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Delaware County votes to move forward on bed tax

Above: Business owners discuss a proposed bed tax for Delaware County at a public meeting in Arkville on March 25, 2014. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors took the first step towards levying a two percent tax on room and hotel rentals in Delaware County at a meeting on Wednesday, April 23.

Seventeen of 19 town supervisors voted to approve a resolution requesting authorization from the New York State Legislature to impose the tax, known as a bed tax or an occupancy tax. The tax, according to the text of the resolution, would "provide a dedicated funding stream to promote and develop the tourism industry in Delaware County." (The resolution is embedded at the bottom of this story.)  Read more

Happy Earth Day, Catskills

Nature's always close at hand in the Catskills, on Earth Day and every day. Photo by Kellsey Buerge; submitted to our 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Earth Day turns 44 this year. In cities across America, environmentally-minded citizens are celebrating the holiday with big green-themed fests, parties and exhibit fairs. 

Not so in the Catskills, where Earth Day celebrations tend to be more low-key. Here, Mother Nature isn't an occasional guest to fête; she's a full-time resident. But this week, the local area holds a few special events in honor of the planet. 

Today, the Arkville-based Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and the MARK Project are setting up shop outside a few local stores to give away reusable shopping bags: The Freshtown and the Dollar Store in Margaretville, and the Great American in Prattsville. Stop by to get a grocery bag that won't end up in a landfill -- or, better yet, bring your own. 

Sullivan County's digital library of maps for hiking trails and public lands, Trailkeeper.org, is celebrating today with a family scavenger hunt at Turtle Spring Nature Trail, at 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road in Liberty. Treasure hunters of all ages will get a chance to try geocaching, in which hikers hunt for hidden capsules with the help of GPS receivers. The scavenger hunt runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. To pre-register for the event, call the Sullivan County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 845-292-6180, or email Nicole Slevin at nas96@cornell.edu. 

  Read more

Winter's last hurrah (we hope)

People across the Catskills awoke this morning to find April's first green shoots covered in snow. Above: A row of icicles that sprouted overnight from a Margaretville roof gleams under a dazzling blue sky. Photo by Lissa Harris.

According to snow reports from the National Weather Service in Albany and Binghamton, some areas in the Catskills -- like Claryville in Ulster County, Livingston Manor in Sullivan County, and the Greene County mountaintop region -- got over three inches of snow Tuesday night. 

Tuesday's bout of winter weather came just a little too late to extend the ski season, which lasted well into April this year. Over the past week or two, the four major ski centers of the Catskills -- Belleayre, Hunter, Plattekill and Windham -- all put an end to this year's blockbuster season.

Above: No BBQs on this Margaretville porch til the snow melts. Photo by Lissa Harris.  Read more

Cold front sweeps through area, bringing rain, sleet and snow

Above: Temperatures around upstate New York around 8 a.m. this morning, showing a cold front moving east across the region. The National Weather Service in Albany writes: "Current 8 a.m. temperature in Albany is 63 degrees while behind the cold front in Buffalo, NY, it is 33 degrees with a rain/snow mix."

Watch out for April showers -- and a few bouts of sleet and snow. After a few days of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s, the Catskills region is now bracing for the return of wintry weather as a cold front moves in from the west.   Read more

Delaware County bank set to expand into Sullivan County

It's a familiar story in small-town America: Little community bank strikes a deal with a giant national corporation, and suddenly there's a new logo on your local bank branch.

Only this time it's the other way around. NBDC Bank -- also known as the National Bank of Delaware County, a small chain of community banks based in Walton -- announced recently that the company is acquiring six Bank of America branches in Sullivan County. 

The deal, which has yet to receive regulatory approval, is expected to go through by fall, according to a press release issued by NBDC Bank. Under the terms of the deal, NBDC will operate former Bank of America branches in Callicoon, Liberty, Monticello, Narrowsburg, Roscoe and Wurtsboro. 

The acquisition of the six Sullivan County branches will double the number of offices run by NBDC Bank, which currently runs branches in Walton, Andes, Franklin, Hamden, Stamford and Roxbury.   Read more

Give us your best shot: The 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Above: “Two Boys and a Dog in East Meredith” by Cindy Dunne, the second-place winner of last year's Catskills Outdoor Guide photo contest.

Update: The contest is now closed. Winners will be announced on May 27, when the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide hits the streets. Thanks for all the great shots. To see all the entries this year, click here. -- Julia Reischel

As part of our 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide, we're hosting a 2014 edition of our "Catskills Outdoor Experience" photo contest, once again sponsored by the Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room in Big Indian.  Read more

Go fish: Opening day for trout in the Catskills

Above: Delaware River July 2013, by Jody Bryant, an entry in our Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest. (The deadline to enter is Thursday, April 3.)  

Today is the first day of fishing trout fishing season in New York State, one of the first true signs of a Catskills spring. On cue, the Times Herald-Record recorded anglers taking their first casts of the season at Junction Pool in Roscoe this morning.

Looking to get your fishing permit? Head to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new online license website, where you can buy and print your license from your computer.   Read more

Tried and true: Catskills restaurants with staying power

Above: The Java Lounge, an upstairs café at Joshua's, overlooks Tinker Street in Woodsock. Photo courtsey of Joshua's.  

It’s an exciting time for the Catskills restaurant scene. In the past few years, the area has launched many new restaurants. (For a smattering, see our related story in the Catskills Food Guide.)

But the flip side is that restaurants tend to come and go, especially in the far-flung rural corners of the region. Nothing puts the kibosh on an evening out as surely as showing up at that cute little bistro you’ve heard so much about only to find that it’s closed, or has changed its hours, or the owners decided to take off for Palm Beach until spring.

Here, then, are a few well-loved mainstays of the local dining scene. If you’re in search of reliable hours, battle-tested entrees and service that runs like a well-oiled machine, look no further.  Read more

Sleet and ice accumulating across the western Catskills

Roads in the higher elevations of the Catskills are dangerously slick tonight, especially in the western Catskills counties of Delaware and Sullivan, where the National Weather Service's Binghamton office has issued a special weather bulletin about bands of snow and sleet moving through the area

Citizen reports coming into the NWS are indicating many accidents on the roads. Earlier this evening, Delaware County Fire Wire and Emergency News reported that first responders were on the scene at Exit 87 off Route 17 in Hancock, where a car went over the bank.   Read more

Flood watches in effect across the Catskills

A mix of heavy rains in the forecast, late-spring snow still clinging to mountain slopes, and still-frozen ground could be a recipe for flash flooding in the Catskills region Saturday night through Monday, forecasters warn. 

Heavy rain is expected to move into the region late Saturday, and continue through Sunday. Hudson Valley Weather is predicting two to three inches of rain across the Catskills and Hudson Valley  Read more