Vote in Our Poll: Local Politics

Written By Editor on 11/30/14 | 11/30/14

How would you describe the state of local politics? Do you favor one party over another or want to throw them both out?

Poll: No to Immigration Changes

Schoharie News readers overwhelmingly reject the recent changes to national immigration policy made by President Obama.

Yes 20% - 27
No 77% - 105
Don't know 3% - 4
136 total 

Santa Coming to Schoharie December 7th

Serenity Frog Photography would like to invite everyone to a day with Santa. Bring the kids to see Santa and have their picture taken with him. We are doing this by donation just to help cover the cost of having the pictures printed. This is just an idea to give the kids in the area a chance to see Santa and tell him what they would like for Christmas. The date and time is December 7 from 1-4 at the Days Inn and Suites in Schoharie. Hope to see everyone there!

Two Arrested on Harrassment, Mischief Charges

Written By Editor on 11/26/14 | 11/26/14

State Police in Cobleskill arrested 2 males from Duanesburg and Schoharie following a property dispute in Central Bridge.

State Police report that Dylan J. Finch, age 20, of Schoharie, NY and Christopher L. Fahrenkopf, age 18, of Duanesburg, NY were involved in a dispute over the sale of a snowmobile with a resident of Central Bridge. Finch was arrested for Aggravated Harassment 2nd, a class A Misdemeanor after allegedly making threatening phone calls to the resident. Fahrenkopf was arrested for Criminal Mischief 3rd, a class E Felony after allegedly slashing 4 tires on a vehicle belonging to the resident with a knife. Both men were issued appearance tickets and are scheduled to appear in the Town of Schoharie Court on December 1, 2014.

Stamford Woman Arrested for DWI, Other Traffic Infractions after Accident

State Police in Cobleskill arrested Kathleen Denario of Stamford, for DWI-drugs and multiple traffic infractions following her involvement in a personal injury auto accident. Denario was traveling southbound on State Route 10 in Jefferson, NY in the northbound lane before striking another vehicle. Denario was found to be impaired at the scene and admitted to using hydrocodone and marijuana. Denario was taken to Cobleskill Regional Hospital for a complaint of a head injury and was treated and released. She was processed at SP Cobleskill after providing a blood sample at the hospital. She was issued tickets and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Jefferson Court on December 1, 2014. The driver of the second vehicle was uninjured in the crash.

Letter to the Editor: Representatives Slow to Act on Pipeline

Written By Timothy Knight on 11/24/14 | 11/24/14

Maybe our state representatives have been silent on the Constitution Pipeline because it only affects a few of their constituents. You will never see them at a Stop the Pipeline rally. They are way too busy, probably marching at some parade, at a photo op, or cutting a ribbon. Why should they care about a small group of people who will have their land taken from them by the pipeline companies? Also, their good friend John Faso is on Constitution Pipeline’s payroll. Although, they must be doing a great job as both were just reelected to another term by successfully beating Mr. Unopposed.

Jerry Fiore
Summit

Saratoga Schenectady Schoharie Association of Realtors Meeting Aids Local Youth

The Saratoga Schenectady Schoharie Association of REALTORS ® Inc (SSSAR) held its annual meeting on November 7, 2014. The meeting featured a fundraising event to benefit local youth through the Franklin Community Center of Saratoga County. The meeting also featured the announcement of the prestigious 2014 REALTOR ® of the Year Awards.

Association members, who are local real estate professionals, donated funds and gifts benefitting the Franklin Community Center Holiday Assistance Program to reach out to local children and teens who are in-need this holiday season. The donations will help families facing economic hardships provide a bright holiday filled with hope to their children. Association members donated gift cards to local businesses, toys and funds.

The annual meeting, which was a brunch held at the Edison Club in Rexford, was generously sponsored by local businesses: Manfred Real Estate Learning Center, House Masters and Mullen Moving. The meeting featured the announcement of the REALTOR ®of the Year Awards. These awards recognize those who have served not only the real estate profession but also their communities. Recipients were nominated by their peers.

The REALTOR ® Associate of the Year for 2014 is Allen Caruso of 1st Integrity Real Estate. Since starting in the real estate industry just over a year ago, Allen has demonstrated a true commitment to his clients and the real estate profession. He also volunteers his time with the SSSAR Strategic Planning Committee.

The REALTOR ® of the Year for 2014 is Stuart Thomas of Reality Realty. Stuart has served as President of SSSAR for five years. In addition to his many volunteer duties as President, Stuart worked with local business leaders on the Give Forward program to facilitate Realtors in helping clients donate food to the Regional Food Pantry which otherwise may have been thrown away when moving.

SSSAR represents real estate professionals who are active throughout the Capital and Adirondack regions. SSSAR promotes cooperation and continuing education of its’ members to better serve the community. More information can be found on the SSSAR website: www.sssar.com

200 Emergency Ready Kits Provided for Vulnerable Populations

Hope for the Home-bound, a new program formed by SALT, Office of Emergency Services, and AmeriCorps will be distributing 200 Emergency Ready Kits to vulnerable populations all across Schoharie County on November 25 at 258 Main Street, Schoharie. A press conference will be held at 11:00am to launch the distribution event.

Emergency Ready Kits are comprised mostly of common household items that are meant to sustain and comfort for three days in the event that a family is stranded at home. The kits are not just for natural disasters, they are important to have during events such as power outages, winter storms, or thunder and lightning storms.

Hope for the Home-bound could not have been accomplished without key partnerships and donations from over 30 organizations and individuals. The program’s goal is to not only help provide people with Emergency Ready Kits, but to teach them the skills necessary to help themselves as well as those who rely upon them. As stated recently by a member of the community, “I wish everyone would realize how important it is to have one of these kits.”

It costs approximately fifty dollars to assemble an Emergency Ready Kit home-bound individuals, who may suffer from a physical or medical condition, rely on public transportation, live in an isolated area or feel they would have nowhere to go should they need to evacuate, might not have the ability to assemble their own Emergency Ready Kit.

The press conference at 11:00am will provide food and refreshments volunteers and supporters throughout the day. If you are interested in helping to assemble or distribute kits, or would like more information on how to be prepared for any event, please contact Volunteer Director Jillian Kubiak at Jilliank@saltrecovery.org or by phone at 518-702-5017.

Vote in Our New Poll: Recent Immigration Changes?

Written By Editor on 11/23/14 | 11/23/14

Make sure to vote in our poll on the right hand sidebar about recent changes to the national immigration policy. Do you approve of President Obama's executive order to legalize up to 5 million illegal immigrants?

Poll: Middleburgh Prettiest Downtown in County

Schoharie News readers are overwhelming in their assessment of the prettiest downtown in Schoharie County. By a wide margin, readers decided that Middleburgh is the most attractive with Schoharie in a distant second and Cobleskill and Sharon in a near tie.

Which Community Has the Prettiest Downtown?

Blenheim 3% - 8
Broome 1% - 2
Carlisle 2% - 5
Cobleskill 5% - 13
Conesville 1% - 2
Esperance 0% - 1
Fulton 3% - 7
Gilboa 2% - 4
Jefferson 1% - 3
Middleburgh 61% - 155
Richmondville 1% - 3
Schoharie 13% - 34
Sharon 6% - 14
Summit 1% - 2
Wright 0% - 1
254 total 

Conesville FD Responds in Western NY

Some pictures of the dramatic snowfall and recovery efforts were sent to us by Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice. The Conesville FD was one of several local Fire Departments to respond to the western part of New York to deal with the unexpected catastrophic snowfall there.

Firefighter Annmarie Cummings and Firefighter Stephanie Skowfoe.

Carl Fancher, Conesville Fire Chief


Partners Bring Major Strides in Schoharie

Since September when the Village of Schoharie Long Term Community Renewal grant strategy was completed and was unanimously approved by Board members enthusiasm abounds as ‘Summit Committees’ meet monthly and work progresses on three major areas—Marketing, Website design, and development of a historic walking tour. Three working groups have formed and continue on-going efforts on a village-wide marketing campaign that includes a new Village logo and tag line (Village of Schoharie – A good life in a beautiful place), a website, and a historic walking tour.

The website is being developed for the Village that will provide village news, local government information, links to events, organizations, and businesses, and promote business and tourism. The groups are also working to locate and install fountains in the Village to build on the historic ‘fountaintown’ theme of the Schoharie area. A historic walking tour will highlight the wonderful historic resources in the Village and bring new people to the area.

At the same time the Schoharie Promotional Association is finalizing development of a map showing all existing businesses to be displayed outside the Village/Town Hall. That map is also being transferred to downloadable format on their website and a soon-to-be released brochure. Partners in these projects include the Schoharie Promotional Association, Help Us Grow Schoharie (HUGS), the Valley Association, SALT, the Village Board, and several passionate residents. This is unprecedented accomplishments by utilizing the skills and labor of all groups and individuals willing to put in their time and talents.

Three Arrested for Damaging Mailboxes

Sheriff's Deputies arrested Andrew Freeman, age 18 of Watertown, NY, Kodi Diccico age 18 of Geneva, NY and Wyatt Bromley age 18 of Eden NY for the class A Midemeanor of Criminal Mischief in the 4th degree. It is alleged that, while on Dodge Lodge Rd. in the Town of Richmondville, the defendants intentionally damaged several mailboxes. After a thorough investigation, the defendants were arrested and issued appearance tickets to reappear in the Town of Richmondville Court on December 17, 2014.

Budget Passes: Terry Demoted, Planning Department Split

Written By Editor on 11/22/14 | 11/22/14

It was a raucous meeting at the County Board yesterday, with the future of economic development one of the many topics fought over by a divided board.

So divided, that a minority of the Supervisors were able to pass the 2015 budget.

The passed budget was similar to that proposed by County Treasurer Bill Cherry. The largest bone of contention was what to do with the County Planning Department. In a compromise shepherded through by Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister, several large changes were made.


  • The Schoharie County Planning and Economic Development Department was split between its two current functions. Current Chief Alicia Terry was demoted by the Board to become a Senior Planner and had her salary cut by $8,000.
  • Shane Nickle was promoted from Senior Planner to a joint Supervisor/Senior Planner position of the new Planning Department. 
  • Marketed Specialist Sarah Blood was eliminated from her position.
  • The proposed bus fare of $1.50 was reduced to $1.20.
  • There will be no salary increases for any Town Supervisors.
  • The tax rate increase will be slightly lower than originally proposed, at 5.06%.
Overall, the Board was bitterly divided. The final tally was:

- Yes: McAllister (Cobleskill 16.2% of the weighted vote), Milone (Schoharie, 11.0%), Barbic (Seward 5.5%), Manko (Sharon, 6.2%), Lape (Richmonville 8.1%), Jordan (Jefferson 4.3%), and VanGlad (Gilboa 4.1%). 7 Total, 55.4% of the weighted vote.

- No: Bradt (Carlisle 5.9%), Bleu (Wright 5.2%), Buzon (Middleburgh 11.8%), Federice (Conesville 2.5%), Smith (Blenheim 1.1%), Smith (Broome 3.2%), Skowfoe (Fulton 4.3%), VanWormer (Esperance 6.9%), and Vroman (Summit, 3.8%) - 9 Total, 44.6% of the weighted vote.

County Board to Hold Private Session Before Tomorrow's Meeting

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

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

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

SUNY Student Dies in Vehicle Crash in Sharon Springs

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

SUNY Cobleskill announced this tragic news today:

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

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

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

Two Schoharie Men Arrested for Cocaine

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

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

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

 Respectfully:
 Peter Shulman

Letter to the Editor: Nomination for the Schoharie Leader Award

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

 - Melissa Wick

Opinion: McAllister Must Make the Right Choice on Terry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Way Pledges $300,000 to Aid Schoharie County

Written By Timothy Knight on 11/18/14 | 11/18/14

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

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

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

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

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

Local Students to Take Part in Great American Smokeout Thursday

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

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

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

MCS Reality Check members:

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

Introducing the Schoharie Leader Award

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

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

So who would you nominate and why? Send your nominations to theschoharienews@gmail.com.

For One Man, Great American Smokeout Passes One Year

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

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

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

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

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

Unique Holiday Gifts Go on Sale at Iroquois Museum

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

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

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

The exhibit features over 30 Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists and focuses upon contemporary concerns that warrant their attention and creative comment.  Exhibition works (artwork and poetry) include those that explore boundaries and borders, environment, hydro-fracking, economy, gaming, the digital/disposable age, sports mascots, the impact of national/international events and decisions, the role of tradition and community, and the state of the arts.

For more information about the sale, exhibition and admission, visit www.iroquoismuseum.org and like the Museum on Facebook.
Standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014 is supported in part by grants from the New York Council for the Humanities and the generous donations of individuals.

Cobleskill Park Rehab a Big Success

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


Photos credit Village of Cobleskill FB Page.

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

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

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

Poll: Yes to County Power Utility

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

Would You Support A County Electric Utility?

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

Mountain Eagle Advertising Rates

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

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

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

First Significant Snowfall Expected Tonight

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

Conesville Fire Department Pancake Breakfast November 16th

Written By Timothy Knight on 11/12/14 | 11/12/14

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

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

Written By Timothy Knight on 11/10/14 | 11/10/14

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

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

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

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

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

Schoharie Girls Regional Champions, Continue on to Final Four

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

Vote in our New Poll: Would You Support a County Utility?

With solar power on the lips of many people around the County, including a proposed multi-acre solar farm in the Town of Schoharie, hopes of a county electrical utility may be soon to follow. Presently only the Village of Richmondville has municipal power, which runs at a significantly less expensive rate than National Grid.

There was a proposal for a similar utility around 2006 that never materialized. With high state and federal incentives for building a large solar farm or other means of local power, would you support an initiative for a local utility?

Central Bridge Man Arrested for Criminal Mischief

Sheriff's deputies arrested Patrick Haroldson, 20, of Central Bridge on an arrest warrant on November 8th for criminal mischief in the third degree stemming from an incident where Mr. Haroldson caused damage to a motor vehicle. Mr. Haroldson was arraigned in the Town of Schoharie court and released to return at a later date.

Cuomo Vetoes Veterans' Benefit Bill

Just days after election day, Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to veto a bill passed by both houses of the state legislature. The bill, intending to aid veterans by allowing them to voluntarily purchase credit into the state retirement system for their service during peacetime.

The bill's synopsis says:

 Provides up to three years of service credit to members of public retirement systems of the state for military service rendered during times of peace; removes requirement that such military service occur during specified periods of hostilities; requires such members have at least five years of credited service, not including military service.

The bill passed the State Assembly 133 to 1 and the State Senate 57-0. Overall costs were going to cost taxpayers about $170 million. Both Assemblyman Lopez and Senator Seward voted for the bill.

Cuomo's veto message is below, citing in part that New York City's annual liability would be about $18 million.

Poll: Stagnant to Negative Economic Growth in County

Schoharie County residents are not positive when it comes to the state of the local economy, with many arguing that it has shrunk over the last year. 33% of residents believe that there hasn't been a significant change while 46% believe that there has been some kind of decline, including 27% that believe that the local economy has declined greatly.

How Has Schoharie County's Economy Changed Over the Last Year?
Improved greatly 1% - 2
Improved slightly 16% - 29
No significant change 33% - 61
Declined slightly 19% - 35
Declined greatly 27% - 50
Don't know/undecided 5% - 9
186 Total

This poll could also be seen as:

Improved: 17%
No significant change: 33%
Declined: 46%
Don't know/undecided: 5%

Schoharie Girls Win Section II Championship

Written By Editor on 11/8/14 | 11/8/14

The Schoharie Varsity girls soccer team won November 5th against Canajoharie and they are the Section II Class C Champions. They won 2-1 at Lansingburgh High School and face Potsdam today.

CDPHP Health Insurance Coverage to be Cut to Just Two County Pharmacies

Middleburgh's Valley Pharmacy will be just one of two pharmacies in the County that will offer CDPHP health insurance coverage after January 1st. Under the proposed changes by the company, many pharmacies that accept CDPHP's plan will no longer at the end of the year.

These policies will only affect the Medicaid line of business and come after dramatic changes to the state and federal health care systems.

The Valley Pharmacy offers a full assortment of prescription drugs and over the counter needs, including household supplies and cosmetics. Located at 312 Main Street, the store is open Monday through Saturday from 8am-6pm. Their Facebook page and more information can be found here.

Seward Man Arrested for Larceny

Written By Editor on 11/7/14 | 11/7/14

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Seward man for Larceny on November 4, 2014 following a complaint of missing property.
 
State Police arrested Ronald Gage age 62 of Seward following a complaint of missing property.  Allegations were made that Gage took items from a marital property that was in violation of a court order.  Gage was charged with Petit Larceny and released on an appearance ticket.
 
Gage is to appear in the Town of Seward Court on November 26, 2014 at 7:30pm to answer the charge

Middleburgh Man Arrested for Criminal Mischief and Contempt

Written By Editor on 11/6/14 | 11/6/14

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Middleburgh man following a domestic incident on November 3, 2014.
 
State Police arrested Christopher E. Costello age 19 following a domestic incident that occurred at a residence in Middleburgh.  Costello allegedly damaged property belonging to a family member during an argument that led to a physical confrontation.  Costello was charged with Criminal Mischief 4th and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.
 
Costello was arraigned in the Town of Middleburgh Court and released to appear on November 19, 2014 at 7:00pm.  An Order of Protection was issued by the court.


Christopher E. Costello was later arrested by the State Police Cobleskill following a domestic incident that occurred in Middleburgh.  Costello entered a family property and engaged in a verbal domestic violating an Order of Protection in the process.  Troopers located Costello in the Village of Middleburgh and took him into custody.  Costello was charged with Criminal Contempt 2nd, Costello was arraigned in the Town of Middleburgh Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Facility on cash bail. 
 
Costello is to appear in the Town of Middleburgh Court on November 19, 2014 at 7:00pm to answer this charge and previous charges that were lodged from a previous domestic incident.
 

C-R Student Arrested after Confrontation at School

State Police arrested a teen following an altercation that occurred at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School.
 
State Police arrested Jordan J. Davenport 18 of Schoharie after he was involved in an altercation with another student at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School.  Davenport was 

charged with Harassment 2nd and Endangering the Welfare of a child following an argument that turned physical.  Davenport was arraigned in the Town of Richmondville Court and released to appear at a later date.  An Order of Protection was issued by the court.

The State Police Cobleskill Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted with the case.

Green Wolf Brewery Opening December 12th in Middleburgh

Written By Editor on 11/5/14 | 11/5/14

Middleburgh, as its name implies, is in the middle of everything: it is within an hour's drive of The Catskills, The Capital District, the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks, and Cooperstown. We have a classic American main street with shops, restaurants, historic buildings, a great museum, and an amazing library. Hiking trails and bountiful farm stands are only minutes away. It is the perfect location for a brewery and tap room. We fill a niche for locals (who no longer need to drive thirty minutes or more for great local craft beer) and for tourists (who see our tap room on Main Street and decide to stop).

All this success doesn't happen in a vacuum. Middleburgh has an active and helpful business association and local government. It is a village on the rise - in the middle of everything that has to do with eastern half of New York State. Green Wolf is proud to be part of such a great community.


We have been brewing beer for five months in our brew house at 315 Main Street and we are excited to say that our tap room is nearly finished. On December 12, 2014, we will have our grand opening celebration during the festivities of Miracle on Main Street. From December 12th onward, the tap room at Green Wolf will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - 4 pm to 9 pm.



We have seven beers in our rotation: Ravens Black India Pale Ale, Pindar's Imperial India Pale Ale, Abbey Gargoyle Belgian-style Dubbel, Hal's Old Singular Belgian-style Strong Ale, Wit's End Wiezenbock, Dire Wolf Whiskey Porter, and Schoharie Pale Ale. We also have specialty ales that come and go throughout the year.

Please stop by, enjoy one of our brews, and (as we like to say) drink - howl - repeat!

Seward Wins Unopposed

State Senator James Seward won unopposed last night in the 51st Senate District, which includes Schoharie County. All of the ballots have not been counted yet, but it appears that he won more than 60,000 votes last night. It is unclear how many write ins there were.

Lopez Wins Unopposed

State Assemblyman Peter Lopez won unopposed last night in the 102nd Assembly District, which includes Schoharie County. He won a total of 28,965 last night. It is unclear how many write ins there were.

Cuomo Wins Statewide in Surprisingly Tight Race

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

Governor Cuomo won by a significantly lower margin than predicted statewide with some Upstate Counties still to come in. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins has peeled off a large protest vote against Cuomo from the left. With 81.6% of the polling stations in, Cuomo has won:

A. Cuomo (D)  1,432,448 - 54.4%
R. Astorino (R)1,053,422 - 40.0%
H. Hawkins (G)134,190 - 5.1%

Gibson Wins Re-Election by Wide Margin

Congressman Chris Gibson has won re-election to his third term. With half of the vote in, he is leading by a healthy margin:

 C. Gibson: 60,479 - 65.9%
S. Eldridge: 31,256 - 34.1%

Gibson Easily Defeats Eldridge in Schoharie

Congressman Chris Gibson appears to be headed for a third term tonight, with results from Schoharie coming in:

Gibson (R): 7,241 - 78.6%
Eldridge (D): 1,977 21.4%

Astorino Wins Big in Schoharie

With the results in, it is apparent that Rob Astorino has handily defeated Andrew Cuomo in Schoharie County:

Astorino (R): 5,884 - 64.3%
Cuomo (D): 2,468 - 27.0%
Hawkins (G): 705 - 7.7%

Town of Conesville Highway Superintendent Race

Candidate
Votes
Vote Percentage
Porter, David (R)
140
67.3%
Hilliker, Paul (D)
68
32.7%

Town of Blenheim Council Results

Incumbent Republican Renee Grabowski wins in Blenheim tonight:

Grabowski, Renee (R)
72
60.0%
Mattice, Michael (D)
48
40.0%

Schoharie Mourns Unexpected Death of Beloved Educator

From the Schoharie CSD website:

he Schoharie Central School District community is mourning the loss of dedicated educator and friend Steven Hoard, who passed away unexpectedly on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.

Mr. Hoard, who taught 7th and 8th-grade Social Studies at Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School for 13 years, was beloved by staff, students and their families for his caring, enthusiasm and sense of humor. In addition to teaching, Mr. Hoard coached varsity track and wrestling at Schoharie, where he also had served as advisor to the High School Student Government Association and Key Club. He was also known for being an avid Star Wars fan.

The district’s crisis team met Monday night to plan how to best support students and staff, and steps are being taken to provide assistance and support during this difficult time. Grief counselors are available on campus to help the school community cope with the unexpected loss.

SCS is thankful for the support and assistance offered by the Board of Education, former staff, neighboring school districts, the Capital Region BOCES and the community.

Final arrangements for Mr. Hoard are pending.

Mr. Hoard was a resident of Berne who graduated from Mohonasen High School. He is survived by his wife, Nikki and son, Benjamin, and his mother and sister.

NY Rising Blenheim/Fulton Meeting Thursday

A NY Rising Community Reconstruction joint meeting with the Towns of Fulton and Blenheim will take place on Thursday November 6, 2014 at the West Fulton Fire Station, 807 West Fulton Rd. from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend and hear about projects that are being discussed in your communities.

Middleburgh, Schoharie Churches Holding Community Thanksgiving Dinners

Written By Editor on 11/3/14 | 11/3/14

This year the villages of Middleburgh and Schoharie will be hosting an ecumenical Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner on November 27, 2014. The dinners will be held at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church Social Hall in Middleburgh and the United Presbyterian Church Education Hall in Schoharie. The meal, seating 110 at each location, will be served at 1 PM and BY RESERVATION ONLY. Reservations may be made by calling 518-231-2416 by Friday, November 14. Regretfully, there are no take-outs or deliveries. All are welcome and all meals are free.

Vote in Our Poll: How Has Schoharie County's Economy Changed Over the Last Year?

Vote in the poll on the sidebar and let us know how you think the local economy has done over the last year.

Ball to Highlight Conference on Food and Farming

A Celebration of Our Agricultural Community at The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, will inform and inspire farmers and the public, unifying and driving the agricultural economy in Central New York on Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 9 am-5 pm

The conference's keynote speaker is Richard Ball, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Addressing the topic of food systems will be Jason Evans, Assistant Professor of Agriculture, SUNY Cobleskill. Doug Thompson of G&T Farm will speak on the impact farming has on our communities and economies, as well as pasture management.  Don Smyers, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, will address opportunities driving agricultural economic development in Central New York.

For farmers, the conference will provide information and networking opportunities to connect with potential partners and prospective customers. Local farms and businesses will share information on heritage-based as well as biotech farming and ways in which traditional techniques can and should inform modern ones.

Open to the public and free of charge, the conference will empower the public to become educated and engaged consumers, providing opportunities for people to get involved. By fostering a deeper appreciation for and understanding of farming, we support and stimulate the agricultural evolution that is so vital to the health and well-being of people, animals, and land.

"This conference will be a place for new ideas to be shared and relationships to be built," according to Danielle Henrici, the museum's director of education.  "As a direct result of the conference, both farmers and the general public in attendance will have the tools and inspiration to take positive action:  Farmers will have the latest and best information to grow their businesses and products well.  General attendees will learn how to better their families and their communities by making informed choices."

As a prelude to the conference, the documentary The Great American Wheat Harvest will be shown Friday, November 14 at 6:00 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum (across the road from The Farmers' Museum).

Admission to the conference and the documentary are free and advance registration is not required. Farmers and agricultural partners are invited to share their products or information at the conference for a small fee; contact Joan Cullen at 888-547-1450 extension 461.

The Conference is sponsored in part by SUNY Cobleskill, Lutz Feed Company, and Cazenovia Equipment Company.

The Farmers' Museum is located at 5775 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY. For more information, visit FarmersMuseum.org/food-farm

Jefferson Woman Arrested for Larceny

On October 26th the State Police in Princetown arrested Toby E. Scala, 33, of Jefferson, NY for petit larceny, a misdemeanor. Troopers received a report of a person pumping gas at the Stewarts Shop in Rotterdam and driving away without paying. According to Troopers, Scala stole gas from Stewarts on two separate occasions totaling $70.82.

Photo credit: State Police
 Scala turned herself into Troopers on October 26th and was released on an appearance ticket. Scala is scheduled to appear in the Town of Rotterdam on 11/6/14.

Poll: Change Planning Department

Schoharie News readers back the recent budget proposals to change the Schoharie County Planning Department into two separate agencies, including the elimination of Director Alicia Terry's position.

Do You Agree with the Proposed Restructuring of the Planning Department? 
Yes 53% - 139 
No 44% - 117 
Don't know 3% - 7 
 263 total

Three Arrested Following Burglary in Carlisle

State Police in Cobleskill arrest three subjects on Felony charges following a Burglary complaint in the Town of Carlisle. 
 
On the early morning hours of October 25th 2014, State Police in Cobleskill responded to a complaint of a four wheeled ATV in a ditch on State Route 145 in the Town of Carlisle.  Subsequent investigation led to the discovery that the ATV had been stolen during a Burglary that was committed at a local property.  A check with the land owner determined that both a residence and a barn had been broken into, and property was missing from both.  During the investigation Troopers determined that a vehicle belonging to a caretaker on the property had also been stolen during the crime spree.  The stolen passenger vehicle was recovered by Troopers on October 26 while they continued the investigation.



Photo credit: NY State Police
On October 30, 2014 State Police Aviation was contacted  to assist following a tip from a local citizen,  they successfully located the stolen ATV’s in a wooded area near Gardnersville Road in the Town of Seward during a flyover.  Three local men were located and charged in the crimes.  Thomas Raggi 17 of Seward was charged with two counts of Burglary and one count of Grand Larceny.  Matthew C. Meyers 18 of Seward was also charged with two counts of Burglary and one count of Grand Larceny.  Cody F. Nolette 17 of Cobleskill was charged with two counts of Burglary; all three were arraigned and remanded to Schoharie County Correctional Facility in lieu of cash bail.  The investigation is continuing.

Letter to the Editor: Historic Parallels in Fracking Fight

Written By Timothy Knight on 11/2/14 | 11/2/14

Dear Editor:  I received a call from a man who expressed concern over the reported bullying that landowner's are facing who have to deal with the Constitution Pipeline.  Reading up on local history, he wanted to share a story about the "rent wars", that he said was similar to our present struggle.

The early settlers who cleared Schoharie County land, making it profitable, were required to turn over the wealth of their hard labor to the British Crown via the landlords.  These landlords, scheming to create more wealth for themselves, levied a tax on the tenant farmers.  In our County, rebels formed.  Whenever the tax collector arrived at a farm the sound of a horn would gather these rebels, disguised as women or wearing Indian costume, and armed would scare off the taxman.

This is our local history and it was the extreme disparity and injustice of the Crown and their servant landlords, that fueled the courage and determination for peasant farmers, to prevail over British rule during the American Revolution.

Doesn't the fossil fuel industry wear the crown today?  Isn't Congressman Chris Gibson, who accepted $36,000 in campaign funds from oil and gas interests $3,500 of which was paid out by Williams Co. of Constitution Pipeline, their representative?  In House Resolution 140, didn't he vote to give billions in taxpayer contributions that could have gone to green energy jobs, but instead served fossil fuel extraction?

Far worse than turning over taxpayer funds is when the politician/landlords sell us out to an industry that is harming life, destroying water and sacrificing the land that has sustained generations.

The gas industry tried yet again to appeal the Dryden fracking ban and their application was rejected.  The 221 Towns in NY that have adopted bans are defying this crown's domination and wouldn't our Schoharie County forefathers stand with us?  They would see through the subterfuge of language such as, "limiting our dependence on foreign oil" or manipulating us with "jobs and clean energy" which is code speak for exploitation and drilling for natural gas.

Wouldn't they be on the side of the 99% when the 1% wants to ship American oil and gas overseas to turn a profit and at hazardous environmental risk in and unstable world?  Isn't selling off American natural resources to the highest bidder a form of treachery?

How would these ancestors counsel us?  I think they would tell us to start by voting for candidates that represent grass roots democracy.   Candidates that will serve the people instead of the crowned corporation and lining their own pockets.  At present, I believe that Sean Eldridge for Congress and Howie Hawkins of the Green Party for Governor would be their choice.

Deborah Krol,  Fultonham

Schoharie Police on Lookout After Home Invasion Saturday

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department has announced that it is looking for a suspect in an alleged home invasion in Schoharie.

A masked man allegedly entered into a house along Route 30 in Schoharie. The event allegedly happened around 8:50 Saturday morning.

Sources indicate a physical altercation occurred at the location.

Both state troopers and Sheriff's deputies were at the scene yesterday.

Police have been investigating since early yesterday morning. State police were observed asking residents if there had been a medium to stocky built man in dark jeans walking on or near either Routes 30 or 443.

The Sheriff's Department stated that the suspect is a male between 5'6" and 5'8". He was wearing a ski mask, black pants, and a blue hoodie and had facial hair.
Update: Video from News 6:

More details should be released as the story develops.
Hurt in an accident? Search Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC for great info on getting money.

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