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

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.



Question Planners Should Ask: Is It Better Than What’s There?

Question Planners Should Ask:

Is It Better Than What’s There?

To the Editor:

To implement the Village of Cooperstown Housing Committee’s recommendations, the Village might start by being a bit more receptive to the demolition of derelict buildings for new development.

Since the village can’t grow outwards, it must grow upwards via infill redevelopment.

The density of the village’s building stock has probably decreased slightly from its peak – as evidenced by archival photographs of hotels that burned and larger buildings that were torn down and replaced by lower density structures such as the CVS building on Main, the under-utilized TJ’s building, or the abandoned car dealership on Chestnut.

New construction should be compatible with the neighborhood and historic context of the village, but the determining factor should be whether the proposed redevelopment is better than what’s there now – which in many cases is junk.

Disallowing redevelopment guarantees the decline and underuse of derelict buildings, to no good end.


Texans Say, Don’t Mess With Cattle

Texans Say, Don’t

Mess With Cattle

To the Editor:
Had the local dairyman moved to Texas and knowingly allowed his cows to starve to death, he would have been charged with up to 25 felony counts, each carrying up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine per head – which adds up to 250 years in the state pen and $250,000 in fines.

About the same as for manslaughter. In New York, he gets a Class A Misdemeanor – up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine – the same as jostling someone on the subway or writing graffiti.

Helpful hint: If you do not or cannot take care of your livestock, don’t come to Texas. We may be a bunch of neolithic thugs with brains the size a persimmon, but we really get all riled up when someone is willfully unkind to livestock.


For Now, Gas Necessary, But Before Long, Goodnight Irene

For Now, Gas Necessary, But

Before Long, Goodnight Irene

To the Editor:

Have followed the local fossil fuel v. renewables debate from afar and would like to suggest that there may be more compatibility between the two that either side is willing to admit.

What the fossil-fuel junkies fail to understand is that the source of that gas is literally the bottom of the hydrocarbon barrel, the source rock. When it taps out, it’s Goodnight Irene. Wish your grandkids good luck in all their future endeavors.

Because of its environmental impacts and limited life expectancy, gas should never be used as a primary source of energy – it should be kept for peaking uses – when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.

What the renewable fans may not appreciate is that using natural gas is a viable way to generate heat or electricity to supplement renewable sources. So they are complementary and should be used and discussed as such.

We will be coming back to town soon and we’d really appreciate it if you would get this rancorous matter sorted out so that we can all get on to another rancorous debate. Won’t that be jolly ?



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