Don Perkins
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USPS Trying to Find Ways to Keep Rural Offices Open

The US Postal Service says it’s trying to come up with a plan to avoid closing a number of rural post offices across the region.

The plan would be put in place over the next two years and would involve shorter window hours. The plan also proposes to offer incentives to the 21,000 post masters employed across the country.

The USPS says it’s heard from rural communities that they want to keep their small post offices. So far, the service has to save at least $500 million a year in order to stay afloat. Locally, offices in Bainbridge were on a list for closure.

Listen Now

USDA to Provide Farmers Markets with Machines to Read EBT Cards

The Federal government will be sending money to New York State so that low income residents on food assistance programs can use their benefits at farmers markets.

The money from the USDA will be used to provide the markets with machines that accept the EBT cards used by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance participants.

The idea is to give the low income participants more access to the fresh fruits and vegetables available from the farmers, and give the markets themselves access to an expanded customer base.

New York has about 500 markets in both rural and city regions.

Otego Looks to Ban Hyrdrofracturing

Another central New York community is working on a ban against hydrofracturing within its borders.

The Town of Otego council has voted to have a lawyer begin legislation that would put a moratorium on heavy industry.

Otego would join a number of other upstate New York towns, villages and cities that have banned gas drilling within its borders. Recent court cases have confirmed the municipality’s right to do so, including the town of Oneonta.

New York State is in the process of a study regarding hydrofracturing, waiting on a report from the department of environmental conservation.

College Saving Plan to See Changes

There’s going to be some changes to New York State’s college savings plan.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says there will be lower fees for those participating in what’s called the 529 plan.

There are also changes in the works for those who want to invest in the plan.

The new interest rates may reduce expenses to the student by about 1/3.

The comptroller will switch the investment management duties of the college plan from Columbia Management to J.P Morgan Asset Management. That will give investors lower fees as well as more investment options.

New York State’s college savings program has about $11 billion invested with 500,000 student accounts.

Landowners Meet with Lawmakers

Some of the region’s land owners who are in favor of drilling for natural gas met in Albany yesterday.

The group calls itself the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.

They met with legislators and held meetings yesterday, calling for lawmakers and others to accept whatever conclusion the Department of Environmental Conservation comes up with in an upcoming review of the hydrofracturing process. They also claim their side of the story is being ignored by the press and by those with influence over the natural resources the landowners have a right to make use of.

The group says it wants to reclaim ownership of their properties, and move ahead with natural gas exploration as long as it can be done without harm.

Sports

High School Baseball

Oneonta upended Chenango Valley 6-2

Cherry Valley Springfield edged Richfield Springs 8-7

Cooperstown ran by Waterville 5-1

South Kortright doubled Delhi 8-4

High School Softball

Oneonta clipped Chenango Valley 6-5

Cooperstown shut out Waterville 6-0

Downsville got by Windham 5-3

Richfield Springs crushed Cherry Valley Springfield 18-1

Gilbertsville Mt. Upton blanked Laurens 17-0

Jefferson beat South Kortright 14-11

High School Track

At the Harbaugh Invitational at Delhi with a total of 13 teams participating, The Unatego boys ran to first place followed by Walton in second and Milford in 3rd. For the girls it was Walton in first place, then Milford 2nd, and Cherry Valley Springfield in 3rd.

Hartwick College Athletic Honors

On Wednesday, the Empire 8 Conference announced its 2012 Men’s Tennis All-Conference teams. Hartwick seniors Jeff Boyd, Marcelo Navarro, and junior Peter Dumas each were recognized.