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News of Otsego County

Opinion

HOMETOWN HISTORY: April 15, 2021

HOMETOWN HISTORY

April 15, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

135 Years Ago

Home & Vicinity – Wm. McCrum has bought the house and lot on Centre Street at the head of Dietz Street from Wm. Peck. Mr. McCrum owns a plot of several acres north of Centre Street and it is his intention to open a street through it, thereby throwing upon the market about 20 building lots, some of them most desirable. The new street will start from Centre Street, a few rods east of Dietz Street, running directly through the center of Mr. McCrum’s property.
A change in the school law requiring one-half of the public monies to be divided among the districts equally causes the amount to be distributed much larger in the rural counties this year than formerly. As a result, every school district which furnished a public school the required number of weeks received for that purpose this year $66. The balance of the school money is apportioned according to the school census and attendance, as formerly.

April 1886

DOHNER: Where Was Trump In Virtual Medicine?
LETTER from ERIC DOHNER

Where Was Trump

In Virtual Medicine?

To the Editor:

In his column, “Life in the Time of Covid-19,” Richard Sternberg forgets to credit the person responsible for making Medicare, Medicaid and all insurers pay for virtual visits – Donald Trump.

The former president also required the states to accept virtual doctor visits across state lines, which was a huge stumbling block for online medical care.

ERIC DOHNER
Binghamton

A Great American – And Texan

A Great American – And Texan

Ramsey Clark In Long Line Of Lone Star Progressives

Ramsey Clark poses with Joe Stillman, the Oneonta filmmaker who produced “Citizen Clark: A Life of Principle,” the
only film that recounts the life of the
Texan and LBJ attorney general who spent his last 50 years seeking to right wrongs

Ramsey Clark has always been one of my all-time heroes.

Chip Northrup

He came from a long line of Texas progressive (liberal) Democrats, starting with Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and President Lyndon B. Johnson, which ended with George W. Bush’s defeat of Gov. Anne Richards.

What drove all of these politicians were two things – an absolute horror of the devastation of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression – which Rayburn and LBJ lived through – and a moral conviction to use politics to help people.

Their idol in this regard was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom Rayburn served and LBJ idolized. Their loyalty was not misplaced. LBJ was from the Texas Hill Country, which was one of the last areas in the United States without rural electrification – before FDR.

Think “The Grapes of Wrath.”

WEBB: Contribution, Not Good Governance, Resulted in Blinking-Sign Placement
LETTER from JOHN B. WEBB

Contribution, Not Good Governance,

Resulted in Blinking-Sign Placement

New on Pioneer St. Where next?

To the Editor,

Upper Pioneer Street has been defaced by the installation of a large solar-powered speed sign, the kind usually found in commercial districts or at the entrance to municipalities. Around the clock, it flashes the speed of all approaching cars along with a digital display of praise or warning, depending on the car’s speed.

It was placed there, NOT at the request of the police chief who claims to have known absolutely nothing about its installation, but at the request of a Pioneer Street resident who gave the village the money to pay for it. It suddenly appeared without any public vetting of the project whatsoever, and without regard for the residents of Pioneer Street who have to endure its unsightliness and its incessant flashing.

Residents of the village and pedestrians, particularly along Main, Chestnut and Susquehanna streets, main arteries in the village, have all observed countless motorists ignoring the very speed limit posted on the many signs they pass as they speed by. The same is true on residential side streets, such as Pioneer.

BECKER: Republic Under Challenge; Signals Are All Around Us
LETTER from BRUCE BECKER

Republic Under Challenge;

Signals Are All Around Us

To the Editor:

When millions of Americans understand that the past two elections (presidential and Georgia Senate run-off) were taken (not won) by a party that wants to control us no matter what it takes, it’s scary.

The outcome of the presidential election was planned for a long time. Add to this that this party is financially supported by powerful globalists working toward a one world system and not a strong independent USA, that up to now, has been the gatekeeper for much of the World. Now it gets scarier.

Can this movement be reversed? It is going to take a tremendous shift of voting to the Republican candidates, because close outcomes will just get taken again.

There has been a trend from the ’60s that has changed many voters’ views, which has brought us here.

First, we have taken religion out of the schools, plus put it on the back burner everywhere else possible.

Second, we no longer teach our youths the fundamentals/principles this country was founded on, which brought and preserved the freedom we have been blessed with.

Third, most of our media has moved to the left, so many voters only work with what they are giving us, which has gotten just as corrupt as the D.C. swamp.

Fourth, our Judiciary system has been pushed further and further to the left. It’s amazing what our courts look the other way on now.

Americans love our country and must realize to save our great country we have a big challenge ahead. Currently we have one party controlling us that over time have become secured by outside forces.

I believe our great Lord has watched us waiver from him and he is sending us a signal. Either we recognize his warning and change our ways, or our country will be taken. We have a fight on our hands just like the founders of this country did with the British.

BRUCE BECKER
South New Berlin

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 1619 Project, Jump Back!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

1619 Project, Jump Back!

RUMOR HAS IT… AMERICA IS 400 YEARS OLD

That’s right. On Nov. 11, 1620, the Pilgrims from Holland landed in America and signed the “Compact” “America’s First Constitution.”

…Those who signed the document, called the Mayflower Compact, made a commitment to govern themselves. For the first time in history, they united “together into a civil body politic …to enact…such just and equal laws…unto which” they promised “all due…obedience .”

As we continue the celebration of the 400th anniversary of America, the Liberty Tree Society, Walpole, N.H., is offering to send you, at no cost, a Mayflower Compact Certificate. Two certificates are offered; The Mayflower Descendants Certificate has a blank lineage panel which descendants fill in or if individuals send a list complete with names and birth dates of ancestors, Liberty Tree Society will fill it in and email it to you. The certificate is suitable for framing.

Those interested in history but who are not Mayflower descendants may request a Mayflower Certificate without the lineage panel.

The Liberty Tree Society seeks to celebrate the Liberty Tree of Boston where Freedom was born. 150 years later, after landing in Plymouth, Mass., descendants of the Compact signers rallied around the Liberty Tree and organized the Revolution which set them free.

More information about the society is available at their website www.libertytreesociety.org

BERKSON: For Want Of A Rack…
LETTER from TERRY BERKSON

For Want Of A Rack…

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

I had it all planned. We’d fly to Florida on a Saturday, settle into the motel and then head for the flea market where, if lucky, I’d find a used bike to ride for the rest of our vacation. “What are you going to do when it’s time to go home?” my wife, Alice, asked.

“I don’t care,” I said, “as long as I have use of a bike while we’re down here.”

“Well, I’m glad I brought my paints along – to keep busy while you’re riding around.”

“If you didn’t have a bad knee, you’d get a bike too.”

The thing I miss most since we left Brooklyn and moved to a house on a hill outside of Richfield Springs is bike riding. On the farm it’s easy to leave but hard to pedal home.

Brooklyn was flat like Holland, where everybody rides a bike. Before we moved I’d use mine daily, often riding five miles to the seashore at Coney Island. To me, riding along a quiet side street without the assistance of a noisy internal combustion engine felt like flying. Many stories had been conceived along the way.

Unfortunately, the car we rented in Tampa was a Kia hatchback. I always ask for a smaller car and most of the time they’re out of them and we get bumped up to a larger vehicle for no extra cost.

This time they did have a compact, so besides a bike I’d be needing a bike rack.

PLIMPTON: Dreams Park Orders C-19 Shots – For 12-Year-Olds?
LETTER from JODI PLIMPTON-WERSTEIN

Dreams Park Orders C-19

Shots – For 12-Year-Olds?

To the Editor:

Otsego County wants its 12-year-olds back. But the question of the day is: Are they too young to be vaccinated?

Last week, parents of athletes looking to attend the Cooperstown Dreams Park experience this summer, were notified that in order to participate, they will be requiring proof of vaccination for anyone 12 years old and up. Anyone under 12 years old, simply has to provide proof of negative test (however, they did not give a timeframe for how recent that test needed to be).

As you can imagine, there is MASSIVE backlash from parents for this decision, and timing of notification, as well as the numerous things grossly wrong with these requirements. First, and foremost, there is not even a vaccine available or approved for use in anyone under the age of 16. At this point, there is only ONE vaccine available for 16- to 18-year-olds, and ZERO available for anyone younger than that. So, they are putting a requirement for play, that is completely unattainable. That’s like saying the grass needs to turn purple in order for anyone to be able to attend. Those that were able to get through to CDP yesterday, and speak to someone about this egregious plan, state that CDP told them that they will be taking the summer on a week by week basis, and if the vaccine isn’t available for an upcoming week, then they will simply cancel that week and move onto the next one.

Leaving people out all of their entry money, travel expenses, lodging expenses etc, and they claim that they are FIRM on this policy.

BOUND VOLUMES: April 15, 2021

BOUND VOLUMES

April 15, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

210 YEARS AGO

Members of the Commission reporting on the feasibility of constructing a canal, or system of navigation, from the Hudson River and Schenectady to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are identified as Gouverneuer Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, William North, De Witt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Peter B. Porter, and Simeon Dewitt.

April 13, 1811

No Kidding, Watch Out For Bears

EDITORIAL

No Kidding, Watch Out For Bears

No kidding. This black bear took down a fence in a Pierstown yard over the weekend.

After Vince and Lynne Krogh Casale’s sighting (and videographing) of a black bear on Bedbug Hill Road Tuesday, March 23, a reader sent along this photo of a black bear (see photo) rampaging in a yard in the Pierstown area, on the other side of the hill, both in Town of Otsego on the west side.

More bears in Otsego County is a new reality, Josh Choquette, the DEC’s new bear expert, based in its Stamford office, reported in last week’s edition.

Development in the Catskills is pushing bears north and, also, new growth in Otsego County’s abandoned farms is providing newly arriving bears with plenty to eat.

WALLER: Point – Give Federal Largesse To You, Me
ISSUE & DEBATE

POINT: Give Federal
Largesse To You, Me

Editor’s Note: This is citizen Bill Waller’s recommendation in a March 29 letter to the Cooperstown Village Board on how to spend its expected share from the $1.9 trillion Biden Stimulus Plan.

BILL WALLER

Dear Mayor Tillapaugh and the Board of Trustees;

I read with interest statements relating to the benefits coming to Cooperstown from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan (ARP). According to press accounts, this could be nearly $350,000.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-2022 Village of Cooperstown Budget, I did not see any amount referencing the ARP disbursement. This is entirely understandable since the act has just passed, well after all the budget discussions held by the Board of Trustees.

As this is budget enactment time, I would like to express my opinion as to how these funds should be spent when they arrive.

…I would like to make a radical proposal: Give it back to the residents.

In this year’s proposed budget $1,779,194.00 is listed as the expected income from Village property taxes. I would urge adoption of the budget and then when the ARP funds are received, issuing a rebate check to our Village taxpayers. I would propose 10% of the taxes levied be sent back to every Village property owner as COVlD Relief. This would only cost $177,919.40.

While this may seem a radical proposal, I remind you that no one opposed the $600 and $1,400 checks mailed from the Federal Government. I feel that no matter how small an individual’s Village COVlD Relief may be, it will be well received. It would also be innovative, creative and will reward our Village residents for their endurance during the past year. And other than the massive error on the part of Otsego County Government resulting in 20% tax rebates a few years ago, when has a local municipality rewarded their residents by sending some of their money back?

ARP regulations stipulate that the funds cannot be used to reduce taxes, but they can be used to “offset the impact to households” caused by the pandemic. This would be a fair way to lessen the impact.

I know the Village Board could find many ways to spend the ARP money, giving some of it directly to residents would have a big impact.

Creative minds could even come up with a letter accompanying the relief check noting worthwhile community projects very willing to accept the resident’s donated refund if they so choose.

I hope you will consider my proposals at this opportune time as part of your budget discussions.


COUNTERPOINT: Village
Suffered Real Losses

… and this is Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s April 5 response:

Mayor Tillapaugh

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your letter of March 29 pertaining to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and your recommendations to the Village of Cooperstown on the use of the funds which we will receive.

…On March 23, Congressman Delgado held an information meeting concerning the ARP and provided more accurate funding information. He indicated the exact amount of ARP funds which the Village will receive is unclear at this time.

The U.S. Treasury will be determining the distribution of funds and will be providing that guidance to New York State, which will receive the funds for townships and Villages. The state will dispense them to the respective township which will in turn remit them to Villages. Our share will be based on our population percentage within the township.

One half of the funds will be provided this year and one half 12 months after the legislation is signed. General estimates at this time indicate we may receive approximately $120,000 within the next several months and a similar sum next year.

In budget year 2020-21, the Village of Cooperstown had an $800,000 decrease in revenues – from paid parking, sales tax, chips, and Doubleday Field rentals.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-22 VOC Budget, hopefully you realized that the Village Board did indeed fund an additional full-time police officer. We made this public safety commitment to our community, even though the funds we ultimately will receive from the ARP are only a fraction of the lost revenues due to the pandemic.

As for returning funds to taxpayers, the Village has not increased the property tax levy of $1,779,194 since 2013. Eight years of no increase in the tax levy is our support of Village property owners.

BARCLAY: Celebrate Pot Legalization Now, Rue It Later
LETTER from DOUGH BARCLAY

Celebrate Pot Legalization

Now, Rue It Later

Though the Governor has already signed this legislation into law, I wanted to share my statement from earlier this week on the decision to legalize recreational marijuana:

Many are going to celebrate the passage of the ‘Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.’

But we didn’t solve any problems today, we only created new ones.

Democrats will claim victory, but they ignore the inherent dangers associated with their decision. Legalizing marijuana guarantees young people will have greater access to a drug they shouldn’t be anywhere near. The minute this becomes readily available, the safety risks in our communities and on our roadways will increase exponentially.

Forced COVID lockdowns drove New York to the edge of an economic cliff, and advocates for legalization seized the opportunity to push marijuana as a financial windfall. While this may eventually improve the state’s bottom line, it will come at the expense of public health and safety.

Doug Barclay,
R-Syracuse, is Assembly minority leader.

Uncle Sam, Font of Plenty, Thanks To Printing Presses

EDITORIAL

Uncle Sam, Font of Plenty,
Thanks To Printing Presses

Ain’t Uncle Sam great! At least his ability to print money.

After the year-long COVID pandemic, which cost Otsego County government $10.6 million, the federal government is sending it $11 million.

That’s $400,000 in profit, from the greatest pandemic in 100 years.

The beauty of it is county government, under the guidance of brainy Allen Ruffles, the county treasurer, had already taken steps to stem the bleeding.

The Ruffles Plan, incorporated in the 2021 county budget, borrowed $4 million at historically low interest rates, then fast-tracked road work this spring — the one area where Albany is still providing reimbursement.

When all is said and done, the county reps may be able to consider a wish list, one being an energy-efficiency upgrade at all county buildings.

The only downside is 50 percent of the money is coming this July, 50 percent next July. There’s many a slip…

Nationally, of course, the so-called American Rescue Plan cost $1.9 trillion, with no new revenue stream to pay for it.

Ain’t Uncle Sam great! He can simply print more money.

NORTHRUP: While U.S. Soldiers Fought, Families Confined At Home

LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

While U.S. Soldiers Fought,
Families Confined At Home

To the Editor:

Racial animus against Asians, including snide remarks about the “Kung Flu,” has no place in America.

My father-in-law, Al Prather, was a lieutenant in the 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II. Most of the enlisted men were Japanese Americans, most of the officers were not.

Many of the families of the Japanese-American soldiers were imprisoned in detention camps, as a form of racial profiling – the United States government assumed that they might be traitors: including the mothers, sisters, fathers and little brothers of the enlisted men of the 442nd.

When it came time to ship out overseas, the military attached the 442 to the 36th Texas Division and sent them to Europe to fight the Nazis, under the impression that Japanese Americans would have no qualms about killing Germans. They did not.

In one of the most famous battles of the war, “The Rescue of the Lost Battalion,” the 442 fought to save the survivors of the 141st Regiment, mainly Texans, who were surrounded in the Vosges Mountains near the German border.

In saving their Texas comrades, over half of the Japanese Americans were killed or wounded in less than 30 days.

Their valor was recognized with more Congressional Medals of Honor than any regiment in the war. All this while their families were in prison camps back in the US. The general understanding of their valor was that they fought as well as they did to make a point: that Japanese Americans are courageous, hard-working, loyal Americans. Not people to be belittled or mocked. Even by politicians.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

BERKSON: ‘It’s The Knuckle On Your Middle Finger That Does It’
LETTER from TERRY BERKSON

‘It’s The Knuckle On Your
Middle Finger That Does It’

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

About 15 years ago, after having read several of his books, I heard that Jim Harrison, the writer and poet, was giving a reading and a talk at Barnes & Noble on Union Square in Manhattan.

Several months before at a barbeque on Canadarago Lake outside of Richfield Springs, I had talked at length about Harrison’s “Legends of the Fall,” and several of his other works, with friend and artist Brendon Pulver who, like me, was an enthusiastic fan of the esteemed writer.

When I arrived at the lecture hall, to be sure I was in the right room, I asked a man who appeared to be surveying the seating arrangement, “Is this the Harrison reading?”

To my surprise, it was Brendan Pulver who had come, I thought, all the way from Richfield Springs. We found seats towards the front of an audience of about a hundred.

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