News of Otsego County

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


Freeman’s Journal

THIS WEEK’S NEWSPAPERS The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta Aug. 27-28, 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

Aug. 13-14, 2020

Simple Integrity partner Jon Edgington surveys the 1810 threshing barn, now under renovation in the hamlet of Middlefield, which exemplifies an agricultural technique that dates back 2,000 years. The swing beam is above him; the 26-foot hemlock – cut into 13-foot joists – are in front of him.  Butch and Mary Welch bought the three-acre property that includes the barn last year.  Butch did initial site preparation, and plans to complete the renovations after the crew leaves next week.  Eventually, the couple may sell the barn for conversion into a home.  (Jim Kevlin/



Oneonta Plans ‘Tip Line’ As Students Return

Cooperstown Mandates Masks Downtown

GOP Committee To Name Burns Successor

Kochul To New Yorkers: Plan ‘Staycation’

By Mistake, Cuomo  Puts CCS On Tardy List

Landmark Inn On Tripadvisor Top 25 List

Welches Rescue, Restore Threshing Barn

Ideal Of Womanhood Brings Groans Today


Freshman Rep Does Have Guts, Consistency


CUOMO: NYS Schools Can Reopen, But …

GREENBERG: Mask Law Is Necessary

KINGSLEY: Mask Law Overreaches

STERNBERG: Require Masks Everywhere

BENNETT: Exceptionalism? Not In U.S.A.

ATWELL: Love In The Times Of COVID

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THIS WEEK: July 16-17, 2020
This Week, June 18-19, 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

June 18-19, 2020


With Otsego County restaurants opening up, but subject to social distancing, Bocca Osteria on Route 28, Cooperstown, came up with a novel solution: A plastic bubble, created by Alvantor, a tent and recreation innovation company based in California.  Here, Angela Eldred and Shane Hovick of Hartwick enjoy the bubble’s coziness over the weekend. (Jim Kevlin/


County Got Leg Up On Police Reforms

In Unadilla, Remembering The Fallen

 Foundation: Both Bumppos Are Equal

All Star Village Gives Up On 2020 Season

Sure-Footedly, Judge Moved Up Ladder

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Rockin’ Again

Bubble Gives Diners Extra Layer Of Safety


Otsego County: Reclaim Natty Bumppo


SEWARD:  New Yorkers, Get Out Of House

YOUNGS:  What I Didn’t Know About Racism

LEVINE: Needs Met, But Much Left To Do


HAMMOND: Address Policing Dysfunction

FLEISHER: Leadership Can Repair Nation

NORTHRUP: Stars, Bars Symbol Of Slavery

NICOLS: Protect Our Borders, From Canada?

STERNBERG: Back Buttermann For Assembly

WEINBERG: Times Compromised On Truth

FARWELL: County Layoffs Weren’t Done Well

MEMBRINO: Private Interests Muddy Stimulus


BOUND VOLUMES: June 18, 2020



Richard Breuninger, 74; Pastor, Teacher

John Holdorf, 87, Edmeston Superintendent



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This Week — June 11-12, 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

June 11-12, 2020


During Sunday’s “Rally for Justice” in Cooperstown, Milford’s Austin Partridge stirred a reaction by unfurling the American flag. At right is Mac Benton, an organizer, who asked Partridge to move the flag away from the speakers’ gathering place. Organizers then stood in front of flag to block journalists’ picture taking. In the background, Rev. LaDana Clark addresses 850 attendees from the Otsego County Courthouse steps.  (Jim Kevlin/


Protests Inspire Talk Of Reform

Floyd’s Family ‘Great Role Models

Restaurants To Reopen This Friday

Otsego County’s Top Jurist Retires

Hartwick, SUNY-O Plan Reopenings


For The Birds, Visit Audubon Sanctuary

Wanna Bike? 4 Trail Systems Right Here


Personal Stories Say: We Can Do Better


FISHER:  Let’s Live Up To Our Ideals

DRUGOVICH: Hartwick United For Jusice

LaDANA: Where Is God? In Otsego County

LEVINE: Needs Met, But Much Left To Do


RISSBERGER: Expect Action On Policing

BRENNER: Police Will Listen To Concerns

MASON: Step Up, OCCA, Watershed Board

DILL: Planner Always Went Extra Mile


BOUND VOLUMES: June 12, 2020



Carrie Kukenberger, 49; Saw Son Graduate

Betty Lou Whittemore, 96; First UM Secretary

Anthony Tomaino, 36; Football Standout

 Patricia S. Hoye, 83; Nurse At Bassett

Anna C. Mumbulo, 89; NYCM Retiree



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THIS WEEK’S NEWSPAPERS April 30-May 1 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

April 30-May 1, 2020


Signs of solidarity, like this one at Springbrook, Milford Center, are popping up countywide. If you see one, snap it and send to (AllOTSEGO photo)




Week 1, Donors Give Foundation $127K

With Elective Surgery, Bassett Normalizing

Seward: Prayers Helped Me Through COVID-19

From Edmeston Comes NYC Angel Of Mercy

‘Bad Batch’ Cause 4 Oneonta Overdoses


Masks – Necessity Or Fashion Statement?

Garden Club’s Daffodils Brighten Oneonta

Libby’s List Of Virtual Things To Do


With Facts As Guide, Let’s Start Reopening

Turn On Porch Light For Hometown Heroes.


CUOMO:  Construction, Factories Start Opening

STERNBERG: Opening Will Take To Mid-July

HERZIG: Protect Us From Returning Students

ATWELL: No Need For A Brick


DUNCAN: Is Mother Nature Telling Us, Rest

NORTHRUP: Want To Cut Loose? Elsewhere

HUGHSON:  What Can An Antibody Tell Us?

SCHNEIDER: Small Business Are Hurt Most

DEAN: Well-Intentioned Visitors Harmful

WELCH: Temporary Threat? Magical Thinking

WHALING: Pesticides Used On Lakeside Links

COLONE: Socialism Only Way Out Of Troubles

FLEISHER: Support President?  Support Dictator


BOUND VOLUMES: April 30, 2020



Lois H. Downin, 80; Fox EKG/EEG Technician

Albert R. Killmeier, 63, Farmed In Cherry Valley


Alvin L. Osterhoudt, 80, Oneonta

Richard G. Powell, 83, Oneonta



Previous Edition Click Here

THIS WEEK April 23-24, 2020
THIS WEEK April 016-17, 2020
THIS WEEK’S NEWSPAPERS March 12-13, 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

March 12-13, 2020


From Oneonta to Roseboom, hundreds of people showed up at dusk Saturday, March 7, at the Bassett Hospital helipad, Cooperstown, to watch three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters land during a U.S. Army Reserves, 353rd Civil Affairs Command, training mission in conjunction with the Cooperstown Graduate Program. In the foreground, Ken Morrisey and Sally Harrington of Cooperstown head back to their car after examining the chopper at close hand. (Jim Kevlin/


SUNY, Hartwick, Bassett Ban Travel

LeCATES: 6 Quarantined, But No Outbreak

Schenevus Top Site For Distribution Center

Newcomer, Waller Helped End Union Ticket

Mom  Found ‘Not Guilty’ In Twins’ Deaths

Elementary Principal To Succeed CCS Colleague


Mary Margaret Will Put People In Picture

Membrino Fills Key Role: Finance Chairman


MORGAN: Nothing To Fear But Flu Itself

ZAGATA: NYC Looks Upstate For Solutions

ATWELL: Ahoy, Maties!


TILLAPAUGH: Vote To Continue Upgrades

MEMBRINO: More Needs Doing. Let Me Help

KATZ: Give Mayor The Support She Needs

STERNBERG:  Village Moving In Right Direction

DEWEY: Incumbents Can Maintain Momentum

MacMILLAN: Reserve Flagpole For Stars, Stripes


COLONE: City Must Use Asset For Leverage

PAULITS: At Least Let Disenfranchised Donate


BOUND VOLUMES: March 12, 2020

HOMETOWN HISTORY: March 13, 2020

K9’s AT REST: Ricky, Mika To Retire

CSO Conductor Brings Beethoven, More


Frances Niles, 83; ‘Granny Fran’ To Unatego Fans

Barbara Harris, 90; 9 Children Survive Withey’s Clerk

John Arnold, 85; Wilber Bank Assistant VP



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This Week Feb. 27-28, 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

Feb. 27-28, 2020


The Knights of the Round Table – Sean Sansevere, Casey Thomas, Brian Ziemann, Nate Sloan, Mike Tamburrino and Fred Ploutz – invite King Arthur to a rather silly Camelot in Orpheus Theatre’s production of “Spamalot,” which ran Feb. 21-23 at Foothills.  Check out The ARTSCENE/Theater section. (Ian Austin/


Emmons Mystery: Homeowner’s Body Found

At 1-Year-Old, She’s Unsure She Can Make Debate

4 Grants, Lofts Will Bring 100 Apartments To City

Brooks BBQ Plan May Help Revive East End

Is Constitution Pipeline Really At An End?

Landlord Gets What He Asks, Changes Mind

Bassett Hospital 150-Space Parking Lot OK’d


Electorate Spoke – Now, Work Together

Cooperstown, Oneonta Face Common Problem


CLEINMAN: 100 Units Will Buoy Oneonta Downtown

HAYES: If You Build Housing, Bassett Can Fill It

KENNEDY: #KeepTheCap! State Must Pay Fair Share

ZAGATA: $1B In Fracking Royalties … To PA, Not NY


WEBB: Cooperstown’s Only Newspaper Needs Balance

HILL: ‘Green Light’ Mostly Protects The Harmless


BOUND VOLUMES: Feb. 27, 2020


The ARTSCENE: Theatre

In Oneonta, ‘ActALot’ Always On Marquee

Cooperstown Couple Keep Theatre Alive


Susan Vaughn, 52; Social Service Exec Dies In Crash

Edward Johnston, 72; Worked At Center St. Grocery

Doris L. Spearbeck, 89; 30-Year RN At SUNY Clinic

Margaret Schwarzhans, 52; Active In Rotary Exchange

Beverly Leneker, 74; C-V Native Worked In Canajoharie

Barbara A. Neff, 85;  Children, Grandchildren Survive

Ella M. Chase, 106; One Of County’s Oldest Residents



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THIS WEEK – Feb 20-21, 2020
As Did Garretson, So Does Kennedy


As Did Garretson,

So Does Kennedy

Kindred Spirits In Problem-Solving

Back in 2006, our first Citizen of the Year, Cherry Valley Tom Garretson, showed the same coolness in problem-solving as this year’s honoree.

In a way, our Citizen of the Year designation – it will continue, of course – has come full circle.

Interviewing Meg Kennedy, this year’s designee, brought to mind Tom Garretson, the first designee, in 2006.

Throughout that stormy year, when the Cherry Valley area was torn between those who feared 24 industrial-sized windmills would degrade the town’s environment and ambience, and those who saw a boon in new tax revenues, Tom always kept his cool.

And there was a lot at stake, municipally and personally: His father-in-law, who he had succeeded that Jan. 1 as town supervisor, strongly favored the wind project.

At meeting after stormy meeting, Garretson kept order, listened intently and – as
Kennedy would have observed – not only listened, but heard.

In the end, he came down against the turbines, and led the enactment of a law to hinder them. Reunion Power of Vermont finally gave up.

What changed Tom’s mind in the end wasn’t the arguments, but it was a trip he took to Fenner, a flat, indistinct town south of Utica, where a windmill farm was already functioning.

Garretson – a farmer, as is Meg Kennedy – came back with renewed enthusiasm for his adopted hometown – the Garretsons had come from New Jersey in the 1950s; the Kennedys from Long Island a decade or so later.

Compared to Fenner, he concluded, Cherry Valley simply had too much to offer – too much to preserve. Stunning scenery, among the richest and most textured local histories in the nation, a comfortable lifestyle, a farming community enrichened by the Glimmerglass Opera’s world-class culture.

He listened, he heard, he explored, he made the right decision.

This year’s designee, the county representative from Hartwick, Milford and New Lisbon, arguably made the best decision in coming up with a first step in professionalizing Otsego County’s $120 million government – a county administrator whose mandate is to implement the will of 14 representatives who, in effect, are our neighbors.

That what’s always been a controversial discussion obtained the support of 11 of her 14 colleagues is astonishing. And this was done with no table pounding or arm-twisting, but by calm consensus building.

She described what we’re labelling “the Kennedy Method.”

You listen. You HEAR. You ask, what’s fair? Then you decide. (One other step: You collect information.) “I have to get it proved to me,” she said.

Thinking as far back to the days when mom Margaret expected her to herd her nine younger siblings, she concluded, “I could always coalesce a group.”

Up to this point, it seemed impossible that the Energy Task Force effort she’s chairing would go anywhere. Now, there’s reason to be much more optimistic about a consensus result, targeted by the end of 2020.

While Kennedy made it happen, as important, the chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives for only one term, David Bliss, allowed it to happen. That’s another unappreciated aspect of his polite, level-headed and increasingly steady leadership.

He saw her potential. He saw her willingness to work. He saw a kindred spirit and let it fly. (Nor was he absent, attending most of Kennedy’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and joining IGA members in casting key votes.)

As with Tom Garretson, Meg Kennedy isn’t seeking to change Otsego County – nor is Dave Bliss, for that matter. The idea is, incrementally, to make things better, to create enough jobs to fill our needs; to solve problems one by one, not all right this minute; to make our communities more consistently vibrant in a quickly changing world.

Happy New Year.

YES, VIRGINIA… There IS A Santa Claus, Editor Wrote 8-Year-Old


There IS A Santa Claus,

Editor Wrote 8-Year-Old

Editor’s Note: The New York Sun’s Francis Pharcellus Church penned this famous response to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897.

We take pleasure in answering 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:

She was a little shy at first, but Jordyn Trask, 5, eventually did warm up and share her Christmas wishes with Santa Claus in his cottage in
Cooperstown’s Pioneer Park during a Friday, Dec. 13, visit. Her brother Harrison, 1, sat
on Santa’s lap for the first time. They are the children of Issac and Samantha Trask, Oneonta. (Jim Kevlin/

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?

115 West Ninety Fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing

on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Libby Found Love, Work, Heartbreak — And Home


Libby Found Love, Work,

Heartbreak — And Home

Editor’s Note: What a decade! Her friends and colleagues celebrated Manager Editor Libby Cudmore’s 10th anniversary among us on production day, Tuesday, Dec. 10, and agreed to write this memoir.


Libby Cudmore with Mascot Goodie at the 2013 Goodyear Lake Polar Bear Jump. ( photo)

There’s a lot for Ian and I to celebrate in December. Our families do Christmas, Yule and Hanukkah, our original anniversary, the New Year’s Eve to cap it all off.

But this December, I realized that I had another anniversary to celebrate – 10 years with the Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, most recently, It’s the longest I’ve ever stayed with a job, but in 10 years, I’ve realized that it’s more than than a job – it’s a way to give back to a community that has welcomed me so graciously.

When I moved to Oneonta in May 2007, I wasn’t sure if I would stay. This was my husband’s hometown, after all, but I wasn’t sure that there was a place for me yet. But that changed when Jim Kevlin hired me as a freelance reporter in April 2009.

My first story was about a bridal fashion show at SUNY. My second was an interview with Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, who was playing at the now-defunct Oneonta Theatre, then re-opened and full of promise.

I was hired full-time that December, Monday the 14th,  given a desk and the business cards I’ve been passing out ever since. If you look in your drawer, chances are you have one. If it was before 2017, it said “Reporter.” Since then, it has said “Managing Editor.”

Our new reporter, James Cummings, asked me: What’s the favorite story you ever written? How do you even pick?

But a few come to mind: getting to travel to Oneonta, Ala., and see the similarities (and a few differences) between our cities, and declaring actor Cuyle Carvin “Oneonta’s Heartthrob.” As an obsessive music fan, I still get giddy knowing that, at any time, I can pick up the phone and call Greg Harris, president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, for comment.

I love being able to support the good deeds at the Susquehanna SPCA, see the rise and revitalization of the Milford Methodist Church, to be a first-hand witness to all of the change in Oneonta as the DRI gets underway. I absolute agree that we’re “Onta Something.”

Of course, there has been plenty of heartache too. The sudden death of Mayor Dick Miller was when I felt it the most profoundly. I was tasked with not only covering the tragedy, but also processing my own grief privately. I had seen Dick that Thursday evening at the Future for Oneonta Foundation reception. He gave me one of those sideways handshakes I knew so well, the quick “how ya’ doin’” in passing. We’d had our disagreements over the years – par for the course in both our professions – but I respected and enjoyed him immensely, and still miss him.

The murder of 11-year-old Jacelyn O’Connor still haunts me. I’ve written about far too many brutal deaths in our county, but in some ways, I’m honored to do so, because I task myself not with writing about the killer, but letting my readers know who the victim was to their family, their friends, their community. They’re stories I wish that I didn’t have to write, but I am always honored when I get to speak with survivors like Jennifer Kirkpatrick and Erika Heller, to be trusted with their loved ones’ legacies.

I am always in awe of the support that the people of Otsego County continue to bless me with. From the packed house at the Green Toad for the launch of my debut novel, “The Big Rewind,” to the votes that came in for my guest conductor bid at the Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s cabaret concert. Many of you were there to cheer when Ian proposed to me in the 2013 Halloween parade, and some of you came to our wedding in 2015.

But you have also been with me in the darkest times to. In 2017, we lost MJ Kevlin, my dear friend and mentor. The outpouring of love and support from all of you was overwhelming, and if I didn’t thank you then, consider this a much delayed appreciation for the kindness you showed me, the grief we shared.

Recently someone asked me where I was from. For the first time in my life, I didn’t reply “Oklahoma City,” where I was born, or generic “Upstate New York” to compensate for a hometown I don’t particularly associate myself with. “Oneonta,” I answered without hesitation.

I didn’t grow up here. But if home is where you hang your hat (and, as you know, I wear many of them) then it stands to reason that your hometown is the town where your home is located – and thus, your hat hangs.

Writing for the Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and has made me feel more a part of this community here than any career I thought I would have. Every week you welcome me into your home and your lives, you call me with good stories about graduations and strange collections and upcoming meetings, you allow me to lament with you when you send in obituaries and when we stand at the scenes of loss. It’s a position I do not take lightly, and I pledge to continue to my best to tell your stories accurately and honestly.

I’ve lived in a lot of places and I’ve traveled internationally and cross-country. But when I come off I-88 and turn onto the Lettis Highway, whether after a few days or a few weeks away, I always get the same feeling as the lights of Main Street greet me.

Welcome home.

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