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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.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, NOV. 11
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, NOV. 11

Catskill Symphony Orchestra

Veterans Day Performance

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VETERANS DAY!

CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. the Catskill Symphony Orchestra presents their Veterans day concert featuring Angelo Xian Yu performing Beethoven, Timothy Perry performing Mozart, Victor Sungarian performing Strauss. Tickets, Free to Veterans, $30 all others. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta. Call 607-436-2670 or visit catskillsymphony.net

VETERANS & COMMUNITIES – Noon-5 p.m. Enjoy free lunch buffet followed by workshops, readings, & discussion of war, peace, country. Free, open to the public. Bright Hill Press & Literary Center, 94 Church St., Treadwell. Call 607-829-5055 or visit brighthillpress.org

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, APRIL 28
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, APRIL 28

Maestro Schneider’s

Final Performance

14-19eventspage

FAREWELL CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. The Catskill Symphony Orchestra performs works by Beethoven, Rutter, followed by Maestro Charles Schneider’s farewell performance of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th movements of Symphony No. 5 by Dimitri Shostakovich followed by a reception. Tickets, $30. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta. Call 607-436-2670 or visit catskillsymphony.net

BABY SHOWER – 9 a.m. – Noon. Annual community baby shower featuring information & mini-classes from providers on pregnancy, breastfeeding, fatherhood, babies, birth, breastfeeding, and beyond. Door prizes & games galore. FoxCare Center, Oneonta. Call 607-433-8000 or visit www.facebook.com/ofoinc/

HOMETOWN History: June 7, 2019

HOMETOWN History

June 7, 2019

150 Years Ago

The new Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated on Thursday last. The day being fine, large numbers of people were present from the adjacent towns, including many of the clergy. The financial statement showed an expenditure of over $14,000 for building and parsonage house and grounds, with a balance of $5,500 to be provided for. This amount, after an able sermon, and a very convincing talk after the sermon, both by Rev. B.L. Ives of Auburn, was subscribed on the spot. Many liberal souls were made fat while shelling out the cash and feasting on the eloquence, wit and pathos of the matchless Ives. After the money matters were provided for, the church was dedicated in due form as prescribed in the book of discipline. The evening services were fully attended and the second sermon of Mr. Ives was a fit supplement to that of the afternoon. He left our village with many new friends, who will long remember this noble day’s work of his for Christianity in the Susquehanna Valley. The workers of this church, true as steel to the cause, and untiring and zealous against all obstacles, deserve the thanks of everybody among us for what they have done and still propose to do.

June 1869

125 Years Ago

The Normal ball nine defeated the Schenevus team on the grounds in this village by a score of 4-2. Only eight innings were played as the Schenevus team wanted to return home on the flyer. The Normals, as was demonstrated by their victory over this strong team, are getting on their batting clothes and are putting up the game which in other years has made them general favorites.
The gamblers and shell men who accompanied Barnum and Bailey’s circus, and who, despite the efforts of the circus detectives and local officers, managed to fleece the unwary in other towns, had no success in Oneonta. One of the gang arrested at Cooperstown Junction, from whose satchel was taken a very complete and expensive collection of crooked cards and dice, and gambling instruments, stated that, so well was Oneonta officered, they had no chance to work their little games. The satchel is still in the possession of the Oneonta police.

June 1894

100 Years Ago

A Rear-End Collision. A little after 6 o’clock last evening the rig of S.B. Gardner, in which were himself and two small boys had stopped for a moment on Main Street just above Tilton Avenue. While standing at that point, an auto driven by Lewis Croft of Cooperstown Junction came up behind, and either because Mr. Croft had miscalculated the distance, or because the car skidded on the rails at the Tilton Avenue trolley switch, bumped forcibly into the rear of the Gardner wagon. The wagon was tilted up and Mr. Gardner was thrown out on the pavement, sustaining injuries to hip, knee, wrist and fingers. Mr. Gardner’s well-known steed, although she has passed her twenty-ninth birthday, demonstrated the mettle of her pasture by promptly running away. But, before reaching Gardner Place, reflection had convinced her of the error of her ways, and she settled down to a walk. She was caught by Charles Walling and driven back to the scene of the accident. The two boys, whose names were unknown to Mr. Gardner, disappeared. Mr. Croft promptly and fairly assumed responsibility for the accident and offered to pay all damages.

June 1919

80 Years Ago

A desperate boatload of 907 German Jewish refugees sailed out of Havana harbor today heartened somewhat by a shipboard rumor they might yet find new homes in the western world after being denied entry into Cuba. Hambug Germany, their starting point, was the destination of the German liner St. Louis whose departure marked another unsuccessful attempt by German Jews to settle in this hemisphere. But, to avoid collective suicide attempts, word was spread on board the United States government had authorized their landing in New York if continuing effort for their entry into Cuba failed. Kept from them was the news from Washington that government officials there said no arrangements had been made for them to land in New York or any other U.S. port. Smiles spread over tear-stained faces among refugees who took the report at face value. Wailing, which had grown louder during five days of vain efforts to enter Cuba turned to happy laughter.

June 1939

40 Years Ago

A drive to round up reports that have not been returned from farm households in the 1978 Census of Agriculture has been launched by the Bureau of the Census. “The completeness and accuracy of this important agricultural census depend on each individual filling out the report form,” said Orvin Wilhite, Chief of the Bureau’s Agricultural Division. “I am sure farmers and agricultural leaders want their county and state totals to be as accurate and useful as possible.” The farm census is the only government or private method for gathering and reporting agricultural information on a county by county basis for the entire nation.

June 1979

10 Years Ago

Marty Patton is making lemon into lemonade at Cooperstown All-Star Village.
Or, rather, in recent days he was turning a lightning-struck 115-foot pine tree into what he hopes will be the largest wooden baseball bat on record.
Patton intends to get the behemoth bat listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

June 10, 2009

Is Any Government Agency Efficient?

COLUMN

Is Any Government

Agency Efficient?

By MIKE ZAGATA • View From West Davenport

When Bernie Sanders starts a sentence by saying “The truth on this matter is,” it’s time to reach for your wallet to see if it’s still there.  He’s not alone in that regard, as there are lots of candidates trying to sell us on the virtues of socialism.  To learn how socialism has affected you, read the last three paragraphs.

book, “Our Revolution,” developed by the Stephen Colbert show, that has been circulating on Facebook.

The major differences between socialism and capitalism can be defined by the role of the government.  In general, capitalism affords economic freedom, consumer choice and economic growth. On the other hand, socialism, which is an economy controlled by the state and planned by a central planning authority, provides for a greater social welfare and is expected to decrease the business fluctuations likely to occur in a free market.

Capitalism is a market-based economy made up of buyers (people) and sellers (private or corporate-owned companies). The goods and services that are produced are intended to make a profit, and this profit is reinvested back into the economy.

The U.S. is considered to be a capitalist economy, along with most of the modern world.  Economists, however, are quick to point out that almost every society has a socialist aspect or program within it, i.e. Social Security.

The Newspaper Roundabout

COLUMN

THE FRONT PORCH PERSPECTIVE

The Newspaper Roundabout

By JIM ATWELL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Columnist Lidie Mackie passed the mantle to Jim Atwell in the 1990s.

I’m at a loss to find a good simile for my Cooperstown newspaper career. It’s been a bit like a ping-pong game, but played like a flow of molasses. OK, forget figures of speech:

Way back in the early ’90s, when I first moved north from Maryland, the redoubtable Lidie Mackie retired from her weekly Freeman’s Journal column about Fly Creek. She urged me to take on the job.

I had no hope of matching Lidie’s style. It was clear, factual, but sometimes carried a sly irony. For example: “Adolina Berger is just back from a week in Virginia, where her sister is losing ground to tuberculosis.” Then, in the very next sentence, “Addy has not been looking well herself.”

As I say, I could never match that well-honed subtlety! Of course people love to see their name in print, but I imagine they tried to keep on the right side of Lidie, too.

KUZMINSKI: Home Rule In Constitution, But Limited

COLUMN

Home Rule In

Constitution,

But Limited

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.

Summer Tennis Classes Finish Up At Wilber Park

Is Summer Winding Down Already?

Summer Tennis Classes

Finish Up At Wilber Park

Is summer winding down?  Well, Oneonta Summer Tennis came to an end today in the city’s Wilber Park, with Fiona Heindle of Oneonta practicing her back stroke under the direction of Coach Sebastian Falla, Utica.  The classes, underway since July 8, were underwritten this year by private sponsors, including Cooperstown Tennis, Net Generation, USTA, Royal Chrysler, Matt Sohn and family, the Future for Oneonta Foundation and Stewarts Shops.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
The Lofts May Fulfill Dream Of A Renewed Downtown

The Lofts May Fulfill Dream

Of A Renewed Downtown

The Lofts On Dietz is being proposed by developers Ken and Sean Kearney.

Speaking of development, The Lofts On Dietz, artist studios and middle-income apartments proposed for downtown Oneonta, is simply thrilling.

The developer – a father-son combination, Ken and Sean Kearney, principals in Parkview Development Inc. – have completed two similar projects, in Beacon and Poughkeepsie,

The father outlined the project to Common Council July 16, and to the city’s Planning Commission the following evening, and came across as seasoned, knowledgeable and level-headed.

Dave Hutchison, long-time member of the city’s Environmental Board, asked that it achieve a net-zero energy status, and use a
geothermal system.

As of now, city codes don’t require that, but Kearney said he will discuss the possibility with his NYSERDA-approved consultant.

Fine, but energy isn’t the only issue, or even the foremost.

Until now, despite DRI status and many millions committed to the city center’s rebirth, it’s been theoretical.
This is real. It’s been done elsewhere. It can – and will – happen, it we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.

America Invades France To Cheer Women’s Team

COLUMN

VIEW FROM LYON

America Invades France

To Cheer Women’s Team

Cooperstown’s Bill Waller and granddaughter Kira witnessed 30,000 cheering fans in the Lyon stadium. (Bill Waller photo)

Editor’s Note:  Cooperstown’s Bill Waller, whose son Scott played for CCS, took Scott’s daughter – and aspiring soccer player – Kira to see World Cup play in France.

By BILL WALLER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Bill Waller and granddaughter Kira at the scene of history.

LYON, France – “USA, USA, USA.”

Over 30,000, more than half of an enormous new Lyon, France Olympic soccer stadium’s crowd are screaming their support for the U.S. Women’s soccer team. Flags waving everywhere, chants of “USA, USA” drowning out the soccer songs of the orange-clad Dutch fans; this was Lyon and the scene at the finals for the 2019 Woman’s World Cup.

This final game pitting the European Champion Netherland against the three time world champion American women would decide the 2019 World Cup.

While heavily favored, the U.S. women ran into a tough Dutch squad, ending the half with the score 0-0.  My granddaughter Kira and I were glued to our seats hoping for a U.S. score.

We went to Lyon to be part of the Women’s World Cup effort and had seen the U.S. beat England and a tough Dutch team win over the taller and “blonder” Swedish squad.

Only Grassroot Activists Can Save Our Planet

THE VIEW FROM FLY CREEK

Only Grassroot

Activists Can

Save Our Planet

By ADRIAN KUZMINSKI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Sustainable Otsego has been both a social network and political action committee since its founding in 2007. Over that time, it has advanced three principles around which local life could be organized:

  1. Sustainable Living.
  2. Economic Independence, and
  3. Home Rule.

Today let me address Sustainable Living; I’ll take up the other two in later columns.

Sustainable Living turns out to be a lot harder than many of us thought. The very word “sustainable” has been corrupted by phrases like “sustainable growth” and “sustainable capitalism.” Thanks largely to corporate propaganda and misinformation, it is less and less clear what terms like “sustainable” or “green” mean.

If it means anything, sustainable living means living on renewable resources on a finite planet.

At least that was the idea when the term “sustainability” went mainstream in the early 2000s.

Energy analysts had begun to worry about “peak oil” decades earlier, but by the early 2000s compelling evidence of limited conventional oil reserves, as well as of the depletion of other resources (fertile soils, clean water, essential minerals, species diversity), brought the issue of sustainability to a larger public.

The idea of sustainable living was a response to this brewing eco-crisis. It meant avoiding practices that led to pollution and a deteriorating natural world. The idea was to recycle everything, go organic, and use less energy and resources. We were supposed to lower our “carbon footprints” to minimize global warming and mitigate climate change.

Sustainable living became no less than a moral movement, a kind of secular religion where

Nature takes the place of God, cooperation takes the place of competition, holistic thinking replaces partial thinking, and harmony and compassion replace strife and tribalism.

That was a profound cultural moment, and it changed important human behaviors. It’s been the main force behind the progress made in recent years towards surviving on this planet. The hope was to maintain something like the middle-class lifestyle to which we have become accustomed.

The plan was to do it by replacing fossil fuels with eco-friendly renewables, poisonous chemicals with “natural” ingredients, and accumulated waste by recycling and composting.

But it didn’t quite work out that way, at least not yet. New technologies (fracking) expanded access to oil and gas reserves, postponing “peak oil” indefinitely, while locking in our reliance on fossil fuels through low prices. Recycling has yet to absorb the vast waste stream, and organic alternatives, popular as they are, are far from replacing cheap, chemically based products.

In the meantime, the methane and CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by continued fossil-fuel use has brought us to the verge of uncontrollable climate change.

The easy steps of sustainable living – buying a Prius, recycling, eating organic food, switching to

LED lighting, etc. – are no longer enough. We need structural, not just personal, changes.

Our continued post-fracking reliance on cheap fossil fuels has allowed the oil and gas industry to dominate the political system, frustrating the transition to renewables. Corporate-led deregulation has rolled back the environmental standards necessary to fully promote organic products and eliminate waste. Indeed, under Trump we’ve gone backwards on all these fronts.

At this point, only upheaval from below seems likely to change national politics. And that will happen only when the urgency of the biggest threat – climate change – reaches a critical threshold in most minds. Because of it, we’ve witnessed in recent months massive wildfires out West, catastrophic floods in the Midwest, melting glaciers and polar ice packs, another record heat wave in Europe, accelerating wildlife extinctions – the list goes on.

The floods a few years back gave us a taste of what can happen here, though climate change for us so far has been mostly incremental and cumulative, rather than sudden and overwhelming.

But it’s not any less significant for that. Hundred-year floods now occur a lot more than once a century. Storms and power outages are more common. The growing season has lengthened.

Winters are milder. Tornados, once unheard of in our region, now occur repeatedly.

If you experience the weather mostly when walking to and from your car, it’s easy to dismiss all this as some kind of delusion, a fake crisis. But if you’re a farmer, a gardener, someone who works outdoors, or manages infrastructure (powerlines, roads, etc.) exposed to the weather, you’re more likely to recognize that climate change is happening right before your eyes.

Sustainable living is both more important than ever, and even harder to achieve. To recognize its challenge is to feel its urgency, and especially the vital need to replace fossil fuels with renewables.

This is evident in the deliberations of the new Otsego County Energy Task Force, where climate change concerns and economic-development issues are coming together for the first time locally.

In response to this growing crisis Sustainable Otsego has evolved into a political action committee focused on local government. Given the failures of our major parties nationally and locally, Sustainable Otsego remains resolutely non-partisan. Visit us on Facebook, and at sustainableotsego.net.

If we’re to respond successfully to climate change from below, it will be because local grassroots activists – conservatives and liberals alike – insist upon it. Only they can force our representatives – local, state, and national – to do what’s necessary to secure the transition to sustainable living. No one else is going to do it.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor

and co-founder and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.

 

Fair Practices Act May Force Farms Out Of Business

COLUMN

Fair Practices Act

May Force Farms

Out Of Business

By State Sen. JIM SEWARD • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Earlier this year the New York City-centric state Senate leadership, for political reasons, blocked Amazon and 25,000 jobs from coming to our state.  Now, in the closing hours of the 2019 legislative session, the same group of “leaders” are killing off existing jobs by targeting our state’s number one industry – agriculture.

To be clear, when New York was announced as the winning site for the Amazon HQ2 project, I raised questions.  The lack of transparency involved in constructing the deal was concerning.  I have stated very clearly that we need more accountability and input when it comes to all of New York’s economic incentive programs.

How to Waste $400 Million

COLUMN

How to Waste

$400 Million

By ADRIAN KUZMINSKI • Special to wwww.AllOTSEGO.com

At the January 2019 Otsego County Energy Summit in Cooperstown, sponsored by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, a NYSEG representative surprised many present by announcing that the utility was planning to rebuild and expand the DeRuyter pipeline, which brings natural gas to Oneonta.

In a subsequent report, filed with the Public Service Commission on March 15, NYSEG states, with regard to the DeRuyter pipeline, that it “will replace approximately 50 miles of 8-inch and 10-inch 298 psig-coated steel gas transmission gas mains with 12-inch main in several phases.”

Construction is expected to start in 2022.

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