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News Briefs: May 9, 2023

Earlville Opera House Announces Grant Program

EARLVILLE—The Earlville Opera House announced the allocation of $195,000.00 in cultural funding to 54 non-profit organizations and artists through the 2023 Broome, Chenango and Otsego Statewide Community Regrants Program. The New York State Council on the Arts established the SCR (previously known as Decentralization) Program in 1977 to foster the continued development of local cultural resources responsive to community need. SCR serves all of New York State’s 62 counties, including areas that are geographically isolated, economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse. The EOH is one of 26 SCR sites across the state. The basic principle of SCR regrant funding is local decision-making using a peer panel grant evaluation process. The SCR program offers grant support up to $5,000.00 for Community Arts and Arts Education projects and $2,500.00 for Individual Artist Commissions. Twenty-one grant recipients are based in Otsego County.

New York State Announces New Meat Processing Grant

NEW YORK STATE—New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced a grant opportunity totaling $5 million for projects to establish or expand meat processing facilities. According to a release, the Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program aims to address the nationwide shortage of affordable meat available to consumers, increase capacity of New York’s processing facilities, and support agribusinesses. Following the food supply chain challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic, many food industries saw an increased demand for locally sourced products, especially in meat processing. To address the shortage of meat processing facilities, Governor Hochul and the NYS Legislature, particularly Senator Hinchey, supported legislation creating the $5 million Meat Processing Expansion Grants program to expand existing facilities or open new facilities. The grant program is funded by Ag and Markets and administered by HVADC and is designed to make it easier for beef, pork, lamb, goat, poultry, and seafood farmers to process their products and get affordable, local meat into a variety of consumer and institutional markets, strengthening New York’s food supply chain and rural economies.

The grant program, which is New York’s first-ever statewide grant program for meat processing, is available for capital projects that can range from $50,000.00 to $250,000.00 on a reimbursement basis. For grants of less than $100,000.00, a 10 percent recipient match is required. For grants of $100,000.00 to $250,000.00, a 20 percent recipient match is required. Grant funds may be used for the acquisition and installation of machinery, equipment and fixtures, or leasehold improvements. Applications are being accepted at until June 21.

Office for the Aging to Offer Medicare 101 Classes

OTSEGO COUNTY—Otsego County Office for the Aging will offer Medicare 101 classes around the county to provide an overview of Medicare health insurance and associated programs. Information will also be available about the New York State EPIC and Medicare Savings programs. A certified Medicare counselor will be available to answer questions and walk attendees through the process. These sessions will be helpful to individuals turning 65 who are looking to sign up for Medicare, those planning to continue to work for a few more years, and even those who have been on Medicare for many years and want a better understanding of Medicare and how to review and select a plan each year. Registration is required by calling (607) 547-4232. The following sessions will be offered: Worcester/Schenevus Library at 10:30 a.m. on May 12; Cherry Valley Community Center at 10:30 a.m. on June 1; Wells Bridge Fire Hall at 1:00 p.m. on June 14; and Richfield Springs Community Center at 10:00 a.m. on June 29.

Excellus BCBS Recognized as National Leader in Diversity

UTICA—Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has been recognized by “Forbes” as one of the best employers in America for diversity. It ranked 135th overall on the nationwide list and 17th for the insurance industry. The ranking was based on a survey of 45,000 employees nationwide. The full list and survey methods may be found at

Unadilla Historical Association to Host River Sojourn

UNADILLA—The Unadilla Historical Association will host a day-long river trail event from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Susquehanna Riverkeepers Historic River Sojourn 2023 will be a leisurely canoe trip from Wells Bridge to Sidney, featuring speakers on river ecology and stewardship, Native American waterway use, recreational trails, and more. Lunch will be provided. For more information, visit To register, contact the Historical Association at or by mail at PO Box 808, Unadilla, NY 13849.

SUNY Oneonta Students Go ‘Into the Streets’ to Volunteer

ONEONTA—About 300 SUNY Oneonta students participated in the university’s annual “Into the Streets” community service day on May 6. Students volunteered at 23 different local businesses, parks, nonprofits and schools in Otsego and Delaware counties from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event was coordinated by the university’s Center for Social Responsibility and Community.

Agriculture Commissioner Kicks Off Beef Month with Beef Passport

NEW YORK STATE—New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball unveiled the New York Beef Passport program on May 2. The Beef Passport gives consumers the opportunity to explore the best local beef products in the state, support producers and businesses, and win prizes. There are 20 restaurants participating in the program. The New York Beef Passport is free and only takes a few minutes to register for on a digital device. Consumers can collect digital stamps at each participating restaurant to be eligible for prizes and receive exclusive digital passport offers. Learn more at


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Putting the Community Back Into the Newspaper

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