This is a letter I sent to Assemblyman John Salka:
Rumors and misstatements are rampant in New Lisbon about the proposed new highway garage. We don’t need a new garage! We can fix the old garage! Taxes will go up by 20%, 30% (pick a number)! There are conflicts of interest! Professional fees are exorbitant! The proposed garage is too large and too lavish! Plans are being rushed! No one is considering alternatives! And more.
He looked, with his shock of snow-white hair, like Boris Yeltsin. His bearing was ambassadorial, with all that the word implies: courteous, cordial, tactful, informed, balanced, refined.
In the Sept. 2, edition, you wrote: “There should be no shame in being unemployed because you don’t want to take a job you don’t want. If you have the ability to hold out, God bless you.”
Because experts are saying we must prepare for the new reality of flood events, I suggest the Cooperstown dam be modified to allow large drainage. Any early signs of potential catastrophic rain events approaching release as much water as possible to reduce backup. Best way to accomplish this task is to build floodgates.
I’ve been visiting your area and going to the opera for more than 20 years. This year it was Friday, Aug. 12, and we were leaving from Rochester and anticipating Mozart’s “Magic Flute” at The Glimmerglass Festival.
I rejoiced that I had remembered to look on the back of my calendar for the envelope holding the tickets I had ordered about a month before. WHAT A SHOCK! No such luck … the envelope was empty, and I was full of dread! All I could think of was having to climb back into the car and start back on Route 28 toward home.
My 12-year-old daughter just got the COVID-19 vaccine. As soon as the guidelines changed to make 12-year-olds eligible, she declared that she wanted the vaccine on her birthday. So, we made it a family excursion, just as though she were getting her ears pierced, and now she’s protected.
She is not the only 12-year-old I know who has stepped up to take that shot. Most of her eligible friends have stepped up as well. Our so-called leaders with their misinformation campaigns have failed to guide our children. I see children willing to do their part to help end this horrific virus. They have done virtual school, missed birthday parties, and distanced themselves from friends and grandparents, and they are tired of all of it.
Mr. Mellor’s recent opinion piece suggested we are well on our way to meeting state energy goals with wind and solar. Mellor looks at cost and feasibility, but the issues are more complex than he suggests.
When solar panels are in full sun — and if the electricity they produce is consumed during that time — the cost of solar is relatively cheap. That’s true. However, solar power is intermittent. Over the course of a year, a solar farm in the northeast generates just 14% of the energy that it could if the sun shone 24X7X365. That means we must build six or seven times more solar capacity to produce the same amount of energy as a baseload gas or nuclear power plant. But that’s not all. The intermittency of solar generation challenges the health of our electric grid. Getting useful energy when it’s needed with solar requires battery storage—lots of it. Wind has a somewhat better capacity factor (29% onshore), but it requires storage, too. Furthermore, the relatively random nature of intermittent generation means that anything less than an infinite-sized battery — big enough to carry months of summer sunshine through a New York winter — may not be enough. Consequently, even with storage in the mix, intermittent renewables require ‘firm’ generators of electricity as back-up to ensure reliability. To move electricity around from wind and solar installations distributed across the state will require lots more transmission infrastructure, too.
LETTER from JOHN A. RUDY
The unions representing New York state troopers and public school teachers oppose a mandatory vaccination requirement for their members. At the same time, more and more private employers are requiring vaccination by their employees as a condition of continued employment.
Conservatives regularly argue that government should emulate the private sector in its employment practices. A vaccination mandate is a good place to start.
For those state troopers and teachers who choose not to be vaccinated and thereby to ignore the risk they pose to us taxpayers and children with whom they come in contact, I suggest that they have at least two other choices:
1) find another line of work;
2) move to Florida or Texas.
John A. Rudy
LETTER from MARY-MARGARET ROBBINS-SOHNS
In regard to the pier in the lake “viewing deck,” I urge the Board of Trustees to stop spending money on tourist attractions. Rather focus on our neglected community. Sidewalks, piers, etc., don’t make a village.
Its people do.
The viewing deck/dock may sound fun, but it provides little to the community. It is not environmentally friendly and poses numerous liability issues, not to mention potentially risking our
water source. Oh, and the maintenance.
Covid-19 had a harsh impact on many members of our community mentally and physically. We have a lack of outdoor play spaces and a lack of areas where older adults have the ability to enjoy children at play. I must point out that the community would greatly benefit if these funds were spent on our children and adults. A better playground, two tennis courts/basketball courts located on the mutually owned village, Clark Foundation and school land. Or even a summer art program by the lake once a week directed by one of our marvelous not-for-profits. We need to focus on building a better community to attract and retain our healthcare workers and serve all walks of life.
The voters and taxpayers are provided so little. Stop looking gift horses in the mouth We are in fact throwing money in the lake!
The people living in the village matter too! Stop broad stroking projects because they feel good. Think about the citizens who probably are most likely unaware of this project as it was not in The Freeman’s Journal.
Let’s serve those who serve us!
Working for mindful spending and a stronger community,
Mary-Margaret E. Robbins-Sohns
LETTER from MAUREEN DILL
Recently, a friend and former colleague was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently hospitalized on Florida’s West Coast. Her initial surgical procedure was radical and she underwent many rounds of chemotherapy. She reached out to me by phone from her hospital bed two weeks ago to say she was anxious to obtain a second opinion regarding her condition and prognosis.
Her physician and “hospitalist” were repeatedly rude and abrupt, absolutely refusing to acknowledge her request for a review of her case and flatly disregarding her pleas to facilitate a “hospital-to- hospital” transfer to Moffitt’s Cancer Center.
Her siblings traveled to the Florida hospital from Massachusetts and Virginia, each of them witnessing the rude and hostile treatment their sister was receiving at the hands of somewhat arrogant professionals at the hospital. What on earth has become of compassionate care and empathy?
It seems we treat our pets — cats and dogs — with greater kindness and concern when they become ill or are near death. We need to promote legislation for “end-of-life choices” for men and women and their loved ones, rather than to leave people at the mercy of a healthcare system that appears ready to sacrifice the quality of one’s remaining days in favor of extending a person’s life and pain at any cost!
LETTER from DOUGLAS GEERTGENS
In a previous essay, I asked; Why Do We Have Schools?
Parents and other family members took on the major responsibility for teaching children whatever it was they thought they should know. As in much of the animal kingdom, the adults play a very important role in teaching their young what they need to know to survive. We are born and eventually we die. Those who best learn how to survive, usually live the longest. But is that really true for us humans?
My mother used to say, “ignorance is bliss.” There are times that I believe her, but in most cases, ignorance will not get you very far in life. When settlers first came to the New World, they embarked on a bold adventure. There were new challenges and survival was just one of them. After living in relative freedom for over 100 years, the rule of the King began to take its toll on some of those freedoms. From this frustration came the words; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Where does that quote come from? If you cannot answer that question, then our schools have failed. The founding fathers realized that if each generation after them were not taught about the reasons for the revolution and the documents developed as a result of their frustrations with the king, then the experiment would fail. They knew the importance of teaching the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States to future generations. That is one answer to the title question.
In the early days of our country, our society had that role. Parents had that role.
LETTER from PAUL CONWAY
The question of whether AllOtsego should publish any editorial opinions was raised, weeks ago, on these pages.
The importance of timely editorial opinions for readers who are often ill-informed or baffled by complex issues was obvious after the recent, very controversial, Cooperstown Board of Education meeting. Many attended or subsequently read about that meeting. The issue was whether “Critical Race Theory” should be taught in Cooperstown or elsewhere. AllOtsego had no timely editorial on the subject. Fortunately, the Oneonta Daily Star did.
As the Star editors suggested, no one has suggested that teachers should be required to teach or believe Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT is simply a theory that teachers can consider and perhaps discuss with high school students. Citizens and parents should be encouraged to google CRT online to determine for themselves whether the theory is dangerous in any way. The Star editorial suggested that teachers should not be prohibited from discussing the concept of race, or why racism exists, or whether it is systemic in our society, with their students. Presumably very few—on the political left or right—want to allow students to be politically indoctrinated. But teachers should be allowed (and encouraged) to discuss many important theories without being intimidated by hysterical parents or administrators!
LETTER from JOSH SIMPSON
Our community is fortunate to have the Friends of the Village Library to organize important conversations and events like the “Looking in the Mirror” program. I have attended a few of the series including racism in education and in healthcare and had come to expect a decent program when tuning in.
On Feb. 10, I listened to The Cooperstown Reflects on Racism and Law Enforcement Series with my wife hoping for an invigorating and forward-thinking conversation.
The event had the express goals of:
1) Examine the impact of racism on our community and institutions;
2) Learn how to confront bias and inequities locally;
3) Identify actions that individuals, groups, and the community can take to address racism and create a more equitable Cooperstown.
The speakers during their presentations and the Q&A did not address, examine or achieve any of these goals. I have spent the last four months thinking about this event and pondering what can be done to jumpstart the difficult discussion that works to foster the growth and honest conversation needed if we are to address the goals of the series.
LETTER from DOUGLAS GEERTGENS
Often when we ask ourselves a question, it brings up another question. You might ask, “what is a school?” Merriam-Webster offers that it is; “an organization that provides instruction: such as … an institution for the teaching of children.”
Okay, so why do we have these institutions known as schools? For as long as there have been humans, there has been the need for the young to learn. Some learning is instinctive.
Some learning is necessary for survival. Each civilization had its own reasons beyond that for children to learn. It may have been to perpetuate the culture. It may have been to reinforce the religion or other beliefs. It may have been to go beyond just basic survival and learn how to enhance life.