What is China’s ‘zero covid’ policy and why did it trigger protests?     Ukraine live briefing: U.S. to announce help for Ukraine’s damaged energy infrastructure     From a bunker, an acting mayor keeps her front-line Ukraine town alive     What is China’s ‘zero covid’ policy and why did it trigger protests?     Ukraine live briefing: U.S. to announce help for Ukraine’s damaged energy infrastructure     From a bunker, an acting mayor keeps her front-line Ukraine town alive     China clamps down on ‘zero covid’ protests, loosens some pandemic measures     What you need to know about China’s covid protests     Reporter still haunted by Itaewon crowd crush, a tragedy close to home     What is China’s ‘zero covid’ policy and why did it trigger protests?     Ukraine live briefing: U.S. to announce help for Ukraine’s damaged energy infrastructure     From a bunker, an acting mayor keeps her front-line Ukraine town alive     What is China’s ‘zero covid’ policy and why did it trigger protests?     Ukraine live briefing: U.S. to announce help for Ukraine’s damaged energy infrastructure     From a bunker, an acting mayor keeps her front-line Ukraine town alive     China clamps down on ‘zero covid’ protests, loosens some pandemic measures     What you need to know about China’s covid protests     Reporter still haunted by Itaewon crowd crush, a tragedy close to home     
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News of Otsego County

ONC BOCES

Cooperstown Rotary Foundation Golf Tournament

Cooperstown Rotary
Foundation Golf Tournament

Over $1,000 in prizes are being offered at this year’s Lyn Edinger Memorial Golf Tournament scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2022 at the Meadow Links Golf Course, 476 County Hwy 27, Richfield Springs. The golf tournament is the primary fundraiser for the Cooperstown Rotary Foundation, a non-profit, tax deductible organization. Funds from the tournament support community programs including the Michael Mayne Scholarship at ONC BOCES, Rotary Youth Exchange and community funds such as the Youth Food Movement.

Lake Front Buffer Strip spruced up

Lake Front Buffer
Strip Spruced Up

Take a leisurely stroll down to Lake Front Park in Cooperstown and take in the beauty of the Buffer Strip Garden along the shore of Otsego Lake.

Over 15 years ago, the Otsego Lake Association helped to introduce the concept of the lakeside buffer strip to the Otsego Lake community.

“This Buffer Strip was created in 2005. It’s a conservation garden that buffers the water that comes from the village into the lake so it doesn’t pollute. It also helps keep the shoreline stable.,” said Suzy Kingsley, past president of the Lake and Valley Garden Club. “It’s more than just a pretty garden; it’s got a function and it’s done its job over the years.”

The Milford BOCES students built the boardwalk and started a lot of the willow plants. They come every spring to help open the garden.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Noon Networking with the Landmark Inn 04-26-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, APRIL 26

Noon Networking with
the Landmark Inn

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NETWORKING AT NOON – Noon – 2 p.m. Come out to meet business community members. Free to chamber members. Non-business or organization representatives, admission is $15/person. Bring a business card to be entered to win a Landmark Inn Gift Bag. Registration required. Landmark Inn, 64 Chestnut St., Cooperstown. Visit www.wearecooperstown.com/chamber-events/#!event/2022/4/19/networking-at-noon

News from the Noteworthy

Noteworthy News: Beyond the classroom at ONC BOCES

[Editor’s note: This week’s “News from the Noteworthy” comes from Otsego Northern Catskills Board of Cooperative Education Services – ONC BOCES – serving student from 19 component districts throughout the greater Otsego County region. ONC BOCES has plenty of great stories to share, and we’re delighted they accepted our invitation to do so in this space.]

One of the Career & Technical Education Course extras that students can take advantage of while enrolled at ONC BOCES is participating in many nationally recognized student leadership organizations. Through these clubs and organizations, our students network with industry professionals and fellow BOCES Career and Technical Education students at the state and national levels.

ONC BOCES students are involved with Skills USA, Health Occupations Students of America, and Future Farmers of America.  These groups help showcase the skills students acquire through their classroom instruction and prepare them for the world of work through leadership training activities, demonstrations, competitions, parliamentary procedures, and community service projects.

Pictured is Skills USA member and Cosmetology student Lydia Biruk of Roxbury. Lydia is preparing for one of the upcoming Skills USA regional championship contests — “Job Demo-Open” — that will take place at the State University of New York at Morrisville. Her presentation of “Happy Mistakes” allows her to do her best Bob Ross impression and demonstrate a job skill outside of her current occupational area.

Other students will compete in contests for culinary arts, engineering, technical math, public speaking, hair design, and many additional industry related areas.  Students who compete at the Morrisville competition may go on and participate in the state championships held each April in Syracuse.

Skills USA has national industry connections with 3M, Caterpillar, Carhart, John Deere, Lowe’s, Nissan, State Farm, and more.  Student members of the group understand extra aspects of a job that go above and beyond the industry-specific skills needed to gain and maintain employment within the workforce.

They also convey the employability skills that any employer seeks in the areas of appropriate time management skill, teamwork, communication, and attention to detail.

For further information about any of the Career & Technical Education programs or the student leadership clubs that are available at Otsego-Northern Catskills BOCES, please contact Ryan DeMars – Director of Career & Technical Education, Alternative Education & Adult Education.  You may contact his office by phone (607) 286-7715 extension 2609, or by email at rdemars@oncboces.org.

Information on all BOCES offerings can also be found on their website, www.oncboces.org.

 

 

 

Schools’ Closure Extended To 4/29; Regents Cancelled

Schools’ Closure

Extended To 4/29;

Regents Cancelled

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Crankshaw

COOPERSTOWN – The news had leaked out, but ONC BOCES superintendents, including Cooperstown’s Bill Crankshaw and Oneonta’s Tom Brindley, got the news officially at a superintendents’ summit this afternoon:

The school break announced March 13, extended once, will be extended again for another two weeks, until Wednesday, April 29, at least.

More surprising to the school chiefs was the news, delivered to the assembled group by ONC BOCES Superintendent Nick Savin, who had only learned it himself earlier today, was: This year’s Regents exams have been cancelled.

Schools Closed, But What About SATs? What About Sports?

CORONAVIRUS EDITION

Schools Closed, But

What About SATs?

What About Sports?

By ELIZABETH COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Brindley

Crankshaw

Families across Otsego County are working to adjust to a new normal of “social distancing,” and for many that includes having their school-age children at home.

Fears about the COVID-19 virus and its contagion have brought a massive and rapid change to how we live, and it isn’t yet clear what impacts that will have on routines students and families have lived by for decades.

• How long will the schools remain closed?

• What will happen if students can’t prepare or take state mandated tests?

• Will summer vacation need to be cancelled if students miss two months of school now?

• What will happen to spring athletic programs?

These are some of the questions that still remain unanswered as schools in the Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES and beyond stand shuttered under quarantine restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus.

“Each of the BOCES and each of the schools have to work off-site as much as possible to be congruent with the idea of social distancing as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said ONC BOCES Superintendent Nick Savin. “The main effort right now is to develop a structure in a very different way than we have worked before.”

The decision made late Friday afternoon, March 13, to close for two weeks among the 18 districts that constitute the BOCES group.

Then, on Monday the schools announced they would remain shuttered at least through April 13.

Savin said he and other school officials had been aware for some time that school shutdowns might be necessary, and had been planning. The situation escalated a bit faster than they expected, but they were largely ready, he said.

“I would encourage everyone to adhere to social distancing,” he said, referring to the practice of keeping physically separate from others as much as possible to prevent contagion.

Ensuring that students continue their education, even if they can’t be in school buildings is a primary objective he shares with area school district leaders.

Both Cooperstown Central School District and the Oneonta schools had prepared learning packets for all students by Monday morning, and were distributing them later that day.

CCS Superintendent Bill Crankshaw was outside Cooperstown Elementary Monday, where bins for each grade were set out and filled with packets bearing each child’s name.

The packets for a third-grade class, for instance, included a schedule for 14 days of assignments for every subject, and books for each student to read.

Oneonta Superintendent Thomas Brindley said his schools were doing the same.

“It is moving to see how many of our faculty and staff members are here tonight and the work that has gone into gathering and distributing materials to our students,” Brindley said.

Crankshaw spoke of the complexities of charting a course for his district in this uncertain time. “There are many unknowns at this point,” he said.

He stressed that his primary goal is to ensure the safety of students and staff in the ways that he can. Doing that, however, places schools at odds with the laws that guide teaching programs, he said.

Under the law, New York State schools must provide 180 days of instruction. Governor Cuomo has waived that requirement, but what will the schools need to provide?

“We don’t have a lot of clarity,” Crankshaw said, adding that it’s unlikely these issues will be resolved quickly.

“There is no way we will give state tests as scheduled,” he said. Tests for grades 3 through 8 had been set for late March, but now the schools will be closed during that period.

Regents examinations for high school students, which are required for graduation, are also in limbo, he said.

“We are concerned about preparations for those,” Crankshaw said.

Whatever decisions are made about academics and testing must follow those made by the rest of the state, because they involve established state laws.

“Making decisions unilaterally can be dangerous because you don’t know how they will pan out,” he said. “What is going to be forgiven? What are the grace periods? We have to be protected as a school district from expectations that are, frankly, law.”

Brindley agreed. “We are all waiting for some comprehensive guidance from the state,” he said.

Athletics is another area school districts are concerned about.

“How do we salvage a spring season for our athletes,” Brindley said. “Many of these kids wait all year to play a spring sport. For them to lose it would be unfortunate.”

Both Cooperstown and Oneonta will be providing school lunches and breakfasts for students in the assisted food program.

In Oneonta, each school district will have a food distribution point where two meals will be provided, a lunch for that day and a breakfast for the following day. The schools will continue to observe protocols about allergens in food, such as peanuts, Brindley said.

“We are planning to maintain a meal program for anyone who wants it,” Crankshaw said.

Cooperstown student meals will be available Mondays and Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. outside the high school. The school will deliver meals to any family that cannot pick the meals up themselves.

Over the two days, families can pick up meals for five days’ worth of breakfasts and dinners.

Schools Struggle With Many Issues COVID-19 Raises

 ONC BOCES SUPERS MEET TODAY

Schools Struggle

With Many Issues

COVID-19 Raises

Parent Travis Hodgdon picks up his children’s assignments for the next two weeks at Cooperstown Elementary School this morning. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By ELIZABETH COOPER  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

CDC image of the Coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – How long will the schools remain closed?

What will happen if students can’t prepare or take state-mandated tests?

Will summer vacation need to be cancelled if students miss two months of school now?

These are some of the questions that still remain unanswered as Cooperstown’s schools – and all schools in the ONC BOCES – stand shuttered under quarantine restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus.

Cooperstown Central Superintendent Bill Crankshaw was at his office this morning, along with a skeleton staff, working to chart a course for this uncertain time.

“There are many unknowns at this point,” he said.

Fears About Football, Tied To Drop In Pupils

‘LIVE BIRTHS’ & ENROLLMENT

Fears About Football,

Tied To Drop In Pupils

No decisions have been made yet about the future of football, or any other funding choices in the 2020-21 school budget, CCS Board of Education President Tim Hayes tells 200 fans gathers in the high school cafeteria Wednesday, Feb. 12. At right is Vice President Marielle Ainsworth; at left, Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTESGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

COOPERSTOWN – Matt Phillips, CCS ’02, shared a poignant story of his family’s affection for Redskins (now Hawkeyes) football, and the 200 fans in the CCS high school auditorium applauded.

“If not for football,” said Phillips, today Clark Sports Center’s Activities & Group Reservations director, “I wouldn’t have come to school.”

The football program has bad years, then rebounds, parent Matt Phillips, CCS ’02, told the crowd.

Cooperstown varsity football has had bad years, for sure, but always rebounded.  “My senior year,” he said, “we won one game.  My senior year, we were undefeated.”

Today, his daughter Leah plays with the team, continuing a family tradition.  “She even talks about playing in the NFL someday.”

The term “Life Births” – a term that floated through the room as the school board contemplated a wide round of cuts to the 2020-21 budget; the budget vote and school elections is May 19 – could trump the fans’ and others’ concerns.

“We are forced to make decisions that don’t feel great,” Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw said that evening: In 2007, there were 1,048 K-12 pupils; today there are 850, a 19 percent drop.

“Life Births” are compiled annually by ONC BOCES Superintendent of Schools Nick Savin for all 19 school district in his purview, nine in Otsego County.  Based on the number of births in a district any one year, he projects those numbers forward:  for instance, babies born in 2015 will enter kindergarten this fall.

If fewer seniors are graduating in June than kindergarteners are arriving in September – and this goes on year after year – a school district is headed for trouble.

For the 2019-20 school year, CCS has 79 students graduating, and only 50 kindergartners entering, a 37 percent drop, by far the largest among the ONC BOCES schools.

“At base, if you want a school, you have to build housing,” CCS board President Tim Hayes said in an interview, “affordable, quality housing … Until we start to create places for people to live in the community, I’m worried about the future of the community.”

Hayes served on the task force that created the Village of Cooperstown’s new Comprehensive Master Plan, approved last fall, which – to some community concern – allows larger homes to be broken up into apartments.

If there are no exterior changes, sufficient parking and other standards are met, village Zoning Enforcement Officer Jane Gentile can simply issue a permit; a project doesn’t have to go through the H-PARB, planning or zoning boards, said Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, who has played a central role in the comp plan and resulting zoning code.

Apartment houses – the Railroad Avenue neighborhood, in particular, is designated as appropriate – still require a special permit from the Village Board, she said.

It’s only been a few months since the new zoning was approved, but Falk said she’s unaware of any house conversions or apartment complexes being proposed.

In the 1970s and ’80, Hayes said, homes were being built in the district, but in the 1990s “preserving open space was more important than building houses for people who wanted to live here.”  Much of the surrounding towns of Otsego and Middlefield requires three-acre lots, he said.

That may be changing, Hayes said.  In addition to Cooperstown’s new zoning, the Town of Hartwick has contracted with Delaware Engineering for a Route 28 study.  The study wasn’t focused on housing, Falk said, but as survey results began coming in, housing needs were frequently mentioned.

With the largest employer in the county – Bassett Hospital, “a half-billion-dollar medical center” – just three blocks from Cooperstown Elementary, things should be different.

“Every day I see ads for employees at this medical center,” Hayes said.  “We definitely don’t have enough housing for people who want to live here.”

At last week’s meeting, Hayes and Crankshaw repeatedly said no firm decisions have been made about football or anything else.   The next of a series of “open budget discussions” is planned 6-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in the high school library.

Savin, the BOCES superintendent, said that while CCS’ situation is the most dire this year, it’s not alone.  “In Oneonta,” he said, “they seem to have some growth in the younger grades.  Every other school in our region:  They’re either staying flat or losing students.”

He continued, “In more schools, because we have declining enrollment, the school boards and communities are looking at more collaborative ways of keeping their teams.  It’s appropriate, in my view.”

“That’s what the data does,” he said:  “It causes the right kinds of conversations.”

 

In Oneonta, Data Show Stability, Even Growth

‘LIVE BIRTHS’ & ENROLLMENT

In Oneonta, Data Show

Stability, Even Growth

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Tom Brindley succeeded retiring Superintendent of Schools Joe Yelich in 2018. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

ONEONTA – Enrollment in Oneonta City Schools, it turns out, hit bottom with this year’s 10th graders.

The 105 sophomores comprise the smallest class, K-12, among the 1,738 students currently in city comprise.

What’s more, Oneonta’s schools have by far the largest enrollment, more than double second-place Cooperstown Central, among the 19 school district in ONC BOCES.

And, according to the annual “Live Births” compilation prepared by ONC BOCES Superintendent of Schools Nick Savin, it will continue to grow, at least modestly, for the time being.

“It’s a great situation for us to be in,” said Oneonta Superintendent of Schools Thomas Brindley, who was at his desk Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the midst of winter break when students and most teachers were vacationing.

Where Cooperstown Central, where “Live Births” are plummeting, is looking for ways to make cuts across the board, including football, Brindley can look at “staffing needs related to those numbers” with some optimism.

Yes, staffing it determined to some degree by the teacher contract, but there’s also room for “best practices,” he said.

Brindley agreed the addition of housing – the Silver Creek development in particular – has brought new people to the city. But also, families are drawn to Oneonta by jobs at the colleges or hospital.

The schools are an attraction, too, said Brindley, a former policeman who was promoted from high school principal to the top job when Superintendent Joe Yelich retired last year.

“But also, the Oneonta Central School District has a lot to offer its students,” he said, and on purpose.
Because of a wealth of extra-curricular activities, seniors grade with “very attractive transcripts.”

Beginning seven years ago, when he was appointed OHS principal, “we grew our clubs and organizations to grow an environment where there’s something for everyone,” whether the graduate it going into the workforce, the military or on to college.

“Whatever ‘next’ is,” he said, “it draws them in.”

The sophomore class, at 105, was a sharp reduction from this year’s seniors (134), according to Savin’s numbers.  But with some ups and downs, enrollment continued to trend upwards, to 140 (this year’s sixth grade) to peak at 152 (this year’s third grade).

The last “Live Births” analysis shows 140 kindergartners entering the Oneonta district next September, a next gain of six over the 134 seniors expected to graduate in June.

Valerie VanValkenburgh, 34, Stamford; Keyboard Specialist At ONC BOCES

 IN MEMORIAM: Valerie VanValkenburgh, 34,

Stamford; Keyboard Specialist At ONC BOCES

Valerie VanValkenburgh

STAMFORD – Valerie A. VanValkenburgh, 34, ONC BOCES keyboard specialist here, passed away peacefully with her family by her side on Feb. 15, 2019.

Valerie was born on Dec. 24, 1984 in Cobleskill, and was the only daughter of Vance and Georgianna (VanValkenburgh) Wetmore. On July 1, 2006 Valerie married Robin VanValkenburgh in the Hobart United Methodist Church.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6

Careers Of Otsego County

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CAREER EXPO – 5 – 8 p.m. Students, families, adults are invited to learn what careers are available in our region, educational opportunities, more. Meet with business, college exhibitors to learn what opportunities can be found in our backyard. ONC Boces, 1914 Co. Hwy. 35, Milford. 607-432-4500 ext. 104 or visit otsegocc.com

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, APRIL 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, APRIL 6

Professional Networking Event

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YOUNG PROFESSIONALS –  6-8 p.m. Come meet young professionals from the Otsego area in this networking event. J&D’s Wagon Wheel, Main St., Oneonta. Info, www.facebook.com/YoungProfessionalsNetworkYPN/

OPEN HOUSE – 5-7 p.m. The Otsego Area Occupational Center open house includes display’s games, open enrollment for adult education classes, child fingerprinting, and demonstrations from the CTE programs. Otsego Nothern Catskills BOCES, 1914 Co. Hwy. 35, Milford. Info, www.facebook.com/ONCBOCES/

ALDEN SCHOLAR SERIES – 7 p.m. “Rethinking Clutter: An Anthropological Take on the Stuff that’s Hard to Let Go” presented by Dr. Sallie Han. Free reception to follow. Alden Room, Milne Library, SUNY Oneonta. Info, E.K Lee, (607)436-2159

Gary ‘Mike’ Newell, Developed Alternate School In Hartwick

IN MEMORIAM:  Gary ‘Mike’ Newell,

Developed Alternate School In Hartwick

Mike Newell

HARTWICK – Gary Michael Newell, firefighter, poet and teacher who helped develop an alternative school in Hartwick, died peacefully at home on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.

Mike was born in Whitehall, the son of Patricia Newell (Cooper). His maternal grandmother, upon first peek, declared, “He’s not a Gary. He’s a Mike!” and hence he became known as Mike. His childhood home, with the mountains in his backyard, provided the perfect setting for him to develop a relentless curiosity and imagination, a life-long penchant for risk taking, and a love of the Adirondacks.

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