News of Otsego County


. . .Now let’s see, where was I?
Ted Potrikus

. . .Now let’s see, where was I?

By TED POTRIKUS • Special to

Oh yes, I remember: August 1983, leaning against a column in front the library on Main Street for a photo, thanking the people of Cooperstown for reading my Freeman’s Journal work that summer, and heading back to Rochester to begin my junior year of college. My boss published the picture with the caption, “I’d like to thank Richard Johnson for giving me my own column.”

A few things happened since then. I met her in London, England, in 1984 and in 1986 married the wonderful Angela Buesing of Davenport, Iowa; we raised two daughters, each grown and married. I was a newspaper editor in suburban Rochester and then worked for the New York State Senate. I spent three decades in Albany as the lobbyist for New York’s retailers large and small, retiring in November 2020.
But like classic rock bands that retire — only to come back a year later — here I come, out of retirement and back to my beloved hometown. Back to writing for the newspaper that my dad brought home every week when I was growing up, that I’ve never stopped reading, and that indeed gave me my own column all those years ago. I’m honored by the opportunity to work here again and am grateful to Tara Barnwell, Lin Vincent, and Michael Moffat for their dedication to local journalism and their trust in me.

New Editor Views Media Brands As Community Service

New Editor Views Media

Brands As Community Service


I can honestly say this is a column I never thought I would write, my first as editor of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.

I say that for two reasons: one, I spent the past decade in competition with the Iron String Press media team, while working as an editor and reporter for another news organization; two, that stint, with an Alabama-based organization I shall forever more refer to as the pension fund, did not go well.

My first play, “The Sun,” first staged in 2004, is about a small-town newspaper that is being destroyed as larger news organizations try to buy it. I spent the past decade at the pension fund thinking either irony is a cruel trick of life, or I was being blessed with an abundance of stories for the television adaptation.

The twin low points were mass layoffs on Good Friday/Passover eve and the closing of the Town Crier office and relegating the Cooperstown paper to a reprint.

As the Crier editor at the time, I took the laying off of my reporter (while I was on vacation, no less) hard and the office closing harder. I transferred to a couple of different roles at the pension fund’s daily, but it wasn’t a secret I hated commuting to Oneonta. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise in some ways as I got to know the city, its politicians and businesses, and the southern half of the county.

Still, I missed Cooperstown and the coronavirus pandemic and family issues made it harder and harder for me to commute.

I had been planning to quit the newspaper business for good this year, perhaps to go back to my dreams of making movies. Or, at least, to help other people make their movies. Last year, after years of discussions, I teamed up with a group of local film makers, businesspeople and political leaders to start a nonprofit 501c6 film commission office, Film COOP (rhymes with hoop, we are not a co-op), or more officially, The Cooperstown, Oneonta, Otsego County Film Partnership, Inc.

First UM Plans Vote On Whether To Reject Church’s Ban On Gays


First UM Plans Vote

On Whether To Reject

Church’s Ban On Gays

In February, Worldwide Church Council

Affirmed Bar To Gay Marriage, Pastors

J.J. Warren, a gay seminarian whose speech at the United Methodist General Council in St. Louis brought some attendees to tears, spoke at Oneonta’s First UM today. He received a standing ovation. (Jim Kevlin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – A resolution, “We Refuse,” objecting to the international United Methodist Church’s reassertion of its prohibition on gay marriage and gay pastors, was inserted into today’s Sunday Service program at Oneonta’s First UM.

Warren led youngsters in an exercise to draw a multi-colored flower, symbol of a diverse church.

The local resolution calls the church’s “Traditional Plan,” which reaffirmed its ban and was approved by majority vote last February, “exclusive, punitive, and unwelcoming” and declares it “incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone…and with Jesus’ teachings,” which tell people to love everyone “unconditionally.”

The resolution goes further, labeling the Traditional Plan “un-Christian.” It calls for regional churches and the bishop to reject it and pursue a separate path.

The insert also announced a Special Charge Conference for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the church, where members of the congregation will debate and vote on “We Refuse.” Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell, the pastor, will preside.

Delivering the sermon today was J.J. Warren, a gay seminary student from Penn Yan whom Bishop Mark Webb, of the Syracuse-based conference that includes Otsego County, has said he will not ordain.

Herzig Revokes OH-Fest Permit For Park Concert

Herzig Revokes

OH-Fest Permit

For Park Concert

If Protest Breaks Out, OPD Lacks

Resources To Control It, He Says

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Rapper Sean Kingston’s UCONN concert was cancelled last week after a rape charge surfaced from 2010.

ONEONTA – City Hall revoked OH-Fest’s Neahwa Park permit this morning after Mayor Gary Herzig learned on overnight that large numbers of students might protest concert headliner Sean Kingston after learning last week he and his bodyguard were accused of a gang rape in 2010.

The city’s decision throws into doubt whether the Saturday night OH-fest concert will happen at all.

Herzig said he called SUNY President Barbara Jean Morris after SUNY students’ emotionally charged meeting last night, where they discussed whether Kingston should perform.

ONLINE Daily Newspaper Launched

ONLINE Daily Newspaper Launched

Editors with ink in their veins thrill at the news that traditional books are rebounding (10 percent as of mid-2018) and Kindle appears to have peaked, and is now declining (3.8 percent).

Happily, Otsego County’s newspapers – the 211-year-old Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta, now 10 years old – are stable, profitable and ever-striving to serve the reading public, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

But is growing in leaps and bounds.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, becomes Otsego County’s Daily Newspaper/ONLINE, with world and national news, crosswords and more.

Since implementing a new strategy Oct. 1 – when news happens, we post it – traffic, annualized, has grown 50 percent – 50 percent!  That’s 592,716 users, 1,867,988 sessions, and 2,957,100 page views – in a county of 60,094 people and 23,627 households.

So beginning today, we are relaunching as:  Otsego County’s Daily Newspaper/ONLINE, with the goal of giving readers everything you expect in a local newspaper, up to the minute and at your fingertips.

Effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, you can access all the breaking local news you now find on, plus world and national news, and such features as a daily crossword, comics (including color comics on Sundays), horoscope and Dear Abby.

Plus, for the first time, you will find all the material that appears weekly in Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal – hard news, features, editorials, columns, letters to the editor, obituaries, great photographs.  The works.

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