ENERGY – 6 – 7:30 p.m. Heat Smart Otsego Campaign director presents on technologies for clean heating, cooling for homes, businesses. Includes info on heat pumps, modern wood systems. Free admission. Red Shed Brewery, 709 Co. Hwy. 33, Cooperstown. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/heat-smart-otsego-red-shed-brewery/
TEEN WRITERS – 4 p.m. Monthly program where teens participate in writing prompts, share ideas, work with others. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-1980 or visit www.facebook.com/hmloneonta/
PONY PALOOZA – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Horse rescue opens doors for family friendly celebration. Includes pony hugs, tours, games, local vendors, rides, food, face painting, more. Rosemary Farm, 1646 Roses Brook Road, South Kortright. 607-538-1200 or visit www.facebook.com/RosemaryFarm/
HOPS FOR HISTORY – 2 – 8 p.m. Downtown venues offer food pairings with local beers. Tickets, $30 day-of. Available only at Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
POETRY SLAM – 8 – 10:30 p.m. Open mic open to 10 students followed by featured slam poet Hanif Abdurraqib, author of poetry collection ‘The Crown Ain’t Worth Much,’ essayist, cultural critic from Columbus Ohio. Free, open to public. Waterfront room, Hunt College Union, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2674946
HEATSMART LAUNCH – 6:30 – 8 p.m. Launch event of Heatsmart Otsego, featuring guest speaker Jay Egg, discussing basics of Geothermal energy, how far it can go toward renewable energy future, more. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/heat-smart-otsego-launch-event/
WOODSMEN’S FESTIVAL – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Festival celebrates way people use, work with wood. Features lumberjack events, woodworking demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, local vendors, mill tours, food, music, crafts, science exhibits, more. Cost, $9/adult. Hanford Mills, 51 Co. Hwy. 12, East Meredith. 607-278-5744 or visit www.hanfordmills.org
FALL ART SHOW – 1 – 3 p.m. Fall show features works by Leatherstocking Brush & Pallete Club, local artists. Includes bake sale to benefit Springfield Historical Society. Gym, Springfield Community Center, 29A, Springfield Center. 607-264-3375 or visit springfieldhistoricalsocietyny.org
THEATER – 7:30 p.m. Performance of “A Raisin In The Sun” following the Youngers, a black family in a Chicago apartment, as matriarch awaits an insurance check and family debates what to do with it. General admission, $5. Hamblin Theater, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2805226
WORD THURSDAY – 7 – 10 p.m. Writers are invited to share works at open mic followed by refreshments & featured author Kelly Bean, whose work discusses how we arrive at conclusions about literature, the world, what is knowledge; and Lisa Wujnovich, author of 2 poetry books ‘Fieldwork,’ ‘This Place Called Us.’ Bright Hill Press and Literary Center, 94 Church St., Treadwell. 607-829-5055 or visit www.facebook.com/brighthp/
GET KIDS OUT – 10 – 11:30 a.m. Bring kids out for Columbus day, explore world of trees. Kids explore property, learn tree identification, understand trees roles in world, have fun. Mohican Farm, 7207 St. Hwy. 80, Cooperstown. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/get-the-kids-out-trees/
GARDEN CLUB – 7 p.m. Presentation by Dr. Robinson, curator of The Jewell and Arline Moss Settle Herbarium containing specimens from the North East spanning 1898-2015. Learn about history, function of teaching herbariums, their importance to past, future of plants. Club also offering free bags of daffodil bulbs. Includes refreshments, free, open to public. St. James Episcopal Church, 305 Main St., Oneonta. E-mail Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org
CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Start performance season with award winning Violinist William Hagen performing Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn with Catskill Symphony Orchestra. Ballroom, Hunt College Union, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-2670 or visit catskillsymphony.net/news-events/upcoming-events.html
TRACTOR FEST – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Explore world of tractors, from through exhibits, demonstrations, activities for young and old, more. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org/Tractor-Fest
It’s a great idea.
In a column at the end of August, Adrian Kuzminski – citing the Tompkins County Energy Roadmap, completed in March – wrote,
“Let me suggest … that the Otsego County Board of Representatives, in a bi-partisan spirit, is the logical authority to establish an Otsego Energy Task Force. A large, diverse umbrella group is far more likely to develop a comprehensive, viable energy strategy that gets it right, and to do justice to the needs of the community as a whole.”
He concluded, “Get key people in the room and tackle the problem.”
County Rep. Meg Kennedy, R-C, Hartwick/Milford, invited Irene Weiser, a member of the Tompkins County Energy & Economic Development Task Force, to attended the Sept. 18 meeting of the county board’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. That task force’s mission is to encourage economic growth while working to reduce gas usage.
NYSEG, which also serves southern Otsego County, had proposed an $18 million gas pipeline into the Town of Lansing, an Ithaca suburb. The task force has been working with NYSEG, trying to find an alternative to the pipeline; it issued an RFP (request for proposals), but received no proposals. It is not revising the RFP and plans to try again.
That may mean, as Irene Weiser reported, that the RFP was poorly drawn. Or it may mean there’s no ready alternative to natural gas right now, at least a full alternative.
One IGA member, county Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, drew the latter lesson. “I struggle with the short term and the long term of it,” he said. “… We need to figure out some short-term solutions while we’re building for an energy-smart future.”
On these editorial pages over the past two months, a number of knowledgeable writers have submitted well-argued letters and op-eds on the gas vs. renewables debate, spurred by Otsego Now’s CGA application to install a natural-gas decompression station in the former Pony Farm Commerce Park at Route 205 and I-88. Kuzminski is in the no-gas camp, joined by Otsego 2000 President Nicole Dillingham. When it appeared to some that the OCCA seemed to be open to hearing more about the decompression station, Executive Director Leslie Orzetti responded emphatically: The Otsego County Conservation Association does not support gas expansion.
On the other side, Kuzminski’s fellow columnist, Mike Zagata, argued fossil fuels are necessary right now. Otsego Now President Jody Zakrevsky said, without natural gas, the Oneonta area has actually missed going after 500 jobs this year alone. Dick Downey of Otego, who led the Unatego Landowners Association in support of the Constitution Pipeline, likewise falls into this camp.
Dave Rowley of West Oneonta, the sensible retired Edmeston Central superintendent, who served as interim superintendent in Oneonta before Joe Yelich’s hiring, probably caught it best in last week’s op-ed: Everyone wants renewable energy, but it’s simply not sufficiently available. For now, natural gas is necessary.
This is a long way of saying, everybody’s right. In the face of global warming – yes, not everybody “believes” it’s happening; but why reject the preponderant scientific consensus? – clean energy is a necessity.
California is on the forefront, with its Senate Bill 100 aiming at 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. (New York State is aiming for 50 percent by 2030.) Greenhouse-gas emission is a separate category.)
Further, Otsego County’s population (60,000) is 0.02 percent of the nation’s (320 million), one 200th of 1 percent. Even if local energy needs were fully served, it is a negligible piece of a huge national – even international – challenge.
We all want to be part of the solution, but the solution is not going to be reached between Roseboom and Unadilla. It will be developed at the state and national levels, and when there’s an answer, we can support it and embrace it.
Meanwhile, the county’s population is dropping. Some 16.3 percent of our remaining neighbors (slightly more than 9,000) live below the property line ($24,600 for a family of four). That poverty rate is 14 percent higher than the national (14 points).
Plus, there are millions of state dollars – some $15 million so far – targeted for the City of Oneonta’s revitalization.
Now’s not the time to ensure our unmet energy needs – for homes, institutions, businesses and industry – remain unmet for a generation and a half.
Yes, the county Board of Representatives should name an energy task force; Adrian Kuzminski is right. But it should have two goals.
• First, to come up with ways to meet today’s energy needs now; perhaps CNG – compressed natural gas – is part of it (though not XNG trucks on roads that can’t handle them). But so are renewables, like the second solar farm being built in Laurens.
• Second, to fast-track renewables – solar, winds, heats pumps, the whole gamut – to put ourselves on the cutting edge of the future.
For her part, Kennedy is commited to pursue the task-force idea. In an interview, she said it must be made up of “people who want to reduce demand; and people who know the demands.
At base, though, true believers need not apply, only open minds, or the cause is lost.
To end where we began, with Kuzminski: “We may not have Cornell University, but we have SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College. We have Otsego 2000, OCCA, Citizen Voices, chambers of commerce, the Land Trust, Farm Bureau and Sustainable Otsego, and others. We have individual engineers and scientists and retired executives who’ve worked for multi-national corporations. We have the talent.”
So let’s do the job.
FOREST WALK – 9 – 11 a.m. Trek through John W. Chase Memorial Forest with Forest Technician Joe Sweeney. Learn about sustainable forest management, pests, invasive species, multi-use land management. Free, open to public. Pre-registration preferred. Meet at intersection of Middlefield, Van Cleef and Pearsall Roads, Middlefield. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/county-forest-walk/
POETRY SLAM – 8 – 10:30 p.m. Open mic open to 10 students followed by featured slam poet Caroline Harvey, performance poet, punk folk theater artist, educator, social justice advocate and has been featured on HBOs Def Poetry. Free, open to public. Waterfront room, Hunt College Union, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2674906