Upcoming Events in Middletown

NY Times: Fracking fears put a damper on Catskills real estate sales

Above: A three-bedroom ranch house on 14 acres in Hancock that local realtor Leonard Piorkowski hasn't been able to get a bite for, despite a tempting $107,000 sticker price. Photo from listing on Klimchok Real Estate's website.

For some upstate New York landowners, a prime location atop the Marcellus Shale is a potential goldmine. For others, it's more like an albatross.

In today's New York Times, reporter Mireya Navarro digs into the issue of whether the fear of impending gas drilling is scaring off potential homebuyers in the Catskills. Among those she interviews is would-be second-home-buyer Arthur Gillett, who found the prospect of fracking in Sullivan County too rich for his blood:  Read more

Smorgasbord of delectable festivals this weekend

We looked for a photo featuring cauliflower, garlic, pie and beer. We really did. Splendiferous photo of cauliflower by Flickr user Jack Letourneau; published under Creative Commons license.

This weekend offers a plethora of exquisite feast-ivals in homage to the region's agricultural heirlooms: It's cauliflower time in Margaretville, garlic time in Saugerties, Jennie Bell pie time in Accord, and beer time in Andes. All four offer exquisite blends of good eating, eclectic arrays of local wares, and top-notch entertainment.

The "cabbage with a college education," as Twain once styled it, does not inherently connote elegance. Cauliflower Festival organizers confront this dryly on their website: “...one can scarcely imagine children being as entranced by James and the Giant Cauliflower.” That said, they go on to note that the veggie shaped like a brain used to be favored at the royal court served up in ways that would tempt Tony Bourdain.  Read more

Meet Paul Fero, world-class rock-skipper

Paul Fero winds up for a throw at the 2012 Rock In River Festival in Franklin, PA on August 24. Photo by Michael Henderson; reproduced by permission.

How many times can you skip a rock?

Chances are, not as many times as Paul Fero.

Fero, an Oliverea resident, competed in this year’s “Rock In River Festival” in Franklin, PA on August 24th, where he attempted to dethrone the mighty Kurt “Mountain Main” Steiner and see how far he could skip his rocks against some of the toughest competition in the country.

The festival, which hugged the banks of the Allegheny River, featured not only some of the best rock-skippers in the county, but also rock decorating, games, crafts, free food and even a petting zoo.

Fero placed third in the competition after a tie-breaking decision. Fero's highest total of the afternoon was 40 skips, a feat he shared with competitior Eric Henne. To break the tie, the judges of the competition use each competitor's second highest number of skips, which placed Fero just four skips from second place.  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Blake congratulates and endorses Seward on primary win

The following is a press release from Jim Blake, one of the Republican primary candidates for the 51st District of the New York State Senate. Blake lost his primary bid last week to James L. Seward, the seat's incumbent. We are running the press release as a letter to the editor. - Julia Reischel

Honoring the results of the Republican Primary for New York State Senate in the 51st District, Republican candidate Jim Blake today issued his thanks to all those who supported and voted for him. Blake said, “I congratulate my opponent, Jim Seward, on his primary victory. Although many Republicans expressed dissatisfaction with Seward in the primary, now that the results are in, it is time for all Republicans to unify and support Senator Seward in his reelection bid.”  Read more

Flash flood warning for Margaretville and Arkville

The National Weather Service warns that the East Branch of the Delaware River is expected to crest above flood stage sometime before 2am in Margaretville and Arkville:

3 To 5 Inches Of Rain Has Fallen Across The Warned Area. Minor Flooding On The East Branch Of The Delaware River At Margaretville Is Likely With A Crest Between 11 And 12 Feet. At 11 Feet...Water Begins To Inundate Low Lying Areas Of The Village Park In Margaretville. At 11.5 Feet...The Parking Lot Of A Super Market In Margaretville Floods With Further Inundation Of Village Park. Minor Flooding Is Also Likely On The Dry Brook At Arkville.

Readers, keep us posted on what you're seeing on the ground: email us at [email protected], or leave a comment below or on our Facebook wall.

Thousands without power across the Catskills region

High winds are taking out power lines across upstate New York tonight, leaving tens of thousands of people without power.

As of this post, Central Hudson is reporting that 29,961 of its upstate New York customers have power outages. NYSEG has 22,056 customers without power. And National Grid has 12,384 customers without power.

Within the Catskills region, Ulster County appears to be the hardest hit by power outages, with 8,936 affected Central Hudson customers and 230 NYSEG customers as of the time of this post.

Central Hudson, NYSEG and National Grid all have live updating maps of power outages. Click the links above to see current maps and estimated power restoration times, if the company has them.

Tornado watch in effect for Catskills region

Update, 5pm: Ulster and Greene County are under a flash flood warning:

Locations In The Warning Include But Are Not Limited To Windham And Prattsville Radar Estimates And Actual Gage Readings Indicating 2 To 4 Inches Of Rain Has Fallen Across Portions Of Greene And Mainly Western Ulster County. Additional Rainfall Of 1 To 3 Inches Is Possible. Rapid Runoff From Heavy Rainfall Will Lead To Flash Flooding.

Sullivan County has a flash flood warning as well:  Read more

Wind advisory in effect today for Sullivan, Delaware, Otsego counties

The National Weather Service in Binghamton has issued a wind advisory for the western Catskills region, from 11am until 8pm. Forecasts are calling for sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40 or 50 miles per hour, possibly greater at high elevations.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are also in the forecast for the region, and could dump as much as two or three inches in some areas. With the region feeling the effects of a long summer drought, a little rain isn't a bad thing -- but watch out for downed trees and power lines on the road this afternoon and evening.

Primary Day: Thursday, September 13

Above: Photo by Flickr user Ann Douglas. Published under Creative Commons license.

If you're registered to a political party in New York State, you may be eligible to vote in a primary election on Thursday, September 13. Most towns in the Catskills region have either a Republican or a Democratic primary. (Check our handy cheat sheet below to see if your party has a primary race in your town.)

Earlier this year, new New York State Senate and Assembly districts were drawn. This will be the first election to use the new primary districts, and voters in some towns will be seeing an unfamiliar incumbent on the ballot: a politician who is already in office, but who has never before represented that town as part of his or her district.  Read more

Kung fu begins in earnest at USA Shaolin Temple

Above: Shaolin kung fu practitioners at the opening ceremony for the new USA Shaolin Temple in Fleischmanns, held in May on the grounds of the temple. Photo courtesy of USA Shaolin Temple.

If you're curious about the ways of Buddhist warrior monks, you should head to Fleischmanns this weekend, where Shifu Shi Yan Ming and a few dozen trained kung fu fighters will be on hand to introduce Delaware County's greenest grasshoppers to the ancient art of Shaolin kung fu.

This Saturday, September 15, the Shaolin temple at 383 Breezy Hill Road in Fleischmanns -- new home of the USA Shaolin Temple, a growing contingent of American Shaolin warriors founded in 1994 -- will hold a free training session for the community. Class begins at 11am. Here's what to expect, disciple Heng De writes in an email:  Read more