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County Ex-Pats Report From COVID Hot Spots


County Ex-Pats Report

From COVID Hot Spots

Cooperstown’s May-Britt Joyce visits her daughter Jenny, a nurse in Seattle, where the earliest widespread U.S. infections occurred.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – The city that never sleeps has become a “ghost town.” Ask Carleigh Bettiol.

“As of 8 p.m. Sunday evening, the city was on lockdown,” she said. “People are not allowed out unless for essential trips such as grocery, pharmacy, or medical visits.”

Carleigh Bettiol

Bettiol, daughter of Patricia Bettiol and the late Gene Bettiol Jr. turned Broadway star, is holed up in her Manhattan apartment. “On a normal day, I would most likely be taking the subway somewhere, going to an audition, going to take a fitness class or meeting a friend for dinner,” she said. “Now I spend my time cooking, cleaning, doing puzzles and home workouts.”

Jenny Joyce, daughter of Cooperstown’s May-Britt Joyce now working as a nurse in Seattle, echoed the “ghost town” sentiment about her city.

“There is no one out and about,” she said. “The restaurants and movie theaters are empty. We went to a ski area a few weekends ago, and it was only open to pass holders so there wouldn’t be as many people on the slopes. It was the only one that was even open.”

Even the famed Pike Place Market is abandoned as stores were ordered closed. “On the upside, my commute is a third of what it was,” she joked.
Joyce was on the front lines even before the first official cases of COVID-19 were declared. “We didn’t have access to testing,” she said. “We saw people who had symptoms, but no travel associated with coronavirus. We thought they were fine, but we didn’t know.”

Flu season was still in full effect, and pneumonia was a concern. “It’s frustrating, because we saw this coming, and we felt like we weren’t being heard,” she said. “Washington has been trying since January to say ‘something isn’t right.’”

Though testing is available, she said that many clinics throughout Washington State are running low on supplies. “We’re low on masks,” she said. “So my clinic is holding off on testing. We’re only doing it in designated areas now, trying to find ways to mitigate exposure to other patients.”

She echoed the advice of the CDC, including hand-washing and social distancing. “It’s nice to see people taking it seriously,” she said. “As we learn more and more, it’s going to be better to wrap our brains around it.”

And if you do get it, she advised, only go to the emergency room if you are having trouble breathing. “Testing is important, but it doesn’t change what your doctor would tell you,” she said. “Unless you are severely ill, you’re going to end up treating it at home.”

Though Bettiol is healthy, she admits that the quarantine has its own tolls. “I think the lack of fresh air is the toughest part,” she said. “I often take walks on the Upper West Side just to reset and get fresh air in my regular day-to-day, so that has been a challenge.”

But she sees that quarantine is a good time to learn something new, catch up on your reading or schedule online chats with friends. “There are a ton of online classes you can take, from cooking to dance lessons,” she said. “Or set up little happy hour dates with your friends and family via Zoom to make it seem like you’re out with them!”

And hopefully, the lockdowns will prevent the further spread of the virus.

“I hope you don’t get it here,” said Joyce.

Village Board Attendees Can Sit 6-Feet-Plus Apart

Village Board Attendees

Can Sit 6-Feet-Plus Apart

Monthly Meeting Moved To Ballroom

The Village Board meeting is moving to Village Hall’s second floor.

COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board’s monthly meeting is Monday, and Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch announced it will proceed as scheduled, but – adapting to the Coronavirus threat – will be moved from the basement meeting room at 22 Main to the second-floor ballroom.

This will allow attendees to space themselves 6 feet apart, as recommended by “social distancing” guidelines.  While the trustees and Village Administrator Teri Barown will be present, the treasurer, zoning enforcement office and public works superintendent may receive waivers.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., and two public hearings will proceed as announced at 7 p.m., on the following matters:

Leaving Nature Behind, Earth Fest Goes Digital

Leaving Nature Behind,

Earth Fest Goes Digital

5 Days Of Virtual Events Planned

COOPERSTOWN – Due to the coronavirus threat, Otsego County Conservation Association is taking the annual Earth Festival online, the OCCA announced this afternoon.

The event, originally scheduled for April 18, will instead be a five-day event taking place online. This is the 15th year the Earth Festival is showcasing local environmentally themed organizations and businesses.

“We wanted to find a way to help people celebrate the earth, learn about new earth-focused groups and products and connect with like-minded people,” said OCCA Executive Director Amy Wyant.

Oneonta UPS Worker Helps Stop Scam


Oneonta UPS Worker

Helps Stop Online Scam

ONEONTA – An employee at the Oneonta UPS store on Southside helped stop a victim from sending thousands of dollars to what turned out to be a scam artist, according to Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond.

DuMond’s department was contacted by an elderly bank customer who had responded to a pop-up notification on their computer, stating that the machine was in need of repair.

When the “mark” responded, the scammer was able to gain control of the computer’s operating system, and convince the victim to share personal financial account information, allowing access to the victim’s financial account on-line, then locking and restricting the victim’s access to the computer.

SUNY, Hartwick Presidents Will Suspend Classes

SUNY, Hartwick

Presidents Will

Suspend Classes

Beginning March 23, Colleges

To Offer ‘Remote Instruction’

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


ONEONTA – Both local college presidents – SUNY Oneonta’s Barbara Jean Morris and Hartwick’s Margaret L. Drugovich – this evening announced they will be shifting to online instruction, beginning Monday, March 23.

In sending the students home, both are acting out of concern about the unknown dimension of the coronavirus outbreak, which has emerged downstate and in Saratoga County.

In a statement issued at 7:50 p.m., SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris said she was following Governor Cuomo’s directive, issued this afternoon, that “instruction across SUNY will move to other modalities.”

Merle A. Keller, 60; Worked At Denny’s, Brooks Bar-B-Q

IN MEMORIAM: Merle A. Keller, 60;

Worked At Denny’s, Brooks Bar-B-Q

Merle A. Keller

ONEONTA – Funeral services are tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 16, Merle A. Keller, 60, of Oneonta, who worked at Denny’s and Brook’s House of Bar-B-Q.  He passed away Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 in the Cooperstown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

He was born Jan. 22, 1959, in Albany, the son of Raymond J. and Virginia M. (Prey) Keller. A lifelong Upstate resident, Merle lived in the Albany area, Otego, Morris and finally Oneonta. He graduated from Morris Central School, receiving his high school diploma, and attended BOCES.

Edward Ziobro Jr., 69; Accountant At Amphenol For 35 Years

IN MEMORIAM: Edward Ziobro Jr., 69;

Accountant At Amphenol For 35 Years

Ed Ziobro

MOUNT UPTON – Edward Ziobro Jr., 69, of Mount Upton, an accountant at Amphenol for 35 years, passed away on Jan. 2, 2020, at Fox Hospital in Oneonta.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Melody; and his three daughters who were his pride and joy and his greatest achievement, Heather Ziobro of Auburn, Heidi Ziobro and her husband, Sinan Erzurumlu of Needham, Massachusetts and Hayle Ziobro and her partner, Amber Benlian of Washington, D.C. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Evren and Esra Ziobro Erzurumlu and Olive and Maezie Ziobro.

Purchase a Subscription

Purchase a Subscription

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By Mail: Send a check or money order in for an amount specified below to The Freeman’s Journal, P.O. Box 890, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Please make check payable to” The Freeman’s Journal.”
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Please make check payable to “The Freeman’s Journal.”
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Virginia ‘Gina’ Dwyer, 88;Raised 9 Children, Then Became Teacher

IN MEMORIAM: Virginia ‘Gina’ Dwyer, 88;

Raised 9 Children, Then Became Teacher

Virginia “Gina” Dwyer

ONEONTA – Virginia A. “Gina” Dwyer, 88, who after raising her nine children began a second career teaching at Unatego Central School, peacefully passed away at home in the early morning hours of May 20, 2019.

Gina was born in Brooklyn, daughter of Ida O’Connor Smith and Norbert Smith, and grew up to be an accomplished young lady. She graduated from St. Francis Xavier Academy and attended Good Council College, then married Thomas F. Dwyer in 1952, and promptly moved to Camp Lejuene where he was stationed in the Marine Corps.

In 1954, they moved back to Brooklyn. In 1959, they settled in Nanuet and raised a family of nine children before embarking on her own path.

Fenimore Publishes Book On Its Hamilton Letters

Fenimore Publishes Book

On Its Hamilton Letters

Hit Broadway Musical Elevated Interest
In Correspondence Leading To Famed Duel
“Your Obedient Servant” is available at The Fenimore gift shop and online.

COOPERSTOWN – The Fenimore Art Museum today announced the publication of “Your Obedient Servant: The Letters of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr,” built around the 35 letters between the two Founding Fathers leading up to their fatal duel on July 11, 1804.

“Your Obedient Servant” includes 10 of the most significant letters that have never been illustrated.  The text of the letters has not appeared collectively in a single volume since “Interview in Weehawken” (1960).

Florence Smith White, 97; Taught Textiles, Design At SUNY Oneonta

IN MEMORIAM: Florence Smith White, 97;

Taught Textiles, Design At SUNY Oneonta

Florence White

MORRISVILLE – Florence Smith White, 97, who taught interior design and clothing/textiles at SUNY  Oneonta until retiring in 1983.passed away on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Crouse Community Center, Morrisville.

During the week before her passing, family and friends surrounded her with love, singing, prayer, Bible reading, video chats, phone calls and wonderful memories were shared and made.

She leaves behind her three children, Patricia, Winky and Karen; seven grandchildren, Michelle, Kimberly, Yuichiro, Kenji, Emilie, Eddie and Nancy; and seven great-grandchildren.

Energy Taskforce Sets Out Ambitious Plan in First Meeting

Energy Taskforce Sets Out

Ambitious Plan in 1st Meeting

Barbara Ann Heegan, right, studies her notes in preparation for the first meeting of the county’s new Energy Taskforce had its first full-member meeting in Town Hall on Wed., Feb. 27. Members and advisers bring a wide range of expertise, including the energy sector, economic development, conservation, academia, and governmental agencies.Most of the 21 members and 15 technical advisers attended, with a few calling in online, due to weather.  (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO)

by JENNIFER HILL • Special to

WEST ONEONTA – In the first convening of the 38-member Otsego County Energy Taskforce Town Hall Wednesday evening, County Board Rep. Meg Kennedy, a founder of the group, announced its end goal: an ambitious plan “that will address the current and future energy needs of Otsego County” by October 2020.

Calling the plan’s timeline “ambitious,” Kennedy said the Taskforce aimed to complete a draft of the plan by June 2020, have a public commentary period the following month, for a minimum of 30 days, and go through a SEQRA review of the plan that August, all  before the Otsego Board would vote on adopting the plan in October of that year.


Meet Area Professionals


NETWORKING – 6-7:30 p.m. Monthly networking mixer with the Young Professionals Network. B-side Ballroom, 1 Clinton Plaza Dr., Oneonta. Info,

SKYPE CLASS – 1-4 p.m. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info,

COLLEGE PLANNING – 6-7:30 p.m. For Juniors, Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info,

FOMA MEETING – 7-8 p.m. Cooperstown High School Faculty Room, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info,


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