If you are interested in high school sports in Otsego County, you likely already know who Nate Lull is.
From his desk at WCDO in Sidney, where he is the radio stations’s sports director, from high school gyms around three Central New York counties – Chenango, Delaware and Otsego – and from whatever parking lot or McDonald’s offers WiFi after games, Lull has revolutionized how sports fans locally get their high school scores and statistics.
In a 21st-century way, he is the radio guy known for his Twitter account, @NateLull, where every night during school seasons he is the first person to post the results of most games and competitions.
“It is a weird thing,” he said in a phone interview Thursday, July 1. “For a lot of people I am more of a Twitter thing and I am less of the radio guy.”
Although Lull does play-by-play for his radio station whenever there is a big game, and also semi-regularly during the peak fall and winter seasons, and he sells sponsorships for his broadcasts and his podcast, The Nate Lull Podcast, much of his work life is off the air, a job endorsed by the radio station’s local ownership.
“I have always thought about coming on the air for sports updates or something, but in some ways, as my boss said, I am a victim of my own success,” Lull said. “This Twitter thing took on a life of its own.”
A Gilbertsville native and 2003 Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School graduate, Lull said he was always interested in athletics. He played soccer, basketball and baseball in school, then switched to track and field when G-MU added the sport while he was in high school. He was a communication major at SUNY Geneseo and he worked at the campus radio station, where he became a play-by-play announcer, covering all sports, but developing a passion for hockey.
This is the program the Cooperstown Police Department began implementing on Thanksgiving Day.
The Oxford Police Department’s program will officially begin on Feb. 15. The department has already hosted a community Narcan training at Oxford High School and will be training all police officers, members of the Oxford Fire Department and ambulance squad on the use of Narcan.
“While we are a small local law enforcement agency, we recognize that our community needs help,” Chief Nolan said. “By partnering with P.A.A.R.I., we now have access to a variety of resources which will help further our own initiatives in this fight against substance abuse. We look forward working with P.A.A.R.I. and hope for a long and successful partnership.”
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.
Local students were among the 1,600 SUNY Oneonta students named to the 2021 Spring Dean’s List. Named as receiving the honors were:
Madison Bancroft of Schuyler Lake; Alyson Bookhout of Laurens; Riley Bowen of Hartwick; Rabiatu Braimah of Cooperstown; Riley Brown of Fly Creek; Zachary Brown of Fly Creek; Gabrielle Bush of Hartwick; Brian Butler of Oneonta; Olivia Card of Oneonta; Mary Catella of Oneonta; Lucas Chiappisi of Oneonta; Raynella Clarke of Richfield Springs; Nicole Connolly of Richfield Springs; Alexandra Donaldson of Cooperstown; Michaela Eastman of Oneonta; Kaitlyn Ehlers of Cherry Valley; Amethyst Gardner of Oneonta;
Sherry Georgeson of Oneonta; Bethany Gorence of Oneonta; Kidane Haile of Oneonta; Logan Haney of Hartwick; Abigail Hubbard of Oneonta; Macy Jordan of Oneonta; Kimberly Kamina of Oneonta; Olivia Litzinger of Oneonta; Ajare Malcolm of Oneonta; Alicia McArdle of Cooperstown; Madison Messina of Oneonta; Montanna Miller of Davenport; Xaviar Morrison of Milford; Karah Morton of Cherry Valley; Jade Osterwald of Gilbertsville; Jessica Payne of Burlington Flats; Bethany Peters of Oneonta; Michelle Platt of Otego; Willis Raym of Oneonta; Evelynn Ritter of Oneonta; Cailynn Rogers of Mount Vision; Daniel Rudloff-Rico of Cooperstown; Samantha Ruisi of Oneonta; Nathaniel Schwed of Oneonta; Jillian Segina of Mount Vision; Luke Sementsov of Richfield Springs; Olivia Smith of Oneonta; Samantha Spina of Davenport; Erika Spranger of Schenevus; Kimberly Tefft of Maryland; Erica Thomas of West Oneonta; Elizabeth Thompson of Morris; Reece Thorsland of Oneonta; Jason Van Brunt of Oneonta; Autumn Welsh-Travis of Milford; Jeremy Wise of Gilbertsville; Nanlyett Yulfo Matos of Oneonta; and Dorothy Zeisler of Schenevus.
COOPERSTOWN – Frederick “Ted” Sumner sailed away on Jan. 15, 2017, with family by his side, at Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown.
He is survived by his “favorite and only wife,” Sarah Cunningham Sumner, daughters Tara, Nicole and Sasha Sumner, grandchildren Alexander and Chloe Ford, nieces Meg Cutler Chandler, Gail Cutler, and Nancy Caroline Gamard, nephews George and Bill “Ibrahim” Gamard, and many great nieces and nephews.
Ted grew up in Ithaca and Jackson, Miss. He was the fifth child of Cornell Professor and Nobel Prize winning biochemist, James Batchellor Sumner, and Southern author Cid Ricketts Sumner, the author of the Tammy books (played by Debbie Reynolds in the filmed version) and Quality. Filmed as “Pinky,” and directed by Elia Kazan, this was one of the first films to confront interracial relationships and depict them openly.
By KATHARINE J. WRIGHT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Artist Keith Haring died more than 30 years ago, but his work appears as hip as ever.
“Keith Haring: Radiant Visions,” an exhibition devoted to the artist’s brief but productive career, opened at the Fenimore Art Museum last weekend to acclaim. Even those born after his untimely death from AIDS in 1990, recognized Haring’s iconic linear drawings from recent product collaborations with Converse or Uniqlo; visitors who were actually alive in the 1980s smiled as they recalled spotting Haring’s characteristic “Radiant Baby” motif on the streets of downtown Manhattan, on murals for public buildings across the country, or in his products for sale in Haring’s own “Pop Shop” store.
By ADRIAN KUZMINSKI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
I’ve been commenting in recent columns on the first two Principles of Sustainable Otsego: Sustainable Living and Economic Independence. In this column, I want to take up the third and last principle: Home Rule.
“Home” is where we live with family, friends, and neighbors. Its scale is small enough to sustain in-depth relationships with people and places. Home has the capacity to inspire love, not least because it embodies a complexity of human experience not otherwise available.
The largest political unit with which people identify, and which preserves this sense of community, is the county, where people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods are still able to come together on an individual, face-to-face basis for the services, commerce, education, recreation, spirituality and government which make up everyday life.
COOPERSTOWN – Three dozen volunteers from Tourism Cares are painting the bleachers at Doubleday Field at this hour, part of a national effort that allows hundreds of tourism professionals to “give back” annually.
The volunteers will be able to say, “I painted the outfield wall at Doubleday Field and swung a bat at home plate,” said Jay Smith of Sports Travel & Tours, Hatfield, Mass., the official travel agent of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He estimated the volunteers will do $8,000-$10,000 worth of work today.
Smith, who worked with Mayor Jeff Katz, Destination Marketing of Otsego County exec Deb Taylor, and tourism agencies in Albany and Oneida counties, pointed out that the NTA (National Tourism Association) logo includes the phrase, “Save Our Sites,” and that the intent of the undertaking, as well as to familiarize tourism professional with attractions around the country.
MILFORD – Call it a School of Fish.
Kim Burkhart’s Milford Central School third-graders are raising 50 brown trout in their classroom, learning hands-on about the ecosystems of rivers and streams. If you feel inspired having read this article, then you may want to consider some fishy-y learning aids for your children at home. Consider looking at Odd Ball Fish online to get some innovative ideas for stocking a new aquarium.
“They’re inspired when they participate in this life cycle instead of just reading it in books,” she said. “It sticks with them.”
A state certified Master Teacher, Burkhart first did the trout program with students when she taught first grade at Sherburne. “Some of them, now in fourth and fifth grade, still write to me about it,” she said.
“Last November, we had a request from Kim to start a Trout in the Classroom program,” said Oneonta’s Tom Trelease, president of the Trout Unlimited local chapter. “We had limited funds, so we got a local foundation to buy all the equipment.”
Included in the setup was a tank, a filter, a chiller to maintain water temperature and a piece of AirStone to keep oxygen in the water. If they wanted to be even more safe with the tank to ensure the water quality is top-notch, they could also install a canister external filter, similar to the ones found at https://lovefishtank.com/best-50-55-gallon-aquarium-filter/. This would ensure the water is of a better quality, making it a more comfortable habitat for the trout.
And the kids helped make it a home for their fishy friends. “We researched trout habitats and made a background” for the fish tank, said pupil Liam Gannon.
On the background are logs, rocks and insects, as well as otters – a predator – and some duck feet poking down. “We wanted to make it just like home,” said Liam.
The students also practiced their persuasive writing skills in letters to the trout, encouraging them to hatch and come live in their classroom.
“First, the tank has a thermometer,” Kenson McWaters wrote enticingly. “Next, we will not let sharks in.”
But by the time they were able to purchase and set up the tank, hatching season was already over. “A teacher in Stamford has been doing this for 17 years, and she had 200 trout,” Trelease said. “She gave Kim’s class 50.”
And whoever is in charge of snacks also has to make sure the fish get their snacks too. “We feed them special trout food,” said Natalie Roe.
“The kids come in every morning and look at them,” said Burkhart.
Their observations can quickly turn into lessons. “They love to hide in the rocks, and the students thought they were dead or stuck,” she said. “But we learned that in the wild, that’s how they would hide from predators.”
In addition to the science lessons about the fish and their habitats, the students are also going to learn how to tie flies and about the importance of conservation.
“Seeing fish from start to release helps students better understand the life and health of a stream,” said Trout Unlimited member Kevin Kelly, also of Oneonta.
“It gives them an appreciation of how important our streams are,” said Trelease. “Our goal is to promote fishing to young kids.”
“This is another way to get kids outside,” said Burkhart. “They can go fishing or look around in the creek instead of playing video games.”
While this is the first Trout Unlimited-sponsored program in an Otsego County school, the chapter also provided guidance for a “Trout in the Classroom” project fifth-grade teacher Suzanne Johnson is running at Riverside Elementary School in Oneonta.
In the spring, the students will take a field trip to a DEC-approved stream to release the fish. “In Sherburne, every student got to let a fish go,” Burkhart said. “We think we have enough for every student here to do that too.”
HARTWICK – Claud D. Folds, better known to his family and friends as Flip, joined Our father in Heaven in the early morning hours of Tuesday May 11th, 2021.
Born in Oneonta on April 2, 1950, Flip was the only child of John and Doris Folds. Because of his father’s service in the US Air Force, Flip had the unique opportunity to grow up in a variety of locations, including Texas, Alaska (moving there just two days before The Great Earthquake,) Izmir, Turkey, and Northern Africa, just to name a few. This life afforded Flip a perspective on the world that few people have the chance at.
Flip enlisted in the US Army in 1968 to serve his country during The Vietnam Conflict. He received sniper certification at Fort Benning, Georgia in November of 1968 as one of the first members of the hand-picked group of volunteers from each battalion to be a part of the class.
Flip served in many capacities, including the 23rd Infantry Division (formerly known as The Americal Division; the very same as his father during World War 2.) Flip was part of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol- a team of 6 well-armed men that performed patrols and missions deep in enemy territory- holding the rank of Sergeant. LRRPs would eventually become today’s Army Rangers.
Flip finished his time in the Army as part of the 198th Infantry Brigade until an injury sent him home.
ONEONTA – Word has been received of Oneonta native and career Air Force officer Clifford Roger Silliman, recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and survivor of a harrowing air crash at sea during World War II, has died at his home on the Pacific Coast, two and a half weeks shy of his 98th birthday.
The news of his passing was delayed due to the remoteness of his location from Oneonta, his advancing age and infirmity, and the passing of most of his contemporaries. Roger, as he was known to his childhood friends and immediate family, passed away on Jan. 28, 2018, in the beachside community of Lompoc, Calif.
MARYLAND – Thomas E. Youngs Sr., 76, who worked for the City of Oneonta and Drogen’s Electric after moving here from Long Island in 1988, passed away suddenly and went to be with his Lord Thursday, June 27, 2019, at home, following a two-year battle with heart disease.
He was born Jan. 13, 1943, in Glen Cove, to the late Floyd and Lillian (Whalen) Youngs.
Tom and Barbara Baumer were high school sweethearts; he was 15 years old and Barb was 14. Tom married Barb on Aug. 3, 1963, in St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, Bethpage.
ONEONTA – Mary Ann (Georgeson) Benjamin’s life ended peacefully, surrounded by family at her residence on June 23, 2019.
Mary was born to Nicholas and Christina Georgeson on July 21, 1928, in Oneonta, and spent the first years of her life in Oneonta.
At age 5, while her father remained in America, Mary moved with her mother to her parents’ homeland of Zoupana, Greece, for a year. Believing a better life awaited his family in America, her father brought Mary and her mother back from Greece and the family moved to Norwich for a few years before settling back in Oneonta, where she spent the remainder of her life.
The end of what is, at best, an anomaly, may be in sight.
County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, says she plans to ask the Administration Committee she chairs to remove two extralegal
clauses from a policy it passed last month: “Use of Photographic Equipment and Recording Devices at County Meetings.”
The complete policy appears in the box below this editorial. The purported goal, “to allow meetings to be conducted in an orderly manner,” is unobjectionable, although no incident has occurred to spur that.
However, one provision, requiring photographers and videographers to “sign in” – to register with the government, Soviet style – is anathema to the press, and will be to the general public, too, as citizens increasingly use iPhones to record parts of meetings they find significant.
A second provision, unilateral “exclusion from the meeting at the discretion of the chair,” with no appeal or due process of any kind, is likewise worthy of Fidel Castro. Off with their cabezas!
Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and www.AllOTSEGO.com raised these concerns with Robert Freeman, executive director, state Committee on Open Government, an arm of the New York Department of State, and he also concluded the policy is flawed. His full statement also appears below.
County Attorney Ellen Coccoma, at the Feb. 6 meeting of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, defended the policy she developed. But when asked about the two objectionable clauses, replied, “The law is silent on this.”
Put another way, the county attorney, whom the board depends on to provide accurate legal guidance, came up with two limitations on the freedoms of press and public that are not enabled in a guiding statute, the state Freedom of Information Act, on the books since 1977.
By doing so, she also may have opened the county board to financial liability: In an amendment signed into law in December 2017, the county would have to pay legal fees if a challenge “substantially prevailed,” which Freeman’s opinion suggests is possible.
And the Coccoma Protocol, if you will, is already having a negative effect on news coverage.
As a public service, AllOTSEGO.com has been videotaping monthly county board meetings for more than two years now, but board chair Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, said the videographer would probably have to register, so the Feb. 6 meeting went unrecorded.
Kennedy’s Administration Committee meets at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22.
The question it must answer: Who should control news coverage of the county board and the $110 million government it controls? Independent news outlets and citizen watchdogs, or the county board itself?
The answer’s clear.
As can happen, one anomaly can draw attention to others.
At some point, the 14-member county board surrendered its policy-making responsibilities to its six-member Administration Committee.
In this case, when “Admin” met Jan. 29, the county attorney characterized “Use of Photographic Equipment and Recording Devices at County Meetings” as a routine matter, according to Kennedy. Five of the six committee members in attendance – County Rep. Andrew Stammel, D-Oneonta, had departed – passed it routinely, and it immediately became county board policy.
Look at the county board’s makeup: Four reps are in their first term; another five in their second terms. Most, you can be sure, were unaware the authority of their elective offices had been surrendered to a committee at some time in the past for forgotten reasons.
The full board should change the Rules of Order and take its authority back. If the 14 are to be governed by a policy, it should be presented as a resolution and be voted on by the
Even the Administration Committee itself – Kennedy, Stammel and county Reps. Ed Frazier, Gary Koutnik, Keith McCarty and Peter Oberacker – no doubt agrees with that.
A final thought: Robert Freeman is available to give seminars on the FoI Act and open meetings. The county board should invite in him in to do one here. After all, you have to know the law to follow it.
The county attorney should be there, too.
COOPERSTOWN – Today started with bad news for Otsego County’s 14 representatives and ended with worse.
When the county board’s May meeting convened at 10 a.m. via Zoom, the county reps thought they were struggling with an $11 million deficit from coronavirus-related cuts. When it end, that had doubled to $22 million, double the county’s property tax levy.
To keep current levels of service, the property tax levy – and hence the tax rate – would have to be doubled.
The discussion was focusing on whether to freeze one promotion and two potential hires in the Department of Social Services when County Treasurer Allen Ruffles looked up from his cell phone.
“I just got the latest from NYSAC,” the state Association of Counties, he said.
It included a worst-case scenario, a 50 percent cut in sales and bed tax revenues, and reimbursements from the State of New York, amounting to $11 million. “It could be even worse,” said Ruffles, quoting the new report.