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.
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.
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.
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.
Two years ago, in a May 2020 “Mayor’s Message” in the Village Voices newsletter, I wrote this:
“The residents of the Village of Cooperstown should be proud of the way they have responded to this unprecedented health crisis. Recommendations to stay home, to physically distance from others and to wear a mask when not possible to distance, have all been willingly adopted and are successfully reducing the impact locally of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, our community has doubled down on what makes us so special – we sincerely care and support one another – that consideration has never been more evident. We provide meals for Bassett Hospital essential
Village of Cooperstown Trustees Dr. Richard Sternberg, left, and Sydney Sheehan, right, flank Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh after the three took their oaths of office for their new terms.
Village of Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh this month embarks on her third two-year term leading the village, hopeful COVID’s worst is behind but proud of the work she, the Village Board of Trustees, and Village employees were able to continue throughout the pandemic’s worst months.
“Only now in retrospect are we seeing how all-consuming COVID management was for every person in this village,” she said in a conversation with The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta. “We had to just keep moving along as the guidance changed and the requirements shifted.”
“I’m very proud that we never laid off or furloughed employees during COVID,” she said. “We were told that we had to reduce the number of people in the offices so we had a number of people working remotely, but our Village
COOPERSTOWN – Long time Cooperstown, N.Y. resident Dr. Emery Cline Herman, Jr. died peacefully at home with his wife by his side on Saturday morning, February 26, 2022 at the age of 92.
Born July 24, 1929 in La Grange, Georgia, Emery was the eldest of three children born to Emily Park Herman and E.C. Herman, MD. He was a graduate of Darlington School, Emory University and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (class of 1953).
While at Hopkins, he met Margaret (Peggy) Whitaker of Springfield, Ohio, and they married in 1955. After a stint at the National Institutes of Health, in 1959 Emery took a position at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and moved his young family to Cooperstown. He began work as a research physician with Dr. Don Thomas and Dr. Joe Ferrebee in the field of bone marrow transplantation. He soon transferred to clinical medicine at Bassett, where he spent his entire medical career as a practicing physician in internal medicine, retiring in 1994. In addition to hospital commitments, Emery was actively involved in the greater Cooperstown community, serving on the Village Board of Trustees and as Cooperstown Mayor in 1970-72. Emery and Peggy raised five children together in Cooperstown until her untimely death in 1975.
Cooperstown’s Board of Trustees approved a plan to raise Ukraine’s flag over the entrance of Village Hall on Main Street and on Friday, March 11, Aliona Yezhova and her son, Joshua Echavarria, a sixth-grader at Cooperstown Central School, joined village officials to thank them for the connection. “We just want to say thank you to everyone in Cooperstown and the region who have been so supportive,” Ms. Yezhova said. Her brother-in-law currently serves in the reserves for Ukraine, stationed in Kyiv. We’ll have a full story and more photos in our next edition, out March 17.
WESTVILLE – Jeffrey Paul Osterhoudt, a long-time area resident, passed away Friday evening, December 31, 2021, at Albany Medical Center. He was 74.
Born October 10, 1947, in Albany, Jeff spent the first few weeks of his life in an orphanage, then was adopted by Napoleon W. and Shirley (MacPherson) Osterhoudt and came to live with them in Oneonta. He went on to graduate from Oneonta High School.
On August 16, 1969, Jeff was united in marriage to Sybil Jean Robinson in a ceremony at the Westville United Methodist Church. They settled on her family’s property in Westville and raised a family.
He first worked for Lutz Feed driving feed trucks, and then for thirty years was employed as a welder for the Otsego County Highway Department in Cooperstown. Throughout the years, he always held many part time jobs, including working at the Agway in Cooperstown, and most recently as a security guard at the Fenimore Art Museum.
COOPERSTOWN – Douglas K. Walrath, beloved husband, father and grandfather, who served the Village of Cooperstown as Clerk, Treasurer and Administrator and who was active with the Rotary Club and Christ Church, left us suddenly and unexpectedly after a brief illness Friday afternoon, December 17, 2021, at Bassett Medical Center with his wife, Peg, and Fr. Nathan Ritter, his pastor by his side. He was 92.
Born December 11, 1929, at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, Douglas Kramer Walrath was one of two sons of Douglas O. and Bertha (Kramer) Walrath. Raised in the Village, he graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1947.
During the Korean War, Doug proudly served his country in the United States Army. He was badly wounded while on active duty and received the Purple Heart in April 1951.
Following his military service, Doug attended Ithaca College and earned a bachelor of science degree in radio and television graduating magna cum laude.
Beginning in February of 1965, Doug was employed by the Village of Cooperstown and served as Village Clerk and clerk of all the Village boards. As Village Treasurer, he was Administrator and Chief Budget Officer. He attended the training school sponsored by the New York State Conference of Mayors and in 1969 received their five-year award for training. He also helped organize the New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials and served as Secretary.
In regard to the pier in the lake “viewing deck,” I urge the Board of Trustees to stop spending money on tourist attractions. Rather focus on our neglected community. Sidewalks, piers, etc., don’t make a village.
Its people do.
The viewing deck/dock may sound fun, but it provides little to the community. It is not environmentally friendly and poses numerous liability issues, not to mention potentially risking our
water source. Oh, and the maintenance.
Covid-19 had a harsh impact on many members of our community mentally and physically. We have a lack of outdoor play spaces and a lack of areas where older adults have the ability to enjoy children at play. I must point out that the community would greatly benefit if these funds were spent on our children and adults. A better playground, two tennis courts/basketball courts located on the mutually owned village, Clark Foundation and school land. Or even a summer art program by the lake once a week directed by one of our marvelous not-for-profits. We need to focus on building a better community to attract and retain our healthcare workers and serve all walks of life.
The voters and taxpayers are provided so little. Stop looking gift horses in the mouth We are in fact throwing money in the lake!
The people living in the village matter too! Stop broad stroking projects because they feel good. Think about the citizens who probably are most likely unaware of this project as it was not in The Freeman’s Journal.
Let’s serve those who serve us!
Working for mindful spending and a stronger community,
A financial dispute over dead people has left officials in the village of Cooperstown and town of Otsego frustrated with one another.
The disagreement stems from services performed by the registrar of vital statistics, which is a job village officials perform town-wide. Registrar duties include birth and death certificates. While there are some births outside of the village, most are at Cooperstown’s Bassett Medical Center.
However, it is the deaths outside of the village boundaries that have been costly to Cooperstown. According to materials provided at the village’s Board of Trustees meeting Monday, July 26, the cost of providing death certificates to town residents has cost the village anywhere from about $1,300 annually to a recent high of $2,900 in 2015 when there were 290 death certificates prepared for residents outside of the village.
As per the old agreement, the town pays $250 annually and gets remitted the fees for certificates from its residents.
The village must keep and maintain the records, but Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh said it is not adding up for village residents. “This is not sustainable,” she said. “This is a village tax, subsidizing service for the town of Otsego.”
One would like to believe that Cooperstown, once referred to as “America’s Favorite Hometown,” is a thriving, dynamic community.
A walk down Main Street in July or August, with crowds of people swarming the streets and shops, would suggest that it is indeed as billed. The same walk in January or February, with darkened, shuttered store fronts and empty parking spaces, would offer a very different impression.
When the remarkable increase in the country’s taste for baseball and its memorabilia in the late ’80s and ’90s dramatically altered Cooperstown’s Main Street, with baseball-themed shops largely established and managed by non-local proprietors replacing the mixed-use, community-based businesses run by local residents for 200 years, Cooperstown’s business district turned a very unfortunate corner.
With the advent of the “Cooperstown” baseball camps, located in Hartwick and Oneonta, people began to buy, convert and even build area housing to cash in on an extremely lucrative weekly summer rental market. That housing is in many cases owned by non-local, absentee landlords who make enough of a killing in the summer to allow them to sit vacant for the long off-season months. In a few years, the availability of housing in and around the Village became as hopeless as a Main Street parking space in summer.
Middlefield – Joseph S. Harris, 64, of Middlefield, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday May 25, 2021. He was born on Sept. 20, 1956 in Oneida, NY, the son of William and Barbara Harris. He graduated from Cooperstown Central School. He worked for the Village of Cooperstown, where he took care of his pride and joy, Doubleday Field, for 33 years before retiring. He also spent many years working for local farms. After his retirement, he devoted many hours to public service as the Town of Middlefield Supervisor. He also worked for American Wholesalers and Stocking Stalls.
Joseph married Jean N. McCauley on October 25, 1980. They made many memories together, while enjoying their time camping and being with their family and closest friends. He belonged to Wedocandors Club, where he enjoyed many hunting memories with his son, son-in-law, and club members. He also was an avid hunter, who spent many opening days with his son and daughter.