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WHIRLING AND TWIRLING — Rides are always a big part of the excitment at the Delaware County Fair in Walton. These brave souls were among the 78,000 visitors who enjoyed the festivities at this year’s fair. Enjoy more photos from the fair in our Features section. — Photo by Dick Sanford

Extra bear hunting season in Sept. proposed by DEC

By Jay Braman Jr.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a draft species management plan for black bears last month that includes a plan to reduce the Catskill bear population by adding an extra hunting season in September, but not everyone likes the idea.
There are about 8,000 black bears in the state, with over half of them living in the Adirondacks and about a third living in the Catskills.


Crowds and large snowfalls create 'good' problems at Belleayre

By Joe Moskowitz
Plenty of fresh snow at just the right time. A long holiday weekend. Some people have the entire week away from work. It sounds like the perfect formula for people in the ski business. And the crowds were huge, but at Highmount’s Belleayre Ski Center on Sunday, some people thought there was too much of a good thing.
An estimated 5,000 people tried to ski or snowboard at Belleayre on Sunday.  That is all the mountain can handle, but it’s not unusual for a  holiday weekend. However on Sunday, the mountain didn’t handle it that well.


Few questions over hotel tax breaks for proposed Best Western

By Joe Moskowitz
Nine years ago, an attempt by Margaretville businessman Peter Molnar to get tax breaks in order to construct a 62-unit hotel on Route 28 between Margaretville and Arkville drew dozens of signatures on a petition against his request.
Angry speakers stood up at an Industrial Development Agency (IDA) public hearing to question why he should be extended such a privilege.
But on Tuesday, just 10 people showed up to a similar meeting, only a few questions were asked and the entire hearing lasted just 18 minutes.


Water District a concern for Andes Town Board

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By Cheryl Petersen
Aside from the 2009 International Truck giving the highway department periodic fits, the operations and projects of the Town of Andes are running smoothly. Supervisor Marty Donnelly was authorized to seek quotes to move forward on the new Andes Town Court facility. And, once a master plan for improvements in Ballentine Park is drawn up they will be presented to the Delaware County Planning Board.


Shandaken Board supports Scenic Byway plan

By Jay Braman Jr.
Against a backdrop, once again, of claims that it will not cost the town anything, the Shandaken Town Board endorsed the creation of a new entity in an attempt to get a scenic byway designation for the area.
Plans for a Scenic Byway designation for a 50-mile chunk of the Route 28 corridor have been bogged down in the eastern portion of the region, and one community has already officially opted out of the program.


Charges brought against David Reese in DEP shooting

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The man accused of killing Olivebridge resident Aron Thomas inside New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offices in Kingston last Monday will see his case go before a grand jury soon.
Following a preliminary hearing on Monday, a Kingston City judge determined there is enough evidence against Gilboa resident David Reese to proceed to a grand jury hearing.
Reese is charged with second-degree murder. Reese pled not guilty during an arraignment in Kingston City Court and was sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail.


NY SAFE Act targeted at Delhi forum

By Cheryl Petersen
Along with many other volunteers, Stephen Morganstern handed out voter registrations, petitions, and information on the rights of firearm owners during last Saturday’s well-attended forum.
“I became active last summer,” said Morganstern. “Last August, there was a hostage incident in Bovina Center, right next door to our house. Catskill Mountain News covered the story well. The whole hostage incident was so unbelievable it got me active as a firearm owner.”


Farm bill with food stamp cuts could hurt locals

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By Joe Moskowitz
President Obama signed a $956 billion dollar farm bill into law last Friday, a measure that supporters and opponents say could have profound impact on the Catskill Region.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, voted against the bill, while Senator Shuck Schumer, also a Democrat, voted in favor of it.
Gillibrand opposed it because of cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often known as food stamps.


Golden eagle tagged and released as part of study

By Brian Sweeney
A locally based project to study the habits of Golden Eagles added a new dimension on Saturday when one of the eagles was captured and outfitted with a tracking device.
After a few unsuccessful attempts this past week, project leader Scott VanArsdale from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation set up around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday at a designated “watch” location off Tremperskill Road, Andes. An immature golden was one of the early birds to come into the setup area and was trapped before 7 a.m.


Conservation is key to Phoenicia's water system in the extreme cold

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Phoenicia Water District is not getting the breaks it needs to be free of winter worries. Bone chilling temperatures continue to shorten the water supply for the small hamlet, and the winter’s influx of skiers in search of hot food and good cheer taxes the system even more.


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