News of Otsego County

Foxcare Fitness

YMCA Director: FoxCare To Keep ‘Familiar Faces’
YMCA Director: FoxCare To Keep ‘Familiar Faces’

Community Now Must Do Its Part


The Oneonta Family YMCA is moving forward with plans to take over operation of Bassett Healthcare Network’s FoxCare Fitness Center. The Y will formally take control of the fitness center at the beginning of June, but staff members started working at FoxCare on May 15. The new operation will be called YMCA Specialty Fitness @ FoxCare. According to a release, the facility will be operated separately from the Y with its own resources and membership. Specialty Fitness will operate basic FoxCare services for a trial period while YMCA staff consider and develop new special programming.

FoxCare Fitness Space to Remain Open

FoxCare Fitness Space
to Remain Open

Bassett Healthcare Network and
Oneonta Family YMCA Reach Agreement

ONEONTA—Bassett Healthcare Network and A.O. Fox Hospital announced today that they have reached an agreement with the Oneonta Family YMCA to keep FoxCare Fitness open to the public. Effective June 6, Bassett will begin leasing the space to the Oneonta Family YMCA and the facility will remain open, operated by the YMCA.

“Over the past couple of months, many members of FoxCare Fitness and the Oneonta community have shared with me how important this facility is to them,” said Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president and chief executive officer of Bassett Healthcare Network. “I am thrilled that we are partnering with the Oneonta Family YMCA to preserve this unique facility and service to the community.”

Kreischer: Reader Shares Fitness Center Personal Story
Letter from Jane Kreischer

Reader Shares Fitness Center Personal Story

I have written once before to plead for the continuation of our lifeline in this community. Today, I would like to illustrate this great need using a very personal story I have not told before.

I joined FoxCare Fitness in 2013, like many others, seeking health and wellness. I found the perfect place to start, as it was always designed to accommodate any fitness level, any age, and any need was met by kind and caring professionals. How comfortable have we all felt there; this quiet, clean, safe environment with support of staff and so many options?

Zoltick: In Response to Dr. Sternberg
Letter from Jerel Zoltick, MD FACC

In Response to Dr. Sternberg

There is strong justification for the FoxCare Fitness center to remain open. The benefits of preventative health that include exercise have been well documented in the medical literature. We get very excited about the new cardiac technologies: aggressive coronary angioplasty, non-surgical management of abnormal structural cardiovascular conditions and arrhythmia control. These procedures are very expensive and are life preserving. However, preventative cardiovascular programs are relatively cheap and, over time, will reduce healthcare costs.

Aldridge: Reminder To Bassett: ‘Do No Harm’
Letter from Ben Aldridge

Reminder To Bassett: ‘Do No Harm’

I’m a long-time area resident and, for the past two-plus years, a FoxCare Fitness member. FF is a unique, thriving presence in area healthcare and well-being.

“Do no harm” has been a foundational concept of healthcare for 2,500 years, and I’m confident it underlies Bassett’s mission. Closing or otherwise compromising FF will clearly do harm to hundreds of people—people who, like me, are not only more healthy owing to their membership but also have realized and actualized the agency we all have in maintaining our health. Shouldn’t that also be a foundational concept of healthcare?

Gallo: Will FoxCare Fitness Be a COVID Fatality?
Letter from Diane Gallo

Will FoxCare Fitness Be a COVID Fatality?

Several months ago, I began taking weekly strength-building sessions with a FoxCare Fitness trainer. He’s so professional and so good and I saw results quickly. I immediately understood how the fitness center benefits the Oneonta community.

Seniors meet there to exercise, keep fit, and also create the connections that combat loneliness and depression—serious medical and mental health issues. The one place you can have an exercise program and a cup of coffee with your workout buddies—really?

Fisher: FoxCare Fitness Should Remain
Letter from Kathryn Fisher

FoxCare Fitness Should Remain

I am a 72-year-old woman who has had several major surgeries because I have arthritis throughout my body. Both knees were replaced at Bassett and I have had three spine surgeries at Wilson Hospital. I went to physical therapy at different local locations and after it was over I tried to continue to do the exercises.

After my second upper spine surgery in 2021, I learned about the therapy pool at FoxCare. I chose to do my PT at the FoxCare facility because of that warm therapy pool! I joined the gym right after finishing my PT. On November 15, 2022, I finally had my third spine surgery. This was on my lower spine and my surgeon warned me that the recovery this time would be six-eight months to a full year to get back to normal. I knew that I could rejoin the gym again after I was finished with the month of land PT and then the 10 pool PT sessions that I was allowed by Medicare.

Marks: Bassett Making Wrong Decision

Bassett Making Wrong Decision

The decision by Bassett Healthcare Network to close FoxCare Fitness Center by the end of May is a travesty for the community and the over 700-plus current members of the healthcare facility. Bassett’s mission is, and should always remain as, to support wellness and fitness programs designed to encourage nutrition, exercise, and preventative health measures which ensure the health and well-being of people of all ages—this is especially important for adults living in our rural community.

Adults who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer than those who are not active and are obese. And the important part is that those extra years are generally healthier years! Staying active helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging. So active adults maintain their quality of life and independence longer as they age.

Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. It is that “feel good sensation” you get after doing something physical. Exercise serves as a pill with no side effects. Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives. Isn’t this what Bassett should be advocating for their patients and the community at large?

In addition, the therapy pool provides natural resistance and buoyancy that reduces the stress on joints. Many adults who live with arthritis find that water therapy is a great way to stay active and lessen the pain on their joints. Many adults find that they are able to do certain exercises in the water that they are not able to in a traditional exercise class. Many times the social setting increases confidence, cardiovascular health and reduces overall mental stress all the while enjoying a relaxing atmosphere. Again, all the more reason to maintain the aquatic facility at FoxCare Fitness.

The members have come to trust, appreciate and value all the hard work that the dedicated, professional staff at FoxCare has done over the years to develop relationships with their members—from the minute we walk in the door until the time we leave. We are met with a sincerity that we matter, and that is just one of the many reasons many of us have joined there. The staff is well-trained and willing to help in any way, from answering questions about wellness goals to designing personal fitness training programs in a relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere.

FoxCare Fitness adds immeasurable value to the Bassett Healthcare Network and A. O. Fox Hospital, and it should continue to play a greater role in preventative health maintenance. It is time for Bassett to give FoxCare Fitness the promotional attention that is long overdue and that it deserves—to promote health fairs, continue to encourage employees to become members, and engage in and financially support FoxCare to continue as an extension of community health. It is vital to this community to keep this premiere center open at any and all costs.

Carolyn Marks

Life in the Time of COVID: FoxCare Fitness Closing Makes Sense
Life in the Time of COVID by Dr. Richard Sternberg

FoxCare Fitness Closing Makes Sense

First and foremost, let me say that the views in this column are mine and mine alone. They do not necessarily represent the views of this newspaper and information service.

Two weeks ago, I was away at the annual meeting of my medical specialty society. I suppose I was just trying to keep my hand in, even though I have been retired for eight years. Things have changed dramatically, and not just in surgical techniques. Medicine is a completely different business than 20 years ago when I had a solo independent practice.

THIS WEEK: 03-23-23


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

March 23, 2023



Restful Retriever

Second Lawsuit Filed Regarding Averill Road

Opposition Builds to Governor Hochul’s Part N Amendment

Mission Driven Sisterhood Celebrates 60 Years in Otsego County

Inside The Paper

News Briefs: March 23, 2023

Camera Conversation Continues Monday at Public Hearing No. 2

Regional Innovation Council: Bold Vision with Many Partners

Ibrahim Named ‘Rural Hospital CEO to Know’

Local Artist’s Crystal Creations ‘Walk’ Academy Red Carpet

‘A Roadhouse Coup’ Released Worldwide

Off the Cuff/On the Record: Yolanda Bush and the Cool Water Collective

Nancy Waller Art Exhibit To Benefit Ellen St. John Peacemaker Award



An Appeal to the ZB of Appeals

Guest Editorial: Keep FoxCare Fitness Open, Please


Dog Charmer Tom: The Dog Meet: Energetic Youngster Jeffrey and Senior Paula Jean are Doing Just Fine

Presidential Decision Making: the Difference Between Doing a Good Job versus Bad

Citizen Science: ‘Science Says So’: Sifting Evidence-Based Science from Pseudoscience

The Partial Observer: Village Residents Oppose Short-term Rental Plans for 40 Lake Street with Good Reason

Noteworthy: Tunnel Vision – Hoop Houses Extend Growing Season


Hymas: Camera Installation an Orwellian Nightmare

Grandner: Decision by Coop ZBA Much Appreciated

Northrup: STR Loophole a Real Concern

Luke: ‘Big Picture’ Questioned

Oxley: ZBA Correct in 40 Lake Decision

Glynn: Open Letter to Coop Board and ZBA

Tausta: FoxCare Fitness: All or Nothing?

Lord: Zamelis Piece Buried Last Week

Katz: CFOC Expanding Its Vision for the Future


Bound Volumes: March 23, 2023

Hometown History: March 23, 2023


John (Jack) R. Stiefel


Happenin’ Otsego

Kreischer: Support for FoxCare Fitness Is Strong
Letter from Jane Kreischer

Support for FoxCare Fitness Is Strong

I’m sure this will not be your first, nor your last, letter imploring you to reconsider your decision to close FoxCare Fitness Center. Please understand that this letter is written with the utmost respect for both the Bassett system and the healthcare it offers. Most of us have been in the community for more than 50 years, and we have used every doctor, every facility, and every service it offers.

What started out as an attempt to regain health and physical fitness turned quickly and unexpectedly into something else. The facility became a lifeline for many of our seniors: bringing social, emotional, physical and mental health together in one place. We gained fitness, we gained friends, we were in an environment that was clean, safe, quiet, and tailored to each individual fitness level. I cannot stress enough how this facility stood out from all the others; many of us had already had memberships to other fitness centers and watched them close, as well. This was such a breath of fresh air that you felt better already simply walking in to it… Walking in to people who knew your name, cared about you, with dedicated fitness coaches and staff, and classes everyone could join. There was and is no comparison anywhere that rivals that. We grew stronger, we grew more fit, we grew happier and healthier. How can an institution which has done so much good for the community be cast aside? You have only to watch one frail, struggling senior come through that door with walker, wheelchair, and cane to know FoxCare is their very lifeline and I am frankly afraid to see their health on a downward turn as soon as it closes its doors.

Tausta: FoxCare Fitness: All or Nothing?
Letter from Pamela Fitch Tausta

FoxCare Fitness: All or Nothing?

I’ve been a member of FoxCare Fitness for over 20 years. In spite of what is being said, it is the gym most comfortable for middle and old age people. I have been to other gyms and find users leave the equipment laying around, eat potato chips while resting on the equipment, and never wipe off the equipment after sweating on it. FoxCare Fitness users put back the equipment, wipe down machines after using and feel comfortable because supervision is available and trained to handle medical emergencies. I have seen the personnel go into action when a medical problem occurs. The people working there are all professionals and very pleasant. The facilities are clean and bright. Help with equipment is always freely given.

Guest Editorial: Keep FoxCare Fitness Open, Please
Guest Editorial by Anne Donovan

Keep FoxCare Fitness Open, Please

The closure of FoxCare Fitness gym is ill-advised and unwarranted. Denying about 750 members from looking after their own health by exercising and thereby practicing “preventative care” at the gym is irresponsible. Many of these members are following up after cardio and physio therapy. This gym has been open for 24 years and no is the time to encourage a way forward again.

COVID times have been tough on all the healthcare industry. Staff at medical facilities are already at capacity or beyond and are struggling to keep up with services and appointments within reasonable time frames. Surely, “preventative care” decreases the need for “patient care” and is helpful to all medical facilities?

The gym is such a vital part of our healthcare system in many ways. Apart from the obvious excellent healthcare the gym provides to so many people, there is also the issue of the sense of unity and community it brings. The camaraderie, the encouragement to exercise instilled by being part of a big gym group, and the social and business connections too are part of this. There is also the important aspect of accessibility with the easy, abundant parking available. Bassett medical staff at the FoxCare Center use this gym, too.

Where are 750 “dismissed” members supposed to go? There is no viable alternative to factoring in about 750 people. That is a huge number to deal with and reckless to dismiss that issue as being otherwise absorbed. It is infeasible.
People are feeling more encouraged since the COVID lock-down. Now is the time to revitalize the gym with advertising and promotion to increase membership. City, town, county and state officials should be engaged to find ideas to work with the gym on this issue and for any help they can give.

The gym must stay open. It is harmful to the health of so many that cannot be accommodated otherwise. It is a valuable part of our community and an absolute necessity to many. A way must be found to keep the gym open and encourage the “preventative care” health of all!

Anne Donovan is a resident of Oneonta.

Editor’s Note: According to a press release issued on March 10, A.O. Fox Hospital and Bassett Healthcare Network have begun conversations with the Oneonta Family YMCA to explore a potential collaboration at FoxCare Fitness.

“Since the recent announcement that our health system will no longer continue operating a membership-based public fitness facility at the FoxCare Center, I have heard from many of you about how important this facility is to you and the community,” said Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president and chief executive officer of Bassett Healthcare Network. “I am excited about this opportunity to work together with the YMCA and explore the possibility of sustaining some level of public availability to the wonderful facility at FoxCare Fitness.”

At this time, the two organizations are in the early stages of exploring opportunities to align their respective strengths and expertise to collaborate on projects and initiatives, including at the FoxCare Fitness site, that benefit the community.

Kirsch To Bassett: Please Keep FCF Open
Letter from Emma Kirsch

To Bassett: Please Keep FCF Open

I have been a member of FoxCare Fitness for many years. I am asking Bassett to reconsider the decision to close the facility for the following reasons:

• It is an extremely valuable asset to our senior community, who rely upon it for essential exercise and fitness training.

• All of the staff are personable, professional, and extremely helpful and kind to all.

Peterson: Health Needs Outweigh Profits
Letter from Suzanne Peterson

Health Needs Outweigh Profits

Through cardiac rehab, I came to FoxCare gym. The program changed my life after open heart surgery and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Graduating cardiac rehab on December 12, I immediately joined with my husband, paying for a year with lockers.

FoxCare gym is safe. Like so many members, I have illnesses that cause severe discomfort at regular gyms. FoxCare gym is routine, purpose, safe haven. I’m 53, with Celiac disease, chronic nerve pain, anxiety, depression, no balance from GBS, and a compromised immune system. FoxCare equipment is spaced apart, most wear masks, we clean machines. Nurses and physical therapists available for questions add to safety.

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