News of Otsego County


In Tribute Kellogg’s passion for opera

In Tribute

Kellogg’s passion for opera,
arts brought success to
Glimmerglass, Cooperstown, region

Paul Kellogg’s love of opera transformed Otsego County’s summer tourism season by making Springfield Center a destination for world-class performances, as the Glimmerglass Opera and now as The Glimmerglass Festival.

Editor’s Note: Glimmerglass Opera Artistic Director Emeritus Paul Kellogg died April 28, 2021, at age 84. As a tribute, his friend, our editorial board member, Lin Vincent wrote about what he meant to arts in the region, and to what is now known as The Glimmerglass Festival in Springfield Center

By Lin Vincent

Soon after Paul Kellogg and his partner, Raymond Han, moved into a potentially elegant 19th-century stone house in Pierstown, with sweeping views across the upstate hills to Cherry Valley and on beyond to the Adirondacks, and a Christmas tree farm to boot, we met.

They had discovered Cooperstown earlier, having visited their friends Sam and Hilda Wilcox, whom Paul had met in Austin, Texas, in the 1950s, Now, in 1975, they had decided upon a quieter life, away from New York City, in which to hone their skills with paint, pen and peonies. We were immediate fast friends.

Theater Group To stage Williams Classic

Local theater groups to stage
production of Williams classic

Stuff of Dreams and Bigger Boat Productions announce the production of Tennessee Williams’ classic drama “The Glass Menagerie,” which will stream on May 28, 29 and on June 4, 5 via the ShowTix4U platform.

According to a media release, “The play is a tender, and sometimes bitter, memory of the Wingfield family, with matriarch Amanda Wingfield watching over her children, Tom and Laura, and attempting to control their lives. Her one great wish is to have a ‘Gentleman Caller’ come see Laura, marry her, and take her out of her life of illusions with her collection of glass animals. Tom’s ambition is to free himself from his mother’s nagging and get away from their dingy St. Louis apartment.”

Local actors Michael Tamburrino, Lissa Sidoli, Caitlin Liberati and Casey Thomas tell Williams’ story, under the direction of Gary E. Stevens.

Tickets are $15 for the video-on-demand event and are on sale now.

Tickets for the May streaming may be purchased at

Tickets for the June streaming may be purchased at

“The Glass Menagerie,” is presented by arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. on behalf of The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.

Oneonta hopes Dietz Street project will help downtown

Oneonta hopes Dietz Street
project will help downtown

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

After years of planning, as part of a downtown revitalization initiative, community leaders broke ground at the site of the Dietz Street loft project Friday April 30, in Oneonta, with the hope of revitalizing and bringing “greater vibrancy” to the city’s downtown.

From left, Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, Mayor Gary Herzig, Senator Pete Oberacker, Deputy director of Mohawk Valley Regional office Allison Novak, Regional Representative for Gov. Andrew Cuomo Samantha Madison and Upstate
East Director of Development Darren Scott, celebrate the official groundbreaking of
the Lofts on Dietz in Oneonta on Friday, April 30.

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, Empire State Development Deputy Director Allison Nowack and other community and business leaders attended the ceremony and lifted ceremonial shovels for the groundbreaking.
These lofts, which began development in April, will bring more people to the downtown area, Herzig said.

The four story building would include artist lofts, 24 middle-income, two-bedroom apartments and units for people with disabilities.

Local Food Finds Its Customers

Despite Pandemic Problems:

Local Food Finds Its Customers

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Beth Redd, a volunteer with the Cooperstown Farmers Market, helps a customer with their purchase.

The worst pandemic in a century has impacted the daily lives of everybody including farmers markets, which are a staple of the community in Otsego County.

However, some farmers markets, such as the Cooperstown Farmers Market and Richfield Spring Farmers Market, have turned that misfortune into an advantage by implementing new ways of doing business, market officials said.

With increased interest in customers buying local, farmers markets and their vendors have put in place safety regulations and have adapted to the new reality of social distancing by abiding to USDA regulations during the age of COVID.

In order to limit exposure, the Cooperstown Farmers Market, which is operated by Otsego 2000, has established a curbside pickup where customers can order food on their website between 5 p.m. Mondays and 2 p.m. Wednesdays and pick up the order on Saturdays.

Product offerings will be updated every Monday on the website.

Football Dreams Coming True AT UGA For Coop’s Russell

Football dreams coming true
at UGA for Coop’s Russell

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Cooperstown’s Jacob Russell is pictured on the sidelines for University of Georgia in 2020.

Cooperstown Central School graduate Jacob Russell said he spent the spring of 2019 on campus at Harvard University pondering his future and realizing he did not want a traditional path.

What he really wanted to do, he admited to himself, was coach football.

“I was probably the last person in the world someone from Cooperstown thought would end up a football coach,” he said Monday, April 26.

For one thing, Russell hadn’t played football since elementary school.In high school, Russell ran cross country, wrestled and played tennis. He did crew in college and has run the Boston Marathon twice. Still, despite his athleticism, he knew he did not have a good chance to play football. He topped out in the 120 pound weight class as a wrestler during his senior year at CCS in 2015.

“Evcr since second grade, I was a football fanatic,” he said. “I guess I realized I was too small to ever be a football player. It was kind of a pie-in-the-sky thing to be a coach, but if I wanted to work in football it seemed much more realistic for me to be a football coach than a football player at my size.”

Russell said he was considering his options during spring break in 2019. He was staying on campus for break and decided he should go for it if he wanted to pursue a career in football.

“I was trying to decide if I wanted to go to law school or if I wanted to get a job in finance on Wall Street, you know, sort of the more typical Harvard paths,” he said. “I decided I didn’t really want to do either of those things. What I really wanted to do was coach football.

To Editorialize Or Not To Editorialize, That Is The Question


To Editorialize Or Not To
Editorialize, That Is The Question


In the early 1990s, at my second job out of college, at a newspaper in central Alabama, I made the mistake of writing a column about church league basketball.

I had the best of intentions. I was the sports editor of a semiweekly paper in a small city that was becoming a bedroom community for the state capital and the thriving military base between the two cities. My brand, to the extent a 23-year-old, naive, fish-out-of-water reporter/editor/columnist could have a brand, was to not take sports too seriously, but to view it as a metaphor for life.

One week, I had a handful of people tell me that the best team in the local YMCA Church Basketball League, representing the second biggest church in about the 10th biggest city in the state, was acting reprehensibly in their games. They were not only winning, but showboating, running up scores and rubbing it in, then disingenuously telling their upset opponents not to get angry because, “it’s church league, baby.”

I went to watch a game to confirm the behavior and then I wrote a column that called out the behavior.

I could not have been more unprepared for the result. Although I did not mention the church or any of the players by name, I think I heard from every player on that team, as well as the church’s assistant pastor, who hosted me at his office. I also had way too many pow wows with my publisher.

Although I had gotten some threats at Auburn for being a sports editor who was not rah rah enough about the football team, I had never experienced anything like the church league basketball controversy. People read my words back to me with fury in their voices. They accused me of questioning their religion or their faith in their religion. There was a second round of controversy about how I had only watched one game. When I gave them feedback from two other games, a few of the players started outing and questioning my sources. When the YMCA’s league coordinator later introduced me to his wife, she greeted me by saying, “so, you are the one who is trying to get my husband fired.” I am pretty sure those were the only words she ever spoke to me.

This Week — April 29, 2021
For Sale: One Cider Mill In Fly Creek

For Sale

One Cider Mill In Fly Creek

Fly Creek’s favorite tourist attraction is seeking new owners.

The Fly Creek Cider Mill, which dates back to 1856 and has been owned by the Michaels family for two generations, closed in January. Co-owner Bill Michaels said at the time that the coronavirus pandemic had hurt sales to the point where it was no longer cost effective to remain open.

“We’ve survived floods. We’ve survived hurricanes, tropical storms, the 2002 recession, the 2009 recession,” Michaels told Iron String Press in January. “We just couldn’t survive the pandemic.”

Chamber Seeks HOF Nominations For 2021 Induction

Chamber Seeks HOF

Nominations For 2021 Induction

The Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce has announced that it is taking nominations for its 2021 Chamber Hall of Fame Award.

The award recognizes a business or organization that has been in operation for more than 10 years and is a pillar in the community, demonstrating excellence and impact beyond their own walls.

The Freeman’s Journal, which was founded in 1808, was an inaugural Hall of Fame member, inducted in 2017.

Other businesses who have been inducted into the Chamber’s Hall include: The Inn at Cooperstown, The Otesaga Resort Hotel, The Clark Sports Center, Church and Scott, Mohican Flowers, Hyde Hall, Fly Creek Cider Mill, Ommegang, the Cooperstown Graduate Program, The Farmers’ Museum, Spurbeck’s Grocery, Susquehanna SPCA, Cooperstown Bat Company, Cooperstown Fire Department, Cooperstown Farmers Market, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Pathfinder Village (Community for Down syndrome), Stagecoach Coffee in Cooperstown, and the Lake ’N Pines Motel.

Public vote will determine the 2021 recipient.

Submit nominees, with a brief explanation of why they should be in the Chamber’s Hall, to by Friday, May 7.

Musket Donations Find Home At Greater Oneonta Historical Society

Musket Donations Find Home At
Greater Oneonta Historical Society

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Fred Hickein signs his heirloom muskets over to the Greater Oneonta Historical Society on Wednesday, April 21, as his wife, Eleanor, and from left, Wayne Gregory, Terry Harkenreader and George Sluti, from Oneonta American Legion Post 259, look on.

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.

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.

An Oneonta High School and Hartwick College graduate and a Navy veteran, who served in both World War II and Korea, although never overseas or at sea, Hickein said he wanted the heirlooms to be in good hands and he trusted GOHS to honor his family’s history.

“I wanted to do it before I died,” he said. “I wanted to make sure they were in a good place.”

GOHS Executive Director Marcela Micucci said the group’s history center at 181 Main St. will soon have a permanent display and it will include one or both of the musket donations.

New Editor Views Media Brands As Community Service

New Editor Views Media

Brands As Community Service


I can honestly say this is a column I never thought I would write, my first as editor of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.

I say that for two reasons: one, I spent the past decade in competition with the Iron String Press media team, while working as an editor and reporter for another news organization; two, that stint, with an Alabama-based organization I shall forever more refer to as the pension fund, did not go well.

My first play, “The Sun,” first staged in 2004, is about a small-town newspaper that is being destroyed as larger news organizations try to buy it. I spent the past decade at the pension fund thinking either irony is a cruel trick of life, or I was being blessed with an abundance of stories for the television adaptation.

The twin low points were mass layoffs on Good Friday/Passover eve and the closing of the Town Crier office and relegating the Cooperstown paper to a reprint.

As the Crier editor at the time, I took the laying off of my reporter (while I was on vacation, no less) hard and the office closing harder. I transferred to a couple of different roles at the pension fund’s daily, but it wasn’t a secret I hated commuting to Oneonta. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise in some ways as I got to know the city, its politicians and businesses, and the southern half of the county.

Still, I missed Cooperstown and the coronavirus pandemic and family issues made it harder and harder for me to commute.

I had been planning to quit the newspaper business for good this year, perhaps to go back to my dreams of making movies. Or, at least, to help other people make their movies. Last year, after years of discussions, I teamed up with a group of local film makers, businesspeople and political leaders to start a nonprofit 501c6 film commission office, Film COOP (rhymes with hoop, we are not a co-op), or more officially, The Cooperstown, Oneonta, Otsego County Film Partnership, Inc.

Otsego Looks Outdoors
With Another Tourism Season In Doubt

Otsego Looks Outdoors

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Lori Paparteys and her dog, Bailey, pose during their Otsego Octet Ultra Challenge. Paparteys and Bailey completed the trail challenge in one day.

With tourism dealt another pandemic-related blow last week, Otsego County’s leaders are increasingly turning to outdoor adventures to lure visitors.

“We’re actually in the process right now of trying to launch a massive campaign to tout our outdoor adventure,” said Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing Corporation, which promotes tourism in Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Harrington said the tourism news has been mostly dismal in the week since Cooperstown Dreams Park announced it would require all teams playing at the park’s summer tournaments to be vaccinated for the coronavirus pandemic. The uncertainty of getting vaccinations for children and a hard refund deadline has left dozens of teams in a catch-22, leading to hundreds of reported cancellations.

23 fifth grade students from Milford Central School also completed the Otsego Octet Challenge from Otsego Outdoors.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s winter announcement that it was moving its postponed 2020 Induction Weekend to a virtual event, had already crushed pre-pandemic hopes for a record sized crowd for Derek Jeter’s induction.

However, the reopening of the baseball parks, Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta, was a big pillar of the county’s hopes for a renewed summer of tourism. All-Star Village has not announced similar vaccination requirements for its teams, but the Dreams Park changes make its June opening unlikely, Harrington said.

“Now that the bottom fell out with Dreams Park, our accommodations are dealing with a flood of cancellations,” she said. “So, we really need those outdoor visitors more than ever.”

THIS WEEK — April 22, 2021
Local Media Company Under New Ownership

Local Media Company
Under New Ownership

Kevlin has retired;
Barnwell named publisher;
Klein named editor

New Iron String Press President and Publisher Tara Barnwell poses with the paper’s publisher/editor of 15 years, Jim Kevlin, who retired Friday, April 16. (Larissa Ryan/

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.

Kevlin and his late wife, Mary Joan (M.J.) Kevlin, purchased The Freeman’s Journal in 2006 from Elinor Vincent and Michael Moffat, who had owned the paper for nearly a decade. The Freeman’s Journal was founded in 1808 by Judge William Cooper and has served Otsego County for the past 213 years. Kevlin, a graduate of Colgate University, spent 48 years in newspapers, mostly as an editor, in Upstate New York, New England and Pennsylvania.

The Kevlins expanded the company to include an Oneonta-based newspaper, Hometown Oneonta, and an online news source covering Otsego County, M.J. Kevlin died in 2017 after a three-year battle with cancer. Kevlin and his current wife, the Rev. Sylvia Kevlin, pastor of Milford Methodist Church, who is also retiring at the end of the month, are planning to move out west to be closer to family.

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.

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