It was a sellout crowd last Friday, February 20, as the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual “State of the State” networking breakfast. The conference, which took place in the Otsego Grille of SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall, was introduced by Sean Lewis, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, as a vehicle to “allow the panelists a chance to express their view of where we are and their vision of where we are heading.”
The panel of eight public figures included New York State Senator Peter Oberacker and Assemblymen Brian Miller, Chris Tague and Brian Maher, whose constituents reside in various portions of Otsego County.
The county itself was represented by County Administrator Steve Wilson and Treasurer Allen Ruffles. Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek and Village of Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh rounded out the panel.
August Heminway, a SUNY Oneonta senior currently pursuing a degree in political science and criminal justice, recently introduced an individual photojournalism project documenting the West Oneonta Fire Department. In addition to his extracurricular activities as president of the college’s Taekwondo Club, Heminway serves as president of the Photo Society. The scope of his project, Heminway noted, combined his academic and personal interests to display an aspect of local life he found to be underrepresented.
EDMESTON – Meghan Elizabeth (Lum) Woodbeck, age 39, passed away at her home on Friday, January 13, 2023. She was born January 12, 1984 at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown to her parents, Edwin and Susan (Pentzien) Lum. She is a graduate of Edmeston Central School in 2002 and moved on to receive an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Sullivan County Community College in 2004 and SUNY Oneonta in 2006. She worked many jobs in communications and found a great fit working in marketing at Bassett Hospital.
Meghan had a soft spot for animals. This is evident in her many adopted cats and dogs and her donations to help adopted pitbulls. Meghan loved musicals and participated in Peet Hook Players. She made many trips with her mom to Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Meghan loved to travel and it usually involved camping with her husband and son. One of her favorite trips was to Branson, Missouri to visit the Dolly Parton Stampede and the Titanic Museum. She was a “Star Wars” lover, which included a trip to Comic Con in Boston with her son.
On November 9, the Community Foundation of Otsego County, in collaboration with SUNY-Oneonta, brought 50 nonprofit organizations together in one room for its first “Nonprofit Breakfast” networking opportunity. The goal of the breakfast was to engage a diverse group in conversation about the future of Otsego County.
After an introduction from SUNY President Alberto Cardelle that highlighted the significance of our countywide charitable organizations—and an update from Danielle McMullen, chief of staff to the president, on microcredential programs at the college and how they can benefit nonprofits—CFOC Executive Director Jeff Katz explained to the enthusiastic audience what the goals were for the morning session.
“Anytime I get on the court, I’m happy,” said Graham Wooden, a former Section 4 basketball star for Oneonta High School. After recently transferring to SUNY Oneonta from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania this fall, he has hit the ground running.
“We’re happy to have him in the program,” said Red Dragons coach Cameron Conover. According to Conover, SUNY Oneonta had been recruiting Wooden during his time at OHS, telling the 5’11” guard he was always welcome to come play despite choosing Mansfield.
Wooden missed his first college season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an experience he described as “tough and unfortunate,” though recognizing the struggles of friends and family during that period provided him some perspective in retrospect.
Glimmerglass Lake (aka Otsego) faces its biggest ecological challenge since the last Ice Age in the form of harmful algae blooms, “HABs,” which can make lake water not only unpotable, but un-swimmable, un-skiable, un-rowable and unpopular. Fortunately, we have the A-Team on the job: The new incoming president of the North American Lake Management Society, none other than our own Dr. Kiyoko Yokota of SUNY Oneonta, and Mr. Doug Willies, who is going to lead the effort to get a DEC-approved HAB mitigation and remediation plan in place in order to organize and formalize the response. Kiyoko is a brilliant scientist whose specialty is quagga mussels, the little culprits that may be exacerbating the HABs, and Doug is a can-do organizer and a canny Scot who can pinch the life out of a penny or a quagga mussel. We couldn’t have a better team leaders to address the challenges of keeping Glimmerglass Lake from turning into Pea Soup Pond.
Chip Northrup Cooperstown
Editor’s Note: The Harmful Algal Bloom Action Team—a collaboration of water professionals, researchers, and educators from the national network of Water Resources Research Institutes, the North Central Region Water Network, and Cooperative Extensions from the 12 states in the North Central Region of the United States—is holding its third annual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium on January 5 and 6, 2023. This virtual symposium is free. Visit the North Central Region Water Network’s website for more information. The symposium will include discussions about the latest harmful algal bloom research, examples of effective bloom management, and the latest technologies being used to tackle this global issue.
HEARING HELPERS: Kinney Drugs, an independent, employee-owned company of stores throughout New York and Vermont, has announced the launch of its new Hearing Health Center, made possible through its partnership with Lucid™ Hearing. The Hearing Health Center will offer an assortment of over-the-counter hearing aids, personal amplifiers and hearing protection in 52 Kinney Drug stores across the northeast. OTC hearing aids garnered U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in October and are intended to make hearing healthcare more accessible and affordable. Prescription hearing aids can range from $2,300.00 to $4,500.00 per ear, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Kinney’s regular retail prices range from $40.00 to $1,000.00 per pair, depending on the type of hearing aid. They offer a 60-day return policy and one-year warranty on parts and labor.
ONEONTA – Following the approval of Interim State University of New York Chancellor Deborah Stanley and the SUNY Board of Trustees, SUNY Oneonta will be designated as a university instead of a college, effective January 23, 2023.
In January 2022, the New York State Board of Regents changed its regulations related to the number of graduate-level degrees an institution must offer to qualify as a university. Because SUNY Oneonta offers a range of registered undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, including at least three master’s degrees in the disciplines of agriculture, biological sciences, business, education, engineering, fine arts, health professions, humanities, physical sciences or social sciences, the institution can be classified as a university.
THEY KILLED IT: Last month, Cooperstown Central School presented “She Kills Monsters,” a play “The New York Times” deemed “the hot school play” in 2020 and which reporter Elisabeth Vincentelli described as “… a story about kids who make up stories. This is a story in which girls wield swords, queer kids are cool and nerds rule the earth.” The play—by self-styled playwright, screenwriter and geek Qui Nguyen—tells the story of Agnes Evans, a young woman grieving for her deceased sister, Tilly. Discovering that Tilly was a well-known Dungeons & Dragons player, Agnes enlists the help of “dungeon master” Chuck to understand and grieve Tilly in what reveals itself to be a surprisingly sweet tale of friendship, loss, and acceptance.
ONEONTA – The City of Oneonta’s Quality of Life and Infrastructure Committee recently heard findings from a commissioned report on the various impacts of increasing deer populations in the area. Carried out over two months, the Deer Management Task Force report named overabundance, Lyme disease and an increasing number of deer-related accidents as driving forces behind their investigation.
“Our goal is not to eliminate deer. It’s to reduce the population to a sustainable level and mitigate the problems surrounding the issue right now,” explained Betsy Holland, an Oneonta resident who led the special task force and presented at the meeting on Monday, November 28.
OPENING RECEPTION—4-6 p.m. Celebrate opening of exhibit,“Reduce, Re-use, Refuse,” featuring works created by Cynthia Falk’s visual anthropology class on the waste created by our disposables-focused culture and how to act sustainably. Open Space Gallery, SUNY Oneonta. (607) 436-2445 or visit suny.oneonta.edu/art-galleries
BLOOD DRIVE—10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Save up to three lives with the American Red Cross. AO Fox Memorial Hospital Levine Center, One Norton Avenue, Oneonta. Register at redcrossblood.org
BE AN ANGEL – The community is invited to adopt a family and then find Christmas gifts for each of the children listed. Gifts are due unwrapped and without tags to either the office of The Freeman’s Journal at 21 Railroad Ave. in Cooperstown, or at the Salvation Army Church at 25 River St. in Oneonta. Visit allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ for details
ONEONTA—Following a two-year, pandemic-forced hiatus, the Fokine Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” is back on the stage at SUNY Oneonta’s Goodrich Theatre this December 16 and 17.
The return of the Fokine Ballet Company’s Nutcracker also brings the return of Oneonta native, Kouadio Davis, who will be starring in the role of Cavalier. Growing up in Oneonta, Davis was a student of the Fokine Ballet Company and the Holbrook-Wade School of Dance. He is a graduate of Ellison Ballet and is in his third professional season with Dance Theatre of Harlem.
ONEONTA – At the early age of 5, a young Arjun Verma embarked on the tutelage that would ultimately shape his life. Verma, son of world-renown sitarist Roop Verma, fondly recalled the initial experiences that impressed upon him not only a curiosity but an affection for the sitar—that quickly advanced him from young enthusiast to joining his father on stage before the Yoga Society of New York in 1992 at a mere 7 years old.
Arjun recalled. “The sitar has always been part of the fabric of my life and really took off when a student of my father’s had conveniently gifted a child-size sitar to him at just the opportune moment.”
ONEONTA – First Night Oneonta has announced a name change to Hill City Celebrations and a new collaboration with the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. This expansion and re-branding better reflects the year-round events and activities First Night organizes for the community.
The mission of First Night has always been to provide healthy, alcohol-free activities and events for families, the announcement reads. Community partners include LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, Five Star Subaru and dozens of generous local foundations, individuals, and businesses. Hill City Celebrations also works closely with the City of Oneonta, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and Bassett Healthcare Network to produce events such as the Oneonta Festival of Lights, First Night at the Foothills, and the Hometown 4th of July.