News of Otsego County


“Giving Tuesday” a day to focus on community help and engagement

Executive Director Mary Kate Kenney (left) and
Board Chair Sharon Oberriter (right) pack boxes
for pick-up at the Cooperstown Food Pantry. (Tara Barnwell/

“Giving Tuesday” a day to focus on community help and engagement

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to

Groups from around the world joined in 2012’s inaugural “Giving Tuesday” on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, encouraging people to step outside the more commerce-driven post-holiday “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” and give back to do good in their communities and in the world.

Now an annual event, “Giving Tuesday” takes place this year on November 30.

For those looking to give back right here in Otsego County, we highlight here some organizations to consider:

SQSPCA to hold pop-up show at Blue Mingo

SQSPCA to hold
pop-up show at Blue Mingo

STAFF REPORT • Special to

The New Leash on Life thrift shop at the Susquehanna SPCA will have a pop-up fashion show and sale at the Blue Mingo Grill on Thursday, Oct. 7.

“Folks can enjoy lunch or drinks on the shores of Otsego Lake while watching the impromptu runway show and then browse at their leisure,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director, in a media release. “Our thrift shop is a treasure trove of high-quality donated items. This pop-up show is intended to raise awareness not only of what the thrift shop has to offer consumers, but also its importance to the shelter’s annual operating budget.”

SQSPCA announces ‘fall’ of the puppy mills program


SQSPCA announces ‘fall’ of the puppy mills program

STAFF REPORT • Special to

As the season changes from summer to fall, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is asking the public to help raise consumer awareness and push for changes that will lead to the eventual “fall” of puppy mills.

“September is National Puppy Mill Awareness Month, and there is no better time to remind folks that there are hundreds of thousands of dogs living in cruel and inhumane conditions all across the United States, including right here in our own backyard,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
A year ago, knowing there were several such businesses operating in and around Otsego County, the SQSPCA launched its “PAWS Before You Pay” initiative. PAWS stands for Puppy Mill Awareness With Shelters.

Thrift, But So Much More

Thrift, But So Much More

Source Of Gucci Bags, Lladro
Figurines, To Reopen In New Site

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, followed by daughter Eleanor, 3, examines progress on the new “New Leash on Life” Thrift Store, which will reopen in late spring or early summer in the new SQSPCA campus. (Jim Kevlin/

Is “thrift shop” the right term?

For instance, Lladro porcelain art figurines, imported from Spain since 1953 for adoring U.S. fans, can bring several hundred dollars, according to Sara Lucas, manager of SQSPCA’s “New Leash On Life” Thrift Shop.

For a relative song, you can pick up almost mint Gucci and Coach handbags – and Jimmy Choo’s, which new can retail for more than $2,000.

And from time to time, knock-out paintings are available and snapped up. But that’s not the whole story.

The thrift shop, which temporarily closed its doors last Friday, April 2, also has everyday clothes, pots, pans, glassware, suitcases, desks … you name it.

Temporarily, for two reasons: One, Lucas will shortly be launching a virtual thrift shop using Facebook Marketplace. Check the SQSPCA’s web site, and keep on shopping.

Two, when the SQSPCA’s new Susquehanna Animal Shelter opens in late spring or early summer on Route 28 at Index, a half-mile north of the current shelter, a larger and more streamlined thrift shop will open in the building next door.

Senator Takes Tour On Futuristic Shelter


Senator Takes Tour

Of Futuristic Shelter

State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, Otsego County’s freshman senator, took a tour Friday afternoon of the SQSPCA’s new Susquehanna Animal Shelter on Route 28 at Index. The building, due for completion by summer, was designed by Design Learned, Norwich, Conn., one of the nation’s foremost animal shelter architects, and utilizes designs to help keep the dogs and cats calm and happy.  SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes conducted the tour.
As Max Luxuriates, Stacey In Doghouse


As Max Luxuriates,

Stacie In Doghouse

Max, top photo, awaits a snack from Susquehanna Animal Shelter staffer Allison Hungerford this afternoon as, duded up with a tie, he relaxed in SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes’ office at the Hartwick Seminar facility.  Meanwhile, to dramatize Max’s plight, Haynes, inset right, spent the day in Max’s cage.   He’s been in the shelter 444 days, the longest of any of the residents there.  Today, the 5-year-old pit bull spent 444 minutes – 7 hours and 24 minutes – in the executive director’s office, and she in his kennel.  The shelter has been focused on getting its charges adopted as soon as possible.  While Max received treats, Stacie read a book and tried to ignore her barking neighbors.  To adopt a dog or cat, click here.  (Jim Kevlin/

Thrift Store, Adoptions New Ways To Donate To ‘Save a Life’ Campaign

Thrift Store, Adoptions

New Ways To Donate

To ‘Save a Life’ Campaign

Gerry Geroux, an antiques dealer from Westmoreland, stops to pet Phineas, held by Sue Leonard, at the New Leash on Life thrift store, the Susquehanna SPCA’s primary funding source. Now through Dec. 31, all purchases made go towards the shelter’s “Save a Life” fund, sponsored by Staffworks.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN –  From now until the end of the year, when you get a good deal at the Susquehanna SPCA Thrift Store, you’ll be helping the shelter reach their $100,000 goal in the annual “Save a Life” campaign.

“You can donate $50, or you can go shopping with it,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director. “It’s a really exciting way to donate.”

The annual Staffworks campaign, which raises funds for regional shelters and animal care facilities, offers to match the first $10,000, then $1,000 for every additional $5,000, with an extra $2,000 when a shelter reaches $100,000.

SQSPCA Animal Shelter Dreams Coming True

SQSPCA Animal Shelter

Dreams Coming True

SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes discusses progress on the shelter with Lane Construction Project Manager Rick Bliss, left, and architect Andrew Schuster. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – At the Susquehanna SPCA’s new shelter, not only will you be able to see the difference, you’ll be able to smell it too.

“Dogs communicate through smell,” said Andrew Schuster, principal architect with Ashley McGraw, Syracuse. “To keep stress levels down, every dog will have a separately ‘exhausted’ kennel to ensure odor privacy, so that you don’t have a lot of barking.”

The new shelter is rapidly rising on the new campus on Route 28, across from Kevin’s Royal Ford.

“When I walked in there, I almost cried,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director. “To be able to see something tangible after all these efforts and all their support – in some ways, it’s hard to believe!”

Ground-breaking was in August 2019, and completion is on track for late April.

“There have been some delays on the supply side due to COVID,” said Haynes. “But where they can’t work on one project, they work on another.”

Walls have been put up and trusses have been placed on both the shelter and the thrift store; the elaborate plumbing network was installed before the slab was poured. Each pen has its own drainage system for easy cleaning and waste removal. Drains are also in place
for surgical sinks, laundry and bathrooms.

“It’s a challenge to approach this building in designing it for animals,” said Schuster. “Most building codes are designed for people, so trying to determine, for instance, where to place toilet fixtures, is a bit of a challenge!”

Schuster, whose firm specializes in sustainable buildings, said he paid special attention to insulation and air tightness to minimize mold and prioritize air circulation and quality.

“Normally, HVAC is a third of the cost of a project,” said Rick Bliss, project manager for William H. Lane Construction’s Cooperstown office. “But with this building, it’s half our cost.”

“It will be a very healthy place to visit,” said Haynes. “Especially during a pandemic.”

In addition to the reduction in odor, the pens will also be two-part, separated by a “doggie door.”

“This gives dogs an opportunity to relieve themselves someplace other than their living space,” said Haynes.

In the event that the shelter takes in multiple animals at a time – for instance, Haynes says, a dog hoarding case – the doors can be closed, dividing the kennel in two.

The room will also have windows to let in natural light, with the lower sill high enough so dogs can’t see any squirrels that may go running past.

“That will also cut down on barking,” said Schuster.

The SQSPCA set a $5 million goal in its “Shelter Us” campaign, and so far, has raised $4.6 million towards the goal.

“The idea is to enter our new building without debt so that we have more resources to put towards our animals,” said Haynes. “Having a mortgage and having to allocate some of our budget: That is Plan B.”

The closure of the thrift store at the height of the pandemic put a strain on the budget, but Haynes said she was touched by the ongoing contributions to their fundraising efforts.

Anonymous Donation Helps SQSPCA Exceed $100K Challenge

In Thanks, All Adoptions $23

Anonymous Donation Helps

SQSPCA Top $100K Challenge

COOPERSTOWN – With the support of a “generous” anonymous donor and community supper, the Susquehanna SPCA has surpassed the $100,000 dollar-for-dollar matching challenge, bringing the shelter $223,000 closer to the new shelter’s $5 million price tag.

An anonymous donor funded the challenge to help the Shelter Us campaign meet its goal.

“Thanks to the generosity of this anonymous donor – and to an incredibly supportive community that continues to amaze us – we are now only about $600,000 from the $5 million mark,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

Again, SQSPCA Saves Dogs From Lebanon
Two More Spared Euthanasia In Georgia Shelter 

 Once Again, SQSPCA

Saves Dogs From Lebanon

Acacia is one of the dogs rescued from neglect in Beirut and brought to the SQSPCA for adoption.

COOPERSTOWN – The Susquehanna Animal Shelter has once again opened its doors to dogs from Beirut, Lebanon, where the 13 animals faced violence, torture and starvation.

“We first partnered with Animals Lebanon in the winter of 2019, when LVT Sara Haddad and I traveled overseas – all expenses paid by Animals Lebanon – to bring traumatized dogs home to Otsego County,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director.

“These dogs are suffering horribly, and the circumstances are right for us to take them in and find them loving homes.”

Jane G. Duel, 82 Dec. 16, 1938 – July 14, 2020


Jane G. Duel, 82

Dec. 16, 1938 – July 14, 2020

Jane G. Duel

COOPERSTOWN – Everyone said that it was impossible to get a parking place and admission to the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Jane Goodwin Duel didn’t buy it.

She and a close friend left Warren, Vt., before dawn in her light blue VW convertible bug with the Rolls Royce hood, car festooned with international flags and packed with helium balloons.

Arriving at the Olympic checkpoints, their festive phaéton was waved through. In short order they had tickets to the women’s giant slalom and men’s figure skating, seeing Robin Cousins win the gold medal – and they picnicked on Mirror Lake in between.

Union Contractor In Dispute Over Prevailing Wage

Union Contractor In Dispute

Over Project Prevailing Wage

Ian Williams, Horseheads, right, representing the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, explains he, Mark Hopper, Wells Bridge and Bob Wilmott, Oswego, were picketing the Susquehanna Animal Shelter construction site Tuesday, July 14, to warn againsts a contractor who might not be paying the prevailing wage. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Ian Williams didn’t call the demonstration outside of the Susquehanna SPCA building site a protest.

The Council Representative for the North Atlantic States Council of Carpenters Local 227 called his sign, an “informational banner.”

He and two other union representatives, Mark Hopper, Wells Bridge and Bob Wilmott, both from the union office in Syracuse, stood in front of the shelter site on Tuesday, July 14, holding a banner that read, “Future Site of a Labor Dispute.”

Jane G. Duel, 81, Cooperstown; Affiliated With Redpoint, NYSHA


Jane G. Duel, 81, Cooperstown;

Affiliated With Redpoint, NYSHA

Jane G. Duel

COOPERSTOWN – Jane G. Duel, 81, passed away Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at Cooperstown Center, following a long illness.

Most recently an executive assistant with Redpoint Builders, she was previously with the Susquehanna SPCA for four years, and for many years worked for the New York State Historical Association.

Arrangements are with Tillapaugh Funeral Home.  A full obituary will be forthcoming on and in next week’s Freeman’s Journal.

Carpenters’ Union Pickets New Shelter

Carpenters’ Union

Pickets New Shelter

Ian Williams, Horseheads, right, representing the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, answers reporter LIbby Cudmore’s questions this morning while manning an informational picket in front of the new Susquehanna Animal Shelter, now under construction on Route 28, Index. With Willilams are Mark Hopper, Wells Bridge, center, and Bob Wilmott, Oswego, from the union office in Syracuse. The union is seeking to ensure union labor is used throughout the project, Williams said. (Jim Kevlin/
SQSPCA Needs Volunteers To Play With Kittens

SQSPCA Needs Volunteers

To Help Socialize Kittens

COOPERSTOWN – It’s a tough job, but someone has to help these kittens learn to cuddle.

“We currently have 28 feral or unsocialized kittens on-site, with more arriving daily,” said Stacie Haynes, Executive Director. “Our new ‘Feral to Friendly’ program is designed to give volunteers the opportunity to meet and help socialize these kittens, and also to lighten the load for staff as the shelter enters its busiest season.”

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