James McGrath receives Spirit of the Catskills Award

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LONG SERVICE — James “Jimmy” McGrath, right, was honored with the Spirit of the Catskills Award on Saturday evening at the Belleayre Conservatory’s annual Snowball held Saturday evening at The Emerson in Mt. Tremper. The award is presented annually to someone who has performed extraordinary service to benefit the region. Jimmy was instrumental in growing the Shandaken Police Department and recently retired as police chief. Making the presentation is Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. A packed house enjoyed the dinner-dance. Proceeds benefit the Belleayre Music Festival. — Photo by Franz Edlinger, eOneMedia.com

Fleischmanns flood relief fundraiser set for Sunday

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Village of Fleischmanns was hit hard by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene and weeks after the water subsided the village continues to struggle with expenses wrought by the flood.
And so, on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. an old-fashioned fund-raiser will be held to raise some money for the village.

Nothing fancy. The event will not take place in some posh eatery or mansion, but right on the Main Street parking lot, which was itself underwater a month ago.

No new taxes projected in Shandaken budget

By Jay Braman Jr.
After a solid month’s worth of bad news, most of it having to do with flooding and other disasters, the taxpayers of Shandaken got some good news this week.

According to Shandaken Town Supervisor Rob Stanley, the preliminary budget plan for the town calls for only a tiny tax increase.

To explain it, Stanley put it this way. “If you paid $1,000 last year in town taxes, this year you will pay $1,000.50.”

Freshtown aiming to re-open in October

By Brian Sweeney
The Freshtown Supermarket in Margaretville will likely reopen by Halloween, according to store officials.

Noah Katz, vice president of PSK Supermarkets which operates Freshtown, said he anticipates that the store will be back in business in four-to-six weeks.

The building was badly damaged by the historic August 28 flood. Once the building was approved for stability, the massive task of cleaning out the store began.

“Everything was gutted. We had to literally scrub down the building and rebuild the interior from scratch,” Mr. Katz explained.

Opinion mixed on land deal for resort

By Jay Braman Jr.
The recent announcement that New York State is moving ahead with plans to purchase 1,200 acres of Catskill Mountain land from a Shandaken developer has been met with mixed reaction in that community.

The land sale is part of an agreement made in 1997 between the state, several environmental groups and government agencies and the developers of the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park.

Reduced resort

Head Start kids miss playground lost to flooding

By Pauline Liu
Classes at the Delaware Opportunities Inc. Project Headstart Arkville Center began a week late to allow the staff members to clean up after the flood.

When the facility reopened on Tuesday, it looked clean and the staff looked ready, but there was one thing sorely missing. The beloved playground had been wiped out by Tropical Storm Irene. “The playground was our pride and joy,” said Lead Teacher Kyle Holden. 

Area schools welcome new staff members

By Pauline Liu
The new school year marked the arrival of seven new teachers to three of the region’s school districts.

What these educators have to share could help shape our children’s futures. Many of them have interesting backgrounds. Among them you’ll find a former archaeologist, a former scientist in the dairy industry, and two graduates of Roxbury Central School. 

Local fire officials recall Hurricane Irene operations

The August 28 flood will surely be remembered as one of the most tragic events in our region’s history. But, amidst all of the loss and destruction, many positives have emerged. There have been many “heroes” who have contributed to the flood recovery efforts. As they normally do in times like these, volunteer firefighters from throughout the region quickly took the lead in the emergency efforts. The News takes a look at the heroic efforts made by the dedicated volunteers from area departments.

Arena Fire Dept.
By Brian Sweeney

Members of the Arena Fire Department were summoned early on Sunday morning, Aug. 28 to deal with flooding issues that choked off access to the Millbrook Valley.

In addition to restricted travel, the volunteers also had to help residents cope with power outages and lack of phone service. Fire chief Mike Sarubbi said members of his department spent much of their time cutting trees to improve access throughout the valley.

Building owner charged with arson after Margaretville blaze

By Pauline Liu
Main Street, Margaretville, still recovering from the effects of two major floods over the past three weeks, suffered another blow Saturday when an alleged arson fire destroyed a four-unit apartment building at 688-696 Main Street.

The building’s owner, Eugene Gundelach, 58, of Margaretville, was arrested Saturday evening by Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies and charged with felony arson.

Federal flood aid explained to public

By Pauline Liu
About 50 people filled the meeting room at Middletown Town Hall last Friday to find out about three federal flood relief programs.

People whose homes or businesses were ravaged by tropical storms Irene and Lee heard presentations made by representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA.)

334 Middletown structures damaged in flooding

By Brian Sweeney
A total of 334 structures in the Town of Middletown sustained varying degrees of damage from the August 28 flood.

Middletown Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Patrick Davis presented a report to the town board last Tuesday outlining the work that he performed, along with other inspectors who were engaged to help assess the damage.

Mr. Davis said 77 structures in the town, 66 in Fleischmanns and 86 in Margaretville sustained damage from the historic flood.

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