News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Davenport News

ZAGATA: Rising to the Fly


Rising To The Fly

By MICHAEL ZAGATA • Special to

Fishermen understand why the brook trout they catch are often smaller than the brown trout they catch. It’s because the brown trout are more discerning about “rising to the fly” and thus falling victim to the fishermen’s net, while brook trout are prone to rise to the first fly they see.

Mike Zagata, DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and a former environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport.

There is a lesson there for all of us with regards to how we cast our votes. It is natural to rise to the sound bites that offer promise or free stuff, even though common sense tells us it isn’t really free. Someone has to pay for it, but we tell ourselves that’s OK as long as it isn’t us. But, are we kidding ourselves?

If not us, who?

Recently I watched a news clip featuring presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren where she stated that, if elected president, she would create as much relief (public financial assistance) for as many people as possible as fast as she could. That is a very attractive “fly” and represents the approach of the other Democratic candidates as well.

Translated into financial terms, that means she would increase our taxes and/or increase the national debt without doing the things that increase our economy and allow us to pay for those social programs. We would pay for those social programs with higher taxes and more debt – and we pay annual interest on that debt.

Contrast that approach with that of our sitting President, a Republican, who believes in creating jobs via growing our economy. That means giving more people the opportunity to have a job, shed the stigma of poverty, and growing the tax base while lowering individual taxes and reducing, not growing, the national debt. The contrast is stark. To quote an old adage, “give a man a fish and feed him for a day; give him a fishing pole (job) and feed him for life.”

Like the brook trout, we are seeing many seemingly attractive flies cast upon the water by the candidates. Are we going to rise to the first one or are we going to take the time to weigh the consequences of the various alternatives using the information we have learned from life’s lessons? A case in point is the push to continue on the trend being forced on us by the Left to pursue socialism.

Those of us over 50 have seen first-hand that communism and socialism have failed the people governed under their paradigms. Today’s young people haven’t, with the exception of Venezuela, had that opportunity. To them that “fly” appears attractive.

As fly fishermen know, presentation is everything! Then it’s just a matter of setting the hook and landing the “fish.”

As an example, let’s talk about free college tuition. It looks very attractive to someone about to enter college even though tuition, itself, only represents part of the cost.

Historically, a student entered college, got a part-time job and took out a student loan. After graduating, that student got a job and part of their income was used to pay back that loan. Once it was fully paid, normally within five years, he or she could take the monthly amount that formerly went to pay down the loan and use it for something else – it became a windfall.

Contrast that with the new paradigm of “free” education. That same student would go to college and maybe get a part-time job, but wouldn’t need to take out a student loan – at least not for the tuition portion of their college education. Following graduation there would be no loan to pay off. Hurrah!

But is that person really ahead? As a result of everyone getting a “free” education subsidized by the government, the government will be faced with having to raise more money – and it does that by raising taxes.

In reality, that student will be faced with higher taxes, not for the five years it would have taken to pay off the student loan, but for life. Was it really a good deal or was it in the “presentation” without evaluation?

Janet L. Gano, 82; Lived In France, Worked At Bresee’s

IN MEMORIAM: Janet L. Gano, 82;

Lived In France, Worked At Bresee’s

Janet Gano

DAVENPORT – Janet L. Gano, 82, who except for several years in France lived most of her life in the Davenport and Oneonta area, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday morning, Dec. 21, 2019 following a long illness.

Born on July 13, 1937, in Oneonta, she was the daughter of the late Arthur F. and Velma (Eggler) Shaw.

Janet worked for the former Bresee’s Dept. Store in Oneonta and later worked as a home health aide for various clients in the greater Oneonta area.

James Weston Hanson; Worked In West, Retired To Oneonta Area

IN MEMORIAM: James Weston Hanson;

Worked In West, Retired To Oneonta Area

DAVENPORT – James (Jim) Weston Hanson went to be with his Lord on Aug. 9, 2019, at home, after a battle with cancer.

Jim was born and grew up in Orange, Calif.  He attended St. John’s Lutheran Church & School, and graduated from Orange High School.  Jim attended several community colleges and received his BS from Liberty University.

Margaret Finch, 81; Lived In Oneonta Area All Her Life

IN MEMORIAM: Margaret Finch, 81;

Lived In Oneonta Area All Her Life

DAVENPORT – Margaret R.  Finch, 81, a lifelong resident of the Oneonta area, passed away Monday, June 12, 2018, in Cooperstown.

Margaret married Joel on July 3, 1953, and in addition to raising five children, she spent over 20 years working for the Fox Hospital Food Service Department, retiring in 2010. She and Joel also resided in Florida for over 10 years.

Eric J. Merwin, 20, Davenport; Soldier Dies In Motorcycle Crash

Eric J. Merwin, 20, Davenport;

Soldier Dies In Motorcycle Crash

Eric J. Merwin

DAVENPORT – Eric James Merwin, 20, of Davenport, died suddenly May 13, 2018, as the result of a motorcycle crash in El Paso, Texas, where he was stationed in the Army at Fort Bliss.

He was born Jan. 28, 1998, in Oneonta.  Eric attended the Northern Catskills Occupational Center in Grand Gorge and was a 2016 graduate of Charlotte Valley Central School. A private, he was assigned to the 2-13 Calvary Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bliss.

Two Arrested For Making Threats Against Schools

Two Arrested For Making

Threats Against Schools


By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

FRANKLIN – A 21 year old man was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats against Franklin Central School, just days after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. left 17 dead.

Aiden M. O’Day, Otego, was arrested by State Police Sunday, Feb. 18 after he allegedly made terroristic threats against Franklin Central School. Day was arrested without incident, and the investigation determined that there was no danger to the school or public. O’Day was arraigned in the Otego Town Court and remanded to the Otego County Jail.

We cooperated with law enforcement during the investigation, and we are grateful to the New York State Police for the swift action in making the arrest,” wrote Superintendent Brad Zillox. “Please know that the district is taking any threat seriously and will not hesitate to take action as needed. We ask that everyone be extremely mindful and cautious regarding their comments and/or communications.”

IN MEMORIAM: Kiley J. and Cody E. Sullivan, Victims of Davenport Fire

Kiley and Cody Sullivan,

Victims of Davenport Fire

Kiley and Cody Sullivan

DAVENPORT – Kiley J. and Cody E. Sullivan passed away early Friday morning, Feb. 9, 2018, at their home in East Meredith, following injuries sustained in a tragic structure fire. Kiley was 3; Cody was 1.

They are survived by their parents Adrian Beares and Carmen Sullivan; brother Anthony Sullivan; niece Raelynn Sullivan; grandparents Paulette and Paul Reynolds; great-grandparents Jim and Susan Evans, Loretta  Vitalie; aunts and uncles, Steven Reynolds, Mark and Beth Reynolds and Rosa, and several other family members.

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