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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ZAGATA: Christians Told: Help The Poor, But Resist Continental Pipeline

Column by Mike Zagata, April 27, 2018

Christians Told: Help The Poor,

But Resist Continental Pipeline

Mike Zagata

Each week while attending church, a member of the clergy reminds us of our responsibility to assist the poor. Doing so is important and something engrained in us by our parents.
It is especially important in this area because we are part of Appalachia, a region known for its poverty. Indeed, according to Catholic Charity’s definition of poverty, 30 percent, or three out of 10 of Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties’ residents live in poverty.
What is interesting about this is that, when the issue of exploring for natural gas in New York was being debated, Oneonta’s churches inserted a flyer opposing fracking for natural gas in their weekly bulletins. The direct result was the loss of the jobs that would have come to the area and thus help lift people out of poverty.
That includes jobs for the BOCES graduates trained as welders, heavy-equipment operators and surveyors.

At the time, there was valid concern that this misunderstood process might contaminate our water and air. Those concerns have not been realized in Pennsylvania and that economy has prospered – more people have jobs as a result.
However, it just seemed inconsistent with what I was hearing about helping the poor to oppose something that could have helped lift them out of poverty.
The real impact on the poor wasn’t fully understood at the time. However, it is now crystal clear.

Otsego Now director Tom Armao alerts Assistant USDA Secretary Anne Hazlett to NYSEG’s failure to provide sufficient natural gas or electricity to Otsego County. With him at the Rural Development Forum at Hartwick College Friday, April 20, was Brooks’ BBQ President Ryan Brooks.

New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), now owned by a company headquartered in Spain, was counting on the new source of natural gas and the Constitution Pipeline to enable it to provide Oneonta with the gas it needs.
That means not just gas needed for us to grow, but enough gas (and electricity in the form of three-phase power) to be able to supply the needs of the businesses, institutions and residences that are here now.
NYSEG brings gas to Oneonta via a pipeline from DeRuyter. That pipeline is in a state of disrepair after decades of neglect, and Iberdrola, NYSEG’s Spanish owner, isn’t interested in spending the money it would take to repair the pipeline to the degree that it could deliver enough gas to meet existing demand, no less improve it to the point that it could meet demand from projected growth.
They look at Oneonta as being stagnant and thus not a good place to invest capital. Some are questioning whether or not they are living up to their franchise agreement to provide an adequate gas supply.

You might not know this, but our some of our educational institutions and the hospital are on what is known as “curtailment” with regards to their natural gas supply. That means, if it gets too hot or too cold and the overall demand for natural gas increases beyond NYSEG’s ability to supply it, those institutions must replace their use of natural gas for heating with oil-fired generators.

That is more expensive and increases air pollution.
Things are so bad that Lutz Feed bought a new gas-fired dryer to reduce the moisture content of stored corn and NYSEG told them not to hook it up. Why? because there wasn’t enough natural gas. What does that tell us about the likelihood of Oneonta being able to attract new businesses and manufacturers that could provide jobs to those who need jobs and to the young people who might like to remain here?
The next time the basket is passed in church, put in a little extra to help the poor. You see, we helped keep them that way.

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

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EDITORIAL: NYSEG Must Provide Full Range Of Energy

EDITORIAL April 20, 2018

NYSEG Must Provide
Full Range Of Energy

OTHERWISE, OUTMIGRATION INEVITABLE

From NYSEG Facebook page An Otsego Now contingent returned from a March 14 meeting reassured NYSEG’s new president Carl Taylor would help ease local energy shortages.

Let’s not be prophets of doom, but we’re all thinking people who can more or less put the pieces of the puzzle together.

In her March 29-30 column, our colleague,
columnist Cathe Ellsworth, alerted us to an
Albany Business Review report that Upstate
New York lost 2 percent of its population
between 2011 and 2015. Seven counties gained population; 20 lost it.
In our general area, Tompkins County – home of Cornell and Ithaca College – surprisingly lost the second most, 5.1 percent or 5,294 people. Our Otsego County was 11th on the list, losing 2.26 percent or 1,408 people.

The next week on our front page came the story, “Utility Retreats From Gas Pipeline Upgrade,” reporting how the utility serving our county, NYSEG, has backed away from upgrading the DeRuyter natural-gas line that runs to Sidney and then Oneonta, even though it received a rate increase to do so a couple of years ago.
In the article, Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky reaffirmed NYSEG can’t provide enough natural gas – or electricity, either – that any new manufacturer of any size would require to move here.
A Chinese company looking to establish a manufacturing plant somewhere in the U.S. came calling a few months ago, Zakrevsky continued. “We had proximity to an Interstate, water, sewer – but we could not meet their energy demands, either electrical or gas,” he said. “…Without that power, we’re limiting our ability to compete.”
The news hook for the story was a meeting state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, hosted at his Albany office in mid-March for local business and community leaders to make a plea to NYSEG’s new president, Carl Taylor.

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Ruined Beer Dramatizes It: More Energy Needed Here

Ruined Beer Dramatizes It:

More Energy Needed Here

New Ommegang President Campbell Raises Alarm
Brewery Ommegang’s new president Doug Campbell, center, stands for a moment of silence in memory of Hugh Henderson along with other attendees at this morning’s Otsego Now annual meeting. Flanking Campbell are, from left, Otsego Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, B&K Coffee’s Tasi Karabinis, Country Club Motors’ Tom Armao, Otsego Ready Mix’s Bob Harlem and Oneonta Deputy Mayor Russ Southard.   State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, noted that Henderson, who died last month, had served 42 years on the board of the county IDA, today’s Otsego Now.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – The threatened loss of 700 jobs at Amphenol is one thing, but the ruination of hundreds of gallons of beer at Brewery Ommegang last week dramatizes it even more:  Otsego County needs more energy.

At Otsego Now’s annual meeting this morning at Northern Eagle Beverage’s new Town of Oneonta headquarters, Ommegang President Doug Campbell reported a NYSEG power outage ruined a batch of beer for the second time since the new president was appointed last August.

“I hate to have that beer wasted,” Campbell said.

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Car Shears Off Power Pole, But No Outages In Icy Cold

Car Shears Off Power Pole,

But No Outages In Icy Cold

High above the corner of Elm and Chestnut (Route 28) in Cooperstown, NYSEG linemen Gulab Guar of Oneonta, foreground, and Steve Simmons, Stamford, complete replacement of a power pole toppled by a car in a overnight crash. Crews at the scene said no one lost power in the single-digit overnight cold. No details were immediately available on the crash. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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Rodney Jones, 59; NYSEG Veteran

IN MEMORIAM:  Rodney Jones, 59; NYSEG Veteran

ONEONTA – Rodney Stephen Jones, 59, a 40-year NYSEG electrical field planner, passed away on Dec. 9, 2015, at Bassett Hospital.

He was born April 17, 1956, in Walton, the son of Richard and Catherine (Stanton) Jones.

Rodney graduated from Walton Central School, Class of 1974.  He went on to SUNY Morrisville and attained an associate degree in electrical engineering in May 1976.  He joined NYSEG in September 1976 and was working there at the time of his death.


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