Eagle Shot, Wildlife Rescue Offers $1,000 Reward for Arrest of Those Responsible

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/30/15 | 4/30/15


Appalled by the shooting of a young bald eagle in Otsego County this past weekend, the Middleburgh based New York State Wildlife Rescue Center is offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.

Shot near New Lisbon, a rural small town north of Oneonta, the eagle was brought Saturday evening to Wes Laraway, managing director of the wildlife center, whereupon he took immediate action to keep the bird alive. Actions which included giving the bird pain medication and wet packing the bullet wound.

Transported to the Cornell Wildlife Clinic for treatment and surgery the following morning, the bald eagle was saved, but it will unfortunately be grounded for the rest of its life, which may last for as long as forty more years.

Personally disgusted by the act, Laraway at-first offered a $200 reward for information on his personal facebook page starting Monday night, but drawing a wide range of support from friends and supporters alike, the bounty quickly rose to a thousand dollars in just a few days and it is still growing.

Commenting that he started the reward because shooting the eagle "was a horrible thing to do," Laraway hopes the culprit will be brought to justice and that it will "deter someone from doing it in the future."

Nearly going extinct due to contact with dangerous pesticides and a lack of nesting sites only forty-two years ago, the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of endangered species in 2007 after its population rebounded. However, the national symbol of the United States remains protected by three separate laws.

Laws that could lead individuals accused of capturing, killing, shooting, or wounding a bald eagle to face up to $250,000 in fines or two years in prison if convicted on the federal level. Civil penalties may also include the possibility of fines or jail time.

Although happy that the bird is alive, Laraway is sorry that it will have to spend the rest of its life out of the air, but he accepts that it is better than the alterative. Saying that the crime was unacceptable, the wildlife rescuer was baffled that someone would use the national symbol for target practice.

If you or anyone you know has any information regarding the shooting of the bald eagle, you may contact the New York State Department of Environmental Protection hotline at 1800-847-7332. Reward posters are available by contacting Mr. Laraway at laraway@midtel.net for a pdf copy. 

Gibson Attends Weekend Band Concerts

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/29/15 | 4/29/15


The Schoharie Valley Concert Band and the Depot Lane Singers collaborated for two special shows this past weekend in Schoharie County, with Friday's being attended by Congressman Chris Gibson and his two daughters. 
Congressman Gibson (right)
 talking with clarinet soloist
Brittany Bertola and her dad.

On Friday evening, April 24 at 7:30pm, they appeared together in the Schoharie High School auditorium, and again on Sunday afternoon, April 26 at 3pm, at the Cobkeskill-Richmondville auditorium.

DLS performed two selections from their upcoming "Tributes" concerts, America, The Dream Goes On and The Armed Forces Salute. Members of the audience were asked to stand when their service song was played, and there was great applause when they did so.

As a special feature of the Sunday concert, there was an appearance by the Fabulous Beekman Boys (Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell), introducing a piece called The Sharon Polka. It was a 19th century piece, composed by Theodore C. Clark of Canajoharie, for the "Lady Visitors of Sharon Springs."

Cobleskill Woman Arrested for Criminal Trespassing


New York State Police in Cobleskill have announced the arrest of a woman for Criminal Trespassing after she entered a home looking for her ex-boyfriend.

Troopers report that Donna M. Taylor, age 52, of Cobleskill, New York, entered a residency uninvited and unannounced while the residents were not home. A friend of the residents was home and found Taylor, who was asking if her ex-boyfriend still love there.

Taylor was arrested for Criminal Trespassing in the Second Degree, a class A Misdemeanor. She was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Cobleskill Court on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015.

FEMA Approves County Bid to Relocate Jail

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Chris Gibson today announced that, following personal appeals, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has approved of the framework that will finally allow Schoharie County to relocate its Public Safety Building away from the Schoharie Creek and out of the flood plain. Schumer, Gillibrand and Gibson explained that this important project has been delayed for years after the building was severely damaged during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Schumer, Gillibrand and Gibson said that Schoharie County and FEMA Regional staff recently came to an agreement over a framework for the total project cost of $37 million, which includes $1.5 million in insurance proceeds. The project will have a 75% federal cost share. On Tuesday, Schumer made a personal call to Administrator Fugate, where he urged Fugate to provide this final seal of approval of this framework, which will now finally allow this project to become a reality. Gillibrand also wrote Fugate in February urging him to expedite FEMA’s review of the County’s multiple requests.

“After four years of bureaucratic hurdles that were put up by FEMA, we were finally able to break through the red-tape. Now, Schoharie County will finally be able to receive the federal funding it needs to relocate its vital Public Safety Facility and get this long-overdue project underway. I was proud to go to bat for Schoharie, and that is why I personally called Administrator Fugate to urge him to swiftly approve this framework and funding,” said Schumer. “Schoharie County has already waited too long, but now, we can finally say this project is headed toward the finish line. Thanks to the perseverance of Bill Cherry, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, and their consultant, Ron Simmons – who have all worked on this tirelessly since the day the building flooded four years ago – we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I am pleased to announce that FEMA has finally heard our calls to move Schoharie County's public safety facility out of the flood plain and has approved the framework that will fully fund the relocation plan,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I toured the area after the storm and saw firsthand how important it is that this critical facility gets moved out of the flood plain. I wrote Administrator Fugate on multiple occasions urging him to expedite FEMA’s review and respond to the county’s requests. I fought for years to help get Schoharie county through this red tape so they can relocate this critical facility and now this long overdue project can finally move forward.”

“This is wonderful news for the taxpayers of Schoharie County and the hard-working men and women of the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Department,” said Congressman Gibson. “They have persevered with abundant strength, dedication, and community spirit in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and the loss of the public safety building. For over three years now, my staff and I have been honored to work with representatives at every level of government to see that federal authorities provide Schoharie County with the support and assistance it deserves. Those efforts have paid off here, and I want to express my gratitude to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo, Senator Seward, Assemblyman Lopez, Andrew Feeney and his team at the State Emergency Management Office, and a host of local officials, especially Sheriff Tony Desmond and County Treasurer William Cherry. We will continue to work together to see that our first responders have the resources they need to keep our communities safe, and that the ongoing flood recovery mission continues with the federal support that is required.”

“The people of Schoharie County deeply appreciate the strong and rock-solid support shown by Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Gibson for the relocation of our flood-damaged Public Safety Facility.  This important project will guarantee that such a vital facility and emergency response center will never again be left vacant and inoperable at the critical moment when it will be most needed should we face another disaster.  Thanks to their combined leadership and consistent support, FEMA will now allow us to accomplish that goal, and the fact that each of these officials have personally intervened on our behalf with FEMA Director Fugate to bring this process to a successful conclusion, certainly means a great deal to all of us involved in this very important project,” said Bill Cherry, County Treasurer and Flood Recovery Coordinator.


Schumer, Gillibrand and Gibson explained that before the storm the Schoharie County Public Safety Facility performed critical public safety functions for the surrounding community. Specifically, the Public Safety Facility housed county inmates, the Sheriff’s Department and road patrol operations, the county emergency operations center, and the 911 emergency communications coordination center. During Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, the facility suffered massive damages, with floodwaters reaching the ceiling. Most operations have been temporarily relocated as the majority of the building remains uninhabitable.

Mburgh Canoe Race Attracts Hundreds

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/28/15 | 4/28/15


Set on the majestic Schoharie Creek, the Middleburgh Sloughter Canoe/Kayak Race attracted over one hundred participants and hundreds more of spectators as nine classes of competitors took part in the five mile course on Saturday afternoon. 

Lining up at the Fultonham parking area on Route 30 and finishing at the new Middleburgh pavilion in Timothy Murphy Park, racers encountered fast but cold waters thanks to last week's unseasonably cool weather and rain/snow showers. 

Organized by the Middleburgh Rotary Club in coordination with MCS Booster Club, West Fulton Rod & Gun Club, Middleburgh Rod & Gun Club, Knights of Columbus, Boy Scout Troop 2, and area State Parks, Saturday's event was the second in a throwback to the canoe races of the seventies and eighties sponsored by the Middleburgh Rotary Club.

Racers of varying age groups and degrees of expertise from across the Schoharie Valley, Schoharie County, and region participated in the event, which awarded class victors with bragging rights and medals. 

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department and Middleburgh firemen were on scene to provide assistance with traffic and in case of emergency on the water.

Lopez "Seriously Considering" Run for Congress


New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R-Schoharie) is at the center of recent rumors concerning a possible congressional bid to replace outgoing Congressman Chris Gibson, but as of Friday evening the lifelong Schoharie resident has yet to make a final decision. 

Explaining that "Ultimately it boils down to my family," Mr. Lopez told The Schoharie News that he is seriously considering a campaign, but that he is weighing several factors before jumping into the race. 

Citing a "sense of urgency in the community" concerning flood recovery, common core, and the unpopular SAFE Act, the five-term representative said that he would not run unless he could "remain focused on my job as an Assemblyman, because that's my highest priority." 

The Catskill based Daily Mail set off a firestorm on Wednesday, April 15th when they inaccurately reported that Lopez had officially announced a run for Congress, while the Oneonta Daily Star wrote an article the same day disputing the Mail's story. 

In addition to the Schoharie native, who is seen as a hometown son by many in the county, State Senator Jim Seward, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, and former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso have also been mentioned as potential Republican candidates. 

Calling himself fortunate to be able to serve in six of eleven counties with the congressman, Mr. Lopez praised Gibson as an "intelligent, thoughtful man who works hard for his community." 

Although surprised by Gibson's decision to retire after having just won re-election handily in November over Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge, the assemblyman believed that he was just being honest with his constituency. 

Driving over one thousand miles per week across the 102nd Assembly District, Lopez said that "folks are fragile these days," and that they are facing questions every day on whether they have a job, a roof over their head, or a education for their children. 

Still, despite the long hours and hard work, Lopez considers his position in the assembly to be a privilege; one that he approaches with a sense of urgency as one-third of the calls his office receives still concern flood recovery, even as the fourth anniversary of Irene nears. 

Explore Nature Trails at the Iroquois Indian Museum May 23

Howes Cave, New York - The Iroquois Indian Museum, in partnership with the Audubon Society of the Capital Region, presents a Bird Walk and a live birds of prey show starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 23. 

Everyone is welcome to this free public event at the Museum.

Join members of the Audubon Society while exploring the Museum's hiking trails. Be sure to bring your binoculars to see what spring migrating birds are in the museum's forest and fields.

"There is so much to see on the Nature Trail at the Museum. Having members of Audubon Society with us guarantees an enhanced experience for our guests," said Iroquois Indian Museum Director Stephanie Shultes.

The local chapter of the National Audubon Society is dedicated to the protection, conservation and enjoyment of birds, wildlife and the environment in the Capital Region.

After the walk, you can take a seat in the museum's new, outdoor pavilion and enjoy a Live Birds of Prey show at 10:30 a.m., presented by Kelly Martin, president of the New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. The council is a not-for-profit, statewide organization that has been in existence for more than 20 years.

Seward: Turn on Natural Gas in Cobleskill

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/27/15 | 4/27/15

ONEONTA, 04/27/15 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) is urging the New York State Department of Public Service to act quickly on a request from New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) to extend natural gas service within the Village of Cobleskill.

“Affordable energy can be a true game-changer when it comes to attracting new businesses and jobs to our region,” said Senator Seward.  “By extending a natural gas line within downtown Cobleskill, current employers and new businesses, along with residential customers, will all benefit.”

Due to a quirk in NYSEG’s franchise, a portion of the village’s center, including the theater and the developing Bull’s Head Inn, is without access to natural gas.  NYSEG is seeking to extend its line to the un-served village center.

In a letter to NYS Department of Public Service Secretary Kathleen Burgess, Senator Seward also expressed the importance of a quick approval, “Further, I am asking that the case be placed on an expedited timetable so that construction of facilities as contemplated in the application can be coordinated with a pending state Department of Transportation street project within the village and the subject area.  Timely approval would avoid the unnecessary and costly reconstruction of newly installed road improvements planned for the 2015 DOT project.  Therefore, time is of the essence.”

The NYSEG extension would connect to an existing gas main.  If approval is received by July or early August, NYSEG will be able to work in conjunction with a planned road widening project. 

According to NYSEG, there are approximately 25 potential customers along the proposed gas main extension route.  Company officials expect to connect 12 residential and 3 commercial customers during the first year.

“Downtown Cobleskill has so much to offer, great shops and restaurants, a diverse population, and a welcoming atmosphere.  Extending natural gas to Main Street and Park Place will further enhance the marketability of the area and pay dividends for years to come.” Seward concluded.

Local Man Arrested for Pot Possession


The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office has announced the arrest of twenty year old Alexander J. Mitchell of East Berne, New York for the Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.

Arrested during an investigation into a separate incident on Friday, April 24th at 3:12 p.m., Mr. Mitchell was released on an appearance ticket to appear in the Village of Schoharie court at a later date.

Mitchell is set to return to Village of Schoharie court on Monday, May 11th. 

Vroman's Nose Inspires New Business


Linda and Tom Quinn have lived at the foot of Vroman's Nose for eleven years now, where they have observed a steady stream of hikers and visitors the natural monument receives over the course of the spring, summer, and fall months. 

Initially observing the steady flow while operating a printing business, the Quinn's knew the hiking trail was special. However, after the devastating floods of Hurricane Irene destroyed their print shop, the Nose became more than just special: it became their livelihood.

Launching Under the Nose in September of 2014 as the hiking season was drawing to a close, the nature themed bake and gift shop became an immediate hit with not only hikers on the trail, but with the surrounding community, particularly in nearby Middleburgh.

Commenting that opening the gift shop has "always been a dream," Linda Quinn told The Schoharie News that although she and her husband had interest in the project, it just "never seemed like a feasible way to make a living." 

That changed when the print shop went under. 

Constructing and designing the Under the Nose building himself, Tom Quinn was described by his wife Linda as the "reason why this place is here." The building itself has a homey atmosphere to it, akin to what grandma's house would feel like on summer visits. 

An atmosphere that is matched only by their product. Featuring "all fresh made sweets" of many varieties, the bake shop is complemented by a wide array of pottery, quilts, photography, and even Little Schoharie Treasures - rocks special to the Schoharie Creek. 

Most if not all products available at Under the Nose are locally made. 

Having opened officially this past weekend, the Quinn's shop will remain open to customers through December except on Tuesday's and Wednesday's, with the store closing down for the season before Christmas. April 1st will be their typical season opening. 

In addition to investing their own money into the business, the Quinn's have received grant funds, but what surprised them most of all was the outpouring of support from the community, including the Chamber of Commerce and nearby businesses in Middleburgh. 

Approaching the business with an attitude that they want to make the economic pie bigger for all in the valley, rather than fighting over the last piece, Linda said that she and her husband are working hard to give back to the community, to whom they are grateful for.

For more information on Under the Nose you can visit their facebook page here.

Schoharie Welcomes Three New Businesses


Community representatives and public officials welcomed the addition of three new businesses to the Village of Schoharie on Friday afternoon with ribbon cuttings to commemorate their recent business openings.

Grampa George's Dugout:  Teresa VanAlphen, owner. 434 Main Street.  
Offering 40+ flavors of hard and soft ice cream. Open 7 days a week, Noon to 9 PM.  
Organized by Schoharie Promotional, ribbon cuttings were held for Grampa George's Dugout at 434 Main Street, Your Way Cafe at 434 Main Street, and Victoria's Grooming at 291 Main Street. 

Your Way Cafe:  Owner Darcy Gray.  Home style cooking and daily specials.  434 Main Street, Open Monday through Saturday 5:30 AM to 8PM and Sunday 7AM to 8PM.  295-6222.
All three events were attended by New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez, Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, and Village of Schoharie Mayor John Borst, as well as other business and community leaders. 

Victoria's Grooming:  Beth Chambers and her daughter, Madison McPherson, have located their pet grooming business at 291 Main Street.  Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 3:30 PM. 391-3100.

Sheriff's Office Seeks Info on Lawn Damage

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/25/15 | 4/25/15



The Sheriff's Office is looking for help from the public: 

On 4/24 the department received two complaints of lawns being damaged by a vehicle. Extensive damage was done to each and we are looking for any information that would identify the vehicle, driver or other participants. 

The incidents occurred on Rickard Hill Rd. in the Town of Schoharie during the evening hours of Thursday, 4/23. The vehicle is believed to be smaller than a full size truck and would have sustained damage to the undercarriage and possibly the front end. If you have any information please contact the Deputy Reinhart or Deputy Mazuryk at (518) 295-8114.

Schoharie Promotional to Break Ground on Lily Park

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/24/15 | 4/24/15

The Schoharie Promotional Association is planning to create a walking path and gardens using approximately three acres of village owned land located between Route 30 and Fort Road and Fox Creek and the Old Stone Fort cemetery.  This area, once known as Fox’s Dorf, is the entrance to the Village of Schoharie.  Close to the Fox Creek covered bridge, which already attracts many for its ideal photo opportunities, the plan is to create a gravel path, winding through the area, from Fort Road to Route 30.  
Once the path is completed, our vision is to fill the park with lilies.  We will be requesting residents, businesses, and organizations to assist us in this endeavor.  They will be asked to plant lily varieties around trees and along borders of the path.  Since lilies are easy to grow, we envision that many will transplant varieties from their own gardens, making this a true community garden.  Contributors can plant a given area for which they will receive plaques to be placed in their areas, inscribed with the donor names and types of lilies.  We will be reaching out to the three churches in our area to create a small labyrinth for quiet reflection in the lily park.  This project will be a community effort and one that the community can share for years to come.

The Promotional Association is focusing our efforts on the park this year.  The village crew has been in the area cutting dead trees and brush and filling in low areas.  With four landscaping companies in Schoharie, we are seeking their advice and help to accomplish the layout of the park area and path direction.  We plan to rely on volunteers for much of the work that needs to be done.  

The Village of Schoharie has received a NYS Department of State Grant in the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) which is a planning grant looking at ways to revitalize the community with connections to the water.  It is oriented to recreation and connections: enhancements at Fox Creek Park, better connection of the park to the Old Stone Fort, and linkages between (sidewalks and paths).   It has been recognized for many years that Schoharie needs to connect the south portion of the village to the north.  Along with connections, a objective is to create a path under the Route 30 bridge to connect Fort Road and the lily park to Fox Creek Park on the other side of Route 30.  Linking the north and south sides of the village will see more walking and jogging participants, as well as providing a safe route to Fox Creek Park, the Little League fields, the Old Stone Fort, and the lily park.  

Nearly four years after the devastation of flooding from Hurricane Irene, the Village of Schoharie struggles to recover. Along with flood recovery, Schoharie needs to focus on ways to improve its economy and to attract prospective home owners and businesses.  One attribute to capitalize on is the valley’s beauty.  Along with the village’s three museums – the Old Stone Fort, Palatine House, and Train Museum, and the popular covered bridge over Fox Creek, the Lilies of the Schoharie Valley Walking Path and Gardens will add another tourist attraction to bring needed tourist dollars to our area.

Opinion: Build the Bridge


For two months the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors has heard public comments and concerns on the proposed rebuilding of the Shady Tree Lane Bridge in the Town of Cobleskill.

Currently, the old structure stands as a useless span of rusted and unsafe metal from Barnerville Road to Shady Tree Lane, a visual reminder of the cost of government inaction almost seven years after the bridge was closed.

Some residents and supervisors are opposed to the new bridge because it would require the county to use the unpopular process of eminent domain, while others question the need to replace the structure altogether.

Supporters of the project have urged the county to move forward to reduce the time it takes emergency responders to reach Barnerville Road, which has been cut off before by train to both fire and ambulance squads.

Countless residents, many of whom are elderly, have personally testified to the dangers of not having this bridge in place, because minutes re-routing responders in an emergency situation could be the difference between life and death.

Not only that, but if the county does not move forward with the project it will cost local taxpayers approximately $400,000 in grants the county will be responsible to pay back. An additional tax burden we simply cannot afford.

Ultimately, when you look at the affected residents on either side of the creek, the only individuals opposed are those who will lose portions of their property. We sympathize with them, but there is a greater good to consider.

Take for instance the following example: say one of their elderly neighbors on Barnerville Road has a heart attack and a train is just then passing by, delaying emergency responders for five minutes and resulting in that neighbor's death.

A death that could be prevented by the construction of this new bridge. That is why, in this case, we favor the county's use of eminent domain and the immediate building of the Shady Tree Lane Bridge project to occur as soon as possible. 

Senate to Consider Companion Measure to Gibson Testing Bill

Washington, DC – The Senate will consider a companion to a bill authored by Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) that would empower state and local school systems by reducing the frequency of federally-mandated assessments.

The Senate bill was introduced this week by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), a former teacher.

“Families and educators across the nation agree the federal government’s testing regime is onerous and unfair, shifting classroom focus away from teaching and learning to testing,” said Congressman Gibson. “As thousands of New York parents opt to have their children sit out of these assessments, and as the Senate prepares to vote on updating our main federal education law, I am extremely grateful to Senator Tester for taking action. Our bill in the House continues to gain bipartisan support, and I am hopeful our efforts will finally put an end to the one-size-fits-all approach to testing.”

Congressman Gibson, whose military career included several years of teaching at West Point, re-introduced the Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act in January with Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9).

“The way to ensure good jobs and a strong economy is through an education system designed to teach students the skills they need to fill the jobs of the future,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Teachers should focus on the content their students need to master—not simply material for an upcoming standardized test. This common-sense legislation puts the focus back on learning and ensures students are ready to step right into the jobs we’re working hard to create.”

The House legislation currently has 32 bipartisan co-sponsors representing 19 states, including New York Congressmen John Katko (NY-24), Tom Reed (NY-23), Lee Zeldin (NY-1), and Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“As a co-sponsor of the Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act, I want to thank Senator Tester for offering a companion bill in the Senate,” said Congressman Zeldin. “This legislation will roll back federally mandated testing in our Long Island schools. I believe in higher standards, but we need to stop the over testing in our schools. Challenging our students is important, but they aren't guinea pigs. This is an important next step to shift the focus in our classrooms from testing to teaching and ensuring our children never lose their love of learning. I strongly urge Congress to pass this bill.”

The Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act replaces current annual testing requirements for math and language arts with the exact same grade-span testing requirements in current law for science classes.

This returns federal testing requirements to the once-per-grade-span standards in place before No Child Left Behind, when math and reading assessments were conducted once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-9, and once in grades 10-12.

The National Education Association (NEA), which represents three million educators across the country, announced its support for Congressman Gibson’s bill and the companion legislation introduced by Senator Tester this week as the Senate prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Letter to the Editor: Ignorance is Bliss

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/23/15 | 4/23/15

Dear Editor:
The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities recently sent a letter to the Town of Richmondville advising them of information obtained from the public record that indicates a potential link between contamination at a superfund site in Connecticut and the former Kivort Steel facility in Warnerville. Additionally, we reported statements made by Town officials regarding the site which suggests possible anecdotal knowledge and community concern about environmental issues at the site. We provided that information, which included a specific EPA Identification number, to ensure that the Town had all available information as they consider a request for a new junk yard permit for the site and a development plan, as is required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).  We were very clear that we had no first-hand knowledge of environmental issues at the site, nor were we alleging such issues, but were simply reporting information that we were aware of and should, as a matter of due diligence, be investigated.
The reaction we received was both surprising and concerning. The Town’s Code Enforcement Officer said he was unable to find the information we submitted, the developer’s representative indicated in an email (obtained under FOIL) that she looked for hours and was unable to find the information and the Times-Journal ran an editorial calling our letter a “stink bomb” and a “scare tactic.”  This is particularly odd given that a simple Internet search returns the same information we provided in less than 30 seconds, a 2 minute conversation with the Town of Richmondville Planning Board members could verify previous statements they made about the site, and a ten minute phone call to the EPA could validate the information provided by us regarding the superfund site.
In a 2008 letter to the Schoharie County Planning and Development Agency (also obtained under FOIL), a Senior Attorney for the NY State Department of State notes that complaints regarding junk yards (which the Kivort site was and is proposed to be again) “should be taken seriously and investigated. Once the municipality is on notice of a potential violation, a duty might very well exist to investigate it, whether or not the complainant has been identified.”
So why would those in receipt of the information not be willing to take a few minutes to verify it? We can only guess that having no information is preferable to having information that requires them to actually do something. If ignorance is bliss, there are some folks in our community, including public officials, who prefer to remain eternally blissful.   
Bob Nied
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

Pet Talk Column: It's National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Welcome to my column dedicated to pets of all shapes and sizes. Here, you will find topics dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of pets and their owners. I will be including topics in hygiene, safety, training, behavior, breeds and species, funny stories, recipes and tips and tricks. I am a licensed Veterinary Technician and have worked with animals professionally for 17 years now. I’ve seen and helped animals in the clinic setting, emergency room and people’s homes. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with you each week and hope you find something that helps you and your pets out.
National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

In an era when there’s a national day, week, or month for almost everything, it’s understandable that this announcement lacks the pizzazz of an announcement like National ice cream day. To many people, pet first aid isn’t a very interesting topic, until their pet is hit by a car; suddenly choking on a toy; ingests a toxin; or any number of other incidents that can occur. 

Animals are surrounded by constant hazards and accidents can and do happen. The best thing you can do as a pet owner, is be as prepared as possible. An emergency situation can be handled much faster and more appropriately if an owner has resources like a pet first aid kit and a list of important phone numbers. Important numbers that should be kept handy are; your veterinarian, emergency animal clinic, poison control and a friend who is willing to help you in an emergency. The 24hr Animal Poison Control number is (888)-426-4435.  

Just like us, most pet accidents happen in or near the home. Some of the most common accidents are; toxic ingestion, hit by a vehicle, eye injury, fight wounds, birthing problems, wild animal encounters and near drowning. A pet first-aid kit can be easily created by you at home, to keep on hand, so it’s easily accessible in an emergency and when you call animal poison control. The AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) states that 25% more pets would survive if just a single pet first aid measure was applied prior to getting proper veterinary care.

Below are the following items that should be in your kit:
Rubber gloves
Hydrogen peroxide 3% (Make sure it’s within the expiration date) (To induce vomiting)
Liquid hand dish-washing detergent (Dawn, Palmolive)
Teaspoon/tablespoon set (to measure ant. of peroxide.)
Benadryl (diphenhydramine tablets 25mg w/o other ingredients)
Corn syrup
Dosing syringe or turkey baster for giving peroxide
Can of tuna in water or jar baby food (chicken)
Bulk bandage material (gauze roll, telfa pads, bandage tape)
2 Towels (For warmth, protection or bolster)

Remember, before using anything in your kit, please contact your veterinary professional or poison control hotline. Remember: STAY CALM!

Lorraine Fancher, LVT

Middleburgh Canoe Race set for Saturday

The Middleburgh Sloughter Canoe/Kayak Race will take place on April 25, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. This 5 mile downriver race takes place on the majestic Schoharie Creek.  Registration and starting line will be at the Fultonham parking area on Rt. 30 in the town of Fulton (about 14 miles south of Interstate 88). The finish line is at the new Middleburgh pavilion in Timothy Murphy Park, just south of the intersection of Routes 145 & 30.

This course is better suited to well-used stock and rec boats than to newer carbon pro-boats.  A well-worn comp cruiser would be a good choice, also. Of course, downriver kayaks are made for this race. With the high water this year, it should be fast and exciting.


Managed by the Middleburgh Rotary Club in coordination with MCS Booster Club, West Fulton Rod & Gun Club, Middleburgh Rod & Gun Club, Knights of Columbus, Boy Scout Troop 2, and support from State Parks in our area.


Refreshments will be sold at the Timothy Murphy Park (finish line).

There will be 9 classes: Canoe – 2men, 2women, man/woman, Adult/Student (under 19), Kayak – Man, Woman, Student(<19)Male, Student(<19) Woman - Cruiser

The race is run on a 5+ mile strip of the Schoharie Creek from a parking area on Route 30 to the bridge at Middleburgh. Depending upon the weather the trip can be adventuresome (fast with high water) or just fun (not so much water).

The race was sponsored by the Middleburgh Rotary Club in the 70s and 80s and was “restarted” in 2014. The 2014 event was well received with more than 100 participants, good weather and good water.

For more information about registration forms and applications, please contact James Spencer at poppop@midtel.net or 518-827-4448.

From SUNY Cobleskill to Churchill Downs: Coby '14 Grad Works With Kentucky Derby Qualifying Horse


Starting to ride when she was only fifteen years old, Paige Montayne always wanted to be involved with horses from her early childhood, but little did she know that it would lead to her working with a Kentucky Derby qualifying thoroughbred. 

Graduating from SUNY Cobleskill last May with a Bachelor's in Technology in the Animal Science program, Paige has since had the opportunity to work for George Weaver in Elmont, New York, with Assistant Trainer Blair Golen. 
A girl and her horse.
Paige poses with Tencendur.

It is there that she started working with Tencendur, a three year old colt nicknamed Monster for his impressive stature. Placing second in the Wood Memorial earlier this month, Tencendur earned a spot in the big race at Churchill Downs next weekend. 

Describing the thoroughbred as a war horse, Ms. Montayne is responsible for ponying Tencendur when trainer Blair Golen takes him out on the track. Although a presumptuous horse, Paige said Tencendur just "keeps getting better and better."

Originally from Saratoga Springs, Montayne use to ride her bike by the Saratoga Race Track for fun. She had always wanted to ride horses when she was young, but her mom had "tried everything possible to not have me ride," a battle which Paige won in the end. 

Calling herself lucky for having grown up in Saratoga, a "horse lovers dream" by her account, Ms. Montayne moved on to SUNY Cobleskill where she rode on the hunt seat team and was awarded a scholarship for two straight years by the New York Breeders Thoroughbred Development Fund. 

The gravity of Tencendur's success, however, has not been lost on Paige. 

Excited because "not many people get to the experience this," Montayne has nothing but love for the thoroughbred, who she admiringly described as a fun horse that loves to play and jump around a little bit. 

However, her time with Tencendur is drawing to a close. Resuming her role as a veterinary assistant for Teigland, Franklin and Brokken back in Saratoga Springs, Paige will not be accompanying Tencendur and company to Kentucky for the coming race.

Still, having had the opportunity to work with a thoroughbred of Tencendur's potential less than just one year after graduation from Cobleskill, Ms. Montayne has already accomplished more than most in her field ever will. 

Reflecting on her time with the derby qualifier, Paige commented, "I am very lucky to have worked with him."

State Police in Coby Conduct "Operation Hang Up" Campaign

Written By Timothy Knight on 4/22/15 | 4/22/15


New York State Police stationed in Cobleskill have recently conducted a six day Operation Hang Up campaign to combat distracted driving. 

From April 10th to 15th Troopers in Cobleskill issued 16 tickets for operating a motor vehicle while talking or texting on a cell phone or using an electronic device.

This initiative is part of an ongoing effort to stop distracted driving and stress the danger of operating a motor vehicle while using electronic devices. Troopers plan to continue their efforts throughout the year in order to make New York's streets and highways safer.

According to statistics, approximately 23% of all auto collisions in 2011 involved the use of a cell phone. That equals out to roughly 1.3 million car crashes. 

Three Running for Middleburgh Library Board

On April 28th, 2015, the Middleburgh Library will hold a Budget and Trustee vote  from noon to 8 p.m. at the Middleburgh Library, 323 Main Street, Middleburgh.  Two vacant trustee seats will be filled by popular vote from three candidates running for the board.  Find out a little bit more about each candidate below:
Debra Bechtold:  I have been a Middleburgh resident for 27 years. My husband Mark works for MCS, my son Ryan is a 2014 graduate of MCS and son Cameron is in the Class of 2016.  I enjoy being involved with the community. Over the past 20 years I have coached, been involved with the Booster Club and operating the game clock at basketball games. I am also involved with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schoharie County, as a Master Gardener.
I am the Marketing Director for Cobleskill Auxiliary Services, Inc. at SUNY Cobleskill.  I have also been involved in the Graphic Arts field over 25 years. One of my pet projects at the moment is showing the world Schoharie Valley with Visions of Schoharie Valley (facebook).

The library has always been important to our family and I want to be a part of helping it continue to grow and evolve into a larger part of the community.

Cathleen Berry and her other half, stained-glass artist Robert KarlesKent, moved to Schoharie County in January 2013 to help support the flood-recovery efforts in the county. Cathleen runs Grindstone Press & Graphics, located in Middleburgh. The “press” side of her company specializes in publishing of quality children’s books, educational cookbooks, back-to-basics living, and small-business image. The “graphics” half focuses on design and illustration for print and online use.


Last year, she designed and produced The Seasons of Schoharie County, an independent tourism magazine she distributed to surrounding counties to spotlight some of the hidden gems of our county. Cathleen donates her time and graphics abilities to local nonprofits and helps local businesses develop new marketing ideas.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, and spoiling their rescue cats.

As a member of the Middleburgh Library Board of Trustees, Cathleen will bring her enthusiasm, creativity, and “why not?” attitude to the table.


Veronica Lindsey:  I moved to the state of New York in 1976 from Las Vegas, NV to attend high school in Cobleskill. I graduated in 1980 and also attended SUNY Cobleskill and graduated in 1982 with an AAS in Accounting.

I have worked several jobs, over the years. The main occupations were as administrative assistant for the Cobleskill Campus Child Care Center until 1990 when I took a job with the State Insurance Fund. By 1991 I took a promotion and began working for the Dept. of Taxation and Finance in Albany, where I currently work as a tax regulations specialist I. I work with corporate tax forms, updating them based on new legislation, etc.

I learned to read when I was 3 (from the Sunday funnies) and have never stopped. I usually have 2 or 3 books going at a time, plus an audio book.  Since I became a member of Middleburgh Library I have borrowed many books, as I’m sure my account will show. They know me now when I walk in and ask if they have a book for me!

I’m also very interested in genealogy. I’ve been using ancestry.com for several years now and have thousands of individuals in my tree. I haven’t used the library’s genealogy room yet, but plan to in the future. In fact, I’m attending a workshop tonight at the library to learn about what I need to do to become a member of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). I have many ancestors on my father’s side of the family that lived in New York and in Schoharie County. The ancestor that I plan to use to become a member of DAR lived in Schoharie County and was a sharp-shooter for the Black-Plumed Soldiers, Charles Carl Neer.



I’m looking to get more involved in the library and the community.

Mine Kill Hosting "I Love My Park Day" on May 2

Please join Parks and Trails New York, the Friends of Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State Parks and thousands of volunteers from across the state on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, from 9am to 3pm, for a great day of fun and service during I Love My Park Day.  Participants will have the opportunity to make a difference at one of the best kept secrets in the northern Catskills –Mine Kill State Park.  To pre-register, please go to http://www.ptny.org/ilovemypark/ , go to www.nysparks.com or contact the Mine Kill office at (518) 827-8690 for more information.
Mine Kill State Park is located in the scenic Schoharie Valley overlooking the New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project.  The reservoir provides excellent fishing and boating opportunities.  The eight miles of trails, including trails from the Park to the NYPA Visitor Center such as the nationally designated Long Path, are great for hiking, biking and birding.  Cascading 80 feet through a narrow gorge is the picturesque Mine Kill Falls for which the Park is named.  Mine Kill also features the only 18-hole/36-basket, permanent disc golf course at a state park in the Saratoga-Capital Region.    
During I Love My Park Day, volunteers will plant shrubs and trees as part of a beautification of the park entrance and picnic areas, thanks to generous contributions from Home Depot of Oneonta, NY. Participants can also join forces for some much needed trail maintenance along the eight miles of trails in addition to the newly constructed disc golf course.  Assistance is also requested along the Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir to help pick up trash and debris along the waterfront. Volunteers are encouraged to bring work gloves, a water bottle and comfortable clothing. All other tools and equipment will be provided by the park.

There will also be a picnic barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers, and refreshing beverages sponsored by Stewart’s Shops.  The barbecue is free to all I Love My Park Day volunteers!  Other snacks and vegetarian options will be provided by the Friends of Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State Parks.  Registered volunteers will receive complimentary Stewart’s Shops refreshments as well as a commemorative I Love My Park Day 2015 t-shirt and other free giveaways.




I Love My Park Day is coordinated at the statewide level by Parks and Trails New York in partnership with New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Friends groups and park staff will oversee cleanup, improvement and beautification projects and work alongside volunteers.  

I Love My Park Day is sponsored statewide in 2015 by LL Bean, AT&T, Brookfield, the Corning Incorporated Foundation, The New York State Business Council, Price Chopper and America’s Best Value Inn.  Locally, I Love My Park Day at Max V. Shaul is sponsored by the Friends of Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul Group, Stewart’s Shops, Home Depot- Oneonta and the Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District.

About Friends of MK & MVS State Parks: The Friends of Mine Kill & Max V. Shaul State Parks are proud supporters of preservation, education, and recreation at the parks. We volunteer often at the parks, and assist in programming and development of the parks for present and future generations. Our group is open to everyone who enjoys Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State Parks, and we hope that you will join us.



About PTNY: Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide organization working to preserve and enhance a network of parks, greenways and trails for all New Yorkers for generations to come. Since 1985, our influential reports and advocacy efforts have been critical to keeping parks and historic sites open and protecting New York’s natural, recreational, cultural and historical resources. For more information, visit www.ptny.org.
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