NYS Flags 35 Schoharie County Residents for Gun Confiscation, Denial Under SAFE Act

Written By Editor on 12/31/14 | 12/31/14

One of the parts of the SAFE Act that is being actively enforced is the provision that those deemed mentally unfit by the state will not be able to own guns. This includes both non-owners that will be denied access to purchase firearms and current owners that will have their firearms confiscated.

According to records from New York State, compiled by Syracuse.com there are thousands statewide on a do-not-sell list and 278 current gun owners intended for confiscation.

There are currently 35 Schoharie County residents on the list for being referred to the state for mental illness by medical professionals. Of these, two are current gun owners that, if the law is enforced, have their firearms taken by police.

The names of the residents have not been released and there have been no reports of confiscation as of this date. The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department has already stated that it will not enforce the SAFE Act, passed two years ago.

Meteor Lights Up East Coast, Estimated to Have Landed in Schoharie County

In one of those rare occurrences, a meteor lit up much of the Northeast last night. And the scientists that followed its path seemed to find it... in Schoharie County.



More info from the American Meteor Society:
Below is a 3D trajectory of the fireball’s entry plotted by the AMS using data from the witness sightings. The geometric impact point is located South West of Carlisle, New York ( 42°44’48.07″N, 74°25’4.78″W).



Photo credit: American Meteor Society

Florida Passes New York in Population

New York's population growth faced another major obstacle in the last year, with the state falling to the fourth most populous in the country. New York, with 19.7 million people, fell behind Florida, now with 20.0 million this year.

New York's population growth has stayed nearly flat over the last three decades, while other states see a large surge.

Meanwhile, job growth has also remained nearly flat. New York and Texas were nearly tied in 1990 while now New York is significantly behind.


Environmental Groups Challenge FERC Pipeline Decision

Attorneys for a consortium of environmental groups, including: Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Riverkeeper, Inc. and the Sierra Club have filed a a request for a rehearing of the decision made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to conditionally approve the proposed Constitution Pipeline.

The request sites multiple failures on the part of FERC to adequately address the potential impacts of the pipeline. It is expected that additional groups and individuals also be filling rehearing requests and other legal actions to delay or block the 124 mile long greenfield pipeline which would cut through Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties. A copy of the request for rehearing can be found on FERC’s web site: http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20141230-5288

Upcoming public hearings to be convened the NYS DEC are expected to attract vocal and organized opposition to the pipeline by impacted landowners as well as community and environmental groups.

Schoharie News Reaches One Million Hits

Written By Editor on 12/30/14 | 12/30/14

Thanks to our loyal readers and former editor Timothy Knight, the Schoharie News has reached one million total pageviews. It's been a great last year and three months and we are looking forward to our next million!

Sharon Man Arrested for DWI after Accident

On Monday, December 22, 2014, State Police at Richfield Springs arrested Jeffrey White, 42, of Sharon Springs, NY for Driving While Intoxicated. The arrest resulted after an accident on US Route 20 in the Town of Cherry Valley. Mr. White was released after posting $500.00 cash bail.
Photo credit: NYSP

Jefferson Woman Arrested for Shoplifting

On December 27, 2014, Troopers arrested Zana M. Margretta, 25, Jefferson, NY for petit larceny. This arrest occurred following a complaint of shoplifting at the Tops Family Market on Main Street in Stamford, NY. An investigation determined that she failed to pay for yogurt when she left the store. Margretta was issued a ticket returnable to the Town of Stamford Court on January 13, 2015.

Worcester Man Arrested for DWI

(Maryland, NY - December 29, 2014) On December 28, 2014, Troopers arrested Ralph A. Basso, 22, of Worcester, NY for Driving While Intoxicated with a reportable BAC result of .10%. The arrest occurred after a vehicle and traffic law stop for failing to stop at a stop sign at County Route 56 and State Route 7 in Maryland, NY. An investigation determined that he was driving while intoxicated. Basso was issued tickets returnable to the Town of Maryland Court on January 6, 2015.

Credit: State Police

Cobleskill Police Blotter

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Nathan Maxwell, 24, of Cobleskill on two warrants. He was turned over to the Sheriff's Office for processing.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Lisa C. Shaut, 43, of Fort Plain on charges of petty larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and released to return to court on January 6th.

The Cobleskill Village police arrested Ashley Constable, 33, of Cobleskill on charges of fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property and petty larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and released to return to court on January 13.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Crystal Butler, 27, of Cobleskill on charges of petty larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and released to reutrn to court on January 13.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Alishia Scala, 24, of Jefferson on charges of fourth degree criminal mischief and reckless endangerment of property. She was arraigned and released.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Michelle L. Nay, 37, of Catskill on a warrant on charges of failing to appear for a court appearance. She was arraigned and sent to jail in lieu of $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond to return to court on January 13th.

Rensselaer Mayor Calls for Schenectady Casino Approval to be Stripped

Rensselaer's mayor is making waves with a controversial proposal. Dan Dwyer, mayor of one of the communities that lost out on the gaming commission's decision, decided to press Governor Cuomo to lean on the NYS Gaming Commission. The request was reported in the Schenectady Gazette, citing a letter from Dwyer dated December 29th.

The mayor wrote in part, that the decision was, "inexplicable how the Capital District casino choice could have been the Rivers [project] located on the western edge of Schenectady rather than the Hard Rock Casino on the shores of the Hudson River in the City of Rensselaer and supported by the cities of Albany and Troy."

The approval from the Commission was made unanimously.

This comes right after Governor Cuomo announced that he would ask the Gaming Commission to reconsider allowing a casino into the Southern Tier.

VanGlad Retiring as County Board Chair

County Board Chair Tony VanGlad has held the position for a little less than a year. Now, with the word that he is stepping down the County may have its fifth Board Chairman in recent years. The announcement came after VanGlad's personal commitments were weighed.

The County Board will hold a meeting next Monday, January 5th to decide who will become the Chair and Vice Chair. Potential front runners have been keeping cards close to their chest, but it appears that former Board Chairs will not be selected, according to sources.

Letter to the Editor: Anti-Science Activists Support Deforestation

Written By Editor on 12/29/14 | 12/29/14

The recent pipeline debate seems to have struck a nerve with some. The Schoharie "News" published an editorial in support of a green energy solution. Fine, I guess, if it was workable. One part that made sense was to actually push for energy instead of being one of the anti-everything activists.

Some so-called environmentalists have rallied against the pipeline and carbon fuel. Unfortunately, they don't understand that using coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat has saved the forests.

No-- really.

Using wood to heat houses is as old as time and with the large population boom in the 1800s and early 1900s, the forests of the US and Europe were cut at an alarming rate. When other types of energy were used to heat homes, namely deriving from carbon fuels, deforestation reversed course dramatically.

Contrary to claims that Pennsylvania's economy has been ruined by fracking and unemployment has gone up, using energy has had some positive effects. Frequently spouted "facts" on Facebook are just plain wrong. Someone needs to explain that unemployment has fallen from 8.7% in early 2010 when fracking was first used in PA to 5.4% today (lower than the national average) while GDP has grown from $554 billion in 2009 to $603 in 2013, but don't let facts get in the way of a good narrative. How many jobs have these protesters created again?

So let's get rid of coal, gas, and oil. Okay... so let's get wind! Oh no, the "environmentalists" in this county are against it. Okay, what about hydro power! Oh, wait. Solar! Not ready yet?

So let's use a renewable organic source of energy-- wood! Forested areas in the US and Europe are at the highest levels in over 100 years because people no longer clear cut for heat.

Who will tell our NIMBY friends that their desired policies would clear cut far more forest than any pipeline?

Cheers,
Richard "Halliburton"
Summit

Two Arrested for Burglary in Fulton

Two Montgomery County residents have been arrested by the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office with assistance of the Amsterdam Police Department following the investigation of a burglary of a residence which occurred on December 19, 2014 on Rossman Hill Road in the Town of Fulton. During the burglary money, prescription medications and a safe were taken.

Arrested on December 26th for Burglary 2nd Degree, after they turned theirselves in to the Sheriff's Office were Kristi Morreale, age 33 and Joseph Coleman, age 31 both of Amsterdam.

The subjects were arraigned in Fulton Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail in lieu of $2500.00 bail each. They are to return to court on December 30th.

The investigation is continuing and it is anticipated that some of the stolen property may be recovered.

Broome Audit Reveals $16,000 in Improper Spending

The small Schoharie County municipality of Broome has been chided by the Office of the New York State Comptroller for failing to effectively manage and oversee the town's financial assets over a fourteen month period beginning in January 2013 and ending this past March.

In an official audit released on Friday, December 19th, the Comptroller's Office Division of Local Government and School Accountability criticized the town board's past failure to ensure taxpayer dollars were being appropriately expended and accounted for. 

According to the report, which is available for public consumption here, missteps in oversight had occurred in the management of the Court, of the Highway Department, and in the administration of storm-related reimbursements to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

However, the largest blow was not dealt to the previous town board but to former Town Highway Superintendent Michael Parker, who after he was defeated in his November, 2013 bid for re-election, engaged in a one man shopping spree against the board's wishes:
...the outgoing Highway Superintendent was able to make two purchases for loader tires (four separate invoices) over $16,000 without the required authorization forms being approved. These purchases were in opposition to the Board’s intent because the Board was considering purchasing a new loader. These purchases were made after the Highway Superintendent lost his bid for re-election, but before the end of his term in December 2013. Although the current Board initially would not approve these invoices for payment and attempted to return the tires to the vendor, the tires had already been partially used and, therefore, were not returnable. The current Board eventually paid the invoices. 
Furthermore, in his continued display of mismanagement, Parker failed to maintain records of invoices or Town man and machine hours related to flood repairs for federal reimbursement. As such, the municipality may not obtain the full $235,900 it was eligible for.

Broome Supervisor William Smith, who had not been in office during most of the audit's time frame, commented in response to the report that "We agree with the findings within the audit and corrective measures have been taken and procurement policies have been followed since Jan 1 2014."

Smith defeated former Supervisor Anne Batz in November, 2013. 

Opinion: Area Needs to Build 21st Century Green Energy

Schoharie County may be sleepy, but it has been the center of major energy battles over the last decade. From the fight over wind energy to a county utility to fracking and pipelines to concerns about the Power Authority dam, energy always seems to be in the forefront.

Now that the Governor has finally pushed for fracking to be outlawed, the area needs to be proactive and build its green foundation. There is no immediate way to make the area completely environmentally friendly, but there are a few ways to start:


  • Work on establishing a county energy utility or cooperative. It already works in Richmondville, where energy prices are regularly less than half that National Grid offers the rest of the area. Being able to create new incentives and methods for alternative energy and net metering will only help the consumer.
  • Schoharie County's plans to construct significant solar panels is a step in the right direction. The privately owned panels will pass along the savings to the consumer with no negative consequences. The expansion of such a project would be a major boon to taxpayers.
  • It is well past time for wind power to be considered. One of the big disappointments of the last decade has been that people and groups that proclaim themselves environmentalists led the change to kill the potential wind plans in the towns of Richmondville, Cherry Valley, and Fulton. Concerns that the wind farms would be privately owned should be secondary to the benefits in green energy, reduction in tax bills, and reduction in energy costs. Cherry Valley was offered a 25% cut to local electricity costs for residents, substantial PILOT payments, and no cost to the community.
There is much talk about keeping the area pristine and out of the clutches of the large oil and natural gas companies. It's time for both political parties to work together to at least begin the process of weaning the area off of existing energy systems, whether municipally or privately. Any group or individual that claims that the pipeline and fracking should not come to the area but opposes green energy initiatives should explain how they would meet the area's energy needs realistically.

Cuomo: Reopen Casino Application for Southern Tier

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced his support for allowing a casino near the Binghamton area. Even though the state Gaming Commission rejected a bid for a casino in the Southern Tier, the governor is now calling for one to be placed there.
"If you agree to this request, the (casino board) should quickly establish a process for the fourth license that could be complete as expeditiously as possible as the Southern Tier needs jobs and investment now."
This part of the state has the highest unemployment rate and was one of the few parts of the state with substantial support for fracking, which will soon be outlawed. Cuomo shifted his position on a Southern Tier casino after pressure from local lawmakers.

There was broad shock that none of the Southern Tier casino applications were approved, including among his backers:
Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural was seething over being passed over, telling reporters after the announcement that he felt like a "fool" after he contributed $800,000 at Cuomo's behest last year to help a referendum pass that legalized casino gambling in New York.
There is no indication that a similar action will happen for the Capital Region.

Schoharie Community Meeting January 12th

The Annual Schoharie Community Meeting will be held on Monday, January 12th at 7 PM at the Town Hall. This meeting is an informal gathering to share information with village and town residents, businesses, organizations, and local officials -- get the facts and updates, ask questions, make announcements and introductions, meet your neighbors -- get involved — it’s your community (Refreshments will be served). Sponsored by the Schoharie Promotional Association

Info from the Schoharie Promo Association.

Vote in Our Poll: Reflecting on Howe Caverns Casino

Written By Editor on 12/28/14 | 12/28/14

Make sure to vote in our new poll about your thoughts on the Howe Caverns casino proposal and the reason the New York Gaming Commission rejected it.

2014 Schoharie Leader Runner Up: Matthew Avitabile

With almost twice as many votes as the next nominee, Schoharie News readers chose Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile as the 2014 Schoharie Leader Runner Up. He was nominated several times for the recovery Middleburgh has undertaken during his administration.

Avitabile cut his teeth taking on the mayor's responsibilities before he was elected in 2012. In 2011 he set up and ran the first volunteer efforts in the village, including setting up a relief fund that was able to send every flood victim a check from the village government.

After being elected in 2012, he started an ambitious program to rebuild flood damaged buildings, shore up existing businesses, and attract new ones. He utilized grants, low interest loans, and flood relief funds to get almost $200,000 to businesses that went through the flood. He assisted with organizing more volunteers and filling out NY Rising flood grant applications for businesses that suffered from Irene.

His work with the Middleburgh Village Board in saving almost $1 million in grant programs also helped establish two new parks in town, including two new pavilions. This funding and the ideas of Trustee Bill Morton created the wildflower project that has brought in visitors over the last two years.

Middleburgh's budgets are also helpful to taxpayers. For two consecutive years, the Village budget actually went down and for three straight years there have been no tax increases-- the only municipality in the County able to do so.

This year was a year of major expansion for the community, with the opening of a pet store, pharmacy, grocery, and brewery. Altogether, over a dozen new businesses have opened in the last three years and almost all flood damage is now repaired.

"I'm honored by this award," Mayor Avitabile told the Schoharie News, "Thank you very much and I hope for another solid year in 2015."

Letter to the Editor: Middleburgh Effort Paying Off

Reader Tim Hines recently donated land to the Village of Middleburgh to construct new park land:

Open letter to the Middleburgh Village Board and Mayor Avitabile,

I am glad the board has decided to accept the land in Middleburgh. I would also like the board and townspeople to know the main reason I am donating this land to the town is because of my dealings with you. From the time I first met you during the flood and all the times since it has been a pleasure to work with someone with so much passion and caring for their job. I am also impressed by how you care for people and for doing what's right.

 I look forward to wrapping this up and turning the land over to the town for its use as a part of the park in a timely manner. If there is anything I can do please let me know and I will be glad to assist. Please keep me posted as to your progress and please keep up the good work you are making a difference from all that I hear.

-- Timothy Hines

Jefferson, Charlotteville FDs Take on Blaze in Davenport

Written By Editor on 12/27/14 | 12/27/14

Two local fire departments took on a massive fire in Davenport. The fire took place at Cole's Garage.




Photos credit Schoharie County Fire Wire.

Knight: Whose History is it Anyway?

Written By Editor on 12/26/14 | 12/26/14


History is a polarizing subject. Either you find it fascinating or you find yourself fast asleep because of it, but regardless of what affect it has on you, its importance can nonetheless be accepted by all as not only a record of the past, but a guide to the future. 

However, the question becomes, whose history is it anyway? 

Now, I'm sure many are confused by the premise of the question, so hear me out on this. 

Historians and teachers tend to engage the past in black and white contrasts: ignoring the culture of the time and substituting our own values in place of them, which at face value may seen acceptable, but in reality cheats the whole learning process out in the end. 

Why is it cheating the learning process out? Well, I'm glad you asked. By substituting our own values in place of historical context, we're taking the conditions that lead to the creation of the history were studying out of the equation rather than understanding them. 

This is a serious problem because the truth of the past gets lost through historical fog. We're casting judgment on the actions of historical events and figures based on twenty-first century morals and values, which has the effect of taking history out of history. 

Take for example the American Civil War. There are three sides to viewing this great national conflict within the United States. There is the Union's side; the Confederacy's side; and, the black slave's side. 

The Union's side is obviously taught as historical record, along with the strong emotional appeal of the black slave's who were freed as a result of abolition. However, that's not the whole story of why the Civil War was fought. 

Yes, slavery was a major part of what the Confederacy represented, but there were other motivating factors behind their separation: including, but not limited to, a belief in greater state sovereignty and a sentiment that the north was attempting to oppress them. 

The great majority of Confederate residents, even property owners and plantation holders, did not own a single slave. They fought for the pride of their homes, families, and selves on the battlefield; not for king cotton and the institution of slavery. 

By no means am I trying to defend the Confederacy, as there is no means by which I could defend them with. They were nothing more than rebels, with a leadership that clung to slavery in a sickening manner. My point is simply to provide a full context to a complicated event. 

A context that, when fully understood, reveals the true contrasts of history to only be available through a prism of grey, because to every story there are multiple sides, and to every truth there are several versions awaiting to be explored further than the accepted account allows. 

So keep this question in mind the next time a conversation of historical record erupts: whose history is it anyway? And from that - the true truth will emerge. 

Letter to the Editor: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas in Schoharie

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Schoharie,
I look back on ’14, and, man, was it hairy.
What a year it has been for this sleepy valley county,
Of small towns and villages and plenty of bounty.

A community watchdog who’s not afraid to bite,
About eminent domain, he’ll stand up for your rights.
The pipeline, Maranatha, everyone take heed,
After all, what more could any one of us Neid?

No fracking! No casinos! But, a Constitution Pipeline,
Without all three, thank you, we are doing just fine.
A county administrator, well maybe, that would be merry,
But some don’t think we really need Mr. Cherry.

We read the Schoharie News, and Facebook, near and far,
Oh, who be the next Times Journal Star?
With SALT and Schoharie Recovery and lots of Green Shirts, 
We’ve beat that broad, Irene, and healed lots of hurt.

Guilford Mills finally sold and that’s very good news,
We’ll have jobs and employment and many work crews.
A new Stewarts and Wolfe’s and some senior apartments, 
Let’s not even go there, about the Planning Department.

On Lopez! On Gibson! On the Board of Supervisors! 
What happens in Executive Session, well we’re all none the wiser.
A local celebrity, our own Commissioner Ball,
And Galasso will build something, some day, after all.

Those stuck in Schoharie as property values drop,
To sell and go south is a dream they won’t swap.
And so I exclaim as I finish this poem,
Which started so small and turned into a tome.
I say to you all as I close down this gripe,
"Merry Christmas to All, And to All a Good Night!"


- Lisa Mulligan Ovitt

Opinion: Looking for a Bright 2015

Written By Editor on 12/23/14 | 12/23/14

Schoharie County has finally logged some wins in 2014. We've seen substantial improvement in Schoharie, Sharon, and Middleburgh and Guilford Mills has finally been sold. Changes in the Planning Department and hopes for a better budget next year is setting the backdrop for possible success in 2015.

However, the lessons learned in 2014 must be applied next year. Hopefully the County Board can finally put away infighting and work together to cement the gains of recent business expansion. For the first time in a long time, the general trend is that unemployment is falling and more businesses are opening.

Perhaps the biggest lesson is that while there are many with potential ideas to fix the many problems in the county, not every person can be front and center. Too much ego and personal agendas always seem to get in the way of cooperation, especially in efforts to one-up.

Here's hoping 2015 will be the year of Schoharie County.

Duanesburg Man Arrested for Possession of Multiple Drugs

Written By Editor on 12/21/14 | 12/21/14

On December 18th, 2014 Princetown Troopers arrested Dylan A. Struffolino, 21, of Duanesburg, NY for 2 Counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. Struffolino was observed on his cell phone in the area of Broadway and Draper Ave. Upon interview, Troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle. As a result of a probable cause search, Troopers seized a clear plastic baggie containing approximately .5 grams of cocaine, one oxycodone pill, 20 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Struffolino was transported to SP Princetown for processing where he was issued Uniform Traffic tickets and an Appearance ticket returnable to the City of Schenectady court on December 30th, 2014 at 9:00am.

Poll: Valley Has Way to Go

Schoharie News readers agree that progress has been made since 2011's horrific flooding. However, the level of such progress is not agreed upon.

It is better than before the flood 16% - 25
It is about the same as before the flood 7% - 11
Not quite there, but getting better 65% - 102
Not at all 12% - 19

157 total

Letter to the Editor: Avitabile, Board's Leadership has Rebuilt Middleburgh

Dear Editor,

Hands down, I would highly recommend Mayor Matthew Avitable and the Middleburgh Village Board for their leadership, their dedication, and the positive impact they have had on my hometown.

Prior to Hurricane Irene, Middleburgh was struggling with a revitalization and storefronts were about half empty.  Compounding that effort came Hurricane Irene.  Rising from the flood waters, there were several components that needed to be addressed in recovery.  It just wasn’t about cleaning up and rebuilding, it was filling empty storefronts and proving to budding entrepreneurs that strength of community far outshone the ravages of a natural disaster.  It takes getting the word out that this community is a special place with wonderful mom and pop shops and events for families to enjoy.  Matt makes a great sales pitch, obvious in the resulting “full house”  and then some we are finally enjoying on Main Street.  It’s not just filling the store fronts, it’s about promotion, enhancing and creating events and seizing every financial opportunity.  Its about follow-up and recruiting people to get the job done.  Its about attracting locals and tourists to sustain those businesses.  Matt works with a great Village Board, who obviously put in a great deal of time and effort that has given our village the outstanding recognition it now embraces. 

Just look at Middleburgh…you have to love its shops, the festive decorations, the murals and the wildflowers…its so exciting to see!  Main Street parking is full, shops are busy, conversation is so positive!

In 2006, I tallied 400 cars in one hour that drove through Middleburgh on a Friday afternoon.  Ten percent of those vehicles stopped while ninety percent drove over the bridge to other destinations.  In 2014, during Miracle on Main Street, I was challenged to walk through the crowded streets with my small Grandsons and parking was nearly impossible.  That Ladies and Gentlemen is WONDERFUL!

Thanks to our Mayor and his outstanding Village Board, Middleburg is no longer the drive-through community it once was… it’s clearly a destination!   Middleburgh's Mayor and Village Board deserve this award.  I applaud them all!

Sincerely,

Debbie Magee

Knight: Where Is Christmas?

Written By Editor on 12/19/14 | 12/19/14


My family celebrated Christmas to not only become closer as a unit, but to celebrate the birth of Christ, our Savior. Presents were important, but having each other - and the experiences - were what was most important to us.

However, something changed. Not only within our own family, but through out all of society as a whole. 

Slowly but surely the traditional elements of Christmas - faith and family - were replaced with materialism and who possessed the most objects, or received the most expensive presents, or the latest video game console. 

You see it every holiday season, when hordes of turkey filled consumers rush the doors and fight gladiator style through the aisles at Wal-Mart to get their hands on the latest, and greatest, and not to mention cheapest, vacuum.

Talk about taking Christ out of Christmas. 

It's not all negative. To be sure: acts of kindness still exist, but unfortunately in our culture, they are worthy of media coverage because of their exception to the general rule, and that just... Makes me wonder where it went to hell.

Me, personally? My favorite Christmas memory is of the time my brother Isaiah and I bought each other football's behind the others back, or when my mom and I trudged up the mountain and chopped down our own tree. 

Those were some great times, but today it feels like I am being strangled by a wall of materialism and hyper commercialism that is destroying the true meaning of the holiday and just replacing it with yet another extension of societal greed. 

And yes, Christmas isn't really about Christ, because it represents a throw back to Ancient Rome and the pagan gods of old, but even that isn't as bad as today's gods of greed and objects. Damn, don't I sound like a bah humbug

Say what you will, but each Christmas I feel myself drifting further and further away from celebrating it, because of what it's become. And as time continues to march on, the memories of old are badly fading away.

Leaving me with just this question: where is Christmas? And can it ever truly be recovered?

Babysitter Charged in Kenneth White's Strangulation Death

Five year old Kenneth White's babysitter has been charged in his death. Tiffany Van Alstine, 19, was charged with second degree murder. White's body was found last night by a K-9 unit buried under the snow near the house. She is the cousin of White. Van Alstine's mother had custody of White and his siblings.

The cause of death was discovered through the autopsy as asphyxia due to strangulation.
Credit: WTEN
The babysitter's original story that the boy was abducted by two men was not true. Van Alstine's contradicting stories to the police created red flags. Two other children that were under Van Alstine's care last night are safe.

CSRC Offering Support for Landowners Harassed by Pipeline Companies

The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities encourages all landowners to refuse to cooperate with representatives of the Constitution and NED (Kinder-Morgan) pipelines. When faced with trespassing pipeline crews we urge landowners to immediately call the police and to contact the Center’s toll-free Landowner Response Line 800-795-1467. Available volunteers in Schoharie and Delaware counties will be dispatched to assist landowners in documenting pipeline crew activities. 

Bob Nied
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

County Unemployment Rate Ticks Up, but Below State Average

In an astonishing turnaround, the County unemployment rate has increased slightly, near its lowest level since 2008. The rate has risen to 5.8%, right near the state average of 5.9%. Unemployment in the area normally increases during the winter, including the recent high of 12.2% in January 2012.


Abducted 5 Year Old Found Dead

Horrible news out of East Berne this morning. Five year old Kenneth White was found dead this morning. He was abducted by someone the police believe is known to the family. The body was found last night with the assistance of a K-9 unit. An autopsy will be completed today.

First information is coming out of WRGB.

Officials confirm that a person of interest in the case has been questioned by authorities, and say that person is not Kenneth's biological mother or father, but knew the family. They expect an arrest will be made in the case soon. Police are planning a briefing on Friday at 1 p.m.
WTEN is reporting that the initial Amber Alert that stated that the boy was taken by two men turned out to be false, says the Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple:

“At this point it’s safe to say that the reports of the masked men in the black truck, those are false,” says Apple.

The Sheriff also believes that there will be an arrest today. There will be a police press conference at 1pm today.

 Berne Knox Westerlo released a statement:

 Dear Parents, It is with profound sadness that I write this letter to the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School community. Earlier this morning, police confirmed that one of our elementary school students was found deceased near his home. Our condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of our student. A student death is a difficult and challenging situation that can generate a high level of anxiety and distress in some students. During this time, as the school community processes the tragic news and copes with grief, we will offer counseling and bereavement support services to all of our students and staff. A team of counselors, school psychologists and social workers will provide support to any students or staff members in need throughout the upcoming days. The district has also been in contact with local law enforcement to ensure that BKW is a safe environment for your children. Your child may be affected by this tragedy even if he or she did not know the student well. I encourage you to talk with your child about what has happened. Discussing their thoughts and feelings about this situation is important in helping your child work through his or her grief. If you feel that your children need to speak to a counselor or other adult, please do not hesitate to call the school and let us know. At this time, very little is known about the circumstances of the student’s death and the resulting investigation. We encourage parents to emphasize to their children that there may be rumors or false information in a situation like this one, and if they want to talk about something they hear, they should talk to an adult. This is a difficult time for all of us, but I know that our students, staff and community will draw together to work through this tragedy together. 

 Sincerely, Dr. Joseph L. Natale Interim Superintendent

Schoharie Leader 2014: Steve Hoard and the SCS Community

There have been few parts of Schoharie County that have weathered the last several years like Schoharie. The Schoharie Central School District has had more challenges than any other local organization since 2011.

Flooding damaged most of the school district. The school served as a major community center while Schoharie got back on its feet. The Schoharie Village offices were placed in the Elementary School as needed.

In 2013, beloved Elementary school teacher Rebecca Coughtry died unexpectedly at the age of 60. The school united around her contributions to the district and to her students. It seemed like more than any school district should ever have to bear.

This year was another set of challenges. A series of retirements began to change the long running administration of the school. However, the community has been resilient and knew that it had a base of teachers and staff that continued to serve the community with distinction.

Few, if any, of SCS's teachers was more distinguished than Steve Hoard. Mr. Hoard was at the district for 13 years and quickly became one of the most popular and well respected members of the faculty. His love of Star Wars, history, and of making sure that every student got a fair shot were just several of his positive attributes. For one year, he even served as the Assistant Principal when needed. He was always there to coach and advise, whether for Key Club, track, wrestling, or Student Government. His smiling face and sense of humor were second to none.

You will not find many teachers like Steve Hoard, and the school's loss will be a desperate one to fill. However, the resolve of the community and the SCS campus has shown that Steve Hoard was one of many that made Schoharie the strongest school in the County.

Please make a contribution to the Steven Hoard Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Schoharie CSD PO BOX 430 Schoharie, NY 12157.

Insiders: Howe Caverns Proposal Plagued by Missteps

Even before the December 17th decision to not accept the Howe Caverns Casino proposal, there have been rumblings about how the project was pieced together. By interviewing local officials, former Howe Caverns employees, and those involved in the push we have been able to piece together part of why the Howe Caverns project was not accepted.

The fight began unexpectedly. The Board of Supervisors rejected a motion to accept a local casino and most locals seemed against it. Just several days later a political earthquake hit the area, with the announcement that Howe Caverns would be pursuing the process. The County Board swiftly reversed itself under pressure from Cobleskill Stone Vice President and County Republican Vice Chair Chris Tague. With the Howe Caverns name attached to the project, the public also backed the project.

April and May seemed to pick up momentum for the project. Howe Caverns anted up $1 million for the gaming application, got our endorsement, said that it had an environmental study done early, and received the unanimous backing of the Cobleskill Town Board.

However, many of the early moves seemed to get the horse before the cart. The early enthusiasm seemed to get the public relation effort ahead of the actual bread and butter of the project's inner workings. According to the State Gaming Commission, the actual proposal to the state didn't indicate a solid plan for how the casino would be funded. Second, multiple surrounding municipalities were not asked for opinions on the casino. Beyond this, deeper structural problems affected the project.

First, the naming of the Howe Caverns Casino owner dropped the ball. The potential owner, Michael Malik, received as much criticism as he did attention. His past involvement in domestic abuse, a ponzi scheme, and election fraud drew attention away from the project itself.

Beyond this, Howe Caverns' own strategy was confusing. Its failure to open its announced Dinosaur Park and Waterpark seemed to underscore larger plans without the funding or the logistics behind to finish them. Furthermore, a recent drop in tourism and gutting of many employees highlighted an atmosphere of instability at the site. One former employee described the efforts as inexplicable.

Still, public support remained high. The project's backers seemed to switch their efforts from the gaming commission process to one of relying on public opinion. Howe Caverns would bus in supporters in t-shirts to every event, winning plaudits for effort. A powerful ad that some believed to be manipulative was launched.

This line of attack seemed to avoid questions about the project's profitability and feasibility. Concerns were regularly replaced with constant shouts of "IT'S OUR TIME," in person or on Facebook. Emails flew from at least one County agency supporting the project using a County email address. Furthermore, the project did not actually have the correct SEQR, as it was claimed earlier.

The project seemed to be relying on a local base of support. Cobleskill Stone Vice President Chris Tague became the public face of the project. He organized the moderately attended Fill the Hill event.

Tague's approach rallied the faithful but seemed heavy handed to some officials. Rather than reinforcing the underwriting or actuarial basis for a local casino, the emotion of Irene was used to support the project. Heavy backing from the County Planning Department and Alicia Terry seemed to indicate the casino's role as a potential savior of the local economy. A PR firm was hired and attention was paid to direct supporters to swamp news polls, but the underlying questions never seemed to receive answers.

By Wednesday the effort seemed to peter out. Sure, there were supporters in t-shirts at the Commission and scattered applause when Howe Caverns was mentioned in the opening statement, but the stone faced commissioners acted more like accountants than emotional cheerleaders for the project. At the end, one of the major concerns was that the Caverns did not complete a basic accounting for how the project would be funded. All of the other work hung on this major error.

Amber Alert Activated for Abduction of 5 Year Old

Written By Editor on 12/18/14 | 12/18/14

  The Albany County Sheriff's Office has activated the New York State AMBER Alert and is investigating a child abduction that occurred on Thatcher Park Road, in Berne, NY at about 1:20 PM on 12/18/2014.

       The CHILD, Kenneth White is a White male, approximately 5 years old with short, brown hairand brown eyes. He is approximately 3 feet 5 inches and weighs about 45 pounds. Kenneth was last seen wearing Jeans and checkered white short sleave shirt.

       The SUSPECT, is a White male. He is approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall. The suspect was last seen wearing black clothing, including a ski mask, black boots, and black gloves. There was a second suspect, unknown race, wearing similar clothing.

       The VEHICLE has been identified as black pickup truck. The truck is a 4 door with unkown license plate

       The VEHICLE was last seen traveling on Thatcher Park Road.

       Two suspects wearing all black and ski masks, forced entry into a home and abducted 5 year old victim. They fled the scene in an unknown make 4-door pickup truck color black.

      Anyone with any information on this abduction is asked to call the Albany County Sheriff's Office at (866)N Y S-AMBER or dial 911 to provide information on a report or sighting.

Video of Green Wolf Brewery Opening

Written By Timothy Knight on 12/17/14 | 12/17/14

Reader Radenko Sarac sent us a video of the opening of the Green Wolf Brewery being opened in Middleburgh this past Friday, December 12th. The brewery is open Thursday through Sunday 4-10pm.

 

Video of Grocery Grand Opening in Middleburgh

A reader sent us a video of last week's grand opening of the Olde Corner Store in Middleburgh last week:

 

Intoxicated Middleburgh Man Arrested for Criminal Mischief and Resisting Arrest

On December 16, 2014, State Police in Cobleskill arrested Jordan J. Davenport, age 18, of Middleburgh, for Criminal Mischief and Resisting Arrest. Troopers responded to a residence in Middleburgh for a report of an active domestic dispute and encountered Davenport in an intoxicated condition. Davenport had destroyed property in the home and was combative with officers who were able to take him into custody. He was transported to SP Cobleskill where he was processed and then subsequently arraigned in the Town of Middleburgh Court. Bail was set and Davenport was remanded to Schoharie County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in the Town of Middleburgh Court on December 17, 2014.

Vote in Our Poll: Who Should be Schoharie Leader Runner Up?

The Schoharie Leader award will be chosen by us later this week. However, we will give our readers to choose the runner up. The winner of this poll, if not our choice for the Schoharie Leader, will become its runner up. If the winner of the poll is our choice, then the poll's second place finisher will become the runner up. Review the nominees here.
Who Should be the Schoharie Leader?












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Schoharie Leader Nominees

The following have been nominated for the Schoharie Leader award, which we will decide in the coming days:

- Steve Hoard, SCS Social Studies Teacher
- Matthew Avitabile, Mayor of Middleburgh
- The Schoharie County Quilt Barn Trail, with sites across the County
- Nancy Brumaghim, essential part of many Cobleskill community projects
- Domenic Saldamarco, Irene volunteer
- Alicia Terry, County Planning Department
- Janet Mayer, who retired after 41 years as Middleburgh's Village Clerk
- The Beekman Boys of Sharon
- Norine Hodges, SCAASA
- James Landauer, for community service
- Matt and Michelle Strobeck, FIT Coalition in Cobleskill
- Josh DeBartolo, Irene volunteer, founder of Schoharie Recovery

Commission Press Confernce: Howe Caverns Had the Most Heart

The NYS Gaming Commission is currently undergoing a press conference regarding the various casino projects approved and denied today. They said that Howe Caverns had the "most heart" with the most public support. However, the Commission had to do what made "financial success," and needed to avoid "setting communities up for failure."

Furthermore, the Commission did not believe that the nearby Saratoga Racino would destroy the Schenectady project. The Commission said that the group was constricted in what decisions it made to follow current NYS law.

NYS Gaming Commission Press Conference Livestream

Gaming Commission: Howe Caverns Rejected over Financing

More information is trickling out of the NYS Gaming Commission following its landmark decision to approve a casino project in Schenectady. The Commission released a statement regarding its recommendations, including the fact that the Rivers Casino project was selected unanimously over the Rennselaer and Schoharie projects.

The Commission released a brief statement regarding the two rejected Capital District casino proposals. It noted that the Rennselaer project had considerably less public support than the Schoharie and Schenectady projects.

However, the Commission was deeply concerned about the viability of the Howe Caverns project, considering that the applicant, "provided no commitment or highly confident letters for either its equity or debt financing." In fact, the Commission stated that, "Unlike all other Applicants, the sponsors of the Howe Caverns proposal stated that it could not propose a capital structure in any level of detail prior to receiving a gaming license." The Commission also noted that the Howe Caverns project was the only one in which the money needed to complete the process was unclear.

Commission Decides Whether to Approve Howe Caverns Casino Site

The New York State Gaming Commission's press conference has made waves. The Commission also named casino projects in other regions. In the Capital Region, the Commission announced that it would not be the Howe Caverns Project. The state announced that the Rivers Casino and Resort at the Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady. The project will have 150 rooms along with a hotel. The overall project is worth $300 million.

Audible protests were heard in the crowd when the announcement was made.

The state cited economic concerns in its decision. It had reviewed over 100,000 pages of documents related to all of the casino proposals across the state.

This story is developing... Keep it here for updates.

NYS to Ban Fracking

It was unclear which direction the Governor's office was going to head in regarding fracking. After receiving a public health report regarding the potential effects of the practice, the Governor decided to ask the state legislature to ban the practice.

The acting Commissioner of Health stated, “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” The Administration decided to side with activists that contended that fracking would cause more harm than good in the local ecosystem.

Man Arrested for DWI in Cobleskill

On December 16, 2014, State Police in Cobleskill arrested Abdirahman Hussein of Minnesota, for DWI and multiple traffic violations. Hussein was stopped in a 2007 Saturn on I-88 in the Town of Schoharie after being observed at a speed of 86 mph in a 65 mph zone. Hussein failed standardized field sobriety testing and was transported to SP Princetown for processing. Hussein was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. He was issued multiple tickets and arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill court. Bail was set and he was remanded to the Schoharie County Jail. Hussein is scheduled to return to the Town of Schoharie Court on December 22, 2014.

Cuomo Decision to Strip Union Rights After Teachout Endorsement

Written By Editor on 12/16/14 | 12/16/14

Albany is aglow today with talk about Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to challenge a major public sector union. The Governor has decided to remove 1,000 positions across the state from union classification.

The move plans on removing about 2% of the Public Employees Federations' current membership, as reported in the Times Union. The paper reports that employees were simply handed the notice and asked to sign a form indicating that they had received it.

The decision still needs to be approved by the Public Employees Relations Board, but the move could affect state employed attorneys, accountants, and others. The union says that it will be challenging the decision. It also comes just four months before the close of the current contract, differing from the usual eight months that such a decision is normally made.

The move happened less than a year since the PEF endorsed Cuomo's opponent, Zephyr Teachout for the Democratic nomination for Governor. In the endorsement, the group criticized what it called a "culture of fear" under Governor Cuomo.

Opinion: The Power of a Job

It has been said that a job is the most effective anti-poverty program there is.

Schoharie County's finding that out after a long, slow learning process. The deal to bring in up to 900 jobs to the Guilford Mills site is a Christmas miracle. Even any significant fraction of such employment would be a boost to the local economy not seen in well over a decade. For the first time since Interknitting started closing down in 2001 will the private sector make up for its loss of 700+ jobs.

Many jobs are dependent on local tax dollars-- local schools and governments are vital part of local society. However, private sector jobs also have the ability to branch out and bring in addition investment, new jobs, and pay in more to the local tax base. Altogether, one person with a new $40,000 job and the means to pay for a house, car, and local products is a massive boon to our local economy.

Just imagine 900 of them. Imagine the extra demand this will put on our local restaurants, contractors, shops, and other parts of local commerce.

The process is being started across the County. Middleburgh has created dozens of local jobs over the last several years, and Cobleskill is preparing a large growth spurt. Schoharie is opening new businesses and repairing old buildings. Just add 900 jobs and the long reaching effects on top of all of this.

Let's try to keep young and working age families here in the County. We can build enough of a tax base that the rates don't have to jump every single year for many school districts and municipalities. We have a golden opportunity: let's use it to our full advantage.

Cuomo Nears Fracking Decision

Governor Cuomo seemed to indicate that he will finally make a stand in the fracking debate. In the four years he's been in office, the Governor has not indicated either way where he stood on the controversial practice. Now he says that he is awaiting a health report on fracking's effects due out by January 1.

In a recent interview, the Governor was slightly more clear, but still obtuse about his final decision. He said, “By the end of the year, we should have positions on both that are clear. We'll start the new year with major decisions under our belt.”

It is not clear which position he will wind up taking. Some speculate that he may allow very limited fracking, but ban it in almost every part of the state.

Man with Knife Arrested after Fight, Trespassing

Written By Timothy Knight on 12/15/14 | 12/15/14

On Thursday, 12/11/2014, at about 5:48 pm, the Cobleskill Police Department received a report of “two males fighting” on the porch of a residence located on Union Street in the Village of Cobleskill. Upon arrival, patrol officers were advised by a witness that an altercation had occurred between 2 males and that one of them may have been stabbed. A suspect identified at the scene was observed throwing a knife to the ground as officers arrived. He was quickly placed into custody without incident.

Upon further investigation it was determined that the suspect, Patrick C. Emery, age 26 of Cobleskill, had responded to the victim’s residence to engage him in a confrontation over a female known to the both of them. Emery is reported to have illegally forced his way into the victim’s residence, and a physical confrontation between the two occurred. The victim was able to remove the suspect from inside of his residence, at which time the suspect reportedly displayed a knife and told the victim that he was going to “kill him”. A physical confrontation between the victim and suspect then continued outside of the victim’s residence until the victim was able to re-enter his residence and secure the door. Witnesses called the police and the victim was able to remain in his residence until patrol officers arrived on scene.

The victim sustained minor contusions and abrasions as a result of the altercation, but was not injured by the knife.

After reviewing the incident with the Schoharie County District Attorney’s Office, police charged Emery with Menacing in the 2nd Degree and Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree, both class A misdemeanors, and Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation. Emery was arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill Court and was remanded to the Schoharie County Correctional Facility on $1000.00 cash bail or $2000.00 bond. Emery is to return to Town of Cobleskill Court on 12/16/14 at 5:00 pm for further action.

Vote in Our New Poll: Have We Recovered from Irene?

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

Make sure to vote in our newest poll. Has the Valley from Blenheim on up properly recovered from Hurricane Irene?
Has the Valley Recovered from Irene?




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Poll: No to Pipeline

A large majority of readers do not support the recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the Keystone Pipeline.

 Do You Support FERC's Decision to Approve the Constitution Pipeline?

Yes 25% - 155
No 74% - 468
I don't know 1% - 7
630 total

Middleburgh Museum Launches Fundraising to Repair Damage

A Middleburgh museum has launched a bid to repair damage to its historic carriage house. In need of over $22,000 in repairs, the Best House Museum is asking for assistance from the community. The former home and office of local Doctor Christopher Best the museum offers a look back to the turn of the 20th Century for local history and medicine.

For more information and to donate, check out the museum's fundraising page here.

Casino Decision Expected Wednesday

Our sources indicate that the decision of whether or not the area will be approved for a casino will take place this Wednesday, December 17th. There are conflicting views among insiders over whether or not the casino will be approved.

Sheriff's Department Rescues Man in Broome

A Town of Broome man was rescued from his home Friday evening by members of the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office including the snowmobile patrols.

At 2:45 Friday afternoon the Sheriff's Office received a call from a resident on Armlin Hill Road advising that a neighbor who resided in a small cabin which has no phone, electricity and is heated with wood had not been seen or heard from since Tuesday when 22 inches of snow fell in the area.

The Sheriff's Office responded to Laura Lane and using snowmobiles went to the residence and located David Garrison age 60 inside. Garrison who has some disabilities was transported with his dog by snowmobile to his neighbor's house.

Garrison said that he was unable to get to his woodpile because of snow and his condition he had tried to keep warm by burning parts of his house in the woodstove.

Garrison declined medical attention and his neighbor was allowing him to stay with him for the time being.

Richmondville to Receive Grant for Water Main Replacement

The Village of Richmondville will be receiving over a half million dollars to replace much of its water system. A NYS Homes and Community Renewal grant approved last week will bring $535,000 to undertake water improvements in the Village.

Middleburgh Receiving Money for Rehabilitation, Historical Projects

The Village of Middleburgh is continuing its impressive recovery with two new projects to be funded through the state. Piggybacking on the success of new parks and wildflowers, the community was approved last week for two major expansions.

One is to use space near and around the Schoharie Creek to revitalize much of the area. The $20,000 will be used to study the area and rehabilitate dilapidated buildings and plan parks and other projects. Middleburgh was also awarded $15,200 to develop a "Breadbasket" Heritage trail to honor local history and attract visitors.

Cobleskill Receiving over $600k for Pool Repair, Housing Rehabilitation

Mayor Linda Holmes and the Village of Cobleskill has two new notches on their belt. The community, which has already had another $3.4 million in grant funding approved this year, had over a half million dollars approved by the state for two major projects.

First, the community will fix a major portion of its Forever Generations Nick Iorio Park. Almost $160,000 will be used to replace the aging pump house at its pool, allowing for its continued quality use. Another $500,000 will be used to repair much of Lark Street housing through a NYS Community Development Block Grant.

County Receives $150k for Multi-Use Trail

It's been talked about for over a decade now, but a multi-use trail spanning much of the County may actually become a reality, due to several recent moves. First, local committees for the NY Rising projects came together with a plan for a trail to stimulate local athletic, ecological, and business activities in the area.

The plan is to bring a trail along the Schoharie Creek to allow a combination of hikers and bikers to travel along the scenic region. The trail would run from Blenheim to Esperance and pass through Fulton, Middleburgh, and Schoharie. The $149,876 project will be funded through the Department of State. The new Schoharie Area Wild group, established by SALT with local municipalities, has been working on local planning.

The state describes the project as:
"Schoharie County will implement recommendations from the Schoharie County New York Rising Community Reconstruction Plan to improve community resiliency and promote tourism and recreation. The project will examine the feasibility of a Schoharie Creek multi-use trail from North Blenheim to the Village of Esperance.Schoharie County will implement recommendations from the Schoharie County New York Rising Community Reconstruction Plan to improve community resiliency and promote tourism and recreation. The project will examine the feasibility of a Schoharie Creek multi-use trail from North Blenheim to the Village of Esperance."

County Receives $37,500 to Study Broadband Expansion

Schoharie County may have been one of the first Upstate counties with local internet service through the Middleburgh Telephone Company. Today, most of the County has some broadband service, but large portions are relegated to just dial up. New York State announced last week that it will be funding a study on how to expand these services to a broader swath of consumers. Funded through Empire State Development, this should allow the County to create a plan for such expansion over the coming years. The $37,500 project is one of several local projects being funded this year.

Schoharie School Establishes Cooperation with Local Homeschoolers

From the Schoharie Central School website.

One of the goals of the SCS Board of Education is to "increase the authentic engagement of ALL parents in the education of their children and reach out to ensure all students are advocated for and provided an opportunity to learn and thrive. We will establish an atmosphere of trust and teamwork and provide our families, faculty and staff with an increased 'voice' through open, honest two-way communication."
Consistent with that goal, Board of Education Member Maureen Bernhardt is now serving as a liaison between the district and parents of homeschooled children. In the voluntary, service-oriented role, Bernhardt seeks to be "a bridge for homeschoolers who want to become more involved in the district" or who are seeking information on various topics.
Bernhardt, who holds an associate's degree in early childhood education, is herself a parent of children who are both homeschooled and attend SCS schools. She hopes to tap her own experience and desire to become more involved in the district by helping other homeschooling parents.
"I have homeschooled my own children in the Schoharie School District for 15 years, and also have children who attend SCS," Bernhardt said. "The district has a very inclusive policy for homeschooled students, offering them many opportunities such as afterschool clubs, activities and intramural athletics.
"While State Education Law prevents homeschoolers from participating in interscholastic sports and credit-bearing activities, there are many extracurricular offerings open to all children in our district,” she noted. “This is just one area where homeschooling parents have had questions in the past."
Bernhardt may be reached via email at MBernhardt@schoharie.k12.ny.us, and homeschooling parents may contact district administration for assistance at any time.
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