News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Opening ‘The Floating World’

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RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Exhibit “The Floating World.” Includes presentation by artist Jian Cui at 6. Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-3456 or visit suny.oneonta.edu/art-department/art-galleries/exhibitions

YARN CLUB – 6 – 7:30 p.m. Knitter, Crocheter’s of all skill levels meet to work on projects. Accompanied youths welcome. The Study, Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-1980 or visit hmloneonta.org/adult-programs/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

XNG ‘Bomb’ Truck Presentation

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PUBLIC SAFETY – 7 p.m. Presentation “#Bomb Trucks 101: Understand the Risks” with Craig L. Stevens, co-written w/ William Huston. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit stopthebombtrucks.blogspot.com

FOOD FOR THOUGHT – 12:30 p.m. “Behind the Scenes at Fenimore Art Museum” with Chris Rossi, Director of Exhibitions. Cost, $30/non-member. South Terrace, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547–1510 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/calendar-a

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A Good Idea From Fire Commissioners: Dissolve, Let Town Negotiate OFD Pact

Editorial for August 31, 2018

A Good Idea From

Fire Commissioners:
Dissolve, Let Town

Negotiate OFD Pact

The Freeman’s Journal – A packed house at Oneonta’s Elm Park Methodist Church in April 2017 urged town Board of Fire Commissioners: Renew the fire-protection contract with city’s paid Oneonta Fire Department. Sixteen months later, talks are still stymied.

When one least expects it, a breakthrough.
The Town of Oneonta’s Board of Fire Commissioners has voted, 3-2, to set a hearing to consider dissolving. The vote could come at the end of the hearing, scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Elm Park
Methodist Church.
Good idea. About time.
If the fire district is dissolved, a “fire zone” continues to exist within the town, so coverage will continue. The Town of Oneonta would assume responsibility for negotiating with the city. That’s good too.
There’s probably no one better than Town Supervisor
Bob Wood, previously a longtime fire commissioner himself, to bring talks with the city to a sensible conclusion.
For more than two years, negotiations have gone nowhere on extending the contract with City Hall for professional fire protection for the town’s Southside, and neighborhoods beyond the city’s East and West ends.
Only state Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma
imposing a two-year settlement in January 2016 assured businesspeople and homeowners coverage as negotiations continued.
The two commissioners objecting to dissolution are the newcomers, Al Rubin and Michelle Catan, who since their election last December have been foiled in efforts to get the talks moving again.
The three in the majority bloc, chair Johna Peachin, veteran commissioner Fred Volpe and Ron Peters, who is associated with Peachin’s accounting firm, have not responded to city Mayor Gary Herzig’s requests for negotiations, the mayor says.

As noted here before, Coccoma imposed a regimen that allocates one-third of the costs of the city’s Oneonta Fire Department (OFD) to property owners in the town fire district; the remaining two-thirds would be covered by city taxpayers.
An independent consultant agreed to by both sides came up with roughly the same formula.
Still, no movement.
The majority bloc has been tangled up in the issue of revenues created by the OFD’s ambulance squad, which generates about $1 million of the fire department’s $4 million budget.
In effect, those revenues – insurance payments generated whenever a city ambulance carries a patient from either the city or town to Fox or Bassett – pay down the total, meaning there’s less for city taxpayers and fire-district property owners to split.
The bloc believes the way it’s being done is illegal, but so far hasn’t found anyone with authority to agree.
Again, if an “i” or two needs to be crossed to bring everything up to Hoyle, Bob Wood has the understanding to figure it out amicably with Herzig.

There are implications for the future.
For one, a town can’t operate its own fire department under New York State law, an option the fire commissioners have been threatening to pursue in negotiations with City Hall.
However, if it came to that, the town could create a town-wide fire district that could do so, a lengthy process – but slower is probably better. Plus, that may never happen and shouldn’t – the town and city’s fates are linked.
Arguably, given the $1 million contribution from townsfolks, it makes sense for a liaison to be brought into discussions with Common Council on policies regarding the OFD. Perhaps Al Rubin, who has tried to be an honest broker since joining the fire board, would be a good prospect for this role.
Regardless, it’s time to move forward. If the majority-bloc fire commissioners have concluded they can do no more, it makes sense to leave the scene.
The Oneonta Town Board is more sensitive to what the public wants – only a handful or two of voters turn up at Fire District elections – and the public has said it wants the standoff resolved.
With Wood at the helm, along with town board members of good will, an end to a worrisome situation may finally be within reach.

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ZAGATA: Rising To The Fly On Natural Gas

Column by Mike Zagata, August 31, 2018

Rising To The Fly

On Natural Gas

Mike Zagata

One of the main reasons that local brook trout don’t get very big is that they tend to rise to and take the first dry fly that is drifted over them.
During my professional career, I have avoided “rising to the fly,” but my fellow columnist, Adrian Kuzminski, in his Aug. 23-24, 2018 article, floated one that was just too tempting. He was commenting on my article the week before, where I stated, “To date, we don’t know if those green plants, found on land and in fresh and marine waters, aren’t able to process the carbon dioxide that is being produced. If there was more of it, could green plants produce more oxygen and sugar, or if there was more than they could process would it affect the climate? Answering those questions will take some good minds and pretty heavy-duty computers.”
He twisted that to read, “Zagata admits as much by worrying if plant growth will absorb the extra CO2”.
So it’s time, once again, to look at the science.

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fuel. It produces CO2 (carbon dioxide) and H2O (water) when it is burned. That is exactly what animals, including us, do during the process of respiration. We take in food, digest it, and, in the presence of O2 (oxygen), burn it in our cells to produce energy needed to sustain us and CO2 and H2O are the waste products. Our blood carries the dissolved CO2 to our lungs and we exhale it and also inhale new Oxygen. Some of the dissolved water also gets exhaled and some gets filtered out by our kidneys and leaves our body as urine.
That means that each of us are polluters – we emit the same gases that are produced when we burn natural gas. We also pollute when we create mulch piles or manure piles or eat beans, as they give off methane as a byproduct of decomposition.

Many homes in our area heat with propane – a heavier version of methane that also yields CO2 and H2O when burned – and it is transported to our homes by truck.
We drive to our meetings in cars fueled by gasoline, a fossil fuel, to plan on how to best protest against the next attempt to bring energy into our area – and these protests are not limited to just fossil fuels. We have protested against renewable energy sources as well, including wind turbines and biomass.
It is likely that, once we realize just how visually unattractive solar farms are and how much they adversely impact farmland, forests and wildlife habitat, we will protest against them as well.
It will be easy to do, because solar energy doesn’t totally replace the need for energy derived from fossil fuels – the sun doesn’t shine at night, so when the temperatures drop below zero during periods of darkness, the “grid” that supplies our energy relies on energy from fossil fuels like coal.
And what about those hazardous wastes in the solar panels that must be disposed at the end of their useful life?

Why is it that it’s still OK to pull up to the gas tanks and fill our cars with gasoline, a non-renewable fossil fuel, that, when burned, yields some nasty air pollutants like NOX (Nitrous Oxides) and SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) but it’s not OK to burn natural gas – and gasoline is delivered by trucks?
Even if you’re the most rabid anti-gas person, that can’t make sense to you.
Why is it still OK to heat our homes with fuel oil, a non-renewable fossil fuel that emits far more air pollutants than methane or natural gas, when burned? And, it’s delivered by trucks.
Why is it still OK to use propane to heat our homes or fuel our barbecue grills? It’s a non-renewable fossil fuel and, because it’s heavier than air and thus stays close to the ground when leaked, may lead to a potentially explosive situation. And, it’s delivered by trucks.
Shucks, why not just vote like the County Board and ban all trucks transporting any kind of energy. It doesn’t take long to figure that one out now does it?

The other issue that those against natural
gas like to wave like a red flag in front of a bull is that of fugitive emissions – the natural gas that allegedly leaks from pipes, wells, etc.
If you were a company that produced (drilled for) or transported (pipeline) natural gas, would you knowingly allow it to leak? The company that produces the gas and the company that transports that gas make their money by selling the gas to customers. Does it make sense to you that they would knowingly allow gas to escape and thus not be available to be sold?
If you were a shareholder in a company that did that, would you be happy about it? If the paper allowed me more space, the story about the “studies” that claimed gas was leaking would be fascinating to debunk.

All of us are tempted, like the young brook trout, to rise to the fly and devour it. In the future, before rising, please take the time to reflect on what is being said and ask yourself, in light of what you know about the topic, does it really make good sense?

Mike Zagata, a DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and former environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in Davenport.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15

Tour History Of Oneonta Revitalization

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WALKING TOUR – 7 p.m. Downtown Revitalization Then & Now along Main & Market Streets with Gary Wickham & Bob Brzozowski. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org

ART CLASS – 3 – 4 p.m. Entertaining class for kids to learn Mask Making based on Thaw Gallery Yup’ik masks. Free. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/calendar-a

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8

Tour Historic Fairchild Mansion

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MANSION TOURS – 7 – 8 p.m. Tour historic Fairchild Mansion with Bruce Van Buren and other Masons. Cost, $3/non-gohs-members. Enter through Portico on west side of lodge. Oneonta Free Mason Lodge, 322 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org/upcomingevents.htm

FAMILY PROGRAM – 6 – 6:45 p.m. Ross Park Zoomobile presents sit down program featuring opportunity to learn about, handle exotic animals. Cooperstown Village Library. 607-547-8344 or visit www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, JULY 9
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, JULY 9

5K Fundraiser For YMCA

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5K RACE – 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Oneonta Outlaws Race to benefit the Oneonta YMCA. Damaschke Field, James Georgeson Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0010 or visit www.facebook.com/OneontaFamilyYMCA/

DISCUSSION – 5 p.m. New York Center for Agricultural Medicine & Health leads discussion with the 4-H Junior Livestock Show on safe spaces on the farm. Followed by awards for best posters displayed in visitors tent. Iroquois Farm Showgrounds, 1659 Co. Hwy. 33, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-1452 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org/Junior-Livestock-Show

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 15
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JUNE 15

Lumberjack Competition, Festival

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OUTDOOR GAMES – 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Features lumberjack competition, BBQ contest, open obstacle course, more. Alden Field, 2 Genesee St., Cherry Valley. E-mail cwatbeau@gmail.com or visit cherryvalleyoutdoorgames.com

ART IN BLOOM – 5 – 7 p.m. Opening reception for show featuring flower arrangements by the Oneonta Garden Club interpreting works from the Mansion Show. Community Arts Network of Oneonta, Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-2070 or visit www.canoneonta.org/event/art-in-bloom-2018-floral-exhibit/?instance_id=1031

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 30
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 30

Fun Day With The Dogs

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DOGGY & ME – 6 – 7 p.m. Run an obstacle course with your best bud, make a homemade doggy toy, or meet the adoptable pooches from the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. Donation or wishlist item required for admission. The green, Oneonta YMCA, 20-26 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-547-8111 or visit www.facebook.com/Susquehanna-Animal-Shelter-121696841223218/

TALKING OPERA – 7 p.m. Presentation on “The Barber of Seville” by Joseph Colaneri, Glimmerglass Festival Music Director and conductor of this production. Auditorium, The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-2255 or visit www.facebook.com/glimmerglassfestival/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 16

Hanford Mills Opening Day!!!

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OPENING DAY – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Kick of the 45th season the museum with guided tours of the water-powered sawmill, gristmill, woodworking workshop. Admission $9/adult. Hanford Mills Museum, 51 Co. Hwy. 12, East Meredith. Call 607-278-5744 or visit www.hanfordmills.org

BE INFORMED! – 6:30 – 8 p.m. Learn about food gardens, including what plants are best for our climate, when to start planting and how to care for your garden. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. Call 607-282-4087 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/be-informed-lecture-series-food-gardens/

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103