By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — It was with great sadness that I read about the death of former Sidney Mayor Elwood “Dixie” Davis last week.
I got to know Dixie when I was starting out as a freelance reporter working for area weeklies in the 1990s. His kindness and patience helped convince me that I could could do the job, and got me started on a career I began late in life.
That experience also helped acclimate me to the people and organizations in the Sidney community, which made it possible for me to apply for the bureau job at The Daily Star when it became available.
I called Dixie several times over the years as a way of expressing my appreciation, and just to say “hi.” He was always friendly, and displayed his characteristic self modesty and good humor. For me, he set a standard for public servants in the village that all those I’ve worked with after have met. Thanks again Dixie, you will be missed.
The recent annual meeting of the Delaware County Electric Cooperative gave me a chance to explore the organization’s history on its website. Today, the cooperative has grown to serve over 5,100 members/consumers covering over 800 miles of line. The cooperative’s service territory encompasses the rural areas of 21 towns in Delaware, Schoharie, Otsego and Chenango counties.
But it had humble beginnings. In May 1941, the first of a series of meetings that formed the cooperative were held in Delhi. A corporation was formed July 15, 1941, known as the Delaware County Electric Association, Inc.
On April 29, 1942, state Gov. Herbert H. Lehman signed the “Rural Electric Cooperative Law” permitting farmers to provide electricity to themselves through cooperatives. On May 12, 1942, Delaware County Electric Association Inc., was converted to a cooperative in accordance with the new “Rural Electric Cooperative Law” and became Delaware County Electric Cooperative Inc. On May 25, 1942, the first set of bylaws was approved and the first officers were elected.
The start of World War II delayed the progress of the cooperative, as supplies needed for building power lines were unavailable. The cooperative office was closed until Aug. 1943. On June 29, 1944 at 2:00 p.m., the first 8.2 miles of line serving 12 farms were energized on Platner Brook in Delhi.
In 1960, the cooperative signed a contract with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for the purchase of renewable hydroelectric power. Previously, the cooperative had purchased electrical power from New York State Electric & Gas. NYPA has remained the supplier of the cooperative’s power since that time.
The current Cooperative office, located at 39 Elm Street in Delhi, was purchased from the Elizabeth Farrington Estate.
A friend of the court brief was recently filed in a case challenging state law that restricts districts from raising adequate revenues for their schools, according to a media release from The Alliance for Quality Education. The group, with the assistance of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), recently filed the brief. The case was filed by the New York State United Teachers and other plaintiffs against the state.
In 2011 New York passed a law limiting local property tax increases to support schools to 2 percent. This limitation compounds the harm caused by the state’s ongoing failure to adequately fund its Foundation Aid formula, enacted in 2007, in response to the landmark court ruling in C.F.E. v. State, the release said. Instead, the state has shortchanged state schools by more than $7 billion in school aid. Districts across the state have lost thousands of teachers and are being forced to eliminate other basic educational necessities.
“At the same time that school aid has been cut, the 2 percent restriction prevents school districts from raising their own aid through their tax base in order to mitigate some of the damage of state aid cuts,” said Wendy Lecker, senior attorney at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a project of Education Law Center, and co-counsel on the amicus brief. “The cap has the most damaging impact in New York’s neediest districts, where state funding cuts have run deepest.”
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York is hosting a field day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 1 at 9664 Starr Hill Road, Remsen, N.Y. It is a chance to tour the newly certified organic Simons family farm with Ben and Robin Simons. Participants can hear the trials and tribulations of transitioning a dairy herd and getting their questions answered about organic dairy management, pasture management and the record keeping process. The registration fee is $10 a person or $15 for 2 or more people per farm.
The deadline is Oct. 30, and walk-ins are welcome
More information is available at www.nofany.org/events/field-days/transition-trail-organic-dairying.