News of Otsego County

Antonio Delgado

Pat Ryan Visits Cooperstown and Cooperstown Distillery

Pat Ryan Visits Cooperstown
and Cooperstown Distillery

Sam Aldridge

Gene Marra, owner of Cooperstown Distillery, left, and Pat Ryan, right, at Cooperstown Distillery on July 15

With political tensions simmering one degree below boiling this summer, the very first special election for public office is taking place here in District 19 between Pat Ryan (D) and Marc Molinaro (R) on August 23. Ryan visited Cooperstown on Friday, meeting with officials from Bassett Hospital, touring the Hall of Fame, and tasting the spirits of Cooperstown Distillery.

“I had really good conversations with healthcare leaders, the town supervisor and mayor, and others. The big issues that stood out are affordable housing and the need for real investment in water and sewer infrastructure,” said Ryan, speaking in the shade of a tree on Railroad Ave.

Commentary: The importance of the primary election

The primary thing: vote

Commentary by Ted Potrikus

Otsego County and the whole of New York stand on the cusp of an eventful election season that begins with the June 28 primaries for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and state Assembly.

Because we can’t have nice things in the Empire State, we’ll have a second round of primaries on August 23; those are for state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. And also a special election on August 23 to fill out the last few months of now-Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado’s term in the 19th Congressional District. Then another election for the 19th CD in November — in a district that will have entirely different boundaries thanks to redistricting, so one of the candidates for the special election for the 19th on August 23 is not running for reelection to that district in November, but instead will seek a full two-year term to the state’s 18th Congressional District and leave two others to duke it out for the 19th.

Thank you, state legislators who hijacked the voter-approved 2014 amendment establishing non-partisan redistricting, redrew lines you thought your party-appointed state Court of Appeals would uphold, and then whined when you got caught with your hands in the constitutional cookie jar and the Court correctly said “no thanks.” (Even their Assembly district lines got the judicial heave-ho last week, so we’ll have new ones in 2024!)

Calendar confusion aside, primaries are important. Just ask Joe Crowley. He’s the former Democrat Congressman from Queens who spent all his time a couple of years ago lining up support for his planned run against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House instead of campaigning in his home district for his primary against some unknown kid named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Whoops.

Elise Stefanik’s staff has been stuffing my e-mail inbox with announcements touting summer primary victories for House candidates from other states who have her support. I get it – as ugly as it may seem from the outside, this is how one rises through the ranks in Washington, D.C. The halls of Congress are a crowded place with at least 535 voices clamoring to rise above the din. Those whom one supports in a primary will be those to whom one turns for reciprocal support when it’s time for leadership votes.

But my goodness she’s supporting Carl Palladino out in Buffalo in his August 23 primary for Congress. I’ll do my best to keep from name-calling, but a buffoon is a buffoon. This guy, in 2021 (2021!), called Adolf Hitler “the kind of leader we need today.”

Court finalizes election districts

Otsego voters finally learn state, Congressional lines

Court-approved Congressional maps

Otsego County voters finally know their political home for the next decade after a state Supreme Court judge last week finalized new election district boundaries for the state’s congressional and state Senate representation.

A combined five courts – including the state’s highest – rejected boundaries drawn by the state Legislature after the voter-approved independent redistricting commission failed to agree on districts.

The court-approved, final lines keep Otsego County entirely within the state Senate’s 51st district, rejecting original boundaries that sought to combine the region with a wide swath of Montgomery, Schenectady, and Herkimer counties. Senator Peter Oberacker, the Republican incumbent, is campaigning to keep his seat.

“There’s a real sense of relief that I finally know where I’m running,” Senator Oberacker told The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta after the new lines were made public. “I feel regret for the counties I lost; I met some great people and built strong relationships. There are projects underway and I want to tie up some loose ends before I hand it off to the new Senator.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Learn to Bake with the Huntington Memorial Library 05-16-22

Learn to Bake with the
Huntington Memorial Library


BAKING CLASS – 6 p.m. Learn how to make light and fluffy Cinnamon Rolls at home with amateur baker Alex Benjamin. Zoom link & ingredients will be sent 5/13. Cook-a-long or just enjoy the show. Presented online by the Huntington Memorial Library, Oneonta.

BLOOD DRIVE – 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Donate through May 19 for chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps eight. Richfield Springs Community Center, Walnut St., Richfield Springs. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

Editorial: Great Choice, Governor


Great Choice, Governor

[Editor’s note: This week’s edition goes to press just as the news about Rep. Delgado is breaking; we offer here a brief analysis of the situation as it stands on the morning of May 3.]

For Otsego County, Governor Kathy Hochul’s May 3 announcement appointing Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new second-in-command in Albany is nothing short of politically seismic — a move that could send aftershocks throughout the entire state and even into Washington, D.C.

Certainly Rep. Delgado was a Washington up-and-comer, an important part of the Democratic Party’s hopes to keep its majority in the 2022 mid-term elections. That he was pitted against a popular Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, in an electoral district whose boundaries hang in the balance of a federal mediator, might have had something to do with his decision to take the offer.

Political machinations notwithstanding, Governor Hochul’s choice is a wise one. Rep. Delgado has proven himself to be a tireless and energetic voice for Otsego County and his district as a whole. Smart, approachable, and affable, when he shows up at an event or to tour a business, he shows up with good questions and displays a genuine interest in the issues at hand.

Farm worker overtime threshold

Delgado, Molinaro trade comments on farm worker overtime

New York State Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon has not yet rendered her decision on whether to accept the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board decision to lower the farmworker overtime threshold from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week, but that hasn’t stopped likely 2022 19th congressional district race foes Antonio Delgado and Marc Molinaro from lobbing a few press release barbs at each other over the issue.

Incumbent Congressman Delgado (D) released a March 29, 2022 letter he sent to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to reject the Board’s January decision.

Rep. Delgado, top SBA official tour Otsego County sites

Rep. Delgado, top SBA official tour Otsego sites

Biden Cabinet member touts post-pandemic recovery plans

U.S. Small Business Administration chief Isabella Casillas Guzman, right, chats at the Baseball Hall of Fame with, from left, Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, Vice President Eric Strohl, and Congressman Antonio Delgado during a March 4 tour of small businesses in Cooperstown.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, a member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, stopped first with the Congressman at Cooperstown Distillery, joined there by village Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, and regional SBA officials. Distillery owner Gene Marra hosted the tour.

“We believe in local small businesses,” Mr. Marra told the delegation. “We use local grains from our farm in Canajoharie and from Rochester, we get our barrels from Remsen. It’s a complete New York thing.”

He pointed to assistance from the Village and the SBA in his work to expand his Railroad Avenue business from 3,000 to 12,000 square feet; Rep. Delgado noted the expansion of the craft beverage marketplace as important to upstate New York’s economy.

“Agritourism is big business in this part of the country,” Mr. Marra agreed. As he displayed the Distillery’s exclusive baseball, football, and golf club-shaped bottles, he noted, “The Wall Street Journal is calling New York the ‘Kentucky of the North’ because we’re distilling so much world-class bourbon. There are 90 distilleries here now, of course, ours is the best of them!”

Rep. Delgado and Administrator Guzman next visited Cooperstown Bat, a manufacturer of game-ready baseball bats for players of all ages and the third-oldest bat company in the United States.

Head of US SBA tours Cooperstown with Congressman Delgado

Biden Administration Cabinet member visits Cooperstown

Tours key locations with Rep. Delgado

The head of President Joe Biden’s Small Business Administration, Isabella Casillas Guzman, spent the afternoon of Friday, March 4 in Cooperstown with Congressman Antonio Delgado hosting a tour of some of the Village’s best-known small businesses. Along with Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, the group discussed the president’s key infrastructure initiative, SBA outreach, pandemic relief and recovery, and other issues before convening a small business forum at Cooperstown Village Hall. Here, from left to right, Rep. Delgado, Mayor Tillapaugh, Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, and Administrator Casillas Guzman listen as Eric Strohl, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections at the Hall of Fame, shares details of the ‘women in baseball’ exhibit on permanent display at the Hall. Earlier in the afternoon, the group visited Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue and Cooperstown Bat Company on Main Street. We’ll have a full story on the afternoon coming up in the March 10 print and on-line editions of The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta /

Reps Delgado, Stefanik tour Otsego County sites

Rep. Delgado, Rep. Stefanik talk upstate manufacturing in County visits

Rep. Antonio Delgado on his IOXUS tour in Oneonta on February 22.

Rep. Elise Stefanik with Andela Production Manager Dave Spencer during her tour of Andela Products in Richfield Springs on February 22.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) stopped in Richfield Springs Tuesday, February 22, for her first official visit to Otsego County since lawmakers grafted its northernmost regions into her already-sprawling 21st Congressional District.

“I used to have 12 counties in my district, now I’ll have 18 if I get the support of the voters in November,” she said as she toured Andela Products and Ruby Lake Glass on Route 28. She heard from Andela Production Manager Dave Spencer and Ruby Lake Managing Member Jonathan Gross as the pair talked about challenges facing small manufacturers in upstate New York. The two companies, which together recycle, pulverize, and repurpose glass products to ship around the world, struggle with the now-common pressures of supply chain, labor, and regulatory burdens.

“It’s costing us three-and-a-half times more for a container ship now than it did six months ago,” Mr. Spencer said.

The Congresswoman noted her concern that the companies’ labor woes mirror those of small businesses throughout her district.

“We have to get people back to work,” she said. “I think the pandemic unemployment benefits went on too long and people just stopped going to work. You’re facing regulatory hurdles and big taxes, I understand that.”

As for New York-specific politics, Congresswoman Stefanik said she welcomed upstate native Harry Wilson into the now-four-candidate race to run as the Republican candidate for

Chamber hosts area notables

Congressman Delgado

Chamber hosts area notables

Congressman Antonio Delgado headlines a roster of local officials outlining 2022 priorities during a virtual “State of the State” presented by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, January 11.

The Chamber offers free Zoom access to the event but requires pre-registration at


Rep. Delgado hears why seasonal visas are lifeline to local employers

Representative Antonio Delgado watches on as Fly Creek Cider Mill owner Bill Michaels shows him where the apples are pressed. (Kevin Limiti/

Rep. Delgado hears why seasonal visas are lifeline to local employers

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Representative Antonio Delgado traveled to Fly Creek last week to meet with Fly Creek Cider Mill owner Bill Michaels, touring the facility and discussing the challenges confronting small businesses in Otsego County.

While the pair discussed topics ranging from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package and supply chain concerns, Rep. Delgado and Mr. Michaels spoke at length about hiring concerns and how the federal government’sH-2B visa program helps keep the Cider Mill humming.

It’s a complicated process: H-2B allows domestic employers to hire a certain number of non-immigrant workers on a seasonal basis, contracted for eight to nine months, and after the United States Department of Labor issues a certificate of need. Work has to be open first to any and all United States citizens and, if a citizen accepts the seasonal contract, the number of available H-2B positions decreases accordingly. Among the list of requirements: Domestic employers must pay the prevailing wage for the open position, as well as provide housing and transportation for all workers.

“We have never had any United States citizens apply for these positions,” Mr. Michaels said.

Chamber forum seeks solutions for workforce shortage

Chamber forum seeks
solutions for workforce shortage

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Kingston, speaks to the panel during an Otsego County Chamber of Commerce forum on workforce needs.

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom town hall Tuesday, July 27, to discuss workforce needs for small businesses.

The participants included Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, and Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie.

The overall sentiments of the Zoom call echoed the reality of a huge problem with understaffing and the difficulties hiring employees in Otsego County.

Business owners spoke of restaurants being unable to service customers due to staff shortages and some businesses being forced to close early based on having no staff available.

Audrey Benkenstein, from Opportunities for Otsego, spoke about how many of her organization’s positions required advanced degrees and training, which made finding employees very difficult.

“We serve a vulnerable population and without staffing our programs suffer,” Benkenstein said. She said there were also lack of transportation options, lack of internet issues and lack of day care assistance available.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Discuss a sustainable workforce 07-27-21

Discuss a sustainable workforce


WORKFORCE FORUM – 9 – 11 a.m. Business owners are invited to discuss their employment needs, problems, and how to address them. Each will be given 2 – 3 minutes to discuss with elected officials including Congressman Antonio Delgado, State Senator Peter Oberacker, Assemblymen John Salka, Chris Tague, & Brian Miller. Free, registration for Zoom meeting required. Presented by Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. 607-432-4500 or visit

This Week — June 3, 2021


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

June 3, 2021


Rep. Antonio Delgado samples a chocolate-flavored whiskey at the Cooperstown Distillery during a tour Thursday, May 27. Get the full story in this week’s edition of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.


Education company seeks to fill camp void

AllOtsego people: Milford graduate helping with pandemic relief in Nepal

Cooperstown & Around

City of the Hills

Tour Time

Cooperstown Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, left, and Otsego 2000 Executive Director Ellen Pope, to Falk’s left, talk about the architecture of an 1800s Federal-style house at 30 Lake St. in Cooperstown, which is known as the oldest corner of the village. The two women gave an architectural tour in the village Monday, May 31, sponsored by Otsego 2000 and the Cooperstown Graduate Program, where Falk is a professor. About 60 people were on two 90-minute trolley tours through the village Monday afternoon. Falk said a similar tour of Oneonta will take place sometime in the future. (Greg Klein/

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