News of Otsego County


Life sketches by Terry Berkson: Too stuck up for Thanksgiving

Life sketches by Terry Berkson:
Too stuck up for Thanksgiving

Several years ago, two friends from Richfield, Tiger Goodale and Rootie Marriot, came up the drive with what they thought was a good story for me to write.

They had been in the Genesee, one of the local watering holes, when this guy came in and told how he or some other one-legged man — they didn’t make it clear — was up in a tree, building a stand for hunting, when his prosthetic leg fell off and landed on the ground right under the nose of his Saint Bernard.

It sounded like a good story. It reminded me, in fact, of celebrated writer Flannery O’Connor’s tale where a man romances a woman in a hay mow just so he can run off with her wooden leg. When I pressed them for details, they told me I had better get them straight from the horse’s mouth and gave me a phone number to call, which I did, but there was no answer, so I just left my name and number on the answering machine.

Bound Volumes 11-25-21

Bound Volumes

Education – Mr. Bond offers his services to the
inhabitants of Otsego Village to give Lessons in a new and fashionable style of Dancing. Mr. B. proposes to give his first Lesson on Friday Evening next, at Stephen Fitch’s Hall in said village, where he solicits the patronage of the Parents and Guardians of Young Masters and Misses who may wish to encourage this accomplishment. Satisfactory references will be given by applying to Mr. Isaac Williams. Terms Three Dollars, to be paid at the close of the School.
November 23, 1811

COVID and kids: disparate strategies point to need for vaccine

COVID and kids
Disparate strategies point to need for vaccine

By Richard Sternberg M.D.

The amount of information regarding COVID in children and the risks and benefits of vaccination is overwhelming and as reported even varies from country to country.

There is no clear-cut consensus on anything in the younger age groups other than that the risk of developing a case requiring treatment, hospitalization, or leading to death is lower if the patient is younger. Still, the risks of vaccine complications in the very young have so far been trivial, with no deaths or hospitalizations in pre-clinical studies reported in the United States.

News from the Noteworthy by Leaf: Audacious Gratitude

News from the Noteworthy by Leaf:
Audacious Gratitude

Definition: An intrepidly bold and daring willingness to appreciate even the smallest things of life in the face of difficult circumstances.

When I write guest editorials for this newspaper, I typically write as Julie, the Executive Director of LEAF. When I was asked to write this one, I decided to write it as just me, Julie. I am a wife, sister, dog-mom, public speaker, problem-solver, musician, photographer, and a woman in long-term recovery from addiction.

It is that last part of who I am that taught me about the wonders of audacious gratitude. I will tell you that there were times in my journey that if just one more of my recovering peers told me to write a
gratitude list, I would have been tempted to throw the nearest solid object at them. Fortunately, I never did that. There was a lesson to be learned in the sage advice of those who cared about me.

Opinion by Ted Potrikus: A string of Merls: … puzzles that entertain

Opinion by Ted Potrikus:
A string of Merls: … puzzles that entertain

It’s not just a crossword puzzle, it’s a Merl Reagle crossword puzzle.

Mr. Reagle stole the show — unintentionally, I’m sure — in the 2006 movie “Wordplay.” It’s a documentary about crossword tournaments and the people who compete therein; The New York Times crossword editor and NPR star Will Shortz take up a lot of space in the movie, which also features former President Bill Clinton, Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Mussina, and comedian Jon Stewart waxing poetic about their love of the Times crossword.

But it’s Merl Reagle who outshines them all, constructing another masterpiece puzzle from scratch using only a blank grid, a pencil, and his uncanny wit. We meet him when he’s driving past a Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Unkind Donuts,” he says. “You just take the ‘d’ from the beginning of the word and move it to the end.”
I’m delighted that beginning this week, and exclusively to our print editions, The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta will publish a puzzle from the giant stack of Mr. Reagle’s “best-of.” Sadly, he passed away in 2015; mercifully, his puzzles remain, filled with zip and fun and humor. Sometimes tough, but always entertaining.

Editorial: Small business, every day

Small business, every day

We publish this week on “Black Friday,” the day in the calendar year when the nation’s retailers would sell so much merchandise to Christmas shoppers that their operations for the entire year would stop running in the red and move into the black.

It really is not the busiest shopping day of the year — these days, that comes a couple of days before Christmas itself, when all of us wake up and realize that we’re almost out of time. But “Black Friday,” with its traditional-as-Turkey doorbuster sales now beginning weeks before the actual day itself, was such a great marketing brand that Internet merchants jumped at the chance to corner the start of the following work week as “Cyber Monday.” And it worked: that’s the day that all of us, while we’re supposed to be hard at work at our desks, are instead using office time to go to this-or-that-dot-com and load up.

Letter by John A. Rudy

Letter by John A. Rudy

To the Editor:
I read with interest your article (“Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County,” Nov. 11, 2021) skewering left-wing Democrats and blaming them for the losses sustained by Democratic candidates in some of this year’s local elections in New York State.

I hope that you will apply the same caustic criticism to Republicans when they lose in 2022 in Otsego County and elsewhere because of their cavorting with right-wing fanatics who brandish Confederate and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and various Trump slogans on their clothes, trucks and lawns. Our county and your esteemed paper will both be the better for it.

John A. Rudy

Vaccine Clinic

Vaccine Clinic

Children got COVID-19 vaccine shots during Otsego County’s first vaccination clinic for kids ages five to twelve, in the Oneonta High School gym on November 11, 2021. Nearly 300 children received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the day, according to County Director of Public Health Heidi Bond. Overall, Otsego County COVID cases have begun to rise again. The county has had 4,206 confirmed cases of COVID in 2021 — one out of every 14 residents — and more than twice as many as in 2020.

Opinion by Ted Potrikus: Fiona and Bob had to make way for the AG

Opinion by Ted Potrikus:
Fiona and Bob had to make way for the AG

I didn’t want to think about politics last week. My wife and I were on a brief vacation, planned long before the opportunity arose to join the staff here at The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.

We kept our plans — it was a drive to Cincinnati to see Fiona the Hippo at the zoo (really — look her up, because it’s a very sweet story and who knew that hippos were so entertaining?) and to see Bob Dylan in concert. Both were magnificent.

Oh, but New York’s political scene doesn’t give much rest to those of us who find some sort of interest or odd entertainment value in its inner workings. It’s when the inside baseball spills out into the public that it becomes far more serious than “entertainment value.”

I wrote last week about the kerfuffle to come in the Democratic primary for Governor and touched on the equally important race for Attorney General. The office of New York’s ‘AG’ — an abbreviation sometimes expanded as “Aspiring Governor” — assumed a far more public policy leadership role back in the days of Eliot Spitzer. Andrew Cuomo rehabilitated his flagging political career when he took the AG post in 2006; Eric Schneiderman was well on his way to greater political office until his career imploded in the wake of scandal in 2018.

Opinion by Richard Sternberg: Hey Aaron Rodgers, Man Up!

Opinion by Richard Sternberg:
Hey Aaron Rodgers, Man Up!

Last week a friend told me a story that should have surprised me, but unfortunately I was inured to. In fact, you could say I had been immunized to the situation.

Her friend who she had worked with frequently over the past few months, came up to her smiling and announced that he had finally “bit the bullet” and had gotten vaccinated against COVID. He had refused up to that point because of concerns he heard about, mostly from the internet. My friend was a bit shocked because the other person had previously told her that he was immunized when they first started working on a project together several months previously.

When questioned about that, he said that he was sure that she would insist on wearing masks and even working remotely from each other if he told her that he weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. He really hated wearing a mask and wanted to work together. He was immunized, just not against COVID. He had, after all, been immunized as a child against measles, mumps, chicken pox, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. He finally acknowledged that he knew he was misleading but insisted he had made a true statement.

News from the noteworthy: Giving back: A Springbrook reflection

News from the noteworthy:
Giving back
A Springbrook reflection


You may have noticed the opinion pieces I’ve shared recently (thank you AllOtsego for sharing community voices!). Springbrook is a diverse organization with many talented leaders. This month, I asked The Springbrook Foundation’s Director of Development, Stacey Grady, to share her perspective with the community. Her contribution is below.–Patricia Kennedy, CEO Springbrook.

When I arrived in Otsego County as a Hartwick College freshman, I never imagined I would find my forever home. Yet, I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. And it’s here that I have found a community filled with kind and generous people. In my role at Springbrook, I have the opportunity to see this generosity each day — from the parent who makes homemade cookies for the staff of their child’s on-campus residence, to the local businesses that create opportunities for the people we support. As we move into the giving season, I do what I can to set time aside to reflect, practice gratitude, be with family and friends, and support those in need. While living here, I have found so many opportunities around me to commit some of my time, knowledge, and care in giving back, some of which I’d love to share with you.

Editorial: How was it? A big success

How was it? A big success


We salute the Cooperstown Central School’s varsity boys’ soccer team for a 2021 season that was a resounding success, a joy to witness, and a giant step forward on our slow walk ‘back to normal.’

We send that same salute to the Cherry Valley/ Springfield boys’ varsity soccer team, Cooperstown’s girls varsity swimmers, Oneonta’s boys’ varsity cross country runners, the Head of the Fish and Head of the Charles rowers, and every other school team and athlete who got out there and played your game.

Take a bow, too, you coaches, assistants, volunteers, parents, teachers, bus drivers, car caravan coordinators, and anyone who guided and supported players along their ways, then made sure the sports stepped aside for homework and other school duties.

Letter by Gary A. Wehner

Letter by Gary A. Wehner


To the Editor:

The September decision by the Otsego County Board of Representatives to implement a county-run emergency medical services (EMS) system is an unfortunate and ill-informed solution to the very serious problem of inadequate volunteer rural EMS in Otsego County. To the best of my knowledge, this plan was adopted without any public hearing or other public comment.

Bound Volumes 11-18-21

Bound Volumes

135 Years Ago
Notice: Removal – The hop business of D. Wilber & Son has been removed from Milford to Oneonta. Office room has been secured in rooms opposite Brown’s Hardware on Main Street, where we will be pleased to see our friends. All letters intended for D. Wilber & Son should be addressed to Oneonta instead of Milford, as formerly.

The Old Badger: A little of Eva

The Old Badger:
A little of Eva

First Published September 5, 1984

The following are excerpts from previous badgers pertinent to an event which ended 50 years ago this month.

The murder trial stretched out… The defense attorney’s request for a change of venue was turned down by the judge… the newspaper called the request “BOSH”… the defense wanted the body exhumed… Two hundred prospective jurors were named… members of the media crowded into town… More than 70 witnesses would be called… The District Attorney’s outline of the crime was called a “fairy story” by the defense… Photographs of scenes of the crime were called “trick pictures” by the defense…

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