Above: Maureen Wacha of Walton, a motel owner, spoke against the Delaware County bed tax at a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Photo by Robert Cairns.
Those who pay for overnight stays at hotels, motels and other lodging establishments in Delaware County will soon pay two percent more.
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors, at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, approved a hotel and motel occupancy tax that will also apply to bed-and-breakfast establishments and rentals of vacation homes.
Proponents of the bed tax law say that the tax will raise $192,000 per year to augment the county's tourism promotion efforts. Currently, the county spends $95,000 annually through its tourism promotion agency, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.
Under the provisions of the law, the tax’s proceeds are dedicated to tourism and will not go into the county's general fund. Read more
The holiday craft season is heating up. This weekend, 65 vendors will flock to the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo in Kingston, and more will appear at markets and bazaars in three other counties. Here's where to shop local for the holidays during the weekend of Nov. 21 and 22.
Fresh-baked pies, locally-raised meats, Catskills-made spirits and wines and much more will be for sale at the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce (GSACC) Holiday Pop-Up Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Stamford. The market has become an annual tradition, and over a dozen vendors will be there to provide a shopping bonanza just before Thanksgiving. Read more
Above: Colchester Supervisor Art Merrill, left, and Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente, both opponents of the proposed Delaware County bed tax, conferred during Wednesday's meeting of the board of Supervisors. Photo by Robert Cairns.
A new version of a proposed Delaware County tax on hotel and motel occupancy was introduced at the Wednesday, Nov. 10 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.
An earlier version of the local law to authorize the two percent tax on overnight stays at lodging establishments was withdrawn last month after supervisors agreed with critics that it unfairly placed the tax on establishments that are already subject to sales tax while allowing casual rentals of rooms and homes to go tax-free.
The new version of the law makes such casual rentals subject to the bed tax by removing language that specified that only establishments that provide maid service or other amenities are taxable.
The change is designed to make the law applicable to rooms booked through services such as AirBnB or advertised on classified ad sites like Craigslist. Read more
Makers, crafters and artisans across the region are gathering at holiday bazaars throughout the Catskills, showcasing locally-made crafts, fine arts and food products that all make great gifts. Here's where to shop local for the holidays during the weekend of Nov. 14 and 15.
Update, Wednesday, Nov. 11: Power was on again in the Delaware County town of Bovina by 9 p.m. on Tuesday night. Power had been restored to all but two Delaware County NYSEG customers as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Nov. 11, according to NYSEG's updated outage map.
That surprised even its author, veteran entertainment journalist and writer Stephen Silverman.
Left: Stephen Silverman. Photo via the Catskill Mountain Foundation.
Telling the story of the Catskills required five years of research and 450 pages. It’s the longest book Silverman had ever written.
“This is 150,000 words,” Silverman said. “You’re talking to somebody who is used to writing 200 words for People Magazine.”
By heft alone, it’s a coffee-table book—a big, glossy hardcover brick stuffed with four centuries of Catskills lore.
It's lavishly illustrated and intended for a mainstream audience that is once again rediscovering the region. (As the book shows, the Catskills have been discovered and re-discovered roughly every 50 years since the 17th century.)
There’s the well-known history, like the story of how Jennie Grossinger created a world-famous Jewish resort out of her family’s Sullivan County boardinghouse. There are quick biographical sketches of the lives of must-mention 19th-century celebrities Jay Gould and John Burroughs. And there’s a snappy account of how Washington Irving wrote the legend of Rip Van Winkle.
But the best parts mine a rich vein of more obscure Catskills stories.
Promenading tourists find a gangster stabbed to death and strapped to a slot machine floating in Sullivan County’s Swan Lake in 1937.
Father Divine, the charismatic leader of the integrated Universal Peace Mission Movement, brings thousands of followers Ulster County in the 1930s.
Mark Carr, an enterprising farmer, invents the idea of commercial Christmas tree sales in America.
At Casa Susanna, a 1950s retreat in Jewett, a small colony of cross-dressers learn how to apply makeup and walk properly in a pair of pumps.
“Illegal liquor. Religious cults. Gangsters. Left-wing children being raised on communist work songs," Silverman said. "You had restricted hotels that had signs that read, “No dogs and no Jews,” and then you had Jews. Murders took place. Religious salvation took place. There was the bluestone mining and leather tanning. It was a lively place.”
Gary Rosa has won a heated race for Delaware County's new family court judge position over county attorney Porter Kirkwood 5,150 to 4,662, according to unofficial election night results published by the Delaware County Board of Elections on Nov. 3, 2015. Read more
All employees of the county will be required to sign a form stating that they have read the policy.
All members of the board, as well as department heads and several other administrators, will be required to file disclosure forms each year that state private employment and business interests for both the signee and his or her spouse. Read more
Above: Leigh Melander, owner of a lodge in Fleischmanns, argued against a proposed bed tax during a public hearing on Oct. 28. Photo by Robert Cairns.
After a run-up of weeks and a public hearing held on Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors withdrew a local law that would have created a two percent tax on hotel and motel occupancy.
As the resolution to adopt the tax came up on the agenda at the Wednesday, Oct. 28 meeting of the board, Stamford Supervisor Mike Triolo, who chairs the board's economic development committee, withdrew it.
“There are some substantive changes we'd like to make to it,” he said.
Triolo said that comments received at the pubic hearing, as well as at three previous informational meetings, led his committee to change the language in the law so that it will apply not only to traditional hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast businesses, but also to vacation rentals booked through online services such as AirBnB and casual rentals advertised through services such as Craigslist. Read more