News of Otsego County

David Mattice

Fast-Moving Storm Sweeps Across County Trees Down, Power Knocked Out

Fast-Moving Storm

Sweeps Across County

Trees Down, Power Knocked Out

A dramatic fast-moving thunderstorm swept across Otsego County at mid-afternoon today, knocking down a willow tree at the Schorfs’ sunflower stand south of Milford on Route 28 (and many other limbs on its route), accompanied by black clouds, lightning and heavy rain. At this hour, 3,500 NYSEG customers in the county are still without power. According to National Weather Observer David Mattice, Oneonta, a fast-moving front (45-50 mph) swept down from the Northwest, colliding with a warmer front coming up from the Southeast, with explosive results. The front came through Schuyler Lake, Cooperstown, Milford and Oneonta, before veering off toward Schoharie and Delaware counties. (Jim Kevlin/
Challenged, ‘Operation Warm’ Aims To Keep More Kinds Cozy


Challenged, ‘Operation Warm’

Aims To Keep More Kids Cozy

“Operation Warm” committee members Dave Mattice and Cindy Struckle pose with last year’s deliveries. (Lynne Sessions photo)

Editor’s Note: To donate to “Operation Warm,” send checks to Oneonta Rotary Fund, Box 1122, Oneonta, NY 13620.  For tax deduction, write “Operation Warm” in the memo line.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – A decade of Operation Warm has created a decade of warm memories.

“The pride of ownership is something new for a lot of the kids,” said Oneonta Rotarian Dave Mattice. A National Weather observer, he recalled the club’s first distribution – 40 coats – happened the week before Thanksgiving 2009, and temperatures were in the 50s.

“I remember one little girl crying,” he said. “It was the first coat she ever had.”

It began by happenstance; or maybe it’s providential.

In 2009, Oneonta Rotarian Sam Koury, then district governor, returned from the national convention with the idea for a new program: Raise money, and use the funds to buy winter coats for needy youngsters.

Each year, Rotary club presidents – there are 33,000 clubs worldwide – pick a Presidential Project to mark their administrations.  That year, Chad Smith, the Medical Coaches vice president, liked what he heard.

Each year, the Oneonta club allocates $1,000 for the President’s Project, and Smith used the money to buy 40 coats and launch Operation Warm locally.

Oneonta’s Riverside Elementary was the first beneficiary.  “Tears were rolling down their cheeks – teachers and kids,” said Mattice.

The Rotarians were hooked. For the next few years, the Oneonta Rotary Fund, the club’s 501(c)(3), and contributions from club members kept the program alive.  That just $100 could keep four kids warm all winter was an appealing idea.

In 2015-16, things picked up.  Rotarian Laura Dohner wrote a grant application that won a one-time District 7170 grant $2,500.

“That’s when it got expanded – to 180-200 coats a year,” said 2015-16 club President David Rowley, then recently retired Oneonta City Schools’ interim superintendent.  In Christmas 2016, the coats were distributed under the presidency of Dan Maskin, OFO executive director.

Also that Christmas, the Oneonta club’s Marie Lusins, who was also first female District 7170 governor, attended a Christmas play at Schenectady’s Proctor Theater. During the intermission, she saw a queue.  It was a charity raising funds by raffling off state Lottery Scratch-Off tickets.

She brought back that idea back to Mattice, then 2017-18 club president. “Wow,” he said, “this might be our way to raise $2,500,” the amount covered by the grant the year before. “Lo and behold, we raised $4,000.

The Rotarians sold raffle tickets, and also set up a booth at the Hometown Fourth of July, the Susquehanna Balloon Fest, and the Grand & Glorious Tag Sale, where the winning ticket was pulled.

“Since then,” Mattice said, “we’ve been doing $4,000 a year – 180-200 coats.”  “We” is the club’s Operation Warm Committee: Mattice, Rowley, Chad Smith, Cindy Struckle and Lynne Sessions, all past presidents, with the help of club members generally.

The fall of 2017, the local club hosted the Rotary District 7170 convention at SUNY Oneonta, the club members were delighted to receive the district’s Helping Hands Award for Operation Warm.

The Oneonta club’s success has been mirrored nationally, even internationally, since Dick Sanford of the Longwood Club in Kennett Square, Pa., notice coat-less children shivering at a school-bus stop and launched the original effort; that club bought 58 coats that year.

Today, over 270 Rotary Clubs in more than 95 districts have partnered with Operation Warm, over the past 22 years providing coats to more than 300,000 students.

Mattice said the coats are fabricated in a non-profit factory in Wisconsin, and are partly made from a fabric created from recycled plastic bottles.  “The kids get to pick the color,” he said.

Every fall, the coats, individually sealed in plastic,  arrive at Medical Coaches warehouse near Emmons, and club members ferry them to Riverside Elementary, where they are distributed to all Oneonta schools.  Last year, all eligible K-5 Laurens Central youngsters received coats, said Rowley, plus some in Milford and Schenevus.

“It’s a great cooperative effort,” he continued. “The schools do a great job of identifying the kids. Our job is to raise the money, get the coats ordered and get them distributed.”

This year, with COVID-19, “we think the need is going to be even greater,” said Rowley.  What’s more, the usual Scratch-Off venues – the Fourth of July, balloon fest and tag sale – have been cancelled.

At it happens, Mattice’s son, Dan, Reinhardt Home Heating president, is on the Rotary Fund board, and he’s pledged a matching grant:  If the club can raise $3,000, Reinhardt will match it, for a total of $6,000.

That would be a record.

The goal: to have 300 coats ready for distribution this year.  “We’re prepared,” said the father, whose dream is to eventually provide a warm coat for any Otsego County youngster who lacks one.

Reinhardt’s company slogan is “We make warm friends.”  Talk about happenstance.  Or is it providential?

Rain, Snow Fell 19 Days In April

Rain, Snow Fell

19 Days In April

Temperature Lower Than Normal,

National Weather Observer Says

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Dave Mattice

ONEONTA – In just-ended April, it rain 19 of the 30 days, National Weather Service Observer David Mattice reported a few minutes ago.

“We did have a lot of cloud cover,” he said.  “But, welcome to Otsego County.”

On the whole, temperatures were 5.4 degrees below normal, making it among the five coldest Aprils since 1854, when weather data was first recorded.

David F. Mattice, 89; Tiny’s Inn Owner Loved Farming, Too

IN MEMORIAM: David F. Mattice, 89;

Tiny’s Inn Owner Loved Farming, Too

David Mattice

ONEONTA – David F. Mattice, 89, of Oneonta, passed away Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, at home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born Jan. 8, 1929, in North Franklin, the son of the late Kenneth W. and Violet (Loreman) Mattice Sr.

Dave was the owner/operator of Tiny’s Inn from 1978 to 1989, where he loved to spend time on the dance floor.

In his younger years he was a dairy farmer, but left the farm to go to work as a tool man at Bendix/Scintilla for 34 years. His heart was always in farming, and following his retirement Dave helped his son Ron out with his farm.




Aaron Macken, front, and Daniel Norton, work in waist high snow to clear a sidewalk in front of one of the United Student Rentals on Chestnut Street. Normally, they would use a snow blower, but the snow is so deep it wouldn’t work, so they had to clear it by hand! (Ian Austin/
The snow has piled high on a bench alongside Cooperstown’s  Railroad Avenue. (Jim Kevlin/

ONEONTA – Though Otsego County is now on the “back side” of Winter Storm Stella, as much as 3 inches of snow could fall overnight and into tomorrow, according to David Mattice, Oneonta’s National Weather Service observer.

“The front side of the storm is pulling away to the northeast towards Maine, so it’s getting less intense,” said Mattice. “But the wind will change direction, and we could see another few inches before all is said and done.”

As of 7 p.m., over 30 inches of snow had piled up. The State of Emergency and the roads will be open at 6 a.m. tomorrow, but the Winter Storm Warning will remain in effect until 8 p.m. tomorrow. Oneonta Public Transit will resume service at noon.

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