{"Body Text Edit"/}City officials recently addressed area residents about the future of the former Bresee's Department Store complex in what we hope will be the first of many public forums.

The former anchor of Oneonta's downtown has been eulogized plenty since its slow demise began more than a decade ago. Certainly there are many who would still take advantage of the store's offerings of clothing, food and home furnishings if it were around today.

But as Martie Meadows commented at the meeting, "the age of downtown department stores is over," for better or for worse. The question now is, "What's next?"

A lot of ideas were tossed around at the meeting, including professional offices, a grocery store, a hotel, a shopping center with on-site parking at the rear, a pedestrian walkway over Wall Street and much more. What becomes of the six-building complex will depend on a lot of factors, including the desires of private developers and the go-ahead from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for any building modifications.

It's difficult at this point to say what would be best for the former Bresee's property, and there are a lot of intriguing possibilities out there.

Whatever happens with the complex, we hope the Otsego County Development Corp., which has the final say over any development of the property, remains open to public input.

The future of Oneonta's downtown could depend on it.

{"Headline24"/}Kids offered connection to better health

{"Body Text Edit"/}We've said it many times before, but we'll say it again: Healthy living is important. That's why we support a program at Worcester Central School.

Kids Connect is a telehealth program provided by At Home Care Inc. of Oneonta.

Glenna Carey, the program's coordinator, said At Home Care started the program to see if changes in eating habits and activity levels can improve student health.

And according to some of the 13 participating Worcester students, the program has been a positive learning experience.

The students involved with the program use an interactive monitor, connected to the At Home office, in the nurse's office. They calculate their body-mass index and measure and discuss readings on weight, blood pressure and others with At Home staff.

Students are also given the opportunity to meet with a physical therapist and a nutritionist.

The program, which is funded by a $117,000 grant from the state Department of Health secured by At Home Care, began Jan. 4 and runs for 30 days. But at the end of the initial run, the program will be evaluated and could be extended for another 30 days, Carey said.

If the students continue to benefit from the program between now and the end of its 30 days, it should be extended.

We think the earlier students learn how to maintain a healthful lifestyle, the better.

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