News of Otsego County


The Present State of Rural Economies

The Present State of
Rural Economies

Glimmerglass Film Days this year featured a documentary entitled “Storm Lake” that chronicled the operating of The Storm Lake Times, a small local newspaper in Iowa farm country much like The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta.

The community of Storm Lake endured profound changes in the last two decades as the local farm economy declined and was replaced by a very large Tyson pork processing plant that now employs 2,500 mostly migrant workers. The town’s population is about 11,000; its surrounding Buena Vista County about 20,000 in all.

The film cites corporate consolidation of corn and soybean farming and the “vertical integration” of the pork processing business — a fancy term for owning your suppliers — as the primary reasons for an agricultural downturn. Before the consolidation of the pork business, corn and soybean family farmers in Buena Vista County supplemented their crop business with hogs.

The Dogs we love and lose by Richard DeRosa

The Dogs we love and lose

Readers of my columns over the years know that I always end with an observation about what my beloved Sheltie Gabby might think about what I have written. In actuality, during the sixteen years of her life we did carry on quite a few conversations. I would say something to her and she would look up at me with those deeply set sable eyes and I would understand.

There are times when wordless chats are more communicative than otherwise. Prolixity has a time and place and purpose.

Some of the homo erectus variety could learn a lot from dogs. As Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “there is nothing more tedious than the conversation of well-informed people.”

Bound Volumes 12-30-21

Bound Volumes

We present our kind readers with the compliments of the season. The good Apostle said, “Is any man afflicted, let him pray; is any merry, let him sing psalms.” “A Merry Christmass” is reciprocally given and received, and we sincerely hope that few or none will be otherwise than “merry and wise,” and not “merry and sad,” as we fear is sometimes the case with the inconsiderate. Such seem to have forgotten the intent of rejoicing on the anniversary of the birth of our savior. They deserve our pity but not our approbation.
December 28, 1811

Rev. Mr. Boardman delivered an earnest temperance discourse in his own pulpit on Sunday evening last, and though all his hearers may not have fully coincided with all the views put forth by him, probably none of them underrated the evils depicted as resulting from habits of dissipation. The hard times experienced by a large class of people, the speaker rightly contended, results from the habit of dram-drinking.
January 1, 1887

The year 1861 sums up – Thousands of lives lost; an Army of 650,000 men; a Navy of 270 vessels and 22,000 men; a national debt of 500,000,000; the treasury nearly bankrupt; no foreign market for our loans; the initiation of
a Government paper currency, and a national bankrupt law; a foreign war threatened; 400,000 rebels in the field.
January 3, 1862

Town Topics – The employees of Iroquois Farm and their families, numbering 130, were entertained at a Christmas dinner at Parshall’s Restaurant Monday evening by Mr. and Mrs. F. Ambrose Clark. Following the dinner the guests repaired to the Village Hall, where a Christmas tree, laden with gifts for all, awaited them. Later, dancing was enjoyed, with music by Bronner’s orchestra.
The feature at the Star Theatre on New Year’s night will be a series of scenes from the world’s championship baseball games between the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Giants. The baseball pictures will be shown in addition to the usual good program.
December 27, 1911

COVID 2022 predictions

COVID 2022 predictions

By Richard Sternberg, M.D.

It seems to me that almost every other columnist, and most periodicals, publish predictions for the coming year. I might as well share mine regarding COVID.

What follows is solely my opinion. While this is based on what I’ve researched and behaviors I’ve seen
over the past two years, much of what I’m saying here is pure speculation.

By the end of the coming year, 85 percent of the US population will have experienced an episode of COVID. This is not to say that all or even a majority of these will be symptomatic; the disease has become so infectious, ubiquitous, and people become so casual about it, that almost nobody will be able avoid coming in contact with it. In fact, 85 percent is probably too low. On the other hand, having had COVID-19 or being vaccinated clearly has been shown not to protect against it.

Letter: ‘Plague’ Improvements

‘Plague’ Improvements

The Plague has produced some revelations, a few for the better.

Our son works remotely at PIXAR. He lives a mile away from the office, where he used to commute by bike, but hasn’t gone there in over a year. Now that working from home is a viable alternative, a PIXAR artist or programmer could work from anywhere there is sufficient bandwidth — even Cooperstown.

Letter: An opinion on patriotism

Letter: An opinion on patriotism

To the Editor,

The Democrats have control of our country currently and the leadership has come under control of globalist radicals trying to implement their “Global Great Reset.” They need to take this country out of the way first so they can proceed.

This is why they had to take the 2020 election and the Georgia Senate runoff in January. Four more years of Trump would have probably put an end to their long-progressing plan. It’s on fast track now because of how Trump exposed them.

If their agenda is left unchecked, we will lose our freedoms, rights, savings, religion, and everything our Constitution stands for.

We have to realize: currently all our Democrat representatives are following leadership like a flock of sheep, while too many of our Republicans are playing soft ball to the Democrats hard ball.

What can we do?

We must speak out, not conform, to unconstitutional mandates, plus identify and support our true patriots that are willing to stand up for us and our country.

Mike Lindell has shown his patriotism by launching his website that offers truth in what is really going on and some things we might do. He has hard facts about the election that need to get to the Supreme Court.

The religious based Faith & Freedom Coalition tells you how they use contributions and how far they reach.

President Trump (like him or not) is a true patriot. I can tolerate him if he can help us save our country.
There are many patriot politicians across our country we must identify and support.

Every freedom-loving citizen must stand up now to save our great country. We must know exactly what is coming at us and react before it will take guns and deaths to regain our freedom.

Prayer should also be part of our priority.

Bruce Beckert
South New Berlin

Bound Volumes 12/23/21

Bound Volumes

Advertisement – Millinary (sic), Miss Smith informs the public that she has commenced the Millinary business in a part of the store formerly occupied by Cory & Cook; where she has just received from New York the latest fashions for Velvet Jockies, Winter, Straw and Silk Hats, Turbans, etc, which will be sold at the most reduced prices for cash. Cooperstown.
December 21, 1811

News from the Noteworthy: Tell them you’re grateful

News from the Noteworthy:
Tell them you’re grateful

With Christmas only two days away, I am filled with thoughts of family, friendship, and community. But, what is family? How do we define community? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a family is “a social group made up of parents and their children,” and a community is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” While these definitions are technically correct, what they fail to include is the joy, the pain, the triumph, the fear, the frustration, and the excitement that we share with the people who we consider our family. Or the many
families and family members who we choose.

Letter: ‘Pot’tersville


To the Editor:

Frank Capra’s classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” was set in the fictitious village of Bedford Falls, modeled after the real town of Seneca Falls, New York.

In the movie, in an alternative reality, the town declines into Pottersville, where the protagonist George Bailey gets drunk in a bar that was not in Bedford Falls. The salient cinematic difference between the two towns can be summed up as bad zoning: Pottersville’s main street is festooned with bars. Bedford Falls is not.

Caution is advised. If Cooperstown greenlights “cannabis dispensaries” it should zone them off Main Street. Like way out, man.

The patrons will surely find the dispensary, even without a bell.

Chip Northrup

Life during COVID: December in Otsego

Life during COVID: December in Otsego

By Richard Sternberg M.D.

Checking the Otsego County Department of Health dashboard on December 20 showed a distinct uptick in a number of cases of COVID in recent days. Most of these still are probably from Delta, but also are beginning to reflect the Omicron variant. The website did not identify the specific variant of those cases.

Dr. Fauci says the number of cases of the Omicron across the United States doubles every two to three days. That in itself is very disturbing. The good news is that those who have been fully vaccinated and, where indicated, have received booster shots, generally show mild symptoms. The number of patients in intensive care units over the total number of people who tested positive shows a decline from those of a year ago. Additionally, the Paxlovid antiviral medication, when available and when properly indicated, seems to decrease the risk of serious complications by up to 90 percent.

With apologies to Charles Dickens

With apologies to Charles Dickens

By Ted Potrikus

I welcomed Christmas Past into our family room a few nights ago by playing Bing Crosby 78s from my parents’ record collection.

Knowing these belonged to my Mom and Dad brings me great joy, and as the perfectly scratchy discs played, it was nice to be sitting again in the village where they lived and played those same records dozens of years ago. Of course I thought of them as I often do, and, back in Cooperstown as I am, Bing brought back welcomed memories. Midnight Mass at St. Mary’s, with the village’s beloved junior high English teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, always delivering the First Reading, from Isaiah 9:1-6. For many years, I served as that night’s altar boy and knew, every year, that Father Sise would shake his head before the opening procession and tell us, “You would not believe the number of people who called the Rectory today to ask ‘what time is Midnight Mass?’” (To be fair, that got confusing later on, when he himself moved it to 10 p.m.) Marveling that through thick and thin, my parents — and then just my Mom — found a way to pack the living room with presents under the tree.

Editorial: Just wear it

Editorial: Just wear it

A few Albany wags called it “mandate-ish” when Governor Kathy Hochul’s indoor mask order took effect a week ago and roughly 20 percent of the state’s counties said immediately they’d not be enforcing
the order.

We remain somewhat at a loss as to how a county could cherry-pick the state laws (or, as may be the case, executive orders that carry the full force of law) they choose to enforce. That’s a topic for another day.

“They’re saying that just to get in the paper,” Governor Hochul quipped about the recalcitrants. “She’s doing it just to get in the paper,” the recalcitrants, generally, replied.

Letter: Greenway and trails appreciation

Greenway and trails appreciation

To the Editor:

Thank you for highlighting the Oneonta Susquehanna Greenway in your recent edition of “Bound Volumes.” It reminded me to give a public thanks for the work done by so many volunteers over twenty years ago (especially the initial plans by Leon Kalmus and the support of then-Mayor Kim Muller) to create this system of hiking trails.

During the early months of the pandemic, with so many indoor exercise facilities closed, my wife and I discovered this and many other local hiking trails, and we have continued to enjoy them and introduce family and friends to these special places.

Dr. Ben Friedell

Hometown History 12/16/21

Hometown History

135 Years Ago
The new truck of the D.F. Wilber hook-and-ladder company arrived on Saturday. It is said to be the finest truck for hand service in the world. Rumsey & Co. of Seneca Falls are the builders. It is very handsomely decorated, and it is equipped with the latest appliances, including a Bangor extension ladder. On each side is a portrait in oil of D.F. Wilber. We congratulate the company, and the Oneonta Fire Department, upon the possession of so handsome a piece of furniture.
An important real estate sale was the transfer, on Thursday last, of the Wilber Mill property at Main and Front streets, to D.F. Wilber and Reuben Reynolds. The property has a Main street frontage of 92 feet. The consideration was $6,500. Mr. Wilber will continue to use the mill until spring, at which time it is not unlikely that a business block will be put up in its place.
December 1886

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