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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label C-R. Show all posts
Showing posts with label C-R. Show all posts

Cobleskill Student Claims New York American Legion Oratorical Championship

Written By Editor on 3/9/14 | 3/9/14

ALBANY -- Five high school students from around New York State competed Saturday (March 8) in the New York State American Legion Oratorical Contest at Sand Creek Middle School, with Andrew R. Hartnett of Cobleskill-Richmondville High School grabbing the state title.

New York State American Legion Commander Kenneth Governor presents plaque to state oratorical champion Andrew Hartnett of Cobleskill-Richmondville High School.
Hartnett receives a $6,000 scholarship and now goes on to national finals April 5-6 in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the top three orators will share $50,000 in scholarships, New York State American Legion Commander Kenneth Governor noted. Hartnett is a senior at Coblesill-Richmondville High, located in Richmondville, Schoharie County.

Finalists in the New York State American Legion Oratorical Contest pose with state Legion Commander Kenneth Governor. From left, the finalists are: James R. Gallagher, Sara A Bogen, Andrew R Hartnett, Nidhi B. Shah and Sarah Thomson.
 The Legion Oratorical Contest features original speeches on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, noted state Oratorical Chair Anthony L. Paternostro.

The other finalists are:

-- Sarah Thomson, a home-schooled student from Rochester in Monroe County, who grabbed second place and a $4,000 scholarship.

-- Nidhi B. Shah of Horseheads High School in Chemung County, who won third place and a $2,500 scholarship.

Runners-up were James R. Gallaher of Xavier High School in New York City and Sarah A. Bogen of Pius V School in Mellville, Suffolk County. They both receive $2,000 scholarships.

The five students had competed in county, district and zone competitions to become state finalists, noted state Chairman Anthony L. Paternostro.

Coby Firemen to Take on CRCS Faculty in Benefit Basketball Game

Written By Editor on 3/6/14 | 3/6/14

The CRCS All-Sports Booster Club is sponsoring the fifth annual Cobleskill Fire Department vs. CRCS Faculty basketball game on Saturday April 5th, 2014 at the CRCS High School gym. Proceeds will benefit the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Cobleskill Fire Department.

Cost of admission is $1.00 for students, $2.00 for adults, and $5.00 for a family of four or more. In addition to the scheduled 7:00 PM tip-off; the school will be conducting a Chinese auction, a 50/50 raffle, concession stand, halftime event featuring their younger student athletes, and much more. 

Women's Health Clinic in Cobleskill March 18th

Written By Editor on 2/17/14 | 2/17/14

From the Schoharie County Health Department's Facebook page:

Free Health Screenings with Bassett's Mobile Mammography Coach!
What: The Cancer Services Program of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties will offer free health screenings to women 40 and older who are uninsured. There are no income guidelines. 
When: Wednesday, February 26, 9 am - 3 pm 
Where: Shoppers Mart Plaza (SCCAP parking lot) 795 E. Main Street, Cobleskill NY
Details: Screenings include pap tests with pelvic exams, clinical breast exams, mammograms and take home colorectal test kits (for men and women 50 or older)

Contact: Please call this toll free number 1-888-345-0225 to set up your appointment.

Please share this important information!
Contact: Please call this toll free number 1-888-345-0225 to set up your appointment.
Please share this important information!

Leadership Key in Cobleskill Transition

Written By Editor on 1/14/14 | 1/14/14

With the transition of both executive offices in Cobleskill now complete, the hard work begins for Mayor Linda Holmes and Supervisor Leo McAllister. Both have to deal with the issues of Cobleskill's stalling economies and how to deal with programs initiated by their predecessors.

For McAllister, the learning curve was set when he took office. Seemingly ready for the job, McAllister impressed at the January County Board of Supervisors meeting, showing an acumen that has not inhabited Cobleskill's seat at the chamber in years. Meanwhile, his connections in the business community seem to be paying off as projects such as a new gym and Mavis Tire are finally completed.

For Mayor Holmes, decisive action was the order of the month in December. While thanking former Mayor Mark Galasso for his input on the issue of dissolution, her decision to dissolve that committee was met with mostly positive reviews. It also showed that her focus on community involvement would not be overshadowed by an effort to dismantle the village of Cobleskill. Beyond this, her leadership in creating a Cobleskill facebook page and the recent clearing of snow by her and her trustees have been winners with popular opinion.

Whether or not this trend will continue, it is a different, more cooperative tone than Cobleskill has seen since the election of Mike Sellers portended political dysfunction that coincided with other economic issues that the community faced.

Water Supervisor: Cobleskill Water is "Safe to Drink"

Written By Editor on 1/13/14 | 1/13/14

The Village of Cobleskill published the following notice on the local government's facebook page:
The water supervisor has made the following announcement: Many residents may notice a musty taste and odor in the water. This is because the water dept. is now using Dow reservoir (the oldest source.)

Because of the high amounts of nutrients in this reservoir, algae levels were very high. Algae causes the taste even after the treatment plant removes the algae. We are adding potassium permanganate to help get rid it.

The water is safe to drink and meets all drinking water standards. Taste and odors pose no health effects. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to call 234-2195.

Notice of Foreclosure Filed Against Maranatha Owner, Facility's Future in Flux

Written By Editor on 12/30/13 | 12/30/13

Only two years after opening the $5.3 million Maranatha Family Center in the Town of Richmondville, owner Stella McKenna was served with notice of foreclosure on December 16th by the New York State Business Development Corporation, according to documents published on the Schoharie County Clerk's Office. 

The notice reads "that an action has been commenced and is now pending in the Supreme Court upon the Verified Foreclosure Complaint of the above named Plaintiff against the above named Defendants for the foreclosure of a mortgage in the original principal amount of $1,850,000.00..." 

Maranatha's struggles were first publicized when the Village of Richmondville shut off their electric in early September following months of unpaid bills and thousands in late fees. It has since been discovered that the project had been in trouble from day one, owing everyone from state agencies to local banks and even the federal government. 

At stake for Ms. McKenna is not only the recently built physical fitness complex located on Route 7 in the Town of Richmondville, but Maranatha's original site on Elm Street in the Village of Cobleskill and two personal residences, all of which will be lost as the final grains of sand escape her already depleted hourglass.

New York City investor Da-Lai Wu had signaled renewed interest in obtaining the property after the Town of Richmondville approved a waiver request to Empire State Development to allow different ownership, but to date no deal has been reached between Mr. Wu and Ms. McKenna, leaving the partially publicly funded facility's future in flux.

Richmondville Town Board Unanimously Approves Maranatha Waiver Request, Wu Keeps Options Open

Written By Editor on 12/18/13 | 12/18/13

Just weeks after negotiations broke down between the Town of Richmondville and potential Maranatha investor Da-Lai Wu due to the municipality's stringent requirements that Mr. Wu had to meet in order for Town Supervisor Richard Lape to sign a waiver request to Empire State Development, it appears a deal may occur after all.

Despite publicly announcing that he was taking a step back from the project, Mr. Wu continued to pursue a potential deal - reaching out to local banks and state officials - while the facility's owner, Stella McKenna, was served with notice of foreclosure and seizure of equipment following years of tax delinquency and a chronic failure to regularly pay bills.

The result of which was a unanimous vote last Thursday evening by the Richmondville Town Board, on recommendation of Town Attorney Marvin Parshall Jr., to authorize Supervisor Lape to sign the necessary waiver request that both satisfies the Restore New York grant requirements and paves the way for Mr. Wu to take ownership of the $5.3 million project.

However, it still remains to be seen whether Ms. McKenna, who Mr. Wu has offered a deal to in exchange for her sub-leasing the property, decides to step aside now and allow Maranatha to reopen in a matter of one to two weeks, or if she will ride the storm to the inevitable end result - delaying any potential opening until mid-2014 at the earliest estimates.

Mr. Wu, who has planned a series of renovations upon his potential ownership - including the installation of hardwood floors on the dance and exercise room floors, plastic grid non-slip floors in the shower area and the addition of TRX and boxing equipment in the weight room - told the Schoharie News that he expects everything to be completed within the next week, or else he is scrapping all current plans and putting a down payment on a property in Middleburgh.

But with the Christmas holiday fast approaching, which Mr. Wu plans to spend working on opening a training facility somewhere within the county, gym members and residents alike in Richmondville might receive the gift of an occupied and operational Maranatha Family Center, allaying fears of another failed Guilford Mills and restoring a pivotal business in the Town's financial framework if all works out.

SUNY Cobleskill Student Arrested for Weapon Related Incident on Campus

Written By Editor on 12/11/13 | 12/11/13

Stating that there was no "perceived risk to the campus community," SUNY Cobleskill officials alerted students, faculty and employees to the arrest of a student at approximately 12:20 am Wednesday morning for his "reported involvement in a situation that occurred on the evening of Tuesday, December 10, 2013, in Parsons Hall involving an alleged weapon."
The Davis-Parsons Complex is located on the south-western part of campus 
Although there are rumors flying on the various SUNY Cobleskill social media networks, there has been no concrete release of details at this point by either campus officials or the University Police Department, which is continuing to investigate the matter and requested that anyone with information regarding last evening's incident to call either 518-255-5317 or 518-255-5555.
Per college policy, the student in question has been temporarily suspended.

Town of Richmondville Conducting Survey to Address Broadband Availability

Written By Editor on 12/2/13 | 12/2/13

Members of the Town of Richmondville Board are currently going door to door delivering a 13 question survey, with return envelope included, in partnership with the Middleburgh Telephone Company (or MIDTEL) to gather the necessary information that will address the lack of broadband availability in the Town of Richmondville.
The survey is being completed as part of the process for MIDTEL to complete a grant application for the project, which would provide greater access to broadband in the Town of Richmondville - where many homes are still reliant on ineffective dial-up or overly priced satellite coverage for their internet access.
Broadband coverage is a major concern across the County, particularly in the sparsely populated and remote areas, but if the Town of Richmondville-MIDTEL partnership can acquire the necessary funds then perhaps one more municipality can scratch it off of its to do list and be an example to neighboring towns of how to address this important matter for their own residents.

Boil Water Order for Part of Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 11/26/13 | 11/26/13

Below is a copy sent out from the County Department of Health

11/26/2013 at 16:00FROM: Public Health SanitarianSchoharie County Department of Public Health 

Please be advised that a Boil Water Order is in effect for the Colonial Village Route 7 Cobleskill.

There was a loss of pressure reported at this system on 11/22/2013 and this was not a planned interruption.  The system did not notify health department.

The chlorine feed pump was disabled when a well pump relay switch failed on 11/24/2013.

Accordingly a boil water order was issued to this system and will remain in effect until furthernotice.

Boil water notices have been distributed to residents as calls about it are being received.

Water leaks were reported by residents of the the mobile home park and water service was interrupted with no notifications.

The park has 80 services and service about 200 people.    Service has been restored according to a resident that reported the incident.  This is the only area affected.  It appears that only the distribution system has been affected as the resident reported pressure is restored.  Relay switch was ordered.  It appears that emergency stockpile equipment will not be required.

However, until samples have been collected and results received, water system flushed and cleared the notice shall remain in effect.

Samples are planned for today and 11/27.

The order may remain until 11/29.

Contact information has been left for the laboratory to contact DOH with sample results.
Water leaks in systems do occur as fittings break sometimes.  The system needs to notify DOH.  A boil water order may be issued anyway but the system must notify residents as well.

Community Pipeline Meeting on Monday December 2, 2013 at 7PM inside of the Radez Elementary School Gym located on 319 Main Street, Richmondville, NY. The latest information on the proposed Constitution Pipeline from threats of eminent domain and legal efforts to landowner resistance and the pipeline company's safety record will be provided to the public. This advertisement is sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities and the Stop the Pipeline Schoharie Action Committee

Vote in Our New Poll: Was Richmondville Right Dealing with Maranatha?

Written By Editor on 11/25/13 | 11/25/13

Here is a chance for our readers to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the Maranatha project in Warnerville. Do you feel that the Town of Richmondville's actions were justified? Why or why not? The new poll is on the sidebar.

Community Pipeline Meeting on Monday December 2, 2013 at 7PM inside of the Radez Elementary School Gym located on 319 Main Street, Richmondville, NY. The latest information on the proposed Constitution Pipeline from threats of eminent domain and legal efforts to landowner resistance and the pipeline company's safety record will be provided to the public. This advertisement is sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities and the Stop the Pipeline Schoharie Action Committee

Maranatha EXCLUSIVE: Wu Backs Out of Project, Says Richmondville "Should be Ashamed"

After months of negotiations between the Town of Richmondville and New York City entrepreneur Da-Lai Wu concerning the $5 million Maranatha project, which current owner Stella McKenna was recently served notice of foreclosure on by the New York Business Development Corporation, it was decided Friday evening by Mr. Wu to end his perusal of the shuttered physical fitness center. 
Mr. Wu, who is the CEO and Director of Player Management with RUSH-N-CRUSH, originally came to the area to investigate the possibility of working in partnership with SUNY Cobleskill on developing local tennis programming by updating and using their tennis facilities based on his knowledge in the sport from both being a professional player and coach the past three decades. After estimating the college could repair their poor quality courts to U.S. Open standards with a price tag of $105,000, Mr. Wu expanded his horizons to visit neighboring facilities and to see if there was interest in the area for a tennis program when he discovered Maranatha in August.

Describing the troubled training facility's staff members as "awesome," while adding they are "people with the highest integrity," Mr. Wu soon learned of their plight and took an interest in Maranatha's troubles, which would reach critical mass when unpaid electric bills forced its initial closure, and would lead to Mr. Wu beginning his considerations of taking over the program with plans for extensive expansion of the project.

However, he immediately hit a brick wall - that being the Town of Richmondville government - with its public officials compiling a nine-point list of demands they expected Mr. Wu to meet before they agreed to sign a waiver request allowing his acquisition of the project, due because of the requirements attached to a $650,000 state grant Maranatha received.  
During this time he met with town officials over the extension of a $20,000 equipment audit, which he wanted to push back from next April to July, because he didn't want "all the debts to take capital" away from his investment during what he called the "critical market time for a fitness center," but the town wouldn't budge. And because of this, Mr. Wu estimated he lost anywhere from $120-150,000 in potential revenue because he could not open in October as he was originally planning and that he would now have to come up with approximately $250,000 to just "keep the place from sinking."
But that wouldn't be the end of it for Mr. Wu, who in an attempt to salvage the project, placed a request for a public meeting in October with the Town of Richmondville to discuss his proposed takeover of the facility. However, according to his account, Mr. Wu alleges that Richmondville Town Supervisor Richard Lape's response was that if he wanted a public meeting that he would have to be pay $15,000 first, presumably as collateral against one of Maranatha's outstanding debts, and then they would give him his meeting.
Shocked by the request, Mr. Wu contacted New York State Senator James Seward and after the legislator directly called the Richmondville Supervisor concerning the unusual $15,000 requirement for a meeting that it "disappeared," although a public hearing still wouldn't be held for three more weeks until the Tuesday after election day.
In the end, the "Town [of Richmondville] should be ashamed," said Mr. Wu as we concluded our comprehensive interview "because the whole community losses out." Despite his disappointment with how Maranatha turned out, Mr. Wu is currently involved in discussions with SUNY Cobleskill's PACE program to start a class in which he would instruct continuing education participants  on how to teach tennis for certification while additionally working to expand the college's program in the sport of his passion.  

The future of Maranatha is less certain now that Mr. Wu is out of the project and Ms. McKenna was served with foreclosure papers almost two weeks ago, leaving the Town of Richmondville with a $5 million building that could sit vacant for years while legal proceedings drag out and residents of both the Village and Town governments on the hook for over $50,000 worth of unpaid debts that they may very well have to pick up the tab for.

Richmondville Sets Steep Requirements For Potential Maranatha Investor

Written By Editor on 11/14/13 | 11/14/13

New York City investor Da-Lai Wu made his case to the Town of Richmondville Tuesday morning on why he should be the man to turn around Maranatha and takeover the $5.3 million publicly funded facility that is currently sitting unoccupied on Route 7.
However, in order for any of that to occur, Mr. Wu needs Empire State Development to grant a waiver due to the regulations attached to the Restore New York grant the project received but that cannot happen until Mr. Wu meets nine requirements set by the Town of Richmondville, which holds the final say on whether a waiver request will be submitted or not.
The Schoharie News received a copy of the nine requirements earlier this afternoon in an e-mail from a concerned resident. In order for the Town of Richmondville to sign off on a waiver request, Mr. Wu must meet the following stipulations:
1. Approval from: a) all lenders; b) NYS Business Dev. Corp. c) SBA d) Co. IDA
2. Written consent and guarantee on all secondary grant disbursement agreements with the Town, and the Town's related security agreements.
3. Assurance of no damage to the building, equipment; and is ready for immediate operation.
4. $20,000 deposit to be held in escrow by the town for a mandated federal audit of the Community Development Block Grant of $650,000.
5. Payment of town's expense for hiring Orion Management Co. (currently $5,500; expected additional $5,000)
6. Payment of unpaid water bill to the town.
7. Power bill - to be handled by the Village of Richmondville.
8. Compliance with Orion Management Co.'s demands in preparing and submitting required employment records to meet federal regulations pertaining to the CDBG.
9. Compliance with Orion Management Co.'s demands in furnishing complete records pertaining to the expenditure of $75,000 for the purchase of the adjacent Chichester land, to meet the regulations of the RestoreNY grant.
It remains to be seen if Mr. Wu will be able to overcome the obstacles constructed by the Town of Richmondville and acquire Maranatha, obstacles he described as business unfriendly at Tuesday's meeting, but regardless the situation involving the multi-million dollar project and future ownership will continue to remain fluid.

Investor Makes Case for Maranatha Change

Written By Editor on 11/12/13 | 11/12/13

Interest in the Town of Richmondville's special board meeting on Maranatha and the potential for a new investor to come in reached such levels yesterday afternoon that the Town Court exceeded its occupancy level of 46 people and proceedings were moved to the Fire Department less then a half mile down Main Street to accommodate the approximately 75 residents that were in attendance.
With substantial debts including electric and water bills, an unpaid consultant and a roughly $20,000 equipment audit facing whomever acquires Maranatha, potential investor Da-Lai Wu said that it was a "no brainer" that all outstanding bills would have to be paid in advance of his New York City investment firm's potential takeover.
Mr. Wu, who addressed the audience of residents and politicians, told the crowd that in the future he needs assurance that the Town of Richmondville wouldn't continue what he summarized as a business unfriendly attitude towards the project he is seeking to acquire. Saying that if he wanted to expand Maranatha to include a tennis court or other buildings under his potential ownership that he should be able to do so without hindrance.
However, with the original project dependent on millions in state grants, and the strings that are attached, nothing can occur unless all parties involved are on board for a waiver by Empire State Development, which will need the cooperation of the thus far skeptical Town of Richmondville to be considered.
Stella McKenna, who currently owns Maranatha and is operating out of her secondary location in Cobleskill for the time being, said that "this needs to happen now" and that we "can't wait another week." State Senator Jim Seward concurred, stating that "if nothing happens, it remains an empty building."

Town of Richmondville Board to Meet November 12th on Maranatha

Written By Editor on 11/10/13 | 11/10/13

The Richmondville Town Board will be holding a special meeting on Tuesday, November 12th at 10:00 am to discuss the Maranatha Project and other town business. The meeting will be held at the Town Court and comes after months of public scrutiny over the process leading up to and after the project was shut down due to accumulating energy debts owed to Richmondville Power and Light.

Residents have raised concerns on Maranatha for a variety of reasons ranging from the project's misuse of state grants, which is currently under investigation by the Office of the State Comptroller, to its six month backlog of electric bills that despite the Village of Richmondville's best efforts could not be met under a budget plan.
For two months the publicly funded $5 million facility on Route 7 has sat in the dark, forcing Maranatha to resume activities in their old offices in Cobleskill while frustrating both customers and residents alike over the costly project's shuttered doors and faulty fiscal mismanagement, which might be leading to organizational changes within.
According to the project's official facebook page on Tuesday, November 5th: "We are still working with an investor and new management." Adding that "There are certain legal precedents that must be processed in order for the investor to come on board. Once the paperwork is finalized, a date for reopening will be set."
One can only assume that the content of Tuesday's board meeting will cover recent developments concerning a new investor and management team at Maranatha, which may or may not lead to the facility's eventual reopening. But whatever the case, there are still many unanswered questions that the public has the right to know on the project's series of financial missteps, fiscal mismanagement and questionable adherence to state grants.

Another Heroin Arrest in Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 11/6/13 | 11/6/13

A 41 year old was arrested for possession of heroin in Cobleskill. This follows another bust just several weeks ago. Joseph Panetta of Cobleskill was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors, possession of a controlled substance and of a hypodermic instrument. He was held in jail and had a court date yesterday.

Opinion: Holmes in Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 11/4/13 | 11/4/13

This year's election cycle brings many lynchpin races to our County. One of the largest is for the most powerful executive of all of the County villages. Cobleskill has been mired in economic doldrums since the middle of the last decade and has not had the leadership needed to right itself.

Mike Sellers started the trend, accentuated by the 2008 Great Recession and followed by a term of confusion before Mark Galasso took over in 2010. Mr. Galasso is a smart businessman and has shown in his personal life that he knows how to turn a profit. Unfortunately, he has also shown with his Route 7 water deal that he is able to turn a personal profit from efforts on behalf of taxpayers.

His single minded support for the dissolution of the Village of Cobleskill is unfounded and in poor taste following revelations that Town taxes would inevitably jump in the process. Dissolution can be studied but should not be carried out. As Mr. Galasso has said in the past-- a vote for him is a vote for dissolution. If you do not want dissolution, then holding back a vote for either is a smart idea.

Linda Holmes has served her community for decades in various capacities. Her ability to corral resources and people for many goals is a worthy skill and a great indication of what she would do as Mayor. Holmes' tenure on the Village Board has been one of a pensive, caring individual that has the governmental experience to be able to carry out the job-- and carry it out well.

Mr. Galasso is a smart, cultured man that was clearly out of place as Mayor of Cobleskill and should return to the family business. Linda Holmes has all of the qualities that residents of Cobleskill should want to lead the community for the next two years.

Murray's Tenure Sees Mixed Economic Record in Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 10/29/13 | 10/29/13

Cobleskill Tom Murray is running for a third term in Cobleskill, fresh off of both his largest success and his largest failure of his tenure. The two events happened in succession this year: Supervisor Murray and other officials heralded the opening of an expansion of Cobleskill Village water lines towards Howe Caverns. Shortly thereafter, Murray and Mayor Mark Galasso's pitch for Butternuts Brewery to come into the former Guilford Mills building failed narrowly at the County Board.

Water lines will bring in a Stewart's.

No second loan will mean no brewery, and no expansion of 50-60 jobs.

To be sure, Tom Murray took office during a recession after the 2009 elections. He and then-newly elected Mayor Mark Nadeau intended to bring a new style of administration after the fall of past Mayor Mike Sellers. Sellers' indecision killed a deal to bring in Lowe's and other projects for Guilford.

However, Murray's experience as a businessman has translated into a mixed record for the community's businesses.

Primary growth has come from the building and re-building of businesses in town: one new and one improved pharmacy along Main Street and a "new" Stewart's and McDonald's. However, just down the street saw Borst Tire Center closed and in rough shape. Justine's has opened its doors but nothing has been done about the former mattress store near Key Bank.

Beyond this, issues revolving around business moving out of the Village has surfaced. Much as expansion along the Route 30 corridor have changed Amsterdam dramatically, Mayor Galasso and Supervisor Murray's water line idea will, by design, draw business away from the commercial center of town.

Ultimately, both Galasso and Murray have their re-election bids largely based on whether or not this business shift is a good idea. The voters will decide that on Tuesday.

No Butternuts: Guilford Mills Back on Market

Written By Editor on 10/18/13 | 10/18/13

In a move that will most likely preclude Butternuts Brewery from coming to Schoharie County, the County Board of Supervisors just minutes ago voted to place the building back on the market. The Brewery will not be receiving a second loan offer.

If the Brewery would still like to purchase the building they will need to bid on the open market. Investors had asked for more time. County Treasurer Bill Cherry will be administering the process.

Across County, Sellers' Legacy Remains

Written By Editor on 10/15/13 | 10/15/13

Normally, the legacy of a giant in local politics hangs heavy over an area-- even after their retirement or death. There are still many that fondly remember Arlington van Dyke's tenure as Middleburgh's Mayor and Supervisor, as well as Chair of the Board of Supervisors and Assemblyman. A positive influence of a man or woman involved in local community groups, politics, and business can be a legacy that is tried in earnest to meet.

But this is not always the case.

Take the tenure of Cobleskill Mayor Michael Sellers from 2005-2009. He defeated former Mayor Bill Gilmore and Robert LaPietra. Sellers was elected with under 50% of the vote in the contentious race. Sellers was reportedly surprised as anyone by his victory-- and his governing style showed it. The campaign was heavily dependent on SUNY Cobleskill students re-registering to vote in the local election and was able to secure the victory.

Sellers came into the office with no allies on the Board and no political experience. With no legislative or executive experience, the young mayor was quickly sidelined by a Board eager to pursue different interests. His rival Gilmore carried a 2007 trustee race and appeared set to run for mayor again in 2009 but died early that year.

Mr. Sellers' lack of a firm platform played havoc with his attempted accomplishments. A move that he lauded-- taking out flouride from drinking water-- was overturned by his own administration in 2009. His waffling in regards to the proposed facility at Guilford Mills and Lowe's left Cobleskill's economy rudderless.

Meanwhile Mayor Sellers planted the seeds for future discord in Cobleskill politics. His alliance with then-Trustee Galasso to begin a dissolution study is handicapping the future of the Village. Galasso won in 2009 on the dissolution platform and now that the potential effects are being felt, voters are feeling a bit gunshy. Sellers' reputation of being boxed in was on display when pushing the process forward in 2009. The same was seen in the fact that due to the four year slog of Sellers' administration, the Village of Cobleskill switched to a two-year term system for both the Mayor and Trustees.

The instability continued even after Sellers quietly left office in 2009 without running for re-election. The damage was done as the "law-and-order" candidate Mark Nadeau quickly ruined his career while using the N-word with Supervisor Tom Murray. After a short caretaker administration, Mark Galasso swept into office in 2010 and was re-elected in 2011. Cobleskill has had four different mayors since November 2009 and ten since 1990.

Sellers' legacy is a complicated one but an overwhelmingly negative one. Residents of the County that were willing to take a chance on an inexperienced 21 year old in Cobleskill could be shy to support even an experienced candidate like Shawn Smith of Fultonham, Sean Jordan of Jefferson, or Matthew Avitabile of Middleburgh. This hesitancy is understandable-- but could prevent hangers-on like Dan Singletary or William McCabe from getting the boot after their expiration dates.

Mayor Sellers also muddied the water of Cobleskill's electoral politics-- almost forcing a pendulum shift towards candidates like Nadeau and Galasso. Ultimately, if Sellers' dissolution study forces the end of the Village he would have another notch in his resume. Still, for most Cobleskill residents it is a record that they wish he did not have at all.

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