News of Otsego County


Phyllis F. Mattison, 92; Active In Milford Center Baptist Church

IN MEMORIAM: Phyllis F. Mattison, 92;

Active In Milford Center Baptist Church

Phyllis Mattison

MILFORD – Phyllis F. Mattison, 92, who was active in Milford Center Community Bible Church, died peacefully on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at Cooperstown Center where she resided.

She was born May 28, 1928, at Parshall Hospital in Oneonta, the daughter of Stuart A. and Ena M. (Dana) Foote.

Phyllis grew up in Otego and graduated from Otego Central School in 1945. She attended Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in interior design.




After 27 Years Of Public Service, Veteran

Oneonta Supervisor To Serve Out His Term

Veteran Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood this morning began to tell friends and associates he plans to retire at the end of the year. His retirement will end 27 years in public service, including four years on the city’s Common Council (1991-95) and, since 2008, as supervisor of Otsego County’s largest town.  In an interview this morning, he said he plans to complete his public service on a high note, with completion of an $8+ million water system to service Southside and a $3+ million town highway garage.  As of today, he said, he has 299 days left on the job. (Jim Kevlin/



Finally, New Welcome Sign At Oneonta’s I-88 Entrance

Finally, New Welcome Sign

At Oneonta’s I-88 Entrance

A highway crew this morning erects a new “Welcome to Oneonta” sign on Lettis Highway at Interstate 88’s Exit 15. The sign sports Oneonta’s new logo, which emerged from the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). It replaces a sign that’s been there for decades and had fallen into decrepitude in recent years. (Ian Austin/
‘Welcome To Oneonta’ Sign Will Be Replaced

‘Welcome To Oneonta’

Sign Will Be Replaced

The deteriorating “Welcome to Oneonta” at I-88 at Lettis Highway – for years the first impression of first-time visitors to the city – will be replace tomorrow, Friday, March 5.  Work will begin at 7 a.m. and the job may be complete by 3:30 p.m.  Drivers are alerted to obey all temporary traffic control devices on the northbound lane.  Any questions, call the Department of Public Service at 432-2100 or visit ( file photo)
Maryland Historical Society Wins State Non-Profit Charter

Maryland NY Historical Society

Wins State Non-Profit Charter

SCHENEVUS – The state Education Department has granted the Town of Maryland Historical Society a charter as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the society announced today.

This means that the Town of Maryland Historical Society can officially be registered in New York State, fundraise through membership, collect historical items, and share the stories and history of the town and vicinity.

Schneiders Sell Landmark  To John Walker, CCS 1990

Schneiders Sell Landmark 

To John Walker, CCS 1990

Fred and Robin Schneider announced today that they have sold the Landmark Inn, 64 Chestnut St., Cooperstown to Cooperstown native John Walker, CCS Class of 1990. “After 8 wonderful years in Americas perfect village it is time to retire and set sail,” the Schneiders said. “Thank you all for your friendship and support.  We will miss this place. We leave with a full heart and know the Landmark Inn will continue to prosper under the careful attention of John and Keith.”  The sale was closed Wednesday afternoon, the Schneiders said. ( file photo)
József Kiss, Freedom Fighter, Achieved American Dream


 On your feet, Magyar, the homeland calls!
The time is here, now or never!
Shall we be slaves or free?
This is the question, choose your answer!

From the National Poem of Hungary, by Sándor Petöfi

Freedom Fighter József Kiss

Achieved American Dream

József Kiss

ONEONTA – Born at the start of World War II in a small rural settlement in eastern Hungary, József Kiss survived the front lines of German and Russian armies sleeping in an underground bunker at night with his family and neighbors.

Perhaps it is no wonder that he eventually become a Freedom Fighter in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, bravely joining with others in their attempt to establish democracy. The little boy that pointed at planes flying overhead and told his mother he would one day fly to America somehow knew that he was destined to leave his homeland.

Entrepreneur Kathleen Kiss Survived Husband By 5 Days


Entrepreneur Kathleen Kiss

Survived Husband By 5 Days

Couple Operated 2 Mobile Home Parks
Kathleen Kiss

DAVENPORT – Kathleen Márton Kiss (née Lídia) passed away in her home on Feb. 3, 2021. Her husband of 64 years, József Kiss, survived her by only five days.

Growing up in Socialist Hungary behind the Iron Curtain, Kathleen and her fiancé fled the country as refugees of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. After marrying in Austria, they flew to the United States with help from the Hungarian Reformed Protestant Church and began their new life on a farm in New York State.

Life’s Goal Accomplished Pidgeon Retires

Hail To The Chief!

Life’s Goal Accomplished Pidgeon Retires

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Chief Pidgeon examines mementos of his retirement, including a flag carried aboard Marine One, the President’s helicopter, with a citation in his honor. (Jim Kevlin/

‘The Dark Horse fire,” Oneonta’s retiring fire chief, Pat Pidgeon, immediately responded when asked about the worst blaze he tackled in 36 years with the OFD.

Pidgeon was strapped into the jump seat of the fire engine as it arrived around 5 a.m. March, 1, 1992, at 18 Market St.

“There was an explosion,” he said. He looked over his shoulder. “A beam blew out, and landed on a line of cars. I knew it was going to be a long night.”

The site was what’s now that parking lot a couple of buildings east of the Green Earth health food market. Also on fire was the attached J.J. Maloney Building, a candy distributorship at 12-14 Market.

Pidgeon and Bobby Russo, his crew captain and brother of Fire Chief Francis “Cootie” Russo, set up a 2½-inch hose at the hydrant at today’s Cooper Fox, at the back end of Clinton Plaza.

“I remember the blue flames from all the alcohol that was burning,” he recalled.

At one point, as the fire appeared very close to a neighboring apartment house, he and Russo hammered on the doors of apartments in the building, awakening college coeds and protecting them with their shields as the girls hurried to safety.

Glimmerglass Plans 4 Shows On Lawn

Glimmerglass Plans 4 Shows On Lawn

Opera will be back on Otsego Lake’s shores this summer.

The Glimmerglass Festival announced today it will build an outdoor stage on the festival grounds, where it will present four operas.

The 2021 season will run July 15 through Aug. 17 with performances of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” Offenbach’s “Songbird” (La Périchole), and the world premiere of “The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson,” a new play with music about the founder of the National Negro Opera Company.

“We have re-imagined the Glimmerglass experience for the 2021 season,” said Francesca Zambello, Festival artistic & general director. “While this move outdoors is primarily for the health and safety of our company members, audience members and community, it is in harmony with what people love about Glimmerglass – innovative art and performances in a beautiful location.”

New CCS Superintendent Arrives

New CCS Superintendent Arrives

TV Spot Piqued Educator’s Interest

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sarah Spross


Focused on finishing her doctorate, Sarah Spross, an assistant commissioner in Maryland’s Department of Education, drove up last summer and closeted herself at Cooperstown’s Landmark Inn.

On Aug. 28, she turned on the TV and saw the news: Bill Crankshaw, Cooperstown Central School superintendent since 2016, had resigned to return to his hometown and the Greater Johnstown School District.

It clicked, and Monday, March 1, Spross was seated at Crankshaw’s former conference table at Cooperstown Central School, being interviewed on her first day as CCS superintendent.

“I wanted to return to country living,” said the new superintendent, who has lived in Baltimore for decades, but was raised in Millbrook and summered in the Goodyear Lake vicinity, “and to be impactful in a school district.”

She has an offer on a home in Cooperstown for herself and her 11-year-old son, and that morning had just completed a meeting with her leadership team.

At Woodside Hall, Not One COVID Case In Year

At Woodside Hall, Not One COVID Case In Year

The Rules Are Clear, Says Proprietor,
But They Must Be Enforced Every Day

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Woodside Hall proprietor Stephen Cadwalader, left, and Administrator Joel Plue discuss anti-COVID strategies in the bright drawing room. (Jim Kevlin/

‘When I was a child, a classmate was one of the last Americans to have polio,” said Woodside Hall proprietor Stephen Cadwalader. “What if COVID-19 is like polio? That’s what went through my mind.”

So here we are, a year since the coronavirus arrived – Governor Cuomo reported Tuesday was the anniversary of the first in-state COVID case – and not a single case has appeared at Woodside Hall, a nursing home in the imposing mansion at 1 Main St.

“I’m proud to say, we’re the only facility in the county not to test positive for COVID,” said Joel Plue, the home’s administrator since last September.

Asked to confirm that, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond concurred: The only one.

“We look at residents as an extension of our family,” said Plue, sitting in the bright drawing room across from the grand piano.

The home’s secret? It’s not so much a secret, it turns out, as rigorously applying generally accepted standards.

First, Plue continued, “we take care of our staff. If they arrive with even a sniffle, they’re sent home. They come back to work as soon as they test negative.”

THE DOG CHARMER: Griff Must Learn To ‘Drop-It’

Griff Must Learn To ‘Drop-It’

Dear Dog Charmer:
We are hoping that you might settle a family dispute. We have a 6-month-old pup who loves to play tug-of-war. Some books advise that tug-of-war is a good game for dogs to play, helping dogs burn energy and gain confidence; this is the side my husband takes. I’ve found that the more our puppy plays tug-of-war, the more she tends to bite; she is very gentle, but uses her teeth more on us, which I find disagreeable, and which causes considerable stress when we have visitors with young children or who are less comfortable with dogs. Any advice?

Curious in Cooperstown

Dear Curious in Coop,


The easiest part of being a dog trainer, is training the dog. The hardest part of being a dog trainer is what I call the “leash transfer”, getting the owners to do what I tell them to do, to get their dog cooperating. Having had over 800 training appointments a year I quickly realized that in addition to training the dog and training the owners, a third skill was needed, that being the tactful expertise of a mediator. The first line of the question above is asking me to settle a family dispute. I’ve lost count of all the “how to” quarrels and disagreements I stepped into the middle of when it came to parenting the dog. As for the tug-of-war dispute, you are all correct, or will be with a little bit of training.

With repetitive consistency your dog (based on the picture I’ll call her Grif) can easily attain a large vocabulary. Tug-of-war is a great game, as long as you initiate, and control the game. She needs to be taught, “drop it!”. (The “Drop It” command can save her life if she picks up gum with xylitol in it). Offer her the tug toy saying, “Grif, wanna play tug?” as you hold it out for her to grab. In your other hand is a treat, and after a bit of happy growling tug play put the treat under her nose as you say
“drop it!”.

In the great majority of cases the treat will be more attractive than the toy and she’ll immediately drop the toy for the treat.

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