News of Otsego County


Cooperstown dedicates bench to Paul Kuhn
Mary Kuhn, widow of Paul Kuhn, looks over the bench dedicated to her late husband Paul at Pioneer Park in Cooperstown on Saturday, Oct. 9. (Greg Klein /

Cooperstown dedicates bench to Paul Kuhn

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN About 40 people turned out Saturday, Oct. 9, to see the village of Cooperstown and the Cooperstown Rotary Association dedicate a bench in Pioneer Park to Paul Kuhn.

Kuhn, who died June 2 at 83 of complications from heart disease, was best known as the village’s Santa Claus for decades, setting up shop in a special house set up in Pioneer Park, not far from where his bench now rests.

“We are dedicating Paul’s bench in a place where all the children will see him and be able to greet him,” said Peg Leon, who was representing the Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee.

OLT hires CGP alum as new executive director

OLT hires CGP alum
as new executive director

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Otsego Land Trust announced Gregory Farmer as its new Executive Director in a media release Sunday, Oct. 3.

Farmer will begin work Nov. 15.

Working with OLT’s Search Committee, Eos Transition Partners facilitated a national search.

“Being a native upstate New Yorker with an innate love for our region, Greg’s deep expertise and connections in the land trust and preservation communities across the northeast will be a great asset to all OLT’s benefactors, conservation easement donors, stakeholders and partners. OLT staff and board are excited to welcome Greg as our new leader,” said Carla Hall, OLT board director and search committee chairperson, in a media release.

Farmer was born and raised along the Erie Canal corridor. An early interest in the landscape and history of the region led him to the completion of a degree in American Studies from SUNY Brockport and a master’s degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta. His initial focus on American material culture evolved into an emphasis on community development, affordable housing, and historic preservation in Western Massachusetts, eventually expanding into Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. He previously worked for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation in addition to managing community-based projects as an independent consultant.

CVA announces Sculpture Trail winners
‘Windy Ribbon’ by Richard Pitts won first prize on the Cherry Valley Artworks’ 2021 Sculpture Trail. (Contributed).

CVA announces
Sculpture Trail winners

Cherry Valley Artworks has awarded first prize for its 2021 Sculpture Trail to Richard Pitts of New Albany, Pennsylvania, for his piece “Windy Ribbon.”

Pitts received a prize of $1,000 for his work, an eight-foot-high, bright-red piece, made of powder coated aluminum.

Second prize of $500 was awarded to Bruce Gagnier, a Brooklyn artist, for a series of powerful life size bronze figures, “Yrsa, “May” and “Red.”

The show’s judge, Ed Smith, a member of the National Academy and the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Gallery Director and Professor of Art at Marist College said judging this year’s contest was difficult.

“ The choice of awards was especially difficult as there were so many outstanding works,” Smith said in a media release. “The level of commitment, dedication and invention is visually impressive and gives great pause. I was particularly heartened by how the community of Cherry Valley embraced the work.

Former Congressional candidate, Van De Water, dies unexpectedly
Kyle Van De Water

Former Congressional candidate,
Van De Water,
dies unexpectedly

Staff Report • Special to

Kyle Van De Water, the Army veteran and Millbrook lawyer who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Antonio Delgado in the 2020 election, died Tuesday, Sept. 7, according to multiple news reports.

Van De Water, a Republican, announced last week he had reconsidered his plan and would not challenge Delgado again. He lost by about 40,000 votes, or 11.5%, in New York’s 19th Congressional district.

Delgado expressed his condolences Tuesday via an official statement and on Twitter.

AllOtsego Report: Mayoral Election edition

AllOtsego Report: Mayoral Election edition

Staff Report • Special to

We interviewed City of Oneonta mayoral candidates Mark Drnek and Len Carson for the AllOtsego Report Mayoral Election edition.

Click here to listen to our interview with Mark Drnek.

Democratic candidate for mayor, Mark Drnek, represents the Eighth Ward of Oneonta and is the owner of Sweet Home Productions and host of the syndicated radio show Blue Light Central.

Click here to listen to our interview with Len Carson.

Republican candidate for mayor, Leonard Carson, represents the Fifth Ward of Oneonta and is a former fire captain for the city as well as a former Otsego County Representative for District 13. He is also the co-owner of DC Marketing.

Community Foundation of Otsego County announces awards for Helios Care, Family Planning of South Central NY and The Glimmerglass Festival
‘The Magic Flute’ at The Glimmerglass Festival. (Karli Cadel).

Community Foundation
of Otsego County
announces awards for Helios Care,
Family Planning of South Central NY
and The Glimmerglass Festival

Staff Report • Special to 

The Community Foundation for Otsego County announced several major awards this week and also announced that it continues to seek proposals from nonprofits operating in Otsego County for its 2021 Awards Cycle, according to a media release.

The group has funding of up to $200,000 to build the capacity of the local nonprofit sector to address issues identified in the CFOC Community Survey, such as addressing food insecurity and promoting affordable housing, economic development, internet access, and other key community priorities the survey revealed. Awards may be requested in any amount. Awards of $10,000 or less are reviewed by the group’s Initiatives Committee and approved by the Executive Committee, while requests exceeding $10,000 are considered in a special category and require the additional approval of the full board.

Special grants have been given to Helios Care for $10,000, Family Planning of South Central New York for $7,250 and The Glimmerglass Festival for $10,000.

“Our goal for 2021 awards is to build the capacity of nonprofits to advance their work on key issues, like meeting basic human needs, promoting economic development and job creation, and other key issues identified in our community survey,” said Harry Levine, CFOC board chair, in a media release. “We encourage nonprofits to apply for awards so together we can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for all who call Otsego County home.”

Clark Foundation announces 2021 beautification awards
Pioneer Patio was the Category I winner.

Clark Foundation announces
2021 beautification awards

Staff Report • Special to

COOPERSTOWN — Jane Forbes Clark, president of The Clark Foundation, announced Tuesday, Aug. 25, the winners of the 2021 Clark Foundation Cooperstown Beautification Contest.  Held annually since 1954, village residential and business properties are judged on their horticultural beautification efforts in three categories.

“Over sixty years ago, my grandmother, Susan Vanderpoel Clark, founded the Cooperstown Beautification Contest to recognize the tremendous time and effort so many of our residents take to make our village look welcoming and beautiful,” Clark said in a media release. “She would be so happy that this wonderful tradition continues to make our village even more special.”

The 2021 judge was Anthonie Nederhand from Whitesboro. Born in the Netherlands, he graduated from The Royal Horticulture University and started his career as a rose grower in Great Britain and Canada. He ultimately became a partner and corporate officer at Baker Greenhouses, Inc. in Utica. His lifelong experience in the field of horticulture has continued for the past 16 years as an employee of the Express Seed Company in product development.

Most Attractive Floral Display in a Business Setting was won by Richard and Kathryn Busse for their Pioneer Patio at 46 Pioneer St.

“The abundant display of beautiful calibrachoa baskets and window boxes of complimentary blooms and accent plants draws you into a forgotten back alley,” Nederhand said. “An impressive dedication and commitment to maintaining plant material is evident.”

Hard Ball Cafe on Main Street and Slices/Inside Scoop Ice Cream won second and third place, respectively.

Pete and Judy Henrici won the Category II award for their house on Pioneer Street.

SUNY Oneonta announces new athletic Hall of Fame class

SUNY Oneonta
announces new athletic
Hall of Fame class

Staff Report • Special to

The SUNY Oneonta athletics department announced the 2021 class of Hall of Fame Inductees in a media release last week.

The 22nd class will be enshrined at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, in the Dewar Arena of the Alumni Field House.

This year’s class will include six former athletes and one honorary inductee, bringing the total number of individuals to 160 including 16 honorary inductees.

This year’s class of honorees are former athletes Lee Aldrich ’63 (soccer, tennis), Andrea Bradford ’01 (softball), Patricia Kennedy ’74 (swimming & diving), Lou Neira ’89 (basketball), Mary Velan ’08 (soccer, track & field) and Chris Williams ’93 (baseball), along with retired UPD Chief and Associate Vice President for Student Development Barton Ingersoll, who is this year’s honorary inductee.

Pathfinder residents get major-league instruction

Former Montreal pitcher David Palmer and a group of Pathfinder residents and employees cheer on an unidentified resident at a skills clinic Sunday, Aug. 15, at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field. (Greg Klein/

Pathfinder residents get
major-league instruction

By Greg Klein • Special to
COOPERSTOWN — About 75 residents of Pathfinder Village got to play on their own field of dreams Sunday, Aug. 15, as they received instruction from former major league players at Doubleday Field.
“This is just unbelievable,” said Pathfinder President/CEO Paul Landers.
“There’s a lot of happy faces here today, a lot of lifetime memories,” said former MLB player and manager Clint Hurdle, who is an advisor for Baseball Miracles.
The event took form over the summer as Baseball Miracles, a nonprofit group dedicated to bringing baseball to “underserved communities around the world,” contacted the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and asked if it would be possible to hold an event in Cooperstown.

Kuhn wins Bassett award for ‘clinical excellence’

Kuhn wins Bassett award
for ‘clinical excellence’

Staff Report • Special to

Bassett Healthcare Network announced last week that Maureen Kuhn is the 2021 recipient of the Bassett Medical Center’s Advanced Practice Clinical Award of Excellence.

Kuhn, a nurse practitioner and the medical director of Cherry Valley Health Center, was honored as “an exceptional caregiver who uses all resources at her disposal to meet patient needs, as a gifted leader and a trusted guide for other leaders, and as an inspiring teacher raising up tomorrow’s caregivers,” according to a media release from Bassett.

“To get this award from peers I’ve worked with is a great honor,” Kuhn said in the release. “I have particularly enjoyed teaching nurse practitioner students for more than 35 years. I came here as a precept student working with Dr. Pollack, Debbie Dickenson, and George Case. When I returned later to work full-time I committed myself to giving back. I’ve always had a nurse practitioner student since.”

Riesenfeld wins Walter Franck Award

Riesenfeld wins
Walter Franck Award

Staff Report • Special to

Bassett Healthcare Network announced last week that Erik Riesenfeld is the 2021 recipient of the Walter A. Franck Physician Excellence Award.

Riesenfeld, is the medical director of respiratory therapy at Bassett Medical Center. Physicians are nominated for the Franck Award as a recognition for demonstrating “extraordinary service to patients, students, colleagues and the community – traits that emulate the career of retired Bassett rheumatologist Walter A. Franck.”

Network physicians vote to choose the final recipient.

Riesenfeld’s extraordinary leadership during the COVID-19 crisis resulted in his award, the release said.

Local officials praise New York’s next governor, Hochul
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks in Cooperstown during a 2020 tourism symposium. (Greg Klein/

Local officials
praise New York’s
next governor, Hochul

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

Kathy Hochul, New York’s governor-in-waiting, has made a favorable impression on Otsego County officials the past few years.

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said Hochul had visited Oneonta at least a half a dozen times.

“She has been very supportive of Oneonta’s effort to revitalize and restore our economy,” Herzig said. “I think she’s a true friend of Oneonta. I hope to get her to visit Oneonta in the near future.”

Common Councilmember Len Carson, a Republican who is running for mayor this year, also had positive things to say about Hochul, who is a Democrat.

“I’m looking forward to seeing someone representing New York state that’s from Upstate. It would be nice to see the type of leadership she’s going to bring,” Carson said. “I’m very hopeful that Upstate New York will finally have a friendly ear to our concerns, rather than NYC being the one that gets the attention.”

Coop alum, Schaeffer, releases book about school lunch

Coop alum, Schaeffer,
releases book about school lunch

By Chad G. Welch • Special to


Cooperstown Central School 1994 graduate Lucy Schaeffer’s first book, “School Lunch-Unpacking Our Shared Stories,” released Tuesday, Aug. 3.

The book pairs Schaeffer’s photographs with 70 different lunch stories “from people age six to 93; hailing from 25 different countries and all across the United States,” Schaeffer said in the book’s introduction.

Schaeffer’s subjects include family members, friends, celebrities and strangers. Schaeffer said all of the stories are written in first-person narrative to highlight the storytellers’ voices over her own.

Although it is the first book as author for Schaeffer, she said her photographs have appeared in more than 50 books and cookbooks.

The project started in August 2016, when Schaeffer said she was brainstorming about what to make her daughters, Annie and Georgia, now 12 and 8, respectively, for lunches for their upcoming school year.

“I was sort of daydreaming and thinking it was so much easier for my parents. They just did peanut butter and jelly,” Schaeffer said. “It wasn’t like now, all these schools are nut-free and you can’t do peanut butter anymore.”

Cooperstown Central School has new principal

Cooperstown Central School has new principal

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Karl O’Leary was announced as the new principal for Cooperstown Central School’s middle/high school, the district announced Tuesday, Aug. 3, on its website.

According to the post, O’Leary has 17 years of school experience and was previously an English teacher. He enjoys running and playing with his kids outdoors.


Wenck named Milford interim superintendent

Wenck named Milford
interim superintendent

STAFF REPORT • Special to

MILFORD —  Milford Central School has named Romona Wenck as its interim superintendent of schools through Dec. 30.

The school’s Board of Education approved the hire at its meeting Wednesday, July 7.

Wenck had served as superintendent of neighbor Laurens Central School for 23 years, retiring in 2020. In October, she took over as interim superintendent at Cooperstown Central School, serving until the spring, when Sarah Spross was hired as the new superintendent.

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103