Flood prevention planning taking shape in Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
A couple of ideas for how best to spend $3 million in flood remediation funds are rising to the surface in Shandaken, where a group has been meeting weekly to figure out how to get the best bang for those bucks.
At a recent session to discuss ideas, Town Supervisor Rob Stanley gave specifics to his plan to scour the creek beds in town as a way of preventing flooding.

Judge orders Hanover Farms to be shut down and dismantled

By Jay Braman Jr.
The legal battle over Hanover Farms on Route 28 in the Town of Shandaken has reached an end with a New York State Supreme Court decision that puts the establishment out of business.
Hanover Farms owner Al Higley has been at odds with the Town of Shandaken for over eight years. After being granted approval to build a 100-square-foot-farm stand, Higley gradually expanded the business to over 2,000 square feet despite receiving stop-work orders from the Shandaken’s former code officer, Richard Stokes.
Higley filed a lawsuit against the town and Stokes in 2012.

Former Shandaken Code Officer Stokes will not be reappointed

By Jay Braman Jr.
The former code enforcement officer for Shandaken, recently cleared of charges that he forcibly touched a waitress in a local eatery last year, will not be getting his old job back.
That’s according to Town Supervisor Rob Stanley, who said that former code officer Richard Stokes made a public request for reinstatement last week.
“At this time we have no plans to change anything,” Stanley said. “We will not be rehiring Mr. Stokes.”

Shandaken code officer not guilty in forcible touching case; hopes to be re-instated

By Jay Braman Jr.

Saugerties Town Justice Samuel Lamp has determined that former Shandaken Code Officer Richard Stokes was not guilty of forcible touching following allegations made last fall by employees at a local restaurant.

Now that he has been cleared of those charges, Stokes expects to be reinstated as Code Officer, a position he voluntarily took an unpaid leave of absence from last fall immediately following his September 18 arrest.

“I’m glad the truth came out and my name is in the clear,” Stokes said Monday. “Now I wish I could get my job back.”

Shandaken board hears requests for additions to the budget

By Jay Braman Jr.
Some taxpayers in Shandaken might like the tentative budget plan for next year that keeps taxes down. According to Supervisor/Budget Officer Rob Stanley, if you paid $2,000 in town property tax this year, you will pay $2,012 next year.
Good news for taxpayers yes. But good for town departments?
Some say no.

Last week the town board heard complaints that not enough is being spent to take care of problems.
Leading the way was Phoenicia water commissioner Ric Ricciardella, who warned that another pump was needed for the hamlet’s water system.

Stanley unopposed in Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
There will be no race for town supervisor in Shandaken this year.
At the town’s Democratic Party caucus Monday night at Glenbrook Park, Supervisor Rob Stanley, a Republican, had no challengers in his bid for Democratic support and was therefore handed that endorsement with one resounding “aye” vote by the 30 or more Democrats in attendance.
“Rob, you’re our candidate,” said party chairman Nick Alba.

While that means a non-campaigning free ride to a third two-year term for Stanley, there will be a full-blown race for the two town board seats up for grabs.

Vehicles passing on unmarked roads draw Shandaken resident's complaints

By Jay Braman Jr.
A recent incident on a town road in Shandaken revealed an inconvenient truth about all those nice country lanes that wind through the Catskills. Drivers that illegally pass others can get away with it.
And, according to Woodland Valley resident Barbara Lambacca, they do.

Lambacca came to the Shandaken Town Board Monday night to ask that research be done into ways to hold violators accountable.

6th Annual Shandaken Art tour

By Jay Braman Jr.
Six years ago, a few artists in Shandaken had an idea. What if, they thought, a tour was set up in which people would make a day out of traveling around the town to check out the art studios where art was actually created?
Would anyone do that?

They found out immediately that the answer is a resounding yes.
On July 20 and 21 this summer, art lovers can take in the sixth-annual tour and enjoy a few other attractions along the way, according to artist/promoter Dave Channon.

Councilman questions need for Shandaken police

By Jay Braman Jr.
Shandaken Councilman Vincent Bernstein wants to take a long hard look at the town’s police department.

At the June town board meeting Monday night Bernstein made a long statement of complaint about the department and said he wants to discuss whether or not it is needed. “Should we have a full-time police department,” he said, “or can it be handled by part timers?”

OCS contingency to offset tax hike

By Jay Braman Jr.
Thanks to an unused $5.5 million contingency fund, property owners in the Onteora School District may see a zero percent tax increase again this year.

The money was put aside in the event that City of New York, which owns the Ashokan Reservoir and is the district’s largest taxpayer, was victorious in a tax-assessment challenge mounted in the Town of Olive.

A settlement was reached and district officials are planning on using up to $3 million of the fund to offset property taxes in the 2013-14 school year.

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