News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.



Cooperstown General Store About To Close

Cooperstown General

Store About To Close

The Cooperstown General Store is closing, customers learned in letter that arrived in their mailboxes over the weekend declaring, “Everything must go!”  Ron Jex, the longtime manager here, and owner Fran Phelps of Unadilla, who also operates Unadilla Variety, are planning to retire. The windows were papered over at 43-47 Main this morning and the doors locked “to prepare for our biggest sale ever!” this Thursday.   (
Original Adirondack Furnishing ‘Sold!’ At Christopher’s Auction

Original Adirondack Furnishing

‘Sold!’ At Christopher’s Auction

Above, Ramona Schafsteck, Cherry Valley, with the help of friend Nancy Manganaro, detaches one of two decorative bears she bought yesterday as Brzostek’s Auction Service sold off the contents of the Adirondack-style Christoper’s Motel, many of the items hand-crafted. Adjacent Christopher’s Restaurant burned in April, and, according to talk at the auction, owner Marty Patton’s plan is to raze this structure, clearing a sizable parcel of coveted Southside Oneonta real estate for redevelopment. At right, auctioneer Ernest Brzostek, assistant by wife Martha, auctions off a room’s-worth of content at a time, for prices ranging from $200 for all the contents to $800-plus. (Jim Kevlin/




Binghamton-Based Company Said

About To Buy Cooperstown Firm

Mirabito Energy Products Regional Manager Phil Barton, left, and Sales & Marketing Director Kevin Quinton pause outside the Goodyear Lake convenience store shortly after the sign was changed from Taylor’s. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

“Mirabito” replaced “Taylor” on the sign in front of the Goodyear Lake quick-stop this afternoon as the worst-kept secret in Otsego County in recent days became public.

Word is that Binghamton-based Mirabito is buying Cooperstown-based Taylor Heating & Mini Marts.  Of the seven stores, five are in Otsego County, including the lighthouse-adorned one, a landmark as you enter Cooperstown on Route 28 from the south.

In addition to Goodyear Lake and Cooperstown, Mirabito is acquiring the Mini Mart in Oneonta’s East End, plus the ones in Laurens and Richfield Springs.  Outside Otsego County, Mini Marts in Norwich and Richmondville are part of the package.

Community Embraces New Upstate Restaurant

Community Embraces

New Upstate Bar, Grill

Joe Vezza’s new Upstate Bar & Grill, on Route 28 on Cooperstown’s south end, was even more packed than usual Saturday evening, as – with the summer season over – the new establishment hosted a community open house.  Hundreds watched a variety of football games and savored a buffet with samples of appetizers and entrees – from ribs to a whole pig – from the newly released menu. Inset photo,  bartenders Sam Borgstrom, Jennifer Putnam and Maria Senk serve from 26 taps of local, state, national and even a few international beers.  In addition to regular offerings, Upstate is offering banquet space for private parties.  (Tara Barnwell/

Chamber Welcomes Cricket To Southside Mall

AT&T Cell Phone Store

Welcomed To Southside

The ribbon was cut this afternoon on a new AT&T Cricket cell phone store in the Panera building at Southside Mall.  Participating are, from left, Mall Manager Luisa Montanti, Kasondra Hughes, Otsego Chamber of Commerce member services coordinator, Cricket sales reps Katelyn Knapp and Lawrence Knight, Joe Lazzaro from operations, and Lisa Gelormini from human resources. A grand opening celebration continues into this evening.  Stop by for a slice of cake.  (Ian Austin/
CVS Might Be Looking At November Opening

CVS Might Be Looking

At November Opening

Word is circulating in the Chestnut and Beaver street neighborhood that the new CVS may be opening as soon as early November. Originally, the plan was to shift operations from the downtown Cooperstown store to the new drive-thru store at the south end of the village by next March. In recent weeks, construction activity has stepped up at the new site, with crews working well beyond the usual 7-3 shift. In the past week, the roof structure has been completed, and final shingling was underway today.  No one was available this afternoon at the company’s Rhode Island headquarters for comment.  ( photo)




New directors Tom Armao of Country Club Motors and Springbrook President Patricia Kennedy joined the Otsego Now board at 5 p.m. this evening to cast their first vote for new CEO Jody Zakrevsky, recruited away from the Amsterdam IDA. Posing for a board photo after the vote are, front row, from left, Armao, board Vice Chair Rick Hultse, a business consultant; attorney and board Chair Devin Morgan, Zakrevsky, and Cheryl Robinson, NYCM vice president.  Second row, from left, entrepreneur and county Rep. Craig Gelbsman, Community Bank VP Jeff Lord, Kennedy, and board counsel Curt Schulte.  Sarah Harvey, a LeChase Construction project manager, was absent.  He officially begins the $100,000 job on Sept. 25.  (Jim Kevlin/



Railroad Inn Makes It Official

Railroad Inn Makes It Official

Proprietor Perry Ferrara makes it official, cutting the ribbon this evening on his Railroad Inn on Railroad Avenue, Cooperstown, at the start of a community reception. Others, from left, are Cooperstown Chamber Executive Director Matt Hazzard, inn General Manager Bob Holt, Village Trustee Cindy Falk, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, Perry’s wife Cathy, chamber President Danielle Henrici, and chamber Office Manager Hannah Bergene. The inn opened in time for Hall of Fame Weekend, but delayed the official opening until the summer rush was over. (Tara Barnwell/
Joe Ruffino Bids Farewell To 47 Years of Pizza Making

Joe Ruffino Bids Farewell

To 45 Years of Pizza Making

Joe Ruffino’s Restaurant & Pizzeria has closed on Oneonta’s Main Street after 45 years.
Joe Ruffino Jr.

ONEONTA – Joe Ruffino Jr. announced to his customers on his website today that, after 45 years of the “daily grind” of making pizza – since age 7 – and running a business in Upstate New York, he has closed Joe Ruffino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 222 Main St.

“I have known for a while that I couldn’t maintain that work ethic forever,” he said.  “No one is in the bullpen ready to relieve me … Now it’s time for my wife and I to move forward to a new beginning.  It may seem like my wings have been clipped, but in reality this bird has been set free.”

Boutique Hotel Opens Friday In Cooperstown

Boutique Hotel Opens

Friday In Cooperstown

All hands are on deck, including proprietor Perry Ferrara’s wife Cathy, foreground, as the Railroad Inn, the new boutique hotel at Railroad and Glen avenues, Cooperstown, prepares to welcome its first guests tomorrow evening.  Ferrara, in right photo with Cathy, said the first-floor rooms will be occupied Friday evening, and by next weekend – Hall of Fame Induction Weekend – all 22 rooms will be completed and filled.  Crews have been renovating the historic hops-storage facility since last October, which had been vacant since businessman Mike Manno bought the former Agway in 2009 and restored the exterior.  Ferrara, who has operated Cat Construction on Long Island for 30 years, said bringing the building back to life while preserving the historic ambiance has been a particularly satisfying part of this project.  Bob Holt,  at the registration desk, former manager of the Best Western in Harwtick Seminary, is managing the new hotel.  Helping Mrs. Ferrara in the top photo are, from left, friends Lorraine Banfield and Cathy DiResta, and Cassie Sawyer of Worcester.  (Jim Kevlin/

Paperkite Cuts Ribbon On New Headquarters

Paperkite Cuts Ribbon

On New Headquarters

Anders Green, with the help of brothers Henrik and Al, cuts the ribbon on Paperkite’s new headquarters at 218 Main St., Cooperstown. The marketing/creative agency is operated by Anders’ mom, Susan Green, who stands behind him with dad Will. Others, from left, are Cooperstown Chamber Executive Director Matt Hazzard, Deputy Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Art Director Jennifer Tesiero, Office Manager Veronica Pokorny with daughter Mariana, Megan Haggerty, Ali Harahan, Morgan Behnke, Katie Cotton and Elle Kenyon.
Railroad Avenue Hotel Moves Toward Opening

Railroad Avenue Hotel

Moves Toward Opening

Perry Ferrara, top photo, proprietor of the soon-to-open Railroad Inn on Cooperstown’s Railroad Avenue, shows off one of four two-story accommodations planned in the 22-room hotel.  After eight months of renovations, Ferrara, who also operates the Hardball Cafe and Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, said he hopes to have the establishment open for business by mid-July.   In recent days, he recruited Bob Holt, veteran hotelier (most recently at Best Western in Hartwick Seminary) and Destination Marketing of Otsego County board member, as Railroad Inn manager.  A tour of the building today showed renovations on the verge of completion.  All the rooms have been sheet-rocked, and Ferrara said he expect them to be painted and doors installed by the middle of next week.  In some rooms, furniture was already being assembled.  And a roofed veranda is nearing completion on the north end.  (Jim Kevlin/

Trustees Create First PDD, Leaving Details To Planners

Trustees Create First PDD,

Leaving Details To Planners

In part due to Bank of Cooperstown President Scott White’s explanation of the bank’s proposed parking lot expansion on Chestnut Street, the Village Board this evening approve Cooperstown’s first PDD – planning development district. However, the trustees forwarded issues raised by neighbors this evening – concerns about lighting, drainage and noise among them – to the Planning Board, which will still have to rule on the specifics and approve the project, which includes demolition of an adjacent house now used for professional offices. The PDD idea, included in the recently revised village Comprehensive Master Plan, allows development experiments that, while not specifically meeting all zoning particulars, address such larger goals as more mixed uses or economic-development enhancements.  The vote was 5-1-1, with Trustee Jim Dean voting nay and Trustee Lou Allstadt, who owns stock in the bank, abstaining.  (Jim Kevlin/
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