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News of Otsego County

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LEVINE: Foundation stresses needs of community

LETTER from HARRY LEVINE

Foundation stresses
needs of community

HARRY LEVINE

The Community Foundation of Otsego County is up and running and wants you to join us as one of our Founders.

We are OF the community, FOR the community, and want to do everything in our power to improve the quality of life for all residents of Otsego County. We also want to live by our values which include taking direction from the community we serve.

The concept of forming a philanthropic organization to serve one’s community is not new. There are over 750 community foundations across the nation. Successful foundations exist in New York counties to our north, east, south and west. The essential difference between a community foundation and a more common private foundation is that we are a public enterprise. Our funding is from our public and our responsibility is to our public – our friends and neighbors.

Many of the successful community foundations in our region of New York have taken decades to grow to the level where they are able to make a difference. Small but sure steps. One dollar at a time, invested so that spending was limited to earnings at the rate of 4 or 5% per year. The early emphasis was on asset building.

This is an important strategy and one that we are working on too. But we want to make a difference NOW. How can we do that?

Our approach is to raise seed capital that we are willing to invest in our community instead of in the stock market. Thus, our Founders Campaign is to secure $2 million. These funds will be used over the next five years, while our other strategy (accumulating investment assets) is pursued to secure our future sustainability.

Ours is a modern model. It borrows from the world of venture capital and private equity. It is founded on the bedrock confidence that our community will support our work. It is responsive to today’s needs.

The formation of Community Foundation of Otsego County is a vitally important step in the health of our county. It is an opportunity for neighbors and friends to join together to work smartly to address issues that need addressing.

We hope that many of you decide to join us as Founders. The amount of your support is up to you. We want broad participation. We have made it easy to join us. Send us a check. Make a five-year pledge (to match our five-year business plan). Donate appreciated stock or real estate. Use your credit card or Pay Pal.

Set up a monthly or annual payment program. Go to our website to get more information (cfotsego.org). Or simply mail us a check to P.O. Box 55, Springfield Center, NY 13468.

How are we doing so far, you ask? Well, our goal is $2 million. Today, we are 90% of the way to that target. Our entire board has joined as Founders as well as more than 100 others.

And are we making a difference now? Absolutely yes!

Our COVID Emergency Fund disbursed $200,000 in 27 awards. We have helped families put food on their tables, provided shelter to homeless individuals, supported over 100 small businesses and much more.

In 2021, we have allocated another $200,000 to meet challenges facing our community.

Please visit our website for details on our award programs.

Will you join us as a Founder? This is a once only opportunity to be part of a group of like-minded friends and neighbors dedicated to creating a force for good in our community.

We deeply believe that caring together makes us stronger together.

Please join us.

6 Gifts Of Christmas

6 Gifts Of Christmas

Need Some Ideas? Just Look Around

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

While making gifts for family and friends, Sara O’Brien realized that she could not only bring a smile to someone at Christmas, but to her fellow cancer survivors.

“Tracy Abrams hasn’t been able to do fundraisers for her Wigs for Wishes charity because of the pandemic,” she said. “I took a few of the ornaments over to her, and she called me back that night and said they’d all sold.”

•TO HELP:

Wigs for Wishes ($5)

TO HELP: Sara O’Brien’s Rocky ornaments

They were in such high demand that she brought in Abrams, Gail Baden and granddaughter Susan Morell to help cut, glue and finish each handmade wooden ornament. “We’re making 160 of them,” she said.

The ornaments, which sell for a suggested donation of $5 each at Abrams Head to Toe salon, will help raise money to give free, custom wigs to women undergoing cancer treatments.
“Some people have donated more than $5,” said Abrams. “But we wanted to make them available to everyone.”

O’Brien’s handmade Rocky ornaments are just one of many local gifts you can pick up this Christmas, with many stores offering curbside pickup, online shopping or shipping to keep shoppers safe during the pandemic.

• TO DO:

“Half Truths” ($34.99)

Billed as this year’s big after-dinner party game by Nate Roberts, owner of Serenity Hobbies, “Half-Truths,” created by Richard Garfield (“Magic: The Gathering”) and “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, asks players to place bets on which three of the six answers are truths, and which ones are lies.

“It follows the logic that everyone can play,” said Roberts. “Even grandma and the little kids, who might not have that trivia knowledge, because it’s multiple choice, so they can still guess.”

The game, which got started on Kickstarter, includes more than 500 questions, plenty to keep the party going. “It’s a party game that makes you feel smart,” he said. “And it’s a laugh riot.”

• TO WEAR

TO WEAR: Roxanne Marcello shows off Artisan’s Guild scarves

Poncho and scarves, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, The Artisan’s Guild, (Price Varies)

It’s rare that you get to see exactly where your garment came from, but with each hand-spun and hand-woven scarf and poncho, you get a photo of the Icelandic sheep who gave the wool.
“This poncho came from Fosco,” said Roxanne Marcellino. “All of these are made from the wool of sheep raised on the farm.”
In addition to the Holy Myrrhbearers garments, the Artisan’s Guild also offers handmade capes and children’s clothing, hand-knit scarves and hats, dyed silk scarves and other locally made crafts.

• TO READ

Richard Duncan, “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” ($39.99)

TO READ: Tour Otsego County through the photos in Richard Duncan’s “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures.” Order at fenimoreart.org

Photographer Duncan wants you to see his “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” book as a window to the world.

“I hope it stimulates memories,” he said. “Since there isn’t a whole lot we can do right now, we can look at pictures of places we used to go.”

The coffee-table book, his third, uses his own photos of the county, taken over two years, as well as photos from days past.

“I went to every historical society in the county and asked them to send me photos,” he said. “There’s a romantic bent to it, we have all of this precious land to take care of.”

The Utica-printed book is available at The Farmers’ and Fenimore museums, and through their website, and at the Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta.

The photos range from a parade of elephants down Oneonta’s Main Street, to an early 1900s Decoration Day in Unadilla Flats.

“If you have the COVID blues,” he said. “Go for a drive with my book and try to find where I stood to take each picture.”

• TO EAT

TO EAT: Everyone loves treats from Bill Michael’s Fly Creek Cider Mill

Custom Gift Baskets, The Fly Creek Cider Mill, (Price Varies)

It’s easier to survive these dismal times if you’ve got the right kind of snacks.

That’s Bill Michaels’ approach at the Fly Creek Cider Mill, where he’s spent the last two weeks in his own version of Santa’s Workshop. “We do 60 percent of our online business during the holidays,” he said. “You can go online, fill your cart and we pack it up for you.”

Pick out some of the mill’s famous cheese, sauces and jellies, apple goodies and maybe some fudge, and Michaels will box it, tie it with a bow and mail it to the recipient of your choice. “This year, our corn salsa has been really popular,” he said.

But if you’re in a hurry, there are pre-made gift baskets ready to order, including a “Stay At Home Survival Kit” – with pancake mix, fudge, maple candy, apple crisp mix and more – or a “Celebrate Your Heroes” snack basket, with cheese, sausage and, most curiously, gummy frogs.

And he even throws in a few extras, including a catalog, a map of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail and an Otsego County Guide – for when the pandemic is over and they can come visit the mill for themselves.

• TO DRINK

TO DRINK: Mike Shaughnessy sets up local teas and coffees at The Green Earth

Tay’s Tea (from $4) and Roman Roaster Coffee (from $10) Green Earth Market

“Nini Ordoubadi is very particular about her tea,” said Mike Shaughnessy, manager, The Green Earth. “And she does it very well.”

Also from Delhi – and new to the Green Earth – is Roman Roaster Coffee, an artisanal, small-batch roaster owned by Andrea Ghersi, a former chef who moved to Delhi to open his business.

Both use sustainably sourced and fair trade ingredients in their blends.

“Buying local helps all of us stay in business,” said Shaughnessy.

Outpouring Helps Buoy ‘Angel Tree’

Outpouring Helps Buoy ‘Angel Tree’

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Yes, there are more families in need of Christmas cheer. But Salvation Army Capt. Selah Bender can report, there are many more angels to help make
the season merry.

Take the Angel Tree program, where shoppers can pluck a tag off a tree with the name of a child in need of a Christmas present.

“We’ve had entire Angel Trees emptied almost as soon as we put them up,” Bender said. “We’ve had to go out and put more tags on them. We’ve had some really inspirational donors this year.”

The captain and her husband, David, six-year veterans of the Salvation Army, arrived in Oneonta in August from northern Kentucky in the midst of the COVID-19 threat, and had to adjust.

“Kettles have been a challenge since day one,” she said. “We weren’t sure we were going to be able to do them, but finally, the grocery stores all said yes.”

Getting volunteers also proved difficult, so Selah has put the form on www.salvationarmy.org. “You can register for an hour or two, or if you’re a group, sign up for the whole day,” she said.

Volunteers have to wear a mask, have no COVID symptoms and step back when people drop money in the kettle, she said.

Some familiar faces have been recruited, including Nick Whitehead, who mans sites around Oneonta. But for those who looked forward to hearing him sing while he rings, new regulations have shushed him this season.

This year, the local post is hoping to raise $35,000, down from the usual $60,000. “Because we started late, we had people calling up to say they were bringing a check by,” she said.

In addition to throwing in your spare change, each kettle is outfitted with scan-code so you can make a donation directly using Google or Apple Pay. “It looks up your zip code and donates to the local Salvation Army.”

At Walmart, shoppers also have the option of rounding up their spare change at the checkout. “That’s great for people who are doing the curbside pickup,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of help this year.”

And with the abundance from the Angel Tree, families will still be able to collect toys for their children, but instead of in one large gathering, families will sign up for a time to pick up their gifts, and they will be loaded into the car.

Similarly, the annual holiday food baskets are being discontinued. “Our volunteers are so limited, and we don’t have the college students to help sort,” she said. “It was a hard decision to make.”

But the captain sees this as a blessing in disguise. “We’re directing the people who normally get a holiday basket to our food pantry,” she said. “It’s more of a bridge than just seeing them on one day, we can continue having conversations about their needs, and they have access to the food pantry more long-term.”

And they still have both frozen turkeys and store vouchers for turkeys for anyone who might need the centerpiece of their holiday meal.

Families can sign up online, and, like the toy distribution, food distributions are by drive-up only, by appointment.

“Anyone who needs food can get food,” she said.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, NOV. 20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, NOV. 20

With Santa, Decorate

Downtown Cooperstown

14-19eventspage

To Learn How You Can Help Area Families This Holiday Season CLICK HERE.

SANTA’S COTTAGE –2 p.m. Decorating Party. Help Cooperstown Committee decorate Santa’s cottage and the village lampposts for the holidays. All decorations provided; please bring wirecutters, gloves, and ladders, if available. Meet in Pioneer Park. Free photo of your family in front of Santa’s Cottage as a thank you. To reserve a pole, email Meg Kiernan, megk@oecblue.com Meet in Pioneer Park, Cooperstown.

FILM SERIES –2 p.m. “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1952). Fenimore Auditorium, 5798 NY-80, Cooperstown fenimoreartmuseum.org/fenimore/films

CELEBRATE NATIVE AMERICAN MONTH – 1 p.m. Roger Longtoe Sheehan, Chief of the El Nu Abenaki tribe of Vermont, will tell traditional tales and display tools and crafts of Northeastern woodland cultures. Program is free and open to the public. Suny Oneonta College Camp Lodge, 119 Hoffman Rd., Oneonta. For more info call 436-3455 or CLICK HERE.

PROGRAM – 3 p.m. “The Very Greatest Victory: Recognizing Women’s Right to Vote in NY State” with Dr. Susan Goodler. Friends of the Village Library Lecture Series. Village Meeting room, Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Info @ Sunday Programs page villagelibraryofcooperstown.org

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