves later that day while driving a newly-acquired rental car, according to Baristanet:

Jimenez reacted immediately, making a crazy U-Turn, then calling 911, all while following his stolen car.

“I stayed close to them for about 10 blocks, making turns into different streets in Montclair while giving the police directions as to where they were turning and heading,” says Jimenez[.]  Read more