News of Otsego County


‘Mysterious Tubes’ Explained

‘Mysterious Tubes’ Explained

BVA’s Graham Stroh and daughter Asher, 8, examine a “riparian buffer” off Route 23 east of the Village of Morris. (Jim Kevlin/

People entering Morris on Route 23 from Oneonta kept asking Bob Thomas, town historian and a Butternut Valley Alliance board member, “What are those tubes across from the cemetery?”

With his nudging, couple of weeks ago an enticingly titled Zoom presentation, “Mysterious Tubes Along Butternut Creek,” provided the answer to 27 participants, some landowners who may sign up to host mysterious tubes of their own, according to BVA Executive Director Graham Stroh.

The program’s been going on for a decade, according to Lydia Brinkley, Upper Susquehanna Coalition buffer coordinator, “riparian buffers,” that is.

If you’ve only noticed the mysterious tubes lately, it’s because there are more of them, part of the USC’s federally and state-funded efforts to clean up Otsego County’s streams, and thus contribute a bit to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, 250 miles south of Garrattsville.

“Riparian buffers are essentially wooded areas along creeks and rivers, for purposes of reducing erosion and stabilizing stream banks,” said Stroh, formerly an urban planner in Washington D.C. who moved back three years ago to manage the family’s property. (He was raised in New York City; his dad, Leslie, in Morris.)

The Butternut Valley, and with the collaboration of the Middlefield-based Soil & Water Conservation District, all of Otsego County’s streams, are part of a “huge, huge region,” said Stroh, where efforts are underway to clean up the tributaries to the Susquehanna River, which eventually runs into the challenged Chesapeake, where pollutants have been destroying the rich fishery for decades.

New Lisbon Farm Dog Best In U.S.

Bindi To The Rescue

New Lisbon Farm Dog Best In U.S.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sonya Galley hugs Bindi in front of the pen where the rescue happened. (Jim Kevlin/

Last spring, Sonya M. Galley, working in a pen on the family farm on Route 51 south of Garrattsville, felt a gentle nudge on her back.

It was anything but.

Turning around, she was confronted by a heifer, who then nudged her back into a sitting position “I was trapped,” said Sonya, who milks 60 Holsteins with her parents, Dave and Cassie, on Silver Spoon Farm. “I knew if I moved, I was going to be in trouble.”

The general public thinks of cows as placid, but they can be unpredictable.

“She may have been wanting to play with me,” said the 30-something, fourth-generation dairy person. “But she was much bigger than I was.”

Bindi to the rescue, a rescue that won her national laurels: Sunday, Jan. 11, at the U.S. Farm Bureau annual convention, the Otsego County native was Farm Dog of the Year.

“Git around,” said Galley, and the 3-year-old Australian sheep dog did what’s she’s trained to do.

She leaped into the pen and, barking and dashing, had soon moved the cows, including the balky heifer, to the other side of the enclosure.

Her grateful owner pulled herself to her feet, safe.

So when the Farm Bureau was promoting applications to its Farm Dog competition, Sonya was on it.

Last September, she got word: Out of 90 nominations, Bindi had won, only the fourth winner of a prize created in 2018. “I had to keep it secret” until last week’s announcement, Galley said.

The contest is co-sponsored by Nestle Purina PetCare, which donated $5,000 in prize money for Bindi and four runners-up, plus a trophy plate and a year’s supply of dog food.

Purina Vice President of Sustainability Jack Scott said the company is proud to help farmers “steward their land” with the help “of their amazing dogs, who help enrich lives on and off the farm.”

Sonya helped mom Ziva, 9, whelp Bindi, so the two have been together from the beginning. The Aussie is helped with her farming duties by her mom, her younger sister Reese, 2, and her uncle Toby, 10.

The Australian sheep dog breed was actually developed in the American West, and the animals can’t stay still. “The dogs pretty much do what they’re bred to do,” said Glassey.

In addition to moving cows around pens – a Holstein heifer can weigh 800 pounds, so it’s no easy job – Bindi and Reese can help hurry the herd across the road to pasture during the summer, and can cut individual cows out of the herd, as necessary.

The Galley family has been in the Town of New Lisbon since 1972, when dad Dave moved up from Trout Creek, Delaware County. Sonya graduated from Morris Central, then from Morrisville
Ag & Tech, then received her four-year degree from Virginia.

From the start, “I always knew I’d do something around farming,” she said.

On learning of Bindi’s prize, the Galleys were looking forward to the Farm Bureau’s annual January convention: It was planned in San Diego.

EXCLUSIVE! Photos, Details Of Distressed Farmstead Near Garrattsville


Photos, Details Of Distressed

Farmstead Near Garrattsville

Only Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal had a reporter/photographer at the scene over the weekend as sheriff’s deputies and local veterinarians sorted out what to do with more than 100 distressed animals discovered on a farm near Garrattsville. Exclusive photos and details in this week’s newspapers, on newsstands this afternoon.
Samaritans Rescue 100+ Farm Animals At New Lisbon Farm

Samaritans Rescue

100+ Farm Animals

Near Garrattsville

Man, Woman Who Resided There

Facing Neglect, Marijuana Charges

Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Stalter shines his flashlight at the pen where a large dog, perhaps a Pyrenees, was found without food or water. The dog was on a foot-thick layer of feces. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jack Wilkens helps a team from Leatherstocking Veterinary Services, New Berlin, nudge remaining pigs into a tractor-drawn trailer to remove them from the scene.

GARRATTSVILLE – An electrified goose dead on the front lawn set the scene for horrors to follow at a 166 Backus Road farm about a half-mile from this hamlet:

• A dead goat’s carcass, fed on by nearby fenced-off pigs to stay alive.

• Pens where hens were packed so tight their feathers were rubbed off.

• A basement room where feces were piled so high deputies could barely force open the door to rescue the five dogs inside.

“This didn’t happen in days, or even months,” said Otsego County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Stalter, the department’s information officer, who this evening had been at the scene for almost 24 hours.

Sheriff’s deputies discovered all this and more after being called to the 26-acre Town of New Lisbon farm plot at 7 p.m. Friday after a passerby spotted the goose caught in the electrified fence.

Garrattsville Man Killed In Motorcycle Crash

Garrattsville Man Killed

In Motorcycle Accident

EDMESTON – A Garrattsville man was killed Saturday afternoon when he was thrown from his motorcycle and struck by a pickup truck after the truck allegedly veered into his path. We can only hope that his famly have immeditaley sought the help of an injury legal firm similar to the one found on to gain compensation for the incident.

Sean C. Dill, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene after being struck by a pickup truck driven by Matthew Anderson, 25, Elmsford.

Marjorie C. Lasher, 83; Nurse’s Aide, New Lisbon Tax Collector

IN MEMORIAM: Marjorie C. Lasher, 83;

Nurse’s Aide, New Lisbon Tax Collector

GARRATTSVILLE – Marjorie C. Lasher, 83, a retired nurse’s aide who was active in Garrattsville civic life, passed away Thursday April 6, 2017, at Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing at Otsego.

Marjorie was born in New Lisbon, the daughter of the late Stewart and Alice Eldred Card. She spent her adult life in Garrattsville after marrying Ralph H. Lasher on June 10, 1959, on the family farm.

Garrattsville Student Studies How Robots May Ease Autism Challenges

Garrattsville Student Studies How

Robots May Ease Autism Challenges

SUNY Oneonta studeny Mark Crosby interfaces with Ricky the Robot, who is helping develop communication skills of children with autism. (SUNY Oneonta photo)
SUNY Oneonta studeny Mark Crosby interfaces with Ricky the Robot, who is helping develop communication skills of children with autism. (SUNY Oneonta photo)

ONEONTA – Mark Crosby of Garrattsville is on a three-member SUNY Oneonta research team studying how robots could help children with autism to develop communication skills. 

The team is collaborating with a speech pathologist from the Broome-Tioga BOCES to observe how children with autism interact with humanoid robots they have programmed.

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