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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Temperatures to Fall Below Zero Wednesday Night

Written By Editor on 1/6/15 | 1/6/15

For the first time of the winter, all of the County will be plunged well below zero. The temperature forecasts for the different communities differ but the National Weather Service is reporting the following highs and lows:

Middleburgh: 11/-11
Schoharie: 16/-6
Cobleskill: 15/-7
Sharon: 13/-9
Jefferson: 13/-8

Keep it tuned to our always updated weather page for more info.

Wind Chill Warning Until 10am Thursday

Below is from the National Weather Service. Keep it tuned to our always updated weather page for more info.
...Wind chill warning in effect from 5 PM Wednesday to 10 am EST Thursday...
The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a wind chill warning...which is in effect from 5 PM Wednesday to 10 am EST Thursday. The wind chill watch is no longer in effect.
* Locations...southern Adirondacks...Lake George Saratoga region...eastern Catskills...Berkshires...and southern Green Mountains of Vermont.
* Hazard types...dangerously cold wind chills.
* Wind chill values...as low as 40 degrees below zero.
* Timing...Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.
* Impacts...the combination of brutally cold temperatures and brisk northwesterly winds will combine to create dangerously cold conditions for exposed skin.
Precautionary/preparedness actions...
A wind chill warning means the combination of very cold air and strong winds will create dangerously low wind chill values. This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken.

Sharon Man Arrested for McDonald's Theft

Palatine – Earlier this evening the State Police charged a 54-year-old man with stealing items from a patron at an area McDonald’s.

Roberto J. Acosta, 10/31/60, of 209 Main Street, Sharon Springs, NY was charged with one count of petit larceny this evening after surveillance video showed him leaving a Town of Palatine McDonald’s with another person’s backpack. Acosta initially made off with an iPad, iPhone, $200 in cash, and clothing before troopers were able to track him down on his cell phone. Acosta eventually turned himself him at the State Police barracks in Fonda without incident.

Acosta was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled for arraignment in the Palatine Town Court on January 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Cobleskill Police Blotter

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Frank Madl Jr., 33, of Cobleskill on charges of thirddegree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released to return to court on January 13.

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Joseph Raymer, 23, of Berne on charges of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released to return to court ton January 13. Wednesday, December 31

The Cobleskill Village Police arrested Benjamin Urrey, 27, of Cobleskill on charges of thirddegree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arraigned and released after paying $400 bail to return to court on January 13.

Congressman Gibson to Retire at End of Term

Just entering into his third term this month, Congressman Chris Gibson has decided to not run for another. Gibson won last month with 65% of the vote over Sean Eldridge. There was no immediate statement why Gibson decided to do so.

Chair, Vice Chair Votes Totals Largely Fall on Party Lines

Written By Editor on 1/5/15 | 1/5/15

The voting for Chair and Vice Chair was largely a partisan affair today. Richmondville Supervisor Dick Lape received the vote of all ten Republicans (Amber Bleau is a registered Conservative that caucuses with the Republicans) on the County Board while Fulton Supervisor and former Chair Phil Skowfoe received six, all Democrats.

Chair
10- Lape (Richmondville): Lape, Bill Smith, Vroman, Jordan, Federice, VanGlad, VanWormer, McAllister, Bradt, Bleau
6- Skowfoe (Fulton): Milone, Shawn Smith, Buzon, Manko, Barbic, Skowfoe

Vice Chair
9- Bradt (Carlisle): Lape, Bill Smith, Jordan, Federice, VanGlad, VanWormer, McAllister, Bradt, Bleau
6- Skowfoe (Fulton): Milone, Shawn Smith, Buzon, Manko, Barbic, Skowfoe
1- Bill Smith (Broome): Harold Vroman

Lape Elected New Chair, Bradt Vice Chair

Richmondville Supervisor Richard Lape has just been elected the new Chairman of the Schoharie Board of Supervisors at today's organizational meeting. Larry Bradt of Carlisle was voted Vice Chair. We will report more as more comes out of the meeting

Vote in Our Poll: Corruption in Schoharie County

Vote in the poll on our sidebar and weigh in on whether or not corruption has been removed from the County government.

Letter to the Editor: Continue Fighting the Pipeline

Dear Editor, Neighbors and Friends,

The long awaited decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning the approval of the Constitution Pipeline comes as no surprise to many. For those of us at the local levels of government that did everything humanly possible to prevent this pipeline from running through our county, the decision is extremely disheartening. Our county board of supervisors, unfortunately, was fragmented on the issue, thus causing each town to find its own way. Our representatives at the next levels of government supported the entire concept and without their resistance the task of stopping the pipeline approval became monumental.

Our residents who are to be directly impacted by the pipeline routing understandably, will suffer devaluation of their properties as well as the constant worry that setbacks are not sufficient to insure safety in case of any compromise. Over the last 18 months I have witnessed many groups accept grant funding from representatives of Constitution and many of our land owners have signed off on easements and accepted the one time payout. For those land owners who have resisted, Constitution is now showing its true colors by mailing letters of intimidation to them. It is truly unfortunate that our county has in the past and is currently feeling the bullying powers of Big Energy because of the lack of unity among its residents and representatives.

It is extremely important for everyone to know that the effort to defeat this pipeline being placed in Schoharie County soil continues and the general public once again will be given the opportunity to voice its opinion at the upcoming public hearings to be held by DEC January 12, 2015 in Binghamton; January 13, 2015 in Oneonta and January 14, 2015 in Cobleskill at SUNY Cobleskill - Bouck Hall Theater at 6:00 PM. DEC must decide if it will issue the necessary permits for the pipeline to be built after evaluating what its possible effects will have on aquifers, ground water, storm water runoff, spring thaws and streams.

The DEC has just announced that it will prohibit hydrofracking in New York, because the Health Department has advised them that it will be quite awhile before the issue of health threats is fully researched and understood. All the dangers of leaks and pollutants in fracking also exist for gas pipelines near water sources. The people of Schoharie are so dependent on having safe, clean water and they need to let the DEC know that the issue of pipeline health impacts on water supplies also needs to be researched and understood. If people can’t make the meetings they can email their concerns to dec.sm.constitution@dec.ny.gov

Unfortunately, our nations’ economy has taken its toll on many households causing families to participate in projects of this nature, which normally they would not have. But, the fact remains that we all must fear the county becoming a corridor for pipelines carrying a product which the major portion of will be exported at our expense. Let us be reminded that there has always been strength in numbers and if we are to protect our landscape, environment and way of life, a coordinated effort between county residents and elected officials must be accomplished.

Gene Milone,
Schoharie Town Supervisor

Poll: Howe Caverns Proposal Was Flawed

Written By Editor on 1/4/15 | 1/4/15

Schoharie News readers believe by a small margin that the proposal prepared by Howe Caverns for a casino project was heavily flawed.

Why Do You Think NYS Rejected the Howe Caverns Casino?

Politics as usual 36% - 106
Howe Caverns' proposal had major flaws 36% - 107
Schenectady had better proposal 8% - 23 
All of the above 18% - 53 
Other don't know 2% - 7 
292 total

Winter Weather Advisory Issued for Schoharie County

Written By Editor on 1/3/15 | 1/3/15

The National Weather service has issued this warning:

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 2 AM EST SUNDAY... * LOCATIONS...THE EASTERN CATSKILLS...SCHOHARIE VALLEY...GREATER CAPITAL REGION...NORTHERN AND CENTRAL TACONICS...SCHOHARIE VALLEY...HELDERBERGS...AND THE EASTERN MOHAWK VALLEY. * HAZARD TYPES...ACCUMULATING SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.

Make sure to keep up on the weather at our always updated weather page.

DWI Arrest in Middleburgh

State Police in Cobleskill arrest man for DWI in the Town of Middleburgh following a traffic stop.

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested Carl E. Vanburen age 49 of Preston Hollow New York for Driving While Intoxicated following a traffic stop on State Route 145 in the Town of Middleburgh. Vanburen was initially stopped for multiple traffic infractions; further investigation led to the DWI charge. Vanburen was released on traffic tickets returnable to the Town of Middleburgh Court on January 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Esperance Man Arrested for Harassment, Criminal Contempt

State Police in Cobleskill arrested an Esperance man for multiple charges following a domestic incident in the Town of Esperance.

Photo: NYSP

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested Roger E. Sulem age 36 following a domestic incident in the Town of Esperance. Sulem was charged with Harassment 2nd and Criminal Contempt 2nd following a complaint where it was alleged that he threatened to strike a female during an argument. During the investigation Troopers determined that there was an active Order of Protection in place. Sulem was arraigned where he was released on his own recognizance to appear in the Town of Esperance Court on January 7, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Middleburgh Man Arrested for DWI

State Police in Cobleskill arrest Middleburgh man for DWI following traffic stop.

Troopers in Cobleskill arrested Zeth A. Porter age 33 of Middleburgh for DWI following a traffic stop in the Town of Esperance. Porter was originally stopped for a traffic infraction; further investigation led to him being charged with Driving While Intoxicated. Porter was released on traffic tickets to appear in the Town of Esperance Court on January 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Stop the Pipeline Files Request for Pipeline Rehearing

The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, representing grass roots organization Stop the Pipeline (STP), has submitted a request for a rehearing of the proposed Constitution Pipeline to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
In the 73 page document submitted to FERC, Pace contends that the FERC violated the Clean Water Act, the Natural Gas Act, National Environmental Policy Act and landowners’ constitutional right of due process when it issued conditional approval of the proposed pipeline. Pace’s filing is the 5th request for rehearing submitted to FERC by public interest groups and attorneys representing landowners.
The Center for Sustainable Rural communities applauds the efforts by STP and Pace to protect the health, safety, quality of life and property rights of Upstate NY residents. The Center urges landowners to continue to resist and reject efforts by the pipeline company to bully and intimidate them.
Landowners who have been served with condemnation papers by Constitution should consider seeking qualified legal counsel. While the Center does not provide legal advice or recommend specific law firms we can provide landowners with a list of law firms who have agreed to handle pipeline condemnation cases, including law firms willing to represent landowner groups in order to reduce the cost to individual landowners.
Landowners who have been served with condemnation papers by Constitution Pipeline can email: landownerhelp@ruralcommunities.org or call toll-free: 800-795-1467 for information about individual and group representation.
Area residents are strongly encouraged to attend one or more of the hearings to be held by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and express their concerns about the potential impacts of the Constitution Pipeline of area aquifers, rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and private water wells. Without a 401 Water Permit from DEC, the Constitution Pipeline CAN NOT BE BUILT.
Dates, times and locations for the DEC hearings are as follows:
Monday January 12th
East Middle School Auditorium
167 East Frederick Street
Binghamton, NY
Tuesday January 13th
SUNY Oneonta
Lecture Hall IRC # 3
108 Ravine Highway
Oneonta, NY
Wednesday January 14th
SUNY Cobleskill
Bouck Hall Theater
State Route 7
Cobleskill, NY

Local Young Cyclist Prepares to Bike across U.S. to Benefit Affordable Housing

Written By Cicero on 1/2/15 | 1/2/15

This summer, Sophie Connor is joining Bike & Build, a national nonprofit committed to raising money and awareness for affordable housing, to ride her bicycle across the country with a team of 30 other young adults on the Northern United States route.

The journey will begin on June 13, when Sophie will report to Portsmouth, NH. Over the next 10 weeks, the Northern US team will pedal an average of 69 miles per day to Vancouver, BC and the Pacific Ocean, arriving August 27. Along the way, the riders will participate in volunteer build days with 10 different affordable housing organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, and small local housing nonprofits to help build affordable homes for families in need. Riders will build in towns like Buffalo, Madison, Minot (ND), and Whitefish (MT), among others. They will also advocate for the need for affordable homes for all Americans in the many host communities and pass- through towns along the way.

“I really feel like this trip is going to have a monumental impact, both on my life and the lives of others,” Sophie says. “It’s such a great opportunity to get involved in charity work. Plus, I can’t wait to see the countryside from the vantage point of a bike!” Sophie must fundraise at least $4,500 to support the trip. Much of that money is then donated to affordable housing organizations. The 2014 Northern US team donated $67,600; Bike & Build is confident the 2015 team can repeat or exceed that total. To support Sophie, visit her fundraising page at http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/7979. You can also mail a check to Bike & Build and write “Sophie Connor” in the memo.

“We are deeply proud of riders like Sophie who are so committed to the affordable housing cause that she is willing to raise much-needed funds and spend over two months biking across the country,” said Justin Villere, Bike & Build’s Director of Operations and Outreach. “Bike & Build provides the opportunity, but it is the riders who make the lasting impact in so many communities.”

The Northern US route is one of eight cross-country trips Bike & Build offers each summer. In total, roughly 300 18-to-28 year old riders will see and experience first-hand the affordable housing need in this country. In addition to volunteering with construction efforts at affordable housing sites, riders also meet with local officials and community members to discuss affordable housing issues. Riders will sleep in local churches, community centers, and schools, and will rely on the generosity of hundreds of community members for food, showers, and other necessities. When the trip is complete, many Bike & Builders have gone on to continue their commitment to service through their career choices or further volunteering.

Based in Philadelphia, Bike & Build is a non-profit organization that encourages young adults to address the country’s affordable housing crisis through organized bicycle trips. Trip participants support the affordable housing cause by fundraising and building efforts. Since its founding in 2003, Bike & Build has motivated over 2,600 young adult volunteers and contributed over $5.1 million and 185,000 volunteer hours to housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together to fund projects in the United States. For more information, visit www.bikeandbuild.org or call (267) 331-8488.

Letter to the Editor: Broken Local Government Shows Need for County Executive

New Year, same government in Schoharie County. Does anyone think 2015 will be any different? We will have a new chairman this year, my guess it will either be the Supervisor from Cobleskill or the Supervisor from Conesville. Fresh face, maybe new ideas, we have seen this all before. It doesn't matter who is holding the reins of the stagecoach, the wheels will eventually fall off. I am sure those who serve on the board are all fine people doing the best job they can. But after watching this futility for years it's obvious that this form of government is not working. And for the county to move forward there should be a change. The answer is not an administrator who will be chosen by this board, it should be a County Executive elected by the taxpaying citizens of the county.

 Jerry Fiore
Summit

Lawsuit Alleges State Illegally Using Confidential Data for SAFE Act Confiscation

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

A lawsuit is alleging that the state is using its authority under the SAFE Act to illegally target gun owners. Under one provision of the law the state is using data from medical professionals to construct a state database of at risk residents, as reported yesterday.

A federal class action lawsuit led by Donald Montgomery claims that such data is being compiled illegally. The suit occurred after Montgomery had his guns seized after checking into a Buffalo hospital for trouble sleeping. This happened despite him being both a retired law enforcement officer and veteran.

Montgomery is suing Governor Cuomo and several other state officials for what he believes is an unconstitutional law. His lawsuit alleges that the state compiles data from medical professionals without a subpoena and without knowledge of the person whose information is being shared. This is in conflict with years of medical confidentiality. The plaintiff calls this a "gross overreach."

The lawsuit also alleges that the number of people listed as being unfit to own guns has been called "too low" by Governor Cuomo in October.

The suit alleges that the law unfairly punishes patients for voluntarily visiting mental health professionals, especially targeting former military and police.

If Montgomery et al wins the lawsuit, the portion of the SAFE Act dealing with such mental health provisions will be overturned.

Text of the lawsuit can be found below.

Cuomo Inaugurated for a Second Term

Governor Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated for a second term today, declaring that he would take further action over the next four years.

The event took place at the World Trade Center site and was well attended. The Governor announced that he had accomplished much in his first term and would eclipse it in his second.

The New York Times quotes the Governor as saying, "It’s time to be bold, my friends. Because there are no small solutions to big problems."


Photo credit: Governor's Twitter Account

State Minimum Wage Rises to $8.75

The state minimum wage rose from $8.00 to $8.75 yesterday, as part of an agreement of the state legislature. On December 31, 2015 the wage will further increase to $9.00. The legislature is considering a further increase to $10.10, while Governor Cuomo's administration is considering a further increase for workers under the wage, such as waiters.

Multiple states have wage increases coming into effect for the new year.

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