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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

County Unemployment Rate falls to Eight Year Low

Written By Editor on 9/26/15 | 9/26/15

Recently released figures from the State Labor Department show that unemployment in Schoharie County has fallen to its lowest level in seven years.

In August 2015, the most recent data available, the County's unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, compared to 5.7% in August. The last time unemployment was this low was in October 2007, when it was 4.7%.

Cuomo Calls for National Gun Control at Aide's Funeral

Governor Cuomo stepped into the national gun control debate this week at the funeral of his attorney Carey Gabay. Gabay was struck by a stray bullet during celebrations of the West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn.

Cuomo stated that he considered asking the Pope about why Gabay died, but was compelled not to due to his faith in God. Reuters covered the funeral, in which Cuomo also called for a national effort to reduce gun violence through much broader gun control.

 Cuomo told the assembled, "It's not enough for New York State to pass a gun law and close the front door when the guns are coming in the back door, when the guns can come up from Virginia or South Carolina for anyone willing to take a car ride."

Cuomo also described what he called "rampant violence" in poorer communities and those of people of color.

Earlier this month the Governor also spoke about Gabay's shooting, which was covered by the Times Union. "I can't pass a tougher law than we did or a smarter law than we did," he said.

A Nose Eyed View

Written By Cicero on 8/30/15 | 8/30/15

Author's note: written as part of a college assignment, this article not only attempts to capture the meaning of Vroman's Nose to Middleburgh residents, but to address the lapse in engagement that exists between SUNY Cobleskill and the surrounding community. I hope everyone appreciates it. (It was written in late winter/early spring, thus the emphasis on colder conditions)

The view is breathtaking, even in the desolate destruction of winter’s long, cruel and chaotic reign. For miles on end, all you can see is a vast expanse of half-frozen ground speckled with the promise of rebirth not far off. On top of the frozen earth lies human innovation: cars, houses, sheds, tools, tractors and whatever the case may be. Even farther in the distance, dividing the two sides of the valley floor with its meandering yet straight banks, rests the thawing Schoharie Creek, placid and peaceful now, but always a threat of flooding if its innermost demons are wrought upon the creek’s inhabitants on either side of its banks.
This seemingly photo-book visual is not easily obtained, however. One must first defeat the obstacles of nature and trek a half mile up a sloping and at times steep mountainside that culminates the figure of a nose, earning the mountain’s moniker among the natives of the Schoharie Valley as simply, “Vroman’s Nose.” Although the view of the surrounding farmland is barren in the winter, from early April to late October it’s teeming with beauty, fertility, and life. A rite of passage to becoming a true citizen in Middleburgh, New York, and its adjoining municipalities, it is a passage well-traveled. 
Middleburgh High School alum and current SUNY Cobleskill student Shania Marotta describes the mountain as a “fun and relaxing place to go when you’re bored and looking for something to do.” Spring and summer-time adventures are not uncommon for local teenagers, hikers, or even a couple looking for a romantic setting, to which Ms. Marotta personally testified,as does the author of this piece. But not everyone takes advantage of the beauty and fun-filled activity of an afternoon of the Nose.
Just fifteen minutes away from the Nose rests SUNY Cobleskill, a historically agriculture-friendly school that, mixed with liberal arts majors, boasts almost 2500 students, many of whom have never experienced the mountainside trek, or much of Schoharie County off campus, for that matter. 
 Erika Day, a Sophomore in the college’s Equine program, says there is little for students to do off campus outside of going to the local movie theater or the typical midnight trips to Wal-Mart. Day mentioned hiking trails as a possibility but to date hasn’t had the opportunity to experience local sites due to time restraints and a lack of knowledge about the accessibility of the trails.
She is not the exception, however. With limited transportation options and with most of what your typical college student needs within a three-mile radius, there is little to no incentive for students to go off venturing beyond that barrier to experience the remainder of what the rural county of 32,000 residents and its scenery of untold beauty has to offer, particularly in its southernmost regions.
Encompassing wide swathes of open land, fishing streams, ponds, hiking trails, and camping areas, the northern Catskills foothills are a paradise for outdoorsmen and adventurers alike, but few if any outside of native inhabitants are aware of what awaits just a short drive out of Cobleskill.
The failure is twofold on behalf of the college, which doesn’t actively encourage engagement with the surrounding community by students, and in particular with the rural areas despite the presence of a significant agriculturally inclined academic body. As well as with the community at large, which doesn’t adequately promote all that it has to offer to local youth and students, even though there is a prevailing concern in nearby municipalities of declining public utilization of recreation areas.
Blenheim Town Supervisor Shawn Smith, a native of nearby Jefferson and a SUNY Cobleskill Alum, commented that for him, “One of the things I enjoyed doing as an off-campus activity while I attended SUNY Cobleskill was visiting the Mallet Pond State Forest, which is located in the Towns of Fulton and Summit.
Only a fifteen minute drive from campus, the Mallet State Pond Forest is one of many natural parks within a half hour drive of students. In Gilboa lies the Mine Kill State Park, which offers a wide variety of fall, winter, and spring activities, with the smaller Max V. Shaul campsite in Fulton a peaceful retreat that is just minutes away from the Nose.
But the difference for Marotta and Smith is that they grew up in Schoharie County, and became well acquainted with the natural beauty it has to offer to people of all interests, while Day and thousands of SUNY Cobleskill students rarely even hear, let alone experience, what there is to see in the sprawling rural region beyond their dorm-rooms.
This is in part cultural, as an ever-increasing segment of the study body is trekking up from the New York City area, and are usually not so inclined to journey outdoors, while another aspect is societal, with most if not students becoming one with their technological devices – a bond that is hard to sever – no matter the beauty beyond their screens. 
Some are breaking the downward trend, however. Members of the SUNY Cobleskill Outing Club typically venture off campus on weekends to explore different activities located in the surrounding areas, including a recent trip to Mine Kill State Park in Gilboa to snowshoe before a temperature swing melted the snowpack, and in the fall they journeyed to the pearl of the valley, Vroman’s Nose.
But, more often than not, they are the exception to the rule. Smith, fondly remembering his old fishing trips to Mallet Pond, recalled that it was a “refreshing break from classes anytime of the year.” Although just graduating a handful of years before, the dynamics of college life have changed, with a constant need for connectivity by way of cellphones often replacing real, human interaction. A constant need that Smith just shakes his head to. 
Or, perhaps just a Nose. Located at the fertility of the Schoharie County, a gateway to the county’s southernmost beauties, Vroman Nose still stands; waiting for potential customers to cash in on its breathtaking sights. Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile, a lifelong resident of Middleburgh and an alum of SUNY Cobleskill, believes that the mountainside fortress is more than just a natural treasure, but a beacon of hope that all should experience. 
Often climbing the mountain twice per year with family and friends, the youthful official of twenty-eight years states, “Middleburgh has been through a lot in three hundred years of history, and throughout war, depression, floods, revival, peace, and prosperity, Vroman’s Nose remains the guardian of the Valley.”
And there she will continue to stand, after having protected centuries of Dutch and German settlers and their offspring, and centuries of Native American tribes that called the Schoharie Valley home before the Europeans moved in; and there she will stand for another three centuries, strong and robust, daunting yet inviting at the same time.
The question is: will the Nose and Schoharie County’s other natural beauties remain the area's best kept secret to college students?
The answer to that may be unknown for the time being, but not to Ms. Marotta. Planning to take more trips in the future, the Communication major stated that she has “always enjoyed the serenity of the hike and the view at the top.” A view that is unmatched in comparison to any enclosed room.

Opinion: Finding Success in Failure

Written By Cicero on 8/25/15 | 8/25/15

Life was going pretty well: I was working as a freelance journalist for a local newspaper; my college GPA was a 4.0; and, although less than desirable, my part time job of working in a local deli was tolerable. 

Then I decided with my soon to be had Associate's Degree set to be in my hands, that I would try something risky. I would open my very own newspaper in a media landscape where four papers were already present.

Risky and ballsy. 

I knew the trends: online advertising was going up, newspaper circulation was going down, and uninformed bloggers would be all that remained. It's actually rather ironic, because I got my start in local media as a citizen journalist online, and from there, I have never looked back. 

My thought process went a little something like this - I was twenty-one years old - therefore, if I found success in print media, then wonderful. But, if not, which was more likely, I would still likely be in my twenty-something years and I would be more than capable of recreating myself. 

I just didn't imagine how quick I would have the chance to recreate myself. 

After thirteen weeks of publishing a weekly newspaper that I reported in, got ads for, designed, edited, managed, and then on every Tuesday afternoon when everything else was completed, I delivered 90% of the product countywide, the paper and I reached our inevitable end. 

The paper's finances were in rough shape and my sanity was teetering on the verge of being totally lost, due to overworking and lack of reward. 

A labor of love does not come remotely close to describing how soul crushing it was to invest so much time (40-50 hours per week) for so little payoff (often less than $200 per paycheck), because that's all the business could afford. 

As everyone could probably guess, I love writing with a passion, but I do not enjoy working for $4 per hour running my own business when I made over $11 per hour cutting hot capicola before.

So, in retrospect, was it worth the trouble? The answer is: absolutely yes. 

My lifelong dream was to own a newspaper, and I had just enough money and just enough foolishness to actually attempt it, while still being young enough to recover if it did not pan out as I had hoped. 

Although most of my supporters have been understanding of the difficulties I faced, many have been far less understanding and have either branded me a quitter for not sticking it out or incompetent for not incurring debt. 

To the first set of naysayers, I ask of you: how many newspapers have you tried launching in the twenty-first century? Oh... none. That's what I thought. You may be seated and be silent for the rest of this article. Thank you. 

To the second set of naysayers, I offer the following explanation: I lost thousands of dollars in this endeavor; more than half of my pre-paper net worth has been lost forever, as well as investments from friends with no strings attached. There was and is simply no way I was willing to further put my and others financial stability at risk for a dream.

A dream that I have learned a lot from, but I was not willing to give everything up for, because you will always have your dreams, but they don't always pay your bills. 

I am a writer and I am a journalist. I strive to cover the news objectively and to hold the corrupt accountable... but I am not an entrepreneur. I do not have the business prowess of Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, but the drive of Upton Sinclair and Bob Woodward. 

The Schoharie News print edition was a failure, but a necessary one. I not only learned more about the news media landscape of Schoharie County and of the financial struggles that rural newspapers face nationwide, but I also learned about who I am and what I am capable of. 

Judging by the stories my team and I were able to produce: I know my place is in journalism, because if our material was that good under that much pressure, there's no telling what our potential is in the future under better conditions. 

And that, despite the failures and lessons encountered, is why I consider the endeavor a success in the end, because although I didn't become the next great media mogul in the fashion of William Hearst, I gave it my best and I now know that for whatever success I have in the years to come, it wouldn't have been possible without this bump in the road. 

Letter to the Editor: County Fights to Ensure Pipeline Safety

Written By Cicero on 8/24/15 | 8/24/15

Dear Editor,

Residents of Schoharie should know that many of us are working very hard to make sure that gas pipelines will not be approved unless they can be shown to be safe.
The County Board of Supervisors has authorized an outreach to every other county in the state, asking them to join us in supporting a comprehensive look at all health and safety impacts, to be conducted by independent, prominent public health professionals.
This effort has been reinforced by the American Medical Association, which supports the creation of a law requesting regulatory agencies to properly evaluate and guard against the many health risks presented by gas pipelines, compressor stations, and related activities.  The AMA is clearly unsatisfied with the way in which these reviews are currently conducted.
A group of doctors from around the state is being formed to meet with and educate legislators and high-ranking state officials.  These doctors know from their research and private practice that many risks and impacts of pipeline infrastructure are being overlooked by what is basically an amateur staff at regulatory agencies.
One of these research projects has just included the compressor station in the Town of Wright, which is slated to be much larger if the Constitution Pipeline is given final permits.  Air and water quality testing and health interviews with nearby residents will provide much better information than anything the Dept. of Environmental Conservation is currently using to guide its decisions.
I am calling, now, on all of you who are rightly concerned about the way in which pipeline projects are expanding so rapidly and being reviewed too quickly, to join those of us who have written to Governor Cuomo.  Ask him to place the same kind of moratorium on gas pipelines as he did on fracking and for the same reason; to have time to fully understand the risks, to determine if they can be avoided, and to decide if they outweigh the benefits.

Gene Milone,
Town of Schoharie Supervisor

Mburgh Republicans Back Coppolo for Supervisor

Written By Cicero on 8/21/15 | 8/21/15

By Timothy Knight

Middleburgh - Incumbent Democratic Supervisor Jim Buzon will face a challenge after all in the Town of Middleburgh. 

Convening Thursday evening to nominate their slate of candidates for the fall elections, it appeared Middleburgh Republicans would have no candidate to challenge Buzon, but a last second nomination changed all that. 

With no nominations on the floor after several minutes, Pine Street resident Pete Coppolo nominated himself for the position, which was seconded by Village Mayor Matthew Avitabile. Mr. Coppolo, a former county employee, has no political experience. 

Mr. Buzon, who was present as an observer, announced his intention to seek re-election in The Schoharie News in July, and is expected to secure the Democratic nomination on Monday evening, when Middleburgh's Democrats meet. 

Incumbent Town Councilpersons Sue Makely and Frank Herodes were unanimously nominated for their positions on the Town Council, while incumbent Town Justice Michael Guntert also received Republican backing to seek re-election.  

Little is known of Mr. Coppolo, but his entrance into the race guarantees a contested election this fall between Mr. Buzon and himself.

Opinion: Farewell, Stewart - A Legend Departs

Written By Editor on 8/4/15 | 8/4/15

The end is nigh. 

After sixteen years at the helm of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is in his final week as host of the popular Comedy Central program. Conservatives are relishing the departure of a major thorn in their side while liberals are sobbing over the loss of an ideological comrade. 


I'm sorry to see a comedic genius exit stage right. 

There are few times that I am in total agreement with Stewart, due largely in part to my conservative background, but I respect his tenacity and his underlying motives for the way he addresses the news and ridicules the news makers. It is truly an amazing thing to behold. 

The New York Times today published a list of nine essential moments that mark Stewart's long reign over political comedy, including his coverage of the 2000 Election debacle, his appearance on CNN's Crossfire, and President Obama's first appearance on The Daily Show.

While obviously pivotal moments in the rise of Stewart, the New York Times missed something very crucial to cracking the nut that is the comedian's shtick: his ability to make young viewers care.

Many on the right (most in a serious demeanor) bemoan the involvement of my generation in the political process, because, as a whole, we tend to lean to the liberal end of the political spectrum (me being the exception to the rule), but this has always rubbed me the wrong way. 

Sure, the more liberal inclined voters that are involved = the more votes a Democratic candidate is likely to receive in the political process. However, wouldn't a smarter line of thought be to reason with these voters in a way that might entice them to consider what conservatism is about? 

I digress. 

Stewart's success has come at the relatively easy cost of listening to the outcry of muffled Millennials who want to right a world they see as rife with injustice. Are they necessary right? No. But do they have a right to see their voice represented at the podium? Absolutely. 

Recognizing this sleeping giant of young, socially aware, technologically advanced, and wannabe reformers has made Stewart into what he is: the voice of my generation, our Walter Chronkite, if not in style, then definitely in substance and reverence.

I understand Trevor Noah to be a capable comedian, and from what few clips I have seen, he is quite similar to Stewart's style, but regardless of his success, I highly doubt he will come close to toppling the creator of meaningful political comedy, Mr. Jon Stewart. 

Addendum: I'm sure every conservative in reading distance of this status wants to burn my entrails for reflecting positively on Stewart's tenure as host of The Daily Show... Oh well, life is but a finite amount time on earth, might as well make a few enemies at the expense of the truth. 

Reality Check Makes Impact at Heritage Day

Written By Michael on 8/3/15 | 8/3/15

By Schoharie News Staff

JEFFERSON - The Reality Check and Tobacco Free program of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties participated at the recent Heritage Day event in Jefferson, where their team of Reality Check Youth Advocates were hard at work.

Willow Thompkins, Gage Griffith, and Bumbaco, all eighth graders, worked during the festivities to educate Jefferson's community youth and to help prevent them from initating tobacco use.

Currently in its second year of a five year grant with the New York State Department of Health, Reality Check operates out of SUNY Cobleskill and has engaged in a strong community outreach at various events across the county.

The organization reported that they discussed ways to quit smoking and other progressive steps to reduce tobacco use with members of the Stamford Fire Department at the event, which was well attended by the community.

Fulton Considers Repeal of Outdated Sign Law

FULTON - The Fulton Town Board has introduced a local law to repeal an ordinance restricting the display of permanent signs and outdoor advertising.

Adopted in 1979, the ordinance cited the municipality's desire to "preserve the open, rural character of the town" in approving the sign prohibitions, which limited the amount of distance a sign could be from the business it was advertising and outlawed all neon lit signs.

However, in an attempt to reduce the number of unnecessary regulations or potential burden on residents or businesses, the local law was written.

Set for a public hearing and possible adoption at last Monday's town board meeting, the law's discussion had to be postponed due to a failure to advertise the hearing in the town's official newspaper.

The public hearing is expected to be held at the August town board meeting instead.

Letter to the Editor: Pipeline Threat Remains, but County is Taking Steps to Address Issue

Written By Michael on 8/2/15 | 8/2/15

While the threat of another pipeline running through our county looms, my efforts, along with some other supervisors, to secure a comprehensive health impacts assessment (HIA) pertaining to pipelines and compressor stations continues. The oil and gas industry has been exempted from environmental regulations such as the Clean Air and Water Acts for decades. Unfortunately the American public has been exposed to numerous health concerns because of these exemptions and it is time that big energy has its feet held to the fire just like everyone else.

It is important for you to know that four weeks ago the American Medical Association passed a resolution calling for legislation to have serious, all-inclusive health impact studies conducted on pipelines and compressor stations. Our county generated a letter to Governor Cuomo apprising him of what the AMA is calling for and requested that the DEC not issue the necessary permits for Constitution or any other pipeline to be placed in the ground until these studies are conducted.

I am pleased to say that our county has been leading the struggle to secure proper attention to health impacts and we now have Albany, Rensselaer and Putnam counties that have joined this effort. I will be reaching out to many other county legislators on this issue in the upcoming weeks to request them joining us on this issue. We as a county must not be discouraged the struggle to protect our county from becoming a corridor for pipelines will not be easy and all local elected representatives should be involved.

The health and safety of many Americans in close proximity to pipelines and compressor stations is felt to be at risk by the medical community. It is extremely important that we receive the assistance from our representatives at the next levels of government on this issue as well. Please take the time to write them about your concerns.

Gene Milone, Supervisor
Town of Schoharie

Letter to the Editor: Middleburgh's Made Strides Under Avitabile & Co.

Written By Michael on 8/1/15 | 8/1/15

Dear Editor,

I would like to recognize the hard work that our Mayor Matthew Avitabile and the Village Board has done to bring Middleburgh back after Irene. The business are thriving downtown, the Fire Department is finally being help-ed, and our tax bills haven't been going up. We are very fortunate to have these dedicated people doing their best to rebuild and revitalize the community. They have done more in three years than the last decade beforehand. Look at the wonderful wildflowers, new parks, and events and enjoy Middleburgh's miracle.

Adrienne Bartholemew,
Middleburgh, New York

The Schoharie View: The Future is Bright

Written By Michael on 7/31/15 | 7/31/15

SUNY Cobleskill has gone through some tough times as of late.

This past May's commencement continued a worrisome string of graduating classes that have made their walk without a president of their own to congratulate them. Sure, there have been acting and temporary figures at the helm, but it is just not the same in a position where there has been a vacuum in leadership.

The good news is: this is about to change.

After almost two years of steady leadership by Doctor Debra Thatcher, who served effectively as acting president for the college, SUNY Cobleskill welcomed its first full time president since 2011 with the start of Doctor Marion Terenzio's tenure on July 1st.

However, as our own Joslen Pettit reported on July 7th, "Terenzio will be stepping into a difficult position as Cobleskill has a frequent turnover rate due to weak leadership."

Although I was admittedly excited to see the university welcome a new, full time president into the fold, it wasn't until I sat down with Doctor Terenzio last week that I knew the college had made the correct choice in selecting her as its new leader.

Blessed with a wealth of knowledge from both inside and out of academia, Terenzio was eager to not only further engage the campus with the community, which has been a short coming of previous administrations, but to expand on what the college already exceeds in on both the agricultural and liberal arts sections of campus.

Furthermore, in addition to the doctor's visible eagerness to begin her work, Terenzio surprised me with her desire to learn from others. Discussing the college before we began the interview, she took out a notepad and began scribbling down my suggestions and thoughts as we talked. Leaving her office, the impression that she is open to all trains of thought in moving SUNY Cobleskill forward, made me that much more invested in seeing her succeed as an alumnus.

Good impressions speak measures and the good doctor left me with a sense of optimism for the campus. However, with a staff of alums, students, and professors that have been engaged with that university, we will be watching her progress with great attentiveness.

Timothy Knight,
Editor and Publisher,
The Schoharie News.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015.

Inside Focus: Meet New SUNY Cobleskill President Doctor Marion Terenzio

By Timothy Knight

COBLESKILL - After serving for years as a revolving door, the presidency of SUNY Cobleskill has a new full time occupant.

Taking charge as the rural university's first non-temporary president in four years on July 1st, Doctor Marion Terenzio steps into her new role with an eagerness to build on the successes of the campus while utilizing her experience from multiple disciplines to chart the college's best possible course moving forward as SUNY Cobleskill's twelfth president.

Although Doctor Terenzio has received one baccalaureate degree, two master's, and one doctorate in the fields of music therapy and community psychology, she said that she truly "began my education when I started playing the organ at the age of five." There, she added, is when she learned how to coordinate her mind and body in educational study.

Education being the "largest social movement in which a society can be engaged that the community and individual levels," according to the new president.

An educator long before entering the administrative portion of academia, Terenzio's background never quite matched the main stream. Her educational path took her down both the roads of theory and action, where on one hand she became a professor at the age of twenty-four, while also working as a music therapist, which she credited for teaching her how to learn from others.

Describing her experience of working as a music therapist with children with disabilities as "the most profound educational experience of my life that shaped me," Dr. Terenzio said that she learned the power of diversity and that it has become one of her strongest influences.

Just weeks into her position, the new president admitted that "if you ever asked me if I waned to be a college president: it was never on my radar."

Doctor Terenzio would go on to state that her resume has always been outside of the norm of academia.

However, so has SUNY Cobleskill's string of tumultuous years following the failed presidency of Don Zingale, who was disgraced by the State University Faculty Senate Visitation Team in 2011 for having issues with personal interaction, ineffective communication, and inconsistent management. Following Zingale's departure, the college has had a series of acting and temporary heads.

Launching an exhaustive search process that lasted several months, the university selected Terenzio earlier this year to replace acting president Doctor Debra Thatcher.

Although she believed her resume to be out of the norm, Terenzio's experience as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Bloomfield College caught SUNY Cobleskill's attention, and thus far, so has SUNY Cobleskill for its new president.

Commenting, "I'm not here to change SUNY Cobleskill but to enhance what's already here," Dr. Terenzio described the college's academic offering as unique for its applied learning in liberal arts and the hands on experience that is agricultural technology.

One of Terenzio's biggest goals during her presidency "is to help bring SUNY Cobleskill forward to the community," where the college can, "become a very good neighbor and partner."

Identifying potential avenues of connecting with the community such as by helping a business through the Start Up New York program, engaging with area school districts, or inviting residents on campus for open houses, the community oriented president emphasized that, "I want to get to know the people."

Particularly the student body.

Seeing her job as not just to lead, but to be a symbolic presence for the students, Doctor Terenzio wants to "be there as a mentor and role model" because "we're here together to enhance their future."

Together with a diverse faculty that Dr. Terenzio describes as exceptional due to the success stories of students who have passed through their classrooms. Commenting that the faculty's love for SUNY Cobleskill "speaks volumes," the president stated, "the faculty are the front-line educators of youth."

Just a few short months away from the college's centennial, Doctor Terenzio has stepped into her position with a college on the verge of both marking a significant historical milestone and of turning the corner from a series of recent administrative lows.

Concluding that "It's not just the faculty, but the entire institution of faculty and staff," President Terenzio remarked that they have already shown her, "their extreme willingness to do what it takes."

Esperance Moves Forward on Town Projects

Written By Michael on 7/30/15 | 7/30/15

By Joslen Pettit

ESPERANCE - Last Thursday the Esperance Town Board approved several important municipal projects, including: a municipal sewer, restoration of Village of Esperance Firehouse Rescue Facility and Town Hall, as well as the Arboretum Shelter Emergency Structures.

These projects are all part of the continued efforts to rebuild the village as well as protect it from future flooding with help from GOSR, the new acronym for the New York Storm Recovery Resources Center.

The projects include the construction of a municipal sewer system for the Village of Esperance. Restoration of the Town Hall and the Firehouse Rescue Facility, which were both damaged. As well as the construction of emergency structures at the Arboretum. The Esperance town board unanimously approved supervisor Earl Van Wormer III to sign off on these applications. The town board were hopeful that these projects would help aid the community as they had done before and in the case of the new structures ensure their continued safety from heavy storming.

In other news, the Esperance town board:

• Discussed a possible tax raise after spending far over projected budget on snow removal in the town of Esperance over the last winter. The town board is reluctant to go through with the change, taking pride from being one of the lowest taxed towns in the county. However, if the coming winter proves to be as intense as the last in terms of snowfall the board may have no choice. Town supervisor Earl Van Wormer III voiced his reluctance to go through with the change, “No one could have possibly predicted we would exceed the money allotted for last winters snow removal, but we do have some options we need to consider before raising the taxes.” No changes will be made as of yet, as the board is hoping the coming winter may not take such a heavy toll on their budget.

• Appointed Robert Bensinger and Richard Benninger to the planning board as permanent members. This action was taken after two planning board members resigned.

Conesville-Gilboa to Hold Annual Garage Sale August 1st

The Conesville Fire Department Auxiliary will be hosting the Annual Conesville Gilboa Garage Sales starting August 1st at 9:00.  Over thirty homes will be offering for sale a wide variety of items in this increasingly popular event with more participating locations each year.  
Maps of the participating homes will be available at the Conesville Firehouse, 1292 State Route 990V, Conesville Town Hall at 1306 State Route 990V, Gilboa Town Hall at 373 State Route 990V, Clark’s Restaurant at 653 State Route 990V and the Manorkill Store at 684 Potter Mountain Road.    
During the event breakfast, hot dogs and refreshments will be available at the firehouse and starting at 11:30 the Conesville Methodist Church directly across from the Fire House will have a Chicken Barbecue and Bake Sale.

A fun and interesting day in beautiful Southern Schoharie County.  

Schoharie Republicans Pick Slate for November

By Schoharie News Staff

SCHOHARIE - Republicans in the Town of Schoharie selected their slate of candidates for the upcoming general election inside a standing room only caucus on Thursday night.

Joined by several high ranking GOP officials, including Judge George Bartlett, Schoharie County District Attorney James Sacket, and Assemblyman Pete Lopez, the party faithful were tasked with nominating candidates to run for Town Supervisor, Town Clerk, two Town Councilmen seats, and Town Highway Superintendent.

Nominated by County Clerk Indy Jaycox for Town Supervisor, longtime Schoharie County GOP Vice-Chairman Chris Tague was praised for his moral character and qualifications for the position, which is currently held by Democratic incumbent Gene Milone.

With no opposition, Tague was nominated unanimously.

The most contentious moment of the evening came when the party faithful was tasked with nominating two candidates for the Town Councilman seats.

Currently held by incumbent Republican Councilmen Richard Sherman and James Schultz, Sherman decided against seeking his fourth term on the Town Board, while Schultz was nominated and seconded for his second term. Also nominated for the positions were local businessmen John Wolfe and Floyd Guernsey.

Because there were three candidates for two positions, paper ballots were distributed to caucus goers to cast their votes and nominate the top two vote recipients.

During the vote counting process, Town Councilman Alan Tavenner spoke to the crowd about his longtime colleague Richard Sherman's many years of dedicated service on the board.

After the voters were counted, it was announced that the two nominees to take the councilman ticket would be Mr. Guernsey and Mr. Schultz. Both men gave a few words of thanks.

Also nominated at Thursday's caucus:

- Incumbent Town Clerk Pamela Foland
- Incumbent Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Weideman.

County Closer to Admin

Written By Michael on 7/29/15 | 7/29/15

By Schoharie News Staff

SCHOHARIE - Schoharie County is one step closer to hiring an administrator.

Set to conduct interviews with seven candidates this week, Conesville Supervisor and Administrator Committee Chair Bill Federice reported at Friday's county board meeting that those seven had been selected from a larger pool of nineteen applicants.

Commenting that the seven are "really good candidates," Federice explained that only ten of the original applicants were qualified for the position and that the list was further shortened based on their resumes.

Whomever the administrator is, their list of responsibilities are likely to be a little bit bigger than previously expected.

With the recent announcement by Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry that he would be stepping down from his appointed positions as Budget Officer and head of Economic Development, Mr. Federice said that he believed the new admin will have a role to play in both positions.

Established after more than fourteen months of public debate and committee research, the county administrator will serve as a full-time public officer to oversee the daily activities of county government, ending the county's status as one of the few entities without such an official in the state.

Beginning yesterday with a series of interviews conducted by the Administrator Committee and members of the Community Stakeholders Committee, applicants for administrator will go through a thorough interview process that is expected to be wrapped up by next month's county board meeting.

Where, approximately nineteen months after the first motion was brought forward to create the position, an administrator may be officially hired to oversee a divided county government that could not even agree for fourteen months on whether or not an administrator was needed in the first place.

Bleau Motions to Rescind Seebold Contract - Supers Vote No

By Timothy Knight

SCHOHARIE - It was deja vu all over again at the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Friday morning, where the location of the Public Safety Facility was discussed for the fifth time in three months.

The debate was assumed over after a packed public hearing was held on the issue on Monday, July 6th, where residents for and against the facility's location voiced their opinions, but it came back in full force despite not being on the agenda and led to an unsuccessful attempt to rescind the county's contract with Seebold Farms.

Raising concerns that "apparently there was some agreement before the meeting," resident Jim Nass voiced disappointment with the county board's lack of response following the public hearing, which he said was just silence.

Supported by a handful of residents who continue to object to the jail's location, Nass accused Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry of not answering any of his or the county board's questions related to the Seebold site or how the scoring process was conducted.

Nass would further allege that "the Seebold site did not have a total site evaluation" because three acres of wetlands were added to the proposed site's parameters later, sparking the resident to declare, "we lied to FEMA."

After more than three and a half years of battling with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to relocate the facility out of its existing position in the floodplain, Schoharie County received the go ahead in late April, but ever since has been embroiled in a battle against its own residents.

One of the leaders of the residential opposition, Lynn Basselan, followed Mr. Nass by suggesting a proposal that the county reach out to the emergency management agency and request an extension to the project's timeline, which Basselan said has been used as a reason not to reopen the site selection process.

Beginning once the county signed the contract to purchase the disputed site in May, the county is on a forty-two month timeline to design and complete the $37 million facility, which will house the Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, and the county jail.

The early morning display didn't end there, however.

Speaking on behalf of his town board, Jefferson Town Supervisor Sean Jordan addressed several of their concerns about the proposed facility's current site, including the cost and how the deal was structured.

"The Jefferson Town Board requests that the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors should reconsider placing it there," read the supervisor, before further adding that the county board "consider county owned sites, especially on the Fire Training Center."

Wright Town Supervisor Amber Bleau quickly concurred, arguing that the county will "save money by putting the Public Safety Facility at the Fire Training Center," which Bleau said could allow firefighters and first responders to have classrooms for training.

Ms. Bleau would then make a motion to rescind the county's contract with Seebold's, which was seconded by Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon.

Questioning Ms. Bleau's point that she did not have the opportunity to read the site evaluation report before voting on naming Seebold as the primary site last June, Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone remarked, "I guess there are some of us who have not done their jobs."

Recognized by a supervisor to speak again, Mr. Nass pointed to the report and said that it was incomplete because it listed only one parcel of land and "not the additional three acres."

Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry responded by stating all of the land has always been included in the process.

Speaking for himself, Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith added that he had several lengthy discussions with Cherry concerning the jail site, and that, "no one has withheld the information from me."

With three supervisors absent, the motion to rescind the contract failed by a fairly wide margin.

Voting yes on the motion were: Amber Bleau of Wright, James Buzon of Middleburgh, Sean Jordan of Jefferson, and Harold Vroman of Summit.

Voting no on the motion were: Carl Barbic of Seward, Larry Bradt of Carlisle, Bill Federice of Conesville, Mr. Lape of Richmondville, Mrs. Manko of Sharon, Mr. Milone of Schoharie, Mr. Skowfoe of Fulton, Mr. Smith of Blenheim, and Mr. VanGlad of of Gilboa.

Supervisors McAllister of Cobleskill, Smith of Broome, and VanWormer of Esperance were absent.

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors later voted to award both Labella Associates a contract for achitectural and engineering services and BBL Construction Services a contract for construction management on the new Public Safety Facility.

Supervisors Bleau and Jordan opposed both contracts, while Barbic and Vroman only opposed the contract to Labella.

The award proposals were submitted by members of the recovery team, while includes Bill Cherry, Doug Vandeusen, Ron Simmons, Dan Crandall and Steve Dyer.

Coby PD Announce Wal-Mart Arson Arrest

Written By Cicero on 7/28/15 | 7/28/15

COBLESKILL - The Cobleskill Police Department has announced the arrest of Michael D. Deyo, 51, for the recent arson of the Cobleskill Wal-Mart.

Deyo was arrested after an investigation into an intentionally set fire that occurred at the Cobleskill Wal-Mart store on 07/19/2015 at about 11:00 pm. Surveillance video showed Deyo intentionally set the fire inside of the store using flammable liquids he obtained from within the store. The video also showed him prepare the scene of the fire in such a way as to impede firefighting operations. At the time the fire was set, the store was open for business and there was an estimated total of 50 employees and customers within the store. Everyone inside was evacuated without injury. Deyo fled the scene of the fire on foot in an unknown direction.
Deyo, who is homeless, was arraigned by Judge Gary Bywater in the Town of Cobleskill Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Correctional Facility on $50,000.00 cash bail or $100,000.00 bond. Deyo is to return to the Town of Cobleskill Court on 07/28/2015 at 5:00 pm for further proceedings.

The Cobleskill Police Department was assisted in making the arrest by the Schenectady Police Department.

Broadband Pep Rally Planned in Lexington

Written By Michael on 7/23/15 | 7/23/15

LEXINGTON - The Town of Lexington Broadband Initiative is pleased to announce a Broadband Pep Rally. The committee will stage their Broadband Pep Rally for one hour during the Lexington Farmers Market at the Town of Lexington Municipal Building grounds, 3542 Route 42. The Pep Rally will run from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 and is sponsored by the Lexington Broadband Initiative in cooperation with its partners: MTC Cable, a subsidiary of Margaretville Telephone Company, Western Catskills Community Revitalization Council, Catskill Watershed Corporation, and Greene County department of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning.

The Lexington Broadband Initiative is the outcome of community goal setting recognizing acquisition of high-speed, business capacity Internet and reliable cell service as essential to Lexington's future. Working under a Long Term Recovery Grant post Hurricane Irene, the Long Term Recovery Committee surveyed and met with residents in 2014 to set long and short term goals for the town, concentrating on safety in emergencies and revitalization.

Lexington is now poised to take advantage of "New New York Broadband 4-Everyone" expansion grants designed to help rural towns overcome obstacles to broadband coverage that arise from their geography or demographics. Lexington Broadband Initiative co-chair Bonnie Blader states, "Rural towns often do not meet the population formulae that bring broadband carriers to them for coverage. The Governor's proposed grants, a part of the 2015 Opportunity Agenda, take advantage of bank settlements the state has secured, to produce a 500 million dollar fund, available as a one to one dollar match, for providers and towns that succeed in forming partnerships."

At the Pep Rally, Lexington will host David Salway, Executive Director of the NY State Broadband Office; Senator George Amedore; Assemblyman Peter Lopez; Warren Hart, Director of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning in Greene County; Ann Mueller, Broadband Specialist in Congressman Gibson's office; county legislators Larry Gardner and Kevin Lewis; and the town.

The Lexington Farmers Market opens at 10AM on July 18 with music from Staber & Chasnoff, and a special cooking demonstration and tasting provided by NYC chef and part-time Lexington resident, Fred Sabo, Executive Chef of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Members' Dining Room. Lexington start-up West Kill Brewing, will provide tasting samples of their brew and Lexington's new business, Nina's Home Cooking, will feature a menu of Broadband-ly food items to enjoy.

For more information on this event or the Lexington broadband project, please contact Bonnie Blader,, 989-6211, or go to

The Best of the Summer

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