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New Kingston bids farewell to Robert Van Benschoten

Above: Department of Environmental Conservation officers provide an honor guard at the April 28 memorial service for Robert Van Benschoten, a longtime employee of the agency and its former director of law enforcement. The service was held at the New Kingston Presbyterian Church, near the Van Benschoten family farm where he was born.

Van Benschoten died on April 11 at the Margaretville Hospital, at the age of 90.

New Kingston resident and Presbyterian lay preacher Victor Lipko writes to the Watershed Post that Van Benschoten's death was felt deeply by the community:

Bob had a long history of community service, both as a conservation officer, and also when he retired as the President of the Margaretville Hospital board. His lifelong motto was that he "liked people", and made many friends throughout the valley.

He will be deeply missed.

An obituary for Van Benschoten ran in the Catskill Mountain News and the Oneonta Daily Star.

Photo by Lissa Harris.

Catskills under freeze warning again

Photo of blossoms on a Pennsylvania apple tree, taken April 22 by Steve Guttman. An early, warm spring followed by many unseasonally cold nights has made this a challenging season for apple and other fruit growers across the Northeast. Photo published under Creative Commons license.

If you've still got tender plants that have managed to survive this spring's wild mood swings, you'll want to cover them up tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for south-central New York, including Delaware and Sullivan County:

Freeze Warning Remains In Effect From 11 PM This Evening To 9 AM EDT Saturday... * Locations...Northeast Pennsylvania And Central New York * Temperatures...In The Mid 20S. * Impacts...Any Sensitive Vegetation Will Be Vulnerable To Damage With Below Freezing Temperatures.   Read more

Freeze warning tonight for Delaware, Sullivan counties

Winter finally arrived in April this year -- and even with May just around the corner, it's not letting go.

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for tonight across south-central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania, including Delaware and Sullivan County in the Catskills.

From NY-Alert:

Freeze Warning In Effect From Midnight Tonight To 9 AM EDT Thursday... The National Weather Service In Binghamton Has Issued A Freeze Warning...Which Is In Effect From Midnight Tonight To 9 AM EDT Thursday. * Locations...Mohawk Valley And The Catskills. * Temperatures...In The Low 30S. * Impacts...Sensitive Outdoor Plants May Be Killed If Left Uncovered.

A Freeze Warning Means Sub-Freezing Temperatures Are Imminent Or Highly Likely. These Conditions Will Kill Crops And Other Sensitive Vegetation.

Surprise, surprise: Romney wins New York primary

The AP reports today:

Mitt Romney did what was expected, easily winning New York's Republican presidential primary and padding his delegate lead in his all-but-inevitable march toward the party's nomination.

Romney easily outdistanced Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich on Tuesday and took home a big chunk of delegates in a race marked by low turnout around the heavily Democratic state. Rick Santorum stopped campaigning two weeks ago.

And then there were two: Ron Paul is still campaigning away, but Newt Gingrich is about to officially hang up his spurs, CNN reports.  Read more

Fleischmanns mayor writes "State of the Village" letter

Newly appointed Fleischmanns mayor Todd Pascarella recently wrote an update on the progress of millions of dollars' worth of flood recovery projects in the village, and recent changes in village govenment.

Pascarella was appointed earlier this month to fill the seat of former mayor Dave Morell, who resigned in February.

In his letter, Pascarella reports that the village is working toward opening some temporary park space on land owned by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection while restoration work continues on the village park, which was heavily damaged in last year's Irene floods.

A flood study is underway that will guide millions of dollars in stream work in the village, all of which will be funded through various sources with help from the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Construction work on Main Street is in progress, funded by a $250,000 grant from the MARK Project.  Read more

Tuesday is Republican primary day for New York State

Tuesday, April 24 is the New York State presidential primary -- but with frontrunner Mitt Romney coasting toward the 2012 GOP nomination, the press isn't too excited about it.

"Every four years, the New York primary becomes less significant," the New York Times kvetches. "What if they held an election and no one came?" asks The Atlantic. "Primary? What primary?" Gannett scoffs.  Read more

Flood watch in effect for much of Catskills region

Heavy rains forecast across much of the region for tonight and tomorrow morning mean a flood watch for the eastern Catskills, as well as western New England.

An alert from the National Weather Service warns that Greene, Ulster and Schoharie County could see flooding tonight, especially on east-facing slopes:  Read more

Celebrating spring in Margaretville

Above: By 10:30am this morning, a big crowd was strolling Main Street Margaretville. Click to see a slideshow of images from today's GardenFest. Photos by Julia Reischel and Terry Doyle. 

Margaretville celebrated spring today with the village's first annual GardenFest. I was onhand to take a slew of photos of the festivities. You can check them out below, on our Pinterest board, on our Flickr page, or in the Flickr slideshow embedded above. 

Mel Bellar trucked in about a ton of stone to create a gravel-and-stone oasis on Main Street to showcase Zone4 Landscapes, his landscaping business:

  Read more

This Weekend: Margaretville GardenFest

Above: It's really spring: The forsythia is blooming in the Catskills. Photo of forsythia (alas, not in the Catskills) by Seha bs, via Wikimedia Commons

Give a Catskills town a chance to celebrate spring and it'll do it with gusto. The village of Margaretville is hosting a brand-new garden-themed festival this weekend, and it's going to be jam-packed. There will be a petting zoo, a birdhouse-building workshop, free face painting, a seed exchange, and performances by Story Laurie & Ira McIntosh and the Catskill Mountain Boys.  Read more

Freeze warning in effect for the western Catskills

Delaware County growers, watch out for hard frost tonight. The National Weather Service warns that temperatures will drop sharply across a large swath of south-central New York around 3am:

Temperatures...In The Upper 20S To Low 30S. * Impacts...Any Sensitive Vegetation...Well Ahead Of Normal Growing Pace Due To Warm Weather In March...Will Be Vulnerable To Below Freezing Temperatures Early Tomorrow Morning.

Meanwhile, the webcam overlooking Delhi's Main Street shows blue skies and 67 degrees. You know what they say about the Catskills: If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.