Armed anti-Muslim activist heads to Islamberg; Catskills cops on high alert

Above: "Islamberg: A Muslim Community in the Catskills." A video produced by Jessica Vecchione of Vecc Videography in partnership with the Watershed Post. We take a look at how the small religious community of Islamberg has dealt with threats from people like Robert Doggart, a Tennessee man who plotted to burn the hamlet and massacre its citizens in April 2015. Help us do more reporting like this: donate.  

For the second time this year, an armed man has threatened to drive across the country to the Catskills to attack Islamberg, a community of about 25 African-American Muslim families located in the rural Delaware County town of Tompkins.

Rumors that the community is a breeding ground for homegrown terrorists have made Islamberg a target for anti-Muslim extremists around the United States.

Above: Jon Ritzheimer brandishing a gun in a Facebook video in which he says he is driving to Islamberg on Oct. 18. 

At home in the Catskills, however, Islamberg has longstanding collegial relationships with the FBI, local law enforcement and its neighbors. (For an inside look at Islamberg and its relationships with locals, see our video above.)

On Oct. 18, Jon Ritzheimer, an ex-Marine from Phoenix, Arizona, posted a video on Facebook of himself with a handgun in the front of a car, saying that he is on his way to Islamberg.

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Holiday Weekend Shopping at Tay Tea

Tay Tea soaps and L'ouvriere beeswax candles.

Friday, November 27 is "Black Tea Friday" at Tay Tea. Save 15% on all black teas, online only. Just use this discount code at checkout: BLACKTEAFRIDAY.

Saturday November 28 is "Small Business Saturday" in Andes NY. This season, don't buy your gifts from the big box corporations, keep it local! Check out the amazing events in Andes and stop buy for a free tea. We'll be having a tasting from 5 - 8 pm.

In fact, you can swing by Tay Tea all weekend for your holiday shopping needs. We offer the finest artisanal hand-blended teas, local and global teaware, and locally produced artisan gifts & jewelry. We have beautiful pies and warm cups of the finest tea in the Catskills!

Shop and linger. . .

Locally made soaps and Better Than Sex Tea. 

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Holiday Wedding Special!

Holiday wedding special. Book a full day wedding package before December 16th, and get a free hour of coverage, or a 20 page wedding album! Contact me for details 

[email protected]


Thanksgiving in the Catskills

Photo by icoNYca, via Flickr. 

As the fourth Thursday in November rolls around, we gather in a spirit of gratitude for our mountain peaks and sparkling creeks, our deer and raptors and black bear, and for each other. Here are some places to feast among neighbors in the Catskills this Thanksgiving Day. Unless otherwise specified, all events are taking place on Thursday, Nov. 26.


The Interfaith Council is inviting everyone in the greater Margaretville community to its 5th annual free Thanksgiving dinner, taking place from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. at the Margaretville United Methodist Church. All are welcome and take-outs are available.  Read more

Happy Thanksgiving Catskills

Delaware County passes bed tax

Above: Maureen Wacha of Walton, a motel owner, spoke against the Delaware County bed tax at a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Photo by Robert Cairns.

Those who pay for overnight stays at hotels, motels and other lodging establishments in Delaware County will soon pay two percent more.

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors, at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, approved a hotel and motel occupancy tax that will also apply to bed-and-breakfast establishments and rentals of vacation homes.

Proponents of the bed tax law say that the tax will raise $192,000 per year to augment the county's tourism promotion efforts. Currently, the county spends $95,000 annually through its tourism promotion agency, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

Under the provisions of the law, the tax’s proceeds are dedicated to tourism and will not go into the county's general fund.  Read more

Wednesday Night’s Show: Catskill Critter Quiz

CFA-On-The-Air: From the Forest
Wednesdays 6PM – 7PM

For Wednesday night’s show we’ll be having a Catskill Critter Quiz to test our knowledge of critter life in the Catskill Mountains. Leading the quiz will be Paul Misko. Paul is the founder of the Catskill 4000 Club. He grew up hiking & fishing in & around Woodland Valley near Phoenicia. His knowledge about forest history is as extensive as the woods growing there. He has been on FROM THE FOREST on numerous occasions to talk about local history, hiking, & one of his favorite naturalists – John Burroughs. Tune in at 91.3 FM or stream online @

As I write this, we stand on the eve of Gun Season for Big Game. It’s nice to see family and friends gathering for the weekend’s big event. Hunting is more than the pursuit of deer. It’s another excuse to get together. Good luck, both in the field and back at camp.

May the forest be with you,
Ryan Trapani
Education Forester
Catskill Forest Association  Read more

Holiday PopUp Market - Shop Local

November 28, 2015 - 10:00am

A Holiday PopUp Market will take place this Saturday November 28 from 10 - 5 in the Historic Bussy Building at 743 Main Street in Margaretville, in the former furniture store next to the NBT Bank parking lot. Shop Local with vendors offering locally made gifts and farm products. There will be free hot mulled cider and cookies!

Get Prepped for Thanksgiving at Tay Tea!

Hand-blended teas and seasonal fare.

This holiday, serve your guests the finest artisanal teas. Shop online for hand-blended teas and have them delivered in time for your feast.

If you’re visiting friends & family, say “thank you” with a lovely hostess gift, like our new pure beeswax candles made from the Catskills-based Louvriere.

And don’t forget to stop by Tay Tea in Andes and say hello! We have beautiful pies, lovely handmade gifts from local artists and warm cups of the finest tea in the Catskills! Shop and linger. . .

Tay Home Store Hours:
Friday - Sunday, 10 am - 6 pm

Gorgeous pies.  Read more

Volunteers Wanted For 2016 Festival in Fleischmanns

The November FAB meeting (scheduled for this Thursday, November 19th) will focus solely on THE GREAT CATSKILL MOUNTAIN BBQ FEST, a FAB event scheduled for August 2016 in Fleischmanns Park. This is a HUGE event and we are now forming committees. We are in need of several committee chairman, volunteers to work on each committee and a host of volunteers for the day of the event.

We have a great competition/festival planned, but FAB NEEDS YOU in order to make it happen!!

Let’s get Fleischmanns back on the map as a destination for Summer 2016 with a fantastic Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned BBQ competition/festival! Please JOIN US Thursday and let us know where you can help. (If you would like to be involved but cannot make the meeting, please email me.)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to Thanksgiving, the November FAB meeting has been moved up a week, to this coming Thursday:

Thursday, November 19th
5:30 pm
Skene Memorial Library

FAB supports your business – please come out and support FAB!  Read more

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