The midterm elections are over, or mostly over, as tight returns leave many state and federal races close and uncertain. I, for one, am very glad that pre-election coverage and political mailings have ceased and we have voted.
We can now get back to our jobs, our community, and our lives, where real things happen, where we can make a difference to a person and to our community.
OTSEGO COUNTY—The Otsego County Solid Waste Department and the Otsego County Conservation Association are teaming up once again to promote the Otsego County Schools Plastic Film Recycling Challenge. The challenge promotes recycling of film plastics and is open to all public and private K-12 school buildings located in Otsego County.
The challenge kicks off on America Recycles Day, November 15, and runs through April 14, 2023. During the challenge, students are encouraged to collect clean, dry film plastic, including single-use grocery bags, Ziploc-style food bags, wood pellet bags and more, and bring them to their school. A volunteer weighs the film plastic, submits the weight collected, and delivers the collected plastic to a participating retailer for recycling. Each week, the weight of material collected is reported to OCCA. The school that collects the most film plastic by weight per capita will win.
Monthly news and insights by Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network
I am honored to have the opportunity to reach you through “The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.” Each month I will keep you up to date on emerging public health information, share the latest news from Bassett Healthcare Network, talk about health trends in the news, address your questions and concerns, and discuss ways you and your family can stay healthy.
At Bassett, we are dedicated to improving the health of our patients and wellbeing of our communities. With flu season right around the corner, we want to make sure you and your family are protected. Being vaccinated against the flu not only protects you, it also protects people around you who are more vulnerable to flu, such as people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions or lowered immunity, and young children. The flu can also cause certain health conditions—like diabetes, asthma, heart, and lung disease—to become worse. So, protect yourself and those around you. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year.
The Richfield Springs Food Pantry thanks and congratulates Mrs. Polly Renckens for her six years of devoted service to the Richfield Springs Food Pantry and its mission of ensuring that all members of our community have access to nutritious food. The Richfield Springs Food Pantry has made great strides since Polly Renckens began her leadership role with her husband, Jim, in 2017.
During the time of Mrs. Renckens’ service, the organization has expanded its reach from serving 100 households in 2017 to over 200 households in 2022. Mrs. Renckens had a central role in helping the pantry obtain a grant to purchase additional food and increase service to those in need from twice a month to a weekly basis. Her other responsibilities have included managing the volunteer schedule, ordering food deliveries, and serving as Vice President of the Board of Advisors.
The Richfield Springs Food Pantry’s volunteers and board members are grateful for Mrs. Renckens’ friendship and celebrate her numerous years of commitment to our local community.
BAINBRIDGE—Elizabeth H. Gilbert passed away peacefully on October 22, 2022 in Georgetown, Texas. Betty Gilbert was the youngest of four children. Her father was a German immigrant and her mother an orphan. Betty was raised in rural upstate New York with little in the way of creature comforts. One of her childhood chores in the winter was to take the horse to a creek and break the ice, so that the horse could drink water. There was no indoor plumbing.
Her family moved to Bainbridge, New York in her teen years and there she thrived. She created the position of majorette and performed with the high school marching band. After graduating from high school, she took classes in stenography and other secretarial skills at a business school in Albany, New York, riding the train back to Bainbridge on weekends. Her first job was as a secretary for the research department of a chemical company in Bainbridge, working alongside her sister, Helen.
In support of veterans nationwide, Brewery Ommegang’s recent Hops for Heroes event raised funds for Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to active military, veterans and their families. Participating breweries throughout the country produced a special Veteran’s Day batch, Homefront IPA, the proceeds of which exclusively benefit the nonprofit’s mission.
CHAPEL HILL, NC – If you were walking along Pioneer Street in the early 2000s and happened upon “The Freeman’s Journal” offices near Main Street center, you’d find a young editor hard at work. Dakin Campbell, a member of Cooperstown High School’s class of 1995, was launching a burgeoning career in journalism. At that time, the Cornell University graduate could be found diligently reporting on the events of local town and county board meetings. Today, as chief financial correspondent for “Business Insider,” Campbell’s investment has paid off in dividends.
Over 150 years ago, in 1867, Susan Fenimore Cooper—the visionary daughter of our illustrious James Fenimore Cooper—founded the Thanksgiving Hospital, the first such hospital in the Village of Cooperstown and, so it’s told, in the state. Dedicated to the “weak and suffering among the population of Otsego County and the adjoining counties,” it had 16 beds. At the time Cooperstown was a small rural community with 1,600 people.
Established in appreciation of the end of the Civil War, the Thanksgiving Hospital was guided for three decades by Miss Cooper, working closely with Dr. Wilson T. Bassett, an Otsego County-born son of a veterinary surgeon who had emigrated from England in 1815. When Bassett began his medical practice in the 1840s, in Mount Vision, there were 60 physicians in Otsego County, six of them in Cooperstown.
COOPERSTOWN – Village trustee and former Deputy Elections Commissioner MacGuire Benton announced his candidacy for Otsego County clerk on Monday, November 14. With his trustee tenure ending in April, he plans to begin his campaign for the 2023 General Election Ballot with a listening tour across the county.
“I feel ready to take on more for more people,” stated Benton.
The reopening of Oneonta’s Department of Motor Vehicles office, he explained, is a central issue to his campaign.
COOPERSTOWN – Friends of the Village Library is already preparing for its popular Winter Book Sale, to be held February 3-5 during the 2023 Winter Carnival Weekend.
From 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, November 19, FoVL will host a book collection in the Village Hall Board Room at 22 Main Street. Used books in good condition are welcome, along with CDs, DVDs and audio books. Textbooks and outdated travel books, however, will not be accepted.
“The Cooperstown community is incredibly generous in donating used books for the sales,” said Lynne Mebust, FoVL board member and co-chair of the Book Sale Committee along with Ivy Bischof. “While some book collections are more successful than others due to factors such as weather, timing, publicity, etc., I estimate that we collect somewhere between 3,000-5,000 books per collection day.”
In late November of 1965 my dad, in his yellow taxi cab, ferried me and my duffle bag down to the Brooklyn Army Terminal where I would board the USS Darby bound for Bremerhaven, Germany. Several other soldiers who had also gone to Preventive Medicine School were among the 1,400 troops that were about to cross the Atlantic. The water was calm for the first few days but, in spite of the smooth going, this guy, Harris, had already turned green. In fact, he looked seasick as soon as we set sail.
COOPERSTOWN – In keeping with tradition, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum recognized the military service of 2022 inductees Gil Hodges and Buck O’Neil with a ceremony in its plaque gallery on Veteran’s Day. Before a crowd of NBHoF-goers and a Cooperstown Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard, the pair became the 69th and 70th members to bear a special medallion below their nameplates, indicating the details of their service.
Seventy percent of smokers want to quit, but fewer than 10 percent of adult smokers manage to quit each year because nicotine is so addictive. The American Cancer Society began an annual event, Great American Smokeout, over 40 years ago to encourage smokers to take the first step to quitting smoking. On the third Thursday of November, thousands of smokers nationwide participate in GASO, using it as an opportunity to make a plan to quit or make one beforehand and initiate the plan on that day. This year’s GASO is on Thursday, November 17.
Smoke- and tobacco-free policies can also help cessation efforts, not only because they reduce the opportunities for using tobacco, but because they de-normalize tobacco use. For some smokers who are trying to quit, these policies can help them get over their final hurdle. These policies also protect and enhance everyone’s health and experience in those spaces and help prevent kids from becoming tobacco users themselves. Research has shown that the more kids witness people using tobacco, whether on screen or in real life, the more likely they will use it themselves.
Smoke-free policies for public spaces are supported overwhelmingly in Otsego County. A 2020 Siena College Research Institute survey found 75 percent of Otsego County residents supported smoking bans on all municipal grounds and 70 percent supported smoke-free outdoor areas around businesses open to the public. Recently, Cooperstown made most of the sidewalks along its Main Street smoke- and vape-free and the Village of Laurens passed a policy banning the use of tobacco and cannabis products on all village property.
Smokers in our area who are thinking of quitting could use GASO on November 17 to start their cessation journey. They can now go to more smoke-free spaces to help them along the way.
Jennifer Hill Community Engagement Coordinator, Tobacco Free Communities: Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie