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Hometown History 12/16/21

Hometown History

135 Years Ago
The new truck of the D.F. Wilber hook-and-ladder company arrived on Saturday. It is said to be the finest truck for hand service in the world. Rumsey & Co. of Seneca Falls are the builders. It is very handsomely decorated, and it is equipped with the latest appliances, including a Bangor extension ladder. On each side is a portrait in oil of D.F. Wilber. We congratulate the company, and the Oneonta Fire Department, upon the possession of so handsome a piece of furniture.
An important real estate sale was the transfer, on Thursday last, of the Wilber Mill property at Main and Front streets, to D.F. Wilber and Reuben Reynolds. The property has a Main street frontage of 92 feet. The consideration was $6,500. Mr. Wilber will continue to use the mill until spring, at which time it is not unlikely that a business block will be put up in its place.
December 1886

Hi-def Met Opera back at Foothills

Hi-def Met Opera back at Foothills

The Met Opera: Live in HD presents “Eurydice” in Oneonta on December 11.

By Patrick Dewey

Opera fans can wait out the long winter before next summer’s Glimmerglass Festival and head to the Foothills Performing Arts Center at 24 Market Street in Oneonta for high-definition streams of productions from New York City’s Metropolitan Opera.
This year’s premier performance comes at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, with a production of Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice.” The opera is a modern take on the Greek legend of Orpheus, who uses the power of music to try to rescue his lover, Eurydice, from the underworld. The Met says the opera is one of the first takes on the legend to be told from a female-centered perspective, casting the character of Eurydice as its lead.

City of Oneonta requiring masks in all city buildings

City of Oneonta requiring masks in all city buildings

Staff Report • Special to

Effective Tuesday, Aug. 10, all city buildings will require masks due to the CDC’s recommendations on the spread of the delta variant.

Otsego County is considered an area with high transmission, and therefore the CDC recommends wearing masks while indoors.

“While we are all weary of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, wearing a mask at work and arounds friends and family helps to prevent the most vulnerable of them from being infected and helps stop the pandemic,” said a press release issued by the City of Oneonta. “The safest and most effective way to put the COVID virus and these restrictions behind us is to reduce the current pool of unvaccinated persons in this country. I urge all eligible persons who have not yet become vaccinated to do so now.”

AllOtsego people: New fire chief credits parents with his success

AllOtsego people

New fire chief credits
parents with his success

By Kevin Limiti • Special to

Brian Knapp, the new Oneonta fire chief, is a fourth-generation firefighter. (Kevin Limiti/

ONEONTA — The City of Oneonta’s new fire chief appropriately comes from a long line of firemen.

A Schenevus native and fourth-generation firefighter, Brian Knapp started his position as the Oneonta fire chief officially Sunday, Aug. 1. “Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a firefighter,” Knapp said Monday, Aug. 2.

Knapp’s great-grandfather was a firefighter in West Laurens, and both his grandfather and his father were firefighters in Schenevus.

“It was part of the family, the fire service,” Knapp said. “It’s just always something I wanted to do.”

Knapp was a volunteer firefighter in Schenevus before starting at the Oneonta Fire Department as an on-call firefighter in 2004. He became a part-time firefighter within six months and was promoted to full time in 2006.

“Everyone typically gets into this job to help people,” Knapp said. The rescued people are “probably (in) their worst hours of the worst days in their lives and we’re there to help them with their problem.”

City of the Hills: August 5, 2021

City of the Hills

August 5, 2021

Library to celebrate centennial

The Huntington Library and Park is celebrating its centennial anniversary at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug.7, with cupcakes, drinks and a presentation from the city historian.
The first 100 guests will receive a plant. Guests will be able to discuss the proposed renovation of the park.
Call 607-432-1980 for more information.

Cuomo must go: Local, state officials react to report Gov. sexually harassed women
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo must go:
Local, state officials
react to report
Gov. sexually harassed women

STAFF REPORT • Special to

UPDATED: President Joe Biden joined the ever-growing chorus of politicians who have said Cuomo should resign.

“I think he should resign. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for a fact,” Biden said in response to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

The New York delegation to the U.S. Congress, including Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, also reiterated its call for Cuomo to resign or for the Assembly to begin impeachment hearings.

Here is the original post:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and actively tried to cover it up and retaliate against his accusers, according to a report from New York’s attorney general announced Tuesday, Aug. 3. Local and state politicians reacted swiftly, renewing their calls for Cuomo to resign.

The investigators concluded that the Governor engaged in “unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments.”

These new revelations caused a furious reaction among politicians, including those who represent Otsego County.

State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, said the governor “must resign immediately and face criminal charges.”

“The governor said wait for the independent investigation from the attorney general, we now have that report and it is sickening to read,” Oberacker said in a media release. “The heinous acts committed by the governor are unconscionable. He clearly violated the public trust, and moreover he treated a number of women in a disgusting, unlawful manner. I commend those who courageously stood up to this predator and praise them for their bravery.”

TEDxOneonta announces speakers, opens ticket sales

TEDxOneonta announces speakers, opens ticket sales

STAFF REPORT • Special to

The widely acclaimed TED talks are coming back to Oneonta with the theme of “Changing World.”

The event will be at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 .

Rebecca Ahmed speaking about the need to eliminate bias in zoom office culture.

Rachel Kornhauser will be giving a talk called “Climate Change and Sustainability in the Age of COVID.”

Gohar Petrossian will be speaking on “Why Justice for Wildlife Affects You.”

The final speaker will be Rosalia Rivera giving a talk on ending rape culture.

“We are thrilled to have TEDx back in Oneonta in 2021.  We had to postpone our event for 2020, but we are back with four wonderful speakers ready to inspire us with new ideas,” Dan Butterman, co-founder and executive producer of TEDxOneonta, said in a media release. “We have amazing community support, and can’t wait to share these speakers and ideas with everyone.”

Tickets are $25 until Aug. 27 and $30 afterwards. Go to for more information.

Preserve New York grant awarded to Otsego 2000

Preserve New York grant awarded to Otsego 2000

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Otsego 2000 will receive a $12,500 grant from the Preservation League of New York for their Preserve New York grant in order to fund a Culture Resource Survey in the City of Oneonta.

This survey will be used to help maintain and determine which historic buildings in Oneonta can be renovated.

“Oneonta’s neighborhoods encompass a wonderful range of historic and architectural styles from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, the heyday of railroads,” Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, said in a media release. “We are so grateful to the Preservation League of New York State for their support which will fund this important step toward documenting and preserving these neighborhoods and enabling homeowners to take advantage of the NYS Homeowner Historic Tax Credit program.”

Oneonta, which was settled in the 18th century, has many historical buildings within its boundaries.


COVID Vaccines will be offered at Otsego County Fair

COVID Vaccines will be offered at Otsego County Fair

STAFF REPORT • Special to

A pop-up clinic  by the Otsego County Department of Health will be giving COVID vaccines at the Otsego County Fair.

The vaccines will be available from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug 3. and Friday, Aug. 6.

The available vaccines will be the Pfizer and the Johnson and Johnson.

“We’re excited to be a part of the event and to offer a convenient opportunity for folks to receive their COVID vaccine,” Heidi Bond, director of public health for Otsego County, said in a media release. “We encourage fairgoers to come see us for their vaccine, ask questions and take advantage of the other public health information and resources we will have at hand.”

People who get the vaccine will be eligible for prizes including a $100 gift card to Brooks BBQ among other things.


Lights, camera, Otsego County: Summer film shoot for ‘Bring Him Back Dead’ highlights industry’s growth in Cooperstown, Oneonta
Director Mark Savage watches over production of ‘Bring Him Back Dead’ in Middlefield on Wednesday, July 14. (Greg Klein/

Lights, camera,
Otsego County

Summer film shoot for
‘Bring Him Back Dead’
industry’s growth
in Cooperstown, Oneonta

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

MIDDLEFIELD — The push to bring the film industry to Otsego County produced big results in July, in large part thanks to efforts of Film COOP and scenery in the region that the filmmakers couldn’t get anywhere else.

Tucked away at a “hideout” location, the small-budget action film “Bring Him Back Dead” was shot at a Middlefield cabin last week, with the type of energy one would find from a Hollywood production
previously not seen in Otsego County; actors, actresses, film producers and directors all passing by with artistic determination in their heads.

Korey Rowe, the owner of Otsego Media, which is co-producing the movie along with Millman Productions, said in spite of bad weather, they were on schedule to complete the film this week. He said the authenticity from shooting in Middlefield and around Otsego County is greatly helping the crew.

City of the Hills: July 8, 2021

City of the Hills

Concert series to begin Thursday at Neahwa Park

A summer concert series will begin Thursday, July 8, in Neahwa Park in Oneonta.
The series will feature performances every Thursday between 7 and 8 p.m.
The first event will feature the Driftwoods.

Common Council accepts grain grant

Oneonta’s Common Council passed a motion Tuesday, July 6, to accept a state grant of $180,000 for the Hartwick College Grain Innovation Center. The city’s plan is for the center to become part of the eventual Lofts on Dietz Street.
The council met in person at City Hall for the first time since March 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Meetings had been taking place via Zoom and were broadcast on YouTube. However, the July change in state COVID laws opened the meetings up again.

AllOtsego People: Local radio legend announces retirement

AllOtsego People

Local radio legend announces retirement

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to

‘Big Chuck’ D’Imperio, seen at a recent book signing, is retiring from local radio after more than 50 years.

After 32 years, local radio legend Chuck D’Imperio turned off the microphone on his WDOS morning show for the last time Tuesday, June 29.

The retiring radio host got his start in 1988 at what was then Hastings Broadcasting in Oneonta. The best offer owner Gordon Hastings had for D’Imperio was an unpaid position changing tape reels and monitoring the station during three-hour broadcasts for the Boston Pops.

D’Imperio said the time around the station early on was enough to further his radio interest.

Soon after, Hastings sold the broadcast company to Jan Laytham and paid opportunities for D’Imperio emerged. There was mutual respect between the two, and D’Imperio soon became the morning host on AM 730, WDOS.

Laytham coined D’Imperio’s radio name “Big Chuck.”

Hometown 4th: Oneonta to revive holiday celebration

Hometown 4th: Oneonta to revive holiday celebration

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to

ONEONTA — The Hometown 4th Festival will return to Oneonta’s Neahwa Park to celebrate the July Fourth holiday next weekend, with a theme of honoring essential workers.

The goal is to honor the workers, including grocery store staff, teachers, police officers, firefighters and healthcare workers, who took risks for the community good during the coronavirus pandemic, according to festival officials.

“We wanted to do everything we could to let them know that the First Night Board and the whole community appreciates them,” First Night Board Chair Carol Mandigo said.

The celebration will kick off at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 2, in Neahwa Park, with a free concert by country artist Michael Christopher.

At noon, Sunday, July 4, the parade will line up at Foothills Performing Arts Center on Market Street.

City of the Hills: June 24, 2021

City of the Hills

Otsego 2000 to host tours of Oneonta’s ‘architectural gems’

Dr. Cindy Falk will lead trolley tours Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., of Oneonta’s neighborhoods.

The tours will highlight the city’s vernacular architecture, from the earliest European settlement to the city’s exponential growth in the Victorian era, thanks to the railroad boom to the mid-century growth and resulting from the colleges’ expansions.

Registration is required. The fee is $10 per person. The trolley will pick up and drop off at Riverside Elementary School at 39 House St. in Oneonta.

Proof of COVID vaccination is required and masks will be required throughout the tour. Trolley windows will also be open for air circulation.

Go to www. to sign up for the tour.

Herzig: For city to thrive, jobs and housing are issues that intersect

Herzig: For city to thrive, jobs and housing are issues that intersect

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

ONEONTA — Housing and jobs remain high priorities for the city of Oneonta. Both are needed and, according to Mayor Gary Herzig, need to be gradually increased at the same time.

“You can’t have a thriving community, you can’t have a good economy, if you can’t provide people with good housing,” Herzig said.

According to Herzig, housing is “desperately” needed at all levels including low-income, middle-income and high-income.

One of the problems with housing in Oneonta is that it is hard to compete with student rentals if you are a family in need of rental housing.

Herzig said there are “not a lot of incentives” for familyrentals. “We have to be creative with what we do.”

However, there have been some steps taken on the housing front in Oneonta. Most notably, the artist lofts being created on Dietz Street and, more recently, the pending purchase of the Ford Building by Springbrook to create 22 to 24 market rate apartments, which Herzig called a “very exciting project” that he said was certain would be approved by the Common Council.

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