News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


letter to the editor

NORTHRUP: Give Native Americans A Say

Give Native Americans A Say

In How Things Are Named

To the Editor:

My distant relative and friend, the late Jim Northrup, was a Native American, decorated Vietnam Marine vet, and very humorous author.

My real name is James so Jim and I used to joke about how all the “Jim Northrups are strong, handsome and above average.”

He’s gone now, but on his behalf, as his paleface relative, I’d like to suggest that when it comes to naming locations, sports teams and other things – ask a Native American.

If they’re OK with it, go ahead. If they’re not, rethink it.

Native Americans, including Jim and his brother, are disproportionately represented in the Armed Forces. They often struggle with health issues, but in my experience, they’re pretty much immune to bone spurs.

If something is going to be named for them, give them a say in it. All the Jim Northrups think it’s the right thing to do.


MOTT: Village Pretty; Now Make It Work


Village Pretty:

Now Make It Work

To the Editor:

I have been told that between 5 and 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 24, a crew would be coming in to, hopefully, fix a water main on Main Street that has broken. If it does not get fixed, I will not be able to do business that day. I am not the only one in this situation.

This is the third time that a water main has broken in my six years in business. Each time this happens it costs me money. Water is essential to my business, I cannot open my shop without it.

My question is: at what point does the beautification of our lovely village slow down and some maintenance on our existing infrastructure start?

The Hair Shop
Doubleday Court

DILL: Know Where RXs Come From 


Americans Should Know

Where RXs Come From

To the Editor:

I’m writing to you about my concerns regarding the fact that the majority of our prescription medications (as much as 90 percent, I’ve been told) are manufactured outside of the U.S. – primarily in China and India.

Many of us are interested in “sustainability,” and this, I believe, is related to our sustainable future!
Having “Googled” this subject, I’ve also read that the welfare of the U.S. regarding these prescription medications is largely hinged on our maintaining good relations with China.

One of my grandchildren, who is a staffer for the current chair of the Oversight Committee, had sent me several links to House and Senate bills concerning this subject. All, it seems, are currently “stalled” and/or descriptive text on the bills is currently unavailable.

As you might guess, there is little to no oversight in the laboratories where many of these medications are being manufactured. Some prescription medication labs in China are operated under the names of U.S. corporations.

Family members who use prescription medications have endeavored (by phone or online) to identify the source of their current meds, but the providers of these prescriptions were unable or unwilling to identify the source of manufacture.

Today, if we purchase a garment, or shoes, or food products, or a piece of equipment, labeling of these products is required to list country of origin. Why not so for the prescription meds we are putting into
our bodies?


Letter From Lewis Hamilton: Did New York State Really Do Better Than Texas

Did New York State

Really Do Better Than Texas?

To the Editor,

Chip Northrup’s recent letter condemning the efforts of Texans while praising those of New Yorkers was strong on opinion but weak on data. From my Google search on May 30:

• New York (state population, about 20 million), 203,000 cases, 23,282 deaths; Otsego County (population, 59,249); 67 cases, four deaths.

• Texas (state population, about 29 million), 62,338 cases, 1,648 deaths; Kerr County (population 52,405), 16 cases, zero deaths

While these numbers change frequently, they are reliable enough to show clearly that Texas has vastly fewer cases and deaths than New York State. Then, taking rural counties of similar size, the numbers again show Texas far ahead of New York.

We can all agree that there are a number of reasons why these striking differences have occurred, but to conclude that somehow Texas is falling far behind New York is untenable. In any case, Texas’ numbers are impressive by contrast to those in New York.

Consider Governor Cuomo’s March 2020 order forcing nursing homes to admit cases of COVID-19 – this action may have turned some into medieval “pest houses” seen during the times of plague.

Mayor de Blasio’s tight lockdown of tenements in New York City, attempting to limit community spread of the virus (in contrast to the quarantine of known positives cases) is the antithesis of “distancing” and may have caused more harm than good.

Note the logical actions of well-off New Yorker city dwellers – they fled! Are these public responses “as good as anywhere…?”

To paraphrase Mark Twain: It’s not the things you don’t know that can hurt you, it’s them you do know that ain’t true.

COLONE: Let’s Revisit One Oneonta

Letter From AL COLONE

With Time On Our Hands,

Let’s Revisit One Oneonta

To the Editor:

During this time of crisis, Governor Cuomo’s daily report on the coronavirus in New York State has brought me a sense of reassurance that we will “beat the beast!”

He regularly talks of making something good come out of bad situations; he speaks of the positive outcomes which have resulted from past crisis.

What will things look like in our lives after the COVID-19 virus has been vanquished? What can we do to make Oneonta a better, more vibrant and a truly innovative place as we move to the future?

Many of us have time on our hands, time that could be productive and beneficial for our community.

Why not take the current down time to craft a referendum to merge the city and town of Oneonta? We all know, bucks were very tight before the pandemic and it’s not hard to imagine that available dollars will be far more restricted afterward.

Let’s produce one Oneonta that can run leaner, more efficiently and one with a better chance of increasing municipal revenue. Coming out of the pandemic, one Oneonta would glow with commercial and social productivity.

We don’t need a study to do this! We already know one Oneonta would be a heck of a lot better than the two flailing Oneontas we currently have.

All we need is for Mayor Herzig and Supervisor Wood to name an 11-member blue ribbon commission, five from the city and six from the town, charged with producing a consolidation referendum in time for
Election Day 2021!

The group will no doubt need the advice and guidance of a professional consultant and they are readily available and likely now, for super competitive fees. Between modest funding from the city and town and perhaps a match from Department of State, funding the initiative would be “a walk in the park!”

Should our key leaders be considering retirement, this would be the opportune time toward establishing a very positive leadership legacy!

If we don’t do this now, you can “bet the ranch” a post-pandemic Oneonta will be far worse than the pre-pandemic Oneonta; please don’t think we’ll make it on future public grants in that they’ll likely go away.

Let’s do it! I’d be glad to volunteer my time, not as a committee member, but perhaps in some type of secretarial role.

Resident, City of Oneonta

NORTHRUP: The Answer? Conservation


The Answer? Conservation

To the Editor:

George W. Bush is an old acquaintance of mine, I have known him since before he was governor of Texas, much less President. Although he was a so-so governor and a terrible President, one thing he’s not is a hypocrite.

His erstwhile opponent, Al Gore, became the darling of the environmental movement with his groundbreaking film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The most inconvenient truth about “Inconvenient Truth” is that Gore subsequently cashed in on “green technology” without limiting his own consumption of energy – while, in contrast, George retired to his solar-powered, energy-efficient, rain-harvesting, minimal-consumption Texas ranch.

I was in the solar energy business from 1973 to 1980, when we sold Northrup Energy to Atlantic Richfield, to create ARCO Solar, where I became the planning manager for alternative energy systems.

So I know the potential of alternative energy and its limitations.

Michael Moore has attempted to overturn some shibboleths of the green apple cart with his new documentary “Planet of the Humans.”

When you cut through the melodrama, misstatements and erroneous assumptions, the core conclusion of the film is sound, and one I agree with: The fundamental problem is our consumption of resources, the primary solution is conservation.

The easiest way to reduce energy consumption is to not use it. That was part of the original environmentalist message – conserve, recycle, reuse – much of which has been drowned out by the marketing of alternative energy systems as if over-reliance on fossil fuels can simply be replaced with over-reliance on renewable energy systems, some of which, particularly biomass, may not be so environmentally friendly after all.

It’s an inconvenient point that we have learned during The Plague: the most effective green solution is plain old-fashioned conservation. Try it some time.


BASSETT: Make Lettis Safer: Run Buses Until 9 p.m.

Make Lettis Safer:

Run Buses Until 9 p.m.

To the Editor:

Regarding the headline in your Jan. 2 edition, “NYDOT Said ‘No’ To Grant At Lettis,” I am really sorry that the transportation grant, applied for by the Town and City of Oneonta, was turned down. But, come to think of it, all of that requested money is not necessary.

The lady, April Johnson, crossed the highway 100 yards from a legal pedestrian crossing area – the intersection. People should know better than to cross a four-lane highway in the dark of night on a roadway that has poor lighting, and especially where automobile drivers do not expect, therefore, are not looking for pedestrians to be crossing.

The second issue is that a lot of people, including myself, walk on that highway to get to the Southside shopping area. Mayor Herzig is right when he said that the roadway could be safer for pedestrians. Yes, we all use it out of necessity, because OPT does not have the Southside Bus operating after 5:30 p.m., except for Wednesday-Saturday, only when the colleges are operating. That is why so many pedestrians are on the road out of necessity to shop and get to work.

A large percent of the permanent residents (non-students) are in the low-income range and don’t have a car, so without a bus, we have to walk on Lettis Highway. Either that or starve and become unemployed!

Solution: Have the Southside bus run until 9 p.m. every night, no matter if the students are here or not. It will keep a lot of people off of the road, minimizing accidents, and the need for a big green median.

If the colleges will not allow OPT to have the buses run apart from their students’ needs, then the only things that are needed are more lighting on the walkway and adding a little more walkway to the one side of the street that has more pedestrians.

From the corner of Maple and Main streets, where that Baptist Church is, you cross Main Street. Install a sidewalk there, along the west side of Lettis Highway, to join the rest of the sidewalk. There are only two or three spots that really need a sidewalk added, such as the bridge, and after the overpass of I-88 to Route 23.

With just those improvements, the money of which will probably be granted since it won’t be as much as was initially requested, and some commonsense by pedestrians, the problem would be solved!

Once again, the commonsense solution, which will eliminate a need for a grant, and the necessity for pedestrians to be on the road at all, would be for the Southside bus to be running past 5:30 p.m. every night Monday-Saturday.


HILL: How Nice. To Live In A Place Where People Do Care. Here!

How Nice. To Live In A Place

Where People Do Care. Here!

To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my gratitude for living in a place that has such good, caring people. I have lived in Oneonta, Otsego County, and Upstate New York only for a year and a half.

Wednesday night, Jan. 8, I was driving to Richfield Springs that evening, heading to the Food Co-op to give a presentation. With the snow pouring down at times and blowing up onto the roads – and my windshield — from fields, I was driving as slowly and as carefully as I could. But on NY-28, about 6.5 miles from RS, the snow was coming down so fast and furious that I could not see where I was on the road. I ended up sliding (fortunately) slowly into a (fortunately) shallow ditch on the left. My car was stuck in there at about a 45-degree angle.

A driver and his wife immediately stopped to see if I was OK. At least eight other drivers paused or stopped during the half hour or so I was stuck there to do the same. One of them, a young man named Eddie Bello, who lived up the road from where I got stuck, not only stopped, but called a tow truck for me, and most importantly, stayed with his headlights shining on my car until the tow truck arrived so drivers could see it. Joe, the tow truck driver from Chuck’s Towing, got my car out in 10 minutes; neither car nor I was damaged.

I now have had my first New York Upstate Winter Experience, which included the not so good and the great aspects. I got stuck, but the good, caring people of Otsego County were there to help. Now that I’ve been christened a Real Upstate New Yorker, I’m going to get snow tires put on the car.


WHELAN: Not Militia? Then You’re Out Of Luck

Letter From Mary Anne Whelan

Not Militia?

Then You’re Out Of Luck

To the Editor:

Could the proponents of this silly idea please tell us what portion of the NYS ‘SAFE ACT” conflicts with the Second Amendment? Actually, I doubt they know what either the Second Amendment or the Safe Act says.

Are they members of a well-regulated Militia, on which opening clause everything else in the Second Amendment depends? If not, they have no rights to the exercise of the Second Amendment whatsoever.


WSKG Listened To Patrons, Brought Back Classical Music

WSKG Listened To Patrons,

Brought Back Classical Music

WSKG President/CEO Greg Catlin briefed supporters at the Cooperstown library on the new format. At left are Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and Marge Landers; at right is Carol Beechy, who represents the area on Catlin’s board. (Jim Kevlin/

To the Editor:

Here at WSKG, we value your patience as we transitioned our radio stations in February. Since the switch we have heard from many of you about your listening preferences and desires.

When we made the programming switch, 105.9 in Cooperstown remained WSKG News programming, with the understanding that was not necessarily a final decision.  WSKG’s 91.7 FM, Oneonta, changed from classical music to an all-talk format.

We wanted to hear your opinions. A survey before our programming changes showed members in Cooperstown preferred news programming 2 to 1 over music.  Another survey after the switch shows members evenly split between news and music.

We know that because of the nature of broadcasting, there will always be listeners in Cooperstown unhappy with either decision.

So, to reflect the intensely musical nature of the Cooperstown community, WSKG began broadcasting WSKG Classical Music (WSQX) on 105.9 at noon on Thursday, April 18.

WSKG News will still be available via streaming at, through our mobile App ( and through “smart” speakers like Amazon’s Alexa device.

Many parts of Cooperstown can also receive WSKG News on 91.7 from Oneonta.

Cooperstown is the ONLY location where WSKG can switch the radio programming on our stations. To be clear, it cannot be switched throughout the day or different days. It has to be one station or the other permanently.

Our listeners spoke out. We listened. Your continuing support is vital to WSKG Classical being a part of the Cooperstown community.


President & CEO

WSKG Public Media


Trust In ‘Intelligence Community’ Ill-Founded

Trust In ‘Intelligence

Community’ Ill-Founded

To the Editor:

Last week in your newspaper, I read with concern the interview with Otsego County Democratic chair Aimee Swan about the end of Robert Mueller’s two-year witch-hunt regarding alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 election. Ms. Swan stated that
“there should be a trust, a loyalty to our intelligence community.”

The so-called “intelligence community” was behind the ridiculous allegations that Russia was the cause of Hillary Clinton’s resounding defeat in 2016, and the Democrats jumped on the bandwagon, and played up this pathetic conspiracy theory to the hilt. Apparently the Democrats have nothing to offer America other than smear campaigns against their adversaries.

Two years later, Mueller had to fold his tent without any charges being brought against Donald Trump.

President In Clear, But Allies Spouted Documented Lies

President In Clear, But Allies

Spouted Documented Lies

To the Editor:

I feel obligated to respond to just a few pearls of wisdom promulgated by Otsego County Republican Chairperson Vince Casale in his recent column, “Was Justice Achieved?”

Does anyone else see the irony of Mr. Casale decrying the horrors of “gotcha politics” while simultaneously extolling the virtues of Roger Stone, his dapper prom date at the most recent Otsego County Republican dinner?

Stone is after all, a self-professed and self-promoted “dirty trickster” so it’s a little hard to generate a whole lot of sympathy for him.

Vince, we may have indicted a ham sandwich as you said, but by the time the justice system is finished with Stone we can only hope that he’s finely ground sausage. For years he’s been emblematic of the type of “gotcha politics” Vince decries, and he deserves nothing less than the book being thrown at him.

I was also interested in Vince’s claim of a “smear campaign” being perpetrated by the Democrats. Last time I checked, we had documented proof of extensive Russian meddling in our election.

At Fly Creek ‘Phil,’ Youth Beauty, Strength Evident
from Paul Lord

At Fly Creek ‘Phil,’ Youth,

Beauty, Strength Evident

The It Girls of the evening – from left, Vicki Gates, Scottie Baker and Julie Huntsman – perform a symphony on kazoos during the Fly Creek Philharmonics’ annual concert Saturday, March 16, at the United Methodist Church. More photos at (Jim Kevlin/

To the Editor:

As a deaf guy, I don’t attend many musical performances.  They are largely exercises in frustration for me.  Before my hearing loss, I appreciated music, and I still appreciate memories of music, but the reality is that the notes don’t resonate when you are missing enough frequencies.

I attended last night’s performance to acknowledge the support provided by the Fly Creek Philharmonic for the Otsego Lake Association.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  This was the second or third time I attended a Fly Creek Philharmonic performance.  Knowing the visuals would be important and hoping that my lip-reading skills would help to understand the lyrics, I stood in the rear last night.

RSS Housing Project Not Right For Oneonta
from Danny Lapin

RSS Housing Project

Not Right For Oneonta

To the Editor:

The proposed housing project by Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS) of Altamont in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward is a flawed development. RSS wants taxpayers to pay for it; they trying to circumvent public input and they’re using strong-arm tactics to get approval to start construction.

Therefore, I oppose it.

RSS wants to build a 64-unit project for low- and moderate-income people that will include 14 apartments reserved for individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. Subsidized rents will range from $520 to $1,067, well below market rates for Oneonta.

HENRICI:  Marietta Brings Wisdom, Humor

HENRICI:  Marietta Brings Wisdom, Humor

To the Editor,

I am a political person who generally keeps her opinions to herself.  However, I don’t think I betray that persuasion in the least by endorsing Andrew Marietta for county rep – he is someone we can all stand behind with pride.

When I moved to Cooperstown nearly eight years ago, I began reaching out to anybody who was willing to listen, hoping to make connections and build a life here.  All roads led to Andy – he was seemingly involved in every aspect of public life.

Andy introduced me to the right people and I owe much of my success (if I can be so bold as to call it that) to his generosity.  Along my career path, Andy never wavered in his support, acting as an adviser and helping me get the exceptional training I needed to serve our community well.

And that’s really Andy’s objective:  He works hard every day to help make our community better and stronger.  It’s a simple mission and one to which he is wholly devoted.

That said, Andy is not someone filled with flowery inspiration or spouting pretty talk.  He is a man of precise action, strategy, and ethics.  Andy does his research and makes decisions based on practicality and the good of all people – the embodiment of a common-sense approach with heart.

Andy cannot be influenced by greed or power.  It’s not in his DNA.  He will always take the high road, even at his own expense.  He does not shy from a challenge, but he also chooses his battles carefully and errs on the side of a collaborative, peaceful approach.   Andy does what he says every day, applying his extensive knowledge and skills to make Otsego County a place where home and business thrive.

I am grateful to call Andrew Marietta a friend and colleague – his is a special mixture of wisdom, humor, expertise and dedication.  I encourage everyone to take a hard look at his credentials.  Whether you vote with your head or your heart (or both), you’ll know you made the right choice if you elect Andy.


Director of Education

Fenimore Art Museum

& The Farmers’ Museum

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