News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

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Future Requires ALL Forms Of Energy, Including Affordable, Plentiful Natural Gas

Future Requires ALL

Forms Of Energy, Including

Affordable, Plentiful Natural Gas


To the Editor:
Dan Buttermann’s letter in your editions of Feb. 21-22 headlined, “On Energy Future, State Must Pick Right Side,” has the right title but supports the wrong side – renewables only, no new gas.
Unfortunately, the state (Governor Cuomo) shares Mr. Butterman’s view. Now the consequences are beginning to show.
Con Ed announced no new gas hook-ups in Westchester County. A six-acre urban renewal project in Yonkers – kaput. All new commercial/residential development in Westchester – on hold. Incidentally, Westchester utility rates are going up; gas 11 percent and electricity 6 percent.
Let’s not pick the wrong side for Otsego County. Our energy future needs ALL forms of energy, including affordable, abundant, reliable natural gas.
Gas cuts overhead, creates jobs. It counterbalances New York’s high taxes and restrictive business climate. If permitted, pipelines could be here in about a year.

Anne Ryan, 74; Active In Cooperstown Civic Life

IN MEMORIAM: Anne C. Ryan, 74;

With NYSHA While In Cooperstown

COOPERSTOWN – Anne Catherine Ryan, of Ithaca, who was active in the community while working at the New York State Historical Association, passed away unexpectedly on Sept.  20, 2016, at the age of 74.

Anne, the daughter of the late Paul Ryan and Mary McCawley Ryan, was born in Pittston, Pa., March 31, 1942.  She attended West Side Central Catholic High School, graduating in 1960. Moving to Manhattan, she attended the Tobé-Coburn School for Fashion Careers and worked for Macy’s, Inc. as a fashion coordinator.

Oneonta Adds New Electric Vehicle Charge Station On Dietz

Dietz Street Lot Gets

Electric-Car Charger

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

This is an Ideal Shield electric-car charger, similar to one ordered for the Dietz Street lot.

ONEONTA – Looking for a “Clean Energy Communities” designation, a ChargePoint Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging station has been added to the Dietz Street parking lot.

“Over the last two years, there was a joint effort among City departments and the Council to takes steps to earn the Clean Energy Communities designation,” said Council member Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward. “I am proud to have been a part of being able to complete this initiative. Clean Energy can only benefit our community in the future.”

The EV charging station is a pier-mounted console which will allow EV drivers to recharge their batteries over time.

Energy Amity Not Easy, Chamber Policy Shows


Energy Amity Not Easy,

Chamber Policy Shows

The Otsego Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy & Infrastructure Policy,” released last Thursday, June 13.  The title sounds innocuous enough.

In effect, it is rank-and-file business owners’ Declaration of Independence.

The whole of the Otsego Chamber’s new policy appears in this newspaper, beginning at right.  Read it.  But there are a couple of key paragraphs.

The first makes common cause with every sensible person’s aspirations:

“As we head toward the inevitable move to renewable energy, the Chamber will continue to support and help implement all forms of energy including wind, solar, natural gas, hydro as well as geothermal, ground and air source heat pumps. The Chamber will also help connect businesses … with organizations that can perform energy audits and make upgrades that can help decrease energy usage as well as providing information for rebates and financing options.  The Chamber can work with elected officials and state agencies … to implement renewable energies and technologies.”

Town Of Richfield Should Abandon Flawed Zoning

Town Of Richfield Should

Abandon Flawed Zoning

To the Editor:

It seems that a Zoning Commission made up of only three people have proposed a new zoning ordinance that would impact economic development in the Town of Richfield for decades to come.

What is unclear is whether or not this plan benefits the whole town or is just a cat’s paw for a small group of residents who oppose a specific clean energy renewable wind project on the west end of town.

Residents should realize that wind power, which has been successfully deployed elsewhere in New York State, the country and the world, will be a vital energy resource in the future. But most important to an agricultural region like Richfield, is the compatibility of wind turbines and farming. Farmers can lease land to host a wind turbine, and still continue to operate their farm.

Many farmers, including those in the dairy industry, are barely holding on. Allowing compatible wind turbines or solar panels can provide the type of long-lasting revenue that has allowed farming to thrive elsewhere.

Before approving a new zoning ordinance that stymies this type of clean energy development, Richfield residents should consider not just whether they want to see turbines or solar panels, but how they feel about abandoned farms or their neighbors struggling to make a decent living.

That is the real choice in many areas. Not to mention polls indicating that a majority of residents in the town of Richfield support renewable energy development.

It might be a good time to hit the pause button, abandon this flawed proposed zoning plan, and have a more representative group come up with zoning that is best for all residents of Richfield.


Executive Director

Alliance for Clean Energy New York


Anne L. Weiss, 81; 40-Year Employee Of Otsego Mutual

IN MEMORIAM: Anne L. Weiss, 81;

40-Year Employee Of Otsego Mutual

A lifelong Burlington resident, Anne L. Weiss also raised miniature horses.

BURLINGTON FLATS – Anne L. Weiss, 81,  a 40-year employee of Otsego Mutual Fire Insurance Co. in Burlington Flats, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Friday Dec. 14, 2018.

Anne was born on Feb. 4, 1937 in Burlington Flats, the daughter of the late Lowell F. and Helen E Nichols Mayne.

Anne was a lifetime resident of the area, graduating from Edmeston Central School before graduating from the Utica School of Commerce. She spent the next 40 years working for the Otsego Mutual, until her retirement in 1997.

No, We Can’t Save World Alone; Yes, We Can Embrace Opportunity



No, We Can’t Save

World Alone; Yes, We Can

Embrace Opportunity

“Time is not on our side,” Cornell professor Tony Ingraffea tells the Otsego Chamber’s “Energy Summit” Thursday, Jan. 31, at The Otesaga. Listening at right is Rep. Meg Kennedy, R-Mount Vision, who announced members of a 21-member energy task force created by the Otsego County Board of Representatives. Next to her is Keith Schue, Cherry Valley, an engineer advising Otsego 2000.

The debate around here has appeared to be all about energy.
Listening to 19 content-rich, tightly packed presentations –
15 minutes, 15 minutes, 15 minutes – at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy Summit: Infrastructure & Economy,” Thursday,
Jan. 31, at The Otesaga, you’d have come to a different conclusion.
The discussion’s all about jobs.
Energy is the means. Which can best produce jobs, gas or renewables? Ideally, both.
There were woeful predictions.
“Time is not on our side,” intoned Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor. (Better was his cool presentation on his ultra-efficient house near Ithaca. Add in the Norway firs his grad students have been planting for years, his family’s carbon footprint is “less than zero.”)
We know The Earth is under challenge. The question locally is, what is our role in fixing it? The numbers convincingly argue, not much. Otsego County is micro; the solution is macro.

Renewables are already creating more jobs than fossil fuels, Lou Allstadt reported. He provided a list that appears at left.

With 0.018 percent of the U.S. population (less than 2/100ths of one percent), and 0.00008 percent of the world’s (less than 1/100,000th of one percent), the fate of The Earth isn’t going to be decided between Richfield Springs and East Worcester.
This frees us to think about Otsego County, what we need today, and what the opportunities are in the near-to-
mid future.

Solar, Wind, Pellets, Geothermal Promoted As Energies Of Future


Energies Of Future

Promoted At Forum

Among Them, Solar, Wind, Geothermal,

Pellets Seen As Fossil-Fuel Replacements

Len Carson, the Oneonta entrepreneur, asks about the viability of small-scale wind devices instead of industrial windmills at tonight’s forum, which brought 7-80 people to Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta. (Jim Kevln/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

“Cheap energy will kill us,” said Hartwick Professor Karl Seeley. Conservation and renewables will save us, he said.

ONEONTA – Fossil fuels – gasoline, fuel oil, propane and natural gas – that power Otsego County today were like an unexpected inheritance, allowing the Industrial Revolution and the world as we know it.


But 200 years later, Hartwick College Economics Professor Karl Seeley told 70-80 attendees at the Concerned Citizens of Oneonta forum this evening at Elm Park United Methodist Church, you discover the hidden costs of the bequest are bankrupting.

“It makes you rich enough to destroy your home,” Seeley said.  “But not rich enough to build a new one.”

The dynamics of the evening, moderated by Hartwick Professor Kate O’Donnell, followed an outline another panelist, Dan Buttermann, brought back from Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project” forum last year in Los Angeles:  “Must we do it? Can we do it? Will we do it?”

County Must Explore Fresh Thinking On Energy

County Must
Explore Fresh
Thinking On Energy


To the Editor:

Dennis Higgins of Otego took a few pot-shots at my opinion piece which appeared in Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal.
In my piece, I wondered if an Oneonta Municipal Microgrid System might help expand local energy generation and availability in helping alleviate the limitations on our current energy capacity.
I threw it out there as a question to try and stimulate some discussion for the good of more energy to support expanded commerce and the economic growth of Central New York.
Indeed, the submitted opinion piece I presented to the paper was entitled, “Is a tri-gen municipal microgrid an answer to boosting local energy?” It was framed as a question which the paper chose not to use.
Back to Mr. Higgins, when citing the sources of renewable energy to fuel my “make believe” microgrid, he conveniently omitted biomass, which I thought could possibly be the primary energy source in heat and power generation, augmented by onsite and rooftop solar, and hilltop wind generation backed-up with natural gas; sort of an all-of-the-above approach!
Several people contacted me to ask why I didn’t include geothermal. I responded that it would be important component and should be required technology for individual developers in their planning and construction phases!
In Mr. Higgins’ reply, my sense is it was crafted in a rather defensive mode, perhaps to hide some personal energy bias. All I could conclude, was:
“Well, maybe I am actually onto something here!”
The “tri-gen municipal microgrid” concept should continue to be discussed, with key public and private leaders thinking about bringing in some experts in this field to evaluate the merit of the concept, as well to seek their expert guidance and advice!
Take the blinders off! Other than Mr. Higgins, who could be against that?

Colone is co-convener of GO-EDC, the Greater Oneonta Economic
Development Council

EDITORIAL: NYSEG Must Provide Full Range Of Energy

EDITORIAL April 20, 2018

NYSEG Must Provide

Full Range Of Energy

From NYSEG Facebook page An Otsego Now contingent returned from a March 14 meeting reassured NYSEG’s new president Carl Taylor would help ease local energy shortages.

Let’s not be prophets of doom, but we’re all thinking people who can more or less put the pieces of the puzzle together.

In her March 29-30 column, our colleague,
columnist Cathe Ellsworth, alerted us to an
Albany Business Review report that Upstate
New York lost 2 percent of its population
between 2011 and 2015. Seven counties gained population; 20 lost it.
In our general area, Tompkins County – home of Cornell and Ithaca College – surprisingly lost the second most, 5.1 percent or 5,294 people. Our Otsego County was 11th on the list, losing 2.26 percent or 1,408 people.

The next week on our front page came the story, “Utility Retreats From Gas Pipeline Upgrade,” reporting how the utility serving our county, NYSEG, has backed away from upgrading the DeRuyter natural-gas line that runs to Sidney and then Oneonta, even though it received a rate increase to do so a couple of years ago.
In the article, Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky reaffirmed NYSEG can’t provide enough natural gas – or electricity, either – that any new manufacturer of any size would require to move here.
A Chinese company looking to establish a manufacturing plant somewhere in the U.S. came calling a few months ago, Zakrevsky continued. “We had proximity to an Interstate, water, sewer – but we could not meet their energy demands, either electrical or gas,” he said. “…Without that power, we’re limiting our ability to compete.”
The news hook for the story was a meeting state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, hosted at his Albany office in mid-March for local business and community leaders to make a plea to NYSEG’s new president, Carl Taylor.






Entity Will Develop County Policy On

Economic Development, Environment

At this morning’s Energy Summit, County Rep. Meg Kennedy, right, and Keith Schue, Cherry Valley, a member of the new county Energy Task Force, listen while gas-opponent Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor, describes how he’s living off the grid  The summit will continue all day. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Kennedy announces the make-up of the county’s new Energy Task Force, tasked with developing a county approach to economic development and the environment.

COOPERSTOWN – In an announcement awaited with anticipation, county Rep. Meg Kennedy this morning revealed the 21 people who will comprise the Otsego County Energy Task Force.

Charged by the county board, the task force will determine county government’s approach to the sometimes conflicting goals of economic development and environmental projection.

Kennedy, who is leading a five-person Leadership Team in this matter, announced the list before 155 people at an appropriate forum:  the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce “Energy Summit,” underway through late afternoon in The Otesaga’s ballroom.

“It’s going to be a project,” said Kennedy of the task force’s mission.  “But I think we are all dedicated to a better future for county.”

The task force is made up of four “workgroups,” as follows:

Anne Marie Sinnott, 88; Moved To County From Brooklyn In 1983

IN MEMORIAM: Anne Marie Sinnott, 88;

Moved To County From Brooklyn In 1983

COOPERSTOWN – Anne Marie Sinnott, 88, who lived in Cooperstown since 1983,  died peacefully on Christmas Eve,  Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, at Focus Otsego, with family members by her side.

Anne was born in Brooklyn on Oct. 15, 1928, daughter of  Thomas  and  Agnes (Carroll)  Collopy.   Raised in Brooklyn, Anne met her future husband, Victor C. Sinnott  there and they married on April 22, 1950, at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn.    Her devoted husband Victor was by her side every day of almost 67 years of marriage.

Anne Cole, 71, Oneonta; Fox Director Of Materials Management 

IN MEMORIAM: Anne Cole, 71, Oneonta;

Fox Director Of Materials Management 

Anne Cole

EAST MEREDITH – L. Anne Cole, 71, an Oneonta native and Fox Hospital department head, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, at her home in East Meredith, surrounded by family.

She was born on July 19, 1947, in Oneonta, the daughter of Charles and Lois (Keathley) Bubnell.

Anne was employed for more than 30 years at Fox Hospital, starting in the payroll department and worked her way up to director of materials management.

Anne loved to spend time with her family, go to the movies and share a meal out. She was a very active member of the River Street Baptist Church.

She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth and Achim Sliwa of East Meredith; her son, Richard C. Cole of Franklin; two grandchildren, Laura and Samantha Banks; an honorary grandchild, Sierra Hanford; two great-grandsons, Draven and Trenton Fay; two additional great-grandchildren on the way, expected in the beginning of next year; two sisters, Bonnie Monroe of Oneonta and Bettie Johnson of Williamsport, Pa.; three nephews; and one niece. Anne also openly welcomed two more grandchildren and four more great-grandchildren into her fold through Elizabeth’s marriage to Achim.

She is also survived by her stepmother, Earlene Bubnell; and her stepsister, Vicki Bubnell.

She was predeceased by her former husband, Richard C. Cole, on Sept. 5, 2018.

A graveside service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, in Glenwood Cemetery, Oneonta, with the Rev. Judith Thistle officiating. Following the service there will be a gathering at the family home at 10089 Elk Creek Road in East Meredith.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Anne’s memory may be made to the A.O. Fox Hospital Foundation, Fox Family Fund. For more information, contact the foundation office at 607-431-5472.

Condolences to the family may be made online at Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home of On

Coopoerstown climate-change resolution

Resolution of the Board of Trustees

Of the Village of Cooperstown

Regarding Climate Change

(Adopted March 2, 2015, Village of Cooperstown Board of Trustees)

 Whereas an overwhelming majority of credentialed scientists, in the United States and abroad, support the findings that climate change is happening and that human activities are a key contributor to it;

Whereas the U. S. National Academy of Sciences and the U. K. Royal Society have stated,  “It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes;”  foreward

Whereas the 2014 National Climate Assessment, reviewed extensively by the National Academy of Sciences and a Federal Advisory Committee, states that in the Northeast “Heat waves, coastal flooding, and river flooding will pose a growing challenge to the region’s environmental, social, and economic systems… [which] will increase the vulnerability of the region’s residents, especially its most disadvantaged populations;” key message 1

Whereas the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review of the U.S. Department of Defense states that the effects of climate change are “threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence;”


Whereas the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change has reported “Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability … and “All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and price stability;” page 6


Whereas New York State “Executive Order No. 24 set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York State by 80 percent below the levels emitted in 1990 by the year 2050;”


Whereas the Union of Concerned Scientists has called “for government and corporate decision makers to reduce the threat of global warming by:

  • Expanding the use of renewable energy and transforming our energy system to one that is cleaner and less dependent on coal and other fossil fuels.
  • Increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and supporting other solutions that reduce U. S. oil use.
  • Placing limits on the amount of carbon that polluters are allowed to emit.
  • Building a clean energy economy by investing in efficient energy technologies, industries, and approaches;”

Whereas if left unaddressed, the consequences of climate change will adversely impact all Americans, hitting the most vulnerable populations–children, the elderly, the sick and the poor—hardest, and saddling future generations with the costly burden of a damaged planet; and

Whereas most faith traditions recognize a moral obligation to care for the most vulnerable peoples and to be responsible stewards of the Earth;

 Whereas global warming and resultant climate instability are broadly considered issues  requiring correct and sustained actions by nations, states, and communities;

 Whereas local, state and federal governments are incurring increasing costs to repair damage from severe climatic events, and these costs are only expected to increase and will ultimately be borne by taxpayers;

 Whereas addressing climate change through increased energy efficiency measures and increased development of renewable energy sources could provide benefits in terms of employment and sustainable economic activity;

 Whereas the Village of Cooperstown and its surrounding region have experienced multiple 100 and 500 year storms in the past 10 years;

 Whereas the Village of Cooperstown and the surrounding area rely largely on tourism, agriculture and health care to support a sustainable environment and economy which would be negatively affected to an increasing degree by unmitigated climate change, but could benefit from positive actions to address climate change; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Cooperstown:

1) urges the County of Otsego, the State of New York, and the Congress and President of the United States of America to take prompt and effective measures to rapidly address climate change by promoting and encouraging a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and their associated infrastructure, improvement in the efficiency of energy systems, and the development and installation of renewable energy systems; and

2) stands ready to work with any level of government to achieve these goals, that will in the process create safe, sustainable jobs and provide real, clean energy solutions for generations to come.

Energywise, We Can Have It All: Natural Gas Now, Renewables Later

Energywise, We Can Have

It All: Natural Gas Now,

Renewables Later

Adrian Kuzminski, Fly Creek, Sustainable Otsego moderator, listens to Zagata. The two alternate a column in this newspaper every other week. In the background is Oneonta Town Board member Trish Riddell-Kent.

The Otsego County Chamber board and president deserve a heartfelt “thank you” for having the vision and courage to host the “Energy Summit.”
Speakers from New York and Pennsylvania talked about fossil fuels and renewables including biomass, ethanol, electric cars, wind, solar and geo-thermal. At the end of the day, it was clear that, although promising for the future, renewables are not currently capable of replacing or offsetting our demand for energy provided by fossil fuels.
That does not mean we should abandon our pursuit of alternative sources of energy that emit less carbon and are cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

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