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

Regional ski pass gets chilly reception from officials at Greene Cty. resorts

By Jay Braman Jr.
Ulster County Legislature Chairman David Donaldson proposed last week that Ulster, Greene and Delaware counties team up to institute a “Catskill Regional Ski Pass” that would allow skiers to ski at any of the resorts in the Catskill Region.
But so far the idea has received a chilly reception from one of the region’s biggest ski centers and only a curious look from another.


CWC has gas drilling info for landowners and officials

Information on the potential for natural gas drilling in the Catskills is now available from the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC). The CWC, as a public service, is offering a packet of basic information culled from various sources for landowners, municipal officials and Catskills residents interested in or concerned about the possibility for natural gas exploration in the Marcellus shale formation.


Roxbury's Planning Board gets wind engineering input

By Julia Green
A capacity crowd turned out for Wednesday’s meeting of the Roxbury Planning Board, at which representatives for wind turbine company Invenergy and LaBella Associates were in attendance.
Roxbury Planning Board Chairman Joe Farleigh began the meeting by rebuking implications in an e-mail sent by the Western Catskill Preservation Alliance (WCPA) that LaBella Associates is “on Invenergy’s payroll.” Farleigh emphasized that payment is made to the town, which is then held in escrow, and suggested that comments implying otherwise were “offensive to the LaBella folks who have been working diligently” in the process.


Brookside Hardware named top business after bouncing back from devastating fire

By Julia Green
Will Finch, owner of Brookside Hardware in Margaretville, was honored Thursday night by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, which presented him with its 2008 Business of the Year Award at its annual dinner. New York State Sen. John Bonacic was the guest speaker at the event, which took place at the Andes Hotel.
The Hobart Book Village was also recognized, receiving the Arnold Banker Tourism Award, which was presented by Linda Stratigos, vice chairperson of the chamber’s board and accepted by Hobart Book Village founder Don Dales.


Businesses ask DEC boss for Belleayre Mtn. meeting

By Jay Braman Jr.
The man who has been described as the final authority over proposed drastic budget cuts to the state-owned Belleayre Ski Center has been invited to visit the facility and the region next month for a quick lesson on the local economy, and what would happen to it if those cuts were allowed.
This is the latest ripple effect from news two weeks ago that Belleayre faces a difficult season this year due to budget cuts. While no specific figures have been released, staffers and local officials have heard of 181 job cuts, with fewer trails and fewer chair lifts operating


ACS tackles challenge of declining enrollment

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By Matthew J. Perry
The Andes Central School Board of Education addressed the hard reality of declining enrollment Thursday, and also listened to calls for tax relief from members of the school district. Yet the board also gave a demonstration of the school’s new website, and somehow managed to inject optimism and can-do spirit into what might have been a grim opening to the administration’s school year.


Hundreds of supporters rally to "Save Belleayre"

By Jay Braman Jr.
Locals residents, business owners and employees of Belleayre Mountain Ski Center came out in droves Saturday morning to a rally put on by the Coalition to Save Belleayre, the organization that blew the whistle on what many consider to be life-threatening budget cuts proposed for the state-run facility.


Fall festival leaving Belleayre; will be hosted at Arkville's D&U

By Jay Braman Jr.
Following an announcement last week that the annual Belleayre Mountain Ski Center Fall Festival was being cancelled, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) quickly followed up with another announcement, saying that the popular event would instead be moved to Arkville.
The 29th annual Belleayre Fall Festival will be held Columbus Day weekend, but at a new location thanks to a partnership announced last week by the DEC and the Delaware and Ulster Railroad. The festival will take place on October 11-12 at the Delaware and Ulster Railroad on Route 28 in Arkville.


Officials debate gas drilling on Catskill Watershed lands

By Matthew J. Perry
A public hearing held last Wednesday in New York City provided a forum for renewed calls of opposition to gas drilling within the city’s watershed system and its filtration avoidance agreement.
“This is an industrial activity that is incompatible with the delicate watershed where nine million New Yorkers get their drinking water,” said City Councilman James Gennaro, a primary organizer of the hearing. He has requested that the state place a year-long moratorium on gas exploration within the watershed.


Supermarket renovations moved to January

By Brian Sweeney
The transformation of the Margaretville A&P into a Freshtown Supermarket has been pushed back to late January, the store owners announced last week. Daniel Katz, a partner in PSK Supermarkets which is planning the new store, said the work to convert the A&P into a Freshtown store is now scheduled to begin on January 22. This work was initially supposed to start this month.
“In order to create a smooth transition, we have agreed to a lease extension with A&P. This will hopefully ensure that the store closes for only a minimal period of time,” Mr. Katz told the News.


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