News of Otsego County


HOMETOWN HISTORY: April 22, 2021


April 22, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

135 Years Ago

Richard Rice, a character generally known throughout the counties of central New York as “Dicky” Rice, died at Mt. Vision on Sunday, at the residence of Mr. Harrison, after about a week’s illness. For a period of about 30 or 40 years Mr. Rice has been a familiar figure throughout this section of the state as astride his trusted charger, he has wandered aimlessly about, volunteering adjuration and scriptural advice to all with whom he came in contact. Mr. Rice was known to be a harmless, inoffensive old man with a shattered intellect, and he usually found a resting place in any house where night overtook him. He had a great penchant for Bible study and could quote from the Bible by the hour from a singularly retentive memory. Mr. Rice was born in the northern part of the county in 1802. He studied medicine with Martin Gardner at Portlandville in 1838, practiced for awhile, was taken sick and became mentally unsound, and has since been a wanderer. His horse, his companion for the past 18 years, has been taken in charge by the poor officer of Laurens.

April 1886

City Promotes Mattice To Administrator Position

City Promotes Mattice
To Administrator Position

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

ONEONTA – The city of Oneonta has promoted Greg Mattice to fill the position of city administrator.

Mattice, who has been with the city since 2010 and has been the city engineer for about half of that time, was approved for his new position by the city’s Common Council Tuesday, April 20.

The administrator position is a revised position in the city, an attempt to turn the autonomous city manager into an employee for the council and mayor. George Korthauer resigned as city manager in January 2020, about six months before his three-year term was set to expire. In the aftermath, city officials said they had not had a good track record with managers and wanted to reform the position.

The new position, which was created at a special meeting in October, was designed to have less power and independence than the city manager position.

Mattice was a member of the Otsego County’s Energy Task Force and in 2017, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig gave him the key to the city in appreciation of his efforts in keeping the city safe during winter storm Stella.

“I know that both the department heads and the council are both looking forward to working with you in that role,” Herzig said. “We are very excited to have you in this role.”

Mattice, who will begin in his new role July 1, will make $110,000 a year.

After Transfer, Bertram Finds Hoops Home At Binghamton University

After Transfer,

Bertram Finds Hoops Home

At Binghamton University

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Contributed/Binghamton University Sports Information Department
Cooperstown’s Tyler Bertram said he is happy in a Binghamton uniform this season.

When Cooperstown Central School’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, Tyler Bertram, decided to transfer from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he said he was looking for a better fit, a bigger role and an opportunity to play closer to home.

He found all three with Binghamton University men’s basketball team during the 2020-2021 season.

After finishing his high school career at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, Bertram spent two years in Charlotte; the first a redshirt season during which he said he added 20 pounds to bulk up his slender 6-foot 3-inch frame. In the second, as a redshirt freshman, he appeared in 12 games for the 49ers averaging 9.3 minutes per game.

“Coming back close to home was important, but finding the right fit was very important,” Bertram said. “The previous situation just didn’t really feel like it was the right spot and then knowing that Binghamton played really fast and like to shoot a lot of threes, I knew that I could kind of be myself here.”

“I made the mistake of not fully understanding what kind of style it was going to be (in Charlotte),” Bertram said. “I thought the change went really well. It was a fun year. The team was great. I just had a lot of fun playing fast and playing with some confidence again.”

BERKSON: Otsego Lawman, Cunningham, Served Otsego County With ‘Sleuth-Like’ Attention

Otsego Lawman, Cunningham, Served

Otsego County With ‘Sleuth-Like’ Attention

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

John L. Cunningham became a New York State Trooper in 1917. He was among the 232 selected men who made up the first wave of the newly formed organization that would serve to uphold the law in rural areas under the leadership of Major George Fletcher Chandler.

Up until that time Cunningham, who was originally from Glens Falls, worked as a shirt cutter for 18 years. No doubt the newly formed force appealed to a now stationary 35 year old “man-with-scissors” who still loved to swim and had once been a high school basketball and track star.

He was a natural for equestrian and law enforcement training and excelled as a State Trooper. Within four years he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to an outpost in Cooperstown which was a substation of Troop C that was located in Sidney.

In Leatherstocking country he was provided a place in the village to live, conduct his police activities and board a horse upon which he patrolled Cooperstown and other environs in and out of Otsego and neighboring Counties. Because of his style and strict but fair enforcement of the law, he was already a local celebrity, by the time he married Elizabeth Lukas in 1931. They continued to live in various outposts in the village that were provided by The State Police.

In Memoriam: Helen Winne Mulligan, 101
In Memoriam

Helen Winne Mulligan, 101

Apr. 13, 1919 – Mar. 15, 2021

Helen Winne Mulligan passed away on March 15, 2021 at the age of 101 after a full and healthy life.

Helen was born Helen Smith, on April 13th, 1919 in the Town of Exeter, New York. She was the daughter of E. Frank Smith and Hazel Pratt Smith, the fifth of six children. She grew up in Schuyler Lake.

Helen had three older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister. The oldest boy, Eugene, drowned when he was 9 years old. Helen’s mother died when Helen was six years old. Her father was left with five children, ages 13, 11, 9, 6 and 2. The two oldest, Francis and Glenn quit school to help their father with his coal, feed and grain business Helen’s older sister, Margaret, who was nine, helped with the housework and the cooking. For 2 years, after her mother died, Helen spent the winter months with her aunt and uncle a few miles away.

Helen’s brothers, Francis and Glenn served during WWII. When they returned, Francis worked as a bus driver and Glenn became a chef. Helen’s older sister, Margaret, married and had six children. Margaret died when she was 38. Catherine (Catherine Smith Van Allen) her younger sister, who lived in Richfield Springs, had four children. Helen remained close to her sister and her nieces and nephews.

GOHS receives major musket donation

GOHS receives
major musket donation

ONEONTA – Fred Hickein wanted to make sure his heirloom muskets stayed in good hands, so the 93-year-old Oneonta resident made a major donation to the Greater Historical Society of Oneonta on Wednesday, April 21.

Read the story behind the story in the Thursday, April 29, editions of the Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.

Fred Hickein and his wife, Eleanor, and several of his colleagues from the Oneonta American Legion Post 259, presented GOHS with two family treasures Wednesday: an English smooth bore rifle, circa 1800, which Hickein believes was brought to the area by an ancestor of his, Solomon Yager; and a  civil war training musket owned and used by another relative, Edward Brewer.
Iron String Press forms Editorial Board

Iron String Press
forms Editorial Board

COOPERSTOWN – Tara Barnwell, publisher of Iron String Press, the parent company of The Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta and announced Wednesday,  April 21, the formation of an Editorial Board to guide the editorial content and processes of Iron String’s print and digital publications.

The board features the return to local publishing of Elinor Vincent and Michael Moffat, former publishers of The Freeman’s Journal from 1997 to 2006. Vincent and Moffat will join Barnwell and Editor Greg Klein on the four-person board.

“We are thrilled that Lin and Michael have agreed to join us in our efforts to strengthen our publications’ relevance and connectivity to the communities we serve,” Barnwell said. “Their depth of experience, with both The Freeman’s Journal and prior publishing work, combined with their family’s long history in Otsego County, will be a great benefit to our organization as we move forward.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Tour Exhibit Of Wartime Photographs By Ansel Adams 04-21-21

Tour Exhibit Of Wartime

Photographs By Ansel Adams


VIRTUAL TOUR – 2 – 3 p.m. Join live tour of exhibit ‘Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams’ which features photographs documenting the Japanese internment camp in California in 1943. Free, suggested donation $10. Presented by The Fenimore Art Museum. 607-547-1400 or visit

Local Publishing Company Under New Ownership

Local Publishing Company
Under New Ownership

Tara Barnwell promoted to publisher;
Greg Klein named editor;
ownership remains In local hands

Tara Barnwell today succeeds Jim Kevlin as publisher of The Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta and (Larissa Ryan/

COOPERSTOWN – As of Friday, April 16, Iron String Press, Inc, publisher of The Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta and is under new ownership.

Tara Barnwell, general manager of Iron String Press, becomes president and publisher and actor-writer Greg Klein becomes editor of the company’s print and digital news and entertainment sources, succeeding Jim Kevlin.

Kevlin after 15 years as editor, publisher and president of Iron String Press and its media family, has retired.

With the new ownership, Iron String Press remains the only locally owned and locally focused news and entertainment operation in Otsego County.

A full story will appear in this week’s print editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.

IN MEMORIAM: Caroline V. Bailey, 92


Caroline V. Bailey, 92

ONEONTA – Caroline V. Bailey, 92, went to be with our Lord Jesus Christ on April 17, 2021, she passed peacefully at home.

She was born November 21, 1928 in Oneonta, the daughter of Charles and Myrtle (Saunders) Vroman.

Caroline V. Bailey, 92, died April 17, 2021, peacefully at home.

Caroline graduated from Oneonta High School.

Caroline married Calvert I. Bailey on October 10, 1964 in Oneonta.

She at one time worked for NY Telephone Co. as an operator, was an Administrative Assistant for Dr. Flanders and Dr. Dietz office in Oneonta, and she also sold real estate.  She then worked with her husband at Bailey’s Appraisal Service in Oneonta.

She was a member of the Elm Park United Methodist Church, Oneonta and the Oneonta Chapter NSDAR.  Most important to her was her family.  She dedicated her life to her husband and children.  She deeply loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Otsego County to bring back micro-grants

Otsego County to
bring back micro-grants

April 30th deadline for 2021 events to submit proposals

COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County has announced it will continue its micro-grant program for community events in 2021.

The deadline for groups to request a share of up to $50,000 in funding is Friday, April 30. Participating groups and events must be located in Otsego County to qualify.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Oneonta Community Concert Band Returns 04-18-21

Oneonta Community

Concert Band Returns


COMMUNITY CONCERT – 3 p.m. Oneonta Community Band presents live streamed performance of works looking back on the pandemic year. Includes spirituals, ‘Sea Songs’, Amazing Grace, and the performers favorite Souza Marches. Performance is free, open to public. Performed from the stage of The Foothills Performing Arts Center. 607-432-7085 or visit the facebook group

Community leader Albert L. Colone dies

Community Leader,

Newspaper Columnist,

Albert L. Colone Dies

JULY 8, 1944 – APRIL 13, 2021

ONEONTA – Albert L. Colone was born on July 8, 1944, and passed away on April 13, 2021, and is under the care of Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home.

The founding president of the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, Colone was in the middle of a two-part column for the Iron String Press media outlets about the immigrant experience as seen through the story of his grandparents, Frank and Lucia (Valentini) Colone.

A more detailed obituary will appear in next week’s papers.

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