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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Irene. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irene. Show all posts

County Building Floodgates Opened in Ceremony

Written By Editor on 10/29/16 | 10/29/16

The County Building was bustling Friday night. A crowd of about fifty people gathered for the opening of the floodgate project surrounding the building. Introduced by Darlene Patterson of the Schoharie Promotional Association, the event started around 5pm. County Treasurer and Flood Recovery Manager Bill Cherry was the emcee, discussing the logistics of the project and thanking those involved.

Cherry began by saying the project had a "slight asterisk." The wall is designed to withstand a 100 year flood plus another two feet. It would not be enough to sustain another Irene. The County government pushed for a wall tall enough to do so, but FEMA responded by saying that Irene was the "flood of record" and unlikely to happen again.

 Cherry referred to the project as a "terrific accomplishment." He began to thank those involved, giving credit for the idea to Darlene Patterson and Diana Jackson of the Promotional Association. The new structure is a "community courtyard," he said.

Cherry thanked Dave Nichols of Labella Associates Engineering, referring to him as the "father of the floodgates." Nichols determined how to install a giant curtain of concrete to protect the building from 32 feet of groundwater.

The Treasurer also thanked members of BBL Construction, Lamont Engineering, and Simmons Recovery. He said that Simmons acquired the money for the project and found a way for FEMA to pay for their expenses.

Cherry continued, calling the project "one small piece of the County government's recovery efforts." He also thanked the County employees for their hard work, especially Sheryl Largeteau. He then introduced Supervisors Earl VanWormer of Esperance, Chris Tague of Schoharie, and Harold Vroman of Summit.
Supervisor VanWormer, the current Board Chair, thanked many. He said that this project was especially important to him considering that he was personally affected by the flood. The Chair then thanked Assemblyman Lopez for finding state funding for the project. Lopez said that it was his "goal to give people peace."

Supervisor Tague then thanked the Treasurer, saying that the project was "beautiful." Tague said that the project showed that Schoharie's "best days are yet to come."

The last remarks came from County employee and Schoharie Village Trustee Larry Caza, who complimented the hard work on the project. He said that "The Village's downtown is the Town's downtown. The Town's downtown is the County's downtown." Cherry thanked his support and that of Mayor John Borst. Caza thanked the Promotional Association.

The group traveled outside for a symbolic ribbon cutting, followed by a cake and coffee.

Board Reaffirms Blenheim Bridge Project

Written By Editor on 9/16/16 | 9/16/16

By Tyler James

The Blenheim Bridge was a major topic of conversation today at the Board of Supervisors meeting. Multiple residents and supervisors opined about the future of the project.

Treasurer Bill Cherry asked the board to give permission for Blenheim Long Term's chair Don Airey to speak. Airey thanked a number of volunteers for work done on behalf of Blenheim and working with the County on the Blenheim Bridge projects. He also thanked members of the flood committee and Cherry for work "behind the scenes" on flood recovery.

Airey described the new Blenheim Bridge project as, "something the County will ultimately benefit from." He stated that surrounding towns would also benefit economically due to the bridge project. He highlighted an individual that preserved many original pieces of the bridge.

Concern was raised about the cost and timeliness of the project by Supervisor Bill Federice of Conesville. He asked what would happen if Blenheim led the project with Schoharie County acting in the background. He praised the residents of the town.

Supervisor Phil Skowfoe of Fulton stated that he has supported the program all along and now that it is "down to the wire," the board should not change course. Supervisor Leo McAllister stated that the course of the project and new cost projections created "concern." Chair Earl VanWormer stated that the southern part of the county could "use a boost in the arm." He said that this project could bring new visitors to the area. He also said that if the money wasn't spent locally it would be used elsewhere and not for the benefit of Schoharie County. McAllister replied by stating that such issues were part of the reason the federal government has a $20 trillion debt.

"What happens if this goes over the $10.2 million budget?" asked Supervisor Chris Tague from Schoharie. He also asked if FEMA would cover any overage. Tague recommended that Blenheim should take on the project on its own.

"You're confusing your streambank project with this project," said Treasurer Cherry. He said that the flood wall project is finishing on time and budget. "With due respect, the flood recovery projects cannot be lumped into," this one. He mentioned that the County Board asked the flood recovery committee unanimously to pursue the Blenheim Bridge's replacement. "FEMA has approved the project. FEMA will cover all the costs of this project," Cherry said. If there were issues beyond the current scope, FEMA would reimburse the county.

"I didn't bring up anything about the streambank project, Bill. I asked you a simple question," Tague replied.

Cherry asked that the County should make a decision today and that if there was to go forward or not, the time for saying so was soon.

"We're not just wasting money. We're bringing money back in," said Supervisor Skowfoe.

Treasurer Cherry was asked what would happen if the county dropped the project at this point. The Treasurer replied that the county would have to pay back $600,000 to the federal government for project costs already spent. Supervisor Shawn Smith of Blenheim said that the Town would assist the county as much as possible.

Supervisor Tague stated that "after the project is done. What we would like to see if the folks of Blenheim own that project... We're not against the project." Tague stated that he believed Cherry did a great job as the flood recovery coordinator and asked again about what would happen if the project went over its budget.

The measure came to a roll call vote to reaffirm support of the project. Of the supervisors, the vote was unanimous except for Supervisor Pete Coppolo of Middleburgh, who voted no.

Creek Project Faces a Variety of Delays, Progress

By Tyler James

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors heard an update on the continuing delays over the post-flood creek mitigation project.

Jim Bridges, representative from McLaren Engineering gave an update on the county's creek project. Much of the discussion revolved around the upper site project close out at Dave Brown Mountain. The group has the final $162,000 funding request from NRCS. He said that this money should be available to the county in the next one or two weeks. There is another $127,000 reimbursement pending from New York State pending completion of the entire project. There would be no penalties from the state if the work completed by the County is not maintained by it.

The lower site is slated for completion soon. The "remediation work was done in July. Completed in August." This included a $362,000 project completion request from the contractor, who should be paid next week. Two change orders slightly modified the project due to different site conditions and to meet regulatory approval. These tally to about $30,000 in costs. There are other reimbursements that are upcoming. In total, this includes about $700,000 in reimbursements pending for the lower site, expected over the next several months.

Another site discussed was Plattekill. The representative stated that there has been work in the last month to move from approval from NRCS for action to a set of plans. There is hope that these changes could save approximately $100,000 in savings for that portion of the process. This process was ongoing and was expecting more comments from the organization in about a week.

The engineering firm is finalizing plans for how the stream cleanup on site will occur in cooperation with Rifenburg construction. "It's very difficult for them to give us a price." There's a cap of $350,000 for such consulting with the expectation that the total should be lower. Approval from DEC could further lower the cost. The representative stated that there was regulatory concern about some work done in 2015 with hope that it can be resolved without cost.

"There is slightly more than $2.2 million in reimbursement available," for the remainder of the project.

Of the projects, the Little Schoharie was described as the "most complicated," in the presentation. Work was described in four sections, denoted by letters. Ridge D, worked during winter 2014-2015 was suspended due to the harshness of the season and then damaged in water runoff in spring 2015. This portion is now completed. Two of the other sections were damaged due to recent water flow in Huntersland. Ridge A has been stalled due to funding issues and due to summer storms. AECOM is currently in "delicate negotiations" to resolve who is responsible for funding.

The final site discussed was Line Creek. This included NRCS concern about the current hydraulic model. New modeling has been done in the last several months and "has taken longer than we wanted." The model is currently undergoing hydraulic calculations. If these are not satisfactory there could be another period of planning required.

All permits are required for reimbursement. "In many cases we don't have the permits in place," for reimbursement. The entire project of reimbursement through different agencies should take significant time.

The last part of the presentation was about the AECOM contract. Supervisor Chris Tague of Schoharie made a motion to enter into executive session. The board unanimously approved the measure, which lasted for about an hour.

Vote in Our New Poll: Have We Recovered from Irene?

Written By Editor on 12/14/14 | 12/14/14

Make sure to vote in our newest poll. Has the Valley from Blenheim on up properly recovered from Hurricane Irene?
Has the Valley Recovered from Irene? free polls

Scenes of Irene: An Unseen Photoseries

Written By Editor on 9/26/14 | 9/26/14

Reader Ken Hubert sent us photos that he took of the area during and following August 2011's devastating flooding. Below are several photos of the Schoharie Valley during the disaster.

 Several from Mill Valley Road in Middleburgh.

To see the wider album, click here. For the Mill Valley album, click here.

Bounty of the County Recalls Hard Work, Future Progress

Written By Editor on 7/4/14 | 7/4/14

SALT held its second annual Bounty of the County dinner at the Carrot Barn last Saturday, attracting over 100 people for the fundraiser. The feast was set to raise thousands for flood recovery and highlight the hard work of many volunteers over the last three years.

The guests of honor included the Beekman Boys, who recounted that there was something unique to Schoharie County and that flood recovery was close, but not complete.

SALT Executive Director Sarah Goodrich praised the efforts of volunteers putting together Schoharie, Esperance, and Middleburgh. She remarked that the progress seen was beyond anyone's imaginations in 2011.

Overall, attendance was estimated at around 120, including State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who said that he would be coming back shortly with union volunteers to further the volunteer effort.

Local Flood Leader Asks for Assistance Giving Back

Written By Editor on 4/14/14 | 4/14/14

For many, Joshua DeBartolo is considered the face and the main driver behind flood recovery in the County after 2011. The Middleburgh native played an essential role in the formation of Schoharie Recovery and personally assisted in the rebuilding of hundreds of homes and businesses after the flood. His leadership led to over $1 million in fundraising, over 28,000 meals served, and $9 million in volunteer value added.

Many would not be in their homes if not for him.

Now he is looking to spread his positive impact into other fields. He has been accepted to the StartingBloc Institute, which aims to build up skills and networks for motivated young people for a chance to make a difference. Mr. DeBartolo is looking to raise $500 of the $1,000 tuition needed for the conference taking place in Boulder, CO May 1-5.

He aims to build skills and connections to meet his goal to "improving disaster response and recovery both domestically and internationally."

More can be found here on his fundraising page.

Schoharie: The Little Village That Could

Written By Editor on 6/28/13 | 6/28/13

With the two year anniversary of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee's devastating flood of the Schoharie Valley fast approaching, nothing but amazing can describe the recent developments inside the Village of Schoharie and how good the epicenter of Irene's destruction looks today.
A visual reminder of how high the flood waters rose in August, 2011.
Over the past couple of months residents of Schoharie have watched as Creekside Sports, the Hive (a nice little antique shop on Main Street) and excitingly over the past couple of weeks into this weekend, long relocated county offices are finally moving back into the remodeled county building - bringing a combination of new businesses and old friends into the community.
The Village Commerce Center displays Schoharie's plan for regrowth
And if the business related developments weren't good enough, the Village looks absolutely stunning. The Courthouse stands tall in the middle of Main Street - the Parrot House standing lively to one side and the remodeled county building to the other - and all but a handful of store fronts are currently occupied with growing and quaint hard working small businesses.
True, Schoharie still suffers from decreased residency, due to the destruction of homes and property, and the long shuttered grocery store still haunts motorists as you approach from Middleburgh on Route 30, but the unbelievable resiliency of the Valley's hardest hit residents is nothing short of incredible and awe inspiring.  
The only question is: what is next for Schoharie? The little Village that could and will rebuild from the devastation of that horrific storm.

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