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.

Shandaken finally joins Scenic Byway Project

By Jay Braman Jr.
The controversial Route 28 Scenic Byway Plan squeaked by to adoption by the Town of Shandaken Monday night with a 3-2 vote in favor of the measure.

After months of dormancy, a resolution to support the plan suddenly appeared at the town board meeting. There was little discussion on the matter, with only Councilman Vincent Bernstein explaining his reasons for not supporting the plan.

Fear loss of “Home Rule’

Shandaken residents want gun vote repeal

By Jay Braman Jr.
One week after the Shandaken Town Board passed a memorializing resolution against recently adopted New York State gun laws, residents opposing the measure have launched a petition drive to force the board to reconsider that action.

The town board on February 4 passed an anti-gun control resolution brought forward by town of Shandaken Councilman Vincent Bernstein despite an almost unanimous cry against it from residents that insisted the language in the resolution did not reflect the sentiments of the townsfolk.

Shandaken residents blast town gun policy

By Jay Braman Jr.
An anti-gun control resolution brought forward by Town of Shandaken Councilman Vincent Bernstein Monday received suppressing fire from residents who insisted the language in the resolution did not reflect the sentiments of the townsfolk.

Regardless, the measure was passed anyway, despite an almost unanimous cry against it.

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