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Showing posts with label Schoharie County. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Schoharie County. Show all posts

Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 4/10/17 | 4/10/17

Wednesday April 5, 2017

At 10:47 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Savanna Jo Hotaling, 25, of Cobleskill, NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3rd.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

At 1:41 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Dylan G. Hendrick, 21, of Rensselaer, NY, for Trespass.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on April 11th at 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

At 2:25 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Keith Craig, 36, of Cobleskill, NY, for Disorderly Conduct.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on April 25th at 5:00 p.m.

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Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 3/27/17 | 3/27/17

Monday, March 20, 2017

At 3:15 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested John T. Rundblad, 24, of Worcester, NY, for Grand Larceny 4th and Petit Larceny.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on March 28th at 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

At 6:34 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Jonathan M. Winnie, 25, of Sharon Springs, NY, for Disorderly Conduct.  He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 28th at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

At 9:34 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Daniel St. Louis, 33, of Schoharie, NY, for Forcible Touching.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on April 11th at 5:00 p.m.

At 11:28 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Samantha Medico, 28, of Summit, NY, for a Bench Warrant for Failing to Appear.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released after paying $250 Bail.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on April 4th at 5:00 p.m.

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DA Race Kicks Off at Bipartisan Event

Written By Editor on 3/26/17 | 3/26/17

Schoharie's Quality Inn Hotel was packed with 140 people for the launch of Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith's candidacy for District Attorney.
A litany of public officials were present for the event, sponsored by the Democratic Party Chair Clifford Hay and Ten Pin Catering of Middleburgh.

Smith's campaign launched emphasized a non-partisan approach to local law enforcement issues, with a particular focus on eradicating heroin use in the County. Officials from a variety of communities were there. Present were the Democratic Supervisors of Fulton and Sharon, Phil Skowfoe and Sandra Manko, respectively. Republicans, Sheriff Tony Desmond and Supervisor Dave Simkins of Broome were there. Republican Supervisors Leo McAllister of Cobleskill and Pete Coppolo of Middleburgh both intended to go, but had other obligations, Smith said. Mayor of Cobleskill Linda Holmes and former Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon were also there.

The event included several speakers before Smith's campaign launch speech.

First was Sheriff Anthony Desmond, who spoke to Smith's commitment to law enforcement. "He's a good supporter of the Sheriff's Office," he said. "Shawn, like I said, is a great guy. You can talk to him. He'll listen to what you have to say. He comes up with a solution we can both live with.

Retired State Trooper Butch Ostrander spoke after the Sheriff. He told a personal story of watching the Supervisor grow up. Ostrander said he first met the candidate while Smith was working as a mechanic with his father. Smith, he said, spent his younger days logging and working on cars.

Sharon Supervisor Sandra Manko spoke next, explaining that Smith is a hard working member of the County Board and told a story of his early days in practice.

He decided to leave high school to become a mechanic full time. Ostrander said it's easy to drop out and chase an "easy buck" but that Smith then attended SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Albany, and finally Albany Law School.

Schoharie Town Attorney Michelle Storm spoke last. She was a classmate of Smith's at Albany Law and saw him as an energetic and skilled attorney who excelled at his coursework.

Last, Supervisor Smith spoke to the assembled crowd, as seen in our next article on the race. He emphasized that local efforts can reduce the rate of heroin addiction in Schoharie County. His campaign page can be found here.

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Mattress Charge Results in Split Vote

Written By Editor on 3/19/17 | 3/19/17

Following up on last month’s discussion to possibly increase the rate for disposing mattresses, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors debated a potential change to fees charged for disposing mattresses at their March 17th meeting.

Supervisor Phil Skowfoe of Fulton recommended changes to the mattress fee schedule. He said that other counties do recycling at about $20-25 per ton, which is about a wash.

Supervisor Larry Bradt of Carlisle said that he was against increased charges because it might be added to a larger pile of garbage. Supervisor Skowfoe said it was more expensive to ship the mattresses to the western part of the state. “You know that cause you was at that meeting,” he told Supervisor VanGlad of Gilboa. The new rate would be $140 per ton or about $20 per mattress individually. He said the additional mattresses take up more space and that

There was significant confusion about the weight of the mattress and how much each one would cost when disposed by itself or with a load of garbage. The box spring would not be included in such disposal.

“I called the damn question,” Skowfoe said, calling for a vote. Voting no were Supervisors Bradt, Coppolo, Hait, Federice, Tague, and Vroman. The vote passed by a “hair,” in the words of Supervisor VanGlad 1565-1409.

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Schoharie Supers Split on New Pistol Permit Position

Due to SAFE Act Mandates

The County Board split on whether to hire another clerk to process pistol permit paperwork. Due to new state mandates under the SAFE Act, an employee of the Sheriff’s Department has worked overtime to process them.

Supervisor Larry Bradt of Carlisle made a motion to hire another clerk at the Sheriff’s Department to aid in this process. This would be a six month, part time position with no benefits or health insurance. Supervisor Chris Tague of Schoharie asked for a roll call vote.

Supervisor Pete Coppolo asked if Sheriff’s Department correctional officers could work on some of the paperwork. Sheriff Desmond said that the County is already working with the minimum number of COs recommended by the NYS Corrections Commission.

Supervisor Bill Federice of Conesville gave statistics from the Finance Committee. He said that the person working overtime is doing one hour per week.

Supervisor Phil Skowfoe said that there is a long wait already. “You have to wait for them to call,” he said, adding things would go faster. Federice asked if it was due to the pistol recertification process. Supervisor Skowfoe asked for the Sheriff’s opinion. Sheriff Desmond said some people have pistol permits so old that they are now illegible or lost. Residents often come to the County if they lost or can’t read their permit number. “This thing is a total mess,” he said. “I don’t feel the lady working overtime is the proper solution to correcting this problem.”

Supervisor Dave Simkins of Broome asked if the County could bill the state for the time. Chair VanWormer said no.

Supervisor Tague called for a roll call vote. Voting no were Supervisors Bates of Seward, Coppolo, Federice, Hait of Jefferson, Tague, and Vroman of Summit. The measure passed by the weighted vote of 1818-1156.

Supervisor Bradt said there was action at the State Legislature regarding the SAFE Act. Senator Seward co-sponsored a bill to nullify the act outside of New York City. “If they want it down there, they can have it,” he said.

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Cherry: Jail Construction Likely in 2018

Schoharie County Treasurer and Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry gave a report to the Board of Supervisors on March 17th on the progress of various projects.

The County is considering purchasing a parcel adjacent to the Fire Training Center site and considering if they could combine the two parcels into a larger one. This could “provide a more economical and cost-effective option for construction” compared to having the building footprint in just the existing site, his report said. It may alleviate the concerns the NYS Commission of Corrections’ concerns about the site.

Phase I archaeological testing is complete at the Fire Training Center and no further testing will be required. Phase one testing is underway at the site next door, as well as at Shady Tree Lane and Zicha Road.

Phase I environmental testing is complete at the Fire Training Center, the adjoining site, and Shady Tree Lane. It is underway at Zicha Road. Phase II testing will not be needed at the additional site next to the Fire Training Center, but will be needed at the Center site itself and Shady Tree Lane. Surveys are underway at the Training Center and next door to see if they include wetlands. The surveys at the other two sites are complete.

Dente Engineering plans to conduct Geotechnical Soil Bornings at the Fire Training Center and next door March 20-24. The other sites’ borings will be planned after the FTC one is complete.

Cherry is working with LaBella, Lamont, and McDonald Engineering regarding water and wastewater needs. The questions presented included whether the scheduled filtration system improvements and capacity at the Central Bridge Water System will meet minimum thresholds for the facility and in the time needed. LaBella Engineers will have to make such a determination within 30 days.

If the Central Bridge Site is a viable water source, there will be a positive impact on price, Cherry said. If it is not viable, the Zicha Road parcel would need a new utility corridor from the Village of Schoharie 4.1 miles away.

Supervisor Chris Tague of Schoharie said that he’s heard concern that the jail site hasn’t been finished yet. He said it was some of the criticism was unfair because funding for construction wasn’t approved by FEMA until 2015. He said that Cherry had been doing his job and that the Board was “doing the best we can.”

Cherry complimented the Board for being “100% supportive of the recovery efforts.” He added,“It’s easy to look back and say, geez, it’s been six years.” He said that FEMA’s jail funding was a “grand slam, home run” and a unique circumstance. “I’m confident that the Board will have a real, honest to goodness choice” on the sites and out to bid by the end of the year. Cherry said there were verbal prices on two, but not on Zicha Road.

Supervisor Leo McAllister of Cobleskill asked about a timeline. Cherry hoped that there was a presentation on the sites in May so that the Board would be able to make an informed choice. “Once the Board selects a site,” many other elements could happen and hoped to break ground in early 2018.

In other flood recovery news, work is planned for this month at the Blenheim Bridge site, including the construction of coffer dams and demolition of existing abutments. He said that by the end of 2017 the new bridge would be built on site then lifted on the new abutments. Cherry’s report did add that completion will “depend largely” upon streambed conditions and weather. Landscaping and sidewalks should be completed by next summer, his report concluded.

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Cobleskill Police Blotter

Written By Editor on 3/6/17 | 3/6/17

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

At 2:20 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Robert Garreau, 20, of Cobleskill, NY, for Criminal Contempt 1st, Criminal Mischief 3rd, Assault 3rd, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Attempted Assault3rd.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $2000 Bail / $6000 Bond.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on March 14th at 5:00 p.m.

At 5:20 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Antonia Barrone, 48, of Albany, NY, for Petit Larceny.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

At 2:09 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested David E. Soura, 23, of Summit, NY, for DWI and other vehicle and traffic tickets.  He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 21st at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

At 4:05 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Drew Taylor, 20, of Cobleskill, NY, for Violation of Probation Warrant.  He was transported and turned over to the Schoharie County Jail.

At 8:45 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Kristen L. Jones, 23, of Lawyersville, NY, for DWI and other vehicle and traffic tickets.  She was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on March 28th at 5:00 p.m.

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Schoharie County Sheriff's Blotter

Written By Editor on 2/27/17 | 2/27/17

On Saturday 2/25/17 at 2:45PM Schoharie County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Joseph R. Swaha, age 39 of Sloansville  for Driving While Intoxicated after a motor vehicle accident that occurred on Evergreen Road in the Town of Carlisle. Subject was released to appear in Carlisle Town Court at a later date.

On Saturday 2/25/17 at 11:20PM the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office arrested Kwate J. Edgerton, age 23 of Schenectady for Unlawful Possession of Marijuana following an investigation in the Village of Schoharie. Subject was released to appear in Schoharie Village Court at a later date.

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Gilboa Road Project Replacing Bearkill Bridge

 L&T Construction will be working on capital project CAT-186 for the NYC DEP (Gilboa Dam Owner) to rehabilitate Road 7 (aka Intake Rd) between State Route 30 (Gilboa) and State Route 23 (Roxbury) starting on March 6th.

The project includes clearing trees along the roadway, remove/replace Bearkill Bridge, and remove/replace all cross culverts along the length of the 4.5-mile road.  The project will take approximately 6-7 months to complete and will close at each site during remove/replace construction.

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Editorial: A Fond Farewell

Written By Editor on 2/26/17 | 2/26/17

District Attorney Jim Sacket announced his retirement recently. Unfortunately, he steps out of the limelight at a time when experience is needed.

According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Schoharie County's crime rate fell 29.1% between 2013 and 2014, the last full years available. The overall state trend was moving downward, but Schoharie's reduction was the second sharpest in the state. The violent crime rate went down at an even faster clip, although that may be more of a relic of our small population. This may be partly due to stepped up enforcement methods from the Sheriff’s Department and State Police. Still, the trend was bold.

Schoharie County aggressively prosecuted a number of burglaries and property crimes in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The reassuring presence of enforcement put minds at ease after the initial spike in robberies.

Mr. Sacket is always humble about his time in office, often allowing for the County’s reduced crime rate to speak for itself. Jovial and personable, the District Attorney’s years in office came during times of controversy.

Mr. Sacket was a font of knowledge during multiple points of his career. In addition, Mr. Sacket and law enforcement laid the foundation against the creeping tide of opioid abuse. The DA cites the epidemic as his office's largest struggle, especially due to related crimes, such as burglaries.

There will be big shoes to fill. So far, only Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith has formally announced his candidacy to the public. Other qualified candidates, including current Assistant District Attorney Susan Mallery may be sure to follow. They’ll be following Mr. Sacket’s lead.

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Birches Denies Corruption in Schoharie Apartments

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

Embattled Developer Defends Record

From 2/10 Edition

It’s been almost four years since Governor Cuomo allocated millions for affordable housing in the Village of Schoharie, yet the project is still ongoing. Birches at Schoharie has been plagued by delays, legal disputes with contractors, and rumors of pay for play involving the developer, Steve Aaron.

Mr. Aaron is the owner of Birchez Associates, LLC, which received the state contract.  Companies tied to Mr. Aaron have given well over $250,000 dollars in campaign donations to Cuomo, an astronomical amount that surpasses disgraced Buffalo developer Louis P. Ciminelli. Mr. Ciminelli is currently facing federal bribery charges.

Questions arose after Darryl Towns, head of the NY Homes and Community Renewal Agency, chose Birchez to lead the project despite scoring lower than competing companies. While this practice is legal, awarding state funds based on campaign contributions is not. While Mr. Aaron isn’t currently under investigation for any wrongdoing, questions remain regarding both his ties to Cuomo and business practices.

When contacted by the Mountain Eagle Wednesday, Aaron said that contributions to Cuomo have nothing to do with receiving the Schoharie project. "Absolutely, positively no,” he said. “It's on the street because there are people that don't like the Governor." He added that his family has two generations of ties with the Cuomo family and that the current governor has done more for affordable housing than any previous. Aaron added that he is a member of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing.

Aaron and his associated companies have been sued or accused multiple times for failing to pay contractors, gender discrimination, and failure to pay property taxes. Particularly disturbing are lawsuits from 1995 and 2012 previously reported in the Times Union. Former employees alleged that Mr. Aaron intimidated them and practiced gender discrimination, with threats including flipped tables, thrown bottles, and threatening one woman with “punching her teeth down her throat and throwing her down a flight of stairs.” Mr. Aaron settled one lawsuit, while a jury awarded $1.4 million to the plaintiffs in the other.

Regarding one lawsuit, Aaron said that he did not intimidate a former subcontractor, saying that the individual was "shooting his mouth off to the press. " Aaron said that the subcontractor is now barred from doing business in the state of New York. Apart from that, the only other case Aaron said he was ever accused of similar behavior was 35 years ago when he called an employee ”the C word.”

Two contractors sued Birchez Associates for failure to pay for work done on Birches of Schoharie, which continues a troubling trend for the Kingston based developer. Mr. Aaron has been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of his career, which he chalks up to his “high standards,” adding, "My reputation in the housing business is that we don't deliver inferior products."

Aaron told us that any conflicts were over inferior work. While at first stating there were no issues with contractors, the conversation evolved. He said, "We have a paving contractor we had to literally escort off the job because of poor quality and some obnoxious behavior." He said another contractor physically assaulted an employee and is demanding $250,000. Toward the end of the interview, Aaron said that a total six former contractors on the Schoharie project caused problems.

The Birchez owner stated that part of the issue with his reputation was caused by conflicts by other companies. He singled out Carver Sand and Gravel in Schoharie. Aaron said that the apartment project  was "[Carver Laraway’s] job to lose. His numbers were ridiculous. He continues to be an antagonist towards us."

In 2012 multiple municipalities in Ulster County sued Mr. Aaron for over $400,000 in unpaid property taxes, followed by a $1 million lawsuit filed by Kingston, NY. Aaron said that the situation was resolved. "It's been settled for years. I've been the subject of a number of hit pieces." Aaron stated that Kingston's Mayor and Assessor was biased against him and that he won in court. He also said that when a person "reaches the top," they receive more scrutiny.

Despite his troubling past, Mr. Aaron has been praised by federal, state and local officials alike. Former Congressmen Chris Gibson and Maurice Hinchey, along with State Senator John Bonacic all praised Mr. Aaron’s work with seniors in promotional videos posted to his website. Village of Schoharie Mayor John Borst was unavailable for comment.

Birches of Schoharie is currently accepting applications, however, there is no one living on the premises as of yet. Local and state officials are hopeful that the Birches project will bring jobs and tax dollars to the Village of Schoharie and Schoharie County as a whole. If Mr. Aaron’s history tells us anything though, it may end up being more complicated than that.

The Mountain Eagle reached out to multiple parties involved with Mr. Aaron but has yet to receive a reply or comment. We will continue to monitor the story as it develops.

Tyler James and Matthew Avitabile contributed research to this article

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Employees Honored by Schoharie County

The County Board meeting on February 17th began with a discussion of Resolution #28, encouraging respect for all. This passed in a split vote.

Next there was a ceremony honoring a number of County employees for their service. One was for Treasurer Bill Cherry. “It’s my honor and privilege,” he said to recognize 20 years of service. “I’m honored to be here,” he said in a brief statement. Supervisor Manko asked to speak, saying that he did a great job at a recent statewide conference. “He did a good job.” She said that the state, rather than local government, caused much of the increase, including through unfunded mandates. “Bill did a great job representing Schoharie County and has its best interests in mind.” She said that the County made a mistake replacing him as budget director.

Other recognitions went to Denise Minton for 25 years of service, 30 years of service for Bonnie Post, and 25 years of service for Scott Haverly. Haverly said that it was his “staff that makes me look good.”

County Engineer Dan Crandell came to the floor to give 17 employees awards, of which 13 were present. He thanked the Department of Public Works crew. These included a number of employees honored for service in five year increments. Six were honored for five years of service, four for ten years, one for twenty years, and one for thirty years. Haverly thanked the road crew for their work.

Next to speak was Social Services Commissioner Tina Sweet. She honored a number of employees for their service. This included Joe Polak for 15 years of service, seen in the photo below.

Dr. Amy Gildemeister praised employees in her office. Brenda Hewett was praised as “incredibly organized” and a “wonderful employee.” The other was Karen Simmons, “she’s been incredibly dediated.”

Sheriff Anthony Desmond honored a number of employees in his office. Most couldn’t make it to the meeting, but several came, including Dispatcher David Houck, seen below.

Bonnie Post from the Community Services Department honored three employees present for experience ranging from 10-15 years. Several other employees with various years could not make it.

County Administrator Steve Wilson honored Shane Nickle, “the king of applying for grants,” he said. Nickle has been at the County for 20 years.

Probation Director Denise Minton honored Rose Keller for twenty years of service, saying she gives incredible dedication to the youth of the County.

The last was Nancy Dingee from the Office for the Aging. She honored Business Manager Amy Weitz for 15 years of experience and Coordinator for Extended Care for the Elderly Diane Kruzinski for five years of experience.

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Respect for All Resolution Sparks Fierce Debate

Rival Resolution Change Defeated, Original Passes in Split Vote

The meeting began discussing the proposed Resolution #28 entitled “Encouraging Respect for All.” The resolution was discussed at the December meeting and met with a deadlock before being revised. Some county employees and visitors wore red buttons donning the phrase “Respect for All.”

The resolution was offered by Schoharie Supervisor Chris Tague and seconded by Carlisle Supervisor Larry Bradt. Tague worked upon the resolution with Schoharie resident Glen Sanders. The room was filled with approximately 70 residents, most of whom were present for the employee recognition ceremony immediately following.

County Attorney Michael West read the resolution aloud. As he read through a portion of the resolution, he was stopped by Broome Supervisor David Simkins, who asked if it should encourage respect everywhere and not just in the county.

Supervisor Tague said that it was just a start, and asked County Treasurer Bill Cherry to speak. Cherry said that it could be a template for other counties to follow. He also said that he would bring it to a wider state conference for discussion. “If this resolution would be sent to another county, they would put their name in it,” said Cherry. “Either way is a strong message.”

Chair Earl VanWormer said that the Board could adopt it as “the county’s idea to support this effort. To not tolerate this type of behavior.”

Simkins asked if it was meant just for Schoharie County. “What if I want to say something bad about ISIS?” he asked.

“We’re encouraging proper behavior,” said Supervisor VanWormer, and said that terrorist groups could fall under a different category.

“The big key here is teaching our young people how to move on in life,” said Supervisor Tague. “It’s our job as local leaders,” to encourage such behavior. He credited Glen Sanders for writing the resolution draft then re-writing it in a manner intended to gain support of every member of the board.

Simkins made a motion to edit the resolution, seconded by Supervisor Shawn Smith of Blenheim to remove a portion, to state, “based merely on group identity.”

Supervisor Sandra Manko of Sharon spoke next, saying that the resolution would have no effect on the national scene. She said that she did not vote for President Donald Trump, but that the resolution was meant as an affront to the White House. “No one has told the residents how they should act and behave,” she said about her constituents. She added that most local residents voted for the Republican ticket in November. “If you really love the country and want what’s best,” she said, it was important to support leaders.

Supervisor Phil Skowfoe said that he would support the resolution but criticized the Times Journal for writing that it went back to the Rules Committee for a re-write, which he said didn’t occur. Supervisor Bradt said, “There you go again. You can’t always believe what you read in the paper.” He added that he received revisions that led him to support the resolution as it read as presented. Bradt said he took the blame for not going to the full committee.

Chair VanWormer brought Simkins’ revisions to a vote. Supervisor Manko made a motion to move the resolution to the Rules Committee “where it belongs,” but Supervisor Tague asked the Board to press for a vote on Simkins’ resolution. At that moment Supervisor Simkins withdrew the motion to defer to Manko’s motion. Manko said that the motion in December actually sent the resolution to the committee last time but was not followed through. Supervisor Bradt said he agreed to look at it.

The Board voted. Supervisors Simkins, Coppolo, Manko, Bradt, Luniewski, and Skowfoe voted yes. Voting no were Supervisors Bates, Federice, Hait, Lape, McAllister, Tague, VanGlad, VanWormer, and Vroman. The resolution was defeated by about 400 weighted votes.

Next Supervisor Tague asked for a vote on the resolution. All of the Supervisors voted yes except for Supervisors Bradt, Coppolo, Manko, Simkins, and Smith. The resolution passed with a weighted vote of 2134-840.

Supervisor Federice said that he believed the first resolution was brought about because of “political motivations” and that he agreed with Supervisor Manko’s earlier statement.

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M&J's Cafe Reopens in Middleburgh

Written By Editor on 2/1/17 | 2/1/17

By Tyler James

Middleburgh heaved a sigh of relief as one of its key businesses reopened, albeit in a new location. M&J's Cafe is now located on Railroad Avenue, leaving its former location on Main Street.

The cause of the move was tragic. Owner and founder Michael Kossmann died unexpectedly last fall. Kossmann's family, especially his sister Fran, rallied to carry on. Faced with an ultimatum to pay a steep increase in rent or to get out, Fran chose the latter.

The current location on Railroad Avenue

"Mike was not only my brother, he was my best friend," she said. She described M&J's as Mike's dream, "his joy and his life," second only to his family.

A steady stream of patrons and wellwishers came to the new location, which was constructed quickly at the former location of Lerny's Gift Shop, owned by Larry Kossmann Nelson, Mike and Fran's brother.

Larry was optimistic, saying that his sister has "done everything to ensure that Mike's legacy will live on." While this was a new location, Nelson said that it immediately "felt like I was still at M&J's, priving that it doesn't matter where it is. It is the people that keep Mike's dream alive."

Village Trustee and regular customer Bill Morton and his wife Bonnie were excited about the opening, "We were so accustomed to going to M&J's regularly." said Bonnie, "It becomes a routine of your daily life." Bill said, "It's more than a cafe, it's a meeting place. It's an integral part of our community. Once M&J's was not available, we were at a loss."

The new interior

Fran Kossmann continued, "He enjoyed his customers and they loved him! He was an amazing cook, I have never met anyone that could cook with the speed and perfection Mike could."

She has a mission to keep M&J's open and successful because Mike, Larry, and herself always "knew it was to keep going for the family now and in the future."

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John Wyckoff Appointed New Highway Chief In Gilboa

Written By Editor on 1/13/17 | 1/13/17

Photos and story Liz Page
GILBOA — A new highway superintendent was sworn into office and the Gilboa Town Board organized for the new year Jan. 4.

John Wyckoff was appointed town highway superintendent following an interview process and the Town’s year-end meeting on Dec. 27. His appointment was effective Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017. He must run for election to the post next fall and replaces Lester Parker, who retired after 32 years of service with the town highway department, effective Dec. 31.

Wyckoff provided town board members with a report on his first three days in office, which included his recommendation to reappoint highway crew member James Dymond as deputy highway superintendent.
It was one of a long list of official appointments and designations made in organizing for 2017. Council members had to table a few motions until they have a larger quorum present. Although Supervisor Tony VanGlad recommended Councilwoman Dot Pickett for reappointment as deputy supervisor, it was tabled as Pickett wasn’t able to vote on the motion as one of just three board members present.

There was a similar situation in a motion to advertise in the Maple Festival booklet and the nomination of VanGlad to serve as a member of the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Board of Directors.
All of those motions will be settled with a phone call vote including the two board members, Max Stryker and Norwood Tompkins, who were absent from the meeting.

Board members did approve purchase of a new computer through Schoharie County for Wyckoff to use at the highway garage. The existing computer is not functioning properly and he said previous superintendent, Parker, had been using his personal computer. A motion was made to go ahead with the purchase, unless it exceeds $1,000, in which case it would to come back before the board.

In his written report, town Code Enforcement Officer Brian Caron indicated he had attended various training sessions, amounting to the 24 hours of credit required by the state.

In his supervisor’s report, VanGlad said the CWC must replace Mike Brandow on its board of  directors, as Brandow is no longer an elected official. The towns of Gilboa, Conesville and Jefferson will be asked to nominate someone to succeed Brandow. VanGlad accepted the board’s nomination, however, if he is elected, it would leave a void on the Coalition of Watershed Towns board on which he currently serves. VanGlad had to abstain, thereby tabling the nomination.

A “No Dumping” sign will be placed at a spot where town, county and state highway departments have been dumping fill. It is located in the flood plain and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has indicated no more dumping should take place in that area.

VanGlad read a  thank you note from Rich Tait who enclosed a check for $300 to the town for its help in offloading and erecting trusses for the new pavilion at the Gilboa Museum and History Center.
Pickett reported that a Colorado Blue Spruce tree will be planted near the town hall as a community Christmas tree and that Gardens by Trista will plant the tree. The total cost is $300. A motion passed to ask Trista Wyckoff to plant the tree at her convenience later this year. The tree will grow to 12 or 15 feet high at the most, according to Pickett. It will be used for a community tree lighting ceremony. An outlet for lighting the tree was installed by Parker when the new lighted sign at the town hall was installed recently.
The new sign is operating and flashes several messages, including congratulations and best wishes to Parker on his retirement. The sign will be used to announce town meetings, events and other community-related items.

The new highway superintendent said town crews plowed and sanded on his first day, and on Jan. 2 he held a meeting with the entire crew. They also replaced plow edges and adusted them and on Wednesday they sanded and changed oil in the equipment. He also reported the 2007 International is still in Albany with recommendations expected to be forthcoming to repair the catalytic converter.

Walter Wyckoff was reappointed to another five-year term on the town planning board, with his previous appointment ending at the end of December. He will serve until 2021. In the official appointments, he was also reappointed chairman of  the planning board.

Other appointments and designations, included:

Linda Wyckoff and Alicia Wyckoff appointed deputy town clerk/collector; Janette Reynolds, town historian; Joseph Moore Jr., dog control officer; Brian Caron, code enforcement officer, floodplain administrator and fire inspector; Joanne Darcy Crum, town attorney and Mary Wyckoff, registrar of vital statistics.
They also established meetings to be held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. and The Mountain Eagle and Times Journal, as official newspapers.

Other resolutions included various polices, reimbursements and monthly reports.

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.

New Poll: Is Seebold Farm Right Spot for new Jail?

Written By Cicero on 5/13/15 | 5/13/15

County, federal, and state officials recently announced that FEMA will relocate Schoharie County's Public Safety Facility outside of the flood zone, but many residents are balking at the new jail's proposed location at Seebold Farm on Route 30.

Citing safety concerns and Schoharie's image to tourists coming into the Schoharie Valley, the spot has been criticized. The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve Seebold's at the June 2014 county board meeting.

Other locations, including property in Central Bridge and the Summit Shock Facility, have been suggested as possible alternate sites.

What are your thoughts: did the county make the right call, or is the for sale property a bad location? Please vote in our poll on the right hand sidebar and let us know.

Seward Congratulates New York's Top Seniors

Written By Cicero on 5/12/15 | 5/12/15

ALBANY, 05/11/15 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) recently congratulated New York State’s top senior citizens as part of the New York State Office for the Aging 2015 Senior Citizens Day Celebration in Albany.

From left, Senator James L. Seward with
Schoharie County citizen honoree Ruth Bradt.  
“Our senior citizens are vital community members who offer a great perspective on so many topics,” said Senator Seward.   “The extremely active seniors honored today fulfill significant roles – serving on local municipal boards, teaching our young people about community engagement, and contributing positively to our future.” 

Along with honoring the local honorees the senate also adopted a resolution (J.1809) proclaiming May 5, 2015 as Senior Citizens Awareness Day in the State of New York.  The resolution reads in part:

WHEREAS, The more than three million residents of New York State  60 years of age and older bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the increasingly  active  roles  they  play  in  today's society; their past contributions and future participation are a vital part of, and valuable asset to, the fabric of community life and activity; and

WHEREAS, These senior citizens have contributed to the State by building and helping preserve the customs, traditions and ideals of the many ethnic groups that make up the mosaic of New York State.

“I also have to give credit to the local county office for the aging staff members that work so hard on a daily basis providing crucial services to area senior citizens and advocating for their needs,” Seward added.

Both Sheila Serbay (Otsego County, Oneonta) and Ruth Bradt (Schoharie County, Howes Cavern) attended the recognition event in Albany.  The complete list of honorees from Senator Seward’s district includes:

Cortland County                     Michael McGuire, Cortland;
Delaware County                    Tom Hynes, Roxbury;
Otsego County                        Norma Ralph, Worcester;
Otsego County                        Sheila Serbay, Oneonta;
Schoharie County                   Ruth Bradt, Howes Cavern;
Tompkins County                   Ted Sobel, Brooktondale;

“These honorees exemplify the great commitment, experience, and care that so many other senior citizens bring to their communities.  We would be lost without their expertise and I am truly impressed with their great accomplishments,” Seward concluded.

Local Man Arrested for Pot Possession

Written By Cicero on 4/27/15 | 4/27/15

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office has announced the arrest of twenty year old Alexander J. Mitchell of East Berne, New York for the Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.

Arrested during an investigation into a separate incident on Friday, April 24th at 3:12 p.m., Mr. Mitchell was released on an appearance ticket to appear in the Village of Schoharie court at a later date.

Mitchell is set to return to Village of Schoharie court on Monday, May 11th. 

County Moves Forward in bid to Relocate Jail

Written By Cicero on 4/20/15 | 4/20/15

After years of regulatory back and forth with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Schoharie County is finally making headway in its proposed relocation of the Public Safety Facility from its current location within the floodplain to higher ground.  

Informing Supervisors that a recent meeting was held between FEMA officials, New York State Homeland Security, and himself, Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry indicated that the federal agency may be open to moving the facility after all. 

FEMA, which has rejected one appeal submitted by the county, and has yet to respond to another, has maintained that the facility should be rebuilt where it stands despite the devastating effects that Irene and Lee wrought upon the building in August, 2011.

Local, state, and federal officials have vehemently disagreed with the agency's position.

Just two weeks ago a press conference was held by Congressman Gibson Gibson, State Senator Jim Seward, Assemblyman Pete Lopez, and others in the empty remnants of the Schoharie County Jail to request FEMA listen to the demands of the county. 

Mr. Cherry commented at Friday's county board meeting that, "By their own federal regulations and operating standards, FEMA must comply with local codes, laws, and floodplain regulations, and New York State has declared that repairing that critical facility in its present location would be a violation of DEC floodplain regulations."

However, Cherry did report that upon hearing the county's continued perusal of a federally approved 428 Alternative Project that would allow the county to relocate the facility on their own within a agreed-upon capped amount of funds, FEMA officials were agreeable to the idea.

Further meetings between county specialists, construction experts, and FEMA's cost estimators are slated to take place over the next week.

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