News of Otsego County

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


Regional VFW Commander: “Veterans Come In All Genders”


Legion Leader Beth Akulin:

‘Vets Come In All Genders’

Veterans’ organizations still have a way to go in accepting women in their ranks, Beth Akulin, commander of VFW Post 1206 in Oneonta, inset at right, said during her address at Veterans Day ceremonies at the top of Neahwa Park’s Memorial Parkway at 11-11-11 this morning.  While there are 1.3 million female veterans today, she said, “I have been yelled at for parking in a veterans parking place, or because I ask for a military discount, because they assumed my husband served and not me. It is important: People need to know and recognize that women have served and done the same job as men.” she said, “Veterans come in all sizes, shapes and genders. We need to thank all of them.”   Top photo, the Oneonta Vets Club honor guard – from left, American Legion Post 259  Commander Terry Harkenreader, and veterans Len Carson, Wayne Gregory, Gary Walters, Bruce Von Holtz, Bernie White and Jim Williams – carry the colors to this morning’s commemoration. (Ian Austin/

OCCB Salute To Veterans Prompts Poem Recital

OCCB Salute To Veterans

Prompts Poem Recital

The Oneonta Community Concert Band, above, held its 18th annual Salute To Veterans Concert in the halls of the Foxcare Center this evening. One audience member, 90-year-old Leslie Collins, right, was so moved by their performance of “The Armed Forces Salute” by Bob Lowden, he approached director Andrew Pease to ask if he could recite the poem, “For The Fallen,” by Lawrence Binyon. Pease obliged. The poem, written in 1914,  is often recited at Remembrance Day events and has been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of World War I and all wars. (Ian Austin/

Treasures Abound At GOHS Auction

Treasures Abound

At 13th GOHS Auction

Hand-sewn quilts, sterling silver tea sets, maps, furniture and more were all up on the auction block at the 13th annual GOHS Auction held at the Quality Inn Friday evening. Above, Marcella Drago, left, and daughter-in-law Kathy Drago look over a Bible from 1847 that was part of the silent auction. At right, Grace Smith and Claire Smith show off some Hitchcock chairs to the crowd after the main auction got under way. (Ian Austin/


Delgado to Dems: Get To The Polls


With Midterms Arriving,

Delgado Tells Rally: Vote

Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, urges Democrats at a pre-election rally Saturday afternoon at Roots Brewing Co. in Oneonta to get out and vote in Tuesday’s mid-terms, when local and county races are being decided.  The polls will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Seated at the front table are the two Democratic Cooperstown village trustees, Richard Sternberg and Mac Benton  Among those standing behind them are, from left, Common Council candidate Mark Davies, Ward 2; county board candidates Clark Oliver (District 14) and Jill Basile (District 11), Oneonta Town Board candidate Kathleen O’Donnell; seated at right, Mark Drnek, Ward 8 Common Council candidate, and standing next to Drnek is attorney Claudette Newman of Gilbertsville, the sole Otsego County resident running for state Supreme Court judge. (James Cummings/


Rain Plays Tricks, Doesn’t Deter Treaters

Rain Plays Tricks, But

Doesn’t Deter Treaters

Erratic rain throughout the evening led to the cancellation of Oneonta’s annual Halloween parade, but all manner of ghouls and ghosts made their treat-seeking rounds at local homes and businesses this afternoon and evening. Above, Devin El, Leilani El and Ziyen Giles passed City Hall on their treat-hunting mission, with Lizzette Hopkins and Edward Giles, Maryland, in tow. Inset at right, Oneonta’s Jessica and Paul Benzaleski arrive downtown with their children Adalia and Reilly ready to take home some sweets.(Ian Austin/

Philo Vance Film Series Concludes With Lecture From Mystery Novelist


Mystery-Writing Editor

Places ‘Oneonta-Born’

Philo Vance In Context

Oneonta mystery writer Libby Cudmore assesses Philo Vance’s place in the golden age of detective fiction at this evening’s third installment of the Philo Vance Film Series at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society.  The talk preceded a screening of “The Dragon Murder Case,” based on one of the lesser beloved of S.S. Van Dine’s 12 novels featuring the detective that Van Dine (aka Willard Huntington Wright) created while living in his aunts’ home on River Street. At  left are GOHS Executive Director Bob Brzozowski and Father Ken Hunter, St. James Episcopal pastor and a mystery buff, who organized the film series.  Cudmore is also managing editor of Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and  Her “The Big Rewind” was published by William Morrow in 2016. (Ian Austin/
‘Gimme Four’ Group Joins  ‘Sweet Adelines’ At Concert

‘Gimme Four’ Group Joins

‘Sweet Adelines’ At Concert

The City of the Hills Chorus Sweet Adelines, under the conduction of Terry Hait, front, preform “Seasons Of Love” during their Say It With Music concert at the First United Methodist Church on Saturday. The concert featured “Gimme Four”, a NYC based four part barbershop quartet and A Capella 2018 International semi-finalist as their special guests. Front row: Jo Melmer, Elaine Mattice, Sue Dana-LeViness, Joanne Burdick, Colleen Keenan. Second row: Pat Ashe, Robin Medina, Connie Herzig, Liz Moeller, Jan McGrath and Donna Fornito. Third row: Dorcas Ross, Cathy Rooney, Mary Johnson-Butler, Jean Giuda, Kathy Polley, Ane Green and Flora Beth Cunningham. Back row: Bettie Bennett, Cindy Heaney, Jennifer Withington, Karen Adolfson, Carol Wood, Carrie Huestis and Naomi Graham. (Ian Austin/
With Percussion Heavy ‘Fanfare’, Conductor Watson Leads CSO


Standing Ovation Salutes

2nd Candidate’s Concert

Dr. Carolyn Watson, the second guest conductor hopeful for the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, took to the stage tonight in the Hunt Union Ballroom. Here she conducts Jennifer Higdon’s “Fanfare Ritmico.”  The first candidate, Silas Huff, performed in September; the third conductor, Maciej Żółtowski, will conduct the third concert at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16.   The next conductor will direct the CSO’s Cabaret concert next March.   (Ian Austin/
Red Jug Pub Raises Over $2000 For St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser

Red Jug Pub Raises $2,000+

For St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser

Nate McDonald, left, and Jared Jillson of the Crystal Palace Barber Shop in Oneonta, shave the head of Johnny Brown, Long Island, during the St. Baldrick’s event at the Red Jug Pub this afternoon. The event raises money to help fight childhood cancer.  Oneonta’s Red Jug Pub raised $2,000 before donations from the door were even counted. (Ian Austin/
Michael Hamilton Takes 1st In 26th PIT Run 10K

652 Mark Trooper Parisian’s Sacrifice

Oneonta Runner 1st

In 26th PIT Run 10K

It may have been cloudy, but the record of it never raining on race day still stands, as 652 runners turned out today to partake in the 26th annual PIT Run 5K and 10K Run in remembrance of Ricky J. “Pit” Parisian, a state trooper who lost his life while stopping an armed robbery in 1994 on Southside Oneonta. Above, Janice Bettiol, Otego, waves amidst throngs of runners that include Aubry Microni, Oneonta, Rodney Watson, Oneonta, Wyatt Jones, Unadilla, John Rowley, Houghton, Rebecca Rowley, Houghton, Dean Reed, Unadilla, Hales Pink, Oneonta, Cody Losie, Oneonta, and Jenna Rose Dilello, Oneonta. At right, Oneonta’s Michael Hamilton crosses the finish line with a time of 35:32. (Ian Austin/

Volunteers Bruce, Wright & Smith Honored For Service To GOHS

GOHS Honors President Corinne Smith,

Volunteers Deb Bruce, Wayne Wright

The Greater Oneonta Historical Society honored three of its own this evening during the Annual Meeting & Awards Reception. Above, Executive Director Bob Brzozowski stands with honorees Corinne Smith, outgoing president, right, and Deb Bruce, who were awarded Eduard Hofbauer Outstanding Service Awards, and Wayne Wright, recipient of the Albert E. Morris Award for  contributions to local history. Smith has served two terms as president of the Board of Trustees, overseeing the near-completion of the Oneonta History Center in the former Laskaris store.  Bruce most recently served as the database coordinator, in addition to being a trustee, board member and on the Collections Committee over 15 years . Wright, a former trustee, has served as GOHS librarian,  compiled a topical index of Ed Moore’s volumes of “In Old Oneonta,” and worked with the  Cooperstown Graduate Program students as they learned to become museum professionals. (Ian Austin/
United Way’s Awards  Go To Marcus, McGraw


United Way’s Awards

Go To Marcus, McGraw

At the United Way of Otsego & Delaware Counties’ campaign kickoff last evening, Deb Marcus, center left, director of Family Planning of South Central New York, received the M. Cheri Albrecht Executive Director Excellence Award. And Tim Mcgraw, center right, Onegroup NY account executive, received the Alan Donovan Community Leadership Award. They are flanked by Kimberley Lorraine, left, United Way executive director, and Bryan Birdsall, board president. Albrecht held Lorraine’s job for 29 years; Donovan, retired SUNY Oneonta president, served five years on the United Way board, including as president and campaign chairman, and continues to coordinate the annual golf tournament. The gathering was at J&D’s Wagon Wheel in downtown Oneonta. (Ian Austin/


Ayad Akhtar First Playwright At Mills Distinguished Lecture


Ayad Akhtar First Playwright

Chosen For ‘Common Read’

Andrew Kahl, left, head of the SUNY Oneonta Theater Deptartment, had the honor of conducting the Big Read interview with this year’s author, screen writer and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, right at the Alumni Field House this evening. Akhtar’s works focus on Muslim-American cultural experience. In 2013 his play “Disgraced” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It is also the first play to be selected for the Big Read event. The SUNY Theater Department will be preforming the play from Nov. 6-8, 2019. (Ian Austin/
Hartwick Christens New Field After Wright Benefactors


Hartwick Christens Field

After College Benefactors

During Hartwick College’s True Blue Weekend, the Hartwick Hawks football team Saturday played its first game in the newly re-done Wright Stadium. At half-time, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich, middle, officially re-named the field after college benefactors Clyde and Millie Wright.   Drugovich is seen with, from left, the Wrights’ son Brian,  Special Counsel, Howard & Kattell, the Binghamton law firm; Hartwick lacrosse player Tim Watson, Swoop, Brian Wright’s wife Josie, board chair David Long, and lacrosse player Rachel Hedden, underneath the new sign at the entrance to the field. The sign will eventually spin so it will read “The Clyde” during boys games, and “The Millie” during girls games. (Ian Austin/
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