News of Otsego County


Dedication, invention, perseverance lead to a surprising, happy ending for the Fenimore Cooper murals

Dedication, invention, perseverance lead to a
surprising, happy ending for the Fenimore Cooper murals

Photo by Charles Seton: Leaving the Trapper (from The Prairie, painted by Albert Crutcher 8’x8’ )

[Editor’s note: We’ve been following the story of the James Fenimore Cooper murals in Mamaroneck doomed to a future hidden from view or lost forever to school reconstruction. There’s good news to report this week, and we asked Carol Bradshaw Akin, Board Member and former President of the Mamaroneck Historical Society, to give us a first-person, on-the-ground report. It’s a wonderful story with a happy ending — something nice for a change — and a real connection between Otsego and Westchester counties. Thank you, Carol!]

There’s good news to report, thanks to the superhuman efforts of the Co-Presidents of the Mamaroneck Historical Society, John Pritts and Gail Boyle, who turned their lives inside out for the past two-plus months to save eight murals of James Fenimore Cooper’s scenes from “Leatherstocking Tales” painted 81 years ago. Ninth grade classes at Mamaroneck Junior High fund-raised from 1936 to 1941, then hired artists from Yale Art School, one of whom, Mimi Jennawine, was a Mamaroneck High graduate. Her other works include a painting in the Smithsonian — and most all of the other muralists went on to become prominent artists.

With GoFundMe contributions, and a couple of generous large donors, the figure needed was reached, and John and Gail began. They threw themselves into this almost impossible task, researching information, and contacts, searching for mural-removal companies (found one), hired an art conservator, wrote and followed up on hundreds of emails, spent hours and days on phone calls, tried (in vain) to be in touch with the School Board and Superintendent, (eventually found the school’s Director of Facilities who was supportive and cooperative!), drove all over from Stamford, CT, to Brooklyn to pick up preservation supplies needed by the company, which also included huge 2ft x 12ft tubes on which to roll the murals. And then once the work began, they supervised all of the work every day at the high school.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Springfield Library Celebrates Valentines Day & Chinese New Year 02-23-22

Springfield Library Celebrates
Valentines Day & Chinese New Year


SPRINGFIELD READS – 4:30 p.m. Celebrate Chinese New Year and Valentines Day together with stories, snacks, and crafts with members of the Springfield community. Sponsored by Hyde Hall. Springfield Community Library, 129 Co. Rd. 29A, Springfield Center. 315-858-5802 or visit

Invasive insects make a meal out of county’s hemlocks
An infested Hemlock tree. (Photo by Steve Kinne)

Invasive insects make a meal out of county’s hemlocks

By Kevin Limiti

An invasive species with an odd name is causing concern in Otsego County after conservationists discovered the destructive insect at parks in Cooperstown and around Oneonta.

The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) is a tiny bug that infests hemlock trees, which experts warn could cause catastrophic environmental damage.

The insect in question came from the Far East in the 1920s and was discovered in New York State in the 1980s, and gets it name from the wool-like mask it generates around itself and looks like a cotton ball in the trees when an infestation is bad enough.

Now, it has been found ravaging hemlock in Fairy Springs Park in Cooperstown and Robert V. Riddell Park in Davenport.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Learn About Invasive Species with Otsego County Conservation Association 01-27-2022

Learn About Invasive Species with
Otsego County Conservation Association


CONSERVATION WEBINAR – 7 – 8 p.m. Learn about the Woolly Adelgid, an invasive insect which targets hemlock trees which are an important part of our ecosystem. Seminar will cover the biology & impact of this insect as well as surveying and management options. Learn how you can volunteer to spot this invader and help protect our local forests. Presented by the Otsego County Conservation Association. 607-547-4488 or visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Seniors Party at the Mall 12-07-21

Seniors Party at the Mall


SENIOR SOCIAL – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Seniors are invited for a party featuring Chair Yoga, Silver Sneaker Classic, Lunch from Panera Bread, Bingo, and a mall walk. Free, all invited. Presented by the Oneonta YMCA. Hosted at The Community Room by JC Penny’s at The Southside Mall, Oneonta. 607-432-0010 ext. 9 or visit

Arthur J. Newell, 72 June 25, 1949 – October 27, 2021

In Memoriam

Arthur J. Newell, 72

June 25, 1949 – October 27, 2021

Arthur J. Newell

Arthur J. Newell, beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, son, cousin, nephew, brother-in-law, son-in-law, and friend, passed away peacefully at home on October 27, 2021. Born in New York City on June 25, 1949 to Vincent and Elizabeth Newell, Art grew up in Kings Park on Long Island where his profound connection with the water first took root.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 1971 from SUNY Albany, followed by a Master’s in Biology at SUNY Oneonta where he did his research on Otsego Lake. He was deeply devoted to environmental protection, spending the bulk of his career with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Concerned with habitat loss and climate change, Art took great pride and satisfaction in fighting for legislation to protect the environment.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Chop and Cheese with OCCA 08-25-21

Chop and Cheese with OCCA


CHOP & CHEESE – 6 – 8 p.m. Come help eradicate a patch of invasive Japanese Knotweed from the farm. Bring your own gardening tools, limited supply available. Afterwards enjoy light refreshments in the garden with the Otsego County Conservation Association. This is the last Chop and Cheese of the season. Mohican Farm, 7207 St. Hwy. 80, Cooperstown. 607-547-4488 or visit

Lions, Rotary, other partners host annual river cleanup day

Lions, Rotary, other partners
host annual river cleanup day

COOPERSTOWN — The fourth Susquehanna River Cleanup took place Saturday, July 17.

Community involvement in this project has continued to grow with more than 35 people volunteering this year. The Cooperstown Lions Club, Cooperstown Rotary Club, Rotary E-club of Global Trekkers, OCCA and Otsego 2000 as well as some individuals all made financial contributions to assist with building three new improved rafts.

The Susquehanna River Cleanup project came about because John Rowley and Maureen Rowley would walk the riverside trail between Mill and Main streets in Cooperstown on a regular basis.

They were dismayed by the amount of debris and garbage in that section of the river, including a large cattle-feeding trough.

Growing tired of seeing this, John proposed a clean-up project to the Cooperstown Lions Club, where he is a member and past president. Lions Club International Foundation had made environmental projects one of the club’s new initiatives.

The Cooperstown Lions Club embraced the project and set out to team with other organizations that would assist and guide the Lions with the project.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Fun performance at Hyde Hall 06-25-21

Fun performance at Hyde Hall


SUMMER CONCERT SERIES – 7:30 p.m. Enjoy fun performance of ‘The Ships Captain’ about the hijinks of 2 sisters, their guardian, and a mysterious suitor. This singspiel from 1817 includes parodies of famous pieces from Mozart, Beethoven, and popular German folk songs.Cost, $20/adult. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Rd., Cooperstown. 607-547-5098 or visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Discuss Conservation With Audubon Society 04-24-21

Discuss Conservation

With Audubon Society


AUDUBON SOCIETY – 10 a.m. – Noon. Get your questions in Q&A session with the Delaware-Otsego Audubon society board members. Topics on everything from the society in general to birding to effects of lead ammunition. Presented as part of OCCA’s online Earth Festival. 607-547-4488 or visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Explore The Galaxy Online 04-23-21

Explore The Galaxy Online


PLANETARIUM – 7 p.m. Explore the universe, learn whats new in the field of astronomy in fun virtual planetarium show with the SUNY staff and Nebula society students. Free, registration on Eventbrite required. Presented by the A.J. Read Science Discovery Center, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-2011 or visit

OCCA To Adjust With Virtual Earth Festival

OCCA To Adjust With

Virtual Earth Festival

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Earth Festival will again be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but this year the Otsego County Conservation Assocation is better prepared to replace its annual events with a virtual presentation from Thursday, April 22 to Saturday, April 24.

“In March (2020), I think we were all thinking, ‘let’s not cancel, yet,’ it will all blow over,” OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley said. “It seems crazy to think about looking back. We had no idea what to expect.”

To salvage an Earth Festival last year, OCCA kept some events going with social distancing, stressed its normal recycling efforts via dropoffs and refocused on the fly, O’Handley said. This year’s event has been much more focused to allow the group to use the virtual tools that have sprung up during the coronavirus pandemic. “You can’t do things like you used to do them,” he said. “It has been a puzzle to figure things out and you just hope you are providing people with some strong programming.”

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