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Flood watch issued across the Catskills region

Heavy rain and warmer temperatures are pushing into the southern Catskills, melting snow on the ground and bringing an increased risk of flash flooding.

An alert issued Tuesday afternoon by the National Weather Service in Binghamton urges Delaware, Sullivan and Otsego County residents to watch out for flooding along rivers and creeks on Wednesday and Thursday:

A Strong Storm System Is Developing Over The Center Of The Country And Will Push Mild Air And Rain Into The Region On Wednesday. Some Of The Rain Will Be Heavy Wednesday Evening. This Rain...In Combination With Melting Snow ...Could Cause Flooding Of Small Streams And Minor Flooding Of The Rivers In The Region. ...Flood Watch In Effect From Wednesday Evening Through Thursday Morning.  Read more

Two Deposit men among five arrested in Binghamton heroin bust

A three-month investigation into heroin sales in the Southside area of Binghamton yielded five arrests last week, after search warrants executed in the city turned up over 600 packets of heroin, over $20,000 in cash, and other drugs.

Arrested were 33-year-old Juan Dela Cruz and 22-year-old Shaquana Riles of Binghamton, 42-year-old William Michalski and 44-year-old Paul Michalski of Deposit, and 31-year-old Mike Dela Cruz of New York City, according to a news release issued Friday by New York State Police.

William and Paul Michalski were arrested when a search warrant was executed upon their vehicle on Conklin Avenue. Located during the search were 33 packets of heroin, suboxone, drug paraphernalia and a blackjack.

Juan and Mike Dela Cruz were arrested after police executed a search warrant at Juan Dela Cruz’s residence at 9 Telegraph Street, Binghamton. A search of the residence yielded 572 packets of heroin and over $20,000 in cash. Mike Dela Cruz was found in possession of small amounts of marijuana and ecstasy.  Read more

Snow falling, schools closing

A snowstorm that threatens to change over to ice and sleet later in the day is prompting school closings and other cancellations across the Catskills region. 

Ulster County executive Mike Hein's office announced this morning that the State of the County address scheduled for this evening will be postponed because of the weather. Hein's address is now scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:30 PM in SUNY Ulster’s College Hall.

Below are a few links for more info on local weather-related cancellations.

School closings in Sullivan and Ulster Counties, via the Times Herald-Record.

School and community organization closings in Ulster and Greene Counties, via the Daily Freeman.  Read more

ORDA's Ted Blazer on Belleayre Mountain: "I apologize if it's not perfect, but we want to make it better"

See video

Above: Video of Ted Blazer's comments to the Catskills at the Boiceville Inn last night. Apologies for the extremely fuzzy video quality. Video shot by Julia Reischel.

Ted Blazer, the CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, visited the Catskills last night to deliver an apology and a promise about the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, which ORDA took over in November. (For our previous coverage of the ORDA takeover, click here.)  Read more

Bonacic issues petition to repeal new state gun control law

Above: A screenshot from state senator John Bonacic's website, urging constituents in the 42nd District to sign a petition to repeal New York State's new gun control law.

With the ink hardly dry on New York State's new gun control law, New York state senator John Bonacic has already begun a petition drive to get the law repealed. Bonacic was one of 18 Republican state senators to vote against the bill.

Bonacic's district, the 42nd, includes all of Sullivan County as well as parts of Delaware, Ulster and Orange Counties.

On January 16, the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York State's gun control legislation into law, Bonacic urged his constituents to sign a petition in support of repealing the law:  Read more

Covidien employee charged with drug trafficking

A Davenport man who was employed at the Covidien pharmaceutical plant in Hobart has been arrested on felony drug trafficking charges, after a lengthy investigation linked him to two other recent arrests involving the trafficking of oxycodone powder diverted from pharmaceutical manufacture.

Jason Wilsey, 33, turned himself in at the Delaware County courthouse on Tuesday morning, accompanied by his attorney. Wilsey is charged with first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class A-I felony that carries a sentence of 8 to 20 years for first-time offenders.  Read more

Watch out for frostbite: Sub-zero wind chills in the forecast tonight

If you're going out tonight, the National Weather Service advises you to bundle up. Delaware and Sullivan Counties are under a wind chill advisory from midnight Tuesday through mid-morning Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to drop to between zero and five degrees, with a wind chill factor of around 15 below zero, thanks to gusting winds:

The Wind Chill Is Expected To Be Cold Enough To Cause Frostbite In About 30 Minutes Or Less...And Could Lead To Hypothermia If Precautions Are Not Taken. Those Planning To Venture Outdoors Should Use Common Sense And Dress Warmly...Making Sure That All Exposed Skin Is Covered.

A special weather statement issued by the NWS in Albany, which covers Ulster, Greene and Schoharie Counties, says we can expect frigid temperatures through the end of the week:  Read more

Gun control bill signed into New York State law

After a five-hour debate, the Democratic-led New York State Assembly passed a new gun control bill Tuesday afternoon that includes stricter definitions of banned "assault weapons" and new reporting requirements for mental health professionals. In passing the bill, the Assembly joined the Republican-led Senate, which passed the bill late Monday night without debate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo acted immediately to sign the bill, which has been dubbed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, and is being discussed widely on Twitter under the hashtag #nysafe.

Since its hasty passage in the Senate on Monday -- after closed-door negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate leaders -- New York State's new gun law has spurred immediate and passionate reactions from New Yorkers of all stripes.  Read more

Wintry weather on the way

It's hot chocolate weather out there, folks. Photo by Flickr user snorlax's cafe; published under Creative Commons license.

After last weekend's downright unseasonable warm spell, it's almost a relief to see the snow clouds rolling back in. Tonight, the National Weather Service is expecting a few inches of snow across the region, possibly with some sleet mixed in.

Most of the Catskills is under a Winter Weather Advisory. In an alert issued for Delaware and Sullivan Counties, the NWS predicts that snow is expected to begin late on Tuesday night, moving northward from the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and spread into the western Catskills by midnight. The heaviest snow will fall Wednesday morning, with accumulations of two to five inches by mid-day Wednesday.  Read more