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Seven ways to spend Valentine's Day in the Catskills

St. Valentine, it might be remembered, got into a heap of trouble for marrying couples in defiance of the government, which had decreed that young men remain single so that they’d make better soldiers for the state. No matter your feelings about Hallmark-card consumerism, that’s a dude worth commemorating, and hey, doing something sweet for or with your honey is hardly a burden.

So celebrate some romance, y’all. We've put together seven ideas for making sure your Valentine's Day in the Catskills is a great one.

1. Stay In.

Is anything cozier than a night in the mountains in front of the woodstove? Photo by Flickr user Amy; published under Creative Commons license.  Read more

To drill or not to drill: New York gas regs delayed again

New York State is slated to miss a key Wednesday deadline in the long march toward issuing regulations on hydrofracking.

State health commissioner Nirav Shah announced Tuesday, in a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner Joseph Martens, that his agency's ongoing review of the effects of hydrofracking on human health would not be finished by its Wednesday due date. Several large-scale studies, including a progress report from an ongoing EPA study of hydrofracking's effects on drinking water, have been released recently, and Shah told Martens that his agency needed time to incorporate them into the review.

In the letter, Shah urged Martens to put the brakes on fracking regulations until the Department of Health (DOH) finishes its review:

The time to ensure the impacts on public health are properly considered is before a state permits drilling. Other states began serious health reviews only after proceeding with widespread HVHF [high volume hydraulic fracturing].  Read more

The music man: Terry Doyle, 1966 - 2013

Above: A photo of Doyle at WIOX 91.3FM's studio in 2011. Photo by Simona David, via the WIOX Facebook page.

Terry Doyle, a Catskills reporter and radio show host who was a widely-known fixture of the local music community, died last week.

Doyle died unexpectedly of complications from a heart attack on Wednesday, February 6 at his parents' house in Middleburgh. He was 46 years old.

Doyle, who seemed destined for broadcasting with a smooth, low-pitched voice and an encyclopedic memory for local music and people, began his radio career in the early 1990s. Doyle started out in local radio at a time when commercial stations in the Catskills could support local news reporters and larger staffs. A decade later, he moved to volunteer community radio, as the industry consolidated and local stations were bought by ever-more-distant corporate owners who pared down staffing and local content.  Read more

Could New York's Cardinal Dolan be Pope?

Photo of New York Cardinal-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, circa 2009. Via Wikimedia Commons.

On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing that he would resign on February 28. As the New York Times noted in a front-page story, he will be the first Pope to step down since 1415, when Gregory XII resigned to put an end to a schism in the Church.

Catholics everywhere are wondering: Who's next?

There's no clear front-runner at the moment, writes the New York Times:  Read more

Sleet on the roads -- and school closings -- across the Catskills

Weather advisories are in effect across the Catskills this morning, as snow and freezing rain make for a slick commute on local roads. The slippery stuff is expected to shift over to rain by noon. 

The National Weather Service in Binghamton has issued a freezing rain advisory this morning for an area that includes Delaware and Sullivan Counties. A winter weather advisory is also in effect across eastern New York, including Greene, Schoharie and Ulster County.

Many local school districts are closed or operating on delays this morning. 

Closed:

Onteora Central School District

New Paltz Central School District

Sullivan West Central School District  Read more

What's a little snow?

Above: A Buddha looking serene this morning in Olivebridge under a new 6-inch cap of snow. Thanks to Dona Marie for the photo.

This morning, people around the Catskills were asking: Where's Nemo? The wrath of Friday's snowstorm spared us, for the most part. While drivers abandoned their cars on the snowbound Long Island Expressway, a statewide ban on driving kept Massachusetts residents off the roads, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a downstate weather emergency, the Catskills region got off lightly, with just a few inches of snow in some areas, and no major road accidents.  Read more

Tracking Nemo: Friday's storm could dump a foot or more on the Catskills

See video

Above: A snowstorm forecast from the Weather Channel broadcast on Thursday morning. From the Weather Channel's YouTube channel.

A nor'easter in the forecast for Friday and Saturday -- dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel -- promises to bury upstate New York under a blanket of snow, and drop two feet or more across much of New England.

(Our sister website in Boston -- Universal Hub, a local news site run by Watershed Post web architect Adam Gaffin -- has issued a Severe French Toast Alert for the region. For the uninitiated, Universal Hub's French Toast Alert System was "developed in consultation with local and federal emergency officials to help you determine when to panic and rush to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread.")  Read more

Sean Eldridge to run for Chris Gibson's seat in Congress

Photo of Sean Eldridge taken December 14, 2012. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Sean Eldridge may be best known to the national press as "Chris Hughes's husband" -- the guy whose high-profile marriage to the wealthy Facebook co-founder and New Republic publisher made the New York Times's "Weddings" section last summer. But by the time the 2014 election season gets underway, odds are the 26-year-old investor will be a household name in his own right.  Read more

U.S. Post Office to stop Saturday mail

Photo of NYC mail carrier by Flickr user Wayne Surber. Published under Creative Commons license.

By August, news outlets around the country are reporting, the U.S. Postal Service will put a halt to Saturday mail delivery in an effort to cut costs at the struggling agency.

The USPS hasn't made an official announcement yet -- a press conference will be held later today -- but the Associated Press has gotten a sneak peek at the agency's news release. From an AP story published this morning:

Material prepared for the Wednesday press conference by Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, says Postal Service market research and other research has indicated that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs.  Read more

DEC commissioner talks fracking at budget hearing

This morning, a joint legislative budget hearing was packed to the gills as Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens testified to legislators about hydraulic fracturing.

Martens began speaking at 9:30am. The Democrat and Chronicle is currently hosting a livestream of Martens' testimony on their website.

Gannett reporter Jon Campbell, who is tweeting live from the hearing, writes for the Democrat and Chronicle:  Read more