News of Otsego County

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








In All, 460 Test Positive Since March

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – In all, 107 new coronavirus cases were reported in Otsego County today, and all were SUNY Oneonta students, according to county Public Health Director Heidi Bond.

That brings the total to 460 total confirmed cases since the pandemic threat arrived in March, Bond reported, four times as many as had been reported in the county when the SUNY Oneonta outbreak began Aug. 24, a week ago Monday.

Another New Case Of COVID Surfaces

Another New Case

Of COVID Surfaces

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Another cases\ of COVID-19 surfaced today in Otsego County, bringing the total to 113 confirmed cases, the county Department of Health reported.

Of the 113, only one case is active.  No one is hospitalized at this time.

Of the total, 106 recovered and there have been six deaths since March.  That, and the one active case, comprise the 113.

STERNBERG: Mandatory Masks Downtown Only? Why Not Everywhere?


Mandatory Masks Downtown

Only? Why Not Everywhere?


The below is a letter I received (along with the rest of the Cooperstown Village Board) from a constituent and my response.

To the Members of the Village Board:

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

As you deliberate on proposed Local Law 7, we respectfully request you discuss the following points so your intent and purpose is clearly understood by all

If the purpose of this proposal is “to protect the public health, safety and welfare of Village residents,” why is it limited to only a portion of two streets? Even a casual observer can see there is relatively little activity on Main Street these days.

Currently the most congested areas of the village are on Fish Road and the block of Fair Street near the boat launch.

There is also considerable foot traffic on the northernmost block of Pioneer Street, where only one side of the street has a sidewalk which is much narrower than Main Street.

Moreover, there is very little mask-wearing and social-distancing in Lakefront Park and the walkway connecting Pioneer Street and Fish Road does not allow for distancing.

In other areas of the village there is a great deal of activity near the hospital and clinic; the grocery store and pharmacy; the gas stations and other commercial areas. Why are they not included?

With respect to enforcement, the Board should seriously reconsider the maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense. … Do you have the personnel and expertise to enforce this one?

During the current pandemic, the wearing of a mask or face covering is a sensible thing to do. Government regulations should be sensible as well.

Thank you for your consideration.

Here is my response:

Your point is well taken about the law being extended to all other areas in the village, just like it is everywhere in Key West and other municipalities.

I would have never thought that this could be passed, especially since there are areas in the village with very low concentrations of pedestrians with easy ability to social distance. But with your help and support, this could happen. Thank you for support of this idea. I will present it.

By the way, I don’t know when you are on Main Street, but there is a high percentage of people not wearing masks, AND NOT PUTTING THEM ON WHEN PASSING OR NEAR OTHER PEOPLE.

In fact, these people aren’t carrying masks and if they have masks, they are not visible. In a pocket or purse, they cannot quickly be whipped on. I wouldn’t dare walk Main Street.
By the way, there are already laws in place to punish lack of a mask if not socially-distancing or not wearing one indoors at a public place, under the governor’s state of emergency. These should be enforced.

As you point out, the Village is putting in place a maximum penalty of $1,000. As you know, the individual’s penalty is imposed set by the presiding judge and at $1,000 is half of the state maximum penalty of $2,000 for violating similar laws.

I would think that maybe the initial fine for someone would be on the order of $100, as it is in Key West, and would escalate with repeat or recalcitrant offenders.

I agree that more citations should be given for other offenses. Once the public was aware of this, their behavior would change.

It doesn’t take many for a village with as good a communication system as Cooperstown has for word to get out. There are also other laws that violating could cause death, like speeding, driving while intoxicated, and not stopping at STOP signs or red lights.

During a pandemic wearing a mask IS the sensible thing to do. If only everyone did when in the presence of other members of the public, we would have this thing beat in eight weeks, according to the head of the CDC.

Please read the article in the latest Weekend Wall Street Journal, page C1, “The True Face of Freedom Wears a Mask.” Unfortunately, there are, to use a word favored by my family, ice holes, who don’t give a darn about your life and mine, and both of us are high-risk individuals.

Even the Republican President of the United States requires everyone around him to wear masks and get tested daily, albeit to protect himself. Wearing a mask is not just sensible it is a life and death issue.

COVID-19 Cases Continue To Drop

COVID-19 Cases

Continue To Drop

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Despite Tuesday’s announcement of a sixth COVID-19 death in Otsego County, cases continue to decline.

Today, there were only two active cases in the county, down from 11 at the beginning of the week.  And only one is hospitalized, according to county Public Health Director Heidi Bond.

Despite testing, confirmed cases remained stable at 109.

One New Case Today; Active Cases Also Drop

One New Case Today;

Active Cases Also Drop

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Another case of COVID-19 was reported today, in addition to one reported Sunday, and two reported Friday.

However, active cases continue to drop, to 11 today – from 12 Sunday and 13 Friday – as patients recover.  As of today, 91 local people in all have recovered, up from 87 on Friday.

With the new infection, local cases since the virus first hit in mid-March total 107.  Deaths have been stable at 5 for several weeks.  Hospitalizations remain at 3, the same as Friday.

12 Active Cases Reported Locally

12 Active Cases

Reported Locally

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – Three more COVID-19 cases surfaced Thursday and Friday, bringing to 12 the number of active case currently in Otsego County, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond reports.

That also bring to 18 the number of new cases reported locally since July 1.

4 New Cases Locally; 2 People Hospitalized

4 New Cases Locally;

2 People Hospitalized

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – COVID-19 is still with us, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond said today in reporting four new local cases in the past four days. Two people are now hospitalized locally with the disease.

Thursday, Bond had reported another four cases.

“Be mindful that the virus is still in our community,” she said, “and it continues to be very important to practice social distancing and wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. Wash hands frequently especially after using the rest room and before eating.

Cooperstown Has One Case, Mayor Reports



Has One Case,

Mayor Reports

Officer Walking Main Street

To Ensure Masks Are Worn

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Mayor tillapaugh

COOPERSTOWN – With one report of coronavirus in the village, complaints about people not wearing masks and lenience in places of business, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch has called a special meeting of the Village Board at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

There, she will be seeking trustee approval of a FAQ (frequently asked questions) to be posted on the village and tourist-related websites emphasizing Village Hall’s stance on the coronavirus: “We strongly support and always promote public safety and social distancing.”  The FAQs would also include the list of 22 states from which visitors are required to be quarantined for two weeks.

Today, she said, one of the village police officers was assigned to walk Main Street and visit local businesses to ensure people are wearing masks.  Another officer will do so Sunday, and the patrols will continue during the week, she said.

4 New C-19 Cases Reported Locally

4 New C-19 Cases

Reported Locally

Virus Still Here, Bond Reports

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – The county Department of Health is reporting “a slight increase” in the number of local cases of the coronavirus, including two new hospitalizations.

The four new cases raise the county total from 81 to 85, since there have been no additional recoveries since the last report on July 10.   That total consists of 73 recoveries, five deaths, and seven active cases at this time.

One Report, One Recovery Keeps COVID-19 Stable At 3

One Report, One Recovery

Keeps COVID-19 Stable At 3

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – A new case of coronavirus has surfaced since the last report by the county Department of Health on July 6, and there has also been one recovery, maintaining the number of active cases in Otsego County at three.

That brings the total confirmed cases to 81, and the total recoveries to 73.  There were five deaths locally.

Other data released today included:

Hall ROCKIN’ Again Rock Hall Of Fame Pushed To Open As Soon As Possible

Hall ROCKIN’ Again

Rock Hall Of Fame Pushed

To Open As Soon As Possible

Healthcare workers got in free on Sunday, June 14, one day before the official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame reopening. (Photo courtesy Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

‘Walk This Way.” “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.” “Check Your Head.”

These aren’t just favorite albums and songs – they’re directives on how to enjoy the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, which reopened this past Monday, June 15.

Who is that masked man? Greg Harris, formerly of Cooperstown, Rock Hall of Fame president.

“Museums and museum professionals think about this all the time,” said Hall President Greg Harris, an alumnus of both the Cooperstown Graduate School and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

How to create a flow – the do’s and dont’s of touching artifacts – so in this heightened moment, museums are perfectly positioned to work with these stringent guidelines, but still create a memorable experience.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed the museum in March, Harris and his staff began working on plans to reopen.

“We put together a task force and got in touch with museums all over the country,” he said.

We were working with the CDC recommendations, as well as recommendations from the American Association of Museums, which has been very involved in shaping those requirements for us.”

A new online ticketing system was built, allowing guests to buy tickets via the Internet ahead of time for a specific time slot to ensure that the museum is not over capacity. Touch-free sliding glass doors were installed, and floor decals were placed throughout the museum to allow visitors to proceed safely.

Dead-end galleries, like the one that housed Vans Warped Tour, were closed, he said.

Paying homage to the Beastie Boys, signage throughout the museum encourages social distancing.

Visitors and employees will be subject to temperature screenings by nursing students hired by the museum. “If your temperature is over 100, you can’t come in,” he said. “And masks will be required. If you come without a mask, we’ll give you one.”

Or, he said, souvenir masks are available in the gift shop.

In addition to the museum itself, there were dining, retail and theater spaces to consider, each with its own set of regulations.

“All the surveys we did said that people were more inclined to be outdoors,” he said. “We’ve reconfigured our beer garden and food trucks, and we’re going to start having live music, which a lot of people have missed.”

Among those slated to play live performances are his son, Cooperstown native Jack Harris, whose song “No One Listens” has received radio airplay in Cleveland.

In the theaters, every other row will be cordoned off to best accommodate social distancing.

Last Sunday, June 13, the first guests were welcomed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a free event for health care workers and their families.

“We’re reopening as a stronger museum,” said Harris.

Forces Combined, And All Star Village Had To Face Reality

Forces Combined,

And All Star Village

Had To Face Reality

Crowd Regulations, Jobless Benefits,

Caused Patton To Cancel 2020 Season

Cooperstown All Star Village is more than just a youth-baseball venue, it’s an actual village, boasting two restaurants and a 40-room hotel.

WEST ONEONTA – From the beginning, Marty Patton, Cooperstown All Star Village proprietor, had concerns about being able to operate safely as the coronavirus swept the nation.

Marty Patton

“What if a coach comes in from out of the area, and the kids get infected?” he reflected the day after deciding it will be impossible to open his youth-baseball tournament venue on Route 205 this summer.

But many obstacles, he discovered over the past several weeks, were arrayed against a successful 2020 season that he’s been hoping, week by week, to launch since early May:

3 Coronavirus Cases Surface Over Weekend

3 Coronavirus Cases

Surface Over Weekend

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – The county Health Department today reports confirming three cases of coronavirus over the weekend.

County Public Health Director Heidi Bond reminds people to practice social distancing and, if sick, stay home!  Wear a mask when you are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

As of today there are:

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103