News of Otsego County

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


Dan Buttermann

Dissolving NRA Not Fair To Its Members

Dissolving NRA Not

Fair To Its Members

To the Editor:

I was delighted to see the attorney general take direct action against the leadership of the NRA.  They have profited millions of dollars at the expense of NRA members and vendors, and this is not the mission and purpose of the organization.  However, I find it difficult to agree with the conclusion that the NRA no longer has a place in our society.  I am writing this letter to express my view that dissolving the NRA would not be fair to its members.

Buttermann Wins Assembly Primary


Buttermann Wins

Assembly Primary

Republican Elections Commissioner Lori Lehenbauer, center, (as well as her Democratic counterpart, Mike Henrici), supervises the counting of absentee primary ballots Thursday. According to the candidate and his campaign, Dan Buttermann of Oneonta won the nod to run for the 121st Assembly seat in the fall. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Dan Buttermann

ONEONTA – Dan Buttermann has won the Democratic primary in the 121st District, the candidate confirmed a few minutes ago, although he said the numbers are not “official” until the count of Otsego County absentee ballots is completed Monday.

That was echoed by his campaign manager, Martha Moore, Cazenovia, who added, “His opponent” – Hamilton farmer Corey Mosher – “has conceded.  Dan is ahead.  He won Oneida.  Madison County was close.  His opponent won it, but it was not enough to overcome (Buttermann’s) lead.”

While the Otsego County absentee count is not complete, it is expected Buttermann, an Oneontan, will win the county, she said.

7 Days To Primary Buttermann Levels Endorsement Blast

7 Days To Primary

Buttermann Levels

Endorsement Blast


ONEONTA – With seven days until the Democratic Assembly primary, candidate Dan Buttermann, Oneonta, released a list of 20 citizens and politicians from across the 121st District who are endorsing him.

“These endorsements are not just from community leaders across the district, they are from professionals across many industries, from healthcare to farming and education,” said Buttermann.

The candidate is facing Corey Mosher, a Hamilton farmer, who last week announced retired  Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, had endorsed him.

Tillapaugh, Katz, Endorse Buttermann For Assembly
Debate Held Tonight Over Zoom

Tillapaugh, Katz, Endorse

Buttermann For Assembly


COOPERSTOWN – Ahead of his democratic primary debate against Corey Mosher, Assembly candidate Dan Buttermann has received endorsements from Mayor Jeff Katz and current Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh for the 121st Assembly District seat.

“I’ve known Dan for years,” said Katz. “He’s a great listener, engaged and active, and a thoughtful person. More than that, he’s a good and decent man, exactly the kind of person we need in the Assembly. I fully endorse Dan Buttermann for Assembly in the 121st District.”

Buttermann Is Holding Meetings Around District

Buttermann Is Holding

Meetings Around District

Oneontan Runs Against Assemblyman Salka

At the Richfield Springs’ vets club Sunday afternoon, Dan Buttermann, Oneonta, Democratic candidate in the 121st Assembly District, talks with Caaren Fox, owner of the KOA Campground, Town of Springfield.  Buttermann is challenging Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield.   Buttermann has been holding meetings around the district in recent days, and will complete the cycle at 6 p.m. this evening in the Waterville Public Library, and at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Laurens Town Hall.  (
To Play Mother Ginger, MAN UP! Buttermann In Footsteps Of Firefighter, Surgeon

To Play Mother Ginger,


Buttermann In Footsteps

Of Firefighter, Surgeon

Dan Butterman exults in the performance of Mother Ginger at the Saturday, Dec. 7, Fokine Ballet Company performance of “The Nutcracker” at SUNY Oneonta’s Goodwin Theater. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Oneonta Assistant Fire Chief Jim Maloney has performed Mother Ginger for the past few years, following Dr. Joseph Dukowsky, the Bassett surgeon.

ONEONTA – It takes a man to be a mother.

Mother Ginger, that is.

“Mother Ginger is traditionally played by a dancer ‘en travesti’,” said Donna Decker of Decker School of Ballet. “In ballet, we don’t call it drag.”

This year, Oneonta City school board member and Assembly candidate Dan Buttermann stepped into the dress that Assistant Fire Chief Jim Maloney, Bassett orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky and professional ballet dancer Andy Wentink have filled for several years, dancing with the Polichinelles.

The Polichinelles are little children who emerge from Mother Ginger’s skirt in second act of “The Nutcracker,” put on by Decker’s Fokine Ballet Friday-Saturday, Dec. 6-7, at the Goodrich Theater.

Buttermann’s three daughters, Nadia, Layla and Malena, have danced in “The Nutcracker,” and in 2016, when there was a vacancy in the party scene, their dad stepped in.

“Then this year, Jim Maloney had a conflict, so Donna asked if I would step in as Mother Ginger,” he said.

Decker often casts local men – “ballet dads” Maloney calls them – to step in as Mother Ginger.

“You need somebody tall enough to have all the children underneath,” said Decker. “And the costume is quite heavy, so the dancer has to be able to handle it. Ours isn’t that heavy, but the New York City Ballet’s costume weights 60 pounds.”

Andy Wentink, who has also played the role, trained under Irine Fokine, mother of Donna Decker of Oneonta’s Decker School of Dance. Donna calls the annual performance the Fokine Ballet Company “Nutracker,” a tribute to her mother, who passed away in 2010 in Ridgewood, N.J.

“I’ve seen productions where Mother Ginger is on scaffolding,” said Maloney, who played the role six times between 2009 and 2018. “The costume is pretty heavy; it’s a big piece of plywood with suspenders to hold it up, then you put the dress on over that.”

Wentink debuted his Mother Ginger in 1962 when he was 14, dancing in the Fokine Ballet – Irene Fokine was Donna Decker’s mother, and the daughter has extended the tradition.

He amassed over 40 productions in the role, including a final performance in the 2017 Oneonta production.

“In the 1970s, she inherited a fan used by Gwen Verdon in ‘Sweet Charity’ which seemed to imbue her with a flirtatious and seductive, but always tasteful, allure,” Wentink wrote for Dance magazine in 2013. “In the early 1980s, Mother Ginger found herself costumed in more subdued pastel tones with hair transformed from flaming henna to softer blonde. In keeping with the new look, she projected a newfound mature modesty.”

“I let them all develop their own character,” said Donna. “Andy always played her very flirtatiously, and Dr. Dutkowsky would do the Macarena.”

“Mother Ginger is excited that she has all this attention,” said Buttermann. “And then when these clowns come out from under her skirt, she’s trying to get them all back until she realizes she can’t, and then she goes back to being part of the show.”

This year, his daughter Malena was one of the Polichinelles.

“I played her as that loopy old grandmother that shows up at the party and has too much fun,” said Maloney. “For the first few years, I wore my fireman’s helmet and boots!”

And neither Maloney nor Buttermann shaved their mustaches for the role.

“The way I see it, since Clara is asleep and dreaming this, she’s seen me at the party, so she puts me in the role of Mother Ginger, the way dreams do,” said Maloney. “That’s why I still have my mustache.”

It’s a role, Maloney said, that sticks with you. “You hear the ‘Mirliton’” – the “Dance of the Mirlitons,” which precedes Ginger – “a lot on the radio,” he said. “I was grocery shopping and it came on, and I broke out in a cold sweat because that’s my cue. I was started to get warmed up and then I realized, wait, I’m in the grocery store!”

And it’s a role that all the dancers have been proud to play. “Dr. Dutkowsky told me that he kept a picture of himself in his office,” said Decker. “When kids would be nervous about getting surgery, he would tell them, ‘I’m Mother Ginger, everything will be fine.”

“It’s on my resume,” said Maloney. “It says ‘Soloist, Fokine Ballet.’”

“If Donna asks, I’ll do it again next year,” said Buttermann, who could be Assemblyman-elect by then.




Assemblyman, Challenger Bond Over Burritos

Assemblyman, Challenger

Bond Over Bomber’s Burritos

Freshman assembly member John Salka, R-Brookfield, and his challenger, Dan Buttermann, met this evening at Bomber’s Burrito Bar in Oneonta as part of the periodic Business After Hours, sponsored by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. With them are owner Jim Hewitt, left and his son, Charles Hewitt, the restaurant’s general manager. (Photo by Barbara Ann Heegan)
Hartwick Student Joins 2 In Challenging Salka


Hartwick Student Joins

2 In Challenging Salka

ONEONTA – The field is filling up with Democrats aiming to challenge freshman Assemblyman John Salka, R-121, whose district includes Oneonta and Cooperstown, as well as Madison and past of Oneida counties.

Nick Chase, a Hartwick College students and Oneonta native, this week joined Oneonta City school board member Dan Buttermann and Corey Mosher, a Hamilton farmer and board chair of Madison County Cooperative Extension.

Chase entry makes a Democratic primary next June more certain.

BUTTERMANN: Jill Basile Record Show Growing Responsibility

Jill Basile Record Show

Growing Responsibility

To the Editor:

I am writing to enthusiastically suggest we vote for Jill Basile for county representative from District 14 (Ward 7-8).

I have been fortunate to get to know Jill during her campaign.  This campaign is not the start of her contributions to benefit our community either, as she has been giving to our community for many years.  Her resume is rich with experience that will greatly benefit our county in her new role.

Jill started as a resident director at Hartwick College, working to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our college students.  After Hartwick, Jill went to work for Opportunities for Otsego in its violence intervention program, then onto the county in its office for child advocacy, and now she works as an academic adviser at SUNY Delhi while raising her family right here in Oneonta.

Not only have Jill’s professional activities directly benefited our region, she also volunteers for organizations like SPCA, Reading is Fundamental and Future of Oneonta Foundation.

Jill is well equipped to take on the challenges of the board of representatives and I recommend all my friends and neighbors in District 14 cast their vote for her on Nov. 5.  Wait!  Head out now and vote early.  Vote today!




Buttermann To Run For Assembly Seat, Democrats Affirm


Buttermann To Run

For Assembly Seat,

Democrats Affirm

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


ONEONTA – A Hamilton farmer, Corey Mosher, has announced a challenge to freshman Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, in the 121st District next year, but local Democrats say they expect Otsego County will have its own candidate for the party’s nomination, Dan Buttermann of Oneonta.

In 2017, Buttermann lost narrowly – 1,158 to 1,203 – to then-Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, who was then defeated by Salka, former Brookfield Central school board president and Madison County Board of Supervisors chairman.

We Can Support Economic Development Without Gas

We Can Support Economic

Development Without Gas

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Dick Downey’s excellent letter in your March 7-8 editions.  Mr. Downey may share a feeling that I do – that maybe my previous letter and assertions may incorrectly characterize his views, just as I think his words do not accurately summarize mine.  So, I hope this will clear up some of that and further anchor my main point – it is the right course of action for our country, our state and our local governments to seek ways to reduce gas usage and incorporate renewable energy, specifically wind and solar.

Mr. Downey, although not explicit, suggested that my point of view is synchronized with the Green New Deal.  I have not endorsed it, nor do I intend to.  I have run for public office in the past and intend to do so again, and my platform will be wholly based on what I think is the best path forward for all of us.

I think Mr. Downey and I can agree on our opposition to components of the Green New Deal.  However, these letters are for argument and debate, and for purpose of my argument with Mr. Downey, I feel strained in the need to further lay the case about climate change and the manmade effect on it.  Mr. Downey took issue with my use of the term “settled science,” so instead of using conclusions this time, I will put forward measurements.

The amount of gas burning and greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere is, and the temperature changes we are experiencing are measurable.  CO2 is being released into the atmosphere faster than any time in the last 66 million years and, every day, 110 million tons of manmade pollution is released into the atmosphere.

These are measurements.  The consequences are also measurable, and in my opinion linked to the production measurements – 17 of the 18 hottest years on record recorded since 2001; forest-fighting seasons that average three more months per year out West and the likelihood of so-called one in 500-year weather events and floods happening every few years. (This is not a comprehensive list).

Mr. Downey may not be ready to call a link or causation between the rate of CO2 release and the measured climate changes, but I am.  If it is a question of calling for absolute proof, Mr. Downey may not get it.  But I think the case is very convincing.

I do not contend Mr. Downey is wrong to be skeptical, because the question of proof is up to each person to decide.  My contention is that action cannot wait for absolute certainty because we may never get complete consensus on causation.

Mr. Downey may think I am sounding an alarm about the effects of climate change.  My response is YES! – we need to take concerted action to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases going to the atmosphere, however, I am not claiming that we only have twelve years before “doom”, nor am I contending we are ready to “flip the switch” off gas.  The tipping point that Mr. Downey eludes to is a topic for another discussion.

There is exciting and optimistic news – we have the technology that can help us make changes to our systems that will preserve and enhance quality of life for us as well as for millions around the world.  This dilemma is not just about gas versus renewable.  There are many things we can do – go to for a thorough list of actions we can take to reverse the pace of global warming.

Mr. Downey favors the proposed decompressor station investment, and I do not.  However, I do agree with him that doing so would not impede the development of other energy production.  The question that needs to be answered is whether or not this is good use of taxpayer money.  I contend we can support business and job growth without adding to gas infrastructure.

I am in complete agreement with Mr. Downey on natural gas as a replacement for coal and as a bridge fuel. We are on that bridge.  Since 2001, New York has gone from nuclear and natural gas making up 55 percent of energy production to 70 percent in 2017, and, coal, which was at 16 percent in 2001, has dwindled to nearly nothing.  In that same period, the United States as gone from 51 percent coal and 17 percent natural gas to 30 percent coal and 32 percent natural gas.

This is progress but it is not a destination.  Although emissions have reduced to 1987 levels, and we are squeezing out coal, we are not there yet.  The goal posts are set – 100 percent renewable by 2050.  Let’s work to make it happen and get off the bridge.  We have the opportunity to secure a future for our children that is energy independent, secure and safe for them and the environment.  Imagine the amazing things the next generation will do if this problem is already solved.




Solar, Wind, Pellets, Geothermal Promoted As Energies Of Future


Energies Of Future

Promoted At Forum

Among Them, Solar, Wind, Geothermal,

Pellets Seen As Fossil-Fuel Replacements

Len Carson, the Oneonta entrepreneur, asks about the viability of small-scale wind devices instead of industrial windmills at tonight’s forum, which brought 7-80 people to Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta. (Jim Kevln/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

“Cheap energy will kill us,” said Hartwick Professor Karl Seeley. Conservation and renewables will save us, he said.

ONEONTA – Fossil fuels – gasoline, fuel oil, propane and natural gas – that power Otsego County today were like an unexpected inheritance, allowing the Industrial Revolution and the world as we know it.


But 200 years later, Hartwick College Economics Professor Karl Seeley told 70-80 attendees at the Concerned Citizens of Oneonta forum this evening at Elm Park United Methodist Church, you discover the hidden costs of the bequest are bankrupting.

“It makes you rich enough to destroy your home,” Seeley said.  “But not rich enough to build a new one.”

The dynamics of the evening, moderated by Hartwick Professor Kate O’Donnell, followed an outline another panelist, Dan Buttermann, brought back from Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project” forum last year in Los Angeles:  “Must we do it? Can we do it? Will we do it?”

Favorite Son Buttermann Virtually Tied With Magee

Favorite Son Buttermann

Virtually Tied With Magee

Dan Buttermann

ONEONTA – On his home turf, favorite son Dan Buttermann of Oneonta almost beat veteran Assemblyman Bill Magee for the Democratic nomination in the 121st Assembly District.

In the Otsego County Democratic primary, Buttermann took 1,062 votes to Magee’s 1,097, a razor-thin 49.12 percent to Magee’s 50.74 percent – or 35 votes.

District-wide, Magee, who lives in Nelson, near Cazenovia, won 59 percent of the vote to Buttermann’s 41 percent.

Polls Open In County Today For GOP, Democrat Primaries

Polls Open In County At Noon

For GOP, Democrat Primaries

Sheriff, 2 Assembly. Statewide Nominations On Ballot

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. today around Otsego County to decide who will be the standard-bearer in three local races, plus three statewide offices.


• Republicans will choose between incumbent Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. of Milford and Bob Fernandez, the retired state trooper from Otego.

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