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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DEC. 24
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, DEC. 24

Celebrate This Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve

Chanukah begins at sundown.
CHRISTMAS DINNER – 12:30-2:30 p.m. Annual Friends of Christmas dinner. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Onoenta. Info, Ann Steen 432-1283 or Kelly Ahlqvist 432-1871

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE – 6:45 p.m. Includes a Living Nativity scene. Main St. Baptist Church, 333 Main St., Oneonta. Info, msbchurch.org/ or call 607-432-5712

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE – 7 p.m. Family Service with Childrens pageant followed by Christmas Tea and Candlelight service at 10. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Onoenta. Info, firstumc-oneonta.org

County administrator reassures Oneonta it will not be doubly taxed for ambulance service

County administrator reassures Oneonta it will not be doubly taxed for ambulance service

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA Joshua Beams, the new Otsego County administrator, met with Rep. Jill Basile, D-Oneonta, on Friday, Oct. 8,  to reassure her constituents “there will be no fiscal impact for Oneonta” with regards to the new EMS plans for the county.

Beams stressed Oneonta, which has its own community-funded EMS, will not be double charged for the county’s supplemental ambulance service, which is direly needed in rural areas of Otsego.

According to Beams, the EMS service would be an “opt-in only program.” The county will still service Oneonta through mutual aid, but city and/or town residents won’t be taxed for the service if they chose to opt out.

“There will be no fiscal impact for Oneonta,” Beams assured Basile.

Focus Execs Fined $1K Each, 250 Hours Community Service

2 Focus Execs Fined

$1K Each, 250 Hours

Of Community Service

Zupnik, Herman Split $1M State Fine

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Herman
Zupnik

FLY CREEK – The president and another top executive of Focus Otsego were fined $1,000 each and sentenced to 250 hours of community service each at 12:55 p.m. today in Otsego Town Court here.

Joseph Zupnik, the president, and financial officer Daniel Herman appeared before Town Justice Gary Kuch in a hearing that lasted about an hour.

Attorney Kathleen Boland from the state Attorney General’s Office said the two men will also split a $1 million fine imposed by her office.

Pulitzer-Winning Poet Dennis To Launch Hartwick’s New American Writing Festival

Pulitzer-Winning Poet Dennis To Launch

Hartwick’s New American Writing Festival

Pulitzer-winning poet Carl Dennis
Pulitzer-winning poet Carl Dennis

ONEONTA – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Dennis will be the featured reader at Hartwick College’s two-evening New American Writing Festival Tuesday-Wednesday,Nov. 4-5, in the Shineman Chapel House’s Celebration Room.

Also featured will be the work of five Hartwick alumni: Diane Bliss ’81, Lynn Marie Houston ’94, Scot Slaby ’98, Jeffrey Simonds ’10, and Brendan Walsh ’10. The event is free, and open to the public.  Dennis will highlight the event, reading at 8 p.m. on Wednesday the 5th.

He has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Dennis holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at SUNY Buffalo since 1966.

ONLINE Daily Newspaper Launched

ONLINE Daily Newspaper Launched

Editors with ink in their veins thrill at the news that traditional books are rebounding (10 percent as of mid-2018) and Kindle appears to have peaked, and is now declining (3.8 percent).

Happily, Otsego County’s newspapers – the 211-year-old Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta, now 10 years old – are stable, profitable and ever-striving to serve the reading public, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

But www.AllOTSEGO.com is growing in leaps and bounds.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, AllOTSEGO.com becomes Otsego County’s Daily Newspaper/ONLINE, with world and national news, crosswords and more.

Since implementing a new strategy Oct. 1 – when news happens, we post it – traffic, annualized, has grown 50 percent – 50 percent!  That’s 592,716 users, 1,867,988 sessions, and 2,957,100 page views – in a county of 60,094 people and 23,627 households.

So beginning today, we are relaunching www.AllOTSEGO.com as:  Otsego County’s Daily Newspaper/ONLINE, with the goal of giving readers everything you expect in a local newspaper, up to the minute and at your fingertips.

Effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, you can access all the breaking local news you now find on  www.AllOTSEGO.com, plus world and national news, and such features as a daily crossword, comics (including color comics on Sundays), horoscope and Dear Abby.

Plus, for the first time, you will find all the material that appears weekly in Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal – hard news, features, editorials, columns, letters to the editor, obituaries, great photographs.  The works.

EMTS SALUTE BEST OF BEST

HUNDREDS PACK BASSETT HALL

EMTS SALUTE

BEST OF BEST

Everyone who was anyone in the world of Otsego County EMTs – hundreds of them, past and present – gathered at Bassett Hall in Cooperstown for four hours this afternoon and evening to celebrate Fred Lemister, primer inter pares in the local EMS world, who recently stepped down after 48 years of service to Cooperstown’s emergency squad, where he responded to 9,600 ambulance calls.  Even more significant, a top-notch instructor, he trained nearly every EMT serving in Otsego County over many years.  In top photo, Brinton Muller, Bassett Healthcare’s network director for emergency preparedness, announces the EMS Room in the ambulance bay at the Cooperstown hospital’s emergency room will be renamed in Lemister’s honor.  As Muller congratulates Fred, wife Karen examines a souvenir aerial photo of the hospital presented to the honoree.  At the podium is Cooperstown EMS Captain Eric Pierce, who helped organize today’s testimonial and emceed the event.   Inset right, David Butler, former Hartwick town supervisor and EMS mainstay there, pours 100 M&Ms into bowl that, by evening’s end, contained one M&M for every call Fred made over a half-century of service.  In concluding remarks, Lemister, inset left, praised his EMS colleagues, comparing them to the Biblical Good Samaritan.  “Life is a gift, people,” he said.  “And we need to give back for that gift.  You people here have given back for that gift.”  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

FOR MORE PHOTOS, FULL STORY, SEE
THIS WEEK’S FREEMAN’S, HOMETOWN
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, DEC. 24
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, DEC. 24

Christmas Eve Pageants & Services

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CHRISTMAS PAGEANT – 10:30 a.m. Celebrate the holiday with the family. Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta. 12 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-3491 or visit www.facebook.com/UUSOneonta/

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES – 10:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. & 11 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight and Communion Services. Elm Park united Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-6533 or visit elmparkumconeonta.org

To Editorialize Or Not To Editorialize, That Is The Question

EDITORIAL

To Editorialize Or Not To
Editorialize, That Is The Question

GREG KLEIN

In the early 1990s, at my second job out of college, at a newspaper in central Alabama, I made the mistake of writing a column about church league basketball.

I had the best of intentions. I was the sports editor of a semiweekly paper in a small city that was becoming a bedroom community for the state capital and the thriving military base between the two cities. My brand, to the extent a 23-year-old, naive, fish-out-of-water reporter/editor/columnist could have a brand, was to not take sports too seriously, but to view it as a metaphor for life.

One week, I had a handful of people tell me that the best team in the local YMCA Church Basketball League, representing the second biggest church in about the 10th biggest city in the state, was acting reprehensibly in their games. They were not only winning, but showboating, running up scores and rubbing it in, then disingenuously telling their upset opponents not to get angry because, “it’s church league, baby.”

I went to watch a game to confirm the behavior and then I wrote a column that called out the behavior.

I could not have been more unprepared for the result. Although I did not mention the church or any of the players by name, I think I heard from every player on that team, as well as the church’s assistant pastor, who hosted me at his office. I also had way too many pow wows with my publisher.

Although I had gotten some threats at Auburn for being a sports editor who was not rah rah enough about the football team, I had never experienced anything like the church league basketball controversy. People read my words back to me with fury in their voices. They accused me of questioning their religion or their faith in their religion. There was a second round of controversy about how I had only watched one game. When I gave them feedback from two other games, a few of the players started outing and questioning my sources. When the YMCA’s league coordinator later introduced me to his wife, she greeted me by saying, “so, you are the one who is trying to get my husband fired.” I am pretty sure those were the only words she ever spoke to me.

Forbes: Bassett Listed Among Best Mid-Size U.S. Employers

Bassett Makes Forbes’ List

Of Best Mid-Size Employers

COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Healthcare Network has been recognized as one of America’s Best Mid-Size Employers by Forbes Magazine for 2018, the hospital announced today.

Bassett was one of only 25 hospitals and health systems in the country to make the list and one of only five in New York State; we are in the company of Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York–Presbyterian Hospital, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and University of Rochester Medical Center.

SUNY Oneonta Advances 25 Spots In U.S. News’ ‘Best Colleges’ List

SUNY Oneonta Advances 25 Spots

In U.S. News’ ‘Best Colleges’ List

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta is among the top 100 colleges in the Northeast for the ninth consecutive year, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 ranking of “Best Colleges,” due for release tomorrow.

The college jumped 25 spots to No. 41 in the “Best Regional Universities—North” category, which includes institutions in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and all of New England that offer a full range of undergraduate and master’s degrees, but few if any doctoral programs.

Among public institutions in the region, SUNY Oneonta ranks No. 10, climbing nine spots from last year.

Best Of The Best Honored By Chamber

Best Of The Best Honored

By Cooperstown Chamber

Matt Hazzard, executive director, Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, center rear, poses for a photo of the Chamber’s Hall of Fame inductees for 2018. From left, Phil Leinhart and Rick DeBar, Brewery Ommegang; Joe Sirracusa , Danielle Henrici and Todd Kenyon, The Farmer’s Museum; Gretchen Sorin and Cathy Raddatz, Cooperstown Graduate Program; Randy Smith, Spurbeck’s Grocery; Sarah Lucas and Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna Animal Shelter, and Hanna Bergene, executive associate, Cooperstown Chamber. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO)
Val Paige, director, Clark Sports Center, accepts the Business of the Year award from Matt Hazzard during the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame induction awards ceremony this evening at The Farmer’s Museum.

COOPERSTOWN – The Farmers’ Museum, Brewery Ommegang, The Cooperstown Graduate Program, the Susquehanna Animal Shelter and Spurbeck’s Grocery were honored as the 2018 class of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony at The Farmers’ Museum earlier this evening.

“In the four years that I’ve been with the Chamber, this is my favorite day of the year,” said Matt Hazard, executive director. “We live in a very special place, and it’s fun to recognize these organizations that contribute so much for our community.”

Also honored were five winners in the Business of the Year category.

2015 Candidates, Andrew Stammel

ANDREW STAMMEL

CANDIDATE FOR OTSEGO COUNTY BOARD, DISTRICT 4

RESIDENCE:  Town of Oneonta – West End

EDUCATION: Syracuse University College of Law, Juris Doctor; Muhlenberg College; Bachelor of Arts; Stamford Central School; Regents Diploma (Salutatorian)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:                     

Andrew Stammel
Andrew Stammel

Attorney/Business Owner: I was admitted to the NYS Bar upon successfully taking the exam in August 2008, my first attempt. I previously was an associate in another nearby law firm before striking out on my own and founding my firm in early 2011. My practice is located on Chestnut St in the City and serves local residents on a wide range of matters. In addition to regularly arguing cases in our local and County courts, I’ve also successfully argued in 3 of NY State’s 4 Appellate Divisions, as well as in the United States District Court.

SUNY Oneonta Administrator: Since 2012 I have also served as a part-time administrator at the College, acting as a resource to students and employees, as well as ensuring that the College is compliant with education and employment law. During my employment, I have led efforts to develop a Comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy, a Consensual Relationship Policy, and Grievance Policy/Procedures. As Title IX Coordinator, I am ultimately responsible for the implementation of the College’s prevention and response to issues of Sexual Assault, an area of quickly developing law and policy.

Delaware County Dept of Social Services: Prior to my admission to the NYS Bar, I served briefly as a Child Protective Caseworker in Delhi, fighting for our families and children.

Americorps: After College I served a year of full time community service work, based in Delhi, and serving Otsego and Delaware Counties. We provided environmental and outdoor education to local families and school children and also engaged in manual labor, maintaining and building our area’s vast network of parks and trails. Our group also offered flood relief and community beautification efforts.

Henderson Scout Reservation: My first job as an adolescent was working at the Boy Scout camp on Crumhorn Mountain in Milford. The lessons I learned and friends I made there follow me to today.

COMMUNITY/POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT:

As discussed in the above answer, I have had service jobs in our community in the past, including Americorps, DSS, and Scout Camp. These are low paid jobs that provide real services to our community. From a young age I was taught the importance of community service and have been active in various groups ever since. In Stamford I was active in school, Church, and Scouting.  In Oneonta I have embraced a leadership role in the Oneonta Rotary Club, chairing the Youth Exchange Program. I also serve on the Board of Directors of the ARC Otsego and hold membership or have volunteered with many local groups including the Otschodela Council BSA, Oneonta Family YMCA, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, the Hanford Mills Museum, West Kortright Center, and Orpheus Theatre. Being active in local government as an Oneonta Town Councilman and Deputy Supervisor has been another way to apply my efforts toward community service and improvement. I have been the Chair of Highway, Sewer, Water Committee; Chair of Town Watershed Protection District Task Force; was an Inclusive Oneonta Town and City 2014 Summit Planner; Serve on the Otsego County Opiate Task Force; am a Member of Personnel and Public Safety Committees; Attended New York State Comptroller Local Government Training Institute and Association of Towns Conference; and attend local economic development meetings and conferences.

FAMILY: Married, no children. My extended family live in Oneonta, Stamford, and Harpersfield and are also involved with regional community service efforts.

IN TWO OR THREE SENTENCES, EXPLAIN YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT.

In a representative Democracy, our elected officials have a duty to put the best interests of the citizens before their own and to balance various competing interests in order to promote the greatest good for the greatest number, without violating the rights of those left in the minority. In some situations, the government may be the primary driver of progress, such as with our victory in WWII or with the successful Apollo program but, more often, our government should engage in public-private partnerships and create the conditions that allow for capitalism and progress to occur without creating unnecessary damage to citizens or the community. Yes, leaders must give voice to the people but they also must temper those passions by thoughtfully weighing all perspectives and determining how a current issue fits into the long term direction and arc of progress of the polity.

WHAT ARE THE THREE MAJOR ISSUES THE OTSEGO COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES FACES, AND HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THEM?

  1. Economic Development: Oneonta’s economy has underperformed for decades, yet the County Board fails to take decisive action. Experts have urged Otsego County to support a “single point of contact” model of economic development.  Otsego Now is that effort and it should be supported. But any future CEO vacancy should only be filled after an impartial, transparent nation-wide search and PILOT payments should be used cautiously. On the Town Board I supported a memorandum of understanding empowering the County’s single point of contact and the IDA.  Our County Board needs to get behind this effort. The County has had difficulty giving up its Ec Deve fiefdom. But if they are not going to support Otsego Now, they should at least get out of the way. In last week’s debate I brought up the fact that the County website has a dead link labeled “Economic Development” and the implications of the same. Thankfully, the next morning someone in the County had fixed the link and linked it to the Planning Dept.  But if it was that easy a fix, why had no one on the County Board realized this issue and made the change?

Companies will pass over Otsego County for investment if we don’t have shovel-ready sites where they can break ground in 30-60 days.  Otsego County’s first shovel ready site has been approved in the Town of Oneonta and the Town government has assisted in this process.  The County needs to offer more support to communities and Otsego Now in the development of shovel-ready sites.

Support Local Development Groups: Groups like Destination Oneonta and the County’s privatized tourism group, Destination Marketing of Otsego, are independent entities working to improve the economy of Oneonta and Otsego County. On the Town Board, we have financially supported DO in their local development efforts. The County needs to get behind these kinds of efforts and support the best ideas that come from the grass roots and other private entities.

The Colleges are economic engines in Oneonta, even more so with the initiation of Start-UP New York.  As an administrator at one of the colleges, I see firsthand their efforts and talent.  There is a huge untapped workforce of qualified young employees who we must give a reason to stay here. The County needs to support more collaboration with the colleges and keep more talented young people here.

Workforce training must be expanded and we must link our schools and College’s into the regional STEM hubs. I recently attended a SUNY wide STEM conference that discussed issued related to this.  These are the good paying jobs of the future and must be supported, particularly as we are now lumped in with the MVEDC.

Planning is Essential. Everyone knows that long term, big-picture planning is essential to success in any large endeavor.  Why hasn’t the County Board engaged in comprehensive or strategic planning? On the Town Board we adopted the first comprehensive plan since 1998. The County needs to support Towns in their development of plans and finally develop its own plan and update it regularly. Plans must be grounded in real and current data.  Unfortunately, the County’s only strategic planning attempted during this term is a last minute election year scramble hired out to an expensive out of the area consultant. We cannot fully succeed without thorough locally based planning. The County is a collection of very different towns.  It needs to identify the strengths of various areas and develop them. New and existing industries can be nurtured with infrastructure and other forms of support but must first be identified and supported locally.

Receive More Grants. The Town has been very successful in winning grants but Otsego County needs a more coordinated effort. State and Federal grant funding is essential to any local or County development. Otsego County will fare very badly if we do not relate our proposed projects and grant applications back to comprehensive planning. Particularly with the CFA funding, Otsego has been at a disadvantage competing with larger municipalities in the Mohawk Valley.

Universal Broadband. The County needs to move into the 21st century. With broadband internet, budding entrepreneurs can have successful businesses even in the most rural corners of the County. But the infrastructure needs to be finished first. This is long overdue.

Railyards Bridge. A new bridge connecting the Oneonta Railyards to River Street/Exit 13 would be a boon to the Oneonta area.  Not only would it enable economic development of the long underused property but it would restore a crucial connection between the West End and the Sixth Ward. This could greatly ease traffic congestion on Chestnut Street and Route 205.

Water and Sewer Expansion. On the Town Board we have worked to create the Southside Water District which would be the biggest Town infrastructure improvement in decades and which will bring clean and plentiful water to thousands of residents and visitors as well as expand the Town/School tax base, saving us all in taxes. The County Representatives have been short sighted in not supporting this project and should be more supportive of similar projects in the future.

  1. Heroin/Opiate Crisis:

The County has not been engaged in combating the greatest public health and criminal crisis Otsego has faced in decades. Heroin addiction and the issues associated with it negatively affect all communities. Our jails are strained with the numbers of arrests and our young people continue to die. The County must support the Otsego County Opiate Task Force and other similar efforts. I’ve served on the Task Force since January and was flabbergasted to see that there was no Board representation on the Task Force. A study of the Board and Cmte minutes show that the term Opiate Task Force was not uttered in the Health and Education Cmte until August and not mentioned at a Board meeting until September.  Where is the awareness and engagement?

The Task Force is instituting valuable initiatives providing educations, early intervention, and encouraging collaboration between mental health, law enforcement, educators, addicts, and government. It needs to be supported financially and organizationally. The future payoff will be massive.

  1. Government Reform:

Increase Bi-Partisanship:  On the Town Board we have shown how adults are supposed to govern. The County Board has an obligation to represent the residents of the districts and not a party or special interests. On the Town Board, I have collaborated with Republicans and Independents and have appointed people of both major parties. Our residents don’t care about nasty party politics. They just want us to get the job done.

County Manager: Otsego County is one of the few counties left in New York without professional management.  This has led to the County Board expending all of its efforts on day to day issues instead of big picture thinking. A full time manager will help Otsego receive grants and will pay for itself. It will also be a more efficient and cost effective strategy than the Board’s current practice of paying outside consultants tens of thousands of dollars every time a major project or analysis is proposed.

Reform County Board Benefits: The County Board is a collection of part-time public servants paid in the neighborhood of $10,000/yr. Yet after five years they receive health insurance benefits for life! These absurd lifetime benefits need to end.  This is not what residents thought they were voting for.

Reform County Board Chairmanship: The Chair of the County Board has been given too much power.  The Representatives are elected as a board of equals who then choose an individual with the power to select all committee chairs and membership and may take out any personal or partisan animus in the process. The power should return to the Board and the people.

Change Meeting Schedules: The Board and Committees typically meet in the middle of workdays. This limits transparency and public participation. It also limits who can run for Representative positions to those who are retired, unemployed, or self-employed. The County needs transparent evening meetings like the Town of Oneonta. Transparent governments better represent the people.

Term Limits: County Representatives should not be elected for life. A term limit of 10 years is appropriate to keep representation fresh and in touch with the people.

Explore Board Reorganization: The County Board should reduce the number of representatives on the Board.  This will save taxpayers money.

Municipal and School Consolidation: City residents repeatedly suggest a Town-City consolidation. This has been explored by multiple studies. It is simply not in the best interests of our residents and I oppose it. It’s time to expand this conversation to areas of the County where it may help. The County has 24 Towns, each with its own Town Supervisor, Board, Court, and highway department. The County needs to lead the conversation to urge the consolidation and elimination of some of those smaller rural towns and school districts.

Shared Services: The County needs to lead the effort to determine how different municipalities can share services. The Town and City have shown that shared services can lead to greater efficiency and savings for taxpayers. Otsego County must support other municipalities in this endeavor.

Look Elsewhere for Cuts: While the Board must seek savings in the County’s budget, it seems all of the cuts in recent years have been borne by our senior citizens, whether it’s the sale of the Manor or switching from hot to frozen meals. It’s time to look elsewhere for savings: perhaps at the Board’s own benefits package.

WHAT QUALITIES/EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE THAT MAKES YOU THE BETTER CHOICE IN THIS RACE

Elections in a democracy should always be a choice. Too often in local races, candidates run unopposed or merely coast to re-election based upon their last name or personal popularity. If the issues and records of the candidates are never substantively discussed, a huge disservice has been done to the community. I believe a clear-eyed look at the background and record of the Rep Quackenbush and myself show a clear distinction and that I am the best equipped to represent our residents and to move our Town and County forward.

Rep. Hurley Quackenbush is a nice person and I, and many others, like her personally. But there cannot be a bigger difference in how we have approached our jobs.  That is what these positions are: jobs. Yes, they are only part-time jobs but they should be approached with a level of seriousness and professionalism that has been lacking in the incumbent.  The incumbent has been in local politics for about 17 years and should be able to point to a solid record of accomplishments but we hear only about work on a town park a decade ago and false claims that she is “holding the line on taxes” and “has delivered $30,000 in bed tax to the Town”.  At this point in her career, the incumbent has collected approximately $80,000 in taxpayer salary and more in benefits. People want to know what they’ve been paying for.

Yes, I have only been on the Town Board for two years but I hit the ground running and have worked hard every day to deliver the results our residents need. I voted with our Town Board to approve the first Comprehensive Plan since 1998. This document is a clear blueprint for moving our Town into the future. It describes how we can build our economy without undue damage to the environment and our neighborhoods and quality of life. During her entire time on the Board, the incumbent failed to adopt a Plan update, violating best practices. If these documents are not updated every 3 to 5 years, a Town is left without adequate direction and guidance.

I voted with our Board to ban fracking, putting to rest an issue that had been festering in the town for about three years. The incumbent exacerbated this crisis by failing to take a clear position on the matter and voting for one moratorium after another, just kicking the can down the road, forcing others to take responsibility for making a decision. That lingering debate took up all of the oxygen in the Town for years and injected unnecessary hostility and dysfunction into the government. If Quackenbush truly opposed fracking, as she claims with some audiences, she should have stood by her convictions and voted for a ban, ending the crisis.

I voted with the Board to impose common sense protections for our municipal drinking water and roads. Both of these reforms were supported by our residents and were inexplicably blocked by Quackenbush on the Town Board. We passed a road use law which will regulate outside companies and hold them responsible for damage to our roads instead of footing our taxpayers with the bill. This law is a common sense method of protecting our residents from possibly damage in the event that the pipeline developers begin construction. In fact, I sat across the table from representatives of the pipeline company and discussed which Town roads they may use and the implications of our law. The incumbent was absent from these discussions.  This year we passed a law which will protect Wilbur Lake and the Lower Reservoir- protecting the primary source of drinking water for all residents of the City of Oneonta and many in the Town. The law also protects several town-located wells. The incumbent previously blocked this common sense reform.

I am proud of the work the Town has done on the Southside water district. I realize that this paper has not been especially supportive of the project but our residents and businesses have an immediate need to replace their tainted water and to improve their volume. I researched the matter extensively and found our plan to be the most efficient and cost-effective manner of meeting the need. I stood by my convictions and risked my own political standing in order to promote the project and to build consensus. Trish Riddell Kent and I knocked on all of our residents’ doors, which resulted in a majority of residents supporting the project. Although Rep Quackenbush privately claims to be in support of the project, she has not shown leadership. She was not involved in the petitioning process; did not publicly attempt to influence opinion; and made no attempt to secure a grant from the County as our former Rep. Murphy had. This is another example of lack of engagement and effort.

I’m proud of my fiscal responsibility on the Town Board. I eliminated unnecessary spending and voted against any tax increases or raises for elected officials while the incumbent raised taxes 3 of her last 5 years on the Board.

Rep. Quackenbush had three other opportunities to demonstrate leadership over the past two years and she avoided it. On the proposed Hemlock Road trailer park, she failed to take a public position, leaving our residents in the lurch. The City merger issue came up again this year and injected massive strife into our Town. Although the incumbent tried to take credit for being against merger, she was substantively absent from this summer’s discussions.

The bed tax issue is the most glaring recent example of political posturing and failed leadership. The 2014 Democratic bed tax proposal was supported by our Town government, primarily Bob Wood. It was a sensible means of bringing money back to our Town to help with infrastructure issues. We petitioned Rep. Quackenbush extensively throughout the summer and fall urging support of the reform. She failed to take any position and we were left guessing what her vote would be until the final moment. While she ultimately voted for the measure, it failed for partisan reasons, costing our Town $30,000. If she has actively led by proposing an amendment or trying to sway one of her colleagues, the measure could have passed. Then, cynically, a nearly identical bill was proposed in 2015, an election year, and some of the same people who voted down the original now take credit for the reform as “co-authors.” I am thankful the reform has passed, imperfect as it may be. But to date, zero monies have been received by the Town of Oneonta and it is likely, given the current budget woes, that they never will be. This is a prime example of politicians playing political games and not putting the residents first.

So, I have delivered on issues where the incumbent has been absent or wishy-washy. It speaks to our level of engagement and leadership. Every day I wake up thinking about what I can do to move our Town forward and how my skills can be applied to our community. This requires hard work and risk taking. Showing leadership is risky. It opens you up to attacks, some of them personal. But our citizens deserve someone who is willing to take a principled stand in order to promote our community’s welfare. Sitting back and letting others do the work then later taking credit for it is the opposite of leadership. The level of passivity and disengagement is unacceptable.

Lastly, there is a significant difference between Rep Quackenbush and myself that has been on display in recent weeks during the campaign. There has been a tendency by her campaign to engage in personal attacks and innuendo that I believe have no place in politics, particularly local politics. Throughout my campaign and during my term, I speak about the issues and try to rationally discuss points. The incumbent has issued numerous mailers that, in addition to making the false claim that she delivered bed tax funds, rely almost entirely on unsupported personal attacks. Most recently, Quackenbush has mailed a flyer to all residents saying that she is “one of us” and “shares our value”, the implication of course is that I do not. This kind of unsupported innuendo can mean different things to different people: I know exactly what it means to me. She has also politicked suggesting I am not a “true lifetime resident” and suggesting that I plan to leave Oneonta for the next best thing. In reality, I was born in Oneonta and have spent my life residing within 25 miles of here. I plan to remain here at least until retirement. But aside from the inaccuracy of the claims, I’m concerned with the character of them. It is part of a pattern that some continue to use of turning people into the “other” and trying to discourage anyone who doesn’t look or think exactly like “us”, whatever that means. This is the type of mentality that maintains a stagnant status quo. How will national or international businesses or young professionals ever locate to our area if we continue to tell them they aren’t welcome? How will our economy and government ever improve if we say that new ideas and perspectives have no place? This sort of invective does a disservice to the community and will keep us from moving into a brighter future. It also suggests a lack of integrity. I will not engage in negative personal campaigning either running for office or while in it. The residents want to hear about the issues and challenges we face and that’s what I will talk about. If campaigning requires me to engage in questionable innuendo and mudslinging, then the job is not worth it to me. Maintaining my character and integrity is more important.

Professionally, I believe my background better equips me to serve in this capacity. As an attorney and administrator, I spend my life studying and understanding laws and working on policy. Representing constituents is also very similar to representing clients. You need to understand their needs and concerns then put it through a lens of the law and what can be done. Then you need to research an issue and advocate and show leadership in regard to your position on the issue. My job also requires a high degree of collaboration and consensus building.

So, in short, my commitment to our area and to community and public service in general, coupled with my professional experience and abilities and willingness to work hard and approach every challenge with an open mind and to maintain civility and integrity, make me the best qualified candidate.

IS THERE A STATEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH VOTERS?

The Oneonta area has always been my home. I love this place and the people who live here. I truly believe we have so much untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. It is disappointing to see long term incumbents who prefer to maintain the status quo and work harder to protect their own political standing than taking the necessary risks to move us forward. I know we can do this but we need real independent leadership and hard work.  Thank you so much for your consideration and all of the support you’ve give me over the past two years.  You are always welcome to contact me with questions and concerns.

Parts Of Cooperstown Without Internet, Phone Service Today

Parts Of Cooperstown Without

Internet, Phone Service Today

A Time Warner team works today on a signal box at Grove Street and Glen Avenue, the cause of Internet and phone service loss to a portion of Cooperstown.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
A Time Warner team works today on a signal box at Grove Street and Glen Avenue, the cause of Internet and phone service loss to a portion of Cooperstown. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Repairs began at mid-morning and were continuing at mid-afternoon.
Repairs began at mid-morning and were continuing at mid-afternoon.

COOPERTOWN – Time Warner customers in the southwest corner of Cooperstown lost Internet and phone service shortly after 10 a.m. today.

While some customers reported regaining service shortly after 2 p.m., Time Warner was saying all service would not be restored for another two hours.

The source of the problem was a modem on a pole at Grove Street and Glen Avenue, in front of the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home, where a two-men crew was at work much of the day.

The person who answered Time Warner’s customer service line called it “a signal issue.”  He likened the signal leaving the modem to “a care driving through very, very dense fog. “ So the modem was being replaced, he said.

Time Warner customers along Railroad Avenue reported losing Internet and phone service, and so did Mayor Jeff Katz, who lives on Chestnut Street.  However, DPW Superintendent Brian Clancy, who answered the phone in the Village Clerk’s Office, said service had not been interrupted at Village Hall.

Mom’s Service Built A Family, And A Community

Mom’s Service Built A Family, And A Community

Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 4-5, 2014

Editor’s Note: Family and friends of Joan Moyer, the former Oneonta school board president and civic leader who passed away July 28, gathered over Thanksgiving for a memorial mass. This is an excerpt from the eulogy delivered by her son, Scott, raised in Oneonta but now living with his family in San Mateo, Calif.

One of my favorite memories from my childhood involves my dad driving the boat and my mom on the waterskis. Mom was not a daredevil or a thrill seeker, she was a person who saw something that looked fun and said, I’ll give it a try. She taught me that life is about enjoying our time together, the joy of the opportunities we’re given, and about wonders that we find around every corner.

In my teenage years, I’m sad to admit, I didn’t understand my mom at all. I’d come home from school, and she would have a million questions about my day. She seemed to mistakenly think that my life was far more interesting than it actually was.

What I came to realize was that mom didn’t see my life as I did. Mom saw possibility and potential in me long before I was able to see it for myself. Like God, my mom was loving me into the person I was created to be. She never settled for the limits of my imagination.

As I moved out into the world, I learned that God’s love and my mom’s love is not limited by time and space. God loves each one of us individually in every moment, and it is that love that literally holds us in existence.

My mom shared that love by letting me know that she was always remembering me and loving me. How many of us received a handwritten note or a newspaper clipping that my mom sent just because she was thinking of us. She cherished every relationship, when you were apart you knew you were not forgotten; when you were together, you knew there was no where else she wanted to be.

…My mom’s service was a quiet service, not seeking recognition or reward. Whether it was driving us kids around town for countless activities, or making dad a smoothy, or planning a family reunion, or making a dish for the bereavement committee, or working for the Executive Service Corp, or gathering her book club.

We were all on the receiving end of her service. It was a service that drew us in, made us feel at home, made us feel valued, made us feel special. It was a service that built family and community. A service that bound us together in love.

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