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In These Otsego Hills

January 19, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: Goals of the past and goals of the future

We have long subscribed to the concept that we are always more successful if we, number one, set a goal and then, number two, meet it. And this was our thinking when we decided before Christmas to watch at least part of every college football bowl game. It was perhaps an odd, if not completely nonsensical, goal. But it was a goal. And we were almost successful. Unfortunately, we thought, having consulted our list of bowl games which we found on the Internet, that the Independence Bowl was on at 8 p.m. on Dec. 26. Alas it was actually on at 5 p.m. and we missed it completely. Nonetheless, we did see some of all of the rest of the games. And we will admit, it was not always an easy task.

On Dec. 31, there were two games that over lapped time wise and two other games that were on at the exact same time. However, the real problem came on Jan. 2 when four bowl games, all featuring Big Ten teams, were on at the same time. We followed two on the television and the other two on the iPad. We quickly became confused about not only what the scores were but who was playing whom.

We rather doubt that we will set this particular goal for ourselves again. We have put it into the “once in a lifetime” category. And now we need to move on to others things, which means trying to develop an appreciation for college basketball. Alas, unlike football, we do not understand basketball. We once asked a good friend who played basketball in college to explain it to us.

We did not find the explanation, which consisted of the fact that the goal was to get the ball in the basket, overly helpful. Nonetheless, we are willing to forge ahead and see if we can make sense of it. And while working on an appreciation of basketball is high on our list, so is continuing our morning reading program.

We must say that we were somewhat worried about how the winter season might affect our desire to spend time each morning enjoying the backyard view as we merrily read away. But now that we have received what we consider to be real winter weather, we are delighted to realize that  the winter landscape is everybit as delightful as the other seasons. And we have discovered that a polar fleece coat we made last year, and wore only once as someone told us it looked like a NASCAR race flag, actually makes a wonderful housecoat to curl up in during our morning readings.

Of course, while we greatly enjoy meeting our personal goals, we also have broader goals, like continuing to write this column, for the year ahead. And while there is little doubt that the column has changed over the years, we still try maintain a sense of humor while musing over the comings and goings of the village. And while we try to keep abreast of what is going on, we must admit that we find it more difficult each year. As usual there are many issues swirling around. However, as we consider them, we have come to the conclusion that a fair number of them can be considered to be under one much bigger umbrella, namely the economy. And we think it is fair to say that the economy is not where most would like it to be.

We firmly believe that living here has never been cheap. But now there are times when we wonder if living here is even possible. Obviously, given the drop in overall population, not to mention school population, there are a number of people who have already moved on. And we fear that exodus will continue if there is no solution to the financial drawbacks of living here.

Of course, we suspect that there are many suggestions out there for improving the economy. And we suspect that for each suggestion, there is some sort of a barrier holding back the viability of the suggestion.

So we have to wonder if the place to start might not be to take a look at the potential barriers to improving economic viability. And, in discussing this with friends, the  point was made that for thearea to grow, the cost of living here has to compare favorably to other locations.

In part, we suspect that the recently enacted two percent property tax cap was an attempt on the part of the state to start controlling costs at the local level. However, if the recent news regarding the county property taxes is any indication, that legislation is not proving to work in the manner most people were lead to believe it would. And that leads us to muse about the possible unintended consequences of legislation and the effect that those consequences might have on the overall economic well being of an area.

Likewise, we think there would need to be a healthy job market, the lack of which is probably directly related to the declining population.

As was recently pointed out to us, the population of the village has dropped in the last 30 years from something just over 2,600 to something less than 1,900. And that fact alone makes it much more difficult for those of us still here. But it seems unrealistic to expect people to stay here if there is a less than healthy job market. All in all we suspect that finding solutions to maintain a viable economy will not be easy. But we suspect that 2012 is the year in which headway on the economy must be made. And finally, we still have the goal of sharing amusing tidbits we receive via e-mail from family and friends. To that end, we would like to share the following “Prayer for 2012:” Dear God:

For 2012, all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please do not mix up the two like you did last year. Amen

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 547-8124 or by email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com

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In These Otsego Hills
  • Thoughts on traffic and roads We recently enjoyed a brief visit from Jon Battle, one of our late husband's college buddies, who always enjoys visiting Cooperstown and passing howdy on the front porch. And while the front porch is not as welcoming as it used to be since there are no chairs on it, we were able to pass howdy from the comfort of our family room. And during the many subjects that we covered in our conversation, the topic of potholes came up.

    July 17, 2014

  • Potholes and oversights bring bumps We have received a number of comments regarding our discussion on potholes in last week’s column. And most of them were in agreement that the potholes are indeed a problem.

    July 10, 2014

  • Potholes need place on village agenda We have long thought that the concepts of perspective and priorities have the ability to present problems for people. As we are inclined to say, getting one's ducks all in a row is often difficult. And as we have learned about issues currently under consideration by the Village of Coopertown it does make us wonder about their ducks.

    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014

  • Summer right for driving in the streets We have realized, having consulted our trusty calendar, that next Sunday is Father's Day. And thus this past weekend we were online looking for an appropriate printable Father's Day greeting card which we might send to the wee-we. Since we have been somewhat housebound this year, we have discovered the convenience of printable holiday cards. We used them rather successfully, we thought, when we sent them to the granddaughters for both Valentine's Day and Easter.

    June 12, 2014

  • June musings XXXXXXXX Difficult as it is to believe, it seems we have made it to June which always seems to be a fairly busy month. And this year is no different. In fact when we turned to our calendar to June we were stunned. We always hope to find we are entering a month in which we have little, if anything, planned. But when we turned to June, we quickly realized we were faced immediately with three meeting as well as four follow-up appointments with four different doctors at Bassett. And much as we would have liked to simply move right on to July, we decided that was really not an option. So we are plowing ahead with June.

    June 5, 2014

  • Presidential reading replaces viewing ince we knew we were not in a position to take in any of the festivities surrounding the president's recent visit to the Hall of Fame, we decided we needed to celebrate in another way. And, as luck would have it, we are currently reading the recently released biography, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered." What better way, we thought, to mark the current president's visit by reading about a former president's life. It seemed perfect. Besides, it gave us a reason to spend the day with our nose in a book.

    May 29, 2014

  • Best not to push luck on spring This week we note that the Literary Discussion Group meeting, originally scheduled for today, May 22, has been postponed until Thursday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Village of Cooperstown Library. William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" will be the topic of discussion at the rescheduled meeting.

    May 22, 2014

  • Thoughts on the upcoming votes Next week, on Tuesday, May 20 voters in the Cooperstown Central School District will head to the polls to vote on three important issues, the CCS 2014-2015 budget, the election of members of the school board and a resolution for changing the funding of the two pubic libraries located within the school district, namely the Village of Cooperstown Library and the Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick.

    May 15, 2014