News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


New Centers Executive Welcomed At County Site


New Centers Executive

Welcomed At County Site

Levi Lazar, new administrator at Centers Health Care’s Cooperstown Center, poses with his administrative team and Regional Administrator Laurie Mante, right, after a welcoming reception at noon today at the facility in Index. Center right is Assistant Administrator Victoria Williams; center left, Chief Nursing Officer Heidi Hendrix. Most recently, Lazar was administrator at the Buffalo Center. A New York City native, he has also been assigned to Overland, Kans. (Jim Kevlin/
Clark Foundation Announces 2019 Beautification Winners


Clark Foundation Announces

2019 Beautification Winners

Brian Barlow and Chris Law (Chris is posing here with Great Dane Macy) were first-time winners in this year’s Clark Foundation Annual Cooperstown Beautification Contest; the results were announced today. Barlow and Law took first place in Category III, Most Appropriate Residential or Business Window Box or Boxes and/or Hanging Basket. Other first place winners (who have won top honors before) are Ursula and Chuck Hage, 73 Pioneer St., Category II, Most Effective Overall Planting Which Enhances a Residential Propery, As Seen From The Street; and Marc and Sherrie Kingsley, Inn at Cooperstown, 16 Chestnut St., for Most Attractive Floral Display in a Business Setting. (Jim Kevlin/
7 Inductees, Plus Deputies Join Stock Car Hall Of Fame


7 Inductees, Plus Deputies

Join Stock Car Hall Of Fame

At the 24th annual Central New York Stock Car Hall of Fame Induction today at the Otsego County Fairgrounds in Morris, Don Eckler of Milford, top photo, looks at Kenny Moore’s #60X modified “The Flying Milkman,” one of several vintage modifieds on display. Moore won the 1975 track championship at Five Mile Point Speedway, as well as several championships at Skyline Speedway.   Today’s inductees at the 1 p.m. ceremony included Floyd “Pop” Wilcox, Don Lent and Pete Hulbert, as well as Edmeston’s Paul Jensen and Bret Belden, and Joe Donahue Jr. and Paul Holic, along with the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.  Inset, the crowd gathers around 2019 Inductee Bret Belden’s late model which was on display. (Cheryl Clough/

Habitat For Humanity Celebrates 30 Years


Habitat Slide Show Applauds

36 Homes, 2 Renovations

Habitat For Humanity celebrated 30 years of building homes in Otsego County at the Elm Park Methodist Church this evening. A slideshow of the 36 homes and two major renovations was played for the guests as they enjoyed refreshments and cake. Above, Brad Conforti, wife Colleen and their children Abrielle and Micah, Town of Maryland, show off the most recent Habitat newsletter that features the home they will move into. The home is one of the newest residences Habitat is building on McFarlane Road off of Route 205 between West Oneonta and Laurens.  At right, Habitat president Mary Ann Dowdell, Oneonta,  who gave the evening’s keynoter, recognizes those who have donated time and talents over the past three decades by having their names included on an honorary plaque. (Ian Austin/

Who’s Who In County GOP At Salka’s Summer Festival

Who’s Who In County GOP

At Salka’s Summer Festival

Otsego County’s Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, top left, shares lessons from the campaign trail with attorney Mark Masler, Cortland, candidate for state Supreme Court judge for the Sixth Judicial District, which includes Otsego County, this afternoon at the freshman assemblyman’s first annual Fall Festival at Rustic Ridge Winery, Town of Burlington. In the background, Rob Norris of Leonardsville, right, and Tripp Swart, West Edmeston, provide the foot-tapping music; the musicians usually play with Loose Canon, a four-man band.  Inset, Army meets Navy, as Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tony German  of Oneonta, left, shares war stories with David Rees of Oneonta and Five Mile Point, a retired Navy man.  German, who stepped down as commander of the New York State National Guard in February, is running for 19th District congressman; in the 1990s, Rees ran for the Assembly seat Salka now holds.  Attendees ranged from state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and wife Cindy, to Bobby Walker, Fly Creek, the SUNY Albany senior who is president of the New York State College Republicans.   (Jim Kevlin/

…young and in love, couple finds… HEAVEN In Hippie Hollow

…young and in love, couple finds…


In Hippie Hollow

David and Carlie Kinderned by Hinman Hollow Creek, which runs through their campsite outside the Village of Milford. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Carlie prepares herbal tinctures by lamplight.

HIPPIE HOLLOW – Paradise, as Carlie and David Kindernedl see it, can be found just off Oxbow Road in the Town of Milford.

“Our vision has a lot to do with finding a haven,” she said. “We don’t want a posh existence, we just want to build something beautiful.”

Three years ago, the couple acquired almost four acres at the corner of Oxbow and Chlorinator roads – Carlie’s dad dubbed it “Hippie Hollow.”

“He wanted to turn it into a baseball camp,” she said. “We want to make this land into and edible forest garden, with plants for food and medicine.”



Hanzolo Wows Albany Audience

Hanzolo Wows

Albany Audience

To cheering crowds, Hanzolo, the Cooperstown band on the make, ends its set a few minutes ago at PearlPalooza, the downtown Albany music festival underway today. The band qualified for today’s main stage by winning radio station WEQX’s Albany-area Battle of the Bands last month at the Crossgates Mall. (Libby Cudmore/
And They’re Off!

They’re Off!

Legion Riders Off On 2019 Legacy Run

Chris Chase, vice president, American Legion Riders, Post 259, gears up with fellow riders as they prepare to head out Saturday morning on the 2019 Legacy Run. Inset, Deborah Rodriguez-Heim, Oneonta, starts out on her red Can-Am Spyder. The ride funds the American Legion Legacy Scholarship, which provides scholarship money to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty.  This year, the riders made their way from Oneonta, over Franklin Mountain to Delhi where they will take a break before going to Walton, Margaretville and Downsville.  In past year, the riders have circled Otsego Lake and stopped at Glimmerglass State Park before heading home.  (Ian Austin/

TEDx Oneonta Inspires At Slade Theater


Oneonta’s TEDx Evening

Includes CADE Executive

Phoebe Schreiner, Oneonta, Center for Agricultural Development &  Entrepreneurship executive director, presents he talk, “Why America Needs a New Foodshed,” at this evening’s TEDx Talk At Slade Theater at Hartwick College. She was one of five speakers who spoke at the event, but the one local ones.  Others were: “The Real Reason Relationships Fail” by  Abby Medcalf, “Ubuntu 2.0: Humanity’s Operating System” by Getrude Matshe-Kanicki, “Personal Power; Establishing Connections For Success” by Matt Episcopo, and “Rising is a Risk. Do it Anyway,” by Cait Scudder. TEDxOneonta is a locally organized TED event associated with the national TED Talk movement. (Ian Austin/
Habitat For Humanity: 35 Homes In 30 Years


Habitat For Humanity:

35 Homes In 30 Years

Habitat for Humanity built home sweet home for Lois Newell, foreground, and daughters Adrianna, left, Gabriella and Isabella. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Habitat President Mary Ann Dowdell and Marjorie Pietraface discusses this Sunday’s celebration of Habitat’s 30th anniversary.

ONEONTA – A decade ago, Lois Newell felt hopeless.

“I was living in an apartment on Academy Street, my window faced the back of the Salvation Army,” she said. “I would look at that wall every day and cry. I was freshly divorced, I had no money and no resources. I wanted hope, a better life for my kids.”

Now, when she looks out her window, she sees an apple tree and the wildflower garden she’s cultivated in the yard of her Habitat For Humanity house, one of 35 the the nationwide organization’s local chapter has built locally over the last three decades.

This Sunday, Sept. 15, Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County will celebrate its 30th anniversary with an open house 2-4 p.m. at the Elm Park Methodist Church, Oneonta.

Oneonta DAR Builds Constitution Display At Southside Mall

DAR Display At Mall

Honors Constitution

In honor of National Constitution Week, the Oneonta chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has put together a display on the document at the Southside Mall, commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.  From left are DAR members Jeanne Westcott, Helen Rees and Linda Riddell. The display is near Bath and Body Works and will remain up through Sept. 23.
Cellist Plays To Remember, To Savor Joys Of Being Alive


Cellist Plays To Remember,

To Savor Joy Of Being Alive

Francesca Vanasco, who has homes in the Town of Middlefield and New York City, set up her cello on the veranda of the Village Library of Cooperstown this morning to remember her narrow escape on 9/11, and to celebrate the joy of being alive. On Sept. 11, 2001, she was working for Marsh & McLennan, the consulting firm, on the 99th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. She’d been working a lot of overtime, had worked the previous weekend, so on a whim that fateful morning she decided to sleep in. At 8:46 a.m., when she usually would have been at her desk, the North Tower was struck. A professional musician – she is former lead cellist at the Maracaibo Symphony in Venezuela and performed with the New Jersey Symphony – she has played her cello annually on 9/11 in New York City. April to October in recent years, she’s moved up to her local home, and thinks she may make her performance – mostly Bach – in front of the library an annual 9/11 ritual. (Jim Kevlin/
Cooperstown Woman On Flight With Atta


Cooperstown Woman

On Flight With Atta

‘He Was Looking At Me With Hatred,’

Alena Krug Remembers 18 Years Later

By JENNIFER HILL • Exclusive to

Mohamed Atta, the man Alena Krug saw on the flight out of Minneapolis.

COOPERSTOWN – When Alena Krug saw the pictures of the hijackers on the 6 o’clock news on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, she froze.

Alena Krug

She recognized one of the men: They had been on the same flight out of Minneapolis just three days earlier.  She remembered him because he had stared at her so intensely on the plane that it had unnerved her.

His name was Mohamed Atta.

“I was very late for the flight on that Saturday because I was at a volleyball tournament all day in the Twin Cities,” said Krug, who coached University of Wisconsin-Superior’s team at the time.

Hundreds Of Flags Mark 9/11’s 18th Anniversary

Hundreds Of Flags Mark

9/11’s 18th Anniversary

Assisted by Bosley, Gretchen Raddatz of Cooperstown places flags at Lakefront Park this afternoon, preparing for the 18th anniversary of 9/11 on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Gretchen’s mother, Cathy, organizes the annual flag displays in memory of her brother, George Morell, Gretchen’s uncle, who died in the Twin Towers attack. Hundreds of tiny banners will appear in the village’s parks and church lawns in the next three days. (Jim Kevlin /
Standing Ovation For Huff At End Of ‘Firebird Suit’


Standing Ovation For Huff

At End Of ‘Firebird Suite’

Silas Huff, right, one of three conductors auditioning to succeed founding conductor Charles Schneider in directing Oneonta’s Catskill Symphony Orchestra, took to the stage tonight at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom.  Here, he directs cello soloist Andrew Janss in Franz Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Op 101.”  Huff, the first of three candidates who will be guest conductors this fall, received standing ovations for Strauss’ “Overture to Die Fledermaus” and, the finale, Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.”  The next conductor candidate will be Carolyn Watson, who will perform on Oct. 12.  Tickets available at (Ian Austin/
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