News of Otsego County

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

Schumer Promises Help For Local Governments


Schumer Promises Help

For Local Governments

Against a backdrop of pure Americana – the Stars & Stripes, Doubleday Field and the Sandlot Kid – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the state’s senior senator, this afternoon pledged federal support that would go directly to local governments in the support package now being negotiated in Congress.  He appeared with county board Chairman David Bliss, left, and Treasurer Allen Ruffles, who have been pleading for that kind of direct aid to municipalities (if the money goes through Albany, it can never make it here), as well as, inset left,  Mayors Gary Herzig of Oneonta and Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch of Cooperstown, who detailed how their municipalities’ financials have been stricken by the coronavirus threat. He called Cooperstown “one of the hardest hit” communities due to its dependence on tourism. The senator, who makes a swing to Otsego County at least once a year, had begun the day in Buffalo and, his airplane grounded at Oneonta Airport by the weather, drove on to New York City. (Jim Kevlin/

Free Parking On Fridays OK’d For Doubleday Lot 

Free Parking On Fridays

OK’d For Doubleday Lot 

Merchants Urged: Stay Open Until 8:30

COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board this morning approved free parking in the Doubleday Field lot on Fridays from July 18 to Sept. 5, as part of its “Cooperstown Outdoors” promotion of the downtown.

In collaboration with the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, stores will be encouraged to stay open until 8:30, and “Music on Main” performances will be scheduled on Fridays to help draw people downtown.

The idea came out of a meeting last week between Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, new Chamber President Jess Lanza and Chamber Executive Tara Burke.

Require Masks On Main Street, Trustee Declares


Require Masks

On Main Street,

Trustee Declares

Sternberg Says ‘Punitive Steps’ Required;

Trustees OK ‘Masks On Main’ Promotion

At today’s special meeting of the Village Board today are Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, top left. Trustee Richard Sternberg is at center.  Clockwise from upper right are Trustees Cindy Falk, Joe Membrino, Jim Dean and Jeanne Dewey.  Trustee MacGuire Benton was absent.  (From Youtube video)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – This morning’s special Village Board meeting, called to approve a “Cooperstown Outdoors” promotion and “Masks on Main” signage, spun off into a larger discussion of the need for masks, with Trustee Richard Sternberg calling for “punitive measures” against people not wearing masks.

“I certainly think we need to go – just like Texas happens to be going – to mandatory masks outdoors,” he said. “Sorry, I don’t like all these tourists coming here, thinking they’re on vacation from the constraints of COVID, and just walking around without masks just like they own the place.”

While Sternberg didn’t carry the day, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said she will fast-track the placement of a banner across Main Street (between Key Bank and Sal’s) that encourages mask-wearing. (It has already arrived, but was waiting for the “Congratulations CCS Class of 2020” to be taken down.)

Council Approves Main Street Closure, Dining

Common Council Approves

Main Street Closure, Dining

ONEONTA – Starting 9 a.m. next Saturday, July 18, and continuing through Sept. 5, Main Street from Elm to Chestnut will be closed to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining opportunities.

“It’s highly marketable,” said Council Member Mark Drnek, Eighth Ward, who chairs the Survive, Then Thrive committee. “Downtown Oneonta could become the Best Restaurant in New York.”

Restaurants will be able to place tables in front of their restaurants only, as well as determine whether to offer service or ask diners to order take-out. Patrons will still be required to wear masks where social distancing is not possible.

Sheriff: Man Stole ATV, Led Deputies On Chase

Sheriff: Man Stole ATV,

Led Deputies On Chase

Cody Amidon

TOWN OF BUTTERNUTS – A Sidney man was arrested after he allegedly stole an ATV from a yard in Butternuts and led Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies on a chase through a field and riverbed.

Cody Amidon, 19, Sidney, was charged after he allegedly stole an ATV from the yard of a residence in the Town of Butternuts.  While patrols were in the area, they were alerted to a second complaint of an attempted break-in at another residence, where the suspect allegedly fled on an ATV.


COVID-19 BRIEFING/July 6, 2020



Governor Looks Ahead

To Fall School Opening

Here are highlights of today’s COVID-19 briefing by Governor Cuomo:

• The New York State Fair is canceled this year out of an abundance of caution. While disappointing for many reasons, the risk is too high to hold the Fair this summer.

• The State is planning for the fall school year. The New York State Department of Health, in consultation with the Reimagine Education Advisory Council and others, is finalizing guidance on the possible reopening of schools in September. Every school district throughout the State has been directed to develop reopening plans. At the moment, no decisions have been made on whether schools are reopening in the fall. We will follow the data, and make a decision on the data.

3 COVID Cases Surface, 2 Others Have Recovered

3 COVID Cases Surface,

2 Others Have Recovered

Local Count: 2 Friday; 3 Total Today

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Three more COVID-19 cases were reported in Otsego County over the Fourth of July, for a total of three active cases locally right now, according to the county Department of Health.

Friday, there were two active cases, but there were two recoveries over the weekend, according to the count released this afternoon by Heidi Bond, county public health director.

Here are the latest number as of today:

Joseph K. Brennan, 85; Navy Veteran Joined Worcester Legion

IN MEMORIAM: Joseph K. Brennan, 85;

Navy Veteran Joined Worcester Legion

WORCESTER – Joseph K. Brennan, 85, passed June 30, 2020 at Albany Medical Center after a short illness.

Joseph was born March 26, 1935, in The Bronx, the son of Mae McLoughlin and Joseph Brennan.

He served in the Navy from 1952 to 1960, his most significant assignment being on the USS Lowry DD-770. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Medal, UN Medal and China Service Medal.

Alpine Building Gets A DRI Face Lift

Alpine Building

Gets A DRI Facelift

Frank Gaisford, Better Home Improvement, begins tearing off the old facade of the former Alpine Ski Hut, now Serenity Hobbies. According to owner Ingrid Hofbauer, it’s the third such “facelift” in 53 years; the first, when they bought the building in 1967, then in 1973 when they expanded the sporting goods section, and today. The work was funded by a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, but will pay homage to the history of their family business as The Alpine Building. (Ian Austin/
Otsego County Fair Announces Cancellation

Otsego County

Fair Cancelled

MORRIS – After” exhausting all avenues,” the Otsego County Fair announced that the 2020 event has been cancelled, according to a press release on their website.

“Without any guidelines from NYS, CDC, and with high demands for the Dept. of Health, it will be impossible to have the 75th Annual Otsego County Fair,” the press release read. “We completely understand your frustrations and heartbreak not having your county fair and we can assure you we’ve exhausted all avenues.”

Council Rock Band 1st ‘Music On Main’

Council Rock Band

1st ‘Music On Main’

Cooperstown-based Council Rock Band launches the “Music on Main” summer program Sunday afternoon in the village’s Pioneer Park, putting a bounce in visitors’ and shoppers’ feet.  The concert was scheduled 2-4, but the group – Jim Duncan and John Hodgson, guitar/vocals; Carrilu Tietz, vocals/special effects, Ed Tietz, drums/vocals, and Mark Spaziani, bass/vocals – was having such a good time it played past 5.    Music on Main is a collaboration of Village Hall and the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce.  (Photo courtesy Tara Bradley)
Marguerite Ann Bueche, 84; Moved To West Edmeston To Be Near Family

IN MEMORIAM: Marguerite Ann Bueche, 84;

Moved To West Edmeston To Be Near Family

Marguerite Bueche

WEST EDMESTON – Marguerite Ann Bueche, 84, who moved to West Edmeston in 2018 to be near family, passed away Wednesday July 1, 2020, at the home of her son.

 Marguerite was born on July 28, 1935, in Richmond Hill, Queens, the daughter of the late Norman and Marguerite Gunn. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Valentine “Val” Bueche, and brothers Richard and Jack Gunn.

 She is survived by sons Mark (Jen) Bueche of West Edmeston, and Jeff Bueche of Florida. Also surviving are her grandchildren Charlie (Ashley) Bueche, Jim Bueche, and Ashley Bueche, and many nieces and nephews.

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