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Letter to the editor: Bravo to Hurley for saying no to the byway

Background: Last week, after the Town of Hurley voted to withdraw from the Catskill Scenic Byway project, the Watershed Post ran a letter to the editor from Melinda McKnight blasting the town board for their decision. McKnight is Hurley's representative to the Central Catskills Collaborative, a group that represents five towns and two villages, and that is spearheading the byway project.

McKnight's letter refers to Olive resident Glenda McGee, a prominent opponent of the byway, citing McGee's "irrational arguments." The letter below is McGee's response.

Dear Editor,

Melinda McKnight's emotional reaction to Hurley's meticulous assessment of the Byway Plan's pitfalls and expenses warrants a response.

The Town of Hurley has saved their taxpayers untold sums of money and unforeseen consequences by saying no to the Byway Plan. It included no cost analysis, doesn’t grandfather in pre-existing non conforming homes and businesses, and suggests a stunning array of infrastructure projects that are urban-styled, exorbitant and often far- fetched.  Read more

DEC loosens firewood transport rules

Above: Photo of cut log by Flickr user EasyPickle. Published under Creative Commons license.

This afternoon, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that they are loosening the regulations that govern transportation of firewood in the state.

According to a press release from the DEC, wood being transported to sawmills and other facilities for processing will no longer be considered "firewood," and is not covered by the regulations.

Also, under the revision, homeowners and other firewood users will not have to keep documentation of where their wood came from, unless they are burning it on state land.

The regulations, which are intended to prevent the spread of invasive tree-killing insects like emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, still prevent the transport of untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source.

From the press release:  Read more

Greatwoods Farm: A grocery store fresh from the Victorian era

Above and bottom: Tony and Elizabeth Ruiz and their children, Zed and Evie. Photos by Mellisa Misner.

As we work on relaunching our Catskills-wide business directory, we're beefing up our coverage of local businesses. This is the first installment of a series of interviews with Catskills merchants, retailers, and mom-and-pops that we'll be running this year. -- Julia Reischel

"Customers appreciate it when they come in, ask if I have Dijon mustard, and I say 'No, but I can make you some.'"

So says Tony Ruiz of Greatwoods Farm, on Route 28 between Arkville and Margaretville. Greatwoods is a grocery, cafe, and bakery that Ruiz has been running with his wife Elizabeth and their two kids, 2-year-old Evie and 1-year-old Zed, since last year. (There's a third baby, nicknamed "Chopper," due in August.)  Read more

Supreme Court upholds healthcare law (mostly)

This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 in favor of letting most provisions of the healthcare reform law stand. (The ruling did strike down a provision that imposed federal penalties on states if they refuse to expand their Medicaid programs.)

The New York Times has a good explanation of the decision, which was complicated -- and had Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. siding with the four more liberal members of the court in favor of the law, though he disagreed with their reasons:

The key provision that 26 states opposing the law had challenged – popularly known as the individual mandate – requires virtually all citizens to buy health insurance meeting minimum federal standards, or to pay a penalty if they refuse.  Read more

Schreibman, Long win Congressional primaries

With most districts reporting, the Associated Press called the Democratic primary in New York's 19th Congressional District in favor of attorney Julian Schreibman, shortly after 11pm. Schreibman, a first-time candidate, defeated Dutchess County legislator Joel Tyner in the primary.

It was an early night for poll-watchers. About two hours after the polls closed, Schreibman was already making his victory speech -- and looking forward to this November's contest against incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Gibson of Kinderhook, writes the Times-Union:

“Congressman Gibson may be a nice guy, but his votes are out of step with the values of our communities,” said Schreibman. “If you send me to Congress, I will be absolutely focused on the needs of our citizens.”  Read more

Tyner and Schreibman face off in Democratic primary today

Joel Tyner (left) and Julian Schreibman, candidates seeking to run on the Democratic ticket for New York State's 19th Congressional District this year.

Voters, don't forget to go to the polls: New York State holds its statewide primaries today.

Here in the new 19th Congressional District, the race is on between Joel Tyner and Julian Schreibman, both vying for the Democratic ticket. The Republican nominee, incumbent Congressman Chris Gibson, has no challenger on the ballot.

Edited to add: Local GOP voters also have a U.S. Senate race to vote in. Three challengers are seeking to run on the Republican ticket against U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this fall: Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long, Nassau County comptroller George Maragos and Congressman Bob Turner (R-Queens).

The Associated Press is predicting abysmally low turnout in this race. Get out there and prove 'em wrong, folks.

Pepacton the hottest spot for new reservoir boating program

Above: A sailboat glides on the surface of the Pepacton Reservoir on May 26, 2012 the opening weekend for boating on the reservoir. Photo by Tina Schvejda; posted in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

On Memorial Day weekend, three new Catskills reservoirs were opened to public boating. The Pepacton, Neversink and Schoharie reservoirs joined the Cannonsville in welcoming kayaks, canoes, rowboats and small sailboats to their pristine waters.  Read more

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds come home to roost

See video

Top: Arleigh Kincheloe, the lead singer of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Photo by Shervin Lainez.
Above: Video for "Another Ride," from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds' new album, "Pound of Dirt." Frontwoman Arleigh Kincheloe says that the visuals for the video were inspired by the Margaretville Carnival. 

In a Delaware County locale the size of Halcottsville (it counts its population in the dozens), Arleigh Kincheloe's voice was no secret. At 16, she was drafted to open for guitarist Leo Kottke at the West Kortright Centre, where fresh young local talent is often paired with the bigger names who come through.

“Somebody backed out, and one of the directors had heard me sing with my parents' band," Kincheloe says. "I got up there and sang a few songs. It'll be fun to be back with this whole big operation.”

The “whole big operation” would be Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, which Jeff Miers described in a rave review in the Buffalo News last week:  Read more

Julian Schreibman looks past primary to a showdown with Gibson

On Tuesday, June 26, Julian Schreibman will face opponent Joel Tyner in a primary to run on the Democratic ticket in this November's Congressional election. The winner will challenge Republican incumbent Chris Gibson, who currently represents New York's 20th District, in the race to represent the newly redrawn 19th Congressional District.

Schreibman spoke to the Watershed Post as part of our series of interviews with the candidates for the new 19th Congressional District, which spans the Catskills and Hudson Valley regions. The state's new Congressional districts were drawn by a panel of federal judges, after state legislators failed to agree on district lines.

To compare New York State's new Congressional district lines with the old ones, check out this interactive map from the New York Times.

Watershed Post: Why are you running for Congress?   Read more

Joel Tyner campaign embroiled in drama

With the Democratic primary less than a week away, Congressional candidate Joel Tyner has suddenly found himself in the middle of an embarrassing dustup with former campaign treasurer Misha Fredericks.

On Tuesday, the day after the single debate between Tyner and fellow Democratic candidate Julian Schreibman, Fredricks resigned, claiming that Tyner's campaign bank account held about $5,200 less than he claimed in his federal election filings.

The Times Herald-Record broke the news:

Fredericks resigned her post following Monday's debate between Tyner and Schreibman.

She said Tyner's “atrocious” debate behavior convinced her to go public with the alleged financial mismanagement.

“I left ashamed that I was his treasurer,” she said.  Read more