News of Otsego County

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

Catskill Area Hospice


Holiday Celebration


HOLIDAY FUN – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Begin the day with Home for the Holidays Parade down Main St., followed by 3rd annual Gingerbread Jubilee, 2nd annual Festival of Trees, Community Cookie Swap 11:30-3, photo opportunity with Anna & Elsa of Arendelle in Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit

UGLY SWEATER RUN – Noon. Run through Cooperstown rocking your ugliest holiday sweater, Followed by free beverages from Stagecoach cafe, Ommegang. Proceeds benefit Catskill Area Hospice. Begins at Santa’s House, Pioneer Park, Cooperstown. 607-547-2800 or visit

Remembering Lives Lived And Lost

At Hospice Tree Lighting,

Loved Ones Remembered

Family and friends of those who have passed away gathered at Catskill Area Hospice in  Oneonta this afternoon to remember loved ones whose names were written on ornaments decorating trees along River Street Extension as part of the annual Tree of Lights event. Above, Joan Shackleton, Oneonta, shows her granddaughter Allie Bruno, Albany, the ornament bearing the name of late husband Raymond Shackleton. At right, Sharon Wheeler, Oneonta, takes a photo of the ornament bearing the name of her late husband Rev. Jim Wheeler, who passed in 2015. Following remarks by President/CEO Dan Ayers, Hospice Chaplain Bruce Helstrom, board chair Connie Jastremski and others, the trees were lit as the crowd sang “Peace on Earth.” (Ian Austin/


Food Trucks Delight, ZZ Top Tonight

Food Trucks Delight

As ZZ Top Awaited

Fans are already streaming into the Sixth Ward Booster Club field to sample goodies at the food truck festival and claim their spot for tonight’s ZZ Top concert to benefit Catskill Area Hospice. Above, Bob Deeb, Franklin, gets his tickets at the gate from event volunteer Craig Gelbsman and Ellen Shufelt, both of Oneonta, before entering the event area. At right, Emily and Sam Ackerman show off their salt and vinegar fries and “sin burger” from one of the many food trucks on site. Many craft brews from the area are also on site in the tasting tent. The evening’s events include a food demonstration from BBQ Pitmaster Myron Mixon, Magic by Jim Snack, and music by The Summit before ZZ Top hits the stage at 9 p.m. (Ian Austin/

New Nurses, Expanded Services Part of Dan Ayres’ Hospice Goals

New Nurses, Expanded Services

Part of Dan Ayres’ Hospice Goals

Dan Ayres, Executive Director, Catskill Hospice and Palliative Care, welcomes visitors to the organization’s new consolidated offices on Main Street during a ribbon cutting on Thursday, Jan. 11. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

Tammy Christman, an employee at Hospice, gives tours during the open house.

ONEONTA– With new offices, grief counseling, new nurses and early intervention, after just one year at Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, Dan Ayres is already looking to steer the at-home care provider toward new heights.

“We currently serve roughly 120 patients across Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties, but really, we’d like to reach at least 130 to 140 patients,” said Ayres.

Succeeding 25 year president and CEO Lola Rathbone, Ayres took over the position in Jan. 2017. Ayres first order of business was to create one central location for Catskill Area Hospice to operate out of.

Hospice Cuts Ribbon On New Office

Hospice Cuts Ribbon

On New Office

With Otsego Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Ann Heegan to his right, and Catskill Area Hospice President Dan Ayres and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig to his left, Hospice board member Les Grummons cuts the ceremonial ribbon on Hospice’s new office located on River Street in Oneonta. Catskill Area Hospice consolidated it’s six local offices into one centralized office building to help improve the efficiency of the at-home healthcare provider’s operations. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO)


Lola Rathbone To Retire As Catskill Hospice CEO

Lola Rathbone To Retire

As Catskill Hospice CEO

Former Tri-Town, O’Connor Exec Succeeds Her
Lola Rathbone
Lola Rathbone

ONEONTA – Lola Rathbone, president/CEO of Catskill Area Hospital, announced a few minutes ago that she will retire in 2017 after 25 years with the organization.

The Board of Directors has named Dan Ayres, former CEO of O’Connor Hospital in Delhi and Tri-Town Hospital in Sidney, to succeed her.

Ayres, who will be relocating back to the area after heading Summersville Regional Medical Center in West Virginia for the past two years, served on the Hospice Board of Directors for six years.

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