Above: The SUNY New Paltz campus on March 13. Photo by Keady Sullivan.
After a brutal winter in the Catskills, college students are holding their breath, hoping for no more snow days.
College classes at SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Delhi, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Sullivan and SUNY Ulster have all experienced weather-related cancellations with more frequency than usual in 2015.
For SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Sullivan students, Monday classes have been hit particularly hard. Three consecutive Monday snow days on Jan. 26, Feb. 2, and Feb. 9 prevented classes from meeting and have significantly set back course curriculums.
SUNY Sullivan had the most official, university-declared cancellations of colleges in the Catskills region. Four whole days of classes were cancelled, and classes were either delayed or closed early on three additional days. In Ulster County, SUNY New Paltz cancelled classes six times and SUNY Ulster cancelled classes four times.
In Schoharie County, SUNY Cobleskill cancelled classes three times. In Delaware County, SUNY Delhi cancelled classes twice. And in Otsego County, SUNY Oneonta cancelled classed on one day and partially cancelled classes on another day. Read more
Above: Maple syrup from the Catskill Mountain Sugar House in Grahamsville. Photo by Richard A. Smith
New York state produces almost a fifth of the nation’s maple syrup, and much of that comes from the Catskills. The mountains are home to many sugarhouses, from large operations with state-of-the-art evaporators that use reverse osmosis to little shacks that still use the old-fashioned boiling method.
Maple syrup is available all year long, but the tapping season lasts for just a few weeks in March, when frosty nights and sunny days get the sap moving.
The best way to watch a sugarhouse in action is to visit one. The sights, sounds and smells of sap boiling in the sugarhouse mean that sweetness, like springtime, is just around the corner. Shake off the late-winter blahs and come celebrateMaple Weekend -- actually two weekends of open houses -- in the sugar shacks of the Catskills. Listed below are events that are within the Watershed Post's coverage area; a statewide list of all 160 locations can be found at mapleweekend.com. Read more
Today, Wednesday, March 18, is Election Day for most New York villages. Village elections in many Catskills villages are sleepy, uncontested affairs, but a few are real contests with full slates of candidates from multiple parties. Read more
Above: Delhi's St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo via the parade's organizers.
It’s a gray and drizzly St. Patrick’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Festivities celebrating the Irish continue all this week in the Catskills.
A few St. Pat’s events take place today:
Gavin’s Irish Country Inn in East Durham in Greene County will be celebrating all day long on St. Patrick’s Day itself, Tuesday, March 17, with a Irish pub fare and a three-course dinner with their own homemade Irish bread, leading up to a fine evening shindig with the Brothers Flynn Band and the Farrell School of Irish Dancing from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Read more
With spring just around the corner, it's time once more for our annual Catskills Outdoor Guide -- a glossy, full-color magazine showcasing the best of what the Catskills great outdoors has to offer.
Once again, the 2015 Catskills Outdoor Guide will feature pull-out maps of local hiking trails and outdoor recreation spots, articles about how to have fun in the Catskills landscape in all four seasons, and beautiful photography of our stunning region from Watershed Post readers and contributors.
We're currently signing up advertisers for the upcoming Catskills Outdoor Guide. The deadline for reserving space is April 1. For more information, including ad sizes and pricing, see our detailed rate sheet here. If you have a Catskills business or local resource to promote in the Guide, contact us at [email protected] or call 845-481-0155.
In the Catskills, students are tackling climate change in big ways. At Delhi's Delaware Academy, students helped install a photovoltaic panel to power the school's sugarhouse in 2013.
At the Manhattan County School in Roxbury, a geometry class partnered with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to tackle a real-world erosion control project on the Rondout Reservoir.
Even down on Staten Island, over 100 miles away from Delhi, students at PS 57 studying the effect of climate change in the Catskills. Read more
Why do so many turn part Irish in the season of St. Patrick? Perhaps because there is something primal about celebrating the end of winter by slathering swathes of green everywhere. Perhaps because Irish Americans have a fine sense of humor and the festivities and feastings in their honor, replete with bagpipes and corned beef, hit a spot emotionally that nothing else quite reaches. Perhaps because nothing sticks a fork in cabin fever like getting outside to take in a parade or run in a 5K.
Here’s our multi-county guide to the Irish goings-on this St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Catskills.
New York state’s comptroller has found that Delaware County awarded millions of dollars to third-party contractors between January 1, 2013 and June 9, 2014 without soliciting competition, or, in some cases, requiring contracts at all.
“The County has awarded nine third-party contracts totaling $1.9 million without soliciting competition … and has paid three vendors $770,000 for various services without any written contracts with the vendors,” the comptroller’s staff wrote. “The lack of competition creates a risk that services will not be provided in the most prudent and economical manner.” Read more
Heroin addiction is sweeping through the Catskills, taking lives with it. (Here at the Watershed Post, we write more crime stories about heroin than about any other drug.)
In 2013, 89,269 people enrolled in heroin drug-treatment programs in New York state; in 2014, that number jumped to 118,000, according to data from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Heroin abuse is growing the fastest among the young, among ages 18 to 34. Politicians are worried; the governor launched a statewide campaign to battle heroin abuse last fall.
Locally, the toll is growing. A doctor at Catskill Regional Medical Center calls heroin a "public health crisis." Delaware County's undersheriff says that despite record heroin busts, "more people are using drugs, overdose deaths have accelerated and jails are crowded." Communityforums on the topic are being held around the region.
The Kingfisher Project, a collaborative storytelling and reporting initiative based at WJFF 90.5 FM in Jeffersonville, is digging deep into the heroin epidemic in the Catskills and beyond.