News of Otsego County

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


Harold P. Sorensen, 82; NJ Native Raised Sheep On Morris Farm

IN MEMORIAM: Harold P. Sorensen, 82;

NJ Native Raised Sheep On Morris Farm

Harold Sorensen

MORRIS – Harold Peter Sorensen, 82, a New Jersey native who raised sheep on moving to a farm here, passed away on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at Bassett Hospital.

He was born on Feb. 6, 1937, in Plainfield, N.J., the son of Harold and Eleonora (Christensen) Sorensen. He married the love of his life, Theresa Caravella on May 5, 1956 in Edison, N.J.

They had a blessed union of 63 years, raising seven sons on the family farm in Morris.

ALL ABOARD! Highlights From The 150th Anniversary of Milford Trains


Highlights From The 150th

Anniversary of Milford Trains

Bruce Hodges, president, Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society and founder Jim Loudon, invite you to join two days of fun celebrating Otsego County’s railroad history. (Ian Austin/

MILFORD – The Cooperstown-Charlotte Valley Railroad celebrates 150 years with two days of train rides, talks, ice cream, music and more Saturday – Sunday, July 13-14.

  • 9 -11 a.m. Special Postal Cancellation by Milford Postmaster Judy Kessler @ Milford Depot
  • 10 – 11:30 a.m.: Steam powered Train Ride W. Big Hook Demo to Milepost 6 ($30/adult, $28/seniors, $25/kids, under 3 free)
  • 10 a.m. – Noon: Dixieland Band performs (tent in front of Milford Depot)
On WAMC’s ‘Morning Headlines’, Editor Says Sam Nader Breached Oneonta Divide

On WAMC’s ‘Morning Headlines’, Editor

Says Sam Nader Breached Oneonta Divide

Sam Nader, 100, stands at left behind Joe DiMaggio, one of the many famous athletes and politicians he met and hosted over the decades.

On this week’s “Morning Headlines” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/ publisher of (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), discusses Sam Nader’s Century, the celebration surrounding his 100th birthday, his careers in politics and baseball, and his many contributions to the city of his birth.


Erich M. Wilkens, 76; Decorated Marine Served In Vietnam War

IN MEMORIAM: Erich M. Wilkens, 76;

Decorated Marine Served In Vietnam War

Erich Wilkens

ONEONTA – Erich M. Wilkens, 76, of St. James Place, a Marine and decorated Vietnam War veteran, died Wednesday July 10, 2019, at his residence with his family at his side.  Survivors include a daughter in West Oneonta.

He was born Oct. 17, 1942 in Oceanside, Long Island, son of the late John and Ilse Sperling Wilkens.

Erich was a veteran of the Marine Corps, having been awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Rifle Marksman Badge. His service to his country continued with his membership with the Phoenicia American Legion Post #950.

Barbara A. Hayes 84; Amsterdam Native Moved Here In 1998

IN MEMORIAM:  Barbara A. Hayes 84;

Amsterdam Native Moved Here In 1998

ONEONTA – Barbara A. Hayes, 84, who move to Oneonta, where her son and his family lives, in 1998, passed away July 9, 2019 at the Fox Hospital.

Born in Amsterdam on Nov. 29, 1934 she was the daughter of the late William and Edna (Tullar) Godden.  She was married to Norman H. Loucks in 1957, he passed away in 1969. She then married Robert H. Hayes in 1976 he passed away in 1984.

Steam Engine Arrives At Milford Train Station

Steam Engine Arrives

At Milford Train Station

Paul Sternitzke, Milford, operates a bucket loader to guide a steam engine, owned by Scott Symans, right, off of a flatbed truck and onto the tracks at the Milford Train station earlier this afternoon. The steam engine will be a featured attraction in this weekend’s 150th anniversary celebration of the Cooperstown Charlotte Valley Railroad, including a ride from Milford to Cooperstown, Saturday July 13. (Ian Austin/

Oneonta’s Growth May Mean Stricter Laws on Short-Term Rentals

Oneonta’s Growth

May Mean Stricter Laws

On Short-Term Rentals

The Town of Oneonta Board is considering placing restrictions and fines on short-term rentals. Board members, from left, Randy Mowers, Patricia Jacobs, Sara Robinson, Town Clerk, Bob Wood, Town Supervisor, Rob Panasci, Town Attorney, Patricia Riddell Kent and Brett Holleran. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – As summer tourism booms, the Town of Oneonta might see a “mini urban renewal” – just so long as everyone is in compliance.

“We have the issue of bigger homes where there has to be family living in them,”  Joe Camarata, Planning Board Chair, told the Town of Oneonta Board.  “How do you police that?  I think we suggest they come into the code office or if they want to rent out 18 bedrooms that they ask for a zoning variance.”

Thomas J. Korenyik, 66; 1970 Unatego Graduate, Automotive Expert

IN MEMORIAM: Thomas J. Korenyik, 66;

1970 Unatego Graduate, Automotive Expert

Thomas J. Korenyik

INDIAN LAKE – Thomas J. Korenyik, 66, a 1970 Unatego Central School graduate, passed away Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at his home in Indian Lake.

Tom was born Oct. 10, 1952, in Ridgewood, NJ, the son of Tibor and Virginia (Filer) Korenyik.  His automotive expertise (especially with Chevys), work ethic, sense of humor, and “gift of gab” will be missed by those whose lives he touched.

Tom is survived by his sons, Daniel Korenyik and Joseph Korenyik; his sister, Cathy Korenyik; his nieces, Jeanne Clark, Kathryn Clark Christman, and Sarah Korenyik; and cousins.

HOMETOWN History July 12, 2019


July 12, 2019

150 Years Ago

The second annual commencement of Oneonta Union School occurred on Monday, July 12 and closed with the Tuesday evening following. The address before the Pioneer Society by Dr. Jewell was attended by a fair concourse of our citizens, but not nearly as large as it ought to have been. The address was excellent. The suggestions advanced ought to be made practical by our young people, tending as it did to the promotion of morality, virtue and purity. At the conclusion of the meeting they repaired to the residence of David Yager, where the Calliopa and Pioneer Societies were to hold their first annual reunion. The evening passed off pleasantly and profitably. The members of the Calliopa Society merit much commendation for their untiring efforts to prove their first attempt a success. Oneontans should be proud of the rough Pioneers and the more fair members of the Calliopa. Mr. and Mrs. Yager did much to conduce to the advantage and pleasure of the occasion. The exercises at the Presbyterian Church on Tuesday evening were flattering
to the school, and indicated that its students are being thoroughly and properly instructed in whatever pertains to education. The orations, compositions, declamations and music were of the highest character, evincing the finest discrimination, style and beauty.

July 1869

125 Years Ago

The announcement of the death of Charles E. Bunn on Saturday afternoon of last week came as a shock to his
numerous friends in Oneonta, few of whom knew of his
serious illness. Mr. Bunn was born in Hartwick 47 years ago. He was the son of William Bunn, a life-long resident of that town, and a brother of Mr. Henry C. Bunn of Mt. Vision. In 1861, being then only fifteen years of age, he enlisted in the 152nd New York volunteers and served his country well until the close of the war. In 1866 he came to Oneonta and engaged in business, and the following year was married, his wife being a daughter of M.H. Bissell, who with three children survives him. Kind, unselfish and generous in the days of prosperity, his death removes from our town one who will long be remembered with affectionate
regret alike by his comrades on battle’s bloody field and by those who knew him in more peaceful walks of life.

July 1894

80 Years Ago

First of the three tourist information booths sponsored by the Youth Frontier Movement opened Saturday on South Side and will be operated 12 hours daily from 9 until 9. Plans are underway to open another at West End today but the East End booth will not be ready for several days. The South Side booth is manned at present by Boris Panko and Edward Byard. Money for its operation has been secured partly through N.Y.A. funds and partly through contributions
from local merchants. The boys work in shifts of six
hours each, six days a week with one boy who will rotate, relieving the other two at each of the booths. Each booth
is equipped with a telephone which tourists may use for
local calls and information about hotels, restaurants,
tourist homes, churches, church services, historical sites, recreation and entertainment.

July 1939

60 Years Ago

Fox Hospital – Today’s Census: 85. Births – Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kellner, 3 Tilton Ave. a son, 8 lbs. 3 ozs., 10:47 p.m., July 7; Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Condon, 30 Pine Street, a son 8 lbs. 11.5 ozs., 6:52 a.m., July 8. Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Benjamin, Oneonta, R.D. 3, a son, 10 libs. 1 oz., 7:40 a.m., July 8. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Lyon, Milford Road, a son, 6 lbs., 12.5 ozs., 9:35 p.m., July 7. Admissions: Mrs. Emma Cronin, 50 River Street, Mrs. Margaret Platts, Worcester; Mrs. Ruth Sprague, Morris; Mrs. Beverly Sanford, 6 Shepherd Avenue. Discharges: Mrs. Mary Ann Spoor and baby daughter, Laurens; Mrs. Elizabeth Waterhouse and baby daughter, Emmons Farms; Mrs. Suzanne Mykytyn and baby daughter, West Oneonta.

July 1959

40 Years Ago

Pat St. John, the self-proclaimed psychic who predicts
a catastrophe at Niagara Falls this Sunday has taken a tour of the famous attraction and come away convinced of impending doom. “I can turn away and look toward Buffalo and feel absolutely fine,” said the housewife from Bridgewater, Connecticut. “But, when I turn toward Niagara Falls, I get a tremendous feeling right in my solar plexus.”
Mrs. St. John’s July 4 prediction of a disaster at Niagara Falls picked up considerably more public attention when a seismic alarm at the falls indicated that a huge mass of rock had shifted by a quarter inch. It could not be determined if the rocks had shifted at once or gradually since the sensors were installed in 1971. The U,S, Army Corps of Engineers who were brought to the falls after the alarm said that three days of monitoring sensor devices had shown no further evidence of any movement.

July 1979

20 Years Ago

Local artists Bonnie Gale and Bertha Rogers were awarded
a total of $1,000 in the third round of the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts Special Opportunity Stipend Program. Gale, a traditional willow basket maker residing in Norwich received a stipend to study with a
mentor. She will work with Stanley Kraus, a Polish
immigrant basket maker who lives in Rochester. Rogers,
a Delhi poet, will use her stipend to help pay her expenses for a residency fellowship at the Hawthornden Castle
International Retreat for Writers in Scotland for a month this fall. She will work to complete a poetry manuscript.

July 1999

10 Years Ago

A self-described entrepreneur recently bought the historic Oneonta Theatre and seeks ideas to restore entertainment to the stage and screens at 47 Chestnut Street. “This building has some great potential,” its new owner Thomas Cormier said. The purchase is a “fine resolution” to questions about the theatre’s fate, said Patrice Macaluso, president of the Friends of the Oneonta Theatre. The group formed last
year to preserve the historic site and had launched plans
to buy the complex in downtown Oneonta. The purchase price paid by Cormier was not revealed. The Oneonta Theatre name would be maintained because of its history, Cormier said.

July 2009

BOUND VOLUMES July 11, 2019


July 11, 2019


Suicide – A man by the name of William Burgin, living in Middlefield, was found dead, near the house of George Boid, Esq. on Wednesday morning last. His left arm (being strongly girt with a garter) had three deep wounds cut in it, from which he had undoubtedly bled to death – and the coroner’s inquest gave their verdict accordingly. It appears he had previously applied to Esq. Boid, one of the poor masters, for assistance from the town – which being refused, he threatened to leave his blood on Boid’s door-steps, before another day – which threat he literally executed as blood was found on Wednesday morning, and his body a short distance off, lying across the path. He was 70 years of age, and has left a wife and children.

July 5, 1819


Barber estimates the numbers in attendance at the Democratic Mass Meeting on July 4 at “4,000, men, women, children and every creeping thing.” This is tolerably liberal for one who has no respect for truth in anything relating to political matters – and, we should let it pass without notice, but for the fact that he has further represented that the assemblage was a scene of rowdiness and drunkenness, such as had not been seen in the place for ten years past. A residence here of a little over six years, seems to beget in him a propensity to speak of “days lang syne,” when he was a subject of King Charles Charter in Rhode Island. Never, during our time, which now counts a domicile on this spot of near thirty-six years, have we seen in the village anything like the number of persons here on July 4. And, we are now satisfied, from conversations with some of our most conscientious and respectable citizens who took the pains to scan the whole ground, that 10,000 as stated in our last paper, is within the number present, and if put at 12,500, it would not have been an exaggeration. There were over 1,000 ladies who sought seats in the Grove, only about half of whom could be accommodated. During four hours’ speaking, not a disorderly sound was heard. No stimulating drinks of any kind were tolerated by the Committee. Is this “rowdiness”? Is this drunkenness? Ask the Ladies present, 500 of whom sat for hours witnessing the scene.

July 15, 1844


Railroad Matters – On Wednesday, the construction train reached the corporation limits and the iron rails crossed the line. The recent favorable weather has been taken advantage
of to push forward the work with energy – some of our business men, Directors and others, going down and lending a helping hand. Wednesday evening, the construction train brought to the village the first car of 11.5 tons freight. The locomotive, so appropriately called the “Ellery Cory” is expected here this week. It is expected that passenger trains will commence to run over the road on Monday next – to be in charge of Mr. O.Z. Brown, Conductor and Mr. Wm. B. Smith, Engineer. The cars will leave Cooperstown at 9:20 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and return about 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. The fare will be 80 cents to the Junction, $2.85 to Binghamton, $3.10 to Albany, $5.10 to New York City.

July 9, 1869


Otsego Chapter, Daughters of The American Revolution, was founded in June, the charter members being Abby Cory Turner, Genevieve Cory Johnston, Emma Cory, Rexis Wood Clark, Grace Scott Bowen, Ella Wood Cady, Jennie Campbell Randolph, Agusta Prescott Welch, Eveleen Tunnicliff Edick, Fannie Grant White, Maude L. Merchant, Clara Matteson Murdock, There are now 17 members of Otsego Chapter. The five members who are not charter members are: Mrs. Emma W. Babbitt, Dr. M. Imogene Bassett, Mrs. Altana R.B. Davidson, Mrs. Helen C. Church and Mrs. Michaels of Fort Plain.

July 12, 1894


Cooperstown and its place in Indian history are to be thoroughly discussed here in the early autumn when several of the most prominent archaeologists of the state plan to gather here as guests of the Leatherstocking Chapter, New York State Archaeological Association. It has been thought for some time past that an Indian Village of considerable size existed for many hundred years on the banks of the Susquehanna River just north of the pump house. A few years ago, a skeleton, undoubtedly that of an Iroquois
warrior was dug up by David R. Dorn and George N. Smith of this village. Since that time, arrows, spearheads, and other implements of warfare have been found. The conference will endeavor to ascertain just who these people were and to what tribes they belonged.

July 9, 1919


Announcement was made Saturday of completion of plans for another series of five Victory Sings to be held in Cooperstown on the four Sunday afternoons in August and the first Sunday afternoon in September, thus continuing the program of community singing started here seven years ago. These sings have been much appreciated and enjoyed in the past and have attracted thousands of people to Cooperstown from all parts of Central New York and many from greater distances. Dr. Elmer A. Tidmarsh, Director of Music at Union College, Schenectady, is returning to be the leader again this summer.

July 12, 1944


The new library building of the New York State Historical
Association will be formally dedicated in a two-day
ceremony at Cooperstown, July 12 and 13. Designed by the architectural firm, Moore and Hutchins, the handsome stone-faced building just north of Fenimore House, the Association’s headquarters, is equipped to house the more than 90,000 volumes, special collections, a newspaper storage area for some 500,000 papers, and a special audio-visual room for tapes, records, films, and slides.

July 9, 1969


The Cooperstown Art Association is currently exhibiting two outdoor sculpted stone works on the front lawn at 22 Main, loaned by two nationally recognized artists who reside nearby. Fly Creek sculptor Walter Dusenberry’s “Garden Bench” is composed of partially sandblasted and polished Yellow Travertine. Gilbertsville’s Dennis Stahl’s marble and wood piece is titled “Darma Wheel.” Both works are for sale.

July 2, 1994

Put Up Your Own Sign, But Leave Others’ Alone

Put Up Your Own Sign,

But Leave Others’ Alone

To the Editor:

The grassy, rather triangular-shaped space at the junction of Route 80 and the Pierstown Road has always been used as a place for various signs – the TANNER HILL HERB FARM.  GRANGE BARBEQUE!  BOOK SALE! And, in political seasons, postings for various candidates.

On Sunday, June 30, a sign in patriotic colors promoting the election of ANY FUNCTIONAL ADULT IN 2020 was up; on Wednesday, July 3, between 12:30 and 4:15 pm, someone got rid of it.

I hadn’t put it there, but was glad to see it. It was both amusing, which most political signage is not, and message-bearing.

Over the years there have been signs for political candidates that I liked, and others that I didn’t, placed there.  But as far as I know they were always left alone until removed by their owners. That is, or was, a tribute to the expression of free thought in a civilized and democratic society.

Our Editor Jim Kevlin publishes letters ranging from the sane and opinionated to the virtually insane but also opinionated, because he sees it as the right thing to do. Just destroying an expression of opinion which you don’t like is thuggish and profoundly saddening.

It violates values that as Americans I believe we hold dear.   Go put up your own sign if you want, but leave the others alone.



Take Care Of Yourself – Now; If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late
Letter from R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Take Care Of Yourself – Now;

If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late

To the Editor:

Who in their right mind would want a one-payer healthcare system? That is not the root problem of the healthcare system.

money is not the problem. Americans deserve a free healthcare system.

Where does our ill health come from? Answer that and you know who should pay!

Thanks to Kaiser and Nixon, healthcare was removed from non-profit status to a for-profit system. That means the sicker you are the more money is made. Where is the motivation and incentive for wellness?

Thanks to Carnegie and Rockefeller; due to their desire to create a monopoly with the drug industry we are stuck with allopathic medicine. They figured if they drove out the use of herbs and homeopath (which they could not patent and control) and pushed drugs, they could make huge profits.

Then they went to educational institutions and gained control of the type of medicine that doctors were taught. A monopoly … based on financial gain … not on wellness and quality of life.

It is not about science. Half the world uses other forms of medicine. Some forms of medicine have been used for thousands of years, successfully.

People say how free we are….we are being maimed and killed by what is called “medicine” in this country. It is time that we are treated better. We should not just be income makers for a few who control the healthcare system.

The first step is to take control of your own heath and question your healthcare providers. Demand proof that their treatment plans work.

The best course of action is to take care of yourself now. When you are sick it is hard to sort out and find a solution to your problem while you are in pain and fear.

Hartwick Forrest

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