Phoenicia Bridge opening welcomed

By Jay Braman Jr.
There were plenty of smiles on faces Friday morning on the Bridge Street Bridge in Phoenicia. More than 100 actually.

It was unusual to see that many people in one place in the Town of Shandaken hamlet, and even more unusual to see them all on a bridge at the same time.

But Friday morning was a special occasion. It was the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge, a span that was crippled last August when Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Esopus Creek, which usually runs below the bridge, to well over the top of its pavement.

Phoenicia bridge repairs set; reopening targeted for July 4

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Bridge Street bridge in Phoenicia will finally be repaired, says Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

The bridge was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene last summer, but its repair was put on the back burner by the county because it was unclear whether it even could be repaired.
In January the county hired the firm Peak Engineering to study the bridge. The results of that study should have been given to the county on February 1, but for reasons unknown the study was not submitted until March 30.

Fly fishing hero Ray Smith to be celebrated in Phoenicia

Phoenicia — The life of hometown fly fishing hero, Ray Smith will be celebrated at the Phoenicia Library on Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Friends and family members of Ray Smith, who passed away in 1975, will share their stories of this avid dry fly fisher in the second floor room of the Jerry Bartlett Memorial Angling Collection.  Ray was a licensed guide who was very well known in the Esopus Valley, both for his fishing and fly tying expertise. 

Stop work order issued at farm stand

By Jay Braman Jr.
Work on construction of a controversial farm stand in Shandaken was ordered shut down over the weekend by the town’s code enforcement officer, but the owner of the property is ignoring the order and was pouring concrete Monday at the Route 28 location of his business to get ready for a reopening.

This skirmish marks the latest battle between Al Higley, owner of Hanover Farms, and the Town of Shandaken, which has alleged for several years that the farm-stand business is not properly zoned and is operating illegally.

Al's to close its doors

By Jay Braman Jr.
A long-time fixture of the Phoenicia business community is about to close its doors, so those that want a taste of local history should makes reservations at Al’s Seafood Restaurant as soon as possible.

Open continuously since 1940, Al’s owner/operator Paul Pettinato, the son of restaurant founder Al Pettinato, announced this week that he is retiring and that the legendary eatery will close its doors, perhaps for good, on March 19.

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.

Board: Phoenicia school closing looks less likely

By Jay Braman Jr.
As battle lines within the Onteora School District are beginning to be drawn, the Onteora School Board is making it clear that they are not convinced that closing a school will be the financial savior of a plan for the sprawling district.

At a public forum last week, the board heard from many parents and residents about the three options on the table for how to cut spending in the coming school year.

Phoenicia School closing possible

By Jay Braman Jr.
If the Onteora School District decides to close an elementary school it will be Phoenicia Elementary, not Bennett Elementary or Woodstock Elementary, and it could happen this year.
And if it happens, students living in the Pine Hill/Highmount area could be traveling all the way to Woodstock.

That decision was made last week by the District Superintendent Phyllis McGill.

Phoenicia holiday celebration comes to town on Dec 23

By Jay Braman Jr.
In spite of having been knocked back on its heels by Irene/Lee flooding and even though the main way into the business district remains closed, Phoenicia’s second annual holiday extravaganza, now going by the name “Ho Ho Holy Night” set for this Friday, promises to be bigger and better than last year’s offering.

Young readers honored at Phoenicia Elementary School

Phoenicia — Local students who participated in the New York State Assembly Summer Reading and Exercise Challenge, sponsored in the 101st District by Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess), were honored last week in an awards ceremony that was held at Phoenicia Elementary School.

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