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Sheriff's Office Arrests Fugitive from Justice on Laundry List of Charges

Written By Editor on 5/30/14 | 5/30/14

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department has announced the arrest of forty year old Jameson L. Perrotti and his girlfriend Johnnie Venzke of Sharon Springs after a traffic stop in the Town of Carlisle Friday morning, where Perrotti was charged with Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument after being in possession of hypodermic needles upon his arrest.

According to a press release issued by the Sheriff's Office, a vehicle operated by Venzke was stopped after Perrotti was observed as a passenger in her vehicle; there were several outstanding warrants for his arrest from both law enforcement agencies in Schoharie County, New York and Orange County, Florida.

Perrotti was wanted by local law enforcement stemming from an incident on May 18, in which the suspect failed to comply during a traffic stop in the Town of Sharon by fleeing officers at the scene on foot. He was charged with Vehicle and Traffic misdemeanors of Reckless Driving, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree and Failure to Comply with a Police Officer along with eight other Vehicle and Traffic violations. Additionally, he was also wanted on Penal Law charges of Reckless Endangerment and Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument in the Town of Sharon. 

Local law enforcement has been attempting to locate Perrotti for approximately on month on an outstanding warrant from the state of Florida. The warrant was issued by the Orange County Sheriff's office in Orange County, Florida for Theft in the Third Degree, a felony. The suspect was additionally charged with being a Fugitive from Justice for the outstanding warrant from Florida.

The suspect was arraigned in the Town of Sharon and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail in lieu of $5000 cash bail or $10, 000 bond on the local criminal charges. He was also arraigned in the Town of Sharon on the charge of being a Fugitive from Justice and was remanded without bail to reappear in Schoharie County Court at a later date pending extradition.

Venske was charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration in the second degree for knowingly assisting Perrotti and knowing there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. She was arraigned in the Town of Sharon court and remanded to the Schoharie County jail in lieu of $500 bail or $1000 bond to return to the Town of Carlisle court at a later date.

Cobleskill Town Board Unanimously Backs Howe Caverns Casino

Cobleskill, NY - In a crystal clear and decisive statement of support, the Cobleskill Town Board unanimously passed a resolution backing a casino to be specifically sited at Howe Caverns.

“We are pleased to continue to show unprecedented community support for our project.  I would venture to say that we have the most community support of  any proposal in the region and possibly the State,” said Emil Galasso, President of Howe Caverns Development Corporation.

The specific resolution, undoubtedly favoring the Howe Caverns Casino, is one of the required steps in the process to be considered for selection by New York State.  The resolution also mentions several additional benefits and reasons for New York State to select the Howe Caverns site.

Calling Howe Caverns “a true destination” and “an important historic landmark,” the resolution states that the Town of Cobleskill Board believes that bringing a casino to Howe Caverns will be “economically transformational for a region that suffered Hurricanes Irene and Lee.”

The Howe Caverns Casino proposal is consistent with the Governor's stated goals to target areas in need and build destination resorts in communities that express local support.  I think it is becoming clearer each day that Howe Caverns is the best site with least obstacles for the quick, successful development of a casino,” Galasso said.

“We have a great location, we have ample space ready to built on, and we have overwhelming support.  Why would New York State choose another site, when the community here welcomes this development?” Galasso continued.

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. 

Opinion: Convene Committee to Study Administrator, County Government

In a letter to the editor last week, Conesville Town Supervisor Bill Federice wrote that he agreed with the county board's vote against a county administrator because he felt that they, "simply did not have all the facts yet to conduct a final vote on the subject."

We feel that there has been a substantial and meaningful amount of debate on the subject, but that Mr. Federice made a valid point later in his letter that, "More information such as salary, job description, expectations of an Administrator, qualifications, etc. need to be discussed with specificity."

To this point in time discussion of adopting an administrator has largely centered around the need of adding an additional layer of oversight to a county government run amok, but has not yet touched on the finer details of the proposed position or, and perhaps more importantly, the structure of government as it stands with a Board of Supervisors system. 

Discounting the system's often inadequate and antiquated functions in the twenty-first century, one has to look no further than the Supreme Court's 1964 Reynolds v. Sims decision to realize the current board's configuration is wholly out of step with the principle of "one person, one vote" and that we have operated under a questionable charter for five decades.

However, for the sake of not sounding repetitive, we believe that in the spirit of fostering greater awareness and knowledge of not only the proposed administrator but also the status of government, that the Board of Supervisors should appoint a committee of legislators, legal experts, public advocates, and citizens to examine the state of our county charter today. 

If such a committee is convened by the county board in June and meets over the course of the summer months on a biweekly basis, there should be no reason why a full report on the status of government and what changes, if any are deemed necessary, should not be available for supervisors to make an educated and reasonable decision on an administrator this fall. 

This, however, will only occur if the county board is willing to act and open to listening. 

Schoharie Valley Garden Club to Host "Blooms in Our Valley" Event June 28

Written By Editor on 5/29/14 | 5/29/14

The Schoharie Valley Garden Club, in cooperation with local gardeners, is hosting the "Blooms in Our Valley Garden Tour and Tea" on Saturday, June 28 from 10 am until 4 pm. Cost of participation is $10 per person for this drive tour of eight residential gardens in Schoharie, Middleburgh and Cobleskill. The drive tour is open from 10-4 with "tea" available from 1-4. 

Tickets are available Saturday, June 28 at the Schoharie Library, located at the Corner of Bridge Street and Knower Avenue, in the Village of Schoharie. Tickets provide admission, map and directions to gardens, plus "tea" where cool beverages and a variety of deserts will be available. 

Advance tickets are available from Garden Club members. For more information and reservations please call 872-0250 or 295-8809. The rain date has been set for June 29.

Blenheim to Host Special Meeting Today (May 29, 2014)

The Town of Blenheim will be hosting a special meeting today at noon to discuss the current vacancy in the Town Highway Superintendent position that is the result of its former occupant Gerald Felter's unexpected passing two weeks ago. 

Board members are expected to discuss possible replacements in executive session before reaching a final decision at Monday night's regularly scheduled June town board meeting.

Vote in Our New Poll: Do You Approve of Congressman Chris Gibson?

After two years of representing Schoharie County in the House of Representatives, our next poll question is concerned with whether readers of this publication approve or disapprove of Congressman Chris Gibson's job performance in Washington. 

Gibson, who is seeking his third term in office this November, won Schoharie County's vote in the 2012 election by a two-to-one margin over Julian Schreibman. He is slated to face Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge in this fall's contest.

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

Grand Re-Opening of Cobleskill's Nick Iorio Park Set for Sunday

Written By Editor on 5/28/14 | 5/28/14

Cobleskill Recreation Commission and Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play have been working together to create opportunities for the community to become more active.  Nick Iorio Park in Cobleskill is undergoing some major renovation including updating and increasing the offerings for all age groups and will have a grand re-opening on Sunday June 1st from 11-12:30.

Cobleskill Recreation Commission has been working with Parkitects to design an intergenerational park for the community to increase activity for all in a safe area and work has been partially funded through Creating Healthy Places as well as through community fundraisers.  An adult and teen fitness area has been added for those 13 years and up to be able to work out while younger children are at the playground or are practicing on the fields.  “Outdoor gym facilities like this are usually found in cities and are becoming more common in so that more people have access to the equipment, whether they can afford a gym membership or not.  For much of the year it is nicer to be outside than to work out indoors,” says Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator with Creating Healthy Places.  “When you work out, you naturally heat up so dressing in layers allows you to work out for much of the year.”  “Schoharie County is a beautiful place to live and explore outdoors, now we can exercise outside as well”.   Trainers from Fit Coalition will be on hand to demonstrate use of the fitness equipment as well as helping people become more comfortable using it.

In addition to the adult/teen fitness area, a new preschool area has been added creating a safe place for young children to play.  This area will include areas to promote climbing, a slide and some activities that are accessible to less mobile children. The preschool area also has improved surfacing, making it safer for children to play on. 

The renovated park will have a grand re-opening on Sunday June 1st at 11 am and the public is invited to attend.  The park was installed in 1990 and has been an important part of the community.  As we strive to get people to be more active, we need to update some of the facilities as we are doing here.   Further improvements will be added in the near future, but additional funds need to be raised.  In addition to the ceremonial grand opening, there will be a treasure hunt and obstacle course challenge for children, as well as face painting.

 Refreshments will be available for those attending.  Dress comfortably and be ready to try the new equipment while there. 

Creating Healthy Places is a grant funded through New York State Department of Health to address the growing problem of obesity and its effects on chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Chronic Heart Disease.  The Grant was awarded to SUNY Cobleskill in 2010 for 5 years with $875,000 coming into the community to work on access to fresh fruits and vegetables and places to be physically active.  For more information or questions, please contact Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator at (518) 255-5294.

Mine Kill Set for 22nd National Trails Day

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, celebrate National Trails Day at Mine Kill State Park in North Blenheim, New York.  Join Mine Kill park staff, local Scouts and community members from 10:00am to 3:00pm for a chance to experience history in the making at the park.  Volunteers will be tasked with clearing brush and debris from the soon-to-be-installed Mine Kill Disc Golf Course.  Disc golf is very similar to ball golf in that players start from a tee area and attempt to “hole out” at a target in a certain number of strokes (par).  However, rather than using golf clubs and balls, disc golf utilizes modified Frisbees or discs thrown by the player on each shot.  The sport is very easy to learn, can be played by anyone regardless of age and is a terrific way to experience the outdoors while also getting some exercise.  

A free barbecue lunch will be provided to all volunteers courtesy of Stewart’s Shops and the Friends of Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State Parks.  Free giveaways from Adventure Medical Kits will also be available to volunteers while supplies last.  National Trails Day patrons should be prepared for a day outside being both on and off trail.  Please bring comfortable, layered clothing (including rain gear), snacks, water and hiking boots.    

Following a delicious lunch, participants will have an opportunity to explore the many miles of hiking trails at Mine Kill State Park – including the famous Long Path, which runs from the George Washington Bridge all the way to the Mohawk River west of Albany.  Take a hike down to the beautiful, 80-foot Mine Kill Falls or enjoy the views from around the historic Lansing Manor next to the NYPA Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center.   Please contact the Mine Kill park office at (518) 827-8690 to pre-register for this event, or email HYPERLINK "" for more information.      

Mine Kill State Park is located in the scenic Schoharie Valley overlooking the Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project.  The reservoir provides excellent fishing and boating opportunities.  The eight miles of trails, including trails from the Park to the NYPA Visitor Center such as the Long Path, are great for hiking, biking and birding.  Cascading 80 feet through a narrow gorge is the picturesque Mine Kill Falls for which the Park is named.  The Park also has an Olympic sized swimming pool with separate wading and diving pools.

For those who would like to extend their visit, nearby Max V. Shaul State Park is a small, quiet camping area with 30 wooded tent and trailer sites, picnic grounds, a state of the art playground and boat access along the Schoharie Creek.  In addition to the Max V. Shaul trails and fishing opportunities, campers have free access to Mine Kill State Park. 

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by more than 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. 

About American Hiking Society - Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national, recreation-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience. To learn more about American Hiking Society and its mission and programs, please visit or call (301) 565-6704.

American Hiking’s National Trails Day® is made possible by the generous support of Corporate Sponsors–Adventure Medical Kits, Columbia, Gregory Packs, Tilley Endurables, The North Face, and Brooks-Range Mountaineering as well as Supporters – America’s State Parks, American Park Network, Backpacker magazine, ParksByNature Network, Boy Scouts of America, REI, and Student Conservation Association, and Federal Partners – National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Highway Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.

Hanson Suing County, Crandell after "Report" Firing

Written By Editor on 5/27/14 | 5/27/14

Former Schoharie County Department of Public Works employee William Hanson is suing Schoharie County and DPW Commissioner Dan Crandell in regards to his recent dismissal. The case, filed on April 21, 2014 requests for "annulling and vacating" the decision of Crandell to remove Hanson from his position on December 21, 2013. Hanson is representing himself according to the brief.

According to Hanson's assertions, his position was covered by civil service protection. However, the local branch of the CSEA union refused to take up Hanson's cause. According to Hanson, he was an "above average" employee, but was released from his position after an unsatisfactory report from Crandell in late 2013. Hanson also asserts that the County Board of Supervisors refused to address the issue. Hanson calls the firing an act "in bad faith." Later on he states that he performed "exemplary service" at the County. In a deposition notarized by former Middleburgh Mayor Gary Hayes, Hanson states: "I cannot believe that in this day and age a boss in a municipality can just walk in one morning and fire you and tell you to pack your stuff and leave. I believe that I was treated unfairly and without regard to Civil Service rules..."

According to a major portion of the Fitzmaurice Report of 2013, it was alleged that Mr. Hanson, who is the Chairman of the Schoharie County Conservative Party, was hired as a direct result of former Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington's suggestion.

Hayes personally served both County Attorney Michael West and Mr. Crandell. West was served at his house at 6:22 am on April 22nd, according to the deposition. The case is now in Schoharie County Court for consideration.

Middleburgh Honors Vets at Memorial Day Ceremony

In a well attended ceremony Monday evening, Middleburgh's civic and veterans organizations honored the lives of America's young men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice - approximately one million since the war for independence - in defense of our country's freedom.

The event featured touching displays by the local Boy and Girl Scouts, who respectively honored POW's and currently deployed soldiers from the area, while Middleburgh Central School's third grade class sang "God Bless the USA" with veterans in attendance joining them in front of the crowd.

Gibson, who spoke to Middleburgh residents, served in
the military for twenty-four years and obtained the rank
of Colonel before retiring in 2010 after seven combat tours
Congressman Chris Gibson, who was deployed to combat in both Kosovo and Iraq, was one of those veterans who stood with Mrs. Herzog's class and then he spoke on the life and sacrifice of one man who served under him in Iraq, telling the crowd that he would never forget his selfless sacrifice. 

The Rotary Club of Middleburgh, in addition to the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Century Club and the Women's Cooperative Club were responsible for organizing and conducting the ceremony and serving refreshments. The sound system was provided by Bill Berdan. 

Kayla Cross Named April's Young Motivator of the Month

The Young Motivators of Schoharie County, and this month's sponsor, Berkshire Farm, announced Kayla Cross as April's Young Motivator of the Month in a press release issued Monday evening.

 Leelani Voigtland, Berkshire Farm Foster Care Home Finder, presented Kayla with her certificate, medal and pin.
Kayla was nominated by several of the Cheer Dome parents who recognized Kayla for her dedication to cheer and her helpful nature when working with the younger classes. She is motivated to do well in and out of school. She is described as patient, a hard worker and has a smile that brightens a room. This is why Kayla was named as the April Young Motivator. 

To nominate a Young Motivator, you may e-mail or message the group on facebookDylan Thompson was previously named Young Motivator of the Month in March. 

Rainy but Fun Car Show in Schoharie Saturday

Written By Editor on 5/26/14 | 5/26/14

The rain gods did not favor the car show in Schoharie this Saturday, but it was still a successful event attracting 50 cars.

Photos credit the Schoharie Promotional Association Facebook page.

Marine One a Hit with Desmond

President Barack Obama's visit to Cooperstown was primarily focused on tourism, which he hailed the Baseball Hall-of-Fame for exceeding in, but it was also an opportunity for local officials to receive face time with the leader of the free world, or in Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond's case - Marine One.

Desmond, who was re-elected to his second term in the Sheriff's Office last November, was present for Marine One's landing in Cooperstown. Meanwhile, at the Hall-of-Fame, Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer and other area officials greeted the President's speech with local hospitality. 

Letter to the Editor: Resident Cites Richmondville as Example of Corruption

Dear Editor:

Government corruption takes many forms, all of which harm people and communities. Most people recognize the most blatant examples of bribery, extortion and influence peddling. But low-level chronic corruption is often confused with the “way it has always been done” and not considered for the damage it does to our small rural communities.

The Schoharie County Town of Richmondville makes a perfect case study. Following the collapse of the $5.6 million dollar publically funded Maranatha Project, the Office of the State Comptroller placed much of the blame squarely on the shoulders of local officials who wasted no time in making excuses for their lack of due diligence.

Town Attorney, J.R. Parshall was quoted as saying “we did everything by the book.” Perhaps that would have been true if the book were about ineptness, unprofessionalism and the legendary good ol’ boy network that forms the fabric of Richmondville’s long and unsavory history.

In reality, three separate Town Supervisors starting with Betsy Bernocco, then the late John Barlow and eventually Dick Lape advocated for the highly flawed project while being warned of everything from shockingly unrealistic business plans, to unverifiable job creation claims to grossly inadequate environmental reviews. They all chose to ignore the warnings, failed to do their homework and looked the other way when informed of questionable relationships between the developer and public officials.

Internal emails and memos obtained under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) paint a picture of poor oversight, improperly authorized payments, massive cost overruns and other irregularities. The Town’s own consultant felt compelled to warn them in an email about the legal implications of misusing public funds. Never daunted by hard facts or rational thought, Richmondville officials have taken cover behind the “aw shucks, we are just small town officials” ruse, pretending that they should not have been expected to pay attention to all the bad stuff going on.

Having public officials who are oblivious, inept or content with inappropriate conduct is, indeed, corruption.  

In August of 2013 while many residents of Richmondville and other communities were in a panic digesting the fact that they faced seizure of their property by Cabot Oil and its partners who intended to build a massive high-pressure gas pipeline through the region, an attorney for the non-profit Center for Sustainable Rural Communities sent the Town a letter informing them that one of their officials with voting authority to approve parts of the pipeline project had an “appearance of impropriety” and a potential conflict of interest related to the pipeline and was in violation of the Town’s own ethics laws. Supervisor Lape, the Town Attorney and the Councilmen all chose to do nothing.  In April of this year, the Center informed the Town of Richmondville, in writing, that the family of the public official had received more than $58,000 in payments from the pipeline company while the official continued to hold voting authority on parts of the pipeline project at both the Town and County level. To date, Supervisor Lape, the Town Attorney and the Councilman have once again done nothing despite 70 pages of documentation provided to the Town detailing the payments and the conflicts.

I suspect that if the pipeline is approved and local residents have to endure violations of their property rights, seriously diminished home values and the fear of living next to a pipeline built by a company far too familiar with fires and explosions, the Town will again shrug their shoulders, say “aw shucks” and insist they did everything by the book. In that case it would be true if the book were “The International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption” by Susan Rose-Ackerman.
Having public officials who ignore evidence of questionable conduct and value politics and cronyism over the safety, security and economic health of their constituents is still corruption. In fact, it could be argued that it is the worst kind of corruption, that silently persists as part of an entrenched culture that ultimately, harms the community just as much as bribery, extortion and influence peddling.

The decision to finally change this situation can be made by the voters who can write their own book about the power of democracy, perhaps titled “We No Longer Wish to Live with Corruption” or simply “Enough.”

Bob Nied
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

Music, Cars, Food Top Inaugural "Fourth Fridays" in Middleburgh

Written By Editor on 5/24/14 | 5/24/14

Middleburgh's inaugural "Fourth Fridays" succeeded in bringing out a steady stream of local residents to the valley community's Main Street merchants and other festivities last evening, despite the chilly precipitation that was present through out the event.

The Flying Song Garden had a devoted
crowd yesterday evening near Hubie's
In addition to local businesses holding extended hours, attendees enjoyed live music, antique cars, and free food. The Middleburgh Area Business Association, which spearheaded the project, is planning for three more "Fourth Fridays," events this summer.

The Schoharie Valley Region Automobile Club of America
 displayed some of their timeless classics on the lawn of the
 Dr. Best House

The Green Iguana Bistro offered residents free
samples of what is to come soon to patrons

Hundreds of elixir and medicinal bottles were on
display inside of the Dr. Best House Carriage
House Friday evening

Cobleskill Police Nab Second Heroin Arrest

The Cobleskill Police Department has announced that, in conjunction with the New York State Police Community Narcotics Team (CNET), they have arrested twenty year old Mouro Sow of Spencer, New York for allegedly selling heroin in the Village of Cobleskill. 

State Troopers apprehended the suspect around 4:40 pm Friday afternoon in the Town of Spencer after New York State Police Troop C was notified of arrest warrants for the man originating from the Cobleskill Police Department. Sow was turned over to local law enforcement for further action.

During an ongoing joint investigation, it was discovered that Sow was allegedly in possession and selling heroin. As the information was developed it led to two separate purchases of the illegal drug on at least two occasions from the suspect. This marks the second such arrest in as many weeks by Cobleskill Police. 

Sow was charged with two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Class B Felonies. He was arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill Court and was subsequently remanded to Schoharie County Correctional Facility on $10,000.00 cash bail or $30,000.00 bond. He is to return to Town of Cobleskill Court on Tuesday, May 26 at 4:00 pm for further action.

Anyone with further information regarding this incident, or with any information on drug activity in the Cobleskill community, is urged to contact Sgt. Rich Bialkowski at 518-234-2923. Any information provided will be kept confidential.

Oorah, Town of Jefferson Reach Agreement on Gym; Certificates Could be Issued Within Month

Written By Editor on 5/23/14 | 5/23/14

An agreement has been reached between Oorah and the Town of Jefferson to resolve the two parties latest legal spat after the New Jersey based Jewish charity initiated legal action against the municipality and its Building Inspector last week to obtain Certificates of Occupancy for a recently constructed gymnasium on its grounds. 

As part of the agreement's stipulations, Oorah provided the municipality with a $7,500 check for Town of Jefferson officials to contract a third party engineering service to complete the required inspections, submissions, drawings and other materials related to the structure in a good faith measure to have the certificates issued within the next thirty days. 

Avraham Krawiec, Director of Oorah's TheZone camps, hailed the news by stating the agreement, "has clearly set forth a plan to finalize this structure and ensure that we will have an operational gymnasium for the upcoming camp season." He would go on to add that, "The true winners today are the children who call our camp home each summer.”

Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald W. Connolly ordered the agreement into effect Thursday morning in Schoharie County Court after representatives of both parties agreed to the necessary stipulations and terms. When asked for his thoughts on the agreement, Supervisor Sean Jordan told the Schoharie News that he saw, "no problem with the way it was written."

Despite Stormy Weather, Schoharie's Parade a Hit

Despite the threat of severe storms, hundreds of Schoharie and area residents turned out Thursday evening to watch the valley community's annual American Legion Auxiliary Memorial Day Parade that featured both of Schoharie's school bands, several antique cars and dozens of local firemen and emergency responders marching to honor our nation's veterans. 

The Schoharie News was at the scene and captured some interesting photographs of the festivities, which are posted below:

Former Town Supervisor Martin Shrederis (far left) served as
master of ceremonies, while the parade's three judges looked on
Members of the American Legion
The next farmers of Schoharie enjoyed the ride
Thursday, tossing candy to unsuspecting children
Schoharie's Elementary-Junior Marching Band
was well received by paradegoers 
Village of Schoharie Mayor John Borst
greeted residents up and down Main Street
Schoharie's Fire Department led a procession
of local fire companies and trucks in the parade
Air Force Veteran and current Schoharie County
Sheriff Tony Desmond waves to the crowd
The Schoharie High School Marching Band wowed
the crowd with their Star Spangled Banner performance

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Middleburgh Unveils New Community Mural

Written By Editor on 5/22/14 | 5/22/14

The finishing touches were put on the Village of Middleburgh's latest mural Wednesday afternoon, as it joins the collage of Middleburgh's past and a depiction of local wildlife already present on the quaint community's Main Street. 

Patricia Broncoforte painted the latest mural
Located on Baker Avenue at the aptly named "Baker Avenue Creekside Park," where the Schoharie Creek and dozens of trees are present, Village Trustee William Morton's most recent mural project depicts a serene creek scene of fishing and canoeing. 

Photo credit: Timothy Knight

Schoharie County Under Thunderstorm Watch

Schoharie County is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 8:00 pm according to a warning issued by the National Weather Service in Albany. There have been multiple reports of downpours, hail, and severe lightning impacting the greater Capital District area.

WNYT has the latest severe weather
developments on air and on its website
Earlier in the afternoon parts of the region were in a tornado watch, with one such vortex shaped cloud reportedly touching down on I-88 heading westbound toward Albany and flipping a tractor trailer on its side. CBS 6 Albany has the incredible photo of the scene posted here

Residents are reminded to stay mindful of the weather conditions outside and be prepared to take caution if necessary. 

Schoharie Set to Host Memorial Day Parade Tonight

The Valley community of Schoharie is set for its annual Schoharie American Legion Auxiliary Memorial Day Parade that will take place this evening starting at 6:30 pm and will last until 8:00 pm with the parade route making its way through the local village.

Graphic credit - WNYT
Mother nature, however, is threatening to rain on Schoharie's parade, as local forecasts are calling for thunderstorms with a 60% chance of precipitation this evening. Paradegoers are advised to bring an umbrella to this evening's festivities.

The show, nevertheless, must go on and will conclude with a ceremony at the Veteran's Park located on the corner of Main and Spring Streets, followed by Grand Marshall presentations and the announcement of parade prize winners as determined by judges. 

Letter to the Editor: Federice Responds to "Unwilling to Act" Editorial

Editor's note: the original op-ed published on the Schoharie News Wednesday afternoon can be found here. We appreciate Mr. Federice's response and hope other Supervisors will in join the discussion as well, as debate is essential to our thriving democracy. 

Dear Editor, 

I find unfortunate your assertion that the Schoharie Board of Supervisors is unwilling to act.  The vote against a County Administrator you cite as an example was not on the agenda.  Supervisor Milone who brought up the subject was not asking for a vote at that time. He was asking when we could could continue the conversation.  Unfortunately, the discussion turned into a debate which frankly we were not prepared to have.

I voted against the Administrator with the comment during the role call vote that we need to continue this discussion.  We simply did not have all the facts yet to conduct a final vote on the subject.  More information such as salary, job description, expectations of an Administrator, qualifications, etc. need to be discussed with specificity. Perhaps, in my view, an Administrator may not be a good idea for Schoharie County but in all fairness the discussion has not covered all the points to make a final decision.     

Lastly, I take umbrage at your characterization of the monthly Board Meetings being a three ring circus. We frequently have disagreements and we can be passionate in arguing for what we think is best.  What is wrong with that?  Isn't that what our founding fathers had in mind in establishing a representative democracy?    

Bill FedericeConesville Town Supervisor

President Obama Set to Visit Cooperstown Thursday

Written By Editor on 5/21/14 | 5/21/14

President Barack Obama will be visiting the area Thursday afternoon, stopping at the Baseball Hall of Fame in the Village of Cooperstown to discuss tourism with local officials and deliver a private speech that will be streamed on the internet. 

Baseball Hall-of-Fame,
Cooperstown, N.Y.
Mr. Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the Hall of Fame in the museum's seventy-five year history. According to The Post-Standard, Cooperstown has hosted one head of state before, but not since Martin Van Buren in 1839.

Although Schoharie County was famously referred to as the "Breadbasket of the Revolution," by then General George Washington in the opening stage of the colonial fight for independence, no president has ever visited the rural county. 

Opinion: Unwilling to Act

Supervisors concluded hours of emotional and fiery debate Friday afternoon by voting down the concept of a county administrator. Only four of them - Barbic of Seward, Jordan of Jefferson, Milone of Schoharie, and Smith of Blenheim - supported the idea first introduced by Mr. Milone in January.

What a disgrace.

Now our opinion at the Schoharie News is that what we really need is an elected executive to oversee the daily operation of county government, but in reality we accept that anything is better than maintaining the status quo of our three ring circus better known as the monthly county board meeting. 

If that means appointing a qualified individual with graduate-level college experience to act as the check on government run amok, so be it. Trusting the people at-large with that decision is our preference, but we understand such as Rome wasn't built in one day; neither will Schoharie be reformed in one vote. 

However, the true crux of the situation lies with the county board's unwillingness to take decisive action on the issue at hand. That issue being the county's inability to function without either ineptitude or hidden agendas bogging down the effective operation of local government, but that in itself explains the county board. 

Change rarely, if ever, occurs at a breakneck pace, but we had hoped it would receive more than just four votes on a Schoharie County Board of Supervisors consisting of six newly elected members and ten veteran lawmakers, who all either ran against or witnessed in person, the horrors of county corruption and governmental ineffectiveness that has plagued local politics.

But.... We digress. 

Poll: Middleburgh Fastest Growing Community

According to a recent survey of Schoharie News readers, when asked which community they believed was the fastest growing in Schoharie County, Middleburgh was selected by a significant margin over both the county's economic hub of Cobleskill and a revitalized Sharon Springs.

The Valley community has grown exponentially since the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, due in part to the pro-active approach of local elected officials on both the village and town level and the resiliency of businesses and residents alike to recover. 

With more than one hundred and fifty votes cast, 45% of respondents believed that Middleburgh is the county's fastest growing community compared with only 23% who thought the same of Cobleskill and 17% that said Sharon Springs was tops.  

The poll was open for seven days and was located on the right-hand sidebar of the website.

Cobleskill-Richmondville Residents Overwhelmingly Approve School Budget

Written By Editor on 5/20/14 | 5/20/14

With over 70% of district residents in support, the proposed $37.5 million Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School budget was overwhelmingly approved by voters Tuesday afternoon. The budget, which will raise property school taxes by 2.36%, was passed 684-252. 

According to a news bulletin published on the school district's website, the proposed budget "retains all staff and current programming and opportunities for students but also adds additional part-time sixth grade teachers to eliminate some sixth grade study halls." 

Additionally, voters also approved the Community Library budget 683-252 and elected three unopposed candidates to the CRCS Board of Education, all of whom received six hundred plus votes in their successful campaigns. 

Middleburgh Voters Approve $20.4 Million School Budget

Middleburgh, New York - With almost eight hundred votes cast, residents of the Middleburgh Central School District came out strongly in support of adopting the proposed $20.4 million 2014-15 school budget Tuesday afternoon. The budget passed 451 to 338.

Dozens of faculty, residents, and students were present for the official results, which were delayed by technical difficulties in one of the two machines - the third consecutive year that particular console had malfunctioned in some aspect.

Board of Education candidate Ernest Kuehl, who was running unopposed for the board's lone seat up for election, received 546 votes. Five write-in votes were also cast for a variety of local residents. 

With the budget's adoption, district taxes are set to increase 2.51% in the upcoming fiscal year. 

Troy Man Arrested for Drug Possession in Blenheim

New York State Police stationed in Cobleskill have announced the arrest of thirty-two year old Donald J. Howell of Troy, New York for drug possession last Thursday in the Town of Blenheim. The suspect was stopped by State Police on State Route 30 for a traffic infraction when Troopers observed an odor of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle. 

Pursuant to a search, Howell was found to be in possession of a small quantity of marijuana and Alprazolam without a prescription, a scheduled IV controlled substance.

State Police arrested and charged Howell with Criminal Possession of a Controlled substance in the 7th degree, Controlled Substance Not In Its Original Container, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. He is to appear before the Town of Blenheim Court on May 28.

County Residents Head to Polls to Decide School Budgets

Schoharie County residents will have the opportunity to vote in six local school board elections and decide the fate of several proposed budgets this afternoon into late evening. The following school by school rundown is a brief overview of each district and what voters are being asked to consider in their respective community.

Cobleskill-Richmondville (7am-9pm)

The CRCS Board of Education has proposed a $37,583,403 budget for the 2014-15 school year, which is a spending increase of $1,012,750 or 2.77% over the current fiscal year's budget and calls for a 2.36% hike in district taxes.

Three Board of Education candidates - Steven Philbrick, Susan Emerson Strasser and Bruce Tryon - are running unopposed for three seats.

Gilboa-Conesville (12pm-8pm)

The GCCS Board of Education has proposed a $10,112,980 budget for the 2014-15 school year, which is a spending increase of 2.43% over the current fiscal year's budget and calls for a 1.99% rise in the district's tax levy.

Two Board of Education candidates - Greg Woodcock and Peter Fox - are running unopposed for two seats.

Jefferson (12pm-8pm)

The JCS Board of Education has proposed a $6,299,149 budget for the 2014-15 school year, which is a spending increase of 3.26% over the current fiscal year's budget and calls for a 2.41% increase in district taxes. 

Two Board of Education candidates - David Lapinel and Laurel Bedford - are running unopposed for two seats.

Middleburgh (12pm-9pm)

The MCS Board of Education has proposed a $20,424,951 budget for the 2014-15 school year, which is a spending increase of 1.16% over the current fiscal year's budget and calls for a 2.51% hike in district taxes.

One Board of Education candidate - Ernest Kuehl - is running unopposed for the lone seat.

Schoharie (9am-9pm)

The SCS Board of Education has proposed a $21,677,470 budget for the 2014-15 school year, which is a spending increase of 3.13% over the current fiscal year's budget and calls for a 1.53% increase in district taxes.

Three Board of Education candidates - Maureen Bernhardt, Mark Quandt and James Bleau - are competing for two seats.

Sharon Springs (12pm-9pm)

The SSCS Board of Education has proposed a $8,885,268 budget for the 2014-15 school year, which is a spending increase of 0.7% over the current fiscal year's budget and calls for no increase in district taxes. 

In Split Decision Supervisors Vote to Move Forward on Stream Bank Project

Written By Editor on 5/19/14 | 5/19/14

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on the AECom stream bank project Friday afternoon after two hours of contentious and emotional debate resulted in a split decision on the issue, where a majority of supervisors were opposed but those in favor carried the weighted votes necessary for passage.

Debate focused on a previously tabled motion offered by Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon that authorized the county to spend an additional $1.276 million in supplemental funding on the project, which is estimated to be presently $2.6 million over budgeted costs and has been marred by allegations of misconduct. 

Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone argued that it was unreasonable to ask taxpayers to shoulder the financial burden of a project that was originally suppose to have no county share. Furthermore, Jefferson Town Supervisor Sean Jordan questioned the wisdom of committing to additional costs without knowing a finite final price tag for the project. 

However, warning his fellow legislators on the risks of not moving forward on the stream revitalization project, Mr. Buzon urged supervisors that, "we have to bite the bullet and take on the expense," while Cobleskill Town Supervisor Leo McAllister commented that board members had to sharpen their pencils and do what needed to be done. 

Board members were faced with what Esperance Town Supervisor Earl VanWormer called a double edged sword, as the County Attorney's office estimated the county's risk of exposure if they dropped the contract to be approximately $8 million, while County Treasurer Bill Cherry warned that if the county took on the expense and bonded the project that it was, "likely that you will exceed the tax cap."

In the end, nine of sixteen supervisors would end up opposing the motion, while the weighted votes of the remaining seven ensured its final passage. Commenting that the county board decided to move forward without a finite number, Mr. Jordan quipped that, "we look like fools," just moments after the motion's passage.

Remarking that he couldn't, "believe that the Board voted to spend millions of dollars that the county doesn't have," Blenheim Town Supervisor Shawn Smith told the Schoharie News that AECom unjustifiably increased their price and took advantage of the county. Mr. Smith would later add that he believes, "our residents will be very disappointed in the board's failure to hold them accountable."

Local Host Families Needed to Sponsor Exchange Students from Spain

Global Friendships is bringing foreign exchange students from Spain into the area this summer, June 25 through July 24, and local coordinators are desperately seeking host families to sponsor their youth and chaperone for the trip. 

Students come into the country with their own spending money and insurance, while host families provide lodging and meals. Trips are coordinated for the students by coordinators and the families are invited to attend as well. 

The organization's mission is to, "foster a better understanding of people across the world," and if you are interested in hosting a student or obtaining more information, please contact Dove Karn at 518-878-4345 for further details.

For additional information, you can visit Global Friendships website here

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