Volunteers Steve Londner and Dave Hutchison work together planting a sapling in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Trees for Tributaries” initiative which planted 80 small trees and shrubs along the S-curve near Oneonta Hugh School this morning. Founded in 2007, the goal of the program is to plant young trees and shrubs along stream corridors to prevent erosion, increase flood water retention, improve wildlife and stream habitat, and protect water quality A small group worked digging holes and planting80 young trees and shrubs that included Sycamore, Birch, Elderberry, and Dogwood. At right, Laura Grant, Upper Susquehanna Coalition, demonstrates how to place a protective sleeve over the trees to protect it from animals. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
‘WE REFUSE’ RESOLUTION PASSES
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Members of Oneonta’s First United Methodist congregation tonight approved a “We Refuse” resolution that rejects the United Methodist Church’s reaffirmation of prohibitions against gay marriage and gay pastors.
The “We Refuse” resolution says the “Traditional Plan,” approved, 53 percent to 47 percent, at the UMC’s General Conference last February in St. Louis, is “incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone.”
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM
ONEONTA – Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate our moms for loving us unconditionally, regardless of our faults.
Sadly, some LGBTQIA+ youth may not find support from their parents because of their sexual and/or gender identification.
A group of local moms aim to give LGBTQIA+ youth by doing what moms give best – hugs, planning a “Mom Hugs” booth at the Otsego Pride Fest June 1 in Neahwa Park. Anyone can stop by for a hug, moms want gay youths in particular to know they’re there for them.
FIERY SPEAKER APPLAUDED
In February, Worldwide Church Council
Affirmed Bar To Gay Marriage, Pastors
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – A resolution, “We Refuse,” objecting to the international United Methodist Church’s reassertion of its prohibition on gay marriage and gay pastors, was inserted into today’s Sunday Service program at Oneonta’s First UM.
The local resolution calls the church’s “Traditional Plan,” which reaffirmed its ban and was approved by majority vote last February, “exclusive, punitive, and unwelcoming” and declares it “incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone…and with Jesus’ teachings,” which tell people to love everyone “unconditionally.”
The resolution goes further, labeling the Traditional Plan “un-Christian.” It calls for regional churches and the bishop to reject it and pursue a separate path.
The insert also announced a Special Charge Conference for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the church, where members of the congregation will debate and vote on “We Refuse.” Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell, the pastor, will preside.
Delivering the sermon today was J.J. Warren, a gay seminary student from Penn Yan whom Bishop Mark Webb, of the Syracuse-based conference that includes Otsego County, has said he will not ordain.
Mayor Herzig Would Be ‘Surprised’
If State Funds River Street Project
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Bill Shue doesn’t see the Sixth Ward’s fight against housing developer RSS as a strictly Sixth Ward issue.
“If this can happen here, it can happen anywhere,” he said. “It can happen in Center City or on the East End.”
The Sixth Ward Neighbors United, which has vocally opposed Rehabilitation Support Services’ proposed 64-unit housing project at River and Duane streets, met tonight at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club, the first meeting since speaking at the Otsego County Board of Representatives’ April 3 meeting.
County Rep Danny Lapin, District 5, was in attendance, as was Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, and Mayor Gary Herzig.
By JENNIFER HILL Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – While most SUNY Oneonta students were at OH-Fest festivities today, eight students, a faculty member and a staff member met gathered at 5 p.m. to discuss ways to avoid selecting musical performers that did not match “the values of SUNY Oneonta.”
SUNY junior Eric Battista scheduled the meeting after he emailed students early about a resolution he drafted, proposing to “change the way speakers/performers are chosen and handled in the future” by the college’s Student Association. He said he received “hundreds of emails” back from students who said they supported his proposal but already had plans at the time of the meeting.
Battista decided to write the resolution and introduce it after SUNY Oneonta administrators Friday canceled tonight’s OH-Fest concert. Their decision came after learning students intended to protest the concert’s top performer, Sean Kingston, after discovering 2010 gang-rape allegations made against the rapper.
Tonight’s Rapper Sean Kingston concert in Neahwa Park was cancelled over gang-rape allegations from nine years ago, but despite warnings of rain, the 13th annual OH-Fest Street Carnival went off without a hitch today as Main Street was filled with throngs of locals and students alike gathered to enjoy music, food and festivities. Above, Oneonta’s Yussef Romeo and Fay Pikul, played one of the carnival games, while Paige Stewart, right, hugs Tiny Tim, a pygmy goat from New York Goat Yoga in Gilbertsville. OH-Fest is an annual joint celebration of spring by Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta students. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Carrying the “Take Back The Night” banner, Michaela Watts, left, and Taylor Trombley, members of the Opportunities for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program, led a group of students from the SUNY Oneonta campus to Hartwick College during the annual Take Back The Night march this evening. The crowd gathered to hear the stories of survivors at both campuses before continuing on to Muller Plaza in downtown Oneonta, where they closed out the night with affirmations of solidarity, pizza and music from the Cooperstown band, Hanzolo. At right, Frankie Graham, Oneonta, a representative of the Otsego Pride Alliance, spoke to those gathered in Muller Plaza: “I am a survivor, and I am here to say how important it is to tell our stories. I know the terror of the event and I know the fear of being outed. But we here at OPA are here to listen and support. You do not have to get through it alone. Know there is a safe space in this town where people will listen and believe you.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Jay Egg, CEO, Geo Egg, inset photo, speaks about heating Southside Mall with geothermal energy at a packed Oneonta Town Board meeting this evening in West Oneonta, as Town Board member Randal Mowers listens. “The writing is on the wall,” Egg said about future energy use. Municipalities and counties like Westchester are already declaring moratoriums on expanding natural-gas use while the state is green-lighting renewable energy. The Town of Oneonta is considering installing a geothermal heating system in Southside and other parts of the municipality, while the City of Oneoneta this week contracted with Geo Egg for a feasibility study on retrofitting a geothermal heating system in South Main Street. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)