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

Yankee Town Pond Project

December 10, 2015 - 5:30pm

The Yankee Town Pond Project video will be shown at the Erpf Center December 10, 2015 at 5:30 pm. This video is the product of a public art project orchestrated by Keiko Sono. The video is a hybrid of nature-based art video and a documentary. This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Bearsville artist Keiko Sono presents Yankeetown Pond Project, a video chronicling her public art project which brings people from different social circles together with their deep connection to their land as the common thread. Originally planned as a community time-lapse video production, the project was soon turned upside down by a resident protestor. This encounter brought the project through transformations.  Read more


This weekend: Hudson Valley Hullabaloo plus four other Catskills craft fairs

Above: The 2014 Hudson Valley Hullabaloo. Photo via the HV Hullabaloo's Facebook page

The holiday craft season is heating up. This weekend, 65 vendors will flock to the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo in Kingston, and more will appear at markets and bazaars in three other counties. Here's where to shop local for the holidays during the weekend of Nov. 21 and 22.


Fresh-baked pies, locally-raised meats, Catskills-made spirits and wines and much more will be for sale at the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce (GSACC) Holiday Pop-Up Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Stamford. The market has become an annual tradition, and over a dozen vendors will be there to provide a shopping bonanza just before Thanksgiving.   Read more

Annual Community Food Pantry Promotion

Help replenish our local food pantries. With your donation of nonperishable goods during the months of November and December MTC will waive your upgrade charge. Eligible services include: cable TV, high speed internet and phone services. For more information or to schedule your upgrade please call our office at 845-586-3311.

Regular monthly fees and some restrictions apply.

Supervisors: Delaware County bed tax is back, budget is up

Above: Colchester Supervisor Art Merrill, left, and Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente, both opponents of the proposed Delaware County bed tax, conferred during Wednesday's meeting of the board of Supervisors. Photo by Robert Cairns. 

A new version of a proposed Delaware County tax on hotel and motel occupancy was introduced at the Wednesday, Nov. 10 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.

An earlier version of the local law to authorize the two percent tax on overnight stays at lodging establishments was withdrawn last month after supervisors agreed with critics that it unfairly placed the tax on establishments that are already subject to sales tax while allowing casual rentals of rooms and homes to go tax-free.

The new version of the law makes such casual rentals subject to the bed tax by removing language that specified that only establishments that provide maid service or other amenities are taxable.

The change is designed to make the law applicable to rooms booked through services such as AirBnB or advertised on classified ad sites like Craigslist.  Read more

This weekend: Where to buy Catskills-made gifts

Above: "Stuyvesant Square Park," a photograph by Tom Sardo, one of many artists featured in Salon 2015 and Handmade Holidays, an arts and crafts sale run by the Greene County Council on the Arts, opening this weekend.

Makers, crafters and artisans across the region are gathering at holiday bazaars throughout the Catskills, showcasing locally-made crafts, fine arts and food products that all make great gifts. Here's where to shop local for the holidays during the weekend of Nov. 14 and 15.


Tonight’s Show: Meet Ray Derman – Youth in Conservation

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

From the Forest will be interviewing Ray Derman. Ray is a teenager from New Jersey, but his family owns property in Damascus, PA. His father (Ray) & his grandfather (also Ray) have been hunting in the Catskills (west of the Delaware River) for multi-generations. We’ll ask Ray about how he fits into the Derman property & its overall conservation. Tune in at 91.3 FM or stream online @ to learn more.

Last night in the tree stand I watched a lone doe browse on the multi-flora rose I cut back to the ground last week in order to clear another tree-stand. Well, that answers that question. Deer do eat the berries (and perhaps twigs where there are fewer thorns) on this thorny plant. Just wish I chose that stand to sit in; playing musical chairs with the deer again.

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

Thousands without power in Delaware County, hundreds without power in Shandaken

Above: A NYSEG power outage map at 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 10. 

Update, Wednesday, Nov. 11: Power was on again in the Delaware County town of Bovina by 9 p.m. on Tuesday night. Power had been restored to all but two Delaware County NYSEG customers as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Nov. 11, according to NYSEG's updated outage map. 

On Wednesday, scattered power outages were affecting other Catskills counties as well, with 585 NYSEG customers without power in the town of Shandaken and a smattering of Central Hudson customers without power in Greene County.

Original story, Tuesday, Nov. 10: 

The lights went out on Tuesday afternoon throughout Delaware County, according to outage information posted on New York State Electric and Gas's power outpage map.   Read more

New book describes the "color, charm and lunacy" of the Catskills

Above: The Flager in South Fallsburg in the 1950s Catskills. Image from 1950s Unlimited via Flickr.

To the wider world, the Catskills mean just one thing: The Borscht Belt, with its famous Jewish resorts that inspired the movie “Dirty Dancing.”

But Grossinger’s, Kutsher’s and the Concord only take up about two-and-a-half chapters of “The Catskills: Its History and How it Changed America,” a new book released by Knopf on Oct. 27.

That surprised even its author, veteran entertainment journalist and writer Stephen Silverman.

Left: Stephen Silverman. Photo via the Catskill Mountain Foundation.

Telling the story of the Catskills required five years of research and 450 pages. It’s the longest book Silverman had ever written.

“This is 150,000 words,” Silverman said. “You’re talking to somebody who is used to writing 200 words for People Magazine.”

By heft alone, it’s a coffee-table book—a big, glossy hardcover brick stuffed with four centuries of Catskills lore.

It's lavishly illustrated and intended for a mainstream audience that is once again rediscovering the region. (As the book shows, the Catskills have been discovered and re-discovered roughly every 50 years since the 17th century.) 

There’s the well-known history, like the story of how Jennie Grossinger created a world-famous Jewish resort out of her family’s Sullivan County boardinghouse. There are quick biographical sketches of the lives of must-mention 19th-century celebrities Jay Gould and John Burroughs. And there’s a snappy account of how Washington Irving wrote the legend of Rip Van Winkle.

But the best parts mine a rich vein of more obscure Catskills stories.

Promenading tourists find a gangster stabbed to death and strapped to a slot machine floating in Sullivan County’s Swan Lake in 1937.

Father Divine, the charismatic leader of the integrated Universal Peace Mission Movement, brings thousands of followers Ulster County in the 1930s.

Mark Carr, an enterprising farmer, invents the idea of commercial Christmas tree sales in America.

At Casa Susanna, a 1950s retreat in Jewett, a small colony of cross-dressers learn how to apply makeup and walk properly in a pair of pumps. 

“Illegal liquor. Religious cults. Gangsters. Left-wing children being raised on communist work songs," Silverman said. "You had restricted hotels that had signs that read, “No dogs and no Jews,” and then you had Jews. Murders took place. Religious salvation took place. There was the bluestone mining and leather tanning. It was a lively place.”

  Read more

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