News of Otsego County

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

Oneonta News

Oneonta Baseball Fans Say Thank You, Sam!

HoF, Delgado Send Regards, Too

Oneonta Baseball Fans

Say Thank You, Sam!

Outgoing National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, above, a speaker at this evening’s recognition at “Mr. Baseball” and “Mr. Oneonta” Sam Nader’s 100th birthday celebration at Damaschke Field, snaps a photo of Sam with fan PJ Harmer.  Former mayor Nader, who turned 100 on July 8, brought the Yankees minor league franchise to the City of the Hills 50 years ago, and both milestones were recognized in an on-field ceremony that also featured state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Mayor Gary Herzig.   Oneonta Outlaws owner Gary Laing and Outlaws Manager Joe Hughes, who retired in June as OHS athletic director, shared emcee responsibilities.   Nader was presented with a flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol for a week, a gift from U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19; Sam’s name will now be included in a permanent record in Washington, D.C., of those so honored.  Also present were many members of the 1969 team, which won the NY-Penn championship, including, inset, OHS graduate Randy Georgia.  Behind Nader is his son, John, himself a former mayor and now president of SUNY Farmingdale.  (Jim Kevlin/

Cheeseburger The Cat Found Safe In Closet



The Cat Found

Safe In Closet

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Rescued from the Oneonta apartment damaged by fire last night, Cheeseburger seems to be asking, What’s the fuss all about? Owner Matthew Baker was thrilled to get the cat back.

ONEONTA – Cheeseburger, the cat, survived last night’s apartment fire and was reunited with her owner, Matthew Baker, 26, today.

Baker’s landlord, Darren Cooke, found Cheeseburger hiding in a bedroom closet of the second-story Mayrose apartment on Lewis Street when he went in today to look for her.  The cat was shaken but unharmed.

“I’m just elated,” said JoanAnn Omelia, Baker’s aunt, who, along with her daughter ErinMarie Omelia, went to the complex last night to help.  “Darren gave me the thumb’s up after he found her.  I was waiting outside.”

“Matt is loving and holding the cat,” she said.

Three Dozen Line Streets In ‘Lights For Liberty’ Vigil
Placards Spell: End Concentration Camps

3 Dozen Line Oneonta Street

In ‘Lights For Liberty’ Vigil

Joining the nationwide “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps,” nearly three dozen people – Mark Drnek, left, among them – lining Oneonta’s Dietz Street Friday evening near the corner with Main, singing “This Land Is Your Land,” with cars honking in approval as they drove by. They held candles, signs and letters spelling out “End Concentration Camps.”  Inset, Katie Boardman of Cooperstown, right, helped organize the vigil because “children cannot be in cages.”  John Maier, center in the plaid shirt, came to the vigil from Treadwell.  “I can’t believe there are concentration camps in the U.S. in my lifetime,” he said.  (Jennifer Hill/

Firefighters Resuscitate Cat After Oneonta Apartment Fire

Firefighters Resuscitate Cat

At Oneonta Apartment Fire

Oneonta fire fighters responded to a fire at the Mayrose Apartments on Lewis Avenue this evening. One resident, Matt Baker, was treated for smoke inhalation, and his cat, Oreo, was rescued from the fire and resuscitated with oxygen at the scene.


Oreo is resting comfortably after Oneonta Fire Captain Rob Latourette resuscitated her with oxygen.

ONEONTA – Oneonta firefighters were able to resuscitate a cat rescued from the fire in the Mayrose Apartment complex on Lewis Avenue this evening.

“She was pretty much dead when we found her,” said Capt. Rob Latourette. “I gave her oxygen and she revived quickly.”

The cat, named Oreo, is owned by Matt Baker, a resident of the apartment, was also treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Baker, 26, managed to rescue his three guinea pigs, which are in the care of a neighbor.

A second cat, a cream-colored female named Cheeseburger, was not located in the apartment, and is believed to have run out the door when the fire broke out and is still missing.

H. Karl Chandler, 82, Oneonta; Investigator In Ricky Parisian Case


H. Karl Chandler, 82, Oneonta;

Investigator In Ricky Parisian Case

H. Karl Chandler

ONEONTA – H. Karl Chandler, 82 of Oneonta, who rose to lead the Troop C Major Crimes Division in 38 years with the state police, died peacefully at home on July 10, 2019, after a nine-year battle of cancer.

Senior investigator in the case of Ricky Parisian, the state trooper shot during a 1993 holdup in a Southside supermarket, Karl was born on Jan. 17, 1937, in Sayre, Pa., to Wilber Chandler and Alberta VanGorder Chandler.

He graduated from Athens (Pa.) Central School, where he was a three-sport athlete, participating in baseball, basketball and football. At 10 years old, Karl hit a home run at the Williamsport Little League World Series.

On WAMC’s ‘Morning Headlines’, Editor Says Sam Nader Breached Oneonta Divide

On WAMC’s ‘Morning Headlines’, Editor

Says Sam Nader Breached Oneonta Divide

Sam Nader, 100, stands at left behind Joe DiMaggio, one of the many famous athletes and politicians he met and hosted over the decades.

On this week’s “Morning Headlines” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/ publisher of (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), discusses Sam Nader’s Century, the celebration surrounding his 100th birthday, his careers in politics and baseball, and his many contributions to the city of his birth.


Erich M. Wilkens, 76; Decorated Marine Served In Vietnam War

IN MEMORIAM: Erich M. Wilkens, 76;

Decorated Marine Served In Vietnam War

Erich Wilkens

ONEONTA – Erich M. Wilkens, 76, of St. James Place, a Marine and decorated Vietnam War veteran, died Wednesday July 10, 2019, at his residence with his family at his side.  Survivors include a daughter in West Oneonta.

He was born Oct. 17, 1942 in Oceanside, Long Island, son of the late John and Ilse Sperling Wilkens.

Erich was a veteran of the Marine Corps, having been awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Rifle Marksman Badge. His service to his country continued with his membership with the Phoenicia American Legion Post #950.

Barbara A. Hayes 84; Amsterdam Native Moved Here In 1998

IN MEMORIAM:  Barbara A. Hayes 84;

Amsterdam Native Moved Here In 1998

ONEONTA – Barbara A. Hayes, 84, who move to Oneonta, where her son and his family lives, in 1998, passed away July 9, 2019 at the Fox Hospital.

Born in Amsterdam on Nov. 29, 1934 she was the daughter of the late William and Edna (Tullar) Godden.  She was married to Norman H. Loucks in 1957, he passed away in 1969. She then married Robert H. Hayes in 1976 he passed away in 1984.

Oneonta’s Growth May Mean Stricter Laws on Short-Term Rentals

Oneonta’s Growth

May Mean Stricter Laws

On Short-Term Rentals

The Town of Oneonta Board is considering placing restrictions and fines on short-term rentals. Board members, from left, Randy Mowers, Patricia Jacobs, Sara Robinson, Town Clerk, Bob Wood, Town Supervisor, Rob Panasci, Town Attorney, Patricia Riddell Kent and Brett Holleran. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – As summer tourism booms, the Town of Oneonta might see a “mini urban renewal” – just so long as everyone is in compliance.

“We have the issue of bigger homes where there has to be family living in them,”  Joe Camarata, Planning Board Chair, told the Town of Oneonta Board.  “How do you police that?  I think we suggest they come into the code office or if they want to rent out 18 bedrooms that they ask for a zoning variance.”

HOMETOWN History July 12, 2019


July 12, 2019

150 Years Ago

The second annual commencement of Oneonta Union School occurred on Monday, July 12 and closed with the Tuesday evening following. The address before the Pioneer Society by Dr. Jewell was attended by a fair concourse of our citizens, but not nearly as large as it ought to have been. The address was excellent. The suggestions advanced ought to be made practical by our young people, tending as it did to the promotion of morality, virtue and purity. At the conclusion of the meeting they repaired to the residence of David Yager, where the Calliopa and Pioneer Societies were to hold their first annual reunion. The evening passed off pleasantly and profitably. The members of the Calliopa Society merit much commendation for their untiring efforts to prove their first attempt a success. Oneontans should be proud of the rough Pioneers and the more fair members of the Calliopa. Mr. and Mrs. Yager did much to conduce to the advantage and pleasure of the occasion. The exercises at the Presbyterian Church on Tuesday evening were flattering
to the school, and indicated that its students are being thoroughly and properly instructed in whatever pertains to education. The orations, compositions, declamations and music were of the highest character, evincing the finest discrimination, style and beauty.

July 1869

125 Years Ago

The announcement of the death of Charles E. Bunn on Saturday afternoon of last week came as a shock to his
numerous friends in Oneonta, few of whom knew of his
serious illness. Mr. Bunn was born in Hartwick 47 years ago. He was the son of William Bunn, a life-long resident of that town, and a brother of Mr. Henry C. Bunn of Mt. Vision. In 1861, being then only fifteen years of age, he enlisted in the 152nd New York volunteers and served his country well until the close of the war. In 1866 he came to Oneonta and engaged in business, and the following year was married, his wife being a daughter of M.H. Bissell, who with three children survives him. Kind, unselfish and generous in the days of prosperity, his death removes from our town one who will long be remembered with affectionate
regret alike by his comrades on battle’s bloody field and by those who knew him in more peaceful walks of life.

July 1894

80 Years Ago

First of the three tourist information booths sponsored by the Youth Frontier Movement opened Saturday on South Side and will be operated 12 hours daily from 9 until 9. Plans are underway to open another at West End today but the East End booth will not be ready for several days. The South Side booth is manned at present by Boris Panko and Edward Byard. Money for its operation has been secured partly through N.Y.A. funds and partly through contributions
from local merchants. The boys work in shifts of six
hours each, six days a week with one boy who will rotate, relieving the other two at each of the booths. Each booth
is equipped with a telephone which tourists may use for
local calls and information about hotels, restaurants,
tourist homes, churches, church services, historical sites, recreation and entertainment.

July 1939

60 Years Ago

Fox Hospital – Today’s Census: 85. Births – Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kellner, 3 Tilton Ave. a son, 8 lbs. 3 ozs., 10:47 p.m., July 7; Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Condon, 30 Pine Street, a son 8 lbs. 11.5 ozs., 6:52 a.m., July 8. Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Benjamin, Oneonta, R.D. 3, a son, 10 libs. 1 oz., 7:40 a.m., July 8. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Lyon, Milford Road, a son, 6 lbs., 12.5 ozs., 9:35 p.m., July 7. Admissions: Mrs. Emma Cronin, 50 River Street, Mrs. Margaret Platts, Worcester; Mrs. Ruth Sprague, Morris; Mrs. Beverly Sanford, 6 Shepherd Avenue. Discharges: Mrs. Mary Ann Spoor and baby daughter, Laurens; Mrs. Elizabeth Waterhouse and baby daughter, Emmons Farms; Mrs. Suzanne Mykytyn and baby daughter, West Oneonta.

July 1959

40 Years Ago

Pat St. John, the self-proclaimed psychic who predicts
a catastrophe at Niagara Falls this Sunday has taken a tour of the famous attraction and come away convinced of impending doom. “I can turn away and look toward Buffalo and feel absolutely fine,” said the housewife from Bridgewater, Connecticut. “But, when I turn toward Niagara Falls, I get a tremendous feeling right in my solar plexus.”
Mrs. St. John’s July 4 prediction of a disaster at Niagara Falls picked up considerably more public attention when a seismic alarm at the falls indicated that a huge mass of rock had shifted by a quarter inch. It could not be determined if the rocks had shifted at once or gradually since the sensors were installed in 1971. The U,S, Army Corps of Engineers who were brought to the falls after the alarm said that three days of monitoring sensor devices had shown no further evidence of any movement.

July 1979

20 Years Ago

Local artists Bonnie Gale and Bertha Rogers were awarded
a total of $1,000 in the third round of the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts Special Opportunity Stipend Program. Gale, a traditional willow basket maker residing in Norwich received a stipend to study with a
mentor. She will work with Stanley Kraus, a Polish
immigrant basket maker who lives in Rochester. Rogers,
a Delhi poet, will use her stipend to help pay her expenses for a residency fellowship at the Hawthornden Castle
International Retreat for Writers in Scotland for a month this fall. She will work to complete a poetry manuscript.

July 1999

10 Years Ago

A self-described entrepreneur recently bought the historic Oneonta Theatre and seeks ideas to restore entertainment to the stage and screens at 47 Chestnut Street. “This building has some great potential,” its new owner Thomas Cormier said. The purchase is a “fine resolution” to questions about the theatre’s fate, said Patrice Macaluso, president of the Friends of the Oneonta Theatre. The group formed last
year to preserve the historic site and had launched plans
to buy the complex in downtown Oneonta. The purchase price paid by Cormier was not revealed. The Oneonta Theatre name would be maintained because of its history, Cormier said.

July 2009

We Need More Natural Gas? For What?

We Need More Natural Gas?

For What?

To the Editor:

Why does our area need more natural gas?  Since the ’50s and ’60s, our area industries have, for the most part, shrunk in size, while employment levels have been buoyed by the growth in the “not for profit” service sector.

Our area has had no population growth since the Civil War!  Indeed, we’ve lost population since the 1960s; our young people have out-migrated, leaving for opportunity in other places; and they’re never coming back.

So, why do we need more natural gas?

The standard argument for natural gas expansion is that we need the resource to lure new business to the area and that natural gas is a key promotional asset.

Gosh, we’ve had multiple generations with sufficient levels of natural gas to have promoted all kinds of new business growth, with virtually nothing to show for it.

With the prospect of further slowing of area business, with little anticipation of significant area business expansion, it would seem our current levels of supplied energy can continue to adequately sustain our area, perhaps occasionally augmented with the incremental addition of renewables – primarily solar, wind and perhaps biomass.

I think the natural-gas limitation argument is simply an excuse for doing nothing; so too are the arguments towards the lack of trained workforce, workforce housing, and other excuses.



MLB Stars Remember  Sam Nader On 100th

MLB Stars Remember 

Former Oneonta Mayor

Sam Nader On His 100th

As his daughter Alice O’Conner holds the microphone, Sam Nader tells wellwishers toasting him at his 100th birthday party Saturday at his 95 Riger St. home, “May you all live to be 100!” From left are Claire Borthwick, Rick Follett, Sam’s sister Jemele, Mark Boshnack, Ellen Sielig-Boshnack, Sherie Rubin, Carol Follett, Alice, the city’s first lady Connie Herzig and sportwriter John Fox. (Ian austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Congratulating former Oneonta mayor Sam Nader on his 100th are, from left, former mayors John Nader, Sam’s son, and Kim Muller, and current Mayor Gary Herzig.

ONEONTA – What do you get Oneonta’s most beloved citizen, Sam Nader, for his 100th birthday?

How about a birthday message from his favorite football team?

“My father has held season tickets to the Giants since 1952,” said his son, John. “So my cousin’s husband got Eli Manning to record a video sending him a birthday message, thanking him for being such a long-time fan and recognizing everything he accomplished. It was very nice of him to do that.”

Manning was there in spirit, but over 100 guests, friends and family members were, joining Nader to celebrate his birthday on Saturday, July 6, in his backyard at 95 River St. “It was a fun, low-key celebration,” said John. “My father was enormously pleased.”

Sam turned 100 on Monday, July 8, which Mayor Gary Herzig declared “Sam Nader Day” with a proclamation, which he gave to Sam at the party, “in recognition of the ‘too many to count’ contributions … to the well-being of the people of the City of Oneonta.”

Also present was Kim Muller, longtime friends of the family, for a total of four mayors at the gathering.

30 Years Later, A Sister Spurns Killer’s Apology


30 Years Later, A Sister

Spurns Killer’s Apology

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Jennifer Kirkpatrick’s memories of her sister Gillian Gibbons’ passing are still very vivid. (Jim Kevlin/

ONEONTA – Thirty years after the murder of her 18-year-old Gillian Gibbons, her sister was not expecting the call she got from the state Office of Victim’s Services on Tuesday, July 2.

“Just out the blue I got a call saying they had a letter from David Dart – and did I want to hear it,” said Jennifer Kirkpatrick. “In 30 years, he has never tried to contact us.”

In 1991, then age 29, Dart had been convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing Gillian to death with a “Rambo-style survival knife” – as described in the court transcript – on the second floor of the Oneonta Municipal Parking Garage on Sept. 12, 1989. He was sentenced to 25 years to life, but is up for parole yet again this November.

Jennifer asked to hear the letter he wrote to the parole board.

“Thirty years ago, I committed a horrible crime,” wrote Dart. “I got high, approached her with the intent to rob her, but she told me she didn’t have any money, and I stabbed her.”

“I only want you to know that I am sorry,” he continued. “I would give anything to go back and change things.”

“It’s a joke,” said Jennifer in an interview. “He never said he was going to rob her, so right there, he’s a liar. Why should I believe anything else he says? And if he’s so sorry, why did it take him 30 years to say anything?”

Since Dart’s first parole hearing in 2014, Jennifer has lobbied to keep him incarcerated.

“It’s a huge burden to have to go before the parole board every two years,” she said. “When you go before the parole board, it’s just you and the stenographer, and she’s in tears, she can barely do her job as I’m talking.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer Peaks At The Fenimore


Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer

Peaks At The Fenimore

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Long live rock and roll! Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president Greg Harris leads a panel discussion on “Fenimore Rocks! Herb Ritts and the Image of Rock Music” as part of the Fenimore Art Museum gala weekend. Afterwards, enjoy cocktails and a buffet. 2-4 p.m. Saturday, July 13, Fenimore Art Museum, 5798 Route 80, Cooperstown.  Info,

Who will reign supreme when it comes to pulled pork and chicken? Local judges will taste them all and crown the BBQ king – or queen! Oneonta’s Fabulous Fridays also includes music by Atomic Rewind, games and more throughout the downtown. 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, July 12, Mueller’s Plaza, Main St., Oneonta.

Superheroes in Ripped Jean launch campaign to buy their building. Get your face painted, meet some adoptable animals and hear a Capital Campaign kickoff address by founder Terra Butler. Later in the evening, enjoy music and a live auction. 3-11 p.m. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Info,

Get your groove on at a dance party under the stars as Ryan Scot & Band play a set of R&B, Soul, Funk & more as part of the West Kortright Center’s annual gala. $18. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 13, West Kortright Center, 49 W. Kortright Church Rd., East Meredith. 607-278-5454 or visit

the opening of 84th Annual National Juried Art Exhibition and award ceremonies with a sneak peak at the exhibit. 5-7 p.m. Friday, July 12, Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9777.

Orpheus Theatre puts on two productions by their youth theater groups. “Elf Jr.” will be performed 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 12 and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13. Then at 7:30 that night, catch the school edition of “Les Miserables,” with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14.

Foothills PAC’s Production Room.  $5. 24 Market St., Oneonta.  607-431-2080,



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