News of Otsego County

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

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Dean C. Bolton, 59; Lifelong ‘Quintessential Country Boy’

IN MEMORIAM: Dean C. Bolton, 59;

Lifelong ‘Quintessential Country Boy’

Dean Bolton, on the land he loved.

BURLINGTON – It saddens us to announce the death of Dean Charles Bolton, a loyal, native Burlington Son, on the rainy morning of May 24, 2019.

All of us share a common desire to be remembered when we are gone, and hope that our lives somehow made the world a better place. Upon our demise, it is customary to write an obituary, a brief re-telling of who we were, where we came from, and what we contributed to society. It is also expected that some memory, personality trait or talent be mentioned in which to personalize the fact that we had among us a most extraordinary man who loved life and did everything he could possibly do to continue living it.

Stars Abound At HOF Classic At Doubleday Field


MLB Stars Abound 

At Doubleday Field

Jeff Idelson, Baseball Hall of Fame president, left, and Hall board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark, right, stand with members of 30 Major League Baseball teams who made up the roster for the 2019 Hall Of Fame Classic game at Doubleday Field this afternoon in Cooperstown. Despite some sprinkles, professional ballplayers gave their fans a great game as well as T-shirt give-aways, children’s competitions, as well as signing autographs and memorabilia. At right, Maria Noto, Cooperstown, backed by the Cooperstown Sign Language club, sings the National Anthem at the beginning of the afternoon’s game. (Ian Austin/

New Cooper’s Barn Serving Ice Cream, Shakes, Hotdogs

New Cooper’s Barn Serving

Ice Cream, Shakes, Hotdogs

Proprietor Trish Rost, top photo,  center, is joined by members of her team, Lauren Koffer, left, and Keiko Shieber, in front of the new Cooper’s Barn, which opened Friday on Route 28 in Hartwick Seminary, serving ice cream, milk shakes, hotdogs and more.  Trish is partnering with Bob Snyder, Cooperstown, in the venture.  The barn-red paint  replaces the tan you may remember on Penguin Ice Cream, which the Hitt family operated for 14 years.  Inset left, Dakota Hitt, granddaughter of the former owners, tries out the new offerings this morning; with her is mom Crystal.   Try it out before the Dreams Park crowds arrive Friday.  (Jim Kevlin/

You Like Baseball Cards? ‘Shoebox’ Show Has ’em All


You Like Baseball Cards?

‘Shoebox’ Show Has ’em All

Cooperstown’s Pete Henrici, the retired CCS teacher and proprietor since the 1970s of the Baseball Nostalgia shop in the Doubleday parking, points out one of his business cards from the early days, which is part of Shoebox Treasures, a new exhibit – two years in the making – that opened this morning at the Hall of Fame.   Inset is this morning’s ribbon cutting, with Hall President Jeff Idelson and Chairman Jane Forbes Clark flanking Bill Janetsheck and two other main donors to the exhibit.  Hall of Famers visible in the background are, from left, Barry Larkin, Rollie Fingers and Bert Blyleven.  Other locals attending included the father-son partnership Will and Willis, who run Willis Monie Books, and helped curator John Odell assemble the exhibit, which Jane Clark noted included as least two one-of-a-kind cards – a 1923 Casey Stengel and the rarest of all, the Honus Wagner card from 1909.  The 11th annual Hall of Fame Classic, featuring Hall of Famers and MLB stars, stars at 1:05 p.m.  Tickets available at Hall. (Jim Kevlin/

They’re Off!  BASE Race Starts Day Of HoF Fun


They’re Off!  BASE Race

Starts Day Of HoF Fun

From the starting line in front of Doubleday Field a few minutes ago, Cooperstown’s Frankie Panzarella, top photo, center, and his pal Justin Wolfe, left, led the 8th annual BASE Race 5K “Fun Run” now underway through the streets of the village, the first activity in a day of Hall of Fame offerings.  At 10 a.m., ribbon-cutting on the new exhibit on baseball cards, “Shoebox Treasures,” will happen at 25 Main.  The 11th annual Hall of Fame Classic, featuring six Hall of Famers and many MLB standouts, begins at 1:05 p.m. at Doubleday; tickets are still on sale at the Hall.  Between Frankie and Justin is Bradley Weldon of Cooperstown, who is running with Ashlyn Wolfe, an assistant Otsego County Dairy Princess.  Inset, the Hall’s Shirley Tyler, who is emceeing, chats with the two celebrity starters, Grant Balfour, who played with four teams, from the Twins to the A’s, and, with back to camera, Ryan Rowland-Smith, who played with the Mariners and Diamondbacks.  Both are rare Australian players who made it into the Majors.  (Jim Kevlin/

Richard S. Westcott, 75; NYSEG Lineman Active In Community Life

IN MEMORIAM: Richard S. Westcott, 75;

NYSEG Lineman Active In Community Life

Richard S. Westcott

LAURENS – Richard S. Westcott, 75, a 35-year NYSEG lineman who was active in Laurens community life, passed away on Monday, May 20, 2019 at Chase Memorial Nursing Home in New Berlin.

Richard was born in Little Rock, Ark., to Sylvester M. and Luella A. (Towsley) Westcott.

He worked for Sampson Floors for seven years, and as a SUNY engineer before joining NYSEG.

Fleeing Suspect’s Head-On Collision with Deputy Likely Deliberate

Collision Likely

Deliberate, Press

Told At Briefing

Dead Man Followed Woman’s Car

From Cherry Valley To Richfield 

BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, left, and Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. brief the press on Tuesday’s fatal collision this afternoon at the Oneonta State Police Barracks. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Heggelke said Matthew All “died from multiple blunt trauma injuries” after his car collided with the sheriff’s department cruiser. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – The 23-year-old killed upon crashing his car head-on into Deputy Sheriff Jim Mateunas’ cruiser in Springfield Center Tuesday afternoon likely did it deliberately,  BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, Troop C, said this afternoon at a joint press conference with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.

Matthew E. All had led state police on a high-speed chase, which ended at the intersection of 20 and 80 when his Buick LaCrosse collided with the sheriff’s 2017 Chevy Tacoma with Mateunas inside.  The impact was so great it sent the cruiser flying at least 200 feet.

All died of “multiple blunt force injuries,” Heggelke said, and both of Mateunas’ legs were broken from the crash.  That it was an SUV with four-wheel drive probably prevented more serious injuries, he said.

Sheriff Devlin said Mateunas is in stable condition at Bassett Hospital, resting comfortably, but “had a long road to recovery.”

To Save Victim’s Family From Ordeal Of A Trial, Truitt Offered Plea Deal

To Save Victim’s Family

From Ordeal Of A Trial,

Truitt Offered Plea Deal

Even So, Arson Suspect Faces 25 To Life

Gabe Truitt

COOPERSTOWN – In county court today, District Attorney John L. Muehl offered Gabriel Truitt, 33, a chance to plead guilty to one of two counts – second-degree murder – in the Dec. 29 arson death in Oneonta of former city firefighter John Heller.

“I offered that on the record,” said Muehl, “to try to save the (Heller) family from going through a trial.”

Truitt faces two count in the fatal Walling Avenue fire:  first-degree murder, which requires a sentence of life without parole, or the second-degree count, which would bring a sentence of 25 to life if Truitt were found guilty, the D.A. said.

Truitt will be back in court July 5, and Muehl said he expects the judge, Brian Burns, will want a decision from the accused at that time.

Main Regatta Leaves Monday From Brookwood



Main Regatta

Leaves Monday

From Brookwood

The four-day 57th General Clinton Regatta – the related carnival and flea market begin today in Bainbridge – will build to a crescendo Monday with the 70-mile endurance races between Brookwood Point, north of Cooperstown, and the finish line 40 miles south in Bainbridge’s General Clinton Park.   The Memorial Day races start at 6 a.m., with the pro-class setting off at 6:30 a.m. This photo, from last year’s race, shows Oneontans Trevor LeFever, front, and Benedict Schlimmer on the Susquehanna River at Emmons, near Fortin Park.  ( photo)
Fingers, Gossage Manage Teams In 11th  HoF Classic

Fingers, Gossage Manage

Teams In 11th HoF Classic

Saturday Game Starts at 1:50 in Doubleday Field;
BASE Race Leaves Doubleday Parking Lot At 9
Goose Gossage high-fives Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark at the start of the 2018 Classic. Tomorrow, Gossage and Rollie Fingers are managing this year’s Classic teams. (Ian Austin/

COOPERSTOWN – The first pitch of the 11th Hall of Fame Classic Legends Game, bringing six Hall of Famers and other MLB stars to town,  will be thrown at 1:05 p.m. Saturday (tomorrow) in Doubleday Field.

Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage will manage their respective teams, while Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell will lend a hand in the dugout and in the coach’s boxes.

Tan Van Sought After Cooperstown Hit, Run

Tan Van Sought After

Cooperstown Hit, Run

Bystanders said a tan van was being sought after a collision at 6 p.m. this evening at the intersection of Susquehanna and Beaver in front of Bassett Hall. The driver of the maroon Ford, in photo, that was hit broadside by the van was inside the Cooperstown EMT ambulance being checked, but his parents, standing outside, said he seemed to be uninjured. They said both drivers were trying to signal each other to take the right-of-way at the four-way stop; the Ford then moved into the intersection, but so did the van, driving by a female, which struck the Ford, denting the passenger side and setting off the front and back seat airbags.  Behind the car, Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman confers with fire and police officials at the scene.  (Jim Kevlin/
John L. Tophoven, 48; Houston-Based Construction Manager

IN MEMORIAM: John L. Tophoven, 48;

Houston-Based Construction Manager

WEST EDMESTON – John LeGrand Tophoven, 48, formerly of West Edmeston, a project manager for a Houston, Texas, construction company, passed away unexpectedly on Monday May 20, 2019 in Houston.

John was born on Dec. 7, 1970, in Utica, the son of Anthony and Ida Mae Sweet Tophoven.

John graduated with the Edmeston Central School, Class of 1989, and in 1993 from Utica College with a B.S. in Business and Marketing. While at Utica College, John enjoyed playing lacrosse.

Middle School Principal Will Fill Brindley Position

Yelich Retirement Sets Off Shuffle

Middle School Principal

Will Fill Brindley Position

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Coleen Moore at tonight’s meeting. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – Oneonta Middle School Principal Coleen Moore is being promoted to district director of Curriculum & Instruction, succeeding Tom Brindley who will become superintendent July 1, School Board President Bill Gau announced at tonight’s board meeting.

The current superintendent, Joseph Yelich, will retire on June 30, setting the changes in motion..

“I just want to say how appreciative and fortunate we are,” Brindley said the Moore’s promotion. “She has a level of expertise that will serve the district many years to come.  Congratulations.”

Moore has worked for the district for over 20 years.  She started as a student assistant teacher, taught sixth grade, worked as a library media specialist, and became the middle school’s principal in 2015.

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