State Approves ‘Massive Vaccination Site’
In SUNY Oneonta, To Begin On Thursday
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
In a “vaccine desert,” suddenly there’s an oasis.
After weeks of lobbying and some heightened expectation, it’s here: Bassett Healthcare Network announced Tuesday afternoon, March 16, that a COVID-19 “massive vaccination site” would be opening two days later, the 18th, in SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Field House.
The clinic, staffed by 30 “clinical professionals” from Bassett and a National Guard unit, will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Registration, via www.bassett.org, began the following morning, Wednesday the 17th.
The goal is to ramp up to 1,200 vaccinations a day for three or four months, according to Brinton Muller, Bassett’s Emergency Preparedness manager, who is managing the site.
Ballpark, that could be 100,000 people in the next 100 days.
People from across the state can get vaccinated here, but most people surrounding counties – Chenango, Schoharie and, to a lesser degree, Delaware – were already only a half-hour from “massive sites” at Binghamton, Utica or Albany.
That isolation is why former state senator Jim Seward, who lobbied for the site on Bassett’s behalf, said he used the “vaccine desert” term in his conversations with the Governor’s Office.
It just makes sense that Otsego County’s population will benefit most from the new site’s convenience.
“It’s been a long haul already,” said Seward, who himself was stricken with COVID in March 2020. “It would be wonderful to close it up by the Fourth of July, like President Biden said.”
ONEONTA – The opening of the COVID-19 mass-vaccination site has been delayed a day, until Friday, but Governor Cuomo today confirmed the initiative is a go.
“We have a wide network of COVID vaccination sites and the state is moving full steam ahead opening even more,” the governor said today in announcing nine state-run sites and the 10th, at SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena, which will be operated by Bassett Healthcare Network in collaboration with the state.
“New York needs to be ready for the next increase in supply, and these sites located throughout the state will help bring residents and their families peace of mind and get us a step closer to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring a sense of normalcy,” the governor said at today’s COVID-19 briefing.
COOPERSTOWN – The state will open a vaccination center in SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena in the next few weeks, county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, announced a few minutes ago.
The Oneonta site was one of 10 Governor Cuomo announced at his press briefing this morning, and is the only new one in the Mohawk Valley region, which includes Otsego County.
ONEONTA – Within four days of his arrival, Maciej Zoltowski, the musical director designee for the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, had already made himself at home in Oneonta.
“I take a walk every morning,” he said. “I love the area already, it’s very beautiful and relaxing. I attended the wind concert at Hartwick College the first night I was here; I didn’t want to miss any opportunity to see local music and meet with people.”
Maciej, the former managing and artistic director of the Radom Chamber Orchestra in Poland, arrived in Oneonta on Thursday, March 5, a week ahead of his official debut at the CSO’s annual Cabaret Concert.
“We’re opening the concert with an overture by Johann Strauss, then three of the ‘Slavonic Dances’ by Antonin Dvorak,” he said. “Everyone knows these tunes, but they’re very challenging for the orchestra.”
The cabaret will also feature America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer winner Mandy Harvey, who will perform jazz standards, as well as her own songs. “It is music from the 30s through the 50s,” he said. “Back when songs had lyrics and a melody! I watched her appearance on America’s Got Talent and she is really something.”
The concert will also include the annual Guest Conductor Competition, where are June Sheehan, retired OHS music teacher and organist at St. James Episcopal Church, Jimmy Hamm, Soxedo general manager at SUNY Oneonta, and Michael Walling, Community Bank senior district manager & vice president, Oneonta, will vie to conduct “Stars And Stripes Forever” at the show’s conclusion.
Maciej, a native of Warsaw, studied violin as a young man, and began directing the choir at the F. Chopin Academy of Music, where he graduated in 1997 with degrees in violin, composing and conducting.
While conducting on a Hungarian TV competition, he caught the eye of judge Yuri Simonov, who invited him to attend master classes. He has conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio and was the artistic director of the Cyprus State Orchestra.
Arriving from Warsaw for two weeks in Oneonta, Maciej is staying for now at SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris’ guest house. “I plan to be here for six weeks in the spring and six weeks in the fall,” he said.
And even in a week, he has already begun to put together the 2020-21 season. On Oct. 10, the symphony will join the world in celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a concert featuring pianist Sara Daneshpour, who took third place in the 2017 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, playing his “Piano Concerto No. 1.”
In November, the CSO will present the one-act chamber opera, “Mozart and Salieri,” with singers from the Yale School of Music. “I’ve never conducted it before,” he said. “And in the second half, the audience will have a chance to compare, as we’ll play a piece by Salieri and one by Mozart.”
A Cabaret in April 2021 will close out the season and Polish-American pianist Adam Wodnicki as the special guest.
In addition to the symphony’s four concerts, he has begun planning a fifth concert, specifically geared for families. “It’s another way of extending the orchestra,” he said. “We want to do a matinee of the music of fairy tales. Right now, we’re just looking for sponsors!”
He has also begun working with the colleges to increase the turnout of students and young people at the symphony.
“One of the ideas we have is to have a competition among the music departments and the winner would get to play a concerto with the symphony,” he said. “But we don’t just want to see music majors at our concerts. Some of the people who are most interested in musical arts are the ones majoring in math, physics, not necessarily the humanities. They like going to concerts!”
And he wants to get the word out about the pre-concert talks by speaking on the campus. “The concerts are accessible, but sometimes, people need an introduction,” he said. “We take it for granted that people know who Mozart is.”
SUNY Oneonta’s newly minted eighth president, Barbara Jean Morris, top photo, leads the recessional from the Dewar Arena’s platform shortly before 1 p.m. this afternoon after a two-hour ceremony that included an invocation by Mohawk spiritual leader Thomas Porter (behind Morris), and student performances by the college’s XClusive Dance Crew; and Gota, a traditional Ghanaian dance, and Luk Luk Lumbu, a Javanese dance, accompanied by the college’s World Chorus. Next to the new president, who assumed her responsibilities on July 1, 2018, is SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, who conducted the official inauguration. In her inaugural address, Dr. Morris, who was raised in the San Diego area and was a college administrator in Colorado, recognized her mother, inset photo, whom she credited with helping her through through early challenges as a single parent of three children, who also stood and were recognized by the 1,000 attendees in the Alumni Field House. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
LECTURE – 7 p.m. Novelist, playwright (Pulitzer-Prize winning play “Disgraced”), screenwriter, actor Ayad Akhtar presents a lecture on this year’s “Common Read” – the Mills Distinguished Lecture – this evening at the Dewar Arena, Alumni Field House, SUNY Oneonta.
ARTISANS FEST – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Find beautiful items hand made by NY artisans, enjoy food, entertainment, more. Lawn, Otsego County Courthouse, 193 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9983 or visit www.cooperstownartisanfestival.info
DISTINGUISHED LECTURE – 7 – 8:30 p.m. Presenting this years Mills Distinguished Lecture, Bryan Stevenson is author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” describing the early years of Stevenson’s legal practice after founding Equal Justice Initiative to represent the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children and the injustice he and his clients encountered in our Justice system. Free, open to public. Alumni Field House, Dewar Arena, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2644191
PUBLIC SPEAKING – 5:30 p.m. Practice public speaking with the toastmasters. All welcome. The White House Building, The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-1466 or e-mail email@example.com.
GARDEN PARTY – Noon – 3 p.m. Celebrate mom with a party featuring tea, treats, and a first look at the restored carpet, curtains, walls in the dining room. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass St. Park Rd., Cooperstown. Call 607-547-5098 or visit hydehall.org
PERFORMANCE – 11 a.m. Presenting “The Lions Whiskers” a performance by the Catskill Puppet Theater. Free family friendly performance for Mother’s day weekend. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Call 607-431-2080 or visit foothillspac.org