News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Chip Northrup

In Appreciation: George Floyd


George Floyd, 46,

From Fellow Texan

By CHIP NORTHRUP • Special to

George Floyd

George Floyd was a big, happy-go-lucky Texan.

He had a daughter named Gianna and was a member of a Bible study class. I grew up in Texas with good hard working men like George, including members of his extended family.

Otis Floyd, Sr. was our handyman. His sons Otis, Jr., Michael and Clifford were our moving men. His wife, Hazel Gay Floyd helped raise our four children. Daughter Esther was our babysitter.

I spoke at Hazel’s funeral and thanked her for raising our children. Otis Jr. joked that she spent more time with our kids than with her own. She certainly spent more time with them than I did.

NORTHRUP: County Response Tops


County Primus Inter Paras

To the Editor:

Otsego County’s response to The Plague has been as good as anywhere in Europe or Asia and better than most places in America.

For that reason, the county is on track to safely reopen ahead of almost any other place in America, having met Governor Cuomo’s requirements.

By stark contrast, Texas is next to last in testing per capita, there are no contract tracers, little social distancing and few masks.

Texas’s unsafe “reopening plan” is simply a date, and the day the state reopened without regional rollouts, it recorded its highest number of new cases.

Efforts to control the spread of The Plague in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin were trumped by the governor’s hasty order, which was based entirely on the political science of the Gregorian Calendar.

By comparison, New York State’s response is positively First World and Otsego County is now literally the first of the first. Congratulations to all concerned.


NORTHRUP: The Answer? Conservation


The Answer? Conservation

To the Editor:

George W. Bush is an old acquaintance of mine, I have known him since before he was governor of Texas, much less President. Although he was a so-so governor and a terrible President, one thing he’s not is a hypocrite.

His erstwhile opponent, Al Gore, became the darling of the environmental movement with his groundbreaking film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The most inconvenient truth about “Inconvenient Truth” is that Gore subsequently cashed in on “green technology” without limiting his own consumption of energy – while, in contrast, George retired to his solar-powered, energy-efficient, rain-harvesting, minimal-consumption Texas ranch.

I was in the solar energy business from 1973 to 1980, when we sold Northrup Energy to Atlantic Richfield, to create ARCO Solar, where I became the planning manager for alternative energy systems.

So I know the potential of alternative energy and its limitations.

Michael Moore has attempted to overturn some shibboleths of the green apple cart with his new documentary “Planet of the Humans.”

When you cut through the melodrama, misstatements and erroneous assumptions, the core conclusion of the film is sound, and one I agree with: The fundamental problem is our consumption of resources, the primary solution is conservation.

The easiest way to reduce energy consumption is to not use it. That was part of the original environmentalist message – conserve, recycle, reuse – much of which has been drowned out by the marketing of alternative energy systems as if over-reliance on fossil fuels can simply be replaced with over-reliance on renewable energy systems, some of which, particularly biomass, may not be so environmentally friendly after all.

It’s an inconvenient point that we have learned during The Plague: the most effective green solution is plain old-fashioned conservation. Try it some time.


NORTHRUP: Want To Cut Loose? Try Las Vegas

Want To Cut Loose?

Try  Las Vegas

To the Editor:

While Otsego County may be in the same Upstate region as Utica, the risk of re-opening Otsego County too soon is far greater than it would be for Utica.

Otsego County, particularly Cooperstown, is an international tourist destination; Utica, not so much.

While I am all for cautiously re-opening Otsego County, if the tourist industry were allowed to reopen in full, the relatively low number of local cases could balloon with the influx of tourists from all over the world, including from areas where the contagion is much more prevalent than it is in Otsego County.

That would swamp the local health care system.

Would advise against trying to re-enact Mardi Gras in Cooperstown.

If people want to have fun, get sick, lose their money, inject Clorox and die, they can always go to Las Vegas.

Until there is adequate screening, a vaccine, and a cure, job one is to not get sick.


While New York City Dithered, San Antonio Saw Threat, Responded

While New York City

Dithered, San Antonio

Saw Threat, Responded

Editor’s Note: Mr. Northrup’s letter is reprinted from the current editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal.

To the Editor:

Chip Northrup

In Texas, a city or county can issue and enforce stay-at-home health orders without the state’s permission. Some West Texas counties have prohibited out-of-county residents from staying in the county overnight, the landlords are fined $1,000 a day.

In New York, only the state can issue such sweeping health directives, no such balkanization is allowed.

This centralization of authority proved to be fatal in New York, since the state was too slow to act fast enough on major metropolitan areas – namely New York City.

The first coronavirus case was reported in San Antonio, Texas, on March 1, the same day the first case was recorded in New York. Acting without waiting on the state, the mayor of San Antonio prohibited large gatherings the next day and canceled the annual municipal fiesta.


NORTHRUP: It’s Right To Close Schools; Dreams Park Must Be Next

It’s Right To Close Schools;

Dreams Park Must Be Next

To the Editor:

Schools are the absolute best places to transmit airborne diseases, almost as effective as cruise ships.

In the average size high school, there are over 750,000 contacts a day at less than 10 feet that can potentially transmit an airborne disease such as the flu or COVID-19. And that does not include making out behind the stadium.

The fact that children don’t get as sick as adults with COVID-19 makes them ideal transmitters of the disease. To gramps and granny.

So closing the schools is step one in fighting the spread of airborne diseases. Good on Cooperstown Central, the Hall of Fame and the Clark Sports Center for shutting down or limiting access. Cooperstown should be where epidemics, not people, go to die.

Step 2 is closing down any other large gathering place of kids, such as the Dreams Park.

If COVID 19 is not under control by May, the Dreams Park should not be allowed to open in June.ronavirus, Cooperstown news, Otsego County news

The vulnerability, the potential weak link in any pandemic are the hospitals. They have to be protected at all costs. Bassett has to be protected. And the best way to protect Bassett is to avoid over-burdening it with sick tourists from around the world.


NORTHRUP: Legalizing Dope Daffy, As Writer Can Attest

Legalizing Dope Daffy,

As Writer Can Attest

To the Editor:

I have been smoking marijuana off (now) and on (then) for 54 years. I can tell you four things:

1. It makes you a bit daffy, then hungry, then daffy again. Did I mention hungry?

2. You can smoke dope and play the electric guitar like a hero, but not drive a car.

3. Alcohol is worse than dope, but that’s the pot calling the keg black.

4. I forget the fourth thing, but it was really far out, man.

Until there is an accurate, on-the-spot test for weed in the bloodstream, and a stiff fine for Driving While Stoned (DWS), legalization will lead to increased traffic accidents, ER admissions and nacho sales.

Unless it is taxed out the whazoo, the cost to the health care system would outweigh the economic
benefits. With New York State already billions in the red on Medicaid, I don’t see how legalizing dope is such a great idea.

Better to keep it illegal, home grown, untaxed, un-corporate and darkly illicit. Where God and Willy Nelson intended it to be.


NORTHRUP: Hotter World = More Fires

Hotter World

= More Fires

To the Editor:

Like everything else, the wildfires in California have been politicized by President Trump, who blames them on “bad forest management.”

Catch is, most of what’s burning are not trees, much less “forests” but grass and shrubs.

We lived in California for years. Except for the Sierras, most of California is a desert – right up to the beach. When the hot Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert to the coast, they dry the grass and shrubs to kindling, which makes for dandy fire fuel.

No “bad forest management” necessary. Not even from a Trump University Forestry major.

These fires, which have been recurring seasonally since the last Ice Age, are getting worse, but not
because someone neglected to “sweep the forest.”

As long as grass and brush grow in California, there will be fires. The hotter the earth, the more the fires.

That’s true everywhere in the world. Even Upstate. No politics necessary.


NORTHRUP: Broadband, Renewables, Codes, Pot – Why Not?

Broadband, Renewables,

Codes, Pot – Why Not?

To the Editor:

I was reading your newspaper’s “expose” of the Democrats’ top secret plan to take over the county as if it were satire, until I realized you were serious, that changing party leadership was some kind of threat to the county’s political somnambulance.

Of course it’s time for a change! Bring it on.

Everything outlined in the McEvoy Memo would be good for the economic health and wellbeing for all the people of the county.

To wit: Rural broadband – yes, do it, get it done, the more the better. Pot – why not? If marijuana is legalized in New York State, the county should give a new meaning to Upstate.

Renewable energy – it’s the best kind there is. Stop pining for fracked gas that isn’t here and get with the 21st century. Code enforcement – there is none now – there should be as McEvoy proposes – including the demolition, preservation or relocation of derelict buildings.

Neither the village, town nor county enforces codes against substandard buildings – they just let them self-demolish due to benign neglect. Kind of like the local Republican party.

Of the two candidate for District 3 (Laurens-Otego), she sounds she’d be like a real hard-working go-getter for the county.  He sounds like a nice old guy to talk to about horses.



NORTHRUP: Want Franchise Food? Not In Cooperstown; Move To Texas

Want Franchise Food? Not In

Cooperstown; Move To Texas

To the Editor:

We didn’t move to Cooperstown from Texas to avail ourselves of a Dunkin’ Donut.  If we wanted to live in a place with a plethora of fast food restaurants, we could have just stayed in Texas. Lots to choose from, many conveniently located between a gun store (guilty) and a tattoo shop (not guilty).

We moved to Cooperstown because it’s a historic village. Keeping the built environment hysterically historic is hard to overdo. If you don’t understand that, check out Venice, Santa Fe,  Nantucket or the Cotswolds.

People go there because those places are and will remain authentically historic. People live there because they know that they aren’t likely to be infested with fast food franchises any century soon.



NORTHRUP: Too Little Gas Under NY To Be Fracked Profitably

Too Little Gas Under NY

To Be Fracked Profitably

To the Editor:

A recent column in your newspaper listed the benefits of fracking to Pennsylvanians – where, evidently, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average, implying that the same could be true in New York if we just got to fracking the place.

Catch is, as some Cooperstonians proved years ago, there’s probably not much around here worth fracking.  A recent Penn State study backs up our findings.

Retired Mobil executive Lou Allstadt, geologist Brian Brock, systems analyst Jerry Acton and myself, a well-known-know-it-all, made presentations showing why the productive shale gas field in Pennsylvania was unlikely to extend into New York State.

Each of us offered a proof. Lou pointed out why the major companies had not leased into New York. I pointed out that most of the leasing was by wildcat speculators. Brian Brock explained why the geology was not conducive to commercial exploitation of the Marcellus or Utica shales.

And Jerry Acton mapped the productivity of the shale wells being drilled in Pennsylvania – which is what the Penn State methodology duplicated via plagiarism.

As shown in Mr. Acton’s work, the sweet spot is indeed right across the border, but the productivity of the wells decreases rapidly as you move north towards the Susquehanna – and falls off a cliff as you move towards the Catskills, for reasons that Brian Brock could explain.

Evidently none of our findings came as surprise in Albany. Not long after we presented our findings, Governor Cuomo put a ban on high-volume high-pressure water fracking because, by then, they knew there was not much here worth fracking.

There was no significant penalty in prohibiting an activity that had little economic upside in New York – where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.


NORTHRUP: When Canary Croaks, Jump!

When Canary

Croaks, Jump!

To the Editor:

A coal miner and his canary, from the Smithsonian.

Miners once took birds down into mines knowing that birds would keel over from methane, lack of oxygen or soot before the miners did.

When the canary croaked, out of the mine you go.

According to a recent study, birds have been dying off in unprecedented numbers in North America for that last half century. The culprit? Us.

The pesticides we use on the bugs that the birds eat (see “The Silent Spring”).

Development that wipes out habitat (see “Watership Down”). Light pollution (try to sleep next to a street light).

Cats left outdoors – the only Painted Bunting I’ve ever seen was left at our doorstep by our cat. Plate glass in modern buildings make perfect Bird Catch & Kill Panels, etc.,etc.

Now that the birds are dying, which mine shaft are we going to collectively scramble up? To which planet? The children would like to know.

Millions of them marched last week in protest of global warming. First the birds, then the children. Listen to the birds and the children. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.


NORTHRUP: Protocol Directs: Don’t Put Private Flag On Public Pole

Protocol Directs: Don’t Put

Private Flag On Public Pole

To the Editor:

I was so flummoxed over the slavery flag issue that I almost overlooked the other flags. Public flag protocol is governed by established tradition and state law, not by local plebiscites or whims.

If any flag goes up on a public flagpole, it should be the national flag, then the state flag, then a municipal flag.

A municipal flagpole is not a sign board for a cause du jour. Under no circumstances should a public flag pole be used to display the banner of a private interest group, a religion, political party or local glee club.

If you want to fly a special interest group flag in public, get your own flagpole.


NORTHRUP: Whartons Best President, First Lady We Never Had

Whartons Best President,

First Lady We Never Had

Dolores Wharton, whose book, “A Multicultured Life,” will be available on Sept. 1, and her husband, former SUNY Chancellor Clifton R. Wharton Jr. (Jim Kevlin/

To the Editor:

Your newspaper did us all a great favor with its coverage of Dolores Wharton’s autobiography, which serves as a fine complement to her husband’s book. You have helped put the Whartons in their proper historical context – they were pillars in the advancement of minority meritocracy in the United States, moreso than any ballplayer in the Hall of Fame.

Because, while Jackie Robinson proved that a black man could play in the Major Leagues, the Whartons proved minorities could rise to the top in the real-world major leagues of commerce, international relations, finance, government and the arts. And, in so doing, they paved the way for the advancement of the next generation of minority leaders – Barack Obama,
Julián Castro and Kamala Harris.

The Whartons may well be the best President and First Lady that the United States never had.


13 States Have Made ‘Green Law’ Work – Why Not New York

13 States Have Made

‘Green Law’ Work –

Why Not New York

To the Editor:

State law governs the issuance of driver’s licenses.  Since 1993, 13 states and D.C. have issued licenses to residents – i.e. some of them could be illegal aliens.

This does not give the cardholder the right to vote. In fact, it says that right on the card.

What  it does is bring them into compliance concerning requirements for car insurance, car registration, and traffic tickets, all the regulations that are pertinent to what they’re doing – driving a car.

In other states, they are called “privilege cards” and are not valid IDs for voting.

Voter registration laws are likewise handled by the states, and so-called “motor voter” laws effectively register anyone with a license – that is a valid ID for voting – to vote. If their license is not a valid ID for voting, they don’t get registered.

Not that complicated to sort out any misunderstandings.



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