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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Schoharie News Tops Half a Million Page-Views

Written By Editor on 4/30/14 | 4/30/14

Yes, that headline is correct.

Since the Schoharie News first debuted in June 2013 and officially launched that following fall, this little internet newspaper has received slightly over half a million page views from our absolutely incredible readership of thousands of friends and neighbors in Schoharie County. 

We owe every bit of our success to our humble readership, and we will forever be indebted to the amount of support you have contributed to this amazing project's success. From news tips, photos, donations, and our advertisers, we simply never would have been able make it this far without your faith in what we set out to accomplish. 

I do not know for how much longer this project will continue, or where the work I have done on it will bring me, but in spite of the hardships associated with spearheading the county's only online source of news: threatening e-mails, working all hours of night during heavy news periods, and sacrificing personal time; it has been worth it. 

Again, I thank every person and organization who has supported us through out this project and who will continue to lend their assistance as we continue to grow and report on the news that matters to you, the humble reader of this website, and our neighbor in the community. 

- Timothy Knight, Editor and Publisher of the Schoharie News

Gibson Launches 2014 Re-Election Campaign (Video)

Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY 19) recently launched his 2014 congressional re-election campaign, and earlier this week the two-term Congressman's web team released the following video of his remarks at the campaign launch. 

Schoharie Valley in Flood Watch

The National Weather Service in Albany announced earlier this morning that most of the Capital District - including the Schoharie Valley region - is in a flood watch due to a, "large slow moving low pressure system that will impact the area into Thursday resulting in widespread showers."

Weather map courtesy of WNYT Albany
Showers that are expected to bring anywhere from one and half to three inches of rain over the next day to the immediate area, with parts of the Eastern Catskills likely to see in excess of four inches. 

Minor flooding of rivers and streams is possible, with additional flooding of poor drainage, urban, and low lying areas likely with heavy rainfall. Residents in the aforementioned areas are cautioned to monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flooding occur.

We will keep everyone updated here at the Schoharie News as the storm develops.

Coby-Rich to Host Donkey Basketball to Benefit AED of Schoharie County Friday

Cobleskill-Richmondville, in conjunction with neighboring school districts and Green Mountain Donkeyball, are set to host the uniquely commissioned "Donkey Basketball Fundraiser" on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm to benefit the AED Project of Schoharie County. 

The donkeyball match, which will be held inside Cobleskill-Richmondville High School gym, will have participating teams from several local high schools, and in addition to the wild and crazy show on court, the event will also feature concessions, 50/50 raffle, and an opportunity to meet with the donkeys.

Pre-sale tickets cost $5 per student/$7 for adult and can be obtained by visiting Carpets and Then Some, Fit Coalition or by contacting Nancy Brumaghim at Tickets will also be available at door, but with a slightly higher price tag of $8 per student/$10 for adult.

SUNY Cobleskill Mourns Loss of Freshmen Student in Auto Accident

Written By Editor on 4/29/14 | 4/29/14

SUNY Cobleskill students are mourning the loss of Alexander Batson, a freshmen in the rural university's Fisheries and Wildlife program, who tragically died Monday morning in a motor vehicle accident near his hometown of Poland, New York.

In an email sent to the student body on Monday afternoon, Vice-President of Student Affairs Steven M. Ackerknecht informed students of Mr. Batson's untimely passing. Counseling was made available to his classmates and friends who needed support that evening and into Tuesday. 

The freshmen student, according to Utica's News Channel 2 NBC-WKTV, was driving in a 2003 Pontiac when he "failed to negotiate a curve and lost control of the car." Mr. Batson attempted to regain control of the vehicle, but "exited the roadway again and struck a second tree with the front driver-side fender and door." 

Mr. Batson was eighteen.

Cobleskill Police Blotter (April 29, 2014)

The Cobleskill Police Department has submitted the following press release concerning recent arrests in their jurisdiction. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

     At 12:10 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Conor G. Anson, 19, of Albany, NY, for violation of the Noise Ordinance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 13th at 5:00 p.m.

     At 1:30 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Gabriella D. Desmond, 23, of Mount Sinai, NY, on a Bench Warrant for failing to pay a fine. She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.
Friday, April 25, 2014

     At 10:30 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Amanda A. Gibson, 22, of Albany, NY, for violation of the Noise Ordinance.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 27th at 5:00 p.m.  The property at 600-8 East Street was posted for Unruly Gathering.
Saturday, April 26, 2014

     At 10:56 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Johnnie Brown, III, 22, of Middleburgh, NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3rd.  He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 27th at 5:00 p.m.

     At 10:56 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Nicholas McDonnell, 20, of Middleburgh, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 27th at 5:00 p.m.

Hosting Casino Would Bring Millions in State Aid, Funding to Schoharie County

Written By Editor on 4/28/14 | 4/28/14

The stakes just got that much higher. 

According to a document published on Schoharie County's official website, whether the Howe Caverns site is selected to host the Capital District's regional casino or not, local counties are in line to receive millions in school funding, property tax relief, and government aid.

However, the true jackpot is in hosting the gaming facility, where the home county is projected to receive over $11.4 million in additional revenue. To put that in perspective, that would be the equivalent of funding 15% of Schoharie County's 2014 $71.9 million public budget from just one source. 

As current calculations stand, Schoharie County would receive just under $1 million in funding regardless of where the casino is located, the smallest amount in the entire Capital District by half a million and barely one-sixth of Albany County's projected take home figures. 

Howe Caves Development Corporation recently anted up $1,000,000 in their own funds to move forward with the state application process, signaling the resolve of Schoharie County's local site to be fairly and seriously considered for the gaming facility. 

All eight counties will walk away from the process with something to show for, but only one will be able to cash in their chips because in poker, the house always wins. 

Jefferson School Board Adopts 2014-15 Budget, 2.41% Tax Increase Under State Cap

Last Tuesday evening, the Jefferson Central School Board of Education unanimously approved the proposed 2014-15 operating budget for the rural school of approximately three hundred students in southern Schoharie County.

The budget, which will be presented to district voters on Tuesday, May 20 for final adoption or public veto, calls for a 2.41% increase in real property taxes for local homeowners, which is under the state imposed property tax cap.

According to a press release issued by district officials, the school was able to keep costs down by eliminating or not filling two personnel positions, while reducing another staff member to part-time employment. The district has reduced personnel by 15% since 2005 while maintaining a consistent number of enrolled students. 

US News and World Reports recently named Jefferson Central School as one of America's best high schools for the fifth time in nine years, a feat Superintendent Carl Mummenthey called an, "independent validation of our school's success."

The district's annual budget hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The annual budget vote and board elections, which two incumbents are vying for reelection to, will be held from noon until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20 in the library lobby.

County Line Rebels to Headline Caverns Palace May 3

MAY 3, 2014 – The County Line Rebels – 9 pm to 1 am – Ask any of their fans and the phrase you’ll hear most often to describes The County Line Rebels is “unique new traditional music.” Founded in 1988, they have been going strong ever since. Their music is performed with power, conviction and respect for their audiences. They’re a musical experience you won’t want to miss….

They are one of the Northeast Country Music Association’s most award nominated groups, garnering nominations for awards as Entertainers of the Year, Vocal and Instrumental Group of the Year, and Sunrise Award almost every year since 1989. Individual members have been nominated for awards in various categories. Band leader, Howard Bellinger was the recipient of the Northeast CMA Pioneer Award  in 2009.

They have had the honor of opening for Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame’s Hank Thompson, Freddy Hart (“Mr. Easy Lovin”), and Grand Ole’ Opry member, Charlie Louvin (of the Louvin Brother’s.)

They hope you will allow them to “reintroduce” you to classic and new country along with some 50’s & 60’s rock ‘n roll thrown in just for fun! They also do square dances. In sum, The County Line Rebels are well‐seasoned professionals with experience and insight who have only their audience’s enjoyment at heart.

You won’t want to miss this Good Old Country Time!!! $5.00 at the door, food and drink specials all evening!!!

Middleburgh Canoe Race Attracts Hundreds

Written By Editor on 4/27/14 | 4/27/14

Over a hundred contestants and hundreds of cheering family members, friends, and onlookers participated in the re-founding of an old Middleburgh tradition. The Middleburgh Sloughter Canoe/Kayak Regatta was held yesterday for the first time in almost thirty years. The event was a very popular one that used to pit many experienced canoe racers against each other. This new iteration now includes kayaks.

The results were tremendous. The number of contestants about tripled initial estimates and had more people involved than the original programs. The race started at the picnic pull off near Fultonham and finished in Middleburgh's new Timothy Murphy Park.

Middleburgh Fire Department handled safety for the event
Contestants old and young participated yesterday, including some that were involved in the original races. Rotary President Jim Spencer was MC and members of the Middleburgh Booster Club, Rotary, the Knights of Columbus, and others helped in the event.

All photos credit Sheila Donegan.

State Police Arrest Fulton Man Over Domestic Dispute

On April 26, 2014, State Troopers in Cobleskill arrested James E. Papas, 51, following a Domestic Dispute. It is alleged that Papas slapped and choked the victim following an argument. 

Papas was arrested for Harassment in the 2nd degree (Violation) and Criminal Obstruction of Breathing (Misdemeanor) and was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court.  

He was remanded to Schoharie County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail or $2,000 bond and is to reappear in court on April 29th

Vote in Our New Poll: Do You Approve of County Clerk Indy Jaycox's Job Performance?

Written By Editor on 4/26/14 | 4/26/14

In our latest survey of Schoharie News readers, we are asking whether you approve or disapprove of Schoharie County Clerk Indy Jaycox's job performance as head of the local Department of Motor Vehicles office in Schoharie. 

Mrs. Jaycox, who was first appointed to the position by Governor Pataki after Assemblyman Peter Lopez was first elected to the state legislature, has subsequently been elected twice to head the countywide office that suffered severely from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irene. 

The poll is located on the right-hand sidebar of the website and will remain open until Friday afternoon. 

Sheriff's Office Investigating Sharon ATV Accident, Driver Remains Hospitalized

Written By Editor on 4/25/14 | 4/25/14

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office is investigating an ATV accident that occurred on Route 10 in the Town of Sharon on Thursday night, slightly north of the Village of Sharon Springs, according to a press release submitted earlier this afternoon by the department. 

At approximately 8:00 pm, Franklin Butler of the Town of Sprakers was operating his 2003 Artic Cat ATV southboundd on Route 10 when he lost control. Mr. Butler was subsequently ejected from the machine and sustained severe head and neck trauma.  

The operator was airlifted to Albany Medical Center for evaluation, where he remains at this time. In addition to local Deputies, members of the Sharon Springs Fire Department and Rescue Squad, along with several Schoharie County Medics, were also on scene. 

Maple Festival, Lumberjacks to Dominate Busy Cobleskill Weekend

The Cobleskill Fairgrounds will be busy with activity this weekend, as residents countywide are gearing up for the 49th annual Schoharie County Maple Festival where a new Maple Queen will be crowned on Saturday, while lumberjacks from across the North East are sharpening their axes for the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Qualifier that is being held today into tomorrow afternoon.

Joining in on the community action, the Village of Cobleskil will be hosting their 19th annual Fish and Wildlife Festival in conjunction with their 2014 Earth Day Celebration and Village Clean-Up event, both of which will take place at the Village Park from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  

Voters Approve Middleburgh Library Budget, Three Trustees Elected

With slightly under one hundred residents voting in Tuesday's Middleburgh Library Board election, the community-oriented organization's 2014-15 fiscal year public budget was approved by 80% of voters; only sixteen no votes were cast.

The budget's approval will result in a 7% increase in taxes for local residents, which will equal out to roughly $2-$4 per household, depending on where they reside in the Middleburgh Central School District.

In addition to approving the proposed budget, local residents also elected three new members to the Library Board of Trustees - Rebecca Young-Cherizard, Susan London, and Timothy Knight - who will replace retiring incumbent Carol Coltrain and fill two recently created positions. 

Sheriff's Office: No Arrest Made, But Tri-Agency Investigation Working on Car Break-In Spree

Written By Editor on 4/24/14 | 4/24/14

According to a press release issued Wednesday afternoon by the Schoharie County Sheriff's Department, there have been no arrests made in several vehicle related break-ins spanning the county, but out of the crime spree a tri-agency investigation has emerged to resolve the situation.

The break-ins, which started on Easter Sunday in the Village of Schoharie and soon spread to the Villages of Middleburgh and Cobleskill earlier this week, have local law enforcement investigating leads to track down those responsible for the thefts that claimed prescription drugs, electronics, and in one case, at least one debit card.

Officers in the Cobleskill and Schoharie Police Deparments are working on break-ins reported in their respective jurisdictions, while the Sheriff's Department is looking into four cases that occurred in the Village of Middleburgh.

Anyone who has any information concerning these matters is asked to call the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office crime tip line at 518-295-2295 or the Cobleskill Police Department at 518-234-2923.

Middleburgh Business Association Announces "Fourth Fridays" Activities

The Middleburgh Area Business Association is pleased to announce a new tradition in the Village of Middleburgh.  Starting Friday, May 23 come out and celebrate “Fourth Fridays”.  

Every fourth Friday from May through August, the businesses along Middleburgh’s historic Main Street, Railroad Avenue & Chestnut Lane are offering a festival like atmosphere with activities and specials for folks of all ages.  

Activities include live music, wine & beer tasting, fun photos, a live auction, art displays and demonstrations, children’s activities, Friday night bowling, great specials at our many restaurants and shops, and much more.  Each business will host a little something different as well as extended hours from 6PM- 8PM or later.  

The activities will change from month to month, so don’t miss out!  Like the Middleburgh Area Business Association on Facebook where you can stay up to date with participating businesses, details and more.

Howe Caverns Antes Up $1,000,000 Casino Application Fee

Written By Editor on 4/23/14 | 4/23/14

Cobleskill, NY – Howe Caves Develop Corporation, today, submitted the $1,000,000 application fee as the next step in a bid to secure a casino at its Schoharie County location.

Emil Galasso, President of Howe Caves Development Corporation, said he believes that at every step in the process Howe Caverns is showing to be a serious contender with the best site for a potential casino in this region.

“Today, we are sorting out - who is in and who is out. When the smoke clears we are confident that operators will recognize the tremendous potential of our shovel ready site - uniquely suited to be a destination location for families throughout the region.  Our proposal is consistent with the Governor's stated goals to target areas in need and build destination resorts in communities that express local support. It will be clear to operators that we are the only site that has all of these qualities in the Capital Region,” Galasso said.

“We have overwhelming public support, we have the support of our County Board and we have the support of key officials who have addressed safety and traffic concerns,” Galasso added.

43 million people live within 3-hours of the proposed site, with an already existing attendance of 150,000 people per year to Howe Caverns and 400,000 tourist to the region each year.

“With over 330 acres of shovel ready land, a new water and sewer project near completion, a connection of Interstate and State Highways, and the close proximity to several metropolitan areas, Howe Caverns is the perfect site for one of New York’s seven casinos,” Galasso said. 

“Howe Caverns is also the only site that offers a built in attraction with pre approved plans for future development such as a hotel and water park,” Galasso continued.

The pre approval includes completed traffic, geological and environmental studies allowing for immediate construction and development at the Howe Caverns site, the 2nd largest natural attraction in New York behind only Niagara Falls.

Galasso also referenced Governor Cuomo’s desire that casinos be sited in economically depressed areas to help spur economic development and create jobs.

Schoharie County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.  County residents have also been faced with the devastation from two recent flooding disasters stemming from Hurricanes Lee and Irene.  

“I believe when you look at all the factors put forth in the State’s application process, Howe Caverns more than meets the criteria and is located in a community deserving of the potential economic revitalization,” Galasso said.

Howe Caverns has been in operation since 1842.  In 2007, businessmen Emil Galasso and Charles Wright purchased Howe Caverns and since that time, have updated the original facility and added outdoor attractions such as the Howe High Adventure Park.  

Howe Caverns sits on a beautiful mountainside with spectacular views overlooking the Helderberg Plateau.  It is located just off Interstate 88, about 30 minutes from Oneonta and Cooperstown to the west, and 30 minutes from Albany to the east and 2.5 hours from NYC.  

HCR's New Web Portal Benefits Physicians and Patients

April 21, 2014 — An innovative online solution employed by HCR Home Care enables physicians to get real-time patient information and streamlines communication between doctors and the home care agency.

HCR Home Care now is offering Provider Link, a service available to physicians. Provider Link gives physicians and their staff secure, online access to information about patients who are receiving home care from HCR.

Utilizing the web-based solution, physicians can:
-          Sign home care orders electronically, eliminating paperwork and allowing faster approval.
-          View patients’ vital stats, charts, home care visit schedules, diagnoses and medications.
-          Request automatic alerts to a patient’s condition changes on a patient-by-patient or visit-by-visit basis. For example, a physician can be alerted immediately if a patient’s blood-pressure reading or other vital sign is out of normal range.
-          Write notes directly to a HCR Home Care nurse, such as a directive to change medication.
-          See a patient’s entire episode of care with complete details of the patient’s progress.

“HCR has invested in this state-of-the-art, online solution because of the tremendous benefits it delivers for both patients and physicians,” said Elizabeth Zicari, president, HCR Home Care. “Patients have peace of mind knowing there is more efficient communication between their doctor and their HCR nurse, while physicians can get instant access to patient information.” 

“Provider Link offers an easy-to-use link between physicians and our staff that is secure, confidential and HIPAA-compliant,” said Andrew Bascom, IT director, HCR Home Care. “The doctors we work with who have taken advantage of this solution – which is available at no cost to them – already are benefiting from the portal.”

Luis G. Postigo, MD, an internist in Webster, N.Y., said, “The provider portal that HCR Home Care has implemented has enabled me to complete the orders I need to sign for my patients in half the time. Cutting down on physical paperwork has helped streamline our administrative efficiency as well. Overall, my staff and I are very pleased with the system.”

Poll: Plurality Believe Officials Responsible for AECOM Debacle Should be Fired

Written By Editor on 4/22/14 | 4/22/14

Coming off the heels of Friday's vote by the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors requesting the New York State Comptroller's Office investigate the AECOM debacle, Schoharie News readers are deeply divided over what the county's appropriate response to the scandal should be. 

With over one hundred and fifty votes cast, 46% of readers believe that county officials responsible for the circumstances resulting in the stream bank project's $2.6 million budget shortfall should be fired, while 42% contend the county's should respond by covering the project's full costs to ensure final work is completed.

Leave the contract, halt all stream work
  9 (5%)
Try to meet AECOM halfway
  7 (4%)
Pay the full amount to make sure that the work is done      
  65 (42%)
Fire county officials responsible
  71 (46%)
Other (please comment)
  1 (0%)

If anything can be observed from these results, it is that the county is deeply divided over the stream bank remediation project and the fallout associated with revelations that AECOM had conducted work past the purview of their original contract, which had been altered without consent of the Board of Supervisors. 

Cobleskill Police Blotter (April 22, 2014)

The Cobleskill Police Department has submitted the following press release concerning recent arrests in their jurisdiction. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    At 9:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Diamond M. Jewels, 19, of Cobleskill, NY, on a Warrant for Criminal Trespass. She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

     At 12:54 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Michael Gereczy, 21, of Ozone Park, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana and Open Container.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 6th at 5:00 p.m.  

     At 12:54 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Steven Begg, 22, of South Hampton, NY, for Open Container.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 6th at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

     At 7:52 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Cinnamon M. Leighton, 22, of Greenwich, NY, on a Bench Warrant for failing to appear for a court date.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released after pleading guilty to a Loud Party charge. 

    At 7:52 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Michael Leighton, 21, of Greenwich, NY, on a Bench Warrant for failing to appear for a court date.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released after pleading guilty to a Loud Party charge.
Friday, April 18, 2014

     At 12:55 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Nicholas L. Beadling, 28, of Summit, NY, for Exposure of a person, Disorderly Conduct, and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 13th at 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday, April 20, 2014

    At 10:17 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Gideon Zimmer, Jr. 26, of Schenectady, NY, for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th, and Vehicle and traffic tickets.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

Police: Middleburgh-Schoharie Cars Targeted, Ransacked

The Village of Schoharie Police Department informed local citizens in a email sent yesterday afternoon that a string of vehicles had been broken into and ransacked in the Middleburgh-Schoharie area late Sunday night into early Monday morning. 

Two cars were targeted in the Village of Schoharie, while at least seven similar occurrences were reported in Middleburgh. Prescription drugs were reportedly stolen from a majority of vehicles targeted on Sunday night, with electronic devices and other valuable items also disappearing. 

In addition to encouraging local residents to remain attentive and to lock their cars, Schoharie Police urged motorists to remove items of value, or at least out of view from outside of their vehicles as a precaution. 

Desmond: SAFE Act is "Another Step Toward Total Gun Control"

Written By Editor on 4/21/14 | 4/21/14

Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond had plenty to say about the controversial SAFE Act at the April county board meeting held on Friday afternoon, but none of it was good for Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature piece of legislation that has faced stiff resistance across Upstate, New York.

Telling Supervisors that the measure is, "another step toward total gun control," Sheriff Desmond remained firmly in opposition to the unpopular restrictions. He would later go on to add that the department has not been questioning local citizens on whether they possess assault weapons as deemed illegal by the state, remarking that they, "don't have the time for that."

The Sheriff was invited to address the issue by Carlisle Town Supervisor Larry Bradt when a previously scheduled speaker was unable to attend the board meeting. Mr. Bradt has led legislative efforts opposed to the law since its conception and commented publicly Friday that, "the Sheriff's Office will not be going door to door," to enforce its restrictions.

Concluding his comments on the matter, Sheriff Desmond reminded the public and supervisors alike that, "Schoharie County is a little different than Schenectady, Albany, or Troy," whereas they are use to crime on a regular basis, we know how to both use and respect firearms in our rural confines.

Chamber of Commerce to Manage Schoharie County Tourism

After listening to two detailed presentations on the future of tourism in Schoharie County, the Board of Supervisors were in agreement on Friday morning that the function should be privatized and removed from the county government apparatus in favor of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce, which previously had administered the county's tourism program from 1998-2009.

With over one hundred local businesses in support of their proposal, the Chamber's pitch called for the creation of a full-time tourism coordinator, which the county currently lacks, in conjunction with a chamber tourism board that would focus on planning and maintaining fiscal responsibility. The occupancy tax board would also be utilized to provide further financial oversight. 

Additionally, Scott Ferguson of the Chamber frowned upon the county's current visitors center. When asked for the chamber's position on it by Jefferson Town Supervisor Sean Jordan, Mr. Ferguson dismissed it as a "green garden shed," adding that the chamber plans to see the office relocated to fill a "vacant storefront in one of our communities." 

Following up on the Chamber's presentation was Cathleen Berry, publisher of the Seasons of Schoharie County tourism magazine, who suggested the creation of two niche festivals to draw in younger tourists and families to come visit the area. Ms. Berry also agreed that the visitors center needed to be relocated, suggesting the vacant pharmacy in Schoharie as a possible brick and mortar location. 

In the end both proposals encouraged the county board that privatization was the right path, which they agreed to unanimously. However, there was hesitation by some members to exclude Ms. Berry, who left after her presentation, in favor of the Chamber and requested that she be involved in the process. 

The Chamber of Commerce will assume all county tourism responsibilities on July 1, 2014.

Youngsters Hunt for Easter Eggs in Central Bridge

Dozens of local families in the Schoharie Valley area came together on Saturday morning to participate in Central Bridge's annual Easter Egg Hunt festivities at the close-knit hamlet's community park, which included basket drawings and an extensive hunt by Easter Egg seeking kids. 

Photo credit: Travis Hofmann
The event is sponsored annually by the Central Bridge Civic Association.

Photo credit: Travis Hofmann

Jefferson Woman Arrested for Welfare Fraud

Written By Editor on 4/19/14 | 4/19/14

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of a Jefferson woman, now identified as thirty-three year old Clara Cross, on an arrest warrant out of the Village of Schoharie Court on 3 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 2nd Degree and 2 Counts of Welfare Fraud in the 5th Degree.

Ms. Cross was arrested at approximately 6:30 pm last Friday evening, and was subsequently released and issued a ticket to reappear in the Village of Schoharie Court on Tuesday, April 22. 

Supervisors Request State Comptroller's Office Review AECOM Contract

Written By Editor on 4/18/14 | 4/18/14

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Friday afternoon to send a letter requesting the Investigations Unit of the Legal Services Division of the Office of New York State Comptroller look into several matters regarding the conduct and execution of the stream bank remediation project.

Conesville Town Supervisor Bill Federice, who drafted the letter with assistance and support from the freshmen class of legislators, introduced the request for the entire board's approval following the county board's lunch recess. 

Speaking in support of the request, which comes in light of the growing controversy surrounding the $2.6 million budget shortfall in the stream bank project being administered by AECOM, Broome Town Supervisor Bill Smith said that he believed, "taxpayers in the county deserve answers."

Board Chairman Tony VanGlad, who reported that he has been in discussions with state officials over opening avenues of additional funding to cover the project's unexpected costs, cautioned against sending the letter too soon as he has received nothing definite yet, although he added that he should know by next week.

In late March it was revealed in separate articles published by the Times Journal and the Schoharie News that the stream bank project was in economic peril, due in part to county lawmakers and AECOM officials working under two different budget assumptions that resulted from the contract being altered retroactively. 

After contemplating Chairman VanGlad's concerns, Supervisors agreed to hold off on formally sending the letter into the State Comptroller's Office until May 1, when funding issues should theoretically be resolved, or at least stand closer to being addressed.

Third Annual Ladies Night Out to Benefit SALT May 2

Written By Editor on 4/17/14 | 4/17/14

Cobleskill, NY. – April 17, 2014. Ludwig Family Chiropractic of Cobleskill is pleased to host the Third Annual Ladies Night out fundraiser to support SALT (Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery) on Friday May 2nd from 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the office of Ludwig Family Chiropractic located at 109 Park Place in Cobleskill.

The 3rd Annual Ladies Night Out fundraiser will include appetizers from SUNY Culinary students, free chair massage by Kimberly Marsh LMT, local handcrafted jewelry from Blessed Beads Boutique at 10 % off, cookies, cakes and various goodies by Denise's Kitchen, do Terra Aroma Essential Oils presented by Anna will have free samples, Faerie Hair ~ Silken Sparkle Threads that get tied in to the hair (at half price) and free European facials with Suzanna Ullman a representative from ARBONNE.  Also in the office there will be a bucket raffle, with tickets for sale from all the participating vendors and participating businesses. 

In conjunction with the Ludwig office Coby's will be offering a free wine tasting in their Lobby from 6-8pm presented by Southern Wine and Spirits as well as 15% off an entree with the purchase of an entree. Coby’s will also be featuring card readings by Julie from 5:30-8:30 (additional fee and sign up required). The Studio for Art and Craft will be holding a make and take Dichroic glass Pendant with $5.00 off ($14 total). More are still joining. So save the date and bring a friend!

Tickets to this event can be purchased  at Ludwig Family Chiropractic, 109 Park Place, in Cobleskill, Monday, Wednesday  and Thursday 7:45-11:30 and 2:30 to 5:15. Or by calling 518-234-1512. Tickets are $10.00. 

All monies collected from ticket sales, the bucket auction and vendor fee's will be  donated to SALT (Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery). SALT is the lead agency coordinating ongoing flood recovery efforts in the Schoharie Creek basin.

Tickets are limited so please purchase in advance; they would make the perfect Mother's Day gift.

Opinion: We Say Yes to the Howe Caverns Casino

After carefully considering the project, the Schoharie News has come to the same conclusion as most county residents: we need the Howe Caverns Casino proposal to succeed in order to stimulate economic growth and local employment in Schoharie County.

As editor of this publication, I will be the first to admit my personal vote against the statewide referendum last November on the question of whether New York State should permit the construction of gaming venues outside the Indian Reservations.

My reasoning was two-fold, as I hold strong moral objections to gambling in principle and I believed that we shouldn't compete against the interests of existing facilities, due to the unemployment disparities that already existed in those areas. 

However, after the announcement of Howe Caverns interest in hosting a potential casino and the debate that followed, it has become harder to oppose the concept when we have over one thousand residents jobless in the latest unemployment report with seemingly no viable options to reverse the county's long-term plunge into the economic abyss. 

Sure, there are lingering concerns over the societal and infrastructural impacts of having a casino located in Howes Cave, but local officials ranging from Sheriff Desmond to Public Works head Dan Crandell have publicly announced their support for the project, while discounting the arguments that directly target their areas of expertise. 

In the end, all we can do in Schoharie County is show New York State our support for building a casino in our community, and if we can help push the proposal get a little bit closer to that goal-line, we'll be in better shape for it. 

Sharon Springs to Host Fifth Annual "Garden Party" May 24-25

Kicking off the tight-knit community's celebration of the seasons, the Friends of Sharon Springs Festival Committee is preparing to host the fifth annual "Sharon Springs Garden Party" on the weekend of May 24-25, which will commence rain or shine, and perhaps even snow at this rate. 

The event, which features merchants from Sharon Springs in addition to over one hundred local artists and artisans, farmers and food purveyors from across the Mohawk Valley and greater New York State area in celebration of the beginning of spring, and the growth that comes from it. 

A full schedule of events will be available in early May, although vendors and local businesses interested in purchasing a booth or advertising in the festival program are encouraged to reach to the Friends of Sharon Springs organizers by no later than May 3.

For more information please visit the event's official webpage here.

County Board to Meet on Good Friday (April 18, 2014)

Written By Editor on 4/16/14 | 4/16/14

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors will hold their regularly scheduled April board meeting on this upcoming Good Friday, April 18 starting at 9:00 am and lasting as long as necessary. No official agenda has been published on the county website as of publication, but the stream bank remediation project is expected to once again dominant discussion. 

Neither Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon nor Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman will be present for Friday's meeting, which Mr. Buzon unsuccessfully tried to have pushed back at last month's legislative session. With both men accounting for roughly a combined 16% of the weighted vote, their absence could have an impact on pending legislation. 

Stay tuned to the Schoharie News for updates from the third floor of the county building on Friday and over the weekend. 

The Hive to Host Local Arts Reception, Program Opening

The Greene County Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the recipients of Community Arts Grants in Schoharie County. These grants, used to fund arts and cultural programming in Schoharie County, are provided by the New York State Council on the Arts via a decentralization program and are intended to benefit the community by bringing underrepresented art forms to residents throughout the County.

On April 26, from 7PM-9PM, the Schoharie Community Arts Grants will celebrate the 2014 funding season with a dessert reception at the Hive (321 Main Street, Schoharie). We invite you to attend this opportunity for funded organizations to outline their project(s) as well as thank elected officials for their support of the decentralization program. This event is open to the public and will feature live music by local fiddler Barb Nark.

Also at the Hive on April 26, is the much-anticipated opening of Michael Breitbach's show, “Panes,” for which he received a 2013 Individual Artist grant which provides support for artists in the production of a new, original work influenced by a dialogue with a Schoharie County community that inspires or impacts the artist's creative process and by encouraging personal artistic growth.

Please join artists and producers for this special evening of acknowledgment and art. For additional information email Renee Nied at:

Three Candidates Vie for Middleburgh Library Board

Written By Editor on 4/15/14 | 4/15/14

In the 2014 Middleburgh Library Board of Trustee elections scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, voters in the Middleburgh Central School District will have three candidates to choose from to fill three open seats; one to replace retiring incumbent Carol Coltrain, and two that were recently created by the library to encourage greater engagement by the community. 

The library board recently announced the three candidates - Rebecca Young-Cherizard, Timothy Knight, and Susan London - had successfully obtained the twenty-five necessary signatures to seek a position in one of three five-year terms on the library's Board of Trustees. 

Polls will be open from noon until eight in the library's Community Room next Tuesday, where in addition to voting on the three candidates on the ballot, residents will have the opportunity to approve or disapprove the library's 2014-15 proposed operating budget. The budget is estimated, if passed, to raise district homeowners annual tax bills by $2-$4. 

County Commissioner: Schoharie Casino to Have Little Impact on Traffic

Cobleskill, NY – Schoharie County Commissioner of Public Works, Dan Crandell, has expressed his support for building a casino in the County citing that he believes it will have little impact on local traffic and quality of life for residents.  
“The infrastructure of Schoharie County is poised to handle this type of growth and development with little problem.  This would be a welcomed attraction to help stimulate our local economy and create jobs,” Crandell said. 
Crandell also specifically referred to the proposal of a casino near Howe Caverns, saying that additional traffic will not be a concern. 
“The proposed site is currently located in the Northeastern portion of the county which has always been the more industrial part of Schoharie County.  This will ensure the integrity of the more rural parts of the county,” Crandell said. 
“Howe Caverns currently sees over150,000 visitors each year.  The site handles car and bus traffic without any problem now and the direct connection from Interstate 88 to State Highways 7, 10, 30, 30A, as well as State Highway 20 will allow for increased traffic with minimal impact on local roads, “ Crandell continued. 
Crandell also pointed out the positive impact a casino in Schoharie County could have on the entire region. 
“With the existing solid infrastructure of highways and roads connecting Schoharie to surrounding counties, the entire region can benefit from increased tourism and economic growth.  In fact, Schoharie County may be the best suited location when it comes to handling increased traffic flow and having minimal impact on residents,” Crandell concluded.

Cobleskill Police Blotter (April 15, 2014)

The Cobleskill Police Department submitted the following arrest report for the week of April 7th-13th, 2014.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    At 4:30 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Alissa L. Livingston, 41, of Cobleskill, NY, for Unlawful Imprisonment 2nd.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

    At 5:25 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Elmer B. Speedling, 67, of Howes Cave, NY, for Petit Larceny.  He was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

     At 12:14 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Katrine Thrush, 19, of Middleburgh, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 29th at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 12, 2014

     At 8:23 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Albert R. Martin, 47, of Cobleskill, NY, for Petit Larceny.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 13th at 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

    At 12:25 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Steven R. Jackson, 22, of Selkirk, NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 29th at 5:00 p.m.  The property at 127-17 MacArthur Avenue was posted for an Unruly Gathering per the Village Noise Ordinance.

Local Flood Leader Asks for Assistance Giving Back

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

For many, Joshua DeBartolo is considered the face and the main driver behind flood recovery in the County after 2011. The Middleburgh native played an essential role in the formation of Schoharie Recovery and personally assisted in the rebuilding of hundreds of homes and businesses after the flood. His leadership led to over $1 million in fundraising, over 28,000 meals served, and $9 million in volunteer value added.

Many would not be in their homes if not for him.

Now he is looking to spread his positive impact into other fields. He has been accepted to the StartingBloc Institute, which aims to build up skills and networks for motivated young people for a chance to make a difference. Mr. DeBartolo is looking to raise $500 of the $1,000 tuition needed for the conference taking place in Boulder, CO May 1-5.

He aims to build skills and connections to meet his goal to "improving disaster response and recovery both domestically and internationally."

More can be found here on his fundraising page.

Vote in Our New Poll: How to Solve AECOM Situation?

Make sure to vote in our new poll on our sidebar regarding the AECOM situation. How do you feel the County Board should solve the issue?

Interested Coby-Rich School Board Candidates Have One Week to Submit Petitions

Local residents interested in running for one of three open seats on the Board of Education in the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School district have one more week to pick up and submit a nominating petition to district officials. 

Petitions, which are due on Monday, April 21st at 5:00 pm, must receive twenty-five signatures from registered voters located within the vast school district that spans several villages and townships, and can be obtained from the district office during regular operating hours.

The open seats are currently occupied by Board of Education members Steven Philbrick, Russell Smith, and Bruce Tyron. District elections, propositions, and public consideration of the 2014-15 school budget will be held on Tuesday, May 20, from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm in both the Golding Middle School in Cobleskill and the Radez Elementary School in Richmondville.

More information can be found on the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School website.  

Volunteers Aid Three Projects in Middleburgh

Four projects were worked on by members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity from SUNY Oneonta. This was the fourth time the group has come to Middleburgh and the fifth volunteer day the community has held since early 2012.
Photo credit: Sheila Donegan
Photo credit: Sheila Donegan

Readers Blame "Good Ol' Boys," Local Government for Paltry Economic Growth

Over sixty percent of Schoharie News readers believe the greatest impediment to local economic growth is either the prevalence of a "Good Ol' Boys" attitude or the interference of local government (high taxes also received 12% of the blame). One hundred and five votes were cast in the survey since last week. 

What is the biggest economic impediment to local economic growth?

High taxes
  13 (12%)
  5 (4%)
State Government
  8 (7%)
"Good Ol' Boys" Attitude
  38 (36%)
Local Government
  26 (24%)
Low Population Density
  6 (5%)
Inter-Generational Poverty
  5 (4%)
The "Brain Drain"
  1 (0%)
Other (please comment)
  3 (2%)

The Best of the Summer

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