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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Wal-Mart Gives $10,000 to SALT

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

Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery (SALT) was presented with a $10,000.00 check on June 24th by the national supermarket chain Wal-Mart, all thanks to the men and women who work at the Sharon Springs Distribution Center and who chose the flood recovery organization to receive the money. 

Photo credit: SALT
Every year only one of the one hundred and fifty Wal-Mart distribution centers in the United States receives the Helen R. Walton Award for Excellence in Community Service. This year, the local employees at the Sharon Springs warehouse received the award to recognize their volunteer efforts. 

As part of the award, employees received a grant of $10,000 for them to give to the organization of their choice. They chose SALT, where many of them first gave back to the community and volunteered with in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee to assist their neighbors in recovery.

Opinion: The County's Kangaroo Court

Schoharie County's trial of suspended Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington could be seen as the county's attempt to achieve justice for victims of her alleged "reign of terror," while retaining Ms. Ethington's right to a fair and just hearing before a panel of eight Supervisors tasked to sit in final judgment. 

However, as is often the case, reality tells another story altogether. 

From the initiation of proceedings, Ms. Ethington's trial has been marred by chaos and controversy, diluting the reasons for holding these hearings in the first place and revealing the county's lack of preparation for handling this unique under coming. 

Originally scheduled for three consecutive evenings, with the possibility of meeting on additional nights remaining open if need be, the trial was expected to go through several witnesses and be well on its way toward a conclusion by Thursday night, but instead hearings are stalled on the second witness with no end in sight. 

The reasoning for this is two-fold: defense attorney Ron Dunn went on an extensive, often repetitive, six hour back and forth exchange with Schoharie County Labor Attorney Mary Roach; eating up almost three nights worth of time. Meanwhile, the county never put in place the proper protocols to maintain its schedule or to avoid the possibility of a filibuster.

Additionally, the public exclusion of Supervisor Jordan from the panel was mishandled and afforded the first-term legislator no defense against unwarranted embarrassment in front of a packed courtroom of spectators and colleagues; all for evidence that was eventually thrown out on grounds of irrelevancy by Chairman VanGlad. 

With eight days until the proceedings reconvene, there is still time for the county to set the trial on a just and proper path, but if next Tuesday's hearing mirrors that of the first three affairs... It will inevitably devolve into an irreparably damaged kangaroo court that will shed whatever credibility remains of its public standing, if there is any to be found, that is...

The Smithy's Third Annual Fundraiser Set for July 31

Cooperstown, NY - For the third year, The Smithy will be hosting their Annual Fundraiser featuring a live auction with Don Raddatz and Mike Stein as the auctioneers. This year the event will also include a silent auction, raffles, heavy horderves, and dessert and the company of those in the local arts community. Live music will be provided by The Dharma Bums, while local magician The Amazing Great returns to mystify attendees after a highly successful solo performance. Additionally, attendees receive a free, beautifully handcrafted ceramic vase with admission. Several of the exciting auction items from the past will be returning such as the chance to bid on a ski house in Tahoe, art from the gallery’s Member Artists and a tour at The Baseball Hall of Fame. There will also be some intriguing new items such as a water skiing / tubing adventure on Otsego Lake with a packed lunch from Black Cat CafĂ©, donations from the Cooperstown Distillery and several generous gift certificates to your favorite local restaurants, as well as a Thai dinner and cocktail party. Silent Auction Items will be on display at the Smithy from July 24 to July 30 with pre-bidding as an option. 

The event will run from 5:30 t0 9:00pm with the live auction taking place from 7:15 to 8:15pm. Tickets are $55 for adults, $100 for couples and $35 for children over 12 years of age. Join your community for a night to support the arts that will help the Smithy to bring new exhibits, workshops, concerts and performances to Cooperstown. It will be a great event where all donations will be used to keep The Smithy a central place for local entertainment and arts education.

The newly affiliated Smithy and Cooperstown Arts Association offers many opportunities to become involved with the arts, such as exhibits, classes, writers’ circles, concerts, performing arts and much more. The Smithy Gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 10 - 5pm, Sunday from 12 - 5pm, closed on Monday. The Clay Studio offers classes and workshops with experienced instructors. We are located on 55 Pioneer Street, just past Cooley's Tavern. For more information on what is offered, call (607) 547-8671 or visit our website at

Letter to the Editor: Resident Addresses Concerns Over Howe Caverns Casino

Written By Editor on 7/13/14 | 7/13/14

Dear Editor:
The non-profit Center for Sustainable Rural Communities does not oppose casino development nor does it oppose the siting of a casino in Schoharie County. While we would prefer the allocation of resources for the revitalization of Schoharie County’s downtowns and other projects that would better enhance the quality of life in our rural communities, we understand the critical need for job creation, the failure thus far of tourism initiatives and the plurality of support for a casino by County residents. That being said, we are concerned about both the viability and impacts of the Howe Caverns proposal and the choice of development partners.
While Howe Caverns representatives sound optimistic when they discuss their chances for approval, the reality is that other applicants may be more favorably positioned because of better vetted and funded partners, proximity to interstate rail lines, airports, existing infrastructure, lodging and other amenities. Additionally, Howe Caverns representatives persist in making inaccurate statements about completed environmental reviews (SEQRA) that purport to underscore the site’s “shovel ready” status but actually cast doubt on the developer’s understanding of the regulatory process and their truthfulness. In short, an environmental review can only be completed for a specific project whose phases, scope, footprint and operating conditions have been clearly defined in a documented site plan. That has not happened and a legitimate and defensible environmental review for a casino project has not been completed despite claims to the contrary by Howe Caverns. Repeating the false assertion that a potentially massive development project has gained environmental approval before it has been fully defined and reviewed does little to support Howe Cavern’s credibility or its chances of gaining a casino license.
Disclosures by Schoharie News that Howe Cavern’s partner in the proposed casino project has a record of financial irregularities, fines, association with a Ponzi scheme and sentencing for domestic violence does little to instill confidence in an application that must be scrutinized and approved by a State Gaming Commission which is highly sensitive to even the appearance of criminality, unethical behavior and/or financial shenanigans.
The recent knee-jerk vote by the Schoharie County Board of Supervisor’s to support a casino proposal without conducting a cultural and economic impact analysis and without full knowledge of the people involved is disheartening. Blog posts by County residents insisting that we should ignore the developer’s troubling history because we are desperate for jobs and a recent editorial in the Times-Journal that infers that the “OK” of a powerful local businessman trumps the disturbing reports of criminal activity, are also disheartening.

What is most disturbing is the potential for a County that has suffered through devastating natural disasters, protracted economic hardship and previous exploitation by unscrupulous developers may yet again face the emotional roller-coaster that comes with the belief in of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that does not exist. There is the potential that when the initial excitement of a proposed casino fades we will have a much clearer view of the hidden costs to a community of ill-conceived plans, false statements and questionable participants. We hope that in the end, the Gaming Commission, local officials and the public make the best decision possible.

Bob Nied
Board of Directors
Center for Sustainable Rural Communities

Poll: Support for Casino Remains High

Written By Editor on 7/12/14 | 7/12/14

Support has fallen for a Howe Caverns Casino, but it remains well above a majority of residents according to our latest Schoharie News survey conducted on the proposed gaming facility. Howe Caverns bid, one of five in the Capital District, is now undergoing review by the New York State Gaming Commission.

With over two hundred votes cast roughly six in ten readers continue to be in support of the local project, while only 27% of residents are opposed, and four percent remain undecided on the subject. Interestingly enough, one in ten are withholding their support unless controversial owner Michael Malik is let go. 

Malik, as it was exclusively reported by the Schoharie News, has a questionable personal and financial background; one that was downplayed by Howe Caverns owner Emil Galasso in the Cobleskill paper's latest edition. 

The poll was open for six days and was located on the right-hand sidebar of the website. 

Huntersland Hosting Community Garage Sale Today

Middleburgh's northernmost Hamlet of Huntersland will be hosting its twenty-first annual community wide garage sale today, Saturday July 12th, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in addition to a vendor craft show and bake sale. Festivities will be held rain or shine.

Garage sale aficionados and residents alike are encouraged to visit the Huntersland Fire Department, where treasure maps will be available of local sales. They can later return in the day for burgers and hot dogs at lunchtime, while entering for their chance of winning the 50/50 raffle cash prize.

The nearby Hamlet of Gallupville will also be holding its own community day and garage sales today, with their events also being centralized at the local firehouse. At the southern end of the county Jefferson will be abuzz with activity as residents celebrate their township's annual Heritage Day.

Trial Adjourns Until July 22: Day Three

Written By Editor on 7/11/14 | 7/11/14

For more information: please view our coverage of day one and day two of proceedings. 

Schoharie County's long awaited trial on suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington's fate resumed in earnest Thursday evening with defense attorney Ron Dunn continuing his three day long cross-examination of County Labor Attorney Mary Roach.

His questioning remained essentially unchanged from the previous two days, as he returned to Ms. Roach's testimony from Tuesday night and reviewed a laundry list of emails, documents, and other evidence in the haphazard manner that has come to define his style of conduct. 

Shortly before 8:00 p.m., after six hours of extensive back and forth between the two attorneys, Mr. Dunn rested on the defense's behalf and ended his lengthy three day long cross-examination of Ms. Roach, who had originally been scheduled to testify only for a single evening. 

Moving forward with the long stalled proceedings, special prosecutor Michael McDermott called Barb Schaffer, Deputy Personnel Officer, to testify on Ms. Ethington's alleged role in the County Public Health Department following the previous director's resignation in 2010.

However, with nightfall upon the chamber, the third day of hearings was wrapped up and the trial was put on temporary hiatus, where they will resume proceedings on Tuesday, July 22 at the Schoharie County Courthouse. There is no currently scheduled end date for the trial. 

Oorah Thanks Local Law Enforcement

Gilboa, New York - It what was one of the more heartbreaking crimes committed last holiday season, when three men broke into the Oorah campsite located at the old Deer Run Ski Lodge in Jefferson and stole thousands of dollars worth of ATV's, televisions, and other equipment over the Hanukkah holiday. 

With hundreds of young girls set to visit the campsite over the coming weekend, spirits were low at the not for profit Jewish organization that hosts hundreds of campers at its TheZone campsites in Schoharie County; the other site is in the Town of Gilboa. But fortunes were in Oorah's favor...

Within forty-eight hours New York State Police had not only found and arrested the three suspects in Liberty, New York, but had also recovered and returned a substantial amount of the stolen property - just in time for hundreds of campers who had made the trip to Upstate New York from across the country. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Oorah remembered the work of local law enforcement and offered its thanks to New York State Police stationed across the Catskill Region that assisted in the investigation, local Sheriff's departments, and countless other individuals who helped to catch the men responsible. 

The organization presented plaques to New York State Troopers from Groups C, D, and F for their hard work during the investigation. The ceremony was held at the Gilboa campsite and was part of the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon, which was followed by a check presentation to town officials. 

Upon the luncheon's conclusion, guests were invited to the campsite's dinning hall where young campers shouted their appreciation and thanks to law enforcement, which they followed by singing their energetic camp song to the invited law enforcement personnel, town officials, and local media that were on hand.  

Stamford Awarded Housing Rehab Grant

Written By Editor on 7/10/14 | 7/10/14

STAMFORD, NY – The Town of Stamford is pleased to announce that the Office of Community Renewal has awarded the Town CDBG funds for an owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program. The program pays to rehabilitate homes owned by residents at or below 80% of the Delaware County median income which is: for a household of 1, $32,200; 2 people $36,800, 3 people, $41,400, 4 people, $46,000. The Town has elected to give the elderly and disabled at or below 50% county median income preference. The program will be administered by Western Catskills Community Revitalization Council, Inc. (WCCRC), which is a 501(c) 3 not for profit Rural Preservation Company headquartered in Stamford, NY. 
Meetings will be held for homeowners interested in applying on Monday, July 21st at 10:30 AM and again at 6:30 PM at the Town Hall, on 101 Maple Avenue, Hobart, NY. Fact sheets and applications will be available at those meetings.  The Town of Stamford is an Equal Employment Opportunity to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex or handicap and they encourage the participation of minority and women-owned businesses. 
Velga Kundzins, WCCRC Executive Director says “We’ve run very successful CDBG programs in Fulton, Summit, Gilboa, and Jefferson and look forward to working with the Stamford community on this one.  We hope that all eligible residents will attend one of these meetings.”
WCCRC and the Town of Stamford do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).
For more information on this program, please call Program Manager Sheleigah Grube at 607.652.2823 or visit

Broome Resident Arrested for Grand Larceny

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Department announced on Monday the arrest of a Broome man for allegedly using another individual's credit/debit card information to make online purchases without the owner's consent. 

Nineteen year old Jacob T. Kenney was arrested at approximately 4:20 p.m. Monday, where he was subsequently charged with committing Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and released on an appearance ticket. 

He was scheduled to appear before the Broome Town Court on Tuesday, July 8th for further action.

Jordan Excused From Trial: Day Two

Our coverage of day one's proceedings can be found here

Schoharie County reconvened its ongoing trial/hearing against suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington into day two Wednesday evening, where defense attorney Ron Dunn continued his questioning of County Labor Attorney Mary Roach from Tuesday night. 

But not before one Supervisor was removed from the panel selected to sit in judgment of Ms. Ethington. 

Meeting for thirty minutes behind closed doors, members of the panel voted to excuse Jefferson Supervisor Sean Jordan from their deliberations. Jordan, visibly upset at the decision, was excluded because the defense planned to cite his own previous lawsuit filed against the county in 2012 for wrongful termination. 

With Jordan's exclusion, the panel was reduced to only eight supervisors: Ms. Bleau of Wright, Mr. Buzon of Middleburgh, Mr. McAllister of Cobleskill, Mr. Federice of Conesville, Mr. Smith of Blenheim, Mr. Smith of Broome, Mr. VanGlad of Gilboa, and Mr. VanWormer of Esperance. 

Mr. Dunn resumed questioning of Ms. Roach by revisiting the Gigandet and Grimes lawsuits, but when he began querying the labor attorney on the Jordan case special prosecutor Michael McDermott objected to it as irrelevant, which Mr. VanGlad sustained, and the defense was barred from further mentioning it. 

The mostly full courtroom would subsequently be confined to approximately two hours of back and forth, at points contentious, exchanges between Mr. Dunn and Ms. Roach as the defense pursued several lines of seemingly unrelated questioning on Ms. Roach's testimony offered on Tuesday. 

As Mr. Dunn's cross-examination passed the four hour mark shortly after nine, the second day of hearings were concluded with Ms. Roach scheduled to return for a third day of testimony Thursday evening. County officials had scheduled the trial for three days, but with the hearing stalled on the first witness, it may have to be extended into next week.

Proceedings will commence once more on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Schoharie County Courthouse, where the defense will further continue its questioning of Ms. Roach, and subsequent witnesses will be called if time allows. 

Oorah Thanks Gilboa, VanGlad

Written By Editor on 7/9/14 | 7/9/14

With hundreds of young ladies and dozens of law enforcement personnel in attendance, Oorah TheZone camp director Rabbi Avraham Krawiec presented Gilboa Town Supervisor Tony VanGlad with a token of the Jewish summer camp's appreciation Wednesday afternoon. 

That token being a $7,500 check to the town. 

In a short presentation, Rabbi Krawiec reminded campers that while they visit the rural town only four weeks out of the year, Mr. VanGlad administers its daily operations year round. Additionally, the longtime Gilboa Town Supervisor was elected Chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors this past January.

Mr. VanGlad was appreciative of Oorah's generosity, telling the convened campers that the Town of Gilboa used last year's $7,500 donation to make unexpected repairs to the small community's Town Hall building in the fall. Campers welcomed him and his guests with a rendition of their spirited camp song. 

VanGlad, always the joker, loved his #emojified sash 
Oorah is a New Jersey based Jewish organization that holds weekend and summer retreats for hundreds of young boys and girls at two campsites located within Schoharie County; one on South Gilboa Road in Gilboa and the other at the old Deer Run Ski Lodge in Jefferson. 

Prior to the check presentation, Oorah held its annual law enforcement appreciation luncheon, which will be covered in a separate story. 

Online Farmers Market Adds More Sites in Schoharie County

Cobleskill NY – (July 9, 2014)- Since 2011, Schoharie Fresh has served Schoharie County as an online farmers’ market through which over 30 area producers offer a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods and specialty items. Over two thousand residents have registered as customers on the market’s website,, and product sales have increased dramatically each year since its launch. 

Developed with grant funding from the NYS Department of Health’s Creating Healthy Places initiative, Schoharie Fresh has operated on SUNY Cobleskill’s campus since 2012 and is currently staffed by the college’s students. Each week, customers place orders through the site by midnight, Wednesday and pick up their orders at the campus market location (Hodder Garage, located directly off of Route 7 on the farm-side of campus) on Fridays between 3:30 and 5:30. 

Recently, faculty and staff at SUNY Cobleskill were awarded funds from The United Way of the Greater Capital Region to expand Schoharie Fresh and to enhance the market’s convenience for county residents. Specifically, grant dollars will be used to establish two new customer pick-up sites—one at Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Central Bridge and the other at Schoharie United Presbyterian Church in Schoharie. Customers from outside of the immediate Cobleskill vicinity will now be able to realize the benefits and convenience of the online farmers’ market with the availability of pick-up sites closer to their homes. It is anticipated that the two new pick-up sites will be up-and-running by the end of July, 2014. 

Schoharie Fresh coordinators will also use a portion of the United Way award dollars to develop and offer “Better Food, Better Budgets” workshops starting in May, 2015 that will be open to the general public and focused on achieving healthy family food budgets using nutritious local ingredients available through Schoharie Fresh. The College will partner with the Schoharie County Community Action Program (SCCAP) to offer these workshops. 

For more information about Schoharie Fresh and the launch of its new pick-up points in the county, contact Maureen Blanchard at or Jason Evans at

Road Crews Patch Up Clauverwie

Although it is only a temporary fix to a larger problem, county work crews began "skim coating" the worst parts of Middleburgh's porous Clauverwie Road on Tuesday morning. Residents have long complained about the road's poor condition. 

Photo by Sheila Donegan
Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon told citizens at June's annual joint Town/Village board meeting that the proper repairs could not be made until after the stream bank project is concluded, which pushes possible construction to fall at the earliest time. 

Ethington Trial Begins: Day One

Schoharie County's long awaited disciplinary trial/hearings on the fate of suspended Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington kicked off Tuesday night, setting the tone for what might be a rather lengthy and inquisitive exchange between the prosecution and defense attorney.

County Attorney Michael West initiated the proceedings by explaining the parameters, before recusing himself. Joanne Darcy Crum was named as special counsel in Mr. West's place, while Michael McDermott stood for the prosecution and Ron Dunn represented Ms. Ethington. 

Seven Supervisors were included on the witness list, excluding them from hearing additional testimony or casting a final vote on the embattled Personal Director's fate, leaving the remaining nine as jury of the case. 

Among those excluded were Mr. Barbic of Seward, Mr. Bradt of Carlisle, Mr. Lape of Richmondville, Ms. Manko of Sharon, Mr. Milone of Schoharie, Mr. Skowfoe of Fulton, and Mr. Vroman of Seward. All six freshmen legislators in addition to Mr. Buzon, Mr. VanGlad and Mr. VanWormer remained. 

The prosecution opened Tuesday's hearing by calling Schoharie County Labor Attorney Mary Roach to testify on Ms. Ethington's conduct during two lawsuits brought by Eva Gigandet and Penny Grimes in April of 2012. Mr. Jordan was barred from speaking, due to a similar suit he filed at the same time. 

Both lawsuits had contended that Ms. Ethington assumed control of the County Public Health Department in the aftermath of the previous director's resignation, allegations that Ms. Roach testified were denied in response to Ms. Gigandet's and Grimes lawsuits, as directed by the Personnel Director. 

Mr. McDermott then presented Ms. Roach with a series of documents, emails, and portions of the Fitzmaurice Report, in which Ms. Ethington was either referred to or credited herself as the interim department head of Public Health. Ms. Roach would later state the information had been withheld from her.

Upon the prosecution's rest, Mr. Dunn arose and queried Ms. Roach on the code of conduct lawyers are sworn to abide on, including the acknowledgment of submitting false information over the course of a trial, which Ms. Roach testified she did not do in regards to either the Gigandet or Grimes cases. 

Mr. Dunn would later query Ms. Roach on an email exchange between herself, Ms. Ethington, Mr. West, and then Personnel Committee Chairman Dan Singletary, in which she offered the comments that Ethington should, "hang in there," because, "this is a piece of garbage lawsuit." The hearing would then be adjourned. 

Proceedings will resume Wednesday night, 6:00 p.m. at the Schoharie County Courthouse. 

Cobleskill Police Blotter (July 8th, 2014)

Written By Editor on 7/8/14 | 7/8/14

The Cobleskill Police Department submitted the following press release concerning recent arrests by their officers in the Village of Cobleskill

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

At 12:35 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Stefan Haag, 19, of Richmondville, NY, on an Arrest Warrant for Burglary in the Second Degree. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released. He is return to Cobleskill Town Court on July 8th at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

At 4:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Charles Robinson, 38, of Cobleskill, NY, for Trespassing. He was issued an appearance ticket and released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on July 29th at 5:00 p.m. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

At 12:45 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Kathleen Noone, 21, of Middleburgh, NY, on a Bench Warrant from Montgomery County Sheriff's Office for failing to pay a fine. She was turned over to Montgomery County Sheriff's Office for further action.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

At 4:30 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Matthew E. Duncan, 26, of Medusa, NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on July 15th at 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

At 1:34 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested John J. Silva, Jr., 24, of Freehold, NY, for Petit Larceny. He was issued an appearance ticket and released. He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on July 15th at 5:00 p.m.

Opinion: Time to Can Ethington

The time for justice has come. 

Over eight months have passed since the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted to suspend Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington indefinitely with pay for her role in fostering intimidation and mis-conduct in the county workplace, as revealed by the controversial Fitzmaurice Report

Several Supervisors would soon after lose their seats on the county board for their role in the scandal.

Now, with three evenings of hearings scheduled to decide Mrs. Ethington's fate starting tonight at the Schoharie County Court House, it is time for the embattled Personnel Director to follow her Conservative Party cohorts out the door, and pursue gainful employment off of the taxpayers dime. 

We are sure to see the familiar evidence presented by both sides for Supervisors (who are serving as the jury in these hearings) to consider in reaching their final decision, but the facts are documented and well known for all to see, whether it be the dismissal of public employees or her takeover of the Health Department. 

Mrs. Ethington's actions are beyond redemption and her acceptance back into the Personnel Office would only destroy what progress has been made in restoring the confidence and faith of the county work force in their public employment. Faith that was so badly scarred and brutalized under her "reign of terror." 

However, this isn't just about the morale of county employees, but rather the integrity of county government in not only moving past the heartache caused by its Personnel Director, as great as it was, but in its commitment to cleansing our government of corruption, illegality, and destructive personal agendas.

None of which can be accomplished until the champion of all the above is found guilty of her crimes, and in a sense of cruel irony, rightfully terminated by the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors at the conclusion of this week's trial, where she will finally taste a spoonful of her own medicine as she sees her way out. 

The choice is simple: it's time to can Ethington

County Board Approves Clerk of the Works

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, in a special legislative session Monday, voted eleven to three to select Lamont Engineers as the county's Clerk of the Works on the $23 million stream bank project, which AECOM has commenced work on this past week according to County Attorney Mike West. 

Lamont Engineers was selected over another bid on recommendation of DPW Chief Dan Crandall and Treasurer Bill Cherry, who both lauded Lamont's experience in several recovery related projects conducted by Schoharie County post-Irene and Lee. The firm was contracted for eight months at $75,000.00.

In other action, the county board voted unexpectedly to reverse its June decision to strip department heads of compensation and flextime, following complaints that the current system was being abused. Monday's motion was offered by Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, but was not well received by several members. 

Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe spoke in opposition, arguing that department heads had ignored inquiries from the county board for over a year and that no decision should be made without the full board present. He moved to table the issue, but was narrowly defeated by a single vote. 

Board Chairman Tony VanGlad sounded a conciliatory tone by stating last month's vote had, "built ill will between the Board of Supervisors and department heads," while County Treasurer Bill Cherry lauded his colleagues for committing, "more time and more effort than their required." 

Milone's motion, which called for the old compensation and flextime system to be reinstated while new policies to define use and abuse are crafted, was carried nine to four - with Supervisors Barbic of Seward, Jordan of Jefferson, Manko of Sharon, and Skowfoe of Futon in opposition. 

Coby Police Arrest Two for Sale of Heroin

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

The Cobleskill Police Department has announced that, in conjunction with the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), they have arrested two adults for the alleged sale of heroin in the Village of Cobleskill. 

At approximately 4:35 pm on Tuesday July 1st, Cobleskil Police arrested and charged twenty-year old Leland W. Pitt and twenty-five year old Jeana I. Motler, both of Seward, with 1 count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B Felony. 

During an on-going joint investigation, it was learned that the suspects were allegedly involved in the sale and possession of heroin. The information was developed and led to a purchase of the drug being made from Pitt and Motler during a joint "buy/bust" operation with CNET. 

Both suspects were arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Correctional Facility on $25,000.00 cash bail or $75,000.00 bond. Both are to return to Town of Cobleskill Court on July 7th at 11:00 am for further action.

This is the latest in a series of drug related arrests made by the Cobleskill Police and CNET team, most of which have involved the criminal sale and possession of heroin and other illegal narcotics. 

Anyone with further information regarding this incident, or with any information on drug activity in the Cobleskill community, is urged to contact Chief Rich Bialkowski at 518-234-2923. Any information provided will be kept confidential.   

Opinion: Yes to Casino, No to Malik

If Howe Caverns is awarded the Capital District's casino site by the New York State Gaming Commission, millions of dollars and hundreds of decent jobs will be created in Schoharie County. Local tax revenues will increase and county tourism is likely to see a significant boost from new patrons. 

These are all reasons why we stand 100% behind the creation and development of a casino in Schoharie County. We may not like the negative societal impacts that will tag along with estimated $450 million project, but the financial advantages are just too great to ignore at this point in time. 

However, we do not stand behind the casino's recently announced owner and operator, Michael J. Malik Sr., who exemplifies everything wrong with the gaming industry today and makes the Howe Caverns bid look just that much unappealing to already queasy residents opposed to the project. 

As we reported last week, Mr. Malik has a laundry list of disturbing actions from his past ranging from child abuse to election fraud and fiscal mismanagement to personal involvement in ponzi schemes. Additionally, he was once disqualified from holding a gaming license in his own state of Michigan in the 1990's. 

Besides our worries over the competency of the Howe Caverns team in selecting Mr. Malik to serve as the public face of the proposed casino, we believe that the morally challenged magnate's further involvement in the bid will ultimately cause it to fail from either lack of local public support or the Gaming Commission's distaste for characters of his nature.  

There is no reason to mince words on this subject, Mr. Malik's involvement in the project will cause it to fail if he remains the proposed owner and operator of the Howe Caverns Resort and Casino. The remedy is apparent for project managers: replace Malik with someone reputable, or be prepared for millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours to be wasted in a futile bid to the state. 

The Best of the Summer

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