News of Otsego County


Proposed City Law Would Seek Distancing, Masks Everywhere

Proposed City Law Would Seek

Distancing, Masks Everywhere

ONEONTA – Common Council will consider mandating social distancing and/or wearing of masks in “all public and private indoor and outdoor locations” when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.

The new chapter to the city code, entitled “Mask and Face Coverings,” appears to require social distancing or, if that’s not possible, masks everywhere in the city, private and public places.

The Oneonta Town Board passed a mask ordinance only last Wednesday by a 3-2 vote.

Cooperstown Has One Case, Mayor Reports



Has One Case,

Mayor Reports

Officer Walking Main Street

To Ensure Masks Are Worn

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Mayor tillapaugh

COOPERSTOWN – With one report of coronavirus in the village, complaints about people not wearing masks and lenience in places of business, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch has called a special meeting of the Village Board at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

There, she will be seeking trustee approval of a FAQ (frequently asked questions) to be posted on the village and tourist-related websites emphasizing Village Hall’s stance on the coronavirus: “We strongly support and always promote public safety and social distancing.”  The FAQs would also include the list of 22 states from which visitors are required to be quarantined for two weeks.

Today, she said, one of the village police officers was assigned to walk Main Street and visit local businesses to ensure people are wearing masks.  Another officer will do so Sunday, and the patrols will continue during the week, she said.

Bassett: We Cannot Turn Away Patients Who Refuse To Wear Masks

Bassett Can’t Turn Away

Patients Without Masks

All Must Be Treated, But Visitors,

Staff, All Others Must Don Them

COOPERSTOWN – Though all employees, visitors and vendors are required to wear a mask in Bassett Healthcare facilities, the hospital confirmed that no patient will be denied treatment for refusing to wear a mask.

“It is still the exception that anyone coming to the hospital or clinics refuses to wear a mask,” said Karen Huxtable-Hooker, public relations director. “But Bassett cannot turn away patients who refuse to wear a mask. We must provide treatment and care to all.”

Hand Sanitizer, Masks Available For Farmers

Hand Sanitizer, Masks

Available For Farmers


ONEONTA – Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering free hand sanitizer and face masks to farmers through a partnership with the New York State Dept. of Ag, and Markets.

“Hand sanitizer and face coverings are available for farms and agribusinesses to help ensure a clean, safe local food system this season,” says David Cox, Ag Program Leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties. “We have ample quantities to handle the anticipated needs for the farm community, but registration is required to ensure a smooth distribution.”

Masks – Necessity Or Fashion Statement?

Masks – Necessity…?

Or Fashion Statement?

Elizabeth Raphelson models one of the leopard-print masks she has for sale at her Underground Attic shop in Oneonta. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

If you must wear a mask, it might as well express your personality, as is happening in Oneonta, Cooperstown and places in between.

“I have made masks from fabric with emojis, Care Bears, My Little Pony and patriotic prints, and I just ordered some baseball fabric,” said Sarah Vandomelen, a supervisor at the Cooperstown Price Chopper.

She started by making a few masks for her co-workers at Price Chopper, but when more were needed, the store bought 95 of them to distribute. “I saw people needed masks and I thought, I’ve got fabric, I’ve got elastic, I might as well use it!”

On Friday, April 17, Governor Cuomo ordered all New York residents to wear masks in public. With disposable masks in short supply, many turned to making or buying washable fabric masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Since Vandomelen started, she’s made over 200 masks, which she has distributed to customers and friends. “One of my co-workers sent some to her sister in the city,” she said. “If people come up to me and I have them, I’ll give them one.”

Other people, like David Marvel, Oneonta, use masks to mark special occasions that might otherwise go uncelebrated.

“My birthday is on Cinco de Mayo,” he said of the fiesta-themed mask his mother, Laura Davis, made for him. “This is the first year I won’t be able to go to Fiesta for my birthday dinner,” referring to the restaurant in Clinton Plaza.

For those who aren’t as handy with a needle and thread – or want to support local business – stores are working to keep up with the demand.

“I wanted a fun printed mask for myself,” said Elizabeth Raphelson, proprietor of Underground Attic in downtown Oneonta. “And I wanted to support other small businesses.”

Enter Facemasks L.A., now on sale on her Underground Attic website.

The masks are machine washable and come with 10 disposable filters. Most popular are the blue bandana print – Raphelson said they sold out first.

But the masks also come in a red bandana and, for all the cool cats and kittens out there, a saucy leopard print.

“We’re restocking this week, and I’ve got a floral and a cool geometric print coming in too,” she said.
The masks, for sale on her website, are also a way for her to help out her fellow small business owners. “I wanted to find a way to donate to the Wise Guys Sammy’s Pay it Forward fund,” she said. “With these masks, 20 percent of each purchase is donated to them.”

In Cooperstown, Lori Fink had already stocked her Tin Bin Alley with fashionable face coverings before the pandemic. “We’ve been carrying Boho Bandeaus for a while,” she said. “You can use them as a headband, or a scarf – and they’re perfect for use as a mask!”

The stock sold out quickly, and Fink ordered more, setting up a “sidewalk sale” with a discounted price.
“They sold out in 20 minutes,” she said.

Spartan Carry proprietor Doug Reilly, Oneonta, saw the need for masks as a way to help bolster his fellow fabric workers who were out of work.

“We mostly do tool bags, but when COVID-19 hit, I switched to making masks,” he said. “And when the CDC recommended everyone wear masks, the demand was so high that I looked for local seamstresses to help me out.”

Church Sewing Group Making Masks For Bassett

Church Sewing Group

Making Masks For Bassett

Michealle Cole, a second grade teacher at CCS, shared this photo, of the 36 face masks she made to take to Bassett Hospital, on her Facebook page.

FLY CREEK – With many of her fellow Fly Creek United Methodist Church quilters stuck inside under COVID-19 precautions, Pastor Sharon Rankins-Burd has found a way to keep sewing – and help the community.

“We became aware that there was a need at Bassett Hospital for masks,” she said. “Someone found a pattern online, and apparently, a lot of people are making these.”

While the masks are not full protection against COVID-19, they will help health care workers at Bassett reduce the risk.

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