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Residents left homeless after Big Indian blaze

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NOTHING LEFT — Firefighters survey the wreckage after a fire in Big Indian last Wednesday that left a family homeless. Firefighters were hampered by freezing temperatures and downed power lines. — Photos by Joan Lawrence-BauerNOTHING LEFT — Firefighters survey the wreckage after a fire in Big Indian last Wednesday that left a family homeless. Firefighters were hampered by freezing temperatures and downed power lines. — Photos by Joan Lawrence-Bauer
By Joan Lawrence-Bauer
With smoke all around them and brutally cold, sub-zero temperatures outside, a Big Indian couple and their infant had a “just in time” escape last week from their burning home.
When Crystal and Drew Syl­vester awoke at about 3:30 a.m. last Wednesday, they grabbed what they could and raced to the nearby firehouse where they hit the alarm. First responder Chuck Perez found them there, alerted county fire control and met Big Indian Oliverea Fire Department (BIOFD) Chief Jody Rossitz at the scene.
SAD DAY — A family in Big Indian lost its home and all belongings in an early morning fire last Wednesday.SAD DAY — A family in Big Indian lost its home and all belongings in an early morning fire last Wednesday.


HAHV planned affiliation will benefit Margaretville hospital

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By Joan Lawrence-Bauer
In an exclusive interview with the Catskill Mountain News last week, HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley (HAHV) CEO David Scarpino said he will be disappointed and surprised if a planned affiliation with Westchester Medical Center is not completed by the end of March and predicted measurable improvement in the delivery of health care here (in Margaret­ville) when the affiliation is complete.


RCS building project goes back to the drawing board

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By Joe Moskowitz
Voters in the Roxbury Central School District will probably get a chance to vote for a third time on a plan to improve and replace portions of the school’s facilities. But when they do, there may be a few things different this time, including the knowledge of how much the net cost to taxpayers may actually be. 


Phoenicia Library celebrates grand re-opening

By Jay Braman Jr.
The grand re-opening celebration for the newly rebuilt Phoenicia Library was everything such a celebration should be. It was a good time for a good cause that gave the community a chance to say thank you to all those that made it happen.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? — Storytelling and educational playtime are back in force at the new Phoenicia Library . — Photos by Jay Braman, Jr.WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? — Storytelling and educational playtime are back in force at the new Phoenicia Library . — Photos by Jay Braman, Jr.


Shandaken farmstand controversy unresolved a year after judge's order

By Jay Braman Jr.
The controversial farm stand operation in Mount Tremper is still standing, one full year after a deadline set by the New York State Supreme Court for its removal. Also, the issue of what fines the owners are to pay, as well as the matter of reimbursement of over $70,000 in legal fees paid by the Town of Shandaken, remain unresolved.
On November 27, 2013 State Supreme Court Justice Mary Work gave the owners of Hanover Farms 60 days to take down their farm stand located on Route 28.


Wastewater treatment systems proposed for New Kingston and Halcottsville

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Margaretville — Studies will soon get underway to determine the feasibility of installing Community Waste­water Management Systems in New Kingston and Halcottsville.
Representatives of the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) and Lamont Engineering attended the Middletown Town Board meeting on January 13 to provide the board with an overview of the proposed projects. Both of the hamlets are situated in the Town of Middletown. A resolution from the town board would be necessary for the projects to be commenced.


Shared services surveys released by local schools

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By Joe Moskowitz
The boards of education of Margaretville and Roxbury central schools have released the preliminary results of a shared services survey being conducted by the two schools. The results can be seen on the MCS website margaretvillecs.org.


County heroin epidemic uphill fight for police, agencies

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By Joe Moskowitz
The numbers are startling. The stories are frightening. And the enemy is unrelenting. But members of a Delaware County Task Force held a forum Monday night at Margaretville Central School to explain how it is trying to fight the ever-increasing use of heroin.
Under Sheriff Craig Dumond said that in 2003 there were eight felony drug arrests in Delaware County. In 2013, there were 110 felony drug arrests, 63 of them for heroin. And, with just 10 deputes in a county the size of Rhode Island, the sheriff’s department is overwhelmed. 

Jail is full
The county jail is full, and because so many of the people behind bars have kids, there are not nearly enough adequate places to house their children.


Roxbury voters reject proposed RCS capital project

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By Joan Lawrence-Bauer
Roxbury Central School District voters, who approved a capital building project last year, turned down the same project in a re-vote on January 6. The vote, which had been scheduled for December and was delayed due to inclement weather, was 127 against to 109 in favor. School Superintendent Tom O’Brien said the school board will review the results at a meeting on January 14 and determine what the next steps will be.


New dam rules could be costly at Shephard Hills

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By Brian Sweeney
The Shephard Hills Golf Course owner faces a potentially huge expense if the state determines that upgrades are needed to a dam on the property.
WORK NEEDED? — The dam at Shephard Hills Golf Course in Roxbury may not meet the higher standards for such structures that have recently been applied by the federal government. If an engineering assessment determines the standards are not being met, upgrading the dam could prove to a very expensive project. — Photo by Dick SanfordWORK NEEDED? — The dam at Shephard Hills Golf Course in Roxbury may not meet the higher standards for such structures that have recently been applied by the federal government. If an engineering assessment determines the standards are not being met, upgrading the dam could prove to a very expensive project. — Photo by Dick Sanford


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