Marbletown

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Flood watch in effect across Catskills

Above: A graphic from the National Weather Service in Binghamton, showing the flood watch area across upstate New York and Pennsylvania that is in effect Wednesday through early Thursday morning. 

Heavy rains are in the forecast for eastern New York and Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon and evening, prompting the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue flood watches across the Catskills region.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to arrive this evening and overnight, with between 1.5 and 4 inches of rain forecast for the Catskills. Forecasters at NWS and Hudson Valley Weather say the eastern Catskills will get the most rain, with lower totals expected for the western end of the region.   Read more

Ulster County police release name of car theft suspect who was shot by deputy

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

Happy Earth Day, Catskills

Nature's always close at hand in the Catskills, on Earth Day and every day. Photo by Kellsey Buerge; submitted to our 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

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. 

Today, the Arkville-based Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and the MARK Project are setting up shop outside a few local stores to give away reusable shopping bags: The Freshtown and the Dollar Store in Margaretville, and the Great American in Prattsville. Stop by to get a grocery bag that won't end up in a landfill -- or, better yet, bring your own. 

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 nas96@cornell.edu. 

  Read more

Hein: Open Space Institute to fund plans for Ashokan rail trail

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

The Open Space Institute (OSI) will use private funds to create plans for an 11.5-mile multi-use rail trail near the Ashokan Reservoir, according to an announcement issued Thursday by Ulster County executive Mike Hein  Read more

Winter's last hurrah (we hope)

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.

According to snow reports from the National Weather Service in Albany and Binghamton, some areas in the Catskills -- like Claryville in Ulster County, Livingston Manor in Sullivan County, and the Greene County mountaintop region -- got over three inches of snow Tuesday night. 

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

Fleeing driver shot by police on Route 28 in West Hurley

A driver fleeing police pursuit in a car reported stolen from a Marbletown home was shot by a police officer on Tuesday night, the Ulster County Sheriff's Office reports.

Around 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday, police say, Ulster County 911 received a call from a woman in Marbletown who said her car had been stolen from her driveway. State troopers spotted the car on Route 213 and pursued it, but were unable to get the driver to stop. The driver fled into the city of Kingston, where troopers lost sight of the car.

An Ulster County sheriff's deputy then spotted the car, and continued the pursuit. The chase ended on Route 28 in West Hurley, when the fleeing car swerved into an Ulster County sheriff's vehicle, taking both vehicles off the road. The driver was then shot by an Ulster County officer while being taken into custody, police say.

The driver is being treated at Albany Medical Center. Police have not identified the driver, or released any information about his or her condition.   Read more

Cold front sweeps through area, bringing rain, sleet and snow

Above: Temperatures around upstate New York around 8 a.m. this morning, showing a cold front moving east across the region. The National Weather Service in Albany writes: "Current 8 a.m. temperature in Albany is 63 degrees while behind the cold front in Buffalo, NY, it is 33 degrees with a rain/snow mix."

Watch out for April showers -- and a few bouts of sleet and snow. After a few days of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s, the Catskills region is now bracing for the return of wintry weather as a cold front moves in from the west.   Read more

"Operation Spring Cleaning" nets dozens of drug arrests in Ulster County

Above: Images from a photo gallery of arrests made during the recent URGENT investigation "Operation Spring Cleaning," posted on the Ulster County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page

Over three dozen arrests were announced with great fanfare on Wednesday by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, the result of a seven-month-long undercover investigation into drug sales by the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) dubbed "Operation Spring Cleaning." 

The Sheriff's Office and other URGENT members held a press conference at the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center in Kingston at noon to discuss the arrests. Police believe many of the drugs targeted in the sweep were coming into Ulster County from the New York City area, said Ulster County Lieutenant Ed Brewster, according to the Daily Freeman, which sent several reporters to cover the event live with online video clips.  Read more

Give us your best shot: The 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Above: “Two Boys and a Dog in East Meredith” by Cindy Dunne, the second-place winner of last year's Catskills Outdoor Guide photo contest.

Update: The contest is now closed. Winners will be announced on May 27, when the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide hits the streets. Thanks for all the great shots. To see all the entries this year, click here. -- Julia Reischel

As part of our 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide, we're hosting a 2014 edition of our "Catskills Outdoor Experience" photo contest, once again sponsored by the Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room in Big Indian.  Read more

Go fish: Opening day for trout in the Catskills

Above: Delaware River July 2013, by Jody Bryant, an entry in our Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest. (The deadline to enter is Thursday, April 3.)  

Today is the first day of fishing trout fishing season in New York State, one of the first true signs of a Catskills spring. On cue, the Times Herald-Record recorded anglers taking their first casts of the season at Junction Pool in Roscoe this morning.

Looking to get your fishing permit? Head to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new online license website, where you can buy and print your license from your computer.   Read more