News of Otsego County

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IN MEMORIAM: Phyllis Van Alstine; Cherry Valley Native Taught In L.A.

IN MEMORIAM: Phyllis Van Alstine;

Cherry Valley Native Taught In L.A.

Phyllis J. Van Alstine

CHERRY VALLEY – Phyllis J. Van Alstine, Cherry Valley native and longtime teacher in Los Angeles, passed away on Feb. 10, 2018, in Boulder City, Nev., where she had retired. She was 90.

Phyllis was born on July 5, 1927, in Cherry Valley to Alberta and Victor Yerdon. She attended Cherry Valley High School and received a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Albany University in 1948.

She married Earl Van Alstine on March 23, 1947.   They lived in New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado before finally settling in Los Angeles in the late 1960s.

F. Roger Hickey, 74, Oneonta; Chaired Hartwick Physics Dept.

F. Roger Hickey, 74, Oneonta;

Chaired Hartwick Physics Dept.

F. Roger Hickey
F. Roger Hickey

ONEONTA – F. Roger Hickey, 74, longtime chair of Hartwick College’s physics department, passed away on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at his home, surrounded by his family.

Roger was born June 8, 1942, in Troy, the son of the late Frank R. and Ann (O’Malley) Hickey. He attended Catholic Central High School in Troy. He received his bachelor’s in physics from Sienna College, and both his master’s and doctorate in physics from Clarkson College.

COVID-19 Vaccine Due; Drugstores Prepare

COVID-19 Vaccine Due;

Drugstores Prepare

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – When the COVID-19 vaccine is available, Otsego County will be ready.

“Before the pharmacies could give the flu shot, we used to do a lot of the vaccinations,” said Heidi Bond, county public health director. “We are well aware of what needs to be done when we go into communities that may not have a lot of options for vaccinations.”

With the announcement that Pfizer, whose vaccine reportedly has a 90-percent rate of effectiveness in preventing COVID-19, is applying for “Emergency Use” by the Food & Drug Administration, Bond hopes healthcare workers and first responders could start receiving it as soon as mid-December.

“Front-line workers will be prioritized,” said Bond. “That includes healthcare workers and EMTs.”

And Pfizer isn’t the only trial that’s showing success.

Moderna’s vaccine was reported to have 95-percent efficiency, according to NPR, and the AP reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine,had also shown 90-percent efficiency and, unlike the other two, only required one shot.

In addition to the county Health Department, CVS pharmacies in Cooperstown and Sidney, and Kinney Drugs in Richfield Springs have stepped forward to offer their services in administering the vaccine.

“We’re excited to be part of the community effort to vaccinate against COVID,” said Autumn Koniowka,
pharmacy manager, Cooperstown CVS. “As soon as there is more information made available publically, we’ll start letting people know about the process.”

“When vaccines are authorized and made available to the general public, Kinney pharmacists will be able to administer them following federal vaccine prioritization guidelines,” said Rebecca Bubel, R.Ph. Kinney Drugs president, in a statement. “As we have since 1903, our employee-owners remain 100-percent committed to supporting our communities on the front lines. By working together, we can help bring this pandemic under control.”

Appointments would be scheduled in a similar fashion to their current program, with appointments made online or by calling the pharmacy.

In Oneonta, Walgreens, which has three locations in the city and town, has not indicated whether or not they will offer the vaccine, although they do offer flu and shingles vaccines.

Community partners are critical, said Bond, because otherwise, the Health Department staff could be
“a challenge.”

“We may find ourselves trying to prioritize between contact tracing and vaccinations,” she said.

But with the right resources, including the Health Depart-ment staff, supplemented by volunteers and nursing students, the whole county population – all 59,493 of us – could be vaccinated in three to five days.

The vaccine will be free, although providers may bill a patient’s insurance. Those without insurance will be covered by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund, according to the Center for Disease Control.

But it could still be “3-4 months,” warns Bond, before the general population can line up to get their shot, and much of that depends on how much of the vaccine is sent to the county at a time.

“The earliest I see it available to the general population is March or April,” she said.

J. Taylor Hollist, 84; Local Mormon Leader, SUNY Math Professor


J. Taylor Hollist, 84;

Local Mormon Leader,

SUNY Math Professor

J. Taylor Hollist

ONEONTA – Joseph Taylor Hollist, 84, a SUNY Oneonta math professor who in 13 years as Oneonta branch president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began construction of the West Oneonta meetinghouse, died Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, at the Albany Medical Center of multiple complications following surgery.

Taylor was born on Nov. 14, 1936, in Phoenix, Ariz., the oldest of 10 children to Jennie Brown and Orson LeRoy Hollist.  He was raised in Utah., receiving a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and a master’s degree plus at the University of Utah. In addition to his degree from Utah State, he also broke conference records in pole vaulting.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Candlelight Vigil 12-2-21

Candlelight Vigil


CHRISTMAS – Be an Angel. Sign up to give the gift of Christmas to local families in need with this years Angel Tree Program. Visit for details.

VIGIL – 7 p.m. Bassett will hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the patients who have died of COVID-19. Family is invited to attend in person. All others are invited to attend by Zoom. Presented by Bassett Medical Center. 607-547-3626 or visit

‘Grand Slam Guitars’ fills Cooperstown Main Street storefront
Owners Wayne and Jamie Roche have filled their new store in Cooperstown with plenty of guitars, gear, and music.

‘Grand Slam Guitars’ fills Cooperstown Main Street storefront

By Ted Potrikus

Along with the book shop still there today, 139 Main Street in Cooperstown has seen a wide variety of occupants over its history. In its time, the impressive storefront has housed a car dealership, an auto garage, gift shops, a stereo and record store and now, after more than a year with its lights out, is home once again to retail with the opening of Grand Slam Guitars.

Guitarist Wayne Roche and his wife, Jamie, opened the store in January with a limited schedule — open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons — as they stock the shelves and prepare for the village’s busy spring and summer ahead.

“Yes, we’re creeping open a little bit,” Wayne joked as he walked around the store. It’s filled with guitar gear – parts and accessories, pickups and pick guards, guitar picks that range from the traditional to the exotic, vintage magazines, store-branded shirts, and, of course, an impressive array of new, used, and vintage guitars.

Helen Huntington, 96; Active In Westford’s Community Life

IN MEMORIAM: Helen Huntington, 96;

Active In Westford’s Community Life

Helen Huntington

WESTFORD – Helen Frances Huntington, 96, who was active in Westford’s community life, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2017.

She was born in Worcester, to Otho and Goldie (Barton) Millias. After graduating from Worcester Central School, she worked as a clerk at Scintilla in Sidney.  She married James Huntington on June 3, 1945, and together they raised four children.

An active member of her community, Helen volunteered in many organizations including PTA, Scouts, OES, DAR and St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. She was very social and enjoyed playing bridge and attending church weekly.

IN MEMORIAM: Ruth Anne Pushkar, 84; Worked For Oneonta School District

IN MEMORIAM: Ruth Anne Pushkar, 84;

Worked For Oneonta School District

Ruth Pushkar

ONEONTA – Ruth Anne Pushkar, 84, who, along with her husband, was active with the Oneonta School District, passed away Thursday, May 12, 2016 at AO Fox Hospital Nursing Home in Oneonta.

She was born on Nov. 16, 1931 in Larksville, Pa. the daughter of Joseph and Anna (Borkowski) Gieda. She married Edward S. Pushkar on August 29, 1953 in Plymouth, Pa. He predeceased her on March 3, 1987.

Growing up in Plymouth, PA, Ruth graduated in 1949 from Larksville High School. She worked at Gieda’s Café, a restaurant owned by her family, as well as Isaac Long’s Department store in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Several years after high school, Ruth met and later married her husband. They eventually moved to Mohawk, NY where Edward was offered a teaching position. In 1956 they moved to Oneonta where Edward worked as a History teacher and coached the OHS Varsity Football Team. Ruth was employed for over 40 years as a Payroll Officer for the Oneonta City School District. Retiring in 1987, she returned to work for a short time after her husband’s death.

Green Earth Health Food Market Plants New Roots

Green Earth Health Food
Market Plants New Roots

Dean Roberts Plans Second Outlet On Southside,
Featuring Most Of Same Items, Plus Drive-Through


Dean Roberts, proprietor of the Green Earth in downtown Oneonta, has announced a second location for his popular organic grocery store will open on Southside – and have a drive-thru!

Oneonta – This spring, you’ll be able to enjoy the Green Earth’s delicious organic soups, sandwiches, salads and drinks – to go.
“Our new store will have a drive-through window,” said proprietor Dean Roberts. “We’ll have meals, so you can drive up and say, ‘I’ll have a coffee and a #3.’”
Roberts, who has owned the Green Earth on South Market Street in downtown Oneonta since 2011, will open a second location in March at the Southside Chiropractic campus on Route 23.
“We got an enticing offer from Southside Chiropractic,” he said. “It helps fit into their health and wellness campus.”
In addition to Southside Chiropractic, the campus also hosts the Advanced Nutrition Center and the Sports Performance Rehabilitation Center.
“They’re really dynamic,” he said. “With what they’re doing, I believe they could be as much of a draw to Oneonta as the baseball camps, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

John D. Walrath, 80; Farmer Of Distinction

John D. Walrath, 80;

Farmer Of Distinction

John Walrath
John D. Walrath

EAST SPRINGFIELD – John D. Walrath, 80, a former Otsego County Farm Bureau president who operated a Dairy of Distinction in East Springfield, passed away on Saturday, Feb.20, 2016, at his home.

He was born on May 21, 1935, to Robert and Ruth (Willams) Walrath at his family’s Dutch Corner Farm.  On May 5, 1984, he was married to Gail Welden Patterson; she preceded him in death on Dec. 25, 2013.

John was a graduate of Springfield schools and Cornell.  He enjoyed his life on Dutch Corner Farm working with his father, Bob, as a registered Holstein farmer.

He was an active 63-year member of the National and New York State Holstein Association.  John received the honor of being selected as a delegate to represent  New York State at the National Holstein Convention a few times over his career.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Learn to Bake with the Huntington Memorial Library 05-16-22

Learn to Bake with the
Huntington Memorial Library


BAKING CLASS – 6 p.m. Learn how to make light and fluffy Cinnamon Rolls at home with amateur baker Alex Benjamin. Zoom link & ingredients will be sent 5/13. Cook-a-long or just enjoy the show. Presented online by the Huntington Memorial Library, Oneonta.

BLOOD DRIVE – 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Donate through May 19 for chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps eight. Richfield Springs Community Center, Walnut St., Richfield Springs. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

Mary (Hebbard) Monroe, 84, Oneonta; Co-Owner Of Bookhout Funeral Home

Mary (Hebbard) Monroe, 84, Oneonta;

Co-Owner Of Bookhout Funeral Home

ONEONTA – A graveside service for Mary (Hebbard) Monroe is 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at Glenwood Cemetery in Oneonta.  Mrs. Monroe died Friday, Sept. 7, at Fox Nursing Home, nine days short of her 85th birthday, from complications of COPD.

She was predeceased on Oct. 7, 2016, by her husband David Monroe; the couple co-owned Bookhout Funeral Home.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Theatrical Production of ‘Once Upon A Mattress’ 04-27-22

Theatrical Production of
‘Once Upon A Mattress’


THEATER – 7:30 p.m. Enjoy theatrical production of ‘Once Upon A Mattress’ featuring a hilarious spin on the princess and the pea fairytale. Cost, $5 for the general public, available online or at the box office 1 hour before the show. Presented by the Mask and Hammer Theater Club at the Goodrich Theater, SUNY Oneonta. Visit

BOOSTER CLINIC – 8:30 – 11 a.m. Bassett patients aged 18+ are invited to get their first, second, third, or even fourth dose (for those that qualify) of the COVID-19 vaccine (J&J, Pfizer, & Moderna). Registration required. Bassett Medical Center Prime Care, 1 Atwell Rd., Cooperstown. 607-547-4625 or visit

BLOOD DRIVE – Noon – 5 p.m. SUNY Oneonta. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

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