Mayor from Texas gas country to speak

Un-Natural Gas reports that Calvin Tillman, mayor of DISH, Texas, is visiting Delaware County later this month to talk about the problems his town has had with natural gas drilling.

DISH  hosts eleven massive natural gas compressors, four metering stations, eleven high-pressure gas lines, and numerous gas wells and gathering lines.  Its busy mayor had been warning other small cities located over the Barnett Shale that the chaotic growth of gas transmission lines and compressor stations could seriously jeopardize their economic future.

But numerous cases of respiratory distress reported recently by DISH residents have pushed public health concerns to the forefront.

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More on hospital flap from the Daily Star

The Oneonta paper has a story in today's edition about Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's crackdown on hospitals in the New York City watershed. Assemblyman Clifford Crouch (R-Guilford) raises the looming spectre of the hospitals losing their $1 million loans from the Catskill Watershed Corporation because of the A.G.'s actions:

“I am requesting that all of the consent orders and enforcement actions be rescinded and any fines or settlement be waived and/or reimbursed immediately,” Crouch wrote. “Implementation of these unnecessary stipulations coupled with the loss of such loans will not only create a fiscal crisis, but significantly increase the cost of health care at these facilities, and could result in a catastrophic health care crisis for those individuals who rely on them when these hospitals and nursing homes are forced to close their doors.”

Bacon: The great uniter

The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that pro- and anti-gas-drilling groups in the area sat down over breakfast recently to talk about what they have in common when they're not hurling nasty epithets at one another.

Dan Fitzsimmons, chairman of the landowners group, proposed the informal meeting of six to allow both sides to discuss mutual interests largely ignored in caustic exchanges at public events and rallies. A primary focus of both groups includes preserving and building a sustainable local economy.

Both sides discarded high-profile criticism and blunt rhetoric, and instead spent much of the morning listening to each other over coffee, toast, eggs and pancakes.

Let's have more of this, please.

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February is Black History Month

And we're celebrating it. (Maybe you thought there was no black history in the Catskills?)

Check out this find from the papers of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society: depositions from an 1822 trial in Catskill, Greene County in which "James Fox a negro" is accused of being a runaway slave.

Bard College prof Myra Young Armstead has written a brief history of African-Americans in Sullivan County from the 1930s to the 1980s, and you can find it here.

Also worth checking out: Honor to the Hills, a young adult historical fiction about the Underground Railroad, set in the Catskills in the 1850s.

Image: The Main Street Bistro in New Paltz celebrates the occasion. (There's another 's' in there somewhere, guys. But the pancakes sound awesome.) Photo by Lissa Harris.

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Nevele sale too good to be true

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated along with the Long Island Business News and Times Herald-Record that the Nevele had finally been sold. Well, it was under contract, anyway. Which is just paperwork, right?

Wrong. The THR's Adam Bosch reports that a few things still stand in the way of the sale. Among them: a lawsuit from the current owner's partner, $5 million in debt, an email to local officials that smells like a shakedown, and empty-sounding promises of bringing the Black Eyed Peas to Ellenville.

The tenor of discussions between local officials and Tricon has county lawmakers wondering if the deal is real.

"I've seen tactics like this before, and every time it's turned out to be smoke and mirrors," said Legislator Joe Stoeckeler, D-Ellenville.

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