"Trucking" with Santa

FIREHOUSE CHRISTMAS FUN —Over 100 kids brought their parents to visit Santa at the Roxbury Firehouse on Saturday including Trevor, Derek, and Jordan Fronckowiak.  Photos were taken by Catskill Images and refreshments were abundant. Fire Chief Allen Hinkley was so impressed with the turnout that he decided to make it an annual event. Planning for next year is already in the works. — Photo by Jill Ribich, Catskill Images

Sewer costs skyrocketing in Phoenicia

By Jay Braman Jr.
Phoenicia heard sobering news Monday night about the costs of building a sewer system for the hamlet.

Under discussion since 1997, the costs have been going up and up and up.
Now, according to La-mont Engineering, which has been studying five different options for a system, it would cost between $25 and $30 million to build a system and between $550, 000 and $600,000 a year to run.

Now, those figures, while staggering if the 250 users in the tiny hamlet had to pay all of it, have not yet been broken down by La-mont.

NYC appealing tax assessment on wastewater plant

By Pauline Liu
The newly appraised value of Margaretville’s New York City-owned wastewater treatment plant didn’t even make it onto the Town of Middletown’s final reassessment roll before the city filed an appeal, asking that its assessed value be reduced by another $12 million.
The city’s action, which it calls a “precautionary measure,” caused confusion in the Middletown offices this week. Especially since the much-anticipated reassessed value of the plant, which is $36 million, was an amount that all sides in the dispute had agreed upon.

Tire cleanup underway in Grand Gorge

By Pauline Liu
On Fanny Brook Road in the hamlet of Grand Gorge, progress is being measured by the increasing amount of open space at the junkyard, now that thousands of old tires are being hauled away for recycling.

Back in April, town officials gave the property owner 30 days to clean up his land. Now that three months have passed and the deadline has been missed, officials are willing to give the project some extra time.

Gas lease extensions forced by XTO Energy

By Brian Sweeney
Gas leaseholders in portions of Delaware County were notified last week that their contracts are being forcibly extended because of the state’s drilling moratorium.
ExxonMobil (XTO Energy) sent letters to the 500-member Deposit Coalition stating that the coalition’s leases, signed in May 2008, are being extended by the company. The leases were originally written for five-years.

Swimming options plentiful this summer

By Pauline Liu
As the week began, temperatures in the region simmered near 90 degrees, sending many to seek relief from the heat by taking a plunge into the cooling waters of their nearest public swimming pool.  Here’s what’s going on if you want to get into the swim of things in the Catskills.

The Andes Pool

Olive Scouts plan aqueduct hike

Margaretville — The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board of Directors at its meeting July 5, heard from leaders of Olive Boy Scout Troop 163 which is planning a once-in-a-lifetime trek from the Ashokan Reservoir to New York City August 19 through 27.

Scoutmaster Keith Davis and Committee Chairman Rob Overton, accompanied by their 12-year-old sons Billy Davis and Blake Overton, described the expedition that will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the troop, one of the first Boy Scout troops established in the U.S.

Innovative lodging choice in the Catskills

By Jennifer Kabat
Drive along Route 28 and the signs for cottages and motels roll by. The places are easy to ignore, some turned into apartments with the kind of rural neglect, a car jacked up on blocks, the lawn gone to weeds, that suggests better days.

DEC chief and Gov. Cuomo want fracking ban in watershed

By Jay Braman Jr.
The top official in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a statement saying that hydrofracking can be done safely with precautions but that it should not be allowed to occur within the New York City Watershed, or any other watershed in the state.

DEC, DEP continue use of Round-up despite link to birth defects

By Pauline Liu
Both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plan to continue local spraying of the world’s best selling weed killer, Roundup, despite a report released last month raising questions about its threat to public health.

Business boomed over holiday weekend

By Pauline Liu
Rain is rarely a welcome event in the tourism industry, but according to a number of area businesses, Sunday’s thunderstorms turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As rain fell in sheets and lightening filled the skies, throngs of holiday visitors ran for cover. Many sought refuge in nearby shops and restaurants. 

For some businesses, which were already enjoying a steady turnout of holiday customers, it almost seemed as though Mother Nature was raining liquid gold.

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