News of Otsego County

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


Cooperstown Village Board

DEWEY: Reelect Democratic Slate In Village


Reelect Democratic

Slate In Village

To the Editor,

Our world has changed significantly since March 18, 2020, when the Cooperstown village elections were originally scheduled. Until last month the Village Board was unable to meet in person, due to the pandemic, so monthly meetings took place via Zoom and were streamed live on the village website. They are also archived on the village’s You-Tube channel.

MacGuire Benton probably didn’t know a pandemic was heading our way, but last year as a first-time board member he had the foresight to recommend the Village Board record all meetings and stream them. His goal was to improve the Board’s transparency and accessibility to everyone.

He headed the task force which researched his idea, and advanced a proposal to video stream all monthly meetings. So, if you’ve had the opportunity to see the Cooperstown Village Board in action over the past several months, you have MacGuire Benton to thank.

This coming Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Village of Cooperstown will hold its elections for mayor (2-year term), and two trustees positions (each 3-year terms).

As a trustee, I have had the privilege of working closely with Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh for the past two years, and with Trustees Joe Membrino and MacGuire Benton for the past year. They each bring different strengths and ideas to the board, and I firmly believe this benefits Cooperstown.

Ellen has vast knowledge of Cooperstown’s history and has been an integral part of the Village Board since 2011. She is a detail person, and has a deep understanding of the village’s inner workings. (They are far more complex than most people imagine!) She has been an effective leader, moving Cooperstown forward and continuing the progress of the past several years.

Joe has a background in legal public service, specifically pertaining to water rights. The Water & Sewer Board has been fortunate to have his expertise for the past seven years. Joe is also chair of the Finance Committee, which benefits from his attention to detail and fiscal responsibility.

MacGuire is a 2016 CCS grad, dedicated to ensuring Cooperstown is an accessible, transparent and welcoming community for all, now and into the future. His enthusiasm, innovative ideas, and Millennial perspective are a benefit to Cooperstown and to the Village Board.

It is no secret that Cooperstown’s population is shrinking as well as aging. MacGuire’s perspective as a young person who is dedicated to staying in his home town and making sure it is an attractive place for future generations is unique to the Board.

He is curious, eager and interested in understanding how different issues facing the Village will affect Cooperstown and its residents. He has made a point of seeking out the ideas and concerns of his constituents and sharing these with the board.

As a small village in rural Upstate New York, Cooperstown has its challenges, particularly now, but with the thoughtful, forward-thinking planning of the current mayor and trustees, I believe Cooperstown’s future is bright.

Join me in voting for Mayor Tillapaugh and Trustees Membrino and Benton on Sept. 15, to continue the positive momentum of the past decade.


‘Say Their Names’ Memorial Approved By Cooperstown Board

‘Say Their Names’

OK’d In Village, Too

Mayor Questions Doubleday Field Locale

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

The proposed Cooperstown ‘Say Their Names” memorial would be similar to one erected in Oneonta in July. Here, Diandra Sangetti-Daniels, speaks at the dedication. (Ian Austin/

COOPERSTOWN – A memorial to black lives lost to racial injustice and police brutality was approved for display in Cooperstown by the Village Board during its meeting this evening.

“It’s a great idea,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch.

The memorial, spearheaded by Jennifer Dibble, Hartwick, would include laminated photos of black men and women from the “Say Their Names” memorial database, affixed to the fence with zip-ties, and decorated with flowers. A dedication, including blessings from Jonathan Brown and Rev. LaDana Clark, is also planned.

A similar memorial was erected in Oneonta earlier in the month, along the fence above the Westcott Lot.

IT’S UNANIMOUS: Village Board OKs Mask Mandate For Anyone Walking Main Street


Village Board OKs Mask Mandate

For Anyone Walking Main Street

The Cooperstown Village Board this evening unanimously approved a local law requiring everyone to wear a mask on Main Street sidewalks between Fair Street and Pine Boulevard, and on Pioneer Street from Lake to Church streets.  Only 21 seats were permitted in the Village Hall’s second-floor ballroom, but they were mostly filled, primarily with citizens supportive of the law.  In top photo, Marge Landers, Glen Avenue, commends the trustees for proposing the law, as did Bertine McKenna, Brooklyn Avenue, behind Landers.  “You cannot be too careful,” said McKenna, retired Bassett COO.  Neil Weiller (pink shirt), a former trustee and Muskrat Hill proprietor, speaking in favor, asked, “Who’s going to take care of MY security?”  From walking his dog between his store and Chestnut, he’s counted one person in 10, one in seven, and two in eight people wearing masks.  Three of the dozen people speaking at the public hearing questioned aspect of the law, including Inn at Cooperstown proprietor Marc Kingsley, inset right, calling it “a huge negative for Cooperstown (that) will drive away guests … and further hurt our many local businesses.”  At the meeting’s outset, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch gave a synopsis of correspondence received on the topic: 33 aye, representing 38 people, including letters from Bassett Hospital President Bill LeCates and the Hall of Fame, signed by President Tim Mead and board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark.  There were only four nays. (Jim Kevlin/

Village Sets Aug. 19 Public Hearing For Mask Mandate Law


One Business Already Cited

For Failing To Require Masks

Cooperstown Village Attorney Martin Tillapaugh invited Village Board Members to make amendments to the new mask mandate law, which will be put before a vote and a public hearing at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

A masked Mayor Tillapaugh at the Village Board’s first in-person meeting since March.

COOPERSTOWN – At the Village Board’s first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Monday revealed that an unnamed Main Street business has already been issued a citation for failing to comply with the state’s mask requirements.

“Our police have been walking Main Street, and so far, only one business has not been compliant with the state guidelines,” said Tillapaugh.

According to the mayor, they were issued by the county Department of Health for violation of state health regulations and Executive Order 202.16 requiring face coverings for employees interacting with the public.

Village Board Meeting, Not Virtually, In-Person


Village Board Meeting,

Not Virtually, In-Person

Robert Nelson, Fair Street, left, waits to voice his concern about boats with trailers eating up parking on weekends as the first in-person Cooperstown Village Board meeting since March gets underway this evening in the third-floor ballroom at 22 Main.  Trustees and members of the public – there were four – were spaced to meet the 6-foot social distancing recommendation.  Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch agreed with Nelson that the COVID-19 threat has increased boaters’ usage of Otsego Lake, and the boat launching area on Fish Road.  She said the village’s parking officer will be advised to be vigilant.  At this hour, the trustees are discussing the law that would make mask-wearing mandatory downtown.  The area covered is being expanded on Main Street from Fair to Chestnut to River Street to Pine Boulevard; the Pioneer Street section remains at Church to Lake.  The mayor announced the Village Board will hold a public hearing on Aug. 10 for comment on the law.  (Jim Kevlin/
Cooperstown Village Board Planning To Go Live Again

Cooperstown Village Board

Planning To Go Live Again

COOPERSTOWN – For the first time in months, the Village Board will convene in person at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the ballroom at Village Hall, with limited public attendance allowed subject to 6 feet of social distancing.

A staff member will be outside the Fair Street entrance to advise members of the public when capacity is reached. The Main Street entrance will not be open.  Masks will be required to be worn for those who wish to attend.

The meeting will also be broadcast on Facebook.  A link may be founded at

Paid Parking, Parks Remain in $3.8M Budget
Trolley Service Suspended Until July 1

Paid Parking, Parks

Remain in $3.8M Budget

The Cooperstown Village Board met remotely and streamed the budget hearing on YouTube. From top left, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Joseph Membrino, Jim Dean  Cindy Falk, Teri Barown, Village Clerk, MacGuire Benton, Rich Sternberg, Jeanne Dewey, and Deb Guerin, Village Treasurer.

COOPERSTOWN – Though the Cooperstown Village Board had considered a late start or suspending it entirely, they voted that paid parking will go into effect on Memorial Day weekend as part of the $3.8 million budget approved during their monthly meeting.

Trustee Cindy Falk estimated that revenues will only be $100,000 for the year, down from $463,000 last year.

“It’s a huge punch in the gut,” said Trustee MacGuire Benton.

Corner Of Walnut Now Safe From Developers
Cooperstown Corner Once Commercial, Now Residential

Corner Of Walnut Now

Safe From Developers

COOPERSTOWN – The corner parcel at Walnut and Chestnut, which raised concerns after a Dunkin Donuts was proposed there last fall, has been changed from commercial to residential zoning with a unanimous vote by the Cooperstown Village Board.

“This property is a bit of an anomaly,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh. “There are two residential properties on Linden Avenue who didn’t know their back yards were zoned commercial.”

Village May Put Off Paid Parking Until July

Village May Put Off

Paid Parking Until July

The Cooperstown Village Board met remotely and streamed the budget hearing on YouTube. From top left, Cindy Falk, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Teri Barown, Village Clerk, MacGuire Benton, Rich Sternberg, Joseph Membrino , Jeanne Dewey, Jim Dean and Deb Guerin, Village Treasurer.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Paid parking could be suspended into the middle of the summer, according to Village Trustee Cindy Falk, who proposed the idea during a budget hearing streamed live over YouTube this evening.

“Our paid parking is closely aligned with visitors, and it’s a situation that’s impossible to predict,” she said. “I wonder if at this point, we should consider putting off paid parking until July 1 to give everyone time to get comfortable and for businesses to start re-opening.”

MEMBRINO: More Needs Doing, Help Me Contribute

More Needs Doing,

Help Me Contribute

To the Editor:

On Wednesday, March 18, Cooperstown voters will elect our mayor and two trustees. Last year, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh appointed me to a vacancy on the Village Board and assigned me to chair the Finance Committee. I am now running for a three-year term as trustee for the following reasons.

First, I want to continue the successful management and conservation of our Village’s fiscal resources. Auditors recently met with the Finance Committee and reviewed the village’s financial performance. They advised us that Cooperstown’s fiscal status is “above and beyond” that of other local governments and school boards in their audit portfolio.

Specifically, the village fund balances are growing, and we are maintaining sustainable cash-on-hand balances. The auditors also expressed approval for the way trustees and the village treasurer and staff are implementing fiscal oversight practices that were recommended in our last audit.

Second, I want to continue to assist with oversight of the village’s ongoing major capital projects. Villagers and visitors are already enjoying the improvements to Pioneer and Main streets and the renovation of Pioneer Park. Doubleday Field renovations are well underway, and a major portion of that work is slated for completion in May.

Less visible, but of great importance to the health and welfare of Cooperstown residents and the ecology of the Susquehanna River, is the $8.7 million renovation and expansion of the Wastewater Treatment Facility. As a trustee and long-time member of the village’s Water & Sewer Board, I was asked by Mayor Tillapaugh to monitor the progress of construction, which I am doing in coordination with our village administrator, public works superintendent, wastewater treatment plant operator, and Water & Sewer Board chair, all of whom are providing exemplary service to the village.

Third, as an appointee to the Mayor’s Housing Committee, chaired by Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, I assisted in the review of the village’s zoning law and comprehensive plan to provide for, among other things, new housing and opportunities for village residents to age in place by authorizing criteria for multi-family residential uses that respect the historic character of our village. I look forward to implementing the zoning changes.

All of these initiatives have been undertaken without raising village property taxes. They require collaboration, long hours, and hard work among trustees, village boards and committees, and village staff. It has been a privilege to share in these efforts.

Finally, there is more to do.

To facilitate economic development and improve the quality of village life, street, sidewalk, water supply, and sewer repairs and replacements, as well as park improvements, are ongoing. Our paid parking revenues are a long-term source of funding for these projects as well as future capital projects that will be identified in collaboration with Village residents.

I thank readers for considering my candidacy, and urge all to exercise the right to vote noon-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at the Cooperstown Fire Hall.


MacGuire Benton Energized By Politics

MacGuire Benton

Energized By Politics

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

MacGuire Benton

COOPERSTOWN – Laurie Pestar’s dilemma forged MacGuire Benton’s commitment to politics.

Through political action, “you can change people lives,” the Democratic trustee said in an interview. He is seeking his first full term on the Village Board in the March 18 elections.

In November 2016, Benton and friend Bobby Walker – Mac then headed the county’s Young Democrats; Bobby, the Young Republicans – circulated a petition supporting Laurie Pestar, an elementary school secretary seeking an unpaid leave while she fought cancer.

“In the end,” Benton said, “she had great union representation, and the right things happened.”

At 22, Benton is already a seasoned political activist. He worked for Brian Flynn, who ran in the 2018 Democratic primary eventually won by Congressman Antonio Delgado. He then worked for Jen Metzger, an Ulster County Democrat who won an upset victory for state Senate.

He oversaw 2,500 volunteers. “Organizing these people and seeing their passion was just extraordinary,” he said. Leading up to a nail-biting finale, “I slept six hours in four days,” finally crashing election day in the back room at Metzger’s headquarters.

Election night, no one knew where things were going. At mid-evening, news came that Democratic Florida Gov. Bill Nelson had been defeated, a bad omen. By 12:30 a.m., though, Metzer was 3,000 votes ahead.

“And then … Jen won,” he said. “It was a very great night.”

Since entering politics, the young organizer had put 22,000 miles on his car. He came home, and was soon appointed Democratic assistant county elections commissioner, reporting to Mike Henrici.
Benton MacGuire is adopted. Born in Los Angeles, his Cooperstown parents, Mark and Marianne, who was a friend of his mother, flew in within five hours and brought him home.

“For all intents and purposes,” he said, “I am a native of Cooperstown, “without the privilege of being born at Bassett.

Now retired, his dad had opened Bassett’s eye-care center on T2, and worked there his whole career. A beautician, his mom operated Cutting Corner, but – a sympathetic person – often had people asking her for personal advice.

Benton’s first memory was picking up the front page of the paper on Nov. 5, 2008, and seeing Barack Obama had been elected president. “It was amazing; it was moving,” he said.

His parents had never voted for a Democrat in their lives, but they voted for Obama, the son said. Today, “they’re proud registered Democrats.”

Early last year, he ran into Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch at the Price Chopper, and she recruited him to fill a one-year vacancy. His election “was the greatest honor of my young life.”

In his first year, there have been controversies over an apartment complex, flashing streetlights, the
Pride Flag, the Bassett parking lot, and opening up zoning for multi-family housing. But Benton said,
“I don’t think it’s been tumultuous. I think the public is engaging.”

He’d like to see Village Hall more pro-business, and pro-housing. His parents bought the family home at Beaver and Delaware for $36,000 when she was 18, and he was 21. That couldn’t happen today, he said.

Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns Loves Cooperstown

Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns

Inspired By Controversy, Love

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns

COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown was Margaret Margaret Robbins Sohns’ second home before, living on Pioneer Street, it is now her first one.

Raised in Delhi, her family had a boat docked locally. “We’d come and stay,” she remembers.

The Robbinses were New York Yankee fans – Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly, in particular. “I went to the Hall of Fame whenever I could.”

On the way back to the lake, she’d stop at the Red Nugget Ice Cream Saloon on Hoffman Lane. “THAT was my favorite place,” said Robbins, the Republican candidate for one of two vacancies on the Village Board in the March 18 election.

Cooperstown was the family’s geographic center. Her dad James, a college professor, was from Herkimer. Her mom, Antha, was from Roxbury, also the hometown of Glen Hubbell Sr. At a funeral for one of her mother’s relatives, Hubbell “showed up with Schneider’s doughnuts,” to everyone’s delight.

Cooperstown’s iconic nature was also evident during Mary Margaret’s hospital stays in recent years, as she underwent treatments leading up to a heart transplant on March 3, 2019. Whether in The Bronx, or Newark or wherever, “they all remembered me: ‘Yes, you’re the one from Cooperstown.’”

“We have such a gem here,” she said. “You just want to protect it.”

In Delhi, she got involved early in community life, at age 12 helping organize a parade to enliven “The Fair on The Square,” a weekly summertime event in the Delaware County seat. Then, she and her mom started a face-painting business there.

She attended Delaware Academy – going to school with her future husband, Matt Sohns, now a Morgan Stanley senior vice president; they have a daughter, Maggie, 9 – and continued on to Albany School of Pharmacy.

As a pharmacist, she worked at a number of establishments, including Cooperstown’s CVS, where former Mayor Stu Taugher once tried to recruit her to run for the Village Board. For Walmart, she helped ensure its pharmacies were following procedures and legal requirements.

Robbins said she was motivated to run for office by last year’s Village Board plan to install diagonal parking on Pioneer Street, creating an uproar among the neighbors there.

“It didn’t affect me as much as some people,” said the candidate, whose home is closer to the Lake Street intersection. “But the car count would have been increased. We have children on the street.”

It occurred to her she could play a role in such disputes: “This is something I can do: I can listen and compromise.”

She’s been active locally in the Angel Network, and arranged for the former Catskill Area Hospice to expand its Tree of Life program to Cooperstown, enabling loved ones to hang handmade heart-shaped ornaments on a Christmas tree in front of Village Hall.

She’s also involved in the Susquehanna SPCA’s “Shelter Us” fund drive, donning plastic gloves and mask on Cooperstown Winter Carnival Friday to help pack and serve 350 Brooks BBQ chicken dinners to help the effort.

People are most familiar with Robbins’ health challenges: She contracted Lyme diseases in 2013 and by the time it was correctly diagnosed it had damaged her heart, leading to the heart transplant.

“It’s made me more accepting of others,” she said, recalling a Jamaican father praying for her son in the hospital room they shared, and for her.

“Everyone’s heart is the same color,” she said. “We’re all the same color inside.”

Joe Membrino Impressed By Village Stewardship

Joe Membrino Impressed

By Village ‘Stewardship’

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Joe Membrino

COOPERSTOWN – In Washington D.C., getting appointed to a municipal board takes connections and a lot of lobbying.

So when Joe Membrino, who is running for a three-year term on the Village Board March 18, and wife Martha retired to Cooperstown in 2013 and he considered ways of getting involved in the community, public office didn’t come to mind.

That is, until his sister, Milford Town Board member Marsha Membrino, encouraged him. “All these little towns need volunteers,” she said.

He had never met then-Mayor Jeff Katz, so he sent him an e-mail expressing interest, expecting to go through hoops. How about the Water Board? came a quick reply.

“Yes, thank you,” replied Membrino. So much for glad-handing: “I didn’t even make eye-contact with Jeff Katz for a year.”

Soon, Membrino was elevated to the Planning Board, and he praises the level-headed chairmanship of Gene Berman.

When Village Trustee Lou Allstadt retired early in 2019, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, over a cup of coffee at the Doubleday Café, asked Membrino to succeed him. He accepted.

All the people in village government he’s worked with so far have demonstrated “a seriousness of purpose. Thoughtfulness. A commitment to stewardship,” he said. “Everybody I’ve run into is in it for service – not power, not position.”

Membrino was raised in rural Prospect, Conn., and went to Sacred Heart High School in nearby Waterbury. He graduated from Georgetown in 1968 (learning since moving here that Jeff Woeppel, the Bassett Hospital administrator, was there at the same time), and Boston College’s law school in 1971.

He did legal work for the Native American Rights Fund, (portending his life’s work), then spent a year “hitch-hiking around the world” – Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia.

Back home, he joined the U.S. Interior Department’s land-claims office, then spent 13 years in Interior’s Solicitor General’s Office; he served in the Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations. In 1989, he went into private practice with Ross Swimmer, former Cherokee chief and BIA assistant director.

Mostly, he worked on water rights, concluding that, in the U.S. West, “water runs uphill, toward money.” He still does volunteer work for the Oneidas.

With “stewardship” as his byword, Membrino sees helping Bassett Hospital thrive here as critical. “This has to be the heart and soul of the community,” he said. “Some people say we should move the hospital out of the village. I don’t see it.”

Some of his focus came out of work on the village’s ad hoc Housing Committee, which led to easing zoning provisions to allow more apartments.

He has two particular interests if elected March 18. One is to develop the “appropriate” hydroelectric potential of the Susquehanna River at Mill Street. Bassett is interested, too, he said.

Two: He toured the sewage-treatment plant with Superintendent John Canker, who said, “Watch that smokestack.” Said Membrino, “All of a sudden, there’s 7 feet of flames, burning off the methane.”

Tapping that methane for some purpose, “that would be pretty cool,” he said.

As Finance Committee chair, Membrino cites how Cwynar & Co., the Norwich accountants, found Cooperstown “above and beyond other entities they audit … I think that’s a feather in Cooperstown’s hat. Not my hat, but Cooperstown’s hat.”

At 1-Year-Old, Candidate Unsure She’ll Make Debate


At ‘1-Year-Old,’ Candidate

Unsure She’ll Make Debate

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Candidate Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns enters Village Hall Monday, Feb. 10, to submit petitions to run for Village Board. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Tuesday, March 3 is “my first birthday,” Republican Village Board candidate Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns explained, when asked why she couldn’t yet commit to the League of Women Voters’ debate 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at 22 Main.

“I lost my heart last year,” said the heart-transplant survivor, “and got a new one.  So I will be one-year old.”

On the first year anniversary, heart-transplant recipients are required to undergo a particular surgical procedure, Robbins said.  Since receiving the League’s debate invitation, over Presidents’ Day Weekend, she’s discovered her surgeon is vacationing in Europe, she’s been unable to determine if the procedure will be that week or the following week.

So she’s been unable yet to commit to commit.

Meanwhile, the two Democratic incumbents, Joe Membrino and MacGuire Benton, who are running for their first full terms, have said they will be there, according to Maureen Murray, a member of the League’s Voter Service Committee who is organizing the debate.

According to League guidelines, debates have to be firmed up in time to be publicized in The Freeman’s Journal, which went to press Tuesday evening, Feb. 26, and arrives in local mailboxes Thursday the 28th, the last edition that can ensure the publicity will be in readers’ hands before the debate.

While Robbins was unable to commit as of the deadline, Murray said Robbins will be welcome to attend is her schedule allows.

The two trustee slots are for three years and, if elected, Robbins would be the first non-Democrat elected to village office since 2010.

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch is also up for election, but doesn’t have a challenger.  She will be introduced on the debate night, but since she is unopposed she doesn’t qualify under League guidelines to participate, Murray said.  However, the mayor will be available after the debate to answer questions from attendees.

Liane Hirabayashi, co-president of the League, will moderate.

Despite the scheduling challenges, Robbins hope the pieces will fall into place.

“It looks like, potentially, I will be able to do it,” Robbins said.  “But this is something that is out of my control.”  She had hoped her physician’s office would confirm by Tuesday’s deadline, but with her doctor away, “there are a lot of moving parts.”

“It is what it is,” she added.  “If they want to go ahead, I don’t want to stop the process either.  I think (the debate) is a very important part of the process.  I didn’t want to promise something, then not be able to deliver it.”

The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area will host a Candidates’ Debate for Village Trustee positions on Thursday, March 5, 2020 in the Village Meeting Room, 22 Main Street, Cooperstown New York.  The debate is planned 7-9 p.m.

Three candidates will be seeking two trustee positions.  Current trustees MacGuire Benton, Democratic and Many Voices, One Village parties, and Joseph Membrino, Democratic and Liberty parties will run for another term.  Mary Margaret Robbins, running under Republican and Heart of Cooperstown parties, is the third candidate.

Trustees Benton and Membrino have committed to attend the debate.  As of press time, candidate Robbins was unable to commit to attending the event.

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh is uncontested at this election.  Ms. Tillapaugh will be introduced at the debate and will be available for conversation at the close of the debate.

The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area is a non-partisan, political organization, which does not support or oppose political parties or candidates.  The League believes democracy is not a spectator sport and that providing a forum for citizens to meet and engage in dialogue around Village issues is important.



Some Say Nay, But Bassett Parking OK’d

Some Say Nay, But

Bassett Parking OK’d

Matt Borowski, 40 Walnut St., top photo, said, “I wasn’t particularly crazy about it at the bottom of my street, but I think Bassett has a comprehensive plan, and this is better than what is there now.”  However, Andrew Armstrong, 34 Susquehanna Ave., at right, argued otherwise:  “It would be great shame if a car, rushing to the parking lot, hit a kid.  We’d have to tell him, ‘Public safety came second. Bassett came first’.”  After hearing the neighbors, however, the Cooperstown Village Board voted unanimously this evening to approve a special use for the 170-car lot in the former Riverside Drive, behind Bassett Hall.  It now goes to the village Planning Board for final approval. “I understand it will upset neighbors, but will it really effect home values?  The positives outweigh the cons, but neighbors will feel a detriment,” said Trustee MacGuire Benton.  “It’s a small detriment, but it is there.”  Trustee Rich Sternberg, a retired Bassett surgeon, summed it up:  “The benefits outweigh the detriments.”  The trustees added two criteria:  The lot is restricted to employees, who presumably would go in and out at the beginning and end of their shifts; and at special events like the Hall of Fame Induction, emergency vehicles will be allowed there.  (Libby Cudmore/

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