News of Otsego County

schuyler lake

In Memoriam: Helen Winne Mulligan, 101
In Memoriam

Helen Winne Mulligan, 101

Apr. 13, 1919 – Mar. 15, 2021

Helen Winne Mulligan passed away on March 15, 2021 at the age of 101 after a full and healthy life.

Helen was born Helen Smith, on April 13th, 1919 in the Town of Exeter, New York. She was the daughter of E. Frank Smith and Hazel Pratt Smith, the fifth of six children. She grew up in Schuyler Lake.

Helen had three older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister. The oldest boy, Eugene, drowned when he was 9 years old. Helen’s mother died when Helen was six years old. Her father was left with five children, ages 13, 11, 9, 6 and 2. The two oldest, Francis and Glenn quit school to help their father with his coal, feed and grain business Helen’s older sister, Margaret, who was nine, helped with the housework and the cooking. For 2 years, after her mother died, Helen spent the winter months with her aunt and uncle a few miles away.

Helen’s brothers, Francis and Glenn served during WWII. When they returned, Francis worked as a bus driver and Glenn became a chef. Helen’s older sister, Margaret, married and had six children. Margaret died when she was 38. Catherine (Catherine Smith Van Allen) her younger sister, who lived in Richfield Springs, had four children. Helen remained close to her sister and her nieces and nephews.

BERKSON:  Lady With Horse


Lady With Horse

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

I heard about Lady Ostapeck about 20 years ago at my friend Buddy Crist’s house on Angel Hill outside of Schuyler Lake.

There was a picture hanging on his living room wall. It was of a man dressed in a Tolstoy-like shirt standing in the doorway of a weathered cabin.

When I took a closer look I realized it was Buddy, appearing very authentic in clothes I never saw him wear before. “Who took the picture?” I asked.

“Her name is Lady Ostapeck,” Buddy answered. “I was gassing up in Richfield Springs. She was filling her tank on the other side of the pump and kept looking at me. I mean really looking – for a long time. Finally she comes around the pump and says, ‘Are you finish?’”

“I’m still pumping,” I answered.

“No, are you Finnish – from Scandinavia?” she asked.

“I don’t think so.”

“That may be, but I’d like to take your picture.”

It turned out that the woman who was then in her seventies was a famous photographer of Finnish descent. She wanted Buddy, who had the “right look,” to pose for pictures she planned to use for Independence Day in Finland.

They made an appointment, and a week later my friend spent an entire day trying on clothes in a costume – and prop-cluttered house while talking with Lady Ostapeck as she tried to bring to the surface a certain spirit she saw in him.

Free COVID Testing Offered To Residents

TO REGISTER, CALL 607-547-4279

Free COVID Testing

Offered To Residents

CDC image of the coronavirus

SCHUYLER LAKE – The county Health Department is offering free COVID-19 testing for people who are NOT sick but want to be tested.  Pre-registration required.  Call 607-547-4279  to register.

The testing, for Otsego County residents only, will be offered 9-noon Friday at the Exeter Town Barn on Route 28 on the north end of this hamlet.

Earl A. Duncan, 60; Golden Gloves Boxer Raised In Richfield

IN MEMORIAM: Earl A. Duncan, 60;

Golden Gloves Boxer Raised In Richfield

Earl Duncan

WEST WINFIELD – Earl A. Duncan, 60, a Golden Gloves boxer in his youth, and later a boxing coach, passed away Monday evening, April 22, 2019, in Bassett Hospital.

Earl was born on May 8, 1958, in Herkimer, a son to the late Edward and Rosetta Mondore Duncan. He was raised and educated in Schuyler Lake and Richfield Springs.

At one time he worked for the Village of Richfield Springs DPW, later on he became the superintendent of the Schuyler Lake Cemetery. He also worked with his family as a logger. On July 29, 1978 he married the former Laurie Bond in Bridgewater.

IN MEMORIAM: Eleanor L. Wightman, 78; Worked For Pathfinder Village


Eleanor L. Wightman, 78;

Worked For Pathfinder Village

SCHUYLER LAKE – Eleanor L. Wightman, 78, a former home health assistant at Pathfinder Village and an active member of the Schuyler Lake United Methodist Church, passed away Monday, February 25, 2019 at Valley Health Services, Herkimer, with the loving support of her family at her side.

She was born on July 22, 1940 in the town of New Lisbon, a daughter of the late Norman and Zida Underwood Chase. She was born in New Lisbon and graduated from Cooperstown High School.

Richard L. Kinney Sr., 83; Printer Worked At County Highway Dept.

IN MEMORIAM: Richard L. Kinney Sr., 83;

Printer Worked At County Highway Dept.

Richard Kinney

MOUNT VISION – Richard Lavern Kinney Sr., 83, a Guardsman, printer and county highway department employee, passed away on Jan. 8, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., as a result of cardiac issues.

He was born in Schuyler Lake, in the bedroom of his parent’s home in September  1938.  Richard and Mary Helen Evans of Mount Vision married on July 14, 1956, and subsequently celebrated 63 years of marriage.

Red Sky At Night…

Red Sky At Night…

… delighted everyone between Richfield Springs and Schuyler Lake last evening, as the sun went down with a vengeance. As red skies predict, the sun came up again today, although rain and mixed weather are due to arrive from the south this afternoon. (Jim Kevlin/
Do We Divert XNG Trucks Now – Or After First Fatality?

Editorial, July 27, 2018

Do We Divert XNG

Trucks Now – Or After

First Fatality?

Parker Fish/The Freeman’s Journal –  Just a little beyond where an XNG gas-bearing truck crashed July 11, there’s Schuyler Lake. Goodness, is that an XNG truck heading our way?

On the surface, the
argument makes sense,
(sort of).
Boston-based Xpress Natural Gas’ trucks, carrying fuel from fracking fields in Northeastern Pennsylvania across Otsego County to the Iroquois Pipeline near Little Falls, are legal carriers and should be allow to use
New York State roads just like
any other legal carrier.
After all, what’s next? Should we then ban oil tankers? Suburban Propane delivery trucks? Dump trucks, where pebbles might from time to time slip out from under the tarps? Loud motorcycles? Model Ts and other antiques that don’t operate at
current fuel-efficiency standards?
Oh where, oh where will
it stop?

There’s a certain logic to the argument. But, honestly, XNG trucks have caused four “incidents” – three down-and-out accidents, no doubt about it (Google “XNG” at – since they began crossing the county en masse 18 months ago.
Have there been three oil-tanker crashes? Three Suburban Propane truck crashes? Sure, pebbles have slipped from under tarps, but the results are an occasional cracked windshield; should we ban them completely for that?
Face it, the XNG trucks are different. For one, there are just that many more of them: 80 a day, back and forth, for 160 individual trips. In 500 days, that’s 80,000 trips. The magnitude alone assures there will continue to be “incidents” – and worse.
“Four ‘incidents’ in Otsego County. That tells me these trucks are different from other vehicles,” said Nicole Dillingham, president of Otsego 2000, the Cooperstown-based environmental group that has called for action where local governments have not. “They are too heavy. They’re top heavy. And the drivers are tired.”

Reporters for this newspaper have covered the crashes. In two cases, the trucks that have fallen over did so on Route 205 north
of Hartwick hamlet, a sparsely populated stretch.
The Wednesday, July 11, crash just shy of Schuyler Lake, was of a different magnitude – or easily could have been. The fully loaded northbound rig came over a very slight rise on a very slight curve and toppled off the road. Just a 10th of a mile
further on – maybe 150 yards; a
football field and a half – was the hamlet itself: homes and people.
Looking at the scene, it would be hard for any sensible person to conclude: a little bit farther, that same rig under very similar circumstances could have had serious – even fatal – results.
No, we’re not being overdramatic. Go see for yourself.
Equally troubling is a circumstance that’s becoming clear: In the three cases, the trailers being pulled by cabs slipped off the pavement for a moment, sank into too-soft shoulders and toppled. On many, many stretches of Route 205 and Route 28, the shoulders are the same and, given 16,000 trips every 100 days, it’s going to happen again and again.

It doesn’t have to be.
Dillingham’s been getting the run-around. She goes to the towns; they say it has to be handled at the state level by the Department of Transportation. She goes to the DOT, it says its hands are tied without a request for a “traffic study” from the towns along the route.
A traffic study might well determine the trucks are simply too heavy for the roads, and order them onto four-lanes – I-88 or I-81 to the New York State Thruway (I-90) and, hence, Little Falls. There’s a ready alternative.
But, according to Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, chairman of the county Association of Town Supervisors, his colleagues believe a truck
being operated legally should be
allowed on any legal roads. They tell him: What’s next? Are we going to ban Suburban Propane delivery trucks? And there we are.
What are some other options? Maybe a petition by citizens would convince the DOT to act. Maybe a request – firmly worded – from the county Board of Representatives, which next meets Wednesday, Aug. 1, plus vigorous follow-up, would do the trick. Certainly, our state delegation – Senator Seward and Assemblymen Magee, Miller, etc. – could dent DOT’s resolve to do nothing.
Right now, Otsego 2000 is drafting a resolution for town boards to consider passing. And Wood said Dillingham is welcome to talk at one of his association’s monthly meetings. He should invite her to do that soonest.

OK, there have been four “incidents,” three of them crashes. We’ve been lucky it hasn’t happened in a populated hamlet. But it will.
Let’s not wait until an XNG rig plows into someone’s living room or rolls over someone’s mobile home, with perhaps a fatal effect.
Bad things can happen, we can see. Let’s act before they do.

‘It Sounded Like  5 Freight Trains’

‘It Sounded Like 

5 Freight Trains’

Neighbor Describes XNG Truck Crash

On Route 28 South Of Schuyler Lake

An XNG truck went off Route 28 between Route 16 south of Schuyler Lake and that hamlet. The road was closed for 12 hours. (Image courtesy WKTV)

By PARKER FISH • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

SCHUYLER LAKE – Responding to the fourth XNG truck mishap since transports began in February, firefighters and emergency personnel blocked off several roads leading to a crash site near Schuyler Lake until 3 a.m. today, keeping some people from their homes for hours.

“We were up at the florists, and when we came back down, they had the road blocked off,” said Exeter resident Christine Allen, who lives less than half a mile from the crash site. “We couldn’t get to our house, so we went to Stewart’s and got a banana split.”

Allen was finally able to get back to her home later in the evening when responders let her through to get to her house. According to Allen, she heard a loud noise when crews released the gas from the trailer.

Laurie Ann Pestar, 56; Secretary At Cooperstown Elementary

IN MEMORIAM:  Laurie Ann Pestar, 56;

Secretary At Cooperstown Elementary

SCHUYLER LAKE – Laurie Ann Pestar, 56, Cooperstown Elementary School principal’s secretary for many years, passed away at home on Saturday, June 16, 2018, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

She was born April 6, 1962, to Leslie and Ethel (Phoenix) Weir. Raised in Oaksville, Laurie grew up loving horses and developed an early appreciation of all things in nature. She graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 1980 and was happy meeting up with old classmates throughout her life.


Final Glimmerglass Film Day:

More Movies, Wrap-Up Party

MORE FILM FESTIVAL:  The Wrap Party and Live Auction  at the of the fifth annual Glimmerglass Film Days will take place on Sunday at 7:30 pm at the Cooperstown Distillery. Enjoy Turkish mezza prepared by the Empire House, talk about your favorite films, and take part in a live auction.  But there are plenty of films left view; click here for Sunday’s schedule.

MUSICAL – 2 p.m. CCS presents “Little Women” about Jo March and her 3 sisters during the Civil War as they grow up. Cooperstown High school Auditorium. Call 607.547.8181 or visit

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