MILFORD – William “Bill” Truscott, 74, who retired from farming in Laurens, then pursued a career in business, living in Arizona and California, passed away peacefully Saturday night Feb. 1, 2020, surrounded by his family at home after a long battle with MS.
He was born on Aug 17, 1945, son of Howard and Alice (Buel) Truscott in Delhi. After graduation from Laurens Central School, Class of 1964, he served in the Navy for four years aboard the USS Mississinewa out of Newport, R.I.
Milford’s Avery Leonard Staying on top of Canastota’s Kyle Musachio, Milford’s Avery Leonard wins the regional title the 120-pound class at the Center State Regional Wrestling Championship, hosted at Cooperstown Central School. Inset at right, CCS Hawkeye Lucas LoRusso works to break the hold of Adirondack’s Bryar Croniser in the 113-pound final; Croniser took the regional title, with LoRusso winning the second spot. (Cheryl Clough/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – Nov. 6, 2019, came the troubling news to his many fans and well-wishers in Otsego County and the 51st state Senatorial District.
Veteran lawmaker James L. Seward’s cancer, vanquished in 2016, was back.
Treatment followed, “and a scan at the end of December found I’m responding well. The tumor shrank,” he said in an interview following his Monday, Jan. 20, announcement that he won’t seek another term – it would have been his 18th – this fall.
As the legislative session began Jan. 7, he was back in his Albany office, and in his seat on the Senate floor, where he’s been a familiar figure since 1985, ticking off a list of goals for this year’s session, ranging from blocking the commercialization of the marijuana industry, to cutting taxes to stem the state’s – and Otsego County’s – outmigration.
“But I was going to have to continue to have treatment, one day a week. For two, three days after that, I’m tired,” he said, concluding, “It limits my ability to maintain a busy schedule needed in a reelection campaign. If I can’t go 100 percent in a campaign, I’ve opted to not run this year.”
He plans to pursue his duties fully in his district and in Albany, including as ranking member of the Finance Committee, which will be holding all-day hearings for the next two weeks. “I will participate in that,” he said.
But the decision, if it holds, signals the end to one of the most remarkable political careers in Otsego County history, dating back to 1972 when, still a student at Hartwick College, he challenge incumbent Assemblyman Harold Luther of Dolgeville in a Republican primary. He got losing out of the way early in his career, and has won every race that followed.
The next year, when he collected his Hartwick degree in political science – lively debates in OHS teacher Bud Pirone’s classes (Pirone, 80, died last week) inspired his career – he was already a member of the Otsego County Republican Committee. When County Vice Chair Hazel Fields was elevated to chair in 1974, he succeeded her.
The next year, he rose to chairman, at 24 the youngest in county history, where he served for 12 years until his election to the state Senate. As chairman, he attended three nation conventions. He also served as an aide to Assemblyman Pete Dukovitz of Oneonta, Sen. Charles Cook of Delaware County, and Sen. Steve Riford of Auburn.
When Riford retiring at the end of 1984, the still-young Seward beat two more seasoned Republicans in a primary, then turned back a Democratic opponent that fall. He faced challenges in the years that followed, but never a serious one.
“Jim is one of the hardest-working people I’ve known,” said former assemblyman Tony Casale of Cooperstown, in explaining that success. “He always focuses on the job at hand. And he never takes anything for granted. As a result, he has a reputation in Albany as someone you can depend on, someone you can trust, someone who gets the job done.
“In the district, he has the reputation of being successful, for being a good listener, and for following through on every request that’s made of him,” said Casale, a contemporary of Seward’s; their friendship goes back to the 1970s when both were young aides to successful politicians.
“That combination is unbeatable in politics,” said Casale, whose district overlapped with Seward’s for part of their careers.
Jim Seward has been supported all along the way by his wife of 48 years, the former Cindy Milavec. A member of the Cooperstown Junction Methodist Church, the teenaged future senator was testing his organizing skills by start Methodist Youth Fellowship chapters in surrounding churches. In Schenevus, he saw a young woman enter the hall and said to a friend, “Let’s get her involved.”
The two raised two children, Ryan and Lauren, the mother of their two grandchildren, Norah and Vivian.
Asked about his fondest accomplishments, he cited the “Power for Jobs” campaign that provided cheap electricity for companies and the School Tax Relief (STAR) program, which provided property-tax relief to all homeowners earning less than $250,000.
And, and obtaining funding for SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena, the Foothills Performing Arts Center ($6 million), the former National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta ($4 million), which continues to live on as Ioxus, and innumerable other projects.
“I would mention constituent services,” he continued. “It’s given me a great deal of satisfaction. To help people straighten out problems they’ve having with state government, to help individual people with their problems.”
Most satisfying was people coming up to him and saying, “You saved my life.”
“What do you mean?” he would ask.
“My insurance company was not going to pay for treatment. I called your office, you turned that decision around,” more than constituent has told him.
“That’s very, very satisfying,” the senator said.
For now, he said, “I have no plans. I want to get healthy. But I want to stay engaged and acrtive. I have a deep commitment to my community, our region. I will certainly, in one way or another, continue my service, continue to improve the lives of the people who work here.”
ONEONTA – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announced a few moments ago he will not seek reelection this year to the seat he has held since 1986.
“I have decided not to seek reelection in 2020 and will retire from the Senate when my current term, my 17th, expires at the end of the year,” Seward said in a statement released at 11:54 a.m . “While I have responded well to cancer treatments, my physicians have advised me that treatments will continue for the foreseeable future, limiting my ability to maintain the rigorous schedule needed to campaign for re-election. This is the right decision for my health, my family, and the people of the 51st Senate District.
“I want to stress that this decision is in no way related to majority or minority standing in the Senate. I have effectively served under both scenarios and have always fought for the best interests of my constituents no matter the party in power – which is exactly what I will continue to do for the remainder of my term.
MILFORD – The Goodyear Lake Polar Bears will have to wait another year for the plunge.
“We regret to inform all of our loyal supporters that the 25th annual Goodyear Lake Polar Bear Jump has been canceled due to a recent motor vehicle accident involving Brenda and Jamie Waters,” she wrote on the group’s Facebook page Tuesday evening. “Goody, The Waters Family and all of our dedicated volunteers will miss the brave and loyal jumpers this year.”
But it’s not the end – Brenda said the 25th anniversary jump will return next year.
The annual event, which attracts more than 200 to plunge into ice-covered Goodyear Lake every
February, has raised over $1 million, donated for children struggling with chronic illnesses.
Though she and her husband, Jamie, did their first polar bear jump in the St. Lawrence Seaway, they soon brought the idea home, with their first jump in 1997.
“I told him, ‘We don’t need to drive up there, we have cold water here!’” said Brenda. “We wanted to raise money for our church, so we did it ourselves.”
The next year, they added a local girl, Carlie Barry, then 3, who had cancer. “We just added recipients and jumpers every year.”
There were 11 jumpers the first year, and this year, nearly 300 brave souls took the plunge and raised more than $130,000, a record amount, for 16 recipients.
“I don’t know where they get that selfless courage,” said Brenda. “It’s crazy.”
They also do fundraising drives for the event that don’t require a bathing suit and a strong constitution, including the annual Chinese Auction at the Milford Central School, as well as fundraisers through the local schools.
“One hundred percent of the funds raised go to our recipients,” said Brenda. “I love to say that.”
However, the Waterses have come up with a way to continue fundraising for the recipients who have been selected. In January, there will be a contest to design a “No Fear” shirt, and the winning design will be printed on shirts and given to donors who give $100 or more.
They’ll also be hosting a songwriting contest, where local choral groups will compete to be in a Five Star Subaru commercial and participate in a song with up-and-coming country star Rylee Lum, the 12-year-old singer from Gilbertsville.
“People keep coming up to me with all these creative ideas,” she said. “And I want to encourage people to step up and come up with their own fundraisers. We want to keep people interested during this ‘skip year.’”
And the Waterses will also use the time to reorganize their website, including documenting the charity’s history, past recipients and more.
“I hand out cards whenever I travel, but then people tell me they can’t get on the site,” she said. “I want to get our history out there, pictures from the previous jumps and all the articles that have been written about us.”
The website, www.pbjump.com, will also have updates on events, contests and more.
“We look forward to seeing you again on Feb. 20, 2021,” she said.
Science reveals the truth about many things and can be trusted. It explains things we take for granted, such as why the seasons change, why flowers blossom in the spring and leaves fall at the end of summer, and even why water runs downhill. Indeed, science explains much of what we see in our daily surroundings – it can be trusted.
We tend to take it for granted because they are within our normal daily realm. All of these are obvious parts of the “balance of nature.” Within the science community this is what is known as “systems in equilibrium,” where everything depends on everything else to stay balanced. When the balance is upset, the system reacts and adjusts to the change. That’s how science works and a balance is maintained.
The same can be said of polluting the atmosphere.
Because our global society pumps pollutants into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, the atmosphere adjusts, which is what contributes to the documented trend of rapid climate warming currently in progress. These changes involve forces of energy that we are just beginning to understand and are difficult to accurately gauge, such as how a warming climate influences ocean temperatures and the well documented currents that move through the oceans like a conveyor belt.
To complicate matters, the non-scientist may hear different opinions from different science sources.
What is the lay-person to do – who to believe? One obvious tipoff is that scientists who accepted funding from energy companies are much more likely to offer an opinion less objective than others. This is certainly the case for scientists who deny any anthropomorphic influence on climate change. Once again, money talks.
I think we are beyond our ability to completely stop what has already been initiated, but it can be altered. To change the energy momentum of the atmosphere and oceans will require centuries, not decades.
That’s how long it will take to stop or reverse the warming in progress.
However, if we don’t try to reduce the warming the outcome will apply even greater stress on the global society. We must try even if our efforts appear ineffective to start. We all recognize areas impacted by extended draughts, excessive heat waves, more intense storms and the incessant upward creep of sea level.
All of which are examples of the “system” adjusting to climate change. The system is the environment we live in and experience every day.
All of this is within the realm of science. So, why then are elected officials, including the White House ignoring science? If they would acknowledge science and dwell less on satisfying big money donors, our local and global society would benefit. Without responsible leadership there is little hope to reduce the devastating effects within the foreseeable future.
Let’s face it. There will never be a time when fossil fuels won’t be an essential energy source. After all, airplanes will never be powered by “green energy.” No serious scientist thinks our global society will ever stop using some fossil fuels. But, that’s not the point. We should be working toward reducing our dependence on fossil fuels by vigorously developing alternate energy sources now. I doubt if anyone seriously thinks Green Energy will replace all other resources.
Climate change, along with all of its ramifications (and there are many) is causing serious stress within our global society. We can trust science to reduce the impact of these stresses and help find solutions to protect and preserve the quality of our living environment. This is the time of year to be thankful for our blessings, including reliable science.
P. JAY FLEISHER
A concerned scientist
Town of Milford
MILFORD – The 25th annual Polar Bear jump, scheduled for February 2020, has been cancelled, founder Brenda Waters announced today.
“We regret to inform all of our loyal supporters that the 25th annual Goodyear Lake Polar Bear Jump has been canceled do to a recent motor-vehicle accident involving Brenda and Jamie Waters,” she wrote on the group’s Facebook page this evening.
“Goody, The Waters Family and all of our dedicated volunteers will miss the brave and loyal jumpers this year,” the post said. “We look forward to seeing you again on Feb. 20, 2021.”
MILFORD — James A. Iandiorio, 78, Oneonta chiropractor and civic leader who served as president of Catskill Area Hospice of the the state Chiropractic Association, died peacefully on Nov. 16, 2019, at his home, surrounded by family.
He was born Jan. 8, 1941, in Staten Island, the son of James J. and Claire (Antico) Iandiorio. Jim was an Army veteran, and served from 1958 to 1961.
He married Diane Catella in 1964. She predeceased him in 2017.
Jim graduated from SUNY Oneonta and from New York State Chiropractic College in Manhattan. In 1968, he moved from New York City to Oneonta to open his chiropractic practice and to raise his family.
A three-generation tradition is alive and well at Jackie’s Restaurant in Milford where Jackie Folts, left, her sisters and the next generation were in full Halloween regalia today. Right of Jackie is sister Brenda Alton, Jordyn Scott, Brooke Sisson and sister Sue Sisson. The ladies pose with Bones and his dog, No-Barc. After the photo, the mother of the family, Sandy Chase of Cooperstown, showed up and posed with Jordyn. When her daughters were kids, Sandy said, they would say “oh, mom,” whenever she would encourage them to celebrate Halloween. Now, she said, the sisters are enthusiastic about it on their own. (Jim Kevlin /AllOTSEGO.com)
Timothy B. Mower, 45, Illion, was allegedly traveling south on state highway 28 in the Village of Milford when he is believed to have fallen asleep. His truck, which was towing a trailer, hit two cars parked on the shoulder of the roadway, pushing the second car into a brick wall and the third car into a utility pole.