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November 17, 2012

Reporters' Notebook: Mayor, environmentalist trade letters over pipeline

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — Different views about natural gas recently sparked debate the old-fashioned way — through letters.

Mayor Dick Miller of Oneonta has let some “environmental friends”’ know that he stands by comments that the proposed Constitution Pipeline is safe and won’t have an effect on whether hydrofracturing projects develop in this area. 

Miller was heckled while sharing his views during a public hearing on the proposed Constitution Pipeline late last month. The next day, he wrote to his “Environmental Friends,” including the city’s Environmental Board, to reiterate his positions and explain them in relation to broader environmental and economic issues.

His letter also reviewed positions taken by the city of Oneonta during the last three years, including passing a ban on hydrofracturing, the process used to drill for natural gas; investing more than $4 million in energy conservation projects; working to ensure the safety of the water supply; and the Common Council’s report, `”Oneonta 2030 … Growing Into a Sustainable Community.”

“The city’s environmental record is a good one,” Miller said in the letter and further commented on economic bearings. 

“I suspect that I will always be more interested than you in the economic considerations of decisions we make on issues related to the environment,” he wrote. “I believe that we have to have both a sustainable environment and a sustainable economy.”

David Hutchison, chair of the city’s Environmental Board, applauded Miller’s support of the environment in a letter to the editor of The Daily Star. Hutchison disagrees with the mayor on the proposed pipeline and its possible effect on hydrofracturing, but said he “was dismayed as some of my fellow environmentalists heckled the mayor’s comments” at the hearing.

The two Oneontans agreed that discussion should include respectful exchanges of views.

Some local state police and their dogs recently were hosts to international guests, a media release said. 

Six visitors from the Ukraine toured the canine training facility in Cooperstown to learn more about canines and law enforcement. The guests were from the Ukraine’s border control and customs agencies, and while in Cooperstown, troopers led canine demonstrations and answered questions about training methods, the release from troopers said. 

As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Visitor Leadership Program, the guests were traveling across the country to learn about the selection and training of dogs and handlers. 

The state police created its canine division in 1975. The unit started with three handler teams and has grown to almost 70.

The handlers and their dogs train for 20 weeks at the Cooperstown facility. The dogs are trained using the Baltimore Method, the release said, allowing dogs to be sociable around the public and live in the handler’s residence.

The teams are instructed in basic obedience, agility, handler protection, narcotics or explosives detection, tracking, building searches, veterinary first aid and land navigation. After graduation, teams must receive re-certification bi-annually at the training facility.

The next class of handler teams will graduate late this month. Participants include troopers and graduates from the Schenectady Police Department, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office.

The public school in Delhi has a new name — officially.

The school district has received a signed copy of Bill 6513 that changed its name to Delaware Academy Central School District at Delhi. The bill was signed Aug. 21 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the district’s website said.

Previously, the school had been known as Delhi Central School and Delaware Academy.

Denise Richardson can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213, or at