News of Otsego County

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


Hartwick news

Johnelle Lea Griffith; Hartwick Woman, 30, Lost Long Battle

IN MEMORIAM:  Johnelle Lea Griffith;

Hartwick Woman, 30, Lost Long Battle

Johnelle Griffith

HARTWICK – Johnelle Lea Griffith, 30, born Sept 20, 1989, died peacefully in her sleep on April 21, 2020, after a long battle of addiction.  She was loved by her parents, John and Toni Griffith.

She had such a love for animals so any donations may be made to the Susquehanna SPCA in her memory.

To plant a tree in memory of Johnelle L. Griffith, please visit Westcott-Madden Funeral Home’s tribute store.

Rocco J. Lauria, 84 Jan. 25, 1936-April 14,2020

Rocco J. Lauria, 84

Jan. 25, 1936-April 14,2020

Rocco Lauria

HARTWICK – Rocco Joseph Lauria, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and brother, passed away late Tuesday morning, April 14, 2020, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. He was 84.

Born Jan. 25, 1936, in Utica, he was the son of Rocco and Norma (Bice) Lauria. After graduating with the Edmeston Central School Class of 1954, Rocco served for three years with the New York Army National Guard.

On April 14, 1956, Rocco married the former Louise Bunn in a ceremony at the parsonage of the Mount Vision Methodist Church.

SUMMERS: Save The Birds, Scrap  The Panels

Save The Birds, Scrap  The Panels

To the Editor:

If I could buy two square miles of land for $1,000/acre, I would be fortunate indeed, for I would preserve these two square miles as is, in reparation for the three billion birds lost since 1970.

We have lost these birds primarily due to habitat loss; they have nowhere to live thanks to our endless consumption of land. When will we humans learn that what the earth freely gives us is finite?
Many of us live here because of this area’s natural beauty. We would do well to honor that connection, and forego the short-term gain of receiving $1,000/acre for our beautiful home.


They Love Meg, But Debate Bipartisanship

They Love Meg Kennedy,

But Debate Bipartisanship

After swearing them in Jan. 1, County Judge Brian D. Burns shakes hands with county board members individually. From left are Rick Brockway, Chairman Davis Bliss, Vice Chairman Meg Kennedy, Danny Lapin, Clark Oliver, Adrienne Martini (partly visible), Andrew Stammel, Ed Frazier and Keith McCarty. (Ian Austin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – When the 9-4 vote affirmed Meg Kennedy as the first woman vice chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, Andrew Marietta leaned over and said, “Meg, you know I support you.”

The Conservative for Hartwick, Milford and New Lisbon and the Democrat from Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego both shook hands and smiled.

But for the preceding few minutes Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Otsego County Board of Representatives’ organizational meetings, things were a bit more tense.

David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield/Cherry Valley, had been unanimously reelected board chairman. Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, then nominated Kennedy – “our Citizen of the Year” – as vice chairman, and freshman Rick Brockway, R-Laurens, second it.

Bliss called the vote, but Michele Farwell, R-Morris, asked tentatively, “Is there discussion?”

What followed was a discussion about the future of bipartisanship, with Farwell noting that two years ago, when the county board was also split 7-7, now-retired Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, “was nominated, and he got unanimous support of the board. I thought that was a very positive show of bipartisanship.

“I’m just a little bit concerned we might be taking a step backward, and that would be unfortunate.”
Marietta, who as senior Democrat was the party’s leading prospect to succeed Koutnik, agreed. “Having that bipartisan approach contributed to how we worked well together,” he said. “… I think we lose some of the value of the past two years by not having that structure.”

Two Oneonta Democrats, Andrew Stammel and freshman Clark Oliver, speaking for the first time in an official capacity, concurred.

But another Oneonta Democrat, Adrienne Martini, said, “I also think it is nice to have some diversity in terms of who is the vice chair, and I think Meg brings that in terms of gender.”

In the end, Kennedy’s election was bipartisan.

Voting aye were Republicans Bliss, Wilber, Brockway, Unadilla’s Ed Frazier and East Springfield’s Keith McCarty. And Democrats Farwell, who paused for a moment before voting aye, Stammel and Martini.
Voting nay were Marietta, and the other three Oneonta reps, Oliver, Danny Lapin and newcomer Jill Basile.

Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, was absent with the flu.

After the vote, Bliss said, “I agree we’ve done some great work together lately as bipartisans. And I will endeavor to continue.”

He pointed out Kennedy, a Conservative, “is neither Republican or Democrat. And she’s proven her worth, and I know she will endeavor to be as bipartisan as possible.”

Still, Farwell regretted the Democratic loss of the vice chairman post. In an interview, she also noted that Koutnik, an environmentalist, was replaced by Brockway, “a climate-change denier,” on the board’s Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee. And that Oliver was only named to one committee, Human Services.

“I wasn’t expecting a return to partisanship,” Farwell said. “I hear over and over that they want functional government, and not party nonsense like they see in Washington. I feel some trust has been lost.”

In an interview, Bliss said Marietta had expressed interest, “and I would have had no problem with Andrew as vice chair. Andrew was great. Meg was the better candidate.” The climate-denier statement surprised him. He said that Oliver was also named to Performance Review & Goal Setting, a special committee that is about to be elevated to full-committee status.

“Bipartisanship, by my definition, is the best person, the best candidate, the best idea,” the chairman said.

Throughout the debate, speakers were at pains to separate the issue of bipartisanship from Kennedy herself.

“I think Meg – representative Kennedy – will do a great job, and she has my respect and esteem,” said Farwell. Marietta said, “I think Meg will do a tremendous job.” And Stammel, turning to her during his remarks, said, “Meg, I think you will obviously do a great job.”

In the just completed term, Kennedy had chaired the two most time-consuming committees, Intergovernmental Affairs and Administration (ways and means), which won approval for a county administrator form of government and the establishment of the county Energy Task Force.





Representative Shepherded In

Professional Management, More

County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick/Milford/New Lisbon, has been named Citizen of the Year for 2019 by, The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta, for her role is leading creation of a county administrator position. She also led the formation of the county Energy Task Force, and became the first Otsego county representative in history named to the board of directors of the New York State Association of Counties. More in this week’s Freeman’s and Hometown, available now at Cooperstown and Oneonta supermarkets, and on all newsstands this afternoon.
Herbert E. Baumann, 90; Korean War Veteran, Lineman Retired To County

IN MEMORIAM: Herbert E. Baumann, 90;

Korea Veteran, Lineman Retired To County

LAURENS – Herbert E. Baumann, 90, of Laurens, a Korean War veteran and utility lineman who retired to Otsego County from New Jersey, passed away after a brief illness early Sunday morning, December 22, 2019, surrounded by love and a loving family at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.

Born Sept. 19, 1929, in Garfield, N.J., he was a son of Herbert Paul and Elsie (Kinscher) Baumann. He first attended schools in Paramus and later Paterson, N.J.. He left high school and worked for a time as a machinist for John Johnston in Paramus.

‘You Have Arrived’ Signs Welcome You To Hartwick

‘You Have Arrived’ Signs

Welcome You To Hartwick

The welcome to Hartwick sign on entering the town from the south on Route 28 is one of a dozen erected in the past month. ( photo)
The signs are also highlighting the town’s hamlets. (Photo courtesy Town of Hartwick)

HARTWICK – As drivers have been noticing, the Town of Hartwick has posted 12 “You Have Arrived” signs at entry points to the community and its hamlets.

The signs are been raised entering the Route 28  business district, near Toddsville (Historic Mill Village), Hartwick Seminary (Home of the first Lutheran Seminary in America), and at the Hamlet of Hartwick at Routes 205 and 11.  The maroon colored detail dates back to the original “Hartwick Huskies” school colors.

The signs grew out of a collaboration between the town board, the highway department and the Hartwick Historical Society.   The project, from planning to installation, took many months but is now complete, Town Clerk Andrea Vasquez reports.

James H. Millea, 93; WWII Vet; Iowan Moved Family Here

IN MEMORIAM:  James H. Millea, 93;

WWII Vet; Iowan Moved Family Here

Jim Millea

HARTWICK — James Hilary Millea, 93, of Hartwick, died Saturday morning, Nov. 9, 2019, at Bassett Hospital.

He was born Dec. 29, 1925, in Rolfe, Iowa, the eldest of 11 children – including three sets of twins – to Joseph Hilary Millea and Margaret Lillian née Flaherty Millea.

Raised in Iowa, he attended school up to the 11th grade, when at the age of 17 he left school, worked briefly on the railroad, then enlisted in the Navy on July 17, 1943.

Missing Hartwick Woman, Dog Found Dead


Hunters Find Woman,

Dog Dead In Woods

By  LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Roxanne Shipman-Hull

HARTWICK – Roxanne Shipman-Hull, 48, the Hartwick woman who went missing in late September, was found yesterday morning dead in her car in the woods in Plainfield, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. confirmed this afternoon.

According to Devlin, hunters on the state land near the area of Adams Pond Road and Mason Road on the Plainfield State Land came across a Honda-CRV sitting “a few hundred feet” back from the road on Sunday morning.

Kenneth Carson Sr., 74; Retired As CCS Transportation Director

IN MEMORIAM: Kenneth Carson Sr., 74;

Retired As CCS Transportation Director

Kenneth “Bucky” Carson Sr.

HARTWICK – Kenneth Alan Carson Sr., 74, or “Bucky” as most called him, who retired in 1999 as transportation director after 34 years in the Cooperstown Central School District, passed away on Sept. 21, 2019, with his family by his side in Shelby, N.C.

The son of Kenneth S. Carson and Ruth M. Gray (Allen), he was born in Cooperstown, on Oct. 27, 1944.

In addition to his tenure at CCS, Bucky was extremely proud of his decades of service with the Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2, as well as his work as a 911 dispatcher with the Otsego County Fire Control Center.

Eva G. Chamberlin, 98; Taught 6th Grade For 18 Years At Oneonta

IN MEMORIAM: Eva G. Chamberlin, 98;

Taught 6th Grade For 18 Years At Oneonta

Eva Chamberlin

SOUTH HARTWICK – Eva G. Chamberlin, a long-time resident of South Hartwick and retired elementary school teacher, passed away peacefully early Friday morning, Aug. 30, 2019, at the home of her daughter in Harrisonburg, Va. She was 98.

Born July 14, 1921, in Gloversville, Eva Grace Martin was the daughter of Charles Edward Martin and Grace Vida née Odell Martin.

A graduate of Milford High School, Eva attended the State Teachers College in Oneonta.

IN MEMORIAM: Jean E. Jensen Field, 89; Ran Hartwick Farm With Husband Fred

IN MEMORIAM: Jean Jensen Field, 89;

Ran Hartwick Farm With Husband Fred

Jean E. Fields

HARTWICK – Jean Elizabeth Jensen Field, 89, who with husband Fred ran a farm in Pleasant Valley, died at home Aug. 22, 2019.  Six children survive.

Born Oct. 4, 1930 in Merrickville, she was the middle child of Harold and Elizabeth Jensen of Otego. Raised in the Seventh Day Adventist faith, she graduated from South Lancaster Academy, South Lancaster, Mass.

At age 21, she married Fred S. Field of Hartwick at the Baptist Church parsonage. She always said she should have known what she was in for when Fred didn’t have the $5 to pay the minister!

Rte. 205 At Hartwick Renamed For Marine Who Died In Vietnam

Rte. 205 At Hartwick

Renamed For Marine

Who Died In Vietnam

Sergeant Winslow

HARTWICK – Route 205 through Hartwick hamlet will be named in honor of Marine Corps Sgt. John Kempe Winslow under legislation signed into law today.

The bill (S.3658/A.6670) sponsored by state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Assemblyman John Salka, R-West Edmeston, pays tribute to the decorated patriot who was killed in action during the Vietnam War in 1969.

The local soldier, a machine gunner, was assigned to Vietnam on Sept. 15, 1968, and died in an accident in Quang Tri Province the following July 30.

Joan E. Fluke, 80; In Later Years, Coloradan Traveled 

IN MEMORIAM: Joan E. Fluke, 80;

In Later Years, Coloradan Traveled 

Joan E. Fluke

HARTWICK – Joan (Joanie) Elizabeth (Thompson) Fluke, 80, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in her home in Hartwick, where she lived with her daughter Karen and family.

She was born on Feb. 18, 1939, in Leesville, La., to Cecil Eugene and Edith May Thompson. She moved to Lamar, Colo., in her early years.  She attended and graduated from Lamar High School in 1957, then attended Lamar Community College.

Take Care Of Yourself – Now; If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late
Letter from R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Take Care Of Yourself – Now;

If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late

To the Editor:

Who in their right mind would want a one-payer healthcare system? That is not the root problem of the healthcare system.

money is not the problem. Americans deserve a free healthcare system.

Where does our ill health come from? Answer that and you know who should pay!

Thanks to Kaiser and Nixon, healthcare was removed from non-profit status to a for-profit system. That means the sicker you are the more money is made. Where is the motivation and incentive for wellness?

Thanks to Carnegie and Rockefeller; due to their desire to create a monopoly with the drug industry we are stuck with allopathic medicine. They figured if they drove out the use of herbs and homeopath (which they could not patent and control) and pushed drugs, they could make huge profits.

Then they went to educational institutions and gained control of the type of medicine that doctors were taught. A monopoly … based on financial gain … not on wellness and quality of life.

It is not about science. Half the world uses other forms of medicine. Some forms of medicine have been used for thousands of years, successfully.

People say how free we are….we are being maimed and killed by what is called “medicine” in this country. It is time that we are treated better. We should not just be income makers for a few who control the healthcare system.

The first step is to take control of your own heath and question your healthcare providers. Demand proof that their treatment plans work.

The best course of action is to take care of yourself now. When you are sick it is hard to sort out and find a solution to your problem while you are in pain and fear.

Hartwick Forrest

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