News of Otsego County

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


American Legion

Legion Honors Fallen… From a Distance


Legion Honors Fallen

– From Safe Distance

There was no parade, and the crowds that usually cluster around the Memorial Walkway in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park were noticeably absent during the annual Memorial Day Celebration this morning. Above, Master of Ceremonies Les Grummons salutes as “Taps” is played for attendees, who brought wreathes and listened to a short speech from Mayor Gary Herzig. Following the ceremony, some members of the legion stopped by the home of John Forman, left, to salute him alongside fellow WWII veteran Fred Hicken. Returning to Legion Post 259, the veterans were surprised with complementary lunches from Brooks’ BBQ, courtesy of The Porch Fairies, anonymous donors who wanted to make sure veterans were honored. In addition to lunch, the Porch Fairies also dropped off gift cards for groceries for any veteran in need. (Ian Austin/

Scouts & Legion Work Together To Honor Local Fallen Vets

Small Ceremony Planned May 25

Scouts, Legion Collaborate

On Decorating Vets’ Graves

In preparation for Memorial Day, Boy Scout Bradley Morell, Oneonta, places a flag on veterans’ graves at Plains Cemetery this morning. The American Legion, which supplied nearly 5,000 flags,  worked with Troop 23 in placing the flags in Plains, Mount Calvary and Glenwood cemeteries. “Originally, members of the Legion placed all the flags.” explained Scout Leader Dave Morell, “But about 10 years ago the Boy Scouts got involved to help.” “We would be totally lost without their help.” commented Post Commander Terry Harkenreader. The Legion is currently planning a condensed Memorial Day service on the 25th. “We will keep it small and require people involved to adhere to social distancing.” said Harkenreader. (Ian Austin/

Holiday Market Kick-Off Event


ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit to learn how.

HOLIDAY KICK-OFF – 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Enjoy historic village, holiday spirit. Includes Shoppers Rally & Raffle, artisan demos, ornament making, refreshments, tree lighting, more. Many shops participating. 192 Main St., Sharon Springs. Visit


Motorcyclists Ride To Support

American Legion Legacy Fund


LEGACY RUN – 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Motorcycle ride to support American Legion Legacy Fund supporting children of deceased veterans through their higher education. Includes stops in Delhi, Margaretsville, Downsville, Walton. After the run enjoy music, food, Chinese auction, more. American Legion, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-0494 or visit

Legion Honors Families With Blue Star Ceremony

Legion Honors 6 Families

With Blue Star Ceremony

Legion Commander Terry Harkenreader and Wayne Gregory, above, present a Blue Star flag to Roxanne Condon, Oneonta, in honor of her son Leaf Ericson, who is serving as a foreman in the Navy, as part of the Blue Star Ceremony.  Six area families were honored this evening at Oneonta’s American Legion Post 259. Originally started in 1917, the Blue Star Ceremony presents families with children serving in a branch of the military with an honorary flag to hang in their window. The tradition fell out of fashion during the Vietnam era, but has been regaining in popularity in recent years. This is the first time the Oneonta Legion has taken part in the ceremony. Inset at right, Ericka Ericson, Kim Lindberg and Lois Proctor listen as Gregory reads the history of the Blue Star flag. (Ian Austin/

Legion Commander Hails 2-Day Celebration At Hall


Legion Commander Hails

2-Day Celebration At Hall

American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad of Manassas, Va., top photo, heralds the long relationship between the National Baseball Hall of Fame and American Legion Baseball in kicking off at two-day commemoration of the Legion’s 100th anniversary this morning at 25 Main St.  Hall of Famer Lee Smith, left, who will be inducted July 21, delivered remarks.  Among Legion dignitaries were New York Department Commander Gary Schacher, right, and Regional Commander Paul I. Spedaliere, Lebanon, Conn., behind Reistad.   Inset, Schacher presents a souvenir bat from Cooperstown Bat Co. to Scott Mondore, the Hall’s director of marketing and an Army vet, who helped organized this weekend’s activities.  Hall VP/Communications Jon Shostakovsky noted that 81 Hall of Famers participated in Legion Baseball.  (Jim Kevlin/

American Legion Turns 100; Hall Collaborates With Vets

American Legion Turns 100;

Hall Collaborates With Vets

By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta

COOPERSTOWN – The American Legion, especially through American Legion Baseball, and The National Baseball Hall of have had a special relationship for over four decades.

“American Legion Baseball was founded in 1925 to further citizenship through sportsmanship,” said Jeremy Field, director of communication at American Legion’s HQ in Indianapolis. “Every year our player of the year is honored at the Hall of Fame Classic game at Doubleday Field.”

Len Carson To Run For Common Council In November Election

Len Carson To Run

For Common Council

In November Election

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Len Carson

ONEONTA – Former county rep Len Carson confirmed a few minutes ago he is planning to run for Common Council this fall to represent Ward 5 in the city’s west end.

A Republican, he said he has spoken with the current Council member, Democrat Dana Levinson, who told him she isn’t planning to seek another term.  All Common Council positions are up for reelection in November.

“You know me,” he said.  “I’m not into the ‘D’ and the ‘R’ and the ‘C.’  We need to have a leader, the mayor, and representatives of the wards working together to do the good work that needs to be done.  Party politics don’t work at the local level.  We need good people.”

Pay It Forward Event Underway At Legion

Play It Forward Event

Underway At Legion

Oneonta’s Mark Spaziani, Rick Rogers and Ross Rogers – The Roundhouse Rockers – gave an evening of live music started this afternoon at the second annual Play It Forward event at the Oneonta Vets Club. This seven-hour jam session features live music, a chicken BBQ and raffles, with 100 percent of all funds donated to the American Legion Legacy Run. At right, Oneonta native Sandy Ross shares a kiss on the dance floor with her new husband Robb; the two married this morning. The couple, who flew up from Florida, co-created the event with Sandy’s sister Carla Balnis, and in lieu of a reception, decided to invite family and friends to attend the event and donate to the cause. Musicians from Florida, NYC, Utica and Oneonta will keep you rocking until 10 p.m. (Ian Austin/


Legacy Riders Are Off!

Legacy Riders Are Off!

Rob Martinez, American Legion Riders’ president, and passenger Angela Apostalakis, Oneonta, lead nearly 200 motorcycles on the Legion’s annual Legacy Run. The bikes are travel the region, with stops in Richfield Springs, Waterville, Norwich and Sidney before returning to the American Legion in Oneonta at 3 p.m., where the public is invited for live music, chicken BBQ and a Chinese auction. Proceeds from the ride benefit the Legacy Scholarship Fund, earmarked for college tuition of children of killed or injured servicemen. Last year, the Oneonta American Legion raised $10,000 towards the national total of $1 million. (Ian Austin/


Legion, Kiwanis Club Host Christmas Party

Legion, Kiwanis Club

Host Christmas Party

The American Legion and Kiwanis Club held their second annual Christmas Party this afternoon in the ballroom of the American Legion in Oneonta. Children and their families were treated lunch, cookies, and of course free photos with Santa Claus by Jamie Novick Photography. Above, Santa made sure each child he met with received a present. Here, Zachary Stall, Oneonta, receives his gift, while Cindy Cecil, Oneonta keeps a grip on her grandson Michael Phillips, who is enamored with the jolly old Elf upon his arrival. (Ian Austin/

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