News of Otsego County


WAYNE MELLOR: What’s the cost of zero-carbon energy


What’s the cost of zero-carbon energy

Wayne Mellor

I received several thoughtful comments from our readers concerning the last column and would like to address them.

The investment bank Lazard published the most recent Lazard’s “Levelized Cost of Energy and Storage” in late 2020. The comprehensive report includes all the costs of creating and storing a megawatt of power including land, construction, operating and maintenance.

According to the Lazard report, new, unsubsidized utility scale power sources have the following midpoint levelized costs per megawatt hour: solar $34, offshore wind $86, on-shore wind $40, nuclear $164 and combined cycle gas $59.

It is pretty easy to see that money drives political decision-making especially when deciding between new nuclear, wind and solar power. Offshore wind is relatively expensive, but unlike solar, it can occasionally generate base load power. The public is less likely to resist offshore wind, and one of the windiest places in the U.S. is off Long Island.

BERKSON: Howling at the moon to help ‘the chickens’

Life Sketches

Howling at the moon
to help ‘the chickens’

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.

During a cold snap several years ago, night temperatures up on our hill on the west side of Canadarago Lake were hovering around 22 below zero. Worried about my chickens freezing their gizzards off, I hung a 100-watt bulb on a wire in our small coop inside the barn and let it burn 24 hours a day.

I’m sure it raised the temperature a bit, but it also increased egg production. In fact, after a few days of continuous light, my chickens started laying eggs like crazy. Concerned that they might burn themselves out, I consulted neighbor Jim McNulty, who had attended Cornell University and now lived at the foot of nearby Panther Mountain. He agreed the hens could become exhausted, but warned that if I suddenly cut off the light, I could drive my chickens into a molt, which was bound to kill them in this cold weather. At the same time, to keep the water in the coop from freezing, I installed a heater in the water bucket. Between the light and the heater, I was worried about causing a fire.

Again, McNulty advised me to do away with the water heater and put snow in the bucket, which would quench the chickens’ thirst and wouldn’t freeze like water. I was impressed. He also informed me chickens in a draft-free coop didn’t need the 100-watt bulb. Removing it was no small step because beloved Pee Wee, a chick I had saved by performing a virtual Caesarian on an egg in water, was among the flock I was about to pull the plug on.

McREYNOLDS: Our family secrets still feel haunting

Be Afraid, But Do It Anyway

Our family secrets still feel haunting

Erna Morgan McReynolds, raised in Gilbertsville, is retired managing director/financial adviser at Morgan Stanley’s Oneonta Office, and an inductee in the Barron’s magazine National Adviser Hall of Fame.  She lives in Franklin.

Nature or nurture is a question I keep asking myself. Why have I always been afraid? Did I learn fear?

Why did my parents keep to themselves? Kept us close to them?

No overnights with other kids. Or other kids sleeping at our house.

Maybe not just because our house wasn’t as nice as the other kids?

My family lived secrets. Were Mom and Dad just shy? Or were they really afraid? That they would be shunned by neighbors? That they couldn’t measure up? That they might jeopardize the life they wanted to build for their girls’ futures?

Dad had told us why he emigrated from Northern Ireland. But was this the real story?

I had believed his story. It shaped my life. With four daughters on a farm my Dad needed sons. In the 50s and 60s, probably, a man needed at least one son.

LIMITI: I identify as an anime character; and that’s OK with me

I identify as an anime character, and that’s OK with me

Kevin Limiti

Some things never change, which includes my spending weekends watching anime in my apartment alone.

Two and a half months since I’ve moved to Oneonta, I find myself curiously identifying with anime protagonists with a target audience of pre-pubescent boys.

People may raise their eyebrows at me, perhaps think I’m crazy, but I consider anime to be one of the greatest things in life. Nothing has the ability to bend reality like good animation.

Although in America, most people seem to feel like animation is kid’s stuff, that opinion is starting to change thanks to the weird rise of geek culture, making something that used to get you stuffed into a locker into something that could land you a date.

Not that I’ve been able to land a date since moving here, but I will say that when I do, I’m sure my extreme knowledge of anime, indie comics and obsessive attention to the price of Dogecoin and foreign news will likely impress them.

For this reason, I’m neither ashamed nor embarrassed by my penchant for consuming unholy amounts of anime, but I do think that maybe I ought to take more cues from anime as opposed to being a passive observer.

One example is Deku from “My Hero Academia,” an anime where practically every human has a special “quirk” that can make them a super hero.



July 22, 2021

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

135 Years Ago

Mr. N.C. Hart of Oneonta, who is
presently on his annual pilgrimage in the North Woods, writes poetically of his time there: “I have built me a cot close by a great rock at the base of a high mountain crest where the hawks sail around and game doth abound, and the eagle has chosen her nest. At the foot of the hill are both springlet and rill, and the shores of a bright sylvan lake in whose waters the trout leap spryly about and the deer comes his thirst to slake. Amid scenes like this our outing is bliss – no cares have we on our mind. We enjoy perfect rest in a haven that’s blest mid nature’s own bright summer clime.”

July 1886

Bound Volumes: July 22, 2021

Bound Volumes

July 22, 2021

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


A Comet! Another of those singular and extraordinary bodies has made its appearance within view of our globe. It was discovered a few evenings since, but its apparent smallness and the haziness of the atmosphere, prevented its being again seen for several evenings. Its present place at dark is a little south of west, and about 25 degrees above the horizon. It has changed its place considerably since it was first observed, and is now apparent five degrees higher above the horizon. From this it is evident that it has passed its perihelia, and it must be receding from the sun, and the the planets. (Ed. Note: The writer witnessed this comet in May in Chillicothe, Ohio)

July 13, 1811

deRosa: Garlic harvest is one of my favorite routines

Up on Hawthorn Hill

Garlic harvest is one
of my favorite routines

Richard deRosa

William Cobbett published his classic on gardening, “The English Gardener,” in 1829. I turn to it often not so much for its gardening advice, but for Cobbett’s often curmudgeonly, sometimes philosophical, comments about certain plants and how to go about dealing with them.

Interestingly, his section on what he describes as “garlick,” is short and to the point; plant it, dig it up when ready and hang it to dry. That’s it.

It is garlic harvesting time here, an early summer routine I always look forward to. I love digging it up or, as is possible at times, pulling it up out of the ground (always making sure to grasp the stem firmly at the bottom – and stopping if it might be a bit recalcitrant). I had cut off the scapes a while ago, some of which Sandy has used to make a delicious pesto. Some are at rest in the compost bin. Once all have been plucked up out of the ground (very muddy these days!) I transport them down to the barn for my favorite part of the ritual: brushing them off a bit, tying them up into bunches of five, an arbitrary number I decided on years ago, and then hanging each bunch from nails placed along the barn rafters.

The Old Badger: Miller place brings back old memories of summer

The Old Badger

Miller place brings back
old memories of summer

Editor’s note: This column was first published July 27, 1977.

Somewhere in this town, maybe in a drawer or a kitchen file or between the pages of a cookbook, lies eight “receipt,” and it tells exactly how to make Ma Miller’s piccalilli.

It’s priceless.

Anyone who remembers the Lake Road when it was made of cement remembers the Miller place. And if you happen to ask about it, sit down, you’ll be in for a 20-minute dissertation.

Everyone has his own version of the perfect hamburger or hot dog with Ma’s piccalilli – or the still-hot strawberry-rhubarb pies, or the fresh lettuce and tomatoes – or the inverted bottle of spring water that made the big bubble when some water was drawn off … “balooble-uuump”… into an unmanageable paper cup.

Now, I get Ma mixed up with the Powerful Katinka from Toonerville Folks in the funny papers. Ma Miller was very big. Her husband Vern was small – so was her kitchen. They used to say Vern pushed Ma in behind the griddle in the morning and then pulled her out at the end of the day.



July 15, 2021

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

135 Years Ago

Home & Vicinity – Mrs. Scanling of Oneonta, who has for years been addicted to the use of morphine, takes now on average ten grains daily. Her average used to be twelve grains a day, and once, through oversight, she took eighteen grains at a dose without ill effects. When it is considered that from one-third to one-half grains of morphine is the usual dose for an adult and that fatal effects usually follow where from one to three grains are given, the magnitude of the amount of morphine which slavish habit requires this poor woman to indulge in becomes woefully apparent.
It is reported that a child of Mrs. Davis Brumaghim, who lives back of the board fence near the railroad shops, died today of diphtheria. The ball game last Saturday between the Oneonta and Franklin clubs resulted in a score of 31 to 5 in favor of the home nine. The Oneonta nine has been materially strengthened by the addition of the Cox brothers of Williams College, who are passing the summer at Gilbertsville.

July 1886

BERKSON: Remembering the sad story of a Soviet Prisoner

Life Sketches

Remembering the sad
story of a Soviet Prisoner

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.

He sat under the apple trees at Holy Trinity Monastery outside of Jordanville as the warm breeze lifted the thin pages of the book he was holding. Lush foliage seemed to exude an abundance of life. Church bells marked the time of day, but he didn’t appear to notice as his thin, intent face strained to absorb the words. The thick book he was reading was nearly turned to its end, giving the impression that many afternoons had been spent like this with many books before, but this was not the case.

Sixty-two year old Vasili Shipilov had spent most of his life behind Soviet prison bars.

His crime, officials said, was not carrying proper identification papers, for which he received two years hard labor. From information obtained from men who had served time with Vasili, it was believed that he was a priest who had gotten his early education from monks who had taught him to read. Free world newsletters about religious prisoners in Russia said that Shipilov had suffered greatly in the prison camps. He was reputed to have performed baptisms as a prisoner, and for this he was beaten and his sentence increased. When he got hold of a bible he copied it over by hand so that others could share it. To side track his efforts, in 1958, he was sent to a mental institution and detained there indefinitely. He had no living relatives, no one to remind the world of his existence.

Shipilov was released from a Soviet prison, but in some ways he never seemed to feel free.

BOUND VOLUMES: July 15, 2021

Bound Volumes

July 15, 2021

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


Under an apparent state of inaction as a party in this county, certain of the Whig corps are making preparations for a vigorous onset at the Fall campaign, by a gratuitous and other distribution of the Evening Journal, one of the most violent of the opposition papers published in the state. Having no confidence either in the ability or force of their local agent, a foreign power is sought to effect revolution in public sentiment, and the county is to be flooded with the vituperations and falsehoods of Thurlow Weed, a hireling, whose notoriety as connected with the Morgan excitement, makes him a fit instrument for political mountebanks and knaves to work with. We refer to this movement of the enemy, not because we fear the corrupting influence of Weed’s labors, but simply to apprise our democratic friends that their opponents are not so inert as they would feign induce the public to believe.

July 18, 1836

VASCELLARO: Baseball has come a long way since the pandemic shut it down

The Baseball Lifer

Baseball has come a long way
since the pandemic shut it down


Major League Baseball sure has come a long way.

Consider where we were this time last year, at what would usually constitute Major League Baseball’s “Mid-Summer Classic” All-Star Game break, the abbreviated 2020 season had yet to begin.

Delayed for three-and-half months by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 season did not begin until July 23, cancelling the All-Star Game for the first time since 1945, when the game was called on account of wartime travel restrictions.

A shadowy 60-game season was played without fans in attendance, replaced by cardboard cutout photographs and piped in crowd noise reminiscent of a television sitcom laugh track.

Except it wasn’t funny and it wasn’t much fun.

But the game plodded on all the way through the post season. The Los Angeles Dodgers finally won the World Series after capturing eight straight National League West division titles.



July 8, 2021

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

135 Years Ago

Kate Farrell, aged 22, whose home is at Starucca, Pennsylvania, has for a few weeks been visiting her sister, Mrs. Frazee, at Gaylord’s store, West Harpersfield. Kate was addicted to the morphine habit.
She obtained as a substitute some hydrate of chloral. Sunday afternoon she visited Agnes Ward of Oneonta, who is caring for her mother, not far from the Gaylord store. Not long after Kate left Agnes she was found down the bank by the roadside, nearly unconscious. She was taken to her sister’s, where she died in a few hours.
The coroner’s jury found that she came to her death from an overdose of chloral, taken in mistake.
The body was buried at Starucca on Tuesday.

July 1886

Bound Volumes: July 8, 2021

Bound Volumes

July 8, 2021

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


Among items of mail remaining at the Post-Office in the Village of Otsego (Cooperstown) are letters addressed to: Samuel Anderson, Nehemiah Burch, Benjamin Bissell, Isaac Childs, Cornelius L. Cary, William Dean, Sumner Ely, Revilo Ford, Micah French, William Griffin, John Jackson, James Johnston, Jonathan Kingsley, William Lindsley, Darius Moon, Patty Miller, Chauncey Newell, Freedom Potter, Sally Potter, James L. Palmer, John Robinson, Eliphaz Spencer, Stephen Skiff, Isaac Stone, Sally Thatcher, Nathaniel Todd, William Van Brunt, Cornelius W. Van Denburgh, Levi Warner, Sylvanus West and Patty Ward. (Ed. Note: Recipients of mail were liable for postage prior to delivery)

July 6, 1811

LANSING: A tribute to local journalism, journalists


A tribute to local journalism, journalists

Editor’s Note: This speech was given Friday, June 25, to honor Editor Greg Klein at the 2020-2021 Cooperstown Central School Athletic Awards Banquet.

In the fall of 2005, the Cooperstown community lost a piece of its soul with the unexpected passing of Ken Kiser.

Kenny was a devoted husband and dad, a man who thought the best of each person he met, enjoying the beauty in life, every minute of every day.

In honor of his legacy, the Cooperstown Sports Booster Club annually presents the Ken Kiser Award for Good Sportsmanship.

Past recipients of this award represent a broad spectrum of support and commitment to the athletes and athletic programs in Cooperstown. This impressive list of alums shares many of the same qualities as tonight’s recipient; kindness, dedication and an unwavering devotion to the student athlete.

This year, the award recognizes a single individual who has made a point of showing Cooperstown, and our student athletes in particular, to others through the power of the written word. I would like to invite Greg Klein to the stage as the 2021 recipient of the Ken Kiser Award for Good Sportsmanship.

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