The Schoharie View: The Future is Bright

Written By Michael on 7/31/15 | 7/31/15

SUNY Cobleskill has gone through some tough times as of late.

This past May's commencement continued a worrisome string of graduating classes that have made their walk without a president of their own to congratulate them. Sure, there have been acting and temporary figures at the helm, but it is just not the same in a position where there has been a vacuum in leadership.

The good news is: this is about to change.

After almost two years of steady leadership by Doctor Debra Thatcher, who served effectively as acting president for the college, SUNY Cobleskill welcomed its first full time president since 2011 with the start of Doctor Marion Terenzio's tenure on July 1st.

However, as our own Joslen Pettit reported on July 7th, "Terenzio will be stepping into a difficult position as Cobleskill has a frequent turnover rate due to weak leadership."

Although I was admittedly excited to see the university welcome a new, full time president into the fold, it wasn't until I sat down with Doctor Terenzio last week that I knew the college had made the correct choice in selecting her as its new leader.

Blessed with a wealth of knowledge from both inside and out of academia, Terenzio was eager to not only further engage the campus with the community, which has been a short coming of previous administrations, but to expand on what the college already exceeds in on both the agricultural and liberal arts sections of campus.

Furthermore, in addition to the doctor's visible eagerness to begin her work, Terenzio surprised me with her desire to learn from others. Discussing the college before we began the interview, she took out a notepad and began scribbling down my suggestions and thoughts as we talked. Leaving her office, the impression that she is open to all trains of thought in moving SUNY Cobleskill forward, made me that much more invested in seeing her succeed as an alumnus.

Good impressions speak measures and the good doctor left me with a sense of optimism for the campus. However, with a staff of alums, students, and professors that have been engaged with that university, we will be watching her progress with great attentiveness.

Timothy Knight,
Editor and Publisher,
The Schoharie News.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015.

Inside Focus: Meet New SUNY Cobleskill President Doctor Marion Terenzio

By Timothy Knight

COBLESKILL - After serving for years as a revolving door, the presidency of SUNY Cobleskill has a new full time occupant.

Taking charge as the rural university's first non-temporary president in four years on July 1st, Doctor Marion Terenzio steps into her new role with an eagerness to build on the successes of the campus while utilizing her experience from multiple disciplines to chart the college's best possible course moving forward as SUNY Cobleskill's twelfth president.

Although Doctor Terenzio has received one baccalaureate degree, two master's, and one doctorate in the fields of music therapy and community psychology, she said that she truly "began my education when I started playing the organ at the age of five." There, she added, is when she learned how to coordinate her mind and body in educational study.

Education being the "largest social movement in which a society can be engaged that builds...at the community and individual levels," according to the new president.

An educator long before entering the administrative portion of academia, Terenzio's background never quite matched the main stream. Her educational path took her down both the roads of theory and action, where on one hand she became a professor at the age of twenty-four, while also working as a music therapist, which she credited for teaching her how to learn from others.

Describing her experience of working as a music therapist with children with disabilities as "the most profound educational experience of my life that shaped me," Dr. Terenzio said that she learned the power of diversity and that it has become one of her strongest influences.

Just weeks into her position, the new president admitted that "if you ever asked me if I waned to be a college president: it was never on my radar."

Doctor Terenzio would go on to state that her resume has always been outside of the norm of academia.

However, so has SUNY Cobleskill's string of tumultuous years following the failed presidency of Don Zingale, who was disgraced by the State University Faculty Senate Visitation Team in 2011 for having issues with personal interaction, ineffective communication, and inconsistent management. Following Zingale's departure, the college has had a series of acting and temporary heads.

Launching an exhaustive search process that lasted several months, the university selected Terenzio earlier this year to replace acting president Doctor Debra Thatcher.

Although she believed her resume to be out of the norm, Terenzio's experience as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Bloomfield College caught SUNY Cobleskill's attention, and thus far, so has SUNY Cobleskill for its new president.

Commenting, "I'm not here to change SUNY Cobleskill but to enhance what's already here," Dr. Terenzio described the college's academic offering as unique for its applied learning in liberal arts and the hands on experience that is agricultural technology.

One of Terenzio's biggest goals during her presidency "is to help bring SUNY Cobleskill forward to the community," where the college can, "become a very good neighbor and partner."

Identifying potential avenues of connecting with the community such as by helping a business through the Start Up New York program, engaging with area school districts, or inviting residents on campus for open houses, the community oriented president emphasized that, "I want to get to know the people."

Particularly the student body.

Seeing her job as not just to lead, but to be a symbolic presence for the students, Doctor Terenzio wants to "be there as a mentor and role model" because "we're here together to enhance their future."

Together with a diverse faculty that Dr. Terenzio describes as exceptional due to the success stories of students who have passed through their classrooms. Commenting that the faculty's love for SUNY Cobleskill "speaks volumes," the president stated, "the faculty are the front-line educators of youth."

Just a few short months away from the college's centennial, Doctor Terenzio has stepped into her position with a college on the verge of both marking a significant historical milestone and of turning the corner from a series of recent administrative lows.

Concluding that "It's not just the faculty, but the entire institution of faculty and staff," President Terenzio remarked that they have already shown her, "their extreme willingness to do what it takes."

Esperance Moves Forward on Town Projects

Written By Michael on 7/30/15 | 7/30/15

By Joslen Pettit

ESPERANCE - Last Thursday the Esperance Town Board approved several important municipal projects, including: a municipal sewer, restoration of Village of Esperance Firehouse Rescue Facility and Town Hall, as well as the Arboretum Shelter Emergency Structures.

These projects are all part of the continued efforts to rebuild the village as well as protect it from future flooding with help from GOSR, the new acronym for the New York Storm Recovery Resources Center.

The projects include the construction of a municipal sewer system for the Village of Esperance. Restoration of the Town Hall and the Firehouse Rescue Facility, which were both damaged. As well as the construction of emergency structures at the Arboretum. The Esperance town board unanimously approved supervisor Earl Van Wormer III to sign off on these applications. The town board were hopeful that these projects would help aid the community as they had done before and in the case of the new structures ensure their continued safety from heavy storming.

In other news, the Esperance town board:

• Discussed a possible tax raise after spending far over projected budget on snow removal in the town of Esperance over the last winter. The town board is reluctant to go through with the change, taking pride from being one of the lowest taxed towns in the county. However, if the coming winter proves to be as intense as the last in terms of snowfall the board may have no choice. Town supervisor Earl Van Wormer III voiced his reluctance to go through with the change, “No one could have possibly predicted we would exceed the money allotted for last winters snow removal, but we do have some options we need to consider before raising the taxes.” No changes will be made as of yet, as the board is hoping the coming winter may not take such a heavy toll on their budget.

• Appointed Robert Bensinger and Richard Benninger to the planning board as permanent members. This action was taken after two planning board members resigned.

Conesville-Gilboa to Hold Annual Garage Sale August 1st

The Conesville Fire Department Auxiliary will be hosting the Annual Conesville Gilboa Garage Sales starting August 1st at 9:00.  Over thirty homes will be offering for sale a wide variety of items in this increasingly popular event with more participating locations each year.  
Maps of the participating homes will be available at the Conesville Firehouse, 1292 State Route 990V, Conesville Town Hall at 1306 State Route 990V, Gilboa Town Hall at 373 State Route 990V, Clark’s Restaurant at 653 State Route 990V and the Manorkill Store at 684 Potter Mountain Road.    
During the event breakfast, hot dogs and refreshments will be available at the firehouse and starting at 11:30 the Conesville Methodist Church directly across from the Fire House will have a Chicken Barbecue and Bake Sale.

A fun and interesting day in beautiful Southern Schoharie County.  

Schoharie Republicans Pick Slate for November

By Schoharie News Staff

SCHOHARIE - Republicans in the Town of Schoharie selected their slate of candidates for the upcoming general election inside a standing room only caucus on Thursday night.

Joined by several high ranking GOP officials, including Judge George Bartlett, Schoharie County District Attorney James Sacket, and Assemblyman Pete Lopez, the party faithful were tasked with nominating candidates to run for Town Supervisor, Town Clerk, two Town Councilmen seats, and Town Highway Superintendent.

Nominated by County Clerk Indy Jaycox for Town Supervisor, longtime Schoharie County GOP Vice-Chairman Chris Tague was praised for his moral character and qualifications for the position, which is currently held by Democratic incumbent Gene Milone.

With no opposition, Tague was nominated unanimously.

The most contentious moment of the evening came when the party faithful was tasked with nominating two candidates for the Town Councilman seats.

Currently held by incumbent Republican Councilmen Richard Sherman and James Schultz, Sherman decided against seeking his fourth term on the Town Board, while Schultz was nominated and seconded for his second term. Also nominated for the positions were local businessmen John Wolfe and Floyd Guernsey.

Because there were three candidates for two positions, paper ballots were distributed to caucus goers to cast their votes and nominate the top two vote recipients.

During the vote counting process, Town Councilman Alan Tavenner spoke to the crowd about his longtime colleague Richard Sherman's many years of dedicated service on the board.

After the voters were counted, it was announced that the two nominees to take the councilman ticket would be Mr. Guernsey and Mr. Schultz. Both men gave a few words of thanks.

Also nominated at Thursday's caucus:

- Incumbent Town Clerk Pamela Foland
- Incumbent Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Weideman.

County Closer to Admin

Written By Michael on 7/29/15 | 7/29/15

By Schoharie News Staff

SCHOHARIE - Schoharie County is one step closer to hiring an administrator.

Set to conduct interviews with seven candidates this week, Conesville Supervisor and Administrator Committee Chair Bill Federice reported at Friday's county board meeting that those seven had been selected from a larger pool of nineteen applicants.

Commenting that the seven are "really good candidates," Federice explained that only ten of the original applicants were qualified for the position and that the list was further shortened based on their resumes.

Whomever the administrator is, their list of responsibilities are likely to be a little bit bigger than previously expected.

With the recent announcement by Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry that he would be stepping down from his appointed positions as Budget Officer and head of Economic Development, Mr. Federice said that he believed the new admin will have a role to play in both positions.

Established after more than fourteen months of public debate and committee research, the county administrator will serve as a full-time public officer to oversee the daily activities of county government, ending the county's status as one of the few entities without such an official in the state.

Beginning yesterday with a series of interviews conducted by the Administrator Committee and members of the Community Stakeholders Committee, applicants for administrator will go through a thorough interview process that is expected to be wrapped up by next month's county board meeting.

Where, approximately nineteen months after the first motion was brought forward to create the position, an administrator may be officially hired to oversee a divided county government that could not even agree for fourteen months on whether or not an administrator was needed in the first place.

Bleau Motions to Rescind Seebold Contract - Supers Vote No

By Timothy Knight

SCHOHARIE - It was deja vu all over again at the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Friday morning, where the location of the Public Safety Facility was discussed for the fifth time in three months.

The debate was assumed over after a packed public hearing was held on the issue on Monday, July 6th, where residents for and against the facility's location voiced their opinions, but it came back in full force despite not being on the agenda and led to an unsuccessful attempt to rescind the county's contract with Seebold Farms.

Raising concerns that "apparently there was some agreement before the meeting," resident Jim Nass voiced disappointment with the county board's lack of response following the public hearing, which he said was just silence.

Supported by a handful of residents who continue to object to the jail's location, Nass accused Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry of not answering any of his or the county board's questions related to the Seebold site or how the scoring process was conducted.

Nass would further allege that "the Seebold site did not have a total site evaluation" because three acres of wetlands were added to the proposed site's parameters later, sparking the resident to declare, "we lied to FEMA."

After more than three and a half years of battling with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to relocate the facility out of its existing position in the floodplain, Schoharie County received the go ahead in late April, but ever since has been embroiled in a battle against its own residents.

One of the leaders of the residential opposition, Lynn Basselan, followed Mr. Nass by suggesting a proposal that the county reach out to the emergency management agency and request an extension to the project's timeline, which Basselan said has been used as a reason not to reopen the site selection process.

Beginning once the county signed the contract to purchase the disputed site in May, the county is on a forty-two month timeline to design and complete the $37 million facility, which will house the Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, and the county jail.

The early morning display didn't end there, however.

Speaking on behalf of his town board, Jefferson Town Supervisor Sean Jordan addressed several of their concerns about the proposed facility's current site, including the cost and how the deal was structured.

"The Jefferson Town Board requests that the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors should reconsider placing it there," read the supervisor, before further adding that the county board "consider county owned sites, especially on the Fire Training Center."

Wright Town Supervisor Amber Bleau quickly concurred, arguing that the county will "save money by putting the Public Safety Facility at the Fire Training Center," which Bleau said could allow firefighters and first responders to have classrooms for training.

Ms. Bleau would then make a motion to rescind the county's contract with Seebold's, which was seconded by Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon.

Questioning Ms. Bleau's point that she did not have the opportunity to read the site evaluation report before voting on naming Seebold as the primary site last June, Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone remarked, "I guess there are some of us who have not done their jobs."

Recognized by a supervisor to speak again, Mr. Nass pointed to the report and said that it was incomplete because it listed only one parcel of land and "not the additional three acres."

Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry responded by stating all of the land has always been included in the process.

Speaking for himself, Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith added that he had several lengthy discussions with Cherry concerning the jail site, and that, "no one has withheld the information from me."

With three supervisors absent, the motion to rescind the contract failed by a fairly wide margin.

Voting yes on the motion were: Amber Bleau of Wright, James Buzon of Middleburgh, Sean Jordan of Jefferson, and Harold Vroman of Summit.

Voting no on the motion were: Carl Barbic of Seward, Larry Bradt of Carlisle, Bill Federice of Conesville, Mr. Lape of Richmondville, Mrs. Manko of Sharon, Mr. Milone of Schoharie, Mr. Skowfoe of Fulton, Mr. Smith of Blenheim, and Mr. VanGlad of of Gilboa.

Supervisors McAllister of Cobleskill, Smith of Broome, and VanWormer of Esperance were absent.

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors later voted to award both Labella Associates a contract for achitectural and engineering services and BBL Construction Services a contract for construction management on the new Public Safety Facility.

Supervisors Bleau and Jordan opposed both contracts, while Barbic and Vroman only opposed the contract to Labella.

The award proposals were submitted by members of the recovery team, while includes Bill Cherry, Doug Vandeusen, Ron Simmons, Dan Crandall and Steve Dyer.

Coby PD Announce Wal-Mart Arson Arrest

Written By Timothy Knight on 7/28/15 | 7/28/15

COBLESKILL - The Cobleskill Police Department has announced the arrest of Michael D. Deyo, 51, for the recent arson of the Cobleskill Wal-Mart.


Deyo was arrested after an investigation into an intentionally set fire that occurred at the Cobleskill Wal-Mart store on 07/19/2015 at about 11:00 pm. Surveillance video showed Deyo intentionally set the fire inside of the store using flammable liquids he obtained from within the store. The video also showed him prepare the scene of the fire in such a way as to impede firefighting operations. At the time the fire was set, the store was open for business and there was an estimated total of 50 employees and customers within the store. Everyone inside was evacuated without injury. Deyo fled the scene of the fire on foot in an unknown direction.
Deyo, who is homeless, was arraigned by Judge Gary Bywater in the Town of Cobleskill Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Correctional Facility on $50,000.00 cash bail or $100,000.00 bond. Deyo is to return to the Town of Cobleskill Court on 07/28/2015 at 5:00 pm for further proceedings.

The Cobleskill Police Department was assisted in making the arrest by the Schenectady Police Department.

Broadband Pep Rally Planned in Lexington

Written By Michael on 7/23/15 | 7/23/15

LEXINGTON - The Town of Lexington Broadband Initiative is pleased to announce a Broadband Pep Rally. The committee will stage their Broadband Pep Rally for one hour during the Lexington Farmers Market at the Town of Lexington Municipal Building grounds, 3542 Route 42. The Pep Rally will run from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 and is sponsored by the Lexington Broadband Initiative in cooperation with its partners: MTC Cable, a subsidiary of Margaretville Telephone Company, Western Catskills Community Revitalization Council, Catskill Watershed Corporation, and Greene County department of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning.

The Lexington Broadband Initiative is the outcome of community goal setting recognizing acquisition of high-speed, business capacity Internet and reliable cell service as essential to Lexington's future. Working under a Long Term Recovery Grant post Hurricane Irene, the Long Term Recovery Committee surveyed and met with residents in 2014 to set long and short term goals for the town, concentrating on safety in emergencies and revitalization.

Lexington is now poised to take advantage of "New New York Broadband 4-Everyone" expansion grants designed to help rural towns overcome obstacles to broadband coverage that arise from their geography or demographics. Lexington Broadband Initiative co-chair Bonnie Blader states, "Rural towns often do not meet the population formulae that bring broadband carriers to them for coverage. The Governor's proposed grants, a part of the 2015 Opportunity Agenda, take advantage of bank settlements the state has secured, to produce a 500 million dollar fund, available as a one to one dollar match, for providers and towns that succeed in forming partnerships."

At the Pep Rally, Lexington will host David Salway, Executive Director of the NY State Broadband Office; Senator George Amedore; Assemblyman Peter Lopez; Warren Hart, Director of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning in Greene County; Ann Mueller, Broadband Specialist in Congressman Gibson's office; county legislators Larry Gardner and Kevin Lewis; and the town.

The Lexington Farmers Market opens at 10AM on July 18 with music from Staber & Chasnoff, and a special cooking demonstration and tasting provided by NYC chef and part-time Lexington resident, Fred Sabo, Executive Chef of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Members' Dining Room. Lexington start-up West Kill Brewing, will provide tasting samples of their brew and Lexington's new business, Nina's Home Cooking, will feature a menu of Broadband-ly food items to enjoy.

For more information on this event or the Lexington broadband project, please contact Bonnie Blader, blader.bonnie9@gmail.com, 989-6211, or go to lexingtonbroadband.org.

Patriot Highlander Challenge to Host Fundraiser Dinner July 25th

Written By Michael on 7/20/15 | 7/20/15

COBLESKILL - The Patriot Highlander Challenge will be hosting its annual fundraiser dinner on Saturday, July 25th at the SUNY Cobleskill Ball Room to support Central, New York wounded veterans.

Set for 5:00 p.m. at a cost of $40 per ticket, attendees are encouraged to reserve via phone no later than Wednesday, July 15th.

According to their official website, the Patriot Highlander Challenge's goals are to "raise and donate funds to benefit wounded veterans and selected support networks located in the New York Capital District Region and North East, specifically Adaptive Sports Foundation(ASF). Provide monetary support for state-of-the-art adaptive sports equipment; help wounded veterans participate in ASF events promoting physical, psychological and emotional well-being."

Registrants can mail checks to Patriot Highlander, Inc., P.O. Box 776, Cobleskill, NY, 12043, or on their website at www.patriothighlander.com.

If you have any questions concerning the fundraiser, please contact Beth Gray at 607-376-2098.

Cobleskill Wal-Mart Closed After Apparent Arson Damages Store

COBLESKILL - Schoharie County's largest grocery store is closed after a suspicious fire occurred at Wal-Mart over night, prompting the Cobleskill Police Department to open an investigation into the matter.
Receiving the call at approximately 11 pm last night, the Cobleskill Police and Fire Departments responded to the scene. Upon arrival, all employees and customers had been evacuated from the store and no injuries were reported.
The Richmondville Fire Department also responded to the scene. The fire was contained to a small area of the store. The fire was suppressed and minimal fire damage was noted. There was also smoke and water damage noted to the contents of the store. The store is closed at this time, and it is not known when the store will re-open.
The Cobleskill Police Department was assisted at the initial scene by the New York State Police, the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, the New York State Environmental Conservation Police, and New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services OFPC Fire Investigators, the County Fire Coordinator, and members of the Schoharie County Fire Investigation Team (FIVES Team).
Once the fire scene was investigated, evidence showed that the fire was intentionally set by an unknown male suspect, who fled on foot in an unknown direction. The area was searched with negative results. The Cobleskill Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the incident, and the investigation is on-going at this time.
If anyone witnessed anything or may have any information regarding this incident, please contact Lt. Investigator Jeffery Brown at 518-234-2923.
Employees of the national supermarket chain were posted in the parking lot this morning and afternoon, alerting customers that the store is closed with no date of re-opening set as of now.

Cherry to Step Down From Additional Roles

SCHOHARIE - In an unexpected power shift, Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry has announced his resignation from two of his appointed positions in county government.

Informing the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors in an email two weeks ago that he would be stepping down from serving as Budget Officer and de facto head of Economic Development effective upon the county's hiring of an administrator.

Cherry's decision has come as a surprise to legislators, with some expressing private concerns that his departure will leave county government in a weaker position.

Having served as Budget Officer for eighteen of the twenty years he has held the position of Treasurer, Cherry told The Schoharie News that in light of his coming retirement after his likely next term, "If I don't make this transition now...I'll never be able to do it."

Further emphasizing that he believes the soon to be hired county administrator should take on the responsibilities, because they will "be the person to chart that course," Cherry again added, "I'm not going to be here forever."

Stating that the responsibilities of economic development "is absolutely a full time job in itself," Cherry pointed out that he had recommended that the county board increase bodies in the department when it was split from planning last December as part of the adopted 2015 county budget.

Believing "we need someone at the table everyday" for economic development, Cherry stressed that he just doesn't have the fuel in the tank. Typically starting his days at four in the morning and concluding his responsibilities near midnight, the official commented, "There's a limit to how much I can do."

Seen by some as the most powerful figure in county government at the moment, Cherry has attracted a legion of supporters and detractors on and off of the Board of Supervisors.

The satirical anti-Cherry website The Schoharie Onion welcomed the news sceptically, warning to its loyal fanbase, "Mr. Cherry cited his heavy workload as the reason [for stepping down], but we aren’t buying it."

Cherry is, however, remaining on board as the Flood Recovery Coordinator.

Commenting "we still have a great deal of work to do," Cherry listed the construction of the relocated Public Safety Facility, the implementation of flood gates around the county office complex, and the reconstruction of the Blenheim Covered Bridge as projects that are still in progress in flood recovery.

Reflecting on his decision to remain on board as Flood Recovery Coordinator, while stepping away from his other responsibilities, Cherry stated simply, "I feel that I'm needed in the county in that role more than the others."

Schoharie Extends Moratorium Through New Year

Written By Michael on 7/19/15 | 7/19/15

By Schoharie News Staff

SCHOHARIE - Facing an imminent lapse in the municipality's moratorium on heavy industry last week, the Schoharie Town Board voted unanimously to extend the moratorium through the remainder of the year on Monday evening.

Currently in the process of drafting a new set of zoning laws, the town has adopted a series of stop gap moratoriums to prevent the expansion of heavy industries previously prohibited under the old land use regulations.

Commenting that his law firm is "very close to having them done," attorney David Brennan said the new zoning laws will be sent in advance to the town planning board once they are finalized to begin the process of adoption.

The moratorium, which was originally set to be adopted at the regularly scheduled June Schoharie town board meeting but was delayed until last Monday, was approved 4-0 without dissent from council members. Town Councilman James Schultz was absent.

In other business, the town board:

• Voted unanimously to advertise in the Times Journal for a recycling attendant. Interviews will be held for submitted applicants before the August Schoharie town board meeting on Wednesday, August 12th at 6:00 pm.

Food Programs Help Support Families in the Summer - Meals Available for Young and Old Alike this Summer

Written By Michael on 7/18/15 | 7/18/15

By Maureen Blanchard

COBLESKILL - Feeding families during the summer is difficult for many families.

With children home from school, there are more mouths to feed at more meals. Families don’t see an increase in their SNAP benefits or in their salaries during the summer months to make it easier to feed their families. There may be more demands on the family finances to spend money on activities to entertain children and keep them busy and out of trouble as well. These added costs may take away money that families would need to spend on food. Fortunately there are many resources in the community to assist families with extra food during these next couple of months.

Schoharie Fresh the online farmers’ market will be running a promotion program for families who use SNAP. From now until the end of August for every $10 a family spends in SNAP they will earn $5 in Veggie Bucks that can be used to purchase vegetables or fruits at either that visit or at a future visit. This will hopefully encourage families to purchase some fresh produce from local farmers through Schoharie Fresh.

What this could look like a customer could purchase turnips, swiss chard, sugar snap peas and lettuce for $11 and then get a quart of strawberries for free with their veggie bucks. Everything would need to be ordered in advance but they could use the veggie bucks the day they earn them or save them for a later date to purchase veggies later in the month when they may have used all their SNAP benefits.
Tessa Brinks says that “Schoharie Fresh makes it easier for her to budget her money because she knows how much she is spending on vegetables through Schoharie Fresh. Plus the vegetables last longer than typical store bought produce and there is greater variety in season.”

Typically farmers will harvest what is needed either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning for Schoharie Fresh and customers pick up Friday afternoon.

For those not using SNAP benefits who may want to help families out, you can purchase through Schoharie Fresh and pick up at Bethany Lutheran Church in Central Bridge or Schoharie Presbyterian Church in Schoharie. A portion of the proceeds of the sales for these locations is then returned to the churches to supplement the food pantries. Pick up in Central Bridge is on Friday from 4-5:15 and in Schoharie also on Friday from 5:30-6:30. Funding to assist Schoharie Fresh with this comes from United Way of the Greater Capital Region. The goal is to promote food security for families who may be struggling to put food on the table.

Schoharie Fresh was initially funded through Creating Healthy Places, a grant from New York State Department of Health. The goal was to increase access to fresh produce and encourage people to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Schoharie Fresh is located at SUNY Cobleskill in the Red Barn on Route 7 west of Agway. Pick up at the Red Barn is Friday from 3-5:30 PM. Schoharie Fresh sells locally produced foods and products from Schoharie County. Orders must be placed by Wednesday at 11:59 PM in order to guarantee products available on Friday. Please go to www.schohariefresh.com or email us at schohariefresh@gmail.com.

There are also several community meal programs throughout the County. In Cobleskill, Zion Lutheran Church will be offering lunch each day (Monday through Friday) to anyone who wants to join them from July 6th- August 21st. They will be open from 11:00am-1 PM and are always looking for volunteers and donations to support this program. They will feed adults as well as children to help families stretch their food dollars.

In Jefferson, Jefferson Central School will offer a Summer Food program at the school serving both breakfast and lunch through the month of July for children under the age of 18. Hours for breakfast are from 8:15-9 am and for lunch from 10:45-11:30.

In Middleburgh, the Joshua Project will coordinate the lunches held at the high school cafeteria beginning June 29th. Lunch will be served between 12 noon-1:00PM Monday through Friday until the end of August. Everyone is welcome – no need to be alone. Volunteers and donations are still needed to make this third year a success.

In addition to the meal site, a backpack program is being coordinated from Middleburgh that will provide 200 backpacks to children all over Schoharie County who may not have enough to eat.

In Schoharie, the Joshua Project is also coordinating lunches at the Schoharie Presbyterian Church Monday through Friday. Lunches will be served from 12 noon to 1PM until the end of July. As with Middleburgh, everyone is welcome and there are no age limitations.

Donations and volunteers are still being recruited and those interested should contact the food pantry at the Presbyterian Church. Jean Sparks said that lunches include sandwiches on white or wheat bread including turkey, ham and peanut butter with fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and something for dessert.

All the summer meal sites are looking for donations of produce. If you have extra in your garden please consider sharing it with others. For more information, please contact Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator of Creating Healthy Places who will direct you to the person in charge of each site at 518 255-5294. Let us all work together and make sure no one goes hungry this summer if we can help it.

The Mayor's Nest, By Matthew Avitabile

Written By Michael on 7/17/15 | 7/17/15

Fitting for the July 4th weekend, the history of the Schoharie Valley comes into focus. Our reputation as the Breadbasket of the American Revolution is supported by our appreciation of our local heritage. Fireworks and barbecues are surpassed by our local commitment to public service.

So many Schoharie residents have given their lives to service in the armed forces and community groups. Perhaps the recent trials of our county's history: Irene, recession, and political dysfunction can reinforce local commitment to making our area a better place.

I'm reminded of the service that many performed since August 2011 to help their friends or neighbors. These hours and sweat dovetail well with the efforts of many EMTs and firemen that show the best our area has to offer. Many of our community groups are in need of young people to help build the next generations of public service-- I hope that the many examples of love of Schoharie County and its residents can help create such a brighter future.

Mayor Matthew Avitabile,
Middleburgh, New York

The Schoharie View- For Some, Irene's Pain Remains

The end of next month will mark the four year anniversary of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee's two-punch knock-out of Schoharie County, where our livestock, homes, and businesses were decimated by strong winds and rising waters.

We have all come a long way forward since then in our recovery efforts, but there are still symbols of all the pain and disaster that occurred - one of them being the county's Public Safety Facility, where our law enforcement officers and district attorney's staff operate from.

I recently had the pleasure of spending several hours on patrol with a deputy sheriff, where I learned the painful effects of Irene are still very much so being felt today, despite the progress that has been made.

Corrections Officers, who transport county prisoners to and from Albany County for court appearances and processing, are still operating out of a FEMA trailer that was never intended for that use. It lacks the basic uses of any modern office, such as a suitable kitchen area or functioning bathroom.

There are roughly a dozen Road Patrol Officers and Sergeants, but only three desks in the entire department for them to operate from, and even then, they are operating with other department personnel nearby and with little to no barriers to conduct private interviews or view confidential information.

Worst yet, is the degradation in morale that our law enforcement personnel face every day when arriving at what use to be their functional Public Safety Facility and jail, which has been reduced to the hollowed out fragments of concrete and loose wiring.

However, hope if anything, springs eternal and was fueled by the April announcement that a new Public Safety Facility will be constructed at the Seebold Farms site, just a short drive down the road from the existing facility.

Or so they hope.

With the community pushing back and the Board of Supervisors wavering over the Seebold site, all they can do is report for duty, keep their heads down, and hope that the project will move forward - and that they will finally have a home once again to operate from.

- Timothy Knight,
Editor and Publisher,
The Schoharie News.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015.

Schoharie Graduate Dead After Apparent Suicide


Tragedy has struck one of Schoharie Central School's Class of 2014 graduates.


In news reported Thursday afternoon by Albany media, police have announced the death of Heather Ladayne, a nineteen year old girl who grew up in Schoharie, following an apparent suicide. 

Reportedly found "deceased in a wooded area by search teams from the New York State Police in Warren County in the vicinity of where her vehicle had been located," according to News 10, Ms. Ladayne had been sought by police as a missing person before their unfortunate discovery.

The young lady had been attending Hudson Valley Community College. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Heather's friends and family. 

New York State Senate Puts NY SAFE Act in Crosshairs

Written By Michael on 7/16/15 | 7/16/15

By Schoharie News Staff

ALBANY - The New York State Senate voted to amend the controversial SAFE Act two years after its passage. The bill that severely curtails gun rights has been contested in both the legislature and the courts, and the Republican dominated house took up the issue in early June.

The bill to strip out many provisions of the law was sponsored by local State Senator Jim Seward (R-Milford). Included in the changes are provisions that include:

•Restoring the ability to gift semi-automatic long guns between family members

•Avoid public disclosure of pistol license applications and data

•Provide due process in case of mental health concerns

•Restore ability of county clerks to oversee pistol licensing, not the State Police

The bill passed 35-26. The bill is being sent to the Assembly, where the Democratic-dominated body is unlikely to pass the legislation. Regardless, the legislation would likely be vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been criticised for signing the unpopular legislation by upstate legislators.

Schoharie County has been a hotbed of opposition to the SAFE Act, where residents, supervisors, and state representatives have loudly protested and called for its repeal, including County Sheriff Tony Desmond, who has been featured in national media for his attacks on the law.

Before this bill, no successful repeal attempts had been made.

Small Business Profile: Cobleskill Outdoor Sports

By Timothy Knight

COBLESKILL - Citing the community's need for a locally owned sports store following the death of beloved Richmondville sportsman John Barlow, Mike Spenello and his wife Nancy opened Cobleskill Outdoor Sports in the Village of Cobleskill on March 11th, 2012.

With close to thirty years of experience in the firearms industry, both in another firearms shop and his own establishment, Mike commented that owning a shop has, "always been kind of a dream of mine."

Located at 116 France Lane, the store offers a wide variety of ammunition, handguns, rifles, and shotguns, but what ties it altogether according to Mr. Spenello is both the excellent response the shop has received from the community and that "we offer things big gun shops can't - personalized service."

Founded just ten months before the infamous NY SAFE Act became law, the veteran of the firearms industry could not stress more that his business has been effected by the legislation.

Pointing out that fifteen to twenty percent of his firearms were made illegal overnight, Spenello further stated that the amount of paperwork has increased tremendously, all thanks to the law's more stringent requirements for background checks, including even the private sale of firearms between family.

Although a bureaucratic hindrance, the NY SAFE Act did bring droves of customers out of the woodwork, a phenomena documented nationwide. Sporting signs that boast his support of the National Rifle Association, Mike said that whenever new gun control legislation is considered, "people start getting worried they're going to pass some gun law."

A joint venture between husband and wife, Mrs. Spenello handles the bookwork and paperwork behind the scenes while Mr. Spenello works the front end and makes repairs. Commenting that it has been a good joint venture between the two, Mike said that they have been very fortunate to be able to work together.

With an eye toward the future, Mike stated that there have been thoughts of expanding the shop, but for now they are hoping to just continue supporting local sportsmen and the community.

For more information you can call Mike at Cobleskill Outdoor Sports at 234-2400 or visit their website at www.coblelskilloutdoorsports.com.

Schoharie GOP Caucus - July 16th

Written By Michael on 7/15/15 | 7/15/15

SCHOHARIE - The Schoharie Republican Caucus will be convening on Thursday, July 16th to nominate its candidates for the upcoming municipal elections in November.

With the exception of Chris Tague, who has announced his bid for Town Supervisor, no other candidates have officially thrown their hats in the ring for either of the Town Councilman seats, both of which are currently held by incumbent Republicans.

Occupied by three-term incumbent Richard Sherman and one-term incumbent James Schultz, the seats are currently apart of the Republican Party's narrow three to two majority on the Schoharie Town Board, with Supervisor Gene Milone and Councilman Matt Brisley the resident Democrats on the board.

Supervisor Milone has also announced his intention to seek re-election, setting up what should be a close match up with presumed Republican nominee Chris Tague, the longtime Vice-Chairman of the Schoharie County Republican Party and General Manager of Cobleskill Stone Products.

Middleburgh Dedicates Timothy Murphy Park

By Schoharie News Staff

MIDDLEBURGH - The culmination of over three years of work, Middleburgh officials, residents, and veterans braved the rain on Saturday morning to celebrate the official dedication of the Timothy Murphy Park alongside State Route 30.

Concurrently they unveiled a stone monument featuring a plaque of Murphy's likeness, the monument being the brainchild of Village Trustee Bill Morton.

Morton, who officiated over the dedication ceremony, recounted both the generous donations totaling $6,000 from the community toward the purchase of the monument and the project's glitches in finding a suitable stone.

Originally intending to use a black graphite stone, it was discovered that such stones are available for mining only from China or Africa, which raised objections. The monument would eventually be crafted from a stone sold by Cobleskill Stone Products.

Recognizing the patriotism of colonial soldier Timothy Murphy, a sharp shooter credited with killing British General Simon Fraser at the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the Revolutionary War, several of the hero's descendants were in attendance for the event.

An undertaking that required the assistance of numerous individuals and firms, the monument's plaque was designed by local artist Jonathan Stasko; the monument's landscape design, layout, and pavers was done by Douglas Stinson and son; the construction itself was accomplished by the Village highway crew; and, the paver engraving was completed by Cherry Valley Memorials.

On hand to mark the ceremony with a rifle salute and rendition of taps were members of the appropriately named American Legion - Timothy Murphy Post #248 (pictured on page 1), while members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars - Middleburgh Post #284 acted as the Color Guard for the July 4th festivities.

To Protect and Serve: Schoharie County's Finest

Written By Michael on 7/14/15 | 7/14/15

By Timothy Knight

SCHOHARIE - The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department Road Patrol is tasked with a herculean charge on a daily basis: providing protection and security to over thirty thousand residents spread across sixteen towns and six villages.

Although not the only police force in the county - the Villages of Cobleskill and Schoharie maintain full time and part time departments while the State Police have a station in Cobleskill - the Sheriff's Department is often seen as the face of county law enforcement.

Recently, The Schoharie News took part in a five hour road patrol with Deputy Sheriff Bruce Baker, where I spent the day in the life of Schoharie County's finest.

2:30 PM - I meet with Deputy Sheriff Bruce Baker (pictured left) at the Public Safety Facility in Schoharie, where we tour the hollowed remnants of the one-time administrative offices and jail on the first floor of the facility, which was devastated by Hurricane Irene.

Now situated on the second floor of the facility, which had previously housed the Emergency Management Office, the Sheriff's Department is currently operating in a fraction of the space they had before Irene's wrath left their offices unusable.

Space being the key word, as before the hurricane there were enough desks for every road patrol officer, sergeant, staff, and separate departments within the office to operate comfortably in. Now, there are only a handful of desks for everyone to work at.

Down below in the parking lot, the department's remaining Corrections Officers are still using a FEMA trailer that was not meant for 24/7 occupation.

Equipped with neither a functioning kitchen nor restroom, the officers are operating in conditions that can be best described as primitive while awaiting the construction of a new Public Safety Facility.

3:00 PM - Deputy Baker is explaining to another officer how to file warrants into the system while we wait for the shift change. The Deputy cannot leave for patrol until he has obtained a taser for his protection. After shifts change, we depart the office.

Explaining that he "wanted to be a cop from high school," Deputy Baker joined the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office first as a part time E-911 Dispatcher in 1999 after moving to the county from Long Island. Five years later in January of 2004, he joined the road patrol.

In addition to his road patrol duties, which place him on the road for upwards to forty hours per week, Baker has added additional responsibilities through training, such as becoming a field training officer, master instructor, evidence technician, and warrant control officer.

4:02 PM - After an hour on the road, Deputy Baker receives his first call to assist Deputy Prall and emergency services in a medical situation in West Fulton.

Short staffed since the department lost two officers due to retirement and transfer, deputies have managed to maintain a cost effective and a noteworthy amount of coverage for local residents despite the financial stumbling blocks the county has faced since August, 2011.

Patrolling from five in the morning until one at night, coverage has actually increased by four hours per day since the flood, even though the number of bodies on duty has decreased.

However, despite pointing out the department's successes in light of difficult obstacles, Baker said that deputies will maintain their current level of coverage, but warned "we can't increase that level of productivity," because they simply just do not have the resources.

4:50 PM - Leaving West Fulton, Deputy Baker receives his second call of the night to assist at a car accident in the Town of Carlisle.

With the department set to add a new deputy in the next week, Baker looked toward the future with optimism.

Observing that the department is only two certifications from being able to host its own police academy, the deputy praised his superiors advocacy for proactive training, which afforded him the opportunity to pursue and progress in his role as a evidence technician.

Still, cautioning that "crime isn't going to go away," Deputy Baker commented offhandedly that the department is "four more uniformed patrols away from 24 hour coverage" in the county, but for now their priority is to maintain the level of service residents have come to expect.

5:03 PM - Diverted from the car accident after it was secured, Deputy Baker is called to a camp site in the Town of Middleburgh, where he assists a camper in unlocking his automobile after he had accidentally locked himself out.

Unlike the hostility that many police officers face nationwide, Baker observed "we have a very positive relationship with our community," even going so far as to state, "we know most of the people we deal with."

Although admitting that he thinks about all the incidents that have occurred nationwide since last year, the deputy recounted how he use to wear the East Hampton Police uniform of his father's friend when he was a child, adding about being a deputy, "it's all I ever wanted to be."

7:20 PM - Parting ways at the Public Safety Facility almost five hours after first meeting for the ride along, I wish the deputy a safe second half to his shift. Climbing behind the wheel of my car, I realize that I know what my night will entail as I travel home, but as he drives off to continue his patrol, Deputy Baker is unaware of what the night will send his way, which is what makes him, and every other man and woman who wears the Sheriff's badge in Schoharie County: our defenders in the night, our protectors in the day, and our heroes all the time.

State Police Arrest Carlisle Man for Assault of Minor

Written By Michael on 7/13/15 | 7/13/15

CARLISLE - New York State Police stationed in Cobleskill have announced the arrest of a Carlisle man for various charges stemming from a physical confrontation that occurred on June 19, 2015.

Troopers arrested Victor M. Gonzalez, 41, of Carlisle and charged him with Assault in the Third Degree, Menacing in the Second Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The charges resulted from a physical confrontation that occurred between Gonzalez and a 16 year old male. During the confrontation the 16 year old suffered injuries that required him to be transported to the hospital.

Gonzalez was processed and arraigned before being released on his own recognizance. An Order of Protection was issued by the court protecting the injured victim.

Coby PD now R.A.D. Certified

COBLESKILL - The Cobleskill Police Department has announced that they now have an officer who is a certified R.A.D. Instructor.

Standing for Rape Aggression Defense, it is a course of self-defense tactics taught to women in order to build their confidence and abilities to defend themselves should they ever find themselves in an unsafe situation.

Police Chief Rich Bialkowski commented in a facebook status announcing the certification, "We are glad to be able to offer this service to our community."

Cobleskill PD will be partnering with SUNY Cobleskill Police and the county's local Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Program to offer the courses to the community on and off campus.

Letter to the Editor: The Facts About Big Tobacco

Written By Michael on 7/12/15 | 7/12/15

Dear Editor,

Recently Susan Cameron, CEO of Reynolds American Inc. was quoted as saying “tobacco industry is looking like the old days” with profits rising and smoker litigation on the decline. “The global tobacco players over time will be more interested in the US” (Bloomberg Business June 12, 2015 3:21 PM).

As a Reality Check Lead Coordinator – Advancing Tobacco Free Communities and a parent I find this report not only frustrating but offensive. How can a company who has been so scrutinized, heavily fined and now regulated by the FDA be so cavalier about expanding business here in the US knowing they are targeting our youth as the next generation of smokers?

Big Tobacco is targeting our youth and now planning to expanding, does this mean FDA will impose stronger regulations, I certainly hope so. According to the National Cancer Institute the marketing of tobacco provide cues to influence smoking and initiate the youth to try that first cigarette. Youth who visit convenient stores more than twice a week are 64% more likely to start smoking. Here is a startling statistic: Each year in New York State 22,500 youth become new daily smokers and 31.6 million packs of cigarettes are being bought or smoked by New York State Youth. (campaign for tobacco free kids) In New York State alone the tobacco industry spend 1 million yes I said 1 million dollars per day marketing its product. 90% of their marketing budget is spent on advertising which is targeting our youth. You ask how it is targeting our youth.

Through the use of advertising and promotional activities, packaging, strategic product placement and product design, the tobacco industry is encouraging our youth to smoke. Youth and young adults see smoking in their social circles, movies they watch, video games they play, websites they visit, and many communities where they live. Smoking is often portrayed as a social norm, and young people exposed to these images are more likely to smoke.

Here are the facts: Cigarettes contain more than 7000 different chemicals such as acetone, cyanide, carbon monoxide formaldehyde and the list goes on. 70 plus carcinogens are known to cause cancer and tobacco use related illnesses are the number one cause of death. Locally Schoharie County has one of the highest rates of deaths due to lung cancer in the state of New York. Do we want to expose our youth to Big Tobacco expansion and advertising absolutely not? If you’re an adult smoker you already know what brand you smoke and where to purchase them so why is it necessary to expose our youth to any advertising at all, so that the Big Tobacco can promote there cancer causing product to the next generation of smokers. I say absolutely not, no advertising is necessary if it exposes our youth to their product.

As parents, educators, communities, and politicians do we want Big Tobacco to expand their businesses, profit margins and to expand their advertising objectives that are targeted toward our youth, all this at the expense of our youth and their long term health? I say NO I have seen enough from the Big Tobacco.

Regina Haig – Lead Coordinator/Parent

Letter to the Editor: Don't Close our Churches

Written By Michael on 7/11/15 | 7/11/15

Dear Editor,

My husband, Rev. Richard P. Bean, and I have been in ministry over 30 years travelling across the country. Our membership is with the United Methodist Church. During the months of April through October, we have proudly attended the Dorloo Methodist Church for over 20 years. We have witnessed many positive changes in that time. At first we only noticed women attend; now we have several men attend regularly. We now enjoy worshipping with the second generation as well as the third.

When we first started out in Dorloo, the village had a small store, post office, gas station, and the church; all have closed except the church. We at Dorloo may not be strong in number, but we are incredibly strong in faith. We connect with our community through at least seventeen or more community outreaches regularly. The most recent was the Marathon for a Better Life where our church's team, Wings of Hope, raised over $7,000 for this local charity. Many of our efforts support the needy in Schoharie County. Dorloo UMC is not only about charity and raising money; it is about the witness of God's love to all. For such a small congregation, our outreach is amazing. Our worship leader, David Houch, and his wife Melody, travel a very long distance to share a wonderful, prayed over, Bible filled message each week and they refuse to accept any kind of compensation for their time, efforts, or even gas.

Even though the actual church was built in 1852 and reflects the beautiful old fashioned craftsmanship of that era, the old gels and meets the new; exalting Jesus at each service.

When you leave a service at the Dorloo UMC, you know you've been to church, and you know you are cared about and loved by God.
It is unthinkable that The Oneonta District of the Upper NY Conference of the United Methodist Church has decided to close our church along with three others. None of the "powers to be" in this group, including District Superintendent Jan McClary Rowell, whose job description, includes visiting each church in the district, has NEVER put a foot in our church. It's absolutely an absurd ruling.

Richard and I, along with almost every member of our church, have attended more than a few meetings lead by District Superintendent Rowell. We cannot speak for others; however, we found her to be rude, overbearing, and arrogant. She is a woman who will be sure you hear what she says, and sees that you do what she dictates. She will entertain questions, so long as they are questions she is prepared to answer. If your inquiries or statements are not what she wants to address, you are told to sit down. In my husband's case, as a minister himself, his statement was "In today's world where evil & turmoil are running wild, we need churches." He shared a prayer to open a meeting - then started to speak of a recent outreach he had helping someone in danger. The point he tried to make was the members of the Dorloo UMC tried to shower this person with love and assistance. He was never able to complete this testimony because he was told to sit down and please be quiet. We had over 65 people at that same meeting and before it was over, I was told that I had said enough and told to sit down, also along with several others. District Superintendent Rowell is a woman who has never seen how we worship, or how we spread the love of God through our church. She stood boldly and firmly in front of people who were losing the places they worshipped in, built by their generations over 160 years ago, yet she could not be sensitive enough to hear the people out in a dignified way.

The members of the Dorloo United Methodist Church will go on because we are Christians and do NOT worship the building. We worship Jesus Christ. It hurts, no doubt. If we had to stand before God today, I am confident He would be pleased with our efforts of Praise, Worship, Faith, and Outreach. I wonder if the deciding members of the Upper NY Conference of the United Methodist Church could say the same. Where will your direction lead the churches in 20-40 years from now? At the rate you are going in the United States, the United Methodist Church will not be in existence. Today's local news in our county included churches closing and casinos opening.

Rev. Richard P. Bean
Linda Marie Bean

Only Live at Landis: Featuring Steve Candlon July 31st

Written By Michael on 7/10/15 | 7/10/15

ESPERANCE - The next stop in The 2015 Landis Full Moon Concert Series will feature well-known Capital Region mover and shaker Steve Candlen.

Candlen has played drums with Felix Cavaliere's Rascals, Franklin Micare and Kevin McKrell, and was voted Metroland's best male vocalist one year, and best drummer the next, and though he is often seen sitting behind the drums, he's now more like seen singing his own intriguing songs accompanying himself on the guitar.

Joining Candlen will be guitarist Todd Nelson, who has recorded or performed with many outstanding area musicians. According to Mike Hotter of Metroland Magazine, "Nelson impresses without ever showboating; while more nimble-fingered than most ax-slingers...his guitar lines hew mindfully to the emotional intent of each composition, and he is always sure to leave plenty of space for both the melody and his rhythm section."

The concert series is hosted by Landis Aboretum and is set for Friday, July 31st at 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm.

The Schoharie View- Failure in Leadership: Part 2

Bueller? Bueller?

Like Ben Stein's monotone character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, we feel often as if we are repeating ourselves when it comes to expressing our sincere disappointment with the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors. Alas, someone has to do it.

Convening a special meeting on Monday evening to discuss the criteria that went into selecting Seebold Farms as the primary site for the relocated Public Safety Facility, supervisors ended up hearing from the residents of Schoharie for the umpteenth time on their opposition to the jail's location.

Even though yet another meeting had been scheduled for early July to hear the public's comments, we endured another round of the tired old platitudes from residents residing near the proposed jail site.

Bueller? Bueller?

It is not worth rehashing them here, because we all know them by now, but I do have a question for my friends on the county board: why?
Why did you first decide to become a Town Supervisor if you did not also intend to become a leader? Because right now, we don't have a county board of leaders; we have a county board of scared politicians that are willing to throw four years of hard work down the drain for the sake of appeasement.

Bueller? Bueller?

To reflect on another classic movie, there's a scene in the iconic film 1776 where the Clerk of the Continental Congress reads a letter from George Washington asking if there is anybody out there and if there is anybody who cares.

After years of writing these editorials, we feel compelled to pose the same questions to the county board: do you care about anything more than just keeping your job? We highly doubt it.

We do not know when or where the ability to lead died in this county, all we can do is mourn its painful and tragic death, because unless a drastic change occurs on the county board, such as the defeat of a majority of the incumbent supervisors, nothing will ever change...and the rest of us will have to deal with the consequences.

Bueller? Bueller?

- Timothy Knight,
Editor and Publisher,
The Schoharie News.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2015.

A Woman and her Horse: Reunited After two Decades

Written By Michael on 7/9/15 | 7/9/15

By Timothy Knight

MILLBROOK - On Saturday afternoon Laurie DeFeo brought home a twenty-five year old gray Arabian that has gone by the names of Sabrina and Arabelle. Normally, this wouldn't be news, but after spending years of countless hours in search for her long lost horses across the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, her story has finally found a happy ending.

Growing up on her family's horse farm, Ms. DeFeo became attached to a small, beautiful mare named Tara in her teen years. However, the bond between a girl and her horse would be severed by the divorce of Laurie's parents, who sold the family farm.

Laurie's beloved Tara was given to a girl the family knew on the promise that she would keep the mare, but the girl wound up selling the horse anyway in an relatively short time span.

Years later, Laurie sought out information on her old horse and found her beloved mare at a farm in Putnam Valley; only this time Tara was with her newborn filly, a chestnut Arabian with distinctive markings.

However, because she was working three jobs and attending college at the time, Ms. DeFeo knew that she did not have either enough time nor money to take care of the two horses, but she was pleased that they were healthy and were being cared for in a loving environment.

For over twenty years, that is where the story sat.

Until Laurie was in the process of settling in Millbrook, a small Duchess County village that is home to numerous horse farms. Laurie would identify the strong equine presence in her new home as a emotional trigger that brought up decades old memories of Tara.

Memories that prompted the now grown woman to find out whatever did happen to her horse and her horse's foal.

Starting her search by reaching out to former employees of the long shuttered horse farm in Putnam Valley, Laurie had been told that both horses were transported to Schoharie County at or near the Town of Jefferson.

Admittedly obsessed with finding any and all information, DeFeo drove to the county every for weekend in late 2013 and early 2014 to unearth clues and to find the farm where the horses had allegedly been brought to.

Reaching out to area equine barns, horse enthusiasts, news outlets, and veterinarians offices, she received an outpouring of support everywhere she sought help and the community provided numerous tips on horses that shared characteristics to either Tara or Sarbina.

Unfortunately, those tips would be all for naught.

Reflecting in a recent interview "all that looking upstate was a wild goose chase," Laurie explained that the former employee of the farm had inaccurately remembered bringing the horses to Schoharie County, when they had never even come close to the area.

In fact, the two horses were sold to owners in the opposite direction: Tara went to Brewster and Sabrina wound up in Fishkill.

Not one to give up easily, Laurie remained hard at work in her search to locate both horses, but despite her best efforts of pursuing leads and advertising her story on social media, she had effectively hit a dead end last year.

That is, until she received a message on facebook early last week from someone she has never met..

Containing only the picture of a mare for sale on Capital District HorseSource, the message spurred Laurie to follow up on the horse in question: a twenty something year old grey Arabian named Arabelle that has distinctive markings.

Having learned early in her search from a successful jockey that a horse's markings are equivalent to a human's fingerprint, DeFeo had kept in mind Sabrina's features, which included a blaze with a half moon shape over right eye, a little white patch under her left lip, and three white hooves with her front right hoof being completely black.

Features that matched the horse for sale perfectly.

Using both old photographs of Sabrina and Laurie's memory as a guide, not only was Arabelle's owner able to match her horse's markings to Sabrina with relative ease, but upon further investigation by Ms. DeFeo into the horse's pedigree and past owners, it turned out to be a once in a lifetime turn of events that the two horses are actually one of the same.

After years of searching, Laurie had finally found Sabrina.

Still in a state of disbelief on Friday morning, Laurie said that it felt like "the universe lined up and something really miraculous happened."

She drove upstate on Saturday to bring her baby's baby home, but what of her first true equine love - Tara?

Although well aware that the mare - now thirty-seven years old if still alive - is likely long past, Laurie's search will remain in earnest until the story of Tara is complete, one way or another.

West Fulton Puppet Show - July 10th & 11th

FULTON - Upstate New York has been losing her population in recent years, but the hardest hit has been Schoharie County, which has suffered a 3.5% drop in the last four years. In addition to being hard hit by tropical storms Irene and Lee a few years back, the agricultural county has suffered from a lack of jobs, an aging population and a sluggish economy.

That’s the story about the folks who leave. But there’s another story unfolding, about the people who are choosing to stay. West Fulton, a tiny hamlet in the heart of the county, is reclaiming her role as the heartbeat, drawing on her historical roots as both a farming and arts community, and reminding local families that there are plenty of reasons to stick around this summer. Local citizens have been working at the grassroots level to restore their hamlet. They have refurbished barns into art and performance studios, bought the church hall and reclaimed the upstairs stage, and opened their homes to host performers, artists and audiences alike from all over the world.

In addition to confronting dwindling population, the town has faced down other threats that endanger rural communities, from industrial wind turbines to hydro-fracking and the Constitution Pipeline. “These days, it feels like we are always being called to defend our way of life and fight back against outside interests,” says Rebecca Brown, who lives with her family in what used to be the Baptist church. “We are tired of telling people what we are against. We want people to know what we are for. Our community has been about local food (the town of Fulton is home to some of the most productive farmland in Schoharie County) and, historically, family-centered arts…The type that draws neighbors closer together. We want to welcome people from all walks of life, regardless of income, to our beautiful town and make them part of that tradition.”

This was the genesis of The West Fulton Puppet Festival, which will take place this July 10 and 11th, a free event open to the public.
The Puppet Festival will be a collaboration between local youth and professional artists. It begins with a community pot-luck (open to all, with free hot dogs and hamburgers while supplies last) at 5pm in the center park (860 West Fulton Road) on Friday evening, followed by a 7pm performance of La Mouche by Andy Gaukel. It will be performed in a beautifully restored neighboring barn.

On Saturday, performances and workshops with renowned puppeteers, including members from the Sandglass Theater, The Puppet People, and The Story Pirates will entertain audiences in local barns peppered throughout the hamlet. Puppetry workshops for kids will run periodically throughout the day Food will be provided throughout the day on Saturday by Catskill Mountain BBQ in the center park. While all events are free, attendees are asked to stop at the main tent in the center park to pick up their complimentary tickets. A master schedule will also be available there. All events will be within easy walking distance. The park is located at 860 West Fulton Road. Parking will be available in a neighboring farmer’s field.

“West Fulton has a long history of blending arts and farming,” says Cornelia McGiver, founder of Panther Creek Arts, a building that stands on the crossroads of the hamlet at the junction of Sawyer Hollow and West Fulton Roads. “The locals valued community theater and music so much, they installed a stage on the top floor of their feed store to host performances. In the past 100 years, farmers, merchants, parents, grandparents and kids all took to the stage together here.”

“West Fulton is a tiny place, and we want folks to relish that experience,” adds Brown. “At the Puppet Festival, you’ll have to cross a few backyards to get to some of the performances. It’ll be almost like trick-or-treating without the costumes. You’ll get to know us. And that’s all part of the experience. We want to welcome you to our town, because we’re here to stay.”

For more details about the performances and schedules, visit The West Fulton Puppet Festival on Facebook. For more information please contact Rebecca Brown, at 518-281-6401, or rbrownnyc@gmail.com.

This event is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered through the Community Arts Grants Program by the Greene County Council on the Arts.

Fourth Friday fun in MBurgh

Written By Michael on 7/8/15 | 7/8/15

By Timothy Knight

MIDDLEBURGH - Civic organizations, farm stands, merchants, photographers, street musicians, vendors, and more lined up both sides of Middleburgh's Main Street on Friday evening in the community's second street festival of the season.

Coinciding with the graduation ceremonies at the high school, foot traffic was initially slow but steadily picked up through out the evening, as families strolled through the festive and inviting atmosphere.

In addition to the activities available on the street, there was plenty to do off the beaten path, where families could enjoy a nice meal at any of one Middleburgh's fine dining establishments, participate in a delicious bake sale in front of the Lutheran Church, purchase a t-shirt at Lerny's Gift Shop, or take a tour of the historic Dr. Best House (pictured below) on Claurverwie Avenue.

Fourth Fridays are sponsored by the Middleburgh Area Business Association and are held every month starting in May through October.

Schoharie County Beverage Trail Announced

By Timothy Knight

SHARON - Schoharie County's location as a premier destination just got a little more tastier.

Announcing the planned August kickoff for the Schoharie County Beverage Trail on Thursday at the American Hotel in Sharon Springs, local brewers, distillers, politicians, and tourism officials gathered to ring in the next stop to the county's growing tourism industry.

The beverage trail, which will officially launch on August 1st, will feature four Schoharie County producers:

• KyMar Farm Distillery in Charlotteville
• Royal Meadery in Richmondville
• Green Wolf Brewery in Middleburgh
• 1857 Barber's Farm Distillery in Fultonham

Believing that it is essential to build a story around your business, Green Wolf owner Justin Behan commented "that story is about our community," and that you need to build community about your craft beverages.

Opening as the first legal distiller in Schoharie County since prohibition, KyMar Farms owner Ken Wortz knew in 2011 that "one farm wine industry is not enough, but four or five will drive a crowd."

Further stating that four or five beverage producers will create a destination, Wortz said that it is already working because, "it is drawing people into Schoharie County."

Speaking on behalf of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce, Chamber President Scott Ferguson (pictured below) praised the beverage trail as a new and fresh idea that will draw people to Schoharie County.

Tasked with administering tourism after years of mismanagement by the county, the chamber has taken several steps forward in rebuilding and rebranding the county's number two industry.

Commenting that an "experience is what visitors want" when they come to Schoharie County, Ferguson further stated that the beverage trail will bring, "new people to our area to visit Schoharie County."

Supervisors Beat Jail Issue to Death - Again

Written By Michael on 7/7/15 | 7/7/15

By Timothy Knight

SCHOHARIE - Holding a special county board meeting last Monday evening to learn by what criteria the site selection process for the Public Safety Facility was conducted, supervisors came looking for answers, but left with more questions.

Held before a packed room of almost seventy residents, Wright Supervisor Amber Bleau questioned Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry on how the Seebold Farms site was selected over the others, considering the cost of the property is nearly double the assessed value.

Answering that, unlike the other potential sites, Cherry said Seebold Farms had a Century 21 Market analysis completed that pegged the property's value between $395,00-$425,000. Schoharie County is currently contracted to buy the site for $375,000.

Unsatisfied, Bleau further asked for justification of the site when taking into account that Seebold's was the most expensive site in the selection process.

Cherry responded that after a year of evaluations were conducted by two separate engineer and recovery representatives, Schoharie County DPW Commissioner Dan Crandall, and himself, "eventually all of us came to a universal conclusion" on selecting the site in question.

Concluding that Seebold's was the most cost effective and the best possible site, Mr. Cherry - in light of the heightened tension surrounding the selection of the location - offered the supervisors two choices moving forward.

"Your choices: do you put confidence in that joint decision...or not," Cherry commented before adding, "and if you don't; no hard feelings, but there is a risk involved."

That risk being the potential for the county to lose FEMA reimbursements for the cost of housing prisoners at Albany County jail, which the coordinator had alluded to at the previous county board meeting the Friday before.

Commenting "When I look at the numbers they're not lining up," Ms. Bleau questioned how the site could be scored when there was no assessment.

Explaining that the scoring was done through a series of ratings, Cherry said "there was four people who did the scoring independently," and, "we compared our sheets and in the end Seebold was the one we all agreed on."

Chiming in that he believes this "needs to be done in the right way," Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman further chimed, "there should have been a public hearing."

Opposed to the selection of the Seebold Farms site for a variety of reasons, an at-first small contingent of town residents that has steadily grown in size since May, has become a force to be reckoned with in Schoharie.

Concurring with Vroman's sentiment, Jefferson Supervisor Sean Jordan argued "this is a very large project that will effect a lot of people," and continued, "a lot of people feel like they weren't engaged with a little or at all."

After additional remarks, Mr. Jordan motioned for a public hearing to be held on a later date to afford the community the opportunity to comment, despite the public having commented on the facility's location twice before at regularly scheduled meetings.

Jordan's motion was approved 11-3 and a public hearing has been set for Monday, July 6th at 6:00 pm. Supervisors Shawn Smith of Blenheim, Bill Federice of Conesville, and Carl Barbic of Seward were opposed; the rest of those present were in favor of an additional meeting.

Numerous residents, despite a public hearing being officially set, addressed the county board in opposition to the jail's placement at the Seebold Farms property.

Schoharie Woman Wanted by State Police

Written By Michael on 7/6/15 | 7/6/15

By Schoharie News Staff

SCHOHARIE - New York State Police stationed in Schoharie are looking for information leading to the arrest of Schoharie resident Eleanor Black.
Black, who is 34, is wanted on a Schoharie County Bench Warrant after she failed to appear in court after an 18 count indictment, which includes 17 felonies. The charges stem from multiple cases beginning in 2012.

Known aliases she has used in the past include Rebecca H. Beal and Denise Ann Scott. Black has ties to Schoharie and Otsego Counties and held a recent address in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Black has become something of a local social media celebrity, however, for her unique mugshot (pictured below), where she is captured sticking her tongue out at the camera.

Wanted for Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree, and several other charges, Black is 5" 2" tall, 160 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of this individual, should contact the New York State Police as soon as possible. Residents are advised not to take any police action other than to contact police at 518-234-9401 or email crimetips@troopers.ny.gov with information.

Local Chefs, Local Food: Schoharie Bounty of the County

SCHOHARIE - The greenhouses are decked out in all their floral glory, so the backdrop is ready for the third annual Bounty of the County Dinner starting at 6 p.m. on June 27 at The Carrot Barn at Schoharie Valley Farms. The evening is a benefit for S.A.L.T. (Schoharie Area Long Term, Inc.) that continues assisting victims of 2011 floods caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee that hit Schoharie County.

Chef Tyler DeGroff, Chef de Cuisine at New World Bistro Bar in Albany, with other local chefs, will create a four-course, seasonal gourmet dinner with locally grown ingredients. DeGroff was raised in Schoharie County and graduated from the Capital Region BOCES - Schoharie Campus culinary department. He began working in the restaurant field right after graduation.

Dinner is at 7 p.m. and consists of four courses. The first course, said Chef DeGroff, is traditional tamale with a local twist -- stuffed corn and peas, plus pea tendrils and fresh cilantro. The second course is Arctic Char with White Puttanesca. Chef DeGroff’s Arctic Char comes from the fish hatchery at SUNY Cobleskill. “I plan to smoke the char and serve it with pasta made fresh with local eggs. I love to eat pasta as an intermezzo at dinner,” noted Chef DeGroff.

For the main course, Chef DeGroff plans braided beef short ribs, caramelized in coconut milk. “Delicious,” he said, adding it will likely be served with a stir fry of local vegetables.

Dessert is being donated by SUNY Cobleskill. Chef JoAnne Cloughly, chairman of the culinary department, will make a vanilla bean yogurt pane cotta with a strawberry - rhubarb compote and a lemon wafer cookie.

The dinner also will showcase local food, beer, wine and spirits, and include a silent auction.

The evening begins with cocktails at 6 p.m. with local musician Matt Durfee performing.

The cost is $150 for cocktails and dinner. Tickets are available through the S.A.L.T., www.saltrecovery.org.

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Conesville Law is in Town Residents Best Interests

Written By Michael on 7/5/15 | 7/5/15

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your request for information on the proposed Conesville Local Law Imposing a Lien on Insurance Proceeds for Buildings Damaged or Destroyed by Fire. Your interest in Conesville is appreciated.

The intent of this proposed local law is to remove a health and safety hazard while protecting the taxpayers of Conesville from potential financial burden by ensuring the property owner uses a portion of an insurance payout towards their legal obligation to remediate or demolish the structure in question by placing sufficient funds in an escrow account until the work is done.

I cannot claim this law as an original idea that I devised. After asking the New York State Association of Towns to help me investigate a possible solution for a potential problem structure in the Town of Conesville they found a local law in the Town of Rotterdam which addresses the very same issue. With some changes, the Rotterdam law was used as the Conesville template and has been reviewed by legal counsel and is in full compliance with New York State General Municipal Law and the New York Insurance Law. Interestingly, after hearing of the proposed law for Conesville; I am told several towns have since contacted our Town Attorney to discuss their interest in enacting a similar law in their town.

In addition to the need to protect the health and safety of our residents my concern is also the cost to the taxpayers of Conesville. A structure involved in a devastating fire which caused me to start this effort was condemned several months ago but the owner has failed to take action. Yes, there are legal remedies to force compliance. Unfortunately, if the owner does not take action it will be the taxpayers who will have to fund the demolition and then the Town would have to seek to recover those costs through legal action and a lien on the property which has minimal value. Our options for satisfactory recovery are limited.

At the public hearing some said this law is heavy handed and unfair to the owners of condemned structures who carry fire insurance. Not so. If the owner has the funds in their insurance to cover demolition or remediation, we are only ensuring they fulfill their legal obligations. Is it fair or unfair for the owner leaving the expense of demolition to the taxpayers of Conesville?

One individual at the public hearing claimed insufficient notice and publicity was given to the public hearing for this law. The local law was advertised in a legal notice as required, notice of public hearing was placed on the Town web site, publicized on the roadside announcement board at Town Hall and the proposed law was made available at the Town Hall. Since I took office I count as one of my accomplishments the fact the Town of Conesville has never been as transparent as it is now. Not even close.

The whole point of a public hearing is to solicit input and comment from interested parties. We did that and will incorporate some of the comments into a revised version without compromising the intent of what we are trying to accomplish which is to protect the health and safety of our citizens while protecting them from the financial burden of the Town picking up the tab to take down the structure if the owner does not.

It is the job of the Town to protect the physical and financial interests of all of us. When I saw the same law in another town in neighboring Schenectady County I felt it was my duty to bring forward the idea of this opportunity which would be of benefit to our residents. It will be the decision of the Town Board to decide if this proposed local law makes sense for Conesville. I can live with whatever is decided. But the residents of the Town of Conesville will also have to live with that decision.

William A. Federice, Supervisor
Town of Conesville

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Conesville Law Unduly Burdens Town Residents

Written By Michael on 7/4/15 | 7/4/15

Dear Editor;

Homeowners in Schoharie County who purchase Fire Insurance beware of a controversial town lawproposed by Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice.

A Public Hearing held Wed. June 10 allowed comment on the law imposing lien on insurance proceedsfor buildings in Conesville affected by fire. Its intent claims to compel property owners to clean up after fire, giving surety that the insured not abandon their property upon receiving their settlement.

The proposed law cites purpose as: ‘more often than not when a building is damaged or destroyed byfire, that property owner will abandon that premises and fail to clean up, demolish and remove buildings and debris, even though insurance payments may have been received.’

The standing room only crowd presented mixed opinions, most believing that the law would assist the town in ridding itself of ‘condemned properties’, potentially saving the town/county costly removal. The actual number of homes abandoned from fire over 10 years by Mr. Federice’s own admission - ONE and that owner continues paying taxes on a building with interior damage. To date, no building in Conesville has been removed by town or county due to fire loss.

Federice opened the hearing by reading a prepared synopsis defining his objective, never reading aloud the proposed law. Assuring mortgage liens satisfy first, the town lien then superseding any other liens. Debate began when residents questioned differences in his explanation of law comparing to the document text. Evident his overview didn’t match the law’s wording; he admitted one change was necessary, encumbering further expense placing public announcement for a new hearing.

It’s passage allows the town to claim against insured’s proceeds implementing municipal law article 22 causing establishment of a ‘tax district’. The district is then authorized and empowered to take claim to proceeds of a fire insurance policy when perfected with article 331 of insurance law. A special account is created securing monies until the Supervisor feels satisfied to release funds. The release process unduly burdens homeowner’s already suffering hardship from their loss requiring filing of an affidavit and fulfill 6 intrusive requirements.

Some suggested discrimination against homeowners with insurance, others agreeing it fails to address existing eyesores collapsed from snowload, storm damage or neglect, and lack of provision addressing future occurrences of the same.

Suggestion was made to update current building codes (unchanged since 1984) incorporating and enforcing present NYS laws protecting against abandonment. The hearing adjourned without a vote promising more conversation on July 8. Councilmen Paul Tubiolo and John Sweatman voiced opposition leaving Kelly Smith and Mr. Federice supporting the law, leaving absentee Councilman Bob Proudman as the potential tiebreaker.

How does this affect you if you do not live in Conesville? Mr. Federice boasted that other Supervisors within county show interest in proposing this law in their towns. Unable to stop Federal government from such wide over reaches, small town rural areas can. If not for overwhelming public interest and opposition this law could have passed, only to be realized at one’s most devastated moment, whenfacing hardship of recovering from something so emotional and life altering.

Unfortunately, WE need to seek out information. With more residents attending meetings, there’s less a chance of these types of loophole laws passing by dark of night. I urge you to contact your town officials voicing opposition to any possibility of this law being proposed. Inform your neighbors, log on to the County website, force transparency. In order to make our communities more pleasant to live in we must realize that good neighboring starts with informed public engaging in the process of governing.

Joanne Noone
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