Rochester Residents Association Scholarship

Accord Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary Buffet

How Do You Talk To Time Warner?

Hudson Valley Resort and Spa files application to build a 450-room facility at the Granit Hotel                  

Accord man charged with child endangerment, illegally possessing weapon and drugs

Kerhonkson man who police say shot and killed a dog turns himself in

Police Blotter






Rochester Residents Association Scholarship


The Rochester Residents Association is again offering a scholarship for Rondout Valley High School graduating seniors. The $1,000 Rochester Residents Association Community Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior from the Town of Rochester who demonstrates leadership and academic promise.  The scholarship will be awarded under the auspices of a Scholarship Committee appointed by the RRA and is funded by the RRA's members.

For further information, including an application visit:



SAT., APRIL 128am - NOON






Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs; Saugages; Hash Browns; coffee, tea, juice, etc.





Numbers Game

How Do You Talk To Time Warner?


By Terence P. Ward

RONDOUT VALLEY – To hear the talk about Time Warner Cable at an Association of Town Supervisors meeting, negotiating with the telecommunications giant is one of the most important — and least favorite — tasks given to town governments.

Cable connectivity occupies a space all its own in the eyes of the law: it's not exactly a utility, but it is a legal monopoly. Local municipalities collect franchise fees but can't actually assign the license to another provider. And because of relative size and experience, it can be challenging for a five-member town council to iron out issues with the giant company.

Rochester supervisor Carl Chipman has been wrestling with these issues for his six years in office, always knowing he was not alone. Several Ulster County towns still have large numbers of people whose homes have no cable connection because it's cost-prohibitive; more densely populated areas wrestle with issues surrounding public access and government information channels. And getting the ten-year renewal contracts signed on time is virtually unheard of.

That's why Chipman, as president of the supervisor's association, has been using that bully pulpit to encourage the various towns to work together to resolve their various issues with the cable company. He's asked his fellow supervisors to provide information on their specific challenges to see if it's possible to negotiate collectively rather than one town at a time.

The push for universal cable access is perhaps the issue of most concern, county-wide. Many of the same rural residents who don't have a cable connection to their homes also get little or no cellular reception, meaning that they must rely on a dial-up internet connection which is mind-numbingly slow, or satellite access which is sensitive to weather conditions.

High-speed internet is needed by anyone wishing to work from home, competitively search for a job, or in many cases even do homework. But town boards wishing to push that issue have tricky waters to navigate.

"The regulatory structure only allows us to negotiate the television aspect of the franchise agreement, and that's very limiting," said Jim Sofranko, a councilman in the town of Olive who is working on his town's contract. "We have to go in and say we want better television service, with a wink and a nod."

Those same regulations mandate that Time Warner pay to lay cable so long as there are 35 homes per mile, a number that in theory makes it worth the company's while to do so. Time Warner has agreed to lower that number to 20 in most cases, but how it calculates population density is an issue of contention. Chipman has argued in the past that seasonal uses such as camps should be considered, and Sofranko points out that the cable company's service maps are all but entirely inscrutable.

"Just a map of where they already have service was indecipherable," Sofranko said. "We couldn't overlay it with any known map. It was quite astounding."

To determine the actual level of service, several towns including Olive and Wawarsing are conducting surveys that ask about coverage. In Rochester, a broader telecommunications survey is being compiled, and town highway workers made their own map of cable coverage visually, just driving up and down the roads and taking notes.

Terry Houck is deputy supervisor in Wawarsing and has worked on cable negotiations in the past. He believes that "a collaborative effort on the part of adjoining townships should concentrate on lowering the number of homes reached in a mile in their individual negotiations or by collective bargaining with Time Warner. If the towns can lower the number of homes in rural areas it will be on Time Warner's dime, and allow local folks and folks moving here for the rural atmosphere to work out of their homes and take advantage of what urban folks take for granted."

Putting it on Time Warner's dime is important because the estimate to connect an individual home can run into tens of thousands of dollars. While that cost, in theory, could be split by a number of interested families in the same neighborhood, historically the cable company has not written estimates based on group interest. Each homeowner on a road would get a figure to run lines to their home and no other.

That climate could be changing, however.

Recently, Time Warner assigned a new team to work with Ulster County towns, replacing a representative that supervisors and others familiar with the negotiations considered highly unresponsive. In addition to the unhelpful cost estimates, the talks about contract renewals frequently dragged on for years beyond the old agreements' expiration dates. Phone calls were not returned in a timely fashion, if at all. Early contact with the new team, which is based in Vestal, has given town representatives hope for a smoother process going forward.

Hope may spring eternal, but towns in Ulster County are bolstering the feeling with hard data and the possibility of negotiating on a regional, not local, level. Working together could also pave the way for grants that would help build out other broadband alternatives such as 4G access, which could render the cable company's monopoly moot in time.

"In five years, are we even going to be talking about cable?" asked Sofranko. "Maybe not."   (Shawangunk Journal  3/27/14)








Hudson Valley Resort and Spa files application to build a 450-room facility at the Granit Hotel   



By William J. Kemble,


KERHONKSON >> Hudson Valley Resort and Spa has applied to construct a 450-room building to replace the current facility that previously served as the Granit Hotel.


Rochester town officials on Friday said the application was filed earlier this week and that they have been told owners are considering whether to seek a state designation as a gambling facility.


“They did say that up front that was a possibility that they would be applying to the state for a casino,” town Planning Board Chairman Michael Baden said.


“What they told me they wanted to do was build a new hotel, construct it while the old one was still in operation, with the stipulation that when the new one was completed the old one would be removed,” he said. “They didn’t want to shut down for an extended period of time to build a new hotel.”


The application was filed by Granit at Hudson Valley Resort and is expected to be reviewed during the March 10 town Planning Board meeting.


Hudson Valley Resort General Manager Orest Fedash said he was not prepared to discuss state applications to be designated as a casino but construction plans are to entirely replace the current eight-story, 323-room building with a five-story resort hotel.


“Right now it’s 80 feet and we’ll bring it down to 60 feet,” he said.


Granit general partner Eliot Spitzer reported the proposed facility is estimated to cost $200 million and be 130,000 square feet.


Fedash said the new facility would have a wider footprint than the existing building.



“We are going to have the (Ulster County) Health Department approve a new sewer system,” he said. “There is the possibility in the future that we will add townhouses and houses.”


Fedash said it depends on the approval process when the project would start but he expects it would take less than two years to build the new facility.


He added that the facility has been working to build a loyal customer base since coming out of bankruptcy proceedings that were filed in 2010 to pay back $25.9 million in debt.


“We have 560 acres and always looking to adapt things out in different ways,” he said. “We have snow tubing, looking to add to the golf course, take advantage of the beautiful view we have of the mountains, and looking for ways for people to enjoy the space that we have here.”  (Freeman 3/1/14)




Kerhonkson man who police say shot and killed a dog turns himself in


KERHONKSON >> A Kerhonkson man who police allege fatally shot a dog turned himself in Friday, according to a press release issued by the Ulster County SPCA.


Matthew Miller, 27, of 28 Baker Road, Kerhonkson, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony under the New York State Agriculture and Market Laws.


Miller allegedly shot a dog named “Ivan” that belonged to a visiting friend in the head for an unknown reason.


The dog’s body was removed from the home on March 7.


Deputies from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the Ulster County Humane Law Division returned to Miller’s home on Thursday and removed three more dogs that were living in squalor.


Miller also was charged with failure to provide proper sustenance to an impounded animal, a misdemeanor, and criminal possession of a weapon, also a misdemeanor.


Miller was arraigned before Judge Albert Babcock in Rochester Town Court and was released on his own recognizance.


He is scheduled to reappear in court on April 2.


Ulster County SPCA Executive Director Adam Saunders called the case “truly unacceptable”. (Freeman 3/15/14)




Accord man charged with child endangerment, illegally possessing weapon and drugs


Accord >> An Accord man has been charged with three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child after an investigation into a domestic dispute, state police said Monday.

Scott A. Nazario, 45, was arrested Friday by troopers at the Wawarsing barracks and also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a hypodermic needle and the violations of possession of marijuana and harassment.


Police responding to a domestic dispute at a single-family home in the town found that, in the course of a dispute with his girlfriend, Nazario disconnected land line phones to prevent her from calling for help, troopers said.


There were three children in the home during the dispute, all under the age of 11, police said.


An investigation found Nazario had an illegally possessed rifle, an undisclosed quantity of crack cocaine, marijuana, crack pipes and hypodermic needles, police said.


Nazario was arraigned in Rochester Town Court and released with tickets to appear in court on Tuesday. Freeman 3/3/14)


Police Blotter


• DWI/drugs: Gregory L. McQuillan, 59, of Kerhonkson, was arrested by state police at Wawarsing on U.S. Route 209 at 10:45 a.m. Thursday and was charged with drunken driving and driving while impaired by drugs, both misdemeanors. McQuillan was released with tickets for Rochester Town Court. (Freeman 3/22/14)





Let's Stop These Rising Electrical Costs!

I need your help in stopping our electric bills from going up. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pushing hard to increase our electric bills. They have set up a new capacity zone that will put Ulster County in the same pricing range as Westchester County and NYC. The rationale being that it will lead to the construction of new electric plants.

The FERC intends to group us with the most affluent and energy consuming localities in the world.

The state is opposed to this because they are already working to improve the transmission lines from the north.

The Public Service Commission and Central Hudson are opposed because they both believe this will drive up residential and commercial bills and the predications are between 6 percent to as much as 25 percent.

I am fighting to stop this, but I need your help. The Ulster County Legislature passed Resolution #72 asking our federal and state representatives to intervene and halt the creation of this new zone on behalf of Ulster County residents. I have sent letters to Senator Kristen Gillibrand, Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Chris Gibson, as well as Congressman Paul Tonko, who is on the Energy and Commerce Committee and our state representatives. I ask that you do the same, just go to and to send a note to each asking for their help in stopping this.

Won't you stand with me and fight this injustice.

Lynn Archer, U.C. Legislator