News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Hometown Oneonta

Under ‘Patton Plan,’ All-Star Village Hopes To Declare ‘Play Ball’


Under ‘Patton Plan,’

All-Star Village Hopes

To Declare ‘Play Ball’

A highpoint of All-Star Village history was the appearance of Little League pitching phenom Mon’e Davis in 2014, a few days after she became the first pitcher to lead a team to the Little League World Series victory in Williamsport, Pa. (All-Star Village photo)

To our Cooperstown All Star family of players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees

The health and safety of Cooperstown All Star Village players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees is our highest priority. As we continue to actively monitor developments related to coronavirus (COVID-19) we want to assure you that Cooperstown All Star Village is taking all necessary health and safety precautions in accordance with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and New York State health officials for our players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees.

In an effort to carry on the Cooperstown experience that our players, coaches and umpires have planned for and fund-raised for several years. We have made a decision regarding the 2020 tournament (assuming that our Nation is going through this self imposed quarantine) four weeks in advance of each week. Starting the first week in May (leaving family’s, players, coaches and umpires a full month before the first week tournament begins), we will let everyone know via our website, Facebook and emails to coaches whether we will open or cancel that week, obviously if we are open the first week the other weeks will be open as well. Our goal is to give our players the Cooperstown experience they have planned for and fund raised for.

For those of you wondering how we will handle your refund, should we cancel a week or the entire season we will give you two options, All teams will receive a 100% refund or the option of future participation. This policy remains the same for our on site hotel guests. As stated we will not be making that decision until the first week in May in an effort to give our players the chance to participate in what they have worked so hard for.

The most important thing we can do as Americans is remain calm, follow the rules set forth by your state and our federal government and remember we are all in this together. We will come through this!

Our community is ready to welcome all of our baseball families with open arms. God bless you all and God bless America and the World.

Praying for us all,


All-Star Village owner

SHATTERED DREAMS Dreams Park Cancels 2020 Season Entirely


Dreams Park Cancels

2020 Season Entirely

It’s become a Dreams Park tradition for departing teams to get photographed by the front gate.

Editor’s Note: Cooperstown Dreams’ Park Friday, March 20, announced it is cancelling its 2020 season due to coronavirus.

In the best interest of our country, state, local community, local partners, coaches, umpires and most importantly, our employees, players and their families, whose health and safety we are obligated to protect, Cooperstown Dreams Park has determined it is necessary to cancel the 2020 season.

All teams will receive a 100% refund or the option of future participation. Cooperstown Dreams Park employees will remain working at reduced hours and payroll, to the extent permitted by the mandates of Governor Cuomo.

In response to calls by many levels of government for help from the private sector, we have notified the New York State Department of Health, Otsego County Emergency Services and Bassett Healthcare that our facilities are available for use, if needed in combating COVID-19 or for caring for those inflicted with the virus.

Cooperstown Dreams Park will also establish a local food donation center and food kitchen for those in our community that are in need of basic essentials, as permitted by governmental agencies.

Cooperstown Dreams Park was hoping to avoid this outcome, but it is the only responsible course of action. Like the rest of the nation, we have never experienced anything like this. We know our staff will be resilient and steadfast in its preparation for the 2021 season and that once again the joyous sounds of kids playing the game of baseball at Cooperstown Dreams Park will be heard.

LaCHANCE: During This Crisis, Reach Out To Elderly. Elderly, Accept Help

During This Crisis,

Reach Out To Elderly.

Elderly, Accept Help

To the Editor:

As social distancing becomes a new way of life, I am fearful.

I don’t fear the coronavirus, but I fear the social isolation it is creating among us, especially the older population.

We live in a village, with surrounding communities, whose median age is over 50 years old. Of this group, more than half are over the age of 65. There are many who live alone, with few or no family and friends close by.

Going to the Cooperstown Senior Community Center, Clark Sports Center, library, restaurants, etc. provided them with social outings and contact, but now those are closed, and we are all told to stay home.

I write to encourage all of us, young and old, to become more aware of our neighbors, especially those older, as well as the activity in and around their homes.

Are the curtains open every day, or the lights on in the evening? Has the newspaper or mail been removed from the front stoop? Would getting groceries or medicine be a challenge for your next door neighbor?

We cannot assume each person in our community is fine. As the time of social distancing lengthens beyond two weeks into months, depression and loneliness will become our enemy, most especially for those living alone.

If you fall into the more mature adult category, you have lived the majority of your life not asking for, or accepting, help. This is not the time to let your pride get in the way. If you need assistance, reach out to your neighbors or friends. If your neighbor reaches out to you, say “yes – thank you.”

In an effort to be in touch, an email with thoughts and activities will be sent to all who receive the Cooperstown Senior Community Center emails, Monday-Friday. If you wish to be a recipient, send an email to: We will get your contact info and gladly add you to the list.

The coronavirus has provided each one of us an opportunity to rekindle what was once the way of life, “neighbor helping neighbor.” It’s what will keep us connected, safe, healthy and smiling – a caring community.

Stay well.


Acting CSCC Executive Director


SMITH: Constitution Gives Us The Right To Do What Makes Sense

Constitution Gives

Us The Right To Do

What Makes Sense

To the Editor:

I’m afraid that Mr. deBlieck (Letter to Editor, March 19-20) doesn’t understand what the U.S. Constitution actually says and does. Like the power to declare war and raise taxes, the power to organize and arm militias is explicitly reserved to the Congress of the United States.

Don’t believe me? Read Article One.

There are no provisions that allow the “entire population to form a militia.” Moreover, the Constitution
authorized the militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions and not to “secure the liberty of the place in which they live.”

Don’t believe me? Read Article One.

Today, everyone has an idea of what the Second Amendment means – with many Americans believing that it allows a citizen to have any kind and keep as many guns as one wants.

Let’s start with phrase “the People.” Read the Preamble of the Constitution – it says, “We, the People.” The Second Amendment allows the People (a plural usage), not individuals, to keep and carry arms when serving in the militia. Period.

Don’t believe me? Read the Preamble and the Second Amendment back-to-back.

More to the point, Congress passed laws in 1792 and 1903 delegating the authority to organize militias (and after 1903, the National Guard) to the respective states but not to individual citizens.

Don’t believe me? Read the laws.

As to the kind of weapons, in my opinion, no one needs assault weapons, which are specifically designed to kill humans with a massively high volume of firepower.

I am not an anti-gun nut. When I was younger, everyone seemed to have a gun to go hunting, and many kept their guns strapped to the back window of their truck. No one was worried about that – least of all me. Even my family kept shotguns and pistols (with a license to carry). And no one was worried about that – least of all me.

But the gun lobby, especially the National Rifle Association (NRA), has gone far beyond the America of my childhood by advancing unrestricted gun ownership.

Today, why do you think there are so many guns?? I believe that it’s all about money – the NRA’s constituents are in favor of gun control, but the NRA itself has become a powerful and influential money-maker.

Guns are sold not only to our citizens (many – about 40 percent – without a background check), but they are also sold around the world to our allies and to our enemies. Oh, that glorious money!

Our country is awash in uncounted guns. Stop to think about the things in our lives that are so destructive –and big businesses and institutions (like the NRA) are the ones making money off everyone in our country (not only guns, but alcohol, drugs, gambling, cigarettes, and vaping).

If we enforced proper and effective laws that made gun purchases legal and fair, we would not have many of these problems. Too many people go underground for their guns – and therein lies one of the biggest problems we currently have.

Gun Control does not mean people are going to take away your guns. It means that proper and effective control over the purchase of weapons best serves honest and fair Americans.

Moreover, it also means that individuals respect what our Constitution actually says and not misstate the words for their own personal satisfaction and gain.


ATWELL: If Not For A Buttonhook


If Not For

A Buttonhook

Jim Atwell and his grandmother, who as a little girl narrowly survived falling down a well – prospectively allowing her grandson to live among us today.

By JIM ATWELL • Special to

Some years ago, I had dinner at Great-Grandpa’s house down in tidewater Maryland. It’s a handsome brick house with dormers, and it used to face a clear view across the fields to broad West River.

But realtors overran the area, and the fields filled up with houses for commuters to Washington.

Jim Atwell, a Quaker minister and retired college administrator, lives in Cooperstown.

And Great-Grandpa’s house is now a restaurant – a high-toned French one, mind you, down there in Shady Side, a hamlet once home only to truck farmers and to men who fished, dredged oysters and hauled enraged blue crabs from the Chesapeake’s tidewater.

We ate our dinners in an expansive, open-beamed addition to the house. It had been built out over the old backyard. It was tasteless of me, but I couldn’t describe the backyard as it once was.

“You know, the privy would have stood right over there, between the hat rack and the waiter’s station.” My fellow diners grimaced and went back to their goat’s cheese and endive vinaigrette.

But I sat fascinated. “And this table,” I added, “is probably just about over the old well.” If we were above that
well, I was at a spot crucial to my life.

For about 1880, a toddler, Great-Grandpa’s youngest daughter, fell down the family well. My grandmother.

As little boys, my brother and I would sit open-mouthed as she told the story – which she only knew from adults who repeated it later, shaking their heads. She’d been playing in the sunny back yard with another little girl and perhaps meant only to look curiously down into the well’s darkness. But she tumbled in, head first.

The other tot came into the busy kitchen, pulled at her own mother’s dress. “Annie Owings is down the well,” she lisped. The women ran shrieking into the yard. Neighbors’ doors banged open and a half dozen people rushed to stand around the well hole, peering down in horror.

The little girl was almost completely submerged. Only one foot jutted above the water in a tiny, high-button shoe. Men bent themselves over the well rim, stretching, clawing down toward the water.

But the shoe was just out of reach, even for the tallest of them.

Then a quiet voice said, “Lemme try, cap’ns.”

And a tall black waterman stepped to the well, drawing from his pocket a buttonhook. Lying down on his stomach, he leaned over the well rim, bent his torso down into the darkness. He reached down with the hook, stretched himself even farther, snagged the shoe’s topmost button. And drew Annie Owings out of the darkness, back from death.

“They rolled me on a barrel to get the water out,” Grandma would say, “and finally I coughed and started to cry.”

I told Grandma’s story to my table companions, and we sat silent. Then we toasted her and that buttonhook. And the tall black man, name unknown, who saved her life. And also opened life to my father, my brother and me.

I’ve thought of that distant day often since our meal at Great-Grandpa’s. An event 60 years before my birth almost meant I wasn’t. No big loss for the world, I know; but a considerable one for me.

How many other near misses, I wonder, were there for me, back across the generations? Beyond forebears who might have been snuffed by wars, plagues and falls down wells, what were my chances that all the right conceptions would take place, across all those endless generations? It’s dizzying, strikes me wordless.

And makes me wonder about a human’s value. Maybe each of us should say, “What am I worth? I’m only here by sheer blind luck.” Or maybe the opposite: “I must mean something since, despite unthinkable odds, here I am.”
Here we are, headed for a second darkness, gifted for a bit with life.

By that fact, maybe we owe something to all those faceless ghosts – humans who could have been. But never were.

ZAGATA: Did Anyone, Or Everyone Kill U.S. Pandemic Team?


Did Anyone, Or Everyone

Kill U.S. Pandemic Team?

By MIKE ZAGATA • Special to

A friend of mine commented that he was upset with the president because he had eliminated the Pandemic Response Team (PRT).

I didn’t know there was such a thing and I’m guessing that neither did the President.

Mike Zagata, DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and a former environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport.

However, the fact that my friend was blaming the President for eliminating it, and then a year or so later having us face a pandemic with the corona virus, prompted me to attempt to explain how the national budget process works.

Explaining the budget process will allow the reader to place blame where it belongs. That is, if indeed, there is blame to be placed.

The President, also referred to as the Administration, submits a budget to Congress for legislative approval. All budget legislation must start in the House of Representatives. Once passed by the House, it is sent to the Senate for approval and, if approved, it becomes law. That’s the simplified version.

Here’s what really happens.

The President sets a target for his spending called the budget. For example, President Trump made it clear that he wanted to rebuild our military and thus his final budget should reflect that.

Then two things happen. The director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) takes the President’s budget and allocates funds to the various agencies within the Administration. By “agencies,” I mean things like the Department of Defense, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, EPA, Department of Homeland Security, etc. In general, the heads of those agencies make up the President’s Cabinet.

The OMB then directs the Secretaries (heads of the various agencies) to figure out how much money they need for the next year.

The agencies then prepare their agency’s budget by asking each of their internal departments to submit a budget and then adding them together into one budget for each agency.

The agency budgets are then submitted to the OMB. That’s where the lobbying begins as each agency head wants the budget they submitted to be fully funded.

However, the actual budget is supposed to balance against the amount of revenue the federal government expects to take in from taxes (that we pay) and other revenue sources.

When that doesn’t happen, the government will have a budget deficit that will add to our national debt. You and I aren’t allowed to do that – when our checkbook is empty, we’re broke. The federal government just prints more money and then raises our taxes to pay for it.

The OMB meets with representatives from the White House in an attempt to allocate money to meet the President’s priorities and still provide adequate funding for each agency while balancing the budget.

It is during this process that the Pandemic Response Team (PRT) might have been “cut” from the budget.

However, the amount of money involved is so small that it is very doubtful anyone ever said explicitly to cut the PRT – PRT was likely part of a bigger program, some of which could be cut with very little “pain.” Once the OMB completes this process, the Administration’s “approved” budget is sent back to the agencies. The amount of money approved for each agency is the amount that agency is allowed to seek from Congress – starting with the House. It is called the “pass back” budget.

Each agency then appears before the House Appropriations Committee to make the case for their budget. Members of the Committee ask the various agency heads, or their representatives, questions about their budget, including what’s in it and what’s not. This provides the second opportunity for the PRT to be included in the budget or axed.

Because the House is now controlled by the Democratic Party, the Democrats may also be responsible for the lack of funding for the PRT.

It is during the Appropriations process that the budget is carefully scrutinized and where lobbying is done on behalf of the various programs either included in, or left out of, the budget by the Administration’s budget. Thus, this is the part of the budget process where the PRT was likely not funded.

In other words, if the President’s budget doesn’t include something, anything, that Congress feels should be funded, the House Appropriations Committee can add it into the budget bill that it passes and sends along to the Senate.

Once passed by the Senate, it goes to the President for signature and, at that point, he could veto the entire bill. We know this because each year the President submits a “balanced” budget and Congress ads “pork” that leads to an unbalanced budget and deficit spending.

That is indeed how the process works. I lived it as Audubon’s director of Federal Relations. To place blame based on a lack of understanding of the budget process or unverified sources is simply not appropriate and serves to fuel the divisiveness leading to our current political climate. Now, if ever, is the time to come together irrespective of party affiliation.

CUOMO: Daily Updates Show Much Being Done


Cuomo’s Daily Updates

Show Much Being Done

Photo of the Day: I toured the Javits Center in New York City today, where FEMA is beginning to build a 1,000-bed temporary hospital.

Editor’s Note: Here’s an example of Governor Cuomo’s daily email updates, which underscore how much is being done to combat coronavirus. Do yourself a favor: sign up at:

March 23, 2020

Dear New Yorker,

Amid this pandemic, we can’t underestimate the emotional trauma people are facing or underestimate the pain of isolation. It is real. This is not the human condition — not to be comforted, not to be close to friends, not to be able to hug someone. This is all unnatural and disorienting. But my hope is that while New York may be socially distanced, we remain spiritually connected. We will overcome this challenge and we will be stronger for it.

Here’s what else you need to know tonight:

1. Supplies are arriving at the Javits Center, which I toured earlier today to see the progress on the building of a temporary hospital there. The federal administration has deployed 339,760 N95 masks, 861,700 surgical masks, 353,300 gloves, 145,122 gowns and 197,085 face shields to New York State. Many state supplies have also been deployed to the Javits Center. The facility will open next week.

2. We opened a drive-thru mobile testing center in the Bronx this morning.  This opening follows successful mobile testing centers in New Rochelle, Rockland County, Staten Island and Long Island. (Visits are appointment-only and must be made by calling 1-888-364-3065.) New York is currently testing more than 16,000 people per day, more than any other state or country per capita.

3. I launched the New York Stronger Together campaign. Celebrities including Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Ben Stiller and La La Anthony have shared videos amplifying my message that people must stay home – not just to protect their own health, but to protect the health of more vulnerable New Yorkers.

4. 30,000 people have responded to our call for retired nurses and doctors, medical school students and others to join New York’s Coronavirus response effort. We still need more citizens to join this reserve staff. If you are a recently retired medical professional, a therapist, a psychologist or a qualified medical or nursing school student or staff member, we want your help. Enlist here:

5. The FDA has approved the use of a new experimental treatment in New York on a compassionate care basis to treat COVID-19 patients. The trials will use antibody injections to help stimulate and promote individuals’
immune systems against the virus.

Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: I want to remind New Yorkers that New York State Parks remain open for solitary walks or hikes — but you must keep six feet of distance from others.
You can also take a virtual tour of many New York State parks.
Ever Upward,



State of New York

Job One, Beat Coronavirus; Job Two, Limit The Harm


Job One, Beat Coronavirus;

Job Two, Limit The Harm

Governor Cuomo tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Sunday, March 22: “The lesson was loud and clear. Do everything you can as soon as you can, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here in New York.”

As a community, we face two tasks.

Job One is to tackle the coronavirus threat.

As evident in closing schools and colleges, local governments and business, in our adherence to “social distancing,” and in Bassett Hospital’s pro-active agenda, there is community-wide commitment to that.

Governor Cuomo, who has been at his best since the crisis loomed, put it well Sunday, March 22, in his interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “In New York, we have already closed every valve that we can close. We learned from China. We learned from South Korea, and Italy.

“The lesson was loud and clear. Do everything you can as soon as you can, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here in New York. I can’t do anything else. I’m at zero non-essential workers. You can’t go below zero. So we have everything off.

“Now, we keep testing. We keep tracking the positives. Isolate the positives. Slow the spread. Increase the hospital capacity and in the meantime, get the darn masks and ventilators and the PPE equipment.”
In Otsego County, as in New York State at large, let’s continue doing all we can do.

Job Two is to limit the long-term damage.

With the welcome news that Italy’s epidemic is beginning to dip, we can be assured that the coronavirus will dissipate.
So, foremost, let’s not act precipitously.

Last week, Governor Cuomo estimated New York State’s challenge would peak in 45 days, in early May. If he’s right, that’s well before the summer season arrives here with Memorial Day Weekend.

The Hall of Fame’s decision to cancel the Classic Weekend in mid-May is defensible. That would be cutting it a little fine.

Cooperstown Dreams Park cancelling its 2020 season is premature, particularly given the economic impact – which, in the end, means impact on people: on retirees who depend on renting their homes, on business people dependent on the summer season, and on our foremost institutions and their employees, dependent on tourist visitations.

In short, pretty much everyone.

Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta has adopted a better model – “The Patton Plan,” if you will.

Owner Marty Patton is moving forward incrementally. Depending on how the challenge looks in early May, All-Star Village may or may not cancel its first week, June 5-11. The second week in May, the decision will be made whether to cancel the second week of youth-baseball tournaments, June 12-18. And so on.

Variations on “The Patton Plan” are no doubt being considered by The Fenimore and Farmers’ museums, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Hall itself as it looks ahead to July 26 and the prospective record-breaking induction of Derek Jeter.

Act if you must, but not immediately. All is not lost.

Running off county-by-county numbers on “The Coronavirus Economic Impact,” the New York State Association of
Counties (NYSAC), is estimating Otsego County’s government stands to lose $1,968,867 in sales-tax revenues alone, equivalent to about 20 percent of the tax levy.

That translates into $49,221,682 in lost sales – gasoline, restaurants, souvenirs – and doesn’t count lost occupancy tax on hotels and lodging, also substantial.

Apply the multiplier of 3 as money moves through the local economy, and that loss – even without lodging – would translate into $150 million, or $2,500 for every man, woman and child in the county.

That’s NYSAC’s “mild scenario.”

Job One is Job One – saving lives.

Let’s adhere to Governor Cuomo’s regimen, and give our healthcare community – the doctors, nurses and hospital staff, who are emerging as the heroes of this crisis – all the support we can.

But let’s look ahead to the job that awaits, and – with patience, prudence – minimize the long-term impact of a short-term crisis on the county that we love.

Methodists’ Sewing Club Making Scarce Face Masks


Methodists’ Sewing Club

Making Scarce Face Masks

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Michealle Cole, left, has made more than 75 washable fabric masks for Bassett Hospital; her daughter Julie delivers them.

BURLINGTON FLATS – The sewing that Michealle Cole, a Cooperstown Central second-grade teacher, uses as her “therapy” will help protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.

“All I want to do is put a smile on people’s face,” she said. “Sewing is my therapy.”

Cole, part of the Fly Creek United Methodist quilting group, has made more than 75 face masks to be donated to Bassett Hospital as shortages of protective gear loom.

“We became aware there was a need at Bassett Hospital for masks,” said Rev. Sharon Rankins-Burd. “Someone found a pattern online, and apparently a lot of people are making these.”

While the masks are not full protection against COVID-19, she said, they will help health-care workers at Bassett reduce the risk.

“While fabric masks are not a substitute for health-care-grade respirator-type masks, this is a coordinated effort to use the fabric masks to extend the life and supply of the respirator masks,” said Bassett pharmacy director Kelly Rudd. “These respirator masks are in critical short supply nationally, and provide the best protection for our health care workers, patients and community.”

Rudd says the handmade fabric masks will be disinfected can be used repeatedly throughout the coronavirus threat, according to guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the use of fabric masks during a crisis response.

“They’re reusable, you can wash and dry them,” said Cole.

For those who can’t sew, there are still ways to assist, including donating supplies or money to buy supplies. In all, Bassett believes they will need 20,000 masks.

The pattern calls for two rectangles, 9 by 10 inches, of “tightly woven” pre-shrunk cotton fabric – no red, as it might run when laundered – and one of batting – either flannel or thin quilt batting – and two elastic loops to go over the ears. One yard of fabric can make approximately five masks.

“You can even use hair ties for the elastic,” said Rankins-Burd. “And since it’s not like we can just run to the fabric store, you can use up what you have.”

“All my fabric was leftover from quilts,” said Cole. “I could take all those little pieces and put them together. It only takes about 10 minutes.”

Rankins-Burd shared the pattern with the weekly quilt group, as well as with other churches. “People are excited,” she said. “It’s a way to keep busy when you’re stuck indoors.”

For those who want to join the effort to make fabric masks, the Fly Creek Methodist Church will serve as a drop-off point for anyone interested in making the masks, which will be taken to Bassett Hospital for distribution. Masks may also be dropped off at Bassett’s warehouse, 26 Grove St. in Cooperstown.

Given the shortage of disposal face masks, Cooperstown inventor Gerry Welch believes his “Aegis 12” UV-powered invention may be part of the solution. (Jim Kevlin/

Similarly, local inventor Gerry Welch believes he may have an answer to the face-mask shortage the nation is facing.

For several years now, Welch has been promoting the “Aegis 12,” which the publicity describes as a “Healthcare Face Mask with Fail-Safe Power Pack.”

The device is two face masks with a silver foil layer in between, attached to a power pack that may be placed in a breast pocket or hung around the user’s neck.

The power pack, connected to the mask with a fiber-optic cable, provides “a high-intensity shortwave UV” that disinfects the air drawn into the center chamber through a louver in the front mask.

Welch, whose inventions include the Skeeter-Eater, a non-toxic means of reducing the mosquito population, said the Army has a 2010 patent on a similar device, but the energy source is in the mask itself, which soon heats up uncomfortably.

Regardless, the Army’s patent suggests the concept has merit.

He is seeking a patent on the mask with the assistance of Jay Yablon, the Schenectady lawyer who obtained the Skeeter-Eater patent, and meanwhile has contacted Corning, which manufacture fiber-optic cable, to gauge its interest.

And Ivan Potocnik, an Oneonta native now living in Utica, has joined with a network of 3D printer enthusiasts in making shields for medical visors. “My friend Toni DiPalma in Albany reached out to a network of friends with 3D printers,” he said. “It’s modeled on a Ukrainian design, then finished and put all together with sheet plastic.”

The shields take three hours each to print, but Potocnik believes that, working together, the network can produce as many as 20 a day.

“We’re all trying to contribute any way we can,” he said. “And we hope we can inspire other DIY-ers to do the same.”

“If you can make two or 20 masks, it will help,” said Rankins-Burd. “It’s a good, positive thing to do when you feel helpless.”

You’ll Have It TO GO! From Emergency, Novelty: Folks Around County Pick Up Dinners

You’ll Have It TO GO!

From Emergency, Novelty: Folks

Around County Pick Up Dinners

Mel’s at 22 proprietor Brian Wrubleski packs to-go dinners with the help of daughter Alex Gauther, left, and Tomeka Ray. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – At Brooks House of BBQ, the staff can’t answer the phones fast enough.

“We’re going to add additional phone lines,” said owner Ryan Brooks. “They’re just ringing constantly.

Council Rock Brewery’s Kyle Llewellyn fills a “crowler” can – that’s half a growler – as Manager Becky Davidson supervises. (Jim Kevlin/

With Governor Cuomo’s order that all “non-essential” businesses be shuttered, restaurants can no longer accommodate dine-in customers.

“When the quarantines started happening last week, I walked into work and there were no customers coming in,” said Brian Wrubleski, who owns Mel’s at 22, Cooperstown. “It was like someone took something out of my heart.”

Some, like Morey’s and The Depot in Oneonta, the Doubleday Café in Cooperstown and Jackie’s in Milford, simply closed.

Many others, including Mel’s, Brooks, Council Rock Brewery and The Otesaga’s Hawkeye Grill have quickly adapted to take-out and delivery.

“I don’t think a lot of people know which restaurants are open,” said Council Rock’s Becky Davidson. “But it’s always nice to see some friendly faces.”

Take-out isn’t new to Brooks, but the spread of COVID-19 prompted Ryan to move up his plan to add delivery. “We want to help get people the food they want,” he said. “We deliver within a 10-mile radius with no fee, but it’s a $20 minimum order.”

In addition to the company vans – a frequent sight around the county in the summer – Ryan put his own SUV up for delivery. “The crew is having fun in my car,” he said.

Some, like John Shideler, The Otesaga’s new general manager, are finding ways to add new offerings to their “to-go” menu. “We’ve added a grilled salmon so we have a fish offering,” he said. “And we’re absolutely still offering our desserts: We have a new apple cinnamon bread pudding.”

The response, he said, has been strong. “We’re a favorite in the community,” he said. “The community has been so welcoming to me, and we want our customers to feel comfort knowing that we’re still here.”

“We’ve been doing take-out all along with our fish fry, so we had a busy Friday,” said Davidson. “And I posted on Facebook to let people know that our shrimp and garlic pesto fries are still available, so people know they can still get their favorites.”

“It’s a different methodology,” said Wrubleski. “With dine-in, it’s a full-service interaction with the customer. You make the meal look beautiful on the plate. But we’re trying to make it look beautiful in the take-out box too.”

Although face-to-face interaction has been minimized, he’s still finding new ways to interact with his customers. “I do most of the deliveries myself,” he said. “We include two free cookies with every order, and my daughter Alex writes a little message on every one of the boxes.”

Similarly, The Otesaga is including a card from the staff with each order. “When we re-open, they can bring it to The Hawkeye or The 1909 and get a free glass of wine,” said Shideler. “It’s our way of saying thank you to all the people who are supporting us through these difficult times.”

And Wrubleski is concerned about the employees he had to temporarily lay off. “It’s depressing,” he said. “A lot of people in this industry live paycheck-to-paycheck, and I’m trying to support them as best I can.”

In addition to delivery and manning phones, Ryan has shifted some employees to the bottling plant to keep them on payroll. “These are tough times, but we’ll get through them together,” he said.

“Food is comfort,” said Wrubleski. “We like to try and do things to make people happy.”

County Ex-Pats Report From COVID Hot Spots


County Ex-Pats Report

From COVID Hot Spots

Cooperstown’s May-Britt Joyce visits her daughter Jenny, a nurse in Seattle, where the earliest widespread U.S. infections occurred.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – The city that never sleeps has become a “ghost town.” Ask Carleigh Bettiol.

“As of 8 p.m. Sunday evening, the city was on lockdown,” she said. “People are not allowed out unless for essential trips such as grocery, pharmacy, or medical visits.”

Carleigh Bettiol

Bettiol, daughter of Patricia Bettiol and the late Gene Bettiol Jr. turned Broadway star, is holed up in her Manhattan apartment. “On a normal day, I would most likely be taking the subway somewhere, going to an audition, going to take a fitness class or meeting a friend for dinner,” she said. “Now I spend my time cooking, cleaning, doing puzzles and home workouts.”

Jenny Joyce, daughter of Cooperstown’s May-Britt Joyce now working as a nurse in Seattle, echoed the “ghost town” sentiment about her city.

“There is no one out and about,” she said. “The restaurants and movie theaters are empty. We went to a ski area a few weekends ago, and it was only open to pass holders so there wouldn’t be as many people on the slopes. It was the only one that was even open.”

Even the famed Pike Place Market is abandoned as stores were ordered closed. “On the upside, my commute is a third of what it was,” she joked.
Joyce was on the front lines even before the first official cases of COVID-19 were declared. “We didn’t have access to testing,” she said. “We saw people who had symptoms, but no travel associated with coronavirus. We thought they were fine, but we didn’t know.”

Flu season was still in full effect, and pneumonia was a concern. “It’s frustrating, because we saw this coming, and we felt like we weren’t being heard,” she said. “Washington has been trying since January to say ‘something isn’t right.’”

Though testing is available, she said that many clinics throughout Washington State are running low on supplies. “We’re low on masks,” she said. “So my clinic is holding off on testing. We’re only doing it in designated areas now, trying to find ways to mitigate exposure to other patients.”

She echoed the advice of the CDC, including hand-washing and social distancing. “It’s nice to see people taking it seriously,” she said. “As we learn more and more, it’s going to be better to wrap our brains around it.”

And if you do get it, she advised, only go to the emergency room if you are having trouble breathing. “Testing is important, but it doesn’t change what your doctor would tell you,” she said. “Unless you are severely ill, you’re going to end up treating it at home.”

Though Bettiol is healthy, she admits that the quarantine has its own tolls. “I think the lack of fresh air is the toughest part,” she said. “I often take walks on the Upper West Side just to reset and get fresh air in my regular day-to-day, so that has been a challenge.”

But she sees that quarantine is a good time to learn something new, catch up on your reading or schedule online chats with friends. “There are a ton of online classes you can take, from cooking to dance lessons,” she said. “Or set up little happy hour dates with your friends and family via Zoom to make it seem like you’re out with them!”

And hopefully, the lockdowns will prevent the further spread of the virus.

“I hope you don’t get it here,” said Joyce.

This Week March 26-27, 2020
Jobless Claims Soaring; Sales-Tax Dip Expected

Jobless Claims Soaring;

Sales-Tax Dip Expected

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

The state Association of Counties has found the coronavirus emergency will cost Otsego County millions in sales-tax revenues. (

ONEONTA – In an average week, Alan Sessions, CDO Workforce disability resource coordinator, might field 25 calls about unemployment insurance.

“In the last week, we’ve received 25 calls a day,” he said. “Sometimes the wait to talk with someone is an hour.”

The majority of the calls, he said, are waitstaff, kitchen help and retail workers suddenly jobless as Governor Cuomo ordered stores and restaurants closed in to facilitate “social distancing” and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s early still, but these are the businesses that were immediately affected,” he said.

BOUND VOLUMES March 26, 2020


March 26, 2020


Married on the Ninth Inst. at Washington City by the Rev. Mr. Hawley, Samuel Lawrence Governeur, Esq. of New York to Miss Maria Hester Monroe, youngest daughter of the President of the United States.
Editor: To Patrons – This number completes half a year since the resumption of our editorial duties; and we should be unmindful of our obligations to the public, were we to refrain from expressing our thanks for the patronage this paper has received. There are but few country journals in the state, whose circulation is more extensive; and this evidence of approbation, is deemed sufficient to increase our exertions to make the paper more useful and respectable.

March 27, 1820


Anti-Rent actions in Delaware County – On Monday last, Sheriff Steele and C.E. Parker went to Andes to serve some Chancery Subpoenas and a summons. On their return, near Fish Lake, they were stopped by some fourteen disguised and armed men. It being evening and somewhat dark, they were forced to return to Andes, where they were detained till near night the next day. While in confinement at Andes, Steele succeeded in sending a special message to Delhi, who arrived at about 12 o’clock. The Sheriff then summoned almost every man in Delhi, who went with him to Andes, armed and prepared for a conflict. When we got there no Indians were to be found – their friends having sent an express from Delhi, to inform them the Sheriff was coming prepared for action. Yesterday, the Sheriff with his posse, returned through Bovina, and arrested one person, who is indicted for having been disguised, &c. Today, with a posse of about 400 men, armed, he went to Kortright, and sold on an execution where he had been prevented from selling before by the appearance of some 75 or 80 Indians. Steele has selected about 50 men and is preparing to start
to make arrests this evening.

March 24, 1845


Hospital Notice – Patients must make application before admittance at the Hospital – either in person or by letter. In no case are patients admitted without previous application, unless in the event of very sudden attacks, or accidents, when immediate help is needed. All applications should be made to Dr. Lathrop, or Miss Cooper, and accompanied by a letter from a physician of good character. There will be two vacancies in the men’s ward very soon, owing to the dismissal of convalescent patients. Rags for carpeting, will be gratefully received. The female patients are preparing them both for use at the hospital, and also for the new Orphan House. Susan Fenimore Cooper S.F.C.

March 24, 1870


Local: Charles R. Burch went to New York last week to consult occulists and had a successful operation performed upon his eyes. He was accompanied by T.C. Turner.  Mr. Burch is expected home in a few days.
A gentleman interested in bringing out “Mikado,” the entertainment, says: “Ladies should come prepared to take off their hats.” There are some very desirable seats left unsold for Thursday night, and not all are sold for Friday night.
Monday was the first really spring-like day of the season – sunshine and shower, light snow squalls at times, and a south wind melting the snow on the ground; in the evening the chirp of the robins.
James P. Kinney of this village has the contract for putting the hedge around the hospital building lot. The plants used will be from the celebrated Chautauqua Nursery of Portland, New York.
The Rev. Sherman Coolidge, missionary to the Shoshone reservation in Wyoming, who is a full-blooded Indian, will conduct a religious service in Christ Church Wednesday at 8 o’clock. The public is cordially invited to attend.

March 28, 1895


Mrs. Hyde Sued on Defamation Charge – Action for defamation of character was begun in this village on Saturday of last week, when summonses were served on Mrs. W.T. Hyde, owner of the Glimmerglen Farms and county agent for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The amounts sought as damages in these actions were not made public. The actions were brought by four employees of the Hyde properties and Glimmerglen Farms as a result of accusations made in connection with the disappearance of one fur-lined man’s overcoat, and one ladies’ leather overcoat. As far as known the missing property has not been recovered, although state troopers have been investigating the case. The plaintiffs are Charles Jennings, who is in charge of the poultry house at Glimmerglen Farms; Floyd Green, a stableman; Silas Marsh, a chauffeur, and Eugene Frank a greenhouse man.

March 24, 1920


Cooperstown Central School’s Girls Volleyball Team has won the Center State Conference championship. The Redskin girls beat Hamilton in the semi-finals 15-10, and 15-12 and then came back to upend Clinton 15-4, and 15-12. That finished the season for an unblemished 7-0 record. Members of the team are: Mary Chamberlin, Mary O’Leary, Margaret Towne, Cathy Towne, Elizabeth Blessin, Eileen Miller, Janet Phillips, Jeanne Warner and Laura Karkowski.

March 25, 1970


The $250,000 Doubleday Field renovation project is going “swimmingly,” according to the Chairman of the Doubleday Field Advisory Committee Chairman, Stuart Taugher. Taugher was recently elected to the Cooperstown Village Board. Drainage work on the field has been completed and workers are pouring the concrete for the restroom floors. Work on electrical service and plumbing will commence next week. Taugher added that the project is of such a nature that meetings of the Doubleday Field Advisory Board will be held at 5 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.

March 26, 1995


Springbrook will soon welcome twenty-four children with disabilities from as far away as Wisconsin, while saving $890,000 annually. Springbrook receives fourteen million, seven hundred thousand dollars from state bonds, more than paid for by the savings, and can begin a twenty million dollar expansion that includes duplexes for the twenty-four residences, infrastructure, six classrooms and an expanded gymnasium.

March 25, 2010

HOMETOWN History March 25, 2020


March 25, 2020

150 Years Ago

The Technologist – The second number of this journal has reached us and is fully up to the promises held out by the first. It contains a very fine full page engraving on tinted paper, giving the details of the East River Bridge Caisson. Other articles of great interest serve to render this number valuable, both to the practical man and to the general reader. Amongst them may be mentioned the “Manufacture of Porcelain,” “Recent Improvements in Distillation,” Street Railways,” “Ocean Lines of Telegraph,” “The Paris System of Drainage,” “Influence of Occupation on Health,” “The History of the Lucifer Match,” “Isemetrical Projection,” “The Science of Little Things” &c. Those desiring to examine a copy of this journal should send twenty cents to the Industrial Publishing Company, 176 Broadway, New York

March 1870

100 Years Ago

Miss Evangeline C. Booth, Commander of the Salvation Army in the United States. With the $14 million fund generously contributed by the country to the Salvation Army last May all but exhausted through the Army’s unparalleled year of activities and service throughout
the country, Commander Miss Booth is now marshalling her forces for the organization’s second nation-wide Home Service Appeal to be held May 10 to 20. “Never before in the history of the organization in this country, has the Salvation Army been able to accomplish so much for the poor, the distressed, the sick, the unfortunate and the erring,” Miss Booth states. “All this is because of the magnificent way America has supported our efforts. We are deeply grateful for God and country for the opportunities of Christian and humanitarian service that have been afforded us the last few months.”

March 1920

80 Years Ago

One of Ithaca College’s outstanding athletes, Louis “Ducky” Pond of 32 West Broadway, Oneonta, is among the first seniors at the college to obtain a position and has accepted the post of Supervisor of Physical Education at Mineville, High School for 1940-1941. He will receive a B.S. in Physical Education from Ithaca College in June. As Catcher on the varsity baseball team he is expected to be in the lineup regularly this spring. He also starred on the football eleven for two seasons at halfback. A member of Sigma Delta Psi, national physical education fraternity, he is a 1934 graduate of Kellogg High School and spent his freshman year at Colgate University.
A huge “spot” on the sun played hob with communications today. The east to west disruption of telegraph and short wave radio service was the worst in 30 years. The American Telephone and Telegraph Co. said it was the worst case of traffic impairment its engineers could recall. Cable communications between Europe and the New York and Associated Press office broke suddenly at 10:30 a.m. One channel was restored at 1:50 p.m. and a second at 3:07 p.m.

March 1940

60 Years Ago

For eight long minutes, he had $1,406 on his person, police said. He had it until police took it from him along with the gun he’d used to take the money from a local loan company.
It was Oneonta’s first armed robbery in more than 25 years, said police. Arthur A. Wanamaker, 33, a farmer from Middlefield, Cooperstown, RD 2, is charged with entering the Upstate Loan Co. on Main Street late yesterday afternoon and taking $1,406 at gunpoint. Wannamaker was apprehended minutes later in Huntington Park between the library and the Oneonta Building and Loan Company by Patrolmen George Donlin and H.P. Wenck. At the time of his arrest, Wanamaker had the $1,406 stuffed into his sweater and a nine-shot 22-caliber pistol loaded with 22 rifle bullets. The pistol was concealed beneath the coat Wanamaker carried in his hand. The robbery was first reported by telephone to police at 4:25 p.m. by Ralph Nielsen, collection manager for the loan company. A call was sent out on the police radio.

March 1960

40 Years Ago

Hartwick – Cyrus Budine, 14, of Hartwick, was listed in serious condition at Bassett Hospital Thursday night, more than 24 hours after he was struck by a car that killed his 12 year-old brother and a 10-year-old girl, also of Hartwick. Budine suffered head injuries when a car driven by Olive Bush, 59, of Hartwick struck a group of eight children walking in the street about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday on the way home from the town library. Deceased after the Hartwick accident are Christopher Budine, 12 year-old son of Cyrus and Joyce Budine of 206 North Street in Hartwick and 10-year-old Sarah Storey, daughter of Rev. George and June Storey of 48 North Street in Hartwick. No ticket was issued by investigating state police from Oneonta.
Two Oneonta youths were also struck by cars in unrelated incidents in the past 48 hours. Both were listed in satisfactory condition at Fox Hospital Thursday night. Joseph Harkenreader, age 9, and Robert Brienza, age 8, both of Oneonta were sharing a hospital room Thursday night while being treated for broken legs. Brienza was struck by a car at the corner of Ford and Center Street on his way to school Thursday morning. Harkenreader was hit by a car driven by Iva F. Burdick of Cozy Avenue. Tickets were not issued in either case.

March 1980

20 Years Ago

Four graduates of the State University at Oneonta will return to Campus on March 30 to share their experience and expertise with current students in a workshop titled “Careers in the Earth Sciences.” The workshop is designed to help current students make informed career decisions. Darwin Roosa, a 1972 graduate with a degree in science education will discuss “Careers in the Public Sector for Earth Scientists.” Roosa is a “Citizen Participation Specialist” with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany. Bill Soukup will present “Careers in Environmental Consulting.” A 1976 Geology graduate, he works for Brown & Caldwell, an environmental and engineering consulting firm. Windsor High School Earth Science teacher Irving Soden, a 1970 graduate with a degree in geography, will address teaching as a profession in his presentation titled “So You Want to Be a Teacher.”

March 2000

10 Years Ago

Famed cartoonist Don Sherwood, who would slip caricatures of his Oneonta buddies into “Dan Flagg” and his other strips, has passed away March 6, 2010, at the Levine & Dickson Hospice House, Huntersville, N.C., where his
wife, Dolly and their son, Jason, both live. He was 79.

March 26. 201

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