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Severe thunderstorm warning for Delaware, Sullivan, Greene counties

Thunderstorms -- and possibly large hail -- are on their way into the Catskills from the west. Via NY-Alert:

At 257 PM EDT...National Weather Service Doppler Radar Indicated A Severe Thunderstorm Capable Of Producing Quarter Size Hail...And Damaging Winds In Excess Of 60 Mph. This Storm Was Located Near Sanford...And Moving East At 30 Mph. * The Severe Thunderstorm Will Be Near... Walton By 330 PM EDT... Harvard And 8 Miles North Of East Branch By 332 PM EDT... Colchester By 334 PM EDT... Colchester By 336 PM EDT... Downsville And Corbett By 344 PM EDT... 8 Miles Southwest Of Andes By 400 PM EDT.

A few minutes later, another warning was posted on NY-Alert for central Otsego and north-central Delaware County:  Read more

Advertise in our new *print* outdoors guide, in partnership with the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce

It's a first -- the Watershed Post is partnering with the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce to produce a print (yes, print!) and online guide to the Catskills outdoors, just in time for the Central Catskills Great Outdoors Experience Festival on August 25 - 26.   Read more

Faces of the Flood: "The tsunami after the hurricane"

Above: Dorothy Maffei in an Arkville warehouse where she and teams of volunteers stored tons of clothing donated after Tropical Storm Irene. Photo by Christopher Auger-Dominguez.

This week in our Faces of the Flood series: How donations after a disaster caused more problems than they solved for Dorothy Maffei, a shopkeeper who became Margaretville's town's go-to recovery organizer.

Faces of the Flood: Dorothy Maffei

Dorothy Maffei
Owner, Home Goods kitchen store
Volunteer coordinator
Margaretville, Delaware County

Above: Dorothy Maffei in an Arkville warehouse where she and teams of volunteers sorted and stored tons of clothing donated after Tropical Storm Irene. Photo by Christopher Auger-Dominguez.

Dorothy Maffei calls the clothing donations "the tsunami after the hurricane."

Flood victims need new, clean clothes in the first few days after a disaster. So Maffei, a volunteer who ran recovery operations for the village of Margaretville out of her store after Tropical Storm Irene, began accepting donations.  Read more

For Fleischmanns immigrant family, cancer forces heartbreaking choices

Above and below: Rosa Isela De Los Santos, right, and her family. Photos by Julia Reischel.

Last August, Rosa Isela De Los Santos felt some pain in her stomach. When she went to the doctor, she discovered that she had gastric cancer.

Since then, De Los Santos has had surgery to remove a tumor from her stomach and has undergone chemotherapy. But the cancer has spread to her ovaries and throughout her abdomen. Last month, her doctor told her that she likely has only a year to live.

De Los Santos is 29 years old, and has three children. Her youngest, Alexa, is only three.

On Wednesday, De Los Santos met with a Watershed Post reporter at Mi Lupita, a Fleischmanns restaurant run by her brother-in-law, Martin Morales. De Los Santos was calm.

"Estoy triste...pero yo tengo mucho fe," she said. "Un milagro es posible."

["I am sad, but I have a lot of faith," she said. "A miracle is possible."]

She gestured towards her children. She worries about how they will do without her.

The diagnosis, surgery and chemotherapy De Los Santos has endured are an enormous burden. But this is not all De Los Santos and her family must face.

De Los Santos and her husband, 33-year-old Angel Sarabia, are part of the thriving Mexican community in Fleischmanns. They came to Fleischmanns nine years ago, but despite working for local businesses (he for a hotel, she for a bottled water company), they have no health insurance. They also have no U.S. citizenship.

Two of their children -- 14-year-old Hugo and 8-year-old Angeles -- were born in Mexico but have lived in the US all their lives. They attend Margaretville Central School, and they speak English. But they aren't U.S. citizens. (The third child, Alexa, was born in the U.S., and is therefore an American citizen.)

To cope with De Los Santos' terminal illness, the family has decided to move back to Mexico City to be near her family. They leave at the end of July.

  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Delaware County sheriff Tom Mills responds to "chain gang" story

Editor's note: Recently, I wrote about a press release sent by Delaware County Sheriff Tom Mills's office, concerning a voluntary inmate work program at the county jail. Our story -- entitled "Delaware County sheriff nostalgic for chain gangs" -- pointed out a couple of paragraphs that Watershed Post publisher Julia Reischel and I thought were inflammatory.

I don't often make personal comments on stories, but since our story has now become part of the story, I'd like to say that I think that the discussion in the comments -- which was overall quite thoughtful and respectful -- has been good for everybody. I know it has for me.

"It is never “uncool” to look for the good in others, because when you do, you’ll usually find it," Sheriff Mills writes below. Very true. And I'd like to commend Sheriff Mills for being so forthcoming and willing to engage with the discussion. Bravo. --Lissa Harris

To the editor,  Read more

Freeman: HealthAlliance lost $18 million on Woodland Pond in 3 years

In the wake of an announcement that the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley is planning to close Kingston Hospital, the Daily Freeman did some digging around in HAHV's recent tax records. They found a lot of red ink.

The Freeman reports that Woodland Pond, a retirement and assisted-living facility in New Paltz run by HAHV, lost $18 million between 2008 and 2010.

By contrast, HAHV claims that Kingston and Benedictine Hospital jointly lost $10 million between 2008 and 2011 -- a number the group is using as justification for closing a hospital.

Ulster County legislator Robert Aiello is making outraged calls for new management, the Freeman writes:  Read more

Water, water everywhere

Above: Early morning fishing at the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills. Photo submitted to our Flickr Pool by Timothy E. Cox.

We've been getting a lot of great photos in our Flickr group pool lately. Below, please enjoy some gorgeous shots of local water bodies taken in the last couple of weeks by Watershed Post readers.

Flickr user CMMooney took this picture of clouds reflecting off of the Pepacton Reservoir.

The mirrored sky on Kiamesha Lake was captured by Catskills Photography.  Read more

Delaware County sheriff nostalgic for chain gangs

Above: Photo of prisoners working on a South Carolina chain gang, taken in 1934 by Alan Lomax. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Update, 7/19: Sheriff Tom Mills has written a very thoughtful response to the story below. Click this link to read it.

File under: We Wish We Were Making This Up.

Several days ago, the Watershed Post received a press release from the Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills about the department's inmate work detail program, under which they farm out inmates from the Delaware County Correctional Facility to work for local towns, villages and school districts. (Confession: We're a small office, we get a lot of press releases, and we didn't get around to reading it until today.)  Read more