News of Otsego County

Otsego County

Vote411 guide returns for primaries

Learn about candidates through Vote411

State’s first primary is June 28

With early voting in New York’s primary underway through Sunday, June 26, voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, June 28, to decide their party’s choice for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor.

Democrats vying for the governor include incumbent Kathy Hochul, Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The race for lieutenant governor is a separate ballot line in the election; incumbent Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado faces a challenge from activist Ana Maria Archila and former New York City Council member Diana Reyna. There is no Republican Party primary for lieutenant governor.

The League of Women Voters of Cooperstown and the League of Women Voters of Oneonta have updated their electronic voter guide – Vote 411 – with biographical details and responses to questions posed by the League to each candidate. To review the guide, visit, where New Yorkers simply enter their addresses to read who is running and compare the candidates’ information. Voters also can print a customized sample ballot and find their polling place.

Candidates who have not submitted information to the League are listed with “Candidate Has Not Responded;” their responses will be posted as soon as candidates provide the information.

““New York state has a closed primary, which means only those registered in a recognized party may vote. In Otsego County, voters will be choosing the Republican and Democratic party candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” said Patty MacLeish, Co-President of the LWV of the Cooperstown Area.  “Using VOTE411, voters can learn from the candidates in their own words about their positions.”

Polls are open on Election Day, June 28, from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Early voting continues through Sunday, June 26, at two sites: Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta, and Meadows Office Complex, 140 County Highway 33W, Cooperstown. Early voting hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., except Thursday, June 23, when the hours are noon until 8 p.m.

For more information about the primary elections in Otsego County, visit the Otsego County Board of Elections (

Federal funding available for housing, food

Otsego County has federal funds for housing, food programs

Otsego County has received nearly $14,000 in funding from the federal Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program for local agencies providing food and housing and will work with a local board of religious and health and human service agencies to award and distribute the grant.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive the funds must: 1) be private, voluntary nonprofits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capacity to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board.

Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. Public and private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program Funds must contact Patricia Leonard at the Family Service Association, or (607) 432-2870 for an application.

Applications must be received via email by June 27, 2022 at 4 p.m.

Mayors meet to market

Cooperstown, Oneonta mayors spearhead ‘corridor’ marketing campaign

Village of Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and City of Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek

The mayors of Cooperstown and Oneonta opted to take regional economic and cultural development into their own hands this month with the debut of a project they’re calling “The Cooperstown Corridor,” highlighting what they see as reasons businesses and people would want to relocate in Otsego County.

“Clearly Cooperstown has name and brand recognition all over the world,” Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek said in a discussion with The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta. “When we’re talking to people about bringing their businesses here or moving here, they like to know about Cooperstown and our connection to the village.”

“Think of all the people who come to Cooperstown All-Star Village,” he said. “We want to get them while they’re here. Find out about our main streets. See what that short drive between Oneonta and Cooperstown has to offer.”

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh agrees, as evidenced by her longstanding observation that businesses and localities throughout the county benefit from the ‘Cooperstown’ brand.

Hey hey we’re the Monkeypox

Hey, hey — we’re the Monkeypox

Commentary by Ted Potrikus

Full disclosure: I’m finding it challenging to give any gravity to something called “monkeypox.” It sounds like a vintage video game, like “Donkey Kong,” and I half-expect the symptoms to include an uncontrollable urge for a banana. I don’t want to think about monkeys being anything that carry a nasty Pox that apparently can do some pretty ugly damage to those who contract it.

Says the Associated Press: “Monkeypox typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. In Africa, people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals, and it does not usually spread easily among people.”

At least there’s that. I shouldn’t be glib about it. We’re starting to hear the vague warnings that we had better prepare ourselves for all things monkey and/or pox. Get our go-bags packed up and ready to go. The second coming of the vicious gangs of murder hornets that were supposed to descend on us two summers ago. But didn’t.

A public buffeted by COVID guidance, mandates, warnings, cautioned – however well-intentioned and however accurate – looks to be generally done with it. Otsego County has seen an increase in the number of cases of late, enough so that we’re currently in the CDC’s “high” community level designation, so the CDC recommends that we “wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status.”

A random, non-scientific walk around Cooperstown and Oneonta, though, finds that compliance with that red-level recommendation is pretty much hit-or-miss these days, a mandate-weary public

In Memoriam Arnold L. McLean Jr., 61 March 13, 1961 – May 10, 2022

In Memoriam

Arnold L. McLean Jr., 61

March 13, 1961 – May 10, 2022

Arnold L. McLean Jr.

COOPERSTOWN – Arnold “Arnie” L McLean Jr, 61, died unexpectedly, at his home Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

He was born March 13, 1961 in New Berlin, NY to Arnold “Cork” and Dorothy “Dot” McLean.

He was a friend to all and will be missed for his exceptional sense of humor, as well as his willingness to help anyone in need.  He lived life with a strong determination, overcoming many health obstacles to the amazement of his physicians.

A lifelong resident of Otsego County, he first worked with his Dad at Phillips Lumber Company in Hartwick, helped with the family logging business and worked with many area contractors before starting his own excavating business known as ARNIE’S MINI EXCAVATOR in 1999.

EDITORIAL: ‘Yes’ on budget votes


‘Yes’ on budget votes

New York State annually reserves the third Tuesday of May for voters to cast their ballots on local school district budgets and board of education seats. It’s an important opportunity for the community to participate in
shaping local education policy, and we urge all eligible voters to take a few minutes and do so on May 17.

We urge readers to visit the website of their local school district — each has a good description and analysis of the budgets up for the May 17 vote along with the details of when and where the vote will take place.

In addition, we urge voters to support school budgets as proposed in each of the county’s local school districts. These aren’t spendthrift plans — in each case, district leaders navigate the rough seas of local demands and state mandates with an eye toward minimizing the school taxes property owners must pay. The programs these budgets support are essential to every student’s education — academic, athletic, artistic, vocational — each is a vital part of the comprehensive tool boxes that today’s world demands. The teachers and staff whom these budgets support are essential, too, of course — called out correctly as among the heroes of the pandemic and beyond, and deserving of our unified support.

Foundation grant boosts Farm Friends Program capabilities

Foundation grant boosts
Farm Friends Program capabilities

Stacie Haynes, Executive Director of the Susquehanna SPCA, has a frank discussion with a rescued pig in the back of a van.

Thanks to a grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, Otsego County’s only farm animal rescue program is poised to take things to the next level.

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) Farm Friends Program began as an offshoot of the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, an ongoing partnership between the SQSPCA, the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and local veterinarians since 2019.

The SQSPCA hosts an animal cruelty hotline, assists with cruelty investigations, and houses and/or finds temporary housing for animals that have been seized from cruelty situations.

The Farm Friends Program and its “Here To Help Hotline” were established in January of 2021 to prevent hardship from escalating to cruelty.

“After two years of patchwork solutions to address an ever-increasing number of situations involving farm animals, we began to analyze our farm animal cruelty data to develop a more proactive approach. It became clear that we — the SQSPCA — are receiving these cruelty calls because there are simply no farm animal rescue or farm relief organizations in this rural and low-income region,” explained SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

This Week – 04-28-22
Winter Storm Prompts Opening Of 2 Overnight Shelters

Winter Storm Prompts
Opening Of 2 Overnight Shelters

With ongoing power outages affecting the County, the Office of Emergency Services, in cooperation with the American Red Cross, Clark Sports Center, and the City of Oneonta,  is opening 2 Emergency Shelters to accommodate residents who are without power. They are set to open at 8 this evening.

The South Otsego County Shelter will be located at the Oneonta Armory, 4 Academy St. in the City of Oneonta.

The North Otsego County Shelter will be at the Clark Sports Center, 124 Co. Hwy. 52, Cooperstown.

Neither facility will be able to accommodate pets.

In addition, SUNY Oneonta is working on accommodations for both SUNY students at the Alumni fieldhouse on SUNY Oneonta campus.

The county will be distributing water and dry ice later this evening.

Currently, over 18,000 Otsego County residents are without power across the NYSEG, REA, and National Grid networks with these outages potentially lasting for up to 72-hours according to a press release from Otsego County Office of Emergency Services.

Multiple Power Outages Following April Snowstorm

Multiple Power Outages
Following April Snowstorm

Officer Ross and Corporal Hellman in their police cruiser display the current map of power outages in Otsego County.

Multiple power outages have been reported through out Otsego County due to Monday nights snow storm. The heavy and wet snow of this spring storm has brought down many tree branches through out the county, several in the Village of Cooperstown where Chestnut Street remains closed to traffic.

There is not a current number on how many power lines were impacted by the storm according to Corporal Hellman of the Cooperstown Village Police Department. NYSEG lists 13,303 customers as being without power as of 2:05 p.m. today (Tuesday, April 19). Get the updated number by clicking HERE.

Corporal Hellman said ‘there is no discernable timeline as of yet to when power will be restored.’

State budget recap

Gas tax holiday, drinks-to-go, volunteer fire department aid in state’s $220 billion budget

Drivers in New York will enjoy at least a partial break from the state’s gasoline tax beginning June 1.

The state’s new budget knocks 16 cents off the price of a gallon of unleaded or diesel gasoline between June 1 and December 31. It’s part of a $220 billion budget New York’s state Legislature approved April 7 and 8.

Governor Kathy Hochul urged county governments across the state to follow suit and suspend local sales taxes on gasoline over the same period. Counties currently are allowed to cap their local sales tax at 8 cents or 12 cents per gallon, the budget provides a new option to cap the tax at 16 cents, as well.

Otsego County’s sales tax rate on gasoline currently stands at four percent per gallon, accounting for some 8 – 10 percent of the county’s total sales tax revenue according to the New York State Association of Counties.

Spring Octet Challenge

Springtime means new Octet Challenge!

You might need your good mud boots, but it’s time to get out there to hike Otsego County!

After more than 150 people signed up for its Winter Challenge, Otsego Outdoors is offering its first-ever Spring Octet Challenge – featuring trails, paddling, and pedaling throughout the county.

“This Challenge encourages all of us to embrace all that an Otsego County spring has to offer,” said Peg Odell, program and communications manager for Otsego 2000. “Along with snow, rain, sun, and mud, there will be spring peepers, wildflowers, and new growth.”

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful

Editorial: March 31, 2022

In the beautiful 1979 movie “Being There,” Peter Sellers portrays a gentle and illiterate gardener who implausibly becomes a national sensation in a world gone wrong amid deep recession and winter malaise. A talk show host asks him for his outlook on the nation’s economic future. He pauses for a moment and says, “In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”

Spring is coming. Amid worldwide havoc, and thanks to the generosity of the good people of Otsego County, there are reasons to be cheerful. Look no further than the outpouring of local support for the people of Ukraine.

The Rusty Bison ran out of spaghetti and meatballs at its March 23 pay-what-you-will event and raised more than $5,000 to send directly to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees with clothes, food, shelter, and finding jobs; the restaurant owners look to raise more on April 1 at 6 p.m. with an Open Mic and Dance Party at The Telegraph School in Cherry Valley.

Students in Edmeston Central School raided their piggy banks to raise nearly $4,000 to partner with the Village’s Rotary Club to support Ukraine.

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raised more than $10,000 – double its goal – on behalf of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a group with “boots on the ground” in Ukraine and Poland. SQSPCA’a indefatigable Stacie Haynes said “people are risking their lives right now to ensure animals left in shelters are cared for and pets are transported with families to safety.” So important.

Ukraine’s flag flies over Village Hall in Cooperstown and the Village welcomed Aliona Yezhova and her son to raise awareness; Ms. Yezhova continues her efforts to raise donations of money and goods to send home to help her fellow Ukrainians.

Your generosity goes beyond help for Ukraine, of course — we note, for example, the students at Milford Central also emptied their pockets in a change challenge to raise money for Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans; the Leatherstocking Credit Union waived its coin-counter fees to the Milford and Edmeston schools to maximize the students’ contributions. Lenten food drives. The Lions’ Club teaming up with Otsego 2000 to help connect people to fresh food at the Farmers’ Market in Cooperstown.

The danger inherent to publishing a list like that is that we’re bound to omit the good works of other people and groups who are working just as fervently, so — we apologize in advance for not naming all of you but are just as grateful for your ongoing selflessness.

Otsego County’s traditions of local, regional, and international philanthropy take root in Edward Clark’s deep devotion to the region that continues today through the Scriven and Clark foundations. We’re rooted, too, in our own devotion to the fundamental threads that make every village, town, and city unique yet united.

Spring is coming. Major League Baseball ended its lockout and Opening Day is here. The covers are just about to come off the parking meters. Pretty soon, we’ll all be sweeping the pollen off our windshields instead of scraping off the ice.

In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

This Week – 03-17-22
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