SUNY Cobleskill Student Dies in Apparent Suicide

Written By Timothy Knight on 9/30/14 | 9/30/14

SUNY Cobleskill has announced  death of one of its students. In a press release, the college said that Abir Sadik of Buffalo was found unresponsive in his dorm room at 6pm Sunday night. The event is under investigation. SUNY Cobleskill President Debra Thatcher expressed condolences for Mr. Sadik's family and all affected.

$650,000 in New Funding for Streamwork

Written By Editor on 9/29/14 | 9/29/14

The Schoharie Valley delegation of U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson, New York State Senator James L. Seward and New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez joined to announce funding for a major stream rehabilitation project for flood prone areas of Schoharie County and to reduce the financial impact on Schoharie County taxpayers. 

Schoharie County is in the process of making major repairs to property which suffered heavy damage during the 2011 disasters of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  The Schoharie County Emergency Watershed Protection Project will reconnect the flood plain with four streams – Little Schoharie, Line Creek, Platterkill, and Dave Brown Mountain Tributary – which all flow into the Schoharie Creek.  The repair work will mitigate future flooding and damage to residential and agricultural land.

The Schoharie County Emergency Watershed Protection Project is the largest stream restoration project currently underway in New York State.  The design, permitting and bidding phases of the project are complete, with construction expected to begin in mid-October.

To date, over $23.1 million in federal and state funds have been committed to the Schoharie County Emergency Water Protection Project.  Senator Seward today announced an additional $650,000 grant he has secured to assist with new project expenses. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also announced an additional $300,000.
Congressman Chris Gibson said, “We appreciate the work of the NRCS team in helping keep this project moving forward and on track, as it is one of the largest NRCS remediation projects in the country.  We also Senator Seward for his work in securing additional funding, and the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors for moving forward with this vital effort.”

Senator James Seward said, “Schoharie County has worked hard to rebuild since being devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee three years ago and we are making progress.  Redesigning streams and properly preparing for future disasters will help save lives, property, and money.  Unfortunately, such precautions come with a financial cost that is too high for a rural county already struggling to make ends meet.  Working collaboratively, we are able to draw funds from multiple sources to further help Schoharie County rebound without placing an added long-term burden on taxpayers.”

Assemblyman Pete Lopez, whose own family members suffered at the hands of Irene and Lee, said, “Too many of our neighbors remain at risk along the banks of these waterways.  Protecting life and property from future storm events relies on our ability to manage our creeks and streams to take the energy out of them and find places for flood waters to go where they can do the least harm.  All of us understand the costs of this much-needed work may be unaffordable to our community.  My colleagues and I gladly accept the shared obligation of bringing funding and other resources in to help provide relief.  None of our neighbors should have to live in fear.”

Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony VanGlad said, “Schoharie County is very appreciative of the support from Governor Cuomo, Senator Seward, and Assemblyman Lopez after storms Irene and Lee. It's great to know the state has our county's back. This funding will go a long way in helping us to repair these damaged streams.”

Schoharie USDA NRCS New York State Conservationist Greg Kist said, “We appreciate all the work of our partners to plan and prepare for these essential projects.  Schoharie County will be much better prepared for future storms when these stream repairs are completed and the collaboration from local, state, and federal sponsors will make these efforts worthwhile.”
Funding sources for the Schoharie County Emergency Watershed Protection Project include:

New Funding Announced Today
·         $650,000 – Senator Seward/NY State Senate
·         $300,000 – NRCS
Previously Announced
·         $17,801,137 – NRCS
·         $5,303,374 – Empire State Development

Poll: County Residents Choose Astorino over Cuomo

Local residents have a clear favorite for governor this year. Incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo appears weighed down by his positions on the SAFE Act and other factors.

According to our readers, the results were:

Astorino (R): 70% - 130
Cuomo (D-inc.): 16% - 29
Other: 9% - 17
Don't know: 5% -10
Total votes: 186

While this may hold in Schoharie and other Upstate counties, Cuomo is still the clear favorite statewide.

Opinion: Cherry's Astonishing Success

Last week the County Board approved a deal that will see Guilford Mills purchased, fixed, and reopened.

With 500-900 jobs created.

The negotiations to get GRSI to bring their business from New Jersey were nothing short of amazing. County Treasurer Bill Cherry took the lead and was able to sell Guilford in a fraction of the time than the Planning Department held responsibility for it.

There are many people to thank for this amazing project, including Assemblyman Peter Lopez. However, it must be noted that without the initiative and hard work of Treasurer Cherry it would have never happened. 900 jobs is nearly as many as the Interknitting facility once held. It would be an economic miracle for the area, now finally recovering.

There is no downside to this deal, so long as it is carried out. With negotiations already this far, a building complex re-appears on the tax rolls and Schoharie County will see reverberations for years.

Vote in Our New Poll: Should Upstate Secede?

Written By Editor on 9/28/14 | 9/28/14

Vote in our new poll on our right hand sidebar to let us know if you think that Upstate New York should be its own state. Why or why not?

Pharmacy Opens Doors in Middleburgh

Written By Editor on 9/27/14 | 9/27/14

At noon today, Valley Pharmacy had its grand opening on Main Street Middleburgh. The store, open from 8am-6pm Monday through Saturday is now an anchor of the community's business district. Flanked by business and community leaders, owner Akrum Mourad and Mayor Avitabile cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Photo and film credit to reader Radenko Sarac

It was also a major milestone for Mayor Avitabile's business push. Since 2012 the initiative has brought eleven businesses into Middleburgh. The pharmacy can be found online at its Facebook page.

The Village is working on eight further business projects, several of which hope to open in the next month.

Knight: Farewell to America's Captain

Written By Editor on 9/26/14 | 9/26/14


O' Captain, my Captain. 

After fifteen years of watching professional baseball - starting at age six - the last great hero of my youth is gone. Never to be seen again in Major League Baseball, or any other so-called professional level of athletics, for that matter. 

Yes, I'm talking about the legendary New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. And I don't use the word legendary lightly, with respects to the steroid tainted embarrassment the past decade has been to baseball. 

Furthermore, I will openly admit to my deep seeded and passionate hatred for the Yankees, due to their common practice of buying World Series titles, unbearable arrogance, and the overall disgust I have for their organization has a whole. Plus, 1999 is a sore spot. 

None of which, by the way, I hold over Jeter in any form whatsoever. He has been the walking definition of greatness and professionalism in the Yankees clubhouse for the past twenty years; loved for his athletic ability and untainted by scandal. 

Jeter, in addition to other Yankee greats such as Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, carried the club to championship after championship on the back of their on-field prowess, while navigating the fierce and ugly world of New York City sports media and fandom without losing their souls off the diamond. 

But perhaps, even more importantly than anything else, is the conduct he has held himself to since announcing his looming retirement in the spring. No other departing athlete in recent history has done more to thank his fans or express his appreciation for his ball club than Jeter has done in the Bronx. 

From television commercials to full-page advertisements and the respect he was showered on adoring fans since April, not only in New York but across the county's ballparks, Jeter has established himself as America's Captain; the last living baseball legend we will encounter for a long time to come. 

I heap these praises upon Jeter despite my allegiance to the Atlanta Braves, who produced some of the greatest and more respected ballplayers than any other club during my youth. But Jeter was able to do something more: he was able to retain our faith in the sport through his love of the game. 

Steroid trials? No problem, Jeter was on the highlight reel making a ridiculous throw from shallow left field for the out. The question now is: who do we have left to look forward to? Who do we have to pick up that mantle and revive our faith in baseball's present and future?

Don't feel bad, I couldn't think of anyone either.

With all of that said, I wish my farewell to America's Captain; the last legend. The greatness he exhibited on and off the field will not be recreated anytime soon, nor will the loyalty he held for his team - the only time he ever played for - be seen again in this free-spending era of free agency. 

Nor will I forgive his .353 batting average in the '99 Series, but that is besides the point. 

Committee Recommends the Creation of County Administrator

It may have taken several months, but the special committee set up to study a possible County Administrator really did their homework.

The committee, made up of Supervisors Federice of Conesville, Barbic of Seward, Bleau of Wright, Jordan of Jefferson, and VanWormer of Esperance has published their findings on September 19th.

The report can be found here on the County Website.

The Committee interviewed a series of public officials from counties with similar populations and budgets as Schoharie. Those chosen were Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Warren, and Washington.

They found a series of similar circumstances, between Delaware County having a full time County Board Chairman to Fulton, Greene, Warren, and Washington Counties each employing a full time County Administrator. Those that do have the salary range from $76,000 to $129,000. Their staffs range from just one other employee to three.

Each County that has adopted the Administrator system speaks highly of it, with similar functions. The Administrator is expected to communicate with both the county department heads and the county legislators.

The Committee was clear: they recommend the formation of an administrator. In part, they found:
"The present position of a part time Board of Supervisors Chairman would be enhanced by a chief operating officr who would report directly to the Chairman who should remain as the chief executive officer representing the residents of the County through the Board of Supervisors"
The committee recommends a position created that is meant to be non-partisan or without influence. They suggested a salary between $85,000 and $90,000.

The position would be empowered to execute the will of the County Board. The administrator would attend all committee and full Board meetings. They would also work with the County Board to fill any department head vacancies and could conduct special investigations as needed. The administrator would also serve as the chief auditing agent, allowing another layer of fiscal protection. They would also work on collective bargaining and salary agreements.

The recommendations for minimum qualifications include clauses that no one shall hold a public office while serving as administrator and does not need to be a County resident when appointed, but must move here within 120 days. The candidate would:
"Possess a Bachelor's degree in Business Management or Administration from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university and have ten years of full-time paid experience in public, business or industrial enterprise including a minimum of five years in public administration, or, possess a Master's Degree in Business or Public Administration from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with five years of full time experience in public, business or industrial enterprise including a minimum of three years of public administration."
Commitee Chair William Federice of Conesville said that the "need for [a County executive] became increasingly compelling as we conducted our interviews with other counties." He also said that the commitee is "confident those who consider the case for an Administrator without deciding beforehand will come to the same conclusion as the Administrator Committee that Schoharie County needs a full time chief operating officer as is the case in 54 of the 56 other counties in New York State. We feel a County Administrator in that role would bring professional full time day to day management of county business as well as play a key advisory role to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials and department heads."

The results have been shared with the remainder of the County Board, who will consider the proposal.

Man Charged with Promoting Prison Contraband

Sheriff's Deputies charged Gregory M. Duncan, 31, with promoting prison contraband in the second degree after he was remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on a separate charge. A subsequent search of his person by deputies revealed Mr. Duncan to be in possession of contraband. He was arrested at 7:36pm on September 25th. Mr. Duncan was issued an appearance ticket to return to the Village of Schoharie Court on October 13th.

Scenes of Irene: An Unseen Photoseries

Reader Ken Hubert sent us photos that he took of the area during and following August 2011's devastating flooding. Below are several photos of the Schoharie Valley during the disaster.




 Several from Mill Valley Road in Middleburgh.




To see the wider album, click here. For the Mill Valley album, click here.

Press Reports: Howe Caverns Casino Winners in Public Hearing

The public comment period may be over for the four potential casino projects in the area, but that doesn't mean that the rest of Upstate New York has stopped talking about them. The proposals that came before the NYS Gaming Commission had varying levels of public support, but it seemed like Howe Caverns won out, if you believe recent coverage.

The Times Union said that the Caverns project is a clear winner in public opinion:
I'll say this: The supporters of the Howe Caverns proposal have a great case to make for needing a casino's jobs and revenue. Their county, after all, is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Irene three years ago — which only added to its problems with endemic poverty and unemployment.
TWC News also noted the high intensity among supporters, including the Scary Leg Runners' thirty mile run to the hearing:
Meanwhile back on the road, it's the end of the first leg of the relay and with rain beginning to fall spirits remained high. 
"This is what our community is about, just getting out and doing it," said Pamela Newell, who is running part of the relay.
The Cobleskill paper wrote in a similar vein Wednesday:
Heather Marr, a Schoharie native who's worked at Cobleskill Stone for 10 years, said she sees the project as a way to keep young people like herself here. 

"I love it here and I'm lucky that I have a job I love. I don't want to leave. But my friends...Everything's just falling down. There's nothing here for them. This will bring people in. It will be good for the community."
These reports, coupled with Howe Caverns' recent video ad could be seen as wind in the sails of the project.

Construction Begins on New Cobleskill Stewart's

Written By Editor on 9/25/14 | 9/25/14

Construction has begun on Stewart's new location at the intersection of Route 145 and Route 7 in Cobleskill.



Opinion: Now Move On

Did you hear? Cassandra Ethington has been found guilty of misconduct and removed from her position as County Personnel Director. Credit the County Board for a job well done, even if it took a while.

Still, there is much to be done. Ethington is gone from the office and will no longer be a factor. There will be effects lasting for months and years, revisions to policy recommended by the Fitzmaurice Report and other changes in the various departments.

However, there is a wider County to take care of. While unemployment is falling, it is still unacceptably high. Taxes are a major impediment to local economic growth. Costly New York State mandates handicap many businesses and local governments.

It's time to focus on all of these problems. The new Board, now in office for almost a year, has started on these programs. There's been approval of the Guilford project, hard work in containing taxes, and stiff opposition to unfunded mandates. However, now that the Ethington mess is behind the Board there is a chance to refocus efforts on these causes.

With Guilford filling and new businesses entering into Cobleskill, Middleburgh, Sharon, and Schoharie there is a very real opportunity for the County.

Seize it.

Dogtober Festival Aims to Raise Money for Animal Shelter

All are invited for the first ever "Dogtober," scheduled for Saturday, October 11th from 11am-3pm. The event at the Doc Reilly Park in Howes Cave will benefit the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley, the area's no-kill shelter.

There will be demonstrations of working dogs and vendors selling goods.

If you would like to be a vendor at the event, space is still available for a $
25 registration fee.
Please contact Kerrie at the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley 518‐296‐8390.
Flea market vendors welcomed, especially with family friendly goods. No Vendor's license is needed.

Howe Caverns Casino Launches Emotional Video Ad

The Howe Caverns Casino project released an emotional plea in its bid for gaming approval. The ad features several prominent locals, including Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Cobleskill Stone rep Chris Tague.

Tourism Magazine Highlights County's Bounty

Written By Editor on 9/24/14 | 9/24/14

Schoharie County has a new, independent tourism magazine. As we reported in March, The Seasons of Schoharie County, published by Cathleen Berry of Grindstone Press & Graphics, has hit the streets. Ten thousand copies of the full-color, glossy magazine are being distributed to hotels, restaurants, stores, and attractions outside Schoharie County. According to Ms. Berry, "My hope is to increase tourism in our unique county through articles and event information that spotlight the hidden and not-so-hidden gems in our region."

Produced completely by Berry, a well-seasoned graphic designer and resident of Schoharie County, this magazine demonstrates what one resident can do for an entire county. It is her goal to "help put Schoharie County back on the map and inspire others to do what they can to improve life for everyone who calls Schoharie County home."

"I'm not done yet," Ms. Berry added. "Next year, Middleburgh will host the Schoharie County Food for Thought Festival, which will celebrate wholesome food through 17 different events taking place throughout the county, on Columbus Day weekend. As committee chair, I invite everyone in the county to participate, either as a vendor or as an attendee." For more information, including sample pages, check out the magazine's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheSeasonsOfSchoharieCounty."

Pharmacy Opening in Middleburgh This Week

Middleburgh will see a return of a pharmacy after almost four years. Located at 312 Main Street the Valley Pharmacy will be opening on Friday at 1pm. On Saturday at noon the drug store will have a grand opening. All are invited.


The owner, Akrum Mourad is excited to serve the community. He said that the pharmacy is "dedicated  to bringing exceptional health services to you."

The pharmacy's Facebook page can be found here.

Schoharie County Unemployment Falls to Lowest Level in Six Years

Written By Editor on 9/23/14 | 9/23/14

The unemployment rate in Schoharie County has fallen sharply, according to new statistics. The figures from the New York State Department of Labor see August 2014 being the best labor market in the County since October 2008.

According to the figures that can be found on the NYS DOL website, the rate has fallen to 6.3%.

Year January February March April May June July August September October November December Annual
Average
2014 9.2% 9.8% 8.8% 7.1% 6.8% 6.4% 6.9% 6.3%




2013 11.4% 11% 10.1% 8.9% 8% 7.9% 7.8% 7.1% 6.7% 6.4% 7% 7.4% 8.3%
2012 12.2% 12.1% 11.5% 9.2% 8.6% 9.6% 9.8% 8% 7.7% 7.7% 7.8% 9.6% 9.5%
2011 11.4% 11.6% 10.7% 9% 8.2% 8.8% 8.8% 8.5% 9.6% 8.7% 8.7% 9.5% 9.5%
2010 11.5% 11.8% 10.9% 9.1% 8.6% 8.8% 8.7% 8.5% 8% 7.9% 8.5% 9.6% 9.3%
2009 10.9% 11% 10.9% 8.9% 8% 8.6% 8.6% 7.9% 7.8% 7.6% 8.1% 9.5% 9%
2008 9% 8.9% 8.2% 6.6% 5.6% 5.9% 6% 5.8% 5.9% 5.6% 6.5% 8.4% 6.9%
With new businesses poised to open, the rate could fall further. Most years see a sharp increase in unemployment during the winter as contracting jobs subside.

The unemployment rate dipped as low as 4.1% in October 2006 and as high as 12.2% in January 2012.

Letter to the Editor: Neid Calls for Pipeline Withdrawal

Late this afternoon the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing any additional pipelines through the county. The final vote came after several false starts in which the resolution was first passed, then withdrawn for reconsideration and finally passed again.
 
The resolution represents another impediment to the already troubled Constitution Pipeline and the more recently proposed Kinder-Morgan/Tennessee Pipeline and underscores the high level of opposition in Schoharie County to both projects. The resolution passed despite reported lobbying efforts by Constitution Pipeline representative John Faso at the County level.
 
The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities calls on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject both the Constitution and Kinder-Morgan/Tennessee projects not only in response to overwhelming community opposition but also in recognition of the negative economic, environmental and cultural impacts they would cause across more than 120 miles of rural New York State. 
 
Bob Nied
Board of Directors
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Monday, September 15, .2014

At 10:55 pm. Cobleskill Police arrested Jonathan A. Mascia, 20, of White
Plains: NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance. He was issued an
appearance ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on
September 30 at 5:00 pm.

At 10:55 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Spencer L. McKaig, 20, of Troy, NY, for
Violation ot the Village Noise Ordinance. He was issued an appearance ticket
and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30 at
5:00 pm.

At 10:55 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Andrew C, Caraballo, 21, of Brewster,
NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance. He was issued an appearance
ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30 at 5:00 pm.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At 915 pm. Cobleskill Police arrested Chad Corsi, 32, or Carlisle, NY, on an
Arrest Warrant for Harassment. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and
remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $2,815.52 due to a Family Court
Warrant. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on October 7 at 5:00 pm

Thursday, September 18, 2014

At 12:40 pm. Cobleskill Police arrested Stephanie Goodsill, 19, of Middleburgh
NY, for Petit Larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She
is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on October 21 at 5:00 pm.

At 4:41 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Brandon J. Pileckas, 38, of Amsterdam,
NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 2nd, Criminal
Possession of a Hypodermic instrument, Criminal Possession of a Controlled
Substance 7th and Petit Larceny. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court
and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $5000 Bail / $10,000 Bond. He is
to return to Cobleskill Town Court on September 30 at 5:00 pm.

At 4:41 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Danny P. Rivera, 31 of Amsterdam, NY,
for Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic instrument. He was
arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail
on $5000 Bail / $10000 Bond. he is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on
September 30 at 5:00pm.


SUNY Cobleskill Hosting Beer Education this Saturday

SUNY Cobleskill's Office of Professional And Continuing Education (PACE) will be offering Grain to Glass Workshops on September 27th. The event is open to the public. All sessions are free with the exception of the beer tasting, which is $8.50.

Please see the schedule for the all day event below:


Ethington Found Guilty by County Board

Written By Editor on 9/22/14 | 9/22/14

A pared down panel of members of the County Board of Supervisors have found Cassandra Ethington guilty of misconduct. The eight panel ad-hoc jury voted tonight to remove the former Personnel Director from her position.

The vote was a unanimous 8-0. All of the Supervisors on the panel voted to let her go. The trial has been going on for several months. The Supervisors on the jury were Buzon (Middleburgh), Bleau (Wright), McAllister (Cobleskill), Federice (Conesville), Smith (Blenheim), Smith (Broome), VanGlad (Gilboa), and VanWormer (Esperance).

The deliberation took for an hour. Former Schoharie News editor Tim Knight said, "Tonight's verdict was the culmination of many months of investigation into misconduct in County government and tonight justice was done."

Ethington had been suspended from her position since last year.

Vote in Our Poll: Vote for Governor

Vote in the poll on our sidebar for who you would choose for governor. Current Governor Andrew Cuomo clinched the Democratic nomination and will face off against Republican nominee Rob Astorino. Who do you choose?

Poll: High Skepticism Regarding New Pipelines

Schoharie County residents are skeptical about the idea of having new pipelines in the County. There is widespread opposition to the installation of further pipelines and some support for removing those already in the country.

Yes 25% - 45
Yes if deemed environmentally safe 24% - 43
Yes if fracking is banned 2% - 4
No-- we have enough 38% - 68
No-- get rid of the existing ones, as well 8% - 14
Don't know/undecided 3% -6
Total: 180

In another way, the poll could be seen as:

Yes- 25%
Yes, conditionally: 26%
No: 46%
Don't know/undecided: 3%

The opposition to the pipeline plan as currently configured is the strongest portion of the local populace.

Opinion: End the Ethington Era

Written By Editor on 9/21/14 | 9/21/14

Cassandra Ethington's rise to Personnel Director and her seizure of power over the Health Department and manipulation of the Planning and Development Department were a black mark on Schoharie County's history.

Now it's time to erase that mark for the County Board of Supervisors.

With eight members remaining on the "jury," it is their responsibility to make sure that Ethington's alleged misdeeds are confronted and punished. With a decision expected later this Monday, it is time for the Board to fire her once and for all: no more paid suspension, no more delays, and no hung jury.

It's the least that the Board can do, especially after the employees that had to face her wrath, including employees that should not have been removed in the first place. Constant manipulation, hiring of political allies, and the near breakdown of the County's system of government should have consequences.

And if there was anyone else that aided or directed Ethington's reign of terror, they should face justice as well.

Send her out the door.

Letter to the Editor: Why the Lack of Coverage?

Written By Editor on 9/19/14 | 9/19/14

Dear Times Journal,

Shame on you! I am referring to the lack of coverage of the Country Rock the Valley Concert in
Schoharie on August 23, 2014. Just because it was not advertised in your paper, does not mean that it
should not be covered as a popular community event. You also excluded the Schoharie Promotional
Association which puts on events all year long, for free!! There are 16 towns in Schoharie County which should receive coverage in the Times Journal, but it seems that only events in Cobleskill, Sharon Springs and Middleburgh, get coverage.

Paul LoCascio, Pete Bruyn and many others have been organizing the Country Rock the Valley Concert since Hurricane Irene in 2011. They even managed to get a huge concert together that year!!! Together they have raised over $100,000 for the people of Schoharie that were devastated by the Hurricane. The organizers and all the volunteers work tirelessly for months to ensure the success of the Country Rock the Valley Concert and to bring it to the level that it has become today.

All the bands donate their time and ask nothing in return. Maybe in the future the Times Journal could adopt a similar philosophy and help community groups and support them. I understand you are in business to make money, but if an organization chooses not to advertise in the paper, the news story of that event should not be underpublicized.

Although you published pictures of the bed races, there were no explanations as to why they were
taking place. Do you even know why?? The bed races are a fun way to get people out into the village
and have some fun together, while raising money for the Schoharie Volunteer Fire Department. They
still need help rebuilding three years after the Hurricane.

Please do not advertise as “The News of Schoharie County” if the news from the entire county is not
being covered.
Shari Carr
Schoharie, New York

450 Signatures Presented to Middleburgh Against Fracking

Last Thursday the Middleburgh Town Board had a lively debate about the potential merits and dangers of fracking. Most of the conversation warned against the practice, with various fears regarding the possibility of it coming to Schoharie County.

Village Trustee William Morton with the help of several volunteers received a series of signatures asking the Town Board to ban hydrofracking within its borders. The petition specifically asks for the Town Board to pass the "Slottje provisions," written by two attorneys as a watertight law unlikely to be overturned in appellate court.

The 450 signatures represent a large segment of the Town's population, noted Trustee Morton. He stated that upwards of 80% of those asked to sign did so.

In order to pass the Slottje provisions into law, the Town Board must first set and hold a public hearing. There was a lively debate over whether to set this hearing among the members.

Council member Susan Makely said that the signatures represent many people that want something done immediately.

Supervisor James Buzon, who has struggled to convince the Town Board to agree to ban fracking, agreed.

Council member Frank Herodes said that he did not like mention of how natural gas development could affect deer hunting. He said that he did not like hunting.

After a spirited debate, the Board voted 5-0 to set the public hearing on the Slottje provisions. While it is unclear if the provisions will pass next month, it is the farthest the discussion has gone in over two years of debate.

Letter to the Editor: Will There Be Change in Jefferson?

Dear Supervisor Sean Jordan,

When you were first elected, we anticipated the beginning of a new era. An era free of corruption, ineptitude and bias. We welcomed the new leadership and the opportunity to start a fresh, positive relationship with the town. We hoped to see a change in attitude, a fair approach, a new face.
Sadly, nine months later, we have yet to see any indication that there’s been any change in Jefferson. All we see is the perpetuation of old biases, the retaining of unqualified and incompetent contractors, the same old excuses, tired and worn pretexts.

As you well know, the governing body of the Town of Jefferson has been embroiled in an ugly dispute with Oorah for years. Repeatedly and through various means, the town has attempted to prevent our organization from fulfilling its mission. Documents have established that there has been a clear pattern of bias and abuse of power.

Oorah was forced to sue the town four times over the past four years. First because, under former Town Supervisor Daniel Singletary’s leadership, the town refused to issue building permits for properly designed camp structures. The town’s defense was unsuccessful and the permits were issued. Schoharie County Attorney Michael West, who represented the town in that case, later accepted an appointment as an administrative judge, proposing to decide a regulatory matter filed against Oorah by the County Department of Health.  This revealed Mr. West’s disregard for the rules of professional conduct by serving in positions that placed him in a direct conflict of interest. Every decent lawyer knows that you cannot serve as a judge over a party that the lawyer just had a case against. Later, Mr. West reluctantly recused himself when we pointed out the ethical problem, and the routine Department of Health matter was then easily resolved administratively.

Then the town, again under Mr. Singletary’s leadership, twice refused to grant Oorah its tax exemption, and again, lost the two suits filed against it. Town assessor Mark Los publicly stated, “It was worth the fight”. It is difficult to imagine that the town’s taxpayers would agree with this assessment.

In this ongoing fourth case, Oorah seeks certificates of occupancy for its completed camp buildings. The town refuses, baselessly, to issue them. Within the last week, the Supreme Court of New York has issued the third interim order requiring the township to allow Oorah to occupy and use its gymnasium, the primary building in question. Yet the Town of Jefferson continues to drag out the legal process, with no end in sight.

 From the start, we have done everything in our power to bring this case to a peaceful resolution, attempting at all times to comply with the town’s requests and demonstrating our good-faith efforts to move toward a mutually satisfactory conclusion. Our position has always been clear: we are here to make peace.

Every indication had been that you, too, were interested in a fair resolution of issues and putting aside ill will and uncalled-for antagonism. Yet we are sorry to say that those indications seem to have been unfounded.

We had hoped that we would finally be able to focus our time and resources on our vital mission without the distraction of baseless harassment by a town government motivated by bias. Those hopes have regrettably remained unrealized.
  
It’s not only we who deserve a clear answer. Your constituents, the good people of Jefferson, deserve to know as well: Why does its government  continue to waste taxpayer dollars on a lost case? Let the residents of Jefferson know why its political leadership stubbornly continues to fight an old battle which the courts have found to be without merit, carelessly spending tax money on exorbitant legal fees.

The facts of the case are clearly documented. We have been forced by the town’s desire to extend this battle to retain engineers and other experts who have certified that our buildings are safe, but you unreasonably refuse to accept these findings. The courts have ruled in our favor. Oorah, the residents of Jefferson, and the cause of justice are owed leadership that will step up to the plate to end this pointless war. Leadership that will control ethically compromised lawyers and bring the case to its end, as should have happened long ago.

We urge you to take the reins and change the way you will be perceived in this narrative. Will you go down in the annals of Schoharie history as the hero who finally brought an end to this dragged-out affair or as the weak leader who followed meekly in the footsteps of his belligerent and biased predecessor in wasting town funds to launch a losing and hopeless battle?

We would like to see this case settled and leave it behind us so that we can begin a new, improved relationship. But we’ve been mistreated for far too long already, and our responsibility to ourselves, to those we serve, and to those who support our work is to ensure that this illegal and unjust campaign is brought to an end. In addition to the actions already taken, keep in mind that there are other legal options open to us. Indeed, the documentary evidence seems to indicate that such measures will further vindicate Oorah, and expose the town, and possibly its officials, to extensive liability.

We offer peace.  Will you work with us to bring peace to the Valley or will you continue to allow your constituents to fund, and others to wage, this needless, lost war of retribution?

-- Camp Oorah

Richmondville Couple Arrested for Growing Marijuana

A Richmondville couple has been charged with several offenses stemming from an alleged marijuana growing operation.

A search warrant revealing ten pounds of marijuana and growing equipment led to the arrest of Samantha Buffo, 24, and Thomas McLasky, 29. 
 According to police, Along with marijuana, fireworks and two non-commercially manufactures M1000 type explosives were found.

More information from WTEN here.

Before and After: An Irene Photostudy

Written By Editor on 9/18/14 | 9/18/14

Local reader Michael Avitabile sent us these photos of scenes from Middleburgh, Schoharie, and down the Schoharie Valley of scenes of heartbreak and recovery from the flood.

The former Chamber of Commerce location on Main Street Middleburgh, now ICCI Computer Concepts


Wayman's Furniture, Middleburgh







Main Street, Middleburgh


Debris, Middleburgh


Main Street, Schoharie


Old and New Stewart's, Schoharie


River Street, Middleburgh


Student Escorted Off Schoharie Campus After Unidentified Threat

Written By Editor on 9/17/14 | 9/17/14

From the Schoharie Central School webpage:
A Schoharie High School student was escorted from school this morning, September 17, by the New York State Police regarding a threat made outside of school. At no time were students or staff at risk, and the school remains calm and safe. The safety of students and staff is paramount to Schoharie Central Schools and the New York State Police, and all threats are taken very seriously. The matter is being handled by the New York State Police and the student is not in school at this time. Questions or concerns may be directed to SCS Interim Superintendent Dr. Kathryn Gerbino or High School Principal Dr. Stacey DeLaney.

2014 County Flu Clinic Schedule

Shared with us by the County Health Department.


Letter to the Editor: Set the Record Straight

One of the articles in the police blotter written about me is inaccurate. In the September 15 Cobleskill police blotter it says that I was arrested for a noise ordinance. This is untrue as the police came to my apartment, illegally entered during my friend's birthday celebration (who also is in the article as "arrested") and then wrote us a summons for a noise violation. We were never quoted Miranda rights or anything to signify being arrested. The responding officer told us that it was just a summoning ticket to find if we pay a fee or not. When my name is searched I do not want a false arrest appearing which slanders my name or the name of my friend, Alberto Vidales.

-- Patrick Pensivy

Sharon Springs Fire Dept. French Toast Breakfast this Saturday

Written By Editor on 9/16/14 | 9/16/14

The Sharon Springs Fire Department is offering its annual French toast breakfast. The event is open to the public and is all you can eat. Come on Saturday, September 20th from 7am-noon and join in the fun.

The Sharon Springs Harvestfest is happening the same day.

RSVP or find out more here.

Flurry of Business Openings in Schoharie

Schoharie is continuing is ascent out of the dark days after the flood. In the past several months, the community has seen a sharp increase in the number of businesses on Main Street. Just this past week the village has opened its second hair salon in recent months.

The Top Knot Hair Salon and Makeup Lounge and the Amy Rockwell Photography studio both opened its doors at 289 Main Street, in different parts of the building.

Photo credit: Schoharie Promo Association
Schoharie also saw the opening of Rehab Support Services on Main Street.

Top Knot's facebook page can be found here. Amy Rockwell Photography's site can be found here.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 9/15/14 | 9/15/14

Friday, September 12, 2014

At 8:35pm Cobleskill Police arrested Ashley A. Brantley, 19, of Springfield
Gardens, NY, for Petit larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and
released. She is to appear is Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00
pm.

At 11:38 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Caitlyn R. Lockwood, 24, of Cobleskill,
NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3rd. She was
arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released. She is to return to Cobleskill
Town Court on September 30th at 4:00 pm.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

At 11:00 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Patrick J. Pensivy, 22, of Hicksville, NY,
for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance. He was issued an appearance ticket
and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00
pm.

At 11:00 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Alberto M. Vidales, 23, of Mamaroneck,
NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance. He was issued an appearance
ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th
at 5:00 p.m.

At 11:00 pm Cobleskill Police issued a summons to Emily K. Doyle, 18, of
Kingston, NY, for Possession of Alcohol by a person under the age of 21. She is
to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00 pm.

At 11:00 pm Cobleskill Police issued a summons to Devon A. Mintzes, 17, of
Bay Shore, NY, for Possession of Alcohol by a person under the age of 21. She
is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00 pm.

Vote in New Poll: Pipelines in Schoharie

Make sure to vote in our new poll on the right hand sidebar regarding the future of pipelines in Schoharie County.

Poll: Most Think Ethington Will Be Found Guilty

Most of the readers of the Schoharie News believe that former Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington will be convicted by the County Board of Supervisors and removed from her position. The unscientific poll, conducted over the last week attracted over 100 respondents.

 What Do You Think Will Happen in the Ethington Case?

She will be found guilty 55% - 74 
She will be found not guilty 22% - 30 
There will be a mistrial 14% - 19 
Don't know 9% - 12 
 135 total

Schoharie Presbyterian Annual Ham Dinner September 27th

Written By Editor on 9/14/14 | 9/14/14

The Schoharie United Presbyterian Church on Main Street will be holding its annual ham dinner on Saturday, September 27th from 4-7pm. Dinner for adults are $12, children from 5-10 $6, and no charge for children under 5. Takeout orders add $1.

All are welcome.

Zombie 5k Run October 25th

Written By Editor on 9/13/14 | 9/13/14

Come and join the undead in a 5k Zombie Run starting and ending at the Power Authority Visitor's Center in North Blenheim. The event is being hosted by the Middleburgh Library Association.


Emergency Services Rescue Elderly Man in Summit

On Sept 11, 2014, emergency personnel responded to 345 Clapper Hollow Road, Town of Summit for a 77 year old male that left the residence on his ATV and had not returned for several hours.

Emergency personnel continued the search for 77 year old, Lester “Bud” Savarese at 8 am this morning

Friday, Sept 12. A NYS Police helicopter located the ATV, abandoned in a nearby creek. While officers investigated the location of the ATV, the individual was spotted approximately 1⁄4 mile southeast of the ATV in a field. Emergency personnel aided the individual to the roadway where he was evaluated and then transported to Albany Medical Center.

The Agencies/Personnel that assisted in the search and rescue were:

Schoharie Co Sheriff’s Office
NY State Police Aviation
NYS Encon/Forrest Ranger
Schoharie Co Search & Rescue
Summit Vol Ambulance
NYS Forrest Ranger
Schoharie Co Fire Coordinator
Charlotteville, Summit and Jefferson Fire Departments
Schoharie Co Medics

SALT Hosting Surf and Turf Dinner September 20th

Written By Editor on 9/12/14 | 9/12/14

SALT is hosting its next Surf and Turf dinner to raise money for flood victims. The event, from 4-7pm on Saturday, September 20th is at the Delmar Reformed Church at 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar.

This dinner will include lobster, clams, shrimp, steak, and corn.

Anyone that is interested can buy tickets here or call 518-702-5017.

County Building Evacuated in False Alarm

Yesterday there was a false alarm at the County Building, and the entire staff was evacuated. The event took place a little after 10am. There was apparently a false alarm that was tripped, although the exact cause has not been released.

Due to the false positive, the local fire departments were asked not to respond, but the County Emergency Services office checked to scene to make sure there was no danger. The evacuation was orderly and quick.


Employees re-entered the building at 10:27.

Knight: The Death of Conversation

Written By Editor on 9/11/14 | 9/11/14


Approximately twenty-five hundred students attend SUNY Cobleskill annually, where we stumble across campus with our heads down and phones up on a regular basis. Or even worse, we congregate in restaurants or buffets, and silently eat our food and stare at our electronic distractions while hanging out with friends and classmates.

And people wonder why we need to take classes on interpersonal communications and conversational skills to graduate from college. 

It is truly a saddening state of affairs in human existence when college age adults, living in the height of our lives, cannot look away from our Iphone 5 or Galaxy smartphones to acknowledge the shy girl sitting in the corner, or push away our virtual worlds to engage in real world, wholesome and lasting interactions with fellow human beings.

Another thing that is sad? We actually have to differentiate between the real and virtual worlds in our depressing state of twenty-first century existence. Oy vey. 

Don't get me wrong: I am just as guilty of this than anyone else. I use computers in-class to check facebook statuses, order hockey tickets, or message other friends in the exact same course. But I, at least, feel guilty about my behavior and try to make up for it by encouraging real interaction. 

Encouragement that often falls on death ears.

Yet, for all the time we spend in the virtual world; if often yields little of value beyond the immediate search for something to occupy our ever decreasing attention spans. Sure, everyone was aware of Robin Williams' death, but President Obama's national address on combating ISIS? No dice. 

Still, despite my lamentations, real and lasting friendships are made on college campuses everyday world wide. Relationships are birthed between flirtatious youth, and knowledge is expanded in the classroom, whether we as students want it or not. 

However, though, my concerns and qualms remain not as a Luddite, hellbent on the destruction of technology, but as a communicator fearful of the great art that is conversation, ultimately and irreparably declining to a form of emoticons and grunts where it had once been an expression of verbal prose, beautiful and powerful all the same.

- Timothy Knight 

Gibson-Authored Bill Against Lyme Disease Passes House

A bill authored by Schoharie County's Congressman Chris Gibson has made it through half of Congress. The Tick Borne Disease Research and Accountability Act, introduced by Gibson was adopted by voice vote unanimously. It now moves onto the Senate for their approval or denial before going to the President.

The bill supports a widening of research to combat Lyme disease and an effort to consolidate government resources to do so. The bill includes a provision that would require no additional spending and to use existing money already budgeted. Within three years the Secretary of Health and Human Services would introduce a strategic plan to combat the disease.

Read the proposed law here.

Student-on-Faculty Assault Causes Shelter in Place at C-R School

Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School released the following statement regarding an incident at the school yesterday:

Good evening, this is Mrs. Ausfeld, Principal of the Cobleskill- Richmondville High school. I am calling to notify parents and guardians of an incident that occurred today, Sept. 10, 2014, at approximately 1:30pm that resulted in a Shelter in Place for all students and staff at the HS. A staff member was assaulted by a student resulting in an injury that prompted a response by law enforcement and EMS. The shelter in place was called immediately to ensure the safety of students and staff and allow school officials and law enforcement to deal effectively with the situation. As always, school safety is our primary concern. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the High School Office. Thank you and have a good evening.

We are waiting on details and will report as they come in.

Opinion: Unity on Our Darkest Day

This year, on the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11th atrocities, it is important to remember the vital months of unity that followed the attacks.

Across the country, state, and even in our little county there are often sharp and divisive debates over vital issues. It is not uncommon for people to treat each other more as enemies than partners in the area's future. With the divides in the area over various causes, we have to remember that almost every person in the County loves and care for it and wants to build a better future. We should treat each other respectfully knowing that this is the case.

From the unity of action following Hurricane Irene or at Ground Zero, many people can do great things. It's better to do them together.

Cobleskill Man Arrested on 32 Counts of Public Lewdness

Written By Editor on 9/10/14 | 9/10/14

Following a joint investigation between the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police, a Town of Cobleskill resident was arrested on September 5th and charged with 32 counts of Public Lewdness.

Douglas A. Spaulding , age 61, of 461 Myers Road was charged after the investigation revealed that he had exposed himself to passing motorists along Route 20 in the Town of Carlisle during early morning hours. The incidents occurred between May 1st and August 31st of this year.

Spaulding was arraigned before Cobleskill Town Court and committed to the custody of the Sheriff’s
Office in lieu of $2,500 bail. Defendant is scheduled to return to Carlisle Town Court on September 10th

This is an ongoing investigation. Police are asking anyone who may have been a victim of Public
Lewdness along Route 20 in Schoharie County to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 518-295-8114 or the
State Police at 518-234-3131.


Emergency Preparedness Training at SUNY Cobleskill Saturday

SUNY Cobleskill is hosting an emergency preparedness training session in conjunction with the NYS Prepare program. The program is this Saturday, September 13th at 10am at the Bouck Auditorium. All people, from public officials to anyone is invited. All attending participants will receive an emergency preparedness bag.

To register, click here.

Cuomo Wins Bruising Primary Challenge Statewide, Loses Schoharie in Landslide

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently polled a 16% approval rating in Schoharie County, warded off a serious challenge in Tuesday's Democratic Party primary against Zephyr Teachout, who ran an inexpensive insurgent campaign.

With almost 95% of the ballots counted, it was:

Cuomo (inc.): 61.8%
Teachout: 34.5%
Credico: 3.7%

In Schoharie County, Teachout won in a landslide:

Teachout: 71.1% - 361
Cuomo: 24.6% - 125
Credico: 4.3% - 22

Teachout's percentage was third-highest in Schoharie County, trailing only Columbia County's 77.9% and Otsego County's 72.7%.

Republican candidate Rob Astorino won the primary, running unopposed.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

At 1:40 am Cobleskill Police arrested Troy M. Primes, 18, of Berkshire, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. He was issued an appearance ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 29th at 5:00pm.

At 4:01 pm Cobleskill Police arrested Amanda Sword, 28, of Cobleskill, NY, on a Warrant for issuing a Bad Check. She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released. She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on September 9th at 5:00 pm.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

At 6:06 pm. Cobleskill Police arrested Jeanne Brown, 45, of Cobleskill, NY, for Criminal Mischief 4th. She was issued an appearance ticket arid released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00 pm.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

At 1:11 am. Cobleskill Police arrested Lawrence K. Hammond, Jr. 28, of Worcester, NY, for DWI, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC greater than 0.08% and other vehicle and traffic tickets. She was released and is to appear in Cobieskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00 pm.

At 4:46 pm. Cobleskill Police arrested Donald Q. Radcliff, 21, oi Cobleskill, NY, for DWI, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC greater than 0.08% and other vehicle and traffic tickets. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $500 Bail/$1000 Bond. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on September 9th at 5:00 pm.

At 3:08 pm. Cobleskill Police arrested Jamie Lynn Bartlett, 23 of Sprakers, NY, for Petit Larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobteskiil Town Court on September 30th at 5:00 pm.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

At t;55 am. Cobleskill Police arrested Jillian M. Salzmann, 22, of Calverton
NY, for DWI, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC greater than 0.08% and other vehicle and traffic tickets. She was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on September 30th at 5:00 pm.


Ethington Decision Expected September 22nd

Written By Editor on 9/9/14 | 9/9/14

Two weeks from today, the Ethington saga may be over. According to the County Board of Supervisors, the next hearing date of September 22nd should be the last. The hearing is taking place at the County Courthouse at 6pm and is open to the public.

The decision will be made by the remaining 8 Supervisors on the ad hoc jury in an unweighted vote. Five votes or more are needed to convict, or find not guilty. A tie would result in a mistrial. The Supervisors making the decision are Buzon (Middleburgh), Bleau (Wright), McAllister (Cobleskill), Federice (Conesville), Smith (Blenheim), Smith (Broome), VanGlad (Gilboa), and VanWormer (Esperance). There is no indication yet on how the Supervisor will vote. There has been extensive questioning by the special prosecutor and the defense attorney.

If Ethington is found not guilty, she will serve out her remaining contract, which will not expire for three years. It is unclear if she would physically return to the office or serve at home.

Opinion: SALT Forever, Sustainable

SALT has been among the most effective community groups since 2011's flooding. Its intrepid employees and volunteers have been incredibly effective at rebuilding homes, businesses, and lives shattered by Irene.

They need to stick around. There are still homes and businesses left to be fixed and the need for volunteers. SALT also partners with other groups to educate the public about flood and disaster response. There will be a need for general flood mitigation. Unfortunately, some day in the future the area will need a rapid reaction force ready to take on flooding.

SALT will, and should be there for these eventualities.

However, three years on after the flood, some things should transition. SALT has effectively aided over 600 properties, and has organized and distributed thousands of hours of volunteer labor and hundreds of dollars. There's a new reality as the flow of volunteers and donations slow to a trickle. It's nothing that SALT or any other local group did wrong, it's just that money and labor follow recent disasters. Schoharie Recovery co-founder Josh DeBartolo is in Colorado helping with flood recovery there-- it's just what good-hearted people do.

So with less cash and fewer hands on deck over the next years, what should SALT do? A large portion can stay the same-- keep the VISTA volunteers ready-- paid for by federal grants, keep sending out as many volunteers as possible, and keep informing the public. However, due to the fact that donations have declined and will continue the decline, moving to an all-volunteer basis (or a very low stipend system) is the only way that a group of the scale of SALT can sustain itself over the next several years. Any significant administrative costs will eventually rival the costs of materials and work done on-site. It happened to other major groups and could easily happen here.

SALT is, was, and will be an integral part of the County. It's important that it places itself in a position to do so.
Hurt in an accident? Search Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC for great info on getting money.

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