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Catskills junkyard operator faces criminal charges

Above: William Hrazanek. Courtesy of the NYS DEC. 

State environmental officials have filed criminal charges against junkyard owner William Hrazanek, 68, after the discovery of leaky drums of oil and gas found last year on his properties in Fleischmanns and Arkville.

The charges are not related to a spill in Mount Tremper that has been linked to Hrazanek, which officials say they are still investigating. 

In May 2013, a routine inspection by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 4 office turned up hundreds of tires and 12 leaky barrels of waste oil and gasoline at Hrazanek's property at 717 Wagner Avenue in Fleischmanns, known as the VW Parts building. 

When Hrazanek failed to report the leaking gasoline at Wagner Avenue, DEC agents raided the property and two other junkyards owned by Hrazanek in the town of Middletown, leading to the current charges.   Read more

DEP to remove 15,000 storm-damaged trees near Cannonsville Reservoir

Above: Storm-felled trees on New York City-owned land on Houck Mountain, northeast of the Cannonsville Reservoir in Beerston, NY, in May of 2013. Photos courtesy of NYC DEP.

Blame it on the rain -- and the wind, and the torrential flooding. In the past several years, extreme storms have taken a toll on Catskills forests, leaving many trees in the region toppled or damaged. 

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which owns and manages thousands of acres of land around the city's upstate reservoirs, recently announced the start of a major forestry project to remove about 15,000 storm-damaged trees from 120 acres of land on Houck Mountain near the Cannonsville Reservoir. 

About 60 percent of the trees at the site have been felled or damaged by Irene, Lee and Sandy, said DEP spokesperson Adam Bosch.

The trees will be harvested by a local contractor who bid for the job, Ostrander Logging of Walton, and milled into lumber. Many of them are valuable hardwoods, like black cherry.  Read more

"Quick burst" of snow to hit Catskills this afternoon

See video

Above: Snow falling thick and fast at 11:40 a.m. in Margaretville at the WP HQ. 

This winter isn't over yet. The National Weather Service in Albany is predicting that a "quick burst" of 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall in the eastern Catskills this afternoon -- specifically in Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties. The snowfall rate will be heavy -- about an inch per hour.

It has already started snowing that hard in Margaretville. See our video above.

The precipitation may become freezing rain as the temperatures rise just above 32 degrees, according to Hudson Valley Weather:  Read more

NYC mayor appoints Emily Lloyd as DEP commissioner

Above: New DEP commissioner Emily Lloyd and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday in the Blue Room at City Hall, where de Blasio announced the appointment of Lloyd and two other city administrators. Photo courtesy of Mayor de Blasio's office. 

Former New York City Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Emily Lloyd is getting her old job back, city mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday at City Hall. 

Lloyd headed the DEP from 2005 to 2008 under former mayor Michael Bloomberg. She resigned from the post in October of 2008, in a move that drew some speculation at the time about whether her departure was connected to controversy over the ballooning costs of the agency's Croton filtration plant  Read more

DEP police sign a new contract with de Blasio administration

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.

A union representing about 200 watershed police working for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently signed a contract with the city's new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

The DEP police contract -- the first labor contract signed under de Blasio's administration -- follows almost a decade of wrangling over the status of the DEP's officers, who have long performed many of the duties of police without the same level of benefits as other city police officers.  Read more

Delaware County travel advisory lifted

The worst is over. Yesterday's travel advisory for Delaware County was lifted at 11:51 a.m. today via email by Delaware County Sheriff Tom Mills: 

Per Order of Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills:

Effective immediately, the travel advisory for Delaware County has been lifted. 

Travel advisory issued for Delaware County

At 2:15 p.m. today, Delaware County Sheriff Tom Mills issued a travel advisory via email warning motorists to stay off all roads in Delaware County: 

Per Order of Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills:

Effective immediately, due to the current winter storm warning, a travel advisory has been issued for all of Delaware County until further notice. All unnecessary travel should be avoided.

A visitor driving to the WP HQ in Margaretville along Rte. 30  south at 3pm today passed three cars stranded on the side of the whited-out road. Be careful out there. 

Update: The travel advisory for Delaware County was lifted at 11:51 a.m. Friday, February 14.

 

Five ways to spend Valentine's Day in the Catskills

 

1. We heart art. 
On Valentine's Day, meet and mingle with the artists in permanent residence at the Woodstock Commons, a new affordable-housing center for artists, seniors and working families. "Share The Love," a gallery show featuring the artists' work along with artwork by children who live in the building, will open on Friday, Feb. 14, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Work by Avigayil Landsman, Sasha Sun, Laura Katz and Mercedes Cecilia will be on display, and the evening will feature a special performance by resident musician Barry Garneau.

 

Above: Catskill Rose's handmade lobster marscapone ravioli. Delish.  Read more

Craft beer industry booming in the Catskills

Beers of the Catskills: There's plenty to choose from. Photo from the Facebook page of Cave Mountain Brewing Co. in Windham, whose proprietors are planning to expand into wholesale.

Craft beer drinkers of the greater Catskills region, rejoice: many new taps will flow this spring.

Between April and June, three new breweries are scheduled to debut, offering small-batch brews from the hands of two industry veterans and one newcomer.

Up first is Hunter Mountain Brewery, a microbrewery and restaurant created by longtime local brewmaster Nat Collins, co-founder of the annual TAP-NY Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival. Hunter Mountain Brewery, slated for late April, is now under construction in the former home of the Fireside Restaurant, along Route 23A between Hunter and Tannersville.  Read more

Trailways service cancelled in the Catskills for Thursday

With a snowstorm approaching the Catskills region, Trailways New York has cancelled all service on several routes that go through the area for Thursday, Feb. 12. Many other routes throughout upstate New York are also cancelled or are operating on a limited schedule. 

All service is suspended for Thursday along the Utica to Kingston line, which stops in Woodstock, Phoenicia, Pine Hill, Margaretville, Delhi, Oneonta and other intermediate stops. 

Also cancelled for Thursday: The line that runs between Kingston and New York City, which stops at New Paltz and Rosendale. 

A full list of the Trailways New York cancellations is posted on the bus company's website.