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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Audubon to Host Dr. Casey Coomes - Live Program on How High Temperatures are Affecting Birds and their Songs on Friday, April 21.

Written By Editor on 4/4/23 | 4/4/23

By: Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society

For more information contact: Susan O'Handley, Publicity Chairperson, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Oneonta, NY; (607) 643-5680;


[Oneonta, NY- REGIONAL] Join Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society IN PERSON on Friday, April 21, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut Street, Oneonta for a spring program with Special Guest, Casey Coomes. Casey will present a slideshow about how rising temperatures are affecting birds all over the world. Climate change poses a huge threat to the persistence of songbirds in North America—in fact, we have already lost almost 30% of our birds in the last 50 years. During her presentation, Casey will discuss how heat can influence bird survival, reproduction, and even the songs they sing!

This is a free program; Refreshments will be available before the presentation.

Winners of the DOAS Optics Raffle will be announced at the conclusion of the program.


Casey’s work with birds began when she attended college at Transylvania University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Biology. She then went on to receive a PhD from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she focused her research on the effects of high temperatures on communication in zebra finches. She is currently a Visiting Instructor and PRODiG Fellow at SUNY Oneonta, where she teaches Avian Physiology and Behavior.

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Commit to Smart Financial Habits in Recognition of Financial Capability Month

Written By Editor on 4/3/23 | 4/3/23

April is a month that often conjures thoughts of spring cleaning. Fittingly, it’s also National Financial Capability Month, a time to reflect on the state of your finances and focus on organizing them in a way that will help you achieve your goals for the future. Here are five tried-and-true money habits I recommend to my clients this time of year, and all year long. These are also good principles to pass down to children and other dependents as they approach adulthood and become responsible for their own finances.

  1. Create and follow a budget. A budget is a key tool to help households improve their financial accountability and stability. It’s a black-and-white reminder of monthly bills and the limits of household cash flow. As a rule of thumb, I recommend setting a 50/30/20 budget allocation, in which you assign 50% of your income to pay fixed expenses, allow 30% for flexible spending, and reserve 20% for savings. You can always modify the numbers as your income and expenses change over time. 

  1. Use credit wisely. Loans and credit cards are financial tools that are best used carefully. My advice is to delay discretionary purchases you cannot pay for today to avoid the inevitable cost of borrowing money. In general, it’s wise to keep your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio below 30% to avoid unwieldy payments. A higher DTI will require more of your resources and make it harder to get ahead. Cap your credit card debt to 20% or less of your maximum credit limit whenever possible. I highly recommend that borrowers review their current debt and create a payment schedule to pay it down. It’s especially important to pay installment loan payments and credit card bills on time to avoid late fees and maintain a high credit score.

  1. Save for larger purchases and emergencies. I tell my clients to maintain some level of cash reserves for unexpected expenses. When life takes an unexpected turn, your savings can be a lifeline. Grow an emergency fund equivalent to six months to one year of income. If you must tap into your emergency savings, set realistic goals to rebuild the fund.

  1. Invest for your future. By giving your money the chance to grow, investments have the potential to help you create a more prosperous financial future. I urge clients to make maximum contributions to retirement savings accounts and take full advantage of employer match opportunities. Another best practice for investing is to build a diversified portfolio - in other words, not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, and other asset types. This principle of diversification can help balance risk against the volatility of any one asset class. Invest consistently, regardless of market conditions, to benefit from dollar-cost averaging (a lower average cost of shares). 

  1. Take time for financial wellness. Your relationship to money matters as much as your bank balance. Detrimental financial habits often have an emotional history. Identify triggers that lead to behaviors you want to change, such as overspending or neglecting bills. Pat yourself on the back for every positive step you take toward financial wellness. One of the most treasured rewards of my work is helping my clients strengthen their financial acumen and create a safety net for their families now and in the future. If this approach appeals to, consider seeking the advice of a qualified financial advisor who can help you work to achieve your goals for the future. 


Michael D. Lanuto, CRPC®, AWMA® is a Financial Advisor with S.M. Miller & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. in Albany, NY.  He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 7 years. To contact him: 518-949-2039; 4 Atrium Drive, Ste 200, Albany, NY, 12205;; 

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

Investment products are not insured by the FDIC, NCUA or any federal agency, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value.

Ameriprise Financial and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.

Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.

© 2023 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Raccoon tests positive for rabies in Delhi

A raccoon tested positive for rabies in the town of Delhi. This is the first animal in  Delaware County to test positive for rabies in 2023.  

One dog was bitten by a lab confirmed rabid raccoon in the town of Delhi, there were no human exposures. According to the owner of the exposed dog the raccoon was not acting  sick or appeared to be rabid. Vaccination records of the dog indicated the animal was not  up to date its rabies vaccinations. The animal has begun a 6-month quarantine following  the New York State Department of Health guidelines.  

“There have been reports to public health from other areas of the county about strange  acting raccoons”, states Heather Warner, PH Programs Manager. “Getting your pet  vaccinated by your vet or at a free clinic can help stop the spread of rabies from wild  animals to humans”.  

An exposure to rabies can be fatal for a human or a pet. Be sure your dogs, cats and ferrets  are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid  wildlife and man. Protect them, and you may reduce your risk of exposure to rabies. Be a  responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Public Health  recommends that pet owners take advantage of any of the free remaining rabies clinics in  Delaware County.  

Sidney-May 8, 2023 5:30PM-7:30PM, Sidney Fire Hall: 74 River St. Sidney, NY 13838 

Hancock- May 22, 2023 5:30-7:30PM, Hancock Town Hall, 661 West Main St. Hancock,  NY 13783

Arkville- June 7, 2023 4PM-6PM Arkville Fire Hall, 43365 State Highway 28, Arkville, NY  12406 

Franklin- June 12, 2023, 5:30PM-7:30PM Franklin Fire Hall, 351 Main St., Franklin, NY  13775 

Walton-July 12, 2023 5 PM- 7 PM Walton Highway Garage, 25091 State Highway 10,  Walton, NY 13856 

Delhi- August 22, 2023 5 PM-7 PM Delhi Fire Hall, 140 Delview Terrace Extn. Delhi, NY  13753 

Stamford-September 12, 2023 5 PM- 7 PM Stamford Fire Hall, 111 Main St. Stamford,  NY 12167 

Deposit- October 2, 2023, 5:30PM-7:30PM DPW garage 1 Village St (200 Front St),  Deposit, NY 13754 

Once infected, rabies is a virus that has 100% fatality rate when left untreated, in mammals  including humans. Public Health recommends the following precautions to protect yourself and  your family from possible exposure to rabies: 

Report any sick or strange acting wildlife 

Vaccinate pets and livestock. New York State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets  be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age. Vaccinating your domestic animal not  only provides protection for the animal, but vaccinated pets act as a barrier to keep the  rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people. 

Vaccination is also recommended for livestock with frequent human contact. 

Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your  home. 

Do not feed strays. According to Public Health Law an owner is defined as any person  keeping, harboring, or having charge or control of or permitting any dog, cat or  domesticated ferret to remain on or be lodged or fed within such person’s house yard  or premises. 

Do not approach an unknown animal, either wild or domestic, especially if it is acting in  a strange or unusual manner.

Report all animal bites and any contact with bats to the Health Department in your  county. Human rabies can be prevented after exposure by administering a series of  shots.  

Keep garbage cans tightly covered and avoid storing any food outside. 

Children should be instructed to tell an adult immediately if they were bitten or  scratched by any animal. 

If a pet not up to date on its rabies vaccinations comes in contact with rabid or  suspected rabid animal the pet must be quarantined for six months. 

Vaccinated pets that come in contact with rabid or suspected rabies animal must be  given a booster rabies vaccination within five days of the contact. 

To report a suspected rabid animal call Delaware County Public Health Services at 607-832- 5200. For more information call 607-832-5200 or visit our website at 

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New Classes at Landis

Recalibrate: Silent Excursions

Tuesdays, May 23, June 20, July 18, and August 22

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: Meet at the Farm House

Registration: Members: $20; non-members: $30 per class session

Lock your phone in the car. Bring your journal.

Recalibrate is a way to reset your relationship to your senses. All day, every day we are bombarded with information: from colleagues, from family, from our chosen entertainment. Screens have become such an integral part of our lives. While they are a useful tool, they can cause overwhelm if not managed properly.

We will begin with a centering and breathing practice, along with some gentle stretching. Then we’ll choose to stay silent as we walk. We shall observe as we walk to a point we can pause to sit, contemplate, and journal. We will finish with the opportunity for quiet conversation on the way back to the car.

Instructor: Vanessa Chambers, Certified Yoga Instructor. Visit the website for more information on Vanessa.

Register for each class separately; click on the session date above to register. Attend any or all.Class size is limited to 12; class will be cancelled if fewer than 7 register.

Know and Nurture: Outdoor Yoga at Landis

Sundays, May 7, June 4, July 9, August 6, and September 24.

Time: 2:00 PM

Location: The Peace Pavilion

Registration: Members $20, nonmembers $30 per session

Know & Nurture: Tools to help you redirect your attention inward. An adventure of self exploration. 

There will be 5 yoga workshops over the length of the growing season, each designed to create a framework through which you can experience who you are. You will notice (without judgement) how you act/react to the yoga practices offered. This is a microcosm of your life. You will be given the opportunity to connect the way you behave in a yoga class to the rest of your life. 

Each workshop will be between 75 & 90 minutes and include centering and intention setting, breath direction techniques, physical postures, resting, and meditation. 

Bring a mat, and any props you have (blocks, blankets, pillows, eye pillows, straps). Classes will be held outside, so please consider bug spray. Each workshop will include time at the conclusion of meditation to journal about your experience. Don’t forget a journal and pen.

Register for each class separately; click on the session date above to register. Attend any or all. Class maximum is 15 participants; class will be cancelled with fewer than 7 registrants.

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Audubon to Host Dr. Casey Coomes - Live Program on How High Temperatures are Affecting Birds and their Songs on Friday, April 21.

By: Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society

For more information contact: Susan O'Handley, Publicity Chairperson, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Oneonta, NY; (607) 643-5680;


[Oneonta, NY- REGIONAL] Join Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society IN PERSON on Friday, April 21, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut Street, Oneonta for a spring program with Special Guest, Casey Coomes. Casey will present a slideshow about how rising temperatures are affecting birds all over the world. Climate change poses a huge threat to the persistence of songbirds in North America—in fact, we have already lost almost 30% of our birds in the last 50 years. During her presentation, Casey will discuss how heat can influence bird survival, reproduction, and even the songs they sing!

This is a free program; Refreshments will be available before the presentation.

Winners of the DOAS Optics Raffle will be announced at the conclusion of the program.
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Music on the Delaware Coffeehouse at the Walton Theatre

Written By Editor on 3/28/23 | 3/28/23

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Barn Paint Blue

Music on the Delaware is pleased to present the Oneonta area band Barn Paint Blue in a coffeehouse event at the Walton Theatre on Sunday, April 16, 2023 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  The concert is free and will feature a mix of bluegrass, blues, old time, originals, and Americana music.

Barn Paint Blue members have been performing together locally since 2020. Members include Cliff Schadt (mandolin and vocals), Jason Starr (guitar and vocals), Dave Rama (banjo and vocals), Danny Birnbaum (bass), and for this event, will include guest musician John Potocnik on fiddle. The band has been seen and heard at venues in Delaware and Otsego Counties such as  the O at 112 (Otego), Cooperstown Lakefront Series, The Porch at Otsego Golf Club, Upstate Bar, Arkville Bowl, and the near-mythical Gregstock Festival.  You can find Barn Paint Blue at

Music on the Delaware Coffeehouse concerts take place on the third Sunday of the month in the Andrea Retz Paternoster room on the second floor of the Walton Theatre.  The performance will also be live-streamed on zoom at  For more information, see

The final Music on the Delaware coffeehouse concert for Spring 2023 will feature the duo Bea Summers & Barb Acker (The B’s) on 5/21/23 (classic country, country rock, folk, and originals).

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From New York Focus: Inside the Fossil Fuel Industry’s ‘Existential’ Battle Against New York’s Climate Plan

This article first appeared in New York Focus, a non-profit news publication investigating how power works in New York state. Sign up for their newsletter here.

Deceptive Facebook ads, hundreds of thousands of mailers to customers, six-figure lobbying campaigns — here’s how fossil fuel companies are fighting to keep electrification at bay.

“WE ARE FACING an existential threat the likes of which we have never seen.”

Those were the opening words of Rocco Lacertosa, New York’s top oil heat lobbyist, at a webinar addressed to his industry colleagues last month. 

The threat? New York’s climate law, passed in 2019 and moving towards implementation this spring as lawmakers consider a raft of new measures to achieve its legally binding emissions cuts.

Among the most hotly debated questions is what to do about the state’s largest source of emissions: buildings. Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed requiring new construction to be free of fossil fuels starting at the end of 2025, and banning sales of new fossil heating appliances, like boilers and furnaces, in the 2030s. By 2050, analysts project, oil and gas heating systems would be a thing of the past in New York.

That would spell extinction for much of the state’s fossil fuel industry — and it doesn’t plan to go down without a fight. 

“New York State, in the swipe of a pen, has decided that they have the right to put me and all of you out of business, and take all of my employees and put them out of work too,” said Allison Heaney, president of Skaggs-Walsh fuel oil company, on the February call. “New York State is out to shut me down, to destroy what my family has built over the last three generations.”

But, Heaney told her colleagues, there’s still a way to stop it: “All you need to do is know how to write a check.”

As of December, members and allies of the New York State Energy Coalition, an oil heat trade association, had pledged $395,000 to fight the state’s proposed climate policies, Lacertosa said. The group’s goal is to raise at least $1 million, partly to boost “Smarter NY Energy,” an anti-electrification campaign launched by the propane industry.

“We are not on the attack,” Lacertosa told New York Focus. “Rather, we are playing defense against those who would destroy our industry. This is an industry that is made up of multi-generational main street family-owned and operated businesses who provide good union wages, benefits, and pensions.”

Lacertosa and Heaney said they’re not against electrification in itself, but against forcing consumers to pick one heating system over another. “I’m not saying anything is good or bad,” Heaney told New York Focus. “I believe in a market economy. … When electrification is ready for primetime, people will naturally choose it. But that isn’t today.”

Since late 2021, Smarter NY Energy has spent anywhere from $94,000 to $116,000 on Facebook ads and more on other media including YouTube, website banners, and emails. The ads have been seen roughly 7 million times, by Facebook’s count. And the campaign is still picking up steam: The group has already spent more than half as much on Facebook ads this year as it did in all of 2022.

“Governor Hochul wants to outlaw your gas stove!” read one promoted post in January that was viewed more than half a million times.

That was false. Neither Hochul nor the legislature are proposing to take away New Yorkers’ existing appliances, and even new gas stoves would be exempt from the appliance bans that take effect next decade.

Communications specialist Rich Goldberg presents his “battleplan” to a heating oil trade association. | Screen grab via Vimeo

Other Smarter NY Energy ads show frozen landscapes and stock images of people shivering, with warnings that electric appliances will be unreliable in winter storms like the one that ravaged Buffalo at Christmas. 

On YouTube, the campaign’s most successful ad — viewed more than 420,000 times — asks, “Are you happy about being forced to convert your home?” A woman’s voiceover calls New York’s climate efforts “the most radical, untested plan in the country” and concludes: “Tell them, ‘Get out of my house.’”

THE MAN BEHIND the ads is Rich Goldberg, a New Jersey-based communications specialist with deep ties to the propane industry. Goldberg has written several posts in trade publications detailing how the campaign has stalled electrification mandates in New Jersey and his tactics to do the same in New York. His firm, Warm Thoughts Communications, employs around 30 staff and notched its latest victory in the Garden State just this month, when lawmakers postponed a scheduled vote on a building electrification bill. 

Goldberg may soon be able to claim a partial victory in New York, too. The Senate and Assembly have both dropped the measures targeting existing buildings from their counteroffers to Hochul’s draft budget. That could defer the debate over how to decarbonize New York’s 6 million buildings until later this spring, if not next year. 

Bill Overbaugh, director of the New York Propane Gas Association, called the legislature’s stance encouraging. 

“I applaud the legislators for doing that because I think that, very similar to what we’ve been saying, they just feel like they needed to put a pause and do some more research into cost-benefit,” he said.

Lawmakers said the move was prompted in part by this winter’s furor over gas stoves, even though the proposals on the table wouldn’t affect them.

“I feel that there was political overreaction to the messaging about, ‘The world will end if we don’t have new gas stoves,’” said Senate finance committee chair Liz Krueger, when asked why the Senate is seeking to remove the requirements for existing buildings from the final budget. “It seemed to be a fairly effective talking point because people literally started to panic.”

Senate housing chair Brian Kavanagh, a sponsor of the All-Electric Buildings Act for new construction, pointed to supply chain and funding issues as another factor in the Senate’s decision. But he acknowledged the industry’s success in framing the debate.

Corporate interests are very good at identifying their wedge issue and clearly, people have a lot of affection and sense of attachment to their gas stoves,” he said.

One New York Energy ad falsely warned that Governor Hochul wanted to eliminate gas stoves, another that “forced electrification” would leave New Yorkers in the cold. | Screen grab via Vimeo

Hochul’s office declined to answer specific questions about building electrification on the record, saying only that the governor seeks a budget that will “make New York more affordable, more livable and safer” — a stock response to budget questions from the press. 

Raya Salter, an environmental justice attorney and member of New York’s Climate Action Council — which spent three years crafting the plan that Albany is now weighing how to implement — said the fossil fuel industry has dedicated vast resources to slowing down implementation of the climate law.

“The industry — be it propane, be it fossil gas — have been executing a well funded, well coordinated campaign, designed to undermine the climate law and scare folks into thinking that clean energy is going to hurt them, when in truth, it’s the dependence on fossil energy which is harmful,” she said.

Lacertosa, of the oil heat group, denied that the campaign has been misleading or that it aims to impede the climate law. He said the heating oil industry is shifting away from fossil fuels and toward lower-emissions biodiesel, and argued that the state needs an “all of the above” energy strategy to ensure reliability.

“If you want to put everything on one source, then there’s nothing to back it up,” Lacertosa said. “Our industry has been the backstop for many generations.”

THE PROPANE AND OIL heat industries haven’t been alone in spreading this message. The gas utility National Fuel led a robocall campaign in February enlisting customers to push back against the climate plan, New York Focus reported earlier this month. And New Yorkers for Affordable Energy — a coalition led by fossil fuel interests including National Fuel and National Grid — recently launched its latest marketing campaign with TV and online ads opposing the gas ban in new buildings. 

READ MORE: Fossil Fuel Companies Enlist Customers to Fight New Yorks Climate Law

In response, climate groups have launched a digital ad campaign of their own. The Better Buildings New York coalition — comprising six climate and environmental justice groups — spent between $30,000 and $37,000 in recent weeks on a Facebook video spot highlighting surging utility bills and fossil fuel profits.

But fossil fuel companies have one built-in audience that climate groups do not: their customers.

“We’re one of the few industries that have the keys to their customers’ homes,” Lacertosa said during the webinar last month.

The propane industry already targets its customers with a leaflet titled “Propane Matters,” which dozens of suppliers send out with bills, according to Goldberg, whose firm produces the mailers. He estimates that 300,000 customers will receive the leaflet this spring. (The heating oil industry is considering this tactic too, Lacertosa said.)

Some customers might not be too happy to receive such pamphlets, Goldberg acknowledged, but that’s no reason not to send them.

“The interests of the vast majority of your customers in your company are more important than the fact that you’re going to rub some people the wrong way,” he told the oil heat group. “Because you’re going to be out of business if these plans continue along the pathway that they’re currently on.”

Robert Howarth, a biochemist at Cornell University and member of the Climate Action Council, complained to lawmakers earlier this month that he had received an anti-electrification leaflet along with the bill for his propane stove. (He converted the rest of his Finger Lakes home to a heat pump nine years ago and hasn’t looked back, he added.)

The goal of this broad-based communication campaign, Goldberg has emphasized, is to target moderates in swing districts, especially downstate. 

“We need people in Valley Stream, and people in Bayside, and people in Huntington to let their legislators know, this is going too far too fast,” he said in February. 

When New York Focus called Goldberg for comment — on a cell phone number listed in his email signature — a man with a similar voice to his picked up the phone but denied that he was Goldberg. “He is not speaking to the press about this,” said the man, who identified himself only as a representative of Warm Thoughts Communications.

Goldberg’s “battleplan” against building electrification mandates includes enlisting customers through mailers and online ads designed to “activate a community of resistors.” | Screen grab via Vimeo

Overbaugh, of the propane association, said his group launched Smarter NY Energy in 2020 as a “consumer advocacy” effort aiming to advance debate on the climate law. 

“The plan that has been put together is absolutely transformational. It hits every aspect of our lives,” he told New York Focus. “No matter which side you’re on, we need to spread the word about this. And we need to have public debate about what the citizens want to move forward.”

Fossil fuel interests aren’t counting just on public outreach to get their message out in Albany. They’ve also enlisted a slew of lobbyists to pressure lawmakers behind closed doors.

The oil heat association is planning to spend $150,000 on lobbying this year, filings show. The propane association expects to spend $60,000. Some fuel companies have registered their own lobbyists. And the American Petroleum Institute, a national trade group, has budgeted more than $200,000 for New York. 

Rich Schrader, New York policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said fossil fuel companies have good reason to worry that they could be out of business within the next few decades. But he said they, not lawmakers, were the ones to blame.

“​​Had we had an honest discussion in the ’80s and ’90s, had they not killed treaty after treaty, the fossil fuel industry could have been part of the discussion and could have been prepared to transition,” he said, referring to decades-long efforts by oil interests to spread misinformation on climate. “But we have a shorter period of time, because the climate crisis is so much more daunting, and we’re already seeing extreme weather.”

Lacertosa, too, is feeling the pressure. 

“We’re not gonna get any second chances here,” he told his colleagues. 

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