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News of Otsego County

Opinion

BOUND VOLUMES: April 15, 2021

BOUND VOLUMES

April 15, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

210 YEARS AGO

Members of the Commission reporting on the feasibility of constructing a canal, or system of navigation, from the Hudson River and Schenectady to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are identified as Gouverneuer Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, William North, De Witt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Peter B. Porter, and Simeon Dewitt.

April 13, 1811

No Kidding, Watch Out For Bears

EDITORIAL

No Kidding, Watch Out For Bears

No kidding. This black bear took down a fence in a Pierstown yard over the weekend.

After Vince and Lynne Krogh Casale’s sighting (and videographing) of a black bear on Bedbug Hill Road Tuesday, March 23, a reader sent along this photo of a black bear (see photo) rampaging in a yard in the Pierstown area, on the other side of the hill, both in Town of Otsego on the west side.

More bears in Otsego County is a new reality, Josh Choquette, the DEC’s new bear expert, based in its Stamford office, reported in last week’s edition.

Development in the Catskills is pushing bears north and, also, new growth in Otsego County’s abandoned farms is providing newly arriving bears with plenty to eat.

WALLER: Point – Give Federal Largesse To You, Me
ISSUE & DEBATE

POINT: Give Federal
Largesse To You, Me

Editor’s Note: This is citizen Bill Waller’s recommendation in a March 29 letter to the Cooperstown Village Board on how to spend its expected share from the $1.9 trillion Biden Stimulus Plan.

BILL WALLER

Dear Mayor Tillapaugh and the Board of Trustees;

I read with interest statements relating to the benefits coming to Cooperstown from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan (ARP). According to press accounts, this could be nearly $350,000.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-2022 Village of Cooperstown Budget, I did not see any amount referencing the ARP disbursement. This is entirely understandable since the act has just passed, well after all the budget discussions held by the Board of Trustees.

As this is budget enactment time, I would like to express my opinion as to how these funds should be spent when they arrive.

…I would like to make a radical proposal: Give it back to the residents.

In this year’s proposed budget $1,779,194.00 is listed as the expected income from Village property taxes. I would urge adoption of the budget and then when the ARP funds are received, issuing a rebate check to our Village taxpayers. I would propose 10% of the taxes levied be sent back to every Village property owner as COVlD Relief. This would only cost $177,919.40.

While this may seem a radical proposal, I remind you that no one opposed the $600 and $1,400 checks mailed from the Federal Government. I feel that no matter how small an individual’s Village COVlD Relief may be, it will be well received. It would also be innovative, creative and will reward our Village residents for their endurance during the past year. And other than the massive error on the part of Otsego County Government resulting in 20% tax rebates a few years ago, when has a local municipality rewarded their residents by sending some of their money back?

ARP regulations stipulate that the funds cannot be used to reduce taxes, but they can be used to “offset the impact to households” caused by the pandemic. This would be a fair way to lessen the impact.

I know the Village Board could find many ways to spend the ARP money, giving some of it directly to residents would have a big impact.

Creative minds could even come up with a letter accompanying the relief check noting worthwhile community projects very willing to accept the resident’s donated refund if they so choose.

I hope you will consider my proposals at this opportune time as part of your budget discussions.


COUNTERPOINT: Village
Suffered Real Losses

… and this is Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s April 5 response:

Mayor Tillapaugh

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your letter of March 29 pertaining to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and your recommendations to the Village of Cooperstown on the use of the funds which we will receive.

…On March 23, Congressman Delgado held an information meeting concerning the ARP and provided more accurate funding information. He indicated the exact amount of ARP funds which the Village will receive is unclear at this time.

The U.S. Treasury will be determining the distribution of funds and will be providing that guidance to New York State, which will receive the funds for townships and Villages. The state will dispense them to the respective township which will in turn remit them to Villages. Our share will be based on our population percentage within the township.

One half of the funds will be provided this year and one half 12 months after the legislation is signed. General estimates at this time indicate we may receive approximately $120,000 within the next several months and a similar sum next year.

In budget year 2020-21, the Village of Cooperstown had an $800,000 decrease in revenues – from paid parking, sales tax, chips, and Doubleday Field rentals.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-22 VOC Budget, hopefully you realized that the Village Board did indeed fund an additional full-time police officer. We made this public safety commitment to our community, even though the funds we ultimately will receive from the ARP are only a fraction of the lost revenues due to the pandemic.

As for returning funds to taxpayers, the Village has not increased the property tax levy of $1,779,194 since 2013. Eight years of no increase in the tax levy is our support of Village property owners.

BARCLAY: Celebrate Pot Legalization Now, Rue It Later
LETTER from DOUGH BARCLAY

Celebrate Pot Legalization

Now, Rue It Later

Though the Governor has already signed this legislation into law, I wanted to share my statement from earlier this week on the decision to legalize recreational marijuana:

Many are going to celebrate the passage of the ‘Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.’

But we didn’t solve any problems today, we only created new ones.

Democrats will claim victory, but they ignore the inherent dangers associated with their decision. Legalizing marijuana guarantees young people will have greater access to a drug they shouldn’t be anywhere near. The minute this becomes readily available, the safety risks in our communities and on our roadways will increase exponentially.

Forced COVID lockdowns drove New York to the edge of an economic cliff, and advocates for legalization seized the opportunity to push marijuana as a financial windfall. While this may eventually improve the state’s bottom line, it will come at the expense of public health and safety.

Doug Barclay,
R-Syracuse, is Assembly minority leader.

Uncle Sam, Font of Plenty, Thanks To Printing Presses

EDITORIAL

Uncle Sam, Font of Plenty,
Thanks To Printing Presses

Ain’t Uncle Sam great! At least his ability to print money.

After the year-long COVID pandemic, which cost Otsego County government $10.6 million, the federal government is sending it $11 million.

That’s $400,000 in profit, from the greatest pandemic in 100 years.

The beauty of it is county government, under the guidance of brainy Allen Ruffles, the county treasurer, had already taken steps to stem the bleeding.

The Ruffles Plan, incorporated in the 2021 county budget, borrowed $4 million at historically low interest rates, then fast-tracked road work this spring — the one area where Albany is still providing reimbursement.

When all is said and done, the county reps may be able to consider a wish list, one being an energy-efficiency upgrade at all county buildings.

The only downside is 50 percent of the money is coming this July, 50 percent next July. There’s many a slip…

Nationally, of course, the so-called American Rescue Plan cost $1.9 trillion, with no new revenue stream to pay for it.

Ain’t Uncle Sam great! He can simply print more money.

NORTHRUP: While U.S. Soldiers Fought, Families Confined At Home

LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

While U.S. Soldiers Fought,
Families Confined At Home

To the Editor:

Racial animus against Asians, including snide remarks about the “Kung Flu,” has no place in America.

My father-in-law, Al Prather, was a lieutenant in the 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II. Most of the enlisted men were Japanese Americans, most of the officers were not.

Many of the families of the Japanese-American soldiers were imprisoned in detention camps, as a form of racial profiling – the United States government assumed that they might be traitors: including the mothers, sisters, fathers and little brothers of the enlisted men of the 442nd.

When it came time to ship out overseas, the military attached the 442 to the 36th Texas Division and sent them to Europe to fight the Nazis, under the impression that Japanese Americans would have no qualms about killing Germans. They did not.

In one of the most famous battles of the war, “The Rescue of the Lost Battalion,” the 442 fought to save the survivors of the 141st Regiment, mainly Texans, who were surrounded in the Vosges Mountains near the German border.

In saving their Texas comrades, over half of the Japanese Americans were killed or wounded in less than 30 days.

Their valor was recognized with more Congressional Medals of Honor than any regiment in the war. All this while their families were in prison camps back in the US. The general understanding of their valor was that they fought as well as they did to make a point: that Japanese Americans are courageous, hard-working, loyal Americans. Not people to be belittled or mocked. Even by politicians.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

BERKSON: ‘It’s The Knuckle On Your Middle Finger That Does It’
LETTER from TERRY BERKSON

‘It’s The Knuckle On Your
Middle Finger That Does It’

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.

About 15 years ago, after having read several of his books, I heard that Jim Harrison, the writer and poet, was giving a reading and a talk at Barnes & Noble on Union Square in Manhattan.

Several months before at a barbeque on Canadarago Lake outside of Richfield Springs, I had talked at length about Harrison’s “Legends of the Fall,” and several of his other works, with friend and artist Brendon Pulver who, like me, was an enthusiastic fan of the esteemed writer.

When I arrived at the lecture hall, to be sure I was in the right room, I asked a man who appeared to be surveying the seating arrangement, “Is this the Harrison reading?”

To my surprise, it was Brendan Pulver who had come, I thought, all the way from Richfield Springs. We found seats towards the front of an audience of about a hundred.

BOUND VOLUMES: April 8, 2021

BOUND VOLUMES

April 8, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

210 YEARS AGO

Excerpts from a report of Commissioners appointed by resolutions of the Senate and Assembly of the State of New York to explore the route of an inland navigation from Hudson’s River to Ontario and Lake Erie: “…they have examined the country as critically as time and circumstances would permit, and caused surveys to be made for their better information. By aid of canals a good navigation (for boats) can unquestionably be made from Schenectady to the falls in the Oswego River, twelve miles south of Lake Ontario. From Schenectady to the Hudson River and from the falls just mentioned to Lake Ontario a boat navigation is also practicable.” (Ed. Note: This report provided a rationale for the construction of the Erie Canal)

April 6, 1811

HOMETOWN HISTORY: April 8, 2021

HOMETOWN HISTORY

April 8, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

135 Years Ago

Home & Vicinity – On Tuesday evening, George Ingalls of this village displayed a collection of gold coins, consisting of twenty-six one-dollar pieces, four five-dollar pieces, and one twenty-dollar piece, all bright and new.
What was particularly interesting was that the money was paid Mr. Ingalls for his services during the first year of the rebellion and which he has retained ever since.
The committee appointed to arrange a law-and-order league hope at an early day to make public their plan of operation. Since the movement was inaugurated, drunkenness has entirely disappeared from our streets on Sundays, and the dealers evince a disposition to observe the letter of the law – the bars being all closed on the Sabbath. It will be much better for all concerned if no further step is necessary.

April 1886

FURNARI: More Trump Flags On The Way
LETTER from SAL FURNARI

More Trump Flags On The Way

To the Editor:

This is a reaction to Consuelo Kraham Velez’s letter in the March 18 edition. And I write this for some of those that are fearful of being canceled because they worry about expressing their beliefs that may not be popular with their employer, their neighbor, or their governing body in their community.

Of course we will accept a portion of our money back. Let’s call it a rebate, not a relief check. We pay a fortune in taxes, so once in a while it’s nice to get something back.

And in regards to the comment about some kind of an “indisputable fact” that President Trump was trounced, it shows ignorance. If you still believe Beijing Biden was fairly elected and that fraud didn’t exist to get him in office, well then you are extremely naive. The mere fact a record 75 million voters never had their day in court proves my assertion.

China controls this temporary “lucky-if-he-makes-it-one-term” president, and the election was riddled with illegal actions and inconsistencies brought to light, proven, and never pursued by a bought-and-paid-for judicial system.

Corruption runs deep in our nation these days, due to people who are not statesmen employed in both parties. But if you call it “indisputable,” I’ll give you a chance. Bring us the facts next time you make such a statement.

Maybe getting off the big networks and doing a little research on your own will help you become more informed and appear more qualified to chime in. Just steer clear of the professors in your local universities, as they are certainly part of the problem.

And look out for more Trump signs coming. Because whether it’s Trump or anyone who believes in an America First policy, that’s who we will support. Not those hurting American businesses, and allowing undocumented individuals to enter our countryside on the southern border.

You don’t have a border you don’t have a country. Young girls are abused and sold because of the open border policy.

I hope you’re happy contributing to that, the higher gas prices, the pollution, the loss of jobs, the tension between us and China, Russia and North Korea, the appeasement of Iran, the massive spending, the higher taxes, legalization of drugs, abortion of 8- and 9-month-old fetuses, fentanyl entering through this open border policy killing tens of thousands of people a year – fentanyl coming from China specifically.

I challenge you to prove anything I just listed is not a fact. The arguments I’ve just made cannot be broken. And I’ll debate you any place, any time. In the meantime, I’m canceling reading anything you have to say to the editor and public again. So congratulations. You are now part of cancel culture you support.

SAL FURNARI
Town of Otsego

McREYNOLDS: Experiencing ‘Rashers’ To ‘Baps’
LETTER from ERNA MORGAN McREYNOLDS

Experiencing ‘Rashers’ To ‘Baps’

Erna Morgan McReynolds, raised in Gilbertsville, is retired managing director/financial adviser at Morgan Stanley’s Oneonta Office, and an inductee in the Barron’s magazine National Adviser Hall of Fame.  She lives in Franklin.

Just leaving Belfast to go to London was scary. Soldiers dressed in camouflage gear held machine guns and guarded barbed wire topped fences which ringed the airport.

I kissed my family through the fence. Security whisked my suitcase away and sealed my handbag in cling wrap until we landed in London.

After 10 days in Northern Ireland, I loved the security. I imagined my plane blown up in mid-air, hurtling to the Irish Sea.

But Northern Ireland — I was still with my family. London? Perhaps the biggest city in the world. I had to travel miles from the airport to central London. I had figured out a bus would be the cheapest public transportation — and found the right stop.

A couple of hours later, I was at Kings Cross-St Pancras – railway, bus and underground stations all in one place.

My $1 a day guidebook said my hostel was a short walk from Kings Cross. I realized that author hadn’t been lugging a suitcase with all of his worldly possessions to get there.

Eventually I found the street number on a windowless door. I pushed the buzzer, climbed a windowless flight of stairs. Arrived at a dingy counter where a clerk scrutinized my passport, wrote down details, demanded cash in advance.

Then he locked my passport in a safe. Told me I couldn’t have it till I checked out. By then I expected that he would murder me in my sleep, steal my traveler’s checks and cash them with my passport.

STERNBERG: The Doctor Will View You Now

LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG

The Doctor Will View You Now

erna
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 a recent morning, I had a first visit/consultation with a physician from Columbia-Presbyterian in New York City. In going to the city and back to Cooperstown, Columbia presents a special challenge to me.

It is a difficult facility to maneuver through under fully normal conditions and these times aren’t normal. It would have required driving about four hours each way and maybe even an overnight stay. Both the physician and I chose to do a telemedicine visit.

Most of you already know about telemedicine.

It was starting to be used by patients who had to travel long distances to see a doctor, especially if there was a satellite clinic where the transmission could be accommodated. Now, with the advent of multiple video options, the patient can be anywhere, from home to half the world away.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns, many large practices, including hospital-based ones, decided video and telephone appointments were better than nothing. What they found out was that many times they were equal, if not better, than an in-person visit.

Probably the one thing holding back telemedicine use was the refusal of insurers, especially Medicare and Medicaid, to pay for such visits. These visits take the same, if not occasionally more, of the physician’s or mid-level provider’s time. Reimbursement, when given, was less than the equivalent amount of time for an office visit.

With the onset of COVID, insurers were forced to accept the value of telemedicine, given the lack of options if as many people were to be seen as before the pandemic. As an emergency measure, tele-visits were being approved. They still are, even when an in-person option exists.

THE DOG CHARMER: Finding The Good Breeders

THE DOG CHARMER

Finding The Good Breeders

Tom Shelby,
The Dog Charmer
Cooperstown author answers pet owners questions on training their dogs. E-mail your questions to dogsrshelby@msn.com

Hi Tom,
Question: How do I really know I’ve found a good breeder? There are a lot of scams out there with slick websites and darling puppy photos.
ELEANOR

Dear Eleanor:
This is an important question for those who are intent on acquiring a specific breed, especially in today’s world consumed with artificial intelligence and its ability to be convincing in its dishonesty.

To me the answer revolves around one word, communication. I’m talking about talking, really talking, as opposed to texting or e-mailing. To ensure your suitability as prospective dog owners, the breeder should question you to the point of it feeling like you’ve been interrogated.

Prospective puppy buyers need to do their own interrogating till they’re satisfied that the breeder did all the right stuff raising the pups for the crucial first two months of life.

With plenty of back and forth probing, the breeder and buyers should begin to feel like real friends. Many of my clients have stayed in close contact with their breeders for years, and for generations of their dogs. For first-time buyers not sure of what to ask a breeder, I would suggest they read, So Your Bitch Is Pregnant by E. Winters.

Happy looking.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Abandoning Atlanta? How About Moving All-Star Game To Coop
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Abandoning Atlanta? How About
Moving All-Star Game To Coop

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the league will move its 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft from Atlanta.

…MLB has yet to select an alternate host site, but might I suggest Cooperstown, NY?

Given the short-term logistics of finding a new site, it would have the quaint feeling like Iowa’s Field of Dreams. Plus, it’s the perfect place to honor Aaron and those Hall of Fame players who’ve died in the past year.

Given how there won’t be a big Hall of Fame bash this summer, move up the class of 2020 induction. That way Derek Jeter and his fellow inductees can get the proper spotlight too.

…It would be a cool and unique setting and a splendid way to honor the game’s greats with a Hall of Fame All-Star Game.

MICHAEL GWIZDALA
BronxPinstripes.com
April 4, 2021

‘Reefer Madness’ Goes Mainstream

EDITORIAL

‘Reefer Madness’

Goes Mainstream

The 1936 movie raised the alarm, and laughs.

Maybe when marijuana vendors appear at Disney World, or when the venerable theme park comes up with a Marijuana Mile theme ride, or maybe Marijuana Maelstrom.

Then, perhaps, the Village of Cooperstown – “the pinnacle” of youth baseball camps, according to Lunetta Swartout, Cooperstown Stays proprietor, (and she ought to know) – should approve pot shops, or a “recreational cannabis dispensary,” or whatever, along Main Street in Baseball’s Mecca.

Maybe then, but now the debate is more than theoretical.

Simmering, simmering for years, marijuana legalization moved to the front burner over the weekend, when Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly agreed on legislation “to legalize adult-use cannabis.” The Assembly and Senate approved the bill Tuesday, and Cuomo was expected to sign it.

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