News of Otsego County

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


Tan Van Sought After Cooperstown Hit, Run

Tan Van Sought After

Cooperstown Hit, Run

Bystanders said a tan van was being sought after a collision at 6 p.m. this evening at the intersection of Susquehanna and Beaver in front of Bassett Hall. The driver of the maroon Ford, in photo, that was hit broadside by the van was inside the Cooperstown EMT ambulance being checked, but his parents, standing outside, said he seemed to be uninjured. They said both drivers were trying to signal each other to take the right-of-way at the four-way stop; the Ford then moved into the intersection, but so did the van, driving by a female, which struck the Ford, denting the passenger side and setting off the front and back seat airbags.  Behind the car, Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman confers with fire and police officials at the scene.  (Jim Kevlin/
Felix (Lex) Smith Verity, 104; Diplomat, Exec Travelled World


Felix (Lex) Smith Verity, 104;

Diplomat, Exec Travelled World

Felix (Lex) Smith Verity

UNADILLA – Felix (Lex) Smith Verity, 104, a former diplomat and executive who owned property in Unadilla as well as Cold Spring and Manhattan, died May 19, 2019.

(Lex) was born Feb. 27, 1915, in Readville, Mass., the son of John William Verity of Yorkshire, England, and Anna Evangeline Appleby of New Brunswick, Canada.

Anna was the descendant of one of five Appleby brothers who left New York State about 1750 for residence in New Brunswick.  Lex’s early youth was spent in Canton, Mass., with his parents, where his father’s siblings also resided.

John L. Tophoven, 48; Houston-Based Construction Manager

IN MEMORIAM: John L. Tophoven, 48;

Houston-Based Construction Manager

WEST EDMESTON – John LeGrand Tophoven, 48, formerly of West Edmeston, a project manager for a Houston, Texas, construction company, passed away unexpectedly on Monday May 20, 2019 in Houston.

John was born on Dec. 7, 1970, in Utica, the son of Anthony and Ida Mae Sweet Tophoven.

John graduated with the Edmeston Central School, Class of 1989, and in 1993 from Utica College with a B.S. in Business and Marketing. While at Utica College, John enjoyed playing lacrosse.

Middle School Principal Will Fill Brindley Position

Yelich Retirement Sets Off Shuffle

Middle School Principal

Will Fill Brindley Position

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Coleen Moore at tonight’s meeting. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – Oneonta Middle School Principal Coleen Moore is being promoted to district director of Curriculum & Instruction, succeeding Tom Brindley who will become superintendent July 1, School Board President Bill Gau announced at tonight’s board meeting.

The current superintendent, Joseph Yelich, will retire on June 30, setting the changes in motion..

“I just want to say how appreciative and fortunate we are,” Brindley said the Moore’s promotion. “She has a level of expertise that will serve the district many years to come.  Congratulations.”

Moore has worked for the district for over 20 years.  She started as a student assistant teacher, taught sixth grade, worked as a library media specialist, and became the middle school’s principal in 2015.

Salvation Army Ceremony Marks Major’s Retirement

Salvation Army Ceremony

Marks Major’s Retirement

Col. Richard Munn, International Salvation Army representative to the United Nations, presents Maj. Sharon Harford, commander of the Oneonta post, with her certificate of retirement during a ceremony Saturday, May 18, at the River Street installation.  The flag bearers were Lt. Cols. Eugene and Edith Pigford.  Her official retirement date is June 1, but she will remain in charge until July 1, when she will be relieved by Majs. Roger and Cheryl Compton.   After 20 years of service with the Salvation Army, “it is with a  mixture of sadness and joy that I enter this new phase of my life,” said Major Harford, who has served locally for almost a decade.
2 Cooperstown Girls Win Boys Sectional Tennis Title

2 Cooperstown Girls Win

Boys Sectional Tennis Title

NYSPHSAA Section III officials today confirmed two girls on the CCS Tennis Team, sophomore Lindsey Trosset and eighth-grader Bradley Weldon, made history this week by becoming the first female doubles team to win a sectional title in Section III boys tennis.  They are the daughters of Mike and Sally Trosset, and Bill and Jeanette Weldon.  Lindsey’s sister, Kate, was the second girl to do similarly in boys singles.
Raymond Johnson, 90; Town Assessor 49 Years, Leading NY Legionnaire


Raymond Johnson, 90;

Town Assessor 49 Years,

Leading NY Legionnaire

Raymond Johnson

UNADILLA – Raymond Johnson, 90, career Amphenol employee and Unadilla town assessor for almost a  half-center who rose to vice commander of the state’s American Legion, passed away at Valley View Manor Nursing Facility in Norwich on Tuesday, May 21, 2019

He was born Oct. 7, 1928, son of the late Orville and Bessie (Schmerhorn) Johnson in Mount Upton.  Ray graduated from Mount Upton Central School, Class of 1947.

He served his country in Army from 1948 to 1952, and was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant.

Virginia ‘Gina’ Dwyer, 88;Raised 9 Children, Then Became Teacher

IN MEMORIAM: Virginia ‘Gina’ Dwyer, 88;

Raised 9 Children, Then Became Teacher

Virginia “Gina” Dwyer

ONEONTA – Virginia A. “Gina” Dwyer, 88, who after raising her nine children began a second career teaching at Unatego Central School, peacefully passed away at home in the early morning hours of May 20, 2019.

Gina was born in Brooklyn, daughter of Ida O’Connor Smith and Norbert Smith, and grew up to be an accomplished young lady. She graduated from St. Francis Xavier Academy and attended Good Council College, then married Thomas F. Dwyer in 1952, and promptly moved to Camp Lejuene where he was stationed in the Marine Corps.

In 1954, they moved back to Brooklyn. In 1959, they settled in Nanuet and raised a family of nine children before embarking on her own path.

Thomas A. Armstrong, 92; ‘Mr. Springfield’ For Decades, Leading Town, School Boards


Thomas A. Armstrong, 92;

‘Mr. Springfield’ For Decades,

Leading Town, School Boards

Tom Armstrong’s reputation as the Town of Springfield’s foremost citizen made him the natural choice for grand marshal in 2014 at the 100th Anniversary of town’s nationally famous Fourth of July Parade. ( photo)

SPRINGFIELD – Thomas A. Armstrong, 92, influential town supervisor and school board president for decades, peacefully entered into eternal rest on May 20, 2019, in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born on May 1, 1927, in Cooperstown, the son of Beatrice and William Armstrong. Tom attended a one-room schoolhouse in Springfield.

On June 27, 1954, he married Lillian Plever. Together they have resided in Springfield Center their entire lives. Tom was a devoted Catholic who was very involved in his church.

Exclusive Photos Of Head-On Crash That Hurt Deputy


Exclusive Photos

Of Head-On Crash

That Hurt Deputy

Pick up this week’s edition of Hometown Oneonta or The Freeman’s Journal for exclusive photos and details of the head-on collision on Route 20 at Kelly’s Corners, Springfield Center, last evening, where a Sharon Springs man was killed and a deputy sheriff broke both his legs. Also in this edition, an exclusive article on Buzz Hesse’s rediscovery of Onaquaga, the headquarters of the Iroquois Confederacy on the Susquehanna. And much more …
Home, Family’s Mother Lost, But Millers Are Still Together


Home, Family’s Mother Lost,

But Millers Are Still Together

Gofundme Drive Set Up To Help Dad, 3 Kids

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Tragedy has brought the Miller family even closer together. With dad Richard are Brandon, 14, Hunter, 10, and Izabella, 8. (Jennifer Hill/

PITTSFIELD – The carbon monoxide detector went off first, waking Richard Miller up last Tuesday, May 14, at about 1:30 a.m.

Then, four smoke detectors on the first floor below him sounded, one after the other, as Richard bolted out of bed. He hurried into the hallway and as he rounded the corner, he saw the wall was glowing red.

“The top of the wall was burned through. I knew I couldn’t put the fire out in time,” he said.

The smoke alarms had awakened his three children, Brandon, 14, Hunter, 10 and Izabella, 8. They met their dad in the hallway, and together the family ran out of the house, unharmed.

“But then I did what you’re never supposed to do – run back in a burning house to get something,” Richard said. “I had to get my wife’s ashes, the urn they’re in.”

Richard’s wife, Sharron, died only two months ago, on Feb. 13, after battling cancer for two years.

Regatta, BASE Race, Hall of Fame Classic Weekend Highlights

Regatta, BASE Race,

Hall of Fame Classic

Weekend Highlights

It’s a wet and wild weekend
as the annual General Clinton Canoe Regatta brings everyone out to the shores – and waters – of the Susquehanna River. Though races run all weekend, the big one kicks off at 6 a.m. Monday, May 26. Follow the racers down the river, then enjoy a barbeque in
Bainbridge. Brookwood Point,
6000 State Hwy 80, Cooperstown.

The 11th annual Hall of Fame Classic has six HOF legends and players from all 30 MLB teams playing a 7-inning game. Tickets $11-12.50. Pregame Home Run Derby at noon. Afterwards, kids can do the Doubleday Dash around the bases. 1:50 p.m. Saturday, May 25, Doubleday Field. Info 607-207-9519,

Live music and delicious food and wine parings from local restaurants, all to benefit the Catskill Symphony. 7 – 9 p.m. Saturday, May 25, Oneonta Country Club, 9 Country Club Dr, Oneonta. Info

The best way to show you support healthy lifestyle choices is to run a 5K race! The annual BASE race benefits the Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Be A Superior Example” programs. Registration begins 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, May 25. Info 607-547-0329

Bring paper to shred and help support the Cooperstown Food Pantry, then stay to enjoy Barnyard Swing and Mini Golf activities. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 4604 State Hwy 28, Milford. Info 607-547-8330.

This Week — 05-23-19


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

May 23-24, 2019


The Miller family, Town of Pittsfield, stands in front of their home gutted in a May 13 fire. Fleeing together to safety that night were dad Richard and chlldren Brandon, 14, Hunter, 10, and Izabella, 8.  It was the family’s second tragedy in three months:  In February, the mother of the family, Sharron Miller, 38, died of cancer.  A gofundme campaign for the Millers is underway; click here to contribute.  (Jennifer Hill/


One Dead, Deputy Breaks Legs In Head-On

Onaquaga Found: Buzz Hesse Dream Achieved

Onaquaga Found: General Clinton Didn’t Raze It

All Lost, But Pittsfield Family Together After Fire

Oneonta Voters OK School Budget, 2 To 1

Cooperstown School Budget Passes Easily


Delgado Elevates Mother’s Love In Colgate Speech


DELGADO AT COLGATE: ‘Love Conquers All’

ZAGATA: Grid Mixes Good, Bad, Ugly Electrons

BBJN.COM: If Johnson City, Why Not Coop?


HULSE: Main St. In Trouble, Housing In Demand

ELLSWORTH: Trustees Should Help, Not Hinder

HUNTSMAN, KJOLHEDE: Methodist Pray Peacefully

HEWLETT: Force No One To Take Psychiatric Drugs


BOUND VOLUMES: May 23, 2019


MEMORIAL DAY: Mission In Tokyo Bay

Exhibit Dramatizes Once (Future?) Theater

LIBBY’S BEST BETS: Classic, Regatta, More


Allen Walmsley, 73; Vietnam Vet, Reinhardt Retiree

James Carter, 80; Retired Salesman, Boy Scout Exec

Robert W. Coffey, 73; Vietnam Veteran, Truck Driver

Robert Tracy, 71; Award-Winning Springfield Farmer

Jean Huntington, 86; Wife Of Trolley Line Road Builder

Frances J. Marriott, 96; Grew Up With 12 Siblings




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