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Step Back In Time

December 26, 2012

Step Back in Time: Dec. 26, 2012

25 years ago

Dec. 26, 1987

DELHI — Rev. Harold Smith says he is comfortable with selling his Main Street home for use as a halfway house for mentally ill persons. He has dealt with the mentally ill periodically through 30 years of family counseling.

And Smith and his wife, Camilla, a teacher, are going to stay on as neighbors, renting an apartment right across the street.

This week, Rehabilitation Support Services, an Albany based organization with 17 similar group homes in operation in upstate New York, announced its plans to buy and renovate the Smith house for a 10-bed adult program.

RSS has two other group homes for mentally ill in the region: one in Oneonta, one in Schoharie.

“RSS has a good track record and, philosophically, what they do is aligned with the work I do in my ministry,” said Smith.

In Oneonta, there was some citizen concern on Elm Street over the effect of a home there on property values. Smith said that is not a concern of his.

Last year, two large houses were condemned and shut down by the village of Delhi for life-threatening deficiencies before Smith and partner, Steve Haenel, bought and renovated them. Now non-student apartments, Smith said he will now become one of the non-student renters.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “This has become a nice neighborhood and my wife and I want to stay a while.”

In a letter to neighbors he said he told them the clients who will live at 23 Main St. will not be dangerous and “are people who could be any of us at any given time in our lives.”


50 years ago

Dec. 26, 1962

Christmas comes but once a year.

But for at least one family in Oneonta, Christmas will come again sometime in the middle of January.

That’s when Christmas shopping will catch up to them.

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