When one looks about and takes in the bustling commercial activity of Otsego County during the busy tourist season and anticipates the impending return of the thousands of college students who keep things humming through the “off-season,” one feels confident that Otsego County has a healthy, perhaps even vibrant, economy. And while that may be true, beneath the shiny veneer of commercial success lies a dark reality.
Otsego County, like many of its neighbors, has a poverty problem. According to statistics published by Opportunities for Otsego, Inc., a community action agency actively fighting a local “War on Poverty” since 1966, the poverty rate in Otsego County stood at 13.3 percent as of the census of 2020. Of families with a female head of household and children present, a jaw-dropping 39 percent live in poverty. And in a measurement known as the ALICE threshold, which measures households that are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, 29.2 percent of all Otsego County households live below that threshold.
As the Cooperstown Food Pantry marks 45 years of addressing food insecurity and poverty in the region, a new partnership with the Community Foundation of Otsego County will allow the organization to focus more on its core mission rather than investment management.
CFOC Executive Director Jeff Katz said the new Cooperstown Food Pantry Fund “will allow CFOC to help the Pantry with financial oversight, and also create a new way to donate through the CFOC website, including processing stock transfers, bequests, and other complex gifts.”
The Pantry program is part of CFOC’s Nonprofit Partner Investment Fund, a special service offered to 501(c)(3) organizations operating in Otsego County. The plan assists local nonprofits with investment management, accepts gifts from supporters, and monitors investment activities. With the program, CFOC can invest, account, and acknowledge gifts so a nonprofit can focus on its mission.
DE WITT – Louise “Lee” (Eaton) Potter passed away Monday, May 2, at her home in De Witt after an accidental fall. Lee was born on July 15, 1935 in Cooperstown, N.Y., to Edwin and Inez Eaton. She was 86 when she passed.
Lee graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 1952. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in 1956.
Lee was tirelessly active in her church and community, from social justice activism, to refugee aid, to driving for Meals on Wheels as an octogenarian herself, to teaching Sunday school and serving community breakfasts. She truly dedicated her life to helping others and has touched the lives of countless students throughout her lengthy career as a middle school Social Studies teacher.
The Stuff The Ambulance Food drive is back for the 5th year running at the Cooperstown Price Chopper. Beginning at 9 this morning and continuing to 5 tonight they are looking for non-perishable foods like peanut butter, pasta or toiletries for local families in need.
All food will be accepted, as well as monetary donations which are being matched by the Scriven foundation.
FUNDRAISER – 8:30 – 10 a.m. Spin to support the Cooperstown Food Pantry. Sign up online with a minimum donation of $10 to go to the pantry. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 607-547-2800 or visit www.facebook.com/clarksportscenter
Groups from around the world joined in 2012’s inaugural “Giving Tuesday” on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, encouraging people to step outside the more commerce-driven post-holiday “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” and give back to do good in their communities and in the world.
Now an annual event, “Giving Tuesday” takes place this year on November 30.
For those looking to give back right here in Otsego County, we highlight here some organizations to consider:
The Cooperstown Rotary Foundation announced the winners of two scholarships for 2021 graduates during a ceremony Tuesday, July 6, at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.
Cooperstown Central graduate Ellie Hotaling is the recipient of the Catherine Davis Black Scholarship.
William Moody, an Oneonta High School and BOCES graduate, is the recipient of the Michael Mayne scholarship.
Moody and Hotaling were acknowledged at their high schools’ commencement ceremonies and received the $1,200 scholarships at the Rotary Club’s luncheon.
The Catherine Davis Black Scholarship award was created in 2015 in memory of Catherine Black, who was a charter member and a founder of the local Rotary Club’s tax-deductible charity.
Black was the first female president of the Cooperstown Rotary Club and went on to be one of the first female district governors. Since Black had a special interest in early childhood education and music, the scholarship criteria stipulates the recipient should be planning to pursue a career in one of those areas, as well as having demonstrated the Rotary tenet of “Service Above Self” by volunteering and contributing to their community.
COOPERSTOWN – To “minimize the contact between people” – and thereby lessen the chance of exposure to Coronavirus, the Cooperstown Food Pantry board of directors, meeting last evening, have cut back its hours to two days a week.
The food pantry at 25 Church St. will now be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., only on Mondays and Wednesdays, according to board member Audrey Murray.
BENEFIT LUNCH – Noon – 2 p.m. Support Cooperstown Food Pantry at Empty Bowls Luncheon. Pick a unique bowl by a local potter to enjoy lunch of soup by local chef. Suggested donation $15. Parish Hall, Christ Church, 69 Fair St., Cooperstown. 607-547-2627 or visit cooperstownfoodpantry.org
HELICOPTER – 5:30 p.m. Army Reserve & NY Army National Guard collaborate with Cooperstown Graduate Program for military exercise featuring UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters landing at Bassett. Public is welcome to observe, tour once the aircraft are shut down. Please follow direction of military personnel to ensure a safe distance from the aircraft while it is in operation. Landing will be near Bassett Helipad, across from Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown.
FILM SOCIETY – 7 p.m. Cooperstown film society presents ‘Road To Perdition’ (2002) with special guest Rabbit Goody , textile historian/weaver, discussing her work on this & other films. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit www.facebook.com/FilmSocCoop/
BENEFIT CLASS –9 – 10 a.m. Enjoy restorative mixed style yoga class to benefit Cooperstown Food Pantry. All $10 suggested donations go to pantry. Registration requested. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 607-547-2800, ext. 129 or visit www.facebook.com/clarksportscenter
COOPERSTOWN – “From this day forward, you are a convicted felon and will be for the rest of your life.”
That was what county Judge Brian D. Burns told Antoine Bourbon-Parme, 59, as he was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge on a charge of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class U felony, for embezzling more than $18,000 from the Cooperstown Food Pantry. He was arrested last April 2.
“You took advantage of the organization’s trust and the public’s trust of that organization. Beyond that, you stole from some of the most needy and vulnerable members of our community,” said Burns.
“Literally stealing the money that would go to run a food pantry. It’s difficult to put into words your selfishness,” the judge said. ““We don’t know how far the ripples of your dishonesty will go in time.”
And Burns emphasized that the sentence did not necessarily match the deed.
HOLIDAY PARADE – 3 p.m. Celebrate the holidays on Main St. Line up at 3, parade at 4. Main St., Oneonta. Visit www.foothillspac.org
TREE FESTIVAL – 3 – 7 p.m. View Christmas Trees beautifully decorated by area individuals, businesses. Production Center, Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit www.foothillspac.org
TREE LIGHTING – 5:30 – 8 p.m. Celebrate the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Muller Plaza, Oneonta.