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SHOPPING LOCAL WITH LIBBY: IN STORES, SURPRISES

Shopping Local With Libby: In Stores, Surprises

by Libby Cudmore • allotsego.com

Edition of Thursday-Friday, Nov. 4-5, 2014

Who would have thought a calendar could be such a fun gift? I almost want to keep this  Edward Gorey one for myself! (Ian Austin/allotsego.com)
Who would have thought a calendar could be such a fun gift? I almost want to keep this
Edward Gorey one for myself! (Ian Austin/allotsego.com)

Scoring a bargain online may be a thrill to some, but it’s nothing compared to the fun of going into a shop in downtown Oneonta and finding that perfect gift.

Especially if it’s a gift you didn’t even know you were going to buy.

That’s exactly how I felt when I walked into the Green Toad Bookstore and spotted “Everything I Need To Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book.” It was perfect for my grandmother, who read many, many Golden Books to me and my sisters as we were growing up.

And sure, I could have found it online – if I’d known it existed – and had it shipped to my mailbox, but really, where’s the fun in that?

“Shopping locally is fun,” said Jim Havener, the new owner of the Green Toad Bookstore, 198 Main, as he wrapped up my purchase in festive paper. “I had a customer come in earlier and who told me she was buying here instead of at Barnes & Nobel because it made her feel like she was part of the community.”

I’ll confess, I’m not one for planning what I want to buy as gifts. I like to look around, and find something so unexpected that I can just imagine the look on my friend’s face as they open it.

And Oneonta, it seems, is the place to do just that.

At Razzle Dazzle, 248 Main, every inch floor-to-ceiling is packed with nifty-gifties, from kitchen gadgets to wooly gloves to kid’s toys. “We come here for the kitchen stuff,” said Mary Southern, Oneonta. “You find things in here that you can’t find anywhere else!”

Like the cute Anne Taintor “You Be Thelma, I’ll Be Louise” socks that screamed my friend Liz’s name, or the beautiful purses owner Debbie North knits by hand. “I labor over them and each one is one-of-a-kind,” she said. “People ask, ‘why don’t you sell them on Etsy?’ But I want to see who buys them. I was given a gift of creativity, and it’s not for me to hold on to.”

(Is it still Christmas shopping if you buy a present for yourself?)

Handmade, local and vintage are the biggest trend in both Oneonta and across the country. “You can’t find vintage pins like these in stores anymore,” said Cindy Staffin, owner of Transitions Boutique, 4 Deitz St., who had a whole display of vintage rhinestone broaches. “People come in looking for older pieces like this.”

“I have one just like this,” said Kathy Polley, a Transitions’ clerk, pointing to a glittery red and gold Christmas tree pin. “I bought it at Bresees’, and I still have it.”

And although Bresees’ was gone before I arrived in Oneonta eight years ago, I could still recreate some of the experience by going into Theresa’s Emporium, 155 Main, including passing by the old turnstile Chip Klugo, who redeveloped the former department store into shops and apartments, has installed in the hallway.

Much of Theresa Cyzeski’s merchandise is American-made and Fair Trade, and although the Grumpy Cat plush toy I bought my niece Melody isn’t locally made, as Theresa wrapped it up for me she asked about my upcoming wedding. No one at any store in Albany or Binghamton – certainly not at a cyberstore – would know enough about me to ask. It was nice to have a conversation that didn’t consist of just “Sign the receipt” and “Have a good day.”

“Oneonta is for the unconventional,” said Anthony Robinson of The Museum Skate Shop, 201 Main. “We’ve got everything downtown.”

And as I walked to my car, arms loaded with bags, I felt very posh, like I was strolling down Fifth Avenue. But better still, I had been out in my town, talking with friends and neighbors, getting some fresh air, and taking time to explore what Oneonta really has to offer.

And that’s the kind of feeling you just can’t buy online.

Glimmerglass Plans National Campaign On 40th Anniversary

Glimmerglass Plans National

Campaign On 40th Anniversary

By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal

Edition of Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

COOPERSTOWN

With the Glimmerglass Festival’s 40th Anniversary arriving, Joan Desens, director of institutional advancement, and June Dzialo, marketing director, want to make sure everyone is invited to the party.

“We want to support the community that has supported us,” said Desens.

The Festival was one of the relatively few local entities to receive one of Governor Cuomo’s economic-development grants Thursday, Dec. 11: $64,000 to help market their celebration. “I had served as a panelist for the council and was familiar with economic development grants, but I wanted to wait until we had a project that aligned,” said Desens. “And our 40th anniversary was perfect.”

The grant will help fund the increase in the festival’s “online footprint,” placing ads on the radio station Pandora, before videos on youtube.com and other video streaming sites and retargeting their display ads on websites. “We want to increase awareness of the culture and the beauty we have here to people outside the area,” she said.

It’s a way to target a new trend – younger opera crowds. “The last few years, we’ve started seeing younger people buying tickets,” said Dzialo. “And while the older audience prefers direct mailing, online marketing is what the younger audience likes. We’re trying to straddle two markets.”

The online campaign begins in late spring. “The more digital the audience, the later they buy,”she said.

Otsego County’s Wheels Of Justice Grind – Virtually
Reprinted From This Week’s
Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal

Otsego County’s

Wheels Of Justice

Grind – Virtually

Judges, Lawyers Operating On Skype

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Judge Burns
D.A. Muehl

COOPERSTOWN – Even the courtroom has gone virtual in the age of COVID-19.

“If the arraignment is essential, like a felony arraignment, we’ve got Skype set up in the courtroom,” said District Attorney John Muehl. “An email gets sent around with the information, then the judge, myself and the lawyers can all be present, but nobody has to appear.”

With all cases adjourned until May 15, no one’s appeared virtually yet, but the courts want to be ready. “Arraignments are necessary proceedings,” Muehl said. “For example, if we had a domestic violence case where an order of protection had to be issued, we could arraign them.”

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Chamber Classic Golf Tournament 08-20-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, AUGUST 20

Chamber Classic Golf Tournament

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GOLF TOURNAMENT – 1 p.m. With new safety protocols, the Otsego County Chamber hosts 34th annual Chamber Classic Golf Tournament featuring lunch wraps from Roundhouse Pub and Grill. Proceeds of Tournament will go to Community Foundation of Otsego County. Registration required. Hosted by The Oneonta Country Club, 9 Country Club Dr., Oneonta. members.otsegocc.com/events/details/34th-annual-chamber-golf-classic-386

COVID-19 TESTING – 9 a.m. – Noon. Healthy Otsego County residents are invited to drive-thru testing for Covid-19, free of charge courtesy of Otsego County Department of Health. Registration required. Southside Mall Parking Lot, Oneonta. 607-547-4279 to register.

Mayor, Council Member, Police Chief Set Record Straight On Flag

Mayor, Chief, Deputy Mayor

Aim To Calm ‘Blue Line’ Furor

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The online furor began when Chief Brenner furled the “Thin Blue Line” flag after it was discussed in a Common Council committee.

ONEONTA – The removal of a “Thin Blue Line” flag from the pole in front of the Public Safety Building has caused a local social media uproar, and the mayor, police chief and deputy mayor issued a joint statement tonight seeking to calm the discussion.

The men are in agreement on the issue, the statement said.

“Locally, we have enough problems to solve without creating ones that do not exist,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “Many of the recent accusations, spreading through social media and email, have been both painful and false. We want to set the record straight.”

The controversy started during a meeting of the city’s Legislative Committee last week.  Deputy Mayor Dave Rissberger, Third Ward, brought up the flagpole in front of the Public Safety Building, which had flown the “Thin Blue Line” flag since the summer.

REINVENTING BROOKS BBQ

REINVENTING

BROOKS BBQ

Landmark Adopts ‘Pick-It-Up,

Take-It-In’ Approach This Week

Gio Curto, from Oneonta by way of Long Island, packs a takeout order. After conferring with his crew, Ryan Brooks added a second line to process the growing demand. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Proprietor Ryan Brooks holds up an “Imaginary Friends” sign, that will be set on tables to encourage patrons to maintain proper social distancing.

ONEONTA – Ryan Brooks, third-generation owner of Brooks BBQ is a man of his word.

“I made a promise to my grandma” – Frances Brooks, co-found with husband Griffin – “that I was always going to keep this place going,” he said.

When the COVID threat shuttered the restaurant in March, he began innovating almost immediately to ensure the regional culinary landmark would make it through.

He marshalled a three-vehicle fleet – his own included – and began to delivery to homes and offices.

He offered take-out and curbside pickup with online ordering.

He moved waiters and waitresses onto the bottling line so that none of his employees had to go without a paycheck.

As the weather got warmer, he expanded outdoor dining by 50 seats, and added an outdoor with a restroom trailer that’s cleaned every 20 minutes.

“We could serve 900-1,000 diners a day,” he said. “Folks didn’t stop coming, and we were so thankful for them for supporting us.”

And now, with the outdoor dining season winding to a close and many his army of loyal patrons still wary of dining indoors, he’s turning to “pick-it-up, take-it-in,” a model that’s become popular nationwide.

Ryan is active in national restaurant organizations, and at conventions he and other barbecue vendors seek out the most popular such establishments in the host cities.

“I’ve travelled to some of the best barbeque restaurants in the country,” he said a few days ago at an interview in Brooks’ spacious dining hall at 5560 Route 7, “and every single one of them has a ‘pick-it-up, take-it-in’ concept.”

It’s simple: order your food – either online or in person – pick it up at one of the windows and take it inside to dine with your party – for now, at socially distanced tables, of course.

“It’s about being able to sit and eat with your friends,” he said. “It’s very relaxed, very back-to-basics.”

Gone are the self-serve salad bar, the beef bun and the sampler platter, where supply issues made getting the top round cuts difficult.

“We were even having trouble getting our take-out boxes,” he said. “If you came in once a week for a month, each time, you’d probably have a different manufacturer making the containers.”

The beef bun was replaced by brisket, which Brooks said has been a popular addition. “It’s flying,” he said.

But that’s not the only change. “People were always disappointed that we didn’t serve beer,” he said. “The pairing of beer and barbeque is a natural.”

Partnering with Cooperstown Brewing Co., diners can order a can of their new “Third Man Ale” with their meal. The restaurant will also have beer on tap, as well as Sidney-based Awestruck hard cider and seltzer.

Three take-out windows have been added at the front of of the building – as takeout multiplied at with the New York Pause, line multiplied too.

“We had one telephone line when this started,” he said. “Now we have seven, and they are constantly ringing.”

The gift shop has also been expanded and moved from behind the main building to the front of the restaurant.

And if you’re looking for a familiar face, Phyllis O’Sullivan, Ryan’s aunt and waitress of 60-year tenure, will still be up front to help serve her customers. “She’ll be right there when we open our doors,” he said.

Brooks worked alongside his kitchen crew on the busiest days. “It’s like being in a submarine,” he said. “We had to change the whole flow to two prep lines, and we incorporated a lot of their ideas to make it easier to work in there. We learned so much about each other.”

At the bottling plant, he had to add a second shift to keep up with the demand for take-home sauces. “Our bottling business is up 110 percent,” he said. “We’ve got 50 people on the line.”

Brooks stopped the vaunted catering business in the spring, but he’s again Brooks reached out to non-profits – which he recognized are also struggling – to partner for “drive-thru” dinners.

“Our catering is back up to six days a week,” he said. “We just did over 6,000 dinners for the health care workers at Albany Med, at cost.”

He paused, then went on: “70 years of history had to change in seven months,” he said. “But it’s time to rethink our process and update.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Celebrate Otsego County Business 11-12-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12

Celebrate Otsego County Business

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ENTREPRENEURIAL AWARDS – 4:30 p.m. Hop online to celebrate local businesses for their innovation, entrepreneurship, & resilience in the face of a global pandemic. Features videos by winners Theresa’s Emporium & Pathfinder Produce. Other winners include Custom Electronics receiving award the NBT Bank Distinguished Business of the Year, and NY State Senator James Seward receiving A. Bettiol, Jr., Distinguished Citizen Award. This years theme is #togetherwethrive. Register to participate on Zoom. Presented by Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. Visit otsegocc.com for info.

Merchant New President Of Cooperstown Chamber

JESS LANZA CO-OWNS KATE’S UPSTATE

New Chamber President

Has Main Street’s Pulse

During down moments, Jess Lanza and wife Kate sit in front of Kate’s Upstate, gauging “the pulse of Main Street.” (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO>com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – During down times at Kate’s Upstate, Jess Lanza, new president of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce board of directors, sits on one of the turquoise chairs out front, chatting with tourists, customers and other businesspeople who happen to walk by.

“We’re right in the center,” said Lanza, the first merchant to lead the Cooperstown chamber board since 2007, when Riverwood’s Rick Gibbons passed the mantle to Inn at Cooperstown proprietor Marc Kingsley.  “”We have the pulse of what’s going on.”

Jess and his wife, the former Kate Whitney, were both born in the Northeast – he in Fort Lee, N.J.; she in Sidney – were raised in Florida.

They met at Stetson College – it was founded by John B. Stetson, who developed the famous cowboy hat – in DeLand, Fla.  “We had classes together,” said Jess, who double-majored in poli-sci and business administration,  “and a lot of mutual friends.”

Baseball Hall Offers Vets Free Entry Until Nov. 30

Baseball Hall Offers Vets

Free Entry Until Nov. 30

COOPERSTOWN – In honor of Veterans’ Day, all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces will be admitted free to the Baseball Hall of Fame, 25 Main St., from today through Nov. 30.

Veterans can reserve tickets online through the Museum’s timed ticketing program at baseballhall.org/reopening. Walk-up tickets are also available at the Museum, with guests being given the first available timed ticketing slot.

You will be asked to provide:

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: ‘Small Works’ Annual Art Exhibit 11-21-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21

‘Small Works’ Annual Art Exhibit

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OPENING RECEPTION – 3 or 4:15 p.m. Find beautiful works by local artists throughout ‘Small Works’ annual celebratory exhibit. Find works for sale to take home the same day for wonderful Christmas presents. Register for one of the free showings, only 50 guests allowed at a time. Roxbury Arts Group, 5025 Vega Mountain Rd., Roxbury. 607-326-7908 or visit roxburyartsgroup.org

ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Glimpse Into The Opera ‘From The Diary Of Sally Hemmings’ 08-27-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, AUGUST 27

Glimpse Into The Opera

‘From The Diary Of Sally Hemmings’

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GLIMPSE – 5:30 p.m. Enjoy first look at ‘From The Diary of Sally Hemmings’ a dramatic song cycle that imagines the experience of Sally Hemmings, who was the slave of Thomas Jefferson, as told through fictional diary entries. Presented by Glimmerglass Festival. Visit glimmerglass.org/events/glimpse-from-the-diary-of-sally-hemings/ for info.

COVID-19 TESTING – 9 a.m. – Noon. Healthy individuals are invited to drive-thru testing for Covid-19, free to Otsego County residents courtesy of the Otsego County Department of Health. Registration required. Greenie’s, 2591 St. Hwy. 7, Otego. 607-547-4279.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Drive Thru Job Fair 08-13-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, AUGUST 13

Drive Thru Job Fair

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JOB FAIR – 9 a.m. – Noon. Job seekers meet up to 25 local employers without leaving the car. Just follow the signs, keep your mask on, and get flyers/applications for employers in many different sectors that are currently hiring. Parking Lot, Oneonta Outlaws, Damaschke Field, Neahwa Park, Oneonta. 607-432-4500 or visit members.otsegocc.com/events/details/drive-thru-job-fair-in-damaschke-field-parking-lot-neahwa-park-oneonta-388

Jeter, Others In ’20 Class Featured On Hall Website

Jeter, Others In ’20 Class

Featured On Hall Website

COOPERSTOWN – As big league baseball makes its season debut, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2020, including Derek Jeter this Sunday, will headline a slate of virtual events July 23-26 in honor of what would have been Hall of Fame Weekend 2020.

Class of 2020 members Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker will each be spotlighted in hour-long Legends of the Game programs starting at 12 p.m. this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the Museum’s Facebook page at facebook.com/baseballhall.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Civil Rights Tour Down South 12-06-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6

Civil Rights Tour Down South

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SUNDAY SERIES – 3 – 4 p.m. Friends of the Village Library presents ‘From Antebellum to Anti-Racism: Redirecting Your Down South Tourism’ featuring Sydney Waller discussing sites to include on a Civil Rights themed trip through the American South. Cooperstown Village Library. 607-547-8344 or visit www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/

ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

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