Yesterday morning I looked out the window and saw that a puffball was emerging from the ground at the edge of a hedgerow bordering our back lawn. It reminded me of an incident that occurred many years ago. I had taken my son and his friend, Junior, puffball hunting on a farm just outside of Warren off of Route 20. What’s different about a puffball from others in the mushroom family is that they can grow out of the ground overnight. And, if you don’t find and pick them in time when they are still pure white and firm, they dry out and shrink to a paper-like sphere that emits a dusty cloud of spores when squeezed, hence the name puffball.
It was early in the season and I wasn’t sure we’d find anything, but with the cooler weather already upon us I was looking forward to a quiet walk in the woods. Maybe we’d even spot some deer. The boys were about 8 or 9 and were excited to be on an expedition, but they crashed through the woods, talking and laughing and slapping tree trunks with sticks. It wasn’t the calm nature walk that I had hoped for and for sure we weren’t going to see any deer so, to get some peace, I lied and told them that if they made too much noise the puffballs would suck themselves back into the ground. That seemed to quiet the boys, but after an hour of searching we didn’t find anything.
Multiple Shots in One Arm? Picking whether to give both shots in the same arm or separate arms seems to be a matter of debate and speculation rather than hard science when giving more than one vaccine at the same time. Some, including the White House, advocate giving both shots in one arm spaced at least one inch apart while others advocate using different arms for each. Many pediatricians, who often have to administer four or five shots to a baby at once, are habitual splitters. “If there’s more than one vaccine syringe to give to a baby, generally, two legs are used,” “If there’s a local reaction to the vaccine, you can identify which vaccine it was if you separate them by space.” (The author of the article had a more painful reaction in her left arm, where she received the COVID shot. Others have reported the same disparity.)
Assemblyman Brian Miller has been a highly effective representative for this region throughout his tenure in Albany. He is seeking another term this November in a reconfigured district and many voters may not be aware of his commitment to service. Allow me to describe a few of his qualities in hopes that it may inform decisions when residents enter the ballot booth.
Assemblyman Miller works toward common sense results. His background in engineering leads him to find solutions by building broad support from both sides of the political aisle. Brian is well-respected by his Assembly colleagues because of his temperament and genuine desire to work in the best interest of those he represents.
Brian has surrounded himself with a staff that shares his commitment to service. Brian and his team have helped dozens of business owners navigate the labyrinth of state agency regulations, brought big-issue concerns to the attention of officials, and have connected communities with resources needed to grow.
As a result of the redistricting process, Brian Miller will no longer be my Assembly representative. I will, however, continue to treasure our friendship and rely on his knowledge. I look forward to his continued service to our region.
This being the start of another school year, and for some the first, I would like to offer from my perspective a few remarks about the state of our school today. The last number of school years, particularly the most recent two and a half, have been rocky and unique in many ways. As this is the start of my 30th year on the school board, I could go on about how different public education has become, but let me say first what has not changed — the value and importance of teachers and support staff. These are the people who students see and interact with every day. What has changed in no small way are the uncertainties and pressures under which they have had to work during the long COVID restrictions. This should be enough to warrant community-wide admiration. But to this, add the not so visible demands placed upon them by New York State for data collection and reporting, attention to social/emotional lives of children, documentation of NYS Standards adherence, and the external haunt of school violence. These have made their jobs much more. Our school employs an impressive new generation of professionals in every position who maintain concern and caring for each child and young adult in the building.
There are increasing studies on Social Determinants of Health which are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. While domestic violence affects people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic classes, and religious affiliations, the effects of domestic violence can result in a wide array of issues, ranging from broken bones to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
More and more healthcare providers are screening for domestic violence. But it’s difficult for survivors to admit or talk about. Which is why it is important to repeatedly call attention to domestic violence because it is not only a crime but a health crisis as well. The Violence Intervention Program at Opportunities for Otsego, Inc. joins hundreds of domestic violence programs and coalitions around the country in declaring that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
More prevalent than most realize, one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual identity or orientation, or socio-economic status, can become a victim of domestic violence. This year’s campaign theme, #Every1KnowsSome1, strives to highlight how common domestic violence is and that it is more than physical violence.
Last year, in Otsego County, the Violence Intervention Program at Opportunities for Otsego, Inc. assisted over 180 victims of violence, answered over 800 Hotline calls on our 24/7 staffed Crisis Hotline, and provided emergency shelter to over 20 victims at our Safe Shelter.
The Violence Intervention Program 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 607.432.4855. This program’s services are free and completely confidential. The program can assist with individual counseling, legal advocacy, medical advocacy and accompaniment, Crime Victims Compensation Assistance and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Dan Maskin Chief Executive Officer Opportunities for Otsego
Lately, I find myself thinking about those generations past and especially the one dubbed the “greatest.”
How would they deal with this moment we’re in?
I think it’s a safe bet that many would step up and pitch in to support the effort.
That’s what much of a generation did in the 1940s. And I am betting on their descendants, in this 2022 version of Oneonta, doing that again.
This time, it’s not the forces of an army that threaten us, but the gloomy reality of a post-pandemic world. Where a decades-long demographic shift — an exodus from the city, the town, the county, the state, and the northeast — coupled with an equally challenging worker shortage, has put us very much at risk.
September was the 50th anniversary of the TV premier of MASH. The Smithsonian Museum has a new special exhibit that includes one of the iconic props from the TV show, the sign post with the distances to places all around the world.
In 1983, the museum had a special exhibit called MASH: Binding Up the Wounds, that I visited twice.
The program was about people thrown into what to them, with their technical and scientifically based training, was a completely absurd situation: an army hospital near the front lines during the Korean War.
What started out as a broad comedy quickly took on emotional issues about war, life and making a family of those around you in such an environment. The Korean War background was really a metaphor for the war in Vietnam which was still raging when the show came on the air.
September is pretty much behind us, with its very warm and, at other times, quite chilly days and nights, and some torrential rains. It’s been like most of the Septembers around here, only the temperature fluctuations this year have been more drastic, and the thunderstorms have been more ferocious, felling trees and scattering branches and scaring children and dogs.
And now, as we run smack into the pumpkins and foliage and the eventual Jack Frost of October, we barrel right into the beginning of the great season of The Hunt. On the very first day of the coming month the seasons for coyote (until March 26), ruffed grouse (until February 28), pheasant (until February 28), bear (until December 20) and deer (until January 1), among others, open. All but deer may be shot with guns, but for the deer it’s a bit more complicated. The bow season runs from October 1 – November 18, the crossbow from November 5 – 18, the muzzleloader from December 12 – 20 and December 26 – January 1, the shotgun from November 19 – December 11, and the late bowhunting alongside the muzzleloaders from December 12 – 20 and December 26 – January 1. There are kids’ weekends, too.
While I wish to thank the Clark Foundation for their generous comments regarding the flower bed in front of the Cooperstown Art Association sign, I would be remiss if I failed to thank the many people who have aided me in this endeavor over the past years.
One should note a large maple tree adjacent to this garden bed. Every spring, using forks and a mechanical tiller, the maple roots are removed from the garden bed, and peat moss and fertilizer worked into the soil under direction of Ms. Deborah Ackerman.
Over the years Ms. Ackerman and I have tried various combinations of flowers that included petunias, coleus, marigolds, and alyssum, to name a few. These have been especially ordered in the early spring from Mrs. Laurie Schmidt of Sunnycrest, Sharon Springs. These plants have consistently arrived very fresh and ready to plant. This year we tried a variety of zinnias obtained from Mr. Harry C. Teich of Hartwick. Everyone has praised this planting such that we plant to repeat it next year with a few additions.
So while I thank the Clark Foundation for their praise, I have included the other people who have made this display such an attractive one each year! They also should share in the credit for the above accolade.
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, we begin to think of heading back to Texas. But we never leave before the closing event of the season: the plant auction at Carefree Gardens on October 10, Columbus Day.
One of our great pleasures at Cooperstown is our time spent at Carefree and at Origins Café, where, if I’m lucky, I get to shoot the breeze with my pal Brent Leonard. There are various versions of what Paradise may be like, but I prefer the Muslim one: a fragrant garden filled with bubbling fountains, with food and drinks served by beautiful women. I think I’ll convert to Islam so that when I die, if I’ve lived a good life, I’ll get to go to Origins Café and Carefree Gardens.
Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County is one of the local chapters, called affiliates, of Habitat for Humanity International. Our official mission is “seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope” with a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
In the early 1970s, on a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, Linda and Millard Fuller developed their idea of “partnership housing,” in which those in need of adequate shelter worked side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. Thanks in no small part to the personal involvement of former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn and the awareness they have raised, Habitat now works in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries. The key to Habitat is partnering with potential homeowners. Partner families actively participate, actually wielding hammers and drills to build their own homes.
A little over a year ago The Freeman’s Journal put forth an editorial on the subject of electric vehicle chargers, which were at the time pretty scarce within the Village and, in fact, even outside the Village. The reason we explored the local availability of these chargers was, of course, that our tiny historic Village has been, and is, the destination of myriad urban baseball, sports, scenic and music explorers whose mode of transportation to Cooperstown is increasingly an electric or hybrid vehicle. We know this because there are signs of them throughout the Village, many of them silently sitting with silently draining batteries in the parking lots of the hotels, museums and baseball parks.
I like Joe Biden. By that I mean I like him personally. I lived in the state of Delaware, in Sussex County, the southernmost of Delaware’s three counties, between 2000 and 2008. While there are beach communities hugging its eastern Atlantic shore and a small city, Seaford, anomalously hugging its western, most land locked area, the majority of the county is rural. The area is jokingly called Lower Slower Delaware. Many of the people come from families that have been there for 350 years. Most of the land is planted in feed corn for the millions of chickens that are raised there. Perdue is headquartered just across the border in Salisbury, MD and Mountaire Farms is headquartered in Millsboro, DE. Tysons has a very large presence. What I’m trying to say is that this is an area where things are very less formal and life moves a little slower. It’s a small state so the people involved in politics tend to know each other. It’s a state that, at least when I lived there, Democrats and Republicans after the elections got on very well with each other.
It is an opportunity to celebrate with those who, through one path or another, have survived the disease of addiction. One well-known path is a 12-step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon, where groups of peers support each other through meetings, fellowship, and “working the steps.”
Regardless of their path, many in recovery use the arts, writing, poetry, and photography as expressions of healing. I know I did!
This poem (or set of poems) came from pondering the 12 steps.
It is a “Haiku Cycle.” I was drawn to the simplicity of envisioning each step as a short description of nature as the life of recovery moves through all of the four seasons.