News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

Tom Morgan

MORGAN: Downstate Controls, Doesn’t Care About Upstate

Column by Tom Morgan for November 9, 2018

Downstate Controls,

Doesn’t Care About Upstate

Tom Morgan

Upstate’s recovery from the Great Recession is the weakeast of any U.S. region. According to a recent study. You can examine all the nooks of Upstate’s economy. Most every one is daubed with lackluster. Papered with anemic. Writ large with blah.
Upstaters grew accustomed to this long ago. Our motto should be “We’re Number One at being Number Fifty!”
Most of us know what would help revive Upstate. Lower taxes would. Fewer regulations would. Fewer mandates from an out-of-touch Albany bureaucracy would. A much slimmer state government would. Because the slimness would suck less money from Upstate taxpayers. The slimness would reduce the number of state government fingers in Upstate pies.
We tend to lead the nation in taxes and regulations. We lead the nation in making life difficult for businesses large and small. Don’t you wish we could lead the nation in something else?
There is one move that would help Upstate.
Getting rid of downstate would.
The idea excites few. Lethargy pervades. (Maybe we lead the nation in lethargy too?) This is because upstaters know downstaters in the legislature would never allow us to split. And downstaters call the shots.
In other words, the guys who know and care nothing about Upstate decide Upstate’s fate. A good example of this is that Greens in the Big Apple are major voices in blocking fracking in our Southern Tier. Can you imagine Upstaters blocking projects on Staten Island? Upstaters opposed to tree-culling in the Hamptons? C’monnn.
Downstaters really do know nuttin’ about upstate. This is more than a laugh line at a party. Folks in Glen Cove and Oyster Bay really think Jamestown is only in Virginia. Utica really is another country to denizens of Commack. Syracuse and Binghamton are Fuhgettusville to dwellers of Brooklyn.

Oh yeah? Well, vice-versa to you too, buddy! Really. I mean, tell me all you know about the latest problems in Amityville and Islip.
Truth is, we don’t know and we don’t care that we don’t know. We feel so little allegiance to each other.
We New Yorkers have scant connections. We have no state TV or radio network. No statewide newspaper. And Upstate doesn’t even get its fair share of the state’s greatest industry: corruption. We don’t get no respect.
Splitting the state in two would work. Surely it would.
First, we would have less corruption in government. Because no new state could ever compete with the sleaze that oozes up the Hudson to Albany from the City and Long Island. Downstaters are simply too practiced in corruption for us.
Second, an Upstate government would be sensitive to Upstate issues and challenges. Its legislators and bureaucrats would more likely know how to locate Canandaigua without GPS.
Third, a separate Upstate might well end up with two political parties. As now composed, New York State has one.
Two parties, competing ideas? Hey, it might work!
This column goes to some heavies in the Big Apple. At this point I could write that they are all slobs. None of them would respond. Because none of them will have read this far. As soon as they saw the word “Upstate” they fell asleep.
A prime minister of Canada once mused that living in the attic of the U.S. was like sleeping with an elephant. The big fellow kept the bed warm, but when he rolled over…
This is the predicament of Upstaters.
If we all voted the same way and organized and outright demanded…
Oh, forget about it. Yawnsville. It would never work. We have met puny and he is us. Even in the corruption business. We could all contribute to raise a mountain of money to buy off the downstate legislators and governor. Yeah, but it would flop. Those birds are too accustomed to the big bribes. They would laugh at our paltry efforts. Not that they wouldn’t take the money.
From Tom…as in Morgan.
Tom Morgan, the retired Oneonta financial adviser and syndicated columnist, lives in Franklin. His new novel, “The Last Columnist,” is available on


Exhibit By Watercolor Society,

Art Assocaitions Luck Of The Draw


RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Opening exhibit by Central New York Watercolor Society and Luck of the Draw exhibit, buy tickets, enter to win artwork, final drawing 10/21. Cooperstown Art Association. 607-547-9777 or visit

RELEASE PARTY – 7 p.m. Celebrate first ever issue of The Green Zine, a collection of art & writing from local artists published by The Green Toad Book Store. Grab a copy, eat, drink, celebrate. Roots Brewing Company, 175 Main St., Oneonta. 607-433-8898 or visit


Boston Brass Jazz Band In Concert


CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Boston Brass treats audience to one-of-a-kind musical experience featuring classical, burning jazz standards. Tickets, $25 general admission. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St.,Oneonta. 607-433-7252 or visit

KITE FESTIVAL – 6 p.m. Build your own kite then see if it can fly without wind at indoor kite fly event. All ages welcome, cost $3. Old School Gymn Genesee St., Cherry Valley. 607-264-3080 or visit


Tales From The Empire Hotel


THEATER – 7 – 8:30 p.m. Performance by Tom Morgan “Tales from the Empire” telling the story of the Morgan family, former owners of The Empire Hotel in Gilbertsville. Adapted from autobiographical stories in newspaper columns, radio show “Moneytalk.” Cost, $15/adult. Auditorium, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit

TEDX ONEONTA – 6 – 9 p.m. Locally organized evening of lectures on topics from exercise, genocide, happiness, child rearing in the digital age, the opiod epidemic, more. Goodrich Theater, SUNY Oneonta.

To Enthusiastic Applause, ‘Empire’ Begins 2nd Run

To Enthusiastic Applause,

‘Empire’ Begins 2nd Run

Tom Morgan – seen here with a photo of himself, age 29, and his children – recounts his return from New Zealand in 1970 to Gilbertsville’s Empire Hotel, to discover his father had just committed suicide. His experiences over the next year and a half operating the 1843-vintage establishment were recaptured in the four-part “Tales From The Empire,” which – beginning this evening – is being revived each Friday this month in The Fenimore Art Museum’s auditorium.    He and his wife, Erna Morgan McReynolds, are seeking to see “The Tales” performed off-Broadway or perhaps as a TV mini-series.   Audience members, many of whom remembered the original production in 2008-2011 at Franklin Stage, greeted the new production with enthusiastic applause.   (Jim Kevlin/

Tribute Concert To Fleetwood Mac


FLEETWOOD MAC – 7 p.m. Performance by Tusk, Fleetwood Mac Tribute band, performing some of their greatest hits. Cost, $35 in front half of theater. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit

THEATER – 7 p.m. Performance by Tom Morgan “Tales from the Empire” telling story of the Morgan family, former owners of The Empire Hotel in Gilbertsville. Adapted from autobiographical stories in newspaper columns, radio show “Moneytalk.” Cost, $15/adult. Auditorium, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit

MORGAN: On Fourth Of July, Love Letter To America

Column by Tom Morgan, July 6, 2018

Money Talk

On Fourth Of July,

Love Letter To America

Tom Morgan

We find dollops of hatred on the menu this 4th of July.
Facebook bristles with diatribes. As do various social media portals. Politicians screech insults. Hollywood stars spit gutter language at the President. Mobs drive White House staff and their families from restaurants. Academics rev up poisonous demonstrations. They fill young minds with anti-American bile. News networks blister the administration. Endlessly. Protests morph into hatefests.
Scratch the surface of all this. You will soon come upon a layer of people who dislike the foundations of this country. They discredit the U.S. with a list of complaints: Europeans nearly annihilated Native Americans. They enslaved Africans and made millions from their labor. Tycoons steamrolled the working class. The U.S. invaded countries whose governments we did not like. We toppled leaders elsewhere. We interned Japanese in WWII. We humiliated and denied blacks their civil rights. We suppressed women. We punished gays. Big oil buys our politicians. The list is a mile long.
Therefore, this country is illegitimate. Or should not be admired and celebrated. Or so these folks argue. They tell us the pages of our history are blotted with the blood of innocents. Our history stinks of injustices. And reeks of racism. And misogyny. Our Constitution was written by slave-holders and bigots.
You have heard these and more attacks on the legitimacy of the U.S. Let me proclaim that a lot of this is true. Actually, all of it.
So, what is there to celebrate about this country? Well, first, let us put our history in perspective. Name a significant country whose closet is not crammed with similar skeletons. Racism and slavery were not invented here. Invasions? There have been thousands. Injustices? From racial to religious to sexual, they choke the pages of history.
If we get real, we have to admit a sorry truth: Human activities are chock-a-block with evil. Everywhere you travel on this earth you find evidence of people beating up on people. Now and in the past. From the holocausts of Auschwitz to those of the Khmer Rouge and Rwanda. From the Irish famine to Stalin and Mao’s slaughter of millions. From Soviet gulags to Cuba’s imprisonment of its people.
My point? In the midst of this horrible behavior some countries have managed to create something good for their people. Some have guaranteed power to the people, through the ballot box. Some have created honest courts. Some have shed reservoirs of blood to defend human rights. Some have created and protected basic rights and liberties for their people.
Some have protected free speech. Some have gradually dismantled wretchedly unfair racist laws and customs. Some have created vast systems to care for the poor and disadvantaged. And produced wealth enough to fund such systems. Some have sent their troops abroad to fight for the liberty of others. Some have shared their wealth with poor nations and their people. Some have made education possible for all their children.
The world has always been a haven of evil. It simply is and has been and always will be. However, the world also contains goodness and decency, love and respect.
Confronted by those who hate this country, I can make a case that America is also blessed. With an abundance of goodness and decency, love and respect. I can make a case that we have more of such than most countries. And that many countries would have little of such, had we not come to their rescue.
I can make a case that despite humanity’s evil activities, this country is a decent place to live for most. Perhaps you disagree. If so, why do so many millions risk their lives to come here? And why do so few flee when things don’t go their way?
Some folks focus on the half-empty glasses of America. I look out on the world and see countless half-empty glasses. And many that are utterly empty and crushed. I look to America and see much to appreciate, admire and be grateful for.
From Tom…as in Morgan.

Tom Morgan, retired investment counselor in Oneonta who writes a nationally syndicated column, lives in Franklin.

Ice Dance Headliners Wow Fenimore Gala

Ice Dance Headliners

Wow Fenimore Gala

Performers from Ice Dance International AJ Reiss, Carly Donowick and Brad Vigorito (skating on artificial Glice), electrified the annual Fenimore Art Museum gala-goers last evening at the Glimmerglen Estate on Otsego Lake; watching behind the skaters, top photo, at right, is Patricia Kennedy, Springbrook president. Attendees included state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and wife Cindy, lower left, posing with Olympian Dorothy Hammill. At right, hostess Jane Forbes Clark chats with guests; in the foreground is Tom McReynolds, Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor and nationally syndicated business columnist. (Leah McDonald/




Political Cross-Dressers May Enjoy What’s In Store More

Political Cross-Dressers May

Enjoy What's In Store More

  Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column. 

The national mood has set me thinking.  About bi-sexuality.  You know, AC/DC.  Also about pouting in the back seat of the car.

        First, the sex thing.  I know, you were hoping sex would come first.

        Woody Allen reckoned that bi-sexuality doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night. I reckon that being bi-politic doubles your chances for satisfactions with the Trump administration. Just as being bi-social doubles your chances for solid friendships.

        My suggestion is simple: If you take an extreme stance you will miss a lot. You will be like the kid who does not want to go to his sister’s birthday party. He pouts in the back seat.  Arms pressed against his chest. Lips clamped. “I am not, not, not going to enjoy this party.”

        With that attitude he misses out on all the games. And the delights of ice cream and cake.


Trump Will Bring Developer’s Imagination To White House

Trump Will Bring Developer’s

Imagination To White House

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom-morgan-logoA few thoughts about the election.

A big reason Trump outsmarted his opponents: He is a business guy. An entrepreneur. More – he is a developer.

This business guy looked at spending campaign money differently than his politician opponents did. A business guy asks, “If we spend this money, will we get a proper return? Show me how.”  A politician says, “Spend the money. We’ll squeeze more from our big donors.”

Result: Trump spent a fraction of what his opponents spent. And whipped them.

In D.C., Buying Influence IS Normal

In D.C., Buying Influence IS Normal

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom morgan logo Suppose you discovered your doctor runs a charity on the side. The charity gives away some money. But it spends most of its money on things that help the doctor. Often financially.

How is the charity funded? Contributions from drug companies. They want the doc to prescribe their drugs. Contributions from specialists. They want the doc to refer patients to them.

Any problem with this arrangement?

Hillary E-Mail Scandal: Were Mistakes Made?

Hillary E-Mail Scandal:

Were Mistakes Made? 

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom morgan logoRandom thoughts on the Hillary email scandal:

Imagine if you could suck all the political gas from this. You would be left with a pure impartial situation. Suppose you then asked: Did this senior government executive break a bunch of laws? Of course she did. Should the President be devastated that this happened? Sure. Should he sack his Attorney General for her behavior in this? Of course.

Should alarm bells go off in the White House and State Department? For sure. A senior executive handled top secret stuff as casually as she would comic books. She rolled out red carpets for spies. She endangered all of us with her recklessness.

Tom Morgan – The People Said No

The People Said No

Editor’s Note:  The column, Money Talk, by Tom Morgan of Franklin, the retired Oneonta investment counselor, is syndicated nationally.  Here is this week’s column.

tom morgan logoWha’ happened?

Did earthquakes churn Europe into rubble?  Did The Plague descend upon Britain?  Did skyscrapers topple? Did the Queen scamper naked ‘round Picadilly Circus?

Europeans are screaming at the Brits. Calling them everything but Nazis.  Half the British are screaming at the other half.  In fact calling them Nazis. What cataclysmic event has brought about such rancor?

The people said no.

What do you mean?

Politicians asked Brits if they wanted to stay in the EU.  They said no.

Playwright (And Renaissance Man) Tom Morgan Taking Play On Road

Playwright (And Renaissance Man) Tom Morgan Taking Play On Road


Tom Morgan, the former Oneonta financial adviser known for his one-man “Tales of the Empire” plays, has now turned an argument into art.

In 2012, he and wife Erna Morgan McReynolds witnessed what Morgan described as “an obsessive amount of parental control.”

“I began to wonder, ‘What would happen down the road’?” he said. “It served as a catalyst.”

He began writing, and what came out was his newest play, “Leaving Something Behind,” which opens at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at the Players of Utica theater, 1108 State St. The second show, at 7 p.m. Monday, July 14, will feature a Q&A with Morgan, as well as director Eileen Tiller-Clanton, who also plays the mother, and Rayna Schneider, who plays the daughter.

The show centers around the mother and daughter as they reveal and unravel ugly truths, shocking revelations and painful memories. “The primal issue is control,” said Morgan. “It’s an issue that’s as old as time – you see it in ancient Greek tragedy, in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera.” It reverberates, it’s very central to our lives.”

But he insisted that the show isn’t as grim as it might seem. “The mother is a very ditzy, Edith Bunker type,” he said. “So that brings some laughs, and the daughter has a very sardonic sense of humor.”

He tried out the script in late 2013 with a staged reading at SUNY Oneonta. “The audience really loved it,” he said. “I took it to Rayna to see if she could get it produced.”

Still the voice behind “Tom Morgan’s Moneytalk,” the longest-running short feature in American radio – it’s been on the air for 36 years – Tom turned to playwriting after retiring as a financial adviser. “I had done just about every other kind of writing,” he said. “I had written about the Empire Hotel in my columns, and Franklin Stage asked me to do a reading of some of those stories.”

He took it one step further and wrote a one-man show. “That’s when I became a playwright and an actor,” he said. “And that was an adventure!”

In 2008-11, Morgan’s “Tales of the Empire” series, based on his father’s proprietorship of the so-named Gilbertsville hotel, was a staple at the Franklin Stage Company. “Leaving Something Behind” is Morgan’s fifth play and the first he isn’t starring in. “I think it will tug at the audience’s heartstrings,” he said. “This kind of story gets inside people.”

And from here, he hopes the play can be performed in larger venues. “I’d love to take it to Broadway!” he said. “What the heck, I’ll aim high!”

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