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Deal struck in Albany on upstate casinos

Jack o' diamonds is a hard card to find. Photo by Flickr user Scott Namelrod; published under Creative Commons license.

The latest out of Albany: With just days left in the legislative session, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and key state legislators struck a late-night deal on Tuesday on a bill that would allow for four upstate casinos, according to several news reports. 

Two of the casinos would be in the Catskills, the Times Union reports:  Read more

New study: Catskill Mountain Rail Trail a $3.1 million boon to Ulster County

Above: The old Ulster & Delaware rail tracks near Cathedral Glen on Highmount. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

A controversial plan to convert Ulster County's old rail corridor into a walking trail from Kingston to Highmount got a boost on Monday, with the release of a new study of the trail's potential economic impact.

If built, the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail would allow hikers and bikers to go all the way from downtown Kingston to the Belleayre Ski Center, with access to the old Ulster & Delaware right-of-way that runs alongside the Ashokan Reservoir, currently closed to foot traffic. For trail advocates, it would be the realization of a long-held vision for the future of tourism and outdoor recreation in the region.  Read more

Flooding, road closures in Catskills as new rainstorms move south

NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Above: A video report from News 10 of flooding in Middleburgh's Main Street on Friday afternoon. 

Just when it was clearing up: Rainstorms moving south through the Hudson Valley prompted a fresh round of flood advisories and a few flash floods on Friday afternoon, a day after an east-moving storm prompted widespread flood watches across the Catskills.  Read more

This weekend: A slew of upstate events for Father's Day

Lady Antebellum, appearing Saturday at the Taste of Country Festival at Hunter Mountain.

Father’s Day is upon us -- an opportunity to honor and enjoy the dad in your life. This weekend, the various venues and organizations of the Catskills region and beyond have a varied batch of opportunities on tap for celebratory good times.

Some of the events listed below aren’t specifically planned with Father’s Day in mind -- but hey, paternal units come in all sorts of flavors. If you and Pater decide something is a Father’s Day outing, we’re sure the organizers won’t mind. 

DELAWARE COUNTY

The Delaware County Fairgrounds in Walton will be taken over for the weekend by the Walton Regional Livestock Show -- more prize pigs, goats, cows and sheep than you can shake a dad at. Special this year: New bull show events, with a $100 prize for the champion. Friday, June 14 through Sunday, June 16.  Read more

Ulster County issues legal ultimatum to Catskill Mountain Railroad

On Wednesday, a simmering dispute over the future of the Ulster and Delaware rail corridor in Ulster County erupted in legal action: County executive Mike Hein has served the privately-operated Catskill Mountain Railroad with a legal "demand to cure" notice, alleging that the railroad has violated the terms of their 25-year lease with the county, signed in 1991.

In the letter (embedded below), Hein states that the railroad has defaulted on nine separate points of the lease, and demands that the railroad come into compliance within 30 days, or risk forfeiting their lease and having their property seized. 

Hein and county officials claim the railroad has committed the following lease violations:  Read more

Storm tracking south, but flood watches still in effect

A rainfall prediction issued by the National Weather Service in Binghamton early Thursday morning, calling for 2 to 3 inches of rain in the southwestern Catskills region.

The latest forecasts for a rainstorm sweeping through the area Thursday and into Friday are calling for slightly less rain than originally predicted in some areas, but flood watches remain in effect throughout the Catskills region. 

As the rainstorm has moved into the area from the southwest, it has tracked slightly more south than initially expected, Hudson Valley Weather reported late Wednesday night

Storm looks to be taking a more southerly track and also a bit weaker as well. While the HV is still under the gun for a 1-3 inch rainfall the 4-5 inches looks a bit less likely. While the 2-3 is still enough to cause some issues with flooding it is a better solution. If the storm trends any further south we may see another reduction is projected rainfall.  Read more

Ulster County officials take sides in railroad battle

Above: The Catskill Mountain Railroad's Kingston City Shuttle. Photo from the Catskill Mountain Railroad website.

An ongoing battle between rail and trail supporters intensified this week, when the chair of Ulster County's Railroad Advisory Committee (RAC) resigned in protest of "closed door meetings" held by the county to discuss the future of the railroad corridor.   Read more

Flood watches in effect across Catskills region

Above: 24-hour precipitation forecast for Thursday, June 13, issued Wednesday, June 12. Source: National Weather Service.

Heavy rain is expected to fall across southeastern New York, northeastern Pennsylvania and New England on Thursday, prompting flood watches across the region. 

Flood watches have been declared across all five Catskills counties. A flood watch declared by the National Weather Service in Albany, covering Ulster, Greene and Schoharie counties, is in effect from Thursday morning through Saturday morning. In the western Catskills, Delaware and Sullivan counties are under a flood watch from Thursday morning to Friday morning.  Read more

Cuomo administration pushes tax-free business scheme to skeptical Catskills audience

Above: Dierdre Scozzafava, the Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government, presented the Cuomo administration's proposed "Tax-Free NY" legislation at SUNY Delhi on June 6, 2013. Photo by Julia Reischel.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's rush to pass an ambitious new corporate tax break program met with skepticism from an audience of Delaware County officials and business owners at SUNY Delhi on Thursday. 

With only eight days to go in the current state legislative session, Cuomo hopes to get lawmakers to pass Tax-Free NY, a sweeping tax program that would lift taxes on corporations and their employees if they create new jobs within one mile of any SUNY campus.  Read more

Andrea swings by Catskills; only minor flooding expected

Above: A screenshot from the NWS's river forecast page. Dots indicate USGS streamgauges; the color indicates whether flooding is forecast over the next 48 hours. All gauges in the Catskills region are either green (no flooding forecast) or yellow (near flood stage forecast).

Tropical Storm Andrea is moving northward up the East Coast, bringing heavy rains along with it. But the Catskills region is likely to escape the brunt of the storm's wrath as it passes by to the east of the region.  Read more