News of Otsego County

This Week’s Newspapers

Otsego Area Rowing to compete in two regional events

Otsego Area Rowing to compete in two regional events

BY TED POTRIKUS • Special to

Four members of Otsego Area Rowing (OAR) will go to Boston, Massachusetts this weekend to race in the world’s biggest two-day rowing event, the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Lang Keith, Laura Kilty, Joe Novitski, and OAR founder and coach Andrea Thies, a two-time Olympian, compete with international rowers in mixed-double and single-rower events taking place on the city’s famed Charles River.

One week later, OAR sends more rowers, including youth members Creighton Williams, Charlotte Feury and Isabel Dudek to the Head of the Fish event on the Fish River, a few miles outside Saratoga Springs. Thies, Alison Lord, Faith Gay and Abby Rodd will race in the Women’s Masters Quad.

The club, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2017 to introduce local residents to the sport, is based at Brookwood Point on Otsego Lake.

OAR is open to rowers of all ages and any level of experience. This year, OAR hosted more than a dozen adults new to rowing and a similar number of youth rowers during week-long summer camps. OAR racers come from Cooperstown, Oneonta, Cherry Valley, Richfield Springs and West Winfield.

“We try to find a way to make rowing more approachable,” Thies said. “A big part of our mission is to give access to the equipment, to knock down the barriers and work with people who might not think about rowing as a lifetime sport they can enjoy.”

OAR stresses a safety-first regimen focused on rowing basics, steering, proper procedure and navigation. The club’s leaders, Thies and Steve Bohler, are certified U.S. Rowing Level 2 coaches.

“When you’re out racing, it can get pretty intense,” Thies said. “It’s not necessarily a Zen-like experience. You’re going to pass or be passed by other rowers. You’ve got buoys, bridges, and other boats. On the lake, we coach our rowers to be aware of motorboats, swimmers, sailboats.”

Thies said she and the board members guiding OAR hope to expand outreach to area schools, and revisit adaptive programs with revamped equipment for rowers who might require additional assistance.

“Rowing really is for anyone who loves to be outdoors,” she said, recounting her own experience as a Paralympic coach.

“People here had been rowing on their own for years,” Theis continued. “OAR tries to bring them all together in an organized way. Little by little it’s starting to happen. So many people are pulling up their sleeves to literally build this club from the bottom up, and they make my own experience of rowing a joy.”

New Oneonta police chief ‘humbled’ by role

New Oneonta police chief ‘humbled’ by role

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

The Oneonta Police Department has a new chief of police, Christopher Witzenberg, who has a long history of serving in leadership roles.

Witzenberg was previously an OPD lieutenant and became acting chief after Doug Brenner retired last winter.

“It’s humbling,” Witzenberg said. “I’ve been pretty pensive the last week about the things I’ve done to
get here.”

Film Days to go virtual again

Film Days to go virtual again

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Glimmerglass Film Days, a program of Otsego 2000, will present a virtual film festival, plus five in-person events Nov. 4 to 11.

Curated by Artistic Director Margaret Parsons and Programmer Joey Katz, the slate of independent documentaries and narrative features and shorts reflects the theme “Rise.”

Rise” is a word of elastic meanings, and we were first inspired by the term at the start of 2021, hearing Amanda Gorman’s use of it in her poem, ‘The Hill We Climb,’” said Parsons. “The films in this year’s program all reflect some note of ‘rising up,’ but these notes also are beautifully whimsical.”

Based on a survey, Otsego 2000 decided to hold the full festival online for the second year in a row. However, there will be five films shown at the Grandstand Theater at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and at Templeton Hall in Cooperstown. The five films also will be online.

The theme ‘Rise’ captures this duality, as it serves as a beacon of hope and new beginnings but also a word of warning in terms of sea levels and global temperatures,” said Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000. The films include selections from 15 different countries as well as works by indigenous filmmakers.

A Glimmerglass Pass costs $75 and provides online access to 26 feature-length films and two shorts programs, plus online filmmaker talks. All films will be able to be viewed beginning at 7 p.m., Nov. 4. Tickets to individual online films are $5. Both the Glimmerglass Pass and online film tickets are good for a household.

Tickets to the in-person screenings are $10 per person and not included with the Glimmerglass Pass. To attend in-person events, proof of vaccination (NY Excelsior Pass or CDC vaccination card) and photo ID are required. Face masks will be required while watching films.

Passes, tickets, descriptions of each film, and trailers are available at

Opinion by Richard Sternberg: Gen. Colin Powell: An American Hero

Gen. Colin Powell: An American Hero

Gen. Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor died Monday, Oct. 18. He had served the United States for more than four decades. He was 84. He truly was an American hero. He died of complications of COVID-19. He had been fully vaccinated and was scheduled to be given a booster last week when he became acutely ill. He was susceptible to COVID even though vaccinated because he was immunosuppressed.

At one time Gen. Powell was the most admired person in the United States. Both political parties wanted to draft him to run for president. He had followed the best traditions of our military such that no one actually knew what his political positions and party identification was or if he even was enrolled in a party. He turned both parties down saying he felt that campaigning wasn’t for him.

Bound Volumes 10-21-21

Bound Volumes


Among a list of letters remaining in the Post Office at Cooperstown, Otsego County on September 30, 1836 were those addressed to: William Averill, Dr. P. Besancon, Oren Bliss, Harvey Clark, Alfred Clark, Caleb Clark, Morris Cooper, Richard Cooper, Isaac G. Davis, Mrs. C. Holbrook, Ira Ingalls, Miss M. D. Ingalls, Miss C. Kellogg, Peter Olendorf, Elias Parshall, Ticklar Stockwell, Mrs. Sally Smith, Samuel Taber, John G. Wright, Cyrenus Warren, Miss Sabina Wood, Peter Youngs and Miss Chlotilda Yale. John B. Prentiss, P.M.

October 17, 1836


Wanted for our sick and wounded soldiers and prisoners at Richmond, blankets for single beds, quilts of cheap material, knit woolen socks, woolen or Canton flannel bed gowns, wrappers, undershirts and drawers, slippers, small pillows and cushions for wounded limbs, delicacies for the sick, &c. A strong appeal is made for the above articles. Will the ladies of Otsego respond? Articles will be received at Miss Loper’s and forwarded to the proper committee.

October 25, 1861


Miss Constance Fenimore Woolson has rented for the autumn and early winter a part of an old stone villa on the hill called Bellosguardo, outside the Roman gate of Florence, Italy. In the same villa reside Miss Greenough, sister of the sculptor, and Mr. Francis Booth, of Boston, with his daughter and son-in-law Frank Duveneck, the painter. Miss Woolson’s quarters have an old garden in front of them and are very romantically situated. Across the western end of her reception room is a broad parapet, just elbow high, to lean upon, and from this parapet the distinguished novelist gazes upon the most beautiful landscape in Italy — the valley of the Arno westward, with the strange outlines of the Carrara Mountains at its end, and the river like a silver ribbon winding down toward Pisa and the sea. Not far distant is the smaller villa where Miss Woolson’s great-uncle, James Fenimore Cooper, spent two summers with his family sixty years ago.

October 23, 1886


The death of Charles C. Rummer of Goodyear Lake, former custodian at the Cooperstown Post Office, occurred last Tuesday at his home following a heart attack which suffered while mowing his lawn. He was 73 years old. Mr. Rummer had lived in Cooperstown for many years where he was employed in the post office for 19 years until his retirement in 1958. He moved to Goodyear Lake six months ago. Mr. Rummer was an ardent fisherman and was an authority on fishing in Otsego Lake. He was born in Binghamton on August 30, 1888, the son of Daniel and Jane Rummer and was married to the former Miss Grace Wells on September 11, 1911 in Cooperstown. Her death occurred on June 21, 1957.

October 18, 1961


Another attempt to organize a union is presently taking place at The Otesaga summer resort hotel. The reasons for the attempt to organize focus in part on an apparent lack of insurance coverage, no real benefits for employees, no vacation benefits, and the breakdown of money that employees receive from the 15-percent gratuities figured into the bills paid by those staying at the hotel. The organizing effort is led by Rick and Janet Cornell under the aegis of the Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders Union, Local 471, in Saratoga Springs. The Cornells also hope to establish job security and receive better treatment by management.

October 22, 1986

Cooperstown junior reaches goal of marathon finish before 16th birthday

Cooperstown junior Fred Hodgson runs in the Syracuse Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 17. (contributed)

Cooperstown junior
reaches goal of
marathon finish
before 16th birthday

By GREG KLEIN  • Special to

A Cooperstown Central School junior achieved his goal of running a marathon before his 16th birthday.

Fred Hodgson, who turns 16 Friday, Oct. 22, finished the Syracuse Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 17, in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 13 seconds. His time placed Hodgson 58th out of 178 runners. He placed first in his age bracket, but that was expected, he said.

I was the youngest person in the race by about four years,” he said Monday.

Up on Hawthorn hill by Richard deRosa: A few modest proposals

Up on Hawthorn hill
by Richard deRosa
A few modest proposals

A few modest proposals to get off my chest, fully aware of their never seeing the light of day.

I seem to start off every morning, usually in response to something I hear on the radio, with a remedy for whatever comment or issue has incited my pique.

My wife Sandy, the unfortunate recipient of these early morning rants, has suggested on a number of occasions that I air these suggestions in one of my essays. I suspect she feels such a public airing might do the trick, the trick being that once aired I might just keep quiet for a while, at least until bumping into new material that prompts my pique anew.

So, here goes.

I am a sports fan. Truth be told, I spend more time watching sports than I should. Among my favorite sports to watch are tennis, basketball, soccer and tennis. Having stumbled on volleyball during the Olympics and consequently become thoroughly mesmerized by the athleticism and skills displayed, it is now on the list.

However, I have two proposals to make that I feel would improve both basketball and tennis. At least from this spectator’s point of view.

The grunts and primal screams are irritating enough. They should be prohibited, but never will be. However, the game would be far more interesting — and entertaining — to watch if there were a speed limit placed on the first serve. Having watched too many matches where all the players do is ace one another, there is very little actual tennis played. Few players ever bother to come to the net, where a lot of the best skills are called upon. Most are content to straddle the base line and hammer the ball back and forth. Gets to be downright boring. If there were a first serve limit perhaps the ball would be in play far more and then ardent fans like me would watch more. As it stands now, I tape most matches that interest me. If after a fair spell it appears that service aces will dominate, I fast forward just to see who might have won. Not much fun in that. The antidote to this for me has been to watch more doubles — more interesting, more varied play, lots of nifty net play, and few doubles players offer up unreturnable serves by virtue of their mph.

Now for basketball: I suspect I am one of a slim minority who abhors the dunk, as well as the chest pounding that often accompanies it. Frankly, there are far more self-congratulatory antics displayed in many sports than should be allowed. Seems as if humility is a lost moral art form. I like the three-point shot as well as the traditional two-pointer. Why should a dunk be worth more than one point?
It would be a fair spread of value attributed to a physical act.

A friend suggests that some thought be given to raising the basket. I doubt if that will ever happen, as there is too much hoopla associated with dunking. For me, it remains an opportunity for a heartfelt yawn.

Now for politics, which used to be characterized, at least by some, as the art of getting things done together for the common good. Scrap that notion! I never used to be in favor of term limits; I am now. Aside from the embarrassing shenanigans both parties have displayed of late, both houses of Congress resemble gladiatorial contests rather than the mutually respectful houses of honest and open-minded deliberation on all of our behalves that they should be. I suggest that House terms be limited to two consecutive four-year terms. Senate terms should be limited to two consecutive six-year terms. That is it. Plenty of time to acclimate to rules, procedures, etc. Then, go home and get your haircut at the local barber, work out at the local gym, send your mail at the local post office, bowl at the local alley and, just maybe, relearn what it is like to live among the “working people” whose virtues you extoll at a comfy, abstracted distance.

Next thing I would suggest is that they sit together, mix it up a bit. Battle lines are drawn by virtue of how members of both parties are seated, both during deliberations and committee hearings. It is a designated standoff right from the start. Therefore, nothing at all resembling actual discussion or an honest sharing of views ever takes place. A country is not served well at all by a system that fosters enmity and sees the other as the enemy.

I doubt any of these modest proposals will ever come about. Thought I would throw them out and see how they might be caught. Were she here right now, Gabby would agree that some things are worth taking a shot at, no matter the consequences.

The Old Badger: Behind the Badger Front

The Old Badger
Behind the Badger Front

First published in The Freeman’s Journal January 4, 1984

Just a minute!” I said, pushing my chair away from the table, “Just a minute, I have the answer right here” and leaving the room precipitously I also left the seated couple blinking and bemused. One of them had asked me why I used the name Badger, assuming, not illogically, that it was a pseudonym. If it’s anything, it is a mesonym.

Badger is my middle name. Really!

I returned to the room and plopped a glossy reprint of an 1865 catalogue onto the table in front of them. The title was clear, “Badger’s Illustrated Catalogue of Cast-iron Architecture by Daniel D. Badger (The Architectural Iron Works of the City of New York)”.

Opinion by Nate Lull: Two marathons in a week? One reporter’s crazy running dream

Opinion by Nate Lull
Two marathons in a week? One reporter’s crazy running dream

I know it sounds cliché but I don’t often like to talk about my personal life. That might seem strange for someone who has a job that is in the public eye, but it has just always felt odd to me to talk about myself. I would much rather write a story about someone else and give them time in the spotlight.

Nevertheless, occasionally I’m involved in something that enough people want to know more about, they twist my arm, and I end up telling the story. In this case, my story is running two marathons in seven days.

Now I know some of you are thinking, “So how far is a marathon?” A marathon is 26.2 miles and is one of the longest distances for road races. It is a distance that can humble you and tear you down to your lowest level. It is also a distance that, if conquered, can give you one heck of a “runners high,” and that is why I keep going back for more.

Editorial: Local owners/local news

Local owners/local news

The Freeman’s Journal, our village’s venerable newspaper of 213 years — and one of the oldest continually published weeklies in the country — has a long and complicated history, both of news and of ownership. It has chronicled the workings of our town and the opinions of our residents through the country’s wars, holidays, prohibitions and depressions, as well as through the state’s droughts, blizzards, elections, floods, tragedies, surprises and celebrations.

The Freeman’s Journal is our newspaper of record, printing legal notices, death notices, opinions, letters, events, culture, and all matter of news and amusements. It has been known to publish the weather reports and the temperatures and the amount of rain or snow that has fallen over a given week. In fact, the Journal is a true and unbiased document that reveals — and archives — the fascinating and varied story of Cooperstown. Not every village or community can boast this.

Journalist with local ties details work at southern border
Photo by Jim McKeever of border wall in Tijuana showing names of deported military veterans. (contributed)

Journalist with local ties details work at southern border

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

RICHFIELD SPRINGS — Jim McKeever, an independent journalist, spoke about his experience volunteering at the southern border to a small group at the Richfield Springs Food Coop on Friday, Oct. 15.

McKeever, who went to the border in Texas and Tijuana, among other places, spoke of the Kafkaesque process asylum seekers needed to go through in order to enter the United States.

Asylum is non-existent right now,” McKeever said, who volunteered at shelters and legal rights organizations, trying to prepare migrants for asylum, as well as doing water drops in the desert. “Asylum approval rates are horrible.”

Oneonta won’t opt out on marijuana

Oneonta won’t opt out on marijuana

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

The city of Oneonta has no plans to opt out of recreational sales of marijuana, according to local politicians.

In New York’s legal marijuana bill, which passed April 30, municipalities are able to decide to opt out on marijuana dispensaries by Dec. 31.

However, there is no movement to opt out in Oneonta. According to Mayor Gary Herzig, no one on the Common Council has advocated for the city to opt out.

Herzig said he is in favor of the city taking no action and allowing itself to be a candidate for dispensary licensees to operate in the city.

Cooperstown issues permit for new Halloween parade
Collin Aldycki, then 4, of Cooperstown, dressed up as a policeman for Halloween during the 2019 parade. (Ian Austin).

Cooperstown issues permit
for new Halloween parade

STAFF REPORT • Special to

COOPERSTOWN — The village will have a Halloween parade after all.

The Cooperstown Board of Trustees approved a permit for a Halloween parade at a special meeting Thursday, Oct. 21, at Village Hall at 22 Main St.

The parade will begin at 4:45 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, at the east end of Main Street, near Cooper Park. Parade-goers are encouraged to gather near Village Hall where they can socially distance. The parade will end at Chestnut Street, so people can leave in various directions.

Wednesday Playoff Roundup: CV-S upsets Margaretville, Unatego, Franklin, Milford advance
Milford’s Kara Mertz and Laurens’s Libby Cox battle for control of the ball during the first half of the Wildcats 2-0 sectional win over the Leopards. (Cheryl Clough).

Wednesday Playoff Roundup:
CV-S upsets Margaretville,
Unatego, Franklin, Milford advance

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Kara Mertz and Lilian Cohn scored as Milford advanced in the Section IV Class D girls soccer tournament with a 2-0 win over visiting Laurens on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Mertz scored 12 minutes into the match when Lexi Sutphin sent a  ball into the box for a 1-0 Milford lead.

Laurens almost tied the game before half but Milford goalie Leeanna West charged at a solid shot using her body to block it preserving the Wildcats lead into the break

With 20 minutes left in the game, Milford freshman Lillian Cohn made it 2-0 hitting a shot that found the upper net.

Leeanna West got the clean sheet in goal for Milford.

The Wildcats will play at Schenevus in the Section IV Class D quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 22.

More results below.

Oneonta mayoral debate covers economic development and town gown relations

Oneonta Mayoral Debate covers economic development
and town gown relations

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

ONEONTA — Mayoral candidates and Common Council members Len Carson, R-Fifth Ward, and Mark Drank, D-Eighth Ward, discussed a range of topics at a virtual debate hosted by the League of Women Voters via Zoom on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Among the topics discussed were economic development, town-gown relations and housing.

Neither candidate had major disagreements on fundamental issues, although their approach to developing Market Street differed.

In his opening statement, Drnek touted how he set up the “Survive and Thrive” campaign in response to COVID, as well as a town-gown task force in order to improve relations between the city and the colleges.

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