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News of Otsego County

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100-YEAR-OLD GREENHOUSE BURNS AT MOHICAN FLOWERS

100-YEAR-OLD GREENHOUSE

BURNS AT MOHICAN FLOWERS

A 100-year-old greehouse behind Mohican Flowers, Cooperstown, is consumed in "a ball of flame" last evening.  The fire broke out at about 10:30 p.m.  (Photo by Bill Waller)
A 100-year-old greenhouse behind Mohican Flowers, Cooperstown, is consumed in “a ball of flame” last evening. The fire broke out at about 10:30 p.m. (Photo by Bill Waller)

Main Building Saved; Business May Reopen Monday

By JIM KEVLIN • www.allotsego.com

Charred remains and little more is all that's left of the greenhouse behind Mohican Flowers today.  The fire began in a cellar, in the foreground, where the oil burner was located.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Charred remains and little more is all that’s left of the greenhouse behind Mohican Flowers today. The fire began in a cellar, in the foreground, where the oil burner was located. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
The Wallers' Bayliner Classic, containing 50 gallons of gasoline, was only 10 feet from the flames, but a firefighter directing a hose on it while colleagues fought the main blaze and an explosion was avoided.  In the background, wearing hat, Bill Waller briefs a neighbor on what happened.
The Wallers’ Bayliner Classic, containing 50 gallons of gasoline, was only 10 feet from the flames, but a firefighter directed a hose on it while colleagues fought the main blaze and an explosion was avoided. In the background, wearing hat, Bill Waller briefs a neighbor on what happened.

COOPERSTOWN – A 100-year-old greenhouse behind Mohican Flowers was consumed last evening by what proprietor Carol B. Waller’s husband Bill described as “a ball of flame, an orange ball of flame.”

The Wallers – Carol is former Cooperstown mayor –  had gone to bed when they heard over the scanner at about 10:30 p.m. that a house on Leatherstocking Street, behind the greenhouse, was on fire.   Former fire chief Brian Clancy, who lives on Leatherstocking and made the original call, called in in a few moments later to correct the location:  It was behind the flower shop.

The Wallers hurried to the scene to find the greenhouse fully engulfed.

However, firefighters with AirPacs went into the main building, which was attached to the greenhouse, closed the connecting door and opened the front upstairs windows to let the smoke out.   That saved the building, and Carol said she expects to be open for business by Monday.

“The fire department did a marvelous job,” said Bill.  “They saved the building.”

He said the fire started in a basement under the potting shed where the oil burner is located.  The official cause of fire was still uncertain today.  However, Bill said a state inspector had done a routine inspection of the burner just last week.

The Wallers’ Bayliner Classic boat, containing 50 gallons of gasoline, was parked about 10 feet from the greenhouse, and the tarp was melted onto the boat today.  However, Bill said a firefighter stood by the boat, directing a spray of water against it, and little damage was done.

Some of the siding on Bieritz Insurance, close to Mohican Flowers on the west side, had melted, and associated Ben Novellano was on the roof this morning, trying to determine the extent of the damage.

In addition to Cooperstown’s firefighters, Fly Creek and Hartwick Seminary responded.

Learn From Mistakes, Speaker Tells 350 Hartwick Graduates

Learn From Mistakes, Speaker

Tells 350 Hartwick Graduates

Stephen L. Green,'59, told Hartwick College's 350 graduates today that they should learn from life's inevitable disappointments, and not give up. He told how shares in his SL Green Realty Corp., the largest holder of Manhattan office space, dropped from $160 to $8 after the 2008 crash, a heavy blow at the time. Today, the company is worth $13 billion and recently joined the S&P 500. He also recognized Hartwick's winningest coach, Nick Lambros, right, who was in the audience to cheer on his pal. The two played on Hartwick teams together when they were students in the 1950s.
Stephen L. Green,’59, told Hartwick College’s 350 graduates today that they should learn from life’s inevitable disappointments, and not give up. He told how shares in his SL Green Realty Corp., the largest holder of Manhattan office space, dropped from $160 to $8 after the 2008 crash, a heavy blow at the time. Today, the company is worth $13 billion and recently joined the S&P 500. He also recognized Hartwick’s winningest coach, Nick Lambros, who was in the audience to cheer on his pal. The two played on Hartwick teams together when they were students in the 1950s.
Tara Ann Wilson of Oneonta, a business administration major, receives the shawl that signifies her new status as a college graduate during today's 84th Commencement on Oyaron Hill, where the school relocated after operating in Hartwick Seminary since 1797.  (allotsego.com)
Tara Ann Wilson of Oneonta, a business administration major, receives the shawl that signifies her new status as a college graduate during today’s 84th Commencement on Oyaron Hill, where the school relocated after operating in Hartwick Seminary since 1797.  Bright skies and temperatures in the 70s brought the largest turnout in years.  (allotsego.com)

CAR CHASED NEAR BINGHAMTON

Troop C Officer

Shot, Killed Man

After Car Chase

Press Conference Due At 2:30 Today

BINGHAMTON – A trooper in Troop C, which includes Otsego County, shot a suspect after a car chase early yesterday evening on Route 17 in the Town of Kirkwood, south of Binghamton.
The suspect later died, according to a press release issued today.
A press conference is planned at 2:30 p.m. today to release further details.
The incident began when an officer, so far unnamed, spotted a car sought in connection with an unauthorized-use-of-a-motor-vehicle complaint, according to the release.
As the trooper tried to stop the vehicle, the driver took evasive action, and headed eastbound on Route 17.  Stopped, the driver opened fire, exchanging gunfire with the officer.
“During the encounter, the suspect sustained wounds that resulted in the suspect’s death,” according to the report.
The trooper received non-life-threatening injuries,and was transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Identification of the suspect is pending family notification.
Additional information will be released as this investigation continues.
170 PARTICIPANTS HEAR MANY IDEAS FOR FUEL FUTURE

170 PARTICIPANTS

HEAR MANY IDEAS

FOR FUEL FUTURE

Chamber’s Rubin: Exciting Information

Exchanged, But ‘Now The Work Begins’

Concerned Citizens of Oneonta’s Kate O’Donnell, the Hartwick College professor who organized an energy forum in Oneonta two weeks ago, was among today’s attendees. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Heegan
Rubin

COOPERSTOWN – In the end, 170 – up from 125 a week ago, and 155 a couple of days ago – today listened for eight hours to presentations on the United States’ – and Otsego County’s – energy future from some of the most knowledgeable people in New York State.

The venue was the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy Summit:  Energy & The Economy,” which finished up in late afternoon in The Otesaga’s pretty-close-to-full ballroom.

When it was over, Al Rubin, chairman of the chamber’s board, and chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan both said they were pleased by the amount of information the 19 varied presenters delivered in mostly 15-minute segments between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“This wasn’t about debate,” said Rubin.  “This was about listening to what other people had to say.  This event met and beat our expectations.”  But, he added, “The work begins now.”

10 Testing Sites Open As NYC Cases Drop

GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING/Saturday, May 20

10 Testing Sites Open

As NYC Cases Drop

https://youtu.be/LuqwZYlPs8A

NEW YORK CITY – Governor Cuomo, during today’s briefing, announced that New York State will open 10 additional testing sites – one for each zip code – in New York City COVID hotspots.

Controlling the virus’ spread in the city’s hotspots, which are located in predominately low income and minority communities, is a top priority as it moves toward Phase 1 of reopening on June 8, the governor said. Six testing sites will be in the Bronx, three will be in Brooklyn and one will be in Queens.

Fears About Football, Tied To Drop In Pupils

‘LIVE BIRTHS’ & ENROLLMENT

Fears About Football,

Tied To Drop In Pupils

No decisions have been made yet about the future of football, or any other funding choices in the 2020-21 school budget, CCS Board of Education President Tim Hayes tells 200 fans gathers in the high school cafeteria Wednesday, Feb. 12. At right is Vice President Marielle Ainsworth; at left, Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTESGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

COOPERSTOWN – Matt Phillips, CCS ’02, shared a poignant story of his family’s affection for Redskins (now Hawkeyes) football, and the 200 fans in the CCS high school auditorium applauded.

“If not for football,” said Phillips, today Clark Sports Center’s Activities & Group Reservations director, “I wouldn’t have come to school.”

The football program has bad years, then rebounds, parent Matt Phillips, CCS ’02, told the crowd.

Cooperstown varsity football has had bad years, for sure, but always rebounded.  “My senior year,” he said, “we won one game.  My senior year, we were undefeated.”

Today, his daughter Leah plays with the team, continuing a family tradition.  “She even talks about playing in the NFL someday.”

The term “Life Births” – a term that floated through the room as the school board contemplated a wide round of cuts to the 2020-21 budget; the budget vote and school elections is May 19 – could trump the fans’ and others’ concerns.

“We are forced to make decisions that don’t feel great,” Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw said that evening: In 2007, there were 1,048 K-12 pupils; today there are 850, a 19 percent drop.

“Life Births” are compiled annually by ONC BOCES Superintendent of Schools Nick Savin for all 19 school district in his purview, nine in Otsego County.  Based on the number of births in a district any one year, he projects those numbers forward:  for instance, babies born in 2015 will enter kindergarten this fall.

If fewer seniors are graduating in June than kindergarteners are arriving in September – and this goes on year after year – a school district is headed for trouble.

For the 2019-20 school year, CCS has 79 students graduating, and only 50 kindergartners entering, a 37 percent drop, by far the largest among the ONC BOCES schools.

“At base, if you want a school, you have to build housing,” CCS board President Tim Hayes said in an interview, “affordable, quality housing … Until we start to create places for people to live in the community, I’m worried about the future of the community.”

Hayes served on the task force that created the Village of Cooperstown’s new Comprehensive Master Plan, approved last fall, which – to some community concern – allows larger homes to be broken up into apartments.

If there are no exterior changes, sufficient parking and other standards are met, village Zoning Enforcement Officer Jane Gentile can simply issue a permit; a project doesn’t have to go through the H-PARB, planning or zoning boards, said Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, who has played a central role in the comp plan and resulting zoning code.

Apartment houses – the Railroad Avenue neighborhood, in particular, is designated as appropriate – still require a special permit from the Village Board, she said.

It’s only been a few months since the new zoning was approved, but Falk said she’s unaware of any house conversions or apartment complexes being proposed.

In the 1970s and ’80, Hayes said, homes were being built in the district, but in the 1990s “preserving open space was more important than building houses for people who wanted to live here.”  Much of the surrounding towns of Otsego and Middlefield requires three-acre lots, he said.

That may be changing, Hayes said.  In addition to Cooperstown’s new zoning, the Town of Hartwick has contracted with Delaware Engineering for a Route 28 study.  The study wasn’t focused on housing, Falk said, but as survey results began coming in, housing needs were frequently mentioned.

With the largest employer in the county – Bassett Hospital, “a half-billion-dollar medical center” – just three blocks from Cooperstown Elementary, things should be different.

“Every day I see ads for employees at this medical center,” Hayes said.  “We definitely don’t have enough housing for people who want to live here.”

At last week’s meeting, Hayes and Crankshaw repeatedly said no firm decisions have been made about football or anything else.   The next of a series of “open budget discussions” is planned 6-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in the high school library.

Savin, the BOCES superintendent, said that while CCS’ situation is the most dire this year, it’s not alone.  “In Oneonta,” he said, “they seem to have some growth in the younger grades.  Every other school in our region:  They’re either staying flat or losing students.”

He continued, “In more schools, because we have declining enrollment, the school boards and communities are looking at more collaborative ways of keeping their teams.  It’s appropriate, in my view.”

“That’s what the data does,” he said:  “It causes the right kinds of conversations.”

 

As un-PAUSE Begins, Cuomo Details Rules

GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING/Friday, May 15

As un-PAUSE

Begins, Cuomo

Details Rules

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88ES4vg0ntM&feature=youtu.be

ALBANY – Phase One of Governor Cuomo’s un-PAUSE New York isn’t a return to anything goes.

Today, in announcing Central New York (Syracuse) has joined four of the state’s other economic development regions – including Otsego County’s Mohawk Valley region – he also ticked off a few dozen measures, from masks to continued closings, aimed at preventing a coronavirus flare-up.

He also detailed parameters that must be met before beaches can be opened this summer.

 

“We expect to see an increase but that increase has to be monitored and has to be controlled,” he said.  “We’ve talked about the infection rate, the rate of transmission. When the rate of transmission hits 1.1, you’re headed towards a bad place so monitor that rate daily and correct immediately if you see an increase in those numbers.”

At 72, He Ends His Baseball Career With Dignity – At Doubleday Field
ANNALS OF COOPERSTOWN

At 72, He Ends His  Baseball Career

With Dignity – At Doubleday Field

Editor’s Note: Doug Davis, 72, of Windham, Maine, fulfilled a lifelong dream this fall:  At 72, he pitched from the mound in Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field.   This is republished from The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta newspapers of Nov. 5-6.

By DOUG DAVIS • Special to AllOTSEGO.com

Doug Davis on the mound at Doubleday Field.
Doug Davis on the mound at Doubleday Field.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, on Doubleday Field, I played my last baseball game.

For years I’d wanted to play a game on Doubleday, but for insurance reasons or unavailability it never happened.

I’d been coming up for years to see friends I played for or with, inducted into the hall, and learned to love this town. It is Baseball Heaven.

Last year, I invited a friend of mine, who had never been here, to come up with his wife and share a fall weekend with us in your town.

We came up Columbus Day weekend, and enjoyed the Cooperstown experience.

On Saturday morning, my wife Deb was walking our puppy when she spotted a group of guys in their late 50s, early 60s loading their cars with baseball equipment, and they began to talk.

Dan Larkin, Retired Provost, Expert On Canals, NY History
IN MEMORIAM

Dan Larkin, Retired Provost,

Expert On Canals, NY History

The signature twinkle in F. Daniel Larkin's eye was evident in a portrait taken in May 2011 at the time of his retirement at SUNY Oneonta provost. SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski's office is on the fourth floor, northeast corner of the Netzer Administration Building; his was on the fourth floor, northwest corner. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
The signature twinkle in F. Daniel Larkin’s eye was evident in a portrait taken in May 2011 at the time of his retirement at SUNY Oneonta provost. SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski’s office is on the fourth floor, northeast corner of the Netzer Administration Building; his was on the fourth floor, northwest corner. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Editor’s Note:  Dan Larkin, the beloved former long-time provost and perhaps the last active faculty member who taught at Old Main, died Thursday, Oct. 2, at Fox Hospital.  He was 76.   He retired as provost at the end of June 2011, but continued to teach his popular course on New York State history until earlier this year.  Raised in Rome, the Erie Canal was one of his professional specialties.   Here is a profile published on May 27, 2011, when he stepped down at the campus’ top academic officer.

An uncharacteristically wistful Dr. Larkin leads the recessional for the last time at SUNY Oneonta's 2011 commencement.
An uncharacteristically wistful Dr. Larkin leads the recessional for the last time at SUNY Oneonta’s 2011 commencement.

ONEONTA – When young Dan Larkin arrived at SUNY Oneonta in 1965, he spent his first year teaching history scholars inside the now-long-gone “Old Main.”

The next year, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller launched his uber-ambitious plans for the SUNY system and, between 1966 and 1971, the Oneonta campus we know today rose on a wooded hillside.

When locals asked young Larkin where he worked and he told them, they would reply, “Oh, you’re up at the Normal School,” the original 1889 teachers’ college replaced by today’s multi-department institution of higher education. (Cavernous “Old Main,” site of today’s Old Main Apartments at the top of Elm Street, was demolished in 1977.)

That, as you might imagine, is just a fraction of the institutional memory F. Daniel Larkin, provost and vice president of academic affairs, has absorbed during his 46-year career, all of it – except 13 months at SUNY headquarters in Albany – in the City of the Hills. He is retiring at the end of June.

In all that time, there were many personal flashpoints, but one institutional flashpoint in particular: That day in 1996, soon after Larkin had been promoted to dean of continuing education, when then-president Alan Donovan gathered his team together and declared, “We’ve got to make some changes around here.”

Donovan was reacting to new data showing that only 60 percent of the freshman class was returning – many due to poor grades. In other words, he said in a separate interview, 400 of every 1,000 students were disappearing.  In the 15 years since, the retention rate has risen to 85 percent, Donovan said.

With 110 Children Ill, State Issues Definition Of Kawasaki Syndrome

GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING/Thursday, May 14

With 110 Children Ill,

State Issues Definition

Of Kawasaki Syndrome

https://youtu.be/Cf7HqMPIa2I

SYRACUSE – Governor Cuomo today announced New York is the first state to issue  criteria to healthcare professionals defining the Kawasaki disease, a suspected COVID-related inflammatory illness in children.

The criteria establishes a new name for the syndrome – pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome – and a definition of what symptoms healthcare providers should look for. Case definitions also help standardize tracking and reporting and can help ensure a better health outcome.

Village Elections, Primary Reset For Separate Days

Village Elections, Primary

Reset For Separate Days

Again, Cooperstown Balloting Delayed

COOPERSTOWN – Village elections, rescheduled to correspond with the Democratic presidential primary, have now been shifted back to a separate day, Village Administrator Teri Barown announced today.

In the first days of the coronavirus State of Emergency, elections in Cooperstown, and villages statewide, were rescheduled from March 18 to April 28, the same day of the Democratic primary.

Governor Cuomo announced over the weekend that the presidential primary has again been moved, to June 23.  Today, it was announce village election will again been rescheduled.  No firm date was set, except to say it will be June 1 at the earliest.

MacGuire Benton Backs Joe Biden For President

Village Trustee Joins National Debate

MacGuire Benton Backs

Joe Biden For President

Benton

COOPERSTOWN – Trustee MacGuire Benton, who is running for reelection to the Village Board in the March 18 election, today endorse Joe Biden for president.

This election is about defeating Donald Trump, keeping a Democratic House majority, winning back the U.S. Senate and defending the Supreme Court from a complete takeover,” said Benton.  “If we can’t do that, we’re sunk.”

Here is the rest of his statement:

#1 DISTRIBUTION CENTER SITE IS, YES, SCHENEVUS

#1 DISTRIBUTION

CENTER SITE IS,

YES, SCHENEVUS

Engineers Pick It From 86

Sites With 2 Miles Of I-88

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Peter Oberacker walks the Kinch’s 130-acre property in February 2017, when it was first proposed for a distribution center. A study, revealed today, affirms it is the best such site in the county within two miles of an I-88 exit. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, (and Otsego Now then-President Sandy Mathes) must have been prescient.

A little over three years ago, they proposed 130 acres of level land on a rise to the north of I-88’s Exit 18 at Schenevus for a 250-500-job distribution center, the type used by Amazon, Dollar General, Walmart — virtually every major U.S. retailer.

Today, after months of study, Adam Frosino, an engineer from McFarland Johnson, Binghamton-based consulting engineers, told the county Board of Representatives that 86 potential sites had been identified within two miles of Otsego County’s nine I-88 exits.  They had been winnowed down to 26, then 10, then five, then two.

Of those two, the reps selected … the site championed by Oberacker and Mathes at the outset.

In State Of The City, Herzig Revisits DRI, Charts Steps Ahead

LET’S GET IT DONE!

In State Of The City,

Herzig Revisits DRI,

Charts Steps Ahead

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig delivers his 2020 State of the City speech a few minutes ago. Council members at right, from front, are Mark Drnek, John Rafter, Scott Harrington and Len Carson, and City Clerk Nancy Powell. Behind Herzig are Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon, Assistant Chief Jim Maloney, Police Chief Doug Brenner, and City Engineer Greg Mattice. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Editor’s Note: This is the full text of Mayor Gary Herzig’s State of the City speech, delivered this evening to Common Council in Oneonta City Hall. It is Herzig fifth annual assessment of the city’s health.

By GARY HERZIG • Mayor of Oneonta

In 2018, Hartwick College’s president Margaret Drugovich introduced me to a young lady named Nadya Zhexembayeva, a 2001 graduate of Hartwick College. Nadya came to Hartwick College from Kazakhstan on a Freedom Support Act scholarship. She arrived, with $400 in her pocket, knowing very little English.

Today, as a consultant, she has helped companies such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Cisco, L’Oreal, and Dannon to thrive in today’s changing world by reinventing both their products and their business models. When asked what triggered her fascination with reinvention, she attributed it to her teenage years growing up in Kazakhstan. When the Soviet Union dissolved overnight, it left her society in shambles with no currency, constitution, police, or regulations. What she observed was that some panicked while others saw an opportunity – an opportunity for reinvention.

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