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NewsShed: Small government, big drama

Above: Sunset over a Middleburgh field. Photo by Flickr user A Man Called ACME; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool

Happy Columbus Day Weekend, Catskills. There's plenty to do this weekend around the mountains: Fiddlers in Roxbury, old-timey machines and crafts at Hanford Mills, the massive O+ Festival in Kingston, lots of hikes scheduled for the last few days of Lark in the Park, and more.

The federal government may be shut down, but at the local level, things are mostly chugging along as usual. The Catskill Watershed Corporation has a new president, Stamford supervisor Mike Triolo. Colchester town meetings continue to erupt in drama. Delaware County is looking into passing a bed tax on local hotel stays. Ulster County is pressuring towns to cut their budgets, after promising to take over more of towns' Safety Net costs in the upcoming year. 

Even for Monticello, this week's emergency village board meeting was off the charts in the drama department. The meeting was held to discuss the village's botched demolition of the asbestos-laced Monticello justice court, which resulted in the arrest of six workers by state environmental police. Hat tip to the Sullivan County Democrat for a truly astounding account of the meeting, which includes this gem:  Read more

This weekend is your last chance to earn a Catskill Fire Towers Badge!

Columbus Day weekend is the traditional end of the high season in the Catskills, and it's the end of our Catskill Fire Towers badge season as well. So get outside, enjoy the glorious weather, and earn your badge. If you need a few ideas for outdoor activities -- including fire tower hikes -- check out our special Lark in the Park section, with its calendar of over 50 guided Catskills activities, many happening this weekend.  -- Julia Reischel

Left: Our brand new Catskill Fire Towers badge. The last day to earn yours is October 14, 2013. 

Badges: They're not just for Boy Scouts anymore. You, too, can get out, do neat stuff, and earn badges for it. (And bragging rights.)

The Watershed Post is proud to present our 2013 Catskills badge: The Catskill Fire Towers Badge.   Read more

CWC elects Mike Triolo as new president

Above: Georgianna Lepke of Neversink passes the CWC gavel to Michael Triolo of Stamford. Photo courtesy of the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

The board of the Catskill Watershed Corporation, a nonprofit governed mostly by elected officials from the New York City watershed region, voted Stamford town supervisor Michael Triolo as its new president at the board's regular meeting on Tuesday, October 1. 

Triolo takes over from longtime CWC president Georgianna Lepke, town council member and former supervisor of the town of Neversink. Lepke has sold her Neversink home and is moving to Florida, according to a statement released by the CWC.

In the statement, Triolo praised Lepke's leadership. 

"I will have to fill some huge shoes. If I can do half the job Georgie’s done, I’ll be happy," Triolo said. "And if at any point I lose sight of the fact that this is a regional organization, representing and helping people in Delaware, Sullivan, Schoharie, Greene and Ulster Counties, you let me know."  Read more

Storms pass, but power's still out for many

Above: Adirondack chairs strewn across a Delaware County backyard by Monday's windstorms. Photographer Gerry Gomez Pearlberg, who shared the photo with us, said the winds tossed the chairs 20 or 30 feet.

Heavy rainstorms and high winds that swept across the Catskills on Monday afternoon left scattered power outages in their wake. 

As of around 8:30pm, Central Hudson was reporting that 1,274 of their customers in Ulster County were without power. Most heavily affected were Saugerties, with 342 outages; Lloyd, with 301 outages; Olive, with 250 outages; and Marbletown, with 158 outages.

NYSEG reported that 62 of their customers in Shandaken were without power.

Central Hudson also had 148 outages in Greene County, most in the town of Catskill, and 40 outages in the Sullivan County town of Neversink.  Read more

Tornado watch issued across Catskills

Above: Graphic showing a tornado watch stretching across several mid-Atlantic and New England states on Monday, October 7, issued by the National Weather Service in Albany.

A tornado watch is in effect for a large area of upstate New York, including the five counties of the Catskills region: Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster. 

The watch, issued by the National Weather Service at 9am, is in effect until 5pm and covers a 42-county area in New York State.   Read more

DEC releases consent order with NYC on Lower Esopus

Waterfall on the Esopus Creek in Saugerties. Photo by Flickr user Sonja Stark; published under Creative Commons license.

By state government standards, it's a small document: Just 34 pages. But to Lower Esopus residents, who have been waiting a long time for it, a newly-released consent order between the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will land with a mighty thud.  Read more

Explore the Catskills: Lark in the Park 2013

Above: “Panther Mountain” by Ethan Myers. A runner-up in our 2013 Catskills Great Outdoor Experience Photo Contest. Join a guided hike up Panther Mountain on October 10th as part of the 2013 Lark in the Park. 

It's perfect season in the Catskills: Blue skies, brilliant foliage, crisp air, and heartbreakingly gorgeous views.

That's why the Catskill Mountain Club, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and the New York New-Jersey Trail Conference plan their annual Lark in the Park for October. The Lark is a series of outdoor activities led by experienced hikers, paddlers, cyclists and anglers throughout the Catskills region between October 5 and Columbus Day.

As part of our 2013 Catskills Outdoor Guide, the Watershed Post is featuring a full list of all Lark in the Park events.   Read more

NewsShed: Gibson breaks ranks with GOP over shutdown

So that's how they pick those things up. Above: Lazy Crazy Acres, cow-to-cone gelato makers in Arkville, make hay while the sun shines.

Happy Monday, Catskills. We're just about at the midpoint of leaf turning this week, according to the foliage spotters at I Love NY -- and with a few more gorgeous warm days on tap, it's a great time to be out and about. Enjoy it while it lasts.  Read more

Mail fail: Local newspaper steamed up over USPS delays

Photo of empty post office box by Flickr user Bryan Alexander. Published under Creative Commons license.

In news, timing is critical. As the old reporter's saying goes: Yesterday's news wraps today's fish.

No wonder River Reporter managing editor Jane Bollinger is angry. For at least one local paper, ongoing cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service have been delaying the arrival of the paper in subscribers' mailboxes by as much as several days.  Read more

DEC announces agreement with New York City on Lower Esopus

Above: A dramatic photo of Lower Esopus turbidity, submitted to the Times Herald-Record in October 2010 and republished with permission.

A long-overdue agreement governing New York City's release of turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir into the Lower Esopus Creek has finally been reached, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced late Wednesday.

The agreement, known as a consent order, includes a provision requiring the city to fund $3.4 million worth of stream work and other environmental projects in the Esopus Creek watershed. The city will also be required to conduct a study of the environmental effects of the Ashokan releases, under the review of the DEC and with public participation.  Read more