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Spring: Not quite sprung

Above: A tractor in Monticello waits patiently for snowmelt. Photo taken March 23 by Catskills Photography; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

It's been officially spring for a week, but nobody seems to have alerted Mother Nature. Much of the Northeast is still in the grip of winter weather, and local patience with the endless snow is beginning to fray. 

This week might finally bring some relief, though. Hudson Valley Weather calls for forecasts in the 50s by the weekend:

The rest of the week will continue to host moderating temps and fair weather. By the weekend temps look to crest 50 degrees as spring starts to fight back.  Read more

School aid cuts draw ire from parents - and robots

Above: We're not sure who Gagnacon is, but we know he wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore $547,818 in state aid to the Onteora Central School District. Photo courtesy of Valerie Havas, a PR specialist for Onteora.

Among the attendees at a Boiceville rally held in protest of steep cuts in state aid to the Onteora Central School District on Saturday: State senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, former Woodstock supervisor Jeff Moran, local children's folksinger "Uncle Rock" Robert Burke Warren, and local parents and PTA representatives. Also a giant robot, who when pressed by a Times Herald-Record reporter, would identify himself only as "Gagnacon."

As the Times Herald-Record notes, Onteora faces a staggering state aid cut of over 7.6 percent in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2013-2014 budget, at a time when the district's neediest population is on the rise:  Read more

Village election results

Most village-level politicians up for re-election in the Catskills on Tuesday went unchallenged. But some local villages had contests -- and with big issues like tax caps and flood recovery on the table even at the smallest level of government, the few people who tend to vote in local races have a lot at stake. 

Unofficial results for contested elections follow, from village officials or local news accounts (linked).

Delhi voted to keep its mayor, Richard Maxey, who won 162 votes to challenger Gerry Pilgrim's 89. In a race for two seats on the village board, incumbent Gregory Krzyston, with 161 votes, and newcomer Dan Ayres, with 159, won over previous trustee Margaret Baldwin with 136 and write-in Virginia Hoyt with 11.  Read more

Villages go to the polls

Photo by Flickr user Keith Ivey. Published under Creative Commons license.

Upstate New Yorkers living under the sway of the state's littlest governments go to the polls today, to elect new mayors and village boards or give the incumbents another two years. For most New York State villages, Tuesday, March 19 is Election Day.

Elections in most Catskills villages promise to be a sleepy affair this year, with few challengers on the polls.

In Ulster County, where several villages hold elections at other times in the year, only Saugerties has an election, and none of the four incumbents on the ballot has a challenger. New Paltz will hold elections in May, and Ellenville in November along with the general election.  Read more

Delaware County sheriff: We can't sweep local drug problems under the rug

Hiding in the bucolic Delaware County landscape: A burgeoning problem of drug dealing and addiction-fueled crime. Photo of tractor-crossing sign sporting a few bullet holes taken in Bloomville by photographer Mark Zilberman; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

Upstate New York's rural drug problem is growing, officials say. And as local police crack down on drugs, the problem is also generating a growing pile of lurid local news headlines.   Read more

Catskills under winter storm warning

Spring may be due to kick off officially in just a couple of days, but winter isn't done with the Catskills yet. Starting tonight, the National Weather Service warns, we're in for a round of snow and sleet, with accumulations of up to eight inches in parts of the Catskills.

A winter storm warning issued by NWS Albany calls for four to eight inches of heavy snow and up to a quarter-inch of ice in Greene and Ulster Counties, beginning early this evening and continuing into early Tuesday morning. The storm will start out as snow and change over to sleet and ice overnight, with rain in the more low-lying areas.   Read more

Catskills syrupmakers celebrate Maple Weekend(s)

We found the pot of gold: It's at Roxbury Mountain Maple. (And a dozen-plus other syrupmakers around the Catskills, all celebrating Maple Weekend on March 16-17 and 23-24.) Photo from Roxbury Mountain Maple's Facebook page.

Editor's note: We have added more events to this post since it was first published. 

Legend has it that an Iroquois chief accidentally tapped a maple when he’d just needed someplace to stick his tomahawk, and his significant other decided to try cooking with the liquid from the wounded tree. Thus began tree-to-table, and a lively lot of characters have been refining the art ever since.

Over the intervening years, syrup harvesters have found ways to be a bit gentler to the trees, which graciously donate their sweet essence year after year to humans who craft it into all sorts of delectable treats, a gentle act of organized foraging.  Read more

Celebrating pi -- and pie

Above: Homemade pie with apples from Wrights Farm, destined to meet a sticky end in Lazy Crazy Acres's small-batch Apple Cobbler gelato. Photo from Pure Catskills's Facebook wall.

It's 3.14 today, which means math nerds and pie-lovers around the world are celebrating Pi Day.

In honor of this most auspicious holiday, the Watershed Post is collecting beloved pie hotspots in the Catskills. (Like you really need an excuse for pie.) Got a favorite local source for fresh-baked pie? Let us know in a comment below, or tweet with the hashtag #CatskillsPie.

Flood advisories issued

The National Weather Service out of Albany has issued a spate of advisories for the entire area. Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster  counties are under a flood advisory until 5 pm. while Delaware and Sullivan are also under a flash flood watch. A flood watch has been issued for Schoharie, western Greene county and western Ulster.

Click here for a complete list of watches and warnings.

After surviving fire, flood, and heavy snows, the Deposit Theatre faces digital conversion

Deposit Community Theatre and Performing Arts Center, located at 14B Front St. in Deposit. Photo by Mike Musante

It's not easy being a 76-year-old movie theater in the Catskills. The movie palace in Deposit, which showed its first film in 1937, was a derelict structure with a caved-in roof in 1986 when a group of citizens decided to resurrect it as a neighborhood nonprofit theater.

Since then, the Deposit Community Theatre and Performing Arts Center has been gutted by fire (in 1994) and damaged by floodwaters (in 2006). In the winter of 2010 - 2011, heavy snows punched a hole in its roof.  Read more