For 144 years Floral Hall has been the home of wonderful exhibits, countless memories, and community involvement at its best! It is the oldest building on the Otsego County Fairgrounds, and holds an honored spot in the National Register of Historic Places.
Having recently learned this building is slated for demolition next month, I felt it would be irresponsible of me to allow its demise without a fitting tribute. It is absolutely possible to preserve Floral Hall; unfortunately, this will not happen. I am so heartbroken over the loss of this treasure, I cannot bear to visit the grounds without it.
Floral Hall has always been a focal point of the Otsego County Fair for countless delighted fairgoers. With its 90′ by 90′ foot print, it encompasses no small portion of the fairgrounds.
Many generations have devoted their passion and talents in lively competition for the prize of “Best of the Best,” beautifully displayed in the very center of the building for all to see. It has served as the ideal meeting place for friends to begin a fun day at the fair. On the hottest of fair days, it was a peaceful, cool, “Haven of Rest” for weary fairgoers, and provided ample room for many to escape those pop-up downpours that so often occur during a fair week.
The loss of Floral Hall is more than simply the loss of a magnificent structure. It is the loss of a deep heritage and an old friend.
It will be desperately missed by those who were blessed to experience its contribution to so many lives for so many years.
Take a look at National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Josh Rawitch’s Twitter account and you’ll meet a person not just embracing his profession, but also serving as a de facto ambassador for the Village of Cooperstown. He and his family – wife Erin and children Emily and Braden – relocated to the village nearly one year ago from the sprawling Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, Arizona, and they’ve welcomed their new lives in a much smaller town in the northeast.
“It’s been exactly what we thought it was going to be,” Mr. Rawitch said in a discussion with The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta marking one year since the Hall announced his appointment as its eighth president. “We dove head-first into life in Cooperstown, everything from our kids getting into school activities, my wife getting involved with non-profits, starting to make friends with people who live here. All of that is like we thought it would be.”
He shares with his on-line followers pictures of scenes like the small bridge arching over Willow Brook near Lake Street or a stop at the Cooperstown Diner on Main Street.
“I’m trying to give people a little slice of what life is like with my Twitter account,” he said. “Not everybody can come here, so I try to give them a little bit of the flavor.”
“You can’t really know until you live it what small-town life is going to be like,” Mr. Rawitch said. “There are so many unique things to this town that we love, from the mom-and-pop shops to the walkability of it all to the grade schools to life on the lake. It’s such a special place. On top of it all it happens to have this unbelievable baseball mecca in the middle of it. It’s just an awesome place.”
As he did one year ago upon his appointment, Mr. Rawitch spoke of his deep appreciation for his baseball career, which began at age 18 as an intern for the Los Angeles Dodgers – there for 15 years before a decade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Those jobs, he said, prepared him well for the leadership role at the Hall of Fame.
The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta endorses the following candidates in the primary elections for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York State:
Kathy Hochul and Antonio Delgado
Mrs. Hochul rose immediately to the occasion when her scandal-scarred predecessor abruptly resigned from office in 2021. Her equanimity was and remains the temperate influence the state needs; she has been able to parlay that to a more productive and seemingly collegial atmosphere in the state Capitol. To be sure, she has made a couple of missteps along the way – choosing now-indicted Brian Benjamin as her lieutenant governor and pushing a sweetheart deal for a new stadium for her beloved Buffalo Bills. She recovered well from the Benjamin debacle by tapping Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new lieutenant and, as this page has noted, that Bills stadium was a foregone conclusion that any governor would have sought to keep the team in town.
Mr. Delgado is no stranger to Otsego County; we believe as the whole of New York comes to know him as we do, they will meet a public official who connects to the community. His skill sets serve him well in office.
Neither of Mrs. Hochul’s opponents meet the challenge: Rep. Tom Suozzi’s campaign began with an encouraging promise to stick to the political center but gained no traction. Jumaane Williams is so focused on New York City we fear he would know nothing about New York much farther north of Yankee Stadium.
We are concerned that Mr. Williams’s Lieutenant Governor running mate, Ana Maria Archila, may gain some Ocasio-Cortez mojo and surprise people on primary day. Her sole attribute seems to be a calculated ability to be obnoxiously and melodramatically confrontational. That’s not what we need these days.
In the June 28 Democratic primary, we endorse Kathy Hochul for governor and Antonio Delgado for lieutenant governor.
Speaking of confrontational, we are disappointed by Rep. Lee Zeldin’s transmogrification into Donald Trump-lite, using cheap playground taunts for his opponents instead of engaging in a decent debate on issues. We know Mr. Zeldin to be knowledgeable and thoughtful; his attack-dog persona is unwelcomed, his chasing after a Trump endorsement embarrassing. He and fellow candidate Andrew Giuliani seem more interested in a thumbs-up from Mr. Trump than they do engaging in a forthright, issues-based discussion. That Steve Bannon, perhaps one of the planet’s most hateful, destructive people – left his federal court hearing last week to support Mr. Giuliani at a fundraiser is all we need to know to give wide berth to Mr. Giuliani’s candidacy.
Harry Wilson, on the other hand, has stuck to his core issues – New York’s battle with street criminals and reasonable reforms to the state’s ill-conceived bail reform laws, an economic turnaround plan that makes sense, a proven ability to work with both parties. His moderation on these and other matters make him, we think, the candidate best able to attract the votes a Republican would need to win in a heavily-blue New York. Mr. Zeldin’s campaign criticizes Mr. Wilson for being an advisor to the Obama Administration as if it’s some kind of treason. We think it illustrates a statesmanship too long lacking in New York’s political minefield.
In the June 28 Republican primary, we endorse Harry Wilson for governor.
The Cooperstown Central School District is nearing the end of its search for a new junior / senior high school principal, following a process that began when ousted first-year principal Karl O’Leary was escorted from the building on the afternoon of Friday, March 18, 2022.
In an e-mail to The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta, District Superintendent Sarah Spross said she updated the district’s Board of Education at its June 8 meeting, with the schools now looking to make an appointment at the Board’s July 1 or July 6 meeting.
Ms. Spross said the district advertised locally, statewide, and nationally, hearing from a total of 13 candidates. From that pool, five were chosen for an initial interview and one from that group declined. The school hopes to have interviews completed by June 24, with secondary vetting completed by June 29.
Otsego County and the whole of New York stand on the cusp of an eventful election season that begins with the June 28 primaries for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and state Assembly.
Because we can’t have nice things in the Empire State, we’ll have a second round of primaries on August 23; those are for state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. And also a special election on August 23 to fill out the last few months of now-Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado’s term in the 19th Congressional District. Then another election for the 19th CD in November — in a district that will have entirely different boundaries thanks to redistricting, so one of the candidates for the special election for the 19th on August 23 is not running for reelection to that district in November, but instead will seek a full two-year term to the state’s 18th Congressional District and leave two others to duke it out for the 19th.
Thank you, state legislators who hijacked the voter-approved 2014 amendment establishing non-partisan redistricting, redrew lines you thought your party-appointed state Court of Appeals would uphold, and then whined when you got caught with your hands in the constitutional cookie jar and the Court correctly said “no thanks.” (Even their Assembly district lines got the judicial heave-ho last week, so we’ll have new ones in 2024!)
Calendar confusion aside, primaries are important. Just ask Joe Crowley. He’s the former Democrat Congressman from Queens who spent all his time a couple of years ago lining up support for his planned run against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House instead of campaigning in his home district for his primary against some unknown kid named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Whoops.
Elise Stefanik’s staff has been stuffing my e-mail inbox with announcements touting summer primary victories for House candidates from other states who have her support. I get it – as ugly as it may seem from the outside, this is how one rises through the ranks in Washington, D.C. The halls of Congress are a crowded place with at least 535 voices clamoring to rise above the din. Those whom one supports in a primary will be those to whom one turns for reciprocal support when it’s time for leadership votes.
But my goodness she’s supporting Carl Palladino out in Buffalo in his August 23 primary for Congress. I’ll do my best to keep from name-calling, but a buffoon is a buffoon. This guy, in 2021 (2021!), called Adolf Hitler “the kind of leader we need today.”
With early voting in New York’s primary underway through Sunday, June 26, voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, June 28, to decide their party’s choice for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor.
Democrats vying for the governor include incumbent Kathy Hochul, Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The race for lieutenant governor is a separate ballot line in the election; incumbent Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado faces a challenge from activist Ana Maria Archila and former New York City Council member Diana Reyna. There is no Republican Party primary for lieutenant governor.
The League of Women Voters of Cooperstown and the League of Women Voters of Oneonta have updated their electronic voter guide – Vote 411 – with biographical details and responses to questions posed by the League to each candidate. To review the guide, visit www.vote411.org, where New Yorkers simply enter their addresses to read who is running and compare the candidates’ information. Voters also can print a customized sample ballot and find their polling place.
Candidates who have not submitted information to the League are listed with “Candidate Has Not Responded;” their responses will be posted as soon as candidates provide the information.
““New York state has a closed primary, which means only those registered in a recognized party may vote. In Otsego County, voters will be choosing the Republican and Democratic party candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” said Patty MacLeish, Co-President of the LWV of the Cooperstown Area. “Using VOTE411, voters can learn from the candidates in their own words about their positions.”
Polls are open on Election Day, June 28, from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Early voting continues through Sunday, June 26, at two sites: Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta, and Meadows Office Complex, 140 County Highway 33W, Cooperstown. Early voting hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., except Thursday, June 23, when the hours are noon until 8 p.m.
SWIMMING LESSON – 3:30 – 4 p.m. Bring the kids out for the worlds largest swimming lesson. Aquatic centers around the world will be hosting swimming lessons and spreading awareness to prevent drowning deaths in children aged 1 – 5. This year the plan is to break the record set right now in the book of Guinness World Records of 36,564 which was set in 2014 by the World Waterpark Association. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 607-547-2800 or visit www.clarksportscenter.com
The Town of Springfield brings its famous Fourth-of-July parade back after a two-year pandemic hiatus and, this year, they’ve chosen longtime parade organizers Debra Ann and Jonathan Miller as grand marshals for the festivities.
“Deb and Jon have been the driving force to put together one of the finest parades and celebrations in Central New York,” said Fourth of July Committee Chair Ernie Whiteman, who succeeded Debra Miller as Chair. “After taking over for Deb as chairman two years ago and having the event canceled due to COVID, it finally hit me this year as to the great job and many, many hours they both put into it. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and salute two amazing people for all they have done to make this event the success that it is.”
We salute all the winners of Clark Scholarship awards … endorse candidates in next Tuesday’s primaries … share photos from Juneteenth in Oneonta, a baby prom, and a dog show … take a peek at the tables in the Cooperstown Diner … visit Fenimore Art Museum for its Wyeth and Venice exhibitions … talk with Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch about life in a small village … and more! It’s a big issue! On newsstands later this afternoon and in subscriber mailboxes on Thursday!
Briggs Pool in Oneonta’s Wilber Park opens for the season July 1, from 1 until 6:45 p.m.
Those living within Oneonta’s city limits may enter free of charge but must have a park pass, available now at the Oneonta YMCA from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. and at the Wilber Welcoming Center beginning July 1. Residents should bring a photo ID with proof of residency, such as a utility bill, driver’s license, voter registration card, or copy of residential rental lease. The non-resident cost for admission is $1/child, $3/adult, or $8/family; a seasonal non-resident pass is also available.
The Oneonta Family YMCA will open Wilber swim lessons and SAWW registration for residents and non-residents on July 1; lesson registration will continue until all slots are full.
Contact the Oneonta Family YMCA at 607-432-0010 or visit www.oneontawmca.org for more information.
GAME NIGHT – 6 – 8 p.m. Join the group to play fun strategy games like Settlers of Catan, Sorry, Battleship, and more. Adult and children’s game will be available so bring the whole family. Springfield Library, 129 Co. Rd. 29A, Springfield Center. 315-858-5802 or visit libraries.4cls.org/springfield/