Thursday, May 19, 2011

USDA-Approved Larry’s Meats Enables Wide Sale Of Local Cuts


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
Please See LARRY’S, A10

New Handicapped Spot Nabs The Unsuspecting

Non-Standard Parking Sign Fooling Some


In the village from the Fly Creek Valley on Monday, May 16, Barbara Lyon parked in one of those 15-minute parking places in front of the U.S. Post Office, the one closest to Hoffman Lane.
When she returned, she found a parking ticket under her windshield wiper.  It stated she had parked in a handicapped spot.  The fine, $100.
“I was in a state of disbelief,” she wrote later in the official protest  form filed with village court.  “There was no universal handicap symbol (wheelchair) on the pavement.  No special lines on the pavement.
“Likewise, there was no wheelchair symbol on the signpost for that space.”
The sign bore small letters, “30 Minute Handicap Parking,” on a same-sized sign as the ones that say “15 Minute Parking” with the same-sized letters, only in blue.
The way the spot was marked is out of synch with instructions in the state’s manual that would-be drivers study, she said.
Lyon headed over to the police department at 22 Main, where she reports Police Chief Diana Nicols simply gave her the protest form to fill out.
Asked about the matter, Village Clerk Teri Barown said the village trustees approved converting the 15-minute spot to a handicapped spot in January. 
Village Court Clerk Mary Ann Travis said Lyon is not alone:  Several people have complained to her that they didn’t notice that the status of the space had changed.
However, she said, most then simply paid the $100 fine.  Others took copies of the protest form with them, but haven’t submitted them yet, she said.
Through Travis, Village Justice Leslie Friedman declined to comment on matters that might come before her.  And Trustee Lynne Mebust, Police Committee chair, and Chief Nicols didn’t return telephone messages.
Lyon was told that Brian Clancy, the Public Works superintendent, was responsible for erecting the sign.  When she raised the issue of improper signage, Clancy said a vendor had put up the sign and he hadn’t seen it, she said.  If it is improper, he told her, he would have it changed in the next few days.
“I have never even considered parking in a handicapped space and would not have today if universal signage and/or markings had been visible,” Lyon continued in her protest.  “I would have parked in another space, of which two were available.”
She pointed out that, less than 40 feet away on the opposite side of the street, is a properly marked space in front of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Shouldn’t drivers on both sides of the street be looking at the same signs for the same designation of a handicapped parking space?” she asked.
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.
And Jim Andela from Krugerrand Farms, was down from his goat farm outside Richfield Springs with samples of the goat cheese.  He’s seeking a distributor in the New York City area.

Neighborhood On Alert For Fox On Prowl

Twelve-year-old Bella Carrascoso’s hand-made sign taped to a tree in front of her home says it all:
“WARNING:  There has been a fox siting many times on Susquehanna Avenue between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 14.  So if you have cats, small dogs, or small pets, keep your eye on them and watch them carefully. You don’t want your pet to be lunch on the fox’s menu.”
Underneath is the lettering:  “R.I.P Jake.  We are sorry we couldn’t get you in time.”
Jake, explained Bella’s mother Monica, is one of her daughters’ pet guinea pigs – Bella has two sisters, Anneliese, 15, and Torrey, 9 – who were put out on the front porch last summer in an enclosed pen, along with two bunnies, Spencer and Bubblegum.
The mother heard one of the bunnies thumping and when she looked out, saw a fox looking at the pen.  Jake was gone.
So when a fox – a big one, about the size of Miley, the family’s small-to-middling dog – began showing up a couple of weeks ago, the Carrascosos began to worry again.
Last spring, Sue Streek, upper Main Street, raised the alarm with the Village Board after she saw her cat, a Persian, being carried off in a fox’s teeth near Nelson Avenue. 
About the same time, several foxes were spotted in the village, and it turned out a burgeoning coyote population in the hills around Cooperstown had forced the foxes into the village. 
Foxes born within earshot of human beings feel quite at home in civilization, and appeared quite tame, even brazen, as they strolled around the neighborhoods.
In the winter, the foxes hibernate.  But it appears they are back.
Doreen Dinicola, the graphic artist and CGP instructor, put up signs at Price Chopper the other day reporting that her cat, Pussycat, had disappeared, and she feared the worst.
“It’s a real concern,” said Dinicola, who also lives on Susquehanna, a few doors down from the Carrascosos.
A week later, one of her students saw a cat at Susquehanna and Chestnut, it turned out to be Pussycat, and mistress and pet were reunited.
Still, Dinicola says it’s likely the fox, which neighbors all along the street have reported seeing, spooked her pet, scaring it away.
“I’m surprised we haven’t got a village animal control office,” she observed.


Voters Pass CCS Budget


The Cooperstown Central School District 2011-12 budget was approved by voters 311-84 Tuesday, May 17.

David Borgstrom, Theresa Russo and Beth Schifano (appointed to fill Noreen Polus’ term) were reelected.

HOLOHAN RUNS:  Ray Holohan, the Cooperstown accountant, has announced he is seeking both the Republican and Democratic nominations to replace county Rep. Sam Dubben, R-Middlefield, who is retiring.

IN MEMORY:  A beach access ramp at the village’s Three Mile Point Park will be dedicated in memory of the late Ken Kiser, park caretaker, at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 22.

SMITHY OPENS:  The Smithy Pioneer Gallery opens for the season at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 19, with “Memory & Presence,” the oil paintings, drawings and sketches of artist Margaret Krug of New York City.


...Brewery Ommegang, that is.  Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody and “Alice’s Restaurant” creator, drew more than 2,000 fans to the brewery Friday, May 13, to raise funds for the antifracking fight.  Brewery spokesman Larry Bennett said $20,000 was immediately donated to Otsego 2000, and more is available.  At right, brewery President Simon Thorpe chats with concert goers.

Johnson, Ackerman Top Milford Central’s Class Of 2011


Danielle Johnson is valedictorian and Emily Ackerman salutatorian of the Milford Central School Class of 2011.
Danielle, daughter of Andrea and Kenneth Johnson, is the valedictorian for the Class of 2011, plans to attend Binghamton University, majoring in business.
She is a member of the Spanish Club and INTERACT/Community in Action.  She is the treasurer for the Class of 2011 and has participated in cheerleading.
Emily, daughter of Donna and Keith Ackerman, plans to attend RPI, majoring in chemical engineering.
She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Club, president of Art Club, treasurer for INTERACT/Community in Action, vice president, treasurer and Student Government representative for Music Association, and assistant director for the school musicals.
She volunteers as a junior docent at The Fenimore Art Museum.

Richfield Springs’ Laurels Go To Clickman, Worobey


Zachariah D. Clickman is valedictorian and Emma K. Worobey salutatorian of the Richfield Springs Central School Class of 2011.
Zachariah, son of Charles and Nancy Clickman, Richfield Springs, has been accepted to many prestigious undergraduate programs and plans to attend Syracuse University in the fall.   His cumulative GPA is 98.651. 
Zach attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine last summer.  He is member of the National Honor Society, a student representative on the Board of Education, and an academic tutor.
Emma, daughter of Amy and Thomas Worobey, Jordanville, will attend Nazareth College, majoring in education.  Her high school GPA was 97.128.
She has been an active CFES peer mentor, a member of National Honor Society, participant in Student Council and an active member of the school musicals.