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

First UM Votes No On ‘Traditional Plan’


First UM Votes No

On ‘Traditional Plan’

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Members of Oneonta’s First United Methodist congregation tonight approved a “We Refuse” resolution that rejects the United Methodist Church’s reaffirmation of prohibitions against gay marriage and gay pastors.

The “We Refuse” resolution says the “Traditional Plan,” approved, 53 percent to 47 percent, at the UMC’s General Conference last February in St. Louis, is “incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone.”

From Deadly Arson, To Deadly Garments

From Deadly Arson,

To Deadly Garments

Front breaking news – Gabriel Truitt arrested in the Dec. 29 fatal first on Walling Avenue – to feature stories – a SUNY professor and his student raising the alarm on the dangers posed by the garments you wear – this week’s editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta contains a wide range of offerings. That includes the latest about OH-Fest cancellation of Rapper Sean Kingston’s concert and the ramifications on campus. Both newspapers are on newsstands around Otsego County this afternoon.
Chobani Doubles Grant Dollars for SC New York Economic Development

Chobani Doubles Grants

To Underwrite ‘Big Ideas,’

Bring Jobs To CNY Region

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

WEST EDMESTON – Chobani has doubled its “impact fund” from $100,000 to $200,000 to award Central New York organizations that propose “big ideas” that “strengthen local economies…right at home,” a company spokesperson announced in a press release.

The company created a Community Impact Fund in 2018 for ideas to  “help expand economic opportunity and promote entrepreneurship in the regions where our employees live and work” – Otsego, Delaware, Chenango and Madison and Otsego counties.

Boys, Welcome To Baseball Mecca – Have A Joint


Boys, Welcome

To Baseball Mecca

– Have A Joint

The other day in downtown Cooperstown, a kitchen worker stepped out onto Main Street’s sidewalk in the middle of the day, lit a joint, took a few tokes and went back to work.

Just what we need: An American Needle “Male High” snapback baseball cap.

You might think, get used to it.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Legalization of marijuana, which the ascendant Democratic majorities in the state Legislature and Governor Cuomo expected to become law in January, has foundered over a number of issues.

When trouble arose, the governor’s fallback plan was to include legalization in the FY20 state budget that passed April 1.

A state budget is a cloak for a myriad of controversial issues.  The single budget vote, required by April 1 under the state Constitution, gives assemblymen and state senators deniability if constituents try to make them accountable on any single issue – like, say, legalizing pot.

Hartwick E-Hub Students Share Experiences With Rotary


Hartwick E-Hub Students

Share ‘Liberal Arts In Action’

Rotarian (and Hartwick College president) Margaret L. Drugovich, above, introduces Hartwick students Allison Taft and Taylor Diepold, who spoke at today’s the Oneonta Rotary Club luncheon at The Elks Club.   Each Thursday this month, Hartwick is providing luncheon speakers to the local club.   Today’s topic was the “E-Hub Experience: Liberal Arts in Action” initiative.  Economics Professor Kristen Jones, at left,  explains how uncertainties in the future of the workforce led the college to develop the program, which helps students apply liberal arts training to hands-on problem solving.   Allison Taft spoke of the Applied Theater segment:  for instance, acting students are helping train nursing students by portraying patients’ ailments more realistically; in turn, the program helps the fledgling actors sharpen their skills.   Taylor Diepold described the development of an Agricultural Distribution Model to help local farmers get their produce to market. (Ian Austin/

RSS Housing Project Not Right For Oneonta
from Danny Lapin

RSS Housing Project

Not Right For Oneonta

To the Editor:

The proposed housing project by Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS) of Altamont in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward is a flawed development. RSS wants taxpayers to pay for it; they trying to circumvent public input and they’re using strong-arm tactics to get approval to start construction.

Therefore, I oppose it.

RSS wants to build a 64-unit project for low- and moderate-income people that will include 14 apartments reserved for individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. Subsidized rents will range from $520 to $1,067, well below market rates for Oneonta.

Underage Drinking Initiative Checks 13 Shops, All Compliant

Underage Drinking Initiative

Checks 13 Shops, All Compliant

SIDNEY – Troop C’s Underage Drinking Initiative is commending 13 stores, 12 in Chenango County and one in Otsego, found in compliance during a two-county check conducted Friday.

The Otsego store was Mirabito Convenience Store, 81 South Broad St., Morris.

The other 12 stores included nine in Norwich and three in Sherburne.   Five were Mirabitos and the others were with various companies.

Fox Debuts Fantasy-Romance Novel At Green Toad

Fox Debuts Fantasy-Romance

 Novel At Green Toad

Amanda Fox, right, reads a passage from her new fantasy-romance novel “Rogue Fate” to friend Jess Brown, mother Donna Conrad, dad Gary and brother Scott, seen above, at the Green Toad on Saturday afternoon where she was signing copies. The book, the first book in The Rogue series, was released in January and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kabo as an ebook, and an audiobook. Fox is currently working on the sequel “Dragon’s Scars”. More info on Fox and her books can be found at (Ian Austin/


We Must Decide

If We Want Them Here



County Board Must Give OK To Pot Stores

You can smoke it in Otsego County if marijuana is legalized – but can you sell it?
Legislation now being considered in Albany would legalize use of recreational marijuana statewide, but individual counties must decide whether dispensaries would be permitted to sell pot.
If such dispensaries were approved, the City of Oneonta, towns and village would be able to decide where they are allowed, when they can be open, and other aspects of their operation.
Otsego County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, a new member of the state Association of Counties’s board, got a crash-course on legal pot’s prospective complexities at NYSAC’s 2019 Legislative Conference at the end of January.

PRESIDENTS & Otsego County

PRESIDENTS & Otsego County


FDR IN VAN HORNESVILLE: In 1931, GE President Owen D. Young, then the presumptive nominee for the Democrat nomination for President in 1932, invited New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt to the dedication of the school in Van Hornesville that bears Young’s name. By 1932, FDR had outstripped Young for the Democratic nod, and went on to be elected President four times.

STILL NO TRUMP: Another year has gone by, but the current sitting president, Donald Trump, has still to make it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame or Otsego County generally. Surprising, given that, according to some reports, he was scouted for the Phillies and the Red Sox on graduating from high school, choosing to go to college and into his dad’s real-estate business instead.

HE DIDN’T SLEEP HERE: George Washington visited Otsego Lake’s outlet in 1783 to view where General Clinton blew up the dam that allowed his army aboard bateaux to surprise the Iroquois at Oquaga (Afton), disperse the tribe and open the way for New Englanders to settle Otsego County after the American Revolution. After a gala at Swanwick, the lakeside mansion, he reportedly rode on the Fort Plain that night.

It’s said Congressman George Fairchild hosted Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft at different times at
his mansion at Main Street and Grand Avenue, Oneonta, now the Masonic Temple. Fairchild, publisher of the Oneonta Herald, would later be first chairman of IBM.

The past three sitting presidents, Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all visited the Baseball Hall of Fame at some point, Obama while he was still in office.

Delhi Culinary Earns Top Honors At Chili Bowl

Delhi Culinary Earns

Top Chili Bowl Honors

More people voted in this year’s 15th annual Chili Bowl in Oneonta than at any other in the history of the event. Guests and chefs waited in suspense for over an hour as CANO volunteers and staff sorted through more than 400 ballots, then announced a Caribbean-inspired dish from SUNY Delhi Escoffier Club members Jessica Shultis, Peter Blayne, John Gougoutris and Carly Yezzo, in top photo with CANO President Jim Maloney.  Maloney took both the Fireman’s Award and the People’s Choice Awards for Best Chili. Second place went to the Tulip & Rose of Franklin with The B-Side taking third place.  At right, Kirsten Gargash and daughter Skylar stir up their beef and venison chili before the first guests arrive. (Ian Austin/

The Snow Must Go On!

The Snow Must Go On!

OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley, right, leads Bridgette Hulbert, daughter Vivian, Jack and William Mokay, and Andrew Rock, all of Delhi, and Erin and Kathryn Dailey, both of Oneonta, on a snowshoeing hike at the annual Winter Fest at Gilbert Lake State Park this afternoon. At right, Tami-Lee Volgari, Oneonta, sleds down a hill with her daughter Eama-Lee. Visitors also enjoyed skiing, information sessions on winter camping and survival, as well as a bonfire. The event was hosted by OCCA and Five Star Subaru. (Ian Austin/



HOMETOWN Views and Perspectives

Levels Rising On Reservoir Of Good Will

Bliss Achieves Key Goal:

Collegiality On County Board

Dave Bliss retakes the rostrum after being reelected chair of the county Board of Representatives after his Jan. 2 reelection.

The amiable Dave Bliss, who is entering his second year as chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, patently has achieved his first goal:  A “change of culture” toward a more amiable atmosphere.

“I believe we have a working relationship with departments heads and other board members,” the former 24-year Middlefield town supervisor, a Republican, said in an interview assessing his first year at the helm, and looking ahead to the second.
“Democrats and Republicans are evenly split – we need to work together.”

A case in point surfaced at the county board’s organizational meeting on Jan. 2, where Bliss was reelected by a 12-2 vote.

Each month there’s a consent agenda that lumps together a few dozen routine resolutions so they can be taken care of in one vote – a huge time saver in a usually lengthy meeting.

But any county rep can ask that any resolution be removed for individual debate, as Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, sensibly did in this case on the “Climate Smart Communities Pledge,” which NYSERDA is encouraging local governments to adopt.

Cooperstown And Around

Cooperstown And Around

Both Mayors, Seward Weigh State Of State

By: Ian Austin

Christian Shaefer of Richfield Springs, who mounted a surprise write-in campaign to win a county coroner post in the Nov. 6 election, takes the oath of office Tuesday, Jan 1, at Foothills in Oneonta Ian Austin/The Freeman’s Journal


Christian Shaefer of Richfield Springs, who mounted a surprise write-in campaign to win a county coroner post in the Nov. 6 election, takes the oath of office Tuesday, Jan 1, at Foothills in Oneonta

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and two mayors, Cooperstown’s Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and Oneonta’s Gary Herzig, were due to address the Otsego Chamber’s annual State of the State Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Conference Center. Click for details.

►THE OTSEGO LAND TRUST announced the  donation of a conservation easement on 133 acres of forests, hills, farmland and wetlands in the Town of Oneonta on Friday, Dec. 28..

►A FIRE DESTROYED the Fred A. Roos Jr. house at 264 Geywits Road, Town of Springfield on Friday, Dec. 28, according to Assistant Chief Dale Schulz of the Springfield Center Fire Department. No injuries were reported, but the fire remains under investigation.

►OUTGOING CONGRESSMAN John Faso wouldn’t rule out running for Congress again in 2020 – but wouldn’t rule it in either, he told WAMC President Alan Chartock.

►310 AIRBNB HOSTS in Otsego County each earned about $5,900 in supplementary income in 2018, the company announced at year’s end.


Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103