Otsego County is facing a proposal to declare this county a “gun sanctuary.” This would mean that our county board would ban compliance with the Safe Act passed by the state Legislature in 2013.
That act promoted, among other things, background checks, banning assault weapons, and limiting ammunition. It was not anti-gun, rather it was pro-gun safety.
However, the Safe Act has been perceived as a violation of Second Amendment rights by citizens who feel that guns are a vital part of their protective system and feel their right to buy any gun and any amount of ammunition is being blocked.
They cite this Amendment as if it were intended to be unchangeable for all time. They seem unaware that the Constitution was drawn up in the turbulent period of seeking independence from England’s exploitive hold on its colonies in the New World.
Too, the war for independence relied not only on the Continental Army but well-armed militias.
Though the Constitution reflected important visionary, democratic rights, there were flaws in it such as lack of democratic regard for women and African-Americans. It was not a perfect, untouchable document. In fact, amendments were soon being made.
The Second Amendment was in the historical context of relying on well-armed militias to defeat lingering efforts of English troops to subdue the rebellious colonials, a condition that no longer prevails.
Yet, pro-gun citizens abetted by the National Rifle Association seem to believe the Second Amendment simply established forever the inalienable right to own guns and ammunition with no restrictions.
Fast forward, and we have a supposedly sane, First World country like the U.S. condoning its populace being armed by guns and unlimited ammunition, even those designed for warfare. This condoning of the vast arsenal of guns in our country ignores evidence that the more guns possessed in any country, the more deaths there will be by gunfire.
No wonder we are among the seven countries of the world with the highest rate of death by gunfire from murder, accident, suicide and mass shootings. It is as if we extol weapons of mass destruction.
Please, let us not take a step backward from the Safe Act by becoming a “gun sanctuary.” We accept many restrictions for car ownership and operation. Why? It lowers the motor vehicle death rate by making driving safer. Why should we not accept similar restrictions about guns?
Editor’s Note: Since the print edition went to press, the Governor’s Budget, agreed to Wednesday, April 1, included a fracking ban.
To the Editor:
The emergency now unfolding due to the coronavirus is not the only global crisis we are facing. The threat of global warming also requires state-wide, indeed global, response. The damage climate change is causing should not be ignored in the hope that it will magically disappear. Perhaps we have learned this much.
Our governor has taken a leadership role in response to the current pandemic. He has also taken a leadership role in responding to the climate crisis. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was passed last year setting ambitious goals to reduce fossil fuel use for electricity generation (70 percent non-fossil fuels by 2030; 100 percent by 2040).
The Governor now proposes a budget amendment to expedite implementation of the CLCPA known as the Accelerated Renewable Energy & Community Benefit Act. Adoption of the budget amendment will lead to accelerated state-wide permitting of renewable energy projects, specifically solar, wind, and related transmission infrastructure.
While CLCPA implementation is critical, this amendment as written raises concerns for erosion of Home Rule. I do not believe Michael Zagata (at one time an executive in the fossil-fuel industry, and briefly a DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration) is the best qualified to advise on the merits of Home Rule. He fought Home Rule for years in the fracking debate. His attachment to it now is disingenuous.
Without a state-wide fracking ban, individual municipalities could permit fracking without regard to risks to neighboring towns. Similarly, Home Rule in renewable-energy development without state-wide support will be ineffective. The two must work together.
Those who claim that there will be no benefit to host communities as a result of expedited solar and wind development are also wrong. The budget amendment specifically provides that host communities will benefit through payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements and negotiated reduced electric rates. Landowners who lease their land will also receive substantial rental income. Finally, mitigation of climate change clearly will benefit all.
Conversion to renewable sources for electricity generation is a crucial state-wide initiative, like the state-wide ban on fracking. At the same time, the budget amendment should strengthen protections for prime agricultural land, wildlife habitat, tourism, recreational land use, and historic preservation, all matters of intense local concern.
Host communities should be accorded deference in siting based on these key local considerations. New York can and must lead in conversion to non-fossil fuels, while supporting existing state policies to protect Home Rule and local economic drivers.
NICOLE A. DILLINGHAM, J.D.
Board President, Otsego 2000, Inc.
The humorist, Will Rogers, once said: “When all the filing stations on all the street corners are out of gas, then we’ll see what kind of people we’ve become.” It takes a pandemic to see what kind of people we’ve become and who the heroes are. Here’s my short list:
The staff of Bassett Fox – for getting ready in time, working tirelessly and telling the truth, particularly Drs. Streck and Hyman, and all the doctors, nurses and staff that are working 10-hour shifts to keep us all safe.
The local employers that are doing their best to keep their businesses going.
Essential workers – who some of us used to take for granted – the pharmacy staff, the grocers, the farmers, the mechanics, the firemen, polices and EMS. The linemen and utility workers. The truckers and delivery men. All the postal workers. All the local government staff. The health equipment suppliers. Now we know who’s really important.
Jane Clark and Leatherstocking Corp., for shutting down the tourist magnets to avoid over-loading Bassett.
The Presutti Family – who had the foresight to build Dreams Park and used the same foresight to close it down to avoid burdening the area with sick tourists.
Governor Cuomo – now officially “America’s Governor” for his leadership, his compassion and his insights.
The manufacturers – who rose to the task of making the supplies needed on the front line
The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta – for keeping us all posted, literally up to the minute on what’s going on in times of crisis, nothing is more helpful
When this pandemic is completely over – when there is an effective vaccine that will enable people to congregate safely in groups – most of us will remember what kind of people we were in a crisis and we will remember who the real heroes were: They are the people that we cannot live without. Remember that.
FOR: First is the idea that all have the right to remove their family from a place of apparent danger to a place seen to be safer. Second is the economic idea that second-home owners have the absolute right to relocate to those homes, which they own and pay taxes on.
Presumably that is also true if a city resident can afford to rent a seasonal home here, or borrow one from friends or family who are not using it.
It’s hard to argue with the humanity of the first idea. It’s why the U.S. offers refuge to people fleeing failed states to the south. It’s why Europe offers refuge to people fleeing the Syrian war and other such catastrophes.
Yet nations never do this as well as is possible, and they almost never welcome the poor as graciously as the well-to-do. But that’s a different story.
The second idea also seems reasonable. If you have a right to flee and have the economic resources, you are entitled to utilize your resources to their maximum, and do or go where you desire. If you have been smart enough, or lucky enough, or born into the right family, who’s to say “no” to you leaving everyone else to their fate?
AGAINST: What is the greater good? What happens when your flight brings threats to those who live where you are fleeing? What if you leave the physical location of your troubles but unknowingly bring the underlying conditions of those troubles with you?
If you live in New York City and other downstate areas, you live in the eye of the COVID-19 storm. What if you flee the storm but bring the weather? It is going to happen. It is unavoidable.
What about the fact that every health expert says containment is only way to defeat the virus? In a closed population it runs its course, and the severity of the course depends on how well the population follows the rules. If they do it well the virus runs out of opportunity faster and with less damage.
The CDC and the governor’s directive is, “Don’t travel unnecessarily and if you have to go out, keep your distance. Don’t spread the virus.”
Traveling unnecessarily might be taking the subway uptown to visit a friend, or driving out to Coney Island to find some sun and fresh breezes. Urban residents are being clearly directed not to do so. Is packing up their cars and driving three hours to here ignoring the directive?
News stories tell of an influx of people in The Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard and other vacation destinations for the wealthy.
Those communities are not prepared for the crowds. They typically staff up in May, not now – hiring more people at everything from grocery stores to medical facilities, and increasing inventory of consumable goods, be they food or medical goods.
The communities are now feeling overwhelmed. Year-’round residents are now going to have to compete with short-term residents – or even just visitors – for common needs such as food, on up to vital needs such as tests, hospital beds and respirators.
There are reports of wealthy visitors arriving and immediately going into grocery stores to buy thousands of dollars of staples at a time. And those actions also raise the issue of the 14-day self-isolation that travelers to a new location are supposed to observe, but many do not. All of these actions are cause for real concern.
A friend says that it is wrong to discriminate against people because of where they are from. But what if it’s not because of where they are from, but because of what they may bring with them?
Since the virus only travels through people it’s inevitable that they will bring more of the virus up here. On the other hand, we are not going to the city – for any reason – and bringing the virus back.
Should we do our best to welcome and help urban dwellers who rightfully fear the chaos and uncertainty in the city? If so, are there measures to take to better protect ourselves? Or should we implore the residents to please not leave the city – to not bring us a bigger share of chaos and uncertainty, which we are ill-equipped to handle?
Editor’s Note: The coronavirus has closed churches, but via the Internet and other means, pastors continue to preach. Over the next few weeks, we will share their words here.
Out Of Pain, Grief, Find Understanding
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a Transcendentalist Unitarian, wrote, “There is a crack in every thing God has made.”
In 1992, Leonard Cohen, singer, musician, and song writer, sang in his song “Anthem”, “There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
It is also how our light shines out. Through our brokenness.
Things are going to be difficult for us for a while. There will be pain and struggle and grief.
And we will feel profoundly broken. But in our brokenness. In our pain. In our grief. In our struggle.
Let us remember.
We are rooted to the Earth.
Connected in ways we cannot even begin to know or understand.
We are both whole and holy, APART it may seem, but truly, I tell you, A PART of the greater whole.
Bound by spirit. Bound by Life. Bound by Love.
Broken and Whole.
Rev. CRAIG SCHWALENBERG
Universalist Unitarian Church
He Intervenes, For Our Ultimate Good
In times like this, we must always remember that God is not the author of evil. He does not desire to hurt or afflict his creation.
But, as he did in the life of David the King – the “man after God’s own heart” who committed adultery and contracted out a murder – he will use evil to bring about good.
As he did in the life of the man born blind, he will make our hurts and afflictions occasions for his greater glory.
God grabs hold of the circumstances we have made for ourselves – circumstances that threaten to drag us down to our destructions – and uses those things to redeem us, and to glorify his Name. Our sins do hinder us. They can never hinder him.
What’s God up to? What’s he doing? I cannot give you an answer that will bring clarity to the days ahead. I cannot sketch out for you God’s game plan for what he’s accomplishing in this moment. I can only promise you this: the God who came and walked among us as one of us remains with us in our hours of trial as much as in our moments of triumph. The God who came and walked among us as one of us shall never leave us, whatever the afflictions through which we must walk. The God who came and walked among us as one of us is with us still. He goes still to the sick and suffering.
What’s God doing? What’s he up to? The same thing he has always been doing. The same thing he has always been up to. He is intervening, here and now in the life of this world – in your life and in my life – for his greater glory and for our ultimate good. Hold fast to that assurance. Hold fast to that unshakable, unbreakable promise. Hold fast to one another, even from a distance, even while we are apart.
Rev. DANE BOSTON
Christ Episcopal Church
Lost In Dark Wood, We Find A New Way
The best evidence I’ve seen that the Maker of heaven and earth is searching for us, seeking to create a new relationship, a new covenant for a new age, is by witnessing all the caring that’s going on, here in our community and all around the world.
People are taking care of their neighbors; they are calling our oldsters on the phone, checking in, getting their groceries, walking their dogs. There are school buses in front of our schools where families can get food.
We live in a community with a lot of heart, and this crisis is strengthening the ties that bind and creating entirely new ones, ties across the airwaves, across cyberspace, binding us together in love. That’s Holy Spirit work.
So as we continue our journey through this dark wood, we will continue to ask, who’s lost? Who’s lost in our community, our world, and how can we reach out to help be finders and restorers of life and health, from a safe distance?
When God called out that night so long ago, “Samuel, Samuel”, the lamp of God had not yet gone out. It was the darkest hour of the night. Some of us remember how Mama Cass sang, “And the darkest hour, is just before dawn.”
As Marcia McFee wrote for our liturgy today, “The path of life is rarely clear or straight-forward. We find ourselves lost in a Dark Wood, unclear which direction to go, perhaps having strayed from the path we thought we were on. It is at these times that the gift of getting lost is that we begin to pay more attention than we usually do.”
We’re standing together in a dark wood, not sure which way to go. We’re being invited to pay attention, to get quiet and open wide our senses. We’re listening for our name, for the call of God on our life. As individuals. As families. As a church. As a nation. As a planet. We’re getting quiet and we’re listening. We’re ready to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”
Rev. MARTI SWORDS-HORRELL
First United Methodist Church
That Otsego County’s first couple, state Sen. Jim and Cindy Seward, contracted coronavirus is a wake-up call for the rest of us.
If it can happen to them, it can happen to any one of us.
By the nature of their public roles, the Sewards inevitably come into contact with a wide range of people, one,
it turns out, who was carrying COVID-19.
It’s the rare Otsego County person who hasn’t run into the Sewards over the years, so what’s happened to them makes the disease feel very personal.
Yes, we knew it in our heads we could get it; now we know it in the gut.
So, pay attention. Follow the recommendations: Stay 6 feet apart, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, shelter yourself and your loved ones to the degree you can.
Meanwhile, the Sewards can be assured of everyone’s sympathy and best wishes.
Let’s look forward to a time – not tomorrow, but in the near-term – when this scourge passes, and we can return to our pleasant way of life generally, including enjoying the Sewards, returned to good health.
By now you’ve heard about Rhode Island: Last Friday, it had state police stopping cars with New York license plates at the state line, and instructing passengers they must self-quarantine for 14 days if they planned to stay in Ocean State.
The next day, National Guard troops went door to door in coastal areas, advising any Empire Staters who
had gotten out of Dodge, NY, of the quarantine.
“I want to be crystal clear about this: If you’re coming to Rhode Island from New York, you are ordered into quarantine … More than half of the cases of coronavirus in America are in New York,” Gov. Gina Raimondo told the New York Post.
The other day, our friend (and columnist) Adrian Kuzminski forwarded a Washington Post article headlined: “A plea from rural America: Urban COVID-19 refugees, please stay home,” by David Yamamoto, county commissioner of Tillamook County, Ore.
“Thousands of urban visitors descended on our villages, with cars lined up for miles on highways to the coast. Once here, the out-of-towners swarmed our grocery stores and cleared the shelves,” he wrote.
He added later, “Near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., the tensions between locals and outsiders have gotten so bad that one of the county supervisors said recently she’s worried that ‘someone is going to get shot’.”
And, “This past week, the White House coronavirus task force asked everyone who’s recently left New York City to self-quarantine for 14 days after new infections started appearing in the Hamptons and other popular refuges in the area. The spread has made Long Island locals so angry that one suggested small-town residents should “blow up the bridges.”
By contrast, “Safer at Home,” a statement – see Page A4 – from the Otsego County Coronavirus Task Force released by county Board Chair Dave Bliss over the weekend, is mild, as befits our local situation. After all, many of the “out of towners” around here have been part-time residents – summers, holidays and weekends – for decades. They’re part of the picture.
A couple of the suggestions are fine, but probably unenforceable: How would landlords and hotel/motel operators ensure their tenants are “following Governor Cuomo’s, President Trump’s and the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines”?
Likewise, to require people traveling into the area to advise the county Health Department is undoubtedly admissible under the state of emergency, but how can we be sure they get the message and know who to call? The Health Department is a pretty busy place these days, and getting through the switchboard there isn’t always easy.
That said, the crux of the statement is solid: When you get to town, self-quarantine for 14 days. If fever, coughing and shortness of breath occur, call a doctor, or the Bassett hotline, 607-547-5555.
It’s hard to believe, but 14 days passed last Saturday, March 28, since Bliss declared the county a state of emergency to smooth out local implementation of state and national emergencies declared the day before.
Anyone who has punctiliously followed the recommendations – self-isolate, monitor members of the household, keep strangers at a 6-foot distance, wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer – are largely out of danger, as long as he or she continues to follow the recommendations.
But with state Sen. Jim Seward and his wife, Cindy, both coming down with coronavirus in the past few days, vigilance – as Bliss underscored – can’t be overemphasized.
The sad passing of our first neighbor, Brenda Utter, 56, of Morris on Thursday, March 26, is a case in point: Five days before, said her husband Phillip, she was fine. He’s tested positive, even though he has none of the symptoms.
We regular folks can’t be 100 percent sure of anything.
The good news is as of Tuesday morning, the New York Times was following the worst-case scenario in predicting 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.
A Wall Street Journal editorial, following the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, using the so-called Murray model, was estimating 81,114 deaths over the next four months, “with 95 percent confidence that the number would be between 38,242 and 162,106.”
So we’re not out of the woods yet, although there are signs things are turning around: New York State’s infections are growing, but the infection rate is dropping.
So there’s no reason to lose our heads.
In the New York Post, Governor Cuomo called Raimundo’s actions “reactionary” and unconstitutional, saying he’d sue Rhode Island if the policy isn’t rescinded but believed they could “work it out.”
“I understand the goal … but there’s a point of absurdity, and I think what Rhode Island did is at that point of absurdity,” said Cuomo. “We have to keep the ideas and the policies we implement positive rather than reactionary and emotional.”
“Reactionary and emotional,” that’s what’s most to be avoided. And the local Coronavirus Task Force’s statement clearly does that. As it seems in most every step the task force has taken to date, there’s reason for Otsego County to look to the future with expectations of hard time, but confidence things will get better, perhaps sooner than later.
Death of Bees – During the past few weeks, mortality among the bees about Portlandville has been very great. One gentleman having 48 hives has lost 43 out of the number, and others have lost in nearly the same proportion. The cause is attributed to a scarcity of the store laid up last season, which may be true, and if true, makes neglect on the part of the owners the more culpable.
Chicago is receiving California quail, salmon, asparagus, cauliflower, green peas, and mounting trout, by express from the Pacific Coast.
The edition of The London Times is now printed upon presses that take in the paper in a continuous roll.
125 Years Ago
Records of a Week – The Yale faculty has ordered Harry Moffat Wilson to leave the college for refusing to be vaccinated. He is a freshman from Newburgh, New York. His father is opposed to vaccination.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rendered its decision on the income tax law. By a majority of five to three the court declares unconstitutional so much of the law as taxes incomes from rents and state, municipal and county bonds. By an even division, four to four, it fails to affirm or deny the constitutionality of what remains in the law. The first effect of this decision will be to cut down by at least one-third, the estimated revenue of $30,000,000 which the Treasury Department expected to receive from the income tax law during the first year of its operation.
80 Years Ago
Oneonta Sports Chatter – After opening the baseball season at Utica, on the afternoon of May 9, the Oneonta Indians will play the Braves at Neahwa Park the following day. The Indians will be at home for 63 games, including two or three holiday dates. “Jumping Joe” Polcha, tall substitute center for the Troy Basketball Celtics, will be farmed by Albany to Gloversville. Polcha hit over .500 with two fast semi-pro leagues. Carl Delberta wired us yesterday that he came through his bout with Melio Theodorescu without a scratch. Delberta was a “last-minute” substitute for the Cocoa Kid and scored a unanimous 10-round decision over the Rumanian welter-weight champion. The National Boxing Association has ranked Arturo Godoy as the number one Heavyweight contender for Joe Louis’s title. But, personally, it’s about time for the boys along “Jacob’s Beach to check their fountain pens for a spell and seek a “white hope” capable of giving the “Brown Bomber” and the customers a fair run for their money.
60 Years Ago
The United States bolted past a new frontier in space Friday by firing the first-known weather-eye satellite into orbit. It photographed the Earth and its cloud cover from 450 miles up and televised back the images. A triumphant space agency rushed the pictures to President Eisenhower who exclaimed “I think it’s a marvelous development.” NASA Chief Dr. T. Keith Glennan brought Eisenhower a four-picture sequence showing an 800-mile-square area comprising the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
40 Years Ago
West Oneonta – Danny Forbes is ten pounds lighter this morning – and he’s glad. The ten pounds he lost yesterday comprised the weight of a metal head brace that he wore for more than two months to help heal a broken neck. The five-year-old son of David and Kathy Forbes of Route 23, West Oneonta, had the brace removed Monday afternoon, his mother said. Mrs. Forbes said Danny’s first words when he woke Monday morning were “Look Ma, my brace is all off.” He was able to come home tonight,” his mother said. Danny suffered a broken vertebra on January 27 in a sledding accident on a hill behind his home. The brace was installed by two physicians, Bruce Harris, a neurologist at Bassett Hospital, and William Hopper of Fox Hospital. Danny now wears a foam-filled neck collar.
20 Years Ago
Construction to replace the Rose Avenue Bridge in the City of Oneonta could begin by the end of April. The concrete and steel structure which crosses Glenwood Creek on Rose Avenue at the intersection of Hudson Street was closed by the city on March 3 after a significant section of its top deck broke off and fell into the water. Work on a replacement, estimated to cost close to $90,000 is hoped to begin soon. The city is expected to award a construction contract on April 18 Oneonta City Engineer Joseph Bernier said. Meanwhile, nearby businesses have suffered as normal through traffic has been diverted. Even though local traffic is permitted past a barricade at the top of Rose Avenue, the barriers have discouraged customers from patronizing Coddington’s Florist at 12 Rose Avenue, said Kathryn Kroll, owner of the business. “I am truly affected by this,” Kroll said. The Oneonta Tennis Club and Otsego Iron and Metal are also affected by the bridge closing signs.
10 Years Ago
The mission of the Oneonta Mural Project is “To realize a vision for original and professional murals that promotes community and economic growth.” The project, founded in 1999, is under the umbrella of the Upper Catskill Community Council on the Arts and was adopted by the City of Oneonta Beautification Committee. Now, 10 years later, at least 13 interior and exterior public murals have been painted in the Oneonta area by various artists and students. Why murals? Because public art communicates ideas.
Advertisement: Saddlery and Harness Shop – The subscriber feels grateful for that countenance and patronage from the public which he has received for many years, and respectfully informs them, that he continues the business in the Shop near the post office in Cooperstown, where all orders in any branch of it will be faithfully attended to. He keeps on hand an assortment of saddles, bridles, Harness, &c, &c. which he warrants of the best materials and well manufactured, which will be sold as low as at any shop in the County for ready pay either in cash, or any kind of grain at a fair market price. He also carries on at the same Shop, the BOOT and SHOEMAKING business. Time is the test of truth, and those who use articles of his manufacture, will in the end find that they were not made, like Pindar’s razors, merely to sell. Daniel Olendorf, Jun. Cooperstown, 1820.
April 3, 1820
175 YEARS AGO
(Editor’s Note: The following excerpts refer to people and events in Cincinnati, Ohio). Ups and Downs in Life – It is useful as well as interesting to notice the change for the better or worse which fifteen years serve to operate in a community. I know a business man on Main Street, who was refused credit in 1830 for a stove worth twelve dollars. He is now a Director in one of the banks and worth $150,000 at least. I know another business man, also on Main Street, who was refused credit in 1825 by a firm in the drug line for the amount of five dollars. In 1830, that very firm lent that very man five thousand dollars upon his endorsed note.
April 7, 1845
150 YEARS AGO
An Aged Minister – Reverend Benjamin G. Paddock, the oldest Methodist minister in this State, the first pastor of the Methodist Church in Cooperstown, who is here on a visit to his daughter, Mrs. Dr. Lathrop, preached in this church on Sunday morning last. Though 82 in age, Mr. Paddock has the appearance and mental and physical vigor of a younger man. It is 65 years ago since he first commenced to preach, under a permit from his church organization, which gift he exercised for several years before he became the settled pastor of a church. For 45 years he officiated in that capacity, and then was placed on the superannuated list. But he has continued frequently to preach, as health and strength would permit, and he enjoys the privilege.
April 7, 1870
125 YEARS AGO
Honest, Manly and Practical – Judge Moore, in his charge to the jury in one of the Brooklyn labor strike cases the other day said: “The doctrine that no man shall be permitted to earn a living in this country unless he earns it according to the terms proscribed at the beck and dictation of some other man, is a doctrine that can never be tolerated. It cannot be permitted. We are men! We have a right to earn an honest living. There is no right that God has given a human being above the right to earn an honest living by honest labor, and there is no organization, whether a labor organization or any other, that has the right to say to you, or to me, we shall not earn that living unless we submit ourselves to their wishes and dictation. That is worse than southern slavery ever was.”
April 4, 1895
100 YEARS AGO
A Picture Churches Have Chosen as That of The Typical American Girl – Seeking a poster which correctly presented the typical American daughter in her present-day attitude to the Church, the art directors of the Interchurch World Movement chose a painting by Denman Fink. This scene, calm-eyed wholesome young woman was selected as the type of the daughters of America being reared under the influence of the Christian Church. Mr. Fink’s painting shows her pausing as though waiting for her parents to join in restoring the complete membership attendance of this place of worship, one of the objectives of the Interchurch World Movement in which the evangelical group of Protestant Churches has joined. The poster has been prepared for distribution throughout the entire country for stimulating interest everywhere in extending the ideals and influence of the churches to men’s daughters throughout the whole world.
April 7, 1920
75 YEARS AGO
Makes the Supreme Sacrifice in Germany. Pvt. Richard E. Race, nineteen-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Race of Toddsville, was killed in action in Germany March 15 according to a War Department message received last week by his parents. Letters dated March 6, 1945 from “somewhere in Germany” were received Monday by his parents and his Aunt, Mrs. Robert J. Wilber, Red Creek Farm. Pvt. Race entered the Army April 24, 1944. He took basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, advance training at Fort Meade, Maryland and went overseas last December. He was attached to an armored tank division. Before entering the service he was employed at Smith’s Feed Store, Cooperstown. Pvt. Race was born in Index, January 10, 1926, son of Walter A. and Mabel (Smith) Race. He attended Cooperstown high school, leaving for the Army during his academic course.
April 4, 1945
25 YEARS AGO
Greeting throngs of interested customers at a table set up in the lobby, Cooperstown Postmaster Connie Tedesco sold special cancellation stamped envelopes and packages Saturday as the Cooperstown Post Office celebrated its bicentennial. “When the post office opened this morning, there was a line going right out the door,” Tedesco said. The Cooperstown Post Office is the second oldest in Otsego County. Cherry Valley celebrated the bicentennial of its post office in the fall last year (1994).
April 5, 1995
10 YEARS AGO
Four new members have joined the Cooperstown Rotary Club. They are Richard Abbate, Chairman of the Cooperstown Village Democratic Party; Laurie Blatt, Executive Director of the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home, Karen Cadwalader, Woodside Hall Director, and Sally Eldred, retired Executive Director of the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and a recent trustee candidate. The Cooperstown Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at Noon at the Otesaga Hotel.
COOPERSTOWN – Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA, doesn’t want anyone’s pet to go hungry during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have a very well-stocked pet food pantry,” she said. “People can call or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us what they need, and we will leave it out front with a note for them to pick up.”
Delivery options are also available for those who may not have transportation, Haynes added.
Donations are left to sit for a minimum of 72 hours, she said, and are handled with gloves in order to avoid spreading germs.
The pantry was part of the emergency preparedness plan put together by consultant Barbara Carr in early March.
“She said that this was about to become an issue and that we not only needed to be ready for it, but we needed to be leaders,” she said. “So we put together an emergency preparedness plan.”
Included in that plan were stockpiling six months of supplies and hosting an adoption event in order to empty out the kennels and cages. “It was extremely successful,” she said. “We wanted to clear out those cages in case people get sick, we can offer emergency boarding.”
Adoptions are still ongoing, but the shelter is only open by appointment on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
And with many people working from home, she said that there has been an outpouring of offers to foster animals. “We’ve had more fosters than ever before,” she said. “And normally, we don’t have people foster younger animals because they get adopted quicker, but because we have such limited hours, we are letting people foster them.”
Ten puppies recently came to the shelter, and all are with families. “We’ve seen that it’s actually a really good thing,” she said. “The foster families are able to socialize, house-train and get them used to a leash, so when they are adopted, their chances of success in a home is that much better.”
They’ve also taken things digital, moving their New Leash on Life thrift store and their annual Cider Run 5K online.
“We’ve had a virtual accompaniment to the race in the past, especially with people who couldn’t come that weekend, but still wanted to participate” she said. “So it wasn’t that hard to transition to an all-virtual race.”
Virtual run participants are invited to share videos and photos of their experience throughout the day on the Cider Run Facebook page, and the Cider Run committee will announce winners in various categories, including farthest run, most scenic route, participants with the most dogs and more, on Monday, April 27.
“It can be as serious or as silly as you want it to be,” she said.
ONEONTA – When Dr. Diane Georgeson took a call from Mayor Gary Herzig at the beginning of the year, she had no idea what awaited her.
“Gary asked me if I would be interested in being the city’s health officer,” she said. “I was honored, but I did not anticipate a pandemic!”
Georgeson, a recently retired Fox Hospital physician and the medical director of Family Planning of South Central New York, has been at the forefront of the city’s COVID-19 defenses.
“I told her the health officer is called once, maybe twice a year because someone might have too many pigeons in their back yard,” said Herzig. “But she has stepped up, and we’ve really come to depend on her.”
Trained as an OBGYN, the closest she had come to a pandemic previously was the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, while she was in medical school. “There was a fair amount of fear and unknowing,” she said. “We were trying to understand a new, frightening virus, but nothing I’ve seen has been anywhere near this scale or direct impact.”
An Oneonta native, she is the daughter of former mayor James Georgeson, and the granddaughter of former mayor Joseph Lunn.
One of her first calls to make was whether or not to begin “social distancing” even before the state mandated the practice be put into place.
“I was asked if the Catskill Symphony Orchestra should cancel their Cabaret Concert,” she said. “My initial response was no. But 12 hours later, everything had changed and it became clearer what we had to do. I told them that they should cancel.”
She also began advising the city on best practices for keeping the public safe, while still providing services.
“I see myself as a communicator,” she said. “My job is to translate the guidelines of the county, state and World Health Organization. Things are changing so rapidly that communication really is key.”
In mid-March she was approached by David Hotaling, Oneonta Public Transit transportation director, about the best practices for disinfecting buses. “I did some research and found what the COVID-19-approved disinfectants were.”
She instructed the city to buy a disinfecting fogger, which is used frequently on the buses and on the ambulances after every transport.
Similarly, she worked with Water/Sewer when they sought her guidance on wastewater management. “I managed to find some World Health Organization guidelines on just that,” she said. “And I reviewed protocols with police and first responders so that they’re prepared. This whole experience has really given me so much respect for how the city works.”
EMS crews now have guidelines for when and how to use Personal Protective Equipment, as well as what to do when one of them has been exposed to a potential COVID-19 case. On Georgeson’s recommendations, police and fire personnel are maintaining social distancing in their stations, and police have been tasked with breaking up people congregating in groups.
“The people of Oneonta have been wonderful about staying home, but every so often, there will be some kids playing basketball and the police will have to tell them they can’t,” said Herzig.
Several times a week, Georgeson speaks with Carrie Post, RN, head of Incident Command at Fox Hospital, as well as with Heidi Bond, Otsego County Health Director. She’s also begun meeting with the Town of Oneonta health officer, as well as Town Supervisor Bob Wood, as part of the city’s health task force.
“We need to bring people in and be inclusive because this affects us all,” she said. “We want to do whatever we can to support the people on the front line.”
But of all the advice she is hearing and disseminating, the original recommendations remain true.
“The most important thing is to wash your hands and don’t touch your face,” she said. “And keeping your distance is also important.”
By ELIZABETH COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Nine days ago there were no Coronavirus patients among people who called Otsego County home.
As of Tuesday, March 31, there were 16. And one of those, Brenda Utter of Morris, has died.
Patients range in age from 20 to 75, county health officials said. There are 53 people more on mandatory quarantine because they have been in close contact with a positive case.
As the state’s numbers have climbed to the highest in the nation – some 75,000 as of Tuesday, March 31 – doctors at Bassett Healthcare Network have been anxiously preparing for an onslaught of patients here.
Though our numbers are growing, they have not leaped as high as feared.
“We are able to manage the patients that are coming in and need to be cared for,” Dr. Steven Heneghan, Bassett’s Network chief clinical officer, who is overseeing the network’s clinical response to the virus.
The precautionary measures the public is taking, along with Bassett’s triage system, are working, he said. But he cautioned that the picture could still change.
“We are expecting the worst and preparing for the worst,” he said. “And we are hoping for the best.”
Bassett Healthcare Network has given about 500 tests in its eight-county region, and of those about 10 percent are positive, Network officials said. That stands in stark contrast with parts of New York City, where that number is as high as 65 percent.
“I am not saying everything is over and everything is fine,” Heneghan said. “What I am saying is that everything people are doing is working and keep it up.”
Even though the county’s numbers are still small, the death of a single resident holds significance for the entire community, as well as the hospital, Dr. Bill LeCates, Bassett Hospital president, said in an interview.
For instance, Phillip Utter, husband of Brenda Utter, 63, of Morris, the county’s first victim, told his wife he loved her as she entered Bassett Monday, March 23.
Prevented from being with her by measures designed to protect the community, “It was the last thing I told her,” the husband said. Brenda died Thursday, March 26.
Hospital staff did keep in constant contact, letting him know all her ups and downs, and he is thankful to them for their kindness, he said.
LeCates said he could not speak about specific cases, but that the COVID crisis is taking a toll on medical staff.
“Everyone here at the medical center shares in the difficulty of this illness, and the sadness and difficulty that comes to people who are separated from their family members, especially at times like the end of life,” he said.
“We recognize how difficult this is for everyone. For the families and people who are hospitalized and the staff who are caring for these patients. It is a tremendously difficult aspect of this pandemic that people are separated at their time of greatest need.”
The stress on patients and their families is always felt deeply by hospital staff as they do their work, but with the coronavirus it’s worse. Because of the danger of spreading contagion, family members of those with the virus are not able to be with their loved ones who are hospitalized.
So far, Heneghan said, the hospital can handle the number of cases coming in.
“Our population had enough warning to use handwashing and social distancing,” he said. “It is proof of what other countries have shown us, that this is an effective way to reduce the spread.”
The network’s video conferencing system has enabled many of the patients to remain in their homes when they are sick, and at the moment “most are doing quite well and recovering,” he said.
“Of course not everyone has a quick recovery,” he added. “We are managing ill patients in the hospital.”
He declined to say how many COVID inpatients the network was treating, only that the number was “relatively small” and holding steady.
The hospital also has more than enough ventilators for the number of patients they are seeing now. They also have enough masks and face shields at the moment.
But, he cautioned that the picture could change.
There is an incubation period during which patients may not realize they are sick, when they may infect others as the go about their daily lives.
Also, the disease progression takes more than a week, and people with manageable symptoms in the beginning could take a decided turn for the worse and need to be hospitalized.
Heneghan said general statistics on COVID-19 show that for every 100 patients, 10 need hospitalization and five must go to the ICU.
He does not see COVID patients inside the hospital, but he does meet with patients being treated at home via the network’s video conferencing system.
►ENOUGH TESTS ON HAND
Heneghan said Bassett has enough tests right now to test people practitioners think might have the disease.
“We are not limited,” he said. “If we feel someone should have the test we will do a test.”
He encouraged anyone who believes they might have the virus to seek an evaluation, and to stay away from others until a determination is made.
“Other countries have had good results with that system,” he said.
►HUG THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE
For Phillip Utter the virus has already taken a heavy toll.
Asked what others could learn from his experience he recommended following the warnings of health officials and practicing social distancing as much as possible.
“You don’t ever know,” he said. “You could be the next one, you know. It has certainly proven that it isn’t just a downstate thing. It’s everywhere. It’s all over. You can’t be too careful.”
ONEONTA – Coloring and photography cannot only be calming, says Destination Oneonta Director Katrina Van Zandt, but they can help keep Otsego County’s tourism top of mind.
After all, people aren’t going to be sheltering in place forever.
“We know that tourism has a big impact on Oneonta,” she said. “So we partnered with This is Cooperstown on its coloring contest.”
It’s one of several ways entities in Oneonta, Coopertown and in between are reaching out to their neighbors under COVID-19 quarantines.
Sweet Home Productions, Destination Marketing of Otsego County (DMOC), Van Zandt and county Rep. Clark Oliver, D-Oneonta, are each taking step to help the county through the crisis and into a better time.
• TO A BRIGHTER DAY
The coloring pages, available on the Destination Oneonta Facebook Page, are open to anyone who wants to enter. “We’re giving away Downtown Dollar prizes in five categories,” she said. “You can use them at restaurants and stores, to buy those groceries at the Green Earth or treat yourself to dinner from the Autumn Café.”
• DOWNTOWN PROMOTIONS
Entries must use the #ColorMeCoop hashtag and must be completed by April 12, with winners chosen April 13.
Destination Oneonta is also working with Mark Drnek, Sweet Home Oneonta and the Eighth Ward Council member, on promoting downtown businesses online. “People were on Facebook asking where they could buy gift cards online to support local businesses,” he said. “We had the time, so we thought we should put together something.”
The website, www.SupportOneonta.com, aggregates local businesses by type and directs people to online ordering. “Everyone is doing what they can,” he said. “This is about getting this information out there to help these businesses replace this income.”
It’s free for businesses to be listed, and he is working with the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce to link to additional resources for business assistance.
• CITY AND COUNTY
He also built a www.SupportOtsego.com for businesses outside the city, and is working on similar pages for Delhi and Schoharie County.
The SupportOtsego page will also host the county’s Economic Impact Task Force survey, aimed at helping understand what businesses need to recover. (That task force and a Health Care one, appointed by county board Chair Dave Bliss last week, are aimed at getting more people involved in tackling today’s foremost local challenges.”)
“I’ve been getting a lot of questions about relief efforts, loan availability and how to access those programs,” said Cassandra Harrington, DMOC executive director. “We put together this survey to make sure we know what the businesses need.”
The survey asks questions on whether businesses are remaining open or haven’t opened yet, how many employees they have, and how they promote their business.
“Businesses want to present a unified front,” she said. “We want to get them all together in a digital format so they can compare and be fair to their customers.”
The surveys will be collected throughout the week and analyzed at the task forces’ next meeting.
• LINING UP EXPERTS
Meanwhile, Oliver, the freshman county representative, has put together a growing list for county residents looking for educational resources, food pantries and restaurant deals, healthcare information and more.
“When the crisis began, there was just this onslaught of Facebook posts,” he said. “And I thought we needed a centralized location of all this information.”
Working with LEAF Executive Director Julie Dostal and Elyane Mosher Campoli, a local event organizer, Oliver put together the Google Doc. “Each school district, for instance, has its own food pickup, so we have a category for that,” he said. “We’ve got educational and entertainment pages, health info, deliveries and child care.”
There’s even a section for stress management and volunteers, and many of the services available are no-cost or a low-cost service.
And Oliver is hoping that people will add their own resources to the list.
“We’re really looking for people who are willing to do deliveries of groceries or medicine, or who might be willing to offer pet or child care,” he said.
To our Cooperstown All Star family of players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees
The health and safety of Cooperstown All Star Village players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees is our highest priority. As we continue to actively monitor developments related to coronavirus (COVID-19) we want to assure you that Cooperstown All Star Village is taking all necessary health and safety precautions in accordance with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and New York State health officials for our players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees.
In an effort to carry on the Cooperstown experience that our players, coaches and umpires have planned for and fund-raised for several years. We have made a decision regarding the 2020 tournament (assuming that our Nation is going through this self imposed quarantine) four weeks in advance of each week. Starting the first week in May (leaving family’s, players, coaches and umpires a full month before the first week tournament begins), we will let everyone know via our website, Facebook and emails to coaches whether we will open or cancel that week, obviously if we are open the first week the other weeks will be open as well. Our goal is to give our players the Cooperstown experience they have planned for and fund raised for.
For those of you wondering how we will handle your refund, should we cancel a week or the entire season we will give you two options, All teams will receive a 100% refund or the option of future participation. This policy remains the same for our on site hotel guests. As stated we will not be making that decision until the first week in May in an effort to give our players the chance to participate in what they have worked so hard for.
The most important thing we can do as Americans is remain calm, follow the rules set forth by your state and our federal government and remember we are all in this together. We will come through this!
Our community is ready to welcome all of our baseball families with open arms. God bless you all and God bless America and the World.