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

Milford Farmers’ Market Open For Third Season


Milford Farmers’ Market

Open For Third Season

This summer, don’t forget the OTHER farmers’ market – Milford’s, from 10 to 2 each Sunday  off Route 28 at the north end of the village. Today, Kelly Morrissey, Goodyear Lake, at right in top photo, expresses satisfaction at the gluten-free cookies offered by Becca Hopkins, left, and her husband Vince, of Worcester. (Friend Oscar Carpenter, right, is visiting from the Albany area.) Morrissey recommends the Whoopie Pies and Raspberry Crunch varieties. Inset, right, Ralph Morse of Cooperstown Maple Works, discusses tables he’s been making, that follow the natural contours of wood trucks, with Elizabeth Matter of Milford and son Justin. Now in its third season, Manager Sabine Curry (the former village mayor) said the market has grown steadily, and with a couple of more vendors, the layout will have to be expanded from two to three rows. (Jim Kevlin/

Symbol Of Endurance Buoys Milford Church


Symbol Of Endurance

Buoys Milford Church

Al Bullard, who restored the Milford Methodist Church’s Baptismal font, damaged when church burned in 2017, examines his handiwork.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.COM)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

MILFORD – Three years ago, shortly after the Milford Methodist Church burned down, two members of the congregation, Al Bullard and Bill Triolo, were standing across Route 28 watching a crew of Peruvians from Rohlf’s Stained & Leaded Glass, Mount Vernon, removed “Christ in Gethsemane” and other windows from the ruins.

Rev. Robert Austin donated the Baptismal font in 1930, after a 1929 fire destroyed the Milford church.

As Bullard remembers it, Triolo, now chairman of church trustees, suggested, “Let’s go over and ask them for help.”

Soon, the amiable crew was loading two wooden flower stands, the Communion table, the pulpit and the Baptismal font into Bullard’s red pickup truck.

“I’m sorry we didn’t get the communion rail,” he added.

The church furnishings ended up in Bullard’s garage on Eddie Martin Road, except for the pulpit, which organist Ron Johnson stored in his garage in Pierstown, and is now in the Milford Community Center on East Main Street.

“The wood was alright,” said Bullard, an antiques and hops expert who is also pastor at the Colliersville and Emmons Methodist churches, “but it was black from soot and water damage.”

He added, “You can’t go wrong with quarter-sawn oak of the finest quality.”

By the time the new church opened last summer, Bullard – assisted by David Elliott, Milford – had restored the Communion table, inscribed across the front with “Do This In Memory Of Me.”

This past Sunday, however, when church members tuned into Pastor Sylvia Barrett’s 10 a.m. service on YouTube, which has become a staple since the coronavirus threat required in-person Sunday services to be cancelled, they were greeted by a surprise.

The Baptismal font and flower stands were back in place.  (The pulpit, considered out of scale in the smaller church, may be restored and displayed as an artifact in the new lobby.)

Among delighted church members was Becky Mattison, Oneonta, who had been alerted the day before by her daughter, Emily Mattison-Welsh.  Both Emily, now 37, and son Shawn, 41, were baptized at the font.

The mother called it “an old friend.”

Bullard has been refinishing furniture since a teenager in the Philadelphia suburb of Morton, Pa., where his father was an antiques dealer.  “I like bringing things back,” he said.

The bowl is Depression glass, created between 1930 and 1939 by the Jeannette Glass Co. in western Pennsylvania.  In the space beneath the bowl, Bullard found instructions on how to space the pews in the old church.

He scrutinized the brass plaque on the blond wood: It was donated by the pastor at the time, the Rev. Robert E. Austin, and his wife.

Looking at records back at the parsonage, Pastor Sylvia discovered another surprise: Rev. Austin was pastor in 1929, when an earlier church had also burned down.

He donated the Baptismal font at the ceremony dedication the new church in March 1930, 87 years before the replacement church burned.

Bullard has a personal connection to artifacts salvaged from the 2017 fire: One of the smaller restored windows behind the Communion table was dedicated to Grace Martin, a relative of his wife Sandra.

Raised a Presbyterian, he came to Otsego County in 1966 to attend the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum studies, met his future wife and stayed, becoming a Methodist.

“It’s nice to have something from the old church in the new church,” he said.  “For continuity.”

2 Days After Smokey Fire, Garage Repairs Underway

2 Days After Smokey Fire,

Garage Repairs Underway

Family, Friends Aim To Reopen Neighbour’s

Drive by Neighbour’s Service Center on Route 28, Village of Milford, anytime today, and you’ll see a crew of family and friends working on getting  Antonino Triarsi’s business back in business.  In top photo, Triarsi points out where the attachment from the oil heater, at left, slipped out of the pottery chimney pipe, in wall at right, and set the wall on fire.  With Milford, Cooperstown and other fire departments responding, Saturday’s fire was largely confined to the furnace room.  The front office needs some cleanup, but that’s about it.  Triarsi, 32, a Bloomville native who’s been running the repair shop since February 2019, expects to be open again in the next couple of days.  In addition to cars, he repairs lawnmowers, tractors, you name it, and is already taking reservations (at 607-441-8044). Helping with repairs, inset photo, are, from left, friend Jodie Currie Jr., brother Emanuele Triarsi, dad Antonino Jr., and Fred Waters, who’s been associated with the building since the 1960s, when he began working for Art Kiser.  The owner is at right.  (Click image for full size.)  In the background, you can see the framing of the new roof, in place by noon today.  (Jim Kevlin/

Cindy Seward En Route To Bring Husband Home

Cindy Seward En Route

To Bring Husband Home

Senator Jim and Cindy Seward.

MILFORD – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, may be back in his Milford home by today’s end.

His wife, Cindy, posted this afternoon on the Milford Community Facebook page: “I am on my way to pick Jim up!! And he does not require oxygen!!”

The senator came down with the coranavirus in late March and has been in Albany Medical Center for the past two weeks, the last week recuperating from treatment on a ventilator in the hospital’s ICU unit.

Senator ‘Slightly Improved,’ But ‘Next Few Days Crucial’


Senator ‘Slightly Improved,’

But ‘Next Few Days Crucial’

Senator Jim and Cindy Seward.

MILFORD – “The next few days are crucial” for state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who has “slightly improved” since being placed in a medically induced coma Thursday morning at Albany Medical Center, his wife Cindy told the Milford community in a Facebook post this afternoon.

She said the briefing was prompted by “all of our friends in our Milford community who have reached out with care, concern, and love, (about) my husband’s and my status.”


IBM Includes County Among Tech Pioneers

IBM Includes

County Among

Tech Pioneers

Internationally Distributed Release

Quotes Tech Director Brian Pokorny

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Brian Pokorny

COOPERSTOWN – When  computer behemoth IBM issued an internationally distributed press release yesterday on its “Watson Assistant For Citizens” tool for ensuring citizens get the information they need during the coronavirus threat, it listed Otsego County among its pioneering customers.

“The AI solution from IBM will be a great resource for the county’s residents and will help alleviate call-center volume to allow county employees to dedicate efforts elsewhere,” IBM quoted Brian Pokorny, the county’s director of Information Technology, as saying.

Lola Rathbone, Otesaga Will Be Honored At 20th Epicurean Fest

Lola Rathbone, Otesaga Will Be

Honored At 20th Epicurean Fest

Lola Rathbone

COOPERSTOWN – Helios Care will honor Lola Rathbone of Milford, former president/CEO of its predecessor, Catskill Area Hospice, and The Otesaga at its 20th annual Epicurean Food & Wine Tasting, planned 3-6 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at The Otesaga.

The event is open to the public and will benefit nonprofit Helios Care, the leading provider in palliative and hospice care and grief counseling locally.

Avery Leonard, Team Cheered On Returning From NY Championship


Avery Leonard, Team

Cheered On Returning

From NY Championship

Standout grappler Avery Leonard of Milford, along with members of the Cooperstown-Milford Team that wrestled in the NYSHSAA State Wrestling Championships over the weekend at the Times Union Center in Albany, wave to a crowd along Main Street, Cooperstown, from atop the village’s ladder truck on their return at noon today.  From right are Tyler Wilfeard, Lowell Wilsey, Logan Doucas, Logan Kantor, Leonard and TJ O’Connor. Wrestling in the 120-pound category, Leonard pinned his first three opponents, bowing in the finals to Honeoye Falls-Lima’s Anthony Noto, who also won that category last year.  Inset, cheering fans included, from left, CCS Swim Teach Coach Cheryl Rock, CCS school board member Marcy Birch and her husband Bob, the local lawyer, and CCS Athletic Director Dave Bertram. (Jim Kevlin/

Barbara A. Neff, 85; 4 Children Survive Arnold’s Lake Woman

IN MEMORIAM: Barbara A. Neff, 85;

4 Children Survive Arnold’s Lake Woman

MILFORD – Barbara A. Neff, 85, of Arnold’s Lake, passed away on Sunday Feb. 2, 2020, following a long period of declining health.

Born Oct. 6, 1934, she was the daughter of Lloyd and Lillian (Moffatt) Berner. She was raised on the family farm on Berner Hill Road. She attended Milford Central School, having graduated in the Class of 1952.  As a young girl she participated in Girl Scouts and was a proud Milford High School cheerleader.

‘Pine Apple’ Cheese Gives Milford Bragging Rights

‘Pine Apple’ Cheese Gives

Milford Bragging Rights

Unique Delicacy Heralded Far, Wide

Oscar Weatherly examines 18-ounce Pine Apple Cheese “large gems” in 1905 in the shellac room of his Milford cheese-making plant. (Photo courtesy Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Local historian Jim Havener examines two models of Milford’s once-famous Pine Apple Cheese displayed at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center. (Ian Austin/

MILFORD – On the Town of Milford website lies one line of historical mystery: “Home of the Once Famous Pine Apple Cheese.”

Not pineapple-flavored cheese. Not cottage cheese with pineapple.

Pine Apple Cheese.

“Pine Apple Cheese was an aged, mild cheddar that was wrapped in a crocheted bag and sprayed with an orange shellac,” said Jim Havener, a Milford historian.  “But when you unwrapped it, it looked just like a pineapple.”

In addition to running the Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta, Havener travels the state collecting images for The Farmers’ Museum’s Ploughline photo collection.

“In over 20,000 images, this is the only really distinctive cheese factory I’ve come across,” he said.

In 1903, businessman Oscar Weatherly and his son-in-law, Stuart Haight, purchased the building between the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad and what is now the Cooperstown Brewing Company, and dubbed it the Haight Cheese Company.

“It was already a butter factory owned by David Wilber,” Havener said. “So not only was he very involved in establishing banking and funding for these projects, he was also instrumental in building the railroad that they used.”

The “Pine Apple Cheese” factory stood between the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley RR depot and today’s Cooperstown Brewing Co. It burned in 1950.

It was a community effort. In addition to employing the men of Milford in the factory, Weatherly and Haight used the railroad next door to bring in milk from the local dairy farmers.

And they hired women to crochet the bags that gave the cheese its distinctive pineapple-patterned look before the railroad was then used to ship the cheeses to market.

“It was really a community-based business,” said Havener. “It was the heyday of dairy, so farmers would bring their milk to be processed, and I imagine a woman could knit a couple dozen bags a day,”

And she would have to.  At its peak, the plant produced 500 cheeses a day, in sizes ranging from “Little Gem” to the 18-ounce “Large Gem” to “Family Sized,” but all of them were labelled “fancy.”

Two of those bags – wrapped around prop cheeses – are on display at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center, home of the Milford Historical Society, along with interior and exterior photos of the plant.

Word of the “Princess of Cheeses,” as it was called, spread. One 1907 photo shows a room of more than 100 hanging cheeses ready for shipping. “This is only a few of the cheese,” the caption says, “but you get the idea of it.”

“Milford soldiers stationed overseas in World War I reported that they would open their rations and find a Pine Apple Cheese,” said Havener. “How it got to the trenches of France is a really interesting aspect to the story.”

In addition to the Pine Apple Cheese, Haight also made cream cheese, Neufchatel and American cheese, as well as selling “grated cheese in bottles,” according to one advertisement.

A fire burned the factory in 1922, but it was soon rebuilt, and remained in operation until 1950. “It was a family-run business,” said Havener. “The Weatherlys were becoming elderly, and they couldn’t find anyone to run the business.”

The building was demolished sometime later. “It wasn’t here when I arrived in 1980,” said Havener.

But as he crosses the state looking for photographs of rural life, he still finds new photos of Milford’s cheese-making heyday.

“I’ve found a couple pictures of the Haight Pine Apple Cheese company,” he said. “There were hundreds of cheese factories across New York, but none like the Pine Apple Cheese.”

Alice A. Pier, 89; NYC Native Moved Here As Teenager

IN MEMORIAM: Alice A. Pier, 89;

NYC Native Moved Here As Teenager

Alice A. Pier

MILFORD — Alice A. Pier, 89, a New York City native who lived in Otsego County since her teenage years, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.

Alice was born on March 12, 1930, in New York City, the daughter of Michael and Marian Padula.

In her teenage years, Alice moved to the Schenevus area and was primarily an Otsego County resident thereafter (Hartwick and Milford).

Josephine Graham, 88; Worked At Smalley’s, Newberry’s, More

IN MEMORIAM: Josephine Graham, 88;

Worked At Smalley’s, Newberry’s, More

MILFORD — Josephine A. Graham, 88, of Division Street, Milford, who worked at Smalley’s Theatre, the original Newberry’s and other Cooperstown retail landmarks, passed away on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, at Bassett Hospital.

Born on Sept. 30, 1931, in Cooperstown, she was the daughter of Robert J. and Claudine (Smith) Wilber.

She attended the one-room schoolhouse in Bowerstown. After sixth grade she “graduated” to Cooperstown Central School.

Lawrence P. Curry Jr., 79; From Long Island, Built Second Career Here

IN MEMORIAM: Lawrence P. Curry Jr., 79;

From Long Island, Built Second Career Here

Lawrence Paul Curry Jr.

MILFORD – The memorial service was Sunday for Lawrence (Larry) Paul Curry, 79, of Milford, who lost his courageous battle against cancer on July 31, 2019. He passed peacefully at his home in the arms of his beloved “partner-in-crime” Sabine Curry.

Larry was born on July 9, 1940, in East Meadow, Long Island, and was raised in Babylon. As a young man, he lived in Bohemia and West Sayville where he worked for Suffolk County DPW for 25 years. During his time on The Island, you could always find him on the water. He was a clammer, a fisherman, and finally, the owner of Larry’s Boat Transport.

Milford’s ‘Cars In The Park’ Attracts 74 Vintage Vehicles

Milford’s ‘Cars In The Park’

Attracts 74 Vintage Vehicles

A mannequin dressed as a child appears to be admiring the 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air owned by Kathy Becker of Franklin during yesterday’s Cars In The Park event at Milford’s Wilber Park. The annual Milford Fire Department fundraiser featured 74 cars lining the outfield and music by J&D Entertainment, plus several trophies, including Brian Pokorny’s “Mayor’s Cup.” (Cheryl Clough/
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