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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BOUND VOLUMES: June 25, 2020


June 25, 2020


A new Republic appears to be rising in South America, at Caracas, including a vast territory and a population nearly equal to that of the United States in 1776, to the government of which, the people and their leaders are strongly attached. Should they succeed in becoming independent, they will be the second Republic on the globe, as, until this event the United States are not only the first, but the only republic on earth.

June 23, 1810


Newspapers – The man who takes no newspaper cannot reasonably expect to occupy a very high station in society.  How can he expect to know what is passing in the world, what mankind is about, and what he ought to occupy himself about, unless he has access to those chronicles of the times, which disseminate intelligence, and herald in due form all earthly Monarchs, to the birth of Mrs. John Smith’s twins – from the conquest of empires to the capture of a hummingbird? How can a man expect to rank equal with the best, unless he takes a newspaper?

June 29, 1840


Few men in this county are more widely known throughout the State than George Clarke of Hyde, Otsego County, and none have more marked personal peculiarities. Favors may be obtained of him; he has the reputation of being kind and indulgent to good tenants, though not inclined toward many improvements; but it is questionable whether his opinions or actions are influenced by any one; in politics an independent; a good conversationalist; educated well and well read; fond of music and the drama; caring nothing for everyday personal appearance, yet thoroughly at home in the drawing room. With an immense landed estate – much of it very valuable, extending over several counties in this state – which we think he could close up in his lifetime, meet all obligations, and retire on not less than a million and a half of dollars. He will run an expensive lawsuit if crowded for money as long as he can, or till he gets ready to pay, sooner than sell a valuable town lot or farm – because his income exceeds his expenses. On his farms are over 100 acres of hops. Mr. Clarke is about 63 years of age, is a hard worker, and wastes little vitality on fret or worry.

June 23, 1885


Cooperstown Topics – Judge L.J. Arnold, Harold T. Basinger, C.R. Hartson, and Wm. Macdonald danced a jig on the four corners Wednesday morning. The cause of it was the Fenimore Farm Milk Wagon, which was running away up Pioneer Street. Upon seeing the terpsichorean efforts of the
gentlemen above mentioned the horse stopped before any damage was done.

June 25, 1910


Carl Sandburg, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in history, will give an address July 4th in Cooperstown at the Dedication of the Hall of Life Mask in the Museum of the New York State Historical Association. The dedication of the Hall of Life Masks will have patriotic significance as the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, is represented in the collection by a remarkable mask for which he sat at the age of 82.

June 26, 1940


On Thursday, June 16, about 54 parents and younger brothers and sisters of the 31 Kindergarteners in Mrs. Rutledge Manchester’s room were entertained at a play day. The children presented a circus in which they demonstrated many of the songs and rhythm games which they have learned this year. The “Circus McGercus,” as it was called, was complete with a ring, a band, wild animals, tight rope acts, and refreshments. Mrs. Manchester was ringmaster. Taking part as galloping horses were Charles Jennings, Mark Butler, Jimmy Robinson, Billy Snoad, Richard Weland, Craig Phillips, John Cook and Michael
Kraham. High-stepping horses were Michael Mondore, Danny Dodge, Danny DeSena, Randy Selan, Michael Frey, David Wilfeard, Danny Coons, Charles Ainslie and Michael Kraham. Bareback riders were Kathy St. John, Randy Selan and John Cook. Elephants were Peggy Norwood, Aleyne McRorie. Shelly Schallert, Teresa Petrucco, Patty Larbig, Barbara Mahlum, Melody Williams, Susan Walrath, Peggy Rees, Karen Bozosi, Cheryl Newell, Kathy St. John and Patty Weir.

June 22, 1960


Portable signs became an official part of Cooperstown Monday night, following a packed public hearing on a proposed amendment to the sign ordinance. The village board voted 4-2 with one abstention to pass the amendment and quiet a controversy that had reverberated through the community for almost a year. The amendment goes into effect immediately, Mayor Bill Purcell said. The village planning board was to begin defining the amendment and possibly begin hearing requests from business people at its meeting on Tuesday, June 25. The amendment allows the signs from May 1 to October 15 from 7 a.m. to sunset when the businesses are open. Proper papers and a sign permit approved by the planning board must be obtained before a business can display a portable sign. Trustees Bill Burnett, Gerald Wilson, Tom Malone and Mayor Purcell voted yes; Pam Washburn and Stu Taugher voted no. John Mitchell abstained.

June 26, 1985


The provisions of a new dress code for students at Cooperstown Central School include the following: “Shirts may not be off the shoulder, sheer, nor low-cut; shirts worn outside the waistband must be of sufficient length that no flesh is exposed when the student fully extends one arm above the head.” Long-slung pants “exposing underwear” are outlawed as are “holes, rips or tears” in “inappropriate places.”

June 24, 2005


When Price Chopper opens its doors in Cooperstown Tuesday, June 29, it plans to have produce from at least one local farmer on its shelves. Gaia’s Breath Farm, Jordanville, was expecting Price Chopper inspectors at his farm Thursday, June 24, the last step to supplying the 127-store grocery chain – Cooperstown’s will be 128 – with locally grown food.

June 25, 2010

Hartwick College Aims To Open

Hartwick College

To Open This Fall

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

A smiling President Drugo- vich breaks the good news in her latest video: The college hopes to welcome students back Aug. 22.

ONEONTA – Hartwick College is serious about reopening this fall – and serious about getting it right.

The key to success is a safe campus. The tool to achieve it is “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College,” which college President Margaret L. Drugovich announced in her latest weekly video to the campus community, Sunday, June 21, and is central to the reopening plan submitted to the State of New York.

All students returning to campus Aug. 22, as well as faculty, staff and anyone working on Oyaron Hill, will have to review the Compact and sign it. Classes are due to begin Aug. 31.

“We believe (the Compact) is enforceable, we believe that individuals who refuse to agree – whether a student, employee or individual who refuses to adhere – they can’t be on our campus,” Drugovich said in an interview. “We just don’t think individuals have the right to put other people at risk.”

The community is advised “that you will adhere – to markings on the floor, to daily screenings, to masks in the presence of others, to reduced density rules. You will be refused access to campus if you have symptoms. This is what we need to do to minimize the spread,” she said. “We feel we have a right to do so, and we’re going to exercise that right.”

Governor Cuomo’s Reopening New York website posted “Higher Education Guidelines” late Saturday, June 20, and Drugovich advised the campus community that Hartwick’s reopening plan has been submitted to Albany. She said more details will be forthcoming, perhaps as soon as her Sunday, June 28, video.

Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta’s 8,000 students are cornerstones of the local economy, so their plans are of intense local interest in some quarters. While Hartwick is sharing its reopening plans, SUNY Oneonta is apparently prohibited from doing so. “We are not at liberty to say what that is until we receive approval from SUNY,” said spokesperson Kim MacLeod.

Hartwick’s decision didn’t just happen, Drugovich said. It grew out of her creation of a “strategic response team,” convened March 3, 10 days before Cuomo’s emergency declaration.

Key administrators and faculty members, as well as vendors that operate the dining halls and provide other services, have been meeting twice a week since then, “making decisions on what we need to do. First, to close and go to remote instruction; and every significant decision we’ve made since then.”

Drugovich also convenes weekly Zoom conversations, open to all employees, and “145 people show up every week.” In them, “I bring people up to date with what is true,” but “we spend most of the time talking about people’s concerns. I keep people informed, so they can leave and think for themselves, and decide for themselves.”

In early May, Drugovich convened 15 “problem-set groups,” involving more than 100 people, “that came together on one of 15 problems.”

“One problem: how to be ready to deliver education, whether or not we’d be able to meet in person,” she said. “Another problem, how to reopen athletics. Another: how to support students who would not be able to return because of COVID but want to continue their educations.

“That ended up being the core of our plan.”

A key “problem” was how to keep people safe. In addition to individual actions contained in the Compact, “we’ve been making major changes in dining. There’s no more self-service. There will be kiosks to order; or students can order their food online.

“We’re going to be limiting foot traffic. We’re going to screen people as they come into buildings … We’ve been able to operate in a certain way for so long: But this has allowed – has required – us to think differently.”

While Hartwick’s plan is one of the early ones to surface, Drugovich said components will be contained in other institutions plans, because “we’ve all been talking to each other.” In her case, as vice chair of the national Council of Independent Colleges.

She declined to comment on what she’s learned about leadership from watching Governor Cuomo, President Trump and others, but observed, “Many leaders are trying to stay isolated and making decisions on their own. It’s making a terrible mistake. You need the insights of colleagues to solve these problems and solve them well.”

Insights obtained from the last few months? For one, the lack of dependable Internet within short distances from campus. One administrator kept going dark during a meeting.

Another, students have always gotten sick; now distance learning will let the college continue to serve them.

IN MEMORIAM: Celeste Brown Thomas, 61; Editor At New York Times


Celeste Brown Thomas, 61;

Editor At New York Times

Celeste Brown Thomas

ONEONTA – Celeste Brown Thomas, 61, retired New York Times staff editor who grew up in Oneonta, passed away June 20, 2020, in Rochester of complications from uterine serous cancer.

She had been treated for the disease, a rare and aggressive cancer, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Rochester since May 2017. She died surrounded by family, after hospice care at home for several weeks.

She was born Nov. 25, 1958, in Sayre, Pa., the eldest of two children of Foster Lloyd Brown, a SUNY Oneonta statistics professor, and Barbara Feather Brown, a music teacher. After attending Bugbee School and Oneonta High School, she graduated with a bachelor’s in English from SUNY New Paltz and later a master’s in English from New York University.

Tightly Structured Timed Ticket Sales Enables Reopening


Tightly Structured

Timed Ticket Sales

Enables Reopening

Rubber-Tipped Stylus One Tool

That Allows Fans Back Into Mecca

The only activity outside 25 Main St. this afternoon was Alexandria Johnson walking her dog, Maggie. That will change at 9 a.m. Friday, when the Hall of Fame reopens from the coronavirus hiatus. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – The timed-admission system is making reopening of the Hall of Fame possible, Jon Shestakofsky, Hall of Fame vice president/communications & education, said this afternoon.

“This way, we’re able to fit within the mandated 25 percent reduced capacity,” which is called for in Governor Cuomo’s NY Forward regulations, he said.

Tickets will be sold in half-hour intervals, with a maximum of 25 people per half hour. “We’re really encouraging people to buy tickets online,” he said. “That way, we don’t have people congregating outside or in the lobby.”

On Main Street, Merchants Greet News From Hall


On Main Street,

Merchants Greet

News From Hall

Even This Late In Season,

More Tourists Can’t Hurt

More tourists are better than fewer, said Will Monie. He said Willis Monie Books Internet business has help cushion the coronavirus blow. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Vin Russo

COOPERSTOWN – At Mickey’s Place, Vin Russo, dean of the baseball merchants, pointed out that, before Dreams Park began hosted baseball tournaments early in the month, “this week is when the season began.”

In other words, the Hall of Fame’s announcement it will reopen this Friday from the coronavirus pause won’t be like recent summer seasons for Main Street’s baseball merchants.  But this used to be typical, and businesses survived, even thrived.

SQSPCA Celebrates Grads With ‘$20.20’ Pet Adoptions

SQSPCA Celebrates Grads

With ‘$20.20’ Pet Adoptions

COOPERSTOWN – In celebration of new grads, the Susquehanna SPCA is offering adoption fees for all cats and dogs up to six years old at just $20.20, through Saturday, June 27.

“The SQSPCA is celebrating our dogs and cats as they, too, prepare to move into the next phase of their lives,” the shelter wrote in a press release. “Some of the shelter’s adoptable pets are looking to join the workforce as a mouser in the home, or as an expert snuggler on the couch. Others hope to expand their knowledge through training and ‘hands-on’ learning.”

Bassett: We Cannot Turn Away Patients Who Refuse To Wear Masks

Bassett Can’t Turn Away

Patients Without Masks

All Must Be Treated, But Visitors,

Staff, All Others Must Don Them

COOPERSTOWN – Though all employees, visitors and vendors are required to wear a mask in Bassett Healthcare facilities, the hospital confirmed that no patient will be denied treatment for refusing to wear a mask.

“It is still the exception that anyone coming to the hospital or clinics refuses to wear a mask,” said Karen Huxtable-Hooker, public relations director. “But Bassett cannot turn away patients who refuse to wear a mask. We must provide treatment and care to all.”

As Expected, Turnout Light In Today’s Primary Election

As Expected, Turnout Light

In Today’s Primary Election

Election Inspector Tom Lyon reviews ballots a few minutes ago at Cooperstown’s polling station in St. Mary’s Church Hall. No one happened to be voting at that moment, and only 71 ballots had been cast so far today, largely due to absentee ballots being sent to all voters. The polls are open until 9 across Otsego County and New York State. Locally and in Oneonta, the only contested race is the Democratic primary for state Assembly, where Oneonta’s Dan Buttermann faces Hamilton’s Corey Mosher. Kyle Van De Water and Ola Hawatme, both from Dutchess County, are vying for the Republican nomination to run against Congressman Antonio Delgado in the 19th District this fall. Joe Biden is expected to win the Democratic presidential primary, but there are 10 other names on the ballot, including Bernie Sanders. (JIm Kevlin/
It’s Time To Revisit Use Of Word ‘Indian’ On Plaques, Statues


It’s Time To Revisit

Use Of Word ‘Indian’

On Plaques, Statues

The Cooperstown Board of Trustees voted to reach out to the state Department of Education to update signage in Council Rock that refers to Native Americans as “Indians.” (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

The Indian Grave marker also needs an update, the trustees said.

COOPERSTOWN – It’s time, Village Trustee MacGuire Benton said, to revise the Indian Grave and two plaques at Council Rock.


“The sign refers to Native Americans as ‘Indians’,” he said during the Village Board meeting this evening. “It’s racially insensitive and incorrect, and it needs to be updated.”

Trustee Richard Sternberg made the motion to reach out to the state Department of Education, which installed the signs as WPA projects in the 1930s, to update the language.

Polls Open Tuesday To Decide 4 Contests

Polls Open Tuesday

To Decide 4 Contests

Presidential, Congress, Assembly

Primary Balloting 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. around Otsego County tomorrow (Tuesday) for the state’s Democratic Presidential Primary, as well as two local Democratic primaries and one Republican primary.

In addition to former Vice President Joe Biden, who experts say has an arithmetical lock on this year’s Democratic presidential nomination, 10 other Democrats who have suspended their campaigns will also appear on the local ballot.

Because of the large number of absentee ballots – for the first time this year, they were mailed to all eligible voters – the results of tomorrow’s voting are not expected to be known for a week, until Tuesday, June 30, according to Lori Lehenbauer, the Republican county elections commissioner.

Within Limits, Bassett Lets Inpatients Have One Visitor At A Time

Within Limits, Bassett

Lets Inpatients Have

One Visitor At A Time

O’Connor Starts Today; Other Hospitals Wednesday

COOPERSTOWN – Beginning this week, one visitor at a time per inpatient will be allowed in Bassett Healthcare Network facilities between noon and 8 p.m. daily.

That’s effective today at O’Connor Hospital, Delhi.  It begins Wednesday at Bassett, Fox, Delhi’s O’Connor, Cobleskill Regional and Little Falls hospitals.

Single COVID-19 Case Reported In Past Week

Single COVID-19 Case

Reported In Past Week

CDC image of the coronavirus

COOPERSTOWN – One new COVID-19 case was reported today in Otsego County, according to county Public Health Director Heidi Bond.

While the numbers keep diminishing, Bond reminded the public the threat is still here. “Please remember to practice social distancing and if you are sick stay home,” she said. “Wear a mask when you are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.”

Giles E. Russell, 86 March 14, 1934-June 17, 2020


Giles E. Russell, 86

March 14, 1934-June 17, 2020

Giles Russell

COOPERSTOWN – Giles E. Russell, 86, of Cooperstown, died on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

Born March 14, 1934, and raised in Eagle Bridge, N.Y., Giles was the son of Giles Sr. and Kathryn (Mahar).

He graduated from RPI in Troy with a degree in electrical engineering in 1955. He was an IBM engineer in Poughkeepsie from 1955 until his retirement in 1991.

1st Hartwick College Students Returning To Campus Aug. 22


Hartwick Plan Aims

To Return Students

To Campus Aug. 22

‘Social Compact’ Will Require

Healthy Community Practices

In a Sunday video, Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich announced students will begin a phased-in return to campus Saturday, Aug. 22, with classes reopening Monday, Aug. 31.  The state issued guidelines for college reopening on Saturday afternoon, she said, and plans are for Hartwick to release its full reopening plan in the next week, to be discussed in detail by the college president in next Sunday’s video.  Part of the opening, she said yesterday, will involve every student signing “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College.”  She continued, “this compact will help each one of us to understand and hold one another accountable for our  commitment to being an educational community.  If we individually make this commitment, we will be able to return to our shared work – together. I know we can do this.  I have confidence in you.”

Family Planning Offers Free HIV Testing

Family Planning Offering

Free HIV Testing This Week

ONEONTA  – Family Planning of South Central New York will offer free rapid HIV testing at their 37 Dietz Street location Monday – Friday, June 22 – 26.

 “It’s all about the power of knowing: knowing your vulnerability, knowing your status and knowing your prevention and treatment options,” Melissa Brennan, Family Planning’s Director of Health Center Operations, said. “Thankfully, getting tested for HIV is quick, easy and confidential.”

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