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Ethington Whirlwinds in Summit, R'Ville

Written By Editor on 9/15/13 | 9/15/13

Todd Ethington has retained his early enthusiasm for the 2013 Sheriff's race, continuing his aggressive campaigning outside of the heaviest populated areas of the County.

On Saturday, the candidate swept through both Summit and Richmondville. Picking up these smaller communities would be crucial to any Ethington victory in two months. The candidate was a guest at the Richmondville Fire Department's clam bake.

Seward Pushes for Bath Salt Ban

Written By Editor on 9/14/13 | 9/14/13

State Senator Jim Seward has issued an email letting the constituents of the 51st Senate District know that he is pushing for a ban on controversial bath salts. The salts, which garnered national attention after a man had his face bitten off in Florida by another hopped up on them, are on the New York law docket. Seward writes in part:
The new law adds more chemical compounds—the type of compounds used to make these bath salt drugs—to the state's banned substances list. It imposes criminal penalties on those who sell, use and/or possess these drugs, and also makes it a felony to sell the substances to a minor or on school grounds.

Schoharie Democrats Set Picnic for 22nd

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

The Schoharie County Democratic Party has set its fall picnic for later this month. Formally known as the Fall Garden Party, the event will take place at 337 Barneville Road in Cobleskill. All are invited and tickets are $10 for adults, with children getting in for free.

Cobleskill Tops Interesting Slate of Supervisor Races

Although the Schoharie News has primarily been focused on the sheriff's race since our launch earlier this week, we also have to take into account the other pivotal elections set to take place this fall - such as the Supervisor contests in Cobleskill, Jefferson, Schoharie and Wright - all of which are contested and will have a significant impact on county government policy.

Take the Cobleskill race for example: incumbent Democrat Tom Murray versus Republican nominee Leo McAllister. Although both candidates are close politically (Murray caucuses with Republicans and so will McAllister) and their differences are primarily in the way they will govern, this election will have a profound effect on the county board/political arena for two reasons.

One because the Republican Party has fielded two consecutive strong candidates for the seat and fell twice by small margins (falling short by ten votes in 2009 and 150 in 2011) and another strong candidate failing to prevail in the county's largest town would start to raise questions about the party's effectiveness, which brings us to the second reason-- Cobleskill holds the most power on the county board due to the weighted vote system, meaning the town's Supervisor can instantly hold the balance on almost any issue brought up to a vote and the man who holds that position essentially plays political kingmaker during his term in office.

But Cobleskill isn't the only race worth watching. The rematch between former Supervisor Martin Shrederis and current Supervisor Gene Milone in Schoharie will be an interesting contest, as will the race to fill the Town of Wright's top spot after William Goblet's unfortunate passing earlier this year and let us not forget the Jefferson race between Bill Cherry's hand picked candidate Sean Jordan and incumbent Dan Singletary who lost the Republican caucus last month because of the County Treasurer's activism, but will continue to fight on the Conservative and Independent lines. 

I hope everyone brought some popcorn, because Schoharie County's political theater is just getting started.

Schoharie News Preparing Sheriff Candidate Interviews

As part of our coverage of this fall's sheriffs election, The Schoharie News is planning interviews with all three candidates to better inform our readership and help you ultimately reach a choice at the ballot box.

We have already sat down with Mr. Travis, are planning to with Mr. Ethington next weekend and have emailed Sheriff Desmond as well. Although one interview is complete, we have decided to wait until completing all three until rolling them out on the site.

Desmond Highlights Military Roles

Written By Editor on 9/12/13 | 9/12/13

Sheriff Desmond looks to build upon positive press following his announcement that he would not enforce the NYS SAFE Act. His latest push highlights his family's role in the United States Military.

Mr. Desmond spent time in the U.S. Air Force, after which he was honorably discharged. Now he has passed the role down to his family. His son Michael is a Commander in the Navy while his granddaughter has joined the NJROTC. Sheriff Desmond presented that his family has been "proudly serving their country since 1777." Desmond has also buffeted this experience in the armed forces with over 30 years experience in the Sharon Springs Fire Department.

His son Michael and family
Mr. Desmond highlights these roles on his facebook page, including two photos. This also comes after rival Todd Ethington is launching an anti-bullying push while Larry Travis has been on the caucus circuit.

MCS Nears Weight Room Rehab Completion

Middleburgh Central School has taken another step in healing the scars of Irene. In one of the most vulnerable parts of the high school the weight room underwent a large amount of damage two years ago. Now, in an announcement on its facebook page the school has closed in on finishing touches.
From the MCS Facebook page

State Offers New Irene Grants for Small Businesses

Separate from $12 Million Announced by Cuomo

New York State has announced another lifeline for businesses affected by Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and Tropical Storm Lee. For this area, it is a welcome sight for commercial interests crushed by Irene two years ago. The new program, separate from the Community Reconstruction Zones offered by Governor Cuomo in his visit to Cobleskill Tuesday, offers another option.

The New York State Small Business Storm Recovery Program is offered to all small businesses with fewer than 100 employees affected by storms Irene, Lee, or Sandy. While much of the money is expected to travel Downstate, it is available to a total of 30 counties, including Schoharie.

The grants, which could total over $50,000 per business are meant to cover losses and expenses not covered by other sources. The program also offers low-interest loans of up to $1,000,000 for other costs. The grant costs are not capped, except for 100% of loss estimates, making this potentially one of the most generous that the state has offered in two years.

This program takes place under the wide umbrella of the NY Rising series of projects. This includes the $12 million in CRZ funding announced by Cuomo.

Schoharie News Poll Needs Input

The Schoharie News is holding an unscientific poll to determine which candidate for Sheriff garners the most support. Among the current votes, Conservative Party candidate Todd Ethington commands a significant lead. Check out our right sidebar if you would like to take part.

GOP Picnic on 21st

The County Republican Party has a lot on its plate this election season. Come next Saturday, count some BBQ on it as well. The County GOP is inviting its members to its annual picnic at Minekill State Park on September 21st. The $20 event will include appearances from Sheriff Desmond and many of the candidates from across the County.

Opinion: The Right Mann in Blenheim

Little did Bob Mann, Jr. know that he was going to become a pillar of his community when he first ran for Town Supervisor as a twentysomething. Now nearly twenty years later Bob is a little older and a lot wiser. Blenheim has seen its ups and downs since the gas explosion and Hurricane Irene, but has also had a surprising amount of resiliency.

Much of that credit belongs to the plucky, industrious people of the County's smallest town, but much of it also falls at the feet of Supervisor Robert Mann. Mr. Mann has shepherded Blenheim through many projects and issues and has left Bleinheim in better shape than Irene would have left it.

Ultimately, Mr. Mann has proven himself within the Town boundaries, but has provided something else entirely. He has also served as one of the most stalwart, competent members of the Board of Supervisors, partnering with Bill Cherry to bring our County into its current debt-free environment. His leadership, though quiet at times, is necessary. That is why Mr. Mann is the first endorsement of the campaign season for the Schoharie News.

Arboretum Hosting Harvest Fest Workshops

The Landis Arboretum is hosting a series of workshops to encourage people to learn more about the plants around them in time for the leaves to fall. The events are open to the public for a small fee. The workshops this Saturday will run over five hours and will include three separate projects. These include a winemaking class, a canning class, and an herbal medicine class. Each workshop is $5 for members, $10 for non-members. All are invited.

Travis Unveils Campaign Yard Sign

Written By Editor on 9/11/13 | 9/11/13

Democrat candidate for Sheriff Larry Travis, the police chief of Cobleskill, unveiled his newly arrived yard signs this afternoon that are sure to compete for the attention of passing motorists and voters over the next two months until election day.

Mr. Travis is scheduled to attend the Town of Carlise Democratic caucus this evening after speaking to the Town of Wright caucus last night. 

After planning to launch his election push following Labor Day, Mr. Travis has been on the campaign trail the past few weeks and one noticeable political absence has been Travis for Sheriff yard signs. Well, with today's news, that will be the case no longer and the roadway landscape will have to make room for one more fall contender.

Desmond Featured in National Press over SAFE Act Stance

Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond has made no secret of his disdain for the recent New York Safe Act. The Sheriff joined the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors in condemning the legislation while citing its perceived unconstitutionality.

Now the Sheriff has made it clear that he will not impose a law that he believes is against the Second Amendment. Desmond has been campaigning against the SAFE Act for weeks now, but has taken another step forward by announcing that he will not prosecute Schoharie County residents that violate the law.

This has been noticed in gun forums across the country, leaping into the pages of Reason, the nation's foremost libertarian magazine. Reason pulls a quote from the Oneonta Daily Star and make Mr. Desmond a centerpiece of the story.

“I’m not going back on my personal conviction,” he said. Residents have told him this is what they want, he said, and “I’ve stood up for them, and I will continue to do so.”

Ethington Tackles Bullying in New Ad

Sheriff candidate Todd Ethington took a break from conventional campaigning today, focusing on others issues. Ethington marked the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on his facebook page. Ethington also ran an ad in the Cobleskill paper wishing students a happy school year and taking a public stance against bullying. His ad explained that as Sheriff he would work to protect children from the practice. Ethington, who has school-aged children, has taken the firmest stance of any candidate on the issue so far.

Source: Facebook

The Lion of Schoharie

There are few people tougher than the residents of Schoharie, New York. They have seen the worst devastation of mother nature over the last several years and have fought back with grace and fortitude. There are many people from Schoharie and outside that have been instrumental in this great recovery, and it would be too long a list to place here. However, the people of Schoharie have been very fortunate that they have had a constant pair of eyes watching over the community.

Mayor John Borst has served the citizens of the village for over a decade with the gumption and drive that typifies the attitude of the community. Mayor Borst has been a driving force behind much of the community's recovery over the last year. He has assisted in more organizations than most people could join in a lifetime and does it with his dry sense of humor that strengthens the resolve of the community.

 However, if you asked him he would rightfully instead thank the hundreds of people that have helped make this happen. But it takes a leader like Mayor Borst to get Schoharie there.

Travis Speaks at Town of Wright Democrat Caucus

Written By Editor on 9/10/13 | 9/10/13

Cobleskill Police Chief Larry Travis, the Democratic candidate in this fall's upcoming Sheriff's election, spoke before attendees at the Town of Wright Democratic caucus this evening as he begins his campaign push to election day in hopes of defeating incumbent Tony Desmond at the polls.
photo credit: Larry Travis for Sheriff facebook page
Mr. Travis' campaign has been off to a slow start thus far, at least when compared to the machine like stumping that Todd Ethington has displayed, but with the political season getting fired up and voters attention spans turning towards the business of electing a new sheriff, Mr. Travis is ready to make the case. 

Governor Cuomo Announces $12 Million Grants for Schoharie County

Following a previous announcement concerning the distribution of Community Reconstruction Zone grants to four Schoharie County municipalities, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed an invitation only audience of fifty public officials, residents and local media at SUNY Cobleskill's Frisbee Hall this afternoon to further detail the program in attempt to assuage local worries over state heavy-handedness in how funds will be allocated.

The grants, which total $12 million, will be evenly distributed between the Town of Esperance and the three Villages of Esperance, Middleburgh and Schohaire, and although Governor Cuomo stated that he believes "that the people that know best are in the community," all projects submitted must be approved first by the CRZ committee.

Speaking on the value of the $3 million his Irene devastated municipality will receive, Village of Schoharie Mayor John Borst said, looking positively to the future, "We have the opportunity to empower ourselves to our own path of recovery." His sentiment was seconded by CRZ Committee Co-Chair Sarah Goodrich, who emphasized that the state government wont dictate how funds are spent and that local communities will make their own plans. 

Governor Cuomo, who was introduced by Town of Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon, arrived shortly after twelve via helicopter and stayed for roughly an hour, speaking for fifteen minutes in mostly general terms concerning the CRZ grant program, which can be summed up by one specific statement that "We have funding that's available for the community."

Now comes the real work for local officials and the CRZ committee alike: decide where and how much of these funds should be directed towards what project and why. And once that process is completed, only then can the significance of these grants be truly measured by the competence displayed in utilizing these valuable funds towards our local communities. 

The Brief: Cuomo's Visit to SUNY Cobleskill

Governor Cuomo's visit to Schoharie County today came out as a bit of a surprise. The visit was announced late yesterday afternoon as Cuomo's office declared that the Governor was going to be speaking on flood issues.

A lengthier article will be available shortly, but some brief information here.

Dignitaries from the County included many elected officials, members of the Community Reconstruction Zone Committee, the Planning Department, among others. Altogether there were about 50 residents of Schoharie County represented in the lecture hall at Frisbee Hall on the SUNY Campus.

The program started at 12:06 as the interim SUNY Cobleskill President introduced State Senator Jim Seward. Seward introduced Schoharie Mayor John Borst who introduced Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon who introduced Governor Cuomo. Cuomo spoke for about twenty minutes, describing his desire to keep flood determinations local. After the Governor's comments, both CRZ Committee Co-Chairs Georgia van Dyke and Sarah Goodrich spoke briefly.

More shortly, including quotes from the crowd. And remember that you read it here at the Schoharie News first. Subscribe by writing in your email in the right hand column!

Governor Cuomo to Speak at SUNY Cobleskill on Flood Grants

Governor Andrew Coumo will be announcing financial grants for Schoharie County's flood affected areas today at noon on SUNY Cobleskill's campus. The meeting/announcement will take place inside of Frisbee Hall and both the Mayors of Middleburgh and Schoharie are expected to attend along with other local officials. 

SUNY Cobleskill officials have been busy setting up a section for the Governor's announcement. (Picture by Dawn Leggiadro)
The announcement has been long in the making as local municipalities wait in angst to see what new flood relief package the state has crafted for our still recovering area and how we can use to not only continue rebuilding our neighborhoods and businesses to where they were, but to go a step beyond that and make it better than it was.

The Best of the Summer

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