Middletown

VW Parts fire ruled accidental

Above: The VW Parts junkyard on fire in Fleischmanns on August 26, 2014. Photo by Julia Reischel.

A fire that destroyed the VW Parts building at 717 Wagner Avenue in Fleischmanns on August 26 was an accident, according to Delaware County fire investigators.

Steve Hood, the director of Delaware County Emergency Services, told the Watershed Post in an email on Sept. 30 that the blaze was caused by stray sparks created by demolition workers who were removing items from the building.

The building, a former junkyard and auto repair shop owned by embattled junkyard operator William Hrazanek, is in the process of being sold with funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of a federal disaster remediation program.

Workers from Euro Nutz Inc. in Saugerties were cleaning out the building on August 26 before the fire began, according to Hrazanek and Hood.

"The final cause of the fire at the VW Parts building was determined to be accidental in nature, caused by workers from Euro-Nuts using a demolition saw to cut heavy pipes," Hood wrote. "The saw created sparks which went down into the wall on the side of the building next to the school."  Read more

Junkyard owner charged with felonies for Mount Tremper spill

Above: A baffle installed in a tributary of the Esopus Creek near 1420 Wittenberg Road in Shandaken, the site of a chemical spill, on July 11, 2013. Photo by Julia Reischel.

William Hrazanek, the embattled owner of multiple Catskills junkyards, was arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 23 in connection with a chemical spill on Wittenberg Road in the Ulster County hamlet of Mount Tremper last year.

Left: William Hrazanek in a DEC mugshot.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation charged 68-year-old Hrazanek with two felonies, according to Peter Constantakes, a DEC spokesman, in an email to the Watershed Post.

The charges were endangering public health, safety and the environment in the 2nd and 3rd degree and criminal mischief.

Hrazanek was arraigned on Sept. 23 before Shandaken Town Justice Thomas Crucet and was released on his own recognizance that same day, according to Constantakes.  Read more

Kelly Hollow Full Moon Hike – October 7, 5:30 PM

October 7, 2014 - 5:30pm

Join Catskill Mountain Club board member Howard Raab for a night-time hike under a full moon at the Kelly Hollow trail. Kelly Hollow is a lovely spot with mountain streams and a combination of coniferous and mixed forests and a picturesque beaver pond at the top. It is located on Millbrook Road in the town of Middletown, Delaware county NY (NY/NJ Trail Conference map #142, F-5,6). The trail is an easy to moderate loop of about 4 miles with a lean-to and privy near the beaver pond at the top. We will ascend the trail in the late afternoon and arrive at the beaver pond/lean-to at dusk. After snacks at the lean-to we will descend in the dark through a spooky spruce forest back to the trail-head.

Be sure to bring a good flashlight or head-light. The entire hike will take about 3 to 3 1/2 hours allowing time for snacking. The trail is of easy to moderate difficulty with a short moderately steep climb. Well behaved dogs are welcome.

PLEASE REGISTER for this event at catskillslark.org.  Read more

To Be Forever Wild Screening - Oct. 4, 7 pm

October 4, 2014 - 7:00pm

7PM screening followed by Q and A with the filmmakers.

To Be Forever Wild is an hour-long documentary film created by a group of filmmakers, musicians and artists in the Catskill Mountains. The filmmakers spent several weeks exploring the Catskill Mountains, landscapes that are considered to be America’s “first wilderness.” The film profiles the people who live in and visit this region, including artists, hikers, scientists, farmers and young people.

The screening at the Open Eye Theater is one of a series of screenings planned around the Catskills and Hudson Valley. Director David Becker, crew members, and subjects of the film will be in attendance. To Be Forever Wild will premiere on PBS and will be released on DVD this August.

“In the film we see the power of nature to restore, reclaim and provoke our deepest emotions and connections to the world. It’s a film that inspires people to reconnect with nature in their own way, wherever they happen to be,” said director David Becker.  Read more

Wednesday Night's Show: Hunting with Patrick Davis

CFA-On-The-Air: From the Forest
Wednesdays 6PM – 7PM
WIOX ROXBURY 91.3FM or www.wioxradio.org

On Wednesday night’s show, Oct. 1, we’ll be talking to one of the area’s local hunters – Patrick Davis. Patrick is an avid bow hunter, bear hunter, and turkey hunter. Opening day of bow-season for deer and bear is right around the corner – Wednesday, October 1st. Turkey season will be open too. We’ll talk to Patrick about how he has been preparing for the upcoming season, and how he thinks it will go. Tune in at 91.3 FM or stream online at www.wioxradio.org to learn more.  Read more

This weekend: The Margaretville Cauliflower Festival

Above: A head of purple cauliflower sold at the 2013 Cauliflower Festival. Photo by Diane Galusha.

The annual Cauliflower Festival celebrates the wonders of the palest cruciferous vegetable this Saturday in the Delaware County village of Margaretville, which was once the epicenter of the cauliflower growing industry in New York State. 

Munch on fried cauliflower and cauliflower soup, buy a bushel of cauliflowers, learn about the history of the cauliflower trade, and catch the popular tractor parade, in which area farmers will show off their finest agricultural vehicles and compete for a "Best in Show" trophy.

Kids' activities, folk and blues music, and vendors round out the festivities. Keep an eye out for exotic varieties of cauliflower, like the purple specimen above, which one local farmer brought to last year's festival. 

Margaretville Cauliflower Festival. Saturday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tractor parade at 11:30 a.m. Village Park, Margaretville. cauliflowerfestival.com

Wednesday Night’s Show: Forest Tools of the Trade with Bob Conyea

CFA-On-The-Air: From the Forest
Wednesdays 6PM – 7PM
WIOX ROXBURY 91.3FM or www.wioxradio.org

On our Sept. 24 show we’ll be talking to Bob Conyea about Forest Tools of the Trade. Bob has been the owner of a nearby chainsaw shop for about 20 years. However, he is also well versed in the history of forest tools and how they were used in these mountains. We’ll also ask Bob about the current state of forest tools and the industry they are used in, as well as their future. Tune in at 91.3 FM or stream online at www.wioxradio.org to learn more.

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FOREST? The freezer is almost empty of venison. The sugar maples are now turning yellow or gold. Red maple is turning a brilliant red. The grass isn’t growing like it did a few weeks ago. I don’t think I heard the katydids either last night. I’m beginning to horde newspaper for lighting small, hot fires to “take the edge off at night.” Fall is here, and hell yes I love it.

May the forest be with you,  Read more

Fleischmanns Theater may be reborn as historic dinner theater

Above: The Fleischmanns Theater, which may soon re-open as The Maxbilt dinner theater. Photos courtesy of Erik Johanson.

A Brooklyn couple who moved to the Catskills full-time in April has convinced the state of New York to nominate the derelict Fleischmanns Theater to the state and national registers of historic places.

It's the first step in Erik Johanson and Fernando Delgado's plan to re-open the property as The Maxbilt, a dinner theater featuring local food and independent film. 

"We're really interested in supporting what's already here," Johanson said. "We came upon it with fresh eyes as newcomers here, saw it as a gem, and want to bring it back to everybody."

On Friday, Sept. 19, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the theater is one of 22 properties across New York State that is being nominated for the historic designation. 

Left: Delgado and Johanson.

The theater's nomination to the State Register of Historic Places must be approved by the New York State historic preservation officer, who will then nominate the building to the National Register.

Official listing in historic registers would make the theater eligible for matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, which would in turn open the door to outside investment, Johanson says.

  Read more

More review in store for the Belleayre Resort?

Above: Gary Gailes, a spokesman for Crossroads Ventures LLC, shows Watershed Post reporter Lissa Harris details of a scale model of the proposed Belleayre Resort in 2013. Photo by Julia Reischel.

For months, backers of the long-planned Belleayre Resort project have been eagerly anticipating the end of the state Department of Environmental Conservation's lengthy process of environmental review.

The developer, Crossroads Ventures LLC, is eager to break ground on the project, which has been in the planning process for almost 15 years.

Town planning boards in the towns of Shandaken and Middletown, which the resort will straddle, are anxious to begin their own review process. 

But before the state DEC can sign off on the project, clearing the way for permits to be issued, at least one more hurdle remains -- and it may not be a trivial one.

A legal process set in motion years ago to have an administrative law judge examine potential issues raised by the project is still open, and until it is officially dismissed or carried out, the Belleayre Resort cannot move forward.

Environmental groups that sought to downsize the project years ago will now have another chance to weigh in, and may seek to keep that process open in an effort to make further changes.  Read more

Penny Social PLUS!

October 4, 2014 - 12:30pm

Join the festivities at the halcottsvlle fire department.  Beautiful prizes including many new, vintage and antique items.  There's something for the entire family. Delicious food available.  Drawing for winners begins at 2pm.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Linda Peyrat  memorial scholarship fund.


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