News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.




HERKIMER – Two people were stabbed during a fight at 1 p.m. at Herkimer County Community College’s  Campus Meadows housing, the college announced a few minutes ago.  The college’s Campus Safety Office is investigating, assisted by Herkimer police.

The two are are being treated, and their injuries are considered non-life threatening.  No arrests have been made at this time.

Dr. Mebust Confirmed As Physician-In-Chief

Dr. Mebust Confirmed

As Physician-In-Chief

Dr. Mebust

COOPERSTOWN – After a nationwide search, Dr. Kai Mebust, who had been filling the role on an interim basis, has been permanently appointed chief of the Bassett Hospital’s  Department of Medicine.  He succeeds Dr. Charles Hyman, who stepped down after 10 years.

“Kai’s experience and accomplishments as a clinician and as an administrator provide Bassett with the expertise required to provide overall physician leadership to the Bassett organization,” said Dr. Steven Heneghan, chief clinical officer.

Sweet Adelines Serenade Sam Nader

Sweet Adelines Surprise,

Sweetly Serenade Sam Nader

The Sweet Adelines’ City of the Hills Chorus surprised former mayor Sam Nader, right, by serenading him in his River Street home on Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14. The singers, from back left, are Anne Green, Jan McGrath, Mary Johnson-Butler, Karen Adolfsen, Naomi Graham, Joanne Burdick, Carrie Huestis, Carol Wood, Bettie Bennett and Connie Herzig.  Nader turned 100 last summer. (Ian Austin/
Did Van Buren Sit HERE?

Reprinted From This Week’s 

Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta

Innkeeper Asks: Did

Van Buren Sit HERE?

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Barbara Hall shows off two-seater where President Martin Van Buren may have sat in 1839. (Ian Austin/

CHERRY VALLEY – During home renovations, Barbara Hall and her husband, Gary Lozier, found where President Martin Van Buren likely sat when he visited the village in 1839.

Not a chair. A toilet seat.

“The whole back room was garbage,” she said of the former Story Tavern, now her refurbished home at 171 Main St. “As we were cleaning it out, we realized the outhouses were there.”

Following his election as president in 1837, Van Buren came through the village in September 1839 to meet with his constituents, following a similar reception in Cooperstown the day before.

“The Village had a reception at the Story Tavern and he certainly had some nice fare and something to drink,” she said. “Certainly, he used the outhouse.”


Remembering Our First President


HISTORY – 6:30 p.m. Learn how our memory of the First US President has changed over time in ‘The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President’ presented by author Matthew R. Costello, Senior Historian White House Historical Association. Fort Plain Museum, 389 Canal St., Fort Plain. 518-993-2527 or visit

11th-Hour Push To Block  Administrator Job Fails


11th-Hour Push To Block 

Administrator Job Fails

A last-ditch effort by county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, to block the new county-administrator position failed at the February meeting of the Otsego County Board of Representatives on the 5th. A resolution was introduced setting the salary at $100,000, and Frazier said the money can be better used. After lively debate, only Keith McCarty, R-East Springfield, voted against setting the salary level and advertising to fill the new position. The discussion begins at 1:50:31 on the videotape.  The county board also approved raising the county bed tax by 2 percent.  Seated next to Frazier are county Reps. Adrienne Martini and Clark Oliver, both Oneonta Democrats.  On the dias is County Attorney Ellen Coccoma.
Janice Whipple, 89; Engineer, Buddhist, World Traveler

IN MEMORIAM: Janice Whipple, 89;

Engineer, Buddhist, World Traveler

Janice Whipple

COOPERSTOWN – Janice Whipple of Utica, an engineer and world traveler who was raised in Cooperstown, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. No matter how you knew Janice in this life, you knew her life was extraordinary.

Born on the first day of May in 1930, she and her sister, Elsie, lived happily in the Cooperstown area. When her mother, Madilyn, died, their beloved Aunt Martha took the girls in and raised them. Both girls learned quickly so it was no surprise when in 1947 Janice was named valedictorian of Cooperstown Central School.


‘Step Afrika’ Dance Performance



PERFORMANCE – 9 – 10:30 p.m. ‘Step Afrika’ performs dance that uses the human body as an instrument as practiced by traditionally African American fraternities, sororities and incorporates song, story telling, audience participation. Admission, $3/person. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta.

Jim Powers Runs For 122nd Assembly Seat

Jim Powers Runs For

122nd Assembly Seat

Former Otsego County Board Chairman

Seeks To Succeed Retiring Cliff Crouch

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Jim Powers

SOUTH NEW BERLIN – Republican Jim Powers, former Otsego County Board of Representatives chairman, announced this morning he’s running for state Assembly in the 122nd District to succeed Cllifford W. Crouch, Bainbridge, who is retiring.  Both are  career farmers.

“I enjoy public service and being able to help people with their problems,” and to do so “without raising taxes,” said Powers, who served 18 years on the county board.  As his most satisfying accomplishments, he points to initiating the withdrawal from MOSA, which he characterized as paying for not generating trash, and the county’s current 911 emergency system.

Siena Picks Chris Gibson As President


Siena Picks

Chris Gibson

As President

Otsego’s Former Congressman

Applies Leadership To Academe

Chris Gibson, Otsego County’s former congressman, addresses a full hall at Siena College yesterday after the decision to name him its new president was announced. (Siena College photo)

Otsego County’s former congressman, Chris Gibson ’86 Ph.D., will be Siena College’s new president, effective July 1, the Capital District college announced yesterday.  He will be formally inaugurated in the fall.

Dr. Gibson’s appointment – he is the first permanent lay leader at the Catholic institution – was approved unanimously by the College’s Board of Trustees in a special session.

“Siena played an instrumental role in shaping my values and ideals, and I am forever indebted to the faculty and staff, including the many friars who have been so influential in my life, said Gibson, who graduated from Siena in 1986 with a B.A. in history. “The connection I developed to the Franciscan tradition as an undergraduate inspired my personal calling to servant leadership. The Franciscan tradition sets Siena apart, and it will inform every decision as I work with the Siena community to advance the legacy of my predecessors and promote the mission of Siena College.”

Pathfinder Van Crashes; 7 Injured

Pathfinder Village

Van In Crash; 7 Hurt

At around 2:30 this afternoon, a van carrying Pathfinder Village residents collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Route 205 and 30 in the Town of Otsego. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A Pathfinder Village transport van was involved in accident in the Town of Otsego, Lori Grace, director of development at Pathfinder, confirmed a few minutes ago.

According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego County 911 operator, state police and and Cooperstown Fire Department responded to the scene of a two-car accident at the intersection of Route 205 and Route 80 in the Town of Otsego at 2:17 p.m. this afternoon.

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