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News of Otsego County

Otsego County news

Cooperstown & Around and City of the Hills: August 12, 2021

Cooperstown & Around
and
City of the Hills

August 12, 2021

Lost letter has town looking for ‘Nana’

A letter addressed only to “Nana, Springfield Center,” from her relative “Graham” has the town of Springfield searching.
According to officials at the Springfield Center Post Office, attempts to locate Graham’s Nana have been unsuccessful so far and their hope is a larger audience will help ensure letter delivery.


Art Garage to host Black Lives Matter project from N.J.

An East Orange New Jersey Black Lives Matter Project takes center bay at The Art Garage on Saturday Aug, 14 with an opening from 4 to 6 p.m., at 689 Beaver Meadow Road. The opening is free and everyone is invited to attend.

ROBBINS-SOHNS: Village money should improve lives of villagers

LETTER from MARY-MARGARET ROBBINS-SOHNS

Village money should improve lives of villagers

In regard to the pier in the lake “viewing deck,” I urge the Board of Trustees to stop spending money on tourist attractions. Rather focus on our neglected community. Sidewalks, piers, etc., don’t make a village.

Its people do.

The viewing deck/dock may sound fun, but it provides little to the community. It is not environmentally friendly and poses numerous liability issues, not to mention potentially risking our
water source. Oh, and the maintenance.

Covid-19 had a harsh impact on many members of our community mentally and physically. We have a lack of outdoor play spaces and a lack of areas where older adults have the ability to enjoy children at play. I must point out that the community would greatly benefit if these funds were spent on our children and adults. A better playground, two tennis courts/basketball courts located on the mutually owned village, Clark Foundation and school land. Or even a summer art program by the lake once a week directed by one of our marvelous not-for-profits. We need to focus on building a better community to attract and retain our healthcare workers and serve all walks of life.

The voters and taxpayers are provided so little. Stop looking gift horses in the mouth We are in fact throwing money in the lake!

The people living in the village matter too! Stop broad stroking projects because they feel good. Think about the citizens who probably are most likely unaware of this project as it was not in The Freeman’s Journal.

Let’s serve those who serve us!

Working for mindful spending and a stronger community,

Mary-Margaret E. Robbins-Sohns
Cooperstown

 

New joy in Mudville

Editorial

New joy in Mudville

There seems to be a general feeling in this country these days that getting things done and making a difference is an impossible thing. When the United States Congress itself seems unable to get anything done, what chance do small groups or ordinary citizens have to make a difference? The odds are so stacked against that happening that most people wouldn’t even think of wasting their time trying.

But sometimes even legislative accomplishments come from the darndest places.

In 2017, Cooperstown Elementary School teacher Anne Reis was leading her fourth-grade class through a study of state government in New York. During a section on state symbols, the kids learned New York had no official state sport. They concluded there should be one and it should be baseball.

Reis inspired her young charges to dream big and take action and they got to work researching baseball’s influence in and on New York’s history, economy and culture. They wrote essays on the sport’s numerous qualifications for official designation, and they sent them all to Albany.

Coop alum, Schaeffer, releases book about school lunch

Coop alum, Schaeffer,
releases book about school lunch

By Chad G. Welch • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Schaeffer

Cooperstown Central School 1994 graduate Lucy Schaeffer’s first book, “School Lunch-Unpacking Our Shared Stories,” released Tuesday, Aug. 3.

The book pairs Schaeffer’s photographs with 70 different lunch stories “from people age six to 93; hailing from 25 different countries and all across the United States,” Schaeffer said in the book’s introduction.

Schaeffer’s subjects include family members, friends, celebrities and strangers. Schaeffer said all of the stories are written in first-person narrative to highlight the storytellers’ voices over her own.

Although it is the first book as author for Schaeffer, she said her photographs have appeared in more than 50 books and cookbooks.

The project started in August 2016, when Schaeffer said she was brainstorming about what to make her daughters, Annie and Georgia, now 12 and 8, respectively, for lunches for their upcoming school year.

“I was sort of daydreaming and thinking it was so much easier for my parents. They just did peanut butter and jelly,” Schaeffer said. “It wasn’t like now, all these schools are nut-free and you can’t do peanut butter anymore.”

Student News: August 5, 2021

Student News

August 5, 2021

Peter Weil of Cooperstown was named to the dean’s list at Bates College for the semester ending in May 2021. The distinction is earned by students whose grade point average is 3.88 or higher.

SUNY Delhi announced its dean’s list for the spring 2021 semester, a recognition for students who earned a 3.5 or higher grade-point average for the semester. The local students who qualified include:

Jacob Weiner of Oneonta;

Travis Bookhout of Laurens;

Lucas Breakey of Oneonta;

Carly Hill of Otego;

Sara Kieru of Oneonta;

Marissa Kupris of West Edmeston;

Sean Murray of Milford;

Colette Corkery of Oneonta;

Nelson Mondaca of Cooperstown;

Aidan Cutting of Unadilla;

Kyle Martin of West Oneonta;

Gavin Fetterman of Otego;

Mark Smith Jr. of Schenevus;

Elizabeth Brzezinski of Oneonta;

Meghan Brigham of Morris;

Tara Austin of Oneonta;

Madilyne Kupris of West Edmeston;

Kaylee Willmart of Oneonta;

Carmen Booan of Cooperstown;

Curtis Self of Morris;

Ava Baker of Cooperstown;

Kali Benedict of Unadilla;

Audrianna Butler of Oneonta;

Kayla Cimkowski of Maryland;

Lauryn Fiaschi of Otego;

Courtney Gilbert of Unadilla;

Tracy Graney of Unadilla;

Marisa Kanai of Oneonta;

Cameron Kellogg of Burlington Flats;

Amy Lee of Oneonta;

Brooke Leech of Milford;

Jessica Leveille of Schenevus;

Taylor Lopez of Oneonta;

Rachel Ouimet-Edson of Oneonta;

Liza Rathbun of Cooperstown;

Molly Watson of Cooperstown;

Abigail West of Cherry Valley;

Jacob Robinson of Oneonta;

Janelle Harter of Fly Creek;

Avalon Kubis of Cooperstown;

Logan Osterhoudt of Oneonta;

Alyssa Carey of Oneonta;

and Spencer Brink of Oneonta.

COVID era brings new mental health issues

COVID era brings new
mental health issues

By Kevin Limiti • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and more recently with the emergence of the Delta variant, people have been forced to change their lifestyles in order to stay safe and healthy. While the prolonged effects of social distancing are unclear, in Otsego County there are clear statistics regarding the effects these changes have had on the mental health of its residents.

According to the Otsego County Department of Health, there was a lull in people seeking care for the first few months of the pandemic, but by the end of 2020 there was a 5% increase in those seeking treatment.

The Otsego County Mental Health and Addiction Service clinics moved about 1,000 clients to telehealth, where medical staff provide services via phone, Zoom or other technologies.

Children and Family Services as well as Addiction Recovery both experienced declines in service, but this was because referral services had either gone remote or weren’t operating under normal capacities.

“We experienced a significant jump in severity of impairment and risk in both adults but most dramatically in children,” Susan Matt, director of community services for the Otsego County Mental Health Department, said. “Unlike many other counties, we have not seen a significant increase in overdose deaths.”

Chamber forum seeks solutions for workforce shortage

Chamber forum seeks
solutions for workforce shortage

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Kingston, speaks to the panel during an Otsego County Chamber of Commerce forum on workforce needs.

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom town hall Tuesday, July 27, to discuss workforce needs for small businesses.

The participants included Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, and Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie.

The overall sentiments of the Zoom call echoed the reality of a huge problem with understaffing and the difficulties hiring employees in Otsego County.

Business owners spoke of restaurants being unable to service customers due to staff shortages and some businesses being forced to close early based on having no staff available.

Audrey Benkenstein, from Opportunities for Otsego, spoke about how many of her organization’s positions required advanced degrees and training, which made finding employees very difficult.

“We serve a vulnerable population and without staffing our programs suffer,” Benkenstein said. She said there were also lack of transportation options, lack of internet issues and lack of day care assistance available.

Local scout troop hosts supertrip with ‘Camp Rio Aerie’

Local scout troop hosts
supertrip with ‘Camp Rio Aerie’

Cooperstown Central School junior Lincoln diLorenzo walks a rope bridge at ‘Rio Aerie.’

Since 1987, when Scout Troop 1254 from Cooperstown went on a supertrip of more than 5,000 miles to the Grand Canyon, the troop has had a tradition of doing a trip every two years.

Other destinations have included Katahdin in Maine, the Florida Everglades and Mt. Rainier in Washington.

This year was scheduled to be the 18th anniversary of the original trip 34 years ago, but COVID changed the traveling world.

With Crumhorn Mountain Scout Camp closed for regular Summer Camping, the troop decided on a very unusual combination of summer camp and supertrip.

Rio Aerie was born and on July 11, the troop descended on the camp site along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Portlandville.

Student News: July 22, 2021

Student News

July 22, 2021

Local students were among the Hartwick College graduates Saturday, May 29, including:

Kelsey Elizabeth Collins of Morris;

Ushuaia Rae Diaz of Schenevus;

Zachary Thomas French of Norwich;

Katlin Ann Hager of Otego;

Christopher D. Janitz of Mount Vision;

Shanria Denetra Jolly of Oneonta;

Brianna Lynn Schworm of Edmeston;

Stacey L. Sickler of Franklin;

Tarrah Skye Smith of Oneonta;

Hanna N. Spencer of Oneonta.

Hall of Fame launches YouTube series of historic moments

Hall of Fame launches YouTube
series of historic moments

The history of the national pastime stretches across multiple centuries. But the connections that link baseball’s early days to today’s game are always evident in Cooperstown.

Through its new YouTube series, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is sharing those connections with viewers at home, according to a media release.

The Hall of Fame is debuting a YouTube series, “Hall of Fame Connections,” produced by MLB Network and made possible by a grant from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism.

The series looks at the Hall of Fame’s collection from a new and exciting angle, with each episode telling a different story of how two seemingly unrelated artifacts in the museum’s vast collection connect to each other, crossing through generations of baseball history.

DA mulls vacating Borggreen plea deal following Robinson murder conviction

DA mulls vacating Borggreen plea deal
following Robinson murder conviction

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN — Now that the trial of Dylan Robinson has ended in conviction, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said he is considering restarting the process against Robinson’s accomplice, Alexander Borggreen, for refusing to testify against Robinson despite making a plea deal.

Muehl said he was satisfied with the conviction, which the jury returned Wednesday, June 23, although he said he was surprised they didn’t convict Robinson of arson.

Robinson was convicted of second degree murder in the Oct. 10, 2019, shooting death of his father, Kenneth Robinson, as well as robbery in the third degree and first degree burglary.

“You have a 15-year-old who killed his father. Nobody takes pleasure in putting a 15-year-old in prison,” Muehl said, calling what Robinson did a “pretty violent crime.”

Muehl said he anticipates a harsh sentence because of the nature of the crime.

Muehl said he hasn’t made a decision on what is going to happen to Borggreen.

“I can make a motion to vacate his plea and his sentence and start over again. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Muehl said. “But once again, we’re dealing with a 17-year-old. They don’t make the greatest decisions, and in reality, him not testifying, other than the fact that he could’ve established for certain for the jury that Dylan Robinson was the one who shot Kenneth Robinson, was almost as good as him testifying.”

The defense attorney for Robinson, Thomas Hegeman, said that the trial “was a tough case.”

“The bottom line is we were offered a plea bargain, my client didn’t like it so we went to trial,” Hegeman said.

The plea deal would’ve been for murder one, with a sentence of 22 to life.

Muehl said the crime was unusual in Otsego. “The last young person I had killed his parents when he was 19,” he said. “In my career I’ve never had anything like this with a 15-year-old.”

Cooperstown & Around: July 1, 2021

Cooperstown & Around

CFD announces donation in honor of Fred Kerr

The Cooperstown Fire Department announced Tuesday, June 29, that it has received a donation to honor the memory of Fred Kerr.
The donation will go to the purchase of an extractor washer/dryer for cleaning turnout gear and lowering the risk of cancers in volunteers.
Kerr served as fire chief in Bristol, Ohio, in the 1980s. He loved Cooperstown and his family had a cottage on Otsego Lake for more than a century, his widow Carol Kerr said in the media release.
The donation came from the D Squared Fondation.


Village to hold hearing about 20 Glen Avenue

The Cooperstown Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m., Monday, July 26, at Village Hall, about subdividing and issuing a special-use permit to the owners of 20 Glen Avenue.

Loosened COVID rules allows Hall to open induction to more fans

Loosened COVID rules allows
Hall to open induction to more fans

COOPERSTOWN — Following last week’s announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that lifted significant COVID-19 restrictions, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced Monday, June 21, that tickets will not be needed for free lawn seating for the Wednesday, Sept. 8, induction ceremony.

The ceremony was rescheduled from its traditional last Sunday in July to an event at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center in the town of Middlefield.

The event will celebrate the inductions of Class of 2020 members Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker and will be broadcast live exclusively on MLB Network.

Since 1992, the event has been held on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, with estimated crowds approaching and surpassing 50,000 at five of the last six ceremonies, from 2014 to 2019. The second-largest crowd on record – an estimated 55,000 people – attended the Hall of Fame’s last induction, July 21, 2019.

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

by PHOEBE SMITH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Former Olympic rower Andrea Thies demonstrates proper technique during a class Friday, June 18, on Otsego Lake. (Phoebe Smith/AllOTSEGO.com)

Rowing opportunities have been expanding on Otsego Lake the past few years and a two-time Olympian has been a big part of bringing the sport to Cooperstown and Otsego County.

The Otsego Area Rowing program, under the guidance of Oneonta’s two-time Olympian, Andrea Thies, has been expanding for several summers now as people take up the water sport.

A rower from her collegiate years at Cornell University, Thies aims to offer access to the sport regardless of age, ability or experience.

OAR was established in 2017, in conjunction with the Otsego Land Trust and Brookwood Point, with an emphasis on adolescent rowing opportunities.

The not-for-profit offers classes and opportunities for all ages and abilities. Although many of OAR’s programs were restricted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this summer’s rowing opportunities are in full swing with various adult and kid camps.

Super Sheep? Can good genetics help ag businesses?

Super Sheep?

Can good genetics help ag businesses
be good environmental stewards?
A farm in Middlefield is on the cutting edge

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

A herd of sheep graze on a farm in the town of Middlefield. (Kevin Limiti/AllOTSEGO.com)

MIDDLEFIELD – Agriculture is often blamed for a negative impact on climate change. However, at a farm near Cooperstown run by twins Owen Weikert and Dr. Ben Weikert, that perception is exactly what they are working to change.

The Katahdin sheep are selectively bred by studying their genetic makeup in order to calculate things like maternal ability, how to create sheep that need less shearing and less food, and to reduce herd size.

Owen Weikert said that upstate agriculture is at a “tipping point” and that dairy farms have been “really decimated.”

“A lot of people are interested in getting out of the cattle business,” Weikert said. Therefore the new way of raising livestock might be the future of agriculture for not only Upstate but the entire country, he said.

By selecting different DNA, it is used to find out how the biological process of the animals interact with each other, and learn how to introduce beneficial characteristics into livestock that will allow breeding to be easier.

Cloning is a completely different process.

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