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DiNapoli To Address County Board At Noon


DiNapoli To Address

County Board At Noon

Tom DiNapoli

COOPERSTOWN – State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is scheduled to address the Otsego County Board of Representatives at noon today via Zoom on the budget challenges the state and county are facing due to the coronavirus shutdown.

The county representatives have been struggling with budget challenges since Governor Cuomo’s March 13 emergency declaration, which erased the 2020 tourism season, imposing a spending freeze and laying off 59 employees so far.

Tourism has been the mainstay of the Otsego County economy and the sales and bed tax it generates has been the major funding source of county government.

Hartwick College Aims To Open

Hartwick College

To Open This Fall

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

A smiling President Drugo- vich breaks the good news in her latest video: The college hopes to welcome students back Aug. 22.

ONEONTA – Hartwick College is serious about reopening this fall – and serious about getting it right.

The key to success is a safe campus. The tool to achieve it is “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College,” which college President Margaret L. Drugovich announced in her latest weekly video to the campus community, Sunday, June 21, and is central to the reopening plan submitted to the State of New York.

All students returning to campus Aug. 22, as well as faculty, staff and anyone working on Oyaron Hill, will have to review the Compact and sign it. Classes are due to begin Aug. 31.

“We believe (the Compact) is enforceable, we believe that individuals who refuse to agree – whether a student, employee or individual who refuses to adhere – they can’t be on our campus,” Drugovich said in an interview. “We just don’t think individuals have the right to put other people at risk.”

The community is advised “that you will adhere – to markings on the floor, to daily screenings, to masks in the presence of others, to reduced density rules. You will be refused access to campus if you have symptoms. This is what we need to do to minimize the spread,” she said. “We feel we have a right to do so, and we’re going to exercise that right.”

Governor Cuomo’s Reopening New York website posted “Higher Education Guidelines” late Saturday, June 20, and Drugovich advised the campus community that Hartwick’s reopening plan has been submitted to Albany. She said more details will be forthcoming, perhaps as soon as her Sunday, June 28, video.

Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta’s 8,000 students are cornerstones of the local economy, so their plans are of intense local interest in some quarters. While Hartwick is sharing its reopening plans, SUNY Oneonta is apparently prohibited from doing so. “We are not at liberty to say what that is until we receive approval from SUNY,” said spokesperson Kim MacLeod.

Hartwick’s decision didn’t just happen, Drugovich said. It grew out of her creation of a “strategic response team,” convened March 3, 10 days before Cuomo’s emergency declaration.

Key administrators and faculty members, as well as vendors that operate the dining halls and provide other services, have been meeting twice a week since then, “making decisions on what we need to do. First, to close and go to remote instruction; and every significant decision we’ve made since then.”

Drugovich also convenes weekly Zoom conversations, open to all employees, and “145 people show up every week.” In them, “I bring people up to date with what is true,” but “we spend most of the time talking about people’s concerns. I keep people informed, so they can leave and think for themselves, and decide for themselves.”

In early May, Drugovich convened 15 “problem-set groups,” involving more than 100 people, “that came together on one of 15 problems.”

“One problem: how to be ready to deliver education, whether or not we’d be able to meet in person,” she said. “Another problem, how to reopen athletics. Another: how to support students who would not be able to return because of COVID but want to continue their educations.

“That ended up being the core of our plan.”

A key “problem” was how to keep people safe. In addition to individual actions contained in the Compact, “we’ve been making major changes in dining. There’s no more self-service. There will be kiosks to order; or students can order their food online.

“We’re going to be limiting foot traffic. We’re going to screen people as they come into buildings … We’ve been able to operate in a certain way for so long: But this has allowed – has required – us to think differently.”

While Hartwick’s plan is one of the early ones to surface, Drugovich said components will be contained in other institutions plans, because “we’ve all been talking to each other.” In her case, as vice chair of the national Council of Independent Colleges.

She declined to comment on what she’s learned about leadership from watching Governor Cuomo, President Trump and others, but observed, “Many leaders are trying to stay isolated and making decisions on their own. It’s making a terrible mistake. You need the insights of colleagues to solve these problems and solve them well.”

Insights obtained from the last few months? For one, the lack of dependable Internet within short distances from campus. One administrator kept going dark during a meeting.

Another, students have always gotten sick; now distance learning will let the college continue to serve them.

Valedictorian: ‘We Took What Was Thrown At Us, Adapted’


Valedictorian: ‘We Took What

Was Thrown At Us, Adapted’

Schenevus Class of 2020 Valedictorian Patricia Beagle tells her classmates that “a positive mindset, hard work and persistence” were the keys to success as part of Friday evening’s virtual graduation ceremony on the lawn of Schenevus Central School. “This is not what we expected,” she said. “But we took what was thrown at us and we adapted.” Parents presented their students with their diplomas; at right, Dr. Kelly Gallagher presents a diploma to her son, Salutatorian Hugh Gallagher.  (Via Zoom)

Clifford Nelson Forman, 85 July 1934-June 29, 2020


Clifford Nelson Forman, 85

July 1934-June 29, 2020

COOPERSTOWN – Adventurer Clifford Nelson Forman passed away June 29, 2020, at the family cottage on Otsego Lake, with a wonderful view of the glimmering lake before him while surrounded by his loving partner, Carolyn Skorka, family members and friends, with whom he was able to smile and share stories of his many remarkable adventures.

Cliff served in the Army with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg from Sept. 27, 1954, until Sept. 26, 1956, serving as a paratrooper’s photographer. During his service he took many remarkable photos.

Village Board Meeting, Not Virtually, In-Person


Village Board Meeting,

Not Virtually, In-Person

Robert Nelson, Fair Street, left, waits to voice his concern about boats with trailers eating up parking on weekends as the first in-person Cooperstown Village Board meeting since March gets underway this evening in the third-floor ballroom at 22 Main.  Trustees and members of the public – there were four – were spaced to meet the 6-foot social distancing recommendation.  Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch agreed with Nelson that the COVID-19 threat has increased boaters’ usage of Otsego Lake, and the boat launching area on Fish Road.  She said the village’s parking officer will be advised to be vigilant.  At this hour, the trustees are discussing the law that would make mask-wearing mandatory downtown.  The area covered is being expanded on Main Street from Fair to Chestnut to River Street to Pine Boulevard; the Pioneer Street section remains at Church to Lake.  The mayor announced the Village Board will hold a public hearing on Aug. 10 for comment on the law.  (Jim Kevlin/
From Edmeston Comes NYC Angel Of Mercy

From Edmeston Comes

NYC Angel Of Mercy

Funeral director David Delker discusses his missions to New York City. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

EDMESTON – The family, David Delker said, was desperate.

“They were calling from Florida, but their mom was in The Bronx,” he said. “She wasn’t a COVID-19 death, but the funeral homes in the city had a month and half backlog, and they were just calling further and further upstate.

“They were panicking, they had seen the horror stories and were thinking the worst. But as soon as I started talking to them, you could hear that fear dissipating.”

Delker, owner of Delker & Terry Funeral Home in Edmeston, has begun serving families from New York City and downstate.

“I’m happy to drive four hours to get someone’s mom or their dad and bring them up here for a service,” he said. “Because that’s what I would want someone to do for my family.”

As the deaths from COVID-19 overwhelm funeral homes and the city’s five crematoriums, grieving families are often left frustrated as they try to schedule a service.

“I’ve gotten 25, maybe 30 calls from the city,” he said. “If I can, I’ll refer them to someone closer to them, or I reach out to my network and find out who has an open spot for cremation and I’ll handle the service.”

New York State prevents funeral homes from owning crematoriums or cemeteries, but Delker will make as many calls as he has to in order to find an opening in the schedule. “I have a whole network across the state, so I can make those calls and find out who has an opening,” he said.

That network is crucial, he aid, because of burial rights for different religions. “I’ve done a lot of Hindu services,” he said. “They want to say their prayers at the moment of cremation, so I text them from the crematorium when I know it’s begun.”

Once he has made arrangements with the family – often driving downstate to meet with them – he will locate the body and bring it back to Edmeston himself.

“I want to put the rumors to rest,” he said. “The bodies are not stacked on top of each other. Hospitals are trying to preserve the dignity. There are trailers, yes, and there are a lot of them, but they are organized. But sometimes, there are a lot of questions about where a loved one is.”

His network allows him to have a “three-to-four day” turn-around, and he can quickly mail the remains back to the families downstate. “I do what I can,” he said. “Just because there’s a pandemic on doesn’t mean I can’t be kind and considerate.”

And for those who do have services, new guidelines are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re only allowing 10 people at a time for viewings,” he said. “Everyone has to be wearing a mask, and the chairs are six feet apart. We deep clean between every service as well.”

Delker also allows families to livestream the service over password-protected streams, such as Zoom or Google Chat, to prevent crashers.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Local Author On Writing Fiction, Nonfiction, More 07-22-20

Local Author On Writing

Fiction, Nonfiction, More


AUTHOR SERIES – 7 – 8 p.m. Join Zoom meeting with local author Deborah Blake where she discusses how she got her start, the topics she writes about, her different processes between fiction, non-fiction writing. Talk followed by Q&A session. Presented by Huntington Memorial Library. Visit for info.

Clark, Y At Home, Yoga For The Kids And Dance Parties


Clark, Y At Home,

Yoga For The Kids

And Dance Parties

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

If the weather is lousy or you just don’t feel like going outside, there are plenty of low-cost (or free!) online fitness classes, from Zumba and yoga to chair workouts and cardio, from kids to grandparents.

Libby Cudmore Headshot
Libby Cudmore is managing editor of The Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta and

The Clark Sports Center offers Pound classes, chair and at-home workouts and even a series for kids on their YouTube channel, all taught by your favorite instructors.

Zoe Curtis is offering her Fitness With Zoe Zumba and Pound classes over Zoom. Classes are by donation, RSVP on
Facebook for class invite.

Oneonta YMCA members can check out a variety of online classes, including Y 360, five-minute 12 Burst exercises and Silver Sneaker workouts for seniors. Check in with your Y membership for full access!

If your kids have been watching movies,
obsessively, give them a break from the TV with yoga themed around “Frozen” “Trolls” “Harry Potter” and more from CosmicKids.

Have a party and get fit! Plyojam is offering a 30-day free trial of all their dance-inspired workouts.

Planet Fitness is offering a daily class, taught by fitness celebrities and personal trailers, all over Facebook Live. You
don’t even need to be a member! 7 p.m.

Barry’s trainers are also offering classes twice a day over Instagram.

City Clerk Nancy Powell Retires; Deputy Clerk Steps Into Role

City Clerk Nancy Powell Retires;

Deputy Clerk Steps Into Position

Nancy Powell

ONEONTA – After five years, City Clerk Nancy Powell has announced her retirement, with deputy clerk Kerriann Harrington expected to be appointed by vote during the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

“Nancy has  a long history with the City of Oneonta,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “She started as Oneonta’s first female firefighter, and has committed to serving the people of the city. We appreciate all she’s done and wish her all the best.”

Baseball Hall on Google

Cal Ripken, Phil Niekro Help Young Fans

Navigate Google Cultural Institute At Hall

Youngsters from the New Scotland Elementary School in Albany work side by side with Cal Ripken, Jr. and Phil Niekro today at the Baseball Hall of Fame exploring the virtual tour of the museum now available on the Google Cultural Institute.  E-visitors can pass through the halls and zoom in on photos and displays with the click of a mouse. (Ian Austin/
Youngsters from the New Scotland Elementary School in Albany work side by side with Cal Ripken, Jr. and Phil Niekro today at the Baseball Hall of Fame exploring the virtual tour of the museum now available on the Google Cultural Institute.  E-visitors can pass through the halls and zoom in on photos and displays with the click of a mouse. (Ian Austin/
2nd Amendment Rally Delayed; 2AS Group Preparing Petitions

2nd Amendment Rally

Delayed; 2AS Group

Preparing Petitions

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

LAURENS – Due to the Coronavis threat and Governor Cuomo’s restrictions on gatherings, the Otsego County Second Amendment Rally planned this Sunday at the VFW Post 1417 on Ellis Road has been postponed, according to Pat Brockway.

Meanwhile, the 2AS group seeking to have the county declared a sanctuary where the SAFE Act would not be enforced is continuing to compile petitions, and by March 27 hopes to have signatures verified and ready to be presented to the county Board of Representatives at its April 1 meeting.

Humor, The Best Antidote

Humor, The Best Antidote

Oneonta’s Julie Carney sent along photos of two signs inspired by the coronavirus threat.  Above, the Country Dooryard sign between Portlandville and Milford references the classic line from “The Lone Ranger” asking, “Who is that masked man?” and answers with the contemporary social-distancing reminder; “It’s you.”   Inset, right: Pastor Steve Fournier of the Milford Center Community Bible Church added a bit of needed humor to his sign: “You don’t need Zoom … to meet with Jesus.”  If you see signs of these times, email them to and we’ll post them here.

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