News of Otsego County

Letters To The Editor

Whelan: State of Emergency or Xenophobia?
Letter from Mary Anne Whelan

State of Emergency or Xenophobia?

The last two issues of “The Freeman’s Journal” have covered David Bliss’ proposed strategies for, in effect, defending ourselves from any proposed influx of immigrants.

While it is understandable to raise concerns about a housing shortage as a rationale for this, there is also a flavor of Trump-style xenophobia and a lack of any proposed humane solution to an urgent human problem.

Katz: Local Businesses Give in Support of Library

Keith Gulla and John Walker, shown here with Bowie, are among the business owners who supported the Village Library of Cooperstown and Friends of the Village Library during this year’s National Library Lovers’ campaign. (Photo provided)

Letter from Karen Katz

Local Businesses Give
in Support of Library

The Friends of the Village Library would like to extend their thanks to the community and all of the local businesses who supported this year’s National Library Lovers’ campaign in February.

The campaign featured a full month of activities and events designed to bring awareness to and support of the Village Library of Cooperstown. More than 25 local businesses supported this year’s campaign by hanging posters—designed by local artist Peg Donahue—creating promotional items and offering discounts throughout the month.

Falk: No to Exclusion as an ‘Emergency’ Measure
Letter from Cindy Falk

No to Exclusion as an ‘Emergency’ Measure

This year, I had students in my historic preservation class at the Cooperstown Graduate Program do research on businesses in New York in the 1930s to the 1960s that were welcoming to Black travelers as documented in the “Negro Motorist Green Book.” One student, Megan Good, uncovered the story of the Trade Winds Motor Court in Yonkers and its involvement in the United States v. City of Yonkers segregation case.

In 1984, former city council member Michael F. Cipriani admitted to attempting to limit the number of minority patrons to the Trade Winds Motor Court to no more than 15 percent, citing rampant crime. While this was one small part of the overall case, the court found that the City of Yonkers, the Yonkers Board of Education, and the Yonkers Community Development agency had intentionally segregated public schools and housing. That was not only ethically wrong, but it was also illegal.

Seamon: Survey Shows Project To Be Very Unpopular
Letter from Nathan Seamon

Survey Shows Project
To Be Very Unpopular

The Town of Columbia survey results for the proposed Columbia Solar Project and Battery Storage Facility conducted by mail in March and April are in and have been tabulated. At the request of the Columbia Town Board, the survey was conducted by the Columbia Planning Board to better understand the opinions of the residents and property owners about the proposed solar project that developer EDF Renewables has been pitching in the towns of Columbia, Litchfield and Winfield (Herkimer County) since 2019. Of those that responded with an opinion (oppose or favor the project), 83 percent were opposed. Below is a summary of results:

Schoonmaker: Climate Action Plan Not Widely Discussed
Letter from Gary R. Schoonmaker

Climate Action Plan Not Widely Discussed

Is there some kind of media blackout around the Climate Action Council’s activities? The New York State government (Legislature and governor), passed a law in 2019 called the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act). That act set a goal of “net-zero carbon emissions for the entire state economy by 2050.”

In order to implement that goal, the legislation commissioned a Climate Action Council to develop a draft Action Plan and then a Final Action Plan. In January 2022, the draft action plan was published and public hearings were subsequently held across New York State. If this is news to you, I expect you are in the majority of citizens of New York State. When I heard about the public hearing in Syracuse, it was only a couple of days before hearings were to be held and I had seen nothing on the news or in newspapers about them. I heard about it on a local Saturday morning radio program discussing how to maintain your home.

Welch: Mother’s Day a Time to Honor Gift of Life
Letter from Gerry Welch

Mother’s Day a Time to Honor Gift of Life

When I was a young child (14), I heard my mother sobbing in the dining room. This I’d never seen or heard before. I immediately went to her and asked why the tears. She looked up at me and said all of my children (seven) are asking me to do things for them. She then added, “What is in it for me?” I thought for a moment and replied, “Mother’s Day.” Not much to offer other than it brought her a smile.

How great the pain a woman knows,
A mother, a child, from labor’s woes.
Our Goddess, mother, cradle of life,
She gives of self, the gift of life.

Gerry Welch

Sackett: NYS Cancer Services Program Saves Lives
Letter from Mitzi Sackett

NYS Cancer Services Program Saves Lives

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in New York State. In 2019, there were more than 118,000 new cases of cancer and nearly 34,000 New Yorkers died of the disease. The NYS Department of Health leads efforts to reduce the burden of cancer across the state through initiatives such as the Cancer Services Program. The CSP offers free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening to New Yorkers who have low incomes, are uninsured, or are underinsured.

Cancer screening can save lives. It can find cancer early when treatment works best, and screening for cervical and colorectal cancer can also stop cancer from starting. In the last year, the CSP served over 23,000 people across the state, providing screening and follow-up tests, referral to treatment, and client support through case management services. Yet, the CSP could do more. At current funding levels, the statewide program reaches 18 percent of the estimated 140,000 eligible population of uninsured people across the state.

Local CSP programs work in every county and borough of NYS to reach those with the highest burden of cancer and improve health equity. Black and Hispanic populations, people living in rural settings, and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community carry more of the cancer burden. Additional resources could increase the NYS Cancer Services Programs’ ability to reach New Yorkers with greater cancer burden.

Your local program, the CSP of the Central Region, needs your help! Please spread the word about these life-saving services. Encourage people who do not have health insurance to call 1 (888) 345-0225 to find out if they qualify for free cancer screening. Like, follow, and share information from our Facebook page. Be the extra hands and voice we need to reach those in need in our community.

Mitzi Sackett
Education/Outreach Specialist
CSP of The Central Region

LWV: Your Vote: Investment That Will Pay Of
Letter from the League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area

Your Vote: Investment
That Will Pay Off

An investment in knowledge, noted Benjamin Franklin, pays the best interest. On May 16, you have the chance to make that investment when residents of the Cooperstown Central School District will elect its school board and vote on the annual district budget election. As the CCSD Board notes on its website, “Local control of education through elected school boards has its roots in American Colonial history. Through the years, communities have directed the education of their youth by annually electing school board members and approving budgets.” The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area encourages all district residents to continue this long-held American tradition.

Lynne Mebust and Chris Franck are running for the two open seats on the board. Remember, even if board elections are uncontested, your vote signals the value you place on the work of the school board.

Northrup: HABs: Mitigation, Not Messaging
Letter from Chip Northrup

HABs: Mitigation, Not Messaging

The local NGOs have taken the lead in addressing the harmful algal blooms in Lake Otsego with a “messaging” workshop. Good. Since the messaging thus far has been a bit mixed if not confusing. Some groups are focused on monitoring the situation—also helpful if done within the context of a mitigation plan. What’s missing thus far is a DEC approved mitigation plan to reduce the inflow of nutrients into the lake. We know what drives HABs—inflow of nitrogen and phosphorus into the lake. We also know where those nutrients come from: septic systems, fertilizer and farms. Until the inflow of those nutrients is curtailed, the HABs will get worse.

Fortunately, we know how to reduce the inflow of fertilizer into the lake. Septic systems have to be modified to reduce their output of nitrogen and phosphorus. Septic tanks that are currently compliant with state law do not remove nitrogen and phosphorus, so this may require a new, higher standard for septic tanks in the watershed. Fertilizer runoff from farms and golf courses will have to be reduced. Together, we can mitigate the problem, which will enable us to spend less time and effort on messaging and monitoring.

Chip Northrup

Rothwell: Why Is Maestro Leaving CSO?
Letter from Delores Rothwell

Why Is Maestro Leaving CSO?

The last Catskill Symphony Orchestra performance con-ducted by Maestro Maciej Żóltowski will be held on Saturday, May 13 in Oneonta. The question being asked by many attendees, sponsors and members is why his contract has not been renewed. The CSO has had nothing but praise for him in the local papers and yet they did not poll the musicians or CSO members regarding the board’s decision not to renew his contract. The only reason offered was that CSO would be taking a “new direction.” Why weren’t key stakeholders’ opinions considered on whether he should remain as music director of the CSO and whether they desired a new direction for the orchestra?

Maestro Żóltowski has brought new life to the CSO and a high standard of music and excellence to the performances. He has received praise from those who attended his concerts and yet the CSO board is not interested in retaining this outstanding skill to ensure their future. Certainly, no articulated reason has been given to those of us who attend, sponsor and contribute to the CSO.

Delores Rothwell

Roberts: Bills Would Help Environment
Letter from Tracy Roberts

Bills Would Help Environment

While “Earth Day” has officially passed, let us not forget that every day is Earth Day. The New York State Assembly has an historic opportunity to take meaningful action in dealing with both our growing plastic pollution crisis and the ever-worsening climate crisis. There are two bills before the current legislative session calling for simple, effective solutions: The Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S227/A6353) and the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S4246/A5322).

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill would raise the deposit on cans and bottles to 10 cents, marking the first increase in more than 40 years, when the first bottle bill was put into law. Higher deposits mean more incentive for people to recycle and a badly-needed “pay raise” for the many low-income New Yorkers who depend on the redeemable deposits of empty bottles and cans.

Waller: Ceremony Was Spectacular
Letter from Bill Waller

Ceremony Was Spectacular

I was fortunate to be invited by a member of the Cooperstown Board of Trustees to the Commissioning Ceremony for the USS Cooperstown. We drove to New York City Friday in order to attend the early-morning breakfast hosted by the New York Council of the Navy League.

The breakfast was attended by a wide variety of people: various boatbuilding officials, elected officials, New York Navy League members, family members of crew and numerous white-uniformed Navy personnel. Admirals and aides with cords festooned on their shoulders were available to anyone that wanted to talk.

Nemeth: Congress Should Check Justices
Letter from Kathleen Nemeth

Congress Should Check Justices

The Supreme Court is run amok, and it’s time to get it under control.

For the last year, we have witnessed scandal after scandal come out of the Supreme Court. From learning that Samuel Alito may have leaked a decision about reproductive health to conservative anti-abortion activists, to discovering Clarence Thomas has been secretly accepting luxury vacations from a GOP mega-donor for 20 years, the actions of these justices on the highest court in the land are unconscionable.

Russo: Reduce, Reuse Is Sale Focus
Letter from Thomas Russo

Reduce, Reuse Is Sale Focus

Local residents may remember that a few years ago, the Rotary Club of Cooperstown held a large yard sale for charity at the parking lot on Railroad Avenue. Thereafter and for several years, we held our Spring Fling fundraising event in the Doubleday Parking lot or at the Clark Sports Center.

Schoonmaker: Multiple Energy Sources Needed
Letter from Gary R. Schoonmaker

Multiple Energy Sources Needed

Which is more stable: a one-legged stool or one with three or more legs? The Climate Action Council is moving quickly to implement a program to terminate the use of any energy in the State of New York other than electricity. That would leave us with an energy stool sitting on one leg. Have you ever tried to sit on a one-legged stool?

Right now, we have a stool with multiple legs: We have electricity, yes, but we also have natural gas, propane, gasoline, etc. Why, when so many people are clamoring for diversity, and financial advisors recommend that no one put all of their money in a single investment, does the state legislature and governor think it wise to get rid of all forms of energy except electricity?

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