Marketing efforts switching to recreational activities, including hiking, lake sports
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
In response to the COVID crisis, many people have been seeking fun activities that can also be done safely with social distancing. Outdoor activities seems to be the natural solution and Otsego County has
plenty of outdoor activities to do for those inclined.
Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing, is well versed in outdoor activities for Otsego County. She goes kayaking and said Gilbert Lake State Park is “one of my favorite places to go
hiking.” She said she also plans on going skydiving with Just Jump at the Westville Airport.
So, when she was approached by people looking for things to do in Otsego County that are socially distanced and outdoors, she had the answer.
“During the pandemic, one of the trends people were seeking to do was outdoor activities,” Harrington said, explaining that Otsego County “has a ton of natural resources.”
Destination Marketing started an initiative called Cooperstown Naturally, which aims to introduce those in need of outdoor activities to the plethora of options that exist near Cooperstown and in Otsego County.
Some of these activities include biking, hiking, boating, camping, fishing and more.
Otsego 2000 will receive a $12,500 grant from the Preservation League of New York for their Preserve New York grant in order to fund a Culture Resource Survey in the City of Oneonta.
This survey will be used to help maintain and determine which historic buildings in Oneonta can be renovated.
“Oneonta’s neighborhoods encompass a wonderful range of historic and architectural styles from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, the heyday of railroads,” Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, said in a media release. “We are so grateful to the Preservation League of New York State for their support which will fund this important step toward documenting and preserving these neighborhoods and enabling homeowners to take advantage of the NYS Homeowner Historic Tax Credit program.”
Oneonta, which was settled in the 18th century, has many historical buildings within its boundaries.
The worst pandemic in a century has impacted the daily lives of everybody including farmers markets, which are a staple of the community in Otsego County.
However, some farmers markets, such as the Cooperstown Farmers Market and Richfield Spring Farmers Market, have turned that misfortune into an advantage by implementing new ways of doing business, market officials said.
With increased interest in customers buying local, farmers markets and their vendors have put in place safety regulations and have adapted to the new reality of social distancing by abiding to USDA regulations during the age of COVID.
In order to limit exposure, the Cooperstown Farmers Market, which is operated by Otsego 2000, has established a curbside pickup where customers can order food on their website between 5 p.m. Mondays and 2 p.m. Wednesdays and pick up the order on Saturdays.
Product offerings will be updated every Monday on the website.
At the Cooperstown Farmer’s Market, Sherrie Kingsley, Otsego 2000 Executive Director Ellen Pope and Deb Dalton wear protective masks as they fill 40 orders for curbside pick-ups. “People order online and we follow the list going from vendor to vendor,” explained board member Robert Nelson, who was at the door making sure customers washed their hands before entering. “The vendors have been really prepared and organized, numbering the bags and making sure everything is organized. With this many orders, we kept this many people out of the market and kept that many safe. We hope this is successful.” Signs ask patrons to adhere to 6-foot social distancing and not to touch any of the produce; the sellers bag it themselves. At right, Seth Friedman, Greentopia Farm, Davenport, was offering some of his own masks (which he uses for harvesting mushrooms) to customers. “When you pick mushrooms you have to wear gloves and masks because you don’t want to be exposed too much to their spores,” he said. “So these safety measures are normal for me.” The markets, in Pioneer Alley, is open until 2 p.m. today (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – This year, Glimmerglass Film Days wants to make sure that they’re reaching the next generation of filmmakers.
“We have a brand-new program at the high school for young students interested in filmmaking,” said curator Peggy Parsons. “Directors Bill Morrison and Aube Giroux will spend the whole afternoon answering questions about their careers in filmmaking.”
“Joanne Gardner has been a volunteer with Film Days and she’s always wanted to get kids involved,” said Ellen Pope, Otsego 2000 executive director.
Giroux, who lives in Fly Creek, made her Film Days debut last year with her documentary “Modified,” and will be part of a screening of her “Kitchen Vignettes” series, while Morrison will once again be showing one of his films, “The Unchanging Sea,” – a version of D.W. Griffith’s 1910 short film reconstructed from the original damaged nitrate stock – each as part of the seventh annual Glimmerglass Film Days, Thursday-Monday, Nov. 7-11. This year’s theme is “Adaptation.”
And the students themselves will have a chance to show off their work as the Cooperstown Cinema Collective screens “Utica: A Town That Loves Refugees,” their award-winning short film, during the popular “Shorts + Cake” series on Monday.
The short won a gold medal in the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy “Speak Truth to Power” Video Contest and Best Documentary award in the 2018 Rod Serling Film Festival for student films.
The talk, which will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, in the CCS auditorium, will also include a screening of the film and is open to all students.
David MacDougall, brother of Village Historian Hugh MacDougall, will also make his Glimmerglass Film Days debut with “Under the Palace Wall” on Monday, Nov. 11.
With 22 feature-length films and 15 shorts, this year’s Film Days is the largest ever hosted. “It keeps growing in spite of us!” said Pope.
Because the festival goes over Veterans Day, two of the films were selected to tell the stories of the men who fought. “We’re showing Peter Jackson’s ‘And They Shall Not Grow Old’ at 1 p.m. Veterans’ Day,” said Parsons. “He took documentary footage of soldiers during World War I, added sound and colorized it. It’s very powerful, and it allows an audience to see footage that they would have never seen.”
The second film “The Atomic Soldiers,” will be shown right after, as part of “Shorts + Cake,” and tells the story of the soldiers who witnessed the atomic testing in the 1950s and were then sworn to secrecy about what they had seen. “Some of them survived it,” said Parsons. “And they are still around.”
But it’s not just straight documentaries. “We have a lot of what I like to call ‘creative non-fiction,’” said Parsons.
As our phone conversation Friday made clear that the inflammatory editorial in last week’s paper regarding Otsego 2000 was published to stir up controversy and generate sales, we respectfully decline to respond in these pages.
If anyone would like to learn more about what Otsego 2000 stands for, please visit www.otsego2000.org, follow us on Facebook, or give us a call at 547-8881.
COOPERSTOWN – For Ellen Pope, Otsego 2000 executive director, The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market isn’t just a place to pick up some fresh produce for dinner. It’s a piece of the community.
“Having it here has added to our quality of life,” she said. “It gives people a reason to come downtown on the weekends.”
The Farmers’ Market is one of six businesses that will be inducted into the 2019 class of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce’s Business Hall of Fame at a March 28 ceremony at Brewery Ommegang.
The market was founded in 1991, with a handful of farmers renting stalls. “Farmers were facing a declining landscape, and this was a way of connecting them directly with their customers,”
If We Want Solar Energy,
Let’s Get Serious About It
If we care about solar energy, it’s time to get serious about it, don’cha think?
Happily, Otsego 2000 may be doing just that, having taken a leadership role among local environmental groups on this matter. On Feb. 24, its board adopted a resolution that reads, in part:
“Climate change, driven in large party by fossil-fuel use, is a significant threat to our region and way of life.
“We call for and support energy conservation and efficiency to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the necessity or expanded fossil-fuel infrastructure and delivery systems.
“In addition, we call for and support smart development for renewable energy sources to meet the goals adopted by New York State for greenhouse-gas reductions.”
Caveat (conservation first), then support.
The resolution continues in the same vein. It supports rooftop solar panels. And solar farms, but again with caveats: Put them on “previously disturbed areas,” protect farmland, “protect historic, cultural and scenic resources,” maintain conserved lands. This is fine, and clearly in synch with Otsego 2000’s overarching mission – to protect, not develop.
But if, in fact, we want solar energy around here, a more affirmative strategy is necessary.
The most significant solar project proposed so far in Otsego County – thousands of panels on 50 acres north of Morris – is on hold, according to Chet Feldman, spokesman for Distributed Solar, Washington D.C. As he explained it, a PSC ruling last year on economical proximity to power lines, and federal tariffs made the project “not conducive,” at least for the time being.
Promisingly, Feldman said “We’re always looking forward to doing business in New York.” So it, or another project, may still happen.
So far though, solar power locally is limited to boutique uses: People who can afford it equipping their homes with panels. Otherwise, the Solar City installation near Laurens, by county government for county government, is the only functioning solar farm in the county. (Thank you, county Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, now retired, for pioneering it.)
If Otsego 2000, Sustainable Otsego, OCCA and other environmentally focused entities – goodness, even the Clark Foundation – really wants solar power widely used here, they need to say so and go after it, without the caveats.
If it chose to be, muscular Otsego 2000 certainly has the clout to get it done.
Meanwhile, Otsego 2000’s executive director, the able Ellen Pope, has taken the new policy seriously, attending a forum March 27 organized by Scenic Hudson, and – she reports – well attended by municipal officials from around the state.
It’s complicated. Large installations – 25 megawatts and up – fall under state Article 10 regulations for siting electric-generating facilities, signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2011. Below that, a good town plan can guide where things happen, or don’t.
Attendees were advised, “plan for the town you want.” Of course, we all know that means: Keep everything the way it is. If we really care about global warming, about renewables, about humankind’s survival, that probably won’t fill the bill.
The Otsego 2000 policy dwells on what needs to be protected. But let’s turn it around. Let’s identify appropriate sites – sure, brownfields (Shur-Katch in Richfield Springs, maybe), former landfills, acreage shielded from public view – those black panels are ugly – and so on.
It might make sense to rule solar farms out, period, in the extra-protected Otsego Lake watershed. It makes sense to extra-protect a national environmental icon. But that leaves plenty of space elsewhere in Otsego County.
The Morris installation, tucked in the beauteous Butternut Creek Valley, would have been an eyesore, and perhaps polluted the creek, too. The county’s Solar City site is in a former gravel pit – ideal.
If Otsego 2000 could identify ideal spots for solar farms – a half dozen, a dozen, even more – and put the regulations in place to enable them, it would be doing our 60,094 neighbors (as of last July 1, and dropping) a favor. When a solar developer shows up, no problemo, with enhanced tax base and jobs to follow.
Plus, an itty bit, we might even help save Planet Earth.