News of Otsego County

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

otsego county news

No Choice, Light Vote At Cooperstown Polls

No Choice, Light Vote

At Cooperstown Polls

Ellen Pope prepares to cast her ballot shortly at 1 p.m. today in Cooperstown’s village election, where three Democrats – incumbents Richard Sternberg and Jeanne Dewey and newcomer MacGuire Benton – are running for three seats. Pope’s was the 17th ballot cast in the first hour, with Linda and Walter Franck casting 18 and 19. The polls are open in most county villages until 9 p.m. (Jim Kevlin/
Orpheus Readies For’Damn Yankees’ At Foothills

In 1st Full Production

At Foothills, Orpheus

Readies For ‘Yankees’

Sue Jarema, Schenevus, Jeff Moore, Oneonta, Doug Decker, Oneonta, and Nick Sanna, Schenevus, fake conversation as their wait their turn for their costume parade for “Damn Yankees,” the famed Broadway  musical comedy about a man who makes a deal with the Devil to help his favorite baseball team win the pennant. At left, George Wells (playing Joe Boyd) has a laugh at the oversized wardrobe of Michael Tamburrino, who plays Boyd’s alter-ego Joe Hardy. The show runs March 29, 30 and 31 at the Bettiol Theater at Foothills. Tickets can be purchased at (Ian Austin/

Venerable Spurbeck’s Open After Weeks Of Renovation

Venerable Spurbeck’s Open

After Months Of Renovation

Spurbeck’s Grocery proprietor Mike Swatling, center right, assisted by his aunt, Kristi Swatling, and Ashley Young of Cherry Valley, foreground, takes sandwich orders over the noon hour.  The venerable landmark at Railroad and Leatherstocking opened today after months of extensive interior renovations.  Lining up to be served are Jeremiah Parr, Lucas Busse and Matt Kehoe, who work for BTS, installing fiberoptic cable for Middleburgh Telephone’s new downtown Internet “hotspots.”  Inset, son Royce Swatling, 2, showed up to give dad an attaboy, accompanied by Mike’s wife Carrie.  The new Spurbeck’s has tables and chairs if you want to lunch in, but a similar menu, as well as Palatine Cheese and other products regulars are used to.  A beer cave is being added in the basement.  It’s open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 8 to 3 Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.  (Jim Kevlin /

Stephen J. Allen, 33; New Berlin Carpenter Dies In New Jersey

IN MEMORIAM: Stephen J. Allen, 33;

New Berlin Carpenter Dies In New Jersey

Steve Allen

NEW BERLIN – Stephen “Steve” J. Allen, 33, of New Berlin, a carpenter by trade, passed away unexpectedly while working in New Jersey.

Steve was born on Feb. 8, 1986,  in Lowville, the son of Gerald J. Allen and Tamara Radziewicz Zehr. Steve was pre-deceased by his paternal grandmother Doris Fletcher.

Born in Lowville, Steve spent his first 14 years there before moving to New Berlin. A carpenter by trade, he worked for several local construction companies before starting with Osmose Utilities Services Inc. as a field tech and lineman in January of this year.

Drivers, Beware Of UGOs*

Drivers, Beware Of UGOs*

(*Unidentified Grazing Objects)
With spring, you may have noticed, deer are coming out of the woods and grazing wherever tufts of turf may be found. These five were spotted at dusk last evening at Railroad and Glen, on the campus of Cooperstown’s Cooper Land Apartments. In Oneonta, you can bet deer aplenty have appeared on Bugbee Road. And south of Cherry Valley on 166, and … (Jim Kevlin/
Westville House Gutted As Wind Whips Flames


Westville House Gutted

As Wind Whips Flames

Brisk winds whipped the flames at a house at 2661 County Rte. 35 in the hamlet of Westville, and by the time it was doused, the building was gutted.  The Milford Fire Department took the call at 11:13 a.m., according to Second Asst. Fire Chief Damon West, and when the first truck arrived, fire coming out of two sides of the structure, mostly on the second floor, some on the first.  No one was home, but arrived about an hour into the fire. No injuries reported, although it is believed that some baby chicks and a cat may have perished in the fire.  The frame of the home, owned by Jon and Caleb Edgington, is still standing and intact. Although there is heavy fire damage, several rooms had the doors closed and were undamaged by the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Mutual Aid provided by Cherry Valley, Middlefield, Westford, Schenevus, Cooperstown, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Mount Vision and Laurens, with West Laurens and Oneonta on standby.  Milford firefighters were at the scene until almost 5 p.m.

Clinton J. Hall Sr., 87; Marine, Gilbertsville Central School Retiree

IN MEMORIAM: Clinton J. Hall Sr., 87;

Marine, Gilbertsville Central School Retiree

Clinton J. Hall Sr.

GILBERTSVILLE – Clinton J. Hall Sr., 87, a Marine who retired from Gilbertsville Central School District as maintenance supervisor, passed away on March 15, 2019, at Chase Nursing Home.

Born in Westfield, N.J., he was the son of Catherine McGough and Clinton Hall.  He married Laura F. Winton on Aug. 22, 1953. They enjoyed 65 years of wedded bliss.

State Champs Welcomed By Adoring Crowd




Hawkeyes’ Team First To Win

NY Hoop Title For Cooperstown

CCS Hawkeye Ben Tafuro, Kyle Myer, Spencer Lewis and Ryan Burns (top photo) share cheers with enthusiastic fans – there may have been up to 1,000 – who gathered around the flagpole at Main and Pioneer a half-hour ago to welcome home the team that’s won the first-ever state basketball title for Cooperstown.  On the aerial ladder behind the Cooperstown Fire Department’s 1952 vintage Mack firetruck, (center photo) a gleeful Noah Lifgren is flanked by MVP Jack Lambert, left, and Kyle Santello, right, bearing trophies from their win.  Coach John Lambert (lower photo) gets off the school bus from Binghamton in the Blue Lot and and hugs Fire Chief Jim Tallman, right, and Village Police Officer Terrell Silvera.  (Jim Kevlin/




Hawkeyes captain Jack Lambert drives past Jaheim Virgil of the Middle Early College Kats during the Boys Basketball Class C Championship at the Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Binghamton this afternoon. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

John Kennedy of the Cooperstown Hawkeyes goes for a basket against Traemelle Stevens-Richardson, Anthony Smith and Jamond Jones of the Middle Early College Kats.

BINGHAMTON – Hot on the heels of yesterday’s triple-overtime win against Greenport, the Hawkeyes made their 71-61 championship game against the Middle Early College Kats look easy, seizing a 10-point lead early on and never letting up.

“A game like yesterday can drain you emotionally, but when I got on the bus this morning and saw them I knew they were ready,” said Coach John Lambert.

“The energy from winning yesterday really carried over to today,” said sophomore John Kennedy. The 6-foot-8 team newcomer, who  brought out plenty of cheers from the packed stands.

Littlest Dancer Charms At St. Patrick’s Luncheon

Littlest Dancer Charms

At St. Patrick’s Luncheon

The littlest dancer, Ava Salzman, 7, of South Hartwick, performing with the Iona Troupe, charmed the crowd at the St. Patrick’s Day luncheon that followed Sunday mass at Christ Episcopal Church in Cooperstown at noon today.  The full range of St. Patty’s cuisine was available, including two types of corned beef, one steeped in Fly Creek Cider Mill cider, according to chef Bill Waller.  Inset, Ava receives congratulations from her brother Henry, 7 months, who is in mom Amanda’s arms.  (Jim Kevlin/

Fly Creek Philharmonic Again Packs The House

THEME: ‘Water, Water Everywhere’

Fly Creek Philharmonic

Again Packs The House

As emcee Chris Kjolhede put it, tonight’s annual Fly Creek Philharmonic performance, “Water, Water Everywhere,” was “the hottest ticket in town – except for the Cooperstown boys’ basketball team,” and – as always happens – it packed the Fly Creek United Methodist Church. In top photo, the chorus performs “Under the Sea”; front, from left, are Julie Huntsman, Scottie Baker, Celeste Johns, Judy Grin, Joelle LaChance, Sharon Rankins-Burd, Ellen Tillapaugh and Vicki Gates.  Inset left, “Singing in the Bathtub” featured, from left, Gary Kuch, Bill Hughes and Tom Huntsman.  The two-hour performance began with the traditional “Down in the River to Pray,” and ended with “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and a standing ovation.  “Kids” in the troupe included Evelyn Baldo, Kayleigh Butler, Avery Croft, Paul Crowell, Lucy Hayes, Clara Pokorny and Creighton Williams.  Music by Ron Johnson, Tim Peters and Lorna Wilhelm.  (Jim Kevlin/

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