The Daily Star
---- — As we look back on 2013, it was not the best of times, and it was not the worst of times, but it took a dickens of an effort to get much of anything meaningful accomplished.
When historians look back upon what occurred in our area over the last 12 months, about the most salient thing they might conclude is that 2013 was a gateway to … we hope … a more-conclusive 2014.
For all the sound and fury that has been associated with hydraulic fracturing since January, not a whole lot has moved the dial on whether fracking will become a major part of our lives.
A court ruling in May allowed towns to ban fracking, and moratoriums were put into place in Otego and Oneonta. Bans were passed in Andes, Hartwick, Meredith and Butternuts, but an environmental review by the state of the possible effects of drilling that was begun in 2012 wasn’t completed in 2013.
Plans to construct the 122-mile Constitution Pipeline, which would stretch from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County town of Wright, remain in limbo.
By and large, incumbents fared well in November’s elections. In Otsego County, voters resoundingly returned Treasurer Dan Crowell — a Democrat — to office, and turned back Democrats’ bid to win a majority on the county board. Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller ran unopposed, as did several office-holders in Otsego and Delaware counties.
The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, upon which a good deal of the local summer economy rests, tried heroically, if unsuccessfully, to muster a popular Induction Weekend after the steroid scandal left it without any live inductees. But 2014 looks to be much more promising because of an attractive crop of new likely Hall of Famers.
We don’t pretend to understand the allure of heroin, which has destroyed so many lives, but, along with illegal use of prescription drugs, heroin abuse has caught local authorities a bit by surprise.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would see something like that in Delaware County,” said county Undersheriff Craig DuMond.
DuMond told The Daily Star this month that his county is forming a drug task force. Again, something we hope will bear fruit in 2014.
One important thing that did happen in 2013 was the Otsego County Board of Representatives voting to sell Otsego Manor, the county’s 174-bed nursing home. The economics of a $6 million drag on the budget overcame the emotional appeals of residents and their families who fear what might become of the facility.
Now down to two prospective buyers, the Manor’s purchaser will be decided … yes ... next year.
Let’s hope things will be more decisive … and productive in 2014.