News of Otsego County

Cooperstown Central School

Mebust hopes to close swim career with NCAA run

Mebust hopes to close
swim career with NCAA run

By GREG KLEIN • Special to


One of the top swimmers in the region has been training for his college senior season with a goal in mind, the NCAA Division III championship.

Ted Mebust, a 2018 Cooperstown Central School graduate, missed almost a year of swimming at Bowdoin College because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he and his fellow 2021-22 captains have been planning to make up for it their senior year.

“We’re all living together. We’re all close as a team. So, we have been talking about how to establish or reestablish a team camaraderie, so to speak,” Mebust said in the phone interview with The Freeman’s Journal on Monday, Aug. 2.

When he was last in a competitive meet — Bowdoin, in Brunswick, Maine, had students on campus in the spring and the Polar Bears had a short training season, but no regulation competitions — Mebust had the best meet for his team at its conference tournament, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship, Feb. 20 to 23, 2020, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Mebust placed second in the 50 backstroke, third in the 100 back and seventh in the 50 freestyle.

Schools prepare for delta variant

Schools prepare for delta variant

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

With the delta variant of the coronavirus virus causing jumps in cases across the county and the country, some Otsego County school districts are gearing up to welcome kids back to classes with masks on.
This is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, which has labeled Otsego County as a “substantial transmission” area where, in theory, masks are recommended indoors regardless of vaccination status. COVID cases have been on the rise across the country.

In Otsego County, as of Aug. 9, there were 72 active cases and four hospitalizations.

In Cooperstown Central Schools, while instruction will be in person, there will be a universal indoor mask policy as well as three-foot social distancing while maintaining cleaning and disinfecting at the schools.

Alum, SUNY Oneonta grad take CCS jobs
Shirley Tyler and Karl O’Leary have been hired as Cooperstown’s director of athletics/extracurricular activities and high school principal, respectively. (Greg Klein/

Alum, SUNY Oneonta
grad take CCS jobs

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Cooperstown Central School has new leadership in its middle/high school again.

The school’s Board of Education has made two hires in the past month, picking Karl O’Leary as the new
principal and Shirley Tyler as the new coordinator of athletics and extra-curricular activities.

O’Leary started his career as an English teacher and served as principal of Moravia Central School for two years and most recently as assistant high school principal at Middle Country Central School on Long Island. He graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2002 and then got advanced degrees from SUNY Cortland and University of New England.

Leonard became Milford’s pioneer wrestler, Coop legend

Leonard became Milford’s pioneer wrestler, Coop legend
Despite losing senior season to pandemic, grappling career will continue with college recruitment

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Avery Leonard, a Milford/Cooperstown wrestler, goes for a pin during the 2020-2021 state tournament in Albany in February 2020.

MARYLAND — As he could see his senior season of wrestling being washed away by the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 Milford Central School graduate Avery Leonard said he relied on his philosophy of life, “worry about what you can control, let go of everything you can’t control.”

“I have always run with that saying,” he said, Monday, July 19.

Leonard and his father/wrestling coach, Nate Leonard, spoke with at their “summer home” on Goodyear Lake, about his career and losing his senior season after spending three years working toward a state title.

After COVID delay, Cooperstown teacher plans overseas trip for 2022

After COVID delay, Cooperstown
teacher plans overseas trip for 2022

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to

Cooperstown Central School students gather for a group picture in front of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna during a 2016 overseas trip with history teacher Jennifer Pindar.

For more than 15 years Cooperstown High School history teacher Jennifer Pindar has loved leading student groups on educational trips abroad, a tradition she will continue after the coronavirus pandemic canceled last year’s trip.

In 2022, Pindar will lead a student trip to London, Belgium and Amsterdam. The destinations were agreed on in consultation with educational travel company World Strides. Along with Pindar, students will be accompanied by tour guides from World Strides and parents and teachers who agree to chaperone. The school is not involved in this trip.

The itinerary includes Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and other attractions. Students will also take excursions around Brussels and Bruges in Belgium. In Amsterdam, highlights will include visits to the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum.

Rotary announces 2021 award winners

Rotary announces
2021 award winners

William Moody and Ellie Hotaling accepted their Rotary awards Tuesday, July 6, during a ceremony at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.

The Cooperstown Rotary Foundation announced the winners of two scholarships for 2021 graduates during a ceremony Tuesday, July 6, at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.

Cooperstown Central graduate Ellie Hotaling is the recipient of the Catherine Davis Black Scholarship.

William Moody, an Oneonta High School and BOCES graduate, is the recipient of the Michael Mayne scholarship.

Moody and Hotaling were acknowledged at their high schools’ commencement ceremonies and received the $1,200 scholarships at the Rotary Club’s luncheon.

The Catherine Davis Black Scholarship award was created in 2015 in memory of Catherine Black, who was a charter member and a founder of the local Rotary Club’s tax-deductible charity.

Black was the first female president of the Cooperstown Rotary Club and went on to be one of the first female district governors. Since Black had a special interest in early childhood education and music, the scholarship criteria stipulates the recipient should be planning to pursue a career in one of those areas, as well as having demonstrated the Rotary tenet of “Service Above Self” by volunteering and contributing to their community.

The speech I did not give to the class of 2021


The speech I did not
give to the class of 2021


About two weeks ago I got a message from the other Tara in my life, Cooperstown Sports Booster Club President Tara Loewenguth, letting me know that despite COVID restrictions I was invited to the annual end-of-year sports banquet.

It wasn’t an unusual text and I politely declined. I don’t do a lot of banquets, but as a Cooperstown booster and after a fun spring of sports coverage, I thought nothing about being invited.

I told Tara it was graduation weekend and I had plans to go somewhere Friday evening to cover one of our small schools.

What happened next I found to be unusual. Tara texted me back and asked if I could call her immediately. It was urgent, she said.

“So, we were hoping to surprise you, but,” she said, and then explained that the other club members had unanimously voted to give me the 2020-2021 Ken Kiser Award for Good Sportsmanship for dedication and commitment to athletics at Cooperstown Central School.

I spent the next couple of days stunned, debating with myself if I could miss a graduation night, and discussing with my family if they wanted to go to a long banquet on a Friday night, while trying to cobble a speech together in my head. I guess if you are at the stage where you are cobbling together a speech in your head, the decision is obvious. And when even the teen agreed to go, I knew it was settled.

GEERTGENS: We should remember the purpose of schools, stick to the mission they represent


We should remember the purpose
of schools, stick to the mission they represent

Often when we ask ourselves a question, it brings up another question. You might ask, “what is a school?” Merriam-Webster offers that it is; “an organization that provides instruction: such as … an institution for the teaching of children.”

Okay, so why do we have these institutions known as schools? For as long as there have been humans, there has been the need for the young to learn. Some learning is instinctive.

Some learning is necessary for survival. Each civilization had its own reasons beyond that for children to learn. It may have been to perpetuate the culture. It may have been to reinforce the religion or other beliefs. It may have been to go beyond just basic survival and learn how to enhance life.

STEIN: Critical race theory isn’t being taught in K-12 schools; debate is a distraction


Critical race theory isn’t
being taught in K-12 schools;
debate is a distraction

Protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, no one is advocating teaching critical race theory at CCS or any other K-12 school for that matter. Discrimination and prejudice based upon race and class is a documented feature of American history. They say that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Our country can ill afford to repeat the sins of our past, so we’d better start educating our children now.

Critical race theory in schools is a false flag being raised by right-wing media to inflame viewers, and it’s obviously working.

Here’s hoping that our school board is wise enough not to react to fear mongering.

“Critical Race Theory is a framework for viewing U.S. legal history that is widely discussed in law school classes, and has occasionally been used to guide anti-racism training in universities, businesses and government agencies. But it has never been used, anywhere in the country, to shape the development of curriculum in K-12 schools. Treating it as a threat to public education is not only disingenuous, it is creating an atmosphere of panic that will discourage instruction in Black history, indigenous history and the history of race and immigration in the United States.

Culturally responsive pedagogy is not Critical Race Theory.Treating it as such will have profoundly destructive consequences. Do not give in to the hysteria,” Dr. Mark Naison, professor of African American studies and history, Fordham University.

Michael Stein,

Cooperstown wins section baseball title with extra-innings walkoff
Cooperstown has won Seciton III Class C baseball titles in 2017, 2019 and 2021. (Greg Klein/

Cooperstown wins section
baseball title with
extra-innings walkoff

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

ONEONTA – Alex Hage’s walk-off single to left field scored pinch runner P.J. Kiuber to give top seeded Cooperstown its third Section III Class C baseball title in five years, with a 4-3 eight-inning win over No. 3 Port Byron in the C1 tournament championship Saturday, June 12, at Damaschke Field.

“Right off the bat, I knew. We won,” said Hage, a senior who plays first base.

“I was just thinking I had to do my job,” he continued. “This was the spot. This is where I do the job I am here to do.”

Although there could be a legion ball game or two left for him to play, Hage’s walkoff was likely his last big at bat. He said he is looking forward to attending University of North Carolina-Wilmington in the fall, but he isn’t planning to play college baseball.

Luckily, he’ll have a section title to show for his final at bat, the third he and a handful of his fellow seniors have been around to experience for Cooperstown. The Hawkeyes won in 2017, advancing to the final four for the first time in school history. The 2019 team one-upped that performance, losing in the Class C state championship game.

The coronavirus pandemic took away two chances at state titles for the class of 2021, but the Hawkeye players and coaches said they are thrilled with their championships, especially after coming from behind Saturday, and also Thursday, against Pulaski.

“We ended the season on a win,” Cooperstown Coach Frank Miosek said. “How many teams get to say that?”

“This is the highest you can go this year and all three tournament games have been dramatic,” Miosek said. “We won 1-0, 10-9 and now 4-3.”

Joseph S. Harris, 64 Middlefield town supervisor; also cared for Doubleday Field for 33 years.

In Memoriam

Joseph S. Harris, 64
Middlefield town supervisor; also
cared for Doubleday Field for 33 years.

Joseph S. Harris

Middlefield – Joseph S. Harris, 64, of Middlefield, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday May 25, 2021. He was born on Sept. 20, 1956 in Oneida, NY, the son of William and Barbara Harris. He graduated from Cooperstown Central School. He worked for the Village of Cooperstown, where he took care of his pride and joy, Doubleday Field, for 33 years before retiring. He also spent many years working for local farms. After his retirement, he devoted many hours to public service as the Town of Middlefield Supervisor. He also worked for American Wholesalers and Stocking Stalls.

Joseph married Jean N. McCauley on October 25, 1980. They made many memories together, while enjoying their time camping and being with their family and closest friends. He belonged to Wedocandors Club, where he enjoyed many hunting memories with his son, son-in-law, and club members. He also was an avid hunter, who spent many opening days with his son and daughter.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: CCS Thespians present ‘A Little Shop of Horrors’ 06-03-21

CCS Thespians present

‘A Little Shop of Horrors’


THEATER – 7 p.m. CCS Thespians present the dark comedy ‘A Little Shop of Horrors,’ about Seymour Krelborn finding love with the help of a talking plant only to discover the downsides of make a deal with a killer plant. Reservations, masks required. Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School. Visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: CCS Art Exhibit Opens At Fenimore 06-01-21

CCS Art Exhibit Opens At Fenimore


YOUTH ART EXHIBIT – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. CCS students present exhibit ‘Young at Art! Inspired by Community’ sharing their experience of community during the pandemic and how art grew their relationships online and at home. On view through June 26. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit

AllOTSEGO people: Post-rally, Bohler’s life is that of average teen

AllOTSEGO people

Post-rally, Bohler’s life is that of average teen

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Cooperstown freshman Cate Bohler poses with her mom, Jeannine Webster, on Friday, May 14.

COOPERSTOWN – When at least 250 people gathered May 3, on the lawn of the Otsego County Courthouse to show support for the area’s Asian-American population, and then stayed for an hour to listen to speeches during a rainstorm, many of the speakers marveled that the rally was organized by a 15-year Cooperstown Central School freshman, Cate Bohler.

They were not alone in their surprise. Bohler and her mom, Jeannine Webster, told The Freeman’s Journal on Friday, May 14, that they were surprised, too.

“I kind of feel like I didn’t really realize what I was doing,” Bohler said. “I think it was when I was hearing the speakers speaking and then it started raining and people stayed mostly.”

“All of the young people involved learned a powerful lesson about community,” Webster said. “Looking back I am not really sure how it came together.”

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