News of Otsego County


New Oneonta board member ready to learn
Skylar Thompson

New Oneonta board member ready to learn

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Elected November 4 to his first term as a member of the Town of Oneonta Board at only age 24, Skylar Thompson says he’s looking forward to working on the “day-to-day issues” having an impact on the place he’s lived his entire life.

“That’s what local politics affects the most,” the young Republican said. He cited rural broadband and enhancement of Town parks and recreational facilities as two general areas of interest, but said, too, that he’s eager to learn the priorities that come before the Town government.

Sally A. Beams, 86; Postmaster, Firefighter, Town Historian

IN MEMORIAM: Sally A. Beams, 86;

Postmaster, Firefighter, Town Historian

WEST DAVENPORT – Sally A. Beams, 86, former West Davenport postmaster, firefighter and town historian, died on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Fox Hospital, following a brief illness.

She was born in Rye, the daughter of William and Beatrice (Mott) Balcom.  At an early age, she moved to East Meredith and graduated from Charlotte Valley Central School.  She married Benjamin C. Beams on Dec. 21, 1952.

George W. Kukulech, 90; Served Pittsfield As Councilman, Fireman

IN MEMORIAM: George W. Kukulech, 90;

Served Pittsfield As Councilman, Fireman

George Kukelech

NEW BERLIN – George W. Kukulech, 90, of New Berlin, Town of Pittsfield highway superintendent for seven years and a town board member and firefighter, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Orlando, Fla.

George was born on March 1, 1929, in Passaic, N.J., the son of the late Michael and Anna (Cocundy) Kukulech.

He married the love of his life, Beatrice M. Ritrovato on July 2, 1950.

George attended the Ketchum one-room schoolhouse from 1935 to 1940.

For 13 years he worked for the Town of Pittsfield, including superintendent for seven years, driving snowplows and constructing roads.


John Heller, Oneonta • 1980-2018


By: Libby Cudmore

John Heller, engaged to marry next Oct. 12, helped his fiancee, Amber Roe, and
his four nephews to safety before being trapped inside 5 Walling Ave., Oneonta,
last Saturday evening, Dec. 19


The former Oneonta firefighter made sure his four nephews, Donovan, 9, John Heller died a hero.

Maddox, 7, Macall, 5 and Rawley, 2, as well as his fiancée, Amber Roe, were safe when an early-morning fire broke out in his 5 Walling Ave. home on Saturday, Dec. 29.

“He and Amber are my heroes,” his sister-in-law, Erika Heller, wrote in an emotional Facebook tribute. “They saved my babies and he made the ultimate sacrifice for our family.”

According to Heller, the boys were spending the night at the home when the fire broke out just after 4 a.m.

“What began as a fun sleepover with their uncle John and soon-to-be aunt Amber turned into a nightmare,” wrote Heller.

Francis ‘Jake’ Rury, 93;  Cherry Valley Grocer

Francis ‘Jake’ Rury, 93; 

Cherry Valley Grocer

Jake Rury, active in Rury’s Grocery in Cherry Valley for more than 70 years, is interviewed here in 2016 by CV-S students. The video is posted on youtube.

CHERRY VALLEY – Francis Valentine “Jake” Rury, who with his father and, then, wife Helen operated Rury’s Food Store in downtown Cherry Valley for decades, passed away Aug. 5, 2018.  He was 93.

Born Feb. 12, 1925, in Albany, Jake was the son of Walter and Alida (Eacker) Rury.  He was a life-long resident of Cherry Valley, graduating from Cherry Valley High School, Class of 1943.

No Injuries Reported In Chestnut St. Rollover

No Injuries Reported

In Chestnut St. Rollover

At left, Sgt. Ralph Pajerski, Oneonta Police Dept., surveys the scene as firefighter Ron Wamsley sweeps up debris around a vehicle rollover that blocked Chestnut Street in Oneonta for nearly an hour. Sgt. Pajerski reported that the driver was momentarily distracted when she put down a tissue. She then allegedly struck a parked car resulting in the accident. No injuries were reported and streets are now clear. (Ian Austin/



Robert W. Alcott, 82; Custodian, Edmeston Community Leader

IN MEMORIAM: Robert W. Alcott, 82;

Custodian, Edmeston Community Leader

Robert L. Alcott

EDMESTON – Robert Lewis Alcott, 82, an Edmeston Central custodian, firefighter and president of the library board, passed away at his home on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

Robert was born in Masonville on Feb. 3, 1935, the son of the late Russell Lewis and Daisy Greengrow Alcott. In addition to his parents, he was pre-deceased by his brother Ed, and sister Nancy.

James Maddalone, 57; Firefighter, On Bainbridge Town Board

IN MEMORIAM: James Maddalone, 57;

Firefighter, On Bainbridge Town Board

James A. Maddalone

BAINBRIDGE – James A. Maddalone, 57, a dedicated firefighter currently serving on the Bainbridge Town Board, passed away Nov. 10, 2017, at Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, with his family by his side.

He was born on Aug. 7, 1960, in Sidney, the son of Joseph and Carole (Delello) Maddalone, and graduated from Sidney High School with the Class of 1968.  He immediately became an electrician apprentice at Amphenol, where he worked for 40 years.

He loved politics and served on the Bainbridge Planning Board for almost 10 years before joining the town board, where he was serving his second term.

Robert J. Graham, 91; Fox Manager, Musician, Active In Community Life

Robert J. Graham, 91; Fox Manager,

Musician, Active In Community Life

An accomplished musician, Bob Graham played many instruments.

ONEONTA – Robert James Graham, 92, former Fox Hospital business manager and well-known musician who was active in community life in Otsego and Delaware counties, passed away from pneumonia on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at Robinson Terrace in Stamford.

He was born in Delhi on Dec. 20, 1924, the son of Tracy Lyman Graham and Elizabeth Mable Graham.

Bob attended A.L. Kellogg School in Treadwell for six years, and then entered Delaware Academy in Delhi, where he graduated in 1943. He was a co-captain of the football and basketball teams, solo clarinetist in the senior band for three years, king of the junior prom, and president of his senior class.

David H. Kent, 63; Edmeston Central Head Bus Mechanic

IN MEMORIAM: David H. Kent, 63;

Edmeston Central Head Bus Mechanic

EDMESTON – David Hunter Kent, 63, who retired as head mechanic at Edmeston Central School’s bus garage, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday August 1, 2017.

Dave was born on May 11, 1954, in Cooperstown, the son of the late John and Isabella Brand Kent. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister Genevieve Kent Waller, a brother-in-law William Nevil, and parents-in-law Joe and Joan Seifried.

Don Howard, Edmeston Teacher, Rotarian, Firefighter, 45-Year EMT

Don Howard, Edmeston Teacher,

Rotarian, Firefighter, 45-Year EMT

Don Howard

EDMESTON – Don Howard, who taught science at Edmeston Central School for 32 years, died May 5, 2017, at home, surrounded by his family.

He was born on the family farm in West Edmeston, to Lynn and Edith Howard.  He graduated from Leonardsville Central School.  He attended SUNY Oswego for a year before marrying the love of his life, Irene Baldwin, and transferring to SUNY Plattsburgh so they could both finish their degrees.  Their plans were altered with the arrival of their son Dave, and a year later with Dan.  Don worked one to three jobs while carrying a full load to support his family and graduate from college.

Edward W. Losee, 88; Machinist, Korea Veteran, Firefighter

IN MEMORIAM: Edward W. Losee, 88;

Machinist, Korea Veteran, Firefighter

EDMESTON – Edward R. Losee, 88, of Edmeston, a Korean War veteran and volunteer firefighter, passed away Wednesday March 22, 2017 in Herkimer, NY following an extended illness.

Edward was born in Eastchester, Westchester County, on Nov. 18, 1928, the son of the late Edward Samuel and Bertha Weiss Losee. In addition to his parents, he was pre-deceased by his siblings: Robert Losee, Frank Losee, and Florence France.


Public Discussion Of Oneonta

Downtown Revitalization Plan


PUBLIC FORUM – 1 p.m. Share your thoughts on how the $10 million Downtown Revitalization plan should take advantage of the cities history to contribute to economic development. Greater Oneonta Historical Society, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Info,

SNOW TUBING – 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Park will provide snow tube with $5 tubing fee. No charge to enter park. Glimmerglass State Park, 1527 County Highway 31, Cooperstown. Info,

CHICKEN & BISCUIT BENEFIT – Noon.  Benefits Firefighter Tim West, Sec. Lt. in Hartwick Emergency Squad who is ill at this time.  By donation – Until food or people run out!   Hartwick Fire Dept. Company #1, Hartwick.  Info, Caren Kelsey, (607)-293-7530, Deb Clegg, (607) 293-6135.

THEATER – 2 p.m. Stuff of Dreams presents “Never Too Late.” Tickets @ Green Toad Book store or by calling (607)432-5407. Cost $15 adult, $12 senior and students, and $10 children 12 and under. Production Center of Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta.

LIBRARY LECTURE – Panel discussion on the impact of arts on the local economy. Info, Cancelled



Recognizing Tom Salo,

Conservationist Of Year


CONSERVATION DINNER – 6 p.m. Otsego Co. Conservation Association Annual Dinner, recognizing Tom Salo as Conservationist of the Year for his work with Bald Eagles. Templeton Hall, 63 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. Info & reservations, call OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti, (607) 547-4488. To learn more CLICK HERE.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD – 4-6 p.m. Pack a shoebox with items that will bring joy to children as they are delivered around the world. Collection point at Main St. Baptist Church, corner of Main and Maple Sts., Oneonta. Info, @ or email or call (607)432-5712

SAFETY PROGRAM – 7-10 p.m. “Solar Power: Strategy & Tactics for 1st Responders” Worcester Volunteer Fire Department quarters. Registration at or at the Worcester Volunteer Fire Department. Worcester Hose Company, 36 Church Street, Worcester. For more info CLICK HERE.

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