COOPERSTOWN — More than 50 people packed the Cooperstown Central School cafeteria for a public hearing on the proposed Chestnut Crossing apartment complex at 10 Chestnut St.
The Cooperstown Village Board of Trustees moved the meeting to the middle/high school because of the public hearing, the first official chance for residents to speak for or against the 13-unit apartment complex proposed by Josh Edmonds and Francesca Zambello for two pieces of land they own on Chestnut Street and a third on Pine Boulevard.
The overflow crowd did not disappoint, with about 30 people speaking on the issue and two more speaking about a proposed licensing law for village-owned Cooperstown icons. Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh lifted the typical one-hour limit length for public hearings, gave each speaker five minutes to speak on each issue, and even allowed a handful of people to speak a second time or ask limited questions.
The public hearing portion of the meeting took more than two hours and the meeting itself wrapped up after 11 p.m, but Tillapaugh said she expected as much.
The Cooperstown Fire Department announced Tuesday, June 29, that it has received a donation to honor the memory of Fred Kerr.
The donation will go to the purchase of an extractor washer/dryer for cleaning turnout gear and lowering the risk of cancers in volunteers.
Kerr served as fire chief in Bristol, Ohio, in the 1980s. He loved Cooperstown and his family had a cottage on Otsego Lake for more than a century, his widow Carol Kerr said in the media release.
The donation came from the D Squared Fondation.
Village to hold hearing about 20 Glen Avenue
The Cooperstown Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m., Monday, July 26, at Village Hall, about subdividing and issuing a special-use permit to the owners of 20 Glen Avenue.
ONEONTA—The Kings Kakery on Main Street in Oneonta had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, June 25 in which the community came out in support of the business.
Around 30 people which included community leaders such as Mayor Gary Herzig, councilman Mark Drnek, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, SUNY Oneonta acting President Dennis Craig and others gathered outside the business.
Kings Kakery makes pastries as well as Caribbean food such as jerk chicken and oxtail, which owner Allison King said is “different from what’s around here.”
“It’s great to know we have such great support from such a great community,” King said. King is originally from Guyana but was living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn before moving to Oneonta.
“You’ve really must have done something right because look at the turnout,” Herzig said. “It’s this type of a business that makes the community feel at home.”
One of King’s son is an alumni of SUNY Oneonta, which Craig said was “another example of Oneonta families and alumni making us proud.”
Kings Kakery was originally operated out of King’s home before becoming a brick and mortar business.
In addition to the opening, Kings Kakery also hosted raffles with proceeds going to the Otsego Pride Alliance.
New York state passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. The law will propel New York towards a climate change friendly economy that will rely much less on burning fossil fuels for energy by 2050.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan is ambitious. It calls for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, and 70% renewable energy by 2030.
In 2020, New York derived approximately 0.1% of its electricity from petroleum, 1% from coal, 36% from natural gas, 30% from nuclear, 26% hydroelectric, 5% wind and solar and 2% biomass.
The shut down of the Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River, completed in April 2021, decreases carbon-free nuclear power to 20% of the state total and increases greenhouse gas emitting natural gas to 46%, with two new natural gas plants in Orange and Dutchess Counties now operating.
This doesn’t make sense if carbon-free electricity is the goal.
One would like to believe that Cooperstown, once referred to as “America’s Favorite Hometown,” is a thriving, dynamic community.
A walk down Main Street in July or August, with crowds of people swarming the streets and shops, would suggest that it is indeed as billed. The same walk in January or February, with darkened, shuttered store fronts and empty parking spaces, would offer a very different impression.
When the remarkable increase in the country’s taste for baseball and its memorabilia in the late ’80s and ’90s dramatically altered Cooperstown’s Main Street, with baseball-themed shops largely established and managed by non-local proprietors replacing the mixed-use, community-based businesses run by local residents for 200 years, Cooperstown’s business district turned a very unfortunate corner.
With the advent of the “Cooperstown” baseball camps, located in Hartwick and Oneonta, people began to buy, convert and even build area housing to cash in on an extremely lucrative weekly summer rental market. That housing is in many cases owned by non-local, absentee landlords who make enough of a killing in the summer to allow them to sit vacant for the long off-season months. In a few years, the availability of housing in and around the Village became as hopeless as a Main Street parking space in summer.
Can good genetics help ag businesses
be good environmental stewards?
A farm in Middlefield is on the cutting edge
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
MIDDLEFIELD – Agriculture is often blamed for a negative impact on climate change. However, at a farm near Cooperstown run by twins Owen Weikert and Dr. Ben Weikert, that perception is exactly what they are working to change.
The Katahdin sheep are selectively bred by studying their genetic makeup in order to calculate things like maternal ability, how to create sheep that need less shearing and less food, and to reduce herd size.
Owen Weikert said that upstate agriculture is at a “tipping point” and that dairy farms have been “really decimated.”
“A lot of people are interested in getting out of the cattle business,” Weikert said. Therefore the new way of raising livestock might be the future of agriculture for not only Upstate but the entire country, he said.
By selecting different DNA, it is used to find out how the biological process of the animals interact with each other, and learn how to introduce beneficial characteristics into livestock that will allow breeding to be easier.
COOPERSTOWN – The mood was jovial Saturday, June 12, as about 60 people, including elected officials state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, gathered outside the Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the expansion to celebrate what is considered a big success for local businesses in particular and a revitalization of Railroad Avenue specifically.
Eugene Marra, the founder of Cooperstown Distillery, began with an emotional moment on losing his dad to the coronavirus. He said his dad was his “biggest fan and number one investor in this opportunity.”
However, the atmosphere was celebratory.
“It’s an auspicious occasion for sure,” Marra said. “As much as I want to claim it as my own, I want to share it all with you because you have made it possible,” Marra said.
Marra spoke at length about the trials and tribulations of opening the expanded brewery on Railroad Avenue. He talked about how COVID had delayed the opening a year and how the distillery was tasked with producing hand sanitizer during that time.
He also mentioned how he was initially told by real estate agents that opening a distillery in Cooperstown was not possible.
“I like to believe we are responsible for what has become a revitalization of Railroad Avenue,” Marra said, saying that industry on that street in years past, “appeared to be dead.”
Marra said that Cooperstown Distillery, which has been around for eight years, is the “story about how it takes a village … the village of Cooperstown.”
Marra said he was loaned about $100,000 and received state fund grants of about $80,000, citing that his success was thanks to “local money.”
“We all hear these phrases, buy local, shop local, stay local. We are all of that,” Marra said, calling the Cooperstown Distillery the “fabric of this community on a very local, grassroots level.”
“We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than the village of Cooperstown,” Marra said.
Tillapaugh said the Cooperstown Distillery is a business “in which the village takes a great deal of pride.”
She noted how the village implemented zoning law changes in order to help grow businesses.
“I certainly know what this Railroad Avenue looked like for decades,” Tillapaugh said.
She noted it was once not considered industrially viable, but that developments on the street, including the distillery and the Railroad Inn, created “positive synergy.”
DiNapoli joked he didn’t accept the invitation “because of the complimentary drinks,” but was happy to come because of how difficult a year it had been.
DiNapoli said that while Cooperstown is known for its Baseball Hall of Fame and Fenimore art museum that “the distillery becomes yet another reason to visit.”
“This really was an incredible effort with all stakeholders playing their role. That’s usually not how it happens,” DiNapoli said. “This is the model that should be replicated.”
DiNapoli said he was going to go back to Albany and tell other lawmakers to “look to what happened in Cooperstown as an example of how it should work” in terms of state funding for local businesses.
After the ceremony, people took a tour of the distillery.
Affordable and available housing remains an issue in Otsego County in general, but particular issues have come up recently in both Cooperstown and Oneonta.
However, both areas are doing their part to amend this issue. Although there has been some backlash, elected officials acknowledge the necessity of creating affordable housing in the area.
A planned development at 10 Chestnut St. in Cooperstown is being considered by the village’s boards.
Francesca Zambello, who partnered with Josh Edmonds of Simple Integrity on the Chestnut Street project, described herself as a “concerned citizen” who was worried about the “really dire housing situation.” Zambello and Edmonds own three connecting lots and have formed their own company, not associated with Glimmerglass or Simple Integrity, to build on the site.
A local education company is planning to fill the gap in camps this summer.
ResourceME, an Otsego County company started by Cooperstown Central School special education teacher Stephanie Nelen, will offer summer camps this year.
“The thing about this company is we want to be a source to fill a need in Cooperstown for educational enrichment, not to compete with anything we already had,” Nelen said.
Nelen’s company had been working with Cooperstown Baptist Church during the height of the coronavirus pandemic to host learning pods and tutoring sessions.
The church had applied for COVID money to help with educations needs during the pandemic. However, when Pastor Joseph Purdue left for a church in Connecticut, Cooperstown Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk — who is a member of the church and had helped Purdue apply for the grant — reached out to Nelen for help.
A new advertising campaign by www.ThisisCooperstown.com, which is managed by Destination Marketing Corporation, has a focus on outdoor activities with the intention of drawing people to the area post-pandemic.
The website, which now has a page called ‘Get Outside’, will have links to trails, playgrounds and boat rentals among other things.
COOPERSTOWN — Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-NY19, appeared in Otsego County on Thursday, May 28, to speak about the money the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan, which he help shepherd through Congress.
Otsego County receive about $11.5 million, he said, half of which has already been delivered, with the other half to follow within a year. Other county towns and villages will also receive money from the act.
“Its been a joy,” Delgado said. “It’s a real testament to what government can do.”
Delgado also praised the bipartisan nature of the politicians that were gathered at the press conference, including State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51st District, and State Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102nd District, and said it is how it should be in all forms of government.
“This is a big deal, people,” Delgado said. “We’re able to get real meaningful dollars to our community.”
Delgado also said that they had to make sure “we had flexibility” to get things done with “something more cooperative.”
“I call that direct democracy,” he said.
Delgado spoke on the importance of getting broadband for the county calling it a “basic necessity.”
First published in The Freeman’s Journal on March 24, 1976:
“If at first you don’t succeed,” must have been mouthed by many Cooperstonians as they left the lakefront without having witnessed the scheduled launching of the Mohican. They did try again, and on the 4th of July, 1905, the good ship Mohican began its long career on Otsego Lake. The following reports from the Freeman’s Journal of that year tell the story:
June 29th 1905:
“Miss Marie Anheuser Busch to Christen Boat Thursday.”
“Thursday afternoon at 4 o’clock the new boat Mohican of the Otsego Lake Transit Co. will take her initial dip in the waters of Otsego Lake. As soon as the boat is free to move, Miss Marie Anheuser-Busch, daughter of August A. Busch and granddaughter of Adolphus Busch, will christen it with champagne and the words, “I christen thee Mohican.” The public is cordially invited to witness the ceremony, which will take place at the Corporation dock.”
COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County has announced it will reopen its grant program for community events through Friday, May 28.
Sponsors must explain their event and tell the Board of Representative’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee how the event will draw visitors to the area. If it is a new event, the application must describe the market segment the sponsors are trying to attract.
Go to www.otsegocounty.com and click on Community Events Grants Application 2021 for more information.