Kathy Hochul, New York’s governor-in-waiting, has made a favorable impression on Otsego County officials the past few years.
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said Hochul had visited Oneonta at least a half a dozen times.
“She has been very supportive of Oneonta’s effort to revitalize and restore our economy,” Herzig said. “I think she’s a true friend of Oneonta. I hope to get her to visit Oneonta in the near future.”
Common Councilmember Len Carson, a Republican who is running for mayor this year, also had positive things to say about Hochul, who is a Democrat.
“I’m looking forward to seeing someone representing New York state that’s from Upstate. It would be nice to see the type of leadership she’s going to bring,” Carson said. “I’m very hopeful that Upstate New York will finally have a friendly ear to our concerns, rather than NYC being the one that gets the attention.”
COOPERSTOWN — When Hanna Bergene decided to run for a village trustee position and Jim Dean
announced he would step down to make way for her, it inadvertently led to a local first: a female majority board of trustees.
Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, who was first elected in 2018, and is the second female mayor of the village, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk and trustees Bergene and Jeanne Dewey hold four of the seven votes on the local board, although with all seven members being part of the Democratic Party, there are not many political or ideological differences being debated in the village.
Instead, the four women are a majority part of Cooperstown’s expansive investments and infrastructure projects, working to shape the village for the 21st century and helping it get past the economic damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
COOPERSTOWN — Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-NY19, appeared in Otsego County on Thursday, May 28, to speak about the money the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan, which he help shepherd through Congress.
Otsego County receive about $11.5 million, he said, half of which has already been delivered, with the other half to follow within a year. Other county towns and villages will also receive money from the act.
“Its been a joy,” Delgado said. “It’s a real testament to what government can do.”
Delgado also praised the bipartisan nature of the politicians that were gathered at the press conference, including State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51st District, and State Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102nd District, and said it is how it should be in all forms of government.
“This is a big deal, people,” Delgado said. “We’re able to get real meaningful dollars to our community.”
Delgado also said that they had to make sure “we had flexibility” to get things done with “something more cooperative.”
“I call that direct democracy,” he said.
Delgado spoke on the importance of getting broadband for the county calling it a “basic necessity.”
About 250 people attended a rally Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego County Courthouse, to support the community’s Asian American and Pacific Island residents.
The “Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans” was organized and run by a group of Cooperstown Central School freshmen, including 15-year-old Cate Bohler, who said she wanted to speak up to support her friends or anyone who is being harassed.
“As a young Asian-American girl, hearing people call COVID the China virus is hurtful,” Bohler said, reading from her prepared statement about why she wanted to stage the rally. “It is more than hurtful. It is harmful. It perpetuates anti-American sentiments and racism.”
Speakers included the students, as well as local officials, including Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, Otsego Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan and Otsego County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who said he thinks he is the county’s only elected official of Asian descent. Lapin’s mom is Japanese.
“The deep-seated nature of systemic racism requires us to make continuous choices and take continuous actions to advance anti-racist ideas in the public space,” Lapin said.
The village of Cooperstown will remove a controversial solar-powered speed limit sign from Pioneer Street.
The village’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday, April 26, to remove the sign, which was in front of 100 Pioneer Street and told motorists heading south on Pioneer if they were exceeding the village’s 30-mile-per-hour speed limit.
The meeting was held in person in the village ballroom at 22 Main St.
As part of the motion, the trustees agreed to relocate the sign to the southern entryway to the village on State Route 28.
The sign has drawn complaints from dozens of current and former village residents, complaining about the aesthetics of the sign and dismissing the need to put it in a residential area. Two residents spoke against the sign Monday, leading Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh to tell the crowd of about 15 people that the trustees would fix the sign problem later in the meeting.
“The intent of the meeting tonight will be to remove the solar-powered sign … and nothing will be on Pioneer.
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.
Maybe when marijuana vendors appear at Disney World, or when the venerable theme park comes up with a Marijuana Mile theme ride, or maybe Marijuana Maelstrom.
Then, perhaps, the Village of Cooperstown – “the pinnacle” of youth baseball camps, according to Lunetta Swartout, Cooperstown Stays proprietor, (and she ought to know) – should approve pot shops, or a “recreational cannabis dispensary,” or whatever, along Main Street in Baseball’s Mecca.
Maybe then, but now the debate is more than theoretical.
Simmering, simmering for years, marijuana legalization moved to the front burner over the weekend, when Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly agreed on legislation “to legalize adult-use cannabis.” The Assembly and Senate approved the bill Tuesday, and Cuomo was expected to sign it.
Before reacting, the Village Board is waiting to see what the marijuana-legalization bill due to pass the state Legislature April 1 looks like.
But Trustee Mac Benton, who brought the issue before the trustees at their monthly meeting Monday, March 22, is determined to push for pot-selling “storefronts” in Baseball’s mecca, seeing it as an economic-development opportunity too good to ignore.
If the new law doesn’t give the village the authority to make the decision to sell or to manufacture marijuana products, Benton said he will encourage fellow trustees to urge the county Board of Representatives to allow the village to do so.
“It the decision goes to the county,” Benton said in a text, “I’ll urge my fellow trustees to sign onto a letter to the county strongly recommending that Otsego NOT opt out.”
According to Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, there are two bills now under consideration.
Those are the two concepts people in government and the tourist industry are using in discussing the news that the two youth-baseball camps, Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and All Star Village in West Oneonta, are seeking permission to open someway, somehow, in the 2021 season.
“If they can conform to the state’s requirements and do it safely, they should be allowed to open,” said Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch. Others interviewed echoed her sentiment.
Dreams Park is planning to extend its season from May to September, with fewer players, who would stay on-campus, as in the past. (Early, it was incorrectly reported that the players would stay off-campus.)
All must present negative COVID tests on arrival. Dreams Park’s local lawyer, Gar Gozigian, is looking for state Health Department guidance and permission to proceed.
All Star Village issued a more general statement, saying it would implement all health and safety measures, and concluding, “As things change we are confident restrictions will expire and we will update.”
Editor’s Note: Here are Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s remarks at a Sunday, Nov. 1, reception honoring retiring Village Administrator Teri Barown on the veranda at 22 Main.
That we are going to miss Teri Barown’s institutional knowledge, competent expertise and efficiency is a given. In my nine years as an elected official, Teri’s leadership abilities were always apparent and so very valued.
Village officials, residents and visitors have all benefited from her professional and skillful handling of village administration. She could keep the day-to-day operations of this Village flowing smoothly and, at the same time, was willing to take on new tasks, learn new skills and accept new challenges.
And she always did it calmly and impartially – though as all of us who worked with her know and at times witnessed, she never has suffered fools gladly. And as (former Mayor Jeff Katz) and I often remarked, she doesn’t necessarily have a poker face – if we headed off in what she perceived as the wrong direction – she didn’t have to say anything – we knew.
Without a doubt this year has had its trials – including a March village election delayed three times and then for the first time, a tie vote, necessitating a runoff election. But as a fine example of Teri’s competency – representatives from both parties recognized and voiced appreciation for Teri’s impartial and informed handling of the election.
I know I personally will miss her not only as a trusted and knowledgeable Village Administrator but also as a friend. And as a friend I totally understand and respect her decision to retire and enjoy, what this pandemic has highlighted – the importance of family. The Village’s loss is her children’s and grandchild-ren’s gain – Blake, Olivia and Rhyder – have won the lottery and are blessed to have a loving and in-charge grandmother caring for them.
Teri your Colleagues and Community wish you a long and joy filled retirement – filled with family, travels and many celebrations. Thank you sincerely for 15 years of dedicated service to our hometown Village.
And finally – a special gift, selected and paid for by the entire Village Board – a gift representing how very much we respect and value you – and how very much you have meant to not only each of us, but all the Village of Cooperstown itself. We are fortunate that Jim Dean made this gift possible,
So Teri – lift the drape – I will then read the info and Dedication Label.
The original image of this bird’s-eye image of Cooperstown, was drawn by hand, and printed with stone lithography, in Troy, by Lucian R. Burleigh in 1890. This is an archival, enhanced view of that original image provided by Jim’s company, New York Archival Prints, here in Cooperstown.
Here is the dedication label::
“To Cooperstown Village Clerk and Administrator Teri L. Barown, upon the occasion of your retirement. Your 15 years of outstanding service to the Village of Cooperstown as Village Clerk and Administrator, are very appreciated by our community and its elected officials.
“From the Village Board of Trustees with our best wishes. November 1, 2020.”
In the long history of Cooperstown commemorated by this 19th-century Village map, your 15-year tenure as Village Clerk and Administrator represents a standard of distinguished, diligent, and loyal public service that is an example to Village officials, employees, and community members. On behalf of all of us, thank you.
COOPERTOWN – “Affordable housing” will be the priority of Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, who is running unopposed in the Sept. 15 Village Board primary, according to questionnaires posted today by the League of Women Voters, Cooperstown chapter, on the LWV’s “Vote 411” web site.
“The village’s largest employer, Bassett Healthcare, employs 2700 people on the Cooperstown campus alone,” wrote Tillapaugh in response to the League’s questionnaire. “The majority of those employees commute from long distances. It is to Cooperstown’s advantage to increase our housing stock and population.”
In addition to the mayor, three candidates are competing for two trustee positions: MacGuire Benton and Joe Membrino, incumbents and Democrats, and Mary Margaret Robbins, Republican challenger.
ONEONTA – Though Phase One of “un-PAUSE” is limited to construction, manufacturing and curbside retail, Al Rubin, chair, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Board, wants to make sure all businesses are ready to begin the process of rebuilding the local economy.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “Now is the time for innovation and creativity. Now is not the time to be shy. We need to be sharing all these ideas.”
This afternoon, county board Chairman David Bliss announced that Otsego County businesses and industry have been included in Phase One of the state’s reopening from the COVID-19 lockdown, effective this Friday, May 15.