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News of Otsego County

Otsego County

Otsego communities struggle with housing needs

Otsego communities
struggle with housing needs

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Affordable and available housing remains an issue in Otsego County in general, but particular issues have come up recently in both Cooperstown and Oneonta.

However, both areas are doing their part to amend this issue. Although there has been some backlash, elected officials acknowledge the necessity of creating affordable housing in the area.

A planned development at 10 Chestnut St. in Cooperstown is being considered by the village’s boards.

Francesca Zambello, who partnered with Josh Edmonds of Simple Integrity on the Chestnut Street project, described herself as a “concerned citizen” who was worried about the “really dire housing situation.” Zambello and Edmonds own three connecting lots and have formed their own company, not associated with Glimmerglass or Simple Integrity, to build on the site.

COVID update for Otsego County

COVID update for Otsego County

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

As of Tuesday, June 1, COVID cases in Otsego County have decreased to a 0.6% positivity rate with 1% of tests coming back positive, according to the Otsego County Health Department.

Currently there are 15 active cases with two hospitalizations as a result of COVID.

As COVID cases continue to go down, many businesses and towns are seeing an easing of COVID restrictions.

A mask ordinance in Cooperstown is no longer being enforced while Oneonta is expected to ease its mask ordinance for Main St.

Total cases in Otsego County for 2021 are 4,469 with 63 deaths.

 

Delgado visits Otsego County to tour American Rescue Plan
Antonio Delgado (D-NY14) is shown how the whiskey is poured at Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

Delgado visits
Otsego County

to tout
American Rescue Plan

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN — Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-NY19, appeared in Otsego County on Thursday, May 28, to speak about the money the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan, which he help shepherd through Congress.

Otsego County receive about $11.5 million, he said, half of which has already been delivered, with the other half to follow within a year. Other county towns and villages will also receive money from the act.

“Its been a joy,” Delgado said. “It’s a real testament to what government can do.”

Delgado also praised the bipartisan nature of the politicians that were gathered at the press conference, including State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51st District, and State Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102nd District, and said it is how it should be in all forms of government.

“This is a big deal, people,” Delgado said. “We’re able to get real meaningful dollars to our community.”

Delgado also said that they had to make sure “we had flexibility” to get things done with “something more cooperative.”

“I call that direct democracy,” he said.

Delgado spoke on the importance of getting broadband for the county calling it a “basic necessity.”

Junior firefighters provide big lift to Fly Creek department

Junior firefighters provide big
lift to Fly Creek department

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Fly Creek Fire Department members, from left, Lt. Eric Deysenroth, Connor Voulo, Troy Hight and Wayton Cassell pose Monday, May 17, in Fly Creek. (Kevin Limiti/AllOTSEGO.com)

FLY CREEK — The Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Department is creating and nurturing future firefighters with its junior firefighter program and four young men have already reaped the benefits while serving their community.

Three junior firefighters including Troy Hight, 18, Wayton Cassell, 14, and Connor Voulo, 17, have all been training as Fly Creek firefighters.

“I’m sort of an outcast in school,” Hight said. He said he was referring to his feelings about high school course work, but he found a home with the fire department. His father encouraged him to join, calling it an “amazing experience.”

“It’s a really big family,” Hight said.

Cassell said he was introduced to the fire department by a friend and is considering as a career in firefighting either in California or New York City.

Tourism promoter: Focus different for 2021

Tourism promoter:
Focus different for 2021

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Otsego County’s tourism efforts are being refocused on outdoor activities, fall weddings and vaccinated out-of-state residents, according to a presentation given to the Otsego County Board of Representatives at its May meeting.

Harrington addressed the Representatives at their meeting, which was held via Zoom, because of the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday, May 5.

She said the group is looking to increase late summer and fall tourism in an effort to boost 2021 bed tax money.

Harrington said her group, which was spun off from the county in 2014 and added Schoharie County as a client two years ago, has shifted to a virtual campaign, allowing it to add several promotional categories and “pages” to its promotional materials.

DMC is launching an outdoor activities website that culls information and links to all the other county locations for hiking, boating, fishing, winter sports and more. Those sites include state parks, Otsego 2000’s Otsego Outdoors website, information about playgrounds, camp sites, hotels and more.

Long Island native, Limiti joins Iron String Press staff

Long Island native, Limiti
joins Iron String Press staff

Kevin Limiti

Kevin Limiti started work with the Iron String Press media group on Monday, May 3.

A Long Island native, Limiti graduated from Brooklyn College in 2020 with a degree in journalism. He previously worked as a stringer for the BK Reader and the Brooklyn Eagle.

Limiti, 31, said he enjoys playing guitar, creative writing and anime.

Limiti has rented an apartment in Oneonta and will cover the city in all its forms for Iron String Press’s media outlets. In addition, he will cover education at the colleges and in Otsego County’s 12 public schools. He will also cover breaking news, arts and sports as needed.

“I am very excited to start working for Iron String Press and its media outlets,” Limiti said. “I am looking forward to getting to know the city of Oneonta and the region and providing news coverage for the residents of Otsego County.”

Shared Garage Back on Otsego’s Agenda

Shared Garage Back
On Otsego’s Agenda

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

David Bliss

Otsego County’s plan for a shared transportation garage has been revived.

County officials met with representatives from Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES in the past month to gage interest in another push to build a centralized, shared services facility on county Route 35 in the town of Milford, on land adjacent to the ONC BOCES campus.

“I would not say it is full speed ahead, but maybe it is half speed ahead,” Otsego County Board of Representatives President Dave Bliss said on Tuesday, April 27. “It is still very much needed,” Bliss said. “BOCES is still interest. It is back on now that the funding is coming back up and we’re hopefully going to be on better footing.”

The county’s facilities are near Cooperstown Central School on Linden Avenue in an area where no expansion or renovation is possible.
“It’s old. It’s not big enough. It is functionally obsolete. It is structurally unsound. It is a terrible location. It is right in the middle of the school and the village traffic on Linden Avenue.” Bliss said. “We might be able to leave some things there, such as the salt facility and the gas facility. The village of Cooperstown uses those, so it would be more expensive if they had to have their own facilities.

Bliss said there have been ongoing discussions with county schools and other municipalities about joining BOCES and the county. He said he thinks more groups will be interested once the plans are concrete, a cost is known and the shared services begin to lead toward budget savings.

Lapin Leaving County Board, But Plans 2025 Bid For Oneonta Mayor

INSIGHT ON 2021 CAMPAIGNS

Lapin Leaving County

Board, But Plans 2025

Bid For Oneonta Mayor

Meanwhile, OCCA Planner Founds

Blog On Opportunities For Region

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Danny Lapin aims to run for Oneonta mayor in 2023.

ONEONTA – When Danny Lapin ran for the county Board of Representatives in 2017, “My wife was very supportive.”

Lapin, a newcomer to the City of Oneonta, excelled in door-to-door campaigning, and that fall the untested young Democrat, then 28, pulled off what many considered an upset against Len Carson, a retired OFD captain and commander of the American Legion.

Now, after four years serving District 13 (Wards 5-6), he’s expressing his appreciation to wife Lindy and son Raphie by stepping down from the county board at the end of the year to devote more time to his family life.  When the deadline for petitions passed yesterday, many were surprised to find that Lapin wasn’t on the candidates’ list.

Complete, County Sends Police Review To Albany

Complete, County Sends

Police Review To Albany

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – As expected, the county Board of Representatives this morning unanimously passed its review of policies and procedures in the county Sheriff’s Department, per Governor Cuomo’s June 11, 2020, order following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

The deadline for submitting completed plans to Albany is April 1, and the county will meet that.

The vote was 12-0, with county Reps. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, and Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, absent from the Zoom meeting.

Here’s Evidence That The ARts Can Be Entrepreneurial, Too
EDITORIAL

Here’s Evidence That The Arts
Can Be Entrepreneurial, Too

When the going gets tough, the entrepreneurs get going.

At the first “Coffee With Coop,” Glimmerglass Festival’s Francesca Zambello outlines plans for the Andrew J. Martin-Weber Lawn Stage, which will ensure a robust 2021 season, despite COVID.

A corollary: The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited to entrepreneurs. (Per Merriam-Webster: “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater-than-normal financial risks in order to do so.”)

So it was telling to watch the Cooperstown Chamber’s first “Coffee With Coop” panel discussion via Zoom last Friday, March 19. Kudos to the Chamber, and Executive Director Tara Burke, who was also an adept emcee.

It was a little disheartening to hear a recitation of all the Hall of Fame cancellations, although the scope of its undertakings – an estimated 80,000 fans were expected at Derek Jeter’s Induction – make them particularly fraught, not to mention dangerous, in Time of COVID.

And yet, the entrepreneurial spirit lived in presentations by, first, Fenimore President/CEO Paul D’Ambrosio and then, in Glimmerglass Opera General & Artistic Director Francesca Zambello.

Much To Be Proud Of In Response To COVID-19
EDITORIAL

Much To Be Proud Of
In Response To COVID-19

(Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Despite the chilling toll – 3,483 COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths – Otsego County people, our neighbors, friends and family, have a lot to be proud of as we ended The Year of The Pandemic on Monday, March 15, we found in revisiting the last 52 editions of this newspaper.

Throughout, there was worry, dismay and grief in the face of the implacable and mysterious foe, but little panic. In reviewing the newspapers, there was, and is, much determination, focus and purpose among our neighbors and our community leaders.

At the county level, board Chairman David Bliss promptly issued an emergency declaration on Friday, March 15, 2020, that outlined many of the steps that have marked our lives since then. Going forward from there, the county board was tough and visionary in the face of disappearing sales- and bed-tax revenues.

The reps laid off 59 FTEs, no fun for anyone. Then – guided by county Treasurer Allen Ruffles – they assembled a plan based on historically low-interest loans and fast-tracking roadwork, which the state CHIPS program still reimburses, to ensure solvency. When President Biden’s $11 million stimulus allocation was announced in recent days, it was appreciated at 197 Main, but not essential.

On a parallel track, county Health Department rallied under Public Health Director Heidi Bond, doing the COVID testing and contact tracing that – along with masks and social distancing – have been central in controlling the disease to the extent we have.

She was already heralded as this newspaper’s 2020 Citizen of the Year, but not enough appreciation can be expressed to her team’s hard work and accomplishment.

Bassett Hits Home Run

Bassett Hits Home Run

Goal Is 120,000 Shots
In One Hundred Days

State Approves ‘Massive Vaccination Site’
In SUNY Oneonta, To Begin On Thursday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

In a “vaccine desert,” suddenly there’s an oasis.

After weeks of lobbying and some heightened expectation, it’s here: Bassett Healthcare Network announced Tuesday afternoon, March 16, that a COVID-19 “massive vaccination site” would be opening two days later, the 18th, in SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Field House.

The clinic, staffed by 30 “clinical professionals” from Bassett and a National Guard unit, will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Registration, via www.bassett.org, began the following morning, Wednesday the 17th.

The goal is to ramp up to 1,200 vaccinations a day for three or four months, according to Brinton Muller, Bassett’s Emergency Preparedness manager, who is managing the site.

Ballpark, that could be 100,000 people in the next 100 days.

SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena hasn’t been the focus of such regional attention since Tony Bennett sang at its opening in 1999.

People from across the state can get vaccinated here, but most people surrounding counties – Chenango, Schoharie and, to a lesser degree, Delaware – were already only a half-hour from “massive sites” at Binghamton, Utica or Albany.

That isolation is why former state senator Jim Seward, who lobbied for the site on Bassett’s behalf, said he used the “vaccine desert” term in his conversations with the Governor’s Office.

It just makes sense that Otsego County’s population will benefit most from the new site’s convenience.

“It’s been a long haul already,” said Seward, who himself was stricken with COVID in March 2020. “It would be wonderful to close it up by the Fourth of July, like President Biden said.”

UPDATED STORY: 7 New OPD Officers Set To Take Oath Wednesday

7 New OPD Officers Set

To Take Oath En Masse 

ONEONTA – After Common Council approval Tuesday evening, the Oneonta Police Department’s new class of six men and one woman – a record seven – will be sworn by Mayor Gary Herzig at 10 a.m. next Monday, the 22nd, in an open-air ceremony in Neahwa Park, City Hall confirmed this morning.

The new officers are Michael Angellotti, Christian Cooper, Bryce Kohout, Michael Pedulla, Carson Pochkar, Thomas Steinberg and Karolina Stypulkowski.

Each will be paid $40,000, the starting salary under the Police Benevolent Association’s contract with City Hall, and will undergo six months of training at the Broome County Police Academy.

THIS WEEK — March 4, 2021
Former Daily Star Editor To Challenge Meg Kennedy

Former Daily Star Editor

To Challenge Meg Kennedy

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Emily Popek

MILFORD – Emily Popek, former Daily Star manager editor, has posted on her Facebook page that she intends to run for county representative in District 5, challenging Meg Kennedy, the board’s vice chairman.

District 5 includes Milford, Hartwick and New Lisbon.  Under the  county board’s weighted voting system, the position has the most people, and thus the most voting clout, of all the 14 districts.

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