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News of Otsego County

Oneonta news

Man arrested for allegedly discharging weapon during altercation at Oneonta Speedway

Man arrested for
allegedly discharging weapon
during altercation
at Oneonta Speedway

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Randy Lamont Butler, 28, was arrested for allegedly discharging a gun at the Speedway in Oneonta in the early hours of Sunday, June 6, Oneonta police say.

The incident started when Butler got into a verbal altercation with a woman at the Speedway at 325 Main St., which spilled out into the parking lot, where another woman also got involved, according to Lt. Chris Witzenberg, the city’s acting chief of police.

According to Witzenberg, this is the first time a gun was illegally discharged in the city since 1999.

Primary vote location changed for Oneonta district two

Primary vote location
changed for Oneonta district two

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Because of COVID restrictions, the poll locations for primary day, Tuesday, June 22, was changed in district two to Oneonta Town Hall.

Early voting will be available at the Foothills Performing Arts Center and the Board of Elections.

All other voting locations will stay the same.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For additional information,  contact the Board of Elections at 607-547-4247/4325 or boe@otsegocounty.com.

Go to www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for a full list of voting information.

 

 

City of the Hills: June 3, 2021

City of the Hills

Common Council eases mask rules

Mayor Gary Herzig relaxed the mask ordinance in downtown Oneonta during the Common Council Tuesday, June 1. Masks will no longer be required on Main Street.

Also a motion on a payment to Springbrook to build a walk way connecting Main Street to Water Street and the parking garage was passed unanimously. Springbrook is planning a development on Main Street for professional housing.


Otsego Outdoors to offer
summer activities challenge

Otsego2000, the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Otsego Land Trust will offer another outdoor activities badge, this one geared to summer activities.

The activities include hiking, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and more.

Those who successfully complete eight of the 16 activities will be awarded an Otsego Outdoors Summer Octet badge.

Go to otsegooutdoors.org for more information.

COVID update for Otsego County

COVID update for Otsego County

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

As of Tuesday, June 1, COVID cases in Otsego County have decreased to a 0.6% positivity rate with 1% of tests coming back positive, according to the Otsego County Health Department.

Currently there are 15 active cases with two hospitalizations as a result of COVID.

As COVID cases continue to go down, many businesses and towns are seeing an easing of COVID restrictions.

A mask ordinance in Cooperstown is no longer being enforced while Oneonta is expected to ease its mask ordinance for Main St.

Total cases in Otsego County for 2021 are 4,469 with 63 deaths.

 

Oneonta’s Memorial Day Parade honors vets despite cold weather
Michael Woytach, an Iraq War veteran, plays the bagpipes during ceremony at Neahwa Park. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

Oneonta’s
Memorial Day Parade
honors vets despite cold weather

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Oneonta’s American Legion marches on Market Street towards Main Street. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

ONEONTA – Despite the occasional rain and cold weather, hundreds came out for the Memorial Day parade and a wreath laying ceremony Monday, May 31, in Neahwa Park  to honor the country’s veterans who died in service.

Participants in the parade included the Oneonta Fire Department, the Oneonta PD, the American Legion, the Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts and the VFW.

Fred Hicken, grand marshall and WWII veteran, rides in Monday’s parade. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

Fred Hicken, a WWII veteran, was the grand marshal of the parade.

The parade started on Market Street, adjacent to the Foothills Performing Art Center. It proceeded on Main Street and ended at the veteran’s memorial plaques in the park. 

Mayor Gary Herzig gave a personal thank you to the veterans present at Neahwa Park.

“I had family members who lost their lives in the concentration camps,” Herzig said. 

Herzig said that Memorial Day was important to “take the time to remember those who fought and particularly those who didn’t come home,” Herzig said. “Their sacrifice and their families’ sacrifice was also our entire communities’ sacrifice … We can only dream of what we could’ve been if we hadn’t lost those who didn’t come home. It’s a true loss not only for them and their families but all of us.”

Mayor Gary Herzig waves to spectators as he walks along Main Street. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

During the ceremony at Neahwa Park, there was a short invocation to begin the ceremony that said a prayer for stopping the rain and allowing them to honor veterans.  The Gettysburg Address was read, along with Gen. John Logan’s orders, which first designated Memorial Day as a time of honoring veterans.

Scouts BSA of Oneonta placed about 3,600 flags across the community. 

The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute and the bagpipes of Michael Woytach, an Iraq War veteran who is part of the VFW in Oneonta.

World War II veterans and VFW members salute during the ceremony at Neahwa Park. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

“It’s just to pay my homage for those who can’t be here with us today,” Woytach said.

Herzig summed up the day with his closing remarks.

“It’s a sad day and also a proud day,” Herzig said.

 

Hartwick Graduation for ’20 and ’21 classes showcases importance of taking risks

Hartwick graduation
for ’20 and ’21 classes
showcases importance
of taking risks

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Hartwick College celebrated the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 on Saturday, May 29, in a virtual commencement ceremony.

As the college acknowledged the unusual circumstances surrounding the graduation of the ’20 and ’21 classes, speakers highlighted some of the important lessons that the students would take with them in life.

Elizabeth Letendre speaks at the virtual graduation celebration.

Elizabeth LeTendre, a digital marketing entrepreneur who graduated Hartwick College in 1990, encouraged the graduating classes to step outside of their comfort zones in order to be successful.

“To be successful, you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” LeTendre said. “Struggling is an important part of the growth experience … Fear is good. Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid to fail.”

College President Margaret Drugovich rang the ceremonial bell at 11:30 a.m. to kick off the graduating ceremony followed shortly by a harmonizing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the Hartwick College Choir.

Matipa Mutoti, the 2020 student government president, was the first to acknowledge some of the circumstances the graduates had to deal with during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Graduation is a big achievement under any circumstance, but especially for us,” Mutoti said, listing off the need for students to adapt to social distancing, virtual classes and a volatile job market. “I believe this may have made us stronger. The fact that we are here today shows that we are able to face adversity. …

Matipa Mutoti, class of 2020 student government president, speaks at the virtual ceremony.

“Whatever our next steps may be, I believe that our experience at Hartwick College has provided us the tools to be the medicine that our world desperately needs right now.”

Lydia Marteney, the 2021 student government president, also acknowledged the difficulty that the COVID pandemic had placed upon the school while speaking from her home in Auburn.

Lydia Marteney, class of 2021 student government president, speaks at the virtual ceremony.

“Although this day might not look like how we had imagined it, today is a day to be proud of our many accomplishments and remember the glory days of our life as Hartwick students,” Marteney said. “For me, it’s strange and somewhat scary to think that we won’t all be up at Oyaron hill next year, but if we think back to the beginning and the many steps, both literal and otherwise, of our journey here at Hartwick we will realize that we are truly ready for the next step in our lives.”

David Long, chair of the Hartwick College board of trustees, also spoke during the graduation ceremony, talking about his own “abbey road” from England to Oneonta and the strangers who made him feel at home.

“Today you’re journey is uniquely yours, well underway and yet still to be created,” Long said. “You’ve already overcome some tough obstacles in life, demonstrating resiliency even at your young age.”

He spoke about the “unprecedented disruptions” of lives but how the graduates had to make their way through the college with “a unique determination.”

“You found your way,” Long said. “Well done.”

Presentations of awards were given to Madison Germuska and Kiara Biroo, who were awarded the Abraham Kellogg Oratorical Prize for 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Dr. Mary Allen, Professor of Biology, was awarded the Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching. In addition, former state Sen. James L. Seward, who graduated Hartwick College in 1973, was awarded the President’s Award for Liberal Arts in Practice, and Richard Clapp, 1962 graduate, received the President’s Medal.

 

 

 

City of the Hills: May 27, 2021

City of the Hills

City to hold Memorial Day parade Monday

The Memorial Day Parade and celebration is set to kick off on Monday, May 31, with a parade starting at the Foothills Performing Arts Center at 10 a.m., going into Main Street and ending at Neahwa Park. Masks and social distancing are required.


Oberacker to give historic presentation

State Sen. Peter Oberacker will be giving a presentation to the Town of Maryland Historical Society at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 27.
The society will also be selling donuts, 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday, May 30.

Police review leaves behind serious debates

Police review leaves behind serious debates

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Oneonta’s Common Council will likely meet its self-imposed June 1, deadline to review, and change or adopt, the city’s Community Advisory Board’s recommendations for the Oneonta Police Department, Mayor Gary Herzig said Tuesday, May 17.

Among the topics being discussed are the status of no-knock raids in Oneonta, making statistics of crime and arrests available to the public and a review board to examine the high number of arrests of people of color.

“The city’s process has been very good. We’ve had input from a large number of community members,” Herzig said. “The council is researching our ability to implement those plans … I’m happy with the fact that we took the governor’s order to heart and out of it came a very robust report.”

Help wanted: Businesses struggle to find workers

Help wanted

Businesses struggle to find workers

By MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Help wanted signs can be seen throughout Otsego County, including this one at Kwik Fill in Oneonta. (Michael Forster Rothbart/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA — A blue and white sign stands in the grass at the entrance to Southside Mall in the town of Oneonta: “JOBS! Cooperstown All-Star Village APPLY NOW.” In either direction, along the mile-long commercial strip from Wal-Mart to Home Depot, at least eight stores advertise available positions.
Outside Home Depot, in the afternoon Monday, May 17, two employees in masks help an older customer with curbside pickup, loading 2×4 boards over the passenger seat into his Buick sedan. The store has more than 70 employees and is now hiring people for eight positions, mostly part-time.

“We’re short six people, now that the college students just left,” said the older employee, who declined to be identified.

SUNY Oneonta celebrates 2021 graduates

SUNY Oneonta celebrates 2021 graduates

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

 

Dennis Craig, acting president of SUNY Oneonta

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.

Breaking: Bassett Healthcare announces shake up in top positions

Breaking: Bassett Healthcare announces shake up in top positions

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Bassett Healthcare announced Friday, May 14, that several people in high levels of leadership in the company were departing.

Ronette Wiley, vice president of operations and chief quality and experience officer, along with Donna Anderson, chief nursing officer and vice president of nursing, would be leaving their positions.

“We are appreciative of their contributions and many years service to our health system and wish them well in their future endeavors,” Dr. Tommy Ibrahim announced.

Oneonta city school district will hold vaccine clinic

Oneonta City School District will hold vaccine clinic

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

A school based COVID-19 vaccination program for students is being established by the Oneonta city School District in partnership with the Otsego County Department of Health.

Students ages 12 and older will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccination at no cost.

According to a survey organized by the Oneonta school district, at least 200 parents had expressed an interest in participating with the vaccination clinic.

Puppet theater to return to Oneonta

Puppet theater to return to Oneonta

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Carol Mandigo poses with some of her puppets in this undated photo.

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.

City of the Hills: May 13, 2021

City of the Hills

Oneonta to close Main Street on Saturday

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.

Appeals Court rejects lawsuit against Dietz Street development

Appeals Court rejects lawsuit against Dietz Street development

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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 Dietz Street development will be completed by 2022.

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