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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Howe Caverns Casino Submits Application, Announces Owner

Written By Editor on 6/30/14 | 6/30/14

Editor's Note: The Schoharie News was excluded from the casino's original press release blitz, but we were sent a copy of the news from another media outlet to ensure immediate, local coverage of the important announcement. Below is the original release.

Howes Cave, NY – The Howe Caverns Resort and Casino today submitted its formal application to the New York State Gaming Commission for consideration of one of the four casino gaming licenses to be awarded this fall.

The submission of the application makes it official that Howe Caverns Resort and Casino is in the running for a license in the Capital Region.

Howe Caverns Resort and Casino also announced its owner and operator of the proposed resort.

The owner and developer is Michael J. Malik.  Mr. Malik has successfully developed casinos all around the world.  He is a successful entrepreneur in the gaming, sporting and entertainment industries. He initiated his career as a consultant and developer in Indian gaming during the 1980’s.

Since 1988, Mr. Malik has been a pioneer in the casino development industry, including major projects in California, Michigan, and New York.

Outside of the gaming industry, Mr. Malik is the owner of MJM Enterprises and Development.  He is involved in a variety of development projects, including hunting and fishing preserves, financing touring entertainment acts and developing business expansion projects.

Mr. Malik has been a real estate developer and licensed broker for more than 25 years.  He has developed many commercial projects and specializes in resort development, industrial parks, retail shopping malls and urban development. 

“The first time I saw the site, I knew it was a winner,“ Malik said.  “I’ve developed many resort destinations before and this site has all the ingredients needed to be a successful destination resort,” Malik continued.

“I’ve enjoyed learning about Howe Caverns and the Schoharie Community.  I look forward to learning more as we build upon the existing successful tourist attraction, breath taking scenic views, and close proximity to major highway’s, to attract visitors for miles,” Malik concluded.

Howe Caverns Resort and Casino also announced the resort operator will be Full House Resorts, Inc.

Full House Resorts and its management team have a track record of success with gaming projects in Nevada, Michigan, Indiana, Delaware, Oregon, South Dakota, Atlantic City, Louisiana, New South Wales, and Australia.

Full House specializes in regional resorts and has enjoyed much success in developing casino projects similar to the proposed Howe Caverns Resort and Casino.

Full House Resorts is headquartered in Nevada.  One of their original founders is former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca.

“We are pleased to join the team at Howe Caverns Resort and Casino to produce a top-notch resort and casino,” said Andre M. Hilliou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Full House Resorts Inc.

“We look forward to working with Michael Malik, the team at Howe Caverns and the State Gaming Commission to develop a complex that has the potential to become one of New York’s premiere tourist destinations,” Hilliou continued.

Emil Galasso, owner of Howe Caverns said, “I am not only pleased that we were able to attract two of the best partners in the industry, but these are good people who will be a benefit to the entire Schoharie Community.”

“All along, I have held that we have the best site with the most potential to develop a successful resort and casino in the entire region, today, our chances got even better,” Galasso concluded.

The proposed resort includes a world class gaming facility with a 10-floor luxury hotel along with a contemporary waterpark and a second hotel.  The resort will include a number of dining opportunities including a fine dining restaurant.

The proposed project also includes the addition of a dinosaur theater as an added attraction at Howe Caverns.  The resort is anchored by the existing adventure attractions at the historic Howe Caverns.

The next phase will be to demonstrate to the New York State Casino Location Board that the Howe Caverns Resort and Casino is deserving of one of the four potential licenses.

With 330 acres of REAL shovel ready land that has a fully completed SEQRA study and on-site water and sewer capacity, the Howe Caverns Resort and Casino is well positioned to quickly develop from initial approval to grand opening.  

It is also the only site to include an existing tourist attraction.  Howe Caverns, the second oldest natural attraction in New York State, welcomes over 200,000 visitors each year.

Gaming, a waterpark, fine dining, and luxury accommodations will compliment the existing Howe Caverns adventure attractions drawing visitors from all across the U.S.

Most importantly, the proposed development also has the potential for the greatest positive impact on a community.  Suffering from a struggling economy, one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and continued recovery from devastating floods, Schoharie County stands to see a greater economic impact than any other potential location.

Built on a modern business model that relies on bringing new money into the region and state and not just recirculating existing dollars, the resort will grow Schoharie County tourism to the level of the Cooperstown/Otsego County area creating a regional tourism powerhouse that will benefit the entire State. 

July is National Park and Recreation Month

Cobleskill, NY – [June 27, 2014] – If you’re feeling cramped and like you don’t get to spend enough time outside, you’re not the only one. Nearly three in 10 U.S. adults do not spend time outside on a daily basis and of those who do, almost half spend less than 30 minutes in the fresh air according to a new survey released by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. That’s why this July, Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play and NRPA are challenging everyone to get out and visit their community parks and recreation during national Park and Recreation Month. 

This year’s theme, “OUT is IN,” encourages individuals, families, friends and coworkers to do something outside everyday that they would normally do inside. From picnicking in the park instead of sitting inside at a table to sending an email or even holding a meeting outside, there are small ways you can make going OUT part of your daily routine. The parks and facilities in Schoharie County offer ample opportunities to go OUTside, get INspired, change your OUTlook and get INvolved. 

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play has been working with local communities to improve the recreational facilities around Schoharie County. Improvements have been made in Esperance, Schoharie, Middleburgh, Sharon Springs, Conesville, Blenheim and Cobleskill. Many improvements will be getting installed this month so look for grand opening celebrations around the County. Hopefully this will encourage residents to get OUT and explore IN Schoharie County, says Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator for Creating Healthy Places. Check the website and Facebook page for updates on installation and grand opening festivities. 

In addition to getting involved in Park and Recreation Month locally, people are encouraged to take the OUT is IN 31-day social media challenge on Twitter and Instagram by posting photos of themselves doing typical inside activities outside with the hashtag #JulyOUTisIN. 

To learn more about getting OUTside and INvolved during Park and Recreation Month, visit and 

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play is a grant initiative through New York State Department of Health to increase access to places to be active and to fresh fruits and vegetables around Schoharie County. The grant was awarded to SUNY Cobleskill in 2010 for 5 years. The focus of the grant was to make changes to policies, systems or the environment to help promote a healthier lifestyle. Current funding expires in 2015. 

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 40,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit 

Sharon to Host Summer Concert Series

The Sharon Springs Citizens' Council for the Arts will be hosting its inaugural concert of the 2014 Summer Concert Series this coming Wednesday, July 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in the first of seven such musical treats at Chalybeate Park located on Main Street in the bustling community. 

Performances will change with each week, and will include a myriad of uniquely themed events such as Children's Night with magician Joey D and a Community Open Mike night, while featuring traditional artists and area bands the remainder of the time. The series concludes on August 13th. 

Poll: Readers Vote Down Full-Time Chair

Schoharie News readers overwhelmingly voted down our latest poll question that asked "Should the position of County Board Chair be made full time?" The proposal had been made several times over the years, but was reintroduced into discussion by Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer this legislative session. 

Should the position of County Board Chair be made full time?

Yes         - 20% (37 votes)
No          - 75% (142 votes)
Undecided - 5% (10 votes)

Many respondents left comments favoring the creation of a county executive or implementation of an public administrator/manager position. The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors recently established an Administrator Committee to study what effectiveness, if any, would result from implementing said changes in government. 

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

Inside Look: Administrator Committee Formed

Written By Editor on 6/29/14 | 6/29/14

Following the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors unanimous vote to study the prospects of creating an county administrator to oversee local government at the June county board meeting, Chairman Tony VanGlad announced the formulation of the study committee's membership early last week.

Among those serving include Mr. Barbic of Seward, Ms. Bleau of Wright, Mr. Jordan of Jefferson and Mr. VanWormer of Esperance. Also selected was Mr. Federice of Conesville, who has been tasked with chairing the pivotal committee. 

Mr. Barbic and Mr. VanWormer have a combined forty plus years of service on the county board, while the committee's remaining three members have less than eighteen months put together. 

Additionally, Mr. Barbic and Mr. Jordan are outspoken proponents of additional oversight by means of an administrator or county executive, while Mr. VanWormer has voiced skepticism toward the proposals and Ms. Bleau has offered few comments on either measure but voted against the administrator concept in May. 

Observers see Mr. Federice as key in committee, because although he voted alongside eleven other town supervisors to squash the concept just two board meetings ago, he has since made statements that he did so due to the fact there wasn't enough information at the time and that he remains undecided on the proposal. 

It is not known whether the Administrator Committee will ultimately have an impact on the county board's final decision, but it can be safely assumed that the committee's approval in conjunction with Mr. Smith of Blenheim's proposed local law authorizing an county administrator indicates momentum for reformists. 

Seward Delivers $2 Million for SUNY Cobleskill Energy Savings Project

ONEONTA, 06/27/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced that $2 million in capital funding he secured will be used for SUNY Cobleskill’s energy savings project. 

“SUNY Cobleskill offers innovative student programs on a campus that is continually evolving to meet changing needs,” said Senator Seward.  “This funding will help the school go even further by backing new green energy improvements that will lead to a more efficient, environmentally friendly campus – saving money and our natural resources.”

More than 26-percent of the support New York State currently provides to SUNY Cobleskill annually is consumed in utility costs.  Both Executive Order 88 and Build Smart NY require the campus to reduce energy consumption and, create an energy master plan and operate more efficiently.

“Renewable energy, clean technology, and green jobs are our future.  However, there are costs to start down the path and it is important that the State of New York help institutions like SUNY Cobleskill make this transition,” Seward added.   

The capital funding obtained by Senator Seward, included in a 2014 senate resolution, will help the college meet the ‘green goals’ by supporting SUNY Cobleskill’s Energy Savings Project which will include:

  • Campus Wide Metering – Metering will quickly alert campus personnel to systemic problems that drive up utility costs by providing diagnostic ability to find where energy is being wasted. ($525,000);
  • Energy Master Plan – The plan will include comprehensive energy audits of campus facilities the will be used to establish baseline energy use, propose, measures for decreasing energy use, and serve as the basis to develop an energy master plan. ($125,000);
  • Priority Energy Projects – To include alternative energy/natural gas solutions for existing buildings that operate with a mix of fuel oil and electricity, plus priority projects as indentified in the Energy Master Plan. ($1,340,000).
SUNY Cobleskill Acting President Dr. Debra H. Thatcher said, “SUNY Cobleskill is grateful to Senator Seward for his advocacy on behalf of the campus. These energy projects will allow SUNY Cobleskill to install cutting edge technologies and be better stewards of state funds by shifting expenditures from utility costs to academics and student support.”

“New York is a leader when it comes to green projects which is good news for our future sustainability.  SUNY Cobleskill’s core academic programs are built on environmental excellence and this state funding will help advance the principles that are already part of the college’s foundation,”  Seward concluded.

Letter to the Editor: Officials Allowing Pipeline Endangers Residents

Dear Editor:
Constitution Pipeline is proposing to build a “contractor yard” along Route 7 in Richmondville on the former Sabta Farm, near Shirley’s Restaurant. Lancaster Development has signed a three year deal to lease the land to Constitution. The site would be the hub for heavy construction activity, the transportation of multi-ton steel pipe and the staging of equipment and construction activity. Constitution has announced that because of extensive shallow bedrock, large stretches of the pipeline route through Schoharie County will require blasting. The proposed contractor yard would likely serve as the storage and staging area for explosives and blasting materials. Constitution has identified the type of storage that will be used for those explosives but has not identified any security measures beyond warning signs.
The contractor yard and its associated heavy equipment activity will intersect the primary school bus route for the Cobleskill-Richmondville school district. The contractor yard will be less than a half mile from the high school and a little more than a mile from the elementary school.  Heavy trucks carry equipment and explosives will travel on the same roads and at the same time as our kids. That traffic will be just feet way from students who walk to school or run along the road for the track team. The danger to our kids is real and significant. Our organization notified the Cobleskill-Richmondville Board of Education on multiple occasions and they chose to do nothing to address these dangers.
Unlike Cobleskill-Richmondville School Board, the Schenevus School Board faced with a similar contractor yard less than a half mile from their school, took swift and immediate action. They wrote a formal comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and to Constitution Pipeline strongly opposing the location of the yard. Constitution, presumably at the urging of FERC, cancelled plans for the contractor yard in Schenevus.  Constitution also proposed to run the pipeline through the BOCES campus in Schoharie. BOCES also took swift and immediate action and submitted formal comments to FERC and sent representatives to a FERC public hearing to vocally and assertively oppose the route. Constitution, presumably at the urging of FERC, moved the route off of the BOCES campus.
Both the Schenevus School Board and BOCES acted decisively to protect the safety of the students for whom they have responsibility, the Cobleskill-Richmondville School Board, on the other hand, failed their students miserably.
The Town of Richmondville has zoning authority to approve the location and condition of the proposed contractor yard. Our organization submitted a 60 page document to the Town detailing a blatant conflict of interest on the part of a town official with voting authority on the contractor yard and other pipeline infrastructure. The family of that official received nearly $60,000 in payments from the pipeline company yet refuses to recuse himself and has advocated for fast track approval of a permit the company is not eligible to receive.  The New York State Attorney General’s Office called the situation “an absolute conflict of Interest” yet the Town of Richmondville has done nothing to address the situation.
If families of Schoharie County are placed in danger by the pipeline contractor yard and other pipeline related activity it won’t be because a dedicated, hardworking group of citizens didn’t do everything they could to stop it. It will be because many elected and appointed officials in Schoharie County from Town Boards to Planning Boards to School Boards are disengaged, timid, inept, corrupt or all of the above. That is the shameful reality of our County for which we constantly pay the price.
Bob Nied

Smithy Center to Host Blues Musician Mike Herman

Written By Editor on 6/27/14 | 6/27/14

June 24, 2014-- Cooperstown, NY. Smithy Center for the Arts (SCA) is proud to present Mike Herman, a solo blues musician, on July 17th, 7:30-9:30pm. Concert will run rain or shine-- weather permitting, to be held outside in the SCA courtyard. 
Self-described genre as “fingerpickin’ acoustic blues,” Mike has been engrossed in music since getting his first guitar at age ten. He has travelled the midwest meeting old-timers such as country blues guitarists Jack Owens, Eugene Powell and R.L. Burnside, and spent years teaching guitar and playing in the acoustic blues duo, “The Hell Hounds.” Now a solo performer, Mike allows his blues to say “as much as [they] can with few words and letting the images do the work.” Herman has played at concerts, festivals, clubs and colleges up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest, his voice blending the influences of acoustic blues, bluegrass, ragtime, and most recently old-timey music into a style all his own. 
Tickets are on sale via email, telephone, or can be purchased via the Smithy website. Adult admission is $12, Student and Senior (65+) tickets are $10, and children 6 years and younger may attend for free. The Smithy Center for the Arts is located on 55 Pioneer Street, just past Cooley's tavern. For more information call (607) 547-8671, email, or visit our website at

Firemen Rescue Gilboa Couple after Flash Flooding

Update: County officials have put the cost of flood related repairs on South Gilboa Road at over one hundred and twenty thousand dollars if private contractors are utilized before public crews have the ability to do the work themselves. 

Wednesday night's torrential downpours resulted in the flash flooding of South Gilboa Road just off of State Route 30, where rising waters trapped a couple inside of their home. 

The call came into Schoharie County 911 Dispatch at approximately 7:38 P.M. and emergency rescue operations commenced shortly thereafter by the Grand Gorge Fire Department, which covers the Town of Gilboa by contract. 

Grand Gorge Fire Chief DJ Speenburgh was the incident commander, and upon arriving on scene, requested the assistance of several other area fire departments to aid Grand Gorge's rescue operations, which were bogged down by significant standing water. 

However, while crews were en-route from Rensselaer County with air boats, waters receded enough for firemen to reach the residence and safely extract the couple, who were both unhurt and okay.

SALT's Bounty of the County set for Saturday

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (June 26, 2014) --- Printz & Patternz (P&P), as part of the company’s ongoing community engagement efforts across the Capital Region, has provided signage and marketing materials for the annual Bounty of the County fundraiser on June 28.

Bounty of the County, now in its second year and founded by Noel Kaminski, raises funds to support the recovery and mitigation of the Schoharie Creek Basin. In its inaugural year, the fundraiser raised $19,000 for flood relief efforts. This year’s fundraiser aims on raising $30,000 and will feature Nicole Brisson, a Middleburgh, N.Y. native who is the executive chef of the Mario Batali-owned steakhouse Carnevivo in Las Vegas.

“The recovery that Schoharie County and the region as a whole have made so far since Hurricane Irene is nothing than amazing and only possible due to the hard work and determination of volunteers, donors, and so many individuals who chipped in. There is still work to be done and P&P remains committed to providing whatever support needed to continue to help Schoharie County families,” said Dan Crowley, president and founder of P&P.

The fundraiser will be on Saturday, June 28, starting with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. at the Tory Tavern (hosted by the Fabulous Beekman Boys), followed by dinner at the Carrot Barn at 7 p.m. For tickets and information, visit

For more information about P&P, visit

Schoharie Fresh Participates in I Love My Farmers' Market Celebration

Written By Editor on 6/26/14 | 6/26/14

Cobleskill (June 26, 2014) - Schoharie Fresh, the online farmers’ market is again participating in the I Love My Farmers’ Market Celebration through American Farmland Trust. The idea of the celebration is to encourage people to shop at their local farmers’ market by asking them to pledge to spend money at the farmers market through this online portal; you are not actually sending money to American Farmland Trust.

Schoharie Fresh participated in the celebration last year and placed third in New York State in pledges received. Markets who participated last year included The Rochester Public Market, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, The Schenectady Green Market ; Schoharie Fresh customers pledged to spend more than customers at these markets. Schoharie Fresh would like to again place in the top three markets in New York State and maybe move up from the #64 spot nationally. 

Money spent locally at farmers’ markets helps support our local farmers, but also the local economy. According to information from American Farmland Trust, farmers selling at a local farmers market receive $8-9 from a $10 purchase and $7.80 is re-spent in the local economy. In addition, customers are getting the freshest food possible, which means that it tastes better and has more nutrients. 

Schoharie Fresh was started in 2011 under the Creating Healthy Places Grant as an alternative way for producers to sell their products and customers to purchase from a wide variety of local producers. The market has grown, with new producers joining each year; with the growth, most of the original producers are still involved as well. This year we have had the SUNY Cobleskill greenhouses selling hydroponic tomatoes on the site throughout the winter and spring and we have added several beef producers including Reeds Beef and At Ease Acres. Also new this year was Mos Delicious which sold prepared meals to heat and serve using local products in her meals. Everything sold on Schoharie Fresh was grown, raised or produced here in Schoharie County. 

Sales have grown steadily over the years and this year is no different. We have seen an increase in the amount of repeat sales of our customer and also a continuation of new customers purchasing from Schoharie Fresh. Sales information is tracked to be able to see how the market is doing. In 2014, weekly sales have exceeded sales in 2013 in both the total sale as well as the number of orders each week. Sales have increased so much in 2014 that many producers are having a difficult time keeping stock listed. ”Meat producers need to raise their animals to a certain size before they are butchered and this year we have sold a lot of meat to our customers and this took many of producers by surprise,” says Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator for Creating Healthy Places. “We are starting to see similar sales with the fresh produce, much of it selling out quickly when it is posted on the site.” 

As we move into the growing season we will add more producers and hopefully continue with strong sales. First time customers need to register using their email address and can then place their first order. If you place your order by Wednesday at 11:59 PM, it will be available for pick up on Friday afternoon at the Red Barn on Route 7 by the fountain on the SUNY Campus. Customers shop in the comfort of their homes and can order from about 30 producers and pick up and pay in one location, making this a time saving option. Ordering is done through and questions or comments can be emailed to 

Schoharie Fresh is a joint initiative between Creating Healthy Places and SUNY Cobleskill. Initial funding was provided from the Creating Healthy Places grant and SUNY Cobleskill students are responsible for much of the operation. Creating Healthy Places is a grant from NYS Department of Health to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables and places to be active around Schoharie County. For more information on Creating Healthy Places please contact Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator at or 518 255-5294. 

Vote in Our New Poll: Should County Board Chair be made Full-Time Position?

Many suggestions have been made for adding an additional layer of oversight to Schoharie County government, from the implementation of a county executive to simply appointing an administrator to oversee the daily tasks of county bureaucracy. However, one proposal has been largely ignored.

Therefore, we are asking in our current poll what Schoharie News readers think of making the position of County Board Chairman a full-time job, as Esperance Town Supervisor Earl Van Wormer has proposed in the past. The survey already has over one hundred votes and will remain open until Sunday. 

The poll is located on the right-hand sidebar of the website. 

Middleburgh Pet Store Asks for Emergency Donations to Move

Yesterday's tragic partial collapse left upstairs apartment renters and the newly opened pet store in Middleburgh thrown out. The property at 330 Main suffered a partial collapse after a torrent of rain on June 25th. The event's direct cause and the stability of the building is being checked by an architect and engineer, but regardless of the result one thing is clear: the pet store is closed for the time being.

The owners are considering a move to a nearby structure-- a necessity. The owners were open for just ten days-- and are now facing a catastrophic loss of revenue, inventory, and time. The store opened after owners Mark and Tina Cyzszczon reached their dream. Tina is a recovering cancer victim and the couple is raising several young children.

Donations are now being asked to stave off the store closing for good. A donation link can be seen below:

The owners are trying to raise $10,000 to cover some of the costs related to the disaster. Even several dollars can make a substantial difference.

Building Partially Collapses in Middleburgh

UPDATE: Pet store owners looking for donations for an emergency relocation.

Middleburgh firemen and local officials were on scene Wednesday night to monitor damage caused by a partial building collapse on Main Street where, thankfully, no one was injured nor caught in the unexpected structure fail. 

The building, which is home to several apartments and Middleburgh's new pet store - Fish Tales and Fur - is surrounded by yellow caution tape this morning after a fine layer of brick gave way into a empty yard behind the structure. The official cause is unknown as of publication.

Mayor Matthew Avitabile told the Schoharie News that "everyone is safe," and that they are consulting an architect and engineer moving forward. He would later add a personal thank you to the fire department for their wonderful work.

Fish Tales & Fur owner Mark Czyszczon wrote on the pet store's facebook page that, "the structure has extensive damage and most likely more than can be seen." While adding the business is unlikely to open again in that location, he further wrote, "we will find a new home as soon as we can."

All tenants were reportedly able to find shelter for the evening. 

Sharon Teen Arrested for Burglary, Charged with 3 Felonies

Written By Editor on 6/25/14 | 6/25/14

New York State Police stationed in Cobleskill have announced the arrest of a fourteen year old Sharon Springs resident for the burglary of a local business in April. 

The suspect reportedly broke into Eclipse Overhead Doors on State 10, and while inside, "smashed several windows and stole an item. Outside the building, the windows of three windows were broken." After processing several items of evidence and conducting numerous interviews, troopers closed the case last week.

The teen was charged with one count of Burglary in the Third Degree and two counts of Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, all of which are felonies. The youth will answer his charges in Schoharie County Family Court.

Old Stone Fort to Host Founders Day Picnic

The Schoharie County Historical Society is continuing to celebrate its 125th Anniversary with a Founders Day Picnic and outdoor concert scheduled on Wednesday, July 2, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. Music will be provided by Patty and the Mygrains performing an eclectic mix of folk, county, jazz, blues, and salsa.

Additionally, the museum's recently introduced Founders Exhibit will be open with guest exhibit curator Peter Lindemann on hand to discuss his own research into the men responsible for making the Old Stone Fort into what it is today.

The general public is invited to attend this fund-raising event with their own picnic food for $7.00 admission, but a special Picnic Dinner Box prepared by Chef Ralph Buess, owner of the George Mann Tory Tavern, is available for $25 per person which includes admission.

For more information on the Old Stone Fort's upcoming Founders Day Picnic, please visit the events page of the museum's website here

Alexis Richter Named May's Young Motivator of the Month

The Young Motivators of Schoharie County, and this month's sponsor, StudioFab, announced Alexis Richter as May's Young Motivator of the Month in a press release issued Tuesday evening.

Jenna, owner of StudioFab, is pictured with Alexis
Alexis is described as a kind, caring and good student. She knows the importance of team work and support as proven by her role on the Cheerleading team and Gymnastics team. 

Alexis takes the time to get to know the people around her and goes out of her way to make them feel special no matter who they are or what they are going through. She truly understands what it means to "Walk a mile in someone else's shoes." This is why she was named the May Young Motivator.

To nominate a Young Motivator, you may e-mail or message the group on facebookKayla Cross was previously named Young Motivator of the Month in April. 

Conesville: God's Country

It was hot, but not so bad as to ruin the afternoon, as I arrived at the Conesville Town Hall in anticipation of learning more about the "forgotten town" of Schoharie County from its recently elected Supervisor Bill Federice. I wasn't disappointed by my visit, as I soon see the friendly character and can do spirit of the town exemplified by the makeshift public library available in the town hall for residents.

Although often forgotten in casual economic and political conversation, the Town of Conesville is looking to capitalize on its agrarian roots and beautiful scenery to grow the county's second smallest community while remaining true to their humble, neighborly oriented attitudes.

Located at the south-eastern tip of Schoharie County, citizens of Conesville are closer in proximity to Windham and Stamford than to Schoharie or Cobleskill, creating a disconnect between their concerns and needs with that of the rest of the county's perception and understanding. But Conesville marches on despite those differences. 

Blessed with easily Schoharie County's greatest and most picturesque landscapes, local residents have turned those natural marvels into advantages by utilizing the fertile land of God's Country, whether it be in several thriving dairy farms, a successful sawmill and grade stake operation, or Eric Dahlberg's unique Elk farm.

My heart is captured by Conesville's majestic and serene viewpoints, but none compared to the peak of Huntersfield Mountain, where standing at the county's highest point, I could view the lush greenery that encompassed the town for miles stretching into the horizon. 

Furthermore, the mostly wooded town offers outdoorsmen of all stripes ample opportunity to immerse themselves in a series of wildlife based activities, including but not limited to: grouse and turkey hunting, fishing, and for the truly adventurous, hiking South Mountain's visually explosive eight mile trail along its ridge.

Still though, Conesville struggles with many of the same problems seen across rural communities in Upstate New York, namely a lack of dependable internet and cellphone coverage that is spotty at best combined with the loss of the town's next generation to college; often, never to return as permanent members of the town. 

However, local officials and residents are looking to reverse some of those trends in coming years by way of expanding the town's available broadband capabilities, introducing all that the community has to offer with a new website (being designed for free by a professional in the field), and most importantly, encouraging Conesville's approximate seven hundred citizens in change to look toward the future, while remembering what has made them great in the past and present. 

As we prepare to part ways after discussing his town in earnest, Mr. Federice and I enjoy a moment of peaceful serenity standing outside the town hall near 990V. I openly comment on the quietness of Conesville, leading Mr. Federice to agree with regard to the main road. As I drive away, my thoughts wander on the small, almost-family like community, and I catch my smile in the mirror as I could see myself here one day to stay.

Ethington Hearing Set for Early July

Written By Editor on 6/24/14 | 6/24/14

Following the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors vote to take disciplinary action on suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington at the May county board meeting, a series of three days has been set aside for legislators to consider the future of the department head.

Kicking off on July 8th and lasting through the 10th, Supervisors will meet over three evenings at 5:00 p.m. each night to hear the case against and in defense of Mrs. Ethington in what outside observers are calling a "trial by committee." 

Mrs. Ethington has been suspended with pay by the county board since the second part of the controversial Fitzmaurice Report was released in early November. The investigative report allegedly uncovered widespread misconduct and employee intimidation originating from Ethington's office.

No Supervisors offered comment on the upcoming hearing, stating that they were barred from offering official statements at this time, due to the nature of serving in a position where they will have a final say on what, if any, actions will be taken against the Personnel Officer.

Desmond: 6,000-8,000 People to Participate in Gilboa Warrior Dash

Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond informed town supervisors and residents alike Friday morning that six to eight thousand people are expected to participate in a warrior dash at Nickerson Park in the Town of Gilboa on Saturday, July 26th to raise money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. 

The dash, which is being organized by the Chicago based Red Frog Productions, and is one of several similar events across the United States, will take place on Stryker Road and is scheduled to last from 8:00 a.m. until 11 p.m that day. Red Frog has actively reached out to the local Sheriff's Office, State Police, and other agencies for assistance. 

One concern is the number of participants estimated to sustain some form of injury on the 3.2 mile course, which is mostly over mountainous terrain. Organizers have pinned the number at fifty to seventy five - from minor cuts to serious injuries - but they will have medical attention available on scene with community squads in backup. 

Alcohol is typically consumed at these events and Red Frog Productions will have its own security team on site, but if past warrior dashes are any indicator as to the atmosphere of proceedings, Sheriff Tony Desmond quoted the number of arrests from a previous event at Windham just a few years ago: zero. 

For more information on this event please visit its official webpage

Cobleskill Police Blotter (June 24, 2014)

The Cobleskill Police Department submitted the following press release concerning recent arrests by their officers in the Village of Cobleskill

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

At 1:09 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Matthew Federico, 32, of Cobleskill, NY, on a Bench Warrant for failing to pay a fine. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $900 cash bail. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on June 24th at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

At 3:10 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Christopher Pedrosa, 23, of Cobleskill, NY, on an Arrest Warrant from Schenectady Police Department. He was turned over to Schenectady Police for further action.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

At 1:15 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Robin C. Dawley, 47, of Richmondville, NY, for Felony DWI. She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $2500 Bail/$5000 Bond. She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on June 24th at 4:00 p.m.

At 1:48 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Kyle J. Kenyon, 17, of Cobleskill, NY, for Disorderly Conduct. He was issued an appearance ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on July 15th at 5:00 p.m. 

County Eyes Seebold Farm for New Public Safety Facility

Written By Editor on 6/23/14 | 6/23/14

Local officials agreed at Friday's monthly county board meeting that if FEMA approves the relocation of Schoharie County's Public Safety Facility that Seebold Farm, located just outside the Village of Schoharie, would be their primary site for a new facility to be constructed.

Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry presented the recommendation to Supervisors after a careful review and in-depth analysis of topography, site-suitability for construction of the proper size structure, and other considerations. A secondary site in Central Bridge was also proposed. 

Supervisors approved both recommendations unanimously. 

Both sites were required to be identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as they continue to review Schoharie County's second appeal for its Public Safety Facility to be relocated to higher ground rather than remain in the floodplain.

The county has thus far received no direct response since submitting its second appeal at the end of January, although a host of federal and state representatives have joined Schoharie County's efforts to see the facility moved from its current vulnerable confines. 

Seebold Farm is located on Route 30 in the Town of Schoharie and consists of two parcels with a combined total area of 26.3 total acres. Both water and sewer services would be accessed by tying into the village's existing utility lines. The site is currently available for sale. 

Poll: Residents Strongly Disapprove of Terry

A recent survey of Schoharie News readers has found that local residents strongly disapprove of Schoharie County Planning Director Alicia Terry's job performance, with many voicing concerns over Mrs. Terry's handling of business development and the contentious AECOM stream bank project. 

With two hundred readers responding, 70% voiced dissatisfaction with the county Planning Director's performance in office, while only 25% viewed her work positively and the remaining 5% are undecided on her tenure's impact either way. The poll was located on the right hand sidebar of the website.

Mrs. Terry is seen as the last of the Conservative Party stalwarts in local government following the party's trouncing in the polls. She is the daughter of late Schoharie County Clerk Eugene Hallock.

Peter Pan Parade Takes Over Middleburgh

Written By Editor on 6/22/14 | 6/22/14

Middleburgh Central School's third-grade class marched down Main Street on Thursday afternoon in the annual Peter Pan Parade. The event was conducted with the assistance of the local business association and MCS alum Mayor Matthew Avitabile, who graciously portrayed J .M. Barrie's beloved character for the students. 

Mayor Avitabile (Pan) battle NBT Bank
President Jamie Casterlin (Captain Hook)
Several storefronts participated in the affairs, with the Green Wolf Brewery Co. decorating its entire front in likeness of a pirate ship and other establishments supplying candy to Peter Pan's group of youthful marauders. The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department monitored traffic for the twenty-five minute parade. 

Resident Sheila Donegan forwarded several pictures of the event to the Schoharie News for publication. We would like to thank Ms. Donegan and hope you enjoy a sampling of Thursday's Peter Pan fun in the Village of Middleburgh:

Middleburgh Man Arrested for Stalking

On Saturday evening at approximately 9:00 p.m., the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office arrested fifty three year old Stephen Anderson of Middleburgh for Stalking in the Fourth Degree on a warrant after an investigation into an incident where he repeatedly made unwanted communication with another person.

Mr. Anderson was arrested on Main Street in the Village of Middleburgh, and then was subsequently arraigned and remanded on $2,000 cash bail to appear in the Town of Middleburgh court at a later date. 

County Board Approves Committee to Study Administrator

Written By Editor on 6/21/14 | 6/21/14

In a reversal from past county board action, local Supervisors voted unanimously Friday afternoon to convene a special committee to review and research whether an county administrator would be beneficial to county government. Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith offered the motion.

The county board's unexpected shift in posture came after Mr. Smith offered a local law that, if approved, would authorize the legislature to appoint an administrator to oversee county government's daily affairs. Supervisors had previously voted against the administrator concept at their May meeting. 

Although similar in nature to a proposed local law offered by Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone at the organizational meeting in January, Mr. Smith's bill would specifically exclude the administrator from serving in any additional capacities in county government during his or her appointed tenure.

Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice, who seconded Mr. Smith's proposed committee, told the Schoharie News that, "A special committee to study and make a recommendation to the full Board is exactly what is needed." Mr. Federice had previously written in a letter to the editor that stated more information was required before supervisors could reach a decision. 

Chairman of the Board Tony Vanglad is expected to name the committee's membership in the coming week, which sources within county government expect will be comprised of only supervisors. There is no word on how long the legislators will be tasked with researching the concept before making a final recommendation to the entire county board. 

Mr. Federice, among other members, will be watching the committee's work carefully, because as the Conesville Supervisor told us, "I am truly undecided on the issue and look forward to the debate going forward based on all the information needed to make a decision which is in the best interest of the county." 

Cobleskill School 'Hit List' Being Investigated

Written By Editor on 6/20/14 | 6/20/14

An alleged 'hit list' of victims has been found at Golding Middle School in Cobleskill. This comes after a series of rumors spread around the school last week that caused a dance to be canceled after it appeared that there were sixth graders targeted.

No evidence has surfaced of who made the list, but it is being taken very seriously. Approximately two dozen names of eighth graders have been found on the list. It appeared that the list threatened students at an upcoming event. 
“We don’t have any credible evidence from an entire week spent speaking to students. I’m not saying we wouldn’t make a decision on Monday if something credible or concrete came about, but we're hoping that this time, there’s a little more evidence that we’re going to be able to wrap this up before,” said Macan.
Info from WRGB here.
"We’re always concerned, in these times we have to take every threat seriously until proven otherwise, so that’s how we’ve been treating it,” he said.
More from WTEN here.
NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Letter to the Editor: County Government in Crisis

Over the last several months much has been written  with regard to the administration and leadership of Schoharie County Government. And with good reason, based on the recent history of personnel scandals, fiscal mismanagement, and a general inability to work in a concerted effort. Our County appears to be in dire straights.

This past years lengthy and expensive investigation into possibly corruption coming from the Office of Personnel was enlightening if for nothing else than revealing just how dysfunctional our present government has become. As is typical in these matters, what we know as the general public is only the tip of the county government iceberg.

I foolishly thought that based on the election results of last fall with several incumbents not being re-elected and others winning by the narrowest of margins, the Board of Supervisors had been given a mandate to seriously consider how to provide better representation to the electorate. Alas, it was not to happen as at the eleventh hour a parliamentary move put an apparent end of what appeared to be a balanced study of alternative forms of government.

In a letter to the editor in the Times-Journal Supervisor Gene Milone made a very candid remark. Mr. Malone stated that on occasion he does not have the time to acquaint himself fully with all the issues which come before the Board for a vote. And from where I sit, I can fully relate with him. Supervisors, particularly those who are also committee chairs at the county level and represent relatively populated towns, have an incredible work burden in addition to their regular jobs they may hold. It is not an exaggeration to state that they have meetings four of five evenings a week in addition to their monthly marathon, the Full Board meeting.

Is it any wonder that the Board's effectiveness has waned in our highly over regulated State. It is interesting to note that of the fifty-seven counties outside of NYC, thirty-one use the appointed administrator/manager form of government, seventeen have and elected County Executive. While only nine counties continue to be managed by a legislative Board. Simply put, it's not the seventies any longer. Committees regardless of how effectively they are structured can not meet timely enough for today's fast paced and highly complicated decision making.

If this is our past and present, then what might be our future? Many ideas have been advanced over the years. One being a county legislature made up of any number of local districts. Surprisingly this system is used not only by the largest Counties within the State but some of the more moderately sized, with a significant amount agricultural base. We have also seen some local movement regarding the appointed County Administrator and to a lesser extent the elected County Manager forms of government. All have their respective pluses and minuses. Yet unfortunately due to the recent action or better said inaction of the Board of Supervisors we may never know what might best fit Schoharie County.

From a practical standpoint I don't envision the County Legislature concept ever moving forward as the Board lacks the political courage to essentially end their current way of life. While the elected County Executive is less of a blow as the Board remains intact, it means there would be a publicly elected official whom some may perceive as having greater authority (translation = power) than the Supervisors themselves. Again, a somewhat unlikely scenario.

This leaves an appointed County Administrator or Manager as the only viable political option. True, appointed by the Board, yet able to act independently in part by the protection afforded by his/her employment contract. This could allow the County to hire a fresh face, unscarred by local combat. Someone with a Master's Degree in Public Administration and having enough real world experience to lead a multi-million dollar service oriented company of some four-hundred plus employees, which is Schoharie  County.

Hopefully and perhaps ideally, gone would be the seemingly never ending sagas of questionable management practices at the great expense of tax payers hard earned dollars. I am hopeful that the County Board of Supervisors, particularly those taking office the result of the last election cycle, can convince their colleagues to reopen their study on alternatives forms of local government. And eventually exercise the political courage and visionary leadership skills the voters know you are capable of producing.

Brian DeFeo

Mr. DeFeo serves on the Middleburgh Town Board.

Blenheim Raises Funds for Felter's Widow

Written By Editor on 6/19/14 | 6/19/14

The small community of Blenheim's breakfast to benefit the late Highway Superintendent Gerald "Jerry" Felter's wife attracted over eighty people and raised close to $2,000 on Saturday, once more revealing the caring and loving nature of Schoharie County's smallest township.

Carver Sand and Gravel and Gerry Scelzo each gave $500 to support the widow in her time of need, while Gilboa Town Supervisor and County Board Chairman Tony Vanglad donated two gallons of maple syrup to the breakfast spread. 

Blenheim Town Supervisor Shawn Smith praised the event, thanking his sister Yvette Smith and Sandy Mattice, "because they did all the cooking and organizing for it." Mr. Smith would go on to add, "we could not had had it without their help." 

Gerry, as he was known to close friends, served as the small town's department of public works head for nearly two decades until his unexpected passing in mid-May. Since then, Blenheim has taken several steps to recognize his service and to provide for his loving wife. 

Red Cross Shelter Training at Summit Fire House

The Schoharie County Office of Emergency Services will be hosting a Red Cross Shelter Training seminar tonight, Tuesday June 24, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 pm at the Summit Fire Department located at 2912 State Route 10, Summit, New York. 

Training will focus on instructing local residents on opening and operating an emergency shelter in case of catastrophe. Those interested in taking the course should email the Office of Emergency Services at or call 295-2276 to register. 

There is no cost to attend.

Youth Released From Albany Med Following Car Vs. Bicycle Accident in Carlisle

Two days after a motorist struck a teenage bicyclist in the Town of Carlisle, causing the youth to be transported to Albany Medical Center for injuries sustained from the accident, the fifteen year old has been released and no charges will be filed against the driver according to Sheriff Desmond. 

Furthermore, a passenger in the car was also transported to and released from Albany Medical Center with a wrist injury. 

The accident occurred Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2:00 p.m. when the bicyclist rode out of his driveway in front of his driveway and was hit by the vehicle. Members of the Carlisle Fire Department and Rescue Squad were on scene along with the Cobleskill Rescue Squad. 

Sheriff Desmond told the Schoharie News this morning that, "As schools let out for summer vacation the Sheriff's Office would like to remind everyone to be safe while engaged in warm weather activities."

Lawmakers Offer Bills Seeking "Peace Officer" Status for Schoharie Tac-Force Members

Written By Editor on 6/18/14 | 6/18/14

ALBANY, 06/16/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I- Oneonta) announced earlier this week senate approval of a bill he sponsors granting peace officer status to officers and members of the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Tactical and Rescue Force.  Senator Seward’s bill (S.7720) was the result of a dialogue  between the Schoharie County Sheriff, the Tac-Force, and Schoharie County’s legislative team.

“The Schoharie County Tac-Force is a critical component of the sheriff’s department, filling voids and providing support in a host of situations,” said Senator Seward.  “The men and women who make up this specialized unit are highly trained and help meet emergency preparedness needs.”

Currently, Schoharie County Tac-Force members are only officially defined as “peace officers” when preparing for or responding to an emergency situation.  Senator Seward’s legislation will provide them with peace officer status while working at public festivities, parades, fairs, and other similar events, “pursuant to their special duties.”

“The Schoharie County Sheriff’s Department relies on the Tac-Force to provide essential services, and to keep taxpayer costs in check.  Elevating Tac-Force members to full peace officer status is an appropriate action and fits with the duties and responsibilities these men and women already perform on a regular basis,”  Senator Seward added.

The Schoharie County Sheriff’s Tactical and Rescue Force (Tac-Force) is a volunteer component of the sheriff’s department which provides security during public events, crowd control, search and rescue, traffic control, and assistance to road patrol deputies when needed.

Senator Seward has been a consistent supporter of the Schoharie County Tac-Force, securing a $25,000 state grant for the unit in 2013 to help purchase communications equipment, bullet proof vests, and uniforms. 

Companion legislation (A.9842A) sponsored by Assemblyman Pete Lopez has been introduced in the state assembly.

County Board to Meet Friday (June 20, 2014)

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors will be convening Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. for its regularly scheduled June county board meeting. Legislators had previously met last Wednesday in a special legislative session to approve a series of grant requests to the state. 

No official agenda has been published on the county website, but Supervisors are expected to hear updates on the AECOM stream bank project and the Mandate Relief Committee's recent trip to the State Assembly, which occurred earlier this week.

Although discussion has quieted on the issue, it will be interesting to see whether Supervisors bring up a county administrator for further debate, or if the contentious topic will be sidelined for the June meeting. This, along with how board members interact with one another, could be telling of future action.  

Old Stone Fort Set for Busy Weekend

Schoharie County's historic Old Stone Fort is set for a busy weekend beginning this Friday, when the museum will introduce its latest exhibit featuring the founders of the Schoharie County Historical Society with a free public reception from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m that evening.

The historical society, which has been in existence for one hundred and twenty five years now, was founded by thirty-seven mostly ordinary citizens in 1889. They included a State Assemblyman from Conesville, a Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, and a highly regarded educator in Schoharie. 

To learn more about all of these men and their lasting mission, the Founders Exhibit is located in the Badgley Museum Annex, across the street from the Old Stone Fort itself, and will run through the end of October. Additionally, a Founders Day picnic and concert is scheduled for July 2nd.

Furthermore, on Saturday and Sunday the Fort will be hosting an encampment and interactive program on the post-Civil War Fenian Raids, which was a series of attacks by Irish-American militants on Canada in hopes of sparking greater conflict against the British Empire to free Ireland from English rule. 

Living historians will be dressed in period uniforms, and will partake in various activities (drilling, playing music, etc.) to recreate the sense of the little known Fenian Brotherhood at the Old Stone Fort, which will be open 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 12:00 to 5:00 Sunday at normal pricing.

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