Middletown

Upcoming Events in Middletown

Catskills election night reporting 2015

The polls are closed across the Catskills, and we're following the returns as they come in using our Storify widget, below.

You can stalk your own results right along with us. Raw election results are being posted on the board of election websites for Delaware CountyGreene CountySchoharie CountySullivan County and Ulster County.  Read more

Quietly, Delaware Supervisors update county ethics policy

Above: Jim Eisel, the chairman of the Delaware County board of supervisors, at the Aug. 26 meeting of the board. Photo by Robert Cairns.

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors, without much fanfare, has updated the county's ethics policy, which has been the subject of much controversy this year.

The board, at a Wednesday Oct. 28 meeting, passed a resolution adopting “The 2016 Ethics and Disclosure Policy for Delaware County.” The document lists “standards of conduct” regarding gifts, confidential information and conflicts of interest.

All employees of the county will be required to sign a form stating that they have read the policy. 

All members of the board, as well as department heads and several other administrators, will be required to file disclosure forms each year that state private employment and business interests for both the signee and his or her spouse.  Read more

Delaware County supervisors delay bed tax vote, tweak law to cover AirBnB rentals

Above: Leigh Melander, owner of a lodge in Fleischmanns, argued against a proposed bed tax during a public hearing on Oct. 28. Photo by Robert Cairns.

After a run-up of weeks and a public hearing held on Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors withdrew a local law that would have created a two percent tax on hotel and motel occupancy.

As the resolution to adopt the tax came up on the agenda at the Wednesday, Oct. 28 meeting of the board, Stamford Supervisor Mike Triolo, who chairs the board's economic development committee, withdrew it.

“There are some substantive changes we'd like to make to it,” he said.

Triolo said that comments received at the pubic hearing, as well as at three previous informational meetings, led his committee to change the language in the law so that it will apply not only to traditional hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast businesses, but also to vacation rentals booked through online services such as AirBnB and casual rentals advertised through services such as Craigslist.  Read more

How to spend Halloween in the Catskills

Above: One of the many creepy scenes at Night Terrors Haunted Farm in Schoharie. 

Halloween is this Saturday, Oct. 31, and the Catskills are celebrating with costume bashes, trick-or-treat events, zombies, witches and more. Here’s our five county guide to the best spooky events of the weekend.

DELAWARE COUNTY

In Andes, the annual Harvest Moon Ball is a Halloween tradition featuring a potluck, costume-contest and kid-friendly dance party that takes over the back room of the Andes Hotel every year. Saturday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.

O’Neill’s Shire Pub in Delhi is hosting its Spook-Tacular Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. They’ll have DJ Pat hosting a costume contest with prizes for scariest, sexiest, best Couple, and funniest costumes.  Read more

Mounted police division returns to Delaware County

Above: Mounted officers rode through obstacles during a demonstration of skills on Friday. Photo by Robert Cairns.

Delaware County has its first mounted police patrol since the 1980s.

Six members of a multi-jurisdictional force of cops on horseback graduated on Friday, Oct. 23 from a week-long certification course held at Golden Gait Farm in Masonville.

Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond was one of the graduates. He said that mounted patrols have been part of Delaware County’s history since the sheriff's office was founded in 1797, and existed as recently as 30 years ago.

“Delaware County was well-distinguished in regard to former Sheriff [Levon] Telian having a mounted division,” DuMond said.

Above: Officers and horses were tested as they rode around a police car with lights flashing and the siren blaring. Video by Robert Cairns. 

DuMond said that horses are still useful, especially for searches and crowd control.  Read more

Cuomo mounts a motorcycle to announce $5 million Catskills tourism campaign

Above: Gov. Andrew Cuomo riding a motorcycle through the Catskills. Photo via the governor's press office, via Flickr.

Riding on a motorcycle in a leather jacket through the peak of the Catskills fall colors, Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a procession of bikers around the Ashokan Reservoir to a private luncheon at the Catskill Interpretive Center in the Ulster County hamlet of Mount Tremper on Friday, Oct. 23. 

Earlier today, Cuomo announced that he was launching a $5 million I LOVE NY marketing plan for the Catskills region, a 2016 "Catskills Challenge" and a "Ride the Catskills" tourism website.

The new website, which contains motorcycling and biking itineraries for Catskills visitors, is a sub-section of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's website.  Read more

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Delaware County bed tax moves forward; public hearing scheduled

Above: Delaware County Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis answered questions about a proposed “bed tax” at Wednesday's meeting of the county's board of supervisors. Photo by Robert Cairns.

A local law to create a hotel and motel occupancy tax came a step closer to reality on Wednesday, Oct. 14, when the Delaware County Board of Supervisors scheduled a public hearing on the law to add two percent to the bills for overnight stays.

Wednesday's introduction of the law does not put it into effect. A vote on establishing the tax will likely follow the public hearing, which is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 12:35 p.m., prior to the board's meeting. The hearing and the meeting will take place in the board room at the county office building at 111 Main Street in Delhi.

It seemed, briefly, that the introduction of the law would be delayed.

Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente questioned a provision of the law that would allow the county treasurer to require businesses to post a bond for the amount of the tax.

Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis explained that the provision would give the county recourse to collect the tax from businesses that “consistently” fail to remit it.

“It's just a tool to make sure they’re paying on a more timely basis,” Nealis said.

Valente asked if bonding is a practice used to collect other taxes.  Read more

Major repairs stop Delaware & Ulster Railroad in its tracks

Above: A crane lifts a Delaware & Ulster engine into the air on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Photos by Rebecca Andre.

The 2015 season of train rides aboard the Delaware & Ulster Railroad, a scenic railway that runs from the Delaware County hamlet of Arkville to the town of Roxbury, was forced to end unceremoniously early this year due to "mechanical difficulties," according to DURR president Dave Riordan.

Major repairs are necessary on three of the railroad's engines, said Riordan, who was at DURR's Arkville headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 14 overseeing repairs. Around noon, a giant crane lifted one of the engines into the air.

Above: A crane lifts an engine. Photos by Rebecca Andre. 

The last DURR train ran on Sept. 23, according to Heather Wright, the head conductor.   Read more

How to spend Columbus Day weekend in the Catskills

Above: Sugar maples. Photo by DeirdreLovesTrees, submitted to the Watershed Post Flickr pool.

This is it: The peak of fall. Columbus Day Weekend is the biggest weekend of the year in the Catskills, the time when the leaves peak in glorious colors and the fullness of harvest sets in. Come out and paint a pumpkin, crunch a crisp apple and savor the last live outdoor music of 2015. Here’s our guide to what’s up where from Friday, Oct. 9 to Monday, Oct. 12. 

ALBANY COUNTY

It’ll be a farm-fresh feast at Sunday’s Octoberfest Pig Roast at Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow. If you’ve never tasted an Ossabaw Island heritage breed pig, you have no idea what roast pork can taste like; they’ll be roasting a whole one and serving it up with authentic German-style sides like spaetzli and sweet and sour red cabbage. Plus, you can meet a newborn alpaca. Sunday, October 11, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

DELAWARE COUNTY  Read more

Businesses still not sold on Delaware County bed tax

Above: Town of Stamford Supervisor Mike Triolo, chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors, makes a point about the proposed bed tax to business owners who gathered on Monday. Photos by Robert Cairns.

Delaware County's board of supervisors is set to introduce legislation to impose a two-percent hotel occupancy tax.

At a public information meeting held on Monday, Oct. 5 in Delhi, Delaware County Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis said that the proposed local law will be introduced at the Oct. 14 meeting of the supervisors and that a public hearing would likely be scheduled for Oct. 28, prior to another board meeting.

At the meeting on Monday, Nealis and town of Stamford Supervisor Michael Triolo, who chairs the board's economic development committee, fielded questions and comments from about a dozen people who attended.

Nealis explained that county leaders are contemplating the “bed tax” as a means to fund tourism promotion. He explained that Delaware County currently spends $95,000 per year on such promotion, while “some of our neighbors are spending $800,000 to $950,000.”

He cited sales tax figures from 2012--the most recent year for which figures are available--which showed that $9.7 million was spent on lodging in Delaware County that year. Based on those sales, the county could expect to receive $192,000 in bed tax revenue.  Read more