Upcoming Events in Middletown

Catskills syrupmakers celebrate Maple Weekend(s)

We found the pot of gold: It's at Roxbury Mountain Maple. (And a dozen-plus other syrupmakers around the Catskills, all celebrating Maple Weekend on March 16-17 and 23-24.) Photo from Roxbury Mountain Maple's Facebook page.

Editor's note: We have added more events to this post since it was first published. 

Legend has it that an Iroquois chief accidentally tapped a maple when he’d just needed someplace to stick his tomahawk, and his significant other decided to try cooking with the liquid from the wounded tree. Thus began tree-to-table, and a lively lot of characters have been refining the art ever since.

Over the intervening years, syrup harvesters have found ways to be a bit gentler to the trees, which graciously donate their sweet essence year after year to humans who craft it into all sorts of delectable treats, a gentle act of organized foraging.  Read more

Three charged in Margaretville-area cocaine bust

A three-month investigation into cocaine sales in Delaware County netted three arrests in the Town of Middletown on Wednesday, state police say.

According to a statement from the New York State Police, three people were arrested at a home at 104 Frog Alley Road at 7:45pm on Wednesday: 57-year-old Victor Perez and his wife, 47-year-old Kris Perez, both residents of the Frog Alley Road home, and 53-year-old John D. Gilchrist of 2 Olga Drive in Margaretville.

Troopers searched the house and seized 46 packets of cocaine packaged for sale, with a street value of about $2,300, as well as packing materials and a 12-gauge shotgun with ammunition. Gilchrist, who was in the driveway of the home, was found in possession of cocaine.

Both Victor and Kris Perez are charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony. They were arraigned in the Town of Middletown Court and remanded to the Delaware County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail.  Read more

Celebrating pi -- and pie

Above: Homemade pie with apples from Wrights Farm, destined to meet a sticky end in Lazy Crazy Acres's small-batch Apple Cobbler gelato. Photo from Pure Catskills's Facebook wall.

It's 3.14 today, which means math nerds and pie-lovers around the world are celebrating Pi Day.

In honor of this most auspicious holiday, the Watershed Post is collecting beloved pie hotspots in the Catskills. (Like you really need an excuse for pie.) Got a favorite local source for fresh-baked pie? Let us know in a comment below, or tweet with the hashtag #CatskillsPie.

Flood advisories issued

The National Weather Service out of Albany has issued a spate of advisories for the entire area. Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster  counties are under a flood advisory until 5 pm. while Delaware and Sullivan are also under a flash flood watch. A flood watch has been issued for Schoharie, western Greene county and western Ulster.

Click here for a complete list of watches and warnings.

Shandaken board votes for Route 28 scenic byway

See video

Above: Video from the Shandaken town board meeting on Monday, March 4. A brief discussion of the scenic byway project and a vote on the resolution begins around 21:00. For more video of this and other town meetings, see the Town of Shandaken's YouTube page.

A plan to get a 50-mile stretch of Route 28 designated by New York State authorities as a scenic byway got a green light in Shandaken this week, after months of debate and indecision on the project. 

At their regular meeting on Monday, March 4, town board members voted 3-2 in favor of a resolution supporting the Central Catskills Collaborative's scenic byway plan.   Read more

Snow day!

Schools are closed across the Catskills this Friday morning, and it looks like a snow globe out there. The Hudson Valley Weather Facebook page reports that the snowfall ranges from 1 to 10 inches deep across the region. 

We want proof! Share your snow photos with us, and we will add them to our slideshow above.   Read more

Two-year moratorium on hydrofracking passed in Assembly

Above: Screenshot of a video from a Wednesday morning press conference by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and fellow Assembly Democrats on a bill that, if passed into law, will place a two-year moratorium on fracking in New York State. Source: The Albany Times-Union's Capitol Confidential blog. Watch the full video below.

A bill placing a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State passed the Assembly by a wide margin on Wednesday, March 6, and is now headed for the Senate, according to several news reports. 

If signed into law, bill A.5424, which has local Assemblyman Kevin Cahill as one of its sponsors, would suspend gas drilling permits in the Marcellus and Utica shale until May 15, 2015, and require the state to complete a review of the public health impacts of hydrofracking before any permits can be issued.  Read more

Permanent Verizon cell service comes to Margaretville, with AT&T not far behind

Above: The location of the new cell phone tower in Arkville. Screenshot from SBA Communications' SBA Sites mapping tool

A new cellphone tower in Arkville is live and broadcasting Verizon 4G LTE service across the village of Margaretville and the rest of the town of Middletown, according to a press release issued today by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

The town of Middletown has had Verizon cell service since the fall of 2011, thanks to a portable cell phone tower on a truck bed that was brought to the village to provide connnectivity in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. 

Last fall, according to the Catskill Mountain News, a Florida company called SBA Communications built a permanent cell tower on a piece of land off County Rte. 38 in Arkville that is owned by Peter Molnar.   Read more

Cuomo announces $25 million in grants to build more broadband

Utility poles near Binghamton. Photo by Flickr user Enoch Ross; photo published under Creative Commons license.

Rural utility companies call it the "last mile problem": Even in places where there is a network nearby that carries data, the final connections that bring service to individual houses are the most difficult and expensive to build. In the rural Catskills, where houses are far from one another and remote from population centers, many homes and communities still lack access to high-speed internet or cable television. 

Some of those areas may soon get new broadband access. On Tuesday, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the awarding of $25 million in grants to fund the expansion of broadband networks in underserved parts of the state, through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program.   Read more

In store for the post-bankruptcy Daily Freeman: Layoffs and union-busting

The latest local casualty of the crisis in the newspaper industry: Jobs and wages at the Kingston-based Daily Freeman, whose corporate parent, the Journal Register Company (JRC), is emerging from bankruptcy for the second time in four years.

In February, the JRC went on the bankruptcy auction block, and was sold for $122.15 million to the sole bidder: A group called 21st Century CMH Acquisition Co., a subsidiary of former JRC owners Alden Global Capital. In a bit of corporate sleight of hand, the ailing news chain's owners were able to shed debt and obligations to workers through the bankruptcy process, then essentially buy the business back again.  Read more