News of Otsego County


Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

Governor’s State-of-the-State speech a wish list for big election year

By Ted Potrikus

New York’s governor delivers a state-of-the-state address at the start of each calendar year; the speech a sitting governor gives at the onset of an election year is, however, always something a little different, a little more ambitious in scope.

Such is the case today (January 5) with a brief-by-comparison speech from Governor Kathy Hochul – her first since assuming the mantle after disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped down. Hers was an address filled with the usual something-for-everybody on the menu – with very little that any opponents could attack outright. And, the address appears to open the door for discussions on bail reform.

But a state-of-the-state is rather like looking through an annual gift catalog – there are plenty of things in there that one would put on a wish list. Only a few of them stand a chance of showing up when the time for gift-giving arrives.

Utica judge blocks New York State from mandating vaccines for health care workers

Utica judge blocks New York State from mandating vaccines for health care workers

Staff Report • Special to

The AP reported Tuesday, Sept. 14, that a federal judge in Utica has temporarily blocked New York State from requiring vaccinations for health care workers regardless of a religious exemption.

The decision came after a group of doctors and nurses filed a lawsuit claiming the mandate was a violation of their rights.

Helios Care named as finalist for major award
Dan Ayers, CEO and President of Helios Care. (contributed)

Helios Care named as finalist for major award

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Oneonta’s Helios Care is a top 25 finalist for a prestigious award for innovative palliative care.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Tipping Point Challenge, sponsored by the Center to Advance Palliative Care, is a “national competition to catalyze the spread of skills, ideas and solutions that will improve health care delivery for all people living with a serious illness,” according to its website.

“We are absolutely honored to be included with Mount Sinai and Indiana University and all the other prestigious groups,” said Helios CEO/President Dan Ayers. “I think we are the smallest group on the list by far. There is one from Kentucky. Obviously, they cover a rural area, but we are smaller.”

New York must address rural EMS issues before a crisis occurs

New York must address rural
EMS issues before a crisis occurs

The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area joins the New York State Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Association, Inc. in supporting state legislation that would create a task force to study the unique problems facing ambulance services in rural areas of New York State and to propose long-term solutions for them.

The League believes that every resident should have access to a basic level of quality healthcare, including acute care, of which ambulance services are an essential component.
We also support allocating additional medical resources to underserved areas, and New York State rural residents are chronically underserved.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the importance of rural emergency medical services more evident, and the need to address their pre-existing challenges more pressing.

The hardworking volunteers and paid emergency medical technicians are local heroes in our rural communities, and their dedication and commitment have a direct impact on health outcomes and quality of life. Establishing a task force that systematically identifies service gaps and makes recommendations on how to sustainably support this critical component of rural healthcare is a much-needed first step.

State Sen. Hinchey and Assembly Member Santabarbara are sponsoring the bills in their legislative chambers, and we call on our local representatives — Sen. Oberacker and Assembly Members Salka, Miller, Tague, and Angelino—to support the bill’s swift passage before the legislative session comes to a close at the end of June.


Liane Hirabayashi and Patricia MacLeish
Co-presidents, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area

DUNCAN: Hospitals Posting Prices? When You’re Sick, It Doesn’t Matter

Hospitals Posting Prices? When

You’re Sick, It Doesn’t Matter

To the Editor:

As I was driving along listening to NPR talking about hospitals now being required to post prices for services. I thought: That is all the hospital needs, more hoops to jump through for the government. I looked on the Internet to find out more details.

“The Trump Administration…announced it would begin forcing hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurance companies, a potentially bold move to help people shop for better deals on a range of medical services, from hip replacements to brain scans,” wrote the New York Times’ Reed Abelson.

Do they really think I want to go shopping for better deals in healthcare? Can you see yourself on a shopping spree to compare prices when you are sick? Are they completely clueless?

If you are sick, it’s prices be damned.. You want solutions to regain full health. Do you think a commander of a battleship has to worry about how much weapons, food and fuel cost so they can go out and kill people? Yet with healthcare in this county, it is all about prices. What kind of country is this?

It is true that hospitals and doctors are the Number 3 cause of death in America. (Maybe with COVID they have moved to fourth.) This fact and the issue of cost is a symptom of a deeper problem of medicine in America. What is the meaning of healthcare?

The high cost of healthcare is drug companies – “BigPharma”. They donate huge sums of money to universities to teach doctors to push drugs. Doctors then have a limited perspective on what healthcare is. They are forced to think within the box and lose their ability to be creative and innovative.

The knowledge should be about nurses’ and doctors’ views and experiences, not corporations. Even scientific studies would be better off if the ideas came from the nurses and doctors, not from mice running around in cages.

You can’t have a system of health based on profit without discriminating against the people with limited resources. Capitalism and healthcare can’t share the same bed.

Many will cry “socialism.” My cry is: compassion, humanitarianism. Healthy citizens equal healthy society. The bottom line is: We are all in this world together and we are all going to die. Why can’t we do it with dignity and virtue?

Hartwick Forrest

Now It’s ‘OneBassett’

Now It’s ‘OneBassett’

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Dr. Ibrahim

‘OneBassett” is here, Network President/CEO Tommy Ibrahim announced Friday, Dec. 11, and it will lead Bassett Healthcare Network to profitability after four years in the red.

In an interview, Ibrahim said the reorganization of the eight-county system that began when he arrived in June from Integris Health Systems in Oklahoma is largely complete. Still, “we’re in the first stages of transformation,” he said. “Now the real work begins.”

As an example of where the 5,200-job organization is going, he cited Human Resources, which has unified all network hiring at, under the direction of Melanie Craig, Human Resources, Employment & Employee Relations.

Click through, and you can quickly find out about all jobs available in the system.

Until now, he said, there have been “five hospitals with five different levels of quality, service, efficiency and costs.”

As with the Human Resources piece, fully implementing the new concept is going to require broadband to be fully implemented, and Ibrahim said he’s received “encouraging news” through Congressman Antonio Delgado’s office that greater funding for that will be forthcoming.

Friday’s announcement included details of a reorganization into a North Region (Bassett and Little Falls hospitals) and a South Region (Cobleskill, Fox in Oneonta and O’Connor in Delhi).

A “System Executive Leadership Team” will administer each: North led by Bassett Hospital President Bill LeCates; South by Cobleskill Regional Hospital President Eric Stein.

Each team has three vice presidents – for operations, medical affairs and nursing – that report to LeCates or Stein, and implement a horizontal management structure aimed at achieving consistent levels of expertise across the region.

This is in addition to a Leadership Team announced over the past few months, led by Ibrahim and including CFO Paul Swinko, COO Jeff Joyner, LeCates and others.

The announcement also included eliminating 41 positions by March, in addition to 15 leadership positions that have already been eliminated in the restructuring. A network-wide program called SCORE (Securing Career Opportunities for Redeployed Employees) will seek to find places for those employees in the new structure.

The network executives will be taking 5-10 percent “voluntary reductions” in pay, with Ibrahim himself taking a 20-percent pay cut.

This, of course, has caused consternation among employees, but Ibrahim is striving to move forward with “compassion, dignity and respect” toward employees who, through the reorganization, are being shifted out of their jobs.

As part of this effort, a seven-page, single-spaced FAQ was emailed to employees Monday, Dec. 15, seeking to allay concerns and detailing available options.

With the reorganization and streamlining, Ibrahim said, the hospital network is aiming to “break even” in 2021, and a return to profitability after that. He said the network has operated in the red for the past four years.

Asked if the restructuring of the network from hospital-centric “silos” to a cross-network system based on areas of medical expertise was one of his successes as chief physician at Integris, he said yes. But similar approaches are being implemented in all successful hospital systems across the country, he added.


Take Care Of Yourself – Now; If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late
Letter from R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Take Care Of Yourself – Now;

If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late

To the Editor:

Who in their right mind would want a one-payer healthcare system? That is not the root problem of the healthcare system.

money is not the problem. Americans deserve a free healthcare system.

Where does our ill health come from? Answer that and you know who should pay!

Thanks to Kaiser and Nixon, healthcare was removed from non-profit status to a for-profit system. That means the sicker you are the more money is made. Where is the motivation and incentive for wellness?

Thanks to Carnegie and Rockefeller; due to their desire to create a monopoly with the drug industry we are stuck with allopathic medicine. They figured if they drove out the use of herbs and homeopath (which they could not patent and control) and pushed drugs, they could make huge profits.

Then they went to educational institutions and gained control of the type of medicine that doctors were taught. A monopoly … based on financial gain … not on wellness and quality of life.

It is not about science. Half the world uses other forms of medicine. Some forms of medicine have been used for thousands of years, successfully.

People say how free we are….we are being maimed and killed by what is called “medicine” in this country. It is time that we are treated better. We should not just be income makers for a few who control the healthcare system.

The first step is to take control of your own heath and question your healthcare providers. Demand proof that their treatment plans work.

The best course of action is to take care of yourself now. When you are sick it is hard to sort out and find a solution to your problem while you are in pain and fear.

Hartwick Forrest


Ghost Tales Of Otsego County


GHOST STORIES – 6:30 p.m. John Henry Aborn share spine tingling tales of Ghosts of Otsego County. Get in spirit of the season, enjoy refreshments after. Woodside Hall, 1 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-0600, ext. 101 or visit

JOB FAIR – 3 – 5 p.m. Job seekers meet with businesses in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, more. No appointments necessary, dress for success, bring resumes. Southside Mall, Oneonta. 607-432-4401 or visit


Preview The 83rd

National Juried Art Show


PREVIEW PARTY – 5 – 7 p.m. First look at 83rd Annual National Juried Art Exhibition and awards ceremony for CAA scholarship winners. Cooperstown Village Library. 607-547-9777 or visit

FAMILY FRIDAY – 7 – 8 p.m. Get out with the Family, participate in family obstacle course fun including tug-o-war, crawling, hurtles and more! 1 adult to 2 children please. Cost, $8/guest accompanied by a member. Green Space, Oneonta YMCA, 20-26 Ford Ave., Oneonta. 607-432-0010 or visit


Celebrate Music Of Oneonta


PIANO CONCERT – 3 p.m. Tim Horne piano pieces from Oneonta’s music history on this last day of the Oneonta Music History Exhibition. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Call (607)432-0960 or visit

CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. The summer music festival presents “Time for Three.” The Otesaga, Cooperstown.

Southside Welcomes Five Star Urgent Care

Southside Welcomes

Five Star Urgent Care

Owner John Radford, M.D., Andrea Knowles, LouAnne Giangreco, M.D, and Patrick Sexton, Regional Practice Manager stand outside Five Star Urgent Care that opened this morning on Southside in Oneonta. The practice, located across from the Southside Mall, offers x-rays on site, tests for strep throat, mono, flue, RSV, pregnancy and more. They are also equipped to treat sprains, cuts and to administer stitches. “We understand that time is valuable,” said LouAnne Girangreco, “We aim to see people within 30 minutes. We want a warm, comforting environment for patients and their families, so we also offer toys, free arcade games and slushies.” Bob Wood, who attended the ribbon cutting, said “This is a real asset to our community and a great location. We are happy to welcome you.” They also partnered with A&D Taxi services to offer free rides for college students to and from the clinic when they show their student ID. Five Star Urgent Care is open 365 days a year from 8am-8pm.(Ian Austin/

Job Opportunities, Otsego County


JOB FAIR – 1-4 p.m. Come see what jobs are available in the area and listen to employers give a 10 minute presentation about their business and the opportunities you could have. Holiday Inn, 5206 NY-23, Oneonta. Info,

HEALTHCARE LECTURE – 6-7:30 p.m. Dr. William Streck, former president and CEO of Bassett, presents “Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act? What Social and Economic Impacts for New York?” Q&A session to follow. Craven Lounge, Morris Conference Center, SUNY Oneonta. Info, Gina Keel

COMMON COUNCIL – 7 p.m. Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig delivers his State of the City address. Common Council chambers, City Hall, 258 Main St., Oneonta. Info,


Learn To Use Google Analytics


Due to weather, events may be cancelled. Please check before hand and be careful on the roads.

CANCELLED – BUSINESS SEMINAR – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The Winter Educational Seminar Series presents “Google Analytics.” Cost, $12 per person includes lunch. Bullpen Theater, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. Info,!event/2017/2/15/the-power-of-email-marketing

JEOPARDY – 7-8 p.m. Find out how much you know about Women’s History. Johnstone Science Center, rm. 201. Hartwick College, Oneonta. Info, or contact Matthews at or call (607)431-4428

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103