Jennifer Mickle, Chair of the Relay For Life of Otsego County Committee, pins a purple ribbon button on the vest of Chris Chase, Assistant Director of the American Legion Riders, before the start of the third annual Foliage Run to benefit the Relay for Life at the American Legion Post 259 this afternoon. “Cancer didn’t stop just because COVID happened,” said Mickle. “We can’t hold the walks right now because of social distancing, but donations are appreciated and needed now more than ever.” Another rider who drew some attention was Chase’s dog Pixel, pictured at right, who was ready to ride inside her safety harness and goggles. To donate, please call (607) 287-3588, or visit the Relay for Life of Otsego County facebook page. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
27th Annual Pit Run On Through Oct. 31
Since the first race in 1994, it has never once rained on the day of the annual Pit Run, and that track record continued today as Mike Rubino, Bob Scanlon, Eric Michelitsch, and Nancy Scanlon joined Deb and Sid Parisian this morning in Neahwa Park to honor fallen Trooper Ricky J. Parisian at the traditional finish line for the annual PIT Run, which is being held virtually throughout October. A few racers did come down to the park to run the 5 and 10K courses, including family friend Don Guinta, who was “first” to cross the finish line with a time of 36:29. New this year is the 100K challenge, where runners and walkers can add up their daily totals to try and reach a 62 mile goal. Registrations are open through Oct. 15. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Rob Martinez, American Legion Riders director, and Assistant Director Chris Chase have made it their mission to make the ride substance-free in recent years. But they wanted to make sure today’s ride was COVID-free as well. Before the start of this year’s 18th Legacy Run, Chase created a blog post on the Legion Riders website promoting safe practices for all riders. Riders, like Nathan Epps, Gloversville, top photos wore masks and had their temperatures checked by Devin Chase, Oneonta. “The Legacy Run is a scholarship to benefit children of soldiers and veterans who have passed away or have become disabled since 9/11,” explained Martinez, seen in image on right. “This year we’re doing it a little different,” added Chase. “Instead of giving all the proceeds to the national Legacy fund, we will be splitting it with our own fund. Last year no children from New York received any support, so with the money we keep we will make sure half of it goes to our local kids.” some will also go to businesses who contributed to the Legion Riders over the years. “We know some of them are struggling and this is a way for us to give back and thank them for their support,” Chase said. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
‘PHASE 2’ ALLOWS SHOPPING
Sun Shines, Cooperstown,
Oneonta Main Streets Open
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. LaDana 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; Rev. Craig Schwalenberg, pastor, Unitarian Universalist Society 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.
IN TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
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