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Hollywood vet Bill Pullman chairs the Catskill Mountains Film Festival

Top:  Bill Pullman with Jessica Vecchione, the founder of the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. Photo by Riikka Olson, via the CMFF Facebook pageAbove: Bill Pullman explains his relationship to the Catskills. Video shot by festival founder Jessica Veccchione. 

Bill Pullman, a Hollywood vet whose best-known role is a stalwart president facing down aliens in the 1997 blockbuster Independence Day, is the honorary chairman of the new Catskill Mountains Film Festival, which is launching this May. 

The festival, which was founded by local videographer and filmmaker Jessica Vecchione, is accepting submissions until March 21. (Pullman has an adorable call for submissions on the festival's website.)   Read more

Boiceville bank robbed

The Boiceville branch of Community Bank, at 4141 Route 28, was robbed on Wednesday morning, according to a report from the Daily Freeman

The bank -- formerly a branch of the Wilber National Bank, a company that was acquired by Community Bank in 2010 -- is across the street from the Onteora Middle and High School, and the Bennett Elementary School. As of around 12:15 p.m., the buildings were on lockout, along with the Phoenicia Elementary School.

During a lockout, school continues inside the building as usual, but all doors are locked, and no one is allowed to enter the school building until authorities give an "all clear" signal to the school.  Read more

Missing Greenfield Park 13-year-old found (updated)

A 13-year-old girl from the Wawarsing hamlet of Greenfield Park is missing and may be in Kingston, Kingston police announced Thursday.

Shamara Shante Sterling was reported missing by her family on Monday, Feb. 17. She was last seen at a friend's home on Pine Street in Kingston on Sunday. Police say she walked out of her friend's house and did not say where she was going. 

Sterling -- pictured above -- is described as about 5'6" tall, 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a red jacket, red hoodie, black Adidas pants with a white stripe, and sneakers. 

Police say that anyone with information on Sterling's whereabouts should call the Kingston Police Department at 845-331-1671. All calls will be kept confidential.  Read more

"Quick burst" of snow to hit Catskills this afternoon

See video

Above: Snow falling thick and fast at 11:40 a.m. in Margaretville at the WP HQ. 

This winter isn't over yet. The National Weather Service in Albany is predicting that a "quick burst" of 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall in the eastern Catskills this afternoon -- specifically in Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties. The snowfall rate will be heavy -- about an inch per hour.

It has already started snowing that hard in Margaretville. See our video above.

The precipitation may become freezing rain as the temperatures rise just above 32 degrees, according to Hudson Valley Weather:  Read more

NYC mayor appoints Emily Lloyd as DEP commissioner

Above: New DEP commissioner Emily Lloyd and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday in the Blue Room at City Hall, where de Blasio announced the appointment of Lloyd and two other city administrators. Photo courtesy of Mayor de Blasio's office. 

Former New York City Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Emily Lloyd is getting her old job back, city mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday at City Hall. 

Lloyd headed the DEP from 2005 to 2008 under former mayor Michael Bloomberg. She resigned from the post in October of 2008, in a move that drew some speculation at the time about whether her departure was connected to controversy over the ballooning costs of the agency's Croton filtration plant  Read more

DEP police sign a new contract with de Blasio administration

Photo illustration. The reservoir in the background is the Pepacton in Delaware County; photo by Timothy Cox, shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

A union representing about 200 watershed police working for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently signed a contract with the city's new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

The DEP police contract -- the first labor contract signed under de Blasio's administration -- follows almost a decade of wrangling over the status of the DEP's officers, who have long performed many of the duties of police without the same level of benefits as other city police officers.  Read more

Five ways to spend Valentine's Day in the Catskills

 

1. We heart art. 
On Valentine's Day, meet and mingle with the artists in permanent residence at the Woodstock Commons, a new affordable-housing center for artists, seniors and working families. "Share The Love," a gallery show featuring the artists' work along with artwork by children who live in the building, will open on Friday, Feb. 14, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Work by Avigayil Landsman, Sasha Sun, Laura Katz and Mercedes Cecilia will be on display, and the evening will feature a special performance by resident musician Barry Garneau.

 

Above: Catskill Rose's handmade lobster marscapone ravioli. Delish.  Read more

Craft beer industry booming in the Catskills

Beers of the Catskills: There's plenty to choose from. Photo from the Facebook page of Cave Mountain Brewing Co. in Windham, whose proprietors are planning to expand into wholesale.

Craft beer drinkers of the greater Catskills region, rejoice: many new taps will flow this spring.

Between April and June, three new breweries are scheduled to debut, offering small-batch brews from the hands of two industry veterans and one newcomer.

Up first is Hunter Mountain Brewery, a microbrewery and restaurant created by longtime local brewmaster Nat Collins, co-founder of the annual TAP-NY Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival. Hunter Mountain Brewery, slated for late April, is now under construction in the former home of the Fireside Restaurant, along Route 23A between Hunter and Tannersville.  Read more

Trailways service cancelled in the Catskills for Thursday

With a snowstorm approaching the Catskills region, Trailways New York has cancelled all service on several routes that go through the area for Thursday, Feb. 12. Many other routes throughout upstate New York are also cancelled or are operating on a limited schedule. 

All service is suspended for Thursday along the Utica to Kingston line, which stops in Woodstock, Phoenicia, Pine Hill, Margaretville, Delhi, Oneonta and other intermediate stops. 

Also cancelled for Thursday: The line that runs between Kingston and New York City, which stops at New Paltz and Rosendale. 

A full list of the Trailways New York cancellations is posted on the bus company's website.

Snowstorm to hit Catskills on Thursday

Above: Graphic from the National Weather Service showing weather watches, warnings and advisories in upstate New York as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The area in pink, stretching across the southern Catskills and Hudson Valley, is under winter storm warning; counties in dark blue are under winter storm watch.

A nor'easter moving up the East Coast is expected to drop anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow on the Catskills on Thursday, with the heaviest accumulations in the southeastern part of the region. 

Snow will begin to fall Thursday morning, become heavier in the afternoon, and continue overnight. Forecasters expect travel conditions to be dangerous in the area from Thursday through Friday morning  Read more