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.
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
The National Weather Service is warning that temperatures ranging from negative 5 to negative 10 degrees will blanket parts of the Catskills tonight, Thursday, Feb. 5. A special weather advisory for Delaware and Sullivan counties states:
Widespread Readings Of 5 To 10 Below Are Expected overnight...With The Normally Colder Spots Even Lower.If You Will Be Outside This Evening And Overnight...Be Prepared To face The Cold. Dress In Layers And Leave As Little Exposed Skin As possible. Also...If You Will Be Driving Remember That Road Chemicals are Much Less Effective At These Temperatures So Any Snow Or Ice On roads Is Unlikely To Melt Despite Being Treated. Roads May Be slippery. Read more
After the fakeout from last week's snowstorm-that-wasn't, a foot of snow is falling across the Catskills today, Monday, Feb. 2. Many schools and offices around the region are closed. We're tracking the storm below. Share your photos with us on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook or via email and we'll add them.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this morning announced that the travel ban in the Hudson Valley (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Westchester counties), Nassau County, and New York City is lifted effective at 7:30 a.m. I-84 as well as the Thruway have been reopened. Drivers should use extreme caution and prepare properly as driving conditions remain poor and other states still may have travel bans in effect.
7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27: Snow much for that. Overnight, the storm tracked farther east than forecasters expected, and now the National Weather Service, Hudson Valley Weather and other forecasters have lowered their snowfall predictions for the Catskills and New York City. It'll be just another normal winter storm from here on out, with up to 6 inches possible in most parts of the Catskills.
While we are still under advisories and warnings for up to 6-12 inches of snow by the NWS, we fill that if the moisture does actually push west this morning into the afternoon, it will only produce light to possibly moderate snowfall totals. A general 2-6 inch snow fall with maybe a few higher spots seems much more logical at this point. No reason to believe this storm will discontinue its efforts to underperform the forecast.
As a side note, attacks against HVW and forecasters alike will not bring the snow back, it would be much more productive for you to tackle your degree in meteorology. We realize that this was a major blow to the science and to forecasting in general and it will likely open the floodgates of criticism against what forecasters do. Kinda reminds me of the movie "The Weatherman" when Nicholas Cage is walking down the street and he gets hit with a milkshake, with that said, I prefer a chocolate frosty from Wendy's.
For all local and state roads, a travel ban will go into effect at 11 p.m until further notice in the following 13 counties: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester.
County Manger Joshua Potosek has announced that there are no current travel restrictions for Sullivan County ... County Manager Potosek urges all County residents during the storm to remain indoors and off roadways whenever possible. If residents must drive, they are advised to exercise extreme caution when driving through this storm.
It looks like the only Catskills county included in the travel ban is Ulster, where drivers have been ordered to stay off the roads after 11 p.m tonight.
5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26: A travel ban on all roads will be in effect in Ulster and Sullivan counties, as well in more southern New York counties, beginning at 11 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26.
"It is a total travel restriction ban," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a 4:45 p.m. press conference. "If you are in your car, and you are on any road after 11 p.m., you will technically be committing a crime."
"State roads, local roads, city roads, town roads except for emergency personnel," Cuomo said. "If you violate this state order it’s a possible misdemeanor, with fines up to $300."