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News of Otsego County

covid-19 pandemic

Views Around New York: April 29, 2021

Views Around New York

COVID Impatience Can Be Dangerous

From: The Daily Gazette Editorial Board, Saratoga

The return to normalcy has started. But we’re not there yet.

And if you think we’re beyond the bad old days of seeing big spikes in cases, look no further than Saratoga Springs High School, where about two dozen students contracted the virus recently.

Officials believe the outbreak was largely the result of a teen party in Lake George the weekend of April 10.

… We’re almost there! Now is not the time to get complacent and let down our guard.

Rally Sunday To Protest Crimes Against Asians

Rally Sunday To Protest
Crimes Against Asians

In response to the rising number of hate crimes directed at Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, local teens are planing a Solidarity Rally for Sunday, May 2, according to a media release.

Otsego Solidarity Rally for Asian Americans will be held at 2 p.m. in front of the Otsego County Courthouse at 197 Main Street.

May is Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage month, according to the release.

Students involved in organizing the rally have created a window display at 149 Main Street, Cooperstown, to highlight the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The exhibit will be on view throughout the month of May.

Cate Bohler, one of the 15-year-olds, said in the release, “I want to organize this rally to see how people come together to fight against racial injustice. My biggest goal is to help people become aware, educate them about things they might not know about. The rally is a starting point for action.”

Speakers will include Otsego County Board of Supervisors Danny Lapin and Meg Kiernan and Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh.

For Sale: One Cider Mill In Fly Creek

For Sale

One Cider Mill In Fly Creek

Fly Creek’s favorite tourist attraction is seeking new owners.

The Fly Creek Cider Mill, which dates back to 1856 and has been owned by the Michaels family for two generations, closed in January. Co-owner Bill Michaels said at the time that the coronavirus pandemic had hurt sales to the point where it was no longer cost effective to remain open.

“We’ve survived floods. We’ve survived hurricanes, tropical storms, the 2002 recession, the 2009 recession,” Michaels told Iron String Press in January. “We just couldn’t survive the pandemic.”

Looking Past COVID, Glimmer Globe Plans Season

Looking Past COVID,

Glimmer Globe Plans Season

Michael and Danielle Henrici, co-founders of The Glimmer Globe Theatre, announced Saturday, April 3, that there will be live performances this summer at The Farmers’ Museum and Fenimore Art Museum.

Glimmer Globe Theatre announced it will return to staging live performances this summer at Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum.

Glimmer Globe founders Michael Henrici and Danielle Henrici and Fenimore/Farmers’ Performing Arts Manager Mike Tamburrino announced Saturday, April 3, that the company will stage outdoor theater this summer, following a year’s hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“If all the world’s a stage, for heaven sakes, let’s get back on it,” Danielle Henrici said.

The performances will include main-stage performances of “The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)” at the Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater at the Fenimore in the town of Otsego. The show will run from Wednesday, July 14, to Sunday, Aug. 22.

The play by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield was the first show performed by Glimmer Globe Theatre when it debuted a decade ago, the Henricis said.

“It means the world to us to return to this play as we return to the stage,” Danielle Henrici said.

“This is a show that appeals to everyone, even people who claim they don’t like Shakespeare,” she continued.

“It is also an incredible way to introduce children and teens to The Bard.”

WALLER: Point – Give Federal Largesse To You, Me
ISSUE & DEBATE

POINT: Give Federal
Largesse To You, Me

Editor’s Note: This is citizen Bill Waller’s recommendation in a March 29 letter to the Cooperstown Village Board on how to spend its expected share from the $1.9 trillion Biden Stimulus Plan.

BILL WALLER

Dear Mayor Tillapaugh and the Board of Trustees;

I read with interest statements relating to the benefits coming to Cooperstown from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan (ARP). According to press accounts, this could be nearly $350,000.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-2022 Village of Cooperstown Budget, I did not see any amount referencing the ARP disbursement. This is entirely understandable since the act has just passed, well after all the budget discussions held by the Board of Trustees.

As this is budget enactment time, I would like to express my opinion as to how these funds should be spent when they arrive.

…I would like to make a radical proposal: Give it back to the residents.

In this year’s proposed budget $1,779,194.00 is listed as the expected income from Village property taxes. I would urge adoption of the budget and then when the ARP funds are received, issuing a rebate check to our Village taxpayers. I would propose 10% of the taxes levied be sent back to every Village property owner as COVlD Relief. This would only cost $177,919.40.

While this may seem a radical proposal, I remind you that no one opposed the $600 and $1,400 checks mailed from the Federal Government. I feel that no matter how small an individual’s Village COVlD Relief may be, it will be well received. It would also be innovative, creative and will reward our Village residents for their endurance during the past year. And other than the massive error on the part of Otsego County Government resulting in 20% tax rebates a few years ago, when has a local municipality rewarded their residents by sending some of their money back?

ARP regulations stipulate that the funds cannot be used to reduce taxes, but they can be used to “offset the impact to households” caused by the pandemic. This would be a fair way to lessen the impact.

I know the Village Board could find many ways to spend the ARP money, giving some of it directly to residents would have a big impact.

Creative minds could even come up with a letter accompanying the relief check noting worthwhile community projects very willing to accept the resident’s donated refund if they so choose.

I hope you will consider my proposals at this opportune time as part of your budget discussions.


COUNTERPOINT: Village
Suffered Real Losses

… and this is Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s April 5 response:

Mayor Tillapaugh

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your letter of March 29 pertaining to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and your recommendations to the Village of Cooperstown on the use of the funds which we will receive.

…On March 23, Congressman Delgado held an information meeting concerning the ARP and provided more accurate funding information. He indicated the exact amount of ARP funds which the Village will receive is unclear at this time.

The U.S. Treasury will be determining the distribution of funds and will be providing that guidance to New York State, which will receive the funds for townships and Villages. The state will dispense them to the respective township which will in turn remit them to Villages. Our share will be based on our population percentage within the township.

One half of the funds will be provided this year and one half 12 months after the legislation is signed. General estimates at this time indicate we may receive approximately $120,000 within the next several months and a similar sum next year.

In budget year 2020-21, the Village of Cooperstown had an $800,000 decrease in revenues – from paid parking, sales tax, chips, and Doubleday Field rentals.

In reviewing the proposed 2021-22 VOC Budget, hopefully you realized that the Village Board did indeed fund an additional full-time police officer. We made this public safety commitment to our community, even though the funds we ultimately will receive from the ARP are only a fraction of the lost revenues due to the pandemic.

As for returning funds to taxpayers, the Village has not increased the property tax levy of $1,779,194 since 2013. Eight years of no increase in the tax levy is our support of Village property owners.

Uncle Sam, Font of Plenty, Thanks To Printing Presses

EDITORIAL

Uncle Sam, Font of Plenty,
Thanks To Printing Presses

Ain’t Uncle Sam great! At least his ability to print money.

After the year-long COVID pandemic, which cost Otsego County government $10.6 million, the federal government is sending it $11 million.

That’s $400,000 in profit, from the greatest pandemic in 100 years.

The beauty of it is county government, under the guidance of brainy Allen Ruffles, the county treasurer, had already taken steps to stem the bleeding.

The Ruffles Plan, incorporated in the 2021 county budget, borrowed $4 million at historically low interest rates, then fast-tracked road work this spring — the one area where Albany is still providing reimbursement.

When all is said and done, the county reps may be able to consider a wish list, one being an energy-efficiency upgrade at all county buildings.

The only downside is 50 percent of the money is coming this July, 50 percent next July. There’s many a slip…

Nationally, of course, the so-called American Rescue Plan cost $1.9 trillion, with no new revenue stream to pay for it.

Ain’t Uncle Sam great! He can simply print more money.

32 Million From $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Headed Our Way

32 Million From $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Headed Our Way

Biden Makes Us ‘Whole’, Ruffles Says

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Ruffles

After a year of hemorrhaging losses, the Biden Stimulus Plan will make Otsego County government “whole,” according to County Treasurer Allen Ruffles.

“That’s what I would think,” Ruffles said, after reviewing the news he was planning to deliver when the county Board of Representatives met Wednesday, April 7, for its monthly meeting. “It would make us whole.”

In all, county government, towns, villages and school board are expecting about $32 million from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID Stimulus Plan, signed into law March 11.

In January 2020, before the COVID-19 emergency, the county had put $4.8 million aside in savings. Soon, “that was gone, kaput,” he said. In the year since, the county gave up another $5.8 million in sales, occupancy and property taxes.

Total: $10.6 million. That means the so-called American Rescue Plan means the county will come out ahead by $400,000.

All Fall To Egalitarian COVID-19
The Pandemic Year • First Death On March 23, 2020

All Fall To Egalitarian COVID-19

By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

On Monday morning, March 23, 2020, Otsego County confirmed its first case of coronavirus at a Fox clinic in Oneonta. Just three days later, the county recorded the first COVID-19 death.

Now, one year later, there have been over 3,500 positive cases here; 54 county residents have died from COVID-19 and related complications. At least eight former local residents are also known to have died from the virus. The deceased ranged in age from 55 to 103, with more women than men dying of COVID.

In tribute to the lives lost, are brief profiles of the fatalities identified in public records. Other families have chosen to keep the deaths anonymous.

Diary Of The Plague Year
SUNY Oneonta Students Share Fears, Hopes

Diary Of The Plague Year

Edited By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Last March, SUNY Oneonta sent students home. Amidst massive disruption, Adjunct History Professor Ann Trainor was struck by the historic nature of the event. She encouraged her students and others to record diaries of their experiences.

Reading through these diary entries a year later feels like time travel, the experiences familiar while the perspectives seem naïve.

“I really thought we were going to come back to Oneonta at the end of March and this hysteria would be over,” student Maggie McCann wrote in mid-April. In July, looking back at her earlier entries, she commented that it “felt like it was written in a different decade, so much has happened since.”

Trainor collaborated with historians, librarians and others to create a blog-style website, “The Semester of Living Dangerously,” for the housebound campus. In the summer, with more than 100 diary entries, essays, poems and other writing shared, the organizers extended the project.

The blog continues to grow, and will be edited into an academic book to be published by SUNY Press in 2022. Below are a few excerpts from hundreds on the website.

THIS WEEK — March 11, 2021
Probe Of Cuomo Administration Must Run Its Course

FALL from GLORY

Probe Of Cuomo Administration Must Run Its Course

Editor’s Note: By covering stories other big newspapers have ignored, the New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, is regaining some of its luster. In this latest editorial on the Cuomo Administration’s latest crisis, it questions whether campaign contributions played a role in the March 25 order requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. Also, below, is a sampling of editorials on the issue.

The New York Post’s Saturday, Feb. 20, front page, reporting on a stormy press conference the day before.

Governor Cuomo is trying to rage his way through the horrific nursing-home scandal, vowing to “take on the lies and the unscrupulous actors” even as he repeats his own lies blaming the feds for his fateful March 25 mandate that homes accept COVID-contagious patients. Will the feds let him get away with it?

New Yorkers who lost family members in nursing homes were cheered by news of a federal probe into the matter. But the Biden Justice Department might buy his effort to blame the Trump administration, even though it’s transparently false.

STERNBERG: Stay Vigilant! But There’s Actually Some Good News
LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG

Stay Vigilant! But There’s

Actually Some Good News

erna
Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

This marks the 50th column I’ve written in this series.

It’s hard to believe on many levels: How long we have been restricted or locked down, that I am still doing this weekly when we figured we would need to do this for at best a few months, that there remain new things to write about (in fact, every week brings new information), that my publisher makes me pay for my own subscription.

I am very grateful to my readers who have given me useful feedback, my publisher for giving me a forum to spread this information, and to my daughter who is a real scientific editor and has helped me with advice and, at times, review of my work.

In celebration, I’ve decided to write a column with good news for a change. (This is NOT to mean that we don’t still have to be vigilant, maintain masks and social distancing, avoid crowds, etc.)

Just that there’s finally some good news to write about.

►In a study of 600,000 people in Israel, which has vaccinated a higher proportion of its population than any other country, there has been a 94-percent drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections. The vaccinated group was also 92-percent less likely to develop the severe form of the illness if present.

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