Recent Articles

From around the County:

Two Fires in Conesville Cause Extensive Damage

Written By Editor on 10/29/14 | 10/29/14

From the Schoharie County Fire Wire, we have some unsettling news about two fires that struck Conesville Tuesday.

The two fires required assistance from first responders from local departments in Middleburgh and Livingstonville, as well as departments from Albany and Delaware County. The County also had to dispatch the FAST Team and Fire Investigation Team.

One of the tragic blazes was on Potter Mountain Road in Manorkill . The other was on 990V. Incredible photos from the scenes from the Fire Wire facebok page.



Opinion: Alicia Terry's Termination is Well Past Due

It's a well worn piece of commentary at the County Building. Not every conversation goes like this, but the variations have been heard too many times to count.

"How did Alicia Terry even become Planning Department Chair?"

"Her daddy and granddaddy were County Clerk."

Whether or not Terry was hired as a legacy may be an opinion. What is a fact is that in her twenty years running Planning and Development, Schoharie County has suffered failure after failure.

- She did not step in in 2001 when Interknitting announced it would be leaving Guilford Mills to prevent the closure and loss of 700 jobs.
- She bungled the sale or use of Guilford Mills for years before County Treasurer Bill Cherry stepped in and had it sold in months.
- The Guilford failures included a logging company, Intelligent Fish, and Butternuts Brewery.
- Bungled the prospective deals to bring Lowe's to Cobleskill.
- Forged the AECOM contract without Board approval, costing the taxpayers millions.
- Not following through in Sharon hotel renovation. Multi-million dollar promises from Terry and Korean investors still go unfilled years later.
- Worked with Cassandra Ethington to manipulate county government.
- In 2012 the County unemployment rate reached 12.2%, nearing Depression levels.
- Was directly involved in at least one questionable firing during her tenure.

In fact, her one "accomplishment" was her front-and-center involvement in the $9 million water line extension from the Village of Cobleskill to Howe Caverns. A project engineered by former Mayor Mark Galasso that just happened to benefit his relative Emil.

Former Middleburgh Mayor Gary Hayes says that Terry was a 'go to' person for Middleburgh's economic growth. No recent publication or statements from Middleburgh officials seems to back that up.

Alicia Terry is well-educated, for sure. But failure after failure has shown no learning and no initiative to solve Schoharie County's myriad economic problems.

Treasurer Bill Cherry's budget is bold. It is also necessary.

If you are on the fence, just ask yourself this: is the County better off due to anything, anything that Alicia Terry has done.

Letter to the Editor: Planning Department Changes Needed

In last week’s Times-Journal, that newpaper’s lead editorial demanded an explanation for some of the recommendations that I made in the 2015 Tentative Budget. It is a fair request. What isn’t fair however is the inflammatory claim made by the TJ editor that I “gutted” the Planning Department. Planning and Economic Development Director Alicia Terry recommended that the vacant Office Manager position be eliminated from the Planning Department in 2015, and that a new fulltime Planner position be created. I supported that plan, but I am also recommending a change in the way the agency is managed.

For the past 20 years, economic development has been the under-performing stepchild of the Planning Department, with both functions combined and overseen by one department head. I am recommending that the two functions be separated into their own individual departments. I made this recommendation because, in my opinion, our county’s economic development and job creation record is abysmal, and has been for a long time.

The Planning Department deals with helping towns re-write zoning regulations, assists with drafting master plans, and so on. On the other hand, Economic Development deals with bringing in new jobs, promoting Schoharie County to potential businesses which might be willing to relocate here, and cutting through red tape to help those businesses see the benefits of coming to our community. These two functions are really not compatible with each other in that Planning sets limits on what a homeowner or a business can do with their property, while Economic Development’s role should be creative and innovative in order to attract businesses and employers to our community. Over time, it is true that there have been occasions when I criticized our county’s economic development program. Those comments were not personal attacks, they were valid public policy criticisms of a program that was clearly not working. My complaints are based upon a taxpayer-funded agency’s failure to bring jobs to this county, when that is their only mission. Should there be no limits to how long we continue to pay for services that fall short of expectations?

The Director of Planning and Economic Development was appointed to that position more than 20 years ago, yet her job performance has never been evaluated by the Board of Supervisors nor has she ever come up for reappointment during that span of time. No annual goals are set by the Board, and no benchmarks are established in order to measure success (or failure). Moreover, this year’s cost overruns and change orders on the streambank project now total more than $5 million. The Planning Director has publically acknowledged that she personally authorized engineering company AECOM to perform $1.2 million worth of additional services, well beyond the scope of their contract, without ever bringing the matter to the Board of Supervisors for their approval. County taxpayers will now be stuck with that bill. The TJ editorial hinted that my budget recommendation is based upon some personal vendetta, and that I was being “vindictive”. Even worse, and more mean-spirited, were the accusations spewed out in two letters to the editor, claiming that the underlying reason for my recommendation for change was that I treat women differently than I treat men. Both accusations are completely false and untrue, and I believe they are made in an effort to take the focus off the real issue at hand, which is the ineffectiveness of our county’s economic development policies.

It is my duty and responsibility as budget officer to sometimes recommend changes to the status quo. Surely most people will agree that Schoharie County’s record of economic development and job creation over the past 20 years has been a failure. While counties all around us have experienced job growth and economic expansion, Schoharie County always seems to fall short. The TJ accurately states in their editorial that I once called our economic development efforts a “flat tire”. I still think that sums it up pretty well. That statement is not intended to hurt anyone’s feelings, it is an evaluation of our failure to create much-needed jobs in this county. This has nothing to do with the gender of the department head, instead it has everything to do with our lack of forward progress. I am suggesting that the Planning Department be separated from Economic Development, and that more emphasis be placed upon attracting new employers to Schoharie County.

With that in mind, I also recommend that the one current full-time position in the economic development division be replaced with two employees for essentially the same money. In a questionable “cost-savings” move made two years ago, the now-dismissed former Personnel Officer, working in conjunction with Planning Director, eliminated a grade 12 position in Economic Development and replaced it with the current grade 19 ‘Marketing Specialist’ position. Obviously, this change didn’t save any money at all, but instead cost taxpayers even more. I am recommending that this ill- conceived plan be reversed, and the current grade 19 position be abolished and replaced with one fulltime grade 15 position plus one half-time position for essentially the same money that we are now paying. The advantage here is that for about the same cost, we could have two economic development representatives out there beating the bushes and trying to bring in jobs instead of just one. I call that more bang for the buck.

As for the claims that I am somehow targeting anyone in county government because of their gender, I categorically and absolutely deny that accusation. Unless the Times Journal or its contributors have proof that I have ever discriminated against anyone based upon gender, race, or age, they are coming dangerously close to crossing the line and being sued for libel. I have worked with dozens, if not hundreds, of professional women during my 30 years in public service, and I have always fought for their equality in the workplace. I treat everyone that I work with, both men and women, with dignity and respect. But I am not your typical “politician” in that when it comes to taxpayer dollars, I am often willing to speak my mind, and even criticize other governmental agencies when the more politically correct (and probably smarter) move would be to sit on the sidelines and keep quiet. But the residents of this county have given me a job to do as their treasurer, a job that sometimes requires me to make difficult choices, and to speak the truth as I see it.

I know that I am not going to make everyone happy all the time, but for a local newspaper to accuse me of discrimination against women is a complete fabrication. I will continue to treat women and men as equals, to treat Democrats exactly the same as I do Republicans, and to be critical of wasteful spending and poor performance regardless of gender or political affiliation.

William Cherry
Schoharie County Treasurer

Letter to the Editor: Potential Terry Firing Inappropriate, Says Former Mayor

Written By Editor on 10/28/14 | 10/28/14

I would like to take this opportunity and express my support to the Times Journal in the Opinions section, titled, Convince Us Otherwise dated October 22, 2014. 

Although, Mr. William “Bill’ Cherry is behind this move to eliminate Alicia Terry and Sarah Blood, I feel his rationale lacks real depth. 

And yes, a majority of the Board of Supervisors must approve this action for it to implemented.

However, as a resident of the Town of Middleburgh, I know that Alicia Terry and Sarah Blood have been the ‘go to’ people in Middleburgh when seeking to relocate or start a business, information on economic development, and or grant funding. These are important functions they perform.

All I have seen are results from Alicia Terry and Sarah Blood in their work for the county. 
They have proven their value many times over, especially to the Town of Middleburgh. I believe, we are fortunate to have individuals like this working for us at the county level.

So, I encourage you to ask your Supervisor to convince you, the taxpayers, that politics isn’t playing a role in Mr. Cherry’s action. Soon, your supervisor will be voting on this issue.

So, James Buzon, Middleburgh’s representative on the Board of Supervisors, please let us know how you will be voting on this issue and why? 

Thank you for your time in this matter.


Respectfully,


Gary Hayes
Box 45
Middleburgh, New York 121222

Remember to Register to Vote! How to Register in this Article

It is a bit late to register for this year's ballot, but it is important for everyone to register and get out and vote.

  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Be a resident of the county at least 30 days before an election.
  • Be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you register to vote (Note: You must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary, or other election in which you want to vote).
  • Not be in jail or on parole for a felony conviction.
  • Not currently be judged incompetent by order of a court of competent judicial authority.
  • Not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

You can register in person at the Schoharie County Building on Main Street in Schoharie. See here for more information.

You can find the paper copy of the registration form here. Print it out and mail it in to the address on the bottom and you're all set.

You can also fill out a form online here.

Good luck and happy voting!

Nutrition Education Comes to Local School

Sponsored by Schoharie Valley Farm to School Project for October's National Farm to School Month, SUNY Cobleskill Professor of Ag and Food Management, Anne Rogan, PhD, RD, CDN, delivers her quick "nutrition education in the cafeteria" lesson to 3rd - 6th graders of Middleburgh CSD. The topic was sugar consumption from prepacked foods and drinks. 


Middleburgh Village Trustee and Farm to School Executive Planning Council Member, Bill Morton, assists in organizing the completion of the lesson evaluations by the students.
Middleburgh Elementary School students fill out their lesson evaluations at the Schoharie Valley Farm to School Project table, while Anne Rogan, PhD, RD CDN, continued teaching about how to read labels to assess the sugar content of the food item to the next group of students.

Staff and volunteers responsible for delivering the nutrition education in the cafeteria experience to Middleburgh Elementary School students were (L-R): Bill Morton, Middleburgh Town Trustee; Regina Tillman, MS, RD, Schoharie Valley Farm to School Project Coordinator; Barbara Moore, Middleburgh CSD and Schoharie CSD School Food Service Manager; Anne Rogan, PhD, RD, CDN, SUNY Cobleskill Professor of Agriculture and Food Management.

 Photo credit Regina Tillman.

New York State Police to Host Training to Help Military Veterans in Crisis

Written By Editor on 10/27/14 | 10/27/14

On October 28, the New York State Police will host a two-day training at the State Police Academy in Albany to teach public safety personnel how to help military veterans in crisis.

The course is taught by the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute and is for public safety personnel including law enforcement, EMS responders and 911 dispatchers. Public Safety personnel from across the state will attend.

Military veterans may experience a unique set of circumstances when returning from deployment.
They can suffer physical and psychological aftereffects from traumatic experiences overseas. This can culminate in injury to themselves, their families and public safety/law enforcement personnel.

This training helps attendees to effectively communicate with veterans in a crisis situation, teaching them the tools that can help to de-escalate a situation.

Participants will also learn more about wartime stressors, the effects of multiple deployments, and the challenges of veterans reintegrating into society and their families.

Same Deer Causes Two Crashes, Injuries in Cobleskill

On Saturday, October 25, 2014 at approximately 7:17pm a deer ran into the path of and was struck by a vehicle being driven eastbound by Daniel Marshall. The deer then became airborne and struck a vehicle operated by Kenneth VanBuren who was travelling westbound. The deer struck the roof of the vehicle causing the roof to partially collapse.

Photo credit: Schoharie County Sheriff's Office
The deer came to rest on the inside of the vehicle partially into the backseat. Kenneth VanBuren 21, was transported to Cobleskill Regional Hospital by Cobleskill Ambulance. His passenger, Heather St. Pierre, 24, was transported to Albany Medical Center by Central Bridge Ambulance.

FERC: Consititution Pipeline Would Have Little Negative Impact

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has finally weighed in on the proposed Constitution Pipeline project. After months of review, the agency believes that the project would have minimal environmental impact.

The Final Environmental Impact Study, released son Friday, believes that the method of construction would be appropriate for the local ecology:
Constitution would use specialized crossing methods for several waterbodies and wetlands, would cross other waterbodies using dry crossing methods, and would be required to obtain applicable permits and provide mitigation for unavoidable impacts on waterbodies and wetlands through coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The agency's determination read in part, "Iroquois would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of its project." This came after months of research and public comment.

It is unclear if this will directly lead to the construction of the 124 mile pipeline, but it comes as a blow to local efforts to stop the project.

Middleburgh Residents Encouraged to Take Comprehensive Plan Survey

Middleburgh residents are encouraged to participate in the revising of the Town and Village Comprehensive Plan. The document, which hasn't been updated since 1999, is being reworked by a committee of residents from both the town and village of Middleburgh.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee encourages residents to take a survey that will help them write the plan, which will advise on the growth of business, tax rates, zoning regulations, first responders, and other critical issues. The survey can be found here.

Vote in Our Poll: Do You Agree with Planning Dept Changes?

Make sure to vote in the poll on our sidebar. The question asks if you agreed with the proposed changes to the Planning Department in the new budget, including the elimination of Director Alicia Terry's position.

Stamford/Richmondville Pistol Team Places First in NRA Contest Category

The Stamford/Richmondville Pistol team Charles Rose of Gilboa ; Cliff Christman of Richmondville; Larry VanDeusen of Cobleskill and Jim Hitt (Captain of the team) of Stamford (holding the medals) placed first in the National Rifle Association (NRA) National Open Team Sectional-Conventional Pistol competition in the Expert/Law Enforcement-Civilian category and they placed fifth overall. Henry Mulbury, President of the Richmondville Club and Kevin Neary, Richmondville Village Mayor handed out the awards.
Photo Credit: Karen Cuccinello

Arrest in Middleburgh over Stabbing

Written By Editor on 10/26/14 | 10/26/14

Sheriff's Deputies arrested Ronald Fahrenkopf, 36, of Middleburgh after a stabbing incident on Thursday, October 23rd. Mr. Fahrenkopf is being charged with Assault in the Third Degree for allegedly stabbing Cody Hotaling, 19. Mr. Fahrenkopf was previously arrested in 2010 for allegedly slashing a woman and preventing her from leaving her place of residence.

Readers Overwhelmingly Disapprove of Common Core

Schoharie News readers overwhelmingly dislike Common Core provisions being implemented in New York State.

Do You Agree with Common Core in NYS?

 Yes 7% - 9
 No 82% - 110
 Too early/don't know 11% -15 
 134 total

Esperance Elks Haunted House Tomorrow

Written By Editor on 10/24/14 | 10/24/14

Esperance Elks 18th Annual Haunted House Saturday October 25th 5:30 to 8:30. FREE for the community, Route 20 Esperance Elks Lodge.

Iroquois Museum's Exhibit: Standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014 Open Through November

HOWES CAVE, NY -- The Iroquois Indian Museum’s newest exhibition, Standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014, is open until Nov. 30 with new November hours from Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 12 Noon to 4 p.m.
The exhibit features over 30 Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists and focuses upon contemporary concerns that warrant their attention and creative comment.  Exhibition works (artwork and poetry) include those that explore boundaries and borders, environment, hydro-fracking, economy, gaming, the digital/disposable age, sports mascots, the impact of national/international events and decisions, the role of tradition and community, and the state of the arts.
For more information about the exhibition and admission, visit www.iroquoismuseum.org and like the Museum on Facebook
Standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014 is supported in part by grants from the New York Council for the Humanities and the generous donations of individuals.

Arrest in Schoharie Over Drug Charges

Written By Editor on 10/23/14 | 10/23/14

Sheriff's deputies arrested Joseph Lostritto of Schenectady following an incident on Terrace Mountain Road in the Town of Schoharie. Mr. Lostritto was arrested after an investigation in to an odor of marihuana coming from his vehicle after he had requested deputies to perform a vehicle unlock. Mr. Lostritto was released on an appearance ticket to appear in the Town of Schoharie court at a later date.

Knight: 'Tis the Season for Rhetoric

Written By Editor on 10/22/14 | 10/22/14


Ahhh, rhetoric, how splendid 'tis is. 

The great Greek philosopher Aristotle once opined that rhetoric is, "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion," but that was in a time when words held meaning and democracy was not made a mockery of by ideological blowhards. 

Today the persuasive device can be described as little more than members of a particular party, or a media organization for good measure, shilling for their preferred point of view. Granted, it is often wrapped with a red bow of literary or oral flourish, but it remains shilling, none the less. 

Such is the case in Schoharie County presently, with the unveiling of the 2015 Tentative Budget by County Treasurer Bill Cherry. 

I will not parse words: this budget is brutal. The county is facing a significant tax increase, a stagnant stream of sales tax revenue, and a fundamental change in county operations if the Planning and Economic Development Department is split into two. 

Covering the proposed budget's announcement at a press conference last week for the Mountain Eagle, I read through page after page of preliminary expenditure marks and left with a vile taste in my mouth. Not for the budget itself, but in anticipation for the coming political maelstrom. 

Some might question why I, as a journalist, would dread a coming battle of rhetoric when it would result in a steady stream of news for me to cover? My reply: because I am a citizen of this county, first and foremost, and more often than not, what doesn't kill us makes us bitter in this county. 

Bitter against our neighbors, bitter against our politicians, and bitter against our taxes. And sadly, it appears after this past week of coverage and debate over the proposed fiscal road map, this budget season is going to be more bashful than usual. Oh joy to the world. 

It's bad enough our county is in the fiscal situation that is, but must it be compounded by the blind ideology of our political elite as well?

There are things I dislike about the proposed budget, but is not my place to state them due to my journalistic responsibilities, but if truth be told: no one wins in this budget, however, if we travel down this road of ill content and ill will without even an morsel of understanding, we will all lose as well. 

Therefore, let us gird our loins, for 'Tis the Season for Rhetoric, and like the impending doom of winter, there is nothing we can do to delay its coming.

Vote in our Poll: What do You Think of Common Core?

Make sure to vote in the poll on our right hand sidebar. This week's poll is if you agree with the implementation of Common Core in New York State.

Cobleskill Partnership Hosting Facebook Marketing Seminar

The Cobleskill Partnership Inc. is holding a seminar to teach residents how to use Facebook to promote their business. The event is Monday October 27 from 7-8 pm at the Cobleskill Methodist Church on Chapel Street. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Follow by Email

Contact Us

Name

Email *

Message *