A Christmas Story’s Darren McGavin's
Sullivan County Link
By John Conway in the Sullivan County Democrat on December 20, 2013
posted on February 2, 2014
Hardly anyone would have predicted when it premiered in November of 1983 that "A Christmas Story" would become a holiday classic, but the low budget Depression era story of a young boy who dreams of finding a Red Ryder BB gun under his Christmas tree has done just that.
With a budget of only about $4 million and a cast of mostly unknowns, the film seemed to have little going for it But Peter Billingsley turned in an unforgettable performance as Ralphie, the boy with the dream, and Darren Mc-Gavin - arguably the biggest name in the cast when shooting began - supported ably as his father, adding up to a heartwarming and inspiring film that has now joined "White Christmas" and "Ifs a Wonderful life" as holiday viewing staples.
It is McGavin, the veteran actor with a list of movie and television credits dating back to 1945, who provides the film's link to Sullivan County. Long before his turn in "A Christmas Story," and even before he gained cult immortality with his role as reporter Carl Kolchak in the television series "The Night Stalker," McGavin purchased a home in Beaverkill and remained a summer resident of the area for the next dozen years.
By Anya Tikka in the Sullivan County Democrat on December 20, 2013
posted February 3, 2014
Click on image to enlarge.
Snow for Candlelight Carols
reported by Patricia Adams
posted December 30, 2013
Choir at the Christmas Eve service in the
Beaverkill Community Church. Photo Yodon Thonden.
Click on image to enlarge.
On Christmas Eve, 2013, the 42nd Christmas Eve Carol Sing was celebrated at the Beaverkill Community Church. The Church was filled to capacity even though at 4 o’clock there had been a flash snowstorm that left 3 inches of fresh snow on treacherous roads. However, the town trucks had plowed the roads by 7.3O and Jim Powell had cleared the parking area.
The Church looked beautiful with the candle light and fresh snow. To start the Carol Sing a choir formed especially for this service and including six children and eight adults sang ‘Once in David’s Royal City.” Mary Hall, our Lay pastor, welcomed everyone and thanked the many people who had contributed to the purchase of the church from the Methodist Conference this year. She introduced Robert Jones who led the service. Stuart Root, who has lead the service in years past, was with his family in Philadelphia. The kerosene lanterns were lit and with the individual hand held candle lights everyone was able to sing along as Sean Carmichael played the organ.
During the time for announcements, Patricia Adams talked about how the church has been, in reality, a community church for years. The organ was donated by Seth Sternberg, a man of Jewish faith; the piano donated by Grace Van Alts, who was the daughter of an Episcopalian minister; and the installation of these gifts was supervised by our Church Treasurer, Steve Lott, who is Catholic. Every summer we have a variety of speakers at the services, which have included a Buddhist, a Baptist Missionary, and a Rabbi. People are welcome to use the church for Musicales and Film Festivals that are not based in any religion. The Church is primarily a place for celebration in the community.
This sense of community was proved by the great support we got from the community for the purchase of the church. With the new siding, roof and window repair the board of the church decided that this is a good time to restore the steeple, which was struck by lightning in the 1940s. Already, $12,000 has been raised and $3,000 is still needed. Cash contributions were left at the church, and any further donations can be sent to Beaverkill Community Church, Box 65O, Roscoe, NY 12776. The church is closed now until Memorial Day when it will open for summer services.
Doe & Fawn seen in Turnwood on December 19
Susan Deer Cloud. Click on images to enlarge.
First Winter Storm
by Susan Deer Cloud
posted December 12, 2013
In first winter storm
a bird much like a snowbird
flashes to feeder
feathers mottled white and grey
A field of wild snow her hair
Lift up camera
surprise of bird flies away
in air wings unnamed
in mist mountains disappear
A shawl of shyness her skin
Photos Susan Deer Cloud. Click on images to enlarge.
Quieter Times in Their Hands
Ice gardenias swirl from sky dark as Lady Day’s hair,
no sound. Snow petals touch to earth, touch
after touch, and isn’t it all so soft
as kiss after kiss?
And nowhere to go, roads un-ploughed.
We talk of this afterwards …
what we women did that day similar to long slow days
of our grandmothers and great grandmothers.
One of us baked bread for the other women in her house.
One of us strung a necklace of glass beads color of her sister’s eyes.
One of us wrote a letter the old way, in green calligraphy, for her man.
One of us dreamed a poem by west window while her cat chased snow.
I was the one who tugged on white buffalo coat and sheepskin boots,
trudged through storm to forge a snow angel with the wings of my arms
flying in the rapture of millions of snow crystals making unique
love to my mouth, cheeks, eyelids, hair.
We women speak of that Catskill snowfall even now …
as my grandmother used to tell me of the days of sleighs and horses
and flashing bells, and once inside the house the kerosene lamps lit,
hands held near woodstove flames before her father took his fiddle out.
When it snows we women say we wish, we wish,
yearn for the prancing horses, bells, the fiddler’s music,
ancient dance so wild and whirling …
when women hold quieter times in their hands.
Laraway Hollow Flora & Fauna 2013
by John Kelly
posted December 11, 2013
Radiator Charley’s Mortgage Lifter. Photo John Kelly.
Click on image to enlarge.
This is just to give some brief 2013 notes on plants, domestic, and animals, wild. Whether or not a given year or place is demanding of anecdote, I think that over time and with a number of reports, however mundane, something interesting can evolve. I’ll start entomologically this year by saying no monarchs remembered, very few Japanese beetles or indoor ladybugs, and little bag worm activity.
As to the animals, we saw a spike in the chipmunk population which was the greatest since our great infestation during the Clinton presidency. That story remains to be told in a further chapter of The Herbivore Wars. At the same time, the house mouse population dropped close to nil. I have no theories as to either of these demographics. Some evidence that the chipmunks got thru the electric net into the garden, but damage was minimal, though pole beans were decimated and might have been plundered by climbing chipmunks or leaping deer. Only one woodchuck sighted, but if it had done the beans [that were not within the net], the poles and strings would have been beaten down while in fact the beans and leaves were rather delicately, albeit thoroughly, ravaged. A good corn crop, but stalks in the center [only] of the patch were broken and ears devoured. The net seemed intact, and I have no certain idea of the identity of the marauders that just might have been deer jumping the perimeter fence and the net though I saw no hoof marks. A limited plundering is not my usual experience, but I’m happy enough to tithe the brutes, if my own mite is preserved.
We always experiment with many varieties of tomato, divided between garden store, hopefully foolproof, hybrids, and heirlooms from Trina’s Silver Heights Farm in Cochecton. Always lots of cherry and plum varieties on the theory that they should do better with our short seasons and morning hill shadow. In the beginning of the season we had likely our best crop, ever, of all varieties. Amid leafy profusion, green tomatoes of all sizes, shapes, and bloodlines. But they seemed to glory too much in their own promise and stayed in green mode, and stayed and stayed as the weeks passed. No ripening to speak of till September, and then the ripening and the rot seemed neck and neck to the end. The best tomato in the plot? It turned out to be not a tiny cherry but the classic heirloom, the huge beefsteak, Radiator Charley’s Mortgage Lifter, and some related varieties. Almost filled two hands, ripened well, and the best old fashioned flavor of the lot. This has happened before. I commend them to you, though you may get only a couple of fruits per plant.
Families are welcome for a celebration of winter at the Livingston Manor Library, Friday, December 20, 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Participants will enjoy stories, kids’ crafts, refreshments and “Music Around the Globe,” presented by this year’s special guest, Mark Robinson, Education Programs Manager at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Children will have the opportunity to explore instruments from every continent, such as the cricket twirl, frog drum, lily harp, ocarina and shofar.
Kids and adults can shop for new and second-hand books after the program, with prices from 25 cents to $2.00.
This program is free and open to the public. Space is limited; please call to register (439-5440). The library is located at 92 Main Street in Livingston Manor.
TheoloGy Group: Zealot
November 30, 2013 - by Tim Foote
Click on image to enlarge
“The Theology Group,” though rather grandly named, is thus far tiny, and came into being on an impulse. With the Beaverkill Church dark on Sundays, why not meet informally with Mary Hall, hoping to extend into winter the kind of cross rough reflection on moral issues and pertinent bits of Old and New Testament that she so eloquently presides over in summer.
Its first gathering (September 13, 2013) had no agenda. It was spent mildly considering such things as the extent that reason has to do with faith. Is religious conviction mainly driven by the reasons of the heart? And how much willing suspension of disbelief in the literal language of Prayers might a Church-goer experience without feeling like - or being - some kind of hypocrite.
The second meeting (October 11, 2013) did have an agenda: consideration of Zealot, a provocative new study of the life of Jesus as verifiable (or not) in reliable history. Its author: an Iranian American religious scholar named Reza Aslan.
Zealot got mixed reviews in the group, some thinking it lamentable but significant, others holding it lamentable but irrelevant to faith.
A third meeting is in prospect: John Donne’s sonnets, holy and unholy. (“At the round Earth’s Imagined corners, blow your trumpets angels.” v. “Busy old fool, unruly sun”).
Meanwhile, one member ventures a personal comment on Zealot:
Ginny had forwarded a website inquiry from a man in Idaho, Colden Baxter, who read some of our historical pieces, particularly mine touching on Laraway Hollow. He is a Laraway descendant who was doing some family genealogy, and I had a good chat with him on the phone. He was in Millbrook NY doing some research in his field which, interestingly, is rivers and river ichthyology. He is not a Laraway and I think is descended from the family of Cornelia Laraway, Joseph Laraway's wife.
He indicated that the name Laraway comes from the French LeRoi and that the family was French Canadian; he claimed to have followed it back to the 16th century in Europe. The original locus in our region was Prattsville, where the family ran the Laraway Inn [still standing] from 1784. It was founded by John Laraway's son Martinus Laraway who knew Zaddock Pratt as a neighbor. John may well have been the original settler during the revolution. Joseph Laraway, one of the family who worked the Inn, apparently came to Beaverkill and appears in a marriage record from there in 1845 when he married Cornelia.
Baxter has been frustrated in not being able to find Cornelia's maiden name - tho he suspects it may have been VanLoon - even her obituary from 1915 didn't give it. She and Joe both died in Beaverkill. He'd love any clues regarding Cornelia.
I think this goes some way in establishing Joe Laraway - who supposedly had 9 children - as the original settler of the Hollow. I had assumed from the Abe Laraway Civil War Soldier tombstone in the churchyard that our place stemmed from the Civil War era, but this pushes it all back to the 1840s - which ties in with the theory that Hazel’s and my place, as other hillside farms, was used to keep horses for the tanneries which began to flourish around then. I pointed out that in addition to Abe's stone, I had seen at the back left hand corner of the cemetery a marker for Joe Laraway. [Last time I looked, I couldn't find it.] Baxter wasn't much interested in Abe, however, and suspected that he was a younger brother or nephew of Joe. I told him that on our front porch there are the carved initials J L, and he went thru a variety of family members who could have done it.
That's all I got that touched on Beaverkill. The family turned up later in the still pretty remote hills bordering the Delaware River on the north in the Hancock region, and Baxter said he had visited a grandfather there. He was, of course, familiar with the Beaverkill but had not been to the town. I encouraged him strongly to take a trip up the Valley, to the Hollow, and the church, but he's leaving for Idaho and had to convince the family to go up there with him today. I hope he makes it. best jhk
My name is Patrice Hollenbeck. My father was Eugene Hollenbeck born in Cooks Falls in 1929 ... schooled in Roscoe ... he is buried in the Hortonville cemetery.
His mother was Wilda Hollenbeck ... Who lived in East Branch for a while Many records seem to have her married to a Norman Hollenbeck ... but she was actually married to Oscar Hollenbeck. I actually have his marriage license and death certificate with that exact name. He was born in 1900 and died in 1966 in the Roscoe hospital... He lived in Livingston Manor most of his life as a trucker.
I'm writing because it seems there are several Oscars and I'm getting conflicting information... He married my grandmother, and they never divorced, and as far as I know my father has no brothers or sisters
I was hoping you might have some information on this Oscar as he may have liked to fish. And all information we have is his father John lived in Callicoon.
Oscar had a brother John and a sister Mary. I think you may be a good resource is my grandmother kept the house at the Beaverkill all those years...
Any help tips or hints be highly appreciated
Thank you, Patrice
Nature Watch: Beaverkill Frogs
by Steve Levine
posted November 12, 2013
The frogs we have seen on our area are common green frogs, bull frogs, wood frogs (light greyish brown with dark racoon like mask), pickerel frogs (often mistaken for leopard frogs(rectangle vs. round spots respectively) and the dry skinned toads of many different brownish to black colors but all the same species. The presence of wood frogs is an indicator of good clean environmental conditions as they are the most fragile and the amphibian's version of a canary in the coal mine. Although we have heard them in the spring, peepers are most elusive and difficult to find.
Images from Google compiled by Steve Levine
It is rare to have seen Tree Frogs, as Susan Deer Cloud did, especially during the day as their most active period is dusk to midnight and also lucky to have seen them doing their puffy throated love call. The others that she saw mating were common toads that leave large masses of gel coated egg strings in the still pools on the river's margins. We didn't see much of that this year since most were washed downstream after heavy thunderstorms that quickly swelled and speeded the river currents sweeping them away. Memorial Day is usually the height of their activity.
Every spring we visit our son Jon and his family who live in Northern Japan. Opposite his house are acres of rice fields that are just being filled for the spring plantings and at night, the cacophony of the spring peepers is so loud, you have to talk over them in order to be heard. Amazing!
Nature Watch: More on Monarchs
originally posted September 17, 2013
Patricia Adams would like to know if anyone has seen a Monarch Butterfly this summer. She is disturbed to realize that she hasn't.
Also, she would love to hear a report on when people last saw a hummingbird, which would tell us when they head to Cost Rica.
I have been following Monarchs for years. I believe that this is the first year since the great "freeze" that I have not seen a single one. My property has some large stands of milkweed. I can usually easily tell if the milkweed has had any nibbling from the caterpillar. This year, even with milkweed being lush from the rain, there was not a single sign of a monarch caterpillar.
I have a friend from Mexico who is originally from the town that is famous for the Monarch wintering. He told me recently that there were very few, and that the area is threatened by development. His town is concerned about the tourism that might be lost if the Monarchs are dwindling.
NEW: Reply from Susan Deer Cloud, 11/10/13.
Very sadly, I did not see one monarch butterfly this summer. I saw hummingbirds in September but I could not tell you the exact date I saw my last one.
I grew up in Livingston Manor and lived away for many years until I returned in mid-April. There were always plentiful monarchs in late summer/early autumn.
Reply from Steve Levine, 09/17/13.
Michiko and I last saw hummers on Monday, September 9th and when we returned on Friday, none were evident and presumed they were on their way south. I did see a few isolated monarch butterflies in early August and that was it.
I can happily report that there seems to be a greater number of bats being observed which is a good sign. Clearly, the white nose fungal infection had drastically decimated their numbers over the past 10 years.
Bridge Restoration Project Update
Although the bridge will be closing "soon,"
won't be started
posted October 21, 2013
Recently a traffic counter wire on the Campsite Road and concrete Jersey barriers near each side of the bridge have appeared. Steve Levine contacted Mr. Devadoss, the State bridge engineer in charge of the project, to find out if the bridge restoration project, originally thought to begin shortly after Labor Day, was due to start in the near future and how long it would last.
Steve was able to speak with Mike Retzlaff, an aide to Mr. Devadoos:
Mr. Retzlaff was not aware of the traffic counter wire on the Beaverkill approach road, but the Jersey barriers recently placed near the bridge do not indicate that definitive work will actually begin soon. They have been placed there to simply close the bridge during the winter. The bridge will remain closed until the spring due to the possibility of snow accumulating on the roof. A maximum a 3-ton load rating will be put in place which is the approximate weight of most empty SUVs or light trucks.
Plans for restoration are still in the preliminary stages and work is not slated to begin until sometime in 2015 which means that the bridge will again be closed during the 2014-15 winter season. Mr. Retzloff could not say exactly when the bridge would be closed, but just said "soon."
MET Opera Simulcasts at Sullivan County Community College
posted on October 11, 2013
This past Saturday, Michiko and I went to the Metropolitan Opera; well....... sort of. It was only a 25 minute drive from our house and the only river that we had to cross was the Beaverkill. SCCC in Loch Sheldrake has been, for several years now, been one of the hundreds of venues across the country that regularly show MET presented operas in large screen HD/stereo. These programs are usually sold out in most bigger city Multi-plex theaters that show them and it's no wonder. It's like having a front row center seat at the MET for the mere price of $20 (credit cards OK) and it comes with between act interviews of all the performance principals and explanations of the story line and history of the opera being performed. They are all on Saturdays and start at 1:00 pm and frequently there is a pre-performance lecture about the opera in the lobby. There is also a help yourself refreshment table with coffee, tea and baked goods available before and during the performance. It's a great way to spend an afternoon without the hassle and expense of going to Lincoln Center.
Beaverkill Theology Book Group met at Mary Hall's on September 13. We discussed a number of things, but the overall topic was the question of whether it is primarily the emotions/ heart that bring people to religion. We discussed whether science/reason pull us in the opposite way. References were made to Donne and Milton, as well as C.S. Lewis.
We decided that we would read "Zealot" by Reza Aslan for our next meeting, which will be held Oct.11 from 5-7pm at Patricia Adams' house.
All are welcome to join us as we develop an interesting way to exchange ideas about, not just theology, but interpretations of history, the role of religion in society and perhaps even some philosophy. Just let us know if you would like to join, or if you need directions or more information.
Courtesy D & H CANVAS, Barry Plaxen, owner and editor.
posted September 14, 2013
Sarah and Kirk Madison. Text and photo from the Delaware & Hudson CANVAS, Sept 2013, page 15. Click to enlarge.
With the closing of The Lazy Beagle, Main Street in Livingston Manor was left without a sit-down dinner restaurant other than the Chinese Restaurant. Sarah and Kirk Madison have remedied that Madison's Main Street Stand opened five years ago as a pizza and lunch take-out establishment with a window through which Sarah sells ice cream, drinks, lunch items and salads for take out, oversees all that goes on on Main Street, hands out copies of Manor Ink and CANVAS, and holds court and sway over the down-home thoroughfare.
"We saw a need for a sit-down restaurant. I did the layout," said Kirk, "and then we hired a contractor for our new 60-seat dining room. We re-opened August 16 with a new, basically rotating, menu. Dinner begins at 4:00pm and runs until 9:00pm."
The new dinner menu includes Soup of the Day, a half dozen or so appetizers and just under a dozen entrees - Braised Short Rib Ravioli w/ mushroom cream sauce. Pacific Cod with Lobster and Crab Risotto - to give you two examples, and pastas, fish, chicken, veal, and a 12-ounce NY Strip Steak w/sauteed Vegetables and Mushroom Risotto. And for the kids 12 years and under, there's a child's portion of spaghetti and meatballs.
"Nothing is changed at the window or the pizzeria, which are presently open from 11:00am to 9:00pm, Tuesday thru Sunday. The picnic table is still provided adjacent to the building for take-out convenience. We have yet to determine our winter hours,'" he concluded.
Madison's is located at 46 Main Street.
Take note: the Bruschetta is changed daily!
new rose disease known as Witch's Broom
moving into NY
posted September 5, 2013 - Catskill Native Nursery
Left side of rose (Rosa) plant affected by rose rosette, right side still normal. Photo from the Missouri Botanical Garden here
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
There is a new rose disease moving into NY and it is spread with the help of the invasive Rosa multiflora. Rose Rosette Disease, or RRD, first shows up on the ends of rose branches making them look like they were hit with an herbicide, the look is referred to as "witch's broom". The end of an otherwise healthy branch starts to look raggedy, starts to "melt", turn brownish-red and eventually collapses. It can take a few years for the plant to completely die, but there is no cure once RRD appears.
RRD is caused by a microscopic mite known asPhyllocoptes fructiphilus. They are wingless and spread on the wind going from rose to rose while transmitting RRD as the mites feed on the shrubs. The invasive multiflora rose is particularly susceptible to this disease and acts as a highway for this mite and its baggage of disease. Most people are familiar with wild multiflora rose marching along our roads and over our fields. Multiflora was introduced in 1886 from Japan to the United States as rootstock for cultivated roses and to be used as a natural fence for domestic animals in areas where post fencing was not practical. Farmer's quickly learned this plant was more trouble than it was worth as it took over grazing areas faster than it could be controlled. However, it was still widely used as erosion control along new roads until the 1960's. Thanks to the highway department, and birds that eat the berries, multiflora is now pretty much everywhere in the US acting as the perfect gateway for RRD.
Manor Ink Banner by Leif K. Johansen. Click to enlarge.
There is a newspaper in Livingston Manor called Manor Ink and its a newspaper that is created entirely by high school aged journalists. This summer Manor Ink has just completed its first volume! That means that in August, this Livingston Manor "youth-led library-based" newspaper has managed to come out with fifteen issues since June 2012, when they opened to great acclaim with the 2012 Trout Parade front page.
This is a newspaper that is a collaboration between high school students and adult mentors under the auspices of the Livingston Manor Free Library. Over the year, the paper has grown from an 8-pager to a 12-pager to its current size of a 16-pager and the interviewers and writers say that they all agree that their skills have grown immensely. So, they say, have their grades in English.
They meet regularly at the library with mentors in tow, discuss what topics are up for the next issue, fan out to work on them, come back to meet again, revise what they are working on, and somehow or another, the issue eventually gets done - in print and on line and with beautiful pictures too.
Manor Ink is distributed free in virtually all of the retail establishments in Livingston Manor. It is also available on line at www.manorink.com. The paper has garnered more and more advertising support over the year and, in addition, is supported by the Lazare and Charlotte Kaplan Foundation and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation. Donations for Manor Ink are accepted at the Livingston Manor Free Library, 92 Main St., Livingston Manor, NY.
Congratulations, Manor Ink!
New fobc Board Members
posted August 31, 2013
President : Sue Barnett
Vice-president : Joan O'Connor
Corresponding Secretary : Jane Sokolow
Treasurer : David Barnes
Secretary : Steve Leviine
Members at large :
Website : Virginia Lawrence
Progress Report on the Steeple
from Steve Lott
updated August 19, 2013
With a flurry of activity coming (the Musicale, Children’s service, wedding), the start of the bell tower and steeple restoration has been rescheduled for September 16, with completion in early October. In the interim, the scaffolding in front of the church will be removed and stored.
first post July 31, 2013
We are in the final design phase of the bell tower and steeple. Materials are being ordered and specialty contractors (copper joiner, crane) have been committed. Work to commence in about a week with completion by end of August.
Japanese Knotweed: Time to Spread the Word AGAIN
Steve Levine, FOBC Reporter
posted August 14, 2013
Some years ago when we first put together [the Japanese Knotweed] committee, we were quite active in getting the word out via meetings and dispersing the pamphlet, "Spread the word, not the weed" of which I still have some.
I personally contacted as many of the trout clubs as I could which hold claim to their respective parts of the Beaverkill and was mostly greeted with indifference including their caretakers who didn't care to engage themselves with the chores of its removal. We do have the cooperation of our neighbors, the Beaverkill Trout Fishing Club which has allowed us to personally watch and maintain our stretch of the river pulling it out where we see it in the river and carefully using the herbicide, Roundup, where it won't seep into the river.
Around that time we also got a few requests from landowners who thought that we would all be donning hip waders and removing it ourselves but that's not what we were all about. Our purpose was information disbursement in the hopes that people would be made aware of it and take it upon themselves to do what they can in preventing its spread. Even those folks in the local public works department who maintain the roads and trim the shoulders are not paying particular attention to it. Small patches may be easily removed and eradicated but when they form vast dense stretches with huge woody corms as is the case in the Cragie Clair area, it's virtually impossible to eliminate without serious and costly professional help.
The information posted is quite comprehensive and instructional for individuals wishing to take it upon themselves to eradicate it from their respective properties. I shall be available and happy to answer any questions anybody may have and can reach me at 845 439 4248 when we're in the Beaverkill area.
Maybe it's time again to "Spread the Word."
Student Pilot Buzzes Beaverkill posted August 6, 2013
Student Pilot Buzzes
Beaverkill in Cessna 172
Tail Number N6621G
Tom Lawrence at the controls
with Instructor Jim Cramer
out of Wurtsboro, NY August 5, 2013
photo Virginia Lawrence
The ceremony began outdoors in the rain. and then all entered the church to the ringing of the bell. The prayer of Dedication was given by Ginny Carle, President of the Board of Trustees, New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge.
Church Board. (l to r) Ed Cerny, Steve Lott, Ginny Carle,
Mary Hall, Patricia Adams, Stu Root.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The Silent Invasion
Concerns resurface after 9 years.
posted July 23, 2013
On September 17, 2004 the FOBC alerted the community to the proliferation of Japanese Knotweed. This summer, 2013, concerns about knotweed have again been raised. The solutions offered in 2004 continue to be relevant.
Sept. 17, 2004. The Silent Invasion:
FOBC members and concerned landowners,
is a slow and insidious invasion
going on in the Valley that
is affecting us all. It is the
proliferation of a very
aggressive nuisance plant commonly
known as Japanese knotweed (Polygonum
cuspidatum). You have all seen
it and many of us even have
it on our own properties and
do not realize the implications
of allowing it to continue to
grow unabated." full letter here
Last week JR and Denise of Flowerpower fame announced that they will be opening a new restaurant at Route 17 and exit 96, in the same location as the Flower Power Bakery and Cafe, which closed in January 2013. Steve Levine, FOBC reporter
JR and Denise in the much-missed Flower Power Bakery.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Click on graphic to enlarge
Mailing address is:
Flour Power Bakery and Cafe
PO Box 689
Livingston Manor, New York 12758
Local Farmers Markets
posted July 17, 2013
Frequently asked about, here is a list of area farmer's markets that are now regularly in business until, for the most part, Columbus Day weekend. The Roscoe market on Sundays has recently expanded and offers a wide variety of produce from great veggies, locally made pastas, wines, baked goods, eggs and meats. Steve Levine, FOBC reporter
Roscoe Farmers Market
Municipal Lot 206 Near Stewart Avenue May–Mid October Sundays @ 10:00 a.m.–2:00 --Rain or Shine
Liberty Farmers Market
Sullivan County Visitors Association Parking Lot 100 Sullivan Avenue June 7–October 11 Fridays @ 3:00–6:00 p.m.
Beaverkill Covered Bridge: Closed, currently Open ( closed again? )
Bridge Rehabilitation Project
July 5 - by Steve Levine
The Beaverkill Covered Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic on January 28 and later to pedestrian traffic on March 18th.
The repair process for the bridge was presented to the public on Thursday, June 27 at 6:30 pm in the Lew Beach firehouse.
Present were several officials representing the NYS Department of Transportation, a NYS DEC representative and Mr. Dev Devadoss, Project Manager for the NYS DOT, offices of which are in Binghamton.
Mr. Devadoss was the chief spokesperson for the project and his presentation basically was all that is printed on their brochure. The meeting was opened to Q&A which provided an active interchange mostly related to how the project would be funded and when the project would be completed.
The main issue was the fact that, as Mr. Devadoss related, the Federal Government would fund $1,500,00 but in reality, the total cost for all needs would be $2,018,000. It was generally questioned by those in attendance as to why the State cannot contribute the difference since the bridge is totally within the boundaries of the Beaverkill Covered Bridge Campsite, NY State's first designated public campsite created in 1922.
Asked if there was to be another meeting in the future, they were non- committal at this time. Their best estimate as to when the bridge would be opened after the project was only suggested to be around the fall of 2014 should the project commence in a timely manner. Weather conditions, especially during the winter, are a factor here.
Fight With Verizon Over Ending Landline Service Has New Front: Catskills
Published: June 26, 2013 in the NY Times
The battle between Verizon and its unionized workers over a new device that turns a standard home phone into a kind of tethered cellphone shifted this week from Fire Island to the Catskills.
On Wednesday, the New York State attorney general’s office asked utilities regulators to prevent Verizon from “illegally installing” the device, known as Voice Link. The company has been pressing customers to switch to the new service instead of having their traditional phone lines fixed.
Livingston Manor, NY –The Board of Directors of Catskill Art Society (CAS) has appointed Bradley Diuguid as Executive Director, effective February 15, 2013. Originally from Monticello, NY, Diuguid is currently the Operations and Audience Services Manager for Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, MA, where he leads administration and business management for the arts education and presenting organization.
Gloria Shaver who, with her husband, ran the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery for years and lived in Turnwood until Alzheimer's struck and she was moved to the Roscoe Nursing Home died on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. She managed the Beaverkill Trout Club for years, too. She was an extraordinarily vital, caring, intelligent, fun, and effective woman, and her loss is a loss to the valley.
Funeral Monday, January 28 at 1:00pm at the Bryant Funeral Home in Livingston Manor.
No More Flour Power Flour Power Bakery and Cafe has closed
This notice is written with a heavy heart, because
Flour Power Bakery is closing its doors.
Monday, December 31, was our last day.
It's been a long journey from our first farmers' market to now,
and there have been many magical days, wonderful events,
brunches, gallery openings, train shows, slot cars, breakfasts, lunches
and lots of baked goods and bread shared.
None of it would have been possible without you.
We are so thankful for the support of our customers,
our friends, and the community.
With your permission, we would like to keep in touch;
our contact information remains the same.
If you are holding a gift certificate, please let us know.
We are not sure what our next step will be,
but you all know J.R. loves to feed people.
Peace and Love for 2013.
The preceding notice was received by the FOBC Board on January 3. No explanation was offered for the closing.
By looking at the foundation since it's a stone construction
and not poured that building would likely be pre-1920s.
Photo taken on January 11, 2012 by Suzanne Bevier.
Click on photo to enlarge.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Hoos Fund please click here for details>>.
New pictures of the fire itself by Robert Tuttle here>>
Directors of the Church in Process of buying the building
The Board of Directors of the Church is in the process of purchasing the building from the United Methodist Conference. It will not make very much difference in our experience of the Church - we will continue to gather for Sunday services from Memorial Day through Labor Day; we will continue to have the Christmas Eve Sing, the summer Musicale, occasional presentations and events given by other community organizations throughout the year, weddings, funerals and baptisms.
The control of the Church will be with the local community rather than with the United Methodist Church. We have met with the President of the Methodist Conference and the District Superintendent, and they fully support our decision.
The fire inspectors with the dozer moving items around, Suburban propane also had a large truck parked out in front of the building on Pearl Street.
Perspective: The Historic Resource Survey
The idea for an historic survey started about 15 years ago when we formed FOBC to protect the historic integrity of the Beaverkill Church. Since then we have talked a great deal about the numerous historic sites and buildings in our community and when we formed a committee, we found that there was a great deal of interest in researching historic sites with both foundations and residents.
Reconnaissance-Level HISTORIC RESOURCE SURVEY of the LOWER BEAVERKILL VALLEY
The Beaverkill Area Neighborhood Association and the Roscoe Rockland Chamber of Commerce contracted with Larson Fisher Associates (LFA), a historic preservation planning
firm based in Woodstock New York, to conduct a reconnaissance-level historic resource survey of the lower Beaverkill Valley. The survey covered four distinct areas: the hamlet of Roscoe, the Rockland Flats, the Beaverkill neighborhood, and farms on Burnt Hill.
Today I received a call from the Verizon representative overseeing our local phone issues and she has informed me that major maintenance work has been done yesterday and today which hopefully will rectify the problems. It seems that moisture condensation causes contacts in the circuit box to fail and a heater system has been installed. I would ask that anybody who has further problems please contact me either by phone (201 394 5115) or email as I do have a direct conduit to those who have been assigned to help us.
Many of you asked about what is being done in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the Hoos Building in Livingston Manor. The following is from Sue Barnett on behalf of the The Community Center/Rockland Relief Fund.
Last week's fire destroyed an historic building and four businesses, and broke a lot of hearts. Three of the businesses had insurance, and they're all dealing with that now; we wish them all good luck and a speedy settlement.
But Moose-Be-Morning is not among those working out the details with their insurance providers, because Dawn had no insurance. In addition to losing everything she had for her business--convection oven, microwave, refrigerators, freezer, grill, coffee makers, cash register, tables and chairs, cookware and cutlery among them--she lost hundreds of dollars of food inventory specially bought for the busy hunting season; in addition to all that, she is still paying off the equipment that is now charred rubble in the pile that was once the Hoos building.
The Community Center is accepting tax-deductible donations to help Dawn get out from under this disaster. If you can help, please send what you can to the Livingston Manor Community Center's Rockland Relief Fund, PO Box 1096, Livingston Manor, NY 12758.
We continue to monitor the situation of the other victims of this fire; there are no immediate needs at this time, but we will keep you all posted as things develop. Thank you all so much for your kindnesses.
Explosion and Fire in the Manor on Nov 20 - 4 businesses destroyed
November 21, 2012 - reported by Patricia Adams
This is a first hand report and does not attempt to explain anything other than an immediate reaction.
I was taking something to the Livingston Manor Library on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and when I parked my car in the lot behind the library, I felt a jolt. I was convinced someone had hit me from behind, but when I looked around there was no one there. I walked round to the front of the library and saw Peggy running down the street towards the blinking light. When I called after her, she said, "Did you hear the explosion?"
We looked together to see smoke rising above the Sonoco Station and it became evident that something terrible was happening. The sirens went off at the fire station and we learned that the little coffee cafe "The Moose" was on fire. The engines were out of the firehouse as soon as the alarm went out, but the flames and black smoke were getting ahead of any sprays of water they could fire up.
The fire destroyed the entire building, the old Hoos Bakery building, now owned by the Foster family. Four businesses were destroyed; the Moose, Willow and Brown, Foster's Baseball shop and the Lazy Beagle restaurant. The fire companies, which came from all over the county, were there until late into the night. It looked like the explosion was from gas leaking and electricity was cut off in the Manor in fear of leaking gas and another explosion.
It was very lucky that no one was in any of those buildings and no one was hurt. And it was also lucky that the flames didn't jump over to Will's Hardware and beyond.
More information can be found on websites reporting on this terrible fire.
Weather Watch: SandyBY STEVE LEVINE
November 15, 2012
Good afternoon all. We were happy to see that Sandy (Oct 29) left our Catskill area without too many problems. l believe that our power was off for about a day and a half.
Our son Michael is an officer in the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) corps and two sites have been most helpful in showing weather conditions that you may want to know about. The first is the NOAA Doppler radar site which covers all the US but can be viewed for any local area.
This site can be even put into a "loop" mode which shows the directional movements in real time of inclement weather systems. The second is specifically for Lew Beach (yeah! our Lew Beach) and is quite detailed.
These are the sites that most network news services refer to when reporting and issuing weather advisories.
Verizon 8/5 - noT 24/7 BY STEVE LEVINE
November 14, 2012
An important issue that attention should be drawn to is our on again/off again phone service a la Verizon. It is no secret that our phone outages have been occurring with greater frequency in our area which is, for the most part, also not served by cell phone and has serious if not catastrophic implications if one needs to report emergencies (fire, medical, etc.....)
About a month ago and in some detail I reported our situation to the NY State Public Utilities Commission and for a while enjoyed some celebrity status while being contacted by a number of representatives from both the NYS PUC and Verizon. I am still receiving calls from a Verizon reps asking if service is satisfactory. I am certain that the phrase "serious liability issues" caught their attention.
One most interesting revelation is the fact that a replacement for the offending circuit box, the one on the Beaverkill Road just before the Covered Bridge Campsite road that keeps going out, is sitting in a service facility in Fallsburg, and due to some confusing issues has yet to be installed. I am not quite sure as to what they are.
I have had a number of calls from several Verizon service personnel that also are not quite sure why they have not yet had the "green light" to replace it. I am still waiting to hear some answers from those Verizon people that have been assigned to inform/placate me.
It is totally unacceptable that when informed of area outages, they usually don't send out repair crews until days later and never on weekends. Verizon claims to be a 24/7 company but when it comes to servicing our outages, it's 8/5.
When you live by a River byMermer Blakeslee
October 8, 2012
Mermer Blakeslee's new novel When You Live by a River has just been published by Narrative Library. It's a story about love, death, religion, and land which takes place in 1931 in rural New York beneath what is now a reservoir. It's available in any form you want from the Narrative store or Amazon or the Apple iBook store.
We saw this small black bear (possibly a cub, definitely juvenile) way upstream on the Beaverkill, not too far from Beaverkill Falls. It ran across the street as we were driving past and we stopped and got a video on the iPhone.
I used to live there!
June 19, 2012 - a letter to the editors from Roger Martin
Just saw your website. I don't know if this is of interest, but
my family lived on the grounds of the castle when I was born
in April of 1941. My father, Eugene Martin would give
informal tours of the castle... I do remember being inside
at a very early age. I recall the marble floors, bathrooms,
etc. Oddly enough, I remember that there was an intercom
system and thought that unusual as it was the early 1940s.
My mother used to bathe me down from the castle in the
Beaverkil river. I loved the tall trees on the road up to the
castle. Dad was responsible for and indeed did, repair
those gothic windows. He was a cabinet maker and had
those types of skills. Thank you for your interesting website.
Dads version of how the castle came about was a little
different from what I read on your site, but generally that
is what I was told also. However, I was told that the castle
came over stone by stone from Scotland. ?? You have
great pictures on your website!
August 26, 2011 - youtube video by Tom Lawrence below.
Massive flooding in Beaverkill NY due to Hurricane Irene. Taken in the afternoon during the storm.
Nature Post: Obecny's Bear
posted August 20, 2011 - by Carl Obecny
While we haven’t actually seen the bear(s), one evening about 5-6 weeks ago, I forgot to bring in the bird feeders. What a mistake that was! Our feeders as well as the wrought iron holders took quite a beating. In addition, we have seen bear scat in several spots around our blueberries and red currant bushes. Just about all the blueberries, not fenced, were stripped clean this year and a few bushes have experienced some minor damage. We’re assuming the bear was the culprit. One bear even left us a little gift right on our front patio!
So, they are out there. Which I must say, I’m happy about.
Nature Post: Backyard Bears in Beaverkill!
posted August 12, 2011 - by Virginia Lawrence
On Tuesday, July 26, at about 11 in the morning, I was on the phone making a hotel reservation in Massachusetts. Roger and Liz were in the living room. Marina and Madeline had just gone down to spend the morning with the Adams grandchildren. Suddenly Liz started shouting at me to GET OFF THE PHONE.
I glanced out the window, and there at the top of the stone steps right beside our back porch was a massive black bear. I was so panicked that I couldn't remember how to call the Adams to warn them and the girls. I kept dialing the wrong number. Liz, meanwhile, raced out to the car and tore down the driveway to spread the alarm.
By the time I had finished struggling with the phone, the bear had vanished. Roger said it seemed to sense that we were there and hurried up to the top of the hill past the red chairs where it disappeared from view.
Of course we discussed its size. To me it looked massive and I guessed it to be about 400 pounds. Roger, however, felt it would be closer to 300 pounds. We did all note that it was shy and eager to leave us to our panic.
The next day I ran into John Adams who told me that the bear had come down the back side of the hill towards the Adams house, but that as soon as it caught sight of him in the driveway, it had rushed over the embankment into the road, and straight down to the picnic area beside the covered bridge. John followed and saw the bear check out the picnic tables before heading on over to the other side of the river, ambling in the direction of the main campsite. John mentioned that a much bigger bear has been spotted this summer on Reagan Road.
We then shared the story with Judy Rosen who passed it on to Rose Brown and Les Mattis. Les had his own bear story as it turned out. This summer he spotted a truly massive bear on his porch. The bear was on its hind legs playing with the bird feeder. Les, who is over 6-feet tall himself and has to stand on a chair to reach the feeder, estimated that the bear could reach up 8-9 feet, and that it might have weighed 500 pounds. He woke his grandson to come see the bear. The grandson, rubbing his sleepy eyes, declared the bear "cute."
A few days later in telling the story to Ross Francis, we learned that she, too, had seen a bear in the woods behind her house this summer, the biggest she has ever seen – 500 to 600 pounds she thought.
As a footnote: After the bear had appeared on his porch, Les called the authorities to see about having the bear trapped and moved to a less populated area. He was told that our area is, in fact, a preferred dumping ground for any bears they catch at the other end of the Catskills. Hmmm! Sounds like we may be in for more bear sightings.
Congregation Taken by Surprise
posted August 3, 2011 - by Virginia Lawrence from notes supplied by Stu Root
On the morning of Sunday, July 31, 2011, at the Beaverkill Methodist Church, choirmaster Stu Root, who was standing in for lay preacher Mary Hall laid up at home with a broken ankle, cut short his sermon about Jacob's wrestling match (Genesis, Chapter 33) to spring a surprise on the congregation. There was to be a wedding, and it was going to happen right then!
Lori Simpson Boomer and Bruce Boomer wished to renew their marriage vows in the church that had meant so much to Lori in her youth.
Lori is the granddaughter of Fred Rogers and Grace D. Rogers. The Rogers family lived for many years at the corner of Campsite Road where the Wiser-Adams family now resides. You may remember that the stained glass window at the back of the sanctuary is in memory of Grace Rogers, presented as a gift by Fred Rogers.
With Jacob's wrestling match curtailed, Lori and Bruce came to the front of the church where Lori introduced her mother, Mrs. Simpson, daughter of Fred and Grace, and a number of other family members. Mrs. Simpson gave a few words of thanks for being in our midst, and then read from Psalm 121:
I will lift up mine eyes to the hills
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord.
Stand-in lay preacher, Stu Root, then read the vows scripted by Lori:
Lori and Bruce, more than twenty years ago you promised to love each other, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health.
Now Lori and Bruce, please repeat after me:
Again I take you to be my partner in life…
I give to you my unending love and devotion…
And I promise to dream with you forever.
After repeating their vows Lori and Bruce exchanged rings provided by best man Bruce Simpson.
Bruce Simpson then read from Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11:
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.
Last of all, the stand-in lay preacher closed the ceremony saying: Lori and Bruce you may now seal your promises with a kiss.
And they did.
Berry Brook Farm Open House
posted July 4, 2011
Mermer Blakeslee and Eric Hamerstrom's garden
hosted by the Garden Conservancy
Saturday, July 9, 2011
10:00am to 4:00pm
I think posts of sightings, no matter how episodic, anecdotal, and unscientific, are interesting and will become more and more so, and maybe even useful, over time. Here are some of my most recent ones:
Saw the same crowd of post adolescent, uber robust, frequent flier wannabe robins that visited Patricia at about the same date in September. Haven't seen this type of mob before. Also, no monarchs at all. The tiger swallowtails still show the flag.
Very oddly, no [or very few] Japanese beetles. Usually the grape vines are crawling with them. Reasonable sightings of turkeys; one flock of at least 13, two hens, no males. Not much coyote howling in Laraway Hollow, tho a pack must have made a kill around mid-day last Sunday as we were leaving, celebrating with the usual bloodcurdling shrieks and cries. Much woodchuck action, but this will take a full historic and analytic essay. Lady deer in usual numbers and frequency--they show at the top of the meadow around cocktail hour. Not trying to cadge an invitation I think, but they stare in a most wistful way. A group of five last week with one quite young--I hope not the coyote victim.
Bears. No sightings this year and no evidence of presence. Second hand, I'm told of several sightings and porch entries at the Lotz house on the banks of the Willowemoc across from the revivified Beaverkill Garage. Also have gotten more general word of unusual numbers of bears near the river on downstream towards Roscoe. Further to bears, I am glad that this venue has become available even tho I came up dry this year.
I have found that it is impossible to relate a bear story in this group. Hardly before even the briefest and most colorful tale can be completed, a distant look comes into the eye of the Beaverkill listener, and he or she is off their own bear story, obviously topping your own.
And indeed, if the listener has no bear story to claim, they will come up just as quickly with a second hand story of how their friend Blotz
managed to talk to a bear. The written word, however, foils them, and
I only regret that the ursines shunned me this year.
Weather Watch: Manor Flooded Again
October 1, 2010
Click here for a video report on the flooding in the Manor.
On September 19 a flock (at least 50) of robins landed in our yard at about 7 a.m. They kept busy pulling hapless worms out of the lawn ( I was surprised they could get them considering how dry it had been) for about an hour and then flew away. I assume they have flocked together for their trip south. I would love to hear about other flocks of birds passing through.
Our hummingbirds left around September 12. Also I only saw one Monarch Butterfly this year - and it was caught behind the window in our bathroom. Of course I let it out and he/she immediately headed south. Did anyone see Monarchs this year?
The heron is still here - has almost completely fished out our little pond.
Nature Post: A Wee Bird
Patricia Adams October 2, 2010
Louis Shawcross is the son of our cousin Neil Shawcross, who is a painter and many of the Friends bought paintings of Neil''s when we had a show for him up at the Gallery in Lew Beach a few years ago. Louis showed up at our door step, after hitch hiking from Vermont where he worked in a camp for children with disabilities.He had lost his wallet and passport so had no money or ID so stayed a month with us while he got things cleared up.I wrote about this incident to our family.
Thursday morning I was getting ready to leave to do my spots for WJFF and I saw Louis from my office window. He was walking slowing around under the apple tree looking at something in his hand. It looked like he was texting on his blackberry, but Louis doesn’t have a blackberry. I finished up what I had to do and then as I was leaving, I went out and asked him what he had.
“A wee bird,” he answered.
In his hands was a fledgling – and I could see it quivering.
“I think it’s going to die,” he said. “It’s just shaking all over. Those big blue birds (blue jays) must have injured it – they were diving at it in the grass. They were going to kill it.”
I’ve always heard that if you pick up a baby bird, the parents will not come back to it, and also, the little bird really did look like it was about to expire. But before I actually left, Louis said the bird had calmed down and he could feel its heart beat. The bird had a black cap above its eyes, and even to me, when he blinked his eyes, he looked a bit stronger.
I left, but Louis held that ‘wee bird’ for over 2 hours in his hand. Then when he felt the bird was strong again, he opened his hand and the bird flew to his shoulder and pooped. Louis checked the bird poop to see what it had been eating, so he could get it more berries. (choke cherries) Then he went upstairs and leaned out the window and let the bird go. That didn’t work too well, because first the bird flew back at him and hit the window. But Louis got it again and took it out on the lawn. Finally it hopped a bit and then flew into the lilac bush, where it still was when I got home in the evening. Louis could hear the bird and see the parents flying into the bush, but he couldn’t find the bird. He returned to the bush over and over and looked for it until the sun went down.
The next morning I had to go over to Ramsay and Ananda’s and I was in their living room with Violet and looked out the window- saw a movement – and there was the little bird! As I watched, the parents flew in and brought it food. Then I saw that they were Cedar Waxwings, who come through here in August – this must be why there is a baby bird so late in the season.
We watched Friday and Saturday – the bird flew first to a maple near the barn, the parents still bringing it food and then on Sunday flew away.