Bolsonaro and Lula are heading to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Bolsonaro and Lula are heading to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Iran’s release of Iranian-American not conditioned on asset unfreezing, U.S. says.      Tear gas use by Indonesian police questioned in wake of mass fatality soccer tragedy     What’s behind the protests in Iran?     Bolsonaro and Lula are heading to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Bolsonaro and Lula are heading to second round in Brazil election     Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media      Ukraine live briefing: U.S., U.K. say Russia’s retreat from Lyman ‘significant,’ hurts its ability to resupply troops     Iran’s release of Iranian-American not conditioned on asset unfreezing, U.S. says.      Tear gas use by Indonesian police questioned in wake of mass fatality soccer tragedy     What’s behind the protests in Iran?     

News of Otsego County

New York City

Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Polio, Part II

Three weeks ago, this column covered the topic of polio, its cause, symptoms, complications, treatment, and prevention. Polio continues to be in the news, especially in New York, because there are indications that it is spreading geographically. Polio virus has been found in wastewater in Nassau County, Long Island.

Last Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency because of the increasing number of positive tests and the apparent spread outward from the initial location. The order is to better enable health care providers to fight the disease and prevent further outbreaks of paralysis.

Among other things it will require providers to send vaccination data to the state Department of Health to better track the total numbers around the state in order to direct the greatest efforts in those areas. The order also allows expanded authorization of who can administer the vaccine. During the emergency, midwives, pharmacists, and other licensed paraprofessionals can vaccinate.

STERNBERG: West Nile Virus
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

West Nile Virus

To add to all the other viruses that we have had to think about, COVID, monkeypox, polio, we can add West Nile Virus (WNV) which is now endemic in the New York City area.

This is not yet affecting us in Otsego County and surrounding areas and probably won’t. While it is transmitted to humans by mosquitos, the reservoir, the source and reproduction site for the virus is various bird species. There is no treatment but the most obvious prevention is to kill the mosquitos that infect people.

In the city, NYC health officials found the virus in mosquitos in over 1,100 pools of water. They have initiated widespread spraying to kill them. Additionally, epidemics of WNV die off where the weather is too cold for the mosquitos.

BERKSON: City Silos

Life Sketches by Terry Berkson

City Silos

Not long ago, most dairy farms in New York State had at least one silo. Today, many farmers have abandoned the use of these classic cylinders in exchange for modern innovations like silage bags and concrete-sided bunks. “They’re not much to look at,” says retired silo salesman Paul Sarafin, “but they get the job done.”

Unlike the demise of the farm silo, city silos are as popular as ever. Like a wooden warhead perched atop a missile of stone and concrete, the rooftop water tank is as familiar on the New York City skyline as chrome and glass. It bears a payload of cool, clear water, making high-rise life possible. This seemingly antiquated barrel, similar to one built well over a hundred years ago with virtually the same methods and materials, has stood against the inescapable tides of time. Without it, apartments and offices above the sixth floor would be left high and dry. Water pressure from the street only covers the lower floors. Taller buildings need tanks in which to store water, pumped electronically to the roof and then fed down through pipes by gravity.

Out of My Shell

Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Out of My Shell

Last week, I took a major step for myself and poked my head out of my shell. I decided that the situation with COVID is really not going to get much better. It is going to be endemic like the flu or the common cold and we’re going to have to deal with it. It’s time to get life back to as normal as possible.

I decided to take a trip to New York City, specifically Manhattan. There were several things that I wanted to do, and I haven’t been able to do for over two years. My personal schedule gave me a small window of opportunity to make the trip. I was also interested to see the response in the city to the continued presence of COVID and increase in lab-positive cases.

I went to a museum and I went to a Broadway show off Times Square. I also had a report from a friend of the crowd reaction at New York Rangers hockey game.

One day I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art specifically to see a special event, a major retrospective of the works of Winslow Homer. By the way, if you have any interest in American art, you must get down to see this exhibit. It is worth the trip. These major retrospectives of Homer occur only approximately once every 25 years. This one is every bit as spectacular as the last one was in the mid-90s.

In Memoriam Lois I. Brenner November 3, 1932 – March 14, 2022

In Memoriam

Lois I. Brenner, 89

Nov. 3, 1932 – Mar. 14, 2022

Lois I. Brenner

ONEONTA – Lois I. Brenner, 89, passed away peacefully at home on March 14, 2022.

Lois was born November 3, 1932 in Brooklyn, the daughter of Henry and Isabel (Corry) Erickson.

Lois graduated from Fort Hamilton High School in 1950.  Following graduation, she worked in the financial district in New York City at Hanover Bank for several years.

Lois married David W. Brenner on September 5, 1954 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, NY.

Following their marriage, they moved to Oneonta so David could attend college at SUCO.  Lois held several office jobs in Oneonta prior to the birth of her children and raising her family.  She enjoyed playing Bridge in several organized clubs in Oneonta with friends at times hosting the groups at her home.  In 1968 she started working what she thought would be a temporary part-time job out of her home for the Otsego County Employees Federal Credit Union. Over the years, the temporary part time position became a fulfilling full-time career. After several mergers including with the Sidney Federal Credit Union, she was appointed branch manager of the Sidney Federal Credit Union office in Oneonta, retiring in 1995.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Explore Butternut Creek with OCCA 09-10-21

Explore Butternut Creek with OCCA


BUTTERNUT CREEK FLOAT – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Join the Otsego County Conservation Association for a leisurely paddle on the creek where you will learn about the natural and human history of our region, take in the sights, and have fun. Bring your own craft or reserve one of OCCA’s. Please come dressed for the weather with food, water, etc. Free, registration required. Bailey Rd., Gilbertsville. 607-547-4488 or visit

LIMITI: Upstate life intrigues newcomer to region

Upstate life intrigues
newcomer to region


I graduated from CUNY Brooklyn just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting. After spending a year stringing for local Brooklyn publications and covering Black Lives Matter protests, I was ready to embrace a different lifestyle when I was offered a position as staff reporter for the Freeman’s Journal.

I’m not a sentimental person when it comes to where I live. I lived for three years in Flatbush Brooklyn, which was neither hipster nor trendy.

Instead, I spent my nights huddled up alone in my apartment watching anime and listening to the countless amounts of gunshots and firecrackers all night.

Compare that to moving to Oneonta, where the only thing that broke the silence was the freight train rolling past Neahwa Park and the occasional drunken college students chattering outside.

The weirdest thing about moving to Oneonta though was the fact that everybody seemed to be happy, a foreign concept in the city, apparently.

It seems like most New York City residents fled to Long Island, my home region, which I never liked, and New Jersey. I chose to go Upstate. I guess I’m just a singular experience in that growing trend.

But it was really the job that made me come here. There was nothing I wanted to do more than journalism, and I was finally being given a way to make that tricky career choice of
mine work.

One thing I’ve learned is that some of the most impactful work you can do as a journalist is in small towns and cities. New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. have no shortage of journalists, all of them competing for the same positions and stories.

In the end, my decision to work for a local paper, one which had been around for literal centuries, seemed like a no brainer, because I was committed to the importance of local journalism.

Loneliness is a bigger issue than anything else I’ve faced so far. In an effort to meet people, feel alive and be happy, I’ve done things I’ve never expected that I would do: I took pictures at a burlesque show, I’ve gone to Main Street and played guitar, I’ve eaten cold cheese pizza at Tino’s, drank coffee and read a book outside the Green Toad Book Store and somehow I’ve had random conversations with complete strangers about nothing in particular.

You can’t really do that in Brooklyn.

Well, yeah you can, but it would be a fruitless endeavor. Nobody is interested in you personally. In New York City, you’re a cog in the machine. You’re just one tiny spec among millions of other tiny specs. You may love the city, but it is unrequited. The city will never love you back.

Oneonta might be strange, different, even bizarre, at least from the perspective of a Long Island kid who moved to Brooklyn, but I can’t believe that the City of the Hills doesn’t care about me. It just doesn’t have that vibe.

For that, I’m grateful.

Haring-Inspired Mural In Pioneer Park

Haring-Inspired Mural In Pioneer Park

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Angel Garcia has some fun with one of his murals.

A few years ago, Angel Garcia had just completed what he described as an anti-racism mural, “balanced with positive imagery,” at New York City’s Dual Language Middle School on West 77th Street.

“The theme idea was to create a mural that would explore the topic of racism – and healing,” said the Brooklyn artist, who will be creating a mural in Pioneer Park this summer in connection with the Keith Haring exhibit that opens May 29, Memorial Day Weekend, at The Fenimore Art Museum.

He was leaving the school soon after it was completed, and there, in front of the mural, “was one student explaining the imagery to another. They were using the mural to educate each other.

“It was beautiful moment,” said Garcia, now 29, a prolific artist whose opus to date includes 10 public murals in New York City and many individual canvases.

The Fenimore’s president, Paul D’Ambrosio, said the idea of commissioning a mural downtown in connection with muralist Haring’s exhibit came out of staff brainstorming during the grant application process.

“Everybody loved the idea,” he said. “We couldn’t put the (Haring) artwork downtown. But we could create one.”

A wooden wall will be built in Pioneer Park’s left-hand corner. After the Haring exhibit closes, the mural will become part of The Fenimore’s permanent collection, D’Ambrosio said.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Crime A Worry, But ‘Quality Of Life’ Of Greater Concern


Crime A Worry,
But ‘Quality Of Life’
Of Greater Concern

I revisited (social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s 1982 article, “Broken Windows,” in the Atlantic) because I was trying to solve a mystery. On a recent reporting trip to New York City to ask bankers, policy analysts and real estate brokers about the city’s economic future, I kept hearing that crime was a major risk.

…When I probed, I found that they talked less about violent crime than disorder. Homeless encampments were flourishing, panhandling had become more aggressive, and minor crimes like public urination or open drug use were not just more visible, but making the papers.

The summer had brought looting and riots close to home as well. Moreover, many of them saw this as a result of the city’s deliberate decision to ignore the “quality of life” offenses that broken windows had emphasized.

Megan McArdle
Washington Post, March15, 2021

Daddy Al’s Christmas Adventure

Daddy Al’s Christmas Adventure

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

“Daddy Al” and Susan Dick pose in front of their West Oneonta spruce as it was lit up at Rockefeller Center.

When Sue Dick moved into the home here where she and “Daddy Al” raised their family, she often wondered about the Norway Spruce in the front yard.

“I always wanted to decorate that tree,” she said. “But it was always too big and I didn’t have the stuff to do it. But now I’ve finally seen it decorated, and it was beautiful.”

With performances by Kelly Clarkson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Dolly Parton and Earth, Wind & Fire, the Dick family’s 75-foot Norway Spruce was lit as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree during the 88th annual celebration on Wednesday, Dec 2.

“We knew that tree was beautiful,” said his daughter Paula. “It was a magical night.”

“This year, we just feel the tree is vital,” said Rob Speyer, president/CEO of Tishman Speyer, which owns Rockefeller Center. “The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree always represents the holiday season, but it has also stood tall as a symbol of hope, resilience, and New York’s enduring spirit, from the Great Depression to 9/11, Superstorm Sandy through today.”

Speaking during the lighting ceremony, he continued, “2020 has been a difficult year, but New Yorkers have persevered, and we are determined to come back better and stronger. We are particularly proud to continue the joyous tradition this year.”

As it happens, the huge spruce was the second from Oneonta: The first, from the Country Club Road yard of Graig and Angela Eichler, adorned Rockefeller Center in 2016.

Following the delivery of this tree to Rockefeller Center Saturday, Nov. 14, “Daddy Al” reported emails, letters, Christmas cards and gifts began to show up at his deli and grocery on Oneonta’s West End.

“I’ve been answering emails all day,” he said. “They come from England, Haiti, Miami, Geneseo. People say I’m inspiring, but I didn’t know that!”

One person sent even a hardcover book about the history of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. “They told me they thought I should have it,” he said. “Another person who donated a tree sent me a little book about the tree, and I read it to my grandkids.”

But he had a fair share of detractors too, some who called the tree – it may have arrived in Manhattan after a two-day journey looking a little worse for wear – “the embodiment of 2020” and “The Charlie Brown Christmas tree.”

“The New York Times called me up and asked if I could guarantee the tree would look good,” Al said. “I told them of course it would look good!”

But with the reveal a diminutive Saw-whet owl found among the branches after the 170-mile journey, softer hearts prevailed.

Rocky, as she became known, was rehabilitated and released by the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties. Her image adorned merchandise, memes, a painting by Cooperstown’s May Britt Joyce, a bobble-head and, most recently, the tail of a Frontier Airlines jet.

“We hear owls all the time,” said Al. “But I’ve never seen that one! I don’t know how she got in there.”

Before the tree lighting, the Dicks were taken to dinner and on a tour of the sights, including Top of the Rock and to see the famed Saks Fifth Avenue light display.

“I’d seen it on YouTube, but to see it in person was phenomenal,” said Susan.

And when word got around who they were, they had fans approaching them throughout the evening. “One woman came up to us and said that she had moved to Oneonta in 1982 and now lived in Rhode Island,” said Susan. “She asked if we knew some people that she remembered, and we did!”

The Oneonta tree was covered with more than 50,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights, and is on display through early January 2021, with COVID regulations, including social distancing, digital queuing, time limits and mask requirements, in place. The lit tree will also will be live-streamed each day from 8 a.m. – midnight.

“It was perfect,” said Al. “Just like we knew it would be.”

Gardeners from Rockefeller Center have already returned to West Oneonta for one round of landscaping and plan to return in the spring to build a new fence and plant apple trees.

And while they were there, they found a small sapling near the site of the former towering tree, likely one of the original pinecones taking root.

Union ‘Demands’ Troopers Removed From NYC Duties


Union ‘Demands’

Troopers Removed

From NYC Duties

ALBANY – The head of the New York State troopers’ Police Benevolent Association issued a statement Wednesday “demanding” that state troopers be removed from New York City “and cease any law enforcement activities within that jurisdiction,” the Times Union is reporting.

“We have arrived at this unfortunate decision due to the hastily written so-called police reform legislation recently passed by the New York City Council,” said PBA President Thomas H. Mungeer.

NYC Looks To Phase 1, Otsego, Others Allowed To Shop, Work Again


NYC Looks To Phase 1,

Otsego, Others Allowed

To Shop, Work Again


ALBANY – It’s a sign of a pandemic on the run.

At today’s briefing, Governor Cuomo today announced even New York City, which has suffered from CORONA-19 more than almost any community in the world, will enter Phase 1 of reopening on June 8.

He also also announced five other regions, including Mohawk Valley (Otsego County’s) can enter Phase 2″, where offices and stores can reopen, and where you can even get a haircut.

Andrew M. Blum, 89; Banker On Wall Street Led Hyde Hall Revival


Andrew M. Blum, 89;

Banker On Wall Street

Led Hyde Hall Revival

Andy Blum and his wife Flis were inseparable for a half-century.

COOPERSTOWN – Andrew M. Blum, 89, died on May 18, 2020, at his home in New York City, with his loving wife of 47 years, Felicia, at his side.

He is survived by three children: Marcia Compton, Olivia Brown and Drew Blum, all of Hillsborough, North Carolina, eight grandchildren, and three great -grandchildren. He also had two stepchildren: Edwin Stebbins and Richard Stebbins.

He attended Hobart College in Geneva, and was in the Naval Reserve, 1949-69.

Lenny Fishman, 83; Owned Taxi Fleet, Limo Service In NYC

IN MEMORIAM: Lenny Fishman, 83;

Owned Taxi Fleet, Limo Service In NYC

COOPERSTOWN – Louis Hyman Fishman, 83, who developed and ran a fleet of taxicabs in New York City, passed away Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at Bassett Hospital.

A native New Yorker, he was born Feb. 3, 1934, in New York City, a son of Alter Eliozor and Gussie née Gittel Fishman.

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