News of Otsego County

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

Letters To The Editor

NORTHRUP: Hotter World = More Fires

Hotter World

= More Fires

To the Editor:

Like everything else, the wildfires in California have been politicized by President Trump, who blames them on “bad forest management.”

Catch is, most of what’s burning are not trees, much less “forests” but grass and shrubs.

We lived in California for years. Except for the Sierras, most of California is a desert – right up to the beach. When the hot Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert to the coast, they dry the grass and shrubs to kindling, which makes for dandy fire fuel.

No “bad forest management” necessary. Not even from a Trump University Forestry major.

These fires, which have been recurring seasonally since the last Ice Age, are getting worse, but not
because someone neglected to “sweep the forest.”

As long as grass and brush grow in California, there will be fires. The hotter the earth, the more the fires.

That’s true everywhere in the world. Even Upstate. No politics necessary.


DUNCAN: If Laws Don’t Work, Let’s Try A Little Tenderness

If Laws Don’t Work, Let’s

Try A Little Tenderness

To the Editor:

It always amazed me to see the picturesque and charming villages in Vermont. How is it that the townsfolk work together to create what I think are charming well keep towns?

What you see with your eyes effects your health. This is an ancient concept that has now been proven by modern science. Isn’t that one of the reasons we live in the country? The beauty of nature and the seasons.

Autos and trucks have no use just sitting and resting, abandon on front lawns. The rain washes the chemicals from the vehicle into the ground and into the drinking water.  I’m not sure what people get from seeing their old beaten-up cars sitting around on their front lawn or driveway?

Mowing grass is a pain to me. I am planting more and more flowers and small fruit trees – that equals less and less grass to mow!

The Town of Hartwick’s attempt at threatening people with jail or fines is just a power game so that a few people get their way.

Better to use compassion. Form a community for the beautification of Hartwick, a group of people that helps their neighbor on Saturdays. A discussion on health and design. Educate, don’t threaten and punish. That only isolates and infuriates.

It is time we started dealing with things on a local level, as just plain neighbors and friends. Don’t try and equate everything in terms of money.

Oh, by the way my neighbor’s dog barks a lot…any suggestions?


Hartwick Forrest

FRAZIER: County Manager Job Won’t Pay For Itself


Frazier: County Manager

Job Won’t Pay For Itself

Editor’s Note:  Mr. Frazier’s letter arrived after this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal had gone to press, and is published here so the public may review it before the first information meeting on the county manager position, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 14, at Oneonta City Hall.  A second is planned at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the county courthouse in Cooperstown.

Ed Frazier is county representative from District 1, Unadilla. ( photo)

To the Editor:

I am about to complete my fourth term on the Otsego County Board of Representatives as the District 1 representative for Unadilla. I was recently re-elected to serve my fifth two-year term. It is an honor and a privilege to serve my district. “Thank you” to all that chose to vote for me.

I do not take the duties of the position lightly. A primary responsibility, in my opinion, is fiduciary. Safeguarding the money that our taxpayers send to Cooperstown is a fundamental obligation of my office. Thus, this letter.

Some of my fellow representatives have spent time discussing the development of, and job duties for, a “centralized leadership position” for Otsego County. By creating and filling a county administrator position, they feel the right candidate will be able to identify and fix any so-called “inefficiencies” in our county government.

They contend that the savings from correcting these inefficiencies will more than cover the expenses of the position. That is hogwash.

SCOVIRO: Keep Town Justices, Police Separate

Keep Town Justices,

Police Separate

To the Editor:

Delaware County, where I previously served as Delhi town justice, did not have the apparent problems as indicated in Otsego County concerning the arraignment of arrestee.

I was available for those early morning arraignments, sometimes covering for an unavailable justice court judge.

One such arraignment was for a burglary committed at a far end of this county. The arresting officer thought it was to his advantage to disregard calling perhaps five judges, called me at 3 a.m. in Delhi, have the arraignment, then dump the prisoner off at the Delaware County jail, which was a few minutes away, and then go to his home, and bed.

Needless to say, he was told, try that again, and see what happens.

The flaw with that is the problem within the meaning of our three branches of government. Years ago, the local town or village courts were called “police justice courts.” I like to think a local judge figured that one out, and had that name changed.

There are approximately 1,900 local justices in the states’ 62 counties.

That, along with ancillary costs, are funded by the local municipal governments, for which the state remits a small percentage of the total fines received.

Yes, system improvements need to be done, one of them might be called “district judges” similar to what I’ve witnessed while visiting Westchester, Pa., several years ago, funded by that state.

This state has superior control of the actions of the local justices, and the procedures within the courtroom, and yet, it only contributes that small percentage of fines monies, and let’s not forget a rather large New York State surcharge that the local judges must impose, whether the defendant is fined, or not.

Most importantly, we cannot have a courtroom in a police facility.

Delhi Town Justice (retired)

CROUSE-POWERS: Ogden Will Be Problem-Solver Working For District 3, County

Ogden Will Be Problem-Solver

Working For District 3, County

To the Editor:

I’m so pleased that Caitlin Ogden is running to represent District 3 (Laurens-Otego) on the county Board of Representatives.

Caitlin brings to the race a life of public service. She spent her high school years volunteering to help rescued marine life.

She moved to New York seeking open spaces and a sense of community often found in Upstate New York, and over her 13 years in New York, she has strived to give back to her community.

She has made a career working in the non-profit industry with a special fondness for museums. A graduate of SUNY Oneonta with a master of arts degree, Caitlin has continued to seek ways to be active in her community, even plunging into Goodyear Lake in February’s annual Polar Bear Jump.

Caitlin’s career in non-profits and as a grant writer has given her the background to work on the county’s behalf: project management, communication, creative approaches to complex problems.

Her understanding of political office as public service means she knows her role is to be an advocate, to work for her neighbors, not for herself.

I’m supporting Caitlin Ogden for county board because we need a problem solver who will work for Laurens and Otego and all of Otsego County.





AVANZATO: Drnek Knows How To Promote Business

Drnek Knows How

To Promote Business

To the Editor:

It’s nice to see young people getting involved in politics, so I commend Josh Bailey for running for Oneonta Common Council in Ward 8.  However, we are at a time where experience and a historical perspective are warranted.

I have known Mark Drnek for over 25 years and he has always had a good handle on what Oneonta needs and how to improve our community. The SweetHome Oneonta calendar alone has been valuable in attracting both tourists and locals for years into our community and local businesses.

As a business owner, Mark has a long history of working with local Oneonta businesses to compete in an increasingly difficult economy.  Through the creation of SweetHome Productions, Mark has helped my business, along with many other Oneonta businesses to advertise and gain exposure to attract customers.

Both myself and Mark were local radio hosts for over 20 years.  Mark continues to represent Oneonta in two dozen radio stations across the country with the Blue Light Central.  Mark Drnek has been Oneonta’s spokesperson for many years so far, without even holding a political office.

Mark is deeply committed to the Oneonta community and his expertise and experience are gravely needed at point.  He has invested in Oneonta as a resident and businessman and Mark’s vision for Oneonta is to keep the economy stable through local jobs and job growth in the local area.  His understanding of small, local business is a key to upholding this small “City of the Hills”.

He realizes the resources available within our area and is committed to utilizing local businesses rather than hiring outside consultants, and other workers. Therefore the money spent stays here in the local economy.

This candidacy is not about political party but for the future security and well being of Oneonta.

Experience and deep commitment are key to the success of City Council and I support Mark Drnek because I believe he is the best candidate for the job.


Former owner

Stella Luna Restaurant


MARIETTA: Bi-Partisanship Moving Otsego County Forward

Bi-Partisanship Moving

Otsego County Forward

To the Editor:

I’ve driven all over New York State and worked with community organizations and their leaders, and there is a commonality that unites them all: an investment in a better future.

The same can be said for Otsego County, where success and momentum are building.

Our county has no shortage of dedicated and committed leaders who put service to their communities first and strive to improve them.

It isn’t politics that prompt people to contribute to their community.  As we look to the future of Otsego County, there is great potential for making our region a draw for business development and new residents.

This future is dependent on strengthening our infrastructure and putting systems and tools in place to make Otsego County competitive and give us a fighting chance.

Our county government is a piece to this puzzle, and we are finally making an investment in county infrastructure, which has been long delayed and ignored.

Part of this process has been two years of due diligence in looking at a county administrator position (and one can’t ignore the many, many years of past discussions and debate on this topic by our predecessors), which culminated recently in the approval of a local law and position by our Administration Committee that will next be considered for approval Nov. 6 by our full county board.

This effort is increasing the momentum pushing Otsego County forward to attract new investment and interest in our towns.  Politics are not what have made this possible, but partnership and unified vision.

With this in mind, I am writing to endorse my fellow county board colleagues Dave Bliss, Meg Kennedy and Peter Oberacker.

I started with them on the county board in 2016, and with their support, we have made strides to work smarter and more effectively.  We may represent different parties, but our effort is a bi-partisan one.

With the upcoming election on Nov. 5, and the emphasis on party, I would ask my fellow community members from across the county to consider making an investment in keeping us on the path of improvement.

Consider not what party we represent, but the future we offer.

In addition to Bliss, Kennedy and Oberacker, I support my colleague Michelle Farwell, who has made a tremendous contribution in her first two years on the Board.  And finally, I am supporting Caitlin Ogden, who is not a political pawn, but an investment in the future success of Otsego County.


County Representative

Town of Otsego/Cooperstown

SERAFIN: Passion, Determination, Confidence Define Tonner

Passion, Determination,

Confidence Define Tonner

To the Editor:

Passion, determination, and confidence. If I were asked to describe Ward 5 Common Council candidate Danielle Tonner in three words, those three would describe her perfectly!

I have known Danielle for approximately 17 years, mainly due to our children attending school together. Often, our paths cross in school, on the field or court, or in some local shopping venue.

Naturally, our discussions lead to what the future of Oneonta looks like as we are both raising the next generation of voters and decision-makers. We have a vested interest in our community.

Firstly, let me stress how passionate Danielle is about making a difference and ensuring the vitality of Oneonta. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s in Social Science, so she has prepared herself educationally for a political position where she can make a difference.

I have witnessed her interaction with others when she sees that policy changes were needed for the benefit of all. She stresses her points, provides the reasons why, and then prepares to push hard for her beliefs.

Then comes determination. Danielle feels it is extremely important to become involved in her local government by uniting members toward common goals. She understands that most individuals want the basics like employment, affordable housing, and more local business.

She is eager to be in a position to obtain more grants like the DRI so that tax dollars come back to our community. Furthermore, she can and will make sure that whatever is developed in our region is done so with as much green energy as possible.

Last, but certainly not least, Danielle has the confidence to get the job done. She has been employed by SUNY Oneonta for over 13 years. The key relationships she has created on campus will be very beneficial when working with the city.

She will be a fully transparent member, making sure that she is knowledgeable about the issues and providing viable, working solutions. Her convictions are strong, and she has experience, knowledge, and desire to back them up.

I have no doubt she will thrive when elected as Council member!



HUNTSMAN: Basile Qualified For Seat On Otsego County Board

Basile Qualified For Seat

On Otsego County Board

To The Editor:

I’m writing today in enthusiastic support of Jill Basile, candidate for Otsego County Board, District 14, (Wards 7-8).

I have gotten to know Jill through her volunteer work for the Susquehanna SPCA, on whose board she also serves.  Time and again, in a crunch when volunteers are crucial, she rolls up her sleeves, literally, and gets to work, no matter how dirty the job.  She gives back in other ways too: She’s served as director of Oneonta Reading is Fundamental since 2017.

Jill’s background, education, and work experience also impress me.  She was raised in Otsego County and knows our region very well. Her undergraduate education in business and master’s in Student Affairs Administration prepared her for a productive career managing college facilities, developing programs and educating students and advisers alike.

Her fine work at Hartwick College earned her the Adviser of the Year Award, 2010-11.  She currently serves as academic adviser at SUNY Delhi’s School of Nursing, a position she has held since 2014.

In addition, she has valuable experience in human services, having worked with Opportunities for Otsego and the Child Advocacy Center. Jill has counseled people in crisis, and advocated for those without a voice.

She has facilitated the complex interface between health care providers, law enforcement, schools and social services when families, individuals or children are in peril.

Jill is very well qualified for this position.  She’s a giver and gets things done – our county board would be very lucky to have her!  District 14 – vote Jill Basile on Nov. 5!


Fly Creek

MANNION: Who Knows More About Ward 8 Than Mark Drnek?

Who Knows More About

Ward 8 Than Mark Drnek?

To the Editor:

I dare you to try to find another person alive who knows more about Main Street Oneonta businesses than Mark Drnek. Mark knows the first and last names of almost every business owner in Ward 8, where he is running for Oneonta Common Council.
He knows what they sell and to whom they sell it. He knows what their businesses depend upon, thrive upon, and what they need our city to do to make them more successful.

When I heard Mark was running for office, the first words that came to mind were “Oh, thank God!”

In all my years in Oneonta, I don’t think I’ve met someone as hard-working, creative, passionate and committed to our city as Mark.

Mark volunteered his time and resources in 2011 on some promotional videos for the city. While working with Mark, I was blown away by his creative ideas for attracting visitors of all ages, local and tourist, to Main Street.

Please vote for Mark. Great things will happen to Oneonta once he is in a position to serve our city.



McHUGH: Basile Election Will Bring Energy, Openness To Board

Basile Election Will Bring

Energy, Openness To Board

To the Editor,

I would like to officially announce my support for Jill Basile who is ready to lead District 14 within the City of Oneonta into greater times. She is running for the county Board of Representatives in the hopes of bringing new energy to Ward 7-8.

As a small business owner for the past 14 years in this city, I wholeheartedly believe in and support Jill’s ideas and concepts that are going to ignite a line of open communication with those who are in a space of power in our community.

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Jill at the Susquehanna SPCA, where together we shaved matted dogs saved from a neglect case. Her energy and positive outlook can be seen in every facet of the SPCA, where you can also find her walking adoptable dogs on Main Street in the snow or ensuring the community is aware of the shelter’s needs. She is that person you go to when you need something done and you know it will be done right.

I also serve as a Community Relations & Human Rights commissioner for the City of Oneonta, and have utilized Jill’s skills and determination to assist the commission in its goals. Jill is always available, and ready for whatever concern or issue comes her way.

She is the type of individual that leads by example and leaves you feeling empowered. As a community we are lucky to have such a genuine and open individual that is going to bring compassion, new ideas and good ole hard work to our county board.

I hope you will join me in bringing about this much needed positive shift into our community, and vote for Jill!


Community Relations &

Human Rights Commissioner





MOWERS: Holleran Wants Oneontans Running Their Own Town

Holleran Wants Oneontans

Running Their Own Town

To the Editor:

As expected of me, I am going to tell it like it is!

In my almost three years serving on the Oneonta Town Board, I can assure you that Brett Holleran is by far the right candidate for the job of town board member.

Never, ever would he allow outside special-interest groups to enter town hall and take over the meeting! Others have let this happen and it’s not how he operates.

Brett has served the town since 2011, and has only focused on town residents’ interests.

Brett was born and raised in Oneonta. Local townie all his life. Didn’t roll in here from somewhere else and then try to change everything. I have a lot of respect for that.

Brett’s raising his family here and operating a business in the town, no less. Brett has also been a high school/middle school teacher for the last 24 years.

Please let Brett Holleran continue to use his experience, continue to be invested and continue to be involved in (your special interests) by reelecting Brett Holleran on Nov. 5.

Town Board member

PALUMBO: From San Diego: Support Protect Richfield Candidates

From San Diego: Support

Protect Richfield Candidates

Editor’s Note: The Palumbos who wrote this letter are not related to current Richfield Supervisor Paul Palumbo’s; Joe Palumbo is actually the son-in-law of former Supervisor Fran Enjem’s wife.

To the Editor:

Dear Town of Richfield residents and voters:

We are Joe and Jami Palumbo. While our full-time residence is in San Diego, Calif., where we work and raise our two children, we purchased a second home five years ago on Canadarago Lake. We utilize this residence as much as possible over the summers, holidays and in essence any time we can.

We both grew up in the outskirts of Richfield and currently have family and friends living in Richfield, Frankfort, New Hartford and Utica. Every March we host an annual Fundraiser called Kristin’s Fund for the sole purpose of re-eradicating domestic violence in the area.

Needless to say, we love the Richfield community, we love the beautiful area and the peaceful lifestyle it offers. It is so different from many places we have traveled to around the world and the one where we plan to make permanent when we retire.

Because of our home and ties to Richfield, we keep close tabs of the area news and follow the political scene as well. We are impressed with the comprehensive

Plan:  The vision and goals are on target with what we believe can help enhance the future of the area.

The town needs growth and a growth mindset is a start to this. We agree that updating the zoning law was very much needed. It will promote the safety, health, morals and commerce and also protect and conserve the value of our property.

We encourage the most appropriate use of the land in Richfield and believe the new zoning will increase the tax base.

We thank the board members for passing the new zoning law and thank such amazing community for understanding the benefit of it. We encourage you to vote to help promote the welfare of such a great town and community.

The town will benefit greatly if you take the time to look carefully at the ballot and vote David Simonds, Kane Seamon and Jeremy Fisher.

You simply cannot go back to the old ways, you must change or you will continue to lose opportunities.


San Diego, Calif.

MALLOY: Buccheri Understands What Laurens Needs

Buccheri Understands

What Laurens Needs

To the Editor:

I am proud to endorse Dean Buccheri for Laurens Town Supervisor.  Dean has lived, worked and volunteered in Laurens for 29 years.  He brings excellent credentials though his education, work experience, volunteering and community participation.

Dean has a BS degree in Business Economics from SUNY Oneonta and has operated a small business in the Town of Laurens for 25 years.  Dean is a past member of the Laurens Volunteer Fire Department and was Chief of the department for 5 years, where he was also a volunteer EMT.  Currently Dean is a member of Laurens Together, a non-partisan organization dedicated to improving Laurens, fostering transparency in government, encouraging cooperation, and communicating with the citizens.

Dean will enter office ready to lead. He has attended all but one town board meeting this year, and has been in communication with the Mayor of the Village of Laurens, the Laurens Town Highway Supervisor and other local municipalities in an effort to develop a positive working relationship between the Town and Village organizations.

Dean also understands the needs of local, county and state governments, having provided services through his telecommunications business where he builds 911 services. This has given him important experience working with government procurement, regulation, and other processes, as well as an understanding of building infrastructure, business negotiations, technical expertise, problem solving, customer service, and personnel management.  All of these skills, along with Deans ability to work collaboratively and focus on results, will make Dean an excellent Town Supervisor.  Dean knows that a successful outcome is one that benefits the whole community. I hope that you will join me in voting for Dean Buccheri for Town Supervisor on Nov. 5.


Mount Vision

BUTTERMANN: Jill Basile Record Show Growing Responsibility

Jill Basile Record Show

Growing Responsibility

To the Editor:

I am writing to enthusiastically suggest we vote for Jill Basile for county representative from District 14 (Ward 7-8).

I have been fortunate to get to know Jill during her campaign.  This campaign is not the start of her contributions to benefit our community either, as she has been giving to our community for many years.  Her resume is rich with experience that will greatly benefit our county in her new role.

Jill started as a resident director at Hartwick College, working to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our college students.  After Hartwick, Jill went to work for Opportunities for Otsego in its violence intervention program, then onto the county in its office for child advocacy, and now she works as an academic adviser at SUNY Delhi while raising her family right here in Oneonta.

Not only have Jill’s professional activities directly benefited our region, she also volunteers for organizations like SPCA, Reading is Fundamental and Future of Oneonta Foundation.

Jill is well equipped to take on the challenges of the board of representatives and I recommend all my friends and neighbors in District 14 cast their vote for her on Nov. 5.  Wait!  Head out now and vote early.  Vote today!




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