911 dispatcher helps Wright family deliver baby at home

A Schoharie County 911 dispatcher guided an expectant father, Rudy de Vries, through the first steps of delivering a baby at home on Wednesday, August 20, after his wife, Amber, went into labor too quickly to make it to the hospital. 

911 dispatcher Becky Brisley took the call, according to a press release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office. 

She "talked to the caller in an attempt to calm him and gave instructions as to what he should do for the expectant mother," the press release states.

When paramedics and first responders from the Gallupville Fire Department, the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, and the Scho-Wright Volunteer Ambulance Squad arrived on the scene, a residence on Route 443, they decided that the delivery of a baby girl was imminent and that there was no time to make it to the hospital.

Everything went well, and the child, named Ava, was born at 12:51 a.m. on Wednesday. She is 8 lbs. 2 oz. and 19” long.

The mother and baby were checked out at Bellevue Hospital in Niskayuna by Scho-Wright Ambulance, and are both doing well, according to the press release. 

Ulster County legislators vote for trail over rail

Above: Catskill Mountain Railroad equipment repairing a portion of the track on the old Delaware & Ulster corridor last week. Photo by John Marino and posted on the CMRR's Facebook page.

In the long-running battle of rails versus trails in Ulster County, the trails just won big. 

In an 18 to 4 vote, the Ulster County Legislature passed Resolution 275 on Tuesday, August 19, supporting the conversion of an old Ulster & Delaware railroad right-of-way between Kingston and Boiceville into a hiking, walking and biking trail.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR), which runs a tourist railroad on the rail corridor and holds a lease on the right-of-way that expires in 2016, has been lobbying hard to keep railroad tracks running all the way from Kingston to the town of Shandaken at the other end of the county.  Read more

Local Sufis open new restaurant in Franklin

Above: Turkish cookies with a cinnamon apple filling at the Tulip and the Rose Café. Photos by Janel Bladow.

A new restaurant that serves an eclectic mix of Turkish specialities and American diner classics is bringing together a Sufi Muslim community and its rural Catskills neighbors.

“More and more we are seeing less and less prejudice,” said café manager Erdem Kahyaoglu. “We want to share – our spiritual lessons and our bread. There’s a Sufi saying, ‘Come, come, whoever you are.’ And we have a sign on our door, ‘Welcome to those who come. Farewell to those who leave.’ So come.”

The Tulip and the Rose Café opened on July 5 in the Delaware County town of Franklin. It is owned and operated by the Osmanli Naksibendi Dergahi, a spiritual retreat center founded by Sufi Muslims that opened in the neighboring town of Sidney 12 years ago. The Sufi center was thrust into the national spotlight four years ago when the town tried to close a cemetery located on its property.  Read more

Downed wire cuts power to thousands in Greene County

About 13,250 Central Hudson customers in Greene and Albany counties were left in the dark late Monday night, after a downed wire cut power to a large area. 

The outage occurred around 9:30 pm on Monday night, and was restored by around 1 am Tuesday, according to Central Hudson spokesperson Denise VanBuren. 

The outages are still under investigation, VanBuren said, but the problem was traced to a phase wire that came down on Paul Saxe Road in Catskill, impacting several substations. 

As of 10:30 pm on Monday, according to Central Hudson's outage map, power was out in most of the households in Cairo, Durham, Greenville, New Baltimore and Tannersville, and parts of Athens, Catskill, Coxsackie and Hunter. 

Three-year-old dies in bungalow colony fire

See video

Above: A video of the blaze that killed a three-year-old boy in Liberty on Sunday, August 17. Source: Vos Iz Neias News

A three-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy from Brooklyn died in a fire in a Liberty bungalow colony last night, according to the New York State Police.

First responders arrived at Camp Mareh Yechezkel on Route 55 in Liberty around 10:15 p.m. on Sunday, August 17 to find a burning bungalow and reports that a child was trapped inside, according to the State Police press release:   Read more

Windham was home to Nazi summer camp in 1937

Above: A screen shot from "Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A." The flag on the left features a swastika.

See video

Above: "Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A.," a film by the Deutsche-Amerikanische Berufsgemeinschaft (DAB) about a DAB Nazi summer camp for boys in Windham in 1937. 

In the summer of 1937, the Greene County town of Windham was home to a Nazi summer camp, according to archival film footage released by the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab in July.

The film, titled "Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A.," depicts scores of boys from New York City setting up a summer campsite in a bucolic field in Windham. They exercise, play games, and salute flags emblazoned with Nazi swatiskas and Hitler Youth lightning bolts.

The camp was part of a series of summer camps run in the U.S. in the 1930s by the Deutsche-Amerikanische Berufsgemeinschaft (DAB), a U.S.-based group that promoted Germany and the Nazi party in America, according to the National Archives.  Read more

Flaming sky lanterns cause trouble for neighbors

Above: A sky lantern, a paper-and-bamboo balloon with a wax fuel source at the bottom, being released in England in 2010. Photo by Flickr user Keith Williamson

Revelers at summer gatherings in the Catskills are sending flaming airborne balloons over their neighbors, some of whom aren't happy about it. 

The spent remains of the pretty tissue-paper lanterns, which are lit and then released into the air on still summer nights, have been raining down on Cobleskill resident Fred Dudash's home this summer, according to the Schoharie Times-Journal:  Read more

This Weekend: The Monticello Bagel Festival

Above: State assembly member Aileen Gunther poses with an American flag made out of bagels made by the Monticello Bagel Bakery. Photo via the Monticello Bagel Bakery's Facebook page

Head to the self-proclaimed "Bagel Capital" -- the village of Monticello -- this Sunday for the Monticello Bagel Festival, now triumphantly in its second year. (What makes Sullivan County the bagel capital? It's got a decent case for it, as we discovered last year.) 

Festival organizers have moved the festival from Saturday -- the Jewish sabbath -- to Sunday, and have a huge line-up of bagel-themed events, including live music, a parade, street vendors, a "bagel triathlon," a bagel tasting event, and a bunch of couples saying their wedding vows amid the bagel festivities. (We have to know -- are they putting tiny bagel rings on each others' fingers?)    Read more

A bad week for Monticello officials

See video

Above: Video footage of Monticello mayor Gordon Jenkins ranting and throwing a clock while in a booking room on a drunk driving arrest in November 2013. (Be warned, there's a lot of profanity.)

The Sullivan County village of Monticello has a reputation for troubled government officials, but this week may take the cake.

On Tuesday, August 12, the village's acting village manager, Ray Nargizian, was fired during an emergency village board meeting.

Last night, Wednesday, August 13, Monticello mayor Gordon Jenkins pled guilty to a drunk driving charge from November 2013.  Read more

Amid investigation, Prattsville's father-and-daughter court team resigned

Above: Campaign photos for Robert Blain and Michelle Blain. Source: The Town of Prattsville Republican Party Facebook page.

Robert J. Blain, who had served as a justice of the Town of Prattsville Court since 1987, resigned abruptly in June, as did his daughter, MIchelle Blain, who had been the court's clerk since 2004. The pair had run for re-election and won in November.   Read more