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Why did the baguette cross the road?

Reader Lillian Browne ran across this wayward baked good on East Brook Road in Walton on Sunday morning. (Almost literally.)

Bread puns and yeasty punchlines welcome, folks; leave yours in the comments below.

Catskills under winter storm warning

Spring may be due to kick off officially in just a couple of days, but winter isn't done with the Catskills yet. Starting tonight, the National Weather Service warns, we're in for a round of snow and sleet, with accumulations of up to eight inches in parts of the Catskills.

A winter storm warning issued by NWS Albany calls for four to eight inches of heavy snow and up to a quarter-inch of ice in Greene and Ulster Counties, beginning early this evening and continuing into early Tuesday morning. The storm will start out as snow and change over to sleet and ice overnight, with rain in the more low-lying areas.   Read more

Murder in the mountains: The troubling case of Debra Sundstrom

A sign on the door at 1884 South River Road in Walton, the former home of Debra and Randy Sundstrom. Photo by David J. Krajicek.

WALTON, N.Y.--When Randy Sundstrom disappeared three years ago, his wife had an explanation that prompted hugs of sympathy, not arched eyebrows of suspicion.

“He ran off with another woman,” Debra Sundstrom said. “Believe me, you didn’t know the real Randy. Good riddance.”

She repeated the story to friends, neighbors, coworkers and, eventually, even to the mother of her own new love interest. Sometimes she added more gasp-inducing details—that the new girlfriend was pregnant, for example, or that Randy beat her.

But Randy Sundstrom had not run off. He was dead -- at Debra’s hand, the authorities say. And for more than 1,000 days, his remains were hidden in plain sight, moldering inside a barrel 25 paces from the back door of the old farmhouse they renovated outside of Walton.

The murder came to light on February 19 -- curiously, the three-year anniversary of the date that Randy Sundstrom was last seen alive.  Read more

Catskills syrupmakers celebrate Maple Weekend(s)

We found the pot of gold: It's at Roxbury Mountain Maple. (And a dozen-plus other syrupmakers around the Catskills, all celebrating Maple Weekend on March 16-17 and 23-24.) Photo from Roxbury Mountain Maple's Facebook page.

Editor's note: We have added more events to this post since it was first published. 

Legend has it that an Iroquois chief accidentally tapped a maple when he’d just needed someplace to stick his tomahawk, and his significant other decided to try cooking with the liquid from the wounded tree. Thus began tree-to-table, and a lively lot of characters have been refining the art ever since.

Over the intervening years, syrup harvesters have found ways to be a bit gentler to the trees, which graciously donate their sweet essence year after year to humans who craft it into all sorts of delectable treats, a gentle act of organized foraging.  Read more

Celebrating pi -- and pie

Above: Homemade pie with apples from Wrights Farm, destined to meet a sticky end in Lazy Crazy Acres's small-batch Apple Cobbler gelato. Photo from Pure Catskills's Facebook wall.

It's 3.14 today, which means math nerds and pie-lovers around the world are celebrating Pi Day.

In honor of this most auspicious holiday, the Watershed Post is collecting beloved pie hotspots in the Catskills. (Like you really need an excuse for pie.) Got a favorite local source for fresh-baked pie? Let us know in a comment below, or tweet with the hashtag #CatskillsPie.

Flood advisories issued

The National Weather Service out of Albany has issued a spate of advisories for the entire area. Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster  counties are under a flood advisory until 5 pm. while Delaware and Sullivan are also under a flash flood watch. A flood watch has been issued for Schoharie, western Greene county and western Ulster.

Click here for a complete list of watches and warnings.

Snow day!

Schools are closed across the Catskills this Friday morning, and it looks like a snow globe out there. The Hudson Valley Weather Facebook page reports that the snowfall ranges from 1 to 10 inches deep across the region. 

We want proof! Share your snow photos with us, and we will add them to our slideshow above.   Read more

Two-year moratorium on hydrofracking passed in Assembly

Above: Screenshot of a video from a Wednesday morning press conference by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and fellow Assembly Democrats on a bill that, if passed into law, will place a two-year moratorium on fracking in New York State. Source: The Albany Times-Union's Capitol Confidential blog. Watch the full video below.

A bill placing a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State passed the Assembly by a wide margin on Wednesday, March 6, and is now headed for the Senate, according to several news reports. 

If signed into law, bill A.5424, which has local Assemblyman Kevin Cahill as one of its sponsors, would suspend gas drilling permits in the Marcellus and Utica shale until May 15, 2015, and require the state to complete a review of the public health impacts of hydrofracking before any permits can be issued.  Read more

Walton man arrested on drug and weapon charges after car accident

A 47-year-old Walton man was arrested on Tuesday morning at the scene of a one-car accident on County Route 14 in Franklin, when Delaware County sheriff's deputies found drugs and weapons in the car he was driving.

Rafael Macken was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs (a misdemeanor), one count each of second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon (class C and D felonies), fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (a class D felony), two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon (misdemeanors), unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to keep right.

According to a news release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, an investigation of Macken's car after the accident turned up a loaded .22 caliber handgun, a silencer, switchblade and metal knuckle knives, a number of unspecified controlled substances and marijuana.

Macken was arraigned in the Town of Franklin Court and remanded to the Delaware County Correctional Facility in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $25,000 bond.

Cuomo announces $25 million in grants to build more broadband

Utility poles near Binghamton. Photo by Flickr user Enoch Ross; photo published under Creative Commons license.

Rural utility companies call it the "last mile problem": Even in places where there is a network nearby that carries data, the final connections that bring service to individual houses are the most difficult and expensive to build. In the rural Catskills, where houses are far from one another and remote from population centers, many homes and communities still lack access to high-speed internet or cable television. 

Some of those areas may soon get new broadband access. On Tuesday, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the awarding of $25 million in grants to fund the expansion of broadband networks in underserved parts of the state, through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program.   Read more