Shandaken

Upcoming Events in Shandaken

Family of three left homeless by Oliverea fire

Above: The charred and ice-covered remains of a double wide trailer on Route 47 in Big Indian. Photo by Julia Reischel.

A family of three, including an infant, was left homeless by a fire that completely destroyed their double wide trailer home on Oliverea Road in the Ulster County hamlet of Big Indian in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 14.

The two parents, a three-month-old baby and multiple pets escaped unharmed, but the home at 33 Oliverea Road was a total loss, according first responders.

“It was an accidental fire caused by a woodstove,” said Big Indian and Oliverea Fire Department Chief Jody Rossitz.

The fire was called in around 3 a.m. by one of the homeowners, who drove down to the firehouse in Big Indian and pressed the fire alarm button, sounding the station’s siren.

The homeowners could not be reached in time to report this story, but Rossitz said that they have relatives who live nearby and that the Red Cross has been alerted to their possible needs for shelter and clothing.

Assistant Chief Chuck Perez was the first firefighter to arrive at the scene around 3 a.m, when the temperature in the Oliverea Valley was below 0 degrees.

“I could see the glow as I left my driveway,” said Perez, who lives nearby. “It was quick.”  Read more

New early bear hunting season may have led to record kill numbers 

Above: A bear snacks on birdseed after smashing a bird feeder at a home in Andes in 2006. Photo by Peter Possenti (using a telephoto lens.) Used with permission

The spot Tim Meservey found at the base of a tree early one Saturday morning in September was a hunter’s dream. On a rise, it faced a gully that is a country lane for wildlife. A few hundred yards away is a farm where bears strip sweet, young corn from the stalk when no one is looking. 

Usually, bears are not on Meservey’s big game list. Not as plentiful as deer, they are also elusive, and it was rare to see one in the woods by the time regular hunting season arrived in November in Greene County, where the 39-year-old hunter and middle school art teacher lives. 

“They tend to head back up in the mountains in fall,” Meservey said.

But when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) initiated an early bear season that started on Sept. 6 – the regular season opened Nov. 15 – Meservey said he finally saw an opportunity.  Read more

The New York Times jumps on the visit-the-Catskills bandwagon

Above: A double rainbow over the Ashokan Reservoir in July 2014. Photo by Rebecca Balzac, shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Joining the likes of Travel + Leisure and Fodor's, the New York Times has listed the Catskills as one of "52 Places to Go in 2015."

"Not your Bubbie and Zadie’s getaway," the NYT writes, ranking the Catskills #39 on its list. The paper names a series of Catskills establishments that have been enjoying fantastic press recently, including The Graham & Co. and the Phoenicia Diner in Phoenicia and Cucina and Woodstock Way in Woodstock--all of which were also recently lauded in a feature in Vogue.

There's also the inevitable comparison to Brooklyn:   Read more

"Arctic Outbreak" prompts some schools to open late

Above: Forecasted windchill temperatures for Thursday, Jan. 8, from the National Weather Service's Binghamton office.

Several Catskills school districts have announced delays for Thursday, Jan. 7 because of frigid temperatures expected on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

In Greene County, the Greene, Catskill and Cairo-Durham schools have all announced two-hour delays, according to CBS 6's StormWatch page.

In Sullivan County, Sullivan County West is also on a two-hour delay, according to the school's website  Read more

Chris Gibson won't run again for Congress in 2016

As Republican Congressman Chris Gibson was sworn into his third term in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, he announced that it would be his last.

In a statement, Gibson said that he will step down from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of his current two-year term:

"As I stated shortly after retiring from the US Army and first pursuing a seat in Congress in 2010, I planned to self-impose term limits. Accordingly, after much reflection and consultation with my family, this will be my third and final time taking the oath of office as a Representative in the US House. I thank the voters of Upstate NY for this privilege to serve and pledge to continue to work tirelessly on their behalf in this final term."  Read more

Winter is about to get serious

Above: Catskills icicles. Photo by Mark Zilberman, via the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Hello 2015! We're back after a holiday break, just in time for winter to really sink its teeth into the Catskills.

The National Weather Service is warning that high winds will batter Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties throughout the day on Monday, Jan. 5, that downed power lines and outages are possible, and that "loose objects may be propelled:"  Read more

Will 2015 be the year of the Catskills?

Above: Barnes Hill on a sunny fall day in 2014. Photo by Dennis Schevjda, via Flickr

If the national travel press has anything to do with it, the Catskills will be flooded with tourists in 2015.

Two separate publications, Fodor's and Travel + Leisure, have put the region on their lists of the best places in the world (the world!) to visit next year.

Fodor's Go List 2015 lumps "The Hudson Valley and the Catskills" together, and lists them as #2, right after "The Arctic" and before Namibia and Guatemala:  Read more

A Christmas flood watch (and other weather warnings)

Above: A Flood Watch is in effect for the eastern Catskills until the day after Christmas. Image via the National Weather Service in Albany.

It's going to be a rainy Christmas in the Catskills. The National Weather Service has issued multiple weather warnings for the region, including a flood watch that goes into effect at 1 p.m on Wednesday, Dec. 24 for Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties and lasts through Friday, Dec. 26:  Read more

Cuomo celebrates with anti-fracking activists

See video

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is basking in the celebratory mood of his constituents this week. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, his administration announced that New York State will ban hydraulic fracturing natural gas drilling and also gave a green light to a casino resort in the Catskills.

Cuomo has travelled the state to glad-hand with supporters of both moves. He gave a speech in Bethel on Thursday, Dec. 18 to a cheering pro-casino advocates in Sullivan County.  Read more

Neighbors may sue DEC over Belleayre Resort

Above: An interactive timeline of 15 years of Belleayre Resort review.

The staff of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation say that they have thoroughly vetted the environmental impact of the proposed Belleayre Resort on a Catskills mountaintop. But two families who weren’t part of the project’s marathon 15-year review process may sue the DEC if the agency allows the resort to go forward.

The Gould family, prominent Catskills philanthropists who are descendants of the 19th-century Catskills developer Jay Gould, own large amounts of land in Ulster and Delaware counties.

Ben Korman, a New York City real estate developer, and his wife have owned the Galli-Curci mansion, a historic property on Route 49A, since 2002.  Read more

Shandaken Letters