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Otsego 2000

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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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, FEB.11
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, FEB.11

Grilled Cheese For A Good Cause

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GRILLED CHEESE NIGHT – 5 – 7 p.m. Enjoy comfort food from local chefs as well as local beer, wine, cider, live music, more. Proceeds benefit Otsego2000 & Otsego Outdoors. Cost, $25/adult, $15/child. Cooperstown Farmers Market, 101 Main St., Cooperstown. Call 607-547-8881 or visit www.otsego2000.org

SNOWSHOE WALK – 10:30 a.m.-Noon. Look for signs of life past, present and future with a guide from OCCA. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/winter-carnival-snowshoe-walk/

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Experts Advise CGP Class On Funding Of Non-Profits

Experts Advise CGP Class

On Funding Of Non-Profits

Alan Donovan, who has helped and advised numerous non-profits since retiring as SUNY Oneonta president a decade ago, addresses the final session of Professor Brian Alexander’s Museum Management class today at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies. Other experts on the panel were Liz Callahan, left, director of the Hanford Mills Museum, East Meredith, and Ellen Pope, Otsego 2000 executive director. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, OCT. 8
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, OCT. 8

Classic Tractors On The Farm

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TRACTOR FEST – 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Learn all about tractors and the ways they have been used on farms in NYS. A fun way to learn about the advance of agricultural technology. The Farmers Museum, Cooperstown. www.farmersmuseum.org/Tractor-Fest

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS – 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Meet 50 non-profit groups, learn what resources are available in our community. Bring donations of canned goods, coats, shoes, hygiene supplies for local elementary students to enter raffle. Southside Mall, Oneonta. Call 607-267-1807 or visit www.facebook.com/southsidemall/

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Nomination Deadline April 10 For 2017 Preservation Awards

Nomination Deadline April 10

For 2017 Preservation Awards

Leigh Eckmair, Village of Gilbertsville and Town of Butternuts historian, accepts congratulations on receiving Otsego 2000’s Preservation Advocate Award for 2016 last May at a reception at the Roseboom Historical Association.  (Theresa Winchester photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Otsego 2000 is seeking nominations of deserving projects for its 18th annual Historic Preservation Awards for Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Nominations are due be April10 in the following categories:

  • Cornerstone Award For a project that promotes a preservation ethic through the maintenance or repair of a historic home, building or landscape.
  • Renaissance Award For a project that revitalizes a home, building or landscape while keeping or renewing its historic character through substantial rehabilitation or adaptive re-use. Properties receiving this award are not only improved in their own right, but provide benefits to the neighborhood or community.

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Otsego 2000 Honors Winners Of Historic Preservation Prizes

Otsego 2000 Honors Winners

Of Historic Preservation Prizes

Leigh Eckmaier, Village of Gilbertsville and Town of Butternuts historian, accepts congratulations on receiving Otsego 2000's Preservation Advocate Award Friday evening at a reception at the Roseboom Historical Association. I accept this award on behalf of a community that for well over 100 years has been struggling to protect a very precious resource and is finally getting some recognition for that effort. A very long parade of truly dedicated individuals have worked tirelessly during that time. A number of the current cast are with us this afternoon because threats never cease coming at us. It’s a priviledge to be part of that effort.
Leigh Eckmair, Village of Gilbertsville and Town of Butternuts historian, accepts congratulations on receiving Otsego 2000’s Preservation Advocate Award Friday evening at a reception at the Roseboom Historical Association.  “I accept this award on behalf of a community that for well over 100 years has been struggling to protect a very precious resource and is finally getting some recognition for that effort,” Eckmair told the gathering.  “A very long parade of truly dedicated individuals have worked tirelessly during that time. A number of the current cast are with us this afternoon because threats never cease coming at us. It’s a privilege to be part of that effort.”  (Teresa Winchester photo)

SEE FULL LIST OF OTSEGO 2000 HONOREES

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Leigh Eckmair, 1743 Palatine House Win Otsego 2000 Preservation Honors

Leigh Eckmair, 1743 Palatine House

Win Otsego 2000 Preservation Prizes

Otsego 2000's Preservation Advocate Award will be presented to advocates of the 1743 Palatine House.
Otsego 2000’s Preservation Advocate Award will be presented to advocates of the 1743 Palatine House this evening at the Roseboom Historical Association.
Leigh Eckmair
Leigh Eckmair

ROSEBOOM – Otsego 2000’s 2015 Preservation Advocate Award this evening will be presented to Leigh Eckmair, Town of Butternuts and Village of Gilbertsville historian, for “working tirelessly for more than 25 years to restore and maintain the beauty” of her communities.

The ceremony for Otsego 2000’s Preservation Awards will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. today at the Roseboom Historical Association.

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Otsego 2000 Seeks Nomination For 2016 Preservation Awards

Otsego 2000 Seeks Nominees

For 2016 Preservation Awards

Laurie and Charles Shipley's House in Laurens was a 2015 winner.
Laurie and Charles Shipley’s House in Laurens was a 2015 winner.

COOPERSTOWN – Otsego 2000 is accepting nominations for its 2016 Historic Preservation Awards, recognizing efforts in Otsego and Schoharie counties to preserved historic homes, storefronts, commercial and agricultural buildings that contribute to our communities’ sense of place.

The deadline is March 30.  Nomination forms are available at  www.otsego2000.org, by e-mailing director@otsego2000.org, or by calling 547-8881.  Categories include:

  • Cornerstone Award: For a project that promotes a preservation ethic through the maintenance, repair, or adaptive reuse of a historic building or landscape.  Cornerstone projects need not be large in scale; rather they are the foundational projects that preserve historic character and integrity piece by piece.

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Julie Huntsman Elected To Otsego 2000 Board

Julie Huntsman Elected To Otsego 2000 Board

COOPERSTOWN – Julie Huntsman of Fly Creek, the veterinarian and former Otsego Town Board member, has been elected to the Otsego 2000 Board of Directors, President Nicole Dillingham announced a few minutes ago.

Huntsman was among the foremost advocates of a fracking ban in last year’s local resistance to the controversial gas-extraction process.

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Otsego 2000 Honors Historic Preservation

Otsego 2000 Honors Historic Preservation

Jean Finch, Toddsville, examines the storyboard presenting the Hartwick Historical Association's recent accomplishment at Otsego 2000's Historical Preservation Awards ceremony Friday evening at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center, Milford.   The Hartwick society received the 2014 Community Pillar Award.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Jean Finch, Toddsville, examines the storyboard presenting the Hartwick Historical Association’s recent accomplishments at Otsego 2000’s Historical Preservation Awards ceremony Friday evening at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center, Milford. The Hartwick society received the 2014 Community Pillar Award. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103