News of Otsego County


Views from Around New York State: June 10, 2021

Views from Around New York State

Hunting contests should
not be allowed in New York

From: The Albany Times Union.

It would be convenient to misconstrue a bill in the state Legislature to ban wildlife killing contests in New York as some kind of anti-hunting measure. It is not.

As even many hunters and fish and game officials are realizing, the waste and bloodlust of these indiscriminate killing events threaten to harm the image of hunting as a valid wildlife management tool. It’s time for New York to join a growing number of states in ending this inhumane, barbaric practice.

The Old Badger: Automobiles led to the last of the Mohican

The Old Badger: Automobiles led to the last of the Mohican

Editor’s note: This column was first published March 31, 1976.

In the summer of ’32, Mrs. Charles Coleman Jr. was running strong in the Cooperstown merchants popularity election, President Herbert Hoover was running scared against Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 27-year-old Mohican was running out of steam.

When the Mohican was first launched, automobiles were scarce and unreliable novelties at best. Roads were dusty or muddy depending upon the weather. The stage from Fort Plain off-loaded at Springfield Landing and passengers could continue to Cooperstown by boat . The many hotels in the village filled with tourists each summer, cottages and camps were springing up on both sides of the Lake. An excursion around the Lake was a much sought-after diversion, and moonlight cruises were long remembered. Many a night saw the lights of the Mohican shimmering on the Glimmerglass and heard the strains of music and laughter floating to shore as a birthday or even a “hole-in-one” was celebrated.

The Mohican steamed right on through the ’20s, a delightful convenience, but it was beginning to age when the ’30s arrived. Wall Street was emptying the hotels, but Detroit was filling the roads.

City of the Hills: June 3, 2021

City of the Hills

Common Council eases mask rules

Mayor Gary Herzig relaxed the mask ordinance in downtown Oneonta during the Common Council Tuesday, June 1. Masks will no longer be required on Main Street.

Also a motion on a payment to Springbrook to build a walk way connecting Main Street to Water Street and the parking garage was passed unanimously. Springbrook is planning a development on Main Street for professional housing.

Otsego Outdoors to offer
summer activities challenge

Otsego2000, the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Otsego Land Trust will offer another outdoor activities badge, this one geared to summer activities.

The activities include hiking, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and more.

Those who successfully complete eight of the 16 activities will be awarded an Otsego Outdoors Summer Octet badge.

Go to for more information.

Cooperstown & Around: June 3, 2021

Cooperstown & Around

Otsego Outdoors to offer
summer activities challenge

Otsego2000, the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Otsego Land Trust will offer another outdoor activities badge, this one geared to summer activities.

The activities include hiking, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and more.

Those who successfully complete eight of the 16 activities will be awarded an Otsego Outdoors Summer Octet badge.

Go to for more information.

BERKSON: Raccoon in the hen house starts raucous battle

Life Sketches

Raccoon in the hen house
starts raucous battle

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.

The other day I finished weeding the garden and walked out to the chicken coop to water and feed my birds and collect their eggs. Disappointment hit me when I opened the door and found a dead chicken sprawled out on the floor with a leg half chewed off.

I had left the chute leading to the yard open overnight as I had been doing for the last several days. Obviously, some critter had taken advantage of my carelessness. It’s been about three years since a weasel had decapitated one of my hens and made off with the head. I say weasel, not because I saw it, but because the crime fits that animal’s M.O.

Anyway, I drew a chalk line around the murdered chicken, picked it up with a shovel and headed for one of several vacant woodchuck holes in the hedgerow in back of the barn. The holes are unoccupied due to the efforts of my neighbor’s son who picked off seven unwelcome diggers last year. I was thinking of how to mount an investigation to find the animal that had committed henicide.

Back in the coop, I lifted the outside door to the laying box and was about to reach in when I noticed that there was something in there, apparently sitting on the eggs, a chicken, I thought. I bent to look inside and came face to face with a raccoon. He had a matter of fact expression on his face as if he were asking, “What, I can’t hang out for a while?”

Cooperstown & Around: May 13, 2021

Cooperstown & Around

Hartwick to hold Clean Sweep

The Town of Hartwick will hold its 2021 Clean Sweep event from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Hartwick Town Hall, at 103 Town Drive in the hamlet of Hartwick. The event is part of Hartwick Appreciation Day.
Residents will be able to dispose of their old house furniture, scrap metal and yard trash. the first load of trash will be $20 with additional loads being $10.
Call Town Clerk Andrea Vazquez at 607-293-8123 to make arrangements. Pickups are for Hartwick residents only with proof of residency required.

Hearing scheduled on apartments

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Cooperstown will have a public hearing at 7 p.m., Monday, May 24, at 22 Main discuss a proposed special use permit for a 13 unit multi-family residence at 10 Chestnut St.
The plans for the project are on file in the village office and can be viewed Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public comments can also be provided by email to

Master Gardeners to return May 29

Master Gardeners to return May 29

After a long hiatus, the Master Gardener Plant Sale will return Saturday, May 29.

Locally grown annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs will be featured at the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Otsego County Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its outreach center at 123 Lake Street in Cooperstown.

Master Gardener volunteers have begun growing many of the plants featured at the sale, some of which are “cultivated unusual, hardy, and some hard-to-find selections, including heirloom and blight-resistant tomato varieties” according to a press release.

Hand-dug perennials, repotted in a sterilized potting mix, will also be available.

Because of COVID, the plant sale will require social distancing and face masks. Customers will also need to check in before entering the sale. In addition, there will be no early preview of plants prior to the sale.

All proceeds will benefit The Master Gardeners Volunteer Program of Otsego County and the Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Barbara Louise (Gray) Weaver, 97 First Lady of Glimmerglass State Park

In Memoriam

Barbara Louise (Gray) Weaver, 97
First Lady of Glimmerglass State Park

Barbara Louise (Gray) Weaver, passed away peacefully Sunday, April 25, 2021, in the farmhouse at Gray Gables.

Barbara was predeceased by her husband, Herbert R. Weaver, Jr. and her son, Robert Gray Weaver. She was the daughter of Glenn and Edna (Borst) Gray.

Barbara is remembered by her daughter, Karen Farney; son, Richard Weaver (Dee); her daughter-in-law and caregiver, Renee Weaver; granddaughters, Kerryanne Schenck (Phil) and Kate Weaver (Dave MacDougall); grandson, Marcus Weaver (Trina); and several great-grandchildren.

Barbara was born in the small cottage at Gray Gables on December 12, 1923. She graduated from Springfield Central School and the New York State Institute of Agriculture and Home Economics (now SUNY Cobleskill). Barbara worked alongside her husband, Herb, to operate the Route 20 service station that they built in East Springfield. In 1963 they would leave their home at the station to move a few miles up the road to Glimmerglass State Park. Herb became the first superintendent of the newly established State Park and Barbara would become “First Lady of Glimmerglass Park,” a title she proudly celebrated later in life.

Cat-tastic Opportunity: Shelter Filled With New Pets

Cat-Tastic Opportunity!

Shelter Filled With New Pets

Peanut Butter Cup, resting under a towel, is one of many cats available for adoption at the Susquehanna SCPA.

The Susquehanna SPCA is overflowing with kittens, according to a recent media release.

“Kitten season is in full swing,” the release said. “Recently, we have had an influx of cats and kittens of all ages that need our help.”

The spring season often brings with it batches of new kittens, according to the release.

“Just before spring, unspayed cats often go into heat. Approximately 60 days later, they begin giving birth to litters of kittens. Between the months of March and October, animal shelters like the SQSPCA become overwhelmed with mother cats with their kittens and even orphaned kittens that need care around the clock. This is what we call kitten season.”

This Week — April 29, 2021
OCCA To Adjust With Virtual Earth Festival

OCCA To Adjust With

Virtual Earth Festival

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Earth Festival will again be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but this year the Otsego County Conservation Assocation is better prepared to replace its annual events with a virtual presentation from Thursday, April 22 to Saturday, April 24.

“In March (2020), I think we were all thinking, ‘let’s not cancel, yet,’ it will all blow over,” OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley said. “It seems crazy to think about looking back. We had no idea what to expect.”

To salvage an Earth Festival last year, OCCA kept some events going with social distancing, stressed its normal recycling efforts via dropoffs and refocused on the fly, O’Handley said. This year’s event has been much more focused to allow the group to use the virtual tools that have sprung up during the coronavirus pandemic. “You can’t do things like you used to do them,” he said. “It has been a puzzle to figure things out and you just hope you are providing people with some strong programming.”

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.”

‘Mysterious Tubes’ Explained

‘Mysterious Tubes’ Explained

BVA’s Graham Stroh and daughter Asher, 8, examine a “riparian buffer” off Route 23 east of the Village of Morris. (Jim Kevlin/

People entering Morris on Route 23 from Oneonta kept asking Bob Thomas, town historian and a Butternut Valley Alliance board member, “What are those tubes across from the cemetery?”

With his nudging, couple of weeks ago an enticingly titled Zoom presentation, “Mysterious Tubes Along Butternut Creek,” provided the answer to 27 participants, some landowners who may sign up to host mysterious tubes of their own, according to BVA Executive Director Graham Stroh.

The program’s been going on for a decade, according to Lydia Brinkley, Upper Susquehanna Coalition buffer coordinator, “riparian buffers,” that is.

If you’ve only noticed the mysterious tubes lately, it’s because there are more of them, part of the USC’s federally and state-funded efforts to clean up Otsego County’s streams, and thus contribute a bit to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, 250 miles south of Garrattsville.

“Riparian buffers are essentially wooded areas along creeks and rivers, for purposes of reducing erosion and stabilizing stream banks,” said Stroh, formerly an urban planner in Washington D.C. who moved back three years ago to manage the family’s property. (He was raised in New York City; his dad, Leslie, in Morris.)

The Butternut Valley, and with the collaboration of the Middlefield-based Soil & Water Conservation District, all of Otsego County’s streams, are part of a “huge, huge region,” said Stroh, where efforts are underway to clean up the tributaries to the Susquehanna River, which eventually runs into the challenged Chesapeake, where pollutants have been destroying the rich fishery for decades.

No Kidding, Watch Out For Bears


No Kidding, Watch Out For Bears

No kidding. This black bear took down a fence in a Pierstown yard over the weekend.

After Vince and Lynne Krogh Casale’s sighting (and videographing) of a black bear on Bedbug Hill Road Tuesday, March 23, a reader sent along this photo of a black bear (see photo) rampaging in a yard in the Pierstown area, on the other side of the hill, both in Town of Otsego on the west side.

More bears in Otsego County is a new reality, Josh Choquette, the DEC’s new bear expert, based in its Stamford office, reported in last week’s edition.

Development in the Catskills is pushing bears north and, also, new growth in Otsego County’s abandoned farms is providing newly arriving bears with plenty to eat.



By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Susan Fenimore Cooper’s “Rural Hours” (1850) was known to Henry David Thoreau and praised by Charles Darwin.

After reading “Rural Hours,” Charles Darwin, of all people, mentioned Susan Fenimore Cooper in a letter to Asa Gray, perhaps the most important American botanist of the 19th Century.

Struck by her understanding of the “battle” between Old and New World weeds, he asked, “Who is she?”

Nowadays, we know the “weeds” she was writing about were “invasive species,” a burning environ-mental issue in Glimmerglass’ environs even today, 125 years after James Fenimore Cooper’s daughter’s death, as we worry about the zebra mussel, the water chestnut and, heavens, the European frog bit.

If Charles Darwin knew her, “How do I know about Henry David Thoreau and not about this woman?” Professor Johnson asked herself when she first happened on “Rural Hours.” It was in the 1990s. She was a graduate student immersed in the Transcendentalists while seeking her masters and doctorate at Claremont Graduate University in California.

With a planned focus on Shakespeare or the British Modernists, “I was taken by surprise when I got scooped up in environmental writing, about the human relationship to the natural world,” she said.

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