Xi’s cocoon in Moscow: A Chinese-owned hotel over Red Square opulence     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Xi and Putin showcase their alliance but offer no path to peace in Ukraine      Xi’s cocoon in Moscow: A Chinese-owned hotel over Red Square opulence     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Xi and Putin showcase their alliance but offer no path to peace in Ukraine      Boris Johnson lays out his ‘Partygate’ defense ahead of Parliament grilling     Another art museum chief quits as Russia pressures cultural institutions     U.K. scientists plead for return of rare shark’s head, promise ‘no judging’     Xi’s cocoon in Moscow: A Chinese-owned hotel over Red Square opulence     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Xi and Putin showcase their alliance but offer no path to peace in Ukraine      Xi’s cocoon in Moscow: A Chinese-owned hotel over Red Square opulence     Live updates: Xi and Putin sign agreements as Japan’s leader visits site of alleged Russian atrocities     Xi and Putin showcase their alliance but offer no path to peace in Ukraine      Boris Johnson lays out his ‘Partygate’ defense ahead of Parliament grilling     Another art museum chief quits as Russia pressures cultural institutions     U.K. scientists plead for return of rare shark’s head, promise ‘no judging’     

News of Otsego County


Editorial: Saving Article IX

Saving Article IX

Among the most important sections of our New York State Constitution is Article IX, one that has been on the local books since the organization of our local governments—our counties, cities, towns and villages: home rule. This, in a broad sense, describes those governmental functions and activities traditionally reserved to or performed by local governments without undue infringement by the state. More technically, home rule refers to the constitutional and statutory powers given local governments to enact local legislation in order to carry out and discharge their duties and responsibilities—budgets, property taxes, schools, highways, fire departments, libraries, and the like. Home rule is accompanied by a restriction on the authority of the state legislature to enact special laws affecting a local government’s property, affairs and government. The legislature is specifically prohibited from acting with respect to the property affairs or governance of any local government except by general law, or by special law enacted on a home rule request by the legislative body of the affected local government, or by a two-thirds vote of each house upon receiving a certificate of necessity from the Governor. Article IX, in fact, serves both as a source of authority for local governments and as a shield against intrusion by the state upon their home rule prerogatives.

Editorial: Let’s Chat

Let’s Chat

Last November OpenAI, a not-so-big (albeit associated, through a $1 billion investment, with Microsoft and co-founded, in 2015, by Elon Musk), artificial intelligence lab in San Francisco, introduced a newly developed chatbot—ChatGPT—that has made impressive inroads into our understanding of the challenges of artificial intelligence. The company first coded a chatbot in 2020, GPT-3, which is one of the first AI tools that responds to prompts in viable human-like text, for the most part both grammatically and, it is hoped but not confirmed, factually, correct.

Editorial: This Is for the Birds

This Is for the Birds

Last year, more than 57 million birds, including poultry, perished in the U.S. from a surge of avian influenza (H5N1), a killer disease that has been increasingly effective in attacking wild birds, especially migrating waterfowl. Mallards and Canada geese seem to be the most susceptible. The disease, which has flared up sporadically since its discovery, as fowl plague, in 1878, is caused by infections that occur naturally in wild aquatic birds. These infections are transmitted to other birds, domestic and wild, through bodily discharges as well as through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Until last summer, Avian Flu has been seasonal, proliferating from September to March and then disappearing during the warmer months. The current outbreak, however, has not fallen off over the last two summers.

Editorial: Tread Lightly, Care and Think

Tread Lightly, Care and Think

Every year the growth, and non-growth, of a variety of areas of interest—such as the economy, the population, bird migrations, immigration, wildfires, utilities, stocks, violence, college rankings, China and the like—are subject to intense research and interpretation. Inevitably, the results are published far and wide just after the last drop of the New Year’s ball.

One such fast-developing aspect of our life is our carbon footprint (CO2e), the total greenhouse gas emissions that trap and release heat, causing global warming. GHG is caused, directly and indirectly, by individuals, events, organizations, services, places or products. As these emissions enter the atmosphere they give rise to extreme precipitation, acidification and the warming of the oceans. Think climate change.

Editorial: Everything Old Is New Again

Everything Old Is New Again

It has been 20 years or so since the names Tara Barnwell, Michael Moffat, Elinor Vincent and Darla Youngs have appeared together on the masthead of “The Freeman’s Journal.” A confluence of events perhaps regarded by some as a perfect storm—or an imperfect storm, by others—has brought us all together again.

“The Freeman’s Journal” is arguably one of the oldest weekly newspapers in the nation. Founded by Judge William Cooper, it began as the “Impartial Observer” in 1808 with publisher William Andrews. A year later, both the name of the paper and the publisher had changed, becoming the “Cooperstown Federalist” under the direction of John H. Prentiss. The newspaper’s flag finally stuck in 1817 and has remained “The Freeman’s Journal” ever since. The Journal’s sister newspaper, “Hometown Oneonta,” is a mere babe in the woods by comparison at just 15 years old.

Editorial: Is There a Santa Claus?

Is There a Santa Claus?

In 1897, “The Sun,” a New York newspaper, published one of the most famous editorials in journalism. Written by Francis Pharcellus Church, it was in answer to a letter written by an 8-year-old girl who was not satisfied by answers given her by her family and friends to her question—one that remains to this day on the inquisitive minds of many children—Is there a Santa Claus?

“We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

‘Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. ‘Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
‘Papa says “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.”
‘Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street’

EDITORIAL: Baby Eagles Look to Their Future

Baby Eagles Look to Their Future

Last Saturday, much to our collective surprise and dismay, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team lost to the Netherlands in the first game of the knockout round of the FIFA [International Federation of Association Football] 2022 World Cup, in Qatar. In many and obvious ways it was a very sad day for the young team; in other ways it was the beginning of a four-year campaign to bring the sport to the attention and adoration of the American people and the world.

Editorial-Buy Thoughtfully and Buy Locally

Buy Thoughtfully and Buy Locally

Until recently, the main streets of Otsego County’s towns, villages, and hamlets were densely populated with various commercial concerns that provided local residents with the majority of the goods and services they required to live full and productive lives. The money exchanged circulated within the communities, and local economies were vibrant and self-sustaining. Food was locally grown; that you could only get certain food at certain times of the year—like sweet corn—only made that food sweeter.

Today, those vital shops have largely disappeared, replaced in some towns by businesses catering to visitors, and in others by empty, decaying, and boarded-up storefronts. Where commerce still exists, mainly in outlying commercial strips, it is comprised largely of enterprises based in faraway places. While our shopping dollars do cover low-paying local jobs, most of it returns to the “head office” in God-knows-where.

Editorial – Bassett: A Beginning

Bassett: A Beginning

Susan Fenimore Cooper

Over 150 years ago, in 1867, Susan Fenimore Cooper—the visionary daughter of our illustrious James Fenimore Cooper—founded the Thanksgiving Hospital, the first such hospital in the Village of Cooperstown and, so it’s told, in the state. Dedicated to the “weak and suffering among the population of Otsego County and the adjoining counties,” it had 16 beds. At the time Cooperstown was a small rural community with 1,600 people.

Established in appreciation of the end of the Civil War, the Thanksgiving Hospital was guided for three decades by Miss Cooper, working closely with Dr. Wilson T. Bassett, an Otsego County-born son of a veterinary surgeon who had emigrated from England in 1815. When Bassett began his medical practice in the 1840s, in Mount Vision, there were 60 physicians in Otsego County, six of them in Cooperstown.

Editorial: Applause


Film festivals have been around for a century, and now, in the 21st, they have come into their own. They are meeting places for filmmakers and audiences who are interested in the world in its variety, different approaches to life and in film as an art form, a medium and a tool of social expression. Global digitalization has given film festivals an exceptional tool for crossing the communication channels from the most distant places and, with multiple languages, films now present a rich diversity of voices, aiding communication in an increasingly polarized world.

Editorial: Let Us Not Perish From the Earth

Let Us Not Perish From the Earth

For those of us old enough to remember when elections—and the American political system itself—were “of the people and by the people and for the people,” it is somewhat difficult to be excited, much less inspired, by the process that will unfold across the nation next Tuesday. In what has arguably become an increasingly nasty and pitiful squabble of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians, Americans are now faced with a choice between political extremes and actual political extremists who have been primaried into their races by a severely broken redistricting system devised of, by and for the politicians whose interest in winning far outweighs their interest in, or ability to, effectively or adequately govern the country. Civilized discourse has become unbridled discord.

Editorial: Goodbye Columbus?

Goodbye Columbus?

On October 8, 2021, President Joe Biden proclaimed October 11 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At the same time, he acknowledged Columbus Day as a federal holiday that would continue to recognize the contributions of Italian-Americans. This exercise was, in part, designed to placate a growing constituency in a widening “cancel culture” that opposes a celebration for a man who was nothing short of beastly to the indigenous populations that he and his Spanish patrons conquered and enslaved. Certainly, it would be more appropriate, and more civilized, to celebrate the victims rather than the victors.

It is hard not to agree with that line of thinking, but to do so ignores the genesis of the modern Columbus Day recognition. It is not a celebration of Columbus the man, but rather a celebration of Columbus the Italian, and ultimately the celebration of Italian-Americans.

EDITORIAL: The Great Turkey Hunt

The Great Turkey Hunt

September is pretty much behind us, with its very warm and, at other times, quite chilly days and nights, and some torrential rains. It’s been like most of the Septembers around here, only the temperature fluctuations this year have been more drastic, and the thunderstorms have been more ferocious, felling trees and scattering branches and scaring children and dogs.

And now, as we run smack into the pumpkins and foliage and the eventual Jack Frost of October, we barrel right into the beginning of the great season of The Hunt. On the very first day of the coming month the seasons for coyote (until March 26), ruffed grouse (until February 28), pheasant (until February 28), bear (until December 20) and deer (until January 1), among others, open. All but deer may be shot with guns, but for the deer it’s a bit more complicated. The bow season runs from October 1 – November 18, the crossbow from November 5 – 18, the muzzleloader from December 12 – 20 and December 26 – January 1, the shotgun from November 19 – December 11, and the late bowhunting alongside the muzzleloaders from December 12 – 20 and December 26 – January 1. There are kids’ weekends, too.



A little over a year ago The Freeman’s Journal put forth an editorial on the subject of electric vehicle chargers, which were at the time pretty scarce within the Village and, in fact, even outside the Village. The reason we explored the local availability of these chargers was, of course, that our tiny historic Village has been, and is, the destination of myriad urban baseball, sports, scenic and music explorers whose mode of transportation to Cooperstown is increasingly an electric or hybrid vehicle. We know this because there are signs of them throughout the Village, many of them silently sitting with silently draining batteries in the parking lots of the hotels, museums and baseball parks.

EDITORIAL: Looks Like We Made It


Looks Like We Made It

Labor Day. The end of an exceptional summer in Cooperstown. Dare we say exceptional? Yes we can, despite the ominous glooms of COVID and recent blooms of algae.

Our Main Street businesses are still here. They may not have had their best summer, and they may still be sadly short-handed, but they are proudly displaying their wares and energetically inviting shoppers into their establishments. The Hall of Fame reopened its doors for Induction Weekend, welcoming pre-COVID crowds for a celebratory salute to the national pastime. Baseball fans swarmed the streets, and the Village was clean within hours. Doubleday Field is refurbished and Dreams Park is back. Our Village is alive.

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