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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Editorial: Why I Came Back… Again

Written By Cicero on 5/31/17 | 5/31/17

Note: This is republished from Friday, May 19th's edition of the Mountain Eagle.

After nearly four years of rigorous academic exertion, I proudly walked across the stage on Saturday afternoon inside of SUNY Cobleskill’s Iorio Gymnasium and I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a 3.87 GPA.
Pictured: Timothy Knight, who has returned to
the Mountain Eagle as its Managing Editor.

Two days later, I officially rejoined the Mountain Eagle as its Managing Editor.

As someone who has been working his way around the local journalistic circuit, including two stints as Editor of the Schoharie News, a summertime internship as Assistant Editor with the Watershed Post, and a previous freelance reporter position with the Mountain Eagle, it seems fairly par for the course that I would accept this job.

However, this time it’s different.

You see, while I have been juggling my two passions of academia and journalism the past few years, my dear friend Matthew Avitabile was always quietly encouraging me on the sidelines while he worked tirelessly to rebuild Middleburgh in the aftermath of Irene’s devastation.

And now that he is working as tirelessly to rebuild the Mountain Eagle at a time when it would be easier to just get out of the newspaper industry, I just couldn’t help myself but want to be involved again.

Although my time at the Mountain Eagle is going to be temporary, as grad school and other opportunities are beckoning, I honestly owe Matthew nothing less than the same measure of encouragement and support that he has showed me over the course of my journalistic career… and what better way to do that than to join him here?

  • Timothy Knight,

Managing Editor

Middleburgh Woman Arrested for Allegedly Stabbing Husband

Written By Editor on 5/25/17 | 5/25/17

On May 20th, 2017 Schoharie County Sheriff's Deputies were called to a residence in the Town of Middleburgh for a report of a man who had been stabbed.

Upon law enforcement's arrival they located a man in his residence suffering from a single stab wound to his chest.

The suspect was identified as being a 36 year old Kelly Wescott, the wife of the victim. Mrs. Wescott was taken into custody without incident a short time later.

Mrs. Wescott was arrested for Assault in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, and 3 counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Mrs. Wescott was arraigned in the Town of Wright Court where she was remanded to jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 secured bond. Mrs. Wescott was scheduled to return to the Town of Middleburgh Court on 5/24/2017 at 5pm.

The Victim was transported ambulance to Albany Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery, and is expected to make a full recovery. // The Sheriff's Office was assisted by the New York State Police.

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Fried Chicken Picnic At Heather Ridge Farm

Written By Editor on 5/23/17 | 5/23/17

Fried Chicken Picnic At Heather Ridge Farm
Saturday, May 27, 6-8pm

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, we’re firing up the kettle here at Heather Ridge Farm to bring you our first monthly Fried Chicken Picnic. What better way to enjoy our pastured chicken than fried to perfection and accompanied by a range of locally sourced seasonal treats? Our fried chicken is a culmination of a three day long process that starts with a koji marinade and wraps up with a dusting in chef Rob Handel’s secret blend of spices and gluten free flours. Stop in and grab a box to go, or stay and chat with farmers Carol Clement and John Harrison and learn about life on the farm. Flat rate price includes all you can eat fried chicken, sides, farm made beverages, and dessert. Call 518-239-6234 to reserve.

Fried Chicken
Koji marinated chicken dusted in Rob’s secret blend of spices and gluten free flours and fried to perfection. Served with honey ramp srirracha and yogurt ranch

Asparagus Salad
Story’s Farm asparagus with Bulich Farm marinated mushrooms, East Durham Farms radishes and mixed greens, and lemon-buttermilk dressing

Warm Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet potatoes, walnuts, and scallions in warm apple cider vinaigrette

Freshly baked all butter biscuits

Maple Spoonbread
Sweet maple and cornmeal soufflé with whipped cream

Selection of Farm Made Iced Teas
Our Own “Patent” Root Beer and Sparkling Spring Water
Freshly Roasted Fair Trade Organic Coffee
Barry’s Black Tea
Herbal Teas

Kids under 15 pay their age

In the farm store, fresh pastured chicken will be available for you to take home for your own barbeques, as well as the full stock of beef, pork, lamb, goat and other products.

The Bees Knees Café and farm store at Heather Ridge Farm is located at 989 Broome Center Road, Preston Hollow, NY.  518-239-6234.
The farm raises Animal Welfare Approved lamb, goat, pork and eggs, as well as all grassfed beef and pastured poultry. The Café and farm store are open every Saturday and Sunday year round for lunch and brunch from 11am-3pm. Expanded schedule in July and August. Menus and a calendar of events are updated weekly on its website at

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Delhi Woman Dies After Head on Collision with Truck

Written By Editor on 5/19/17 | 5/19/17

On Thursday morning Delaware County Sheriff's Deputies, New York State Police and the Delhi Fire Department and Emergency Squad responded a fatal, two vehicle head on collision on State Highway 10 in the Town of Delhi that claimed the life of a Delhi resident.

Investigation by Sheriff's Deputies and members New York State Police Troop "C" Collision Reconstruction Unit and their Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit revealed that at approximately 9:30 a.m Thursday. 77 year old Carol S. Lowell, of Delhi, was traveling north on State Highway 10 when her vehicle crossed the center line of the highway and collided head-on with a southbound dump truck, driven by 62 year old Paul T. Jurjens of Walton, which subsequently overturned in southbound ditch.  Jurjens was able to extricate himself from the dump truck moments before it became engulfed in fire.

Lowell was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of injuries she sustained in the impact.  Jurjens was transported to O'Connor Hospital by members of the Delhi Emergency Squad and was later released.

As a result of the collision, State Highway 10 was shut down until approximately 3:00pm Thursday afternoon while Deputies and State Police Collision Reconstruction experts investigated the accident and crews were able to clear the wreckage from the roadway.

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Oneonta Professor Seeks Otsego District Seat

Written By Editor on 5/17/17 | 5/17/17

Catherine Nardi, an Otego resident, is a communications and media studies professor at SUNY Oneonta. As a single mother raising a child in District No. 3, she has a unique knowledge of the wonderful opportunities and the formidable obstacles her friends and neighbors attempt to balance. Catherine Nardi appreciates the beautiful - and in some places pristine - natural environment that offers clean water and fresh air - and hundreds of ways to enjoy leisure time.
However, for many in hard financial times it is difficult to make ends meet. Many people work two jobs and still have to choose between food and medicine. Mothers and fathers go hungry so they can buy their kids a warm winter coat. It is no wonder so many people have turned to heroin to forget their hardships.
“I believe that most people are mostly good,” Catherine Nardi said. “Give them access to basic necessities and good people become better.”

Catherine Nardi believes that communities should work together to ensure that all families are fed, have heat in the winter and have access to health care and education.
“People should be free to pursue happiness instead of being tied and bound to the endless cycle of poverty. People who have their basic needs met – food * clothing * shelter * heat * and medicine - they are creative, happy, and productive.
“Healthy families anchor healthy community, and healthy community are productive communities.”
Catherine Nardi said she has a moderate, Jeffersonian view of policy making.
“We came to this country to free ourselves from tyranny,” Catherine Nardi said. “Freedom, on the scale we enjoy it, is very American. We should be free to make a family with a partner who loves us, we should be free to say what we think, and we should be free to discover things about science, religion, art and society we never knew. But with great freedom come great responsibility and we must take responsibility for our great resources and protect them from greed. We must make sure that every one of us, from the greatest to the least of us, has the opportunity to prosper from this great nation.
“America has always been great.”
As a community, Laurens and Otego are facing several difficulties and many possibilities.
“Together we are Laurens and Otego and the possibilities are endless.”

West Kortright Center Welcomes First Gallery Exhibit of Season

(EAST MEREDITH) The West Kortright Centre is pleased to present its first gallery exhibit of the 2017 season—a group painting and collage show featuring work by Christine Alexander, Lanny Harrison, and Lenny Failla. There will be an opening reception on Friday, May 26th from 5-7PM. This event is free and open to the public, with food and drink generously provided by caterer Rod Sauquillo and Brewery Ommegang. The exhibit runs through July 7th, viewable during West Kortright Centre events or by appointment.
Christine Alexander’s life-long fascination with color is reflected in her work. This East Meredith-based artist paints in watercolor and acrylic and makes intricate cut-paper collages. Often whimsical, her paintings are characteristically brightly hued. She teaches art and collage workshops and has shown her art in many solo and group exhibitions.

Lanny Harrison–performer, visual artist, teacher, poet–has been making collages, paintings, cutouts, and costumes for most of her life. Harrison is a founding teacher of The West Kortright Centre’s theater workshops, including Introduction to Acting & East Meets West. She also teaches at NYU’s Gallatin School & at Shambhala Meditation Center of NY and is currently working on a mixed-media theater show, ‘Another Nomadic Event’, in collaboration with Steve Clorfeine, Robin Daniels, Christine Alicino, and Wendell Beavers.

Lenny Failla has been actively painting houses for over twenty years, often using cardboard to cover floors and work areas. Failla, a former art teacher, uses the stained and dripped-upon cardboard as a stage for artistic play, adding deliberate strokes, splashes, and found objects.

The West Kortright Centre is located midway between Oneonta, Delhi, and Stamford. Follow signs from state Route 23 in Davenport Center or state Route 10 east of Delhi. For exact travel directions, visit

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SEVA Workshop Gluten Free, Whole Food Cooking and Baking

Workshop: Gluten Free, Whole Food Cooking and Baking
Date:  Saturday June 3th
Time: 1:30-4:00
Fee: $20 (covers recipes, tips, research, and food samples)
Registration: contact Renee’ at 607-326-4169 or SEVA at (607) 538-1130.
Whether you are a vegetarian, interested in health benefits, weight loss, environmental concerns, want to expand your repertoire or reduce your budget, this workshop is for you. We will provide a how-to guide to cooking, baking, and tasting, and you will leave with tips and receive recipes.

Explore the benefits of baking with almond flour, You'll learn how to incorporate beans and grains into your family’s diet. Learn how to make easy soups, loaves, burgers, breadcrumb substitutes Discover how easy it is to make tortillas. Baking treats include easy almond-flour recipes like hearty breakfast squares and chocolate cake. Learn how to make easy no-flour four-ingredient muffins and chocolate almond-butter brownies.

Renee’ Barchitta, MPA, is an organic vegetable gardener in the Catskill Mountains, a vegetarian and gluten-free cook and baker, and a former whole-foods baker selling to local establishments. Renee’ is an educator, a member of Plant Pioneers, the Human-Plant Relations Movement, and an Associate for ASEA Redox Supplement a Biotech Company Advancing Life.                                                                                    

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Cobleskill Police Blotter

Cobleskill Police Department
Press Release

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

At 1:51 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Jesse L. Largesse, 26, of Esperance, NY, for DWI.  He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 23rd at 5:00 p.m.

At 2:45 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Joseph G. Conneely, 76, of Middleburgh, NY, for Trespass.  He was issued a Criminal Summons and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 23rd at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, May 12, 2017

At 7:50 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Christopher R. McHargue, 26, of Cobleskill, NY, on an Arrest Warrant for Disseminating Indecent Material to a Minor and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $1250 Bail / $2500 Bond. He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 16th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, May13, 2017

At 2:10 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Michael H. Klein, 25, of Cobleskill, NY, for Disorderly Conduct.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on June 6th at 5:00 p.m.

At 12:15 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Steven Rundblad, Jr., 32, of East Worcester, NY, on a Warrant for 2 counts of Petit Larceny.  He was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 16th at 5:00 p.m.

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Spring on Main Festival Planned May 20 in Margaretville

Written By Editor on 5/16/17 | 5/16/17

Margaretville — The village will be hopping on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. when the Business Association of Margaretville (BAM)  holds its annual Spring on Main Festival.

Margaretville businesses will be hosting many special events as part of the celebration. A portion of Main Street will be closed to traffic as visiting vendors and many shop owners set up along the outdoors to create a festive atmosphere.

The day’s activities will include live entertainment by Bowery Creek, a chicken BBQ by the Margaretville Fire Department with proceeds donated to BAM, local arts and crafts and entertainment geared toward all ages.

The event will also serve as a welcome to the community’s newest businesses, Catskill Mountain Tattoo in the Binnekill Square complex, Catskills Seasons Ltd. at 768 Main Street and The Happy Giraffe in the Granary building on Bridge Street.

The event will also include a book signing at Home Goods of Margaretville with Tia Keenan author of The Art of the Cheese Plate; Catskill Candies and Confections will offer tastings of fudge, chocolate and birch syrup; the Margaretville Liquor Store will host a wine tasting and the Cheese Barrel will host a tasting of local cheeses with products from Two Stone Farm.

Picnic! will host a cookie decorating event, Foothills Shoe will have booth with specially priced goods and the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop will hold a one-day sale and many village businesses will be offering in-store sales, too.

For additional information, please visit: or call 845 586-4177.

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Birches “Will Never Open” Fraud, Kickbacks, Liens, Abuse Alleged

Written By Editor on 5/5/17 | 5/5/17

The Birches apartment complex in Schoharie “will never open,” according to several key players involved in the project. According to multiple local officials, contractors, and former figures at Birches Associates LLC, owner Steve Aaron is in the words of one former associate, a “bullshit artist” who has no intention of finishing the project.

According to one former site manager, even if all contractors returned full time on site today, the project would take at least “six months.” The project was originally slated for completion in the summer of 2015.

The Mountain Eagle interviewed a number of former central onsite individuals and reviewed County and business records and will follow up as more information becomes available. Several individuals spoke only if unnamed. Aaron himself spoke to us, denying any major issues at the site.

A repeated opinion of people involved is that the Birches apartments will never open, at least not under current developer Steve Aaron. Bob Palombo was the former project manager onsite for four months after the former manager left. He started with a firm statement, “Steve Aaron had no intention of ever finishing the project.” He added, “he doesn’t want to pay people.” Palombo was one of the few contractors that received a check from Mr. Aaron, which bounced. He said he only stayed in order to finish the job to ensure that his employees were paid. “I’ve always felt he’s not a reputable guy. The reason, the problem, with Birches, is him.”


Palombo said he’s been in the construction business for 31 years and said that the Birches project was conducted completely out of sequence. According to him, not a single contractor received full payment for their work.

According to multiple sources, Bank of America and principal investors are no longer extending credit to Birchez LLC.

Part of the issue was regarding 911 addressing. Birchez LLC cannot complete an evacuation plan or even open a post office box without proper 911 addressing. However, according to Mike Wrubel of Middleburgh, the latest project manager, Aaron intentionally dragged his feet on the process in order to blame local officials.

Wrubel said that there was a repeated cycle of not paying the contractors, then hiring new ones whom would also not be paid.

To this date, Wrubel said, carpeting and flooring is not complete. Neither is painting and sheetrock. It would be at least six months to complete in good conditions, he said.

"You're not going to get any contractors there," he added.

Brad Hoffstatter, a contractor who spent 28 weeks on site, provided more information “It didn’t matter how many construction management companies were there,” Hoffstatter said. Aaron would sit with the contractors and tell them that “I am God.” Wrubel said similarly. Hoffstatter said the project could be completed sooner if the contractors returned, but that none would under Aaron’s leadership.

The developer said that part of the reason for delay is because he wants the site to be the highest quality. He said that just last week, he made the decision to install a better quality refrigerator for fifty additional dollars each, which further pushed back the schedule.

Aaron said that former employees and contractors were “conspiring” against him. Similarly to our February article, Aaron said the only contractors fired on site were let go because of “substandard work.” The developer added that he is now managing the site after another wave of firings.

Liens and Pending Lawsuits

A number of contractors have liens against both Birchez LLC and associated Rivergate Development LLC. They total more than $500,000, according to documents from the Schoharie County Clerk’s Office. There are over 50 documents related to liens in the archive. Aaron denied the number of liens and said that he recently resolved one of the largest ones.

One contractor provided almost two dozen signed contracts which Birchez did not pay in full, to the tune of over $2 million.

Palombo has a lien on the property for approximately $30,000. He said he would be willing to join a potential lawsuit and that the contractors “just want our money. What’s right is right.”

Wrubel echoed the comments, saying that "I highly doubt anyone was paid in full." He said perhaps the retaining wall at the beginning was paid for. Wrubel said there's "always an excuse" with Aaron.

One lien from Universal Contracting & Development is over $214,000. One contractor lost their business after Aaron did not pay him for work. Hoffstatter has about $12,800 in liens.


According to Palombo, Aaron has been receiving money through grant and loan processes and not paid workers. Aaron has a nearly $11 million credit line with Bank of America to complete the project.

Several former figures onsite stated Aaron’s goal was to not complete much of the work, but rather segment it out in order to defraud government agencies. They stated that Aaron completes a portion of the project and then gives the state fictitious numbers for reimbursement, which could go completely in his pocket because he doesn’t pay employees.

Aaron stated that any delays were costing him money. When asked whether Bank of America or investors would pull out from the project before it was complete, he said, “The bank has that option but we are racing to the finish line.”

Aaron also said that there is no federal grant money included, except for stipends expected for Section 8 housing.

Rumors swirled that Bank of America forced Aaron off the project, but Aaron said that is not true. He said that he was on site last week and had a site visit Thursday.

Hofftstatter said that Aaron never intended to finish the project. According to him, Aaron said repeatedly that he wanted to “burn the place down.”


According to Wrubel, money was exchanging hands. "Someone had to be paid off," he said. Hofstatter said that there were discussions onsite regarding Aaron bribing local officials.

Several local officials spoke of bribe offers, with one local government agency holding an emergency meeting to quarantine employees from speaking to Aaron. The fear was that he would offer cash in exchange for favors. Another local official said that Aaron offered him and others bribes in coded language but that none were accepted. One said, “He’s the type to offer you $20,000 and record it.” Aaron flatly denies this allegation.

Part of the fiscal question came from the existence of a number of shell companies, which Aaron appears to use in order to circumvent campaign finance law. Both the Birchez and another company directed by Aaron, Rivergate Development, sent funds to politicians. Rivergate alone donated almost $98,000 to Governor Cuomo's campaigns in 2010 and 2014. Overall, Rivergate donated $184,900 to various politicians. Birchez also formed the Schoharie Senior Housing Development Fund Corporation in 2014, which is now listed as "inactive" by the state.


Wrubel said that during his four months on site, Mr. Aaron "treat[ed] everyone like dirt." He personally witnessed several outbursts, both in person and over the phone. The leasing agent alone, he said, was "called every name in the book." Other employees included a number of vulgar expressions witnessed, including c***. Wrubel lost 15 pounds just due to stress during this period. “Definitely put a damper on things in my life.”

Hoffstatter shared voicemails from the developer. “You’re not man enough to talk to me, huh? Call me back, you little pussy!” Another said, “You’re a f***ing coward, hanging up on me? Where are you? Do you want to square with me? Tell me where you are!” Hoffstatter said that “He is much worse than that when he is yelling at everyone.”

Waiting Lessees

Many of the people that signed up for the apartments have been left out in the cold. According to one employee, one woman lost their house in foreclosure waiting for the project’s completion. There were repeated stories of lessees promised to move in, only to have the projected date moved back repeatedly. Some have dropped out from the project altogether.

Wrubel ended his comments by said, “Aaron ended hurting the community, not helping it.”

Bill Kinisky and Matthew Avitabile also contributed information to this article.

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SUNY Cobleskill to Host Excelsior Scholarship Information Session on Thursday, May 4

Written By Editor on 5/2/17 | 5/2/17

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that members of his administration and SUNY leaders will kick off a tour of SUNY campuses to hold information sessions about the first-in-the nation program to provide tuition-free college at New York’s public colleges and universities to families making up to $125,000 a year, the Excelsior Scholarship. The events will be open to the public. Students, parents and faculty are all encouraged to attend to learn how they can benefit from the scholarship.

Under the Excelsior Scholarship, nearly 80 percent, or 940,000 middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year, would qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY and SUNY two-year and four-year colleges in New York State.

WHAT: Guillermo Linares, Acting President, NYS Higher Education Services Corporation, to Host Excelsior Scholarship Information Session at SUNY Cobbleskill

WHEN: Thursday, May 4, 12:30 PM

WHERE: SUNY Cobleskill
Upper Champlin Dining Hall
106 Suffolk Circle
Cobleskill, NY

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Mothers Day Weekend Brunch Buffet and Farm Tour at the Café at Heather Ridge

Written By Editor on 5/1/17 | 5/1/17

Preston Hollow – Celebrate Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14, with a tasty brunch buffet right on the farm, and a tour to see the farm’s mothers and babies. There will be goat kids, piglets and chicks to see, and may be the first of the season lambs, too!

The brunch buffet will be featured from 11am to 3pm. Heather Ridge Benedict is a poached egg and cured pork loin on a farm made English muffin, topped with ramp hollandaise. Other items include Corned Beef Hash, Spring Rice Pilaf, Marinated Asparagus Salad, Smoked Chicken Cornbread, Eggs any style made to order and French Chocolate Pots de Creme.  Freshly roasted organic fair trade coffee is available as well as teas and juice.  The cost of the buffet is $24 adult and kids pay their age.

A farm tour starts at 11am, free to café guests.  Guests will see the momma goats and their kids, as well as baby chicks and piglets.  The grownup llamas, alpacas, geese, laying hens and guinea hens can be seen, too.  And a flock of very pregnant sheep!

The Cafe and farm store is open from 11am-3pm. The farm store offers Heather Ridge Farm’s Animal Welfare Approved grassfed meats, pastured poultry, artisan sausages and regional dairy products and cheeses.

Rob Handel is the chef at Heather Ridge Farm and the Bees Knees Café bringing an innovative approach to the “farm and forage to table” menu, with monthly “Supper Club” events, on and off farm catering, and cooking classes. The wildly popular “Supper Club” is a five-course dinner featuring the meat and poultry of Heather Ridge Farm paired with the best of local produce. The next dates are Saturday, May 20 at 6pm and Saturday, June 10, at 7pm.  Advance reservations are required.

The Bees Knees Café at Heather Ridge Farm is located at 989 Broome Center Road, Preston Hollow, NY.  518-239-6234. The café is open year-round, and will have an expanded summer schedule. Just drop in! Weekly menus and a calendar of events are updated weekly on its website at

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Cobleskill Police Blotter

Thursday, April 27, 2017

At 10:22 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Peter Hofman, 49, of Cobleskill, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 16th at 5:00 p.m.

At 10:22 p.m.  Cobleskill Police arrested Nathan A. Merchant, 30, of Cobleskill, NY, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 16th at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, April 28, 2017

At 8:05 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Jacob Danielson, 34, of Richmondville, NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3rd.  He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 23rd at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

At 1:55 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Elizabeth M. VanBuren, 20, of Kerhonkson, NY, for Open Container.  She was issued a summons for Possession of Alcohol by a person under the age of 21.  She was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 18th at 4:00 p.m.

At 6:14 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Louis Matthew Bellina, 19, of Merrick, NY, for Disorderly Conduct.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 23rd at 5:00 p.m.

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Seward Woman Arrested for Oxycodone

On Thursday April 27th the Schoharie Sheriff's Office arrested Michelle L. Brown age 34 of the Town of Seward for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th degree and Introducing Contraband into a Prison 2nd degree.

Subject was being committed to the custody of the Sheriff's Office when Corrections Officer found that she had in her possession Oxycodone and Tramadol.

Subject was issued an appearance ticket to appear in Schoharie Village on May 8th. She was then was committed to the Albany County Correctional Facility on the order of County Drug Court from a previous incident

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A Fond Farewell

Written By Unknown on 4/27/17 | 4/27/17

Matthew Avitabile approached me in late July 2016 about helping him bring The Schoharie News to print. My grammatically incorrect reply? "Eh."

That is the 100% true, albeit short, story about the beginnings of the current version of The Mountain Eagle. I had heard the reports, about how newspapers were a dying business. My initial reaction was one of skepticism. How could it not be? We might as well open a video store. (If you recently opened a video store, ignore the sarcasm. I'm sure it will be an incredible success.)

I couldn't have been more wrong.

The reason I was wrong is two fold. The first is fairly obvious and straightforward. People can't get local news online. So nationally, smaller papers are doing quite well. The second is the kind of paper we decided to publish. We would focus on the community, sourcing our material directly from the community we serve. If you read TME, you notice the myriad of columnists and contributors we have. We felt that a paper for the people, by the people (yes, I'm aware of the similarity) would be the most effective method of attracting interest.

The results have been astounding. Feedback has shown us that we were on the right track, and that people want a choice. I have been involved in every aspect of this business since the beginning, and I'm proud to say that we have accomplished what we set out to do.

That being said, I will be leaving the newspaper at the end of the week to pursue opportunities elsewhere. My experience working on the paper and for other ventures in this area have been nothing short of amazing, and I want to thank every one of you for welcoming me here with open arms. I will forever be appreciative.

Now, a word about my friend, business partner, and mentee Mathew Avitabile. I've seen the tireless work he puts into this publication first hand. The late nights, early mornings and long days. The point is, he truly cares about making this thing we built a success. Matt wants to be a truthful voice in this region, and stops at nothing to please everyone he encounters. A truly great guy, and I'll miss him.

I won't name everyone, because that would take up way too much space and be tedious at best. Tim Knight, Cathleen Berry, Steve Kowalski, Darlene Patterson, Bill Kinisky, the Mortons, Scott Bennet Jr. and Frank Kovacofsky.

Thank you.

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Why Promotional Products Work

Written By Editor on 4/26/17 | 4/26/17

(Hint: They’re More Than Just Products)

If you, like millions of others, watched this year’s Super Bowl for more than the game, you know the power of advertising backed by money and research; companies pitch brands and slogans that attempt to leave a lasting effect on the consumer. Many like to believe those messages don’t have much impact, but evidence overwhelmingly points to the power of persuasion.

It may be subtle, but persuasion by advertisers shows levels of success that prove television, radio, mobile and digital can—and do—draw consumers to their brands. They must compete not only with each other across traditional and digital media for the hearts, minds and dollars of the consumer, but they must compete with outside stimuli once the consumer walks away from the television, shuts down the computer or drives past a billboard.

What does leave a lasting impression is the promotional product. A $20+ billion industry, promotional products are designed for staying power, and industry research has proven their power as an effective advertising medium.

A PPAI study conducted among travelers at New York’s La Guardia Airport revealed new insights into promotional products’ value and effectiveness. Of the travelers surveyed who could recall receiving a promotional product in the previous 12 months, 88 percent could recall the name of the advertiser and 85 percent have done business with an advertiser as a result of receiving an item.

Imagine being able to craft a message one time, and see that message spread to an audience of hundreds, thousands and even millions. Now imagine that message being delivered by a t-shirt, a pen or a beverage cup. Promotional products professionals work with Fortune 500 companies and top ad agencies to create experiences people love through a product they can actually use.

The same study by PPAI reports that 82 percent of respondents possess at least one and as many as 10 promotional items, with 81 percent keeping them because they are useful. What’s more, 53 percent said they use these products at least once a week and even more—47 percent—said they keep promotional products for more than a year.

Powerhouse advertisers aren’t the only ones who earn a mighty piece of the advertising pie; from mom-and pop to mid-sized companies, promotional products professionals apply research-based technical expertise to deliver the hottest products and production techniques to their clients’ campaigns, improving their reach and boosting their bottom lines as well.

What comes to mind when you think of the color PINK? How about a red lapel ribbon? Or a yellow wristband? Promotional products work because they leave a lasting impression in the hearts, minds and hands of recipients. The messages live on because the products are memorable, unique and personal. They are the only sensory medium that gives the consumer a tangible memory of a relationship to the brand. Promotional products are shown to build communities of like-minded consumers with a shared sense of
brand loyalty.

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The History Behind Why Cobleskill’s Vote is Worth Fifteen Times More Than Blenheim’s

The idea of “one man, one vote” is a treasured concept in modern democracies, as it represents the individual power and responsibility of a citizen.

This concept has no place on the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, however.

Based off of a demographically configured weighted vote system, the county’s 16 Town Supervisors are each assigned a number of votes that corresponds to the population of their municipality as a percentage of the county’s population as a whole.

For example: while incumbent Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister casts 481 weighted votes as a result of his town’s high population, current Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith casts only 33 weighted votes due to his municipality’s sparse population.

This means that even though both men are their township’s highest elected representative on the county board, Mr. McAllister’s vote on any issue carries nearly fifteen times the weight of that of Mr. Smith’s.

With the county board’s 2,974 available weighted votes being divided between the 16 town supervisors based on population, it is mathematically possible for a two-thirds majority of the board to oppose a motion and still have fewer weighted votes than the supervisors representing the five largest towns in the county.

So long as the supervisors of Cobleskill, Middleburgh, Schoharie, Richmondville and Esperance pool their 1,604 weighted votes together on any issue, they have more than the 1,488 vote threshold necessary to approve or disapprove of any motion being considered.

Although this pooling of votes has not always occurred, due to divisions by faction or party, all five towns are currently represented by Republican supervisors who more often than not work together as a whole.

However, it was not always this way, as the county board use to operate under a one town, one vote system until the United States Supreme Court ruled in Reynolds V. Sims that legislative districts could not be based on land area (such as towns in a county, or counties in a state), because densely populated districts were being disenfranchised to the benefit of sparsely populated districts.

When asked for historical context on this issue, Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice told The Mountain Eagle that, “After the courts ruled the one town equals one vote system of county legislative government was unconstitutional the county was faced with the decision of whether to scrap the Board of Supervisors as it was then constructed and set up a legislative body based on equal districts which crossed town lines.”
“As a result, the option of creating a county legislative body with districts based on equal population was put to county voters several decades ago and soundly defeated,” continued Federice.

The supervisor added that, “It would appear the voters back in the day preferred the weighted vote to not having a guarantee someone from their town would be their elected representative at the county.”

Which is where the situation stands now more than five decades after the Supreme Court’s initial ruling on the issue resulted in Schoharie County’s weighted vote system that it has today.

Schoharie County Historical Society Spring Meeting at Lansing Manor

Written By Editor on 4/25/17 | 4/25/17

The annual Spring Program Meeting of the Schoharie County Historical Society will be held on Thursday, April 27, at 7 PM at the New York Power Authority’s Visitors Center in North Blenheim.  The public is invited to attend the meeting and visit the Lansing Manor House afterward.
A new operating agreement for the Manor between the Power Authority and the Historical Society was signed earlier this year.  Historical Society Director Carle Kopecky will introduce the Society’s new Director of Educational Outreach Melinda McTaggart, who will now manage the Lansing Manor operations among other duties.  The new agreement means an enhanced role at Lansing Manor, in southern Schoharie County, and with schools in the region.
“Methods of interpreting historic house museums have changed dramatically in the past 20 years” says Mr. Kopecky. “We look forward to exploring ways these new techniques might be introduced at Lansing Manor.” Referring to the popular PBS TV series he adds, “I like to think of it as the Downton Abbey of Schoharie County and we should be presenting it that way!”
Lansing Manor has been restored as needed and maintained by the Power Authority since the 1970s, with the Manor staffed by the Historical Society. "The addition of a new Director of Educational Outreach position is an opportunity for us (NYPA) to work more closely with the society to further interpret this fine piece of local history", said Mario Roefaro Community Relations Manager for NYPA. “We look forward to continuing to promote all that the Schoharie County Historical Society and NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center have to offer to residents and visitors alike.”
Schoharie County Historical Society is in its 128th year at the Old Stone Fort Museum Complex in Schoharie, publishing the semi-annual “Historical Review” of county history, and organizing lectures and historical events such as Stone Fort Days, History Fair and the upcoming Schoharie Street Movies Centennial on June 8 and 10.  More information about the Society, membership and volunteer opportunities, can be found on our website,
To learn more about visiting NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center and the Lansing Manor Complex please visit

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The Role of Bad Faith Insurance

Written By Editor on 4/24/17 | 4/24/17

By Michael Ehline

When a driver crashes their car or slips at work, they expect their insurance company to come to their aid. Often insurance policies are expensive and cumbersome. The big insurance companies assure the policyholders of the ironclad nature of their contracts. However, when push comes to shove many are left out in the cold.

Bad faith insurance is a recurring problem for large and small insurance companies alike. However, the larger insurance conglomerates often have the legal resources to fight against their own policyholders. Many states have statutes against bad faith insurance, but they are often hard to prove. Furthermore, the recourse of fighting the big companies as the little guys is difficult. In fact, this is so difficult that many consumers simply give up.

However, accident victims should never give up without a fight. There are plenty of legal recourses available for them. Attorneys that fight for them on commission offer one option. This allows clients to get their time’s worth and only pay if they win the case. It also allows the attorney flexibility in taking on the big insurance company.

Each of these provide different ammunition for the consumer. Their policies often have lofty maximum values and promises the companies simply won’t keep. Understanding the fundamental issues in and around the insurance companies is one major step in the right direction. Having the right lawyer to fight on their behalf is yet another. Research consumer complaints against each insurance carrier before you choose one. You’ll be happy that you took the extra time. No policy is perfect, but the peace of mind knowing you’re truly protected is something that money can actually buy.

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Cobleskill Police Blotter

Monday, April 17, 2017

At 10:20 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Brian J. Lindstadt, 42, of Sharon Springs, NY, for DWI and other vehicle and traffic tickets.  He was released and is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday April 20, 2017

At 5:57 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Rebecca Sawyer, 31, of Richmondville, NY, for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 2nd and Suspended Registration.  She was arraigned in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail on $250 Bail / $500 Bond.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on April 25th at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

At 1:00 p.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Rachel Raiti, 23, of East Berne, NY, for Petit Larceny.  She was issued on an appearance ticket and released.  She is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 16th at 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

At 12:10 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested John D. Miller, Jr., 37, of Cobleskill, NY, for Trespass.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

At 12:10 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Bambie L. Smart, 37, of Cobleskill, NY, for Trespass.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released. She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

At 1:55 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Zachary M. Zimmerman, 21, of Bethel, PA, for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

At 1:55 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Bradley E. Knoblauch, 22, of Constableville, NY,  for Violation of the Village Noise Ordinance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to return to Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

At 1:55 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Desirae Almeida, 19, of Sharon Springs, NY, for Trespass.  She was issued an appearance ticket and released.  She is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

At 1:55 a.m. Cobleskill Police arrested Nicholas J. Stagliano, 22, of Walker Valley, NY, for Trespass.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  He is to appear in Cobleskill Town Court on May 9th at 5:00 p.m.

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