Stamford

School voters go to the polls

Tuesday, May 20 is election day for school districts across New York State. Today, voters go to the polls to decide the fate of school budgets, elect candidates for local school boards and vote on school propositions. 

Statewide, increases in school taxes are slowing, according to a report from the NYS Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO). Schools are under pressure to keep tax increases low because of a statewide tax cap passed in 2011, which restricts the growth of the annual tax levy unless voters pass an override at the polls. The average school tax levy increase in the state this year is 1.8 percent -- the lowest increase in six years, according to NYSASBO. 

Here are a few of the most interesting school races around the region this year:   Read more

Slush fund: NYS doles out extra cash to fix weather-battered roads

Upstate New York is notorious for its rough winters. But even for those inured to feet of snow and frozen mountain passes, the winter of 2013-14 was a brutal one, marked by long stretches of subzero temps and winter weather that lasted well into April. 

Amid the storm clouds was a silver lining: Towns and villages are getting a little bit of extra cash from the state to fix up roads that took a beating during this year's unusually harsh winter. This spring, the New York state budget included a one-time $40 million fund for winter weather recovery, in addition to $438 million in the state's regular highway budget.  Read more

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Flood watch in effect for Catskills

Above: A graphic produced Friday morning by the National Weather Service in Albany, showing widespread flood watches west of the Hudson River. 

Flood watches are in effect across the Catskills region for Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, as heavy rains move into the area.

A slow-moving band of rain is moving from west to east, and is expected to drop an inch or two on the Catskills region before moving on. Hudson Valley Weather is predicting drier weather for the upcoming weekend.

If you have a rain gauge, the National Weather Service in Binghamton is looking for rainfall reports.  Read more

Table limit: New York State releases minimum investment figures for casinos

Photo by Flickr user Mark Menzies; published under Creative Commons license.

Casino developers hoping to land one of four prized licenses from New York State will have to prove that they're investing enough in the project. But although the state's minimum investment figures are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, they're not likely to prove an obstacle to deep-pocketed casino developers, many of whom have already unveiled plans to spend much more than the state's required minimum figures.  Read more

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Four injured in Trailways bus crash

Above: An injured victim being treated at the scene of this morning's bus accident on Route 17 in Ramsey, N.J. Photos by Boyd A. Loving; courtesy of the Cliffview Pilot.

A flying car wheel smashed through the windshield of a Pine Hill Trailways bus bound from Kingston to Manhattan on Route 17 around 7:30 this morning, injuring four people, according to several downstate media reports. 

The wheel flew off a Lexus that was driving north, in the opposite direction from the bus, the Cliffview Pilot reports. Two people aboard the bus were critically injured in the accident, and two others sustained head injuries.

One of the injured victims was airlifted to a hospital, and a few others were transported by ambulance, NorthJersey.com reports.  Read more

From the Forest: Fruitful Forests

By Ryan Trapani

This spring I spent a lot of time pruning old apple trees. They were neglected old trees that either the previous landowner planted or the current one forgot about, or simply a seedling that began its life through a deer’s rumen. In any case, there they were. They were alive and managed to fruit every other year or so. Trees like these may seem trivial, but to wildlife – and some eager apple pickers – they serve an extremely beneficial role. Deer, for instance, rely upon apple trees immensely. Some trees hold onto their apples longer than others and can feed deer well into the winter when food reserves are at their lowest. Everything seems to like apple trees. Birds can take advantage of apples while still hanging on the tree. Once the fruit falls, all partake. Rabbits and voles eat the bark. Deer eat any buds or twigs they can reach. Insects and diseases feast on the leaves, fruit or bark as well. Deer hunters who choose not to eat the fruit can instead wait nearby and harvest a deer or bear on their way to and from the trees.   Read more

Catskill Mountains Film Festival rolls out the red carpet

Who needs an Oscar? The first place winners at the Catskill Mountains Film Festival take home a home-grown version of the iconic golden statuette: the "Catty," a cat hand-carved by a Catskills woodworker out of foraged mountain birch.

Left: A "Catty," the official award of the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. Contributed photo.  

One hundred films hand-picked films from New York State and beyond will screen at three local venues during the 2014 festival, which runs from Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4.

Adult, high school and college-aged filmmakers will vie to win the coveted Catty in each of six categories, from narrative and documentary features and shorts to music videos and animation.  Read more

Rabid raccoon found in Bloomville

A raccoon that was killed in a recent fight with a dog in the Delaware County hamlet of Bloomville was found to be infected with rabies, county health officials announced

The raccoon was sent to the New York State rabies laboratory for testing. County officials received a positive rabies test result on Friday, April 25. 

The dog was up to date on its rabies vaccinations, and received a booster shot after the attack. No humans were exposed to rabies in the incident.

The Bloomville raccoon was the second case of rabies in Delaware County in 2014. In March, another rabid raccoon attacked a dog in the village of Stamford, and was captured and killed. The dog was unvaccinated. At the time, county health officials said they were working with the dog's owner to set up a quarantine  Read more


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