News of Otsego County


A.O. Fox Hospital Announces FoxCare Fitness Will Be Closing June 1

A.O. Fox Hospital
Announces FoxCare
Fitness Will Be Closing June 1

ONEONTA—A.O. Fox Hospital and Bassett Healthcare Network announced on Tuesday, February 28 that FoxCare Fitness in Oneonta will be closing permanently as of June 1.

Hospital and network leadership reached the decision following an extended period of declining membership and operational challenges, many of which are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“FoxCare Fitness, like many other gym facilities, has experienced significant business impacts as a result of the pandemic,” said Ryan Scott, manager of FoxCare Fitness. “A prolonged facility closure during the pandemic, unprecedented staffing challenges, and diminished membership have prevented us from operating at full capacity for nearly three years. Our membership base remains less than 50 percent of what it was prior to COVID-19.”

NOTEWORTHY: Community Foundation Reaches Granting Milestone
News from the Noteworthy

Community Foundation
Reaches Granting Milestone

The Oneonta Warming Station is now at the First Presbyterian Church, 296 Main Street. Guests should walk up the drive toward the back and look for pink signs for the entrance. The Warming Station opens at 5:30 p.m. each night.

In three short years, $500,000.00 in grants and awards from the Community Foundation of Otsego County have gone to Otsego County nonprofits. This major milestone was marked by a $15,000.00 award to Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties for the Oneonta Warming Station. The Community Foundation of Otsego County was founded in 2019 by a group of 15 local citizens who share a vision and believe in the potential of a community foundation. CFOC is dedicated to enriching opportunities for all residents of Otsego County.

While in the midst of the initial $2 million Founders fundraising campaign, COVID struck. CFOC rose to the immediate challenge, gathering and distributing more than $200,000.00 to county nonprofits and businesses hit with unexpected and unbudgeted costs related to the pandemic.

MALAVET: Previous Letter Was ‘Ill-Informed’
Letter from Elizabeth Malavet

Previous Letter
Was ‘Ill-Informed’

In response to Steve Broe’s letter in the February 16, 2023 edition of “The Freeman’s Journal” concerning COVID policies:

I find the letter both condescending and ill-informed. There are many people who have preexisting conditions that have nothing to do with slim waistlines and fruit consumption. I had Lyme disease 25 years ago—it left me with fibromyalgia, chronic migraines and some brain fogginess. I had to have both knees replaced this past October—yes, perhaps some of that issue was caused by weight, but some of it was also caused by the previous Lyme.

I wonder if Mr. Broe has looked at the conditions that can be caused by “long COVID”: persistent symptoms often include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath, among others. Perhaps he is willing to risk those, but I have more than enough on my plate already.

Elizabeth Malavet
Van Hornesville

Read Mr. Broe’s letter here:

BROE: Facemasks, Vaccines Are Not the Answer
Letter from Steve Broe

Facemasks, Vaccines Are Not the Answer

Dr. Richard Sternberg asks your readers if they are still masking up and getting jabbed. I, for one, am not! The doctor seldom, if ever, mentions the keys to excellent health and COVID/flu avoidance. These time-honored keys are hard work or exercise, obtaining adequate rest, maintaining a slim waistline, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and ingesting many fresh fruits and vegetables.

Donning ridiculous, respiration-depressing facemasks and taking dangerous, toxic vaccinations should be rejected by the medicos. Hopefully the “misinformation king” Dr. Fauci, along with the pharmaceutical companies, will be held accountable.

Steve Broe


Documentary and Discussion
with The Innocence Project

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INNOCENCE PROJECT—9-10 p.m. The community is invited to watch the documentary, “The Central Park 5,” about the five Black and Latino teenagers whose lives were upended when they were falsely convicted in the Central Park jogger case. Followed on February 8 by a presentation from one of the five as well as a staff member of the Innocence Project. Hunt Union Red Dragon Theater, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-3012 or visit

BLOOD DRIVE—12:30-5:30 p.m. Save up to three lives with the American Red Cross. Worcester Municipal Building, 19 Katie Lane, Worcester. Register at

VACCINE CLINIC—4-6 p.m. The Health Department will be offering the Bi-Valent COVID-19 booster vaccines. Registration required. Will be held in the EMS/Civil Service Classroom, Otsego County Meadows Complex, 140 County Highway 33W, Cooperstown. (607) 547-4230 or register at

STERNBERG: The China Syndrome

The China Syndrome

As I stated in last week’s column, it’s déjà vu all over again. Now the problem is new strains of COVID, which are beginning to take over in many countries including the United States. But more importantly is the rapid spread of multiple COVID sub-variants in China.

Initially in response to COVID, the Chinese government came up with a zero tolerance policy. Whole cities were locked down. China developed its own vaccines, called Sinovac and Sinopharm. These are attenuated viral vaccines. These are classic type of vaccines like the Sabin vaccine for polio. This is different from the mRNA vaccines that are used in the United States, Europe and much of the remaining world. They are not nearly as effective as the mRNA vaccines but reach World Health Organization qualifications to be declared effective.

STERNBERG: Déjà Vu All Over Again
Life in the Time of Covid

Déjà Vu All Over Again

It’s the end of the year and it’s time to reflect where we are regarding many issues. With this column principally about COVID or other viral illnesses, today we will limit ourselves to that. I really regret having to be the Grinch.

The title of today’s column is a very famous statement credited to the great American philosopher Lawrence Peter Berra, who is also credited with many similar statements which appear to be malapropisms until you look carefully at them. “Déjà vu all over again” is one of those statements as it applies to COVID. Things have repeated themselves more than once.

First, anyone who tells you with any certainty that they know what will happen next, has a bridge to sell you. When I look back at this year it looks pretty much the same as the end of 2021 and the end of 2020. We would like to think we are beating the disease, but we aren’t.

In Memoriam John Joseph Carney, Jr., 90 1932 – 2022
In Memoriam

John Joseph Carney, Jr., 90

1932 – 2022

John Joseph Carney, Jr.

Oneonta – John Joseph Carney, Jr. died Wednesday December 21, 2022 from complications of Covid and dementia after a brief stay at the New York State Veterans’ Home in Oxford. He was 90. 

John grew up in and still held dear Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. He had fond memories of riding the trolley to and from New York City with his parents. He attended City University of New York before enlisting in the Air Force and serving during the Korean War. The Air Force is where he first honed his teaching skills and after his service, he used the GI Bill to attend SUNY Geneseo for his bachelor’s degree. 

It was in Geneseo, working at the Dairy Bar, that he met his future wife and partner, Margaret Kane. She would become Margaret Carney in a small ceremony in Geneseo, and they would be married for more than 60 years. 

STERNBERG: Fauci Recollected as Humble, Inclusive
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Fauci Recollected
as Humble, Inclusive

Dr. Anthony Fauci retires from federal service this month, leaving the National Institute of Health where he has worked for 54 years, the last 38 as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

He has been an advisor to seven presidents. Until the COVID crisis, he was known primarily for his work on HIV/AIDS. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 by president George W. Bush, with whom he worked very closely on a global program to combat HIV/AIDS, known as PREPFAR, and The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which has saved an estimated 21 million lives (and for which, in my opinion, both should receive the Nobel Peace Prize). The senior President Bush called Dr. Fauci a hero during a 1988 presidential debate.

STERNBERG: Why I Am Masking Up Again (and it’s Not Just COVID)
Column by Richard Sternberg

Why I Am Masking Up Again
(and it’s Not Just COVID)

It would be a safe thing to say that I was one of the strongest advocates in Central New York for masking up, having vaccinations up to date—it should be two original, at least the most recent vaccine for the Omicron variants and having been boostered for last year—avoiding crowded indoor spaces, and generally keeping your distance from other people whenever possible. When I now go to the Clark Sports Center, very few people are wearing their masks. I personally felt comfortable with this policy as relates to COVID and there have been a few times when I forgot to bring a mask with me. I try to wear a mask around my neck, pulling it up over my nose and mouth when somebody is near physically, but frequently I forget to do so. That changes now, regrettably and disappointingly.

STERNBERG: Treatments of Long COVID Explored

Treatments of Long COVID Explored

By Richard Sternberg, M.D.

As we continue into the third year of the COVID pandemic, increasing interest and concern is becoming evident by the set of symptoms called Long COVID. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition, on their website, says that Long COVID (also known by other names) is the experiencing of symptoms following infection with the virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2. Their definition does not list a specific point in time of the symptoms but many people define the time frame as beyond four weeks following infection.

There are more than 200 symptoms associated with the diagnosis of Long COVID. Some of the most common are tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life, symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort, fever, and brain fog (difficulty thinking or concentrating). If I wrote out the whole list, it would take up this entire page of the paper, but if you are interested go to the CDC and NIH websites.

STERNBERG: Diligence Called for, Now More Than Ever
Column by Richard Sternberg, M. D.

Diligence Called for,
Now More Than Ever

Again, just when it seemed we reached the point where we can go out with people and decrease our use of masks, COVID strikes back and possibly with more virulence than previous strains. The number of new strains to consider is large. New strains include BA.5.2.6, BA.4.1.9, BE.1.2, BA.4.7, BF.13 and XBB, among others. Already BA.5 and BA.4 strains have high penetrance in the U.S. The new and improved booster shots only use RNA to code for the original strains, BA.1 and BA.2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others warn that this year the winter viral season will be worse than usual because we have to deal with flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). A side effect of the lockdowns and protective behavior over the last two years has been decreased contact between people so that influenza, rhinovirus (common cold), and other circulating viral illnesses have decreased, off-setting some of the increased mortality due to COVID. RSV is primarily a disease of children which makes it difficult for them to breathe and doesn’t have a vaccine yet. There are approximately 300 deaths in children in the U.S. each year from it.

Column by Richard Sternberg

COVID’S Silver Lining

Sometimes, out of the worst experiences something good happens. At the end of my column on MASH last week, I mentioned that I have learned about creating family where you found it. Amazingly, because of COVID, I found my family that I wasn’t even aware of for the past 45 years.

At the very beginning of the COVID epidemic in March 2020, a friend of mine from college who lived on the same dormitory floor started groups who met on Zoom. This was for alumni of our era. She knew people from a few years before she started and other for a few years after she graduated. She put together a group of graduates from 1968 through 1982 and then divided them into three groups. My group, classes of 1974 through 1978, decided to meet monthly. We turned out to be the most active of the three groups. This kept up for the last 30 months. Over time, as we brought each other up to speed on what had happened in our lives, more than one of us came to the conclusion that indeed we were a family, sometimes dysfunctional, sometimes at odds with each other, but isn’t that what a family is about anyway? You could actually feel and hear the love between people, many of whom had no contact with each other for 45 to 50 years.

STERNBERG: Mr. President, COVID Is NOT Over
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Mr. President, COVID Is NOT Over

I like Joe Biden. By that I mean I like him personally. I lived in the state of Delaware, in Sussex County, the southernmost of Delaware’s three counties, between 2000 and 2008. While there are beach communities hugging its eastern Atlantic shore and a small city, Seaford, anomalously hugging its western, most land locked area, the majority of the county is rural. The area is jokingly called Lower Slower Delaware. Many of the people come from families that have been there for 350 years. Most of the land is planted in feed corn for the millions of chickens that are raised there. Perdue is headquartered just across the border in Salisbury, MD and Mountaire Farms is headquartered in Millsboro, DE. Tysons has a very large presence. What I’m trying to say is that this is an area where things are very less formal and life moves a little slower. It’s a small state so the people involved in politics tend to know each other. It’s a state that, at least when I lived there, Democrats and Republicans after the elections got on very well with each other.

Drnek: We’re All in This Together

We’re All in This Together

Mark Drnek

Grand plans and strategies. From the moment I rise ‘til I trundle off to bed, I’m generating notes, workflows, and timelines. There are people to call. Committees to fill. Problems to solve.

Plans and strategies… they’re so important. Until they’re not.

Last week, the tick-tock of my work-clock stopped. On Friday, I opted for a day away from City Hall. I wasn’t feeling well. But rest didn’t have its desired result and I grew increasingly ill as the weekend passed. On Monday, I tested positive for COVID.

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