News of Otsego County

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

Milford NY news

Pinch Yourself! In Age Of Automobile, Steam Power Returns To Cooperstown

Pinch Yourself!

In Age Of Automobile, Steam

Power Returns To Cooperstown

If you hurry, you may get a chance to see a rarity in Cooperstown: A steam engine, now paused across Route 28 from the Price Chopper parking lot. Part of the 150th celebration of the Milford-based Coopertown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, the train is proceeding to the former Glen Avenue crossing in the next few minutes, before returning to the anniversary celebrations in Milford.  Inset, conductor Bruce Hodges, president, the Leatherstocking Railroad Historical Society, chats with Roy Davis, the engine’s owner, who trucked it over from Dunkirk to participate in this weekend’s festivities.  At left is Scott Symans, who accompanied Davis, who said he bought the engine in Virginia and renovated it.  (Jim Kevlin/

Frances Lamb Griffiths, 91; Pioneered Computers; Raised Tiny Donkeys

IN MEMORIAM: Frances Lamb Griffiths, 91;

Pioneered Computers; Raised Tiny Donkeys

Frances Griffiths

MILFORD – Frances Elizabeth Whitman Lamb Griffiths, 91, Town of Maryland, who first used computers locally to track herd and farm expenses at Hemlock Valley Farm here, and was also known for raising miniature donkeys, passed away on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at the Fox Nursing Home, Oneonta, surrounded by family.

Frances was born on January 28, 1928, in East Brooklyn, in northeast Connecticut, the daughter of William Arthur Whitman and Ada Mae (Preston) Whitman. She graduated from Killingly High School, Danielson, Conn., in 1946, and later took courses at the University of Rhode Island, Providence.

Swordsmanship, Laser Tag, Sundaes, Maple Syrup More


Swordsmanship, Laser Tag,

Sundaes, Maple Syrup More

The Village of Milford’s “Welcome Summer” Fair, underway until 5 this afternoon at the village’s Wilber Park, includes BJ The Clown (Barb Field of Mount Upton) crossing swords (that she made herself) with Owyn Hogan of Milford, as mom Dawn and dad Kyle look on. Inset, Sandy Chase of Cooperstown and her granddaughter, Jordyn Scott of Milford, examine where to put their tickets at the basket auction. In addition to sundaes, maple syrup, food and vendors, the fair features a laser tag course that was very popular with attending kids. The fair had been planned for Saturday, but thunderstorms caused organizers to delay it a day. (Jim Kevlin/

Board President Susan Ward Praised For 18 Years Of Service


Board President Susan Ward

Praised For 18 Years Of Service

Susan Ward, who is retiring as president after 18 years on the Milford Central school board, receives an engraved clock from Superintendent of Schools Mark Place at this evening’s commencement exercises for 43 members of the Class of 2019. As is traditional at MCS, graduate Garrett Mertz, inset, present his mother with a bouquet of flowers after receiving his diplomas. So begins a weekend of graduations around Otsego County, including Oneonta at 10:45 Saturday and Cooperstown Central at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.  (Jim Kevlin/

At Covenant Service, Congregation Opens Door To New Chapter


At Covenant Service,

Congregation Opens

Door On New Chapter

The Milford Methodist Church Building Committee gathers this evening after a Covenant Service, where the congregation recommitted itself to a new chapter in the local church’s 150-year history.   Front row, from left, are Al Dubreuil, Emily Mattison-Welsh, Pastor Sylvia Barrett, Lola Rathbone, committee chair, Tom Rathbone and Sandy Andrews; top row, from left, state Sen. Jim Seward, Bill Triolo, Russell Freer and David Meade.  Inset, Pastor Sylvia, assisted by Meade, gives communion to 80 congregants, including Miranda Cotten.  An open house for the community is 3-6 p.m. Saturday (June 8), with the Dedication and Confirmation Service at 10:45 Sunday (June 9).  The new church on Route 28, just north of Milford, replaces one that burned Sunday, March 12, 2017.  (Jim Kevlin/

Open House 3-5 Friday As Milford Congregation Moves Into New Church

Open House 3-5 Friday

As Milford Congregation

Moves Into New Church

MILFORD – Drivers on Route 28 have been watching a new Milford Methodist Church rising for the past year after its 1930 predecessor burned on March 12, 2017.

It’s now complete, and the public is invited to an open house 3-5 p.m. Saturday, June 8, to tour the new building.

The first service in the church will be at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, June 9.

First Service Announced In New Methodist Church


First Service Set June 9

In New Methodist Church

Via this banner unfurled today, Milford Methodists announced their first service in the brand new church on Route 28 on the north end of the village for 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 9, Pentecost.  Pastor Sylvia Barrett will preach, and District Superintendent Everett Bassett, will confirm three young parishioners in the faith.  A community open house, with tours of the building, is planned 3-6 p.m. Saturday, June 8. County Methodist congregations have been invited to a special service Sunday, June 23, where D.S. Bassett will preach.  The former 1930 church, located next to the new one, burned in an arson fire Sunday, March 12, 2017.
Son Returns, Succeeds Mother, MCS Mainstay

Son Returns, Succeeds

Mother, MCS Mainstay

That’s On School Board. Will, Susan Ward

Also Plan Joint Venture On Brewery, Catering

Susan Ward, who is retiring from the Milford school board after 18 years, holds up a poster of her son Will, who won a five-way race to succeed her in the Tuesday, May 21, elections. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

MILFORD – A Milford family dynasty is born, in both politics and business.

In the political sphere, Susan Ward is retiring 18 years on the Milford Central school board, the past eight as the board’s president.

Tuesday, May 21, her son Will, 22, won the seat in a five-way race three days after he graduated from Skidmore College with a BA in political science, becoming the youngest person in the county elected to a school board.

At the same time, Susan was passing her political torch to Will, the two were starting a new family business, the Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company, LLC.

Up From The Ashes2 Years After Fire, Milford Methodist Anticipating ‘Starkly Beautiful’ Church

Up From The Ashes

2 Years After Fire, Milford Methodist

Anticipating ‘Starkly Beautiful’ Church

Doug Hallberg, the Oneonta stained-glass designer, installs the “Christ at Gethsemane” window in the new Milford Methodist Church. The window was salvaged from the church that burned on March 12, 2017.  (Ian Austin/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs, 3:5-6

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Lola Rathbone, who chaired Milford Methodist Church’s building committee, is flanked by Pastor Sylvia Barrett and Rathbone’s husband Tom, who volunteered as clerk of the works on the job.  (Jim Kevlin/

MILFORD – It was about 4 a.m. on March 13, 2013.

The 1930 Milford Methodist Church had burned down the night before in a raging fire that was seen for miles, and tearful and forlorn congregation members gathered in Bob and Glenda Moore’s kitchen on East Main Street.

“What are we going to do?” asked Pam Dubreuil, the Moores’ daughter, an aide at Milford Central School.  Her dad, the retired town justice, chaired the church’s Board of Trustees.

“We just have to build another church,” said Pastor Sylvia Barrett, who had been with the congregation since 2013.

Two years and three months later, that’s almost been accomplished.

Pending a final building inspection and Certificate of Occupancy, the congregation will soon be worshiping in a modern building, accommodating 95 in the sanctuary (with room in the narthex for another 44), with in-floor radiant heating, wooden beams (non-weight-bearing), and a skylight above the altar.

Stained-Glass Window Back In Place Of Honor

Stained-Glass Window

Back In Place Of Honor

‘Christ At Gethsemane’ Rescued After

Raging Fire Destroyed Milford Church

Pastor Sylvia Barrett surveys the nearly complete sanctuary – “starkly beautiful,” as Methodism’s founder John Wesley preferred – inside the new Milford Methodist Church this morning as stained-glass restorer Doug Hallberg of Oneonta reinstalls “Christ at Gethsemane,” which was almost destroyed Sunday, March 12, 2017, when the 1929 landmark on Route 28 was destroyed in an arson fire.  Construction began on the new church last September, and it has become a new landmark, much remarked-upon by the thousands of drivers that passed it daily.  Finishing touches are being done on the modern structure, which, pending final code approvals, is due to open soon.  (Ian Austin/


Goodyear Lake Trailer Charred


Goodyear Lake

Trailer Charred

A trailer home was heavily was destroyed, in a fire that broke out around 5:45pm at 920 Shady Acres, the mobile home park in Silliman Cove, Goodyear Lake. Above, Crews were on the scene within 7 minutes of the 911 call coming it. At right, Cooperstown firefighters Joel Bostwick and Billy Smith pry off roofing searching for straggling flames.The officer in charge, Milford Fire Chief Don Eckler, said “The fire was rolling out of the trailer pretty well when we arrived.” with he arrived with the first engine. With three hoses, Porta-Ponds and tanker relays, the fire was extinguished fairly quickly, he said. No one was in the home at the time the fire started, and only one injury was reported: a firefighter cut his hand trying to get inside. Eckler said the home belonged to an elderly couple who had left around 12:30pm. He didn’t know the name of the residents. Firemen from Oneonta, Cooperstown, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Schenevus and Mount Vision helped their Milford colleagues, with Fly Creek and Davenport crews on standby. The home was deemed uninhabitable and The Red Cross was notified and will be providing assistance. (Ian Austin/

Relay For Life Rebounds Under Sunny Milford Skies

Relay For Life Rebounds

Under Sunny Milford Skies

At times cheerful, at times tearful, the annual Otsego County Relay for Life is underway at this hour in Milford’s Wilber Park, after guests speakers shared inspirational stories, and Heather Henderson of Schenevus, in particular, gave a rousing call to fight the scourge that has taken so many loved ones from among us.  In top photo, leading off survivors on the first circuit of the track, Henderson, left, holds up the banner, joined by Tracy Baker, Cherry Valley; Art Boden, Cooperstown, and Laura Emmett, Oneonta.  Inset left, Otsego County’s freshman Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, shares the story of his daughter, Emmy, who developed brain cancer and passed away in 2015 at age 22.  Inset right, mom Elaine Kellogg marches with her daughter, cancer fighter Laurene Gage.  The ladies, from Burlington Flats, wave at cheering passersby when family members  joined survivors in the second loop.  The American Legion Riders and the Elite Dance Academy, both from Oneonta, participated in this afternoon activities.   The Relay continued until 10 p.m.  (Jim Kevlin/

Donna Jean Mullinex, 65;’ Community Mom’ To Family, Many Friends

IN MEMORIAM: Donna Jean Mullinex, 65;

‘Community Mom’ To Family, Many Friends

Donna Jean Mullinex

MILFORD – Donna Jean Mullinex, 65, “community mom” to her loved ones, passed away at 9:32 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2019.

Born Feb. 4, 1954, Donna was a 1973 graduate of Livingston Manor High School. Soon to become a wife and loving mother, she moved to the Oneonta area and worked for many years at Kmart, but to Donna the most satisfying work was just being the forever “community mom.”  The many birthday parties, barbecues and family get togethers she hosted were always fun, well attended and full of love.  She would run herself ragged making all of us feel welcome in her home.

Relay For Life’s Message: You Have Lots Of Friends
Annual Walk Saturday In Milford

Relay For Life’s Message:

You Have Lots Of Friends

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Laura Emmett has gained strength from Relays for Life, and plans to be walking again Saturday in Milford. (Jennifer Hill/

MILFORD – For two-time cancer survivor Laura Emmett, the outpouring of support she experiences at the annual Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society fundraiser, fills her with hope.

“When you’re walking the laps of the Relay’s Survivor Walk and the crowd is cheering you on, it’s just incredible,” she said, looking forward this year’s, 4-10 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Milford’s Wilber Park.  “It brings tears to my eyes.”

The value of that support cannot be measured, Emmett said. She discovered that in 2012 after her first cancer diagnosis, “Stage Zero” of breast cancer and could not find a cancer support group in Otsego County.

After Emmett underwent treatment for it in early 2013 – a double mastectomy and full hysterectomy to prevent future occurrences of cancer – she and a friend, a fellow survivor, decided to start their own support group.

Under New Milford Plan, Landlords Must Live In Shortterm Rental Houses

Under New Milford Plan,

Landlords Must Live In

Shortterm Rental Houses

To the Editor:

After almost two years of collecting data and receiving input from Village of Milford residents, the Village Planning/Zoning Board presented an updated version of the village’s Comprehensive Plan to the Village Board to be voted on.

Mayor Pokorny

The proposed plan was adopted on April 1, and the Village Board voted 3-0 in favor of the changes.  In addition to the comprehensive plan being updated, the village zoning laws were updated to reflect the changes in the comp plan. Once the vote was taken, the moratorium on accepting short-term rental applications was officially over.

The plan addresses many aspects of our community and gives community leaders a blueprint moving forward.  As data was being collected it was obvious that “short-term rentals” was the topic most village residents wanted to be addressed.

Some residents were in favor and some were not, and village officials worked diligently to find the middle ground.  The goal was to encourage economic growth while maintaining harmony in our village neighborhoods.

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