News of Otsego County


Otsego Town Board Tables Discussion of Tax Exemption

Otsego Town Board Tables
Discussion of Tax Exemption


At its last meeting, the Otsego Town Board reviewed the recent New York legislative rule that gave local taxing authorities the option to grant a 10 percent property tax exemption to qualified volunteer firemen and EMT workers. After a lengthy discussion, the board voted to table the issue pending further review by the town’s attorney, Will Green.

At the meeting, Green pointed out that volunteers would have to make a choice between receiving the $200.00 per year tax credit to which they are already entitled and exercising the option for the tax exemption. Because the difference between the credit and the amount that would result from taking the exemption was so great, it would make no economic sense for any volunteer to exercise the option when applied to the town’s real estate tax liability on the average house, Green explained.

Nevertheless, as Supervisor Ben Bauer noted, if the other taxing authorities—such as the school district and the county—passed a similar law providing for the exemption, then the total might be sufficiently high enough to have the exercise of the option make sense, but only if applied to a very high real-estate valuation.

It was the general consensus that the real intent of the state was to shift the cost of the volunteer tax credit from the state to the localities. However, rather than not passing the law, it was decided any final decision should await future developments. Since any option would have no effect until the 2024 tax year, there was no time pressure and the issue could be tabled until some future date.

Oneonta Artist Captures Essence of Our Region Using Spray Paint
“Spray paint for me is just a medium. It’s fast and you can get a nice airbrushed look when blending,” said artist James Mcilroy of his mural work in the City of Oneonta. Photo provided

Oneonta Artist Captures Essence
of Our Region Using Spray Paint


On a 2015 visit to San Francisco, James Mcilroy stopped to observe a work by Austrian urban and graffiti artist, Nychos. The split animal anatomy in a spray paint medium left an impression on the curious Mcilroy that opened a new thought process—and inevitably would result in a major public artistic contribution to the community back home in Oneonta, bringing new life to the historic Ford Sales Building on Market Street.

“This was before I was doing any kind of serious painting,” Mcilroy recalled. “I was so impressed by the scale and started to pick the process apart: ‘okay, Nychos sketched this first and then came in with a flat color here and separated the values and did a complementary color scheme here’.”

Village Seeks Transfer of Acreage

Village Seeks Transfer of Acreage


Most people have procedures per-formed to re-move an appendix, but the Village of Cooperstown is in the final stages of seeking to acquire one.

Just over 9-1/2 acres of land may be transferred from the Town of Otsego to the Village of Cooperstown.
News Briefs 03/16/2023
News Briefs

‘AI: Perils and Potential’
Discussion is Next Tuesday

ONEONTA—United University Professions Oneonta will sponsor a panel discussion program on artificial intelligence, “AI: Perils and Potential,” on Tuesday, March 21 at noon in Le Café, Morris Complex, SUNY Oneonta. The panel will consist of SUNY Oneonta President Dr. Alberto Cardelle, UUP Oneonta President and Professor of Africana and Latinx Studies and Political Science Dr. Robert Compton, and Dr. Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, coordinator, Ed Tech Program, and professor, English Education. Audience questions and discussion are invited after the panelist’s formal presentations. The program is free and open to the general public, including all segments of the college and Greater Oneonta community. UUP will provide a complimentary lunch. An RSVP at is required to allow for coordination of the lunch order. The RSVP should include your name and contact information.

Pathfinder Produce Celebrates Anniversary March 16

EDMESTON—Pathfinder Produce, a weekly greengrocer and delivery service operated by Pathfinder Village’s Adult Day Services, will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Thursday, March 16 during its regular market hours, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“The story of Pathfinder Produce has been one of empowerment,” said Tina Heyduk, Pathfinder’s chief administrative officer, who oversees the Pathfinder’s Day Services. “Our market began as a project to help curb childhood obesity, address adult health concerns, and improve families’ diets in conjunction with Bassett Research Institute’s 5-2-1-0 community programs. With our weekly market, area residents have enjoyed greater access to fresh produce. In many rural communities that are in USDA food deserts, families must travel over 10 miles to buy an apple.”

“Another way Pathfinder Produce empowers people is that it offers paid employment and vocational training for people with intellectual disabilities. ADS team members have grown in knowledge through their tasks organizing the weekly market and our grant-funded food deliveries,” added Mrs. Heyduk. “They give back to their community. Each team member takes pride in serving their friends and neighbors through our produce-related programs.”

During the March 16 market celebration at the Pathfinder Village Commons, there will be recipe samples, specially-themed baked goods, and customers will receive recyclable shopping bags as part of Pathfinder’s observance of World Down Syndrome Day, an annual global event held annually on March 21. To learn more about Pathfinder Produce, customers may visit the market’s website at or its Facebook page.

Crafters Wanted for
Two Popular Events

RICHFIELD SPRINGS—Applications are still being accepted for two popular craft events in Richfield Springs: the 42nd Annual Friendship Craft Festival to be held on Saturday, June 10 in Spring Park and the 3rd Annual Fall Craft Fair scheduled for Saturday, October 7 at the Cullen Pumpkin, 587 Cullen Road. Both events are sponsored by the Church Of Christ Uniting in Richfield Springs. For information and an application for both events, go to or call Carla at (315) 858-1451.

Paintings Travel to Los Angeles for Solo Exhibit
“Napoleon Pastry with Lattice Icing,” 2022, Carrie Mae Smith. Oil on ACM (Aluminum Composite Material). 14h X 12w inches.

Paintings Travel to Los
Angeles for Solo Exhibit


It’s a long way from Carrie Mae Smith’s Italianate stone house in Gilbertsville to Los Angeles and Lowell Ryan Projects, a split-level art gallery with an art deco exterior. Nevertheless, Smith made the 2,764-mile trip with her husband, Greg Watson, on February 14 to open her first solo exhibit at the gallery, which welcomes artists whose work crosses disciplinary boundaries.

“It’s the most significant gallery show I’ve had to date,” Smith said.

NYCAMH Facing Budget Difficulties

NYCAMH Facing Budget Difficulties

Seeks To Raise Awareness


On Tuesday, March 7, the New York Farm Bureau held a virtual press conference to voice its support for the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health and to highlight budget issues currently being faced by NYCAMH.

NYCAMH has a simple mission statement: “Enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.”

Furever Friends and Purrfect Pals

Furever Friends and Purrfect Pals

Animals are good for us. They offer emotional support. They listen. They do not judge. And they are there when we feel lonely. They increase our opportunities to get outside, to exercise and to socialize. They love us unconditionally. This new weekly photo series highlights our pets—whether furry, feathered or scaled; with fins, paws or hooves—in recognition of the important role they play in our lives. We invite you to send your pictures to Every week, we’ll select at least one photograph to be highlighted in “The Freeman’s Journal,” “Hometown Oneonta” and online. All photos will be added to this gallery, for the enjoyment of our readers.

On the Prowl
Photo by David Oroszi

On the Prowl

ONEONTA—Molly, an 8-year-old Bengal cat owned by avid photographer David Oroszi, already has a fan following. Pictures of Molly were shared online by Davenport Veterinary Clinic, where she is a patient. The photo above has received more than 13,000 views! We invite you to send pictures of your furry, feathered or finned friends to Every week, we’ll select at least one photograph to be highlighted in the newspapers. In the coming days, Molly and a host of other beloved pets will be available for viewing on the website. Look for the link to “Furever Friends and Purrfect Pals.”

K-Boy’s Little Buddy
Photo by Samantha Manee

K-Boy’s Little Buddy

HARTWICK—Three-year-old munchkin, Nacho, is a pasture pal for the Manee family’s 23-year-old quarter horse, K-Boy. Nacho does his job well, which is to keep K-Boy young, and we’re told “he’s a little spicy”—living up to his name. We invite you to send pictures of your furry, feathered or finned friends to Every week, we’ll select at least one photograph to be highlighted in the newspapers. In the coming days, Nacho, K-Boy and a host of other beloved pets will be available for viewing on the website. Look for the link to “Furever Friends and Purrfect Pals.”

The Partial Observer: What Are We Doing? Activity at Averill Road Property Questioned
Aerial photograph of land on Averill Road owned by the Templeton Foundation. Photo provided
The Partial Observer by Douglas Zamelis, Esq.

What Are We Doing? Activity at
Averill Road Property Questioned

It’s common knowledge Templeton Foundation seeks to build a large housing development on its property on Averill Road in the Village of Cooperstown. The village zoning law requires a special permit prior to construction and state law requires that prior to granting approval, the Board of Trustees must assess and mitigate the project’s environmental impacts.

Because the project is in an historic district and would alter more than 2.5 acres, it’s presumed to have a significant impact and require an Environmental Impact Statement. The village zoning law does allow a certain amount of tree removal, but state law (6 NYCRR 617.3) logically prohibits a project sponsor from “segmenting” a project into smaller stages to fly under the regulatory radar, or from commencing any physical alteration until environmental impacts have been identified, reviewed, and mitigated.

In January, the Board of Trustees identified several significant impacts but granted the special permit without requiring an EIS. My clients, owners of the residence across Averill Road, were forced to challenge the approval in court. Because they had no defense, Templeton and the village promptly capitulated and agreed the special permit was null and void. But a week or so ago, heavy equipment arrived at the project site and the project’s footprint was quickly cleared. Not a single hay bale or silt fence was deployed to keep the exposed sediment from making its way to Otsego Lake. No new special permit had been granted and the village’s website confirms Templeton hasn’t even resubmitted an application. After our urgent inquiry, the village claimed Templeton was only doing some limited tree removal for the purpose of ascertaining depth to groundwater and suitability for geothermal. Knowing such can be done with a small rig towed behind an ATV, we remained skeptical.

Two days later, our aerial photography confirmed Templeton had cleared the project’s entire footprint, including the road to the proposed water tower, without a proper environmental review or special permit. Templeton violated state and local law with the village’s knowledge and that’s bad enough. But that there’s brand new, multi-acre, clear cut on top of Irish Hill without a single hay bale, silt fence, or other stormwater control to prevent the sediment and nutrients from getting into the lake is environmentally reckless and socially unconscionable. Controlling the harmful algae bloom in our lake will require a multi-pronged approach, but denuding a lakeside hilltop and irresponsibly allowing the disturbed soil and nutrients into our lake is surely not one of them.

That this was done with the village’s knowledge and consent shocks my conscience, and should shock the conscience of anyone who relies on or appreciates Otsego Lake.

Don’t take it from me–look at the site plan and our aerial photography, take a walk or ride up Averill Road and see it for yourself, and then contact village officials and let them know what you think.

Life Sketches: Retired Poultry Farmer Recalls ‘Roger’s Colossus’ in Face of Avian Flu Epidemic
Life Sketches by Terry Berkson

Retired Poultry Farmer
Recalls ‘Roger’s Colossus’
in Face of Avian Flu Epidemic

Recently, Roger and Diane Vaughn—who operated the only small commercial poultry farm situated along the Route 20 corridor between Albany and Syracuse—retired. Theirs was one of about 15 remaining egg-laying operations in the state. At one time, there were 15 small farms like theirs within a 15-mile radius.

Then, the average setup consisted of about 300,000 birds, which made the Vaughns’ flock of poultry look rather paltry. Nevertheless, this small operation, in spite of Diane’s help, required Roger, an octogenarian, to put in a 70-hour week caring for his hens and delivering their bounty to stores and restaurants within 25 miles of the farm. Their eggs were also sold retail and wholesale out of a small shop in close proximity to the coops.

It was ironic that with every detail about the Vaughns’ 2,000 chicken operation painting a diminutive picture, a colossal egg was laid by one of their Rhode Island reds. The gigantic brown egg weighed in at 5-1/4 ounces, more than twice the weight of an extra-large egg, which averages about 2-1/4 ounces. It was 3 and 1/32 of an inch long and had a girth of eight inches. The ovate giant couldn’t even fit on their antique egg grader.

Since 1964, when Roger and Diane came to live and work on his family’s farm, more than 82 million eggs have sold directly or gone out for delivery.

Roger said, “This was the biggest egg the farm had ever produced.” He thought he knew which hen had dropped the football. “She was always laying larger eggs,” he said. Without a time-consuming search for a tell-tale “natural” episiotomy, there was no way of knowing for sure.

For Roger, coming home followed a degree in poultry science from Cornell University and later an army stint during the Vietnam era as company commander at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York.

Roger and Diane eventually took command of what was originally called Vaughn’s Hatchery from his parents, who had been stationed there since 1932. The change from a hatchery to an egg-producing farm took place back in the late 50s, when the market for hatched chicks dried up almost overnight. Roger thought that the age of specialization was responsible for the change. The pace of dairy farming had stepped up so much that to have chickens for home use was considered an unnecessary distraction. Back when Sidney and Katherine, Roger’s parents, were running the place, a spring order of 50 hatchlings each was the norm from surrounding farms.

According to Roger, 75 percent of the eggs consumed in New York State were shipped in from out west, where grain is cheaper, or from tax-advantaged states like Pennsylvania. The reasoning was that, “the price of eggs was very competitive, so why bother raising your own?”

The answer may have been ORGANIC. People were paying more than triple for eggs that could be labled organic. Free Range Charlie, an egg aficionado from Brooklyn, touted, “egg cartons containing an assortment of naturally colored eggs: green, blue, brown, orange, pink from naturally fed, free range chickens had great appeal. Voila! You have organic eggs at designer prices!” But for many, the quality of the egg in regard to the color of the shell remains debatable. Also, washing eggs as the Vaughns did, removed a water soluble protective coat which then required refrigeration. In many other countries, unwashed and unrefrigerated eggs are still put on the market.

Maybe Roger’s Colossus celebrated a relatively new and expanding age of poultry specialization and the growth in popularity of back-yard chickens in light of the specialty egg business. Of course, for most people, a good fresh egg is all that matters.

The recent epidemic of avian flu has killed millions of chickens and caused prices to fly the coop, soaring to unprecedented prices—ironically, shortly after hard-working Roger and Diane retired.

Back when the big egg was on display in a storefront in downtown Richfield Springs, bets were on concerning the possibility of it being a “triple yolker!”

Desert Dispatch: Hiking Offers Temporary Distraction from the Difficulties of Today
©AZ Plant Lady
Calliandra eriophylla, commonly known as fairy duster, is a low spreading shrub which is native to deserts and arid grasslands in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.
Desert Dispatch by Richard deRosa

Hiking Offers Temporary Distraction
from the Difficulties of Today

While hiking the last few days, we have seen the first blush of spring blooms, aided by more rain in these parts than we have ever experienced at this time of year. Fairy dusters, lovely pale pink flowers, are popping up everywhere along the trails we hike. Brittlebush, whose bright yellow blooms are a staple of the desert landscape, are also getting into high gear. A birding guide I recently spent a morning with observed that this is the first real winter Tucson has weathered in quite some time. Lucky us. Good thing we packed some woolies, although forgetting any sort of rain gear suitable for hiking was not terribly prescient of us. During our first few days here it rained quite a bit. Neither of us is quite sure why we neglected to pack rain pants and, despite having exactly what we needed back home, we hightailed it to a local outfitter and bought two pair—not too cheap, I might add. Believe it or not, we never took them out of the bag and returned them the next week since the weather took an abrupt turn for the better. We figured, what the heck, save some cash and take our chances. So much for the wisdom of hasty decisions.

Last night it rained buckets, but the sun is out now so hope is on the wing. The good news is that perhaps all this rain will prompt all those wonderful desert wildflowers to put on their glorious parade of color and variety while we are still here. Few sights are more compelling than a hillside blanketed with golden poppies glistening in the desert sun. The forecast is for a bit more rain this week, and then it looks as if warmer, drier weather is right around the corner. We get periodic texts from friends back home alluding to how “nice” the weather has been. Makes one wonder about the rationale for cross-continent treks to escape the cold. For a variety of reasons, we have decided to stick it out at home next year. Sciatica, not an ideal companion on long drives, has something to do with it, but also a bit of homesickness spiced up by a disinclination to worry too damn much about the house and all that could go awry. Although I know that worry is its own worst enemy, knowing in this case helps very little. The prevailing notion is a few short forays to warmer climes; time will tell.

One of the drawbacks of one’s mental life is the inability to completely detach oneself from ancillary issues. Hiking, for me, is a lot of things, among them is getting away from it all. That has been difficult to do lately. I feel a strong, life-long obligation to keep up on “important” news events of the day. I was raised that way, so I guess my mother and my teachers did a good job in that regard. I try to get this stuff out of my head early on; some days it works and on others it takes quite a while. If you watch any newscasts at all—and they have become increasingly hard to stomach—it is rare not to hear about a new or ongoing investigation of some sort. More often than not an analysis is provided by a pundit who invariably describes him or herself as a “former prosecutor.” Seems to be an infinite supply of these guys. One wonders just how many investigations a society can accommodate. The possibilities appear to be endless. We have been described as a litigious society; investigations appear to be its endless cohort. Each network must have a filled-to-the-brim warehouse of “former prosecutors” at the ready to comment on every pending investigation, in-process investigation or potential investigation.

I am not sure what the answer is. For sure, miscreants of all ilks need to be held accountable. It just seems as if we spend an inordinate amount of time policing one another and precious little time obviating the need to do so. For starters, we need to solve the gun problem. And, until we do, tragedies like that at Michigan State will be the rule rather than the exception. That is a real shame. Hikes only alleviate the worry for a short time. There have to be better ways for us to live our lives.

Noteworthy: Opioids: Examine the Risks, Benefits, Alternatives
News from the Noteworthy: LEAF

Opioids: Examine the Risks, Benefits, Alternatives

Pain. It’s an unfortunate, often highly impactful, fact of life. Some pain is in the moment, like stubbing your toe or accidently touching a hot surface. Some pain can be lasting, such as back, knee, nerve and neck pain. Because of these things, most people will need a version of pain control at some point in their life. There may even be a point where a medical provider suggests an opioid (such as Percocet or OxyContin) to manage pain on a short-term basis.
Opioids have been the focus of much media attention and public information for about the last 10 years. They are credited with sparking this country’s most devastating addiction, overdose and death crisis in known history. And although nearly every person walking the planet is aware of this, how much do we, as a culture, actually know about the medication? Let’s start with a few important things:

1) Opioids can be an effective, short-term pain management tool for many people.

2) Opioids may not be the most effective form of pain management.

3) Opioids can quickly create tolerance, causing reduced effectiveness within a relatively short period of time (days to weeks).

4) Any exposure to opioids increases the risk of long-term use, dependency, addiction and/or overdose.

5) Even when taken as prescribed by a medical provider, opioids can create physical dependence or addiction.

6) There are effective alternatives to opioids that carry less risk.

Because the medication can be effective short-term, a medical provider may offer an opioid prescription for such things as surgical pain or more serious injuries. Should this happen, it is excellent practice to have a discussion with that provider about the risks, benefits and potential alternatives to opioids. So, here are a few tips:

Talk to the doc: If your medical provider suggests an opioid for short-term pain, here are some good questions to ask. (This article does not contain medical advice. These are conversation starters.)

• What is the lowest effective dose I can take?

• Are there alternatives to this medication that may help me manage pain?

• What are my specific risks related to this medication?

• Should I be concerned about interactions with other medications, supplements or alcohol?

If you are seeing a medical provider about a long-term or chronic pain issue, here are some common alternatives to opioid pain medication that you may wish to inquire about:

• Over-the-counter medications

• Non-medication pain management tools such as exercise, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, counseling, weight management, yoga, tai chi and stress management

• Physical therapy

• Other prescription medications (non-opioid)

Pain is not a simple inconvenience. It can be a seriously impactful quality of life issue in the lives of many. And, often, it is a quality of life issue that is invisible. We can’t necessarily see when an individual is in pain. People who are in pain often suffer in silence because pain can be too often minimalized by people in their lives. It is not minimal—it matters.

What is important to know is that pain management has come a long way. Medical providers have a wide arsenal of tools at their disposal to help. An opioid may be the best option in the moment, and it may not be. The discussion is everything. Providers, more than anyone, know the reality of pain and its impact on overall health. They are our allies in helping us to get better and feel better.

The next time you get to talk to your provider about any pain you might be experiencing, write your list and expect to be heard.

Julie Dostal is executive director of the LEAF Council on Alcoholism & Addictions, Oneonta.

Fasanelli: Trustee Candidate Looking To Serve
Letter from George Fasanelli

Trustee Candidate Looking To Serve

I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I graduated from Queens College of the City University in 1977 and received my MBA from St. Joseph’s College on Long Island.

I retired after 34 years of service with the Suffolk County Police Department at the rank of deputy inspector. In addition to my time on patrol, I was an investigator with the Internal Affairs Bureau, the commanding officer of the Data Services Section, the Police Academy, and the Special Services Bureau in the Detective Division. I retired in 2016 after serving as the executive officer of the Seventh Precinct, a command of approximately 80 officers.

Kirsch To Bassett: Please Keep FCF Open
Letter from Emma Kirsch

To Bassett: Please Keep FCF Open

I have been a member of FoxCare Fitness for many years. I am asking Bassett to reconsider the decision to close the facility for the following reasons:

• It is an extremely valuable asset to our senior community, who rely upon it for essential exercise and fitness training.

• All of the staff are personable, professional, and extremely helpful and kind to all.

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