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Schoharie News Under New Ownership

Written By Editor on 8/31/14 | 8/31/14

Tim Knight has transferred ownership of the Schoharie News to interim owner Robert Panico. Mr. Panico will keep the Schoharie News in Middleburgh and hopes to continue and expand the fine journalistic standards of this newspaper.

Mr. Knight would like to thank the loyal readers who have grown this paper over the last year. He will contribute occasional columns on the site.

Opinion: Three Years After Irene

2011 marked a red letter date in Schoharie County's history.

Not only was it the year of great devastation, but that of great courage and resolve.

That August 28th and the weeks and months that followed showed tremendous emotion-- the shock and sadness of losing property and a way of life-- the joy of finding loved ones okay-- and the determination of working to assist neighbors or your own house or business.

According to SALT, 15% of those that were flooded will not be returning to their property. This has caused a large loss of population, tax value, and business up and down the Valley. However, it also shows that the vast majority of those flooded out have stayed and have been helped by volunteers and friends.

Schoharie County has partially recovered from the storm and its wrath. SALT is transitioning into a revitalization organization. Communities are getting back on their feet. None of this would have been possible without so many people and their good deeds. Out of the floodwaters came the blessing of each other's love.

Liquor Store Opening in Sharon Wednesday

Written By Editor on 8/26/14 | 8/26/14

A new liquor store will open in Sharon Springs Wednesday, continuing the community's strong business development streak. McDermott's Wine & Liquor will be opening 1pm tomorrow. The store has a Facebook page here, the source of our photos.

SALT Receives Large Donation from FAM

Fenimore Asset Management has been a great friend to flood recovery. The Cobleskill business gave $250,000 to SALT in 2012. This month the company pitched in $40,000 more for flood recovery.

Photo credit: SALT
According to SALT's press release, Director Sarah Goodrich stated, “As we at SALT turn our focus to community and economic renewal, support from successful local businesses such as FAM is vital.”

Vote in Our Poll: Who Will You Vote for Congress?

Written By Editor on 8/25/14 | 8/25/14

There is a new poll on our sidebar asking our readers to choose between two term incumbent Chris Gibson (R) or challenger Sean Eldridge (D).

McAllister, Milone, and Smith Seen As Most Effective

The results were not overwhelming, but three supervisors are the most effective members of the County Board, according to Schoharie News readers. The poll included must dissatisfaction, with a full 26% stating that no member was the most effective-- more than any supervisor.

Newcomers Sean Smith of Blenheim and Leo McAllister were among the top three, with McAllister seen as a pragmatist and Smith successfully winning funding for the rebuilding of the Blenheim Bridge. Second term Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone has won tax abatements at a county level and has led on many issues.

Make sure to vote in our new poll on the sidebar: who will you vote for Congress?

Barbic, Seward 1%  
Buzon, Middleburgh 5%  
Milone, Schoharie 15% 27  
Bleau, Wright 1%  
VanWormer, Esperance 3%  
Jordan, Jefferson 1% 1
 Smith, Blenheim 13% 22  
Smith, Broome 0%  
Skowfoe, Fulton 3% 
Lape, Richmondville 1%  
Manko, Sharon 2%  
Vroman, Summit 2%
Bradt, Carlisle 2%  
VanGlad, Gilboa 3%  
Federice, Conesville 6% 11  
McAllister, Cobleskill 16% 29  
Too early to say/None 26% 46   176 total - 

Schoharie Packed for Rock the Valley

Schoharie was mobbed with visitors on Saturday visiting the annual Rock the Valley concert and festivities. It was the fourth Rock the Valley since Hurricane Irene in 2014. The event was very well attended and money raised went to the Schoharie Fire Department.

The Valley Beverage Guy team won the bed races:
Photo credit the Schoharie Promotional Association and the Schoharie Fire Department.

Schoharie Introduces New Logo

Written By Editor on 8/22/14 | 8/22/14

The Village of Schoharie is looking to continue its flood recovery with a new publicity push. The community has unveiled a stylish new logo to promote its strengths. This also coincides with the Rock the Valley event tomorrow and a series of business openings in town. The logo's inclusion of water is a nod to the community's original name, Fountaintown.

Photo credit the Schoharie Promotional Association.

Sharon Hit by Mudslide, School Damage

The Town of Sharon suffered a flash flood last night, facing flooded basements and 4-6 inches of water in the school. There was a temporary road closure on Route 10 northbound after a mudslide. The flooding occurred near the intersection of Route 10 and Alder Avenue. 

Photos credit the Schoharie County Fire Wire Facebook page.

Airing of the Quilts Set for September 20th

Written By Editor on 8/21/14 | 8/21/14

The Schoharie County Quilt Barn Trail has grown into a popular destination for Schoharie County residents and visitors to the area alike. The trail, which includes dozens of quilt patterns on barns, houses, and even a visitor's kiosk in Middleburgh span the County.

Photo credit: SC Quilt Barn Trail
Now the Quilt Barn Trail is hosting its Airing of the Quilts. It asks for those with quilts to hang them in a visible place and to pick up a map and drive the trail. Anyone interested can find more information on the group's website and Facebook page.

Kayak and Canoe Trip Planned for August 30th

Written By Editor on 8/20/14 | 8/20/14

A non-competitive trip down the Schoharie Creek is being planned and all are invited. The event, which will include both kayakers and canoers, is open to the public and will take place on August 30th. The organizers plan to have the start at 10am at the pavilion at Middleburgh's Tim Murphy Park and end at the Route 7 bridge in Schoharie. Anyone interested should bring their own watercraft, food, and drink and prepare for a friendly, easygoing love of local nature and the Schoharie Creek. This follow's Middleburgh's successful April kayak and canoe race.

More information can be found on the event's Facebook page.

Fourth Annual Rock the Valley in Schoharie August 23rd

This Saturday will see the third iteration of the Rock the Valley concert in Schoharie. Started in late 2011 as a response to the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene, the project has brought together first responders, flood victims, volunteers, and other community members for a day of fun and remembrance.

This year's Rock the Valley will take place this Saturday, August 23rd from noon to midnight in Schoharie. The night before will have a Vegas-themed gaming night. There will be bed races at 10am and over thirty vendors. All donations go to the Schoharie Fire Department. The current roundup calls for music all day and fun for the whole family.

More information can be found on the event's Facebook page.

Gibson Holds Large Lead Over Eldridge

Written By Editor on 8/19/14 | 8/19/14

In a recent poll of the NY-19 District, incumbent Congressman Chris Gibson is holding a substantial lead over Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge. Eldridge has been producing slick ads in the district, backed by millions in his family's money. Gibson has been just about everywhere, co-hosting an event in Wright recently.

In the poll conducted in July, Gibson holds a large lead:

Gibson (R) (Inc.) - 56%
Eldridge (D) - 29%
Other/Und - 15%

The poll, conducted by DFM research, also shows Gibson to have among the highest positive rankings of any person in politics in the district. He has a 48% favorable and 16% unfavorable rating, as compared to Governor Cuomo's 41% positive, 51% negative. In the race for Governor in the district, Cuomo leads Republican challenger Rob Astorino 45-37%.

Vote in Our New Poll: Who is the Most Effective Member of the County Board?

Written By Editor on 8/18/14 | 8/18/14

With contentious issues and the Ethington trial coming to the County Board, it is time to see what our readers think. Who has been the most effective member of the County Board so far this year? Why or why not?

Construction Begins at Schoharie Senior Housing Project

Construction has begun at the site of the future Schoharie senior housing project. The construction, being done near the former Great American site has attracted significant attention and is part of the flood recovery program endorsed by local agencies.

 Photo credit Schoharie Promotional Association's Facebook page.

Middleburgh Hosting Next Fourth Friday this Week

Middleburgh is hosting the next in the series of Fourth Friday events this Friday, August 22nd. The event will have vendors and businesses up and down Main Street, including special exhibits. Among the planned events will be musical guests, a car show at the Best House Museum, and art exhibits. This will be the Middleburgh Area Business Associations' fourth iteration of the event, which has proven very popular.

The following Fourth Friday will be September 26th. All are invited to the special events.

Rensselear Offers $1 Million Annually for Albany Casino Support

Written By Editor on 8/16/14 | 8/16/14

The City of Rensselear has offered neighboring Albany a large annual payment in exchange for its support of a casino application. Rensselear expects to make $5.8 million annually in casino receipts if accepted-- and Albany would take $1 million of it each year if it backs the casino push. This would total $10 million over ten years and comes after the casino effort in East Greenbush offered a similar $7 million deal for Albany.

These new negotiations were reported in the Times Union. Albany has not responded to the offer but faces a substantial fiscal hole after its only casino proposal moved to Rensselear. The project is worth $280 million total. The East Greenbush project is endorsed by the Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. and Churchill Downs. Any decision from Albany would have to be approved by the City Council.

The Howe Caverns proposal has local support, including Assemblyman Lopez, Congressman Gibson, Sheriff Desmond, and Senator Seward. While the other sites have picked up endorsements from cities such as Rensselear, Albany, Binghamton, Norwich, and Schenectady, the Howe Caverns site has one endorsement from the the Town of Cobleskill.

Rollover Crash in Carlisle

Written By Editor on 8/15/14 | 8/15/14

There was a rollover crash in Carlisle this morning. These photos were placed on the Schoharie County Fire Wire Facebook page.

Iroquois Museum to Host 33rd Indian Festival

Written By Editor on 8/13/14 | 8/13/14

The 33rd Iroquois Indian Festival is a celebration of Iroquois creativity and self expression. Held in conjunction with the Museum’s new 2014 exhibit, Standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014, the two-day festival has many other features. 

There is an all Iroquois Indian Art Market where visitors may shop for authentic items.  Both traditional and contemporary arts are showcased. The Sky Dancers from Six Nations Reserve in Ontario will perform traditional Iroquois social dances, and may invite the public out onto the dance floor to participate. The Children’s area will feature arts & crafts activities including beadwork and cornhusk doll making.

Local wildlife rehabilitator Kelly Martin will discuss wildlife conservation in the region and present a variety of wild animals including birds of prey. The Museum’s archaeology department will be available to identify archaeological finds and give demonstrations of flintknapping and other early technologies.  Serving as Master of ceremonies for the two-day festival is Perry Ground, a Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation. His life’s work is educating all people on the history, culture and beliefs of the Iroquois. Storytelling by Kay Olan, Mohawk.

The event will take place at the Iroquois Museum on 324 Caverns Road from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday August 30th/31st. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children.

Letter to the Editor: Milone Asks "Are We For Sale?"

Written By Editor on 8/11/14 | 8/11/14

Dear Editor,

    Neighbors & friends; Once again many of our residents in Schoharie County are faced with the fears of another natural gas pipeline proposed by Tennessee Gas.  Many of us have become well educated with respect to the process that will take place to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that this pipeline is necessary to benefit the greater good.  The question is whose greater good.  Certainly not the residents of Schoharie County since, once again, we will not have access to the cheaper energy the pipeline will carry.  It’s compounded by the fact that our county is becoming a gateway for pipelines to all destinations including export of the product.

    Our county’s residents know all too well the detriment these pipelines create not only causing devaluation of properties and posing potential threats to life and limb.  Let us not forget what happened in the Town of Blenheim not long ago.  Many of our residents have been dealing with pipeline representatives concerning easements and surveys on the proposed Constitution pipeline earmarked to travel through our county and where resistance from landowners has presented itself, trespass has occurred.   Please be reminded trespass carries a penalty.  These very same representatives have been offering self-serving contributions to many of our emergency services as well as County Government itself, but to date we have declined to accept any such donations.  Are we for sale?  What dollar amount compensates all of the problems these pipelines create?

    Local leaders who are opposed to these pipelines have been without the support of our representatives at the next levels of government, making our effort to stop the building of these pipelines through our county even more difficult and we have also experienced, in some cases, the lack of concern for each other, which is unfortunate (Divide and Conquer).

    There are many issues that will threaten our environment as well as life as we know it.  These issues if left unchecked can destroy an entire lifestyle.  I believe it is time for all members of the County Board of Supervisors to stand up and say that Schoharie County will not accept any more pipelines.  We are not for sale and we have every intention of protecting our communities.  Hopefully this will inspire our representatives at the next levels of government to do the same.

    The residents of Schoharie County and their leadership are responsible for our county’s future.  We must band together to preserve this rural lifestyle and this county’s landscape.  There is an answer to cheaper energy for all without jeopardizing our environment, without placing people in harms way in case of compromise from a pipeline and without devaluation of properties; it’s the solar energy movement already being explored by county leadership, a source of energy that can replace fossil fuel dependency.  Without question, there will be some of our residents that will disagree with the content of this letter and we are all entitled to our opinions, but let us not forget our obligation to protect the future of Schoharie County.

Gene Milone  
Schoharie Town Supervisor 

After Flood, Middleburgh Sees Swift Revival

Middleburgh was the second-hardest hit community by 2011's devastating flooding. Faced with much of its business sector and residential areas demolished by Hurricane Irene, recovery seemed to be over a decade in the making.

Now, just two years later Middleburgh appears to be poised for its quickest growth in decades.

The community lost six businesses and dozens of residents in the flood. There is still a waiting list to demolish flood-damaged buildings and some people still have parts of their homes yet to be fixed. However, for much of the village it would appear that the deluge never happened at all.

In the middle of 2012, various programs were put in place to assist both flood victims and build up a residential and commercial base battered by the economy and weather. $20,000 in flood recovery money was collected and sent out directly to businesses and homeowners by the Village government. The Middleburgh Area Business Association was created by Mayor Matthew Avitabile and over 40 businesses have joined to coordinate efforts for events and initiatives. Their most recent series, the Fourth Friday events, have become very popular, bringing in hundreds of visitors each month.

Fourth Friday events on Main Street. Photo credit: Sheila Donegan
Various grant programs left for dead were revived and used to fund the recovery. A Main Street Block Grant intended for a 2008 completion was found moribund and closed out in 2013. The revived program allowed over $150,000 for repairs to over a dozen businesses. Another $20,000 was used for many of the most recognizable projects of the last three years: a deer mural, a picnic pavilion, wildflowers, and other projects. Another mural was placed up in 2012 from another formerly mishandled grant fund. A New York Community Block Grant meant for a 2006 completion assisted with another $60,000 in low-interest loans for businesses-- partially used for flood damage and some used to nab new businesses such as Green Wolf Brewery and Valley Tax Accounting. Another grant intended for closure in 2003 was used to complete the Creekside Park project on Baker Avenue. Several damaged homes were taken down and turned into greenspace. Across the Schoharie Creek, a new pavilion was erected by the Knights of Columbus and Rotary Club. Trustee William Morton has been expanding his wildflower project in the area and placed a monument to Timothy Murphy. All told, almost $1 million in grants were rescued that would have instead been handed back to the state.

Much of the recovery took place after a fearful jolt. After the effort by former Mayor Gary Hayes to dissolve the Village government in early 2013, residents reacted decisively against the plan. The occurrence re-galvanized volunteer and local efforts to revive the community. The Neighbors Eating Together dinners, a cooperation between Middleburgh's four churches grew to large proportions, now gaining around 100 neighbors per week in the fall and winter to dine and converse. The Rotary worked with other groups to put on the first kayak/canoe race in 30 years this April.

Meanwhile, the summer that saw a brief flash flood also saw the sun. William Morton's wildflower project arose at the same time as other projects. The Village reached out to various business types to meet needs in the community. So far, the effort has paid off. Offices for an architect, an engineer, and an accountant have all met the Mayor's call. Morton's wildflowers attracted hundreds of visitors and created a boost for the local economy. New flags lined the streets. In June, Middleburgh held its second annual Heritage Day. The Best House, now under the stewardship of Bobbi Ryan of the Middleburgh Library saw a large increase of new and returning visitors, events, and a new sign. Quilt squares placed by the Schoharie County Quilt Barn Trail now grace the Middleburgh Library, NBT Bank, and other structures around town.

The underlying success seems to be a plethora of effort from the community. Led by the local government and businesses, projects from the Rotary, Century Club, Library, and the churches have grown cohesive. The tax rate in the Village has remained at the same level for 2012, 2013, and 2014-- the first time since 1997. With help from Carver Stone, the former NAPA building on Main Street has been torn down and will be replaced with storefronts. A new coat of paint graces Kelley's Bar and Grill and an office on the opposite side of the street is seeing a total rehab. It hasn't had a business in it since the 1980s and now hosts a realty office that has returned since the flood. Another four office spaces are being fixed up in a collaboration between owners, the Village, and SALT.
One of two pavilions opened in the last three years
Just this past several year there have large gains for the small community. In early December, Valley Tax Accounting opened its doors on Main Street, as did this little paper. A pet store, Fish Tales and Fur, opened on Main Street in June. All told, ten businesses have opened since the effort began. There are currently eight additional business projects aiming to open in Middleburgh over the coming months. First will be the Green Wolf Brewery on Main Street and the new Valley Pharmacy. Other projects include the Green Iguana Bistro, a bookstore, and others.

Middleburgh still faces challenges, including bringing a grocery into the community, but its ascent surely seems to be reaching an apex.

Middleburgh Garage Sales This Saturday

Written By Editor on 8/10/14 | 8/10/14

Next Saturday, August 16th will see Middleburgh's annual garage sale day. The community is expected to have over a dozen garage sales. Schoharie's is coming up on Saturday, September 6th.

August in Schoharie Filled with Events

From the Schoharie Promotional Association's Facebook Page, there are multiple events happening in the County Seat this month. August 15th-17th: Schoharie Free Library's second annual “Concert on the Lawn” series August 16th: Family Farm Day with three participating Schoharie farms -- Schoharie Valley Farms, Wellington's Herbs and Spices, Hessian Hill Farm August 16th - 31st: Art Opening at hive – Celebrate the Bowl- pasta, yarn, soup August 22nd: Las Vegas Night by the Schoharie Fire Dept. August 23rd: Bed Race, Firematics, and Country Rock the Valley concert to benefit the Schoharie Fire Department

Artisan's Gallery to Host Local Artist August 8th

Written By Editor on 8/7/14 | 8/7/14

The Artisan's Gallery, located on 322 Main Street in the Village of Middleburgh, is inviting the general public to an opening reception of watercolors and prints by local artist Sherry Holmes on Friday, August 8th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Patrons will have the opportunity to meet and greet the local artist, and view other work produced locally to enhance your home and special gifts. Light refreshments will be served. Ms. Holmes' work will be show as the guest artist until August 30th.

Regular Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday's 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Cobleskill Police Blotter (August 6th, 2014)

Written By Editor on 8/6/14 | 8/6/14

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

At 12:49 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Brandon L. Thibodeux, 21, of Schenevus, New York, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released on $100 Bail. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on August 12th at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, August 1, 2014

At 8:55 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Frank R. Taylor, 23, of Cobleskill, New York, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $1000 Bail/$2000 Bond. He is to return to Cobleskill Court on August 5th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

At 2:58 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Brett M. Jaycox, 22, of East Durham, New York, for DWI, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC greater than 0.08% and other vehicle and traffic tickets. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $750 Bail/$1500 Bond. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on August 12th at 4:00 p.m.

At 5:01 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Brett M. Jaycox, 22, of East Durham, New York, for Escape in the Third Degree. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $5000 Bail/$10000 Bond. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on August 12th at 4:00 p.m.

At 1:03 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Theodore Snyder, 51, of Fort Plain, New York, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. He was issued an appearance ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on August 26th at 5:00 p.m.

At 2:42 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Mercedes R. Lambert, 18, of Richmondville, New York, for Trespassing. She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on August 26th at 5:00 p.m.

At 2:42 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Robert T. Merwin, 18, of Delanson, New York, for Trespassing. He was issued an appearance ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on August 26th at 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

At 3:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Theresa A. Wohr, 44, of Johnstown, New York, on a Bench Warrant. She was arraigned in Town of Richmondville Court and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on August 5th at 5:00 p.m.

Opinion: A Yellow Rose

Written By Editor on 8/5/14 | 8/5/14

New York City: a sprawling concrete jungle that stretches farther than the eye can see, miles in every direction, with only water cutting off the vast confines of Manhattan from the other four boroughs of lesser prominence. 

What a sight to behold through the virgin lenses of a born and raised country boy.

Few places in the United States, let alone the world, can escort you from the beauty of Battery Park overlooking the Statue of Liberty to the controlled chaos of Times Square, often called the center of the universe (although it doesn't impress the author that much), and finally to a reserve of nature at Central Park; all within a subway wide of each other.

However, beyond the must-see tourist attractions that everyone has booked on their once in a lifetime visit to Manhattan, nothing spells out the amazing character and personality of New Yorkers more than the 9/11 Memorial. 

Situated in the shadow of the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower), the grounds are somber as thousands pay their respects to the fallen of September 11th, 2001. The noise of the world's grandest city melt away before your eyes, as the compassion of humanity overwhelms your senses. 

The massive size of the Twin Towers become apparent as you observe the solemn waterfalls cascading hundreds of feet below, where the symbols of American prosperity once stood. Surrounding them, are the names of victims who perished during the terrorist attacks etched in bronze plates attached to parapet walls. 

In the midst of this scene, while offering a silent prayer, I noticed the most beautiful and memorable part of my adventure to New York City: a simple yellow rose placed in the name of William Michael Weems, a rose I later discovered was placed to commemorate what would have been his birthday Saturday.

Soon after my girlfriend's sister informed me of this pretty little flower's purpose, I noticed a handful of other carefully placed yellow roses memorializing the birthdays of other victims. To say my heart fell would be an understatement, but to know that almost thirteen years after Mr. Weems' celebrated his last birthday that we still remember it, is a testament to the good in all of us.

So in a weekend full of memories and personal heartache, I walk away with those roses still fresh in my eyes, reminding me of the good that remains in this world and our nation's vow to remember those fell on that fateful day...

On-Farm Berry Research May Provide Fruit Pest Control; Field Day August 13

Two eastern NY farmers with Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education/SARE grants are teaming with the 16-county Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program to evaluate a promising way to help berry growers reduce damage by an invasive species of fruit fly. 

Farm owner Dale-Ila Riggs of The Berry Patch at Stone Wall Hill Farm in Stephentown, NY, installs one of two types of netting she is evaluating for protecting blueberries from insect pests, primarily Spotted Wing Drosophila which has become a major threat to Northeastern fruit crops since 2011; photo: Laura McDermott/Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program
Spotted Wing Drosophila/SWD was first identified in the U.S. in California in 2008. It made its way to the Northeast by 2011 and is now a major pest of berry crops throughout North and South America. One fly can complete 15 generations in one year. By the time growers become aware of the damage, it is too late to save the crop.
In 2012, SWD infested some Northeast berry crops at 80-100 percent. The eFly SWD Working Group of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension assessed the measurable loss to SWD of cultivated blueberries in 27 states in 2012 and estimates New York losses, based on a 30 percent loss of 900 acres of berries, at $1,356,000. The loss of raspberry crop value was even higher.
The Northeast SARE-funded research, conducted at Hay Berry Farm, LLC, a small-scale diversified organic, you-pick berry and herb farm in Hoosick Falls, and The Berry Patch at Stone Wall Hill Farm, a larger diversified fruit and vegetables farm in Stephentown, both in Rensselaer County, is evaluating the use of netting to protect crops rather than using costly insecticidal applications.
At Hay Berry Farm, a popular you-pick destination known as a ‘no-toxin’ farm, owner Lawrie Nickerson had originally planned to plant 4.5 acres of blueberries but stopped at three acres after the 2012 planting because of SWD. The use of netting there in 2013 effectively excluded SWD and other insects of similar size and larger from the trial area.
Nickerson adds a key point: “The upshot is that insects the size of fruit flies could not get past the netting, and using the netting did not negatively effect our harvest weight, yield, or timing. In some cases, the berry yield was slightly higher.”
“The 2013 project at Hay Berry Farm indicated that netting smaller plantings could be an excellent strategy for coping with SWD, particularly as an alternative for organic growers,” says Cornell Cooperative Extension Fruit and Berry Specialist Laura McDermott with the 16-county Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program.

McDermott has provided technical support with project design, data collection and analysis, and outreach support to both Nickerson and Dale-Ila Riggs, owner of The Berry Patch at Stone Wall Hill Farm, where Riggs harvests all of her fruit crops for fresh, direct market sale from the farmstead, at Farmers Markets, and to dozens of regional restaurants. 
“Two years ago we lost 40 percent of our crop to SWD. We believe the insect was brought in by Tropical Storms Irene and Lee,” Riggs says. She estimates SWD damage cost $8000 in lost blueberry income alone.
In 2014, Riggs is testing netting on a half-acre of blueberries that ripen over a two-moth period. The vigorous plants are 8-feet-tall and 8-feet-wide. She is evaluating two different mesh sizes of netting. The major portion of her planting is covered with the very fine netting Nickerson used; one row is covered with a less-fine netting that is also less expensive.

“We need a system that will control SWD yet be practical for working around the berries and less costly,” Riggs says.
“I am waiting to see how well the less expensive netting works at Dale-Ila’s farm. If it works well there, we will evaluate the economics and I believe there may be a strong possibility that I will put netting up next year,” Nickerson says.
Both Nickerson and Riggs tried a number of other adjunct measures, including insect trapping and weed mats, as part of their NESARE grant projects. More information is available from the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program/ENYCHP that provides research-based expertise on production and marketing to commercial food and horticultural producers in Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington counties

The ENYCHP will hold a Growers Field Day at The Berry Patch in Stephentown on August 13 from 3pm to 5pm. Learn more online at or call Marcie at 518-272-4210

New Disc Golf Course to Open at Mine Kill State Park

Written By Editor on 8/1/14 | 8/1/14

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced that its first permanent disc golf course in the Saratoga-Capital Region will open at Mine Kill State Park in North Blenheim. The course opening will take place on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 9AM just outside the Mine Kill pool complex, featuring a ribbon cutting ceremony, an Ace Race and other great disc golf games.

“We are thrilled to welcome the first disc golf course to a State Park in the Capital Region,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “Disc golf is a fun and easy way to get outside with friends and family at New York State Parks. The Mine Kill Disc Golf Course will be a magnificent new destination for one of the fastest growing sports in the Catskills and Capital Region.”  

Disc Golf is played similar to traditional golf with tees, holes and strokes per hole, but with plastic flying discs used instead of a ball and clubs. A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to an elevated basket, which is the "hole." As players make their way down the fairway, they take each consecutive throw from the spot where the previous throw landed. The player with the fewest throws wins.

In addition to Mine Kill, disc golf courses are available at Beaver Island, Darien Lake, Evangola, Joseph Davis, Lakeside and Wilson-Tuscarora State Parks in Western New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Lower Hudson Valley, and Gilbert Lake State Park in Otsego County.

The Ace Race tournament at Mine Kill State Park will make a great introduction to disc golf for players new to the sport. An Ace Race is like a hole-in-one contest with a bit of a twist; all players must throw the same type of disc on every hole. Players only count holes in one (Aces) or when their disc strikes a part of the target basket. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers at the MKDGC Ace Race.  Players will also receive 2 prototype discs, a towel, baseball cap, a mini-marker disc and other great items upon registering.  

Admission to the Ace Race is just $25 per player.  

Players interested in exploring the new Mine Kill disc golf course on their own can borrow a disc at the park or pool office.  There is a $10 deposit per disc required for using a disc for the day.  Disc purchases may also be made at the park for $10 per disc.  Admission to the park from late-June to Labor Day is $3 per vehicle from 9am to 5pm.  

For more information on the Mine Kill Disc Golf Course Ace Race event, or to learn more about the terrific sport of disc golf, please contact the park office at (518) 827-8690.  

Wright Republicans to Host Gibson August 10th

Town of Wright Republican Club has announced that they are hosting a Chicken BBQ on Sunday, August 10th, during which Republican Congressman Chris Gibson is scheduled to address the crowd.

The club has reserved the Gallupville School House, located on School Street in Gallupville, to host the day's festivities which will include take out dinners starting at 4:00 p.m. and a sit-down dinner at 5:00 p.m until they exhaust their food. Gibson is scheduled to speak at 6:00 p.m. 

Dinners are $10 and 1/2 Chicken only is $7. Pre-sale tickets are available at the Gallupville Corner Store or George Karlewicz at 518 872-1261 or or Lynn Herzog at 518 895-9078 or

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