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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sustainable otsego

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, JULY 18
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, JULY 18

Tour Oneonta’s Downtown

Revitalization Then & Now

14-19eventspage

WALKING TOUR – 7 – 8 p.m. Bob Brzozowski & Gary Wickham lead walking tour, “Downtown Revitalization Then & Now” through Main & Market Streets. Learn urban renewal plans of 1970s to today’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Admission by Donation. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta 607-432-0960 or visit www.facebook.com/OneontaHistory/

TOWN HALL – 7 p.m. Meeting features Antonio Delgado (Running for Congress), Joyce St. George (Running for State Senate), & Chad McEvoy (Running for State Assembly). Sponsored by Sustainable Otsego. Free, open to the public. Templeton Hall, 63 Pioneer St., Cooperstown.

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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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Anti-Trump Activists Divert Anger At Faso

2018 RACE ALREADY JOINED

Anti-Trump Activists

Divert Anger At Faso

Sustainable Otsego moderator Adrian Kuzminski, seated against far wall, addresses some 75 local anti-Trump activitist who gathered at Brewery Ommegang last Thursday, looking for ways to collaborate. To the right of Kuzminski is Cooperstown Trustee Lou Allstadt, the climate change activitist, and former county rep. Ed Lentz, Garrattsville. (Jim Dean photo)

Grass-Roots Organizations Form,

Collaborate Around 19th District

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

John Faso at the Otsego County Chamber annual banquet last March.

With the 2016 campaign just over, the 2018 campaign in Otsego County’s 19th Congressional District is already starting.

Multiple grass-roots groups in Otsego County that have sprung up since Donald Trump’s election as president Nov. 8 are planning to rally with perhaps “several thousand” of like-minded people at Congressman John Faso’s Kinderhook office this weekend.

Shortterm, the goal is to convince the 19th District congressman to, one, host “town hall meetings” in each of the counties in the district, and, two, to work to assure central guarantees in the Affordable Care Act.

“I do feel strongly: We need to find some way to work with Faso, because he can do a lot of damage in these two years,” said Pam Kline of Indivisible CD19 NY, which is reaching across the 19th District to bring activists to Kinderhook.

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Like Charleston, Offer Free Trolleys

Like Charleston, Offer Free Trolleys

Edition Of Thursday-Friday Sept. 25-26

To the Editor:

A modest proposal:

I recently happened to visit Charleston, S.C., which, like Cooperstown, is a noted tourist destination. And, like Cooperstown, or any similar tourist town, they have a parking problem. Charlestown, however, has done something which Cooperstown might consider, namely, establishing a free trolley service.

Being able to jump on and off a trolley making the circuit of the main local sites without having to dig into one’s pocket to pay was a real convenience. No fussing about exact change, etc. And surprisingly, being free was a real incentive, even though the money saved had to be minimal. It ran about every 20 minutes; there was a printed schedule at every trolley stop.

I don’t know how Charleston funds its trolley, but Cooperstown might do so by charging a small parking fee at the peripheral parking lots, maybe $5 for the day. If the trolley circuit was expanded to hit ALL the main spots in and around the village – the Clark Sports Center, Bassett Hospital, Fairy Springs, Main Street, Lake Street, The Otesaga, The Farmers’ Museum, The Fenimore Art Museum, the courthouse and County Office Building, Railroad Avenue, Chestnut Street, Price Chopper, etc. – it might prove even more useful than at present.

Locals would be more likely to take advantage of it, as well as visitors staying at The Otesaga or in village B&Bs who would not be using the peripheral lots.

Tourists would be happy to pay the parking fee if they knew that they had the use of a free trolley. And it could provide a real service for village residents living on or near the trolly routes.

ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Moderator
Sustainable Otsego

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COOPERSTOWN CONSIDERING COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM

COOPERSTOWN CONSIDERING

COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM

Village Trustee Lou Allstadt, in center with back to camera, told a Sustainable Otsego program this evening the village is discussing a "community solar program" with the town.  Speaking is economist Jannette Barth.  At right is Sustainable Otsego Moderator Adrian Kuzminski, who emceed.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Village Trustee Lou Allstadt, in center with back to camera, told a Sustainable Otsego program this evening the village is discussing a “community solar program” with the town. Speaking is economist Jannette Barth. At right is Sustainable Otsego Moderator Adrian Kuzminski, who emceed. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)

COOPERSTOWN

The Village of Cooperstown and Town of Otsego have begun discussing a “community solar program,” Village Trustee Lou Allstadt, the clean-energy advocate, told a program sponsored by Sustainable Otsego in the county Courthouse this evening.

The idea of the program, described earlier by Jessica Azulay, with the Alliance for a Green Economy, would be to create a community solar farm that would share the energy and cost savings community wide.

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