News of Otsego County

League of Women Voters

Hatred of Asians isn’t new, but support helps

Hatred of Asians isn’t
new, but support helps

Editor’s Note: In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked some of the speakers at the recent rally against violence against people of Asian descent to submit their speeches as columns. The first one submitted came from Bassett researchers and League of Women Voters Co-President Liane Hirabayashi.


Thank you Olivia, and Cate, Riley, Elizabeth, Jaina, Maya and Charlotte for organizing this event.

Today we have the actions of these students and the words of our leaders read earlier as shining examples of how to respond to hate and racism. I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about a different kind of proclamation, the actions that followed, and the consequences of those words and actions.

In 1942, my father Edward was 19, not much older than these students, when he and his family joined 120,000 persons of Japanese descent—more than 72,000 of them American citizens—in being taken away from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated in hastily built concentration camps—the term used by the US government. This was the ultimate result of Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942.

Dad’s brother James was 16, sister Esther was 13, and youngest brother Richard was 11. Can you imagine that? All born in the United States, never been anywhere outside Washington State, where their parents were farmers.

They lost their rights as citizens, in fact, they lost the title of “citizen”— instead they were referred to as “non-aliens.”

Words matter, don’t they? From double-speak words like non-alien comes the justification for preemptively locking up a community because, well, they didn’t have the time to figure out who was loyal and who wasn’t. And yet, they did know.

LWV applauds girls who planned Asian rally


LWV applauds girls
who planned Asian rally

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area would like to applaud Jaina Bischof, Cate Bohler, Charlotte Feury, Riley Fillion, Elizabeth Hughes, Olivia Lowenguth, Maya Pandit, who, with the support of their families and friends, organized the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans on Sunday, May 2, in Cooperstown. These students’ activism is fully aligned with the League of Women Voters’ goal to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy.

Such outstanding civic leadership and teamwork is an inspiration to all of us to commit ourselves to combating racism through character, intelligence, and compassion. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child; in this case it is these teenagers who have raised the Village of Cooperstown to a new level of community engagement with this highly charged issue. With the shining example of these students to light our way, let us continue this important and good work of making Cooperstown, as Dr. Namita Singh put it so well in her speech at the rally, the “all-American village” of this century: one that celebrates our nation’s diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious roots and on these strong foundations remains a thriving, vibrant community.

Liane Hirabayashi
Co-president, Cooperstown Area League of Women Voters

DALTON: Program Instructed Us On Racism


Program Instructed Us On Racism

To the Editor:

One of the joys of living in our part of Upstate New York is the ability to recognize and appreciate some individuals who truly make our world better, and who, in a larger populated area, might go unnoticed.

In this particular case, I would like to thank and congratulate Liane Hirabayashi and Lynne Mebust for the success of the “Looking in the Mirror: Cooperstown Reflects on Racism” programming made possible this year via Zoom and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area and The Friends of the Village Library.

The ability to participate in this important series from the comfort of our homes, and to view at a preferred time through Zoom – all recorded and available through the Village Library website – was a truly brilliant concept.

I am sure that all speakers who shared their expertise so generously would not have been willing to travel on our wintry roads to attend a live event.

Participation was high, technology worked! Our community has a better understanding of racism and now has some tools in our toolbox with which to combat racism here and in the larger world.

Thank you Lianne and Lynne!


LEMONIS: Treat All Writers With Respect

Treat All Writers With Respect

To the Editor:

As a former long-time resident of Otsego County, I still appreciate our community’s hospital workers, responsible gun owners and polite neighbors – even when we don’t always agree.

Unfortunately, these are things Rick Brockway doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate.

I was struck by the angry and personal tone in one of Brockway’s latest rants when he attacked long-serving public health providers, including Mary Ann Whelan, for recognizing that gun violence is a national health issue.

Brockway should realize that he only won his last election by 150 votes. Given the area is Republican leaning and that his family members are well-positioned in the area, this 150-vote win isn’t much to brag about.

Rather than spreading misinformation and inflaming the community he represents with buzz words (illegal immigrants, Nancy Pelosi), he should appreciate the hard work of the doctors, volunteers and members of the local League of Women’s Voters who care for our community.

I hope people remember his ingratitude at the next election.

Vancouver, B.C.

Safety Issues Among Most Hotly Argued


Safety Issues Among

Most Hotly Argued

Buttermann, Cornell, Salka Debate

Libertarian Jacob Cornell, Oneida, upper right, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, lower right, and Democrat Dan Buttermann, Oneonta, jousted for 90 minutes this evening at a League of Women Voters’ forum. (from Zoom)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Where did that question on whether to fund the Catskill Regional Teacher Center come from?

 Two of the 121st District candidates were caught off guard by the first question; Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, had actually toured the place and declared, “Spending on education is one of the most important investments we can make.”  The other two candidates could agree with that.

Beyond that wild card, the three candidates – in addition to Republican Salka, they were Democrat challenger Dan Buttermann, Oneonta, and Libertarian Jacob Cornell – jousted on a range of issues, including three particularly hot ones: supporting law enforcement, bail reform and gun laws.

HENRICI: This Year, How To I Vote Q&A


This Year, 

How Do I Vote?

Editor’s Note: With changes in voting procedures resulting from this year’s coronavirus threat, Maureen Murray and Aviva Schneider of the League of Women Voters, Cooperstown chapter, interview Michael Henrici, Democratic election commission at the county Board of Elections, to help clarify the options.

Q: What should voters know about registration?

The deadline to register is Oct. 9. To check to be sure you’re registered, go to You can also go to that website if you’re not registered for everything you need to register. Or you can call (607) 547-4247 to get a registration form mailed to you.

Q: Do you expect difficulties this fall?

We are doing OK, though strapped for funding. The number of absentee ballots is large, so that should help. We expect more voters to come for early voting. Even though we rarely have trouble with lines at polling places, the 6-foot distance may cause the lines to be physically longer. But the number of Election Day voters is expected to be smaller due to absentee and early voting.

Q: What do you want voters to know about early voting?

That’s an important question this year. Voters who have always gone to their polling place might prefer to vote early.
Early voting will be Oct 24 to Nov. 1 at the Meadows Office Complex, 140 County Highway 33W, Cooperstown. On weekends, when few are at the building, there will be signage and a greeter at the door to direct people who are unfamiliar with the building. (Note: for times, go to

Q: What should voters know about using absentee ballots to ensure their votes are counted?

The most common errors for absentee voters are not signing the envelope and not sending it in on time. Absentee ballots that are not properly completed are not thrown out. The voter is contacted and sent an affidavit for affirming that the ballot belonged to the voter.
The last day to mail an absentee ballot is Election Day. The absentee ballot may be sent through the mail stream or dropped off at any polling place or at the Board of Elections.
Voters should allow 15 days to get their absentee application in this year.

Q: Regarding postage, will mail-in ballots have return postage-paid envelopes?

No, voters will have to place a stamp, as usual.

Q: Do voters who bring absentee ballots to polling places on Election Day have to wait in line, or can they just walk in and drop off their completed ballot?

Voters will be able to drop off ballots at the polls without waiting in line.

Q: Can someone show up at BOE with an application for absentee ballot and get it right then, fill it in and deliver it (in one visit)?

Since Sept. 18, ballots are on hand. If a person selects on the application “deliver to me in person,” then yes, the voter can complete the ballot and submit it all in one visit.

Q: How will the absentee ballots be counted?

In New York State, absentee ballots are always counted after the election. The state Board of Elections must check throughout the state to confirm that the ballot should be counted. A person who has voted absentee may vote in person on Election Day as well.
The in-person vote supersedes the absentee ballot.
They are counted by hand currently, which takes a few days, but we are looking at getting a scanner.
In addition, every household is getting a mailer, with polling place, dates and times for early and election day voting, as well as application directions for absentee voting.

Q: Have there ever been cases of voter fraud in Otsego County?

We don’t see fraud here. More common are mistakes. For example, a husband or wife signs the other one’s envelope. Or people with Power of Attorney sign
the envelope, which they cannot do.

Q: What about barriers for disabled voters?
We believe we have all the tools and assists for anyone with a disability to vote. The state Board of Elections has also made registering to vote accessible to all voters by offering multiple methods for completing a Voter Registration Form. Voters with special needs may also apply for an accessible absentee ballot using the Accessible Absentee Ballot Application with Instructions.
Q: Your website indicates one polling place change in our county due to COVID. Are these now confirmed or might there be more changes?
We feel pretty solid about what is on the website now. A Fox medical facility in Oneonta is no longer available because of COVID and has been replaced with another polling location. If any additional polling places are changed, we will send mailers to all households in the district, as well as publishing the changes.
Q: Please refresh us on affidavit ballots so we can inform our membership and the public.
An affidavit is for persons who haven’t kept their records up to date; for example, if a person moved but didn’t inform the Board of Elections. We will give the person a ballot and the eligibility of the voter will be evaluated before the ballot is counted.
Q: Do you need more poll workers?

We are well staffed. Otsego County poll worker training sessions have had to turn people away. Interested people can only serve as poll workers in their own county.

Questions, email

League Of Women Voters Plans 4 Registration Events

League Of Women Voters

Plans 4 Registration Events

COOPERSTOWN – The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area (LWVCA) is offering several voter registration events between now and Oct. 9, which is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

• Saturday, Sept. 19, noon-7 p.m. at Hartwick Fire House #2, at 4877 Route 28, Hartwick Seminar.

• Tuesday, Sept. 22, noon-6 p.m., at two sites: Freight Wheel Café & Community Workspace, 3097 Route 11, Hartwick hamlet; and in front of Aubuchon Hardware, 129 West Main St., Richfield Springs.

• Saturday, at two sites: Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; and at Hartwick Fire House #2 at 4877 Route 28, Hartwick Seminary, noon to 7 pm.

Tillapaugh, Katz, Endorse Buttermann For Assembly
Debate Held Tonight Over Zoom

Tillapaugh, Katz, Endorse

Buttermann For Assembly


COOPERSTOWN – Ahead of his democratic primary debate against Corey Mosher, Assembly candidate Dan Buttermann has received endorsements from Mayor Jeff Katz and current Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh for the 121st Assembly District seat.

“I’ve known Dan for years,” said Katz. “He’s a great listener, engaged and active, and a thoughtful person. More than that, he’s a good and decent man, exactly the kind of person we need in the Assembly. I fully endorse Dan Buttermann for Assembly in the 121st District.”

Buttermann, Mosher Will Debate Via Zoom

Buttermann, Mosher

Will Debate Next Week


COOPERSTOWN – Democratic Assembly candidates Daniel Buttermann of Oneonta and Corey Mosher of Hamilton will debate via Zoom 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, in an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oneonta and Cooperstown.

The Democratic primary in the 121st District is planned Tuesday, June 23.   The winner will challenge Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield on Nov. 3.

League Of Women Voters To Host Virtual Candidates’ Night

League Of Women Voters Will

Host Virtual Candidates’ Night

COOPERSTOWN – The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown area is inviting the public to submit questions for the school board candidates to answer during the league’s virtual candidates’ forum.

This year, three candidates are running for two seats.  Two incumbents, Timothy Hayes and Gillian Spencer will run for another term.  Denise Hollis is the third candidate.

“In normal times, the league would be organizing a candidates’ forum, but the event cannot happen this year,” the league wrote in a press release.


Empty Bowls Luncheon


BENEFIT LUNCH – Noon – 2 p.m. Support Cooperstown Food Pantry at Empty Bowls Luncheon. Pick a unique bowl by a local potter to enjoy lunch of soup by local chef. Suggested donation $15. Parish Hall, Christ Church, 69 Fair St., Cooperstown. 607-547-2627 or visit

HELICOPTER – 5:30 p.m. Army Reserve & NY Army National Guard collaborate with Cooperstown Graduate Program for military exercise featuring UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters landing at Bassett. Public is welcome to observe, tour once the aircraft are shut down. Please follow direction of military personnel to ensure a safe distance from the aircraft while it is in operation. Landing will be near Bassett Helipad, across from Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown.

Debate Keeps Turning Back To Main Street

Debate Keeps

Turning Back

To Main Street

2 Democrats, GOP Challenger

Joust As 3/18 Elections Near

After a debate that included two questions on coronavirus, the three Village Board candidates this evening collaborated in a PSA, demonstrating an alternative to shaking hands in an era of COVID-19. From left are Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns, Joe Membrino and MacGuire Benton. (Jim Kevln/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

What about CVS? asks Jay Bosley, a Hartwick resident with property in the village. At left are LWV timekeeper Maryann Dietz and Trustee Jim Dean. Behind Bosley are Cindy Hubbell and Anne Blabey.

COOPERSTOWN – It was the bluntest opinion of this evening, on what to do about the former CVS at 100 Main St., the downtown centerpiece now vacant for three years.

“They never should have allowed CVS to leave Main Street,” declared village trustee candidate Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns in response to a question from Jay Bosley, a Hartwick resident who owns property in the village.

The venue was a League of Women Voters’ issue-focused debate in the Village Board meeting room, where Republican challenger Robbins faced two incumbents, Democratic trustees MacGuire Benton and Joe Membrino.  League co-president Liane Hirabayashi moderated.

Voting is noon-9 p.m Wednesday, March 18, at the fire hall.

Candidate Robbins Can Attend Thursday Debate

Candidate Robbins Can

Attend Thursday Debate

League Event 7 p.m. In Village Hall


COOPERSTOWN – Village trustee candidate Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns today said she will be able to attend the League of Women Voters’ debate at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Village Board’s meeting room at 22 Main.

A Republican, she will join the two Democratic candidates, Joe Membrino and MacGuire Benton, sitting trustees who are running for their first full three-year terms.

Robbins, whose first anniversary of a heart transplant was March 3, thought a first-year surgical procedure might prevent her from attending, but she’s been able to work her schedule to allow her to debate.

Posts navigation

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