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March 28, 2015
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TRR photo by Amanda Reed

REGION — The global weather data for the month of February is in, and according to the National Climatic Data Center, February was an extraordinarily cold month in the northeast section of the United States. The region’s average temperature of 13.5° F was 12.7° F below normal. This made it the second-coldest February on record behind 1934, which had an average temperature of 12° F.

Soap Box Derby planned for Liberty; Is Phish coming back to Bethel Woods?

Big plans are taking shape for Memorial Day Weekend this year in Liberty. Dale Vandenberg, president of Hillside Greenhouses in Liberty, addressed the Liberty Town Board on February 21, and said the plans include car shows, music, street vendors and the huge annual yard sale. But perhaps the most ambitious development is that North Main Street will be host to Liberty’s first Soap Box Derby.  Read more

Narrowsburg esplanade plan moves forward; critics question the expense

The plan for an amphitheater and esplanade perched above the Big Eddy has been discussed by town officials for 20 years. Now, officials have voted to take another step toward building it.  Read more

County chair offers testimony on mandate relief; tax dollars ‘consumed by state mandates’

NEW PALTZ, NY — It is a cry that has been growing increasingly loud since the great recession descended upon the land four years ago: counties in New York are buckling under the weight of state mandates. In other words, Albany forces the counties to spend so much money on programs such as Medicaid that they can no longer provide other essential services to their residents.  Read more

Signs of civility in Lumberland; Clarification and compromise mark latest session on zoning

The presence of four law enforcement professionals stationed in the George Ross Mackenzie Elementary School gymnasium last Saturday morning was a clear sign of the tension that has built over the past several months as the Town of Lumberland has conducted a series of public sessions on its proposed zoning rewrite. But other than removing one man briefly in response to his repeated disruptions, and gesturing to another to cease doing the same, peace was kept and progress was made.
The February 25 public forum began with supervisor Nadia Rajsz reciting the list of changes made following public hearings conducted on December 14, 2011 and February 17, 2012.  Read more

Court decisions embolden towns? All sides predict appeal

NEW YORK STATE — With two Supreme Court judges ruling last week that municipalities have the right to ban gas drilling and fracking through zoning codes, activists who oppose drilling say now more towns and other municipalities will be emboldened to adopt similar bans.  Read more

Bethel moves forward with drilling ban; Dryden decision discussed

WHITE LAKE, NY — The Town of Bethel took another step in the direction of a ban on gas drilling with a presentation on the proposed zoning amendment on February 22. Town attorney Rob McEwan explained that the amendment would not only ban gas drilling, but also a number of processes related to gas drilling, as well as “high impact uses.”  Read more

Right to ban drilling upheld a second time

MIDDLEFIELD, NY - For the second time this week, a judge has ruled that New York State towns have the right to establish zoning ordinances that ban natural gas drilling within their borders. Otsego County Acting Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio, in the case of Cooperstown Holstein, Corp. v. the Town of Middlefield, ruled that the clause in state environmental conservation law that prohibits towns from passing laws that regulate oil and gas drilling does not preempt a municipality's rights to control land use.  Read more

Tusten fined for 2011 late payments

According to a letter read at the Tusten Town Board meeting on February 13, the town has been fined $3,860.70 in penalties and interest for late payments of withholding tax of town employees.  Read more

Highland Comp Plan approaches adoption

Following a public hearing and regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Town of Highland will continue toward adoption of its 2012 Comprehensive Plan. The plan is under review by the Sullivan County Planning Department and may be taken up at the town’s March meeting for adoption.  Read more

Cochecton puts zoning committee on permanent hold

The Cochecton Town Board at its meeting on February 8 decided that the continuation of the Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) would be a waste of time. All of the board members expressed disappointment at the committee’s lack of following the direction of the board.  Read more

Progress is slow at bridge meeting

While groups of supporters of the Pond Eddy Bridge hassled into the night with each other and with a consultant engineer over the best design of the new bridge, George Ollert, a resident of Pond Eddy, PA, was getting more frustrated by the minute.  Read more

Esplanade plan to be considered at special town meeting

The Town of Tusten’s Big Eddy Esplanade Selection Committe has picked Chazen Companies from the four companies that submitted bids for a contract to draw up an engineering plan for the project. However, at its last meeting the Tusten town board postponed a vote on the matter, pending among other things a determination as to whether the property owners on Main Street, who need to grant rights of way, will still sign off on the esplanade.
A public meeting will be held on the matter on Monday, February 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tusten Town Hall on Bridge Street.

Judge upholds home rule in zoning of natural gas drilling

DRYDEN, NY — A New York State judge has ruled in favor of the right of a municipality to adopt zoning that prohibits natural gas drilling within its borders.  Read more

SUNY Sullivan gets sustainability consultant

SUNY Sullivan will be working with HospitalityGreen, a sustainable operations consultant, over the coming year. Sustainability is already a focus of SUNY Sullivan, with a state-of-the-art green facility and an extensive sustainable education curriculum.  Read more

Six candidates for Hinchey’s seat

TWENTY-SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, NY — Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s district, which stretches from Poughkeepsie to Ithaca, may not be recognizable after this year because of the redistricting process now underway. But that has not stopped four Democratic and two Republican candidates from tossing their hats into the ring.  Read more

Search for principal underway; community involvement sought

The search process to find a new principal for the George Ross Mackenzie (GRM) Elementary School in Glen Spey has been launched and is notable for its strong emphasis on involving the community.  Read more

Annual dairy day promotes switch grass use; farmers look for ways to succeed

One of the Dairy Day programs that attracted considerable attention was a display called “Native Grasses for Energy,” which highlighted the use of switch grass for energy production.  Read more

Year of the Bible flap

HARRISBURG, PA — On January 28, members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a handful of so-called “noncontroversial” measures, which often get passed without much fanfare. This time, however, the measure that proclaimed 2012 as “The Year of the Bible” turned out to be a bit more controversial than the authors might have guessed.  Read more

Sullivan nixed for compression station? Cochecton and Delaware had been considered

In the Orange County Town of Minisink, the prospect of a compressor station being built has galvanized the community to fight against it. The concerns of the residents are centered on safety, health and economic impacts. Most specifically, however, opponents object to the fact that it would be constructed at a site “surrounded by over 145 homes and residential lots within approximately a half mile,” according to information on the anti-station website  Read more

Judge upholds home rule in Dryden case

DRYDEN, NY — A New York State judge has ruled in favor of the right of a municipality to adopt zoning that prohibits natural gas drilling within its borders.

In the case of Anschutz Exploration Corporation v. the Town of Dryden and the Town of Dryden Town Board, the Honorable Phillip R. Rumsay of the NYS Supreme Court in the County of Tomkins concluded that the town zoning ordinance is not pre-empted by the state Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law.  Read more