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DEP opens the Cannonsville to motors -- and watershed land to trails

Above: The Cannonsville Reservoir looking serene, if a bit low on water, in July of 2012. Photo by Flickr user mountain_man_ny_2; published under Creative Commons license.

The agency that manages New York City's water -- and its vast upstate watershed -- is taking another small step toward opening up its reservoirs for public use.

This April, the Cannonsville Reservoir will be opened up to fishing boats with electric trolling motors for the first time. If the pilot program is successful, it may be introduced at other reservoirs, following the example of the city's recreational boating program. Launched on the Cannonsville in 2009, the recreational boating program now allows canoes, kayaks and sailboats on four upstate reservoirs.

The program, according to New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) deputy commissioner Paul Rush, is for fishing boats only. But allowing electric trolling motors will make it easier for anglers to access more of the reservoir, and open up the reservoir to people who are physically unable to row.

Deposit resident Lloyd Hornbeck, avid fisherman and longtime proprietor of Hornbeck's Sport Shop, said that local anglers had been talking with the DEP about allowing motorboats on the reservoir for some years.
  Read more

Cuomo's State of the State: Upstate casinos and minimum wage hike on the agenda

Above: Video of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 'State of the State' address on Wednesday afternoon.  Read more

Walton woman arrested for making death threats to children

On Monday, the Village of Walton Police Department arrested 27-year-old Walton resident Jennifer L. Morris, in connection with a series of graphic and disturbing death threats made on Facebook to Walton children last week.

Although police say more charges are pending, Morris faces only misdemeanor charges: Two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Some of the threatening messages and photos that she is accused of posting are still online at Facebook.

The Walton police issued a brief news release about the arrest:

On January 5th 2013 the Village of Walton Police Department received a complaint of unauthorized access into a Facebook account involving threats to various individuals, including children. Over the past two days several more threats were received by other individuals in and around the Village and Town of Walton. An extensive investigation was conducted by the Walton Police Department and the Delaware County Sheriff's Office which has led to the arrest of Jennifer L. Morris age 27 of Walton.  Read more

Walton children targeted with online death threats and pornography

Several children in the Walton Central School District have been targeted by an unknown person who used Facebook to spread pornography, tag pictures of dead children with the names of local students, and threaten to reenact the Sandy Hook shootings in Walton.

Local residents have also been using Facebook to warn each other about the messages and urge their friends not to accept new friend requests through the site. The harasser has been using several accounts, including "Anthony McCool," "Cody Haha F," and "Cody Farwell." At least one of the accounts appears to have belonged to an innocent Facebook user whose account was hacked.

As recently as Sunday night, one account -- "Cody Farwell" -- was still active, and displaying a recent threat:

Above: A threatening message posted on Saturday by a harasser posing on Facebook as "Cody Farwell." Names in the message have been redacted.

Walton Central School District Superintendent George Mack said that he was first made aware of the situation over the weekend.  Read more

Local indie movie theaters race to meet a digital deadline

Upstate Films in Woodstock. Photo from Upstate Films' Facebook wall.

Upstate Films, a nonprofit that runs two small arthouse movie theaters in Rhinebeck and Woodstock, is racing the clock to raise $180,000 for two digital projectors.

It's an upgrade the theaters are being forced to make, along with thousands of small movie theaters like them across the country. This year, all film distributors will stop making films available in the old 35mm analog format. 

With about $150,000 already raised, the Woodstock Times reports this week, the theaters are still $30,000 shy of the goal, and the clock is ticking. Upstate Films's Steve Lieber lays out the gravity of the situation:  Read more

Cuomo and Christie blast House GOP over failure to pass Sandy bill

The governors of New York and New Jersey are publicly venting outrage over a decision by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to adjourn on Tuesday night without voting on a critical Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

This afternoon, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, issued a joint statement:  Read more

See video

Where to ring in the New Year in the Catskills -- and beyond

Photo by Flickr user Rosie Rogers. Published under Creative Commons license.  Read more

Snow in store for the Catskills

Above: A map showing snow forecasts for Central New York, the Southern Tier and northeast Pennsylvania from the National Weather Service in Binghamton.

Snow is already falling across much of New York State, and is expected to keep falling throughout the evening and into Thursday. In some areas, sleet and freezing rain is expected in the mix along with snow. Forecasters warn that snowfall will be heavy at times this evening, possibly reaching rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour, so please be careful on the roads.

According to a recent NWS forecast, 8 to 10 inches are expected to fall in the Western Catskills and Twin Tiers, and 4 to 6 inches in the southern Catskills.  Read more

Merry Christmas, Catskills

Local photographer Mark Zilberman's house all decked out for Christmas, Catskills style. Photo taken in Andes on Christmas Day, December 25, 2011, and shared in the Watershed Post Flickr group pool.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, we hope you have a very merry etcetera, and a happy New Year.

Tonight in Cooperstown: Anti-fracking attorney to host workshop on DEC's new gas regulations

New York State is currently accepting public comments on its latest draft of gas drilling regulations. Helen Slottje, a lawyer who has been prominent in the movement to pass town bans on gas drilling, is hosting a series of public forums this week on the revised regulations in an effort to gather more public comments from fracking opponents. The third and last of these forums will be held in Cooperstown tonight.

On November 30, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released a revised draft of regulations that, if passed into law, will govern hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The public comment period on the regulations runs from December 12, 2012 through January  11, 2013.  Read more