News of Otsego County

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


United Way Drive Aims To Help Needy Keep Warm

United Way Drive Aims

To Help Needy Keep Warm

United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties’ Volunteer Coordinator Valerie Adams, left and Executive Director Kimberly Lorraine (right) show the boxes, decorated by United Way volunteers, they will use to collect warm hats, gloves, mittens and scarves as well as non-perishable, instant food items for those in need through Thursday, Jan. 17. Volunteers will hang bags of the donated food and the clothing in trees in Huntington Park on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday Jan. 21. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – The season of giving may have officially ended, but United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties (UWDO) is continuing it with a “Keeping You Warm Inside and Out!” donation drive.

“The holidays when people donate a lot are over,” UWDO Volunteer Coordinator Valerie Adams, who is overseeing the drive, said. “But there are still people who are hungry and need warm clothing, and the end of January, beginning of February is our coldest time of the year.”

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 21, volunteers will tie ribbons around packets of food and warm clothing and hang them from trees in Huntington Park, inviting community members to take what they need.

Susquehanna SPCA Raises $95K In Staffworks ‘Save-a-Life’ Campaign

Susquehanna SPCA

Raises Over $95K In

‘Save A Life’ Campaign

Staffworks founder Anita Vitullo, left, presents Stacie Haynes, executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA, with a check for more than $95,000 at the end of the Staffworks “Save a Life” campaign. With Haynes are Becca Daley, SSPCA communications coordinator and Alicia Dicks, director of the Community Foundation.

COOPERSTOWN – Raising more than $75,000 in donations as part of the Staffworks “Save a Life” campaign, the Susquehanna Animal Shelter was one of the top performers of the fund drive, receiving an additional $10,000 towards their capital project on top of the $10,000 in matching funding for a total of $95,949.

Brides Flout Stain Risks To Enjoy Tempting BBQ



Brides Flout Stain Risks

To Enjoy Tempting BBQ


Nikki Bower knows sometimes good food can be messy. She and husband Sean were early local adopters of a growing barbeque wedding trend when they married in 2016.

Editor’s Note:  This article appeared in the Thursday-Friday, Jan. 10-11 print editions in anticipation of yesterday’s 2019 Wedding Expo at Foothills.  For photos of the event, see this week’s print editions, on newsstands Wednesday afternoon.

ONEONTA – Nikki Bower reminds you to always eat barbeque with care.“I’m not a girly-girl, so wearing a wedding dress all day was hard for me,” she joked. “I was trying to eat responsibly, but I got barbeque sauce all down the front of my dress!”

Nikki and her husband Sean, married June 25, 2016, were on the cutting edge of the latest in wedding trends –  forgoing filet mignon and lobster tails for some good old-fashioned barbeque.


‘I Have A Dream’ Rendering To Commemorate Dr. King

‘I Have A Dream’ Rendering

To Commemorate Dr. King

Reginald Brunson

ONEONTA – Reginald Brunson’s rendering of the “I Have a Dream” speech and clarinetist Robin Seletsky’s original composition, “Rise Above,” will highlight Martin Luther King Day commemorations 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Temple Beth El, 83 Chestnut St.

Organized by the Oneonta Branch, NAACP, those marking Dr. King’s 90th birthday will be Mayor Gary Herzig, the NAACP’s Lee Fisher, the USCT’s Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Temple Beth El’s Ken Sider and Fair for All’s Christina Hunt.

The theme, “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere,” was central to King’s 1963 “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”

Bridal Show Hosts Largest Crowd Yet

Bridal Show Hosts

Largest Crowd Yet

Over 200 people attended this afternoon’s annual Bridal Expo at the Foothills Performing Arts Center. Above, Oneonta’s Haley Manion and daughter Michele Donovan sample a Three Philosophers Cake served by Linn Briggs, a partner with Marjorie Landers Cakes in Cooperstown. At right, Kathryn Kroll, who has been supplying flowers for over 30 years at Coddington’s Florist in Oneonta, shows off a sampling of her bridal bouquets. Brides-to-be could sample-browse over 45 vendors, including DJs, caterers, florists, photographers, venues, travel agents and, of course, wedding dresses. (Ian Austin/

Delgado’s First Bill Extends Veteran Benefits To Spouse

Delgado’s First Bill Extends

Veteran Benefits To Spouse

Congressman Delgado’s official photo.

WASHINGTON – Otsego County’s new congressman today introduced his first bill.

The bipartisan Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act was introduced by Delgado, along with Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., and Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., the congressman’s office announced today.

It would provide the surviving spouse of a service-disabled veteran with federal contracting preference as a “Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business” with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). 

Ranking Republican On Finance, Seward’s Other Assignments Made

Ranking Republican On Finance,

Seward’s Other Assignments Made


ONEONTA – In addition to serving as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today announced he will also serve on the education, finance, higher education, insurance and rules committees.

As longtime chairman of the Insurance Committee, he said he looks forward to serving there, and in particular on Education and Higher Education, he said.

Words Like ‘Love, Courage, Loss’ Used To Recall Fallen Hero

Words Like ‘Love,

Courage, Loss’ Used

To Recall Fallen Hero

Family, Friends Reflect On John Heller,

As 350 Pack Funeral In Foothills Atrium

Erika and Michael Heller, right, hold close two of their four boys who John Heller – her brother-in-law; his brother – rescued from an arson last Saturday, losing his own life.  To their right is Amber Roe, John’s fiance. In the foreground, Heller’s pallbearers console each other after placing the casket in the hearse after today’s funeral in Foothills’ Atrium. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sister-in-law Erika Heller recalls John’s sacrifice under the watchful eye of Pastor Thistle.

ONEONTA – “You spent your last day on Earth saving others,” his sister-in-law, Erika Heller, declared this afternoon at John Heller’s funeral. “We are so proud.”

Erika, along with John’s fiance Amber Roe,  his Oneonta Job Corps colleague Kathleen Feeney, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and the Rev. Judith Thistle, pastor of Worcester’s Second Baptist Church, addressed 350 mourners – reflective, often tearful – this afternoon in Foothills’ Atrium.

At calling hours at Bookhout Funeral Home last evening, the line was up to 2 1/2 hours long.

Today’s speakers painted an affectionate picture of a young man who had grown into a brave, loving, dedicated adult, full of humanity and humor.

Public Defender Changes Jobs; Gozigian, Ferrari Oversee Office

Public Defender Changes Jobs;

Gozigian, Ferrari Oversee Office

COOPERSTOWN – Beginning Jan. 1, Otsego County Public Defender Bruce Maxson has stepped aside.  He is still working for the county, but is now representing families in Family Court instead of criminal court.

Until the public defender’s position is filled, attorneys Gar Gozigian and James Ferrari are overseeing the office, the county Board of Representatives was advised when it met yesterday.

Oneonta Photographers Exhibit On Display At City Hall

Oneonta Photography Exhibit

Now On Display At City Hall

Wayne Wright, the Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s, shows off a two-lens stereoscopic camera that is featured in three panels from the “Oneonta Photographers, 1850-1900” he staged for GOHS during the fall now being installed in the City Hall lobby. The show features work from William Mereness, Perry Young and Howard N. Smith, who took some of the earliest images of Oneonta. At right, Wright shows Mayor Gary Herzig a stereoscope of the D&H rail yards. Stereoscopes, photographs, cameras and other ephemera will be on display through the end of March. (Ian Austin/

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