Stayin' Alive: Don't Get Burned

Gianna Muellerleile tries on firefighter gear at her preschool in 2013. Photo by Jake Millman at Beginnings Preschool in Boiceville.

Not only is this week Fire Prevention Week, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has just declared that today, Oct. 7, is Firefighter Appreciation Day. To mark the occasion, we've asked Rich Muellerleile, a firefighter, paramedic, and longtime Watershed Post columnist to give us a few fire safety tips. Read all installments of Rich's column, Stayin' Alive, by clicking here. - Ed. 

“In the first Place, as an Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure, I would advise 'em to take care how they suffer living Coals in a full Shovel, to be carried out of one Room into another, or up or down Stairs, unless in a Warmingpan shut; for Scraps of Fire may fall into Chinks and make no Appearance until Midnight; when your Stairs being in Flames, you may be forced, (as I once was) to leap out of your Windows, and hazard your Necks to avoid being oven-roasted.” – An old citizen

As incredible as it may seem, this quote, which begins with a familiar household adage and was published as an anonymous letter in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1735, was actually written by the newspaper's publisher, Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin's letter was a succinct and relevant fire safety message that, for the most part, does not apply to our present day – unless you routinely carry hot coals from room to room to keep comfortable. (After all, we are in the Catskills.)

It is without doubt, however, that the "Ounce of Prevention" axiom holds resoundingly true in many of the things we do from day-to-day. No matter what calamity you deal with, it is much more easily addressed by preventing it altogether than having to deal with its aftermath.

Enter the annual tradition of Fire Prevention Week, which falls on Oct. 5 - 11 this year.

National Fire Prevention Week is not just a local fire department showing up at your elementary school and conducting a fire drill. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.  Read more

The new hunter-gatherers: Foraging in the Catskills

Above: An Autumn Olive (Wildberry) Mojito. Photo courtesy of Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower. Make your own with the recipe at the bottom of this story.

Foraging for food that grows wild has long been a hobby for nature lovers out walking in the woods. But increasingly, more people are doing what their primitive ancestors did: picking up their spades and baskets and searching out edible flowers, leaves, roots, shoots, nuts and berries.

Left: Dina Falconi, a Catskills forager. 

Two upstate women—Dina Falconi and Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower—are leading the march into the forests and meadows. According to them, there’s plenty of free food out there for the picking; you just need to know what to look for.

Falconi, a Marbletown resident who grew up in New York City, has been steeped in the world of wild-plant identification, foraging and cooking for 30 years now. But growing up, she had no idea what was waiting out in the woods.  Read more

This weekend: Reservoir Cleanup Day

A boat launches from Chandlers Cove boat launch on the Neversink Reservoir in 2012. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Grimes.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and a slew of other groups and volunteers will fan out across the Catskills on Sunday, Oct. 5 to clean up four of the NYC reservoirs -- the Pepacton, the Cannonsville, the Neversink, and the Rondout -- as part of a statewide effort to clean up New York's waterways and beaches. 

Volunteers are welcome at the litter pick-ups, according to a press release from the DEP. Captains in charge of each reservoir will meet volunteers at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5 and will clean until 3 p.m.

Captains and locations for the four Catskills clean-up groups are below:

Cannonsville Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by Tina James, who leads the Future Farmers of America program at the Walton Central School District, and Nick Barone, president of the Deposit Chamber of Commerce. Volunteers will meet at Chamberlain Brook.

Neversink Reservoir: The cleanup effort will be led by Boy Scout Troop 97 in Neversink, which is run by Keith Mentnech. Volunteers will meet at the information kiosk on Route 55.  Read more

Jeffersonville man arrested; found with 200 bags of heroin

Left: Tyrell Simon (left) and Shane Nystrom. Photo via the New York State Police.

New York State Police officers arrested 26-year-old Tyrell Simon in the Sullivan County village of Jeffersonville on Wednesday, Sept. 30 after allegedly finding "two-hundred decks of heroin, suboxone, marijuana and a stolen, loaded .22 caliber handgun" in his possession.

Simon is suspected of dealing drugs in Jeffersonville, according to a press release issued by the New York State Police this week.

Simon was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, controlled substances and marijuana and stolen property, as well as with resisting arrest.

Another man, 27-year-old Shane Nystrom of Jeffersonville, was also arrested on Sept. 30 for obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

Explore the Catskills: Lark in the Park 2014

Above: “Big Indian Leaves,” taken in Big Indian by Michael LoBianco, the 4th Place winner in the 2014 Catskills Great Outdoor Experience Photo Contest.

The trees are popping into color like popcorn. If you haven't wandered somewhere outside in the Catskills yet this fall, get out there. 

Need a nudge? That's why the Catskill Mountain Club, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York New-Jersey Trail Conference throw the annual Lark in the Park.

The Lark is a series of outdoor activities led by experienced hikers, paddlers, cyclists and anglers throughout the Catskills region between October 4 and Columbus Day, which falls on October 13 this year.

We've put together a calendar of the dozens of hikes, paddles, food tastings, movie screenings, bike rides, and picnics that make up this year's Lark in the Park festivities.   Read more

Community Needs Assessment Survey Available to Hudson Valley Residents

Kingston, N.Y. – September 22, 2014 – Residents of New York's Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess counties are invited to take a short survey about their health and the services they use. The goal of the survey is to learn more about the health care needs of the community to identify and plan localized healthcare delivery in the future.

The survey is anonymous, will take less than 10 minutes to complete and is available online. Participants are encouraged to share the survey link and information about the survey with friends, family and other residents of the Hudson Valley.  Read more

97th Annual Jeffersonian

October 25, 2014 - 6:30pm

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, the Sullivan County Democratic Committee (SCDC) invites you to join them at the 97th Annual Jeffersonian Dinner.

This celebration “Honoring Our Democratic American Values” will be held at the Eagle’s Nest on Mountain Road in Bloomingburg, NY. A cash-bar cocktail hour begins at 6:30 p.m. and dinner follows at 7:30 p.m.

Four community members who personify the evening’s theme will be honored at the dinner: co-founder of Sullivan Peace and Justice, co-founder of Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development and community activist, Kathy Aberman; pediatrician, public health advocate, co-founder of Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development and fracking opponent, Dr. Larysa Dryszka; longtime radio personality, political activist, and leader of the Town of Thompson Democratic Committee, Bill James; and co-founder and Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Wes Gillingham.  Read more

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This Weekend: Big Eddy Film Festival

Above: "Dig," a short film about a man who digs hole while his neighborhood watches, will screen at the Big Eddy Film Festival in Narrowsburg this weekend. 

The third annual Big Eddy Film Festival kicks off Friday night and runs all weekend long in a 1930s-era Art Deco movie theater in the Sullivan County hamlet of Narrowsburg.

Twenty-seven new indie films will be screened at the festival, including a documentary about Jewish comedians, a short film about digging a hole, several documentaries about dementia and memory loss, and whimsical Japanese feature about a recluse who is obsessed with the movie "Fargo."   Read more

Primary elections today

Above: A voting booth in Margaretville in May 2013. Photo by Julia Reischel.

It's an election year, and today is the day to vote in the primaries. 

The biggest race in the primary is on the Democratic ticket, where underdog candidate Zephyr Teachout is challenging New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Teachout is attacking Cuomo from the left by comparing his fiscal policies to those of Ronald Reagan.  Cuomo is doing his best to ignore Teachout's campaign entirely. (Literally. During a Labor Day parade in Manhattan, Cuomo managed to ignore Teachout as she stood directly in front of him.

Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu, is running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor against Kathy Hochul, Cuomo's running mate. The race is its own separate primary, and if Wu wins, he could find himself in the odd position of being Cuomo's running mate in the general election.

As for local Catskills races, there are a few worth noting. 

Left: Bryan Babcock. Photo via Babcock's campaign. 

The Delaware County town of Franklin is holding a Republican primary for a town council seat. Bryan Babcock, the owner of Handsome Brook Farm and Bed & Breakfast who is also a professor at Hartwick College, is vying with Lisa Huyck and Donald Smith for one of two seats on the board. Babcock has criticized the town board for not implementing a comprehensive plan for Franklin.

"With several major infrastructure projects on the horizon in Delaware County," Babcock said in a press release. "it is essential that we protect our roads and utilities. To do this we need to be proactive as a Town Board. I feel that my experience as a business leader will help the Board be even more effective for Franklin residents."

In the Ulster county towns of Hardenburgh and Denning, the Sullivan County town of Neversink, and the Delaware County towns of Andes, Bovina, Davenport, Delhi, Hamden and Meredith, there is a Republican primary race for the 101st State Assembly District, which features a contest between Claudia Tenney and Chris Farber.  According to the Daily Star, the outcome of the primary doesn't matter -- both Tenny and Farber will make it to the ballot in November. 

  Read more

Developer backs away from plan to turn Narrowsburg school into drug rehab center

A developer who bought the former Narrowsburg school and planned to turn it into a drug rehabilitation center has agreed to back away from the project.

At a meeting on Thursday, September 4, the Sullivan West School District voted unanimously to allow the developer, Joan Buto, to transfer her right to buy the building to rival developers Brendan and Kathy Weiden. The Weidens had offered their own higher bid on the school back in June, and had planned to turn it into a multi-use facility.

In a letter issued by the Weidens on Thursday, the couple wrote that Buto's decision to abandon the project was voluntary.

"Ms. Buto acted of her own accord in offering to assign her contract rights to us," they wrote. "We ask that you join us in thanking Ms. Buto for her generous act."

The Times Herald-Record has a great recap of the meeting.   Read more


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