News of Otsego County

Oneonta High School

Lorraine Patton July 05, 1935 – September 06, 2021

In Memoriam

V. Lorraine Patten

July 05, 1935 – September 06, 2021

V. Lorraine Patten

Oneonta – V. Lorraine Patten, 86, passed to be the Lord on September 6, 2021 at home surrounded by her family.

She was born July 5, 1935 in Oneonta, the daughter of Charles and Catherine (Pendergast) Easley.

After graduating from Oneonta High School, Lorraine never had the need to venture out of her hometown and it was there that she met and married Frank Patten on August 16, 1953, the love of her life.

The Patten house was a hub, a gathering place for family, friends and neighbors.  Their door was always open and all were welcome.  Lorraine loved being mom and grandma.  She provided for more than just her family; a fond memory of all the neighborhood children was the Patten’s bucket of quarters, ready for the ice cream truck for all to get a summer’s treat.  Lorraine enjoyed taking pottery classes at SUCO, a hobby she was quite gifted at.  One of her favorite past-times were out gallivanting with her best friends finding treasures at antique shops.  In more recent years, meeting the Golden Guernsey Girls for a daily cup of coffee and all their special celebrations. Fun fact, as a child Lorraine was a proud member of the Civil Air Patrol, her post was at the Oneonta Armory.

Fred G. Hickein, 94 July 27,1927 – August 25, 2021

In Memoriam

Fred G. Hickein, 94

July 27, 1927 – August 25, 2021

Fred G. Hickein

ONEONTA – Fred G. Hickein passed away on August 25, 2021 at A. O. Fox Memorial Hospital, Oneonta.

Born on July 27, 1927 in Owego, NY, Fred Hickein was the son of Beulah Barnett Hickein and Fred Walter Hickein.  When he was about 2, moved to Oneonta, residing with mother, sisters, uncle, great grandfather and grandparents.  He graduated from Oneonta High School in June 1944.  Joined the United States Navy in April 1945, released as a reservist in June 1946.  Recalled to active United States Navy Reserve in November 1950 and released to inactive duty in May 1952. After graduating from Hartwick College in 1953, he joined the Howard E. Brown Insurance Agency, purchasing the agency and operating it until 1983.  Fred also worked with AAA.  Over 37 years he coordinated and accompanied over 25,000 6th grade safety-patrol students to Washington, DC and Gettysburg, PA.  He served as Executive Vice President and Manager of the Tri County Motor Club (AAA) from October 1981 until his retirement in 1992.

Fred married Eleanor (Ellie) Brown on June 4, 1954 and they recently celebrated 67 years of happy life together as proud parents of four children.

Rotary announces 2021 award winners

Rotary announces
2021 award winners

William Moody and Ellie Hotaling accepted their Rotary awards Tuesday, July 6, during a ceremony at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.

The Cooperstown Rotary Foundation announced the winners of two scholarships for 2021 graduates during a ceremony Tuesday, July 6, at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.

Cooperstown Central graduate Ellie Hotaling is the recipient of the Catherine Davis Black Scholarship.

William Moody, an Oneonta High School and BOCES graduate, is the recipient of the Michael Mayne scholarship.

Moody and Hotaling were acknowledged at their high schools’ commencement ceremonies and received the $1,200 scholarships at the Rotary Club’s luncheon.

The Catherine Davis Black Scholarship award was created in 2015 in memory of Catherine Black, who was a charter member and a founder of the local Rotary Club’s tax-deductible charity.

Black was the first female president of the Cooperstown Rotary Club and went on to be one of the first female district governors. Since Black had a special interest in early childhood education and music, the scholarship criteria stipulates the recipient should be planning to pursue a career in one of those areas, as well as having demonstrated the Rotary tenet of “Service Above Self” by volunteering and contributing to their community.

Stanley G. Smith, 61 April 27, 1960 – May 23, 2021


Stanley G. Smith, 61
April 27, 1960 – May 23, 2021

Stanley G. Smith

ONEONTA – Stanley G. Smith, 61, lost his courageous battle with lung cancer on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

He was born on April 27, 1960 in Delhi, to Francis “Smitty” and Elizabeth (Slater) Smith.

Stan was a 1979 graduate of Oneonta High School, where he played football and baseball. He worked for several years at Brook’s BBQ. Stan worked also for Otsego County Senior Meals on Wheels.

In between he worked as a bar bouncer, helped his dad “Smitty” with the family paving business, and at the Holiday Lanes doing several different jobs. Stan worked in the maintenance at SUNY Oneonta for several years until the devastating diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer, forced his retirement last August.

Stan married Dolores Hugues on December 21, 2002. He became step-dad or as they liked to call him, “their extra dad”, to Peter Hugues-Simmons of Manchester, CT and Joseph Simmons of Laurens. Stan jumped into fatherhood with both feet, coaching the Sunday morning kids bowling. Taking teams all over the state to tournaments and taking a team all the way to the States in Syracuse. He also coached city of Oneonta pony league baseball, going from last place the first year to being undefeated the next. Stan, in his own rite, was an excellent bowler; 14 career 300 games, numerous 299’s. At one point, Stan was on the

Chenango Forks tops Oneonta in baseball, 6-2

Chenango Forks
tops Oneonta
in baseball, 6-2

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Oneonta senor pitcher Tanner Russin pitched a four-hit game for Oneonta, but Chenango Forks capitalized on three Yellowjacket errors to win a Southern Tier Athletic Conference baseball game Friday, May 21, at Joe Hughes Field in Oneonta.

Zack Young led the Blue Devils with two hits.

Forks pitcher Grady Stark got the win, giving up five hits.

Aidan Breakey had two of Oneonta’s hits, including an RBI single in the first.

Oneonta city school district will hold vaccine clinic

Oneonta City School District will hold vaccine clinic

STAFF REPORT • Special to

A school based COVID-19 vaccination program for students is being established by the Oneonta city School District in partnership with the Otsego County Department of Health.

Students ages 12 and older will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccination at no cost.

According to a survey organized by the Oneonta school district, at least 200 parents had expressed an interest in participating with the vaccination clinic.

Hughes Field opens: Coop tops Jackets on rally in seventh

Hughes Field opens: Coop
tops Jackets on rally in seventh

Oneonta gets two STAC wins; Hawkeyes top Norwich at Doubleday Field

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

The ball gets away from Oneonta shortstop Aidan Breakey as Cooperstown’s Brady Hascup slides into second during the Hawkeyes’ 11-9 win Saturday, May 1, at Joe Hughes Field at Oneonta High School. The Yellowjackets led Cooperstown, 8-4, going into the final inning. Oneonta opened the season and the field, which was named in honor of the team’s longtime coach, with a win over Norwich on Saturday.

Cooperstown scored seven runs in the seventh inning to stage a comeback against the host Yellowjackets at Joe Hughes Field, 11-9, on Saturday, May 1.

The rally marked the best action for the two teams opening weekend as the two powerhouse programs in the region both beat Norwich, and Oneonta also topped rival Seton Catholic, 9-3, to start the season 2-0 and 2-1, respectively.

The opening of Joe Hughes Field was scheduled for 2019, but with three games in three days this weekend, it was a nice weekend for Oneonta’s baseball coach of more than three decades, he said.

“It was good to get out there and play, finally,” Hughes said following the Jackets’ second game Saturday.

Still, the Class B Jackets losing to the Class C Hawkeyes stung, he said.

“We had an 8-3 lead in the late innings,” Hughes said “They had a good comeback, but when you score nine runs, you are supposed to win.”

COVID-19 Outbreak Sent 30 Pupils Home, OHS Advises Parents

COVID-19 Outbreak

Sent 30 Pupils Home,

OHS Advises Parents


ONEONTA – On Friday, Oneonta High School notified families of a positive COVID-19 case at the school that forced 30 students and four staff members into quarantine.

To date, there have been 16 confirmed COVID cases at the high school since the state began tracking the data last September.

“The families of all 30 students received a phone call from the school nurse and the involved students and staff have been sent home. We will continue to follow contact tracing protocols and communicate as needed,” the emailed letter read.

Bitterman, Kuhlmann Named OHS Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Bitterman, Kuhlmann Named

OHS Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Nathaniel Kuhlmann
Alexander Bitterman

ONEONTA – Oneonta High School seniors Alexander Bitterman and Nathaniel Kuhlmann have been named as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class 0f 2020.

Alex is the son of Dr. Todd and Dr. Anya Bitterman of Oneonta. Next year, he will be attending Cornell University on the Pre-Medical track majoring in biological sciences with a focus on ethics and philosophy.

Drive-In Graduation Out, But OHS Seeks Novelty

Drive-In Graduation Out,

But OHS Seeks Novelty


ONEONTA – Superintendent Thomas Brindley wants to make sure that the Class of 2020 is celebrated, no matter what.

“These students really deserve it,” he said. “It breaks our hearts that we might not be able to all participate in the graduation milestones, but our mission is to put something together so that they can enjoy it.”

Since Governor Cuomo announced Friday, May 1, that New York State schools would be closed for the rest of the year, Brindley is working to try and figure out a plan for prom, graduation, the Senior Brunch and other celebrations for the class of 2020, who have already seen the cancellation of spring sports, tournaments and more.

“We’re exploring a lot of options,” he said. “Everything we do will have to be informed by state, legal and Department of Health guidelines.”

Initially, Brindley proposed a “drive-in” graduation or one where adequate social-distancing spacing would be laid out, but those soon proved to be untenable.

“When we can’t ‘police’ a crowd, it becomes problematic,” he said. “How do we physically space the cars or people rolling down their windows at a drive-in ceremony? Nothing is totally off the table, but we’re exploring other options.”

Among the top choices are a scheduled ceremony, where students would show up in small groups to receive their diplomas, or a virtual ceremony, creating a digital scrapbook of the day’s celebration.

“We’d put together the slideshow that we normally show at the Senior Brunch, and all the speeches would be recorded and played,” said Brindley. “We would show each student’s photo and list their awards when they receive their diploma, and at the end, we’d put a virtual tour of the school, since they won’t get to do a last walk-through. It’ll be a keepsake, so they could show their kids one day.”

It could also be a hybrid of both, said Brindley. “From the moment a kid registers for kindergarten, everything we do is set to culminate on graduation day,” he said. “We want to do something to
give them a good memory.”

Across the county, school superintendents are working to figure out how they can laud the class of 2020 in the era of social distancing.

“We’re surveying the students and parents on how we want to go forward,” said CCS Superintendent Bill Crankshaw. “We want them to play a part in creatively celebrating these students.”

Among the ideas being considered is a parade of the graduating seniors through downtown. “We want something that the community could enjoy from a safe distance,” he said.

Crankshaw is also considering a live graduation on the grounds of the school. “That one we have to think through carefully,” he said. “We have to work it out so we’re observing all the rules while still creating positivity.”

And Wendy Kiuber has designed yard signs to celebrate the Cooperstown Class of 2020 as a show of community support. “We wanted it to be a surprise for the seniors,” she said. “When they came in to pick up their packets for the week, every senior got a sign and a bumper sticker.”

The mom of Ashley Kiuber, a member of the Hawkeyes girls basketball team that was headed to the state championship when Cuomo’s state of emergency cut it short, Wendy is collaborating with Colleen Donnelly, mom of Lady Hawkeye Kate Donnelly, in the undertaking.

Family & Friends Bid Farewell To Bud Pirone


Family, Friends Bid

Farewell To Bud Pirone

Friends, family, colleagues and students filled the Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School this afternoon where a service was held celebrating the life of William “Bud” Pirone, a beloved teacher, OHS principal and coach, who passed away on Jan. 13 at age 80. Retired Methodist minister Dick Breuninger gave the sermon, remarking, “If Dick saw paradise as a walk in the woods on a golden afternoon, the best way to honor his memory would be to go for a walk on a lovely day. If it’s too cold to walk, sit down with a good book.” Pirone’s son and daughter, Michael Pirone and Kim Pirone Baskin, seen at left, remarked on memories of their father. “My father had a reputation as a harsh grader, and once told me he gave himself a B+ as a father and husband,” said Michael. “But I gave him an A+.” (Ian Austin/

William R. “Bud” Pirone, 81; Revered OHS Principal


William R. ‘Bud’ Pirone,

81; Revered OHS Principal

Histories and memoirs of the Vietnam War, including Robert McNamara’s apologia, “In Retrospect” (1996), are among the volumes lining retired OHS principal Bud Pirone’s Otsego Street study in 2014. (Jim Kevlin/

ONEONTA – William R. “Bud” Pirone, 81, passed away on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, at Fox Nursing Home in Oneonta.

A former history teacher at Oneonta High School, he later became principal. He also helped found the Oneonta Alumni Association and coached tennis.

Arrangements are pending with the Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.

Coroner Hurley, Basketball Star Ruff Named To OHS Wall, Hall


Coroner Jim Hurley,

Hoop Star Mariah Ruff

Named To OHS Wall, Hall

Vince Foti, top, stands behind the 2019 inductees into the Oneonta Alumni Association’s Wall of Distinction and the Athletic Hall Of Fame following the Induction Ceremony at Belden Auditorium this afternoon at Oneonta High School. From left are Thomas Sturiale, ’53, Dr. Allie Terry-Fritsch, ’92, Mariah Ruff, ’14, Willie McCarthy, ’86, PAtrick Delaney, ’62, Rosalee Vroman (representing her late husband Richard Vroman, ’55,) Al Scheer, George Whetmore (representing friend Herb Greene, ’47, who could not attend) and James Hurley, ’53. Geoffrey Smith, ’65, one of the original founders of the Alumni Association, was named the Alumni of the Year. Alumni weekend continues at 3 p.m. as the Oneonta Yellow Jackets face off against Norwich during the homecoming game. (Ian Austin/
Fox, FOR-DO Host First Anti-Addiction Program

Fox, FOR-DO Host First

Anti-Addiction Program

“Knowledge is Power” panelist Julie Dostal, LEAF executive director, makes a point after hearing FOR-DO’S Ben Riker, right, discuss the brain’s role in creating addiction, as well as available recovery services. Other panelists are, from left, city Superintendent of Schools Tom Brindley, OPD Sgt. Branden Collison, OFD Assistant Chief Jim Maloney, Dostal, Bassett ER Nurse Manager Karen Peterson, Southern Tier AIDS Program’s Rebekah Smith, FOR-DO Executive Director Debra Berrios and Gary Hearl, addiction recovery coach, of Fairview Recovery Services. The program, at Oneonta High School, was the first of three planned by Fox Hospital and FOR-DO. (Jennifer Hill/
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