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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label press release. Show all posts
Showing posts with label press release. Show all posts

Schoharie County Organizations Receive Grants for Local Art Programs

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

The Greene County Council on the Arts is proud to announce the recipients of 2014 DECentralization Grant awards.  These awards, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, utilize taxpayer monies to make the arts accessible to all citizens of New York State.
Greene County Council of the Arts
In Schoharie County eight organizations received funding to produce and offer arts and cultural programming throughout the county in 2014.  Projects include: a multi-site art installation featuring the work of Norm Magnusson sponsored by The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities, "Stories, Rhythms and Vocals of West Africa" sponsored by the Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association (as part of a summer children's workshop series), string quartet performances by the Upper Catskill String Quartet as well as an original play reading featuring the work of local playwright Phil Potak (Jefferson Historical Society), the 2014 Theater Season brought to by the Theater Project of Schoharie County, a performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with live cannon fire as well as performances by Skip Parson's Riverboat Jazz Band and the Burnt Hills Melody Makers (Schoharie County Historical Society), "Music at the Mill" summer concert series (Richmondville Historical Society) and a performance by the Mettawee River Theater at the George Landis Arboretum.

The DECentralization Grant Program is administered by the Greene County Council on the Arts (on behalf of Schoharie County) and operates this program year-round with a new funding cycle beginning in June.

Questions can be directed to Grant Coordinator, Renee Nied at:

Reality Check Presents: Movie Fame & Shame Awards of 2014

Written By Editor on 3/4/14 | 3/4/14

Cobleskill, NY – Smoking imagery in youth-rated movies is still common and a primary recruiter of teen smokers – just one of the many manipulative marketing tactics embraced by the tobacco industry.  Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties is joining youth around the world to create awareness about the way Hollywood encourages youth to smoke during the International Week of Action (February  24 to March 2), which coincided with the week leading up to the 86th Academy Awards.

To celebrate International Week of Action and recognize the best and worst of smoke free movies, Reality Check youth from across New York State will present awards to the following movie studios and actors:

Fame & Shame Awards 2014
The Fame Awards:

  1.  Walt Disney Studios
Reality Check presents a 10th Anniversary Fame Award to Walt Disney Studios for providing family entertainment with a commitment to protecting youth from tobacco imagery.  Tobacco incidents have almost disappeared from Disney’s G and PG movies.  We salute Walt Disney Studios for adopting a policy to keep smoking out of youth-rated movies and producing movies like “Saving Mr. Banks” without tobacco imagery despite the historical use of tobacco by the lead character, Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks.
  1. Stanton A. Glanz & Jono Polansky, Smoke Free Movies Network
    Reality Check presents a 10th Anniversary Fame Award to Stanton A. Glanz and Jono Polansky of the Smoke Free Movies Network for their tireless dedication to working to protect youth from tobacco imagery in movies.  The Smoke Free Movies Network is a project of Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.  Jono Polansky works with Professor Glanz and consults with UCSF on tobacco control strategy.  Together they use research, commentary and information about the deadly consequences of tobacco imagery in movies and its recruitment of young smokers to apply ongoing pressure on the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to change its rating system and rate movies with smoking R.
  2. National Association of Attorneys General & The New York State Attorney General’s Office
Reality Check presents a 10th Anniversary Fame Award to the National Association of Attorneys General and The New York State Attorney General’s Office in appreciation of their dedicated staff and resources to addressing tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies.  For more than 10 years, Attorneys General have been urging movie studios and the MPAA to reduce youth exposure to tobacco in movies.

The Shame Awards:

  1. Film Director Woody Allen
Reality Check presents a Shame Award to film director Woody Allen for his complete disregard for youth and their exposure to tobacco imagery in his movies.  As a director, Allen decides what appears on screen and could easily avoid the use of tobacco in youth-rated movies, but chooses not to.  His most recent and blatant support of tobacco came in 2013 when he cancelled the release of his film “Blue Jasmine” in India because he refused to air an anti-tobacco message prior to the film as required by India’s Ministry of Health.
  1. Actor Johnny Depp
Reality Check presents a Shame Award to Actor Johnny Depp for allowing the popular animated character he voiced, Rango, to smoke in the movie by the same name. Rango is an animated film rated PG, intended for youth and widely seen by young audiences. This film included more than 60 smoking instances on screen including smoking by Rango, the hero and main character of the film. 
3. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Reality Check presents a Shame Award to Actor Leonardo DiCaprio for making smoking look cool on screen in the PG-13 rated movie “The Great Gatsby”.  While the novel “The Great Gatsby” only mentions smoking 8 times, this new 3D  version includes more than 150 smoking instances despite the reality that Americans smoked less in 1922 than they do now.  Tragically, this film has already delivered 2.5 billion tobacco impressions to audiences including youth.
4. The 10th Anniversary Ultimate Shame Award:  Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA)
For 10 years, Reality Check has joined with other youth across the U.S. to encourage the MPAA to change its rating system to trigger an R rating when tobacco imagery is part of a film.  In 2007, the MPAA announced that it would “consider” smoking in its film ratings, but has yet to elevate the rating of any film for smoking or implement a policy where smoking generates an R rating similar to certain language.   The MPAA has received thousands of communications from youth, parents and the public in support of a change to its rating system, yet youth-rated movies continue to deliver billions of tobacco impressions.  For not taking action in the best interest of our nation’s youth, shame on you, MPAA.

Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties and 15 other Reality Check contracts throughout NYS will be will sending the Fame recipients a photo of their youth with thank you messages written on the photo by youth thanking the recipient for their work in protecting kids from toxic movies. Each contract will send and empty shipping box to the Shame recipients with nothing in the box but a written message on the inside bottom saying “YOU CAN VIEW YOUR SHAME AWARD ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE AT REALITYCHECKOFNY.COM.” 

For 10 years, Reality Check has been working to get Hollywood to eliminate smoking in youth rated movies with an “R” rating.    “By the 2015 Oscars, we hope to have a new standard for “R” ratings to celebrate,” said C.J. Smith, Program Coordinator for Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties.  “Movies that contain smoking should have an “R” rating because smoking on screen kills in real life.  It’s time for Hollywood to stop glamorizing smoking in the movies kids see.” Smith said. 

According to the Surgeon General’s 2014 Report, youth who are exposed to images of smoking in movies are more likely to smoke; those who get the most exposure to on-screen smoking are about twice as likely to begin smoking as those who get the least exposure.  The report further states that actions that would eliminate the depiction of tobacco use in movies could have a significant effect on preventing youth from becoming tobacco users.  PG-13 movies are the biggest concern since they accounted for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents saw on the big screen in 2012.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has so far been unwilling to change its rating system to trigger an R rating when smoking imagery is part of a film.  Six of the leading movie studios, Sony, Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, Paramount and Viacom have voluntarily adopted smoke free movies policies, but have often failed to abide by their own policies.   One major studio, News Corporation (Fox) has failed to adopt a policy at all.

“Parents, teachers and our community are encouraged to send a message to the movie industry that celebrities enticing kids to smoke has got to stop,” said Will Hodge, a senior at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School and Reality Check Youth Advocate.  “Send an e-mail to the MPAA at”

For more information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing in movies, visit

Schoharie County Bar Association to Host Training Program March 18, With Focus on Flood Insurance Reform

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

Schoharie County Bar Association will host a training program "The Changing Face of Real Estate Practice" on Tuesday March 18, 2014, from 10:00am-2:30pm. The program will highlight important updates including the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 legislation passed in response to the devastating floods of the last several years and places risk of loss due to flooding on those who will be most benefited. The result is significant increases to flood insurance rates and many more properties than formerly included in the risk pool. 

Previously, flood insurance holders enjoyed a significant subsidy by the Federal Government. However, the costs associated with flooding from hurricanes including Katrina, Irene, Sandy and other rain events, have caused financial pressure and a shortfall in the insurance funds available.

This program is intended mainly for real estate professionals including attorneys, land surveyors, engineers, real estate sales persons, insurance agents and municipal code enforcement officers, however, it will be of interest to anyone who owns real estate in a flood zone or identified area of potential flooding.

The program will include training and a review of the germane aspects of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), using and understanding Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), Flood Elevation Certificates and other flood related topics. Speakers include Tim Blanchard, NYS DEC Certified Flood Plain Manager, Jon Thompson, Professional Land Surveyor and Joanne Darcy-Crum, Attorney and Professional Land Surveyor.

The program is being sponsored by Schoharie County Bar Association in cooperation with Schenectady County Bar Association and Catskill Area Association of Land Surveyors and will be held on Tuesday March 18, 2014. Registration and coffee starts at 9:30, with the program from SUNY Cobleskill. The fee for the seminar is $100 for members of participating organizations, $ 125 for non-members, which includes Continuing Education Credit. Others are invited for a fee of $50 (if no Continuing education is needed) and includes handouts and a working lunch. Reservations are required. For additional information contact the office of Joanne Darcy Crum, L.S. at 518-234-4650 or

Local Officials Participate in Pro-Active Webinar

Written By Editor on 2/25/14 | 2/25/14

Cobleskill, NY (February 24, 2014) – Creating Healthy Places To Live, Work and Play hosted a webinar at SUNY Cobleskill for elected officials and road crews to learn Cost Effective Solutions for Complete Streets on February 24th. Representatives from towns and villages as well as County level employees were invited to participate in this viewing and discussion.

Complete Streets is a way of looking at roads being used by all – cars, buses, trucks, as well as bicycles, wheel chair and pedestrians.  It looks at access to being able to get from one place to another by the mode of transportation that is best for the individual.  

Currently in Schoharie County Sharon Springs and Schoharie have adopted Complete Street Policies that were crafted with assistance from LaBerge Group from Albany; their assistance was supported by Creating Healthy Places grant funds.  Blenheim and Middleburgh are working on drafting  policies  with LaBerge group currently.

The webinar offered inexpensive ways to implement Complete Streets within communities, whether it is during a planned restriping of a road to enlarge a shoulder for bicyclists and pedestrians or if it is a making a plan to clear not only sidewalks, but curb cuts so that people can easily cross streets.  The webinar was presented by Jeff Olsen from Alta Group in Albany and sponsored by TriState Transportation and DASH NY.  After the webinar, a discussion was held on projects to consider locally as well as how to fund some of the more costly changes being discussed by communities through the NY Rising discussions.

Complete Streets have several benefits including allowing for people to have a walkable community.  Complete Streets also can improve the economics of a community by creating a more conducive environment for people to shop in downtown stores.  Complete streets can improve the environment by encouraging people to walk and bicycle instead of take a car for short trips or to use public transportation to get where they are going and thereby reducing emissions released into the air.

Creating Healthy Places is a grant funded through New York State Department of Health to address the growing problem of obesity and its effects on chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Chronic Heart Disease.  The Grant was awarded to SUNY Cobleskill in 2010 for 5 years with $875,000 coming into the community to work on access to fresh fruits and vegetables and places to be physically active.  For more information or questions, please contact Maureen Blanchard, Project Coordinator at (518) 255-5294.

Press Release: Stop the Pipeline Blasts Constitution's "Arrogance"

Written By Editor on 12/19/13 | 12/19/13

Central NY - Stop the Pipeline (STP) filed extensive comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today, blasting the Constitution Pipeline Company’s lack of directness and transparency in its responses to requests for information made by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corp) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The comments were prepared by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, which represents STP. The Clinic spent weeks analyzing the pipeline company’s responses after FERC told the company that it had to provide answers to all agencies’ comments before FERC releases its draft Environmental Impact Statement. 

“We were shocked by the evasive techniques the pipeline company used to avoid answering questions,” said Anne Marie Garti, a founding member of STP and a volunteer at the Clinic. “They ignored most of the agencies’ comments, developed legal theories to try to avoid answering others, and then buried the rest in thousands of pages of submitted files so that no one could find them.” 

The Constitution Pipeline Company requires permits from both the Army Corps and the DEC before it can begin construction. Both agencies have submitted comments that require extensive analysis from the pipeline company under laws that are outside of FERC’s authority.  

Stop the Pipeline (STP) is a grass roots organization of landowners and citizens who are committed to preserving Central New York from the countless negative impacts of the proposed 30”, 124-mile high-pressure gas transmission line that would run through pristine territory, from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania to Schoharie County, New York. STP retained the Pace Law School’s Environmental Litigation Clinic last Fall to help stop the pipeline. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. founded the Litigation Clinic, and co-directs it with Professor Karl Coplan.  Professor Daniel E. Estrin is the Clinic’s Supervising Attorney working on the case. 

“A gas pipeline project such as this, proposed to cut through pristine wilderness areas, including trout stream beds and vital wetlands, has potential to cause enormous adverse environmental impacts,” explained Professor Estrin.  “We have been pleased with the efforts of the Army Corps and DEC to obtain data that are absolutely necessary to assess those impacts, as well as to analyze whether there is a need for the pipeline project.  Conversely, we have been extremely disappointed by the Company’s game of hide the ball, which is clearly designed to make it so hard to find responsive data that the agencies and public will eventually lose interest and give up.  The company should know that the public is tracking this process very carefully, and that its efforts to prevail through atrophy of energy or interest will not succeed.”

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