​ ​​​​Cooperstown Today


MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2018

Today we are posting the last three of our “Where Nature Smiles” columns which will appear in upcoming editions of “The Freeman’s Journal.”  This will be our last posting to the website.  They can be viewed until August 31 at which time the website, cooperstowntoday.com, will no longer be available.  We hope that you have enjoyed reading our Daily Updates as much as we have enjoyed writing them.  

Where Nature Smiles for August 16, 2018

On a very hot July day in 1971 we, quite unwittingly, married the Village of Cooperstown.  Oh, we didn’t know right away that that was what we had done.  We were under the impression that we had married one Gerald B. Ellsworth, a native of Cooperstown, New York. At least that is what it said on the marriage license. As we walked down the aisle of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, there was no question in our mind as to who the groom was.  What we didn’t know was that Cooperstown was part of the deal.

After our honeymoon, we motored to Cooperstown where we spent about a month at the family homestead on Pioneer Street before we moved to our first apartment in Boston.  We had a job teaching theater arts, costuming and make-up to be exact, at Boston University.  Our new husband assumed the role of full time house spouse and part time student.  We thought, rather foolishly, that once we were in Boston, Cooperstown would be behind us.

We actually held that thought until Christmas approached when the discussion of what we would be doing for the holidays began in earnest.  We were big on staying in Boston, but what we didn’t know is that in the Ellsworth family, Christmas only happened in Cooperstown.  It simply cannot be celebrated anywhere else.  So, for our very first Christmas as a new bride, we traveled to Cooperstown where we discovered, that although the Ellsworths celebrated Christmas in Cooperstown, they, nonetheless, did it all wrong.

Our first 23 Christmases taught us that the family gathered for dinner Christmas Eve, opening presents on Christmas morning.  We did not understand the Ellsworth preference of opening presents on Christmas Eve and the having the family gather for dinner on Christmas Day.  Of course, since we had married Cooperstown, we learned to adapt. Therefore, it is not surprising that the heir apparent of the family had no idea that he was celebrating Christmas incorrectly. Fortunately, when his wife Annie joined the family, she was able to get him to celebrate Christmas correctly for which we were most appreciative.

Of course, Christmas was only the beginning of our relationship with Cooperstown.  We also discovered that it was imperative that three weeks in June be spent here each and every summer.  In those days, June in Cooperstown was not noted for its pleasant and sunny weather.  In fact, most years the main topic of discussion was whether or not Willow Brook would flood the basement of the bank building.  Each year we assumed, based on the weather, that the bank basement flooding was a given. We vividly remember the year that my grandmother called to see if we were all right because she had heard that the Susquehanna River was at flood stage.  Little did she know that Willow Brook was actually the problem.

And so it went for the first ten years of married life.  Although we lived first in Boston and then in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, each Christmas and each June was spent in Cooperstown.  Then, in the fall of 1981 our mother-in-law, Enid Brady Ellsworth, died very unexpectedly.  And, since our husband was an only child, he got, among other things, the family homestead in Cooperstown.  What a deal! We would no longer have to limit our time in Cooperstown to Christmas and June.  As luck would have it, we could spend all of our time in Cooperstown. And in the summer of 1982, we became an official resident of the Village of Cooperstown with all the rights and privileges thereof.

Our son Christopher could become a third generation graduate of CCS.  We could shepherd the village’s 1986 Bicentennial Celebration.   We could write the CCS Alumni Newsletter for ten years which gave us the uncanny ability to know who graduated when.  We could donate our theatrical talents to Little People’s Theater, the C.C.S. Faculty Association, Leatherstocking Theater and various senior class plays.  We could become the people the Chamber of Commerce called when they didn’t know the answer to whatever question was being asked of them.  

And we could write a weekly newspaper column, “Where Nature Smiles, beginning in 1984 and continuing to this day.  Only in Cooperstown would we have the opportunity to meet, year after a year, a weekly deadline in which the comings and goings of the community were recorded. But the very best part of all was that, once we moved here, we didn’t have to come here for Christmas, even if it was always done all wrong.

Where Nature Smiles for August 23, 2018

As of this month, we have lived in Cooperstown for 36 years.  During this time we have managed to stick our nose into any number of undertakings.  We have worked with a vast number of people on various projects.  And we have been known to express our opinion on issues we find of importance to the community.  In fact, we must say that just thinking about all of our various endeavors makes us wonder how on earth we ever had the energy to undertake it all.

When we first arrived in Cooperstown we joined The League of Women Voters,
The Women’s Club of Cooperstown and the MIBH Auxiliary.  Later we took on the Fenimore Quilt Club, the Kingfisher Investment Group and the Literary Discussion Group.  Plus, we participated in activities such as the Episcopal Church Women as well as St. Margaret’s Guild at Christ Church.  We think over the years we served these organizations as board member, secretary, treasurer, vice-president, president, facilitator and general factotum.  To say that we managed to keep ourselves busy is no doubt an understatement. Consequently, we have always had trouble understanding those occasional people who often lamented to us that there is nothing to do in Cooperstown. We suspect they simply did not search long enough or hard enough to find something to do.
                        
Our interest in the Cooperstown Central School started out with the we-we’s interest in serving on the Board of Education, something he did for 15 years.  We tend to think that during that time CCS was his second home. And while we served on the school board for about a year, we found ourselves much happier simply attending school board meetings to glean what we could about the direction being taken by of our local educational institution. Of course, each year we did our best to understand the proposed CCS budget for the following year.  Unfortunately, we never have been able to figure out how the school budget continued to grow while the student population continued to drop.            
                        
Naturally over the years we also got involved with the Village of Cooperstown.  We, the he-we and the she-we, served as co-chairs for the year-long Village of Cooperstown’s 1986 Bicentennial Celebration.  It was quite an undertaking to say the least. And while we enjoyed participating in all the various events we suspect our son was somewhat less enthusiastic. In fact, we would tend to think to this day his eyes glaze over at the mere mention of the word “bicentennial.”

We also served on the village’s parking committee which we readily admit was perhaps a most thankless job. While we were a member, the committee managed to get the trolley system up and running.  However, the committee was much less successful in its attempt to get a parking structure built in Cooperstown.  The outcry against such a proposal was unbelievable.  And so the plans were dropped, much to the detriment, we think, of the village’s ever continuing parking issues. 

We, the he-we and the she-we, also took on the roles of Santa and Mrs. Claus, holding forth in Santa’s cottage in Pioneer Park.  To say that it was an interesting undertaking doesn’t cover it.  However, doing the Santa gig did give us a lot to write about. And we do think our readers seemed to enjoy reading about all our Santa experiences.   

Of course our time in Cooperstown was greatly enriched with our many experiences with various local theater groups.  We, the he-we and the she-we, started out doing some plays at both the Peppermill and TJ’s. Then we added to our theater activities Little People’s Theater, where we did plays with children from the fourth through the eighth grades.  Later we took on doing a number of CCS senior plays. And while we always enjoyed working with the students, we did not always enjoy the fact that the he-we always managed to cast every student who tried out for a play.  And that meant that we, the she-we, had to produce a costume for every cast member, something which could prove to be somewhat overwhelming when there were upwards of 50 people in the cast.

Over time, we also worked with the Leatherstocking Theater Company and even spent two years at Hartwick College, designing and building costumes for their productions.  Needless to say, theater was a big part of our overall Cooperstown experience.  And, as we look back over our years in Cooperstown we have to say there was never a dull moment.  Of course, there were always many, many hectic moments, all of which we will treasure as we make our move to Ohio where we fully intend to do absolutely nothing.

Where Nature Smiles for August 30, 2018

Leaving Cooperstown is proving to be one of the most bittersweet experiences of our life. Not only has Cooperstown been the place in which we have lived the longest, it is also the place in which we most definitely found ourselves surrounded not only by a by a caring and concerned community, but also by a community which offered so many opportunities to connect and work with people on a wide variety of undertaking which we found most interesting, entertaining and enjoyable.  

There is no doubt we are reluctant to leave the community that we have known so well for the past 36 years.  Yet while we will no longer be able to claim Cooperstown as home, we nonetheless will take all our wonderful, and certainly unforgettable, memories of our time here. Plus, given modern technology, we suspect we will be able to keep abreast of the comings and goings of the community from our new vantage point in Ohio.

Over the years we have had the opportunity to discuss with anyone who would listen the many local issues that have cropped up from time to time.  Whether those discussions provided any clarity to the issues is no doubt open to debate.  Nonetheless, we always enjoyed the discussions and trust that all those people who joined us did also.  

We will also remember most fondly the countless lunches and dinners we enjoyed with friends and family at any number of restaurants in the area.  Our many trips to Pop’s Place usually ended with delicious ice cream.  Taking in the “International Dinners” at the Hawkeye introduced us to cuisines we would never have experienced otherwise.  The view while lunching at the Blue Mingo has always been one of our favorites.  And we thoroughly enjoyed our weekly take-out dinners from the China Wok, although we must admit we always seemed to find ourselves puzzling over the fortunes we found in the fortune cookies. To say that we greatly enjoyed eating our way through the restaurants of Cooperstown is probably an understatement.

Of course, we were most proud when our son, Christopher, a member of the CCS Class of 1992, became a third generation graduate of Cooperstown Central School. His grandfather, Charles D. Ellsworth, graduated in 1925.  His grandmother, Enid Brady Ellsworth, graduated in 1930.  And his father, Gerald B. Ellsworth, graduated in 1965. The Ellsworth roots do indeed run deep in Cooperstown.  And nothing bespeaks of that more than the fact that we lived our entire time in Cooperstown in the home on Pioneer Street which was built in 1912 by the he-we’s grandparents, Gerald D. and Maude Ellsworth.  The home has indeed served the Ellsworth family well.

And without doubt, writing a weekly newspaper column for some 34 years has to have been one of the greatest highlights of our time here. We note that on January 4, 1984, when Cooperstonians opened their copies of The Freeman’s Journal to page two, they found themselves reading:

“We thought this was an excellent time of year to take a stab at continuing a column which appeared in The Freeman’s Journal for more years than we can remember.  In the first place, all those many organizations that you may from time to time connect us with tend to take a break for the holidays leaving us with something we are not accustomed to, namely free time. We had to find something to do. Secondly, the holidays are a good time for finding all sorts of people going all sorts of places to do all sorts of things.  We managed to take note of at least a few of them.  And thirdly, arm twisting, all four of them, on the part of the editor and publisher, works every time.  So here we go, where nature smiles.”

Little did we, the he-we and the she-we, know back in 1984 when we wrote that, that we, unfortunately just the she-we, would still be writing “Where Nature Smiles” today. And while it has been a long haul, it is one we would not trade for anything in the world.  We have always thought that the column lasted as long as it has because we have the best readers in the world who were always willing to contact us with greatly appreciated suggestions.  They were also ready to compliment us when the column struck their fancy and equally willing to complain when it did not.  It has been a great run and we shall indeed miss writing it week after week after week after week. 

But, we do think our trusty pen has finally run out of ink.  And our time of writing “Where Nature Smiles” has drawn to a close. And thus we end this column, as we did so many others, with...

We remain, 
Where Nature Smiles,
The Ellsworths

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding these columns may be made by mail to 125 Colonial Woods Dr., Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050 or by e-mail at cellsworth47@icloud.com. 

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2018

For Funny Friday we present a senior’s version of Facebook...

For those of my generation who do not, and cannot, comprehend why Facebook exists, I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles.  Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later and with whom.  I give them pictures of my family, my dog and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.  I also listen to their conversations, give them “thumbs up” and tell them I “like” them.  And it works just like Facebook. I already have 4 people following me: 2 police officers, a private investigator and a psychiatrist.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

For a number of years now, we have noted over and over the sentiment in this area against anything remotely related to the issue of natural gas. And while the rhetoric appears to die down from time to time, the issue always seems to make its way back into the forefront of public discussion. And from various articles we have read of late, it seems that the drumbeat against the methane gas found in natural gas is growing louder each and every day.  To put it bluntly, we have been lead to think that methane gas is perhaps the most evil thing in the world.  In fact, after musing on the evils of methane gas, we have come to the conclusion that such gas has surely been viewed as the most evil thing on the planet for quite a while now.

Methane gas is certainly not a new phenomenon. Early on in our long history methane made its appearance as erupting volcanos spewed forth the deadly gas, something volcanos do to this day. As vegetation made its appearance, eventually dying off and, in the process of decaying, added to the methane problem.  When animals added their ability to produce and emit methane, the intensity of the problem no doubt escalated.  In fact, we have to wonder if the poor dinosaurs were also concerned about the ever increasing levels of methane in their world.  Could all their worry over methane hastened their extinction?

And now the hue and cry is that methane must be eliminated, lest it overpower the planet and lead to our ultimate demise.  But how exactly can we accomplish this desired goal?  The argument has been made that the elimination of natural gas as an energy source just might do the trick.  And then again it might not.  After all, natural gas is not the only source of methane gas.

For example, we recently read that “...climate scientists have shown that methane is hemorrhaging from wellhead to pilot light at rates up to 12 percent.”  At the same time, we have repeatedly been told that cows produce large amounts of methane gas in their flatulence.  This lead us to wonder just whether or not mankind might also be producing methane gas.  So, we went online where we read that human flatulence consists of about 7 percent methane gas as well as about 12 percent carbon dioxide.  Thus, given our ever increasing growth in population, the people of the world may soon be giving the natural gas “...hemorrhaging from wellhead to pilot light...” a real run for its money.

Additionally, consideration must be given to the methane gas which is produced by natural sources such as swamps and wetlands and manmade sources such landfills.  To eliminate the problem of this methane gas all landfills would have to be closed and swamps and wetlands would have to be drained.  Dams for hydropower would have to be eliminated as the lake formed behind such a dam decays underwater vegetation which only adds more to the methane problem.  There is no doubt that the challenge of eliminating naturally occurring methane gas is great.

In fact, from we have read, the real problem with natural gas is not the actual use of that gas as an energy source. Instead it is the “fugitive methane,” that leaking methane from the production and transport of natural gas, which is the real hazard to the environment.  Yet no mention is ever made of the hazards to the environment of the methane gas produced not only by nature but also by the humans who are inhabiting that nature.  And we have to wonder why that is?

No doubt there are any number of people dying to solve the methane problem.  But it should be noted that decomposing bodies also generate methane as they decay.  So it would seem that dead or alive, it will be most difficult to decrease, let alone eliminate, the production of methane gas.  After all, it would seem that natural gas is only one part of the overall methane problem facing us today. And that is not likely to change going forward anytime soon.

In fact, we are inclined to think that the elimination of methane gas is about as likely to happen as the NYS Governor’s prediction that “...incredible growth in the tourism industry...” along with proposed renovations to Doubleday Field which “...will host more events, attract more visitors, and generate an even greater economic impact for the Mohawk Valley.”  Having lived in Cooperstown for some 36 years, we must admit that we never before knew that Cooperstown has such a huge economic impact on the Mohawk Valley. Yet we think the possibility that economic impact exists is far greater than the possibility of eliminating methane gas in the environment,

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2018

For Funny Friday this week, we offer Murphy’s Other Laws...

1. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright
until you hear them speak 

2. A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well. 

3. A day without sunshine is like, well, night. 

4. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. 

5. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool. 

6. It is said that if you line up all the cars in the world end-to-end,
someone would be stupid enough to try to pass them. 

7. If the shoe fits, get another one just like it. 

8. The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those
who got there first. 

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he
will sit in a boat all day drinking beer. 

10. Flashlight: A case for holding dead batteries. 

11. The shin bone is a device for finding furniture in the dark. 

12. When you go into court, you are putting yourself in the hands of twelve
people, who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Although we have been dutifully sorting and packing this past week, we have also managed to spend a bit of time pondering the interesting issues which seem to be cropping up at the moment.  

From what we have read and heard, the proposed parking on lower Pioneer Street is not being well received by residents there.  And we must say we do not quite understand the logic behind the proposed plan, even though we read the article “Pioneer Lawless for Now,” which appeared in last week’s paper. 

We gather the thinking is that the proposed parking would allow the village to have more free parking spaces. At the moment, that would be true. However, we have to wonder, since paid parking has already been added to residential areas, if that “free” parking might not become “paid” parking down the road.

Plus, it was pointed out that the new plan would allow for one handicapped ADA compliant parking space. While we always think there is a need for more handicapped parking, we speak from experience when we note that the village does not seem to worry overly about handicapped compliance when it comes to other such parking spaces in the village.

And finally, it was noted that angle parking narrows a street which in turn tends to slow down traffic.  This is something with which we would find it difficult to disagree.  In fact, some of the streets in Cooperstown have been so narrowed by parking that it is impossible to have both the parking and two lanes of traffic. When that is the case, traffic can easily slow down to a complete standstill, something which we would think would not be optimal.

However, what we find most perplexing about the parking proposal is the fact that it would have a mix of no parking, parallel and angle parking in the same block.  As we look at this concept, we have to think it would mean that the driving lanes would have to jog whenever the parking changes from no parking to parallel parking and from parallel parking to angle parking.  We have long been under the impression that traffic flows more smoothly and is safer when driving lanes are straight. Thus, shifting back and forth just doesn’t seem to make much sense to us.

Of course, it seems that the village board was unable to make a decision on the parking on lower Pioneer Street, leaving the area, rather unbelievably, with no parking law whatsoever. 

Of course, Cooperstown is not the only local government which seems to be having difficulty with proposed changes in the law.  From what we have heard, the Town of Otsego has also run into a snafu regarding changes the town board wished to made to the town’s Heirloom Barn and Buildings law. Evidently, after the board voted at a previous meeting to change the law, the reworking of the law ended up not being something for which the board felt it had voted. We have to think there must have been some sort of a communication misstep in the process.

As a result, we gather the entire proposal has gone back to square one which means it will be a while longer before the law is changed. While we know there has been a fair amount of discussion about changing the Heirloom law, the fact that it has not yet happened is either good or bad. No doubt those who wanted the law changed are very disappointed. Those who wanted to law to remain as it was, would think having the law stay intact, for even a little while, is very good news. 

After puzzling over all of this, we have come to the conclusion that it is somewhat ironic, that our local governments seem to be having so much trouble passing laws which they think should be in place.  Consequently, as we are busily sorting and packing, we consider ourselves fortunate that we are able, thus far at least, to make a decision as to what we need to move to Ohio and what we don’t need to move to Ohio.  But then, our decisions are ours alone and we do not need to reach consensus about anything with anyone else.  It does, we think, make for clearer sailing.

FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2018

For Funny Friday we offer the “Psychiatrist vs. Bartender”...

Ever since I was a child, I've always had a fear of someone under my bed at night.

So I went to a shrink and told him: “I've got problems. Every time I go to bed I think there's somebody under it. I'm scared. I think I'm going crazy.”

“Just put yourself in my hands for one year, said the shrink. Come talk to me three times a week and we should be able to get rid of those fears.”

“How much do you charge?”

“One hundred fifty dollars per visit,” replied the doctor.

“I'll sleep on it,” I said.

Six months later the doctor met me on the street. “Why didn't you come to see me about those fears you were having?” He asked.

“Well, $150 a visit, three times a week for a year, is $23,400.00.  A bartender cured me for $10.00. I was so happy to have saved all that money that I went and bought a new pickup truck.”

“Is that so?” With a bit of an attitude he said, “and how, may I ask, did a bartender cure you?”

“He told me to cut the legs off the bed. There’s nobody under there now.”

And the moral is:  It's always better to get a second opinion. 

 

THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Each Thursday, when the Freeman’s Journal arrives in our mail box we are never quite certain what new interesting tidbits of news we might encounter. Of course, we usually know what we will find in our column, although that is not always the case as pictures often seem to appear of which we had no prior knowledge.  Of course, the news and opinions in the rest of the paper are always something we look forward to reading.  And this past week was certainly no exception. 

However, we were puzzled when we read in last week’s edition that the Village of Cooperstown has received a $13,000 grant from the State of New York to “...prepare an urban forest management plan for street and park trees.”  We have long thought we understood the concept of a forest.  In fact, we grew up with one at our family cottage on Lake Michigan which we hastened to note is in a very rural Michigan setting.  But our childhood forest did not seem to include any street or park trees.

Thus, we felt the need to do a bit of Wikipedia research in order to determine just what an urban forest might be. In doing so we learned the following:

“An urban forest is a forest or a collection of trees that grow within a city, town or a suburb.”

Further research on Wikipedia told us that: “A city is a large human settlement.” while towns are “...a human settlement...generally larger than villages but smaller than cities.” and “A suburb is a mixed-use or residential area, existing either as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city.”

Consequently, we have come to the conclusion that an urban forest is a forest, a large area dominated by trees, or a collection of trees that grow within a city, a large human settlement; a town, a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city; or a suburb, a mixed-use or residential area, existing either as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city.”   Does any of this sound like Cooperstown?  We would be inclined to think not.

In the article in the paper, we were most clearly informed that the State of New York is investing $13,000 in this project to hire the Davie Resource Group, consultants from the State of Ohio, to document village trees in order to better plan trimming and removal of trees. But the article did not indicate if the Village of Cooperstown is responsible for further funding for this project, something it always seems to us should be known by the residents of the village.

Additionally, we can’t help but wonder if there might not be a more local tree service which could assist the village, in a more economical fashion and without the aid of Ohio consultants, in determining just what might be necessary for the maintenance of our trees. Maybe such a service could also prove helpful in determining just what might need to be done to clean up downed trees or limbs following the somewhat violent storm we recently experienced in the village.  It seemed to us that, as a result of that storm, a downed tree limb near our house on Pioneer Street was in the tree line long enough to affect the growth of grass beneath it.

We realize that this project is well underway as the designated Ohio consultant, along with OCCA, will outline their findings as to the management plan at public meetings on September 20 and October 6.  We suspect at that time the public will be able to decide whether or not our money has been well spent on this particular project.  And it will be interesting to see just what the plans might be for the “urban forest” which the village planted on Main Street as part of a previous grant project.

MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018

We must admit that the pressure of sorting and packing for our upcoming move has taken our focus away from the comings and goings of the Cooperstown community and, as a result, we are finding it more and more difficult to keep writing “Daily Updates” as we have in the past. 

Therefore, in the time left before we actually move, we realize that our posting items on the website well probably be limited our column, “Where Nature Smiles,” on Thursdays as well as humorous moments for “Funny Fridays.”  And we expect that these two “Daily Updates” will cease by the middle of August.

We have enjoyed sharing our daily musings on the website for the past three years.  But now, since we will be leaving the area, it is time for our pen to finally run out of ink. 


FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2018

Today for Funny Friday we offer the following...

A farmer named Angus was driving his tractor and trailer was he was hit by a truck owned by the Eversweet Company.

At the ensuing lawsuit against the company, the Eversweet Company's hot-shot solicitor was questioning Angus. 

“Didn't you say to the police at the scene of the accident, I’m fine?” asked the solicitor.  Angus responded: “Well, I'll tell you what happened. I'd just loaded my favorite cow, Bessie, into the... '

“I didn't ask for any details,” the solicitor interrupted. “Just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine?”  Angus said, “Well, I'd just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road.... “

The solicitor interrupted again and said, “Your Honor, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the police on the scene that he was fine. Now several weeks after the accident, he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question.”

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Angus' answer and said to the solicitor: “I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite cow, Bessie.”

Angus thanked the Judge and proceeded. “Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite cow, into the trailer and was driving her down the road when this huge Eversweet truck and trailer came thundering through a stop sign and hit my trailer right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other.  I was very badly hurt and didn't want to move. However, I could hear old Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible pain just by her groans. 

Shortly after the accident, a policeman on a motorbike showed up. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning too, so he went over to her. After he looked at her, and saw her condition, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes.

Then the policeman came across the road, his gun still smoking, looked down at me, and said “How are you feeling?” “Now Judge, what would you have said?\

 

THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

This past week, as we were dutifully sorting and packing in the basement, the front doorbell rang.  We sent our faithful helper to see who might be at the door. She returned with a gentleman in tow who had been directed by one of our neighbors as it was thought we might be able to help him with a study of communication in the greater Cooperstown area.

Our visitor, Aaron J. Dinkins, a professor of linguistics at San Diego State University, very much would like to include native Cooperstonians, over the age of 18 who attended Cooperstown Central School, in his study.  And our neighbor thought, incorrectly, that we would qualify to be a participant. Unfortunately, that is not the case. But we did say we would help with the project by trying to recruit people to participate.  And while we do know a number of residents that would qualify, we are somewhat hesitant to volunteer others.

Therefore, if anyone is interested in taking part in Professor Dinkins’ study, please contact us so we can forward the necessary information to him.  Or, even better, anyone interested can contact him directly by calling his cellphone at 215-888-8953 or emailing him at adinkin@sdsu.edu.  We would, of course, take part if we could.  Thus we are hoping that others would also be interested in participating.

And while we were able to procure the above item for the column while continuing our sorting and packing, it seems to be the only piece of information we received this past week. Thus we do find ourselves in a bit of a pinch when it comes to news for the column. No doubt we need to employ more roving reporters to keep us informed of the comings and goings in the village. Not only was no news forthcoming from the roving reporters we usually rely on for information, we garnered nothing of particular interest in our trips out of the house this past week.  

This would seem to be in keeping with what we have been hearing for several weeks now, namely that the village seems, for this time of year, to be rather quiet. We always dread hearing such reports as we feel it bodes ill for our business community.  However, according to our calendar, the Hall of Fame Induction weekend will soon be upon us and we trust all reports of a quiet summer will be history or, even better, not true in the first place.

And while we suspect there will be many people in Cooperstown to take in the annual induction ceremonies, we fear we will find ourselves, in some dark corner or closet of the house, frantically sorting and packing our valued treasures, of which we seem to have many. Of course, during the process, we have discovered any number of treasurers we had quite forgotten which should lead us to think we really don’t need them.  But now that we have seen them, we find ourselves loath to part with them.  It is, we think, not a healthy attitude to have when our goal is to clean out and leave behind a fair amount of stuff.

Of course, not everything we come across could properly fall into the “stuff” category.  Some of it is simply a reminder of events in which we have participated over the years.  And we must say, we have rather enjoyed reliving some of those undertakings, such as the 2ndannual “Victorian Croquet Party,” held for the benefit of Pathfinder Village, which was brought to mind when we discovered a brochure for the event.  We actually don’t remember how many such croquet parties were held, but we do know that Jeanette and Wilbur Hansen were kind enough to host them on the south lawn of their Greenough Road home. 

And we do remember dressing in appropriate Victorian garb to take part in the event.  And while we, the he-we and she-we, no doubt enjoyed dressing up to play the part, we have never been certain that the wee-we, who is not so wee anymore, was quite as enthusiastic about the croquet party as we were.  In fact, we are reasonably certain that dressing up in a little sailor suit was definitely not his idea of a good time. And somewhere we have the pictures to prove it.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2018

We rather enjoyed reading about Otsego County’s plans to allow county employees to volunteer to sell parking spaces in the county lots the day before the 2018 induction, Saturday, July 28. Proceeds from the $20 charge to park will go to several groups in the Department of Social Services.  As we understand it, paid parking in county lots this year is a trial program which, if successful, might be expanded in future years.

We must say we were somewhat surprised that there was apparently some debate on the issue at the county board meeting.  Several objections were raised including the county’s liability for the customers and the volunteers as well as the chain of command for handling for the money.  We would tend to think that the county would be liable for the lots whether or not they had paid parking.  And questioning the money end of it would really seem to be distrustful of what we understand will be county employees volunteering their time for the project.

It was also mentioned that it seems wrong to charge county residents to park in county spaces.  We find this argument to be laughable. We see no reason why the county should be concerned about charging its residents to pay to park. After all, Cooperstown already has paid parking which does not have any sort of carve out specifically designed for village residents. 

​TUESDAY, JULY 17 2018

We found a recent report, “Local counties pushing awareness of REAL IDs,” which appeared not long ago in The Daily Star to be rather interesting.  We must say we had not kept up with the fact that a NYS driver’s license will need to be changed to a “REAL ID” by 2020 in order to be used for domestic air travel.  We also noted that non-driver REAL IDs are also available.

And while these changes in NYS will undoubtedly not affect us, given our upcoming move to Ohio, we do think it is important that local residents give some thought to their upcoming travel plans and make changes to their driver’s licenses as would seem appropriate.  More information on these changes is available at dmv.ny.gov.

And we certainly hope that the State of Ohio is as an on top of these changes as NYS seems to be.


MONDAY, JULY 16, 2018

While reading our latest edition of the “Fly Creeker,” the newsletter of the Fly Creek Area Historical Society, we got quite a chuckle when we read “Bored with TV and Politics?  Join us at our monthly meetings.”  And after looking at FCAHS’ list of upcoming events we note it includes much more than just their monthly meeting which will be held on July 25, August 22, September 26, October 24 and November 28.  For more information on FCAHS as well as information about their upcoming events, visit them on their Facebook page. 
 

​FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2018

For today’s Funny Friday, we offer the following food for thought...

Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?

What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?

If poison expires is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?

Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?

Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?

Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

The word “swims” upside-down and backwards is still "swims".

Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, and scissors is just as hard as trying to win.

100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.

If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When," you get the answer to each of them.

Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.

If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.

If 2/2/22 falls on a Tuesday, which it will, we'll just call it "2's Day". 

100 years ago a Twenty Dollar bill and a Twenty Dollar gold piece were interchangeable. Either one would buy a new suit, new shoes and a night on the town. The Twenty Dollar gold piece will still do that.

​THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must say we were somewhat surprised by the picture of Mt. Vernon, Ohio which was added to our column two weeks ago. Much of our surprise was due to the fact that, while we knew the picture was taken in the square in the center of the city, we had trouble determining just which side of the square we were viewing. In fact, we were forced to consult our Mt. Vernon connections about the photograph. We were told that the picture looks south down Main Street from the square. We must note that it did not particularly help us that the picture is old enough that the building on the left has been torn down and replaced with a different building.

And while there are indeed several interesting comparisons between Cooperstown and Mt. Vernon, we are inclined to think that in some ways, the better comparison to Mt. Vernon, which has 16,620 residents, would be Oneonta, with its population of 13, 955.  They both have seen their original downtowns migrate to commercial strips, both of which offer better parking.  Both cities claim two colleges, although technically Kenyon College is in Gambier, not Mt. Vernon. And both cities are the only cities in their respective counties. 

On the other hand, the comparison we find between Cooperstown and Mt. Vernon would revolve around the impressive philanthropic undertakings in both communities.  While Cooperstown can claim all the various Clark Foundations, Mt. Vernon sports the Aerial Foundation, a private family foundation, which, according to its website “...supports people and projects focused on improving the quality of life, and helping those who help themselves, in the Mount Vernon, Ohio area.”  

The Foundation’s mission statement reads that “The Ariel Foundation will sustain the philanthropic vision of founder, Karen Buchwald Wright, toward the quality of life and opportunity in her hometown, Mount Vernon, Ohio. The Foundation will concentrate its efforts on the arts, education, parks and the pursuit of happiness. The foundation partners with other groups and organizations to achieve results the whole community can share and enjoy.”

Additionally, in looking at the similarities of the two communities, we find it particularly noteworthy that both Cooperstown and Mt. Vernon have women heading up the major philanthropic organizations within these communities. And that is something for which we are indeed most pleased.  We suspect it is not every community in the country whose philanthropic undertakings are led by such competent women with which both Cooperstown and Mt. Vernon are blessed.

As we had promised previously, we note that this week is the week we have posted on our website, cooperstowntoday.com, information about those topics for which we would like to find photographs or postcards to include in our upcoming book, Remembering Cooperstown.  If anyone has photographs or postcards which would be useful to the project, please contact us by telephone at 607-547-8124 or email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.

And while we admit we have long collected items relating to Cooperstown history, we feel, given our upcoming move, we are no longer the appropriate destination for such information.  In fact, we were recently shown a fabulous scrapbook of newspaper clippings about Cooperstown from 1962 through 1999.  We found the scrapbook to indeed be most interesting.  However, when we were asked what one should do with such historical gems, we did not have an answer. Granted there have been many books over the years that have been written about the history of Cooperstown.  And while the Village of Cooperstown does have a village historian, we do not believe there has ever been a group in the area that is dedicated to collecting and maintaining the Cooperstown’s local history. We are, we think, the poorer for it.
 

​WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018

And finally, the rest of the topics for the book, Remembering Cooperstown, include...

From “Restaurants and Hotels,” Art’s Diner, As You Are Diner, Beadle Inn, Bulls Head Tavern, Johnny’s Lunch, McKelvery’s Ice Cream Store, Miller’s Restaurant, Peaslee Tea Room, Pioneer Grill, Sherry’s Famous Restaurant, The Hoffman House, Hoffman House Stable, Park Hotel, Skeleton Hotel and Templeton Lodge.

From “Retail Businesses,” Belle Marble’s Millinery Shop, Bessie Coleman’s Hat Shop, Boston Clothing Store, C. R. Burch Jewelry, Church and Scott, The Fishes, the Gray Goose, J.J. Newberry, Jabberwock Book Store, Mulkins and Mason, Otsego Infant Cigars, Pease Piano Company and The Variety Store.

From “Services,” Otsego County Bank, Worthington Bank, First National Bank, The Cooperstown National Bank, Second National Bank, Wilbur National Bank, Oneonta Savings and Loan, area Post Offices, area Barbers, Cooperstown Fire Department, Blacksmiths and the Long Arm of the Law – Executions and Eva Coo.

Anyone having illustrations for any of the topics mentioned over the past few days, please let us know by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.  We would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

​TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2018

Continuing with topics from Remembering Cooperstown, we include the following...

From “Houses,” Apple Hill, Edgewater, Mt. Vision/Estli, Phinney House, Rockmere Cottage, 78 Fair Street, Sunnyside, The Orchards, the Gully or Shack Town, Lost Cooperstown - Now Found, Duplicate Houses, Sears Houses, Houses That Have Been Moved and Houses That Have Names.

From “On The Farm,” Cheese Factories, Cooperstown Dairies, Growing Celery, Driving Cows Through the Village and Metcalf Hill.

From “Organizations,” the Children’s Museum, Cooperstown Academy, Cooperstown Friendly Homemakers, Otsego Lodge #138 A. and F.M., St. Christina’s School, The Knox School, The Mohican Club, The Orphan House of the Holy Savior, The Thanksgiving Hospital, the Women’s Club and the Women’s Exchange.

From “People,” the Edward Clark Punctuality Prizes, Sergeant Cunningham, Isabel Deakin, Lt. Winfield Scott Edgerly, Edward Edwards, Judge Samuel Nelson, Secretary of State Seward, Professor Somerville and Putt Telfer.

MONDAY, JULY 9, 2018

As promised, this week we will be including in our Daily Updates some of the topics which we are including in our book, Remembering Cooperstown, in hopes that our readers will have photographs or postcards which would prove useful as illustrations in the book.  Topics worthy of illustration would seem to include the following...

From “Around the Lake,” Cable Cars on the Lake, Indian Trails, Mohican Steamboat, Star Field, the Dugway, Camps Chenango and Otsego Totem Pole and Village Parks.

From “Around the Village,” Cooperstown Alleys, Missing Village Streets, Hitching Posts, Plowing with Horses, Stoplights, Village Cemeteries, Ice Houses, Ice and Roller Rinks, Cooperstown Bottles and Sledding in the village.  

From “Attractions,” Natty Bumppo’s Cave, the Thousand Steps and attendant gazebos, Civil War Monument, WW II Honor Roll, Council Rock, the Indian Hunter and the Indian Mound.

From “Commercial Enterprises,” Arthur J. Crist Company, Beach Coal, Breweries and Beer Bottles, Commando Motors, Cooperstown Mills, Inc., International Cheese Factory, Otsego Mills Lumber Yard, Smalley’s Theater, Wood Brothers, the Last Factory in Middlefield Center and the D.H. Keller Leather Shop.

 FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018

This week for Funny Friday, we offer the following for the lexophiles of the world.  A lexophile is person who is a lover of words and all the various games one can play with words, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish" or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless." Each year there is a competition each year for lexophiles to submit their best play on words, some of which follow.

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

The batteries were given out free of charge.

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

A will is a dead giveaway.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.


A boiled egg is hard to beat.


When you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.


Police were called to a day care center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.


Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.

And finally, the cream of the wretched crop:
         Those who get too big for their pants will be exposed in the end.
 

​THURSDAY, JULY 5, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must admit that cleaning out the four floors of our house is proving to be a rather daunting undertaking. Nonetheless, we feel we are making good progress and do hope to accomplish the task in a timely manner. And even though we are focused on getting ready for our upcoming move, it does not mean that we have not made note of several issues which seemed to have arisen in the village.

We were somewhat disturbed to learn that a number of residents are having trouble with noise pollution which evidently is occurring on a regular basis around the Main Street business district. From the article in last week’s paper, we gather that loud music is drifting out of the business district into the surrounding residential neighborhoods.  We must say, we find this situation rather perturbing as we think the zoning ordinance tends to be quite clear when it comes to noise.

Under section 172-3, prohibited acts, section 4 reads: “The use of any loudspeaker or sound-reproduction system, the operating or playing of any radio, tape player, television, musical instrument or instruments, or any similar device that reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to be heard 60 feet from its source or over any property line, unless a permit has been obtained from the Village Clerk.” We have to wonder if such a permit for the offending music has been issued.  And if so, what was the thinking behind issuing such a permit?

Additionally, under definitions, Unreasonable Noise is defined as “Any disturbing, excessive or offensive sound which annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a person or which causes injury to animal life or damages to business. Standards to be considered in determining whether "unnecessary noise" exists in a given situation include but are not limited to the following: A. The volume of the noise; B. The intensity of the noise; C. Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual; D. Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural; E. The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any; F. The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities; G. The nature and the zoning district of the area within which the noise emanates; H. The time of the day or night the noise occurs; I. The time duration of the noise; J. Whether the sound source is temporary; K. Whether the noise is continuous or impulsive; L. The presence of discrete tones."

We would think, given the concerns of the local residents, attention might be given to what is, and what is not, allowed in the Zoning Ordinance concerning noise pollution. Unfortunately, the residential neighborhoods in the village are fragile at best.  And they are certainly not helped when people are faced with most unpleasant noise pollution.

The second issue which seems to have arisen has to do with reconfiguring the parking spaces on lower Pioneer Street between Lake Street and Otsego Lake.  If we recall correctly, some time ago now the village decided to remove lower Pioneer Street’s parallel parking, replacing it with angle parking.  Not long after that the angle parking was painted out and the parallel parking was restored.  Thus, we have to wonder exactly what has transpired in the ensuing years that would suggest angle parking on lower Pioneer Street would work any better now than it did then.  As far as we know, the width of the street has not changed.  Nor have vehicles travelling on the street grown significantly smaller.  We really do find ourselves wondering just what the village’s thinking might be.

Of course, not all the news we have learned of late has left us wondering what exactly is going on.  For example, we fully understand what it means when the annual Ice Cream Social at the Presbyterian Church will be held this Friday, July 6 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.  This year’s food choices will include a hamburger or hot dog with salad for $6.00 as well as, of course, ice cream and cake for $5.00.  Additionally, the women of the church will once again be selling their handmade handicrafts. We always think the Ice Cream Social kicks off the summer and is something which should not be missed.  It is a great chance to get outside, weather permitting of course, enjoy some great food and mingle with the crowd.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2018

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, we would like to share some thoughts which we think embody what we would consider to be the spirit of our great nation. 

"America is another name for opportunity."
                  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." 
                  Franklin D. Roosevelt

"May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely than this our own country!"
                  Daniel Webster​

"Where liberty dwells, there is my country."
                  Benjamin Franklin​

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
                  William Faulkner​


"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
                  Elmer Davis​

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
                  John F. Kennedy

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."
                  Harry S. Truman​

“One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation evermore!”
                  Oliver Wendell Holmes

May we all celebrate together the birth of our nation this Fourth of July.  Long may it flourish.

TUESDAY, JULY 3, 2018

Assuming we are able sometime to clear out the attic and thus able to take our leave of Cooperstown, we think it is safe to say that the weekly newspaper column that we have penned for some 34 years will fade from the scene.  However, we do want to note that we will continue working on, and hopefully publish, our book, Remembering Cooperstown.  We are reasonably certain it is a project that we will be able to complete from the wilds of Ohio.

However, before we depart, we do want to connect with people who might have appropriate photographs or postcards that would nicely illustrate the oral history of Cooperstown as it was shared with us by so many long time residents of the area.  And to that end, next week we will share a list of topics for which we hope illustrations will be forthcoming.  Until then, should anyone have photographs or postcards depicting the history of Cooperstown, we would greatly appreciate hearing about exactly what might be shared with us.

MONDAY, JULY 2, 2018

In our many years of writing, we have long thought that when all else fails and it seems like there is nothing about which to write, the weather always comes to the rescue.  And given the weather we are having at the moment why would we not get on the bandwagon and do some good old fashioned complaining. We know full well writing about the weather is a completely useless undertaking. And yet there are times when venting is good for what ails one.  And, goodness knows we have much to dislike about the current heat wave.

As luck would have it, this is the week in which we had arranged to have help to clear out our attic, a daunting undertaking in the best of times.  But with this weather we are indeed dubious if we are actually going to be able to achieve our stated goal.  We think the weather is against us.  And if there is not a marked decline in the temperature in the very near future, we fear we will be out of luck.  We suspect not even a bevy of fans would make the task palatable, all of which leads us to maintain that there are two real problems with having an attic.

In the first place, they attract stuff...lots and lots of stuff, most of which is probably never needed.  And in the second place, the attic is always either too hot or too cold to do anything with in.  In fact, in our 36 years of living in our current home, we have never thought, not once, that the temperature in the attic would be just perfect to do anything at all in it.  And at the moment, we are certainly not going to change our mind when it comes to temperature of the attic.   

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2018

This week for “Funny Friday” we offer the following:

 Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the right word and the wrong word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Here are examples of what he was talking about:

Spotted in a toilet of a London office:  Toilet out of order.  Please use floor below.

In a Laundromat:Automatic washing machines - Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.

In a London department store:Bargain basement upstairs

In an office:  Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.

In an office:  After tea break staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.

Outside a secondhand shop:  We exchange anything, bicycles, washing machines, etc.  Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain?

Notice in health food shop window:  Closed due to illness.

Spotted in a safari park:  Elephants please stay in your car.

Seen during a conference:For anyone who has children and doesn’t know it, there is a day care on the first floor.

Notice in a field:  The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free.  But the bull charges.

Message on a leaflet:  If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.

On a repair shop door:  We can repair anything. (Please knock hard on the door – The bell doesn’t work.)

​THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Difficult as it is to believe, the Fourth of July is coming right up.  We were reminded of this when we were asked to make note of the Otsego lake Association’s annual “We Love Our Lake” decorated boat parade which will be held this year on Monday, July 2 starting at 2:00 p.m. The parade will form off Three Mile Point and then proceed down the western shore of the lake to a point near Lakefront Park in Cooperstown where judges will announce and give out the prizes.  All boats, large and small, are welcome to participate. 

And while all sorts of Fourth of July events are coming up, we must admit that we are still suffering with “come back” syndrome.  No matter how much we plan, any return home from a visit elsewhere always becomes rather chaotic which tends to make us wonder why we went away in the first place. And our most recent return was no exception.

We found ourselves once again dealing with which we missed.  The Upper Pioneer Street block party was held in spite of our absence.  We were presented with 33 missed telephone calls, five or six of which were from people we actually know.  The rest, we assume, were telemarketers, or worse, political surveys.

And there seemed to be no end to the junk mail that we received in our absence. We were particularly taken aback by the requests to send a letter of thanks to President Trump at the same time we were asked to fill out a survey detailing what troubles us the most about President Trump.  We ignored them both, on the off chance that by doing so they would cancel each other out. 

However, we do think we have managed to get back into the swing of things in Cooperstown in rather good order.  We have lunched at the Blue Mingo, had take-out from the China Wok, dined at Toscano’s and enjoyed pizza from Sal’s.  All in all, we are most happy to know that the availability of food here in Cooperstown has not changed in our absence.

However, we have also noted that the clutter on Main Street of benches, rain gardens, signs and whatever else, is still with us.  While we were lucky enough to able to park in the handicapped spot on Main Street, we found the bench located between the curb and the sidewalk made our getting from the car to the sidewalk nearly impossible.  Exactly why a bench is located next to a handicapped parking is unfathomable.  But there it was, blocking our way. 

Our frustration with the clutter on Main Street is not new.  But we are reasonably certain that our intended solution to the problem is new. While visiting our son and family in Ohio, we all came to the conclusion that it is time for us to take our leave of Cooperstown by moving to Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  And while this decision is most unexpected, even by us, we must say that once we decided to make the move, we are most comfortable with it.  In fact, we are very much looking forward to the change, precipitous as it might seem.

Needless to say we are in the process of cleaning out the house, no small task since the Ellsworth family has been accumulating stuff in it since it was built in 1912. And while such an undertaking is proving to be a formidable task, we are finding that many aspects of getting ready for our move are falling into place rather nicely.  And we are hopeful going forward that will continue to be the case.

And for those who have asked about the future of the column, we must admit that we fear the column’s days are numbered.  But after writing a newspaper column for some 34 years, we are inclined to think that perhaps it is time for our pen to run out of ink.  On the other hand, there are some 34 years of columns which could, in a pinch, be repeated. keeping the column in print until around 2052 or so. The way history repeats itself, surely the columns would be timely now and then.

And while we are planning to leave Cooperstown by the end of the summer, our move will not be forever.  We have just arranged to have our headstone added to the Ellsworth plot in Lakewood Cemetery.  Thus we will be back, hopefully later than sooner.

​WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2018

For quite a while now, we have thought that the concept of civil discourse in this country is under attack. No longer does it seem possible to debate almost any issue without have the discussion move from the issue at hand to out and out demeaning rhetoric, name calling, protests and, in some cases, outright violence.   We are indeed saddened not only by the state of discourse, but also by what we see as most disturbing attacks on the First Amendment right of free speech.

Consequently, we were most upset by the recent death of Charles Krauthammer, who we have long thought was a voice of reason in the midst of chaos.  And although we did not always agree with his point of view, he was able to put forth his views on an issue without attacking those who did not agree with him.  It was indeed refreshing to realize that there was someone in the public square with the ability to stick to the subject at hand without flinging personal attacks against someone else.  

We shall miss Krauthammer’s input into the public discourse of the country.  And we can but hope that there now will be others who will step up and realize the need of keeping public discourse civil.  If not, we have to wonder if the country might not just dissolve into complete and utter chaos.

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2018

In going through the current local news, we must say we were somewhat surprised to learn that CCS will be searching for a new Jr./Sr. High School principal.  Current principal, Donna Lucy had tendered her resignation after just two years in the position.  CCS alum, Jim Brophy will act as interim principal for the 2018-2019 school year during which time we assume the Board of Education will hire a new principal who will start in the position as of July 1, 2019.   

We were also interested to learn that the Village of Cooperstown of Cooperstown has designated two spots in the Doubleday Field parking lot to be used as charging stations for electric cars. Evidently such a project has been under consideration for several years but has been held up until now as a location for the charging stations was not identified.  But now that it has been resolved, the project is moving forward with a $20,000 grant for which the DEC will pay $16,000 while the village will pick up the remaining $4,000 with an in-kind donation of labor costs to install the needed meters.  And, as we understand it, the village will not only charge for the electricity used to charge the vehicles, but also charge for the paid parking when it is in force.

As far as we can tell, the village hopes the charging stations will reduce its carbon footprint, something we suspect might be open to debate depending on just how the electricity being used is produced.  If we are not mistaken, the electricity used within the village is produced from various energy sources, including natural gas. 


MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2018

Whenever we have been away for a while, we also seem to be scrambling to figure out just what local news we may have missed in our absence. And it always takes us a bit of time to catch up on the local issues facing our area.  Of course, this time we have discovered that one of the current issues of concern is the former Otsego Manor which has changed hands again this year. We suspect concerns about the nursing home will continue for the foreseeable future.  But we are hopeful, for the sake of the residents and their families, that conditions will improve going forward, allowing people to once again have trust in the facility.

And, not surprisingly, tomorrow’s Democratic primary is still very much in the news.  With seven candidates vying to run against U.S. Congressman Faso, it will indeed be interesting to see how the primary election in Congressional District 19 turns out.  We suspect the results of the primary for Governor of New York will prove to be less interesting, although we suppose we could be wrong about that.  However, given the importance of participating in the electoral process, we encourage everyone eligible to vote in tomorrow’s Democratic primary to do so.  

And while both of these items were on the table when we left for vacation, we must note that there is local news we have taken in since our return that was not being discussed before we left town. And so, we shall take a look at these new issues in tomorrow’s update.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

And finally, this week’s Where Nature Smiles...

We are happy to report that we have once again returned from our springtime trip to Ohio and Michigan. And as usual, we have a number of rather interesting experiences to share about the wonders of the midwest. Of course, our main purpose in making the trip is to visit with family and friends, something which we quite enjoyed.

In Ohio, we visited with our son, daughter-in law and our two granddaughters.  The highlight of our stay was, of course, taking in the girls’ dance/gymnastic recital.  This year our younger granddaughter, Marin, tap danced to the “Good Ship Lollipop,” a song which has been running through our brain ever since the recital.  And our older granddaughter, Abby, performed to a song which we thankfully cannot remember.  But we were greatly impressed by her mastery of all sorts of gymnastic moves, the most stunning of which we found to be her ability to do a one hand cartwheel.

Of course, we have to admit that we were also quite impressed with the girls’ breakfast table discussion of Amelia Earhart which included much musing about what might have actually happened to the famous flier.  We were also rather taken  by the fact that after they had dealt with Amelia Earhart, they moved on to talking about King Tut and Sacajawea.  We must admit that we were finally were forced to ask where on earth they had learned about such people.  We were told the source of the information was a show the girls have been watching on Netflix called “The Who Was Show.” 

From Ohio we went to Michigan and had a very nice time with both our sister and brother as well as other family and friends.  While there, we asked our sister if she had gotten rid of, as we had instructed her to do, a pair of blue sneakers we had left at her condo in Grand Rapids. Interestingly enough, she had not. She felt they were too good to throw away and she had never gotten around to donating them to the Salvation Army. Thus, those Lake/Cathcart genes, which lead both of us to hang on to things just case we ever need them, worked in our favor as we now have an almost new pair of shoes which seem to suit our fancy at the moment.

Of course, no trip is ever without its challenges.  And our return home from Ohio was certainly no exception.  Having taken us out to Ohio and back, our driver, Linda, mentioned she would like to see the Kenyon College campus.  And since it was indeed close by, we motored from Mt.Vernon to Gambier to take it in.  But, as our luck would have it, most of the campus was inaccessible due to on going road work.  So we were only able to see a small part of the college.  

Then we went to stop at the rest area when we left Ohio and entered Pennsylvania, we discovered a traffic jam, as it were, on the exit ramp.  We were sandwiched in between what seem to be every semi truck on the road.  We finally crept forward enough to get to the car parking area where we were stunned to discover that all these trucks were getting off the highway, driving through the rest area and then getting back on the highway.  It was quite the parade of trucks.  It was not exactly clear why the trucks were doing this, but we suspect, since the rest area is sometimes used as weigh station, that someone had turned on the “all trucks must enter the weigh station” sign, without actually opening up the weigh station. We have to think the truckers were no doubt not happy. And we must admit, neither were we.

Then, of course, we got stuck in rush hour traffic around Buffalo.  And while that slowed us down, it was nothing when compared with the rain storm we encountered later between Richfield Springs and Fly Creek.  Since we think we had our eyes closed for most of that part of the trip, it was no doubt a very good thing we were not driving.  But somehow, Linda managed to get us through it as she was able to drive following the yellow lines in the middle of the road, something she could see but we could not.  Fortunately for us, she even managed to avoid the tree branch that had fallen into the middle of the road.  Needless to say, we breathed a huge sigh of relief when we finally turned into the driveway of 105 Pioneer Street. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2018

Where Nature Smiles from June 14...

This week we conclude our sharing of “Where Nature Smiles” musings of history which we are in the process of compiling in a book, Remembering Cooperstown, with the following thoughts about sledding in the village...

Not long ago we were reminded of another bit of “Lost Cooperstown.”  Ernest Knapp of Pioneer Street talked with us about the toboggan slide or chute which every winter used to grace the lawn of the Village Building on the northeast corner of Main and Fair Streets.  Toboggans were placed at the top of the slide and then pushed off either by hand or mechanically, allowing the tobogganers to sail down the chute onto Fair Street, across Lake Street and, in ideal conditions, out onto the frozen surface of Otsego Lake.  Doug Williams, whose father was Ray Williams of Williams Market, also recalls with fondness the toboggan slide which stood on the lawn of the Village Building. Doug remembers how high the ice packed slide seemed and what fun it was to use.

Of course. vehicular traffic was not the problem then that it would be now.  Even so, those streets may have been closed to such traffic during certain times so the toboggan slide could operate.  Indeed, Pioneer Street used to be closed from Elm Street to Beaver Street to provide villagers with an opportunity to go sliding downhill.

Former Cooperstonian Raymond W. Clinton, now of Wellsboro, Pa, grew up on Irish Hill and remembers the fun of sledding down Main Street in the winter.  One had to be careful as one gathered speed and approached the railroad tracks, lest there be a train there.  Fortunately, a blast of the train’s whistle always alerted the sledders that a train was indeed approaching in which case the riders rolled off their sleds, leaving them to cross the tracks, hopefully ahead of the oncoming train.

And Folger Oudin, of Cooperstown, recently wrote to us recalling the winters when sledders used to walk up Chicken Farm Hill near the old quarry entrance and from there slide all the way down to the Main Street bridge over the Susquehanna.  We wonder if those who were sliding down Chicken Farm to the bridge ever met those sliding down Main Street from Irish Hill.  Indeed, these hardy individuals no doubt passed each other on the bridge before gliding to a stop. 

Ed Bielawa of Chestnut Street, a member of the C.C.S. Class of 1942, vividly recalls sliding down both Irish Hill and Chicken Farm Hill in winters past.  One day, while riding down Irish Hill, he coasted on Main Street all the way to the First National Bank, now First American 97-99 Main Street. The farthest he coasted after coming down Chicken Farm Hill was to the Village Library building on Main Street.  Ed concurs with our previous statement about the much smaller volume of vehicular traffic in those days because when the streets were closed to cars and opened to sleds, no one seemed to mind much.

Folger Oudin also recalls that there used to be a ski tow on Mt. Ovis, the hill behind the Famers’ Museum.  The tow was used every afternoon by the Knox school girls and thus, by many of the local male teenagers as well.   He thinks the price was 50 cents for an afternoon of skiing.

Former Cooperstonian Jim Rowley, now of Oneonta, also remembers the Mt. Ovis tow.  According to Jim, Les Hanson operated the tow by using a tractor around which was built a small shed.  Jim recalls that this ski tow operated until sometime after World War II.

In closing, we note that now that we have finished the first draft of our book, we are now in the process of locating photographs, as well as postcards, which would be useful to illustrate some of the history about which we are writing.  We will plan to post on our website, cooperstowntoday.com, a list of topics for which we think it might be appropriate to have such illustration. We also encourage anyone with questions about possible photographs or postcards to either call us directly at 607-547-8124 or email us at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2018

Where Nature Smiles from June 7...

This week we continue sharing excerpts from the “Attractions” chapter of our upcoming book, Remembering Cooperstown...

We would like to share two local attractions which are located next to each other in the village.  The first is the Clinton Dam Marker for which we have, thanks 

to Bobbi Jastremski, two picture postcards.  This marker, located where the lake meets the river, was dedicated on September 2, 1901 by the Daughters of the American Revolution in an appropriate ceremony attended by many local as well as state dignitaries.  We note that in the earlier picture there is a ball lodged in the Civil War Mortar mounted on the boulder.  In the other picture the ball is gone.  One is tempted to wonder just when the ball disappeared from the monument.

Our thanks to Hugh MacDougall, Elm Street, for supplying us with a bit of information concerning the D.A.R. Clinton Dam Marker and the missing cannonball. Hugh’s uncle, Charles C. Cooke, tried without success to determine what happened to the cannonball. According to a Freeman’s Journalarticle written by Mr. Cooke, the only picture which shows the marker with the cannonball is one from the collections of NYSHA.  Even the picture which appeared in the Otsego Farmer four days after the marker dedication on September 2, 1901 shows no cannonball.  Mr. Cooke concluded that the cannonball disappeared very quickly, but sheds no further light on the subject.  Perhaps someday someone will come forth to solve the mystery of the missing cannonball.

We note that the view up Otsego Lake from Council Rock is one of our favorites.  We also find the history of the Council Rock site to be most interesting. The arrow made of marble placed in the stone platform at the bottom of the Council Rock steps points due north. The marble for that arrow came from an old Michaels’ Market counter top.  Michaels’ Market was located where Peper’s Place now is on Main Street. [This storefront is currently home to the Doubleday Cafe.] It seems that when Pete Jones, a local stone mason of great renown, was working on the steps and platform at Council Rock, he wanted something to lay in the stone to form an arrow. 

Pete mentioned this project to Howard N. Michaels, owner of Michaels’ Market, who then offered the marble from an old counter top in the basement of his store.  We thank Howard P. Michaels, of Fly Creek, son of Howard N. Michaels, for informing us of all of this.  And every time we see the marble arrow, we are reminded the most interesting connections found in so much of Cooperstown’s history.

We also think the history of the Indian Hunter statue is most interesting. The Indian Hunter, long used as a symbol of Cooperstown, adorns the large boulder in Lake Front Park at the foot of Pioneer Street. We knew that the Indian Hunter was moved to its present location from its previous home in Cooper Park in January of 1940. 

We had not realized, however, that the placing of the Indian Hunter in Cooper Park during the spring of 1898 had been so festive. Nor did we know that E.A. Potter moved the over thirty ton, eight foot high boulder, on which the Indian Hunter stands, from the western edge of the village to Cooper Park. Mr. Potter accomplished this feat in four weeks. 

But, what we find most interesting is that our statue is a copy of an original sculpture located in New York City's Central Park by an excellent but virtually unknown American sculptor named John Quincy Adams Ward, 1830-1910. Evidently Mr. Ward traveled west to do research for his statue by living with various Indian tribes. He completed the Indian Hunter in 1864 and the statue was exhibited in Paris in 1867. And even though Coopertown's Indian Hunter is only a copy, we feel that he has served the village well. And we thank Bideth McGown and Harold Hollis, via his Cooperstown book, for sharing much of the above information with us. 

We will continue with more excerpts from the book next week.

TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Where Nature Smiles from May 31...

This week we offer some excerpts from the Remembering Cooperstown from the chapter entitled “Around the Village.”

We start with the following about stoplights...

Stewart Wayman would like to know if anyone remembers where Cooperstown's other traffic light used to be located. We confess that we had forgotten that the village ever had another traffic signal until our memory was prodded. 

Several people, including Terry Pugliese, Katie Sanford, and Doug Preston, said they remembered the "other" stop light at the corner of Glen and Chestnut. It was no doubt placed there to regulate pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the old high school located where the Cooper Lane Apartments now stand. 

The Glen Avenue-Chestnut Street stoplight was unusual in that the green light was on top and the red light on the bottom. George Connell, Ward Moyer, and Doug Preston among others recalled this interesting point. 

Stewart also reminisced about the police light which used to sit atop the flag pole at Main and Pioneer Streets. This light would activate if there was a call for the patrolman on duty who would then, upon noticing the lighted signal, hasten to the nearest phone to discover where he was needed.

While all are in agreement about the light at Glen and Chestnut. the exact location of the police signal has caused some discussion. Some feel that the light was near the flag pole, but not on top of it. Grace Welsh remembers that the telephone operators used to activate the light from a control on the switchboard. We, as a kid wandering Main Street, remember looking up and seeing the lighted signal and thinking that the police were needed---somewhere. At last we know how the system worked! 

We now turn to some thoughts about Cooperstown’s ice houses...

Several weeks ago we asked about ice houses located in the village and, thanks to Lyle Reynolds of Beaver Meadow Road, discovered that one stood on Susquehanna Avenue near the corner of Walnut Street between 74 Susquehanna and 80 Susquehanna. Evidently it was a large ice house, about 30-by-100 feet. Lyle recalls that this ice house was owned by a Mr. Coburne or Colburne. 

Others have told us that this ice house was owned by several different individuals including a Mr. Walrath, a Mr. Colburn, Harry Campbell and George Horton. Perry Hotaling, Chestnut Street, has an ice pick advertising the business when Mr. Horton owned it.  Perry remembers being on the wagon when deliveries were made and chewing on pieces of ice as he hitched a ride through the village

Marge Tillapaugh tells us that there is an ice house located on the bank of Willow Brook behind the Tillapaugh Funeral Home on Pioneer Street.  Evidently, this was at one time an ice house for the Cooper Inn.  When the Tillapaughs purchased the piece of property on which the ice house stands from the Cooper Inn, the structure did have the insulation and dirt floor common to ice houses.  After making some renovations in the old ice house, the Tillapaughs used the building for storage.

And finally this week, in talking about animals within the village, we offer the following about Bassett’s sheep...

Does anyone remember when Bassett Hospital owned a sheep?  Honestly, we are not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.  This is a legitimate question and we hope our readers flock to answer it.  Please don't say baa.  Let us know.

Bassett Hospital owned a sheep sometime in the late 1920's according to Mac Preston of Elm Street.  Mrs. Preston, a registered nurse, well remembers that each day the sheep was tied on the hospital's lawn to graze and that at night the wooly creature inhabited a room on the third floor of the old laboratory building.  Indeed, when Mac and Bob Preston where first married, they lived in a room on the third floor of the old laboratory building right next to the room occupied by the sheep. However, the sheep actually proved to be a fairly decent neighbor---considerate and quiet.  One of the hospital staff was assigned the role of shepherd and as such supervised the sheep's comings and goings.  Mac even remembers the time the sheep somehow mysteriously appeared in the room of one of the nurses who, upon returning from work and discovering the animal, began to yell at the top of her lungs.  Unfortunately, the exact purpose for which the sheep was procured was and has remained somewhat of a mystery.

We will offer more tidbits from the book in upcoming columns.
 

MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Since we have now returned from our annual trek to visit family and friends in Ohio and Michigan, we will be sharing with you this week the “Where Nature Smiles” columns which ran in The Freeman’s Journalwhile we were away,as well as this week’s column.  Enjoy...

Where Nature Smiles from May 24...

For a number of years now, we have been talking about, musing over and finally putting pen to paper in an attempt to pull together what we wrote about the history of the Cooperstown area in in the early days of this column.  And we are happy to report that we now have completed the first draft of a book which we are currently calling Remembering Cooperstown: Historical Musings from “Where Nature Smiles.”  Since we tend to think this is quite a milestone, as we never actually thought we would be able to pull such a book together, we are planning to share, over the next few weeks, some excerpts from the book’s first draft.

We begin our introduction to this book by noting that when Cooperstonians opened their copies of The Freeman’s Journal on January 4, 1984, they found themselves reading on page two:

“We thought this was an excellent time of year to take a stab at continuing a column which appeared in The Freeman’s Journal for more years than we can remember.  In the first place, all those many organizations that you may from time to time connect us with tend to take a break for the holidays leaving us with something we are not accustomed to, namely free time. We had to find something to do. Secondly, the holidays are a good time for finding all sorts of people going all sorts of places to do all sorts of things.  We managed to take note of at least a few of them.  And thirdly, arm twisting, all four of them, on the part of the editor and publisher, works every time.  So here we go, where nature smiles.”

And while the column has most decidedly undergone any number of changes over the years, we do believe in what we fondly call its golden years, from 1984 until 1999 when we both, the she-we and he-we wrote the column, that there was always a very consistent emphasis on the history of Cooperstown as the readers of the column remembered that history.

In going back over all those columns, we were not only struck by how much we had forgotten about what we had written, but also by which items of history received the most input.  For example, when we were writing about the Thanksgiving Hospital, over 35 readers contacted us to let us know they were born there. Of course, focusing on history as our readers remembered it also gave us, specifically the he-we, a chance to include some history of our own pertaining to two generations of the Ellsworth family participating in ballroom dancing classes.  

We were also able to share such juicy historical tidbits as a recently discovered C.C.S. document of some historical interest, namely the absence list for the morning of April 28, 1964.  Some of those absent that morning included the he-we, Doug Preston, Kay Winne Pierro, James Austin, Rose Yager Pink, Mary Kane Tabor, Bonnie Page Ives and Kevin Grady.  


In choosing what to include in the book, we have tried to cover a wide range of topics, most of which would not make it into the history books. Nor in any way are we attempting to present a comprehensive history of Cooperstown.  That has been done, more than once. Instead, in our discussions of Cooperstown history in the column, we talked about the events, businesses, buildings, people and remembrances as they were related to us by our readers. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing in the column some of these memories of Cooperstown which our readers passed on to us years ago. In doing so, we hasten to point out it should be remembered that all of these memories were written down between 1984 and 1999, making many of the references of what was where when somewhat out of date.  Also, while we cannot guarantee that all the history is absolutely correct, we are quite certain that what we are sharing from the early years of our writing “Where Nature Smiles,” is a reflection of the memories of the many people who lived and loved Cooperstown.

Please note:


It is once again that time of year when we find ourselves needing to put down our pen and take a break from our daily musings. Thus, this will be the last daily update until we return, hopefully rested, renewed and ready to go, on Monday, June 18.  


 
FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

This week for Funny Friday we offer “My Favorite Animal” from a young lad who just doesn’t seem to be able to win... 

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was and I said, "Fried chicken." 

She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed.  My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal. 
I told my dad what happened and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much.  I do too, especially chicken, pork and beef. 

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened and he laughed too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed and told me not to do it again. I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.

Today my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her "Colonel Sanders." 

Guess where I am now...


THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018 

Where Nature Smiles...

Two weeks ago when we sent the column in to the paper, we received the following email from the editor: “You can write a good column about anything.  Just for the fun of it, I ought to assign you a topic:  Carrots.  Or bifocals.   And see what you come up with. (You already did ear wax!)   It's a gift!!!”

We replied with: “Thank you for your kind words. We do like to think we have mastered the art of versatility when it comes to writing.  And we do think writing about bifocals would be rather easy.  The carrots might be more problematic.  Of course, given their supposed value to eyesight, it might be possible to include the carrots in the bifocal discussion.”

Over the years we have learned that from time to time that we have found ourselves searching desperately for something about which to write.  And we always seem to come up with something although we must admit that we have written some rather sketchy columns at times.  Of course, we can always fall back on the ever popular column topic, namely the weather especially when the village is rather quiet as it seems to be at the moment.  At least we have not encountered any pressing issues of late.

And while the village is relatively quiet, it seems the same cannot be said for the Town of Otsego. As we understand it, at the last meeting of the board, a vote was held to eliminate the town’s law regarding Heirloom Barns and Buildings.

Found in Section 3.15 of the town’s Land Use Law, it reads: “Barns and agricultural buildings older than 60 years and buildings of any kind of older than 110 years add historic and rural character to the Town and merit protection afforded by adaptive rehabilitation for special permitted uses subject to site plan review to ensure restoration and protection of the historic external appearance and minimum impact on neighbors. Permitted special use of heirloom barns and buildings, for any land use district, included all listed special permitted uses for RA-1, RA-2, H-R, H-B, GB-1, GB,-2 and R/E districts if additional required parking can be masked from roadway and adjacent property view.” 

As we read this law it seems fairly straight forward, making it easy to understand and apply to those wishing to save the agricultural barns and buildings as well as historic structures which add greatly to the rural, if not to say charming, character of the area. We would think that any law which seems to be intended to preserve the history of the area would be one to keep. In fact, we have trouble trying to figure out why there is thinking afoot that it should be eliminated. Granted, re-purposing a building is not a strict restoration project. But we would think a rejuvenation project would seem to be a better solution to maintaining the area’s character than the seemingly inevitable demise of buildings as they age.

Plus, in this day and age we would think that any governmental entity would be interested in maintaining, if not growing, their property tax base.  It is certainly a concern we have heard expressed concerning the limited tax base of the CCS district, of which the Town of Otsego is a large part.  We find it equally difficult to believe that the town board members are not concerned with offering opportunities which would increase the job prospects in the area.  To not do so would seem to just make it that much more difficult for young people, who are the future of our communities, to secure jobs that will allow them to stay in the area. And once the young people leave, most of them will never return.  Thus, we would find it hard to believe that the Town of Otsego would not be concerned about the exodus of young people from our area.

And we must say that we have to wonder why, since the law was obviously deemed worthy of adopting, does the board want to get rid of it at this point. We have to think it was written with some legal advice as to its viability.  And it must have been thought to serve a purpose as to the goals of the town’s land use law. What exactly has changed to make the law no longer viable? Additionally, we are curious as to what the lawyer for the town thinks of the proposed elimination of the law. Surely the board has solicited its lawyer’s thinking on the subject.

It is our understanding that a public hearing on the elimination of Section 3.15 Heirloom Barns and Buildings of the Town of Otsego Land will be scheduled, supposedly as part of the next board meeting on June 13.  We would suggest that anyone who is interested in the proposed change in the land use law, should plan to attend the public hearing in order for their thinking to be heard on the subject.

​WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2018

In the Saturday, May 5 edition of The Daily Star,we enjoyed seeing a picture of visitors to the Greater Oneonta Historical, located on Main Street in Oneonta, participating in a cakewalk, to the tune of the society’s player piano Friday. We must admit we had not thought about cakewalks in quite a while.  However, we do have very fond memories of them as they were held at fundraising fairs at Woodward Elementary School in Kalamazoo, Michigan where we attended grades one through six.

Of course, the cakewalks were not all we remembered from these fairs.  One year our mother made a set of matching mother and daughter aprons which she donated to the cause.  And since we found the aprons to be much to our liking, we grumbled enough about her not keeping them, that at the fair she bought them back in order to end our harangue, something we seemed to be good at even then. We remember the aprons had the most interesting blue strawberries on them.  But much as we liked the aprons, they most definitely did not install in us a love for cooking.

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018

We must admit that although we do try to watch what we eat, we have a certain fondness for the Silvermint Bars, mint ice cream dipped in a chocolate coating, which we purchase from the Schwan man. Over the years we have noticed that the size of the bars has seemingly shrunk a couple of times.  And in fact, our latest purchase indicated that Schwan’s now thinks a single serving consists of two bars.

But interestingly enough, according to the nutrition information on the box, a single serving of two bars has 310 calories while a single bar has 160 calories.  We must say we have no idea just how this might work.  But we are most happy to know that we will save 10 calories if we eat two bars at the same time.  And to add to the confusion, we further note that one bar is 45g while two bars are 91g.  We suspect we will have to eat a goodly number of the Silvermint Bars in order to figure all of this out.

MONDAY, MAY 14, 2018

We have often been told that spring is a new beginning.  And this year, once we felt the snow would indeed stop falling, we took this advice to heart and decided to move our daily walking routine from the confines of our house, to the outdoors.  Thus, about two and a half weeks ago, we started walking on our front porch and have managed to do so no matter the weather.  One day, in fact, we were so adventurous as to walk down to the corner of Pioneer and Beaver and back. 

As a result of our new undertaking we have discovered that Pioneer Street is not nearly as quiet as we thought. There is a fair amount of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  And while we don’t tend to think the pedestrian traffic speeds by, we do think much of the vehicular traffic is exceeding the village speed limit.  Of course, we were told last summer when the street was redone, and all those speed bump like potholes would disappear, cars would fly down the street.  And we guess that has indeed proven to be true...at least for a lot of the traffic.

Of course, we have enjoyed chatting with various people as they walk by.  And we must say we were quite amused by the neighbor who told us not to enjoy the summer like weather too much for fear it would disappear.  We well understood that thinking as we can remember all too well year that we watched the snow falling across the lake as we enjoyed, if that is the right word under the circumstances, a Mother’s Day breakfast at the Otesaga.  Fortunately, snow was not a problem for this year’s Mother’s Day celebrations.

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018

For Funny Friday we would like to point out that, as this last Will and Testament shows, things are not always what they seem...

Doug Pender lived all his life in the Florida Keys. He is on his deathbed, and knows the end is near. His nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons, are with him.

He asks for two witnesses to be present and a camcorder be in place to record his last wishes. When all is ready he begins to speak:

"My son, Bernie, I want you to take the Ocean Reef houses."

"My daughter Sybil, you take the apartments between mile markers 100 and Tavernier."

"My son, Jamie, I want you to take the offices over in the Marathon Government Center."

"Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the bay side of Blackwater Sound."

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings. As Doug slips away, the nurse says, "Mrs. Pender, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property."

The wife replies, "He’s talking about his paper route."

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

This past week we had a rather interesting conversation with an CCS alum about the current cost of education in the district.  While discussing how expensive education seems to have become, we were asked if we knew how much the teachers in the district are paid.  And while there was a time when we probably could have answered the question, we must admit that we have not followed the comings and goings of the school as closely of late as we did in the past.

But since we were asked, we did go online to see if we might be able to bring ourselves up to date.  At http://pressconnects.nydatabases.com/database/educator-salaries-new-york, we found a listing of CCS salaries for the 2015-2016 school year. It is noted on the website that the compensation may not include all benefits which can add an additional 30% or 40% of the salary to the total compensation package. As far as we can tell, 27 faculty members made over $70,000 a year with the highest salary listed as $97,160.  15 salaries were between $60,000 and $70,000 while 26 were between $50,000 and $60,000.  We must say that the salaries at CCS have gone up since we last paid much attention to them.

Given what we learned, it seemed only fair to explore what the income levels might be in the rest of the school district. At the website https://www.point2homes.com/US /Neighborhood/NY/Otsego-County/Cooperstown-Central-School-District-Demographics.html, we found the following information on the median income, the point at which half of the people make more and half of the people make less. For those under 25 it is $32,470; for those 25-44 it is $46,931; for those 45-64 it is $68,812; and for those over 65 it is $45,031.  Additionally, we learned the median household income in the district is $51,806 while the average household income is $71,134.  Thus we think it is safe to say that while salaries at CCS seem high, given what others make they may be not be all that out of line.  But there is probably little doubt that compensation for personnel is a large part of the school budget.  And we suspect that has long been the case.

We hasten to note that next Tuesday, CCS voters will be going to the polls to cast their ballots on four separate items, the first of which is the $19.7 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.   The budget has a 2% increase of $237,839 in the tax levy, with an overall increase in the budget of 3.4% percent, or $639,001, over the current year’s budget. 

The second item is a separate proposition asking residents to consider a five-year lease of two 63-passenger buses. The total cost of the bus lease will be $178,000 over a five-year period. 

The third proposition on the ballot is to increase the library tax by 2.1 percent. If the proposition is approved, the Village Library of Cooperstown is planning to raise an additional $2,850 over last year, while the Kinney Memorial Library appropriation is projected to increase by $1,000. Together, the total proposed library tax is $187,950. 

The fourth item on which residents can vote is the election of three members of the Board of Education.  Incumbent Board President Marcy Birch and board member Anthony Scalici are seeking re-election. Board member Mary Bonderoff is not seeking reelection.  Matt Schuermann and Nancy Areliussonare also candidates for the three seats, which will be filled by the three candidates who receive the most votes. The new three-year terms will run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. 

For more detailed information on the upcoming vote, we would suggest reading the CCS Budget Newsletter which arrived in mailboxes recently. Overall we think it is well organized, very informative and seems to outline the goals of the school. In fact, we only found six things which we brought to the superintendent’s attention.

Of them, the most disturbing is probably the amount spent per pupil. However, having done some research on educational costs per pupil across the country, we tend to think the seemingly high cost might have more to do with NYS than with CCS.  As far as we can tell, as of 2015 NYS spent the most per pupil of any state in the country, namely $21,206.  At the same time the national cost of education per pupil was $11,392.

The CCS annual vote will be held on Tuesday, May 15 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Room 305 at the Junior/ High School on Linden Avenue in Cooperstown. Please plan to get out and vote.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2018

We recently read in our weekly Natural Gas Now newsletter a very interesting article, “Did Cuomo’s Fracking Ban Create a New York Willing to Ban Any Energy Project?” which was written by Jim Willis, Editor and Piblisher of “Marcellus Drilling News.” 


In this article, Willis writes:

“In June 2014, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, reaffirmed two lower court rulings that empowers townships and municipalities across the state to strip away property owners’ rightsto allow drilling and other energy projects. NY’s high court ruled in the “Middlefield” and “Dryden” cases that local municipalities have the right to regulate energy development within their jurisdictions–where it can and cannot happen.

The seeds planted with the “Dryden” and “Middlefield” cases have sprouted and are now in full bloom–like spring daffodils. So-called “renewable” energy projects are now being blocked using the very same decisions meant to block natural gas drilling–delicious irony...” 

According to the article, the Town of Hopkinton, located in St. Lawrence County,  has enacted a zoning law which basically means that no windmills will be possible within the town.  And in the Town of Dryden, there was a move to build a solar farm which was opposed based on environmental concerns, the broadness of the project and confusing documentation as well as the fact that it would be right next to a historic cemetery. 

One person who spoke against the Dryden project was reported as saying “...he owed it to the 7,500 people buried there and the 2,400 more who have plots to speak at the meeting. He told the board it will affect cemetery revenue as people don’t want to see solar arrays when they visit their beloved family members...” Another person against the project said “I think we should protect our veterans by keeping these things out of sight of our cemetery.”

In his article, Willis points out that “...the truly horrific consequences by NY’s highest court in allowing each community to, in effect, regulate energy production. It is utter folly and lunacy.”  And while we do not know if it actually is “utter folly and lunacy,” we are fairly certain it seems to be turning out that it is indeed most ironic.

 

TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2018

We were most interested to read about the recent opening of the new Farm Credit East bank.  When we heard there was to be a new building in that location, we took a trip up the lake last fall to see just what was being erected.   And we must admit that what we saw was rather bitter sweet.   Back in the 1980s we spent two summers on that property in Springfield when it was Beaver Cross, the summer camp of the Epsicopal Diocese of Albany.  Our late husband, Jerry, was director of the camp which, if we remember correctly, he actually attended as a camper when it first opened.  And now, the camp property has been divided into two properties, on one of which the Farm Credit East now sits.

On the northern part of the property the large house, which contained the dining rooms and staff quarters for the camp, still stands along with, we assume, the cabins in which the campers stayed. The house, Ringwood, was originally owned by the Arthur Larned Ryerson and his wife, Emily Maria Borie who built the c.1900 manor on 39-acres as their family’s summer home.

Unfortunately, in April 1912, the Ryersons, along with several of their children, were on the Titanic as they were returning to this country for the funeral of their oldest son, Arthur L. Ryerson Jr., who had been in fatal automobile accident. Arthur Ryerson went down with the ship, but Mrs. Ryerson and the children were rescued.

The property on which Ringwood was situated was left to the Episcopal Church in the early 1960's. It was used as summer camp until 2000 when it was replaced by a much larger camp located at the Christ the King Spiritual Life Center north of Albany.

We were sorry when Beaver Cross left our area not only because of the closing of the summer camp in this location, but also because the property has not been used since, as far as we know. Thus, we do think it is a good thing that at least part of the property has found new life as the Farm Credit East.  We would only hope that the time will come when a use will be found for the rest of the Ryerson estate.

MONDAY, MAY 7, 2018

We recently read in the May edition of “Village Voices,” The Village of Cooperstown newsletter, that for the sixth year in a row there has been no increase in the village’s tax levy.  And, given the way the rest of the tax levies of various governmental entities seem to be ever increasing, we think the news from the village is indeed good news.

However, as we have learned in the past, just because the village tax levy does not increase that does not mean that our taxes won’t go up.  But we shall cross our fingers and hope for the best.  In truth we are beginning to wonder just how much longer it will make sense for us to stay here in Cooperstown as the cost of living here seems to be on a course to eclipse our income.  And we fear the time will come when it no longer makes sense to stay not only in Cooperstown, but also in New York State.  But we are ever hopeful that that day will be far in the future.


​FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2018

We think today’s Funny Friday explains a lot...

Ray and Bob, two government maintenance guys were standing at the base of a flagpole looking up.  A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.

“We’re supposed to find the height of the flagpole,” said Bob, “But we don’t have a ladder.”  The women said, “Hand me that wrench out of your toolbox.” She then loosened a few bolts and laid the pole down.

She then took a tape measure and announced, “Eighteen feet, six inches” and walked away.

Ray shook his head and laughed, “Well, isn’t that just like a “Miss-know-it-all” woman?  We need the height and she gives us the length!”

 

THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Some time ago now, we signed up to get email alerts from the UPSP which would alert us as to what letters would be that day.  We must admit we really don’t know what the purpose of the service might be. But since it is free, we do rather enjoy knowing what might be lurking in the mail box on any given day.

For example, on April 9 we received notification that we would be receiving five letters in the mail that day. One of the letters listed was, rather surprisingly, a letter addressed to our son at his home in Ohio. Now from time to time we do get letters addressed to our son at our Pioneer Street address, even though he has not lived here since 1996.  But we could not imagine he would have a letter delivered here which was addressed to him in Ohio.  And, when the mail arrived, the Ohio letter was not to be found.

Thus, we decided the notification must have been some sort of a fluke.  Of course, two days later we once again received notification from the USPS that they would be delivering the letter they had claimed they would deliver two days earlier.  However, said letter did not arrive that day either. Exactly what the letter was doing, we do not know. But are happy to report that the letter did finally make it way to Ohio. 

We note that the USPS email notifications also let us know when we will be receiving letters that we classify as junk mail.  And it seems to us that much of this unwanted mail falls into one of three categories, namely, hearing tests and hearing aids, satellite TV and internet offers and financial assistance and planning opportunities.  Since we have no inclination to partake of any of these services, we do wish that those sending this mail would cease and desist even though we know that is highly unlikely.

Of course, we are inclined to think the same thing of some of the emails we receive.  For example, not long ago received what we thought to be a completely unnecessary email from Medicare.gov.  The email started out with “Earth Day is around the corner---are you doing your part for the planet? Here’s a tip: ditch the paper and go digital with Medicare?” 

We were offered three ways in which we could go paperless with Medicare, all of which assured us we would get better service from Medicare.  The email ended with “Sign up for some or all of Medicare’s online resources today!  Happy Earth Day!”  And while we guess we appreciated Medicare taking the time to wish us Happy Earth Day as well as point out some of their new services, we are not at all certain we understand the point as we have a Medicare Advantage Program. Thus, in terms of our health insurance, we do not receive any communication directly from Medicare making us wonder exactly what Medicare’s point was in sending us the email.

Fortunately, there are always those emails which we really enjoy receiving. Back in March, when we were inundated with snow, we emailed a picture we had taken of our front lawn to a friend in Florida.  He reciprocated by emailing us a picture of his front yard.  We would like to point out that the two pictures were virtually the same. But doing so would be less than truthful.  Our snow covered bushes looked nothing like his palm trees, leading us to print out his picture to post on our back door as a contrast to our weather.

Last week we wrote our Floridian friend noting that “We are happy to report that the weather seems to be improving.  In fact, we are going to take the picture of your front yard, with its “Dream On” notice on it, off our back door.  Since we put it up, we have gotten a number of comments on it.”  He replied with “Glad to have been of service.  But, as I read the weather in Albany in the paper, you’ve got a long ways to go!!!”  To this we pointed out that “...all things are relative.  And at the moment we are preferring to look at how far we have come, not how far we need to go.”  To this we received an email which said: “That is a good way of looking at a lot of things.”  And while we had not thought about it terms of anything other than the weather, we do suppose it can well applied to any number of other situations.

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2018

We must say we read with great interest the article entitled “Cooperstown hosts first Youth Food Summit,” which appeared in last Saturday’s Daily Star.  As we understand it, the summit was considered to be, according to Thomas Hohensee, a health promotion and disease prevention specialist with Bassett, “...a wise investment in our students’ futures and our future as it relates to the food environment.”  We gather the summit was an opportunity “...to mull the future of food.”

Yet we must admit as we read the article, it seemed to us that the concept od the presentation was actually a return to the past when it comes to food.  In fact, it made us stop and think about the food we encountered as a child. We grew up with a garden.  And we shall never forget the year our father decided to plant a rather large potato patch which produced rather a lot of potatoes. We had to dig the potatoes by hand in a very wet field that we thought rather resembled a rice paddy due to the nine inches of rain we got that September. We recall it was not fun.  But it certainly got us in touch with growing our own food.

We also recall the trips to the farmers’ market to purchase bushels of cucumbers to be made into bread and butter pickles and string beans to be canned.  We remember most fondly the grapes that our mother canned to make some of the most delicious grape juice we have ever had.  A trip to the orchards found us buying peaches by the bushel to be canned for the winter.  Other fruits were turned into homemade jellies and jams.  

How well we remember the smell of bread as it rose and was then baked and eaten hot from the oven.  Our food supply was also supplemented by the wild game, such as deer, rabbit, squirrel and pheasants, which our father brought home from his various hunting trips.  

As we look back on it, as a family we processed much of our food ourselves. It was not something about which we were taught but rather a necessity to food supply.  And we certainly spent no time mulling it over. Nor did we think of it in terms of sustainability.   We always thought that was just the way it was done when it came to food.  So for us, today’s interest in food would seem to be something from the past that we knew only too well growing up. 

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2018
                             
In her recent column, “Baseball makes Cooperstown Special,” which appeared in the April 26 edition of the Cooperstown Crier, Sarah Ferguson writes “...it is blatantly apparent and absolutely wonderful to see the enormously beneficial impact that baseball has on this entire area. Cooperstown is synonymous with baseball. It lives and breathes the game; the Hall of Fame, Dreams Park, local business from gift shops to restaurants to lodging thrive on it. People come from across the country and beyond for the love of the game, and Cooperstown is the place to be for baseball.”

Obviously it is her right to be enamored of Cooperstown as a baseball mecca where she thinks “Just walking down Main Street during the tourist season is an exciting experience, as one can feel the excitement in the air, especially coming from visiting children who are spending the week in Cooperstown playing baseball, living their dream.”  She can even think, incorrectly from our perspective, that “...it takes baseball to make Cooperstown the lovely, prosperous village and destination that it is.

While baseball no doubt adds to the economy of the village during the summer months, we find it hard to believe baseball makes Cooperstown “lovely.”  Nor do we think that, in the scheme of things, it is baseball and tourism that drives the economy of the village and its surrounding area.  We think credit for the Cooperstown’s economy has to go to the Cooperstown institution which not only provides year round employment with benefits, but is also the largest employer in the county.  Tourism may be fun, but it is certainly Bassett that pays the bills.  

So we would suggest that when one waxes poetic about Cooperstown, one should be willing to at least acknowledge what really drives Cooperstown’s economy.  We also think it is not baseball, but rather the people who call this community their home, who make Cooperstown, Cooperstown.  It is the people who give Cooperstown its charm, character and yes, even its loveliness.  And that is something that should never be forgotten.

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2018

As we head into May, we are reminded that it will soon be time to vote on the CCS budget as well as elect three school board members.  More information on the upcoming budget vote will be available at public hearing on the budget to be held this Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Junior/Senior High School Library.   

On Tuesday, May 15, residents of Cooperstown Central School District will vote on four separate items:

1.  The proposed $19.7 million budget for the 2018-19 school year which has a 2% 
increase of $237,839 in the tax levy, with an overall increase in the budget of 3.4% percent, or $639,001, over the current year’s budget. 

2.  A separate proposition will be on the ballot asking residents to consider a five-year lease of two 63-passenger buses. The total cost of the bus lease will be $178,000 over a five-year period, which would be spread out among annual budgets. 

3.  A proposition to increase the library tax by 2.1 percent. If the proposition is approved, the Village Library of Cooperstown is planning to raise an additional $2,850 over last year, while the Kinney Memorial Library appropriation is projected to increase by $1,000. Together, the total proposed library tax is $187,950. 

4. The election of three members of the Board of Education.  Incumbent Board President Marcy Birch and board member Anthony Scalici are seeking re-election. Board member Mary Bonderoff is opting not to run again.  Matt Schuermann and Nancy Areliussonare also candidates for the three seats, which will be filled by the three candidates who receive the most votes. The new three-year terms will run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. 

The Tuesday, May 15 CCS vote will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Room 305 at the Junior/ High School on Linden Avenue in Cooperstown.
 

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2018

For this week’s Funny Friday, we explain why one should never turn down good advice, especially when one has paid for the advice.

It was back in the 70's and a soon-to-be prominent golfer, Ray Floyd, was playing at Augusta in his first Masters. Back then the players could not bring their own caddies but had to use one of the locals. 

Floyd told the caddy master he wanted a big fellow who could handle his bag, but who also could keep quiet, no advice needed.

The caddy who was assigned Floyd said, "Hello Mr. Floyd."  Floyd said "Hello." He followed sternly with, "That's the last I want to hear from you unless I ask you a question."

Everything went well until the 10th hole when Floyd pushed his drive into the right trees on the par 4.  After surveying the scene he said out loud, "I'm going to hit a low fade out through that opening to carry and land mid green and then roll over the crest down near the hole."

Surprisingly he pulled it off exactly and turned to his caddy and said, "How's that?"

The caddy spoke for the first time and said, "That wasn't your ball."

THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must admit that last week we were sorely tempted to come to the conclusion that the new color for spring this year was going to be white.  Each morning we hesitated to look out the window in fear that the driveway would once again be blanketed in snow.  To say that we were beginning to despair about the weather would have been an understatement. However, this week seems to be at least moving in the direction of a spring that holds the promise of something being green.  And for that we are indeed grateful. 

On Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m., Woodside Hall and the Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP) will discuss their exciting partnership in a program entitled “Listen to Everyone.” CGP student Emma Glaser will explain how the program model was developed and how the volunteer program has grown. CGP student volunteers have conversations with Woodside Hall residents about stories from CGP’s oral history collection and the memories and feelings they evoke. At the May 1 program, other students from the graduate program will also share their experiences and what they have learned speaking with residents at Woodside Hall. 

CGP’s oral history collection include local stories on topics with importance in the world today, such as women’s rights, the environment, education, and citizenship. The act of listening to a story allows people to create a mental image of what they hear—to fill in the gaps with their own past experiences and knowledge. The story may spark a forgotten memory, or it may simply provide new information and perspective. For more information on the program, please email Emma Glaser at glaseg73@ oneonta.edu.  This program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Not long ago, Village Historian Hugh MacDougall shared with us an email he had received regarding a request about a stamp cancellation for Index, NY.  What we found somewhat amazing about the request was not that it was about Index, but rather that it had come from a gentleman in Belgium who wanted to know why in 1905 Index was called Index?  And not surprisingly, Hugh was quite able to answer the question.  He wrote:

“Index is a hamlet a few miles south of Cooperstown, formerly known as Hope Factory, where a group of water-powered mills operated during the 19thcentury. I have long wondered about the change in its name to Index, and have just run across an item in the February 27, 1902, p. 3 issue of the “Freeman’s Journal” – a Cooperstown weekly newspaper, reading: ‘It is proposed to establish a post office to be known as “Index” at Hope Factory, now a place of considerable business.”

Hugh further noted that “The ‘Index Knitting Mills” in Phoenix Mills, a hamlet in the town of Middlefield on the other side of the Susquehanna River, had a branch—branch No. 2—in Hope Factory, which may explain why the name of Index was chosen. I have heard a story that when the appropriate official was suddenly asked what to name the new post office at Hope Factory, he replied “Index” at random, because the Index Knitting Mills had a branch there.

The oldest reference to the “Index Knitting Mills” in Phoenix Mills I can find was on November 9, 1893, when a Hudson, New York paper listed the “Index Knitting Mill” of  “Cooperstown” was closing (among some others), leaving 150 employees without jobs; but in a Cooperstown paper of August 16, 1894 it was announced that it was resuming work..  The most recent in 1914—when it was announced as “closing temporarily”. Why it was called the Index Knitting Mill, I have not discovered.”

We thank Hugh for sharing all this information with us.  We must admit we were aware of the many knitting mills in the area during the late 18thand early 19thcentury.  And we also knew that when two of the mills were torn down, the cupolas were salvaged, taking up new homes atop Bassett Hospital and the Otesaga Hotel. But we must admit we had never given much thought to the naming of Index.  Thus we are glad we can now add this bit of local history to our thinking.
 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2018

Recently, in his column “From the Librarian,” David Kent wrote about an opportunity for seniors to become more conversant with today’s technology.  He notes that many older people “...are often clueless when it comes to computers and too intimidated to even try to become comfortable with them. Searching the internet is like learning a foreign language. Sitting in front of a computer can feel like taking an oral exam on a subject you know nothing about. Many of our seniors would love to join the computer age but feel helpless without the proper guidance.” 

To help with this issue, Kent notes that “The Village Library of Cooperstown is pleased to announce the launching of a program to bridge the gap between generations and provide a way for seniors to become computer-savvy. We have a group of high school students who are willing to volunteer their time to provide one-on-one computer training to all interested seniors (60 years and older). The beauty of having these students provide the tutoring is that computers and the internet are second nature to them. They grew up in the information age.”

The training will take place in the Village Library, which will provide the laptops for the one-on-one sessions. To participate in this program, please call the library at 607-547-8344 to sign up or get more information. “Since space may be limited, it might be wise to call sooner than later.   We think it is an excellent opportunity to learn more about today’s technology from those we would tend to think of as digital natives.  And since there is a very good possibility that seniors who are not computer savvy are not reading this online, we would hope that anyone who knows a senior who would like to know more about computers might be kind enough to let that person know about this opportunity.
 

TUESDAY APRIL, 24, 2018

We must admit that this spring has indeed been most unpleasant.  And we suspect that most people are somewhat behind in the spring cleanup of their yards. Nonetheless, we did notice that the weather did not deter the cleanup of some yards in our neighborhood. 

In fact, two weeks running we noted that the cleanup of yards was taking place in what we thought were rather unpleasant snow squalls. No doubt the cleanups in question were driven not by the weather but rather by the calendar, something we usually tend to think is not always the best decision in this neck of the woods. We tend to think that Mother Nature does not always pay much attention to the calendar.  Or maybe she doesn’t have one.  We really don’t know.


MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2018

We continue to struggle with the fact that there are evidently a number of people who do not seem to believe that the First Amendment right of free speech applies to anyone with whom they disagree.  This mentality has been quite evident this past year on college and university campuses around the country.  And now, from what we recently read in a Daily Star “Sound Off” column, that thinking seems to be alive and well in Oneonta. 

The “Sound Off” writer wrote in opposition to The Daily Star printing columns by Chuck Pinkey and Taylor Armerding, saying that “Their very names don’t even sound kosher. Their pathetic ploy at spreading propaganda to sway some suckers to their warped sense of the situations at hand demeans your newspaper and its readers.” The opinion piece ends with “...neither Armerding nor Pinkey is suitable to print. Subterranean, sub-par. Fire them. Disgusting in a college town.”

And while we most certainly would defend the rights of this writer to his/her opinion, we fail to see why it is thought that the opinions of the conservative writers are “Disgusting in a college town.”  In fact we tend to think that college towns should go out of their way to make certain that all opinions can be heard.  Such diversity is the foundation of a liberal education which results in the students’ ability to not only think critically but also form their own opinions about the issues of the day.  An open and free society ceases to function when all opinions cannot be heard and respected.  Such thinking would seem to be a truly sad day for Oneonta and Otsego County.

​FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2018

On Funny Friday, never argue with a woman...

One morning, the husband returns the boat to their lakeside cottage after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap.  Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, puts her feet up and begins to read her book. The peace and solitude are magnificent.

Along comes a Fish and Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, “Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?”

“Reading a book,” she replies, thinking, isn't that obvious?

“You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,” he informs her. 

“I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.”

“Yes, but I see you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up”

“If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,” says the woman.

“But I haven't even touched you,” says the Game Warden.

“That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment”

“Have a nice day ma'am,” the Fish and Game Warden said as he left.

THE MORAL: 
         Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.


THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

On Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. Woodside Hall will host its next Community Evening Program when Ron Jennings will present “The Influence of Mills on the Early Development of this Area.” Jennings, of Phoenix Mills Road, will share his research on the influence of mills on the early development of this area using the Phoenix Mills as an example. He is a lifelong resident of Phoenix Mills with family ties to the extensive mill activity that took place within the hamlet during the 19th and into the mid 20th century. Jennings has been researching the topic for more than 25 years and has written, and hopes to have published this year or early next, a book based on his research.  Refreshments will be served following the presentation.  For more information, please call Woodside Hall at 607-547-0600.

Recently we made our first trip to Main Street this year.  And, as is so often the case, we found ourselves unable to get from the car to the sidewalk.  On the passenger’s side of the vehicle our way was blocked by a rain garden which had piles of icy snow on each side of it.  As we surveyed our intended path to the sidewalk, we came to the conclusion that we would have to walk in the street until we came to a spot by which we could get from the street to the sidewalk.  And while we suspect such a maneuver is probably some form of jaywalking, we had no other choice.  Fortunately, we discovered that we only needed to walk in the street behind our vehicle as the path on the driver’s side from the street to the sidewalk was clear. And while we were able to deal with our dilemma without too much difficultly, it did remind us that we never know what obstacle we will encounter when we try to access Main Street. 

While reading our April 2018 edition of Your AAA New York, we came across an opinion piece, “Partnerships Could Aid Roadways” which we found to be rather interesting.  It made the argument that it is perhaps time to consider public/private partnerships when it comes to financing aging roads and infrastructure as long as those partnerships deliver the best results possible for the public.  

Of course, it was pointed out that such partnerships would probably not work everywhere. It was thought “They might be worthwhile for the $1.5 billion replacement project for Goethals Bridge, which connects New Jersey and Staten Island, but won’t be as useful for roads and bridges in Cooperstown or Centereach.”  Why are we not surprised by this assessment?

In the winter 2018 edition of the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin we recently read an article entitled “High Anxiety” by Michael Blanding.  In it, he interviewed a Kenyon alum, Maryanna Klatt who is now a professor of Clinical Family Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine where she studies the effects of stress on the body.  

Professor Klatt points out that “We teach people about dysfunction in psychology, but no one teaches people how to be resilient and happy.  That training is something we need to be proactive about on every level.”  She adds that people need to “...develop mechanisms to better cope with their life stresses.”  One suggestion made in the article for doing this is to monitor how much time one spends on one’s computer, tablet or cellphone.  Plus, it is thought that spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter can lead to a sense of helplessness.  Professor Klatt suggests that “People need to focus on figuring out what their ‘minimum effect dose’ is so they get the news but don’t get stressed.”

Since we are not on either Facebook or Twitter they do not present a problem for us.  But we have, after a bit of thought, come to the conclusion that, when it comes to the news, we should no doubt limit our “minimum effect dose” to something resembling zero.  That, we think, would leave us in a blissful state of ignorance, which for us would indeed be a radical, and probably much needed, change in our life.  Of course, we do have our doubts as to whether or not we really could exist being that disconnected from the world around us.
 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2018

Much has been made of late of the amount of influence the NRA has in this country.  Any number of people have made the claim that the NRA “owns” Washington, D.C. Now we must admit that we tend to think Washington lobbyists, and the businesses and organizations they represent, have a definite advantage over the average American when it comes to having one’s voice heard.  And that lead us to wonder just how much money does one have to expend in order to “own” Washington.

Our online research lead to us the website OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics, which maintains a lobbying database.  They explain that “In addition to campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates, companies, labor unions, and other organizations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies. Some special interests retain lobbying firms, many of them located along Washington's legendary K Street; others have lobbyists working in-house.”

We learned that in 2017, the NRA spent $5,122,000 on lobbying efforts which does seem to be a goodly sum. However, it should be noted that it does not come close to meeting the lobbying efforts in 2017 for the top five businesses and organizations.  The US Chamber of Commerce came in first spending $82,190,000.  The National Association of Realtors was second with $54,530,861.

Coming in third was the Business Roundtable which spent $27,380,000. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing was fourth having spent $25,847,300, while BlueCross/Blue Shield held fifth place by spending $24,330,206. 

Of course, as we understand it, these figures only represent the amounts spend on actual lobbying efforts in Washington. No doubt all of these businesses and organizations spent more in 2017 in other ways.  However, it is quite obvious that money does play a big role when it comes to being heard in Washington or anywhere else in the country for that matter. 
 

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

Recently when there was some concern over an uncontrolled Chinese space station returning to earth, we came across an online headline which read “Ex-NASA astronaut on the Chinese space station set to crash land on earth.”  We must say we were somewhat surprised by this headline as we were under the impression that the failing space station was unmanned.  Thus we could not understand how it would be possible to have someone on it, let alone an ex-NASA astronaut.

We immediately opened the article to see what we had seemingly missed about this story.  There we discovered that the ex-NASA astronaut was not on the space station but was only going to speak on the topic of the space station. Once again, we found ourselves having been misled by what we thought to be a poorly written headline.

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2018

In last Thursday’s Daily Star we thought the editorial, “Pruitt was an awful choice to lead EPA,” could have been an excellent piece.  It outlined rather well the reasons the editorial board’s thinking as to why Pruitt was not the person to be EPA Secretary.  But unfortunately, the editorial board must have thought that the facts as they saw them, were enough to be convincing.

Thus, not once, but twice, it was deemed necessary to include “information” about in whose bed Pruitt was sleeping. The first reference mentioned that Pruitt was awakened from “...an afternoon nap in lobbyist Vicki Hart’s bed.” The second noted that “...the brazenly corrupt Pruitt was literally found in a lobbyist’s bed.”  Technically both statements are true as Pruitt was renting a room from Vicki Hart and it would be thus safe to assume that Ms. Hart owned the furniture in the room.  

However, the innuendo in both statements did little, if anything, to bolster the arguments being made against Pruitt in the editorial.  In fact, we found both bed references to be too clever by half, thus destroying, for us at least, an otherwise well argued editorial.   

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2018

This week for Funny Friday we offer the following: 

A man and his wife were awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door.

The man gets up and goes to the door where a stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.

"Not a chance," says the husband, "it is 3:00 in the morning!" He slams the door and returns to bed.

"Who was that?" asked his wife.

"Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers.

"Did you help him?" she asks.

"No, I did not.  Its 3:00 in the morning and its bloody pouring rain out there!"

"Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!”

The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pouring rain. He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?"

"Yes," comes back the answer.

"Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband.

"Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark.

"Where are you?" asks the husband.

"Over here, on the swing," replied the stranger.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Earlier this year we encountered a problem with water in our right ear.  A trip to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of impacted earwax for which we were referred to the ENT clinic at Bassett.  We assumed that such removal would be a relatively simple office procedure for which we would owe a $30 copay.  However, that did not prove to be the case.

As it turned out, the removal of the impacted earwax was considered to be outpatient surgery.  And since at our first ENT appointment it was determined that we also had an earwax problem in our left ear, in which we were not told to put the prescribed earwax softening drops, we had to return for a second appointment to clean the left ear. Since the appointments were billed as outpatient surgery, the bill for each appointment came to $208, a total of $416 for both ear appointments.

Fortunately for us, Medicare only allowed $92.92 for each appointment which was good news for us as our copay for outpatient surgery is $200, slightly more than our $30 copay for an office visit.  When our Medicare Advantage health plan figured out who owed what, we discovered that our copay for each appointment was $60.48 while the insurance company paid $32.44 for each appointment.  Thus, getting our ears cleaned cost us $120.96 and our insurance company $64.88.

And as outrageous as this seemed to us, the fact that the ear cleaning was deemed to be outpatient surgery is a result of Medicare regulations.  We went online to the website of AACP which is “...the world’s largest training and credentialing organization for the business of healthcare, with more than 175,000 members worldwide who work in medical coding, medical billing, clinical documentation improvement, medical auditing, healthcare compliance, revenue cycle management, and practice management.” 

There we learned that the code 60210 was indeed the correct code for the procedures we had done as they included removal using both instruments and a vacuum.  And from our insurance company we learned that the code 60210 is considered to be an outpatient surgical procedure.  What we did not learn, until it was too late, is that we should have asked just what the possible outcome of these two procedures might be in terms of what we might have to pay.  

Thus, we would encourage anyone who is having any type of medical procedure done, to ask beforehand just what the ultimate cost might be.  And while we do not know how other insurance plans would reimburse an ear cleaning which was coded 60210, we suspect that the person without insurance would be expected to pay the billed $208 charge for the procedure.

And while we are not particularly happy with the cost we incurred in getting our ears cleaned, it does help us to understand why we have recently seen so many TV ads for various products designed so one might clean one’s own ears.  In fact we were so intrigued by this that we went online to see just what might be available.

From Dollar General one can order a “Rexall Ear Wax Remover Kit” for a mere $4.75.  Walmart offered two possibilities, an “Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System” by Doctor Easy for $29.50 and an “Electric Vacuum Ear Cleaner” for $19.99.  The vacuum system claims to offer safe removal of ear wax which is easy and painless.

Plus, Style of Modern, offers a system the “Endoscope Ear Pick,” which “With electronic micro-camera, you can achieve real-time observation of the whole process of dig earwax through the USB data cable. The built-in ultra small lens with 0.3 mega pixels can easily access to your ear canal and see more clearly.”  It seems earwax removal can be achieved with the assistance of one’s computer.  Who knew?

So it would seem that the possibilities for removing ear wax are endless.  And we didn’t even check on Amazon.com.  But perhaps we will find ourselves doing so in the future as we were assured that increased earwax production can be a sign of aging.  We are indeed beginning to wonder what is not a sign of aging?
 

​WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018

We were not at all surprised when we realized that The Daily Star was conducting a poll about the use of social media.  The poll asked the question “How has your social media use changed over the past year?”  Those responding to the poll were given a choice of three possible answers, namely “I use it less,” “I use it more” or “It’s about the same.”

As we pondered our choice of an answer, we felt that none of them worked for us.  While we admit we joined Facebook a number of years ago, we gave up on it six or seven years ago.  At first we rather enjoyed it.  But as time when on we found it to be more and more annoying.  And we have never tried any of the other social media venues which seem to be rather popular with many others.  Thus, we really felt the poll should have included the choice “I never use social media.”  Of course, we might have been the only person to have chosen that answer.

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2018

We must say that we have been somewhat taken aback by the national discussion about what questions can be included in the upcoming 2020 US Census.  As we listened to the various arguments for and against asking a question regarding one’s citizenship, we found ourselves wondering just what the US Constitution might have to say about the issue.

Thus. we went online to the United States Census Bureau to see what they might have to offer on the subject.  There we found the following information under the heading, “Questions beyond a simple count are Constitutional:”

“It is constitutional to include questions in the decennial census beyond those concerning a simple count of the number of people. On numerous occasions, the courts have said the Constitution gives Congress the authority to collect statistics in the census. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court characterized as unquestionable the power of Congress to require both an enumeration and the collection of statistics in the census.” 

The complete explanation on the inclusion of questions on the census can be found at: 

https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/about/census-constitution.html. 

We must say we found it to be rather interesting reading.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2018

Following the recent Village of Cooperstown election it seemed as if the local papers were impressed with the voter turnout which gave the Democratic candidates a sweeping victory.  And while there is no doubt the Democrats won handily, we thought the voter turnout for the election was rather poor.  Of course, we have no idea how many registered voters there might be in the village.  But given the village’s population, along with an estimate of how many living in the village might be under 18, lead us to think that a minority of those eligible to vote actually did so.

But, as is our usual wont, we went online to see if we could find any statistics as to the actual number of registered voters in the village.   According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 the population of the village was 1,852. And this exact same population number also appears on the Census Viewer website, found at http://censusviewer.com/city/NY/Cooperstown.

However, when we went to the section of the Census Viewer website which dealt with voting, it seemed to us that the number of registered voters in the village was 1,923.  Since we thought it would not be possible to have more registered voters than residents, we decided that our online research did not prove to be terribly reliable.  And since our search was just one of curiosity, we gave it up, deciding we would just be happy thinking that the voter turnout in the recent village election was not all that great.  Of course, we don’t tend to think there would have been a different outcome had there had been more voters involved.  But that certainly does not mean we didn’t the number of voters in the recent village election to be rather disappointing.
 

​FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018

This week, for Funny Friday, we offer "An Atheist in the Woods"...

An atheist was walking through the woods. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers What beautiful animals!" he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look and saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charging towards him.

The man ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"

Time Stopped.  The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. "You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light and said, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well", said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. 

Then the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and said: "Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen." 

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

For many years we sponsored an annual “I-left-my-Christmas-wreath-up-until-Easter” contest in this column.  It started off as a contest for just Upper Pioneer Street which made it easy for us to figure out just who had taken part in the contest.  And thus we were able to make mention in the column of those who were successful in achieving the contest’s goal, such as it was.

As the contest continued, we started to get complaints from those not on Upper Pioneer Street who, nonetheless, wanted to participate in the contest.  We would get phone calls from those people telling us they wished to be included.  And so we included them, making it more difficult for us to check to see just who had reached the goal.  In fact, it became so intense that we eventually let the contest fade away. 

However, this year, given the weather in March, we felt our Christmas wreaths were quite in keeping with Mother Nature’s offerings.  And so, when our friend who put up the wreaths before Christmas arrived at the house last Friday, he brought in the Christmas wreath from the back porch.  We immediately pointed out to him that he needed to put it back up as we were on track to leave our Christmas wreaths up until Easter and we had but two more days to go.  And while we are not inclined to bring back the contest, we must say we rather enjoyed doing it once again this year.

Not long ago we discovered, much to our horror, that some sort of book wrapped in plastic had been tossed on our front porch.  After several days of looking at it out there, we finally decided to risk life and limb and crept out onto the porch to rescue it.  Once we managed to get it into the house, we discovered it was a copy of Verizon’s The Real Yellow Pages: The Original Search Engine.  In this day and age, we must say we cannot think of a more useless publication. Unfortunately,  Verizon long ago gave up publishing a telephone directory with the white pages in it, something one might actually want. And we suspect it is the business advertising which has allowed the yellow pages to continue. 

And we tend to think, in some ways, billing the “Yellow Pages” as the “original search engine” is as ridiculous as saying the pencil is the “original computer.”  Of course, during those years when we traveled with Santa to the elementary school to hand out PTO provided pencils to the school children, that is exactly what Santa told them.  Whether or not the students actually believed him is no doubt up for debate.

While online recently, we came across an advertisement for something called “Grammerly.” And since the topic of grammar is always one we enjoy contemplating, we went to the Grammerly website, grammarly.com, to see just what it might be offering. And we must say, we found it to be rather interesting given its ability to be “...an automated proofreader and plagiarism checker.”

It claims that “Millions of students and professionals use Grammarly to check their papers, emails, and other important documents.”  In fact, “Grammarly offers accurate context-specific suggestions to make your work shine.” It continued with the fact that “Grammarly's free writing app makes sure your messages, documents, and social media posts are clear, mistake-free, and effective. It's trusted by millions every day,” as well as by students and faculty at Berkley, Northwestern, Stanford and the University of Michigan.

Reading about it quite made us think that Grammarly thinks it might actually be able to write this column for us. However, we remain dubious as we would be inclined to think that such a service would remove our well known writing style over which we have fought with various editors who always wanted to change what we wrote to fit their concept of how something should written for the newspaper.  We even had an editor who sent us an online copy of the New York Times style book.  We never opened it.  Quite simply, with us, what you read is what you get.  

And the very thought that there are students who are using Grammarly to improve their writing is, as far as we are concerned, somewhat frightening.  Doing so would seem to circumvent the process of learning to write. And we would like to think that is not something an educational system, at any level, would think is in any way appropriate.

 

​WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2018

Since we no longer participate in a book club, we find ourselves actually purchasing far fewer books that we used to. And that is no doubt a good thing as we seem to have more than enough books in the house to last us any number of lifetimes.

In fact, as we were recently upstairs finding a new selection of books to put in our “books to read” pile downstairs, we suddenly realized that we have books lurking on all four floors of the house. They can be found in the basement, on the first floor, on second floor and in the attic.  Our supply of books is, without a doubt, rather overwhelming. In fact, we have so many books that we have started a new category of books, those which we have determined we have absolutely no inclination to ever read.  So far there are two books in that category.  But we suspect, as we continue our at home book shopping, we may well find others which we will forgo reading.

 

​TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2018

Although we were invited out for Easter dinner, we decided we would not try to navigate the crowds, choosing instead to fix our own dinner at home.  Unfortunately, we did not plan well and did not order any ham for the occasion.  We did have the baked potatoes, broccoli with cheese, deviled eggs and biscuits with honey. But there was no ham. So we did what we always seem to do when we need to acquire in a bit of a hurry something we don’t have.  We turned to Amazon.com.

And sure enough, we found we could order up a canned ham which would arrive before Easter.  And not only did we get the ham, but we also greatly enjoyed going through all of the canned meats Amazon had to offer. In fact, we also purchased canned hamburger, turkey and corned beef.  However, we did pass on canned Alaskan Reindeer, Rattlesnake, Bacon, Alligator, Salted Zebra Tarantula, Sliced Conch and Pork Brains with Milk Gravy. We also passed on New England Style Indian Pudding, which was in with the canned meats section although meat did not seem to be one of its ingredients.

We were also interested to learn, as we perused the canned meats it is also still possible, as long as one does not live in California, to purchase a canned whole chicken, without giblets, which comes in a 50 ounce can.  We well remember such chickens from our childhood when our mother would purchase them to make chicken and noodles.  We certainly had no idea they are still available.  And, given our experience with them as a child, we are not thinking we will be buying a canned whole chicken any time soon.  After all, we do have our limits.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2018

When we turned our calendar from March to April, we must admit that we were not in the least sorry to see March go. In fact, we are of the opinion that March could well have gone much sooner.  To say that as a month it did not seem, at least weather wise, to have much to recommend it is perhaps an understatement.  Of course, we know from experience that April could prove to be equally disappointing.

We believe it was T.S. Eliot, in his poem “The Waste Land,” who noted that “April is the cruellest month...” And while there are those of us who might like to think it is a reference to April being the month in which income taxes are due, we are rather certain that was not his thinking.  And no doubt what we have long taken the comment about April to mean is probably not accurate either.  Over the years we have been lead to think that April is thought to be the cruelest month because the weather in April can always be dicey and one should never be surprised by what Mother Nature might throw one’s way.

But, whatever might be meant about April being the cruelest month, we do think perhaps kinder thoughts should be in order as, if nothing else, each and every year, April gets rid of March.  And for that we should all be grateful. 

 

​FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2018

A Funny Friday tale of woe...

Two hunters, Fred and Stan, got a pilot to fly them into the Canadian wilderness where they managed to bag two big Bull Moose. As they were loading the plane to return, the pilot said the plane could only take the hunters, their gear and one Moose.

The hunters strongly objected saying: "Last year we shot two and the pilot let us take them both... And he had the exact same airplane as yours!"

Reluctantly, the pilot, not wanting to be outdone by another bush pilot, gave in and everything was loaded. However, even under full power, the little plane couldn't handle the load and went down, crashing in the wooded wilderness.

Somehow, surrounded by the moose, clothing and sleeping bags, Fred and Stan survived the crash.

After climbing out of the wreckage, Fred asked Stan: "Any idea where we are?"

Stan replied: "I think we're pretty close to where we crashed last year!"

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

While recently reading an article in the naturalgasnow.org weekly update, we were referred to the Albany Business Review website, bizjournals.com, where we found the article, “These upstate New York counties had the most people move to other states.”  Written by Todd Kehoe, Research Director, Albany Business Review, it points out that “About 2 percent of upstate New York's population left for other states between the years of 2011 and 2015.”

In fact, it notes that “Only seven upstate counties have grown in population since 2010, according to Census estimates.”  And the article included a list of the twenty upstate counties that have lost the biggest share of their population between 2011 and 2015.

In this area Tompkins County, which is #2 on the list, saw 5.1% of its population exit. That was a loss of 5,294 people, leaving the county with an estimated population of 104,871 in 2016.

In that same time frame, Otsego County, on the list at #11, lost 1,408 people, 2.26% of the population of the county, leaving an estimated 2016 population of 60,097.

And as distressing as the loss of population is to this area, we found what naturalgas.org wrote in its update about Otsego County even more disturbing.  It read: “Otsego County, for you readers from Manhattan, is home to Cooperstown and ‘Lake Glimmerglass’ of Leatherstocking Tales fame, the Baseball Hall of Fame and some very snobby folks who generally oppose anything they might, under the most remote of circumstances, see or hear.”

Of course, this attitude toward Otsego County in general, and Cooperstown in particular, is not new to us when it comes to the natural gas. We well remember attending a meeting in Oneonta on the issue of natural gas at which we were greeted with an audible gasp of horror when we introduced ourselves as being from Cooperstown. Fortunately, it is a reaction we do not normally get when we mention we are from Cooperstown.  Nonetheless, it was an experience we shall not soon forget.

Not long ago a friend cut out from his newspaper and sent us an opinion piece, “Threat from campus speech police,” written by Peter Morici.  It begins with the somewhat startling sentence, namely, “American universities pose a terrible threat to our prosperity and democracy.” It goes on to explain that, in the opinion of Morici, college graduates no longer are able to think critically, noting that “Although essential at every level of professional work, employers find that facility lacking in about 4 in 10 graduates.”

He continues with “In the 1950s, freshman composition was an arduous rite of passage. Each week, students wrote themes, which were rigorously graded for grammar and logical structure. They learned not merely how to bang a subject against a verb but also how to think clearly and put aside personal biases.

Gradually, such rigor has been removed from required undergraduate curricula. These days repeating faculties’ and administrators’ politically correct orthodoxy, and running off campus speakers whose views challenge their prejudices, are what passes for intellectual competence.”

Additionally, he points out that “universities are undermining American civic values of tolerance and respect for due process.” The entire opinion piece can be found at:  https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/beware-threat-from-campus-speech-police/article_f6138ab2-2248-11e8-8722-674f257cb887.html. As we read the piece, we must say that it quite made us think that we shall not remove the sign we have on our back door which reads: “Critical Thinking...The Other National Deficit.”

Not long ago, we came across a pink satin down comforter which we believe belonged to our maternal grandmother.  At least we remember it being in her house when we were growing up.  It has a label on it which points out it is a “Blue Goose Brand” comforter which was made in Detroit, Michigan.  And since we always wonder about exactly when such things appeared on the scene, we were delighted to discover that the original price tag was still attached.  From it we learned, it was purchased at Gilmore Brothers Department Store probably sometime around the end of January 1931, at a cost of $32.50.  Since we thought $32.50 was not an insignificant sum in 1931, we turned to the online inflation calculator to discover that in today’s dollars the cost would be $532.38, also not an insignificant sum.  But, we do think it is safe to say that the family has gotten its money’s worth from the comforter, especially since it is still in good condition. 

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2018

School spring vacations are here and so, we have been informed, are visitors to our fair village.  We certainly hope they are enjoying their stay. We hasten to note that, working in their favor, they do not have to pay to park.  Nor do they have to pay to enjoy looking at our wondrous piles of snow.  The first experience they would not be able to enjoy during the summer tourist season.  And we trust that during the summer season they would not be able to enjoy the snow piles either.  At least that would be our hope.

 

​TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2018

We were most pleased to learn that what has long been a Ford dealership, namely Smith Cooperstown, will remain a Ford dealership when it becomes Royal Ford of Cooperstown next month.  Our congratulations go out to the new owners Kevin and Fran Harris.  We are more than relieved that there will continue to be a Ford dealership in Cooperstown, especially in light of the fact that our Ford Fusion has recently been included in an airbag recall.  And once we receive notice that the parts are available to replace the airbag in question, we fully plan to take it to Royal Ford of Cooperstown to have the recall work done.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2018

We must admit that we have long been suspicious of newspaper headlines.  And we must say that based on some recent headlines in local papers, our thinking seems to have been confirmed.  We note that an article, written by Greg Klein, about the recent walk-out on March 14 at CCS. appeared in both The Cooperstown Crier and The Daily Star.  The headline in the Crier read “Cooperstown walks out for safety” while the headline in the Star read “CCS students join gun walkout.”

In reading the article, we tend to think the headline in the Crier seems much more accurate than does the Star headline.  Thus, we are tempted to think that the headline in the Star might have more to do with the paper’s editorial thinking than with the article itself.  And if that is indeed the case, we are all the poorer for it, especially if all we do is read the headline.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

Today’s Funny Friday shares a conversation between a customer wishing to order a pizza and a new pizza enterprise, Google Pizza...

Hello! Is this George's Pizza? 
         No sir, it's Google's Pizza.

Did I dial the wrong number?
         No sir, Google bought the pizza store.

Oh, all right - then I’d like to place an order please.
         Do you want the usual?

The usual? You know what my usual is?
         According to the caller ID, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust.

Okay - that’s what I want this time too.
         May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice with ricotta, arugula and tomato instead?

No, I hate vegetables.
        But your cholesterol is not good.

How do you know that?
         Through the subscribers guide. We have the results of your blood tests for   the last 7 years.

Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol. 
         But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. Four months ago you   purchased a box of only 30 tablets from Drug Sale Network. 

I bought more from another drugstore.
         It's not showing on your credit card sir.

I paid in cash. 
         But according to your bank statement you did not withdraw that much cash.

I have another source of cash. 
         This is not showing on your last tax form, unless you got it from an undeclared           income source.


WHAT THE HECK? ENOUGH! I'm sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. I'm going to an island without Internet, where there’s no cell phone line, and no one to spy on me. 
         I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your passport. It expired 5 weeks ago.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must say that we have had it when it comes to snow.  Of course, in the best of times, we are not a big fan of snow.  And so we have not exactly enjoyed most of our March weather.  But we do take comfort in the fact that snow usually melts in April, which we hasten to point out is not that far off.  Besides, we have already received two mailings from the Cooperstown Art Association that we take to mean that plans are already under way for their summer offerings.  The first was an application form for their annual regional juried art show “Essential Art!” And the second was an application form for their “Fine Arts on the Lawn.”  And while we do not plan to enter anything in either event, we were greatly cheered when we received the mailings as they lead us to think that summer will arrive sometime.

Two weeks ago now, there were several items in the paper that we found to be somewhat puzzling.  The first, “Luxury Rentals Planned,” noted that progress is being made on turning the upper floors of what is currently referred to as the Key Bank Building, into apartments.  In fact, the apartments are scheduled to be ready to rent by the end of the year.

Of course, one of the biggest drawback to the apartments will be, what else, a parking problem.  However, it seems that the owner already has a potential plan, namely to provide underground parking for the tenants.  We must say this is not a solution we ever recall hearing before.  And it makes us really have to wonder just what the path of Willow Brook from Doubleday Field to Lake Street might be.  We seem to recall, in our early days of visiting Cooperstown, that one of the highlights of June was the flooding of the basement of the Key Bank as a result of Willow Brook overflowing.  Since then, we do believe Willow Brook has been put into some sort of pipe.  But it would indeed be interesting to know just where that pipe is and how it might affect the concept of underground parking.

The second item of interest was a little blurb on the front page that read: “SECOND TO ONE: A poll by Expedia determined Cooperstown is American’s second-favorite destination, second only to Cape Cod.”  How, we wondered, could
that possibly be true? We found it so very amazing that we had to go online and see if we could find more information about this bemusing piece of information.


Online at https://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/americans-pick-favorite-destinations/ we found the following information about the poll:

"Oh, smaller towns and cities, how we love you. You offer us an escape from the buzz of traffic, buildings that block out the sunset, and hectic, high-speed attitudes. And don’t even get us started on your killer charm and good looks.

We know you’re out there, and we want to celebrate you. That’s why we polled 1,000 Americans to determine their favorite medium and small towns to visit in the U.S. We reviewed all the nominations and pinpointed the most frequently mentioned cities, towns, and villages to provide you with America’s favorite places to visit.”

We found having discovered the parameters of the poll greatly helped explain why Cooperstown came in second.  Interestingly enough, we also found it interesting that we have actually been to eight of the twenty-five places mentioned.  And some of them, we must say, left us wondering just how they made the list.

And while we have managed to respond to two recent items in the paper, we must admit that each week, when we read the paper, we find ourselves wanting to respond to either a letter to the editor or an opinion piece.  However, we fully realize, we would have to actually read the article in question, and not just rely on the headline, in order to pen a cogent reply.  And it seems that so often, for whatever reason, we never seem to get beyond the headline.  It is not unlike the fact that we never seem to make it to any number of events which we really think would be most interesting to attend.  No doubt it all means we need to do either a better job of organizing our life or spend less of it with our nose in a book.

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2018

We recently received a brochure from Assemblyman Bill Magee declaring “My door is always open.”  He further pointed out that his office can help “obtain benefits, government forms and applications, get information of government programs like EPIC, HEAP and STAR, replace veterans’ lost medals and awards, answer questions about state government and find solutions to community issues.”

All in all, with think it is good to know just what information one might be able to obtain from one’s assemblyman.  And while we can well understand how the first three items could well be accomplished, we are less certain about the last two.  We find ourselves musings about just what questions we might ask about state government.  We fear the list might be rather lengthy.  We must say we have our doubts as to whether or not anyone could answer them all.  And we tend to think the same might be true when it comes to finding solutions for community issues.  But perhaps it might well be worth sending off a list of community issues just to see what the solutions might be offered. 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018

Today we note that the calendar is making the claim that today is the first day of spring.  And, regardless of just what the calendar might say, we tend to think that proclaiming the first day of spring has arrived is little more than a joke in our neck of the woods.  At least most of the people we have spoken with about the arrival of spring have laughed at the thought.

And insult is added to injury when we consider that now we are blessed with Daylight Saving Time, we now have daylight later in the day, giving us more time to gaze out at the endless piles of snow.  Spring has arrived?  We think not.

 

​MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

The next Woodside Hall Community Evening Program will be held on Thursday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m.  Patricia Szarpa, Executive Director, Otsego Land Trust, will present the program “Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Blackbird ID.”

Not only will Pat explain why Otsego Lake has a Blackbird Bay, she will also share how to identify the various species of blackbirds that visit our area and what draws them here. Pat is an active member of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society and an avid birder. Following the presentation refreshments will be served.  For more information on this program, please call 607-547-0600.

We must admit that we are not particularly conversant on the origin of Blackbird Bay.  But we do know that somewhere in the bay there is a a complete set of golf clubs which were thrown into the water by our late father-in-law after what much have been a rather trying day on the golf course.  And from stories we have heard, the golf clubs are not the only things that have found their way into Blackbird Bay.
 

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018

A tale with a moral for Funny Friday...

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?  What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.  But the price would be high, as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.  The last day of the year arrived, and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend! Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.  He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:
What a woman really wants, she answered...is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom, and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached, and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened .

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.  Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch?  Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments? After thinking it over, Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

The moral is....

If you don't let a woman have her own way, things are going to get ugly.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

A while ago now, we received a brochure from State Assemblyman Bill Magee which pointed out that unused prescription drugs could be disposed of at both the Oneonta Police Department, 62 Main Street, in Oneonta, and the Otsego County Sherriff’s Department,172 County Highway 33W, in Cooperstown.  It now should be noted, that Bassett is participating in a “Drug Take-Back” program.  Along with five other hospitals in the state, Bassett will accept leftover medications that are either outdated or not needed.  Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the six-month pilot program allows individuals to drop off unwanted, expired, or leftover medications, with no questions asked.

At a recent appointment at Bassett we checked out not only the locked box, but also the mail-in envelopes, located in the lobby of the Clinic Building here in Cooperstown, for the collection of such prescriptions. In addition to the drop off center in Cooperstown, medications will also be accepted at the O’Connor Hospital in Delhi and the FoxCare Pharmacy in Oneonta.  We would encourage everyone who wishes to dispose of unneeded prescriptions to take advantage of this pilot program.

We must admit that we tend to think we receive a fair number of emails on a regular basis, many of which are personal.  But, some of the emails share all sorts of jokes.  Others address current issues. And then there is the occasional email which really makes us stop and think.  Such was the one with the subject of “Pale Blue Dot.”  It explained that “This excerpt from Carl Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot (1994) was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan's suggestion, by Voyager 1 on Feb 14, 1990.  From a distance of about six billion km, Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving our Solar System, was commanded by NASA...to turn its camera around and take one last photo of Earth across the great expanse of space.”

As a result of that picture, Sagan wrote in his book Pale Blue Dot:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

This was true in 1994 and it is still true in 2018.
 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2018

In the March 2018 edition of Your AAA New York we came across an article entitled “Greenlight Open-Road Tolling.”  It points out that the concept of greenlight open-road tolling does not require that vehicles stop to pay a toll.  Evidently this system has been in use on bridges as well as tolls collected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Now it seems there is thought such a system should be expanded to include the NY Thruway and Port Authority tolls.

As we understand it, those vehicles with E-ZPass will continue to pay the tolls as they currently do.  Vehicles without E-ZPass will receive a bill, which we suspect will be more than is paid by vehicles with E-ZPass.  This bill can then be paid online, by mail, by phone or in person.

As one might expect, switching to such a payment system would not be cheap.  In fact, the article notes that “The transportation authorities’ investment obligations toward basic road and bridge improvements must come before the cashless tolling infrastructure.”  And if that is indeed the case, we think we shall not hold our breath waiting for cashless tolling to arrive.

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018

In the local papers lately there have been several letters to the editor suggesting it is time for the second amendment to the to go.  And as we read these letters we often wonder if the writers really understand what it would take to actually remove the second amendment from the Bill of Rights.  Somehow we image they are thinking it would simply take the swipe of a Sharpie to do away with the amendment.  Unfortunately, we rather doubt it is quite that simple.

According to the National Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution,  “The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution.”

It is further pointed out that “The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention.”  Thus it might be safe to assume that Congress would have to spearhead any undertaking to change the second amendment.

Once Congress proposes an amendment, the Governors of the fifty states are notified. Then it is noted that “The Governors then formally submit the amendment to their State legislatures or the state calls for a convention, depending on what Congress has specified...A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States).” When there are the “... required number of authenticated ratification documents...” it is certified “...that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution.”

And while this process has been undertaken successfully 27 times, we are somewhat doubtful that the 28th time will result in an amendment to the US Constitution which would remove the 2nd amendment.  Thus, instead of advocating in favor of removing the 2nd amendment, we would be inclined to think that time and effort might better be spent working on how a badly divided country can come together to solve the seemingly increasing problem of violence with which we are beset.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2018

We have survived, we hope, yet another switch from Eastern Standard Time to Eastern Daylight Time.  As we have pointed out in the past, we absolutely despise the fact that twice a year, for no apparent good reason, we are forced to either spring ahead or fall back when it comes to what time it might be.  Quite frankly, we wish a decision could be made to pick a time and stick with it throughout the year.

In fact, our online research points out that less than 40% of the countries in the world change to Daylight Saving Time.  There are eight countries in the North American continent which use Daylight Saving Time.  There are only about 75 countries world wide that partake of Daylight Saving Time.  However, it should be noted that because the length of day variations are negligible around the equator, most tropical areas do not change their clocks.  So it would seem that we are in the minority when it comes to switching the time back and forth.

Additionally, we are always bemused by the people who claim they really like the extra hour of daylight.  Switching to Daylight Saving Time does not create an “extra” hour of daylight.  It just moves the hours of daylight later in the day.  Thus, Daylight Saving Time appeals to those who like it to be light later.  And those who prefer the daylight in the morning no doubt prefer Standard Time.

We must say we really don’t have an opinion about when daylight hours might be.  We just want those daylight hours to remain constant throughout the year, eliminating completely the twice yearly switching of the clocks.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2018

This week’s Funny Friday concerns the perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70 or beyond...  

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you. 

2. In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.   

3. No one expects you to run anywhere. 

4. People call at 9 p.m. or 9 a.m. and ask, “Did I wake you?” 

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac. 

6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way. 

7. Things you buy now won't wear out. 

8. You can eat supper at 4 p.m. 

9. You can live without sex but not your glasses. 

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans. 

11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge. 

12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.   

13. You sing along with elevator music. 

14. Your eyes won't get much worse. 

15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.   

16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service. 

17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. 

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.   

19. You can't remember who sent you this list.   

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Continuing where we left off last week in our musings about language, when it came to our online research about “safer streets” Wikipedia seemed to let us down.  The closest we were able to come was a discussion of “complete streets” found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_streets.  The article pointed out that “Complete streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, cycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods...Complete Streets are promoted as offering improved safety, health, economic, and environmental outcomes.”

And while we certainly could not disagree with the “complete streets” concept, we suspected that we needed to expand our online research a bit if we really wanted to know more about “safer streets.” So, we found ourselves back in front of the computer in an attempt to expand our understanding of the “Safer Streets” initiative which we mentioned but briefly last week. 

As we suspected, “Safer Streets” is a governmental program about which we found all sorts of interesting information online.  We tend to think that the report, “Safer People, Safer Streets:  Summary of U.S. Department of Transportation Action Plan to Increase Walking and Biking and Reduce Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities,” dated September 2014 was perhaps the most informative.

It pointed out that “Around the country, States and cities are documenting increasing numbers of people walking and bicycling for their commutes, errands, recreation, and other travel. For some people, walking and bicycling are the only transportation options.”

It also noted that “Rural roads can pose safety challenges where traffic is moving fast and drivers may not be expecting a bicyclist or pedestrian. But the majority of fatalities—73% of pedestrian deaths and 69% of bicyclists deaths in 2012—occur in urban areas where interactions between vehicles and non-motorized users are most frequent, and where many people walk or bike to reach destinations or transit stops and stations. A majority of fatalities take place on urban arterials.”

We also found it interesting that the booklet contained fourteen pictures of both pedestrian and bicycle travel, pictures, none of which were taken in a rural area like the Town of Otsego.  The entire report can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/safer-people-safer-streets.


Another report of interest, “Safer People, Safer Streets: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative,” last updated January 20, 2017 and found at https://www.transportation.gov/safer-people-safer-streets, follows up with information about initiatives that have been taken to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Under the heading “Behavioral Characteristics of Crashes” it was noted that “...alcohol involvement by either the driver or non-motorist was reported in more than 37 percent of the traffic crashes that killed a bicyclist and 48 percent of the traffic crashes that killed a pedestrian. Nearly one-fourth (24%) of bicyclists and one-third (34%) of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes were alcohol-impaired... Bicyclist and pedestrian behaviors can affect their likelihood of being victims of a crash with a motor vehicle, as well as their likelihood of surviving that crash. Crossing streets outside of the intersections increases the risk of a crash...”  it was also noted that 14% of drivers in fatal bicycle crashes and 12% of drivers in fatal pedestrian crashes were driving under the influence of alcohol.  Plus, it seems that “Pedestrian injuries and fatalities disproportionately occur among older adults.”

In our search we came across two other online articles which we found to be of interest.  And while we do not have space to discuss them here, we do think they are well worth reading.  The articles are:

“Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities Partnership for Sustainable Communities” found at:  https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/2011_11_supporting-sustainable-rural-communities.pdf

“Benefits of Complete Streets – Complete Streets Work in Rural Communities” found at:
https://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/app/legacy/documents/cs/factsheets/cs-rural.pdf

All in all, it would seem that pedestrian and bicycle safety is indeed a problem throughout the country.  And we think it will be interesting to see how the Town of Otsego, which we understand has adopted a “Safer Streets” resolution, will apply the concept to the many roads in the town.  We look forward to learning more about the town’s plans.

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2018

When we first read that the Village of Cooperstown has scheduled a public hearing for its proposed drone law, we went to the village’s website in order to read it.  And, since attempts by local jurisdictions to craft drone laws that do not clash with federal regulation of air space, we were interested to see how this law might get around that particular conflict.

The proposed Cooperstown law, as we understand it after not only having read it but also chatting with the village attorney about it, does not address air space at all.  Instead it focuses on regulations as to where and when drones may be launched or landed within the village.  Thus, the law would fall under the village’s zoning ordinance as it deals with use of property.

We must say we have no idea if the law will actually meet its goal, namely restricting drone use within the village during those times when there are events being held that would draw over 200 people.  However, given safety concerns, it would seem the village is no doubt prudent to address the issue of drones.

The proposed law is posted on the village’s website should anyone wish to read it.  And the public hearing about the law will be held on Monday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the village meeting room at the Village Library Building.

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018

We must say we were somewhat surprised when we read that a federal judge has blocked the State of California from requiring Monsanto to put a warning label on the weed killer Roundup pointing out that it is known to cause cancer.  Evidently the judge believes there is not enough evidence that the active ingredient, glyphosate, in the popular weed killer causes cancer.

We must say we were somewhat surprised to read this news as we assumed, given the fact that the Village of Cooperstown, has banned the use of Roundup on public property, that the scientific evidence regarding Roundup was set in stone. But, from what we read online at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/27/federal-judge-halts-monsanto-warning-label-requirement-in-california-687912, “The warning label requirement, which was set to go into effect in July, is based on a 2015 conclusion from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that the chemical was a ‘probable’ human carcinogen.”

The online article further points out that “The judge ruled that the California state agency depended too much on IARC’s analysis and didn’t take into account studies from the Environmental Protection Agency, multiple bodies of the World Health Organization and other regulators that the cancer risk from glyphosate is unclear.”

It should also be noted that, according to the article, that “Glyphosate is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been used widely since 1974 to kill weeds while leaving crops and other plants alive.”  Of course, when it comes to what glyphosate might do to humans still seems to be up for debate.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2018

While we recently found ourselves thinking that this winter was not too bad, Mother Nature, as she often does, very quickly changed our opinion last week.  In fact, she has led us to believe that winter can still pack a punch when it feels like it. And although we thought the dumping of snow on us was completely unnecessary, we must admit that from our perspective, in the warmth and comfort of our home, it did not intrude greatly into our life. 

At some point, we know not when, the electricity must have gone off as evidenced by our blinking alarm and microwave clocks, as well as the fact our computer shut down.   We also noted that the cable went out for a brief time which did little more than annoy us.  But other than all of that we came through the storm unscathed.

Of course, we do realize that others were not so lucky as they had to deal not only with slippery roads, but also the need to clear a fair amount of snow from sidewalks and driveways.  And we do sympathize with all such people as we still can remember the days when we too had to deal with the challenges winter can present.  And thus we do consider ourselves quite fortunate these days that we now can depend on others to deal with the woes of winter while we stay safely inside.

Of course, we probably could have done without the person who, after we sent a picture of our backyard winter wonderland, reciprocated with a picture of his front yard in Florida.   On the other hand, we just may print that Florida picture out so we can put it up on the window and pretend it is our outside, not his.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2018

In going through our treasure trove of jokes, we came across this one from 2011 which predicted the following business mergers:

1. Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace Co. will merge and become Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace. 

2. Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers join forces and become Poly, Warner, Cracker. 

3. 3M will merge with Goodyear and become MMMGood. 

4. Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become ZipAudiDoDa. 

5. FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and become FedUP. 

6. Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become: Fairwell Honeychild. 

7. Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become PouponPants. 

8. Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become Knott NOW! 

To the best of our knowledge, none of these mergers have happened.  But it is rather amusing, we believe, to think about them.

 

​THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

There was a time when we tended to think we had a most satisfactory relationship with the English language.  When we encountered a word about which we felt we needed more information, it was a simple task to simply open the dictionary and check it out.  In fact, we well remember in our now long ago childhood, that we were always most pleased when we could turn to our grandmother’s dictionary, which we remember as being, given its immense size, the end all be all of dictionaries.

Now, however, there seem to be a growing number of buzz words and phrases for which we find we ourselves clueless as to what they might mean. Thus, we have turned to our trusty computer to try and figure out just exactly what is meant when these words and phrases are used.  Some of our recent searches have included “authentic education,” “mindfulness,” “wayfinding” and “safer streets.”  In each case we started our search with Wikipedia, which seemed to know about the first three subjects, but was seemingly as clueless as we were about the fourth topic.

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authentic_learning), “In education, authentic learning is an instructional approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner.  It refers to a "wide variety of educational and instructional techniques focused on connecting what students are taught in school to real-world issues, problems, and applications...[it]...equips them with practical and useful skills, and addresses topics that are relevant and applicable to their lives outside of school”  This all sounds good to us as it seems to describe just what we think all education, both formal and lifelong, is.  Consequently, we were somewhat surprised to learn that there is some thinking out there that the designated STEM program is the one which provides authentic education.  And while this is no doubt true, we tend to think authentic education is most certainly not limited to the STEM program.

Another buzz word which we had not before encountered is “mindfulness.”  Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness) defines mindfulness as “...the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. The term "mindfulness" is a translation of the Pali term sati, which is a significant element of Buddhist traditions. In Buddhist teachings, mindfulness is utilized to develop self-knowledge and wisdom that gradually lead to what is described as enlightenment or the complete freedom from suffering.”

And while this would seem to indicate that “mindfulness” is in some way a sort of religion, our conversations on the topic have lead us to believe, that it’s current use  actually embodies a concept that we grew up, namely self discipline.  And as such, we can well understand its value in today’s educational setting.

We must say that the term which really befuddled us was “wayfinding.”  When we first heard it, we could simply not imagine just what it might mean.  But, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayfinding) informed us that “Wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people (and animals) orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.” And while we suppose there are many animals, as well as a few people, who manage to find their way around by dead reckoning, we are inclined to think that for many years, people have managed to figure out not only where they are, but where they might need to be, by using a map.  And we are somewhat suspicious that ultimately, the concept of “wayfinding” will ultimately end up using some type of a map, even if it might be on someone’s cellphone.

Unfortunately, when it came to “safer streets” Wikipedia seemed to let us down.  The closest we were able to come was a discussion of  “complete streets” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_streets) which pointed out that “Complete streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, cycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods...Complete Streets are promoted as offering improved safety, health, economic, and environmental outcomes.”

And while we certainly could not disagree with the “complete streets” concept, we suspect that we need to expand our online research a bit if we really wanted to know more about “safer streets.”  And we fully intend to do so, as we understand, from reports that we have received, that the Town of Otsego has more than a passing interest in a “safer streets” initiative.