Kim Weekes, Oneonta, above, settles into the hairdresser’s chair Saturday at The Hair Studio, 179 South Main St., Oneonta for a much anticipated wash and cut from owner Kelly Woessner as “Phase Two” of NY Forward arrived Friday, enabling stores and “personal services” to restart, and offices to do so on Monday. Inset right, Sue Fink, Cooperstown, shows the hand sanitizer station, including sanitizer provided by Cooperstown Distillery, at Tin Bin Alley, 114 Main St., Cooperstown. Though stores required customers wear masks and limit capacity to 50 percent, many reported greeting plenty of happy customers anxious to support local commerce. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Perhaps as many as 500 people rallied peacefully in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza this afternoon to hear Rev. Ladonna Clark, a former police officer, above, say, “Most of our police are trying to do the right thing, but it’s the bad apples have to be checked and removed! There can be no peace as long as an officer can place his knee on the neck of a black man and take his life in front of our eyes!” As is happening nationwide, SUNY Oneonta student Sadie Starr Lincoln, Oneonta, inset left, organized this afternoon’s protest calling for justice and an end to racism following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Other speakers included SUNY students Johnson Brown and Kimberly Miller; United Universalist Pastor Craig Schwalenberg, and Shannon McHugh, a member of the city’s Community Relations & Human Rights Commission. Attendees were urged to vote, to speak out when they see incidents of racism and to join the NAACP, Oneonta chapter; Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt of the Red Door Church was on site with NAACP membership applications. The crowd filled Muller Plaza and spread across the street. Since social distancing was difficult, organizers urged attendees to be tested for COVID-19 following the gathering. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
There was no parade, and the crowds that usually cluster around the Memorial Walkway in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park were noticeably absent during the annual Memorial Day Celebration this morning. Above, Master of Ceremonies Les Grummons salutes as “Taps” is played for attendees, who brought wreathes and listened to a short speech from Mayor Gary Herzig. Following the ceremony, some members of the legion stopped by the home of John Forman, left, to salute him alongside fellow WWII veteran Fred Hicken. Returning to Legion Post 259, the veterans were surprised with complementary lunches from Brooks’ BBQ, courtesy of The Porch Fairies, anonymous donors who wanted to make sure veterans were honored. In addition to lunch, the Porch Fairies also dropped off gift cards for groceries for any veteran in need. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – CCS junior John Kennedy landed on the Class C 2nd team NYSSWA all-state boys basketball team. Kennedy averaged 17.3 points a game and led the Hawkeyes to the Section 3 Class C championship game this season.
Edmeston’s Josh Martin was also a 2nd team selection for Class D. Martin, a junior. averaged 22 points a game and helped the Panthers win their second consecutive Tri-Valley League title this season.
Oneonta’s Graham Wooden was selected third team in Class B. Wooden, a senior, was the ‘Jackets team leader averaging 21.2 points a game. He will play basketball next season for D2 Mansfield University.
MILFORD – In an average shopping trip, Laura Eggleston, Milford Food Pantry director, might buy 1,100 pounds of food to serve their 39 households.
On Monday, April 13, she placed an order for 4,300 pounds. “In these last two weeks, we’ve served 56 families,” she said. “That’s 193 individuals.”
As the COVID-19 crisis deepens, food banks across the county are seeing “a dramatic uptick,” said Maj. Cheryl Compton, Salvation Army. “Everyone just paid rent and many of them haven’t gotten their unemployment this month.”
Many of them are new customers, noted Julia Perdue, Cooperstown Food Pantry director. “We served 29 new households last month,” she said. “In all, we served 219 families. That’s our highest since 2007.”
“We’ve already seen 15 new people this month,” said Joyce Mason, director, St. James Food Pantry. “And it’s going to get worse the longer this goes on.”
However, she noted, the evening feeding ministry, The Lord’s Table, has seen a decline in people coming for the take-out hot meals. “It’s a social thing for them,” she said. “People want to sit down, and not being able to do so is difficult for them, so they don’t come.”
In Richfield Springs, Polly Renckens has seen the same influx of new clients herself, but worries the poor weather – or fears about COVID-19 exposure or that food may have run out – is keeping some former clients away.
“We have plenty of food!” she assured. “If we don’t see some people soon, we’re going to start calling individually to check on them.”
At many of the pantries, visitors are given a “shopping list” where they can check off what they need and want. “Client choice maintains dignity and alleviates food waste,” said Purdue. “If we give someone something they don’t want, it’s just going to go to waste on a shelf.”
The groceries are packed and bagged by volunteers – in masks and gloves – and then taken curbside for the client to pick up, contact-free. “We make every effort to protect the safety of our volunteers and clients,” said Renckens.
And so that no one goes hungry, Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA, started
a pet food pantry to help families stretch their budgets in tight times. The pantry has
been placed outside of the shelter so that people can maintain social distancing.
But, she noted, if someone can’t get to the pantry, a volunteer will take the food to them.
And although the pantries are seeing a rise in need for the pantries, they’re also seeing a rise in donations.
“We’ve raised $1,000 in the last month,” said Eggleston. “A dollar buys $10 of food from the regional food bank.”
“People are donating anything they can,” said Mason. “And we’re getting a lot of help from organizations.”
Even between pantries, there’s sharing. “If I have an excess of anything, I call around to see who needs it,” said Mason. “That’s just how I do it. We have to help each other out.”
But however long this lasts, Eggleston assures people that the pantry will always be there to help their neighbors.
“As long as we have food, we’ll hand it out,” she said.
There was lots of hooting, hollering and horn-blowing on Elm Street in Oneonta this afternoon as 13 cars filled with friends, family, teachers and classmates, all dressed in costumes with signs and decorations, were escorted by Oneonta police in a birthday parade for Zoey Tonner, who turned 7 today. “The invitations were ready, the treat bags were all made, then everything shut down,” explained her mother Danielle. “We had to cancel her party because of social distancing, so this is her coronavirus substitute!” The party was held at the home of Zoey’s babysitter Sarah Baden, where Zoey, seen at right with brother Rob and Dad “Fish”, waved to passersby from the lawn and porch, which were covered in decorations. As the parade passed by, Zoey took pictures with her camera as people hopped out to wish her “Happy Birthday” and leave presents and cards in a basket by the curb. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com
The Oneonta Community Concert Band, above, performed its “Good Ol’ Summertime In Winter Concert” this afternoon in the halls of the Foxcare Center. Led by Conductor Kerri Hogle, Milford, the band’s selections included “Seventy-Six Trombones,” ‘The Magnificent Seven,” “Carousel Selections,” and more. At right, David Hayes and wife Julie Suarez Hayes applaud after the band concluded the evening with “America, The Beautiful.” The next public concert will be held on Flag Day, June 14, 2020. (Ian Ausin/AllOTSEGO.com)
The sanctuary at First United Methodist Church in Oneonta was filled with inspiring words, social commentary and song this afternoon as crowds gathered to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 91st birthday. The event, hosted by the Oneonta NAACP, featured over a dozen speakers and performers including Yolanda Bush, seen above with Rich Mollen, as she sings “Rise Above,” written by Robin Seletsky and dedicated to the Oneonta NAACP. Mayor Gary Herzig, inset right, was also among the speakers, where he praised the NAACP and the Oneonta Police Department for their leadership in civil rights issues. He continued, encouraging vigilance, saying there was still work to do even in a “progressive and diverse” City like Oneonta: “Here in Oneonta, an individual visited our DMV and was told, ‘We cannot serve you,’ and was told to go to Cooperstown. In the year 2020 we are hearing this! As Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Oneonta must be open and welcome all persons.” Herzig’s reference was to the “Green Light” Law, where the state Legislature directed the issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal aliens; because of the special equipment and training required, county Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner has centralized processing those license applications at the main office in Cooperstown. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)