News of Otsego County


WORMUTH: Roe V. Wade

Letter from Tim Wormuth

Roe V. Wade

A letter was recently submitted stating that abortion is a constitutional right. Nowhere in the Constitution, nor any other founding document for that matter, is there given a right to murder. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Life is what the founders of our nation considered a constitutional right. And this right applies to an unborn baby in the womb.

I know that it took a while for those who wrote these documents to have their practice catch up with what they believed (as with slavery and women’s rights) but catch up they did. Today, minorities and women have more freedom in this nation than almost anywhere else. Is there still more to be done? Absolutely!

But back to the issue of abortion. The problem is this has become a political issue when it is, in fact, a moral one. Life begins at the moment of conception. Science now bears this out. And a baby in the womb needs the same protections as a bald eagle in the egg. We don’t need more abortions, we need more support for women who find themselves in a difficult situations. Let’s spend the millions of dollars on that and become a nation that holds life in high regard.

Tim Wormuth
Pastor, Hill City Church

Editorial: Great Choice, Governor


Great Choice, Governor

[Editor’s note: This week’s edition goes to press just as the news about Rep. Delgado is breaking; we offer here a brief analysis of the situation as it stands on the morning of May 3.]

For Otsego County, Governor Kathy Hochul’s May 3 announcement appointing Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new second-in-command in Albany is nothing short of politically seismic — a move that could send aftershocks throughout the entire state and even into Washington, D.C.

Certainly Rep. Delgado was a Washington up-and-comer, an important part of the Democratic Party’s hopes to keep its majority in the 2022 mid-term elections. That he was pitted against a popular Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, in an electoral district whose boundaries hang in the balance of a federal mediator, might have had something to do with his decision to take the offer.

Political machinations notwithstanding, Governor Hochul’s choice is a wise one. Rep. Delgado has proven himself to be a tireless and energetic voice for Otsego County and his district as a whole. Smart, approachable, and affable, when he shows up at an event or to tour a business, he shows up with good questions and displays a genuine interest in the issues at hand.

OWENS: Editorial Unfair!

Letter from Mitchell Owens

Editorial Unfair!

The editorial that appeared in The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta on Thursday, April 28, 2022, regarding the Otsego County Democratic Committee’s Ukraine fundraising, sparked many a reaction in my mind.

Most important of them: What an astonishing example of performative outrage, high dudgeon, and holier-than-thou-ness. I do hope that the newspaper will apply equally outraged scrutiny when any seemingly altruistic local Republican initiative comes to your attention — and then devote an equal number of self-righteous paragraphs (in this case, ten) before magnanimously allowing that “we’re no less appalled when people wrap themselves in the American flag to claim moral or small-d democratic superiority…”

Depending on one’s particular perch, one committee’s fine print is another committee’s full disclosure.

Mitchell Owens

Column by Ted Potrikus Mayhem!

Column by Ted Potrikus


Poor Kathy Hochul must feel like she’s smack-dab in the middle of the television commercial with that guy Mayhem; there she is, crawling from the wreckage amid a heap of smoldering cars and destroyed streetscape. Walking through the disaster, a little bruised, scarred, bandaged, and battered himself, is a guy in a suit, smirking and warning that maybe she should have thought twice before taking that deal that seemed too good to pass up.

Portraying Mayhem in our little scene here is our former governor, Mr. Cuomo, dusting himself off from the wreckage that brought his term to a premature end in 2021. He has to be taking stock of the situation: Governor Hochul’s well-financed campaign is in a heap of trouble after her lieutenant, Brian Benjamin, resigned last week following his arrest on a stack of federal corruption charges. She’s under fire for picking a second-in-command whose record on campaign ethics wasn’t all that great to begin with, but she chose and stood by him until the end got too bitter.

Her primary opponents immediately chastised her perceived lack of judgment — after all, people might not know who the LG is, but since two of our last three governors (Hochul and Paterson) assumed the chief executive role after their bosses had to resign, it’s an important post. Chances are her primary opponent, Tom Suozzi, thought it a great chance to gain some traction — but then word arose that he and a few dozen other members of Congress might be in a little ethics mess of their own owing to a potential failure to report stock trades. Whoops.

A kind of tax holiday

Commentary: Don’t be fueled

A few weeks back I wrote in this space about New York’s gasoline tax; predicting lawmakers from various corners would be calling for its temporary roll-back as a means to relieve the price at the pump. If I remember correctly, I confidently wrote that it couldn’t be done – that lifting the sales tax on anything, however temporarily, is too complicated, too much of a political and logistical lift.

I also picked Iowa and Gonzaga for the March Madness championship, so there you go.

Albany indeed made a liar out of me last weekend with a budget that includes suspending a part of the state’s gasoline tax from June 1 – December 31, reducing the pump price by roughly 16 cents per gallon. This is nice,

New York’s new budget

Gas tax holiday, drinks-to-go a part of New York’s new state budget

It appears drivers fueling up in New York will get at least a partial break from the state’s gasoline tax beginning June 1.

The gas tax holiday looks like it will be part of a new state budget lawmakers expect to approve beginning later in the evening of April 7. Under the details available Thursday afternoon, it appears the deal will knock 16 cents off the price of a gallon of unleaded or diesel gasoline between June 1 and December 31.

The dates would cover the bulk of the state’s summer driving season, with the tax holiday taking effect before the June 28 primary elections and coming to an end after November’s general election.

Lawmakers also expect to approve cocktails-to-go – a takeaway option that became popular during the earliest days of the state’s COVID shutdown in spring 2020. Restaurants lost the authorization to serve to-go cocktails one year later.

Under the plan, restaurants can sell cocktails to go or for delivery only when accompanied by “a substantial food item” and only if sealed with a secure lid designed to prevent consumption without removing the lid or breaking the seal. Restaurants cannot sell or deliver beverages outside of its licensed hours of operation, and the price per serving must be the same as if consumed on premises. Restaurants can offer specials only if the special is available on premises.

The deal also prohibits restaurants from selling entire bottles of liquor or wine for off-premises consumption.

The state’s liquor stores had opposed the plan from the start, but, as a part of the deal, retail liquor stores now will be allowed to operate on Christmas Day.

Lawmakers also expect to approve a tax credit for farmers intended to offset the cost of paying farm workers enhanced overtime wages. The state’s Labor Department has yet to sign off on a January 2022 recommendation that would see the overtime threshold for farm workers drop from 60 hours/week to 40 hours/week over a decade-long phase in; observers believe the new budget makes Labor Department approval inevitable.

[Look for more news and analysis on the state budget and how it may affect Otsego County in next week’s edition of The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta.]

New York’s political season begins in earnest

New York’s GOP, Democrats choose slates for November

Primary challenges await candidates

New York’s 2022 political season begins in earnest this month after both Democrats and Republicans convened in February to select their party-backed slates for statewide offices.

In the top of the ticket race for governor, Republicans this week chose Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin as their choice to take on Democrat incumbent Kathy Hochul. Both face potentially difficult primary challenges, though, as Republican Harry Wilson – who narrowly lost a 2010 bid to oust state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, jumped into the race for governor last week.

The Westchester County businessman, originally from Johnstown, New York, reportedly plans to sink $12 million of his own money into the primary contest against Rep. Zeldin. His campaign began running introductory television messages in upstate media markets prior to the party’s February 28-March 1 convention.

With more than $20 million in her campaign account, Governor Hochul remains the odds-on favorite to head the Democrats’ ticket in November, despite failing to secure backing from the

This Week – 02-17-22


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

February 17, 2022


The SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station volunteer diving team held an ice-dive training February 12 for the first time this winter with the ice one foot thick and air temperatures in the 40s. The dive team works with the field station and the Village of Cooperstown to maintain buoys, science instruments, and study the ecosystem of Otsego Lake. Pictured from left to right Ed Lentz, Lucas LaTarte (holding the safety line), Kari Minissale (noting the divers’ direction), Wayne Bunn, Tiffany Valenti, and PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer Paul Lord. Diving are Noel Odell and David Turner. Photo for by Larissa Ryan.


American Irish Historical Society plots move from NYC to Cooperstown

Blood shortage has impact on local supply

Inside The Paper

Mayor Drnek says it’s Oneonta’s “light-switch moment”

State Police recruitment tests underway

Bassett begins to lift visitation restrictions



“We’re following the science.”


The Driftwoods — Then and now and why

Legitimate Political Discourse by a Loving Crowd?

Otsego Land Trust: A year-round commitment to nature

History Column

Bound Volumes


Letter: Farmers deserve a fair return

Editors Policy


Jacek D. Rudnicki

Steven D. Brown

Leslie E. D. B. Jordan


Happenin’ Otsego


Oh, there’s a surprise!

Oh, there’s a surprise!

By Ted Potrikus

We New Yorkers used to leave it up to our state Legislature to fulfill the once-a-decade duty of redrawing congressional and state election district lines. They got so good at it they made the map of the state’s voting boundaries look like the inside of a lava lamp.

We New Yorkers got a little tired of it, so we voted in 2014 to amend our state constitution to establish an Independent Redistricting Commission. A bipartisan panel of 10 who would meet and thoughtfully accept and weigh public input to present in time for the 2022 elections a beautiful map of not-gerrymandered districts reflecting the state’s diverse population in glorious fashion. Our state Legislature, delighted to be relieved of the duty, would gratefully accept and approve the maps with a cheery “Well done!” The Empire State would stand as a beacon of electoral equanimity for all to admire.
Five Democrats, five Republicans. How noble.

What possibly could go wrong?

Don’t underestimate her

Don’t underestimate her

By Ted Potrikus

Her beloved Buffalo Bills lost in a weekend heartbreaker, but aside from that, Governor Kathy Hochul has had a pretty good couple of weeks.

She’s able to talk about turning the corner against the winter Omicron surge, with seven-day averages for new hospital admissions, new cases, and cases-per-100,000 declining in every part of the state.

She laid out a blueprint for New York’s upcoming fiscal year, a $216 billion bonanza adorned with property tax rebates, pandemic recovery initiatives, infrastructure improvements, record-setting education aid, and big-spending ideas that aim to keep environmentalists green with joy. It’s a something-for-everybody package with enough in it to elate most of the disparate constituencies that constitute the Empire State

Commission fails to agree on lawmakers’ district lines

Commission fails to agree on lawmakers’ district lines

Outside temperatures might be hitting their January lows, but June’s heat and humidity aren’t too far away.

Nor are June’s political primaries — those all-important preliminary contests that determine a party’s slate for next November’s ballots. Yet the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts remain a mystery for would-be candidates.

That includes a measure of uncertainty for voters in the congressional contest that comprises Otsego County.

Wassail, toddies, and, well, yes, politics

Wassail, toddies, and, well, yes, politics

By Ted Potrikus

Ah, mid-December, when thoughts turn to the wrappings and trappings of the holiday season and joy-filled activities like wassailing and hot toddying and the Jenga stack that is New York State politics.
New York Attorney General Tish James last week announced the end of her brief run chasing Governor Kathy Hochul for the Democratic Party nomination for governor in 2022. Surely that news brought seasonal joy to New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, since — at least for now — he stands to gain a decent swath of the farther-left voters who probably were leaning toward the AG. And soon-to-be former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who keeps hinting that he’s going to get in the gubernatorial chase one of these days soon, is giddy dreaming that he’s in line for those left-leaners. He also ran for president in 2016.

News from the Noteworthy: Prepare against holiday disappointment

News from the Noteworthy:
Prepare against holiday disappointment

Deck the halls! Light the candles! Hang the lights! Prepare the feast! And then wait with excited anticipation of family and friends coming over to share the celebrations of the season.

Whether you observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or a blend of traditions, the hopes for joy and peace are high in the hearts of most.

Then, for some of us, there are the thoughts of “that” guest or “that” situation everyone knows can turn delight into disappointment. We hope it will be different this year, and sometimes it is. For the most part, though, the disruption is fairly predictable. This is a real circumstance that many families deal with year after year.

How do you break that cycle? Can anything be done to increase the chances of a peaceful, happy gathering?

Gratefully, there are ways to disrupt a disruptive pattern. Because it is so common, a lot has been written on it. You can find lots of suggestions beyond the ones listed here. Generally, within families, a few themes can set off uncomfortable interactions. You probably know what they are: discussions of controversial topics, intoxication, and old family disputes.

Knowing that, here are a few strategies that you can try. They take a little planning, you will need to be vigilant for signs of trouble, and you will likely need some allies.

But remember, the goal is a joyful, fulfilling gathering.

1) In an upbeat way, create a family agreement about non-festive topics and turn it into a game. Before the gathering, make a “swear jar” (or a Krampus jar?) and list the non-festive topics like politics, religion, vaccines, social issues, etc. You may want to pre-arrange to have a few allies who will quickly agree to the game. And when someone brings up a topic on the list, they get to put a dollar (or a quarter) into the jar and come up with a new topic. It can be fun if everyone buys in and quickly catches someone veering off into controversial territory. At the end of the gathering, draw a name for who gets the contents of the swear jar.

2) If you plan to serve alcohol, do so in limited quantities. For some people, alcohol consumption results in a relaxed, jovial response. For others, it can result in a more emotional, agitated, or aggressive
response. So, put away the alcohol in the house to limit access and make delicious low-alcohol punches or festive drinks. Be sure to include alcohol-free options as well. Actually, serving no alcohol at a gathering is perfectly okay. No need to explain yourself — it’s your party. You’re allowed to serve what you wish.

3) Have a strategy in place for heading off a conversation that might be drifting into the red zone. Announce that you are honoring the spirit of giving and that you have some surprises for the gathering that will be handed out at unexpected times. Have small grab-bag gifts for guests and at random times (or when the mood starts to shift), have one of the kids pull a name from a basket for who gets to pick the next gift. Be creative. Sometimes even small redirection strategies can help stop an uncomfortable situation before it starts. They’re also fun.

These are not the last word in ways to keep spirits bright. They are just a few suggestions to start new traditions and slightly change the dynamics of potentially explosive situations. Taking a bit of our control back in what has felt like an out-of-control situation is a major step forward.

May your holidays be merry and filled with peace.

Julie Dostal is executive director of The LEAF Council on Alcoholism & Addictions, Oneonta.

Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County

Why Buffalo Matters in Otsego County

By TED POTRIKUS • Special to

After he lost the primary in June to Democratic Socialist India Walton, four-term incumbent Democrat Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown looked like a goner, relegated to the same political “oops” that befell Congressman Joe Crowley when he lost his can’t-lose primary to the completely unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand endorsed Ms. Walton right away, as did the city’s state legislators and a bevy of heavyweight union leaders; Mayor Brown launched a longshot write-in campaign for the November election and hit the trail hard all summer and fall. As Election Day approached, some of the state’s leading left-flank lawmakers — including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez — flew to Buffalo for India Walton rallies. They saw the chance for a Western New York outpost to carry the
hard liberal messages stemming from AOC’s Queens home base.

Governor Kathy Hochul — a proud lifelong Buffalonian — stayed out, and by doing so, spoke volumes. AOC got the message and warned Democrats seeking office in 2022 that if they didn’t support the party’s candidate in the Buffalo mayoral race, they’d have trouble getting the party’s backing for their own contests in the year ahead.

Up on Hawthorn Hill by Richard deRosa: Apple picking provides outlet for discussion, reflection

Up on Hawthorn Hill by Richard deRosa
Apple picking provides outlet for discussion, reflection

This year’s apple harvest on the hill was one of the best, despite several trees having taken a year off. In past years we have dried, canned, frozen and made delicious varieties of apple breads, muffins, etc. Actually, my contribution is working the apple peeler and doing a fair amount of the drying.

Sandy is the master baker, freezer, and canner. This year we picked together. I have an extendable apple picker I used with some degree of success. Pretty hard on aging shoulders. Sandy suggested shaking the trees, a system that worked well at canopy level. Etched in memory is Sandy’s comment, on the heels
of our activating her suggestion: “Now, that’s apple pickin’” Finally, 10 sheetrock buckets were filled to the brim. Since we have barely consumed the freezing, canning and baking efforts of the past several years, cider seemed a reasonable approach.

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