News of Otsego County

Cindy Falk

Historic Fly Creek Hotel might see the wrecking ball soon

Historic Fly Creek Hotel might
see the wrecking ball soon

The Fly Creek Hotel, foreground, stands before a barn that is also on the application for demolition. (Tara Barnwell/

An application filed on behalf of the Leatherstocking Corporation to demolish the historic Fly Creek Hotel at the corner of Route 28 and Schoolhouse Road has triggered a 2017 local law allowing the public to comment on the plans, and Town of Otsego officials anticipate an “interesting” session on May 3.

“I’m sure there have been demolitions in the past in the Town of Otsego, but none of them have triggered this process that is happening now,” said Cindy Falk, chair of the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission for the Town of Otsego. She and commission members Tom Heitz, Shirley Rathbone, Mitchell Owen, and David Olsen are preparing for the hearing, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Town building on Route 31 in Fly Creek.

“This ordinance was put into place in order to slow the process down and to make sure all the alternatives to demolition are presented to the applicant,” she said. “This makes it more deliberate and gives people time to weigh in.”

Ms. Falk said neither the law nor the hearing process oblige the applicant to abide by comments offered.

Greetings, Friends (with apologies to The New Yorker)

Greetings, Friends (with apologies to The New Yorker)

Greetings, Friends! The time is nigh
To bid this Covid Year good-bye.
We’ve had enough, we’ve played our parts
Stayed home alone filling Amazon carts.
And cleaning our closets and working online
Making do with our WiFi that’s not always fine.

We’ve said goodbye to some friends, to some relatives too
Our families we’ve not seen, travel’s been so taboo.
Goodbye ’21, au revoir, off you go 
Adios and kwaheri, arrivederci, adjo. 
Go away ’21! But wait! Not before
TFJ has its way with some thank-yous galore.

Cooperstown holds virtual information session on cannabis

Cooperstown holds virtual information session on cannabis

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk held a virtual meeting on November 8 to present information about marijuana legalization in New York and how it might affect Cooperstown.

There was a PowerPoint presentation during the meeting, which was opened up to comments or questions at the end. However, no public comments or questions were made.

This meeting was held two days before a vote is to take place on whether to draft an opt-out law, on Wednesday, November 10.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Walk with the Glimmerglass Film Days 11-11-21

Walk with the Glimmerglass Film Days



FOREST WALK – 9 – 10:30 a.m. Enjoy a pleasant stroll and learn about ‘The Forest from the Ground Up’ with Jeff O’Handley. Walk will focus on the forest floor and how it supports everything above. Registration required. In conjunction with Glimmerglass Film Days. Presented by Otsego County Conservation Association. Meet at gate of Clark Tower Trail, Beaver Meadow Rd., Cooperstown. 607-547-4488 or visit

ARCHITECTURE WALK – 2:30 p.m. Join Cindy Falk, Prof. of Material Culture at SUNY Oneonta, for a walking tour of Cooperstown’s spires, towers, and turrets. Tour is about 2 miles, please dress for the weather. Will conclude with complimentary hot cocoa and cookies. Meet at Otsego County Courthouse, 193 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-8881 or visit

Cooperstown to consider cannabis opt-out law in December

Cooperstown to consider cannabis opt-out law in December

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

COOPERSTOWN — The Board of Trustees voted to consider a cannabis opt-out law on December 6 at 6:30 p.m.

MacGuire Benton was the  dissenting vote. Hanna Bergene and Joe Membrino were absent.

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh has been in favor of an opt-out law, arguing for drafting a law which would then become open to public comment. “The only option for getting public comment is holding a hearing and that can only be done by drafting a law,” Mayor Tillapaugh said.

Mayor Tillapaugh dedicates memorial tree on Brooklyn Avenue for belated Arbor Day
Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, left, dedicates tree in memory of Dennis Tallman while his son, Kyle Tallman, and widow, Nancy Tallman, watch. (Kevin Limiti/

Mayor Tillapaugh dedicates memorial tree on Brooklyn Avenue for belated Arbor Day

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh dedicated a tree on Brooklyn Avenue in Cooperstown in honor of Dennis Tallman, Friday, Oct. 15.

Family members of Dennis Tallman were present at the ceremony for Arbor Day, which normally runs on the last Friday of April but was delayed because of COVID.

“Dennis was an invaluable member of our Village who volunteered his time and service to make our Village a better place,” Tillapaugh said.

Dennis Tallman, who served on the village tree committee, worked to enhance “the natural beauty of our community and ensured that generations can benefit from and enjoy the trees he planted and nurtured.”

A Catalpa tree was planted in his honor which Tillapaugh said are “beautiful trees with large white flowers in Spring.”

AllOtsego people: In Cooperstown, a female majority forms

AllOtsego people: In Cooperstown, a female majority forms

By PHOEBE SMITH • Special to

Cooperstown’s Village Board of Trustees has a majority of female members for the first time as seen in this picture from Monday, July 12. From left, are trustees Jeanne Dewey, Cindy Falk, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Hanna Bergene. (Greg Klein/

COOPERSTOWN — When Hanna Bergene decided to run for a village trustee position and Jim Dean
announced he would step down to make way for her, it inadvertently led to a local first: a female majority board of trustees.

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, who was first elected in 2018, and is the second female mayor of the village, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk and trustees Bergene and Jeanne Dewey hold four of the seven votes on the local board, although with all seven members being part of the Democratic Party, there are not many political or ideological differences being debated in the village.

Instead, the four women are a majority part of Cooperstown’s expansive investments and infrastructure projects, working to shape the village for the 21st century and helping it get past the economic damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Tour Vernacular Architecture of Oneonta 06-27-21

Tour Vernacular Architecture of Oneonta


TROLLEY TOUR – 1:30 – 3 p.m. Explore the architecture of Oneonta from it’s earliest days of European settlement to the exponential expansion of the Victorian era and the Railroad. Led by Dr. Cindy Falk, Cooperstown Graduate Program and professor of Material Culture at SUNY Oneonta. Registration required. Cost, $10/person. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination required. Presented by Otsego 2000. Pick-up and Drop-off at Riverside Elementary School parking log, 39 House, St., Oneonta. 607-547-8881 or visit

Best Bets: June 24, 2021

Best Bets

Oneonta architectural tour,
the circus, jazz concert at Origins

Explore the architectural gems found in the city of Oneonta. Trolley tour will be led by Dr. Cindy Falk, professor of material culture at SUNY Oneonta, and will visit the historic districts of Downtown Oneonta and Walnut Street, featuring examples from the first European settlement to the boom of the Victorian era, when the railroad came to town, and more. Registration, masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination are required. The cost is $10 per person. Presented by Otsego 2000. Pick-up is at the Riverside Elementary School parking lot at 39 House St. in Oneonta. Tours are at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., Sunday, June 27. Call 607-547-8881 or visit for information.

Trustees Agree To Remove Sign That Angered Residents

Trustees Agree To Remove
Sign That Angered Residents

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

A solar-powered speed limit sign on Pioneer Street that village residents disliked will be moved to State Route 28.

The village of Cooperstown will remove a controversial solar-powered speed limit sign from Pioneer Street.

The village’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday, April 26, to remove the sign, which was in front of 100 Pioneer Street and told motorists heading south on Pioneer if they were exceeding the village’s 30-mile-per-hour speed limit.

The meeting was held in person in the village ballroom at 22 Main St.

As part of the motion, the trustees agreed to relocate the sign to the southern entryway to the village on State Route 28.

The sign has drawn complaints from dozens of current and former village residents, complaining about the aesthetics of the sign and dismissing the need to put it in a residential area. Two residents spoke against the sign Monday, leading Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh to tell the crowd of about 15 people that the trustees would fix the sign problem later in the meeting.

“The intent of the meeting tonight will be to remove the solar-powered sign … and nothing will be on Pioneer.

No Helicopter, But Army Reservists Back in County For Training

No Helicopter, But Reservists

Back in County For Training

As mayor of a fictitious village, CGP Professor Cindy Falk leads reservists in a training exercise outside Coopers- town. (Jim Kevlin/

For the sixth time in seven years, the Cooperstown Graduate Program has coordinated with the Army Reserves to do field training in the Cooperstown area.

According to CGP Professor Cindy Falk, about 30 soldiers from Fort Drum, six cadets from Syracuse University and six CGP students from her Culture and Collections class worked together on training exercises over a three-day weekend, from Thursday, March 25, to Saturday, March 27.

“We did what we have been doing since 2015,” Falk said. “We just had to do it differently this year.”

To accommodate coronavirus restrictions, the group had a hard cap of 50, Falk said, and the soldiers, cadets and students were kept apart as much as possible to avoid any health issues.

Beginning Thursday, March 25, the soldiers – reservists from the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion’s Alpha Company in Syracuse – did classroom training, with a remote seminar from Bassett Healthcare Network officials and in person lectures from the CGP and Fort Drum officials.

On Friday, the soldiers and cadets worked on a mass casualty and evacuation drill.

Youth Has Its Day At Village Hall

Youth Has Its Day At Village Hall

Benton, Now Bergene, Trustees Under Age 30

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


Newly elected Village Trustee Hannah Bergene was already sold on Cooperstown.

But her first Induction Weekend working for the Chamber of Commerce – in 2015, the Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez year – she got sold all over again.

Baseball fans were jammed onto the front steps of Chamber headquarters in that yellow-and-white cottage at 31 Chestnut St., trying to catch a glimpse of their heroes passing by in the Legends of the Game parade.

“They were so in awe,” said Bergene. “They had waited all their lives to come here. We” – who live here – “take it for granted.”

She maintained that excitement for her five years at the Chamber, where she rose to marketing director under Executive Director Matt Hazzard, and for the past two years as social media director at Paperkite Creative, the Internet marketing firm.

Tuesday, March 16, Bergene and Trustee Cindy Falk, the deputy mayor, ran unopposed and received 139 and 136 votes respectively. Both are Democrats.

She ran, Bergene said in an interview Saturday, March 13, “because Mac asked me too” – Trustee Mac Benton, 23, who with County Democratic Chairman Clark Oliver, 22, have been recruiting young people here, in Oneonta and countywide to run for office.

The new trustee, her interest piqued by her work at the Chamber of Commerce, had considered elected office at some point, but “in my mind, it was years in the future.

“But why not? Why not get involved?” she asked herself. “The village needs young people to attract other young people here.”

Village Polls Open Until 9

Village Polls Open Until 9

Voter #3, Hannah Bergene, who is running for village trustee in today’s Cooperstown elections, signs the register a few minutes ago after polls opened at noon. She and Trustee/Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, left, both Democrats, are running unopposed for Village Board. In the background are Village Trustee Mac Benton, right, who was voter #2, and Henry Bauer. Polls will be open at the fire hall on Chestnut Street until 9 p.m., and at village throughout the county. Notable in today’s vote is a three-way race in Cherry Valley.  (Jim Kevlin/
FALK: ‘It Takes A Village Moment’ Inspires Candidate Falk

‘It Takes A Village Moment’
Inspires Candidate Falk

To the Editor:

Saturday I had one of those “It Takes a Village” moments.

I offered a ride to a friend to the vaccination clinic at the Clark Sports Center. Sitting with her in a folding chair on the gym floor, I remembered just how special our community is.

We have a teaching hospital right here in Cooperstown, we have an amazing recreational facility and, most important, we are blessed with people who care.

Our local community members helped spread the word about vaccine availability, assisted with online registration, provided rides, checked people in, gave shots, stood by in case of an emergency, and checked up on our friends and neighbors.

We live in a one-of-a-kind place that I am pleased to call home.

For the past nine years, I have been privileged to represent village residents on the Board of Trustees. This Tuesday, March 16, I will be running for my fourth term.

There is little hype about this election. My name and Hanna Joy Bergene’s will be the only ones on the ballot, and there are two open seats. There is no national election going on simultaneously and no COVID-induced change to the voting date as there was last year.

Honestly, it may seem like there is little reason to participate. But I am hopeful that in our remarkable village people still will make the effort to exercise their right to vote.

Polls are open noon – 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, at the fire hall, and absentee-ballot applications and absentee ballots can be picked up by 4 p.m. Monday, March 15, at Village Hall, 22 Main St.

The pandemic has been difficult on all of us individually and collectively. The village government is no exception to that – the last year has been trying, and the coming months will be critical as we begin to creep forward into a post-pandemic world.

I encourage you to take part in the democratic process as we enter this next phase, and I would greatly appreciate your vote on Tuesday the 16th.

Trustee, Deputy Mayor

BERGENE: ‘Someone’ Who Cares Running for Village Trustee

‘Someone’ Who Cares
Running for Village Trustee


To The Editor:

My name is Hanna Joy Bergene and I am honored to be running for village trustee alongside our current trustee/deputy mayor, Cindy Falk in the village election next Tuesday, March 16.

Many in the local business community may know me from my time working at the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, Paperkite, Stagecoach Coffee and the Cooperstown Winter Carnival Committee.

I’ve called Cooperstown home my entire life. My parents, Gregory and Susan Bergene, both long-time employees of Cooperstown Central School District, taught me the value of a good work ethic and getting involved in your community from a young age.

As a village trustee, my goal is to make Cooperstown the best place it can be for all residents and businesses alike. I have thought long and hard, as well as asked a few close friends about what makes a great trustee. Some of the things that stood out to me are:

• Someone with a passion for public service.

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