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Showing posts with label flooding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flooding. 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.

Flood Warning Issued for Schoharie Creek

Written By Cicero on 4/10/15 | 4/10/15

The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a Flood Warning for the Schoharie Creek at the Gilboa Dam from this evening until late Sunday night. 

Creek levels are scheduled to reach the temporary flood stage of approximately 1,130.5 feet by 9:00 p.m. this evening, with no decrease expected in stage until after 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening.

Although the Schoharie Reservoir is forecast to slightly exceed the temporary flood stage, outflows are only expected to reach approximately 2,500 cfs due to current reservoir operations. 

As a result of the outflows, there will be a significant within bank rise on the Schoharie Creek downstream of the Gilboa Dam, but not enough to cause any creek-side flooding.

WNYT-Channel 13 Albany is calling for a bright and sunny forecast this weekend, with no additional precipitation expected to enter the Capital District while the Flood Warning is in effect. 

Stay tuned to local news updates for further updates.

$650,000 in New Funding for Streamwork

Written By Editor on 9/29/14 | 9/29/14

The Schoharie Valley delegation of U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson, New York State Senator James L. Seward and New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez joined to announce funding for a major stream rehabilitation project for flood prone areas of Schoharie County and to reduce the financial impact on Schoharie County taxpayers. 

Schoharie County is in the process of making major repairs to property which suffered heavy damage during the 2011 disasters of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  The Schoharie County Emergency Watershed Protection Project will reconnect the flood plain with four streams – Little Schoharie, Line Creek, Platterkill, and Dave Brown Mountain Tributary – which all flow into the Schoharie Creek.  The repair work will mitigate future flooding and damage to residential and agricultural land.

The Schoharie County Emergency Watershed Protection Project is the largest stream restoration project currently underway in New York State.  The design, permitting and bidding phases of the project are complete, with construction expected to begin in mid-October.

To date, over $23.1 million in federal and state funds have been committed to the Schoharie County Emergency Water Protection Project.  Senator Seward today announced an additional $650,000 grant he has secured to assist with new project expenses. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also announced an additional $300,000.
Congressman Chris Gibson said, “We appreciate the work of the NRCS team in helping keep this project moving forward and on track, as it is one of the largest NRCS remediation projects in the country.  We also Senator Seward for his work in securing additional funding, and the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors for moving forward with this vital effort.”

Senator James Seward said, “Schoharie County has worked hard to rebuild since being devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee three years ago and we are making progress.  Redesigning streams and properly preparing for future disasters will help save lives, property, and money.  Unfortunately, such precautions come with a financial cost that is too high for a rural county already struggling to make ends meet.  Working collaboratively, we are able to draw funds from multiple sources to further help Schoharie County rebound without placing an added long-term burden on taxpayers.”

Assemblyman Pete Lopez, whose own family members suffered at the hands of Irene and Lee, said, “Too many of our neighbors remain at risk along the banks of these waterways.  Protecting life and property from future storm events relies on our ability to manage our creeks and streams to take the energy out of them and find places for flood waters to go where they can do the least harm.  All of us understand the costs of this much-needed work may be unaffordable to our community.  My colleagues and I gladly accept the shared obligation of bringing funding and other resources in to help provide relief.  None of our neighbors should have to live in fear.”

Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony VanGlad said, “Schoharie County is very appreciative of the support from Governor Cuomo, Senator Seward, and Assemblyman Lopez after storms Irene and Lee. It's great to know the state has our county's back. This funding will go a long way in helping us to repair these damaged streams.”

Schoharie USDA NRCS New York State Conservationist Greg Kist said, “We appreciate all the work of our partners to plan and prepare for these essential projects.  Schoharie County will be much better prepared for future storms when these stream repairs are completed and the collaboration from local, state, and federal sponsors will make these efforts worthwhile.”
Funding sources for the Schoharie County Emergency Watershed Protection Project include:

New Funding Announced Today
·         $650,000 – Senator Seward/NY State Senate
·         $300,000 – NRCS
Previously Announced
·         $17,801,137 – NRCS
·         $5,303,374 – Empire State Development

Before and After: An Irene Photostudy

Written By Editor on 9/18/14 | 9/18/14

Local reader Michael Avitabile sent us these photos of scenes from Middleburgh, Schoharie, and down the Schoharie Valley of scenes of heartbreak and recovery from the flood.

The former Chamber of Commerce location on Main Street Middleburgh, now ICCI Computer Concepts

Wayman's Furniture, Middleburgh

Main Street, Middleburgh

Debris, Middleburgh

Main Street, Schoharie

Old and New Stewart's, Schoharie

River Street, Middleburgh

Opinion: Three Years After Irene

Written By Editor on 8/31/14 | 8/31/14

2011 marked a red letter date in Schoharie County's history.

Not only was it the year of great devastation, but that of great courage and resolve.

That August 28th and the weeks and months that followed showed tremendous emotion-- the shock and sadness of losing property and a way of life-- the joy of finding loved ones okay-- and the determination of working to assist neighbors or your own house or business.

According to SALT, 15% of those that were flooded will not be returning to their property. This has caused a large loss of population, tax value, and business up and down the Valley. However, it also shows that the vast majority of those flooded out have stayed and have been helped by volunteers and friends.

Schoharie County has partially recovered from the storm and its wrath. SALT is transitioning into a revitalization organization. Communities are getting back on their feet. None of this would have been possible without so many people and their good deeds. Out of the floodwaters came the blessing of each other's love.

Sharon Hit by Mudslide, School Damage

Written By Editor on 8/22/14 | 8/22/14

The Town of Sharon suffered a flash flood last night, facing flooded basements and 4-6 inches of water in the school. There was a temporary road closure on Route 10 northbound after a mudslide. The flooding occurred near the intersection of Route 10 and Alder Avenue. 

Photos credit the Schoharie County Fire Wire Facebook page.

Firemen Rescue Gilboa Couple after Flash Flooding

Written By Editor on 6/27/14 | 6/27/14

Update: County officials have put the cost of flood related repairs on South Gilboa Road at over one hundred and twenty thousand dollars if private contractors are utilized before public crews have the ability to do the work themselves. 

Wednesday night's torrential downpours resulted in the flash flooding of South Gilboa Road just off of State Route 30, where rising waters trapped a couple inside of their home. 

The call came into Schoharie County 911 Dispatch at approximately 7:38 P.M. and emergency rescue operations commenced shortly thereafter by the Grand Gorge Fire Department, which covers the Town of Gilboa by contract. 

Grand Gorge Fire Chief DJ Speenburgh was the incident commander, and upon arriving on scene, requested the assistance of several other area fire departments to aid Grand Gorge's rescue operations, which were bogged down by significant standing water. 

However, while crews were en-route from Rensselaer County with air boats, waters receded enough for firemen to reach the residence and safely extract the couple, who were both unhurt and okay.

County Eyes Seebold Farm for New Public Safety Facility

Written By Editor on 6/23/14 | 6/23/14

Local officials agreed at Friday's monthly county board meeting that if FEMA approves the relocation of Schoharie County's Public Safety Facility that Seebold Farm, located just outside the Village of Schoharie, would be their primary site for a new facility to be constructed.

Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry presented the recommendation to Supervisors after a careful review and in-depth analysis of topography, site-suitability for construction of the proper size structure, and other considerations. A secondary site in Central Bridge was also proposed. 

Supervisors approved both recommendations unanimously. 

Both sites were required to be identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as they continue to review Schoharie County's second appeal for its Public Safety Facility to be relocated to higher ground rather than remain in the floodplain.

The county has thus far received no direct response since submitting its second appeal at the end of January, although a host of federal and state representatives have joined Schoharie County's efforts to see the facility moved from its current vulnerable confines. 

Seebold Farm is located on Route 30 in the Town of Schoharie and consists of two parcels with a combined total area of 26.3 total acres. Both water and sewer services would be accessed by tying into the village's existing utility lines. The site is currently available for sale. 

Middleburgh's Turtle Rock is No More

Written By Editor on 6/12/14 | 6/12/14

The former Turtle Rock Cafe, once a popular restaurant and ice cream shop, was torn down earlier today. The building, purchased by the Town of Middleburgh through the FEMA buyout withstood terrible damage in 2011's flooding.

Photo credit: Sheila Donegan
The Town is in discussions to possibly turn the area into a park and ride.

More buildings around the County are set to be demolished in the coming months.

Schoharie County in Flood Watch (May 16, 2014)

Written By Editor on 5/16/14 | 5/16/14

The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a flood watch for Schoharie and neighboring counties, including parts of Albany, Montgomery and Otsego. The watch is in effect from this afternoon through early Saturday morning, as a slow moving low pressure system is expected to bring two to three inches of rainfall into the area.

Flood watch map courtesy of WNYT
Heavy rainfall Friday evening, which may bring thunderstorms into the mix, could cause minor flooding to occur along the Mohawk River, West Canada Creek, and the Schoharie Creek. Ponding of water on roadways, flooding of poor drainage and low lying areas is also possible over the next twenty-four hours. 

Residents are advised to monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should any flooding occur. 

Schoharie Valley in Flood Watch

Written By Editor on 4/30/14 | 4/30/14

The National Weather Service in Albany announced earlier this morning that most of the Capital District - including the Schoharie Valley region - is in a flood watch due to a, "large slow moving low pressure system that will impact the area into Thursday resulting in widespread showers."

Weather map courtesy of WNYT Albany
Showers that are expected to bring anywhere from one and half to three inches of rain over the next day to the immediate area, with parts of the Eastern Catskills likely to see in excess of four inches. 

Minor flooding of rivers and streams is possible, with additional flooding of poor drainage, urban, and low lying areas likely with heavy rainfall. Residents in the aforementioned areas are cautioned to monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flooding occur.

We will keep everyone updated here at the Schoharie News as the storm develops.

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.

Flood Grant Applications Due April 11

Written By Editor on 3/21/14 | 3/21/14

Anyone interested in applying for aid through the NY Rising program has about three weeks left to do so. The program, which aims to give grants to homeowners and business owners to pay for previous or current damage from 2011's flooding is closing its window. The program has supplied assistance to residents across the state, including those of Schoharie County.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying, call 1-855-697-7263 or visit

Middleburgh, SALT, College Team Up to Repair Flood Damage

SALT, the Village of Middleburgh, and a SUNY Oneonta fraternity are teaming up to fix up flood damage in Middleburgh's business district. In the collaboration organized through the Mayor's office, the three groups have agreed to fix up two office spaces along Railroad Avenue that remain gutted since the 2011 flood. SALT is providing the materials, worth up to $5,000, Phi Kappa Psi fraternity of SUNY Oneonta is providing labor, and the Mayor's office is coordinating the efforts.

The repairs will start on Saturday, March 22nd at 10 until 4pm. Multiple volunteer days are expected before the offices are completed. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Mayor Matthew Avitabile at 763-6854.

This comes after similar arrangements with the Village, building owners, and SALT to work on three other projects in the business district over the last year.

62% Say No to Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 2/10/14 | 2/10/14

Tax abatements have already passed into law in the Town and Village of Schoharie and the Town of Blenheim, but have little overall support in the County, according to a new Schoharie News poll. According to the figures in our unscientific poll, the majority of our readers reject all abatements and a substantial minority favor them being extended through the whole County.

Do You Support Tax Abatements?

Yes, they should span the County: 20 votes, 22%

Yes, but only in the Valley communities: 6 votes, 6%
No, the hidden cost will be too great: 57 votes, 63%
Undecided: 8 votes, 9%
Total Votes: 91

Overall, 63% oppose the abatements as a whole while only 28% support them in part or for the whole area. Remember to vote in our next poll, currently on the sidebar about whether the Blenheim Bridge should be rebuilt.

Flood Recovery Report Finds Higher Costs, Potential Reimbursements for County Building

Written By Editor on 1/25/14 | 1/25/14

Flood recovery director Bill Cherry presented a January progress report to the County Board of Supervisors. Included in the report was the ongoing struggle to mitigate issues around the County office complex and the Harvey Stoddard County Jail.

Unfortunately, there are pieces of good and bad news to the mix. Cost for the County office flood mitigation project has increased to $7.6 million. The vast majority of this cost would be spent on the floodgates, which would cost $5.9 million. Nearly a million would be spent moving infrastructure out of the basement and $800,000 would go for reinforcement and flood resistant windows.

Much of the increase was caused by the "porous soil conditions surrounding the County Office Complex." While this may cause an initial challenge, the Flood Recovery Coordinator Cherry is working on research to increase the total reimbursement from FEMA to cover the potential cost.

Beyond this, a new security system has been installed at the County building complex, including the replacing of panic buttons, keypad access, and a camera. The system is fully reimbursable from FEMA and should not cost the County any money. Further security elements approved by the County in November are almost completed.

$12 Million in New Flood Recovery Money on its Way

Written By Editor on 1/15/14 | 1/15/14

Governor Cuomo's NY Rising Program, launched in August, has provided up to $12 million in total funding for projects in the Villages of Esperance, Middleburgh, and Schoharie and the Town of Esperance. Now, with more federal dollars headed to the state to fund other projects, there is word that the program will expand to cover other areas devastated by the 2011 flooding.

The program will expand into municipalities not covered by the initial burst of grant funding. According to a release from SALT Recovery, another $12 million will be added to a second round of funding-- for $24 million in total. According to the information, the Towns of Middleburgh, Blenheim, Fulton, and Schoharie will all be eligible for $3 million in grants each.

This expansion of funding was requested by the local governments and by the co-chairs of the existing local NY Rising Committee, Sarah Goodrich and Georgia van Dyke. According to a statement Goodrich released, "We believe that the needs of these towns, in addition to the villages, must be addressed and that the level of damage justified the additional funding. We are thrilled that our voices were heard, and with the expansion of the funding our request was honored."

The money will be sent to a NY Rising committee made up of local dignitaries and those suggested by the local municipalities. They will then work out a series of prosepctive projects for the NYS Department of State and the Governor's office to review. The committee will have to balance needs of recovery with emergency services, business development, housing issues, flood mitigation, and others that could come up.

Lopez Flood Mitigation Meeting Finds Consensus in Prevention

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

Flooding is on the top of the agenda for many communities-- flooding in 2011 and 2013 has hampered many parts of the County and appears to be a threat that could come back at any time. With this in mind, Assemblyman Peter Lopez called together representatives of nearly every municipality in Schoharie County to discuss the issues.

This was the fourth in a series of meetings arranged by the Assemblyman since June's flash flooding hit Middleburgh and Schoharie. The meetings came about after Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone asked for other ways to mitigate future floods.

The meeting was filled with local officials in the Schoharie Town Hall. Assemblyman Lopez listed several efforts that his office was making to solve major logistical feats.

Peter Nichols of the County Soil and Water Department circulated a list of grants recently applied for. This included training for flood work, for a study of the Schoharie Creek across five counties, to add stream gages, and to study the watershed-- a total of four proposals totaling over $1.6 million.

Gilboa Supervisor Tony vanGlad conveyed concern about local beaver dams since flooding in the southern part of the County caused by a beaver dam break earlier this year.

Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone asked what the local communities could engage in to assist in the process. He asked: "Is there something specific we can do to help you?"

Assemblyman Lopez said that the grant proposals were an important step in getting the process rolling. Senator Jim Seward added, "This is the key going forward."

Colleen Fullford of the County Emergency Management Office had several pertinent points for the group, including speaking about FEMA funding. She said that 25% of FEMA money allocated would go toward mitigation.

Peter Nichols also mentioned that much of the money applied for was "out of a multi-billion dollar pot" of federal money granted to the state to deal with Hurricane Sandy.

Still, there was concern about whether significant funding would roll out. The frustration voiced by multiple local officials was shared by the higher-ups. Congressman Chris Gibson's Chief of Staff Steve Bulger said that the state was still making the decision about further funding.

Peter Lopez asked for an "inventory of programs," noting that Middleburgh and Schoharie already had a list ready for review. Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe said that these projects needed to be "shovel ready."

Lopez Hosting Flood Meeting Monday

Written By Editor on 12/6/13 | 12/6/13

Assemblyman Peter Lopez is inviting local leaders to another round of a series of flood resiliency meetings. The meetings, which have involved personnel from Towns, Villages, and County offices came about after Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone suggested a better way to mitigate excess rain runoff. The project has been led by Assemblyman Lopez in conjunction with Congressman Chris Gibson and State Senator Jim Seward.

The next meeting is Monday, December 9th at 1pm at the Schoharie Town Hall. The meeting will discuss further methods of preventing future flooding and dealing with potential future logistical and weather issues.

Green Shirts Leaving Schoharie County

Written By Editor on 11/23/13 | 11/23/13

In an emotional ceremony on Monday, December 18th the hundreds of volunteers that assisted flood victims across the County were honored. The Green Shirts, affiliated with the Reformed Church are leaving after two years of service in the area. Many are moving on to help other flood victims affected by Hurricane Sandy. From SALT's press release:

Over the past two years, over 500 Green Shirt volunteers from all over the United States and Canada have come and donated a week or more of their time to helping to rebuild our homes and community. Many of these volunteers have come multiple times and stayed for 2 or more weeks at a time. Collectively, they have volunteered for over 53,000 hours - worth over $1,025,000 of inkind labor. 
In addition, the Green Shirts have spent over $225,000 in our area, supporting our local economy while rebuilding it. After the initial meetings between SALT and World Renew Regional Managers for New York and New England, Doug and Pat Guikema, reported to World Renew that the SALT recovery group was "one of the best organized, ready to lead the recovery efforts that they have had the privilege to work with" in the 10 years since they've been involved with World Renew and, that SALT was "ahead of the curve for Long Term Committees." 
"Closing down our Schoharie site comes with many mixed emotions," said Doug Guikema shares. "We are thankful that we were able to complete the homes that we did, and yet we know there are more families waiting for the assistance they need to finish rebuilding their home yet, and that makes it difficult to leave."

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