Windham

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New York Invasive Species Awareness Week

The mission of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to h elp stop their spread by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state and encouraging them to take action. Please join in the fun and help out with the effort!  Activities of all kinds take place July 6th- July 12th. Check out nyis.info and click on the logo for more information!

Dance-A-Thon Benefit & Silent Auction!!!

On March 16th 2013, the H.E.L.P. Organization (Helping Everyone Live Post-Disaster) will be hosting a Dance-A-Thon Benefit & Silent Auction at Fitness Concepts located at 363 Rt. 296 in Hensonville, NY.

H.E.L.P. for Columbia & Greene Counties is dedicated to being good stewards; to facilitate disaster recovery, simplify access to resources, and to advocate for those most vulnerable. 100% of proceeds collected will be disbursed to families recovering from Hurricane Irene & Storm Lee.

The cost of the event is $15 per person with early registration and $18 at the door. Early registration is suggested to secure a spot within one or both the classes. The event begins at 8:30 light breakfast included; 1st class begins 9:30-10:15 light snacks will be provided prior to 2nd class; 2nd class begins 10:45-12:00. Each participant will be entered to win a door prize!!! (Free event T-Shirt while supplies last)

For more information contact Maria at (518) 728-0897 or email us at helpforcg@gmail.com

Downed wire cuts power to thousands in Greene County

About 13,250 Central Hudson customers in Greene and Albany counties were left in the dark late Monday night, after a downed wire cut power to a large area. 

The outage occurred around 9:30 pm on Monday night, and was restored by around 1 am Tuesday, according to Central Hudson spokesperson Denise VanBuren. 

The outages are still under investigation, VanBuren said, but the problem was traced to a phase wire that came down on Paul Saxe Road in Catskill, impacting several substations. 

As of 10:30 pm on Monday, according to Central Hudson's outage map, power was out in most of the households in Cairo, Durham, Greenville, New Baltimore and Tannersville, and parts of Athens, Catskill, Coxsackie and Hunter. 

Windham was home to Nazi summer camp in 1937

Above: A screen shot from "Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A." The flag on the left features a swastika.

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Above: "Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A.," a film by the Deutsche-Amerikanische Berufsgemeinschaft (DAB) about a DAB Nazi summer camp for boys in Windham in 1937. 

In the summer of 1937, the Greene County town of Windham was home to a Nazi summer camp, according to archival film footage released by the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab in July.

The film, titled "Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A.," depicts scores of boys from New York City setting up a summer campsite in a bucolic field in Windham. They exercise, play games, and salute flags emblazoned with Nazi swatiskas and Hitler Youth lightning bolts.

The camp was part of a series of summer camps run in the U.S. in the 1930s by the Deutsche-Amerikanische Berufsgemeinschaft (DAB), a U.S.-based group that promoted Germany and the Nazi party in America, according to the National Archives.  Read more

Flash flood watch for eastern Catskills

Above: A post from the Albany office of the National Weather Service's Facebook page today. 

Parts of the Catskills could get "torrential" rainfall of as much to 1 to 2 inches per hour tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

The eastern Catskills -- Ulster, Schoharie and Greene counties -- are under a flash flood watch issued by the NWS's Albany office. The rains are expected to begin close to midnight tonight, Tuesday, August 12. The flood watch expires at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 13.   Read more

This Weekend: 2014 Windham Mountain Bike World Cup Festival

Contestants in the men’s Cross Country Eliminator at Windham Mountain on Friday, August 8. Photo by PHUNKT.COM.

Pro mountain bikers from around the world are competing on the slopes of Windham Mountain this weekend as part of the Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) Mountain Bike World Cup.

Today, the elite event was the men's and women's Cross Country Eliminator finals. (See above.) 

The mountain is open all weekend to amateurs, too. A pack of volunteers from Windham have organized a slew of races, activities, and games for bikers of all abilities, including "Race the World" amateur cross-country and downhill races. There are also some more unorthodox events, according to a press release:

A Ride the Plank Challenge, where riders attempt to cross a pond on wooden planks supported only by inflatable tubes floating on water and the Red Bull Berm Burners, an individual head-to-head pursuit dirt cycling race that tests the rider’s ability between two fast, steep berms.

And there's a laser show and fireworks. What's not to like? It's free to come and watch, although you will have to pay for parking.   Read more

The Catskills are hot (again)

The cover of August's Hudson Valley Magazine.

Brace yourselves: The Catskills are having their biggest moment since the height of the Borscht Belt resorts in the '50s.

Hudson Valley Magazine has dedicated its entire August issue to the region, declaring that "The Catskills Are Back," and featuring the pool at Phoenicia's The Graham & Co. hotel on its cover.  

[T]he big story of the day is that the Catskills have seemingly overnight transformed from a sleepy, somewhat rundown region to a hip ’n happening hangout for all types of urban culture vultures and — dare we say it — hipsters.

What is this we hear? It seems that every season, at least one new boutique hotel throws open its doors — and more and more city folk flee upstate to the forest. Cultural offerings abound, gastropubs serve up farm-to-table fare, you can even stay in a luxury yurt. Yes, glamping has come to the Catskills.  Read more

Tannersville bets big on arts; launches third season of Jazz Factory

Above: Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts at the 2013 Catskill Jazz Factory. Photo courtesy of the 23Arts initiative.

Piers Playfair and his wife Lucy believe that the arts are the key to economic development in the Catskills.

“It’s important we have a strong artistic spine,” Playfair said.

The couple decided to bring renowned jazz musicians to the Catskills two years ago, when they founded the Catskill Jazz Factory -- a series of performances, workshops, and master classes -- in the Greene County hamlet of Tannersville.

The Jazz Factory, which kicks off its 2014 season tomorrow night, was such a success that the Playfairs are making it the highlight of new organization that plans to run year-round arts programming in and around Tannersville.

The new initiative, which launched this summer, is called the 23Arts Initiative (23Ai for short), and is named after Route 23A, which runs through Tannersville.  Read more

Cyclist heading to Tour of the Catskills ends up in high-speed car chase instead

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Above: Tour of the Catskills racers riding the grueling Devil's Kitchen climb in 2010. 

Cyclists from around the world hit the roads in Greene County over the weekend for the Tour of the Catskills, three days of racing that feature some of the steepest mileage in the northeast.

Not all the contestants made it to the race, however. Herb Jiminez, a cyclist from Montclair, New Jersey, missed the Tour of the Catskills entirely when his car was stolen on Friday, the morning he was setting out for Tannersville.

But Jiminez got his endorphin fix anyway when he spotted the car thieves later that day while driving a newly-acquired rental car, according to Baristanet:

Jimenez reacted immediately, making a crazy U-Turn, then calling 911, all while following his stolen car.

“I stayed close to them for about 10 blocks, making turns into different streets in Montclair while giving the police directions as to where they were turning and heading,” says Jimenez[.]  Read more

The Catskills with a dog in tow

Writer Heather Rolland with a few four-legged hiking companions. Photo by Candid Canine Photography.

Outdoor recreation opportunities abound in the Catskills, running the gamut from strolling on rail trails to expert-only wilderness bushwhacks. Whatever your adventure level — or your dog’s — there’s plenty to do with a pup in tow here in the Catskills.

What to do

HIKE. Most dogs love to hike, and the many trails that wend through Catskills forests are wonderful places for you to enjoy nature: balsam firs, bald eagles, tumbling cascades and vistas that have inspired generations. Be sure to match your outing to your buddy’s current level of fitness.

Catskill Park regulations do not require dogs to be leashed at all times. Voice control is acceptable in many areas; check the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website (dec.ny.gov) for details. Some great trails to try are Overlook Mountain (watch out for timber rattlesnakes), Slide Mountain, Giant Ledge and Rochester Hollow.  Read more

Transition Catskills proposes 'Catskills dollars,' tool libraries, and farmers' markets

Above: A design for a local Catskills currency created by members of Transition Catskills.

About two dozen people attended the first public forum of Transition Catskills, a group dedicated to making the Catskills more economically resilient, on Wednesday night at the Open Eye Theater in Margaretville.

“This was our first effort to organize a conversation,” said Jeff Tomasi, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who helped found the group.

There will be another film screening and public forum for the Transition Catskills movement on Saturday, July 26, at 4 p.m. at the Roxbury Arts Center in Roxbury.

Tomasi, who owns a second home in the Delaware County town of Middletown, also lives in London, where he first got word of Transition, an initiative that began in England around 2006 and addressed issues of oil dependence and economic instability.

“I’m not a leader, I’m a facilitator,” Tomasi told the group. “I’m not here to tell people how to live. Just here to start the dialogue.”  Read more

Guide me a river: The art of Catskills wilderness guiding

Longtime Catskills wilderness guide Charles “Sonny” Somelofski has earned a few more gray hairs since this photo was taken — and caught countless more fish. Photo courtesy of Catskill Outdoor Adventures (catskilloutdooradventures.com).

Charles “Sonny” Somelofski of Catskill Outdoor Adventures in Margaretville (catskilloutdooradventures.com), remembers when the licensing process to become an outdoor guide in New York state was a simple paper questionnaire with a $2 fee that asked whether he could swim, handle a boat, and read a map and compass.

“That was it, back then,” Somelofski says. “Bang! I was able to take people out and do it all.”

Today, being a state-licensed outdoor guide requires a bit more: taxable income disclosure forms, a physician’s statement, and certifications in first aid, CPR, and water safety. Those are the just the basics. Guides can be licensed in a number of different categories, ranging from camping and fishing to whitewater rafting and ice climbing, each with different licensing requirements.

The heart of guiding, however, has remained the same: proving to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that you can reliably take paying customers out into the great outdoors and bring them back again in one piece.  Read more

Windham Letters