News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Hometown Oneonta

FLEISHER: Vote In Election ’20


Vote In Election ’20

To the Editor:

America is on the brink of an election that will have serious implications for the future of our Country, and indeed our democracy.

I write this out concern for our immediate future, and also because I am equally concerned about the America my 6-year-old grandson will inherit. He deserves the same freedoms we all experienced growing up in a country that valued human dignity, clean air and water, and the freedom to enjoy a society free of hate and prejudice – a place that values human life and a profound respect for those who gave their lives so we could live free – in America.

All I ask is that my fellow citizens exercise their right to vote.

Remember – young American men and women died for your right to vote. Don’t disrespect their sacrifice by letting this opportunity pass. I am not advocating in favor of any candidate, but rather for the future of America – the America of my grandson.

“We the people” – you and me – we are the ones for whom those words were written at the birth of our nation.

If there was ever a time America needed you, it’s now. Show you are a responsible American by voting on
Nov. 3.

Editor’s Note: Voters, you may already ask for absentee ballots by letter (Board of Elections, The Meadows, 140 County Hwy. 33W, Suite 2, Cooperstown NY 13326); email (
or phone (607-547-4247).

Helping People Captured ‘Distinction’ For Honoree


Helping People Captured

‘Distinction’ For Honoree

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Mallory Delaney was named a “Woman of Distinction” for
testing more than 1,000 patients for
COVID-19. (Ian Austin/

ONEONTA – For certified Physician’s Assistant Mallory Delaney, medicine isn’t about talking to a patient.

It’s about listening.

“You want to get people to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat,” she said. “No matter what road they’re going to go down.”

For example, she said, it was easier to get patients to wear masks if they knew it would keep a parent or elderly relative safe. “You have to be collaborative with patients,” she said.

“It’s figuring out what they’re scared of or looking forward to, and working with them from there.”
Delaney, who works at the Bassett Heathcare Clinic at 125 Main St., was named one of this year’s state Senate’s “Women of Distinction” during a ceremony last week, where she was presented a plaque by state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.

“It’s really a remarkable honor,” she said. “But I can’t help but think that this year, all the women in healthcare should be Woman of the Year!”

“I would not be here without the dedication of our healthcare workers,” said Seward, who battled COVID earlier this year. “Normally we put out a press release asking for nominations but, this year, I thought it was important to name a woman in healthcare who gave exemplary service during the pandemic.”

Delaney was recommended to him by now-retired Bassett Healthcare Network President/CEO Bill Streck. “The more I read and heard about her, the more convinced I was that she was an excellent choice,” said Seward.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Delaney did her undergraduate at Penn State and her physician assistant’s program at Duke University.

“I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine,” she said. “Then I did the LIFE Geisinger program in Scranton, working with elderly and frail populations, and I thought that it might be a direction I wanted to go in.”

She worked at Our Lady of Peace convent, taking care of elderly nuns. “It really taught me to be collaborative with patients,” she said.

In 2014, she moved to Oneonta for the job at Bassett.

It was that bedside manner that helped when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and Delaney found herself outside all day every day, in snow, in sleet, in rain, administering “drive-thru” COVID tests in the parking lot.

“When we first started, I joked that we should just go ahead and put up decorations for the Fourth of July,” she said. “And the other nurse said that there was no way we’d still be here! We had to keep our sense of humor.”

Before rapid-testing and saliva tests were available, patients had to sit, often in the cold, and have a swab shoved deep into their nostrils. “I would tell them to think about some-thing in the future they were looking forward to,” she said.

If one was particularly nervous, she could reassure them with her own experience. “I told people that I had it done and it wasn’t even the worst part of my day,” she said.

In all, she estimates she did well over a thousand tests. “For awhile, we were doing 300 tests a month,” she said.

She lives in Oneonta with her cat, Charlie, who she adopted from the Susquehanna SPCA. She volunteers with the shelter, and plays flute at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where she is also a parishioner.

And when she got the call that she had been chosen to receive the Woman of Distinction award, she was at the bedside of an elderly neighbor, assisting her with her end-of-life needs.

“True to form, she was tending to someone’s needs,” Seward said.

STERNBERG: Getting Closer To Vaccine. Then What?

We’re Getting Closer To A

COVID-19 Vaccine. Then What?

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

It appears that we are getting closer to the development of vaccines for COVID-19.

There have been some missteps in the process, including the development of an unexplained illness in one participant in the U.K. study of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. This required a halt to the study for about a week while the data was being reviewed. The study is progressing again at this time.

There are multiple other studies. Some of the vaccines are further along than others.

It’s not going be enough to develop one vaccine. The number of doses that can be produced quickly is limited. It is currently estimated the first batch will be limited to perhaps 10 million to 15 million doses in the United States, according to the National Academy of Medicine. This is why it’s important to have multiple vaccines available so they can be produced in tandem.

So, the question comes back to triage, which is something we first discussed six months ago. In this case, in what order are the vaccines going to be rolled out? Who is going to get them first? Where are they going to be distributed first? Right now, this is a matter of heated opinion.

• In my opinion, and solely in my opinion, I feel the following distribution order should be performed:

• One, frontline healthcare workers who are dealing with patients with COVID-19, or can reasonably expect to come into contact with patients and other affected people with COVID-19. This would include people working in hospitals, nursing homes, emergency medical services, and clinics.

• Two, other essential workers at high risk of being exposed to patients, or people who have
COVID-19 or are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

• Three, those with two or more risk factors, including age.

• Four, health care and essential workers at any risk of exposure based on their job.

• Five, those with only one risk factor.

• Six, children.

• Seven, adults older than 25.

• Eight, young adults.

My only exception to the above is that I would withhold vaccination for all those who have refused to social distance, wear a mask, have publicly proclaimed that the pandemic is a hoax, or have attended illegal mass gatherings.

At the rate that we can expect vaccinations to roll out, at best we will probably only get the first and possibly some of the second group inoculated within the next three to six months.

With the development of more vaccines by different companies, we might be able to get the entire United States vaccinated within nine to 15 months.

This of course does not discuss the problem of whether money or fame puts you at the head of
the line.

As many of us have noted, professional athletes have been getting tested at will so they can go back to their sports. Other people have to wait or had to use tests that are not instantly available.

We can predict a similar occurrence with who gets the vaccine first. Should VIPs have priority? Should their families? Should the vaccine be equally available in countries which develop it versus non-developed countries?

Just as it was a mad scramble for supplies when lockdowns first began, there’s going to be a mad scramble for the vaccines with people trying to find reasons to be put at the head of the line.

Ultimately there’s going to have to be some pre-existing protocol, or decision-making process in place to sort this out.

As I said above please contact me with your thoughts on these issues. I will make your responses the subject of a follow-up column.

STAMMEL: Don’t Walk Away From Education


We Shouldn’t Walk Away

From Educational System

To the Editor:

The prosperity of Oneonta is inextricably intertwined with the success of its colleges. The fact that SUNY Oneonta’s reopening did not succeed as planned and hoped is a tragedy for our community in a year that challenges us all.

The shutdown is devas-tating for our students who have looked forward to their college experience; heartbreaking for the 1,000 SUNY employees who have worked since March to keep our students safe and provide a semblance of a college experience; frightening for our local business-owners; disappointing for residents who appreciate the vitality students bring; and challenging to taxpayers whose governments have just lost a large source of non-local revenue.

Some anxious residents have opined that with the sacrifices we have all made this year to keep the virus at bay, any increase in population density was unacceptable, be it from tourists, weekenders, or students.

I have elderly and vulnerable friends and family locally and can understand and empathize with this perspective.

The good news is that at this early stage, the outbreak appears to have been contained to students, due to the quick and decisive actions of SUNY, the rapid deployment of state resources, cooperation of community members, and ongoing heroics of our underfunded County Department of Health. Out of hundreds tested, no employees have tested positive and there’s no evidence of community spread yet.

While SUNY Oneonta began the school year with 97 percent of classes online, it joined the majority of colleges across the country in developing a hybrid plan that would allow for some level of in-person experience. This reflects a very American “can-do” attitude that with science and problem-solving, we can engineer our way around unprecedented challenges.

“Monday morning quarterbacking” is also an American pastime and the failure of the reopening has led to a misguided and gratuitous blame game by some local politicians and media (not this paper, to my knowledge). Kudos to those elected officials, administrators, and others who have maintained a positive forward-looking attitude, looking for collaborative solutions to protect folks and rebuild trust and relationships between the college and community.

In my conversations with contacts at several colleges, it’s clear to me that SUNY’s planning began earlier and was at least as collaborative, thorough and transparent as other institutions. From March – July, planning efforts invited input from all members of the college community and resulted in hundreds of pages of draft and final planning documents.

A proposed plan was submitted to and approved by the state and has been posted on the college web page for about two months. If your elected official is now one of the furious finger-pointers, ask them how they proactively contributed to crafting a safe reopening plan over the past six months or if they waited to retroactively criticize.

Any successful reopening will rely on three elements. Yes, a good plan must proactively be crafted (and no plan is perfect). Second, there needs to be widespread compliance with the plan and adherence to social distancing by students and employees. Finally, there is an element of luck or God’s will, whichever your persuasion.

Was an infected person a biological “super-spreader”? Did the wind or humidity contribute to spread on a given day? Did a bystander witness a party and report it to authorities in time? While humans like to believe our plans dictate results, much will be out of our control.

Every local college has had some level of outbreak already. This year may prove that for demographic and situational reasons, a residential college experience during a pandemic is unlikely to succeed.

Experience has shown the largest outbreaks are occurring in residential settings (nursing homes, jails, military, summer camps, sports teams, and colleges). Additionally, young people across the country have proved to be the least like to adhere to social distancing.

Despite the risks, does it mean we should not at least try to reopen our educational system? That is a question for every school and community. As K-12 schools across our area consider various reopening scenarios, I urge them to learn from our lessons. Be clear-eyed and accept that we are in a global pandemic and the virus is seeded throughout our area and outbreaks will occur as social distancing is lessened. Craft your outbreak prevention and response plans with care and humility. And finally, have the wisdom and strength to acknowledge when a situation has escalated beyond your control and shut it down, accordingly.

We all mourn the loss of normalcy this year and hope for a swift return to our old lives. Until that time, the best way to protect your loved ones and community is to wear masks, social distance, and practice good hygiene.

Town of Oneonta
County Representative: District 4
Town of Oneonta
Stammel, SUNY Oneonta
Title IX coordinator, said he submitted this letter from the perspective of
an elected official and private citizen,
not as a SUNY spokesman.

Sterling Legacy Suggest: Are City Managers Needed


Sterling Mayor’ Legacy Suggest:

Are City Managers Needed?

Maybe it’s apocryphal, but the story’s told of a former mayor of Oneonta who, elected decades ago, discovered some department heads were taking hour-and-a-half lunches to work out at a local gym.

The mayor gave everybody raises, at the same time advising the department heads: Game over, be back at your desks in an hour.

That worked for six months, then the particular department heads starting slipping, the story goes, and soon things were back to how they’d been at the outset.

If true, that underscores the need for a boss, on site, every day at City Hall – and at every other business, for that matter. The buck needs to stop somewhere.

That said, the City of Oneonta’s experience with the current city-manager system of government – next year it will be in place a decade – just hasn’t worked out as hoped.

So that Mayor Gary Herzig is again suggesting revisiting how City Hall governs itself – and
it’s effectiveness in general – is worthwhile, and timely.

The idea of an executive director, implementing mayoral and Common Council policies, makes sense. Pairing that job with, for instance, finance director (or the most apt department head) makes further sense.

As it happens, the third city manager in a decade, George Korthauer, retired last February, just a month before COVID-19 arrived, requiring extraordinary leadership, which Herzig provided – to no one’s surprise, really, given his almost four-year track record.

It’s the Curse of Competence – a job expands to the talents of the person holding it. (Or shrinks.) Even a city charter like Oneonta’s, calling for a “weak mayor” form of government, can’t keep a good person down.

Meanwhile, the Village of Cooperstown also professionalized its government, creating a village
administrator, but leaving the elected mayor and board of trustees assisted, but fully in charge.

Over the years, City Hall has been blessed with many such good persons. Or maybe it’s an Oneonta thing; the city is welcoming to newcomers and comfortable for natives.

There never seems to be a shortage of qualified people, wanting to give back.

It’s not just Herzig; there’s been a succession of capable mayors.

The mourned Dick Miller, a former corporate executive and Hartwick College president; John Nader, now SUNY Farmingdale president; Kim Muller, a SUNY administrator; the venerable David Brenner, a SUNY associate vice president and author, who also chaired the county Board of Representatives.

The trail of talent goes back to the 1960s, when Sam Nader, now 101, set the mold, gaining a statewide reputation for acumen, and bringing a New York Yankees farm team to Damaschke Field.

It can’t be an accident.

By contrast, the three city managers to date just didn’t catch fire. Mayor Herzig is right in concluding it’s time to at least review, and perhaps rethink, a well-intended undertaking that fell short of its goal.

Putting artificial limitations on talented local people, smart, experienced, ambitious about their native or adopted community, must be a mistake.

One caveat: The current city charter was a hard sell, but – in the end – the deal was clinched. On Nov. 7, 2010, 76.08 percent of voters approved it, 1,177 cast aye ballots to the nays’ 370.

A new charter revision effort must earn credibility. The new document must be likewise sold to the public, as the last one was. If it indeed corrects flaws in the 2011 document – as it can and should – that shouldn’t be a heavy lift.

If it includes major changes, Oneonta citizens must be convinced they are indeed improvements. Then, put to a vote, the revised charter passed, and establish a firm foundation for a future that may very well be better guided by leading citizens.

SUNY Infections Ebb, Bring Crisis To End

SUNY Infections Ebb,

Bringing Crisis To End

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – As this week began, only 158 SUNY Oneonta students and residence assistants were left on campus. In a normal year, that would have been over 3,000 of the 6,000+ enrollment.

“At present, there are only three SUNY students in isolation on campus,” Diane Georgeson, Oneonta Public Health officer, told Common Council during her report on Tuesday, Sept. 15. “There are 52 in isolation off campus.”

The majority of the students staying on campus, Mayor Gary Herzig said, had applied to stay because they do not have “acceptable living conditions” at home.

On Sunday, Sept. 13, the campus reported no new cases of COVID-19. Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Otsego County Health Department reported only two cases, after a week of largely single-digit reports, and after peaks of 120 on Sept. 4 and 107 on Sept. 2.

“We’re seeing a significant decline,” said Georgeson. “And we are cautiously optimistic that there was no community spread.”

Campus spokesman Kim MacLeod declared “success,” and credited “swift actions of discipline, rapid testing of all students, immediate contract tracing that led students to be isolated and quarantined.”

The county Health Department (DOH) has termed what happened a “large outbreak.” Looking back, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond said this week, “We did not expect the degree of how fast it happened.”

Georgeson said that studies have begun to determine whether the infection was from “a different strain” of the virus. “The majority of the infected only got mildly sick and recovered quickly,” she said. “We saw such a rapid spread and apparent ready transmission, but little illness.”

Of those that got sick, she said, only three had pneumonia, and “a few” went to the emergency room with severe symptoms, but none were hospitalized.

The final numbers were firming up, the DOH and SUNY Oneonta’s tallies were still far apart. Monday, the DOH was reporting total positive cases at 684; the campus put the number at 723.

These divergences were said to result from different reporting cycles.

When 105 cases were reported overnight Saturday, Aug. 30, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras visited that Sunday afternoon and closed the campus for two weeks; he returned the following Thursday, Sept. 3, and announced it would close for the semester.

“A lot of students left campus immediately,” said Heidi Bond, the county public health director.
Nearly 3,000 students were screened over Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 5-7, and large-scale quarantines and isolations followed, according to MacLeod.

At that point, she said, the county DOH initiated tracing – determined who the infected students may have come into contact with. Once students who were infected were released from isolation, they are free to go home and “there is no need for further contact,” she said.

However, students can continue to have access to faculty, telehealth and telecounseling services, MacLeod said.

Across the valley on Oyaron Hill, Hartwick College was reporting 15 confirmed cases on Tuesday, Sept. 15, but were confident enough that students were returning to classrooms the following day.

“Face-to-face, personal instruction is a pillar of Hartwick’s educational mission, as it has been for 223 years,” said Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich.

“Our students have made it clear that they want to return to the classroom, and the vast majority have demonstrated they can and will honor the rules we’ve put in place to control the spread of COVID-19,” she said in announcing classes would resume.

Is City Manager Needed?

Is City Manager Needed?

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA –Oneonta’s third city manager, George Korthauer, retired from City Hall on Feb. 7.

A month later, on March 13, Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202 went into effect, declaring a state of emergency in New York State in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic threat.

In the past six months, Mayor Gary Herzig, under a City Charter that gives him largely ceremonial responsibilities, led the effort that kept in-community infections – not including SUNY Oneonta’s “large outbreak,” now ending – to an average of eight a month.

Given that the city man-ager’s $110,000 salary is about 4 percent of the tax levy, Herzig said, he intends to again revisit whether a city-manager form of government, as now constituted, is the best way to govern 14,000-population Oneonta.

He said he planned to start that conversation perhaps as soon at the Common Council’s Budget Committee meeting Wednesday, Sept. 16, but certainly soon after.

And he would like a decision by the end of the year, so savings and likely lower expenses could be reflected in the 2021 budget. (This year’s budget is slightly more than $17 million.)

“I still support having an administrative position supervising day-to-day operations – a staff person, a non-political person,” he said, perhaps an executive director instead of a full-fledged city manager.

Herzig took charge from the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, but in the past month, with the community worried about the colleges reopening, he racheted up police enforcement of mask wearing and social distancing in public places, cancelled evening bus service from the campuses, and issued a “Welcome to Students” letter outlining expectations.

When widespread partying was evident when students returned Aug. 21, he alerted the Governor’s Office, setting the stage for what happened when the “large outbreak” followed: Chancellor Jim Malatras shut the campus for two weeks, and Cuomo deployed a state Virus Testing SWAT Team to the city.

In an interview Monday, Sept. 14, the mayor said, “I didn’t do this all by myself.”

“Our department heads just were amazing in the way they stepped up and provided leadership,” he said. “That was the only way to move through this crisis – and they did it. They filled the leadership void as a team.”

Personnel Director Katie Böttger and City Engineer Greg Mattice assumed day-to-day management, directing the department-head team, he added.

When it was approved on Nov. 7, 2010, the idea of professional management of City Hall won by a 1,177-370 margin. But one decade and three city managers later, dramatic change for the better hasn’t been evident.

“I was an early supporter and still support the concept of having an administrative position supervising the day-to-day operation of the city,” said Herzig.

“But I think the overwhelming number of people in Oneonta who voted to support it, including myself, didn’t recognize it would drastically change our form of government.”

Under the council-manager form of government, Council members’ role is limited to “just being legislators,” he continued. “They are asked not to participate providing input on local government operations.”

There are day-to-day decisions Council members should help make, he said: “What roads are being fixed. How staffing is organized. What priorities are set operationally. In a community this size, most people would want their elected Council members to be involved.”

As for his job, “whether the people want a ceremonial mayor going forward, or a mayor who has the ability to set direction and in control of of city operations, is an open question.” He said he hasn’t decided whether to run for a third two-year term next year.

Herzig said he’s intrigued with combining day-to-day administration with another existing function – with finance or personnel, for instance. “I believe Cortland has been very successful doing that,” he said.
Since six of the eight Council members had only served two months before “we went into Zoom … They haven’t had the opportunity to really dig into this.”

“In the next week or two,” he said, “I’ll look for opportunities for a whole discussion with Council members around where we are now, and what are the different options.”

The mayor expressed the view that a referendum is only necessary if powers are being taken away from elected officials; Herzig said they would be enhanced. “Changing the job description would not require a public vote as far as I know,” he said, in reference to the city manager’s job duties.

He said he would be guided by City Attorney David Merzig’s opinion. In 2016, charter revisions endorsed by a committee chaired by former Mayor John Nader foundered when SUNY New Paltz’s Gerald Benjamin, the state’s foremost expert on local government, said he believed those changes were substantive enough to require another public vote.

KAVANAGH: Good News? The Truth Will Do


Good News? The Truth Will Do

To the Editor:

Consider this hypothetical.

You go to your doctor. You have stomach pains that linger and simply won’t go way. After examination he tells you not to worry, you’ll be fine.

The pain continues and weeks later you get a second opinion. This time it’s not couched with “good news.”

How would you feel about that? Your regular physician did not want to cause any upset. The physician offering the second opinion wanted only to be frank and candid, thereby making a plan to initiate toward recovery.

I believe we all know the answer. Trump did not want to “scare us.” Really? Was it us or his beloved stock market that he wanted to calm and pacify.

He doesn’t want to scare anyone, yet he has no reluctance whatsoever in telling tall tales of tanks coming down Main Street, stock market crashes and rampant crime.

The hypocrisy is just overwhelming!


ASHWOOD: Barber’s Farm Skills Helpful To 51st


Jim Barber’s Farm Shows Skills

Helpful To 51st Senate District

To the Editor:

No one could argue that we aren’t living in interesting times. And in interesting times, we need representatives to our government who will help us through.

In just a few short weeks, the 51st District will choose its state senator, a position that has been held by Jim Seward for the last 34 years. And Jim Barber is who I want to represent us.

One only need visit Jim Barber’s family farm to know that a person who can keep a farm like this afloat and growing in these economic times is someone who could help our 51st District to do the same.

And like his farm, his well-designed website also reveals a truth about who he is: he clearly lays out his ideas and plans about taxes, the environment, the opioid crisis, the health care system, education, and as you can imagine—small businesses.

Jim’s proposed plans make sense for where we are now. They are realistic ones that would help everyone wherever they lie on the political spectrum.

He is a man who knows how to listen, knows how to look at his district around him, knows how to bridge gaps. This is what we need to move forward.

Cherry Valley

Again, Pioneer Patio Wins Beautification Contest 1st


Again, Pioneer Patio Wins

Beautification Contest 1st

Mom Kathy, center, and dad Rich, left, pose with their kids, from left, Derer, 32, Carly, 28, and Kristen, 29, who all happened to be visiting the weekend the Beautification Prize was announced.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – One, it’s good business strategy. “We use them for advertising,” said Pioneer Patio proprietor, “to pull people down the alley” – Pioneer Alley, where the back of Main Street buildings aren’t much of a draw.

Two, “it’s a labor of love, that’s for sure,” said Kathy, his wife and business partner.
Three, it’s become a perennial prize-winner in a competitive field.

When the Clark Foundation announced the winners of its 2020 Village Beautification Contest, last Thursday, Sept. 3,  Pioneer Patio again took first place in Category One: “Most Attractive Floral Display in a Business Setting,” for the second time in two years.  Last year, the Busses took an Honorable Mention.

“An impressive multi-level floral display utilizing a wide variety of plant material,” wrote the judges, Ron and Carol Bayzon, horticulturalists from Richfield Springs.  “A lot of work.”

Other first-prize winners this year were Judy and Peter Henrici, 92½ Pioneer St., for “Most Effective Overall Planting Which Enhances a Residential Property.” And Barbara and Richard Havlik, 94 Fair St., for “Most Appropriate Residential or Business Window Box or Hanging Basket.”

“A lot of work”? And how, the Busses will tell you.

Each morning, Kathy takes the lead in dead-heading “hundreds of flowers,” Rich said. And then, daily, the plants are fully watered. (He doesn’t want to know how that affects his quarterly water bill.)
The Busses says the flowers are primarily “super petunias.” Meg Kennedy, who provides the flowers through her Ark Floral business, described them as “landscape petunias,” which keep “breaking out new from the center.”

All are annuals and, as it happens, Kennedy will soon begin ordering next year’s inventory, which will arrive next March, planted in her Mount Vision greenhouses, and be ready for delivery next May.
She has other Main Street customers on Cooperstown’s Main Street – Perry Ferrara’s Hard Ball Café, for instance, next to the Heroes of the Game Wax Museum, uses her flowers – but no one surpasses the Busses.

“Why do the Busses do so well?” she asked. “They start with great plants, then they take very good care of them.”

A few years ago, the Busses added mint to the mix, for practical purposes.

In August, the flies come out around here, Rich said, and mint deters them. Complaints about flies have dropped 85 percent since the mint was planted, he said.

The Busses, both born and raised in Cooperstown, trace their interest in flowers to their childhoods.
Kathy’s mom, Gloria Irving, a war bride from New Zealand, was active in the Lake & Valley Garden Club in the 1950s. Rich grew up on Brooklyn Avenue, where his parents always grew a garden.

The couple – at one point, they have operated as many as a half-dozen downtown establishments at one time – have owned the Pioneer Patio for 30 years, acquiring Obie’s, as it was originally known, from Don and Sharon Oberitter. The three Busse children grew up with the businesses.

Three years ago, they added a second floor, which also is a showplace for additional flowers.
And why not? “Flower are always a good idea,” said Meg Kennedy.

Fall At The Fenimore Durer Prints, Souza Photos, In-County Artists Entice Fans

Fall At The Fenimore

Durer Prints, Souza Photos,

In-County Artists Entice Fans

Paul D’Ambrosio, president, Fenimore Art Museum, shows one of the many people ensnared in the tentacles of Keith Haring’s “Medusa Head,” a piece of the exhibit now on display as part of the Fenimore’s autumn exhibitions. The full Haring exhibit was postponed until 2021. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Durer’s etchings are expected at attract art aficionados to Otsego Lake’s shores this fall. (Fenimore Museum photo)

COOPERSTOWN – In an era where so much seeks to divide us, Paul D’Ambrosio is hoping art can unite.

“We loved the idea of having Pete Souza’s photographs of presidents Reagan and Obama,” said The Fenimore Art Museum president. “Even though they were on the opposite ends of the spectrum politically, this exhibit shows their shared humanity, what they had in common.”

“Pete Souza: Two Presidents, One Photographer,” on display now in the Clark Gallery through the end of December, highlights 56 photos of the two presidents, taken during his time as official White House photographer.

It’s part of the fall season at the museum, which is showcasing Souza, “Albrecht Durer: Master Prints” and one piece from the postponed Keith Haring exhibit in anticipation of opening the exhibit next year.

“This exhibit has been a year in the making,” said D’Ambrosio.  “We’ve always had a good audience for our photo exhibits, especially ones, like the Herb Ritts, that draw on recent history. It’s especially appealing to a younger audience.”

What made Souza unique as a photographer, D’Ambrosio said, is that he had access to two presidents. “He had the ability to make these men forget he was in the room,” he said. “Under Reagan, he took upwards of 20,000 photos a week.”

“He saw a president who looked like him,” says D’Ambrosio of a photo from President Obama’s White House photographer Pete Souza.

Many of the photos are of serious moments – Reagan consoling soldiers after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, or Obama watching the attack on Osama Bin Laden. “Souza set up a camera above the desk in the oval office so he could snap a photo of Reagan without being in the room,” said D’Ambrosio. “He captures a lot of the loneliness of the job.”

But interspersed with those are behind-the-scenes looks at each president, such as Obama bending over to let a young boy touch his hair.  “He saw a president who looked like him,” he said. “It’s a very powerful image.”

In the center of the exhibit is a room of photos of each man displayed side-by-side to show off similarities of the office, including watching movies in the White House theater, greeting Popes John Paul II and Francis, and interactions with British Royalty – Obama greeting a young Prince George (who wore his bathrobe for the occasion) and a blushing Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta at Reagan’s Inaugural Gala dinner in 1985.

“We think a lot of people will remember these photos,” he said.

Souza also documented Obama when he was a senator, as well as the official photographer for Reagan’s funeral; however, those photos are not part of the exhibit.

Also new this fall is “Albrecht Durer: Master Prints”

Works by local artist Christina Hunt Wood are also featured.

“This is more subdued, more for the ‘art’ crowd,” said D’Ambrosio. “Durer may not be a household name, but he was a master printmaker in Europe, at a time when printing didn’t have the same reputation as painting. He made it not just popular, but accepted as an art form.”

Several of the pieces were part of the museum’s Thomas Cole exhibit in 2018. “You can really get absorbed in them,” said D’Ambrosio. “They’re so old and they’ve survived so much, so there’s a kind of reverence there.”

Although the Keith Haring exhibit has been rescheduled for next year, several pieces from the Thaw Collection had already been curated for a sister exhibit, “Elegant Line, Powerful Shape,” and will remain on display through next fall.

“You can see how he was influenced by non-western art,” said D’Ambrosio.

But for those who can’t wait, one Haring piece, “Medusa Head” has been put on display at the top of the staircase. “The scale really does make it powerful,” said D’Ambrosio. “He really uses this style to explore power relationships, the figures struggling against this Medusa.”

He continued, “When you see this in the Clark Gallery, opened to full-size, it’s going to really be incredible.”

Also postponed until 2021 was the “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams” and “The World of Jan Brett.”

And the art isn’t just confined to inside the museum. On the patio are two sculptures by East Springfield sculptor Akira Niitsu.

“We’ve had such a beautiful summer, and people are picking up a boxed lunch and dining out on the terrace,” he said. “We want people to know that you can still get out and
go to a museum,” he said.

For The Birds, Try SSPCA Or Mini-Horses, A Mallard, 2 Chinchillas, Hedgehog

For The Birds, Try SSPCA

Or Mini-Horses, A Mallard, 2 Chinchillas, Hedgehog

SSPCA staffer Kathy Chicorelli and Tony Hendrich from Hendrich Farms, Laurens, escort two horses from their pen at a property in Schenevus whose owner surrendered the animals to the Hartwick Seminary shelter. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – In five years directing the Susquehanna SPCA, Stacie Haynes has never once had someone bring in a bird.

30 Lady Goulden finches need new homes.

Now, she has 30 of them. Lady Gouldens, to be precise.

“We need volunteers ASAP to either foster them or come in and tell us how to take care of them,” she said. “They’re these absolutely gorgeous birds, but we have no idea how to take care of them, and want to get them into their proper homes.”

The finches – as well as a dog, a cat, two mini-horses, a mallard duck, two chinchillas and a hedgehog – were surrendered by a homeowner after the animals’ owner moved out of their shared Schenevus residence.

“When the owner left, she was unable to take the animals with her,” said Haynes. “The homeowner works long hours, and was unable to provide these animals with the care they each require.”

The owner first reached out to the shelter last week, and Haynes worked with Sheriff Richard Devlin as part of the PETS task force, and determined the animals needed to be surrendered by the homeowner.

“This is a great example of how being proactive got these animals into a situation where they could be safe and adopted out to people who can care for them,” she said. “This way, we’re not coming back in a month after they’ve been neglected or perished.”

The two mini-horses were adopted from the scene, but the other animals all came back to the shelter, where they will soon be put up for adoption.

All but the duck came willingly, giving the volunteers a little bit of a chase.

“The duck is tame!” she insisted. “We’ve had geese and turkeys before, so we weren’t intimidated. But any animal, no matter how tame, is going to be a little freaked out when a van rolls up.” She did note that the dog and the hedgehog are elderly, and their eventual adoptee will need to get them proper veterinary care.

But she stressed that the animals were not purposefully neglected, and that the homeowner surrendered them willingly. “These animals all require different kinds of care,” she said. “It’s a full-time job keeping up with these animals, and he did the right thing by reaching out to us and saying he needed help.”

She continued, “If more people did this, we wouldn’t end up with barns full of dead cows. This is a great example of how we can help when people reach out to us.”

Village Trustees Promote Cavilieri To Police Chief

Village Trustees Promote

Cavilieri To Police Chief

Cavilieri takes oath from Village Administrator Teri Barown. (

COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board appointed a 27-year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department as part-time police chief Tuesday, Sept. 8.

He succeed Michael Covert, who retired on disability two years ago and passed away in February.

Cavilieri has served as a patrolman since February 2019, and will oversee two fulltime officers, Jim Kelman and Terrence Silvera, and several part-timers.

After his retirement from the Suffolk department in 2013, Cavilieri joined his wife Barbara in operating Mountainview Kennels in Schenevus.

A New Jersey native, Cavalieri attended Rutgers and joined the Houston Police department in the early 1980s, where he served three years.

BENNETT: Non-Violence Worked For Revered Trio


Non-Violence Worked

For Revered Trio

Larry Bennett, retired Brewery Ommegang creative director who is active in local causes, lives in East Merideth.

Does anyone remember how Mahatma Gandhi changed the world? How a slight Indian man, a lawyer who never carried a weapon, defeated the strongest empire in the world and rewrote the future of billions of people?

Does anyone remember how Martin Luther King changed the world? How a Black Southern Baptist preacher, a man who never carried a weapon, changed two centuries of oppression of Black Americans and opened new doors for millions of them?

Does anyone remember how Desmond Tutu changed the world? How a Black South African Anglican cleric and theologian, a man who never carried a weapon, changed 50 years of apar-theid, segregation and white-minority rule, and opened the way for majority rule and an end to separation?

None of these leaders saw all their dreams realized – in some cases the dreams veered astray but they changed history forever and did it through non-violent means. Driven by their religious beliefs, their beliefs in the humanity of all, and by their own consciences, they made the world a better place for all people, not just for their own.

These leaders were people who had plenty of human failings and who made plenty of mistakes. Yet they kept working for decades to bring their vision to an all-too-frequently blind world.

They were often opposed by their own people who thought them either too conservative or too radical.

They were opposed by their national power structures who always believed them too radical. Their lives were in constant jeopardy and their futures were never assured, and both Gandhi and King were assassinated.

Even in the midst of mortal fear they carried on. They believed so deeply that they risked everything to seek justice for all people. They knew well they could die violent deaths yet the decried the use of violence. They offered self-sacrifice we seldom see. They moved other people to follow them, they converted enemies, they offered their everything, and in Dr. King’s words they “bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice” for the entire world.

Today, justice is certainly not complete for Black Americans, Native Americans, and many immigrants; nor for the poor of all Americans, regardless of color. As a nation we have come a huge distance from my childhood in the 1950s, but we are nowhere near where we should be.

In the face of injustice, demands for justice are always to be expected. Injustices visited on so many Americans by our white culture are obvious everywhere. The demands for justice need to be heard, acknowledged, and addressed.

Today we see little willingness for self-sacrifice, or even a willingness to honestly discuss the core morality of our nation. If we are not willing to be selfless, and if we are not willing to openly confront
our nation’s historic demons, we fail both as a nation and as a people.

I hope and believe there are enough Americans of good faith to confront the demons. But I don’t expect our politicians, of any stripe, to lead the confrontation.

In our times few politicians really lead; they mostly react to their loudest or wealthiest constituents. The real leadership needs to be individual, then come together at local levels, and then move up the ladder to lead the politicians.

STERNBERG: Studies Seek Vaccine, Treatments


Studies Seek Vaccine,

But Treatments Too

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

There has been a great deal of information both published and awaiting publication in the scientific literature about COVID-19. There’s so much literature it’s sometimes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, determining how accurate information may be no matter how well-meaning the researchers.

In the treatment of COVID-19. There are no fully FDA-approved medications or treatment protocols. So far, the FDA has released EUAs (emergency use authorizations) for certain medications or use of products.

An EUA is not formal approval in the legal sense of the word but rather, in times of declared states of emergency, allows use of an unapproved product or an approved product in an unapproved manner.

This is still based on scientific evidence and requires a review process, but it is not as stringent
and time consuming as a full FDA approval, which usually takes years.

Obviously, in the situation we are in now, we don’t have years.

An article published last week online by the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed multiple studies on the effectiveness of using corticosteroids to treat COVID-19.

This showed that, in a statistical review of the pooled results of seven studies, systemic (intravenous) use of corticosteroids decreases the mortality rate of patients with severe COVID-19 by 20 percent.

The interim review of these studies so strongly showed a benefit of the use of steroids that further studies were halted since ethics required now treating all patients with severe COVID-19 with steroids.

Last week, the FDA extended its EUA for remdesivir, an antiviral drug. Previously, this drug had been allowed only for severe cases of COVID-19 with respiratory distress, but on Friday a statement was issued stating that, on the basis of all the literature available, the FDA felt it was reasonable to believe that Veklury (remdesivir) may be effective in the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in all hospitalized adult and pediatric patients and that the potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of its use.

The report did go on to say that more study was necessary to determine and confirm these results and to determine which patients stood to benefit most and at what dosage and over how long a course. The study was performed by the NIH.

In the early days of the pandemic, when there was spiking of cases in the U.S. and especially the Northeast, physicians used ventilators based on what they knew from other disease processes.

Based on what has been tried and learned from treating COVID-19, protocols have been
changed dramatically. Even determining which patients will benefit from a ventilator has been reconsidered.

Finally, one thing that I found particularly exciting was the use of Artificial Intelligence in helping to find treatments. AI is being used to predict what drug combinations in specific combinations and doses might be effective.

AI can cross-reference all known information about how a drug works and dosage schedules with those of other drugs and recommend treatment applications.

For example, while remdesivir has been proven to be statistically effective and, so far, is the most effective anti-viral treatment known, it still is not anywhere near universally effective.

An HIV medication, lopinavir/ritonavir, which had been tested and found lacking against COVID-19 when used by itself, has been suggested as making remdesivir more effective when combined. Based on the prediction, a study is in progress.

Scientists are not just waiting for an effective vaccine to try to prevent COVID-19 infection but continue to actively work on treatments for people who already have the disease. As time goes by, more information will be found and will be better vetted so that treatment options improve.

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