Bolsonaro and Lula head to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Bolsonaro and Lula head to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Iran’s release of Iranian-American not conditioned on asset unfreezing, U.S. says.      Tear gas use by Indonesian police questioned in wake of mass fatality soccer tragedy     What’s behind the protests in Iran?     Bolsonaro and Lula head to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Bolsonaro and Lula head to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Iran’s release of Iranian-American not conditioned on asset unfreezing, U.S. says.      Tear gas use by Indonesian police questioned in wake of mass fatality soccer tragedy     What’s behind the protests in Iran?     

News of Otsego County


The Dog Charmer: No Bad dog
The Dog Charmer

No Bad dog

Hi Tom,
I am sure my dog Toby thinks his name is “Toby No!” How can I change the grumpy mad woman that I have become in Toby’s eyes? He is always doing something that I have to stop!


Life Sketches: Puffball hunting
Life Sketches by Terry Berkson

Puffball hunting

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.

Weekly Medical Briefsl 09-29-22

Weekly Medical Briefs

September 29, 2022

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.)

The Atlantic

News from the Noteworthy: Battle Plans
News from the Noteworthy

Battle Plans

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.

Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg


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.

News from the Noteworthy: Building Homes, Community and Hope
News from the Noteworthy

Building Homes, Community and Hope

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.

STERNBERG: Mr. President, COVID Is NOT Over
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Mr. President, COVID Is NOT Over

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.

News from the Noteworthy: September Is National Recovery Month
News from the Noteworthy

September Is National
Recovery Month

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.

Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Polio, Part II

Three weeks ago, this column covered the topic of polio, its cause, symptoms, complications, treatment, and prevention. Polio continues to be in the news, especially in New York, because there are indications that it is spreading geographically. Polio virus has been found in wastewater in Nassau County, Long Island.

Last Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency because of the increasing number of positive tests and the apparent spread outward from the initial location. The order is to better enable health care providers to fight the disease and prevent further outbreaks of paralysis.

Among other things it will require providers to send vaccination data to the state Department of Health to better track the total numbers around the state in order to direct the greatest efforts in those areas. The order also allows expanded authorization of who can administer the vaccine. During the emergency, midwives, pharmacists, and other licensed paraprofessionals can vaccinate.

Life Sketches: Cats in Key West
Life Sketches by Terry Berkson

Cats in Key West

Several years ago my wife Alice and I made a trip down to Key West, Florida and among other sites visited the house where Ernest Hemingway lived and worked on great writing projects like “A Farewell To Arms.” It was an interesting two-story structure, one of the few in Key West that was made out of stone blocks that had been cut and removed to create a cellar. There was a veranda that skirted the second floor and overlooked a spacious yard that was populated with palm trees and myriad tropical plants. Papa liked cats and one section of the backyard held a feline cemetery where among other names carved in stone was Marlene Dietrich. In the back of the house there was a catwalk that led to the second floor of a carriage house that provided a surprisingly neat space where the writer worked.

STERNBERG: New COVID Vaccine Offers Broader Protection
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

New COVID Vaccine
Offers Broader Protection

On Wednesday August 31 the FDA authorized, for emergency use, two new, bivalent, COVID vaccines. Bivalent means that each shot contains two variants of the vaccine. The following day the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommended the use of those vaccines and the same day, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the committee’s recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older, and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. Updated COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition, helping to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination by targeting variants that are more transmissible and able to avoid immune responses.

Currently about 89% of circulating virus in the United States is Omicron BA.5 and almost all the rest is BA.4 and BA.4.6. Both vaccines are RNA types, that is it gets the body’s cells to manufacture antibodies to the COVID virus spike protein but do not affect the body’s cell’s DNA. The virus itself does not make up these vaccines unlike the case with polio, which is either dead virus or live-attenuated virus (see this column’s article of September 24.)

News from the Noteworthy: Algae Bloom Affects Lake Activities
News from the Noteworthy

Algae Bloom Affects Lake Activities

The summer of 2022 will be remembered as the year our beloved Lake Otsego first suffered a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).

The conditions which allow a HAB to occur are known. This column reviews Village of Cooperstown public beaches, boat launch sites and most importantly, Village drinking water.

The SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station (BFS) has monitored lake conditions for decades. This summer, when Glimmerglass State Park first noted an algae bloom on July 27 and closed, BFS began twice weekly testing at locations around the lake. The results of those tests are on their website —

Drnek: We’re All in This Together

We’re All in This Together

Mark Drnek

Grand plans and strategies. From the moment I rise ‘til I trundle off to bed, I’m generating notes, workflows, and timelines. There are people to call. Committees to fill. Problems to solve.

Plans and strategies… they’re so important. Until they’re not.

Last week, the tick-tock of my work-clock stopped. On Friday, I opted for a day away from City Hall. I wasn’t feeling well. But rest didn’t have its desired result and I grew increasingly ill as the weekend passed. On Monday, I tested positive for COVID.

STERNBERG: West Nile Virus
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

West Nile Virus

To add to all the other viruses that we have had to think about, COVID, monkeypox, polio, we can add West Nile Virus (WNV) which is now endemic in the New York City area.

This is not yet affecting us in Otsego County and surrounding areas and probably won’t. While it is transmitted to humans by mosquitos, the reservoir, the source and reproduction site for the virus is various bird species. There is no treatment but the most obvious prevention is to kill the mosquitos that infect people.

In the city, NYC health officials found the virus in mosquitos in over 1,100 pools of water. They have initiated widespread spraying to kill them. Additionally, epidemics of WNV die off where the weather is too cold for the mosquitos.

News from the Noteworthy: Much Ado About Methane

News from the Noteworthy

Much Ado About Methane

Our column, The Life of the Land, is an exploration of local agricultural practices. Several of our pieces will focus on farms which raise grass-fed animals; here we address the environmental implications of locally raised livestock.

It is indisputable that industrial livestock management is an ecological disaster. This has led to pronouncements from numerous authoritative agencies to eat “less meat” or even “no meat”. Yet grass-fed production of livestock is an important and growing component of our local agricultural economy. For those of us who wish to support these farms, is their meat actually environmentally “better meat”?

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