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

DiPerna, Back At Vatican: World Working Together On Climate Without U.S.


DiPerna, Back At Vatican:

 World Working Together On

Climate Without U.S.


COOPERSTOWN – Back in Vatican City, Cooperstown’s Paula DiPerna looked around the Sala Regia Friday, March 8. There was a turbaned Sikh. There was Muslim. There was a shaman from the far reaches of Greenland.
“All these different societies have a need to protect nature,” said DiPerna, special adviser, CDP North America, a non-profit that helps companies, cities and nations manage their environmental impacts. “There’s ice melting in Greenland, deforestation in Ghana – all have seen and are living the problems of Climate Change.”

20 Years On Southside, Piers Also Mark Mega-Store’s Fifth Year


20 Years On Southside,

Piers Also Mark

Mega-Store’s Fifth Year

Ian Austin/ – The pterodactyl with the monkey on its back flying over the largest wine and liquor inventory between Albany and Binghamton – and maybe beyond – captures a sense of fun, and fun to come, at the massive Liquor Depot in Oneonta’s Hannaford Plaza, which is marking two anniversaries: In April, 20 years on Southside; this past February, five years in the mega-store. Also, you may have noticed the knight in armor by the door.



Come to Liquor Depot for the variety of wines and liquors, stay for the pterodactyl.On expanding from their smaller store next door into the defunct Blockbuster Video in 2013, owner Dwight Pier realized the new high ceilings left a lot of vertical space that he believed needed filling.
So he bought a life-sized pterodactyl.
“The pterodactyl arrived in a big crate,” Dwight remembered, as the fifth anniversary of the mega store passed in February and Liquor Depot marks its 20th year on Southside in April, “and we had to put it together. It was heavy to lift it up in the air.”
His wife and co-owner Aileen didn’t question her husband’s décor choices. “I knew my husband,” she said.
These days, shoppers recognize the knight that stands sentry by the door, and a large rooster nearby. Batman, Spiderman and now Deadpool stand in action poses above the entrance.
“Laughing is a big part of life,” said Dwight.
It’s part of what has made Liquor Depot a Southside success for two decades now, and almost triple so for the past half-decade.

Herzig: Act Today, Look To Tomorrow

Herzig: Act Today, Look To Tomorrow

Oneonta’s Mayor Herzig, about to be hit by criticism of D&H yard redevelopment.

In response to an outpouring of criticism at a public hearing on the GEIS Tuesday, March 5, to Oneonta City Hall and Otsego Now’s plans to  redevelop the D&H railyards, Mayor Gary Herzig had an elegant reply.
Development on the 50 acres suitable for job-generating enterprises will:
• One, be as energy efficient as construction technology currently allows.
• Two, use as little natural gas and fossil fuels as possible.
• Three, use as much renewable technology as is available right now.
But no, Herzig’s City Hall is not going to derail Oneonta’s single greatest job-development (and tax-generating) prospect.
And, in an interview over the weekend, he was pointed: “We should not let those who are economically secure, by comparison, tell those who need jobs they can’t have them.”
Yes, of course, combatting Global Warming is a Good, but it’s not the only Good. The city’s just-updated Comprehensive Master Plan, he said, also embraced the values of “social justice” and “shared sacrifice.”
And those principles: Energy efficiency, social justice and shared sacrifice, will guide the railyards’ redevelopment.

Meanwhile, muscular environmentalism is getting tiresome – and unhelpful.  Too often since the anti-fracking movement – it turned out there’s too little gas around here to frack it – we’ve seen intimidation as the local environmental movement’s preferred tactic, and it’s getting old.
We lack sufficient natural gas to even fuel our major institutions – our colleges and hospitals – not to
mention any growth.
Yet roomfuls of The Outspoken helped block the Constitution Pipeline that would have filled the need – snap! – and generated $13 million in annual tax revenues if routed through southern Otsego County.
XNG trucks are OK on
I-88, but on our narrow roads were a danger, and they’ve now mostly been routed to more appropriate Route 8 in Chenango County, but – lacking a pipeline – compressed natural gas, delivered by truck, is the one sensible alternative.
Yet The Outspoken – notably Dec. 12, when the Oneonta Town Board was browbeaten into passing a resolution against the $17.5 million decompression
station – helped halt that sensible alternative to a pipeline endorsed by both the Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier regional economic development councils.
Without gas, the REDCs recognized, Otsego and the surrounding counties are done – finished! – as viable economies.
Yet Otsego 2000, the Cooperstown-based environmental group – has issued not-so-veiled threats to sue both City Hall and Otsego Now, if necessary, to halt the decompression station, which would largely be paid for with state money and would fill the county’s natural gas needs until blessed renewables come on line.
For now, not forever! Yes, yes, we all agree:
Renewables are the future. But not the present, perhaps not even for a generation. (New York State’s plan targets 2040 for partially achieving fossil-fuel freedom.)

Even then, renewables may not be the whole answer. This past Tuesday, Len Carson, DC Marketing president and a Ward 5 Common Council candidate, circulated a TED Talk video prior to Wednesday’s
Citizen Voices meeting.
It was delivered by Michael Shellenberger, one of Time magazine’s 2008 Heroes of the Environment.
Its title, “How Fear of Nuclear Power is Hurting the Environment.”
In it, he argues that, despite the vast advances in solar farms planned in the U.S., Europe, even India, the data show that, without an expansion of nuclear, the Earth is doomed.
OK, Outspeakers, let it out.
All of this needs to be
considered in context. While we argue over something that’s big here, the D&H plans are tiny, tiny in the context of the world’s economy and population – there are too few of us to either save the world or ruin it.
So let’s relax.
Another Common Council candidate, Seth Clark in Ward 2, nailed it at the GEIS hearing: “We need hundreds and hundreds of jobs. We not only owe our children the future, we owe them a couple of hot meals a day.”
In an intriguing Letter to the Editor this week, Otego’s Dennis Higgins applies Kant’s “Categorical Imperative” to the debate. Do unto others. But this isn’t good vs. evil; it’s a practical one.
Herzig’s three-point
approach is a strategic, sensible, short-term way to tackle a conundrum: Putting food on children’s plates today, while we await a better solution – one we all agree with – tomorrow.

Please, County Reps And Trustees: Get Chief Covert Help He Needs

Please, County Reps

And Trustees: Get Chief Covert

Help He Needs

Village Police Chief Mike Covert surveys a box full of medications and devices he must use daily.


How often do any of us, over the course of our lifetimes, get the opportunity to save another human life?
But the Otsego County Board of Representatives and Cooperstown Village Board have been presented with that opportunity in the case of Mike Covert, 58.
Covert, a 25-year county employee (mostly as a deputy sheriff) and village police chief since 2013, has suffered the health travails of a modern-day Job in the past year, from kidney failure to a triple bypass to failing eyesight and deteriorating disks in his neck.
In the midst of this, he received wo

Dorothy Miller, 96; Retired From Mehan Insurance

Dorothy Miller, 96; Retired From Mehan Insurance

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Dorothy Miller, 96, who served as a secretary for insurance concerns, retiring from Mehan Insurance in Richfield Springs, passed away on Sunday, March 3, 2019 in Centers Health in Cooperstown.
She was born on Sept. 22, 1922, in Van Hornesville, a daughter to the Late Owen D. and Marion Ostrander Miller. She was raised and educated in Van Hornesville and graduated from Van Hornesville High School.
Dorothy was a secretary for numerous local insurance companies. She retired from Mehan in 1984.
She is survived by several cousins and a dear friend Connie Pope. Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother Leon Miller.
A graveside service will take place this spring in Van Hornesville Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made in donations to Tourette’s Association of America 42-40 Bell Boulevard, Suite 205 Bayside, NY 11361.
Funeral arrangements are with J. Seaton McGrath Funeral Home, Richfield Springs.

CITY OF THE HILLS: Mar. 14 – 15, 2019

CITY OF THE HILLS: Mar. 14 – 15, 2019

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN – ONEONTA – Al Rubin acknowledges applause after winning the Catskill Symphony’s Guest Conductor Contest Saturday, March 9, at SUNY Oneonta’s field house, and helping raise a record $46,321

Oneonta Loses

Joe Campbell,

Voice Of City


Joe Campbell, the Voice of Oneonta for 50 years on “WDOS, the Star station,” passed away at 4:05 a.m. March 6, 2019, in Cooperstown after hearing “The Campbells are Coming” on the bagpipes.

Hometown People Locals March 14 15 2019

Hometown People – March 14 -15, 2019

CSO Conductor Contest Raises Record $46,321

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA  –  Though Al Rubin, owner, A&D Transport Services, ultimately took the baton to conduct “Stars & Stripes Forever,” he was helped by Cindy Donaldson, OMS choral music director, left, and Libby Cudmore, managing editor, Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, in raising a record-setting $46,321 for the Catskill Symphony Orchestra during the annual Cabaret Concert on Saturday, March 9, at SUNY Oneonta.


Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Maddie Hurley, Cherry Valley, and Chloe Bellcourt, Cooperstown, were on Main Street, Oneonta, Saturday, March 9, to sample a few of the dozens of craft beers available at Brewery Ommegang’s Snommegang.

Mancuso, Avolio, Named To Dean’s List

BOUND VOLUMES: Mar. 14 – 15, 2019

BOUND VOLUMES: Mar. 14 – 15, 2019

In the case of Sturges vs. Crowninshield – the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court dated February 25, is summarized as follows: “Discharges under state insolvent laws, exempt the body of the debtor from imprisonment. But his property, subsequently acquired, is liable to his creditors; or, in other words, the contract is discharged as to the person, but not as to the future state of the party.” It is further decided, that until Congress acts upon the subject, the states may pass insolvent or bankrupt laws, which, however, can have no other effect that is above stated; but may be beneficial in putting an end to the partial dispositions of property, which now operate so severely upon the great mass of creditors of those who fail among us. This is all that has yet been decided upon this interesting subject. Gentlemen of the profession will perceive that many points remain for discussion.”
March 15, 1819

Advertisement: Blacksmithing – Those who want their Horses well shod, or their axes new-laid, or other edge tools made or repaired, are respectfully invited to call at Badger’s Fly Creek Machine Shop, who has on hand the best materials, and has employed Mr. E. Wentworth, whose experience as a Shoer is well known, and who can remedy the defects in the feet of horses which have come from bad shoeing and otherwise. Please give us a trial. Fly Creek, March 1, 1844.
March 11, 1844

Mr. H.F. Phinney, after having appealed from the present location of the railroad line and terminus in this village, has gracefully yielded to an adverse decision; and, as an evidence of his good will and hearty cooperation in the work in which we are all interested, has released the right-of-way through his entire property, embracing the Lough Farm and the Seminary grounds, to the company, free of charge. This is one evidence among others that Mr. Phinney is not making his investments in this village from purely selfish and personal motives, but that he has a higher view than some minds comprehend of the obligations resting upon men of wealth in the discharge of their stewardship.
March 12, 1869

Locals March 14 15 2019

LOCALS – March 14 -15, 2019

CSO Conductor Contest Raises Record $46,321

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA  –  Though Al Rubin, owner, A&D Transport Services, ultimately took the baton to conduct “Stars & Stripes Forever,” he was helped by Cindy Donaldson, OMS choral music director, left, and Libby Cudmore, managing editor, Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, in raising a record-setting $46,321 for the Catskill Symphony Orchestra during the annual Cabaret Concert on Saturday, March 9, at SUNY Oneonta.

Trustee Dewey Outlines Credentials, Asks For Vote

Trustee Dewey

Outlines Credentials,

Asks For Vote

The Freeman’s Journal & HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Jeanne Dewey is sworn in to a one-year term on the Cooperstown Village Board on April 12, 2018, filling the vacancy created when Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch was elected mayor, Husband Dr. John Dewey holds the Bible.

To the Editor:
Twenty-four years ago, my husband and I were deciding where to settle to pursue our careers and raise a family, and in our search we found Cooperstown.
This beautiful village, situated equidistant from my hometown of Rochester and John’s hometown of Worcester, Mass., felt like the perfect place to call home. We chose well – Cooperstown has indeed been a wonderful community to be a part of.
Through the years, I have been active in the community, volunteering my time and energy to many different local organizations, including the PTA, OCCA, and the Cooperstown Food Pantry. I have also served on several different village committees, including the Pedestrian Safety Committee, the Environmental Sustainability Committee, and most recently the Parks Board.
Last year, when Ellen Tillapaugh was elected Cooperstown’s mayor, she appointed me to fill her open trustee position. I accepted the position while wondering how my experience as a hospice triage nurse would transfer to the Village Board. I discovered that many of my professional skills have been helpful.
In my professional life much of what I do is listen, assess, prioritize, and problem solve. I believe my ability to do these things well has proved useful in my role as trustee.
During the past year, I served as Parks Board chair. In this capacity I helped develop plans for several upcoming improvements to Pioneer Park. With support from Friends of the Parks, Fairy Spring Park saw many improvements in 2018, including a new waterfront platform, upgraded retaining wall, and a new staircase.
As Parks Board chair, my continued priority will be making our parks more accessible and inviting to everyone.
If elected to a three-year term as village trustee I will continue to listen, and will work to ensure our village remains a vibrant, sustainable community into the future. I hope you will vote on March 19 at the Cooperstown Fire Hall. Thank you for your support!


Cooperstown Can Have It All – Classical Music, Talk Radio – On WSKG

Cooperstown Can Have

It All – Classical Music,

Talk Radio – On WSKG

To the Editor:

WSKG, the only classical music station accessible to Cooperstown listeners, has recently changed to a new all-talk format on both its frequencies (91.7 and 105.9). This constitutes a real loss for our community, where classical music has a strong cultural and economic presence: witness the Glimmerglass Festival and the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival.
But all is not lost! WSKG operates a partner station, “WSKG Classical,” under the call letters WSQX. Though WSQX is not available in Cooperstown, WSKG could restore classical music to its Cooperstown listeners and supporters by broadcasting classical music content from WSQX on its 105.9 Cooperstown frequency, while continuing its new talk format on its 91.7 frequency.

Hometown History Mar 14 15 2019

Hometown History Mar. 14 – 15 2019

150 Years Ago
Winter has held on well. A hundred days of good sleighing has made it a busy time for lumbermen and wood dealers while farmers have made the most of it in getting home their lime, plaster, salt and other supplies for the season. Visiting parties, socials, donation visits, school exhibitions, educational conventions, reform gatherings, and other associations of the people have made its days and nights pass pleasantly away. It has been to most a cheerful winter too, and its memories will gladden future years.
The joy of the country on the retirement of Andrew Johnson is complete. His “farewell address” is a rehash of all the speeches and vetoes for he has put forth in the last four years, and is of no more account to the nation than would have been the same amount of twaddle from Benedict Arnold when he left for England on the betrayal of his country. The traitors of Baltimore may feast him, and a few may cling to his fortunes, but he is the deadest duck in the nation “for all that.”
March 1869

125 Years Ago
Six years ago last Monday occurred the great blizzard of 1888, when two feet of snow fell on a level in a little more than 24 hours and traffic on railroads the country over was blocked for days. In striking contrast with that dreary day was the weather Monday, with fields bare of snow and streams free from ice, with a smiling sun in the heavens and an occasional courier from the army of northward-hurrying robins to herald the coming of the birds. From New York to St. Paul on Monday no town reported a temperature below 34 degrees.
The cigar makers of Oneonta have sent
a protest to Senators Hill and Murphy against the proposed additional tax of $2 per thousand on cigars. The bill if passed would deal a heavy blow to the cigar
interests of the country.
March 1894

100 Years Ago
New York City – Police, Secret Service men and immigration officers raided a building on East 15th Street early this morning and arrested 195 men and two women. Ten patrol wagons were required to take the prisoners to the criminal courts building, where they are being questioned. All of them are supposed to be radicals. The building raided was occupied, according to the police, by the Union of Russian Peasant Workers of America. One of the prisoners is Mollie Steimer, sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for violation of the espionage law but at liberty on a writ of error pending an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. A large quantity of literature was seized. Among it, the police said, they found several small, red books, printed in Russian, which advocated the overthrow of the United States government.
March 1919

60 Years Ago
Fire obliterated an Emmons Hill Road home on Sunday, reducing a home and trailer combination to a pile of charred rubble despite the efforts of 30 city firemen to quell the blaze. The residence was totally involved when firemen arrived at the scene. Smoke, rolling in thick, black clouds against the twilight sky was visible three miles away in the City of Oneonta. No one was at home when the fire began. Neighbors who called in the alarm said they first saw flames “shooting out of the basement windows.” The cause of the fire is undetermined. Despite the fact that heat from the intensely burning structure could be felt up to 30 yards away, firemen were able to save a garage located within ten feet of the blaze. Firemen survived some hair-raising moments with a pair of propane gas tanks located adjacent to the mobile home portion of the residence. Firemen grappled with the tanks when they first arrived but were unable to get them away from the fiercely burning structure. It wasn’t until several minutes later, when the heat of the fire melted the snow and ice which had imprisoned them, that firemen were able to yank the tanks away from the residence and roll them in snow to cool them down.
March 1959

40 Years Ago
Higher farm prices, inflation in general and the consumer’s continuing demand for convenience will boost family food bills by about 8.5 percent this year a government economist says. William T. Boehm of the Economic Statistics and Cooperative Service of the Agriculture Department made the prediction at a news briefing sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute, a trade group which represents super markets and grocery stores across the nation. Boehm said his estimate is based on an assumption that prices paid to farmers will rise 10 percent to 11 percent this year while marketing costs boosted by inflation will go up 9 percent. He said the estimate takes into account the increases in oil prices that have followed the Iranian revolution and he noted that energy-related costs like packaging and transportation account for about 20 percent of food marketing costs which in turn account for more than 60 cents of every food dollar.
March 1979

20 Years Ago
Hartwick College junior Ria Megnin is a national champion for the second time. Megnin won the high jump with a leap of five feet, 10.5 inches at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships at Ohio Northern University. Megnin won her first national title by winning the outdoor high jump at the 1998 meet. On Friday, Megnin broke a 14-year-old indoor meet record and set the fieldhouse mark with her winning leap.
March 1999

10 Years Ago
Oneonta High senior Maddie Harlem hit a varsity-best 30 points on Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College as the Yellowjackets defeated Section III’s Cazenovia 36-33 in a Class B girls’ basketball state quarterfinal at Liverpool High School. The third-year starting point guard carried Oneonta to their first state playoff victory since 1998. With driving layups, fast break baskets, medium range shots, two three-pointers, and a 10 for 10 showing at the line, Harlem did it all. After Harlem swished a three-pointer in transition from the top of the key with five minutes, 39 seconds left, the student section chanted “You can’t stop her.”
March 200

John Simonds, 90; Retired From D&H

John Simonds, 90; Retired From D&H

ONEONTA – John D. Simonds, 90, who retired after 44 years with the D&H Railroad here, passed away Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Bassett Hospital.
He was born March 8, 1929, in Oneonta the son of the late Francis and Frances (Beams) Simonds.
John married Mary Fisher on Dec. 20, 1974 in Walton. Mary passed away June 17, 2018.
John proudly served his country in the Army as a corporal during the Korean War.
Following his honorable discharge he began working for the D&H Railroad as a conductor. He retired after 44 years of service.
John was a lifelong Oneonta resident. He also spent many winters in Zephyrhills, Fla., at Bakers Acres RV Resort, where he won many shuffleboard tournaments.
He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the American Legion as well as the VFW.
John is survived by his daughter, Deborah (Richard) Brown; grandchildren, Timothy (Candace) Brown, Tina (Ian) Quencer; great-grandchildren, Owen, Bryn, Zoey, Ella and Everett; sisters, Dorothy Gill, Peggy Sorenson, Nancy (Donald) Elliott, Belva (Roger) Linscott; brothers, Russell (Bonny) Simonds and Paul (Carla) Simonds; as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by a sister, Barbara Couse; and brothers, Donald, Gordon and Robert Simonds.
Calling hours will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, March 14, at the Bookhout Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oneonta.
Funeral services will immediately follow at 3 p.m. with the Rev. Judith A. Thistle officiating.
For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to either the National Heart Foundation or the National Kidney Foundation.
Online condolences may be made by visiting
Funeral arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta.


Final Sale Packs McLaughlin’s

Final Sale Packs McLaughlin’s

Local Store’s End Reduces Chain To Single Norwich Site

Stephanie Parez, East Meredith, makes her purchase from Barb Mednansky and Dean Matthews during McLaughlin’s clearance sale.


ONEONTA – As the news that McLaughlin’s on Main Street was closing, shoppers poured in to peruse sales and say hail and farewell to Scott and Anna, who have run the downtown staple since 2016.
“We’re not going that much further (away), so please, stop on by,” Scott McLaughlin, president of the Norwich-based department store, told a customer as the closing sale reached a high pitch Friday, March 8.
Even veteran salesman Gordon Breslin, who fitted generations of Oneontans with new shoes since the days of Zimm’s, helped out.

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