Phoenicia water system freezes up in severe cold snap

By Jay Braman Jr.
Ulster County Heath Department officials have issued a boil water advisory to Phoenicia residents after recent frigid temperatures froze so much of the district’s water supply that the system had to be switched over to an impure backup supply.

County supervisors approve cell phone fees and $2 million change order for recycling equipment

By Cheryl Petersen
At their monthly meeting last Wednesday, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors approved a 30 cents-per-month surcharge on wireless cell phones in Delaware County.
“All the funds will go to the 911 account to continue upgrading services,” said Tom Axtell, public safety chair and Deposit Supervisor.
The supervisors also approved a maximum expenditure of $154,000 for engineering evaluations of the Public Works operations and maintenance to determine the design of a new building.

Denning residents battle Hirsch over proposed turbine

By Joe Moskowitz
A battle that has drawn publicity to one of the region’s smallest and quietest towns may be drawing to a head. The Ulster County Town of Denning, with a full-time population of approximately 560 residents, has been getting national attention because of one of its part-time residents, actor Judd Hirsch.
Hirsch who starred in TVs “Taxi”, and Hollywood’s “Independence Day” has been at center stage in a battle with some local residents over his plan to construct a 176-foot-tall wind turbine on his property.

FEMA will hold flood mapping meeting Feb. 5 in Woodstock

By Jay Braman Jr.
By now most everyone knows that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the process of making new flood maps for the region.
In short, areas that previously were not in flood zones may be in those zones once the maps and finalized.
For property owners, that may mean being required to purchase flood insurance, which can be an expensive proposition.

NYPA hosts Snowfest this Saturday, Feb. 1

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is partnering with Mine Kill State Park and Mother Nature to celebrate the season with free winter activities for the whole family at the annual Snowfest on Saturday, Feb. 1.
The event will be held at the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center complex from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and, weather-permitting, will include a snow sculpture contest, snow bowling, scavenger hunts and much more. Visitors can also sample fare from the Grand Gorge United Methodist Church’s Chili Contest or take a hayride pulled by a team of local oxen.

Donnie Liddle's Andes farm is home to a dozen donkeys

By Joe Moskowitz
If you happen to be driving on Dingle Hill road in Andes, and you hear something that doesn’t sound native to those parts, the noise just may be coming from one of Donnie Liddle’s donkeys.
Donnie started raising donkeys more than a decade ago. He originally bought two, one jack and one jennie, and before too long he had six.
Liddle, who retired from MTC in 2007, now has an even dozen, including two newborn foals. Over the years people have given him donkeys because they know he will take good care of them.

Hanford Mills Museum Ice Harvest Festival set for this Saturday

Hanford Mills Museum will hold its annual Ice Harvest Festival on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The festival recreates a winter tradition that was essential to rural communities up until the early 20th Century. Using vintage tools, children and adults are invited to walk out on the frozen millpond to cut and maneuver blocks of ice. The ice blocks are pushed up a ramp and then loaded onto sleds, which are then hauled to a traditional icehouse.

Biomass project will be the topic of Feb. 1 meeting in Fleischmanns

Jim Waters, executive director of the Catskill Forest Association, will present the outcome of a feasibility study conducted by a consultant firm, Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC), and funded by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and United States Department of Energy on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m., following the Fleischmanns First monthly meeting at La Cabana Restaurant,

Middletown Historical Society announces program plans for 2014

“Reading the Land”, two programs on prehistoric Middletown, will lead off another busy series of events and activities for the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM).
The 2014 season will include the Third Annual Living History Cemetery Tour, a rousing folksong sing-out, a program on the lost community of Arena, and a slide show on the history of skiing in the Catskills.

DEC releases draft management plan for black bears

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last Thursday released a draft species management plan for black bears and will be accepting public comments on the management plan through January 31.
“Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance populations, hunting opportunities, and environmental impacts,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  “This plan will guide the management of this species for the next 10 years, and we encourage people to review and submit comments on the draft plans.”

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