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

Andes, DEP negotiate over $2.6 million sewer fix


By Pauline Liu
The Town of Andes and New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have entered into negotiations over the town’s failing sewer treatment plant.

Roxbury mulls limiting NYC acquisition territory

By Pauline Liu
Roxbury property owners will soon have an opportunity to express their views about proposed changes in rules governing New York City’s land acquisition program at a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at the town hall.

Sweet Sue's closed due to septic issue

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Ulster County Health Department shut the doors on a popular Phoenicia restaurant Friday after a spot inspection revealed the establishment’s septic system had failed.

Sweet Sue’s, located on Main Street in the business district, was ordered to close immediately.
According to Shandaken Town Supervisor Rob Stanley, county health officials appeared in Phoenicia Friday, following flooding that had hit the area the day before, and began inspections of all the restaurants on Main Street.

Ice carvers put on cool demo in Margaretville

Ice CarverIce CarverBy Carol O’Beirne
Neither snow, nor sleet, nor rain nor flooding kept SUNY Delhi’s award-winning Ice Sculpting Team and its coaches away from Margaretville on Saturday where they demonstrated their skill and created beautiful carvings and ice-carved renditions of several area business logos.

Pancake supper raises money for Walton church burned by arsonist


By Pauline Liu
The congregations of two churches in Andes have come to the aid of the First Baptist Church of Walton, which was leveled by an arson fire in January.  Members of the Andes Methodist Church joined with the Presbyterian Church of Andes for a pancake supper and managed to raise more than $1,000 for the Walton church’s reconstruction project.

RCS budget includes two non-instruction layoffs

By Pauline Liu
The Roxbury Central School District’s 2011-12 draft budget calls for about $9.5 million in spending and despite the projected loss of $420,000 - $430,000 in state aid, the district is not seeking to layoff any teachers. Also, the tax levy hike, originally projected to be as much as 10.5 percent, has been scaled back to two percent. That’s the good news. 

On the flip side, the proposal does call for the layoffs of two workers in “non-instruction” positions. 

Andes plans one layoff as part of budget cuts


By Pauline Liu
The Andes Central School District’s 2011-12 draft budget seeks to keep the tax levy increase to just under two percent and calls for the layoff of one elementary-level teaching position.
As with all districts statewide, Andes is being forced to make tough choices due to a $101,822 reduction in state aid.

The tiny school district has a K-12 enrollment of 110 with only one student in kindergarten.

Outcry spurs change in bus driver policy

By Jay Braman Jr.
For David Moraca, superintendent of transportation for the Onteora School District, it seemed so obvious that he couldn’t believe it wasn’t there already. Moraca was reviewing the laws that cover school bus drivers and discovered that in New York State one would be allowed to operate those yellow shuttles even if they were a convicted sex offender or a rapist.

This bothered him so much that he wrote a letter about it in the Kingston Daily Freeman.
State Senator John Bonacic (R-Mt. Hope) saw the letter. He could not believe it either.

Internship program launched in Margaretville


By Pauline Liu
The 2010 Census numbers are out and they don’t look good for Delaware County.
Out of 62 counties in New York State, the data shows that Delaware has the dubious distinction of having the second highest percentage of population loss in New York State since the 2000 census.  
Only Hamilton County in the Adirondacks fared worse in the survey, but it has fewer people to begin with. Estimates show that in the past decade, 6.84 percent or 3,288 residents have left Delaware County, leaving behind a population of 44,767.

Eastern mountain lion declared extinct


By Brian Sweeney
The eastern cougar or mountain lion was officially declared to be extinct this month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many wildlife biologists have long believed that native populations of these large cats have not lived in the eastern portion of the United States for more than a century.

The declaration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows a lengthy review. Ultimately, federal officials concluded there are no breeding populations of cougars in the eastern U.S. The cats are also known as pumas, panthers, mountain lions and catamounts.

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