Thursday, February 17, 2011

CITY OF THE HILLS: One Chamber Acts, Second Contemplates

The Otsego County Chamber continues to study the issue, but the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce has issued a manifesto against natural-gas drilling as a threat to the local economy.
A 200-signature petition includes some Oneonta businesses.  (Details, A9)

WIRED! U.S. News & World Report has ranked Hartwick College #8 in the nation on its list of “Top 10 Most Wired Campuses.” The national average is .014 computers per student; Hartwick has 1.02  per student, the magazine said.

BEWARE:  Starting Wednesday, Feb. 16, talking on a cell phone while driving will carry a two-point penalty. The maximum fine will remain $100.

RECYCLE HERE: ISD has been approved as a DEC-certified recycling center for computer/electronic equipment, and is offering the service free to the community.  Take computers, keyboards, mice, VCRs, fax and copy machines and the like to 98 Chestnut St.

John Ryan of Oneonta spun an impressive yarn for the Beardoff championship Friday, Feb. 11, at the Autumn Cafe.  See more pictures on our Facebook page --> here!

Daddies, Daughters Dance, Dine

Paul Dahm, Oneonta, reties daughter Casie’s wrist corsage after spinning her around the dance floor.

For more pictures, and comments on the Daddy Daughter Dance, visit our facebook album!

Open House Jammed, But St. Mary’s Future Awaits New Students

It was quite a crowd in the cafeteria at St. Mary’s School during the open house Wednesday, Feb. 9.
“It was very successful; a good crowd,” said St. Mary’s Principal Patricia Bliss.
Ten families registered and toured the school, according to Bliss, but as of presstime Tuesday, Feb. 15, none had yet followed through with enrollment decisions.
The principal said she had also not heard from the 50-pupil Sacred Heart Home Schoolers, a local organization that had been conducting a Novena – a prayer for guidance – to determine if they should make common cause with the parochial school on Route 7.
The St. Mary’s School board had voted in December to ask the Diocese of Albany to consider closing the school, where enrollment had dropped to 50 students.  (The current drive is seeking to raise that number to 70.)
The diocesan school board was unwilling to make that recommendation to Bishop Howard Hubbard and asked the St. Mary’s board to reconsider by February.
With public interest piqued, the St. Mary’s board asked for an extension until March, and will be meeting March 8 to determine if there’s been sufficient response to warrant keeping St. Mary’s open, Bliss said.

Police Probe May Be Over In Few Weeks

2 Dust-Ups In One Year Convinced Mayor To Act


Mayor Dick Miller took office Jan. 1, 2010, at the tail end of a scandal in the Oneonta Police Department.
Three officers had been accused the summer before of engaging in improper relations with underage girls, and two of them had resigned; the third would do so in February.
During the fall campaign, candidate Miller had called for a broad investigation of the police department.  Once in office, he had second thoughts.
The police department had been understaffed when the scandal broke and in the months since had “taken a beating,” the mayor said in an interview in recent days.
“I thought if there were lessons to be learned, they had been learned,” said Miller, “and that an investigation at that time would be a demand on the OPD at a time they were going to be stressed otherwise because of a lack of manpower.
“I believe, in retrospect, that it was the right decision at that time,” the mayor said.
In September the department was back in the news, when Chief Joseph Redmond demanded an apology from City Judge Lucy Bernier, who had alerted his lieutenant when a public defender advised her that a suspect may have been mistreated during an arrest.  The involved officer later filed a complaint against the judge.
Miller said that second go-around was “completely unrelated,” and did not cause him to consider further steps.
But then, late last month, a suspect came forward and said he was punched repeatedly in the head by an officer after he was apprehended Jan. 28 while attempting to flee from a traffic stop.
This time, the mayor acted:  Joseph F. Loszynski, retired deputy superintendent, Internal Affairs Bureau, New York State Police, has been contracted to conduct a broad review of OPD.
The review, the mayor said in a statement Sunday, Feb. 5, “will be broad in nature with the Jan. 28 incident as a starting point.”
Why now?
Since taking office, the mayor said, the strains the department faced have been lifted: “They’ve returned to virtually full strength.  They’ve had plenty of opportunity to restore their credibility in the community and they have done so.”
So the allegations surfacing under the new stability called for a more in-depth look.
The mayor declined to discuss alternative outcomes, saying “the review has to be concluded before we speculate as to its outcome.”
However, he said it’s his hope the situation can be settled “in a matter of weeks.”


Kay Sanford arranged with the City of the Hills’ Sweet Adelines to surprise his wife, Sue, with a singing Valentine as she entered the Family YMCA at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 14, for her exercise class. The Sanfords, at center, are flanked by singers, from left, Flora Beth Cunningham, Pat Ashe, Joy Sanders, Karen Adolfson, Liz Moeller and Jan McGrath.

Dining For Women Plans Fundraiser

Call Linda Wilcox (433-2985) or Marilyn Helterline (432-5127) for information on this month’s Dining For Women finger-food potluck at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 12 Ford Ave.
This month the Oneonta chapter is supporting Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer (PINCC) and its work in El Salvador.  Bring food or a check.
Dining for Women raises money for programs that help Third World women.


Alexandra Henderson, 11, Oneonta, placed 5th in her age group in the required figures at the Synchronized Swim Invitational Meet Saturday, Feb. 5, at Hartwick College, plus first in solos for the 11-12 Intermediates. 

Other Oneonta’s K9 Saves The Day

The new K-9 in the Oneonta, Ala., police department, had only been on the job two days when it was credited in finding two lost boys Sunday, Feb. 13, in our city’s sister community.
Oneonta Police Chief James Chapman told reporters that two boys, ages 7 and 10, went missing around sunset near that town’s Palisades Park.
Oneonta officers and Blount County sheriff’s deputies started the search, but only when the new police dog arrived at the scene were the boys quickly found, safe and sound.

Eric Johnson’s Beard Judge ‘Mountainmanliest’

Eric Johnson won coveted Mountainmanliest honors at the Beardoff Friday, Feb. 10, at the Autumn Cafe.
Other top winners were Jeremy Wisnewski, most original, and Jack Sienkiewicz, least inspiring.
• Beard Category: Dave Moxley, first; Alex Sessions, second, and Blesson, third.
• Moustache Category: Taylor Jackson, first; Kate Koenig, second.
• “Other” Category:  John Ryan, first; Jeremy Wisnewski, second, and Lisa Ryther, third.

Beardoff just for men? Lisa Ryther, right, (who also created felt Beardoff buttons) donned a beard to compete with hubby Brian Ryther.

to see more pictures from this event, go to our facebook album page!

You Know You Live In Upstate New York...

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Upstate New York.
If “vacation” means going anywhere south of Harrisburg for the weekend, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you can drive 75 mph through two feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Upstate New York.
If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph – you’re going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Upstate New York.
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you know all four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Upstate New York.
If you find 10 degrees “a little chilly,” you may live in Upstate New York.
 If you actually understand these jokes, you definitely do live – or have lived – in Upstate New York.
Courtesy Dennis Jackubowicz,
Fly Creek

First-Year Expert Joins Hartwick College

Robin Diana has joined Hartwick College as director of the Office of the First-Year Experience, coming here from seven years at RIT, where she was involved in first-year programming.
Reporting to Michael G. Tannenbaum, provost and vice president, academic affairs, Diana will oversee the newly established Office.
She will help plan and coordinate orientation, Welcome Weekend, First-Year Seminars, and other elements of the freshman experience, including assessment of its effectiveness.
She earned a bachelor’s in communications at SUNY Brockport, and holds a master’s in student personnel administration from Buffalo State.
Before RIT, she held positions at University of Dayton, Hope College and SUNY Cortland, and as director of new-student and residential life programs at Buffalo State College.

SUNY Oneonta Poets Win Regional ‘Slam’

SUNY Oneonta’s Poetry Slam team won the Association of College Unions Internationals’ regional poetry slam competition Saturday, Feb. 5, at SUNY New Paltz.
Team members are Kristen Tomanocy, Mary Anne Rojas, Anny Miner, Vanessa Perillo, Jessica Bailey and 2010 Grand Slam Champion Mary Taibi.
The team earned a perfect score (30.0) for the multi-voice piece “Short Apology.”
This year’s team is coached by Dr. Richie Lee.

Mayors Aplenty Advise City Panel

It was an evening of mayors, and some illumination.
Mayors Richard Negri of Corning and John Tedesco of Elmira were in Oneonta Wednesday, Feb. 9, to share their experiences on bringing professionals to top levels of city administration.
They joined formers mayors John Nader and Kim Muller, who were in the audience at the panel discussion organized by the city Charter Revision Commission in the First UM Church hall.
Commission Chairman David Rissberger said of particular use was learning the differences between a city manager and city administrator, which the commission had considered equivalent.
The city manager, the panel advised, is the city’s CEO, who works daily, in many cases, with the elected mayor, but can only be hired or dismissed by the mayor and council.
Under a city-administrator form, the mayor is the CEO and the administrator serves as chief of staff, preparing budget and directing staff as the mayor wishes.
The commission is seeking to have a revised charter ready to by voted on in November.

Cooperstown Chamber Hits Fracking

Natural-gas drilling poses “a direct and material threat” to Otsego County’s business community, the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce has declared.
And in issuing its statement Monday, Feb. 14, it also released a list of almost 300 entities, including almost 200 Upstate businesses, many local, that have joined the chamber in declaring their opposition.
“Industrial-scale hydrofracking in the region will irreparably damage the essential qualities that make the Cooperstown area an excellent place to live, raise families, farm and work,” the statement reads.
“The issue for us is very simple: It’s about water,” said Ommegang President/CEO Simon Thorpe, who is also a Cooperstown Chamber director.  “If you want to have great beer, you have to have great water.”
Meanwhile, the Oneonta-based Otsego County Chamber is in the midst of its own process of assessing the issue, according to chamber President Rob Robinson.
Thorpe and Larry Bennett, Ommegang’s public relations director, appeared before that chamber’s Business Action Committee Jan. 27, as did Orville Cole, principal in Gastem Inc. of Montreal, which is drilling exploratory wells in Middlefield.
The Business Action Committee, chaired by Steve Sinniger of the Otsego County Farm Bureau, is meeting again Thursday, Feb. 24, but Robinson said deliberations are in the “preliminary stages.”
The result, Robinson said, could be to “endorse, not endorse, or leave it alone.”