News of Otsego County


Local Sculptor Bringing ‘Terrible Beauty’ To Public


Local Sculptor Bringing

‘Terrible Beauty’ To Public

Richard Friedberg, well known in Oneonta artistic circles, discusses “Big Wave,” one of nine sculptures based on natural disasters that go on display Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute in Utica. (Jim Kevlin/

UTICA – “Terrible Beauty,” an exhibit of monumental sculptures by an Oneonta-area artist, Richard Friedberg, will open Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art in Utica.

Developing a novel aluminum mesh as his raw material, Friedberg’s nine sculptures in the show are based on such catastrophes as BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead blowout in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima nuclear accident and resulting tsunami.



WINTER CARNIVAL: For 28th Year, Dick Sliter Serving Up Soup ‘n’ Chili


For 28th Year, Dick Sliter

Serving Up Soup ‘n’ Chili

Until 2 p.m. today and 11-2 Saturday, Dick Sliter, for the 28th year in a row, is serving up chili, beef barley soup and broccoli chowder at First Baptist Church of Cooperstown’s annual Soup ‘n’ Chili Luncheon in the 21 Elm St. church hall, as part of the 2021 Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  Due to COVID, the event is all takeout this year, offering to-go pints ($5 suggested price) and quarts ($10) are available.  To order, email or call 607-547-9371.  Inset left Maria Palumbo, Richfield Springs, is manning the front desk.  Sliter, longtime member of First Baptist, is continuing to serve as pastor of Columbus Community Church in Chenango County.  (Jim Kevlin/

Soren’s ‘Driving While Black’ Airs Tonight At 9 On WSKG

Soren’s ‘Driving While Black’

Airs Tonight At 9 On WSKG

Gretchen Sorin

COOPERSTOWN – “Driving While Black: Race, Space & Mobility,” based on the book by Gretchen Sorin, Cooperstown Graduate Program director, will be broadcast at 9 p.m. this evening on WSKG-TV.  It is also available on the PBS streaming service.

The documentary, directed by Ken Burns’ brother Ric, is based on Sorin’s “Driving While Black: African American Travel & the Road to Civil Rights,” published in 2020.   The book grew out of her 2009 thesis.

Treasure Hunter Claims $10K Prize
Richer, Morris Man Returns From Idaho

Treasure Hunter Claims $10K Prize


Puzzlemaster Kristian House of Oneonta throws ten thousand dollars in Monopoly money around the living room. House won the same amount of real dollars last week when he solved a national treasure hunt, following clues he decoded to a hidden spot in Nampa, Idaho. (Mike Forster Rothbart/

Kristian House, proprietor of Oneonta’s former Monkey Barrel Toys, loves puzzles.

In fact, he’s found a way to make a living by solving them. In the decade since he moved back to the county, he’s earned income as a toy store owner, math teacher and writer of crosswords and math problems.

(His crosswords show up in newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal; the math questions appear in textbooks).

Now House has a new claim to add to his list: treasure hunt winner.

Baseball, Politics, Community Defined His Contribution
ALBERT ‘SAM’ NADER • 1919-2021

Baseball, Politics, Community

Defined His Contribution

The Nader family chose this photo of their patriarch, Sam Nader, with Damaschke Field, home of his Oneonta Yankees, in the background.

Editor’s Note: Here is the obituary prepared by Sam Nader’s family.

Albert S. “Sam” Nader passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at his home as he wished, surrounded by members of his family.

He was born on July 8, 1919, in Oneonta, the son of Elias Andrew Nader and Rose Rajah Nader (Nassar). He was one of six Nader children. Sam Nader spent nearly his entire life in Oneonta. He was a proud lifelong resident of the 6th Ward and became an integral member of the community.

He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1938, where he excelled as a lefthanded pitcher. Mr. Nader attended Bates College and later Hartwick College and played baseball at both institutions.

As World War II approached, Mr. Nader began working for the Scintilla Magneto division of the Bendix Corp. in Sidney.

The Wisdom Of Sam Nader

The Wisdom Of Sam Nader

Emerging From Depression, World War II, Ex-Mayor’s
Generation Focused On Family, Hard Work, Community

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

One of Sam Nader’s favorite photos records Don Mattingly Day at Yankee Stadium in 1995, when George Steinbrenner called the owner of the Oneonta Yankees onto the field to receive the fans’ accolades for his contributions to baseball.

At the time Sam Nader’s Oneonta Athletic Association was affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, the MLB team allocated a certain number of baseballs per season to its Minor League teams.

Anything over was a local team’s responsibility.

At the end of the Oneonta Tigers first season, Sam Nader tallied baseballs used, and mailed a check.

The phone rang. It was Detroit. “What’s this for?” he was asked.

“That’s our share for the baseballs,” Sam replied.

“I’m sending the check back,” said the nonplussed accountant. “None of our teams ever paid anything like that.”


That, according to his son John, was one of the cornerstones of the Wisdom of Sam Nader, the former mayor and Oneonta Yankees owner who passed away Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 101, in his home at 96 River St. in his beloved Sixth Ward.

While his son John, 7, looks on in awe, Sam Nader is sworn in as mayor of Oneonta in January 1962.

Ribbon-Cut On Liquor Store In Time For Winter Carnival


Ribbon Cut On Liquor Store

In Time For Winter Carnival

Matt Denison, new co-proprietor of Rudy’s Liquor Store on Main Street, Cooperstown, a few minutes ago cut the ribbon to newly launch the establishment, which he and business partner Joe Festa purchased from the Lemisters in December.  From left are Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, Cooperstown Chamber President Jess Lanza and Chamber Executive Director Tara Burke. The ribbon-cutting coincides with the 2021 Cooperstown Winter Carnival.  During the carnival, Matt said, international wines will be 10 percent off and New York State wines 20 percent off. (Jim Kevln/
6 O’Brien Siblings, Mom Find Medallion At Badger


6 O’Brien Siblings, Mom

Find Medallion At Badger

Mom Beth O’Brien (county 911 Coordinator Rob O’Brien’s wife) poses with their six children a few minutes ago after they found the 2021 Cooperstown Winter Carnival Medallion behind a bench in the village’s Badger Park. The youngsters, including the Hartwick quadruplets, are, front row, from left, Bobby, 3, Connor, 7 months, Noah, 6; back row, from left, are Hannah, 8, Hunter, 6, and Lucas, 6.  Mostly virtually, the carnival gets underway this weekend. (Jim Kevlin/
Seward To Join Bassett Network In Liaison Role


Seward To Join

Bassett Network

In Liaison Role

Jim Seward

COOPERSTOWN – Retired state senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, has agreed to join Bassett Healthcare Network in an advisory capacity as a strategic affairs liaison, Network President/CEO Tommy Ibrahim announced this morning.

“The former senator has been a public servant of our area for decades and has an intimate knowledge of the communities served by Bassett,” Ibrahim said in an email to the Network community.

Can You Help? To Complete 29-Year Renovation, Rigbys Need Help On Final Piece

Can You Help?

To Complete 29-Year Renovation,

Rigbys Need Help On Final Piece

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

A baluster, just like this one, may be somewhere in the Coop- erstown area, and Bill Rigby needs it to complete renovating his antique staircase. Can you help?

In 1992, Bill and Janet Rigby were walking through 73 Elm St., deciding whether to buy that imposing Victorian home that, broken up into eight apartments, had fallen on hard times.

Hard times, yes. But there were hints of its former glory as home to Judge Walter H. Bunn’s clan, none moreso than the 30-step staircase that wound up from the ground floor to the third-floor attic.

All 67 balusters – the supports that connect the railing and the staircase foundation – were in place.

Bill Rigby, who had worked on restoration projects on Staten Island – he also operates American Historic Hardware here, replacing original hinges and fixtures – and Janet, who
had collaborated with him, couldn’t wait to get started.

But on buying the home and taking possession, they discovered: One of the balusters was gone.

“It was obvious: One was missing,” said Bill. “It was there when we walked through the house. It wasn’t there on the day of the closing.”



97 Ill, 12 Dead At Nursing Home


Arie Hillis-Brunson, Hobart, a driver for Circle of Life Ambulette Service, returns an empty wheelchair to his van. (Michael Forster Rothbart/

A coronavirus outbreak swept through Fox Nursing Home mid-January, sickening 97 staff and residents, and ultimately killing 12 of the residents.

“After more than 10 months with no resident cases, the outbreak occurred suddenly with half of the total cases occurring within a week of onset,” Fox Hospital spokesperson Gabrielle Argo confirmed.

The first COVID cases among residents were confirmed on Jan. 14, and the first death occurred two days later.

Among the victims were Patricia O’Brien of Oneonta, who died Jan. 24 in the nursing home’s Unit One, after living there seven years.

Another was Bernice Marlette, Mount Vision, three days later on her 99th birthday.

Charles Rizzo, a World War II Navy veteran and later a nurse in Oneonta, died Jan. 30 at age 97.

Frances Sokol, a Quaker activist from Unadilla who once met Eleanor Roosevelt, turned 100 in December. Before she died with COVID on Feb. 4, she complained to her daughter how the oxygen made her throat feel so dry.

The most recent death was this Monday, Feb. 8.

Amy Schumer Flies With Local Wings

Amy Schumer Flies

With Local Wings

By Chrystal Savage • Special to

Amy Schumer wore locally made wings in the Hellman’s mayonaisse ads during the Super Bowl.

Cecily Rush watched the Super Bowl along with 96.4 million Americans, and there they were: Her handmade angel-wing creations in Hellman’s “Fairy Godmayo” commercial, starring Amy Schumer.

“I was given no details beyond the fact that it was a Super Bowl commercial and that the wings were going to be worn by a blonde celebrity who recently had a baby,” said a thrilled Cecily Monday, Feb. 8, the day after the Tampa Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9.

It was Amy Schumer. “Just move over and watch the wings,” she tells a confused homeowner, at a loss for what to do with his leftovers.

Be-winged Schumer solves his dilemma with a wave of her butter knife before the commercial ends.

IN REMEMBRANCE: Sam Nader’s Century: ‘Mr. Oneonta’  Turns 100


Sam Nader’s Century:

‘Mr. Oneonta’ Turns 100

Remember Mayor Who Brought Yankees Here

George Steinbrenner, on leaving baseball, wrote Sam Nader, “They say, ‘All good things must come to an end.’ That will never apply to our friendship, I pray.” (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO,.com)

Editor’s Note:  In remembrance of “Mr. Oneonta,” who passed away yesterday, here is “Sam Nader’s Century,” a profile of the beloved former mayor and baseball entrepreneur that appeared on his 100th birthday in July 2019.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – Sam Nader’s life is one great story after another.

Sam’s pal Ted Williams played golf, too.

Here’s a favorite one, about playing golf at the Oneonta Country Club with Hall of Famers Bobby Doerr and the legendary Ted Williams, and the club champion at the time.

Sam played one of the best 18 holes of his life.

“Bobby had a 76 – 3 under par,” Nader, who will turn 100 on July 8, recalled the other day.  “I was 4 over par.  We took them for 10 bucks.”

Ted Williams was so incensed, he broke five clubs – a golf club set – over his knee.  (The Red Sox legend was working for Shakespeare, the quality golf-club maker, so he made good.)

With a laugh, Sam continued: Every time he would see Bobby Doerr and a Hall of Fame event in Cooperstown, the former Oneonta mayor and owner of the Oneonta Yankees would say, “Let’s go up to see Ted and see if he remembers.”






Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon addresses a public hearing in 2015. ( file photo)

ONEONTA – Oneonta Fire Chief Patrick W. Pidgeon, the ninth member of his family to served in the OFD is retiring, effective March 25.

Chief Pidgeon joined the City of Oneonta Fire Department in 1985 as a call firefighter.

In his 36 years with the city, he served as a firefighter, crew leader, fire captain and eventually was promoted to fire chief, a position he has held since 2010.

Throughout his career, he has served in a variety of assignments including training, emergency medical services, fire prevention, and emergency management.

Cooperstown Library Seeks New Director

Cooperstown Library

Seeking New Director 

Veteran David Kent Plans To Retire

David Kent

COOPERSTOWN – The Cooperstown Village Library is seeking a “chief visionary and leader” to succeed David Kent, who is retiring after 22 years as director of the library at 22 Main St.

The library board hopes to have a new director in place by this spring, according to the announcement on the library Facebook page.

Kent originally moved to Cooperstown from Palo Alto, Calif., he told, to be near the National Baseball Hall of Fame library.  Instead of joining the Hall, he got a job in the local library, eventually rising to director on his predecessor’s retirement.

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