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CRCS Senior Credits BOCES with 100% Supporting Him

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 5/31/24 | 5/31/24

Marc Becker with Trent Swartout.

SCHOHARIE – A Capital Region BOCES senior said he has had all the support he needed in his career and technical education program to succeed no matter what path he chooses in life.

Trent Swartout is graduating from the Building Trades program on the Career and Technical Education Center – Schoharie Campus and will attend the Electrical Construction Maintenance (ECM) program at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC).

The Cobleskill-Richmondville High School senior said he envisions himself stepping into roles that require expertise in both heavy equipment/construction operations and electrical systems, such as a construction project manager or an electrical technician.

“Having the experience of both of these programs would make me an extremely valuable asset to employers but will also allow me to make meaningful contributions to construction projects,” he added.

Swartout said his fascination with construction work started at an early age and was nurtured by family members – nearly all of whom work in the industry. But BOCES, he said, showed him the full breadth of options he had in the industry.

“It wasn’t until I joined the Heavy Equipment/ Construction program [now split into the Heavy Equipment Operation, Maintenance & Repair program and the Building Trades program] that my eyes were completely opened to all the options I had available to me,” he said.

Swartout said his classmates, educators, and everyone he met at BOCES supported his endeavors and interests.

“You 100% learn a lot of things that are useful and you have 100% of everyone here at BOCES,” the CRCS senior said. “This program has been nothing short of transformative.”

Capital Region BOCES Managing Program Coordinator-Business & Community Partnerships Nancy Liddle said Swartout is a stellar student and citizen.

“Trent demonstrates commitment, leadership responsibility and an excellent work ethic on a daily basis. Trent enjoys learning and plans to further his knowledge in the ECM program at HVCC,” she said.

Offered on the Schoharie and Albany campuses, the Building Trades program is training approximately 90 students from more than a dozen different school districts this year. For more information on the program, visit

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Landis Perennial Forest 5K

ESPERANCE — The Landis Forest 5K is a unique race through the fields and forests of Landis Arboretum Aug 10, Saturday, 2024, 8:00 AM start on Lape Road in Esperance. It has become a not-to-be-missed event for many runners in our region. There are awards for the winning runners, of course, but many people come to walk or run - just because! Please, no dogs on race day!

Location: Check-in at the Meeting House as early as 7:00 AM

Registration: Priced by age. Registration is online only through RunSignUp.

Click here for information on registration fees and here to access RunSignUp registration for the race.

Questions? Contact David Roy at 

Online registration only.

This is a sanctioned Route 20 Road Challenge race.

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Community Pulls Together for Parade

By Alexis Pencar

SHARON SPRINGS — This past Memorial Day Sharon Springs held their Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony at 11:00 AM on May 27th, 2024 to a large crowd on a gorgeous weather. 

Originally scheduled and published as a Memorial Day Ceremony only for this year, the Sharon Springs Community was able to pull together to offer the traditional parade as well! This was thanks in part to many volunteers including Sharon Springs Central School students, parents, and teachers, The American Legion, SSCS Band, SSCS Clay Target Team, Girl Scout Troop 2844, and more.

American Legion Post 1269 member, Reverend Thomas Davis gave an inciting speech focused on why Memorial Day is so important.

The Civil War reenactors performed “The Salute to the Dead” and the whole crowd jumped with the musket shots using real gun powder!

During the ceremony, two beautiful wreaths were placed at the monuments by an American Legion Post 1269 member and Post 1269 Auxiliary President, Debbie Cross. This moving Ceremony was performed with reverence and respect.

The SSCS band played patriotic themes like the National Anthem and there was a large crowd for this somber event to honor and remember those brave soldiers who gave their lives in sacrifice to maintain the freedom of our country. 

This was a lovely display of the strong and devoted community in Sharon Springs, NY.

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Richmondville Days is Calling all Gnomes

By Elizabeth Barr

RICHMONDVILLE — Richmondville Days is almost upon us. This year’s theme is There’s Gnome place like home. Parade line up is at 9 am and begins at 10 am on Saturday June 1st. Please join the community celebration. 

Events will be happening from Friday May 31st through Sunday June 2nd. At the Richmondville Volunteer Ambulance Squad, there will be local vendors and food galore.  Garage sales will be throughout the village. 

There is also a Car Show by Savage Car Club and Ratrod Harry.  The cars are stunning and will captivate you if you are a car enthusiast or just appreciate classic and modern automobiles.  There will be a Wheelchair Race at 1 pm – 3 pm.  

Get your heart pounding for the fun filled event.  Schoharie County Arts will host a tent from 0 am – 3 pm for children and adults full of art activities.  This will be led by Denise Misiph. The Richmondville Fire Department will host a cornhole tournament at 1 pm.  Fireworks behind Radez School will begin at 9:10 pm. Bring your blanket and a lawn chair and enjoy the show.

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Outstanding Snack Shack is Open

Outstanding Snack Shack located at Parsons Farm in Sharon Springs is now open for the season!

By Alexis Pencar

SHARON SPRINGS — The Outstanding Snack Shack is now open for the season! They are serving up specialty handcrafted small-batch donuts, sandwiches, and more right at Parsons Vegetable Farm on Route 20 in Sharon Springs!

Scott O’Connor is the experienced Baker behind the business and has come up with all sorts of interesting flavors for these delicious donut delights! The specialty handcrafted small-batch donut flavors include the traditional plain and cinnamon sugar but also offer culinary flares like banana chocolate, peanut butter, wild berry, and even lemon glazed. Scott is always developing new flavors!

Besides the donuts, the rest of the menu consists of grilled cheese, sandwiches with your choice of bread, hot dogs, drinks and even snacks and quick grab and go items too. There are specials as well so stop by to check it out yourself this weekend!

The Outstanding Snack Shack is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM and is located at Parsons Vegetable Farm at 756 US-20, Sharon Springs, NY 13459. Follow them on Facebook for more information.

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Did you hear about the recent landslide on Cauterskill Road in the Village of Catskill? See our first photo. That was on May 7th. It made the local TV newscasts for at least for one night and then faded from the news. It wrecked one house; but otherwise, was not all that large an event. That makes it a family tragedy and we certainly cannot lose sight of that. But we think that it was an important event for other reasons. There is much to learn from it. One thing that the local news reports stated was that people did not know the cause of the slide. We would like to fix that. And we would like to make people aware of this particular type of geohazard. If you live in our region, especially in the lower Hudson Valley, then your home might be next; you need to know about this.

                                                       A train on a hill

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The story actually started about 14,000 years ago. At that time much of this part of Catskill was under the waters of a glacial lake. Catskill Creek flowed into that lake and deposited sandy sediments that made a delta. Those waters drained away long ago but the delta and its sands are still there and, centuries ago, people started to move into the area and began building homes atop the old delta sediments. Delta tops are usually flat, and their soft sediments make it easy to dig basements, so they make attractive places to build houses. People also constructed roads, one of the being Cauterskill Road. The problem was that there were also a series of small streams that had long been eroding small valleys and canyons into those same delta sands. One of those, a small unnamed creek, had eroded its way almost to today’s Cauterskill Road. Streams, large and small, all look as if they have always been where you see them and always will be. But that simply is not true; that’s Nature being deceptive. You see, all streams are constantly changing. They are typically deepening and widening their valleys. They are often also elongating them. One way of doing that is by what geologists call headward erosion. The upper reaches of any creek will cut into the landscape at the stream’s top, its head. It’s not unusual for that head of the stream to have steep slopes. All of this was going on at the top of this creek and that was setting up Cauterskill Road for a landslide.

It’s been a rainy spring so far and a lot of water has been soaking into the ground. We are always alert for this sort of thing, because, especially in the spring, that generates what we like to call a “landslide season.” When the earth gets too waterlogged then gravity stresses build up and that goes on to generate multiple curved fractures. This is especially the case with lake sediments. See our second illustration, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. Eventually masses of earth begin sliding down along these fractures. That, we think, is what happened along Cauterskill Road. But there is a lot more to the story. We will be back next week to continue.

                                                                              A drawing of a ramp

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Contact the authors at Join their facebook page “The Catskill Geologist.” Read their blogs at “”

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A Great Opening

Sandra Finkenberg with close friend Faiga Brussel at the opening ceremony in Margaretville 

Photos by Robert Brune

ANDES — Sandra Finkenberg is a painter who has been participating in the Andes Academy of Art figure drawing class since 2015. Jenny Neal is hosting a stunning collection of Finkenberg’s work, many were completed within twenty minutes which is astonishing given the skill of color choices, proportion, and pure beauty in every piece. This exhibition is now available to see and all works for sale at the Upstate Dispatch Gallery on the second floor of the Commons Building in Margaretville 

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A Great Street Fair in Fleischmanns

The Fleischmanns (Memorial Day Weekend) Street Festival was a huge success with a wide variety of vendors, events, and yard sales, this past Sunday. Photos by Robert Brune.

The Print House had outside live music and food all day. They were so busy, it’s rumored they ran out of food by the evening 

1053 Main Street Gallery held an Art Talk with the current Interplay exhibition of artists Janice La Motta, Amy Masters, and Deborah Freedman with the conversation facilitated by co-curator Lindsay Comstock 

Arts Inn which is now an artist residency held their third annual Vaudeville show with the Arm of the Sea Puppet Theatre group, Mariachi music, and a fire dancer 

Fire dancer photo credit: Mercedes Gonzalez 

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The Beauty of Abstract Minimalism Art of Gonzalo Pita

Photos courtesy Kerry Reardon 

By Robert Brune

ANDES — In this new exhibition at Hawk + Hive Gallery in Andes, ‘Paisaje’ (Translation: Landscape) is a magnificent series of artwork by the Argentinian ex-pat now living in Brooklyn and upstate NY with his wife Kerry Reardon. Pita describes the love of the countryside in upstate NY, “Our frequent drives from Sunset Park Brooklyn to our Adirondack cabin have continually expanded our urge to discover new towns, natural landscapes and to understand communities’ histories. I don’t need to describe the breathtaking views that all of us are entitled to witness, and for myself, how its sheer beauty inspires me, over and over again.” 

The roots of this journey for Gonzalo Pita extends back to the harsh living conditions of the military junta neoliberal dictatorship of the 1970’s in Argentina. Pita reflects on how these challenging times may have influenced his passion for abstract minimalism. “ I’m aware that my past, (in many aspects, where the peacefulness of nature included) there are components to my archive of references which have influenced my art…and for sure including some of the darker aspects living as a youth in a dictatorship where we were not able to express outwardly in any capacity that might resemble a social commentary or political critique through writing, art, music or even the way we dressed or wore our hair (longish was forbidden) So, unconsciously, I suppose as a contributing element to the style of my abstract expression, symbolism and minimalism comes to play for myself and for many with similar faceted generational experiences.” Abstract minimalist artwork is said to have been born out of the pre-WWI art of the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich with his founding of Suprematist school of abstract painting. Malevich fell out of favor with the Russian political elites with his form of expressionism. Minimalism artists over the past century since Malevich are often a reaction to authoritarian regimes and/or political upheaval where critics are silenced. In Argentina it’s estimated up to 30,000 artists, writers, and activists were killed or disappeared during Pita’s childhood in South America. 

When asked about his choice of very neutral tones for his current series of paintings at Hawk + Hive, Pita responds, “It’s true I’ve fine-tuned my palette over the years and honed in on what, for me, conveys a quietness that attracts me. Sometimes I do catch myself mixing a color collective that might be “easier” on the eyes, but other times I find that my combinations are working for me with a rhythm but not necessarily interpretive of a realist landscape expectation nor the ‘current’ color ways. I guess that’s why they call it abstract. When I start mixing colors in this impasto textured technique, I’m not intent on a particular direction necessarily, but I must be drawing on a flexible compilation of all my experiences which seem to flow as I’m staining the canvas.”

Pita is a self-taught artist, as the artworld classifies artist without formal training as Outsider and Naïve artists, there’s nothing naïve about this set designer of 17 years and artist as he tells of his influences, “My early artistic influencers i would have to say would be the work and life of Benito Quinquela Martin, an Argentine painter of the vibrant lively port in Buenos Aires during the early 20’s. Thereafter, more abstract painters sparked my curiosity from the early Argentine non figurative painters of 1940s-70’s, such as, Kenneth Kemble’s collage paintings, his wife, Silvia Torras’ and other likeminded creators of this time including photographers, architects and designers. Some called this group’s movement ‘informalismo’ (informalism) and ‘arte concreto’ (concrete art) with a strong emphasis on geometrical abstractions. Obviously, this stemmed from the Bauhaus school of being which set in motion a holistic modern design that touched every cultural boundary. I mention these inspirations for myself as they showcase my appreciation for diverse artistic expressions within these simultaneous global movements. With this non scripted freedom of expression, even as trained artists, this allowance of unrestricted form and color brought forth a narrative that played across other countries as if a collective consciousness emerged.”

At the opening reception both Pita and his wife were naturally and genuinely friendly, mixing with local artists and patrons of the arts with such ease, embracing everyone with conversation and gratitude. Pita was especially thankful to Jayne Parker of Hawk + Hive, “I’d like to have this chance to wholeheartedly express how much this exhibition means to me and how appreciative I am of Jayne for having the confidence (and courage) to offer me my first solo show when I’m still a novice and self-taught artist.” Parker has an extraordinary eye for talent. Pita is sure to be a great success. 

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The Artistic Odyssey of Bela Borsodi: Birth Life Death Exhibition

Bela Borsodi having fun with artist Pia Dehne with his Unicorn book outside the Corner Gallery in Andes

By Robert Brune

ANDES — Bela Borsodi is a contemporary artist whose creative journey spans continents, mediums, and disciplines. Born in Vienna, Austria, Borsodi's artistic exploration began with a foundation in Graphic Design, a path that eventually led him into the realms of Fine Arts, particularly photography. Under the guidance of mentor Ernst Caramelle, Borsodi honed his skills and vision, ultimately earning a Master of Fine Arts from the esteemed University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Photography emerged as the quintessential medium for Borsodi to weave together his eclectic artistic interests. With an eye for composition and a penchant for storytelling, he embarked on a transformative journey that would see him relocate to the bustling metropolis of NYC in 1992. It was here that Borsodi's artistic identity began to flourish, finding resonance in the vibrant energy and diversity of the city.

In 1999, Borsodi made a significant pivot in his artistic practice, honing his focus on still-life photography. This genre became a cornerstone of his work, allowing him to explore the interplay of objects, space, and narrative within meticulously crafted compositions. What sets Borsodi apart is not just his ability to capture captivating imagery but his propensity for hands-on engagement in every aspect of his creative process. From conceptualization to execution, he often takes on the role of set designer, meticulously crafting environments that serve as the backdrop for his photographic narratives. 

The very accomplished artist Jeff Bliumis is the owner of the Corner Gallery who shared that upon Borsodi agreeing to put together a series of his work for the Andes show, it took Borsodi six months to complete his current series titled ‘Birth, Life, Death’. When Borsodi is asked about how this exhibition came to be, I know Jeff and Alina Bliumis for quite while now through mutual friends, we became close friends and Jeff asked me a while ago if I would like to show my work at the corner gallery. Of course this was exciting to me and I showed him the project which I was working on at the time, when it was still in the beginning and in its conceptual phase- he liked it and then i got more into working on it which resulted in this show. I was totally free to do anything I like , it is a true pleasure to work with him, and I am thankful for making this happen.”

 Borsodi describes himself and the process of this series, “I’m kind of a heavy guy. I like to think about things. Some of them have philosophy, psychology, criticisms, and some have historic references behind it.” In our interview Borsodi retrieves a large handful of documents containing intricate detailed diagrams and experimental concepts as each piece evolved and came to life. The words used in each are an in-camera, Borsodi explains, “The are three dimensional letters that makes the words objects themselves.”  The irony of this interview was that Borsodi began the conversation by saying, “I took on this project because I wanted to do something quick and easy.” The complexity of his studies to come up with each concept is both fascinating and thorough well beyond the average intuitive artist aesthetics. 

Collaboration has been a defining aspect of Borsodi's career, as he has worked closely with international magazines and renowned brands, bringing his unique vision to a global audience. His photographs transcend mere visual aesthetics, often delving into the realms of conceptual photography art, where every element within the frame carries symbolic weight and narrative resonance.

During the opening reception Borsodi was flipping through his Unicorn book with a local artist Pia Dehne as they laughed with each other. Borsodi expands on the significance of humor in his art, “To me “humor” is a very serious business, it is a lot of work. Why humor? Well, I believe it is a great way to communicate ideas to people, often people can relate easier and less guarded. work with humor likely touches people in a more personal direct manner, perhaps with more ease? Humor to me is never shallow, quite on the contrary it is perhaps possible to get much deeper than with some clear straight messages. Humor is something like a lubricant, and it is difficult because if you don’t use it well you run the risk of losing the message to become just silly, which is worse than what a straight message might do. Also, it demands a lot of your own personality, through humor the artist also exposes him/her self in a very intimate way. Many of my favorite artists and artworks show humor and thereby touch very deep issues and subjects.”

Borsodi's artistic endeavors have not been confined to the realm of digital and print media. He has also ventured into the world of publishing, with notable works including Unicorn, published in collaboration with Libraryman in 2018, and "Phytophile," released through Dashwood Books in 2019. These publications serve as tangible expressions of Borsodi's artistic vision, offering viewers an intimate glimpse into his imaginative universe. 

The Unicorn series being a form of a puzzle style of art, Borsodi helps us understand the difference in his current works from ‘Birth, Life, Death’, “In my new projects it is a very different exploration as I focus on the “quality” of things as a communicator for emotions, iconic perception, and their “psychology” - the words being phrases or statements in relation to them, they can contradict, confirm challenge their presence or also becoming banal - this is a very different interaction than in unicorn.”

As Bela Borsodi continues to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art, one thing remains abundantly clear: his artistic odyssey is characterized by a relentless pursuit of innovation, creativity, and storytelling. Through his mastery of diverse mediums and his unwavering commitment to artistic exploration, Borsodi invites viewers to embark on a journey of discovery, where the boundaries between reality and imagination blur, and the possibilities are as limitless as the human imagination itself. 

This exhibition will be showing through June 23rd

For more information see: and 

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A Conversation About: The Sweet of the Year

By Jean Thomas

Every spring my husband would come in from outside and announce that it was the “sweet of the year.” He was a skilled gardener and gifted fisherman and very attuned to what was happening around him in the natural world. Today as I was strolling about with the dog on our morning perambulation, I experienced it first hand for the first time. The roses and the Dame’s Rocket were cranking out scent along with the remnants of the Japanese honeysuckle. The birds were still active and vocal, but the frantic courtship and nest building were done. Discarded eggshells littered the lanes where the parents had carried them from the nests when the babies hatched. There were more lullabies than desperation. There was a small breeze, enough to keep the biting insects at bay. The sunshine was not yet filtered with a layer of humidity, and the silhouettes of the Catskills rose crisply against a perfect blue sky. The trees were gleaming with the subtle colors among the leaves that would appear again in the autumn in a 

And then my tiny mind began to whirl. Where did that phrase come from? So I poked around on the net. Turns out Mr. Shakespeare started it, describing a perfect English spring. With a “hey and a no and a hey nonny no.”  The “nonny no” stuff has become out dated. The sweet of the year idea remains in all its glory.

There are other unique things that happen this time of year. You just have to be there. In past years I often witnessed pollen explosions from a pair of huge pines by my driveway. A gust of wind would hit just right and thousands of those “candles” would release their pollen simultaneously. A golden cloud would drift majestically from the tree, wafted by the wind to any available manmade surface. Like cars, porches and any available glass. This is the pollen high point of the year. I was reminded of the pollen clouds from the long-gone pines yesterday afternoon. I’ve already been taking allergy medication, but was thankful all over again. A rain shower hammered the yard and I scampered inside for the few minutes it lasted. When I went back outside to resume my work, I was confused for a minute. The rain had pooled in a few spots around the area where I was working, and there was a ring of yellow all around each pool. The rain had swept up some of the pollen I had been sucking in as I worked and literally cleared the air. Yay, me!

Most gardeners are grateful souls. We’re usually happy with what we discover each day. Happy is not the same as contented. I prowl the gardens for the late bloomers… or what I consider the late bloomers. They’re not late. I’m greedy. Each new arrival is greeted as if I hadn’t ever seen it before, even if I’ve been growing it for decades. Even weeding becomes an adventure as I rediscover whimsical ornaments or disturb a garter snake.  For my husband, the sweet of the year was a moment of magic. For me, it’s not unlike a birthday. Show me the rule that says it can only last a single day! 

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Whittling Away with Dick Brooks - Commercials

I like commercials on television.  Some of them are more entertaining than the shows they are liberally sprinkled throughout.  I will admit that the ones with cute animals or kids are the ones I enjoy the most.  There seem to be more and more medical ones appearing.  I like to stay current on cures for ailments that I may or may not contract but they’re starting to annoy me because they spend ten seconds or so telling me about the benefits of their product and the rest of the commercial telling me what could happen to me if I take it.  If I have a headache, I’d like to know that if I take the stuff they’re selling, it will make it go away.  I don’t need to know that if I take that product I might have diarrhea, dizziness, rapid heart beat or halitosis.  I don’t usually operate heavy machinery but I’d like to if the occasion arises but I may not have the opportunity to do it if I take their product.  I think I’d rather keep the headache.  I know its all part of the “Right to Know” act but I think I’d less annoyed and concerned if we had a option to choose not to know.

While I’m talking about things that annoy me, there are a few other annoyances I’d like to get off my chest.  I’m a senior citizen and I’m sure that somewhere on my AARP card it says that I have the right to be annoyed.  Here are a few of the things that make me grumpy.  I think that those people who take their groceries out of the cart and put them into their cars then drive away leaving the cart blocking a parking space should be locked in a room full of rabid deer tics.  I think I’d make that room large enough to include those inconsiderate folks who take up two parking spaces because they never learned how to park between the lines.  I don’t like those air dryers in public rest rooms or toilets that flush themselves.  I’d rather dry my hands on my pants and I find pulling the lever and cleaning up my own mess rather satisfying.  Telephones should be black, weigh five pounds and have a dial.  They should not be permanently attached to the end of an arm and should not take precedence over human interaction.  All phones should be collected at the door of churches, theaters and other public meeting places and locked in sound proof boxes to be collected upon exiting.  Phones should be for talking not typing, texting should be limited to five messages per day.  Thumb cuffs should be used on any one exceeding the daily limit.  Messages on phones telling me to leave a message should be short and to the point not long and rambling or cute.  If I wanted cute I’d watch one of those commercials with kids or animals.  I just want you to know I called.  Politicians and religious quacks should not be allowed public air time nor should they be able to have access to the services of the Post Office.  I really have no desire to send either any of my hard earned money.  I really don’t like all those calls soliciting funds for charities that I’ve never heard of.  The National Association of Homeless Handicapped Hangnail Survivors with Diabetic Cats will just have to wait until next year.  I have better things to do, a commercial with that little insurance lizard just came on.  I think he’s cute.

Thought for the week—A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

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

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