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

Andes, Margaretville, Roxbury Open Studios 2014

July 26, 2014 - 11:00am

For the third season area artists from Andes, Margaretville, Arkville, Halcottsville, Denver, Roxbury, and Fleischmanns are opening their studio doors for the Andes Margaretville Roxbury Open Studios 2014, July 26-­27, 11:00­-5:00pm.  Read more

This Must Be The Place!

Price: $188,000
MLS: 94405
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
Sq Feet: 1400
Lot Size: 18.9 Acres
Year Built: 1980

This Must Be The Place! Margaretville NY 2.5 hours from the GWB. Contemporary home on 18.90 acres is just the recipe for relaxation, exploration or relocation. Suitable for man & beast alike. Go ahead have that hobby farm you've always dreamed of, or just spend quite time away from your worries. Four bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are plenty of room for company or to just spread out in your own private kingdom. One car attached garage leads directly into the house, for rainy day unloading of packages + full unfinished basement suitable for a workshop. The grounds are gorgeous complete with stream. Come see for yourself!  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Working in The Catskills, Chapter One

Dear Editor:

Working in the Catskills
chapter one

Life in the 19th century in the Catskill mountains
was mostly poor and primitive.
Beside farming and a small amount of trade,
there was very little industrial activity,
mostly Quarrying and Logging,
followed later by Trapping,Tanning,
Sawmills and construction.

Bluestone was beginning to be used for sidewalks.
but stone is very heavy
and wagon transport was difficult and expensive,
but Ulster County had the Hudson river,
and ships could deliver the bluestone to cities
in the eastern US and Cuba.

Soon the ships brought animal hides,
and, using the bark of hemlock trees,
tanning leather began, slowly at first,
and by 1840  Prattsville had
the largest tannery in the world!

  Read more

Handcrafted Tunisian Serveware

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

Need a gift?

Old World Elegance 1920's Russian Dacha

Old World Elegance and 1920's Catskill grandeur await you at this magnificent “Dacha” or Russian Second Home. 21 acres atop Margaretville Mountain Road provide breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains and Platekill River. This lodge-like home is ideal for entertaining or enjoying total solitude and peace. The great room – the “jewel” of the Dacha features a magnificent massive stone fireplace, soaring ceilings and gorgeous period chandeliers. Historic details abound: door handles and window sashes, built in dressers, art deco glass and walk-in cedar closets. Upstairs the master bedroom suite is flooded with light and has incredible views from your personal balcony. This private suite includes: separate reading room, large walk-in closet and a full bath suite with a spa Jacuzzi tub. On the sprawling grounds is a detached artist’s studio. The mile long views of Ruff Farm and quiet setting is a retreat to write, create or relax. The entrance to the compound features handsome stone pillars that flank a circular tree-lined driveway.  Read more

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