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Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/29/24 | 2/29/24

Our fifth and newest book, “The Hudson River Schools of Art and Their Ice Age Origins” has recently been published by Purple Mountain Press. See our photo. It is certainly our most original work and quite possibly our most important. We argue that during the 19th century there was something of a cultural Renaissance right here in the Hudson Valley region. Led by Washington Irving, Jame Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant, America’s first worldclass literature appeared. Led by Calvert Vaux, Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing, we saw the birth of American landscape architecture. Most importantly, led by Thomas Cole, Asher Brown Durand and Frederic Church we saw the appearance of the Hudson Valley School of Art. In short, our region became the center of a truly important cultural movement. More than anything else, it witnessed the close integration of our culture with our beautiful and scenic landscapes. All of us in this region should be aware of this great heritage. That is the centerpiece of our book.

                                              A sunset over a mountain

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But there is more to all this, much more. None of this, we argue, would ever have happened if the Hudson Valley, especially the North Lake area, had not been so heavily glaciated. We take our readers to the Catskill Mountain House ledge during the Ice Age and look down into the Hudson Valley below. We find that a massive glacier is flowing down the Hudson Valley. We watch as a branch of that ice peels off and turns west to go up Kaaterskill Clove and encircle South Mountain. It sculpts much of the picturesque scenery that is seen thereabouts. Later, when the ice melts, those meltwater flows erode many more scenic landscapes. When the artists arrive, they find a special, even unique inspiration. They paint Kaaterskill Clove, Kaaterskill Falls. North and South Lakes, North Mountain, South Mountain and the Catskill Front itself. All were the direct and indirect products of ice age sculpting. Are you fond of the Hudson River School? Then knowing the ice age history that inspired it will help you appreciate that art so much more.

After that we go back to the Mountain House ledge and look down into the valley once again. First it was filled with ice but later the climate warmed and it was filled with the glacial meltwaters of something called Lake Albany. Time passed and we watched those waters drain away. We watched as platforms composed of lake sediments emerged from the draining waters. When a Hudson Valley aristocracy moved in, including many members of the Livingston family, they built their mansions upon those platforms. Their architects designed the grounds so that scenic views were opened up. Today these are commonly called planned views, and they became central to landscape architecture as it developed across America. At its core, however, this landscaping was glacial in its origins.

Our book amounts to a marriage of art and science. It allows readers to develop a much broader comprehension of a truly grand landscape. But we went to great pains to keep the writing short and keeping it light. We always want to communicate with our non-scientist readers. You will find no techno-garble in our book. Sure, there is formal academic art history and science in our book – but always in a readable form.

Contact the authors at Join their facebook page “The Catskill Geologist.” Read their blogs at “” Order their book from Purple Mountain Press at


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2024 Restore NY Applications Opened February 22nd

ALBANY — Applications for the next $60 million round of the Restore New York grant program opened February 22, 2024. The program, administered by Empire State Development (ESD), supports municipalities' efforts to demolish, rehabilitate and restore blighted structures and transform them into vibrant residential, commercial and mixed-use developments.

Funding can be used for vacant, abandoned, condemned or surplus buildings and these properties can be demolished, deconstructed, rehabilitated or reconstructed. Emphasis will be placed on projects in economically distressed communities, projects that leverage other state or federal redevelopment funds and the project's feasibility and readiness. Eligible applicants include counties, cities, towns and villages within NYS based on the following criteria:

•  Cities over 100,000 in population may apply for up to $4 million for one project. However, cities of over 1 million in population and counties therein must apply for projects in a distressed area of the city.

•  Cities and villages with populations between 40,000 and 99,999 may apply for one project up to $3 million.

•  All other municipalities may apply for one project up to $2 million.

Empire State Development may grant a limited number of special awards. For more detailed information on the program and eligibility requirements, click here.

The application will be available here beginning Thursday, February 22nd.


Applications Open: February 22, 2024

Restore NY Instructional Webinar hosted by ESD: February 27, 2024

Intent to Apply Form Deadline: March 25, 2024

Empire State Development is hosting an instructional webinar for municipalities interested in the next round of Restore NY funding. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, February 27th at 11:00 AM.

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A Conversation About - Baby Chicks

By Jean Thomas

It’s the time of year when we cannot avoid the thought of baby birds. Most obviously, we are inundated with chocolate and marshmallow baby chicks sold for Easter whenever we go grocery shopping. There’s another day in the spring that’s considered by some to be as exciting as Easter. It’s the day the farm store brings out the baby chicks!!!!! And some baby ducks, too, in the interest of full disclosure.                                        

Baby chick visits become mandatory for small children, and some days the piping noises are as loud from outside the pens as from the inside. There is a considerable contingent of adults who are equally enchanted by these noisy little fluff balls. They are, they claim, motivated by the thought of future healthy free range eggs. Some will admit to a fondness for dining on poultry, but these are fewer by far. In episode 62 of “Nature Calls, Conversations from the Hudson Valley,” Professor Nicole  Childrose discusses the realities of raising chickens. She manages to maintain a starry-eyed attitude even while going into gruesome detail about the ways things can go wrong.  Listen in at any podcast platform or at . Prof Childrose often teaches a course in raising chickens at Columbia Greene Community College, but this spring she is expanding her scope a bit and is teaching a class on “Starting Your Small Farm” via Zoom. The college has a continuing education catalog available online at or call to register at (518) 697-6370,if you want to explore her class a bit.

Here come the warnings about baby chicks: they’re not pets. Don’t give them as Easter gifts (unless the recipient already has a chicken coop and is 4-H qualified). I find myself grumbling about “how can people be so dumb?” then I check into my own memory banks and remind myself that we all have to learn. The key thing at this stage is that they are, indeed, babies. So preparation is important. You won’t get lovely fresh eggs very soon. If you know anything about babies, human or feathered, you already know they do little but eat and excrete. Be prepared. And you “ain’t seen nuthin’” until you see a teenaged chicken changing from fluff ball to feathered friend. Not pretty. They are also an appealing taste treat to your furry neighbors, so protection is a must. If you are visualizing free range chickens waiting sedately  in line to cross the road, think again. Remember driving past that neighbor’s house and admiring the social flock of hens roaming the lawn, removing ticks? Do you remember them being there in many subsequent drive-bys?   Much as you learned to protect your veggies from bugs and diseases and furry neighbors, you must learn to appropriately protect your poultry.                         There. Now I’ve given you as many warnings as I can think of, feel free to learn about the amazing and wonderful varieties of color and size and personality available in the world of chickens (and ducks and geese). You’ll appreciate the 4-H poultry displays at the County Fairs with a whole new perspective.

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Whittling Away With Dick Brooks - Routines

I’m starting to like routines.  Routines are comfortable, doing the same things in the same order means that all is well in my little world.  There’s my morning routine, awaken at 7:15, crawl out of bed, head for the bathroom to the tune of the cartilage chorus while my major body parts fight for position.  A brush and flush and back to the bedroom to decide on the attire for the day.  Jeans, sweatshirt, sneakers—good choices, same as yesterday and the day before but good choices nevertheless, jeans are gotten out of their drawer, sweatshirt of the day off the sweatshirt shelf in the closet and laid side by side on the bed.  Clean undies and t-shirt out and on, no problem!  The first challenge of the day now faces me.  I open the sock drawer and choose the socks of the day.  I sit on the edge of the bed, hold the top of the sock in the open position and attempt to lasso my big toe.  I wonder again why it is that as you age and supposedly start to shrink, your feet start to move out of reach.  I remember as a small child being able to put my big toe into my mouth, now I’m lucky if I can see it let alone reach it.  Big toe snared!  Let the wrestling match begin, a few minutes of rolling around and making the proper grunting noises and I win for another day.  This morning sporting event gets my heart started and my blood pressure up to operating level and most of my joints have found the place where they want to be in for the day.

I head downstairs, slowly since my joints haven’t quite warmed to full activity level yet.  We greet The Queen, who arises first (she’s younger than us) and makes the staff of life.  Telly goes and sits near the kitchen door, I put on my hat and jacket, light my old pipe on the porch, hook up his lease and go out to see what kind of day The Big Guy has made for us.  Telly has his own routine.  We tour his favorite unwatering spots, we have to check the gutter down spout, where once upon a time, he saw a chipmunk disappear.  We check it two or three times a day.  He leads me, following the invisible tracks of the deer, squirrels and cats who have passed through since last night.  When he’s satisfied that all sniffs have been sniffed and no strange critters are to be found on the property, he heads for the porch door.  Inside again, we refresh The Queen’s coffee and put a bagel in the toaster.  I fill my stoneware beer mug with coffee.  I’ve drunk my coffee out of it for years, it holds two cups and keeps it warm for a long time.  I’ve tried other coffee mugs, we have a large selection of them but none of them feels right or keeps the coffee warm for as long.  The toaster pops, I butter my bagel, put it on a plate.  I take my coffee and the bagel and go sit in my old recliner. Telly comes and lies beside the chair. I put a piece of bagel between his paws, he looks at it, says Grace, licks it and then slowly eats it and looks up for the next piece.  We watch some of the Today show and stay out of The Queen’s way as she prepares for her day.   Preparation done, we see her off and wish her a happy day.  We tidy up a bit, Telly goes and sits by the door, I get my hat and pipe and out the door we go to face the adventures of the day.  Nothing like a good routine to start your day right.

Thought for the week—“A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.”   --Andy Rooney

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.       

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By Iris Mead

Every community had a small grocery store and often the local post office was part of the store.  In many small villages around the country, both were housed in the same building and run by the same owner.  Here in the Catskills, it was commonplace to get your mail from the post office box that had a combination only you were supposed to know and buy your groceries or penny candy before you left. The local postmaster was usually the store owner and the position of Postmaster seemed to be handed down from generation to generation in our area.

These mail boxes were brass and the small doors for the mail slots were heavy.  Each box had its combination to open. It was the anticipation of opening that door and hoping there was something surprising in there for you or maybe a post card (remember those?)  from someone who was traveling. Getting the mail was a daily occurrence for most people and usually involved picking up some grocery items before you left.  Most of these small post offices/stores were located in small villages or hamlets, or in the case of Denver and Vega, by themselves.  Farming communities were serviced by these stores and on rainy days when farming came to a halt you could find many of the locals catching up with each other around the stove that was used for heat in the cool months.

You could pretty much count on some or at least one of the usual collection of characters in the Village hanging around talking “shop” which could be about the weather (always), crops being planted or harvested, haying, milk production or politics. There was one particular local who wore a flannel shirt throughout the summer no matter how hot it was.  His reasoning was the flannel kept you warm so that you didn’t notice that it was unseasonably hot.

The grocery store was usually one big room that was laid out in sections with basic necessities for sale. Inventory was low as the owners had neither space nor money to purchase large amounts of inventory at one time.  There was usually a section for candy and in my small grocery store it was in a glass case with sliding doors on the back side so that only the owner could touch the candies.  The “soda pop” was kept in a big deep red cooler that was filled with cold water to keep the soda cold and the bottles floated around in the water.   In the hot summer months you didn’t mind reaching in to grab a bottle but it was less fun in the winter months.  There was usually a gas pump or two in front of the store.

Times changed. This particular store/post office , started in 1880 and handed down through the Griffin family, continued with new owners until it became too expensive to carry the small inventory but the Halcottsville post office continues as part of the community in the same building and the memories of that familiar landmark continue.  (see photos)

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Outdoors with Larry DiDonato

It’s Time to Be, “Coyote Conscious”

DEC just put out a reminder for the public to be, “coyote conscious,” this time of year. Why now? It’s because its breeding season which takes place from January to March. During this time, coyotes are more active, mating and preparing dens for pups arriving this spring. This makes them more territorial which can increase the risk of conflicts with people and pets.

While most coyotes avoid interacting with people, some coyotes can become emboldened and lose their fear of people, especially those that are intentionally fed by people. This can result in a dangerous situation with pets and young children at the greatest risk.

If a coyote shows little or no fear of people, DEC recommends contacting your Regional Wildlife Office or, in emergency situations, the local police department. You can visit DEC’s website at and search,  “information on coyotes” and “preventing conflicts with coyotes” to get more information.

Here are a few simple tips DEC recommends to avoid conflicts with coyotes:

  • Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so. Visit DEC’s website entitled, “Do Not Feed Wildlife: Why Feeding Wildlife Does More Harm Than Good” which will explain why its never a good idea to feed any wildlife.

  • Do not feed pets outside.

  • Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.

  • Eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

Protect your Pets

Take action:

  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.

  • Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise all outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night.

  • Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending 6 inches below ground level, and taller than 4 feet.

  • Remove brush and tall grass from around your property to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide. See DEC’s Tips to Eliminate Wildlife Conflicts page for more information.

  • Be alert of your surroundings and take precautions such as carrying a flashlight or a walking stick to deter coyotes.

Coyote Encounters

A coyote that does not flee from people should be considered dangerous. Coyotes in residential areas can be attracted to garbage, pet food, and other human-created sources of food. Coyotes can associate people with these food attractants. In some cases, human behavior is perceived to be non-threatening by coyotes (running into your home after seeing a coyote is behaving like prey). In short, people may unintentionally attract coyotes with food and people may behave like prey. Add to the mix people intentionally feeding coyotes and the potential for a coyote attack becomes very real.

  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance. If a coyote has been observed repeatedly near an area where children frequent, be watchful.

  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior-stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, or throw sticks and stones.

  • Contact authorities if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting "bold" behaviors and have little or no fear of people.

Potential does exist for coyote attacks in New York. Nationwide, only a handful of coyote attacks occur annually and New York has experienced it’s share, albeit a small number given the robust population of coyotes and New York residents. Most coyote attacks upon people in NY have been by rabid, rather than healthy coyotes. Needless to say, any coyote conflict is bad for people, pets, and coyotes.

Dog owners should generally be concerned about coyotes, especially owners of smaller dogs. Small dogs and all cats are at risk of being harmed or killed by coyotes, especially when left unattended in backyards. Coyotes become exceptionally territorial around den sites in an attempt to create a safe place for their young. In general, coyotes view other canines (dogs) as a threat. 

The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York. They live here as an integral part of our ecosystem. People and coyotes can coexist if coyotes' natural fear of people is maintained. A good way to accomplish that is to encourage coyote hunting in your area. Intense, localized coyote hunting can make a good dent in that area’s population of coyotes. That can reduce fawn predation as well as reduce dangers to people and pets. Coyotes are extremely intelligent, and known to quickly adapt to changing environments. If they are hunted and trapped, they associate danger with human contact and may be more likely to keep their distance. 

If you like keeping fawns, pets, and kids safe from coyotes, be sure to thank a coyote hunter or trapper. In fact, if you attend the Greene County Youth Fair during the last weekend of July each year at Angelo Canna Park in Cairo, stop in and see the outstanding coyote hunting display set up by local coyote hunter, Frank Algozine. It’s right by the Greene County Federation of Sportsmen’s table and DEC’s trout tank. Don’t forget to “thank Frank” as well as trappers like Ed Gorch, of NY Bowhunters for all they do to curb the coyote population in the Cairo area!

Happy hunting, fishing, and trapping until next time.

News and Notes 

Ducks Unlimited Greene County Chapter Banquet March 2nd 

The Greene County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is holding its annual banquet, dinner and

auction on Saturday, March 2nd at Anthony’s Banquet Hall located at 746 County Route 23B in

Leeds. Doors open at 3:30 pm with buffet dinner starting at 5:00 pm followed by a live auction.

Tickets are available online at For more information or to purchase tickets when they are no longer available online, you can call Dana Hanusik at 518-821-1773 or Jeff Holiday at 965-6105.

Remember to report poachers and polluters by contacting a NYS ECO. 

Dial 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267), 24/7 to contact the 24-hour ECO Dispatch

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The Tapestry With Dr. Deb Herodes

Over the River and Through the Woods

Why Grandchildren Revitalize Us

Your children are no doubt the most important thing you leave to the world.  You spend night and day, day and night raising them to be good people, protecting them from harm and nourishing their souls and bodies to eventually send them out into the world.  The sadness of an empty nest leaves many devastated, many relieved, but if you are lucky enough, the empty nest will soon start filling up again with baby birds, who will beg to fly away from the protection of the nest to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. 

The excitement of new little family members is all encompassing.  You begin to fill your house with diapers, toys, a crib, a playpen, bottles, baby Tylenol, extra clothes and of course, a red wagon. While the wonder of birth still astounds us, it is especially comforting for the mother and father of the female child, who is giving birth, to have this exciting day be over.  So many fears abound, as one’s daughter is wheeled into the delivery room; so much can go wrong, and truth be told, many “hoped for” happy occasions can be laced with much sadness.  One only needs took at the statistics of live birth and complicated births that result in life-long problems for mother and/or child, and maternal deaths, while in the delivery room, to realize how dangerous the miracle of birth really can be.  On a whole, America must do better!

A healthy birth brings all relatives to the glass of the nursery, or in today’s world, up close and personal, into the room where the mother and child are residing together.  Everyone takes a turn holding the new baby, commenting on how much he/she looks like so and so, and then leave this scene with all kinds of hopes and dreams for this new life. Despite one’s rank or age in the family, this new little bundle has put a spring in one’s step and hope in the heart of his/her grandparents.

Caring for grandchildren, which has become a huge deal in this world, where most moms and/or dads, cannot afford to give up one of their jobs to stay home with their blessed baby, and so, grandparenting can become and often does become an everyday affair.  A quick look in the grocery store, at a small child sitting proudly, holding grandma’s purse in the ride along section of the cart, makes you soon realize that today’s young ones are mutually raised by two different sets of expectations from two different generations.  This can be maddening, as the “younger generation” certainly has no idea (according to their parents,) how to raise a child yet professes that their children are their children and will be raised in their way.  Once this is established, life can become easier, as grandparental caretaking can be about fun, not rules, and maybe your grandchildren will want to come to your house daily because there is nothing but joy to be found.

Wrapping your heart around your grandkids is so easy, but one must not lose sight of the fact that these angels are borrowed for awhile and not your own children.  Often watching the things that parents allow makes you bite your tongue, due to the danger involved, but bite you do, because times have changed and maybe you just worry too much.  You may recognize the mistakes you made with your own children and try to correct these same types of behaviors in your grandchildren, only to be scolded by your adult children, so it’s best to make your suggestions but make no demands.

The fear of high fevers and persistent illness worries you, probably even more than it did when your own child was ill, because you oversaw your own child’s care, and now, can only advise from afar. The pull and tug of many grandchildren may leave you with guilt because you want all of them to feel special in your company.  Surprisingly, they all do, because you are grandma or grandpa, and frankly life is easier with you.  You have time to fill their lives with all the things they love, and you have the time to clean the house and do the dishes when they are taken back to their own place of residence.

Watching the joy as little ones see the falling snow, jump in October’s leaves, pick flowers off your perfectly groomed garden plants (intended to give to you, as their creation,) and splashing in baby pools, as you cautiously climb into a ground level pool with them, that you know you will have a hard time getting out of, is best remembered with laughter.  You learn to laugh at yourself, with their giggles, and newly found natural surroundings.  The sound of their laughter is far more important than the sound of your voice constantly saying, “no,” or the tone of your voice, constantly trying to correct them.

Walks are no longer simply exercise for an aging body; they are the pull and tug of a little hand or many little hands upon your body and soul, just waiting for a new adventure.  Singing and dancing return to your life in a big way, as you dance to quell the tears of a little one or join them in the “silly songs.”  Dancing your way through your living room with spins and turns will bring the laughter out of any child, so you make it an everyday activity, just to see those smiles.  They love you and you love them, and that’s all there is to it.

As they grow, you may feel more of a distance from them.  Their friends and technology have taken center stage, and your singing and dancing, although it still makes them laugh, has gone by the wayside.  Relating to older grandchildren relies a lot on your listening skills, because they have had to be silent, during the school day, and so much want to be heard by someone who will not be judgmental or reprimanding.  Attendance at their concerts, athletic pursuits and the like, makes you remember the genetic gifts their parents gave them, as well as allowing you to delight in the talents of your own grandchildren.  Although they may not act too thrilled that you are there, they do want you there, because they know you love them unconditionally, and henceforth will scan the bleachers or audience for you.  Might try to refrain from too many hugs and kisses, in public, for their individual performances when they reach that certain age.

As your photo albums have watched their growth throughout the years, they continue to be revitalized by their youth and their hope to go out and make the world a better place.  Your “old dreams” are often reborn in their accomplishments and quite possibly inspired by your discussions with them.  These “lost dreams” of your youth are newly visited/revisited in both you and your grandchild.

Love them. Enjoy time with them and let them give you their energy. Somewhere along the line you will learn to love red popsicles again, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese again and Cotton Candy will once again melt in your mouth, like it did when you were young.  Be grateful they take the time to cross over the river and through the woods, because they have learned that grandparents are special too.

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CRH Named To Top 100 Hospitals

COBLESKILL — Cobleskill Regional Hospital (CRH), part of Bassett Healthcare Network, has been recognized as a 2024 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the U.S. by the Chartis Center for Rural Health in its just-released annual list. The award program recognizes outstanding performance among the nation’s rural hospitals based on the results of the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX®. Notably, Cobleskill Regional Hospital is the only hospital in New York State to be included on the list.

As a Critical Access Hospital, Cobleskill Regional Hospital is Schoharie County’s only provider of acute inpatient medical care, emergency care, short-stay inpatient rehabilitation, and many other diagnostic and therapeutic services. Schoharie County is more than 600 square miles.

“Bassett Healthcare Network salutes our colleagues at Cobleskill Regional Hospital who can stand proudly among the top 100 critical access hospitals across the country,” said Staci Thompson, MHA, FACMPE, interim President and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network. “This recognition is significant to our extraordinary caregivers and to our patients who entrust us with their care.”

“The secret our community already knew about is out and we’re incredibly proud of the staff and clinicians who are being recognized for the excellence that Cobleskill Regional Hospital provides for the people of Schoharie County,” said Steven Kroll, chair of the Cobleskill Regional Hospital Board of Trustees. “It is an honor to be recognized as one of the top Critical Access Hospitals in the nation and we are grateful to everyone who works hard to provide a quality experience for our patients every day.”

Susan Oakes Ferrucci, DNP, MSN, RN, CNS, President of Cobleskill Regional Hospital and Chief Hospital Executive of Bassett’s Critical Access Hospitals Division, said: “It is a privilege to represent the dedicated staff at Cobleskill Regional Hospital who work tirelessly every day to make sure each patient receives the best care possible. We are here for each other and for our community. We are deeply honored to receive this recognition.”

Bassett Healthcare Network also maintains outpatient clinics throughout Schoharie County, including Cobleskill Health Center, Middleburgh Health Center, Schoharie Health Center, Sharon Springs Health Center, plus a School-Based Health Center in Middleburgh.

To determine the 2024 list, Chartis used the Chartis Rural Hospital Strength INDEX, which assesses performance in inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge, and finance. The Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX is the industry's most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural provider performance.

Critical Access Hospital is a designation given to eligible rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Congress created the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation in response to over 400 rural hospital closures during the 1980s and early 1990s. The CAH designation is designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to healthcare by keeping essential services in rural communities.

Eligible hospitals must meet the following conditions: have 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds, be located more than 35 miles from another hospital, maintain an annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less for acute care patients, and provide 24/7 emergency care services.

“During an era of profound uncertainty for rural healthcare, the Top 100 Rural Hospitals Recognition continues to provide a unique lens through which we can identify innovation and inspiration for how to deliver high quality care to increasingly vulnerable populations,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

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Family Seed Starting Program with Cornell Cooperative Extension

COBLESKILL — Have you ever wanted to learn how to grow your own plants from seed? Starting your seeds inside allows families to grow plant variety not found in garden centers, and can also save money!

On Saturday, March 16, 2024, 10:00 to 11:00 am, join Master Gardener Volunteers Casey Beal and Theresa Kaya for a family focused program on seed starting. Ideal from children between ages 3-11, this fun-filled hour will include painting a pot, learning about inexpensive growing techniques and supplies, and planting a few seeds!

The program is free to attend and will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Cobleskill (173 S. Grand Street, Cobleskill, NY). 

Space is limited! Please register by Wednesday, March 13, 2024 by visiting or by calling 518-234-4303 ext. 124 or ext. 111. 

For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego County’s community programs and events, go to or call 518-234-4303.  Stay connected to CCE Master Gardeners’ daily postings at  and follow CCE Schoharie and Otsego on Facebook at

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New Solar Lights on Bowmaker Pond

Paul Empie with the newly installed solar rink lights at Bowmaker Pond in Sharon Springs. Photo Credit: Molly Empie.

By Alexis Pencar

SHARON SPRINGS — New solar lights were installed by a local resident, Paul Empie, on the beloved Bowmaker Pond in Sharon Springs, NY this winter season. The new and easy to use solar lights replace the old rink lights that used to run on a generator.

Paul Empie, longtime Sharon Springs resident,  realized there was a need for new lighting at Bowmaker Pond, located on Route 10 just south of the Sharon Springs Central School. This pond is often used as a seasonal ice rink for ice hockey and ice skating but is also used as a stocked fishing pond in the warmer months.

What started as an idea for new lights was set into reality when Paul and his son Matthew decided to take on the effort. “Can’t call it an effort, it was fun!”, Empie said, and also mentioned his son had a lot of the great ideas that went into it.

The supplies for this project (except the inverter) were all donated and reclaimed recycled materials, including the poles and heads, donated by Adam Rosen the Owner of AE Rosen Electrical in Albany, NY.

They came up with the idea to use solar and to even hang the lines rather than digging, saving time, effort, and environmental impacts overall. By working together and utilizing different resources, this was a family and community effort with a very successful result!

Though this 2024 winter season hasn’t been the best for ice-related sports, there is still a chance of freezing in March, allowing locals to possibly utilize the new and improved lighting at Bowmaker Pond. There is a switch on the box that needs to be turned on and it is asked to please shut the lights back off when done.

If anyone is looking to contribute towards making the rink at Bowmaker Pond better, it was suggested there is also a need for donated outdoor seating/benches and even a monetary donation for the purchase of ice skates. This is an ongoing effort. For more information on how to help please reach out to Mr. Tony Desmond at the American Legion.

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