This is it: The peak of fall. Columbus Day Weekend is the biggest weekend of the year in the Catskills, the time when the leaves peak in glorious colors and the fullness of harvest sets in. Come out and paint a pumpkin, crunch a crisp apple and savor the last live outdoor music of 2015. Here’s our guide to what’s up where from Friday, Oct. 9 to Monday, Oct. 12.
It’ll be a farm-fresh feast at Sunday’s Octoberfest Pig Roastat Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow. If you’ve never tasted an Ossabaw Island heritage breed pig, you have no idea what roast pork can taste like; they’ll be roasting a whole one and serving it up with authentic German-style sides like spaetzli and sweet and sour red cabbage. Plus, you can meet a newborn alpaca. Sunday, October 11, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
With all 16 town supervisor seats up for grabs and three major countywide offices also slated to be on the Nov. 3 ballot, it is setting up to be a contentious season of vigorous campaigning in Schoharie County.
Although County Treasurer Bill Cherry has become a lightning rod in local politics, he will not be facing a challenge in this fall's election. Neither will County Clerk Indy Jaycox nor County Judge George Bartlett. All three officials are Republicans.
Currently controlling 10 of 16 seats on the county board of supervisors, the Republican Party is looking to strengthen its numerical advantage with challenges to Democrat incumbents in the Schoharie Valley.
However, despite the GOP's advantage, few if any party line votes occur on the county board. Instead, supervisors regularly vote together across party lines, a result of differences stemming from a collection of new reform-minded legislators that have clashed with members of the good old boys network.
Below, we have highlighted three of the more interesting fall match ups in three towns in Schoharie County. Read more
Above: A child's-eye view of the Catskills, taken on Aug. 17, 2013 at Hunter Mountain by Andrea Byrne.
The annual Lark in the Park kicks off this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 3 and runs for a week through Columbus Day on Monday, Oct. 12. This annual celebration originated in 2004 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Catskill Park, and is an opportunity to immerse yourself in all things Catskills.
Above: Flooding on Wittenberg Road in Woodstock around noon on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Photo by Benjamin Fenton.
Over six inches of rain have fallen in the past day in the high peaks region of the Catskills, causing minor flooding in streams in Greene and Ulster counties on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Schools in the Greene County town of Catskill closed early today, and flooding closed roads in Saugerties and in other locations in Ulster County, including Wittenberg Road in the town of Woodstock near Shultis Farm Road (see above). The Esopus Creek in Mount Marion crested at 21 feet around 1 p.m., a foot below the level where it begins flooding homes, according to measurements from its stream gauge.
Minor flooding occurred in many locations throughout the Greene County town of Hunter, which got the most rainfall--about six inches--today, according to John Farrell, the town of Hunter's highway superintendent.
Above: A map of inches of rain that fell in the Catskills in the past 24 hours, from the National Weather Service. The most rain--more than six inches--fell in Greene County.
"We had a couple very localized flooding incidents due to debris in the streambeds all over the mountaintop," Farrell said. "A lot of the tributaries. We got a lot of rain up there."
Hunter's highway team managed to clear debris fast enough to avoid closing any roads in the town, Farrell said. The flooding peaked in the town around 11 a.m.
Rainfall in other locations around the region was less severe, and other locations in the Catskills that are normally prone to flooding have escaped problems so far. Read more
The contest is now closed. Look for the print 2016 Catskills Food Guide next year for the winners! - Ed.
It's harvest season, and in the Catskills, the veggies are gorgeous. So are the cows, barns and the farmers themselves. (Just ask Real Simple Magazine, which just ran a photo spread of six women farmers from the region.)
Above: Main Street Schoharie. Photo by Timothy Knight.
Unless something drastic occurs in the next three months, homeowners in Schoharie County may be facing a possible property tax increase of eight to nine percent next year, according to budget officer Bill Cherry.
Citing the expenses of the newly created county administrator position, the "ever-increasing costs of the streambank project" and burdensome state mandates, Cherry estimated that county spending is likely to jump by $1.5 to $1.8 million over 2015 spending levels.
An 87-year-old Narrowsburg woman is missing after being last seen at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 getting gas in Binghamton, according to the New York State Police in Liberty and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which has put out an alert in 17 counties in an attempt to find her.
Left: Louise E. Scheurich. Image via the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Louise E. Scheurich is a "vulnerable adult with dementia," according to the alert, and "may be in need of medical attention."
She was driving a beige 2000 Dodge Neon with New York license plates reading AJU-2836, and was last seen last night getting fuel near exit 79 on Route 17 in Binghamton, police say. Read more
Above: Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller and Harpersfield Supervisor Jim Eisel share an umbrella at a rainy event in Fleischmanns this summer. Both Miller and Eisel won primaries against challengers on Thursday, Sept. 10. Photo by Julia Reischel.
There were lots of close political contests across the Catskills in yesterday's primary election. Here are the results in the hottest races.
In the race for Delaware County Family Court Judge, Conservative voters overwhelmingly chose Porter Kirkwood over Gary Rosa 68 to 30, but Independence voters preferred Gary Rosa to Porter Kirkwood 94 to 70. Heated accusations have been flying between the candidates about ethics violations this past week, as we reported yesterday.
In Harpersfield, Jim Eisel, the long-serving chairman of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors, won his first-ever primary with 89 Republican votes. That was 23 more votes than Ed “Rusty” Pick, who got 66. Pick also has the Democratic party’s endorsement. Read more
Today--Thursday, Sept. 10--is primary election day in New York, and voters who are registered with political parties across the Catskills can go to the polls to vote for town and county candidates running in primary races from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Usually, primary day is a Tuesday, but the late Labor Day holiday this year has pushed it back to a Thursday, which will likely have an impact on voter turnout.
New York State has a closed-primary system, meaning that to vote in a primary at any level of government in New York State, voters must be registered members of the party holding the primary.
The winners of today’s primaries will appear on the ballot in the general election in November. But due to multiple political parties supporting a single candidate, candidates who lose their party's primary may still appear on the November ballot on a different line.
Not every town and legislative district has a primary race today. No towns in Schoharie County have primaries this year, for example. Here’s a look at the hot primary races in the Catskills.
In Delaware County, Gary Rosa and Porter Kirkwood will face off in Conservative and Independence primaries in a heated race for the new position of Family Court Judge.
This past week, their race has gotten ugly, with accusations flying between the candidates about ethics violations.
Rosa has used a campaign slogan criticizing Kirkwood of “representing just one client, the county’s Department of Social Services,” in his appearances in Family Court.
After more than twenty months of debate, interviews and political maneuvering, Schoharie County has hired its first administrator to oversee the day to day operations of its county government.
At a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors hired Steve Wilson as the county's first full-time administrator. Wilson will receive a salary of $100,000 and will begin the job no later than October 1.
The hire comes at the end of a long journey for county's elected leaders, who have been arguing over the county's need for a full-time administrator since January 2014. Read more