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Catskills town and county primary results: Upsets and almosts

Above: Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller and Harpersfield Supervisor Jim Eisel share an umbrella at a rainy event in Fleischmanns this summer. Both Miller and Eisel won primaries against challengers on Thursday, Sept. 10. Photo by Julia Reischel.

There were lots of close political contests across the Catskills in yesterday's primary election. Here are the results in the hottest races. 

DELAWARE COUNTY

In the race for Delaware County Family Court Judge, Conservative voters overwhelmingly chose Porter Kirkwood over Gary Rosa 68 to 30, but Independence voters preferred Gary Rosa to Porter Kirkwood 94 to 70. Heated accusations have been flying between the candidates about ethics violations this past week, as we reported yesterday

In Harpersfield, Jim Eisel, the long-serving chairman of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors, won his first-ever primary with 89 Republican votes. That was 23 more votes than Ed “Rusty” Pick, who got 66. Pick also has the Democratic party’s endorsement.  Read more

Local candidates vie in primary election today

Photo by Kristin Ausk, via Flickr.

Today--Thursday, Sept. 10--is primary election day in New York, and voters who are registered with political parties across the Catskills can go to the polls to vote for town and county candidates running in primary races from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Usually, primary day is a Tuesday, but the late Labor Day holiday this year has pushed it back to a Thursday, which will likely have an impact on voter turnout.

New York State has a closed-primary system, meaning that to vote in a primary at any level of government in New York State, voters must be registered members of the party holding the primary. 

The winners of today’s primaries will appear on the ballot in the general election in November. But due to multiple political parties supporting a single candidate, candidates who lose their party's primary may still appear on the November ballot on a different line.

Not every town and legislative district has a primary race today. No towns in Schoharie County have primaries this year, for example. Here’s a look at the hot primary races in the Catskills.

DELAWARE COUNTY

In Delaware County, Gary Rosa and Porter Kirkwood will face off in Conservative and Independence primaries in a heated race for the new position of Family Court Judge

This past week, their race has gotten ugly, with accusations flying between the candidates about ethics violations.

Rosa has used a campaign slogan criticizing Kirkwood of “representing just one client, the county’s Department of Social Services,” in his appearances in Family Court.

  Read more

Labor Day events in the Catskills

Above: Throwing a rock into Cooper Lake in Woodstock. Photo by Flickr user Panda Snaps, shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Labor Day is upon us in all its bittersweet glory, and the Catskills are rising to the occasion with festivities celebrating the harvest, family, baroque opera, women’s jazz, Iroquois Indians, Irish heritage, improv, toilets and more.

Yes, we said toilets. Read on to find out more in our county-by-county round-up of Labor Day events across the Catskills.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Gather the bounty of the harvest for your personal feasting pleasure at the pre-Labor Day Holiday Pop Up Farmers’ Market, taking place rain or shine at the Stamford Railroad Station on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. You’ll find a splendid selection of baked goods, preserves, meats, produce and wonderful handmade Catskills things.  Read more

Truckloads of trash choke Catskills swimming holes

Above: Underwear left behind as trash at Peekamoose Blue Hole in August 2015. Photo by Gene Nicolato.

Peggy Brueckner lives near the Peekamoose Blue Hole, an icy Catskills pool that is recognized as one of the best swimming holes in the country. Her family has visited the hidden spot for 50 years. But this summer, due to hordes of tourists and the tons of garbage they leave behind, Brueckner has been avoiding it.

"The locals here along Watson Hollow Road and beyond are heartbroken," Brueckner said. "There is litter all over the place. There are no laws being enforced and it a total mess up there. Campers are off the designated sites, people are in the middle of the road and it is a free for all! It's not even a family friendly place any more."

Above: Peekamoose Blue Hole on a recent summer day. Photo via the NYS DEC.   Read more

Jeff Senterman named new director of Catskill Center

Above: Jeff Senterman accepts his new post as the executive director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development on Saturday, Aug. 29. Photo via the Catskill Center's Instagram feed

Jeff Senterman, the former Catskills program director of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, was appointed the new executive director of the Catskills Center for Conservation and Development after the departure of former director Alan White. White completed his term earlier this month.

Senterman accepted his new position at a gathering of the CCCD's members on Saturday, Aug. 29. (A Senterman is still at the helm of the NYNJTC, though -- Jeff's brother, Doug, is the new Catskill program director at the NYNTC, after getting the job earlier this year.)  Read more

Scattered power outages across Catskills

Above: Power outages in Schoharie County, according to National Grid's outage map

Power outages are dotted across five Catskills counties on Friday, Aug. 21, with thousands of households in the dark in Schoharie County and hundreds without power in Ulster County as of 11 a.m.

Earlier this morning, thousands of people in Sullivan County were without power, according to the Times Herald-Record, but most of those outages appear to have been fixed, according to NYSEG's outage map

In Schoharie County, 1,726 people are currently without power, according to National Grid's outage map. Power is expected to be restored there around 12:30 p.m.  Read more

The market for Catskills real estate returns–on the low end

Image by Dan Moyle, via Flickr. 

Real estate sales are up all over the Catskills, according to realtors across the region who say that rustic, country and move-in-ready homes are attracting buyers.

But while the number of sales are up, the price of what’s selling is going down.

Realtors say that is because the most interest is coming from savvy bargain hunters from New York City who are searching for an upstate escape where they can relax and maybe even earn a few bucks.

“Finding that special, unique property is what the buyer is looking for now,” said Jennifer Grimes, the owner-broker of Country House Realty in the Sullivan County hamlet of Grahamsville.   Read more

13 places to rent bicycles in the Catskills

Above: Bike rentals at the Roxbury General Store in Roxbury. Photo via the Roxbury General Store's Facebook page

The Catskills are a bicycler’s paradise with hundreds of miles of trails and roads perfect for bikers of all skill levels. Whether you’re into off-road mountain biking, pedaling the pavement on the scenic byways or taking a relaxing ride with your family, it doesn’t take long to find an adventure that suits your needs.

Luckily, you don’t have to haul your bike up the mountains or make a pricey gear investment for occasional use. Outfitters, bike shops and other establishments offer mountain and road bicycle rentals across the Catskills. Here are 13 places to rent bikes.

DELAWARE COUNTY   Read more

Accessible Catskills hiking, camping and outdoors

Recreation and the outdoors are not just for able-bodied people. Adults and children with physical challenges benefit from exercise and the balance that comes from nature and fitness. Here are some opportunities that allow everyone equal access to the Catskills.

TRAILS FOR ALL

With their gentle grades, rail trails — former railroad beds turned into trails — are accessible to everyone. Try the 26-mile CATSKILL SCENIC TRAIL (Bloomville to Roxbury, catskillscenictrail.org) or the 22-mile WALLKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL (Wallkill to Kingston, wvrta.org), which boasts the Rosendale Trestle, a soaring bridge that crosses the Rondout Creek. A .75-mile paved loop and a paved trail to the Esopus Creek surrounds the CATSKILL INTERPRETIVE CENTER (Mount Tremper, catskilliinterpretivecenter.org) which just opened last month.  Read more

Five kid-friendly Catskills hikes

Above: Kids hiking in the Catskills. Photo by Tim Luby.

While the Catskills have a reputation for rugged, steep terrain, the region also offers plenty of short, exciting jaunts with amazing views that kids can scale.

1. VROMAN’S NOSE. 1.5 miles round trip. A mostly gentle climb, with some steep sections, that leads to sweeping views of surrounding farmland. The large, flat summit is known as “The Dance Floor.” Park on Mill Valley Road in Middleburgh.

2. TROUT POND. 3 miles round trip. A pleasant walk on an old woods road up to a scenic lake. A side trail on the way overlooks a waterfall. Great fishing and camping opportunities. Park on Russell Brook Road near Roscoe.

3. FRICK POND. 2.2 miles round trip. A level hike through forests, swamps and meadows along the shoreline of Frick Pond. Can be muddy. Park on Beech Mountain Road, Livingston Manor.

4. TANBARK TRAIL. 2 miles round trip. A climb up to impressive views of Phoenicia, the Esopus Creek and surrounding high peaks. Trailhead at Parish Field, Phoenicia.  Read more