COOPERSTOWN – The Susquehanna SPCA will partner with the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office to look at creating a task force dedicated to combating animal cruelty in the county.
“In addition to having a system in place for when we do have animal cruelty cases involving animal seizures, we plan to educate and empower law enforcement and the public about the humane treatment of animals and what we can do if we suspect cruelty,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA, in a statement.
HARTWICK SEMINARY – Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna SPCA executive director, won’t be caught off guard by animal cruelty.
“What always scares me about these cases is that they went unnoticed for so long before they blew up,” she said. “These animals were suffering. We needed something to prevent that suffering and get them help sooner.”
To work to that goal, Haynes partnered with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. and District Attorney John Muehl to begin assembly a task force dedicated to combating animal cruelty in the county.
“We’ve talked about it for a while,” said Devlin when the task force was announced Friday, Feb. 1. “We want to get additional officers and local law enforcement trained.”
HARTWICK SEMINARY – Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna Animal Shelter executive director, has been named one of America’s Top 10 Animal Defenders by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in San Francisco for serving on “the front lines of enforcing animal protection laws.”
These animal protection heroes will be honored this week, National Justice for Animals Week.
Here’s is the citation: “Stacie Haynes serves as the executive director of the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA). In February 2019, Stacie worked with her local district attorney and county sheriff to form the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force.
HARTWICK SEMINARY – It was a scene Stacie Haynes has seen play out before.
Two pigs, skinny and without food, water or hay, trying to eat the corpses of two dead pigs in a trash pile at a farm on County Route 18, Town of Pittsfield. “They were shivering and cold,” she said. “We got called out there at night in a rainstorm, and we seized them.”
Now playfully dubbed “Sonny and Cher,” the two pigs – one male, one female, approximately five months old – are at the SPCA with plenty of clean hay and shelter.
COOPERSTOWN – Work on increasing the DeRuyter-Oneonta gas pipeline’s capacity by 25 percent will begin next year, NYSEG has told the Otsego County Energy Task Force.
That could mean the “interruptible power” – Oneonta’s colleges and Fox Hospital are required to switch to more expensive fuel oil when temperatures drop below zero – will kick in less often, county Rep. Michelle Farwell, D-Morris, the task force co-chair, told the county board at its July meeting Wednesday.
COOPERSTOWN – In an announcement awaited with anticipation, county Rep. Meg Kennedy this morning revealed the 21 people who will comprise the Otsego County Energy Task Force.
Charged by the county board, the task force will determine county government’s approach to the sometimes conflicting goals of economic development and environmental projection.
Kennedy, who is leading a five-person Leadership Team in this matter, announced the list before 155 people at an appropriate forum: the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce “Energy Summit,” underway through late afternoon in The Otesaga’s ballroom.
“It’s going to be a project,” said Kennedy of the task force’s mission. “But I think we are all dedicated to a better future for county.”
The task force is made up of four “workgroups,” as follows:
INDEX – So far, 100 individual contributions have been made to the new Susquehanna Animal Shelter, and more of the kind is needed to reach the new fundraising goal of $3 million, according to SSPCA Executive Director Stacie Hayes.
“It’s the individuals we have to count on,” said Haynes in the afterglow of Saturday, Aug. 24’s upbeat groundbreaking ceremony on the site across Route 28 from Kevin’s Ford. “That’s a good thing when people make individual contributions. It’s their shelter. It’s the people’s shelter.”
At the groundbreaking, Anita Vitullo of Clinton, Staffworks president and a donor to animal causes, announced her $250,000 matching grant has been met by donations, netting $500,000 toward achieving the $2 million mark.
With that mark met, and a new goal of $3 million set, SSPCA board chair Gaylord Dillingham has set an easy-to-remember deadline to complete the fund drive: Christmas Day 2019.
Because of the need to lock in the prospective shelter’s design and meet construction deadlines, “by Christmas, the first of the year, we have to have it kind of nailed down,” said Dillingham.
Some key donations are still expected, he said, but he’s unsure how large they will be. The Scriven Foundation, which focuses its philanthropy within Otsego County, has also been approached.
ONEONTA – The county’s Energy Task Force aims to impact state and regional energy policy in the coming months, according to discussions in its meeting last night.
“We’re planning to have a representative from DEC speak about the New York Climate Consumer Protection Act,” said Danny Lapin, an Energy Task Force member and county rep. “How DEC will implement its components of the legislation, how that will affect Otsego County, and other questions.
ONEONTA – While the big tasks are still ahead for the Otsego County Energy Task Force, Barbara Ann Heegan, Otsego County Chamber president and chair of the Economic Development sub-group of the county’s Energy Task Force, is making sure that small businesses and the public can learn what they can do on the local level.
“We will be hosting a talk on ‘Understanding Energy Usage In Your Small Business: How to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs With An Energy Study’ from the Green Jobs, Green New York energy study,” she told the task force and public gathered for their second meeting this evening in Oneonta’s Town Hall. “We want to keep networking and keep these connections strong.”
The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be given by Michelle Wooddell, program coordinator for Green Jobs, Green New York at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8 at the Northern Eagle Beverage Center.
Members of the visiting task force will include State Sens. George A. Amedore, Jr. and Terrence Murphy, and a representative for Senator Robert Ortt. The forum will also include local health care professionals, addiction experts, and law enforcement officials.
“In 2014 I conducted a similar task force hearing in Oneonta and the testimony was instrumental in helping develop a number of new state laws to educate the public about the dangers of heroin, improve treatment options, and aid law enforcement officials,” Seward said. “This will be an opportunity to review what is working in our communities and identify gaps in service as we explore additional measures to contend with this public health crisis.”
COOPERSTOWN – Picking up on Oneonta Common Council’s decision to sell the Westcott parking lot at 226 Main St., the county Board of Representatives today formed a task force to explore selling Old City Hall, located right next door.
Freshman Oneonta rep Danny Lapin, D-13, raised the task force idea at the meeting, and was named to chair it.
County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who chairs the Public Works Committee, told his colleagues he has had preliminary conversations with Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig about a prospective sale. But he emphasized, “nothing has been done as of this point. We have not made any decisions, and this is simply exploratory.”
ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who convened a session of the Joint Task Force on Heroin & Opioid Addiction in Oneonta last year, today announced the Senate passage of the comprehensive package of bills that resulted.
The goal, he said, is to help decrease heroin deaths and put more drug dealers behind bars for peddling dangerous opioids.
As a member of the task for, the senator said, “I have worked to combat this deadly drug, which is tearing lives, families, and communities apart. Despite our progress last year in addressing this epidemic, which has reached every segment of our population, the heroin crisis is far from over.”
On April 28, 2014, Seward hosted the forum at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom to solicit input from local health care professionals, addiction experts, law enforcement officials, and concerned citizens. In all, 18 forums were held across the state to gather information which clearly illustrated the need for swift action. Seward has continued to meet with community groups to address this issue.
Solicitations, by phone, mail, email or in person, are a pesky part of 21st century life.
The advantages the Susquehanna SPCA’s “Shelter Us” campaign for $3 million to build a new animal shelter are: one, the people who are running it are our neighors – we know them. And, two, everything about it is first rate.
Anita Vitullo of Clinton, Staffworks’ president and philanthropist to the pet world, underscored the many ways “Shelter Us” is top notch in her remarks Saturday, Aug. 24, at the groundbreaking on Route 28 at Index.
She talked about “dynamic leadership,” and how the shelter’s dynamo executive director, Stacie Haynes, called her and “did a good job of convincing me” to provide support. Add board chair Gaylord Dillingham and “Shelter Us” chair Anne Keith to that dynamic cadre.
Vitullo, who was announcing “Shelter Us” had raised the $250,000 needed to match her matching grant, went on to speak about commitment, and customer service, and mission – all the things that, no doubt, has made her placement company successful, too.
Add in creativity and innovation. Vitullo told how Haynes collaborated with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. and District Attorney John Muehl in creating a county Animal Cruelty Task Force, to get ahead of some of the pet and farm-animal related fiascos of the past few years.