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News of Otsego County

2020 pandemic

After Transfer, Bertram Finds Hoops Home At Binghamton University

After Transfer,

Bertram Finds Hoops Home

At Binghamton University

By CHAD G. WELCH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Contributed/Binghamton University Sports Information Department
Cooperstown’s Tyler Bertram said he is happy in a Binghamton uniform this season.

When Cooperstown Central School’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, Tyler Bertram, decided to transfer from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he said he was looking for a better fit, a bigger role and an opportunity to play closer to home.

He found all three with Binghamton University men’s basketball team during the 2020-2021 season.

After finishing his high school career at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, Bertram spent two years in Charlotte; the first a redshirt season during which he said he added 20 pounds to bulk up his slender 6-foot 3-inch frame. In the second, as a redshirt freshman, he appeared in 12 games for the 49ers averaging 9.3 minutes per game.

“Coming back close to home was important, but finding the right fit was very important,” Bertram said. “The previous situation just didn’t really feel like it was the right spot and then knowing that Binghamton played really fast and like to shoot a lot of threes, I knew that I could kind of be myself here.”

“I made the mistake of not fully understanding what kind of style it was going to be (in Charlotte),” Bertram said. “I thought the change went really well. It was a fun year. The team was great. I just had a lot of fun playing fast and playing with some confidence again.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Oneonta Community Concert Band Returns 04-18-21
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, APRIL 18

Oneonta Community

Concert Band Returns

14-19eventspage

COMMUNITY CONCERT – 3 p.m. Oneonta Community Band presents live streamed performance of works looking back on the pandemic year. Includes spirituals, ‘Sea Songs’, Amazing Grace, and the performers favorite Souza Marches. Performance is free, open to public. Performed from the stage of The Foothills Performing Arts Center. 607-432-7085 or visit the facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/169533834979

Rejoining The World

Rejoining The World

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

After a year of separation, Cathy Weir of Cooperstown trims her mom Elinore Sorbera’s pageboy. Now in her 90s, Mrs. Sorbera was head nurse at the county’s former Meadows Nursing Home on Route 33, predecessor to Coopers- town Center, where she resides now.

A decade ago, Kent Turner was working in the kitchen at Oneonta’s B-Side Ballroom, the popular nightspot, when he noticed a vivacious woman and her girlfriends were becoming regulars.

“We starting talking,” said Kent, and one thing led to another. “She had a heart of gold.”

Kent and Jackie fell in love.

Soon, the couple was attending Oneonta’s Community Gospel Church. For seven happy years, “she was really helpful in turning my life around,” he said.

But it wasn’t to continue.

Jackie was stricken with premature dementia in her late 50s, and she was admitted to Cooperstown Center’s Serenity Place, where her loving companion visited her regularly – until he couldn’t.

In February 2020, as COVID-19 loomed, state regulations forced Cooperstown Center to close its doors to visitors. For 13 months, not just Jackie and Kent, but the Center’s more than 150 residents were cut off from their families.

“When we had to close those doors,” said Lacey Rinker, director of nursing, “it breaks your heart.”

BUTTERMAN: ‘‘Dazzling’ Green Energy Best Bet On The Future For New York’s Citizens
LETTER from DAN BUTTERMANN

‘Dazzling’ Green Energy Best Bet
On The Future For New York’s Citizens

To the Editor:

The next New York State budget is on its way to passage, and with the federal stimulus of $12.6 billion it will not be as bad as projected. But there are still many problems ahead. Our state had a budget deficit before the pandemic, and a declining population, which the census will likely confirm later this year.

We must look for new ways to bring people back to New York. Without more people, our state will continue to suffer, and the problems will continue to grow. What is one way to bring people back?

More jobs!

How do we get more jobs? By investing strategically in the industries of the future, and we can do that without hurting businesses already here.

Green energy has dazzling potential. It is the industry with the fastest growing job basis in the country, and these jobs pay higher than average.

We need the energy too. New York has some of the highest utility rates in the country, and investment in green energy will lower energy costs, because the costs for renewable energy continue to go down.

Recognizing the value of green energy, the legislature passed the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act in 2019. This bill outlined clear and achievable targets to increase renewable energy production, storage and energy infrastructure.

Plus, it recognized that many communities across New York have been left behind and disadvantaged economically, so it makes sure that large parts of the investment go to these communities.

Our region has been left behind by Albany for far too long. This bill may start to change that. Of course, the question comes up of how to pay for these upgrades. We cannot print money like the federal government, so the answer is the Climate & Community Investment Act.

This bill will set taxes and charges against those businesses that pollute the most. The revenue will be turned into direct reinvestment in our state.

I support this legislation because it answers the question of how to pay for a specific state program. It may not be a perfect bill, it should be debated, and that debate can certainly make it better.

The results of this bill will help our region, and for that we all have reason to support it.

DAN BUTTERMANN
Oneonta

STERNBERG: Rotary Edges Toward In Person Meetings
LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG

Rotary Edges Toward
In Person Meetings

erna
Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

There comes a time in the history of an epidemic when the risk of discomfort, disability and death begins to be outweighed by the risks of continued isolation and continued restrictions on normal societal behavior.

If we can stay the course on the rate of vaccinations that we’ve seen lately since the mega-sites opened, we can soon reach that point. The CDC has indicated that if all the individuals in a space have been fully vaccinated, they can congregate in small groups and without masks with very low risk of illness.

This also assumes we are beginning to reach a level of herd immunity so that the risk of a person who is infected coming into contact with a person who has no protection is decreased solely by the numbers of safe people around them.

The CDC has recently changed its guideline regarding distance that schoolchildren must stay apart. It is been reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet somewhat with the comment that the extra 3 feet doesn’t really matter much. It doesn’t mean that there’s a decreased risk of communicability, it just means that the distance between masked children may be decreased.

There is also a consideration of increased damage to the population from the isolation of individuals from normal society.

All Fall To Egalitarian COVID-19
The Pandemic Year • First Death On March 23, 2020

All Fall To Egalitarian COVID-19

By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

On Monday morning, March 23, 2020, Otsego County confirmed its first case of coronavirus at a Fox clinic in Oneonta. Just three days later, the county recorded the first COVID-19 death.

Now, one year later, there have been over 3,500 positive cases here; 54 county residents have died from COVID-19 and related complications. At least eight former local residents are also known to have died from the virus. The deceased ranged in age from 55 to 103, with more women than men dying of COVID.

In tribute to the lives lost, are brief profiles of the fatalities identified in public records. Other families have chosen to keep the deaths anonymous.

A Year With COVID

A Year With COVID

In 2020-21, Traditions Fell
Away, New Ones Emerged

Network Chief of Pharmacy Kelly Rudd briefs the first six Bassett employees to get a COVID vaccine. On Dec. 23 in the Clark Auditorium are, from left, Dr. Lewis Brinton, Keith Velasco, Eddie Cook, Suzanne Evans, Liz Burns and Dr. Travis Hodgdon. In the background is Allen Light, who administered one of the first shots. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Editor’s Note: For the past year, Melissa Marietta, Fly Creek, SUNY Oneonta director of career development, has chronicled her family’s year with COVID-19. This was posted on Facebook March 15, the anniversary of Otsego County’s state of emergency.

The sun shines! The temp rises above freezing! I’m here to check in.

It’s the anniversary of The Last Friday. We knew something weird and possibly dangerous was coming. With no real understanding of the situation, we all assumed it could be days, if not weeks, before we’d return to life as usual.

If we only knew. If only we’d gone to one last movie, one last dinner out, one last coffee with friends, or one last concert. If only we’d hugged one another one last time.

Twice this week, someone told me they wished they could hug me and I couldn’t find the words to tell them I want nothing more than to hug them right back. I miss so many things we took for granted.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Crime A Worry, But ‘Quality Of Life’ Of Greater Concern

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Crime A Worry,
But ‘Quality Of Life’
Of Greater Concern

I revisited (social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s 1982 article, “Broken Windows,” in the Atlantic) because I was trying to solve a mystery. On a recent reporting trip to New York City to ask bankers, policy analysts and real estate brokers about the city’s economic future, I kept hearing that crime was a major risk.

…When I probed, I found that they talked less about violent crime than disorder. Homeless encampments were flourishing, panhandling had become more aggressive, and minor crimes like public urination or open drug use were not just more visible, but making the papers.

The summer had brought looting and riots close to home as well. Moreover, many of them saw this as a result of the city’s deliberate decision to ignore the “quality of life” offenses that broken windows had emphasized.

Megan McArdle
Washington Post, March15, 2021

EXECUTIVE ORDER 202

EXECUTIVE ORDER 202

Declaring a Disaster Emergency in the State of New York

In declaring a state of emergency on March 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo was flanked by counsel Beth Garvey, left, and aide Melissa DeRosa.

Editor’s Note: Here’s the beginning of the executive order Governor Cuomo issued on March 7, 2020, putting New York in a state of emergency while it combatted COVID.

WHEREAS, on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization designated the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern;

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the entire United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19;

WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and more are expected to continue; and

WHEREAS, New York State is addressing the threat that COVID-19 poses to the health and welfare of its residents and visitors.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of the State of New York, hereby find, pursuant to Section 28 of Article 2-B of the Executive Law, that a disaster is impending in New York State, for which the affected local governments are unable to respond adequately, and I do hereby declare a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York.

This Executive Order shall be in effect until September 7, 2020.

Much To Be Proud Of In Response To COVID-19
EDITORIAL

Much To Be Proud Of
In Response To COVID-19

(Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Despite the chilling toll – 3,483 COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths – Otsego County people, our neighbors, friends and family, have a lot to be proud of as we ended The Year of The Pandemic on Monday, March 15, we found in revisiting the last 52 editions of this newspaper.

Throughout, there was worry, dismay and grief in the face of the implacable and mysterious foe, but little panic. In reviewing the newspapers, there was, and is, much determination, focus and purpose among our neighbors and our community leaders.

At the county level, board Chairman David Bliss promptly issued an emergency declaration on Friday, March 15, 2020, that outlined many of the steps that have marked our lives since then. Going forward from there, the county board was tough and visionary in the face of disappearing sales- and bed-tax revenues.

The reps laid off 59 FTEs, no fun for anyone. Then – guided by county Treasurer Allen Ruffles – they assembled a plan based on historically low-interest loans and fast-tracking roadwork, which the state CHIPS program still reimburses, to ensure solvency. When President Biden’s $11 million stimulus allocation was announced in recent days, it was appreciated at 197 Main, but not essential.

On a parallel track, county Health Department rallied under Public Health Director Heidi Bond, doing the COVID testing and contact tracing that – along with masks and social distancing – have been central in controlling the disease to the extent we have.

She was already heralded as this newspaper’s 2020 Citizen of the Year, but not enough appreciation can be expressed to her team’s hard work and accomplishment.

Diary Of The Plague Year
SUNY Oneonta Students Share Fears, Hopes

Diary Of The Plague Year

Edited By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Last March, SUNY Oneonta sent students home. Amidst massive disruption, Adjunct History Professor Ann Trainor was struck by the historic nature of the event. She encouraged her students and others to record diaries of their experiences.

Reading through these diary entries a year later feels like time travel, the experiences familiar while the perspectives seem naïve.

“I really thought we were going to come back to Oneonta at the end of March and this hysteria would be over,” student Maggie McCann wrote in mid-April. In July, looking back at her earlier entries, she commented that it “felt like it was written in a different decade, so much has happened since.”

Trainor collaborated with historians, librarians and others to create a blog-style website, “The Semester of Living Dangerously,” for the housebound campus. In the summer, with more than 100 diary entries, essays, poems and other writing shared, the organizers extended the project.

The blog continues to grow, and will be edited into an academic book to be published by SUNY Press in 2022. Below are a few excerpts from hundreds on the website.

Bassett Hits Home Run

Bassett Hits Home Run

Goal Is 120,000 Shots
In One Hundred Days

State Approves ‘Massive Vaccination Site’
In SUNY Oneonta, To Begin On Thursday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

In a “vaccine desert,” suddenly there’s an oasis.

After weeks of lobbying and some heightened expectation, it’s here: Bassett Healthcare Network announced Tuesday afternoon, March 16, that a COVID-19 “massive vaccination site” would be opening two days later, the 18th, in SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Field House.

The clinic, staffed by 30 “clinical professionals” from Bassett and a National Guard unit, will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Registration, via www.bassett.org, began the following morning, Wednesday the 17th.

The goal is to ramp up to 1,200 vaccinations a day for three or four months, according to Brinton Muller, Bassett’s Emergency Preparedness manager, who is managing the site.

Ballpark, that could be 100,000 people in the next 100 days.

SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena hasn’t been the focus of such regional attention since Tony Bennett sang at its opening in 1999.

People from across the state can get vaccinated here, but most people surrounding counties – Chenango, Schoharie and, to a lesser degree, Delaware – were already only a half-hour from “massive sites” at Binghamton, Utica or Albany.

That isolation is why former state senator Jim Seward, who lobbied for the site on Bassett’s behalf, said he used the “vaccine desert” term in his conversations with the Governor’s Office.

It just makes sense that Otsego County’s population will benefit most from the new site’s convenience.

“It’s been a long haul already,” said Seward, who himself was stricken with COVID in March 2020. “It would be wonderful to close it up by the Fourth of July, like President Biden said.”

THIS WEEK — March 11, 2021
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: ‘Zoom Towns’ Beckon, Including Hudson Valley

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

‘Zoom Towns’ Beckon,
Including Hudson Valley

A year ago, just before the start of pandemic lockdowns, some 10% or less of the U.S. labor force worked remotely full-time. Within a month, according to Gallup and other surveys, around half of American workers were at distant desktops. Today, most of them still are. And surveys of employers and employees alike suggest a fundamental shift.

While forecasts differ, as much as a quarter of the 160-million-strong U.S. labor force is expected to stay fully remote in the long term, and many more are likely to work remotely a significant part of the time.

Smaller metro areas such as Miami, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville and Denver enjoy a price advantage over more expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, and they are using it to attract newly mobile professionals. Smaller cities have joined the competition as well, some of them launching initiatives specifically designed to appeal to remote workers.

And more rural communities including Bozeman, Mont., Jackson Hole, Wyo., Truckee, Calif., and New York’s Hudson Valley are becoming the nation’s new “Zoom towns,” seeing their fortunes rise from the influx of new residents whose work relies on such digital tools.

Richard Florida and Adam Ozimek
Wall Street Journal
March 6-7, 2021

FALK: ‘It Takes A Village Moment’ Inspires Candidate Falk
LETTER from CINDY FALK

‘It Takes A Village Moment’
Inspires Candidate Falk

To the Editor:

Saturday I had one of those “It Takes a Village” moments.

I offered a ride to a friend to the vaccination clinic at the Clark Sports Center. Sitting with her in a folding chair on the gym floor, I remembered just how special our community is.

We have a teaching hospital right here in Cooperstown, we have an amazing recreational facility and, most important, we are blessed with people who care.

Our local community members helped spread the word about vaccine availability, assisted with online registration, provided rides, checked people in, gave shots, stood by in case of an emergency, and checked up on our friends and neighbors.

We live in a one-of-a-kind place that I am pleased to call home.

For the past nine years, I have been privileged to represent village residents on the Board of Trustees. This Tuesday, March 16, I will be running for my fourth term.

There is little hype about this election. My name and Hanna Joy Bergene’s will be the only ones on the ballot, and there are two open seats. There is no national election going on simultaneously and no COVID-induced change to the voting date as there was last year.

Honestly, it may seem like there is little reason to participate. But I am hopeful that in our remarkable village people still will make the effort to exercise their right to vote.

Polls are open noon – 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, at the fire hall, and absentee-ballot applications and absentee ballots can be picked up by 4 p.m. Monday, March 15, at Village Hall, 22 Main St.

The pandemic has been difficult on all of us individually and collectively. The village government is no exception to that – the last year has been trying, and the coming months will be critical as we begin to creep forward into a post-pandemic world.

I encourage you to take part in the democratic process as we enter this next phase, and I would greatly appreciate your vote on Tuesday the 16th.

CINDY FALK
Trustee, Deputy Mayor
Cooperstown

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