Recent Articles

From around the County:

Opinion: We Say Yes to the Howe Caverns Casino

Written By Editor on 4/17/14 | 4/17/14


After carefully considering the project, the Schoharie News has come to the same conclusion as most county residents: we need the Howe Caverns Casino proposal to succeed in order to stimulate economic growth and local employment in Schoharie County.


As editor of this publication, I will be the first to admit my personal vote against the statewide referendum last November on the question of whether New York State should permit the construction of gaming venues outside the Indian Reservations.

My reasoning was two-fold, as I hold strong moral objections to gambling in principle and I believed that we shouldn't compete against the interests of existing facilities, due to the unemployment disparities that already existed in those areas. 

However, after the announcement of Howe Caverns interest in hosting a potential casino and the debate that followed, it has become harder to oppose the concept when we have over one thousand residents jobless in the latest unemployment report with seemingly no viable options to reverse the county's long-term plunge into the economic abyss. 

Sure, there are lingering concerns over the societal and infrastructural impacts of having a casino located in Howes Cave, but local officials ranging from Sheriff Desmond to Public Works head Dan Crandell have publicly announced their support for the project, while discounting the arguments that directly target their areas of expertise. 

In the end, all we can do in Schoharie County is show New York State our support for building a casino in our community, and if we can help push the proposal get a little bit closer to that goal-line, we'll be in better shape for it. 

Sharon Springs to Host Fifth "Garden Party" May 24-25


Kicking off the tight-knit community's celebration of the seasons, the Friends of Sharon Springs Festival Committee is preparing to host the fifth annual "Sharon Springs Garden Party" on the weekend of May 24-25, which will commence rain or shine, and perhaps even snow at this rate. 



The event, which features merchants from Sharon Springs in addition to over one hundred local artists and artisans, farmers and food purveyors from across the Mohawk Valley and greater New York State area in celebration of the beginning of spring, and the growth that comes from it. 

A full schedule of events will be available in early May, although vendors and local businesses interested in purchasing a booth or advertising in the festival program are encouraged to reach to the Friends of Sharon Springs organizers by no later than May 3.

For more information please visit the event's official webpage here.

County Board to Meet on Good Friday (April 18, 2014)

Written By Editor on 4/16/14 | 4/16/14


The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors will hold their regularly scheduled April board meeting on this upcoming Good Friday, April 18 starting at 9:00 am and lasting as long as necessary. No official agenda has been published on the county website as of publication, but the stream bank remediation project is expected to once again dominant discussion. 

Neither Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon nor Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman will be present for Friday's meeting, which Mr. Buzon unsuccessfully tried to have pushed back at last month's legislative session. With both men accounting for roughly a combined 16% of the weighted vote, their absence could have an impact on pending legislation. 

Stay tuned to the Schoharie News for updates from the third floor of the county building on Friday and over the weekend. 

The Hive to Host Local Arts Reception, Program Opening

The Greene County Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the recipients of Community Arts Grants in Schoharie County. These grants, used to fund arts and cultural programming in Schoharie County, are provided by the New York State Council on the Arts via a decentralization program and are intended to benefit the community by bringing underrepresented art forms to residents throughout the County.

On April 26, from 7PM-9PM, the Schoharie Community Arts Grants will celebrate the 2014 funding season with a dessert reception at the Hive (321 Main Street, Schoharie). We invite you to attend this opportunity for funded organizations to outline their project(s) as well as thank elected officials for their support of the decentralization program. This event is open to the public and will feature live music by local fiddler Barb Nark.

Also at the Hive on April 26, is the much-anticipated opening of Michael Breitbach's show, “Panes,” for which he received a 2013 Individual Artist grant which provides support for artists in the production of a new, original work influenced by a dialogue with a Schoharie County community that inspires or impacts the artist's creative process and by encouraging personal artistic growth.

Please join artists and producers for this special evening of acknowledgment and art. For additional information email Renee Nied at: schoharieartsgrants@gmail.com

Three Candidates Vie for Middleburgh Library Board

Written By Editor on 4/15/14 | 4/15/14


In the 2014 Middleburgh Library Board of Trustee elections scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, voters in the Middleburgh Central School District will have three candidates to choose from to fill three open seats; one to replace retiring incumbent Carol Coltrain, and two that were recently created by the library to encourage greater engagement by the community. 

The library board recently announced the three candidates - Rebecca Young-Cherizard, Timothy Knight, and Susan London - had successfully obtained the twenty-five necessary signatures to seek a position in one of three five-year terms on the library's Board of Trustees. 

Polls will be open from noon until eight in the library's Community Room next Tuesday, where in addition to voting on the three candidates on the ballot, residents will have the opportunity to approve or disapprove the library's 2014-15 proposed operating budget. The budget is estimated, if passed, to raise district homeowners annual tax bills by $2-$4. 

County Commissioner: Schoharie Casino to Have Little Impact on Traffic

Cobleskill, NY – Schoharie County Commissioner of Public Works, Dan Crandell, has expressed his support for building a casino in the County citing that he believes it will have little impact on local traffic and quality of life for residents.  
“The infrastructure of Schoharie County is poised to handle this type of growth and development with little problem.  This would be a welcomed attraction to help stimulate our local economy and create jobs,” Crandell said. 
Crandell also specifically referred to the proposal of a casino near Howe Caverns, saying that additional traffic will not be a concern. 
“The proposed site is currently located in the Northeastern portion of the county which has always been the more industrial part of Schoharie County.  This will ensure the integrity of the more rural parts of the county,” Crandell said. 
“Howe Caverns currently sees over150,000 visitors each year.  The site handles car and bus traffic without any problem now and the direct connection from Interstate 88 to State Highways 7, 10, 30, 30A, as well as State Highway 20 will allow for increased traffic with minimal impact on local roads, “ Crandell continued. 
Crandell also pointed out the positive impact a casino in Schoharie County could have on the entire region. 
“With the existing solid infrastructure of highways and roads connecting Schoharie to surrounding counties, the entire region can benefit from increased tourism and economic growth.  In fact, Schoharie County may be the best suited location when it comes to handling increased traffic flow and having minimal impact on residents,” Crandell concluded.

Cobleskill Police Blotter (April 15, 2014)


The Cobleskill Police Department submitted the following arrest report for the week of April 7th-13th, 2014.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    At 4:30 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Alissa L. Livingston, 41, of Cobleskill, NY, for Unlawful Imprisonment 2nd.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

    At 5:25 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Elmer B. Speedling, 67, of Howes Cave, NY, for Petit Larceny.  He was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

     At 12:14 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Katrine Thrush, 19, of Middleburgh, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 29th at 5:00 p.m.
  
Saturday, April 12, 2014

     At 8:23 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Albert R. Martin, 47, of Cobleskill, NY, for Petit Larceny.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 13th at 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


    At 12:25 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Steven R. Jackson, 22, of Selkirk, NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 29th at 5:00 p.m.  The property at 127-17 MacArthur Avenue was posted for an Unruly Gathering per the Village Noise Ordinance.

Local Flood Leader Asks for Assistance Giving Back

Written By Editor on 4/14/14 | 4/14/14

For many, Joshua DeBartolo is considered the face and the main driver behind flood recovery in the County after 2011. The Middleburgh native played an essential role in the formation of Schoharie Recovery and personally assisted in the rebuilding of hundreds of homes and businesses after the flood. His leadership led to over $1 million in fundraising, over 28,000 meals served, and $9 million in volunteer value added.

Many would not be in their homes if not for him.


Now he is looking to spread his positive impact into other fields. He has been accepted to the StartingBloc Institute, which aims to build up skills and networks for motivated young people for a chance to make a difference. Mr. DeBartolo is looking to raise $500 of the $1,000 tuition needed for the conference taking place in Boulder, CO May 1-5.

He aims to build skills and connections to meet his goal to "improving disaster response and recovery both domestically and internationally."

More can be found here on his fundraising page.

Vote in Our New Poll: How to Solve AECOM Situation?

Make sure to vote in our new poll on our sidebar regarding the AECOM situation. How do you feel the County Board should solve the issue?

Interested Coby-Rich School Board Candidates Have One Week to Submit Petitions


Local residents interested in running for one of three open seats on the Board of Education in the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School district have one more week to pick up and submit a nominating petition to district officials. 

Petitions, which are due on Monday, April 21st at 5:00 pm, must receive twenty-five signatures from registered voters located within the vast school district that spans several villages and townships, and can be obtained from the district office during regular operating hours.

The open seats are currently occupied by Board of Education members Steven Philbrick, Russell Smith, and Bruce Tyron. District elections, propositions, and public consideration of the 2014-15 school budget will be held on Tuesday, May 20, from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm in both the Golding Middle School in Cobleskill and the Radez Elementary School in Richmondville.

More information can be found on the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School website.  

Volunteers Aid Three Projects in Middleburgh

Four projects were worked on by members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity from SUNY Oneonta. This was the fourth time the group has come to Middleburgh and the fifth volunteer day the community has held since early 2012.
Photo credit: Sheila Donegan
Photo credit: Sheila Donegan

Readers Blame "Good Ol' Boys," Local Government for Paltry Economic Growth


Over sixty percent of Schoharie News readers believe the greatest impediment to local economic growth is either the prevalence of a "Good Ol' Boys" attitude or the interference of local government (high taxes also received 12% of the blame). One hundred and five votes were cast in the survey since last week. 

What is the biggest economic impediment to local economic growth?

High taxes
  13 (12%)
 
Regulations
  5 (4%)
 
State Government
  8 (7%)
 
"Good Ol' Boys" Attitude
  38 (36%)
 
Local Government
  26 (24%)
 
Low Population Density
  6 (5%)
 
Inter-Generational Poverty
  5 (4%)
 
The "Brain Drain"
  1 (0%)
Other (please comment)
  3 (2%)
 

Fire Departments Contain Brush Fire on Route 20, No Burn Law in Effect


                                                                                  Firefighters from the Esperance, Central Bridge, and Delanson volunteer departments responded to a brush fire on Highway Route 20 between the Village of Esperance and the Hamlet of Sloansville on Sunday afternoon. 

The blaze, which fire crews contained, was sparked by nearby residents burning debris. Schoharie County Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley told the Schoharie News afterwards that he wanted to remind local residents that burning brush and debris is, "prohibited in New York State from March 15 to May 15."

Ground conditions are currently very dry with uncleared brush and leaves leftover from last fall offering ample opportunity for fires to spread, as such the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has annually issued a "no burn law" since 2009 to prevent such blazes from occurring. 

Photo submitted by Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley

Photos Capture Last Moments of Old NAPA Building

Written By Editor on 4/13/14 | 4/13/14

Following up on a story we published earlier this week, Middleburgh Business Association secretary Sheila Donegan sent us pictures of the former Oneida Market or NAPA building facing its final moments.



Rotary, Knights Pavilion Opened in Middleburgh

Middleburgh's picnic pavilion was destroyed due to Hurricane Irene in 2011. The disaster was made into a silver lining by the efforts of the Middleburgh Rotary and Knights of Columbus. With help from other local volunteers, Aaron's Electric, and the Village the pavilion was constructed late last year.

Yesterday the community held its celebration as the pavilion was opened. Rotary President Jim Spencer thanked many people who were involved in making the project happen.

Photo credit: Sheila Donegan
The event was well attended and the pavilion sits in the shadow of Vroman's nose. All are encouraged to use the structure.

Wolfe's Laundry Den Hosts Grand Opening


One month after Wolfe's Laundry Den opened their doors to customers in the Village of Schoharie, they officially hosted their grand opening on Friday afternoon with dozens of friends, family, and local officials in attendance to witness the ribbon cutting and the birth of a new business.

Opening the new laundromat was a Wolfe family
affair on Friday - Photo credit: Timothy Knight
Offering few remarks after the cutting, Nancy Ann Wolfe thanked Assemblyman Pete Lopez, attorney Raynor Duncombe and Bank of Richmondville officials for their assistance in helping the project get off the ground, which began after the Wolfe family purchased the building last July. 

The laundromat, which boasts forty-two state of the art American manufactured washers and dryers, is open regularly from six in the morning until ten at night according to the business facebook page, and is located at 299 Main Street in the heart of Schoharie.

MOSA Dissolution Signed Into Law

Written By Editor on 4/12/14 | 4/12/14

ALBANY, 04/11/14 – Dissolution of the Montgomery, Otsego, Schoharie Solid Waste Authority has New York State approval under legislation (S.6181/A.8406) signed into law today.  The legislation was sponsored by Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I- Oneonta) and follows a home rule request from the three member counties and the authority.

“The service agreement governing the authority is set to expire at the end of the month, and all three member counties have done their due diligence to plan for their solid waste disposal needs in a post-MOSA world,” said Senator Seward.  “The state legislation follows a similar home rule request to establish the authority 25 years ago.”

Along with formally ending the solid waste authority, the new law also includes a plan for the distribution of the authority’s assets and liabilities among the three member counties.

The Montgomery Otsego Schoharie Solid Waste Authority (MOSA) was formed in 1988 to handle solid waste and recycling needs of the three member counties.  The service agreement governing the authority is scheduled to expire on April 30, 2014.

As the Schoharie News reported last month, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors have already approved Casella Resource Solutions to operate the county's waste transfer station in Cobleskill to provide continued service for local residents. The details of that contract were not revealed at the time. 

Richmondville Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Written By Editor on 4/11/14 | 4/11/14


The Schoharie County District Attorney's Office has announced that Kelly A. Garreau, aged 48, of Richmondville, New York, has pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C felony in Schoharie County Court.

According to the press release Ms. Garreau, who plead guilty on Wednesday, April 9, was indicted by a Schoharie County Grand Jury on August 28, 2013 for embezzling over $389,000.00 from local realtor Alton Makely over a period of seven years, from February 2006 through March 2013.

Sentencing has been scheduled for December 3, 2014 where she faces a maximum sentence of up to five to fifteen years in state prison. The matter was investigated by the Cobleskill Police Department with assistance from the New York State Financial Crimes Unit and the Schoharie County District Attorney's Office. 

Popular Wildflowers Get Own Website in Middleburgh


The ever popular wildflowers spread out across the Village of Middleburgh now has their own website where visitors can learn the history beyond the project spearheaded by Village Trustee Bill Morton, information on the Village they are located in, and plans for expanding the blossoming display. 


Four abundant patches of beautiful wildflowers emerged from the fertile Valley floor over the summer of 2013 and soon became one of Middleburgh's more popular tourist and photographically inclined destinations, which has prompted the community to declare itself the "Wildflower Capital of New York." Designed by Mayor Matthew Avitabile, the site is hoping to expand the influence of the project beyond the County.

Opinion: County Board has Little to Show for First Hundred Days


Earlier this week the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors capped their one hundredth day of the 2014 legislative session. For many Presidents and state Governors this is the first time you can really pause and examine their progress in office, and we feel the same is necessary of our local unicameral legislative body. 

Promise

When the current slate of Supervisors were elected last November, there was a sense that things were going to change in county government and the good 'ole boy network would be washed away, or at the very least, handicapped in their ability to effect public policy. How wrong everyone was... 

One hundred plus days later, our county sits in disarray. We have no full-time personnel officer; no public health director; no IT director, and thus far no sensible reforms to hedge against the possibility of another Fitzmaurice or AECOM debacle. In short, the county appears to be operating under no stated mission or agenda, apparently satisfied with simply drifting aimlessly from one board meeting to the next with no idea of what their purpose is. 

Politics

Unfortunately, another side effect of last November's election was the reintroduction of party government in Schoharie after operating in 2013 under a bi-partisan coalition manner. Where both sides were publicly in agreement in December, they suddenly reversed in January and fractured along those dreaded Democrat and Republican lines. 

This isn't true of the entire board, as there are a collection of mavericks who work outside the party-line framework to achieve common goals, but as in the case of the casino - one can see how those lines are still in effect and embarrassingly so. 

Success?

The question mark is there because we simply don't know if the county board's successes will be ultimately successful at this point. Take for example tax abatements: in theory they create incentives for first-time home buyers to come into Schoharie County and take a chance on us, however, we have no idea how they will perform in action. 

And honestly, besides the tax abatement legislation and the casino resolution, Supervisors have accomplished little to nothing outside the inertia of county government, which is to be expected when there is no leading motivation or goal-point to strive for. 

Conclusion

It doesn't need to be restated: our county is one in disarray, and the only people who can change that are the sixteen men and women who sit around the U-shaped table on the third floor of the county building, which if the first one hundred days have any foreshadowing on future events, they are unlikely to alter their ways the next hundred.

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