Upcoming Events in Middletown

Legislature approves the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway

It's taken seven years, but Route 28 in Ulster and Delaware counties has finally received legislative approval to become the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, according to a press release from New York State Senator James Seward.

Seward made the announcement on Tuesday, June 23, in what officials hoped was the last day of the legislative session, which has run close to a week over its normal schedule this year. 

The 65-mile byway runs along Route 28 from the Ulster County town of Olive to the Delaware County town of Andes, with short jogs along Route 212 and Route 42, through Shandaken, Middletown and Andes. It still must receive Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature to become law.

State approval means that the byway will be designated on maps and will be eligible for federal grant money. It also means that someday soon you'll see the byway's signature logo, which features a bobcat paw print (above), along the roadway from Olive to Andes.   Read more

Farmstead gelato maker Lazy Crazy Acres closes

Above: Lazy Crazy Acres gelato.

Karen and Jake Fairbairn, the owners of the Arkville-based "cow-to-cone" gelato maker Lazy Crazy Acres, announced in a blog post on Tuesday, June 16 that they are shuttering their gelato business. 

The Fairbairns have run Lazy Crazy Acres since 2010. (Read our interview with them from 2012.) They are part of a new generation of Catskills dairy farmers attempting to keep their family farms going in an era of low milk prices by making "value-added" products with their milk. For them, farming came first; the gelato was a way to support their "farming addiction." 

Yesterday's announcement sheds a grim light on the hope that value-added products will save many ancestral Catskills dairy farms.   Read more

NYC media outlets dive deep into the Catskills watershed

It's unusual for New York City-based media outlets to pay much attention to the Catskills, and even more unusual for them to examine the long, often painful history of how exactly New Yorkers get their water, more than a billions gallons a day of it, from the Catskills watershed. 

But this week, WNYC radio and a news website called CityLimits.org are diving deep into the story of the Catskills watershed in their week-long The Cost of Our Water collaborative investigative series. They're airing thoughtful radio pieces and publishing long articles about the sometimes fraught relationship between the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which runs the vast system of reservoirs that dominates the Catskills, and upstate residents.   Read more

Flash flood watch in Delaware County tonight

Above: A hydrograph showing Trout Creek's brief spike into flood stage early on Monday, June 15. More rain on Tuesday, June 16 may cause flash flooding around the Catskills. 

A series of heavy rains over the past few days have added much-needed inches of water to streams and rivers across the Catskills.

But tonight and early tomorrow, Tuesday, June 16, more rain on saturated ground may cause some flash flooding.

From 2 a.m. Tuesday morning until Tuesday afternoon, heavy rain will fall in Delaware and Otsego counties -- sometimes as much as an inch an hour, according to an alert issued by the National Weather Service in Binghamton.  Read more

Sean Eldridge: "I’m not going to run again"

Sean Eldridge, a young political upstart who lost the election for New York's 19th Congressional District from Republican Chris Gibson last year, has finally made it public: He won't be running for election again.

Eldridge, a first-time Democratic challenger, lost the race for Gibson's seat by 30 points in a drubbing that received national attention.

That's because Eldridge is one half of a prominent gay power couple. His husband is Chris Hughes, a multi-millionaire who helped Mark Zuckerberg found Facebook. 

Right after the election, Eldridge refused to answer questions from the Watershed Post about whether or not he would run again in the 19th District, which covers much of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley.  Read more

Tornado watch in effect for the Catskills region

Above: A storm system looms to the west of the Catskills at 2:20 pm. on Monday, June 8.

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued a sweeping tornado watch for much of New York and New England this afternoon.

The tornado watch includes Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties in the Catskills from 1:40 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Monday, June 8. A large storm system will march through the region, bringing winds, possible hail and a chance of flash flooding. 

Rip Van Winkle cauliflower mural takes shape in Margaretville

Above: Murphy works on a new mural in Margaretville on Tuesday, June 2. She plans to finish it next week.

Joanna Murphy, an artist and muralist based in the Catskills, is putting the finishing touches on a mural at the eastern edge of the Delaware County village of Margaretville that depicts a vintage cauliflower label featuring Rip Van Winkle. 

Cauliflower used to be one of the central Catskills' biggest exports, and cauliflower farmers decorated their crates with colorful labels that depicted pastoral scenes and happy country women.

(Until this year, the logo for Pure Catskills, the region's buy local program, was an adaptation of a cauliflower label from the Walton-Hamden Cauliflower Co-op that featured a girl in a red dress. WAC employees call her Fran.)

Murphy at work on the mural on Tuesday, June 2. Photo by Julia Reischel.  Read more

DEC gives $400,000 in grants to fund parks, paths and signs in the Catskills

Above: Eight Catskills towns, villages and nonprofits received grant money from the DEC this week. From left: Hunter Town Councilman David Kukle, Neversink Town Supervisor Mark McCarthy, CWC planner Peter Manning, Lexington Town Supervisor Dixie Baldrey, Windham Town Councilman Robert Pelham, MARK Project Deputy Director Kent Brown, Andes Town Supervisor Marty Donnelly, Cairo Town Supervisor Ted Banta and DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens. In front is Dylan Walrath, the contracts coordinator for the Division of Lands and Forests at the DEC, who coordinated the grants. Photo by Julia Reischel.

Elected officials from communities across the Catskills gathered in the Delaware County village of Margaretville to accept grant funds and accolades from Joseph Martens, the head of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, on Tuesday, June 2.  Read more

Blazing trails: New in the Catskills outdoors

Above: The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, which is scheduled to open in July, features a a .75-mile paved trail that leads to an additional .25 to .5-mile paved trail towards the Esopus Creek. Photo by Julia Reischel.

We're celebrating Catskills outdoors and trails this week as we ramp up for National Trails Day, which is Saturday, June 6. Here's a roundup of new trails and attractions that have opened in the past year or will soon open in the Catskills. 

June 2014
Funded by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and managed by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Catskill Conservation Corps formed in 2014. Volunteers with the Corps build and maintain trails, conduct research, pick up litter, root out invasive species and generally keep an eye on things in the Catskill Park. Workshops teach Corps members how to plan a trail, swing a mattock and identify nasty plants. catskillconservationcorps.org.  Read more

Rosa delivers blistering critique of Kirkwood in Delaware County judge race

Above: Delaware County Family Court candidate Gary Rosa delivered a fiery speech attacking his opponent, Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood, on Saturday at the annual dinner of the Delaware County Democratic Committee. Photo by Robert Cairns.

The race for a new family court judgeship in Delaware County heated up on Saturday, May 30 when Democratic Party candidate and town of Middletown Justice Gary Rosa delivered a strong critique of the qualifications and actions of his opponent, Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood.

Left: Delaware County Attorney Porter Kirkwood, in a photo posted on his campaign's Facebook page. 

Kirkwood is endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties for the new judicial position, which was created by the New York State Legislature last year.  Read more