In today’s weekly report, “Morning Headlines,” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/publisher of www.AllOTSEGO.com (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), reports on plans to develop 130 acres off the Schenevus exit to I-88 for Otsego County’s first just-in-time distribution center, which may yield up to 500 jobs.
Otsego Now today took an option on 175 acres off Interstate 88’s Exit 18 at Schenevus, aiming to bring a 250-300 job distribution center there, perhaps as soon at 2018.
The Otsego Now board of directors unanimously approved the $3,000-per-year option, which will allow the SEQRA process – the state-mandated environmental review – to begin as soon at March 1. The goal is to create a “shovel-ready site with an eye toward attracting Amazon or another mega-retailer planning distribution centers in the Northeast U.S.
SCHENEVUS – Robert J. Barton, 88, a dairy farmer and one of the organizers of the Schenevus-Elk Creek Milk Producers Cooperative in the 1980s, passed away Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, after suffering a heart attack.
The son of Iva and Ernest Barton, he was born on May 16, 1928. Bob spent his entire life in Schenevus, most of it working on the family farm.
Bob started his education in the local one-room school and graduated from Andrew S. Draper Central. He received a bachelor’s in physical education from Ithaca College in 1951. He worked for three years at General Electric in Schenectady.
SCHENEVUS – Felicita Rivera, 81, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, at Albany Medical Center. She retired to Schenevus 15 years ago, near her daughter Dinah and son Barry.She was born on May 2, 1935 in Humacao, Puerto Rico; the daughter of Aureo and Petra (Sanchez) Jimenez.
In addition to her daughter and son, she is survived by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her brothers and sisters and her numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
By LIBBY CUDMORE & JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
SCHENEVUS – Today’s bus, semis and multi-car pileup on I-88’s west bound lanes added up to the worst incident First Assistant Chief Paul Neske of the Schenevus Fire Department has seen on the four-lane in his 40 years as a firefighter.
“This is the stuff we hear about on the national news,” he said this evening at the fire district headquarters on Main Street.
Neske was in church when the first call came in at 11:51 a.m. – a single car had gone off I-88’s westbound lane. He dispatched a fire engine and ambulance, and the team was soon reporting from the scene: A whiteout, “heavy traffic” and “weather conditions deteriorating.”
Meanwhile, the Worcester Emergency Squad had been called to two two-car crashes along the same stretch, according to squad’s chief, Sid Chase, who found “blizzard conditions,” high winds and “no visibility.”
For Jay Palmer, Westford, Schenevus Central School’s annual Veterans Day breakfast isn’t just a meal – it’s a chance to remind the next generations about the price of freedom. “I come to show these young kids that a lot people gave their lives for the country they live in today,” he said. “Freedom isn’t free.”
Palmer, who was stationed at a U.S. naval base in Japan in 1958-67, was one of 45 veterans of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan who attended the 14th annual breakfast Monday, Nov. 10. “This school has a long-standing history of hosting veterans for this breakfast,” said Jake Palmateer, ONC BOCES public relations specialist.
The 12th grade government class started the breakfast in 2000, but this year, the 50th anniversary of the U.S. escalation in Vietnam War, fourth-grade teachers Shannon Weir and Kathleen Walke wanted their pupils to deepen their understanding of soldiers’ sacrifice. “We talked about why we appreciate them and why we have tomorrow off,” said Weir. “They fought so that we could have the rights to the education they’re receiving.”
The fourth graders helped serve breakfast, sat with the veterans and put pins in the “Where Have You Been?” map to show where veterans were stationed around the world.
In addition, 420 students from pre-K to fourth grade replicated the Vietnam Memorial in the cafeteria, but instead of names of the deceased, they decorated the walls with pictures, poems and letters of thanks the veterans for their service. “We’re not in D.C. to see The Wall, so we created our own,” said Weir. “We want them to have that personal connection.”
The a cappella choir performed the National Anthem, and the high school band entertained diners with Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” and “The Patriotic Spectacle.” And before the speakers began, the entire fourth grade lined up to read Cheryl Dyson’s poem, “Veteran’s Day.”
First Sgt. George Ost, a National Guardsman who served in Iraq, was the guest speaker, with his daughter, senior Danielle Ost, reading a poem to introduce him. “When I think of veterans, I think of Vietnam vets,” he said. “We appreciate our vets today, but we also need to think about our past.”
In addition, the Iroquois chapter of the DAR presented each veteran with a star cut from retired American flags, part of the national Stars For Our Troops program. “I met a woman who had worn hers in her helmet when she fought in Iraq,” said Roxanne Murray. “It inspired us to start giving them out last year.”
Since then, over 200 have been given to soldiers in Otsego County, and many have been sent to troops overseas.
“Seeing these soldiers shows them what it takes to be a good citizen,” said Weir. “It’s about being respectful, responsible and making sacrifices.”
“Our kids look up to you,” said Supt. of Schools Thomas Jennings told the vets. “And you’re the best example they have.”
SCHENEVUS – The Schenevus Central school board hasn’t been straightforward with the taxpayers about district finances, according to an audit released in recent days by state Auditor Thomas DiNapoli’s office.
“District officials have accumulated excessive fund balances and not adequately reported the District’s financial condition to the taxpayers,” the auditors found.
Among other findings, the audit found unexpended surplus exceeded the 4 percent “allowable limit,” and that information provided prior to the annual budget vote did not include actual expenditures vs. budget figures from the year before.
The auditors pointed out that the budgets reviewed not prepared by the new superintendent, Thomas Jennings.
SCHENEVUS – At the Fireman’s Carnival here Friday, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announced a $50,000 economic-development grant for a gazebo at Borst Field and other beautification efforts.
“The Town of Maryland, including the Village of Schenevus, is an idyllic location,” said Seward. “By upgrading and further beautifying the community, the quality of life for residents improves and more visitors will be encouraged to stop by bolstering our local businesses.”