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In These Otsego Hills

February 10, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: The losses are adding up ...

It is with sadness that we note the passing of long  time friend, and distantrelative, Jane Patrick. Over the years we have worked with Jane in a number of organizations including Women’s Club and the Community Advisory Committee at Bassett. And, of course, in later years we joined her, along with the other Dinner Belles, for any number of delicious meals. But we do think that our favorite memory that we shared with Jane was when we discovered, having both married Cooperstown natives, that we shared Cooperstown Christmas plans.

As Jane told the story, the first Christmas after she married Pat, she asked him what their plans were going to be for the holiday. To this she reported that Pat replied that he didn’t know what she was going to do, but he was going to Cooperstown. And so it was off to Cooperstown for the holiday. We note that our experience with Christmas was much the same. And of course, after spending Christmases here, eventually we both moved here with our native Cooperstonian husbands, who were, we think, second cousins once removed. We, along with many, many others, will miss Jane. To her sons, John and David and their families, and her many friends we extend our sympathy.

And to our soon-to-be former mayor we wish to extend a big thank you for serving the village in a most difficult job in an atmosphere which often seemed to be completely lacking in civility. In fact, we were stunned by many of the online comments made about the story in The Daily Star announcing the mayor’s decision not to seek reelection.

It confirms our fears that Cooperstown is no longer the community to which we moved in 1982. And we fear we are the poorer for it. In fact, we would be hard pressed to find any remnants of the community we joined then. And while we realize that life is ever changing we do wish we thought it was ever changing for the better.

Unfortunately we do not think that is the case and have thus come to the conclusion that Cooperstown is now but a place to live, having lost its unique character which made it special for us. The community has become quite divided over a number of issues that have arisen in the past few years. And given the divisive nature of these issues, we don’t hold much hope of ever regaining what we have long thought was a wonderful sense of community. In fact, it might seem that the most perfect village has developed cracks in its veneer.

In fact, we were discouraged by many of comments we received regarding the column we wrote two weeks ago on the documentary, The Empire State Divide. We are accustomed to receiving comments from people we know. However, we do not believe we have ever received so many comments from people we do not know. Nonetheless, we were not surprised by the e-mail from a father in Oneonta who lamented the fact that his 23-year-old son had had to leave the area to find work.

The son’s degree from BOCES as a state-certified welder did not get him a job locally with which he could support himself. Instead he is now working for the gas industry in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

We also received an e-mail from a banker who wrote: “... Having worked in agricultural and business lending the last 29 years I have firsthand witnessed the shrinking of the farming sector and also the shrinking of the business sector.

It is very alarming to our farming and business communities experiencing some of the knee jerk reactions via the addition of more layers of government regulations that is impacting existing businesses and chasing away any business that may have considered coming to our county.

Our hard-working farmers and business owners are only trying to survive and keep their doors open. Another sad fact is the loss of our youth, that we pay dearly to educate, only to have them leave as there is no opportunity.”

However, we think the most discouraging comment we received came from a farmer in the region who wanted to let us know how much he appreciated the column. He then explained how frustrated he was that people from Cooperstown in general, and a local organization in particular, had seen fit to weigh in on the proposed windmill farm in Jordanville. He firmly believed the windmills would have been beneficial to his area. He even offered to meet with people from here to explain his point of view, even going so far as to offer a tour of his area. No one accepted his offer. Needless to say, his opinion of Cooperstown is anything but positive; mentioning that he really wished the people in Cooperstown would mind their own business. And we can’t say we blame him.

However, as depressing as we find many of the current opinions of Cooperstown to be, we were amused by the story that ran on January 27, 2012 in The Daily Star, titled “Sen. Gillibrand introduces Baseball Hall of Fame coin act.” It seems the Senator introduced into the Senate the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act to honor the Baseball Hall of Fame’s75th anniversary in 2014. In the article she was quoted as saying that Cooperstown is a “...truly magical place in upstate New York.” Based on the comments we have heard of late, we suspect designating Cooperstown as a “magical place” might be a matter of opinion.

Nonetheless, we can always hope that in the not too distant future we may once again think of Cooperstown as something more than just a place in which to live.

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

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In These Otsego Hills
  • Flash back to debate over tourism Congratulations go out to Sandy and Marshall Thorne on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

    August 21, 2014

  • Reflecting on the noon whistle Over the years we have been taken to task by readers who do not agree with our thinking. And we have never thought that to be a problem. Opinions differ and it is always good to hear all points of view on an issue. However, for what we think is perhaps the first time, we have been taken to task by a complaint that while we had taken what was an obviously unpopular position on buses within the village, we had been negligent in commenting on another issue, namely the noon whistle. In the writer’s opinion, the current issue, which we now think we understand to be the elimination of heavy traffic on residential streets, is just like the issue of the noon whistle.

    August 14, 2014

  • Summer heading toward destination We were pleased to learn that general reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend was most positive. From what we read in newspaper reports as well as what we heard from people who attended various events, the crowds really enjoyed themselves. The parade on Saturday got rave reviews from everybody who talked with us about it. Plus, in spite of what we thought when the rain hit Sunday morning, the weather overall seemed to be cooperative. And we gather that the merchants were pleased with the weekend. So we have to think it is probably safe to say it was a win-win for everyone who partook of the weekend's activities.

    August 7, 2014

  • Bringing up a matter of poetic license Since we seem to spend time each week both reading and writing, we have always found the English language interesting to say the least. It seems that it always follows the rules until it doesn't follow the rules. Thus we found Jim Atwell's column "From word to phrase to sentence," which appeared in last week's paper, to be most delightful. But more importantly, it gives us something about which to write this week.

    July 31, 2014

  • Visitings with the Widge, Mare Bear This past week we found ourselves enjoying a delightful visit from the Ohio Ellsworths. And while our daughter-in-law Annie had to attend a conference at Hamilton College during part of the visit here, we greatly enjoyed our time with them. We were, of course, quite surprised to realize how much the granddaughters, The Widge and Mare Bear, had grown since we last saw them at Christmas. Obviously, their parents had not put bricks on their heads to retard their growth.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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