News of Otsego County


Lions, Rotary, other partners host annual river cleanup day

Lions, Rotary, other partners
host annual river cleanup day

COOPERSTOWN — The fourth Susquehanna River Cleanup took place Saturday, July 17.

Community involvement in this project has continued to grow with more than 35 people volunteering this year. The Cooperstown Lions Club, Cooperstown Rotary Club, Rotary E-club of Global Trekkers, OCCA and Otsego 2000 as well as some individuals all made financial contributions to assist with building three new improved rafts.

The Susquehanna River Cleanup project came about because John Rowley and Maureen Rowley would walk the riverside trail between Mill and Main streets in Cooperstown on a regular basis.

They were dismayed by the amount of debris and garbage in that section of the river, including a large cattle-feeding trough.

Growing tired of seeing this, John proposed a clean-up project to the Cooperstown Lions Club, where he is a member and past president. Lions Club International Foundation had made environmental projects one of the club’s new initiatives.

The Cooperstown Lions Club embraced the project and set out to team with other organizations that would assist and guide the Lions with the project.

BERKSON: Fighting the burdock seems to be my mission

Life Sketches

Fighting the burdock
seems to be my mission

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.

Burdock is an enemy I’ve been trying to eradicate since we moved to the farm. It was growing thick all around the barn, so, first I weed-whacked it and later mowed it and now there’s only grass where there once stood a Velcro-like mob waiting to take hold of your pants, socks and bootlaces.

When these sticky weeds are at the edge of a hayfield or in a hedgerow it’s a different story. Without constant mowing, they are much harder to get rid of. During the spring and summer of our first year on the farm, I’d stop work on the house, to Alice’s protests, and go out almost daily, armed with a squirt bottle of Roundup, spraying the young elephant-eared leaves. In a day or two they’d begin to shrivel, but it seemed that for every one that wilted, another would spring up. I hate to admit it but, like William Kennedy’s “Ironweed,” there’s something admirable about burdock’s ability to survive.

WAYNE MELLOR: What’s the cost of zero-carbon energy


What’s the cost of zero-carbon energy

Wayne Mellor

I received several thoughtful comments from our readers concerning the last column and would like to address them.

The investment bank Lazard published the most recent Lazard’s “Levelized Cost of Energy and Storage” in late 2020. The comprehensive report includes all the costs of creating and storing a megawatt of power including land, construction, operating and maintenance.

According to the Lazard report, new, unsubsidized utility scale power sources have the following midpoint levelized costs per megawatt hour: solar $34, offshore wind $86, on-shore wind $40, nuclear $164 and combined cycle gas $59.

It is pretty easy to see that money drives political decision-making especially when deciding between new nuclear, wind and solar power. Offshore wind is relatively expensive, but unlike solar, it can occasionally generate base load power. The public is less likely to resist offshore wind, and one of the windiest places in the U.S. is off Long Island.

MELLOR: With renewable energy, details are key


 With renewable energy, details are key

Wayne Mellor, board chair of Sustainable Otsego.

New York state passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. The law will propel New York towards a climate change friendly economy that will rely much less on burning fossil fuels for energy by 2050.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan is ambitious. It calls for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, and 70% renewable energy by 2030.

In 2020, New York derived approximately 0.1% of its electricity from petroleum, 1% from coal, 36% from natural gas, 30% from nuclear, 26% hydroelectric, 5% wind and solar and 2% biomass.

The shut down of the Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River, completed in April 2021, decreases carbon-free nuclear power to 20% of the state total and increases greenhouse gas emitting natural gas to 46%, with two new natural gas plants in Orange and Dutchess Counties now operating.

This doesn’t make sense if carbon-free electricity is the goal.

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

by PHOEBE SMITH • Special to

Former Olympic rower Andrea Thies demonstrates proper technique during a class Friday, June 18, on Otsego Lake. (Phoebe Smith/

Rowing opportunities have been expanding on Otsego Lake the past few years and a two-time Olympian has been a big part of bringing the sport to Cooperstown and Otsego County.

The Otsego Area Rowing program, under the guidance of Oneonta’s two-time Olympian, Andrea Thies, has been expanding for several summers now as people take up the water sport.

A rower from her collegiate years at Cornell University, Thies aims to offer access to the sport regardless of age, ability or experience.

OAR was established in 2017, in conjunction with the Otsego Land Trust and Brookwood Point, with an emphasis on adolescent rowing opportunities.

The not-for-profit offers classes and opportunities for all ages and abilities. Although many of OAR’s programs were restricted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this summer’s rowing opportunities are in full swing with various adult and kid camps.

Super Sheep? Can good genetics help ag businesses?

Super Sheep?

Can good genetics help ag businesses
be good environmental stewards?
A farm in Middlefield is on the cutting edge

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

A herd of sheep graze on a farm in the town of Middlefield. (Kevin Limiti/

MIDDLEFIELD – Agriculture is often blamed for a negative impact on climate change. However, at a farm near Cooperstown run by twins Owen Weikert and Dr. Ben Weikert, that perception is exactly what they are working to change.

The Katahdin sheep are selectively bred by studying their genetic makeup in order to calculate things like maternal ability, how to create sheep that need less shearing and less food, and to reduce herd size.

Owen Weikert said that upstate agriculture is at a “tipping point” and that dairy farms have been “really decimated.”

“A lot of people are interested in getting out of the cattle business,” Weikert said. Therefore the new way of raising livestock might be the future of agriculture for not only Upstate but the entire country, he said.

By selecting different DNA, it is used to find out how the biological process of the animals interact with each other, and learn how to introduce beneficial characteristics into livestock that will allow breeding to be easier.

Cloning is a completely different process.

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.”

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