Phoenicia Library rises triumphant from the ashes

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CUTTING THE RIBBON — Zara Dershowitz, 11, and her brother Mars, 9, got a kick out being the ribbon cutters to officially open the Marilyn Dershowitz Memorial Building, also known as the new Phoenicia Library, on Saturday. Their grandmother, Marilyn, a long time fan of the library, was killed in a bicycle accident in 2012, the year after the original library building burned. The new structure, which is located on the Main Street spot where the old one stood, was made possible by a sizeable donation made by the Dershowitz family in Marilyn’s name. Library Board President Bernard Handzel is at center, holding the ribbon. — Photo by Jay Braman, Jr.

AT&T cell service set up in Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
Three years after being built, the cell tower in Shandaken at Glenbrook Park will finally become operational.

It was announced at the September Shandaken Town Board meeting that AT&T will erect equipment on the tower.

The news comes on the heels of recent complaints by Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley, who noted the frustration of emergency service personnel during the recent Hurricane Irene catastrophe. Evacuating people under the harsh conditions was very difficult without adequate wireless communications, he said.

Arson results in another blow to hard hit Margaretville

By Pauline Liu
Saturday morning’s apparent arson on Main Street in Margaretville was the latest blow to the tiny picturesque village, which has already been rocked by two major floods in less than three weeks. The owner of four rental apartments at the addresses 688-696 Main Street, Eugene Gundelach, 58, of Margaretville, was arrested and arraigned the same day by Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies for felony arson. He was arraigned in Middletown Court before Town Justice Gary Rosa. Sheriff’s Department Investigator Joe Mauro told the News that Gundelach is being held on $25,000 cash bail at the Delaware County Jail and additional charges could be leveled against him at a felony hearing which has yet to be scheduled. Investigators believe that Gundelach set fire to 688 Main Street in an attempt to collect on his fire insurance policy. His rental apartments endured flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene on August 28th, but he reportedly does not have flood insurance.

State to buy 1,200 acres from Crossroads Ventures

By Jay Braman Jr.
As the decade-long review of the $400 million Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park project grinds on, at least one part of the plan is now moving toward completion.

On Thursday, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the approval of a contract for the purchase of 1,200 environmentally sensitive acres in the Catskills Forest Preserve adjacent to the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, now owned by the resort project’s developer, to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Fee negotiated

Engineers weigh fate of village buildings

By Pauline Liu
A Herculean effort is underway to save a row of six buildings on Main Street in Margaretville that were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, even though an engineering report recommends that the entire block be considered for demolition.

The findings of Cobleskill-based Lamont Engineers were unveiled to the buildings’ owners at a special meeting held at the Gottfried Municipal Building last Friday morning.
Middletown Building Inspector Pat Davis told the owners, that saving the block of buildings will require considerable engineering and expense.

Rosa announces write-in campaign

Staff report
A Middletown Town Board member has announced his write-in candidacy for the supervisor’s position.

Jake Rosa, an Arkville resident, said this week that he will be seeking the supervisor’s position in the November 8 election.

Mr. Rosa has been on the town board for nearly two years and currently serves as deputy supervisor for Len Utter. Supervisor Utter has been in office for 12 years and decided not to seek another two-year term.

Relocating Phoenicia remarks spark controversy

By Jay Braman Jr.
Earlier last week State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill was quoted in The New York Times, suggesting that communities like Phoenicia should not rebuild in the same location it has been in for over 150 years.

MARK Project offering flood release assistance

Arkville — The MARK Project will accept applications for flood relief for both individuals and families starting Thursday,  Sept. 15.

Phoenicia on edge of second flood last week

By Jay Braman Jr.
It was the sound of emergency sirens, not school busses, that woke people up early last Wednesday morning in Phoenicia, where residents were informed that a repeat performance of last week’s flooding was on the way.

Heavy rain had returned to the region, causing the Onteora Central School District to close for what was supposed to be the first two days of school.

Flood victims recall frightening events; ponder move to higher ground

By Brian Sweeney
The August 28 flood will certainly go down in history as one of the worst disasters to ever strike the region. The News will continue to run stories detailing residents’ experiences — during and after the flood.

Tom Sitler has lived in a mobile home in Carlson’s Trailer Park in Arkville for about six years. He resides there with his mother and stepfather. All of them were caught off guard by the fury of the floodwaters.

Shandaken seeks state help in flood recovery

By Jay Braman Jr.
SOS is known worldwide as a distress call. Save Our Ship is how it originated, as a cry for help from any sea faring entity that ran the risk of being no more.
On Saturday morning, in a meeting hall in Shandaken, a group of land owners who were hard hit by tropical storm called Irene organized a grassroots effort to demand aide in the wake of that weather event.

They call themselves SOS, as for Save Our Shandaken. The circumstances for the people in this room varied, but all have suffered some degree of loss in the past couple of weeks.

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