News of Otsego County

SUNY Oneonta

SUNY Oneonta student found at OPT garage passes away

SUNY Oneonta student found at OPT garage passes away

A SUNY Oneonta student found unconscious outside an Oneonta Public Transit parking garage Thursday morning died from his injuries later that night.

Oneonta Police say Transit workers found Tyler Lopresti-Castro, 20, outside the Silas Lane garage at 6:50 a.m. on January 27. Responders took him first to A.O. Fox Hospital, then to Bassett in Cooperstown, where he died.

Oneonta Police Chief Chris Witzenberg said workers discovered Mr. Lopresti-Castro in an area that is not well lit and is, at this time, obscured by snow banks. No cause of death has yet been released, but Chief Witzenberg said there is “no indication of criminality.”

In Memoriam Douglas Lynn McLaud, 72 March 4, 1949 – January 7, 2022

In Memoriam

Douglas Lynn McLaud, 72

March 4, 1949 – January 7, 2022

Douglas L. McLaud

Douglas Lynn McLaud passed away peacefully on January 7, 2022 at his home in Springhill, Florida with his beloved wife Pauline Miller McLaud at his side. Douglas and Pauline were married on December 31, 1968 and had just celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. Pauline’s care exemplified their lifelong love.

Douglas was born on March 4, 1949 in Oneonta, New York. He was the son of Douglas M. and Joan Crandall McLaud. Douglas grew up in Oneonta and Otego and graduated from SUNY Oneonta. After graduation, Douglas worked for many years with his parents as part of the Douglas M. McLaud Insurance Agency team in Otego, NY. before moving to Cocoa Beach, Florida. Douglas owned and operated a Ship Chandlery business in Port Canaveral, Florida and became a Real Estate Developer in Florida.

President extends college loan moratorium as SUNY, students weigh options

President extends college loan moratorium as SUNY, students weigh options

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

Student loan borrowers received some welcome news over the holiday season when the United States Department of Education extended the student loan payment moratorium from January 31, 2022 to May 1, 2022.

The Biden Administration paused student loan payments in March 2020 to allow breathing room for borrowers, mitigating some of the financial effects of COVID-19.

Student loan debt in the United States stands at $1.7 trillion, a figure surpassing auto and credit card debt, with a third of debtors in default or behind in their payments. The average monthly payment is $400, CNBC reports.

In Memoriam Linda Ann Winchester, 64 September 12, 1957 – December 12, 2021

In Memoriam

Linda Ann Winchester, 64

September 12, 1957 – December 12, 2021

Linda A. Winchester

Linda Ann Winchester, 64, of Ogallala, Nebraska, passed away Sunday, December 12, 2021 surrounded by her family at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado. She was born September 12, 1957 in Long Island, New York to the late Harry and Mary (Monteleone) Hults.

Linda and her family later moved upstate to Westford, New York. Linda graduated from Schenevus Central School in 1975. On July 5, 1998, Linda married Thomas Winchester in Worcester, New York. Linda worked for SUNY Oneonta for over 32 years and retired in 2012. She had a genuine passion for helping others and after retirement, she opened her heart and her home for the next ten years, to many children in need in the foster care system. She had a very giving, generous heart and loved unconditionally.

News from the noteworthy: 12-09-21

News from the noteworthy

Tobacco-free colleges save lives

Tobacco Free Communities| Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie
Nine out of 10 smokers start smoking by age 18, and 99% start by age 26. So, if we can just keep young people from starting, we can prevent a vast majority of them from becoming one of the 480,000 lives taken every year by smoking.
But how do we do that?
It takes intentional steps, including reducing the appeal and accessibility of tobacco products, deglamorizing tobacco use in the media, and creating a social and physical environment that discourages tobacco use. That last measure is where colleges and universities have a unique opportunity. They can provide a healthy learning and living environment for their students by creating 100% tobacco-free policies.
A tobacco-free policy does not mean students cannot smoke, vape or use smoke-less tobacco. It simply limits where a person may use tobacco. The benefits are clear.

Leo James Alex, 78 December 3, 1942 – October 28, 2021

In Memoriam

Leo James Alex, 78

December 3, 1942 – October 28, 2021

Leo James Alex died peacefully at home on Oct. 28, 2021, following a long illness. He was 78.

Leo was born on Dec. 3, 1942, in Rochester, Minn., the son of James and Gladys (Torkelson) Alex. His father was a proud Greek-American immigrant who believed in the American dream. James came to the United States in the 1920s and his last name, Alexakis, was shortened to Alex when he arrived.

Leo graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. He completed a Ph.D. in Mathematics with a minor in Statistics at the University of Minnesota in 1970.

He moved to Oneonta, NY, in 1970 for a position as Assistant Professor of Mathematics at SUNY Oneonta, and never left. His career in the SUNY Oneonta Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics spanned 43 years. During that time, Leo spent one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia and earned the ranks of Associate Professor and Professor at SUNY Oneonta. He was elected department chair in 1988, a position he held until 2012.

SUNY Oneonta president seeks to improve student experience
Cardelle (contributed)

SUNY Oneonta president
seeks to improve student experience

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

ONEONTA — The new SUNY Oneonta President, Alberto Cardelle, said he is aiming to make things easier and safer for students as well as to improve town-gown relationships.

Prior to taking over the role of SUNY President, Cardelle was a provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fitchburg State

University in Massachusetts. Before that, he spent 15 years at East Stroudsburg University, where he began as an assistant professor for public health in 1999, eventually becoming a department chair in 2001.

Cardelle spoke about his experiences growing up and what led him to take over the mantle of president at the largest college in the area.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Poetry at Harwick College 10-13-21

Poetry at Harwick College


VISITING WRITERS – 7 p.m. The Hartwick College department of English presents the first reading in the Visiting Writers Series. This month will feature poet Roger W. Hecht (Associate professor of English at SUNY Oneonta) reading from his works, meeting with students, and giving insights to what its like to be a professional writer. Free. Masks, vaccination required. Eaton Lounge, Bresee Hall, Hartwick College, Oneonta. 607-431-4921 or visit

Pit Run draws thousands of spectators, runners
Runners begin the Pit Run at Main Street and Neahwa Place on Sunday, Oct. 3. (Kevin Limiti/

Pit Run draws
thousands of spectators, runners

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

ONEONTA — Rain had just started to drizzle in Neahwa Park, Sunday, Oct. 3, as the start of the annual Pit Run was set to begin.

But some of the runners said they were thankful for the rain as it cooled things down, making it easier for them.

There was a diverse group of runners who came from seven states other than New York, including California, Maine, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Brian Reis, 32, a Cooperstown native*, came in first place for the men’s 10K and called it a “dress rehearsal” for the Boston marathon, which he is set to run Monday, Oct. 11.

TedxOneonta to return Friday

TedxOneonta to return Friday

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

TedxOneonta returns for its fourth event in five years, with an evening of presentations beginning at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24, at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta.

This year’s theme, a holdover from the canceled 2020 event, is “Changing World.”

“We basically have been planning this for two years,” said Dan Buttermann, TedxOneonta co-founder and executive director.

The local version of Ted talks — the x means it is an independent event and not run by the national organization — this year will feature four speakers.

Fully vaccinated students at SUNY Oneonta at 88%

Fully vaccinated students
at SUNY Oneonta at 88%

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

ONEONTA ⁠— COVID numbers for SUNY Oneonta have steadily improved with more students getting the vaccine.

Danielle McMullen, chief of staff at SUNY Oneonta, reported to the Common Council on Tuesday, Sept. 21, that 94% of students had at least one dose of the vaccine while 88% are fully vaccinated.

McMullen said SUNY Oneonta was doing “really well, when compared to other SUNY schools,” and credited the “strong messaging campaign” with the rising numbers of vaccinated students.

“Students came back to campus really wanting that in-person, robust experience,” McMullen said. There was a “spike (in COVID cases) that we anticipated” McMullen said who spoke of the erroneous notion that the vaccine is a “silver bullet” but they took a look at “a lot of data points including students social activity” and were able to make determinations on how they could improve their response.

McMullen called it a “testament of our campus coming together” and “being honest with the local community.”

Patricia S. Gourlay, 97 March 25, 1924 – August 19, 2021

In Memoriam

Patricia S. Gourlay, 97

March 25, 1924 – August 19, 2021

Patricia S. Gourlay

ONEONTA – Patricia S. Gourlay, 97, died peacefully at home on August 19, 2021. She was Professor of English at SUNY Oneonta 1963-2003. Born in 1924 in Lakewood OH, daughter of Alice and Walter P. Southard, she earned a BA from Wellesley, MA from Stanford, and PhD from Columbia, specializing in Shakespeare, mythology, and classical culture. In addition to SUNY Oneonta, she taught at Temple University, Dutchess Community College, and, following her retirement, at Oneonta’s Center for Continuing Adult Learning where she had a devoted following well into her nineties.

Her classes with her CCAL students brought her great joy.

Miller’s homecoming takes surprising turn with CSO
Cassandra Miller does publicity with the cast of ‘One Night in Miami’ at the Baltimore Center Stage, where she was the public relations manager of the professional theater and managed publicity for the East Coast premiere of the play, which is now a 2021 Golden Globe-winning film. (contributed)

Miller’s homecoming takes surprising turn with CSO

By PHOEBE SMITH • Special to

Oneonta native Cassandra Miller said she never imagined leading the Catskill Symphony Orchestra when she returned home two years ago, but now that she has officially been upgraded from interim to full-time executive director, she is excited about upcoming plans.

Miller, who had been in an interim role since March, spoke with AllOtsego not long after she shed the tag in July.

“(I hope to) bring my background and be able to open up the organization to new audiences,” she said.

Miller graduated from Boston University in 2006 with a degree in journalism.

Colleges preparing to avoid repeat of August 2020 outbreak

Colleges preparing to avoid repeat of August 2020 outbreak

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

ONEONTA — In light of the disastrous SUNY Oneonta outbreak of COVID at the start of the fall 2020 semester, both local colleges are increasing measures to avoid a repeat this month.

SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College told AllOtsego this week that various restrictions to ensure the safety of both the students and the community will be in place as students move in and go through the fall 2021 semester.

Richard Lee, provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs at SUNY Oneonta, as well as the co-chair of the COVID response team, said the school is constantly learning and adapting to the situation with COVID.

“We have to be more adaptable,” Lee said, in order to “make sure that we can commit to students.”
Some of the restrictions include masking being required in all buildings, including classrooms and labs, as well as all students being required to be pre-screened before arriving on campus. Students have to be approved with a green check mark before they can enter campus.

“Although we can’t predict the future, we’ve learned from the past,” Lee said. “I don’t think anyone wants to be masked but I think it’s a small price for us being together. Of course, nobody is thrilled about it.”

Alum, SUNY Oneonta grad take CCS jobs
Shirley Tyler and Karl O’Leary have been hired as Cooperstown’s director of athletics/extracurricular activities and high school principal, respectively. (Greg Klein/

Alum, SUNY Oneonta
grad take CCS jobs

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Cooperstown Central School has new leadership in its middle/high school again.

The school’s Board of Education has made two hires in the past month, picking Karl O’Leary as the new
principal and Shirley Tyler as the new coordinator of athletics and extra-curricular activities.

O’Leary started his career as an English teacher and served as principal of Moravia Central School for two years and most recently as assistant high school principal at Middle Country Central School on Long Island. He graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2002 and then got advanced degrees from SUNY Cortland and University of New England.

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