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News of Otsego County

Otsego news

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.

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.

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.

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.

This Week—June 17, 2021

THIS WEEK’S NEWSPAPERS

The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

June 17, 2021

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Moana, right, played by Yana King, gets caught by the crab Tamatoa, played by Claire Smith, with Dalilah Synan as the left claw and Taryn Brockway as the right claw, in a scene from ‘Moana Jr.’ Student actors practice during a dress rehearsal of Moana Jr., produced by Orpheus Theatre’s Starstruck Players at Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta on Monday, June 14. The show, which opens Friday, June 18, will be the first live performance by Orpheus in more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Michael Forster Rothbart/AllOTSEGO.com)

FRONT PAGE

Hall: Wednesday induction was best option

Jobs and houses: Herzig: For city to thrive, the two houses intersect

Chestnut Crossing developers host neighborhood Q&A

Cooperstown & Around and City of the Hills

Inside The Paper

Primary Elections to be held

At ribbon cutting, Distillery touted as cultivated business venture

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, left, and Eugene Marra cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/AllOTSEGO.com)

Student News

Perspectives

The Old Badger: The joy of the old pavilion still make people smile

Corrections

LETTERS

Editors Policy

COLUMNS

BERKSON: ‘Impetuous 30s’ led to Richfield Springs farm

DIROSA: An update arrives from the top of the hill

History Columns

Bound Volumes: June 17, 2021

Hometown History: June 17, 2021

OBITUARIES

William L. Ross Sr.

Kobey John King

Summer Dreams

Curtain’s up again on live theatre in the region

Concert series to resume at Lakefront

Best Bets

Staff Dining Picks

Curtain’s up again on live theater in the region

Curtain’s up again on
live theater in the region

By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — It has been a dark time for theater in Otsego County.

In 2020, the Glimmerglass Festival and Fenimore Art Museum each canceled its summer performance seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Oneonta, Foothills Performing Arts Center went 14 months without a live show, according to Operations Manager Geoff Doyle.

High schools and both Oneonta colleges experimented with streaming virtual theater, performed live without an audience. Local troupes such as the Catskill Puppet Theater and Orpheus Theatre cancelled shows, while Stuff of Dreams Productions pre-recorded performances for later broadcast.

This summer, stage by stage, the lights are back on and theaters are reopening — albeit with some modifications for COVID safety. Theaters have been operating at 33% capacity, with mask requirements in place, but that will change going forward, with an easing of most pandemic requirements from the state.

Cooperstown Distillery celebrates expansion with ribbon cutting while touting local businesses
Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, left, and Eugene Marra cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego)

Cooperstown Distillery celebrates expansion
with ribbon cutting,
while touting local businesses

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – The mood was jovial Saturday, June 12, as about 60 people, including elected officials state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, gathered outside the Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the expansion to celebrate what is considered a big success for local businesses in particular and a revitalization of Railroad Avenue specifically.

Eugene Marra, the founder of Cooperstown Distillery, began with an emotional moment on losing his dad to the coronavirus. He said his dad was his “biggest fan and number one investor in this opportunity.”

However, the atmosphere was celebratory.

“It’s an auspicious occasion for sure,” Marra said. “As much as I want to claim it as my own, I want to share it all with you because you have made it possible,” Marra said.

Eugene Marra, founder of Cooperstown Distillery, speaks in front of the Distillery ahead of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Marra spoke at length about the trials and tribulations of opening the expanded brewery on Railroad Avenue. He talked about how COVID had delayed the opening a year and how the distillery was tasked with producing hand sanitizer during that time.

He also mentioned how he was initially told by real estate agents that opening a distillery in Cooperstown was not possible.

“I like to believe we are responsible for what has become a revitalization of Railroad Avenue,” Marra said, saying that industry on that street in years past, “appeared to be dead.”

Marra said that Cooperstown Distillery, which has been around for eight years, is the “story about how it takes a village … the village of Cooperstown.”

Marra said he was loaned about $100,000 and received state fund grants of about $80,000, citing that his success was thanks to “local money.”

“We all hear these phrases, buy local, shop local, stay local. We are all of that,” Marra said, calling the Cooperstown Distillery the “fabric of this community on a very local, grassroots level.”

“We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than the village of Cooperstown,” Marra said.

Tillapaugh said the Cooperstown Distillery is a business “in which the village takes a great deal of pride.”

She noted how the village implemented zoning law changes in order to help grow businesses.

“I certainly know what this Railroad Avenue looked like for decades,” Tillapaugh said.

She noted it was once not considered industrially viable, but that developments on the street, including the distillery and the Railroad Inn, created “positive synergy.”

DiNapoli joked he didn’t accept the invitation “because of the complimentary drinks,” but was happy to come because of how difficult a year it had been.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks in front of Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

DiNapoli said that while Cooperstown is known for its Baseball Hall of Fame and Fenimore art museum that “the distillery becomes yet another reason to visit.”

“This really was an incredible effort with all stakeholders playing their role. That’s usually not how it happens,” DiNapoli said. “This is the model that should be replicated.”

DiNapoli said he was going to go back to Albany and tell other lawmakers to “look to what happened in Cooperstown as an example of how it should work” in terms of state funding for local businesses.

After the ceremony, people took a tour of the distillery.

 

 

Neglected horses rescued from farm

Neglected horses rescued from farm

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Susquehanna SPCA, with help from the Otsego County Sheriff, rescued some 30 horses from a farm that was apparently hoarding them.

Stacie Haynes said on Facebook that they worked more than 30 hours to relieve the farmer from those horses, who was unable to manage the amount that he had.

“Seriously cannot thank the many amazing people who have stepped up to help,” Haynes said in a Facebook post. “As always, the SQSPCA staff and our Sheriff’s Deputies have and will continue to go above and beyond for animals. The volunteers are the absolute best.”

Most of the horses were relocated to the Otsego County Fairgrounds. The owner of the horses was not criminally charged.

 

Otsego communities struggle with housing needs

Otsego communities
struggle with housing needs

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Affordable and available housing remains an issue in Otsego County in general, but particular issues have come up recently in both Cooperstown and Oneonta.

However, both areas are doing their part to amend this issue. Although there has been some backlash, elected officials acknowledge the necessity of creating affordable housing in the area.

A planned development at 10 Chestnut St. in Cooperstown is being considered by the village’s boards.

Francesca Zambello, who partnered with Josh Edmonds of Simple Integrity on the Chestnut Street project, described herself as a “concerned citizen” who was worried about the “really dire housing situation.” Zambello and Edmonds own three connecting lots and have formed their own company, not associated with Glimmerglass or Simple Integrity, to build on the site.

Cooperstown mourns community servant, Kuhn

Cooperstown mourns
community servant, Kuhn

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Cooperstown community found itself forced to consider life without Santa Claus when Paul Kuhn died Wednesday, June 2, at the age of 83.

Kuhn was perhaps best known as Cooperstown’s Santa Claus, a post that he held with joy and authenticity for 20 years.

According to Molly Myers, a Main Street Christmas helper from a young age, Kuhn’s listening skills and genuine care for people were a big part of what made him the perfect Father Christmas.

A few years younger than Myers, Bella Anania said she remembers eagerly waiting in line with her three siblings to see Kuhn in character. She said that he could relate to any child.

“He embodied the spirit of Christmas,” Anania said.

This Week — June 3, 2021

THIS WEEK’S NEWSPAPERS

The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

June 3, 2021

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Rep. Antonio Delgado samples a chocolate-flavored whiskey at the Cooperstown Distillery during a tour Thursday, May 27. Get the full story in this week’s edition of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.

FRONT PAGE

Education company seeks to fill camp void

AllOtsego people: Milford graduate helping with pandemic relief in Nepal

Cooperstown & Around

City of the Hills

Tour Time

Cooperstown Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, left, and Otsego 2000 Executive Director Ellen Pope, to Falk’s left, talk about the architecture of an 1800s Federal-style house at 30 Lake St. in Cooperstown, which is known as the oldest corner of the village. The two women gave an architectural tour in the village Monday, May 31, sponsored by Otsego 2000 and the Cooperstown Graduate Program, where Falk is a professor. About 60 people were on two 90-minute trolley tours through the village Monday afternoon. Falk said a similar tour of Oneonta will take place sometime in the future. (Greg Klein/AllOTSEGO.com)

Inside The Paper

Student News

Sports

Outlaws to return for 2021, home opener June 4

From state title to college hoops, Lambert looks for his shot

Perspectives

The Old Badger: Automobiles led to the last of the Mohican

LGBTQ+ rights are still fragile

LETTERS

Editors Policy

New York must address rural EMS issues before a crisis occurs

COLUMNS

BERKSON: Whistling with my fingers, thinking of songs

History Columns

Bound Volumes: June 3, 2021

Hometown History: June 3, 2021

OBITUARIES

Major Richard (Dick) Bratton

Joseph S. Harris

Summer Dreams

Keith Haring: Radiant Vision

Best Bets

Staff Dining Picks

Milford graduate helping with pandemic relief in Nepal
Milford Central School graduate Zak Aldridge, center, helps deliver supplies in Nepal in this recent picture.

Milford graduate helping with pandemic relief in Nepal

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Although COVID is starting to fade in Otsego County with towns such as Cooperstown and Oneonta lifting mask restrictions, the same cannot be said for many countries such as Nepal.

Zak Aldridge, who was born in Cooperstown, went to Milford Central School and considers himself an “honorary Oneontan,” said he didn’t intend to stay in Nepal for more than a year, but COVID-19 changed his plans.

He said he planned on staying there for two weeks. That was 15 months ago.

“I was planning to come to check out a school over here that I was thinking of coming to study languages and Buddhism,” Aldridge said. “And the lockdown happened and I wound up getting stuck. That was a year ago.”

Aldridge, who is a Columbia University graduate, has decided to help feed families in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, which is currently under a strict lockdown, causing day laborers to suffer from malnutrition.

Education company seeks to fill camp void

Education company seeks to fill camp void

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

A local education company is planning to fill the gap in camps this summer.

ResourceME, an Otsego County company started by Cooperstown Central School special education teacher Stephanie Nelen, will offer summer camps this year.

“The thing about this company is we want to be a source to fill a need in Cooperstown for educational enrichment, not to compete with anything we already had,” Nelen said.

Nelen’s company had been working with Cooperstown Baptist Church during the height of the coronavirus pandemic to host learning pods and tutoring sessions.

The church had applied for COVID money to help with educations needs during the pandemic. However, when Pastor Joseph Purdue left for a church in Connecticut, Cooperstown Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk — who is a member of the church and had helped Purdue apply for the grant — reached out to Nelen for help.

COVID update for Otsego County

COVID update for Otsego County

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

As of Tuesday, June 1, COVID cases in Otsego County have decreased to a 0.6% positivity rate with 1% of tests coming back positive, according to the Otsego County Health Department.

Currently there are 15 active cases with two hospitalizations as a result of COVID.

As COVID cases continue to go down, many businesses and towns are seeing an easing of COVID restrictions.

A mask ordinance in Cooperstown is no longer being enforced while Oneonta is expected to ease its mask ordinance for Main St.

Total cases in Otsego County for 2021 are 4,469 with 63 deaths.

 

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