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Congressman Chris Gibson opens new local offices

Above: Congressman Chris Gibson listens to Olga and Ivan Orisek of Forestburgh at his Liberty office open house on Wednesday, January 30. Photo by Jason Dole.

Though he's been in office since 2011, Congressman Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook) is still a fresh face to much of the newly-created 19th Congressional District.  Read more

Forecasters warn of high winds and possible flooding

National Weather Service forecasters are warning Catskills residents that high winds are expected to develop tonight and tomorrow, increasing the risk of downed trees and power outages across the region. The area is already under a flood watch, with heavy rains expected to fall later in the evening.

The National Weather Service in Albany issued a high wind warning for a large swath of eastern New York tonight and tomorrow, including Ulster, Greene and Schoharie Counties. The alert warns that winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour are expected to develop after 10pm tonight:

Southerly Winds Becoming West Thursday Morning At 20 To 35 Mph With Gusts To 65 Mph...With The Strongest Wind Gusts Expected Across Higher Elevations...And Across Portions Of The Western Mohawk Valley.   Read more

Flood watch issued across the Catskills region

Heavy rain and warmer temperatures are pushing into the southern Catskills, melting snow on the ground and bringing an increased risk of flash flooding.

An alert issued Tuesday afternoon by the National Weather Service in Binghamton urges Delaware, Sullivan and Otsego County residents to watch out for flooding along rivers and creeks on Wednesday and Thursday:

A Strong Storm System Is Developing Over The Center Of The Country And Will Push Mild Air And Rain Into The Region On Wednesday. Some Of The Rain Will Be Heavy Wednesday Evening. This Rain...In Combination With Melting Snow ...Could Cause Flooding Of Small Streams And Minor Flooding Of The Rivers In The Region. ...Flood Watch In Effect From Wednesday Evening Through Thursday Morning.  Read more

Snow falling, schools closing

A snowstorm that threatens to change over to ice and sleet later in the day is prompting school closings and other cancellations across the Catskills region. 

Ulster County executive Mike Hein's office announced this morning that the State of the County address scheduled for this evening will be postponed because of the weather. Hein's address is now scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:30 PM in SUNY Ulster’s College Hall.

Below are a few links for more info on local weather-related cancellations.

School closings in Sullivan and Ulster Counties, via the Times Herald-Record.

School and community organization closings in Ulster and Greene Counties, via the Daily Freeman.  Read more

ORDA's Ted Blazer on Belleayre Mountain: "I apologize if it's not perfect, but we want to make it better"

See video

Above: Video of Ted Blazer's comments to the Catskills at the Boiceville Inn last night. Apologies for the extremely fuzzy video quality. Video shot by Julia Reischel.

Ted Blazer, the CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, visited the Catskills last night to deliver an apology and a promise about the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, which ORDA took over in November. (For our previous coverage of the ORDA takeover, click here.)  Read more

Bonacic issues petition to repeal new state gun control law

Above: A screenshot from state senator John Bonacic's website, urging constituents in the 42nd District to sign a petition to repeal New York State's new gun control law.

With the ink hardly dry on New York State's new gun control law, New York state senator John Bonacic has already begun a petition drive to get the law repealed. Bonacic was one of 18 Republican state senators to vote against the bill.

Bonacic's district, the 42nd, includes all of Sullivan County as well as parts of Delaware, Ulster and Orange Counties.

On January 16, the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York State's gun control legislation into law, Bonacic urged his constituents to sign a petition in support of repealing the law:  Read more

Covidien employee charged with drug trafficking

A Davenport man who was employed at the Covidien pharmaceutical plant in Hobart has been arrested on felony drug trafficking charges, after a lengthy investigation linked him to two other recent arrests involving the trafficking of oxycodone powder diverted from pharmaceutical manufacture.

Jason Wilsey, 33, turned himself in at the Delaware County courthouse on Tuesday morning, accompanied by his attorney. Wilsey is charged with first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class A-I felony that carries a sentence of 8 to 20 years for first-time offenders.  Read more

Watch out for frostbite: Sub-zero wind chills in the forecast tonight

If you're going out tonight, the National Weather Service advises you to bundle up. Delaware and Sullivan Counties are under a wind chill advisory from midnight Tuesday through mid-morning Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to drop to between zero and five degrees, with a wind chill factor of around 15 below zero, thanks to gusting winds:

The Wind Chill Is Expected To Be Cold Enough To Cause Frostbite In About 30 Minutes Or Less...And Could Lead To Hypothermia If Precautions Are Not Taken. Those Planning To Venture Outdoors Should Use Common Sense And Dress Warmly...Making Sure That All Exposed Skin Is Covered.

A special weather statement issued by the NWS in Albany, which covers Ulster, Greene and Schoharie Counties, says we can expect frigid temperatures through the end of the week:  Read more

Gun control bill signed into New York State law

After a five-hour debate, the Democratic-led New York State Assembly passed a new gun control bill Tuesday afternoon that includes stricter definitions of banned "assault weapons" and new reporting requirements for mental health professionals. In passing the bill, the Assembly joined the Republican-led Senate, which passed the bill late Monday night without debate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo acted immediately to sign the bill, which has been dubbed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, and is being discussed widely on Twitter under the hashtag #nysafe.

Since its hasty passage in the Senate on Monday -- after closed-door negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate leaders -- New York State's new gun law has spurred immediate and passionate reactions from New Yorkers of all stripes.  Read more

Wintry weather on the way

It's hot chocolate weather out there, folks. Photo by Flickr user snorlax's cafe; published under Creative Commons license.

After last weekend's downright unseasonable warm spell, it's almost a relief to see the snow clouds rolling back in. Tonight, the National Weather Service is expecting a few inches of snow across the region, possibly with some sleet mixed in.

Most of the Catskills is under a Winter Weather Advisory. In an alert issued for Delaware and Sullivan Counties, the NWS predicts that snow is expected to begin late on Tuesday night, moving northward from the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and spread into the western Catskills by midnight. The heaviest snow will fall Wednesday morning, with accumulations of two to five inches by mid-day Wednesday.  Read more