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News of Otsego County

protest

Protesters against vaccine mandate march to A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta
Anti-vaccine protesters leaving Neahwa Park in Oneonta on Friday, Sept. 17. (Kevin Limit/AllOtsego).

Protesters against vaccine mandate march to A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — Hundreds of protesters, along with Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, marched to A.O. Fox Hospital and through Main Street Friday, Sept. 17, to protest the vaccine mandate put in place for healthcare workers.

The protesters chanted slogans such as “stop the mandate” as they walked through downtown Oneonta towards the hospital. There were signs that said “unmask our children” and “protect our liberties.”

The vaccine mandate from Bassett Healthcare was in response to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mandate that all healthcare workers should be vaccinated.

Prior to the march, the protesters rallied at Damaschke Field.

“I’m here to support the medical professionals and support their right to not have an injection they’re not confident,” Salka told AllOtsego.com. “Last year they were heroes, this year they’re zeroes.”

Views Around New York State: July 8, 2021

Views Around New York State

Suing Georgia over voting rights is just the start

From The Albany Times-Union:
Georgia was among a host of GOP-controlled states that in the aftermath of Republican Donald Trump’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden for the presidency have intensified efforts to pass laws brazenly aimed at suppressing votes by people of color. Georgia and its defenders offered the weak defense that some of the provisions it passed will expand voting rights, as if a little window dressing is supposed to make up for its draconian measures.

Those measures, as outlined by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke, included a raft of restrictions on absentee ballots, including shortening the time to apply for them and imposing new ID requirements. As Clarke noted, Black voters used absentee ballots at a much higher rate last year than white ones.

The Georgia law — which grew from three pages to 90 on its way from the state Senate to the House, where it received a mere two hours of debate — would also cut, from 100 to around 20, the number of ballot drop boxes that were popular in the metro Atlanta area where, not coincidentally, the state’s largest Black voting-age population resides. And infamously, the law made it illegal to give people waiting in long lines — which voters in high-minority areas tend to face — food or even water.

That’s just one state. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University counted as of mid-May nearly 400 bills with restrictive voting provisions around the country.

These laws aren’t happening in a vacuum, but in the echo chamber in which Trump’s lie of a stolen election and his fiction of massive voter fraud keeps getting repeated by Republican lawmakers as if it is true in order to justify such anti-democratic schemes. … So they’re passing these laws in statehouses, and using the filibuster in Congress to block federal legislation to protect voting rights.

There are still laws that apply here, and it’s encouraging that Attorney General Merrick Garland announced at the same time as the Georgia lawsuit that the Justice Department will fully use the Voting Rights Act and other statutes to push back on voter suppression and intimidation wherever they find it. In the absence of a new commitment in Congress to this most fundamental right in a democracy — the right of the people to choose their leaders — the battle is never ending, to this nation’s shame.


Safety versus justice is a false choice

From The Albany Times-Union:
Some people deal with criticism by showing why it’s unfair. Then there are those, like Saratoga Springs Assistant Police Chief John Catone, who seem to go out of their way to prove their critics’ case.

Catone, joined by Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton, went on a tear that sounded so many wrong notes when it comes to complaints of systemic racism in the criminal justice system that it was hard to keep track. … (Catone) delivered a rant filled with racist dog whistles, punctuated by what came off as a threat to summon the collective forces of the city’s historically white power establishment to put an end to what he called “a narrative of lies and misinformation.”

Let’s start with the most important thing of all: It is not the job of those in law enforcement to shut down speech they don’t like. That threat alone should be enough for Catone to turn in his badge and gun and retire early. And for sitting by his side, nodding in apparent agreement, Dalton should resign, and drop her bid for mayor.

We are in no way defending any violence that has taken place in Saratoga Springs, including a brawl Saturday night on Caroline Street and some alleged recent muggings in Congress Park. We in no way support demonstrators carrying bats, as one organizer acknowledged some did in the past.

We do support people’s right to demonstrate, to express their views that there are racial problems in their police department, and to petition their government for redress of their grievances. If that discomfits some in a community that thrives on tourism and its image as a charming, gentrified, historic American city, well, that’s the First Amendment for you.

Catone doesn’t seem to see it that way. He railed about how critics of his department were “trying to push a narrative from a national stage” — a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement — and talked of “gangs from Albany” — read: young men of color — coming up to Saratoga Springs to sell drugs and cause trouble. In wrapping all this into one speech, he conflated drug gangs and Black Lives Matter activists, an outrageous rhetorical slander whether he intended it or not. …

For good measure, he blamed criminal justice reforms passed by the state Legislature, which included ending a system in which low-income people unable to make bail were jailed without trial while those of means could readily buy their freedom.

So it’s police against “them,” and everyone has to pick sides? This is Assistant Chief Catone and Commissioner Dalton’s idea of a unified community?

What they present is the false choice that so many misguided or opportunistic politicians and demagogues offer: that it’s either law, order, and unquestioning support of police, or chaos.

A truly strong society — whether it’s a small city or the richly diverse nation it’s a part of — must be both safe and just. For all.

Hundreds Attend Rally To Protest Crimes Against Asian People

Hundreds Attend Rally In Rain To
Protest Crimes Against Asian People

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Agostino family displays its signs Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown. (Greg Klein/AllOTSEGO.com)

About 250 people attended a rally Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego County Courthouse, to support the community’s Asian American and Pacific Island residents.

The “Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans” was organized and run by a group of Cooperstown Central School freshmen, including 15-year-old Cate Bohler, who said she wanted to speak up to support her friends or anyone who is being harassed.

“As a young Asian-American girl, hearing people call COVID the China virus is hurtful,” Bohler said, reading from her prepared statement about why she wanted to stage the rally. “It is more than hurtful. It is harmful. It perpetuates anti-American sentiments and racism.”

Speakers included the students, as well as local officials, including Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, Otsego Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan and Otsego County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who said he thinks he is the county’s only elected official of Asian descent. Lapin’s mom is Japanese.

“The deep-seated nature of systemic racism requires us to make continuous choices and take continuous actions to advance anti-racist ideas in the public space,” Lapin said.

SUNY Professors Protest Reopening Plan

SUNY Professors Protest

In-Person Reopening Plan

A SUNY Oneonta professor lights a candle lanterns on the main campus quad to represent the nearly 1,200 COVID-19 cases to date in Otsego County as part of a protest against the college’s proposed in-person reopening plan this evening. “The plan is not about preventing an outbreak, just about detecting it before it gets too big. The core problem is that this is insane, if the college is going to have 20 percent in-person classes, it won’t work,” says biology professor Keith Schillo, who has been outspoken about the faculty’s concerns. “Numbers don’t mean anything after awhile. This event is a way to visualize all the cases we’ve had in the county.” (Michael Forster Rothbart/AllOTSEGO.com)
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Celebrate Civil Rights, Learn How To Improve 06-19-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for  FRIDAY, JUNE 19

First Juneteenth, Celebrate

155 Years Since End Of Slavery

14-19eventspage

CELEBRATE – 5 – 8 p.m. Celebrate our progress since the official end of slavery with food, music and art. Also, learn about all the work that still needs to be done. Please wear a mask & practice social distancing. Includes speakers at 6 with candlelight vigil at 7:45 p.m. Neahwa Park, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/events/275119526873479/ for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: West Kortright Center Presents Afro-Cuban Concert By OKAN 06-13-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for  SATURDAY, JUNE 13

West Kortright Center Presents

Afro-Cuban Concert By OKAN

14-19eventspage

AFRO-CUBAN CONCERT – 8 – 9 p.m. Join the West Kortright Center for virtual concert by OKAN, fusing Afro-Cuban and other global rhythms with Jazz, Fold, and classical forms of music. Registration required. Visit westkc.org/eventbrite-event/virtual-afro-cuban-concert-okan/ for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Cooperstown To Protest Racism, Police Brutality 06-07-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for  SUNDAY, JUNE 7

Cooperstown To Protest

Racism, Police Brutality

14-19eventspage

PROTEST – 1 – 5 p.m. Come for a peaceful protest against the police violence that led to the death of George Floyd, raise money to support NAACP & ACLU. Be prepared to socially distance, wear your masks. Bring your friends, loved ones, and signs. All are welcome. Otsego County Courthouse, Cooperstown.

‘Justice For George Floyd’ Rally Planned in Cooperstown

‘Justice For Floyd’ Rally

Planned in Cooperstown

MacGuire Benton, left, Cooperstown, participated in the “Justice for George Floyd” rally alongside Janet Sutta, Oneonta, in Muller Plaza on Sunday. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Following the outpouring of support at the Oneonta “Justice for George Floyd” rally, a second such protest has been scheduled for Cooperstown at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 7 in front of the Otsego County Courthouse.

“I was approached by my friend Maria Noto to help organize the protest,” said Village Trustee MacGuire Benton, who was at Sunday’s protest. “And I never say no to social justice.”

Hundreds In Muller Plaza Join National Call For Justice

ONEONTA RALLY PEACEFUL

Hundreds In Muller Plaza

Join National Call For Justice

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)

Crowd Braves Cold Supporting ‘Impeachment Eve’

Crowd Braves Cold

For ‘Impeachment Eve’

Fifty protesters gathered in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza this evening in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, which may be voted on by the House of Representatives tomorrow. Above, Alice Lichtenstein, Becca Brooks, Elayne Moser-Campoli and others flash their signs as passing cars while organizer Amy Pondolfino, right, read selections from Congress’ Articles of Impeachment, which charge the President with Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power stemming from charges that he withheld military aid as a means of pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to perform favors for him. The crowd followed by singing seasonally inspired songs like “‘Tis The Season For Impeachment.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

More Than Two Dozen Protest Detention Camps

More Than Two Dozen

Protest Detention Camps

Protesters, including Kristen Jastremski and Jeannine Webster, joined the Quakers weekly anti-war protest in front of the Cooperstown Post Office to bring awareness and decry the migrant detention camps along the southern border, where children are reportedly being separated from their parents and kept in unsanitary conditions. At right, Christine Heller holds a sign that paraphrases John Lennon’s “Imagine.”  A group of Cooperstown citizens will be travelling to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, next week to work with and provide legal aid to immigrants. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com

Oneontans Turn Out In Support of Mueller

90 Oneontans Rally

To Save Mueller Probe

Some 90 Oneontans – including, above, Ad Van Buren, Oneonta, Bill Van Buren of Sidney and his wife Julie, and Bruce Van Buren, Oneonta – rallied in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza this evening in solidarity with the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller investigations into 2016 campaign irregularies. At right, as passing cars honk in support – and a few against, Betsy Holland, Oneonta, stands with fellow protesters along Main Street with her sign that states “Trump is not above the law!”   The Defend The Mueller Investigation protest, started by Moveon.org and organized locally by Amy Pondolfino, began in response to suspicions that President Trump will be firing Robert Mueller, who is currently investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who overseers Mueller’s work. Mueller’s  efforts have already garnered 20 indictments and several guilty pleas. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

400 Join March For Our Lives

400 Rally, Supporting

‘March For Our Lives’

Over 400 people marched from Oneonta High School to Muller Plaza this morning as they took part in the national March For Our Lives protest for tougher gun legislation. Above, Caroline Bagby, a OHS senior and recent recipient of the Women’s Trailblazer Award, delivers an impassioned speech to those gathered in the plaza. Numerous people spoke including Mayor Gary Herzig, Assembly candidate Daniel Buttermann, Abbey Koutnik and others. At right, county Representative Danny Lapin, D-City of Oneonta, holds his sign high as the crowd marches down East Street during the first leg of the march. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JAN. 21
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JAN. 21

Enjoy These Afternoon Shows

14-19eventspageOPERA – 12:55 p.m. “Roméo et Juliette.” The Met streaming live in HD. Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta. Cost $18/seniors, $20/adults, 10/students. Season pass $200. Box Office: (607)431-2080, foothillspac.org/index.php/shows/metropolitan-opera-in-hd/

MUSIC – 7 p.m. Presenting The Atkinson Family Blue Grass Band. Bainbridge Town Hall Theater, 15 North Main St., Bainbridge. Info, www.jerichoarts.com

CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. “The Young Novelists” perform live at The Otesaga, 60 Lake St., Cooperstown. Info, (607) 547-1812, info@cooperstownconcertseries.org, cooperstownconcertseries.org/young.html

THEATER – 8 p.m. Stuff of Dreams presents “Never Too Late.” Tickets @ Green Toad Book store or by calling (607)432-5407. Cost $15 adult, $12 senior and students, and $10 children 12 and under. Production Center of Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103