News of Otsego County

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



Vigilance Encouraged At MLK Celebration

Vigilance Encouraged

At MLK Celebration

The sanctuary at First United Methodist Church in Oneonta was filled with inspiring words, social commentary and song this afternoon as crowds gathered to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 91st birthday. The event, hosted by the Oneonta NAACP, featured over a dozen speakers and performers including Yolanda Bush, seen above with Rich Mollen, as she sings “Rise Above,” written by Robin Seletsky and dedicated to the Oneonta NAACP. Mayor Gary Herzig, inset right, was also among the speakers, where he praised the NAACP and the Oneonta Police Department for their leadership in civil rights issues. He continued, encouraging vigilance, saying there was still work to do even in a “progressive and diverse” City like Oneonta: “Here in Oneonta, an individual visited our DMV and was told, ‘We cannot serve you,’ and was told to go to Cooperstown. In the year 2020 we are hearing this! As Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Oneonta must be open and welcome all persons.”  Herzig’s reference was to the “Green Light” Law, where the state Legislature directed the issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal aliens; because of the special equipment and training required, county Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner has centralized processing those license applications at the main office in Cooperstown.  (Ian Austin/

MLK Day Mementos

MLK Day Mementos

In a run-up to Martin Luther King Day, local historian Tom Heitz discusses slavery in Otsego County with a CCAL class at First Presbyterian Church, Coopertown. Behind him are two just-approved State Historic Markers, one commemorating the church’s 1827 celebration of the end of slavery in New York State, the other Susan B. Anthony’s visit to Otsego County.

2 Historic Markers

Commemorate Freedom


COOPERSTOWN – Just in time for Martin Luther King Day, two state Historical Markers commemorating the United States’ march toward freedom – and Otsego County’s – have arrived at First Presbyterian Church here.
One marks Susan B. Anthony’s Feb. 9, 1855, appearance in a building where the church’s chapel is now. During her visit, she formed a local committee to advocate for the women’s right to vote.
The second commemorates July 4, 1827, when about 60 blacks gathered in the church, “with music and banners flying,” to celebrate the end of slavery in New York State.
The markers will be unveiled to the public at the church’s MLK Day celebration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at 25 Church St. and erected on the front lawn in the spring.
These were little-known events until

Hall Of Fame Honors Black Inductees On MLK Day

Black Inductees Honored

By Hall On MLK Jr. Day

Standing next to a statue of Buck O’Neil, Cooperstown resident John Rankin explains why O’Neil was an important figure in baseball:  Hel was a star first baseman for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, and eventually went on to become the first African-American coach in Major League Baseball. After his death in 2006, The Hall Of Fame created the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award to honor those that have made a significant impact on the game. (Parker Fish/

MLK Birthday Celebration


MLK BIRTHDAY – 2 – 4 p.m. Celebrate the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. with Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 39 Walnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-431-4428 or visit

WRITING LETTERS – 4 – 5:30 p.m. Create an avalanche of letters to rise above hate speech in our community with the Tri-County Women’s Coalition and Otsego Pride Alliance. Roots brewing Company, 175 Main St., Oneonta. Visit or e-mail 

Cooperstown Celebrates MLK With Candle Light Vigil, History

Cooperstown Celebrates MLK

With Candlelight Vigil, History

Rev. Elsie Rhodes, First Presbyterian Church, lights the candle of Omonike Akinyemi and daughter Simone Sprague as the gathered sing “We Shall Overcome” while closing out a celebration in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this evening. 250 people filled the sanctuary where a history of slavery and civil rights in Cooperstown was given along with hymns, inspirations and poetry. (Ian Austin/
Snow Thrills in Wilber Park

Snow Thrills in Wilber Park

Eveline Ainsworth, rear, goes tobogganing with Keira and Robin Brown, Oneonta, in Wilber Park on Monday afternoon.
Eveline Ainsworth, rear, goes tobogganing with Keira and Robin Brown, Oneonta, in Wilber Park on Monday afternoon.   With Oneonta schools closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, youngsters hit the slopes.  (Ian Austin/
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