News of Otsego County

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


Otsego Lake

New Tug Breaks Ice On Otsego Lake


New Tug Breaks

Ice On Otsego Lake

There was a new Bubba on Otsego Lake this afternoon: “Bubba” the Tug Boat, that is, which Lakefront Hotel proprietor Paula Wickoff purchased from Seattle’s harbor last fall and was delivered to the docks at Cooperstown on Thanksgiving Weekend.  Ice-breaking is a spring ritual, to avoid damage to the docks at the Lakefront or Landland Shores; last year, however, the ice was particularly thick, and Paula spent hours on end in an icy, unheated cabin.   Today, “we never cut this much ice in one day,” Wickoff – waving in photo at left – said by phone from Bubba’s cozily heated cabin.  “I couldn’t be more pleased.”   In the background is steel-hulled “Blue,” manned by Joe Lepetich and Brian Murphy, which “cut through the ice like steak,” Wikoff said. “Bubba” then broke the ice into smaller harmless pieces. (Jim Kevlin/

This Nasty Little Parasite Is Meaningful

This Nasty

Little Parasite

Is Meaningful


Parasites. That doesn’t sound good.
But SUNY Oneonta biology professor Florian Reyda says having a variety and plentiful parasites “is a sign of a healthy ecosystem, of biodiversity.”
By that measure, Otsego Lake is quite healthy. Especially now that Margaret Doolin, a student in SUNY’s master of science biology program and one of Reyda’s advisees, had discovered a parasitic

After Decades Breaking Otsego Lake Ice, HEAT!

After Decades

Breaking Otsego Lake

Ice, HEAT!

Watch For ‘Bubba,’ ‘Darling Tug,’ This Spring


Jim Kevlin/ – She’s bundled up against the cold now, but this April Paula Wikoff will be cutting up Otsego’s ice floe from the heated comfort of “Bubba’s” cabin.

COOPERSTOWN – You may have noticed a tug boat, “Bubba,” parked in the snow between the Lakefront Hotel & Restaurant and the lighthouse. There’s a story behind it.

Last April, as her family – beginning with grandfather Alfred Engelmann – has done for 63 years, Lakefront proprietor Paula Wikoff headed out in a 30-foot steel cutter – let’s call it “Blue” – to chop up Otsego Lake’s ice pack before it could break up and damage docks along Cooperstown’s lakeshore.
The ice floe “can be a mile wide. It can be two miles, coming at us,” she explained.
Usually, a warm Southwind is  ‘blowing by then, pushing the ice away from the shore. Last year was another story, she recalled with a shiver, “there was a Northwest wind, 30 miles per hour, that never stopped.”

Winter’s Official: No-Wake Buoys Removed Sunday From Otsego Lake

Winter’s Official: No-Wake Buoys

Removed Sunday From Otsego Lake

SUNY Oneonta undergrads Rachel Zeino and Jeanmarie Russell  completed the seasonal swap of non-wake-zone buoys for winter spar buoys yesterday at Springfield Landing.  They completed the task in snow sleet, rain and hail, Paul Lord, who leads the Biological Field Station diver team, reports.  This was the last no-wake zone buoy on Otsego Lake this year:  The buoy off Lakefront Park in Cooperstown was removed earlier in the day by BFS volunteer diver Pat McCormack and SUNY Oneonta grad student Sarah Coney.  (Paul Lord photos)

Frank J. Kranitz, 92, Richfield; WWII Vet Ran Lake-In-Pines

Frank J. Kranitz, 92, Richfield;

WWII Vet Owned Lake-In-Pines

Frank Kranitz

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Frank Joseph Kranitz, 92, World War II veteran and owner of the Lake-n-Pines Motel on Otsego Lake for many years, passed away peacefully on Monday evening, Nov. 12, 2018, at the Saint Johnsville Rehabilitation Center in Montgomery County.

He was born on Oct. 12, 1926, in Woodside, Queens, son of the late Joseph and Mary Tones Kranitz. Frank was raised in Queens where he graduated high school.

After graduation, he answered the call of his country by enlisting in the Army during World War II.


Golden Hour Photography


PHOTOGRAPHY – 5 – 7 p.m. Take photographs during ‘Golden Hour’ just before sunset with staff member Kevin Gray providing pointers on composition, light, shadow, more. Cost, $17/non-member. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit

COMEDIAN – 9 – 10 p.m. Have a fun night out with bonafide Georgia peach (native) Mia Jackson, who has appeared on Last Comic Standing, NickMom’s Night Out, others. Water Front Room, Hunt Union, SUNY Oneonta. Visit


Explore World Of Fiber


FIBER ARTS FEST – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Explore world of natural fibers through demonstrations, exhibits, hands-on-activities showing how they’re harvested, processed, transformed to wearable, utilitarian, and decorative items. Included with admission, $12/adult. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit

GARLIC FEST – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Features locally grown garlic for planting or cooking. Sample products like cheese, honey, garlic recipes, more from local vendors. Free parking, admission. Sunnycrest Orchards, 7869 St. Rt. 10, Sharon Springs. 518-284-2256 or visit

Fenimore Hosts Art On The Lake

Fenimore Hosts Art On The Lake

Pat Donnelly, Cooperstown, talks with artist Michael McBane about his colorful paintings at the annual Arts On The Lake this afternoon at The Fenimore Art Museum. Works from 21 artists from around the region were on display, ranging from sculpture, to paintings and photography. At right, Linda Tracz, Roseboom, accept her award from Fenimore President Paul D’Ambrosio for the top award in photography. (Ian Austin/


History Echos Across Otsego Lake

From Hyde Hall, History

Echoes Across Otsego Lake

Reenactors from the 125th New York State Infantry, originally recruited out of Troy, fire their muskets during skirmish-line practice at the Civil War weekend on the grounds of Hyde Hall this afternoon. Members include Jacob Manley, Hartwick, John Orlop, Esperance, Bill Johnson, Newark, Rich Manley, Hartwick, Tim Walker, Cooperstown, and Ed Machane, Cropseyville. At right, Tim Walker makes himself a cup of coffee over a bonfire as an afternoon rain settles over their camp. (Ian Austin/


Boat Floats Float On Otsego Lake

Boat Floats Float On Otsego Lake

Cooperstown’s very own cowboys Kian Grady and Landon Collins ride on the front of their family’s pontoon boat, decorated to look like a frontier wagon. Their boat was one of several that was decorated for the fifth annual Independence Day Boat Parade, put on by the Otsego Lake Association. The boats paraded down the west side of the lake from Three Mile Point to the southern end of the lake, in front of Cooperstown’s Lakefront Park, where prizes were awarded to each boat.

This event is always great fun and always brings people together to celebrate the boat parade. The Otsego Lake Association does it every year as a way to get people together and also promote boating to the people watching the parade. Hopefully, the success of this year’s event will get more people interested in getting their own boat. If you’re wondering about buying your own pontoon boat like the one in the picture then take a look on to find out all the amazing things you can do with your boat!

There’s lots of fun that can be had with a pontoon boat, no matter how old you are! It’s worth looking into if you’re curious.

(Parker Fish/

FRANKFORT RUNNER SETS RECORD Race-Lake Marathon Won Under 3 Hours


Race-Lake Marathon

Won Under 3 Hours

At Hubbell’s Cove on West Lake Road, four pals from Brooklyn cheer runners in this morning’s Race The Lake Marathon, sponsored by the Clark Sports Center.  The two Hubbell sisters, Laura, left, and Jennifer are Cooperstown natives, home for the weekend with David Barrionuevo, left, and Hassan Taimur.  Wellwishers were lined up around Otsego Lake, as Cornelius Deep of Frankfort, in right photo, ran the 26-mile marathon in 2:56, 12 minutes better than last year’s winner Peter Buffington’s 3:05.38.  Runners came from 15 states, a record, said Doug McCoy, the Clark’s special events organizer.  Stamford’s Sean O’Connor won the half-marathon, and Laura Batalis, North Reading, Mass., took the 5K, with Cooperstown’s Henry Horvath coming in second.  (Jim Kevlin/


Otsego Lake Marathon


RACE THE LAKE – 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Race around the lake includes classes for 26.2 mile, 13.1 mile, 5K races. All races end together at Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-2800 or visit

KNIT DAY – 1:30 – 3 p.m. Celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day with the HML Yarn Club. Knitters, Crocheters of all skill levels welcome. Huntington Park, Oneonta. Call 607-432-1980 or visit

EDITORIAL: The Right Leader, At The Right Time?

Editorial, May 11, 2018



The Right Leader,
At The Right Time?

From the fields at the end of Graves Road, Cherry Valley, recently acquired by Caleb Wertenbaker’s Glensfoot farm, no human habitation is visible.

People generally recognize Otsego County’s geographic schizophrenia. (Schizophrenic, in the best possible way, of course.)
To the south, there are 10 Interstate exits – 11 if you count Sidney’s – largely undeveloped (except Exits 14-15, at Southside Oneonta), ideal for commerce, manufacturing, distribution and other job-creating uses.
To the north is the pristine Glimmerglass watershed, a national environmental icon, surrounded by pretty hamlets and villages, most of them in sad states of deterioration. (Wouldn’t Westford and Westville, to pick two, be delightful with an influx of young families and new incomes?)
Jobs on the highway. Homes amid lovely hills and valleys. An ideal future to contemplate.

The Otsego Land Trust, which achieved its goal of bringing 10,000 acres under conservation easements by 2010 (a little late, but no matter), is an important piece in achieving the happy equation: When the jobs inevitably arrive (fingers crossed), entities like the Land Trust, it is to be hoped, will have ensured sufficient protections are in place to avoid ruination.
So how nice, on the one hand, is it to reflect on Princeton, N.J., developer Harry Levine’s successful conclusion of 12 years as Land Trust president, and his succession by Caleb Wertenbaker, a ninth-generation member of a family that has tended Glensfoot farm in Cherry Valley since the 1790s. (Currently, Todd Gohde is managing production of certified organic hay there.)
Glensfoot now encompasses some 1,200 acres, and Wertenbaker underscored the importance of the Land Trust’s mission the other day during a walk on rolling hills at the top of Graves Road, the latest 500 acres added to the family’s holdings, now being placed under conservation easement.
At the top of a meadow, less than two miles from busy Route 20, and half that from the Village of Cherry Valley, there was no sign of human habitation in any direction, only fields, forest and blue sky.
“It’s always been here and will always be here,” said Wertenbaker, who since graduating from Oberlin in 1996 has made a living in set design in New York City and Boston, escaping up to these parts whenever he can.


Harry Levine, by all accounts, has been an activist Land Trust president. Foremost, he raised staffing from a sometimes half-time executive director to five professionals, including the latest executive director, Pat Szarpa, about to mark her first anniversary. She served for six years as executive director of the Western New York Land Conservancy, based in East Aurora, the Buffalo suburb, before moving to Cooperstown in 2012.
To the heartfelt thanks of many, Levine and the Land Trust board stepped up and saved Brookwood Gardens, 23 acres on Otsego Lake a mile north of Cooperstown, from falling into private hands and, thus, lost to the public forever. A businessman, though, he was particularly concerned about the P&L.
Making Brookwood financially sustainable requires $25,000-40,000 a year, depending what Land Trust overhead is assigned to it, Wertenbaker said. Shortterm, Levine had lined up a handful of donors to keep Brookwood going.
But it’s no surprise that Szarpa, when asked for her three top priorities, listed Brookwood as one of them. Some of that will be generated by giving a franchise to Brent Baysinger’s Canoe & Kayak Rentals of Portlandville to enable canoe rentals at Brookwood.
Additionally, the northern half of the property, the deteriorating home there razed, the two bridges over Leatherstocking Creek repaired, will soon be reopened, enhancing weddings and other uses on the southside – and, meanwhile, available for birding and other passive uses.
For the Land Trust to flourish, the general public has to care, and Szarpa is working with the national Land Trust Alliance “to create strong images so we can tell our story,” an outreach effort in its early stages. Plus, she is preparing for reaccreditation and taking other steps to make sure the organization is as strong as it might be.
(Plus, expect additions to the “Blueway,” a trail of publicly accessible sites from Deawongo Island in Canadarago Lake to where Oak Creek meets the Susquehanna, (near the site of David “Natty Bumppo” Shipman’s cabin.)

Whereas Levine, out of necessity, took the lead, Wertenbaker inherits a more mature organization, and sees his role as helping the Land Trust work. “I’m not going to be the driver. I’ll play a leadership role, but ‘leading from behind’,” he said. “The day-to-day business is 100 percent in the hands of the staff.”
As a set designer – and, mostly recently, as creative services director for productionglue, a New York City events company – Wertenbaker as manager helps “creative projects and creative people” accomplish their goals, rather than his agenda. “What I want (in the Land Trust) is a group of people to work together on a common goal.”
The right leader at this particular time, wouldn’t you say?

George-Ann Hyde Doty Ryland, 81; Family Built Glimmerglen Estates


George-Ann Hyde Doty Ryland, 81;

Family Built Glimmerglen Estates

COOPERSTOWN – George-Ann Hyde Doty Ryland, 81, a former school teacher and mother of three whose grandfather built Glimmerglen, the notable estate on Otsego Lake’s western short, died Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at Bassett Hospital.

Born May 17, 1936, in Chicago, Ill., George-Ann was the daughter of George Edward and Ann Hyde Doty and the granddaughter of William Truslow Hyde, who established the Glimmerglen estate in 1916.  She was raised in Winnetka, Ill., graduated from New Trier High School and thereafter from St. Lawrence University, Class of 1958. At St. Lawrence, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

After college, George-Ann moved to San Francisco and was a school teacher. While in San Francisco, George-Ann was introduced to her brother’s college roommate, William Hugh Ryland to whom she was wed on July 2, 1960. George-Ann and Bill settled in Baltimore, Md., where she continued to teach school and where she raised her three children.

Posts navigation

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