“We currently have 28 feral or unsocialized kittens on-site, with more arriving daily,” said Stacie Haynes, Executive Director. “Our new ‘Feral to Friendly’ program is designed to give volunteers the opportunity to meet and help socialize these kittens, and also to lighten the load for staff as the shelter enters its busiest season.”
STOPS AT DOUBLEDAY FIELD
Against a backdrop of pure Americana – the Stars & Stripes, Doubleday Field and the Sandlot Kid – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the state’s senior senator, this afternoon pledged federal support that would go directly to local governments in the support package now being negotiated in Congress. He appeared with county board Chairman David Bliss, left, and Treasurer Allen Ruffles, who have been pleading for that kind of direct aid to municipalities (if the money goes through Albany, it can never make it here), as well as, inset left, Mayors Gary Herzig of Oneonta and Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch of Cooperstown, who detailed how their municipalities’ financials have been stricken by the coronavirus threat. He called Cooperstown “one of the hardest hit” communities due to its dependence on tourism. The senator, who makes a swing to Otsego County at least once a year, had begun the day in Buffalo and, his airplane grounded at Oneonta Airport by the weather, drove on to New York City. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
AT COOPERSTOWN VILLAGE BOARD:
Sternberg Says ‘Punitive Steps’ Required;
Trustees OK ‘Masks On Main’ Promotion
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – This morning’s special Village Board meeting, called to approve a “Cooperstown Outdoors” promotion and “Masks on Main” signage, spun off into a larger discussion of the need for masks, with Trustee Richard Sternberg calling for “punitive measures” against people not wearing masks.
“I certainly think we need to go – just like Texas happens to be going – to mandatory masks outdoors,” he said. “Sorry, I don’t like all these tourists coming here, thinking they’re on vacation from the constraints of COVID, and just walking around without masks just like they own the place.”
While Sternberg didn’t carry the day, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said she will fast-track the placement of a banner across Main Street (between Key Bank and Sal’s) that encourages mask-wearing. (It has already arrived, but was waiting for the “Congratulations CCS Class of 2020” to be taken down.)
Teacher Pretended To Be Teen Boy
COOPERSTOWN – Former Cooperstown gym teacher Justin Hobbie, 42, has been sentenced to 200 months in prison for posing as a teen boy on social media to persuade three teenage girls to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves, according to a release from United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“While working as a teacher, Justin Hobbie preyed on teenage girls he met online by pretending to be a teenage boy and pressuring victims to make and send him sexually explicit video,” said Jaquith. “Hobbie has now been held accountable for egregiously exploiting those children over a three-year period.”
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN –Enough with “11th hour resolutions,” Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch is concluding.
At issue at hand is a resolution, passed unanimously by the Village Board Monday, June 22, asking the state Education Department to consider removing the word “Indians” from the Historic Marker at Council Rock, and perhaps the one at the Indian Mound marker, too.
As the trustees’ meeting was coming to an end, Trustee MacGuire Benton had jumped in to say a constituent had told him using the word “Indians” is “insensitive.”
Trustee Richard Sternberg quickly recast Benton’s remarks in resolution form, which within minutes was put to a vote asking the state Education Department to change the language.
This Monday, the 29th, Sternberg issued an apology. “After discussions with people much more knowledgeable than I about tribal histories and affairs,” he stated in a press release, “I realized that my wording was poor and that I didn’t even state well what my true intention was.
“I have requested that the other trustees delay implementing it until I can withdraw and replace it,” he wrote.
How might that be avoided in the future?
“I don’t want to hamper anybody in any way,” said Mayor Tillapaugh. “But there has to be more research and nuanced phrasing. There is recognition, all around, that there was not.”
She continued: “Subsequently, I’ve heard that Kevin Gover, a citizen of the Pawnee Nation and director of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, has no problem with the word ‘Indian’.”
Some do object to “Native American,” she said, and they point out their ancestors were on this continent long before Amerigo Vespucci was born.
“They believe they are members of their tribes first,” she added.
Going forward, the mayor said she is going to ask trustees to submit prospective resolutions to Village Administrator Teri Barown by the Friday before each meeting. It can then be included in the packet of information trustees review over the weekend in advance of their monthly meeting.
She is also referring the “Indians” matter to the village’s Parks Board, chaired by Trustee Jeanne Dewey, to come to an understanding of what sensitivities, if any, surround the word “Indians” and whether any further action is warranted.
For his part, Benton, the trustee who started the whole thing, said he supports Sternberg’s decision to withdraw the motion.
Still, he echoed the resolution: “I see the village reaching out to tribal leaders in Upstate New York and the state Education Department to update the signage as they see fit.”
He also envisions a telephone number alongside the Historic Markers that people could “essentially, dial one for a full history, instead of a couple of sentences.”
He further suggested, “I do hope the signage about General Clinton is changed to reflect history more accurately and to honor native history. General Clinton led an ethnic cleansing campaign, and I don’t think the sign accurately reflects it.”
In our nation and county, we have a moment of opportunity.
George Floyd’s death – and, in particular, the graphic video, 8 minutes and 46 seconds of it – caused every American of good will, black, white, Hispanic, even, yes, Indians, to say, enough is enough.
The mechanisms of reform are starting to turn on the question of the moment: How do we retool our police departments so it, finally, once and for all, won’t happen again? How do we retreat from the militarization of local, state and national law enforcement set in motion on Sept. 11, 2001, after terrorists brought the Twin Towers to the ground before every American’s very eyes?
At the state level, Governor Cuomo has ordered every local government with one of the state’s
500 police forces to review records for the past 10 years and “reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs” – BY APRIL 1! This is what’s called, not a wish, not a study, not a forum, but an action plan.
Subjects to be studied include use of force, crowd management, community policing, addressing “implicit bias,” de-escalation training, community-based outreach, citizen-complaint
procedures, and more.
County Rep. Dan Wilber, who chairs the Public Safety & Legislative Affairs Committee, Oneonta Common Council, at Mayor Herzig’s initiative, and the Cooperstown Village Board are already moving to meet the governor’s deadline.
Potentially, this will be George Floyd’s legacy. Let’s not threaten it.
It isn’t guaranteed.
The biggest threat to accomplishing Cuomo’s mandate and George Floyd’s legacy – at base, to create a more perfect union – is extremism and its silly stepchild, overreach.
Extremism? How about Black Lives Matter’s Hawk Newsome, who said the other day: “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down the system and replace it.” That’s
going to work out well.
Silly overreach? Last week’s action by the Cooperstown Village Board to remove the word “Indian”
from Historic Markers qualifies – and, presumably, eventually from such icons as the “Indian Hunter” in Lakefront Park.
It turns out, though, the word “Indian” is unobjectionable, even preferred, by many Indians themselves, local experts tell us. Some Indians specifically reject the alternative “Native Americans,” noting their ancestors crossed the Bering Strait – “Beringia” – from Asia 15,000 years before Amerigo Vespucci was born in 1454.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball.
The point is, there are “sensitive” experts out there – as compared to the “insensitive” rest of us, as characterized by Trustee MacGuire Benton – who would be contemptuous of the Village Board’s initiative, first raised by Benton and turned into a resolution by Trustee Richard Sternberg.
Thankfully, after knowledgeable instruction, Sternberg said he intends to at least revise his resolution to allow a period of study before approaching the state Education Department and asking for our local monuments to be defaced.
Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch now says that resolutions, like this one, shouldn’t be sprung on the Village Board at the 11th hour of a late-night meeting, as this one was. She’s considering asking that resolution be included in the packet trustees receive on the Friday before their Monday meetings, so they aren’t ambushed.
Look, folks, all of us have undergone severe personal challenges, going on four months now.
Some of us, or family and friends, have been stricken by coronavirus. Many of us have seen our livelihoods challenged. Most of us have been confined, for better or for worse. And all of us have been inconvenienced.
Then, just as things appeared to be improving – maybe, it turns out, in New York State; but in much of the rest of the nation, no – a match was thrown into a bucket of gasoline in Minneapolis, dramatizing a grievous flaw in OUR American society that can no longer go unaddressed.
In both crises – the pandemic and the protests – there has been extremism and overreach, and
they are eroding the consensus that will allow us to get anything out of this mess.
Again, let’s stay focused.
As we enter the Fourth of July weekend, let’s vow to stick to the business of being can-do Americans,
and get both crises behind us, to affirm our American system, that we don’t burn books, and
can read what we want. That we don’t deface monuments over ideology. That we remove statues by due process, not mob rule.
That we can burn flags if we want to – even our revered Stars & Stripes.
Except for very narrow exceptions – shouting fire in a crowded theater – we can say and write what we want. If we can stand the scolds, we can use whatever words we want. And certainly, we can think what we wish, as long as we don’t act on our felonious ruminations.
Let’s treasure these Constitutional guarantees. They’re called freedoms. And looking at most of the world, they’re American freedoms. Let’s cherish them. Let’s learn to appreciate them by practicing them – this Independence Day and going forward.
LETTER from JAMES “CHIP” NORTHRUP
To the Editor:
My distant relative and friend, the late Jim Northrup, was a Native American, decorated Vietnam Marine vet, and very humorous author.
My real name is James so Jim and I used to joke about how all the “Jim Northrups are strong, handsome and above average.”
He’s gone now, but on his behalf, as his paleface relative, I’d like to suggest that when it comes to naming locations, sports teams and other things – ask a Native American.
If they’re OK with it, go ahead. If they’re not, rethink it.
Native Americans, including Jim and his brother, are disproportionately represented in the Armed Forces. They often struggle with health issues, but in my experience, they’re pretty much immune to bone spurs.
If something is going to be named for them, give them a say in it. All the Jim Northrups think it’s the right thing to do.
JAMES “CHIP” NORTHRUP
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – These days, even art plays it safe in the face of COVID-19.
To enforce mask wearing when The Fenimore Art Museum opens on Friday, July 3, Assistant Curator James Matson Photoshopped masks over several pieces from the museum’s collection, including “Laura Hall” (1808) by James Brown, and “Picking Flowers” (1840) by Samuel Miller.
“We took the artwork and utilized it for our signage,” said Todd Kenyon, communications director.
Following the announcement of the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday, June 28, The Farmers’ Museum, Fenimore Art Museum and Hyde Hall announced they would start their seasons: Hyde Hall on Wednesday, July 1; The Farmers’ and Fenimore on Friday, July 3.
“It’s been a long winter,” said Kenyon. “Everyone wants to come back, but they want to do it safely.”
Though the Fenimore postponed headlining exhibits “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision,” “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams”, and “The World of Jan Brett” until 2020, the museum has lowered its prices to $10 for adults. “We’re hoping reduced pricing balances it out,” said Kenyon.
In the Clark Gallery, “Prismatic Beauty: American People and American Art” is on display, and
“Blue Gardens: Photographs by Gross and Daley” and
“Elegant Line/Powerful Shape: Elements of Native American Art” are also opening. Though tickets can be purchased at the door, the museum is limited to 150 visitors at a time, with strict limitations on how many can be in each gallery. “In the Clark and Thaw galleries, there can be 30 people at a time,” said Kenyon. “But smaller galleries, like the Cooper Room, have a maximum of six people.”
There is also one-way signage throughout the museum.
At The Farmers’ Museum, the entirety of the Historic Village has been closed, with only the main barn and the children’s barnyard open. “We will have interpreters in front of the Blacksmith’s shop, Pharmacy, Bump Tavern and Lippitt Homestead,” he said. “You just can’t go inside.”
With these limitations, Kenyon said, prices have been reduced to $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6-12, and under 6 free. “Even without these buildings open, we have a beautiful setting for people to come in,” he said.
Additionally, some virtual programming, including performances from the Glimmerglobe Theatre, will continue throughout the summer on the museums’ website and Facebook page.
At Hyde Hall, Executive Director Jonathan Maney used the closure to finish a series of renovations to the house, including restoring the maple stair hall in the West Wing, replacing the plaster in the third-floor billiards room, slipcovers for the high-back sofas and the ongoing restoration of the water closet, the first flush toilet west of the Hudson.
“Hyde Hall has more to offer than ever before,” said Maney. “Explore history with us and see fascinating things that you cannot find anywhere else. We are excited to share this beautiful New York treasure!”
Tickets are available by reservation only, with a maximum of six guests per tour, and masks must be worn throughout the tour.
“This is what we do,” said Kenyon. “But we want to do it safely.”
LETTER from SAMANTHA DAVENPORT
To the Editor:
I am a reader of www.AllOTSEGO.com as well as its weekly newsprint companion. Twice now I have seen reference made to the Baseball Hall of Fame as “Mecca” and/or “the Mecca.”
Although I too place great value on the HoF and acknowledge it might be very old tradition to use the word, I think calling it “Mecca” is, frankly, tone-deaf.
I am sorry to be so blunt. For many, including some of our fine Bassett physicians, this would be the same as saying the Hall was just like the Vatican or the Church of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. For many others, again including some of our fine Bassett physicians, that term brings to mind Howard University specifically.
I know we in and around your readership value our community, both near and far. I know we wish to be as welcoming as possible and assume your staff and sponsors feel likewise.
Therefore I kindly ask you to consider using other terms of great praise for our fine local institution.
Thanking you in advance,
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
For the second time in history, the Baseball Hall of Fame had an opening day.
“It’s only the second opener, after the day we first opened,” said Tim Mead, Hall of Fame president. “It puts it in perspective.”
On Friday, June 26, nearly 81 years to the day of the first June 12, 1939 opening, Oneonta’s Steve Pindar, visitor services director, opened the glass door at 25 Main St. and called out, “we’re open.”
It had been closed since March 15, the weekend Governor Cuomo declared a “state of emergency” to combat COVID-19.
“On Friday, we had 150 visitors,” said Mead in a Monday, June 29 interview. “On Saturday, we had 250, and by Sunday, we had 340 guests.”
The Hall was allowed to open under Phase Four of NY Forward with strict guidelines about social distancing, maximum capacity and masks. “Four weeks ago, we began putting together our reopening plan,” Mead said. “Based on the two weeks between Phase One and Phase Two, we projected that we could open by the end of June.”
He worked with the American Association of Museums, Rock & Roll Hall President Greg Harris, formerly of Cooperstown, and Paul D’Ambrosio, Fenimore and Farmers’ museum president/CEO, to design the Hall’s reopening plan.
“We wanted to see what others had done,” he said. “Being a museum, we have basic standards we need to follow, but there’s a uniqueness to how we have to clean.”
The Hall is able to operate at 25 percent of capacity – maximum capacity is 12,000 visitors a day. To maintain a manageable flow, the Hall is using timed ticketing, purchased online, which allows 25 visitors every half-hour.
But enforcing the protocols gave the Hall a chance to be creative. Take the signage. “Yogi Wore a Mask: Be Like Yogi” reads one sign, and the protocols, including social distancing, not entering if sick and frequent hand sanitizing at one of the 25 stations throughout the Hall – are called the “Starting Nine.”
“Wherever possible, when we did signage, we tried to do it in a baseball way,” said Jon Shestakofsky, vice president/communications. “Let’s have a little fun.”
The Hall redesigned the flow of traffic to move one way, and in smaller spaces, such as the art gallery, put up ropes to help keep visitors on the path.
To keep touch-screen exhibits sanitary, Shestakofsky demonstrated a rubber-tipped stylus, which are handed out to every visitor. With it, “you can still push the buttons, make your own baseball card, and see the Holy Grails,” he said. “We wanted all our exhibit spaces to be fully functional.”
And although the Grandstand and Bullpen theaters are closed, visitors can watch the “Generations of the Game” film through the Baseball Hall of Fame app.
Prior to the closure, the Locker Room exhibit had been relocated to the third-floor gallery. “It gives it more of a locker room feel,” said Shestakofsky.
During their closure, the Hall offered a robust slate of digital programming, including talks, trivia and virtual field trips, which Mead says they intend to continue.
“We challenged ourselves,” said Mead. “We didn’t want to look at short-term solutions, we wanted to look at long-term possibilities.”
The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta
July 2-3, 2020
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
200 YEARS AGO
Important to Tanners – The patent right for preparing, using and vending chestnut wood for the purpose of tanning and dyeing in the New England states, is vested in the Springfield Manufacturing Company, who will soon have in operation machinery and apparatus for preparing the wood fit for use, and will deliver it to purchasers in large or small quantities, at any place within the above limits, for a sum that will not exceed two-thirds of the amount of the price of the equivalent of oak bark, on a credit of one year. The proprietors have no hesitation in saying that the above material, for the purpose of tanning, is in every respect superior to oak bark. The leather tanned with it is of a better quality, being firmer, less porous, and at the same time more pliable. It is also very neat and convenient in the application. Letters relative to the above, addressed to Benj. Jenks, Agent, at Springfield, Massachusetts, will be promptly attended to. (Ed. Note: This marks the beginning of the end for America’s chestnut trees which, though once numerous as the oaks, had virtually disappeared by the early 20th century. In replacing the oak tree as the preferred source, the chestnut may have saved the oaks from a similar demise.)
July 3, 1820
175 YEARS AGO
(Selected) List of Letters remaining in the Post Office at Cooperstown, June 30, 1845: Miss Polly Ball, Henry Brown. Amos Bissell, Henry Chadwick, Miss Jane Crippen, Marcus Dutcher, Miss Hannah Edwards, Estate of Herman Lord, George Fern, Heirs of Lieut. L. Loomis, Swift’s Continental Regt. Army of Revolution, Miss Mary M. Hicks, Erastus Horth, Joseph Husbands, E. B. Hubbell, Theron Ives, R.S. Johnson, Alver Kenyon, Anna Lum, A.V. and S.S. Moore, Van Booskirk Morris, Mrs. Elizabeth Quackenbush, R.E. Robinson, William Smith, Samuel Tabor, Mark Tomlinson, Walter S. Tunnicliff, Miss Eliza Ann Walker, David Waterman, George H. Webb, Miss Jane Wilcox, Simon Wolf, John Yale.
June 30, 1845
150 YEARS AGO
The Fourth (of July) was one of the most delightful days of the whole year so far as the weather was concerned. There was no celebration of the day at this place, and the “boys” had all the noise to themselves. If they had not commenced quite so early, their powder and crackers would have held out longer. After about ten o’clock “firing ceased all along the line,” and during the rest of the day only an occasional “pop” was heard in our unusually quiet streets. The Lake was the resort of a great many parties and individuals, and the “Mary Boden” had a paying day. In one little circle, at least, the day was duly “observed” after the good old fashion, the orator and poet being the great grandson of a soldier of the Revolution; patriotic songs were sung and toasts were given under the shadow of the stars and stripes, and the usual salutes were fired. In the evening enough fireworks were set off by different families about the village to have made quite an attractive display had they been concentrated.
July 7, 1870
125 YEARS AGO
Local – One of the handsomest horses which we have seen on this corporation in a long time is a five-year-old dark bay gelding whose sire was a famous Kentucky horse called “Banker.” He has the gait of a fast traveler and the action of old “Snip,” the finest horse ever owned in this county. He belongs to Mr. Barclay, the brother and present visitor of Mrs. Constable.
The Journal for this week is issued on “The Glorious Fourth” and it will be rather a quiet day in Cooperstown. In the afternoon there will be a baseball game played on the grounds of the C.A.A. at 2:30 o’clock between the home team and one from New York.
July 4, 1895
75 YEARS AGO
Sunday, when the mercury soared to 97 degrees Fahrenheit, hundreds sought relief in the cooling waters of Otsego Lake. The temperature equaled the former ideal record that stood until it was broken on August 4, 1944, with a reading of 93. Monday, the weather completely changed and became raw, wet and so cold that everyone around the lake had to jump in the water to get warm.
July 4, 1945
50 YEARS AGO
Boyd Bissell, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Bissell, Jr. of Cooperstown, and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s Hotel Management School, knocked about on ocean liners for two years before coming home. Finding opportunities limited here, he headed for Paris, France where he landed a job cooking for an American family. After many “digestive” complaints he was “sacked.” He then applied to a cooks’ employment agency in Paris and two days later was told to present himself to LePre Catelan, a swanky restaurant in the Bois de Boulogne. To his surprise, he was hired and given a room to sleep in since he had none elsewhere. Recently he was introduced to Oliver, the renowned chef of LeGrand Vefour where he will work in an underground kitchen beneath the sidewalk of an arcade in the Palais Royal.
July 1, 1970
25 YEARS AGO
Gallery 53, having been under the charge of Interim Director Susan Friedlander since April, will officially welcome back Beth A. Bohling, a former Arts Administrator at Gallery 53, as the new Director on July 10. Bohling has recently been Director of the Pyramid Arts Center in Rochester. “While I was in Rochester, I missed the small town community. Living in a rural area is more for me than living in an urban area. I missed the camaraderie of Cooperstown, and I missed the hills.
July 2, 1995
10 YEARS AGO
It was a 35-day sprint, and Price Chopper crossed the finish line Tuesday, June 6, opening its new Cooperstown supermarket in time for the Fourth of July weekend. “It was an incredibly quick turnabout,” said Mona Golub, vice-president for public relations and consumer services. “To build a store from scratch takes nine months to a year,” she said. Interest was high in this super-market-starved community as 150 people gathered in the parking lot awaiting the 8:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting and opening.
July 1, 2010