Up in Smoke

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Part of the VW Parts Inc. complex at the intersection of Wagner Avenue and Main Street, Fleischmanns went up in flames late Tuesday afternoon. More photos in our front page story.— Photo by Brian Sweeney

Coalition seeks more protection for hamlets in DEP land buying

By Jay Braman Jr.
At a time when regional planning is coming back into play locally in the form of efforts to coordinate economic development projects along the Route 28 corridor, there’s another layer of planning that’s beginning to take shape thanks to the Coalition of Watershed Towns. The current planning asks watershed communities to revisit some of the same questions that were asked back in the early 1990s when the historic watershed deal was reached between upstate and the City of New York.


Former President and Sen. Clinton were Emerson Resort & Spa guests

Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton spent part of their August vacation at the Emerson Resort and Spa on August 12 and took time out of their visit to meet local residents and hear concerns about a number of local issues. Meeting with Emerson partners Dean and Lynn Gitter, the Clintons were delighted to share stories about everything from foreign travel to Kentucky, a state the senator appreciated during spring presidential primaries.


New MCS superintendent takes reins

By Brian Sweeney
New Margaretville Central School Superintendent Anthony Albanese has been on the job since July 1 and is looking forward to the start of school. Mr. Albanese has been working with the board for more than a month and has met many staff members who are already at MCS preparing for a new year.


Chamber name proposal spurs member opposition

By Julia Green
An effort to change the name of the Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce to the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce hit a snag lat week when one of the chamber’s members questioned both the need and the process for the change.
“This decision is the result of more than one year of discussions with many businesses in our service area, both members and potential members,” Board President John Riedl wrote in a letter to chamber members dated July 14. He called the proposed name change “a more inclusive name,” and said that the decision was made by a unanimous vote of the chamber’s board of directors.


City wants ban on gas drilling

By Matthew J. Perry
After months of silence, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made an opening demand last week for harsh restrictions on natural gas drilling in the city’s vast watershed. The agency is also seeking a central role in the review of leases near its holdings, and has called for public hearings to be held for every proposed drilling site.
DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd circulated a letter to state officials that spoke to grave concerns about the environmental impacts of gas drilling and the threat it poses to the water that fills upstate reservoirs.


Phoenicia Hotel site cleanup put on hold by state officials

By Jay Braman Jr.
The mountain of rubble that was once the historic Phoenicia Hotel will remain the most prominent feature on the Phoenicia Business district, at least for now, but at least it’s not an asbestos hazard. That’s the latest word from town officials and the property owner who responded to complaints that the unsightly debris has been sitting for too long.


Riverkeeper echoes call for drilling ban

Environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper called on Governor Paterson on Friday to designate the New York City Watershed permanently “off-limits” for natural gas drilling. 
“Riverkeeper agrees with the state’s decision to update its outdated environmental review for gas drilling in New York’s portion of the vast Marcellus Shale formation. The state must take the logical next step and enact a ban on gas drilling in the NYC Watershed,” said Phillip Musegaas, Riverkeeper Policy Director.


Shandaken seeks status as Greenway Community

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Shandaken Town Council voted to become a Greenway Community at this month’s board meeting. The vote was unanimous in favor although Councilman Vince Bernstein was absent.
There was little discussion about the measure among board members, but some in the audience needed reassurance that property rights would not be stepped on.


DEP mum on plans for local gas drilling

By Matthew J. Perry
While natural gas thousands of feet below the surface has residents preparing for land men and dreaming of dollar signs, water still creates a great deal of concern in the Catskills, if not conversation. Natural gas is extracted from shale formations, such as the Marcellus Shale running across the southern tier of New York, by way of hydraulic ‘fracing’: hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, are pumped into the earth and later return to the surface as wastewater.
The reality of such potential demand would seem to be of paramount interest to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which, under agreement mandated by the federal government, is tasked to protect the quality and supply of drinking water for millions of people.


Property owner files lawsuit over Fleischmanns water tower

By Jay Braman Jr.
Following months of battling a proposed 360,000 gallon, 50-foot-tall water tower next door to her home, a Flieschmanns woman and her husband have filed a lawsuit against the village and the Town of Middletown to stop it. Co-plaintiff Anita Rubin, who lives on Paradise Camp Road, directed press inquiries to her attorney on Tuesday.
The village has been mulling the water tower plan for over two years, working with Delaware Engineering, the firm that built the village’s sewer system.


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