News of Otsego County

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Unadilla News

Wrestler, Musician Named To Unatego Hall Of Distinction

Steve Hall, Aaron Foster Lauded By Alma Mater

Wrestler, Musician Named

To Unatego Hall Of Distinction

OTEGO – A former wrestler who excelled as a mechanical engineer and a professional musician were named to the Unatego Hall of Distinction, which celebrates the accomplishments of successful alumni.

Steve Hall was a 1983 graduate of the Unatego High School, where he excelled in wrestling and football, finishing in 7th place at the New York State Wrestling Championships his senior year.  He continued his athletic career at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a four year varsity wrestler, finishing as a four-time All-New England wrestler and helping his team to New England Championships in 1985 and 1987.  He also earned honors in his senior year as an Academic All American.

 

A successful student throughout his time at WPI, he earned professional accolades throughout his career as a mechanical engineer, owning two US Patents, and serving as the President of the International Association for SMT Equipment Development and finished his technology career as the President of EKRA America, Inc.  He then returned to his alma mater where he went on to serve as the head coach of the WPI Wrestling team, leading them 93 victories in his 8 years as head coach, culminating with his winning honors as the New England Wrestling Association and National Wrestling Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year.

Aaron “Frosty” Foster, a 2010 graduate of Unatego, grew up listening to Bluegrass music, and received his first guitar as a Christmas present when he was ten.  Aaron, a Wells Bridge native, has always been interested in music and Bluegrass in particular.  While enrolled at Eastern Tennessee State University studying Business Management, he took several music electives, ultimately leading to his graduation with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies.

While in college, Aaron played guitar in the ETSE Bluegrass Pride Band, which earned recognition by being part of two Bluegrass Today top 20 singles.  He continued to pursue his music career after college, producing two albums and several singles, including Reaping the Blues and Opening Doors.  He played guitar for several years as a member of the band Dreamcatcher, and most recently joining the Amanda Cook Band as a guitarist.

The Unatego Hall of Distinction honors graduates of Unatego, or from the previous districts of Unadilla Central and Otego Central, who have distinguished themselves through recognition, honor and distinction during their lives.

This year’s induction ceremony will take place during the Dan Wickham Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, January 11.  A reception is scheduled for 5:30 p.m in the Board Room at the Jr Sr High School followed by the ceremony at 6:00 pm in the High School gym.  Members of the public are invited to attend.

 

Joan C. McLaud, 89; Founded Insurance Firm With Husband

IN MEMORIAM: Joan C. McLaud, 89;

Founded Insurance Firm With Husband

Joan C. McLaud

UNADILLA — Joan C. McLaud, 89, founder with her husband of the Douglas M. McLaud Insurance Agency in Otego, and also pursued a wide range of interests, passed away in her home on Nov. 6, 2019, with her devoted daughters, Mary McLaud and Susan Van Cott, by her side.

Joan was born on Dec. 19, 1929, in Oneonta, at the beginning of the Great Depression, the daughter of Stewart Crandall and Grace Matteson Crandall of Laurens. Her father was a musician and jazz pianist who filled her life with music. She loved playing the piano, organ and sang with a voice like Ella Fitzgerald and could scat with the best.

Armand Charpentier, 70; Vietnam Vet Participated In ‘Guns-A-Go-Go’

IN MEMORIAM: Armand Charpentier, 70;

Vietnam Vet Participated In ‘Guns-A-Go-Go’

Armand Charpentier

UNADILLA — Armand Charpentier, 70, a Vietnam War veteran who participated in the “Guns-A-Go-Go” initiative, passed away on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2019, at Wilson Memorial Hospital, Johnson City.

He was born in Brooklyn, on Jan. 8, 1949, to Maria and Pierre Charpentier.

He enlisted in the Army at 17 and served in the Vietnam War. He had deployed with the “Guns-A-Go-Go” while serving in the 1st Calvary Division, 1st Aviation Detachment.

FRAZIER: County Manager Job Won’t Pay For Itself

ISSUE & DEBATE

Frazier: County Manager

Job Won’t Pay For Itself

Editor’s Note:  Mr. Frazier’s letter arrived after this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal had gone to press, and is published here so the public may review it before the first information meeting on the county manager position, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 14, at Oneonta City Hall.  A second is planned at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the county courthouse in Cooperstown.

Ed Frazier is county representative from District 1, Unadilla. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

To the Editor:

I am about to complete my fourth term on the Otsego County Board of Representatives as the District 1 representative for Unadilla. I was recently re-elected to serve my fifth two-year term. It is an honor and a privilege to serve my district. “Thank you” to all that chose to vote for me.

I do not take the duties of the position lightly. A primary responsibility, in my opinion, is fiduciary. Safeguarding the money that our taxpayers send to Cooperstown is a fundamental obligation of my office. Thus, this letter.

Some of my fellow representatives have spent time discussing the development of, and job duties for, a “centralized leadership position” for Otsego County. By creating and filling a county administrator position, they feel the right candidate will be able to identify and fix any so-called “inefficiencies” in our county government.

They contend that the savings from correcting these inefficiencies will more than cover the expenses of the position. That is hogwash.

Janet McKown, 101, Unadilla; Avid Bridge Player, She Loved To Read, Travel

IN MEMORIAM: Janet McKown, 101, Unadilla;

Avid Bridge Player, She Loved To Read, Travel

UNADILLA – Janet McKown of Unadilla passed away peacefully on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, at age 101 after a long, happy life, at the Chenango Memorial Hospital Senior Living Center.

Janet loved people and talking to them. She was an avid bridge player, loved to read, enjoyed travel, took many cruises and spent many wonderful winters at her home in Florida. Also she was active in community clubs and activities, including the Unadilla Women’s Club, local Republican committee, Friends of the Library and the local Humane Society.

Troopers Seek Public’s Help To Locate Unadilla Man, 44

Troopers Seek Public’s Help

To Locate Unadilla Man, 44

Donlin

UNADILLA – State Police are asking the public’s help to locate Jesse L. Donlin, 44, of Unadilla, missing since early September.

Anyone with information about Donlin’s whereabouts should call State Police at (607) 561-7400.

Donlin was last seen in the Oxford area and has not been heard from since.  He is described as a white male, 6 feet tall, approximately 185 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes.

In addition to Unadilla, the missing man has ties to Chenango County, and the Utica, Syracuse and Binghamton areas.

Brooke Ketchum, 27, Unadilla; Crash Victim Leaves 2 Daughters
IN MEMORIAM

Brooke Ketchum, 27, Unadilla;

Crash Victim Leaves 2 Daughters

Brooke Ketchum

UNADILLA – Brooke N. Ketchum, 27, originally from Gilbertsville, died in the early morning hours on Oct. 4, 2019, from injuries sustained in a motor-vehicle accident.

She was enrolled as an LPN student at DCMO BOCES and was working part-time as a home health care aide. She had finally found a career path that she was passionate about.  Deep down inside, Brooke was a compassionate, caring, loving person who put everyone else’s feelings before her own.

Louise W. Herbert , Unadilla

IN MEMORIAM: Louise W. Herbert , Unadilla

UNADILLA – Louise W. Herbert, 61, of Unadilla passed away unexpectedly on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.

She is survived by her children, William Sites and Anna Sites, both of Schuylerville; four grandchildren, Brian, Katelyn, Julie and Hunter; her companion, Tommy Denhart, Binghamton, and two brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Peggy Jean Banta, 63; Dies After 8-Year Fight With Cancer

IN MEMORIAM: Peggy Jean Banta, 63;

Dies After 8-Year Fight With Cancer

Peggy Jean Banta

UNADILLA – Peggy Jean Banta, beloved sister and niece, passed away on Sept. 11, 2019, at home on her 63rd birthday after an eight-year battle with cancer.

Peggy was born on Sept. 11, 1956, at The Hospital, Sidney, to Jean Anderson Banta and George D. Banta III.  Peggy grew up on the family farm in Unadilla Center, the third of four children.

She attended Unadilla and Unatego schools, graduating in 1974. After graduation, Peggy remained at home to help her mother with the bookkeeping for the farm.

Jason Harageones; Unadilla Man Dies On 32nd Birthday

IN MEMORIAM: Jason Harageones;

Unadilla Man Dies On 32nd Birthday

Jason M. Harageones

UNADILLA – Jason M. Harageones of Unadilla passed away in the early morning of Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, his 32nd birthday, in Port Charlotte, Fla.

He was born Aug. 31, 1987, at Fox Hospital, the son of Michael and Christine.

Jay was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing and just being outside. He also enjoyed sports especially football. But what gave Jason the greatest joy was spending time with his children, family and friends.

Beverly F. Moore, 86; Survivors Include Husband Of 73 Years

IN MEMORIAM: Beverly F. Moore, 86;

Survivors Include Husband Of 73 Years

Beverly Moore and husband of 73 years, Douglas, raised four daughters in Unadilla.

UNADILLA – Beverly F. Moore, 86, a lifelong resident of Unadilla, passed away Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, at the Norwich Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.

She was born on Nov. 4, 1932, to Arnold and Florence Schofell in Hermon, St. Lawrence County.  She married Douglas R. Moore on Jan. 21, 1946, and was his bride of 73 years.

Beverly was a retired motel manager of the Super 8 in Norwich, and an employee of Victory Supermarkets.

Robert F. Sklenarik, 91; Twice Teacher Of Year At Unatego School

IN MEMORIAM: Robert F. Sklenarik, 91;

Twice Teacher Of Year At Unatego School

Robert F. Sklenarik

UNADILLA – Robert F. Sklenarik, 91, twice Teacher of the Year at Unatego Central School and a community leader, passed away peacefully on Aug. 7, 2019 at the Oxford Veterans’ Home.

He was born in Garfield, NJ, and in the early 1940s moved with his family to Deposit, where he graduated from high school in 1945. After high school Bob served for 13 months in the military.

Under the GI Bill he attended Hartwick College, and later the National Science Foundation grants enabled him to earn his doctorate from Penn State.

At Unadilla Drive-In, a Family Tradition

At Unadilla Drive-In,

A Family Tradition

Spencer Wilson, Unadilla Drive-In manager, points movie-goers to where the action is. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To AllOTSEGO.com

UNADILLA

Eric Wilson was not about to see a piece of his childhood leveled.

“I was at my men’s group and one of the members was a realtor,” he said. “I saw he had the Unadilla Drive-In listing, and someone said that it might be bought and torn down.”

With his wife, Marcia, and his friend Jack George, who owned a successful leather business in New Jersey, Wilson bought the drive-in. “I was never in it to get rich,” he said. “I used to go there as a kid, and I wanted to make sure it was preserved.”

And preserved it is.

“The first year we screened ‘Runaway Bride’” – the 1999 Julia Roberts/Richard Gere vehicle that critics generally panned – “and even though it was raining, 377 people showed up,” said Eric. “I knew we had something special.”

The drive-in was originally opened in 1956 by John Gardner and Al LaFamme. Michael and
Beatrice Chonka ran it through the ’70s and ’80s. They sold it to Trevor Ladner and Thomas Owens, who sold it to the Wilsons. All of their kids – Spencer, Austin, Tara and Onilee – worked for the business, and now, Spencer is the manager.

“I remember being there as a little kid in the ticket booth!” he said.

At one time, there were two drive-ins in Otsego County, the other being the Del-Sego, where Brooks BBQ got its start selling their famous chicken at the snack bar.

The Wilsons made sure that the Unadilla remained a summer staple for families looking for budget-friendly entertainment, screening first-run movies Thursday-Sunday from May to September.

The movies start at dusk, and for $8 (adults) and $5 (kids) visitors can see two films – if they can stay awake long enough.

“On an average night, we have between 300 and 500 people,” said Spencer. “We had ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Toy Story 4’ a few weeks ago, and we had 1,200 people there.”

“For both ‘Indiana Jones 4’ and ‘Jurassic World’ we had cars lined up to the bridge,” said Eric. “We were completely sold out. Those are good drive-in movies.”

Since taking ownership, the family upgraded the theater considerably. “We fixed all the standing speakers when we first bought it, but people kept driving off with them and pulling them out of the ground!” said Eric.

The 2006 flood destroyed the free-standing speakers, and an FM transmitter was put in. Shortly thereafter, a windstorm took down the screen, requiring a replacement. “My dad and his buddies fixed it,” said Spencer. “They’re contractors, but it was still an expensive upgrade!”

The most recent upgrade has been the switch to a digital projector. “It’s been great,” he said. “There are so many ways a film can go wrong, but with this you just download and press play.”

They’ve always shown double features, and because families are their target audience, they rarely screen R-rated movies, although this year has had two notable exceptions. “We did our first triple feature,” said Spencer. “’The Secret Life of Pets 2,’ ‘A Dog’s Journey’ and ‘John Wick 3’.”

“Next week,” Eric said, “We’ll have ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’,” – this year’s new Quentin Tarantino flick that pairs Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, and revisits the Manson murders.

But one of the biggest draws, said Spencer, is the snack bar. “People tell us they come out just to have dinner,” he said. “Our candy is cheaper than many places, or we let people bring their own food in.”

However, you may still want to save room for their famous popcorn. “We use real butter,” he said. “Not that fake stuff.”

KellyAnn Wolner, 54, 30-Year Coach, Phys-Ed Teacher At Unatego Central

IN MEMORIAM

KellyAnn Wolner, 54, 30-Year Coach,

Phys-Ed Teacher At Unatego Central

KellyAnn Wolner

BINGHAMTON – KellyAnn Wolner, 54, an award-winning 30-year teacher and coach at Unatego Central School, died at her home in Binghamton, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, after an 18-month battle with colon cancer.

Born on Oct. 24, 1964, in Spain at Naval Station Rota, Kelly lived in a variety of places before her family settled in Rome, N.Y.

She graduated from Westmoreland Central School in 1982 and went on to pursue her dream of becoming a physical education teacher at Mohawk Valley Community College, earning her associate degree in physical education in 1987, and SUNY Cortland, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1989 and master’s degree in health education in 1995.

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