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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Outdoors with Larry DiDonato

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 12/1/23 | 12/1/23

The Season So Far…

Deer Up

The Southern Zone regular gun season for deer and bear has been open since November 18th and closes on December 10th. The late bow/muzzleloading season follows from December 11th to the 19th followed by the Holiday Hunt from December 26th to January 1st. Each year, NYS DEC wildlife biologists track the reported harvest of deer and bear in NY as part of their big game management strategy. Preliminary examination of the reported take so far in the Southern Zone in 2023, indicates the deer harvest over the entire deer and bear season, (including bow season which began on October 1st), is slightly up from last year. The slight increase this year from that of 2022 in terms of numbers of deer harvested is as follows:  

56,237 deer were reported taken as of November 26th 2023 as opposed to 

54,824 reported taken up until November 27th in 2022. That represents an increase of 2.51 percent. 

To keep this small increase in perspective, the Southern Zone covers a massive land area of NYS from Massachusetts and Vermont, west to Ohio. That being said, just like politics, all deer hunting is local. How much success you have seeing and harvesting deer varies greatly depending upon where you hunt. The old real estate adage of “location, location, location” certainly applies to deer hunting. 

A quick snapshot of cutters in our area indicates the numbers of deer being brought to them for processing is down. Dana, of Berkshire View Custom Butcher Shop in Hannacroix, said they processed 200 deer during the bow season, but numbers are definitely down so far this gun season. She relayed one Albany Hilltown cutter reported being down as much as 40 percent from the same time last year. Across the river in Columbia County, Dan Braisey of Copake reports butchering 90 deer to date but says that number is down from last year as well.

The reported deer take in the Northern Zone to date is up 2.43 percent; almost the identical percentage the Southern Zone’s take is down. DEC cautions the preliminary charted numbers are an index and may not represent a highly precise comparison of harvests from year to year due to variability in reporting rates.

Bear Down

For black bear, the statewide take was substantially less in 2023 than that of 2022. In the Southern Zone, 480 black bears were harvested through November 20th 2023 with 534 taken during the same period in 2022. That’s a 10.11 percent year over year decrease. Northern Zone bear harvest was down 3.48 percent with 333 taken in 2023 versus 345 harvested in 2022. The decrease was anticipated by biologists due to the relative abundant food availability this year when compared to a lack of natural forage available on the landscape in 2022. The simple formula here is when drought or other conditions reduce bear’s natural food items of soft and hard mast, they become more vulnerable to hunters. The opposite is true in years of abundant natural forage.  

So, with the generous length of NY’s deer seasons, there’s still time to get out and bag your buck, harvest a plump doe for the freezer, or even harvest a bear before it all ends. Above all, be safe and enjoy the rest of the season. 

DEC once again reminds hunters and non-hunters alike to “Be Safe and Be Seen” by wearing blaze orange and blaze pink while in the fields and woods this fall. They also stress vigilance in following the cardinal rues of hunter safety:

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded;

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction;

  • Keep fingers off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot; 

  • Always be sure of the target and what is beyond.

Good luck, happy hunting, and have a safe and productive deer season!  

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The Prattsville Scoop by Abby and Gabby

By Abby and Gabby

PRATTSVILLE – What a great Thanksgiving was had by all. Everyone was happy and got more than they needed to eat – but what is there to complain about. The Diana and Arnold Jaeger Thanksgiving dinner won the prize for the most in attendance. They totaled eighteen and many more came in with the number fourteen. The most important thing was that everyone enjoyed each others company. They must have enjoyed themselves because plans for being made for a repeat next year. Wonderful.

In Thanksgiving news, Judy Chatfield and Janet Syska and family were planning a family dinner. As usual Judy got out her special tablecloth. After dinner Judy passes around a black marker and all the guests sign their name or draw a picture. Judy then embroiders all in different colors and she has been doing this for the past three years at family gatherings and she says it is quite the conversation piece. Judy, dressed up as a “friendly” witch for Halloween, confided on the QT that she almost got arrested at the grocery store (Fred Meyer) when her rider cart lost power in the middle of the store. When the manager came over to offer assistance, Judy told him she had left her broom in the car and needed assistance with the cart. She said he almost wet himself he was laughing so hard. We all should follow Judy’s example and make a visit to Jim’s next Halloween. Jim, you have been warned.

Gene and Debbie Case Brainerd made a trip to Kingston on Sunday to meet up with daughter Sarah and husband. She lives in Carmel and Kingston is a good locale to meet for family time. We owe Sarah special thanks for she is in the process of becoming a Registered Nurse. We wish her all the best in the future and look forward to Debbie and Gene keeping us up to date on her progress. Gene and Deb stopped by to drop off their annual donation to the VA Christmas Celebration. It is rewarding when friends stop by with donations after reading of the veterans’ program in The Scoop or hear it on WRIP. We send our regards to Matt of the Mountain Eagle, The Daily Mail and WRIP for getting the word out on all our programs. Your words are heeded and reacted on. Thank you to all for your generosity and love.

The Gurley family have added to their family. Grandson Cody Hodge, son of Rick and Nancy Gurley Hodge, and Samantha were married on November 25 at a beautiful home wedding. Cody works from home on the computer (that is making it simple and uncomplicated) and Samantha is a Junior High English Teacher. Congratulations to all.

Could not believe the residual snow that was still on the sides of the road in Hunter and Tannersville on Saturday. Guess they got that snow when we got the rain. Many of us did want snow. Do any of you remember Thanksgiving Day of 1971? It really snowed that day causing ten people to share in a small roasted chicken for Thanksgiving dinner. When sharing with family and friends, there is always enough for all.

Want to help with the VA Christmas Celebration? Items needed in increments of 32 are large calendars, Hershey’s chocolate bars, individual wrapped soft cookies, chips, Doritos, cheese puffs, pudding cups, coffee K-cups and chocolate k-cups. Call 518-299-3219 for more suggested gift items, donations or dates for wrapping and delivery. All are welcome.

NOTICE; To aid in our veterans’ causes, at the West Kill Community Hall, The Lexington Farmers Market will host a Craft Fair on Saturday, December 2, 10 AM to 2 PM. The Community Hall is located ¼ mile down Spruceton Road off of Route 42. Members of our American Legion Auxiliary will have a table near the stage at the community hall. There are hand crafted chines and holiday décor as well a some miscellaneous crafts. The proceeds will all go to our programs.

Happy Birthday to Ron Cline on December 3. Katie Lindley Jonard is sent Happy Birthday wishes on December 4. On December 5 it is special Happy Birthday wishes to Jane Concato. Happy Birthday to Janelle Maurer and Connie Lane on December 6. Happy Birthday to Shane O’Hara on December 7.

FROM LAST WEEK:The Prattsville Scoop by Abby and Gabby. PRATTSVILLE – Happy Thanksgiving. This is one day you can overeat and you do not have to feel guilty about it. The main thing is, spend your time and dinner with family and friends. Enjoy.

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THE NUTCRACKER - A Holiday Tradition at the Orpheum!

Hunter – Catskill Mountain Foundation presents the eighth annual production of The Nutcracker on December 2-3 and 9-10 at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center in Tannersville, NY. Led by former Metropolitan Opera ballerina Victoria Rinaldi, the Orpheum Dance Program continues to delight audiences with its lively and professionally choreographed production. This year, Joffrey Ballet School New York and the internationally acclaimed Aquila Theatre collaborate with the Orpheum Dance Program to perform principal roles and dream sequences.

The world’s favorite ballet, The Nutcracker, has become a holiday favorite in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. Featuring ballet stars of the future, this spectacular production has become one of the finest professional Nutcrackers in upstate New York. Local children from Hunter, Tannersville and neighboring communities play the roles of party children, mice, soldiers, angels, Clara, and other roles. Adults play the party parents and Mother Ginger. The diverse cast of approximately 70 children consists of dancers taking regular classes in the Orpheum Dance Program Community Class as well as dancers who auditioned for the first time this past September. Children and adults rehearse new choreography every weekend throughout October and November, readying themselves for the performances in December.

Joffrey Ballet School New York dancers in the performances include 19 women and 3 men each weekend. The Mountain Top was introduced to Joffrey Ballet School New York, led by Era Jouravlev, last summer in the Orpheum Dance Program’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The new collaboration is a good fit for these organizations and provides a stepping stone in the careers of the pre-professional dancers, who will perform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Cavalier, Snow Queen and Snow King, among others.

Herr Drosselmeyer will be played by Aquila Theatre’s Conner Keef, who performed the role of Bottom in the Orpheum Dance Program’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream this past July.

The Nutcracker is the story of a young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and his fierce battle against a Mouse King - good triumphs over evil through the goodness of the heart of a young child. According to folklore, nutcrackers represent power and strength and bring good luck to your family and protect your home. The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”.

At the opening performance of The Nutcracker, there will be a children’s costume matinee on Saturday, December 2 at 2 pm. Children can dress as their favorite Nutcracker character for a chance to meet performers backstage and take a bow at the end of the show! There will also be a reception featuring cookies, chocolates and ice cream punch immediately following the performance.

The six performances of The Nutcracker will be at 2:00PM and 7:30PM on Saturdays and at 2:00PM on Saturdays and Sundays, December 2-3 and 9-10 at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center, 6050 Main Street, Tannersville, NY. Purchase tickets online at or by contacting the box office via email at or by phone at 518 263 2063. For information about upcoming programs at Catskill Mountain Foundation, please visit

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Out Lexington Way

By Christine Dwon
Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.
JoEllen Schermerhorn’s brother Leslie VanEtten of Aiken, SC, came to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family.  Brother Stephen VanEtten hosted the holiday meal at his home in Guilderland.  Also joining in the festivities were George Slauson, Amy and Tyrone Heppard and daughter Olivia.  Jill Schermerhorn, Will Carr and daughters Nora and Grace arrived later for dessert.
Michael and Connie Constable and MacKenzie hosted Thanksgiving dinner at their home with Carol and Alden Constable.  They were able to face time with Cassandra and Corey and baby Wyatt, Michael and Connie’s grandson and Carol and Alden’s great-grandson, out in California.
The Simpfenderfer family headed to Pt. Pleasant, NJ on Nov. 25 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Fred Backhus, Susan Simpfenderfer’s father.  There were many other family members there also to join in the special occasion. 
Happy birthday to Olivia Heppard, daughter of Amy and Tyrone Heppard on Friday, Dec. 1.
Sunday, Dec. 3 is Jeanette Petosa’s birthday.
Dede Terns-Thorpe celebrates her birthday on Monday, Dec. 4.
Dec. 4 is also Lula Anderson’s birthday.
Jane Concato’s birthday is Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Best wishes to everyone!
Don’t miss the Lexington Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Community Hall, 141 Spruceton Road, West Kill, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Many vendors with homemade and locally sourced gifts, a bake sale to benefit the Ladies Aid of the West Kill United Methodist Church and the Lexington Historical Society will have their delicious soups.  
Also on Saturday, Dec. 2 is the Christmas Tea and Crafts at the Windham-Hensonville UMC, Main Street, Windham from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There will be a new micro Sunday School to learn about Advent and the birth of Jesus on three Saturdays, Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 from 11 a.m. to noon, for ages 3 – 12.  Teens are also welcome to join and help out.  Parents and guardians are welcome to stay.  The Sunday School will be held at the Lexington/West Kill UMC, Lexington, on Saturdays Dec. 2 and Dec. 9.  On Saturday, Dec. 16, it will be held at the Ashland Community UMC, Ashland.  If interested, please call 518-429-8054. 
Ashland Community UMC will have the annual tree lighting on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m., 1216 State Highway 23, Ashland.
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus R. C. Church is sponsoring a Christmas concert featuring The Rip Van Winkle Brass Quintet at 7 p.m., Monday Dec. 4, at the church 5188 State Route 23, Windham.  All are welcome, free admission and light refreshments.
Lexington/West Kill UMC Administrative Council meeting will be Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. in the church hall.
Friday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. is the Greene Room Players “Songbirds” free Holiday Concert at the Mountain Top Library, 6093 Main Street, Tannersville.  Feel free to donate a canned good to help support the local food pantry.
Saturday, Dec. 9 the Annual Cookie Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ashland Community UMC.
On Saturday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., come over to the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville.  In partnership with the HTC SPTO and part of the Tannersville Holiday Stroll, there will be a hot chocolate station, ornament making, rubber band ball, bookmark making and a book sale.
Guess who is coming to West Kill?  Did you say Santa Claus?  Yes!  Meet at the Community Hall, 141 Spruceton Road, West Kill at 6 p.m. and then we will walk the short distance to the Christmas Tree at the flagpole at the junction of Spruceton Road and Route 42 for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing.  Santa will arrive on the Lexington Fire/Rescue Company fire truck.  Back to the Community Hall to visit with Santa and have refreshments.
Tuesday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m., the Town of Lexington Fire/Rescue Company Ladies Auxiliary will meet for their annual meeting with election of officers, collection of dues, auditing of books followed by a covered dish supper.
Friday, Dec. 15 is the Mountain Top UMC Parish Churches and community Christmas party at the Lexington/West Kill UMC at 6 p.m.  There will be a short program, a covered dish meal and a grab bag gift exchange with a gift of a reminder of “’Tis the Season.”  Have a decoration, an ornament that you would like to share, a holiday item you no longer use?  The grab bag exchange is a lot of fun with lots of laughs.  All welcome for an evening of good food, fun and fellowship.
Every Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. come over to the Mountain Top Library, 6093 Main Street, Tannersville for an afternoon sipping coffee and socializing.   Share stories, play games, learn about local history and enjoy conversations.  All ages welcome.  Call 518-589-5707 if you have questions.
Every 2nd Tuesday of the month there is a Coffee Klatch at the Hunter Public Library, 7965 Main Street, Hunter from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. with light refreshment, coffee and tea.
The Greene County Department of Human Services Senior Nutrition Program menu for the week of Dec. 4 – Dec. 8 is as follows:  Monday—Turkey burgers with peppers and onions, Au Gratin potatoes, mixed vegetables, mandarin oranges; Tuesday—Chicken Divan, California Vegetable Medley, white rice, pears; Wednesday—Meatloaf with gravy, corn, mashed potatoes, apple crisp; Thursday—Nutrition Education in Jewett; shrimp scampi, tomatoes and zucchini, spinach, linguini, fresh fruit; Friday—Meatball sub, Italian mixed vegetables, Italian pasta salad, fresh fruit.  The menu will be the meal that is delivered to all Greene County homebound meal clients.  All persons over the age of 60 can receive a meal.  Suggested donation for each meal is $4.  Those wishing to receive a meal must call the respective location by noon a day in advance.  The number to call for the Jewett senior center at the Jewett Municipal Building, Route 23C, Jewett, is 518-263-4392.
The Advisory Council to the Greene County Department for the Aging (Human Services), announces that nominations are being accepted for the annual Greene County Senior Citizen Awards.  The two awards, presented annually, are Senior Citizen of the Year and Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen.  The purpose of the awards is to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of senior citizens who have volunteered their time and energy to help other people, their communities and/or special projects.  The dedication of these volunteers help to make Greene County a better place for all of us.  The individuals chosen on the county level will then represent Greene County for recognition for New York State awards.  Any Greene County resident, age 60 or older, can be nominated for these awards.  Achievements must be voluntary in nature, performed in Greene County and not part of paid employment.  Past award winners may be nominated only if seven or more years have passed since last recognize.  Contact the Greene County Department of Human Services at 518-719-3555 for an official nomination form.  Incomplete forms will not be considered as eligible.  Deadline for entries is Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.
Prayers for all who are dealing with loss, illnesses, healing, difficulties, our country, our military and their families, the world.
Until next week take care, be thankful, be respectful and please be kind to one another.  Your act of kindness may change someone’s life.

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LEGISLATURE STUFF - Justice Center Bids Tempestuously Awarded

By Michael Ryan

CATSKILL - There was a brief but boisterous brouhaha before bids were awarded by the Greene County Legislature to construct a new Justice Center wing on the county courthouse.

Lawmakers approved four separate bids at a special November 20 meeting following an executive session where tensions apparently ran high (please see related story in “Better Than Hearsay”).

When emotions settled, the way was cleared to proceed on the $28.8 million project, expected to break ground next spring or summer.

Plans have been discussed over the past eighteen months, focused on providing needed room for the county’s District Attorney and Public Defender offices which are reportedly squeezed for space.

The 3-story structure, connected to the current courthouse by an elevated walkway, will further house facilities for the NY State Office of Court Administration and ground-level, indoor parking.

While designs and plans had been smoothly advancing over the summer, with lawmakers saying “yes” to $25 million in serial bonds to finance the work. a glitch emerged in recent weeks.

An additional $3.8 million was unexpectedly tacked onto the cost, covering complex engineering required to bolster the foundation of the building, situated at the base of a steep hill.

While more borrowing did not happen, instead tapping Reserve Funds, the mood swiftly changed for a group of lawmakers who began expressing doubts that the project was the right move.

Those concerns culminated in four bids being placed on the agenda for a November 13 Public Safety committee meeting, then being surprisingly pulled by committee chairman Thomas Hobart.

Hobart’s action was later overturned in a November 15 vote, determining that Hobart was not authorized to “unilaterally” remove the resolutions, having done so without input from fellow committee members.

That all led to scheduling the special November 20 sit down, where the bids were awarded - albeit not unanimously (5 “no” votes among 14) - and only in the aftermath of an apparently contentious executive session.

The behind-closed-doors gathering was requested by lawmaker Michael Bulich (District 1, Catskill), who emerged at the forefront of rising and eleventh-hour resistance to the project.

Bulich, calling the executive session to discuss “personnel and contractual matters,” was most visibly joined by legislative Majority Leader Matthew Luvera and Hobart (District 2, Coxsackie).

Lawmakers were not willing to share details of the talks although they were characterized as very heated and directed by Bulich toward the county administrator Shaun Groden and county attorney Edward Kaplan. 

Twenty-five bid packages were received overall for General Contracting, Plumbing & Fire Protection, HVAC and Electrical.

Thaler, Reilly, Wilson Architecture & Preservation and Freeman Project Management Services reviewed the submittals and recommended the following lowest responsible bidders:

—General Construction Work: Murnane Building Contractors, Inc., 287 Ushers Road, Clifton Park. Total base bid and Additive Bid Item, in the amount of $19,450,000.

—Plumbing & Fire Protection Work: Tri-Valley Plumbing & Heating, 2617 Hamburg Street, Schenectady, in the amount of $903,100.

—HVAC Work: RMB Mechanical, Inc., 1442 Fern Avenue, Schenectady, in the amount of $1,940,000.

—Electrical Work: BW Electrical Services, LLC, 12 Elmwood Road, Albany, in the amount of $2,440,724. 

The documentation from the consultants states that, “Thaler Reilly Wilson contacted officials of all four companies to verify the information they submitted and to confirm their prior experience. 

“We have also contacted references furnished by the low bidders,” TRW stated, noting the General Contractor, in particular, has previously been involved with “projects of similar size, type and complexity.”

Overall there were four General Contracting bids, ranging from the low of $19,270 million to a high bid of $20,967 million.

There were four Plumbing & Heating bids, ranging from the low of $903,100 to the high bid of $1,251,930.

Overall there were 8 HVAC bids, ranging from the low of $1,940 million to the high bid of $2,253,676.

There were 9 Electrical Services bids, ranging from the low of $2,440,724 to the high bid of $3,888,000, according to the consultant.

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BETTER THAN HEARSAY - Where’s a Fly Suit When you Need One

By Michael Ryan

CATSKILL - I couldn’t find my fly suit so I wasn’t able to hang on the wall for a Greene County Legislature executive session, the other night.

The behind-closed-doors talks were requested by lawmaker Michael Bulich (District 1, Catskill), related to the awarding of bids for construction of a new Justice Center wing on the county courthouse.

There is a related story about the bids in our “Legislature Stuff” column, this week, where the drama leading up to the eventual awarding is detailed.

The more intriguing part of the tale is that while nobody was willing to go on the record, describing what unfolded inside the executive session, it was characterized as ugly at best and baselessly accusatory at worst.

One comment I heard repeatedly, trying to pry information out of the various lawmakers was, “I hope this doesn’t get worse.”

The thing about this particular private parlay was, there are questions surrounding whether it should have even occurred in that format.

It was ostensibly called to discuss “personnel and contractual matters” but there is reason to conclude there was nothing that couldn’t and shouldn’t have been talked about in a public forum.

One lawmaker, afterwards, said, “I would have preferred this was out in the open.” A second lawmaker said the talks quickly deteriorated into nothing but “bad-mouthing people.”

Be that as it may, the Justice Center has been on the table for roughly 18 months, breezily moving through the planning and design phases.

And approval of $25 million in bonds to finance the project went off without a hitch, although that harmony vanished when an additional $3.8 million was added to the overall cost, reportedly due to necessary engineering.

Even with that painful price increase, which was ultimately okayed by a wide margin, several lawmakers were surprised when four lawmakers seemed to inexplicably get their hackles up at the eleventh hour.

After the initial bid award snag (detailed in “Legislature Stuff”), a special meeting was called to return the bids to the agenda for a vote.

That’s when Bulich requested the executive session where he apparently grilled county administrator Shaun Groden and county attorney Edward Kaplan about the whys and wherefores of the project.

One lawmaker said Bulich “went after” Groden and Kaplan about a lack of transparency between the county and the job contractors, though he produced nothing to lend credence to any of it.

Bulich saw the situation as business as usual, saying in a subsequent interview, “I ask questions very directly. I expect direct answers.

“I don’t want to criticize my fellow board members but when someone doesn’t speak up, we are inherently not giving direction.

“The county administrator and deputy administrator [Warren Hart] need direction from this board. It’s not being given. That is why I speak up.”

Bulich said he requested the executive session because, “we would have been potentially looking at contracts and then personnel questions that shouldn’t be asked in public.

“Maybe they think I ask too many questions. I’m not laying blame. I’m just saying what I see. I could see frustrations about the administrative side, that we weren’t getting answers.”

Bulich suggested there had not been enough hands-on review of the plans as well as a shortage of pertinent information offered prior to a vote.

When the vote was taken by 14 legislators on approving four construction bids, there were five “no” votes (including one absent lawmaker).

“I don’t think any of the ones opposed were against the fact that we need space for the [District Attorney and Public Defender offices],” Bulich said.

“That space is mandated by the State. But when you get the [State] Office of Court Administration involved and see how much square footage is involved for one judge, then we should start asking hard questions.

“They are paying for their use of our building with my State income tax money. That doesn’t sit well with me. I say we should pause [with the project] but everyone felt it needed to be rushed and voted on.”

Legislature chairman Patrick Linger, in a subsequent interview, would not comment on the executive session, saying, “Mike is against the State getting use of our real estate without paying full market value.

“The bottom line is Greene County did not create New York State. We may disagree with what they send down the pike but that’s the system.”

It is expected the legislature will create an in-house committee to be closely linked to daily operations during construction. “Hopefully, I will be part of that committee,” Bulich said.

Meanwhile, the reverberations of the executive session are still being felt. “My biggest fear going forward is not the financing,” one official said.

“There is so much animosity on the board right now, with every decision being made. I wonder, ‘Are we going to become Washington D.C.?’

“I wonder, ‘How do these fences get mended?,’” the official said. There are currently 2 Democrats and 12 Republicans on the legislature.

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Ashland Speaks

By Lula Anderson

Thanksgiving weekend is over and the Christmas Season is officially underway.  (Welcomed) Carols on the radio, a touch of snow in the air.  When I do go out in the evening, I see the lights and decorations slowly starting to appear.  A beautiful festival of lights chasing away the gloom and darkness of the early sunsets.  Christmas trees and candles in the windows are beckoning us.  The smell of wood smoke fills the air and makes me think of nights sitting around the fire with my mug of hot cocoa.  Yes, we are going through the most wonderful time of the year.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with Christine, Nellis and my sons sitting down to dinner with me.  The next to the best china came out and I was very lucky that my helpers came the next day and cleaned my kitchen and put everything away.  Judy went to brother Marty’s in Niskayuna to be with her family.  For the first time in many years, Bill Mead did not join them, but stayed at Conifer Lake with friends Susie and Ciril.  Not to worry though, there was still desserts to share for days following.

Last Monday 50 attended the WAJPL Friendsgiving dinner meeting.  We had two guest speakers, one from Home Sweet Home in Athens and Catskill and our KeyNote Speaker, Richard Tollner who is such a fount of information.   The food, as usual, was plentiful and the conversation flowed.  I think, maybe, the workers at the Town House miss our meetings as we always sent food up to them.  Richard packed a couple of plates for them to enjoy.

Dot Giordano called to let me in on her Thanksgiving news.  She went to Robin and John’s for dinner where there were 11 around the table.  Daisy and Barney VanEtten’s family came to visit, Leslie from South Carolina and Steven from Schenectady.  Kent Creech came to visit with the kids.  A great family filled weekend.

The weekend of December 2 will be jam packed full of activities.  Windham UMC will be holding their annual Tea and sale from 10 until 4.  Santa will be coming at 2, so drop on by.  Windham Community will be holding their Parade of lights that evening.  Santa will be appearing at the Centre Church after the parade (around 5:30 to 6) where he will light the tree.  On Sunday, December 3, the Ashland Community Church will have their tree lighting for the community of Ashland.  Please support your town and enjoy hot chocolate, caroling and prayers. 

On December 9th, the Ashland UMC will be holding their annual Cookie Walk.  Please feel free to donate some of your favorite cookies when you come to buy.  The bigger the selection the better the “walk”. 

Hope restoration Christian Fellowship at 117 St Rt 296 Windham will be showing a video on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6pm about the Hebrides Revival and Intercessory Prayer.  All are welcome.

Prayers for the family of Bob Lawrence,  Barbara Morse Livsey and for Rosalynn Carter.  Healing prayers for Opal DeLong and Barb Cooke.  Pneumonia is hitting hard this year as well as other respiratory ailments.  Please stay healthy.

A word from my doctor friend, don’t fret the memory loss that comes with aging, your cardiac health benefits.  You spend so much time retracing your path when you forget why you walked into that room, that you get your daily steps in.. 


As mentioned, Windham Town Assessor, Richard Tollner was WAJPL meeting.  Instead of tax info, Richard shared with us his love of local history through post cards.  After a vocal vote, he pulled up the cards of the old Sugar Maples in Maplecrest.  Starting in the 1930’s, the Moseman and Martin families ran the 500 guest hotel.  At that time it was truly a self-contained establishment where everything was provided:  room, 3 meals a day, swimming in its Olympic sized heated pool, or in the local creek if you wanted, lawn games:  shuffleboard, tennis, ball games,  horseback riding, a barber shop and beauty parlor—all for one price.  The grounds were meticulously kept with hide away gardens, patios, balconies, and plenty of poolside seating.  Guests stayed for a week or the whole summer.  Families would come to visit relatives that were staying and spend a week with them.  Several of our members remarked that they first fell in love with this area because of their vacation at Sugar Maples.  All of the locals recalled the Red Cross Swimming lessons that they took.  Each of the area hotels opened their pools to the local children during the lunch hours so we could learn to swim.  What was memorable of the Sugar Maples size was it was HEATED, and had a high diving platform. 

Unfortunately, time and  the change of vacation destinations, with travel to far and exotic places becoming commonplace, caused the decline of the once great vacation getaway locale.  Buildings needed upgrades, and it was no longer feasible to keep it open.  In the 1990’s, it was sold and most of the buildings torn down.  The Catskill Mountain Foundation runs it now as a center for creative arts where you can rent a studio or take lessons in ceramics, pottery, painting and a variety of crafts.  It is also home to a  natural agriculture farm where you can purchase the freshest vegetables picked directly from the greenhouse and handed to you.   

As much as we mourn the demise of the resort, it is a comfort to know that what was left to deteriorate is now a thriving part of the Maplecrest community.

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Bates Church Christmas Gathering Tomorrow

BATES HOLLOW — The Bates Church Christmas Gathering will be celebrated on Saturday, December 2nd, 2024, at 5pm.

There will be singing, the talents of our local residents shared, the Christmas Story will be re-enacted by the community. If you have a talent to share, please join us. Christmas songs will be sung, the joy of sharing with your community is celebrated here. And.. there’s the sound of sleigh bells in the air that may well bring the guy in the red suit to our door…

All are welcome to join in this coming-together in the old (1859) Bates Church on Bates Church Lane, outside Potter Hollow,  down the road into Bates Hollow.  Parking is available, bring your flashlight!

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Free Concert in Stamford

STAMFORD — On Sunday, December 3 at 3pm, Friends of Music of Stamford, NY presents a free concert featuring pianist Idith Meshulam Korman playing works by Erik Satie, Marianna Martines, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and George Crumb. Free admission to this last chamber music concert of the Friends of Music 2023 season is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation and individual donors. 

Ms. Meshulam is the founder and director of the socially conscious Ensemble π, has functioned as the curator of the American Composers Alliance festivals, and is on the board of Association for the Promotion of New Music. Prior to this, she received her doctorate from New York University, where she taught for ten years, researching the unpublished piano music of Stefan Wolpe. Currently she is teaching at Bard College at the Bard Prison Initiative program. 

This event is hosted by the First Presbyterian Church at 96 Main Street, Stamford, NY. Parking is plentiful; masks are suggested. For more information, visit 

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Jessie Lee Nash: Fanfare at Osmos

STAMFORD — There will be an opening and conversation with the artist Jessie Lee Nash 

Saturday, December 2 2 to 4 pm at OSMOS Station.

ARTS&REC is pleased to invite you to an exhibition opening of paintings by Australian artist Jessie Lee Nash made during her residency at ARTS&REC.

The exhibition is on view until Sunday, January 7, 2024


20 Railroad Avenue

Stamford, NY 12167

917 362 5415

ARTS&REC programs have been made possible, in part, by the O’Connor Foundation, the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, and the Delaware County Economic Development grant.

Jessie Lee Nash has been supported by Creative Australia.

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HCHS Holiday for the Heart Tree Celebration

Happy Holidays from everyone at Heart of the Catskills Humane Society! It’s time for our favorite little community holiday event! We would love to see you at our Holiday for the Heart fundraiser on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 at The Delaware County Historical Association’s Norris Gallery on State Highway 10 in Delhi from 11am to 3pm. There is a $5 entry fee that includes one raffle ticket, and children accompanied by a parent enter for free.

Our beautifully themed and decorated trees will be on display the week of Monday, November 27th thru Friday, December 1st from 11am-4pm at the Norris Gallery. Raffle tickets will be available, one ticket for $5 or 6 tickets for $25.

Come and feast your eyes on our many small and large trees that have been decorated by local volunteers, families, clubs, and businesses in beautiful, artistic, unusual and creative themes. Some of our tree themes this year include: A Rustic Merry Christmoose, A Teapot Poet’s Holiday, Movie Night, When Pigs Fly, Twilight, and a Merry Berry Christmas.

In addition, there will be decorated wreaths, other holiday raffle items, gift items for sale at our Holiday Beastie Boutique, a bake sale, light refreshments, and live music from local musicians threading through the entire event. Raffle winners will be announced at 3pm on December 2nd

You can also walk up the driveway to visit our animals at the shelter and peruse our Gifts from the Heart store, where we sell lovely gift and craft items, knick knacks, home goods, jewelry, dishes, ornaments, and more. All proceeds go to support HCHS, and there will be a holiday sale going on at our shelter store the day of the Holiday for the Heart event!

This warm community event is one of our favorite ones to share with you, and as always, all proceeds go to support HCHS and our homeless animals. We are open Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm - 4pm. Donated goods or supplies can be dropped off at the shelter in Delhi during our hours of operation. Monetary donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information call (607)-746-3080 or visit

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