News of Otsego County

Congressman Faso

Folks Flee Upstate USDA Exec Learns

Folks Flee Upstate,

USDA Exec Learns

Fewer Students For Hartwick College,

Jobs Available But Unfilled, Hazlett Told

U.S. Rep. John Faso welcomes attendees to today’s rural development forum at Hartwick’s Shineman Chapel. He is flanked by the guest of honor, Assistant USDA Secretary Anne Hazlett, left, and College President Margaret L. Drugovich, the host.  At right are Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky and Kinderhook Bank VP Anne Finnegan.  (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

New York has fewer people than Florida and double the state budget. That says it all, Country Club Auto’s Tom Armao, left, says. Also on today’s panel was Brooks B-B-Q’s Ryan Brooks, right.

ONEONTA – Not only did the USDA assistant secretary for Rural Development learn about Upstate declining population at her visit to Hartwick College this morning, she got a sense of the impacts.

In her opening remarks, Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich reported a 17 percent decline in high school graduates between 2009 and 2017, and some predictions of “another 4-8 percent in the next 15 years,” a challenge for Upstate liberal arts colleges.

“These are the kind of things on my mind when we think about economic development,” said Drugovich, economic development being one of the topic when Anne Hazlett, the USDA official charged with rural development, convened a two-hour forum of a dozen community leaders in Shineman Chapel.

USDA Assistant Secretary  Due At Hartwick Ag Forum

USDA Assistant Secretary 

Due At Hartwick Ag Forum

USDA Assistant Secretary Anne Hazlett

ONEONTA – The USDA assistant secretary for rural development, Anne Hazlett, will join Congressman John Faso, R-19, and a panel of local VIPs on a panel at a Rural Prosperity Forum 9-11 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) at Hartwick College’s Shineman Chapel House.

The roundtable will serve as an opportunity to discuss partnerships that have been developed to overcome challenges in rural areas and explore best practices to build and support community economic development.

The public is welcome to attend. For seating purposes, RSVP to Lisa Iannello at 607-431-4061 or

Health Providers Reassured By Faso, Stuligross Reports

Health Providers Reassured

By Faso, Stuligross Reports

But Some Questions Remain After Oneonta Visit
U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19th, right, reassured health providers and community leaders this afternoon at the Oneonta Community Health Center on lower Main Street, according to county Rep. Kay Stuligross, D-Oneonta, one of the attendees.  In particular, the group was heartened by Faso’s expression of support for two key Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, she said: Keeping young people on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, and not allowing insurers to deny benefits to applicants with pre-existing conditions.  Attendees included, from left, Otsego County Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, Dr. Carolyn Wolf-Gould, Stuligross, Dr. Ben Friedell and Dr. Chris Wolf-Gould.  The physicians provide care at the center.  Stuligross said Faso was told that the ACA – Obamacare – has reduced the center’s patients by about half the 16-18 patients it used to serve per evening session, with the insurance allowing them to be treated at Fox or Bassett.  Lately, some of those patients have returned, blocked from regular treatment by high deductibles, she said.   Faso was not asked if he would vote for a new version of the Republican Congress’ American Health Care Act (AHCA), Stuligross said, but that he reported it would be better funded than the first version.  (Ian Austin/
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