ONEONTA — After a tumultuous year, SUNY Oneonta is celebrating the graduation of the class of 2021, on Saturday, May 15.
A virtual graduation highlighted student life, achievements and an acknowledgement of the particular difficulties faced during the past year due to COVID.
“Today we acknowledge a major life achievement for not only the graduates but also their families and those they care about,” acting president Dennis Craig said during the ceremony. “If we learned anything over the past year it’s that our successes are only possible from the support of those we love and those that we have been inspired by.”
The ceremony opened with video showcasing student life and videos of congratulations from students and staff. The Leatherstockings District Pipe Band played bagpipes and drums and Zoe Johnson sung the national anthem.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also made remarks via video congratulating the class of 2021.
A puppet theater with local roots will perform an old time musical with a modern message in Oneonta on Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15.
The Catskill Puppet Theater, which has been around since the late 1970s, will be performing “The Villain’s Mustache,” which is described on their website as a “lively musical” and a “traditional old-time melodrama.”
“The play is fast paced and exciting enough to hold the attention of even the youngest children but contains enough real drama and good music to grab the audience as well,” said the website description.
“It’s a cool show for Oneonta because it’s about the old railway,” Carol Mandigo said, co-founder of the Catskill Puppet Theater.
Little Nell, the show’s young heroine, struggles when her family falls on hard times. They come to the city in order to make money where she meets a ragtime piano player named Moe and a hobo named Curley.
Audiences are encouraged to get involved by cheering, shouting advice or booing at the characters.
Oneonta will be closing Main Street from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 15, in celebration of SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College graduates.
The street will be closed between Elm Street and Chestnut Street for the purpose of outdoor shopping and dining.
Council to revisit mask ordinance
The Oneonta legislative council discussed the city’s mask ordinance Monday, May 10, and the matter is expected to be brought up at the next Common Council meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 18. Questions with the ordinance included whether to have different criteria depending on whether an individual was vaccinated.
Garden Club to hold sale
The Oneonta Federated Garden Club will be holding their Spring plant sale 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday May, 29 at Huntington Park.
The State of New York Appellate Division confirmed a previous ruling against a lawsuit brought by Johna Peachin that attempted to block construction of the lofts at Dietz Street in the City of Oneonta, Friday, May 7.
The lawsuit claimed that the apartments would block views of the hills, reduce the capacity for parking at Peachin’s business, and require her to walk further for exercise at the YMCA.
The Oneonta Common Council unanimously passed an agreement between the city of Oneonta and the Professional Oneonta Firefighters, Local 2408, as it pertains to alleged violations of collective bargaining agreements at the council’s meeting Tuesday, May 4.
The Common Council also authorizing two three-year contracts with Castella Waste Management of New York.
Mental health month helpers
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. User-friendly accurate information on mental illness and helpful resources can be found at www.naminys.org.
People with ongoing mental health challenges can find support by calling upon peers at The Warm Line at 607-433-0661. Information about regular support meetings for families and friends can be obtained by emailing email@example.com. Crisis?: MCAT 844 732-6228 (24 hr) or the National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 800 273-8255/ text TALK to 741741.
Stuff of Dreams and Bigger Boat Productions announce the production of Tennessee Williams’ classic drama “The Glass Menagerie,” which will stream on May 28, 29 and on June 4, 5 via the ShowTix4U platform.
According to a media release, “The play is a tender, and sometimes bitter, memory of the Wingfield family, with matriarch Amanda Wingfield watching over her children, Tom and Laura, and attempting to control their lives. Her one great wish is to have a ‘Gentleman Caller’ come see Laura, marry her, and take her out of her life of illusions with her collection of glass animals. Tom’s ambition is to free himself from his mother’s nagging and get away from their dingy St. Louis apartment.”
Local actors Michael Tamburrino, Lissa Sidoli, Caitlin Liberati and Casey Thomas tell Williams’ story, under the direction of Gary E. Stevens.
Tickets are $15 for the video-on-demand event and are on sale now.
Oneonta gets two STAC wins; Hawkeyes top Norwich at Doubleday Field
By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Cooperstown scored seven runs in the seventh inning to stage a comeback against the host Yellowjackets at Joe Hughes Field, 11-9, on Saturday, May 1.
The rally marked the best action for the two teams opening weekend as the two powerhouse programs in the region both beat Norwich, and Oneonta also topped rival Seton Catholic, 9-3, to start the season 2-0 and 2-1, respectively.
The opening of Joe Hughes Field was scheduled for 2019, but with three games in three days this weekend, it was a nice weekend for Oneonta’s baseball coach of more than three decades, he said.
“It was good to get out there and play, finally,” Hughes said following the Jackets’ second game Saturday.
Still, the Class B Jackets losing to the Class C Hawkeyes stung, he said.
“We had an 8-3 lead in the late innings,” Hughes said “They had a good comeback, but when you score nine runs, you are supposed to win.”
After years of planning, as part of a downtown revitalization initiative, community leaders broke ground at the site of the Dietz Street loft project Friday April 30, in Oneonta, with the hope of revitalizing and bringing “greater vibrancy” to the city’s downtown.
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, Empire State Development Deputy Director Allison Nowack and other community and business leaders attended the ceremony and lifted ceremonial shovels for the groundbreaking.
These lofts, which began development in April, will bring more people to the downtown area, Herzig said.
The four story building would include artist lofts, 24 middle-income, two-bedroom apartments and units for people with disabilities.
Editor’s Note: Our columnist and Oneonta businessman Al Colone died April 13, without finishing a two-part series about his ancestors. As a tribute, his brother, Frank Colone, wrote this memorial about their parents.
By Frank Colone
In the aftermath of World War I and the pandemic of 1918, Ma and Pa Colone returned to Oneonta and Depew Street. Oldest son Ani and baby Adelia (Ethel), who was born in Italy, came with them. Ma and Pa were determined to provide a better life for their family, both those in Italy and those in America.
After living for a time on Depew Street and West Broadway, Pa bought a home on River Street and the family settled permanently in the Sixth Ward in Oneonta’s “lower deck.” They were proud of their home and the fact that they could call Oneonta “home.”
Pa resumed work for the D & H. He worked briefly at the roundhouse and eventually spent most of his working years in the shop.
An unfortunate accident in the shop cost him an eye, but it did not cause him to stop working. He worked in the shop until he retired.
As a young man, Pa served in the military in Italy and acquired reading and writing skills there.
After returning to America, Pa worked to learn how to read and write in English. He so valued education and he constantly preached the value of learning to his family. Pa became a naturalized American citizen in 1928, a very proud moment in his life. Like many immigrant families, Ma never learned to read and write English and, therefore, could not become a citizen.
The Old World ways and skills learned in Italy helped them survive the Great Depression. Without a lot of money, Ma and Pa worked hard and used all their resources to keep their growing family secure. Despite her lack of a formal education, Ma had the primary role in maintaining the household and in raising the family.
Albert L. Colone was born July 8, 1944 in Oneonta the son of the late Ani Pasquale and Eva Gloria (Jerome) Colone.
He grew up on River Street, in his beloved 6th Ward, playing sandlot sports and generally tormenting the Wilcox’s and others with his older brother, Frank. Albert ultimately ended up a life-long resident of 6th Ward and helped to establish the 6th Ward Athletic Club and served as the Club’s first President.
Albert graduated from Oneonta High School in 1962 and would later go on to proudly serve his country in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968, when he was honorably discharged. It was during his time in the Army that he re-kindled his childhood love of drumming and percussion and attributed that musical background to extending his life from that point forward. His volunteer position as battalion drummer and later, percussionist for the Second Armored Division Band, kept him on post at Ford Hood, TX, when many of his peers left for and never returned from the war in Vietnam. With this to consider, it is easy to understand his passion for music and the importance of it throughout his life. There is no doubt that Albert had a rhythm and a beat that was all his own.
Fred Hickein wanted to make sure his heirloom muskets stayed in good hands, so the 93-year-old Oneonta resident made a major donation to the Greater Historical Society of Oneonta on Wednesday, April 21.
Hickein and his wife, Eleanor, and several of his colleagues from the Oneonta American Legion Post 259, presented GOHS with two family treasures Wednesday,: an English smooth bore rifle, circa 1800, which Hickein believes was brought to the area by an ancestor of his, Solomon Yager; and a Civil War training musket owned and used by another relative, Edward Brewer.
An Oneonta High School and Hartwick College graduate and a Navy veteran, who served in both World War II and Korea, although never overseas or at sea, Hickein said he wanted the heirlooms to be in good hands and he trusted GOHS to honor his family’s history.
“I wanted to do it before I died,” he said. “I wanted to make sure they were in a good place.”
GOHS Executive Director Marcela Micucci said the group’s history center at 181 Main St. will soon have a permanent display and it will include one or both of the musket donations.
ONEONTA – The city of Oneonta has promoted Greg Mattice to fill the position of city administrator.
Mattice, who has been with the city since 2010 and has been the city engineer for about half of that time, was approved for his new position by the city’s Common Council Tuesday, April 20.
The administrator position is a revised position in the city, an attempt to turn the autonomous city manager into an employee for the council and mayor. George Korthauer resigned as city manager in January 2020, about six months before his three-year term was set to expire. In the aftermath, city officials said they had not had a good track record with managers and wanted to reform the position.
The new position, which was created at a special meeting in October, was designed to have less power and independence than the city manager position.
Mattice was a member of the Otsego County’s Energy Task Force and in 2017, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig gave him the key to the city in appreciation of his efforts in keeping the city safe during winter storm Stella.
“I know that both the department heads and the council are both looking forward to working with you in that role,” Herzig said. “We are very excited to have you in this role.”
Mattice, who will begin in his new role July 1, will make $110,000 a year.
ONEONTA – Caroline V. Bailey, 92, went to be with our Lord Jesus Christ on April 17, 2021, she passed peacefully at home.
She was born November 21, 1928 in Oneonta, the daughter of Charles and Myrtle (Saunders) Vroman.
Caroline graduated from Oneonta High School.
Caroline married Calvert I. Bailey on October 10, 1964 in Oneonta.
She at one time worked for NY Telephone Co. as an operator, was an Administrative Assistant for Dr. Flanders and Dr. Dietz office in Oneonta, and she also sold real estate. She then worked with her husband at Bailey’s Appraisal Service in Oneonta.
She was a member of the Elm Park United Methodist Church, Oneonta and the Oneonta Chapter NSDAR. Most important to her was her family. She dedicated her life to her husband and children. She deeply loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.