​ ​​​​Cooperstown Today


Although it is our hope to be able to include updates on a daily basis, with the exception of weekends and holidays, common sense tells us that, for a host of different reasons, this is probably not an attainable goal.  But we will do our best to present the issues, as well as upcoming events, that would seem to be of interest to our community. Anyone wishing to contact us about any of the issues raised can do so by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.   


PLEASE NOTE:

We are taking the next three weeks off.  One to get ready for the holidays.  One to celebrate the holidays.  And one to recover from the holidays.  We will be back with our “Daily Updates” beginning on January 8, 2018.  We will be back with you then.

                                  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2017

For Funny Friday, we offer this bit of advice...

The five best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk:


Number 5:  They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen. 

Number 4:  This is just the 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time-management course you have me attend.

Number 3:  Whew! Guess I left the top off the White-out. You probably got here just in time!

Number 2:  Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close? 

And the number one best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk: 
While raising your head very slowly, say “...in Jesus’ name. Amen.”


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2107

Where Nature Smiles...

It is once again that time of year when we are overwhelmed by the deluge of catalogs which arrive seemingly daily in our mailbox.  And while we have long railed against the tide of unwanted mail, as we have grown older we had tended to adopt a more benevolent attitude to the onslaught of catalogs.  Instead of just moving them from the mailbox to the recycling bin, we stack them up so we can look through them at our leisure.  And, if we should happen to come across something we think we simply cannot live without, we cut it out so we can determine if the item is available with free shipping online.  We suspect this is most definitely not the goal of the companies sending out the catalogs, but nowhere on these catalogs have we ever read “not appropriate for online shopping.”

Of course, catalogs are not the only deluge which seems to be descending upon residents of the village.  There also seems to be a veritable bevy of plans for various projects within the village.  The most recent one seems to be the pilot program, for which the village has received $300,000 to set up a Wi-Fi hot spot somewhere on Main Street.  Such a hot spot will allow people to use the basic internet connection for free. 

We gather, from what we have read about this project, that it is just one more of the changes which the village is undertaking to not only make it more business friendly but also to enhance the lives of residents and the experiences of tourists. And while we are still working on just how it might enhance our life, we do wonder, once the project is up and running, just who is going to foot the bill for its operation. We find it rather hard to believe it will run forever on a mere $300,000.  However, the answer to our question so far has not been forthcoming in anything we have read.

Plus, in terms of village planning, there was a recent meeting held regarding the second phase of the Main Street project, the first part of which was completed several years ago.  Although we were unable to attend the recent meeting held at the fire hall, we were most happy to discover that the information presented at the meeting is available online at the village website: http://cooperstownny.org.  Once on the website, click on “Live” where there will be links to the TEP Project Power Point Presentation and the TEP Project Drawings. For a quick look at what is being proposed for this next upgrade, we would recommend looking at the project drawings as they include the overall scope, time frame and expected features of the project.  And while the village is accepting comments on the project until December 15, we suspect, as is often the case, the project is in reality a done deal.

Entitled the “Village of Cooperstown Downtown Streetscape and Pedestrian Improvement Project,” the goals are to “Enhance the overall experience throughout downtown Cooperstown; Improve the safety, accessibility and functionality of the Main and Chestnut intersection for all users: Improve pedestrian accessibility and safety; Continue the aesthetic design concept and materials of GIGP Project recently constructed; Promote the use of bicycles; complement “sharrows;” and Unify the existing streetscape utilizing a cohesive set of streetscape furnishing (benches, receptacles, bike racks, signage).”

Construction on this next phase of work is scheduled to begin in September of 2018, continuing until May 2019.  Construction will halt during June, July and August of 2019, continuing again from September until November of 2019.  And since it includes sidewalk work in the business parts of Pioneer Street, those businesses which have been affected by the work on Pioneer Street this fall can now look forward to more disruption starting next year.

We must say that there was once a time when residents of the village were concerned that the village was headed on its way to become just like Lake George.  However, as far as we can tell, that that should no longer be a concern.  A comparison with Lake George is no longer the issue, as it would almost seem that residents should be concerned about being just like Disney World.  Instead of having what has long been a living and working community, the powers at the village now seem bent on turning Cooperstown not into the most perfect village but rather into the most synthetic village outside of Walt Disney World.

​WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2017

From what little we have read of late, we are worried that once again, given the $4 billion shortfall in the Governor’s initial proposed 2018 state budget, that there will be yet another move to balance the budget on the backs of NYS school children.  One article, from WAMC Northeast Report, noted that “’The budget is not going to be an easy budget,’ Cuomo said. ’We’re going to have to find additional savings in the budget. That’s clear.’”   It was further pointed out that “Cuomo says the state during his tenure has already spent a record amount on schools, with more than $25 billion in state funds going to schools in the current fiscal year. He says New York is the top spender per pupil of any state in the nation.”

However, we do hope that this does not mean the Governor thinks cutting state aid to schools now is an acceptable, let alone a good, idea.  The last time such a move was made, the schools lost millions of dollars in state aid, leaving many of them with no option other than to cut programs and personnel.  It was not pretty to say the least.

Therefore, we do hope that the powers that be will take under advisement a report recently released by The New York State Educational Conference Board which noted there is a need to increase, not decrease, school spending for the 2018-19 school year.  And while we fear any such increase will no doubt affect local property taxes adversely, we do firmly believe that offering a good education to our children is essential.  We tend to think we are not the only one who thinks our public education has served us well for many, many years now.  And thus we know our children need to also be able to think their public education will serve them well going forward.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2017

We were interested to read recently that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has evidently changed its collective mind when it comes to what kinds of milk can be served in public schools across the country.  Starting in the 2018-19 school year, if the current proposal is approved, schools will be allowed to offer 1 percent flavored milk for school breakfast and lunch programs.  We must say we tend to think such a change is a good idea, especially since it seems consumption of milk in schools has dropped since 2012 when such an option was eliminated from school programs.

And while we are willing to bet there will be parents who will object to the change, we would like to point out, as we did at a PTO meeting when the CCS elementary school decided to offer chocolate milk on Fridays, that doing so would not be the end of the world as we know it.  In fact, we went so far as to suggest to those at the meeting who were violently opposed to the change that it would be very easy to limit such offensive milk from their children’s meals.  When we were asked how them might do that, we told them to instruct their children not to purchase the chocolate milk.  Unfortunately, they did not seem to think they could such a thing, which make us wonder just who was in charge. 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2017

We are always interested when we come across an article, such as the one we discovered recently in the December 9 edition of The Daily Star.  Entitled “Scientists: Climate change is hitting N.Y.” and written by Joe Mahoney, the article did not seem to shed much in the way of new information on the ever ongoing discussion of climate change.

However, we were somewhat surprised to read that “Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed that the state increase its reliance on renewable sources of energy so that by 2030 they provide at least 50 percent of the state's energy mix.  He has said that continuing to rely on natural gas as a bridge is necessary to get to that goal.”

We must say in all that we have read regarding the Governor’s thoughts on natural gas, we do not recall he has ever mentioned that natural gas needs to be a bridge to renewable sources of energy.  And it would hardly seem that such thinking is in keeping with the state’s ban on natural gas development and its hesitance to allow the construction of natural gas pipelines.  We willingly admit that we are confused to say the least.  And we have to wonder if the Governor has actually changed his mind or is someone putting words in his mouth for some unknown reason.


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2017

This week we present “Seniors on a Little Road Trip”...

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip.

When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table and she didn't miss them until they had been driving about twenty minutes.  

By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the husband became the classic grouchy old man.  He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn't let up.

To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant.  As the woman got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her. 

“While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card!”

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

When we first read that the Village of Cooperstown had given Ommegang Brewery permission to use Pioneer Park to shoot a brewery commercial, which will feature Santa’s cottage as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus, we were dumbfounded.  And even though the brewery paid the village a $500 fee to use Pioneer Park, we must say we have great reservations about the project.

An article on the subject, found on allotsego.com and written by Libby Cudmore, reported:

“’We see a line of men, waiting in Pioneer Park,’ said Larry Bennett, Ommegang’s creative director, as he outlined his vision for a commercial before the Village Board this evening. ‘What are they waiting for? The camera pans up to Santa’s cottage, and Mrs. Claus welcomes him inside. He goes to Santa, Santa opens his ‘Nice or Naughty’ book, and then hands him a bottle of Three Philosophers.’

Bennett is seeking “men in their late 20s, 30s and 40s” to appear in the commercial, which will shoot Monday, Dec. 4, and air on Ommegang’s website, YouTube, Facebook and other social media that Friday.”

It was then pointed out that “The board approved the request, with a $500 location fee. ‘How about a keg?’ joked Trustee Richard Sternberg.”

Following the article, there were two comments from the public.  The first read: “What??? …seeking “men in their late 20s, 30s and 40s” – ageist if you ask me! Like us fogies don’t like fine brews!!!” The second added: “Santa Booze… GREAT! and from a baseball town with a drinking problem!”  And while we found these comments most interesting, they did not in any way, express our thoughts on the making of such a commercial.

Our immediate reaction was the village seems more than happy to sell any aspect of the village if the price is right.  And in this case, they sold the use of Pioneer Park in order to use Cooperstown’s long and cherished Santa Claus tradition to promote the interests of a commercial enterprise. Beyond that, we were concerned about using the space in which children come, in great anticipation, to share their Christmas lists with Santa, as a space for grown men to visit Santa in hopes that Santa will find them on the “nice,” not the “naughty,” list.  The “nice” list will find Santa bestowing them with an alcoholic gift.  We suppose it is up to the viewer of the commercial to decide just what the men on the “naughty” list might receive. We have trouble thinking this is a good use of a space designed for children.

When we questioned the shooting of such a commercial, we were told that the 4Cs had already approved the project. We have also heard that Santa is evidently is in favor of the project.  We were also assured that “There are no open containers, no drinking, no opening bottles, nothing about being inebriated...There will be no handing out of actual beer. Nothing will be opened, poured or consumed.”  We gather that what was not going to happen evidently justified what was going to happen.  Additionally, it was pointed out to us that the board voted unanimously to approve the use of Pioneer Park, as if that somehow made a difference in the appropriateness of the project.

Our response to this, as we understand the project, is that it will appear that men going into Santa’s cottage will be given an alcoholic product.  Granted it will no doubt be a prop and will not be "opened, poured or consumed.”  But it would seem that the message is still clear that Santa is handing out alcohol to men in the same space that children go to share their Christmas wish list with him.  And since the "Board voted unanimously to let Ommegang film...” the commercial on village property, it seems the goal of the project, namely to sell alcoholic beverages, must be considered not only an appropriate use of Santa’s time, but also an appropriate message from Santa to the children of our area.

Needless to say, we remain unconvinced that this undertaking is a worthy project. In many ways, it seems to make a mockery of the Christmas traditions of the Village of Cooperstown.  And it is a mockery that has the potential of representing Cooperstown not only here but also across the country. In fact, we think it is but one more tear in the fabric of the community.  And it makes us most glad that our days as Mrs. Claus, although in the same place, were in another time, with different leadership.

​WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2017

Not long ago we were looking through the newspaper when we came across the “Dear Annie” column in which a reader had written about using “no problem” as a substitute for “you’re welcome.”  The reader made the argument that the two phrases do not have the same meaning, writing “The phrase ‘no problem’ carries with it the implication that if the task had created a ‘problem’ for the server, perhaps she might not have carried it out so nicely — or at all. ‘You’re welcome,’ on the other hand, has a much more gracious implication: that the person would have done this task for you no matter the cost to herself.”

And we must admit we could not agree more.  It seems to us that when someone is thanked, saying “you’re welcome” implies that the person doing the thanking was more than happy to have helped the person doing the thanking.  On the other hand, to reply “no problem” when being thanked, seems to indicate that that the person being thanked is less than gracious by implying that whatever was done wasn’t a big deal, even if the recipient might have thought it to be.

However, we suspect our thoughts fall on deaf ears.  Annie replied with “I see no evidence that “no problem” carries that implication, but I love a good linguistic debate, so I’m printing your letter.”  And, having read that answer, we are not at all surprised that Annie thinks “no problem” is just fine.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017

In this country, there has always has seemed to be movement from rural areas to urban areas.  We supposed it is perceived that the urban areas have more to offer than do the rural ones.  And that might will be true, at least for some people. It seems to us that it takes a certain type of person to thrive in a rural area without missing the wonders of the city.  And we have almost come to the conclusion that rural areas are struggling because there just aren’t enough people who want to, or can, call the rural areas of the country home.

Thus we were most heartened when we read the article, “We are seeing a return to simplicity,” by syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker.  She points out that “Young people are moving back to farming; small towns are being revitalized and attracting young families who once might have elected to live in the ‘burbs; and local governments are finding grant monies to revitalize their downtowns and support small businesses.

For people living in small towns and mid-size cities, “local” is the new orange.
What’s at play, one may infer, is that the “human” in human being is enjoying something of a revival. Too much of everything has spawned a backlash manifested in a preference for simplicity.”

She then adds “Down the road, rural communities are seeing an uptick in smaller-scale, family-owned operations as young, college-educated families trade concrete for soil. A perceptible shift away from quantity toward quality amid an appreciation for authentic human exchanges seems a hopeful sign as we enter the season of giving.”

And we think she is right on when she writes that “The frantic immersion in material gratification symbolized by Black Friday is the precise opposite of spiritual connection or interpersonal engagement.”  And if people are indeed opting for a simpler, more personal life style, we think that should bode well for areas such as ours.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2017

It seems that we do not need to be in the midst of an election cycle to receive all sorts of annoyingly political calls.  And while we usually try to avoid them, we did answer such a call last week, during the height of the debate on the tax bill in Congress.  The woman was most cheerful and pleasant, asking us how we were.  But after the pleasantries were over.  She told us she was calling about the tax bill and wondered if we had heard of it.  We found the question to be somewhat demeaning, almost as if we most certainly must be such a rube as have no idea what might be going on in the country.

Before she could launch into her pitch either for or against the bill, we expressed great delight in the tax bill, announcing we thought it to be a very good thing.  Evidently that was the wrong thing to say as the women abruptly hung up.  We suspect she was not in favor of the bill.  We also suspect she is not going to win friends and influence people by hanging up on those expressing an opinion with which we assume she disagrees.
 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2017

For “Funny Friday,” we offer the following...

A young woman brought her fiancé home to meet her parents.

After dinner, her mother told her father to find out about the young man. The father invited the fiancé to his study for a talk.

"So, what are your plans?" the father asked the young man.

"I am a biblical scholar," he replied.

"A biblical scholar, hmmm?" the father said. "Admirable, but what will you
do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?"

"I will study," the young man replied, "and God will provide for us."

"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she
deserves?" asked the father.

"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replied, "God will provide
for us."

"And children?" asked the father. "How will you support children?"

"Don't worry, sir, God will provide," replied the fiancé.

The conversation proceeded like this, and each time the father questioned,
the young idealist insisted that God would provide.

Later, the mother asked, "How did it go, honey?"

The father answered, "He has no job and no plans, and he thinks I'm God."
 

​THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

We are happy to report that once again this year we managed to produce, with the help of our trusty microwave, a rather delicious Thanksgiving dinner featuring turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes as well as stuffing.  Our microwave efforts were augmented by cooked cranberries, which we actually prepared on the stove, and squash which had been baked by our friend who joined us for dinner.  To top this fantastic feast off, we had mincemeat pie which we purchased at the Christ Episcopal Church chicken barbeque dinner and pie sale.  All in all, we found our Thanksgiving celebration most enjoyable.  And the really good news is that we had enough leftovers for two more meals.  It just doesn’t get better than that.


Of course, we are not quite so enamored of something we read recently in the news. It seems that the Oneonta Common Council has evidently seen fit to approve a resolution in opposition to the tax bill currently being considered by Congress.  As we understand it, they feel that putting limits on the deductibility of the so called SALT, state and local taxes, will be most detrimental to local citizens.

Now we must admit that we find it rather difficult to figure out just what affect, if any, the proposed legislation might have on one’s taxes.  However, based on our online research, we have come to the conclusion, that for us at least, the elimination of SALT is basically a wash given the increase in standard deductions. 

For 2016, when we filed our latest income tax return, our itemized deductions, consisting of taxes and charitable donations, totaled $12,483.  And given that the new tax regulations would increase the individual federal income tax deduction from $6,350 to $12,200, any such change to the SALT deduction would not really affect us one way or another. On the other hand, it would seem that we would not be seeing a decrease in our federal income tax, something that would not be the case for a couple with the same income and deductions we had in 2016.  Since the standard deduction for a couple would increase to $24,000, they would seem to realize a decrease in their overall federal income tax bill. 

Frankly, we suspect, the only way for one to try and figure out whether or not the proposed tax bill would help or hurt is to look at exactly what the effect would be on one’s own taxes.  And particularly, in regards to SALT, we would tend to think it might be more informative to figure out what the effect on one’s taxes might be rather than to simply taking the Oneonta Common Council thoughts on the subject.

We also found ourselves pondering the headline we read last week which read: “Abbate Era Ends...On High Note, With 7-7 County Board Split.”  Now technically the headline is correct.  If counting people, it is indeed true that starting in January of 2018 there will be seven Democrats and seven Republicans on the Otsego County Board.  However, given the county’s weighted voting of the county representatives, it should be noted that when it comes to voting, the Democrats will have 2,807 votes while the Republicans will have 3,421 votes. Of course, in this day and age, predicting how any government official might vote on any issue based on party affiliation is not something we are particularly inclined to want to do.

Nonetheless, in spite of fact that the headline seemed somewhat misleading, we do think that the article itself was well written and most informative.  We must say we are quite glad we actually read the article, something we almost did not do based on the headline.  Thus, we have come to the conclusion that just as one should not judge a book by its cover, one should not judge a newspaper story by its headline.

Finally, difficult as it is to believe, we note that the Medicare open enrollment period which started this year on October 15 is about to come to a close.  This next week will be the last opportunity until next year for those of us on Medicare to take a look at our Medicare insurance benefits to make certain that the coverage we now have will work well for us in the coming year.  Any changes which one wishes to make to one’s Medicare coverage needs to be done by Thursday, December 7.


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2017

And, while still on the topic of sexual harassment, we must admit we were stunned when it came to our attention that Emily Lindin, who is evidently a “radical feminist,” has some rather disturbing thoughts regarding sexual harassment allegations.

This past week, she sent out the following tweets:

The first one read: “Here’s an unpopular opinion:  I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.”

Her second tweet read: “First, false allegations VERY rarely happen, so even bringing it up borders on a derailment tactic.  It’s a microscopic risk in comparison to the issue at hand (worldwide, systemic oppression of half the population).”

And finally, she offered up the thought that: “And more importantly:  The benefit of all of us getting to finally tell the truth + the impact on victims FAR outweigh the loss of any one man’s reputation.”

We must admit that we are dumbfounded. The idea that mere allegations are the same as proven fact is outrageous. It is not our understanding that any accuser has the right to act as judge and jury. Following Lindin’s line of thought would lead us to think that every man in the country is at risk.

Should anyone be interested, more information on this topic is available at: http://www.dailywire.com/news/23892/teen-vogue-columnist-claims-shes-not-concerned-if-emily-zanotti#.  We note it is not particularly pleasant reading.


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2017

While we are not at all surprised by all the attention given to sexual harassment allegations of late, we must say we were somewhat taken aback by an article “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays.” which appeared on the Girls Scouts website, girlscouts.org.

It opens with: “Holidays and family get-togethers are a time for yummy food, sweet traditions, funny stories, and lots and lots of love. But they could, without you even realizing it, also be a time when your daughter gets the wrong idea about consent and physical affection.”

The scouts seem to think that parents, or anyone else, should not encourage hugs and kisses between girls and relatives as it just might be sending the wrong message.  The argue that “...telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.”

According to “...Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, “...the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older. Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help.”

And while we certainly give the Girl Scouts the right to their opinions, we must say we think they seem to be out in left field somewhere.  If girls are taught early on that hugging and kissing one’s relatives at family gatherings can be problematic, how on earth will such girls ever be able to develop normal relationships with others later in life.  Quite frankly, we don’t get it.  And, of course, we have to wonder how many people actually followed the Girl Scouts’ advice on something which we suspect is really none of their business.

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2017

For today’s update, we decided we needed to go through some possible update articles that we had saved but never used.  Headlines included “NFL protests are distracting and unhelpful” along with “Cooperstown Veterans Club bans NFL broadcasts.”  We also saved an editorial “IN OUR OPINION:  We don’t believe we are on the eve of destruction.” And we considered “Water, sewer projects to get millions in state aid” as well as “Local doc:  Colon cancer screening changes needed.” We also thought about both “Religion has a place in the public square” and “New York sheriffs shrug off Cuomo’s immigration order.”

Unfortunately, as we looked them over we decided that while they were all interesting, they are also old news.  Thus, we found ourselves, since the local newspapers of late do not seem to have had much of interest, turning to the internet for some topics that might be of interest.  And fortunately, it seems that we have come up with enough ideas for at least this week.  But, given the way the news seems to be going, we make no guarantees going forward.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2917

In keeping with the holiday weekend, we offer the “Bad Parrot”...

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. 

Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. 

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary. 

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.

Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. 

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly,

"May I ask what the turkey did?" 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2017

Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we offer the following:

Thanksgiving 8000 calorie poem...

May your stuffing be tasty,
  And your turkey be plump. 
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump. 

May your yams be delicious. 
  And your pies take the prize, 
And may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs! 

                                    -Author Unknown

                                         
 Happy Thanksgiving!


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, there can be little doubt that Christmas is lurking right around the corner, making all sorts of demands on our time and energy. Do this! No, do that!  Better yet, do everything!  It quite puts us in a “Bah-Humbug” frame of mind, leaving us to think what gets done, gets done, and what doesn’t, doesn’t.  And this year, since they will be ready to mail out this next week, the only thing which we are remotely willing to guarantee will happen this holiday season, is that we will get our Christmas cards sent.

Of course, with the season come any number of interesting events, such as the Adorn-A-Door Wreath Festival to be held this Saturday, November 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Cooperstown Art Association Galleries located at 22 Main Street.  Activities will include a silent auction of over 100 wreaths and the CAA’s annual Holiday Show and Sale as well as refreshments, local musical talent and children’s activities.

And, on Thursday, November 30th at 6:30 p.m. Woodside Hall will hold its next Community Evening Program. Dave Edwards of the Leatherstocking Beekeepers Association will be on hand to discuss “Are Honey Bees REALLY in Trouble?”

He will discuss the current issues related to honey bees and the causes of these issues.  Dave will help the audience understand the facts behind the current headlines about this hardworking pollinator. Community Evening Programs are offered on a Thursday evening of each month. Attendance is free and open to the public.  For more information please call 607-547-0600.

Of course, not all meeting scheduled during the frantic holiday season are related to the holidays.  In fact, the Village of Cooperstown has two public meeting on the docket which would not seem to be holiday related at all.

The first, to be held on Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cooperstown Fire Hall, will present information on $1.7 million funding the village has received from the Transportation Enhancement Program, administered by the NYS DOT.
The money, according to the November “Village Voices” newsletter, is to be used to “...improve the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists in the business district. The project’s area included Main Street from Pine Boulevard to River Street and Pioneer Street from Church Street to Lake Street.”

It is also noted in the newsletter that this project will “...include details about crosswalks and pedestrian signals, street furniture such as benches, interpretative signage and wayfinding, bike racks, new street trees, and more energy efficient and attractive lighting.” And while the powers that be at the village have assured us that what is being planned will make it easier for those of us with handicapped conditions to get around in the business district, we must admit we remain somewhat skeptical of that claim.

The second village meeting, to be held on Monday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. at 22 Main Street in the second floor Ballroom, will discuss the issue of how the village can better provide “...access to people of all ages and abilities.”  It is pointed out in “Village Voices,” that students at the Cooperstown Graduate Program have been working with the village for over a year in studying ways in which services and facilities can be more accessible to everyone.

At the meeting the CGP students will present a “Transition Plan” for the village which will identify and prioritize areas within the village in need of improvement. We can but hope as the students prepared the “Transition Plan” that they interviewed those in the area with handicapping conditions.  Quite frankly, we think it would be most valuable to have included the thinking of those who experience difficulty navigating the many barriers which they encounter throughout the village.  We speak from experience when we say that it is truly amazing how much of an obstacle course Cooperstown can be when it comes to those of us with mobility issues.

Plus, we would like to note that we find the locations for these two upcoming village meetings to be somewhat ironic. The meeting to discussion issues for pedestrians and bicyclists is scheduled at the Fire Hall while the meeting to discuss accessibility is held in the second floor ballroom of the Village Library Building.  We think the first is rather easily accessible.  However, we would tend to find the second venue far more difficult to access, something we hope will change when the village replaces the current elevator in the Village Library Building.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, there can be little doubt that Christmas is lurking right around the corner, making all sorts of demands on our time and energy. Do this! No, do that!  Better yet, do everything!  It quite puts us in a “Bah-Humbug” frame of mind, leaving us to think what gets done, gets done, and what doesn’t, doesn’t.  And this year, since they will be ready to mail out this next week, the only thing which we are remotely willing to guarantee will happen this holiday season, is that we will get our Christmas cards sent.

Of course, with the season come any number of interesting events, such as the Adorn-A-Door Wreath Festival to be held this Saturday, November 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Cooperstown Art Association Galleries located at 22 Main Street.  Activities will include a silent auction of over 100 wreaths and the CAA’s annual Holiday Show and Sale as well as refreshments, local musical talent and children’s activities.

And, on Thursday, November 30th at 6:30 p.m. Woodside Hall will hold its next Community Evening Program. Dave Edwards of the Leatherstocking Beekeepers Association will be on hand to discuss “Are Honey Bees REALLY in Trouble?”

He will discuss the current issues related to honey bees and the causes of these issues.  Dave will help the audience understand the facts behind the current headlines about this hardworking pollinator. Community Evening Programs are offered on a Thursday evening of each month. Attendance is free and open to the public.  For more information please call 607-547-0600.

Of course, not all meeting scheduled during the frantic holiday season are related to the holidays.  In fact, the Village of Cooperstown has two public meeting on the docket which would not seem to be holiday related at all.

The first, to be held on Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cooperstown Fire Hall, will present information on $1.7 million funding the village has received from the Transportation Enhancement Program, administered by the NYS DOT.
The money, according to the November “Village Voices” newsletter, is to be used to “...improve the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists in the business district. The project’s area included Main Street from Pine Boulevard to River Street and Pioneer Street from Church Street to Lake Street.”

It is also noted in the newsletter that this project will “...include details about crosswalks and pedestrian signals, street furniture such as benches, interpretative signage and wayfinding, bike racks, new street trees, and more energy efficient and attractive lighting.” And while the powers that be at the village have assured us that what is being planned will make it easier for those of us with handicapped conditions to get around in the business district, we must admit we remain somewhat skeptical of that claim.

The second village meeting, to be held on Monday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. at 22 Main Street in the second floor Ballroom, will discuss the issue of how the village can better provide “...access to people of all ages and abilities.”  It is pointed out in “Village Voices,” that students at the Cooperstown Graduate Program have been working with the village for over a year in studying ways in which services and facilities can be more accessible to everyone.

At the meeting the CGP students will present a “Transition Plan” for the village which will identify and prioritize areas within the village in need of improvement. We can but hope as the students prepared the “Transition Plan” that they interviewed those in the area with handicapping conditions.  Quite frankly, we think it would be most valuable to have included the thinking of those who experience difficulty navigating the many barriers which they encounter throughout the village.  We speak from experience when we say that it is truly amazing how much of an obstacle course Cooperstown can be when it comes to those of us with mobility issues.

Plus, we would like to note that we find the locations for these two upcoming village meetings to be somewhat ironic. The meeting to discussion issues for pedestrians and bicyclists is scheduled at the Fire Hall while the meeting to discuss accessibility is held in the second floor ballroom of the Village Library Building.  We think the first is rather easily accessible.  However, we would tend to find the second venue far more difficult to access, something we hope will change when the village replaces the current elevator in the Village Library Building.


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2017

Today we ask:  Why, why, why...

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are almost dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they already know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars; but have to check when you say the paint is still wet?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Why is there never a day that mattresses are not on sale?


Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

Why is it possible for all those dead bugs to get into those enclosed light fixtures?

Why, when we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart, apologizing for doing so, do we say, “It's all right?” Why don't we say, “That really hurt. Why don't you watch where you're going?”

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

Why in the winter do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

Why is it you never hear father-in-law jokes?


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2017

This week we feel we should be back on track, discussing the issues facing our area.  Yet, based on the news this past week, we aren’t at all inclined to write about anything of substance.  The animosity and divisiveness, not to mention the downright disgusting undertakings, of the news leaves us cold.  Thus, we once again have raided our email inbox to augment our posts this week. 

Today we offer...

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people's business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Elmer, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Elmer (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know exactly what he was doing! 

Elmer, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Elmer quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house, walked home and left the pickup there all night.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2017

For “Funny Friday” we offer some thoughts on an ever favorite topic, namely money:

It can buy a house, but not a home.
It can buy a clock, but not time.
It can buy you a position, but not respect.
It can buy you a bed, but not sleep
It can buy you a book, but not knowledge.
It can buy you medicine, but not health.
It can buy you blood, but not life.

So you see, money isn't everything and it often causes pain and suffering.

I tell you this because I am your friend. And as your friend I want to take away your pain and suffering!

So send me all your money, cash only please, and I will suffer for you!

After all, what are friends for??
 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

After the comings and goings of the past two weeks or so, we announced to someone that this week we fully intended to write nothing but drivel in the column.  The response to this was that it would be highly unlikely that we would actually be able to that.  Needless to say, when it comes to writing this column, we love nothing more than a good challenge.  Drivel it shall be.

However, before we delve into this week’s drivel we thought it might behoove us to make certain we know exactly what is and what is not drivel.  Thus, we proceeded to check out the definition of drivel online.  We found this:

driv·el (ˈdrivəl/) noun
         silly nonsense.
            "don't talk such drivel!"

We also discovered that synonyms for drivel include nonsense, twaddle, claptrap, balderdash, gibberish, rubbish, mumbo jumbo, garbage, poppycock, piffle, tripe, hogwash, baloney, flap doodle, tommyrot and several other things we cannot include here. 

Now we must admit, that many years ago, we were accused of writing nothing but tripe in our column.  So we are indeed well informed on the subject. In fact, at that time we proceeded to divide the column into two parts, the first being the usual important information while the second part was reserved for the tripe that we wrote.  As we recall, this went on for quite a while, ending up with us including tripe recipes as well as the fact that Campbell’s made a Pepper Pot soup that included tripe as one of its ingredients.  As a side note, we understand that Campbell’s discontinued this tripe laden soup sometime in 2011, something which no doubt broke the hearts of an unknown number of people.  Eventually, we decided we had milked the tripe angle long enough, eliminating it from our column until now.

And while we do not intend to include any tripe recipes here this week, we do note that online one can easily find recipes for Roman Style Tripe, Mexican Tripe Soup, Deep-Fired Tripe, Trippa Alla Florentina: Florentine Tripe, Caribbean Beef Tripe Soup, Tripe Stew Nicoise-Style, African Tripe Stew, Tripe Aita and Tripe with Potatoes.  However, we do think it is safe to say that at this point, the local grocery stores do not have to worry about an increase in the demand for tripe.

Of course, we also fully understand another one of the other synonyms, namely nonsense, as we suspect from time to time over the past thirty or so years, we have managed, whether we meant to or not, to include a fair amount of nonsense in the column.  Perhaps the best example we have come across recently, was a discussion we had regarding the Village of Cooperstown seal.  We became well acquainted with this seal when we, the he-we and the she-we, were co-chairs of the village’s 1986 Bicentennial Celebration.

Thus, in February of 1990 we wrote, on the topic of the village seal, that “...someone has suggested that the collection of tools found on the Cooperstown village seal...probably represents the combining of the implements of husbandry and industry.  After giving the matter some thought, we feel that the tools depicted on the seal actually reflect the modern village rather well.  The rake represents those who wish to rake in even more tourist dollars.  The scythe symbolizes those who want to cut down the number of visitors.  The fork stands for those on the various governmental boards---village, school, town and county---who continually ask us to fork over more of our hard earned money when they stick us with even higher taxes.  The shovel is for those who enjoy shoveling that well known white substance which seems to abound these days.  The hammer and sickle might represent those who wish to slice out new development and hammer out franchisees.  Perhaps the tool which no one seems able to identify is actually a 19th century pooper scooper and what could be more appropriate in modern Cooperstown?”

As we close out our very special column of nothing but drivel, we note that for the past several weeks now we have been debating with ourselves as to whether the snow or the leaves lurking about our backyard would fall first.  And unfortunately, not at all to our liking, we have the answer to the debate.  The snow won and we feel we are the poorer for it.
 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017

For “Whimsical Wednesday” we offer the following thoughts from the mouths of babes...

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked 
me how old I was, and I told him, "62."  He was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
 
After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old 
slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the 
children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin.
Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, 
putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she 
heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood 
was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a 
tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked 
wild raspberries in the woods."  The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how 
you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo while I asked, "No, how 
are we alike?" "You're both old," he replied.

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked.  "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"

When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in.  Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use, Grandpa. The mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the truck was a Dalmatian dog.  The children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another, "he's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."
 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014

For “Teasing Tuesday” we offer the following...

A man feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.  Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here's what you do," said the Doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and speak in a normal conversational speaking tone to see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?"  No response...

So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Honey, what's for dinner?"  Still no response...

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?" Again no response...

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away.. "Honey, what's for dinner?" Again there is no response.

Then he walks right up behind her, "Honey, what's for dinner?"  “Jim, for THE FIFTH time, it’s chicken.”

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2017

Having spent the end of last week, as well as the weekend, wondering what we should do going forward, we must admit that we are still clueless when it comes to the future of cooperstowntoday.com.  However, we did make the decision that perhaps it is more important to take some time to put everything, and we do mean everything, into perspective.  And we know of no better way to do that than to interject some humor into one’s life.

Therefore, we shall depart from our usual “Daily Updates” this week and use the space to hopefully add some much needed laughter to the world around us.  Thus, today we will offer “Amusing Monday” followed by “Teasing Tuesday,” “Whimsical Wednesday,” “Where Nature Smiles Thursday” and “Funny Friday.”

For “Amusing Monday” we offer the following to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade. The next time someone who knows nothing, and cares less, tries to make your life miserable, just remember this story...

A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded;

"Rome? Why would anyone want to go there?  It's crowded and dirty. You're
crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply.  "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser.  "That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on the Tiber River called Teste."

"Don't go any further! I know that place.  Everybody thinks its going be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city! The rooms are small, the service is surly, and they're overpriced. So, what are you doing when you get there?"

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser.  "You and a million other people trying to see him.  He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours.
You're going to need it."

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome .

"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one of
Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you
didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Oh, really! What did he say?"

He said, "Where did you get the horrible hairdo?"

​FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2017

In today’s “Funny Friday” we offer some questions, when asked of students, seem to have gotten some rather interesting answers...

Teacher: Why are you late, Henry?
Henry: Class started before I got here.

Teacher: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
John: You told me to do it without using tables.

Teacher: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
Glenn: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'

Teacher: No, that's wrong
Glenn: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

Teacher: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald: H I J K L M N O.

Teacher: What are you talking about?
Donald: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

Teacher: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
Winnie: Me!

Teacher: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
Louie: Because George still had the axe in his hand.....

Teacher: Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
Simon: No sir, I don't have to, my Mum is a good cook.

Teacher: Clyde , your composition on “My Dog” is exactly the same as your brother's.  Did you copy his? Did you copy his?
Clyde: No, sir. It's the same dog.

Teacher: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?

Harold: A teacher.

THURSDAY, NOVEMER 9, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

We note that there are two Cooperstown churches that are planning fund raising dinners this month.  The first will be held tomorrow, Friday, November 10, in the Cooperstown Presbyterian Church Chapel on Pioneer Street.  The dinner will include macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, meatloaf, potatoes, salads and desserts.  There will also be vegetarian and gluten free options. Take-out dinners will also be available.  A $10.00 donation is suggested for the meal.  Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Presbyterian Church’s Living Waters Team’s installation of a “World-Water Purification System” in Tatumbla, Honduras in January of next year. Unfortunately, there has been a change in the amount of money local Living Water teams need to raise in order to continue to participate in Living Waters projects.  Thus, the local team needs to raise more money for the January project than it has to raise for projects in the past.  Because of this change, we would encourage those wishing to support the Living Waters project to support the local team’s fund raising dinner so they will be able to meet their fund raising goal. 

The second fund raising dinner will be held on Friday, November 17, 2017 from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church Parish House, located at 69 Fair Street, Cooperstown.  The Brooks Barbeque Chicken dinner will feature a half of Brooks chicken as well as coleslaw, baked potato, baked beans, roll, dessert and beverage. The cost per dinner will be $12.00. Take-out meals will also be available. In addition to the chicken dinner, there will also be a sale of a variety of homemade pies. Both the dinner and the pie sale will benefit the church’s Global Mission Outreach. For more information about the dinner or the pie sale, please contact the church office at 607-547-9555.

Recently, as we were reading our fall 2017 copy of the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, we came across an item in the column entitled “Gambier is talking about...”  This piece read:

“Members of Kenyon’s faculty vote unanimously at an April 24 meeting to approve a statement affirming their commitment to freedom of expression for students and faculty.  The statement urges support for a free exchange of ideas and encourages ‘critical and creative thinking.’  It will be used by faculty members as a guide for how to engage with difficult questions in a substantive manner while preserving respect for those with varying viewpoints.”

Although we must admit that this decision on the part of Kenyon’s faculty does not seem to be in keeping with so much of what is being put forth in the media about the issue of free speech on college campuses, we were most heartened that Kenyon is taking what we think is a most refreshing position on this issue.  Unfortunately, it seems that many colleges do not seem to be so enlightened.  In fact, when it comes to education we think a move to seemingly clamp down on free speech is making its way down the educational system into a number of public K-12 schools across the country.

And it would also seem that education is not the only area in which free speech is being curtailed.  There is also reason, we think, to believe that news media has long ago given up reporting the news in an unbiased manner.  Not only national, but also local, newspapers, apparently tend to sort through the news, reporting on that of which they approve while putting that which does not please them in the dustbin. This must, unfortunately, greatly increase the power of the press at the same time it is evidently leading many people, ourselves included, to hold a rather low opinion of those organizations tasked with informing the public of the comings and goings of the world around them.

Of course, as we were told a long time ago, when we first started writing this column back in the 1980s, the power of the press belongs to those who own the presses.  And we are beginning to believe, given what we have seen happening of late, that we are all the poorer for it.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017

We were pleasantly surprised yesterday when we realized that the comment we made in response to the article entitled “Taxes Emerge As Issue In Otsego Town Election,” which appeared on The Freeman’s Journal website, allotsego.com, was posted to the website.  It certainly makes us think more of the Journal than we did last week when our column “Where Nature Smiles” was not printed.  

Nonetheless, we have come to the conclusion that the campaign for yesterday’s election has left us wondering if what we have tried to do for the past two and a half years with this website has achieved its goal.

We had hoped to offer a forum in which all sides of local issues could be discussed in a rational way.  We had hoped for input from our readers.  And while that seemed to be the case as we started this venture, such input quickly disappeared, leaving us musings about what we thought the important issues of the day might be.  

And, if the snarky, if not downright disingenuous, campaigns tactics on both sides of the political spectrum are any indication, we have failed miserably in remotely reaching our goal. While we have enjoyed writing our “Daily Updates,” we do think the time has come to see if there is a way to better reach our original goal for this website.

This week on Thursday, we will post our weekly column “Where Nature Smiles.”  And on Friday, we will be offering our usual “Funny Friday.”  For the rest of the week, and over the weekend, we shall be assessing where we go from here.

Anyone having any thoughts on how we might better use the website to inform residents of the comings and goings in the area which have the potential of impacting their lives, are encouraged to share their ideas with us by either telephone at 607-547-9124 or email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.

 

NEW DAILY UPDATE FOR TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2017

Today on The Freeman’s Journal website, allotsego.com, there is an article entitled “Taxes Emerge As Issue In Otsego Town Election,” which points out that “...Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan, who is running unopposed in Tuesday’s election, said taxes will go up only a bit this year and still be lower than in 2015.  ‘The Town of Otsego is healthy,’ she wrote in a letter to the editor.”

In response to the article, we wrote the following comment:

"Catherine L. Ellsworth November 7, 2017 at 8:29 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

The statement that 2018 taxes in the Town of Otsego will be lower than they were in 2015 is a rather puzzling statement. In 2015, my town taxes were $109.53. Based on the proposed 2018 budget, I believe my town taxes will be in the neighborhood of $153, a 40.6% increase over the 2015 taxes. Additionally, it should be noted that my town taxes in 2012 were $49.90. Thus, given the projected taxes for 2018, my Town of Otsego taxes will have gone up 168% in less than ten years. The Town of Otsego may be “healthy.” But the taxes are not."

​Of course, we have no idea what "moderation" may be made to our comment before it appears on the website, if it appears on the website.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2017

Of course, today’s election is not the only item of interest on the minds of the residents of the Town of Otsego.  Although it has not been well publicized, the proposed 2018 budget for the town has a 25% tax increase, something that is not sitting particularly well with some people. 

Thus we suspect the public hearing on the town’s 2018 budget will probably be worth the price of admission.  It will be held at the town offices, located in Fly Creek, tomorrow, Wednesday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. Town residents will have the opportunity to express their thoughts, both positive and negative on the 2018 budget.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2017

We rather suspect there is no one in the area who is not aware that there will an election tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7.  The polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.  We encourage all registered voters to cast their ballots based on their assessments of which candidates they think will take the government in the direction they wish to see it go.

From our perspective, this election, as so many do, has revolved in great part on just what kind of government one thinks might best serve the interests of the public.  One side firmly believes that the bigger the government the better. Based on past experience such thinking tends to lead to more bureaucracy, more rules and regulations and higher taxes.  On the other side, the thinking is that less government works better as there is less bureaucracy, fewer rules and regulations and hopefully, lower taxes.  It will be up to the voters to decide what they perceive the best way forward for our local government might be.

And we suspect, once the votes are counted there will be those voters who are happy and those voters who are not happy.  We only hope that all of those candidates who are elected will come together to work for what proves to be in the best interest of all the residents of our area.  We always think government works best when it remembers that it needs to work for everyone, not just one side or the other.

 

​FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017

This week, for "Funny Friday," we offer the story of Albert...

A woman is in a grocery store and happens upon a grandfather and his poorly behaving 3 year old grandson.  At every turn it’s obvious the grandfather has his hands full as the grandson screams for candy in the candy aisle, cookies in the cookie aisle and the same for fruit, cereal and soda. Through it all as they make their way through the store, the grandfather is saying in a very controlled voice, "Easy Albert, we won't be long, easy boy."

After year another outburst the grandfather calmly say, "It's OK Albert, just a couple more minutes and we'll be out of here.  Just hang in there.”
 
At the checkout, the little terror is throwing items from the cart and the grandfather again in his controlled voice is saying, "Albert, Albert, relax buddy, don't get upset. We’ll be home in five minutes.  Just stay cool, Albert".
 
Very impressed the woman goes up to the grandfather as he is loading his grandson and the groceries into the car and says, "You know sir, it's none of my business, but you were amazing in there. I don't know how you did it. The whole time you kept your composure and no matter how loud and disruptive your grandson got, you just calmly kept saying things would be OK. Albert is very lucky to have you for his grandfather."
 
"Thank you very much,” said the grandfather, "but I'm Albert. My grandson’s name is Johnny.”

An update on this week’s “Where Nature Smiles...”

It must be noted, we think, that The Freeman’s Journal made the decision not to print “Where Nature Smiles” this week. The explanation given to us for this decision was at best somewhat confusing.

When we submitted the column we were told that “Coming out a few days before elections, this could likely have an impact.  I don't object that, but I suspect there's another side to the story.  That increase seems extraordinary.  Would you bounce this off Meg Kiernan, the town supervisor, and see what she had to say? “

To this we replied: “We were disappointed...when you suggested we pass the column by Meg. The idea that any columnist has to get approval for what is written from an elected official would seem to us to make a mockery of a free press.” 

The response to this was “I wouldn't suggest that you pass the column to Meg.  No way.  I simply asked, as I would any reporter, to check what is likely to be a controversial story with both sides, to ensure the accuracy of the facts.  The Town of Otsego, as you know, is a hotbed of partisanship.”

It was further pointed out that “As it happens, I'm completely buried with letters to editor -- 17! I may hold column until next week; it'll still be relevant.” 

To this we replied “The idea that you would choose letters to the editor over a regular columnist is most disturbing to us.  It would seem to say that you do not value the work of someone who writes week in and week out when it becomes inconvenient to include a weekly column.”  We then added that to “...suggest that a weekly column is of less value than a letter to the editor is a real slap in the face.”


Under the circumstances we choose not to pass the column by the Town of Otsego supervisor as we had gotten the information concerning the proposed 2018 budget directly from her. If elected officials are being asked to check what columnists have written, we feel that the concept of freedom of the press is drastically diminished.  Of course, we also feel freedom of speech is also diminished when something a columnist has written is not printed because there is concern that it might have an impact on an upcoming election.

And while we are greatly disappointed that the column did not appear in The Freeman’s Journal this week, we fully understand that we are in part responsible for that decision as we choose not to compromise our principles regarding both freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

Last year in our December 1st column, which appeared under a different name in a different newspaper, we wrote that we were hearing comments from a number of people who were expressing concern about the proposed 2017 budget for the Town of Otsego.  In fact, at the time we wrote the following:

“From our perspective, the most alarming thing we have heard is that the Town Board recently passed a budget which was balanced by using fund balance reserves. And while using fund reserves to balance budgets is not unusual, in this case it seems that using the fund balances is not thought to be sustainable, and if it continues, the fund balances will be exhausted in two years. And once that happens, there would seem to be a distinct possibility that property taxes will increase, perhaps by 20% or more if our sources are correct, to balance the budget.  If this is the case, it would seem the board might not be acting in the most fiscally responsible manner.”

As we recall, we were taken to task over what we wrote at that time.  In fact, we were told that what we had written was nothing more than gossip.  Thus we were somewhat surprised when we learned that the first draft of the 2018 Town of Otsego budget had an amazing 123% increase, with the tax burden in the town going from $207,390 to $462,623.  Since the 2018 proposed budget is virtually the same as the 2017 budget, it would seem that much of the increase resulted from the fact that while $235,349 had been transferred from the town’s reserve funds into the 2017 budget, for the 2018 budget only $19,564 was proposed to be transferred from the reserve funds. 

We must admit that the prospect of the possible 20% mentioned last year did not seem particularly appealing.  However, if the proposed 2018 budget, with a 123% tax increase were to be adopted, the 20% projected increase would be a cake walk. Fortunately, the town board did not buy into the originally proposed 2018 budget, scheduling a second budget meeting in hopes of being able to lower the tax burden.

When the board next met, the decision was made to cut spending, based on cuts suggested by town board member Joe Potrikus, of about $40,000 and adding an additional $160,000 in transfers from the reserve funds.  Doing this brought the tax burden in the town down to $260,373, an increase of only 25.5%.

We must admit that we are clueless as to how the Town of Otsego has gotten itself in what appears to be a bit of a fix. But, it seems that for the past five years, the town has transferred amounts between $235,349 and $399,852 to balance the budget.  Consequently, there is now concern that the reserve funds are, as was mentioned last year, in danger of being depleted.  In our email conversations with the supervisor, we gather that “...the reserves have been built up by overtaxing in the past and we need to slowly readjust.” She added that “We are trying to make the transition from relying on the reserves to dependence upon taxing as smooth as possible.”

Nonetheless, as we look at the budget, which has remained fairly constant over the past five years, the prospect of future tax increases in the amount being proposed this year is certainly not out of the question.  In fact, we would be tempted to think that in the next few budgets, the town will have to had made the transition from dependence on reserve fund transfers to dependence on the tax burden for taxpayers in the town.  And, we have to think that will only happen when the taxes have indeed increased the 123% which was originally proposed for the 2018 budget.

Granted, we certainly cannot be certain about where the Town of Otsego budget might be going in the future.  But we do think it is safe to say, the 2018 budget as now proposed with a 25.5% tax increase will still undoubtedly be on the troubling side for many taxpayers in the Town of Otsego.  However, it should be noted that the town will hold a public hearing on the 2018 budget on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. when town residents will have the opportunity to express their thoughts on the 2018 budget.

Finally, we note that Tuesday, November 7 is election day.  We encourage all eligible voters to go to the polls and cast their ballots.  Many of the races in this area are contested this year, giving the voters a choice between the candidates.  Also, there are three New York State propositions on the ballot upon which the voters can make their preferences on the issues known.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2017

We recently received a piece of mail with the return address of:


         Taylor’s Home Heating
            A Division of Mirabito Energy Products
         17 Linden Ave.
         Cooperstown, NY 13326

It led us to believe that it is quite possible that the Taylor’s name is not yet going to disappear from the Cooperstown scene.  And, given all that we have lost of late, we think that is indeed good news.  While we fully realize that the only constant in life is change, it is sometimes nice to known that life is not always constant and sometimes things do not change.  We must say, we find it rather refreshing, for a change.
 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2017

We note that this evening there will be many trick-or-treaters on the sidewalks and crossing the streets here in Cooperstown.  And we certainly hope that everyone, the trick-or-treaters as well as those in vehicles, will take extra caution so Halloween will be a safe holiday for all of its celebrants.

Of course, Halloween marks not only the end of October, but also the approach of the time change from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time next Sunday the 5th.  And we must admit we do not look forward to either of these two events.  We know only too well what is bound to follow, as night the day, as we creep ever closer to the season of the year which is always beset with snow and ice and nothing nice.  Quite frankly, we think we would be able to wait quite a while for it to arrive.  Unfortunately, we rather doubt we will have to do so.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2017

We note that tonight, Monday, October 30 from 7:00 until 9:30 p.m. at the Fly Creek Town Hall, located at 811 Co. Hwy. 26 in Fly Creek, a Candidates Night will be held.  Those running for office for Otsego County Representative in District 8 as well as candidates running for office in the Town of Otsego will be present.  We would encourage voters to attend to learn about the views of all of the candidates running for office.

We would also like to add, that voters in the Town of Otsego should attend to question the candidates for the town board about the proposed upcoming increase in taxes in the town.  In the initial proposed 2018 budget presented to the board, the increase in taxes in the town would have been 123%.  Fortunately, this increase was deemed to be unacceptable.  Thus, after cutting about $40,000 in spending and transferring an additional $160,000 to the proposed 2018 budget from the town’s reserve funds, the tax increase was lowered to 25.5%.

Needless to say, this increase is much more than the 2% increase in taxes for the past two years.  And unfortunately, given the dwindling amount in the town’s reserve fund, it is most likely that taxpayers will see similar increases in their taxes for the next two to three years until such time as the taxes rise to the level where they will offset the loss of reserve fund transfers which have been used to keep the increase in town taxes low in past years.

We have been told that the board is in the process of making a smooth transition from dependence upon reserve fund transfers to dependence upon tax dollars to balance the town’s budget.  However, we suspect it might will be debatable as to whether or not tax increases of 25% a year really represent a smooth transition.  Anyone who is concerned about such tax increases should plan to attend the meeting tonight in order to voice their concerns to the candidates for the town board.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2017

It seems perspective is everything...

The couple was 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years.  Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies. ​Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade. But one day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside.  He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath.  A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet. 

They gasped in astonishment when he said, “Welcome to Heaven.  This will be your home now.”  The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost.  “Why, nothing,” Peter replied, “remember, this is your reward in Heaven.” 

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth. “What are the greens fees?,” grumbled the old man. “This is heaven,” St. Peter replied.  “You can play for free, every day.” 

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages. “Don't even ask,” said St. Peter to the man.  “This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.” 

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife. “Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?,” he asked.   “That' s the best part,” St. Peter replied.  “You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!” 

The old man pushed, “No gym at which to work out?”  “Not unless you want to,” was the answer. “No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...”  “Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.”

The old man glared at his wife and said, “You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago.”

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

We must admit that we were somewhat surprised to read in last week’s article on the closing of the General Store, that the mayor, seemingly in regards to the current CVS Main Street location, was quoted as saying: “It’s a big opportunity.  I would love to see it with a more historic facade as well as developing some upper floors for apartments or office spaces.”  We assume the developing of upper floors would first require the addition of upper floors as we are not aware that building has upper floors.

And as for the facade, we tend to think it currently is rather historic.  In fact, we can remember when the A&P was in that location.  And, given what we remember about A&P storefronts, the one in Cooperstown was in keeping with the look of such stores built between 1955 and 1970.  Thus, whenever we see the storefront, we are reminded not only of the A&P which was located there when we first arrived on the Cooperstown scene, but also of the A&P in Kalamazoo, Michigan that our we frequently on a regular basis when we were growing up there.

Of course, the A&P in Cooperstown was only located at 100 Main Street, the location of the current CVS, from 1962 until it closed in 1977.  Before that the A&P was located, since 1929, across the street supposedly, if our research is correct, at 89-91 Main Street. We can’t help but wonder if the store then might have had the older version of the A&P look when the signs on such stores read “The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.”

We were somewhat surprised when our sister called recently to relate a news story she had just seen on the Kalamazoo, Michigan television station.  It seems that the historic “Fountain of the Pioneers,” which has been in Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo since 1940, has been declared to be racist.

A story found on mlive.com, “Should the fountain in Bronson Park be removed for perceived racism?” by Malachi Barrett, states that: “The historic fountain is a focus of longtime controversy. Some residents and local tribal members feel the statute celebrates the violent removal of indigenous peoples from Kalamazoo, while others say it's a reminder of the city's history -- and of the country's harsh treatment of Native Americans.”

Designed by Midwestern modernist artist, sculptor and designer Alfonso Iannelli, who also designed toasters for Sunbeam, the fountain has two men, a native American and a settler, facing each other.  In 1940, Iannelli was quoted as saying:

"Regarding the meaning of the Fountain of the Pioneers, the scheme of the fountain conveys the advance of the pioneers and the generations that follow, showing the movement westward, culminating in the tower symbol of the pioneer ... while the Indian is shown in posture of noble resistance, yet being absorbed as the white man advances."

Also, it seems that some people find the fact that the Indian is portrayed in a war bonnet most disturbing. Of course, given the art deco style of the fountain, we always thought the Indian looked more Egyptian than Native American.  It has pointed out the Potawatomi Indians did not have war bonnets and thus the depicted Indian is actually a “Plains Indian” and does not belong in Michigan.  We have to wonder if these same people would object to the Indian Hunter being in Cooperstown as he too is a “Plains Indian” and thus probably does not really belong here.

We find it an interesting sidebar to the controversy over the fountain is the fact that in June of 2016 the fountain was approved for an individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places. What effect that might have on the future of the fountain we do not know.

What we do know, since Bronson Park was one block from our childhood home, is that we have very fond memories of both the park and fountain.  We well remember the fountain’s many colored lights which brightened the evening sky as we frequently traipsed through the park on our way to the green popcorn stand on the corner of South and Rose Streets.  We hasten to point out that the stand was green, not the popcorn. 

And, should the fountain be removed, we would also like to point that doing so will not change the history between the settlers and the Indians in that part of the country.  Nor will it ever take away from those of us who grew up with that fountain, our most fond memories of it.  Unfortunately, what will be destroyed is a fountain which seems to be an excellent example of art deco sculpture.  And we will no doubt be the poorer for it. 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2017

We suspect we are not alone in lamenting the upcoming closing of the General Store here in Cooperstown.  We can remember not long after it opened talking with someone, just who we do not remember, about the new store in town.  The person explained to us that the General Store was the kind of place that when one shopped there, one discovered there were all sorts one had not known one needed.  We thought it was a fairly accurate description of the establishment.  Over the years we have been pleasantly surprised more than once to find something we were unable to locate elsewhere.

With CVS planning to move in the near future to its new location at the corner of Chestnut and Beaver Streets, the closing of the General Store will bring the number of fairly large empty storefronts on Main Street to three.  The third is, of course, the building built in the 1980s to originally house The First Edition and later TJ’s.  And if we remember correctly, when that location was denied a permit to put a boutique hotel there, the owners of the property announced that their plans for the building would be to allow it to fall into disrepair.  Thus we are not expecting that storefront to be occupied any time soon.

However, we do hope that new business enterprises will be found for the CVS and General Store locations.  While we realize there has been a fair amount of turnover of businesses on Main Street in recent years, we always hate to see empty storefronts.  And given their size, if these storefronts remain empty, we fear that fact will be rather obvious to locals and tourists alike.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2017

The next Community Evening Program will be held on Thursday, October 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Woodside Hall.  Mill Hollow Maple’s co-owner Brian Ryther will present a program to explain the reverse-osmosis maple production process used at Mill Hollow Maple in New Lisbon.

The operation is owned and operated by Brian Ryther and Amy McKinnon. Brian has been making maple syrup in Otsego County since he was first able to taste the sweet sap of the maple tree. Amy began working with Brian in 2014.

In 2004 Brian made his first evaporator and processed the sap from 120 trees. Within two years Mill Hollow Maple was born and Brian purchased the commercial evaporator that is in use today. In 2010 Reverse Osmosis was incorporated to aid in the reduction of the maple sap into maple syrup, which allowed for reducing fuel consumption by 75%.

Mill Hollow Maple currently taps 8,000 trees and uses modern maple sap gathering and processing equipment.  Brian will explain the reverse-osmosis process and how this has helped the farm be self-sustaining. Mill Hollow Maple is a member of the New York State Maple Producers Association and Brian Ryther is a member of the Otsego County, Catskill area, and New York state Maple Producers associations. Mill Hollow Maple offers a full line of maple products at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market and in New Lisbon.  

Following the presentation refreshments will be served.  For more information contact Woodside Hall at 607-547-0600.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017

We have learned that the Town of Otsego board will hold a second budget meeting today, Monday, October 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the town offices in Fly Creek.  It is our understanding that the board was presented with the proposed 2018 budget last Wednesday. Given the rather onerous tax increases in that proposed budget, a decision was made to give board members addition time to review the document, delaying a decision on it until the Monday meeting.  We have been told that the meeting is open to the public, although the public will not have an opportunity to speak to the budget.  Public input on the budget may be aired at the town’s budget hearing which will be held later in the fall after the November 7 election.

​FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2017

This week’s “Funny Friday” is a detective story... so pay close attention!!!

Three elderly ladies are excited about seeing their first baseball game. They smuggle a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey into the ball park. The game is really exciting and they are enjoying themselves immensely,mixing the Jack Daniel's with soft drinks.

Soon they realize that the bottle is almost gone and the game has a lot of innings to go.  Based on the given information, what inning is it and how many players are on base?

Think! And think some more!! Obviously, it is the bottom of the fifth and the bags are loaded!


​THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

When we first learned that W.L. Taylor and Son was being sold we were reminded of the amount of concern that was expressed when Taylor’s planned to open Taylor’s Mini Mart here in Cooperstown.  History minded people felt the building had a certain amount of historical significance that should be saved. If we remember correctly, the location had long been a gas station and was, in fact, one of the few remaining stations in the country which was originally an Esso station. 

However, since Taylor’s Mini Mart opened a long time ago, we decided needed to do a bit of research to see if our memories are correct.  And while we could not find any information on the location in our various local reference books, we did find three online websites which mention Taylor’s Mini Mart.

The first, Waymaking.com, points out that “The lighthouse gas station in Cooperstown is known as both Taylors Mini Mart and the Village Tower. It is a rare example of a former Esso lighthouse gas station that is still selling gas. There is a convenience store and a car wash at the location. The five story lighthouse structure occupies the east corner of the building. On the top is a balustrade surrounding a windowed cupola.”

The website also notes that the property is "A full service gas station and more, this site is one of the two remaining working ‘Esso Lighthouses’ still in existence in the Northeast."

RoadsideArchitecture.com notes that “The Cooperstown building is the only one still selling gas. It is now known as both Taylors Mini Mart and the Village Tower. It has a car wash now in what was probably the service bay building. 

The only other one of this type that I know of was in Roscoe, NY. The building was destroyed by a fire and demolished. I believe these Tower Gas stations were actually Colonial Beacon gas stations which later became Esso stations.”

And RoadsideAmerica.com offers the following:

“Cooperstown, New York: Lighthouse Gas Station
The current mini-mart with the lighthouse sold Humble Oil gas in its original career as a Tower gas station, a chain favoring useless nautical beacon architecture. It later served as a used car sales office.”

Since there seems to be differing views as to the history of The Tower/Taylor’s Mini Mart establishment, the question is, of course, which one of these online sources should be believed?  Dare we hope someone will give us a clue to the correct history?  However, we do think without any more information whatsoever, it is safe to say that the Cooperstown location recently acquired by Mirabito is an interesting part of our community’s history.

We were somewhat surprised when our absentee ballot arrived in the mail this past week.  We fear, given the weather this fall, we have not yet adjusted to the fact that the November 7 election is much closer than we realized.  We also came to the conclusion, after looking over the ballot, that we had a bit of research to before we marked our ballot.

We were pleased to discover that on the Town of Otsego ballot, four of the ten open offices are contested.  Thus the voters will have some choice although the majority of candidates are still running unopposed. Nonetheless we hope the voters will be informed of the positions of the candidates running in contested contests.

Likewise, voters will have to decide just how to vote on the three NYS propositions which are also on the ballot.  And since we knew little about the issues of these three proposals, we headed online in order to learn more about them.

Proposal Number One asks “Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?”  On this issue, we discovered on The New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse website an interesting selection of editorials, letters to the editor and blogs on the issue.  We also found an in depth discussion of the Constitutional Convention in a League of Women Voters booklet which can be accessed online.

Information on Proposal Number Two, “Allowing the complete or partial forfeiture of a public officer’s pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony,” is covered on the website Ballotpedia.org.

And, Proposal Number Three, “Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes,” is explained in an online New York Times article..

For those wishing to learn more about both The Tower/Taylor’s Mini Mart and the three NYS ballot proposals, the websites mentioned above include:

Waymarking.com website -  http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMPQ11_Lighthouse_Gas_Station_Cooperstown_NY

RoadsideArchitecture.com website - http://www.roadarch.com/gas/ny2.html.

RoadsideAmerica.com - https://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/42597.

The New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse -http://www.newyorkconcon.info/?page_id=202.

The League of Women Voters booklet -
http://www.lwvny.org/programs-studies/concon/2016/Breifing-Paper-on-the-Constitutional-Convention.pdf.

Ballotpedia.org -https://ballotpedia.org/New_York_Proposal_2,_Pension_Forfeiture_for_Convicted_Officials_Amendment_(2017).

New York Times article - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/nyregion/forest-land-bank-ballot-question-referendum.html

We would encourage all voters to check out these websites.  And for those without internet access, we would hope that family and friends who do have internet access will share the information with them.

​WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017

As we continued our search this week for good news, we decided that two reports we received via email most definitely qualified as good news, at least for us.  Over the past year, it seems it was possible that some of our information was compromised following the hacking at two different health insurance companies.  As a result, we were offered two different monitoring services to keep track of our personal information.

And once again this month, Kroll ID Monitoring Service noted “We are pleased to report that no significant changes have been reported in the past 30 days.”  Likewise, AllClear ID protection informed us that “None of your personal information was detected last month through the Identity Theft Monitoring service.”  As usual, we were relieved to get two such positive reports.  Of course, what we will do, if we should get a less than positive report, we do not know.  But we do know, we will no longer think it is good news.

​TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017

After our pondering of yesterday, we decided we needed to go in search of some positive news. And we do believe we found it in an email we received not long ago from the Fenimore Art Museum.

It noted that the exhibit “American Folk Art:  Seven Decades of Collecting” is now on view at the museum through December 31 of this year.  The description of the exhibit read as follows:

“Fenimore Art Museum opens a new exhibition for the fall season – American Folk Art: Seven Decades of Collecting. The Fenimore’s remarkable collection of American folk art was originated by Stephen Carlton Clark over seventy years ago and is now regarded as one of the most comprehensive and significant assemblages in the United States. The exhibition includes select items from the collection such as weathervanes, portraits, pottery, and more.”

It was also noted that “This exhibition is supported by anonymous donors in honor of Jane Forbes Clark and in memory of Stephen Carlton Clark.”  We must admit that we had to smile when we realized that, for a change, Jane Clark was being honored by an exhibit.  Since we are so used to seeing Jane’s name as a sponsor, we found it delightfully refreshing to realize this time an exhibit is being sponsored in her honor. We think it is most fitting.
 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2017

As we were pondering this past weekend what we might be inclined to write about in this week's "Daily Updates," we came to the conclusion that it just might behoove us to expand "Funny Friday" to "Funny Monday through Friday."  Lately so much of the news seems not only divisive but in many ways pointless. Plus we tend to think that it is almost impossible to determine what is and what is not true.  We have lost count or the number of people who have told us they have given up watching the news or reading a newspaper.

And while we can well understand their decision to avoid dealing with what is going on in the world, we do wonder if sticking one’s head in the sand is really the best choice.  On the other hand, trying to have an open and honest discussion on almost any topic seems virtually impossible these days.  

Exactly how we will overcome this seeming impasse of not wanting to write at the moment, we do not know.  But we do know that we find it increasing difficult to continue to write a weekly column, let alone daily updates.  Thus, we must admit we have no idea what we will write this week.  Maybe we will come up with something.  And then again, maybe we won't.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2017

This week, for Funny Friday, we would like to point out that those summer jobs don’t always work out as planned.  For example...

A teenager, wanting to earn some extra money for the summer, decided to hire herself out as a “handy woman” and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood. She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do. 

“Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch,” he said. “How much will you charge me?” Delighted, the girl quickly responded, “How about $50?” 

The man agreed and told her that the paint brushes, and everything she would need, were in the garage. The man's wife, hearing the conversation said to her husband, “Does she realize that our porch goes ALL the way around the house?” 

He responded, “That's a bit cynical, isn't it?”  The wife replied, “You're right. I guess I just thought perhaps she didn’t realize how big the job will be.”

Later that day, the teenager came to the door to collect her money. “You've finished already?” the startled husband asked. “Yes,” the young lady replied, “and I even had paint left over, so I gave it a second coat.” Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50 and handed it to her along with a ten dollar tip. 

“And by the way,” the teenager added, “it’s not a Porch, it's a Lexus.”


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

The next meeting of “The Gathering Place” at Woodside Hall will be held on Tuesday, October 17 at 2:00 p.m.  The program will be the “Happiest Music on Earth” performed by Joseph VanSteenberg with his Busker Organ. 


After he retired from the professional circus, Mr. VanSteenberg wanted one more career, namely that of organ grinder.  As a long-time member of the Carousel Organ Association of America, Joe had seen all forms of mechanical music, from the block long Emperor Organ to small hand cranked busker organs.  Now he is “Grandpa Joe the Organ Grinder,” bringing the “Happiest Music on Earth” to Woodside Hall to the delight of everyone.  A native of Bainbridge, Joe hopes to find some volunteer organ grinders in the audience.  Following the presentation refreshments will be served. For more information contact Woodside Hall at 607-547-0600.

For quite a while now, we have been dealing with a lamp in our kitchen that was sporting a broken lamp chimney.  And we finally decided the time had come to do something about it as it was becoming more and more wobbly.  We went online, of course, and ordered a new one which we thought was the same size as the one we had.  

Of course, when the new one came it didn’t fit.  It was just a hair too big.  So we thought we would see if there might be another chimney somewhere in the house that might work.  And sure enough, without even really looking, we discovered a lamp which was not in use but did have a chimney.  When we tried that chimney on the lamp, it fit just fine.  Thus, instead of ordering a new chimney, we could have simply checked out available chimneys in the house. Alas, that is not what we had done.  But, perhaps the most interesting aspect of our chimney debacle, was that the new chimney fit the lamp whose chimney we had discovered fit the lamp in the kitchen.   We have no good explanation whatsoever for any of this.

Recently we have received a number of emails from both KeyBank and JP Morgan Chase. The one from Key Bank read, in part, that “Recently, there has been a breach in KeyBank Online Banking...To help protect your account with us, we advise KeyBank Online Banking customer to login to Online Banking from below and verify account challenge security.”  The one from Chase was much the same.

Since we do not have online banking with either of these banks, or any other bank for that matter, we were fairly certain that these emails were scams. Therefore, we would encourage anyone who receives such emails to simply delete them.  We cannot imagine any bank would use such emails to contact their customers.

We must say that we have often been called out for something we have written in this column.  And such was the case with our thoughts several weeks ago on gender neutral pronouns.  The first objection came from a gentleman who addressed the issue in a forthright manner.  He laid his opinion out, complete with examples, so there could be no misunderstanding of his views.  As a result we were able to have a good discussion in which we were able to identify those areas in which there was agreement and those areas in which there was not.  All in all, we found it to be a most informative exchange of ideas.

The second complaint was from a woman who, instead of explaining what we took to be her concerns on the issue of gender neutral pronouns, chose to write a somewhat tortured parody of our thoughts on the subject.  She proceeded to pick apart another sentence in the column to point out how complicated grammar can be.  And then, after claiming it was all in jest, she concluded with “I just wanted to point out that sometimes, no matter how we try, grammer don't work...”  We pointed out that we tended to think that “...grammar not only does work but is important as society needs to have a language that can be understood by all.”

Needless to say, we fully realize that there are readers who do not agree with what we may write on any given subject.  And we certainly encourage anyone who wishes to disagree to contact us directly so that there can be an open and honest exchange of ideas.  In our opinion, to simply complain about what we have written, without letting us know what it might be, accomplishes little, if anything. 

​WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2017

We admit that we really can’t quite remember the last time we were actually in a grocery store.  But we do know that we have not missed the experience on bit.  In fact, our idea of food is that it should just appear on the table, ready to eat, at whatever time we deem appropriate.

Needless to say, that does not happen.  But with eating out, ordering take-out and purchasing food from the Schwan man as well as having friends willing to pick up things for us at the grocery store, we seem to do quite well when it comes to putting food on the table.  Of course, even though we don’t darken the door of the grocery store, we do peruse the weekly grocery ads in the newspaper just to see what new items have appeared since last we were in a grocery store.

While looking through the ads for this week, we were somewhat surprised to learn that one can now purchase a head of cauliflower in four different colors, white, orange, green and purple.  It does make us wonder if cauliflower in any color than other white tastes different than the white? And do the various colors fade, if not completely disappear, if the cauliflower is cooked?  We fear, unless someone answers these questions for us, that we shall never know as we seriously doubt we will ever be in need of buying a head of cauliflower, white or otherwise, in the near, or for that matter, distance future.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

When we first heard that an upcoming iPhone was going to cost $999 plus tax, we assume, we were dumbfounded.  We simply could not imagine paying that much money for a cellphone.  But then, we are still the proud owners of a flip phone which we tend to only use when we find ourselves needing to call for a ride, when we are on vacation and when the electricity is off and our landline telephone does not function.

Therefore, given our thoughts on buying a $999 cellphone, we were somewhat relieved that we are not alone in our thinking.  According to a recent Daily Star “Street Talk” column, there are at least six other people who when asked if they would purchase such a cellphone, responded with either “No” or “Absolutely not.”  And interestingly enough, among the reasons given by people for not purchasing such a cellphone was the fact that there was no cell service where they lived.  We can’t help but wonder if Apple, the maker of the iPhone, realizes that there are people in this county who live where cellphones do not work.  And then, of course, there are also those of us who are not particularly fond cellphones, avoiding them whenever possible.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2017

We always are dismayed when we learn that change is at hand for any long time local business.  Thus, we were sorry to hear, this past week, that two such businesses will be changing hands.  Fortunately, as we understand it, both businesses will continue under new ownership.

As long as we have lived in Cooperstown we have gotten our heating oil from Taylor’s.  And they have also serviced our furnace all these years.  We must point out, that no matter what issue might have come up with our heating system, Taylor’s has always been very good to us, something for which we will ever be grateful.

Likewise, over the year’s we have often found ourselves shopping for one thing or another at Sprubeck’s.  We used to get Glensfoot Farm milk as well as a Spanish Bar Cake, both of which we were quite fond.  And we have always looked forward to a pound or two of Spurbeck’s cheese.  And while both Glensfoot Farm milk and the Spanish Bar Cake have gone the way of most things and are no longer available, we do hope that the new owners of Spurbeck’s will continue the tradition of its famous cheese.  After all, we do remember quite well the T-shirt Spurbeck’s sold at one time which said something like “Spurbeck’s...where we cut the cheese.”

We wish the new owners of these two businesses much success.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2017

This week for “Funny Friday” we offer the following bit of marriage advice...

At the local Catholic Church they have a weekly marriage seminar for husbands.

At the session last week, the Priest asked Anthony, who was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Anthony replied to the assembled husbands with "Well, I've a tried to treat her nicely, spend money on her, but best of all is the fact that I took her to Italy for our 20th anniversary!"

The Priest responded, "Anthony, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here!  Please tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th anniversary."

Anthony proudly replied, "I'm a going to go Italy and bring her back home." 

​THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

We note that Medicare open enrollment will run this year from October 15 until December 7.  The open enrollment period gives those of us on Medicare the opportunity to take a look at our Medicare insurance benefits to make certain that the coverage we now have will work well for us in the coming year.

This year we had thought we would check into what plans, specifically Medicare Advantage Plans, might be available in this area in order to be certain the plan we currently have is the one we wish to continue for next year.  However, once we got the 2018 information for our current plan, we were so pleased with what we saw that we decided we needed to look no further.

The 2018 premium is less. The co-pays are less with the exception of Urgent Care which remained the same and ER visits which went up $5.00.  The out-of-pocket-expenses and the inpatient charges remained the same and there is still no deductible.  Additionally, and this is very important to us, the prescription plan is still good at Church and Scott.

And while we seem to not need to make any changes in our Medicare coverage for 2018, this might not be the case for others.  Thus we would encourage all Medicare recipients to check for any changes to their current coverage and, if necessary, check other plans to be certain that the 2018 plan will meet their needs.  Granted, having to do this each and every year is a royal pain.  But the time and effort put into checking out one’s coverage might well pay off in the long run.

For anyone who has questions about Medicare coverage, we would suggest contacting the Otsego County Office for the Aging in Cooperstown at 547-4232, in Oneonta at 432-9041 or toll free at 855-547-4390. 

Not long ago, we inadvertently knocked a fairly old, hand-colored framed photograph of our backyard off the wall.  And although we did not break anything, everything fell apart.  And in putting it all back together we discovered that one of the pieces of cardboard tucked behind the photograph turned out to be what we determined to be part of a movie poster, something which we found to be rather intriguing.

The part of the poster which we had read:

     In
TE TO PLAY
  SAM WOOD
PRODUCTION

We must say our first inclination was to just tuck the piece of cardboard back into the frame.  But as we thought about, we wondered if we might be able to figure out just what movie the poster was promoting.  Thus, we headed online, starting with the name Sam Wood.

We discovered that in 1926 he directed a movie One Minute to Play.  And while we have never heard of the movie, we were able to learn online that basic plot of the moved revolved around a college football rivalry.  The cast included among others Harold “Red” Grange, Mary McAllister, Charles Ogle and King Tut the Dog, appearing as the team mascot.  It was also noted that Clark Gable appeared as an uncredited extra. 

And while we found all of this to be rather interesting, we suspect we will not be going out of our way any time soon to take this movie in, if such an opportunity were to even be remotely possible.  In the end, we put the part of the movie poster back into the framed picture of the backyard so that someone else can deal with it at a later date.

While we were surprised when we realized that the flagpole needed to be taken down as part of the current Pioneer Street construction, it never occurred to us that it would not be replaced.  Thus we found all the attendant hoopla about its removal somewhat puzzling.  But as far as we can ascertain, a bigger and better flagpole, along with a bigger and, we suppose better, flag, will soon take its rightful place at the intersection of Main and Pioneer Streets.  And dare we suggest that, as part of the celebration which will no doubt be held when the new flag is flying atop the new flagpole, that the village mark this august occasion by reinstating the much beloved noon whistle.  There would, we think, be much joy in Cooperstown if both of these long traditions were at the same time to once more be part of the fabric of the village.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2017

We were indeed pleased to read that Bassett is adding four more doctors to its prime care clinic in Cooperstown this fall.  But even with the additional doctors, there will only be 15 prime care doctors, five of which are part time, working in the clinic.  So while this is an encouraging move on the part of Bassett, we suspect it is not the entire answer to solving the problem of getting an appointment in a timely fashion in the prime care clinic here in Cooperstown.

And while we have long argued that Cooperstown would be well served if there were an Urgent Care Clinic here, our pleas have always seemed to fall on deaf ears.  We tend to think such a clinic would not only serve the community well, but it would also be beneficial to all the Bassett employees who work here.  We have always been told making the trip to Bassett’s Convenient Care Clinics in Oneonta or Herkimer is not a huge problem for people, something with which we disagree especially when it comes to the needs of Bassett’s Cooperstown workers.

Additionally, we would think that having an Urgent Care Clinic in Cooperstown would provide some much needed relief on the Emergency Department as, based on what we have heard, there are always those people who end up at the ER who could be equally well served in Urgent Care, freeing up space in the ER.  And so, even as Bassett recruits more prime care doctors, we will continue to argue for the establishment of an Urgent Care Clinic here in Cooperstown.  We will not, however, hold our breath waiting for it to happen. 


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2017

It is with great sadness that we note the massacre which has taken place in Las Vegas.  It is impossible, we think, to make any sense whatsoever of such devastating violence.  Our thoughts and prayers go out not only to those whose lives have been touched by what has happened, but also to all of those who call the Las Vegas area home.  We suspect they cannot understand why their community has been so attacked any more than we could understand if such a thing happened to our community.  And we do think that what has happened in Las Vegas cries out for our need as a people to come together in support of each other.
 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2017

We must admit that we spend a fair amount of time each day listening to some of the Music Choice channels which are part of our cable TV package.  Thus when all of the music channels disappeared one day not long ago, we were somewhat upset.  And while we normally make a telephone call to report such problems, we decided, for some unknown reason, to report our difficulties on the “live chat’ which was offered online. 

It was established early on in the chat that there was no outage being reported in our area.  Thus, efforts were made to reboot our TV box.  When that did not work, we were asked if we could plug the box into another electrical outlet.  We couldn’t.  The person with whom we were live chatting then decided he would make an appointment to have a technician come out to the house to see what the problem might be. 

However, as he was doing that, our live chatter received word that there was indeed an outage and the problem was at the provider’s end.  We were assured that they, whoever they might be, were working on it and the music channels should be back up and running shortly.  And sure enough, they were.  In fact, we were once again listening to them when the email arrived with an appointment for the technician to come out the next day.  That email was quickly followed by one cancelling said appointment for the next day.

We suspect there is some lesson that we should have learned from all of this.  And while we might be tempted to think it is that we should never employ the “Live Chat” again, we think what we really learned is that we should always wait a bit before reporting a problem with our TV service.  That way, the company will have a chance to figure out on their own that something is wrong, as once they manage to do that, they do usually seem to be able to fix the problem in good order.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

Today’s “Funny Friday” takes a look at the living will...

Last night my daughter and I were sitting in the den and I said to her:

"I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all.  If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

It is with sadness that we note the passing of Jane McMahon who, with her late husband Ed, retired to this area in 1990.  We first encountered Jane when she arrived at the house to interview our late husband, Jerry, about his cane collection.  We later got to know Jane through Women’s Club where we worked together on compiling a club cookbook, A Moment of Grace, as well as penning a club reader’s theater production entitled “The Women of Cooperstown.”  We also remember so well the many different and interesting books which Jane recommended to be a part of the Literary Discussion Group’s annual reading list.  To say that we have some very fond memories of Jane is indeed an understatement.  To her family and friends we extend our sympathy.

Fortunately, we have successfully managed to pay our school taxes before the looming deadline.  However, we must admit that we were quite bemused by the note on the school tax bill that says” "to view/print bill or payment status go to www.taxlookup.net".  Since we had no idea what that meant, we went online and checked it out.  Indeed one can find one's tax bill and see how much it is and whether or not it has been paid. In fact, we discovered that with just a name or an address one can see who has and who has not paid their taxes, something which we really do not think we need to know.  However, we gather it has something to do with the school having signed up with the same tax software program used by Otsego County.  

And while we find the situation to be rather creepy, we have been assured that something similar is available almost all over the country.  Thus we are just falling in line by joining the 21st century.  However, when we had not received our requested tax receipt when we thought we would, we went online to see if we could determine if our check had indeed arrived at CCS.  We were somewhat bemused to discover that according to www.taxlookup.net, the school owes us forty cents even though the receipt, which we received in the mail the same day we checked out the website, indicated a balance of zero.  Needless to say, we are not planning to hold our breath in anticipation of the school sending us forty cents, no matter what the website says.

Woodside Hall’s next Community Evening Program will be held tonight, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. when Patricia Spencer will share her beautiful handcrafted dolls. A member of the Doll Artisan Guild, Pat’s artistic creations have won many awards, including the “Millie.” Her creations range from life-like babies to characters from the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Following the presentation refreshments will be served.  For more information call, 607-547-0600.

This past week we read online that a Florida elementary school teacher asked in a letter to the parents of her fifth-grade that the students to please use gender-neutral pronouns in the classroom. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the teacher wrote in her letter that  “One thing that you should know about me is that I use gender-neutral terms. My prefix is Mx. [pronounced Mix]...My pronouns are ‘they, them, their’ instead of ‘he, his, she, hers.' I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural, but students catch on pretty quickly.”

And while we think those who have a desire to use gender-neutral terms are entitled to do so, we do not think it is particularly helpful when suggested gender-neutral terms seem to be only plural with no singular choices.

For example, if Mary is jumping rope on the playground and falls and skins her knee, the incident would have to be reported as “Mary fell on the playground jumping rope and skinned their knee.”  Did Mary fall into someone on the way down, injuring two people?  Or did her tripping on the rope take down the twirlers as well?  The report is ambiguous at best.

Therefore, we think there is a case to be made, when using gender-neutral pronouns, to have a set of singular pronouns as well as plural pronouns. To this end, we would suggest “it, its.”  Then the playground incident could be reported as “Mary fell on the playground while jumping rope and skinned its knee.”  To us, at least, it seems much clearer in that the report is definite in noting that only one person was injured in the jump rope incident.  And while it does sound somewhat awkward, and might be offensive to people, we would think that English grammar would seem to be taking less of a hit.
 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2017

Not long ago we received a mailing from the Social Security Administration.  And we must admit, that we always tend to tense up when we receive such an official looking piece of mail, wondering just what might be heading out way now.  This particular missive contained the information that “Our records show you may be able to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because you are age 65 or over.”

To say that we found this letter bizarre on a number of fronts is an understatement.  In the first place, we turned 65 almost five years ago.  Can we assume that the Social Security Administration is so far behind, they have just figured out that piece of information?

And in the second place, what kind of records do they keep at the Social Security Administration to lead them to believe that we would actually qualify for SSI benefits? Of course, we do remember that not long after we did turn 65 we were offered a free cellphone which we certainly didn’t need as we already had a free one.  In fact we still do have, courtesy of our son’s family cellphone plan, a free cellphone, dated as it might be since its basic function is to work as a telephone.

Nonetheless, we do suppose we might do well to think that our having received said letter from the Social Security Administration did add jobs to the workforce in a way in which we probably would not have done otherwise.  In fact, we are tempted to start thinking of all the junk mail we receive as being very good for any number of jobs in the country.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

Every so often we discover a mathematical puzzle has shown up in our email inbox.  And, as someone who started out at the University of Michigan as a math major, until we switched to costume design and construction, we always enjoy from time to time fiddling around with an equation or two.  This particular puzzle required one to multiply 259 by one’s age by 39 in order to get a rather interesting answer.  And, no matter what one’s age might be, the answer is always equally interesting.  So, we hope all of our readers who are willing, with the use of a calculator of course, to undertake the math problem will be as interested in the solution as we were.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

We were pleased to learn that the Greater Oneonta Historical Society has received a state grant to help with the renovations at the Oneonta History Center, located a 183 Main Street in Oneonta.  Since we have always been interested in local history, we find it most gratifying when local historical societies/associations are supported in their all important work. 

Not only do such organizations keep important documents and records of local interest, they also present displays and programs of interest to the public.  For example, we just received notification that Fly Creek Area Historical Society’s Monthly Meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 27, at the Historical Society’s “Old Grange Building” on Cemetery Road, Fly Creek. 

Former Bassett physician, David Svahn, will present the story of Reverend William Wilberforce Lord, 19th century Episcopal priest, poet and erstwhile academic who served as the 9th rector of Christ Church in Cooperstown. Dr. Svahn will discuss Lord’s writings and his tumultuous years in the South before, during and after the American Civil War. Copies of his recent book on Lord: Conflict and Genius - A Brief Introduction to a Complex Man will be available.

And while we suspect the Fly Creek Area Historical Society is perhaps the organization with which we are most familiar, we hasten to point out that there are many local history groups in Otsego County.  Based on our online research we found, in addition to the Greater Oneonta Historical Society and the Fly Creek Area Historical Society, the Worcester Historical Society, the Cherry Valley Historical Association, the Otsego County Historical Association, the Hartwick Historical Society, the Unadilla Historical Association, the Springfield Historical Society and the Richfield Springs Historical Museum and Society.

We must admit that we are always hesitate to compile such lists as we are afraid that we will have left some group out.  If that is the case here, we would appreciate it if someone will let us know.  And, since we also think it is helpful to have local historical organization work together in saving as well as presenting local history, we would hope that there might be some effort made for communication between the various history organizations in Otsego County so there could be beneficial exchanges of information when it comes to the history of the county.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

The week, for "Funny Friday," we offer the following:

TIRED DOG...

An old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard.  I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home.  He followed me into the house, down the hall, and fell asleep in a corner.  An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
 
The next day he was back, resumed his position in the hall, and slept
for an hour. This continued for several weeks.  Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."
 
The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar:  "He lives in a home with ten children.  He's trying to catch up on his sleep.  Can I come with him tomorrow?"

​THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

Our congratulations go out this week to John Santello, of Cooperstown, who has been presented a New York State Legislative Resolution honoring him as a Leading Age New York 2017 Long Term Care Employee of Distinction.  John is the activities director at the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home.  And from what various residents of the home have told us, as well as what we have observed while visiting the home, John is most deserving of this recognition.   Keep up the good work, John!

While reading an email we received regarding the 39th Annual Harvest Festival held at the Farmers’ Museum this past weekend, we found it interesting that one of the events scheduled was a production of the play Box and Cox.  Back in 1972, when we spent the summer in Maryland, New York doing theater at a little playhouse there, we, both the she-we and the he-we, appeared in a production of Box and Cox which was directed by Mary Ann Dentler, long time director at the long gone Cooperstown Playhouse.  Not only did we perform in Maryland, but we also took the show on the road to both Ballston Spa and Lake Placid.  As we recall, it was a real crowd pleaser.

And while we are certain that those who saw the production at the Farmers’ Museum greatly enjoyed it, we must admit that we are not quite certain what the play has to do with either the Farmers’ Museum or the Harvest Festival.  In fact, according to Wikipedia,  “Box and Cox is a one act farce by John Maddison Morton. It is based on a French one-act vaudeville, Frisette, which had been produced in Paris in 1846.  Box and Cox was first produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 1 November 1847, billed as a ‘romance of real life.’”  Thus, while it is a nineteenth century play, its roots would hardly seem to be at all in keeping with what we have long thought was the mission of the Farmers’ Museum.  Of course, based on emails we have received lately from several different sources about the changes at the Farmers’ Museum, it would seem we are not the only ones who feel that the focus of the museum is not what it used to be.

One email read that the changes are “...inconsistent with a not-for-profit educational organization, and more consistent with a for-profit theme park, loosely based on history.”  It continued with “The general store used to be so much fun – filled with handcrafted items actually manufactured at the museum, in addition to tasteful replicas of old-timey items manufactured elsewhere. Unfortunately, even though it, too, is in the ‘Historic Village,’ the store no longer features the layout of a rural, nineteenth-century general store, but has been reconfigured to reflect a 21st century retail aesthetic.”  

Another email read: “We are a local family that has thoroughly enjoyed this village and farm for many years; however, this year we are contemplating the renewal of our membership. Why is it now harder for us to escape back in time and experience the past during our visits?...The atmosphere within the village and farm now lacks the feeling of historic cohesiveness, neighborly warmth and charm. Rather than experiencing the rich history of this museum, we view it as outsiders looking in.”

We must say we were most distressed when we received these emails.  We have also long enjoyed the historic educational experience offered by the museum, something which unfortunately no longer seems to be what it once was.  And this year, we too debated whether or not to renew our membership.  Ultimately, we did renew our membership, but we do wonder how often we will actually make use of it.
                          
While searching for some information in The History of Cooperstown, by Cooper, Shaw, Littel and Hollis, we came across the following item from March 13, 1916:

“At the annual corporate election the sum of $25,000 was appropriated for the construction of a new village sewer system.”


Now we must admit that we have no idea what this “new” village sewer system might have entailed.  However, we do think, given the current project underway on Pioneer Street, the cost of working on the village’s infrastructure has gone up just a bit in the last hundred years.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

A recent article, “Census data: Rural incomes aren’t falling behind,” which appeared in The Daily Star, was noted as being from The Washington Post. And we assumed it was a straight forward news item until we got near the end where the author of the piece, who was not credited with a byline, noted that “...I speak from personal experience here, having moved to rural Minnesota in 2015...”  This personal reference in what we thought to be news gave us pause.  Thus we went online to see if we could discover just who the author might be.

And what we found was not an article entitled “Census data: Rural incomes aren’t falling behind,” but rather an article entitled “We need a smarter narrative about rural America,” written by Christopher Ingraham.  The article was further identified online as being a “Wonkblog - Analysis,” whatever that might be.  We suspect it means it is not a true news article but rather some sort of an opinion piece which has taken the position that reports that rural areas are falling behind in almost every area are simply overstated, particularly when it comes to paychecks.

It further points out that this is nothing new as the gap between income in metro areas and income in rural areas has remained steady for the past two decades, with rural areas making about 75% as much as metro areas.

The article then seems to come to the conclusion that “Yes, incomes are lower outside the big cities — but the cost of living is too,” adding that “...On the other hand, rural households tend to spend more on things like food and gas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

To say that we were somewhat puzzled by the article is without doubt an understatement. But we find it even more troubling that what seems to have been an opinion piece was printed in The Daily Star as a seemingly straight news article. At the very least such journalism would seem to fall under the category of “disingenuous,” making us even more suspect of what we are reading in the media.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2017

Recently Joe Mahoney wrote an article, “Officials: Upstate region lacks workers to fill jobs,” which appeared in the September 8 edition of The Daily Star.  We must say we found the headline to be somewhat puzzling as we have long thought that our region had more workers than jobs. 

However, according to a report recently released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the article points out that “Western New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier and Central New York were all identified...as regions where the total number of employed workers declined from 2011 to 2016. This trend took place as the number of workers participating in the economy increased in all other parts of the state.”  In fact, it was pointed out in the report that “The highest employment growth in the state...was led by job gains in New York City and its suburbs.”

The article pointed out that “For those regions that have experienced a drop in the number of workers with jobs, employers, in some instances, have found it challenging to fill available positions...James Malatras, president of the Rockefeller Institute for Government, an Albany think tank, said regions that offer public transportation networks and boast strong broadband coverage and ample housing opportunities tend to draw people in the job market. When such services are lacking, he said, ‘it makes it harder to grow.’”

We must say, that such thinking does make sense when it comes to having a business climate conducive to drawing a larger work force. But it also makes sense that, as is also pointed out in the article that the ‘State government now needs to be part of the solution in addressing the business climate statewide,’ said Assembly GOP Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua. ‘We need to lower taxes and fees, cut regulations, and build a workforce for the next generation.’ Kolb said. ‘The current economic environment isn’t affordable or sustainable. We are putting upstate communities and businesses at a competitive disadvantage.’”

We must say, that the entire issue of both job opportunities and the available work force seems somewhat complex.  And we suspect there is no easy solution for problem which we tend to think is taking a toll on our area.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

We found the article “St. Mary’s Church to mark 150 years in Cooperstown,” written by Mark Simonson, which appeared in the September 7 edition of The Cooperstown Crier, to be most interesting. 

We knew that St. Mary’s was built in 1867 when, as is pointed out in the article, the cornerstone for the new brick church was laid on June 29, 1867 and the church was dedicated on December 6, 1867, with the first service having been held December 1. What we did not remember was that an earlier “...church edifice was built for $300 to seat 100 in 1851 near the corner of Elm Street and Susquehanna Avenue, and it still stands at 26 Susquehanna Ave.” It makes us think our memory is failing as we must have read about it at some point as it is mentioned in The Story of Cooperstown by Ralph Birdsall.

Nonetheless, we always enjoy reading about the history of Cooperstown and thus were glad to see the history of St. Mary’s presented in such detail in Simonson’s article.  And we were also pleased to read, that by all reports, St. Mary’s 150th celebration was most successful. 

​FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

While sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist, I noticed his DDS diploma which bore his full name.  Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30-odd years ago.

Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then?  Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought.  This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate.

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.  “Yes.  Yes, I did.  I’m a Mustang,” he gleamed with pride.  “When did you graduate?” I asked.  He answered, “In 1975.  Why do you ask?”  “You were in my class!” I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely.  Then, that ugly, old, wrinkled, fat, gray haired, decrepit son-of-a-whatever asked, “What did you teach?”

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

The next program for Woodside Hall’s “The Gathering Place” will be the “Story of Tanner Hill Herb Farm” which will be presented on Tuesday, September 19 at 2:00 p.m.  Guest speaker Kathryn Mollach points out that “The place where I now call home has been in our family since 1945, when my Dad and his brother, Milton, and their wives first purchased a Pierstown property known as the Gilchrist Farm.”  Her presentation will include why her family moved from their roots in Delaware County to continue farming, particularly cauliflower growing, here in Otsego County. She will also include a brief history of the farm up to the present day.  Following the presentation refreshments will be served.  For more information contact Karen Cadwalader, LCSW at 607-547-0600, Ext 101.

From the reports that we have received, we gather that CCS is off to fine start for the school year.  And we can also report that, while we did not like it, the school tax bill did not send us into a complete tizzy.  In fact, the actual school tax bill is up exactly 2.8%, the very amount that the school had said the increase in the tax levy would be.  Of course, the actual increase in the taxes is not the same as the increase in the amount we pay given the regulations of the Enhanced STAR program which limits any increase to a flat 2%.  Thus this year we will be paying almost 3%, or $129.54, more in school taxes than we did last year.  And while it is not a huge amount of money, it nonetheless does add up over time.

However, while the school taxes were expected, we must admit that we were stunned to read that should the United States Postal Service receive permission to increase the price of stamps more than the rate of inflation, the cost of a first class stamp could increase to 60 cents.  And while we have gotten used to stamps hovering near the 50 cent range, the thought of paying 60 cents really gave us pause.  In fact, in addition to only including one picture of our granddaughters given the cost of ink cartridges, this year we are very much tempted to ask everyone to whom we send a card, to please send us their email address as 2018 will see us sending our Christmas greetings electronically.  If nothing else, we would be able to put our savings on postage toward our school tax bill.

Interesting enough, as we were musing about the cost of postage, we discovered in one of our many boxes of books a paperback entitled The Canary Murder Case written by S. S. Van Dine.  Originally published in 1927, the paperback copy we have was printed in 1944.  And on the back of the book it says “Send this book to a boy in the armed forces anywhere in the U.S...only 3 cents postage.”  We must say we have never before encountered this offer of sending a book to someone in the military.  We have to wonder if it was something which was routinely done during World War II.  Does anyone know?

As we have been going through old “Where Nature Smiles” columns, we came across this interesting, to us at least, item:

“In closing, the parents in Michigan recently sent us the hospital bill for our (the she-we’s) arrival in December of 1947.  We hope they do not expect us to reimburse them, although we do think we were a real bargain.  The entire bill came to $57.85.  Interestingly enough at the bottom of the bill is the statement: “This is your bill as it now appears on our books.  If there are any additional charges a bill will be sent you.”  Some things, it seems, never change.”

We hasten to add that upon our arrival, we were named Catherine Elizabeth Lake.  For all of our life, our family has called us “Catherine.”  Of course, in our youth, when we started college, we decided it would be ever so cool to adopt the nickname “Cathe.”  And, while we have used the nickname both orally and in casual communication, we have always used our legal name, “Catherine Lake Ellsworth,” in print.  But now that we are about to enter another decade of our life, we find ourselves regretting that change we made those many years ago.  And while we are tempted to drop the “Cathe” and go back to “Catherine,” something we would have no trouble doing, we fear others might find it a more difficult transition.  Ah...it seems the follies of our youth have come back to haunt us.

​WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

After the announcement was made about Bassett’s proposed plan for expanding parking here in Cooperstown, we were asked what we thought of it.  And while there are many details to be worked out, we suspect the proposal might indeed go a long way to solving some of Bassett’s pressing parking issues.  At least that would be our hope.

Unfortunately, we think the plan is still in its early stages and thus it will be quite a while before it becomes a reality.  But we do think it is a positive step in the right direction which will undoubtedly help solve a very basic need for Bassett patients, namely a place to park.  We tend to think being able to park is second only to being able to get a timely appointment when it comes to a patient’s ability to access health care at Bassett. 

And we must say that we are always appreciative that Bassett has had the courtesy to meet with its neighbors to discuss not only what their plans might be, but also to discuss issues which can arise in the neighborhood as a result of various Bassett undertakings.  And while there is no doubt that Bassett does place a certain amount of pressure on its surrounding neighbors, it is gratifying to realize that Bassett does understand the need for meaningful communication with its neighbors.  And we thank them for it.


​TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

We must admit that we were somewhat surprised when we read the headline
“Rx firms sued in N.Y. over opioid crisis,” which appeared in the September 6 edition of The Daily Star.  Evidently, according to the article, which was written by Joe Mahoney, “Pharmaceutical firms that produce pain-killing opiate drugs are facing a growing barrage of lawsuits from New York county governments seeking to hold them financially accountable for an epidemic of addiction and overdoses. The lawsuits contend that the companies have made hefty profits by using deceptive marketing techniques to increase the sales of their pills to treat such ailments as arthritis, lower-back pain and headaches.”  And it seems that Otsego County is considering joining such a lawsuit.

As we understand it, the thinking is that the pharmaceutical companies are not unlike the tobacco companies in that they did not do enough to educate the public on the risks of taking prescribed opioids.  And thus, the argument is evidently being made that there is a definite link between the marketing techniques of the drug companies and the current heroin epidemic.

We must admit that we are unaware of the marketing campaigns that have been undertaken by the drug companies to sell their drugs.  But we do know that with each of our various surgeries, we received a prescription for some sort of opioid. We can but assume that the thinking was that the benefits of the opioid following surgery justified prescribing them.  And while we found we did not need to take them, we have talked with people who found them most helpful in managing pain following surgery.  And we do wonder, for those people who find them helpful, what will happen if, as a result of these lawsuits, opioids will no longer be available to those who need them for legitimate medical reasons.

It is our understanding that even now it is more difficult to get opioid prescriptions renewed which no doubt helps drive people who have become addicted to turn to heroin.  We have no idea how this issue might best be solved.  But we do hope there can be balance which will allow those patients who need the drugs to get them while stemming the disastrous events which can result from opioid addition.  There is, we suspect, no easy solution to this problem.  And it remains to be seen if the filing of lawsuits to hold the pharmaceutical companies responsible will prove to be successful in combating opioid addition.
 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

Sixteen years ago today, the country watched in horror as acts of terrorism hit New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Thousands of people died.  And today, as we have since 2001, we all need to take a moment to remember not only those who lost their lives that day but also the men and women who selfishly put themselves in harm’s way to help with the daunting rescue and recovery following those horrific attacks.

And this year, we also need to pause to pray for those currently dealing with the disastrous consequences of hurricanes Harvey And Irma.  Needless to say, many people have suffered as a result of the destructive weather.  And as a nation, we much come together to help those in need.  We encourage everyone to make a donation to the relief organization of one’s choosing.  Together we can all make a difference to those so desperately seeking assistance.

Additionally, we would hope all Americans might come to realize that the current deep divisions within the country are counterproductive, ripping apart the very fabric of the nation.  It simply has to stop.  As a society we need to work together to heal the wounds, not make them deeper than they already are.  We fear if we are not able to unite the county, we will indeed be embroiled in another Civil War.  And we fear absolutely nothing good would come of that.
 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

Recently we received an email with the subject of “Ponderisms.”  We admit, based on the subject, we could not image just what the email might contain.  But we were delighted to discover it was a list of things about which one might ponder.  Needless to say, we found it to be right down our alley.  And thus, we could not wait to share the following:

Can you cry under water?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in"...but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?


Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?

Why do the “Alphabet Song” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Do you ever wonder why you gave me your e-mail address in the first place? 


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

In a recent discussion about, what else, parking, the question came up of why parking is allowed on Sundays on the south side of Church Street between Fair and River Streets.  We assume such parking is allowed there on Sunday to accommodate those attending Christ Church.  And while it no doubt makes it easier to find a place to park on Sunday, such parking does seem to cause a fair amount of difficulty in terms of traffic flow. 

When there is parking on both sides of Church Street, it is impossible for two lanes of traffic to pass on the street.  Thus, we would think it might, in the interest of public safety, be prudent to not allow parking on the south side of Church Street on Sundays.  After all, no other street around Christ Church allows parking on both sides.  And Church Street, as far as we can tell, should not be the exception.

We must say that we have received a number questions about the recent “Be Positive Festival.”  Before it took place, we were asked what the festival was about.  We thought, from all we had read about the festival, its goal was to look at positive ways in which to make a difference.  In fact, in one newspaper article we read that the goal was “...to foster an activity in Cooperstown to get people to talk with one another, so we can talk in a positive way.” Yet, the information before the event included a program entitled “Rise and Resist.”  And based on the title, we were inclined to think the program might well come across more negative than positive.  After all, synonyms for resist include oppose, fight against, defy, obstruct, impede, hinder, block, thwart and frustrate, none of which sound particularly positive to us. Therefore, our thoughts before the festival were that those who were puzzled by it, would simply have to wait to see what actually happened.

As we understand it, based on the article “Smile,” written by Libby Cudmore, in last week’s paper, the festival was “...aimed at lifting the spirits of a beleaguered community in the wake of national malaise.”  We must say we had no idea our community was “beleaguered.”  Since we assume the use of “beleaguered” did not imply that the community was surrounded by enemy troops, it must be thought that the community is beset by trouble or some sort of overwhelming difficulty.  And while we do believe that the community is not without its issues, and that there is always room for improvement, we tend to take exception to the idea that we are actually “beset” by some sort of “trouble.” In fact, we would hazard a guess that the Cooperstown community is in far better shape than many other communities around the country.

Consequently, we are somewhat taken aback by the thought that there are those here who seem to feel that way about our community.  In fact, we were stunned when we read that one of the organizers was quoted as saying: “Love is an active word.  We have a remarkable community, and we want to keep making this a place of hope.” When, we wonder, did it stop being a place of hope? We have to say that the view of the community which seems to have been put forth by this festival is not one we recognize.  And we do hope that those who organized the festival know that while they are entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to transfer their opinions onto the rest of the community.  We think it is safe to say that there are many of us here who do not feel “beleaguered,” or stuck in a malaise for that matter.  And to have someone seemingly speaking on our behalf in such matters is quite beyond the pale.

And finally, given the overwhelming damage in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey, we think we all need to stop whining about what a miserable summer we think we have had. As we have watched the pictures showing the damage and suffering, we need instead to reach out not only with our thoughts and prayers, but also with our donations to help with what will no doubt be a very long recovery for the people of Texas.

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017

We were pleased to learn that Bob Sutherland has been named "Conservationist of the Year" by the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA).  It seems that he certainly has undertaken all sorts of activities which make him an excellent candidate for this honor.

According to the OCCA news release “Sutherland manages Mohican Farm for the Clark Foundation. Since taking the position in 2009 he has managed invasive species and supported community agriculture through the use of the farm's greenhouse. In 2010 he established a composting operation that has recycled over one million pounds of green waste and food scraps...Sutherland has involved himself in various committees and organizations in the region committed to agriculture and sustainability, including an initiative to develop a composting facility in Oneonta.  He supports Growing Community, a Cooperstown organization dedicated to education about the cultivation and preparation of local foods and its Kid Garden at Cooperstown Elementary School. Sutherland is also a board member of the Otsego Lake Association.”

We tend to think that his resume is only surpassed by his devotion to all of his various undertaking, something which we encountered many years ago when we hired Bob to do some landscaping for us.  He did an excellent job.  And we are happy to report that his efforts are still gracing our backyard.

We extend not only our congratulations to Bob on his being chosen as “Conservationist of the Year” but also our thanks for the improvements he made to our property. We have certainly enjoyed them for many years.

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

While we always find the columns written by Cary Brunswick. which appear in The Daily Star, to be interesting, we tend not to be in agreement with him on most issues.  However, his last column, which appeared in the August 29 edition of the paper, was spot on.  Entitled “Restrictions on free speech aren’t the answer to hate,” Brunswick points out that “Hate is a volatile emotion and, as we saw in Charlottesville, it can lead to violence, whether you are expressing racist hate or hate for those demonstrating that racist hate. But short of the potential for violence, we cannot allow our emotions to restrict the right of free speech as is occurring all too often these days.”

He also notes that “The racist hate demonstrated by white supremacists cannot be stamped out by banning it or by fighting to squash its expression. Fortunately, the high court has continued to rule that there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment.

But will that always be the case?”

Brunswick concludes that when it comes to free speech, the goal “...should not be to restrict free speech...we must focus on parents and schools to re-double their efforts to show young people that if our nation is to thrive socially, economically and politically, it will not be through hate but with cooperation and mutual respect. History, at the very least, teaches us that.”

Brunswick’s column, which we certainly would encourage everyone to read, is available online at:

http://thedailystar.cnhi.newsmemory.com/?token=8b6805f529d8acff0c304221a5c1f54b_59a41cbb_2c93&selDate=20170828&goTo=A001&artid=art_0.xml

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

Difficult as it is to believe, summer comes to an end today.  And while we always hate to see the summer depart, we do enjoy the fall with its changes not only in color but also in the quality of the sunshine.  Plus, it tends to be a quieter time of year, allowing us to not only reflect on the past summer, but also to think about the fall and, dare we say it, winter to come.  It would most definitely seem that so far, this year has given us much about which to ponder.  In fact, we almost hope that the fall and the winter prove to be less complicated than the year as been thus far.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

For Funny Friday this week, we offer...

A woman walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer.  She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the woman hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked on the street in front of the bank, she has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.                                                   

The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the woman for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An         
employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank's      
underground garage and parks it there.                                     

Two weeks later, the woman returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multi-millionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?”


The woman replies, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?"      
 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

As summer draws to a close, we are always sorry to see it go.  Of course, there seems to be little doubt that the weather this summer has been somewhat unsummer like.  In fact, we think we are still waiting for those hot lazy, hazy days of summer that we tend to associate with August. And given that this is last day of August, it doesn’t really seem at all that likely that we will actually get them this year.  And it seems that this summer has been only one of many things we have found to be puzzling of late.

For example, it is our understanding that students will return school having done what was explained to us as their summer homework.  We must say we had never before heard of summer homework.  And while we don’t really know what it might be, it sounds somewhat more ominous than the summer reading lists of our day.  In fact, we found it so bemusing that we actually asked what would happen if one did not do one’s summer homework.  Unfortunately, our source, who we believe was planning to do her summer homework, had no idea.  And, unlike what we think our reaction to summer homework might well have been, she was not seem at all inclined to find out just what would happen if she didn’t do it.

And then, as is often the case, we have to wonder about our seemingly incredible lack of timing.  Last week we placed an online order with Staples for a number of ink cartridges for our printer.  And as our luck would have it, we received a coupon the next day in the mail from Staples which was good for 15% off our next order of ink cartridges.  Of course, the coupon expires long before we will have to order more ink cartridges.  Nonetheless, we must point out that when our order arrived, it included a $30 gift card for hellofresh.com, which we gather offers healthier cooking in three easy steps, as well as a $100 wine voucher from nakedwines.com., neither one of which interests us in the least.  However, we would gladly pass them, as well as the Staples coupon, on to anyone who would be interested in them.

And then there is this rather bemusing experience. Back in the spring, we changed our Spectrum television/internet/telephone service which resulted in a savings of about $40 per month.  At the time we were assured that this was not an introductory price and that the cost for the our Spectrum package would not go up in the future.  And while that certainly did sound nice, we must say we were somewhat dubious about the claim.  As it turns out, we were right to be dubious.  Our last Spectrum bill showed an increase of 2.3%.  Granted, the basic costs of the three services we have did not change.  But, the cost of the TV receiver and associated fees went up.  The surcharge for broadcast TV also went up.  And, the bundle discount for the internet was reduced.  Thus, even though the basic cost did not change, the bill went up anyway, leaving us to wonder how long it will be before we will be paying substantially more for our television/internet/telephone services.

We are also wondering about a new service, “Informed Delivery,” which we signed up for with the United States Postal Service.  Each day for which there is mail delivery, we receive an email which contains images of the letter-sized mail that will be arriving soon in our mailbox.  Exactly why we need to know this is a bit of a mystery to us. But so far, each email has indeed shown the images of the mail we received that day.  Of course, the email also informs us that we can “Look for opportunities to interact with your mail where mailer provided content is available!”  We have absolutely no idea what that might mean, but we tend to think that the only interaction we intend to have with our mail is to open it and deal with it as necessary. 

In fact, we are of the opinion that there is so much going on in the world around us, that we really have little time to do anything other than ponder all the various events of the day.  It seems to have become a somewhat overwhelming task.
 

​WEDNESDAY, AUGUST, 30 2017

Last week we received an email from MyBassett which read as follows:

August 21, 2017
Hello Catherine L Ellsworth,
You have a new statement for your healthcare services available in MyBassett Health Connection. You are responsible to pay the amount due by the due date.
Please send us a customer service message or call if you need any financial assistance.
Amount Due:  $14.90
Payment Due By:  September 19
Please note, payments and adjustments made to your account since your statement was generated will not be reflected in the amount shown.


Since we had never encountered such an email bill before from Bassett, we went online to access our MyBassett account to see if we might be able to determine exactly what might be going on.  And as far as we could tell our option to pay this bill, which we knew we owed, was to use a credit card.

We must say we are not inclined to pay medical expenses with a credit card, as we wish to have access to a cancelled check should one be needed for income tax purposes.  But since we did learn that this particular bill would not need to be paid until September 19 we decided we would simply wait and see if a bill arrived via snail mail as has been the case in the past.  And sure enough, within a few days we received a bill in the mail.  Thus, in the future we will know to ignore email bills, waiting instead for the bill to appear in our mailbox.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2017

We must point out that we were quite interested in reading an article entitled “Rural schools battle poverty, enrollment dip” which appeared in several papers this past week.  The article started with the information that “Falling student enrollments and the spread of poverty have emerged as major challenges for rural school districts across upstate New York.

Those problems have become increasingly acute since 2008, a according to research released Aug. 8 by the New York State Association of School Business Officials.

That’s when the Great Recession kicked in, and many upstate counties began shedding population as residents headed elsewhere to look for employment, the association said in its report.”

We must say that we hardly thought this was news.  In fact, concerns about the negative effect of declining enrollment at CCS has been pointed out many times by citizens, ourselves included, who are increasingly concerned about the issue.  What we really don’t understand is why it has taken so long for the issue to be recognized by someone at the state level.  And now that it has been, exactly what might be done to deal effectively with the problem.

According to the article “The report suggested that one way to address the challenges is through “increased collaboration” by the districts, regional Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and community agencies. It also suggested that expanded distance learning be considered.”  Unfortunately, none of these ideas are new.  In fact, they are the same ideas which seem to have been trotted out many times in the past, without ever seeming to have solved anything.

Thus, the question now becomes, what realistic solutions are to the issues facing rural education in NYS.  And just who is going to take the lead in implementing such solutions.  It seems to us that it is becoming increasing obvious that the state of rural education only helps to make the growth of the economy in upstate New York all that more difficult.  In fact, it would seem that the decline in public education is directly related to the decline in job opportunities.  We would tend to think that any job growth would be held back if potential employees do not perceive the public education being offered would meet the needs of their children.

Consequently, we tend to think that something needs to be done in regards to public education in upstate New York.  Those students living in rural areas should have access to the same educational opportunities found in the urban and suburban areas of the state.

 

​​MONDAY, AUGUST 28, 2017

Given that the Northern Transfer Station is now closed for repairs until the end of September, we have been wondering how those who have chosen to take their household garbage and recyclables to Town of Exeter Drop Off Center just north of Schuyler Lake on the west side of Route 28 are making out with the change.

The first report that we received from someone who had used the Town of Exeter facility noted, via email, that “The first trip to Exeter went well. It's 8 miles further but access is easy and level with no potholes. They have a garbage truck where you place your bags. It makes sense!”

We must say we were relieved to hear that the change in location seems to be working well for those willing to use it.  We were also pleased to realize that the site in Exeter is open from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.  Being open during the week, as well as on Saturday. would seem to make it easier for people to drop off their garbage and recyclables.  Of course, it will take longer for some as the Exeter site will be further away.  But, it might be better than just having one’s garbage and recyclables piling up in the garage for six weeks, something which we admit we are planning to do.

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017

This week, for Funny Friday, we note that sometimes ignorance is not bliss, as evidenced by the following...

An elderly woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church 
services when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the burglar robbing her home of its valuables and she yelled, "STOP! Acts 2:38!” referring to the Bible verse, " Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.”

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and 
explained what she had done.  As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar, "Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell  Scripture at you."

"Scripture?" replied the burglar. "She said she had an axe and two 38's!"

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

At its next Community Evening program, scheduled Thursday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m., Woodside Hall will present a musical concert featuring Suzanne Rudy on the harp.  She will perform music from Broadway as well as classical pieces on her beautiful five foot tall pedal harp for the residents of Woodside Hall and members of the public.  Suzanne is an accomplished harpist and had a career teaching music in New York City schools before retiring to Cooperstown to run the Baseball Bed and Breakfast with her husband John.  Following the performance refreshments will be served.  For more information contact Karen Cadwalader, LCSW at 607-547-0600, extension 101.

Not long ago we received an email from one Kimberly More which informed us that our invoice for $1,621.09 was due by August 14, 2017.  There was a link upon which we could click to get more information about the bill.  Not only do we have no idea who Kimberly More might be, we are reasonably certain we do not owe anyone $1,621.09.  Thus we chose to delete the email without hesitation. 

Nonetheless, the fact that we would have received such an email makes us think that such scams are not limited to telephone calls but have also taken to using email to lure in unsuspecting victims.  As a general rule, we always delete any suspicious email that we might receive.  We are of the opinion that if we inadvertently delete a legitimate email, the sender will no doubt resend it.  And thus far, with all the emails we have deleted, that has never happened.

We note that we have read yet another book written by a retired physician at Bassett.  Earlier in the summer, we greatly enjoyed reading Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York: 200 Years of Health Care in Rural America by John Davis, MD.  And now we have added to our enjoyment by reading Conflict and Genius: A Brief Introduction to a Complex Man---19th Century Scholar, Poet & Priest,” researched and written by David S. Svahn, MD.

The gentleman about which Dr. Svahn has written is William Wilberforce Lord, 1819-1907, who was the 9th rector of Christ Church in Cooperstown.  But, as is pointed out in the book, “Locally Lord is perhaps best known for a few moving words that honor the Native Americans whose bones had been disinterred and reburied in the Fernleigh ground near the headwaters of the Susquehanna River...” 

However, having read the book, there is no doubt that Lord’s nearly 30 years in Cooperstown, where he stayed after his retirement in 1882, were but a part of a very complex, as well as most interesting, life.  It seems that Lord was torn between being a priest, a professor or a poet.  And while he ultimately chose the priesthood, he was not one to give up his love of academics or poetry.  Thus, his life was seemingly a most unusual one.  We must say that we found of particular interest Lord’s experiences in the south during the Civil War, where he strongly supported the rebel cause despite his northern roots.

In addition to telling the story of Lord’s life, Dr. Svahn has included in the book a selection of Lord’s poetry.  In 1845, Lord published his first book, Poems, which was praised by William Wordsworth but highly criticized by Edgar Allan Poe. And having read some of Lord’s poetry, we are inclined to side on this issue with Wordsworth not Poe.

We found the book to be a very interesting read, made all the more interesting given its Cooperstown connection.  As we understand it, the book is available from the author, who can be contacted by email at dsvahn65@gmail.com.   Copies may also be purchased at the Christ Church Parish House office, located at 69 Fair Street in Cooperstown, as well as at The Freeman’s Journal office located at 21 Railroad Avenue, Cooperstown.

In closing, while doing research for a book upon which we are currently working, we came across the following item from “Where Nature Smiles” in July of 1996, which we have chosen to share this week for whatever it might be worth:

“Not too long ago, one life-long resident of the village went next door to greet a new neighbor.  In the course of the conversation, the newcomers learned that the Cooperstonian had lived in the village about all of her life and that she and her husband had lived in the same home for more than 40 years.  Both of these things seemed to flabbergast the newly arrived residents, causing one of them to exclaim, ‘Goodness, how many more like you are there?’  Indeed, how many?” 

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017

We must say we found the letter to the editor entitled “‘Confederate’ monuments don’t celebrate Civil War,” which appeared in last Saturday’s edition of The Daily Star, to be quite interesting.  The writer argues quite convincingly that the statues in question are not “Confederate monuments.”  Instead they represent “...a war against Reconstruction that was waged and won in the legislative halls of Dixie, a war that created what we have come to know as ‘Jim Crow.’ This is the war that these monuments celebrate, not the War Between the States.”  We could not agree more.

Yet, we are somewhat troubled by the fact that the letter to the editor did not include exactly who was battling against Reconstruction in the south.  A quick check of Wikipedia points out that “In the 19th century, Southern Democrats comprised whites in the South who believed in Jeffersonian democracy. In the 1850s they defended slavery in the United States, and promoted its expansion into the West against northern Free Soil opposition. The United States presidential election of 1860 formalized the split, and brought war. After Reconstruction ended in the late 1870s they controlled all the Southern states and disenfranchised blacks (who were Republicans). The “Solid South” gave nearly all its electoral votes to Democrats in presidential elections.”

And while the argument can be made that the current Democratic Party is not the same Democratic Party that ruled the south from the 1870s until the 1950s, it still seems somewhat disingenuous to talk about a war against “Reconstruction,” which was “won in the legislative halls of Dixie.” without mentioning just who controlled the “halls of Dixie” at that time.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2107

We were somewhat surprised when we learned that the lawsuit that had been filed against the Town of Otsego and its Zoning Enforcement Officer, Ed Hobbie, as well as Blackbird Hollow, LLC, owners of the Hickory Grove Inn property, has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of New York State.  Thus, it seems that Blackbird Hollow has, at this point, a valid permit to restore the property.

Granted, the New York State Court of Appeals is the highest court in NYS and thus we suppose it would be possible to appeal the decision of the NYS Supreme Court.  But as of now, we understand that plans are moving forward to start working on the restoration of the Hickory Grove Inn in the fall.  And while we do not know what the exact plans for the Inn might be, we have to think they would be better than the condition in which the building is currently.  We well remember not only dining at the Hickory Grove Inn but also attending a class reunion as a well as a meeting of some group.  And we always thought it was a very pleasant experience.   Having the Inn back up and running would seem to us to be a plus for the area.

 

​MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

As we read the editorial, “Uninformed voters are biggest threat to our democracy.” which appeared in last Thursday’s Daily Star we could not help but think of Mark Twain’s quote “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”  We can but conclude that the editorial board of the paper must think that many people in the country do not read newspapers.  And that might indeed be true.

The conclusion of the editorial seems to be that these “uninformed voters,” who have obviously not gotten the correct message from the Star, exhibit a “...blind devotion to a cult-like figure.”  We must say that we tend to think suggesting that the current president is “a cult-like figure, hits a new high when it comes to “mis-informing” readers of the paper.  Certainly those who voted for the president are a diverse enough group of people that they do not actually have enough in common to qualify as a “cult.”  And to suggest that they do is would seem to paint the voters with a very broad brush. Doing so is, we think, quite beyond the pale.

 

​FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2017

This week, for Funny Friday, we offer the following:


One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.”  The florist was pleased and left the shop. 

When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a thank you card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door. 

Later, a policeman comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.”  The policeman was happy and left the shop. 

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a thank you card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door. 

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.” The Congressman was very happy and left the shop. 

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut. 
 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

As we were walking on Main Street last week, we could not help but notice how dirty the sidewalks looked.  We have no idea what was spilled or dropped on them, but we have to wonder if all the mess can be cleaned off in hopes of presenting a more pleasant experience for those wandering about downtown.  Of course, given the amount of foot traffic on the sidewalks during the summer, we suppose that any attempts to clean the sidewalks would have to wait until after the height of the tourist season abates a bit.  But we do certainly hope that some cleaning of the sidewalks is seriously considered by the powers that be at the village.

In fact, in thinking about the sidewalks, we couldn’t help but compare their condition to a description of the village from 1895 that we shared in this column back in April of 1995.  At that time, one of our more faithful readers had been kind enough to send us some interesting material about the village from “The Empire State, Its Industries and Wealth” published by the American Publishing Company. It read in part:

“Cooperstown is one of the most pleasant towns in the Empire State, and one of the classic points of our country.  It is situated on the shore of Otsego, a beautiful lake worthy of being the fountain head of the bright-flowing Susquehanna... Surrounded with beauty...Cooperstown is one of the literary meccas of our country, and, by all means, the place to read the works of Cooper, the famous novelist, who made this place his home for many years...Cooperstown is the capital of one of the most beautiful and attractive of the counties into which the Empire State is divided...The county boasts of several beautiful lakes, which lie safely ensconced on the top of some lofty upland.  Otsego Lake is a beautiful sheet of water...

Few Towns in the Empire State can be compared with Cooperstown in natural or acquired beauty... In the regularity in which it is laid out, and the beauty and width of its foliage-shaded streets, in the substantial character of its public and business structures...it certainly stands unrivaled in the state.  Cooperstown holds forth rare enjoyment and opportunity for investment.  She offers cordial hospitality and invites the visitor to make with her his permanent home, if he has within him the elements that make a good and useful citizen...

The climate is healthy and longevity is proverbial...Cooperstown is abreast of the times, having a gas and water works and a drainage system second to none, well paved streets with such declivity that they cannot remain unclean; a debt small and well placed; and the most effective protection for person and property be a well disciplined police force and well drilled and equipped fire department.  The principle business streets are paved; in the residence district many of the streets are macadamized; but everywhere the roadways and sidewalks are good; the streets are wide and usually intersecting at right angles and in the dwelling section the shade is ample...

The town is well governed and the taxation low, living cheap and suitable building lands are to be had on every hand.  The water supply is abundant, pure and wholesome.  The town has many fine substantial buildings...The society of Cooperstown is perfect.  The people are moral and conservative, enlightened and progressive.  Churches and schools are their most cherished institutions...In addition there are two ably managed and well edited weekly newspapers that keep the citizens supplied with chronicles of local occurrences, important happenings in all parts of the country, and prominent events abroad, besides discussing in an independent and impartial spirit all public questions.”

We must admit there is no doubt that certain changes would have to be made to this 1895 description of the village in order to update it to reflect the current conditions within the village.  In fact, we were sorely tempted to do just that. But then we thought we would be depriving our readers of the chance to make such corrections as they see fit.  And thus, we will only note that no mention was made in 1895 that any sidewalk was in the condition, not to mention the state of clutter, in which we seem to find the sidewalks today.

 
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

Last week we wrote about the fact that in New York State, EZ-pass is charging more for out state motorists than for instate drivers.  But, based on the email we received from one of our readers, NYS isn’t the only state doing this.  According to the email

“...Having just recently traveled through Massachusetts, they do the same. Last fall they did away with toll booths & went to an all EZ Pass system. They have signs posted along the highway with the rates...MA EZ Pass one price, out of state another price, & no EZ Pass a third price. It is all camera generated, and the signs are located just before you come to a camera.”


We must say were dumbfounded by this piece of information.  We can’t help but wonder how Massachusetts collects the cash from those vehicles without EZ-pass if there are no tolls booths.  We hasten to add, we are indeed glad our traveling days are somewhat limited.  And what little traveling we do, we can still manage to do without going on any toll roads.  Of course, we suppose that too could always change.  And when that happens, we will no doubt become an armchair traveler.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Over the weekend a friend asked us what we knew about an item which she had read in the newspaper.  It concerned something called the "Be positive Festival," which has been inspired by the "...local Positive Action Cooperstown Group."  We must admit that we are completely clueless about the group or the planned event.  Nor could we really figure out what the goal of the group is from the item which appeared in the paper. Plus, since it was noted that more information is available on the Be Positive Festival's Facebook page, we suspect we will be unable to find out more as we absolutely refuse to join Facebook.

We admit that at one point, years ago, we were on Facebook.  However, we came to the conclusion that Facebook is not something which we wanted to be a part of our life.  And we must say we have not missed it.  However, we are always amazed at how many people, organizations, businesses and who knows who else, make the faulty assumption that Facebook will reach absolutely everyone.  And that is simply not the case.  And, as far as we are concerned, it will never be the case.
 

MONDAY, AUGUST 14, 2017

A while ago now, area historian Mark Simonson wrote a column, entitled “Architect had big influence on Cooperstown’s present appearance,” which appeared in The Daily Star.  In it Simonson noted that Frank Proctor Whiting was the architect for a number of undertaking of the Clark interests in Cooperstown, including the Fenimore Farm’s stone barn, now the entrance to the Farmers’ Museum, the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, the Alfred Corning Clark Gymnasium and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Of course, over the years all of these structures have been modified, but the original designs for these Cooperstown landmarks were done by Whiting.

Additionally, it was noted in the column that Whiting’s hobby was etching.  Although we do not know about all of Whiting’s etching, we do know many of them were of Cooperstown.  In fact, we have a number of Whiting etching hung around the house, all of which have been collected by the family over the years.

However, not mentioned in Simonson’s column was an interesting fact about Whiting that we came across while reading a “Where Nature Smiles” column which appeared in The Freeman’s Journal on May 17, 1995.  In that column, we mention having come across a playbill from The Cooperstown Players’ production of “A Successful Calamity” which was presented on December 10 and 11, 1931, at Smalley’s Theatre on Main Street.  Interestingly enough, according to the play bill, the scenery was designed by Frank P Whiting.  It would seem safe to say that Whiting used his considerable talent in all sorts of undertakings, including the theater.
 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017

For this week’s Funny, but thoughtful, Friday we offer the following item about saying grace.

A visiting Pastor was attending a men’s breakfast in farm county.  He asked one of the impressive older farmers in attendance to say grace that morning.  After all were seated, the older farmer began.

“Lord, I hate buttermilk.”

The Pastor opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was 
going. Then the farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now the Pastor was worried.  However, without missing a beat, the 
farmer prayed on, “And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw white 
flour.”

Just as the Pastor was ready to stand and stop everything, the farmer continued, “But Lord, when you mix them all together and bake them up, I do love fresh biscuits.  So Lord, when things come up we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what you are saying to us, we just need to relax and wait until You are done mixing, and probably it will be something even better than biscuits. Amen."

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

We must say that we were taken aback when we learned that Otsego County will be closing the Northern Transfer Station, located on Route 28 between Cooperstown and Fly Creek, from Monday, August 21 through Saturday, September 30.  Our initial thought is that the timing of this closing could not be worse, given it is being done during the height of the tourist season when there is much more trash, not to mention recyclables, generated in this area than at any other time of the year.  Additionally, this is the time of year when all sorts of construction projects, which produce all sorts of debris, are in full swing.

In view of what we consider to be the unbelievable timing of the closing of the Northern Transfer Station for an unspecified construction project, we decided to call the number listed in the paper, namely 547-4225, to see if we could get some clarification about all of this.

When we asked if the construction project could be delayed for two weeks until after Labor Day to at least help the tourist industry dispose of its trash, we were told in no uncertain terms no.   The reason given was the terms of the county’s contract with the contractor for the project.  We have to wonder why, in laying out the terms of the contract, the county did not specify that it could not be done during the height of the tourist season, with its inherent mounds of trash.  Or is this something of which the county is unaware?

We also inquired as to whether or not the transfer station could be open during whatever the proposed construction might be. We were informed that doing so would cause unacceptable liability issues.  It made us wonder just what sort of construction was being planned and what the cost will be to taxpayers.

We also have to wonder how long has the county known the Northern Transfer Station would be closed. It our understanding from those who use the transfer station on a regular basis, that they only received a handout about the closure on Monday, July 31.  When we pointed out during our telephone conversation that we thought the public had not been well informed of the county’s plans, we were told that the information was on the county’s website under solid waste, which also lists all 12 of the household recycling and bagged garbage drop off centers in the county.

Now we admit that we do get a lot of our news online.  But as a general rule, we do not check the county website for the status of solid waste disposal in the county.  We tend to rely on our local newspapers for that information.  Thus, we asked if a press release had been sent to the papers about the planned closure.  We were assured that it had been, but we were told it was not known when the release had been sent out. We were also told there was no certainty that the papers would print it anyway. 

Before ending the call, we took the liberty to point out that we were very disappointed in how the county seems to have dealt with informing the public about the closure of the Northern Transfer Station.  Additionally, since the tourist industry always struggles to make the lion’s share of its revenue in the summer, we thought it was a slap in the face of an industry which provides the county with a great deal of both sales and bed tax.  Plus, we did not think much thought had been given to the cost to area garbage haulers and contractors of having to haul their garbage and debris to the Southern Transfer Station in Oneonta and how that will probably increase their cost of doing business.

In researching how to deal with the impending closure, we did discover that according to the county’s website that are four drop off centers, in Cherry Valley, Exeter, Richfield and Springfield, that will accept both household recyclables and bagged garbage from Otsego County residents.  All sites are listed as only being open on Saturdays, although we understand there may be extended hours in the Town of Exeter.  Further information is available at www.otsegocounty.com.

Garbage haulers and contractors will, we assume, have to make the arduous trip to the Southern Transfer Station.  As for our plans, we fully intend, during the closure, to just let the recyclables and trash pile up hoping it does not draw unwanted vermin until such time as the transfer station reopens, whenever that might actually be.
 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2017

We were somewhat surprised, when we read in the July 1217 issue of Your AAA, that out of state vehicles with E-Z Pass are charged more than instate vehicles using E-Z Pass on the NYS Thruway.  Evidently, the out of state vehicles, even with the E-Z Pass, pay the higher cash price for driving on the thruway.
 
It has always been our understanding that the cost to travel on the thruway using the E-Z Pass was less as the cost of passing out tickets and collecting tolls was reduced with the use of the E-Z Pass.  Thus, as of January of this year, we can but conclude that NYS, in its unending quest for money, has decided that it is not necessary to treat everyone using E-Z Pass on the NYS Thruway equally.

And chances are those from out of state will not even realize that the NYS Thruway is discriminating against them, even as the state continues to lure people from all over to visit the state with its “I Love New York” ad campaign.  And, of course, we are reasonably certain the state likes the revenue that tourism generates.  We can’t help but think that the NYS decision to charge out of state vehicles with E-Z Pass the higher cash price is not a particularly good way in which to welcome visitors from out of state.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2017

We must say we were stunned when we read the headline “State uses jobs fund to pitch Cuomo’s tuition plan,” in the August 2 edition of The Daily Star.

Evidently, the “New York's Economic State Development agency revealed Wednesday that it has tapped a $50 million fund designed to promote job growth and tourism to pay for an aggressive marketing campaign boosting Gov. Andrew Cuomo's program to extend free tuition to middle-class students enrolling at public colleges.”

And, although it was not clear exactly how much money was taken from the fund for job growth and tourism, the idea that any money from the fund would be used for advertising the “free tuition” plan touted by the governor would seem to be beyond reprehensible.  As was pointed out, college bound students should be able to research how they can best afford college costs. 

Once again, one is sorely tempted to wonder about not only why, but also how, state funds are being spent.  As is so often the case, it seems that taxpayer dollars many not be being used in a judicious manner.
 

MONDAY, AUGUST 7, 2017

If we are to believe the editorial “In Our Opinion: Attendance disappointing, but just wait,” which appeared in the August 1 edition of The Daily Star, part of the “fault” for the seemingly low attendance at this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction was a result of the fact that “...the baseball public was not terribly thrilled with this year’s selections.”  We have no idea if this might be true.  But we do think it is beyond the pale to somehow blame the inductees for the size of the induction crowd.

However, going forward we are assured by the editorial that “...next year, with such possible inductees as Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, it will be difficult to reach the estimated 50,000 visitors who were in Cooperstown in 2016.

But just wait until 2019, when Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees will be eligible for induction. Most of his native Panama will be here, along with half of the Bronx and an immense contingent from the other boroughs. We’re probably looking at 70,000 for that event.

And the following year — when Derek Jeter of the Yankees will almost certainly enter the Hall — local merchants can expect a crowd in excess of 80,000.”

As we read this we were reminded of 2007 when Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were inducted into the Hall of Fame.   The crowd that year was estimated to be in the neighborhood of 75,000.  For that induction, there was a brochure prepared which included this information: “Parking and traffic control are real issues about which you should be acutely aware. Cooperstown has unavoidable limitations because of its small size. Please read these maps and parking options carefully.”

Included in this brochure was map which showed the possibility of parking at the three trolley lots, the yellow, the red, and the blue, as well as at five bus lots, the purple, the gold, the brown, the green and the pink, all located on County Route 26 between Toddsville and Fly Creek.  And while the extra parking lots which were provided that year, helped greatly with the parking, if we remember correctly, when it came to getting everyone back to their cars, all did not go well.

While the trolley system worked in returning people to where they needed to be, the same could not be said for those people needing to return to one of the bus lots.  People did not know what bus they needed as they didn’t know in which lot their cars were parked.  As a result, it took hours to get the crowd of 75,000 or so people to their cars and on their way.

Therefore, if The Daily Star is correct in predicting the crowd size for future Hall of Fame inductions, we certainly hope that someone is hard a work figuring out just how Cooperstown can better address the number of people that will be descending upon our fair community.  We think it is safe to say no one wants a repeat of what happened in 2007.

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2017

Today we offer for “Funny Friday, this explanation as to why parents might drink...

A boss wondered why one of his most valued employees had not phoned in sick one day. Having an urgent problem with one of the main computers, he dialed the employers home phone number and was greeted with a child's' whisper of “Hello.”
Is your daddy home?" he asked.  “Yes" whispered the small voice. “May I talk with him?" “No" was the answer.

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, “Is your Mommy there?"  “Yes."  "May I talk with her?" Again the small voice whispered, "No."

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss
asked, "Is anybody else there?" “Yes,” whispered the boy, "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked,
“May I speak with the policeman?" “No, he's busy", whispered the child. "Busy doing what?" “Talking to daddy and mommy and the fireman", came the answer.

Growing more worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter, the boss asked, "What's that noise?" “A helicopter" answered the whispering voice. “What is going on there?!" demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive.  Again whispering, the child answered, "The search team just landed the helicopter."


Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, “What are they searching for?!!."  Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle...“ME".
 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 3, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

We note that the next meeting of “The Gathering Place” at Woodside Hall will be held on Tuesday, August 15 at 2:00 p.m. when the Cooperstown Living Waters Team will present a program on their work in Honduras.

The Cooperstown Living Waters Team takes water purification systems to rural communities in the mountains of Honduras.  In January 2018, the team will install an ozone water purification system in the community of Tatumbla.  Susan and C.R. Jones and Brent Leonard will discuss the team’s work, which is done with the assistance of the Cooperstown Presbyterian Church.  Following the presentation refreshments will be served.  For more information contact Karen Cadwalader, LCSW at 607-547-0600, Ext 101.
                                   
We also note that the Village of Cooperstown is once again tackling the issue of sandwich boards with a public hearing on Tuesday, August 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the village meeting room.  Under discussion will be the newly proposed Local Law No. 12 of 2017 which has the  goal “to amend Chapter 227 (signs) of the Code of the Village of Cooperstown to regulate the placement of sandwich board signs.” We point out that this goal is the same one which appeared in the earlier version, namely Local Law No. 9 of 2017, of a law to regulate sandwich boards which was not enacted earlier this year by the village board.  And although some changes seem to have been made to the new proposed law, it nonetheless would enable the use of sandwich board signs by any fixed-location establishment throughout the village.

In considering the proposed law, we think it is appropriate to refer to the stated intent of the sign ordinance, which reads in part that

It is the intent of this chapter to authorize signs that:
(c) Minimize distractions and the adverse effects of visual clutter;
(d) Promote the health, safety and general welfare of the Village;

Interestingly enough, a local resident recently took the time to record just what is located on the sidewalk on the south side of Main Street from Cooper Park to the stoplight.  She noted that there are 14 lamp posts, 20 rain gardens with trees, 6 garbage/recycling containers, 17 benches, 3 separate chairs, 9 planters not including those attached to a building, 7 cafes and/or table-chair combos, 22 do’s, do not’s, FYI signs, 3 parking machines, 3 vending machines, 2 fire hydrants and 1 Post Office box. And while many of these things are instrumental to maintaining order within the village, they all add, in one way or another, not only to the congestion on the sidewalk but also to the visual clutter on Main Street


The village has allowed sandwich boards in the past.  However, that law was eventually repealed.   And, if the previous reign of sandwich boards on Main Street is any indication, sandwich boards will not only impact the already existing visual clutter, but can also have an impact on the safety and welfare of those individuals using the sidewalks.  Experience would seem to indicate not only do people trip over the sandwich boards, the boards also have a decided propensity to fall over, especially when someone bumps into one.

With our mobility issues, we find accessing Main Street in the summer already most difficult.  If we are fortunate enough to park in the handicapped space on the northeast corner of Main and Pioneer Streets, there is a bench on the sidewalk next to the space which prohibits opening the car door completely.  And thus, that getting in or out of the car is all that much more difficult. We can’t help but think that is not the only parking spot on Main Street from which it is difficult to get from a vehicle to the sidewalk.

Plus, given the foot traffic on the sidewalk, we often find it difficult to negotiate, with our walker, to our destination.  We can’t help but think that adding sandwich boards to the mix will only make more difficult for those of us with mobility issues.

Therefore, before enacting this law to allow sandwiches boards throughout the village, it might be prudent to weigh whatever benefits the proposed law might have, against the stated goals of the village’s zoning ordinance, both in terms of visual clutter and public safety, not to mention accessibility on the part of those with handicapping conditions. 

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2017

We have reached the somewhat unfortunate decision that we can no longer watch any television news.  And since we have always tried to keep up on both the national and international news, this is not a decision we have found to be an easy one to make.  However, we have come to the conclusion that so much of what is being offered as news is actually just speculation. 

Therefore, we have two online news sites lined up, one liberal and one conservative, so that instead of turning to the television, we can simply open our iPad in an attempt to try and figure out just what might be happening in the world around us. It remains to be seen if, with this new approach, we think we know more, or less, about what is actually happening, not just what the speculation may be on any given issue.  Time will no doubt tell.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2017

We must say that we have long been puzzled by newspaper headlines.  So often we tend to think that the headline on any given article often has little to do with the actual content of that article. 

For example, a recent headline in the paper read “Judge grants O.J. parole after 8-year prison term.”  Yet, if one read the article one would realize that the parole was granted by a parole board.  In fact, the article never mentioned a judge anywhere.

The initial headline on our column last week , “Off To Induction---By Horse, Buggy Or Bike” did make sense given what we had written about a Hall of Fame Induction during World War II.  But, the headline on the column’s jump to the next page read: “However, Get to HoF’s Induction,” a sentiment we do not feel was expressed in any way in the column.  Encouraging people to the induction ceremonies was not ours, but rather that of the person who wrote the headline.

Thus, we would encourage readers not to depend on only a headline but rather to read the entire article in order to determine what it might actually say.  Headlines are not written by those who write the articles.  And there are times, when that certainly seems to show.