April 3, 2009, New York Daily News: As trout season opens, life is but a stream

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Alexandra Kenney

As trout season opens, life is but a stream

link to full article is here:


Friday, April 3rd 2009, 4:00 AM

Anglers can also catch a dose of March Madness, as local fishing is officially getting underway. The New York season for striped bass in the Hudson River above the George Washington Bridge opened March 16 and the flounder opener was Wednesday.

Our New Jersey friends had a jump on things with their flounder season starting March 23 and a year-round allowance for ocean striped bass fishing.

However, it's really feverish for New York State trout anglers who had been preparing for the traditional April 1 opening. Jim Krul, executive director of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum in Livingston Manor, said his local scene looked good. On Wednesday, Catskills waters were nice and clear and registered a warm 42 degrees. What's more, the weekend forecast is favorable

Tomorrow we can enjoy our region's most storied day of opening rituals in Roscoe, dubbed Trout Town USA. Avid anglers will be gathering by 7 a.m. for "first cast" privileges at Junction Pool, where the famed Willowemoc Creek and Little Beaverkill meet. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, other well-known local anglers and the "already hooked on the sport" 8-year-old Johannes Mason will be on hand for the ceremonies. Krul noted they'll be using streamers, early dark nymphs and No.12 black stone flies probably until mid-month which should be the time to shift to dry flies.

Onlookers might duck in before noon tomorrow for a bamboo-rod casting clinic at Livingston Manor High School. Or check out fly-tying techniques demonstrated at the museum.

After these early April days that are often spent shivering streamside, sports people always look forward to gathering at the Rockland House (on the outskirts of Roscoe) for the traditional Two-Headed Trout festivities, to be held tomorrow night. Highlights include a 7 p.m. six-course feast, a silent auction, raffles and door prizes.

Tickets may be bought at the door for $45 adults or $12 for those under age 10. Info and tickets are available at the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, (607) 498-5765.


April 21, 2009, Press Release: NYS Public Service Commission Officially Dismisses NYRI

Public Service Commission
            Garry A. Brown, Chairman
 Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY  12223
 Further Details: James Denn (518) 474-7080
 http://www.dps.state.ny.us http://www.dps.state.ny.us/>
FOR RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY                        09033/06-T-0650    



­ New Application Must Be Filed if Company Wants to Pursue Project ­
        Albany, NY­04/21/09­The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today officially dismissed the application of the New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. (NYRI) to build a 190-mile transmission line from upstate to downstate New York, and furthermore stated that a new application must be filed if NYRI seeks to pursue its project.
         “I would like to thank all of the many parties that participated in this intensive siting process,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “The active parties and the general public supplied invaluable information in this proceeding. The detail that went into the record was greatly facilitated by the public statement hearings that were held.”
         More than 2,000 people attended the 13 public hearings, and more than 300 public statements were made. In addition, more than 2,600 letters and e-mails from the public were received.
         On April 3, 2009, counsel for NYRI announced that its investors had decided the financial risks of cost recovery were too great as a result of a Federal Regulatory Commission denial of rehearing with respect to the Congestion Analysis and Resource Integration Study process of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).  As a result, the investors were withdrawing their Article VII application.  On April 8, 2009, NYRI submitted a letter confirming it had withdrawn its Article VII application.
         On April 13, 2009, responses to NYRI’s announcement and letters were filed by the NYISO; Communities Against Regional Interconnect; the New York State Department of Transportation; the New York State Department of Public Service Staff; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation; the New York Power Authority; and the New York Attorney General’s Office.  
         Based on review and consideration of the arguments, the Commission has decided to treat the company’s on-the-record statement and subsequent letters as a request to withdraw its application; granted that request with prejudice; and authorized the Secretary of the Commission to issue a letter dismissing the application and requiring that any attempt by NYRI to pursue its project be done through the filing of a new application.
         Dismissal of the application with prejudice and requiring a new application for any future pursuit of the project makes the various requests for a decision on the merits and resolution of various evidentiary requests irrelevant.  

        The Commission’s decision today, when issued, may be obtained from the Commission’s www.dps.state.ny.us http://www.dps.state.ny.us/>  Web site by accessing the Commission’s File Room section of the homepage and referencing Case 06-T-0650. Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission orders

may also be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

April 22, 2009, The Daily Mail: Biomass heat equipment gains favor, large resource in Catskills

Biomass heat equipment gains favor

link to complete article is here:

State researchers and local businessmen are seeing green by seeing green.

Last fall, the state began an incentive program to support and improve biomass-fired heating equipment. The program was designed to foster the development of manufacturing jobs and the betterment of environmental performance of biomass technology.

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New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Spokesman Sal Graven said that the initiative encouraged two pellet boiler manufacturers to relocated to New York, one to Dunkirk, on Lake Erie, and the other to Schenectady. They market a European outdoor wood-burning boiler, which, he said, operates about 80 percent more efficiently and produces less than five percent of the particulate emissions than a standard outdoor wood boiler.

“A house is now burning a renewable fuel instead of fossil fuels,” he said.

Graven said the project also encourages businesses to produce fuels grown in-state.

And the business potential is enough to excite Cairo businessman John Deschaine.

Deschaine, who runs a logging company, would like to add chipping capabilities to his logging business on Route 32.

Deschaine would join the roughly 30 logging companies in the state that produce chips as part of what DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino calls integrated harvesting operations.

Most of the companies are located in Northern New York.

Chips can be pressed into pellets, briquettes or used for fuel as they are.

Deschaine is optimistic about the possibilities of chipping wood closer to home.

“We have a large resource here in the Catskills,” he said, “I want to tap into that.”

Marilyn Wyman, program coordinator at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County Agroforestry Center, in Acra, oversaw an open forum on issues surrounding biofuels earlier this month.

She said the discussion focused on the potential of woody plants found locally, such as willow.

Willow, she said, grows in wet areas as a harvested crop.

The roughly 30 participants in the dialogue were curious about business opportunities and the factors involved with producing biofuels.

“I think there was a lot of interest in this,” she said.

Zywia Wojnar, of Pace University, also attended the Acra meeting.

Wojnar is the project manager of the renewable fuels roadmap, a project coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Pace University, NYSERDA, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and the state Department of Environmental Conservation that was created earlier this year.

The roadmap was recommended by the Renewable Energy Task Force, created by Gov. David A. Paterson in 2008.

The roadmap, which is expected to be completed later this year, will provide guidance to those working on how to reduce dependence on foreign oil and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Wojnar said the initiative focuses more on biofuels that are made from non-food crops in order to avoid entering into the debate between growing a crop for food versus growing it for fuel.

“We try to steer away from that,” she said.

Wojnar explained that poplar can also be grown for fuel. Once the trees are mature, she said, they can be cut back — but not to the ground — and regrow. After three years, wood can be harvested again, she said.

She said that most of the woodfuel used by New York companies is produced in New York.

Currently, fuelwood pellets are manufactured for residential use in five location in the state, in Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson, Stueben and Wyoming counties, Lori Severino, a DEC spokeswoman said in an e-mail last week.

She said two more plant will open, in Massena and Saratoga County, shortly.

Severino said that many sawmills use wood chips for space heaters and to run lumber dry-kilns and two coal-fired facilities in Niagara and Yates counties have begun to co-fire with wood.

Two electric/cogenerating plants, in Franklin and Lewis counties, use wood feedstocks exclusively, she said.

But chip and pellet production for large-scale operations still has room to evolve.

John Deschaine explained that the pellets are more expensive to produce than chips because wood needs to be stripped of its bark before it can be pressed into a pellet or briquette.

Zywia Wojnar said that biomass needs to be commoditized, before the industry can grow.

A number of variable factors including moisture content, size and weight need to be standardized in order to a customer to know exactly how much product is needed, she said.

“I would not say it is a very established market,” she said.

To reach reporter Susan Campriello, please call (518) 943-2100, ext. 3333, or e-mail [email protected].


April 22, 2009, Press Release: TripAdvisor/NatGeo Award the Catskills Premier Boutique Inn

Click here for more news from Delaware County Chamber of Commerce News From Delaware County Chamber of Commerce


News from Western Catskills Tourism

For more information contact: Patty Cullen, 866-775-4425

TripAdvisor/NatGeo Award the Catskills Premier Boutique Inn

The Roxbury - Contemporary Catskills Lodging

DELHI, NY (04/22/2009; 1000)(readMedia)-- When it comes to travel, most people have a destination in mind and then find the type of place in which they want to rest their heads. The Roxbury Motel flips that standard route on it's head. Travelers find The Roxbury and decide they'd like to visit the Western Catskills. They are the destination in and of themselves. While they are set in the historic village of Roxbury at the headwaters of the East Branch of the Delaware River, surrounded by the authentic charm of gentle mountains and rustic farmland vistas, the bucolic beauty just sets the backdrop for the outstanding style and wonderful service provided at the inn.

The April 2009 issue of the National Geographic Traveler contained their article, The 2009 Stay List: 129 Hotels We Love. There along side some of the most expensive and exclusive hotels, resorts and inns, is The Roxbury. Just two months prior, TripAdvisor.com announced their 2009 Travelers Choice Awards - and again The Roxbury was in two categories: Best Hidden Gems, and Best Service - USA.

All these accolades come after five years in a row of the Catskill Mountain News Best Service Award for #1 Hotel/Motel in the Catskills Region! Co-owner Greg Henderson is enthusiastic about the audience outlets such as these offer to travelers from around the world. "Due to the amazing power of the Internet and the considerable amount of International Media attention that we have received, we have been amazed at the amount of American and International travelers that come to stay with us. Just this week we had guests from Norway, Russia, The Netherlands, and the U.K. At the same time, we also had a couple from High Falls, NY come to stay for a little romantic get away. They left vowing to tell all of their friends and family that they don't need to travel far for a luxury adventure at an affordable price - they just have to drive to Roxbury in the Western Catskills!"

The Roxbury offers eighteen rooms in four styles - studios, studios with kitchenettes, themed rooms and suites. All rooms have Wireless Internet, Tv's with DVD players and MP3 playback, fridges, microwaves, coffee machines, A/C, Egyptian cotton towels, luxury bathroom amenities, telephones with voicemail, and these wonderful curved shower rods that create more shower space in the bathtubs. Breakfast is served continentally at 8:00am sharp, and includes freshly-ground Hawaiian coffee, the chai tea, the freshly baked old-fashioned coffee cake, the Ghiradelli white chocolate hot cocoa, the yogurt and oatmeal, and the fresh fruit.

Great packages including elegant dinners, mountain bike rentals, golf deals, discounted skiing, spa services, massage, and more are offered year round. For more information visit www.theroxburymotel.com.

Great Western Catskills Tourism

The Great Western Catskills is an easy day trip from New York City metro area, Albany, or Binghamton and a great weekend getaway or vacation destination for all. To learn more about outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages or any other activities in the western Catskills, log on to: www.greatwesterncatskills.com. For free travel literature, call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail: [email protected]. For timely events in the area visit delawarecountytoday.com.


April 16, 2009: Shawangunk Journal:Proposal for a 1,000 Acre Farmland Preserve and Catskill-Shawangunk Greenway in Wawarsing, NY

Opinion: Views & commentary from around the community
Proposal for a 1,000 Acre Farmland Preserve and Catskill-Shawangunk Greenway in Wawarsing, NY
link is here: http://www.shawangunkjournal.com/2009/04/16/news/0904168.html

In the late 1980s, the Rondout (Esopus) Land Conservancy (RELC) proposed the creation of a farmland preservation area centered around the former Davenport Farm in Wawarsing, NY. The conservancy hoped to find farmers to buy individual parcels that would have been protected with agricultural conservation easements. When New York State bought much of the land to expand its prison farm at Eastern Correctional Facility, the plan to protect the lands was not implemented.

Since 1995, I have sought to convince NYS to protect its prison farmland with easements as planned. In 2000-2001, myself and the other farmers who purchased the Davenport parcels applied for purchase of development rights (PDR) grant money through the NYS Farmland Protection Program. Since NYS considers 1,000 acres to be an "important threshold" for protected farmland areas, I am proposing to create a 1,000 acre farmland preserve in the Town of Wawarsing by preserving the state land with easements and making PDR available to the private farms on a voluntary basis.

The area is now recognized in the Wawarsing Comprehensive Plan as an "Agricultural Development Area," or core farmland area. It is in Ulster County Agricultural District #3 and the Ulster County Planning Board recommends limiting allowable uses in the area.

The State of New York has announced that it is closing down the prison's farming operations by June 2009 and plans to lease the land to farmers for the next five years.

Eastern and Ulster Correctional Facilities will continue to house and "process" new inmates (respectively), and employ local residents. But the area has been hard-hit by the closing of factories and the demise of the Catskills' traditional "Borscht Belt" economy.

The Town of Wawarsing, and the hamlets of Napanoch and Kerhonkson in particular, could benefit from revitalization through agricultural and recreational tourism, with the commercial centers being in the hamlets and downtown Ellenville. The Wawarsing Comprehensive Plan seeks to avoid sprawling development along Route 209 by recommending the encouragement of commercial centers. The Napanoch Valley Mall is being redeveloped into a Super Walmart to replace the former discount department store and supermarket on the site.

New York State, together with the Open Space Institute, has created tens of thousands of acres of parkland in Wawarsing, but much of it is designated "preserves" that limit the availability of amenities for tourists and travelers. The farmland preservation area is entirely compatible with and complements the creation of a Catskill-Shawangunk Greenway that would link the two mountain ranges as well as Minnewaska State Park and the Catskill Park.

With Minnewaska's parking lot filling up and closing by mid-morning on weekends in the summer, and overuse of the trails in the Shawangunks being a concern, the greenway could provide hiking and biking to alleviate the pressure on "the Gunks." The Long Path is already planned to be re-routed through this greenway, and the town will build the D&H (O&W rail) Trail through the area from Kerhonkson's downtown parking area to Eastern Correctional's recreation hall parking lot next year. The town will choose a trail designer in 2009 and seek public input for the design. This will make the greenway an intersection of major hiking trails.

The 1999 Sullivan/Wawarsing Rural Economic Area Partnership Strategic Plan for redevelopment of the former Borscht Belt called for both a farmland preservation area and the development of a linear park along the D&H Trail with museums, historic sites, and picnic lodges.

The D&H Heritage Corridor Handbook for Action plan called for protection of the farmland along the canal and trail corridor, perhaps by the RELC, as the viewshed for the trail. It called for loops and spur trails off the main rail trail to make it more interesting. More recently, the Kerhonkson to Napanoch D&H Master Plan and the Ulster County Non-Motorized Transportation Plan called for a trail spur on Port Ben Road between the prison cornfields.

At the margins of the farm fields, especially along the creek, trails could lead to a Rondout Creek Park such as the one envisioned by the 1969 Wawarsing Master Plan. The current Wawarsing Comprehensive Plan also suggests public access to the creek north of Port Ben. The farm lane at Colony Farm could be an alternate off-road hiking and biking route to Ver Nooy Kill State Forest. An agricultural development park at the former dairy buildings at Colony Farm and/or agri-tourism activities would be compatible with the greenway/farm preserve concept.

The NYS Draft Open Space Plan, the state's land acquisition and preservation plan states that agricultural lands that provide linkages "including a Catskill/Shawangunk connection in Wawarsing" should be considered as priorities for protection. These farms serve as corridors for wildlife between the parks (despite the best efforts of the farmers!).

Planners are predicting that there will be an exodus of baby boomer-aged retirees for the next 20 years from large cities to small towns at the fringes of the metropolitan areas. The top three amenities demanded by this demographic group are trails, parkland, and open space, according to the National Association of Realtors. Wawarsing could have all three. If Napanoch, Kerhonkson, and Wawarsing can attract some of these well-heeled people, who do not have children in school but pay school property taxes, it would help to subsidize the local Rondout Valley and Ellenville School Districts. Trails add thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to the value of a home.

When employers look for new locations for their businesses, they are attracted to places that offer a good quality of life, recreational opportunities, and amenities that they don't have to pay for, such as parks and trails. Recreation helps to keep employees healthy, content, and productive.

The Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway Plan encourages the redistribution of recreational tourists around the byway region, both to alleviate overcrowding and to spread the wealth to low-income towns like Wawarsing. With Minnewaska State Park overused, there is an opportunity to attract tourists down into our valley to spend money on food, lodging and entertainment. A bicycle route along existing low traffic volume back roads would be part of the mix. Other successful tourist towns have used their rail trail as the backbone of a series of connected hiking, biking and cross-country skiing circuits. A greenway/farm preserve protects the viewsheds from the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway, the D&H Trail, the Long Path and Minnewaska State Park.

A large prolific aquifer underlies the area, and protecting it from development protects drinking water and is in the best interest of everyone.

A Catskill-Shawangunk Greenway and Farmland Preserve in Wawarsing would bring outside money into the town through tourism, and would bring recreation to our townspeople to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes. It would provide safe routes for children between the town park, the hamlets, and the Walmart store. It would protect scarce and important agricultural soils and farmland, help bring customers to local farm stands, and provide croplands and pasture for the use of farmers. It is smart tax policy, since farmland does not use many public services. ("Cows don't go to school.") It protects the environment and our drinking water and fights the sprawl that slows down transportation on Route 209. It preserves our heritage and turns it into a unique marketable asset.

There is simply no reason not to turn the end of the prison farm into the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the Town of Wawarsing, which capitalizes on our proud heritage of Catskill hospitality. Now, when people ride down Route 209 and see the prison farmland they say, "There's the maximum security prison," or "There's the maxie." Imagine the improvement in Wawarsing's "brand" or image if they said, "There's the Catskill Shawangunk Greenway." And it would be the same land, doing the same job of growing Rondout Valley corn!

To leave the farms unprotected and vulnerable to short-term profiteering by developers would spoil them forever. It would be a continuation of the failed policies of the past, not "change." Retail development leads to the need for more services, bigger government, and higher taxes. Tourism and agriculture are Ulster County and New York State's biggest industries and not a thing of the past. Wawarsing needs to regain its lost identity. Its greatest asset is that it is located where the Catskills meet the Shawangunks. They say, "If you don't know where you are, you don't know who you are." Wawarsing's children should grow up proud of who they are.


April 12, 2009, Catskills News: Empire Resorts hires chief restructuring officer

Empire Resorts hires chief restructuring officer

link to complete article is here:


Part of the plan now includes keeping the current raceway
and adjacent racino, in business, even if a second, smaller
track opens at the planned new Concord complex, less than
three miles away

MONTICELLO – Empire Resorts, the company that owns Monticello Gaming and Raceway, Thursday announced the appointment of Eric Reehl as chief restructuring officer.

His primary function will be to negotiate a restructuring of the company’s outstanding secured debt with representatives of the company’s note holders, who hold $65 million in convertible notes, and Bank of Scotland, which holds some $7.5 million in a revolving first mortgage credit facility.

Reehl said it is “in the best interest of all parties” to come to a quick settlement. He said Empire Resorts has a “solid asset base and significant growth potential given its existing cash flow from VGM and racing operations at the Monticello Casino and Raceway, future anticipated revenues from the Concord Hotel and Resort, the possibility of a St. Regis Mohawk tribe class III gaming project, and possible legalization of commercial gaming in Sullivan County.”

He said there is also the possibility of developing the 230 acre raceway site along with the expansion of gaming in the Catskills.

Reehl most recently served as one of three managing directors in corporate finance and asset backed lending at Plainfield Asset Management LLC.

Empire Resorts recently announced that its partnership with developer Louis Cappelli to build the new Concord resort would include keeping the current racetrack and racino open in

April 12, 2009, New York Newsday: Golf and good food in Windham


Golf and good food in Windham

|Special to Newsday

Travel wknd windham pratts

The view from Pratt Rock in Prattsville, near Windham, New York in the Catskill Mountains. (Photo by Noah Finn, courtesy of the Catskill Mountain Region Guide)

Windham is in New York's Greene County - an area so aptly named it's surprising that many people generally associate the area with the whites and grays of winter. Yes, Windham Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts in New York, drawing many Long Islanders to its 46 groomed trails. But come spring, Greene County sprouts greener delights, which include the emerald lawns of championship golf courses, rivers and just-harvested produce.

In the new parlance of sustainable agriculture, the region is a locavore's utopia - visitors can purchase a variety of fruits, vegetables and organic meats after working up an appetite hiking to the graceful and multitiered Kaaterskill Falls or up New York's mini Mount Rushmore, Pratt Rock.


Play golf

Tee off at the Windham Country Club - the 18-hole, par-71 championship course was awarded 31/2 stars by Golf Digest. Weekend greens fees are $67, including cart - the price drops to $36-$42 for weekdays (518-734-9910, windhamcountryclub.com).

Christman's Windham House is a 27-hole resort with an 18-hole championship course that traverses hills, streams and ponds, plus a nine-hole family-favorite Valley course. You can play 18 for $40-$65, including cart - or nine for $22-$30 (518-734-6990, windhamhouse.com)

Taste wines

Considered the winery with the highest elevation in the Northeast, Windham Vineyard (518-734-5214, windhamvineyard.com) produces Chardonnays, red blends and dessert wines at wallet-friendly prices ($14.99-$19.99 per bottle). In May, its brand new outdoor deck will open, promising a space that's ideal for picnics. Throughout the month, pick up a bread and cheese hamper from Todaro's Salumeria (5344 Main St., 518-734-4134) and the vineyard will treat you to a flight of wines.

Take a hike

Climb to the highest two-tiered waterfall in New York State- Kaaterskill Falls - which drops 260 ft in two stages (Rt. 23, one mile round trip hike from parking area, dec.ny.gov). Or conquer New York's mini Mt. Rushmore, Pratt Rock - an homage to the (some say egoist) Zadock Pratt (Rt. 23 east of Prattsville, a 500 ft. climb to top).


Cave Mountain Brewing Co.

5359 Main St., 518-734-9222


Craft beer opinionists have bestowed honors on newcomer Cave Mountain Brewing Company, where you can get mouthwatering micro-brews in a comfy, coffeehouse setting. If you can't decide between Blonde Ale, Irish Red, English Nut Brown, Oatmeal stout, IPA, Hefeweizen or other pales and darks ($4 pints), try a flight of 6 for $6.

Bistro Brie & Bordeaux

5386 Main St., 518-734-4911, bistrobrieandbordeaux.com

COST $$$

Nosh on risotto, steak frites and bouillabaisse in popular French spot, Bistro Brie & Bordeaux, where les enfants have their very own menu ($8-$12). The inviting sunflower-yellow interior and unpretentious staff make dining on sophisticated fare such as perfectly grilled lamb chops ($26) and duck with poached pear ($22) all the more pleasing.

The Basement Bistro

776 Rte. 45, Earlton 518-634-2338, sagecrestcatering.com

COST $$$-$$$$

About a half-hour's drive from Windham, this 30-seat foodie-favorite is where owner-chef Damon Baehrel grows/makes/cooks every ingredient that goes into his multi-course tasting menu ($78). Scoring a reservations (try at least four weeks in advance) is like winning the lottery.


Catskill Mountain Country Store

5510 Rte. 23/Main St., 518-734-3387, catskillmtcountrystore.com

Pies baked by a Culinary Institute of Americs-trained chef? Yep – and they're so wonderful, customers pick up several at a time along with jams made on site, linens and other locally-sourced edible and non-edible supplies. This country store/restaurant/"looking zoo" (with rescued animals) has been a family destination for years.

Urban Country

5359 Main St., 518-734-9090

The perfect dishtowel, cute little soaps; Urban Country sells adorable gifts and other can't-resist items you wouldn't ordinarily purchase for yourself.

Windham Fine Arts

5380 Main St., 518-734-6850, windhamfinearts.com

This is the best place to discover local artists - more than 50 are represented in this inviting gallery.


Albergo Allegria Inn

43 Rte. 296, 518-734-5560, albergousa.com

RATES $89-$319

Bountiful homemade breakfasts, 21 rooms and suites and comfortable rooms make this a favorite for skiers, golfers and nature lovers.

Christman's Windham House

5742 Rte. 23, 888-294-4053, windhamhouse.com

RATES $135-$160 a person, per night (plus 24 percent tax and gratuity) for weekend golf package

Though not plush or updated (think dorm room meets Holiday Inn), accommodations are just fine for those who'd rather be golfing, anyway. Package includes green fees, cart rental, driving range tokens, plus breakfast and dinner.

Catskill Maison

11080 Rte. 23, 518-734-3232, catskillmaison.com

RATES $189-$329

Five inventively decorated rooms come with an exceptional three-course, locally sourced breakfast (think chilled peach soup and blueberry-ricotta pancakes), weekend evening wine and cheese, afternoon fresh-baked snacks, teas and coffees. The owners designate one day a week for farm visits and put together a picnic basket made from local goodies ($40-$70) and send guests on an "eco-friendly" tour.


WHERE Windham is 140 miles north of New York City.

BY CAR Follow Interstate 87 north to Exit 21. Follow NY 23 to Windham.

INFO greenetourism.com


April 10, 2009, Oneonta Daily Star: Drilling opponents form area coalition

Drilling opponents form area coalition

By Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau
link to complete article is here:

Representatives from grass-roots environmental groups in Chenango, Delaware and Otsego counties have formed CDOG, or Chenango-Delaware-Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group.

The common concern, the groups say, is that unlike traditional gas drilling in porous rocks, the gas sought in the Marcellus Shale formation is trapped too tightly within various types of stone layers to be extracted safely.

David Cyr, of Delhi, said Thursday that CDOG was organized just a few days after its founding members attended a Catskill Mountainkeeper-sponsored educational forum on gas drilling, held June 26 in Walton.

At the Walton forum, people from Colorado and Wyoming gave presentations on the negative social, economic and environmental consequences of horizontal gas drilling, which requires high-pressure hydrofracturing. That method uses water to break up rock, releasing gas within.

Cyr said CDOG is a work group that has provided numerous public information forums.

"Many other local grass-roots activist organizations have developed throughout New York state with a similar mission to oppose this thing so wrong that it should not ever be allowed anywhere," Cyr said. "CDOG is not the movement, but merely a small part of a growing movement."

Cyr said CDOG's mission is to inform the public of the great abuses that will occur, calling drilling the corporate/government planned exploitation of a particular resource.

Mike Bernhard, of Afton, said CDOG is creating a focal point for area groups that don't know each other but have a common goal.

"Someone from each group sits at CDOG when we meet once a month, but we are not a member organization and the meetings are not public," Bernhard said. "By having a lot of interaction, the people are working more efficiently." Bernhard said CDOG considers the environmentally sensible solution is to ban such gas drilling everywhere in the state.

"Our goals are very public, but our tactics are not in the public realm," Bernhard said.

For more information, visit www.Un-NaturalGas.Org.


Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at [email protected].


March 6, 2008, Press Release: Preparation Underway to Fix Leak in Delaware Aqueduct


March 6, 2008


Michael Saucier / Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600

Preparation Underway to Fix Leak in Delaware Aqueduct

Progress towards goal set in PlaNYC

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that it has successfully completed an important step in the eventual repair of the 45-mile Rondout-West Branch Tunnel, which has been leaking for nearly two decades. For approximately two weeks - beginning February 20th - a team of divers, working 24 hours a day in rotating shifts, were lowered 700 feet in order to inspect mechanical and structural components of a tunnel unwatering shaft and to take measurements for new equipment. The Rondout-West Branch (RWB) Tunnel is part of the Delaware Aqueduct, which, at 85 miles, is the world's longest continuous tunnel, and a vital component of the City's drinking water supply system. The investigations provided DEP with extensive data and critical measurements, and will ultimately inform the development of a comprehensive repair program for the Delaware Aqueduct.

“The Bloomberg Administration has made planning for the repair of the Delaware Aqueduct a pivotal part of the PlaNYC goal to improve the reliability and long-term sustainability of New York City's water infrastructure,” said Commissioner Lloyd. “DEP has closely monitored the Aqueduct since its construction, which allowed us to discover the leaks in the late 1980s. Since then, DEP has continuously monitored, studied and tested the leaks and their effects, using dye tests, backflow tests, hydrostatic tests, and hourly flow monitoring. This dive was an important step in developing a repair strategy for the tunnel and preparing to undertake this work.”

The Delaware water supply system, constructed between 1937 and 1965, originates more than 100 miles north of New York City and consists of four reservoirs: Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton, and Rondout. The Delaware Aqueduct conveys drinking water from these reservoirs to the City's distribution system, and currently provides approximately 50 percent of the City's daily water needs. The Aqueduct is a 13.5-foot diameter, concrete-lined tunnel that varies in depth from 300 to 1500 feet beneath the ground and crosses the Hudson River at nearly 600 feet beneath the ground. The Rondout-West Branch (RWB) Tunnel is a 45-mile portion of the 85-mile Aqueduct, and connects the Roundout Reservoir in the Delaware system to the West Branch Reservoir, located in Putnam County, in the City's Croton watershed.

Since the late 1980s, DEP has been monitoring two leaks in the RWB Tunnel portion of the Aqueduct that collectively release between 10 and 36 million gallons of water a day (mgd), depending on the amount of water the Aqueduct is carrying. Monitoring has shown that the leakage rate is stable and has not grown.

Seattle-based Global Diving performed the inspection work as a subcontractor to Rondout Constructors. Global Diving utilized a Saturation Dive System to perform this deep water work- meaning the divers live 24 hours a day in a sealed, pressurized environment. The Earth's surface atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen, but because of the immense pressure at 700 feet beneath the surface of the shaft (nearly 300 pounds per square inch), the divers were required to live in an environment composed of 97% helium and 3% oxygen for the duration of the work - approximately three weeks. Even when they were not underwater, the divers lived in a specially-designed, pressurized chamber, outfitted with sleeping accommodations. The divers remained under pressure while they moved from the saturation chamber to their diving bell, which was lowered to the bottom of the shaft so the divers could exit and perform their work. The underwater work was observed and monitored using closed circuit cameras and audio attached to the diver's helmets and the diving bell. Though their work is complete, the diving team will remain in the confinement of the saturation chamber for an additional seven days so they can gradually and safely return to standard atmospheric pressure.

In addition to beginning the work at the unwatering shaft and designing the long-term repair program, DEP has also developed an emergency repair plan, and through its Dependability Study is developing plans to diversify the City's water system. In addition to creating redundancy for our aqueducts, PlaNYC provides for the stewardship of the City's entire water supply and distribution system by modernizing the in-city distribution network (completing Tunnel 3), protecting drinking water at the source -- through rigorous watershed protection programs -- and building the Croton Filtration Plant.

New York City's water supply system provides 1.2 billion gallons of water daily to approximately nine million people in New York City, as well as a number of communities in Orange, Putnam, Ulster, and Westchester counties. Water for this system is derived primarily from three reservoir systems known as the Croton, Catskill, and Delaware systems, which are operated and maintained by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).


April 9, 2009, River Reporter: NYRI ‘suspends’ powerline application

NYRI ‘suspends’ powerline application

FERC ruling decisive

link to complete article here:



ALBANY, NY — In a dramatic and unexpected move, the lawyer for the company that has been seeking permission to build a powerline in the region for more than three years, suddenly said his company was withdrawing its application.

The stunning turn of events came in the midst of a hearing of the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), during which details for the 180-mile proposed line were being examined. The plan, proposed by New York Regional Interconnection (NYRI), was first announced in the spring of 2006. The news of the withdrawal came on April 3.

An administrative law judge hearing the case instructed NYRI to submit a letter regarding the withdrawal to all interested parties and to indicate whether the company intends to re-apply in the future. The letter in response, filed on April 6, said the company is “suspending” the application, and that, “At this time, NYRI has not made any decisions with respect to future actions or activities by the company.”

Troy Bystrom, a representative of Communities Against Regional Interconnection (CARI), a group of local and state governments and activists groups that have been fighting the project, called the wording of the letter “duplicitous” and accused NYRI of “playing games.”

Still, it’s not clear if the interested parties will formally object to the suspension or withdrawal, and if no objections are raised by April 13, the case will be officially closed by the PSC.

NYRI said the decision to withdraw was prompted by a ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which was handed down on March 31. NYRI had asked FERC to re-examine the rules under which NYRI could recoup the costs of the $2 billion project.

In the complex world of the electricity in New York, the grid is operated by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), a non-profit organization. Under current NYISO rules, the cost of the powerline could be passed along only if 80 percent of the utilities that would receive electricity from the line agreed to the arrangement. In the case of NYRI, those utilities would have included Con Edison, which serves New York City. The problem was that Con Edison, which in the weighted system accounts for 21 percent of the utilities that would vote, had already declared that the NYRI project was unnecessary.

In early February, when NYRI asked for a rehearing or clarification on the grid rules, NYRI said if FERC ruled against the company, it might need to pull out of the project. Opponents called this a sign that the company was beginning to understand that it was losing the battle to build this powerline.

CARI spokesperson Eve Ann Shwartz wrote in a press release at the time, “NYRI’s latest threat to withdraw this project indicates that NYRI investors and backers see the handwriting on the wall.”

In response, NYRI attorney Len Singer denied that a negative decision from FERC would mean the end of the project, and said that investors, who had already spent nearly $20 million in engineering, legal and other costs, did not intend to abandon it. But that was directly contradicted when the FERC ruling made it impossible for investors to be certain the project would be profitable.

In a press release, NYRI explained that the March 31 FERC denial of their request to review the recently approved NYISO rules for transmission tariffs had created an unacceptable financial risk for NYRI’s investors. “Even if the NYRI project were to be sited by the PSC, NYRI would face the prospect of being unable to recover transmission costs from the ratepayers who would benefit from the project,” the company wrote.

CARI members hailed the withdrawal as an important victory. Politicians, including senator John Bonacic, assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Sullivan County chairman Jonathan Rouis, applauded the development, as did Bill Douglas, executive director of the Upper Delaware Council.

A call to arms

The NYRI project, which was the successor to a proposal for a similar power line made by the Canadian firm Pegasus Power Systems, Inc. in October 2003, united politicians from across the political spectrum and allied them with citizen groups that sprang up along the length of the proposed power line that would have stretched from Utica to Orange County. There was anger at what was considered the arrogance with which NYRI executives operated when dealing with municipalities.

Early on, Bonacic railed against the company and the project and vowed to stop it. He helped secure funds from the New York Senate to form CARI, which spearheaded the legal fight against the powerline in Albany and Washington, D.C.

He also sponsored legislation signed into law in October 2006, which specifically prohibited NYRI from using the power of eminent domain to acquire land. Without eminent domain, the process of acquiring the land needed to site the line would become almost cost prohibitive. Some experts expected the law to be struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals, but it was not.

A federal judge in October 2007 dismissed NYRI’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. At the time, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said, “The ruling preserves New York’s right to make decisions on projects like NYRI based on our state’s environmental and energy needs, not on the desires of private companies or the federal government.”

The federal connection

For a while, it looked as if the federal government, specifically FERC, might have the final say in the matter of whether the line could be built. That’s because of provisions contained in the controversial Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave FERC, under certain circumstances, the power to override decisions made by a state if the state should fail to give permits for a power line in a timely manner.

This, again, riled politicians and residents on both sides of the political spectrum. Some were angered that the Bush Administration gave too much to the energy companies with the energy act at the expense of the environment and other groups. Elsewhere on the political spectrum, others were angered because the powers given to FERC were seen as an intrusion into states’ rights by the federal government.

The application of the powers granted to FERC relied on a power line project being situated within National Interest Electricity Transmission Corridors (NIETC), which were later referred to as national corridors. These were areas, whose creation was stipulated by the energy act, where delivery of electricity was found to be significantly congested.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey introduced legislation in February 2007 in the House of Representatives that would have stripped the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) of the power to form national corridors and would have stripped FERC of the power to override state agencies. The measure did not pass.

On April 26, 2007, the DOE created two national corridors, one in the Southwest and one in the Northeast. The Northeast corridor covered eight states, including much of New York and Pennsylvania, and could have greatly enhanced the possibility of NYRI coming to fruition had the PSC turned down the proposal at the state level. However, the Northeast national corridor was so expansive that the uproar against the portions of the energy act that allowed the creation of it became a target of NYRI line opponents.

While measures to strip FERC of the power to override state agencies have not passed, and the expansive national corridor designations have been upheld in court, Hinchey and other lawmakers in Washington are still pressing the fight against the energy act, and they seem to be gaining support in Congress.

Senator Charles Schumer, who in July 2007 introduced legislation that would have dramatically lessened the authority of FERC to overrule state agencies regarding power line siting decisions, scheduled a news conference for April 8, when he was expected to renew his commitment to rolling back portions of the 2005 Energy Act.


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