Heroin addiction is sweeping through the Catskills, taking lives with it. (Here at the Watershed Post, we write more crime stories about heroin than about any other drug.)
In 2013, 89,269 people enrolled in heroin drug-treatment programs in New York state; in 2014, that number jumped to 118,000, according to data from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Heroin abuse is growing the fastest among the young, among ages 18 to 34. Politicians are worried; the governor launched a statewide campaign to battle heroin abuse last fall.
Locally, the toll is growing. A doctor at Catskill Regional Medical Center calls heroin a "public health crisis." Delaware County's undersheriff says that despite record heroin busts, "more people are using drugs, overdose deaths have accelerated and jails are crowded." Communityforums on the topic are being held around the region.
The Kingfisher Project, a collaborative storytelling and reporting initiative based at WJFF 90.5 FM in Jeffersonville, is digging deep into the heroin epidemic in the Catskills and beyond.
Above: New York State Broadband Program director David Salway, left, talks with Greg Henderson, middle, the owner of the Roxbury Motel, and Angela Liotta, right, the state's Broadband Outreach Director, on Wednesday, Feb. 25. Photo by Julia Reischel.
Above: Get your fill of cuckoo clocks and schnitzel in the Greene County Catskills. Photo by Katherine Speller.
German and Swiss immigrants have made their mark on Greene County, which is home to the most Alpine of the Catskill region's peaks. Be sure to grab your beer stein and press your best lederhosen before checking out your own little taste of Deutschland in the Catskills.
At the Bavarian Manor Inn(866 Mountain Ave., Purling, 518-622-3261, bavarianmanor.com) patrons can enjoy award-winning veal schnitzels: classic Viennese Wiener Schnitzel, Hungarian Gypsy Schnitzel made with onions, mushrooms and paprika sauce, and Holsteiner Schnitzel, which is topped with fried egg, anchovies and capers. The German Wurst Platter combines bauernwurst, weisswurst, bratwurst, pork, sauerkraut and (a crowd favorite) potato pancakes. Read more
The Tannersville village board has decided to demolish the mouldering ruins of the historic Cold Spring House, a once opulent 200-room wooden hotel that catered to Jewish guests during the Catskills' golden "mountain house" era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Just when we desperately need a celebration to take the edge off the cabin fever and the late-winter blahs, here it is Valentine’s Day. What could be lovelier? In the Catskills, love is something that’s celebrated year round, but this weekend it’s the star of the show. Come out and create and play and feast and dance. All events are happening on Valentine's Day itself -- Saturday, Feb. 14 -- unless otherwise indicated.
Schools and offices are closed around the Catskills on Monday, Feb. 9 as the National Weather Service predicts 8 to 14 in inches of snow for the region. All five Catskills counties -- Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster -- are under Winter Storm Warnings throughout the day on Monday. The snowfall is forecast to be heavier in the eastern parts of the Catskills.
(What is is about snow and Mondays? This is the thirdMonday in a row we've had a big snowstorm in 2015.)
Above: A promotional video for the Catskill Park, produced by Catskill Mountainkeeper.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, at least in Albany. And until recently, the Catskills were pretty quiet when it came to asking New York’s legislature and governor for money.
That changed in 2013, when a group of organizations working together as the Catskill Park Coalition began heading to the Capitol in person for a formal lobbying effort called Catskill Park Awareness Day. The idea is to knock on the doors of legislators and let them know, in person, that the Catskill Park exists, and that it needs support in the state’s budget.
“Our goal is to encourage Catskill stakeholders to become advocates for the resources needed to make the Catskill Park more accessible and to increase NYS's commitment to fund capital improvements and stewardship,” wrote Alan White, the executive director of the Catskill Center, one of the Coalition’s founding members, in an email to the Watershed Post. Read more