ONEONTA There’s a new student living and learning on SUNY Oneonta’s campus, but he weighs just 27 pounds…and has paws. Ink, a 4-month-old black Labrador retriever puppy, is making history at SUNY Oneonta as the first puppy to be raised on campus for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a nonprofit organization that provides guide dogs to people experiencing vision loss. His puppy raiser, and roommate, is junior anthropology major Taylor Hendrickson, president of the university’s new Guiding Eyes for the Blind club.
“We were aiming to raise a puppy on campus this semester but didn’t realize it would happen this soon,” said Hendrickson, who brought Ink home to Oneonta on January 20. “He’s still getting used to a college setting, but he’s doing really well! He has been with me to meetings in Hunt Union and Starbucks and even tabled with us at Club Expo to find new club members.”
By TED MEBUST COOPERSTOWN Cooperstown Central School hosted its annual National History Day competition, organized by NHD Club Co-advisors Michelle Hitchcock and John Brotherton, at the Cooperstown Junior/Senior High School on February 8. This year’s student-led projects, ranging in subject from “The First Crusade” to “Robotic Surgery,” took a variety of forms, including websites, exhibits, documentaries and papers. In total, there were 40 projects completed by 7th and 8th grade-participants from the school. The theme of National History Day 2023, held across the country, is “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.”
For “Group Documentary,” the top finishers were Elijah McCaffrey, Shane Bradley and Hunter Kinly. Second place went to Carleigh Williams and Annika Murray, and third to Thomas Geertgens, Owen Nolan and Brian Zhang.
By TED MEBUST HAMPSHIRE, ENG When their plans fell through to visit England in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, locals Randy and Joanie Lamb had to hope the opportunity would arise again. Their goal? To visit Highclere Castle, a charming estate in Hampshire County made famous as the palatial country home to the Crawley family and their domestic servants on the award-winning BBC drama “Downton Abbey.”
In reality, the mid-Victorian, Palladian-style manor exists as the country seat to the Earls of Carnarvon. The Herbert family, a succession of aristocrats holding prominence in the upper echelons of British society, traces their connection to the estate back to the 17th century. Renovations in the 19th century expanded the structure, based on designs by Sir Charles Barry, chief architect of the Houses of Parliament.
Notable Earls of Carnarvon include the fifth, styled Lord Porchester, who became an avid Egyptologist during the latter half of his life. Partnering with archaeologist Howard Carter, his team uncovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt’s Valley of Kings in 1922. Additionally, the seventh Earl of Carnarvon, also commonly referred to as Lord Porchester, served as horseracing manager to Queen Elizabeth II. His personal relationship with the late queen was highlighted in the Netflix drama “The Crown.” The Lambs were also able to visit the queen’s final resting place at Windsor Castle.
Their tour of Highclere, Randy said, “created an experience” with the land and estate, and provided him an opportunity to learn. As the gift shop manager at local historic landmark Hyde Hall, he said, he’s always looking for ways to improve the guest experience.
Hyde Hall got a boost in visitation when “Downton Abbey” first aired in 2011, Randy said, helping the 501c3 organization continue its restoration project and stewardship. Most recently, local weaver Rabbit Goody completed a remake of the home’s original curtains in the dining room.
“I hope it [this story] will encourage folks to travel again, enjoy other cultures and experience all that life has to offer while we can!” said Randy.
COOPERSTOWN—On January 24, the community lost a beloved figure. Zeb, a Percheron at The Farmer’s Museum since 1997, passed away at age 29. He was 83 in human years. Zeb was born on August 10, 1994. He arrived at The Farmers’ Museum from Vermont as a three-year-old and was immediately put to work on the Lippitt farm. Zeb’s duties included field work—plowing, harrowing, cultivating and discing—and pulling the wagon for horse-drawn wagon rides. Zeb weighed in around 1,500 pounds and was 16.1 hands tall, or 5.3 feet from the highest point of the withers, where the neck meets the back, down to the ground. Zeb was retired from physical labor about nine years ago, since which time it has been his job to meet and greet visitors to the museum grounds. Zeb departed for that big pasture in the sky on January 24. He will be much missed.
By TED MEBUST OTSEGO COUNTY The Milford and Schenevus branches of Community Bank NA will permanently close their doors on Friday, April 28, the organization announced. The decision came due to a recognition that “branch business has slowed,” according to Sarah Doud, the bank’s public relations representative.
“This is not a decision we make lightly,” said Doud. “We need to continue to serve the people of Schenevus and Milford through nearby locations and through our online and mobile services.”
210 YEARS AGO On the 29th December last, about 10 leagues from the coast of Brazil, the U.S. Frigate Constitution, Comm. Bainbridge, fell in with and captured his Majesty’s Frigate JAVA, of 49 guns, and manned with upwards of 400 men. The action continued one hour and fifty-five minutes, in which time the JAVA was made a complete wreck, having her bowsprit, and every mast and spar shot out of her. The Constitution had nine men killed and 25 wounded. The JAVA had 60 men killed and 101 wounded – among the latter, mortally, Captain Lambert, her commander, a very distinguished officer. The JAVA was rated a 38 but mounted 49 guns.
In three short years, $500,000.00 in grants and awards from the Community Foundation of Otsego County have gone to Otsego County nonprofits. This major milestone was marked by a $15,000.00 award to Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties for the Oneonta Warming Station. The Community Foundation of Otsego County was founded in 2019 by a group of 15 local citizens who share a vision and believe in the potential of a community foundation. CFOC is dedicated to enriching opportunities for all residents of Otsego County.
While in the midst of the initial $2 million Founders fundraising campaign, COVID struck. CFOC rose to the immediate challenge, gathering and distributing more than $200,000.00 to county nonprofits and businesses hit with unexpected and unbudgeted costs related to the pandemic.
Upstate ratepayers should not be forced to subsidize downstate as a result of downstate’s over-reliance on fossil fuels. The rushed decisions being made to meet the state’s unrealistic climate goals will make New York State even more unaffordable, send New Yorkers packing, and put family-owned businesses under.
The PSC’s latest vote to approve an estimated $6.6 billion in local transmission upgrades is yet another example of how the state’s haphazard approach to curbing climate change is negatively impacting Upstate residents. Current Upstate energy generation is 91 percent zero emissions while downstate is a meager 9 percent, yet this 3-16 percent rate hike is expected to be highest for ratepayers and businesses north of New York City.
While all ratepayers will pay the same increases statewide, costs faced by Upstate ratepayers will nearly double on a percentage basis. It is not equitable or fair that Upstate ratepayers will be subsidizing the highest emitters downstate. New Yorkers deserve to know the total cost of the state’s climate action goals, not find out piecemeal as projects are approved over time. If costs keep climbing for everyday New Yorkers and our small businesses, the Empire State Exodus will continue.
While there were two no votes, several PSC Commissioners expressed their concern about the rate increases in general. Until there is a fairer ratio for recouping the costs and we know more about the real price tag associated with them, we should all heed their warnings.
To avoid another summer of HABsteria, I’d suggest the following:
Coordinated Plan—Since Otsego is the largest New York lake in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (which starts in front of our house on the Susquehanna), funding for watershed mitigation can be obtained from the Chesapeake Bay watershed authority—to supplement, not replace—a state-approved plan. Although the DEC 9-E Plan is imperfect, it’s better than a repeat of last summer’s Dueling-Banjos of HABsteria. Since the 9-E Plan is a political document, I’d suggest that the politicians (county, township, village, state reps and senators) and non-government organizations get involved and get busy. Since it’s a professional document, I’d suggest that professionals coordinate the effort and lay out what’s entailed in a public meeting.
Coordinated Effort—Funding requests should be prioritized by where they fit into the plan. Although there may be conflicting agendas academically and organizationally, those conflicts can be addressed and resolved in private, not in the press, and without histrionics adding to HABsteria.
No sacred polluters—The 9-E Plan study can identify the sources of nutrient loading. Once identified, we need to be prepared to do something about them. Even if they are us—our “compliant” septic system, our essential livestock, our own NPK fertilizer—be prepared to be surprised by what we find out.
In response to Steve Broe’s letter in the February 16, 2023 edition of “The Freeman’s Journal” concerning COVID policies:
I find the letter both condescending and ill-informed. There are many people who have preexisting conditions that have nothing to do with slim waistlines and fruit consumption. I had Lyme disease 25 years ago—it left me with fibromyalgia, chronic migraines and some brain fogginess. I had to have both knees replaced this past October—yes, perhaps some of that issue was caused by weight, but some of it was also caused by the previous Lyme.
I wonder if Mr. Broe has looked at the conditions that can be caused by “long COVID”: persistent symptoms often include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath, among others. Perhaps he is willing to risk those, but I have more than enough on my plate already.
Co-chairs of the Cherry Valley Democratic Committee, Dennis Laughlin and Kathleen Taylor, have announced that, at its February 14 meeting, the committee unanimously endorsed MacGuire Benton as the Democratic candidate for the position of Otsego County clerk in the November 2023 election.
MacGuire enters the race having the experience of the Cooperstown Village Board, Deputy Elections Commissioner and work in the private business sector. He brings the energy and vigor of a new generation. Petitioning for the clerk position begins at the end of February and the CVDC will be aiding MacGuire to gather the needed signatures.
Phil Durkin Secretary, Cherry Valley Democratic Committee
Regarding the deer overpopulation in the City of Oneonta: What about vasectomies? Yes, vasectomies. In New York City’s borough of Staten Island, the implementation of vasectomies reduced the deer population by 30 percent. I, for one, do not want to come across an injured deer on my property because some hunter couldn’t get the job done accurately or swiftly. Rambo-style measures are not impressive or intelligent. Maybe all the great minds involved in this population reduction solution would consider this alternative.
A win in the house is a positive step, but we have a long road ahead to save this country from the global elites. We have been on a much longer road tearing this country down than most of us have realized and it’s going to take all of us that see what is going on, with God’s help, to save our country. God will help, but only through us.
We have many tasks ahead of us; three being as follows: First is informing the rest of our people what is really happening and, if left unchecked, what kind of country we will have left to live in. Most of the media is fake news and has helped get us to this new low, so we can’t look to them. Although there are good sources of accurate news, if you look around.
The announcement of probably the most important medical breakthrough of this year was made on January 7. It had nothing to do with COVID. In fact, it had nothing to do with human diseases. Dalan Animal Health, a company in Georgia, announced that they had successfully produced a vaccine to protect bees from a disease called American Foulbrood which had been conditionally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is the first vaccine approved for use in insects. In my opinion, this trumps the importance of any other medical announcement so far this year, including information on COVID and other human diseases, because preventing the die off and extinction of many bee species is critical for enabling the growth of a majority of the world’s food supply.
American Foulbrood is a highly contagious and destructive bacterial disease that affects honeybees. It is estimated that bees are responsible for 75 percent of all crop pollination. It is caused by a spore-forming bacterium, Paenibacillus larvae, which can remain dormant in honey and beehive equipment for years before infecting a new colony.
Last week, when it was unseasonably warm and clear in the early evening, there appeared in the low sky a string of lights, moving slowly across the horizon and disappearing. Very few people around Otsego County actually saw this, as by habit very few people wander outside and gaze upward at this time of year. There was no record of this phenomenon in the newspapers or on social media; it was as though nothing had happened to disturb the slow, forward-creeping days and hours as we march on toward the onslaught of the more gentle months.
So, what was that beautiful arching line of light? The parade was, in fact, a satellite train—a bunch of satellites in this case, but not in every case—51 in all— that had been launched off the coast of California to enter space and eventually dissipate into individual satellites once they entered their correct Federal Communications Commission-approved orbits.