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

Rare Races Possible For Mayor, Trustees


Rare Races Possible

For Mayor, Trustees

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh says she’s running for a second term in next March’s village election, adding that first-term Trustee MacGuire Benton is likely to as well.

And Joe Membrino, also in his first term, said he’s planning to run again, too.

But for the first time since the GOP debacle in 2011, the Republican Party may be running a slate as well, which would be the first challenge for Democrats who have control all trustee seats for almost a decade.

“Prior to the November election, we put the wheels I motion to start looking for candidates,” Republican County Chairman Vince Casale, who lives in Cooperstown, said Tuesday Nov. 12. “We’ve seen quite a bit of interest already.”

In the few years prior to 2011, Village Board election were highly contested, with Republicans and Democrats fielding full slates.

That year, however, Republican Mayor Joe Booan revealed in February he had opened conversations with county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., about turning over in-village policing to Devlin’s deputies.

The reaction brought Democrats Ellen Tillapaugh and Walter Franck onto the board, and reelected incumbent trustee Jeff Katz.

Booan spent a year struggling with a new Democratic majority, then retired in 2012, when Katz was elevated to mayor.

Except for Trustee Lou Allstadt, who sought both Republican and Democratic nominations when he ran in 2013, the Village Board has remained in Democratic hands ever since.

Because of neighbors’ rancor in recent months – over a proposed apartment house backing up to Pine Boulevard, flying the Pride Flag on the community flagpole, the installation of blinking traffic signs, a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskins Robbins outlet and, most recently, provisions for dormitories in a revised zoning code – Republicans may see an opportunity.

In an interview, Mayor Tillapaugh said she’s running to see a range of downtown and infrastructure improvements come to fruition, ranging from the $5 million in Doubleday Field renovations to upgrades to the water-treatment plant.

A redo of Pioneer Park, which the mayor championed, is “going to look fabulous,” she said.

While there has been some citizen unrest, Tillapaugh said the Village Board has sought to be accommodating.  For instance, the dormitory provision was removed after the public objected at an Oct. 28 public hearing, she said.

“We had a public hearing,” she said, “and the purpose of the public hearing was to listen to the public. It doesn’t mean you are always going to change things totally to make a group of people happy.”

However, she said, the trustees did adjust the proposed code in this case, and scheduled another public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, their next regular meeting.

“I didn’t close the public hearing until everyone had a chance to speak,” she added.  The discussion went on for 45 minutes.

Asked if the other incumbents plan to run again, she said, “I assume Mac is,” a reference to Benton.  “And hopefully, Joe too.”

For his part, Benton said, “I’m not prepared to make an announcement at this time.”  Membrino, who was out of town, called to say he does intend to run, and would be interested in being interviewed further on his return.

Membrino was appointed to serve out Tillapaugh’s trustee term when she was elected mayor in March 2018,  when Benton ran unopposed to serve the rest of Allstadt’s term after that trustee resigned.

While town elections are administered by the county Board of Elections, village elections are overseen by Village Administrator Teri Barown.

Each party must hold caucuses to nominate candidates between Jan. 21 and Jan. 28.

Independents may also run for mayor or trustee, and must submit petitions with a minimum of 50 signatures between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11.

Village elections will be in mid-March.

From All, Best Wishes For A Speedy Recovery


From All, Best Wishes

For A Speedy Recovery

$10 MILLION MAN: State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, is flanked by, from left, MVREDC chairman Robert Geer, Empire State Development Corp. President Howard Zemsky, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, when the City of Oneonta was named the first DRI community on July 20, 2016. (Ian Austin/

Editor’s Note: This editorial is reprinted from this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal, on newsstands now.

The news that state Sen. Jim Seward’s cancer is back – his office issued a press release Wednesday, Nov. 6 – brings two immediate reactions.

One, fingers crossed. Advances in cancer-fighting research can mean five years, 10 years – and more – of active living. Everyone’s got a story of a happy outcome.

Two, reflections immediately come to mind on the ongoing Seward Era of Otsego County politics. It’s been a charmed one, and to reflect on it underscores how his recovery will be good news for all of us.

Just think about this decade, the State Sen. Jim Seward Decade, if you will.

‘Love Unknown’ Travisano’s Elizabeth Bishop Biography Is Pinnacle Of 45 Years Of Scholarship


‘Love Unknown’

Travisano’s Elizabeth Bishop Biography

Is Pinnacle Of 45 Years Of Scholarship

About to embark on a national book tour, retired Hartwick College Professor Tom Travisano previewed his new book, “Low Unknown: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop,” Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Oneonta’s Roots Brewing. Jim Havener, proprietor of Green Toad Bookstore, which sponsored the evening, is standing at right. (Chris Lott photo, courtesy Hartwick College)

By ROBERT BENSEN •  Special to

ONEONTA – Randall Jarrell (a friend of Elizabeth Bishop) said that a poet is one who, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, manages to get struck by lightning six or seven times.

Robert Bensen is a poet and retired colleague of Tom Travisano in the Hartwick College English Department.  This was his introduction at the first reading and book signing of “Love Unknown” Nov. 6 at the Green Toad Bookstore.

It doesn’t work that way. And don’t try it at home. And don’t let your kids try it either. But Jarrell’s outlandish savvy underscores one thing: We don’t know how poets and poems are made. Like all art, it’s a mystery we never stop
trying to solve.

We do know, however, that now and again, the universe plants among us a child whose way with words grows through trial and talent and long life, such that her compositions are read, spoken, cherished.

And now and again, the universe gives us a person whose apprehension of those writings grows commensurate with their greatness, whose vision helps us enter more fully the world, at once intimate and vast, that the poetry paints for us, helps us be more alive to the work that so moved him to dedicate his life to it.

I can just see one of Tom Travisano’s students, after a rapturous class on Bishop, ask, “Dr. Travisano, have you studied Elizabeth Bishop your whole life?” To which Tom replies (I imag-ine), “Not yet!”

I wonder what stirred in the young Tom Travisano 45 years ago, when the first Bishop poem lit up in him, lit the first steps on his life’s path to Nova Scotia, New York City, Cambridge, Mass., Rio de Janeiro, and the Amazon villages in Brazil, but always return to this small city in Upstate New York?

Her life’s work ended about when his began.

Was “The Imminent Will that stirs and urges everything” (in Hardy’s phrase) at the end of Bishop’s life passing the task of immortalizing her work into others’ hands?

What thread of fate led Travisano to seek out the whole canon of Bishop’s poetry, drafts, letters; to write his dissertation at the University of Virginia on a little known and less understood poet that would become his first book, “Elizabeth Bishop: Her Artistic Development.”

Then to place Bishop studies in the wider circle of Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell and John Berryman, in his study, “Midcentury Quartet.” And then to widen his scope to all of American poetry in the three-volume “The New Anthology of American Poetry.”

Having scanned that transcontinental immensity, he returned to his first love, entirely textual I’m sure, to the other woman in Tom’s life (Elsa won’t mind), through the letters between Bishop and Robert Lowell, in his edition, “Words in Air.”

Then attending to Bishop’s future, a study of “Elizabeth Bishop in the 21st Century, Reading the New Editions.”
And now, the culmination of his lifelong (so far!) study, the book we are all privileged to be part of launching tonight, “Love Unknown.”

Through that whole career, the love and support of his family supported him in his addiction: his wife Elsa, son Michael and daughter Emily.

Professor of English at Hartwick College, English Department chair, endowed Babcock Professor of English, twice a Winifred Wandersee Scholar, Travisano won numerous teaching and research and trustee awards, as well external support from the Guggenheim Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, founded and still serves as president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society, wrote and delivered countless (I gave up) articles, chapters, reviews, lectures, interviews with the BBC, across the nation, across the Americas, across the ocean, maybe Mars someday – anymore and I’m going to need oxygen.

We don’t know how poems and poets are made, but we know that the best that can happen for a poet
is to have a reader as brilliant and articulate as Tom Travisano whose dedication carries her work forward, so we reap the reward of understanding. Please give a generous hand of applause to Dr. Tom Travisano.

NORTHRUP: Hotter World = More Fires

Hotter World

= More Fires

To the Editor:

Like everything else, the wildfires in California have been politicized by President Trump, who blames them on “bad forest management.”

Catch is, most of what’s burning are not trees, much less “forests” but grass and shrubs.

We lived in California for years. Except for the Sierras, most of California is a desert – right up to the beach. When the hot Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert to the coast, they dry the grass and shrubs to kindling, which makes for dandy fire fuel.

No “bad forest management” necessary. Not even from a Trump University Forestry major.

These fires, which have been recurring seasonally since the last Ice Age, are getting worse, but not
because someone neglected to “sweep the forest.”

As long as grass and brush grow in California, there will be fires. The hotter the earth, the more the fires.

That’s true everywhere in the world. Even Upstate. No politics necessary.


One Door Closed, Another Opened On Rustic Ridge



Click For Reservations To Nov. 21 Otesaga Banquet


One Door Closed,

Another Opened

On Rustic Ridge

The Bennetts gave up dairy farming in the 1980s, but held on to their scenic farm on Route 80 between Burlington and West Burlington. Rick, proprietor of Rustic Ridge Winery, is glad they did.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Rustic Ridge proprietor
Rick Bennett pours a glass of Strawberry Wine at the Town of Burlington winery. Summers’ 100 customers a day buy 300 cases of wine a month. (Ian Austin/

BURLINGTON – In 2008, Rick Bennett took a chance.

Following the realty-fueled stock market crash, he lost his job at Titan Mobile Homes in Sangerfield – the day before Thanksgiving.  “I had always made wine as a hobby, but my wife Laura said, ‘This might be your last chance.’”

Two years later to the day he was laid off, Rustic Ridge opened its doors, and now, as the Bennetts start on their 10th season, the winery has won the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s 20th annual Key Bank Small Business of the Year Award, to be presented at a Thursday, Nov. 21, gala at The Otesaga.

Bennett had a message to call chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan. “But I had things to do around the farm, so I didn’t get back to her right away,” he said. “Then I had friends messaging me, telling me I had to call her back! I was completely taken by surprise when she told me.”

Bennett learned about wine visiting family near Seneca Lake. “I’d go visit, and the first thing I’d want to do is tour the wineries,” he said. “There used to only be about 15, but now there are over 100.”

He began making his own wine as an adult. “It was a hobby that got out of control,” he said. “Everyone starts with a sweet wine, so I’m partial to a nice Catawba grape. My wife and I shared a bottle of that on our first date!”

Though his family has owned farmland on a hilltop on Route 80 west of Burlington for 60 years, the dairy herd was sold off in 1993.

The Bennetts had kept the land, and that’s where Rick built the Rustic Ridge store.

“I had the shop, I had the license, but I had nothing to sell,” he said.  He called Seneca Shores Wine Cellars in Penn Yan, “one of my favorites, and they invited me out to their facilities. I went that day.”

He spoke with the winemaker and tasted some of his recipes, and they crafted a production agreement.

“I have some recipes, but he is way better than me,” Bennett said. “I let him go with his recipes, and if I want something different, he’ll make it for me.”

More people are discovering the Bennett’s offerings. Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, left, hosted his first Fall Festival there on Sept. 15. Here he chats with Mark Masler, Cortland, who won his state Supreme Court judge for the Sixth Judicial District last week, .(Jim Kevlin/

During his first pick-up, Rick bought 10 cases of 12 different wines. “I thought, ‘How am I ever going to sell 120 bottles?’”

These days, he does pickups at Seneca Shores three times a month, bringing home as many as 300 cases each time.

Among the fan favorites are the Wildcat Rose, a sweet, native grape blend, and the Black Dog, a semi-dry red named for his dog, Virgil. “He was here when I started the place, and he greets everyone,” Bennett said.

Rustic Ridge was the fourth member to join the Cooperstown Beverage Trail. “So much of our business is through that,” he said. “In the summer, we average 100 people a day.”

In addition to wine, Rustic Ridge sells local honey, Amish-made jams and maple syrup. “My neighbor makes the syrup,” he said. “It’s about as local as you can get.”

And though the winery is where he wants it to be, his son, Ryan, is opening a brewery next door. Laura, as well as his parents, Ron and Jill, all help at the winery from time to time.

“I’m not planning on retiring,” Rick said. “But I do want to cut back a little. I’ve been doing this full time since we started.”

And though things slow down a little after the popular Harvest Fest, you can still pick up a bottle for special occasions. “We have a cranberry wine that’s popular at Thanksgiving,” he said. “And at Valentine’s Day, we do a ‘Strawberry Kiss’ wine that tastes just like a chocolate covered strawberry!”

He grows grapes on the farm, but none of them are used in his wine. “Right now, I just trade them with friends, who give me grape pies in return.”


County Manager Decision Is Near


County Manager

Decision Is Near

The first of two informational meetings on creating a county manager for Otsego County is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Oneonta City Hall.

County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick, who chairs the county board’s Administration Committee, announced the second will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown.

A public hearing on the creation of a county manager position was set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, the county Board of Representatives next meeting.

After that hearing, the county reps could vote that same day on the position.



Father Said, ‘Say Hi To Folks,’ Mother Advised, ‘Be A Leader



Click For Reservations To Nov. 21 Otesaga Banquet

Father Said, ‘Say Hi To Folks,’

Mother Advised, ‘Be A Leader’

Fresh out of Marshall University, Dan Ayres worked for his hometown Weirton Daily Times for three years before joining the Navy in 1982.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Earl Ayres advised his “surprise baby,” 15 years young then his next oldest son, “say hello to people.” Here, the two are on an outing.

ONEONTA – Helios Care is not this captain’s first ship.

A native of Weirton, W.Va., Dan Ayres, with a Marshall University journalism degree and three years at his hometown Weirton Daily Times, joined the Navy in 1982, retiring from the Navy reserves a quarter-century later as a commander.

“I was a surprise baby,” said the youngest son of steel worker Earl Ayres and homemaker Julia.  He was born 15 years after his brothers, who set a high standard: One became an IRS chief counsel, another a CEO of an international consultancy, the third an IBM vice president.

Tough acts to follow, but Dan caught the Ayres fever.

He picked up his father’s gregariousness:  “All you have to do is say hello to people,” Earl would say.  And his mother’s resolve:  “Be a leader, not a follower.”

The parents drummed a message into all the boys:  “You’re going to go to college; and YOU’RE going to pay for it.”

Within five years in the Navy, mostly aboard ship – Dan also met his wife, Sheila, then a waitress at the officers’ club in Norfolk, Va.; she’s now an RN and Bassett administrator – Ayres was promoted to commanding officer at the Naval Reserve Center in Burlington, Vt., on Lake Champlain.

“I loved being on ship,” but when the Navy summoned him back to sea in 1990, he wasn’t ready.

Then Sheila alerted him to the support services VP vacancy at the Fanny Allen.  What did he know about running a hospital?  Sheila replied, “It’s like a ship” – complex, lots of moving parts, 24-7 – “that doesn’t go to sea.”

He applied and got the job, and he a met range of cost, quality and design parameters as Mary Fletcher’s campus expanded.

After a stint with a contract management firm, Intellex, he was recruited to his first hospital presidency in 2004 – he had worked for now-retired Bassett CEO Bertine McKenna at Fanny Allen.  He took the helm at O’Connor Hospital in Delhi, adding the Tri-Town Hospital presidency in 2014.

Recruited away in 2014 to Summersville Regional Medical Center – his West Virginia’s hometown hospital – he had a plan that involved cuts to make the hospital solvent, in the process becoming “very, very unpopular.”

The phone rang, and it was Lola Rathbone, his Catskill Hospice predecessor; he had served on its board for six years. “We want someone who knows something about hospice care and where it’s going,” she said.

“Now, I’m interested,” said the man with a plan, his wheels turning.

DUNCAN: If Laws Don’t Work, Let’s Try A Little Tenderness

If Laws Don’t Work, Let’s

Try A Little Tenderness

To the Editor:

It always amazed me to see the picturesque and charming villages in Vermont. How is it that the townsfolk work together to create what I think are charming well keep towns?

What you see with your eyes effects your health. This is an ancient concept that has now been proven by modern science. Isn’t that one of the reasons we live in the country? The beauty of nature and the seasons.

Autos and trucks have no use just sitting and resting, abandon on front lawns. The rain washes the chemicals from the vehicle into the ground and into the drinking water.  I’m not sure what people get from seeing their old beaten-up cars sitting around on their front lawn or driveway?

Mowing grass is a pain to me. I am planting more and more flowers and small fruit trees – that equals less and less grass to mow!

The Town of Hartwick’s attempt at threatening people with jail or fines is just a power game so that a few people get their way.

Better to use compassion. Form a community for the beautification of Hartwick, a group of people that helps their neighbor on Saturdays. A discussion on health and design. Educate, don’t threaten and punish. That only isolates and infuriates.

It is time we started dealing with things on a local level, as just plain neighbors and friends. Don’t try and equate everything in terms of money.

Oh, by the way my neighbor’s dog barks a lot…any suggestions?


Hartwick Forrest

The Haves And The Have Nots



The Haves And

The Have Nots

Possibly the most important outcome of the recent meeting to discuss the future of the Schenevus Central School District is a quote from the superintendent: “The District’s revenues are inflexible.”  She went on to say, “the District does not have property wealth or the income wealth to raise taxes enough to cover the deficit.”

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

Finally someone in a position of authority has admitted the truth!  We live in Appalachia and Upstate New York is in a death spiral.  Ironically, Schenevus is where the first gas well to be fracked is located.  Would that have made a difference to the school district if it had been allowed to go forward?  We’ll never get to find out, but fracked gas has undeniably made a positive economic difference in Pennsylvania.  That we do know.

As it started snowing, I thought about the claims of those who protested the use of fracking on the grounds they wanted to protect the surface and ground water.  You might be wondering what snow has to do with protecting our water sources.

It’s really quite simple.  As soon as a snow flake falls, those same people clamor to have the roads salted.   Thousands of tons of salt are spread on our roads each winter and that salt ends up contaminating our rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater – yet you don’t hear a peep about it from the folks who shouted down fracking.

Why is that?  Maybe it’s because they don’t have to make a living here like the 30 percent of our population that’s below the poverty line.  Maybe it’s because they don’t care if our young people have to leave to find work.  Maybe it’s because they don’t care if Upstate New York is losing its population at an alarming rate.

If you doubt that, look at the number of students who graduate from Oneonta High School – less than half the number that graduated in the 1960s.  The same is true for Laurens, Morris, Jefferson, Worcester, Franklin, Treadwell, etc.

The smaller schools are facing the need to merge which means a loss of identity and jobs – something we can’t afford to have happen.  It has to go that way as the schools’ enrollments are too small to offer a diverse education and their tax base is declining. Those of us who choose to stay face, in order to maintain the current level of government “services,” an increase in our taxes every time one of our neighbors decides to leave New York.

As the superintendent from Schenevus so eloquently said – we simply can’t afford not to merge some of our schools.  (A paraphrase.)

Look at what’s happening to the towns within the New York City watershed.  The city has bought up about 90 percent of the developable property within the towns.  Thus those towns have very little opportunity to grow their tax base while at the same time they are facing a 2 percent tax cap and a 3 percent cost-of-living increase.

They are in an economic vise with no way to escape.  Why – because New York City will do, and has done, anything to avoid the need to filter its water.  Meanwhile, the deer and beaver keep pooping in the woods.

Our area needs a source, or sources, of reliable energy now – energy that can be tapped when and where it is needed.  We simply can’t afford to wait until technology catches up with our current need.

Natural gas is a reliable bridge that will allow us to start reversing the downward economic trend now before the downward spiral is irreversible.  That doesn’t mean we don’t care about our planet – we do.  We also realize that it takes prosperity to have the free time and available capital to protect our environment.  Protecting our environment isn’t a priority for the lesser-developed countries – survival is.

Fossil fuels are non-renewable and thus we’re going to run out of them.  One would have to be a fool not to recognize that and begin now to take the steps necessary to have reliable energy available when we run out of fossil fuels.

We can’t just flip a switch and make that happen – just as we can’t flip a switch and have solar energy available 365 days a year – at least not in Otsego County.


This Week, Nov. 14-15, 2019


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

Nov. 14-15, 2019


Joan Clark, the Cooperstown Vets’ Club’s grand dame, sings “Oh say can you see…” at the village’s Veterans Day commemoration Monday, Nov. 11, at the Doughboy Statue at Pine Boulevard and Lake Street. Next to her are Deb Green and her daughter, Meg Lindberg, and grandchildren Weston, 2, and Izzy, 8. (Jim Kevlin/


Helios’ Day Ayres, ‘Man With A Plan’

Dad Said ‘Talk To Folks’; Mom, ‘Be Leader’

Door Closes, Opens Onto Rustic Ridge


Rare Races Possible In Cooperstown

Oneonta Parking Reforms In Works

3rd CSO Prospect’s Focus: Tchaikovsky

County Manager Decision Is Nearing


From All, Best Wishes For Speedy Recovery


ZAGATA: The Haves And Have Nots

BENSEN: In Praise Of Tom Travisano

In Brave New World, No Parking Lots!


DUNCAN: If Laws Don’t Work, Try Tenderness

NORTHRUP: Hotter World Equals More Fires


BOUND VOLUMES: Nov. 14, 2019



Jim Millea, 93; Vet Brought Family From Iowa

Phil Zenir, 60; Local Stonemason, Musician

Bob Evans, 73; Key Player In Oneonta Media

Don Mitchell, 29; Oneonta Musician, Lyricist

Florence Savage, 85; Air Force Wife, Nurse



Previous Edition Click Here

HOMETOWN History Nov. 15, 2019


Nov. 15, 2019

150 Years Ago

The Democratic Victory and What Will We Do with It: A new and grave responsibility now devolves upon the Democratic Party, which for the first time in 17 years will soon hold all the departments of the state government, Legislative, Executive and Judicial. As we shall well or ill use this opportunity, will be our political future. Our opponents, smarting under defeat, and consequent loss of power and patronage, affect to believe that we will be made drunk with power, indulge in excesses, and speedily lose the confidence of the people. Power brings with it not only the opportunity of doing better than our opponents, but it brings also responsibility for the way in which this power is used. As a party we have condemned the corrupt and unconstitutional acts of our opponents. Let the legislators, let our leaders, let our Governor council prudence, and insist on just and constitutional legislation.

November 1869

100 Years Ago

The amount of building going on at this time in Oneonta, and along with numerous changes in ownership of city
realty apparently signify two things – one, that everybody has pretty much given up hope of there being any immediate
reduction in the cost of building; and the other, which in a sense is very like the first – that since all cannot build, they will buy, if buying at any fair price is possible. The number of residences going up gives a fair idea of the confidence which is felt in the future of the city. Along with residences, important business structures are also going up or being enlarged. There is a future ahead of Oneonta which is bright with not merely promise, but assurance of prosperity and continued growth.

November 1919

80 Years Ago

Oneonta Sports – Only a small group of sportsmen interested in securing a franchise in the Canadian-American League season attended a recent meeting, but hopes have not been abandoned for the city’s representation in Minor League ball. It is now planned to gather statistical data from the three clubs willing to park their franchises. An effort will be made to have a representative of one of the teams attend the next meeting. Lights may be installed at the park next year for night baseball and football.
Over 100 high school girls will compete in the intra-mural basketball league this winter according to Mrs. Frances Bates, physical education instructor.
Mayor Frank Zuber of Norwich and Captain Dan Fox, Commanding Officer of Troop C, State Police, will act as judges of the boxing card to be presented at the Elks Club Friday night under the auspices of the American Legion. Benny Leonard of New York, retired, undefeated lightweight champion, will referee one or two of the bouts.

November 1939

60 Years Ago

In Oneonta’s art colony are persons who regard themselves as amateurs and explain that they paint only for enjoyment. Mrs. Virginia Repa, a charter member of the Oneonta Community Art Center, is one of them. She says, “I paint for fun.” Be that as it may she handles water colors with such skill and imagination that her paintings have been regarded as professional. Mrs. Repa is among those artists who, in doing pastoral scenes, likes to work directly from nature, striving to translate beauty as accurately as possible, with an occasional resort to composition for the “sake of art.” A painting titled “The Old Sycamore” that was done in early spring by Mrs. Repa is enhanced with Mrs. Repa’s memories. “It was done in early spring. My husband, Dr. Joseph Repa was fishing and I saw this beautiful old tree in a meadow. I had a very interesting audience – a herd of Guernsey cows who breathed down my neck most of the afternoon.”

November 1959

40 Years Ago

A new attitude toward illegal aliens is emerging in the American labor movement. Instead of summoning
immigration agents to get the illegal workers deported, a small but growing number of unions are trying to sign up the workers as members. For years, angry that illegal workers were taking Americans’ jobs, unions have argued that “we should close off the border and send them all back home,” says Allan Zack, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO. “But that’s a political impossibility now,” he says. “It’s also wrong. Many illegals have established residency here.” It isn’t known exactly how many illegal aliens live in the United States, or how many of them belong to unions.
The immigration service estimates the U.S. has four million to six million illegal immigrants, and other counts range
as high as ten million. Much of the labor movement, however, continues to urge a crackdown on illegal immigrants, arguing that foreign workers take jobs from members.

November 1979

20 Years Ago

Ten years after Congress ordered protections for whistleblowers throughout government, the Justice Department has set up a system to shield FBI agents – but they will have less shelter than other federal employees who report waste abuse and crime by co-workers. Under the rules, FBI whistleblowers are not protected for reporting misdeeds to Congress, in court during a trial, or to immediate superiors. FBI employees are protected only if they report to a short list of top officials and FBI internal investigators. The FBI Director will determine whether FBI employees will get a hearing. Also, FBI whistleblowers alleging retaliation will not have the right to a federal court review. Republican Senator Charles Grassley, Chair of a Senate sub-committee that oversees the FBI, said the rules “represent crafty
lawyering rather than good public policy.” Grassley said the Justice Department “interpreted the law to protect its own interests rather than the public interest in exposing fraud and mismanagement.’

November 1999

10 Years Ago

On Friday November 13, a player wearing number 13 on his jersey ended Oneonta boys’ soccer season. Marcellus senior forward Jon Schoonmaker made a baseball slide
into a bouncing ball on the right side of the penalty box and sent a low shot from 12 yards sailing past Yellowjackets’ keeper Alex Maschutt with eighteen minutes, 44 seconds left in the Mustang’s 2-1 Class B state quarter final victory at West Genesee High. “Friday the thirteenth? Maybe,” OHS coach Alex Brannan said.

November 2009

CSO Prospect To Focus On Tchaikovsky Works


CSO Prospect To Focus

On Tchaikovsky Works

Maciej Zółtowski rehearses with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra. (Ian Austin/

Editor’s Note:  Maciej Żółtowski, the third candidate to become the Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s next conductor, will perform at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 16, at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom.  Tickets at door or via  This article appears in this week’s Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal, on newsstands now.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – For Maciej Żółtowski, conducting is a kind of enchantment.

“It is similar to magic,” he said. “You get up there, you wave your stick and music comes out!”

Appropriate, then, that Żółtowski, the former managing and artistic director of the Radom Chamber Orchestra in Poland, will be conducting Stanisław Moniuszko’s “Concert Overture: The Fairy Tale,” as part of the third and final entry in the Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s Conductor Search concert on Saturday, Nov. 16.

The piece, he said, is close to his heart.

In Our Brave New World, No Parking Lots Needed!



In Our Brave New World,

No Parking Lots Needed!

Editor’s Note: In sending this along, Oneonta’s Laurie Zimniewicz observed, “Based on these predictions, Oneonta is ahead of the curve regarding the parking spaces at the Dietz Street lot,” focus of a public debate on whether 80 parking spaces should be given up to allow construction of the Lofts on Dietz, 64 artists’ lofts and studios, and middle-income apartments.

Auto repair shops will go away. A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are only repaired by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor.
Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots. Your electric motor malfunction light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a Jiffy-auto wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new electric motor!

Gas stations will go away. Parking meters will be replaced by meters that dispense electricity. Companies will install electrical recharging stations; in fact, they’ve already started. You can find them at select Dunkin’ Donuts locations.

Most (the smart) major auto manufacturers have already designated money to start building new plants that only build electric cars.

Coal industries will go away. Gasoline/oil companies will go away. Drilling for oil will stop. So say goodbye to OPEC!

Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day than they use and will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. Has anybody seen Tesla roof?

A baby of today will only see personal cars in museums.

Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! Ask any taxi driver if they saw that coming.

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties. Ask Hilton Hotels if they saw that coming.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

In the USA, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM’s Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for right now, the basic stuff) within seconds, with 90-percent accuracy compared with 70-percent accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90 percent fewer lawyers in the future, (what a thought!) only omniscient specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, it’s 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars are already here. In the next 2 years, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You won’t want to own a car anymore as you will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you will only pay for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

This will change our cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide including distracted or drunk driving. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles; with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles. That will save a million lives plus worldwide each year.

Most traditional car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

Look at what Volvo is doing right now; no more internal combustion engines in their vehicles starting this year with the 2019 models, using all electric or hybrid only, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

WELCOME TO TOMORROW; it actually arrived a few years ago.

Helios’ Dan Ayres, ‘Man With A Plan’



Click For Reservations To Nov. 21 Otesaga Banquet

Helios’ Dan Ayres,

‘Man With A Plan’

Hospice Successor Prepares

Long-Term Care For Future

President & CEO Dan Ayres on a casual Friday at Helios Care’s new offices on Oneonta’s River Street Extension, where six sites were consolidated. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – By 1995, Dan Ayres – “Dan, the man with a plan” – had been vice president/support operations for five years at Fanny Allen Hospital in Winooski, Vt., when the news broke:

The small community hospital was about to be merged into the much larger Mary Fletcher Hospital in adjacent Burlington, and there would only a single high-level job for the Fanny Allen’s half-dozen top executives.

Ayres, now CEO & vice president at Helios Care, the former Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, was the youngest applicant.  He got the job of vice president/facilities services, overseeing the merger of the two hospitals into the Fletcher Allen Medical Center.

The other applicants, he said in a recent interview at Helios consolidated headquarter on the River Street Extension, talked about their experience and credentials. “I had a plan,” Ayres said.  “I had a complete binder – the organization structure, the first 90 days.”

His latest plan – the concept, new name and new logo for Catskill Hospice – was unveiled by the Helios board Tuesday, Oct. 8, before 100 people at a reception at the Southside Quality Inn.

That, plus a nomination by a family member whose father had benefit from Helios new approach – don’t take the patient to the hospital; bring quality care to the patient’s home – will be recognized at the Otsego County Chamber’s Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Breakthrough Business of the Year at the annual Small Business Banquet Thursday, Nov. 21, at The Otesaga.

“Instead of end of life, Helios is about maintaining quality of life,” said chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan.  “We have a pioneer right here in our neighborhood, which I think is fantastic.”

Helios “keeps people in their homes longer,” she continued. “They have access to medical services.  It keeps them out of emergency rooms.  It helps with overall cost – for the patients themselves as well as the organization.”

Helios board chairman Connie Jastremski, retired Bassett chief nursing officer and vice president/patient care services, said she and other board members were aware the term “hospice” had become a barrier to care.

“It isn’t really the end of life,” she said, noting patients were typically entering hospice with only 4-5 days to live. “It’s making your life better at the end.”

Plus, “Catskill” in the name didn’t accurately depict the service area, which includes the Cooperstown area, which is not in the Catskills.

A popular term in renamed hospices is “comfort care,” but the local board discovered it’s trademarked; the rights would have been expensive to buy.

“’Helios Care,’ I think, struck us at first as ‘what?’” Jastremski said.

The Helios Care board of director and their CEO unveil the new logo Oct. 10 in a reception at Quality Inn, Southside. From left are Reginald Knight, Connie Jastremski (board chair), CEO Dan Ayres, Jeffrey Woeppel, Linda Evanczyk, the organization’s founder; Dr. Yoshiro Matsuo (founder of hospice in the Oneonta area) and John Pontius. (Photo courtesy WZOZ)

“Hearing the back story” – reflected in the new logo – “is important,” she said. “Helios, the god of sun, bringing warmth and bright light into your patients’ lifes.  Around the sun are hearts, the people who are caring for them, for the love, caring and compassionate dignity we provide.”

Now, she said, it’s her mission to get doctors to understand the new emphasis, which has required adding personnel to increase the palliative care piece.

Jastremski’s last job at Bassett was in the Pain & Palliative Care Unit, “holding people’s hands and talking to them about relieving their symptoms.”  That’s the Helios goal, to treat patients early and at home, with either nurses or telemedicine.

“If it is end of life,” she said, “we’re already there.”

Since Ayres arrived back in the Otsego-Delaware region in November 2016, change had been systematic.  (See box, this page)

If the new model works for patients, it also works for hospitals, which federal reimbursement rates are now punishing if a patient isn’t fully treated and has to return two or three times, Jastremski said.

“Patients who readmit most frequently come to the emergency room with shortness of breath, heart problems, dementia,” she continued.  “If you can call someone on a 24-hour hotline, we can send a nurse out to see you, or do it by telemedicine.”

A year-long pilot project between then-Catskill Area Hospice and Leatherstocking Collaborative Health Partners, a Bassett affiliate, showed an 80 percent dip in acute-care treatment and a 35 percent cost savings.

“This is saving hospitals money,” she said.  “Nothing is worse than having hospitals have year after year of unprofitable years.”

BOUND VOLUMES Nov. 14, 2019


Nov. 14, 2019


Bank Directors – The following gentlemen were chosen Directors of the Central Bank at Cherry Valley: Joseph White, president, David Little, Elias Bramin, Barnabas Eldredge, Jabez D. Hammond, Levi Beardsley, William Campbell, James O. Morse, Peter Magher, Delos White, William Beekman, Henry Brown, and Thomas Fuller.

November 15, 1819


When we look back upon the terrible struggle through which the democracy of the Northern States have lately passed, who does not feel the deepest admiration of the sterling character of the electors of our country? Who will now doubt the permanence of our institutions and the incorruptibility of the great masses of our voters? They have been lately tried in a fiery crucible and they have come out purified and strengthened. At no time since the organization of our government, has so concerted and well-devised a plan been carried out by the Whig leaders, for the purchase of power in New York and Pennsylvania, which states it was well known would decide the Presidency of the Union. Never before have such enormous sums of money been raised by the Whigs, as during the late campaign. The Masses have come to the rescue – the triumph is all their own. Every reflecting American must feel a pride in the recent result in this State. Not more because the People have elevated able, upright and honorable statesmen to the first offices in the nation, but because it conclusively shows that money, no matter how well devised, cannot purchase the Presidency of the United States.

November 18, 1844


Attention is called to the fact that the day of publication of this paper has been changed to Thursday. All communications and advertisements should be handed in not later than 10 a.m. of Wednesday – the earlier in the week the better.
Rev. C.L. Watt, a recent graduate of St. Lawrence University, has accepted a call to the Pastorship of the Universalist churches of this village and Fly Creek.
The salary of the Keeper of the County House should be raised to $1,000 a year. When the duties of the place are properly attended to, he will earn that amount. At present he is the poorest paid officer in the county. The position is an important one, which only a good and efficient man, such as we now have, should ever hold.

November 18, 1869


A New Pastor – At a meeting at the Presbyterian Church of the congregation, it was unanimously decided to extend a call to The Rev. Robert I. McBride of Mount Vernon, to become pastor of the church. He has had three years’
experience in the ministry, chiefly missionary work in New York City and among the “mountain whites” of Virginia.
We did not witness the panoramic farce of “A Trip to the City” given in Village Hall last Saturday evening – in regard to the merits of which there were different opinions expressed, some favorable in part or whole, others quite the reverse. Complaints were made by the company giving the performance that the stage is not deep enough for convenience in acting.
Y.M.C.A. – The “Week of Prayer” is being observed at the rooms of the Association, the services beginning at 8 o’clock. On Thursday evening they will be held in the Baptist Church, when Rev. W.B. Thorp of Binghamton will deliver an address.

November 15, 1894


Pfc. Donald C. Reed, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Reed of Cooperstown has been awarded the Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster for having been wounded in action a second time on October 15. Sergeant Reed received his basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. He was home on furlough in January 1944 and then returned to Fort Meade, George Meade. He went overseas in February and joined the Fifth Army in Italy. He was first wounded in June. He then rejoined his company and took part in the invasion of Southern France. He was serving with the Seventh Army when last wounded. He is now being treated in a hospital in Italy.

November 15, 1944


Richard A. White, instructor in Mathematics at Cooperstown Central School, has been named varsity
basketball coach at the school, filling the vacancy caused
by the resignation during the summer of John H. “Pete” Clark, Jr. Mr. White was moved up from the Junior
Varsity coaching job which he has held since 1965.
Mr. White played on the Binghamton North High School varsity basketball team while a student there, and on the Paul Smith’s College varsity team for two years. Don Howard, the Eighth Grade Social Studies teacher at CCS succeeds Mr. White as Junior Varsity coach.

November 19, 1969


A host of village merchants gathered at the Tunnicliff Inn Monday night to listen as the goals and aspirations of a proposed Cooperstown Merchants Association (CMA) were laid on the table. Vin Russo, owner of Mickey’s Place on Main Street, outlined the mission statement and the program ideas that were drawn up by the committee. Russo stated that the main goal of a CMA is to bring people into Cooperstown so that they might leave their money behind.

November 16, 1994


In 71 years in the meadow between Brooklyn and Susquehanna avenues, the Clark family’s fallow deer have never been attacked by predators, according to Jane Forbes Clark, whose great-uncle Ambrose brought the herd back from Europe in 1938. That changed in recent weeks as a dozen of the animals were bitten in the neck, possibly by a coyote, and either died or had to be put down. “We are going to put up a bigger fence and hope that does it,” said Miss Clark. “We’ll keep fingers crossed,” she added.
Cameras installed along the perimeter fence taped a large coyote inside the pen. There are a handful of spots where the coyote could have entered. Miss Clark said her great-uncle saw fallow deer herds in Europe, “thought they were pretty and wanted to see them from the house.” The house was the 40-room Iroquois Mansion located behind stone walls before it was demolished in 1983.

November 13, 2009


Posts navigation

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