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Recent Articles

From around the area:

DAVE RUCH AND THE MUSIC OF UPSTATE NEW YORK from the Gilboa Historical Society

Written By Editor on 1/22/21 | 1/22/21

Gilboa Historical Society presents a short performance each week by a rotating roster of musicians and story-tellers. You can be added to our mail list for reminders about upcoming shows!

THIS WEEK: Dave Ruch is a Public Scholar for the New York Council for the Humanities, a writer for The Huffington Post, and a member of the New York State Historical Association, Canal Society of New York State, New York Folklore Society, and the Western New York Association of Historical Agencies. With expert musicianship and a warm, effortless style, he delights adult audiences with authentic songs and stories from the people who built and settled our communities.
.....Click here for this free performance from now through January 28, 2021.

Starting next Friday, Reggie Harris will perform in the Juried History Center celebrating the water in the northern Catskills. As you know, our rotation this year is made up of story-teller Nancy Payne and musicians Dave Ruch, Phil Banaszak, and Reggie Harris through the remaining weeks of winter.

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Sen Oberacker Calls for High School Sports to Resume

State Senator Peter Oberacker (R/C – Schenevus) today called on Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health to enact health and safety guidelines to allow for the resumption of high school sports and the performing arts.

Senator Peter Oberacker said, “Our students have been diligently sacrificing for the better part of a year and have missed out on so many aspects of education including extracurricular activities.   Safety is everyone’s top priority and we cannot take shortcuts when it comes to the health and well-being of our young people.  However, it is time to move forward and safely restart our school athletic programs, for all sports, and the performing arts.” 

 In a letter to Governor Cuomo, Senator Oberacker writes:

“Unfortunately, time honored traditions like a Friday night basketball game, the winter band concert, and so many other memorable events have been put on indefinite pause due to the COVID pandemic.  While other states are currently playing winter sports or planning to restart, New York remains in a perpetual timeout.  Likewise, our high school stages remain dark and band rooms silent

 “The time has passed to end the isolation and implement guidelines to safely resume the extracurricular activities that are an essential part of the student experience.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have released guidance that can serve as a blueprint for New York to follow and build on.  Students, parents, coaches, and school administrators are ready, willing and able to strictly follow all needed health measures.”

 Winter sports classified as high-risk, including basketball, hockey, wrestling and cheerleading, were scheduled to resume competition on January 4th.  At this time, teams are permitted to practice but forbidden to compete against other schools.  Additionally, while schools have reopened, musical and theatrical activities remain on pause.   

“As a former high school athlete and coach I cannot imagine what it is like for students to miss out on a season of sports – especially for the seniors.   The same holds true for those who are unable to take the stage and showcase their talents.  We need to reward our students for the hard work and sacrifice they are displaying and we can start by letting them play,” Oberacker concluded.

Senator Oberacker has also initiated an online petition through his website,, to help raise awareness and generate public support.  The full link: 

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Red Hook, NY, January XX......WYBN TV-14, the Capital Region's only locally owned and operated television station, will add Fun Roads TV Network to its eight channels of entertainment programming effective Feb. 10.
Fun Roads, which is based in Angora Hills, California, offers 24 hours a day of high-defininition shows designed to "celebrate the open road and the freedom that comes with it."  The line-up includes "Distant Roads," the longest-running, most widely watched RVing series in the world; "Steel Dreams," featuring great cars, great bikes and the country's top speed events, and "A Taste of History," which blends cuisine and legendary landmarks.  
"Fun Roads is for anyone with a set of wheels," said Dan Viles, President and General Manager of WYBN. "All shows are shot in HD, and the depth and breadth of storytelling is amazing.  I am excited to add Fun Roads to our line-up and I know our viewers will enjoy the ride."
Fun Roads will occupy channel 14.6.  The popular RetroTV, which currently is on 14.6, will be moving to 14.2.  
The move will make RetroTV available to subscribers of Mid-Hudson Cable.   RetroTV offers the best in classic television, with a line-up that includes "Ozzie and Harriet," "The Lone Ranger," "Bonanza" and "The Lucy Show."
Cozi TV, which had occupied 14.2, is no longer available.                                                                                                                                   
WYBN, owned by Cable Ad Net New York Inc. of Red Hook, will celebrate its 10th birthday this fall.  The station signed on the air in October 2011 as the first multi-format digital facility in New York's Capital Region, with subchannels 14.1 through 14.8 available over the air to viewers who have "cut the cord" from cable. Broadcasting from atop the Helderberg Escarpment-the highest point in Albany County-it has a coverage map extending from Greene County north to Glens Falls and from Schoharie County into western Massachusetts.
For more information on WYBN, go to 
For more information on Fun Roads TV visit

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Written By Editor on 1/16/21 | 1/16/21

Since Thanksgiving 2020, the Gilboa Historical Society has presented a short performance each week by a rotating roster of musicians and story-tellers. You can be added to our mail list for reminders about upcoming shows!

THIS WEEK: Women who took up flying in the early 1900's had to handle prejudice as well as the aircraft. Common public sentiment at that time was that a man being killed in an aircraft was a shame, but that he knew what he was getting into and was a hero for breaking new ground.
.....But, when a woman died in a plane accident, it was proof positive she shouldn't have been flying in the first place.
.....Storyteller Nancy Marie Payne brings that time alive through the voice of colorful and innovative female pilots of the 1920's, relating the exploits of early balloonists and aviators including Ruth Law, Harriet Quimby, Bessie Colman, Bobbi Trout, Amelia Earhart and others.
.....Click here for this free performance from now through January 22, 2021.

Starting next Friday, Nancy and musicians Dave Ruch and Reggie Harris will continue rotating performances through the remaining weeks of winter.

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Free COVID Rapid Testing in Schoharie, Otsego Counties

Written By Editor on 1/11/21 | 1/11/21

Have no symptoms of COVID-19, but looking to be tested? Bassett Healthcare Network, in partnership with the NYS Department of Health, is offering free COVID-19 rapid testing next week at its health clinics in Cooperstown, Cobleskill, Middleburgh, and Sharon Springs specifically for individuals who have no symptoms of the virus, but who wish to be tested. Appointments are required. The testing will be offered Tuesday, Jan. 12, Wednesday, Jan. 13, and Friday, Jan. 15, at the following locations and times. Call ahead to make an appointment.

Testing Site

Date/Hours of Testing

When to call for an Appt.

# to call for an Appt.

Sharon Springs Health Center
(591-1 State Route 20, Sharon Springs)

Tuesday, Jan. 12    
8:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (before day of testing)


Bassett Medical Center – Cooperstown Clinic
(1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown)

Tuesday, Jan. 12
8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Any time before the day of testing


Cobleskill Primary Care  
(136 Parkway Drive, Cobleskill)

Wednesday, Jan. 13
8:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (before day of testing)


Bassett Medical Center – Cooperstown Clinic
(1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown)

Wednesday, Jan. 13
8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Any time before the day of testing


Middleburgh Health Center
(109 Baker Avenue, Middleburgh)

Friday, Jan. 15
8:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.     

Weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (before day of testing)



Have symptoms and need to be tested?
If you have symptoms currently or have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days, you will not be eligible to receive the free testing from the clinics listed above.

Due to shortages of COVID-19 testing and supplies, Bassett Healthcare Network locations are currently performing COVID-19 tests for individuals in our region who meet the following criteria:

• Have symptoms of infection (fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, diarrhea, severe headache, or loss of taste/smell)

• Patients who require testing prior to a medical procedure

• Employees with suspected COVID-19 exposure

If you believe you have symptoms of the coronavirus and need to be tested, please call Bassett's COVID-19 central phone line at 607-547-5555. If it is determined that you meet the criteria for testing at a Bassett location, you will be given an appointment.

The COVID-19 Vaccine
Distribution of the coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and others considered at highest risk of exposure is just getting underway in the region served by Bassett Healthcare Network. While the vaccine is not expected to be available to the general population for some months, Bassett Healthcare Network is working hand in hand with our county and state health departments to prepare for that phase of the vaccine distribution process.

In the meantime, it is important to understand that the vaccine will not give you COVID-19. A vaccine works by teaching our immune systems how to recognize and fight off a virus if we ever truly encounter it. It’s safe, research is proving its effectiveness, and it is one of the many steps that we can take together to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Organizational Meeting of the Middletown-Hardenburgh Fire District

Organizational Meeting of the Middletown-Hardenburgh Fire District  

     Please take notice that the organizational meeting for the Middletown- Hardenburgh Fire District of the towns of Middletown & Hardenburgh, County of Delaware & Ulster, New York, will be held on Monday, January 11, 2021 @ 7:00 PM at the Margaretville Fire Station 3rd Floor meeting room.

      Please take notice that the regular monthly meeting will follow on this same date.

      This notification is being given to the news media pursuant to the provisions of Section 94 of the Public Officers Law of the State of New York.

       This is by order of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Middletown-Hardenburgh Fire District.

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REGGIE HARRIS' CATSKILLS OBSERVANCE from the Gilboa Historical Society

Written By Editor on 1/10/21 | 1/10/21

Starting 2020 Thanksgiving, the Gilboa Historical Society will present a short performance each week by a rotating roster of musicians and story-tellers. You can ask to be added to the maillist for reminders of upcoming shows!

Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway introduced the GHS to the potential of video at the same time as he celebrated the spirit of the northern Catskills with this performance. A songwriter of great depth and insight, Reggie writes from a deep sense of humanity and a uniquely positive world-view. He is a trailblazer who performs for audiences of all ages. His humorous and hopeful presence has led fans to label him the “Ambassador of Joy, Hope, and Freedom.”
.....Click here for this free performance through, January 15, 2021.

Next Friday, story-teller NANCY PAYNE will tell us about another strong women — in this case, early American aviatrices. Then, Dave Ruch, Reggie, and Nancy will rotate performances throughout the rest of the winter weeks.

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Senator Oberacker Receives Committee Assignments

State Senator Peter Oberacker (R/C – Schenevus) announced his committee assignments for the 2021-22 legislative session.  Senator Oberacker will serve as ranking Republican of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse and the Senate Committee on Internet & Technology.  Additionally, Senator Oberacker will serve on the senate standing committees on education, health, higher education, and judiciary. 


Senator Peter Oberacker said, “Being tasked with leadership roles on two senate committees is a major responsibility.  Both of these key committees deal with vital issues that have intensified in need during the COVID pandemic.”


Regarding his assignment as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Internet & Technology, Senator Oberacker said, “High-speed broadband is a major need and many in my district and across upstate New York are being held back because they are unable to access this critical service.  In fact, I am the only sitting senator unable to access high-speed broadband while at home.  Regulatory roadblocks standing in the way of broadband expansion must be eliminated and additional funding to expedite growth is also needed.”   


Regarding his assignment as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse, Senator Oberacker said, “Heroin and opioid abuse have inflicted a great deal of pain on individuals and families in recent years.  Just as we started to make some headway, the isolation of the COVID pandemic has left even more people in need of help with addictions of all types.  We need to ensure those in need are able to access and receive the appropriate services.”


Senator Oberacker’s other committee assignments will allow him to focus on key concerns within the 51st Senate District and throughout New York State.


Regarding his Senate Education and Higher Education committee assignments, Senator Oberacker said,  “Our local public schools, colleges, and universities have dealt with unprecedented hardships over the past 10 months and continue to evolve to meet the needs of our young people.  To ensure a prosperous future for the next generation, the state needs to foster existing programs and explore new methods of educating our students.”


Regarding his Senate Health Committee assignment, Senator Oberacker said, “We are still in the midst of a global pandemic.  Strides are being made to return to normalcy, and I know we will bounce back.  I do have several concerns with our vaccine distribution plans and questions regarding data reporting that need to be addressed to help us both now and in the future.  We also need to review overreaching and expensive state mandates forced on our EMS first responders and volunteers.”  


Regarding his Senate Judiciary Committee assignment, Senator Oberacker said, “Our courts are overwhelmed, in part because of the COVID pandemic and also due to changes in bail reform and discovery laws.  New York State needs a fair and just judiciary system at all levels and that will be my focus.”  

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SBA and Treasury Announce PPP Re-Opening; Issue New Guidance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, announced today that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining Program changes to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility was released on January 6 in accordance with the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act.

This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

Key PPP updates include:
  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. 

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
The new guidance released includes:
For more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses, visit or


Written By Editor on 1/4/21 | 1/4/21

While we enter the New Year with great hope, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the health of millions in this country and around the world. Steps have been taken to provide care and support for those who need it, however, the virus continues to present unique challenges for more than 5 million Americans, including 410,000 in New York, living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

 The Alzheimer’s Association, Northeastern New York chapter is offering free virtual education programs throughout January and February to help local caregivers throughout our 17-county area. Our Winter Caregiver Connection series includes a number of education programs that can help those living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what to expect so they can be prepared to meet the changes ahead and live well for as long as possible. Caregivers are encouraged to register for one or all of the programs in the series.

 “A person living with Alzheimer’s may feel a special sense of loss during the holiday season and post months because of the changes he or she has experienced. At the same time, caregivers may feel overwhelmed by maintaining traditions while providing care and adhering to safety precautions,” said Alzheimer’s Association, Northeastern New York Executive Director Beth Smith-Boivin. “The start of the New Year can already bring stress, but the current COVID-19 crisis is magnifying those stressors. Providing support to Alzheimer’s caregivers is critical and this virtual series allows us to connect with caregivers and provide necessary information even amid the current crisis.”

 Each virtual education program is approximately one hour and allows the audience to ask questions and engage with others going through the journey online. 

 Upcoming virtual education programs in January include: 

·       Facilitating Storytelling for Caregivers* (presented with SUNY Otswego): Jan. 14 at 10 a.m.

*Register at

·       Effective Communication Strategies: Jan. 20 at 3 p.m.

·       Meaningful Engagement, Activities at Home: Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m.

·       Know the 10 Warning Signs: Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

·       Managing Difficult Behaviors: Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.

·       COVID Tips for Caregivers: Jan. 28 at 11 a.m.


Upcoming virtual education programs in February include: 

·       Difficult Conversations: An Overview of Advanced Directives and End-of-Life Planning: Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.

·       Effective Communication Strategies: Feb. 5 at noon

·       Legal and Financial Planning: Feb. 9 at 4:30 p.m.

·       Managing Difficult Behaviors: Feb. 12 at noon

·       Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

·       Meaningful Engagement, Activities at Home: Feb. 23 at 10 a.m.

  For a complete list of upcoming programs, or to register for a program, visit or call our office at 518.675.7214.

 In addition to the virtual education classes, the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) offers around-the-clock support for caregivers and families impacted by Alzheimer’s and all dementia.

 More than 16 million family and friends, including more than 1 million in New York provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's or other dementias in the United States. To help family caregivers navigate the current complex and quickly changing environment, the Alzheimer’s Association has also offered additional guidance to families at

About the Alzheimer’s Association:
The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

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COVID Restrictions at Roxbury Library

Written By Editor on 1/3/21 | 1/3/21

As a preemptive measure to deter the local spread of COVID-19, the
Roxbury Library Association (RLA) is restricting Roxbury Library
services to curbside pickups only on Mondays, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon,
throughout the month of January 2021. Please call (607)-326-7901 or
email to request curbside pickup of
books, magazines, ACD's, and DVD's, as well as items ordered online
through the Four County Library System interlibrary loan services to
member libraries.

Beginning Monday, February 1, 2021, the Roxbury Library Association
tentatively plans to restore RLA Thrift Shoppe visits on a
by-appointment only-basis, through voicemail or email requests.

Please direct questions about the Roxbury Library's COVID-19 closing to
Dian Seiler, Director, Roxbury Library, or Mary Jean Scudder, Clerk,
Roxbury Library, at (607)-326-7901. Please note that the RLA cannot
accept donations of any kind during the library's COVID-19 closing.

The Roxbury Library Association Board of Trustees and the Roxbury
Library Staff appreciate the public's patronage of the Roxbury Library
and regret any inconvenience caused by the library's COVID-19 closing.

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SERIOUSLY FUN OLD AMERICAN MUSIC from the Gilboa Historical Society

DAVE RUCH & PHIL BANASZAK LOVE TO PUT SHINE TO AMERICAN traditional music — fiddle tunes, sea chanties, cowboy songs, Erie Canal ditties, mountain music, western swing, and original materials that sound old-timey. But due to Covid-19, they have created performances for virtual audiences. Their music will be most appropriate to usher in 2021!
.....With Dave & Phil's permission, we will show you 5 songs as a teaser for this wildly talented duo. Click here for their free performance through noon, January 7, 2021.

At noon on the 7th, REGGIE HARRIS will take over for the second January week with upbeat optimism about the air of freedom in America and the Catskills. He will then be followed by NANCY PAYNE, giving us another story about strong women — in this case, early American aviatrices
.....Then, these 4 talents will rotate performances throughout the rest of the winter months.

In late 2019, the Gilboa Historical Society received grants for performances to be held during 2020. For obvious reasons, these large, compressed events did not come off according to plan.
.....In their place, we are inviting you to a series of short virtual performances during each week of the 2020–2021 winter. Nancy, Dave, Phil, and Reggie will entertain us with stories (early American aviatrices and American veterans) and music (New York State, the Erie Canal, and the air, water, and earth of our Catskills.

This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered in Schoharie County by Greene County Council on the Arts dba CREATE.

Please forward this invitation to friends who might appreciate it.
.....These performances
are short (won't impinge on time);
are free (won't impinge on wallet)
are straightforward (won't lead down a trail of links)

A friend wanting to receive their own invitation, join the society, or update their contact information can download this form and fill in the email address and other information, and return it electronically or via snail mail (remember, we need that email address so we can provide you with each week's link). Alternatively, please visit us on line, at
.....Also please give us feedback on your reaction to this series of short performances, and definitely let us know if your are having difficulty taking advantage of our internet infrastructure.

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'Shedding' light on learning at Capital Region BOCES

Written By Editor on 12/30/20 | 12/30/20

SCHOHARIE -- If they build it, they will learn.

That might as well as be the motto of the construction program at Capital Region BOCES where hands-on learning is pivotal to the lessons taught involving construction and heavy equipment operation.

A major aspect of that in the construction semesters of the two-year Construction/Heavy Equipment Program that is located on the Schoharie campus involves the building and sale of sheds.

Students for decades have been building and selling them for the cost of supplies.

 “The phone is ringing off the hook for them,” said Dave Doherty, construction teacher. “we have made two so far this year (at the end of October) and renovated one but we could have made many more.”

 The construction of the sheds teaches students everything from framing techniques to roofing, design and a multitude of other skills.

 “I am learning how to frame with this. That’s a skill I will need,” said Mark Amedore, a senior from Schalmont who plans to study business in college and then join the family construction and development business.

 “I really enjoy the framing. I just like to build stuff. I want to go into construction when I am done with school,” added classmate Mark Nardine Jr., also from Schalmont.

 Doherty, who also owns a construction business, said the cost of supplies has spiked about 30 percent industry-wide this year as a result of the pandemic, with the sheds now costing nearly $2,000.

 Still, he said, it’s a good deal not only for the recipient, but also the students.
The two-year Construction/Heavy Equipment Program teaches students the knowledge and skills required to enter the construction and equipment operator industries or pursue further education in college or technical school. Students learn everything from equipment operator and maintenance skills to how to construct a building while earning National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certifications, which are recognized nationwide by contractors and employers, as well as OSHA and first aid certifications.

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Town of Halcott Reorganizational Legal Notice


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the 2021 Organizational Meeting for the Town of Halcott will be
held on January 4, 2021 at 6:00 pm, and the Regular Town Board Meeting will be held on
January 25, 2021 at 7:15 pm, both meetings to be held at the Town of Halcott Grange Hall,
Halcott Center, New York.

Dated December 23, 2020
Patricia Warfield, Town Clerk

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Legal Notice: Special Board of Education Meeting

Special Board of Education Meeting

The Roxbury Central School Board of Education will have a special meeting on Monday, January 4,
2021 at 7:00 PM via Zoom for the purpose of going into executive session to discuss a school safety


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Written By Editor on 12/29/20 | 12/29/20


Please take notice that the Windham Fire District of the town of Windham County of Greene, New York, will hold its Organizational Meeting followed by the regular meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall 371 NY-296, Hensonville, NY 12439.  All meetings of the Windham Fire District are open to the public. Followed by the Regular Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

This notice is being posted in accordance with the provisions of Section 94 of the Public Officers Law of the State of New York.

Dated: November 18, 2020
Board of Fire Commissioners
Windham Fire Dist.#1
371 St Rt 296
            Hensonville, NY  12439

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Schoharie Library News

Schoharie Library Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 11am-6pm. Thursday, 12pm-7pm. Saturday, 10am-2pm. 
Open 12pm-4pm on Thursday, December 31. Closed Friday, January 1, 2021. 
Masks are required in the Library.  Please return books in the book drop. Details  and community resources are at 
Hopes & Dreams Collage: Come see our collage display and lift your spirits! 
Schoharie Library Online Programs: To sign up for online programs, contact or click the link to the sign-up sheet at or on our Facebook page events. 
Online Writing Club: Meets every Monday at 6:30pm.

Online “UFO” Unfinished Object Club: Thursdays, January 7 & 21, 10am. Work on a project and chat!
Online  Interactive Storytime with Miss Heather: On break for the holidays, resumes January 8. Fridays at 10am. Stories, crafts, songs, more!
Online Knitcetera Club: Tuesdays, January 12 & 26, 10:30am. 
Online How to Use Zoom (Basics): Tuesday, January 12, 6:30pm. This project is supported by funds from the New York State Library’s Adult Literacy Library Services Program.

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Gardening Tips by Bob Beyfuss: Care of Holiday Gift Plants

 Some of you have had your white Xmas washed away by a rainy Christmas Eve, but the cold will return next week as winter continues. Buy the calcium chloride de-icer to protect your landscape plantings! It does a much better job that ordinary rock salt. The good news is that we have turned the corner on daylight hours and every day from now on will feature a little more sunlight than the previous one until June! 
     I hope you were fortunate enough to receive a beautiful plant as a Holiday Gift.  If not, there are some great bargains available right now at your local greenhouses or garden center.  Not too many years ago most holiday gift plants, such as poinsettias, did not last very long after they were brought home.  Today’s plants are much tougher and many poinsettias sold this past month will still look quite spectacular in March or even April if given a little care. Contrary to popular belief Poinsettias are not poisonous per say, so you need not worry about someone (or your cat or dog) getting sick from chewing on the leaves. However, most poinsettias, like almost every plant that has been mass produced, have been treated with some sort of insecticide or fungicide, which may have a residue in the plant tissue. It is not a good idea to eat a leaf to prove the non toxic point. Here in Florida, Poinsettias grow wild into shrubs or are sometimes used as foundation plants. My local friend Willy, has a beautiful specimen that is the size of a small tree in full bloom now! 
     Not all gift plants will remain in prime condition as long as poinsettias. Chrysanthemums are often “forced” to bloom indoors in December as well as for other holidays and theoretically they can be saved for spring planting into your outside garden. With a lot of luck the mum might bloom again outside sometime next fall. Realistically, unless you really enjoy an indoor gardening challenge, enjoy the mum until the flowers fade and then discard it. Hundreds of thousands more will be produced next season just for decorations.   
     The same is true for cyclamen and all of the spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths. These plants will hold their flowers longest if placed in a cool room (50 degrees) at night. Amaryllis plants, however, make wonderful long-lasting houseplants that may re-flower once or twice a year for 50 years or more. Every Xmas I give my daughter an Amaryllis bulb that she plants in her back yard, where it becomes a perennial. Christmas or Thanksgiving cacti also make hearty, long-lived houseplants that bloom every year with little effort on your part. 
     Poinsettias will do best if kept by a bright, sunny, unobstructed south or southwest facing window.  It is important to keep them out of either cold or hot drafts. Allow the soil surface to dry out to a depth of a half-inch (insert thumb to test for moisture) before watering.  Water as needed and apply a very dilute dose of liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month. Poinsettias require lots of fertilizer to produce their huge flowers, but not in the winter after they bloom. Do not cut off the colored bracts unless you want to trigger the plant into putting out new growth. If you cut the plant back, it will sprout new growth. This new growth needs more light then we can realistically provide indoors during the winter so leave the pretty bracts alone until they fall off on their own. By April you can cut the plant back and it will sprout new growth. By April our longer days will allow some new growth, but the plant really wants to be outside in full sun. You can transplant it outside in mid May and it should survive all summer. If your plant should suddenly start producing lots of confetti like, tiny white insects, it would be best to get rid of it. These insects are called whiteflies and they can infest your other houseplants. 
     Experiencing Xmas in Florida is still a little weird for this Yankee snowbird. My senior citizen body is enjoying the warmth and the joy of seeing the Grandkids, is wonderful, but my heart still resides in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. The COVID epidemic has put a serious damper on many Holiday celebrations, but I think there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Within a few months, most of us will have access to a vaccine. I urge all of you to be very careful until that happens. Double down on your safety precautions, wear your mask and avoid indoor parties if at all possible. Happy New Year! 2021 will be a lot better than 2020! 

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Season's Greetings from the MARK Project

This has been an exhausting year for the staff at MARK, myself included. When many were an arms-length away from the effects of COVID, we were hearing and helping to cure some overwhelming situations on a daily basis—including nights and weekends. Much like after Hurricane Irene, we quickly became the go-to organization. But unlike Hurricane Irene, we still struggle to see the end of what at times seems to be an unsurmountable crisis.

Working in the not for profit sector for an organization as deep and broad as MARK is a daily challenge, and at no time do we step away—we can’t. But we can take some time to decompress and regenerate our spirit. That is exactly where we are right now.

The MARK office will be closed until Monday, January 4th with limited access to email.

When we reconvene on January 4th we will be faced with new challenges as well as new creative and rewarding opportunities. We will be setting new goals and milestones in 2021. Some of which include, but are not limited to:

• Completion of the NY Main Street Program in Andes, which will include a robust streetscape and signage component

• Completion of the Roxbury and Middletown Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Home Repair Program

• Completion of our Homebuyer Assistance program.

• Applications for continued substantial housing rehabilitation for owner occupied home repair

• An application for a regional child care facility

• The continuation of an inclusive planning process for the Inn at Kirkside, an experiential hospitality training incubator, followed by early applications for construction.

• Capacity building of smaller groups and organizations that will help them take the next step in reaching their overarching goals.

• Continued support for our business community, especially as the long-term effects of COVID become clear. Until then we cannot truly determine needs and subsequent solutions.

• The beginning of the amphitheater development project in Margaretville and the completion of the Margaretville NY Main Street Technical Assistance program.

• Regular website updates and launch of the Inn at Kirkside Website.

• Assistance to the Village of Fleischmanns for the Theater roof repair.

• Ongoing project development assistance and grantsmanship for the Towns of Andes, Middletown, Roxbury and the Village of Fleischmanns

• Virtual networking for full and part time residents and a welcoming forum for new residents

• Virtual business workshops as part of COVID recovery

• Continued assessment of community needs and subsequent program development.

In closing, a heartfelt thank you for your support of the MARK Project, especially during such a challenging time. Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season, and looking forward to turning the page to 2021.

Warm regards,


If you wish to support the work of MARK you can do so at

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Whittling Away: A Special Bond

There is a special bond that develops between old men and old dogs.  It's different than the bond between kids and puppies or the bond between some women and those foo-foo yappy little creatures they try to pass off as real dogs.  It's not a master/pet kind of thing or a substitute child thing.  It's more of a soul mate thing, a blending of spirits that needs no naming, two individuals from different species that blend into one identity.  Old men and old dogs have a lot in common which may explain this compatibility of spirits.  They have seen their share of hard times, before they found each other.  Neither one smells good when wet, they both track mud through the house.  They tend to bark when irritated and growl when being annoyed.  They are both guilty of scratching anything that itches no matter where or when said itch occurs.  There is a society of old men and old dogs that exists under the main stream of societies ebb and flow.  We see each other and smile because we know we’re brothers.  Every Tuesday Telly and I make our weekly run to the Transfer Station and every Tuesday as we are driving the winding wooded road that is our favorite route we pass an older guy and his slightly overweight golden retriever.  They are wandering along the side of the road in no hurry to get to any destination.  They are sharing the journey, taking time to look at anything of interest along the way.  It’s a different route than the one Buddy and I take every day but the same journey.
I always wave to my brother old person, I don’t know his name or the name of his companion but it doesn’t matter, he’s my friend.  I know that somehow he knows that there’s an old dog snoozing on my back seat and that he looks forward to our weekly wave just as I do. 
     This blending of canine and human spirits takes time which may be why it’s found among the older members of each of these species.  It happens best after the hurry of middle age has past.  I now have the luxury of having time to wander the back yard with my best friend and let him tell me his stories of the night passing of all the local critters.  I talk to Telly on these rambles and he listens patiently.  My Queen, who I love dearly, has heard all my stories and is no longer surprised or amused by them.  Telly always listens attentively, tipping his head from side to side, no matter how many times I tell them.  When I work hard at some little project that the rest of the world will never notice, he is by my side helping and supervising.  His brown eyes tell me what a great job I’ve done and how did I ever think it up and how skillfully I did it.  He hops willingly into the car anytime I have to go somewhere.  He never asks the destination or complains of boredom, if I’m going he wants to go too.  I share all my secrets and frustrations with him, He listens with that old soul look in his eye and never advises or is critical.   When I run, he runs.  When I sit, he sits.  When I nap, so does he.  In the evening after a long hard day of strenuous senior citizen type activities, I haul my tired aching old bones to my recliner and settle in.  Telly leaves his comfortable pillow bed, comes and lies on the hard floor next to my chair so he can be near me and I wonder what I’ve done to deserve a friend like him.
     Thought for the week—I hope God judges on a curve.
     Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.          

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