News of Otsego County

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



Seward Out Of ICU, Chief Of State Says

Seward Out Of ICU,

Chief Of Staff Says

Senator Seward

ONEONTA – “Due to his improving condition,” State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, was moved out of Albany Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit late last night, his chief of staff, Duncan Davie, announced this morning, another step in the lawmaker’s recovery from the coronavirus.

“He continues to recover from COVID-19 at Albany Medical Center under the care of his physician and will convalesce at home as soon as it is deemed appropriate to do so,” Davie said. 

State Develops COVID-19 Test


State Develops

COVID-19 Test


ALBANY – Governor Cuomo today announced the state Department of Health has developed a test to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 infection in an individual’s blood.  This test is an important step towards determining whether New Yorkers are developing immunity and when they could potentially return to work or school.

At today’s briefing, he also the state will invest in private companies to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity.

4 More Cases Overnight For Total 33 Here

4 More Cases

Overnight For

Total 33 Here

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Four more coronavirus cases have surfaced in Otsego County since county Public Health Director Heidi Bond’s Monday report, for a total of 33 as of a few minutes ago.

Of the 33 cases, four are hospitalized and nine have recovered and are off isolation.  There has been only one death, of Brenda Utter, 63, of Morris, on March 26 at Bassett Hospital.

Schools’ Closure Extended To 4/29; Regents Cancelled

Schools’ Closure

Extended To 4/29;

Regents Cancelled

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – The news had leaked out, but ONC BOCES superintendents, including Cooperstown’s Bill Crankshaw and Oneonta’s Tom Brindley, got the news officially at a superintendents’ summit this afternoon:

The school break announced March 13, extended once, will be extended again for another two weeks, until Wednesday, April 29, at least.

More surprising to the school chiefs was the news, delivered to the assembled group by ONC BOCES Superintendent Nick Savin, who had only learned it himself earlier today, was: This year’s Regents exams have been cancelled.

Wear Mask, Mayor Urges, And She Does So Herself

Wear Mask, Mayor Urges,

And She Does So Herself

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and her husband Gary Kuch are doing what she is encouraging her constituents to do: Wear face masks and, if necessary, make them. And she has the selfie to prove it. The mayor said she went to Bassett Healthcare’s site to see a face-mask pattern posted there; she was further assisted by a video posted there. President Trump Friday encouraged Americans to wear face masks, although he said he doesn’t intend to do so himself. While the masks aren’t believed to helper the wear, they do limit how much the wearer breaths on other people, thereby limiting the spread of coronavirus.

• Review Bassett’s pattern for two-ply mask

• Review Bassett’s pattern or video for three-ply mask

For Now, We Can Help Downstate, Bliss Is Advised


For Now, We Can

Help Downstate,

Bliss Is Advised

If Otsego County Endangered,

Chairman Says He’ll Be Told

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – While “deeply troubled” by Governor Cuomo’s announcement that Upstate ventilators will be seized for downstate patients, county board Chairman David Bliss today said he’s been assured local health-care believe they can participate without jeopardizing local care.

“We have been assured that if those circumstances begin to change, health-care leaders will inform the board and we will collectively take the necessary actions to insure the levels of service required for the residents of our region,” Bliss said in a statement released this afternoon.

Oberacker’s Form Tech Labs To Distribute Hand-Sanitizer

Oberacker’s Form Tech Labs

To Distribute Hand-Sanitizer


SCHENEVUS – Form Tech Solutions – state Senate candidate Peter Oberacker is its president – is using its food-lab facility to make hand-sanitizer for distribution throughout the area.

“During this unprecedented time, it’s important to chip in wherever we can to help our neighbors and community members to better weather the COVID-19 crisis,” said Oberacker in announcing the news.

To receive a bottle, email

Here’s a Cocktail Party Everybody Can Go To – In Their Own Home


Here’s a Cocktail Party

Everybody Can Go To

– In Our Own Homes

You’re invited to a cocktail party — in your own home!! Vera Talevi of Cooperstown, formerly of Oneonta, thought up the idea Sunday morning:  To have everyone pause in their own living rooms at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in solidarity in the face of the coronavirus threat.  As related in the invitation, standing or kneeling, say a prayer.  Then sit in your most comfortable chair and think about all the good things that have happened in your life. (Cocktail optional!)  Mrs. Talevi said she emailed the “invitation” to everyone on her e-mail list – some 80 addresses — and some people have told her they’ve forwarded it to all of their email contacts.  What if Otsego County had an e-cocktail party, and everyone came!  Interesting possibility.
They Do What They Can To Lift The Community Van Zandt, Oliver, Drnek Take Initiative
Reprinted From This Week’s 
Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta

They Do What They Can

To Lift The Community

Van Zandt, Oliver, Drnek Take Initiative

While home-schooling her son for the time being, Destination Oneonta’s Katrina Van Zandt is organizing a coloring contest for county youngsters. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Coloring and photography cannot only be calming, says Destination Oneonta Director Katrina Van Zandt, but they can help keep Otsego County’s tourism top of mind.

After all, people aren’t going to be sheltering in place forever.

Sweet Home Oneonta’s Mark Drnek, who is also a Common Council member, has developed resrouce pages to help businesses get the word out during the crisis. (Betsy Holland photo)

It’s one of several ways entities in Oneonta, Coopertown and in between are reaching out to their neighbors under COVID-19 quarantines.“We know that tourism has a big impact on Oneonta,” she said. “So we partnered with This is Cooperstown on its  coloring contest.”

Sweet Home Productions, Destination Marketing of Otsego County (DMOC), Van Zandt and county Rep. Clark Oliver, D-Oneonta, are each taking step to help the county through the crisis and into a better time.


Delgad0 Signs Onto Bipartisan Statement: Keep Ventilators Here

Delgado Signs Onto

Bipartisan Statement:

Hands Off Ventilators


Today, Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, signed a bipartisan statement opposing Governor Cuomo’s order allowing National Guard to remove ventilators from Upstate hospitals for transport to the New York metropolitan area.

“We stand ready to help our fellow New Yorkers,” said the signators, who included Delgado, “but moving needed ventilators from our region now would be devastating and counter intuitive to all data on the spread of COVID-19.”




Senator Seward

MILFORD – Cindy Seward just reported she has spoken to her husband, state Sen. Jim Seward, and he reported the ventilator he was on was removed this afternoon.

“Of course he will still need monitoring, but I thank you all for your outpouring for us!!” she reported.

Seward, who is battling the coronavirus, was put on the ventilator Thursday morning and Albany Medical Center, and was soon showing some signs of improvement.

Donated Surgical Masks, Ventilators Pour Into NY


Donated Surgical Masks,

Ventilators Pour Into NY

ALBANY – Governor Cuomo at today’s briefing announced donations that included a million surgical masks each from the NBA and two Chinese Foundations, plus 1,000 ventilators and 100,000 pairs of goggles.

The Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundation and Jack Ma Foundation were the donors, and the gift was facilitated by the Chinese government and Ambassador Huang Ping, the Chinese consul general in New York City, the governor said.

The Tsais and Ma are co-founders of Alibaba, China’s equivalent of Google.

Senator ‘Slightly Improved,’ But ‘Next Few Days Crucial’


Senator ‘Slightly Improved,’

But ‘Next Few Days Crucial’

Senator Jim and Cindy Seward.

MILFORD – “The next few days are crucial” for state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who has “slightly improved” since being placed in a medically induced coma Thursday morning at Albany Medical Center, his wife Cindy told the Milford community in a Facebook post this afternoon.

She said the briefing was prompted by “all of our friends in our Milford community who have reached out with care, concern, and love, (about) my husband’s and my status.”



3 More Cases Reported Here


3 More Cases

Reported Here

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Three more cases of coronavirus were reported today in Otsego County, bringing total confirmed cases locally to 24, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond announced a few minutes ago.

Of the total cases, one is hospitalized, and three have recovered and are out of isolation.  There has been one death, Brenda L. Utter, 63, of Morris, who passed away a week ago Thursday.

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