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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Jefferson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jefferson. Show all posts

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Oorah on Tax Exemptions

Written By Editor on 7/22/14 | 7/22/14

After years of legal proceedings spanning two different municipal administrations, the New Jersey based Jewish organization Oorah has declared victory in what its attorney John Privitera called a, "landmark decision," on Friday evening over the Town of Jefferson.

It came in the hours following the New York State Supreme Court Third Appellate Division's unanimous ruling that the charitable entity was entitled to property tax exemptions at its facility located at the old Deer Run Ski Lodge near the Schoharie/Delaware county line on State Route 10. 

The not-for-profit summer resort/weekend camp getaway for underprivileged children praised the Supreme Court of Appeals in a press release issued over the weekend, quoting camp director Avraham Krawiec as stating, "we were confident in our decision to fight this injustice to the very end."

In response to the ruling, Town of Jefferson Supervisor Sean Jordan told the Schoharie News that, "The Town recognizes the recent decision rendered by the New York Supreme Court of Appeals, and will respect their decision as well as continue to pursue what is in the best interests of the Town, just as Oorah will understandably do what is in their best interests.

Oorah, which - in addition to its Jefferson site - has a camp located in the Town of Gilboa, has owned the property in question since 2010. The charitable organization has alleged animosity on the part of officials that have worked to deter them; namely, former Supervisor Dan Singletary, who was defeated by Mr. Jordan in the midst of the Fitzmaurice Report fallout last year. 

The Town of Jefferson has maintained that Oorah had failed to supply sufficient documentation before its Board of Assessment Review on multiple occasions, an argument that had been twice received favorably by Judge Eugene Devine of the Schoharie County Supreme Court in past cases. 

However, to the extent that previous decisions had found the religious organization to be not entitled to tax exemptions as written in federal law, the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Friday morning that they had been in, "error."

Mr. Jordan would later comment that both sides are "working amicably" to resolve other issues concerning building code statutes, and that, "The overall goal is to create an environment where the two sets of interests can coexist." 

Oorah, Town of Jefferson Reach Agreement on Gym; Certificates Could be Issued Within Month

Written By Editor on 5/23/14 | 5/23/14

An agreement has been reached between Oorah and the Town of Jefferson to resolve the two parties latest legal spat after the New Jersey based Jewish charity initiated legal action against the municipality and its Building Inspector last week to obtain Certificates of Occupancy for a recently constructed gymnasium on its grounds. 

As part of the agreement's stipulations, Oorah provided the municipality with a $7,500 check for Town of Jefferson officials to contract a third party engineering service to complete the required inspections, submissions, drawings and other materials related to the structure in a good faith measure to have the certificates issued within the next thirty days. 

Avraham Krawiec, Director of Oorah's TheZone camps, hailed the news by stating the agreement, "has clearly set forth a plan to finalize this structure and ensure that we will have an operational gymnasium for the upcoming camp season." He would go on to add that, "The true winners today are the children who call our camp home each summer.”

Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald W. Connolly ordered the agreement into effect Thursday morning in Schoharie County Court after representatives of both parties agreed to the necessary stipulations and terms. When asked for his thoughts on the agreement, Supervisor Sean Jordan told the Schoharie News that he saw, "no problem with the way it was written."

Oorah Sues Town of Jefferson to Open New Gym to Campers

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

In a press release issued late Thursday afternoon, representatives of the New Jersey based Jewish charity Oorah announced that the organization has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Jefferson in order to secure the issuance of certificates of occupancy from the town's Building Inspector Keith Brooks. 

Oorah, which has summer camps in both the southern Schoharie County Towns of Gilboa and Jefferson, have alleged that Mr. Brooks has illegally withheld the certificates of occupancy for the recently built state of the art gymnasium on the property to deny the organization its rightful tax exemption. Campers wont be able to use the gym until the certificates are issued. 

Avraham Krawiec, Director of Oorah's TheZone camps, said that he believes, "It is unfortunate that we have been forced to the courts to resolve this issue," but he would later go on to add that, "At this point however, we have been stonewalled and mistreated for far too long. Time is of the essence in order to have this brand-new gym available for our campers who need it this summer."

The organization, which houses Jewish camp-age children from across the region in their two Schoharie County facilities, maintain that they have attempted to rectify the issue outside of the court system for years, but that both the town under former Supervisor Daniel Singletary and Mr. Brooks have actively resisted their efforts at every step of the process. 

Lamenting that, "It is truly a pity that we are being compelled to spend a charity's resources - time, money, and energy - on a matter which should have been simple," Krawiec viewed the situation positively that with a friendlier administration in place that, "we only hope that we can give our campers in Jefferson the same experience," as their counterparts in Gilboa. 

Jefferson School Board Adopts 2014-15 Budget, 2.41% Tax Increase Under State Cap

Written By Editor on 4/28/14 | 4/28/14

Last Tuesday evening, the Jefferson Central School Board of Education unanimously approved the proposed 2014-15 operating budget for the rural school of approximately three hundred students in southern Schoharie County.

The budget, which will be presented to district voters on Tuesday, May 20 for final adoption or public veto, calls for a 2.41% increase in real property taxes for local homeowners, which is under the state imposed property tax cap.

According to a press release issued by district officials, the school was able to keep costs down by eliminating or not filling two personnel positions, while reducing another staff member to part-time employment. The district has reduced personnel by 15% since 2005 while maintaining a consistent number of enrolled students. 

US News and World Reports recently named Jefferson Central School as one of America's best high schools for the fifth time in nine years, a feat Superintendent Carl Mummenthey called an, "independent validation of our school's success."

The district's annual budget hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The annual budget vote and board elections, which two incumbents are vying for reelection to, will be held from noon until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20 in the library lobby.

Jefferson Woman Arrested for Welfare Fraud

Written By Editor on 4/19/14 | 4/19/14

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of a Jefferson woman, now identified as thirty-three year old Clara Cross, on an arrest warrant out of the Village of Schoharie Court on 3 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 2nd Degree and 2 Counts of Welfare Fraud in the 5th Degree.

Ms. Cross was arrested at approximately 6:30 pm last Friday evening, and was subsequently released and issued a ticket to reappear in the Village of Schoharie Court on Tuesday, April 22. 

Woman's Search for Childhood Horse Brings Her to Schoharie County

Written By Editor on 1/26/14 | 1/26/14

Three decades ago Laurie DeFeo was forced to give up her beloved childhood horse Tara when her parents divorced and subsequently sold the family's horse farm. Tara was given up to a girl who promised to keep the small grey Arabian, but would end up selling the horse anyway. 

Tara in a photo taken in 1990
Laurie would eventually find the filly and her newborn foal Sabrina in 1990 at Perry Farm in Putnam Valley, Putnam County, New York. The farm was owned by Diane Janecek and after visiting her old horse, Laurie knew that she could still not care for Tara and the recently born foal, but was glad she was healthy and well taken care of. 

Tara and her young foal Sabrina 
Twenty years later Laurie was in the process of settling in Millbrook, a small Duchess County Village that is home to numerous national celebrities and hosts several horse farms. The latter of which stirred decades old memories of Tara within her former owner and spurred the now grown woman to find out what ever did happen to her horse.
Sabrina has a distinctive blaze with a half moon shape over her right eye
Her search led to John Coyne, a former employee of the long shuttered Perry Farm, who remembers transporting Tara and Sabrina to a horse farm somewhere in Schoharie County, or at the border of a nearby county. His fuzzy memory of the long since forgotten journey places the farm near the Harpersfield/Jefferson town line, however nothing more has been discovered.

Since then Laurie has been traveling up to Schoharie County on the weekends; driving around, leaving flyers in mailboxes, talking to people and trying to find anyone who may know her horse's whereabouts. She has received tremendous support from the area, but unfortunately no leads on either Tara or Sabrina have turned up. 

Although realizing her search is a long shot, Laurie feels compelled to unearth the story of Tara and Sabrina. She recently reached out to the Schoharie News on the advice of a local horse owner in hopes of spreading her story across the county and finally learning where her horses are or what their stories were. 

Laurie offered the following description of Tara and Sabrina: 
Tara is 3/4 Arabian, and was about 10 years old at the time (her birthday is Memorial Day). Her coloring is a very light dapple grey/almost white; she is on the small side, just under 15 hands. She is smart, and a bit headstrong and feisty. Tara had just given birth to a chestnut foal named (at the time) Sabrina. Sabrina could have grayed out like her mother, and of course its possible their names were changed.
Tara would now be 35 years old if she is still alive, while Sabrina would be approximately 23. Laurie has felt compelled to search for both horses and would gladly give either Tara or Sabrina, or both a home again if need be. Or simply, she would just like to know that they are safe and happy.

If you have any knowledge of Tara or Sabrina's whereabouts, please contact either the Schoharie News at or Laurie directly at with any and all information that may lead to a resolution in Ms. DeFeo's inspiring and touching story of love, devotion and search for closure. 

Three Arrests Made in Camp Oorah Burglary; Most of Stolen Goods Recovered

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

Just days after the break-in of Jefferson's TheZone Oorah campsite was initially reported, from which burglars stole thousands of dollars worth of ATV's, gaming consoles and several flat screen televisions that belonged to the Jewish affiliated retreat, New York State Police in Cobleskill have announced the arrest of three suspects in connection to the crime.
It was the culmination of efforts during a week long, multi-county investigation conducted by State Police from the Cobleskill, Stamford and Liberty stations that led to the apprehension and arraignment of Jose Lopez-Hernandez, 43, of Liberty, New York; Alexander Barragan-Pineda, 21, of Parksville, New York and Matthew Huebsch, 20, also of Liberty, New York. All three suspects were remanded to Schoharie County Jail on $15,000 cash and $30,000 bond.
According to representatives of the New Jersey based Oorah, "Footage captured by surveillance cameras on site and combed through by TheZone employees and volunteers was instrumental in cracking the case," which resulted in not only the detainment of all three suspects but also the recovery of most of the reported stolen property.  Just in time for a previously scheduled New Years weekend retreat by the non-profit organization.
The suspects are scheduled to reappear in the Town of Jefferson Court on Monday, December 16th.

Thieves Steal ATV's, Game Consoles and More from Jefferson Oorah Camp; Two Thousand Dollar Reward Offered for Info

Written By Editor on 12/8/13 | 12/8/13

In what can only be described as a despicable act, thieves targeted Jefferson's TheZone campsite that is run by the New Jersey based Jewish organization Oorah on Tuesday evening - in the midst of Hanukkah - and stole thousands of dollars worth of ATV's, gaming consoles and television screens that children affiliated with the charity use on retreats to the complex formerly known as Deer Run Ski Lodge.
Rabbi Avraham Krewiec, who is director of both TheZone campsites in Schoharie County, said that "these items are used in the camp to give the children a great time." He added that "during a winter retreat, a functioning game room is a significant indoor activity that really contributes a lot to the success of the weekend."
According to an official press release issued by representatives of Oorah
Security cameras on site caught footage of the robbery. New York State police are reviewing the footage, which includes several images of the thieves. Oorah is enhancing these images and will be releasing them to the public shortly. Camp representatives are confident that with the help of the state police, who are working diligently on the case, the perpetrators will be apprehended before long.
This has encouraged officials within TheZone, which also has a second campsite in the Town of Gilboa, to offer a $2,000 reward to anyone who can provide local authorities with information leading to the arrest of the thieves and the return of the gaming equipment, which they hope will be recovered in time for an upcoming scheduled New Years weekend retreat.
"It's horrifying to think that anyone would be callous enough to steal games from children," lamented Rabbi Krawiec, who concluded his statement by saying: "especially during the holiday season and especially from a non-profit." If anyone has any information regarding this crime, please contact the State Police, Sheriff's office or Oorah with whatever details you can provide.

State Police Arrest Jefferson Woman for DWI

Written By Editor on 12/1/13 | 12/1/13

The New York State Police stationed in Cobleskill arrested Heather Cunningham of Jefferson, New York for Driving While Intoxicated on November 30th, 2013 following reports of a property damage accident on North Harpersfield Road in the Town of Jefferson.
Heather Cunningham, 30, of Jefferson
According to investigators Ms. Cunningham "was operating the vehicle and exited the roadway coming to rest against a row of pine trees." She was then administered the standardized field sobriety tests, which she failed, and was then transported to the Cobleskill station for processing.
Ms. Cunningham was issued Uniform Traffic Tickets returnable to the Town of Jefferson court on Monday, Decembber 9th, 2013 at 7pm.
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

Board of Elections Complaint Alleges Push Polling in Jefferson Race

Written By Editor on 11/1/13 | 11/1/13

Disconcerting allegations of push polling and deception in the Town of Jefferson Supervisor election have made their way to the Schoharie County District Attorney's office after a initial complaint was filed with the Board of Elections on Tuesday afternoon.

The complaint, which was forwarded to the District Attorney's office on the recommendation of both the county's election commissioners (GOP Chairman Lewis Wilson, Democrat Chairman Clifford Hay), alleges that a poll being conducted by CSI Campaign Research was intentionally skewing their questions to create a negative portrayal of Republican Sean Jordan and the nature of his separation from county employment.

According to details the Schoharie News learned off the record and were confirmed by one of the election commissioners in a phone conversation earlier this afternoon, the poll asked a series of three questions - the first of which concerned the emergency broadcast system, followed by one that asked if the participant would vote for Supervisor Dan Singletary if he proposed a 0% tax increase, with the last asking if the respondent would vote for Mr. Jordan if they knew he was fired from his county position.

The last section is what spurred one recipient of the survey to file a complaint with the Board of Elections, due to the fact it untruthfully claimed that Mr. Jordan was fired from his position as an Economic Development Assistant when in reality he was layed-off in December 2011. Mr. Jordan later sought reinstatement in Jordan v. Schoharie County, accusing Alicia Terry of wrongful termination based on "personal animus," but was denied.

Neither the Board of Elections nor the Schoharie News has been able to discover any information on the alleged polling firm in the complaint, which now awaits further investigation by the District Attorney's office.

Opinion: A Clear Choice in Jefferson

Written By Editor on 10/8/13 | 10/8/13

We've heard enough here at the Schoharie News to make up our minds on another pivotal election. Yes, Jefferson may only control about 1-2% of the weighted votes on the County Board, but it has become one of the most important-- and contested races in the whole County.

It all started with the machinations of current Supervisor Dan Singletary. His boisterous, condescending attitude on the Board helped sharpen the fissures already affecting the body. The current term of the County Board may have had the most trouble of any in the last several decades and much of it had to do with the stonewalling and bizarre tactics of one Supervisor in particular.

In a race like this, an editorial is supposed to list at least a few positive accomplishments of the candidate we do not endorse. I'm sure that Mr. Singletary has accomplished something positive on the County level during his time in office, but we can't find anything of note. Perhaps it would be better just to leave that box unchecked as his antics have caused more harm than good.

Surely County Treasurer Bill Cherry made the right call in aiding Singletary's ouster from the GOP ticket but our decision is based on more than that.

The residents of Jefferson-- and the entire County-- need someone that will be able to work with the people around him-- both in politics and outside. His outbursts are unacceptable and are holding back some important efforts.

Now, we could not endorse if there wasn't a better candidate. Fortunately, there is.

Sean Jordan is an excellent example for the people of Jefferson and the wider County. A near-expert in planning and development issues, Mr. Jordan can do tasks that other Supervisors would have to pay for. He could write grants, work with people at the County and State level that he has already been in professional contact with-- and come in with a positive attitude and demeanor that Mr. Singletary never has. He has the drive and the experience to take on the task at both the Town and County level.

Mr. Jordan is an intelligent, thoughtful candidate and the one fit to lead Jefferson for the next two years.

Singletary Slams Cherry on Site Followed by Bizarre Gun Imagery

Written By Editor on 9/9/13 | 9/9/13

Jefferson Supervisor Dan Singletary is not taking his Republican Party caucus defeat lightly. Singletary's loss partially due to the intercession of County Treasurer Bill Cherry has not sat well with the Supervisor, who has launched his opinion in the pages of the Times Journal and on his own site, (NOT associated with this website).
Singletary writes in part:
However, the question is should the "County Treasurer use his office to pick and choose Supervisors"?
However, Singletary's writings against the Treasurer are followed by a seemingly pre-existing passage about gun ownership in the form of a poem by Carl Sandberg.

Mr. Singletary quotes part of the poem directly below his musings:
"little human forefinger can tell a terrible story"
From the original.

Bill Cherry: Defending the Interests of the County

Written By Editor on 9/5/13 | 9/5/13

A lot has been made about Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry's decision to wade into Jefferson's Town election this year. His action in sending letters to every one of the Republican voters in the Town proved decisive in taking down the incumbent Supervisor Dan Singletary. Cherry wrote in part that he "has squandered his chance to get things done for Jefferson by becoming the object of public scorn as a result of his dramatics and bluster at the monthly meetings of the county Board of Supervisors."

 Singletary, who has become known as perhaps the most combative County Supervisor, did not appreciate the barb. He accused Cherry of campaigning against him, which the Treasurer does not deny. Still, the 69-36 vote split broke decisively against Mr. Singletary and towards Sean Jordan, who appears primed to win in November.

 While there has been some criticism of Cherry's role in the caucus, it is obvious that his actions have defended the interests of the taxpayers of Schoharie County. Mr. Cherry represents the voters of Jefferson the same as Mr. Singletary-- and indeed for far longer. Mr. Cherry grew tired of the obstinance that Mr. Singletary represented on the County Board, such as that of former Seward Town Supervisor Larry Phillips.

 Mr. Cherry has made a name for himself defending the interests of the taxpayers of Schoharie County. Mr. Singletary's antics are not becoming of an elected official and Mr. Cherry has made sure that such an appellation will not refer to him as such for much longer.

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