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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

A Catskills 'Twelve Days of Christmas'

In the Catskills, we do have partridges -- not to mention pear trees.

But here at the WP, we thought we'd put a more local spin on a favorite carol. While we're at it, we'd like to wish a very Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to our readers across the Catskills and beyond, and a big thank-you to all the local small businesses that have supported the Watershed Post's news efforts this year by advertising with us. Twelve of them are featured below.

As the last days of the holiday season wrap up, we hope you'll shop local, and support the small businesses that are the heart and soul of all our Main Streets.

On the first day of Christmas, the Catskills gave to me: An expert on forestry

  Read more

FEMA proposes buying 33 flood-prone properties in Ulster County

Above: Flood damage in Phoenicia caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Photo taken on September 4, 2011 by fixBufflao and posted to the Watershed Post Flickr pool.

Yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a plan to buy up to 33 properties in Ulster County that were "substantially damaged" by Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011.

Through Ulster County, the property owners all applied for the voluntary program, called the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. If and when the lands are purchased, all structures on them will be demolished and they will be maintained forever as open space, according to a FEMA press release. 

The announcement about FEMA's plans in Ulster County is only the first step is the glacial buyout process, Ulster County Emergency Management director Art Snyder told mulitiple news outlets yesterday. Ulster County put together a proposal for federal buyouts of 38 properties back in February, and this announcement is just preliminary approval of the plan. 

According to the Times Herald-Record, Snyder says that most of the homes on the list are in Shandaken:

Roughly 24 of those buyout-eligible homes are in Shandaken, Snyder said, while four are in Wawarsing, two are in Ulster, two are in the Town of Kingston, and one is in Olive.

But the feds haven't set aside the money yet to fund the project, Snyder told the Daily Freeman:

“We put in a budget for it, but they haven’t said what has been granted,” Snyder said. “They also haven’t said which properties they have accepted at this time. All they’ve done is release the public notice so that if anyone wanted to comment about the program, they would have an opportunity to do so.”

The Times Herald-Record reported that Snyder says the buyout "likely won't be complete until early 2014." 

YNN interviewed a Kerhonkson resident, one of about 60 property owners who applied to the county for buyout assistance:

  Read more

Catskills, watch out for sleet on the roads tonight

The National Weather Service in Albany warns that freezing rain is expected this afternoon and into the evening across the Catskills, especially at elevations above 1200 feet. From NY-Alert:

Elevations Above 1200 Feet Will Be Most Susceptible To These Pockets Of Freezing Rain...Which Could Lead To Locally Slippery Road Conditions. All Interests Should Use Extreme Caution When Driving Through These Areas...In Case Some Bridges...Overpasses And Other Untreated Road Surfaces May Be Slippery.

511-NY tweeted around 4:30pm that parts of both Route 28 and Route 10 were looking icy:

Delaware County makes an elevator pitch to Cuomo

Above: MARK Project director Peg Ellsworth, who serves on the Southern Tier Regional Economic Council, presents Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a gift basket of Delaware County goodies during the Governor's visit to the Southern Tier on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Peg Ellsworth.

This week, New York State's ten new economic development regions are doing their best to impress, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a statewide tour. The ten regions were created by Cuomo's administration in 2011 as public-private partnerships to plan economic growth in the state.

On Wednesday, Cuomo paid a visit to the Southern Tier Economic Development Region, a region that includes rural Delaware County as well as Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins County. Last year, in a round of competitive grants to the state's ten economic development regions, the Southern Tier won a total of $49.4 million in state grants -- an infusion of cash into the region's economy, but also the lowest award made to any of the regions.  Read more

Seven alleged drug dealers arrested in Walton

This just in from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office: A lengthy undercover investigation into drug activity in the village of Walton and around Delaware County has netted seven arrests.

The seven, all arrested on sealed indictment warrants issued by the Delaware County Court, were:

-Edna Cering, 30, of Walton, arrested Friday, November 30. Cering was charged with one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, a Class C felony, for selling Suboxone. Cering was arraigned in the Delaware County Court on Monday, December 3, and remanded to the Delaware County Correctional Facility with no bail.

-Brittany Bakker, 21, of Walton, arrested Friday, November 30. Bakker was charged with two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Class B felonies, for selling heroin on two separate occasions. Bakker was arraigned in the Delaware County Court on Monday, December 3, and remanded to the Delaware County Correctional Facility with no bail.  Read more

Justin Bieber makes an unplanned pit stop in the Catskills

On his way from Montreal to a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Justin Bieber made an unscheduled stop in the Catskills. The Bieb tweeted:

Not swaggy? C'mon, JBiebz. From where we sit, anywhere you can get your smartphone to work up here in the hills is pretty swaggy.

DEC releases new draft gas drilling regulations

On Thursday afternoon, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation unveiled its latest set of proposed regulations to govern hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The new proposed regulations replace an earlier set of draft regulations, issued September 7, 2011.

The latest move from the DEC extends the agency's timeline for finalizing its hydrofracking regulations for another 90 days. Public comment on the current draft will be accepted from December 12, 2012 through 5pm on January 11, 2013.

North Country Radio reports that there are a pair of studies that also need to be completed before drilling could begin:  Read more