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News Briefs: September 21, 2023

County Government Releases Survey for Strategic Plan

OTSEGO COUNTY—Otsego County government recently began its strategic planning process to develop an overall approach for serving the needs of county residents and businesses in the coming years.

According to County Administrator Steve Wilson, “The plan will serve as a guide to bring about a more consistent and coordinated approach to the work of the departments in county government. Public input about county government’s effectiveness and ‘user-friendliness’ is an essential part of this planning process. We hope to get as many responses to the survey as possible.”

The planning process is facilitated by Fairweather Consulting of New Paltz. Peter Fairweather will be leading the outreach process, guided by a steering committee representing the Otsego County Board of Representatives and the heads of county departments. The plan should be completed by mid-2024. The survey will be available in paper format at various locations throughout the county. It can also be found on-line at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OtsegoCounty. For more information, contact pfairweather@fairweatherconsulting.com.

CGP Exhibit Opens Oct. 14th

NEW BERLIN—Students of the Cooperstown Graduate Program collaborated with Golden Artist Colors to present “Our Votes, Our Stories,” an art exhibition reflecting on voting rights that will open at the Sam and Adele Golden Gallery in New Berlin on Saturday, October 14. A collection of young, contemporary artists will display a wide variety of multimedia works that examine the history of voting in the U.S. and engage the community in meaningful dialogue about threats to democratic rights.

“We are interested in starting up a conversation about voting,” said CGP Director and Distinguished Professor Gretchen Sorin. “Art can get people thinking, and we want to get people considering the meaning of voting rights.”

“When words are not enough, we lean on the propensity of art to engage people in critical conversations about issues that matter in their lives,” the artists said in their statement. “In the midst of two controversial, divisive elections and increasing legislative efforts around the country to disenfranchise people of color, we believe that the time to act is now. This exhibition reminds Americans of the relentless struggle for voting rights and the need, in a democracy, to be vigilant watchdogs of civil rights.”

“Voter suppression has a longstanding history in our country and the deliberate, yet insidious attempts to disenfranchise voters have only become more explicit and aggressive,” the release continued. “Since January 2021, 19 states have enacted over 30 laws that make it harder for Americans to vote. These laws disproportionately target voters of color and poor voters and not only restrict access to the polls, but leverage the threat of criminal charges to intimidate citizens from participating in the electoral process.”

The exhibit is the culmination of years of work by a number of current and former CGP students, including August Stromberger, Sophia Hall, Morgan Pigott and Project Director Jimmy Nunn, in collaboration with Mark Golden. Nunn has worked on the project for years and will also be the exhibit curator.

“Our Votes, Our Stories” is supported by the League of Women Voters. There will be an official opening from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, October 14. The gallery is located at 188 Bell Road, New Berlin.

Chamber Director Resigns

COOPERSTOWN—After four years as executive director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, Tara Burke has submitted her resignation and will be moving to the Capital District for personal reasons in October.

“I have very much enjoyed working with all of you the past four years, and hope that you have been happy with the strides the chamber has taken during this time to support and promote your businesses,” she said in a statement. “I will truly miss the friends and colleagues I’ve been fortunate to have in this role… I’m looking forward to new adventures, but this is also a great community that I’m sad to be leaving.”

The chamber will continue operating under the supervision of its Board of Directors and Operations and Marketing Coordinator Andrea House. For more information, contact the Chamber at (607) 547-9983 or office@cooperstownchamber.org.

Fall Waste Collection Begins

ONEONTA—The Town of Oneonta announced that it will collect autumn yard waste each Monday from September 25 to October 30.

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