County government: the labors of Sisyphus

Ulster County legislator Mike Madsen reflects on county executive Mike Hein's recent State of the County address, and is a little frustrated about not hearing more about forward progress.

But I'm a realist. It's not so much who was giving the speech as much as what the limited options are in 2010, and the task is huge. Hein and my fellow Legislators know that we need to provide life support to Ulster County in-spite of what the state throws at us in unfunded mandates, increasing health costs, anaemic sales tax revenue and unrelenting tax increases.

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Not so fast: Future of brown-and-yellow Catskill Park signs still murky

We got a call from Peter Manning at the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development on our recent item on a fed/state tussle over the color of Adirondacks and Catskills road signs. It seems that while the Adirondacks will get to keep their iconic brown-and-yellow signs, the issue isn't settled yet in the Catskills.

We've updated our earlier post, and we'll continue to keep an eye on the story as it unfolds.

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Friar Tuck bidder still wants to buy

Oklahoma investor Joey Abbo, who failed in his bid to buy the ailing Friar Tuck Inn in Catskill last year, says he's still interested in buying, if he has time to put the financing together. From the Times Union:

Abbo says he had been working with several commercial lenders to pay for the Friar Tuck deal, but he was not given enough time by the court to put a financing package together. He said he wanted an exclusive window of 60 to 90 days to close, instead of the 48 hours he was given to wire the money, which was supposed to total $5.3 million to also pay for auctioneer fees and unpaid taxes.

As with other real estate deals involving bankrupt hotels in the Catskills, the proof is in the pudding.

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NY archivists to lose a local resource?

New York genealogists and researchers are upset about a rumored plan by the National Archives and Records Administration to move the Northeast regional archive to a new office in New York City, and put most of its hard-copy materials in a storage unit in Philadelphia. Upstate New York Genealogy Blog has a letter from Roger Joslyn, Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists:

The very upsetting plan seems analogous to a library tossing certain books because no one has taken them off the shelves over the last couple of years.

Going up: NYC water rates

The DEP is holding a hearing in the Bronx tomorrow to discuss soaring water rates.

The New York City Water Board is expected to enact a 14% rate hike in May, bringing water rates to double what they were 12 years ago, and making the average single-family residential bill more than $1,000 for the first time.

Behind the rate hikes, the NY Daily News reports, is not just the cost of maintaining the vast NYC water system, but also deadbeat landlords not paying their bills and, ironically, successful conservation efforts.

H.R. 4618: For the relief of Emilio Maya and Analia Maya

Congressman Maurice Hinchey introduced a bill in support of the Saugerties businessowners on February 5. You can track its progress on OpenCongress, a handy website that provides easy access to federal legislation.

From a comment left on OpenCongress, where sentiment is running mostly in favor of the Mayas:

We have been neighbors of the Maya family and have seen over the years their wonderful involvement in our community. They have done more than most American born citizens in the way of community participation. We now have over 1000 community residents who have signed a petition to keep them here and grant them and their 2 American born children citizenship.

Earlier: Mayas speak out: ICE used us

Moguls on moguls

Hungry young entrepreneur shares a ski lift with multi-million-dollar venture capitalist; gets a few minutes suspended in air to make a pitch for funding. It sounds like a movie plot. But it's a networking event at Hunter Mountain next month: Peak Pitch 2010.

Is skiing the new golf? Pairing off entrepreneurs with VCs on the ski lift is pretty genius. It's got everything: adrenaline, terror and GoreTex.

The FAQ on Peak Pitch's website says you don't have to know how to ski.

Peak Pitch is not a skiing competition. Ability to ski will not reflect on your abilities as an entrepreneur or investor. The spirit of the event is based upon enjoying the great outdoors to create an informal and constructive environment to share business ideas and interests.

Perhaps. But it seems bad form to creep down the bunny hill, knees locked in a snowplow, in front of a guy you're going to hit up for half a mil over hot chocolate.

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Ice climbing fest this weekend

Once again, Alpine Endeavors and Rock and Snow are hosting a four-day ice climbing festival.

Last year was great fun and this year again will have multiple clinics on all the skills and techniques you need to get out on ice - from basic skills, to dry-tooling, to glacier travel techinciques.

The clinics are mostly full, but there are a few spots left.

Hope everybody climbs safe this weekend. An ice climber died on Sunday near Kaaterskill Falls.

Spitzer to visit New Paltz

The former governor will be speaking at SUNY New Paltz on March 11. Jeremy Blaber's excited about it.

Who likes Gov. Eliot Spitzer more then me?!?!

Definitely not "Manhattan Madam" Kristin Davis, who announced recently that she's running for governor.

"I was valedictorian of my high-school class," said the golden-tressed Davis, sporting a modest black suit but wicked Christian Louboutins with 5-inch heels. "I worked 10 years in finance. I was vice president of a hedge fund. I went on to build a multimillion-dollar business from scratch."

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