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Clark Foundation

EDITORIAL: If We Want Solar Energy, Let’s Get Serious About It

Editorial, May 5, 2018

If We Want Solar Energy,
Let’s Get Serious About It

If we care about solar energy, it’s time to get serious about it, don’cha think?

Happily, Otsego 2000 may be doing just that, having taken a leadership role among local environmental groups on this matter. On Feb. 24, its board adopted a resolution that reads, in part:
“Climate change, driven in large party by fossil-fuel use, is a significant threat to our region and way of life.

“We call for and support energy conservation and efficiency to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the necessity or expanded fossil-fuel infrastructure and delivery systems.
“In addition, we call for and support smart development for renewable energy sources to meet the goals adopted by New York State for greenhouse-gas reductions.”
Caveat (conservation first), then support.
The resolution continues in the same vein. It supports rooftop solar panels. And solar farms, but again with caveats: Put them on “previously disturbed areas,” protect farmland, “protect historic, cultural and scenic resources,” maintain conserved lands. This is fine, and clearly in synch with Otsego 2000’s overarching mission – to protect, not develop.

But if, in fact, we want solar energy around here, a more affirmative strategy is necessary.
The most significant solar project proposed so far in Otsego County – thousands of panels on 50 acres north of Morris – is on hold, according to Chet Feldman, spokesman for Distributed Solar, Washington D.C. As he explained it, a PSC ruling last year on economical proximity to power lines, and federal tariffs made the project “not conducive,” at least for the time being.
Promisingly, Feldman said “We’re always looking forward to doing business in New York.” So it, or another project, may still happen.
So far though, solar power locally is limited to boutique uses: People who can afford it equipping their homes with panels. Otherwise, the Solar City installation near Laurens, by county government for county government, is the only functioning solar farm in the county. (Thank you, county Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, now retired, for pioneering it.)
If Otsego 2000, Sustainable Otsego, OCCA and other environmentally focused entities – goodness, even the Clark Foundation – really wants solar power widely used here, they need to say so and go after it, without the caveats.

Ed Lentz, Butternuts Valley Alliance chair (now New Lisbon town supervisor), surveys the 50 acres where Distributed Solar planned a solar farm. It is off the table for now.


If it chose to be, muscular Otsego 2000 certainly has the clout to get it done.
Meanwhile, Otsego 2000’s executive director, the able Ellen Pope, has taken the new policy seriously, attending a forum March 27 organized by Scenic Hudson, and – she reports – well attended by municipal officials from around the state.
It’s complicated. Large installations – 25 megawatts and up – fall under state Article 10 regulations for siting electric-generating facilities, signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2011. Below that, a good town plan can guide where things happen, or don’t.
Attendees were advised, “plan for the town you want.” Of course, we all know that means: Keep everything the way it is. If we really care about global warming, about renewables, about humankind’s survival, that probably won’t fill the bill.
The Otsego 2000 policy dwells on what needs to be protected. But let’s turn it around. Let’s identify appropriate sites – sure, brownfields (Shur-Katch in Richfield Springs, maybe), former landfills, acreage shielded from public view – those black panels are ugly – and so on.
It might make sense to rule solar farms out, period, in the extra-protected Otsego Lake watershed. It makes sense to extra-protect a national environmental icon. But that leaves plenty of space elsewhere in Otsego County.
The Morris installation, tucked in the beauteous Butternut Creek Valley, would have been an eyesore, and perhaps polluted the creek, too. The county’s Solar City site is in a former gravel pit – ideal.
If Otsego 2000 could identify ideal spots for solar farms – a half dozen, a dozen, even more – and put the regulations in place to enable them, it would be doing our 60,094 neighbors (as of last July 1, and dropping) a favor. When a solar developer shows up, no problemo, with enhanced tax base and jobs to follow.
Plus, an itty bit, we might even help save Planet Earth.

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Clark $300k Grant Sets Up ‘Hospital Suite’ At Hartwick

Clark $300k Grant Sets Up

‘Hospital Suite’ At Hartwick

Assistant Professor Dana Plank instructs Briann Lehman, ’18, in the new Hospital Suite Simulation Unit set up in Smith Hall.  (Hartwick College photo)

ONEONTA – Hartwick College has received a $300,000 grant from The Clark Foundation to help fund a new Hospital Suite Simulation Unit for the college’s Nursing Department. The new equipment will be located in repurposed space in Smith Hall.

The grant will enable the college to better prepare its nursing students to enter the field, and grow the department by another 10 students. This is the fourth such award from the foundation since 2011.

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Mike Perrino Honored With 23rd Fetterman Award

Mike Perrino Is Applauded

 At 23rd Fetterman Luncheon

Mike Perrino, recipient of the Clark Sports Center’s 23rd annual Fetterman Award, stands with previous recipients following the recognition ceremony at the Otesaga Hotel this afternoon. From left, Pat Hazard, ’01, Ted Kantorowski, ’95, Jack Vineyard, ’94, Paul Lambert, ’10, Perrino, Connie Herzig, ’08, Brenda Wedderspoon-Gay, ’09, Brenda Jaeger, ’12, Ted Spencer, ’04, Sharky Nagelschmidt, ’02, Bobby Hall, ’15, Ed Hazard, ’01, Bob Snyder, ’07 and Dave Bliss, ’13. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Mike Perrino, recipient of the Clark Sports Center’s 23rd annual Fetterman Award, stands with previous recipients following the recognition ceremony at The Otesaga this afternoon. From lef are, Pat Hazzard, ’01, Ted Kantorowski, ’95, Jack Vineyard, ’94, Paul Lambert, ’10, Perrino, Connie Herzig, ’08, Brenda Wedderspoon-Gray, ’09 and, Brenda Jaeger, ’12.  Back row, from left, Ted Spencer, ’04, Sharky Nagelschmidt, ’02, Bobby Hall, ’15, Ed Hazzard, ’01, Bob Snyder, ’07 and Dave Bliss, ’13. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

(reprinted from last week’s Freeman’s Journal)

COOPERSTOWN – When the phone first rang, Mike Perrino thought his Cooperstown Youth Football team was in trouble.  “They called me down to the Clark Sports Center and said they needed to talk to me,” he said. “I thought ‘Oh no, what did these kids get into?’ I thought something was amiss.”

But instead, director Val Paige had only good news – he was named this year’s recipient of the annual Fetterman Award.  “I was speechless,” he said. “They got me!”

Perrino, first senior vice president, product management, at NYCM Insurance in Edmeston, was honored at a luncheon this afternoon at The Otesaga.

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Composting Saving Otesaga Money, Speaker Tells Crowd

Composting Saving Otesaga

Money, Speaker Tells Crowd

Clark Foundation Farm Manager Details Futuristic Project
Bob Sutherland, right, manager of the Clark Foundation's Mohican Farm, answers the questions of Dennis Tallman, retired Tallman Enterprises proprietor, after "Reducing Our Carbon Footprint One Bag of Garbage at a Time," this afternoon's final lecture of the season in the Friends of the Village Library's Sunday Series.
Bob Sutherland, right, manager of the Clark Foundation’s Mohican Farm on Otsego Lake’s west shore near the Springfield town line, answers the questions of Dennis Tallman, retired Tallman Enterprises proprietor, after “Reducing Our Carbon Footprint One Bag of Garbage at a Time,” this afternoon’s final lecture of the season in the Friends of the Village Library’s Sunday Series.  Sutherland told how composting waste food is saving The Otesaga significant garbage-disposal fees, and the resulting soil is being used for Clark Foundation replanting and construction projects, this year mostly for the Clark Sports Center expansion.  Despite the first ideal day for gardening, a room full of composting fans filled the trustees’ meeting room at Cooperstown’s Village Hall to hear Sutherland.   At left is Nathan Tripp, and between Sutherland and Tallman are Antoinette Kuzminski, who has participated in projects with Sutherland, and Dotty Hudson.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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