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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Anti-Pipeline Group Seeks FERC Rehearing

Written By Cicero on 3/31/15 | 3/31/15

Stop the Pipeline (STP) filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, to force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue an order on STP's request for rehearing. FERC habitually grants itself more time than allowed by law, which prevents groups from seeking judicial review of FERC's orders.

"FERC uses delay tactics to keep projects they approve out of court," said Anne Marie Garti, a founding member of STP, and an environmental attorney working with the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, Inc. on behalf of the group. "While the Commission blocks us from appealing their order, they let the Constitution Pipeline Company take people's land through eminent domain proceedings."

FERC issued an order on December 2, 2014, granting a conditional certificate of public convenience and necessity, which the pipeline company relied on to file over 120 complaints in condemnation in the Northern District of New York. STP requested rehearing within thirty days, claiming FERC violated the Clean Water Act, the Natural Gas Act, the National Environmental Policy Review Act, and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, but FERC refuses to issue a ruling on it.

"This situation is totally unfair," said Dan and Laura Jean Brignoli, who just received a letter from the company saying it "has been awarded possession of the land rights needed to construct. . . " the pipeline. "They shouldn't be able to take our land until they have the required permits." Like other landowners, the Brignolis were bombarded with reams of legal papers and hauled into court before STP could challenge FERC's certificate in federal court.

 "The Natural Gas Act requires parties that are aggrieved by FERC orders to seek rehearing within thirty days, or waive their right to later seek judicial review," explained Daniel E. Estrin, an environmental law professor at Pace Law School and Supervising Attorney of the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, which represents STP. "FERC routinely denies requests from members of the public for extensions of time to request rehearing, claiming that it lacks authority to extend the time limit set by Congress. Yet, the Commission routinely grants itself extensions from the thirty-day time limit for it to rule on such rehearing requests, which is found in the very same section of the Natural Gas Act. By delaying its ruling and blocking STP from challenging the certificate of public convenience and necessity it has issued to the pipeline company, FERC thumbs its nose at plainly-expressed Congressional intent while depriving American citizens of their constitutional property rights without due process of law."

Stop the Pipeline is a grass roots organization of landowners and citizens who are committed to preserving the pristine Northwest Catskills and Central New York from the countless negative impacts of the proposed 30-inch, 124-mile high-pressure gas transmission line that would run from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania to Schoharie County, New York.

Cobleskill Police Blotter (3/31/2015)

The Cobleskill Police Department has announced several arrests that occurred from March 21-28 in the Village of Cobleskill.

Monday, March 23, 2015

At 2:24 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Ashley Baez, 18, of Bronx, NY, for Petit Larceny.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 7th at 4:00 p.m.

At 2:24 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Sabriya Muhaimin, 19, of Bronx, NY, for Petit Larceny.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 7th at 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

At 7:36 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Roger S. Graham, 19, of Middleburgh, NY, on a Bench Warrant for Criminal Mischief 4th, Criminal Trespass 2nd, Assault 3rd, and Resisting Arrest.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $750 Bail.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on March 31st at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

At 7:37 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Savanna Hotaling, 25, for Petit Larceny and Criminal Mischief 4th.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 7th at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, March 27, 2015

At 8:50 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Christopher W. Shroh, 36, of Cobleskill, NY, for DWI and other vehicle and traffic tickets.   He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 14th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

At 1:45 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Russell D.B. Smith, 27, of Warnerville, NY, for Open Container.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 24th at 5:00 p.m.

At 10:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Melissa Cuesta, 20, of Austoria, NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 21st at 5:00 p.m.

At 10:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Christopher Nunez, 19, of Yonkers, NY, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 21st at 5:00 p.m.

Iroquois Museum Appoints New Director

Written By Cicero on 3/30/15 | 3/30/15

The Trustees of the Iroquois Indian Museum are proud to announce the appointment of Stephanie Shultes of Middleburgh, NY, as the new Director of the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY.  Her long involvement with the Museum in many capacities, her friendships  with Iroquois, Museum members, and the community and her knowledge of Iroquois culture and arts singled her out as the perfect person to lead the Museum forward.

 In 1985, Ms Shultes began to volunteer at the Museum when the Museum was located at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie. Her interest in the Iroquois grew and she went to graduate school at SUNY Albany to receive her Masters in Anthropology in 1988. She continued to volunteer but in 1991, just before the Museum opened in its new home in Howes Cave she became the Museum’s Curator. 

Because the Museum has a small staff, Ms. Shultes has become involved in many aspects of the Museum from curating the collection, to researching Iroquois arts and mounting exhibitions, to maintaining our web site, monitoring and designing our Facebook page and fundraising. She has always been innovative and determined to showcase the Museum and its uniqueness. Notable exhibits that she curated and researched were the two Native Americans in the Performing Arts exhibits, From Ballet to Rock and Roll and From Broadway to HollywoodBaseball’s League of Nations and the Indian Ink exhibits. Steph has designed many of the Museum’s publications which include Schoharie Mohawks, by John Ferguson and the catalogSkyworld to Turtle Island. Ms. Shultes headed the committee that produced our Learning Longhouse education pages on our website and then designed and published those pages. Most recently she was both the impetus and the fundraiser for the new amphitheater roof, an achievement she is very proud of.

Her passion for photography has assisted the Museum. She is often seen photographing Museum events and she has photographed much of the Museum’s collection. Many of her photographs have been published in books about the Iroquois and some are available in the Museum’s gift shop. She has also traveled to southern Africa, to the Grand Tetons, Yosemite and Yellowstone to photograph animals and landscapes.

Ms. Shultesis very generous and diligent in all her endeavors. She has a special attachment to cats and befriended the Museum’s cat, Little Boy. He has become a very important ambassador for the Museum and her latest project is a GoFundMe campaign in which Little Boy is the star, raising money for the Museum Ms. Shultes created the video in which Little Boy details all the work he does at the Museum and encourages people to be donors to his ‘forever home.’

The Iroquois Museum was established in 1980 and is located in Howes Cave, NY, 40 miles west of Albany. For more information please contact the Museum at 518-296-8949 or

Avitabile, Quinn Honored by Chamber as Leaders

The Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce honored several local business owners and public officials on Friday evening for leading the county toward a brighter financial future.

Photo by Sheila Donegan.
Among the award recipients was Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile (pictured left), who was chosen as the 2014 Community Leader of the Year for his above and beyond commitment to the community. 

Mr. Avitabile would also be bestowed with an award from Congressman Chris Gibson, who was present for the festivities along with Assemblyman Pete Lopez and other elected officials.

Also from the Schoharie Valley, Lin Quinn's Under the Nose gift shop at the foot of Vroman's Nose was selected as the 2014 New Business of the Year. Her award was presented by Bobbi Ryan. 

Hosting its Annual Business Celebration and Awards Ceremony at B.W. Delaney's in Cobleskill, the Chamber further recognized Lori and Ken Wortz's Kymar Distillery as the 2014 Business of the Year.  

Central Bridge Residents Cry Foul Over Discolored Water

Dispensing a dirty and soiled water that is staining laundry and leaving homeowners hesitant of using their tap for either cleaning or cooking, Central Bridge residents are fed up with their discolored water supply. 
Photo by Sarah Weber
Homeowners, taking to facebook, have posted complaints that the discoloration began approximately three weeks ago, with resident Sarah Grace Weber telling The Schoharie News that there is an accompanying smell that, "is like fish tank water."

Central Bridge, a Hamlet located in both the townships of Esperance and Schoharie, is supplied the majority of their water from the Central Bridge Water and Sewer Districts, which is administered by both towns. 

Attempting to ease fears of contamination on Saturday night, Schoharie County Emergency Services published an advisement on social media that stated the discoloration was due to high levels of Manganese, and that it should be resolved by the end of the week.

A 2011 study by the World Health Organization found that nearly 70% of all groundwater supplies and upwards to 97% of surface water sites in the United States contain Manganese, a naturally occurring substance that is generally below levels of public health concern.

Photo by Sarah Weber
The advisement further noted there is no need for a boil water order and that the water is safe to drink. 

Disagreeing wholeheartedly, Ms. Weber pointed out that officials did not mention a potential cause for the associated smell. Furthermore, responding to their comments that the water is safe to drink, she scoffed, "I don't believe that for a second."

Residents are encouraged to call Water & Sewer Superintendent Robert Barratiere with any questions at 518-265-0662. 

The April meeting of the Central Bridge Water and Sewer Districts is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall on Church Street in Central Bridge. 

Schoharie News to Feature History, Lifestyle, Political Columnists

Written By Cicero on 3/27/15 | 3/27/15

The print edition of The Schoharie News is gearing up for its introductory issue on Tuesday, May 19th at shops and stores located countywide. Priced at 75 cents per copy, it will be the cheapest weekly available in county. 

As part of the newspaper's launch, we are featuring several columnists to provide unique looks into the history, lifestyle, and politics of Schoharie County, in addition to our own editorial viewpoint on the issues facing our future. 

Joining our team as columnists will be Steve LaMont, who will be contributing historical features; Jocelyn Mangiacapre, who will focus on Schoharie County lifestyle; and, Shawn Smith, writing on county news and politics. 

Furthermore, weekly features on human interest stories and letters to the editor will be published in the paper as well, which will be available in both digital and print editions; for which subscriptions are now being accepted

Study: Schoharie County has Mixed Overall Health

Schoharie County is one of the healthiest counties in the Mohawk Valley, according to a new health survey published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. 

Calculating the overall health of counties nationwide, the County Health Rankings & Roadmap program looks at a variety of factors in determining their rankings for Health Outcomes and Health Factors, which Schoharie County receives mixed grades on.

Ranking number one for Health Outcomes in the Mohawk Valley and 14th overall statewide, Schoharie County receives good marks for both the longevity and quality of its citizens lives. Dominant factors include overall mental and physical health.

The same can not be said for Health Factors, which measures each county's health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Schoharie County dropped down to 33rd statewide, but only second overall in the Mohawk Valley.

Data for the study's findings were compiled using a variety of federal and state resources. The purpose of the rankings is to encourage a proactive approach to health related issues by county governments nationwide. 

For more information please visit the 2015 County Health Rankings for New York.

SALT’s Director Receives Distinguished Service Award

Sarah Goodrich, SALT Executive Director was presented with the 2015 Distinguished Service Award by the Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful Board of Directors, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. At a luncheon at Francesca’s Banquet Hall, Ilion, 18 individuals, municipalities, and organizations were recognized for their efforts to support sustainable practices and policies. Those who beautified public spaces and waterways, developed recycling programs, improved the quality of life in their neighborhood, led municipal planning efforts, organized citizen action groups, or established programs that educated others in the principles of sustainability were among the awardees.

Robert Albrecht, chair of the KMVB Board of Directors, and Steve Smith, KMVB’s Executive Director, presented the handcrafted award made entirely of sustainable materials including stone from Montgomery County and sustainable harvested lumber from Otsego County. Several awardees also received certificates of recognition from their state or federal elected representatives.

“Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful supports the idea that we cannot thrive alone as isolated individuals and that communities and networks of municipalities throughout the larger Mohawk Valley must work together to strengthen our neighborhoods and to bring economic development to the region,” said Albrecht at the ceremony attended by over 100 individuals. “Quality of life matters because that is what attracts talent to our region, and it is talented people who invest their lives and resources in our communities. The Distinguished Service Award celebrates that kind of talent and commitment.”

 Individual – Sarah Goodrich, Schoharie County Active Citizen
Sarah Goodrich, SALT’s executive director, “stands above all others in Schoharie County because of her character and work to revitalize the county in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.”  Working across municipal borders and between public and private sectors, Sarah brought together residents, businesses, human service agencies, and town governments at a time of great stress and need in the community. Her work on flood renewal and recovery was recognized not only by her neighbors but also by Governor Cuomo when she was awarded the NY Rising Service Award.  Sarah’s efforts support KMVB principles by engaging and empowering citizens and organizations to work together to build more robust communities and neighborhoods.
After the award competition was announced six months ago, nominations began to be submitted by individuals and groups throughout Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties. A KMVB committee reviewed the applications looking for individuals who demonstrated an understanding that community involvement and commitment to sustainability over time led to robust neighborhoods and economic stability.

“Excellence comes in many forms,” said Steve Smith, “and our awardees this year reflect that. There are many ways to be a change-maker. Some of our distinguished awardees are active in local government, some work to improve their Main Street, and others lead a regional business or multi-national corporation. We’re very pleased with the breadth of activity and commitment reflected in these awards this year.”

Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) is an affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful Program and a standing committee of Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD), a 501-c-3 communities and economic development organization representing the Mohawk River Valley target area with 500,000 people. Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties are included in the affiliate area. KMVB aligns itself with the fundamental principle of the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils - collaboration across municipal boundaries to organize, engage and empower public and private entities to improve the environmental and economic conditions in the 6-county Mohawk Valley Region.

SALT rebuilds resilient and sustainable communities.

Letter to the Editor: Lopez Only Good at "Talking"

Written By Cicero on 3/26/15 | 3/26/15

Dear Editor,

Pete The Podium King doing what he does best" TALKING." In Pete's most recent trip to the podium, he is going over the 17 rules reform proposals for the Assembly. WOW it almost sounds important. We the people are now suppose to believe all of a sudden things will be different in the cesspool we call Albany. Pete is calling for 8 year term limits for the speaker, 4 would be better. I have to ask Pete what took you so long to speak up? Were you afraid to stand up to Shelly Silver? Did you have to wait for some of your colleagues to back you up? Or maybe you figured this would be an opportune time to make it look like you were accomplishing something. Pete you have learned your craft well and over the years you have become a seasoned politician. I have noticed in all of the latest photo-ops with your mentor James Seward you're out in front and doing most of the speaking. Pete lets be honest even you have to know things will never change in Albany. So it doesn't matter how many times you saunter up to the podium or get in front of a camera to dish out the usual political rhetoric. Most of us know you're just doing what you do best" TALKING."

Jerry Fiore  Summi

Cobleskill Police Blotter (03/25/2015)

Written By Cicero on 3/25/15 | 3/25/15

The Cobleskill Police Department has announced the following arrests for the past week. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

At 10:44 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Nicole Kruger, 21, of Cobleskill, NY, for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property 5th.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 17th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

At 10:20 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Kevin Pierce, 25, of Cobleskill, NY, for Petit Larceny.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 21, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

At 12:50 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Dak Kruglak, 18, of Cobleskill, NY, for Disorderly Conduct.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 7th at 5:00 p.m.

Residents Split on New Bridge in Cobleskill

On Friday morning the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors considered the potential use of eminent domain to build a new bridge in the Town of Cobleskill, with both proponents and opponents of the measure addressing the county board. 

Slated to be built on Shady Tree Lane, which is located in the Cobleskill hamlet of Barnerville, the bridge is being proposed to replace an older structure that has been closed for seven years and has been a point of contention in the community. 

Explaining that any use of eminent domain must meet a two-fold requirement of being both in the public good and having no alternate location, County Attorney Michael West warned that because it is a capital improvement project, "If we do not move forward it will cost us $400,000."

Ironically enough, the Board of Supervisors had voted to oppose the use of eminent domain by natural gas companies against the will of county residents just four weeks before Friday's hearing.

At the crux of the dispute is the proposed bridge's path through two parcels of land, which affected property owners had decided against signing on to the project because it would cut into their front yards. One resident commented that he did not want to see "the bridge on my street."

Cobleskill resident Michelle Stacy stated her opposition by quipping that she was, "really against eminent domain in any way, shape, or form. Drawing a comparison to authoritarianism, Stacy would later comment, "We don't live in [the] Chinese mainland." 

Not everyone was opposed to the proposal, however. 

Arguing that "There is a public need for the replacement of this bridge," resident John Sagendorf hoped a compromise could be negotiated between the county and homeowners, but that if not, "eminent domain would have to be used," because of the project's critical nature. 

Neal Stanton, a lifelong resident of Barnerville, concurred with Sagendorf on the need for a bridge by pointing to several instances of emergency services taking upwards to twenty minutes to respond to calls because the old bridge is no longer is service. 

Awaiting the arrival of final assessments to come in, the county board kept the public hearing on the eminent domain proposal open through a special board meeting set for Tuesday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m. 

Seward Greets Future Leaders of Schoharie County at Capitol

ALBANY, 03/24/15 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) and Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R/C/I-Schoharie) today welcomed students with the Schoharie County 4-H legislative intern program to Albany.

“Touring the state Capitol and meeting with legislators provides students with a real working knowledge of how state government operates,” said Senator Seward.  “As a past member of 4-H, I am proud to see the program’s traditions continuing with today’s students through this unique program.”

Senator Seward (left) met with students from the Schoharie County
4-H legislative intern program on the “Million Dollar” Staircase.
High school seniors from Cobleskill-Richmondville, Gilboa-Conesville, Middleburgh, Schoharie, and Sharon Springs toured the state Capitol learning about state history and observing the inner workings of state government.

Students in the legislative intern program meet monthly to learn about county and state government through hands-on experiences like the Albany tour.  Several alumni of the program have gone on to successful careers in the public sector.

“Public service is vital to the future growth and success of our local communities.  I look forward to seeing these students go on to serve in the public arena as elected officials, volunteers, or in other public posts,” Seward concluded.

Opinion: DeFeo's Actions Unbecoming in Middleburgh

We already know what happens when you place sixteen individuals around a table with the simple instruction to govern: constructive chaos. Although headache inducing, occasionally something gets done in Schoharie County; warts and all, we might add. 

(Don't get used to the praise, Supervisors; it is only to draw a comparison)

However, we have few words to describe what occurred at the March meeting of the Middleburgh Town Council, where Councilman Brian DeFeo stood before all present and went on a destructive assault against Supervisor Jim Buzon. 

Well, actually we have more than a few words to describe what we think of Mr. DeFeo's antics, but they would be too impolite to publish.

We understand that government doesn't always operate smoothly or on the complete unanimity of those present (we're looking at you, Supervisors), but proceedings should never reach the point of one official attempting to prosecute, sentence, and punish his colleague, let alone the town supervisor. 

Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened in the Middleburgh Town Hall, with public officials and residents equally disgusted by the councilman's improper use of town business to coordinate his trial of Mr. Buzon on the supervisor's alleged misconduct. 

Whether the supervisor was guilty or not of the four charges brought against him, DeFeo's behavior was unbecoming of an elected official who is entrusted by the citizens responsible for his holding that position to conduct himself in a professional manner. 

By that measure, the Huntersland resident owes all of Middleburgh an apology. 

Furthermore, rumor has it that Mr. DeFeo is quietly organizing a campaign to challenge Mr. Buzon in November. Although it might be a bit early for election pronouncements, we can promise that the incumbent supervisor will have our vote if it's him against the town councilman.

Schoharie Promotional Welcomes New Attorney to Main Street

Written By Cicero on 3/24/15 | 3/24/15

Members of Schoharie Promotional welcomed attorney Shawn Smith to the community on Monday morning with a ribbon cutting attended by business owners, elected officials, and representatives of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Smith, who is the municipal attorney for Schoharie, Fulton, and the Village of Cobleskill in addition to his private practice, moved his primary office from Blenheim to Schoharie in December, 2014. 

He still maintains a office in Blenheim, where he also serves as Town Supervisor. 

A graduate of Albany Law School, Smith has been practicing law for four years and specializes in family law, real estate law, and wills and estates. Joined by his Legal Assistant Amanda Schultz, his practice is welcoming new clients.  

Police Bike Patrols Returning to Cobleskill

Members of the Cobleskill Police Department are about to become more interactive and visible in the county's largest municipality this summer, where officers will trade squad cars for bicycles in a patrol not seen in almost twenty years.

Photo courtesy of the Cobleskill PD facebook page
Instituted for only a few years in the mid-nineties before going into a two decade hiatus, Cobleskill Police Chief Rich Bialkowski stated in a recent sit-down interview that he believed it was time to bring the bike patrol back. 

"I always thought it was a good thing because they [police officers] are more interactive," stated Chief Bialkowski. The police head further commented that utilizing bicycles, "Allows us to patrol in ways you can't in a car."

Set to be put in service when the weather breaks, the department will be using two bikes to perform patrols in the community of over four thousand over the summer months. The bikes will be sporting logos designed by John Stiles.

The only department slated to use bike patrols in the county, Cobleskill Police are in good company with campus police at nearby SUNY Cobleskill, who maintain the only mounted patrol in the 64-campus state university system.

In addition to being an asset to allow officers to reach places that squad cars are not able to, Chief Bialkowski expects the new patrols to be used in patrolling parades and reaching out to youth through bike safety programs.

Summarizing his thoughts on the initiative, the chief stated that he believes it will be a "very positive thing for us."

NYC Announces Schoharie Reservoir Release to Offset Winter Snowpack

Written By Cicero on 3/23/15 | 3/23/15

New York City Department of Environmental Protection officials laid out a new path for handling and preventing excessive reservoir levels at the Gilboa Dam before the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Friday morning.

A path that was praised by local officials.

Announcing the city's intention to reduce reservoir levels annually down to 90% of available capacity from October 15 to March 15, DEP officials explained that the release would serve as a flood mitigation measure against accumulated snowpack in the winter.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez, thanking the city's representatives, commented that his office "found the City of New York listening to us," in what he described as intelligent and thoughtful exchanges between Upstate and New York City representatives.

The plan, not set to take place until construction of the permanent release chamber at the reservoir is complete in 2020, also calls for a daily minimum conservation release of 10-15 million gallons to improve habitat conditions in the Schoharie Creek.

"This is wonderful news," stated Howard Bartholomew of Dam Concerned Citizens, a not-for-profit advocacy group for the Gilboa Dam and Schoharie Reservoir. He would later say that the DEP was "killing two birds with one stone" in their initiative

The Schoharie Reservoir is the northernmost reservoir in the city's water supply system and has been a source of controversy and discontent between Schoharie County and the city with respects to the potential for flooding caused by the Gilboa Dam.

Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith praised the agreement by stating, "This is a great step toward a cooperative agreement which will protect the people of Blenheim from future flooding events, which is of the utmost importance to our town." 

American Pickers Eyeing Schoharie County?

History in Schoharie County has a chance to have the blanket pulled back to reveal some hidden treasures. 
The show American Pickers from The History Channel is scouring the state for leads to film their show in the coming months and they have shown initial interest in Schoharie County, said Bobbi Ryan, Director of the Dr. Best House & Medical Exhibit after speaking with a representative from the show.  

“Our County is so rich in history and to be as close as Watkins Glen or Utica would be an utter shame if they didn't drop in for a spell,” Mrs. Ryan explained. “I have been emailing groups like this for over a year trying to entice them to see how absolutely stunning Schoharie County is.  Now we have a shot at proving it!” 

 American Pickers' dynamic hosts are particularly interested in "untouched collections" and search for a wide variety of items.  Those items include vintage radios, motorcycles and bicycles, movie memorabilia, advertising including signage, military artifacts, folk art, vintage musical equipment, vintage automotive items, turn of the century toys, and vintage clothing among other things.

The idea will be to visit several properties on their trek through the area.  The show has asked that more properties be identified in the area so they can make an entire trip of it.  The properties need to have a large collection or if someone would like to refer an individual email the property owner's name, phone number, physical address and description of the property with some photos.  

Although this is in the early stages of planning and there is no confirmation of stops or sites in New York State, this could be a great source of visibility for the area. 

Serious leads should be directed to the show's email at

Mburgh Library's Cook-Off a Hit

Family, friends, and neighbors piled into the Middleburgh Library on Saturday afternoon to take part in the Sixth Annual Middleburgh Library Crock Pot Cook-Off in a delicious sampling that left many customers satisfied and hungry for more.

Photo by Sheila Donegan
Setting the scene as being a, "Whole room full of people talking, eating, and enjoying themselves," Middleburgh resident Sheila Donegan was one of many pleased with the day's appetizing menu of events. 

In addition to being able to sample a wide variety of chili's, dessert's, and other foods, cook-off attendees took part in different raffles, one of which totaled $42.50 and was won by Pauline Caruso, as well just enjoyed the company of others present. 

Tabulated by the votes of samplers, three cook-off winners were announced: Bonnie Morton for her Ides of March Chili; Cora Forsland for her Chicken Bacon Roll-Ups; and Jude Kwiatkowski for her dessert topping Fudge Cake.

Letter to the Editor: No Crying in Baseball

Dear Editor:
In his recent letter to the editor, Glenn Sanders expressed his anger over my criticism of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors and their decision to appoint a county administrator. Mr. Sanders made two principal points – a county administrator is better than nothing and citizens (like me) should not criticize out of loyalty to elected officials who have done some good things.
Mr. Sanders is off base on both counts. A county administrator is not even close to a County Executive. A county administrator is employed by, and beholden, to the very Board of Supervisors who have been so ineffective in managing contracts, addressing poor performance and questionable conduct by department heads and mired in childish and unproductive political wrangling. To suggest that appointing an administrator with little power and no real autonomy will somehow magically restore good governance to a dysfunctional board is an expression of naive wishful thinking. 
Mr. Sanders says we should be grateful that the Board passed something. Something is not the same as something meaningful. Mr. Sanders seems upset that I would be critical of the Boards actions because they have taken positive action on some issues in the past. Mr. Sanders mistakes political loyalty for good citizenship. It is not a citizen’s responsibility to remain silent when public officials make poor judgments out of loyalty to those officials; rather it is the officials’ responsibility to be loyal to needs and concerns of the citizens they represent. In the case of Schoharie County, the citizens want the Board of Supervisors to take decisive action to fix the mess they have created. They have not done that and having done some good things in the past (something I have publically acknowledged, despite Mr. Sanders insistence to the contrary) is not like getting your “sandwich club” card punched at the deli. There are no free sandwiches.
Mr. Sanders insists my criticism was an “insult” and accuses me of stabbing my “supposed ally” in the back. I can only assume that Mr. Sanders is speaking as a surrogate from one politician or another who was offended by my comments but unwilling to speak for themselves.  I remind Mr. Sanders that public service is not a little league game in which the young players need to be comforted when they strike out. Those serving on the Board of Supervisors are grown men and women receiving a salary from the taxpayers of Schoharie County. They are responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and the well-being of thousands of county residents. When those supervisors swing and miss like they so clearly did by appointing a puppet administrator, they need to step back up to the plate and take a better swing.  To quote Tom Hanks in the movie A League of Their Own “there is no crying in baseball.” There is also no crying in public service. The Board of Supervisors needs to do a better job and have a thicker skin in the process. Mr. Sanders should encourage more scrutiny of the Board of Supervisors not less. He should also care less about how the Board feels and more about how they perform.
Bob Nied

Supervisors Remember Marie Campbell

Written By Cicero on 3/21/15 | 3/21/15

Supervisors paid homage to one of their own Friday morning by remembering the life and public service of former Broome Supervisor Marie Campbell, who recently passed away. 

Commenting that he will "miss Marie Campbell very much," Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer recalled his former colleague as being a gentle and professional person.

Serving on the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors from 2004 to 2011, Ms. Campbell was fondly remembered by members of both parties in a resolution that expressed their sorrow. 

County Attorney Michael West read aloud the heartfelt resolution - that was offered by current Broome Supervisor Bill Smith - and it was carried unanimously by legislators. 

The county board adjourned Friday's meeting in respect to Ms. Campbell.


The adopted resolution as follows:

"One of the better souls of Schoharie is gone, deep is the loss, and profound is the sorrow that we now feel due to the recent death of Marie Campbell, who served as a member of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors from the Town of Broome from 2004 to 2011. While pausing in quiet reflection, these few words are meant to show the respect, the esteem, and the love felt by each of us for this truly wonderful woman.

Now that her shadow has passed these doors, the distinctive mark of her great soul, and the trait that will long endure in our memory, was her love of family and her affection for friends. One of the most upright, courageous, charitable and self-sacrificing women we have ever known, her quiet and gentle demeanor were her trademark. Centered and steady, her intellect was her force, no temper ever arose, always prepared, practical and efficient, strong willed when necessary, her voice inviting, and her smile always made the whole room shine. Although small in figure, she enjoyed full command of all around here, when she spoke you listened.

While Marie Campbell now sleeps at peace in the soil of our County that she so deeply loved, she will ever be counted among the most honorable members that ever served this Board of Supervisors, a true friend; now, therefore, be it hereby

RESOLVED, that this Board of Supervisors expresses profound regret for the death of Marie Campbell, and that when this Board adjourns today, it will do so out of respect for this former Supervisor, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors is hereby directed to furnish a copy of this Resolution to the family of Marie Campbell, expressing this Board's deepest sympathy. "

Lopez Urges Series of Assembly Reforms

Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I – Schoharie) recently joined a number of his colleagues to speak on resolutions to reform the rules of the New York State Assembly, and asked the Assembly leadership to join his efforts to bring more openness and transparency to Albany and hold lawmakers more accountable. The 17 rules reform proposals were aimed at curbing corruption and bringing more openness to the Assembly. Proposals included enacting eight-year term limits for the Speaker of the Assembly, Legislative Leaders and committee chairpersons.

 These changes were brought forward to test the newly configured Assembly leadership in the wake of Sheldon Silver’s resignation as Speaker of the Assembly. The new Assembly leadership blocked each of the proposed reforms on the grounds that the changes would impede their ability to run the Assembly Chamber. Assemblyman Lopez challenged this assertion, noting his observation that the conduct of the “new” administration has not been much different from the “old” under Speaker Silver.

“We heard one of our colleagues effectively assert that the series of resolutions seeking changes to the rules of this house would infringe on the right of the majority to govern. This gross declaration runs counter to the spirit of this democracy, which encourages diversity and independent thought, and it diminishes the significance and the usefulness of the changes being offered. I respectfully urged my colleagues to give this resolution the thoughtful consideration it deserved and vote independently, free of undue influence. Unfortunately, the new leadership pressured the majority of members to vote in lock step with the status quo. We need people across the state to join us in keeping up the pressure. Public confidence must be restored,” concluded Assemblyman Pete Lopez

2nd Life in Schoharie Photo Contest Winner: "Beauty in the Hills"

Written By Cicero on 3/20/15 | 3/20/15

With more than four hundred votes cast since Monday afternoon, Schoharie News readers have selected the Jefferson summer camp Oorah's "Beauty in the Hills" submission as our Second Annual Life in Schoharie Photo Contest victor. There were nineteen photographs submitted overall.

The winning photograph received 22% of votes
No submission received over one hundred votes as readers were split between a wide variety of beautiful photos to choose from. Oorah will receive a $20 gift certificate to Cobleskill Wal-Mart, with second place Shelly Bishop getting a $10 gift certificate to The Olde Corner Store.

Although there had to be a winner, the amazing photographs submitted just reinforce the beauty that encompasses all of Schoharie County, and of which we should all be proud of to call our home. 

Wolfe's Den Laundromat Receives $25,000 National Grid Grant

Albany, N.Y. – For many in the Schoharie Valley region, the severe weather of 2011 is a distant memory.  In other areas, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is still evident in empty storefronts and forever changed landscapes. 
            The Schoharie Laundromat was in operation for many years at 299 Main Street in the village of Schoharie.  As conditions from the storm worsened, the laundromat closed early and never reopened.  For nearly two years, area residents had to go to Middleburgh, Cobleskill or even further afield to find a laundromat to do a basic every day chore.
Nancy and John Wolfe purchased the property to re-establish the business and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. The building was gutted and new electric, plumbing, HVAC and hot water tanks were installed. The ceiling and walls were replaced and the bathroom made larger and handicap-accessible. New washers and dryers were purchased and installed.
“To live through the storms was bad enough, but to see these businesses that never reopened, that was a shame,” said Nancy Wolfe, owner of the Wolfe’s Den Laundromat.    “We knew that we couldn’t do it all ourselves, but my husband John and I were determined to bring the laundromat back to Schoharie. We’re so thankful that the grant from National Grid helped us get up and running.” 
National Grid’s $25,000 grant from the Main Street Revitalization Program helped to mitigate the risk of the major investment made to start the business. To meet the qualifications of the grant program, projects have to be located in a central business district/commercial area and the building itself had to be temporarily vacant due to the impact of the storms. Funds could be used for site preparation and construction, and renovation and rehabilitation of commercial, industrial or mixed-use buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet.
“By helping to bring another business back to Schoharie’s Main Street, other businesses in the immediate area have benefited from the additional foot traffic, the return of services and the psychological lift of getting rid of a visible reminder of those harrowing storms,” said Bill Flaherty, National Grid Director of Community and Customer Management for Eastern New York.  “This type of assistance from National Grid helps get these communities back on their feet by providing a little extra support to small businesses.”
            In addition to the restoration of power to hundreds of thousands of area residents and countless volunteer hours, National Grid, with special permission from the Public Service Commission, extended millions of dollars in grants to help businesses and communities rebuild.
Those interested in learning more about National Grid’s economic development programs should visit:

Borst, Neary Win Re-Election Unopposed

Residents of the Villages of Richmondville and Schoharie headed to the polls on Wednesday to send their communities respective Mayors back to office for another term. 


With 28 total ballots cast, nine-term incumbent Mayor Kevin Neary was able to receive twenty-seven of them and secure a tenth term in office. Also running unopposed, Village Trustee Natasha Foote was reelected with 26 votes, and newcomer David Hotzler won with 25.


Long-time Mayor John Borst received all eighty-nine votes cast to earn himself another term as the shepherd of the county's seat in the valley. Trustee Larry Caza was re-elected with 80 votes, while Trustee John Balliett gained another term on the back of 42 write in votes.

Village Justice Fred Kennedy was also re-elected with sixty-seven votes, and all candidates ran unopposed.

Letter to the Editor: Supers Deserve Credit for Admin Passage

Dear Editor:

Bob Nied recently criticized the County Board for its handling of county executive and county administrator initiatives (Letter, March 12). While I agree that much more could be done, I want to emphasize two big positives which were overlooked.

First, the creation and passage of an Administrator position is a big deal. I’ve seen enough and talked to enough Supervisors to know that many of the recent and current County misadventures would be mitigated or eliminated under the watchful eye of a professional administrator.

Second, the Supervisors represent a wide range of competence, commitment, and achievement. To tar them all with one brush, as Bob has done so regrettably, is counterproductive in the extreme. The best of the bunch have moved this County way ahead of others in the State on a large number of fracking, pipeline, personnel, development, and fiscal responsibility issues.

When a progressive like Bob Nied mocks these determined and caring people, it feels like a stab in the back from a supposed ally, as one Supervisor told me. I hope the rest of your readers will make up for this insult by reaching out with support and thanks to those several Supervisors who are fighting the good fight.

Glenn Sanders

Central Bridge Fire Dept Hosting Benefit to Aid Ill Members

The Central Bridge Fire Department will be hosting its regular monthly pancake breakfast on Sunday, March 22nd, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., but this time it is doubling as a benefit to support two of the fire department's members who are ill. 

Benefiting Fire Police Captain Betty Williams and Senior EMT Oliver Alqoutob, the event will feature the famous firehouse breakfast specials of the Central Bridge Fire Department and a Chinese auction to raise funds.

For more information please visit the event's official page on facebook.

Lopez Calls for Common Core Opt-Out

Written By Cicero on 3/19/15 | 3/19/15

Assemblyman Peter Lopez (R,C,I – Schoharie) joined fellow assemblymembers, senators, and educators for a press conference at the state Capitol recently to announce legislation that would ensure parents are aware of their ability to decide whether their children will partake in Common Core standardized testing.

"We are fortunate to have such a passionate group of people who care about their children and their futures. It is our duty and obligation as people and a legislature to engage in this bill. Parents need to know they don’t need to force more undue stress on their children,” said Assemblyman Pete Lopez, who is a member of the Committee on Education.  

            The Common Core Parental Refusal Act (A6025) is currently being considered in the Committee on Education, and has bipartisan support in the Assembly and the Senate. The bill would require schools to notify parents of students in New York of their ability to opt out of taking Common Core standardized tests. Students opting out of these exams would not negatively impact the students, teacher or schools.

“We want teachers and parents to do what they were meant to do, which is inspire young people to reach their full potential. They cannot do that if they are forced to teach to a one-size-fits-all test or send their children into unnecessary, stressful situations,” concluded Assemblyman Pete Lopez.

Schoharie Scouts Test Popsicle Bridges

Members of the Schoharie Webelos Den 1, Pack 4 might be fourth graders, but in order to secure their Engineer Activity Badge and Cub Scout Mathematics Belt Loop and Pin, they utilized principles from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

David S. Danner, Webelos Den Leader, Pack 4,
explains to his scouts that the test is not a
competition, but rather an individual exercise.
Conducting a demonstration Monday evening at the Schoharie Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, the Scouts to be tested the compression and tension of several Popsicle Bridges on a device designed to test the dynamic load bearing weight of the bridges. 

The device, which Troop 4's Scout Master Curt Van Steele described as a "contraption," was designed by Van Steele's father, Ronald, a Material Engineer and former instructor at RPI. The test measured how much weight each bridge could sustain.

Scout Master Curt Van Steel explains the
science behind the demonstration, with a
bridge ready to be tested.
Just the next step in securing their Engineer Activity Badges, Webelos pack members Jakob Danner, Joshua Mitchell, and Keenan Repicky constructed their bridges in different sizes and ways, with each design rendering its own strengths and weaknesses. 

Keenan's sister, Molly, a Girl Scout also joined in the fun with her own bridge as well. 

The results were impressive, as it took 40 lbs and 15.3 oz for Jakob's bridge to fail, 17 lbs and 11oz for Joshua's, 09 lbs and 11 oz for Keenan's, and besting all the boys, Molly's took 47 lbs and 5.8 oz of tension before her bridge splintered in pieces. 

Jakob Danner's bridge required several weights
in addition to the machine's tension to fail.
Webelos Den 1, Pack 4 was started last fall in Schoharie and its participants have had a perfect attendance record, with meetings held weekly during the school year and bimonthly over the summer. The boys will also be attending the Camp Henderson Boy Scout camp for a week this summer.

Letter to the Editor: DeFeo Frustrated with Middleburgh Government

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your recent coverage of the March meeting of the Middleburgh Town Board. First, I would like to thank you for your attendance at this and our regular monthly meetings. We are very fortunate to have the Press in attendance. Many other Towns within the County do not benefit from this same oversite. It is critical that the Public be kept abreast of the activities of their public officials. I would also add that our Town Board minutes can be found on the Schoharie County Website, although locating them will take some effort.

Rather than attempt to support or refute the many items found in your lengthy article, allow me to make one simple point; 
I have met many people over the years in the numerous civic organizations I have served on. I believe most people would describe me as a pretty soft spoken, level headed person, perhaps a bit of an over-analyzer. However, at the most recent Board meeting I was neither soft spoken, nor apparently very level headed, given the reaction of some people in the room. 

If one can subtract oneself from the drama which was that meeting, perhaps you might ask yourself why would Brian DeFeo act so out of character? This is so unlike him.  In a word frustration. Frustration in what I believe have been a series of irregularities occurring in Middleburgh Town Government.

Jim Buzon has been my friend for almost thirty years, and the Lord willing I hope thirty more. He is very intelligent man. I don't think anybody can question his work drive. Yet, despite these attributes I believe there is a growing dis-connect. I don't necessarily see this as Mr. Buzon's fault. It appears to be the occupational hazard of politicians in general these days. 

I am not a trained social scientist, yet it seems to me the farther a politician comes from the People, the greater the dis-connect becomes. Ultimately, many reach a mind set whereby the 'ends justify the means' and they some how become free from the bounds of good government. This is apparent in both Albany and Washington. 

When this happens reasonable people must come forward to ensure that our Constitutional system of checks and balances within government remains intact. Sometimes there is price to pay for those willing to speak up. Halfway into my first term as a Councilman my late Father (who only gave me advice twice in my life) said to me, "If everybody likes you, you are probably not doing your job". There is great irony in his remark, in that to get a job as an elected public official you must first win a popularity contest. However, to do a good job as an elected public official, you must on occasion do something unpopular. 

In closing, the Citizens of Middleburgh have voted five individuals to their Town Council. I appreciate that wisdom and value their trust.

Brian DeFeo, Councilman
Town of Middleburgh

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