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Reporter's Notebook

May 25, 2013

Dr. Davis learns more every day about Bassett


Davis said Streck suggested that a larger volume with many illustrations — a coffee table book — would be a compelling way to present the story of Bassett. He figures he will complete the project in another year.

The story of Bassett, he said, is actually a tale of three families — the Bassetts, the Coopers and the Clarks. The hospital is named for Dr. Mary Imogene Bassett, the granddaughter of English immigrants. Practicing medicine in Cooperstown, she expressed a need for a new laboratory. One of her wealthy patients, Edward Severin Clark, the grandson of Edwark Clark, a founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., opened his checkbook and bankrolled the construction of a 100-bed field stone hospital. Soon after it opened in 1922, Dr. Bassett died of a stroke.

The hospital, however, had trouble staying out of the red. In 1925, awash in debt, Bassett closed. But soon after, Dr. Henry S.F. Cooper, a descendant of James Fenimore Cooper and then a young resident at Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, learned of the closing and reached out to Stephen Clark, the brother of Edward Severin Clark, for help. Together, they worked to get the then empty hospital to reopen in 1927.

The story of its subsequent expansion, leadership and medical pioneering in a number of fields is a tale we will leave in the capable hands of Dr. Davis. Godspeed to him.


It was in March 2012 that The Daily Star broke the story about how Chobani, the Greek yogurt giant based in Chenango County, was paying some farmers $300 every time they accepted shipment of 6,000 gallons of whey, the byproduct of yogurt manufacturing.

We learned of this practice at about the same time we learned of a reported mussel kill in the Unadilla River, which runs near the Chobani plant in the town of Columbus. One of the farmers who was getting the Chobani whey was spreading it on a field close to the river, and a State University College at Oneonta professor who detected the mussel kill, Paul Lord, said the stench he smelled from the river made him wonder if it was caused by whey.

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