News of Otsego County

Village of Cooperstown

Planting for the Future

Planting for the Future

Photo by Cindy Falk

COOPERSTOWN—The Village of Cooperstown recently received a Tree City USA Grant from the New York State Urban Forestry Council. The money was used to plant three new trees on Susquehanna Avenue between Beaver Street and the Susquehanna River—a red oak, a single oak, and a katsura tree.

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh was joined on November 14 by second-grade students from the Cooperstown Elementary School, members of the Village Board of Trustees and Tree Committee, and students from SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program, who led a program about trees for the second graders.

Trees play a critical role in creating healthier, safer and more connected communities. The village is pleased to be able to expand its street tree canopy through this generous award.

Camera Policy on Hold for Now

Camera Policy on Hold for Now

COOPERSTOWN – At the November meeting of the Cooperstown Village Board of Trustees, a public hearing was held on a proposed policy for the installation and operation of cameras to monitor activity occurring in public places within the village. The policy was discussed at length and, following public comments, the board took a vote which failed to pass. A committee comprised of Trustees Cindy Falk, Richard Sternberg and Joe Membrino has been tasked to rework the policy, which will then be presented again at public hearing in two months, on January 23.

Trustees To Hold Policy Hearing

Trustees To Hold Policy Hearing

COOPERSTOWN – The Village of Cooperstown Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, November 28 at 7 p.m. will include a public hearing on a policy for the installation and operation of cameras to monitor activity occurring in public places within the village. The draft policy reads:

In Memoriam Philip L. Washburn, Esq., 81 November 14, 1940 – October 22, 2022
In Memoriam

Philip L. Washburn, Esq., 81

November 14, 1940 – October 22, 2022

COOPERSTOWN – Philip L. Washburn, Esq., a long-time resident of Cooperstown and well-respected attorney, passed away peacefully Saturday afternoon, October 22, 2022, at HarborChase of Prince William Commons in Woodbridge, Virginia, with family at his side. He was 81.

Born November 14, 1940, in Gouverneur, Phil was a son of Leonard Bacon Washburn and Marguerite (Halpin) Washburn. After graduating from Gouverneur High School in 1958, Phil attended Harpur College, now known as Binghamton University. In 1960 he left college to enlist in the United States Army, and honorably served his country while stationed at a base in Sinop, Turkey. Upon receiving his honorable discharge from the military in 1963, he returned to college life and attended Tulane University Law School. It was there that he met Pamela Waits, and they were married August 20, 1966, in a ceremony at Lake Vista United Methodist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Village Hydrants To Be Flushed Monday

Village Hydrants To
Be Flushed Monday

With Autumn more than half gone and winter almost here, the Village of Cooperstown will be conducting the annual maintenance on the village Fire Hydrants.

On Monday, October 31, beginning at 5 a.m. the village will be flushing village fire hydrants in preparation for winter. The public is reminded they should never park directly next to a hydrant and it is a good idea to leave a good bit of space around the hydrant as well.

RENCKENS: Is ‘Perfect Village’ Pricing Out Seniors?
Letter from Jim & Polly Renckens

Is ‘Perfect Village’
Pricing Out Seniors?

Now getting into our ninth decade of life, we find there are concerns that weren’t there in our eighth decade.

The latest concern is downsizing. Even though we older folks want to stay in our present home forever, the reality is that the constant upkeep, inside and out, becomes very difficult. So now is the time, and many others feel this way too, to move forward to the next stage of our lives. Now is the time to sell the house and move to a first floor, handicapped accessible two-bedroom in Cooperstown. BUT—now the problem! These apartments are like finding “hens’ teeth” (as my Dad used to say). We don’t want to put our home on the market, and have no place to live.

C’town Trustees Ban Smoking, Vaping on Main Street Sidewalks

C’town Trustees Ban Smoking,
Vaping on Main Street Sidewalks

By Caspar Ewig
Smoking and vaping on Cooperstown’s Main Street business district were banned by the Board of Trustees at a meeting on Monday. (Tara Barnwell/

In a lightly attended Cooperstown Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, October 24, the trustees voted to ban smoking cigarettes and vaping for all tourists and visitors, as well as local residents, while walking on the sidewalks of the business district of Cooperstown’s Main Street.

The 7:30 p.m. public hearing was set to address an amendment to Chapter 233-3 A of the Village Code. The Proposed Local Law 8 of 2022 under consideration reads as follows, with the suggested amendments italicized:

“The following areas owned by the Village are hereby designated as smoke- and vape-free zones: Village Hall and adjoining land at 22 Main Street; Doubleday Field, the Doubleday Field grandstand, bleachers, and other spectator and player areas; sidewalks and adjacent public property on Main Street between Fair Street and Pine Boulevard: and Council Rock, Lakefront Park, Pioneer Park, Badger Park, Three Mile Point Park and Fairy Spring.”

Coop Vendors, Officials: 2022 a ‘Good Year’

Coop Vendors, Officials:
2022 a ‘Good Year’

By Caspar Ewig
Cooperstown Patrolman Brad Ross prepares the parking meters for winter. (Caspar Ewig/

Now that the parking meters have received their winter covers, it is time to assess the results of summer 2022 in Cooperstown.

The meters, which spring into function on Memorial Day and fall into disuse on Columbus Day, as well as the trolley ridership from the parking lots that surround Cooperstown, represent a good barometer of the town’s commercial health. Using that yardstick as a guide, this summer has proved to be a good exit from the pandemic doldrums.

Based on the parking income, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk was quite encouraged that Cooperstown had bounced back.

“In a good year, we expect gross parking income to reach $450,000. This year we collected $300,000 from the meters and $59,000 from the parking app,” Falk said.



A little over a year ago The Freeman’s Journal put forth an editorial on the subject of electric vehicle chargers, which were at the time pretty scarce within the Village and, in fact, even outside the Village. The reason we explored the local availability of these chargers was, of course, that our tiny historic Village has been, and is, the destination of myriad urban baseball, sports, scenic and music explorers whose mode of transportation to Cooperstown is increasingly an electric or hybrid vehicle. We know this because there are signs of them throughout the Village, many of them silently sitting with silently draining batteries in the parking lots of the hotels, museums and baseball parks.

Tree Inspection Complete in Cooperstown

Tree Inspection
Complete in Cooperstown

Struggling Village tree on Susquehanna Avenue

The Village of Cooperstown does a yearly assessment of all of the trees in the Village.

“The assessment went well this year. We were fortunate to have five members of the Tree Committee able to attend. We did it with 5 sets of eyes which is fantastic,” Cindy Falk, Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Streets Committee.

“We have a number of village trees where it’s clear that parts of them have either already dropped their leaves or never had leaves at all this year,” Ms. Falk said. “We wanted to make sure we captured that and weren’t mistaking it for what normally happens in the fall, that’s why we did the survey earlier this year.”

“The Village is responsible for the trees that are between the sidewalk and the street, or within the village right of way,” she said. “We had some unusual weather this year that caused a lot of problems. Large branches came down, entire trees came down,” Ms. Falk said.

MacGuire Benton Backing Cheney for Congress

MacGuire Benton Backing 
Cheney for Congress

MacGuire Benton, former Otsego County Young Democrats president and Village of Cooperstown trustee, has endorsed NY-19 Candidate Jamie Cheney for Congress. Ms. Cheney is a business owner, wife, mother of three boys and the daughter of a veteran.

A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, she runs Prokanga, a recruiting and consulting firm focused on creating flexible roles for working parents, manages the family cattle operation alongside her husband, and is active in the development of youth agriculture in New York State.

According to Mr. Benton, young voters are looking for a representative who is ready to take on the big fights facing the district today and for the years to come. “Jamie is that fighter,” he said. 

Lake Front Buffer Strip spruced up

Lake Front Buffer
Strip Spruced Up

Take a leisurely stroll down to Lake Front Park in Cooperstown and take in the beauty of the Buffer Strip Garden along the shore of Otsego Lake.

Over 15 years ago, the Otsego Lake Association helped to introduce the concept of the lakeside buffer strip to the Otsego Lake community.

“This Buffer Strip was created in 2005. It’s a conservation garden that buffers the water that comes from the village into the lake so it doesn’t pollute. It also helps keep the shoreline stable.,” said Suzy Kingsley, past president of the Lake and Valley Garden Club. “It’s more than just a pretty garden; it’s got a function and it’s done its job over the years.”

The Milford BOCES students built the boardwalk and started a lot of the willow plants. They come every spring to help open the garden.

Letter: A community thank you – Ln Alessi

Letter from Ln Alessi

A community thank you

I am so overwhelmed by all the support, love and kindness which has been extended to my son and me since my daughter Vincenza’s passing. Words seem grossly inadequate as I reflect on all the wonderful things people have done for us. Living in a community where people genuinely care about each other and express that care through their actions is the greatest gift.

I know how challenging life can get for all of us and yet challenges are always made easier with others’ encouragement and support. I thank everyone in “my village” who reached out to us and have helped carry us through this most difficult time. I am grateful that so many people extended their hands and hearts to us. I would never have been able to care for my daughter throughout her illness and her transition without all of you.

My sincere thanks.


Ln Alessi

Editorial: ‘The Big Need’


‘The Big Need’

 April 21, 2022

What better time than the middle of National Volunteer Week (April 17 – 24) to take the time to salute every person who gives their time — truly our most precious commodity — to help others.

The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta receives a few dozen press releases each week from community groups of every stripe throughout Otsego County — organizations looking out for the environment, preserving open spaces, grooming hiking trails. Groups dedicated to keeping political discourse at a civil level, encouraging citizens to vote and participate in democracy. Programs to feed the hungry, help the homeless, save and protect animals. Perform for and promote local arts and artists, help out in the schools, decorate village streets for holidays, coach Little League and soccer and basketball.

And almost as an aside, such announcements usually include some semblance of this proud statement: “[insert name] is an all-volunteer organization governed by a volunteer board of directors.”

Board of Education, town, and village governments, too, run on volunteer steam: these board members, supervisors, mayors, trustees, legislators, committee members, and appointees aren’t in it for the big paycheck. We’re humbled when imagining the amount of time and dedication these volunteers devote to a sometimes thankless task, serving a public that can be quick to judge and criticize yet take for granted the day-to-day quality of life that these volunteers make possible.

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