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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

New Poll: Should Your Supervisor be Re-elected?

Written By Cicero on 5/28/15 | 5/28/15

With the 2015 election season starting to fire up in Schoharie County, our poll question this week concerns whether or not you believe your incumbent Town Supervisor should be re-elected this November if he or she chooses to seek another term. What are your thoughts? The poll is open on the right hand sidebar until Saturday morning.

The Mayor's Nest: Importance of Local History

Written By Editor on 5/27/15 | 5/27/15

Many issues faced by Schoharie County's residents and communities are wider than the obvious implications. Often many issues, both positive and negative come out of the winding history of the area. Preserving such local history and connecting it to the present and future is key.

Local history was ingrained in me from the start. From my Schoharie County History course with Wes Laraway teaching me to honor our heritage with local service to Steve LaMont and Charley Spickerman's local history colloquialisms and excellent work with the Middleburgh Library Historical Documents room, the ideas are still fresh in my mind. The Old Stone Fort and County Historical Society's efforts have both fascinated locals and drawn in those from out of the area in sharing our collective interest.

The same can be said in building the future. As a history professor at SUNY Oneonta, I can certainly appreciate how history rhymes. The many volunteers that have rebuilt Middleburgh have tied in our local history-- including the Green Wolf Brewery's beer festival, the Heritage Day celebrations every year, the Best House revival under great leadership, and Middleburgh's recent creation of a historical trail.

We are often asked why Middleburgh has come such a long way since the flood. There are many reasons and many people that have contributed. Sometimes old wounds or inability to change have hurt efforts in communities across the country. We do the opposite: taking the best parts of local history with an attitude that welcomes positive change. By connecting our efforts with knowledge of the past the area is stronger and in better shape to be a good page in a future history lesson.

Head out to one of your local historical society meetings, the Old Stone Fort, a historic site, or crack open a book. You're writing the area's history every day-- make it one worth learning about!

Matthew Avitabile,
Mayor of Middleburgh

Voters Approve School Budgets by Wide Margins

All six of Schoharie County's public school districts received a vote of confidence in Tuesday's school board votes, where budgets, buses, and candidates were on the ballot for area residents to consider. 
Middleburgh - With six candidates running for two seats on the Board of Education, Middleburgh Central School District residents had more than enough options to consider, but chose to stick with the incumbent school board members. 
Receiving 375 and 324 votes respectively, Becky Binder and Pamela Standhart were elected to serve another term of three years beginning in July. 
 Of the challengers, Michael A. Parker polled the best with 244, while Thomas N. Wargo received 126, Laura Arnwine got 106, and Doralee Mickle placed six with 94. 
Voters also approved the school district's $20.77 million proposed budget, 441-295, the purchase of a new bus, 404-334, and the sale of 3.2 acres of school property on Cotton Hill Road, 601-135.
 Schoharie - District residents overwhelmingly voted to approve the Schoharie Central School District's 22.38 million proposed 2015-16 budget, 308-137, and the purchase of a new school bus, 253-182. 
Mark Quandt and Bill Nuehle were elected to the Board of Education with 344 and 334 votes respectively. They faced no opposition.
Cobleskill-Richmondville - CRCS residents approved the largest proposed school budget in the county - $38.5 million - with over 75% of the vote. Residents also voted to approve the district's purchase of four large buses and two small buses by a similar margin.
Incumbent Board of Education members Melissa Bartlett and Dan Schulte were elected with ease, receiving 702 and 463 respectively. Challenger Justin Smith polled 359 votes in support of his candidacy.
Sharon Springs - Requiring the support of 60% of voters, the $9.3 million proposed 2015-16 Sharon Springs Central School budget received 165 votes in favor and 38 against, surpassing the necessary threshold by over twenty percent. 
Kevin Kutzscher was elected as a write-in candidate to serve on the school board. Mr. Kutzshler pulled in 95 votes, while another write-in, Steven Bade, got just 25. No official candidates were on the ballot.
Gilboa-Conesville - Just shy of 80% of voters approved the proposed Gilboa-Conesville 2015-16 budget at $9.3 million, the purchase of a school bus, and the election of Harold Mattsson to the school board.
Jefferson - Residents of the Jefferson Central School District voted 121-55 to approve their district's proposed school budget, 118-57 to purchase a new school bus, and 144 voters supported the unopposed candidacy of Peter Pochily to the school board.

Republicans Embrace Memory of Lincoln

Written By Cicero on 5/22/15 | 5/22/15

Be sure to read this story and more in The Schoharie News - now available countywide for 75 cents per paper.

COBLESKILL - A touch of Honest Abe was on the agenda Thursday night for Schoharie County Republicans who gathered at the 68th Annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

Packing the Best Western ballroom full of party dignitaries and faithful, attendees listened to speaker after speaker extol the virtues of the sixteenth president, including the keynote speaker.

Quoting Lincoln as stating "A house divided against itself cannot stand," 2014 Attorney General candidate John Cahill warned in his address that the divide between downstate and upstate New York has only grown deeper.

 Despite calling it a system "driven by the special interests of one area of the state," which has resulted in unpopular legislation such as Common Core and the SAFE Act, Cahill remained positive.

 Saying that the "commitment to hard work is very much alive," the first-generation American born to Irish immigrants rallied his party counterparts by encouraging them to stay strong and stay involved. 

Other speakers, including State Senator Jim Seward, also alluded to the unpopular SAFE Act in their speeches. Seward pledged that the GOP controlled State Senate in Albany would continue to work on chipping away at the law.

The highlight of the evening was District Attorney James Sacket announcing that former Cobleskill and Richmondville Village Trustee George Konta was the 2015 Republican of the Year award recipient. 

Sacket, the 2014 Republican Man of the Year, called the honoree a "great friend and loyal Republican supporter."

Admittedly speechless, the one-time treasurer of the Schoharie County Republican Committee told the crowd that "there is no one who has more love for this community than I do," and that life has been "very good to me."

New Poll: Is Memorial Day Important to you?

Written By Cicero on 5/21/15 | 5/21/15

With Memorial Day fast approaching, The Schoharie News is submitting the following question to our readers: is Memorial Day important to you? The poll, located on the right-hand sidebar, is open until Saturday morning. Please feel free to leave additional thoughts on the comments section or on facebook.

Pet Talk Column: Ticks and Mosquitoes

Be sure to read this story and more in The Schoharie News - now available countywide for 75 cents per paper.

The sun is shining, grass is growing, leaves are filling in and a warm breeze is blanketing the landscape. We are all getting out of our cooped up states from a long winter season; but we aren't the only ones; so are the ticks and mosquitoes. 

According to an April 30th, 2015 report from CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council), which is the leading source of data about internal and external parasites that can, are or will threaten the health of people and pets; ticks and mosquitoes are expected to be at an all time high and will spread this year. Their prediction is based on temperatures, precipitation and population densities.

There has been a misconception that because a pet stays indoors or is of the exotic variety, that they can’t pick up one of these disease carrying organisms. It’s also been thought that they are only active in warmer months. It just isn't the case anymore. 

Ticks and mosquitoes are considered zoonotic organisms or those that transmit disease to both humans and pets year round and why they are of such great concern. A variety of animal species are susceptible; even ones thought previously not to be affected. Ticks carry many diseases but the 3 most prevalent in our area are Lyme, Erlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

The most common mosquito diseases for our area are Heartworm and West Nile. Most animals are affected by mosquitoes and ticks and the diseases they carry, including reptiles and birds. Both of these animal species have soft skin areas not protected by feathers or scales. Ticks and mosquitoes are adaptable and the diseases they carry are as well. A recent report found Heartworm in whistling swans, so it just goes to show that prevention, and protection of yourself and your pets is vital to everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

Indoor pets are just as at risk as those going out. As pet owners, we are in and out of our homes several times a day. With each opening of the door, there lies the availability of space for mosquitoes and ticks to enter. We can carry them in on our clothes, shoes, hair or even things we carry in. They can be on plants we bring into the home from a local nursery or wood for the stove. These organisms are designed to find a way to get a blood meal. Their survival depends on it. 

So, what do you do against these invasive and very harmful organisms?     

The first step is to take your pet to your local vet or have them visit your home and get your pets tested, vaccinated and protected with a preventable. There are blood tests for Heartworm, Lyme, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis in a 4DX 10 minute snap test. This will ensure your pets aren't positive to any degree with any of these diseases. 

Once this is known, then you can take the necessary measures to protect your pets from getting infected. There are oral, topical and injectable choices depending on the level of protection needed and financial investment you are willing to invest. 

Many times a combination of methods is best to be sure your pets are protected. Your vet will know what is suitable for your particular pet based on species, age, health and geographic location. There are also natural organic methods available with specific plantings or plant based sprays. Most are for repellent use and not for eradication of these organisms. 

For more detailed information on specific ticks, mosquitoes or the diseases they carry, I recommend the following websites:


I recommend becoming as informed and educated on these organisms and the diseases they carry and what threats they pose to you and your family, as best you can. Your pets depend on you, so please make sure they are protected. 

Next week May 18-24 is Dog Bite Prevention Week. 

   - Lorraine Fancher, LVT

Schoharie Memorial Day Parade set for Thursday at 6:30 PM

Written By Cicero on 5/20/15 | 5/20/15

Be sure to read this story and more in The Schoharie News - now available countywide for 75 cents per paper.

The Schoharie Memorial Day Parade will be held on Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 6:30 pm. 

Businesses, organizations and groups are all welcome to participate in the parade. For more information call 295-7231, email, or stop in at The Wolfe's Laundry Den, 299 Main Street, Schoharie.

The 2015 Grand Marshall is the Schoharie Valley Lodge #491 of Free & Accepted Masons which is celebrating its 155th year. They were granted their charter on June 23, 1860 by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York and has met twice monthly ever since. The Lodge has been meeting on the second and third floors at 297 Main Street since 1926. Hundreds of men from Schoharie and surrounding communities have been members over the past 155 years. 

A short Memorial Day Ceremony will follow the parade at Veteran's Park located on the corner of Main and Spring Streets, followed by Grand Marshall presentations and announcement of parade prize winners.

The parade and ceremony are sponsored by the Schoharie Unit #1261, American Legion Auxiliary. 

One Year Later: Blenheim Remembers Felter

Written By Cicero on 5/19/15 | 5/19/15

Be sure to read this story and more in The Schoharie News - now available countywide for 75 cents per paper.

Blenheim - Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of former Blenheim Town Highway Superintendent Gerald Felter's unexpected passing, causing a wave of emotions and remembrance in the tight-knit community.

Serving as head of the small municipality's public works for nineteen going on twenty years, Felter had guided the township through several catastrophic events, including the 1996 flood and the devastation of Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Town Supervisor Shawn Smith, who had worked with "Jerry" for only four months at the time of his sudden and traumatic death, remembered him as a "mentor for me and a friend." 

Recalling the on the job training that he and current Town Highway Superintendent Dave Mattice had to go through after Felter's passing, Smith commented that "even now when Dave and I meet to go over a project to figure out the best way to approach it,  one of us often says: well this is how Jerry used to do it."

Mr. Mattice added that Felter would tell people to "bowl up" and that town and village highway superintendents across the county miss Jerry to this day.

Having recently remodeled the town park behind the Fire Department and Town Hall, Blenheim officials had only one person in mind when naming the beautiful creekside area: The Jerry Felter Memorial Park.

Felter was fifty-seven years when he died, leaving behind a loving wife and a community of heavy hearts.

Middleburgh CSD Votes Today on Budget, Six Candidates

Tuesday, May 19th will see residents in the Middleburgh Central School District voting regarding a series of proposed changes to how their school district is run. Following significant discontent in the record of the current school board and Superintendent Michele Weaver, six candidates have thrown their hat in the ring. They include current members Pam Stanhardt and Becky Binder, as well as former Broome Highway Superintendent Mike Parker, Laura Arnwine, Thomas Wargo, and Doralee Mickle.

The proposed budget increases the bottom line by $340,964 to $20,763,915. There is also a proposed tax increase of 2.38%. The proposed increase is not as large as earlier projection due to an increase in state aid. The budget will include no faculty or staff cuts and the hiring of an English as a Second Language Teacher. The proposed tax hike falls within the cap and if passed would make residents eligible for a tax rebate check from the state.

Several of the candidates for school board have played key roles in building local policy, with Stanhardt and Binder pushing for balanced budgets, Parker's administrative experience, Mickle's husband working as a janitor for the district, and Wargo's support for former Mayor Gary Hayes' plan to dissolve the Village of Middleburgh.

Read this story and more in today's introductory issue of The Schoharie News: now on newsstands countywide. 

Schoharie News Launches Tomorrow

Written By Cicero on 5/18/15 | 5/18/15

The first edition of The Schoharie News print edition launches tomorrow afternoon in stores located across the county, including every Dollar General and Stewart's location. Sold for seventy-five cents per edition, the paper is the cheapest of the four papers that cover the area.

The print edition, as with the online paper, will feature county news and views, political stories, features, coverage of community events, letters to the editor, police blotters, columns, and much more for your viewing pleasure.

Subscriptions are available to the paper. For more information, please contact us at, as well as with any and all community events/news tips that you have for Schoharie or surrounding counties. 

SALT & Rotary District Partner for a Day of Service Projects

Written By Cicero on 5/14/15 | 5/14/15

The annual Rotary District meeting is being held in Cobleskill this weekend. In addition, Rotary members are participating in service projects around the area, including 6 major recovery projects coordinated by Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT). 

"We are excited to have the help of so many Rotarians, along with our AmeriCorp NCCC team and other volunteers who will be in the area to help us with the coordination of these projects," SALT Executive Director Sarah Goodrich states. 

For more information, including details of locations, projects and photo opportunities please contact Sarah Goodrich at518-702-5017 or 518-470-0014.

County Faces Threat of Fire and Frost

Written By Cicero on 5/13/15 | 5/13/15

In a seemingly contradictory set of advisements, the National Weather Service has issued both a Fire Weather Red Flag Warning and a Frost Advisory for Schoharie County over the next twenty-four hours. 

The red flag warning, which is in effect from noon today until 6 p.m. this evening, means that dangerous fire weather conditions are expected due to the combination of gusty winds and low relative humidity and dry fuels. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and uncontrollably. 

However, with temperatures expected to drop to the low thirties over night, a frost advisory is in effect from 2 a.m. until 8 a.m. Thursday morning. Areas of frost may result in damage to tender vegetation that is not protected.

Citizen Groups Demand Transparency from New York State DEC on Constitution Pipeline

Albany - On Monday, May 11th, leading state and regional organizations sent a letter to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens calling for full transparency in its review of the Constitution Pipeline (CP).

A decision on the proposed 124 mile long project to carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania into New York and beyond now lies in the hands of the DEC, which must either approve or deny permits for trenching and blasting through nearly 300 rivers, streams, and wetlands in the project's path.

Facing stiff opposition from New Yorker's who are opposed to increased dependency on fossil fuels and landowners who have had their property rights taken by eminent domain, CP withdrew and resubmitted its application on April 29th so that the state would have more time to review the project. However according to a press release issued the same day by DEC, a decision from the state could be just around the corner.  The same announcement said the public would have only 15 days to comment on the resubmitted application —despitee the fact that land surveys are still underway and significant information has not been released.

"This is a serious problem," said Mark Pezzati of Stop the Pipeline, the grassroots organization leading the fight against CP. "DEC appears to be on the brink of deciding whether or not to grant permits for this fracked-gas project, yet we've been told that the public only has a couple more days to comment on information that nobody has seen."

According to the company website that readers are directed to in DEC's press release, the last time CP updated its application to the state was in August of 2014. 

"That's even before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) prematurely released its Final Environmental Impact Statement," said Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. "CP has conducted surveys since then, but no one has shared information from those surveys with the public."

In fact data collection is still underway. The pipeline company only recently gained legal access to over 100 parcels of land, and is now gathering information about streams, wetlands, and species that would be impacted.

"This project, if built, will have major impacts on the habitat of birds and other wildlife," said Andy Mason, Conservation Chair of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society. "How can we provide input on those significant natural resources if the comment period is shut down before data collection is complete?"

Nor has the company provided information on changes made in recent months.

"CP now wants to trench through thousands of linear feet of streams and wetlands that it previously proposed to drill underneath," said Keith Schue with Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy. "Where is the analysis of those additional impacts and mitigation?"

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also raised numerous unanswered questions of CP regarding unsurveyed parcels, threatened and endangered species, lack of restoration, steep slopes, alternatives, and cumulative impacts.

"These are major concerns that DEC ought to share; we want to know what data will be used to evaluate them," insisted Robert Nied with the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities. "Rushing to judgment without facts betrays the public trust."

"By granting a few short days for people to comment on an incomplete application, DEC is following in the flawed footsteps of FERC," said Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. "We implore Commissioner Martens to step in."

In their joint letter to Martens, the groups call on DEC to post all information that CP has submitted to the agency and hold the public comment period open until at least 60 days after all of the information DEC will use to make a decision has been collected.

"This project stands to forever diminish the quality of New York's waterways and environment, threaten the safety of residents, undermine the character of the northern Catskill region, and damage the legacy of the Governor's administration," stated the letter.

The groups await a response from Commissioner Martens.

New Poll: Is Seebold Farm Right Spot for new Jail?

County, federal, and state officials recently announced that FEMA will relocate Schoharie County's Public Safety Facility outside of the flood zone, but many residents are balking at the new jail's proposed location at Seebold Farm on Route 30.

Citing safety concerns and Schoharie's image to tourists coming into the Schoharie Valley, the spot has been criticized. The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve Seebold's at the June 2014 county board meeting.

Other locations, including property in Central Bridge and the Summit Shock Facility, have been suggested as possible alternate sites.

What are your thoughts: did the county make the right call, or is the for sale property a bad location? Please vote in our poll on the right hand sidebar and let us know.

Explore Nature Trails at the Iroquois Indian Museum May 23

Written By Cicero on 5/12/15 | 5/12/15

Howes Cave, New York - The Iroquois Indian Museum, in partnership with the Audubon Society of the Capital Region, presents a Bird Walk and a live birds of prey show starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 23.

Everyone is welcome to this free, public event at the Museum. 

Join members of the Audubon Society while exploring the Museum's hiking trails. Be sure to bring your binoculars to see what spring migrating birds are in the museum's forest and fields.

"There is so much to see on the Natural Trail at the Museum. Having members of Audubon with us guarantees an enhanced experience for our guests," said Iroquois Indian Museum Director Stephanie Shultes. 

The local chapter of the National Audubon Society is dedicated to the protection, conservation, and enjoyment of birds, wildlife, and the environment in the Capital Region. 

After the walk, attendees can take a seat in the museum's new, outdoor pavilion and enjoy a Live Birds of Prey show at 10:30 a.m., presented by Kelly Martin, president of the New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. The council is a not-for-profit, statewide organization that has been in existence for more than 20 years.

Seward Congratulates New York's Top Seniors

ALBANY, 05/11/15 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) recently congratulated New York State’s top senior citizens as part of the New York State Office for the Aging 2015 Senior Citizens Day Celebration in Albany.

From left, Senator James L. Seward with
Schoharie County citizen honoree Ruth Bradt.  
“Our senior citizens are vital community members who offer a great perspective on so many topics,” said Senator Seward.   “The extremely active seniors honored today fulfill significant roles – serving on local municipal boards, teaching our young people about community engagement, and contributing positively to our future.” 

Along with honoring the local honorees the senate also adopted a resolution (J.1809) proclaiming May 5, 2015 as Senior Citizens Awareness Day in the State of New York.  The resolution reads in part:

WHEREAS, The more than three million residents of New York State  60 years of age and older bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the increasingly  active  roles  they  play  in  today's society; their past contributions and future participation are a vital part of, and valuable asset to, the fabric of community life and activity; and

WHEREAS, These senior citizens have contributed to the State by building and helping preserve the customs, traditions and ideals of the many ethnic groups that make up the mosaic of New York State.

“I also have to give credit to the local county office for the aging staff members that work so hard on a daily basis providing crucial services to area senior citizens and advocating for their needs,” Seward added.

Both Sheila Serbay (Otsego County, Oneonta) and Ruth Bradt (Schoharie County, Howes Cavern) attended the recognition event in Albany.  The complete list of honorees from Senator Seward’s district includes:

Cortland County                     Michael McGuire, Cortland;
Delaware County                    Tom Hynes, Roxbury;
Otsego County                        Norma Ralph, Worcester;
Otsego County                        Sheila Serbay, Oneonta;
Schoharie County                   Ruth Bradt, Howes Cavern;
Tompkins County                   Ted Sobel, Brooktondale;

“These honorees exemplify the great commitment, experience, and care that so many other senior citizens bring to their communities.  We would be lost without their expertise and I am truly impressed with their great accomplishments,” Seward concluded.

Thunderstorms Likely in Valley Today (05/11/2015)

Written By Cicero on 5/11/15 | 5/11/15

With today looking like another scorcher in Schoharie County, the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the Schoharie Valley for the rest of today and into the evening. 

Scattered thunderstorms are expected through this evening. A few thunderstorms could be strong, with small hail and gusty winds. 

There is a marginal risk for damaging wind gusts of 58th mph or greater. Locally heavy rains and frequent lightning are also possible. Scattered non-severe thunderstorms are expected Tuesday.

Cobleskill Police Blotter (5/11/2015)

The Cobleskill Police Department has announced the following arrests:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

At 4:28 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Rebecca Diamond, 21, of Cobleskill, NY, for Petit Larceny and Criminal Impersonation.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 12th at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

At 1:35 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Andrew S. Bingham, 36, of Carlisle, NY, for DWI.  He was released and is to  appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 26th at 5:00 p.m.

At 3:14 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Jose E. Bruno, Jr., 27, of Cobleskill, NY, for Felony DWI, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 1, and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 2.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $1000 Bail / $3000 Bond.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 12th at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, May 8, 2015

At 8:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Lucas J. Beekman, 21, of Gloversville, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 19th at 5:00 p.m.

At 8:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Nathan A. Dailey, 22, of Webster, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 19th at 5:00 p.m.

R'Ville Man Arrested on Family Court Warrant

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department has announced the arrest of thirty-two year old Chad M. Corsi of Richmondville on an arrest warrant issued out of the Schoharie County Family Court following an investigation into a separate incident.

Mr. Corsi was arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jailyon $500.00 cash bail to appear in Schoharie County Family Court on May 8th, 2015.

- Schoharie County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Alfred A. Perreca Jr., 29, of Albany for unlawful possession of marijuana following a vehicle stop in the Town of Richmondville.

Mr. Perreca was released on an appearance ticket and traffic ticket to appear in the Town of Richmondville court at a later date.

Middleburgh Library News (May 17th-23rd)

Written By Cicero on 5/9/15 | 5/9/15

Week of May 17, 2015 – Middleburgh Library

5/19 – 10:45 AM - Drop-in Storytime - Get ready to move in this interactive storytime designed especially for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers.  We’ll read books, sing songs, recite fingerplays, dance and watch a short movie based on a weekly theme.  

5/19 – 1:00 PM – Mahjong Mania - Men and women are invited to come learn the game of Mahjong.  No experience necessary!  Just a willingness to learn and have fun!  No registration necessary.
5/19 – 7:00 PM – Book Discussion – “Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork - Marcelo Sandoval, a 17-year-old with an Asperger's-like condition, has arranged a job caring for ponies at his special school's therapeutic-riding stables. But he is forced to exit his comfort zone when his high-powered father steers Marcelo to work in his law firm's mailroom (in return, Marcelo can decide whether to stay in special Ed, as he prefers, or be mainstreamed for his senior year).

5.21 – 1:00 PM – Wednesday Matinee – “Into the Woods” - Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.  No registration necessary.  Free Popcorn!!!!

5/21 - 7:00 PM – Knitting Circle - These friendly ladies (men are welcome, but we haven't seen any yet!) knit and crochet, embroider and quilt, and more. You can learn a new skill here or share your own special talents with others - or just craft in the company of friends. Drop in anytime! No registration required.  

5/22 – 7:00 PM – Concert – “Dom Flemons” - A multi-instrumentalist, Dom plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills, in addition to singing.  This event is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Decentralization Program and the New York State Council on the Arts, administered through the Community Arts Grants Program by the Greene County Council on the Arts. Tickets are available at the door.  A $10.00 donation is suggested.  Please use back entrance.

5/25 – Memorial Day.  The library will be closed in observance of the Holiday.

Poll: Plurality Supports Sanders over Clinton for Dem Nom

National pundits have all but proclaimed Hillary Clinton as the Democrat Party's 2016 nominee, but Schoharie County residents have a different candidate in mind to lead the Party of Jefferson in the next presidential election. 

Receiving 43% of votes cast, Independent turned Democrat U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont carried the unscientific poll with a narrow plurality over the former U.S. Secretary of State and one-time U.S. Senator from New York.

Although the polling sample is relatively small, Schoharie Democrats do have a track record of supporting insurgent progressives, such as Zephyr Teachout, when she challenged Governor Cuomo in last fall's gubernatorial primary. 

Total votes - 87

Bernie Sanders - 38 (43%)
Hillary Clinton - 32 (36%)
James Webb      - 9 (10%)
Martin O'Malley - 4 (4%)
Joseph Biden     - 3 (3%)
Lincoln Chafee -  1 (1%)

MCS to Host Elementary Festival May 19

Written By Cicero on 5/8/15 | 5/8/15

The Middleburgh Central School district will be hosting its annual Elementary Festival of the Arts and Education on Tuesday, May 19th starting at 5:00 p.m. 

Located this year in the Junior/Senior High School, the event will include a science fair in the gymnasium and a series of band and choir concerts in the auditorium.

Elementary art projects will be on display throughout the hallways. The school website explains that "it will be a wonderful opportunity to see the talent of our young scholars."

The schedule of evening events are as follows:

Science Fair - 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Band & Choir Concerts - 7:00 p.m.
Order of Performances - 4th Grade Band, 3rd/4th Grade Choir, 5th/6th Grade Band, 5th/6th Grade Choir.

Harris Trial Remains Deadlocked

Schoharie County jurors have completed six days of deliberations in the nationally followed Calvin Harris murder trial, but as of Friday morning there is still no final verdict in sight.

Accused of murdering his wife on or before September 11th, 2011, the Tioga County man has been convicted twice by a jury of his peers. However, both verdicts were thrown out on appeal; the last coming after Harris had already served over three years in jail.

Prosecutors had hoped a third time would be a charm after the trial was moved to Schoharie County to ensure fairness, but jurors despoiled any hope for a speedy verdict after informing the presiding Judge George Bartlett they were deadlocked on Tuesday. 

Judge Bartlett ordered the jurors to continue their deliberations that same day, citing the cost of the expedited trial to Tioga County, which the Troy, Pennsylvania based Times-Shamrock has estimated to be at approximately $60,000.00 according to available figures. 

Both Tioga County juries had deliberated for only hours in each of their two previous trials, but Schoharie residents are biding their time in reaching a final decision that has stretched on for days, leaving dozens frustrated in and outside of the courthouse. 

Although not significantly impacting the legal system in Schoharie, the trial has presented challenges for both the court and police.

Beginning all the way back in early February, the Harris trial has occupied the courthouse every week from Monday to Thursday, creating a backlog of local cases, while the Sheriff's Department has sacrificed its man-hours to provide security through out the trial.

Jurors are set to reconvene this morning at 9:15 a.m. until noon for further deliberations. 

Beer and History to be Celebrated in Middleburgh

Written By Cicero on 5/7/15 | 5/7/15

MIDDLEBURGH, NY -- For Justin Behan, a love of history and beer have joined forces for a May 16 special event and the rebirth of a brewing industry in Schoharie County.
Today, Mr. Behan has grown his once at-home-beer brewing into a thriving business, Green Wolf Brewing Company on Main Street in Middleburgh, the only brewery in Schoharie County. 
On Saturday, May 16, Middleburgh will host the 1780 Beer Challenge and Revolutionary War Festival from 1-5 p.m.
“I’ve always loved history. And, I love making beer,” said Behan who opened Green Wolf in late 2014.
Joining for the event are The Middleburgh LibraryThe Albany Ale Project, and Green Wolf Brewing Company, with a day that celebrates beer, brewing, and Middleburgh’s Revolutionary War history. Partial proceeds will go to benefit the Library. MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company, of Bath Ontario, will also be participating. The event will be held on Baker Avenue around Green Wolf Brewing Company and behind the Library that is on Main Street as well.
There will be a re-enactment of a 1780 standoff in Middleburgh between New York’s Loyalist raiders and the Albany County Militia -- no muskets and cannons this time, but done with hops, grain and yeast.
Behan is also quietly part of a growing industry upon which craft brewing is dependent -- hops. “We get about 20 percent of what we need from Hesier Farms in Middleburgh and West Fulton. And, about one-third of the hops we need come from within 20 miles of Middleburgh,” Behan said.
“You see hops farms cropping up all over. There’s a resurgence in micro brewing in New York and we need hops farms,” he said.
At one time, Schoharie County had a flourishing hops growing business, supplying many breweries in Albany. Then, disease and insects -- plus Prohibition -- decimated the industry.
Craig Gravina, a widely known beer blogger and a friend of Behan’s who reconstructed Albany Ale (a recipe that was once lost) said that raids during the revolution affected brewing in Albany and elsewhere. “No grain, no beer,” Gravina said.
Middleburgh Library Director Teresa Pavoldi noted that this is a great opportunity for people to find out how Middleburgh fits into the brewing history of the upper Hudson Valley.
On May 16, the library will be open with a hops history display starting at 9 a.m. Special talks include those by Cravina and Alan McLeon on the Albany Ale Project and Behan on the historic hops of the Schoharie Valley .The Revolutionary war encampment with the Burning of the Valleys Military Association and the King’s Royal Yorkers takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. There also will be tours of Green Wolf Brewery.
Admission for the 1780 Beer Challenge and Revolutionary War Festival is $15 (for adults 21 years of age and older) and includes beer sampling tickets and a Green Wolf sampler glass; or $35 for sampling tickets, a Green Wolf sampler glass, and a signed copy of Gravina and McLeod’s book, Upper Hudson Valley Beer. Admission for non-drinkers, or those 15-20 years of age, is $10. Those under 15 years of age are admitted free.           
For further information, visit this Facebook page or call 518-296-8991.

Pet Talk Column: Mother's Day and our Pets

Here we are just three days away from Mother’s Day and just because your kids are scaly, feathered, finned or furry with four legs, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate and join in on the fun. Pet parents are some of the best, most loyal, compassionate, and deserving people around.

It’s not exactly clear when pets, like dogs and cats, became full-fledged members of the family, but a pet’s elevated status is quite apparent. About 82 million American households or 68% of total American households, have a domestic animal. Americans spent $55.7 billion on their pets last year and it’s estimated to be just about $60 billion this year; according to APPA (American Pet Products Association).  So what does all this mean for Schoharie County? As of the 2013 census, there was an estimated population of 31,849 people, which calculates out to 12,820 households and an average of 2.4 people per household. Using this data against the national averages, we can figure the number of pet owning households in this county to be 7,179. That tells us that about 56% of the households in Schoharie County own a domestic pet, including horses but does not include most other livestock.  That’s a lot of households. If only half the pet owning households had a pet mom, then there would be 3,590 pet moms. Now that we know this, wouldn't you like to know how many cats, dogs, birds and horses reside here? Using the pet ownership calculator, I have determined the average number of each of the following pets residing in our county. Dogs: 7,486 Cats: 8,179 Birds: 910 Horses: 526. The data just goes to show you, how important pets are to our small community and where we stand in the big picture. Let’s celebrate this bond with our pets by doing something special this Mother’s Day. Here are some ideas.

Take a walk or hike together. The greatest gift we can give our pets is good health and happiness. Getting outside in the fresh air is good for both of you. If you already do regular walks with your pet, then change it up a bit. Take them to a new park or trail or even pack a lunch and make a day of it. Don’t forget to bring some fun things to do, like a Frisbee, ball or favorite toy. An important tip to remember on any outing is to bring water for both and make sure you are both protected from ticks and mosquitoes. Those critters can take the fun out of anything.

Go shopping with your pet. Take them to a pet friendly shop and treat them to a new toy, treat, collar, leash, name tag, bowls, bedding, etc. Dogs love to travel, and many cats do as well. Other pets may not enjoy it quite as much, so just go shopping for something new for them.

For the non-travelers, you can bake them homemade treats. Here are a couple simple treats for cats, dogs and horses. They are simple, tasty and budget friendly. **Be sure the baby food doesn’t contain any onion products**

(For dogs and horses): Sweet Potato Treats  

1 sweet potato, 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour, ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce and 2 eggs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prick sweet potato several times with a fork. Heat sweet potato in a microwave about 6 minutes. Scoop out flesh and mash. Discard skin. In separate bowl, mix whole wheat flour, applesauce, and eggs and 1 cup mashed sweet potato, until a dough forms. Save rest of mashed sweet potato for another batch. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and roll to 1/2inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter of choice and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 35-45 minutes. Cool for 10min before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

(For cats): Chicken Lickens

1 jar (2 ½ oz.) strained chicken baby food, 5/8cup wheat germ, 5/8cup non-fat milk powder and 1 egg beaten. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray. Mix baby food, wheat germ, milk powder, and egg in medium bowl. Drop by ½ teaspoonful’s onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container or freeze. Makes 2 ½ -3doz.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there (especially pet moms) and enjoy your special day. You deserve it!

Lorraine Fancher, LVT

Seward Pays Tribute to Local "Woman of Distinction"

ALBANY, 05/05/15 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today honored Patricia Kennedy of Oneonta as the 2015  Senate “Woman of Distinction” from the 51st senate district at the 18th annual senate Women of Distinction ceremony at the Capitol.

“Over the years, I have been fortunate to highlight a number of inspirational, trailblazing leaders through the senate’s Women of Distinction program, and this year is no different,” said Senator Seward.  “Patricia Kennedy has been a driving force in the care of developmentally disabled individuals and her compassion for their well-being and innovative ideas have changed lives for the better.” 
Senator James L. Seward with 2015 New York State Senate
Women of Distinction honoree Patricia Kennedy of Oneonta.

Patricia Kennedy serves as chief executive officer at Springbrook, a not-for-profit, state-licensed organization serving over 850 people with developmental disabilities from across New York State and beyond.   The Otsego County based facility employs more than 1,200 individuals and is a recognized leader in its field.

2015 Senate Woman of Distinction honoree Patricia Kennedy said, “I am grateful for this award and to all the people, past and present, who support me and Springbrook, including my family, friends, and coworkers.”

Kennedy has received many accolades for her work including being named the 2005 New York State Developmental Disabilities Council Administrator of the Year.  Under Kennedy’s leadership, Springbrook has expanded services greatly to include residential, educational, therapeutic, and community support options that span a person’s lifetime.

“Patricia Kennedy’s contributions are wide ranging and touch many lives.  The personal, one-on-one relationship she has with each and every individual at Springbrook can simply not be quantified, and because of her compassion, families know their loved ones are in good hands.  Further, she is a driving force in our regional economy – once again making a positive difference in the lives of so many.  Patricia embodies the meaning of a true ‘Woman of Distinction’ for all of her inspiring and continuing contributions,” added Seward.

Along with honoring the 2015 Women of Distinction the senate also adopted a special resolution (J.1927) congratulating the honorees.

The senate's "Woman of Distinction" program was created in 1998 to honor New York women who exemplify personal excellence, or whose professional achievements or acts of courage, selflessness, integrity or perseverance serve as an example to all New Yorkers.

 Previous winners in the annual event have included leading women from the worlds of business, academics and civic life, as well as those who have performed heroic or selfless acts, made significant discoveries or provided examples of personal excellence against difficult odds.

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