The Onteora Board of Education is pleased to announce that, for the third year in a row, our proposed annual budget will see no increase in the tax levy. There are no cuts in programs, but rather an increase in the number of High School electives, an additional course in the Middle School, the continuation of a summer Academic Intervention Services (AIS) program for Kindergarten-Grade 8, and some much-needed immediate repairs.
We are also pleased to present to voters a proposal for a Capital Reserve Project that would tackle major, long-term structural repairs and upgrades to our aging facilities. While the vast majority of the work is set to take place at the Middle School/High School, the project also calls for replacement of the Phoenicia Primary School building’s boiler with a dual oil/biomass (wood pellet) system. This will significantly reduce our fuel expenses and carbon footprint, using renewable, sustainable fuel produced here in New York, keeping more of our energy dollars local. Read more
Casino developers hoping to land one of four prized licenses from New York State will have to prove that they're investing enough in the project. But although the state's minimum investment figures are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, they're not likely to prove an obstacle to deep-pocketed casino developers, many of whom have already unveiled plans to spend much more than the state's required minimum figures. Read more
Above: An injured victim being treated at the scene of this morning's bus accident on Route 17 in Ramsey, N.J. Photos by Boyd A. Loving; courtesy of the Cliffview Pilot.
A flying car wheel smashed through the windshield of a Pine Hill Trailways bus bound from Kingston to Manhattan on Route 17 around 7:30 this morning, injuring four people, according to several downstate media reports.
The wheel flew off a Lexus that was driving north, in the opposite direction from the bus, the Cliffview Pilot reports. Two people aboard the bus were critically injured in the accident, and two others sustained head injuries.
Above: A trailcam in Delaware County catches a nocturnal glimpse of an elusive wild boar. Photo taken in August 2013; courtesy of USDA APHIS.
A statewide ban on the hunting and trapping of feral swine -- also known as wild boars or Eurasian boars -- went into effect on Monday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced in a press release.
Many other states have encouraged the hunting of wild boars in an effort to control their populations, but without much success. Banning the hunting of an animal that state officials want to rid the landscape of seems paradoxical. But scientists who study the animals say that allowing private hunting can interfere with state-sanctioned efforts to bait and trap boars, and has even encouraged hunters to release more of the animals into the wild for sport.
Above: Car theft suspect Brandon Rifenburg. Photo courtesy of the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.
The Ulster County Sheriff's Office waited eleven days to release the name of a suspect who was shot by police after a car chase through several towns. But on Saturday, April 26, deputies finally named the man in a public news release: 20-year-old Brandon Rifenburg of High Falls.
Rifenburg was shot while being taken into custody on the night of April 15, after leading local and state police on a car chase that ran through Marbletown, Kingston, Ulster and Saugerties before ending on Route 28 in Hurley. Police say that after a dispute with a family member, Rifenburg stole a car from the Vly-Atwood neighborhood in Marbletown, then sped away from an officer who attempted to stop the vehicle.
During the police pursuit of the stolen car, Rifenburg drove through two sets of tire deflation devices set up to stop the car. Police say he lost control of his damaged vehicle while trying to ram two police cars that were pursuing him. Read more
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.
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 [email protected]
Above: A map of a proposed 11.5-mile walking and biking trail near the Ashokan Reservoir, on an Ulster County-owned railroad track that was once part of the Ulster & Delaware railroad and is currently leased to the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Map from Ulster County's website.
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.
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