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News of Otsego County

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Helios’ Dan Ayres, ‘Man With A Plan’

OTSEGO COUNTY CHAMBER

BREAKTHROUGH AWARD

Click For Reservations To Nov. 21 Otesaga Banquet

Helios’ Dan Ayres,

‘Man With A Plan’

Hospice Successor Prepares

Long-Term Care For Future

President & CEO Dan Ayres on a casual Friday at Helios Care’s new offices on Oneonta’s River Street Extension, where six sites were consolidated. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – By 1995, Dan Ayres – “Dan, the man with a plan” – had been vice president/support operations for five years at Fanny Allen Hospital in Winooski, Vt., when the news broke:

The small community hospital was about to be merged into the much larger Mary Fletcher Hospital in adjacent Burlington, and there would only a single high-level job for the Fanny Allen’s half-dozen top executives.

Ayres, now CEO & vice president at Helios Care, the former Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, was the youngest applicant.  He got the job of vice president/facilities services, overseeing the merger of the two hospitals into the Fletcher Allen Medical Center.

The other applicants, he said in a recent interview at Helios consolidated headquarter on the River Street Extension, talked about their experience and credentials. “I had a plan,” Ayres said.  “I had a complete binder – the organization structure, the first 90 days.”

His latest plan – the concept, new name and new logo for Catskill Hospice – was unveiled by the Helios board Tuesday, Oct. 8, before 100 people at a reception at the Southside Quality Inn.

That, plus a nomination by a family member whose father had benefit from Helios new approach – don’t take the patient to the hospital; bring quality care to the patient’s home – will be recognized at the Otsego County Chamber’s Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Breakthrough Business of the Year at the annual Small Business Banquet Thursday, Nov. 21, at The Otesaga.

“Instead of end of life, Helios is about maintaining quality of life,” said chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan.  “We have a pioneer right here in our neighborhood, which I think is fantastic.”

Helios “keeps people in their homes longer,” she continued. “They have access to medical services.  It keeps them out of emergency rooms.  It helps with overall cost – for the patients themselves as well as the organization.”

Helios board chairman Connie Jastremski, retired Bassett chief nursing officer and vice president/patient care services, said she and other board members were aware the term “hospice” had become a barrier to care.

“It isn’t really the end of life,” she said, noting patients were typically entering hospice with only 4-5 days to live. “It’s making your life better at the end.”

Plus, “Catskill” in the name didn’t accurately depict the service area, which includes the Cooperstown area, which is not in the Catskills.

A popular term in renamed hospices is “comfort care,” but the local board discovered it’s trademarked; the rights would have been expensive to buy.

“’Helios Care,’ I think, struck us at first as ‘what?’” Jastremski said.

The Helios Care board of director and their CEO unveil the new logo Oct. 10 in a reception at Quality Inn, Southside. From left are Reginald Knight, Connie Jastremski (board chair), CEO Dan Ayres, Jeffrey Woeppel, Linda Evanczyk, the organization’s founder; Dr. Yoshiro Matsuo (founder of hospice in the Oneonta area) and John Pontius. (Photo courtesy WZOZ)

“Hearing the back story” – reflected in the new logo – “is important,” she said. “Helios, the god of sun, bringing warmth and bright light into your patients’ lifes.  Around the sun are hearts, the people who are caring for them, for the love, caring and compassionate dignity we provide.”

Now, she said, it’s her mission to get doctors to understand the new emphasis, which has required adding personnel to increase the palliative care piece.

Jastremski’s last job at Bassett was in the Pain & Palliative Care Unit, “holding people’s hands and talking to them about relieving their symptoms.”  That’s the Helios goal, to treat patients early and at home, with either nurses or telemedicine.

“If it is end of life,” she said, “we’re already there.”

Since Ayres arrived back in the Otsego-Delaware region in November 2016, change had been systematic.  (See box, this page)

If the new model works for patients, it also works for hospitals, which federal reimbursement rates are now punishing if a patient isn’t fully treated and has to return two or three times, Jastremski said.

“Patients who readmit most frequently come to the emergency room with shortness of breath, heart problems, dementia,” she continued.  “If you can call someone on a 24-hour hotline, we can send a nurse out to see you, or do it by telemedicine.”

A year-long pilot project between then-Catskill Area Hospice and Leatherstocking Collaborative Health Partners, a Bassett affiliate, showed an 80 percent dip in acute-care treatment and a 35 percent cost savings.

“This is saving hospitals money,” she said.  “Nothing is worse than having hospitals have year after year of unprofitable years.”

Bassett Scientist Len Sauer, 89; Retired To New Life In Montana
IN MEMORIAM

Bassett Scientist Len Sauer, 89;

Retired To New Life In Montana

Len Sauer

COOPERSTOWN – Beloved, gentle Len Sauer, senior research physician emeritus at Bassett Research Institute since retiring in 1996, died April 15, 2019, at his home on the Bitterroot River in Montana.

For 89 years, he was his own definite self, a quiet person of integrity and acceptance.

He went to high school in Schenectady, but was a less-than-serious student: he skipped school to play pool.  However, in 1948, he enlisted in the Army and spent nearly four years in the Signal Corps.  This experience changed his life, for thanks to the GI Bill, he was able to go to college and there he found his passion: science.

New Cooper’s Barn Serving Ice Cream, Shakes, Hotdogs

New Cooper’s Barn Serving

Ice Cream, Shakes, Hotdogs

Proprietor Trish Rost, top photo,  center, is joined by members of her team, Lauren Koffer, left, and Keiko Shieber, in front of the new Cooper’s Barn, which opened Friday on Route 28 in Hartwick Seminary, serving ice cream, milk shakes, hotdogs and more.  Trish is partnering with Bob Snyder, Cooperstown, in the venture.  The barn-red paint  replaces the tan you may remember on Penguin Ice Cream, which the Hitt family operated for 14 years.  Inset left, Dakota Hitt, granddaughter of the former owners, tries out the new offerings this morning; with her is mom Crystal.   Try it out before the Dreams Park crowds arrive Friday.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

At Covenant Service, Congregation Opens Door To New Chapter

OPEN HOUSE 3-6 SATURDAY

At Covenant Service,

Congregation Opens

Door On New Chapter

The Milford Methodist Church Building Committee gathers this evening after a Covenant Service, where the congregation recommitted itself to a new chapter in the local church’s 150-year history.   Front row, from left, are Al Dubreuil, Emily Mattison-Welsh, Pastor Sylvia Barrett, Lola Rathbone, committee chair, Tom Rathbone and Sandy Andrews; top row, from left, state Sen. Jim Seward, Bill Triolo, Russell Freer and David Meade.  Inset, Pastor Sylvia, assisted by Meade, gives communion to 80 congregants, including Miranda Cotten.  An open house for the community is 3-6 p.m. Saturday (June 8), with the Dedication and Confirmation Service at 10:45 Sunday (June 9).  The new church on Route 28, just north of Milford, replaces one that burned Sunday, March 12, 2017.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Springbrook Cuts Ribbon On New Oneonta Clinic

Springbrook Cuts Ribbon

On New Oneonta Clinic

Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy gets help from one of the organization’s residents, Ken Goodrich in cutting the ribbon, officially opening Springbrook’s new clinic at 438 Main St., Oneonta. State Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, told the 100-member audience before the ribbon-cutting that Ms. Kennedy convinced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to open a seventh Care Coordination Organization (CCO), an arm of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities that partner with providers of services for individuals with developmental disabilities to help them receive Medicaid support and other efforts. From left to right: Frank Panzerella, COO, Bassett Medical Group, Assemblyman John Salka, R-121, Mayor Gary Herzig, Sen. James Seward, Kennedy, Goodrich, Springbrook COO Seth Haight, Springbrook residents Bryan Holt, Steve Nechis, and Brian Weeks, and Clinical Officer Kathy Ramiza. In back are Derek Jackson and Southern Tier Connect’s Executive Director, Meghann Andrews. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

 

Guenther H. Dammer, 84; German Immigrant Settled In New Lisbon

IN MEMORIAM: Guenther H. Dammer, 84;

German Immigrant Settled In New Lisbon

Guenther Dammer

NEW LISBON – Guenther H. Dammer, 84, a German immigrant and painter, of New Lisbon, passed away at the Bassett Hospital on Aug. 22, 2019.

Born on Dec. 14, 1934 in Cologne, Germany the son of Paul and Maria Dammer.  After immigrating from Germany in 1965,  Guenther enjoyed a 34-year career as a painter, beginning with AT&T, finally retiring from Bell Atlantic. An avid Mets fan, he was happiest outdoors hunting, fishing, and the occasional (wink) drink with friends.

Guenther is survived by his daughters Erika Dammer and Kristen Dammer-Stigi, son-in-law Tom and grandson Jack; his sister and brother-in-law Helga and Arthur Breen; nephews and niece Arthur Jr. and Eric Breen, James and Stephanie Dammer, cousin Rosemarie and second cousin Eckhard.

New Centers Executive Welcomed At County Site

LAZAR MOST RECENTLY IN BUFFALO

New Centers Executive

Welcomed At County Site

Levi Lazar, new administrator at Centers Health Care’s Cooperstown Center, poses with his administrative team and Regional Administrator Laurie Mante, right, after a welcoming reception at noon today at the facility in Index. Center right is Assistant Administrator Victoria Williams; center left, Chief Nursing Officer Heidi Hendrix. Most recently, Lazar was administrator at the Buffalo Center. A New York City native, he has also been assigned to Overland, Kans. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
CCS Board Creates Special-Education Administrator Job

CCS Board Creates

Special-Education

Administrator Job

As Services Leap 40%, Public Told,

‘Litigious Environment’ Requires It

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

CCS board President Tim Hayes, right, and Superintendent Bill Crankshaw listen to inputs from board members as this evening’s meeting. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – With 14 percent of Cooperstown Central students in special-education programs, up from 10 percent a handful of years ago, the school board this evening created a new administrative position: “director of pupil services.”

With the complexity of the services growing, and the “litigious environment” – parents suing who are dissatisfied with the level of service – even school districts Cooperstown’s size (831 in K-12, it was reported this evening) are creating such jobs, Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw told his board.

Hartwick Student Arrested For Breaking OPT Door

College Student Charged

For Breaking OPT Door

Dave Hotaling, OPT transportation director, examines the shattered glass of the bus station door window. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Ellis Hancox

ONEONTA – A Hartwick College student was arrested after allegedly kicking and breaking the glass door of the Oneonta Public Transit offices over Labor Day weekend, Police Chief Doug Brenner said today.

Ellis Hancox, 20, was arrested by Oneonta Police after surveillance footage from the OPT showed him trying to board the Hillside Commons bus at 2:10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, before turning away from the bus and allegedly kicking the glass door, causing damage to the bottom glass panel, Brenner said.

WHO’S HANZOLO? …and how is band breaking Into Albany’s music scene?
Reprinted from Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta

WHO’S HANZOLO?

…and how is band breaking

Into Albany’s music scene?

Hanzolo brought the crowd to the stage and got them dancing at Albany’s annual Pearlpalooza festival. From left are band members James Matson, Nick Summers, Joey Katz, and Carl and Jack Loewenguth. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Editor’s Note:  This article was first published in last week’s Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal. Click here to subscribe online.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Brothers Carl, right, and Jack Loewenguth get their groove on

ALBANY – Driving to the PearlPalooza festival Saturday, Sept. 14, in downtown Albany, members of alt-funk band Hanzolo heard a familiar song come over the radio.

“WEQX was playing ‘Not Easy’,” said guitarist Carl Loewenguth. “I got chills. I turned and high-fived Nick” – Nick Summers, keyboardist and trumpet player. “It was a big moment for us.”

In August, the Cooperstown-based alt-funk band won two Battle of the Bands contests at the Skyloft nightclub at the Crossgates Mall – that won them the prestigious opening spot at PearlPalooza, last weekend’s annual Albany music festival.

“I was intimidated because the other bands were crazy-good,” said Loewenguth.

WHO’S HANZOLO? …and how is band breaking Into Albany’s music scene?

WHO’S HANZOLO?

…and how is band breaking

Into Albany’s music scene?

Hanzolo brought the crowd to the stage and got them dancing at Albany’s annual Pearlpalooza festival. From left are band members James Matson, Nick Summers, Joey Katz, and Carl and Jack Loewenguth. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Editor’s Note:  The next chance to see Hanzolo locally is Friday, Sept. 20, at Brewery Ommegang’s Fire Pit.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Brothers Carl, right, and Jack Loewenguth get their groove on

ALBANY – Driving to the PearlPalooza festival Saturday, Sept. 14, in downtown Albany, members of alt-funk band Hanzolo heard a familiar song come over the radio.

“WEQX was playing ‘Not Easy’,” said guitarist Carl Loewenguth. “I got chills. I turned and high-fived Nick” – Nick Summers, keyboardist and trumpet player. “It was a big moment for us.”

In August, the Cooperstown-based alt-funk band won two Battle of the Bands contests at the Skyloft nightclub at the Crossgates Mall – that won them the prestigious opening spot at PearlPalooza, last weekend’s annual Albany music festival.

“I was intimidated because the other bands were crazy-good,” said Loewenguth.

Crazy-good, sure, but not as good as Hanzolo.

“We won because we were a different kind of band than the others,” he said. “We’re funkier, dancier, and our fans really came out to support us. That really shows the judges.”

Fans Ben Breiten and Dash Keiler show off a light-up stage sign.

Hanzolo’s earliest incarnations came out of Cooperstown High School, where Loewenguth, Summers and James Matson (trombone) formed their first band, Cheese of the Misty Ceremony.

“We put the word ‘cheese’ into a random band name generator,” said Carl. “That was the first time we played a live show.”

Meanwhile, Joey Katz (saxophone) Nate Olmstead (Drums) and Carl’s brother Jack (bass), formed a jazz outfit called Goats with Narcolepsy.

They all graduated and went to college, but after graduation, back in Cooperstown, they formed Hanzolo in 2015. “We got back together and decided to take it seriously,” he said.

“Hanzolo is really just a melding of Goats and Cheese folks,” said Katz.

Their first major live show was the 2016 Cooptoberfest, and along the way, they added a second drummer, Sebastian Green, a Milford native. Though they initially started with covers, they soon began writing their own music.

“We all have similar tastes in music,” said Carl. “Jack and I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, so that’s ingrained in us. It’s jazz and soul with a little weirdness.”

from back left, Joey Katz, Sebastian Green, Nathanial Olmstead, Nick Summers. front left, Carl Loewenguth,
Jack Loewenguth and James Matson.

Similar tastes, even, in childhood pastimes. “We do a cover of the music for the character Pablo from the video game ‘Backyard Baseball’,” said Katz. “He’s the best player!”

The name comes from a combination of the ‘Star Wars’ character Han Solo and ‘Kill Bill’ character Hattori Hanzo. “For legal reason, we say it’s from ‘Kill Bill’,” joked Katz.

They bill themselves as “Upstate funk” or “Alt-funk.” “Even our covers fall into that mold,” said Jack. “Sebastian wanted us to play Justin Timberlake’s ‘My Love’ and he laid down this entirely different beat.”

According to Katz, Loewenguth writes “99.9 percent” of the songs, but he and Olmstead both contribute. “They’re all a little different, but they work in the same mold,” he said.

They released their debut album, “Table Butter” earlier this year. “A friend of ours came up with the title,” said Matson. “He described our sound as smooth enough to spread, but hard enough to hold together.”

Dwynn Golden, Carl and Jack’s mom, and Hanzolo manager Sierra Sangetti Daniels, dance to the music.

The album is available on streaming platforms, including Spotify and iTunes, and in June, they shot a video for “Not Easy.”

“That song has a really romantic premises, to just keep dancing,” said Loewenguth. “We shot it at Innerskate 88, and the Hill City Rollers were our extras! The whole shoot was so fun.”

Katz lives in Boston and Green lives in Brooklyn, so they join the band when they can. “It’s just amazing playing with these guys, so I try to make it up as much as possible,” he said.

They’ll perform at Brewery Ommegang’s Firepit Friday on Sept. 20, and at the Schenectady County Funk N’ Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Gateway Park.

And as winter settles in, they’re take a break from touring to work on their sophomore album. “We’ve got 15 new songs,” said Loewenguth.

After Decades Breaking Otsego Lake Ice, HEAT!

After Decades

Breaking Otsego Lake

Ice, HEAT!

Watch For ‘Bubba,’ ‘Darling Tug,’ This Spring

By JIM KEVLIN

Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.life – She’s bundled up against the cold now, but this April Paula Wikoff will be cutting up Otsego’s ice floe from the heated comfort of “Bubba’s” cabin.

COOPERSTOWN – You may have noticed a tug boat, “Bubba,” parked in the snow between the Lakefront Hotel & Restaurant and the lighthouse. There’s a story behind it.

Last April, as her family – beginning with grandfather Alfred Engelmann – has done for 63 years, Lakefront proprietor Paula Wikoff headed out in a 30-foot steel cutter – let’s call it “Blue” – to chop up Otsego Lake’s ice pack before it could break up and damage docks along Cooperstown’s lakeshore.
The ice floe “can be a mile wide. It can be two miles, coming at us,” she explained.
Usually, a warm Southwind is  ‘blowing by then, pushing the ice away from the shore. Last year was another story, she recalled with a shiver, “there was a Northwest wind, 30 miles per hour, that never stopped.”

At 6 a.m. Tomorrow, Bethany Begins Record-Breaking Quest

At 6 a.m. Tomorrow, Bethany

Begins Record-Breaking Quest

The top of Mount Seward is Bethany Garretson's first goal in her trek to set an eight-day record in climbing the 46 tallest Adirondack peaks.
The top of Mount Seward is Bethany Garretson’s first goal in her trek to set an eight-day record in climbing the 46 tallest Adirondack peaks.
Bethany Garretson
Bethany Garretson

By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

PAUL SMITHS – At 6 a.m. Saturday, Cherry Valley native Bethany Garretson departs on a trek with the goal of climbing all 46 of the tallest Adirondack peaks in eight days, which would be a record for a woman.

“We’re going to be in the depth of the back country,” she said a few minutes ago, as she and husband Andrew Johnstone were about to begin laying out her gear to pack for the undertaking.

Bethany is also linking her effort to a cause:  Raising $46,000 for sustainable initiatives at Paul Smiths College, where she is a wilderness trainer. Click here to learn more about the cause and how to contribute.

Membrino Adeptly Fills Key Role: Finance Chair

ENDORSEMENT EDITORIAL

Membrino Adeptly Fills

Key Role: Finance Chair

Benton
Membrino

Interviewing the three candidates, it was quickly clear: Three exceptional people – and exceptional in different ways – are running for Cooperstown Village Board.

Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns is a trained and organized pharmacist, a wife and mother, and someone with an inspiring personal story: enduring misdiagnosed Lyme disease and emerging victorious from a heart transplant.

Joe Membrino is a semi-retired D.C. lawyer with a specialty in Indian affairs, who is still working on behalf of the Oneida Nation. He’s experienced, steady and inspired by the sense of stewardship he’s found in village government. Great qualifications and temperament.

MacGuire “Mac” Benton, 22, is the youngest trustee in village history, already field-tested as a campaign organizer for a Congressional and a state Senate campaign. He’s smart, he wants the job and he’s endearing. His election is “the greatest honor of my young life.”

Cooperstown is lucky. Unfortunately, all three can’t be elected to the two vacant seats.

Robbins’ pledge to refocus on what her constituents want – hallelujah! – makes her election essential, given the repeated citizen outcries of the past year. It’s time for the Village Board to change course.

In only a year, Membrino – Mayor Tillapaugh quickly elevated him to Finance Committee chair – is playing a critical role as guardian of the village’s financial health. And it’s in extremely good health, he can show.

March 18, vote Robbins and Membrino. If defeated, be assured, Mac Benton will be – and should be – back.

ABBATE:  Delgado To Restore Dignity To Politics
ABBATE:  Delgado To Restore Dignity To Politics

To the Editor:

As the former county Democratic chairman for many years, I always felt and made sure that the Democrats made an endorsement early.  I felt as the party leader we needed to fight hard to get our voices heard in elections. It’s always a tough call with so many talented people who have entered the race, but there is always one who stands out the most, and at this point we need to make that decision.

In this case Antonio Delgado is that person, for many reasons. He knows the meaning of hard work. He comes from working-class roots and understands the needs of families in Otsego County and across New York’s 19th District. He has brought his work ethic and the values of integrity, honesty and service that he was raised on to this campaign, building an outstanding organization that reaches every part of this region. He is committed to restoring dignity to our politics and will be a credit to us in Congress.

I am proud to endorse Antonio and I hope you will join him on this journey in winning back Congress.

Please join me in supporting and voting for Antonio Delgado on June 26.

Thank you,

RICHARD ABBATE

Cooperstown

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