News of Otsego County

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

Cooperstown news

K-9 Team Joins Bassett Hospital Security Department


K-9, Handler Join

Bassett’s Security

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Hudson and handler, Officer Meiser.

COOPERSTOWN – Hudson may just be a dog, but as part of Bassett Hospital’s first K-9 team, he has a lot of responsibilities.

The hospital announced the new security team today.

“The presence of a K-9 team is shown to be extremely effective in promoting safety,” said Harold Southworth, director of Public Safety and Transportation, who along with Andrew Zuk, manager of Security Operations, led the development of the K-9 program.

“Hudson is extremely intelligent and adaptable to the moment. His presence can immediately calm a highly charged situation, and he is an approachable, comforting distraction when called upon, such as for children in the emergency department.”

Lois F. Warrell, 89; Teacher, Served On Pathfinder Board

IN MEMORIAM: Lois F. Warrell, 89;

Teacher, Served On Pathfinder Board

Lois Warrell

COOPERSTOWN – Lois F. Warrell, 89, a teacher who retired to Cooperstown with her superintendent husband in 1989 and became fully involved in community life, died Friday evening, July 12, 2019, at the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center in Troy.

Born Sept. 24, 1929, in Queens, Lois was the daughter of Edward P. and Doris (Whiting) Robinson.

She was raised in Lynnbrook and graduated from Lynnbrook High School in the Class of 1947. She attended and graduated from Hofstra University and thereafter received her master’s degree in education from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.

Panel Explores Ritts’ Life, Legacy and Impact

Panel Explores Ritts’

Life, Legacy and Impact

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president Greg Harris, pictured at right, was the moderator of this afternoon’s panel discussion on the “Fenimore Rocks! Herb Ritts and the Image of Rock Music” exhibit currently on display at the Fenimore Art Museum. The talk, which featured Rory Ritts, Herb Ritts’ brother, Laurie Kratochvil, photography director at Rolling Stone, and music historian John Covach, pictured above, who discussed the work of Ritts and took questions from the audience. (Ian Austin/

Fly Creek Society Ready To Unveil Historic Signs

5 Markers To Be Celebrated Sunday

Fly Creek Society Ready

To Unveil Historic Signs

Mike Ainslie of Fly Creek starts unboxing the North Tin Shop, one of five new historical markers that will be on display tomorrow (Sunday, July 14) from mid-morning to mid-afternoon at the Fly Creek Historical Society’s annual BBQ at the old Grange Hall on Cemetery Road.  At noon, the society will also unveil a portrait of Diantha Cushman, being examine in photo at right by society stalwarts Deecee Haviland, Judy Thorne and Freida Snyder.  The portrait was painted by J.W. Jarvis, which Society President Sherilee Rathbone says may be a son of John Wesley Jarvis, who painted the James Fenimore Cooper portrait on display at The Fenimore Art Museum.  In 1846, Mrs. Cushman, daughter of mill owners in the Town of Exeter, married Charles Cushman, who operates the Oaksville Calico Mill.   In addition to the tin shop, the other four historical markers will mark sites of the one-room Sprague School house in the Fly Creek Valley; the nearby home of Hezekah Sprague, a Revolutionary soldier who donated the school house, and the pitch fork factory on Fork Shop Road.  Another marker, commemorating David Shipman, partial inspiration for Cooper’s Leatherstocking, is on order and will be placed by Shipman’s grave in a Toddsville Cemetery.  The markers were underwritten by the Pomeroy Foundation of Syracuse.  Tomorrow’s celebration include a pulled-pork luncheon (suggested donation, $10), which includes salad, dessert and a drink, as well as hotdogs and hamburgers.  (Jim Kevlin/


Pinch Yourself! In Age Of Automobile, Steam Power Returns To Cooperstown

Pinch Yourself!

In Age Of Automobile, Steam

Power Returns To Cooperstown

If you hurry, you may get a chance to see a rarity in Cooperstown: A steam engine, now paused across Route 28 from the Price Chopper parking lot. Part of the 150th celebration of the Milford-based Coopertown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, the train is proceeding to the former Glen Avenue crossing in the next few minutes, before returning to the anniversary celebrations in Milford.  Inset, conductor Bruce Hodges, president, the Leatherstocking Railroad Historical Society, chats with Roy Davis, the engine’s owner, who trucked it over from Dunkirk to participate in this weekend’s festivities.  At left is Scott Symans, who accompanied Davis, who said he bought the engine in Virginia and renovated it.  (Jim Kevlin/

BOUND VOLUMES July 11, 2019


July 11, 2019


Suicide – A man by the name of William Burgin, living in Middlefield, was found dead, near the house of George Boid, Esq. on Wednesday morning last. His left arm (being strongly girt with a garter) had three deep wounds cut in it, from which he had undoubtedly bled to death – and the coroner’s inquest gave their verdict accordingly. It appears he had previously applied to Esq. Boid, one of the poor masters, for assistance from the town – which being refused, he threatened to leave his blood on Boid’s door-steps, before another day – which threat he literally executed as blood was found on Wednesday morning, and his body a short distance off, lying across the path. He was 70 years of age, and has left a wife and children.

July 5, 1819


Barber estimates the numbers in attendance at the Democratic Mass Meeting on July 4 at “4,000, men, women, children and every creeping thing.” This is tolerably liberal for one who has no respect for truth in anything relating to political matters – and, we should let it pass without notice, but for the fact that he has further represented that the assemblage was a scene of rowdiness and drunkenness, such as had not been seen in the place for ten years past. A residence here of a little over six years, seems to beget in him a propensity to speak of “days lang syne,” when he was a subject of King Charles Charter in Rhode Island. Never, during our time, which now counts a domicile on this spot of near thirty-six years, have we seen in the village anything like the number of persons here on July 4. And, we are now satisfied, from conversations with some of our most conscientious and respectable citizens who took the pains to scan the whole ground, that 10,000 as stated in our last paper, is within the number present, and if put at 12,500, it would not have been an exaggeration. There were over 1,000 ladies who sought seats in the Grove, only about half of whom could be accommodated. During four hours’ speaking, not a disorderly sound was heard. No stimulating drinks of any kind were tolerated by the Committee. Is this “rowdiness”? Is this drunkenness? Ask the Ladies present, 500 of whom sat for hours witnessing the scene.

July 15, 1844


Railroad Matters – On Wednesday, the construction train reached the corporation limits and the iron rails crossed the line. The recent favorable weather has been taken advantage
of to push forward the work with energy – some of our business men, Directors and others, going down and lending a helping hand. Wednesday evening, the construction train brought to the village the first car of 11.5 tons freight. The locomotive, so appropriately called the “Ellery Cory” is expected here this week. It is expected that passenger trains will commence to run over the road on Monday next – to be in charge of Mr. O.Z. Brown, Conductor and Mr. Wm. B. Smith, Engineer. The cars will leave Cooperstown at 9:20 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and return about 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. The fare will be 80 cents to the Junction, $2.85 to Binghamton, $3.10 to Albany, $5.10 to New York City.

July 9, 1869


Otsego Chapter, Daughters of The American Revolution, was founded in June, the charter members being Abby Cory Turner, Genevieve Cory Johnston, Emma Cory, Rexis Wood Clark, Grace Scott Bowen, Ella Wood Cady, Jennie Campbell Randolph, Agusta Prescott Welch, Eveleen Tunnicliff Edick, Fannie Grant White, Maude L. Merchant, Clara Matteson Murdock, There are now 17 members of Otsego Chapter. The five members who are not charter members are: Mrs. Emma W. Babbitt, Dr. M. Imogene Bassett, Mrs. Altana R.B. Davidson, Mrs. Helen C. Church and Mrs. Michaels of Fort Plain.

July 12, 1894


Cooperstown and its place in Indian history are to be thoroughly discussed here in the early autumn when several of the most prominent archaeologists of the state plan to gather here as guests of the Leatherstocking Chapter, New York State Archaeological Association. It has been thought for some time past that an Indian Village of considerable size existed for many hundred years on the banks of the Susquehanna River just north of the pump house. A few years ago, a skeleton, undoubtedly that of an Iroquois
warrior was dug up by David R. Dorn and George N. Smith of this village. Since that time, arrows, spearheads, and other implements of warfare have been found. The conference will endeavor to ascertain just who these people were and to what tribes they belonged.

July 9, 1919


Announcement was made Saturday of completion of plans for another series of five Victory Sings to be held in Cooperstown on the four Sunday afternoons in August and the first Sunday afternoon in September, thus continuing the program of community singing started here seven years ago. These sings have been much appreciated and enjoyed in the past and have attracted thousands of people to Cooperstown from all parts of Central New York and many from greater distances. Dr. Elmer A. Tidmarsh, Director of Music at Union College, Schenectady, is returning to be the leader again this summer.

July 12, 1944


The new library building of the New York State Historical
Association will be formally dedicated in a two-day
ceremony at Cooperstown, July 12 and 13. Designed by the architectural firm, Moore and Hutchins, the handsome stone-faced building just north of Fenimore House, the Association’s headquarters, is equipped to house the more than 90,000 volumes, special collections, a newspaper storage area for some 500,000 papers, and a special audio-visual room for tapes, records, films, and slides.

July 9, 1969


The Cooperstown Art Association is currently exhibiting two outdoor sculpted stone works on the front lawn at 22 Main, loaned by two nationally recognized artists who reside nearby. Fly Creek sculptor Walter Dusenberry’s “Garden Bench” is composed of partially sandblasted and polished Yellow Travertine. Gilbertsville’s Dennis Stahl’s marble and wood piece is titled “Darma Wheel.” Both works are for sale.

July 2, 1994

Put Up Your Own Sign, But Leave Others’ Alone

Put Up Your Own Sign,

But Leave Others’ Alone

To the Editor:

The grassy, rather triangular-shaped space at the junction of Route 80 and the Pierstown Road has always been used as a place for various signs – the TANNER HILL HERB FARM.  GRANGE BARBEQUE!  BOOK SALE! And, in political seasons, postings for various candidates.

On Sunday, June 30, a sign in patriotic colors promoting the election of ANY FUNCTIONAL ADULT IN 2020 was up; on Wednesday, July 3, between 12:30 and 4:15 pm, someone got rid of it.

I hadn’t put it there, but was glad to see it. It was both amusing, which most political signage is not, and message-bearing.

Over the years there have been signs for political candidates that I liked, and others that I didn’t, placed there.  But as far as I know they were always left alone until removed by their owners. That is, or was, a tribute to the expression of free thought in a civilized and democratic society.

Our Editor Jim Kevlin publishes letters ranging from the sane and opinionated to the virtually insane but also opinionated, because he sees it as the right thing to do. Just destroying an expression of opinion which you don’t like is thuggish and profoundly saddening.

It violates values that as Americans I believe we hold dear.   Go put up your own sign if you want, but leave the others alone.



Pizza-Making Legend Ends 41-Year Career

Sal Grigoli Remembers Hard Work, Nice Folks

Pizza-Making Legend

Ends 41-Year Career

Sal Grigoli and wife Diane show the pizza paddle many MLB stars signed over the years. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sal making pizza in the early days.

COOPERSTOWN – “Forty-one years!  I haven’t even been alive that long,” Sal Grigoli reports people saying to him these days.

That’s the amount of time – age 19 to age 60 – that the founder and owner of the venerable Sal’s Pizzeria has been spinning dough disks at 110 Main St.

You’ll still see him there for the next few weeks as he guides the new owners and their staff through the transition, but as of June 13, the business was sold to Bob Hurley, franchisee of 11 Subways in the region.

Some of the longtime patrons expressing surprise are local, others are from all over the country.  “They come back to visit family.  They come back for class reunions.”

Erie Clerk Sues To Halt State ‘Green Light’ Law


Erie Clerk Sues To Halt

State ‘Green Light’ Law

Otsego County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner points to the screen of a “customer facing device” that she fears will allow ineligible people to be registered to vote. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Mickey Kearns

COOPERSTOWN – Another option for county clerks to challenge the state’s “Green Light” law opened up this week, as Erie County Clerk Michael “Mickey” Kearns went to federal court to block enforcement until its constitutionality can be determined.

The “Green Light” law, due to go into effect Dec. 14, would require county clerks to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented residents/illegal aliens, and to rebuff any efforts by ICE (U.S. Immigrations & Customs Enforcement) to access their records.

Otsego County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner and many of her colleagues learned of the lawsuit in Syracuse Monday, July 8, at a state Association of County Clerks’ strategy session on how to go forward.

For Fulfilling Twilight Years, Start Planning


For Fulfilling Twilight

Years, Start Planning

Tamie MacDonald, Otsego County Office for the Aging director, shows off the variety of menu itesm cooked at The Meadows in anticipating of the opening of a new senior food site in Milford in January 2018. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Tamie MacDonald in her offices at The Meadows. (Jennifer Hill/

COOPERTOWN – Our twilight years can be as fulfilling as our early ones.

That is what Tamie MacDonald, Otsego County’s Office for Aging director, wants people of all ages to know, and that her office can help us realize it.

“We can change our own story of what aging is,” MacDonald said.  “No one wants to be frail or dependent on people.  It’s a matter of planning for an independent life as a senior ahead of time.  And the earlier we plan, the more likely you’ll be active, independent, and do the things you want to do.”

“If we don’t plan ahead, we lose choices, which then limits our ability to be independent,” she added.

MacDonald believes growing up on her father’s farm in Delaware County played a role in her pursuing a career in gerontology.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer Peaks At The Fenimore


Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer

Peaks At The Fenimore

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Long live rock and roll! Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president Greg Harris leads a panel discussion on “Fenimore Rocks! Herb Ritts and the Image of Rock Music” as part of the Fenimore Art Museum gala weekend. Afterwards, enjoy cocktails and a buffet. 2-4 p.m. Saturday, July 13, Fenimore Art Museum, 5798 Route 80, Cooperstown.  Info,

Who will reign supreme when it comes to pulled pork and chicken? Local judges will taste them all and crown the BBQ king – or queen! Oneonta’s Fabulous Fridays also includes music by Atomic Rewind, games and more throughout the downtown. 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, July 12, Mueller’s Plaza, Main St., Oneonta.

Superheroes in Ripped Jean launch campaign to buy their building. Get your face painted, meet some adoptable animals and hear a Capital Campaign kickoff address by founder Terra Butler. Later in the evening, enjoy music and a live auction. 3-11 p.m. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Info,

Get your groove on at a dance party under the stars as Ryan Scot & Band play a set of R&B, Soul, Funk & more as part of the West Kortright Center’s annual gala. $18. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 13, West Kortright Center, 49 W. Kortright Church Rd., East Meredith. 607-278-5454 or visit

the opening of 84th Annual National Juried Art Exhibition and award ceremonies with a sneak peak at the exhibit. 5-7 p.m. Friday, July 12, Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9777.

Orpheus Theatre puts on two productions by their youth theater groups. “Elf Jr.” will be performed 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 12 and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13. Then at 7:30 that night, catch the school edition of “Les Miserables,” with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14.

Foothills PAC’s Production Room.  $5. 24 Market St., Oneonta.  607-431-2080,



Planning Board Meets On New Housing Plan

Planning Board Meets

On New Housing Plan

Neighbor Ted Spencer spoke against plans for The Grove, a 12-unit apartment house, at the Cooperstown Village Board meeting in June. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – The village Planning Board meets at 4:30 p.m. today to review a proposed housing plan seeking to create more apartment housing in Cooperstown.

The  issue of apartments brought a crowd to last month’s Village Board meeting to oppose The Grove, a 12-unit apartment house proposed on empty land between Chestnut Street and Pine Boulevard.

Cows, Goats, Pigs, Oh My! At Junior Livestock Show

Cows, Goats, Pigs, Oh My!

At Junior Livestock Show

More than 250 kids presented 650 animals as part of The Farmers’ Museum’s 72nd annual Junior Livestock Show‘s Parade of Champions, showcasing the best of the best in livestock at the end of a weekend of trials and judging at the Iroquois Farm Showgrounds in Cooperstown. Above, Gus Mason, 14, holds Gummy Bear’s Grand Champion Jersey award and the Best Jersey Bred and Owned award . The Grand Champion silver plate award was made in memory of Howard Curry Ainslie by his family when he died in 1999.  Flanking Gummy Bear on the left is Howard Ainslie’s youngest daughter, Darcey Ainslie Schilling, and on the right, his granddaughter, Jennifer Griffith.  Harold Couse, Griffith’s father and husband of Howard’s daughter Carla Ainslie Couse, stands next to Gus, with family friend Addilee Lutz, 8.  At right, Farmers’ Museum board member David Bliss presents the Dairy Cup Best in Show award to Lance McClure and his cow, Jericho-Dairy Baracuda-ET. (Jennifer Hill/

Lanternfly, Other Invasives, Explored In OCCA Programs

Lanternfly, Other Invasives,

Explored In OCCA Programs

The spotted lanternfly is the latest invasive creating concern locally.

Three programs – one specifically on the lanternfly, another specifically on Japanese knotweed – are planned locally in the next few days to mark Invasive Species Awareness Week, the OCCA announced today.

They are:

  • Spotting the Lanternfly: Early Detection Training for our Newest Invader, 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at Mohican Farm 7207 Route 80 (West Lake Road)
  • Chop and Cheese, Japanese Knotweed Removal, 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 10, also at at Mohican Farm
  • Invasive Species Teach-In, 11 a.m. Saturday July 13, large pavilion, Wilber Park, Oneonta. Bring suspicious plants for identification.

Lights Light Up Sky Over Cooperstown

Lights Light Up Sky

Over Cooperstown

Hundreds of local folks and visitors listened to the Community Concert Band, directed by Julie Solomon, performed “Stars & Stripes Forever” this evening in Cooperstown’s Lakefront Park, with Otsego Lake as a backdrop.  Fireworks followed to rousing applause.  With fireworks last evening in Oneonta, and parades there and in Springfield Center, this evening’s activities signalled the end of this year’s Fourth of July celebration.  (Jim Kevlin/

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