News of Otsego County

Cooperstown Central School

Hundreds Attend Rally To Protest Crimes Against Asian People

Hundreds Attend Rally In Rain To
Protest Crimes Against Asian People

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

The Agostino family displays its signs Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown. (Greg Klein/

About 250 people attended a rally Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego County Courthouse, to support the community’s Asian American and Pacific Island residents.

The “Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans” was organized and run by a group of Cooperstown Central School freshmen, including 15-year-old Cate Bohler, who said she wanted to speak up to support her friends or anyone who is being harassed.

“As a young Asian-American girl, hearing people call COVID the China virus is hurtful,” Bohler said, reading from her prepared statement about why she wanted to stage the rally. “It is more than hurtful. It is harmful. It perpetuates anti-American sentiments and racism.”

Speakers included the students, as well as local officials, including Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, Otsego Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan and Otsego County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who said he thinks he is the county’s only elected official of Asian descent. Lapin’s mom is Japanese.

“The deep-seated nature of systemic racism requires us to make continuous choices and take continuous actions to advance anti-racist ideas in the public space,” Lapin said.

Student News: April 29, 2021

Student News

Applications Open For Annual
Art Scholarships From CAA

Graduating seniors from any Clark Scholarship-eligible high schools are encouraged to apply for the Cooperstown Art Association’s annual Art Scholarship, for students looking to study art at the college level.

CAA will providing up to $1,400 in awards through this scholarship.

The schools eligible are: Cherry Valley-Springfield, Cooperstown, Edmeston, Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton, Laurens, Milford, Milford BOCES, Morris, Mt. Markham, Owen D. Young, Richfield Springs, Schenevus and Worcester.

Home-schooled students living within those school districts are also eligible for the scholarship.

Applications will be submitted online this year. Students can access the form on the CAA’s website,

There is no application fee.

Each student will be asked to provide a portfolio of five pieces that best represent their work and artistic abilities. Images can be uploaded directly in the form. Students will also be asked to upload a document that includes the titles and mediums for each piece entered.

All submissions must be submitted prior to the deadline at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 12.

All portfolios will be juried by a local artist /art professional, to be determined by the CAA.

Funding for this scholarship is provided in part through CAA’s annual Adorn-a-Door Fundraiser and through donations from CAA members and patrons.

Student Awards

Melinda Tyler of Cooperstown was inducted to Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society at Cazenovia College in Cazenovia.
Membership requires maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or above, leadership excellence, participation in service projects, and an annual membership fee. Tyler was one of the inaugural members of the induction class.

Heidi Edmonds of Cooperstown was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest all-discipline collegiate honor society.
Edmonds was initiated at United States Air Force Academy.

Elmira College recently announced its Dean’s List for academic achievement for winter 2021.
The list recognizes full-time undergraduate students who were registered for at least 12 computable credit hours and who earned a term grade point average of 3.6 or higher. Local students recognized include: Hailey Erway of Cherry Valley; Willow Tompkins of Worcester; and Mason Weir of Oneonta.

Thomas Leahy of Otego was one of six students from SUNY Oneonta’s School of Economics and Business who were inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the college’s honorary society in economics for the 2020-21 academic year.

Amethyst Gardner of Oneonta was one of 13 students inducted into SUNY Oneonta’s Edward K. Griesmer chapter of National Residence Hall Honorary.

Shared Garage Back on Otsego’s Agenda

Shared Garage Back
On Otsego’s Agenda

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

David Bliss

Otsego County’s plan for a shared transportation garage has been revived.

County officials met with representatives from Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES in the past month to gage interest in another push to build a centralized, shared services facility on county Route 35 in the town of Milford, on land adjacent to the ONC BOCES campus.

“I would not say it is full speed ahead, but maybe it is half speed ahead,” Otsego County Board of Representatives President Dave Bliss said on Tuesday, April 27. “It is still very much needed,” Bliss said. “BOCES is still interest. It is back on now that the funding is coming back up and we’re hopefully going to be on better footing.”

The county’s facilities are near Cooperstown Central School on Linden Avenue in an area where no expansion or renovation is possible.
“It’s old. It’s not big enough. It is functionally obsolete. It is structurally unsound. It is a terrible location. It is right in the middle of the school and the village traffic on Linden Avenue.” Bliss said. “We might be able to leave some things there, such as the salt facility and the gas facility. The village of Cooperstown uses those, so it would be more expensive if they had to have their own facilities.

Bliss said there have been ongoing discussions with county schools and other municipalities about joining BOCES and the county. He said he thinks more groups will be interested once the plans are concrete, a cost is known and the shared services begin to lead toward budget savings.

Gorman Will Return To Cooperstown As Interim Principal

Gorman Will Return To
Cooperstown As Interim Principal

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Cooperstown Central School will have a familiar face take over as interim principal for the middle/high school as former elementary school Principal Teresa Gorman will return for two months at the end of the school year.

Gorman, who retired from CCS in 2015, following 15 years as the elementary principal, will take over May 1. Her return was approved by the school’s Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday, April 14.

The secondary school building has been without a principal since Ann Mecarriello left Wednesday March 31 to become superintendent of schools for Campbell-Savona Central School District in the Southern Tier.

CCS Business Manager Amy Kukenberger has been the acting building principal since Mecarriello’ s departure, just nine months after she was promoted from the elementary building to the middle/high school.

Mecarriello’s departure also came just one month into the tenure of new CCS Superintendent Sarah Spross who told Iron String Press on Monday, April 19, that she was shocked by the move.

After Transfer, Bertram Finds Hoops Home At Binghamton University

After Transfer,

Bertram Finds Hoops Home

At Binghamton University

By CHAD G. WELCH • Special to

Contributed/Binghamton University Sports Information Department
Cooperstown’s Tyler Bertram said he is happy in a Binghamton uniform this season.

When Cooperstown Central School’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, Tyler Bertram, decided to transfer from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he said he was looking for a better fit, a bigger role and an opportunity to play closer to home.

He found all three with Binghamton University men’s basketball team during the 2020-2021 season.

After finishing his high school career at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, Bertram spent two years in Charlotte; the first a redshirt season during which he said he added 20 pounds to bulk up his slender 6-foot 3-inch frame. In the second, as a redshirt freshman, he appeared in 12 games for the 49ers averaging 9.3 minutes per game.

“Coming back close to home was important, but finding the right fit was very important,” Bertram said. “The previous situation just didn’t really feel like it was the right spot and then knowing that Binghamton played really fast and like to shoot a lot of threes, I knew that I could kind of be myself here.”

“I made the mistake of not fully understanding what kind of style it was going to be (in Charlotte),” Bertram said. “I thought the change went really well. It was a fun year. The team was great. I just had a lot of fun playing fast and playing with some confidence again.”

Principal Departs At CCS

Principal Departs At CCS

Meccariello Sixth Over Past 8 Years

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


On appointing Anne Meccariello high school principal on March 10, 2020, CCS Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw praised “her sense of loyalty to the district.”

It didn’t pan out. She resigned Feb. 26, just short of a year.

April 1, Meccariello will become superintendent of schools in the Campbell-Savona Central School District in the Finger Lakes, 25 miles northwest of Corning.

“From the moment I saw the superintendent of schools position posted for Campbell-Savona, I knew I was very interested in becoming a Panther,” Meccariello – a Redskin and, after 2013, a Hawkeye – told WETM TV 18 in Elmira.

Gary Kuch resigned in 2008 to become Worcester Central superintendent, and his successor Mike Kring, served five years, and the revolving door began.

Seeking to boost test scores, the CCS school board and Superintendent C.J. Herbert created an “executive principal” position.

Lynn Strang was recruited from Hoosic Falls in July 2013, and raised the high school’s test scores into the two 2 percent in the state, winning CCS a “Rewards School” citation.

But the test scores rose as the outcry rose against “Common Core” testing, and she departed at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

New CCS Superintendent Arrives

New CCS Superintendent Arrives

TV Spot Piqued Educator’s Interest

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sarah Spross


Focused on finishing her doctorate, Sarah Spross, an assistant commissioner in Maryland’s Department of Education, drove up last summer and closeted herself at Cooperstown’s Landmark Inn.

On Aug. 28, she turned on the TV and saw the news: Bill Crankshaw, Cooperstown Central School superintendent since 2016, had resigned to return to his hometown and the Greater Johnstown School District.

It clicked, and Monday, March 1, Spross was seated at Crankshaw’s former conference table at Cooperstown Central School, being interviewed on her first day as CCS superintendent.

“I wanted to return to country living,” said the new superintendent, who has lived in Baltimore for decades, but was raised in Millbrook and summered in the Goodyear Lake vicinity, “and to be impactful in a school district.”

She has an offer on a home in Cooperstown for herself and her 11-year-old son, and that morning had just completed a meeting with her leadership team.

Wenck: CCS Students ‘Happy To Be Here’

Wenck: CCS Students

‘Happy To Be Here’

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Tammy Dingman, LTA, above, escorts Izabella Chase into Cooperstown Elementary School on Monday, Oct. 5. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – At Cooperstown Central School, it’s good to be back.

“Last week, the faculty and staff were all saying, ‘We can’t wait until Monday,’” said interim Superintendent Ramona Wenck,. “The kids are happy to be here too. It’s like they say – you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it.”

Divided into “A” and “B” cohorts, students returned to the campus on Monday, Oct. 5, with plenty of precautions in place, including masks, social distancing, temperature checks and an online check-in for parents to fill out every day.

“The kids have been great about all of it,” she said.

Students in the “A” group attend classes Monday and Wednesday; students in the “B” group attend Tuesday and Thursday, with Friday as a virtual day for all. When not on campus, students will learn remotely.

Masks must be worn throughout the day, but students will be given “mask breaks” at times when social distancing can be maintained, or while eating.

In the elementary school, students can still do recess and gym class, although lunches are made “grab-and-go” and students eat in their classroom.

“In gym, they have to be 12 feet apart, but it’s amazing what the teachers are able to do that is engaging for students in the gym and learning remotely,” she said.

In the high school, students still go between classes as normal, but are divided into three lunch groups. Tables in the cafeteria have been replaced with desks for adequate social distancing.

“It’s been great so far,” she said. “We’re very excited to have the children back.”

Students in Oneonta, Laurens and Milford will return to campus on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“It’s consistent with our reopening framework,” said Oneonta Superintendent Thomas Brindley. “Based on our current infection rate and the fact that the widespread transmission from the COVID
infection at the college was less than we had feared, we were encouraged by the Department of Health to go ahead and reopen.”

Their “A” cohorts will attend classes in person on Monday and Tuesday, with the “B” cohort on campus on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday will be a distance learning day for all students.

“It’s a lot to ask our faculty and staff to work remotely and in-person, but I know they’re up to the challenge,” said Brindley.

Families were given the option to remain remote; Brindley said approximately 200 students would learn from home.

“Hopefully as schools ease back into instruction and infection rates continue to decline, we might be able to ease up some,” he said. “But families who aren’t comfortable returning have the option of staying home.”

But before classes begin, there are still some kinks to work out, he said. “The biggest challenge is being able to serve meals six feet apart,” he said. “But with every passing day, we get closer to figuring these things out.”

An “isolation room” has been set aside for any student or faculty member who begins showing symptoms at school, and students need to pass a daily screening to gain entrance.

Brindley is also hoping that wearing masks – and staying home when you’re feeling sick – will also help keep colds and flu from spreading.

“We’ve never been here before,” he said. “I’m anxious, but I’m also excited to have our students back.”

Laurens Superintendent To Fill Interim Position At Cooperstown Central


Laurens Superintendent

To Fill Interim Position

At Cooperstown Central

Romona Wenck Begins Duties On Oct. 1

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – Bill Crankshaw will be leaving Cooperstown’s school superintendent post Sept. 30.  On Oct. 1, he will be succeeded as interim super by Romona N. Wenck, who retired last summer from Laurens Central as the longest-serving superintendent in Otsego County.

“We’re very fortunate to have her,” said CCS board President Tim Hayes a few minutes ago.

Meeting last evening, the CCS school board amended Crankshaw’s contract to allow him to leave at the end of the month to assume his new duties at the Greater Johnston School District in Montgomery County, where he will administer a system where he once studied.

Crankshaw Returns To His Roots

Crankshaw Returns To His Roots

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

“Stay positive,” “Stay creative,” are on a list of exhortations Superintendent Crankshaw gave to his key managers. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – When he was in first grade in the Greater Johnstown School District, young Bill Crankshaw counted to 100, and Mrs. Ruby Walter, his teacher, celebrated by singing “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window.”

In second grade, Mrs. Greco made sure his samples of cursive writing were submitted every time there was a contest. His penmanship usually won.

In third grade, Mrs. Ramsay enrolled him in every spelling bee.

One semester, the future Cooperstown Central School superintendent received 12 A’s. His dad, George, who spent his 42-year career at the Johnstown Knitting Mill, would give him 25 cents for each A – quite a cache for a 9-year-old.

It was in Johnstown schools that young Bill – his family has been in Montgomery County since the American Revolution, and he would become the first Crankshaw to get a college degree – developed a love of music.

“I played everything I could get my hands on,” he said.

After obtaining a music degree at Ithaca College – he focused on saxophone and vocal skills – and a master’s from St. Rose, he taught music for 14 happy years at Glebe Street Elementary.

He moved to Northville as elementary principal (2009) and Remsen as superintendent (2013) before arriving at CCS on Jan. 1, 2017, succeeding C.J. Herbert, who had died in an ATV accident the previous March.

In his four years at the CCS helm, Crankshaw’s often told people how much he loved the district, and how he hoped he’d be spending his career here.

A phone call a couple of months ago changed all of that.

It was David Ziskin, Herkimer- Fulton-Montgomery BOCES superintendent, who was leading the Johnstown search committee for a new superintendent.

“I think you’d be a perfect fit,” Ziskin told Crankshaw.“The name ‘Johnstown’ is the only school district
I would have replied to,” said Crankshaw in a Monday, Aug. 31, interview, three days after the news of his departure broke.

He was offered the job in 2-3 weeks.

Here, finding a successor may be a little more complicated, said school board President Tim Hayes:
ONC BOCES Superintendent Nick Savin, who will lead the search, is retiring, and will also be occupied with “his own transition.”

With Crankshaw expecting to start his next job “Dec. 1 or sooner,” the first step will be find an interim superintendent “who wants to take on the responsibility at this unprecedented time.”

When Crankshaw was hired, “we had a good amount of applications.” But with economic uncertainty, New York State’s requirements and COVID-19, “I can’t even begin to predict what the applicant pool will look like,” Hayes said.

The school board planned to begin that discussion when it met at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2.

He added, “I’m very pleased to have two principals in place, after a significant amount of turnover, who are really working hard to make sure our school is moving in the direction we need to, pandemic or not.”

For his part, Hayes said, Crankshaw is leaving two strong principals in place: Ann Meccariello, promoted from elementary- to high-school principal in March; and Morrisville-Eaton High School Principal Tracy Durkee, a nationally certified fellow of the Common Core Institute, hired in May as elementary principal.

In addition to the hometown draw, Crankshaw said he is looking forward to tackling the Johnstown district’s financial challenges.

His strategy, he said, is to determine “what education means in the community and how we’re going to pay for it.” CCS – the state’s COVID-related 20-percent cut in aid, $1 million, will accelerate that conversation – is going to have to answer the same question, but less urgently, he said.

During his four-year tenure, Crankshaw said he’s most proud of the creation of “a guaranteed and viable curriculum: We can tell you, every week, what’s being taught in K-12.”

He found a good staff in place, he said, but in the past four years, through “robust recruitment” of 30-some teachers, “we’ve attracted some amazing educators.”

Another necessary step, he said, was increasing the counseling department from 3½ positions to five, ensuring a full-time social worker at both the elementary and high schools. “We recognized the level of need,” he said.

After seven years of seeing each other on weekends, Crankshaw said he’s also looking forward to being reunited with his spouse, Wally Hart, Lexington Foundation executive director. The couple bought an Otsego Lake-side property in Hickory Grove, but maintained a home base in Gloversville, part of the Johnstown district.

As he contemplates his next step, the 30-year educator had an experience Sunday evening that confirmed his vocation.

He was invited to a private recital at Hyde Hall, organized by Rickey Calleo and Faith Carmichael, that featured Vicente Nunez, a Crankshaw pupil from Glebe Street.

At the time, Vicente’s family lived on an isolated farm, seven miles up a dirt road, beyond the reach of even a school bus. His father had returned to Puerto Rico, and no one in the family had been to college before.

Now 18, a trained singer, Vicente is off to college and a hoped-for career in New York City.

“This is an example of what can happen with the right educator,” Crankshaw said

Hobbie Gets 16 Years In Child Pornography Plea
Teacher Pretended To Be Teen Boy

Hobbie Sentenced

To 16 1/2 Years For

Exploiting 3 Girls

Justin Hobbie

COOPERSTOWN – Former Cooperstown gym teacher Justin Hobbie, 42, has been sentenced to 200 months in prison for posing as a teen boy on social media to persuade three teenage girls to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves, according to a release from United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“While working as a teacher, Justin Hobbie preyed on teenage girls he met online by pretending to be a teenage boy and pressuring victims to make and send him sexually explicit video,” said Jaquith.  “Hobbie has now been held accountable for egregiously exploiting those children over a three-year period.”

Amid Deluge, CCS Sends 78 Into World


Amid Deluge, CCS

Sends 78 Into World

After a downpour delayed Cooperstown Central School’s 1:30 p.m. Commencement 2020 for 45 minutes this afternoon, Anya McGoldrick, left, and Natalie Fountain, top photo, lead a procession of 78 seniors through cheers and beeping horns in the school parking lot to the ceremony in the field between the high school and elementary schools.  Inset left, Tammi Kelly and Don Corns – their grad is Morgan Kelly – opened a golf umbrella through their sunroof as shelter from the rain.  The seniors will be honored with a parade through downtown Cooperstown at 5 p.m. – head- on down!  (Jim Kevlin/

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