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Explore the Catskills: Lark in the Park 2013

Above: “Panther Mountain” by Ethan Myers. A runner-up in our 2013 Catskills Great Outdoor Experience Photo Contest. Join a guided hike up Panther Mountain on October 10th as part of the 2013 Lark in the Park. 

It's perfect season in the Catskills: Blue skies, brilliant foliage, crisp air, and heartbreakingly gorgeous views.

That's why the Catskill Mountain Club, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and the New York New-Jersey Trail Conference plan their annual Lark in the Park for October. The Lark is a series of outdoor activities led by experienced hikers, paddlers, cyclists and anglers throughout the Catskills region between October 5 and Columbus Day.

As part of our 2013 Catskills Outdoor Guide, the Watershed Post is featuring a full list of all Lark in the Park events.   Read more

NewsShed: Gibson breaks ranks with GOP over shutdown

So that's how they pick those things up. Above: Lazy Crazy Acres, cow-to-cone gelato makers in Arkville, make hay while the sun shines.

Happy Monday, Catskills. We're just about at the midpoint of leaf turning this week, according to the foliage spotters at I Love NY -- and with a few more gorgeous warm days on tap, it's a great time to be out and about. Enjoy it while it lasts.  Read more

Mail fail: Local newspaper steamed up over USPS delays

Photo of empty post office box by Flickr user Bryan Alexander. Published under Creative Commons license.

In news, timing is critical. As the old reporter's saying goes: Yesterday's news wraps today's fish.

No wonder River Reporter managing editor Jane Bollinger is angry. For at least one local paper, ongoing cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service have been delaying the arrival of the paper in subscribers' mailboxes by as much as several days.  Read more

NewsShed: Three cheers for books

Above: Work begins in earnest at the Phoenicia Library this week, gutted by fire in March of 2011 and currently occupying a temporary space on Ava Maria Drive. According to a newsletter from library director Liz Potter, restoration work on the building is slated to take 8 to 10 months before the library can move back to its old digs. The library has raised $620,000 for the cause; they still have $180,000 to go. Give them a hand at phoenicialibraryfund.com.

It's Banned Books Week: A great time to head to your friendly neighborhood library and check out something seditious. The most frequently-banned books of 2012, according to a list from the folks at the American Library Association, were the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, about a couple of fourth-graders who hypnotize their mean principal, transforming him into the titular tighty-whitey-clad superhero.

Civil War artist Mark Maritato is fundraising for the production of a large oil painting of Colonel George Watson Pratt in battle, to be donated to the Zadock Pratt Museum in (you guessed it) Prattsville. The campaign has various rewards for donors, ranging from a grateful mention on Maritato's website ($5) to having your face painted into the work as one of the soldiers ($1,000). 

  Read more

It's official: Sean Eldridge announces Congressional run

See video

Above: A video produced by Sean Eldridge's campaign, announcing the 27-year-old Democrat's bid for New York State's 19th Congressional district. Source: Eldridge's campaign website.

With the release of a campaign video Sunday, 27-year-old Democrat Sean Eldridge officially joined the 2014 race for New York's 19th Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Chris Gibson.

The video highlights Eldridge's support of the local business community through Hudson River Ventures, an investment firm Eldridge founded in 2011.

"I love the Hudson Valley," Eldridge says in the video. "It's where I’m building my family, my home, and my business. Right now the voices of everyday New Yorkers are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics causing gridlock in Washington. We need an independent voice who will fight for us. And that’s why I’m running for Congress."  Read more

With judge's ruling, DEP officers may finally get cop benefits

Photo illustration. The reservoir in the background is the Pepacton in Delaware County; photo by Timothy Cox, shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

Since 9/11, the number of Department of Environmental Protection police officers in the watershed has more than doubled to include 221 officers, as part of the agency's post-9/11 efforts to boost security around its upstate reservoirs.

Yet for eight years New York City has refused to include the agency's Environmental Protection Officers (EPOs) in the same category as the New York Police Department and other uniformed employees. That means that the officers aren’t entitled to benefits like increases to night-shift wages, allowance to buy required uniforms, and “line of duty” leave for injuries that happen on the job. And they haven’t seen a raise since 2005.  Read more

K-9 Osman "Ozzie" Steele makes his first arrest

Above: Deputy John Demeo and K-9 Osman "Ozzie" Steele, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office's newest drug law enforcement team. Ozzie is the namesake of a famous Catskills officer of the law: Undersheriff Osman Steele, who was the only casualty of the Anti-Rent War in Andes, shot by protesting tenant farmers on August 7, 1845. Photo courtesy of the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Just one day out of the academy, Delaware County's newest "officer" was already making arrests.

Osman "Ozzie" Steele, a young German shepherd who recently joined the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, graduated from K-9 Narcotics Detection School on Friday, September 6, along with his human crimefighting partner John Demeo. Just over 24 hours later, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ozzie and Demeo made their first arrest: A drug bust in the village of Walton.   Read more

Storm tracker: Brace for thunderstorms, Catskills

A round of intense thunderstorms is headed east across upstate New York this afternoon. We're keeping track of fast-moving Catskills weather updates in the Storify post below. As we add new updates, the latest news will automatically appear at the bottom of the post.

Got a news tip or photo for us? Send it to editor@watershedpost.com. 

Thunderstorms cause power outages in Delaware County

In the unlikely event that you've lost power and are still able to read this post, keep your fridge door shut, say officials at Delaware County Public Health Services, who sent out a press release this morning warning that food can spoil quickly when the power goes out. Food in a powered-off refrigerator will stay cold for about four to six hours if the door isn't opened, health officials say. Photo by Flickr user Dewayne Neeley; published under Creative Commons license.

Power outages from Wednesday night thunderstorms lingered into Thursday morning in Delaware County, forcing a couple of school delays and leaving large areas without power in several towns.

Downsville Central School and Delaware Academy in Delhi were both running on two-hour delays Thursday morning because of the outages. 

  Read more

Local primaries held Tuesday

Some local voters registered with a political party will have a chance to weigh in at the polls on Tuesday, September 10. The local races underway in the region may not be as headline-grabbing as others in the state -- New York City mayoral race, anyone? -- but there are some important races underway in Catskills towns and legislative districts. 

A few of the jucier races underway this week: A heated battle is underway in the Prattsville GOP, with two slates of candidates dueling for seats on the county Republican Committee. Ulster County legislative chair Terry Bernardo, a Republican from Accord, is fighting a challenge from newcomer John Dawson of Kerhonkson. And a three-way race is afoot for the Democratic nod for town supervisor in Woodstock, with incumbent Jeremy Wilber facing challengers Terrie Rosenblum and Lorin Rose.

Once again, Schoharie County -- which had no primary elections in 2011 -- is holding no primaries this year. (Note to Schoharie County's aspiring local politicians: Might want to start thinking about 2015.)  Read more