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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Citizens Groups Deliver 5,000 Comments to DEC Concerning Proposed Pipeline

Written By Cicero on 2/28/15 | 2/28/15

The non-profit Center for Sustainable Rural Communities and the grass roots citizens group Stop the Pipelineheld a joint press conference today, February 27, 2015, at the Legislative Office Building in Albany to announce the delivery of over 5,000 comments to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) concerning the proposed Constitution pipeline. 

The Center’s spokesperson Robert Nied criticized elected officials for “turning a deaf ear and blind eye” to the plight of residents facing condemnation by the pipeline company. Mr. Nied said that Assemblyman Pete Lopez, Congressman Chris Gibson and Senator James Seward “have equivocated or remained silent, lacking the political courage to place the rights of their constituents and the health of the environment above the profits of big oil and gas.”
During the press conference the group identified multiple environmental impacts that would result from the pipeline including an increase in erosion and flooding, damage to fish spawning areas, increases in invasive species,  clear cutting of nearly 1,000 acres of mature forest, a loss of productive farmland and damage to important wetlands and urged the DEC to deny the pending 401 Water Certification that is necessary for the pipeline company to proceed with construction.

Letter to the Editor: Thankful for Pharmacy

Written By Editor on 2/27/15 | 2/27/15

Last fall Akrum Mourad opened up the Valley Pharmacy in Middleburgh. It has been an advantage to the people here, not only does he take the time to thoroughly explain all the side effects but leaves you time to ask questions. I got a call the other day that my refill was ready. Usually it is the other way around and you areput on hold with phone options to selection. And to boot Akrum delivers, what more could a small town want. The other day a friend with three small children had to pick up a script and she inquired what if she needed something at night or Sunday. Akrum is willing per his cell phone to come in off hours to help, just like the old days.

Pat Federico

Avitabile Named Chamber's "2014 Community Leader of the Year"

The Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce has named Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile as its 2014 Community Leader of the Year.

Chamber Executive Director Georgia Van Dyke, writing in a letter addressed to the honored official, stated that the award "recognizes individuals in Schoharie County who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to our community."

She further wrote that Avitable exemplified this commitment through his dedication, leadership, involvement, and hard work.

Elected mayor of the then reeling valley community in 2012 over incumbent William McCabe, Mr. Avitabile has overseen the recovery of Middleburgh's Main Street business district with the addition of four new businesses in 2014 alone.

Stating that he is "honored to receive this award on behalf of all the people who have made our amazing recovery possible," Avitabile named building community spirit in the aftermath of the flood as the accomplishment he is proudest of.

A Professor at SUNY Oneonta, Mr. Avitabile is seemingly a jack of all trades, as by his own count, he is often involved in managing flood recovery, budgetary prudence, business development, and helping the Middleburgh Fire Department.

Still, his focus is on what's next for Middleburgh.

Commenting that "accelerated economic growth and community development" are on his agenda moving forward, Avitabile pointed to a recent article in the Albany Business Review that mentioned Middleburgh as a top destination for Millennials as a sign they are on the right track.

Closing by remarking, "2015's going to be the best year for Middleburgh yet," Mr. Avitabile seemed honored and relieved at the same time by the Chamber's award, but determined to continue the work he has been charged with by his citizens.

He and other Chamber of Commerce award recipients will be honored at the Annual Business Celebration & Awards Ceremony/Dinner scheduled for Friday, March 27 at the Best Western in Cobleskill.

Seward Meets With Schoharie County Students

ALBANY, 02/26/15 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) met this week with high school students from Reality Check – Schoharie County.

“Reality Check is an effective program that educates both on the dangers of smoking to individuals and the high health cost incurred by all,” said Seward.  “It is especially encouraging to meet with young people who are engaged and working toward a cause they feel passionate about.”

Senator Seward welcomes Reality Check students to Albany.  From left, front row – Ashley Fancher, Sheridan Smith, Madi Yung, Senator Seward.  Middle row- Emily Skowfoe, Taylor Marshall, Kathleen Hannamann, Ethan Keidong.  Back row – Gabby DeRocher, Emily Tuck-Fydenkevez, Middleburgh Reality Check Program Coordinator C.J. Smith.
The students discussed recent field studies they have conducted to gauge the use of tobacco advertising at retail locations.  They also detailed the health and financial benefits of smoking cessation and tobacco control programs conducted by the New York State Department of Health.

New York State Department of Health statistics show:

  • Among high school students, smoking prevalence has dropped significantly between 2000 and 2014 from 27.1 percent to 7.3 percent, a 73.1 percent decrease;
  • Among middle school students, smoking prevalence has dropped significantly between 2000 and 2014 from 10.2 percent to 1.2 percent, an 88.2 percent decrease;
  • Every year, tobacco-related health care costs New Yorkers $10.4 billion, of which Medicaid covers $3.3 billion;
  • Lost productivity from smoking costs New York State more than $6 billion annually.
Reality Check is an anti-smoking movement sponsored by the New York State Department of Health which alerts teens to tobacco company marketing strategies and promotes teens as decision makers in their own lives, as well as role models in their communities.

SUNY Cobleskill to Host the 7th Annual Timbersports Collegiate Competition

Written By Cicero on 2/26/15 | 2/26/15

The SUNY Cobleskill Woodsmen club will host the seventh annual intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Competition on Saturday, March 7, from 8 am to 4 pm at the Schoharie Sunshine Fairgrounds. The competition will include participants from UCONN, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Paul Smith’s College, Finger Lakes Community College and more.

Timbersports combines precision and speed while employing traditional woodsmen technique. The seventh annual intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Competition will showcase students throwing axes, tossing wood, working with chainsaws and highlighting old-fashioned logging practices. Competition-oriented events, such as the ax throw and the cross-cut will be sure to keep audiences on their feet.

Proceeds for the event will go towards a scholarship in the name of Nicholas Failla, a SUNY Cobleskill student who passed away earlier this past November in a motor vehicle accident.  Nick was in his senior year, working towards his Bachelors of Technology degree. He would have graduated this spring.

Linda Serdy, Advisor to the Woodsmen Club states, “Unlike other athletic teams, the SUNY Cobleskill Woodsmen are a club. They raise money for the majority of their equipment and travel expenses. Instead of practicing indoors, they practice in a field at the college which requires shoveling in the winter.  The club members are very dedicated and still manage to maintain strong grade point averages. I am very proud their hard work individually and as an entire team."

Lunch will be available for purchase by spectators.

Letter to the Editor: Supervisors "Vaudeville Act" on Eminent Domain

Dear Editor,

Another example of why this board and this form of government are not working for the people. After years of landowners being bullied and harassed by constitution pipeline, more recently threatened with eminent domain by big corporate lawyers. The supervisors have awoken from hibernation to put on a little vaudeville act for the public. After a song and dance routine they decided to pass a meaningless resolution opposing eminent domain. They were slightly out of step as 4 supervisors tripped over one another as they voted in opposition. No surprise to me one was Harold Vroman, who seems to be wrong on most things. Next comes the second act, the jugglers.  The board will be sending the resolution to Assemblyman Lopez and Senator Seward. I don't expect we'll be hearing anything from them. After all it's not a photo-op involving some ribbon cutting or one of them handing a check to SUNY.

Jerry Fiore   Summit

Community Arts Grants Awarded in Schoharie

Greene County Council on the Arts (GCCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of 2015 regrant awards through the Community Arts Grants Program.  Through this decentaliazation program, Schoharie, Columbia and Greene counties were awarded a total of $103,200. This amount will be regranted into local communities as $80,141 for support of cultural programming and activities, $18,059 for Arts Education, and $5000 for two Individual Artist awards (Columbia and Greene Counties only).

The Community Arts Grants/Decentralization Program is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). This program provides support for local not-for-profit organizations and artists working with community partners. These funds are intended to reward programs with strong artistic merit that directly benefit our tri-county residents.

All funding awards are competitive and determined by a panel of local artists, nonprofit professionals, and community members. These individuals deserve a round of applause for their active commitment to broadening the reach and accessibility of the arts in our region.

Schoharie County received 11 Project Support requests totaling $39,020. Eight organizations shared $23,850.  Recipients include Landis Arboretum for Live at Landis, Richmondville Historical Society for Music at the Mill, Schoharie Library for Heroes in Our Midst family programs, Sonny Ochs for The Not So Quiet Concert Series at Middleburgh Library, Theater Project of Schoharie County for a staged reading of an adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s “Le Vent Des Peupliers,” Upper Catskill String Quartet for Signature Pieces of Great Composers, West Fulton Puppet Festival for performances, maskmaking & workshops, Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association for Irish song, story & dance workshops for youth.  

The intent of these awards is to foster high quality, accessible cultural programs in our own backyard.  Please congratulate these organizations and individuals on their dedication to excellence and show them you appreciate their efforts by participating in this exciting medley of offerings.

A "public-invited" award celebration is slated for Spring where residents can learn more about the programs above as well as hear live music and meet the producers/artists behind these events (date TBA).

For information about the Community Arts Grant program, contact coordinator Renee Nied at:

SUNY Cobleskill to Host "Gems from the Emerald Isle"

Written By Cicero on 2/25/15 | 2/25/15

Although it might be a few weeks early, SUNY Cobleskill is getting into the St. Patrick's Day spirit with their upcoming "Gems from the Emerald Isle" Irish dance, music, and food event on Thurday, March 5th at 7:30.

Featuring Solas An Lae, Gaelic for "Light of Day," is an uncompromisingly innovative Irish dance company that weaves this cultural dance form into a performance of exquisite beauty, power, and imagination.

Accompanying the dance group will be a trio of Irish musicians led by local favorite Tom Wadsworth on Uilleann Pipes and low whistle.

Admittance is free for SUNY Cobleskill students, while donations are suggested for off campus visitors. The event is being held at Bouck Theater, with doors opening at 7:00 pm for the general public. 

Borst, Neary to Seek Re-Election

SCHOHARIE - Schoharie County's two longest serving Mayors are set to extend their time in office next month, when residents of the Villages of Richmondville and Schoharie head to the polls on Wednesday, March 18th. 

Filing the necessary petitions to seek re-election as mayor of their respective municipalities, both Kevin Neary of Richmondville and John Borst are all but assured victory with no declared opponents to their candidacies. 

Now concluding his eighteenth year in office, Mr. Neary has overseen the administration of the county's only self-sustaining municipal operated electric company, Richmondville Power and Light at low cost to citizens.  

Mr. Borst on the other hand, has obtained minor fame from appearing several times on the David Letterman Show, but is primarily recognized for his work in leading recovery efforts in Schoharie following the devastation of Irene. 

In addition to the mayoral campaigns, village residents in Richmondville will be electing two Trustees; neither of whom are opposed, while voters in Schoharie are set to also elect two Trustees as well as one Justice. 

Following Neary and Borst as the longest serving mayors is Matthew Avitabile of Middleburgh, Doug Plummer of Sharon, Linda Holmes of Cobleskill, and most recently, Charles Johnston of Esperance. 

Letter to the Editor: R'Ville Planning Board in Disarray

Dear Editor:

Last week’s Times-Journal reported that the Town of Richmondville was claiming that it had difficulty finding people to serve on its Planning Board. That could not be further from the truth. The Town has steadfastly refused to advertise vacant positions on the board, refused to conduct public interviews of people willing to serve (something other towns do) and repeatedly rejected qualified candidates, some of whom have extensive planning and zoning experience. The Town has not had difficulty finding qualified candidates, only difficulty finding individuals willing to pretend that local land use and environmental regulations don’t apply to political cronies and that the role of the Planning Board is to rubber stamp proposals from local developers.
The Town of Richmondville Planning Board has a notorious history that includes taking just a few minutes to issue a slap dash environmental approval of the proposed Maranatha facility, ignoring a voluminous archeological report warning that the proposed facility would have a significant negative impacts and then being forced to withdraw that approval only to reissue a second and then a third approval after each was challenged. The Planning Board ultimately admitted, in a letter signed by their secretary, that the environmental approval was given for the sole purpose of allowing the developer to gain access to tax payer funded grant monies. We all know how that turned out.
The same Planning Board acted with such disregard for standards of behavior that it was issued a letter of admonishment by the Town Board and Town Attorney regarding conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety, which they subsequently ignored.
The Planning Board is led by a chairman who, despite years in the position, often appears to struggle with even a basic understanding of local zoning regulations, requiring the Board secretary to repeatedly remind him of the process that must be followed. That same chairman erroneously advised his board that they could quickly issue a permit for a proposed massive pipeline staging area along Route 7 without a site plan review and environmental assessment. It is unclear if a total lack of understanding of the law or some other factor motivated his misstatements. Certainly the fact that his family later received nearly $70,000 in payments from the pipeline company does not help the public perception. After the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities stepped in, the Planning Board was advised by the Town Attorney to conduct the appropriate reviews before issuing permits for the pipeline staging area.
Observing the actions of the Town of Richmondville Planning Board at any monthly meeting is an eye opening experience. They careen through the approval process basing their decisions on irrelevant anecdotes and preconceived notions instead of facts and reach their conclusions with a shocking lack of thoroughness.
Unfortunately, the Town Planning Board deliberations will likely continue to be some of the most dysfunctional in the region because under Supervisor Lape’s stewardship the Town Board is not willing to do anything about it.
But there is hope for change. The Village Trustees and Mayor Neary can refuse to sink to the Town’s level and insist that a Joint Planning Board reject political cronyism, incompetence and conflicts of interest and conduct itself in a manner that respects the residents of Richmondville as well as the planning and zoning process. If the Village can’t secure those assurances they should stay as far away from the Town Planning Board as possible so as not to be party to the embarrassing spectacle that poses as governance in the Town of Richmondville.
Bob Nied
Board of Directors
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

County Board Says No to Eminent Domain by Pipelines

Written By Cicero on 2/24/15 | 2/24/15

SCHOHARIE - A divided Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted Friday afternoon to oppose efforts by natural gas companies to utilize eminent domain as a means to secure easements through the properties of county residents for a series of unpopular pipelines. 

Introduced by Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, who had advocated against the expansion of natural gas pipelines since coming on the board in 2012, the measure was hotly debated by legislators, but ultimately approved by a healthy 10-4 margin. 

It was opposed by the following supervisors: Sandra Manko of Sharon Springs, Leo McAllister of Cobleskill, Phil Skowfoe of Fulton, and Harold Vroman of Summit. Neither supervisors Amber Bleau (Wright) nor William Smith (Broome) were present at the vote.

The resolution, citing efforts by both Constitution Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline to expand their presence in Schoharie County, will be sent by the county board to Assemblyman Pete Lopez, State Senator James Seward, Congressman Chris Gibson, and FERC. 

Sending an email to supporters on Saturday morning heralding the news, the Richmondville based Center for Sustainable Rural Communities applauded "those who stewarded this resolution forward and the members of the County Board who supported it."

Correction: this piece originally accredited Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith with introducing the resolution, when it fact it was Gene Milone. It has been corrected. 

Knight: Why I Came Back

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm back. 

A couple of weeks ago, after working for the Mountain Eagle since mid-July, I submitted my two weeks notice and contacted Schoharie News editor Robert Panico about potentially regaining control of my old project.

And here we are today, with me announcing my second term as editor of this delightful yet trouble making online news media publication. A reputation I was once proud of, but am now focused on rebranding into something new; something better. 

So now the hard part: explaining why. 

Well.... Why not? 

This news site is my pride and joy. A lot was accomplished in Schoharie County over the first year and there is much more to be done. Trust me, there is a lot more coming down the pipe for this news project, which we will come back to later. 

But for now, what will change? Well, everything. 

In addition to reintroducing a steady stream of hard news stories, investigative and feature pieces, as well as my own obnoxious editorials, which I'm sure the county board is just groaning at the thought of, I'm bringing along a few new people to the fray. 

Shania Marotta is joining The Schoharie News as our new ad lady, while Joslen Pettit will be helping out when he can with freelance (more like desperate intern) contributions to our county conversation. Both are excellent people I have full confidence in. 

However, the biggest change might be in what is left out... Arrest reports and soft news stories are vital to any news organization, but they are being put on the back-burner. Our focus is to bring you the news you need, not the news you need less of. 

To be completely honest, coming back is the hardest decision I have ever made. Although just a freelance journalist, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Mountain Eagle and Liz Page is a wonderful editor, but... my place is here, with all of you. 

I can't promise that everyday we will have three new stories or some blockbuster, and there may be even times when we go one or two days without something at all being published, but that's because I am working on something that will soon be very important to us all. 

Something I can't quite share with everyone yet, because there are a few pieces left to put in the right place, but I can promise will come as a shock to many of you......but enough with the vague hints. 

It's an honor and a great pleasure to be back as editor, publisher, and owner of The Schoharie News, and I hope that together we continue down the road we once set upon to let the light of truth shine down upon the darkness of corruption and destruction.

- Timothy Knight, Editor of The Schoharie News. 

Boil Water Notice in Jefferson

Written By Editor on 2/23/15 | 2/23/15

At 12:00 pm this afternoon, SC Department of Health Environmental Services issued a Boil Water Order for the Jefferson Water District due to a loss of pressure. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Jefferson Town Hall at 607-652-7931 or SC DOH Environmental Services at 518-295-8382.

Drug Arrest in Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 2/22/15 | 2/22/15

The Cobleskill State Police Interstate Highway Patrol arrested a Binghamton woman on a drug charge following a traffic stop on Interstate 88.

 Shanecka M. Dinkins was charged with Unlawful Possession of Marihuana after she was found to be in possession of approximately 1 gram of Marihuana during a traffic stop. Dinkins was issued an Appearance Ticket to appear in the Town of Richmondville Court on April 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Local Victims Targeted by Scammers Claiming to be from National Grid

The State Police at Mayfield have received several complaints regarding people pretending to be representatives from National Grid. Victims are receiving a phone call from someone pretending to be a representative from National Grid who states that they have to pay a bill immediately or their power will be shut off. The victims are then instructed to purchase Money Pak cards and call a 1-800 number, that is also fraudulent, and provide them with the numbers on the card to pay their bill. The scam appears to be targeting local businesses. The State Police are advising local business owners and area residents to be cautious of any such phone calls. Any questions can be directed to the State Police or National Grid.

Letter to the Editor: County Government is Broken

Thank You Supervisor William Smith for writing and clarifying your flip-flop on a county administrator. In your letter you also implored the public to attend the supervisors meeting this past Friday. You cried out, Please speak up! You must be heard! Yet yourself and Ms. Bleau missed work that day. I'm wondering do we still pay the supervisors when they're absent? It now looks like the county will be hiring a full time babysitter for the 16 toddlers. So the same group that just chose a chairman by voting right down party lines will now be entrusted to hire an administrator. We're supposed to believe they now will have the integrity and intellect to pick the best person for the job. This would all be laughable but we're paying for this long running mess. It's becoming more obvious with each passing meeting they cannot do the job they were elected to do. Gene Milone who initiated this future waste of taxpayers money has stated many times, we're just floundering. Shawn Smith Blenheim Supervisor says, It seems like we just drift from one disaster to another, not very assuring words for taxpayers to hear. Now because of the boards incompetence and the inability to work together the taxpayers will have to pay the price. Who knows what the final tally will be? This form of county government, the system in place is not working it hasn't for years. Failure after failure, mistake after mistake and the taxpayers foot the bill. We cannot do it anymore.The time is now for a County Executive elected by the people with this form of government every vote counts. As of now with this system my vote is useless. We have a 16 member board. I get to vote for one for one member to sit on the board that of course is who I vote for as my Town Supervisor to represent and serve my town at the county level.  This is one of my problems with this system.You see my Supervisor gets a free ride as he seems to run against someone always named unopposed That leaves us with no choice and makes it quite difficult to make a change.For someone to step up to challenge one of incumbents you would have to be a member of one of the major parties, even then you would have to get the approval of one of the 2 kings. It truly is a Good O'l Boys club.

Jerry Fiore 

State Police Crackdown on Cell Use in Cobleskill

New York State Police stationed in Cobleskill have announced an increase in road patrols to combat distracted driving in Schoharie County. 

Dispatching Troopers to crack down on cell phone use during a six hour traffic detail on February 19th, officers issued six tickets to motorists for illegally using their cellular devices. 

Building on last week's success, State Police plan on continuing their crackdown on distracted driving and the use of cell phones. 

The New York State Legislature has regularly increased the severity of charges for being caught with a cellphone while driving in recent years. 

A first offense could cost a motorist $50-$200; a second offense within eighteen months could cost $50-$250; and a third or subsequent offense within an additional eighteen months could run $50-$450. 

Drivers may also lose up to five points from their license.

Vote in Our New Poll: Seceding from New York

Written By Editor on 2/21/15 | 2/21/15

Make sure to vote in our new poll on the sidebar. If there was a way to secede from New York and join Pennsylvania, especially if an adjoining County did so, such as Delaware, would you support such a move?

Southern Tier Towns Want to Secede from NYS, Join Pennsylvania

Written By Editor on 2/20/15 | 2/20/15

For some Upstate communities, enough is enough. Upset with various New York State policies that seem to be the opposite of local wishes, a local movement aims for big change.

Aiming to leave New York State's high tax burden and upset over recent changes in fracking policies, some communities see greener pastures in Pennsylvania. This part of the state was the only region where a majority of residents polled would often support hydraulic fracturing. Other issues, including the SAFE Act, are deeply unpopular.

Altogether there are 15 towns in four counties that desire to secede, including in nearby Delaware County. The exact names of these communities has not been named.

Such a deal would have to be approved by New York, Pennsylvania, and the United States Congress. Such a move is unlikely, to say the least. State Senator Tom Libous did include a question about the prospect of secession in a mailer to constituents.

In a recent survey conducted for the The United States Conference of Mayors and The Council on Metro Economies and the New American City of economic growth in the 363 metro regions in the country, the following Upstate regions rated:

352nd Ithaca,  353rd Glens Falls, 354th Buffalo-Niagara Falls, 355th Elmira,  356th Kingston, 362nd Utica-Rome, and 363rd Binghamton.

The issue has made a splash, getting to the pages of the Washington Post.

Letter to the Editor: TAC Force Decision Hurts Volunteers

At the February 20th meeting of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors a political train de-railed on the Sheriff’s Tactical & Rescue Force. For those of you who are unfamiliar with who the TAC Force is, they are the people who direct traffic at your parades, keep order at the Grandstand events during the county fair and other festivals around the county and other such law enforcement work needed when there is not enough coverage available through local PD or the regular road patrol deputies. They also provide an extra level of search & rescue personnel for the county. The Force has been an active unit of the sheriff’s office for 45 years, always in uniform similar to that of the road patrol, and always armed. When they were first established in 1970 they were constituted as a special force of the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Department whose purpose is to serve and protect the residents of Schoharie County within our special field when called upon. Members were divided into 2 groups, active and inactive. The active members received a lot of training in law enforcement and firearms certification and were appointed as Special Deputy Sheriffs. The inactive members were persons with special skills such as pilots or divers who were primarily used for search & rescue operations. At some point during the current administrations reign, the county insurance provider was changed. When this happened the TAC Force members were not delineated as being armed members of the sheriff’s department. Last year the provider found out that the Force was armed and told the county supervisors that the Force was not covered for that and that this situation presented a great liability threat to the county. The Force members and Sheriff Desmond were looking for ways to get the Force back under coverage without extending the already overtaxed budget but this has been shut down. At the meeting mentioned above, in an 11 to 2 vote, the Board of Supervisors voted to disarm the TAC Force, take them out of law enforcement like uniforms, and change their name. I was present at this meeting to speak on behalf of the Force and outline the requirements by state law for an armed unit of auxiliary police or special deputy sheriffs for civil defense. I was not allowed to speak before the vote was taken. When Chairman Lape asked if there was any further discussion (there had been none other than the motion and second) I raised my hand, which was highly visible being filled with sheets of paper containing my prepared statement. He looked right at me and said, “There being no further discussion, all those in favor…” and just like that, your group of volunteers, who have provided thousands of dollars’ worth of free law enforcement service to your community in the last 45 years was shut down. Mind you, they will tell you that they did not disband the Force, which is, political rhetoric. They removed our side arms. They removed our powers to arrest. They removed our appearance and representation as law enforcement. They ordered us to change our name. If that is not disbanding, I don’t know what is. And yet, they expect the Force members to continue to provide the exact same services that they have been. We will have no more authority than a volunteer event staff person. What happens now when an unruly bunch starts acting up during a demolition derby? Local PD cannot afford to maintain a large enough presence on the fairgrounds to handle situations like that. The TAC Force is still needed. Let your town supervisor know that you are not pleased with their decision and that you want the TAC Force back as an armed unit of law enforcement in your community. Let them know that if they don’t, maybe the next person you vote for will! Spread the word!

Thank you.
Ted Volkert,
President of the TAC Force

County Board Passes Administrator in 8-6 Vote

The County Board was split this morning, but decided to accept the proposal to create a County Administrator. In the debate, the sides confronted both the potential costs and savings of such an action.

The newly passed law described the position as:

directly responsible to the County Board of Supervisors and shall perform the functions of the chief administrator of the County on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors, although the County Board of Supervisors shall retain the final administrative authority.

The position will require a Bachelor's in Public Administration or Business Management and ten year's experience in the public or private sector or a Master's Degree and five year's experience. Any person that becomes the Administrator is not allowed to hold any other public office.

The proposal passed into law can be read here.

The weighted vote totals were:

Barbic, Seward: 5.5%
Buzon, Middleburgh: 11.8%
Federice, Conesville: 2.5%
Jordan, Jefferson: 4.3%
Lape, Richmondville: 8.1%
McAllister, Cobleskill: 16.2%
S. Smith, Blenheim: 1.1%
Milone, Schoharie: 11.0%
Total Weighted vote: 61.5%


Bradt, Carlisle: 5.9%
Manko, Sharon: 6.2%
Skowfoe, Fulton: 4.3%
VanGlad, Gilboa: 4.1%
VanWormer, Esperance: 6.9%
Vroman, Summit: 3.8%
Total Weighted vote: 31.2%

It is notable that all former Chairs of the Board: Skowfoe, VanGlad, VanWormer, and Vroman all voted against the new position.

Supervisors Bleau of Wright and William Smith of Broome, who penned a recent letter against such a proposal, were absent.

Knight: Now is Time to Decide the Administrator Question

Written By Cicero on 2/19/15 | 2/19/15

It's no little known fact that the American political system is broken. Not beyond repair, but wholly broken in several parts. 

We don't have to look at Washington, or even Albany to recognize this. Just take a gander at the fine sixteen men and women who constitute the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors: a legislative body that has been cursed by an inability to govern effectively for years. 

Now I mean no harm against its current occupants, for there are good, well meaning individuals from all three parties represented around the not so grand U-shaped table that occupies the third floor of Schoharie County's office building complex, but come on, let us be real. 

Almost two years removed from the heat of the controversial Fitzmaurice Report and we are still bleeding from the political wounds caused by that damning investigation. Yes, what was done must and should be reconciled, but for the love of God, must we still fight this?

Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington was fired. As were her allies on the Board of Supervisors by an enraged citizenry. But to hear some speak of her actions, it is as if she was still employed and still engaged in unjustified actions. This is not the case, however. 

Schoharie County faces far graver problems that deserve solutions from our legislators: the future of economic development, drafting a code of conduct/ethics reforms to prevent another debacle in administration, and yes, an answer to the lingering administrator question. 

An answer, I am hopeful at least, will be addressed by our Schoharie County Board of Supervisors at tomorrow's February meeting. Whether yea or nay, it has been discussed for over thirteen months now, and by tomorrow evening, needs to be decided - once and for all. 

Some might call that callous, as perhaps there has not been enough debate on the subject, or maybe others believe there should be a public referendum to let the people decide. I say no to both - our legislators are elected to make decisions - so let them make them and be done with them. 

And then, with that decision made, they can - and we as well - may move forward with other concerns, issues, and questions facing the people of Schoharie County. For there are still many to be resolved in the coming months and years. 

Just for comparison: it took the U.S. Congress nine months to abolish slavery, yet we can't decide in over a year whether or not county government really does need or doesn't need an administrator. Good riddance, where is Abraham Lincoln to prod the cattle when you need him.

I advise no path to the Supervisors, for that is not my role at this point in time, but I do believe they must make a final decision. We, as a public, have allowed them to discuss this issue for long enough. The time to call the question is now.

Mrs. Largeteau, please call the roll.... 

Train Derailment in WV Highlights Fuel Transport Worries

Written By Editor on 2/18/15 | 2/18/15

The balance between fossil fuels and need for winter heating fuel was on display this week after a severe crash in West Virginia. A train carrying 3 million gallons of oil derailed in snowy weather, causing a fire that is still burning. Oil has also seeped into a nearby river.

The derailment has caused hundreds of families to be evacuated and 19 train cars left the tracks. One house was burnt down in the fire.

Photo credit: Marcus Constantino/Reuters
The media quotes Senator Joe Manchin as saying, "All you can see is a couple of blocks sticking out of the ground. There's some pickup trucks out front completely burned to the ground."
Much of the increased rail transport of oil and natural gas is due to changes in fossil fuel technology, namely fracking:
Rail shipments of crude have increased from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 435,000 in 2013, driven by a boom in the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana. Limited pipeline capacity there forces about 70 percent of the crude to reach refineries by rail, according to American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.
These types of accidents hit a deadly peak in 2013, when an explosion in Quebec killed 47 people.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Kyle Rockwell, 17, of Esperance, Andrew J. Morrison, 17, of Schoharie, and Mackenzie Bachanas, 17, of Schoharie on charges of unlawful possession of marijuana. They were issued appearance tickets and released to return to court on March 17.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested David H. Wayman Jr., 54, of Cobleskill on charges of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and failure to register as a sex offender. He was arraigned and released after posting $15,000 bail. He is to return to court on February 17.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Louis Micheli, 21, of Middleburgh on charges of disorderly conduct. He was issued an appearance ticket and released to return to court on February 10.

Schoharie Man Arrested on Weapon, Drug Charges

On February 16, 2015 State Police from SP Cobleskill IHP stopped a 1999 Subaru on I-88 in the Town of Schoharie operated by Adam J. Crommie, 30, of Schoharie for speeding and the front seat passenger not wearing a seatbelt. Troopers conducted a search of the vehicle due to an odor of marijuana inside the passenger compartment. The search resulted in the seizure of a lead filled wooden Billy Club as well as a small quantity of Marijuana. Crommie was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 4th degree, a Class A Misdemeanor, as well as Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, a Violation. He was issued appearance tickets for the Town of Schoharie Court on a future date to answer the charges. The front seat passenger was also ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt.

C-R, Gilboa School Budgets Earn High Rankings, MCS Nears Fiscal Stress in Comptroller's Report

The state of the local school districts' budgets range from spotless to nearing troubled, according to the State Comptroller's office. The agency did a review of the deficit and debt loads of all towns, villages, and school districts in the county. The local villages had a similar range of issues in their report.

However, with declining enrollment, state aid cuts, and Common Core initiation the local school districts have a varied set of results. The state weighed various factors of fiscal stress in a rubric to establish an average score. The lower the percentage, the healthier the agency is.

Gilboa-Conesville: 0.0%
Cobleskill-Richmondville: 0.0%
Schoharie: 6.7%
Jefferson: 6.7%
Sharon Springs: 13.3%
Middleburgh: 20.0%

Two of the districts rated a spotless record. The only one that neared the Comptroller's Office's rating of 'susceptible fiscal stress' starting at 24.9% was the Middleburgh Central School District.

The audit also looked at the districts' last several years' budget deficits. Lower positive figures indicate a precise control of money while negative figures indicate deficits. Of the last three years, the districts operated at:

Cobleskill-Richmondville: 0.2%
Schoharie: 0.93%
Jefferson: 1.4%
Gilboa-Conesville: 1.8%
Sharon Springs: -1.63%
Middleburgh: -3.8%

Of all the schools surveyed, only Middleburgh was penalized for having deficits all three years. Its 2014 budget was heavily penalized for having a 4.4% deficit.

More information about all fiscal reports is published on the Comptroller's website.

Middleburgh, Richmondville Village Budgets Earn Top Marks from State

Both the Villages of Middleburgh and Richmondville earned high scores from a recent audit of fiscal stress conducted by the State Comptroller's Office. This new program, which has been conducted over the last three years studies various factors regarding fiscal health of local governments. Five of the six villages' scores were recently released by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office.

Of the communities, each was ranked on the amount of cash on hands, use of tax funds, levels of debt, and sustainability of debt. For each stressor on the budget, a percentage was increased on the rubric.

The Village of Cobleskill's report was not available, but of the five other villages, each scored the following. The lower the score, the healthier the budget was. The Comptroller's office considers any score above 44.9% as 'susceptible fiscal stress.'

Middleburgh: 15.8%
Richmondville: 15.8%
Esperance: 17.9%
Schoharie: 22.5%
Sharon Springs: 39.6%

Middleburgh, Schoharie, and Esperance were all slightly penalized for undergoing fiscal stress in 2012 due to Hurricane Irene causing a spike in expenditures and dramatic fall in assessments. The Village of Sharon Springs was penalized for having a much larger debt load than the other communities.

Of the Villages, the communities had different three year average debt loads the state considered:

Richmondville: 4.9%
Middleburgh: 7.8%
Esperance: 13.5%
Schoharie: 17.7%
Sharon Springs: 20.6%

The ratio of deficits to the overall budget was weighed, with the aim of having a low, positive percentage representing prudent use of funds over the last budget year. Esperance was penalized for two large budget deficits in three years:

Middleburgh: 3.0%
Sharon Springs: 4.3%
Richmondville: 4.4%
Schoharie: 29.9%
Esperance: -23.6%

New EPA Regulations Would Ban Most Woodstove Models

Written By Editor on 2/17/15 | 2/17/15

For many in the area, woodstoves are a vital source of primary or secondary heat. The ample forests and thriving timber industry of Upstate New York provide a somewhat inexpensive and always available fuel.

However, for many residents dependent on the heat source this winter, things could change rapidly. The EPA is phasing in a five year program intended to reduce soot particulates in the air over the next five years.

After this period, all stoves will have to meet the following:

2.0 grams per hour for catalytic and noncatalytic stoves, if emissions are tested using cribs

Alternative limit: 2.5 grams per hour, if tested with cord wood; method must be approved

Within 60 days of the February 3rd decision all new non-EPA approved stoves must produce 4.5 grams of particulates or less. The EPA will allow all current woodstove stock to be sold through the end of the calendar year.

The EPA is also including an enforcement mechanism to ensure the rules are being followed. While much of this includes monitoring corporations regarding the output of their new woodstoves, there federal agency would directly handle violations by individuals.

It is estimated that 80% of current woodstoves would not meet the current regulation. While current stoves are not included for destruction, New York state is going above and beyond. The state joined with several others calling similar EPA moves inadequate and together are suing for more stringent regulations on outdoor and indoor wood boilers.

The lawsuit states that, "in rural New York counties, residential wood combustion is responsible for 90 percent of fine particulate matter pollition" and that such instruments are threats to public health.

Cherry to Seek New Term as Treasurer

County Treasurer William Cherry has announced that he will seek another term in office. Writing to taxpayers, the Treasurer wrote that there was still much work to be done that he believes will be accomplished over the next four years.

Cherry cites the fact that Schoharie County was one of the few debt-free counties in the state before the flood. His changes to the budget process allowed for a much smaller than average debt load and built up a reserve that allowed the County to pay for flood damage and emergency actions.

Listing challenges ahead, Cherry cites the need for FEMA funding for a new jail and communications center. He also writes about the need for local jobs, including the recent agreement to sell Guilford Mills and place several hundred jobs at the facility.

Cherry writes, "My unblemished 20-year record of protecting and safeguarding the taxpayer
dollars that are placed in my care is perhaps my proudest accomplishment."

The Treasurer's position is up for election in November. There are no other declared candidates as of yet.

Letter to the Editor: Consistent on Administrator

To the taxpayers of the Town of Broome and Schoharie County:

I am writing to you to clarify my position on whether or not we need a county administrator. This is in response to a statement made by the Schoharie News that I “flip flopped” on my views on the issue.

In 2014, during my first few months in office, I stated several times that a county manager, administrator or executive was needed due to our dysfunctional county government. But as time went on I learned that was not the problem! I feel that we have good people and a good system in place for the proper operation of our county, but it is not allowed to work! If we create a new position for county manager or administrator we are forming more government with a large salary and benefit package that puts a greater financial burden on our taxpayers without fixing a thing, because it will not be allowed to work due to the current political climate.

A county manager will not be a magician, just a band aid over the underlying problems of a county that is being run by personal and political agendas, a system that does not have the best interests of the taxpayers and county employees at heart.

You need to be heard! Voice your opinion for or against a county administrator at a continued public hearing at the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors meeting on February 20, 2015 at 9:00 am on the 3rd floor of the County Office Building.

There have been several public hearings on this issue in the past couple of months and only approximately 50 people have been heard. I feel this is not enough of a voice to support a decision for the entire county. Please speak up! You might ask, for example, what would the county administrator do that the supervisors aren’t already doing? And also, where would the money come from to pay the substantial salary and benefits for this new position?

Truly Yours,
William M Smith, III
Town of Broome Supervisor

Delanson Man Arrested for DWAI

Written By Editor on 2/15/15 | 2/15/15

On February 1st the State Police arrested Dennis P. Durrant Jr, 49, of Delanson, NY for DWAI-Drugs, a misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marihuana, a violation. Durrant entered a DWI check point in the Town of Duanesburg. That’s when Troopers detected an odor of marihuana coming from his vehicle. Troopers searched Durrant and his vehicle and discovered a small amount of marihuana. Durrant was evaluated by a State Police Drug Recognition Expert and determined to be impaired. Durrant provide a urine sample to test for the presence of marihuana, the results of which are pending.

Fulton County Sheriff: Throw Away SAFE Act Permit Forms

The Sheriff of Fulton County is making his stance on the SAFE Act more than clear. Going beyond the majority of New York State Sheriffs that oppose the controversial gun control measure, Thomas Lorey is calling for civil disobedience.

While giving a speech to the Oath Keepers, the Sheriff called upon gun owners to disobey the SAFE Act. The first person he cited in his remarks was Schoharie County resident and 2nd Amendment activist Kevin Sisson.

When legal gun owners receive the notice to re-certify their pistols under the new SAFE Act provisions, the Sheriff said that "In the state of New York, there are two types of permits, a license to carry and a license to possess. The license to carry was never meant to be restricted."

He also said that if gun owners get paperwork regarding their currently possessed firearms, they should throw it in the trash.

He told listeners, "I want to assure you that everyone in Fulton County has nothing to fear from the sheriff's office."

 Video of the event is below.

Letter to the Editor: Pipeline "Shock and Awe"

Written By Cicero on 2/13/15 | 2/13/15

To hear Christopher Stockton of constitution pipeline speak, he is now being called a communications specialist. It reminds me of a General giving a military briefing. He states the starting date is getting close, we are ready to get going. Constitution's army is planning to have 5 armored divisions attack 5 different counties at the same time, It's their version of Shock and Awe. They will systematically start their assault with expert precision. They're veterans of this kind of raid, having done this many times before. He also noted the pipe for the pipeline is waiting and will be put to use as soon as constitution's army are allowed to mobilize. It is then the invasion and onslaught begins, code name Operation Seize and Destroy. The environment, pristine woods and waterways, every living thing in the path of these invaders will be annihilated for ever. Then finally after a year of occupation the nightmare will be over. Or so we thought, for in the shadows there is yet another army assembling. The worst part of the nightmare, all of this is happening in America.

Jerry Fiore

Windchill Warning Today

NWS has issued a Wind Chill Warning for our area until noon today due to dangerously cold wind chills through this morning. Another round of dangerously cold temperatures Sunday into Monday. Daytime wind chills Sunday will reach 10-20 BELOW zero, while Sunday night into Monday is expected to produce temperatures as low as 25-35 BELOW zero. Please be aware of and protect against the following:

o Frostbite/Hypothermia possible without proper protection.
o Increase in fires from alternate heat sources, or thawing pipes with blow torches.
o Carbon monoxide poisoning due to alternate heat sources.
o Water main breaks are possible from frost penetrating deep into ground.
o People who participate in outdoor activity may be at risk for hypothermia/frost bite.

County Issues Extreme Cold Preparedness Advisory

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albany is forecasting extremely cold temperatures throughout Schoharie County for the remainder of the week and into next week. As the temperatures continue to plummet, wind chills are expected to reach -25 to -40 degrees in some areas.

The Schoharie County Office of Emergency Services has preparedness measures in place in the event of a widespread power outage and offers these cold weather safety tips:

• Continue to be aware of extreme weather conditions by monitoring Media reports.
• Make sure you always have a well-stocked Winter Home Emergency Supply Kit that includes flashlights,
portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a manual can opener. • Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young. Do not leave pets outside.
• Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
• Excessive exposure can lead to frostbite, which is damaging to body tissue that is frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
• Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.
• Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity.
• When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood or pellet stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions. Keep a fire extinguisher handy; ensuring everyone knows how to use it properly. Test smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors.
• If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.
• Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.

Middleburgh Teen Arrested after Domestic Disturbance

Written By Editor on 2/12/15 | 2/12/15

State Police in Cobleskill recently arrested a Middleburgh teenager following a domestic incident in the Village of Middleburgh.

Troopers arrested Andrew M. Craig and charged him with Assault 3rd and Criminal Mischief 3rd following a domestic incident. The victim, a female family member alleged that Craig pushed and punched her after an argument escalated into a physical confrontation. Craig was arraigned in the Town of Middleburgh Court and is scheduled to return to the court on February 18, 2014 at 6:00pm.

Richmondville Man Arrested for DWI

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Richmondville man for DWI following the report of a vehicle off the roadway near Exit 22 on Interstate 88.

Troopers arrested Christopher J. Clark age 36 of Richmondville and charged him with Aggravated DWI after receiving the report of a vehicle off the roadway. According to Troopers, Clark was on scene and admitted to driving his vehicle off the road. Clark displayed signs of impairment during the interview and was found to be intoxicated. Clark was issued a number of traffic tickets to return to the Town of Cobleskill Court on February 17, 2015 at 4:00pm.

CRCS Teacher Faces Sexual Assault Charges

Update (from the Sheriff's Office): Christman, who is twenty-five and residents in the Town of Carlisle, was arraigned in Town of Richmondville Court on charges of Criminal Sexual Act in the 3rd Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a felony and a misdemeanor, respectively.

The Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School district is in shock after reports began surfacing today that high school teacher Aaron Christman is facing charges of sexually assaulting a female student.

A local high school coach and teacher has turned himself in to Schoharie Sheriff’s Office to face accusations that he had sexual contact with a young female student.
Aaron Christman was arraigned Thursday on one charges of felony criminal sexual act in the third-degree, and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Christman, who had been appointed a part-time physical education teacher in August, graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in 2010 with an Associates in Liberal Arts and then SUNY Cortland in 2012 with a Bachelors in Physical Education. 

In addition to the physical education position, Christman has served as both a head and assistant coach for high school modified baseball and junior varsity football team's since 2013. Before that, he had worked as a Little League umpire. 

According to the News 10 report, the teacher had reportedly engaged in sexual activity with a teenage girl under the age of sixteen within the past six months. The accused is currently on paid administrative leave from the school district. 

Analysis: Admin Likely to be Passed

After over almost a year of near-continuous debate on adopting an Administrator to oversee the daily management of county government, Schoharie's Board of Supervisors are likely to take a positive vote on creating the position within the next couple of months. 

A thorough review of local news reports and video footage from a series of public hearings held on the topic reveal that a clear majority of elected legislators support making the change. 

While some, such as Broome Supervisor Bill Smith have flip-flopped on the necessity of adopting an administrator, others have slowly come around to support the once dead in the water proposal, including Chairman Lape and Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister.

McAllister, with his 16.2% weighted vote share, is crucial to securing the measure's final passage. Add his support to that of Valley supervisors James Buzon and Gene Milone, and an administrator is all but guaranteed to be created in a final vote.

Although Supervisors have voted down the proposal in the past - by a lopsided 4-12 margin - new life was breathed into the measure with the creation of a study committee to investigate the positive and negative aspects of potentially establishing the position.

Several months of research resulted in a positive response from the five-man committee headed by Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice. Federice, now in his second year on the county board, has worked diligently to secure support for the still pending legislation.  

Saratoga County Native Announced as Chief of Staff for Tri-County Realtor Association

Written By Cicero on 2/11/15 | 2/11/15

The Saratoga Schenectady Schoharie Association of REALTORS ® Inc (SSSAR) is proud to announce Debbi Leahey as the new Chief of Staff for the tri-county Association. 

“Debbi has experience working with non-profits and serving in the public sector that will benefit our membership and enhance our Association,” says Stuart Thomas, President of SSSAR.  “We are pleased she has decided to join our Association and take on a leadership role.”

A native of Ballston Spa and graduate of Skidmore College, Leahey is excited by the opportunity to promote SSSAR, help it grow and provide more services to the community.  “Realtors help build better communities,” says Leahey.  “SSSAR is a resource for more than just our members.  We are busy planning for 2015 and the year ahead will include fundraising events to benefit community charities, continuing education opportunities and a new leadership training program that any community member who wants to better themselves will be able to attend.”  After completing her training, Leahey will become the Association Executive. 

SSSAR represents real estate professionals who are active throughout the Capital and Adirondack Regions.  SSSAR promotes cooperation and continuing education of its’ members to better serve the community.  In additionSSSAR provides services that educate, protect and improve an agent's ability to do business in the real estate profession with the goal being that greater professionalism and education means better representation for the consumer and community.  More information can be found on the SSSAR website:

Snowshoes Available in Cobleskill

Cobleskill, NY (February 10, 2015) – Creating Healthy Places and Fit Coalition are working together to help improve activity in Schoharie County. Creating Healthy Places has purchased 16 sets of snowshoes that are being stored at Fit Coalition on Route 7 in Warnerville. The snowshoes are available for people to use free of charge but need to be signed out. “Snowshoes, unlike skis can be worn with regular snow boots and snowshoeing burns as many calories per hour as running”, says Maureen Blanchard Project Coordinator for Creating Healthy Places. “Snowshoes allow people to get out on trails when there is snow on the ground and get the benefits of exercise as well as the calming effects of being out in nature.” There are assorted sizes for children and adults. Snowshoe size is based on weight so it is easier to have assorted sizes that will meet a great number of people’s needs. 

Snowshoeing is easy to adjust to as it is just like walking but due to the size of the snowshoe, most people do not sink as far into the snow as with just boots. For those that want to borrow the snowshoes Monday through Friday when Fit Coalition is open, they will need to leave either their ID or a set of keys, something to assure us that they will return the snowshoes that day. On the weekends, the policy is more complicated. Fit Coalition is only open on Saturday from 8:30-noon, so planning is a must. Interested people may borrow snowshoes on either Friday or Saturday and then return them on Monday when Fit Coalition re-opens for the week. Due to the length of time, we are asking for either a credit card or a check for $50 deposit on the snowshoes; the credit card will not be charged and the check returned when the snowshoes are returned. This is only to help cover the cost if someone does not return the snowshoes or if they are damaged. These are for the community to use and do not depend on having a membership at Fit Coalition. This is a great idea with the Cobleskill Creek Trail right across the road from Fit Coalition. It is easy to access from either the student parking area at SUNY Cobleskill behind Hess or from the trail parking area on Warnerville Cut-Off. The Cobleskill Creek trail during the winter circles a field and provides a 3 mile loop passing ponds, running along side the train tracks and with stunning views of the valley. If you want to make a day out of it, there is a pavilion with picnic tables along the trail. If you create garbage, please carry it out with you as there are not funds to clean the trail or have a garbage pick up. People do not have to walk around the field but can go out and back along the trail. Please limit crossing the field as this is a working farm during the warmer weather. We also ask that if there are cross country ski tracks in the snow that you walk to either side of the ski trails and not over them. 

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play is a grant from New York State Department of Health to increase places to be active as well as access to healthy foods. It was awarded to SUNY Cobleskill in 2010 and to 21 other counties in New York State with a local 5 year award of $875,000. This money has been spent in Schoharie County to improve or create playgrounds and fitness areas in 8 communities, in the creation of the Cobleskill Creek Trail, working with 6 communities to create and pass Complete Street Policies and projects to make communities more walkable, increase access to fresh food through the creation of Schoharie Fresh and promotion of the local farmers markets that accept SNAP and other benefits, working with local restaurants to identify healthy options and increase the number of healthy side dishes offered, as well as creating community gardens throughout Schoharie County at different locations. The goal was to reduce the ability of people making excuses for why they could not be active by providing something within their community. For more information on any of these projects, please contact Maureen Blanchard, Program Coordinator at To reserve snowshoes, contact Fit Coalition at 410-8352 or text message to 231-5678.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 2/10/15 | 2/10/15

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Alexander J. Acompora, 21, of Harrison on charges of driving while intoxicated and other traffic tickets. He was released to return to court on February 24.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Nicholas K. Arthurton, 19, of Oneonta on charges of petty larceny. He was released to return to court on February 24.
The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Robin L. Harpp, 29, of Cobleskill on charges of petty larceny. She was issued an appearance ticket and released to return to court on March 3.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Roger S. Graham, 19, of Cobleskill on a warrant on charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal trespass. He was arraigned and sent to jail in lieu of $500 bail or $1,000 bond to return to court on February 10.

The Cobleskill State Police arrested Brian Johansen, 51, of Richmondville on charges of second-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal mischief after a woman alleged that a verbal argument with him turned physical with him pushing her against a wall. In a later argument, he allegedly punched a separate wall causing damage at the victim’s home located in the Town of Wright.
Mr. Johansen was arraigned and released on an appearance ticket to return to the Town of Wright Court on February 16, according to police. The court issued an Order of Protection in the case.

The Cobleskill State Police arrested Dale C. McGregor, 41, of Jefferson on charges of second-degree harassment, fourthdegree criminal mischief, and second-degree criminal contempt following a 911 call reporting a domestic incident in the Town of Jefferson.
Mr. McGregor left the home prior to the arrival of police, according to police. He was located by Troopers in the Town of Harpersfield. He was arraigned and sent to jail in lieu of cash bail and an order of protection was issued by the court.

Middleburgh Man Arrested for Vehicle Larceny

Written By Editor on 2/8/15 | 2/8/15

Sheriff's Deputies charged Sean D. Bouck, 44, with one count of Criminal Mischief in the 4th degree and one count of Petit Larceny following an investigation of a larceny to a vehicle. Mr. Bouck was released on appearance tickets to return to the Town of Middleburgh court at a later date.

Winter Storm Warning Until 6 AM Tuesday

Written By Editor on 2/7/15 | 2/7/15

The National Weather Service has issued the following winter storm warning for the area. Keep it tuned to our always updated Schoharie News weather page.
...Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 am EST Tuesday...
* locations...east central New York and adjacent western New England.
* Hazard types...persistent accumulating snow.
* Accumulations...storm total snowfall of 9 to 18 inches through Monday night.
* Maximum snowfall half to one inch per hour... mainly Sunday afternoon through Monday.
* Timing...light snow continuing overnight into Sunday morning... with periods of moderate to locally heavy snow Sunday afternoon through Monday. Steady snow is expected to finally taper to snow showers late Monday night.
* Impacts...hazardous travel conditions due to snow covered roadways and reduced visibilities for a prolonged period of time.
* Winds...generally east to northeast around 5 to 10 mph... becoming north to northeast to around 10 to 15 mph on Monday.
Precautionary/preparedness actions...
A Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel...keep an extra flashlight... food...and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Richmondville Man Arrested after Domestic Disturbance

Written By Editor on 2/6/15 | 2/6/15

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Richmondville man following the report of multiple domestics that occurred over a two day period.

 Troopers charged Brian Johansen age 51 of Richmondville with Harassment 2nd and Criminal Mischief 4th after a female subject alleged that a verbal argument with Johansen turned physical with him pushing her against a wall. In a later argument Johansen allegedly punched a separate wall causing damage at the victims residence located in the Town of Wright. Johansen was arraigned and released on an appearance ticket to appear in the Town of Wright Court on February 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm. The court issued an Order of Protection in this case.

Letter to the Editor: Where is Lopez, Seward on Pipeline?

Written By Editor on 2/5/15 | 2/5/15

Who let the pitbulls out of their cages? I see Senator Seward and Assemblyman Lopez are running loose, growling and ready to take a bite out of Governor Cuomo's leg over his education policy and rightfully so. Yet when it comes to the big gas companies taking our land and turning Schoharie County into an interstate for pipelines, not even a whimper.I wonder why? Mr Lopez has called on the public to help him fight Mr Cuomo's policy via letters to the Governor and also the editor. Thats just what the  opponents of the pipeline have been doing for the past couple of years, maybe you have read a few of those letters Pete? The Assemblyman will use his membership on the Education Committee to lead the charge against Cuomo. Mr Lopez also is a member of the Assembly's Enviornmental Conservation Committee. But I have never heard him speak out or use his membership on that committee to take a stand against the Constituion Pipeline. The destruction of our land and the denuding of the forests is a criminal act It will cause irreversible damage to the environment. I hope the pit bulls will still have some fight left in them, when Kinder Morgan comes calling looking to take more of our land for a second pipeline and easement. But I expect by that time they will both be locked up back in their kennels.

Jerry Fiore Summit

Jefferson Man Arrested after Domestic Incident

State Police in Cobleskill arrested a Jefferson man for multiple charges following a 911 call reporting a domestic in the Town of Jefferson.

Troopers arrested Dale C. McGregor age 41 following a 911 call reporting a domestic incident at a residence in Jefferson. McGregor left the residence prior to the patrols arrival and was later located by Troopers in the Town of Harpursfield. McGregor was charged with Harassment 2nd, Criminal Mischief 4th, and Criminal Contempt 2nd. McGregor was arraigned in the Town of Jefferson Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Correctional Facility in lieu of cash bail. An Order of Protection was issued by the court. 

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 2/3/15 | 2/3/15

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Timothy E. Armstrong, 31, of Carlisle on charges of felony driving while intoxicated and other traffic tickets. He was arraigned and sent to jail in lieu of $4,000 bail or $8,000 bond to return to court on February 3.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Sopporia N. McLean, 18, of New York and Keilanie R. Leitch, 18, of Queens on charges of petty larceny. They were issued appearance tickets and released to return to court on February 17.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested James J. Effner, 25, of Cobleskill on charges of petty larceny. He was issued an appearance ticket and released to return to court on February 17

ATV Accident Investigated in Schoharie

The Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office investigated a car/ATV accident that occurred on 2/3/15 at 7:30AM on Terrance Mountain Road in the Town of Schoharie.

George K. Lawton, age 74, was using an ATV to plow snow in front of his driveway when he back out into the road. A vehicle driven by J.M. Schoenecker, age 33, of Schoharie was operating a vehicle southbound, and struck the ATV ejecting its operator. Neither the driver nor the 2 passengers (a 1 year old and a 4 year old) in the car were injured. The ATV operator suffered a minor head injury and was transported by the SCHO-WRIGHT Ambulance to Ellis Hospital.

Roller Rink Offering Events

Written By Cicero on 2/2/15 | 2/2/15

B&B Roller Skating Rink schedule for Presidents Week: February 16-18 open skate 2-5PM; February 19 open skate 2-5PM and 6:30-9PM, and Zumba 5:15-6:15PM; February 20 open skate 2-5PM and 7-10:30PM. Address 1469 State Rte.7, Warnerville. For information call 518-294-2006 and 518-294-8812.

Poll: Readers Skeptical of Lape Chairmanship

Written By Editor on 2/1/15 | 2/1/15

Readers are skeptical of the coming term of new County Board Chair Richard Lape. Some readers see fit to give the Richmondville Supervisor a chance for his one year term while nearly half would choose someone else. A large portion is still undecided.

 Do You Approve of Richard Lape Being Chosen Chair?

Yes 33% - 52 
No 47% - 74 
Don't know 19% - 30 
156 total

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