After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     Business empire of Asia’s richest man hit by sell-off after fraud report     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     Business empire of Asia’s richest man hit by sell-off after fraud report     China, speeding through phases of covid, gets on with living with virus     Marshall Islands, feeling neglected by the U.S., enjoys new leverage     Trudeau appoints first representative for fighting Islamophobia     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     Business empire of Asia’s richest man hit by sell-off after fraud report     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     Business empire of Asia’s richest man hit by sell-off after fraud report     China, speeding through phases of covid, gets on with living with virus     Marshall Islands, feeling neglected by the U.S., enjoys new leverage     Trudeau appoints first representative for fighting Islamophobia     
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News of Otsego County

Letters To The Editor

WOLF: Law is Clear: Public Has Right To Know
Letter from Peter Wolf

Law is Clear: Public
Has Right To Know

Former school superintendent Theresa Carlin stated, “I’d love to comment and share the story, but am not able due to the NDA …” (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

When a public employee resigns from a position and taxpayers are obligated to pay the employee’s salary and health benefits for an additional year, the public has a right to know what happened.

Supt. Carlin and the school district entered into a “Release and Resignation Agreement.” The agreement indicated that the superintendent was withdrawing the complaint she filed through the State Division of Human Rights and was resigning her position. The agreement states further that it is a confidential communication between the school district and the superintendent. Neither party is allowed to disseminate or release information regarding the agreement unless required by law.

PALKA: MAGA Republicans Bear Watching
Letter from Kathleen Palka

MAGA Republicans Bear Watching

Everyone should be concerned about the new House majority, which couldn’t even select a Speaker without historic chaos.

The House of Representatives is now controlled by MAGA Republicans. According to “The Washington Post,” over 70 percent of House Republicans are election deniers, and they will use their power to enrich their corporate donors and advance their extreme agenda—including threatening our freedom to vote, criminalizing abortion, and cutting Social Security and Medicaid.

STALLONE: Freedoms, Democracy Must Be Protected
Letter from Marie Stallone

Freedoms, Democracy Must Be Protected

Two years after the deadly attack on our country on January 6th, 2021, it’s hard to ignore that the House of Representatives is now controlled by those who embraced and fueled Trump’s Big Lie.

According to “The Washington Post,” over 70 percent of all House Republicans are election deniers—135 incumbents voted against certifying the 2020 election and at least 27 freshman members ran on the Big Lie. They might hold the title of “representative” but they have no intention of legislating on behalf of their constituents. Their top priority in the House will be sham investigations into the Biden administration and those who actually defended our democracy.

We must speak truth to power in the face of all their lies. I’m pledging to do everything I can to protect our freedoms and our democracy against the House’s extremist attacks—I hope others will join me.

Also, it’s okay to agree to disagree.

Marie Stallone
Maryland

RICHARDSON-HENLEY: Far Right Agenda a Real Concern
Letter from Karen Richardson-Henley

Far Right Agenda a Real Concern

Everyone should be concerned about the new House majority, which can’t even select a Speaker without historic chaos.

The House of Representatives is now controlled by MAGA Republicans. According to “The Washington Post,” over 70 percent of House Republicans are election deniers, and they will use their power to enrich their corporate donors and advance their extreme agenda—including threatening our freedom to vote, criminalizing abortion, and cutting Social Security and Medicaid.

Judging by how the election for the Speaker of the House has gone, we should all be concerned about their ability to govern.

MAGA cronies like Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise, and Marjorie Taylor Greene have already indicated that their top priority in 2023 will be sham investigations into the Biden administration and other democracy defenders, including those charged with investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6th.

We must call out their lies at every turn and combat their far-right agenda to protect our freedoms and our democracy in 2023.

Karen Richardson-Henley
Milford

NORTHRUP: Cape Cod Water: a Cautionary Tale
Letter from Chip Northrup

Cape Cod Water: a Cautionary Tale

Most septic systems are designed to remove solids and bacteria, not nitrogen and phosphorus. The harmful algae blooms, or HABs, in Otsego Lake are driven by two key nutrients: nitrogen and phosphorus. Septic systems in the Otsego Lake watershed—including ones that are adjacent to the lake—may be leaking nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil, which may subsequently enter the lake, feeding a toxic bloom. Old-fashioned septic tanks are the culprits in other areas where HABs are becoming chronic.

Most of the housing on Cape Cod is on septic tanks—which can introduce nitrogen into the ponds and creeks, triggering HABs that have closed ponds for swimming and killed wildlife. Let that be a warning to Otsego: You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod. Until you gag on the water.

Chip Northrup
Cooperstown

Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee: CCCC Gives Thanks for Assistance
Letter from the Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee

CCCC Gives Thanks for Assistance

The Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee thanks everyone for making this holiday season a success. With your donations and participation, the village was decorated, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty and Rudolf, the Hill City Ice Queens, and a host of Christmas trees and gingerbread men arrived at the cottage with the Otsego School of Dance performing for the crowd. A special shout out to: Coach Lambert and the Cooperstown Central School basketball team, Danny Hargrove, Cody Moore and her equestrian team, the Village Crew, Tin Bin Alley, the Pit, the Cider Mill, Leatherstocking Corp., Tallman Enterprises, Andrea House for cookies and hot chocolate, Lake and Valley Garden Club, Price Chopper, Cooperstown Fire Department, the Chamber of Commerce, and all our new young and energetic members—we couldn’t do it without all of you.

Have a safe and prosperous 2023, Cooperstown!

The Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee

HAYNES: Further Thoughts on Schenevus Merger
Letter from Stacie Haynes

Further Thoughts on Schenevus Merger

We all know that emotions can often trump facts when dealing with heated issues that people care about. Despite this, I’d like to continuing sharing facts with the voters in the Schenevus Central School District, in desperation to improve our children’s educational programs and opportunities.

Right after I joined the school board in July 2018, our interim superintendent at the time informed us that the district was financially insolvent and we had no choice but to make some tough decisions moving forward, in order to ensure we were able to meet our public education state mandates. I was furious to learn how unfair and unequal our education system was and is. I was ready to protest in Albany and to fight for state aid that would equalize the educational opportunities our students deserve. I put forth a lot of effort in that advocacy, but my efforts went nowhere. We even have a state senator who lives in our district and we still can’t get state aid to equalize our education. This is no disrespect to our senator—it is simply to demonstrate how difficult it is to change New York State’s education system.

KEGELMAN: Further Thoughts on Fire District Election
Letter from Joan Kegelman

Further Thoughts on
Fire District Election

Regarding your recent coverage of the Fly Creek Fire District election, the current board endeavored to bring the district into compliance with the state’s regulations. However, there are those apparently who feel that rules do not apply to them, and that they are entitled to do things as they wish, regardless of state guidelines, protocols of the office of the state comptroller, and legal counsel. I take exception to the quote, “that this existing board had created an unnecessarily rigid and formalistic structure, requiring needless expenditure of thousands of dollars.” Is this due to the request for a forensic audit as suggested by several accounting firms as a first step, as no audit has been done in 16 years, and because the comptroller’s audit cited “more treasurer” oversight?

KEGELMAN: Fire Commissioner Campaign Questioned
Letter from Joan Kegelman

Fire Commissioner
Campaign Questioned

It is our opinion that the residents of the Fly Creek Fire District were misled during the campaign regarding the recent election. It is unfortunate that there are people who continue to jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of our residents by insisting the district doesn’t have to follow state-mandated guidelines because “we do things differently in Fly Creek.”

I understand that when the town clerk/district treasurer was asked by several residents inquiring about the resolutions regarding capital reserve funds, she suggested that if they didn’t know what they were, to vote “NO,” rather than explaining that the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York suggests and uses reserve accounts for responsible fiscal planning and the Office of the State Comptroller has set the guidelines for these accounts authorized by the General Municipal Law.

SOUTHWORTH: Praise for Article, Fauci Insights
Letter from Caroline Southworth

Praise for Article, Fauci Insights

Many thanks to Dr. Richard Sternberg for his insightful article on Dr. Anthony Fauci and his many accomplishments during his long and distinguished career. I agree that but for jealousy and political hostility he would have been named officially as a great man. I agree with Dr. Sternberg that he is one.

Caroline Southworth
Cooperstown

WHELAN: Transfer Station Still Under Review
Letter from Mary Anne Whelan

Transfer Station Still Under Review

I want to pass on that I did, after my last letter, hear from the regional director of the “transfer station.” Also, that she lives in Oneonta and has in fact previously visited it. We agreed to meet there today and she came with three other members of Casella and the Otsego County Director of Solid Waste Management. We reviewed the situation.

An important fact to be considered is that the recycling processing center in Albany, to which our material intended for recycling is sent, charges by weight of what is sent. Since the bins into which we place our material to be recycled are open to the weather, the cardboard in them becomes wet. Material is weighed when it reaches Sierra Processing, the facility which first handles and sorts the material before sending it on to the Albany center.

KENNEDY: Springbrook Thanks County for its Help
Letter from Patricia Kennedy

Springbrook Thanks County for its Help

On November 15, New York State announced more than $33 million in Community Development Block Grant funding, awarded to dozens of municipalities for local infrastructure improvement and housing rehabilitation projects. Otsego County and Springbrook applied for and received a $300,000.00 grant for CDBG funds which will go toward the development and implementation of safety fencing around the perimeter of the main campus, the location of The School at Springbrook and residential units for the school and campus. The CDBG grants—designed to help communities provide affordable housing and safe living environments, primarily for low- and moderate-income residents—will improve safety and enhance the quality of life of those on campus.

NORTHRUP: Kudos to ‘A-Team’ for Lake Protection
Letter from Chip Northrup

Kudos to ‘A-Team’ for Lake Protection

Glimmerglass Lake (aka Otsego) faces its biggest ecological challenge since the last Ice Age in the form of harmful algae blooms, “HABs,” which can make lake water not only unpotable, but un-swimmable, un-skiable, un-rowable and unpopular. Fortunately, we have the A-Team on the job: The new incoming president of the North American Lake Management Society, none other than our own Dr. Kiyoko Yokota of SUNY Oneonta, and Mr. Doug Willies, who is going to lead the effort to get a DEC-approved HAB mitigation and remediation plan in place in order to organize and formalize the response. Kiyoko is a brilliant scientist whose specialty is quagga mussels, the little culprits that may be exacerbating the HABs, and Doug is a can-do organizer and a canny Scot who can pinch the life out of a penny or a quagga mussel. We couldn’t have a better team leaders to address the challenges of keeping Glimmerglass Lake from turning into Pea Soup Pond.

Chip Northrup
Cooperstown

Editor’s Note: The Harmful Algal Bloom Action Team—a collaboration of water professionals, researchers, and educators from the national network of Water Resources Research Institutes, the North Central Region Water Network, and Cooperative Extensions from the 12 states in the North Central Region of the United States—is holding its third annual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium on January 5 and 6, 2023. This virtual symposium is free. Visit the North Central Region Water Network’s website for more information. The symposium will include discussions about the latest harmful algal bloom research, examples of effective bloom management, and the latest technologies being used to tackle this global issue.

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