Big Indian

Local candidates vie in primary election today

Photo by Kristin Ausk, via Flickr.

Today--Thursday, Sept. 10--is primary election day in New York, and voters who are registered with political parties across the Catskills can go to the polls to vote for town and county candidates running in primary races from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Usually, primary day is a Tuesday, but the late Labor Day holiday this year has pushed it back to a Thursday, which will likely have an impact on voter turnout.

New York State has a closed-primary system, meaning that to vote in a primary at any level of government in New York State, voters must be registered members of the party holding the primary. 

The winners of today’s primaries will appear on the ballot in the general election in November. But due to multiple political parties supporting a single candidate, candidates who lose their party's primary may still appear on the November ballot on a different line.

Not every town and legislative district has a primary race today. No towns in Schoharie County have primaries this year, for example. Here’s a look at the hot primary races in the Catskills.


In Delaware County, Gary Rosa and Porter Kirkwood will face off in Conservative and Independence primaries in a heated race for the new position of Family Court Judge

This past week, their race has gotten ugly, with accusations flying between the candidates about ethics violations.

Rosa has used a campaign slogan criticizing Kirkwood of “representing just one client, the county’s Department of Social Services,” in his appearances in Family Court.

  Read more

Teen drowned while tubing after bus dropped her near notorious hazard

Above: The "strainer" on the Esopus Creek where 14-year-old Jordyn Engler drowned on Saturday, Sept. 5. Two swiftwater rescue boats, both of which can be seen in this photo, were lost during attempts to recover her body. Photo by Julia Reischel.

The place where 14-year-old Jordyn Engler drowned on the Esopus Creek on Saturday, Sept. 5 was near a notorious local river hazard. But that didn’t stop a Catskills tubing company from dropping her off at an abandoned tubing launch nearby.

The hazard, a heap of downed trees, piled up a decade ago near what was once a popular tubing launch location. It regularly destroys boats and gear, but it has never been removed. No signs warn of its presence.

Neither of the two tubing companies that work the Shandaken stretch of the Esopus Creek drop busloads of tubers at the site. But on Saturday, police say that the bus driver for F&S Adventures Tube Rental made an exception for Jeffrey Engler and his daughter, Jordyn Engler.

The two were on vacation from Ellington, Connecticut, where Jordyn was a freshman at Ellington High School and a cheerleader on a nearby all-star team. They were visiting a spot where Jeffrey Engler had tubed many times before, and planned to float downriver to the hamlet of Phoenicia.  Read more

14-year-old drowns in Esopus Creek, police say

A 14-year-old girl drowned in the Esopus Creek on Saturday, Sept. 5, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

A report that an adult man and the teenage girl were in distress in the fast-moving river drew scores of first responders to a fishing access point near the Allaben Cemetery in the town of Shandaken throughout the day on Saturday, according to witnesses, news reports and a press release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. The call came in at 11:15 a.m., the press release states.

The man was rescued from the creek, police say, but first responders from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office In-Water Rescue Team, the Ulster Hose Dive Team, the New York State Police Dive Team and the Phoenicia-West Hurley-Olive Fire Swift Water Rescue Team struggled for hours to find the girl, the press release says.  Read more

Labor Day events in the Catskills

Above: Throwing a rock into Cooper Lake in Woodstock. Photo by Flickr user Panda Snaps, shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Labor Day is upon us in all its bittersweet glory, and the Catskills are rising to the occasion with festivities celebrating the harvest, family, baroque opera, women’s jazz, Iroquois Indians, Irish heritage, improv, toilets and more.

Yes, we said toilets. Read on to find out more in our county-by-county round-up of Labor Day events across the Catskills.


Gather the bounty of the harvest for your personal feasting pleasure at the pre-Labor Day Holiday Pop Up Farmers’ Market, taking place rain or shine at the Stamford Railroad Station on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. You’ll find a splendid selection of baked goods, preserves, meats, produce and wonderful handmade Catskills things.  Read more

Truckloads of trash choke Catskills swimming holes

Above: Underwear left behind as trash at Peekamoose Blue Hole in August 2015. Photo by Gene Nicolato.

Peggy Brueckner lives near the Peekamoose Blue Hole, an icy Catskills pool that is recognized as one of the best swimming holes in the country. Her family has visited the hidden spot for 50 years. But this summer, due to hordes of tourists and the tons of garbage they leave behind, Brueckner has been avoiding it.

"The locals here along Watson Hollow Road and beyond are heartbroken," Brueckner said. "There is litter all over the place. There are no laws being enforced and it a total mess up there. Campers are off the designated sites, people are in the middle of the road and it is a free for all! It's not even a family friendly place any more."

Above: Peekamoose Blue Hole on a recent summer day. Photo via the NYS DEC.   Read more

Jeff Senterman named new director of Catskill Center

Above: Jeff Senterman accepts his new post as the executive director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development on Saturday, Aug. 29. Photo via the Catskill Center's Instagram feed

Jeff Senterman, the former Catskills program director of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, was appointed the new executive director of the Catskills Center for Conservation and Development after the departure of former director Alan White. White completed his term earlier this month.

Senterman accepted his new position at a gathering of the CCCD's members on Saturday, Aug. 29. (A Senterman is still at the helm of the NYNJTC, though -- Jeff's brother, Doug, is the new Catskill program director at the NYNTC, after getting the job earlier this year.)  Read more

Death on the roads: Three fatal crashes in the Catskills

It's been a horrible week for car crashes in the Catskills, with three separate collisions in the region resulting in fatalities since Sunday. 

A crash killed four people around noon in the Ulster County village of Saugerties on Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to media reports. Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra spoke with the Daily Freeman this afternoon and confirmed that the crash was fatal, and later elaborated that four people died.

Time Warner Cable is reporting that four people died in the Saugerties crash today when their car drove over an embankment:   Read more

Tonight's Show: Forest Talk with Mike Porter

CFA-On-The-Air: From the Forest

Wednesday’s 6PM – 7PM


Wednesday’s Show: Forest Talk with Mike Porter

This Wednesday we’ll be talking to Mike Porter again about this & that. Mike Porter is a local maple producer, and quite the forest enthusiast. He’s been known to make a few rustic furniture items as well as a log cabin from trees found on his land. We’ll see what Mike has been up to most recently. Tune in at 91.3 FM or stream online at to learn more.


Mountain Hunting: Headed for the Hills

By Ryan Trapani, Education Forester at the Catskill Forest Association

“I’m going hunting in the mountains.” It just sounds right, doesn’t it? For years people from the Hudson Valley left their homes, packed a bag and a gun, and headed for the hills of northern Ulster County to hunt. The mountains offered an opportunity for hunters to pursue their game unencumbered over thousands of wooded acres. Each hollow or clove felt as his own to discover, explore, and pursue deer wherever they might go; after all the Hudson Valley had few deer back then. Say what!  Read more

Two crashes, one fatal, on Route 28 in one day

Above: A map of four recent crashes on Route 28.

Two serious car crashes occurred within hours of each other on Tuesday, Aug. 25 on a stretch of Route 28 in the Ulster County towns of Olive and Shandaken that has already seen multiple collisions this summer. 

The first crash was a head-on collision that injured three people, one critically, according to Rich Muellerleile, the chief of the Shandaken Ambulance Service, which assisted at the scene.

The crash, which occurred at 7:30 a.m. in the hamlet of Shokan near Route 28's intersection with Dancing Rock Road, was a head-on collision that "heavily entrapped" one person in a vehicle, Muellerleile said.

"The trapped patient was extricated by the Olive Fire Department and transported to the Healthalliance Broadway Campus in critical condition," he said in a Facebook message today.  Read more

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