Accused Schoharie County flasher arrested

A 61-year-old man was arrested on Friday, September 5 for allegedly exposing himself to dozens of drivers on Route 20 in the Schoharie County town of Carlisle this summer.

Left: Douglas A. Spaulding. Photo courtsey of the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office. 

Douglas A. Spaulding, who lives in Cobleskill, was charged with 32 counts of public lewdness for flashing motorists "during early morning hours" between May and August 2014, according to a Schoharie County Sheriff's Office press release.

Spaulding was held on $2,500 bail and appeared in Carlisle Town Court on Wednesday, September 10.

The Schoharie County sheriff's office suspects that many of Spaulding's unwilling audience members have not come forward, and are asking victims to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 518-295-8114 or the State Police at 518-234-3131.

Developer files $25 million lawsuit against Bloomingburg for "conspiracy" against Hasidic Jews

Above: A 20-foot-tall wooden cross next to a housing development in the Sullivan County village of Bloomingburg in 2014. In a federal lawsuit filed on September 8, lawyers for the developer write that the cross was installed to "demonstrate that Jewish persons are not welcome in Bloomingburg." Image from court documents.

On Monday, September 8, a group of plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit accusing the town of Mamakating and the village of Bloomingburg of engaging in "pervasive, government-sponsored religious discrimination" against Hasidic Jews.

The plaintiffs ask the US District Court's Southern District of New York to prevent the village of Bloomingburg from voting to dissolve itself on September 30. They also ask for $25 million in damages.   Read more

Hunter man admits to robbing two Ulster County banks

Collin Lambert, a 49-year-old from Hunter, pled guilty in Ulster County Court on Tuesday, September 9 to robbing banks in New Paltz and Saugerties in 2013, according to a press release from Holley Carnright, the Ulster County District Attorney. 

Left: Collin Lambert. Photo via the Ulster County DA's office. 

Lambert admitted to robbing Key Bank on Market Street in Saugerties on January 11, 2013, and to robbing Chase Bank on Plattekill Avenue in New Paltz on April 2, 2013.

Lambert robbed both banks by displaying a note saying that he had a gun, according to an article in the Saugerties Times last year.   Read more

Primary elections today

Above: A voting booth in Margaretville in May 2013. Photo by Julia Reischel.

It's an election year, and today is the day to vote in the primaries. 

The biggest race in the primary is on the Democratic ticket, where underdog candidate Zephyr Teachout is challenging New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Teachout is attacking Cuomo from the left by comparing his fiscal policies to those of Ronald Reagan.  Cuomo is doing his best to ignore Teachout's campaign entirely. (Literally. During a Labor Day parade in Manhattan, Cuomo managed to ignore Teachout as she stood directly in front of him.

Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu, is running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor against Kathy Hochul, Cuomo's running mate. The race is its own separate primary, and if Wu wins, he could find himself in the odd position of being Cuomo's running mate in the general election.

As for local Catskills races, there are a few worth noting. 

Left: Bryan Babcock. Photo via Babcock's campaign. 

The Delaware County town of Franklin is holding a Republican primary for a town council seat. Bryan Babcock, the owner of Handsome Brook Farm and Bed & Breakfast who is also a professor at Hartwick College, is vying with Lisa Huyck and Donald Smith for one of two seats on the board. Babcock has criticized the town board for not implementing a comprehensive plan for Franklin.

"With several major infrastructure projects on the horizon in Delaware County," Babcock said in a press release. "it is essential that we protect our roads and utilities. To do this we need to be proactive as a Town Board. I feel that my experience as a business leader will help the Board be even more effective for Franklin residents."

In the Ulster county towns of Hardenburgh and Denning, the Sullivan County town of Neversink, and the Delaware County towns of Andes, Bovina, Davenport, Delhi, Hamden and Meredith, there is a Republican primary race for the 101st State Assembly District, which features a contest between Claudia Tenney and Chris Farber.  According to the Daily Star, the outcome of the primary doesn't matter -- both Tenny and Farber will make it to the ballot in November. 

  Read more

Moose spotted in Fleischmanns

See video

Cassie Merwin sent us this video of what appears to be a moose walking on Main Street in the Delaware County village of Fleischmanns on Monday, September 8. 

It's unusual to spot a moose in the Catskills; you expect them in Maine, Canada, and on the tundra.

But moose do range in New York state -- mostly in the Adirondacks or along the borders of Vermont and Massachusetts, according to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. The fall is their most active season, when bulls and cows mate. Perhaps this Fleischmanns moose is on the move and looking for love. 

3:30 p.m. update: Michael DiBenedetto has sent us photos of moose tracks left by the Fleischmanns moose. Check them out, below. 

Route 42 closed again for rock removal

The New York State Department of Transportation has closed Route 42 in Greene County's Halcott Mountain Pass for a few days this week to remove the remains of a rockslide that cut across the road in May.

Beginning today, Monday, September 8, Route 42 in the town of Lexington will be closed from "just south of Beech Ridge Road to a point approximately four miles north of Route 28," according to a DOT press release. Drivers will be re-routed from Route 23A to Route 214 to Route 28.

The road is expected to be closed for the entire week.

Developer backs away from plan to turn Narrowsburg school into drug rehab center

A developer who bought the former Narrowsburg school and planned to turn it into a drug rehabilitation center has agreed to back away from the project.

At a meeting on Thursday, September 4, the Sullivan West School District voted unanimously to allow the developer, Joan Buto, to transfer her right to buy the building to rival developers Brendan and Kathy Weiden. The Weidens had offered their own higher bid on the school back in June, and had planned to turn it into a multi-use facility.

In a letter issued by the Weidens on Thursday, the couple wrote that Buto's decision to abandon the project was voluntary.

"Ms. Buto acted of her own accord in offering to assign her contract rights to us," they wrote. "We ask that you join us in thanking Ms. Buto for her generous act."

The Times Herald-Record has a great recap of the meeting.   Read more

Cuomo gives millions in state aid for Sullivan County flooding

Above: Main Street/Route 52 in Jeffersonville at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2. Photo by Tiffany Karen Denier.

On July 2, floodwaters stood two feet deep on Main Street in the Sullivan County village of Jeffersonville. Other spots in the towns of Callicoon and Delaware, including the Villa Roma Resort, were also inundated by flash flooding.

But the amount of damage -- particularly to the Jeffersonville sewer system -- wasn't enough to trigger an infusion of federal disaster aid. So Cuomo appropriated $2.8 million from a state emergency fund to cover the damage instead, he announced on September 3.

"The State support will help cover the public costs of the County’s cleanup effort as well as make infrastructure improvements to prevent future flooding along NYS Route 52," according to a press release issued by the governor's office this week.

Cuomo is running for re-election, so the announcement included lavish praise from many Sullivan County officials.  Read more

Police: Margaretville woman was "significant" cocaine trafficker

A 66-year-old Margaretville woman who was allegedly dealing large amounts of cocaine out of her house has been arrested by Delaware County police, and is facing multiple felony drug trafficking charges. 

Delaware County sheriff's deputies arrested Diana LeDuc on Thursday, Sept. 4, after a search of her West Hubbell Hill Road home turned up a half-ounce of cocaine, two handguns and two high-capacity magazines. Police also found $500 cash and a public assistance benefit card in LeDuc's name. 

The search followed several weeks of investigation into the sale of cocaine from LeDuc's house, carried out by Delaware County sheriff's deputies and Village of Walton police. 

Police say that during the recent investigation, LeDuc sold large amounts of cocaine on three occasions. On one occasion, police say, LeDuc sold more than a half-ounce of cocaine, leading to a charge of second-degree sale of a controlled substance, a Class A-II felony. If convicted, she will face up to ten years in prison for this charge.  Read more

Meet Phoenicia's new outdoor store, the Catskill Mountain Storehouse

Tim Luby, Jess Fritscher and Muppet celebrate the opening of the Catskill Mountain Storehouse. Photos courtesy of Tim Luby.

For Tim Luby and Jess Fritscher, a pair of avid hikers with a longstanding love for the trails and hollows of the Catskills, visiting just wasn't enough. 

"We were driving back from one of our many trips to the Catskills," Luby said. "I kind of blurted out, 'They need an outdoor store here.'"

That was just six months ago. Since then, Luby and Fritscher, a couple of young Rockland County residents with day jobs in Manhattan, have wasted no time making their vision a reality. On Friday, August 29 the pair officially launched the Catskill Mountain Storehouse, a lovingly-curated little outdoor store in the heart of Phoenicia's Main Street. 

The couple (they're engaged to be married) has been coming to the Catskills almost every weekend since they met, Luby said.

"I feel like the Catskills is the backdrop of our relationship, and how we've grown together," he said. 

What that glorious backdrop needed was a few more props, Luby decided. Specifically, a place in the central Catskills where a weekend hiker could pick up a few extra tent poles.  Read more