News of Otsego County

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

This Week’s Newspapers

Home, Family’s Mother Lost, But Millers Are Still Together


Home, Family’s Mother Lost,

But Millers Are Still Together

Gofundme Drive Set Up To Help Dad, 3 Kids

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Tragedy has brought the Miller family even closer together. With dad Richard are Brandon, 14, Hunter, 10, and Izabella, 8. (Jennifer Hill/

PITTSFIELD – The carbon monoxide detector went off first, waking Richard Miller up last Tuesday, May 14, at about 1:30 a.m.

Then, four smoke detectors on the first floor below him sounded, one after the other, as Richard bolted out of bed. He hurried into the hallway and as he rounded the corner, he saw the wall was glowing red.

“The top of the wall was burned through. I knew I couldn’t put the fire out in time,” he said.

The smoke alarms had awakened his three children, Brandon, 14, Hunter, 10 and Izabella, 8. They met their dad in the hallway, and together the family ran out of the house, unharmed.

“But then I did what you’re never supposed to do – run back in a burning house to get something,” Richard said. “I had to get my wife’s ashes, the urn they’re in.”

Richard’s wife, Sharron, died only two months ago, on Feb. 13, after battling cancer for two years.

This Week — 05-23-19


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

May 23-24, 2019


The Miller family, Town of Pittsfield, stands in front of their home gutted in a May 13 fire. Fleeing together to safety that night were dad Richard and chlldren Brandon, 14, Hunter, 10, and Izabella, 8.  It was the family’s second tragedy in three months:  In February, the mother of the family, Sharron Miller, 38, died of cancer.  A gofundme campaign for the Millers is underway; click here to contribute.  (Jennifer Hill/


One Dead, Deputy Breaks Legs In Head-On

Onaquaga Found: Buzz Hesse Dream Achieved

Onaquaga Found: General Clinton Didn’t Raze It

All Lost, But Pittsfield Family Together After Fire

Oneonta Voters OK School Budget, 2 To 1

Cooperstown School Budget Passes Easily


Delgado Elevates Mother’s Love In Colgate Speech


DELGADO AT COLGATE: ‘Love Conquers All’

ZAGATA: Grid Mixes Good, Bad, Ugly Electrons

BBJN.COM: If Johnson City, Why Not Coop?


HULSE: Main St. In Trouble, Housing In Demand

ELLSWORTH: Trustees Should Help, Not Hinder

HUNTSMAN, KJOLHEDE: Methodist Pray Peacefully

HEWLETT: Force No One To Take Psychiatric Drugs


BOUND VOLUMES: May 23, 2019


MEMORIAL DAY: Mission In Tokyo Bay

Exhibit Dramatizes Once (Future?) Theater

LIBBY’S BEST BETS: Classic, Regatta, More


Allen Walmsley, 73; Vietnam Vet, Reinhardt Retiree

James Carter, 80; Retired Salesman, Boy Scout Exec

Robert W. Coffey, 73; Vietnam Veteran, Truck Driver

Robert Tracy, 71; Award-Winning Springfield Farmer

Jean Huntington, 86; Wife Of Trolley Line Road Builder

Frances J. Marriott, 96; Grew Up With 12 Siblings




Regatta, BASE Race, Hall of Fame Classic Weekend Highlights

Regatta, BASE Race,

Hall of Fame Classic

Weekend Highlights

It’s a wet and wild weekend
as the annual General Clinton Canoe Regatta brings everyone out to the shores – and waters – of the Susquehanna River. Though races run all weekend, the big one kicks off at 6 a.m. Monday, May 26. Follow the racers down the river, then enjoy a barbeque in
Bainbridge. Brookwood Point,
6000 State Hwy 80, Cooperstown.

The 11th annual Hall of Fame Classic has six HOF legends and players from all 30 MLB teams playing a 7-inning game. Tickets $11-12.50. Pregame Home Run Derby at noon. Afterwards, kids can do the Doubleday Dash around the bases. 1:50 p.m. Saturday, May 25, Doubleday Field. Info 607-207-9519,

Live music and delicious food and wine parings from local restaurants, all to benefit the Catskill Symphony. 7 – 9 p.m. Saturday, May 25, Oneonta Country Club, 9 Country Club Dr, Oneonta. Info

The best way to show you support healthy lifestyle choices is to run a 5K race! The annual BASE race benefits the Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Be A Superior Example” programs. Registration begins 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, May 25. Info 607-547-0329

Bring paper to shred and help support the Cooperstown Food Pantry, then stay to enjoy Barnyard Swing and Mini Golf activities. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 4604 State Hwy 28, Milford. Info 607-547-8330.

Expert Believes He’s Discovered HQ Of Iroquois


Expert Believes

He’s Discovered

HQ Of Iroquois

Buzz Hesse Also Found ‘Old Unadilla’

Janice Springsteen, 91, and archaeologist Buzz Hesse discuss Native American artifacts and lore. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Buzz Hesse examines artifacts that surfaced when the Millennium Pipeline added a line in Mrs. Springsteen’s neighborhood in 2003. (AllOTSEGO photo)

WINDSOR – There’s an island, a mountain, a curve in the river, flatlands and, up the road, a site that’s long been reported as a mission/trading post set up by Sir William Johnson, Great Britain’s last governor general of the Province of New York.

The flat land along the shore of the Susquehanna would be ideal for Iroquois longhouses.  “That’s exactly what the map shows – a little rectangle of houses,” said Buzz Hesse, who before opening Hesse Auctions in Otego was with the Office of the State Archaeologist under his mentor, Dr. Robert Funk.

Mystery solved: After decades of uncertainty, Hesse Sunday, May 19, believed was looking for the first time at was the site of the village whose dispersal signaled the beginning of the end of the famed six-tribe Iroquois Confederacy.

Onaquaga is linked to Otsego County through Gen. John Clinton’s famous damming the Susquehanna River at Cooperstown; he blew it up on Aug. 9, 1779, and his 200-bateaux force was carried down the river to Onaquaga, destroyed the year before.

Clinton’s one brigade from Albany would reconnoiter with Gen. John Sullivan’s four brigades coming up from Pennsylvania on a campaign that would pacify Central New York, allowing Yankees to pour westwards from New England on a century-long quest to control the continent.

Power Grid Mixes Good, Bad And Ugly Electrons



Power Grid Mixes Good,

Bad And Ugly Electrons

A few weeks ago, an article appeared about installing a geo-thermal system to heat and cool the family home.

The subject was very transparent about the fact geo-thermal systems require considerable electricity to run the pumps that circulate the fluid and to provide the energy necessary to make up the differential between the temperature of the water sourced from beneath the ground (normally 55 degrees) and the thermostat setting during cold nights (usually about 68 degrees).

He then explained that he buys his electricity from a co-op that buys it from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) via a purchase contract.  The source of the power in that contract with the NYPA is hydro.  The author went on to say that because of this arrangement, they are not burning any fossil fuel.  Unfortunately, that may not be the case.

How can that possibly be?  They buy their power from a company that sells hydro-power to their supplier.

It’s because the power that is purchased by the co-op from the NYPA must enter the “grid” of transmission lines in order to be delivered to their home.  Once a given electron enters the grid, it is co-mingled with other electrons from other energy sources including coal, gas, oil, solar and wind.

At Colgate Graduation, Congressman Delgado Elevates Mother’s Love


At Colgate Graduation,

Congressman Delgado

Elevates Mother’s Love

Future Congressman Delgado with mom Thelma and younger brother Kito during his Schenectady boyhood.

“There are no second acts in American lives” has been attributed – some say misattributed – to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Antonio Delgado – as he recounts in his splendid commencement address last weekend at his alma mater, Colgate University – is a contradiction in point.

His experience as hip-hop artist AD, The Voice, which he assesses here for the first time we’ve seen, very well could have ruled him out as a prospective Congressional candidate, particularly – as he puts it – in the 19th Congressional District, which is 90 percent white.

Still, his first-rate credentials – they include a mother’s love, which he touchingly revisited in his speech – plus Colgate, Oxford and Harvard degrees. And his experience – as a litigator, not a lobbyist, he’ll tell you – with a top-flight law firm, certainly qualified him as a successor to the consensus-building Chris Gibson of Kinderhook and – projecting ahead – to the canny and effective Sherwood Boehlert of Greater Utica.

That Delgado is black was, in itself, never disqualifying in the 19th District – certainly, not in Otsego County, which – split a third, a third and a third Republican, Democrat and independent – voted twice for Barack Obama, with folks generally, if not unanimously, thrilled to do so.

BOUND VOLUMES May 23, 2019


May 23, 2019


Advertisement – New School. The subscriber gives notice that he has opened a Private School, at his dwelling house in Fair Street, where he will devote his time, and use every exertion in his power to facilitate the improvement of the pupils entrusted to his care – whilst strict attention shall be paid to their manners and morals. His number will be select and limited. The advantages of such a school every person is capable of appreciating. The subscriber hopes, by his exertions, to merit the patronage of the people in this vicinity. He will be pleased by having his employers and friends visit his school, as often as they may find it convenient, that the true merits or demerits thereof may be known. His terms for tuition are $2 per quarter, and no extra charges. Israel Day. The Watch Tower.

May 24, 1819


The timid in politics, fair weather Democrats, have been panic stricken, caused by the brag game and hurrahs of the Whigs. But the sky is clearing up, even to their vision; and as the hour approaches for the decision of the Democratic National Convention in regard to a Presidential candidate, the blood warms with devotion to the Cause, and all doubts of success are thrown to the winds. Although great efforts have been made at Washington to detract from Mr. Van Buren’s popularity with the masses and bring the Delegates against him, we have reason to know that they have utterly failed, and are sure that his name will this day be presented to the Democracy of the country as their standard-bearer in the great struggle for political supremacy, and that complete success is certain to await the count of the ballot boxes.

May 27, 1844


Base Ball – On Saturday last a match game of ball, the third and last of a series, was played by the Olympics of Hartwick Seminary, and the Clinton Club of Clintonville, which resulted in favor of the Olympics by a score of 29 to 27. The match consisted of the best two out of three games. The following is the complete score: Tuesday, April 27,
9 innings – Olympics 50, Clinton 18; Monday, May 10,
9 innings – Olympics 40, Clinton 42; Saturday, May 15,
6 innings – Olympics 29, Clinton 27. Totals: Olympics 119, Clinton 87.
The late Col. Prentiss. We feel very much indebted to Mrs. John H. Prentiss for a fine photographic likeness of her deceased husband, who established The Freeman’s Journal 61 years ago and remained its distinguished editor for 40 years. At our solicitation it was kindly presented to the office, to remain a permanent fixture, we trust, so long as the Journal shall continue to be published. The Colonel was a remarkably fine-looking gentleman of the old school, and this picture, enlarged by W.G. Smith from an excellent daguerreotype is recognized by all who have seen it as a life-like portrait.

May 21, 1869


The Danger of Sectionalism – The result of the Civil War in this country was in favor of a race of freemen, involving the abolition of slavery, and the maintenance of the Union. It was the strongest possible declaration against Sectionalism, after a contest that cost thousands of lives and untold wealth. We came out of that memorable contest with the old motto on our banners: “United we stand!” It was the common remark – “North and South, East and West – There will never again be an effort made to overthrow or divide this Union.” There are events occurring today which challenge the correctness of this hopeful declaration – and observing men, who closely observe the signs of the times, cannot fail to recognize them.

May 24, 1894


Newest Wrinkle to Dislodge Car – A resourceful motorist whose car has been stuck in the mud does not always have to fall back on a pair of mules to get free. For such an emergency the United States Tire Co. offers a suggestion that may prove valuable. This calls for having stored away somewhere in the car a stack of old newspapers. When the car gets stuck and the wheels refuse to take hold, feed in some of the old papers between the tires and the mud. Usually, only a few will have to be worked in before the wheels begin to grip and the car will start forward.

May 21, 1919


More than 20 Rotary International Exchange students who are spending a year in the area encompassed by Rotary International District 717, attended classes at Cooperstown Central School on Friday and were guests of Cooperstown students at over the weekend.
The temperature hit 82 degrees here Saturday afternoon, making it the warmest day of the year so far. On Sunday, the mercury touched 81 for only the third time this year temperatures have topped 80 or more.
Lieutenant and Mrs. David A Sanford of this village left May 12 from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, for Augsburg, Germany, where Lt. Sanford will be stationed with the Army’s 34th Field Artillery Battalion.

May 21, 1969


The Cooperstown girls took the Center State Conference’s East Division Championships on Tuesday, May 17. The girls’ team finished in first place, while the boys
placed second. As she has done all season, Megan Sanford helped lead the girls’ team to the championship with a
four-event winning performance. She took the 100 (13.0), the 200 (27.2), the 400 (1:01.7) and was a member of the winning 400 relay team (54.5) along with Betsy Roesch, Lisa Alicino, and Annie Winslow. Megan Sanford had a tremendous day and has had a tremendous season, Cooperstown Coach Connie Herzig said.

May 24, 1994


After a first sighting a few days ago, a “big cat” or mountain lion has been reported again. Maureen Wren, a DEC spokesperson said it is possible that a former pet may be ranging the west side of Otsego Lake. She also said the animal could have been a fisher cat or a bob cat. The last verified sighting of a wild cougar or mountain lion in New York State dates to 1894.

May 22, 2009

Trustees Should Help, Not Hinder Downtown Revival

Trustees Should Help, Not

Hinder Downtown Revival

To the Editor:

In last week’s newspaper, Cooperstown Village Trustee Richard Sternberg penned a column in which he went to great lengths to point out all the various village projects that need to be completed.  Included on the list such things as the roads, not to mention other infrastructure needs, and the wastewater treatment plant as well as the Doubleday Field upgrade.

When added to this list of needed undertakings, a new, and very expensive, aerial ladder truck for the fire department and the problematic almost-100-year-old water and sewer pipe system, there would seem to be little doubt that the village is facing some rather overwhelming projects ahead.

If Johnson City, Then Why Not Cooperstown?


If Johnson City, Then

Why Not Cooperstown?

Editor’s Note: Oneonta’s City Hall is actively helping private developers revive its downtown, but downstate developers are starting to recognize a demand for housing Upstate and seeking to fill the need. Per this report on, might someone consider Cooperstown’s vacant downtown CVS as an opportunity?

A New York City developer has been lured to Johnson City, near Binghamton, to construct an apartment house on a site similar to the CVS in Cooperstown’s downtown.

JOHNSON CITY – A New York City developer has plans to build a three-story, multi-family apartment building in Johnson City.
Praveen Kamath, founder and managing member of AOM Investments LLC, broke ground Wednesday, May 15, for the LOFTS@JC project at 128 Grand Ave.

The total estimated project cost is more than $6 million, the Agency said in a Thursday news release.

Crews will build the new apartment complex at the site of the “abandoned” Dollar Bazaar location, which will be demolished, per the news release.

This site has sat vacant for a number of years and has “contributed to the blight” in Johnson City, the Agency said. The project will bring new tax revenue and “much needed” housing availability to the village of Johnson City.

MISSION in TOKYO BAY: MacArthur Wanted Surrender – And To Hear Army-Navy Game


MacArthur Wanted Surrender – 

And To Hear Army-Navy Game

Walter Low, Janet Rigby’s father and a frequent visitor to Cooperstown, was a sergeant in the radio unit assigned to transmit news from Tokyo Bay of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. His son-in-law Bill Rigby and grandson Will Rigby are also veterans. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

MacArthur, seen here at Japan’s surrender, had a reputation as imperious, but Sergeant Low got a chance to see him as a human being.

COOPERSTOWN – At the end of World War II, Sgt. Wallace Low remembers a particular assignment while stationed with his communications unit in Yokohama Bay to handle communications during the Japanese surrender.

“General (Douglas) MacArthur wanted to listen to the Army-Navy football game,” he said. “Our orders were to set up the receivers so that he could get the entire game – in Alaska, San Francisco, Hawaii and Australia. If one started to fade, we switched over to the other!”

MacArthur was able to listen to the whole game, and afterwards, went by to meet the men who made it possible. “He shook all our hands and thanked us personally,” said Low. “And even though he did not drink, he served us all whiskey!”

Low, 94, the father of Janet Rigby and a frequent visitor to Cooperstown from his home in Boonville, served in the Pacific Theater, from his 1942 enlistment until January 1946.

He should feel at home in the Rigby home at Elm and Delaware: his son-in-law, Bill, was a Vietnam-era Cee-Bee 1969-75; Grandson Will, now studying computers at SUNY Cobleskill, served for four years aboard the USS Ronald Reagan.

 “I enlisted in the Reserve Corps right after my birthday,” said the family’s patriarch. Age 18, “I was a private, but I could go to school.”

Main Street In Trouble, Yet Housing In Demand

Main Street In Trouble,

Yet Housing In Demand

To the Editor:

Your editorial about Main Street is timely.

When CVS and the General Store closed, businesses that remained experience a plunge in traffic and revenue.

We are in a tragic situation with no apparent leadership equipped to deal with it.

My advice to Matt Hazzard at the time was to go all out nationally to determine interest in the CVS space.

Parking revenue is probably restricted to municipal infrastructure work.

All parties should be feeling utmost concern about the health of Main Street.  State government is a joke with taxes and regulation that stifle business.

We are in serious trouble on Main Street. Yet, demand for affordable housing remains strong.








Whoever saw the crumpled red Buick LaCrosse had the same reaction: That was a fatal crash. And it was. (Jennifer Hill/


Matthew McIvor lives next to the Richfield Springs barracks, and witnessed the arguments that resulted in the chase and crash. Then, as an EMT, he was called to the scene.

SPRINGFIELD CENTER – Matthew McIvor saw the whole thing.

At around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the State Police barracks in Richfield Springs, across the street from his house, “I saw him the woman get into her car, a black Jeep, and the man kept shouting at her,” McIvor said when interview at the subsequent accident at Kelly’s Corners, at Route 20 and 80.

“He banged his fist on her jeep and put a dent on the driver’s side. I called 911 when I saw that.”

Less than half an hour later, that man would be dead, the victim of a head-on collision following a high-speed chase that ended when his red Buick Lacrosse ran into an Otsego County Sheriff’s cruiser, injuring Deputy James Mateunas.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C spokesman, the man in a car who had been accused of harassing, then threatening a woman with a knife. When troopers approached, he fled and officers pursued him east on Route 20.

As the fleeing car approached Route 20’s intersection with 80, Mateunas’ cruisher was parked, facing west with its lights flashing.  The fleeing man’s car ran head-on into the cruiser, Dembinska said.

Coroner Michael Fox pronounced the suspect dead at the scene.

Exhibit Dramatizes Once (And Future?) Theater


Exhibit Dramatizes Once

(And Future?) Theater

At the new GOHS exhibit, FOTOT President Patrice Macaluso discusses the Oneonta Theatre’s history of entertaining Oneonta, and her hopes for its revival. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – If we want to save the Oneonta Theatre, Patrice Macaluso says, we cannot just look to the past.

“It has always changed with the times,” she said. “We can’t get wedded to what it was.”

The changing face of the Oneonta Theatre is the subject of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s newest exhibit, “The Oneonta Theatre: Reflecting Popular Culture Since 1897,” curated by Macaluso.

The exhibit traces the whole history of the venue, from the very first show in 1898 – “The Sporting Dutchess” starring Madame Modjeska, the most famous actress of the day – up to the present, where a recent marketing study and feasibility study hold the key to whether the downtown institution can be saved – or not.

No One Should Be Forced To Take Psychiatric Drugs

No One Should Be Forced

To Take Psychiatric Drugs

To the Editor:

As a man diagnosed with a mental illness for the past 20+ years, I have the lived experience to give the public a patient’s view of the dangers of psychiatric drugs. They are not at all what most people, including those who are mentally ill, think they are.

If you were to Google “Psychiatric Drugs: Cure or Quackery?” by Lawrence Stevens J.D., you would get some startling but very accurate information about psychiatric drugs, what they really are and what they really do.

The worst thing that often happens to someone who is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric unit and/or mental hospital (especially in the U.S.) is that their rights are often limited and sometimes violated by a psychiatrist who forces psychiatric “medications” on them – against their will. This has happened to me many times over the years.

Native Fled Iroquois HQ Year Before Dam Blew Up


Native Fled Iroquois HQ

Year Before Dam Blew Up

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Gen. James Cllinton, who built a dam at Cooperstown in 1779, blew it up, and his 200-bateauz flotilla rode the waves 100 miles to Onaquaga, only to find it deserted.

COOPERSTOWN – The more than 3,000 paddlers in this weekend’s 59th annual General Clinton Regatta can compete with a clear conscience.

Its namesake Gen. James Clinton, who blew up the dam at Cooperstown in 1779 so the waters could carry his 200-bateaux flotilla swiftly down the Susquehanna to Onaquaga, didn’t destroy the Iroquois village there.

He found one building standing, owned by a British sympathizer, a man name Clagford, and Clinton’s troops did destroy that.

But “Clinton didn’t really do much on the way down,” said Bill Starna, the Oneonta historian who spoke on the period Sunday, May 19, at the Cooperstown Village Library.

The actual destruction of Onaquaga was done the year before – in October 1778 – by a contingent of 250 Colonial troops out of Middle Fort (now Middleburgh), led by a Lt. Col. William Butler. (Not to be confused with two feared Tory guerrilla commanders, John and Walter Butler.)

Even William Butler’s troops, who had come down Oullette Creek and razed the Indian village at Old Unadilla (Sidney), found Onaquaga’s population – learning in advance the Americans were on their way – had abandoned the settlement.

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