News of Otsego County


People & Businesses in the News: 03-09-23


March 9, 2023

Five immigrants now living in the area—Al Amendolare (Frankfort), Natalia McPherson (Index), Paula Rudloff (Cooperstown), Emelia Williams (Index), and Cristina Hansen Ruiz (Cooperstown)—shared their personal experiences of adjusting to life in the United States during a panel discussion held on Sunday, January 22 at the Village Library of Cooperstown. The panelists, hailing from various countries, spoke about the cultural differences they faced, as well as the struggles with racism and discrimination some of them encountered. They also provided insight into the challenges they and their ancestors faced in getting established in this country. Despite these difficulties, the panelists expressed gratitude for the welcoming and helpful community they have found. Panelists also took questions and comments from the audience. This event, part of the Sunday Speaker Series, was presented by The Friends of the Village Library. Photo by Alex Torres

Bank Branches To Close Soon

Bank Branches To Close Soon

Milford, Schenevus on Chopping Block

The Milford and Schenevus branches of Community Bank NA will permanently close their doors on Friday, April 28, the organization announced. The decision came due to a recognition that “branch business has slowed,” according to Sarah Doud, the bank’s public relations representative.

“This is not a decision we make lightly,” said Doud. “We need to continue to serve the people of Schenevus and Milford through nearby locations and through our online and mobile services.”

In Memoriam David W. Thorn, 84 December 19, 1938 – January 6, 2023
In Memoriam

David W. Thorn, 84

December 19, 1938 – January 6, 2023

MILFORD—David W. Thorn died on January 6, 2023. He was born on December 19, 1938 in Cooperstown, New York. He was predeceased by his three brothers, Richard, Donald, and Dean, and his sister, Joyce.

After graduating from Milford Central School, Mr. Thorn received his BS and MS degrees in Education from SUNY Oneonta. Additional graduate study from Syracuse University led to certification to work with children having special needs. His certification in School Administration and Business came from SUNY Plattsburgh. Additional study was done at Ithaca College and Utica College.

Apple of Our Eye

Apple of Our Eye

Photo by Tara Barnwell

ONEONTA—The former Friendly’s building in Oneonta will now become an Apple Express. Paul Singh, owner of Apple Food and Grocery and Apple Inn and Suites in Milford, is no longer involved in the Oneonta project. “We are on to bigger and better things and looking forward to the future,” Singh said.

Retired Local Navy Pilot Makes Return Trip to Tailhook

Retired Local Navy Pilot
Makes Return Trip to Tailhook

By Tara Barnwell
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan two-place advanced trainer was the classroom for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II. (Photo by Dave Rees)

In 1991, the infamous Tailhook convention scandal took place.

“There was some harassment of female pilots at that convention in Las Vegas,” said Dave Rees, Milford resident, business owner and former Navy pilot. “The whole thing got turned upside down. A lot of people didn’t get promoted because of that convention. I was not in attendance at the time.”

Since then, things have changed for the better at the Tailhook Symposium, and Rees recently returned from Reno, NV, where he attended the convention that celebrated the 100th anniversary of aircraft carrier aviation and reunited former Marine and Navy fliers.

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful

Editorial: March 31, 2022

In the beautiful 1979 movie “Being There,” Peter Sellers portrays a gentle and illiterate gardener who implausibly becomes a national sensation in a world gone wrong amid deep recession and winter malaise. A talk show host asks him for his outlook on the nation’s economic future. He pauses for a moment and says, “In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”

Spring is coming. Amid worldwide havoc, and thanks to the generosity of the good people of Otsego County, there are reasons to be cheerful. Look no further than the outpouring of local support for the people of Ukraine.

The Rusty Bison ran out of spaghetti and meatballs at its March 23 pay-what-you-will event and raised more than $5,000 to send directly to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees with clothes, food, shelter, and finding jobs; the restaurant owners look to raise more on April 1 at 6 p.m. with an Open Mic and Dance Party at The Telegraph School in Cherry Valley.

Students in Edmeston Central School raided their piggy banks to raise nearly $4,000 to partner with the Village’s Rotary Club to support Ukraine.

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raised more than $10,000 – double its goal – on behalf of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a group with “boots on the ground” in Ukraine and Poland. SQSPCA’a indefatigable Stacie Haynes said “people are risking their lives right now to ensure animals left in shelters are cared for and pets are transported with families to safety.” So important.

Ukraine’s flag flies over Village Hall in Cooperstown and the Village welcomed Aliona Yezhova and her son to raise awareness; Ms. Yezhova continues her efforts to raise donations of money and goods to send home to help her fellow Ukrainians.

Your generosity goes beyond help for Ukraine, of course — we note, for example, the students at Milford Central also emptied their pockets in a change challenge to raise money for Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans; the Leatherstocking Credit Union waived its coin-counter fees to the Milford and Edmeston schools to maximize the students’ contributions. Lenten food drives. The Lions’ Club teaming up with Otsego 2000 to help connect people to fresh food at the Farmers’ Market in Cooperstown.

The danger inherent to publishing a list like that is that we’re bound to omit the good works of other people and groups who are working just as fervently, so — we apologize in advance for not naming all of you but are just as grateful for your ongoing selflessness.

Otsego County’s traditions of local, regional, and international philanthropy take root in Edward Clark’s deep devotion to the region that continues today through the Scriven and Clark foundations. We’re rooted, too, in our own devotion to the fundamental threads that make every village, town, and city unique yet united.

Spring is coming. Major League Baseball ended its lockout and Opening Day is here. The covers are just about to come off the parking meters. Pretty soon, we’ll all be sweeping the pollen off our windshields instead of scraping off the ice.

In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

Oberacker, Molinaro, Tague tout gas tax break

Oberacker, Molinaro, Tague tout gas tax break as small biz economic relief

From left to right — Malkit Singh, Tony Singh, Inderjit Singh, Paul Singh, Monty Singh, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro,

Gurdev Singh, Assemblyman Chris Tague, Senator Peter Oberacker, Harry Singh and Javin, and Billy Singh.


Sen. Peter Oberacker (R-Schenevus) and Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie) hosted Congressional candidate Marc Molinaro on a March 18 trip through Otsego County to visit area businesses and discuss plans to relieve rising costs for small businesses and consumers.

The trio spent an hour at Apple Food & Grocery on Route 28 in Milford to meet at the family business with Paul Singh and customers and talk about Sen. Oberacker’s proposal that would suspend New York’s gasoline tax from April 1 through September 1 and, thereafter, dedicate a certain portion of tax revenue to highway and bridge funds.

“I had to turn off my political brain and turn on my business brain,” Sen. Oberacker said. “If I had proposed a repeal for an entire year, it would’ve made no progress. My proposal has a definite start date and a definite sunset. We hope people will return to the roads after COVID and the gas prices right now are just killing them.”

“This isn’t pandering,” he said. “It’s the best relief we can give right now. Then when we reinstitute the tax, we make sure that we dedicate money directly to highways and bridges and ensure a better return on the investment every New Yorker makes when they fill their car at the pump.”

Dutchess County Executive Molinaro, now challenging Antonio Delgado in the race to represent the newly redrawn 19th Congressional District, said government is taking “too much advantage of

Milford landmark set for spring reopening

Milford landmark set for spring reopening

The Elm Inn stands out at Milford’s four corners, but it has stood vacant since closing in 2017.

“We kept driving by and we loved the building and the area,” said Kat and Dan Wifnosky. “We couldn’t figure out why it sat empty for so long. We had such vision for it.”

So they bought it in January of this year. They also packed their belongings to move from Illinois to Otsego County, where they bought a house in the Cherry Valley / Roseboom area, and are working feverishly on the Inn as they target a late March or early April opening for the reimagined landmark.

“We were looking for something we could afford and this is perfect,” Ms. Wifnosky said. “It’s gorgeous here. The pandemic changed everything we were used to. Our lives changed and we had to change.”

The couple has an interesting and varied background, with both in the information technology consulting business. They lived in New York’s Capital District, moved to Las Vegas, then to Illinois, and now to Milford.

“We have history in the hospitality arena as well, and The Elm Inn will let us complete our dream,” Ms. Wifnosky said. With a home that sits on 55 acres, she said the couple will cultivate the land for wine, a job she calls their “passion.”

As for The Elm Inn, the two have big plans.

In Memoriam Robert O. Schorf, 74 January 26, 1948 – February 6, 2022

In Memoriam

Robert O. Schorf, 74

Jan. 26, 1948 – Feb. 6, 2022

Robert O. Schorf selling his sunflowers back in August of 2018 in Milford. (Jim Kevlin/

MILFORD – Robert O. Schorf, know as “Bob” to many was a long-time resident of Milford and passed away unexpectedly Sunday afternoon, February 6, 2022, at his home in Milford. He was 74.

Raised on Long Island, he was born January 26, 1948, in Port Jefferson the son of Oscar and Elizabeth Schorf. After graduating from Newfield High School in Centereach, he attended Suffolk County Community College.

Bob was a member of the New Village Congregational Church of Lake Grove and on January 27, 1968, Bob and Donna Varney were united in marriage. They resided on Long Island until moving to Milford in 1973.

Bob was employed at Stony Brook University and at SUNY Oneonta as a Technical Specialist in the Instructional Resources Center (IRC). In his retirement he was active in the community, serving as Town Councilman and as chairman of the Board of Assessment Review for the Town of Milford.

Bob will be remembered for always helping someone in need and putting others first.

In Memoriam Kathleen A. Stiefel, 71 May 16, 1950 – January 11, 2022

In Memoriam

Kathleen A. Stiefel, 71

May 16, 1950 – January 11, 2022

Oh sweet child, I watch as you tell people I am gone. I know it’s your delicate way of saying I have died but what you don’t realize is that your statement couldn’t be further from the truth. While it seems this way, I promise you I am not gone. Pieces of me drifted to eternity but the most meaningful pieces of who I was and who I am are right inside of you, without the possibility of ever going anywhere.

Kathleen A. Stiefel

GREENWICH – Kathleen A. Stiefel, formerly of Milford, passed away Tuesday, January 11, 2022, following a courageous and hard fought battle against cancer at the home she shared with her daughter in Greenwich. She was 71.

Born Kathleen Anne Powers on born May 16, 1950, in Cooperstown, she was the oldest of nine children of James Frederick Powers and Nina Mary (Jenks) Powers. She was a graduate of Milford High School and attended Hartwick College and SUNY Delhi.

For many years she was employed as a Registered Nurse, and worked at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Cooperstown, Countryside Care Center in Delhi, and most recently at Saratoga Center for Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care in Ballston Spa. She spent most of her days caring for others and tending to her animals more than herself; there was no person or creature she didn’t appreciate.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Tree Identification Walk With OCCA 01-17-2022

Tree Identification Walk With OCCA



WINTER WALK – 10 – 11:30 a.m. Enjoy the beauty of winter on this tree ID walk while you stretch your legs, get some fresh air. Dress appropriately for weather on this , bring your own water. Free, registration required. Presented by Otsego County Conservation Association at Robert V. Riddell State Park, Davenport. 607-547-4488 or visit

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