Vigorous applause interrupted SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski’s remarks at the final Community Breakfast she will be hosting for leaders in business and government this morning at Morris Hall. In her comments, Kleniewski, who is retiring at the end of this academic years thanked supporters and highlighted accomplishments SUNY has enjoyed during her time as president: The college’s endowment has risen to $55 million, a record for SUNY’s comprehensive colleges, allowing one in six students to receive financial aid through the Access To School Excellence Program. She instituted The Common Read, saw two new buildings rise and 11 others rehabbed, worked with OPT to provide more efficient transport for students, created a student thrift store, as well as contributing to the Oneonta community economically, partnered with volunteer organization and hosted Head Start Program. City officials, Senator Jim Seward, teachers, friends, supporters and community members turned out this morning. Hall. At right, Paul Patterson and wife Sarah applaud Kleniewski’s accomplishments at the conclusion of the breakfast. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Perfect Day For Ice Harvest
At Hanford Mills Museum
The Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith may have drawn a record crowd to today’s annual Ice Harvest. Visitors to the mill could cut and haul ice, sample soups and drinks from the area, ice fish and take a sleigh ride courtesy of Seth Finch and his two Pecherons, Roxy and Cheyenne, above. At right, Juliana Patterson and her brothers Nathan and Adrian Johnson help haul a sled of ice blocks with their grandfather Paul Patterson, Oneonta, who they were visiting from Albany. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
OPT Model For Handicapped Applauded
At Two-State Transportation Conference
By LIBBY CUDMORE • HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Edition of Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
Every morning, Karen Schrader leaves her house, gets a bagel at the Latte Lounge, and gets on the OPT West End bus to go to work. “She’s just like everybody else,” said Paul Patterson, Oneonta Public Transit director.
But Schrader isn’t like everybody else – she’s a shining example of how public transportation can help special needs citizens become a bigger part of the community. “With public transportation, there’s no need to send a special vehicle to pick them up at their doors,” said Patterson. “The bus is already going by, so we can save the state that money they would spend on an extra bus and a driver.”
Schrader accompanied Patterson to the state Career Development & Occupational Studies Conference Sept. 25 in Binghamton, where he spoke about how public transportation can help people with special needs transition from school to the workplace. “The state isn’t doing a good enough job helping special needs people transition from school to existing on their own,” he said. “With public transportation, they have to count out the money, signal the driver to get off at their stop. It gets them out into the community, gives them life experience.”
At the conference, he presented a short film following Schrader on her daily bus routine, and Schrader distributed copies of her book “OPT & Me,” to conference attendees.
In the book, which is available at the OPT office on Main Street, Schrader tells the story of taking the bus to work and around town, with accompanying illustrations and photos by Patterson. “Paul is my best friend,” she said. “He’s helping me work on a new book.”
And because Schrader has reliable transportation to work, Patterson said, she has her own money to spend in town. “She can go to the Southside Mall or down to the Latte Lounge to get her bagel and contribute to our economy,” he said. “Our buses can take her all over, giving her and people like her more independence.”
In addition to the conference, Patterson also spoke about the OPT at the Diversity Summit on Saturday, Nov. 8. “This city is more diverse because of people like Karen,” he said.