Adultery scandal at Zen Monestery leads to resignation of leader

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By Jay Braman Jr.
It appears that extramarital affairs don’t just take down presidential candidates these days. Last week, 61-year-old Ryushin Sensei, the leader of the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, resigned following an admission of adultery that not only ruined his marriage but also put the monas­tery’s reputation at stake.
In a prepared statement, Ryu­shin, also called an Abbot, let all know of the harm he brought to his wife, Hojin Osho, who also works at the monastery and of the decision of the monastery’s higher-level leadership to ask him to step down.


New maple grading system welcomed by producers

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By Cheryl Petersen
When it boils right down to it, a global uniform grading system for maple syrup makes sense. Spearheaded by the International Maple Syrup Institute, a consistent grading system is becoming a sweet reality, bringing clarity to what has confused customers in the past: different grading systems in different regions.
MAKING THE GRADE —Maple syrup producer Tom Kauffman near the International Maple Syrup Grading chart, holding new labels and a grading kit. — Photo by Cheryl PetersenMAKING THE GRADE —Maple syrup producer Tom Kauffman near the International Maple Syrup Grading chart, holding new labels and a grading kit. — Photo by Cheryl Petersen


Sen. Seward urges patience from resort supporters

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By Jay Braman Jr.
While State Senator James Seward fully supports the approval of the Belleayre Resort plan and the full expansion of the state-owned Belleayre Moun­tain Ski Center, he told a small group in the Pine Hill last week that neither is yet etched in stone.
Republican Seward, a Milford resident and 29-year veteran of the Senate representing the 51st District, met informally with members of the Pine Hill/ Fleischmanns Rotary Club at the Pine Hill Arms Wednesday in a quiet, softly lit dining room where, over drinks and appetizers, he spoke about the future of Belleayre.


How Low Can It Go?

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We have a typo in the "falling gas prices" story on the front page of the January 28 edition of the News. Gas at Hess in Margaretville is selling for $2.39 9/10ths, not $2.20 as we reported. We are sorry if you drove there looking for $2.20 gas. Hopefully next week it will be $2.20!


Shandaken mulls changes to Town Comprehensive Plan

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Town of Shandaken Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2005 after years of fist-pounding debate and controversy, is up for review this year, but it remains unclear if the town is prepared to reopen discussion on what is considered a blueprint of the town’s future.


Town/Village sewer extension project to begin in February

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By Brian Sweeney
Work is expected to get underway in February on the long-planned Middletown/Village of Margaretville Sewer Extension Project.
Property owners along Academy Street and Bull Run Road in Margaretville, as well as those in the vicinity of Harold Finch Road and Rosa Road, were notified in writing last week that they should expect to see project-related activity in the near future.


Local consumers pumped up about falling gas prices

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By Joan Lawrence-Bauer
Falling gas prices are hardly breaking news these days, but their impact on the region is huge.
Direct impacts of national news aren’t always felt in rural areas. But the recent drop in the price of oil is an exception to that rule. The global impact of falling oil prices is still being studied by economists the world over. But locally, people are already feeling the impact in their pocketbooks of gas that now costs a dollar and-a-half a gallon less that it did last year and businesses are reporting better than normal sales for this time of year.


OCS Superintendent mulling job options

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By Jay Braman Jr.
After not getting positive signals from the Onteora School Board, District Superintendent Phyllis McGill has considered work elsewhere in the state.
McGill’s contract with Onteora expires on June 30, 2016, leaving about a year and-a-half left on the four-year contract. As required by that contract, the board of education reviewed it last June, but no action was taken to renew or extend.


Residents left homeless after Big Indian blaze

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NOTHING LEFT — Firefighters survey the wreckage after a fire in Big Indian last Wednesday that left a family homeless. Firefighters were hampered by freezing temperatures and downed power lines. — Photos by Joan Lawrence-BauerNOTHING LEFT — Firefighters survey the wreckage after a fire in Big Indian last Wednesday that left a family homeless. Firefighters were hampered by freezing temperatures and downed power lines. — Photos by Joan Lawrence-Bauer
By Joan Lawrence-Bauer
With smoke all around them and brutally cold, sub-zero temperatures outside, a Big Indian couple and their infant had a “just in time” escape last week from their burning home.
When Crystal and Drew Syl­vester awoke at about 3:30 a.m. last Wednesday, they grabbed what they could and raced to the nearby firehouse where they hit the alarm. First responder Chuck Perez found them there, alerted county fire control and met Big Indian Oliverea Fire Department (BIOFD) Chief Jody Rossitz at the scene.
SAD DAY — A family in Big Indian lost its home and all belongings in an early morning fire last Wednesday.SAD DAY — A family in Big Indian lost its home and all belongings in an early morning fire last Wednesday.


HAHV planned affiliation will benefit Margaretville hospital

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By Joan Lawrence-Bauer
In an exclusive interview with the Catskill Mountain News last week, HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley (HAHV) CEO David Scarpino said he will be disappointed and surprised if a planned affiliation with Westchester Medical Center is not completed by the end of March and predicted measurable improvement in the delivery of health care here (in Margaret­ville) when the affiliation is complete.


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