Recent Articles

From around the County:

Tornado Warning in Delaware County

Written By Editor on 2/25/17 | 2/25/17



Issued By:  NWS Binghamton (South Central New York and Northeastern Pennsylvania)
Affected Jurisdictions:  Delaware, Sullivan Counties

Headline:  Tornado Warning issued February 25 at 4:04PM EST until February 25 at 4:45PM EST by NWS Binghamton

The National Weather Service in Binghamton has issued a* Tornado Warning for...South central Delaware County in central New York...Northwestern Sullivan County in central New York...Northern Wayne County in northeastern Pennsylvania...* Until 445 PM EST* At 404 PM EST, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornadowas located near Rutledgedale, or 10 miles north of Honesdale,moving northeast at 35 mph.HAZARD...Tornado.SOURCE...Radar indicated rotation.IMPACT...Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught withoutshelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur.  Treedamage is likely.* This dangerous storm will be near...Damascus around 410 PM EST.Callicoon, Hankins and Stalker around 415 PM EST.Jeffersonville around 420 PM EST.White Sulphur Springs around 425 PM EST.Livingston Manor, Hazel and Roscoe around 430 PM EST.TORNADO...RADAR INDICATEDHAIL...

TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowestfloor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in amobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelterand protect yourself from flying debris.

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36th Annual Toy and Train Show Coming to C-GCC

The 36th annual Antique Toy and Train Show will be held Sunday, March 5,
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the gymnasium and student dining hall at
Columbia-Greene Community College.

Model toy collectors can peruse displays filled with items available for
purchase or trade. For railroad enthusiasts, model trains will be set up
throughout the gym.

Raffles will run all day and refreshments will be available.

General admission is $3; children aged six and under will be admitted free.
The event is sponsored by the Columbia-Greene Community Foundation, Inc.

The college is located on Route 23 in Greenport, one mile east of the Rip
Van Winkle Bridge. Route 23 can be reached from Exit 21 of the New York
State Thruway or the Hudson exit of the Taconic Parkway.

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Book Fair Slated at C-GCC

The Columbia-Greene Community College library has announced a book fair that
will take place Tuesday, March 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., as part of the
college's 50th anniversary celebration.

Sales and book donations will benefit the college's Children's Library
Collection. The event will be held in the Student Dining Hall.

The fair will feature books by Barefoot Books, which is know for its
award-winning books and gifts for children. Book orders also can be placed
by visiting http://bit.ly/c-gccbookfair.

A bookplate will be placed in all donated books to commemorate the college's
50th anniversary.

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C-GCC's Edge Named Conference Player of the Year

Written By Editor on 2/24/17 | 2/24/17

Columbia-Greene Community College basketball star Tanisha Edge, of Cementon,
has been named this year's Mountain Valley Conference Women's Basketball
Player of the Year, for 2016-2017.

The announcement was no surprise to C-GCC fans as Edge, who has electrified
the court all season, has already been named NJCAA Region III Athlete of the
Week four times. Accordingly, she was also named the the conference’s
Women’s Basketball All Conference 1st Team.

At the same time, standouts Tydrea Rodriguez, Middletown, and Chris Kidd,
Poughkeepsie, have been named to the conference’s Men's Basketball All
Conference 2nd Team. Both players have been named NJCAA Region III Athlete
of the Week, twice for Rodriguez.

For more information on athletics at Columbia-Greene, including teams
rosters, stats and schedules, visit http://www.cgcctwins.com/landing/index.

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NBT Bank Encouraging Community to Sign Savings Pledge

Written By Editor on 2/23/17 | 2/23/17


February 23, 2017 – America Saves Week runs February 27 to March 4. To get the local community more actively involved in improving their own savings and financial futures, NBT Bank is reaching out to customers and local schools, encouraging them to sign the America Saves Pledge.

NBT has delivered more than 1,000 financial education presentations across the bank’s six-state footprint through its Strive® Financial Literacy program, which helps kids, teens and young adults establish a positive relationship with money and navigate personal finances.

“Signing this pledge is a natural extension of our Strive Financial Literacy Program. It encourages young people in our community to make a commitment to save, reduce debt and begin investing in their financial future,” said NBT Bank Executive Vice President of Operations and Retail Banking Joe Stagliano.

The pledge is targeted for students ages 14 and older, and encourages participants to set a specific savings goal and stick to it. It’s available online at www.americasaves.org/pledge. Once someone signs the pledge, they can also elect to receive periodic tips and reminders sent by email or text message to help them reach their savings goals.

When it comes to savings success, individuals with a plan are far more likely to save than those without a plan. The following simple steps can help you stick to a plan to pay down debt, spend less and save more:

Develop a budget. Look at your debt and other expenses in order to figure out how and where you can be saving. This is easiest and most effective when you write down an actual budget – that way you can see all of your expenses, including ones you can cut.
Stop borrowing. If debt is part of the problem that’s hindering you from saving, then the next step is to stop borrowing.
Look for milestone events. Significant events like an annual tax refund can be an opportunity to start or improve your savings.
Stick to the pattern. Once you’ve paid off your debts, take the money you were paying each month on your debts and begin to save it.
By focusing on saving, you are not only providing for your own future, you’re also modeling good habits for your children and grandchildren. More tips on saving and additional resources can be found online at nbtbank.com/strive.

NBT Bank offers personal banking, asset management and business services through a network of 154 banking locations in six states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. NBT Bank and its parent company, NBT Bancorp Inc., are headquartered in Norwich, NY. More information about NBT Bank and NBT Bancorp can be found online at www.nbtbank.com and www.nbtbancorp.com.

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SUNY Cobleskill Equestrian Team Captures IHSA Region Title

Morrisville, N.Y.: The SUNY Cobleskill Western Equestrian Team posted a second place and a  first place finish at the final Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Zone 2 Region 3 events hosted by the Morrisville State College Mustangs on Sunday. With their finishes at the shows the Fighting Tigers captured their first Zone 2 Region 3 Championship in program history which automatically qualifies all team members for regional semi-final round of the championships.
Entering the day’s first show holding the overall regional lead by six points; the Fighting Tigers placed second overall in the five team field to the host Mustangs by a score of 37-to-3,1 which tied both teams for the regional overall points lead at 200-to-200 after seven regional regular season shows.

Junior Morgan O’Sullivan, Killingsworth, Conn., Middletown High School, was the Reserve High Point Rider in the show by winning the Open Western Horsemanship competition while   placing second overall in Open Reigning.

In the day’s second show the Fighting Tigers overcame Morrisville State’s home arena advantage to win the show by a score of 34-to-30 over the home team and the rest of the five-team field. With their four point victory, Cobleskill captured the regional title by an overall score of 234-to-230 for the eight show regular season over the defending champion Mustangs.

Sophomore Ashlynn Ratner, Livingston Manor, N.Y., Livingston Manor High School, led the Orange & Black to the title tying for High Point Rider honors in the show by winning Open Reigning and placing third overall in Open Western Horsemanship while Morgan O’Sullivan took Reserve High Point Rider honors with a second place finish Open Western Horsemanship and a second place finish in Open Reigning.

The Fighting Tigers also received important event wins from: junior Karly Brandimarte, Hicksville, N.Y., New Rock Charter School, in Novice Western Horsemanship, sophomore Erin Hopmans, Dalton, Mass., Wachonah Regional High School, in Intermediate Western Horsemanship I and from sophomore Samantha Baker, Ballston Spa, N.Y., Ballston Spa High School, in Beginning Western Horsemanship.

With her individual performance, Morgan O’Sullivan wins the IHSA Zone 2 Region 3 High Point Rider Championship for the second time in her career with a season total of 90 points and automatically qualifies individually for the 2017 IHSA National Championships to be hosted from May 2nd thru May 4th at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

Cobleskill will next compete as a team in the IHSA Regional Semi-Final Round of the  Championships hosted by Morrisville State College in Morrisville, N.Y.  on Sunday February 26th at 9:00 a.m.
SHOW TEAM RESULTS
Team Totals for Show #7:
Morrisville State College
37
SUNY Cobleskill
31
Colgate University
10
Keuka College
6
University of Albany
3

Team Totals for Show #8:
SUNY Cobleskill
34
Morrisville State College
30
Colgate University
6
Keuka College
5
University of Albany
4


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SALT, Tague Host Land Bank Discussion

NOTE: SALT REQUESTED THAT THE MOUNTAIN EAGLE NOTE THIS IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM SCHOHARIE AREA LONG TERM DEVELOPMENT, OR SALT


This month Jerrine Corallo of SALT Development hosted Tolga Morawski, Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank (Land Bank), Cabryn Gurdo and Heidi Sourwine, Land Bank Americorps volunteers and Town of Schoharie Supervisor Chris Tague for a SALT Speaks radio interview with Ed Sherlock of WSDE 94.3 & AM-1190 Cobleskill about a blight removal program that is gearing up for our region.


As Supervisor Tague stated, “SALT didn’t leave us after the flood, they’ve continued on. They’ve looked at better ways to help improve the local economy, to help sustain what we do have here, and to help bring in more… this is going to be something to really look forward to in the future.“

Ms. Corallo and Mr. Morawski spoke about program development, how a land bank works and the importance of a local volunteer involvement. Supervisor Tague recalled how the project got started in Schoharie County. Demolition and rehabilitation projects are expected to begin this summer. To get involved email JerrineC@SALTDevelopment.org

Click here to listen to the full interview: www.saltdevelopment.org/wsde-1190- salt-speaks-edition-2/

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Guest Column: Veterinarians: Warriors in the Battle against Disease


By Dr. Arve Lee Willingham

Don't breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Even though the World Health Organization recently declared that the Zika virus is no longer a global health emergency,  other diseases are growing more threatening each day.

Consider leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted through infected animal urine that claimed dozens of human lives in the Caribbean in 2016. ,  Or cysticercosis, a disease contracted from the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium, that causes hundreds of thousands to suffer seizures.

It's no coincidence that these diseases are transmitted by animals -- nearly 60 percent of all human diseases are.  Such illnesses kill over two million people each year.

Who's manning the front lines against these diseases? Increasingly, veterinarians. Today's veterinarians aren't merely tasked with giving Fido his shots -- they're asked to serve as public-health warriors, leading the attack against such diseases. The lives and livelihoods of millions of people depend on them receiving the proper training.

Mosquitos have borne deadly diseases for generations. Dengue fever affects 400 million people annually.  Malaria strikes another 200 million.

Animal-borne diseases can also infect local economies. Take the Zika virus. The latest outbreak hit over 61 countries.  As the virus spread, tourism in affected areas dropped precipitously.

Consider Miami's $24 billion tourism industry. Because of Zika, the price of plane tickets to Miami dropped 17 percent in August, a sign of depressed demand. One local restaurant owner reported losing 70 percent of his customers.

Likewise, airlines slashed ticket prices to Latin American countries by over 20 percent after governments issued Zika travel advisories.

The medical and veterinary communities increasingly recognize that the health and well-being of animals, humans, and the environment are inextricably linked -- a concept known as "One Health."  Veterinary schools are at the forefront in training their students to tackle these "one health" crises.

The University of California, Davis' veterinary-medical program has developed technology to track the migration patterns of birds potentially infected with avian flu, in order to contain outbreaks.  In 2015, one such outbreak killed 48 million birds and cost the nation over $3 billion.

In addition to on-the-ground leptospirosis and cysticercosis monitoring, my institution, the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, is researching newly emerging livestock-associated antibiotic-resistant staph infections that could potentially transfer to pet and human populations. Currently, little data is available on the infections, despite growing global concern. Our researchers hope to better understand the disease's origin and spread in order to estimate its risk for both animal and human health.  That knowledge could save lives around the globe.

Meanwhile, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been investigating how mosquitoes' brains work. Veterinary researchers hope to identify the chemical factors that attract mosquitos to humans -- in order to create ultra-effective traps to kill the insects.

That's only one front in the mosquito wars. Johns Hopkins and Ross have formed a partnership enabling students to pursue interdisciplinary studies in the veterinary and public health fields at both institutions. Students will benefit from Ross's Caribbean location -- the epicenter of many mosquito-transmitted viruses.

The health of our ecosystems requires harmony between human health, animal heath, and a healthy environment. Veterinarians play a pivotal role in the defense against animal-borne diseases that threaten our physical and financial health. It's up to veterinary schools to equip their students to think outside the box for this battle.

Dr. Arve Lee Willingham BSc DVM PhD is Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies and Professor of One Health at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

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Ratner Named SUNY Cobleskill Fighting Tiger Athlete of the Week

The SUNY Cobleskill Department of Sport & Exercise announced today that sophomore Ashlynne Ratner, Livingston Manor, N.Y., Livingston Manor High School, a member of the western equestrian team has been named the department’s Fighting Tiger Athlete-of-the-Week.



The Fighting Tiger sophomore rider helped led the western team to the first Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Zone 2 Region 3 championship in program history by earning Reserve Point Rider honors in the final two regional shows of the year hosted by Morrisville State College in Morrisville, N.Y. on Sunday.

In the day’s opening show, Ratner tied for High Point Rider honors by winning Open Reigning and placing third overall in Open Western Horsemanship which gave the Fighting Tigers a victory over the five-team field and broke a tie with defending regional champion Morrisville State College at the top of the regional overall point standings to give Cobleskill the regional title and automatically qualify all team members to the regional team semi-final event.

The Fighting Tigers will next compete at in the IHSA Regional Round for individual competitors hosted by Morrisville State College on Sunday February 26th at 9:00 a.m.




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Fighting Tiger Men's Lacrosse Ranked 7th in NEAC Pre-Season Poll

The SUNY Cobleskill men’s lacrosse team will enter the 2017 season ranked seventh in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Pre-Season Coaches Poll. The Fighting Tigers are coming off a 2016 campaign which saw them post a 3-11 overall record including a 1-7 record in conference play.

As head coach Ryan Gunzinger enters his 11th season directing the program will have 14 returning letter men and 15 newcomers on the roster this year as the teams looks to return NEAC post-season play.

“I think we are much more athletic and deeper offensively and that we’ve improved our face-offs which should make us more efficient and allow us to score more this season,” said Gunzinger. “Defensively we are bigger, stronger and deeper which should help us keep some pressure off our goalies this year.”

Among the key returners Cobleskill will be counting on this year junior midfielder Kyle Magdziuk, Syracuse, N.Y., Westhill High School, a 2016 All-NEAC Second Team selection to lead the way after a season that saw him score 10 goals, pass out three assists to go with 104 ground balls picked up and a 58.3% face-off winning percentage on the year.

Also returning on the frontline will be: sophomore attackman Hunter Pruner, Glens Falls, N.Y., Christian Brothers Academy, who scored 14 points and four assists, sophomore attackman Garrett Vigrass, Wallkill, N.Y., Wallkill High School, who scored 11 goals and passed out four assists, and sophomore midfielder Anthony Yevoli, Amsterdam, N.Y., Amsterdam High School, who returns to the line-up after missing all of 2016 overcoming leukemia after a 2015 season which saw him score seven goals pass out two assists and pick-up 34 ground balls.
The offense will also be bolstered by the addition of ju
nior college transfer junior attackman Jeremy Mowrey, Johnstown, N.Y., Johnstown High School/Herkimer Community College, and freshman attackman Robert Gioielli, Staten Island, N.Y., Monsignor Farrell High School, who will each be counted on to bring added firepower to the roster.

The defense will benefit from the return of sophomore midfielder Sean Degnan, Monroe, N.Y., Monroe-Woodbury High School, who picked-up 27 ground balls and caused four turnovers while scoring nine goals and passing out five assists and junior Sean Rodee, Canton, N.Y., Canton High School, who picked-up 24 ground balls.

Among the new recruits freshman long stick midfielder Kiran Spigner, Greenwich, N.Y., Greenwich High School, and freshman midfielder Kieran Tierney, Marcellus, N.Y., Marcellus High School, will bring much needed size and athleticism to the back line.

In the net senior John Montaniz, Lindenhurst, N.Y., Lindenhurst High School/Suffolk Community College, returns after a season that saw him allow 182 goals in 14 games for a 13.81 goals against average. Montaniz made 173 saves while posting a .487 save percentage to go with 43 ground balls pick-up. 
  
With the new season on the horizon coach Gunzinger sees improvement but understands the many challenges that the Fighting Tigers as a team will face this season.

“We’ve got a lot of fresh faces this year which will provide us with better depth and athleticism that should lead to a better season. But our conference continues to get better each year and we are going to have to find a way to break into the top four teams if we want to make a play-off run this season.”

Cobleskill will open the 2017 season on Sunday February 26th when they host the Hornets of Lyndon State College in a game to be hosted by the Fighting Tigers at Union College’s Frank Bailey Field in Schenectady, N.Y. beginning at 2:00 p.m.
TEAM RANKINGS:
Rank
Institution (First Place Votes)
Total Points
1st
Morrisville State College (8)
64
2nd
Keuka College
54
3rd
Cazenovia College (1)
52
4th
Bryn Athyn College
44
5th
Hilbert College
33
6th
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
28
7th
SUNY Cobleskill
24
8th
Wells College
16
9th
Medaille College
9

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Cobleskill Police Blotter


Monday, February 13, 2017

At 10:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested James M. Lynch, 42, of Cobleskill, NY, for Criminal Obstruction of Breathing.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on February 14th at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

At 11:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Savanna Hotaling, 25, of Cobleskill, NY, for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 7th at 5:00 p.m.

At 9:58 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Christopher P. Douville, 20, of Victor, NY, for Trespass and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 14th at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, February 17, 2017

At 5:34 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Theresa M. Clark, 34, of Cobleskill, NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3rd and Public Health Law.  She was arraigned in Town of Richmondville Court and released.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on March 7th at 5:00 p.m.

At 6:25 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Kathleen Brown, of Summit, NY, for Harassment 2nd.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 14th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

At 1:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Adena Ostrander, 19, of Athens, NY, for Trespass.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on February 28th at 5:00 p.m.

At 1:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Haley H. Corso, 18, of Yorktown Heights, NY, for Trespass.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on February 28th at 5:00 p.m.

At 1:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Emily M. A. Johnson, 20, Beaver Falls, NY,  for Trespass.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on February 28th at 5:00 p.m.

At 5:44 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Kelsey N. Venzke, 27, of Cobleskill, NY, for Petit Larceny.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 7th at 5:00 p.m.

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C-GCC's Edge, Rodriguez Named Athletes of the Week

Written By Editor on 2/22/17 | 2/22/17

Columbia-Greene Community College basketball standouts Tanisha Edge, of
Cementon, and Tydrea Rodriguez, Middletown, were each named NJCAA Region III
Athlete of the Week, for Feb. 21, 2017, in the women's and men's division,
respectively.

In a busy week, Edge led her team and was the game's leading scorer in wins
over Hudson Valley Community College on, Feb. 15 (30 points, 8 rebounds and
7 assists), and Herkimer Community College, Feb. 18 (35 points, 16
rebounds). She also had 19 points and 7 rebounds in a loss against Monroe
Community College, Feb. 19.

In a loss against Hudson Valley on Feb. 15, Rodriguez contributed 25 points
and 6 assists. On Feb. 18, the sophomore guard lead the team with a
21-point, 6-assists effort against Herkimer.

This is Edge's fourth and Rodriguez's second time this season earning the
NJCAA Region III Athlete of the Week citation.

For more information on athletics at Columbia-Greene, including teams
rosters, stats and schedules, visit http://www.cgcctwins.com/landing/index.

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Dudley Observatory at miSci presents Night Sky Adventure


Tue, April 18, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

at miSci - Museum of Innovation and Science, 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady, NY 12308

Tonight's Lesson: 27 years with the Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble space telescope was placed into orbit in April of 1990. Since then, it has made many amazing discoveries. Join us as we celebrate Hubble’s legacy and hope for many more successful years of science!

Night Sky Adventures are astronomy fun for the whole family! Educators from the Dudley Observatory, in conjunction with volunteers from the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers group, present astronomy lessons, planetarium shows and night sky viewing (weather depending). Amateur astronomers and families are invited to bring binoculars or telescopes. One or more telescopes will be provided for public use.

For more information, visit our website at www.DudleyObservatory.org.

Cost: Admission to miSci ($10.50 adult, $7.50 child age 3-12, $9 senior 65+), Free for miSci members

Come early to enjoy the museum galleries as well as the Dudley Observatory program. miSci will be open continuously from 9am through the end of the Night Sky Adventure.

http://dudleyobservatory.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2ef4e7598fea6c4a053769914&id=c13bafff4e&e=378f2e2924

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Senior Science Day at miSci April 3 Event

Mon, April 3, 3pm – 4pm
miSci - Museum of Innovation and Science, 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady, NY 12308

Senior Science Day at miSci

Today's topic: NASA’s Great Observatories: Chandra X-ray Observatory

The Dudley Observatory at miSci is committed to lifelong learning and has created programming specifically designed for adults! Come explore the museum on a quiet afternoon, then join the Dudley Observatory for an exciting astronomy lesson presented by our Outreach Astronomer, Dr. Valerie Rapson.

Cost: Senior Admission to miSci ($10.50 adult, $7.50 child age 3-12, $9 senior 65+), Free for miSci members

Come early or stay after the lesson to enjoy the many exhibits miSci has to offer! The museum is open from 9 am – 5 pm. You need not be a senior citizen to attend.

http://dudleyobservatory.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=2ef4e7598fea6c4a053769914&id=818a51c362&e=378f2e2924


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Over 150 NY Groups Call For Comment Extension on Fracked-Gas Pipeline

Written By Editor on 2/21/17 | 2/21/17

Albany, NY — More than 150 grassroots groups, businesses, faith communities, and organizations such as Food & Water Watch, Clean Air Coalition, NRDC, and Sierra Club are requesting that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) extend the public comment period for National Fuel’s Northern Access 2016 Project. In a letter delivered to the DEC on Friday, February 17, the groups contend that one month is insufficient for communities and organizations to study and comment on a project the size and complexity of the proposed pipeline.

The controversial Northern Access pipeline would be nearly 100 miles long and cross hundreds of sensitive streams and wetlands in Western New York, including state-protected trout streams and an aquifer that provides water for thousands of residents. The majority of the pipeline’s gas—a half-billion cubic feet per day from Pennsylvania’s shale fields—would be exported, passing under the Niagara River into Canada.

The DEC combined comment hearings for air and water permits, allowing members of the public only three minutes to provide verbal comments on both. According to Diana Strablow of the Sierra Club’s Niagara Group, two of the three hearing locations were too small; many people arrived prepared to comment but left when they saw overflow crowds and no available seating. “That deprived people of their right to be heard,” says Strablow.

Though the DEC is also accepting written comments, concerned residents have been calling and emailing the agency for weeks, asking for more information, more hearings, and more time to comment.

Governor Cuomo, in his 2017 State of the State address, said New York “must double down by investing in the fight against dirty fossil fuels and fracked gas from neighboring states.” But Northern Access would move more gas into New York, as well as export gas to Canada.

“National Fuel is in a hurry to lay pipe,” says Lia Oprea, a landowner on the proposed route whose Erie County farm is on the National Historic Register. “But this project defies the governor’s vision for New York. We worry the company is pressuring the DEC into approving yet another unnecessary pipeline that enriches corporations but threatens public health and safety.”

In April 2016, the DEC denied a key water-quality certificate for the Constitution Pipeline, a project that would have involved fewer stream and wetland crossings than Northern Access but similarly flawed construction methods. The DEC concluded the project would have endangered New York water.

Emphasizing that the Northern Access pipeline could dramatically harm air and water quality, the groups are asking the DEC to grant an additional 60 days for public comment on the project. The current deadline for comments is February 24, 2017.

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7 Tips to Prevent Tax ID Fraud

Written By Editor on 2/20/17 | 2/20/17

 Honesdale, PA – As the 2017 tax season gets underway, Wayne Bank is urging all customers to take extra precaution when filing their return to prevent their exposure to tax fraud.
      “Fraudsters are using very clever tactics to get a hold of your personal information and submit false tax claims,” said Diane Wylam, Senior Vice-President and Senior Trust Officer. “Consumers must be suspicious of any communication from the IRS- through email, text or social media- that requests personal information, and should keep a watchful eye out for missing W-2s and mail containing sensitive financial information.”
      Tax identity fraud takes place when a criminal files a false tax return using a stolen Social Security number in order to fraudulently claim the refund. Identity thieves generally file false claims early in the year and victims are unaware until they file a return and learn one has already been filed in their name.
      To help consumers prevent tax ID fraud, Wayne Bank is offering the following tips:
* File early. File your tax return as soon as you’re able giving criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
* File on a protected Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi-Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
* Use a secure mailbox. If you’re filing by mail, drop your tax return at the post office or an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home. Some criminals look for completed tax return forms in home mailboxes during tax season.
* Find a tax preparer you trust. If you’re planning to hire someone to do your taxes, get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
* Shred what you don’t need. Once you’ve completed your tax return, shred the sensitive documents that you no longer need and safely file away the ones you do.
* Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. Scammers may try to solicit sensitive information by impersonating the IRS. Know that the IRS will not contact you by email, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail first.
* Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. If you don’t receive your W-2s, and your employer indicates they’ve been mailed, or it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately.
      If you believe you’re a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. In addition, you should:
* Respond immediately to any IRS notice and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
* Contact your bank immediately, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with.
* Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
o Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
o Experian, www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
o TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289
* Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
 
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What Gets Covered after an Accident

Written By Editor on 2/19/17 | 2/19/17

Common Pitfalls

By Michael Ehline

There are a lot of misconceptions about lawsuits out there. Many of these are in one of two directions. In many cases people believe that the first thing to happen to them is that an ambulance chaser will track them down. This very well might happen. However, the other extreme is just as unlikely. Many people believe that lawsuits are made from pie in the sky numbers and not based on the hard reality on the ground.

Of course, most circumstances fall between the two. This is one of the biggest reasons why it is important to find an attorney that you trust. In addition, it's important to find an attorney that trusts you enough to be frank with you. The driver that caused the accident is not going to want to pay up for their fault. Secondly, your insurance company or theirs may choose to fight every step of the way. Some even refuse to pay out at all. It's not a cakewalk.

There are a lot of factors involved in determining how much money a person gets after an accident. First comes after the determination of fault. Often fault is pro-rated into the decision. Second is a combination of immediate and long term medical and other bills. Also factored in is the monetary value of lost work. Juries also consider incredible stress and suffering on the plaintiff and their family. Only an attorney specialized in such cases balances all of these varying concerns.

Consider these and more when discussing your accident case with an attorney. The bottom line always is the well being of your family. We cover more of these issues in next week's column.

Michael Ehline is an attorney specializing in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. He can be reached at michael@ehlinelaw.com.

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Blenheim Supervisor Smith Announces Bid for District Attorney

Written By Editor on 2/18/17 | 2/18/17

Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith announced Saturday that he is running for Schoharie County District Attorney. He set up a Facebook page to support his candidacy.

Mr. Smith, an attorney, is in his second term as town supervisor. He is a Democrat and is also planning to seek the Conservative and Independence lines.

The seat is currently held by James Sacket, a Republican, who is retiring this year.

Mr. Smith was born and raised in the Town of Jefferson and later moved to the Town of Blenheim, where he currently lives.



“I have always had an interest in criminal law, both prosecution and defense, and that has been the focus of my legal career,” Mr. Smith said.

His first legal job was at the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. While working there part time though law school (2010-2012) he was granted a practice order by the Third Department of the Appellate Division Supreme Court.

“In that time I had the great pleasure of working with some well renowned prosecutors. During the time that I worked in that office I learned enough to jump start my career. I was able to work with seasoned trial attorneys," he said.

He was there for two years and experienced working in Schenectady City Court, various town courts, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and even second seated Felony trials. He worked on several appeals which included low level felonies all the way up to homicide cases.

“When I returned home and opened my own office in Schoharie I immediately was able to handle a wide range of issues for my clients.”

While in practice he has handled nearly every type of criminal case from speeding tickets and disorderly conduct, to felonies based on serious drug charges, assaults, weapons possession cases and basically everything in between. He also practices family law and has represented many clients that were the victims of domestic abuse and seeking protection from their abusive spouse. While doing that he has prosecuted numerous family offense petitions and successfully represented his clients that were the victims of offenses such as disorderly conduct, menacing in the second or third degree, harassment in the first or second degree, reckless endangerment, aggravated harassment in the second degree, stalking, assault in the second or third degree, attempted assault, criminal mischief, sexual misconduct, sexual abuse in the second or third degree, forcible touching, strangulation, criminal obstruction of breathing, grand larceny in third or fourth degree, and coercion in second degree.

“Since opening my office in Schoharie in the beginning of 2013 I have had dozens upon dozens of trials and pretrial hearings in various courts. I have successfully represented clients in Greene, Delaware, Otsego, Schenectady, Albany and Schoharie Counties. I have tried cases in all different types of courts- sometimes conducting multiple trials in one week.”

In addition to continually doing that type of work in Court, he said he has also dedicated a large part of his career to public service. He serves as legal counsel to multiple municipalities throughout the county and in 2013 he was elected as Town Supervisor of the Town of Blenheim and was re-elected to that post in 2015. He continues to serve as Town Supervisor and a member of the County Board of Supervisors. While in that capacity he has served on several county committees including the county Law Enforcement Committee and the Alternatives to Incarceration Committee. He is a member of the Delaware County Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and President of the Schoharie County Bar Association.

Smith is also an avid hunter, trapper and fisherman as well as a gun collector. In his spare time, Smith enjoys camping, canoeing and hiking with his family. “Hunting, fishing, canoeing and hiking are the best ways to escape from the stresses that come with being a busy attorney” Smith said.

“I would like to bring my successful public service and private practice careers together for the benefit of the people of Schoharie County,” he said.

“The Office of District Attorney is the perfect opportunity for me to be able to do that. I plan to campaign all around the county from now until November in an attempt to earn the trust and support of all our residents. I would be honored and humbled to serve the residents of Schoharie County as their District Attorney.”



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Birches Denies Corruption in Schoharie Apartments

Written By Editor on 2/17/17 | 2/17/17

Embattled Developer Defends Record

From 2/10 Edition

By Ethan Tanenbaum

It’s been almost four years since Governor Cuomo allocated millions for affordable housing in the Village of Schoharie, yet the project is still ongoing. Birches at Schoharie has been plagued by delays, legal disputes with contractors, and rumors of pay for play involving the developer, Steve Aaron.

Mr. Aaron is the owner of Birchez Associates, LLC, which received the state contract.  Companies tied to Mr. Aaron have given well over $250,000 dollars in campaign donations to Cuomo, an astronomical amount that surpasses disgraced Buffalo developer Louis P. Ciminelli. Mr. Ciminelli is currently facing federal bribery charges.

Questions arose after Darryl Towns, head of the NY Homes and Community Renewal Agency, chose Birchez to lead the project despite scoring lower than competing companies. While this practice is legal, awarding state funds based on campaign contributions is not. While Mr. Aaron isn’t currently under investigation for any wrongdoing, questions remain regarding both his ties to Cuomo and business practices.

When contacted by the Mountain Eagle Wednesday, Aaron said that contributions to Cuomo have nothing to do with receiving the Schoharie project. "Absolutely, positively no,” he said. “It's on the street because there are people that don't like the Governor." He added that his family has two generations of ties with the Cuomo family and that the current governor has done more for affordable housing than any previous. Aaron added that he is a member of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing.

Aaron and his associated companies have been sued or accused multiple times for failing to pay contractors, gender discrimination, and failure to pay property taxes. Particularly disturbing are lawsuits from 1995 and 2012 previously reported in the Times Union. Former employees alleged that Mr. Aaron intimidated them and practiced gender discrimination, with threats including flipped tables, thrown bottles, and threatening one woman with “punching her teeth down her throat and throwing her down a flight of stairs.” Mr. Aaron settled one lawsuit, while a jury awarded $1.4 million to the plaintiffs in the other.

Regarding one lawsuit, Aaron said that he did not intimidate a former subcontractor, saying that the individual was "shooting his mouth off to the press. " Aaron said that the subcontractor is now barred from doing business in the state of New York. Apart from that, the only other case Aaron said he was ever accused of similar behavior was 35 years ago when he called an employee ”the C word.”

Two contractors sued Birchez Associates for failure to pay for work done on Birches of Schoharie, which continues a troubling trend for the Kingston based developer. Mr. Aaron has been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of his career, which he chalks up to his “high standards,” adding, "My reputation in the housing business is that we don't deliver inferior products."

Aaron told us that any conflicts were over inferior work. While at first stating there were no issues with contractors, the conversation evolved. He said, "We have a paving contractor we had to literally escort off the job because of poor quality and some obnoxious behavior." He said another contractor physically assaulted an employee and is demanding $250,000. Toward the end of the interview, Aaron said that a total six former contractors on the Schoharie project caused problems.

The Birchez owner stated that part of the issue with his reputation was caused by conflicts by other companies. He singled out Carver Sand and Gravel in Schoharie. Aaron said that the apartment project  was "[Carver Laraway’s] job to lose. His numbers were ridiculous. He continues to be an antagonist towards us."

In 2012 multiple municipalities in Ulster County sued Mr. Aaron for over $400,000 in unpaid property taxes, followed by a $1 million lawsuit filed by Kingston, NY. Aaron said that the situation was resolved. "It's been settled for years. I've been the subject of a number of hit pieces." Aaron stated that Kingston's Mayor and Assessor was biased against him and that he won in court. He also said that when a person "reaches the top," they receive more scrutiny.

Despite his troubling past, Mr. Aaron has been praised by federal, state and local officials alike. Former Congressmen Chris Gibson and Maurice Hinchey, along with State Senator John Bonacic all praised Mr. Aaron’s work with seniors in promotional videos posted to his website. Village of Schoharie Mayor John Borst was unavailable for comment.

Birches of Schoharie is currently accepting applications, however, there is no one living on the premises as of yet. Local and state officials are hopeful that the Birches project will bring jobs and tax dollars to the Village of Schoharie and Schoharie County as a whole. If Mr. Aaron’s history tells us anything though, it may end up being more complicated than that.

The Mountain Eagle reached out to multiple parties involved with Mr. Aaron but has yet to receive a reply or comment. We will continue to monitor the story as it develops.


Tyler James and Matthew Avitabile contributed research to this article

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