News of Otsego County

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


Sixth Ward Will Fight River Street Housing Project


50 Neighbors

Uniting To Fight

Housing Project

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Fran Colone convened the meeting of 50 neighbors to organize against the RSS project proposed for the Sixth Ward. “There are multiple bad reasons for the project,” Colone said. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – Christened “Sixth Ward Neighbors United,” River Street residents and businesspeople met for more than two hours with  city, county and state elected officials at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club Thursday evening  to discuss strategies to oppose RSS’s housing development in their neighborhood.

“There are multiple bad reasons for RSS’s project,” said Fran Colone, a vocal critic of the housing development proposal since last October. “So, we’re turning up the heat and upping our activities.”

“It is bad for Oneonta’s economy, it’s bad in terms of energy services – Oneonta is already energy-strapped; it’s going to increase demand for services here.  Oneonta’s fire department is already understaffed,” Colone said.

Plan ‘Transformative,’ But Details Still Fuzzy

Plan ‘Transformative,’

But Details Still Fuzzy

Nothing On File, And Officials Unclear On How $225K Will Be Used

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Cherie Welch, Oneonta, strolls down Main Street toward the Westcott Lot, passing 218-224 Main St., whose owner WHH Realty received $225,000 for a “Transformative” project. No further details are available.


ONEONTA – The DRI Project Selection Committee called the project “transformative” and awarded it $225,000.
But it turns out few details are available on what WHH Realty Corp., owned by city Planning Commission chair Anna Tomaino and her husband, Jimmy T’s proprietor Jim Tomaino, plan for 218-224 Main St.
Asked for details, Project Selection Committee chair Kim Muller, the former mayor, texted, “Some of the information you are looking for may be confidential … I’m trying to figure what level of detail I can share.”
She referred questions to the Tomainos and Mayor Gary Herzig.
Anna Tomaino said, “We want to develop that space for more businesses to move into. We want to see Main Street grow.”

HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Mayors Herzig and Muller announce the first DRI grants Tuesday, March 5, at Foothills.

County Passes Climate Smart Pledge, 12-2

2nd Time Around,

Climate-Smart Idea

Wins County’s OK

Frazier, Clark Vote Nay, But Hope

Is To Gain Access To State Grants

County Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, argues against approving a state “Climate Smart Community Pledge,” saying it would “tie the hands” of businesspeople. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Failing to do so two months ago, the county Board of Representatives today voted 12-2 to enact a state-sponsored “Climate Smart Community Pledge.”

County Reps. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, and Kathy Clark, R-Otego, who had questioned it last time, when it was referred to the Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee (SWECC) for further study, opposed it again.

Criticism Sours $2M Grants For Downtown

Criticism Sours $2M Grants For Downtown

Railyard Naysayers

Sink Mayor’s Bullish

State Of City Speech

Mayor Herzig


ONEONTA – In his 2019 State of the State speech, Mayor Gary Herzig Tuesday, March 5, said everyone wants to get to “net zero,” but – “please” – don’t oppose a plan for the D&H railyards “to create much-needed jobs.”
Particularly, “while we go about enjoying our indoor tennis courts, gyms, swimming pools and theaters – all heated with gas. These are not the values of the people of the City of Oneonta,” he said.
The plea fell on 112 sets of deaf ears.

Laurens’ Ric Brockway Challenges Kathy Clark

Laurens’ Ric Brockway

Challenges Kathy Clark


Ric Brockway is identified on his Facebook page as “an outdoor columnist and adventurer.”

LAURENS – Ric Brockway is used to climbing mountains.
At 60, he put on a backpack and hiked the 120-mile Northville-Placid Trail through the Adirondacks.
Two years ago, at 70, he climbed the 35 tallest Catskills, winning membership in the 3500 Club.
This year, he’s taking on another challenge: Running against former county board chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego-Laurens, in the June 25 Republican primary.
With his wife, Laurens Town Justice Patricia Brockway, retiring this year, “now’s my time,” said the candidate, who describes himself as an “outdoor columnist and adventurer” on his Facebook page.
“I’ve always been under the impression,” he said in an interview. “If you don’t like what’s happening, you change it. It’s time I voiced my opinion on a few things.”

Vice-Chair Koutnik Planning To Retire From County Board


Vice-Chair Koutnik

Planning To Retire

From County Board

Clark Oliver, Young Democrats’ Chair,

Looking To Succeed Veteran Lawmaker

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


ONEONTA – Today is the first day petitions may be circulated for this fall’s local elections, and a surprise has already surfaced: Gary Koutnik, Democratic vice chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, plans to retire.

The news surfaced in a press release from Clark Oliver, who chairs the county’s Young Democrats organization, announcing he plans to run in Koutnik’s District 11 in Oneonta.

Former Reporter Plans To Run From 6th Ward

Former Reporter Plans

To Run From 6th Ward

Mark Boshnack

ONEONTA – Mark Boshnack, retired Daily Star reporter, this afternoon said he plans to run for the Sixth Ward Common Council seat being vacated by Deputy Mayor Russ Southard.

His announcement sets up a contest with Scott Harrington, who announced Friday he is seeking the Ward 6 seat. With Mark Davies announcing this morning he will vie against Seth Clark for the Ward 2 seat, at least two of five vacancies will be contested in November.

Davies Announcement Sets Up First Contest For Common Council

Davies Announcement

Sets Up First Contest

For Common Council 

Professor, Businessman To Vie In 2nd Ward

ONEONTA – The first contest in November’s Common Council election surfaced a few minutes ago.

Mark Davies, the Hartwick College professor who chairs the city’s Environmental Board, announced he will be running to represent Oneonta’s 2nd Ward on the Common Council, replacing Melissa Nicosia, who isn’t running again.

His announcement sets him up against Seth Clark, a Democrat who announced over the weekend he is running for Nicosia’s seat.

3 More Candidates Running For 5 Slots On Common Council


3 More Candidates

Running For 5 Slots

On Common Council

Seth Clark, Jerid Goss, Joshua Bailey

Joining Len Carson, Scott Harrington

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA  ­–  A “Fusion Ticket” has surfaced over the weekend – Democrats Seth Clark and Jerid Goss, and Republican Josh Bailey – aiming to run for Common Council in Ward 2, 4 and 8 respectively.

Along with Republicans Len Carson (in Ward 5) and Scott Harrington (Ward 6), who announced plans to run Thursday and Friday, the emergence of the Fusion Ticket means at least one person will be running in November for Common Council slots in five of the eight wards where Council members are planning to retire.



Oneonta Needs to Prepare for State’s Legalization of Marijuana, Mayor Says

Oneonta Must Prepare

For State’s Marijuana

Legalization, Mayor Says

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Mayor Gary Herzig said Oneonta should start preparing legalization of marijuana. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – The legalization of marijuana is coming soon to the state and Oneonta should begin preparing for it.

That was Mayor Gary Herzig’s big news from the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) in Albany, specifically in the meeting of the Community Development Committee of Mayors. which Herzig co-chairs.

“This is something that is coming,” the mayor told Common Council’s Community Development Committee at its meeting this evening. “It…could impact our future and we should start thinking about it, positively or negatively. I don’t have judgement on it either way.” Soon, anyone who is a user of medical marijuana will be able to look into something like speed greens online, if they do not have time to visit a dispensary. But until then, everyone who live in Oneonta will have to wait until this becomes legalised. This may have been a long time coming.

On Spending, Pot, LGBTQ Rights, Cuomo Charts Path


On Spending, Pot, LGBTQ Rights, Cuomo Charts Path

Editor’s Note: With Democrats taking control of the state Senate Jan. 1, 2019, Governor Cuomo’s party now controls the state Legislature and his office for the first time in years, prompting him not to wait of the traditional State of the State message, but to issue a first-100-days “Justice Agenda,” a call to action for the state’s Democrats.  Here are the 20 points:

►Ensure a Progressive Tax System, maintaining millionaire’s tax, permanently capping property-tax increases at 2 percent.

►Cut Middle-Class Taxes while Fighting to repeal SALT, the federal limits on state and local deductions.

►Protect Quality, Affordable Health Care by ensuring the health exchange and coverage of pre-existing conditions will be protected at state level.

►Codify Reproductive Rights by passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act within 30 days to protect Roe v. Wade protections.

►Enshrine Gender Equality into Law, by passing Equal Rights Amendment to add sex as a protected class.

►Combat Gun Violence, by passing bump-stock ban, extending waiting period to buy a gun from three to 10 days.

►Expand $150 Billion Infrastructure Plan, adding $50 billion for new airports, bridges, train stations across state.

►Ease Traffic in NYC Business District by overhauling Mass Transit Authority.

►Ensure Education Equity by
increasing funding for poor schools.  (A coalition of public educations is seeking a $2 billion increase)

►Pass a Dream Act, to ensure a higher education system that opens the door of opportunity to everyone.

►Launch the Green New Deal,
to make New York’s electricity 100-percent carbon-neutral by 2040 and put state on path to eliminating carbon footprint.

►Ensure Clean, Safe Drinking Water for All, by investing in our water infrastructure and clean our water for our children and our children’s children.

►Improve Our Democracy, by enabling voting by mail, early voting, same-day and automatic voter registration, synchronizing federal and state elections, and make ►Election Day a state holiday to ensure as much participation as possible.

►Increase Trust in the Democratic System, by closing the LLC loophole, banning corporate campaign contributions, overhaul our campaign finance system and ending outside income for lawmakers.

►Protect Public Sector Unions, by expanding protections for public sector labor unions at the local level, and to ensure workers have labor rights in the gig economy.

►Keep Housing Affordable, by reforming rent regulations, including ending vacancy decontrol, repealing preferential rent and limiting capital improvement charges to protect affordable housing and respect tenants’ rights.

►Pass the Child Victims Act, to ensure those who abuse our children are  accountable criminally and civilly.

►Protect LGBTQ Rights, by codify the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act into state law and end conversion therapy.

►Legalize Adult Use of Recreational Marijuana, ending the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana.

►Ensure Fairness in the Criminal Justice System, by ending cash bail and enacting speedy trial and discovery reforms.

From the Governor’s Office – Governor Cuomo outlines the 20 points in his “Justice Agenda” for the first 100 days of Democratic control Dec. 17 at the Roosevelt Institute in Albany.






Fernandez Concedes, Thanks Supporters


Fernandez Concedes,

Thanks Supporters

He Calls Devlin To Congratulate Him

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

Bob Fernandez on Election Night.

OTEGO – Despite the final outcome, county sheriff candidate Bob Fernandez gave thanks all around for a hard-fought campaign that came to an end yesterday afternoon.

“I was honored to have the chance to run for sheriff in Otsego County and I would like to thank all of the bipartisan support for our campaign,” he said in an e-mail. “I also would like to thank the campaign team itself … (and) the Democratic committee, which allowed me to run on their line.”

Delgado Decries Greed To 120 Fans At SUNY

Delgado Decries Greed

To 120 Fans At SUNY

Appearing before an applauding crowd of 120 at SUNY Oneonta’s HIRC Lecture Hall One this evening, Democratic Congressional candidate Antonio Delgado declared that, with the arrival of “greed,” the the country’s modern-day problems began.  Today, he said, 80 percent of Americans are sharing 10 percent of the wealth; 40 percent of the Farm Bill his opponent, Republican incumbent John Faso, R-Kinderhook, voted for benefits only the 3 percent of farmers – wealthy agribusiness.  Some 50 percent of Americans, he said, lack the cash reserves to write a $500 check.   Delgado, who was unable to attend the one debate the Oneonta and Cooperstown Leagues of Women Voters had attempted to organize in Otsego County, was here at one of “community forums” that his campaign is organizing around the 19th Congressional District. (Jim Kevlin/
2 County LWVs Plan Double-Header Debate

2 County LWVs Plan

Double-Header Debate

Devlin v. Fernandez, Seward v. St. George

COOPERSTOWN – A double-header debate has been scheduled for Oct. 22 at The Fenimore Art Museum’s auditorium, a collaborating of the Oneonta and Cooperstown League of Women Voters chapters.

At 6:30 p.m. incumbent county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., the Republican nominee, and Democratic candidate Bob Fernandez will debate.

‘Non-Partisan’ Sustainable Otsego Again Endorses Only Democrats

‘Non-Partisan’ Sustainable Otsego

Again Endorses Only Democrats

COOPERSTOWN – Sustainable Otsego, “an authorized non-partisan political action committee,” has again endorsed all Democrats in the Nov. 6 election.

The environmental group endorsed:

  • Democrat Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck vs. U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook.
  • Democrat Joyce St. George, Margaretville, vs. state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.
  • Democrat Chad McEvoy of Westford vs. Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford.

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