One of the joys of living in our part of Upstate New York is the ability to recognize and appreciate some individuals who truly make our world better, and who, in a larger populated area, might go unnoticed.
In this particular case, I would like to thank and congratulate Liane Hirabayashi and Lynne Mebust for the success of the “Looking in the Mirror: Cooperstown Reflects on Racism” programming made possible this year via Zoom and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area and The Friends of the Village Library.
The ability to participate in this important series from the comfort of our homes, and to view at a preferred time through Zoom – all recorded and available through the Village Library website – was a truly brilliant concept.
I am sure that all speakers who shared their expertise so generously would not have been willing to travel on our wintry roads to attend a live event.
Participation was high, technology worked! Our community has a better understanding of racism and now has some tools in our toolbox with which to combat racism here and in the larger world.
Editor’s Note: Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, is retiring from the county board to focus on chairing the city Planning Commission, and to share his reflections on development and environmentalism through his blog, (accessible by Googling “danny lapin blog”.) This is an excerpt to his introduction to the blog.
One of my best friends in graduate school lovingly coined the topic of local government the “most important thing nobody cares about.” This was, of course, after hearing me prattle on about tax rates, land-use regulations, and urban planning in general for hours on end over the course of our two-year program in bucolic Upstate New York.
The decisions made by our local government affect us a lot more than we might think. Most apparent is in the layout of our road network and built environment. Those decisions were likely guided by a zoning code overseen by a local Planning Commission.
Decisions on how parks are designed, when basketball courts are opened or closed, and whether a new dog park should be built in town are controlled by local governments. Decisions on when to plow our roads, inspect the safety of our buildings, and how best to respond to emergencies are largely undertaken by… you guessed it… local governments.
Too often, I hear that town/village/city meetings are “boring” or that “nothing” gets done. People question whether they should take time away from their families, jobs, or other commitments to attend meetings.
I created this blog to break down key issues facing the city ranging from Downtown Revitalization to housing, taxes, sustainability, and beyond. I did this because I want us all to effectively evaluate each candidate based on the merits of their vision. Ultimately, who each reader chooses to support is up to them, however – it is my hope that this blog will play a small role in helping people understand the key issues facing our community.
So why create a blog now? In 2016, the City of Oneonta received a $10 million grant through the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative. This grant is intended to transform our downtown through the implementation of several small-to-to medium-sized projects. In the five years that have transpired, façade improvements are starting to pop up Downtown, a new marketing campaign was launched, and dozens of units of new housing are likely to come online in our community.
As the planner/engineer and creator of “Strong Towns,” Chuck Mahron, says change is at its strongest when it comes incrementally from the bottom up. As citizens, we get to act as glorified job interviewers as we select who will be Oneonta’s next mayor. The first step to the interview process is for us to figure out what are some of the key issues facing our city. It’s time to step beyond the
dinner table where many of us has an idea of what Oneonta needs, enter the public square, and debate these issues in the open.
The next New York State budget is on its way to passage, and with the federal stimulus of $12.6 billion it will not be as bad as projected. But there are still many problems ahead. Our state had a budget deficit before the pandemic, and a declining population, which the census will likely confirm later this year.
We must look for new ways to bring people back to New York. Without more people, our state will continue to suffer, and the problems will continue to grow. What is one way to bring people back?
How do we get more jobs? By investing strategically in the industries of the future, and we can do that without hurting businesses already here.
Green energy has dazzling potential. It is the industry with the fastest growing job basis in the country, and these jobs pay higher than average.
We need the energy too. New York has some of the highest utility rates in the country, and investment in green energy will lower energy costs, because the costs for renewable energy continue to go down.
Recognizing the value of green energy, the legislature passed the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act in 2019. This bill outlined clear and achievable targets to increase renewable energy production, storage and energy infrastructure.
Plus, it recognized that many communities across New York have been left behind and disadvantaged economically, so it makes sure that large parts of the investment go to these communities.
Our region has been left behind by Albany for far too long. This bill may start to change that. Of course, the question comes up of how to pay for these upgrades. We cannot print money like the federal government, so the answer is the Climate & Community Investment Act.
This bill will set taxes and charges against those businesses that pollute the most. The revenue will be turned into direct reinvestment in our state.
I support this legislation because it answers the question of how to pay for a specific state program. It may not be a perfect bill, it should be debated, and that debate can certainly make it better.
The results of this bill will help our region, and for that we all have reason to support it.
A year ago, just before the start of pandemic lockdowns, some 10% or less of the U.S. labor force worked remotely full-time. Within a month, according to Gallup and other surveys, around half of American workers were at distant desktops. Today, most of them still are. And surveys of employers and employees alike suggest a fundamental shift.
While forecasts differ, as much as a quarter of the 160-million-strong U.S. labor force is expected to stay fully remote in the long term, and many more are likely to work remotely a significant part of the time.
Smaller metro areas such as Miami, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville and Denver enjoy a price advantage over more expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, and they are using it to attract newly mobile professionals. Smaller cities have joined the competition as well, some of them launching initiatives specifically designed to appeal to remote workers.
And more rural communities including Bozeman, Mont., Jackson Hole, Wyo., Truckee, Calif., and New York’s Hudson Valley are becoming the nation’s new “Zoom towns,” seeing their fortunes rise from the influx of new residents whose work relies on such digital tools.
Richard Florida and Adam Ozimek
Wall Street Journal
March 6-7, 2021
Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements – there are numbers of people who say you should take vitamins.
Vitamin C for tissue repair, A for healthy skin, B for stress, E for women over 40, and a very popular one today – Vitamin D for overall health.
But the cost of the vitamins keeps getting higher and higher. A men’s multivitamin today will cost well over $50!
I was looking at the label on the jar and it said that a number of the ingredients are foods, from foods? Why not just eat the right foods? Well, they say foods are
not as nutritional us as they used to be.
I remember reading about one genetically modified grain that was created so it would grow faster. One of the reasons that it grows faster was that the roots are shorter. Well , the shorter roots do not go deep enough to absorb enough minerals, which in turn affects the brain function because of the lack of the minerals.
You can see why a lot of people think that you should eat organic, non-GMO foods. So I wonder why isn’t the food as good as it used to be?
A lot has to do with the soil. It’s been depleted and in many places contaminated.
There’s a graveyard for cars around here. Tons of cars lined up near a river. Every time I drive by I think how stupid to be so close to the river. The acid rain comes down on all the cars and carries all the pollutants into the river and into the farmland.
Man just ignores the cycles of nature, giving little respect to the natural process. They think science can do a better job. There is no balance between nature and science. You really don’t want to wait for nature to build the soil back up.
The way she takes care of things! Think about this: the COVID virus. It is keeping people inside, thereby reducing their impact on nature. Example: air pollution. The virus is killing lots of people, which reduces the population and also the stress on the environment.
Nature has her way of balance if we don’t play fair. Building up the quality of soil in Otsego County should be a pretty high priority on the list. Quality of soil equals quality of food equals quality of people.
I wonder what is being done to protect and enrich our local soil for, as they say, future generations?
Yesterday I had a conversation with a lady I’ll call Ginny. Her three grocery carts were stacked high on top and in the bottoms. Asked about “stocking up so much,” Ginny replied, “I do this once a year for our food bank.”
My mother, who worked three jobs seven days a week with two hernias to meet the basic needs of the seven of us had been ordered by our doctor not to work. She also walked 5.5 miles a day to work and back to save having to pay a taxi.
At that point in time, our government bought good foods then poisoned them or dumped them into oceans to keep farm prices higher. Back then, 85 percent of registered voters were farmers and Republicans. Democrats pleaded for those foods to be given to the poor, and to schools for lunch programs. Decades later Democrats succeeded.
Many Republicans make fun of the recipients by calling them all kinds of names instead of paying them a living wage with benefits. It’s the new form of slavery.
One quits or dies and another is hired.
It was found that grocery stores were best equipped to handle foods, especially perishables, so Food Stamps came into being. Because of name-calling in grocery-store lines, the method was changed to SNAP, using plastic “credit cards.” Note: SNAP is a “farm program,” not a program to help the poor.
A 36-percent excise tax on USA dairy products recently put many New York State farmers out of business. Canada now buys its dairy products elsewhere, even though the tax has been lifted. Guess that makes America great!
I worked on farms until age 19. It is hard work and in my opinion farmers should be well respected, not destroyed.
Cows must be milked two or three times a day. Milk is perishable. To give some help to Upstate farmers, Governor Cuomo set up a program to buy the milk and give it away at places like schools.
Cars were lined up from the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton School all the way back to Gilbertsville Village … the result of making America great.
My dictionary has nine definitions of great … but none seem to apply.
Big grain farmers had the same experience but were given $12 billion then $16 BILLION. The tax was dropped and the grains were sold to China, meaning farmers who donate heavily to your President got paid twice. He doles out our tax dollars as if they were his.
I like Ginny’s thinking better. To me people are much more important than greedy enrichment of and by the wealthy. Let’s show the world how good America is and that people, not money, are more important. If you have never been poor and hungry you won’t understand this as much. If you say you are a Christian, perhaps you can wonder what would Jesus say and do. Ginny gets it.
ART WORKSHOP – 7 p.m. Join SDC to get started creating botanical illustrations of the natural world around you with artist Tessa Scheele. Zoom workshop presented by A.J. Read Science Discover Center, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-2011 or visit www.facebook.com/AJReadSDC/ for info.
ART EXHIBIT – 10 a.m. Showing ‘Folk Art In Wood’ exhibit of contemporary Catskill traditional artists. Presented by Catskills Folk Connection. On view through 10/15 by appointment only. Free. Hanford Mills Musuem, 51 Co. Rt. 12, East Meredith. 607-278-5744 or visit www.hanfordmills.org/folk-art-in-wood/