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News of Otsego County

Politics

MELLOR: With renewable energy, details are key

LETTER from WAYNE MELLOR

 With renewable energy, details are key

Wayne Mellor, board chair of Sustainable Otsego.

New York state passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. The law will propel New York towards a climate change friendly economy that will rely much less on burning fossil fuels for energy by 2050.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan is ambitious. It calls for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, and 70% renewable energy by 2030.

In 2020, New York derived approximately 0.1% of its electricity from petroleum, 1% from coal, 36% from natural gas, 30% from nuclear, 26% hydroelectric, 5% wind and solar and 2% biomass.

The shut down of the Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River, completed in April 2021, decreases carbon-free nuclear power to 20% of the state total and increases greenhouse gas emitting natural gas to 46%, with two new natural gas plants in Orange and Dutchess Counties now operating.

This doesn’t make sense if carbon-free electricity is the goal.

STEIN: Critical race theory isn’t being taught in K-12 schools; debate is a distraction

LETTER from MICHAEL STEIN

Critical race theory isn’t
being taught in K-12 schools;
debate is a distraction

Protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, no one is advocating teaching critical race theory at CCS or any other K-12 school for that matter. Discrimination and prejudice based upon race and class is a documented feature of American history. They say that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Our country can ill afford to repeat the sins of our past, so we’d better start educating our children now.

Critical race theory in schools is a false flag being raised by right-wing media to inflame viewers, and it’s obviously working.

Here’s hoping that our school board is wise enough not to react to fear mongering.

“Critical Race Theory is a framework for viewing U.S. legal history that is widely discussed in law school classes, and has occasionally been used to guide anti-racism training in universities, businesses and government agencies. But it has never been used, anywhere in the country, to shape the development of curriculum in K-12 schools. Treating it as a threat to public education is not only disingenuous, it is creating an atmosphere of panic that will discourage instruction in Black history, indigenous history and the history of race and immigration in the United States.

Culturally responsive pedagogy is not Critical Race Theory.Treating it as such will have profoundly destructive consequences. Do not give in to the hysteria,” Dr. Mark Naison, professor of African American studies and history, Fordham University.

Michael Stein,
Cooperstown

Herzig: For city to thrive, jobs and housing are issues that intersect

Herzig: For city to thrive, jobs and housing are issues that intersect

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — Housing and jobs remain high priorities for the city of Oneonta. Both are needed and, according to Mayor Gary Herzig, need to be gradually increased at the same time.

“You can’t have a thriving community, you can’t have a good economy, if you can’t provide people with good housing,” Herzig said.

According to Herzig, housing is “desperately” needed at all levels including low-income, middle-income and high-income.

One of the problems with housing in Oneonta is that it is hard to compete with student rentals if you are a family in need of rental housing.

Herzig said there are “not a lot of incentives” for familyrentals. “We have to be creative with what we do.”

However, there have been some steps taken on the housing front in Oneonta. Most notably, the artist lofts being created on Dietz Street and, more recently, the pending purchase of the Ford Building by Springbrook to create 22 to 24 market rate apartments, which Herzig called a “very exciting project” that he said was certain would be approved by the Common Council.

Primary elections to be held

Primary elections to be held

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Primary elections will be held in several Otsego County towns Tuesday, June 22, with early voting open this week.

Go to https://www.otsego- county.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for more information.

Here is a list of local primary elections:

Democratic Otsego County Representative, District 3(Laurens, Otego)
Caitlin Ogden
Jared Nepa
Republican Town of Hartwick Supervisor
Bryan F. LoRusso
Robert J. O’Brien
Councilman (Two)
Christopher Briggs
Jonathan Horth
Cindy Carr
Bruce Markusen
Superintendent of Highways
Frederick Koffer
Jerry Wood
Member of County Committee, Hartwick 1 (Two)
Robert J. O’Brien
Frederick Koffer
Christopher Briggs

Town of Laurens

Member of County Committee, Laurens 1 (Two)
Traci Dilello
Debra Balantic
Phil Balantic
Member of County Committee, Laurens 2 (Two)
Patricia Brockway
Michelle Buccheri
Jonathan S Chambers

Town of Maryland

Councilman (Two)
Renee Gaston
Jason Knapp
Ken Williams
Member of County Committee, Maryland 1 (Two)
Kyle Imperato
Jennifer Mickle
Ken Williams

Town of Milford

Town Justice (Two)
Matthew Kane
Deborah A. McMullen
Joanne Andela

Town of Oneonta

Supervisor
Randal Mowers
Teresa DeSantis
Town of Otego
Clerk/Collector
Patricia Hurlburt
Terri L. Horan

Councilman (Two)
Jimmy Hamm II
Vicki Salisbury-Hoyle
Royce Livingston

Member of County Committee, Otego 2 (Two)
James Salisbury
Bob Fernandez
Arlene Salisbury

Town of Richfield

Supervisor
Dan Sullivan
Nick Palevsky
Councilman (Two)
Larry Frigault
Rex A. Seamon
Isaac Ames
Superintendent of Highways
Tim Proctor
Randy Seamon

Town of Springfield

Superintendent of Highways
Jeff Brown
Tim Fish
Town of Unadilla
Town Clerk
Terry L. Yoder
Kelly A. Moore
Councilman (Unexpired Term)
Allen Anderson
Lawrence Oralls
Member of County Committee, Unadilla 1 (Two)
Polly Judd
Garrett deBlieck
Kirsten Ruling
Member of County Committee, Unadilla 2 (Two)
Jessica Grow
Allen Anderson

As ‘Merger Mondays’ end, Tuesday decision looms for Schenevus, Worcester

As ‘Merger Mondays’ end,
Tuesday decision looms
for Schenevus, Worcester

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The last of the Merger Mondays took place Monday, June 14, ahead of Tuesday’s board vote.

The superintendents of Worcester and Schenevus central schools acknowledged the growing pains of a merger, but also argued its perceived importance to a group of about 15 attendees.

Some of the guests included Assemblyman Brian Miller, and Jeff Bishop, communications director for state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is an SCS graduate.

Miller expressed mostly neutrality for the upcoming vote and said he was there to “show support for whichever way the communities decide to go.”

Oberacker was unable to attend because he was at a parade in Unadilla, a cause of some criticism among those who attended, but Bishop said Oberacker was closely following the developments on the potential merger.

If the vote is approved, there will be a Sept. 22, straw poll followed by a Dec. 3, binding referendum.

If the merger is approved the combined Board of Education would increase from five to seven seats. There also will be state financial incentives for the merger, which BOE representatives say will be used to improve educational opportunities and provide funds to a reserve, while also maintaining the same staff only eliminating positions through attrition, which they say will save $690,000.

Class size will be 22 students or lower.

Much of the merger rationale is based on a study conducted prior to the pandemic, which referenced a declining enrollment for both schools, a problem which in a merged district would be resolved with access to more academics and athletics.

Any additional cost for transportation they say will be minimal.

Anything related to mascots, school colors and team names would be student driven, officials said.

“This is emotional for a lot of people. … We do realize that and recognize that, but we have to do what’s best for our kids and everything in the study shows its best for our kids,” Carlin said.

Miller diverted from his original stance of neutrality briefly to posit about the merger.

“It’s to benefit our children and make our area truly prosper. … Things are really getting tough,” Miller said, referencing state funding. “A merger is really the best thing we can do.”

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.

 

 

Views from Around New York State: June 10, 2021

Views from Around New York State

Hunting contests should
not be allowed in New York

From: The Albany Times Union.

It would be convenient to misconstrue a bill in the state Legislature to ban wildlife killing contests in New York as some kind of anti-hunting measure. It is not.

As even many hunters and fish and game officials are realizing, the waste and bloodlust of these indiscriminate killing events threaten to harm the image of hunting as a valid wildlife management tool. It’s time for New York to join a growing number of states in ending this inhumane, barbaric practice.

Photos: Rep. Antonio Delgado visits Cooperstown Distillery

Photos: Rep. Antonio Delgado visits Cooperstown Distillery

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Delgado visits Otsego County to tour American Rescue Plan
Antonio Delgado (D-NY14) is shown how the whiskey is poured at Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

Delgado visits
Otsego County

to tout
American Rescue Plan

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN — Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-NY19, appeared in Otsego County on Thursday, May 28, to speak about the money the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan, which he help shepherd through Congress.

Otsego County receive about $11.5 million, he said, half of which has already been delivered, with the other half to follow within a year. Other county towns and villages will also receive money from the act.

“Its been a joy,” Delgado said. “It’s a real testament to what government can do.”

Delgado also praised the bipartisan nature of the politicians that were gathered at the press conference, including State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51st District, and State Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102nd District, and said it is how it should be in all forms of government.

“This is a big deal, people,” Delgado said. “We’re able to get real meaningful dollars to our community.”

Delgado also said that they had to make sure “we had flexibility” to get things done with “something more cooperative.”

“I call that direct democracy,” he said.

Delgado spoke on the importance of getting broadband for the county calling it a “basic necessity.”

Views from around New York State: May 27, 2021

Views from around New York State

Schools should spend Federal money carefully

From: The Adirondack Daily Enterprise
It’s no surprise that all local school budgets were approved by voters Tuesday, May 18.

Between additional state aid approved by the state Legislature and federal pandemic aid, most of the proposed budgets came with either no tax increase or a nominal increase in local property taxes.

But local voters should make sure they are paying attention to how school districts are proposing to spend that federal pandemic aid. New York state received about $12.5 billion while school districts received a total of $9 billion in direct aid.

In our view, routine expenses should remain the domain of local and state taxpayers.

Care must be taken in planning what’s best for the needs of the individual district. Some districts may need major renovations to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to promote breathing easier for all who work and learn there. Others may require wholesale updating of their technology platforms to platforms to best prepare for effective online learning.

Care must be taken as well to ensure maximum input from the school district’s administrators, teaching staff, parents and students so that final spending decisions reflect a broad consensus of a district’s stakeholders.

Many schools will likely have a lot of money to spend helping students make up for lost time. That is essential, but the federal investment is enough to do a lot more than that. It’s enough to created targeted programs that help children achieve more than they would have if COVID-19 had never happened and schools had never been closed in the first place.

Taxpayers shouldn’t settle just for the old status quo. For this kind of money, they should demand a level of education higher than before.

Education is key to fighting hatred

Education is key to fighting hatred

Editor’s Note: In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked some of the speakers at the recent rally against violence against people of Asian descent to submit their speeches as columns. This week’s column is from Dr Joon K.Shim, the program director for Bassett’s Medical Center’s General Surgery Residency Program.

JOON K. SHIM

I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for coming. It’s Asian American heritage month. Stand tall and be proud. My message today is a prayer for hope.

I like to talk to you about the term Asian Americans. Many people think Chinese is synonymous for Asians the same way Kleenex is for tissues. Many people don’t understand that we’re a spectrum of many different nationalities. There are so many qualifications weighing the “we” in Asian America. It’s a unique condition that’s distinctly Asian.

There is the stereotype of the “Asian nerd”—a tech geek, good at math and science, but socially awkward and passive. But Asian Americans are struggling economically like many other Americans. Asian Americans are struggling with staggering unemployment and Asian Americans accounted for nearly 40% of Covid-19 deaths in San Francisco.

Then there is the stereotype of an Asian woman, portrayed as exotic and beautiful, but also submissive, obedient, and fragile. Furthermore, Asian Americans are often treated as “perpetual foreigners” and always being asked, “Where are you really from?”

Middlefield Democratic Party elects two for chair and secretary

Middlefield Democratic Party elects two for chair and secretary

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Owen Weikert and Darius Homayounpour were elected by the Middlefield Democratic Party for chair and secretary respectively by unanimous consent.

Weikert replaces acting chair Leslie Berliant while Homayounpour is succeeding acting secretary Sydney Waller.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this growing committee making the effort to elect Democrats in Middlefield,” Weikert said in a press release. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be with people who love this region and share the core values of protecting our natural resources, helping our farms and small businesses thrive and improving life for the residents of Middlefield.”

Weikert moved to Middlefield from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is a business development director in the biotechnology industry with a concentration on sustainable bovine genetics.

Homayounpour is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii and is a textile designer. “I look forward to working with Owen and the rest of the leadership team  to help grow this committee and support our candidates,” Homayounpour said in the press release.

 

 

 

 

The myth of the good minority hurts everyone

The myth of the ‘good
minority’ hurts everyone

Editor’s Note: In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked some of the speakers at the recent rally against violence against people of Asian descent to submit their speeches as columns. This week’s submission came from SUNY Oneonta Professor of Anthropology Sallie Han.

Sallie Han, Professor, Anthropology at SUNY Oneonta. (Michael Forster Rothbart/SUNY Oneonta)

 

Thank you to the organizers for inviting me to take part in this gathering and to all of you here today for being present and taking a stand for truths and against lies and myths. Our commitment to truths brings us together, Asian and Black and White. Lies and myths manipulate and divide us.

Let me speak a little truth, or at least my truth, about what it means to be the American born daughter of Korean immigrants in this moment. Because I am also a professor of anthropology, I sincerely believe in the importance and necessity of learning and particularly of the study of humanity as a foundation for the understanding and unity that we need. Because I am standing here at this gathering today, I know that I am not alone in desperately wanting to find the ways toward righting the wrongs of the lies and myths.

I want to speak a little truth against one specific myth, which segregates people like me from the rest of American society by holding up Asians as a “model minority.” Some of us might already know this term—the model minority myth—and be familiar with the concept. Others of us might not have realized that this is the name given to set of assumptions that are likely familiar to a lot of Americans. All of us, I hope, can learn to question and criticize it. The model minority myth goes like this:

Of all the ethnic minority groups represented in the U.S. today, it is claimed that Asians are the highest achieving and most successful.

We’re good at math! We become doctors or work in tech! We’re living the American dream! Our tiger moms put pressure on us, but we’re otherwise uniformly uncomplaining and non-problematic.

Some claim it’s due to traits in our genes. Others claim it’s due to “Asian” culture.

On surface, this myth seems like it might be a “positive” one, but I think all of us understand that true freedom comes from justice and equity and our recognition of unhappy truths and our rejection of even the happiest lies. Like every other stereotype, the model minority myth conceals a diversity of experiences. It distracts us from the histories and circumstances that make the American dream realistic or not for every one of us. I can assure you that Asians do not inherit a math gene and particularly as a cultural anthropologist, I can assure you that the values of learning and teaching are foundational to every human culture. The chances that I would have attended and graduated from college as well as earned a doctoral degree likely have less to do with my being Asian and more to do with the fact that both of my own parents, too, graduated from college and earned medical degrees.

Over time, I have come to understand that the model minority myth is not so much about lifting up Asian Americans, but more about putting down other Americans. The model minority myth barely conceals a condemnation. If Asians are the “model,” then what about the other “minorities”?

The model minority myth is one that in fact my parents and their closest Korean immigrant friends and their families and even myself at one time embraced and aspired to. The fact is it felt good not to be seen as “bad.” It was about as close to acceptance and being valued as it seemed possible for us to imagine.

The minority myth was alluring, I think, because the alternative was to be invisible. Indeed, invisibility is a strategy for being where we are made to feel we do not belong. Try not to draw attention.

Get along and get by quietly. Do not speak up to avoid being spoken about or worse, acted against.

For me, the myth of the model minority is that it makes us free to be visible. We are not. I am not free from the fear of harm to myself or to the people I love.

The model minority myth also extorts from me the high price of my silence. The awful, hard truth about the myth is it invites my complicity and participation in the institutionalized racism that threatens harm to me. It is a lie that divides Asian and Black and other racialized communities from each other and divides all of us as Americans from each other.

So, this is our moment. Let’s build a new model for a new majority acting in coalition. Here. Now. We can speak and listen to each others’ truths. Together.

Thank you.

Views Around New York: May 13, 2021

Views Around New York

Albany should make
jail reform a priority

From: Sochie Nnaemeka and TeAna Taylor. special to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

There’s no doubt that Albany is undergoing a transformation.

Voters across the state turned out in record numbers to elect Democratic and Working Families champions to the Legislature last year, winning super-majorities in both houses. And this April, the results were made clear: New York passed a budget that provides historic funding to our public school students, tenants, immigrants and Black and brown communities. We legalized cannabis for adults with provisions to ensure the benefits are shared by the communities directly impacted by the drug war. And we finally passed the HALT Solitary Confinement Act to restrict the use of “the box” in prisons and replace it with safe, humane alternatives. Electing progressive leaders is helping to deliver a future for New York rooted in equity and justice.

As we come down the final stretch of the legislative session, our elected leaders must resist complacency and continue to deliver long-overdue changes to our criminal justice systems that New Yorkers have been demanding.

Family members of incarcerated people, community leaders, and criminal justice advocates call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to grant emergency clemencies to older people in prison and others with compromised immune systems in response to the death of a person incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility who tested positive for COVID-19 April 3, 2020 outside the prison in Ossining, New York. Juan Mosquero was the first incarcerated person with the virus to die in a state prison.

Hatred of Asians isn’t new, but support helps

Hatred of Asians isn’t
new, but support helps

Editor’s Note: In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked some of the speakers at the recent rally against violence against people of Asian descent to submit their speeches as columns. The first one submitted came from Bassett researchers and League of Women Voters Co-President Liane Hirabayashi.

LIANE HIRABAYASHI

Thank you Olivia, and Cate, Riley, Elizabeth, Jaina, Maya and Charlotte for organizing this event.

Today we have the actions of these students and the words of our leaders read earlier as shining examples of how to respond to hate and racism. I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about a different kind of proclamation, the actions that followed, and the consequences of those words and actions.

In 1942, my father Edward was 19, not much older than these students, when he and his family joined 120,000 persons of Japanese descent—more than 72,000 of them American citizens—in being taken away from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated in hastily built concentration camps—the term used by the US government. This was the ultimate result of Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942.

Dad’s brother James was 16, sister Esther was 13, and youngest brother Richard was 11. Can you imagine that? All born in the United States, never been anywhere outside Washington State, where their parents were farmers.

They lost their rights as citizens, in fact, they lost the title of “citizen”— instead they were referred to as “non-aliens.”

Words matter, don’t they? From double-speak words like non-alien comes the justification for preemptively locking up a community because, well, they didn’t have the time to figure out who was loyal and who wasn’t. And yet, they did know.

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