New manager at the helm of WJFF

Above: WJFF's Adam Weinreich, recently promoted to station manager. Photo courtesy of WJFF. 

Public radio may sound genteel, but it can generate some fierce drama. Last year, WJFF, Jeffersonville's independent community FM radio station, was the epicenter of a painful controversy, when station volunteers and community members lashed out at WJFF management after the abrupt cancellation of a beloved local program

In the uproar, eight of the station's nine board members resigned last April, along with station manager Winston Clark. To keep things running, the station appointed assistant manager Adam Weinreich to serve as interim manager. Weinreich had been assistant manager at the station since 2009.  Read more

Alleged Delhi Express Mart burglar flees -- but not far

A Hobart man who allegedly robbed the Express Mart convenience store in Delhi in the wee hours of Friday morning didn't get too far from the scene of the crime before his arrest. 

At 4:12 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, a man stole cash from the register at the Express Mart, at the corner of Kingston and Main Streets in the village, and then fled the scene in a vehicle. He was unarmed, police said.

"He went to purchase an item. When [the cashier] opened the register, he pushed her out of the way, took the cash and ran off," said Delhi Village Police Chief Michael Mills. 

As Delhi police were responding to a 911 call, state troopers from the Margaretville station heard the incident over the radio and began patrolling for the suspect's vehicle. At 4:36 a.m., the troopers stopped a vehicle traveling on County Road 18 in the town of Stamford, and arrested the driver: 41-year-old Jamel Wilson of Hobart.

The proceeds from the burglary were in the vehicle. Police say Wilson was found to be under the influence of a controlled substance.  Read more

Saugerties' Sauer Bridge closed through the end of the year

Above: A Google StreetView image of the Sauer Bridge in Saugerties.

The Sauer Bridge on the Glasco Turnpike, built on 1962 over the Esopus Creek in Saugerties, has been due for an upgrade for some time. But last Saturday, the Sauer situation got a lot more urgent, when a manhole-sized chunk of the bridge's surface fell through, forcing the immediate closure of the bridge. 

Drivers in the area are going to be waiting a long time for the bridge to reopen, Ulster County announced Friday. The bridge is being taken out of commission until full repairs can be made -- an eight-month process that can't start until the arrival of spring weather.   Read more

A side of maple syrup, please

Above: Photo by Bob Roney, courtesy of Willderhook Maple, Middleburgh.

Move over, Vermont: New York State produces almost a fifth of the nation’s maple syrup, and much of that comes from the Catskills, where dairy farmers looking to make a little extra income often have found it in their sugar bushes.

The mountains are home to many sugarhouses, from large operations with state-of-the-art syrup evaporators that use reverse osmosis to little shacks that still employ the old-fashioned boiling method.

Maple syrup is available all year long, but the tapping season lasts for just a brief few weeks in March, when frosty nights and warm, sunny days kickstart the sap moving. The best way to watch a sugarhouse in action is to visit one during Maple Weekend (actually two consecutive weekends), when special farm visits, syrupmaking demonstrations and pancake breakfasts abound throughout the Catskills. In 2014, the dates are March 22-23 and 29-30; see mapleweekend.com for a full schedule and list of producers.  Read more

Pine Hill Books to close

Above: Chelsea Goodwin (left) and Rusty Mae Moore in Pine Hill Books, which is closing this month. Photo courtesy of Goodwin and Moore.

Pine Hill Books, a used bookstore that opened on Main Street in Pine Hill in 2010, is closing its doors at the end of February, according to owners Rusty Mae Moore and Chelsea Elisabeth Goodwin.

"Business has been declining since the floods of 2011, and it has become impossible to continue to subsidize the store," Moore and Goodwin wrote in a letter to the Watershed Post last week.

The bookstore was unique in the Catskills because of its niche specialties: science fiction, steampunk, fantasy, and horror. In keeping with that theme, Goodwin and Moore founded the Pine Hill Steampunk Festival, which had its second season in 2013. It is unclear if the festival will continue.  Read more

Missing Greenfield Park 13-year-old found (updated)

A 13-year-old girl from the Wawarsing hamlet of Greenfield Park is missing and may be in Kingston, Kingston police announced Thursday.

Shamara Shante Sterling was reported missing by her family on Monday, Feb. 17. She was last seen at a friend's home on Pine Street in Kingston on Sunday. Police say she walked out of her friend's house and did not say where she was going. 

Sterling -- pictured above -- is described as about 5'6" tall, 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a red jacket, red hoodie, black Adidas pants with a white stripe, and sneakers. 

Police say that anyone with information on Sterling's whereabouts should call the Kingston Police Department at 845-331-1671. All calls will be kept confidential.  Read more

Sunrise at the Landis

Flickr user A Man Called ACME was up at dawn on Presidents' Day to capture this view of a sunrise at the Landis Arboretum in Esperance.

Photo taken on February 17, 2014 and shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. Share your cold-weather photos with us via Facebook, our Flickr group, or by old-fashioned email.

Propane explosion leaves six homeless in Stamford

Above: The scene of a propane explosion in the village of Stamford, taken around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Damage can be seen on the side wall of the house on the right, 59 Main Street, where the explosion occurred. Photo by Michael Martin. 

A propane explosion in the village of Stamford left a Main Street house heavily damaged, displaced six residents, and shut down Route 23/Main Street in the area for several hours on Wednesday, Feb. 19. 

The Stamford Fire Department got a call at 11:46 a.m. about an explosion at 59 Main Street, first assistant fire chief Don Van Etten told the Watershed Post. When the firefighters arrived a few minutes later, smoke was billowing from the house.

Two of the building's six tenants were home at the time of the explosion, Van Etten said. There were no injuries. 

"Two tenants advised me that the building had a major explosion," he said. "There was a minimal amount of fire. We had the fire knocked down very quickly. It was more the damage -- two exterior walls were blown right off the foundation."   Read more

New Jersey couple sues Mohonk over norovirus outbreak

In the last few weeks, the owners and staff of the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz have weathered the outbreak of a nasty gastrointestinal virus, a week-long closure, the stem-to-stern disinfection of the entire resort by a 200-person cleaning crew, and even a rude Twitter hashtag

This week, Mohonk faces another setback: A lawsuit filed by two New Jersey residents who claim Mohonk management knew a norovirus was spreading around the resort, and did not warn incoming guests to stay away.

The plaintiffs in the suit are Louis and Anna Marie Bellotti of Fort Lee, New Jersey, the Daily Freeman reports  Read more

"Quick burst" of snow to hit Catskills this afternoon

See video

Above: Snow falling thick and fast at 11:40 a.m. in Margaretville at the WP HQ. 

This winter isn't over yet. The National Weather Service in Albany is predicting that a "quick burst" of 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall in the eastern Catskills this afternoon -- specifically in Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties. The snowfall rate will be heavy -- about an inch per hour.

It has already started snowing that hard in Margaretville. See our video above.

The precipitation may become freezing rain as the temperatures rise just above 32 degrees, according to Hudson Valley Weather:  Read more