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

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.

Family Tree filming wraps


By Brian Sweeney
Filming of an independent movie titled “Family Tree,” taking place for the past few weeks in Mt. Tremper has wrapped up.

The small, independent film is being primarily shot at a private home that was found after a lengthy search.

The film stars John Slattery (“Mad Men”), Jena Malone (“Sucker Punch”) and Gabrielle Union (“Good Deeds”).

The filmmakers provided the following synopsis of the local production.

Rain creates woes for local farmers

By Pauline Liu
Despite a  steady downpour, the Fleischmanns Farmers’ Market was set up in the parking lot off Main Street on Sunday.  It illustrated just the latest in a series challenges that the region’s farmers have faced courtesy of Mother Nature.

CWT elects new board of directors

By Jay Braman Jr.
Elections were held last month for the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Watershed Towns, a regional advocacy group that represents the residents of the New York City Watershed, a region that covers territory in Delaware, Ulster, Schoharie, Greene and Sullivan counties.
On Monday Board Chairman Dennis Lucas was pleased to make the announcement. “They all took their positions at our last meeting, held on the third Monday of June,” he said.

The number of representatives for each county are determined by the size of the watershed within each.

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