The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

December 31, 2012

Issues likely to remain contentious

The Daily Star

---- — “Hydrofracking, the practice of pumping vast amounts of water and chemicals into shale deposits to recover natural gas, dominated local discourse, often pitting neighbor against neighbor.”

The preceding paragraph was prominent in The Daily Star’s final editorial of 2011, and it is just as true today, as we look back on 2012.

Fracking remains the most contentious issue in our area and is likely to remain so. While we continue to wait for the state to decide its policy, heated rhetoric will continue to be heard in many local municipalities.

Our opinion hasn’t changed. Until the state can explain why horizontal hydrofracking is too dangerous to allow in the New York City watershed but may be viable for those of us in rural areas, and until drilling companies reveal all the chemicals that might affect our water, we’re against fracking here.

We aren’t in the prediction business, but it would appear to be a no-brainer that the quality of nursing home care in Otsego and Delaware counties will be a vexing problem throughout 2013.

Unfortunately, it’s a problem without an apparent solution. Countryside Care Center in Delhi closed its 199-bed facility this year, throwing some 200 people out of work. While efforts are being made to reopen it with new ownership, there are no guarantees.

Meanwhile, residents and their families are protesting a decision by the Otsego County Board to privatize Otsego Manor, the county nursing home. Regarded as an outstanding facility, the Manor is a major drain on the tight county budget strained by a reduction in state aid.

Otsego spent $3.3 million subsidizing the Manor this year, and the cost is expected to rise to $5.5 million in 2013. We fully understand the board’s decision, but we fervently urge its members to explore every option to avoid giving up on the Manor. There is no better example of unreliable private companies than what happened down the road to Countryside.

If the results of the 2012 elections are any indication, folks around here are pretty satisfied with their state and congressional representatives, as every incumbent was returned to office, but bubbling under the surface is obvious discontent with state funding for schools.

Closing Center Street School in Oneonta was a shame, but given budget constraints, was inevitable. We fear that more and more children will be riding school buses in the future because of schools having to consolidate.

The war in Afghanistan hit our area in October when Marine Cpl. Alex Domion of Richfield Springs, 21, died as the result of a non-combat-related incident in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

We hope and pray that when we sum up 2013 next December that we remember no similar occurrence.