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

Fire destroys building on Catskill's Main Street

Above: A photo of a blaze on Main Street in Catskill, tweeted by a Watershed Post reader late Monday afternoon.

A fast-moving fire destroyed a building under renovation on Catskill's Main Street on Monday afternoon, the Catskill Daily Mail reports:

The structure, at 609 Main Street right next to Tatiana's Italian Restaurant, was fully engulfed a little after 5 p.m., and has been called a total loss...

...Catskill Assistant Fire Chief Ed Dolan said the basement and first floor were in flames when he arrived on the scene within a minute of the call going out.  Read more

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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

Farmers' Market of the Week: Lexington Farmers' Market

The Watershed Agricultural Council and Pure Catskills are featuring a different Catskills farmers' market every week during the 2014 growing season.

This week's market is the Lexington Farmers' Market, located on Route 42 in Lexington, NY in the Lexington Municipal Building Pavilion.

The Lexington Farmers' Market runs every other Saturday from May 24 - October 25, from 10 AM - 12 PM. [May 24, June 7, 21; July 5, 19; Aug. 2, 16, 30; Sept. 13, 27; Oct. 11, 25.] This week, the market is being held on Saturday, May 24.

From the organizers:   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

Route 42 in Lexington closed after mudslide

Above: A landslide on a steep bank overlooking Route 42 in Lexington. Photo by Lissa Harris.

A stretch of Route 42 in Greene County was shut down on Thursday morning after a mudslide, and remains closed. Traffic has been shut down from Spruceton Road in Lexington to the Ulster County line, and drivers are being detoured around the area via Route 23A and Route 214

The mudslide was discovered around 9:40 a.m., according to Bryan Viggiani, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT). 

On Thursday afternoon, Viggiani said the DOT had staff at the site of the mudslide assessing the situation, and more were en route to the site. It is unclear when the road will be re-opened, he said.  Read more

Celebrate the Schoharie watershed with free tours, workshops, and walks

Above: Kids investigate stream creatures during a water workshop, which will take place on Tuesday, May 20 in Tannersville this year. Photo via the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

The four-mile Schoharie Reservoir, created by the 88-year-old Gilboa Dam, is the most visible part of the 315-square-mile Schoharie watershed, which covers most of the craggy mountaintop region of Greene County. The watershed is full of fast-moving streams with Dutch names: Batavia Kill, East Kill, West Kill, Bear Kill, and Manor Kill are a few, all of which drain into the Schoharie Creek.  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

Trowel foul: Man arrested for assault at Athens construction site

A Cobleskill man has been jailed on assault and weapon charges after an incident at an Athens construction site, in which police say he struck a man in the head with a masonry trowel. 

Arrested on Friday was 44-year-old Glen Gallup, who faces charges of second-degree assault -- a felony -- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. 

Police say that during a fight with another man at the construction site, Gallup struck the man in the head with the trowel, causing a "severe laceration." The victim was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released. 

Gallup was arraigned in Athens town court and remanded to the Greene County Jail without bail. 

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