150 Years Ago
On Sunday afternoon last, Mark Hemstreet, a small boy, went into the barn of Harvey Baker with matches, and soon after the barn was discovered to be on fire. The flames spread with such rapidity among the hay and other combustible material as soon to place it beyond rescue and it was totally consumed with the corn house adjoining.
A barn belonging to D. Rose, another to Abner A. Walling and a small building of Horace McCall’s were also destroyed. The loss of Mr. Baker, in buildings, hay, grain, tools, is fully $1,000; that of Mr. Rose $250; and Mr. Walling’s about $100. A valuable horse of Mr. Baker’s was rescued by engineer LaFountain of the A. & S. R.R. G.W. Ingalls was struck on the head by a piece of falling timber and severely hurt. The pulling down of one or two small buildings prevented the spread of the fire toward the river, and there being no wind it was easily kept from the houses on Main Street by the care and vigilance of the pail brigade wherein both women and men did good service. The old fogy engine reached the ground too late to put out the fire, a sad comment on our stingy village. We need a Fire Department and public liberality to keep it up.
125 Years Ago
A few only of the forty-five oil paintings exhibited last week by Professor and Mrs. J.B. Morse of Utica were sold in Oneonta, and none at all at the auction. The pictures were really fine examples of landscape and still life, and should Mr. Morse come again to this town he will doubtless be more liberally patronized.
Some sixty trout, large, speckled, and tempting alike to sight and palate, attracted every eye to the show window of Moore’s drug store last Thursday. The fish were a part only of the catch of Mssrs. D.F. Wilber and George E. Moore, who returned that day from a week’s outing in the Adirondacks with Albany friends.
100 Years Ago
National Suffrage for women was endorsed by the House of Representatives for the second time today when the Susan B. Anthony amendment resolution was adopted by a vote of 304 o 89. Supporters of the measure immediately arranged to carry their fight to the Senate, where, although twice defeated the last session, they are confident of obtaining the necessary two-thirds vote. The victory for the suffrage forces today was 42 votes more than the required two-thirds. House leaders of both parties in the brief debate preceding today’s vote, urged favorable action, but many Southern Democrats opposed the measure, as did several New England Republicans. The political division of the vote showed that 200 Republicans, 102 Democrats, one Independent, and one Prohibitionist voted for adoption while the negative poll showed 70 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Speaker Gillett did not vote.
60 Years Ago
Presbyterians, always prone to tangle with social issues, received recommendations for action at the denomination’s General Assembly in Indianapolis. The recommendations for action included: 1. Approval of birth control. 2. Condemnation of laws restricting groups seeking racial desegregation such as the NAACP which has been outlawed or penalized in some “deep” South states. 3. Opposition to federal spending which props up local and state patterns of racial segregation. 4. Support for passage of state fair housing legislation, barring racial discrimination in sale or rental of dwellings and greater efforts by the church to rid itself of racial barriers. 5. Disapproval of so-called “Right to Work” laws, now prevailing in 18 states as detrimental to labor-management cooperation, and 6. An appeal for abolition of capital punishment described as useless in reducing crime and contrary to the Christian duty to seek redemption of evil doers and not their death.
40 Years Ago
For the second time in two weeks firemen from Garrattsville and Hartwick were turned out to fight a barn fire. A blaze of suspicious origin according to officials completely destroyed a two-story barn on the Clyde Telfer property on Harrington Road in the Town of New Lisbon. Hartwick fireman Mike Basile discovered the fire about 11:30 p.m. and immediately notified his department. They responded with all apparatus and about 30 men. They also summoned Garrattsville firemen who responded with all of their apparatus and about 20 men. A tractor and old wagon were lost. This was the second barn fire the two departments have responded to within the past 14 days. About a quarter mile down the road, a barn on the property of New York City resident Sidney Friedman was destroyed.
20 Years Ago
Gun control advocates afraid of losing momentum after successes last week in the Senate asked House GOP leaders Tuesday for votes this week on the measures. Republican replied that they won’t be rushed to vote until mid-June. House speaker Dennis Hastert and Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde expressed support in broad terms for the new restrictions on gun sales voted by the Senate. “We support common sense legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of unsupervised children,” Hastert said in a floor speech.
10 Years Ago
A national trend of patients deferring health care is reflected in hospitals and medical offices in Otsego County according to local hospital administrators. The recession has
meant patients think twice about elective care or making
trips to an emergency room. Delaying treatment has a negative impact on revenues for hospitals and health care networks, which rely on income and reimbursements for providing services. “Our revenue is all driven off some sort of patient encounter,” said Mark Wright, vice president for finance at Fox Hospital. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in the last 25 years.” “We’re okay at the moment,” said Dr. William Streck, chief executive officer at Bassett Healthcare. “But, there are no guarantees.” The two institutions announced in March that talks started last year about sharing services.
CLASSIC SLIDE SHOW
RELAY SLIDE SHOW
TEXT OF PROCLAMATION
Editor’s Note: Here is the text of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proclamation of “St. Patrick’s Day In New York State.”
Just before dawn on April 24th, 1916, over 1,600 Irish men and women took up arms to end British rule in what would become known as the Easter Rising.
It’s been a century since that April morning, which marked the resurgence of the Irish independence movement. Even today, the spirit and determination shown by those revolutionaries can be seen in the over 36 million Irish-Americans as they contribute to our state and nation’s thriving civic and public life.
Compiled by Tom Heitz from NYSHA records
Editor’s Note: Due to limited space configurations due to this week’s 2015 Otsego County Yearbook in Hometown Oneonta, Hometown History is being published online this week. It returns next week to our print edition. Enjoy!
125 Years Ago
Winter came in earnest with the big snow storm of Friday last. To the north and east of Oneonta there was already snow enough for comfortable traveling. Friday noon saw the earth blanketed a foot deep with snow, and before the
Storm was at an end the depth was from 15 to 18 inches. On the hills and in the woods, where much snow had already fallen, it was in many places three feet deep. Freight trains on the D. & H. ran Friday morning, but one that went out with 10 cars at noon was switched at Schenevus, and after that all effort at moving freight was abandoned for the day. Passenger trains were kept moving, though an hour or more behind time, two or three heavy engines being attached to each to clear the way. By Saturday afternoon the tracks were clear again and some of the crews that left Christmas day returned, thoroughly exhausted, after an absence of 52 hours, with only five hours sleep in all that time.
ANNALS OF COOPERSTOWN
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
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.
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.
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.
One of the landmarks of the early environmental movement was the essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” published in 1968 by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in Science. It can be to an individual’s private advantage, he points out, to exploit common resources at the expense of others.
In the absence of other constraints, he argued, most people will take more than their share, out of greed or fear, eventually depleting the resources in question.
By the same token, those who don’t take advantage for themselves end up with less.
In a later essay, “Living on a Lifeboat,” he elaborates further: “Under a system of private property the man (or group of men) who own property recognize their responsibility to care for it, for if they don’t they will eventually suffer.
“A farmer, for instance, if he is intelligent, will allow no more cattle in a pasture than its carrying capacity justifies. If he overloads the pasture, weeds take over, erosion sets in, and the owner loses in the long run.
“But if a pasture is run as a commons, open to all, the right of each to use it is not matched by an operational responsibility to take care of it. It is no use asking independent herdsmen in a commons to act responsibly, for they dare not.
“The considerate herdsman who refrains from overloading the commons suffers more than a selfish one who says his needs are greater.”
Hardin highlights the disconnect in an open, unregulated commons between “operational responsibility” and the preservation of common resources. He insists that “idealism” – some form of restraint and self-sacrifice for the greater good –doesn’t help in this situation.
The only way to guarantee “operational responsibility,” Hardin argues, is if your survival depends on your owning and maintaining the resources you need. This means not just owning some personal possessions, but owning, as your private property, a productive enterprise providing goods and services on which your living depends. It means being in business for yourself.
You might be a simple herdsman, as Hardin pictures it, or a farmer, or any other independent business person. But you have to be small enough so that the success or failure of the enterprise hinge on the decisions you make.
There was a time in American history, before the rise of corporations after the Civil War, when the vast majority of people were small independent business owners of the type Hardin describes. Most were farmers, but there were also artisans, tradesmen, manufacturers, shopkeepers, wholesalers, teamsters, ship owners, undertakers, lawyers, doctors and many others.
These small independent business owners were the heart of the pre-corporate economy. They were obliged by circumstances to ensure the preservation of the raw materials they needed to continue in business.
In what was still a low tech, agricultural society, this meant having to follow a natural ecological way of life, which put limits on despoiling the land, water, and air.
It wasn’t all good, of course – forests were clear cut by farmers, paper mills and tanneries polluted streams, wood and coal fires polluted the air, etc. – but it remained largely within the power of small independent producers to change their behavior under such circumstances.
Today, however, independent business owners comprise a small and declining – even endangered – part of the population. Most of the economic ownership, once widely distributed, has been steadily consolidated into fewer and fewer hands – mostly in large corporations.
Surviving as a small business is no easy task in the competitive digital era either. There is so much competition online that standing out from the crowd has never been more important. That being said, on the Internet, there is room for everyone, so in order to thrive, small businesses need a professional and impressive website.
Nonetheless, an eye-catching website alone is not quite enough to succeed. To get ahead of the competition, small businesses, therefore, need to make sure that their website is quick to load and does not suffer the consequences of a large amount of downtime.
One way small businesses can boost their online presence is by utilizing the services of a high-quality website hosting service such as Bluehost. To learn more about Bluehost, read the full review on makeawebsitehub.com.
In addition, the vast majority of people today are wage laborers, working for somebody else. They are not “operationally responsible” for the success of the enterprises that employ them.
No wonder most people feel powerless in the face of the political and economic problems we face today: They have been relieved of any effective “operational responsibility.”
Hardin drew a simple picture of herdsmen using a pasture, but we can imagine as well the large corporations roaming the earth and consuming its resources as if it were one big pasture. In an increasingly deregulated world, there is no effective check on corporate behavior.
This is the tragedy of the commons writ large. Each corporation, bound by the profit motive, has no choice but to act selfishly to maximize its private advantage in exploiting whatever resources it can command. Otherwise, it will be overtaken and consumed by the competition.
The personal survival of those running corporations – CEOs, top executives, and boards of directors – no longer depends on the survival of the corporation. They can skim off short-term profits and make money from inflated salaries, stock buy-backs, golden parachutes, and even bankruptcy.
Corporations are not too big to fail, but if they fail, it is the rank and file wage-earners who suffer, not the executives.
We’re not going back anytime soon to a non-corporate, decentralized, re-personalized, re-localized model of independently owned and run businesses. Yet, if Hardin is right, that may be the only way in the long run to achieve a sustainable society, one in which we preserve rather than destroy the resources we’ve been given.
Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor
and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.
First and foremost, welcome back!
The half-million or so visitors who will be coming to Greater Cooperstown over the next 13 weeks – for Dreams Park and Cooperstown All-Star Village, for the Baseball Hall of Fame, for The Fenimore Art Museum, The Farmers’ Museum and Hyde Hall, for Glimmerglass Opera, for fishing and boating and summering on Otsego Lake, for hiking and canoeing.
While our visitors are here, pretty much everybody prospers – the restaurants, stores, the rental and hospital business, banks, the hospitals and urgi-cares, every form of entertainment.
Because of you, our visitors, the rest of us get to experience things a rural area generally wouldn’t, from rock and roll (Herb Ritts at The Fenimore and Ommegang’s offerings) to chamber music and opera, baseball stars, to dozens of restaurants, many attractions, lots of golf courses and, of course, more fireworks per thousand population than any community in the country.
Thank you, and let’s all enjoy.
Carol A. Blazina
Retired SUNY Oneonta Vice President, Community Leader
Editor’s Note: This is a profile of Carol Blazina, prepared when she received the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s Eugene A. Bettiiol Jr. Citizen of the Year Award in March of this year.
By JIM KEVLIN • allotsego.com
When his youngest daughter was just 3-months-old, Enrico Blazina, a longshoreman in New York City, was struck in the head while on the job. Work rules then in place forced him back to work before was ready. “Within a day, he passed,” that daughter, Carol, said simply.
Her mother, Mary, now 96, was left with three daughters, the baby, plus Barbara, 4, and Janet, 2. “My work ethic is from my mom: She made it possible for us to stay together,” said her youngest.
That work ethic has been changing Otsego County for the better for a half century now, as the transplant from the city’s “Hell’s Kitchen” became the lightning rod for Title IX at SUNY Oneonta, learned the ways of Albany to obtained funding for Alumni Field House and its Dewar Arena and, retired from a college vice presidency, took Mayor Dick Miller’s vision for Foothills Performing Art Center and, as board president, made tough choices to achieve financial stability.
Learn From Mistakes, Speaker
Tells 350 Hartwick Graduates
CAR CHASED NEAR BINGHAMTON
Press Conference Due At 2:30 Today
The suspect later died, according to a press release issued today by Troop C, Sidney.
A press conference is planned at 2:30 p.m. today to release further details.