COOPERSTOWN – In the run-up to taking office, county Rep.-elect Andrew Marietta, D-Town of Otsego, has had a chance to chat with County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner about the DMV dilemma.
It’s this: The state requires counties to have Departments of Motor Vehicles, but is sending license renewals to drivers directly, urging them to renew by mail with Albany or online. “If you do your renewal online,” said Marietta, “we don’t capture any of those revenues.”
So money that could be spent locally – in local establishments, to better fund county operations, or even to keep the tax rate down – is lost.
Most people don’t know that, said Marietta. That’s his point. And his first goal on taking office Jan. 1 as the county rep for the Town of Otsego, which includes Cooperstown west of the Susquehanna River, will be better communications.
As one of only four Democrats to the Republicans’ 10-rep majority, it’s unclear what role Marietta will be able to play in county affairs at first. But he can put his constituents in the information loop immediately.
He plans to launch an e-mail newsletter for the people in his district, and report on county board proceedings promptly. Voters will be able to sign up for the newsletter at an upgraded version of http://andrewmarietta.com/, his campaign website.
ONEONTA – Erica L. Wickham, 31, an Oneonta native and accredited dietitian, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, at the Bassett Hospital Intensive Care Unit after a courageous fight with a long illness.
She was born on May 16, 1984, in Oneonta, a daughter of James and Merry Lou (Fuller) Wickham of Oneonta. Erica graduated from Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School, and went on to earn a degree in dietetics from SUNY Oneonta. She received a masters from D’Youville College in Buffalo, earning the distinction of certified registered dietician.
She worked at St. Mercy Hospital in Hornell in the dialysis unit, the day-care program and the nursing home and hospital. She recently relocated to work at the Susquehanna Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center in Johnson City. Erica also enjoyed doing research and writing and had published several online nutrition articles.
Editor’s Note: Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz’s second book, “Split Season,” officially released today, was written up on page 2 of the Sunday New York Times’ sports section. Here is what The Times had to say.
Jeff Katz was walking down Main Street in Cooperstown, N.Y., last summer when a familiar face said hello.
“How’s it going, Mr. Mayor?” Pete Rose asked, and Katz found him charming.
“It’s a superficial analysis, a five-second interaction,” Katz said. “But hey, it’s Pete Rose. That’s so cool.”
Katz, who is indeed the mayor of Cooperstown, the home of the Hall of Fame, immersed himself for years in the 1981 baseball season, when Rose was still a superstar and beloved ambassador. Katz’s new book, “Split Season,” published by St. Martin’s Press and released on Tuesday, revisits an era that will seem alien to modern readers.
One moment next summer, you’re walking past a series of apartment buildings on Brooklyn’s Sullivan Place, former home of Ebbets Field.
The next, your phone rings, and you get a digital history lesson about the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, now the site of the apartments you’ve been walking right past. Your Baseball Hall of Fame app, entry point to 40,000 items, some of them almost never seen, is working.
Walk by Wrigley Field, your phone will ring again. Or Babe Ruth’s birthplace in Baltimore. Or any other place related to baseball history, whether you know it or not.
Your phone will ring for a baseball briefing.
“We’re launching an app early next spring that will use GPS coordinates, so notification will pop up with items about games and people who played there,” said Ken Meifert, vice president/sponsorship & development. “It takes the Hall of Fame to you and makes it relevant.”
It’s one piece of the Hall’s latest undertaking, a full-scale digitization project that will revitalize their website, preserve their archives and launch the mobile app designed to bring history right to your fingertips.
The Hall received a $750,000 grant in the latest round of CFA funding, the largest of a dozen grants the Cuomo Administration funnels into the region through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.
The state has now invested almost $1.2 million in the undertaking, with a $200,000 grant in 2012 to revamp baseballhall.org, and $234,000 in 2013 for the mobile app that will be launched later this year.
“We’ve got 40,000 items in our archives and only 12 percent of those are on display,” said Ken Meifert, vice president/sponsorship & development. “To digitize these items and make all of them available engages people with the Hall.”
If the website and app are a repository for content and a way to deliver it, the latest money will be used to create the content itself. “We want it to have a curatorial voice,” said Meifert. “Most fans want to know the story behind the object – it’s not just an old baseball bat, it’s about what the story behind that bat represents. That’s where the content comes to life.”
Also being considered is a 3-D scanner to allow visitors to the online archives a chance to look at the object – say, a baseball signed by a World Series winning team – from all sides.
And while it may be comfortable to look at the Hall from your living room sofa, Meifert believes it will bring visitors into Cooperstown. “The more someone sees it on their monitor, the more likely they’ll come to Cooperstown,” he said. “They know there’s no replacement for standing in front of Babe Ruth’s jersey, so they’ll get the family in the car and come to Cooperstown.”
It will also enhance the experience while in the museum. “If you’re standing in front of Willie Mays plaque, then you can pull up a video of him playing.”
The Hall will also continue and expand its partnership with Google’s Cultural Institute & Online Hangout Platform. “Two of our photo exhibits – “Picturing America’s Pastime” and “Images of Osvaldo Salas” – are part of their Cultural Institute as a curated, virtual presence,” said Brad Horn, vice president/communication & education. “And through Hangouts, we can share our education programs, like our Artifact Spotlight, with a virtual audience, like a video conference program.”
But it’s also about preservation. “The digital archives might outlive the actual artifact,” said Horn. “So many of these items are fragile, and we’ll be able to photograph them in the best shape they’ll ever be in.”
It’s a long-term goal, but one both Horn and Meifert are convinced will fortify the Hall’s legacy. “It can’t be achieved overnight, but it will ultimately define who we are for the next generation,” said Meifert.
OTEGO – Janet B. Raymond, 84, a nurse who retired from Fox Hospital, passed away June 16, 2017 at her home.
Janet was born April 29, 1933 in the family home on Hudson Street in Oneonta, the daughter of Jay and Catherine (Smith) Woolheater. She graduated from Oneonta High School in 1950 and began raising a family of seven children and many four-legged friends. She married James Raymond in November 1969.
COOPERSTOWN – Eileen Reeves Littell, 87, daughter-in-law of Walter R. Littell, editor of the Otsego Farmer and an officer in the company that published The Freeman’s Journal, died Oct. 7, 2014, at Memory Care Living in Montville, N.J., after a long illness.
She was born on July 7, 1927, in Buffalo, the daughter of Eric and Dearborn (Smith) Reeves. She grew up in Cooperstown, graduated from Cooperstown High School in 1944 and married W. Ricks Littell on July 17, 1949.
To The Editor:
My hospital bill from a visit of six months ago just arrived.
The bill says clinic visit $32 (for walking in the door?), laboratory $31.85, then it says contractual adjustment: +$55.46. Then says insurance payment Medicare -$93.54, then it says: Sequestration write-off: -$ 1.91. That was just to use the room!!
Then the next line is the doctor’s fee … on and on it goes. How am I going to understand the online listing if I can’t understand a bill.
I talked to a fellow from Hong Kong the other day. He walks in the door at the hospital in Hong Kong, puts $10 down and everything else is taken care of.
The idea that hospitals have to post their fees is like trying to put a little Band-Aid on a gashing wound that’s pulsing out blood. It ain’t gonna do much good.
It’s actually going to force the hospital to raise rates more because now they have to have people post the rates.
And there’s nothing clear-cut about going to a hospital. The hospitals are the end of the line (pun intended) for our healthcare system. It is the HMOs – CEOs with their millions of dollars in salaries that make costs so high.
Meanwhile they make decisions of what we can have or not have; depending on how much money we
will produce for them so they can make $20 million or more a year. It is the manufacturers as well, who do incredible markups and create monopolies.
So I see the new law to have hospitals post fees is just another way for government and corporations to shift the attention away from them to the hospitals.
This makes the hospitals seem like the bad guys. They are certainly not without blame, but mostly they are caught standing up at the end of the game of musical chairs.
Don’t be hoodwinked, the real problem is much deeper than just posting fees of which most of us we will never understand. You really want to go online to check fees as you are bleeding … to see what you will be able to afford. We need to put a lot of pressure on it….to stop the hemorrhaging before we die of their “care”.
WEST ONEONTA – In the first convening of the 38-member Otsego County Energy Taskforce Town Hall Wednesday evening, County Board Rep. Meg Kennedy, a founder of the group, announced its end goal: an ambitious plan “that will address the current and future energy needs of Otsego County” by October 2020.
Calling the plan’s timeline “ambitious,” Kennedy said the Taskforce aimed to complete a draft of the plan by June 2020, have a public commentary period the following month, for a minimum of 30 days, and go through a SEQRA review of the plan that August, all before the Otsego Board would vote on adopting the plan in October of that year.
MORRISVILLE – Florence Smith White, 97, who taught interior design and clothing/textiles at SUNY Oneonta until retiring in 1983.passed away on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Crouse Community Center, Morrisville.
During the week before her passing, family and friends surrounded her with love, singing, prayer, Bible reading, video chats, phone calls and wonderful memories were shared and made.
She leaves behind her three children, Patricia, Winky and Karen; seven grandchildren, Michelle, Kimberly, Yuichiro, Kenji, Emilie, Eddie and Nancy; and seven great-grandchildren.
COOPERSTOWN – The Fenimore Art Museum today announced the publication of “Your Obedient Servant: The Letters of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr,” built around the 35 letters between the two Founding Fathers leading up to their fatal duel on July 11, 1804.
“Your Obedient Servant” includes 10 of the most significant letters that have never been illustrated. The text of the letters has not appeared collectively in a single volume since “Interview in Weehawken” (1960).
ONEONTA – Virginia A. “Gina” Dwyer, 88, who after raising her nine children began a second career teaching at Unatego Central School, peacefully passed away at home in the early morning hours of May 20, 2019.
Gina was born in Brooklyn, daughter of Ida O’Connor Smith and Norbert Smith, and grew up to be an accomplished young lady. She graduated from St. Francis Xavier Academy and attended Good Council College, then married Thomas F. Dwyer in 1952, and promptly moved to Camp Lejuene where he was stationed in the Marine Corps.
In 1954, they moved back to Brooklyn. In 1959, they settled in Nanuet and raised a family of nine children before embarking on her own path.
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MOUNT UPTON – Edward Ziobro Jr., 69, of Mount Upton, an accountant at Amphenol for 35 years, passed away on Jan. 2, 2020, at Fox Hospital in Oneonta.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Melody; and his three daughters who were his pride and joy and his greatest achievement, Heather Ziobro of Auburn, Heidi Ziobro and her husband, Sinan Erzurumlu of Needham, Massachusetts and Hayle Ziobro and her partner, Amber Benlian of Washington, D.C. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Evren and Esra Ziobro Erzurumlu and Olive and Maezie Ziobro.
ONEONTA – Funeral services are tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 16, Merle A. Keller, 60, of Oneonta, who worked at Denny’s and Brook’s House of Bar-B-Q. He passed away Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 in the Cooperstown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
He was born Jan. 22, 1959, in Albany, the son of Raymond J. and Virginia M. (Prey) Keller. A lifelong Upstate resident, Merle lived in the Albany area, Otego, Morris and finally Oneonta. He graduated from Morris Central School, receiving his high school diploma, and attended BOCES.