Letter to the Editor: When We Talk About Pipelines

Written By Timothy Knight on 1/30/15 | 1/30/15

When people talk about pipelines they often repeat vague statements they have heard in the press – pipelines are safe, pipelines are dangerous, we need the gas, we need to switch to renewables. By reiterating those statements, people keep the issue at a distance; It is less personal and less real.  For dozens of families in our area pipelines are very real and very personal because they have been confronted in their driveways and church parking lots by strangers: process servers shoving packets of legal documents in their hand and retreating quickly while announcing ominously and dispassionately “you’ve been served.” In recent days residents have been startled by sheriff deputies knocking on their doors to serve court papers, informing the recipients that Constitution pipeline is moving to condemn a portion of their private property in order to force an easement for their proposed 30” high-pressure gas pipeline that will transport gas from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to Canada and ultimately to overseas export markets.  This sad scenario has been playing out since just before Christmas and is continuing right here in Schoharie County.
I have spoken to many of those who have been served or are looking over their shoulders knowing they will be next. Many are elderly and living on fixed incomes. Some are in poor health. Almost all are frightened, angry and depressed. None of them deserve it.
They are learning not only about a horribly unjust system that allows a corporation to raid the private property of average citizens but also prevents most people from defending themselves. For these landowners the condemnations will play out in Federal Court where the rules prevent landowners from recovering the cost of their legal defense. Consequently, few can afford to hire attorneys that charge $250-$300 per hour to fight eminent domain.  So most of the landowners will give up and watch their land devalued and the dreams they had for their properties extinguished. After that, they get to live next to a pipeline build by companies with horrific safety records. I have listened to the heart wrenching story of a an elderly woman who promised her late husband that she would preserve the land he loved in its natural state only to learn that her promise will be forcibly broken by a pipeline company who will clear cut a nearly 100’ wide swath through her woodlot, gardens and meadow. I have heard the story of the retiree who saved his entire life to build a modest home in the country – on the spot that may be a pipeline right-of-way kept barren for the next 30 years by regular applications of herbicides. As the unfortunate ones watch the machines clear their land, they won’t be able to take solace in the knowledge that the assault will be over soon. Instead, a second pipeline is poised to serve them with legal papers and take even more of their land.
When I talk about pipelines I talk about the disgrace of a corporation seizing private property – something that should not happen in a free country. I also talk about apathy or political cowardice shown by most of our elected officials who ignore the reality of pipelines and mindlessly tout “jobs” that won’t materialize or repeat meaningless phrases like “energy independence” which ring so hollow as to be insulting.
When people talk about pipelines they should talk about those who will be harmed. They should calculate the cost of a pipeline not in steel and earth moved but in how much people and community stand to lose and never recover. They should at least try to put a price on people made ill by the anxiety and fear of condemnation or the consequence of feeling helpless and unable to protect their home, investment, quality of life or the safety of their family.   

-- Robert Nied

Pictures: Massive Fire Engulfs Barn in Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 1/29/15 | 1/29/15

A tremendous farm burnt down a barn in Cobleskill earlier today. There were multiple fire departments on the scene. Photos credit the Schoharie County Fire Wire.


Silver Allegations May Lead to Obstruction of Justice Charges Against Cuomo

Sheldon Silver's role in the limelight are not over. While he will be leaving the Speaker's chair in the State Assembly Monday and undergo a grueling trial, he may have one more trick up his sleeve. Silver presided over one of the most dysfunctional state legislatures in the country, and allegedly used his influence to make millions of dollars.

However, the national media is reporting that there is concern that Silver's fall may also bring dwon Governor Andrew Cuomo. One suit alleges that Cuomo disbanded the Moreland Commission, meant to find improper pay for play in the legislature, due to Silver's influence:
The Silver-led state assembly then filed a court motion to quash the commission’s subpoenas related to legislators’ outside income. In exchange for allowing the campaign finance bill to pass,
Silver allegedly demanded that Cuomo disband the commission, according to the complaint against Silver
US Attorney Preet Bharara’s case against Silver has been buffeted by months of investigation. His statement that watchers should "Stay tuned" seem to indicate that more heads may roll very soon.

Woman Arrested for Window Tint, Marijuana

Savannah H. Rossman, 21, was stopped in the town of Gilboa for operating a vehicle with excessive window tint. During the traffic stop deputies noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and subsequently located an amount of marijuana inside. She was charged with having excessive window tint of over 70% light transmittance and for possession of marijuana. Ms. Rossman was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is scheduled to return to the town of Gilboa court on the above listed date.

Letter to the Editor: Time to Stand Up to Pipeline

I see where the Constitution Pipeline has created its first jobs for the county. Schoharie County Deputies are out serving papers notifying landowners that they now have become defendants and their land will be confiscated from them. Following right behind constitution is another land grabber Kinder Morgan who wants to run a pipeline through the same towns and they want a seperate easement. That means between the 2 pipelines a football field wide swath will have to be cut through our properties, woods, fields, and backyards thus bringing a pipeline even closer to our homes and drinking water. I can only hope the Schoharie Supervisors will not remain silent again as its residents get put through another nightmare Maybe with the new leadership on the board, they will take a stand and say enough already. Do we really want our county to become an interstate for pipelines? Chairman Lape did state that his number 1 priority was to protect the health and saftey of our residents. Well here is your chance Mr. Lape back up your words. Also Assemblyman Lopez before you start thinking about the next rung on the political ladder and riding down 95 south to Washington, HELP US!

Jerry Fiore
Summit

Middleburgh Town Board Member Hosting Coffee Discussions

After a six year absence "Coffee & Conversation" returns to Middleburgh.

Town of Middleburgh Councilman Brian DeFeo will be hosting Coffee & Conversation the first Saturday of each month from eight to nine am at the Middleburgh Diner. Residents with questions, comments, or concerns are welcome to stop in.

The idea behind Coffee & Conversation is to give residents an opportunity to meet with Town Officials, who otherwise may not be able to do so during the week or are reluctant to speak during the public comment section of the regular monthly meeting.

Son Arrested for Assaulting Mother Over Money

Written By Editor on 1/28/15 | 1/28/15

Brian P. Ouimet, 37, was arrested by State Police after an investigation into an incident at his residence. Ouimet resided with his parents and girlfriend in Duanesburg NY and it is alleged that on January 21, 2015, he requested cash from his 69 year old mother. She refused. The suspect is alleged to have then struck his mother in the head with a blunt object causing her injury. The victim was forced to provide the suspect with her ATM card in order to prevent further injury and keep from being assaulted again.


 The suspect then withdrew money from his mother's account. The suspect and his girlfriend fled the area in a vehicle owned by his parents. Ouimet was located on January 22, 2015 and arrested for Robbery 2nd degree and Assault 2nd degree. He was arraigned and remanded to the Schenectady County Jail in lieu of bail.


Middleburgh Man Arrested for Felony Credit Card Fraud

Briefly mentioned in the Cobleskill police blotter, more information is coming from the Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's Deputies arrested Jesse A. Colegrove on one count of felony grand larceny in the 4th Degree and five counts of felony forgery in the 2nd Degree. The arrest occurred following an investigation into a reported stolen credit card and unauthorized purchases. Deputies allege that after procuring the card, Mr. Colegrove made purchases at a number of establishments within the Villages of Middleburgh and Cobleskill. Mr. Colegrove was turned over to the Cobleskill Village Police who handled the charges from unauthorized purchases that occurred within village limits. He was released to reappear at a later date.

Silver to Leave Speakership Next Week

Sheldon Silver is out, at least for the time being. The NYS Assembly Democratic Party caucus is set to remove Silver from his position as speaker on Monday. He will be replaced with an interim speaker, Joseph Morelle, until a full election is held on February 10th.

Silver has been speaker since June 1994 and was indicted for his alleged role in steering millions in illegal contracts. While such activity has been suspected for years, documentation has come to light form a special prosecutor.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 1/27/15 | 1/27/15

Sunday, January 24

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Sean A. Ford, 24, of Coram on charges of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released to return to court on January 27.

Friday, January 16

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Jaylene R. Stowell, 22, of Richmondville on charges of driving while intoxicated, aggravated DWI, and other traffic tickets. She was released to return to court on February 17.

Thursday, January 22

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Jesse A. Colegrove, 22, of St. Johnsville on charges of three counts of second-degree forgery. He was arraigned and released to return to court on February 6.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Naiquon A. MacKey, 19, of the Bronx on charges of second-degree trespass. He was issued an appearance ticket and released to return to court on February 17.

Wednesday, January 21

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Nathaniel Lesinski, 27, of Sprakers on a warrant on charges of petty larceny. He was arraigned and released to return to court on January 27.

Letter to the Editor: Where is Seward and Lopez?

If there is one thing more upsetting and disheartening than having our land seized and eventually ravaged to bury this unnecessary pipeline. Which by the way serves no one who will have their land confiscated from them. It is the lack of support from my state and local officials. Of the 16 Schoharie County Supervisors only Gene Milone of Schoharie has stood steadfast in his opposition to this pointless pipeline, and I want to thank him for that. As for Senator Seward and Assemblyman Lopez your silence tells me everything, to you two. Thanks for nothing!


Jerry Fiore 
Summit 

Vote in Our New Poll: Lape as Chair

Written By Editor on 1/26/15 | 1/26/15

Make sure to vote in our newest poll on the sidebar. Do you approve of the County Board's decision to name Richmondville Supervisor Richard Lape as the new Board Chairman?

Winter Storm Warning from Monday to Wednesday

The area is could face anywhere from a medium storm to a massive snowfall, depending on estimates. The National Weather Service put out this warning:

...Winter Storm Warning remains in effect from 1 PM Monday to 1 am EST Wednesday...* locations...greater capital region...helderbergs...Schoharie County...Saratoga region...Glens Falls area and northern Washington County.* Hazard types...heavy snow.* Snow accumulations...8 to 14 inches.* Maximum snowfall rates...1 to 2 inches per hour.* Timing...snow will overspread the region from southwest to northeast Monday afternoon...and will continue heavy at times Monday night into Tuesday...before gradually tapering off late Tuesday night.* Impacts...dangerous travel conditions due to snow covered roadways and low visibility. Blowing and drifting snow will also be likely.* Winds...north 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.* Temperatures...in the teens.Precautionary/preparedness actions...A Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel...keep an extra flashlight... food...and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Keep track on our always updated weather page here.

Middleburgh Hosting Skating Day January 31st

Middleburgh is hosting a community ice skating day January 31st. The event, sponsored by the Rotary and Middleburgh Area Business Association will run from 5-8pm at the skating rink at Badgely Park. Hot drinks and popcorn will be available and the Middleburgh Firehouse will act as a warmup shelter.

Richmondville Man Arrested for DWI after Chase

Written By Editor on 1/21/15 | 1/21/15

The New York State Police in Cobleskill, NY arrested a Richmondville man for felony driving while intoxicated following a short pursuit that occurred in the Town of Richmondville.

Troopers arrested Mark T. Mcmahon age 49 of Richmondville for Felony DWI following a vehicle pursuit that began in the Village of Richmondville. Troopers allege that Mcmahon was originally stopped for a traffic infraction, before the Trooper could approach the vehicle Mcmahon drove away and led police on a short pursuit that ended on Rigley Road in the Town of Richmondville.



Mcmahon was charged with felony DWI, unlawfully fleeing a police officer 3rd degree and reckless driving. He was arraigned in the Town of Richmondville Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Correctional Facility on cash bail to return to the Town of Richmondville Court at a later date.

Gallupville Man Sentenced to Four Years for Forcible Teeth Pulling

Written By Editor on 1/20/15 | 1/20/15

Steven Walker, 35, of the Town of Wright was sentenced to four years in prison. He made headlines in 2013 for pulling three teeth from an developmentally disabled eight year old girl. He pleaded guilty to second degree assault in June and accepted an assault charge. The four years handed down by Schoharie County Judge George Bartlett was the maximum sentence.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Mark A Scofield, 40, of Sprakers on charges of driving while intoxicated. He was released to return to court on January 27th.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested a 16-year-old East Berne boy on charges of petty larceny. He was issued an appearance and released to return to court on February 10.

The Cobleskill State Police arrested Clifford H. Swart, 32, of Berne on charges of unlawful possession of marijuana after a traffic stop in the Town of Middleburgh. He was released on an appearance ticket to return to court on January 21.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Benjamin J. Urrey, 27, of Cobleskill on charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, failure to obey a police officer, and traffic tickets. He was arraigned and sent to jail in lieu of $15,000 bail or $45,000 bond to return to court on January 27.

Thursday, January 15 The Cobleskill State Police arrested Johnnie D. Brown III of Middleburgh on charges of driving while intoxicated and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation after a traffic stop in the Town of Middleburgh. He was released on traffic tickets to return to court at a later date. Wednesday, January 14 A joint investigation by the Schoharie County Department of Social Services, the Sheriff’s Office, and the district attorney’s office resulted in the arrest of Kellie Rabbitt, 42, of Cobleskill on charges of welfare fraud and offering a false instrument. It is alleged that income as a home health aide was not reported on applications for assistance which resulted in benefits being fraudulently issued.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Nicole Kruger, 21, of Cobleskill on a warrant on charges of failing to appear for a court date. She was arraigned and released to return to court on February 10.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Margaret VanHoesen, 43, of Richmondville on charges of petty larceny. She was arraigned and released to return to court on January 27.

Tuesday, January 13 The Sheriff’s Office arrested William Harran, 36, of Richmondville on a parole warrant. The Sheriff’s Office, state Parole, and U.S. marshals executed the warrant at an apartment in Richmondville. Mr. Harran allegedly absconded from parole in June 2014. Mr. Harran has been jailed awaiting further proceedings.

Poll: Public Split on Effects of Fracking

Written By Editor on 1/18/15 | 1/18/15

With gas prices plunging across the country, the effects of fracking are split among Schoharie News readers. Some want the practice elsewhere with a similar number declaring that gas prices should not be a factor. Even was the idea about environmental degradation versus local fracking.

 Have Low Gas Prices Affected Your View on Fracking?

- Yes-- it's fine but not in my backyard 15% - 17
- Yes-- perhaps we can drill here 35% - 40
- No-- it shows how much the environment has been degraded 35% - 40
- No-- who cares about low gas prices? 14% - 16
113 total

Richmondville Man Arrested for Parole Violation

Written By Editor on 1/16/15 | 1/16/15

A 36 year old Richmondville man was arrested on Tuesday on a Parole Warrant.

The Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Parole, along with the U.S. Marshalls executed the Parole Warrant on 01/13/2015 at an apartment in the Town of Richmondville, and located and arrested a William Harran who had absconded from Parole in June of 2014.

Mr. Haran has been incarcerated at the Schoharie County Sheriff’s awaiting further court proceedings.

Drug Arrest in Middleburgh

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested a Berne man for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana following a traffic stop in the Town of Middleburgh.

Clifford H. Swart age 32 of Berne New York was arrested and charged with Unlawful Possession of Marihuana following a traffic stop. During the stop it was determined that Swart was in possession of approximately 2 grams of marihuana. Swart was released on an Appearance Ticket to return to the Town of Middleburgh Court at 6:00 pm on January 21, 2015.

Middleburgh Man Arrested for DWI

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Middleburgh man for Driving While Intoxicated following a traffic stop in the Town of Middleburgh.

Johnnie D. Brown III was arrested and charged with DWI and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 2nd following a traffic stop in the Town of Middleburgh.  Brown was initially stopped for a traffic violation and further investigation led to the listed charges.  Brown was released on traffic tickets and is scheduled to return to the Town of Middleburgh Court at a later date.

Conesville Receives over $30,000 for Park Project

Written By Timothy Knight on 1/15/15 | 1/15/15

Conesville received a $32,500 grant from the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee. The Town has received the money to continue with improvements to the Town Park. This will include the restoration of the walking tack, access to the Manorkill at two points for fishing and recreation, and the installation of exercise fit stations. Design for the stream bank remediation is continuing with a tentative start date of mid-summer planned.

The project was announced by Town Supervisor Bill Federice who has been working to reverse creek issues and improve the standard of living for residents.

Knight: Je Suis Charlie

Written By Editor on 1/14/15 | 1/14/15


The world watched in horror last Wednesday as radical jihadists launched a deadly assault on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper published in France. Twelve people were killed, but millions of French citizens marched in support of freedom of speech just days later in Paris. 

Untold amounts of ink and web space have already been devoted to the motivations behind the attack, the western world's response to this unexpected assault on freedom of expression, and the very rude awakening Europe suffered as a result of this appalling terrorist act.

However, there is one question that remains unanswered: what now?

Journalism - regardless of which form it takes shape in - is not an easy business. There is a constant threat of lawsuits, negative comments from readers and politicians unhappy with your reporting, and pressures to report the news as fast as possible while remaining accurate. 

But never before, until last Wednesday at least, was the possibility of being the target of a coordinated terrorist attack ever on that list... And now that it is... What now? 

I get that the circumstances surrounding Charlie Hebdo are special, due to the controversial nature of the publication, but if the media's ability to offend by means of cartoons has been placed on the "potentially hazardous to your health," list. Where will the slippery slope end?

That is a question I cannot answer, but it does deserve a follow up: as a society, western culture has long treasured the right of a free, impartial, and truth seeking press to serve as our collective fourth estate, however, what happens when that fourth estate becomes afraid to do its job?

Again, I do not have the answer to that very troubling question... 

We live in uncertain times, as terrorism remains a threat to our daily existence and, in some cases, the very act of drawing a cartoon or taking a unpopular stance could draw that very real existence to your front door step. 

That is a threat that many a good journalist is unable to tolerate, for fear of their personal well being or that of their family, or even that of their newspaper. However, the day that fear becomes the norm and the norm becomes an inability to offend, is the day we all lose this battle. 

I don't know what all of you say, but as for me: Je Suis Charlie.



Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum February 7th

The first Saturday in February, people from across the region bundle up and head to Hanford Mills Museum for its annual Ice Harvest Festival. Using historic tools, children and adults can walk out on the frozen mill pond to cut and maneuver blocks of ice. The ice blocks are pushed up a ramp and then loaded onto sleds, which are hauled to a traditional ice house.

The Ice Harvest Festival, which runs 10 am–4 pm on February 7, includes a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. The SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team will be making ice sculptures. The Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited will teach visitors how to ice fish on the mill pond. Visitors can warm up by outdoor fire pits, and also at the soup buffet, which features soups from area restaurants. At the Hanford House, which shows family life in the 1920s, visitors can play tabletop games and see historic cooking demonstrations. Throughout the day, films of ice harvests from the1920s-1940s will be screened. The festival also includes horse-drawn sleigh rides and blacksmithing demonstrations.

“We call Ice Harvest the region’s coolest tradition. There is a great spirit of community as everyone joins together to fill the ice house,” says Liz Callahan, the Museum’s executive director. She noted that the popular Disney movie Frozen opens with an ice harvest.  “Frozen fans are invited to come participate in a real ice harvest, and impromptu sing-a-longs are very welcome.”

The Museum Shop will be open, offering Mill-made crafts, traditional toys, books and local products. Local food and craft vendors onsite will include: Ate.o.Ate Food Truck (snacks and lunch items), Byebrook Farms (Gouda cheese), Promisedland Farms (knitted hats, mittens and more), LeRoux & Co. (handmade soaps), and Cooperstown Distillery (tastings).

Up until the early 20th century, ice harvesting was an essential winter activity in rural communities. “Before refrigeration, ice was the only way to keep food cold,” explains Liz Callahan, executive director of Hanford Mills Museum. “Ice blocks were cut from frozen rivers and ponds and then stored until the warmer months.” She said that area farmers used the ice to keep milk and other agricultural products cold, and also as an item to sell.
Callahan noted that the Ice Harvest Festival can attract more than 1,200 people. “It’s a great way to beat cabin fever.”

The ice harvested at the festival will be used to make ice cream at the Museum’s Independence Day Celebration on July 4.

See the website for more information, hanfordmills.org. This event is wheelchair accessible.

Admission and Information

Children 12 and under receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $9; senior admission is $7. AAA and other discounts available. Museum members receive free admission. Those living in zip codes (13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806) neighboring Hanford Mills also receive free admission.

About Hanford Mills Museum

Hanford Mills Museum operates an authentic water- and steam-powered historic site. The mission of Hanford Mills Museum is to inspire audiences of all ages to explore connections between energy, technology, natural resources and entrepreneurship in rural communities with a focus on sustainable choices. The museum, which is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places, will open for the 2015 season on May 15.

Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 County Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware County Routes 10 & 12, just 10 miles from Oneonta, and 15 miles from Delhi.  For more information, visit www.hanfordmills.org or call 607-278-5744.

Rabies Clinic on January 24th

The SC DOH will be holding a Rabies Clinic on Saturday, January 24, 2014 from 1-3pm at Richmondville Volunteer Emergency Squad (RVES), 388 Main Street, Richmondville. Vaccinations are available free of charge by Cobleskill Veterinary Clinic. Donations to offset clinic expenses are appreciated.

Snowmobile Safety Course January 17th

SC OES Safety Officer is holding a Snowmobile Safety Course on January 17, 2014 from 8am and 4pm, at the Main County Office building (Basement), Schoharie. This safety course is intended for youth between the age of 10 and 17. All persons attending should register at 518 296 8606. A safety certificate will be awarded after passing a test at the end of the course.

Pictures: State Plow Catches Fire on Route 20

These photos are coming to us via the Schoharie County Fire Wire page. A New York State DOT plow caught on fire on Route 20 near the intersection of Route 145 in Sharon Monday. The driver appeared to make it out, although no word on injuries yet.



Cobleskill Rink Hosting Skate Day January 17th

Written By Editor on 1/13/15 | 1/13/15

Residents of Cobleskill are invited to come to skate at the community skating rink this Saturday.


Photo: Rollover Crash in Carlisle

A rollover crash in Carlisle Sunday caused scares but no major injuries.

Photo credit: Schoharie County Fire Wire

Apple Barrel Holding Fundraiser for DAR House January 29th

The Apple Barrel is continuing its role in local giving by hosting a major fundraising push later this month. The event, known as 'Cabin Fever,' will be held to assist the Daughters of the American Revolution house on Main Street, Schoharie.

The event will include a dinner, shopping, raffle, wine tasting, and more.

Photo credit: Schoharie Promo Association

Schoharie, Middleburgh Skating Rinks Ready

While the lower temperatures may be putting a strain on local heating sources and energy bills, there is one upside for local residents.

Both the Schoharie and Middleburgh skating rinks have been filled and are open for use. Schoharie's is in the Fox Creek Park near the little league field and Middleburgh's is in Badgely Park near the fire house.

Photo credit: Schoharie Promotional Association

SALT Announces 2015 Goals

Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery has announced several resolutions for 2015 that read in part a new commitment for recovery.

Part of these projects includes:
THE TRAIL PROJECT: Building on a long held community vision with a SALT facilitated, multi-organizational effort around the Schoharie Creek. In 2015, with other partnering organizations and the community we will create a feasibility study for a 38 mile multi-use trail from Esperance to Blenheim as a vehicle for community driven economic renewal.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: The United Nations defines Community Development as “a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.” Going forward as we shift from recovery to renewal SALT will continue to seek out, facilitate and coordinate community development projects like the Trail Project.
ECONOMIC RENEWAL: 2014 saw many new businesses open post-flood across the county. 2015 will be the first full year that SALT is placing one of our VISTA members jointly at the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce to further support local business revitalization.
Find the whole list on their website.

Local Early Intervention Coordination Council Meeting January 20th

Written By Timothy Knight on 1/12/15 | 1/12/15

The next meeting of the Local Early Intervention Coordination Council (LEICC) will be held on

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, 3rd floor conference room #360 at the County

Office Building at 276 Main Street, Schoharie, NY.  All meetings are open to the public.


The LEICC was formed to advise the Schoharie County Department of Health in identifying

families with infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities so appropriate

intervention services can be provided.


For more information, contact the Health Department at 295-8705.

Letter to the Editor: Time for a Shakeup in Local Media

Dear editor,

As much as your publication seems mainly hinging on arrest reports and poor editorials, at least you publish letters sent to you. How many people in this county have seen their letters to the Times Journal thrown away and never published?

While we're talking about the oldest paper in the county, how many times do people need to get yelled at by their editor? The amount of business owners, public officials, and regular ol' people that she's cursed out has probably exceeded the subscription base. Well, at least she gets good pictures of people's behinds and half-filled parking lots from events. Makes you wonder what secret she has on old Jim anyway?

The Gazette doesn't seem to do much around here. The Mountain Eagle is useless. Any satirical crap from disgraced former kleptocrats is a joke (and not the way ol' Dan or any young former members of the Planning Department wants it to be).

So we the people of the county are seriously underserved. Maybe the Schoharie News can pick up its game. Maybe we can do something about corruption and local products. Maybe we should, considering not much is working now.

Richard "Halliburton"
Summit

Vote in Our New Poll: Affects of Gas Prices and Fracking

Make sure to vote in our new poll regarding the effects of falling gas prices, mainly due to fracking on your opinion of the practice.

Poll: Most See County as Corrupt

Readers believe by an overwhelming margin that corruption is still embedded in local government. In fact, a quarter believe that corruption today has surpassed even the levels under Cassandra Ethington several years ago.

Do You Think That Corruption Has been Removed from County Government?
Virtually all of it 2% - 3
 Mostly 10% - 17
 No 63% - 107
 It's worse than ever 25% - 42
 169 total

Middleburgh Man Arrested for Controlled Substance, Trespassing, and Harassment

Written By Editor on 1/10/15 | 1/10/15

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Middleburgh man and charged him with multiple offenses including a drug charge following a complaint of harassment in the Village of Middleburgh.

Troopers arrested Noel Ortiz age 37 of Middleburgh and charged him with Trespass, Harassment 2nd and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th following a complaint on January 6, 2015. Ortiz was charged after he allegedly threatened another man following an argument. During the arrest it was determined that Ortiz was in possession of a controlled substance. Ortiz was released on an appearance ticket to appear in the Town of Middleburgh Court on January 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Ortiz was arrested for heroin possession and driving with a suspended license in December.


Cobleskill Man Arrested for Trespassing, Harassment

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Cobleskill man following a domestic incident that occurred in the Town of Seward.

Troopers arrested Zachary W. Boggs age 41 of Cobleskill and charged him with Criminal Trespass 2nd and Harassment 2nd following a domestic incident. It was alleged that Boggs entered a residence without permission where he then made verbal threats to a female subject. Boggs was arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill Court where an Order of Protection was issued. Boggs was then released to appear in the Town of Seward Court on January 14, 2015 at 7:00pm.
 

Conesville Woman Arrested for Welfare Fraud

Sheriff's Deputies arrested Kimmarie Uhalde OF Conesville, NY for the class D felony of welfare fraud in the 3rd degree and the Class A Misdemeanor of offering a false instrument for filing in the 2nd degree. The arrest follows an investigation by the Schoharie County Department of Social Services Fraud Unit and the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office. The defendant was arrested and arraigned in the Village of Schoharie Court and Released to reappear on January 26th, 2015.

Letter to the Editor: Lape a Poor Choice for Chair

Written By Editor on 1/9/15 | 1/9/15

Dear Editor,
Congratulations, or should I say condolences to Dick Lape on becoming Chairman of the Board. I see the voting went right along party lines, guess I shouldn't be surprised. But one has to wonder if the best person was chosen for the job or did Mr. Lape just have more friends on the board? Another reason why this taxpayer does not have any faith in this board. This just proves to me that they all put their political parties first and the people of the county second. I am intrigued by the new Chairman's comment. His number one priority is to protect the health and safety of our residents. Does that mean he is against the land grabbing pipeline companies that want to take our land and ravage our county to bury 30 inch pipes in the ground to transport volatile gas somewhere else? I'd say that might be a health and safety issue to all of us. Will Mr. Lape back up his words and stand up and fight for the people or will he remain silent like Senator Seward and Schoharie's favorite son Assemblyman Lopez? Again, I am not surprised, but unfortunately this is the way career politician's work. Why take a stance or come out strong against anything that might affect your future political endeavors. After all, the rich people behind the pipeline companies might want to donate money to campaigns down the road. If a political office is not in one's future, there could always be a job. We all see who John Faso is working for. He tried to become a career politician, but he couldn't make it. However, I'm sure he is being well compensated by the Constitution Pipeline.

Thank you,
Jerry Fiore
Summit, NY

Temperatures to Fall Below Zero Wednesday Night

Written By Editor on 1/6/15 | 1/6/15

For the first time of the winter, all of the County will be plunged well below zero. The temperature forecasts for the different communities differ but the National Weather Service is reporting the following highs and lows:

Middleburgh: 11/-11
Schoharie: 16/-6
Cobleskill: 15/-7
Sharon: 13/-9
Jefferson: 13/-8

Keep it tuned to our always updated weather page for more info.

Wind Chill Warning Until 10am Thursday

Below is from the National Weather Service. Keep it tuned to our always updated weather page for more info.
...Wind chill warning in effect from 5 PM Wednesday to 10 am EST Thursday...
The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a wind chill warning...which is in effect from 5 PM Wednesday to 10 am EST Thursday. The wind chill watch is no longer in effect.
* Locations...southern Adirondacks...Lake George Saratoga region...eastern Catskills...Berkshires...and southern Green Mountains of Vermont.
* Hazard types...dangerously cold wind chills.
* Wind chill values...as low as 40 degrees below zero.
* Timing...Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.
* Impacts...the combination of brutally cold temperatures and brisk northwesterly winds will combine to create dangerously cold conditions for exposed skin.
Precautionary/preparedness actions...
A wind chill warning means the combination of very cold air and strong winds will create dangerously low wind chill values. This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken.

Sharon Man Arrested for McDonald's Theft

Palatine – Earlier this evening the State Police charged a 54-year-old man with stealing items from a patron at an area McDonald’s.

Roberto J. Acosta, 10/31/60, of 209 Main Street, Sharon Springs, NY was charged with one count of petit larceny this evening after surveillance video showed him leaving a Town of Palatine McDonald’s with another person’s backpack. Acosta initially made off with an iPad, iPhone, $200 in cash, and clothing before troopers were able to track him down on his cell phone. Acosta eventually turned himself him at the State Police barracks in Fonda without incident.

Acosta was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled for arraignment in the Palatine Town Court on January 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Frank Madl Jr., 33, of Cobleskill on charges of thirddegree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released to return to court on January 13.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Joseph Raymer, 23, of Berne on charges of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released to return to court ton January 13. Wednesday, December 31

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Benjamin Urrey, 27, of Cobleskill on charges of thirddegree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released after paying $400 bail to return to court on January 13.

Congressman Gibson to Retire at End of Term

Just entering into his third term this month, Congressman Chris Gibson has decided to not run for another. Gibson won last month with 65% of the vote over Sean Eldridge. There was no immediate statement why Gibson decided to do so.

Chair, Vice Chair Votes Totals Largely Fall on Party Lines

Written By Editor on 1/5/15 | 1/5/15

The voting for Chair and Vice Chair was largely a partisan affair today. Richmondville Supervisor Dick Lape received the vote of all ten Republicans (Amber Bleau is a registered Conservative that caucuses with the Republicans) on the County Board while Fulton Supervisor and former Chair Phil Skowfoe received six, all Democrats.

Chair
10- Lape (Richmondville): Lape, Bill Smith, Vroman, Jordan, Federice, VanGlad, VanWormer, McAllister, Bradt, Bleau
6- Skowfoe (Fulton): Milone, Shawn Smith, Buzon, Manko, Barbic, Skowfoe

Vice Chair
9- Bradt (Carlisle): Lape, Bill Smith, Jordan, Federice, VanGlad, VanWormer, McAllister, Bradt, Bleau
6- Skowfoe (Fulton): Milone, Shawn Smith, Buzon, Manko, Barbic, Skowfoe
1- Bill Smith (Broome): Harold Vroman

Lape Elected New Chair, Bradt Vice Chair

Richmondville Supervisor Richard Lape has just been elected the new Chairman of the Schoharie Board of Supervisors at today's organizational meeting. Larry Bradt of Carlisle was voted Vice Chair. We will report more as more comes out of the meeting

Vote in Our Poll: Corruption in Schoharie County

Vote in the poll on our sidebar and weigh in on whether or not corruption has been removed from the County government.

Letter to the Editor: Continue Fighting the Pipeline

Dear Editor, Neighbors and Friends,

The long awaited decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning the approval of the Constitution Pipeline comes as no surprise to many. For those of us at the local levels of government that did everything humanly possible to prevent this pipeline from running through our county, the decision is extremely disheartening. Our county board of supervisors, unfortunately, was fragmented on the issue, thus causing each town to find its own way. Our representatives at the next levels of government supported the entire concept and without their resistance the task of stopping the pipeline approval became monumental.

Our residents who are to be directly impacted by the pipeline routing understandably, will suffer devaluation of their properties as well as the constant worry that setbacks are not sufficient to insure safety in case of any compromise. Over the last 18 months I have witnessed many groups accept grant funding from representatives of Constitution and many of our land owners have signed off on easements and accepted the one time payout. For those land owners who have resisted, Constitution is now showing its true colors by mailing letters of intimidation to them. It is truly unfortunate that our county has in the past and is currently feeling the bullying powers of Big Energy because of the lack of unity among its residents and representatives.

It is extremely important for everyone to know that the effort to defeat this pipeline being placed in Schoharie County soil continues and the general public once again will be given the opportunity to voice its opinion at the upcoming public hearings to be held by DEC January 12, 2015 in Binghamton; January 13, 2015 in Oneonta and January 14, 2015 in Cobleskill at SUNY Cobleskill - Bouck Hall Theater at 6:00 PM. DEC must decide if it will issue the necessary permits for the pipeline to be built after evaluating what its possible effects will have on aquifers, ground water, storm water runoff, spring thaws and streams.

The DEC has just announced that it will prohibit hydrofracking in New York, because the Health Department has advised them that it will be quite awhile before the issue of health threats is fully researched and understood. All the dangers of leaks and pollutants in fracking also exist for gas pipelines near water sources. The people of Schoharie are so dependent on having safe, clean water and they need to let the DEC know that the issue of pipeline health impacts on water supplies also needs to be researched and understood. If people can’t make the meetings they can email their concerns to dec.sm.constitution@dec.ny.gov

Unfortunately, our nations’ economy has taken its toll on many households causing families to participate in projects of this nature, which normally they would not have. But, the fact remains that we all must fear the county becoming a corridor for pipelines carrying a product which the major portion of will be exported at our expense. Let us be reminded that there has always been strength in numbers and if we are to protect our landscape, environment and way of life, a coordinated effort between county residents and elected officials must be accomplished.

Gene Milone,
Schoharie Town Supervisor

Poll: Howe Caverns Proposal Was Flawed

Written By Editor on 1/4/15 | 1/4/15

Schoharie News readers believe by a small margin that the proposal prepared by Howe Caverns for a casino project was heavily flawed.

Why Do You Think NYS Rejected the Howe Caverns Casino?

Politics as usual 36% - 106
Howe Caverns' proposal had major flaws 36% - 107
Schenectady had better proposal 8% - 23 
All of the above 18% - 53 
Other don't know 2% - 7 
292 total

Winter Weather Advisory Issued for Schoharie County

Written By Editor on 1/3/15 | 1/3/15

The National Weather service has issued this warning:

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 2 AM EST SUNDAY... * LOCATIONS...THE EASTERN CATSKILLS...SCHOHARIE VALLEY...GREATER CAPITAL REGION...NORTHERN AND CENTRAL TACONICS...SCHOHARIE VALLEY...HELDERBERGS...AND THE EASTERN MOHAWK VALLEY. * HAZARD TYPES...ACCUMULATING SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.

Make sure to keep up on the weather at our always updated weather page.

DWI Arrest in Middleburgh

State Police in Cobleskill arrest man for DWI in the Town of Middleburgh following a traffic stop.

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested Carl E. Vanburen age 49 of Preston Hollow New York for Driving While Intoxicated following a traffic stop on State Route 145 in the Town of Middleburgh. Vanburen was initially stopped for multiple traffic infractions; further investigation led to the DWI charge. Vanburen was released on traffic tickets returnable to the Town of Middleburgh Court on January 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Esperance Man Arrested for Harassment, Criminal Contempt

State Police in Cobleskill arrested an Esperance man for multiple charges following a domestic incident in the Town of Esperance.

Photo: NYSP

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested Roger E. Sulem age 36 following a domestic incident in the Town of Esperance. Sulem was charged with Harassment 2nd and Criminal Contempt 2nd following a complaint where it was alleged that he threatened to strike a female during an argument. During the investigation Troopers determined that there was an active Order of Protection in place. Sulem was arraigned where he was released on his own recognizance to appear in the Town of Esperance Court on January 7, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Middleburgh Man Arrested for DWI

State Police in Cobleskill arrest Middleburgh man for DWI following traffic stop.

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested Zeth A. Porter age 33 of Middleburgh for DWI following a traffic stop in the Town of Esperance. Porter was originally stopped for a traffic infraction; further investigation led to him being charged with Driving While Intoxicated. Porter was released on traffic tickets to appear in the Town of Esperance Court on January 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Stop the Pipeline Files Request for Pipeline Rehearing

The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, representing grass roots organization Stop the Pipeline (STP), has submitted a request for a rehearing of the proposed Constitution Pipeline to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
In the 73 page document submitted to FERC, Pace contends that the FERC violated the Clean Water Act, the Natural Gas Act, National Environmental Policy Act and landowners’ constitutional right of due process when it issued conditional approval of the proposed pipeline. Pace’s filing is the 5th request for rehearing submitted to FERC by public interest groups and attorneys representing landowners.
The Center for Sustainable Rural communities applauds the efforts by STP and Pace to protect the health, safety, quality of life and property rights of Upstate NY residents. The Center urges landowners to continue to resist and reject efforts by the pipeline company to bully and intimidate them.
Landowners who have been served with condemnation papers by Constitution should consider seeking qualified legal counsel. While the Center does not provide legal advice or recommend specific law firms we can provide landowners with a list of law firms who have agreed to handle pipeline condemnation cases, including law firms willing to represent landowner groups in order to reduce the cost to individual landowners.
Landowners who have been served with condemnation papers by Constitution Pipeline can email: landownerhelp@ruralcommunities.org or call toll-free: 800-795-1467 for information about individual and group representation.
Area residents are strongly encouraged to attend one or more of the hearings to be held by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and express their concerns about the potential impacts of the Constitution Pipeline of area aquifers, rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and private water wells. Without a 401 Water Permit from DEC, the Constitution Pipeline CAN NOT BE BUILT.
Dates, times and locations for the DEC hearings are as follows:
Monday January 12th
East Middle School Auditorium
167 East Frederick Street
Binghamton, NY
Tuesday January 13th
SUNY Oneonta
Lecture Hall IRC # 3
108 Ravine Highway
Oneonta, NY
Wednesday January 14th
SUNY Cobleskill
Bouck Hall Theater
State Route 7
Cobleskill, NY

Local Young Cyclist Prepares to Bike across U.S. to Benefit Affordable Housing

Written By Timothy Knight on 1/2/15 | 1/2/15

This summer, Sophie Connor is joining Bike & Build, a national nonprofit committed to raising money and awareness for affordable housing, to ride her bicycle across the country with a team of 30 other young adults on the Northern United States route.

The journey will begin on June 13, when Sophie will report to Portsmouth, NH. Over the next 10 weeks, the Northern US team will pedal an average of 69 miles per day to Vancouver, BC and the Pacific Ocean, arriving August 27. Along the way, the riders will participate in volunteer build days with 10 different affordable housing organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, and small local housing nonprofits to help build affordable homes for families in need. Riders will build in towns like Buffalo, Madison, Minot (ND), and Whitefish (MT), among others. They will also advocate for the need for affordable homes for all Americans in the many host communities and pass- through towns along the way.

“I really feel like this trip is going to have a monumental impact, both on my life and the lives of others,” Sophie says. “It’s such a great opportunity to get involved in charity work. Plus, I can’t wait to see the countryside from the vantage point of a bike!” Sophie must fundraise at least $4,500 to support the trip. Much of that money is then donated to affordable housing organizations. The 2014 Northern US team donated $67,600; Bike & Build is confident the 2015 team can repeat or exceed that total. To support Sophie, visit her fundraising page at http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/7979. You can also mail a check to Bike & Build and write “Sophie Connor” in the memo.

“We are deeply proud of riders like Sophie who are so committed to the affordable housing cause that she is willing to raise much-needed funds and spend over two months biking across the country,” said Justin Villere, Bike & Build’s Director of Operations and Outreach. “Bike & Build provides the opportunity, but it is the riders who make the lasting impact in so many communities.”

The Northern US route is one of eight cross-country trips Bike & Build offers each summer. In total, roughly 300 18-to-28 year old riders will see and experience first-hand the affordable housing need in this country. In addition to volunteering with construction efforts at affordable housing sites, riders also meet with local officials and community members to discuss affordable housing issues. Riders will sleep in local churches, community centers, and schools, and will rely on the generosity of hundreds of community members for food, showers, and other necessities. When the trip is complete, many Bike & Builders have gone on to continue their commitment to service through their career choices or further volunteering.

Based in Philadelphia, Bike & Build is a non-profit organization that encourages young adults to address the country’s affordable housing crisis through organized bicycle trips. Trip participants support the affordable housing cause by fundraising and building efforts. Since its founding in 2003, Bike & Build has motivated over 2,600 young adult volunteers and contributed over $5.1 million and 185,000 volunteer hours to housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together to fund projects in the United States. For more information, visit www.bikeandbuild.org or call (267) 331-8488.

Letter to the Editor: Broken Local Government Shows Need for County Executive

New Year, same government in Schoharie County. Does anyone think 2015 will be any different? We will have a new chairman this year, my guess it will either be the Supervisor from Cobleskill or the Supervisor from Conesville. Fresh face, maybe new ideas, we have seen this all before. It doesn't matter who is holding the reins of the stagecoach, the wheels will eventually fall off. I am sure those who serve on the board are all fine people doing the best job they can. But after watching this futility for years it's obvious that this form of government is not working. And for the county to move forward there should be a change. The answer is not an administrator who will be chosen by this board, it should be a County Executive elected by the taxpaying citizens of the county.

 Jerry Fiore
Summit

Lawsuit Alleges State Illegally Using Confidential Data for SAFE Act Confiscation

Written By Editor on 1/1/15 | 1/1/15

A lawsuit is alleging that the state is using its authority under the SAFE Act to illegally target gun owners. Under one provision of the law the state is using data from medical professionals to construct a state database of at risk residents, as reported yesterday.

A federal class action lawsuit led by Donald Montgomery claims that such data is being compiled illegally. The suit occurred after Montgomery had his guns seized after checking into a Buffalo hospital for trouble sleeping. This happened despite him being both a retired law enforcement officer and veteran.

Montgomery is suing Governor Cuomo and several other state officials for what he believes is an unconstitutional law. His lawsuit alleges that the state compiles data from medical professionals without a subpoena and without knowledge of the person whose information is being shared. This is in conflict with years of medical confidentiality. The plaintiff calls this a "gross overreach."

The lawsuit also alleges that the number of people listed as being unfit to own guns has been called "too low" by Governor Cuomo in October.

The suit alleges that the law unfairly punishes patients for voluntarily visiting mental health professionals, especially targeting former military and police.

If Montgomery et al wins the lawsuit, the portion of the SAFE Act dealing with such mental health provisions will be overturned.

Text of the lawsuit can be found below.

Cuomo Inaugurated for a Second Term

Governor Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated for a second term today, declaring that he would take further action over the next four years.

The event took place at the World Trade Center site and was well attended. The Governor announced that he had accomplished much in his first term and would eclipse it in his second.

The New York Times quotes the Governor as saying, "It’s time to be bold, my friends. Because there are no small solutions to big problems."


Photo credit: Governor's Twitter Account

State Minimum Wage Rises to $8.75

The state minimum wage rose from $8.00 to $8.75 yesterday, as part of an agreement of the state legislature. On December 31, 2015 the wage will further increase to $9.00. The legislature is considering a further increase to $10.10, while Governor Cuomo's administration is considering a further increase for workers under the wage, such as waiters.

Multiple states have wage increases coming into effect for the new year.
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