Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

October 24, 2013

Responses in a fracking state of mind

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — Over the years we have learned that there are some columns which always generate more response from readers than others. Thus we are never surprised with what we hear when we do a column on the issue of natural gas. And last week’s column was no exception.

The majority of the people who talked with us about the column were positive. And we were not at all surprised by those who agreed with the column and were happy to see that the issue of natural gas is being re-evaluated by some. Others indicated that they still do not feel they know enough about the pros and cons of natural gas to really understand the issue which would tend to indicate to us that the issue has not been presented in a well rounded way.

And then there was the e-mail, on which we were blind copied, sent by Adrian Kuzminski to a number of organizations suggesting that “Some reasoned responses to the Coop Crier might be in order.” Since we firmly believe that open discussion of issues is valuable, we wrote back asking if we might use his e-mail in the column. To this, we received a second e-mail with specific responses to our column which, in the interest of fairness, we will share here.

The first point made was that “The problems with fracking/natural gas seem to be outpacing any improvements in technology.”, citing as an example an oil company in the Dakotas that is flaring off methane gas instead of capturing it. Plus “...our own DEC has just put forth woefully inadequate regulations for proposed Liquid Natural Gas facilities.”

The second point read “...The larger problem is resource depletion (the gas wells run dry quickly), air and water pollution, global warming, etc. etc., while the money I would say is wasted on a dead-end public policy is taken away from investment in renewables, etc.”

And finally, the third point was that “I’m amazed by conservatives who rightly fear the economy is threatened by too much debt and favor budget cutting and austerity (I put you in this camp given your concerns about school taxes, for one), but seem blithely unconcerned about the harmful consequences of continued dependence on fossil fuels. Why is business as usual in the former not acceptable (witness the recent government shutdown) but business as usual in the latter is taken for granted, or when challenged, characterized as “realism.””

Quite frankly, we found the third point to be the most interesting, as it presents much about which to ponder. Plus we are most happy to share other points of view on any issue including this one. Hopefully it will lead to yet more thought and discussion which we always think is a step in the right direction. After all, it is the mark of a well educated person to be able to articulate both sides of an issue.

On a completely different subject, we note that we have been loaned, for our reading enjoyment, a collection of Cooperstown school catalogues. Interestingly enough, this collection does not duplicate at all any of the school catalogues we have, a fact we found somewhat surprising. Plus we were pleased to realize that this collection included the 1930-1931 catalogue which included information on the Class of 1930, our mother-in-law’s class. With the addition of this information we now know that our father-in-law, Charles D. Ellsworth, Class of 1925, was class president, our mother-in-law, Enid Louise Brady, Class of 1930, was class vice-president, and our late husband, Gerald B. Ellsworth, Class of 1965, was class prophet. We hasten to point out that we held no such positions in our high school class, which undoubtedly explains a lot.

We also note that our oldest catalogue, 1893, indicates the school was then called the “Cooperstown Union School and Academy.” Our last catalogue, and we believe the last catalogue done by the school, is for the 1969-1970 school year for “Cooperstown Central School.” Unfortunately, as we went through the various catalogues we are sorry to report that we are no closer to being able to answer the oft asked question of exactly when did the Cooperstown sports teams become known as the “Redskins.” Our last inquirer wondered if it might not have been 1939. And although we don’t know, we suspect that date might be a bit late. Unfortunately, no one that we have asked seems to know.

As we went through the catalogues, we must say, given our noted concerns over the school budget, we found various budget information most interesting. In 1928, it cost $60,605.95 to educate 612 students. Ten years later in 1930, it cost $75,166.98 to educate 636 students. Therefore, in that ten year period the cost rose 24% while the student population rose 4%. And while there were no doubt some people then who thought costs were out of control, at least the cost and the enrollment were both going in the same direction which does not seem to be the case today.

We thank the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, for loaning us the collection of school catalogs. We greatly enjoyed them. Besides, our discussion of the school catalogues gives us the opportunity to close this column with two Albert Einstein quotes on education which we found to be interesting.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by e-mail at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.