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From around the County:

County Board to Hold Private Session Before Tomorrow's Meeting

Written By Editor on 11/20/14 | 11/20/14

The County Board of Supervisors is expected to have a packed agenda for tomorrow. It has discussion on the 2015 proposed budget, which includes a recommendation to remove Planning Department Chair Alicia Terry. The proposed budget was approved by the Finance Committee and it is now up to the sixteen supervisors to make their decision.

Yesterday it was announced that the Board will be holding an hour long executive session behind closed doors. While it is not certain the exact items that will be discussed privately, it raises eyebrows ahead of the vital vote.

SUNY Student Dies in Vehicle Crash in Sharon Springs

Written By Editor on 11/19/14 | 11/19/14

SUNY Cobleskill announced this tragic news today:

 It is with extreme sadness that I share with you the news of the death of Nicholas Failla, a senior Bachelor of Technology student from Wilson, New York. Today, November 19, 2014, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Nicholas was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Route 10, north of Sharon Springs. An investigation is in progress.

The College Community is greatly saddened by this tragic accident and extends its deepest sympathy to the Failla family, friends, and the entire SUNY Cobleskill Community.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize campus resources available to aid them in this time of grief. Counseling staff is available to support students. The Wellness Center will remain open until at least 8pm today and will be accessible as needed over the next few days. Members of the counseling staff will be on-call and can be contacted at ext. 5225.

Two Schoharie Men Arrested for Cocaine

Two Schoharie men were arrested by Princetown State Police for possessing an ounce of cocaine. On Friday, Novemeber 14th, two men were stopped for vehicle and traffic violations on I-88 in the town of Duanesburg. Information developed from the stop led to the discovery of approximately one ounce of cocaine and other drug paraphernalia associated with the sale of illicit narcotics. Paul J. Trendell age 50, and William M. Jankowski II age 39, were both charged with felony Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd. Both men reside in the village of Schoharie. Both were arraigned before a Duanesburg Town Justice and remanded to the Schenectady County jail in lieu of bail.

Letter to the Editor: Planning Department Vital but Should be Separate

Just a few of my thoughts about the plan to dissolve the Schoharie Planning and Development department. Planning is a very important part of our counties government structure. It affects all privately owned properties both residential and commercial in every town in the county. The planning boards and zoning boards of appeal in our towns rely on the county department for help on many issues every year. Help writing laws, comprehensive plans, defining agricultural areas, preparing maps, gathering demographic information and many other needed services. Planning should be an independent department titled Planning and Zoning. It should never have been combined with development which is another important area that I know very little about but I think it should stand alone. All towns have zoning laws even those that reject zoning. The NY State Department, the Attorney General’s office and Bar Association all except the following definition of zoning. Zoning is any law or regulation that “regulates the use or development of real estate”. The town boards in towns that have voted down zoning still pass zoning laws. Towns that simply have subdivision regulations really have a form of zoning. Our county has some excellent planners in the present department Shane Nickle, Lillian Bruno and Zachary Thomson they are very good and work hard serving our towns. Regardless of who heads the department these people and others give great service to the hundred plus volunteer board members throughout the year. They serve our county well. Regardless of what the County Board decides to do about Mrs. Terry the planning department should be reorganized as a standalone department because every property owner in our county needs it.

 Peter Shulman

Letter to the Editor: Nomination for the Schoharie Leader Award

I would like to nominate Matt & Michelle Strobeck for the Schoharie Leader award. Matt & Michelle opened the fitness center FIT Coalition in Cobleskill about a year ago, in the wake of our other new fitness center closing. They are dedicated to promoting healthy living in the community, and have been a part of every health-related event in the county that I can think of this year, including charity 5Ks and charity Zumba-thons. Matt and Michelle also provide a free childcare service to their members, which has made getting fit so much more easy for Moms like me. They will go out of their way for anyone who needs help, and they provide a safe, fun, and friendly environment for all. I have struggled with my weight all my life, and since joining FIT Coalition early this year, I've been able to lose 20 lbs so far! I've never really felt like part of a community while working out at a gym, until I joined FIT Coalition. Matt & Michelle really give the community a comfortable, family-oriented atmosphere, where everyone always feels welcome, there is no judgment, and all members push, motivate and encourage each other. I'm just one of many in Schoharie County whose lives have been turned around by Matt & Michelle's constant drive to promote overall well-being and happiness. I think Matt & Michelle really deserve recognition and gratitude for improving the quality of life for so many people who may have thought at one time, "I can't."

 - Melissa Wick

Opinion: McAllister Must Make the Right Choice on Terry

This Friday may be the most important day of the year for the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors. The Board will be discussing the prospective 2015 budget and its affects on the future of the area.

Unfortunately, the economic and job growth of the area has lagged significantly behind nearly every county in New York State, Upstate and Downstate since Alicia Terry began her role in the Planning Department twenty years ago. Now that her position and record is on the chopping block, it is time for the Board to take a stand for local growth and shed the good ol' boy image that has hobbled the area for so long.

It's clear from some public statements and past voting records that the vote may be close Friday. Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon has come out strongly in support of Terry and her record while Schoharie and Jefferson Supervisors Gene Milone and Sean Jordan are likely to vote to relieve her of duty.

Since there is likely a split vote, it will come down to the largest proportion of weighted votes of the sixteen supervisors, Town of Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McCallister. He represents 16.2% of the weighted votes and will likely be the kingmaker on Friday.

In his hands alone will fall the fate of future economic growth and the ability to remove the last Ethington holdout. Mr. McAllister was elected by a wide margin to replace one of Ethington and Terry's chief allies, Tom Murray. It was Murray that was alleged in a lawsuit to have worked with Terry to force out former planner and current Supervisor Sean Jordan.

Mr. McAllister ran on a platform of practicality and the removal of the corrupt influences in the county. Now he has the ability and the responsibility to take the important step of aiding the county and ridding corruption at the same time.

Leo McAllister was elected to step Cobleskill out of Tom Murray's shadow. It would be a major shame for him to step back in it.

United Way Pledges $300,000 to Aid Schoharie County

Written By Editor on 11/18/14 | 11/18/14

ALBANY -- United Way of the Greater Capital Region has committed $306,319 in grants to 17 programs and services in Schoharie County aimed at helping individuals and families meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and safety, and improve their education, income, and health.

“We’re able to make these investments thanks to the generous support of our community,” said United Way of the Greater Capital Region President and CEO Brian T. Hassett. “The result will be more children prepared to succeed in school, more families becoming financially secure, more seniors living independently, more hungry people fed and countless others gaining opportunities for success.”

United Way invests financial resources from its Community Care Fund, which is made up of unrestricted donor contributions, through grant processes designed to impact the areas of Basic Needs, Education, Income, and Health. Research and experience demonstrate that these are the building blocks for a strong community and a good quality of life for all. Funding commitments are made to health and human service agencies working to improve community conditions for the low income and vulnerable in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Schoharie counties.

“The need is great and Schoharie County nonprofits provide much needed services throughout the community. We are proud to support programs which enhance the quality of life for those struggling in the Capital Region” said Dan Sauer, United Way of the Greater Capital Region Board Chair. “The gap between the need and what United Way is able to fund motivates us to share our message that every donation counts and that it is going to take all of us working together to make a difference.”

Funded agencies work with United Way to advance the long term health of the region. Through community conversations, bringing together similar service providers who are working toward shared results, United Way helps advocate for change and mobilizes resources to advance conditions for the low income and vulnerable. Together, these funds and relationships help local organizations achieve more for individuals, children and families than any one agency could alone.

Local Students to Take Part in Great American Smokeout Thursday

The Middleburgh Central School (MCS) Reality Check organization will be recognizing the Great American Smokeout on Thursday November 20, 2014 to encourage a critical look at tobacco disparities and solutions to end the tobacco epidemic. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in New York State taking nearly 24,000 lives annually. Tobacco is not an equal opportunity killer- with the most vulnerable and underprivileged New Yorkers bearing the heaviest burden.

The MCS Reality Check Organization would like to encourage all smokers, young and old, rich and poor, to use this Thursday as a day to quit, or a day to make a plan. Quitting, just for a day can benefit your health dramatically. Just fifteen minutes after quitting your blood pressure returns back to normal.

Vulnerable New Yorkers use tobacco nearly twice the rate of the general population. Research shows that the poor are more likely to smoke, less likely to be successful quitting and more likely to lose their lives to lung cancer. Quitting smoking is the single most important step someone can take to improve his or her health and reduce his or her risk of cancer or any other tobacco related disease. Reality Check along with the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to join the thousands across the nation for the Great American Smokeout this Thursday. Reality Check & Tobacco Free Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties are a part of New York State Tobacco Control Program through SUNY Cobleskill Research Foundation and is a statewide effort to help people quit and prevent youth from initiating tobacco use. For help quitting, call your doctor and for support call the New York State Smokers’ Quit line at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit

MCS Reality Check members:

Katie McAvoy-Pindar, 11th grader
Cameron Bechtold, 11th grader
Lacey Bartlett, 10th grader
Scott Gray, MCS Reality Check Advisor
C.J. Smith, Program Coordinator for Reality Check & Tobacco Free Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties

Introducing the Schoharie Leader Award

Written By Editor on 11/17/14 | 11/17/14

We are announcing the Schoharie Leader award for those that have made a positive contribution to their community or Schoharie County. There is no real specific qualification to be nominated. It is up to you to nominate someone for their leadership on community, faith, policy, business, or charity.

So who would you nominate and why? Send your nominations to

For One Man, Great American Smokeout Passes One Year

“One year ago, Chris traded me his cigarettes for a basket of goodies and tools to quit smoking,” says C.J. Smith, the Program Coordinator for Reality Check & Tobacco Free Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties. “And today we are celebrating and congratulating Chris on his tremendous accomplishment of being smoke-free.”

Mr. Tague is a lifelong Schoharie County resident, vice-chair of the Schoharie County GOP and a fulltime employee of Cobleskill Stone Products. Tobacco negatively impacted his life at a very young age because he was surrounded by family members that smoked; thus he began smoking at the age of 14. “I was nine years old when my father had his first heart attack, at the age of 37,” says Mr. Tague. “My mom quit smoking right after the event. My father continued to smoke after two triple bypass surgeries and two more heart attacks. He passed away in September 2001 at the young age of 59 as a result of the health issues caused by smoking.”

Tague today
Quitting was not an easy task for Chris. He smoked upwards of 3 packs of cigarettes per day; therefore he had a huge void to fill in his daily life. “I chewed a lot of gum and toothpicks, and unfortunately also ate a lot and gained some extra weight,” says Mr. Tague. “My blood pressure is consistently lower, my breathing is much better and less labored, I can walk better and I feel much better in general. Because of the weight gain, my diabetes has been more difficult to manage, but I am working on that.”

Of course there were also tremendous financial benefits also. Figuring he roughly spent $175 per week on cigarettes; which in one year equals over $9000. Chris was able to finish work on his flood damaged home and replace some items he lost in Hurricane Irene.

I asked Chris to share one message to people that are trying to quit. He said, “If they really want to quit, they can! I learned a lot about myself through this process and I am a stronger person because of it.” He says the first 3 months were the hardest. He taught himself to work through the cravings and realized that he really could do this. One year ago Chris said, “I hope to say one year from now at my family Thanksgiving dinner as we say Grace, ‘Thank God I am one year smoke-free’.” “Well Chris, you can certainly say that,” says C.J. Smith, “and our hats are off to you for your strength and perseverance. Congratulations!”

Unique Holiday Gifts Go on Sale at Iroquois Museum

HOWES CAVE, N.Y. -- Starting on Friday, Nov. 28, and continuing through Nov. 30, the Iroquois Indian Museum has a wide variety of items on sale that are perfect for holiday giving.

Throughout these days, the public will receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases. Museum members receive 15 percent off their purchases. Items include pottery, handmade jewelry, artwork, posters, music, children’s gifts and more. (Discounts do not apply to books or consignment artwork.)

These are also the final three days to see the Museum’s current exhibit, standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014. Museum hours through Nov. 30 are Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 12 Noon to 4 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving Day.)

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 sale, exhibition and admission, visit 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.

Cobleskill Park Rehab a Big Success

Cobleskill put on a public rebuilding project this weekend for its Nick Iorio Park. The Town Highway Department and Bill Johnson led the way. Volunteers assisted in the renovations.

Photos credit Village of Cobleskill FB Page.

Vote in our Poll: Which Community has the Prettiest Downtown?

Written By Editor on 11/16/14 | 11/16/14

From streetlights to flowers to businesses, which of the County's 16 towns has the prettiest downtown? Some are sparser than others but all have something to offer. Which one is your favorite? Vote in our poll on the right hand sidebar.

Poll: Yes to County Power Utility

Almost ten years after the original idea was brought up at the County level, local residents back the creation of a local power utility. Specifics would be up to the County Board, but with broad public support it may be workable if any members back it with enough vigor.

Would You Support A County Electric Utility?

Yes 69% - 75
No 20% - 22
Don't know 10% - 11
108 total

Schoharie News Advertising Rates

Written By Editor on 11/13/14 | 11/13/14

If you are interested in advertising on the Schoharie News, please email us at We offer the following:

- Photo ads on the right hand sidebar for $25 per month.
- Text ads on the sidebar for $15 per month.
- A photo ad under one article for $15.
- A text ad under one article for $10.
- A photo or text ad under all articles for a week for $100.
- A featured article for $50.
- A "plug" on Facebook for $25.
- A premium ad in our header for $200 per month.
- If you think of something else, email us!

Letter to the Editor: A Call for Legislators to Oppose Constitution Pipeline

Senator Seward & Assemblyman Lopez:
Residents of your respective districts are facing: the seizure of their private property through eminent domain, the anxiety of living near natural gas pipelines constructed and managed by companies with unacceptable safety records, potential devaluation of their homes, increased insurance costs, noise and air pollution from compressor stations and the possibility of additional infrastructure build-outs, including compressed natural gas (CNG) facilities and other industrial uses which are incompatible with the character of their rural communities.
Despite the above, you have both been silent on the issue of the proposed Constitution and Kinder-Morgan (NED) pipelines except for your early support of Constitution Pipeline’s “I-88 Alternative Route.” Now that both Constitution and Kinder-Morgan have unequivocally rejected the use of the I-88 right-of-way as a route for their respective pipelines, citing cost, the inability to utilize eminent domain to gain access to land along interstate highways, and the lack of environmental advantage, it is critical that you break your silence and begin to advocate in a meaningful way for the safety, quality of life and property rights of your constituents and the environmental integrity of the wetlands, forest and farmlands that will be negatively impacted by gas infrastructure development.
The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities urges you to actively and assertively oppose the Constitution and Kinder-Morgan Pipelines and the industrialization of rural communities through the build-out of infrastructure designed to store, process and transmit natural gas obtained through the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing particularly given that this development will have little or no benefit for the majority your constituents.
Robert Nied
Board of Directors
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

First Significant Snowfall Expected Tonight

Temperatures will tumble to below thirty degrees tonight and bring with it some minor snow. In Schoharie, a low of 28 is expected. Between 9pm and 3am one to three inches of snow is expected. Keep it tuned to our always updated weather page for more information.

Conesville Fire Department Pancake Breakfast November 16th

Written By Editor on 11/12/14 | 11/12/14

The Conesville Fire Department Auxiliary will be holding a Pancake Breakfast at the Conesville Fire House on November 16. It will run from 8:00 to 11:00 and will feature much more than just pancakes and of course our local Conesville maple syrup. Free will donations will be appreciated.

Gallupville Fire Department Lauded by Association of Fire Districts for Energy Savings

Written By Editor on 11/10/14 | 11/10/14

On Saturday, the Wright Fire District (Gallupville Fire Department) was recognized for their energy efficiency efforts over the past several years at The Association of Fire Districts annual Fall Workshop in Latham, NY. The National Grid presentation "Energy Efficiency for Fire Departments" used Wright as an example that even a small district can be a leader in energy efficiency and savings. It was noted that the efficiency efforts undertaken by the Wright Fire District has allowed them to contain costs, while improving their firefighting capabilities, apparatus and tools.

Their efforts began three years ago when they undertook a lighting project to upgrade the interior lights of the station. With the utility incentives available, they were able to bring their payback down to just 14 months. The results exceeded their expectations with greatly improved lighting that was better suited to a fire house, and savings that were so significant it nearly cut their bill in half.

A year later, the District upgraded their insulation. Despite the below normal temperatures of this past winter, they were able to reduce their gas usage over previous, warmer years. The District has currently contracted for the installation of a super-efficient minisplit heat pump to further reduce heating costs. A portion of the cost of this unit is being offset by National Grid’s commercial energy efficiency rebates. They are also receiving bids on upgrading their exterior lights to LED's. The LED lights will use roughly half the electric of the current lights, while reducing maintenance costs with their 50,000 hour life. Again, the District is leveraging National Grid incentives which will cover nearly 40% of the total project cost and yield a 35% return on the investment with just a 2 year payback.

National Grid highlighted these efforts by Wright as an example of steps that they and others have taken to reduce their annual energy budget lines. These reductions have allowed them to remain within the Property Tax Cap while still making critical investments to improve their firefighting capabilities. It was noted that every kilowatt purchased is just overhead that takes away from the more important investments in equipment or training.

Energy efficiency incentives and support are available for all National Grid commercial customers. For more information on how your business can save money, contact and mention you saw it in the Schoharie News.

Schoharie Girls Regional Champions, Continue on to Final Four

The Schoharie Girls Varsity Soccer Team beat Potsdam 2-0 Saturday. They are now in the State semifinals, or Final Four, and face Lansing at Cortland on Saturday at 5pm.

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