News of Otsego County

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



Tickled Pig Barbecue  Building Headquarters

Tickled Pig Barbecue 

Building Headquarters

Construction Underway On Route 28

You may have noticed construction underway in Hartwick Seminary across Route 28 from Cooperstown Commons.  It’s the new headquarters of Tickled Pink Barbecue, operated by Chris Doucas, Town of Hartwick.  Son Lucas Doucas, inset right, was at work this afternoon,  along with Lucas LaRusso, who’s helping with the construction.  A Tickled Pink store is planned on the site, featuring smoked cheese and other delicacies.  Started in that pink school bus on the site of nearby Barnyard Swing, the Cooperstown Dreams Park attraction, Tickled Pink is now purveying its barbecue via four buses and three trucks.  Lucas said the hope is to complete the project in a couple of weeks.  (Jim Kevlin /

Well-Driller Warms Neighbors To Project

Well-Driller Warms

Neighbors To Project

After eight hours of loud drilling yesterday on Cooperstown’s Glen Avenue, Titan Drilling of Arkville handed out gift certificates to neighbors today as a good will gesture.   At Glen and Railroad, Linda Parmalee, who was concerned yesterday about what turned out to the foundation of a novel Geothermal Heating System, said neighbors would have appreciated being briefed about what was going on.  “We don’t want to prevent people from doing their jobs,” she said.  (Jim Kevlin/
Balloons, Takeout Open ‘New’ Cooperstown Diner

Balloons, Takeout Open

‘New’ Cooperstown Diner

With balloons and a sidewalk promotion, the Cooperstown Diner’s new manager, Caspar Ewig, reopened the venerable local eatery for takeout service today. Assisting him was Jack Funk, right, of Edmeston, a five-year employee who returned to help the new manager. Ewig said the first order of the reopened establishment was an egg, cheese and bacon sandwich. The phone number on the diner’s website is out of date; to connect, call 607-282-6347. (Jim Kevlin/
Cuomo, Perez, Rock Message: Wear A Mask!


Cuomo, Perez,

Rock Message:

Wear A Mask!

NEW YORK CITY – Cheered on by actress Rosie Perez and comedian Chris Rock, Governor Cuomo today issued an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to people who do not wear masks or face-coverings.

The governor made the announcement at noon in New York City, as Otsego County businesses awaited details on how to enter the Phase 2 reopening tomorrow, which permits stores and offices to reopen for the first time since Cuomo’s original March 13 emergency declaration. The latest word is details may be forthcoming at 7 p.m. today.

Retired Maritime Lawyer Steers Cooperstown Diner
From This Week’s Edition
Of The Freeman’s Journal


Retired Maritime Lawyer

Steers Cooperstown Diner

Caspar Ewig, who moved Upstate after retiring from a maritime law firm in Yonkers, is running the Cooperstown Diner for the Hayfords. It opens Thursday for takeout. (Jim Kevliin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

“She told me that if we started dating, Cooperstown was in my future,” he said. “She spent every summer up here, taking horseback riding lessons from the Moffats and staying with her aunt on Pioneer Street.”COOPERSTOWN – When Caspar Ewig met his wife, Patricia, in 1973, she had a condition for going steady with her.

Now, 47 years later, he’s fulfilled that edict, taking over as the new manager of the Cooperstown Diner, which is reopening for take-out Thursday, May 28.

“I was looking for something to do and I saw the diner was looking for a manager,” he said. “I called Scott Hayford” – longtime owner Earle Hayford’s son – “and the rest is history.”


Morrisville Educator Is CCS Elementary Principal

Morrisville Educator Is

CCS Elementary Principal

Tracy Durkee

COOPERSTOWN – Tracy Durkee, high school principal at Morrisville-Eaton in Madison County, was named Cooperstown Central Elementary School principal last evening by the school board.

Durkee has 27 years experience in the education field, mostly as an elementary school teacher in grades one, three and five.

“I am extremely zealous about educating youth, and I am prepared to help contribute my knowledge to maximize student achievement,” she was quoted as saying in a press release.

Interpretative Signage Unveiled At Doubleday

Interpretative Signage

Unveiled At Doubleday

Greg Andersen, Long Island, and Barbara Helly, Queens, were among the first people to read the new interpretive signs that have just been unveiled around Doubleday Field and throughout the downtown as $7 million in downtown upgrades are reaching completion. Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said the signs follow a design developed by metal fabricator Art Calhoun, who has since passed away, at his forge on Linden Avenue. The flip side of the signs, now empty, will direct visitors to businesses in the vicinity. Andersen and Helly, now living in Richfield Springs but looking to buy a local home, are fulfilling his lifelong dream to move to Baseball’s Mecca. (Jim Kevlin/
On Memorial Day, What A Difference Year Makes


On Memorial Day, What

A Difference Year Makes

On Memorial Day 2019, inset right, the usual crowd filled the lawn at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument in front of county courthouse.  Today, in time of coronarivus, a Cooperstown Veterans Club rifle squad – from left, Jim Bridger, Rich Balcom and Doug Walker – fired a salute, witnessed by one family and a small contingent of fellow veterans.  The ceremony was first held in Fly Creek, then repeated at the Doughboy Statue at the foot of Pine Boulevard, then at Lakewood Cemetery at the grave of Andrew Davidson, a Civil War Medal of Honor winner.  American Legion Commander John Famulare played taps, and VFW Post Commander Floyd Bourne served in the color guard.  (Jim Kevlin/

Andrew M. Blum, 89; Man Of Many Friends


Andrew M. Blum, 89;

Man Of Many Friends

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Andy Blum

COOPERSTOWN – A mentor to young people, Andy Blum invited Cooperstown’s Jacob Russell to lunch at The Brook, the exclusive social club on East 54th Street.

Henry Kissinger walked in. “I thought, ‘Wow, Henry Kissinger’,” said Jacob.

The room was filled with Wall Street bigwigs, including Tom Hill, the Blackstone vice chairman.

“They didn’t go up to Kissinger to kiss his ring,” said Russell.  “They went up to Andy to kiss HIS ring.”

Oklahoma Doctor, Integris Executive, To Succeed Streck

Oklahoma Doctor,

Integris Executive,

To Succeed Streck

Tommy Ibrahim To Oversee

8-County Healthcare System

Dr. Tommy Ibrahim is next president/CEO of the Bassett Healthcare Network

COOPERSTOWN – Dr. Tommy Ibrahim has been appointed as the next Bassett Healthcare Network president/CEO, succeeding Bill Streck as head of the eight-county hospital system.  He is expected to arrived here in mid to late July.

Extending a Bassett tradition for its chief executives, he is a physician.

Dr. Ibrahim, 39, has held leadership positions within the healthcare industry for the past 14 years, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief physician executive for Integris Health System, the largest not-for-profit and state-owned health care system in Oklahoma.

U.S. News & World Report placed Integris on its list of Top 25 healthcare systems in the U.S.

GMU Names Val, Sal, 5 Top Students In All

GMU Names Val, Sal,

5 Top Students In All

Sawyer Hinman
Sadra Smith

GILBERTSVILLE – Valedictorian Sadra Smith and Salutatorian Sawyer Hinman lead the top five seniors lauded for academic excellence in the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Class of 2020.

The daughter of Claudette Newman and Larry Smith, Sadra  has participated in Student Council, Mock Trial, Varsity Soccer and the National Honor Society at GMU, holding leadership positions such as Soccer Team Captain and NHS Vice President. She plans to study Agriculture in the fall at a college to be determined.

To Foil Virus, Small Group Of Volunteers Place Flags

To Foil Virus, Small Group

Of Volunteers Places Flags

A small group of Cooperstown Vets’ Club members, to lower any chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus, decorated hundreds of veterans’ graves over the past few days, to avoid using a larger cadre of volunteers that may have inadvertently spread the coronavirus. Six of them finished up this morning at Cooperstown’s Lakeview Cemetery. One of the volunteers, Jim Bridger, said that over the past week, the small group put flags at graves in the Fly Creek Cemetery, St. Mary’s cemeteries at Index and upper Main Street, and made a “75-mile road trip” to small cemeteries – many family graveyards – under the local post’s purview. Finishing at 10 today, some of the usual volunteers showed up, but accepted new Commander Floyd Bourne’s explanation that a different approach was necessary this year.  Decorating flags this morning were, from left, Bridger, Bourne, Mike Boyson, Dave Reese, Keith Balcolm and Dave Jackson.  Bourne said no local ceremony is planned this Memorial Day, which will be May 25.  (Jim Kevlin/
Masked Volunteers Help Hartwick Cleanup Succeed


Masked Volunteers Help

Hartwick Cleanup Succeed

In what’s a rare non-virtual event these days, the Town of Hartwick’s annual “Clean Sweep” is underway until 2 p.m. today, next to the town garage in the hamlet. For free, townsfolk  can dispose of yard trash and scrap metal, including lawn mowers, lawn chairs, BBQ grills, metal fencing, aluminum flashing, metal bed frames, microwaves, and the like. Green waste may be dropped off on Hatchery Road. (Electronics aren’t being accepted this year, or household garbage and hazardous waste.)  Manning the dumpsters this morning are, from left, Will Nicholson, Bob and Marcy Birch, Town board member Bruce Markusen and Bill Powers.  Town Clerk Andrea Vazquez, inset photo, is checking in participants.  Markusen, one of the event’s organizers, said, despite the encouragements to stay at home, the effort may meet its usual goals of three dumpsters of trash and a dumpster of metal, plus tires aplenty.  Jim Kevlin/

Governor Praises SQSPCA In  ‘Deep Breath Moment’

Governor Praises SQSPCA

In  ‘Deep Breath Moment

In his daily e-mailed NYS Coronarivus Update, Governor Cuomo yesterday chose the Susquehanna SPCA’s socially distanced dog parade Tuesday at Chestnut Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, in Oneonta, as his daily “Deep Breath Moment.”  In top photo, Kathy Chicorelli, a SQSPCA employee, holds up a yellow lab, to the delight of a resident.  Inset left, even at rest, Roscoe, a 5-year-old bloodhound, excites the interest of Chestnut Park staff and residents.  “This was great for everyone – the animals, our staff, and the people here,” said Stacie Haynes, SQSPCA. “We’ve all been cooped up too long, and just to see all the smiles was wonderful.” (Michael Forster Rothbart photos for

Cooperstown Construction Due For Completion Friday

Doubleday, Downtown Upgrades Near Done

Cooperstown Construction

Due For Completion Friday

Upstate Companies’ John Rupert, Binghamton, was completes the wiring this afternoon at “The Light” in downtown Cooperstown, where a decades-old traffic setup is expected to be replaced with a 21st-century state-of-the-art apparatus in the next couple days.  All construction work downtown — it includes renovation of the century-old Doubleday Field grandstand and a reconfiguration and repaving of the Doubleday parking lot — is, by contract, supposed to by completed by May 15, this Friday.  Some of the immediacy has gone out of the deadline, since it was tied to the Hall of Fame Classic game, which has now been cancelled, but Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch expects the work will be completed on schedule.  (Jim Kevlin/
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