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.