News of Otsego County

Otsego County new

This Week — April 29, 2021
THIS WEEK — December 10, 2020
City Clerk Powell Retires, Assistant Will Succeed Her

City Clerk Powell Retires,

Assistant Will Succeed Her

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


Except for Council member Scott Harrington recusing himself, Tuesday ’s vote for Kerriann Harrington to succeed City Clerk Nancy Powell was smooth.

Kerriann is Scott’s wife.

“As an older person, I knew I wouldn’t be here for 20 years,” said Powell. “My goal was to build a team to make that transition seamless, and we were able to accomplish that.”

Among those who joined her team in 2015 was Harrington, the deputy clerk and now airport manager as well.

“Nancy put us in a really good position,” said Harrington. “We’re still going to work and serve our customers very efficiently.”

Powell, who moved to Oneonta as a young woman when her mother relocated from the Albany area, became one of the city’s first female firefighters in 2002, alongside Michele Daley Pearsall.

“After 9-11, I wanted to become an EMT,” she said. “But Chief Burns said that in order to do that, I also had to become a firefighter.”

Alongside Pearsall, she worked as a call firefighter, eventually becoming the city’s first female part-time firefighter.

When she saw an ad for an administrative clerk position at City Hall, she took the civil service exam. “While I was there, Bonnie Molinari, the deputy clerk, was retiring, and so was the city clerk,

Jim Koury,” she said. “They started looking through applications, and because I had been a notary, mine stood out.”

She was hired as the deputy clerk in 2013, and was appointed city clerk in 2015, succeeding Doug Kendall.

Like Powell, Harrington, who grew up in Middleburgh, had a background in emergency services, meeting her husband when she was taking paramedic training in Cooperstown.

She was hired as a dispatcher for Otsego County Emergency Services and then, under Chief Joseph Redman, as the dispatcher at the Oneonta Public Safety Building.

That was where, she said, she discovered her true passion. “I love technology,” she said.

She brought the Nixle system – which can send out mass alerts on anything from snowstorms to road work – to public safety, as well as updating the police department’s Facebook page.

As deputy clerk, she continued to work on developing the city’s technology, revamping the website and handling all the social media.

She also wrote a $45,000 grant to have their records digitized for easier access. “We can look at records dating all the way back to the 1900s in a matter of minutes,” she said. “And we can print them and have them certified right away too, when before you’d have to come back or we’d have to mail them. It’s saved us so much time and money.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic set in, Harrington was tasked with setting up and maintaining the city’s Zoom and live-stream meetings, something she’s aiming to work towards implementing even after the pandemic is over.

“I’d love to see a scenario where we can set up a camera and stream the meeting from Council Chambers,” she said. “Hundreds of people are able to see meetings that they might not have otherwise gone to.”

Even her daughter Meghan, 14, watches the meetings. “She’ll text me from the other room and say she’s watching me on the TV,” she said. “I could never get her to go to a meeting, but I’m hearing more and more of younger people tuning in, which is what we want.”

She and Scott also have a 9-year-old daughter, Addison.

Harrington took over as airport manager when City Manager George Korthauer retired in February; with her new appointment as clerk, it is unsure of what will become of that position.

In her immediate retirement, Powell plans to “not obligate myself” to any immediate roles, but to pursue her hobbies, including baking and, when the pandemic is over, travel. But she doesn’t anticipate staying idle for too long.

“Out of the blue, opportunities have always presented themselves,” said Powell. “I feel like that’s going to happen here.”

Attention, Job Seekers: Drive Into Opportunities

Attention, Job Seekers:

Drive Into Opportunities

ONEONTA – Here’s a chance to get a job without getting out of your car.

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and CDO Workforce are planning a “Drive Thru Job Fair!” 9 a.m.-noon this Thursday, Aug. 13, in the parking lot of Damaschke Field for a Drive Thru Job Fair.

Job seekers have access to 25 local employers, according to Alan Sessions, CDO Workforce coordinator.

4 New C-19 Cases Reported Locally

4 New C-19 Cases

Reported Locally

Virus Still Here, Bond Reports

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – The county Department of Health is reporting “a slight increase” in the number of local cases of the coronavirus, including two new hospitalizations.

The four new cases raise the county total from 81 to 85, since there have been no additional recoveries since the last report on July 10.   That total consists of 73 recoveries, five deaths, and seven active cases at this time.

All Star Village Holds On

All Star Village Holds On

By JIM KEVLIN • Special To

All Star Village’s diamond in the Town of Oneonta, which added new turf fields this year.

WEST ONEONTA – Cooperstown Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary. Strike out.

Derek Jeter’s prospective Hall of Fame Induction July 26 in Cooperstown. Strike out.

Even the Baseball Hall of Fame is waiting in the dugout for now. For now, that leaves one Otsego County baseball institution in the game this summer: Cooperstown All Star Village on Route 205 here.

“We want to play baseball,” is how Marty Patton, All Star Village proprietor, explained his week-by-week strategy. “The kids want to play baseball. If it’s possible and it’s safe, why shouldn’t we have some hope?”

This week, he was sending letters cancelling play to the 70 teams sched-uled for what would have been the first week of the 2020 All Star Village season, beginning June 6.

For now, he said, the idea is to continue to cancel a month in advance, week by week, in hopes of being able to hold at least some of the tournaments later in the summer, depending on how the coronavirus threat plays out.

Patton, who was born and raised in Oneonta, took a markedly different approach to Dreams Park’s, the other youth tournament baseball camp.

Dreams Park, based in Salisbury, N.C., simply posted a message on its website Friday, March 20, announcing it was cancelling its season, to the dismay of restaurants and merchants in Oneonta and

Cooperstown, as well as hotels and dozens of property owners who rent out accommodations annually to hundreds of baseball families.

Patton said he enjoys the season, as do the kids, but he also took his neighbors and fellow businesspeople into account in making his decision.

Given his roots and Brenda’s, one of Oneonta’s Colones, “We could never walk out on the community or those wonderful people who are coming from all over to visit.”

On March 22, the weekend of Dreams Parks’ decision, he announced the week-to-week strategy. “Our reason behind this was, simply: we didn’t know enough back then (about how the COVID-19 threat was going to play out) to pull the plug,” he said.

So far, Patton said, “we’ve only had a handful of cancellations. It’s amazing. We’ve had many teams coming in June request to come in July or August. It tells you the strength of the Cooperstown brand.”

During their week, All Star Village teams visit the Hall of Fame and shop the souvenir and equipment shops on Baseball Mecca’s Main Street. “We also promote The Farmers’ Museum; it’s fabulous,” said Patton, who founded his tournament venue in 1996, three years after Lou Presutti Jr. started Dreams Park.

“We’re fortunate to have what we have in our community,” he said.

Some have said Dreams Park needed to decide early on whether or not to open,because it needed to hire staff.

Patton said, for him, that’s not a problem. “Seventy-five percent of our staff comes back every year,” he said.


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Editor’s Note:  This “caution” was included in the transcript: CAUTION: “A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation  (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty “Officers and NSC policy staff assigned to listen.and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect ‘the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.  The word “inaudible” is used to indicate portions of a conversation that the notetaker was unable to hear. “

Developers Sought For ‘High-Quality, Upper-Story Units’


Developers Sought

For ‘High-Quality,

Upper-Story Units’

City Hall Wants Applications

For $400,000 More In Funding

An artist’s rendering; of future Oneonta from the DRI website.

Monday, the City of Oneonta will begin accepting applications for a second round down Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants, this one to create “high-quality upper-story housing units” in the downtown.

Applications for the money from the city’s Downtown Improvement Fund will be due by 4 p.m. Friday, July 12.

$400,000 in grants is available.  However, if any winners of $2 million in the first round, announced in March, do not follow through, that money will be folded into the second round.

NY Has Third Most Lyme Disease Cases

COLUMN • Capitol Perspective

NY Has Third Most

Lyme Disease Cases

By State Sen. JAMES L. SEWARD • Special to

ALBANY  – May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and with the number of reported cases in New York rising each year, it is important to arm yourself and your family with the tools to avoid the disease when possible, and detect and treat when necessary.

Lyme disease is an infection, caused by bacteria, that is spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick.  Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, nervous system and/or heart.  When detected early, it usually can be treated with oral antibiotics.  If left untreated, it often causes serious health problems.

According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), New York State has the third highest number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the country, trailing only our neighbors Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While this problem has historically been concentrated on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, the state Department of Health reports that it is quickly migrating to other counties across New York.

Not all ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease; they become infected after feeding on infected animals such as mice or other small mammals.  Transmission times for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases vary, and the sooner a tick is removed, the lower the risk of infection. Always check for ticks after spending time outdoors.  You cannot get Lyme disease from another person or an infected animal.

Ticks can be active all months of the year when temperatures are above freezing. However, most tick encounters occur from April through November. Their preferred habitats are wooded areas and adjacent grasslands. Lawns and gardens at the edges of woods may also be home to blacklegged ticks. Ticks may feed on wild animals such as mice, deer, birds and raccoons, but domestic animals such as cats, dogs and horses can also carry the ticks closer to home.

I have worked to enact several new laws in New York State to improve our response to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  We have also taken steps to upgrade education efforts and enhance efficiency when it comes to treatment and reporting measures.

Last year several measures I co-sponsored were signed into law, including:

  • Senate bill 7171, requiring the state to study the effect Lyme and tick-borne diseases have on mental health;
  • Senate bill 7170, establishing an expert-based Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group to review current best practices for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Lyme and TBDs;
  • Senate bill 7242, requiring Lyme and tick-borne disease warning signs at all state-managed parks, including trail entryways and campgrounds.

Another bill that I have co-sponsored would serve as a major step forward for treatment of Lyme.  The legislation would create specific protocol to notify individuals of their diagnoses related to Lyme and other TBDs. The bill would require the commissioner of health to work with health care providers to develop a standard protocol and patient notification for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and TBDs.

In discussing this issue with individuals who have contracted Lyme and doctors alike, it is clear that diagnosis and treatment plans vary greatly.  We need to develop a uniform health care strategy that will increase positive outcomes so people aren’t left guessing if they are infected or if they will be left to struggle with a debilitating disease for the rest of their lives.

I have also helped secure state funding to combat Lyme.  Last year, a record $1 million was included in the state budget for research, education and prevention efforts.  Unfortunately, the new Senate majority failed to continue that commitment this year and the funding was not included in the new state budget – a major disappointment.

Additional information regarding Lyme disease prevention, how to remove a tick, and symptoms is available through the state Department of Health website at  By knowing the facts and taking precautions, you can enjoy the outdoors and avoid Lyme disease.

James L. Seward, R-Milford, represents the 51st state Senate district, which includes Otsego and eight other counties.

Gene Thaw, 90, Helped Reinvent The Fenimore


Gene Thaw, 90, Helped

Reinvent The Fenimore

Gene Thaw at the dedication of a Native American totem pole on the law of The Fenimore Art Museum in May 2010. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Nationally renowned art collector Eugene Thaw, whose donation of his Native American art collection reinvented The Fenimore Art Museum in the 1990s, died Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at his home in Cherry Valley.

His wife and collaborator, Clare, a Cherry Valley native, passed away last June 29.

Eugene Thaw was also a foremost collector of European old master art, and a benefactor of the Morgan Library.  His personal collection of more than 400 artworks includes works by Goya, Van Gogh and Rembrandt.

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