My father was a U.S. Army captain in World War II; Nancy’s stepfather was a lieutenant in the Navy and Nancy’s father, Alfred Valjean Prather, was an officer in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, which was composed largely of Japanese Americans.
The 442nd was particularly adept at killing Nazis.
Although they are all gone, none of them would be particularly amused by the recent Trump Insurrection or the fact that it conspicuously included neo-fascists, including a fellow who sported a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt to the coup d’etat, to the merriment of his co-conspirators.
After the war, my father, who was in the Army Corp of Engineers, was involved in the dismantling of POW camps.
After he returned to civilian life in Texas, he became strongly pro-Jewish, proposing the first Jewish member to the Dallas Country Club, and hiring Jewish people, including an Israeli engineer.
When I went to Brown University, he encouraged me to join the “Jewish fraternity,” Alpha Pi Lambda, which I did.
Both of our fathers spent a good part of their youth fighting fascists. They never dreamed that we would have to fight them here in America. But fight them we will. With alacrity. After all, it’s a family tradition.
I want to thank you for the special tribute edition included in last week’s Hometown Oneonta/Freeman’s Journal highlighting my 34 years in the state Senate.
I am also deeply appreciative of all the words of good wishes and anecdotes that were submitted by so many area residents, community leaders, and family. Reading the comments brought back so many memories of my time in office. Thank you all!
I have cherished the opportunity to serve the people of our district and, in particular, represent the county where I grew up. I believe this area is the best place to live, work and raise a family, and I have always endeavored to build on the traits that make it so special.
Whatever successes I have had as a senator were not accomplished alone. I have been blessed with the loving support of Cindy and my family, as well as outstanding staff members – the best in the state Senate.
I have also been fortunate to partner with many wonderful individuals, organizations, local governments and community leaders.
These working relationships have helped improve the lives of those I have had the privilege to represent. It was these partnerships and true friendships that truly helped me succeed to make our area the best it could be.
To all the residents of Otsego County and the 51st District, thank you so much for your unwavering support and confidence over the years. I have always considered working for, and with, you to be an honor of a lifetime.
State Senator (retired)
Editor’s Note: In producing our Tribute to James L. Seward edition last week, these two tributes were inadvertently left out.
Country Club Automotive
Respect! Retired Senator Jim Seward has earned that from all of us.
In this era of public mayhem Senator Seward’s career is an example of what polite, respectful discussion from differing points of view can look like and sound like. His unruffled demeanor and calm answers are what we should aspire to emulate.
Senator Seward has always been available and attentive to constituent’s needs and concerns. He has been a great champion of our region and has helped many projects become possible through his help. His understanding of the needs of healthcare, education, manufacturing, insurance, tourism, and retail have enabled him to be a very effective advocate for us in Albany.
We have always gotten our money’s worth from Senator Seward. Thank you Sir! I hope you have a very long and enjoyable retirement, you have earned it.
BRUCE J. HODGES, President Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad
Our organization’s relationship with Senator Seward started in the 1980s while he was working for his predecessor Senator Riford. Jim was instrumental in assisting us in the purchase of our property in Cooperstown Junction.
In the mid 1990s, Jim’s support of our efforts to build a railroad museum in Otsego County got a major boost when Jim secured the matching funds in the state budget that allowed us to purchase and start operating the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, right in his backyard in Milford.
We couldn’t have done it without Jim’s continuous support over the years, and we will be forever grateful and proud to have had him as our State Senator.
Millions of Americans watched in horror as partisan domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to prevent the lawful election of Joe Biden. I join in the anger and disgust at the destruction of public property and the desecration of the hallowed citadel of democracy. I despair at the unnecessary loss of life, including brave Capitol police officers.
But I also angrily denounce the ongoing incitement by the President and allies in the Republican Party as well as their tepid or non-existent denunciations of the appalling insurrection.
The violence in D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, which led to the deaths of five people, have clarified the one question that needs to be asked of our country, state and regional representatives: Are you for the democratic process or are you for insurrection?
There is no longer any nuance, thanks to the actions of a group of pro-President Trump protesters who chose to break into the U.S. Capitol, loot it, call for the deaths of both the sitting Vice President Mike Pence and the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and kill Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Their attempt to overthrow a free and fair election — the election managers of all 50 states (who are a mix of Democrats and Republicans) have found no evidence of fraud — has made it abundantly clear that there is a faction of Americans and elected officials who only trust an election when their side wins.
While we shouldn’t have to point this out, we will: That isn’t what democracy is. These actions are abhorrent.
Remaining silent is the equivalent of condoning the actions of a minority that believes violence and destruction have a place in America.
This is a question we never thought we’d need to ask our fellow elected officials to publicly answer, because we mistakenly thought the answer was obvious: Are you for the democratic process or are you for insurrection?
We support democracy and call on all of the City of Oneonta, Otsego County, and our state representatives to make their positions clear.
Clark Oliver, Dist. 11 Adrienne Martini, Dist. 12 Danny Lapin, Dist. 13 Jill Basile, Dist.14
Otsego County Board
Luke Murphy, 1st Ward Mark Davies, 2nd Ward David Rissberger, 3rd Ward John Rafter, 7th Ward Mark Drnek, 8th Ward
Oneonta Common Council
On Friday, Jan. 8, Assemblyman John Salka engaged in a frank, one-on-one, 15-minute conversation with me about the election results and the insurrection at the Capitol. I sincerely appreciate him devoting so much time to talking with me, as I’m just one of over 100,000 people in his district.
But I was left appalled by his attachment to two self-serving, destructive, false narratives.
It was clear from our conversation that he has no actual evidence that Joe Biden’s electoral victory was fraudulent. He brought up one item (the affidavits of people who claim they saw irregularities). I explained that many of those were from people who had not attended observer training and therefore didn’t understand that what they witnessed was routine procedure.
Sometimes sedition is a good thing. Sometimes, not so much. My family are experts in sedition and revolution. We may in fact be some of the most revolting people in America.
When sedition wins, history, which is written by the winners, proclaims you a hero. When sedition fails, history proclaims you a traitor.
Our first seditious loss came in North Carolina, where, as colonials, we joined The Regulators, in a localized tax revolt against Great Britain in 1771. We lost that one, but that seditious revolt was a precursor to the Revolution in 1776, where we were on the winning side.
With all the hype and misinformation about election security, I cannot remain silent. I would be remiss if I did not try to provide some facts.
I was the Democratic elections commissioner in Delaware County from 2001 to 2008. I was and am proud of the work elections officials do including the inspectors at the polls, the county commissioners, deputies, clerks, state commissioners, attorneys and staff at all levels and the secretaries of state throughout the nation.
As a former long-time resident of Otsego County, I still appreciate our community’s hospital workers, responsible gun owners and polite neighbors – even when we don’t always agree.
Unfortunately, these are things Rick Brockway doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate.
I was struck by the angry and personal tone in one of Brockway’s latest rants when he attacked long-serving public health providers, including Mary Ann Whelan, for recognizing that gun violence is a national health issue.
Brockway should realize that he only won his last election by 150 votes. Given the area is Republican leaning and that his family members are well-positioned in the area, this 150-vote win isn’t much to brag about.
Rather than spreading misinformation and inflaming the community he represents with buzz words (illegal immigrants, Nancy Pelosi), he should appreciate the hard work of the doctors, volunteers and members of the local League of Women’s Voters who care for our community.
I hope people remember his ingratitude at the next election.
Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements – there are numbers of people who say you should take vitamins.
Vitamin C for tissue repair, A for healthy skin, B for stress, E for women over 40, and a very popular one today – Vitamin D for overall health.
But the cost of the vitamins keeps getting higher and higher. A men’s multivitamin today will cost well over $50!
I was looking at the label on the jar and it said that a number of the ingredients are foods, from foods? Why not just eat the right foods? Well, they say foods are
not as nutritional us as they used to be.
I remember reading about one genetically modified grain that was created so it would grow faster. One of the reasons that it grows faster was that the roots are shorter. Well , the shorter roots do not go deep enough to absorb enough minerals, which in turn affects the brain function because of the lack of the minerals.
You can see why a lot of people think that you should eat organic, non-GMO foods. So I wonder why isn’t the food as good as it used to be?
A lot has to do with the soil. It’s been depleted and in many places contaminated.
There’s a graveyard for cars around here. Tons of cars lined up near a river. Every time I drive by I think how stupid to be so close to the river. The acid rain comes down on all the cars and carries all the pollutants into the river and into the farmland.
Man just ignores the cycles of nature, giving little respect to the natural process. They think science can do a better job. There is no balance between nature and science. You really don’t want to wait for nature to build the soil back up.
The way she takes care of things! Think about this: the COVID virus. It is keeping people inside, thereby reducing their impact on nature. Example: air pollution. The virus is killing lots of people, which reduces the population and also the stress on the environment.
Nature has her way of balance if we don’t play fair. Building up the quality of soil in Otsego County should be a pretty high priority on the list. Quality of soil equals quality of food equals quality of people.
I wonder what is being done to protect and enrich our local soil for, as they say, future generations?
I join community members across Upstate New York – friends and colleagues alike – to say: We will all miss Bill Magee.
His service to our communities was a lifelong passion and commitment. He worked across the political spectrum to deliver for his district and he did it without the fanfare many politicians expect to receive. He did it by acting on solutions to meet constituent needs, and not making promises he couldn’t fulfill.
I first met Bill Magee in 2013. I had an interest in public service and asked for his advice. He gave it. As we all knew about Bill – he did not add more words than needed, so his advice was short but still useful.
More than what he said to me he gave an example to follow. When I called his office to make an appointment, he set the appointment that day. I didn’t get any sort of , “I’ll get back to you.”
The day before our meeting a problem came up in his schedule. Instead of a staff member calling to reschedule, I got the call directly from Bill.
In short, I will miss Bill Magee. He served our district for many years, and as a result we have done better together. He also left us with many stories that we remember with a smile, and I suspect many reading this letter are thinking of theirs.
Going forward, I will remember Bill Magee as a friend and mentor, and whose example I hope to emulate.
Re: “50-Car Parade Salutes Cooperstown Mainstay” in last week’s newspaper.
As reported, some have said had they known of the tribute to Carol Waller on Dec. 19, they would have been there. Add my wife, Suzanne, and me to the chorus. We have known Carol through mutual friends for most of the 32 years we have been in Cooperstown.
My introduction to Carol was in the early 2000s during her tenure as a village trustee, then mayor. I was one of the original baseball aficionados involved with the formation of the Friends of Doubleday.
In those days, we were trying to work with the Village Board to establish an endowment to be used for the rehabilitation and enhancement of Doubleday Field. Some of the structural and legal issues involved in doing so were complex and did not present easy solutions.
Throughout the months, turning to years, of discussions between some of us proponents of an endowment and the Village Board, Carol distinguished herself by her consistent open-mindedness and intellectual integrity.
Although she expressed some skepticism at times as to whether our private initiative could be structured to meet municipal legal and other requirements, none of us ever doubted her sincerity – something some of us felt was not displayed by some of her elected colleagues.
I, for one, will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to interface with such an honorable and dedicated public servant. Thank you, Madam Mayor.
Kelly was featured on CNN on Wednesday in a report on the border wall. As she points out in the interview, building a discontinuous section of wall in the middle of the high desert is not going to make America any more safe and secure. Almost all of the drugs come across the way everything else does – by truck on roads at the 50 ports of entry or in ships or air freight from China.
As elected officials, you of all people do not have the luxury of deciding which laws you will uphold and which you will ignore, much less willfully and publicly flaunt as a partisan political stunt.
If you adopt this scofflaw “gun sanctuary” ordinance, you will be sued for failure to uphold New York State laws – laws that you are free to challenge in court, but laws that you cannot selectively ignore or flaunt to the detriment of the rule of law, to the loss the trust that has been placed in you, or to the breach of your oath of office.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a lady I’ll call Ginny. Her three grocery carts were stacked high on top and in the bottoms. Asked about “stocking up so much,” Ginny replied, “I do this once a year for our food bank.”
My mother, who worked three jobs seven days a week with two hernias to meet the basic needs of the seven of us had been ordered by our doctor not to work. She also walked 5.5 miles a day to work and back to save having to pay a taxi.
At that point in time, our government bought good foods then poisoned them or dumped them into oceans to keep farm prices higher. Back then, 85 percent of registered voters were farmers and Republicans. Democrats pleaded for those foods to be given to the poor, and to schools for lunch programs. Decades later Democrats succeeded.
Many Republicans make fun of the recipients by calling them all kinds of names instead of paying them a living wage with benefits. It’s the new form of slavery.
One quits or dies and another is hired.
It was found that grocery stores were best equipped to handle foods, especially perishables, so Food Stamps came into being. Because of name-calling in grocery-store lines, the method was changed to SNAP, using plastic “credit cards.” Note: SNAP is a “farm program,” not a program to help the poor.
A 36-percent excise tax on USA dairy products recently put many New York State farmers out of business. Canada now buys its dairy products elsewhere, even though the tax has been lifted. Guess that makes America great!
I worked on farms until age 19. It is hard work and in my opinion farmers should be well respected, not destroyed.
Cows must be milked two or three times a day. Milk is perishable. To give some help to Upstate farmers, Governor Cuomo set up a program to buy the milk and give it away at places like schools.
Cars were lined up from the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton School all the way back to Gilbertsville Village … the result of making America great.
My dictionary has nine definitions of great … but none seem to apply.
Big grain farmers had the same experience but were given $12 billion then $16 BILLION. The tax was dropped and the grains were sold to China, meaning farmers who donate heavily to your President got paid twice. He doles out our tax dollars as if they were his.
I like Ginny’s thinking better. To me people are much more important than greedy enrichment of and by the wealthy. Let’s show the world how good America is and that people, not money, are more important. If you have never been poor and hungry you won’t understand this as much. If you say you are a Christian, perhaps you can wonder what would Jesus say and do. Ginny gets it.