News of Otsego County


In Memoriam Marie Margaret Johansen, 82 August 26, 1939 – June 5, 2022

In Memoriam

Marie Margaret Johansen, 82

August 26, 1939 – June 5, 2022

Marie M. Johansen

EDMESTON – God needed another angel and he brought the best one ever home to him in the early morning hours Sunday June 5, 2022.  Marie Margaret Johansen departed for her heavenly reward from her home, surrounded by her loving children and grandchildren.

Mom was born on August 26, 1939 in Saint Johns, Newfoundland.  She was the oldest of five children born to Augustine and Margaret (Murphy) Murphy and grew up on tiny Bell Island off the coast of Newfoundland where her father was a tinsmith for the island’s iron ore mine.  The path life led her on in her teen years was not one she would have chosen for herself but it truly shaped the woman and mother she would become. At sixteen years old, she left the pastoral setting of the island behind along with her brothers, friends and teachers and moved to New York City with her mother and sister where she immediately went to work as a file clerk to support the family.  It was a difficult transition but she adjusted with the grace and humility that defined her.  She met Carl Johansen through her work and turned him down six times before finally allowing him to take her out on their first date.  They married in August of 1958 and her joy was compounded as they were able to bring all three of her brothers from the orphanage in Newfoundland to New York and reunite the family prior to the wedding.  The circumstances from this period of her life reinforced and influenced the priorities that governed the remainder of her life.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Catskill Symphony Orchestra Returns 10-23-21

Catskill Symphony Orchestra Returns


SYMPHONY – 7 p.m. The Catskill Symphony Orchestra returns after a nearly 2 year hiatus. The first concert will be titled ‘Archissimo’ and will feature evergreens of the string orchestra reqertoire from MOZART Serenata Notturna, to BARTÓK Romanian Folk Dances. Health guidelines will be followed. Cost is $32/adult. Foothills Performing Art Center, Oneonta. Visit

BENEFIT DINNER – 5 – 8 p.m. Enjoy delicious pasta dinner featuring homemade bolongnese, alfredo and other sauces to help a local women battling against breast cancer. Cost, $10/plate. Anything extra will help toward costs not covered by insurance. The Black Barn, 3522 Co. Hwy. 11, Cooperstown.

Student News: July 22, 2021

Student News

July 22, 2021

Local students were among the Hartwick College graduates Saturday, May 29, including:

Kelsey Elizabeth Collins of Morris;

Ushuaia Rae Diaz of Schenevus;

Zachary Thomas French of Norwich;

Katlin Ann Hager of Otego;

Christopher D. Janitz of Mount Vision;

Shanria Denetra Jolly of Oneonta;

Brianna Lynn Schworm of Edmeston;

Stacey L. Sickler of Franklin;

Tarrah Skye Smith of Oneonta;

Hanna N. Spencer of Oneonta.

Geertgens: Writer explains ‘what schools should teach’


Writer explains ‘what
schools should teach’

In a previous essay, I asked; Why Do We Have Schools?

Parents and other family members took on the major responsibility for teaching children whatever it was they thought they should know. As in much of the animal kingdom, the adults play a very important role in teaching their young what they need to know to survive. We are born and eventually we die. Those who best learn how to survive, usually live the longest. But is that really true for us humans?

My mother used to say, “ignorance is bliss.” There are times that I believe her, but in most cases, ignorance will not get you very far in life. When settlers first came to the New World, they embarked on a bold adventure. There were new challenges and survival was just one of them. After living in relative freedom for over 100 years, the rule of the King began to take its toll on some of those freedoms. From this frustration came the words; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Where does that quote come from? If you cannot answer that question, then our schools have failed. The founding fathers realized that if each generation after them were not taught about the reasons for the revolution and the documents developed as a result of their frustrations with the king, then the experiment would fail. They knew the importance of teaching the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States to future generations. That is one answer to the title question.

In the early days of our country, our society had that role. Parents had that role.

Gretchen Morrison, 42 Teacher, lifelong Cooperstown resident

In Memoriam

Gretchen Morrison, 42

Teacher, lifelong Cooperstown resident

COOPERSTOWN – Gretchen Morrison, a teacher and lifelong resident of the Cooperstown area, died unexpectedly June 11, 2021, at the age of 42.

Gretchen is survived by her loving mother and stepdad, Sandra and William Stockdale, her siblings and their spouses, Gregory and Lisa Marie Morrison, Glenda and Matt Vatovec, and Glenn and Michelle Morrison. Gretchen is also survived by her beautiful children, whom she loved very dearly, Konrad, Violet, and Otto. She was predeceased by her father, Walter Glen Morrison.

Gretchen was born in Cooperstown to Walter and Sandra Morrison. She graduated from Cooperstown Central School with her path clear and set to become a teacher. She completed her undergrad studies at SUNY Oneonta and went on for her Master’s degree at The University of New England. She was a teacher for many years, first at Cooperstown Central School, then at Proctor High School. She loved her craft and her students. She worked tirelessly to give the young lives she touched the opportunity for more in their future.

As ‘Merger Mondays’ end, Tuesday decision looms for Schenevus, Worcester

As ‘Merger Mondays’ end,
Tuesday decision looms
for Schenevus, Worcester

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

The last of the Merger Mondays took place Monday, June 14, ahead of Tuesday’s board vote.

The superintendents of Worcester and Schenevus central schools acknowledged the growing pains of a merger, but also argued its perceived importance to a group of about 15 attendees.

Some of the guests included Assemblyman Brian Miller, and Jeff Bishop, communications director for state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is an SCS graduate.

Miller expressed mostly neutrality for the upcoming vote and said he was there to “show support for whichever way the communities decide to go.”

Oberacker was unable to attend because he was at a parade in Unadilla, a cause of some criticism among those who attended, but Bishop said Oberacker was closely following the developments on the potential merger.

If the vote is approved, there will be a Sept. 22, straw poll followed by a Dec. 3, binding referendum.

If the merger is approved the combined Board of Education would increase from five to seven seats. There also will be state financial incentives for the merger, which BOE representatives say will be used to improve educational opportunities and provide funds to a reserve, while also maintaining the same staff only eliminating positions through attrition, which they say will save $690,000.

Class size will be 22 students or lower.

Much of the merger rationale is based on a study conducted prior to the pandemic, which referenced a declining enrollment for both schools, a problem which in a merged district would be resolved with access to more academics and athletics.

Any additional cost for transportation they say will be minimal.

Anything related to mascots, school colors and team names would be student driven, officials said.

“This is emotional for a lot of people. … We do realize that and recognize that, but we have to do what’s best for our kids and everything in the study shows its best for our kids,” Carlin said.

Miller diverted from his original stance of neutrality briefly to posit about the merger.

“It’s to benefit our children and make our area truly prosper. … Things are really getting tough,” Miller said, referencing state funding. “A merger is really the best thing we can do.”

Views from around New York State: May 27, 2021

Views from around New York State

Schools should spend Federal money carefully

From: The Adirondack Daily Enterprise
It’s no surprise that all local school budgets were approved by voters Tuesday, May 18.

Between additional state aid approved by the state Legislature and federal pandemic aid, most of the proposed budgets came with either no tax increase or a nominal increase in local property taxes.

But local voters should make sure they are paying attention to how school districts are proposing to spend that federal pandemic aid. New York state received about $12.5 billion while school districts received a total of $9 billion in direct aid.

In our view, routine expenses should remain the domain of local and state taxpayers.

Care must be taken in planning what’s best for the needs of the individual district. Some districts may need major renovations to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to promote breathing easier for all who work and learn there. Others may require wholesale updating of their technology platforms to platforms to best prepare for effective online learning.

Care must be taken as well to ensure maximum input from the school district’s administrators, teaching staff, parents and students so that final spending decisions reflect a broad consensus of a district’s stakeholders.

Many schools will likely have a lot of money to spend helping students make up for lost time. That is essential, but the federal investment is enough to do a lot more than that. It’s enough to created targeted programs that help children achieve more than they would have if COVID-19 had never happened and schools had never been closed in the first place.

Taxpayers shouldn’t settle just for the old status quo. For this kind of money, they should demand a level of education higher than before.

CARD: Boys Message In Bottle: Let’s Think Differently

Boys Message In Bottle:

Let’s Think Differently

To the Editor:

I have always considered myself a logical thinker and have tried to teach my children to be realistic:

Pay your bills on time, keep your things tidy, go to bed on time, eat healthy and above all show respect to others. I have been known to be a bit overbearing, and I am certain my husband and children can attest to that.

When I was younger, I prided myself of on being tough and worked hard to make sure my peers saw me as such. I grew up with a hard-working father, who labored to make a living.

My father was uneducated – as the dictionary states, unschooled – vulgar (often) and simple. However, his perseverance and motivation inspired my work ethic and has kept me strong even during the greatest challenges in my life.

My mother, different than my father, was created purely on kindness, patience and understanding. She too understood the value of hard work, but never pursued more than she felt necessary to remain happy.

Thankfully, I managed to adopt kindness as a personality trait from my mother; admittedly, I have had to work to acquire patience and understanding.


Renewable Energy & Economic

Development Panel Discussion


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – 7 – 9 p.m. Join panel to discuss Economic development, renewable energy possibilities, existing conservation/renewable energy programs, more with Karl Seeley professor of economics at Hartwick, Dan Butterman candidate for NYS Assembly district 121, Leslie Orzetti executive director Otsego County Conservation Association. Followed by Q&A session. Elm Park Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Visit


Brown V Board


DINNER DISCUSSION – 5 – 7 p.m. “60 Years After Brown V. Board: African American’s In Education.” Reservations required. Chesebro Room, Dewar Union, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Call 607-431-4428 or visit

PRESIDENTIAL PORTRAITS – 11 a.m. Learn more about the artists who painted George Washington, Gilbert Stuart. Learn about the portrait in the museum, how it was painted, make your own version. Arkell Museum, 2 Erie Blvd., Canajoharie. Call 518-673-2314 or visit


Rebuilding Schools


‘LOST BOYS’ LECTURE – 5 p.m. Cousins Sebastian Maroundit and Mathon Noi present “Building Minds in South Sudan” discussing their efforts to rebuild schools in their homeland. Celebration Room, Shineman Chapel House, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Info, Dr. Elizabeth Bloom @ (607)431-4945 or email or visit

ART & POETRY CONTEST – 6-9 p.m. This years theme is Blue Skies, Smilin’ At Me: Exploring the Beauty of living a life free of the negative impacts of addiction. Opening gala features the exhibit, poetry reading, awards ceremony, & music. Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info,


Meeting To Discuss Career

Politicians In State Legislature


To Learn How You Can Help Area Families This Holiday Season CLICK HERE.

LWVNY MEETING – 7-9 p.m. League of Women Voters plans consensus study on issues in state legislature of outside income and full vs part time legislature. Presbyterian Church House, 25 Church St., Cooperstown. Info, Maureen Murray, President, (607)547-2853 or email or Martha Clarvoe, Membership Chair, (607)293-6654 or email

ELEMENTARY WINTER CONCERT – 7 p.m. Milford Central School, 42 W. Main St., Milford. Info,


SUNY Oneonta Festival

Celebrates Global Cultures


To Learn How You Can Help Area Families This Holiday Season CLICK HERE.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT FESTIVAL – 6:45 p.m. promoting cross-cultural understanding, tolerance, and global connectedness through the education and presentation of music, dance, poetry, art, food, and culture. Suggested $3 donation benefits Ninash Foundation. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta, 108 Ravine pkwy, Oneonta. Info,

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