A look back at some 'bright' moments of 2023

Dec. 29—The past year included several bright spots including visits from a celebrity and the Nutmobile, special celebrations, a convention, an appearance on Family Feud, the return of a historical artifact, an induction into a hall of fame and a museum opening.

Local library to expand for Worcester and Schenevus

In January, it was announced the Worcester-Schenevus Library was in the process of acquiring the former Worcester Presbyterian Church, which sits next door to the church. The church closed in 2021, due to a decline in membership.

Diane Addesso said the library received grant funding to pay for the maintenance, insurance and other costs to keep the church building safe, for at least one year. "People have a lot of ideas on what we can use this church building for," Addesso said.

"In the library building itself, there is a Tai Chi class. It got filled in one day. If we go to the church, we could double the enrollment. We had a watercolor class, and that got filled up in one day. We'd like to do a cooking class, because there's a nice kitchen in the church building. There's a farmers' market in Schenevus, and it would like to continue operating through the winter. That could happen here. It's a great venue to rent out for events, such as weddings and parties. It's a great space, with arched ceilings, and it's in pretty good shape."

Oneonta family appeared on 'Family Feud'

It was announced in March, that after a long wait, the Escher family of Oneonta will appear on "Family Feud" on April 19.

The family auditioned to be on the show in 1994, when Richard Dawson hosted, Bob Escher said. Bob said he and his brothers Doug, David, Steve and Rich, traveled to New York City three times to audition. They were picked to be on the show, but never appeared because the show was canceled, he said.

The Daily Star ran a story about the five brothers auditioning, and Bob said he thinks that article helped the family get chosen last year. Two brothers, Rich and Dave, were unable to go to the taping, so sisters Jan Hendrickson and Ellen Shufelt went instead. They took a laminated copy of the article and had host Steve Harvey autograph it.

Jefferson museum opens

It was announced in May, the Jefferson Historical Museum would open after six years of renovations.

The Jefferson Historical Society bought the old Masonic Lodge, also known as Judd Hall, in 2017, Kevin Berner, president of the society said. The organization made extensive renovations to the building including, replacing the roof, wooden fire escape and windows, pulled up the carpet to reveal a white pine and hemlock plank floor, renovated the kitchen, added a lift to the second floor and an addition for its archives, tore out the lath and plaster and insulated and replaced the walls, added a handicap accessible ramp and sanded the floors, he said.

Cherry Valley artifact is returned home to village's museum

Also in May it was announced an important artifact was returned to Cherry Valley.

It could be called a survivor of the Cherry Valley Massacre from back in the 1770s, and has made its way home again to northern Otsego County, once known as Tryon County.

Time went still so to speak, when the home of Col. Samuel Campbell, called Auchinbreck, was attacked and burned on Nov. 11, 1778. Works from a large clock were removed from the clock case and buried in a hollow log in the woods by a servant and one of Campbell's sons.

The Campbell clock already had a long history, as it was made by James Allen of Kilmarnock, Scotland in 1728 for the James Campbell family. The family immigrated to the United States from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to Londonderry, New Hampshire. From there, according to the Cherry Valley Historical Society, the clock ended up with the Campbell family in Cherry Valley.

Local museum, church and library celebrate special anniversaries

In June, it was reported that Hanford Mills Museum was celebrating its 50th anniversary with special events.

Executive Director Kajsa Harley said the museum received its charter from the state to become a museum May 25, 1973. Since then, generations of families have visited the site to learn about and watch the water-powered sawmill operate.

"My favorite part of the museum is the water wheel," Harley said. "When that water wheel starts turning and transfers the power to all the saws, it's a magical experience. This is my 11th season and seeing the water wheel running is still a thrill."

In October, it was reported the First Presbyterian Church of Unadilla would celebrate its bicentennial. Holding a flood-damaged ledger with fading script detailing members' inaugural meeting on Oct. 23, 1822, church elder and Unadilla resident Brian Danforth said the celebration will be nearly 200 years to the date. As part of a six-person committee, Danforth and fellow church elder and Unadilla resident Dave Johnson began planning the anniversary event in June.

In November, it was announced the Milford Free Library was celebrating its centennial with an open house Nov. 16. The library's books were kept in local churches from the library's founding in 1923 until 1929, when they were moved to a storefront on East Main Street.

In 1940, the library moved to the western part of the Wilber block, presently the bank parking lot on the northeast corner.

In November 1949, the library moved to its present location in the village building, sharing a space with the Milford Fire Department and Emergency Squad.

Nancy Drew convention draws fans to Cooperstown

Dozens of fans of the Nancy Drew mystery book series have descended on Cooperstown for a weekend gathering of would-be sleuths and gumshoes devoted to the fictional teenage and amateur sleuth.

The Nancy Drew Sleuths fan organization chose Cooperstown for its annual convention, which began Thursday, July 13 and ends Saturday, July 15, to celebrate Nancy Drew book No. 49, "The Secret of Mirror Bay," which was published in 1972 and set in Cooperstown.

The book's ghostwriter, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, made a trip to Cooperstown in 1971 to do research for the book.

Sidney broadcaster joins NYS Broadcasters Hall of Fame

It was announced in August that Craig Stevens Harris, whose on air personality is Craig Stevens, would be inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame in October.

Harris has worked for WCDO 1490 AM/100.9 FM/92.3 FM in Sidney for 37 years. He has become a mainstay on the air and in the community, as well as attaining station ownership.

TV star visits Oneonta to promote craft beer line

Oneonta's Autumn Cafe had something special on tap Friday, Oct. 27.

The eatery at 244 Main St. hosted celebrity bartender Kelsey Grammer for the local launch of his craft beer line, Faith American Beer, produced at Faith American Brewing Company in Margaretville. The star of the "Frasier" and "Cheers" television shows founded Faith American in 2015.

Grammer visited the Autumn midday, then Upstate Bar and Grill in Cooperstown Friday evening. The stops, he said, were about raising visibility.

It was reported in November, the Planters Nutmobile, a 26-foot-long fiberglass peanut on wheels, arrived in Otsego County this week, cracking smiles and shell-ebrating all things peanut.

Calling "shell-o" from inside the nutty ride to passersby, a crew of three Peanutters drove up and down Main Street in Cooperstown Friday, Nov. 3, stopping to take in the view of Otsego Lake from the Fair Street boat launch.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221.