By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Main Street Baptist Church has stepped up to provide a home shelter on “Code Blue” nights this winter, when temperatures are below freezing, or the wind chill makes it feel that way.
The only obstacle is $40,000-50,000 – a one-time sum needed to enable Catholic Charities to run the program. Once it gets going, the state will fund it.
So a fundraising effort was launched this week, according to Brad Feik, liaison between the Baptist church and Caring for the Homeless Collaborative, which Fox Hospital assembled two years ago on discovering its Emergency Room was the shelter available from wintry storms.
A letter went out Monday, Dec. 7, to the county’s “faith community,” signed by the Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt, pastor of Oneonta’s “Red Door” Presbyterian Church, and Jennifer Schuman, of Fox’s Homeless Collaborative.
“Any donation of any amount is welcome to make this heartfelt dream of a Community Warming Station come true,” said the letter.
A member of Main Street Baptist provided 189 Main St., a former optical store, for the warming station, according to Feik, who with his wife Noel operate Otego’s Crossroads Inn, providing sober-living housing for people released from rehab and jail, and for the homeless.
Renovations began over the weekend, said Feik, and should be completed in the next few days. The hope is to open the warming station in mid-January, at the time it’s most needed.
He estimated there are 50-60 homeless people in Oneonta at any one time, and when “Code Blue” weather arrives, 3-7 people may sleep from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. In some cases, people whose furnaces runs out of oil during cold snaps will use the facility as well.
The “warming station” concept emerged two years ago from Fox Hospital’s Ethics Committee, which was concerned about removing homeless people from the Emergency Room where they congregated on cold nights because they had nowhere else to go, according to Schuman.
She called Dr. Reggie Knight, who last month was named chief physician executive for Bassett Healthcare Network, the “administrative champion” of the concept. Feik also credited Jeff Joyner,
Fox Hospital president who was recently promoted to Network COO.
“We’ve been speaking with funding sources and asking local citizens for contributions,” said Schuman.
“Code Blue” was defined a few years ago by an executive order from Governor Cuomo. Currently, on cold nights people in need of shelter must go to the Opportunity for Otsego shelter and use the term “Code Blue” to receive a voucher a night’s lodging, Schuman said.
The warming station, she said, “would be a very low barrier” for people seeking shelter, some of who are “people who have difficulty with authority.”
According to Feik, the demand for the “warming station” might actually be less than usual this winter, since COVID-19 regulations have prevented banks from foreclosing and landlords from evicting tenants.
He emphasized that the $40,000-50,000 is a one-time amount. Once the program gets going, the state Office of Temporary Disability will pay for it, Feik said, but there’s a six-month lag, and Catholic Charities doesn’t have the reserves to run the operation in the meantime.
It was a perfect winter day for the festivities at the annual Ice Harvest this morning at the Hanford Mills Museum. Above, Steve Kellog, left, Watertown, a volunteer blacksmith at the event, works with Lucas Nouko, Oneonta, and Nathanien Francisco, West Oneonta, as the demonstrate making cooking forks for visitors. At right, Erin Neal, Walton, and son Tanner, try their hand at cutting blocks of ice from the lake alongside volunteer Jim Decker, East Meredith, Tanner Matz, East Meredith, and volunteer Robert Dianieh, East Meredith. The ice was then hauled to an ice house, where it will be stored until July 4th where it will be used to make free ice cream for museum guests.(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley, right, leads Bridgette Hulbert, daughter Vivian, Jack and William Mokay, and Andrew Rock, all of Delhi, and Erin and Kathryn Dailey, both of Oneonta, on a snowshoeing hike at the annual Winter Fest at Gilbert Lake State Park this afternoon. At right, Tami-Lee Volgari, Oneonta, sleds down a hill with her daughter Eama-Lee. Visitors also enjoyed skiing, information sessions on winter camping and survival, as well as a bonfire. The event was hosted by OCCA and Five Star Subaru. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
With the sudden onset of winter conditions, many squirrels can be seen gathering nuts for their winter hibernation. But this furry Oneontan seems to have hit the foraging jackpot as he is seen enjoying a slice of pizza this afternoon in Huntington Park. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
By PARKER FISH• Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
With such an eventful year coming to an end, 2017 is making sure it goes out with one last surprise. Thanks to a low pressure system swooping down from our neighbors to the north, Otsego County residents should prepare for the coldest temperatures of the season leading up to New Years.
“We should expect a prolonged period of very cold and dry air,” says local weather expert David Mattice. “It’s an arctic blast behind the cold front that came through during Christmas.”
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAR. 15
Due to weather, events may be cancelled. Please check before hand and be careful on the roads.
CANCELLED – BUSINESS SEMINAR – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The Winter Educational Seminar Series presents “Google Analytics.” Cost, $12 per person includes lunch. Bullpen Theater, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. Info, cooperstownchamber.org/calendar-of-events/#!event/2017/2/15/the-power-of-email-marketing
JEOPARDY – 7-8 p.m. Find out how much you know about Women’s History. Johnstone Science Center, rm. 201. Hartwick College, Oneonta. Info, www.hartwick.edu/campus-life/student-affairs/intercultural-affairs/ or contact Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607)431-4428
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, FEB. 19
THEATER – 2 p.m. Performance of ‘Love Letters,’ by A.R. Gurney, which tells the story of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner via the letters they exchanged over their lifetime. The Production Center of the Foothills Performing Arts Center, 124 Market St., Oneonta. Info, (607) 432-5407 or GEStevens17@gmail.com
HYDE HALL HISTORY – 3 p.m. John Bower, Marketing Director of Hyde Hall, presents a brief history from 1817 to 1835. Event is free and open to the public with light refreshments available. Celebrate Hyde Hall’s 200th year. Middlefield Town Hall, on Co. Rt. 25 off St. Rt. 166.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, FEB. 5
CHILI BOWL FUNDRAISER – Noon-4 p.m. Opportunity for amateur and professional chefs to compete. Also a showcase for area potters and bowl decorator. Fees support the Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info, www.canoneonta.org/events/chili-bowl/
BENEFIT RIDE – 10:30 a.m.-Noon. Come out and ride for 90 minutes to benefit Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care. $10 minimum donation. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. Info, www.clarksportscenter.com or call Amy Porter (607)547-2800 ext. 129
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, FEB. 3
SOUP ‘N’ CHILI – The Cooperstown Winter Carnival starts up for a second weekend 11 a.m.-2 p.m., with Chili, Beef Barley Soup, Broccoli, Bread, Dessert, and drinks. Adults $8, Children $4 at First Baptist Church, 21 Elm St., Cooperstown. Info, 547-9371
CONTRADANCE – 7:15-10:30 p.m. Otsego Dance Society hosts. Music by Eleemosynary, Robby Poulette calls. No partner or experience needed. All dances taught. Newcomers welcome at 7:15 for an introduction to some basic steps. Suggested donation $8 adults; $4 students and teenagers; kids 12 & under free. First Presbyterian Church, 25 Church St., Cooperstown. Info, (607) 965-8232, 547-8164, www.otsegodancesociety.blogspot.com
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, FEB. 2
Check back at 5 p.m. for tomorrow’s events.
3-D PRINTING – 10-11:30 a.m. Design a keepsake heart box for someone special. Fee based on weight Registration required. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org/calendar/
YPN NETWORKING – 6-8 p.m. Come meet young professionals from the Otsego area. The topic for this evening is community involvement. The Beverage Exchange, 73 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, www.facebook.com/YoungProfessionalsNetworkYPN/
FUNDRAISER – 7 p.m. Live music will be performed. The public may donate for the opportunity to perform. Donations go to the Cooperstown Lion’s Club fund to support area residents to lessen financial stress. Mel’s at 22, Cooperstown. Info, www.facebook.com/Melsat22/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1
PONG TOURNAMENT – 6-9 p.m. Mel’s at 22, 22 Chestnut St, Cooperstown.
CHILDREN’S STORY HOUR – 10:30-11:30 a.m. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org/calendar
DISCUSSION GROUP – 3-5 p.m. Discussion of current events. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org/calendar
ICE SKATING – 3-7 p.m. Badger Park, Cooperstown.
GAGA BALL – 3:30-5 p.m. Clark Sports Center, 124 Cty. Hwy. 52, Cooperstown.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JAN. 31
NINJA WARRIOR COURSE K-6 – 3:30-5 p.m. Clark Sports Center, 124 Cty. Hwy. 52, Cooperstown.
KNITTING GROUP – 1:30-3:30 p.m. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown, www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org/calendar
ICE SKATING – 3-7 p.m. Badger Park, Cooperstown.
NARCAN TRAINING – 3-4 p.m. Become certified to administer NARCAN in an emergency situation. Save a Life. Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties Inc., 22 Elm St., Oneonta. Info, www.friendsofrecoverydo.org
ICE HOCKEY – 6:30-9 p.m. Badger Park, Cooperstown.
DAVE’S FLICK PICKS – 6:30-8 p.m. “Sully” staring Tom hanks in the film adaptation of the events of the Miracle on the Hudson.Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown, www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org/calendar
TRIVIA NIGHT – 6:30-9 p.m. Council Rock Brewery, 4861 NY-28, Cooperstown