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Your Opinion

September 12, 2011

Your Opinion: September 8, 2011

Be safe on the water

Tuesday Aug. 30, at about 11:45 a.m., I learned that the Cooperstown Volunteer Fire Department was responding to a call that there were people in Lake Otsego, in the water, next to two kayaks, without life jackets. This call was received from what appeared to be guests at a lakeside motel.

I responded with the Otsego Sailing Club rescue boat. I knew that following the hurricane and subsequent flooding that many boats, including the Sheriff’s Lake Patrol Boat, had been pulled from the water to protect them from the storm; my own two boats included. I knew there was a lack of readily available rescue boats actually in the water, so I immediately took the Club’s boat out with an associate, with adequate life jackets and safety equipment and headed across the lake. I called the Otsego County 911 Center and informed them that I was responding.

Fortunately, no lake rescue was needed. This was simply two young swimmers, doing a normal summer activity; swimming across Otsego Lake, pushing two brightly colored kayaks ahead of them so as to not get hit by passing watercraft. They were fine. I called the County Control Center and they had simultaneously also learned that all was right and were in the process of returning the fire department, emergency squad and mutual aid responding Cooperstown Police personnel back home.

While this event ended happily for all, I had the opportunity for a nice boat ride,  and two young people hadthe exercise of swimming across the lake, it brings up an important point; and that is, if you are swimming in the lake outside of specially marked swimming areas, take precautions to be safe, be conscious of how you are perceived and also of your visibility. It would have been much better for all if a person was actually in the kayak accompanying the swimmers. It also would be prudent to let someone know of the exercise and also carry some safety equipment along; such as a spare life jacket for the swimmer, a cellphone to summon help in the event of an emergency and some signaling devices to summon nearby boaters for immediate assistance.

Also, while a small plastic kayak is a bright warning signal to nearby boaters to keep clear, it is a poor rescue vessel.

Getting into a kayak when you are tired, cramped or injured  is almost impossible. A sturdyrowboat or other adequate vessel is a much better accompaniment, along with someone to actually pull you into the boat if needed.

No one was hurt by this event, and the response of the Cooperstown Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Squad, especially after such a demanding few days responding to all the storm damage calls, should be highly praised.

Additional special thanks should also go to the swift response by the Cooperstown Police Department personnel and the professionalism and competence demonstrated by the 911 Control Center operator Lori.

Please be safe on the water, it can be a dangerous place if you are not adequately prepared and take special precautions if you are swimming outside of clearly marked swim areas.

Bill Waller

Otsego Sailing Club


Mayor thanks community and volunteers

On Sunday, Aug. 28, the Cooperstown Fire Department held its annual inspection and memorial service to honor those volunteers who have served the Cooperstown Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services Squad and Ladies Auxiliary. Despite Hurricane Irene’s presence, this event proceeded and was well attended by many residents and Village Board of Trustee members.

The backdrop of inclement weather served as a perfect reminder to the dedication and commitment of these valued volunteers. During the entire memorial service, members of the Fire Department and EMS squad received and responded to several calls.

Regardless of time of day or weather conditions, our emergency personnel respond to calls for help and assistance.

They have continuously put themselves at potential risk to provide safe care in our community. On behalf of all in the village of Cooperstown, I would like to thank all for coming out in support of our Fire Department, EMS, and Ladies Auxiliary. Most importantly, I thank those who have and continue to serve our community.

Joe Booan



Let’s keep the facts straight

Dave Pacherille has again distorted the facts. In my letter to the editor of Aug. 25 nowhere do I mention his website,, which I consider too ludicrous to comment on. I only mentioned the website in which he exhorts people to boycott Cooperstown and Otsego County. This is an attack on all of us who live here not just on the people he identifies as “community leaders.” If people took him at his word and boycotted Cooperstown and Otsego County, the merchants, restaurants, museums, B&Bs, hotels, inns etc. would all suffer financially.

Where I mention the Pacherille family I am not just referring to what Dave Pacherille has written, but to what other members of the family have said or done as well. And there’s been a lot of it out there!

For Dave Pacherille’s information, I did not live my whole life in Cooperstown. I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Newark, N.J., both cities of much more than 2,000 people, so I have been exposed to what he refers to as “reality.”

I also find it laughable that the only thing he can find in my background to criticize me for is that I have helped raise money to dig a well in Africa to supply clean water to thousands of people who have suffered sickness and death because of a lack of it. I quote from his letter, “Perhaps you should be less  concerned with digging wells in Africa and more concernedwith the ugliness in your own community?” Where is the comparison?

I do not intend to debate with Dave Pacherille or give credence to any more of his rantings. This is my last letter on the subject.

Grace Kull


Prepare for impacts of gas extraction

The potential for natural gas production in Otsego County and upstate New York raises concerns about preparedness.

The need to prepare in advance for the possibility of industrial activity is obvious to anyone who has already experienced what it is like to live in a gas production zone.

Two immediate steps can be taken:

First, local government, academic and medical institutions should start collecting or enhancing an assemblage of indicator data. These include public infrastructure and services; social well-being and quality of life; air, water, noise and light quality; economic and other measures of community function, vitality and health. It is necessary to quantify these variables in order to establish baseline settings. Do not make the mistake other communities regret having made: they neither anticipated nor prepared for major change. They could not compare pre- and post-drilling conditions when attempting to hold polluters accountable.

Nor were they ready to assess the modifications needed to cope with multiple demands and damages.

Second, local conservation, environmental and health organizations should coordinate and systematize field-based surveillance operations using citizen science methods and principles. In lieu of adequate state enforcement, alternative means of ensuring industry accountability will be necessary.

These strategies have been pioneered and tested in other Marcellus areas where gas drilling is underway. Consider using and adapting them to your own situation.

Philip Johnson

Pittsburgh, Pa.

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