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News of Otsego County

Opportunities for Otsego

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO : 08-02-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, AUGUST 2

Summer Concert Series Continues

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COOPERSTOWN CONCERT – 7 – 9 p.m. The Cooperstown Concert series returns for 2022 with an opening concert by Imani Winds. Known for their dynamic playing & adventurous programming which has inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Tickets, $30/adult. The Otesaga, Cooperstown. 877-666-7421 or visit www.cooperstownmusicfest.org

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: 07-29-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JULY 29

‘Field of Dreams’
Discussion & Screening

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BASEBALL AUTHOR – 1 p.m. Discuss ‘If You Build It… A Book About Fathers, Fate, and Field of Dreams’ with the author Dwier Brown, who acted in the 1989 film ‘Field of Dreams.’ Followed by a book sighing in the Atrium. Held virtually and in person in the Bullpen Theater, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/author-series-dwier-brown?date=0

BASEBALL MOVIE – 7 p.m. enjoy a screening of the classic film ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989). Film will be followed a short Q&A session with Dwier Brown who played the father of the main character in the film and who went on to write the book ‘If You Build It… A Book About Fathers, Fate, and Field of Dreams.’ Free, tickets required. Grandstand Theater, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/field-of-dreams-movie-screening?date=0

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: 07-22-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JULY 22

Folk Music with the
Franklin Stage Company

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MUSIC – 7:30 p.m. The Vicki Kristina Barcelona Band performs a re-imagining of the lyrical genius of the Tom Waits songbook via inventive three-part harmonies and a treasure trove of instruments including banjos, bottles, squeezebox, and zills. Free admission. Franklin Stage Company, 25 Institute St., Franklin. 607-829-3700 or visit franklinstagecompany.org/events/vicki-kristina-barcelona/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: 07-05-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JULY 5

Small Town Big Band
at Lake Front Park

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LAKEFRONT CONCERT – 6:30 p.m. Enjoy the 17th season of the Lakefront Concert Series. This week features the Small Town Big Band performing old and new tunes from the big band era. New this year, the delicious Mella’s Wood Fired Pizza will be onsite for the hungry concertgoers. Lakefront Park, Cooperstown. 607-547-9983 or visit www.wearecooperstown.com/events/cooperstown-lakefront-concert-series-3/

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

News from the Noteworthy

Violence Intervention Program aids sexual assault victims

[Editor’s note: Opportunities for Otsego contributes this week’s ‘News from the Noteworthy,’ prepared by Will Rivera, Crisis Intervention Director, and Hannah Bosman, Violence Intervention Program Education and Resource Specialist.]

Opportunities for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program recognizes the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every 68 seconds, someone in our country is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is defined as any form of contact or behavior that occurs without any consent from the victim. One out of six women, and three percent of men in our country have been the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime. Sexual assault can take various forms such as rape, unwanted touching, knowingly passing along a sexually-transmitted disease, and videotaping without consent.

Opportunity for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP) works around-the-clock to support victims of sexual / domestic assault, as well as promoting safe environments and self-worth. The Violence Intervention Program’s Silent Witness Exhibit was created for survivors to share their stories so they can build strength, resilience, awareness, and justice for victims. One anonymous survivor shared they were physically and emotionally abused by their partner. When they disclosed to their family about their abuse, their family was supportive. After securing safe housing, they were able to apply for an order of protection.

The victim said, “I was so happy and felt so safe to be back home and out of his sight.”

The consequences of sexual violence are detrimental; they can have long-lasting effects that can impact a victim’s physical and mental well-being. Showing your support to victims can help them speak out when crimes like this occur and can improve awareness in our community.

After a sexual assault has occurred, it can be very scary for the victim. They may not be sure what to do next. An essential victim support is to ensure they are listened to and know they are believed. This can be accomplished by using phrases such as, “It’s not your fault,” and “I’m sorry this happened.”

In our community, individuals can be active bystanders when witnessing abuse. Being an active bystander is to safely step in and intervene when witnessing these crimes. This may give the person you’re concerned about a chance to get to a safe place or to leave the situation.

Supporting victims in our community also means we need to create changes and hold abusers accountable for their actions. Changes in our local organizations, businesses, schools, and workplace cultures that shift their focus to supporting victims and prevention of sexual assault and abuse provides our community with the tools to understand our role in calling out problematic behavior.

Then we can focus on holding abusers accountable and bringing an end to victim-blaming.

VIP provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and violent crimes so they may find the safety and support they need to live free from abuse. If you or someone you know has been impacted by interpersonal violence, contact VIP, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 607-432-4855. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Hartwick Presents Visiting Writer Series 03-02-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2

Hartwick College Presents
Visiting Writer Series

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WRITERS SERIES – 7 p.m. Hartwick’s spring visiting writers series presents Krys Malcom Belc for a reading followed by a Q&A session. Belc is known for ‘The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood’ and has won contests at Redivider and Pigeon Pages. Free, in-person, open to the public. Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, Hartwick College. 607-431-4921 or visit www.hartwick.edu/academics/academic-departments/english-department/visiting-writers-series/

This week 02-10-22

THIS WEEK’S NEWSPAPERS

The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

February 10, 2022

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Telly in her element: Telly couldn’t have been happier than to get on the ice and snow that fell on Cooperstown last week. The two-year-old Bernedoodle enjoyed playing and relaxing on the snowbank in front of her mom’s shop on Main Street. Jen Howard, owner of Cooperstown Classics, said, “Telly lives for this weather. It’s her favorite time of year!” The good girl is full-grown, topping out at 75 pounds.

FRONT PAGE

Cooperstown Central plots anti-racism strategy, addresses complaints

Doubleday renovations on track for June finish

Inside The Paper

State says ‘no’ to gifting pot

Not a day over 27

Fate of James Fenimore Cooper murals rests with Westchester school board

Glimmerglass Festival names three ‘Honorary Life Trustees’

Cooperstown costume pro voting on top film awards

Perspectives

Editorial

District Attorney right on bail, discovery

COLUMNS

Rust never sleeps

Sternberg on COVID this week: Getting better?

Opportunities for Otsego: The Childcare Dilemma

History Column

Bound Volumes

LETTERS

Editors Policy

OBITUARIES

Lloyd H. Johnson

Linda J. Hall

Marshall L. Thorne

David S. Wilshere

CALENDAR

Happenin’ Otsego

Opportunities for Otsego: Dan Maskin

Opportunities for Otsego: The Childcare Dilemma

By Dan Maskin

I recently listened to an interview with journalist Claire Suddath about childcare. She was speaking about her November 2021 article in Bloomberg Business Week titled “How childcare became the most broken business in America: Biden has a plan to make day care more affordable for parents — if the providers don’t go out of business first.”

The high cost of childcare is mainly due to it being a private market that is heavily regulated (as it should be). A childcare provider must have one caregiver per three to four infants; for older children it’s seven to eight per caregiver. Caregivers’ salaries are generally around $15 per hour, or $31,200 per year. Most day cares are small businesses, and the United States Treasury reports a 1 percent profit margin for day care services.

Cheaper childcare usually means providers are unlicensed, which can potentially pose a safety risk.

Most day care workers have some form of higher education and a strong commitment to the early childhood development profession. But with salaries so low, it’s no wonder that according to Suddath, 25 poercent of childcare workers leave the profession each year.

We shouldn’t blame the providers, either. As Ms. Suddath pointed out, a 1 percent profit margin does not give providers a lot of wiggle room. Economists refer to the childcare business as a classic market failure. That’s when the price point of goods or services is too expensive for consumers and too expensive for providers, with no way to fix it in a private market setting.

At Opportunities for Otsego, we used to provide what’s called a wrap-around day care program. Since Head Start is only four hours a day, we began providing general day care for the rest of the day. It met the demand very well, but OFO lost tens of thousands of dollars for each year we provided the service. When the sequester was implemented, we had to choose to either shut down a Head Start classroom or close the day care service. We made the difficult decision to close the day care service because of the significant financial losses it incurred.

I mention this as an example of not only the unaffordability of providing childcare, but the difficulties childcare providers face when the cost of running an operation exceeds the revenues that are required to provide the service.

Many other governments in industrialized countries heavily subsidize childcare. But the US Congress hasn’t dealt with it since World War II. President Biden’s Build Back Better bill addresses childcare but leaves it optional for states, with no federal oversight.

I get asked from time to time why our community can’t solve the day care problem. The answer is that it can’t just be solved locally. Until there is a strong national policy, the hopes of providing quality affordable day care will continue to be the elusive goal that communities have been struggling with for years and years.

Dan Maskin is Chief Executive Officer of Opportunities for Otsego, Inc. Learn more about the organization at ofoinc.org.

Oneonta warming site at capacity

Oneonta’s warming station at 189 Chestnut Street. (Kevin Limiti/AllOtsego.com)

Oneonta warming site at capacity

By Kevin Limiti

Opportunities for Otsego and the Oneonta Police Department are exploring strategies to get homeless people in the area sheltered now that winter is here.

An executive order issued by former Governor Andrew Cuomo says that after temperatures go below 32 degrees, the homeless must be sheltered.

Catholic Charities, the Main Street Baptist Church, Otsego County Department of Social Services, and other religious groups opened a new warming station in Oneonta in March 2021 to allow those outside to warm up during the cold weather.

Eviction moratorium extension draws opposition

Eviction moratorium extension draws opposition

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The extension of the eviction moratorium in New York has drawn criticism from local politicians, who see it as being unfair to landlords, while others say renters and landlords need to take advantage of state assistance in order to mitigate a potential housing crisis.

The eviction moratorium was extended to Jan. 15, 2022, which Gov. Kathy Hochul said was to “alleviate the crisis facing vulnerable New Yorkers who are suffering through no fault of their own.”

Chamber forum seeks solutions for workforce shortage

Chamber forum seeks
solutions for workforce shortage

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Kingston, speaks to the panel during an Otsego County Chamber of Commerce forum on workforce needs.

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom town hall Tuesday, July 27, to discuss workforce needs for small businesses.

The participants included Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, and Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie.

The overall sentiments of the Zoom call echoed the reality of a huge problem with understaffing and the difficulties hiring employees in Otsego County.

Business owners spoke of restaurants being unable to service customers due to staff shortages and some businesses being forced to close early based on having no staff available.

Audrey Benkenstein, from Opportunities for Otsego, spoke about how many of her organization’s positions required advanced degrees and training, which made finding employees very difficult.

“We serve a vulnerable population and without staffing our programs suffer,” Benkenstein said. She said there were also lack of transportation options, lack of internet issues and lack of day care assistance available.

‘Code Blue’ Fears Spur Shelter Idea

‘Code Blue’ Fears Spur Shelter Idea

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Main Street Baptist Church has stepped up to provide a home shelter on “Code Blue” nights this winter, when temperatures are below freezing, or the wind chill makes it feel that way.

The only obstacle is $40,000-50,000 – a one-time sum needed to enable Catholic Charities to run the program. Once it gets going, the state will fund it.

So a fundraising effort was launched this week, according to Brad Feik, liaison between the Baptist church and Caring for the Homeless Collaborative, which Fox Hospital assembled two years ago on discovering its Emergency Room was the shelter available from wintry storms.

A letter went out Monday, Dec. 7, to the county’s “faith community,” signed by the Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt, pastor of Oneonta’s “Red Door” Presbyterian Church, and Jennifer Schuman, of Fox’s Homeless Collaborative.

“Any donation of any amount is welcome to make this heartfelt dream of a Community Warming Station come true,” said the letter.

A member of Main Street Baptist provided 189 Main St., a former optical store, for the warming station, according to Feik, who with his wife Noel operate Otego’s Crossroads Inn, providing sober-living housing for people released from rehab and jail, and for the homeless.

Renovations began over the weekend, said Feik, and should be completed in the next few days. The hope is to open the warming station in mid-January, at the time it’s most needed.

He estimated there are 50-60 homeless people in Oneonta at any one time, and when “Code Blue” weather arrives, 3-7 people may sleep from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. In some cases, people whose furnaces runs out of oil during cold snaps will use the facility as well.

The “warming station” concept emerged two years ago from Fox Hospital’s Ethics Committee, which was concerned about removing homeless people from the Emergency Room where they congregated on cold nights because they had nowhere else to go, according to Schuman.

She called Dr. Reggie Knight, who last month was named chief physician executive for Bassett Healthcare Network, the “administrative champion” of the concept. Feik also credited Jeff Joyner,

Fox Hospital president who was recently promoted to Network COO.

“We’ve been speaking with funding sources and asking local citizens for contributions,” said Schuman.

“Code Blue” was defined a few years ago by an executive order from Governor Cuomo. Currently, on cold nights people in need of shelter must go to the Opportunity for Otsego shelter and use the term “Code Blue” to receive a voucher a night’s lodging, Schuman said.

The warming station, she said, “would be a very low barrier” for people seeking shelter, some of who are “people who have difficulty with authority.”

According to Feik, the demand for the “warming station” might actually be less than usual this winter, since COVID-19 regulations have prevented banks from foreclosing and landlords from evicting tenants.

He emphasized that the $40,000-50,000 is a one-time amount. Once the program gets going, the state Office of Temporary Disability will pay for it, Feik said, but there’s a six-month lag, and Catholic Charities doesn’t have the reserves to run the operation in the meantime.

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