News of Otsego County

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

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, MAY 12
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, MAY 12

CCS Art & Music Night

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K-12 ART & MUSIC NIGHT – 5-7 p.m. An exhibit of the art by Cooperstown students. The library will also be open with a craft program for children and a preview of the Library’s Summer Program. Cooperstown Art Association. Info, www.cooperstownart.com

EXHIBIT RECEPTION – 5-7 p.m. Opening the Lake Exhibit by the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Free and open to the public. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Road, Cooperstown. Info, hydehall.org/events-2/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, APRIL 20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, APRIL 20

Otsego Folklore And History

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LECTURE – 7:30 p.m. Bruce Buckley series presents Robert Baron speaking on “Contemporary Resonances of Mid Century Cooperstown Public Folklore and Public History.” The Fenimore Art Museum Auditorium, Cooperstown. Info, Amanda Berman bermal72@oneonta.edu

TEEN SCENE – 5:30-7:30 p.m. Teens meet to discuss events that are important to them. This months meeting will have a Paint & Dip in which teens will paint a pattern with a twist of their own. Led by artist Diane Stensland. Reservations required. Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info, visit www.familyrn.org/news_events/event_calendar.html/event/2017/04/20/1492727400/teen-scene/153288 or contact Kristin Winn, info@familyrn.org or call (607)432-0001

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, APRIL 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, APRIL 6

Professional Networking Event

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YOUNG PROFESSIONALS –  6-8 p.m. Come meet young professionals from the Otsego area in this networking event. J&D’s Wagon Wheel, Main St., Oneonta. Info, www.facebook.com/YoungProfessionalsNetworkYPN/

OPEN HOUSE – 5-7 p.m. The Otsego Area Occupational Center open house includes display’s games, open enrollment for adult education classes, child fingerprinting, and demonstrations from the CTE programs. Otsego Nothern Catskills BOCES, 1914 Co. Hwy. 35, Milford. Info, www.facebook.com/ONCBOCES/

ALDEN SCHOLAR SERIES – 7 p.m. “Rethinking Clutter: An Anthropological Take on the Stuff that’s Hard to Let Go” presented by Dr. Sallie Han. Free reception to follow. Alden Room, Milne Library, SUNY Oneonta. Info, E.K Lee, (607)436-2159

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MAR. 30
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MAR. 30

Preserving Oral Histories

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ORAL HISTORIES – 6:30 p.m. Cooperstown Graduate Program students Emily Pfeil and Kate Webber demonstrates the discussion of oral histories with residents of senior communities. Woodside Hall, 1 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, Karen Cadwalader, LCSW @ (607)547-0600

SPAGHETTI FUNDRAISER – 5-8 p.m. Enjoy a spaghetti dinner to support the local Calcio United Soccer club based out of Fortin Park, Oneonta. 6th Ward Athletic Club, West Broadway, Oneonta. Info, www.facebook.com/calciounitedsoccerclub/

OPEN MIC – 7-9 p.m. Share your travel stories whether they be close to home or far and wide. The Roots Brewing Company, 175 Main St., Oneonta. Info, www.facebook.com/TheGreenToadBookstore/

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Former SUNY Oneonta Professor Wins 2016 National Book Award

Former SUNY Oneonta Professor

Wins 2016 National Book Award 

Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi

ONEONTA – Ibram X. Kendi, former SUNY Oneonta assistant history professor, just won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”

“In the midst of the human ugliness of racism, there was the human beauty,” he said in his acceptance speech when the awards were announced Wednesday in New York City. “There is the human beauty in the resistance to racism.”

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CGP Grad Roddy Moore Shares Secrets of Thunderbird Jewelry

CGP Grad Roddy Moore Shares

Secrets of Thunderbird Jewelry

Roddy Moore, a 1971 Cooperstown Graduate Program alumni, returned tonight to give the annual Bruce Buckley lecture on "Thunderbird Jewelry of the Santo Domingo Pueblo." The jewelry was also known as "Depression Jewelry" and was made from records, plastic and other salvage, then sold to tourists. Before he began studying it, no other studies had ever been done, and most antique stores hid it in the back. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Roddy Moore, a 1971 Cooperstown Graduate Program graduate and director of the Blue Ridge Institute in Ferrum, W.Va., returned tonight to give the annual Bruce Buckley lecture on “Thunderbird Jewelry of the Santo Domingo Pueblo.” The jewelry was also known as “Depression Jewelry” and was made from records, plastic and other salvage, then sold to tourists at local trading posts and hotel gift shops. Before he began studying the jewelry, no other formal documentation had been done, and most antique stores hid it in the back. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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Bruce Hall Hosts Kitchen Retrospective

Bruce Hall Hosts 

Kitchen Retrospective

Cindy Falk, a professor with the Cooperstown Graduate Prodram, center, Cooperstown, stands with her students Melissa Olsen, Alex Sniffen, Samantha Smithson, Lynds Jones, Matt Wagner, Miranda Pettengill and Tori Lee. With Falk, the students were presenting Kitchens In America, a retrospective through the ages of styles, gadgets and trends in the American kitchen at the Bruce Hall Home Center this evening. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Cindy Falk, Cooperstown Graduate Program professor, foreground, stands with her students Melissa Olsen, Alex Sniffen, Samantha Smithson, Lynds Jones, Matt Wagner, Miranda Pettengill and Tori Lee this evening at Bruce Hall Home Center, which was hosting the CGP students’ presentation, “Kitchens In America,” a 500-year retrospective on styles, gadgets and trends in the American kitchen. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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New Boat-Washing Station Expected At Cooperstown’s Lakefront Park By ’16

New Boat-Washing Station Expected

At Cooperstown’s Lakefront Park In ’16

Paul Lord, an Otsego Lake Association board member from the Town of Otsego, reports a boat-washing station, aimed at preventing invasive species from entering Glimmerglass' waters, will be functioning in Cooperstown's Lakefront Park by next May.  The apparatus, which will be next to the park's restrooms on Fish Road, will be connected with the village's wastewater system to speed up the process of filling and emptying a portable pool.  Also at the meeting, held on the porch of the Otsego Golf Course clubhouse at the lake's north end, also including a report on historic structures around the lake by CGP Professors Cindy Falk and Will Walker,.  Tim Pokorny, a biologist at SUNY Oneonta's Biological Field Station, reported that zebra mussels have made the lake's waters so clear that alewives, introduced illegally into the lake in 1985, can now be seen by their natural predators and have all but disappeared, allowing native fish -- trout, smelt and whitefish -- to rebound strongly.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Paul Lord, an Otsego Lake Association board member from the Town of Otsego, reports a new boat-washing station, aimed at preventing invasive species from entering Glimmerglass’ waters, will be functioning in Cooperstown’s Lakefront Park by next May. The apparatus, which will be next to the park’s restrooms on Fish Road, will be connected with the village’s wastewater system to speed up a process that now involves filling and emptying a portable pool. Also at the meeting, held on the porch of the Otsego Golf Course clubhouse at the lake’s north end, there was a report on historic structures around the lake by CGP Professors Cindy Falk and Will Walker. Tim Pokorny, a biologist at SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station, reported that zebra mussels have made the lake’s waters so clear that alewives, introduced illegally into the lake in 1985, can now be seen by their natural predators and have all but disappeared, allowing native fish – trout, smelt and whitefish – to rebound strongly. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
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Rock Hall’s Greg Harris Blending Old Stars, New

Rock Hall’s Greg Harris Blending Old Stars, New

By LIBBY CUDMORE•The Freeman’s Journal

Edition of Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

Rock Hall president Greg Harris, ’93, shares a laugh with Jim Havener, ’83, at the CGP Alumni Reception Saturday, Oct. 11. (Jim Kevlin/The Freeman's Journal)
Rock Hall president Greg Harris, ’93, shares a laugh with Jim Havener, ’83, at the CGP Alumni Reception Saturday, Oct. 11. (Jim Kevlin/The Freeman’s Journal)

When Greg Harris, ’93, was a Cooperstown Graduate Program “first year,” he may not have known that what he did in his free time would be as important to his career as what he did in the classroom. “We were always out going to see bands in Oneonta, Cherry Valley,” he said. “We spent as much time in the community as we did in the classroom.”

In December 2012, Greg Harris, who rose to vice president of development at the Baseball Hall of Fame, was named the president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

He maintains a home in Fly Creek, and was back in Cooperstown Friday-Sunday, Oct. 10-12, among 25 alums and spouses at the 50th anniversary of the CGP. “It’s great to be back in Cooperstown, seeing alums and family,” he said. “When you’re in a small town and a two-year program, you get to know each other really well.”

While in the graduate program, he did his community service project at Brookwood, helped archive CGP founder Louis Jones’ files and put together an oral history on the Cooperstown Diner. “I spoke to all the owners from the 1920s to the early ’90s,” he said of the latter. “I talked to regulars. It was a big project.”

That spirit of community has helped influence Harris’ new strategic plan at the Rock Hall. “We want to know who our visitors are and make changes to exhibitions to reflect that,” he said. “We want Lady GaGa and Bruno Mars to be in the same space as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. More people can come see these artists, and it will be more relevant to younger visitors.”

Under his new plan, curators work with educators, marketing and digital media to create exhibitions. “We want to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock & roll,” he said.

This year, Harris presided over the Induction ceremony for the first time, held in Los Angeles. It featured Randy Newman, Heart, Public Enemy and Rush. Next May, he will host his first induction in Cleveland. “I’m very excited about this year’s ballot,” he said. “There’s a lot of older artists who haven’t been recognized yet” – Lou Reed, The Spinners, The Marvellettes among them – “and some newer artists” – Sting, Green Day, The Smiths and Nine-Inch Nails. “It’s a big statement that rock & roll isn’t something that’s from a long time ago. It’s alive.”

Harris has also bolstered relationships with inductees so that they know they are welcome even if they aren’t on the stage. “They need to know that they are part of the story of rock & roll,” he said. “It’s something the Baseball Hall of Fame does really well with their induction ceremonies, and it’s already showing great results.”

 

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250 Alumni, Spouses Due At 50th Fete

250 Alumni, Spouses Due At 50th Fete

By JIM KEVLIN • The Freeman’s Journal

Edition of Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

Louis C. Jones was on a Guggenheim in the Virgin Islands when Stephen C. Clark invited him to Cooperstown for “a chat.”

NYSHA President Paul D’Ambrosio keeps a photo of CGP founder Louis Jones (by Milo V. Stewart Sr.) in his office.
NYSHA President Paul D’Ambrosio keeps a photo of CGP founder Louis Jones (by Milo V. Stewart Sr.) in his office.

According to one story, the Joneses hadn’t brought a can opener and were unable to find one in the Caribbean, and Louie off-handedly told wife Aggie this would be a chance to pick up one up.

Interviewed on The Otesaga’s veranda, the future NYSHA director and founder of the Cooperstown Graduate Program told Clark he didn’t like rich people, wasn’t a Republican (some remember him as a follower of Norman Thomas, the socialist), disliked the country club scene – on and on. Not much of a hard sell.

But, it turned out – as current NYSHA President Paul D’Ambrosio recounted a few days before this weekend’s CGP 50th anniversary celebration – that was just the temperament Clark wanted for the task at hand. “Stephen Clark was such a unique individual, in his humanity and respect for every person,” said D’Ambrosio. “He believed ordinary men and women built this country and their story needed to be told.”

And so, in 1947, Louis Jones began his quarter-century tenure as NYSHA’s top executive, overseeing evolution of “The Fenimore House,” additions to The Farmers’ Museum (including the centerpiece Cornwallville Church) and, in 1964, CGP’s creation, a collaboration then and now between NYSHA and SUNY Oneonta. (SUNY Oneonta President Nancy

Kleniewski often calls CGP “the jewel in the crown” of the college’s graduate programs.)
As Wendell Tripp, longtime editor of New York History, NYSHA’s scholarly journal, and still a CGP adjunct, tells it,

Jones found a capable – and similarly independent – management cadre in place: Janet MacFarlane and Mary Cunningham, who ran the place during WWII, only to be supplanted when the men returned, and George Campbell, a farmer and one-time member of the village crew who had parlayed his knowledge of vintage farm implements into the position of curator.

“Louie Jones was a highly intelligent person – as a lot of people are,” said Tripp. “But he had a marvelous humanistic sensitivity so that he could lead, encourage and stimulate very creative people, without being domineering or subservient.” He was also a “marvelous raconteur” consulted in cultural matters by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and other of Albany’s leading lights. And so the NYSHA entities thrived.

Louie Jones was, first, an educator (with a lifelong interest in murders and ghost stories), coming to Cooperstown from the future SUNY Albany. “He knew there was no place in the country training young people in history museums,” said Gretchen Sorin, CGP’s current director. “A lot of museums had no professional staff.”

He was also intrigued with creating a program “on the campus of the museums” – that still sets apart the CGP today. And so, in the fall of 1964, the CGP welcomed its first class at “The White House,” that building to the north of The Fenimore.

Jones was its first director, for a while ceding general NYSHA responsibilities to Fred Rath, who became “acting” director, (though Jones kept a hand in it.)

The curriculum at the outset was heavily influenced by the Foxfire Movement, a 1960s an oral history and DIY (do it yourself) initiative that sought to preserve the legends, farming practices, recipes and other cornerstones of life in the Appalachian Region (Otsego County is at its north end.)

That impetus was very much alive when Sorin arrived on campus in the mid 1970s, (as it happened, CGP’s first black student.) The curriculum included in its museum management, folklore and art conservation classes, such activities as hog butchering (at The Farmers’ Museum) and a knowledge of maple syruping, moonshining and the like.

By the time D’Ambrosio arrived – an English major undergrad, he became intrigued with museum work during an internship helping conservators stabilize a collection of 19th century cartoonist Eugene Zimmerman at the Horseheads Historical Society – the folklore track had lapsed and art conservation had moved to Buffalo, where students could work on art more modern than NYSHA’s 19th century collection.

Today’s museum studies curriculum is guided by what Sorin refers to as the New Social History, still including the oral histories and studying “pre-industrial technology, but all focused on “ordinary people and everyday life.”
When all three programs were functioning, enrollment peaked in the 60 range, but today’s classes are 20 or so, meaning there are 35-40 students going through the two-year curriculum at any one time. They study, not just exhibits and collections, but administration, finance, fundraising and development and “cultural entrepreneurship.”

Responding to trends in the industry, students can also learn about science museums. The latest addition to the five-person faculty is Carlyn S. Buckler, a molecular biologist by training. There are another five part-time faculty members, including D’Ambrosio. (He and wife Anna, director of Munson Williams Proctor Art Institue in Utica, are one of a dozen “CGP couples.”)

A “big ideas” course – reflecting trends like diversity and evironmentalism – seeks to put museum studies in a larger context. “We want (our students) to be on the cutting-edge of scholarship,” said Professor Will Walker, who teaches that course, as well as overseeing oral history.

In the 1970s, the program had moved into a cinderblock building north of The Fenimore complex, a bit of a bunker, which it shared with SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station. However, a $6 million redo three years ago gutted the building and replaced it with an airy modern structure, a glass wall looking out on James Fenimore Cooper’s Glimmerglass. It includes a gallery to give students hands-on experience, as well as a digital lab.

For years, the CGP and Winterthur, the University of Delaware’s museum-studies program, were seen as competing, but that’s past, Sorin believes, as the latter focused on decorative arts and the former on the real world.
“People love coming here,” Sorin said of the students she’s seen over 19 years. “They love this place. They love becoming part of the community.”

Of the 1,000-some graduates, many populate the heights of museum administration and scholarship. Hunt and peck through the CGP Alumni Directory, and a star emerges on every page, from Jane Spillman, “the queen of American glass” who recently retired from the Corning Museum of Glass, to Greg Harris, president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

“Our program … gives SUNY Oneonta a national impact on how culture is preserved and presented to the public,” said Kleniewski, reflecting on the half-century record. “You’ll find our graduates everywhere from the California African American Museum in Los Angeles to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.”

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103