News of Otsego County


BOUND VOLUMES: February 18, 2021


February 18, 2021


Perjury – A fellow by the name of Herrrington was indicted and tried at the Court of General Sessions held in this Village (Cooperstown) on February 8, 1821, on the charge of Perjury, for having sworn in a vote for Governor at the last election, without possessing any freehold estate. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years hard labor in the State Prison. Thus, one man at least, has paid dear for the attempt to make Mr. Tompkins Governor.

February 19, 1821

HOMETOWN HISTORY: February 18, 2021


February 18, 2021

150 Years Ago

Learn All You Can – Never omit an opportunity to learn all you can. Sir Walter Scott said that even in a stagecoach he always found somebody that could tell him something that he did not know. Conversation is frequently more useful than books for purposes of knowledge. It is therefore a mistake to be morose and silent among persons whom you think to be ignorant, for a little sociability on your part will draw them out, and they will impart wisdom, and will be able to teach you something, no matter how ordinary their employment. Indeed, some of the most sagacious remarks are made by persons of this description respecting their particular pursuit. Hugh Miller, the Scotch geologist, owes not a little of his fame to observations made when he was a journeyman stone mason, and working in a quarry. Socrates well said that there was but one good, which is knowledge, and one evil, which is ignorance. If there is a moment’s leisure, spend it over a good book or in instructive talking with the first you meet.

February 1871

STERNBERG: Vaccine? Terrific. But What About Treatment

Vaccine? Terrific. But

What About Treatment

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

I was asked to give a talk at the Center for Continuing Adult Learning recently in Oneonta. It was supposed to be on vaccine development and distribution, but two days before I was to give it, I was asked by a participant to address treatment of active COVID-19.

Up to this point I have avoided discussing this because each physician chooses treatment for each patient based on many factors, including recommended protocols, approved medications, and most important, consideration of each patient as an individual.

Nonetheless there is some general advice from the NIH (National Institute of Health).

The NIH divides severity levels for COVID-19 into five parts with their recommendations.

►ONE: Not hospitalized, mild to moderate COVID-19.

There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against any specific antiviral or antibody therapy.

SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies are available for outpatients who are at high risk of disease progression.

Antibodies bind to the virus, block its ability to get into a cell, and trigger a response from white blood cells to come and attack the virus.

Antibodies could be natural or manufactured. Dexamethasone is a steroid anti-inflammatory which is approved in more severe stages and should not be used here.

►TWO: Hospitalized but does not require supplemental oxygen.

Dexamethasone should not be used. There are insufficient data to recommend for or against the routine use of Remdesivir. (Remdesivir is a drug specifically to treat viral diseases). For patients at high risk for disease progression, the use of Remdesivir may be appropriate. (Yes, I too find this statement very confusing.)

►THREE: Hospitalized and requires supplemental oxygen, but does not require high-flow oxygenation, mechanical ventilation, or an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenator – sort of like a heart/lung machine used in open heart surgery).

Use one of the following three options: Remdesivir for patients who require minimal oxygenation, Dexamethasone and Remdesivir for patients who require increasing amounts of supplemental oxygenation, or Dexamethasone alone when combination therapy cannot be used or if remdesivir is not available.

►FOUR: Hospitalized and requires oxygen through a high-flow device or non-invasive ventilation. Use one of the following options; dexamethasone or dexamethasone and remdesivir.

►FIVE: Hospitalized and require mechanical ventilation or ECMO. Use dexamethasone.

There are other drugs that have been considered for use in COVID-19.

One is Invermectin. Others are monoclonal (all one type) antibodies as described above. Another drug fluvoxamine (Fluvox) is a drug used for obsessive-convulsive disorder and was hypothesized to block excessive inflammatory reactions.

Bottom line if sick is, find a physician who you trust. A good physician will listen to a patient’s concerns and questions and then when you are comfortable with them, your best shot is to follow their instructions.

HOMETOWN HISTORY: February 11, 2021


February 11, 2021

150 Years Ago

Home & Vicinity: It is fortunate for people desiring to locate in Oneonta that plenty of desirable building lots are in market at reasonable prices. Buyers can take their choice as to streets and localities. E.R Ford, T.D. & H. Watkins. S. Huntington, S. Wood, C.L. Michael. H. Wilcox, J.H. Peters, H. Baker and S. Parish all have good lots ready for purchasers, many of them finely located. All of these men are ready to sell lots for cash or on time, and we hear of sales every week, most of them for immediate occupation. This is the true policy for the speedy growth of the village.
It is now the universal rule with newspapers that the name of an author should accompany his communications. It is required as a guarantee of good faith, and not for a public or needless use
of the name.

February 1871

BOUND VOLUMES: February 11, 2021


February 11, 2021


Interesting Memoranda: It is 328 years since John Cabot first discovered North America; 236 years since Sir Walter Raleigh more perfectly explored it; 240 years since the first permanent
colony was planted in Virginia; 208 years since the founding of New Amsterdam, now New York, was settled; 200 years since the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth; 44 years since the commencement of our national existence; and 31 years sincethe adoption of our present government.
Public Morality and Abuse: No public abuse should be cloaked, or it will infallibly produce others until the state is overrun with them. State corruption sprouts faster and takes a deeper root than the most prolific weeds. One rogue in office is not only a screen for another, but will help in a third for fear of a discovery. The three will draw in as many more, until everyone who may be suspected of honesty is dismissed.

February 12, 1821

BERKSON: The Jumping Chicken Of Otsego County

The Jumping Chicken Of Otsego County

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.

Got a call the other day from my friend Charlie in Brooklyn. He said that he was thinking of getting a couple of chickens to keep in his apartment so that he could get really fresh eggs. I got on my high horse and asked, “What do you know about raising chickens?”

“I’m good with birds,” Charlie countered.

“Remember how I taught my parrot to stand on his head for money?”

It was true. I don’t know how he did it, but when he’d pull a dollar bill from his pocket and wave it in the air, Webster – that’s what he named the bird – would invariably hold onto the cage bars and stand on his head. Maybe the fact that Charlie’s an obsessive-compulsive provided the repetition needed to teach his pet such a trick.

I had just cleaned out the coop and warned Charlie that chickens were a lot messier than his little Webster. “Also,” I continued, “hens can be noisy. You ought to hear them scold me when I try to slip an egg out from under them.”

“They don’t crow like roosters,” Charlie said.

“No, but they argue over a spot in the laying box. Your neighbors would never stand for their clucking.”

“I guess you’re right,” my friend said of his shot-down idea.

I felt bad because Charlie is the biggest fan of eggs and chickens I know. I always bring him some on trips to Brooklyn and he invariably raves about how much better my free-range, naturally fed, browns are.

In response to his parrot story, I told him about a trick my favorite chicken, Danielle, does.

ATWELL: No Need For A Brick

No Need For A Brick

Jim Atwell, retired hospital administrator and longtime newspaper columnist, resides in Woodside Hall these days.

How’d it happen?

Suddenly it’s 2020, I’m 82, twice a widower, living in a comfortable assisted living home. Well cared-for.

But, essentially, alone. The pandemic has us 18 residents quarantined, even from one another. Lots of time alone in one’s room, even with meals brought to us on trays.

Just now, however, despite prescribed aloneness, I have kept my room crowded with vividly remembered adults; ones who, because or in spite of me, shaped my life’s values. And one of those who loomed large was my Great-Aunt Mame.

In fact, you’d hardly think she could loom large in any way. Born in the 1870s, Mame stood just short of 5 feet. She was a registered nurse, though Lord knows how she changed bed sheets and helped patients turn over. But she did.

In late 1917, Aunt Mame felt a patriotic call to join an overseas nursing corps: She would cross the Atlantic and nurse the wounded boys then fighting “over there.”

That dear little woman had her trunk packed and was ready to climb a gangplank when – wouldn’t you know it? – the war went and ended on her!

HOMETOWN HISTORY: February 4, 2021


February 4, 2021

150 Years Ago

Home and Vicinity – Donnati’s Great Comet will be again visible in the year 3858. Those who wish to see it may cut out this paragraph for reference. (Ed: 1,837 years hence as of 2021)
H.P. Skinner has done another good thing. This he has placed a large and attractive street lamp in front of his store door. Call in for he won’t skin[er] you on a deal.
Morris Brothers pay more for freight every week than all the other merchants in town – and everybody seems to be doing a good business. They frequently pay $1,500 and $2,000 a week.
Mr. Wallace, a gentleman in attendance at the Teachers’ Association last week, is the “school teacher” who E.P. Weston in a 50 mile walk at Cooperstown last fall. We are glad he is satisfied with teaching and not ambitious for pedestrian honors.
Sleep – Every man must sleep according to his temperament. Eight hours is the average. If he requires a little more or a little less he will find it out for himself.

February 1871

STERNBERG: J&J Comes To The Rescue! And What About That NFL

J&J Comes To The Rescue!

And What About That NFL

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

On Friday, Jan. 29, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson announced its vaccine had proven effective in Phase 3 studies. This brings a third vaccine on line in the fight against COVID-19 and potentially increases the pace of vaccinations by 50 percent.

Additionally, the J&J protocol is for a single dose and the storage requirements are much less stringent than those of the two vaccines already available in the United States, Moderna and Pfizer.

On the other hand, the statistics on efficacy for the J&J vaccine are not as high as those reported for the other two. It is reported as 85 percent effective globally against severe disease and 70
percent effective against moderate to severe disease.

Many scientists consider this on balance very good news.

If we remember back to last year the goal for efficacy was 70 percent which would have made that equivalent to the flu vaccine. Only because of higher numbers with Moderna and Pfizer do 85 percent and 70 percent seem low.

Furthermore, the J&J vaccine is a one-dose regimen and requires only basic refrigeration to last for weeks, making it much easier to distribute and complete a course of vaccine (i.e., only one shot).

This should especially help in people hesitant to get a shot at all.

BOUND VOLUMES: February 4, 2021


February 4, 2021


Joseph Findlay Smith of Baltimore and Adolph Lacost of New York, commanders of the schooners Plattsburgh and Science, captured in April last, on the African coast, by the U.S. ship Cyane, Capt. Trenchard, and convicted before the Circuit Court of the United States, held in Boston last November, of violations of the laws prohibiting the slave trade, were sentenced on January 26 to five years imprisonment and to pay a fine of $3,000 each.
Napoleon Bonaparte, having been born on February 5, 1768, will be 53 years of age this day. True, to us Americans, it is not a matter of much moment – yet there can be no harm in the bare mention of it.

February 5, 1821

BOUND VOLUMES: January 28, 2021


January 28, 2021


“Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” The exemplification of this moral is perpetually occurring on the most common objects of daily attention. The very paper on which I am now writing, affords me an example. A little while ago it was clipped off from an old garment, a useless rag. Betty would have swept it to the door. But the industrious rag man took it up and gave it to the paper-maker who returned to me the in a new form, no less pleasing than useful. My gentle friends, in obedience to the Great Master, gather up the fragments which remain; the little piece of cloth which falls from your scissors, may become the means of carrying the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God to far distant and benighted lands.

January 29, 1821

Working The System, Getting The Shot

Working The System, Getting The Shot

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

I had my first COVID-19 vaccination Sunday, Jan. 26. To get an appointment, I went through all the protocols and algorithms that I discussed previously in this column.

I was able to find an appointment Sunday in Plattsburgh. A day later I found an appointment for Utica on Feb. 3 and canceled the Plattsburgh appointment and then I kept looking for something closer and sooner.

Lucky for me, some close friends were also going through the various procedures and last Friday, Jan. 24, they found Kinney Drugs in Richfield Springs was scheduling appointments for the next two days; this past weekend.

They had just scheduled theirs and immediately called me and told me about it.

I went online, followed the protocols, and filled out forms. I put in a request for an appointment for Saturday, and up popped my appointment, assigned to Sunday.

I have no complaints. In fact, that system worked better than the state system inasmuch as it asked you when you wanted an appointment but, regardless, apparently gave you the next available.

If the appointment you asked for was already taken by the time your request went in, you’d still get one without having to reenter all that information.

Unfortunately, the state Department of Health’s online registration requires you to put in a great deal of information, then you pick the time from what you saw earlier in the process, and if the appointment that was in that spot had already been taken by somebody else while you were doing the application, you have to go all the way back into the beginning to try and find next available appointment.

Somebody needs to fix their software.

BERKSON: Wine Bottle Lowers The Wall

Wine Bottle Lowers The Wall

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

Before the advent of COVID-19, to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary, Alice and I drove down to Key West, and were lucky enough to get a room at The Grand Guest House in Old Town.

It’s a great place if you like to share a breakfast table with fellow tourists. This time during our brief stay we met a couple from Brussels, three people from Germany and an ex prize fighter named Joe from New Jersey.

People seem to be at their best when traveling, and all were good company and had interesting life stories to tell.

John, the Guest House manager, must have overheard us telling our story because when we returned to our room later in the day we found a basket loaded with chips, cheese, crackers, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

There was even a card that read Happy Anniversary! Compliments of the House.

The next day we took an ice bucket and much of what was in the basket to the beach at Fort Zackery. The swimming there is great and it’s another place to meet people from all over the world.

HOMETOWN HISTORY: January 28, 2021


January 28, 2021

150 Years Ago

In the Village of Oneonta during the year 1870 the mortality was as follows: Total number of deaths: 9; of which 5 were women, 1 man, 2 boys and 1 girl. Ages: Under 1 year and under: 2; between 1 and 5 years: 1; 15 and 20 years: 1; 30 and 40 years: 5. Diseases: Bronchitis: 1; Cancer: 1; Consumption 1; Dysentery 1; Hemorrhage of Lungs 2; Killed by Cars (Railroad) 1; Scarintina 1. Deaths to population: Eight-tenths of one percent.
In reference to the Musical Convention held at Schenevus recently, Miss Emma Gates of Oneonta had probably the fullest and best cultivated soprano voice of any of the female singers present. Her delineation is broad and fluent, her execution full of delicacy, and her rendition of impassioned music – “vehement.”

January 1871

BERKSON: Talk About Coop d’Etats!

Talk About Coop d’Etats!

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

Early this spring, my reigning rooster, Geezbrook, who fathered almost all of this year’s egg-laying rookies, was challenged and defeated by one of his sons.

When I arrived on the scene, the old man was cowering in a corner with his back facing his attacker.

I scooted them out into the yard and they went at it again, Geezbrook seeming to have new heart against his son, who got down like an alligator coming through a fan of feathers.
They both drew blood with the old man losing the fight until I slapped them both several times with my red plastic shovel.

Distracted, they headed for cover in a hedgerow.

When I went back to the coop to gather eggs, I noticed that several of the hens had bald spots on their backs caused, no doubt, by the roosters practicing their dominance.

Luckily, Pee Wee, my favorite chicken, hadn’t suffered any damage or I would have gone after the bullies with hatchet in hand. Instead, I tried to catch them, which was no easy task after they had had a taste of the shovel.

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