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UPPER DELAWARE REGION (July 24, 2014) – Hundreds of community members took advantage of the unusual, free opportunity to interact with over 55 scientists and amateur naturalists participating in the second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz on June 29 in Sullivan County.

The official count of 807 species identified in 24 hours at the BioBlitz is growing as the 9 research teams submit their final tallies after confirming and revising initial IDs. Many first occurrences of species officially documented as appearing in Sullivan County were identified.  First occurrences are not new species but show the dearth of field level research that has taken place over the last century and been published. Results for each team are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Aquatic Macro-Invertebrates

47

Birds

85

Botany

256

Bryology

121

Fish

25

Fungi

104

Herpetology

23

Invertebrates

129

Mammals

17

Many first occurrences of species officially documented as appearing in Sullivan County were identified.  First occurrences are not new species but show the dearth of field level research that has taken place over the last century and been published. Results for each team are presented in Table 1.

Specialized researchers comprised nine teams surveying the site and included aquatic macro-invertebrates (aquatic insects, mussels, snails), birds, botany (plants), bryology (lichens, mosses, worts), fish, fungi (mushrooms, molds), herpetology (reptiles, amphibians), invertebrates (terrestrial insects, worms, snails), and mammals.

Species were identified during the BioBlitz using a variety of collection protocols, ranging from actual capture to digital photography. Mammals, for instance, were mostly identified using a trail camera, vocalizations and other signs. A healthy variety of 6 different bat species were identified including a good-sized maternity colony of little brown bats; a species that has been decimated by White-nose Syndrome.

Barbara Leo noted her bird team research highlights to be, “the Louisiana and Northern waterthrushes which are generally found by their territorial singing in late April and May respectively.These were both by direct observation in the habitats that were expected to support them.  The other really nice find was an ovenbird nest with an incubating female and 3 eggs.  Most birders never get to see this warbler let alone find their nest, which is concealed on the ground.  The two singing hooded warblers on the yellow dot trail at Ten Mile Access was, also, a very nice surprise.”

The primary goal of a BioBlitz is to compile a snapshot survey of the life on a particular property as an indicator of the biodiversity of the area. Other goals include raising public awareness, fostering scientific interests in children, and providing opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

All of the data will be compiled into an inventory of species collected during the event and will be publicly available to help future scientists understand what was living on the site at this particular time, including rare or endangered species. Experts will travel from far distances to study this unique area of New York State. Scientists participated from Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Cornell University, East Stroudsburg University, Penn State University, and other academic, nonprofit, and governmental organizations.

"At Stroud Water Research Center, we have a long history of studying aquatic macroinvertebrates, which are a vital part of healthy streams and ponds,” commented Kerry Mapes from Stroud, “It was great to be able to document the wide variety of species at this site because it demonstrates that it’s an area worthy of continued protection and conservation. The BioBlitz is a great opportunity to teach the public about the importance of biodiversity and for them to see the creatures they may not have even realized were there."

During a BioBlitz, biologists and volunteers gathered to identify as many living things as possible within 24 hours on a demarcated parcel of about 500 acres within the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in the Town of Tusten, NY. Collection started at noon on Saturday, June 28 and continued until noon on Sunday. The public portion of the event was on Sunday, June 29th from 9am to 3pm. The center of activities was at the head of Rock Lake on Cochecton Turnpike where there were organized activities for adults and families including birding walks, aquatic insect identification, electrofishing demonstrations, eagle trips, native wildflower walks, and mushroom forays. Sponsors and participating organizations provided information and offered educational programs on their particular areas of expertise. Over 25 volunteers including a steering committee helped to organize the event.

A portion of this property is within the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor and borders the river at the Ten Mile River landing. The BioBlitz site included the Indian Cliffs, Rock Lake, Maul’s Pond, and Grassy Swamp Pond, one of the only quaking bogs to be scientifically authenticated in the Catskills.

Winners of the “Photos of Nature in the Upper Delaware Watershed” Facebook photo contest sponsored by the Upper Delaware BioBlitz were recognized during the public portion of the event. The judges, local photographers Sandy Long, Roy Morsch, and David Soete, made their selections in 8 categories and also selected an overall “Best in Show” winning photograph which was awarded the grand prize, a digital camera. More information on the photo contest is available at: www.facebook.com/bioblitzphotosofnature.

Next year’s Upper Delaware BioBlitz will be on the Pennsylvania side of the river. For more information the public can visit www.upperdelawarebioblitz.com  or email info@upperdelawarebioblitz.com.

SULLIVAN COUNTY & SURROUNDING AREAS (July 23, 2014) – Issued By: NWS Storm Prediction Center (Storm Prediction Center – Norman, Oklahoma)

Affected Jurisdictions: Albany, Broome, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster, Warren, Washington Counties

Severe Thunderstorm Watch 432 Is In Effect Until 10:00 PM EDT

Please stay tuned to your local radio or TV Station for more information. 

NEW YORK STATE (July 23, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation that will increase the maximum fine from $200 to $1,000 for those who attempt to steal, harm, or transport a dog, cat or other pet that is not their own.

“For many New Yorkers, a pet can be an extension of their family – which is why pet theft is a particularly heartless offense,” Governor Cuomo said. “Increasing the penalties for stealing or harming dogs, cats and other animals is an important way that we can crack down on this crime, and I thank the bill’s sponsors for their work on this issue.”

The new maximum penalty will be applied against those that remove a collar or identification, entice, seize or harass a pet while it is being held, led or while properly muzzled, or transporting an animal for the purpose of killing or selling it. The fine has not been increased since 1970, when the penalties were raised to the current maximum of $200 and/or 6 months imprisonment.

The American Kennel Club reports that there were more than 590 thefts of pets in 2013. The penalties, which it claims represents a 31% increase over the number of thefts in 2012. By increasing the maximum fine, this bill aims to deter pet theft.

NEW YORK STATE (July 22, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a major outreach project between the Department of Labor and more than 100 regional chambers of commerce throughout New York State as Start A Businesspart of strategic approach to provide free services and help businesses access capital incentives, grow their workforce and manage their operations. Combined, the chambers of commerce will relay the no-cost business support services to over 50,000 businesses across the state.

"By partnering with more than 100 chambers of commerce, we are increasing the spotlight on the many ways that the state can help businesses thrive," Governor Cuomo said. "From managing day-to-day operations to finding the right employees, our administration offers a variety of services that can open doors to a more competitive future for any company. I am proud that the state is partnering with these regional organizations and I encourage all business leaders to explore how New York can help them grow."

The State Department of Labor and Empire State Development are partnering with businesses to tailor services for them in each region of the state. Since February, the Department of Labor has completed a series of more than 60 meetings with more than 100 chambers of commerce to outline the benefits of using the state’s no-cost services for businesses. A complete list of services can be found below.

“In every one of our presentations so far, businesses in attendance have been surprised by the breadth of new and updated services the state offers,” said State Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera. “We tailor our services to businesses’ needs and I invite every business to contact us to learn more.”
Using state services saves businesses time and money. The amount of cost savings for businesses depends on the services used.

Job fairs and recruitments can be tailored to the requirements of a business to assist in their hiring needs. Department of Labor Business Services Team members will help businesses review applicants, set up and schedule events and match candidates based on skills and applicable hiring and training incentives. Events can be held at a worksite, an off-site location or in one of 96 New York State Career Centers.

Businesses can save up to $12,000 on a staff-assisted recruitment event and up to $20,000 on a customized job fair.

Jobs Express (www.jobs.ny.gov) is Governor Cuomo’s online jobs database, which currently lists more than 95,000 available positions. Businesses can save up to $6,000 per year on job postings. Between May 2013 and May 2014, more than 8,200 businesses posted jobs using Jobs Express.
Businesses get their own service manager for one-on-one help to find workers. Staff will also help identify applicable hiring and training incentives including for youth, veterans and minimum wage workers.

The New York Youth Works Program encourages businesses to hire unemployed, disadvantaged youth, ages 16 to 24, who live in 13 designated cities and towns. Businesses can earn up to $5,000 in tax credits per youth.

The Department of Labor can complement or act as a company’s Human Resources team with its no-cost Human Resource Consultation. This includes choosing candidates, writing job postings and writing an employee handbook.

Shared Work allows businesses to enroll a percentage of their workforce in partial unemployment benefits to avoid layoffs.

No-cost on-site health and safety consultations offer ways to improve safety conditions and can save businesses up to $4,500 for an initial visit and up to $1,400 for follow-up visits. Each year, the agency helps businesses avoid millions of dollars in possible fines.

Labor Law Seminars help businesses avoid penalties down the road and provide ongoing savings in prevented fines.

The Department of Labor is now working with chambers of commerce around the state to survey their members and then distribute data collected about the needs of their member businesses. This information will complement the industry and jobs data already collected through federal surveys, which is available on the agency’s website, and will be a powerful tool to help shape workforce development in the region.

Cathy Paty, President and CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, said: “From recruitment events to on-site consultations to educational trainings, State Department of Labor services really help our member and non-member businesses. We encourage businesses across the state to partner, as we did, with the Department of Labor to let businesses know how they can save time and money through using the Department’s free services to help their business thrive. Their representatives are knowledgeable and friendly and have created a true public-private partnership that will stimulate business growth and economic development. We thank them for their outreach and also their collaboration with the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce on our business survey.”

A complete list of resources for businesses is available online: www.TheNewNY.com.

To contact a Business Services Representative in your region, visit:www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/factsheets/pdfs/p469.pdf

CLARYVILLE, NY (July 21, 2014) – A team with the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program, is working with the Frost Valley YMCA to help maintain their current trail systems. For the next seven weeks, eight NCCC members will clip_image002be working to improve the hiking experience for guests at their retreat center.

The team, Moose Four, will help improve Frost Valley’s most heavily used trails, which have experienced erosion and damage as a result of Hurricane Irene and three major floods. Specifically, they will be maintaining the tread system and installing proper drainage to create more sustainable trails. During its seven-week term with the Frost Valley YMCA, the team aims to improve over two miles of trails, remove invasive species, install water bars for proper drainage and repair two bridges.

“I’m thoroughly impressed with Moose Four’s work ethic, ability to complete challenges, their support to one another and their cheerful disposition, even though I’ve only know them for a short time.” said Heather Bowman, Director of Natural Resources.

While in the area, the team also assisted at the Sullivan County Relay for Life on June 7 at SUNY Sullivan.

Moose 4 is based in Perry Point, MD., but consists of members from around the country. In addition to working with the Frost Valley YMCA, members of the team will be working with the local volunteer fire department, Relay for Life and the East Valley Ranch.

~~~~~~~~~~~

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program in which 1,100 young adults serve nationwide each year.  During their 10-month term, Corps Members – all 18 to 24 years old – work on teams of eight to 12 on projects that address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Members mentor students, construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans, and address countless other local needs. The Atlantic Region campus in Perry Point is one of five regional hubs in the United States and serves fourteen states in the northeast part of the country.  The other campuses are located in Denver, Colorado, Sacramento, California, Vicksburg, Mississippi and Vinton, Iowa.

In exchange for their service, Corps Members receive $5,645 to help pay for college, or to pay back existing student loans. Other benefits include a small living stipend, room and board, leadership development, increased self-confidence, and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, people can indeed make a difference.  AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency. The Corporation improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at www.NationalService.gov

SULLIVAN & ORANGE COUNTIES, NY (July 20, 2014) – George L. Cooke, Sullivan County Commissioner of Jurors, has accepted the Honorary George, Emma & Teresa 2Chairperson position for the 2014 Orange/Sullivan Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

The walk is held each year to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Cooke (at left in photo with Emma MacPherson, Director Orange/Sullivan Alzheimer’s Regional Office and Teresa Serrone, Walk Chairperson) has been an active participant in past Alzheimer’s walks.

The 2014 Orange/Sullivan Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held on Saturday, October 11, at the Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and the 3-mile scenic walk will start at 10:00 a.m. followed by entertainment, food, raffle prizes and informational booths on ongoing programs and services available in the area.

For further information on registering for the walk or forming a team, visit www.OrangeSullivanWalk.org or call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900.

NARROWSBURG, NY (July 18, 2014) – Music, art, and the environment take center stage at Riverfest, held Sunday, July 27 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Miller-PollackMain Street in Narrowsburg, NY, overlooking the Delaware River.

Presented by Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) and sponsored by Catskill Regional Medical Center, Riverfest embodies the spirit of the river valley and highlights the artists and musicians who live and work here.

This year, Riverfest will go wireless with the assistance Jostromof Frontier Communications. Frontier will provide Wi-Fi hot spots throughout Main Street. Visitors and vendors alike can join “FrontierCommunicationsFreeWiFi” network and enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the day. DVAA will also post updates on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day.

The family-friendly River Dogs on Parade opens the festivities at 10:00 a.m. sharp. Pooches and pups dressed up in creative attire strut their stuff, all hoping to win the “best of” awards, while emcee Kevin McDonough offers running commentary, and the Dog Parade judges deliberate. Register your dog early by calling the DVAA at 845-252-7576, or sign up that morning by 9:45 a.m.

AltfestAt 12:30 p.m., the Riverfest poster auction offers up of over five dozen original works of art created especially for the occasion. Artists working in every conceivable medium from watercolorKung to fabric to wood, donate their work to be sold to the highest bidder by inaugural auctioneer Tony Staffieri. These posters are on display in the gallery windows of the Delaware Arts Center and can also be previewed online at www.DelawareValleyArtsAlliance.org.

Everything for sale at Riverfest is artist-made, and the person who is selling it to you is the artist him/herself. Broom makers; potters; jewelers; textile, wood, and glass artists; writers, and painters all offer their wares. Get a book signed by the author or watch a chainsaw artist create a new sculpture, a potter throwing clay, or a fly tier making the perfect fly for the perfect catch.

Music at the bandstand fills the air throughout the day. In the morning Donna Singer and The Doug Richards Trio, play jazz, swing and blues with special Prontoguest Bill Fleck on trombone, and in the afternoon, you’ll hear the pop country sounds of Doug Rogers and the Backseat Drivers, featuring Chip Forelli, Marc Switko, and Doug Rogers.

Kids Korner is a place where children can create works of art or play games under the direction of Maureen Cookingham from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Art projects range from masks to mini posters and kids get to take home their own interpretation of Riverfest. The food court offers goodies from sesame noodles and hot dogs to cookies and kettle corn.

Environment and energy efficiency information booths will help you wade through the complexities of clean water, clean air, and energy conservation.

Ample free parking can be found at the Fireman’s field/ball field on DeMauro Lane. A complimentary shuttle service from the parking area to the Tusten Theatre will be provided again this year with assistance from First Student.
Follow the signs to Riverfest and enjoy a full day of celebrating the arts and environment.

Admission is free. For more information call 845-252-7576 or visit www.DelawareValleyArtsAlliance.org.

Poster Auction Preview here: http://goo.gl/bhxwiU

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