News of Otsego County

Al Rubin

STERNBERG: A&D, OPT, Other Transportation Services Step Up


A&D, OPT, Other

Transportation Services Step Up

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

I and multitudes of people, from the President of the United States on down, have tried to convince people to get vaccinated when they are eligible, and to maintain basic public health precautions; wearing masks properly, washing hands and surfaces frequently, and maintaining social distance. Only about 60 percent of the adult population has followed these recommendations and a similar percent say they will get vaccinated.

If this continues, we may never get to go back to things the way they were, because enough of the population will remain vulnerable and the virus will still circulate and mutate. Once it mutates enough, it will defeat the immunity provided by most of the vaccines.

So, to the people who refuse to follow the best practices to eliminate COVID as a continued threat to normal, social, life, if you are not going to get the shot for some reason you picked up through rumor, learned on the internet or because of political position, maybe you will try to protect yourself, friends and family. If not, it is hurting you where it really matters, in the wallet.

Delgado To Headline Virtual State Of The State Breakfast

Delgado Keynotes Virtual

State Of State Breakfast

Herzig, Tague Will Also Give Remarks


ONEONTA – Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, will give the keynote address at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the State breakfast, held over Zoom this year at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

According to organizer Alan Rubin, Interim President/CEO, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, and Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, are also confirmed to be in attendance, with more speakers to be announced.

The event, which is sponsored by Community Bank, is free.

To Register, Click Here

Rubin: Revisit Plan; Then Hire President At County Chamber

Rubin: Revisit Plan; Then Hire

President At County Chamber


Al Rubin

As interim president of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, Al Rubin has committed up to a year of his time to recruit a successor to departing Barbara Ann Heegan.

The president of A&D Transport Services, a 16-county medical transport business and local taxicab company, Rubin said he has no interest in the job.

However, he wants to ensure the Chamber is in a position to fulfill its mission: “We should be a driving force in helping build the economic landscape of Otsego County,” he said.

Before the search begins, Rubin intends to ask the Chamber’s executive committee to review and ensure the strategic plan is sufficient to that task.

The executive committee includes Realtor Joan Fox, the new chair; Family Planning’s Deb Marcus, CDO Workforce’s Alan Sessions and Springbrook’s Chris Hurlburt.

He plans to ask at least two outside executives with related experience to participate, but had not yet invited them, and said he will announce their names after they’ve agreed to serve.

When a structured search begins, “we will encourage people within the county and beyond to throw their hats into the ring,” he said.

Rubin came to SUNY Oneonta from Levittown, majoring in political science, intending to become a lawyer. But he discovered his calling as an entrepreneur.

While an undergrad, he developed World Is Yours Delivery, 20 years before Uber Eats, delivering food and other necessities to SUNY and Hartwick students.

He graduated in 1993, and founded A&D Transport Services in 1996 with partner David Freed – the two still co-own and operate the business today. In 1998, A&D won approval to transport Medicare patients and vital goods as a subcontractor.

After 17 years, state law changed to allow A&D to provide those services directly, allowing the expansion of medical transport services to the 16 counties, and expand its workforce
to 150.

“It’s like a tree,” he said in an interview, “you start at one point and there are so many ways to branch off and grow.”

In the early years, he discovered after the fact that Common Council had expanded the city’s taxi code from three pages to 27, and he realized a Chamber’s importance to the business people.

“This is the thing – small businesses are working to survive – the chamber can advise its members of what they should know before they end up in a tough spot,” he said.

Along the way, Rubin married Michelle Ianelli-Rubin, and the couple has three sons: Allan Michael, 14, Matthew, 13, and Luca, 11. He tells them, “You get out what you put in.”

As it happens, his wife is a member of the family that ran Ianelli’s Restaurant at 99 Chestnut St., torn down to make way for Walgreen’s.

While a SUNY student, he asked his roommate to pick him up a fettucine Alfredo from Ianelli’s. That inspired him to found World Is Yours Delivery.

Carolina Bound, Heegan Leaving Successful Legacy


Carolina Bound,

Heegan Leaving

Successful Legacy

A smiling Barbara Ann Heegan is applauded at the announcement of her appointment as Otsego County Chamber of Commerce executive director on May 26, 2012. She is flanked by Roxana Hurlburt, right, then Chamber board president, and county Economic Developer Carolyn Lewis. Within a year, Heegan’s title was changed to president.  (Ian Austin/ file photo)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Joan Fox
Al Rubin
Barbara Ann

ONEONTA – Barbara Ann Heegan, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce president since 2012, has resigned to accept a similar position at the Greenwood (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished as a team on behalf of our members,” she said in her resignation letter.  Her last day will be Monday, Dec. 28.

Al Rubin, who is serving his second term as Otsego Chamber board chairman, has accepted the position of interim president until a successor to Heegan can be found.  He is the proprietor of A&D Transport Services, Oneonta.

Joan Fox, broker, KW Upstate NY Properties and vice chairman of the Chamber board, will move into the chairman’s role.

Via Zoom, Chamber Hails Entrepreneurs


Via Zoom, Chamber

Hails Entrepreneurs

In a sign of the times, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, holds up the Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award to the 10 people who, by state regulation, were all who could gather at this evening’s Otsego County Chamber  “Tribute to the Entrepreneurial Spirit”; normally, more than 200 attend The Otesaga gala.  In time of COVID-19, the ceremony was broadcast via Zoom .  Applauding the senator are, clockwise from lower left, Custom Electronics President/CEO Michael Pentaris, Key Bank Vice President Rachel Galusha, chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, and NBT Bank Regional Executive Jamie Reynolds.  At the podium is Al Rubin, chamber board chairman.  Inset, front row, are this evening’s honorees who were on hand, from right, Pentaris, whose Custom Electronics received NBT Bank Distinguished Business award, and Theresa Cyzeski and Kathy Verrelli, representing , Theresa’s Emporium, the Key Bank Small Business of Year winner. Standing, from right, are Reynolds, Heegan, Rubin, Galusha and Pastor Sylvia Kevlin, Milford Methodist Church, who gave the invocation.  Via Zoom, Pathfinder Produce & Mobile Market was named the Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Breakthrough Business. Rubin’s A&D Transport sponsored the Bettiol Award this year. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.c0m)

Demolition Marks Start Of Social Eats Project

Demolition Clearing Way

For Social Eats Restaurant

Al and Michelle Rubin, along with sons Matthew, Luca and AlanMichael, watch as Donnie Burton uses an excavator to demolish a former U-Haul store to prepare the site for the Social Eats Project 607 at 548 Main St. in Oneonta. “The demolitions was supposed to be in the spring.” explained Michelle Rubin, “But with the pandemic, everything got pushed back.” Michelle plans on having the Social Eats being a benefit corporation that will put money back into the community and help decrease the poverty rate. “It will be a nice corner cafe. We plan to begin the build-out in September.” (Ian Austin/
Chamber Chair: Re-Opening Chance For Growth, Creativity

Chamber Chair: Reopening

Chance For Growth, Creativity

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


ONEONTA – Though Phase One of “un-PAUSE” is limited to construction, manufacturing and curbside retail, Al Rubin, chair, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Board, wants to make sure all businesses are ready to begin the process of rebuilding the local economy.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “Now is the time for innovation and creativity. Now is not the time to be shy. We need to be sharing all these ideas.”

This afternoon, county board Chairman David Bliss announced that Otsego County businesses and industry have been included in Phase One of the state’s reopening from the COVID-19 lockdown, effective this Friday, May 15.

Hometown People Locals March 14 15 2019

Hometown People – March 14 -15, 2019

CSO Conductor Contest Raises Record $46,321

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA  –  Though Al Rubin, owner, A&D Transport Services, ultimately took the baton to conduct “Stars & Stripes Forever,” he was helped by Cindy Donaldson, OMS choral music director, left, and Libby Cudmore, managing editor, Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, in raising a record-setting $46,321 for the Catskill Symphony Orchestra during the annual Cabaret Concert on Saturday, March 9, at SUNY Oneonta.


Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Maddie Hurley, Cherry Valley, and Chloe Bellcourt, Cooperstown, were on Main Street, Oneonta, Saturday, March 9, to sample a few of the dozens of craft beers available at Brewery Ommegang’s Snommegang.

Mancuso, Avolio, Named To Dean’s List

Symphony Sets Fundraising Record!


CSO Conductor Contest

Raises Record $46,321

Al Rubin, president, A&D Transport Services, which provides taxi and medical transport services in Central New York and the Southern Tier, took the honor of leading the The Catskill Symphony Orchestra in ‘Stars And Stripes Forever’ during this year’s Guest Conductor Competition at the SUNY Alumni Field House this evening. At right, Libby Cudmore, Managing Editor of The Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta and, challenged the audience to help her write the headline “Symphony Raises Record Amount” and they delivered, bringing in $46,321 by the evening’s end. Also in the competition was Cindy Donaldson, choral music director for Oneonta Middle School, director of First Presbyterian Church Choir and conductor of the Catskill Choral Society Children and Youth Choir. Laura Dohner, executive director of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, said, “Not only was it the most money we have raised, it was the closest competition we’ve had on record.”(Ian Austin/

Hometown People: Feb. 14-15, 2019  

Hometown People: Feb. 14-15, 2019

Voting Now Open For CSO Conductor Contest  

Al Rubin, president, A&D Taxi, choral director Cindy Donaldson and Libby Cudmore, managing editor of the Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, have all been announced as the competitors in this year’s Catskill Symphony Orchestra conductor contest.
One dollar equals one vote, and whoever raises the most money in the competition will win a chance to conduct the CSO in “Stars and Stripes Forever” during the Cabaret Concert, featuring the Sultans of String, on Saturday, March 9 at the Alumni Field House, SUNY Oneonta.

Oneonta YMCA Appoints Escher

Oneonta –  The Oneonta YMCA has appointed Bob Escher as the Team Leader/Friends of the Y. “The Y is a very special place,” said Escher.

Locals Freemans Journal Feb 14 -15

Locals – Feb 14 – 15, 2019


Jennifer Mickle, co-chair of the annual Relay For Life in Milford, and Dorothy Welsh, helped host at the warming tent at Lakefront Park over the Winter Carnival weekend. They’re looking for cancer survivors to attend the dinner the afternoon before the relay starts on Saturday, May 18. If interested, call Mickle at (607) 287-5386

Al Rubin, Donaldson, Libby Cudmore Vie

ONEONTA – Al Rubin, president, A&D Taxi, choral director Cindy Donaldson and Libby Cudmore, managing editor of the Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, have all been announced as the competitors in this year’s Catskill Symphony Orchestra conductor contest.
One dollar equals one vote, and whoever raises the most money in the competition will win a chance to conduct the CSO in “Stars and Stripes Forever” during the Cabaret Concert, featuring the Sultans of String, on Saturday, March 9 at the Alumni Field House, SUNY Oneonta.
To vote, go to and click on the “Meet Your Conductors” banner.


Susquehanna SPCA Seeks Foster For Puppies, Mom

Jim Kevlin/The Freeman’s Journal – Jasmine nurses her puppies at the Susquehanna SPCA. The shelter is looking for a foster family to care for the dogs until they’re old enough to be adopted.

HARTWICK SEMINARY – A surrendered dog gave birth to six puppies overnight at the Susquehanna SPCA, and now the shelter is looking for a foster family to take in the mother, Jasmine, and her brood until the puppies are old enough to be adopted out.
According to Becca Daly, communications coordinator, the ideal foster would be a quiet home, with no other pets or young children, and would be able to bring the dogs back to the shelter as necessary for medical appointments and checkups.
Daly said the dogs, including Jasmine, are all in good health and will be available for adoption after the puppies are weaned, usually 8-10 weeks.
Executive Director Stacie Haynes said that the owners did not tell them Jasmine was pregnant when they surrendered her last week, and when she came in this morning, she found the new puppies.
To volunteer, call (607) 547-8111 ext 100.



Christian Alexander amd Natalie Johnson, both of Cooperstown, were named to the Fall 2019 Dean’s List at SUNY Purchase. Alexander is studying Journalism, Johnson is studying Anthropology.


Voting Now Open For CSO Conductor Contest

Voting Now Open For

CSO Conductor Contest


ONEONTA – Al Rubin, president, A&D Taxi, choral director Cindy Donaldson and Libby Cudmore, managing editor of the Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and, have all been announced as the competitors in this year’s Catskill Symphony Orchestra conductor contest.

One dollar equals one vote, and whoever raises the most money in the competition will win a chance to conduct the CSO in “Stars and Stripes Forever” during the Cabaret Concert, featuring the Sultans of String, on Saturday, March 9 at the Alumni Field House, SUNY Oneonta.







Chamber’s Rubin: Exciting Information

Exchanged, But ‘Now The Work Begins’

Concerned Citizens of Oneonta’s Kate O’Donnell, the Hartwick College professor who organized an energy forum in Oneonta two weeks ago, was among today’s attendees. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – In the end, 170 – up from 125 a week ago, and 155 a couple of days ago – today listened for eight hours to presentations on the United States’ – and Otsego County’s – energy future from some of the most knowledgeable people in New York State.

The venue was the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy Summit:  Energy & The Economy,” which finished up in late afternoon in The Otesaga’s pretty-close-to-full ballroom.

When it was over, Al Rubin, chairman of the chamber’s board, and chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan both said they were pleased by the amount of information the 19 varied presenters delivered in mostly 15-minute segments between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“This wasn’t about debate,” said Rubin.  “This was about listening to what other people had to say.  This event met and beat our expectations.”  But, he added, “The work begins now.”

Dissolution Tabled

Will Fire District

Survive? A Stormy

Meeting; No Answer

Unable To Agree, Fire Commissioners

Table Dissolution.  But For How Long?

Hands go up around the room as Commissioner Michelle Catan asks by show of hands who would support a contract with the City of Oneonta. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

Attorney Terry Hannigan explains to the crowd how the current fire contract is set up.  He said it takes advantage of town residents. (Parker Fish/

ONEONTA – The Town of Oneonta Fire District lives to see another day.

With a motion on the table to dissolve the fire district,  Fire Commission chair Johna Peachin moved to table it at the end of a stormy meeting this evening.

The tabling passed unanimously, delaying action on dissolving for now – but for how long?

The commission has been in negotiations with the city for over two years on renewing a fire contract that expired at the end of 2016; state Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma imposed a two-year extension to allow coverage to continue while negotiations continues.

The contract enables the city’s professional Oneonta Fire Department to provide coverage to the town, primarily Southside and the east and west ends.

Fire Commissioners To City: Let’s Talk

Fire Commissioner

To City: Let’s Talk

Al Rubin, commissioner for the Town of Oneonta Fire Commission, stands and addresses Common Council this evening, encouraging the City to talk with him to negotiate a formula for long-term fire coverage. Despite being elected to the position, talks between the two have been stalled, due to the chair of the fire commission not supplying the paperwork authorizing Rubin’s position to negotiate. (Ian Austin/


ONEONTA – Following two years of stalemate, the Town of Oneonta Fire Commission reached out to the City of Oneonta to re-open talks about the contract with the town Fire District.

“We feel the contract is very important,” said Town Supervisor Bob Wood said. “We would like to encourage you to talk, especially with Commissioner (Al) Rubin. He has expressed a strong intention in finding a formula that is fair, one we can go forward with.”

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