Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Boris Johnson lays out his ‘Partygate’ defense ahead of Parliament grilling     Another art museum chief quits as Russia pressures cultural institutions     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Boris Johnson lays out his ‘Partygate’ defense ahead of Parliament grilling     Another art museum chief quits as Russia pressures cultural institutions     U.K. scientists plead for return of rare shark’s head, promise ‘no judging’     U.S. pushing Canada to lead international force to Haiti      Taiwan’s president to stop in U.S., raising prospect of friction with China     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Boris Johnson lays out his ‘Partygate’ defense ahead of Parliament grilling     Another art museum chief quits as Russia pressures cultural institutions     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Boris Johnson lays out his ‘Partygate’ defense ahead of Parliament grilling     Another art museum chief quits as Russia pressures cultural institutions     U.K. scientists plead for return of rare shark’s head, promise ‘no judging’     U.S. pushing Canada to lead international force to Haiti      Taiwan’s president to stop in U.S., raising prospect of friction with China     

News of Otsego County


On the Prowl
Photo by David Oroszi

On the Prowl

ONEONTA—Molly, an 8-year-old Bengal cat owned by avid photographer David Oroszi, already has a fan following. Pictures of Molly were shared online by Davenport Veterinary Clinic, where she is a patient. The photo above has received more than 13,000 views! We invite you to send pictures of your furry, feathered or finned friends to Every week, we’ll select at least one photograph to be highlighted in the newspapers. In the coming days, Molly and a host of other beloved pets will be available for viewing on the website. Look for the link to “Furever Friends and Purrfect Pals.”

K-Boy’s Little Buddy
Photo by Samantha Manee

K-Boy’s Little Buddy

HARTWICK—Three-year-old munchkin, Nacho, is a pasture pal for the Manee family’s 23-year-old quarter horse, K-Boy. Nacho does his job well, which is to keep K-Boy young, and we’re told “he’s a little spicy”—living up to his name. We invite you to send pictures of your furry, feathered or finned friends to Every week, we’ll select at least one photograph to be highlighted in the newspapers. In the coming days, Nacho, K-Boy and a host of other beloved pets will be available for viewing on the website. Look for the link to “Furever Friends and Purrfect Pals.”

The Partial Observer: What Are We Doing? Activity at Averill Road Property Questioned
Aerial photograph of land on Averill Road owned by the Templeton Foundation. Photo provided
The Partial Observer by Douglas Zamelis, Esq.

What Are We Doing? Activity at
Averill Road Property Questioned

It’s common knowledge Templeton Foundation seeks to build a large housing development on its property on Averill Road in the Village of Cooperstown. The village zoning law requires a special permit prior to construction and state law requires that prior to granting approval, the Board of Trustees must assess and mitigate the project’s environmental impacts.

Because the project is in an historic district and would alter more than 2.5 acres, it’s presumed to have a significant impact and require an Environmental Impact Statement. The village zoning law does allow a certain amount of tree removal, but state law (6 NYCRR 617.3) logically prohibits a project sponsor from “segmenting” a project into smaller stages to fly under the regulatory radar, or from commencing any physical alteration until environmental impacts have been identified, reviewed, and mitigated.

In January, the Board of Trustees identified several significant impacts but granted the special permit without requiring an EIS. My clients, owners of the residence across Averill Road, were forced to challenge the approval in court. Because they had no defense, Templeton and the village promptly capitulated and agreed the special permit was null and void. But a week or so ago, heavy equipment arrived at the project site and the project’s footprint was quickly cleared. Not a single hay bale or silt fence was deployed to keep the exposed sediment from making its way to Otsego Lake. No new special permit had been granted and the village’s website confirms Templeton hasn’t even resubmitted an application. After our urgent inquiry, the village claimed Templeton was only doing some limited tree removal for the purpose of ascertaining depth to groundwater and suitability for geothermal. Knowing such can be done with a small rig towed behind an ATV, we remained skeptical.

Two days later, our aerial photography confirmed Templeton had cleared the project’s entire footprint, including the road to the proposed water tower, without a proper environmental review or special permit. Templeton violated state and local law with the village’s knowledge and that’s bad enough. But that there’s brand new, multi-acre, clear cut on top of Irish Hill without a single hay bale, silt fence, or other stormwater control to prevent the sediment and nutrients from getting into the lake is environmentally reckless and socially unconscionable. Controlling the harmful algae bloom in our lake will require a multi-pronged approach, but denuding a lakeside hilltop and irresponsibly allowing the disturbed soil and nutrients into our lake is surely not one of them.

That this was done with the village’s knowledge and consent shocks my conscience, and should shock the conscience of anyone who relies on or appreciates Otsego Lake.

Don’t take it from me–look at the site plan and our aerial photography, take a walk or ride up Averill Road and see it for yourself, and then contact village officials and let them know what you think.

Life Sketches: Retired Poultry Farmer Recalls ‘Roger’s Colossus’ in Face of Avian Flu Epidemic
Life Sketches by Terry Berkson

Retired Poultry Farmer
Recalls ‘Roger’s Colossus’
in Face of Avian Flu Epidemic

Recently, Roger and Diane Vaughn—who operated the only small commercial poultry farm situated along the Route 20 corridor between Albany and Syracuse—retired. Theirs was one of about 15 remaining egg-laying operations in the state. At one time, there were 15 small farms like theirs within a 15-mile radius.

Then, the average setup consisted of about 300,000 birds, which made the Vaughns’ flock of poultry look rather paltry. Nevertheless, this small operation, in spite of Diane’s help, required Roger, an octogenarian, to put in a 70-hour week caring for his hens and delivering their bounty to stores and restaurants within 25 miles of the farm. Their eggs were also sold retail and wholesale out of a small shop in close proximity to the coops.

It was ironic that with every detail about the Vaughns’ 2,000 chicken operation painting a diminutive picture, a colossal egg was laid by one of their Rhode Island reds. The gigantic brown egg weighed in at 5-1/4 ounces, more than twice the weight of an extra-large egg, which averages about 2-1/4 ounces. It was 3 and 1/32 of an inch long and had a girth of eight inches. The ovate giant couldn’t even fit on their antique egg grader.

Since 1964, when Roger and Diane came to live and work on his family’s farm, more than 82 million eggs have sold directly or gone out for delivery.

Roger said, “This was the biggest egg the farm had ever produced.” He thought he knew which hen had dropped the football. “She was always laying larger eggs,” he said. Without a time-consuming search for a tell-tale “natural” episiotomy, there was no way of knowing for sure.

For Roger, coming home followed a degree in poultry science from Cornell University and later an army stint during the Vietnam era as company commander at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York.

Roger and Diane eventually took command of what was originally called Vaughn’s Hatchery from his parents, who had been stationed there since 1932. The change from a hatchery to an egg-producing farm took place back in the late 50s, when the market for hatched chicks dried up almost overnight. Roger thought that the age of specialization was responsible for the change. The pace of dairy farming had stepped up so much that to have chickens for home use was considered an unnecessary distraction. Back when Sidney and Katherine, Roger’s parents, were running the place, a spring order of 50 hatchlings each was the norm from surrounding farms.

According to Roger, 75 percent of the eggs consumed in New York State were shipped in from out west, where grain is cheaper, or from tax-advantaged states like Pennsylvania. The reasoning was that, “the price of eggs was very competitive, so why bother raising your own?”

The answer may have been ORGANIC. People were paying more than triple for eggs that could be labled organic. Free Range Charlie, an egg aficionado from Brooklyn, touted, “egg cartons containing an assortment of naturally colored eggs: green, blue, brown, orange, pink from naturally fed, free range chickens had great appeal. Voila! You have organic eggs at designer prices!” But for many, the quality of the egg in regard to the color of the shell remains debatable. Also, washing eggs as the Vaughns did, removed a water soluble protective coat which then required refrigeration. In many other countries, unwashed and unrefrigerated eggs are still put on the market.

Maybe Roger’s Colossus celebrated a relatively new and expanding age of poultry specialization and the growth in popularity of back-yard chickens in light of the specialty egg business. Of course, for most people, a good fresh egg is all that matters.

The recent epidemic of avian flu has killed millions of chickens and caused prices to fly the coop, soaring to unprecedented prices—ironically, shortly after hard-working Roger and Diane retired.

Back when the big egg was on display in a storefront in downtown Richfield Springs, bets were on concerning the possibility of it being a “triple yolker!”

Desert Dispatch: Hiking Offers Temporary Distraction from the Difficulties of Today
©AZ Plant Lady
Calliandra eriophylla, commonly known as fairy duster, is a low spreading shrub which is native to deserts and arid grasslands in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.
Desert Dispatch by Richard deRosa

Hiking Offers Temporary Distraction
from the Difficulties of Today

While hiking the last few days, we have seen the first blush of spring blooms, aided by more rain in these parts than we have ever experienced at this time of year. Fairy dusters, lovely pale pink flowers, are popping up everywhere along the trails we hike. Brittlebush, whose bright yellow blooms are a staple of the desert landscape, are also getting into high gear. A birding guide I recently spent a morning with observed that this is the first real winter Tucson has weathered in quite some time. Lucky us. Good thing we packed some woolies, although forgetting any sort of rain gear suitable for hiking was not terribly prescient of us. During our first few days here it rained quite a bit. Neither of us is quite sure why we neglected to pack rain pants and, despite having exactly what we needed back home, we hightailed it to a local outfitter and bought two pair—not too cheap, I might add. Believe it or not, we never took them out of the bag and returned them the next week since the weather took an abrupt turn for the better. We figured, what the heck, save some cash and take our chances. So much for the wisdom of hasty decisions.

Last night it rained buckets, but the sun is out now so hope is on the wing. The good news is that perhaps all this rain will prompt all those wonderful desert wildflowers to put on their glorious parade of color and variety while we are still here. Few sights are more compelling than a hillside blanketed with golden poppies glistening in the desert sun. The forecast is for a bit more rain this week, and then it looks as if warmer, drier weather is right around the corner. We get periodic texts from friends back home alluding to how “nice” the weather has been. Makes one wonder about the rationale for cross-continent treks to escape the cold. For a variety of reasons, we have decided to stick it out at home next year. Sciatica, not an ideal companion on long drives, has something to do with it, but also a bit of homesickness spiced up by a disinclination to worry too damn much about the house and all that could go awry. Although I know that worry is its own worst enemy, knowing in this case helps very little. The prevailing notion is a few short forays to warmer climes; time will tell.

One of the drawbacks of one’s mental life is the inability to completely detach oneself from ancillary issues. Hiking, for me, is a lot of things, among them is getting away from it all. That has been difficult to do lately. I feel a strong, life-long obligation to keep up on “important” news events of the day. I was raised that way, so I guess my mother and my teachers did a good job in that regard. I try to get this stuff out of my head early on; some days it works and on others it takes quite a while. If you watch any newscasts at all—and they have become increasingly hard to stomach—it is rare not to hear about a new or ongoing investigation of some sort. More often than not an analysis is provided by a pundit who invariably describes him or herself as a “former prosecutor.” Seems to be an infinite supply of these guys. One wonders just how many investigations a society can accommodate. The possibilities appear to be endless. We have been described as a litigious society; investigations appear to be its endless cohort. Each network must have a filled-to-the-brim warehouse of “former prosecutors” at the ready to comment on every pending investigation, in-process investigation or potential investigation.

I am not sure what the answer is. For sure, miscreants of all ilks need to be held accountable. It just seems as if we spend an inordinate amount of time policing one another and precious little time obviating the need to do so. For starters, we need to solve the gun problem. And, until we do, tragedies like that at Michigan State will be the rule rather than the exception. That is a real shame. Hikes only alleviate the worry for a short time. There have to be better ways for us to live our lives.

Bound Volumes: March 16, 2023

Bound Volumes

March 16, 2023

Herkimer, March 4: On Monday morning, about 4 o’clock, Major General Dearborn, Commander in Chief of all the armies of the United States, passed through this village for Sackett’s Harbor. Yesterday afternoon, a fine looking corps of United States Light Dragoons, well-mounted, of about 120, commanded by Col. Burns, arrived in this village & encamped; and this morning proceeded on their march for Sackett’s Harbor. We understand a detachment of infantry and artillery may be expected here today, destined also for Sackett’s Harbor. They are from the camp at Greenbush.

March 13, 1813

Hometown History: March 16, 2023

Hometown History

March 16, 2023

135 Years Ago
The bright, spring-like weather of Friday and Saturday last, a warm sun shining on bare ground, was succeeded by a dark day Sunday, and that night began the heaviest snowfall of the season. The wind came up with the day, and the dry, powdery snow still falling, drifts formed very quickly. The scene on Main Street Tuesday morning was Arctic enough – nothing in sight but great heaps and long reaches of dazzling snow, with here and there a puzzled wayfarer; and nothing astir but the snow shovel. Toward noon things wore a livelier aspect, and many got out to enjoy the fine sleighing, while trade went on in a small way. But, it was a pretty dull day in the stores and business places. Not a stage or a train the whole day long and most of the telephone and telegraph lines down. Wednesday brought a marked change. The day dawned bright, the sun shone warm and the whole countryside was soon up and armed with shovels to clear the roads. The stage from Davenport was the first one to reach Oneonta, getting here about noon. That from Morris arrived toward night – having toiled through mighty drifts. The Hartwick stage pulls through today and perhaps that from Delhi, though the drifts on the hills are of fifty to a hundred feet at a stretch and six to eight feet deep.

March 1888

Noteworthy: Opioids: Examine the Risks, Benefits, Alternatives
News from the Noteworthy: LEAF

Opioids: Examine the Risks, Benefits, Alternatives

Pain. It’s an unfortunate, often highly impactful, fact of life. Some pain is in the moment, like stubbing your toe or accidently touching a hot surface. Some pain can be lasting, such as back, knee, nerve and neck pain. Because of these things, most people will need a version of pain control at some point in their life. There may even be a point where a medical provider suggests an opioid (such as Percocet or OxyContin) to manage pain on a short-term basis.
Opioids have been the focus of much media attention and public information for about the last 10 years. They are credited with sparking this country’s most devastating addiction, overdose and death crisis in known history. And although nearly every person walking the planet is aware of this, how much do we, as a culture, actually know about the medication? Let’s start with a few important things:

1) Opioids can be an effective, short-term pain management tool for many people.

2) Opioids may not be the most effective form of pain management.

3) Opioids can quickly create tolerance, causing reduced effectiveness within a relatively short period of time (days to weeks).

4) Any exposure to opioids increases the risk of long-term use, dependency, addiction and/or overdose.

5) Even when taken as prescribed by a medical provider, opioids can create physical dependence or addiction.

6) There are effective alternatives to opioids that carry less risk.

Because the medication can be effective short-term, a medical provider may offer an opioid prescription for such things as surgical pain or more serious injuries. Should this happen, it is excellent practice to have a discussion with that provider about the risks, benefits and potential alternatives to opioids. So, here are a few tips:

Talk to the doc: If your medical provider suggests an opioid for short-term pain, here are some good questions to ask. (This article does not contain medical advice. These are conversation starters.)

• What is the lowest effective dose I can take?

• Are there alternatives to this medication that may help me manage pain?

• What are my specific risks related to this medication?

• Should I be concerned about interactions with other medications, supplements or alcohol?

If you are seeing a medical provider about a long-term or chronic pain issue, here are some common alternatives to opioid pain medication that you may wish to inquire about:

• Over-the-counter medications

• Non-medication pain management tools such as exercise, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, counseling, weight management, yoga, tai chi and stress management

• Physical therapy

• Other prescription medications (non-opioid)

Pain is not a simple inconvenience. It can be a seriously impactful quality of life issue in the lives of many. And, often, it is a quality of life issue that is invisible. We can’t necessarily see when an individual is in pain. People who are in pain often suffer in silence because pain can be too often minimalized by people in their lives. It is not minimal—it matters.

What is important to know is that pain management has come a long way. Medical providers have a wide arsenal of tools at their disposal to help. An opioid may be the best option in the moment, and it may not be. The discussion is everything. Providers, more than anyone, know the reality of pain and its impact on overall health. They are our allies in helping us to get better and feel better.

The next time you get to talk to your provider about any pain you might be experiencing, write your list and expect to be heard.

Julie Dostal is executive director of the LEAF Council on Alcoholism & Addictions, Oneonta.

Fasanelli: Trustee Candidate Looking To Serve
Letter from George Fasanelli

Trustee Candidate Looking To Serve

I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I graduated from Queens College of the City University in 1977 and received my MBA from St. Joseph’s College on Long Island.

I retired after 34 years of service with the Suffolk County Police Department at the rank of deputy inspector. In addition to my time on patrol, I was an investigator with the Internal Affairs Bureau, the commanding officer of the Data Services Section, the Police Academy, and the Special Services Bureau in the Detective Division. I retired in 2016 after serving as the executive officer of the Seventh Precinct, a command of approximately 80 officers.

Kirsch To Bassett: Please Keep FCF Open
Letter from Emma Kirsch

To Bassett: Please Keep FCF Open

I have been a member of FoxCare Fitness for many years. I am asking Bassett to reconsider the decision to close the facility for the following reasons:

• It is an extremely valuable asset to our senior community, who rely upon it for essential exercise and fitness training.

• All of the staff are personable, professional, and extremely helpful and kind to all.

Peterson: Health Needs Outweigh Profits
Letter from Suzanne Peterson

Health Needs Outweigh Profits

Through cardiac rehab, I came to FoxCare gym. The program changed my life after open heart surgery and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Graduating cardiac rehab on December 12, I immediately joined with my husband, paying for a year with lockers.

FoxCare gym is safe. Like so many members, I have illnesses that cause severe discomfort at regular gyms. FoxCare gym is routine, purpose, safe haven. I’m 53, with Celiac disease, chronic nerve pain, anxiety, depression, no balance from GBS, and a compromised immune system. FoxCare equipment is spaced apart, most wear masks, we clean machines. Nurses and physical therapists available for questions add to safety.

Mebust: Coop Village Election is Next Tuesday
Letter from Lynne Mebust

Coop Village Election is Next Tuesday

Elections for village trustee are coming up on March 21, 2023. There are two outstanding candidates running for two positions.

Joe Membrino is an incumbent who has diligently served residents as a trustee who approaches his work thoughtfully, with attention to detail, and a strong sense of fiscal responsibility. Joe’s leadership on the Water and Sewer Board has been especially impactful as the wastewater treatment plant upgrades were completed.

Editorial: A Syrupy Salute to Spring

A Syrupy Salute to Spring

Last Sunday the annual Sugaring Off celebration, heralding the evasive but long-hoped-for beginning of spring, made its first appearance of the season at The Farmers’ Museum. This event, which runs for four Sundays, offers maple syrup and everything that goes with it to myriad visitors; the village and farm buildings are open for exploration, and the animals are eager for a pat on the head. Sugaring Off Sundays anticipates the April opening of the Farmers’ and Fenimore’s doors and gates for the 2023 season.

The reason for this activity is local maple syrup, provided by the Otsego County Maple Producers. The syrup, boiled down from sap tapped from 30-year-old sugar maples, is an ancient and local phenomenon first produced by Native Americans in the mid-16th century.

Walker: Sadness, Anger at FCF Closing
A Letter from Shirley Walker

Sadness, Anger at FCF Closing

Having heard the news of our fitness center closing, it brought a lot of emotion and wondering why, after all this time, it had to happen. I am in my 90s and I doubt I would have made it this far without my regular exercise classes at FoxCare Fitness. The employees and all my fellow members are a wonderful group and enjoy being at the FoxCare facility.

It makes me sad to think that I may no longer have any classes to attend and the uncertainty of finding another fitness center is too much of a burden for me at this point. After all is said and done, I’m hoping to hear that the classes will continue at the FoxCare Fitness Center.

Shirley Walker

Committee: Project Prom Seeks Support
Letter from Cooperstown Project Prom Fundraising Committee

Project Prom Seeks Support

Spring is just around the corner and the planning for Cooperstown High School’s prom and Project Prom is underway! The Class of 2023 is ready to celebrate!

Project Prom began in 1984 at Cooperstown and provides prom attendees a safe, alcohol- and drug-free, fun night of entertainment, food, and raffles. The event is held at the Clark Sports Center and ends at dawn.

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