Board votes to keep Phoenicia School open

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Onteora School Board decided last week to keep the Phoenicia school open, but to only have students from kindergarten through third grade in the facility.

At a February 28 meeting at the high school in Boiceville, the board voted six to one in favor of what is known as “the Bookends Plan,” which keeps all three elementary schools open.

On the other end of the district, the other “bookend” school is Woodstock Elementary, which will have grades kindergarten through third grade just like Phoenicia.

MCS building project goes to voters next week

By Brian Sweeney

Margaretville Central School will hold a public vote on a Capital Building Project on Tuesday, March 13 from 2-8 p.m. in the cafeteria.

The project will include both maintenance work and classroom enhancements, including:
• Creation of a 25-station computer laboratory for the Middle School ($147,000);
• Installation of wireless networking capabilities throughout the building ($154,181);
• Alterations to the music and maintenance rooms ($37,619);
• Repairs to the drainage system, concrete floor and walls in the locket room area ($114,300);

Margaretville district grapples with budget

By Pauline Liu
The Margaretville Central School Board of Education plans to ask district voters to approve a 2.04 percent tax-levy limit for the 2012-2013 school year. 

According to MCS Superintendent Tony Albanese, each school district has a different tax-levy limit based on a formula from the Office of the State Comptroller. For MCS, that percentage is 2.04.  The board made its decision at a budget workshop last Tuesday and school officials have since notified the state of their plans. 

DOT skips Arkville signs

By Pauline Liu
What’s become of the Catskill Park highway guide signs for Arkville?  So far, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has no official answer.

The signs began appearing along other parts of Route 28 last spring. The new federally-compliant, white-on-brown highway signs are topped with what the DOT calls “a Catskill-theme sign panel” to enhance tourism, provide continuity as well as branding for the communities in the Catskill Park.

Forty evacuated from Belleayre chairlift

By Jay Braman Jr.
Forty skiers had to be evacuated from a chairlift Thursday at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, after the lift on which they were riding malfunctioned.

At press time Tuesday, the cause of the problem with the chair lift had not been determined, but foul play has been ruled out.

County wants $81.3B for local fracking ban

By Pauline Liu
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors is demanding that New York State and New York City pay county landowners $81.3 billion in reparations, as the state proposes widening its ban on hydraulic fracturing beyond New York City’s watershed.

The proposed award would be paid out over 60 years. The money would be “for the mineral rights taken from affected landowners and communities.”

Lack of snow falls on plowing costs

By Brian Sweeney
A warm, largely snowless winter has been detrimental to businesses relying on seasonal trade, but area highway budgets have benefitted from the unusual weather pattern.
The highway bosses interviewed by the News all stressed that March, in particular, is notorious for serving up large helpings of severe weather. In fact, one of the the season’s most significant snowfalls may have fallen by the time this story appears. Despite this week’s weather, the season has been very light on snowfall.

Insurance woes stall Freshtown reopening

By Brian Sweeney
The owners of Freshtown Supermarket in Margaretville continue to wait for an insurance settlement so they can ready the store for reopening.

Spokesperson Joan Lawrence-Bauer said this week that PSK Supermarkets, which owns the store, is continuing to negotiate an insurance settlement for damage sustained by flooding from Hurricane Irene.

No Fleischmanns mayor after vote falters

By Jay Braman Jr.
At a special meeting Monday night, the Fleischmanns Village Board failed to appoint a mayor to replace Dave Morell, who resigned that post a week ago.

The action, or lack of action, surprised Deputy Mayor Todd Pascarella, who expected to become Morell’s replacement that evening.

Trustee Ben Fenton made a motion that Pascarella be appointed mayor, to serve out the rest of Morell’s term, which expires in March 2013.

But neither trustees Harriet Grossman or Fred Woller would give Fenton’s motion a second.

Hog Mt. Road closing proposed

By Pauline Liu
The “landslide” on the closed quarter-mile of Hog Mountain Road appears to be getting worse and now a Binghamton-based engineering firm has recommended to the Middletown Highway Department that the flood-damaged portion of road remain closed permanently.

The town received that recommendation from Keystone Associates on Tuesday. Next, the findings will have to be presented before the Middletown Town Board.

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