News of Otsego County


News from the noteworthy: 12-09-21

News from the noteworthy

Tobacco-free colleges save lives

Tobacco Free Communities| Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie
Nine out of 10 smokers start smoking by age 18, and 99% start by age 26. So, if we can just keep young people from starting, we can prevent a vast majority of them from becoming one of the 480,000 lives taken every year by smoking.
But how do we do that?
It takes intentional steps, including reducing the appeal and accessibility of tobacco products, deglamorizing tobacco use in the media, and creating a social and physical environment that discourages tobacco use. That last measure is where colleges and universities have a unique opportunity. They can provide a healthy learning and living environment for their students by creating 100% tobacco-free policies.
A tobacco-free policy does not mean students cannot smoke, vape or use smoke-less tobacco. It simply limits where a person may use tobacco. The benefits are clear.

Schenevus-Worcester merger voted down in split vote
Worcester Central School would have served grades 6 through 12 had the merger vote been successful. (Facebook)

Schenevus-Worcester merger voted down in split vote

The Schenevus-Worcester merger, which would have combined the Schenevus Central School district into the Worcester Central School district, ended in defeat after a majority of Schenevus district members voted against it, ending a tumultuous two year process that polarized their respective communities.

The results came in late Wednesday night with Schenevus CSD voting 509 against the merger to 254 in favor.

Worcester CSD members voted to approve the merger by 298 to 162.

Drugovich: the timing is good for early retirement

Drugovich: the timing is good for early retirement

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Retiring Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich said she will miss the Oneonta community
when she steps down next year.

“I really enjoyed being part of the Oneonta community and I’ll miss it,” Drugovich said on Monday, Sept. 20, and said how much she liked the warm atmosphere of the people in Oneonta.

“They care deeply about one another and the people in it,” Drugovich said. “It’s just a great place to be and I’ll make sure to tell the next person who will be president that it’s a community they will really enjoy.”

Colleges preparing to avoid repeat of August 2020 outbreak

Colleges preparing to avoid repeat of August 2020 outbreak

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

ONEONTA — In light of the disastrous SUNY Oneonta outbreak of COVID at the start of the fall 2020 semester, both local colleges are increasing measures to avoid a repeat this month.

SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College told AllOtsego this week that various restrictions to ensure the safety of both the students and the community will be in place as students move in and go through the fall 2021 semester.

Richard Lee, provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs at SUNY Oneonta, as well as the co-chair of the COVID response team, said the school is constantly learning and adapting to the situation with COVID.

“We have to be more adaptable,” Lee said, in order to “make sure that we can commit to students.”
Some of the restrictions include masking being required in all buildings, including classrooms and labs, as well as all students being required to be pre-screened before arriving on campus. Students have to be approved with a green check mark before they can enter campus.

“Although we can’t predict the future, we’ve learned from the past,” Lee said. “I don’t think anyone wants to be masked but I think it’s a small price for us being together. Of course, nobody is thrilled about it.”

Schools prepare for delta variant

Schools prepare for delta variant

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

With the delta variant of the coronavirus virus causing jumps in cases across the county and the country, some Otsego County school districts are gearing up to welcome kids back to classes with masks on.
This is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, which has labeled Otsego County as a “substantial transmission” area where, in theory, masks are recommended indoors regardless of vaccination status. COVID cases have been on the rise across the country.

In Otsego County, as of Aug. 9, there were 72 active cases and four hospitalizations.

In Cooperstown Central Schools, while instruction will be in person, there will be a universal indoor mask policy as well as three-foot social distancing while maintaining cleaning and disinfecting at the schools.

Alum, SUNY Oneonta grad take CCS jobs
Shirley Tyler and Karl O’Leary have been hired as Cooperstown’s director of athletics/extracurricular activities and high school principal, respectively. (Greg Klein/

Alum, SUNY Oneonta
grad take CCS jobs

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Cooperstown Central School has new leadership in its middle/high school again.

The school’s Board of Education has made two hires in the past month, picking Karl O’Leary as the new
principal and Shirley Tyler as the new coordinator of athletics and extra-curricular activities.

O’Leary started his career as an English teacher and served as principal of Moravia Central School for two years and most recently as assistant high school principal at Middle Country Central School on Long Island. He graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2002 and then got advanced degrees from SUNY Cortland and University of New England.

New joy in Mudville


New joy in Mudville

There seems to be a general feeling in this country these days that getting things done and making a difference is an impossible thing. When the United States Congress itself seems unable to get anything done, what chance do small groups or ordinary citizens have to make a difference? The odds are so stacked against that happening that most people wouldn’t even think of wasting their time trying.

But sometimes even legislative accomplishments come from the darndest places.

In 2017, Cooperstown Elementary School teacher Anne Reis was leading her fourth-grade class through a study of state government in New York. During a section on state symbols, the kids learned New York had no official state sport. They concluded there should be one and it should be baseball.

Reis inspired her young charges to dream big and take action and they got to work researching baseball’s influence in and on New York’s history, economy and culture. They wrote essays on the sport’s numerous qualifications for official designation, and they sent them all to Albany.

Coop alum, Schaeffer, releases book about school lunch

Coop alum, Schaeffer,
releases book about school lunch

By Chad G. Welch • Special to


Cooperstown Central School 1994 graduate Lucy Schaeffer’s first book, “School Lunch-Unpacking Our Shared Stories,” released Tuesday, Aug. 3.

The book pairs Schaeffer’s photographs with 70 different lunch stories “from people age six to 93; hailing from 25 different countries and all across the United States,” Schaeffer said in the book’s introduction.

Schaeffer’s subjects include family members, friends, celebrities and strangers. Schaeffer said all of the stories are written in first-person narrative to highlight the storytellers’ voices over her own.

Although it is the first book as author for Schaeffer, she said her photographs have appeared in more than 50 books and cookbooks.

The project started in August 2016, when Schaeffer said she was brainstorming about what to make her daughters, Annie and Georgia, now 12 and 8, respectively, for lunches for their upcoming school year.

“I was sort of daydreaming and thinking it was so much easier for my parents. They just did peanut butter and jelly,” Schaeffer said. “It wasn’t like now, all these schools are nut-free and you can’t do peanut butter anymore.”

Student News: August 5, 2021

Student News

August 5, 2021

Peter Weil of Cooperstown was named to the dean’s list at Bates College for the semester ending in May 2021. The distinction is earned by students whose grade point average is 3.88 or higher.

SUNY Delhi announced its dean’s list for the spring 2021 semester, a recognition for students who earned a 3.5 or higher grade-point average for the semester. The local students who qualified include:

Jacob Weiner of Oneonta;

Travis Bookhout of Laurens;

Lucas Breakey of Oneonta;

Carly Hill of Otego;

Sara Kieru of Oneonta;

Marissa Kupris of West Edmeston;

Sean Murray of Milford;

Colette Corkery of Oneonta;

Nelson Mondaca of Cooperstown;

Aidan Cutting of Unadilla;

Kyle Martin of West Oneonta;

Gavin Fetterman of Otego;

Mark Smith Jr. of Schenevus;

Elizabeth Brzezinski of Oneonta;

Meghan Brigham of Morris;

Tara Austin of Oneonta;

Madilyne Kupris of West Edmeston;

Kaylee Willmart of Oneonta;

Carmen Booan of Cooperstown;

Curtis Self of Morris;

Ava Baker of Cooperstown;

Kali Benedict of Unadilla;

Audrianna Butler of Oneonta;

Kayla Cimkowski of Maryland;

Lauryn Fiaschi of Otego;

Courtney Gilbert of Unadilla;

Tracy Graney of Unadilla;

Marisa Kanai of Oneonta;

Cameron Kellogg of Burlington Flats;

Amy Lee of Oneonta;

Brooke Leech of Milford;

Jessica Leveille of Schenevus;

Taylor Lopez of Oneonta;

Rachel Ouimet-Edson of Oneonta;

Liza Rathbun of Cooperstown;

Molly Watson of Cooperstown;

Abigail West of Cherry Valley;

Jacob Robinson of Oneonta;

Janelle Harter of Fly Creek;

Avalon Kubis of Cooperstown;

Logan Osterhoudt of Oneonta;

Alyssa Carey of Oneonta;

and Spencer Brink of Oneonta.

COVID era brings new mental health issues

COVID era brings new
mental health issues

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and more recently with the emergence of the Delta variant, people have been forced to change their lifestyles in order to stay safe and healthy. While the prolonged effects of social distancing are unclear, in Otsego County there are clear statistics regarding the effects these changes have had on the mental health of its residents.

According to the Otsego County Department of Health, there was a lull in people seeking care for the first few months of the pandemic, but by the end of 2020 there was a 5% increase in those seeking treatment.

The Otsego County Mental Health and Addiction Service clinics moved about 1,000 clients to telehealth, where medical staff provide services via phone, Zoom or other technologies.

Children and Family Services as well as Addiction Recovery both experienced declines in service, but this was because referral services had either gone remote or weren’t operating under normal capacities.

“We experienced a significant jump in severity of impairment and risk in both adults but most dramatically in children,” Susan Matt, director of community services for the Otsego County Mental Health Department, said. “Unlike many other counties, we have not seen a significant increase in overdose deaths.”

Cooperstown Central School has new principal

Cooperstown Central School has new principal

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Karl O’Leary was announced as the new principal for Cooperstown Central School’s middle/high school, the district announced Tuesday, Aug. 3, on its website.

According to the post, O’Leary has 17 years of school experience and was previously an English teacher. He enjoys running and playing with his kids outdoors.


Student News: July 29, 2021

Student News

July 29, 2021

Tufts University recently announced the dean’s list for the Spring 2021 semester. Among those students are, William Friedman of Cooperstown; Finn Hall of Oneonta. Dean’s list honors at Tufts University require a semester grade point average of 3.4 or greater.

Justin Brown of Edmeston is among the Canisius College students named to the spring 2021 Dean’s list or merit list. Dean’s list recognitions are awarded to those students who have attained a grade point average of at least 3.50 for the semester and have completed at least four courses of three credits or equivalent.

Cazenovia College recognizes students for their academic achievement during the Spring 2021 semester. Those named to the Dean’s List have achieved a 3.5 or better grade point average, including Meghan Marsh of West Edmeston; Eliya Pickwick of Mount Vision and Amanda Pressly of Cherry Valley.

Student News: July 22, 2021

Student News

July 22, 2021

Local students were among the Hartwick College graduates Saturday, May 29, including:

Kelsey Elizabeth Collins of Morris;

Ushuaia Rae Diaz of Schenevus;

Zachary Thomas French of Norwich;

Katlin Ann Hager of Otego;

Christopher D. Janitz of Mount Vision;

Shanria Denetra Jolly of Oneonta;

Brianna Lynn Schworm of Edmeston;

Stacey L. Sickler of Franklin;

Tarrah Skye Smith of Oneonta;

Hanna N. Spencer of Oneonta.

Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle appointed SUNY Oneonta President

Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle appointed SUNY Oneonta President

STAFF REPORT • Special to

SUNY announced that Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle would be appointed SUNY Oneonta President on Tuesday, July 20.

This appointment is effective Sept. 6.

“From our first meeting with Dr. Cardelle, I was impressed, and the entire search committee was unanimous that he would be the ideal candidate for SUNY Oneonta,” SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales, said in a press release. “His abilities go beyond his resume, which is extraordinary, as he shares a passion for creating a more equitable system in which students can thrive.”

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