Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SUNY Honors Gravity Expert At Graduation

The keynoter at SUNY Oneonta’s 122nd commencement subjects people to “centrifugation, water immersion and altered visual stimuli.”
No, Dr. Malcolm M. Cohen isn’t coming here from Army Intelligence and the controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques” of the Bush Administration. Rather, he is NASA’s expert on how changes in “human oculomotor control, perception, and perceptual-motor behavior” affect human beings.  More specifically, gravity, and how the lack of it affects astronauts.
After receiving an honorary doctorate, Cohen will address more than 1,000 graduates in attendance – of 1,484 receiving degrees this spring – in SUNY Oneonta’s two commencements, one at 10 a.m. and the other at noon, in Alumni Fieldhouse.
Notably, this will be the last graduation for F. Daniel Larkin, provost and vice president of academic affairs, who is retiring.
One of his last duties will be to present SUNY Chancellor’s Awards to Devin Castendyk, assistant professor, earth sciences, for teaching; Lynda Bassette, director of special programs, for professional service, and Donna Baker, Creative Media Services secretary, in classified service.
A graduate of Brandeis with a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Penn, Cohen has been associated with the NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif, since 1982, rising to chief. 

The Great Judy Collins Headlining At Foothills

Concert Builds On Momentum From Lightfoot

Seeking to build on the momentum generated by Gordon Lightfoot’s sold-out March 31 concert, Foothills Performing Arts Center has contracted with another folksinging legend – Judy Collins – to perform in the 800-seat venue Friday, Aug. 12.
“This is yet another positive step,” said Mayor Dick Miller, who has been chairman of the Foothills board or directors since Dec. 1.  “It has its basis in the success of the Lightfoot event.  It means we are confident we can stage this type of activity.”
The mayor said the Judy Collins’ concert results from an “informal agreement – informal and continuing, but not exclusive,” with Oneonta Theatre promoter Jon Weiss and Ben Guenther, Five Star Subaru co-proprietor.  The two men were the architects of the Lightfoot success.  Miller encouraged other promoters to come to him with ideas as well.
While instrumentally precise and evocative, Lightfoot’s voice had lost force over the years, fans noted at the time.  Not so with Collins, 71, judging from a New York Times review of a 2008 performance in New York’s Carlyle Room.
“Her voice, clear and vibrato free but inflected with delicate little shivers, stole through the room like a shaft of light falling through a stained-glass window,” Times reviewer Stephen Holden recounted.  “When surrendering to the ethereal spell she casts, your impulse is to turn your head up, close your eyes and tune in to messages from far, far away.”
Collins, who would become an icon of the anti-war movement, released her first album, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” in 1961.  But her 1967 rendering of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” established her stardom.
That appeared in her album, “Wildflowers,” since entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Her version of “Send in the Clowns,” from Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” was the 1975 Grammy’s “Song of the Year.”
The news comes as the $10 million Foothills entertainment complex appears to be gaining traction after a couple of years of uncertainty following the retirement of Peter Macris, the original inspiration for the undertaking.
In May, for instance, Foothills hosted 24 varied activities in a 25-day period, manager Janet Hurely Quakenbush reported recently, including North Sea Gas, the Scottish folk band, Sunday, May 15.
Hartwick College’s Rock Orchestra was planning a benefit concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19, and Ponderosa chose Foothills as the beneficiary of its Free Buffet Day, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, May 19.
A thank-you reception for donors (and donors-to-be) is planned Wednesday, May 25, celebrating supporters to date, but would-be supporters are welcome as well.
The mayor quoted Jamie Reynolds, NBT Bank regional executive, as telling him, “In six months, Foothills have put together the best board in Oneonta.”

Larry’s Custom Meats USDA-Approved Plant...



The crowd listening to the speeches couldn’t help but be distracted by the aroma wafting across the front of Larry’s Custom Meats’ smart new building just south of the hamlet on Route 205.
The distraction came from a grill where John Van Vranken Jr. of Edmeston was slow-cooking a whole pig.  Soon, everyone knew, tender chunks of pork would be piled high in the serving dishes, ready to be piled high in the hoagie rolls.
Let’s not talk about the baked beans, or cole slaw, or potato salad and, certainly, not the cookies.
We digress, but isn’t that really what Larry’s Custom Meat is all about?  Good food for the eating?
The dignitaries under the new sign included USDA Rural Development State Director Jill Harvey, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, co-proprietors Larry and Julia Althiser of New Lisbon, Otsego County Chamber President Rob Robinson and Bank of Cooperstown President Scott White, who provided some of the financing.
The Rev. Jay Henderson, who preaches from several pulpits in the Burlington
and Edmeston area and is administering a successful school in that area, blessed the Althisers’ undertaking.
“When agriculture is doing well, Upstate is doing well,” Seward added in his remarks.
Then the Althisers, with big shears, cut the red ribbon across the doorway and led the first round of tours inside.
Among those in the applauding crowd was Dana Mockoviciak, a USDA inspector, who explained that, until now, farmers could bring their livestock to Larry’s Custom Meats’ former building, across Route 205, but they could only have it processed for their own use.
The USDA certification of the new plant means that livestock can be processed for sale throughout the state, nation and even the world, opening up possibilities for a whole new local industry.
Now, said Mockoviciak, the closest USDA-certified plants are in Bridgewater to the north and Otego to the south, but the demand is much greater than those plants can meet.
Already, the new plant is busy, and it’s expected that this fall Althiser’s six-employee operation will be running 24-7 to meet the demand of processing hogs.
The Otsego County Industrial Development Authority, the county’s Economic Development Office and CADE (the Center for Agricultural Development and Education) helped make the 3,000-square-foot structure possible.
In an interview, Jill Harvey, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, said the growing demand for organic meats along the Eastern Seaboard is making projects like this one a priority.
Larry’s benefited from an R-BEG, a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant, among other funding sources, Harvey said.  The $99,000 grant went to the IDA, which bought the equipment and leased it to the Althisers at a reasonable rate.
Because of the demand, the USDA is operating two mobile slaughterhouses in the Hudson Valley, she said.
While many in the crowd under the tent were friends and relatives of the Althisers, the organic-farming segment was well-represented, too, including beef-growers up from East Meredith.
There were samples of the Althisers’ kielbasa and hotdogs which, with USDA-certification, they can sell from the plant if they wish.

Sorvino Present For Oneonta’s ‘Mineville’ Movie Premiere


It was a big night for Lori Kelly. 
She premiered her film “Mineville” at the Oneonta Theater to a packed house and thunderous applause Saturday, May 14.
After 10 years in writing, development, broken promises and production, the film that honored her family legacy was finally on screen.
Kelly was born in Mineville, Essex County, to a family of miners with a long history in the Iron Ore mines.  Her father, Michael, working up until the iron mines there closed in the early 1960s. 
The film Mineville is a composite of first-person sources and “my father’s tall tales,” many revolving around pranks he and his brother Ritchie pulled, including stealing coal from the mines and dresses off clotheslines, both of which were featured in the film.
 Kelly and actors Paul Sorvino, Cuyle Carvin, Michael Sorvino, Chris Backus, William Depaolo and Richard Waddingham were all on hand for the premiere, red carpet and all.
The theater was packed – a record crowd for a film screening in the Oneonta Theater, some said –  and the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys set the tone with a five-song set.  Patrick Lippincott warmed up the crowd with a few jokes at Mr. Sorvino’s well-humored expense and then the film began. 
Shot in polished, evocative black and white, the film covered all the bases – love, loyalty, corruption, justice and injustice. 
The local angle really brought out the crowd’s enthusiasm, and the names of miners and mining families scrolled over the credits.
“Events like this are what it’s all about,” Mayor Dick Miller boasted.  “It’s a wonderful affirmation of our town.”
Kelly isn’t new to the camera.  She directed the short film “Heartache” and the feature-length film “Silent But Deadly,” starring Jason Mewes, William Sadler and Jordan Prentice.  She is also co-directing “The Cure,” a docu-drama about heroin use in small towns, with her son, Joel Plue.
She conceived of “Mineville”10 years ago and made a short, trailer-length version to show to investors.  The script sat on various production companies’ shelves for four years.  It was then she decided to head home and make the movie herself.
“I’d rather work on a dime with local people because what you see is what you get,” she explained.  “These are people who came out on their own – with a car, a prop, a story – it was about their community.”
Kelly cast William Sadler again and brought in the Sorvinos, who she’d known from the first conceptions of the film. 
Rex Baker, who contributed to the soundtrack along with the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys, offered the use of the mine he owned. 
The Mineville town supervisor even allowed them to cut the locks on the Barton Hill Mining Yard, just as long as they closed everything up when they were finished.
She also realized that the advice she’d been given years before was what held the most true – “In filmmaking, there are no rules,” she said.  “And boy, did I find out the hard way.”
But the finished result was well worth it.  She admits that there are still a few things that need to be cleaned up, including some scenes not seen at Saturday’s premiere.  But she realized that, 10 years and plenty of rough road later, that she’d made her dream come true.
“For over ten years, I felt like I was on this road alone,” Kelly lamented.  “But there was that moment, when I turned around and saw that crowd, all those people who had helped and supported and turned out for this movie, I knew … I was never alone.”
Kelly informed the audience that this is only the film’s first stop: It is destined for the Lake Placid Film Festival in June and the Ballston Spa Film Festival in August.

City of The Hills

Oneonta Voters OK School Tally
Oneonta City School District voters approved the 2011-12 budget, 583-210, Tuesday, May 17.
Rosalie Higgins was reelected to the school board, and Darren Giasford received 194 write-in votes to fill the second vacancy.
The district budget calls for a spending decrease of 1.84 percent and a tax levy hike of 2.89 percent.

FRACKING PETITION:  A petition drive is underway opposing in the City of Oneonta opposing hydrofracking in New York State.  For details, e-mail

STILL GREEN: For the second consecutive year, the Princeton Review has included SUNY Oneonta in its “Guide to 311 Green Colleges.”

JOIN CHAMBER:  Cazenovia Equipment Co., Cooperstown Dreams Card and the Northeast Classic Car Museum, Norwich, are new members of the Otsego County Chamber.

Jared Soule, Hartwick College senior and a volunteer DJ at the Oneonta Teen Center, shows Joey Stevens how to do “The Worm” at the children’s dance competition Saturday, May 24, at the fourth annual OTC Block Party, which included food, dancing, and a neighborhood clean-up.


Arlo Guthrie of “Alice’s Restaurant” fame attracted 2,000 fans to Brewery Ommegang Friday, May 13, to help fund anti-fracking efforts.  The brewery immediately donated $20,000 to Otsego 2000, with more to come.

SUNY Oneonta’s Nick Suhadolnik had the best head of hair in the place.  His date is  Michelle Fecio.

Oneonta’s Elizabeth Pereira, left, and Rachael Milavec were among the 2,000 fans.

Mariah Scott looks adoringly at Tanner Harley.  The couple is from Oneonta.


Back from Naples, Fla., with the spring, Vince Foti Sr. provided this photo of former mayor and Oneonta Yankees (then Tigers) owner Sam Nader chatting with Buck Showalter after a luncheon in Sarasota, Fla., in February.  Nader and Foti had driven up to hear Showalter, the MLB executive who got his start with Nader’s team in Oneonta in the 1980s.

April Sicilia of Oneonta holds an awarded recognizing her work in the Violence Intervention Program at Opportunities for Otsego.

Oneonta High School team won the first-place award and Theodore Peters Scholarship at the 2011 Leatherstocking Regional Envirothon Wednesday, April 27, at Gilbert Lake State Park.

Liz Callahan, executive director of the Hanford Mills Museun, East Meredith, briefs attendees at the annual dinner of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society on advances at the museum, particularly in the restoration of historic steam engines.  More than 50 people attended the sold-out event Thursday, April 28, at The Farmhouse in Emmons.  In the center rear is Bob Brzozowski, GOHS past president and executive director.

Trombonist Ethan Sypress of Oneonta rehearses with the Hartwick College Rock Orchestra for a benefit concert for Foothills Performing Arts Center that was scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19.

Ron Feldstein New President Of Municipal Power Alliance
Ronald Feldstein, the former Otsego County representative for Otego, has been elected president of the Municipal Electric & Gas Alliance (MEGA) Board of Directors for a third term, 2011-2012.
Feldstein, a long-time member of the MEGA Board, served on the county board from 1998 to 2007.  A graduate of SUNY Brockport with an M.A. from SUNY Albany, he was a SUNY Oneonta administrator for 32 years. He is currently associate broker, Prudential Fox Real Estate Oneonta and Cooperstown
The state Association of Counties’ preferred energy procurement program, MEGA’s seeks to find the most competitive prices for electricity and natural gas for its members.

Jamieson’s ‘Laughing Queen’ Wins $1,000 LEAF Prize

Doug Jamieson’s “The Queen’s Laughing...Don’t Be Played” won the $1,000 grand prize in LEAF Inc.’s anti-gambling art show.
The $500 first prize went to Ariel Smullen for “Game Over”; the $250 second prize to Barbara Murray Sullivan for “Storm Clouds,” and $100 third prize to Jane Evelynne Higgins for “Last Judgment in Vegas.”
The $500 first prize in the under-18 category went to Shannon Mish for “Family Gamble,” the $250 second to Zurissa Salisbury for “Gambling Is Bad For You,” and the $100 third to Maeve O’Neill for “Gambling Has a Dark Side.”
In the poetry competition, the $150 first prize went to Mary Anne Rojas, the $100 second prize to Vanessa Perillo, and the $50 third prize to Michael Calkins.

A Dozen Things Great Downtowns Have In Common


Editor’s Note:  Here are characteristics shared by successful downtowns. Gary Ferguson is Ithaca Downtown Partnership’s executive director.

1) No Single Organizational Model Exists
Contrary to expectations, there is no single way cities with great downtowns deliver their downtown services. Instead, these cities have found varying ways to provide needed services.
Each model reflects the institutional strengths present in the community.
2) These downtowns tended to have multiple traffic generators that supplemented the presence of a larger institution(s), all within short walking distance.
Many but not all of these traffic generators were purposely strategically located.
3) These great downtowns are beloved by citizenry.
They have regional significance. There is strong affection for the downtown. There is also controversy and debate, but always strong affection.
4) These downtown have been and are continuing to overcome challenges and obstacles.
Just because the city has a great reputation for its downtown doesn’t mean that it is exempt from challenge. Even today, these cities are preparing for their next set of challenges.
5) These downtowns are walkable. They have pedestrian scale.
There was no single model. They include pedestrian malls, linear main streets, public squares and multi-zone downtowns.  People expected and preferred to walk.
6) These downtowns, by and large, had a commitment to mixed use development.
Uses are generally not geographically separated. When they are, they remain within walking distance of each other. New projects have mixed use orientations.
7) There is broad public/private investment in the future of downtown.
These cities are planning for their futures. They are implementing new projects that broaden the appeal and scope of downtown.
8) The nature of downtown retailing appears to be in flux.
Food & beverage is replacing traditional retail. Local, independent retailers continue to dominate most downtowns. These downtowns face increasing competition; some have been exempt from serious competition for years.
9) Entertainment is a driving market segment.
Anchor projects help (movie theaters, performance halls, proximity to university facilities.) All have been able to extend the life of downtown beyond 5  p.m.  All have strong and growing restaurant sectors.
10) There was a prevalence of strong, adjacent residential neighborhoods that are within walking distance of downtown.
Many of these neighborhoods were upscale, with some of the higher priced housing in the city.  This was not necessarily student housing.
11) Downtown housing was either prevalent or underway. The market for housing in downtown was strong and growing.
Affordability was a major issue faced by many of the communities. Downtown residents were likewise invaluable to the downtown retail economy.
12) Universities help but are not the sole answer.
Several cities reported low use of downtown by students (Northampton, Wooster, Charlottesville).One city had a small downtown despite abutting the campus (Chapel Hill). One city had no major university (Portland).


Gollin Lifts OHS To Victory
Senior Beth Gollin won two events to help the Oneonta girls track team win the title of the Oneonta Invitational Friday, May 13.
Gollin won the mile and 2,000 steeplechase, while teammate and fellow senior Christie O’Connor won the high jump to pace the Yellowjackets, who also won the Cooperstown invitational title on May 7.
Gollin was also on the winning distance-medley relay team.

Fox Classic Sponsors Sought
The Fox Foundation’s 12th annual Fox Hospital Golf Classic is Monday, June 6, at the Oneonta Country Club.
The Classic has become the foundation’s second largest annual fund-raising event. Over the past 11 years, the tournament has raised over $350,000, used to purchase a variety of medical equipment for the hospital and nursing home.
Overall winners receive a trophy and have their names engraved on the Dr. John Lusins trophy on display at the FoxCare Center. Each year 180-200 golfers participate in a captain and crew format. 
A late afternoon buffet dinner will follow at the Foothills Performing Arts Center with prizes awarded for both flights.
There are also prizes for longest and straightest drives and closest to pin on the par threes. Country Club Motors is sponsoring the hole-in-one contests and golfers will have a chance to win a new car. 
Sponsorships for as little as $350 are available and raffle and silent-auction donations are welcome. 
There are still slots available for the morning round.  Call 431-5472 or e-mail

Youngs Is WBNG All-Star
Oneonta baseball player Conor Youngs was selected as WBNG’s Academic All Star of the Week.
Youngs, a junior, has a 5-1 pitching record for the Yellowjackets and a grade-point average in the mid 90s.
Youngs told the television station he’d like to work for a Major League Baseball team in some capacity after college.
Said OHS head coach Joe Hughes: ``Great student, great athlete, and we’re fortunate to have him as part of our program.’’

Kevin Knack Player Of Year
SUNY Oneonta baseball player Kevin Knack has been named Bob Wallace Player of the Year by the State University of New York Athletic Conference.
The Ghent native is the first baseball player to be selected for the honor and was also selected to the All-Conference first team after leading the Red Dragons with a .348 average, including .368 in conference play.
He led the team in hits (54), triples (6), RBIs (22), total bases (75), stolen bases (12), on-base percentage (.400) and slugging percentage (.484).

Family Service Tourney Near
The Family Service Association’s fourth annual golf tournament begins at 8:30 a.m.  Sunday, June 5, at Ouleout Golf Course in Franklin
The  $240 entry fee for a four-player team includes lunch, snacks, beverages, green fees and a golf cart. Individual golfers can join for $60 and will be put on a team. Cash prizes will be awarded. There will also be door prizes, putting contests, and long-drive and closest-to-the-pin contests.  New this year:  A hole-in-one prize.
All money raised will go directly to helping children and families in the local community.
For details, call Tim O’Connor at 433-4654/435-9859 or Mary O’Connor at 432-2870

15-1 Overall Record Finds OHS Baseball Ready For Tourney

Getman Comes Up Big In 7th Inning

Sports Editor

Down to its final three outs, the Oneonta baseball team staged a miraculous comeback at Chenango Valley Saturday, May 14, setting the stage for STAC playoffs, which began Wednesday, and Section Four Class B playoffs,  which begin May 23.
The 15-1 Yellowjackets scored five times in the top of the seventh inning, and held off a Warriors’ rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to win, 6-5, and capture the East Division STAC Championship. The teams tied for first in the regular season, and Saturday’s game was a one-game playoff to decide the division.
Coach Joe Hughes said he hopes the victory will help land the #1 see in the upcoming tournament.
Junior Sean Getman hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning, and threw a runner out at home in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve the win.
OHS’ winning rally started when Logan Pondolfino was hit by a pitch, and Chris Pindar reached on a fielder’s-choice grounder to third base. After a fly out, Getman hit a two-run double to make it 5-3.
Dan Hodne then struck out, but reached first base when the ball got past the catcher. Junior Mike Calkins followed with a two-run triple to right center field to tie the score at 5-5. Calkins scored the winning run on a passed ball.
``It was a heads up play by Mike,’’ Hughes said of the winning run. ’’He got a really good jump off of third and scored pretty easily even though the ball didn’t get that far from the catcher.’’
Chenango Valley put runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. But the next batter grounded to Getman, who backhanded the ball and threw home to catcher Zack Pigeon in time for the out at home.
The next CV batter hit a one-hop grounder off the glove of Oneonta pitcher Ben Moxley, who retrieved the ball up the third base line and threw to first in time for the out, setting off a big celebration among Oneonta fans and players.
``There were lots of gloves and hats in the air, and a big pile-up near the pitcher‘s mound,’’ Hughes said. ``I don’t know if we’ve exhaled yet. This was a true team win. A lot of people contributed.’’
One of the unsung heroes was Moxley, a junior righthander, who had only pitched four innings all season before Saturday. Hughes called on Moxley to relieve Calkins, who pitched the first five innings, striking out eight and allowing five unearned runs.
``He probably hasn’t pitched as much as he’d like this year because we have a deep staff, but he came through when he was needed the most,’’ Hughes said. ’’Having that depth in our pitching staff is really a big key to the season.’’
CV scored twice in the second and three more times in the fifth inning to take a seemingly commanding 5-1 lead.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

City of The Hills

Actor Sorvino Expected Here

Paul Sorvino, star of “Goodfellas” and dozens of movies and TV shows in a long career, will attend a special screening of “Mineville”  at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the Oneonta Theatre, producer Joel Plue has announced. The evening will feature music by the Horseshoe Playboys and a Q&A with the actor will follow the screening.  $10.


SUNY Oneonta will graduate 1,484 students at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, in Alumni Field House.  Hartwick College will graduate 300 at 11:30 the next Saturday at Foothills Performing Arts Center.

The Oneonta Teen Center’s fourth annual Block Party is 1-4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the Asa C. Allison Building, 4 Academy St., featuring music, food, face-painting and more – after a trash cleanup.

Under their umbrella of many colors, Molly and Bill Swain looked pretty sporty at the Alzheimer Walk Saturday, May 7, at the Plains at Parish Homestead.  (Other photo, A3)

Fox Facilities Study May Turn Double Rooms To Singles

On National Hospital Week, Remillard Lists Benefits Of Affiliation


Fox Hospital – the main hospital and facilities around Oneonta – will be meeting the 21st century in the next few months.
In collaboration with Bassett Healthcare – the two organizations affiliated 18 months ago – an architect will be selected and work will begin on a master facility plan, Fox President/CEO John Remillard said in an interview to mark National Hospital Week, May 16-22.
“We need to modernize certain parts of the hospital,” he said.  “This is the first step.”
A prime area of focus, said the executive, is that most of Fox’s 100 certified beds are in double rooms, and the idea would be to create singles.  “There are a whole host of reasons to do that,” he said, including privacy, limiting infection and accommodating patients’ families.
In a wide-ranging discussion, Remillard expressed satisfaction that the collaboration of Fox and the Bassett system have improved offerings to local patients and put the Oneonta hospital in a stronger position as it faces the future.
In cancer treatment, for instance: With the retirement of Fox’s oncologist, Bassett doctors Yoshiro Matsuo and James Leonardo, and nurse practitioner Patty Jacob opened a branch of the Bassett Cancer Institute at the FoxCare Center on Route 7, providing radiation and chemotherapy under the same roof.  Dr. Timothy Campbell, Bassett Hospital’s chief of Radiation Oncology, is also seeing patients locally.
In orthopedics, a husband and wife team, surgeons Tally Lassiter Jr. and Jocelyn Wittstein, were recruited out of Duke University Hospital, joining Drs. James Elting, Michael Diaz and Richard Sternberg in offering treatment at FoxCare.  Previously, an orthopedic doctor from the Binghamton area had been serving Fox patients parttime.
With Baby Boomers aging and the amount of athletics at the local colleges, this – hip and shoulder replacements, as well as broken bones – this is becoming a particularly critical specialty.
“This would have been very difficult for us to do by ourselves,” said Remillard, “because of the tremendous challenges of physician recruitment.”
While Fox, a century-old institution, had sought for years to maintain its independence, Remillard said the hospital trustees could see that, with health-care reform coming, affiliating with its larger Cooperstown-based neighbor put the Oneonta hospital in “a much better position” to face the challenges ahead.
In providing health coverage for “50 million people who don’t have it,” payments to doctors and hospitals will have to be cut at some point.  “That’s the simple story,” Remillard said.  “We will be treating more people, but we will be paid less.”
The model of the future is “Accountable Care Organizations,” which will receive lump-sum payments that can be spent more cost-effectively in a larger entity – the federal government defines an ACO as serving at least 5,000 patients a year.
The public sometimes forgets, Remillard said at another point, what a “huge engine for the local economy” Fox is.  Employing 950 people, it is routinely one of the top three local employers.  Bassett is always first, and Fox and SUNY Oneonta go back and forth on second and third.
“People don’t realize how much staff it takes to staff a 24-7 operation,” he said.
Remillard, a native of Peru, near Plattsburgh, came to Fox via Lemoyne – he majored in accounting; he later received a master’s in health-care administration at Sage College – and the state Health Department.
“Hospital work is noble work,” he said, describing what drew him to his career.  “You get to do something very good for the community.”
Yes, there are problems and complaints, “but I get a lot more letters from people thanking me for the kind care they received here.  It’s a privilege to be part of the team of people who work here.”
The next afternoon, the executive planned to present the annual Susan Remillard Awards, scholarships to nursing students in honor of his late wife, who came down with cancer soon after the family arrived in the city 22 years ago and passed away at age 39.

Job Tough, But New Chief Has Had Worse Challenge

Wife Safe Again After 2-Year Fight With Deadly Threat


At the start of 2009, Gary O’Neill’s wife Trish began to feel pretty bad.
Referred to a New York City hospital, the couple learned her liver was failing, but that she was ineligible for a transplant.  After several harrowing hours, the hospital was convinced to give her that life-saving procedure.
“Her second ‘liver-versary’ was February of this year,” Oneonta’s interim police chief, who completes his second week “pouring oil on the waters” Friday, May 13, said in an introductory interview in his windowless office at 81 Main St.
The former Endicott police chief and Broome County undersheriff was brought to the City of the Hills for what many might consider a tough job – interim chief, to maintain stability after the turmoil of a police-brutality case that triggered  the resignation of Chief Joseph V. Redmond in mid-April. 
To O’Neill, though, there’s no comparison the experience he and Trish went through together.
“My goal is to show them” – his officers – “what I’m all about,” said O’Neill, who has a warm smile, but quickly settles into the brisk manner of a military man. “Once they recognize that, they’re going to get along with me fine.”
The top goal for a position he may hold for a year or more is to help OPD become an accredited police department, a designation conferred by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services once an entity has shown proficiency in 240 categories.
Mayor Dick Miller asked him to make that a priority.
When O’Neill was a lieutenant there in 1994, Endicott’s police department became the first in the Southern Tier to win accreditation, so he’s experienced the process from the ground up. 
An added bonus of accreditation, the chief said, is that DCJS auditors will return every five years to ensure the department is still performing up to standards.
That’s the umbrella concept for an action plan that includes: one,  training; two, “proving we are a professional police department,” and three, “making sure we don’t get our noses dirty again.”
That said, “you don’t change for the sake of change.”  He’s been reviewing the OPD’s policies and procedures, finds them sound, and intends to make sure everyone’s going by the book they’re familiar with.
Gary O’Neill was raised in Endicott, the one son in a Catholic family that included three girls.  “If I picked on my sisters too much, I got swatted,” he remembered, adding of his upbringing, “You respected people – and you called them ‘sir’.”
By the time he was a junior at Binghamton’s Catholic Central High School, he knew he wanted to be a policeman, and he joined the swim team to get in top shape by graduation.  His goal: “to help people.”
In 1974, he joined the Endicott police as a patrolman – starting salary, $8,900 – and over the next 30 years rose to patrol sergeant, detective, patrol lieutenant, detective lieutenant, captain and, for his final four years, chief.
He retired in 2004, joining the Broome County Sheriff’s Department as undersheriff.  He ran for sheriff in 2010; unsuccessfully, to his relief by the end of the campaign:  “Even I was sick of my commercial.”
Thinking back on his career, that night comes to mind when he was called to an apartment by a neighbor’s complaint of a loud party.
He knocked.  “The door’s unlocked.  Come on in,” said a voice behind the door.
“When I opened the door, I heard him ratchet a shotgun.”  O’Neill ordered the man sharply, with a voice of command, to drop his gun.  “I could have taken a shot; but he dropped his gun.”
No time to reflect.  He only had a split second to make a decision.  What did he learn?  “That my training was pretty good,” said the lawman.
During those years, he and Trish raised two children.  Daughter Ellen Saunders and her husband, Joe, live in Owego with their twin sons, Luke and Levi.  Jared, daughter-in-law Valerie and granddaughter Evelyn live in Johnson City.
He hadn’t seen the letters of recommendation Mayor Miller received, and didn’t know that State Police Maj. Kevin Molinari and others had praised O’Neill for the ability to “make tough decisions.”
“I’ve had to fire officers,” he allowed, with a bit of a pained expression.  “If a decision has to be made, it has to be made.”
That said, O’Neill said his first impression is that OPD “is operating correctly.  It’s not doing anything illegal.”
His approach, the new chief said, has been to support his officers, unless it can be shown they have breached that trust.  Then he has acted on that understanding.  And he intends to do that here.
And he encourages Oneontans, “If anyone has any questions, please call.  It’s easy to get in touch with me.  We will explain what we can legally explain.”

Students’ Shale On TIME Cover

SUNY students Chris Keefe, left, and Joey Krikorian provided the shale that appeared on TIME’s cover April 4.

For many college students, researching for a class is something they try to get out of.  For SUNY Oneonta geology majors Joey Krikorian and Chris Keefe, it’s what they look forward to, but they never thought it would get them on the cover of TIME magazine.
For two years, Krikorian and Keefe, have been exploring the potential for trace metals to leach if Marcellus Shale drill cuttings are exposed to rain, according to Dr. James Ebert, Geology Department chair.
In late March, their project adviser, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences Dr. Devin Castendyk, received a phone call from Time magazine asking for samples of the Marcellus Shale for a photo shoot that would be used in a special story on the Marcellus.
“Unsatisfied with the samples they had on hand,” Ebert continued, “Joey and Chris dropped what they were doing, drove back to Cherry Valley, and collected a new sample which they gave to the Time photographer Jeff Riedel. 
“On April 11, Joey and Chris’s rock sampled appeared on the front cover of Time magazine.”
“People seem to think that shale is a “dangerous” rock,” Keefe explained.  “But a granite countertop has only slightly less radioactivity than black shale.”
Their abstract on the drill cuttings was published with the Geological Society of America, and their findings were presented as a poster at GSA’s regional meeting in Baltimore in March 2010.  The Students Traveling for Excellence Program funded their trip to present at the GSA’s national meeting in Denver, Colo.
They were both adamant in admitting that their research was not a definitive answer to the fracking argument.  “There needs to be more research,” Krikorian insisted. 

Opportunities for Otsego Marks 45th Anniversary, Honors ISD


Ron Ranc, president of ISD (Information Systems Division, Inc.), thanks Opportunities for Otsego and his staff on ISD being honored Saturday, May 7, at OFO’s 45th anniversary Sapphire Gala at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom.  Others are, from left, OFO President Dan Maskin, ISD Vice President Roxanna Hurlburt and OFO Chief Operating Officer Gary Herzig.  (Laurie Zimniewicz is in the foreground.)

Brian and Pat Levis cut the rug to the music of the Blues Maneuver at OFO’s 45th anniversary gala. In the band are, from left, Ira MacIntosh (guitar) John Heney (bass) David Krajicek (trombone) John Kincheloe (drums) and  Rebecca Harrington (sax).  Not pictured are Jesse Cohen (guitar) and Kristina Johnson (sax).

OFO Board Member Ana Vendemmia helps herself at the dessert buffet while Charlie and Melissa Nicosia wait their turn.



In honor of Arbor Day, the city Environmental Board Friday, April 29, planted a Norway Maple along in the field next to the Swart Wilcox House.  The planting occurred through the Tree City USA program, which has planted 200 trees in the Oneonta area in the past five years.  Turning spades are, from left, Deputy Mayor Mike Lynch, Dale Burrington of the Environmental Board, Eric Burton of the city Engineering Department, and Environmental Board chair David Hutchinson.



Despite wind and overcast skies, these youngsters and their families came together in Neahwa Park Saturday, April 23, to play with a giant inflatable Earth. Organizer Ben Guenther, owner of Five-Star Subaru, staged the event for a commercial he is having filmed.



Linda Gilmore watches Jared Miller of Prolifiq put the finishing touches banners that will hang on telephone poles along River Street by summer’s end, celebrating life in the Sixth Ward.

OCCS: A Beautiful Mosaic Of Heart, Purpose

Pausing to pray at the end of a program Wednesday, April 26, at Oneonta Community Christian School are, from left, Olivia Hilgers, Frances Hanbridge, Kaylin Hastings, Joseph D’Amico, Owen Naples and Kaili Youngs.

We recently learned of the closing of St. Mary’s School in Oneonta, and are sincerely grieved for the families and staff. 
Having been born and raised in Oneonta, the parochial school has always been a part of the tradition and heritage that parents could opt for in educating their children.  Many of my closest friends at Oneonta High School joined us after completing eighth grade at St. Mary’s.   It is truly unfortunate that our community now has one less choice for uniquely educating our children. 
Parents are left with the dilemma of “what now?”  For the uninitiated, attending a small private school is more than an academic experience.  The students, parents and teachers bond and become an extended family.  A break-up of the “family” causes much sadness and pain, as it does when any other relationship dissolves.     
As the administrator/principal of a small private Christian school, I would like to address the need for educational choices.  School is not a “one size fits all” kind of experience. 
I have many friends who teach in the public schools, and they are excellent educators.  Public education has a long-standing history that has served well for many. 
However, education is changing.  Parents need to know there are quality alternatives. This letter is a personal invitation to parents in our community to explore the positive possibilities for your children at Oneonta Community Christian School.
The Christian school is more than an academic institution, thus the “family” metaphor seems most appropriate.  There is a collective sense of purpose, values, morals and spiritual foundation.  Our unique culture at OCCS enhances our student’s preparation for life after graduation. 
With a Biblical worldview, we seek to help each student identify their God-given gifts and abilities, and how to apply them. 
As a little girl, I remember a plaque in my grandmother’s kitchen that read:  “What we are is God’s gift to us.  What we become is our gift back to God.”  Civic responsibility, college, future careers, occupations, family life, missions, ministry work and service within the community are essential components of education. 
OCCS includes Pre-K through 12th grade.  Registration with the State of New York insures that the tenants of our curriculum comply with state requirements for high-school graduation.  Additionally, two years of Latin, SAT prep classes, and Middle States-accredited college courses with adjuncts from Davis College, Johnson City, help our students to be well prepared for college.  Serious attention to curriculum development (scope and sequence), the differentiation of each child’s learning style and speed of development are personalized in a small school setting. 
The successful student needs a spiritual foundation coupled with the pedagogy of a professional staff, and a supportive home life.   In addition to academic excellence in the traditional subjects, priority is given to prayer and learning to seek Godly wisdom.   We encourage parental involvement in the classroom and with special projects.  The annual Christmas drama, filled with musical and artistic talent, is often orchestrated by gifted parents.  I love to remind moms and dads: “You are the main educators of your children!  We just fill in the gaps.”
      On a larger scale, a non-denominational Christian school represents community.  It is a beautiful mosaic of many different Christian denominations coming together with like hearts and purpose.  There is a sense of unity in the differences, as families pray together, share responsibilities and seek Christocentricity as the common denominator.
Communication, deferring to the preferences of others, and respecting one another go a long way in setting a positive  example for our young men and women.  We are a little school with a BIG mission. Our local area benefits first hand, as we seek to offer another educational option for the greater Oneonta community. 

Jane M. Cook is administrator/principal of Oneonta Community Christian School, 158 River St. She may be contacted at 432-0383.


Oneonta’s Wendell Lee is off the mark, en route to winning his heat in the 100-yard dash.

OHS’ Griffin Rule tied his personal best in the 1600.

OHS’ Beth Gollin is well ahead of the pack after only one lap in the 1600 at the Don Howard Invitational Saturday, May 7, at Cooperstown Central School.  She won easily.  The team was led by first-place performances from Gollin, Christie O’Connor, Jenn Jelic, Kim Scofield and the 1,600 relay amassing 136 points. Cooperstown and Cobleskill tied for second with 81 points.

Matt Coville warms up for the high jump.

Jeremiah Ford hands off to Will Reis, who ran the last lap of Cooperstown’s record setting win in the 1,600 relay.

CCS’ Will Reis, who won the 1600, and OHS’ Levi Anderson, who came in second, share the pain at the finish line.

to see more pictures of the event, see our facebook album -- coming soon!

Powerful OHS’ Record 13-1 Going Into Baseball Playoffs

Sports Editor

OHS’ Mike Giallanzo slides safely into third base during the Monday, May 9, win over Chenango Valley.

Oneonta baseball coach Joe Hughes repeats the mantra about 50 times a game.
“Pitching and defense, boys, pitching and defense.”
The Yellowjackets used just that to secure not only their 12th win in a row, but also a share of first place in the STAC’s East Division, with a 3-2 victory at previously undefeated Chenango Valley Monday evening, May 9.
“That’s what has been carrying us all year,” said Hughes. “We can hit a little bit too, but our pitching and defense has been the key.”
OHS (13-1 overall) has done without 6-foot-4 southpaw Mike Calkins for most of the season because of injury, but he came up big on Monday, hurling a complete game. Calkins had only pitched nine innings the entire season up to that point.
The Yellowjackets’ defense came through when needed as well. With runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, third baseman Sean Getman turned a double play after backhanding a grounder, stepping on third and throwing to first in time for the out.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Calkins started another double play after fielding a grounder back to the mound. Calkins struck out five and walked three.
Another trio of juniors have also been key to Oneonta’s success on the hill this season.
Sean Getman is 4-0, Connor Youngs is 4-1 and Nick Giallanzo had 14 strikeouts in one game earlier this year.
“With sectionals coming up, having four guys who you trust in a big game is a big advantage for us,” Hughes said.
Oneonta jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, with the big hit a Mike Giallanzo double to the right field fence in the top of third inning. The Warriors plated their two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Calkins retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh, Oneonta leadoff man Chris Pindar led off with a long double to right-center field and moved to third on a bunt, but was stranded there.
“Chris has done a great job of igniting out offense this season,” Hughes said. “We’re lucky that we have a group of guys who love the game and work at it. Most of them played varsity baseball as sophomores, and now they’re coming into their own this year.”
The Yellowjackets have two games remaining in the regular season, while CV has three. If they both win out, they will meet in a one game playoff on Saturday at a time and place to be determined to decide the league champion.
“If they (Chenango Valley) want to lose one that would be fine with us,” Hughes joked.
STAC playoffs begin next week.

Community Bank President Visits, Surprising Customers


Cooperstown Friday, May 6, Community Bank President/CEO Mark Tryniski, left, pops a pizza into the oven at Sal’s on Main Street.  Next to Tryniski is Joe Sutaris, the bank’s Oneonta-based regional executive, and proprietors John and Sal Grigoli.

If you’re in business, every once in a while your banker may stop by.  But your bank’s president?
So you can imagine that proprietors Sal and John Grigoli were a bit surprised when Mark Tryniski stopped by Sal’s Pizza Friday, May 6, with his hand outstretched.
Tryniski, president/CEO of the Dewitt-based Community Bank, which bought Wilber Bank in April, was in Otsego County for the day, touring his new branches with Joe Sutaris, his Oneonta-based regional executive.
Sipping a Coke and munching on a slice, the executive said the transition from Wilber to Community – it involved changing 500 signs over the weekend and shifting computer systems – went off with few hitches.
That was partly due to intense training in advance of the shift, and partly to a “buddy system” – a Community veteran was posted in Wilber branches to help Wilber’s former employees with new procedures in the interim.
A big part of that training was in customer service, said Tryniski.  Lots of companies give lip service to that concept, he continued, but Community’s efforts caused Forbes to rank it the seventh-best bank in the nation two years in a row.  J.D. Powers put Community on its Top 10 list for three of the last five years.
When the merger happened, the executive continued, Community happened to be offering higher CD rates than Wilber.  The buyer didn’t have to, but immediately raised former Wilber customers to the higher level.
Plus, the new customers receive free checking – “completely” free checking, Tryniski emphasized – and access to more extensive Internet-banking and cash-management systems.
Local customers may also notice that branch managers such as Cooperstown’s Janice Eichler will have broader authority to approve loans.  “In our system, we expect them to function as bank presidents in their towns,” the president said.
As it happens, Community Bank was founded about the same time as Wilber, 150 years ago, and expanded through a “combination of organic growth and high-value mergers with other banks,” Tryniski said.
“Wilber was not the largest in branches,” he continued.  “But the largest in terms of deposits and assets.”
While Community is not among the mega-banks, it is 130th among the nation’s 8,000 community banks which, plotted, would result in a graph that looks like a barbell, Tryniski said:  Big banks at one end, small banks at the other, and banks like Community in the middle.
Wilber had 250 employees; Community has 2,000.
With the increase in bank regulation – mortgages use to require a stack of forms about an inch thick; now, it’s 6 inches, he said – “you’re going to see more and more smaller banks looking for alternatives.”
A native of Fulton, Tryniski received an accounting degree from SUNY Oswego and spent 18 years with Price Waterhouse’s Syracuse office before joining Community as CFO in 2003, winning promotion to the top job three years later.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Prime 289’s A Dream Come True

Co-Proprietors Zummo, Origoni Have Been Talking About It For Years


Walk into Prime 289 through the floor-to-ceiling glass entryway, and the impact is immediate.
It’s the circular dining booth, right in front of you, its round back 6-7 feet tall, something you’d expect to see in a Fred Astaire movie from New York City’s cabaret days of the 1930s.
In short, very neat.  Unique to these parts, certainly.
“We call it the coliseum,” said co-proprietor David Zummo on a tour of the “Chop House & Wine Bar” a few days after it opened in mid-April. 
The place had been packed every night. As your eyes get used to the dim coziness, they begin to wander.  White tablecloths and napkins.  Christine Alexander’s bright paintings enliven the exposed brick walls.
The brown-leather-backed chairs and booths were custom made in Connecticut for Zummo and his business partner, Adrian Origoni.  Greg Emerson, a craftsman with the Twelve Tribes, then echoed the simple floral pattern in the ironwork railings.
The heavy front door is built of vintage wood from an old barn, and the hammered metal handle has a Medieval feel, suggesting feasting is going on inside.  The sharp black iron-trimmed vertical windows were fabricated in Pennsylvania.
Zummo, proprietor of the popular Latte Lounge, and Origoni, who owns the Sip & Sail Tavern on Water Street, have been in the restaurant biz for decades, but Prime 289 – it is actually at 291 Main St., across from City Hall – is something both men have aspired to for years.
Zummo ticked off feature:  “Quality space, quality ingredients, a real quality staff.”
“We did not want to cut corners anywhere,” said Origoni.
Let’s get to what it’s all about:  the food.
If Zummo were a first-time customer, he’d order the 18-ounce boneless New York Strip.  Origoni is partial to the 22-ounce bone-in Delmonico.  Both prime cuts, of course.
For starters, both would go with the Tuna Tartare, “ahi tuna, roma tomatoes, fresh avocado, sprouts, horseradish sauce, balsamic glaze.” Yum.
For dessert?  The cheesecake – or rather, Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Raspberry Gelato – said Zummo.  Wines?  Origoni is enthusiastic about the  Wild Horse selections from California.
Of course, that just scratches the surface.  There’s fish – Cedar Plank Salmon, with sesame and orange ginger relish, plus.   Salads – roast beet and asparagus, among others.  Appetizers – Chesapeake-style Crab Cakes.  And many more “sinful” desserts.
Zummo, an Oneonta native and graduate of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), got his first experience in the restaurant trade washing dishes locally at What’s Your Beef.
Returning home from a stint in Atlanta, he was involved with Marty Payton in launching The Farmhouse in Emmons, and also in the start of the Ponderosa.  He bought the Magic Bean in December 2003, ran it for two days, closed it for renovations, and reopened it as the Latte Lounge that January.
Origoni was born in South America and raised in Roxbury, entering the business in the banquet trade at the former Cathedral Farms, now Cooperstown All Star Village in West Oneonta.  He was head chef and manager at Sabatini’s before buying the Sip & Sail, the Water Street bar.
“Adrian was a customer of mine and I was a customer of his,” said Zummo, and the two learned they shared a dream.  For a couple of years now, they’ve been scouting out properties as they became available.
291 Main is the former Sego Cafe, and the two had looked at it a couple of times.
On Friday, the phone rang.  “I need to know by Monday,” said Rick Weinberg, the building’s owner.
“I called Adrian,” said Zummo, “and he said, ‘Why not?’”
And so they did.

Prime 289, Main Street, Oneonta.  Reservations, call 353-7032.  Check offers at

1 Dietz St. Also In For Restoration


Elise Johnson-Schmidt, the architect for Klugo Enterprises, Cortland, tells Common Council of plans to rehab Bresee’s into apartments and commercial spaces.  From left are Aldermen Kevin Honde, Lizbeth Shannon, and Madolyn Palmer, Mayor Dick Miller, and Aldermen Michael Lynch, Jr., and Paul Robinson.

Bresee’s is back on the fast-track to rebirth.
And it’s not just the former department store.
“This project is about breathing new life into downtown Oneonta,” architect Elise Johnson-Schmidt declared at a press conference Tuesday evening, May 3, in Common Council chambers.
The principal of Johnson-Schmidt & Associates was describing her anticipated outcome of her firm’s association with Klugo Enterprises of Cortland.
Doug Gulloty, Otsego County Development Corp. president, had just announced that Klugo had been awarded the contract to complete renovations of the downtown landmark and, additionally, yellow-brick 1 Deitz St., adjacent to the property.
Work is due to begin on Jan. 1.
The plan will create commercial space on the first floor, and apartments above – five two bedrooms and 10 one-bedrooms – on the second, third and fourth floors.
In particular, the proposal raves about “the delightful fourth floor, (which) would be rehabilitated to capture its special character.  Windows were nicely preserved due to the benefit of a Moderne facade protecting its historic fabric – and would be restored.”
Additionally, six apartments, or five apartments and commercial space, are planned in what’s being called the Deitz Building.
OCDC assumed ownership of the former Bresee’s from the city in 2007, with the intent to have it redeveloped.  To date, almost $4 million has been received in state grants to stabilize the property and bring redevelopment costs down to the point that it would be financial viable with market-rate housing.
A firm from Cincinnati, Ohio, Bloomfield/Schon, which had done work in Ithaca, was hired in 2008, but dropped out of the project in 2010, citing concerns about the economic dip.
OCDC had solicited new proposals, narrowed the candidates to five, and Klugo is the choice.
The company’s owner, Chip Klugo, was at the press conference, and said, “I saw the opportunity to turn a space in Oneonta into something fabulous.”
He said he doesn’t anticipate a quick return: “My commitment to the city will be my investment.  My value is at the end, not at the beginning.”
Klugo asked anyone whose has photos of Bresee’s in the old days to share them with him, to ensure the result is as historically exact as possible.
For years, Johnson-Schmidt was downtown manager in Corning during its revitalization, so is intimately familiar with the challenges being faced here.

This is Klugo Enterprises’ vision of the completed Bresee’s.

Pacherille Pleads Guilty In Shooting, But Not To Hate Crime


Amanda Hoepker/
The Freeman’s Journal
Anthony Pacherille, 17, is led to the van that carried him back to Otsego County Jail after he entered a guilty plea.

After pleading guilty to attempted murder – in the end, not as a hate crime – in last year’s Good Friday shooting, Anthony N. Pacherille, 17, will return to Otsego County Court at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 22, to learn his fate.
Appearing before Judge Brian D. Burns Friday, April 29, at a hearing punctuated with drama, the teen pleaded guilty to a single charge for the attempted murder of classmate Wesley M. Lippitt in the second degree.
The plea Pacherille agreed to with District Attorney John Muehl would send him to state prison for 11 years, followed by five years of post-release supervision.  With time served and good behavior, he could be home in eight years, when he is 25.
On Friday, April 2, 2010 – Good Friday – Pacherille discharged two rounds from a .22-caliber rifle at Lippitt, who was struck in the arm by one round. The other round missed Lippitt but came close to hitting Cooperstown Police Officer Jim Cox. Pacherille then fired a third bullet into his chin; it lodged behind his eye, centimeters from what would have been a fatal spot. 
The shootings occurred in front of the glass window of the Cooperstown police station in the lower level of the Village Hall, where Lippitt had fled from Pacherille after he was chased from nearby Cooper Park, where the encounter began.
Pacherille had been charged with second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, but the hate-crime component, which could have had Pacherille serving up to 25 years, was dropped.  However, Muehl required Pacherille to say on the stand that he chose to shoot Lippitt because he was black.
The three-page, hand-written suicide note, which included derogatory references to several races, was not read aloud.  However, it became part of the court record and copies were provided to the Lippitt family and members of the media.
Responding to a series of questions from Judge Burns, Pacherille said he intended that day to “shoot myself and someone else.” Twice, Pacherille stated he chose to shoot Lippitt “because he was an African-American.”
Pacherille asked the judge to repeat questions several times and also occasionally consulted with his lawyer, E. Stuart Jones of Troy, before answering, “Yes, your honor,” or, “No, your honor.”
The hearing, which had been scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., was not called until 2:08 p.m. It concluded at 2:38 p.m. The Pacherille case was delayed as the court heard other matters and allowed time for consultations regarding last-minute refinements to the plea agreement.
Pacherille’s guilty plea forestalls what may have been a lengthy trial, scheduled to commence on May 23. Otsego County officials were about to issue jury summonses to 300 county residents, and weeks of court time had been set aside for the trial.
From Pacherille’s standpoint, by pleading guilty, he avoids the possibility of receiving a substantially longer sentence, particularly if convicted of a hate crime.  However, the defendant’s father, Tony Pacherille, that evening characterized the plea bargain as “extortion,” and would use it as the basis of an appeal.
According to the father, Burns summoned the son and his lawyer to a conference Tuesday, April 26, where he pointed out that, even if found not guilty by reason of insanity, the boy could find himself in the state psychiatric system, perhaps for life.  He said any plea agreement must be completed by Thursday, April 28.
That, said the father, amounted to coercion.  He added that community leaders had encouraged the plea deal so a racially charged trial would not be under way when the tourism season began.
The judge said that, due to constraints under which he must operate, he was unable to comment.  However, the district attorney in an interview denied any coercion and said tourism influenced the case in no way.  He said the judge had to convene 300 potential jurors by that Friday and, if he did, the trial would then go forward.
The courtroom’s spectator area filled up to near-capacity by 1 p.m.,  Eventually, more than 100 persons were seated on the pew-like benches which roughly divide the stained-glass main courtroom into two sectors.
Members of the Pacherille family and many of their supporters sat in the spectator area behind the defense counsel’s desk, where Pacherille and his lawyer were sitting. Seated with the Pacherille family was Father John P. Rosson, pastor of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Catholic Church, an adherent of his young parishioner’s innocence.
Earlier, as their son
was brought from the Otsego County Jail to the courthouse at 12:50 p.m., Pacherille’s parents and several relatives and friends stood waiting near the entry to the building for security officers to admit members of the public.
As correctional guards escorted their son to the entrance, dressed in a horizontally striped jail jumpsuit, shackled and handcuffed, with his head bowed.  The defendant’s father called out, “Be strong, Anthony.” A woman in the group also called out, “Say hello to your mother,” as the prisoner was led through the door.
The Lippitt family, including Wesley, took seats in the spectator area behind prosecutor John Muehl’s desk. Cooperstown Police Chief Diana Nicols was also present and a number of Wes’ CCS classmates were seated directly behind Lippitt and his parents.
As the hearing began, Judge Burns warned spectators that outbursts or disruption by spectators during the proceeding would not be tolerated.
At the judge’s invitation, prosecutor Muehl described a taped telephone conversation that took place the night before, where Pacherille’s father, a lawyer, instructed his son in what the D.A. characterized as a plan to disrupt, and potentially nullify, the results of the hearing.
(The father said later that he indeed called his son in prison, and knew the conversation was being taped, but did so out of concern that the son’s lawyer might have agreed to concessions that would not be in his son’s best interests.  His concern was prompted by an erroneous report on Thursday afternoon – repeated in the print edition the next morning – that the teen had agreed to plead to a hate crime.  If that appeared to be happening, the father intended to signal the son to declare he was firing his lawyer, which would have ended the hearing.)
Judge Burns then reiterated his warnings regarding court decorum, speaking directly to the father and to other members of the Pacherille family and their supporters.
Minutes later, as Judge Burns questioned the defendant regarding his intentions on Friday, April 2, 2010, a voice from the Pacherille section was heard saying, “It’s a lie.” The statement was repeated three times by the same person. Other members seated in the Pacherille section were heard muttering and there were sounds of crying.
County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin approached the seating area and reported to Judge Burns, “I can take the whole row out,” referring to the Pacherilles. In the end, only one man – an uncle – was escorted from the room and the judge allowed the others to remain, including the defendant’s father. No further interruptions occurred. 
As part of the plea agreement, Pacherille agreed to waive his rights to appeal. However, by statute in New York, there are only three reason to appeal a plea:  “ineffective counsel,” “an involuntary plea” or the “imposition of an illegal sentence.”  The appeal must be made within 30 days of sentencing.
Muehl said he settled on the 11-year proposal only after serious soul-searching.  If he sought the 20+ years a hate-crime conviction could trigger, Anthony would be incarcerated until his mid-30s.  In eight years, he would be in his mid-20s, young enough to fit in at college and begin to rebuild his life, the prosecutor said.

City of The Hills

Community Bank’s CEO Plans Visit

Mark E. Tryniski, president & chief executive officer of Dewitt-based Community Bank, was expected to be in Otsego County Friday, May 6. Tryniski was planning to visit former Wilber Bank branches which were purchased by Community last month. He joined Community in 2003 as CFO.


SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher was expected back at the Oneonta campus as featured speaker during the 2011 Conference on Instruction & Technology (CIT), Tuesday-Friday, May 24-27.


The Otsego County Chamber’s next Networking Luncheon is Wednesday, May 18, at SUNY Oneonta.

Oneonta’s Allie Baker has the climbing skills of a spider-monkey as she scales a giant inflatable Moai head provided by Fly-By-Night Entertainment in Muller Plaza during OH Fest Saturday, April 30, which brought hundreds of revellers downtown and into Neahwa Park for music and fun.

Strings Featured At Final Concert Of OCA Season

The String Orchestra of New York City – describes itself as “no conductor, no bow ties, just strings” – will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 14, at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union, the final concert of Oneonta Concert Association’s 2010-11 season.
The concert is free to subscribers to the OCA’s 2011 season.  The association’s subscription drive is now underway.
Now in its 12th season, SONYC has established itself as one of the leading young ensembles in New York City, with regular performances at Merkin Concert Hall and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. SONYC members rehearse collaboratively, allowing each musician to have an impact.



Doreen Sosa, a recently retired Center Street School teacher, had no idea she was receiving the Trailblazer Award for Career Achiever for 2011 when she was invited to City Hall on Tuesday night, May 3.  Her work included developing first- and second-grade “looping” teaching programs, as well as choral reading programs that showed how singing could help youngsters read better.  Despite her retirement, she still substitute teaches at the school she loves.   Students who came to see their former teacher honored are, from left, Nate Kuhlmann (Grade 3), Lennon Gelbsmann (Grade 4) and Emily Kuhlmann (Grade 6). Presented annually by the Oneonta Commission on Community Relations & Human Rights, the Trailblazer recognizes women who demonstrate outstanding achievement, enhancing the visibility and stature of women.


Alderwoman Veronica Diver presented “Shake It Up, Shake It Out:  Unleashing Your Inner Calm” on Saturday, April 30, at the District 65 Spring Toastmasters Conference held in Syracuse.  A member of Toastmasters since 2003, Diver is an award-winning competitive speaker and sought-after presenter.

Sweeney, Johnson Offered City Firefighting Jobs

Common Council Tuesday, May 3, offered firefighting positions to Kevin Sweeney and J. Erik Johnson, pending satisfactory completion of Civil Service requirements.
Additionally, George Palladino was named to the Environmental Board to serve out Rudy Laguna’s unexpired term.

Chancellor’s Awards Given To 3 At SUNY

A member of the faculty, a member of the professional staff, and a member of the classified service staff at SUNY Oneonta will receive 2011 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.

They are:
• Devin Castendyk, assistant earth sciences professor, for Excellence in Teaching.
• Lynda Bassette, director of special programs, for Excellence in Professional Service.
• Donna Baker, Creative Media Services secretary, in  Classified Service.

A hydro-geologist, Dr. Castendyk teaches courses for the Water Resources major in the Earth Sciences Department at SUNY Oneonta. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College.
Ms. Bassette has served as director of the college’s Educational Opportunity Program since 2002. She holds a master’s degree in English from the University at Albany and a bachelor’s degree from Hartwick.
Donna Baker began her career as a cleaner before becoming the secretary to the director of the Instructional Resource Center.

Ahlqvist, Austin Cudmore Expand Newpapers’ Reach

Seeking to expand its service to the Otsego County community, Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal this week adds a sports editor, photographer and reporter to its editorial effort.
They are Eric Ahlqvist, Ian Austin and Libby Cudmore respectively.
“Without community support, this simply wouldn’t have been possible,” said Bill Reeves, Hometown Oneonta publisher.
“We thank Cooperstown for its enduring commitment to one of the country’s oldest newspapers, and Oneonta for embracing one of the youngest,” added Jim Kevlin, editor of both papers and Freeman’s Journal publisher.
Eric Ahlqvist, after graduating from Hartwick College in 1990, worked for the Daily Star and Cooperstown Crier until February.  During his tenure with the newspapers, he won five New York State Press Association Awards for sports writing.
He has been a familiar presence on both the Oneonta and Cooperstown sports scenes, and has wide experience in covering local sports.
He lives in Laurens with his wife, Kelly, and daughter, Emily.
Ian Austin is a Oneonta artist, illustrator and photographer.  As a working artist, Ian has painted sets for The Oneonta Stage Players, Orpheus Theater and the SUNY Oneonta Theater Department, contributed drawings to the O-Town Scene, freelanced for the Daily Star and still finds time to manage the Oneonta Teen Center. 
He is a graduate of Sage college at Albany and The School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he studied graphic design and illustration.
Ian has been freelancing for Hometown Oneonta since he was observed climbing onto a roof to get pictures during the initial Bresees’ demolition.
Libby Cudmore’s stories and essays have been published in PANK, KneeJerk, The Postcard Press, Connotation Press, The Yalobusha Review, the MacGuffin, Criminal Class Review, The Midnight Diner (where she is also an editor) Crime Factory, Celebrities in Disgrace, Xenith and many other magazines.  
She was Long Story Short’s Author of the Year in 2004, wrote The Subway Chronicles Essay of the Year in 2004, was a 2005 Finalist for the Writers of the Future Award, a 2009 Bullet Award winner and a 2010 Derringer Award Finalist.
She attended Binghamton University.
Libby and Ian live in Oneonta with Bosco, The World’s Cutest Kitten.

Where’s Henry?


Editor’s Note:  “Where’s Henry?” by Jennifer Walsh was the winner of LEAF Inc’ poetry slam Friday, April 29, at UCCCA.

A loving mother,
the true definition of the word
a medic in the Air Force,
A conservative follower of our Lord

Full of beauty and honor,
Gambling her only vice!!!
It wasn’t until now I saw that gambling was her life…

Last year cancer stole her
From her kids and grandbabies
It’s strange how now after
I really learned of her disease

I remember coming home
to presents on our beds
I never thought how she got them
I was only a kid

As I grew older
my mind still naïve
She’d start sharing her secret
A new side of her I would see

OTB’s, tables, and games
This was how our surprises were won
Now I know what to blame,
For how she had become

We took trips to Turning Stone.
Starting out as so much fun.
The food, the luxury, and happiness,
But only if she won!!!

Jealously would strike her
as others nearby would win.
“I wanted that machine.”
As she punched in her pin.

Her fingers danced across the screen And she changed the lucky numbers.
“It helps my chances, you’ll see.”
As she awaited the result of the tumblers

$300 dollars she’d win
Thrice what she brought
She’d dwindle it down
Saying, “Just hold my spot!”

She’d check her accounts
No more funds to bet
A quick call to her husband
Would settle that debt

To her chair she’d return,
Sending us off to eat,
“I will meet you there soon,
If I leave now, I’m beat.”

Her temper would rise
as her money would fall
If we asked when we were leaving
The loss was OUR fault!

I remember her always saying,
“Just a little while longer,
I need to keep playing!”
In the van we could slumber

We’d be there til 1,
Sometimes 2 or 3.
We’d wish she were done,
We had school the next day!
I remember the good times
The times that she won
But mostly she would lose it all
And swear she were DONE

One time she promised
No more gambling, no frowns.
I was so proud of her
Until she confessed of Vernon Downs

The last weekend of her life
She requested a gambling trip
I was hesitant to take her
But it was for Isabel’s crib

So delicate and fragile,
She could not even walk
She finally shared a meal with me
By the end of the week she was gone.

She’d say she was sorry
For the money she’d lost
Call herself a loser
All this pain, at what cost?

Gambling would take her
From mother to monster
The things that she would say to us
While gambling we lost her

It seemed like she’d blackout
Once finished she’d return
The image and words stuck with us though
In our hearts and minds forever burned
She held the reigns
To forfeit her guilt
To overpower the pain
She just needed to quit!
So many memories of her,
Of her love, so pure and pristine.
But one that stands out the most
Is her and that damn “Where’s Henry” machine…

Please, Get Rid Of Those Absurb Prison Uniforms

If nothing else good comes out of the Anthony Pacherille case, can we at least get rid of those anachronistic black-and-white striped uniforms the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department reintroduced with the election of Sheriff Rich Devlin?
They are ridiculous and heart-sinking at the same time, bringing to mind both Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and mistreatment of prisoners, many black, in the Jim Crow South.
Previously, county inmates wore bright orange jumpsuits with “inmate” clearly marked on the back.  No one was in danger of mistaking anyone of them for Scouts.
Anyone of us who aspires to see Otsego County as a buoyant, forward-looking, problem-solving community must cringe every time a striped and shackled crew comes into view.
Most county jail inmates are local people, shorttermers who will be back among us in a few months.  Treating them with respect and consideration certainly is a more successful strategy then demeaning and humiliating them.
Let’s get with the 21st Century.

The poster from a Paul Muni movie from 1932 shows the black-and-white striped uniforms, the common garb for chain gangs in the South.

Amanda Hoepker/The Freeman’s Journal
Almost 80 years later, Anthony Pacherille and another inmate in the same black-and-white when led into Otsego County Court Friday, April 29.



Bert Blyleven, who with Roberto Alomar will be one of two players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at the end of July, made his orientation visit to Cooperstown Tuesday, May 3, to get prepped for the event.  Walking through the Hall of Plaques gave him “goosebumps,” the former pitching standout said.  Born in the Netherlands, he will be the “first Dutchman” in the Hall.

Outlaw Manager Returns For Year 2
The Oneonta Outlaws (NYCBL) have announced manager Greg Zackrison will return to lead the team in 2011 after guiding the Outlaws to a second best league record of 26-16, including a league best 18-4 at home and playoffs in 2010.
Zackrison also coached the Saratoga Phillies to a third place finish and playoffs in 2009 before the team’s relocation to Oneonta. Greg is presently an assistant coach at Massasoit Community College in Brockton Massachusetts.
Outlaws Co-Owner and Managing Partner Keith Rogers said, “Greg’s a leader and has the rare ability to get the most out of his players while keeping a fun, loose clubhouse.’’
The season begins in June.

Second Hartwick Hill Race Is Here
The second annual Hartwick Hill Race will be Saturday, May 7.
The Family Resource Network and the Hartwick College Fellowship of Christian Athletes have organized the race for the second year. Registration begins at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of Saxton Hall and the race begins at noon.
The route is from the base of the Hartwick College campus to Elmore Field at the top, where the Hartwick College men’s and women’s soccer teams will be hosting the EDD Fund Soccer Clinic for individuals with disabilities from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
Registration fee, $10. The fee for the Caterpillar Race (a team of four which runs the race tied together) is $40.  There are prizes for first, second and third place. There will also be a prize for the individual or team with the most spirit, inspired by last year’s Hobart Fire Department Bagpipers, who ran the race in their kilts.  An ice-cream social follows.
To pre-register, visit, call 432-0001 or e-mail

Hamm SUNY Oneonta Athlete of Week

Edmeston graduate and Oneonta State freshman Kori Hamm was named the school’s Athlete of the Week for the week ending May 1.
Hamm placed second in the triple jump for the women’s track and field team at the Lion’s Invitational hosted by the College of New Jersey this past Saturday.
Her hop, skip and jump of 37.27 feet automatically qualifies her for SUNYAC’s, ECAC’s and the NCAA provisional list. It was also her personal best on the 2011 outdoor season.

E-mail items for The Sports Beat to Eric Ahlqvist at

OHS’ O’Connor, Gollin Expected To Shine At Don Howard Invitational

By ERIC AHLQVIST - Sports Editor

With star power in Christie O’Connor and Beth Gollin, and balance throughout the team, head coach Dave Forbes and the Oneonta girls track team have their sights set on a second straight Don Howard Cooperstown Invitational title Saturday, May 7.
“Our goal is to win,” said Forbes. “I think we can balance our events well enough to score and win the title.”
The Yellowjackets boast two athletes who have posted section-best times this season in O’Connor and Gollin.
O’Connor’s 5-4 in the high jump is the area’s best, and Gollin, a five-year runner, has posted area-best times in both the 2,000 steeplechase and 3,000. Gollin has the area’s second-best time in the 400 hurdles.
Forbes said O’Connor suffered an injury in practice last week, but is expected to compete on Saturday. Cooperstown’s Lucy Ford (5-2) and Oneonta’s Brittnay Herrick (5-0) should give O’Connor competition. 
Gollin and O’Connor are two of just five seniors on the team of 35 this season.
Juniors Jenn Jelic (high hurdles, sprints) and Lauren Ward (400, sprints) are ones to watch, Forbes said, along with fellow junior Kim Scofield in the triple jump. Senior Kayleigh Ward is also a threat in the discus, Forbes said.
The Oneonta boys’ team lost 12 seniors to graduation, and most of this year’s team is comprised of freshman and sophomores, said fourth-year head coach Brady Cotter, a 1997 Milford graduate.
OHS senior Zach Rabeler and Cooperstown’s Will Reis could have the race of the day in the 800. Reis has recorded the best 800 time this season, but Rabeler is just one second behind.
“That should definitely be a race that should get the fans out of their seats,” said Cooperstown track coach Joe Kennedy.   
Cotter said junior Levi Anderson posted a personal best in the 1,600 at a meet last Friday, and freshmen Wendell lee and Mat Robinson “keep surprising him” in the sprint events.
The Yellowjackets are one of 11 teams scheduled to compete at the meet, which begins at 2 p.m. Host Cooperstown is the heavy favorite to win the title, paced by senior Alec Silvera, who won a gold medal in the 110 hurdles at last year’s state meet.
The Redskins won 12 of 17 events last season and amassed over 200 points in winning the title.
“It will be good for us to see that type of competition,” Cotter said. “This is when the season really gets going.”
Oneonta will host its own Invitational beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, May 6.